Polity & Governance
- electronic-Human Resource Management System (e-HRMS)
- 25th December: Good Governance Day
- Centre moves SC against fixed term for police chiefs
Government Schemes & Policies
- ‘Condonation of delay scheme only for bona fide directors’
- Union government draws up tailor-made action plan for the backward districts
- Govt Mint launches Bharatiya Nirdeshak Dravya (BND-4201)
- Rs 8,000-crore fund to help milk co-ops expand capacity
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- CPCB may consider using LiDAR devices to monitor air pollution
Key Facts for Prelims
- Prakash Hai to Vikas Hai Scheme
- India’s first city to have its own logo
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Polity & Governance
electronic-Human Resource Management System (e-HRMS)
The Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions launched the electronic-Human Resource Management System (e-HRMS).
What is e-HRMS?
- e-HRMS is an online platform for central government employees to apply for leave and access their service-related information.
Objective of e-HRMS:
- The e-HRMS was launched as a step towards the ease of governance and is in lines with Government’s goal of minimum government, maximum governance.
Benefits of e-HRMS:
- It will enable employees to see all their details with respect to service book, leave, salary, GPF, etc. and also apply for different kind of claims and reimbursements, loan and advances, leave, leave encashment, LTC advances, tour etc. on a single platform.
- The system is designed in such a way to obtain all management-related inputs and reports through its dashboard.
- It will enable senior authorities to check all pendency of data updating as well as claims, which will in turn instill more responsibility and accountability among all government servants.
- Availability of centralized data will enable Government for policy research and planning as such educational qualifications and other competencies and deficiencies may be easily obtained.
- It will enable Government to take transfer and posting decisions more pragmatically based on reliable first hand data.
Significance of e-HRMS:
- The launch of e-HRMS is in the direction of fully automated human resource management system with target to bring all government employees on employee portal.
- Such automated system will take care of all processes of personnel management from hiring to retiring on digital platform and dispense manual system of management.
25th December: Good Governance Day
Good Governance Day is a day of national importance in India observed annually on the 25th of December, the birth anniversary of former-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- Good Governance Day was established in 2014 to honour Prime Minister Vajpayee by fostering awareness among the Indian people of accountability in government.
- In keeping with this principle, the Government of India has decreed Good Governance Day to be a working day for the government.
Objectives of Good Governance Day:
- To make people aware about the government commitment for providing a transparent and accountable administration in the country.
- To enhance the welfare and betterment of the people.
- To standardise the government functioning and to make it a highly effective and accountable governance for the citizens of the country.
- To implement the good and effective policies to complete a mission of good governance in India.
- To enhance the growth and development in the country through good governance.
- To bring citizens closer to the government to make them active participants in the good governance process.
Centre moves SC against fixed term for police chiefs
The Union government has filed an interlocutory application in the Supreme Court to amend a 2006 order of the court that is being used by the States to appoint “favourites” as Directors-General of Police.
What’s the issue?
- A 2006 court order ensured a two-year fixed term for the DGPs. The court issued the order for a fixed two-year term for the DGPs after Prakash Singh, former DGP of Uttar Pradesh, filed a petition on police reforms.
- However, some States are misusing the order and appointing officers about to retire, giving them a fixed term of two years, irrespective of the superannuation date. Most of the time these appointments are done for political gains as the officer will be obliged to return favours. The implementation of the order is not monitored effectively.
- The All India Services Act, 1951, bars any officer from remaining in office after retirement, unless cleared by the Centre. The Home Ministry is the cadre-controlling authority for IPS officers, and the Supreme Court order is being increasingly misused by the States to appoint officers close to the regime.
What are the concerns?
- At present, the system of transfers, postings, promotions, disciplinary action and other personnel matters pertaining to the members of civil services are ad-hoc and non-transparent.
- Transfers are often used as instruments of reward and punishment, with officials being frequently transferred on the whims and caprices as well as the personal needs of local politicians and other vested interests.
- Officers, especially those in the All India Services, serving in state governments, have no stability or security of tenure.
- Change of government invariably leads to new rounds of transfers as the incoming group of political leaders seeks to reward supporters and put its “own” staff in key positions.
- Moreover, the ‘transfer industry’ is backed by entrenched and powerful vested interests as frequent transfers generate huge amounts of black money for corrupt officials and politicians.
- The civil servants at all levels should be given a minimum three-year fixed tenure on each post to foster functional freedom and independence.
- Guaranteeing a ‘minimum assured tenure’ in postings would effectively deter politicians from using transfers as a threatening weapon against the bureaucrats. Fixing tenure of bureaucrats will also promote professionalism, efficiency and good governance.
- Any premature transfer should specifically be authorised by the ‘civil service board/commission’ on specific circumstances to be brought out in writing.
The Ministry is planning to lay down guidelines to ensure that only those who had a minimum of one-and-a-half to two years to retire were included in the panel.[Ref: The Hindu, Economic Times, Business Line]
Government Schemes & Policies
‘Condonation of delay scheme only for bona fide directors’
The Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) is going to roll out Condonation of Delay Scheme to provide a three-month window for defaulting companies and their director to submit their annual filings.
- It is to be operational from January 1 to March 31, 2018.
- It is expected to come as a relief for disqualified directors and only bona fide directors will benefit from the proposed scheme.
- This would be the second time that the ministry is coming out with such a scheme after the Companies Act, 2013 came into effect from April 1, 2014.
- In 2014, the ministry had come out with a Company Law Settlement Scheme that also gave defaulting firms time to make their filings.
What’s the issue?
- The MCA had struck off more than 2 lakh companies and disqualified 3 lakh directors of such companies that had failed to file financial statements or annual returns for continuous period of three financial years from 2013-16 as part of ongoing exercise of cleaning up Corporate sector and crackdown on shell companies and on illicit fund flows.
- Aggrieved by disqualification many disqualified Directors had made representations to MCA and also had approached National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and High Courts for staying order of disqualification.
Abut Condonation of Delay Scheme:
- The Condonation of Delay Scheme has been introduced provide a final opportunity for defaulting companies and bonafide Directors to regularise compliance within three-month window.
- The scheme will be operational for period of three months only. During this period, DIN (Director Identification Number) of disqualified directors will be re-activated temporarily to facilitate Directors of defaulting companies to file all overdue annual returns.
- If Director of defaulting company fails to utilise scheme and regularise compliance after the end of the three month window period, his DIN will be deactivate and he will be disqualified for period of 5 years.
Disqualification under Companies Act:
- All registered companies in India are required to file annual return with MCA each year. Under the Companies Act, 2013, Directors of Companies which have defaulted in filing annual return continuously for period of 3 years are liable for disqualification.
- On disqualification, Director of such companies will be unable to incorporate new company or act as Director of an existing company for a period of three years.
Union government draws up tailor-made action plan for the backward districts
The government has drawn up tailor-made action plans for 115 identified “most-backward” districts in the country including 35 affected by left-wing extremism.
- The action plans aim to improve their socio-economic profiles by making available basic services like healthcare, sanitation and education as well as basic physical infrastructure like roads and drinking water supply in a time-bound manner.
- The government’s focus under this programme is to work with states to bring transformative change in these selected backward areas through rapid government-anchored programmes and interventions by 2022 i.e. till 75th year of India’s independence.
Selection of backward districts:
- These 115 districts were selected on parameters like health & nutrition (institutional delivery, stunting of children and wasting in children), deprivation (extent of landless households), education (elementary dropout rate and adverse pupil-teacher ratio) and infrastructure (un-electrified homes, lack of toilets, villages not connected by road and lack of drinking water).
- At least one district has been included from each state under backward district programme. Jharkhand with 19 has highest number of districts under this programme, followed by Bihar (13) Chattisgarh (10) and 8 each in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.
Execution of these plans:
- Government has appointed one additional secretary or joint secretary rank officer as “Prabhari” to work in collaborative manner with state and district teams to achieve effective convergence between various Central and state government schemes.
- The district collector is nodal chief executors of action programmes in districts, which will be ranked annually based on their performance.
Need for such plans:
- In 2016, India was ranked 131 among 188 nations in United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) human development index (HDI) with major inter-state and inter-district variations.
- Nearly 40% of children born in India are stunted or are underweight while almost 50% of women are anemic. On nutrition, India even lags behind neighbours such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and China.
- Among states, in Jharkhand nearly 50% children are underweight, 64% of class 5 students can’t read standard 2 English, density of population to doctor/hospital beds are the lowest in the country and 40% households are not electrified.
Govt Mint launches Bharatiya Nirdeshak Dravya (BND-4201)
India’s first home-grown high purity gold reference standard – the Bharatiya Nirdeshak Dravya (BND-4201) – was launched at the India Government Mint, Mumbai.
- BND-4201 is the reference material for gold of ‘9999’ fineness (gold that is 99.99 per cent pure).
- It will be beneficial to the consumers and public at large to ensure purity of gold.
- The gold reference standard is indispensable in gold and jewellery hall marking. This reference will also be useful for Collection and Purity Testing Centres to certify purity of gold deposits under gold monetization scheme.
- Goldsmiths in India were depended on imported reference gold bars (mostly imported was sourced from Canada and Switzerland) to check purity of their biscuits, coins and jewellery. BND-4201 standard reference material will help to minimise dependency on foreign countries and add to Make in India campaign, saving foreign exchange.
- The BND-4201 standard gold bar are 25% cheaper than the imported version.
- It will also help jewellers to move towards more instrumental methods rather than conventional fire assay methods for testing purity of gold, which time consuming and non-environment friendly as poisonous gases are released.
- Last November, the India Government Mint (IGM), a unit of the Security Printing and Minting Corp of India Ltd, signed an agreement with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (NPL) to develop the first gold standard.
- India is the second largest jewellery market in the world after China.
- The NPL is the repository of standard units — such as the kilogram, the second, and the centimetre — in India and provides calibration services.
[Ref: The Hindu]
Rs 8,000-crore fund to help milk co-ops expand capacity
The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) will soon get going on a Rs 8,000-crore “Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund” (DIDF).
- The fund was announced by the finance minister in this year’s budget to support the dairy sector.
- Under the DIDF, NABARD is the nodal agency to finance projects over a period of three years.
Significance of this fund:
NABARD targets to sanction proposals to create new milk processing capacity of 27 million litres per day in the cooperative sector this year.
- With this investment, the milk processing capacity (in the cooperative sector) would increase from the current 66 million litres per day to 92.6 million litres per day.
- Further, the bulk milk-chilling capacity would go up from 48 million litres per day to 63 million litres.
About Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF):
In September 2017, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a “Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund” (DIDF) with an outlay of Rs 10,881 crore during the period from 2017-18 to 2028-29.
- Out of this Rs 10,881 crore, Rs 8004 crore shall be loan from NABARD to National Dairy Development Board (NDDB)/ National Dairy Development Cooperation (NCDC), Rs 2001 crore shall be end borrowers contribution, Rs 12 crore would be jointly contributed by NDDB/NCDC and Rs 864 crore shall be contributed by DADF towards interest subvention.
Benefits of this fund:
- After Operation Flood which ended in 1990, this is the biggest dairy development programme.
- It will surely help small dairy cooperatives in states like Punjab, Haryana and Bihar where there is huge scope of expansion.
- The fund would help dairy cooperative in setting up modern milkprocessing infrastructure, expanding product portfolio and ensuring optimum value for their products.
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is an apex development and specialized bank established in July 1982 by an act by the parliament of India.
- It is one of the premier agencies providing developmental credit in rural areas.
- NABARD is India’s specialised bank for Agriculture and Rural Development in India.
- Its main focus is to uplift rural India by increasing the credit flow for elevation of agriculture & rural non-farm sector.
- It was established based on the recommendations of the Committee set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the chairmanship of Shri B. shivaraman.
- It replaced the Agricultural Credit Department (ACD) and Rural Planning and Credit Cell (RPCC) of Reserve Bank of India, and Agricultural Refinance and Development Corporation (ARDC).
Functions of NABARD:
- The Bank has been accredited with “matters concerning policy, planning and operations in the field of credit for agriculture and other economic activities in rural areas in India”.
- It Serves as an apex financing agency for the institutions providing investment and production credit for promoting the various developmental activities in rural areas.
- It regulates the cooperative banks and the RRB’s, and manages talent acquisition through IBPS CWE.
- NABARD is active in developing financial inclusion policy and is a member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.
- NABARD is also known for its ‘SHG Bank Linkage Programme’ which encourages India’s banks to lend to SHGs.
- It takes measures towards institution building for improving absorptive capacity of the credit delivery system, including monitoring, formulation of rehabilitation schemes, restructuring of credit institutions, training of personnel, etc.
- It also looks after the development of the cottage industry, small industry and village industry, and other rural industries.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
CPCB may consider using LiDAR devices to monitor air pollution
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is planning to use advanced LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) devices to vertically monitor the air quality of Delhi-NCR.
- CPCB is currently focusing on strengthening its surface-level monitoring network, however, in ‘later stages’, vertical monitoring will also be taken up.
What is LIDAR?
- Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) is a surveying method that measures distance to a target by illuminating that target with a laser light.
- LIDAR uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth. These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system— generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.
- A LIDAR instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialized GPS receiver.
Types of LIDAR:
There are two types of LIDAR: topographic and bathymetric.
- Topographic LIDAR typically uses a near-infrared laser to map the land, while bathymetric lidar uses water-penetrating green light to also measure seafloor and riverbed elevations.
Applications of LIDAR:
- Lidar sometimes is called laser scanning and 3D scanning, with terrestrial, airborne, and mobile applications.
- LIDAR systems allow scientists and mapping professionals to examine both natural and manmade environments with accuracy, precision, and flexibility.
- Lidar is popularly used to make high-resolution maps, with applications in geodesy, geomatics, archaeology, geography, geology, geomorphology, seismology, forestry, atmospheric physics, laser guidance, airborne laser swath mapping (ALSM), and laser altimetry.
- Scientists are using LIDAR also to produce more accurate shoreline maps, make digital elevation models for use in geographic information systems, to assist in emergency response operations, and in many other applications.
- Airplanes and helicopters are the most commonly used platforms for acquiring LIDAR data over broad areas.
Key Facts for Prelims
Prakash Hai to Vikas Hai Scheme
- The Uttar Pradesh Government launched ‘Prakash hai to vikas hai’ Scheme, a free household power connection scheme for the poor in the state.
- Under the scheme, state government has set ambition target of covering 16 million by the end of 2018.
India’s first city to have its own logo
- Bengaluru became the first Indian city to get its own logo.
- With a tagline ‘Bengaluru Be U’, the unique red-black logo is in part English and Kannada.
- The city now joins the band of mega cities like Amsterdam and New York that have their own tourism logos.
- The state Tourism Department will promote Bengaluru by leveraging its new identity through the logo and showcase the city’s heritage, architecture, gardens, art, music, food and its modern lifestyle, driven by technology.
- The logo will also help to leverage Bengaluru’s identity and create a brand value that could spur its economy and generate jobs by attracting more investments