Polity & Governance
- Mahila Police Volunteer Initiative launched in Haryana
- Govt clears Major Port Trust Authorities Bill, 2016 to empower major ports
- MoU between Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
Bilateral & International Relations
- MoU between India and Kyrgyzstan for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism
- Cabinet approves MoU between ISRO and USGS
- MoU between ICAI and CBFS, Oman
- NSG waiver has attendant risks, govt. tells Lok Sabha
Key Facts for Prelims
- Babur cruise missile
Polity & Governance
Mahila Police Volunteer Initiative launched in Haryana
The Mahila Police Volunteer initiative was recently launched in Haryana.
- By launching the initiative in Karnal and Mahendragarh districts, Haryana became the first state to adopt this scheme.
- Haryana has inducted the first batch of 1000 Mahila Police Volunteers. These volunteers have already been trained by the State Police Authorities on their role and responsibility.
What is Mahila Police Volunteer Initiative?
- The Mahila Police Volunteers scheme envisages creation of a link between the police authorities and the local communities in villages through police volunteers who will be women specially trained for this purpose.
- Mahila Police Volunteer is a joint initiative of Union Ministry of Women & Child Development and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
Key features of the scheme:
- Their primary job will be to keep an eye on situations where women in the village are harassed or their rights and entitlements are denied or their development is prevented.
- In order to provide a link between police and community and facilitate women in distress, one Mahila Police Volunteer (MPV) is envisaged per Gram Panchayat across the country. These will be selected through a laid out procedure from among the empowered, responsible, socially aware women who will facilitate police outreach on gender concerns.
- The Chief Secretaries/UT Administrators have been requested by the WCD Ministry to adopt the scheme in their respective States/UTs.
Govt clears Major Port Trust Authorities Bill, 2016 to empower major ports
The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of Ministry of Shipping to replace the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 by the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016.
- The bill aims to empower major ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision-making.
Salient features of the Bill:
- The Bill has proposed a simplified composition of the Board of Port Authority which will comprise of 11 members from the present 17 to 19 Members representing various interests.
- A compact Board with professional independent members will strengthen decision making and strategic planning.
- Provision has been made for inclusion of representative of the State Government in which the Major Port is situated, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Defence and Customs, Department of Revenue as Members in the Board apart from a Government Nominee Member and a Member representing the employees of the Major Ports Authority.
- The role of Tariff Authority for Major Ports [TAMP] has been redefined.
- Port Authority has now been given powers to fix tariff which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP projects. PPP operators will be free to fix tariff based on market conditions.
- The Board of the Port Authority has been delegated the power to fix the scale of rates for other port services and assets including land.
- An independent Review Board has been proposed to be created
- To carry out the residual function of the erstwhile TAMP for Major Ports,
- To look into disputes between ports and PPP concessionaires,
- To review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to revive such projects and
- To look into complaints regarding services rendered by the ports/private operators operating within the ports would be constituted.
- The Boards of the Port Authority have been delegated full powers to enter into contracts, planning and development, fixing of tariff except in national interest, security and emergency arising out of inaction and default. In the present MPT Act, 1963 prior approval of the Central Government was required in 22 cases.
- Provisions of CSR & development of infrastructure by Port Authority have been introduced.
Significance of the Bill:
- Promotes expansion of port infrastructure and facilitate trade and commerce.
- Bring transparency in operations of Major Ports.
- Decentralize decision making and infuse professionalism in governance of major ports.
- Impart faster and transparent decision making benefiting the stakeholders and better project execution capability.
- Reorients governance model in central Ports to landlord port model in line with the successful global practice.
How many major ports are there in India?
There are 12 major ports in India. They are:
- Kandla (Gujarat),
- Mumbai (Maharashtra),
- JNPT (Maharashtra),
- Marmugao (Goa),
- New Managlore (Karnataka),
- Cochin (Kerala),
- Chennai (Tamil Nadu),
- Ennore (Tamil Nadu),
- O. Chidambarnar (Tamil Nadu),
- Visakhapatnam (Adhra Pradesh),
- Paradip (Odisha) and
- Kolkata (including Haldia, West Bengal).
MoU between Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to improve the effectiveness of rural development programmes in India and to facilitate knowledge sharing.
Significance of this MoU:
- The MoU will facilitate South-South cooperation mechanisms around Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM)’s experience through exchange visits and dialogues, and establishment of a good-practice Learning Centre.
- It will strengthen the vertical upscaling of the livelihoods of rural populations that are supported by DAY-NRLM, help to develop inclusive and sustainable value chains for key crops and agro-industrial products, employment diversification, skills development, especially for rural youth, strengthening of social protection, risk management mechanisms and enhanced resilience building, especially in arid and disaster risk-prone districts.
- The MoU will provide for collaboration on activities of common interest to support an integrated approach to rural poverty reduction through activities aimed to promote the economic empowerment of rural women, access of rural poor to natural resources and their sustainable use and social protection.
- The MoU will also provide for exchange of visits and dialogue for knowledge and experience sharing.
About DAY -NRLM:
Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY -NRLM) is a flagship rural poverty reduction program.
- It was launched nationwide by the Ministry of Rural Development with the objective of social mobilization, financial inclusion and sustainable livelihoods promotion.
- DAY – NRLM aims at creating efficient and effective institutional platforms for the rural poor enabling them to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improved access to financial services.
- One of the major focus areas of DAY – NRLM is promotion of existing livelihood portfolios of the rural poor in farm and non-farm sectors. Upgradation and sharing of knowledge on agricultural practices for sustainable income is therefore, considered a valuable input for poverty alleviation and higher income generation.
- DAY – NRLM recognizes the importance of achieving the post-2015 agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as other global priorities, that relate to rural poverty reduction, sustainable rural livelihoods, rural employment, social protection, good governance and gender equality.
Bilateral & International Relations
MoU between India and Kyrgyzstan for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Cultural, Information & Tourism of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism.
The main objectives of the MoU include:
- To expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector.
- To exchange information and data related to tourism.
- To encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders including Hotels and Tour operators.
- To establish exchange programme for cooperation in Human Resource Development.
- To invest in the Tourism and Hospitality sectors.
- To exchange visits of Tour Operators / Media /Opinion Makers for promotion of two way tourism
- To exchange experiences in the areas of promotion, marketing, destination development and management.
- To promote safe & honourable and sustainable tourism.
Significance of this MoU:
- This would enable both parties to enter into a constructive dialogue for development and promotion of tourism in each other’s country for the economic development of two nations.
Cabinet approves MoU between ISRO and USGS
The Union Cabinet has approved MoU signed between ISRO and United States Geological Survey (USGS) for Cooperation in the exchange and use of US Land Remote Sensing Satellite Data.
- This MoU signed in July 2016 will enable ISRO to receive USGS’s Landsat-7 and 8 in India.
- It will also allow USGS to receive ISRO’s Resourcesat-2 (AWiFS and LISS III) data of US region.
ISRO is actively pursuing civilian space cooperation with many US organisations including National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States Geological Survey (USGS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for its interest.
ISRO had received data from Landsat series of satellites operated by USGS during 1984 to 2001 through its ground station at Shadnagar. The data received from Landsat series of satellites was used by Indian scientists during the inception of Indian remote sensing programme.
Recently in February 2013, USGS has launched Landsat -8 satellite. ISRO expressed interest in direct reception of Landsat-8 data in India, while USGS expressed interest in obtaining data from ISRO’s RESOURCESAT-2 satellite.[Ref: PIB]
MoU between ICAI and CBFS, Oman
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval of the MoUs signed in 2008 and 2011 and the renewal of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and College of Banking and Financial Studies (CBFS), Oman.
- The MoU will facilitate working together for strengthening the accounting, financial and audit knowledge base within Oman.
- The MOU aims at providing assistance to CBFS by admitting Omani Nationals to the membership of ICAI.
- The aim of the MoU is to work together to develop a mutually beneficial relationship in the best interests of members, students and the institutes.
- The MoU is also expected to provide an opportunity to the ICAI members to expand their professional horizons and, simultaneously, ICAI is expected to become an entity which aids and strengthens professional capabilities of Omani nationals.
Significance of this MoU:
- The MoU is expected to make a positive impact for the Indian Chartered Accountants currently working in Oman and other markets and for those Indian professionals who intend to move to Oman for pursuing their profession there.
- It also enhanced employment opportunities are expected to be created for Indian professionals in the Sultanate of Oman. Through such activities, substantial goodwill is expected to be generated for India, Indian citizens and Indian Chartered Accountants in the Sultanate of Oman.
- It is also expected to lead to enhancement of remittances by Indian nationals to India.
- The ICAI is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament of India- The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India.
NSG waiver has attendant risks, govt. tells Lok Sabha
The government recently informed the Lok Sabha that it is looking for full membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as the current arrangement with the elite club carries “attendant risks”.
- The government’s statement is significant as it is the first time that it has declared the waiver in such terms.
What’s the issue?
- India is currently engaged in nuclear trade with international partners based on a waiver from the NSG in 2008. The waiver is in the form of a concession without according India the status of a full member and therefore has an element of unpredictability and attendant risks in the long run for India’s long-term nuclear power programme.
- The NSG took a consensus decision in September 2008 to permit its members to engage in civil nuclear cooperation with India despite India not being a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
- Since then, India has been trying to upgrade the “waiver” into a full member status and the government accordingly made two attempts this year to become member of the elite organisation. India has been engaging nuclear energy producing countries in civil nuclear deals since getting the waiver.
Benefits of full membership:
- Full membership of the NSG would enable India to have enhanced and predictable global access to nuclear technology, fuel, materials and components required for our expanding civil nuclear programme.
- It would advance energy security, contribute to India’s growth strategy based on clean energy to combat climate change, and strengthen global nuclear non-proliferation.
- The NSG will take up India’s membership issue at its next plenary session in June 2017.
- Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials.
- The NSG was founded in response to the Indian nuclear test in May 1974 to stop what it called the misuse of nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes.
- Currently, it has 48 members and European Commission is its Permanent Observer.
Key Facts for Prelims
Babur cruise missile
- Pakistan Army has successfully test fired an enhanced version of an indigenously-designed Babur cruise missile.
- The missile has been named after the first Moghal emperor.
- It is a low flying, terrain hugging cruise missile.
- The missile incorporates advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy.
- It is equipped with state-of-the-art navigational technologies of Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) and all time Digital Scene Matching & Area Co-relation (DSMAC).
- It enables the missile to engage various types of targets with pinpoint accuracy even in the absence of GPS navigation.