Markandeshwar-temple-IASToppers
Current Affairs Analysis

17th July 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Appointment of Governors; Sarkaria Commission (1988); Venkatachaliah Commission (2002); Punchhi Commission (2010); Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019; Swadesh Darshan Scheme; Tourist Circuit; Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS); Crime and Criminal Information System (CCIS); Common Integrated Police Application (CIPA); Broadband Readiness Index (BRI); What are Right of Way guidelines (RoW)? Spektr-Rg; Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP); Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy (HELP); Low-carbon transport system; Mahila Samriddhi Yojana; New Swarnima Scheme for Women; Appropriation Bill; What is Demands for Grants? What is Guillotine? Jagrukta Abhiyaan; Vector-borne diseases; Markandeshwar temple; Sangeet Natak Akademi; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
July 17, 2019

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • President Kovind appoints Governors for Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Lok Sabha clears Appropriation Bill
  • Motor Vehicles Bill must be approved to address road safety issue: Transport Minister
  • Upliftment of Women of Backward Communities
  • Ministry of Petroleum signs contracts for 32 blocks awarded under OALP Bid Rounds
  • Various Projects sanctioned under Swadesh Darshan Scheme

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Health Ministry to launch a Jan Jagrukta Abhiyaan in Delhi

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Achieving low-carbon transport system

Defence & Security Issues

  • Installation of CCTNS

Art & Culture

  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi announces its winners for the year 2018
  • Restoration work of Markandeshwar temple by ASI is in full swing

Science & Technology

  • Russia Launches Space Telescope, Spektr-Rg
  • Launching the Broadband Readiness Index for Indian States and Union Territories

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Polity & Governance

President has appointed Anusuiya Uikey as Governor of Chhattisgarh and Biswa Bhusan Harichandan as Governor of Andhra Pradesh.

President appoints GovernorsIASToppers .com

About office of the Governor:

  • Governor is the nominal head of a state, unlike the Chief Minister who is the real head of a state in India.
  • According to an amendment in the Constitution of India (7th Constitutional Amendment Act), brought about in 1956, the same person can be the Governor of two or more states.

Eligibility Criteria:

Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution of India specify eligibility requirements for the post of governor. As per the Constitution of India, the following are the eligibility criteria for the appointment of the Governor in a particular state:

  • Must be a citizen of India.
  • Must have completed 35 years of age.
  • Must not hold any other office of profit.
  • Must not be a member of the Legislature of the Union or of any other state. There is no bar to the selection of a Governor from amongst the members of the Legislature, provided that on appointment, he or she immediately ceases to be a Member of the Legislature.

Appointment:

  • The Governor is appointed by the President and holds his office at the pleasure of the President in accordance with the Article 156.
  • The normal term of office is five years but may be terminated earlier by (i) dismissal by the President or (ii) resignation addressed to the President. Thus, the term is subject to pleasure of the president.

Why Governor is appointed and not elected?

Several considerations prompted the Constituent Assembly to opt for an appointed governor due to following reasons:

  • Election expenses and evil consequences of countrywide elections run on personal issues;
  • An elected Governor might consider himself superior to the Chief Minister, who is elected from just one constituency, and thus, create unnecessary friction;
  • Above all, the separatist tendencies in the country needed a strong Central Government to counter them and provide stability; it would thus, be better to have a governor appointed by the President.

Powers of Governor:

Legislative (affiliated with ordinance making and State Legislature):

  • The Governor can summon, prorogue, defer or dissolve the State Legislative Assembly.
  • The Governor has the power to nominate 1/6th of the State Legislative Council.
  • The Governor can nominate a member of the Anglo-Indian community to the Legislative Assembly of the State.
  • As per Article 200, the Constitution confers the Governor with the power to assent, withhold assent, return for reconsideration, or reserve for President’s consideration any Bill. But if the Vidhan Sabha send back a returned Bill to the Governor the second time, then he has to sign it.
  • Article 213 confers the Governor the power to promulgate an ordinance when the Legislative Assembly of the State is not in session. Notwithstanding the immediate effect of the law, it must be presented in the next session in the State Legislature, and unless approved, remains active for a six-week period.
  • The Governor lays reports of State Finance Commission, State Public Service Commission and Comptroller and Auditor General relating to the account of the State in the Legislative Assembly.
  • The Governor inaugurates the State Legislature at the first session every year.

Executive Powers (affiliated with administrative appointments and discharge)

  • As per Article 154, the executive power of the State shall be vested in the Governor who can exercise them through directly or indirectly through subordinate officers.
  • The State Government undertakes all executive action in the name of the Governor.
  • As per Article 164, the Governor has the power to appoint the Chief Minister of the State, and upon the Chief Minister’s recommendation, the appointment of other ministers.
  • The Governor appoints the Advocate General of the State, State Election Commissioners and the chairman and members of the State Public Service Commission. However, the Governor cannot remove the members of the State Public Service Commission as they can only be removed by an order of the President.
  • In States with bicameral legislature, the Governor can further nominate to the Legislative Council persons with special knowledge in matters of literature, art etc.

Financial Powers (authority over the state budget and money bills)

  • The Governor constitutes the Finance Commission to oversee financial positions of Panchayats and Municipalities, and in the case of any unforeseen circumstances, holds the power to make advances out of the State Contingency Fund.
  • A prior recommendation of the Governor is necessary before the introduction of any Money Bills or Demands for Grant.
  • The Governor ensures that the annual financial statement or State Budget is laid before the State Legislature.

Judicial Powers (affiliated with power to grant pardons and respites):

judicial-power-iastoppers

  • As per Article 161, the Governor can grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remission of punishments of those convicted of an offence to which the executive power of the State extends.
  • The Governor is consulted by the President, as well as the Chief Justice of India, in the appointment of the Chief Justice to the High Court, judges of the High and District Courts, their postings and promotions.

Discretionary Powers (to be exercised at the discretion of the Governor):

  • Governor can dissolve the legislative assembly if the chief minister advices him to do following a vote of no confidence. Following which, it is up to the Governor what he/ she would like to do.
  • Governor, on his/ her discretion can recommend the president about the failure of the constitutional machinery in the state.
  • On his/ her discretion, the Governor can reserve a bill passed by the state legislature for president’s assent.
  • If there is no political party with a clear-cut majority in the assembly, Governor on his/ her discretion can appoint anybody as chief minister.
  • Governor determines the amount payable by the Government of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram to an autonomous Tribal District Council as royalty accruing from licenses for mineral exploration.
  • Governor can seek information from the chief minister with regard to the administrative and legislative matters of the state.
  • Governor has discretion to refuse to sign to an ordinary bill passed by the state legislature.

Removal of governor:

  • There is no provision of impeachment, as it happens for the president.
  • The President has the power to remove a Governor at any time without giving him or her any reason, and without granting an opportunity to be heard.
  • However, this power cannot be exercised in an arbitrary manner. The power of removing Governors should only be exercised in rare and exceptional circumstances for valid reasons.
  • The mere reason that a Governor is at variance with the policies and ideologies of the central government, or that the central government has lost confidence in him or her, is not sufficient to remove a Governor. Thus, a change in central government cannot be a ground for removal of Governors, or to appoint more favorable persons to this post.

Recommendations of Various Commissions:

Three important commissions have examined the issue of arbitrary removal of government in the past history of India:

The Sarkaria Commission (1988):

  • It recommended that Governors must not be removed before completion of their five-year tenure, except in rare and compelling circumstances.
  • This was meant to provide Governors with a measure of security of tenure so that they could carry out their duties without fear or favour.
  • If such rare and compelling circumstances did exist, the Commission said that the procedure of removal must allow the Governors an opportunity to explain their conduct.
  • It was further recommended that Governors should be informed of the grounds of their removal.

The Venkatachaliah Commission (2002):

  • It recommended that ordinarily Governors should be allowed to complete their five-year term.
  • If they have to be removed before completion of their term, the central government should do so only after consultation with the Chief Minister.

The Punchhi Commission (2010):

  • It suggested that the phrase “during the pleasure of the President” should be deleted from the Constitution, because a Governor should not be removed at the will of the central government; instead he or she should be removed only by a resolution of the state legislature.

The above recommendations, however were never made into law by Parliament.  Therefore, they are not binding on the central government.

Background:

  • The origin of the office of the Governor in India can be traced to the advent of the East India Company.
  • The word Governor is historically also associated to the Portuguese Afonso de Albuqerque who held the position of Governor and Captain General in India in 1509.
  • With the issuance of the charter of 1601 by Queen Elizabeth –I, Governor was bestowed with the legislative powers for the Governance of the East India Company.
  • With the transfer of power from the East India Company to the British Crown through the Government of India Act, 1858, the Governor General of India was granted the power to issue ordinances and veto any Bill.
  • The overriding powers of the Governor General of India continued even after the enactment of the Government of India Act, 1935, which provided for a provincial executive consisting of the Governor and Council of Ministers to advise him.
  • With the enactment of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, India and Pakistan both had a Governor General who was to be appointed by the King of England as his representative.
  • Originally, the Provincial Constitution Committee recommended that the governor should be directly elected by the people of the state. The proposal of an elected governor was criticized on the ground that the presence of two persons in the government namely the Governor and the chief minister might lead to friction.
  • While the Constitution was being framed and discussed upon, Sardar Patel soughtto make it explicit that special powers endowed upon the Governor would not create lack of agreement between him and the ministry.
[Ref: The Hindu, AIR]

 

Government Schemes & Policies

Lok Sabha clears Appropriation Bill

The Lok Sabha passed the Appropriation (No.2) Bill-2019 allowing the Union government to withdraw ₹98.18 lakh crore from the Consolidated Fund of India to meet its expenditure during 2019-20.

17INLTINDIAPARLIAMENT.jpg-iastoppers

  • The Bill was passed by a vote after the House approved demands for grants for several Ministries which were collectively put to vote and passed by applying guillotine.

What is Demands for Grants?

  • Demand for Grants is the form in which estimates of expenditure from the Consolidated Fund, included in the annual financial statement and required to be voted upon in the Lok Sabha, are submitted in pursuance of Article 113 of the Constitution.
  • The demand for grants includes provisions with respect to revenue expenditure, capital expenditure, grants to State and Union Territory governments together with loans and advances.
  • Generally, one demand for grant is presented in respect of each ministry or department. However, for large ministries and departments, more than one demand is presented.
  • Regarding Union Territories without Legislature, a separate demand is presented for each of such Union Territories.
  • Each demand initially gives separately the totals of (i) ‘voted’ and ‘charged’ expenditure; (ii) the ‘revenue’ and the ‘capital’ expenditure and (iii) the grand total on gross basis of the amount of expenditure for which the demand is presented.
  • This is followed by the estimates of expenditure under different major heads of account. The breakup of the expenditure under each major head between Plan and Non-Plan is also given.

What is Guillotine?

  • Guillotine refers to the exercise which the Speaker of the House, on the last day of the period allotted for discussions on the Demands for Grants, puts to vote all outstanding Demands for Grants whether discussed or not at once.
[Ref: The Hindu, Economic Times]

 

Motor Vehicles Bill must be approved to address road safety issue: Transport Minister

As per Transport Minister, The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 does not infringe upon the rights of states and must be given a go-ahead amid the crisis around road safety.

About the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019

81ba0d5e-b396-iastoppers

  • The Bill seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to provide for road safety.
  • The Act provides for grant of licenses and permits related to motor vehicles, standards for motor vehicles, and penalties for violation of these provisions.

Key Amendments of the bill:

Compensation for road accident victims:

  • The central government will develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour. The Bill defines ‘golden hour’ as the time period of up to one hour following a traumatic injury, during which the likelihood of preventing death through prompt medical care is the highest.
  • The central government may also make a scheme for providing interim relief to claimants seeking compensation under third party insurance.
  • The Bill increases the minimum compensation for hit and run cases as follows: (i) in case of death, from Rs 25,000 to two lakh rupees, and (ii) in case of grievous injury, from Rs 12,500 to Rs 50,000.

Compulsory insurance:

  • The Bill requires the central government to constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India.
  • The fund will be utilized for treatment of persons injured in road accidents as per the golden hour scheme, compensation to representatives of a person who died in a hit and run accident etc.
  • This Fund will be credited through payment of a nature notified by the central government, (ii) a loan made by the central government, (iii) balance of the Solatium Fund (existing fund under the Act to provide compensation for hit and run accidents), or any other source.

Good samaritans:

  • The Bill defines a good samaritan as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at the scene of an accident.
  • Such a person will not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of an accident victim caused due to their negligence in providing assistance to the victim.

Recall of vehicles:

  • The Bill allows the central government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defect in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver or other road users.
  • The manufacturer of the recalled vehicle will be required to reimburse the buyers for the full cost of the vehicle or replace the defective vehicle with another vehicle.

National Transportation Policy:

  • The central government may develop a National Transportation Policy to establish a planning framework for road transport, develop a framework for grant of permits, and specify priorities for the transport system among other things.

Road Safety Board:

  • The Bill provides for the creation of National Road Safety Board to advise the central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management.

Offences and penalties:

  • The Bill increases penalties for several offences under the Act. For example, the maximum penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000.
  • If a vehicle manufacturer fails to comply with motor vehicle standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to Rs 100 crore, or imprisonment of up to one year, or both.
  • If a contractor fails to comply with road design standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to one lakh rupees.

Taxi aggregators:

  • The Bill defines aggregators as digital intermediaries or market places which can be used by passengers to connect with a driver for transportation purposes (taxi services).
  • These aggregators will be issued licenses by state. Further, they must comply with the Information Technology Act, 2000.
[Ref: Economic Times, PRS India]

Upliftment of Women of Backward Communities

National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) has the two women specific schemes, Mahila Samriddhi Yojana and New Swarnima Scheme for Women, for women whose annual family income is less than Rs. 3.00 lakh per annum.

Upliftment of Women of Backward Communities IASToppers .com.

Mahila Samriddhi Yojana:

  • It is a scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Objective

  • To provide Micro Finance to women entrepreneurs belonging to the target group.

Loan under Mahila Samridhi Yojana

  • Loans are provided through State Channelizing Agencies (SCAs), Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and Nationalized Banks to the target group (backward classes).
  • MSY loan is provided to Safai Karamchari and Scavenger and their dependants for projects with a maximum project cost up to Rs.60000.
  • Loan are provided up to 95% and balance 5% provided by the State Channelizing Agencies (SCAs) or Beneficiary contribution.

Implementation

  • The scheme is to be implemented by Channel Partners in rural and urban areas by way of financing the women beneficiaries either directly or through Self-Help-Groups (SHGs).

Eligibility of the Beneficiary

  • SHGs and women entrepreneur from backward sections of the society.
  • Beneficiary falling under the BPL (Below Poverty Line) category.
  • Annual income of the beneficiary should be less Rs. 3 lakh per annum.

New Swarnima Scheme for Women:

  • The Swarnima Scheme was introduced by the National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) for the welfare of Women.
  • Under this scheme, term loan will be provided to women entrepreneur belonging to the target group (backward classes).
  • The implementation of the scheme is performed by the State Channelising Agency (SCA) which act as the nodal agency.

Eligibility:

  • Women entrepreneur belonging to backward classes.
  • The annual income of the women should be less than Rs.3 Lakhs per annum.

Financial Assistance

  • Under the Swarnima Scheme, all the eligible women will get a subsidy amount of Rs. 1 Lakh for self-employment and the remaining amount has to be self-owned by the beneficiary.
  • The loan will be provided up to 95% and balance 5% provided by the State Channelizing Agencies (SCAs) or Beneficiary contribution.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Ministry of Petroleum signs contracts for 32 blocks awarded under OALP Bid Rounds

Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas signed contracts for 32 blocks awarded under Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP) Bid Rounds – II & III.

Background:

The Government had launched OALP Bid Rounds-II and III in January, 2019 and in February, 2019 respectively.

  • After the evaluation of various bids, a total of 32 blocks were approved for award to 6 companies.

About Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP):

Licensing Policy (HELP

  • OALP was introduced in 2016, as part of HELP (Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy) to enable a faster survey of the available geographical area having potential for oil and gas discovery.
  • This policy gives an option to a company looking for exploring hydrocarbons to select the exploration blocks on its own without waiting for the formal bid round from the Government.
  • What distinguishes OALP from New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) of 1997 is that under OALP, oil and gas acreages will be available round the year instead of cyclic bidding rounds as in NELP.

About Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy (HELP):

  • Launched in 2016, the Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy (HELP) opens up India’ entire sedimentary basin for investment from domestic and foreign players under a simplified, transparent and investor -friendly fiscal and administrative regime.
  • HELP replaced the extant policy regime for exploration and production of oil and gas -New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), which has been in existence for 18 years.

Objectives of HELP:

  • Enhance domestic oil and gas production
  • Bring substantial investment
  • Generate sizable employment
  • Enhance transparency and
  • Reduce administrative discretion

Four main elements of HELP:

  • Uniform license for exploration and production of all forms of hydrocarbon.
  • An open acreage policy.
  • Easy to administer revenue sharing model.
  • Marketing and pricing freedom for the crude oil and natural gas produced.

Key features of HELP:

  • Uniform licensing system which will cover all hydrocarbons, i.e. oil, gas, coal bed methane etc. under a single license.
  • Bidders are required to quote revenue share in their bids at two levels of revenue, called lower revenue point and higher revenue point.
  • A concessional royalty regime for deep water and ultra-deep water areas.
  • Freedom for pricing and marketing of gas for contractors
  • No oil cess
  • Round the year bidding
  • Freedom to investors for carving out blocks of their interest
  • Exploration permission during the entire contract period

Significance of HELP:

  • reduce import dependence.
  • create substantial new job opportunities in the petroleum sector.
  • The introduction of the concept of ‘revenue sharing’ will not free the Government to verify the costs incurred by the contractor.
  • Marketing and pricing freedom will remove the discretion in the hands of the Government, reduce disputes, avoid opportunities for corruption, reduce administrative delays and thus stimulate growth.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Various Projects sanctioned under Swadesh Darshan Scheme

Projects worth Rs.380.12 crores sanctioned for development of Tribal Circuit under Swadesh Darshan Scheme

Swadesh Darshan Scheme:

Swadesh-Darshan-iastoppers

  • Ministry of Tourism launched this scheme for integrated development of theme based tourist circuits in India in 2014-15.
  • The scheme is 100% centrally funded for the project components undertaken for public funding.
  • To leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and corporate sector.
  • Funding of individual project will vary from state to state and will be finalised on the basis of detailed project reports prepared by PMC (Programme Management Consultant).
  • A National Steering Committee (NSC)will be constituted with Minister in charge of M/O Tourism as Chairman, to steer the mission objectives and vision of the scheme.
  • A Mission Directorate headed by the Member Secretary, NSC as a nodal officer will help in identification of projects in consultation with the States/ UTs governments and other stake holders.
  • PMC will be a national level consultant to be appointed by the Mission Directorate.
  • The duration of Swadesh Darshan Scheme is till the 14th Finance Commission Period i.e. March 2020.

Key Features:

  • The scheme is completely funded by the central government of India.
  • There are 13 cities that are under consideration of development are all pilgrimage sites.
  • This scheme is envisioned to synergise with other Government of India schemes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill India, Make in India etc.

Objective of scheme:

  • To position tourism as a major engine of economic growth
  • Develop circuits having tourist potential in a planned and prioritized manner
  • Follow community based development and pro-poor tourism approach
  • Creating awareness among the local communities about the importance of tourism
  • To make full use of the potential in terms of available infrastructure and national culture

What is Tourist Circuit?

  • Tourist Circuit is defined as a route having at least three major tourist destinations which are distinct and apart.
  • Circuits should have well defined entry and exit points. A tourist who enters should get motivated to visit most of the places identified in the circuit.
  • A Circuit could be confined to a State or could be a regional circuit covering more than one State/Union Territory. These circuits may have one dominant theme and other sub-themes.
  • These themes are: Buddhist, Coastal, Desert, Eco, Heritage, Himalayan, Krishna, North East, Ramayana, Rural, Spiritual, Sufi, Tirthankar, Tribal and Wildlife.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

Health Ministry to launch a Jan Jagrukta Abhiyaan in Delhi

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will launch a special campaign in Delhi on Vector Borne Diseases.

Jan Jagrukta Abhiyaan 1 IASToppers .com

About the Jagrukta Abhiyaan

  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will launch a three day campaign in Delhi to sensitize the community on measures for prevention and control of Vector Borne Diseases (VBDs) like Malaria, Dengue and Chikungunya.

About Vector-borne diseases

  • Vector-borne disease refers to the transmission of a disease that is caused by a microorganism from one organism (the host) to another organism via a third organism (the vector).
  • Vector-borne diseases are human illnesses caused by parasites, viruses and bacteria that are transmitted by mosquitoes, sandflies, blackflies, ticks, mites, snails etc.
  • Major vector-borne diseases of humans include malaria, dengue, lymphatic filariasis, Chagas disease, chikungunya, Zika virus disease, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and schistosomiasis.
  • Vector-borne diseases account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases.
  • Social, demographic and environmental factors strongly influence transmission patterns of vector-borne pathogens.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Achieving low-carbon transport system

Congested streets and polluted air are common in India’s metropolises, although the average Indian contributes only minuscule amounts of transport-related carbon dioxide emissions to global climate change.

Emission across India:

  • In India, patterns of road transport diverge wildly between cities and districts.
  • Delhi tops the charts and emissions are more than twice as high as other Indian megacities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru or Ahmedabad.
  • India’s road transport emissions are small in global comparison but increasing exponentially.

India’ commuting emission:

  • In India, income and urbanization are the key determinants of travel distance and travel mode choice and therefore, commuting emissions.
  • Average commuting emissions in high-emitting districts (Delhi) are 16 times higher than low-emitting districts (most districts in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh).
  • Nearly 30% of all men are overweight or obese in southwest Delhi but only 25% in Thiruvananthapuram and 13% in Allahabad. These data correlate with high reliance of car use in Delhi and low demand for walking.
  • Average per capita commuting emissions are highest for the most affluent districts which are predominantly urban and that heavily use four-wheelers for commuting.
  • This is a surprising as in other parts of the world such as the United States, commuting emissions are low in urban areas but high in suburban.
  • In contrast, average per capita commuting emissions are lowest for Indian districts that are poor and commuting distances are short and rarely use three-wheelers.

 

Suggestions to achieve low-carbon transport system:

its_lowcarbon-iastoppers

  • The local government should organise cities around public transport and cycling thereby improving mobility for many while limiting car use.
  • Cycling could lower chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. While Car use can increase the chances of diabetes. Therefore, increase in fuel price, congestion charges or parking management could be a strategy to improves the well-being of individuals living in urban areas. However, fuel price increase would be detrimental in poorer rural areas.
  • India should focus on the transition to electric two and three-wheelers. In the coming years, experts judge that the electric three-wheeler market is expected to grow by at least 10% per year. The current statistics suggest that electric two/three-wheelers, rather than electric cars, will drive the electric vehicle market in India.
  • Compact cities improve accessibility and reduce emissions from transport sector. Local government should ensure that existing urban areas provide short routes and fast access to schools, hospitals etc.

Key Facts:

  • India is the third-largest market for automobiles.
  • Globally, the transport sector accounts for a quarter of total emissions out of which three quarters are from road transport.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Defence & Security Issues

Installation of CCTNS

Against a target of covering 1,43,06 police stations, a total of 1,48,74 police stations (excluding police stations in Bihar) have been covered under the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS).

What is CCTNS project?

What is CCTNS

  • Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National e-Governance Plan of Govt. of India.
  • CCTNS is a project initiated in June 2009 which aims at creating a integrated system for enhancing the efficiency of policing at the Police Station level.

Objective:

  • Make the Police functioning citizen friendly and more transparent by automating the functioning of Police Stations.
  • Improve delivery of citizen-centric services through effective usage of ICT.
  • Provide the Investigating Officers of the Civil Police with tools, technology and information to facilitate investigation of crime and detection of criminals.
  • Improve Police functioning in various other areas such as Law and Order, Traffic Management etc.
  • Facilitate Interaction and sharing of Information among Police Stations, Districts, State/UT headquarters and other Police Agencies.
  • Assist senior Police Officers in better management of Police Force
  • Keep track of the progress of Cases, including in Courts
  • Reduce manual and redundant Records keeping
  • In 2015, an additional objective of establishing a basic platform for an Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) was added to the Project.

Significance:

  • Centralized crime and criminal information repository along with the criminal images and fingerprints with advanced search capabilities.
  • Enhanced ability to analyze crime patterns/ road incidents and/ or modus operandi.
  • Faster turnaround time for the analysis results (criminal and traffic).
  • Reduced workload for the police stations back-office activities.
  • Standardized means of capturing the crime and criminal data in police stations.
  • The ability to respond faster and with greater accuracy to inquiries from the parliament, citizens and citizens groups.
  • Simplified process for registering petitions.
  • Simplified process for accessing general services such as requests for certificates, grievance registration etc.
  • Improved relationship management for victims and witnesses.
  • Faster and assured response from police to any emergency calls for assistance.

Background:

Crime and Criminal Information System (CCIS) (1995-2004)

  • National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) started CCIS in the year 1995 to create crime- and criminals-related database that can be used for crime monitoring by monitoring agencies such as National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), State Crime Records Bureaus (SCRBx) and District Crime Records Bureaus (DCRBx).
  • CCIS data was used for publishing online reports such as Missing Persons report and was also used as the basis for online query facilities that are available through the NCRB website.
  • However, CCIS focused exclusively in Crime and Criminals information and did not address the other aspects of Police functioning.

Common Integrated Police Application (CIPA) (2004-2009)

  • The Common Integrated Police Application (CIPA) was initiated after CCIS in the year 2004 by NCRB. Benefits realized from CIPA include the ability to enter registration (FIR) details into the system and print out copies and the ability to create and manage police station registers on the system, etc.
  • CIPA was a multilingual application to automate the processes at primary sources of data itself e.g. to build a crime & criminal Information system based on CrPC.
  • It was felt, however, that a standalone application couldn’t provide the enhanced outcomes in the areas of Crime Investigation and Criminals Detection that are necessary.
  • And for this reason, Ministry of Home Affairs decided to launch the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) program.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Art & Culture

The Sangeet Natak Akademi announces its winners for the year 2018

44 artistes announced as winners in the field of music, dance, theatre, folk music and overall contribution in the performing arts.

zakir-hussain-iastoppersAbout Sangeet Natak Akademi:

  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi – India’s national academy for music, dance and drama – is the first National Academy of the arts set-up by the Republic of India.
  • It was set up in 1953 through a resolution of Government of India for the promotion of performing arts.
  • Setting up of Sangeet Natak Akademi is one of the main recommendations of the National conference on Dance, Drama, and Music, held in New Delhi in 1951.
  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi is an Autonomous Body under the Ministry of Culture.
  • It acts at the national level body for the promotion and growth of Indian music, dance and drama; maintenance of standards of training in the performing arts; recognition of outstanding artists; revival, preservation, documentation and dissemination of materials as well as instruments relating to various forms of music, dance and drama.
  • The academy Renders advice and assistance to the government of India in the task of formulating and implementing policies and programmes in the field.
  • It carries a part of the responsibilities of the state for fostering cultural contacts between regions in the country, as well as between India and the world.
  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar (Akademi Award) is an award given by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. The award is the highest Indian recognition given to practicing artists. The awards are being presented in the categories of music, dance, theatre, other traditional arts and puppetry.
  • Ustad Bismillah Khan award is given to young artists for their talent in the fields of music, dance and drama.
  • Each year the Academy awards Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships, Ratna Sadsya, to distinguished individuals for their contribution to the field of arts, music, dance and theatre.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Restoration work of Markandeshwar temple by ASI is in full swing 

The restoration work of Markandeshwar temple in Maharashtra by the Archaeological Survey of Indiais in full swing.

About Markandeshwar temple:

image0024ZJW1-iastoppers

 

  • Known as the ‘Khajuraho of Vidarbha’,the temple of Markandadeo is situated on the bank of River Wainganga in district Gadchiroli of Maharashtra.
  • The temples belong to the Nagara group of temples of North India.
  • They were constructed in between 9-12th centuries CE.
  • The temples belong to saiva, vaishnava and sakta faith.
  • Most of the temples have a simple plan, with ardhamandapa, mandapa, antarala and garbhagriha forming the component of the entire set up.
  • The most striking feature of this temple is the largescale destruction caused on the main shrine (garbhagriha).
  • The very first recordings of this destruction was made by Alexander Cunningham stating that about 200 years ago, the shikhara of the main shrine and mahamandapa was struck by a lightning which led to the partial collapse of the shikhara.
  • The then Gond Ruler renovated the temple about 120 years ago, trying to restore the fallen portions as much as possible.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Science & Technology

Russia Launches Space Telescope, Spektr-Rg

Russia launched a space telescope in a joint mission with Germany intended to map X-rays across the sky.

Russia Launches Spektr-RG 4 IASToppers .com

About Spektr-Rg:

  • The Spektr-RG, developed with Germany, is a X-ray space observatory of Russia intended to replace the Spektr-R, known as the ‘Russian Hubble’.
  • Spektr-R was launched in 2011 to observe black holes, neutron stars and magnetic fields. The new Spektr-RG will do the same work.
  • The spacecraft is expected to detect 100,000 galaxy clusters, 3 million supermassive black holes, tens of thousands of star-forming galaxies, the presence of plasma (superheated gas) and many more types of objects.
  • The observatory includes two X-ray mirror telescopes, called ART-XC and eROSITA.
  • A key goal of Spektr-RG will be to investigate the mysterious cosmic components referred to as “dark matter” and “dark energy”.
  • The telescope’s research mission is set to last for nearly six years.

Background:

  • Since 2011, Russia has been the only country capable of sending teams to the International Space Station (ISS).
  • But a series of recent setbacks together with corruption scandals within Russian space agency and the competition from other private US space agencies have threatened its monopoly.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Launching the Broadband Readiness Index for Indian States and Union Territories 

The Department of Telecom and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) for Indian States and Union Territories (UT).

About the Broadband Readiness Index (BRI):

  • As per the recommendations of The National Digital Communication Policy (NDCP) 2018, BRI has been developed for States and UTs to attract investments and address Right of Way (RoW) challenges across India.
  • The BRI consists of two parts:
  1. Part I will focus on infrastructure development based on the measurement of nine parameters.
  2. Part II consists of demand side parameters which will be captured through primary surveys.
  • It will include indicators such as percentage of households using computers/ laptops with internet connection, percentage of households with fixed broadband connection, internet users as a percentage of the population, smart phones density, percentage of households with at least one digitally literate member, etc.
  • The first estimate of BRI will be made in 2019 and subsequently every year until 2022.

Proposed BRI Indicators:

  • Availability of State Policy on RoW and Towers
  • Percentage of RoW cases given permission within 60 days of the first application
  • Availability of a centralized IT Portal for ROW clearances across all Government land and building owning authorities.
  • Adoption of the National Building Code 2016 by the State
  • State policy to have enabling provisions for access to government lands and buildings for installation of telecom towers
  • State policy to have enabling provision for 24* 7 telecom operations
  • Standardized RFP template for smart city implementation – enabling rules promoting non exclusivity and infrastructure sharing in a non-discriminatory manner
  • Common duct policy based on the Central Government’s “Dig Once Policy”
  • Percentage of mobile towers connected with fibre
  • of fibre kms per sq. KM/ per capita/ per 100 households
  • Percentage of public institutions / offices connected by FTTX (Hospitals including PHCs, Police stations, Schools and CSCs)
  • Percentage of towers receiving grid supply (Duration: Urban 20 hours; Rural 12 Hours)
  • Priority electricity connection available to telecom towers in the state
  • Supply of electricity at affordable rates to telecom towers
  • NagarNet –Number of Public Wi-Fi Hotspots in urban areas
  • JanWiFi – Number of Public Wi-Fi Hotspots in rural areas

Significance:

  • Appraise the condition of the underlying digital infrastructure and related factors at the State/UT level.
  • Provide useful insights into strategic choices made by States for investment allocations in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) programmes.
  • Encourage states to cross learn and jointly participate in achieving the overall objective of digital inclusion.
  • Evaluate a state’s relative development and allow for better understanding of a state’s strengths and weaknesses that can be feed into evidence-based policy making.

What are Right of Way guidelines (RoW)?

guidelines (RoW)

  • In 2016, the Department of Telecommunications issued Right of Way guidelines for the setting up of telecom towers and laying of cables.
  • It provide for a framework to give approvals and settle disputes in a time-bound manner, as well as improve coordination between companies and government authorities.
[Ref: PIB, Business Standard]

 

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