Polity & Governance
- Centre constitutes high-level committee to deal with mob lynching incidents
Government Schemes & Policies
- NITI Aayog signs SoI with Lupin Foundation for collaborating in Aspirational Districts
- Lok Sabha passes NCTE Amendment Bill
- Lok Sabha passes Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017
- First-ever tribal atlas of Odisha released
- Govt cuts minimum yearly deposit for Sukanya Samriddhi account to Rs.250
Bilateral & International Relations
- India, Bangladesh to set up 6 more border haats
Defence & Security Issues
- Recommendations of Shekatkar Committee
Art & Culture
- Culture Ministry received around Rs 9 cr as CSR from 2015 to 2017
- NMM has digitized 283 lakh pages of 2.96 lakh manuscripts till date
Key Facts for Prelims
- Iran becomes India’s No. 2 oil supplier
- Pakistan gets 1st woman chief justice of high court
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Polity & Governance
Centre constitutes high-level committee to deal with mob lynching incidents
The government has set up a high-level committee headed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba to suggest measures and legal framework to effectively deal with incidents of mob violence and lynching.
- The panel will submit in four weeks its recommendations to a Group of Ministers, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, which in turn will present its recommendations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
What prompted the government to constitute the committee?
- The move comes after a number of mob lynching incidents were reported in several areas, stemming from fake social media rumours of child kidnappers as well as cow vigilantism.
- Recently, the Supreme Court condemned mob lynching incidents across the country and urged the Parliament to enact a new law to deal with the crime that threatens rule of law and the country’s social fabric.
- The apex court also made the Centre and the state governments accountable for mob violence and lynching, and asked them to take steps to curb and stop dissemination of irresponsible and explosive messages and videos on social media platforms which incite such incidents.
‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are State subjects:
- As per the Constitutional scheme, ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are State subjects.
- State Governments are responsible for controlling crime, maintaining law and order, and protecting the life and property of the citizens.
- They are empowered to enact and enforce laws to curb crime in their jurisdiction.
- Thus, it is the duty of States to control the incidents of mob lynching.
Accordingly, from time to time, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has issued advisories to States and UTs for maintenance of public order and prevention of crime in their areas of jurisdiction.
Directions of the Supreme Court on the issue of mob violence:
Recently, the apex court passed a slew of directions to deal with the mob lynching. They are:
- There shall be a “separate offence” for lynching and the trial courts must ordinarily award maximum sentence upon conviction of the accused person to set a stern example in cases of mob violence.
- The state governments will have to designate a senior police officer in each district for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching.
- The state governments need to identify districts, sub-divisions and villages where instances of lynching and mob violence have been reported in the recent past.
- The nodal officers shall bring to the notice of the DGP about any inter-district co-ordination issues for devising a strategy to tackle lynching and mob violence related issues.
- Every police officer shall ensure to disperse the mob that has a tendency to cause violence in the disguise of vigilantism or otherwise.
- Central and the state governments shall broadcast on radio, television and other media platforms about the serious consequences of mob lynching and mob violence.
- Despite the measures taken by the State Police, if it comes to the notice of the local police that an incident of lynching or mob violence has taken place, the jurisdictional police station shall immediately lodge an FIR.
- The State Governments shall prepare a lynching/mob violence victim compensation scheme in the light of the provisions of Section 357A of CrPC within one month from the date of this judgment.
- If a police officer or an officer of the district administration fails to fulfill his duty, it will be considered an act of deliberate negligence.
Government Schemes & Policies
NITI Aayog signs SoI with Lupin Foundation for collaborating in Aspirational Districts
NITI Aayog and Lupin Foundation have signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) in order to collaborate in Aspirational Districts Programme.
Terms of the signed SoI:
- Under this collaboration, both parties will partner to improve indicators in education, health and nutrition, financial inclusion and skill development, agriculture and water resources and basic infrastructure in Aspirational Districts.
- Lupin Foundation with NITI Aayog will work in three states (Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan) to facilitate creation of deal template to develop economic strength, technological viability and moral leadership across three districts in these states as part of Phase I of the cooperation.
- Phase I of this cooperation will focus on districts of Dholpur (Rajasthan), Nandurbar (Maharashtra) and Vidisha (Madhya Pradesh). It will help to develop comprehensive district-level action plan with integrates various initiatives and interventions.
What is Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme?
‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ was launched in January with an aim to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts in the country.
- The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a mass Movement.
- This will converge the central and state schemes, collaborate central, state and district collectors to strengthen these districts by identifying the low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress and then rank the district by getting the data on a real-time basis.
Significance of the scheme:
- With states as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.
- Under the programme, identified districts are prodded and encouraged to first catch-up with the best district within their state, and subsequently aspire to become one of the best in the country, by competing with, and learning from others.
Lok Sabha passes NCTE Amendment Bill
The Lok Sabha passed the National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill seeking to provide post-facto approval to those approved institutions which are funded by the Centre or states, but do not have recognition under the 1993 law.
Objective of the amendment Act:
- The National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Act, 2017 seeks to grant retrospective recognition to the Central and State Institutions and Universities that conduct teacher education courses without NCTE permission recognition till the academic year 2017-2018.
Provisions of the amendment Act:
- The retrospective recognition will be a onetime measure to ensure that the future of the students, passed out or enrolled in these institutions, is not at risk.
- It will make students studying in these Institutions and Universities or already passed out, eligible for employment as a teacher.
- All institutions running Teacher Education Courses such as B.Ed. and D.El.Ed. need to obtain recognition from the National Council for Teacher Education under section 14 of the NCTE Act.
- Further, the courses of such recognised Institutions and Universities have to be permitted under section 15 of the NCTE Act.
- The NCTE Act, 1993 enacted by Parliament aims to achieve planned and coordinated development of teacher education system, regulation and ensure proper maintenance of norms and standards in said system.
- It is applicable throughout the country, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
- It establishes NCTE to achieve these objectives.
- It has separate provisions for recognising teacher education courses and to lay down guidelines for compliance by recognized Institutions/Universities.
About National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE):
- NCTE is statutory body of Central Government set up under NCTE Act, 1993 in 1995 to formally oversee standards, procedures and processes in Indian education system.
- NCTE plans and co-ordinates the development of teacher education system throughout the country (for both central as well as state governments).
- It also ensures the maintenance of norms and standards in the teacher education system.
- Its headquarters are in New Delhi.
- This council functions for the central as well as state governments on all matter with regard to the Teacher Education.
Lok Sabha passes Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017
Lok Sabha has passed Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017 to reduce the number of cheque dishonour cases pending in courts.
- The bill amends Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 to primarily address issues of dishonor of cheques and deal with unnecessary delay in disposal of such cases.
- The Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 defines promissory notes, bills of exchange and cheques.
- It also specifies penalties for bouncing of cheques and other violations with respect to such negotiable instruments.
What is a Negotiable Instrument?
- It refers to any legal documents like cheques, promissory notes, bill of exchange etc which promises to pay bearer or holder of instrument or person whose name is written on instrument specific amount of money either on demand or after specified time i.e. on some future date.
Key features of Bill:
- The Bill inserts new Section 143 A in parent Act to allow court trying offence related to cheque bouncing to direct drawer (person who writes cheque) to pay interim compensation to complainant.
- This compensation may be paid under certain circumstances, including where drawer pleads not guilty of accusation.
- It will not exceed 20% of cheque amount and will be paid by drawer within 60 days of trial court’s order to pay such compensation.
Deposit in case of appeal:
- The Bill inserts another new Section 148-A in the parent act specifying that if drawer convicted in cheque bouncing case files appeal, appellate court may direct him to deposit minimum of 20% of fine or compensation awarded by trial court during conviction.
- This amount will be in addition to any interim compensation paid by drawer during earlier trial proceedings.
Returning interim compensation:
- In case drawer is acquitted during trial or by appellate court, then court will direct complainant to return interim compensation (or deposit in case of an appeal case), along with interest. This amount will be repaid within 60 days of court’s order.
First-ever tribal atlas of Odisha released
Odisha Government has unveiled first-ever ‘Tribal Atlas of Odisha’.
What is ‘Tribal Atlas of Odisha’?
- It is a compilation of demographic and cultural information of the tribal population in the state.
- This book will help provide comprehensive data on tribal population.
- It is claimed to be first-of-its-kind tribal compilation in the country.
- The book was published by SC and ST Research and Training Institute in collaboration with Academy of Tribal Language and Culture (ATLC).
- As per Census 2011, Odisha has the second highest tribal population in the country after Madhya Pradesh.
Govt cuts minimum yearly deposit for Sukanya Samriddhi account to Rs.250
The government has slashed the minimum annual deposit requirement for accounts under the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana from Rs 1,000 to Rs 250.
- The move will enable more number of people to take advantage of the girl child savings scheme.
- For this, the government amended the Sukanya Samriddhi Account Rules – 2016.
About Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY):
- Launched in 2015, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY) is a small deposit scheme for the girl child launched as a part of the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign.
Who can open the account?
- Under the scheme, a parent or legal guardian can open an account in the name of the girl child until she attains the age of ten years.
- The account can be opened in any post office branch and designated public sector banks.
Terms under the scheme:
- A parent can open only one account per girl child, and a maximum of two such bank accounts in the name of two girl children. In case of twin girls as second birth, or if the first birth itself results in the birth of three girl children, three bank accounts can be opened in the name of three girl children.
- After the recent change, the minimum deposit that needs to be made every year is Rs 250 and the maximum amount that can be deposited in a year is Rs 1.5 lakh.
- There is no limit on the number of deposits either in a month or in a financial year.
- The account opened under the scheme will be valid for 21 years from the date of opening, after which it will mature and the money will be paid to the girl child in whose name the account is opened.
- If the account is not closed after maturity, the balance amount will continue to earn interest as specified for the scheme from time to time.
- The account will also automatically close if the girl child gets married before the completion of the tenure of 21 years.
- Deposits can be made up to 14 years from the date of opening of the account. After this period the account will only earn interest as per applicable rates.
- Premature withdrawal – withdrawing money before the completion of the maturity period of 21 years – can only be made by the girl child in whose name the account has been opened after she attains the age of 18 years.
- This withdrawal will also be limited to 50 per cent of the balance standing at the end of the preceding financial year, and will only be allowed for the purpose of higher education or if the girl intends to get married. In order to make a withdrawal, the account should have a deposit of at least 14 years or more.
About the BBBP scheme:
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was launched on 22ndJanuary, 2015 at Panipat in Haryana.
- It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
- The scheme aims at improving the trend of declining child sex ratio (CSR) in the country—which, according to Census 2011 data, has plummeted from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 and 918 in 2011—and promoting gender equality.
- The scheme focuses on challenging mindsets and deep rooted patriarchy in the societal system, strict enforcement of PC&PNDT Act, advancing education of the girl child: focus is on issues of women empowerment on a life cycle continuum.
Bilateral & International Relations
India, Bangladesh to set up 6 more border haats
The first two-day meeting of India and Bangladesh joint committee on border haats in Agartala (capital of Tripura) concluded with signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between both the nations for establishment of six more border haats at new locations.
- Out of the proposed six new border haats, the Tripura will get two while Meghalaya four more.
What are Border Haats?
- The border haats are markets that aim at promoting the wellbeing of the people dwelling in remote areas across the borders of two countries, by establishing traditional system of marketing the local produce through local markets.
- The trade at border haats is permitted to be carried out in Indian Rupees/Bangladesh Taka and on a barter basis, and data of such trade is maintained by the Haat Management Committee of the respective border haat.
Following commodities are traded in the Border Haats:
- Vegetables, food items, fruits, spices.
- Minor Forest produce eg bamboo, bamboo grass and broom sticks, excluding timber.
- Products of Cottage Industries like Gamcha, Lungi etc.
- Small Agriculture household implements eg dao, plough, axe, spade, chisel etc.
- Garments, melamine products, processed food items, fruit juice, toiletries, cosmetics, plastic products, aluminium products, cookeries.
- India currently has functional border haats with Bangladesh.
- Total four border haats are operational along the India-Bangladesh border. Two border haats are located in Meghalaya at Kalaichar and Balat and two are located in Tripura at Srinagar and Kamalasagar.
Significance of border haats:
- There has been a positive impact of the border haats not only on the local economy by improving the local trade and reducing smuggling, but it also improves the relationship between the two nations.
Defence & Security Issues
Recommendations of Shekatkar Committee
The Ministry of Defence has reviewed the implementation of ambitious reform initiative for the Indian Army based on recommendations of a committee headed by Lt Gen (retd) DB Shekatkar.
About Shekatkar Committee:
- The Ministry of Defence had constituted a Committee of Experts under the Chairmanship of Lt Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar with a mandate to recommend measures for enhancing of Combat Capability & Rebalancing Defence Expenditure of the Armed Forces with an aim to increase “teeth to tail ratio”.
- The Committee of experts had submitted its report to the Ministry in December 2016, which was considered by the Ministry of Defence.
Major reforms concerning the following have been approved:
- Optimisation of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
- Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include Base Workshops, Advance Base Workshops and Static/Station Workshops in the field Army.
- Redeployment of Ordnance echelons to include Vehicle Depots, Ordnance Depots and Central Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
- Better utilization of Supply and Transport echelons and Animal Transport units.
- Closure of Military Farms and Army postal establishments in peace locations.
- Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.
- Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.
Art & Culture
Culture Ministry received around Rs 9 cr as CSR from 2015 to 2017
As per the latest data, about Rs. 904.80 Lakhs has been received as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) under National Culture Fund (NCF) for development Works at Historic Monuments in last 3 yrs.
What is National Culture Fund?
- National Culture Fund (NCF) was set up as a Trust under the Charitable Endowment Act, 1890 in November 1996 by the Government, with a view to mobilize extra resources through Public Private Partnerships.
- The Fund aims at inviting the participation of the corporate sector, non-government organizations, private/public sector as well as individuals in the task of promoting, protecting and preserving India’s cultural heritage.
- The National Culture Fund is managed and administered by a council headed by Hon’ble Culture Minister to decide the policies and an Executive Committee headed by Secretary, Culture to actualize those policies.
- All the projects undertaken by the NCF are completed within a specified period, in accordance with an MoU signed by NCF with the concerned donor organization.
NMM has digitized 283 lakh pages of 2.96 lakh manuscripts till date
National mission for manuscripts (NMM) has digitized 283 lakh pages of 2.96 lakh manuscripts till date.
What are Manuscripts?
- A manuscript is a handwritten composition on paper, bark, cloth, metal, palm leaf or any other material dating back at least seventy-five years that has significant scientific, historical or aesthetic value.
- Lithographs and printed volumes are not manuscripts.
- Manuscripts are distinct from historical records such as epigraphs on rocks, firmans, revenue records which provide direct information on events or processes in history. Manuscripts have knowledge content.
- Manuscripts are found in hundreds of different languages and scripts. Often, one language is written in a number of different scripts. For example, Sanskrit is written in Oriya script, Grantha script, Devanagari script and many other scripts.
What is National mission for manuscripts (NMM)?
National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM), a Mission mode Project, was launched in 2013 by the Ministry of Culture for documentation, conservation, preservation and digitization of manuscripts.
- The ultimate object of the Mission is to establish a Digital Manuscripts Repository at IGNCA in which researchers and scholars can view and consult the manuscripts to understand our past in its totality.
- The manuscripts documented and digitized by the NMM will be made available to researcher and scholars through a Trusted Digital Repository.
Key Facts for Prelims
Iran becomes India’s No. 2 oil supplier
- Iran by replacing Saudi Arabia was the second-biggest oil supplier to Indian state refiners between April and June.
- India is Iran’s top oil client after China
Pakistan gets 1st woman chief justice of high court
- Pakistan has got its first-ever woman Chief Justice of a high court, Justice Tahira Safdar.
- In 1982, Justice Safdar had made history when she became the first woman civil judge in Balochistan.