Polity & Governance
- Second Meeting of National Council of Senior Citizens (NCSrC)
- CIC says BCCI should come under the RTI Act
- National Medical and wellness Tourism Board
- Anti-profiteering panel to levy penalty, have sunset date
- Final raising of Sardar Sarovar Dam cleared by Narmada Control Authority
- National Mission on Cultural Mapping of India
- Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace hotel acquires image trademark
Key Facts for Prelims
- Mobile App “Celebrating Yoga” Launched
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Polity & Governance
Second Meeting of National Council of Senior Citizens (NCSrC)
Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment chaired the recently held ‘Second Meeting of National Council of Senior Citizens (NCSrC)’ organized by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
About the National Council of Senior Citizens:
An autonomous National Council for Senior Citizens headed by the Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment was set up to promote and co-ordinate the concerns of older persons.
- The council was originally known as National Council for Older Persons (NPOP). It was renamed in 2012.
- The Council includes representatives of relevant Central Ministries and the Planning Commission.
- Five States are represented on the Council by rotation.
- The Council is mandated to meet at least twice a year.
Members of the council:
- The Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment is the Chairman and Minister of State (Social Justice and Empowerment) is the Vice-Chairman of the Council.
- Other members of the Council includes Secretary (SJ&E), Joint Secretary (Social Defence), related central ministries such as Finance, Rural Development, Home Affairs, Law and Justice, Human Resource Development etc., National Commissions like NHRC, NCW etc., State Governments (on rotation), Oldest member of the Lok Sabha, Oldest member of the Rajya Sabha, along with representatives of Senior Citizens Associations, Pensioners’ Associations, eminent senior citizens working on issues related to senior citizens etc.
Mandate of the council:
The mandate of the National Council of Senior Citizens is to advise the Central and State Governments on the entire gamut of issues related to the welfare of senior citizens and enhancement of their quality of life, with special reference to the following:
- Policies, programmes and legislative measures.
- Promotion of physical and financial security, health and independent and productive living.
- Awareness generation and community mobilization.
CIC says BCCI should come under the RTI Act
In its latest order, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has urged the Committee of Administrators (CoA) running the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to bring the organisation under the RTI Act.
- Previously, the CIC had elaborately explained the need for making BCCI a public authority.
Why BCCI come under the purview of RTI?
BCCI is a National Sports Federation for cricket, which received thousands of crores towards tax concessions.
- The government had declared all the National Sports Federations (NSF)s receiving a grant of Rs. 10 lakh or more as a Public Authority under Section 2(h) of the RTI, 2005. Thus, it has to come under the RTI in order to remain accountable to the public.
About the Central Information Commission:
Established in 2005, the Central Information Commission (CIC) is the authorised body under the Government of India.
- It was set up under the Right to Information Act.
- It was set up to act upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer due to either the officer not having been appointed, or because the respective Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer refused to receive the application for information under the RTI Act.
- The Commission includes 1 Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and not more than 10 Information Commissioners (IC) who are appointed by the President of India.
The Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners are appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee consisting of:
- The Prime Minister, who shall be the Chairperson of the committee.
- The Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
- A Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.
National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board
The Third Meeting of the National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board was recently held under the chairmanship of Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism and Culture.
About the Board:
- The National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board was constituted under the Chairmanship of the Minister for Tourism in October 2015 to provide dedicated institutional framework to take forward Medical Tourism and position India as competent and credible medical and well tourism destination.
Anti-profiteering panel to levy penalty, have sunset date
The GST Council, chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state finance ministers as members, has approved the anti-profiteering rules.
- As per the rules, a five-member anti-profiteering authority will be set up to decide on levying penalty if businesses do not pass on the benefit of price reduction to consumers under the goods and services tax regime.
What will be the structure of the Anti-profiteering authority?
- The authority will be headed by a retired secretary-level officer.
- As per the structure, the complaints of profiteering would first come to the Standing Committee comprising tax officials from states and the Centre.
- It would forward the complaint to the Directorate of Safeguards (DGS) for investigation, which is likely to take about 2-3 months to complete the inquiry.
- On completion of investigation, the report would be submitted to the anti-profiteering authority which would decide on the penalty.
- A search-cum-selection committee will be set up for finalising the members of the anti-profiteering authority. Officials said it is likely to take about two months to finalise the members.
- Besides the chairman, the four other members of the authority will be joint secretary-level officers who have been commissioners in central excise and service tax either at the Centre or states.
What will be the functions of the Anti-profiteering authority?
- It can take suo motu action, besides acting on complaints of profiteering.
- As per the norms, the authority will have a sunset date of two years and will decide on penalty to be levied.
- It would ask the businesses to refund the price reduction on a proportionate basis to consumers.
- Where the consumer cannot be identified, the amount would be credited to the consumer welfare fund.
What is anti-profiteering clause in GST Rule?
- Clause 171 has been inserted in the GST bill which provides that it is mandatory to pass on the benefit due to reduction in rate of tax or from input tax credit to the consumer by way of commensurate reduction in prices.
- This clause further provides for the establishment of an authority against anti-profiteering in order to ensure its compliance.
Why anti-profiteering clause in GST Rule?
- While it’s widely claimed that GST is expected to bring down the prices of goods and services once successfully implemented, it is also expected that manufacturers and service providers may not pass on the benefit to the final consumer.
- To counter such practice, the government has put an anti-profiteering clause in the GST bill.
Final raising of Sardar Sarovar Dam cleared by Narmada Control Authority
Narmada Control Authority (NCA) has cleared the proposal of final raising of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) in Gujarat by lowering of the gates and impounding of water in the reservoir up to its Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of EL 138.68 meters.
Effects of lowering the Gates of SSD:
- With lowering of gates of SSD, the live storage capacity would increase from 1565 to 5740 MCM i.e. by 4175 MCM (267%).
- The clean (hydro-power generation) would increase by present 1300 MW to 1450 MW with increase in annual generation by about 1100 Million Units (i.e. about Rs.400/- crore per annum).
- In addition, this additional storage would irrigate about 8 lakh hectares. Additionally, about one crore population would get assured drinking water.
About Narmada Control Authority:
The Narmada Control Authority (NCA) has been setup under the final orders and decision of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) as a machinery for implementation of its directions and decision.
- The authority started functioning from 20th December, 1980.
- The authority is a body corporate with representatives of the four States of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and representatives of Govt. Of India.
- The authority is funded in equal proportions by all the four states.
- Secretary (Water Resources), Govt. of India is the ex-officio Chairman of the Authority, whereas the routine administration is the responsibility of Executive Member of the Authority.
- NCA presently has six subgroups. The Narmada Control Authority has its headquarters at Indore.
About Sardar Sarovar Project:
The Sardar Sarovar Project is one of the largest water resources project of India covering four major states – Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
- The Sardar Sarovar Dam is a gravity dam on the Narmada river near Navagam, Gujarat in India.
- It is the largest dam and part of the Narmada Valley Project, a large hydraulic engineering project involving the construction of a series of large irrigation and hydroelectric multi-purpose dams on the Narmada river.
- The project took form in 1979 as part of a development scheme to increase irrigation and produce hydroelectricity.
- Dam’s spillway discharging capacity (30.7 lakhs cusecs) would be third highest in the world.
- The dam will be the third highest concrete dam (163 meters) in India, the first two being Bhakra (226 metres) in Himachal Pradesh and Lakhwar (192 meters) in Uttar Pradesh.
National Mission on Cultural Mapping of India
Government of India is launched the implementation of the ‘”National Mission on Cultural Mapping of India” at Goverdhan Block, Mathura District, Uttar Pradesh.
- This Mission is part of the ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ umbrella.
- Ministry of Culture launched it in the year of commemoration of the birth centenary of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay, who hailed from Mathura.
About National Mission on Cultural Mapping of India:
- The mission aims at converting the vast and widespread cultural canvas of India into an objective cultural map, designing a mechanism to fulfil the aspirations of the whole artist community of the nation and preserving the rich cultural heritage of this country in the form of a cultural repository of artists and art forms.
- This Mission encompasses data mapping, demography building formalising the processes and bringing all the cultural activities under one web based umbrella for better results.
- The Mission also seeks to open a direct channel of communication of artists with the Government and peer to peer communication among artists for talent honing and handholding of each other.
About Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat:
“Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” was announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 31st October, 2015 on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Subsequently, the Finance Minister announced the initiative in his Budget Speech for 2016-17.
- It was launched to celebrate the cultural vibrancy of India while establishing a concrete mechanism to inculcate nationalism and cultural awareness among the fellow citizens of our nation.
- All States and UTs will be covered under the programme. There will be pairing of States/UTs at national level and these pairings will be in effect for one year, or till the next round of pairings. The State/UT level pairings would be utilized for state level activities. District level pairings would be independent of the State level pairings.
- The activity will be very useful to link various States and Districts in annual programmes that will connect people through exchanges in areas of culture, tourism, language, education trade etc. and citizens will be able to experience the cultural diversity of a much larger number of States/UTs while realising that India is one.
Objectives of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat:
The broad objectives of the initiative are as follows:
- To CELEBRATEthe Unity in Diversity of our Nation and to maintain and strengthen the fabric of traditionally existing emotional bonds between the people of our Country;
- To PROMOTEthe spirit of national integration through a deep and structured engagement between all Indian States and Union Territories through a year-long planned engagement between States;
- To SHOWCASEthe rich heritage and culture, customs and traditions of either State for enabling people to understand and appreciate the diversity that is India, thus fostering a sense of common identity;
- TO ESTABLISHlong-term engagements and
- TO CREATEan environment which promotes learning between States by sharing best practices and experiences.
Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace hotel acquires image trademark
The iconic Taj Mahal Palace hotel of Mumbai has acquired an `image trademark’, making it the first building in the country to get intellectual property rights protection for its architectural design.
What does that mean?
- It will ensure that commercial use of the image of its dome and grand exterior can be made only with the consent of Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris.
- Henceforth, as the Taj Mahal Palace hotel has acquired image trademark, no one can use the Taj Mahal Palace’s images for commercial purposes without paying the company a licensing fee. Violators are liable to be prosecuted. However, the locals and tourists can click pictures of the iconic building as long as they do not use it for commercial benefits.
About the architectural design of hotel:
- The dome of The Taj Mahal Palace (opened in 1903), which stands on the waterfront in south Mumbai, has long been `triangulation point’ for the Indian Navy which guides its vessels to the harbour.
- The distinctive red-tiled Florentine Gothic dome, which crowns the elegant Indo-Saracenic arches and architraves of the hotel, sits 240 feet above the street level.
- The architects modelled it on the dome of the Victoria Terminus (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus).
About the trademark law in India:
- Indian trademark law statutorily protects trademarks as per the Trademark Act, 1999 and also under the common law remedy of passing off.
- Statutory protection of trademark is administered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, a government agency which reports to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- The law of trademark deals with the mechanism of registration, protection of trademark and prevention of fraudulent trademark.
- The law also provides for the rights acquired by registration of trademark, modes of transfer and assignment of the rights, nature of infringements, penalties for such infringement and remedies available to the owner in case of such infringement.
Trademark Symbol vs Registered Trademark Symbol:
- The two symbols associated with Indian trademarks ™ (the trademark symbol) and ® (the registered trademark symbol) represent the status of a mark and accordingly its level of protection.
- While ™ can be used with any common law usage of a mark, ® may only be used by the owner of a mark following registration with the relevant national authority.
Key Facts for Prelims
Mobile App “Celebrating Yoga” Launched
- Minister for Science & Technology Dr. Harshvardhan has launched a Mobile App “Celebrating Yoga”.
- The Mobile App has been developed by Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology on the occasion of International Yoga Day 2017.
- The aim of the app is to popularise Yoga and encourage people to practice yoga for a scientifically healthy living.
- The information gathered by the mobile app will be shared with the Ministry of AYUSH to complement its efforts.
- In 2015, the Department of Science & Technology (DST) had also launched a research programme “Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM)” under its Cognitive Science Research Initiative (CSRI).