Polity & Governance
- Global Corruption Perception Index
- GATI Portal
Government Schemes & Policies
- Panel to monitor the disposal of enemy properties
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Ophichthus kailashchandrai
- Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2020 winners announced
Bilateral & International Relations
- India helps Maldives tackle measles outbreak
- International Court of Justice ruling on Myanmar
Science & Technology
- Qualcomm unveils mobile chipsets supporting India`s NavIC navigation system
Key facts for Prelims
- National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP)
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Polity & Governance
Global Corruption Perception Index
India’s ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index prepared by Transparency International (CPI-2019) has slipped from 78 to 80.
About the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI):
CPI is a composite index that draws from 12 surveys to rank nations around the globe.
- It has become a benchmark gauge of perceptions of corruption and is used by analysts and investors.
- The index is also based on expert opinions of public sector corruption and takes note of range of factors like whether governmental leaders are held to account or go unpunished for corruption, the perceived prevalence of bribery, and whether public institutions respond to citizens’ needs.
- It ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people.
- It uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. More than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on this year’s CPI, with an average score of just 43.
Highlights of the report:
- With a score of 41, India is at the 80th spot.
- The rank is also shared by China, Benin, Ghana and Morocco.
- Neighbouring Pakistan is ranked at the 120th place.
- Denmark and New Zealand have cornered the top spot, followed by Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland in the top ten.
Key observations made by the report:
- This year’s analysis shows corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.
- Not only are more than two-thirds of countries — along with many of the world’s most advanced economies — stagnating, some are seriously backsliding.
- In the last eight years, only 22 countries have shown significant improvement on the CPI, while almost as many have declined.
- Even in democracies, such as Australia and India, unfair and opaque political financing and undue influence in decision-making and lobbying by powerful corporate interest groups, result in stagnation or decline in control of corruption.
Recommendations made by the report:
To end corruption and restore trust in politics, it is imperative to prevent opportunities for political corruption and to foster the integrity of political systems. Transparency International recommends:
- Manage conflicts of interest.
- Control political financing.
- Strengthen electoral integrity.
- Regulate lobbying activities.
- Empower citizens.
- Tackle preferential treatment.
- Reinforce checks and balances.
Created by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on the lines of PRAGATI portal.
- It can be accessed from the NHAI website and contractors, concessionaires can raise any project related issues on it.
- All the issues brought to the notice through the new portal will be immediately taken up by the top NHAI officials.
- Issues raised on GATI portal will be monitored daily by a team of officers in NHAI. It will be constantly reviewed by the senior officers of NHAI and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
- Enhance transparency
- Speed up decision making in highway construction
- Boost the sharing of project related information for speedy implementation.
National Highway Authority of India (NHAI)
- National Highways Authority of India was set up by an act of the Parliament, NHAI Act, 1988.
- It is an autonomous agency of the Government of India, responsible for the management of a network of National Highways in India.
- It is a nodal agency of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
- NHAI has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Space Research Organisation for satellite mapping of highways.
- To ensure that all contract awards and procurements conform to the best industry practices with regard to transparency of the process, implementation of projects confirm to best quality requirements and the highway system is maintained to ensure best user comfort and convenience.
- To develop, maintain and manage National Highways vested in it by the Government.
- To collect fees on National Highways, regulate and control the plying of vehicles on National Highways for its proper management.
- To develop and provide consultancy and construction services in India and abroad and carry on research activities in relation to the development, maintenance and management of highways or any other facilities thereat.
- To advise the Central Government on matters relating to highways.
- To assist on such terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed upon, any State Government in the formulation and implementation of schemes for highway development.
- It is mandated to implement the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) which is India’s largest-ever Highways Project in a phased manner.
- PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation) is a unique integrating and interactive platform.
- The platform is aimed at addressing common man’s grievances and simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important programmes and projects of the Government of India as well as projects flagged by State Governments.
- With this, the Prime Minister is able to discuss the issues with the concerned Central and State officials with full information and latest visuals of the ground-level situation.
- The PRAGATI platform uniquely bundles three latest technologies: Digital data management, video-conferencing and geo-spatial technology.
- It also offers a unique combination in the direction of cooperative federalism since it brings the Secretaries of Government of India and the Chief Secretaries of the States on one stage.
Key features of PRAGATI:
- It is a three-tier system (PMO, Union Government Secretaries, and Chief Secretaries of the States).
- Issues to be flagged before the PM are picked up from the available database regarding Public Grievances, on-going Programmes and pending Projects.
- The system will ride on, strengthen and re-engineer the databases of the Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) for grievances, Project Monitoring Group (PMG) and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. PRAGATI provides an interface and platform for all these three aspects.
- It is also a robust system for bringing e-transparency and e-accountability with real-time presence and exchange among the key stakeholders.
- The system has been designed in-house by the PMO team with the help of National Informatics Center (NIC).
Government Schemes & Policies
Panel to monitor the disposal of enemy properties.
A Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union Home Minister will monitor the disposal of over 9,400 enemy properties, which are likely to fetch about Rs 1 lakh crore to the exchequer.
- Two other high-level committees, one to be headed by Cabinet Secretary and other to be co-chaired by Union Home Secretary, will also be set up for disposal of immovable enemy properties vested in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India under the Enemy Property Act.
What is Enemy Property?
- Enemy properties were those left behind by the people who took citizenship of Pakistan and China.
- In India, after the war with China and Pakistan in 1962 and 1965, the government took over the properties, under the Defence of India Act, from persons who migrated to these countries.
- The confiscated property included both movable and immovable properties — securities, jewellery, land, and buildings.
- There are 9,280 properties left behind by Pakistani nationals and 126 properties left behind by Chinese nationals.
- Among the 9,280 properties left behind by Pakistani nationals, the highest 4,991 properties are located in Uttar Pradesh followed by West Bengal which has 2,735 such estates. There are 487 such properties in Delhi.
- Among the 126 properties left behind by Chinese nationals, the highest 57 are located in Meghalaya followed by West Bengal with 29. Assam has seven such properties.
Who oversees these properties?
- Under the Defence of India Rules framed under The Defence of India Act, 1962, the Government of India took over the properties and companies of those who took Pakistani nationality.
- The Tashkent Declaration of January 10, 1966 included a clause that said India and Pakistan would discuss the return of the property and assets taken over by either side in connection with the conflict.
- In 1968, a law called the Enemy Property Act was enacted to regulate such properties and entrusted with the Custodian of Enemy Property.
- It voids the legal sales undertaken by enemies of enemy properties since 1968. This means that a person who may have bought an enemy property in good faith when such sale and purchase was legal, now stands to lose the property.
- It prohibits Indian citizens who are legal heirs of enemies from inheriting enemy property and brings them within the definition of ‘enemy’.
- The Enemy Property Act gave enemy citizens certain rights with respect to their properties vested in the Custodian. But the ambiguity in their rights and the powers of the Custodian to administer these properties resulted in disputes being raised before the courts. Some of these disputes related to Indian citizens challenging whether they could inherit enemy properties belonging to their ancestors who were nationals of enemy countries.
- The Custodian, with prior approval of the central government, may dispose of enemy properties vested in him in accordance with the provisions of the Act, and the government may issue directions to the Custodian for this purpose.
- The act was amended in 2017 to ensure that the successors of those who migrated to Pakistan and China will have no claim over the properties left behind in India.
- The Centre has allowed state governments to put to “public use” some enemy properties that were left behind by people who migrated to Pakistan since the Partition and to China after the 1962 Sino-Indian war.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- A new snake eel species residing in the Bay of Bengal has been discovered by the Estuarine Biology Regional Centre (EBRC) of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) at Gopalpur-on-sea in Odisha.
- It has been named Ophichthus kailashchandrai to honour the vast contributions of Dr Kailash Chandra, Director of ZSI, to Indian animal taxonomy.
- The recent discovery is the eighth species of its genus found on the Indian coast.
- The eel is around 420 mm to 462mm in length and lives at a depth of around 50 metres in the sea. They are light brown in colour, with white fins and their bodies are slimy but not poisonous. The eel feeds on small fish and crabs.
Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2020 winners announced.
Every year on 23rd January on the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose the Ministry of Home Affairs announces winners the Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar.
Who is eligible?
- All Indian citizens and organizations who have excelled in areas of Disaster Management; like Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness, Rescue, Response, Relief, Rehabilitation, Research/ Innovations or Early Warning.
- For the year 2020, Disaster Mitigation & Management Centre, Uttarakhand (in the institution category).
- Shri Kumar Munnan Singh (in the Individual category).
Purpose of the award?
- Recognise individuals and organisations who work to alleviate the suffering of the affected population, post any disaster.
- The award recipient (for an institution) will receive a certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 51 lakh. This cash prize shall be utilized by the winning institution for Disaster Management related activities only.
- For an individual, the winner shall receive a certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakhs.
Bilateral & International Relations
India helps Maldives tackle measles outbreak
India has despatched over measles and rubella (MR) vaccine to the Maldives
- The Maldives was declared measles-free in 2017 by the World Health Organisation.
Health Diplomacy between India and Maldives:
- Memorandum of Understanding on Health cooperation signed in June 2019.
- India has provided an $800 million Line of Credit; through which it is helping build a 100-bed Cancer Hospital in Hulhumale, a reclaimed island adjoining capital Male.
Measles and Rubella
- Measles, also known as rubeola or morbill, is a highly contagious viral disease.
- Measles is caused by infection with the rubeola virus. The virus lives in the mucus of the nose and throat of an infected child or adult.
- It can cause fatal complications including encephalitis, severe diarrhoea and dehydration, pneumonia, ear infections and permanent vision loss.
- Measles typically begins with a high fever, and 2-3 weeks later, a characteristic rash appears on the face and then spreads over the body.
- There are two types of measles:
- Measles: This is the standard form caused by the rubeola virus.
- Rubella, or German measles: This is caused by the rubella virus.
- German measles (Rubella)can have severe consequences during pregnancy such as miscarriage, foetal death or congenital defects known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).
- Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in five WHO Regions by 2020.
- Measles is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.
- Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.
- There is no specific treatment available for Measles. However, the measles vaccine has been in use since the 1960s. The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine are generally given at 12 to 15 months of age.
International Court of Justice ruling on Myanmar.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague has asked the government of Myanmar to immediately take measures to prevent atrocities against members of the minority Rohingya Muslim community.
- The ruling of the court is binding on Myanmar,and cannot be appealed.
- However, no means are available to the court to enforce it.
What’s the issue?
- The Gambia took Myanmar to the International Court of Justice in November 2019, accusing Myanmar of genocide,which is the most serious of all international crimes.
- The Gambia was backed by the 57-member Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
- Myanmar was represented by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Key points from the ruling:
- The government of Myanmar should immediately take “all measures within its power”to prevent atrocities against members of the minority Rohingya Muslim community.
- This is to be done in accordance with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
- Myanmar shall ensure that its military or any irregular armed units within its control, do not commit any of the acts described above, or conspire to commit, direct, attempt to commit, or be complicit in genocide.
- Myanmar shall take “effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations of acts” of genocide.
- This order is a provisional measure anda restraining order.
- The hearings dealing with the main, and more serious allegations of genocide by the Myanmar military, have not even started. And cases at the ICJ often drag on for years on end, and no quick closure can be reasonably expected.
Cases of genocide and how they are proved?
- So far, only three cases of genocide worldwide have been recognised since World War II: Cambodia (the late 1970s), Rwanda (1994), and Srebrenica, Bosnia (1995).
- Proving genocide has been difficult because of the high bar set by its ‘intent requirement’ — that is showing the genocidal acts were carried out with the specific intent to eliminate a people on the basis of their ethnicity.
What is the Rohingya crisis?
- An estimated 7.3 lakh Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since 2017 when the Myanmar military launched a brutal crackdown on Rohingya villages in the country’s coastal Rakhine state.
- Myanmar has denied all allegations of genocide and atrocities committed by its army.
About International Court of Justice:
- The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN).
- It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in 1946.
- The Court is located at Hague (Netherlands).
- Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (United States of America).
- Its official languages are English and French.
- The President and Vice-President are elected by the Members of the Court every three years by secret ballot.
Science & Technology
Qualcomm unveils mobile chipsets supporting India`s NavIC navigation system
Qualcomm Technologies has released chipsets, supporting India’s ‘Navigation with Indian Constellation’ (NavIC).
- Accelerate the adoption of NavIC by smartphone Original equipment manufacturer(OEMs).
- Eventually make NavIC a standard feature in the upcoming handsets, applications, processors, etc.
- Enhance the geolocation capabilities of mobiles, automotive and Internet of Things solutions in the region.
- The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), with an operational name of NavIC, is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system, that provides accurate real-time positioning services.
- To date, ISRO has built a total of nine satellites in the IRNSS series; of which eight are currently in orbit. Three of these satellites are in geostationary orbit (GEO) while the remaining in geosynchronous orbits (GSO) that maintain an inclination of 29° to the equatorial plane.
- It can provide accurate position information service to users in India and the region, extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary which is its Primary Service Area. It will provide a position accuracy of better than 20 m in the primary service area.
- IRNSS is independent of India’s existing regional satnav system, GAGAN (GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation), built by ISRO in conjunction with the Airports Authority of India. GAGAN is primarily used by the commercial airline industry and scientists studying the ionosphere.
It will provide two types of services, namely,
- Standard Positioning Service (SPS) which is provided to all the users
- Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorized users.
Important applications of NavIC (the IRNSS constellation) include:
- Terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation
- Disaster management
- Vehicle tracking and fleet management
- Precise timing
- Mapping and geodetic data capture
- Resource Management
- Mapping and geodetic data capture
Is India the only country to have its positioning system?
- Several other countries have their own positions system. For example, the Global Positioning System (GPS) owned by the United States, GLONASS of Russia, Galileo of the European Union and BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) of China.
[Ref: The Hindu, Business Standard, IAStopper.com]
Key facts for Prelims
National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP).
- NITI Aayog will develop a National Data and Analytics Platform to make all government data accessible to stakeholders in a user-friendly manner.
- There will be a high powered steering committee under the chairmanship of Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog to provide direction, oversee progress, guide on data sources, and address various inter-ministerial issues on collating data.
- Besides, there will be a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) consisting of sector and technology experts to provide guidance on the development of the platform, management of data, and aligning the platform for user-needs.
- The first version of National Data and Analytics Platform is proposed to be released in 2021.
- It will strive to ensure that the data is assured, consistent, coherent and credible.
- Ensure data across sectors is coherent to support analysis and dissemination.
- Provide easy access to the most recent data and is published reliably.
- Host multiple datasets and present them coherently along with visualisation and analytics tools.
- A user-friendly search engine with a world-class user interface backed by seamless navigation.
- Data will be provided in a machine-readable format with customisable analytics.
- Provide access to data from multiple sectors sourced from different Central and State Ministries and Departments at one place.
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be developed to keep data updated.