Polity & Governance
- Mysore declared cleanest city of country in Swachh Sarvekshan-2016
- Supreme Court refuses to disclose data on pending verdicts
- Portal to collect non-tax receipts launched
- National Capital Goods Policy introduced
- First train from China to Iran stimulates Silk Road revival
Defence & Security Issues
- Indo Seychelles Joint Military Exercise ‘LAMITYE’
Also in News
- Country’s first lightest revolver ‘Nidar’ launched
Polity & Governance
Mysore declared cleanest city of country in Swachh Sarvekshan-2016
Urban Development Ministry has announced the top 10 cities which are among the cleanest in the country under the ‘Swachh Sarvekshan-2016’.
- Mysore from Karnatakatopped the list of 10 cities, while Chandigarh is in the second position and Tiruchirappalli bagged the third position.
- The national capital came fourth in the list, whereas Visakhapatnam, Surat, Rajkot and Gangtok were in fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth position respectively.
- Performance of the city is judged on the basis of sanitation parameters which includes open defecation and solid waste management facilities.
- The cities were declared as a part of the Swachh Bharat Mission in urban areas which is done every year.
- The ‘Swachh Sarvekshan-2016’ was a part of the second cleanliness survey ‘Swachh Sarvekshan’ which began last year.
- In last year’s survey, Delhi was among the dirtiest city to live in.
- In the 2015-16 survey, the cities were judged on the basis of their performance on each of the components of the mission, which is solid waste management, construction of individual, community and public toilets and sanitation strategies and behaviour change communication.
In 2014, the ministry had carried out a similar exercise in 476 cities and municipalities which have a population of over 1, 00,000.
Supreme Court refuses to disclose data on pending verdicts
The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea to maintain the data on its pending judgments and make the information public under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
- Fifteen years ago in its verdict, the Supreme Court had observed that the confidence of litigants would be shaken if judgments were kept pending for years.
- On 7 January, the Delhi high court ruled that the Supreme Court was not required to maintain records of the duration for which a court reserved its verdict on the direction of the Central Information Commission. In effect, it reversed an August 2011 ruling of the CIC which asked for this information to be collected.
- The CIC’s decision was based on the SC’s 2001 judgment in Anil Rai vs. State of Bihar.
- The high court said that under the RTI Act, only existing information kept with the public authority could be asked for. There was no provision for a direction to collect and collate information in a manner sought by the RTI applicant.
In July last year, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea seeking details on medical expenses of judges.
- However, over the last few months, the Supreme Court declared that information on banks collected by the Reserve Bank of India and entrance tests for state public service commissions would be available under the RTI Act, widening the scope for transparency.
[Ref: Hindu, LM]
Portal to collect non-tax receipts launched
The Union government has launched a non-tax receipt portal (NTRP) to electronically collect non-tax receipts.
- The non-tax receipt portal (NTRP) was developed by the controller general of accounts (CGA).
- It mainly includes dividends, interest receipts, spectrum charges, royalty, licence fee, sale of forms and application fees under the Right to Information Act.
- The portal aims to electronically collect over Rs.2 trillion annually in non-tax receipts from sources such as dividends by state-owned firms, the Reserve Bank of India and spectrum fee.
The office of the CGA has now started using technology and created a receipts portal for all the payments into the Consolidated Fund of India.
- It will reduce a lot of manual work now.
- NTRP provides a one-stop platform to citizens or corporates or other users to make online payment of non-tax receipts to the Union government.
- The online electronic payment will help common users/citizens from the hassle of visiting bank premises for issue of drafts, and later to government offices to deposit the instrument for availing services.
- It also helps avoidable delays and remittance of these instruments into government account as well as eliminates undesirable practices in the delayed deposit of these instruments into bank accounts.
While taxes are largely collected using the e-payment mode, non-tax revenues flow mainly through physical instruments such as bank draft or cheque or cash.
What is Non-Tax Revenue?
- Non-Tax Revenue is the recurring income earned by the government from sources other than taxes.
- The most important receipts under this head are interest receipts (received on loans given by the government to states, railways and others) and dividends and profits received from public sector companies.
It should be noted here that among non-tax receipts, biggest share flows from dividends paid by Public Sector Undertakings and RBI.
[Ref: PIB, LM, ET]
National Capital Goods Policy introduced
The Ministry of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprise has introduced a National Capital Goods Policy to spur capital goods sector and the Make in India initiative.
- It was part of the government’s commitment to turn the country into a world class hub for capital goods.
Objective of the policy:
- The objective of the policy was to increase production of capital goods from Rs. 2.30 lakh crore in 2014-15 to Rs. 7.50 lakh crore in 2025 and raising direct and indirect employment from the current 8.4 million to 30 million.
- The policy envisages making India a net exporter of capital goods and aims at facilitating improvement in technology across sub-sectors, increasing skill availability, ensuring mandatory standards and promoting growth and capacity building of MSMEs.
Key recommendations of the policy:
- The key policy recommendations include strengthening the existing scheme of the DHI (Department of Heavy Industry) on enhancement of competitiveness of capital goods sector by increasing budgetary allocation and increasing its scope to further boost global competitiveness in various sub sectors and enhancing export of Indian made capital goods through a ‘Heavy Industry Export and Market Development Assistance Scheme (HIEMDA)’.
- It has also made provision for introducing a Technology Development Fund, upgrading existing and setting up a new testing and certification facility, making standards mandatory in order to reduce sub-standard machine imports and at the same time providing opportunity to local manufacturing units by utilising their installed capacity and unveiling scheme for skill development for capital goods sector.
- Some of the key issues addressed include availability of finance, raw material, innovation and technology, productivity, quality and environment-friendly manufacturing practices, promoting exports and creating domestic demand.
First train from China to Iran stimulates Silk Road revival
First cargo train from China to Iran has arrived in Tehran, indicating a milestone in reviving the “Silk Road”, which has opened a new chapter of win-win cooperation between China and Iran.
- The train, also referred to as Silk Road train, passed through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Iran, travelling a distance of 10,399 kms.
- The travel of cargo train from China to Iran is part of a Chinese initiative to revive the ancient Silk Road used by the traders to commute between Europe and East Asia.
About the “Belt and Road” initiative:
- The “Belt and Road” initiative was raised by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.
- The “Belt and Road” initiative refers to the New Silk Road Economic Belt, linking China with Europe through Central and Western Asia, and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, connecting China with Southeast Asian countries, Africa and Europe.
- The cargo train plays an important role to promote construction of the “Belt and Road” initiative.
- To revive the Silk Road Economic Belt, the launch of the train is an important move, since about 700 kms of trip has been done per day.
- The railway line will benefit Iran as the transit course for the cargo trains from the East Asia to Europe.
- The railway line provides the two countries-China and Iran an express and efficient cargo trade transportation method.
- Compared to the sea voyage of the cargo ships from China’s Shanghai city to Iran’s Bandar Abbas port city, the travel time of the train was 30 days shorter.
Defence & Security Issues
Indo Seychelles Joint Military Exercise ‘LAMITYE’
The Seventh Joint Military Training Exercise between the Indian Army and the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces (SPDF) – LAMITYE 2016, is going to be conducted at Seychelles Defence Academy (SDA), Victoria, Seychelles.
- The SPDF will be represented by Tazar (Special Forces Unit of Seychelles) and Seychelles Infantry.
- The Indian contingent will comprise of an Infantry platoon and representatives from the Special Forces.
- India and Seychelles have been conducting joint exercises since 2001.
- Exercise ‘Lamitye’, which means friendship in Creole (local dialect), is conducted biennially with the aim of enhancing military cooperation and interoperability between the two countries.
Also in News
Country’s first lightest revolver ‘Nidar’ launched
Boosting the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the Rifle Factory Ishapore, has indigenously developed country’s lightest revolver ‘Nidar’
- The revolver ‘Nidar’ weighs merely 250 grams, much lighter than ‘Nirbheek’ (500 grams), which was exclusively designed for women.
- Both men and women having valid arms license can buy Nidar.
- The .22 caliber Nidar is lightest revolver ever made in India with cheapest price tag.
- Unlike costly titanium alloy used in Nirbheek, for Nidar rifle factory developed a total new alloy of aluminium which is called ‘DTD5124‘ and its very light and as supreme metal strength.
- The idea behind creating Nidar was to arm both office going/ professional men and women, so that they can defend themselves from goons roaming on the urban streets.
Not only for women!
- Initially the Rifle Factory wanted Nidar to be exclusively dedicated for women, but due to strenuous resistance from arms dealer, they had to design the weapon for both men and women.
- The arms dealer claimed that there were less takers of revolver with women firearm tag.