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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 December 2017

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 December 2017


Paper 2:

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO)


Context: To detect financial frauds, the SFIO is in the process of developing an early warning system (EWS), and a consulting agency has been engaged to prepare the conceptual framework. In this regard, services of a consulting agency have been engaged to develop the conceptual framework.


About SFIO:

What is it? The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) is a fraud investigating agency. It is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India. The SFIO is involved in major fraud probes and is the co-ordinating agency with the Income Tax and CBI.

Composition: It is a multi-disciplinary organization having experts from financial sector, capital market, accountancy, forensic audit, taxation, law, information technology, company law, customs and investigation. These experts have been taken from various organizations like banks, Securities and Exchange Board of India, Comptroller and Auditor General and concerned organizations and departments of the Government.

Background: The Government approved setting up of this organization on 9 January 2003 on the basis of the recommendations made by the Naresh Chandra Committee which was set up by the Government on 21 August 2002 on corporate governance.


Sources: the hindu.


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


WHO to recognize gaming disorder as mental health condition in 2018

In the draft of its forthcoming 11th International Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organization includes “gaming disorder” in its list of mental health conditions. The new ICD-11 entry on gaming disorder “includes only a clinical description and not prevention and treatment options.”


What is gaming disorder?

The WHO defines the disorder as a “persistent or recurrent” behavior pattern of “sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.” The disorder is characterized by “impaired control” with increasing priority given to gaming and “escalation,” despite “negative consequences.”


About International Classification of Diseases:

What is it? ICD is the “basis for identification of health trends and statistics globally and the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. It is used by medical practitioners around the world to diagnose conditions and by researchers to categorize conditions.” The WHO’s ICD lists both mental and physical disorders.

What is it for? This comprehensive list is intended to make it easier for scientists to share and compare health information between hospitals, regions and countries. It also enables health care workers to compare data in the same location over different time periods. Additionally, public health experts use the ICD to track the number of deaths and diseases.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.




Context: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will chair pre-Budget consultation meeting with financial sector regulators and take stock of the economic situation. Fiscal position, external sector environment, financial sector reforms, rising non-performing assets and regulatory issues are likely to figure in the meeting. Apart from offering proposals for the Union Budget 2018 -19, the FSDC would also review the measures taken by the government and the RBI for dealing with the stressed assets and initiation of insolvency action against defaulting promoters.


About FSDC:

The Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was constituted in December, 2010. The Council is chaired by the Union Finance Minister and its members are Governor, Reserve Bank of India; Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs; Secretary, Department of Financial Services; Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance; Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India; Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.


What it does?

The Council deals, inter-alia, with issues relating to financial stability, financial sector development, inter–regulatory coordination, financial literacy, financial inclusion and macro prudential supervision of the economy including the functioning of large financial conglomerates. No funds are separately allocated to the Council for undertaking its activities.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.


The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2017


Context: The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2017, initiated by the women & child development ministry, is currently with a group of ministers (GoM) that will take a final view on the matter. The Bill has proposed severe punishment for those engaging in the heinous crime.


Highlights of the Bill:

Forms of trafficking: The Bill identifies various forms of trafficking, including for the purposes of bonded labour, sexual exploitation, pornography, removal of organs and begging. Listing out the ‘aggravated forms of trafficking’, the bill also speaks of offences such as intimidation, inducement, promise of payment of money, deception or coercion. It mentions trafficking after administering any drug or alcohol or for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage.

Punishment: Whoever commits the offence of aggravated form of trafficking of a person shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 10 years, but which may extend to life imprisonment and shall be liable to fine that shall not be less than Rs 1 lakh. For repeat offenders, it suggests imprisonment for life “which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life”, apart from a fine that will not be less than Rs 2 lakh.

Anti- trafficking bureau: The bill proposes the establishment of a national anti-trafficking bureau, which shall be entrusted with the gamut of issues aimed at controlling and tackling the menace under various forms.

Functions of the Bureau: Functions include coordination, monitoring and surveillance of illegal movement of persons and prevention. The bureau will also be entrusted with increasing cooperation with authorities in foreign countries for boosting operational and long-term intelligence for investigation of trafficking cases, and driving in mutual legal assistance.

State level measures: The bill also aims at having state-level anti-trafficking officers who shall also provide relief and rehabilitation services through district units and other civil-society organisations.

Relief and rehabilitation: The bill also spells out measures towards relief and rehabilitation for the victims of trafficking, and seeks the formation of a committee for this purpose. The committee is proposed to be headed by the women & child development secretary and would have members from the ministries of home; external affairs; labour and employment; social justice and empowerment; panchayati raj; and heath and family welfare.



As per data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), human trafficking numbers rose by almost 20% in 2016 against the previous year. NCRB said there were 8,132 human trafficking cases last year against 6,877 in 2015, with the highest number of cases reported in West Bengal (44% of cases), followed by Rajasthan (17%). Of the 15,379 victims who were caught in trafficking, 10,150 were female and 5,229 males.

The purpose of trafficking included forced labour; sexual exploitation for prostitution; other forms of sexual exploitation; domestic servitude; forced marriage; child pornography; begging; drug peddling; and removal of organs.


Sources: the hindu.



Paper 3:

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Protection of Majuli Island

Context: A new scheme for protection of Majuli Island in Assam has been launched. The scheme protects the island from flood and erosion. The scheme was sanctioned by Government of India in March, 2017. The funding for the project would be from Ministry of DoNER.

  • The scheme has been framed by Brahmaputra Board based on the recommendations of the high level Expert Committee of the Government of India that visits the island at least twice a year to monitor and recommend anti-erosion measures.
  • The major components of the scheme include (a) Bank revetment with geo bags filled with earth / sand for a reach length of 27 km in 14 locations (b) RCC porcupine works in 41 locations (c) Construction of a sluice and (d) Construction of a Pilot channel for a length of 3.50 km.


Need for protection:

The area of Majuli island was 734 sq km in 1914 whereas, the minimum area was recorded to be 502 sq km in 2004. Geomorphologically, the entire Majuli island is a part of the alluvial flood plains of the Brahmaputra river. The Island is formed of soil consisting mainly of silt deposits. The soil is without cohesion and thus, susceptible to erosion. The problem of erosion has been severe after the disastrous earthquake of 1950. As per Survey of India topo-sheets and satellite imagery data, area lost by the Island is 206.7 sqkm from the year 1949 upto the year 2004. Although some measures were taken in the form of embankment and anti-erosion work by Government of Assam, the problem of erosion and flood remained mostly uncontained. The embankments built during the 60s were in poor condition.


About Majuli Island:

Majuli is the first island district of the country. The island is formed by the Brahmaputra river in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti, an anabranch of the Brahmaputra, joined by the Subansiri River in the north. Majuli is the nerve centre of neo-Vaishnavite.

Majuli Island was also declared the largest river island in the world, toppling Marajo in Brazil, by Guinness World Records in 2016.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Regional Project to Tackle Stubble Burning

In another significant step to combat climate change, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has approved a regional project on ‘Climate Resilience Building among Farmers through Crop Residue Management’ under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).


Key facts:

  • The first phase of the project has been approved at a cost of approximately Rs. 100 Crore for the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The project will leverage approximately three times the approved amount with contribution from the States as well as farmers.
  • The project not only aims to mitigate climate change impacts and enhance adaptive capacity, but will also counter the adverse environmental impacts that arise from burning.
  • The project will be implemented following a phased approach. Initially, awareness generation and capacity building activities will be undertaken to encourage farmers to adopt alternate practices which would also help diversify livelihood options and enhance farmer’s income.
  • A slew of technological interventions will be undertaken for timely management of crop residue in addition to effective utilisation of existing machineries. Implementable and sustainable entrepreneurship models will be created in rural areas through upscaling successful initiatives and innovative ideas.



The problem of crop residue burning has been intensifying over the years, with Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh being the major burning hotspots. Increased mechanization, declining number of livestock, long period required for composting and no economically viable alternate use of residues are some of the reasons for residues being burnt in field. This not only has implications for global warming, but also has an adverse impact on air quality, soil health and human health.


About the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC):

The National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) was established in August, 2015 to meet the cost of adaptation to climate change for the State and Union Territories of India that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

  • The projects under NAFCC prioritizes the needs that builds climate resilience in the areas identified under the SAPCC (State Action Plan on Climate Change) and the relevant Missions under NAPCC (National Action Plan on Climate Change).
  • Considering the existing arrangement with NABARD as National Implementing Entity (NIE) for Adaptation Fund (AF) under Kyoto Protocol and its presence across the country, NABARD has been designated as National Implementing Entity (NIE) for implementation of adaptation projects under NAFCC by Govt. of India.
  • Under this arrangement, NABARD would perform roles in facilitating identification of project ideas/concepts from State Action Plan for Climate Change (SAPCC), project formulation, appraisal, sanction, disbursement of fund, monitoring & evaluation and capacity building of stakeholders including State Governments.


Sources: pib.



Facts for Prelims:


Bali declares ‘garbage emergency’ amid sea of waste:

The Indonesian island of Bali recently declared a “garbage emergency” in response to the overwhelming amount of plastic waste that has floated ashore and spoiled pristine beaches. A 3.6-mile stretch of beach on the island’s western coast was declared an emergency zone after authorities realised that the volume of plastic being washed up was endangering the tourist trade.

Background: Indonesia is the world’s second largest contributor to marine debris, outdone only by China, the most populous country in the world. In addition to degrading the beaches, plastic waste blocks waterways, impacting transportation and increasing flooding risk, while posing a risk to marine animals.