Polity & Governance
- By launching Village Secretariats, Andhra shifts away from e-governance path
- ‘Mo Sarkar’ initiative launched
- Country’s top three cleanest railway stations are from Rajasthan: Survey
- Bharat 22 ETF Further Fund Offer opens
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Govt launches mega drive against single-use plastic
Bilateral & International Relations
- After India-Russia missile deal, U.S. warns allies of sanctions risk
- India, Hyderabad Nizam heirs win UK court battle with Pakistan for £35m
Key Facts for Prelims
- Students of Delhi-NCR create Guinness Book world records
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Polity & Governance
By launching Village Secretariats, Andhra shifts away from e-governance path
The Andhra Pradesh government launched its Village Secretariat programme at Karapa village near Kakinada, under which 1.26 lakh new government employees will begin working.
About Village Secretariat programme
- The objective of this programme is to ensure that government’s services reach people on the ground to strengthen the existing Panchayat Raj system.
- Under this programme, village and ward secretariats will be set up which would act as a bridge between the government and the people by rendering over 500 types of services at their doorstep.
- Village Secretariat has been set up for every population of 2,000, with each one comprising close to a dozen village officials.
- Village Secretariats would showcase government programmes and make pictorial representations of government schools and hospitals under the caption ‘then and now’ to show how reforms have changed their functioning.
About Andhra Pradesh’s YSR Rythu Bharosa programme
- The Andhra Pradesh’s flagship programme YSR Rythu Bharosa would help the farmers overcome the crises plaguing the agriculture sector.
- It would be implemented from October 15, 2019.
‘Mo Sarkar’ initiative launched
Odisha Chief Minister launched his government’s new governance initiative ‘Mo Sarkar’ or ‘My Government’ on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.
About Mo Sarkar (My Government) initiative
- It is an initiative of Odisha government under the 5T model of governance (Teamwork, Transparency, Technology, Transformation and Time) to herald a transformation in government offices.
- The objective of the programme is to provide service with dignity to people who are coming to government offices for different purposes.
- The phone numbers of people who are coming to government offices will be collected randomly to collect feedback on professionalism of government officers.
- The Mo Sarkar programme will apply to in police stations and district headquarter hospitals and a few medical colleges.
- The Chief Minister, Departmental Minister, Director General of Police (in case of police stations) and Departmental Minister, Secretary and Director (in case of hospitals) will call on random numbers to collect feedback.
- The employees will be ranked as good or bad on the basis of the feedback and those with good rank will get out-of-turn promotion and action will be taken against employees with bad rank.
Country’s top three cleanest railway stations are from Rajasthan: Survey
Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry released the ‘Stations’ Cleanliness Survey Report’ (Cleanliness assessment of Non-suburban and Suburban Stations 2019).
Highlights of Stations’ Cleanliness Survey Report’
The railway stations have been clubbed into three groups i.e. Non-Suburban (NSG), Suburban (SG) and Halt (HG).
Top 3 Station in NSG category
Top 3 station in SG category
Top 3 railway zones
- North Western Railway
- South East Central Railway
- East Central Railway
About the survey
- Railways have been conducting third party audit and cleanliness ranking of 407 major stations annually since 2016.
- The 2019 report on the cleanliness assessment of non-suburban and suburban category stations was published by the Environment and Housekeeping Management Directorate of the Ministry of Railways.
- In 2019, the survey was expanded to include 720 stations and suburban stations were also included for the first time.
- The total score is out of 1000 and each component (Process Evaluation, Direct Observation, Citizen Feedback) weighs 33.33% of the total score.
Bharat 22 ETF Further Fund Offer opens
The fourth tranche of Bharat-22 exchange traded fund received an overwhelming response from institutional players with the portion reserved for anchor investors garnering bids worth ₹13,500 crores, around 27 times of the size.
About Bharat 22 Index
- Bharat 22 index comprise of 22 stocks including those of central public sector enterprises (CPSEs), public sector banks (PSBs) and its holdings under the Specified Undertaking of Unit Trust of India (SUUTI).
- It is designed to measure the performance of select companies disinvested by the Central Government according to the disinvestment program.
- Bharat 22 is a well-diversified ETF spanning six sectors — materials (4.4%), energy (17.5%), finance (20.3%), FMCG (15.2%), industrials (22.6%), and utilities (20%).
- The banking segment includes stocks from State Bank of India (SBI), Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda (BoB), Indian Bank, Rural Electrification Corporation and Power Finance Corporation.
- The energy segment includes Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum (BP), and Coal India.
- The government of India appointed ICICI Prudential AMC to incorporate, launch and manage Bharat 22 ETF.
What is Exchange-traded fund (ETF)?
- Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are mutual funds listed and traded on stock exchanges like shares.
- Index ETFs are created by institutional investors swapping shares in an index basket, for units in the fund.
- Usually, ETFs are passive funds where the fund manager doesn’t select stocks on your behalf. Instead, the ETF simply copies an index and endeavours to accurately reflect its performance.
- In an ETF, one can buy and sell units at prevailing market price on a real time basis during market hours.
Advantages of ETFs:
- ETFs are cost efficient. Given that they don’t make any stock (or security choices), they don’t use services of star fund managers.
- They allow investors to avoid the risk of poor security selection by the fund manager, while offering a diversified investment portfolio.
- The stocks in the indices are carefully selected by index providers and are rebalanced periodically.
- They offer anytime liquidity through the exchanges.
[Ref: Livemint, The Hindu]
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Govt launches mega drive against single-use plastic
The government launched massive campaigns against single-use, or disposable, plastic products on, as part of the year-long celebrations to mark 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
- Flagging off the government’s Sankalp Yatra to celebrate Gandhi’s birth anniversary, Union home minister highlighted the perils of single-use plastic.
- The event was organized to spread awareness on the harmful effects of plastic waste and to get the support of citizens to eliminate single-use plastic.
- Minister of civil aviation launched the Swachhata Hi Seva India Plog Run to pay homage to the father of the nation while minister of youth affairs and sports flagged off the ‘Fit India Plog Run’. Plogging involves picking up litter while jogging.
- The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at Mumbai announced that it will adopt 100% single-use plastic-free policy from 2 October.
- Under the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme, which the government plans to implement more effectively, manufacturers will have to bear the responsibility for the environmental impact of the products through their life-cycle.
About Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
- Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is a strategy to add all of the environmental costs associated with a product throughout the product life cycle to the market price of that product.
- EPR was first introduced in the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2011.
- It was modified in PWM 2016, wherein producers, importers and brand owners were asked to take primary responsibility for collection of used multi-layered plastic sachets or pouches or packaging.
- Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These items are things like plastic bags, soda and water bottles and most food packaging.
- While there is increased awareness in urban areas, the challenge single use plastic ban will be to find a suitable cost effective alternatives in tier II and tier III towns and remote locations.
- Nearly 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste are generated every day in India, with 40 per cent plastic waste being uncollected.
To read more about Single use Plastic Pollution, Refer IASTopper’s Mains Article: https://www.iastoppers.com/plastic-pollution-beat-mains-article/[Ref: Livemint]
Bilateral & International Relations
After India-Russia missile deal, U.S. warns allies of sanctions risk
On a day when External Affairs Minister had said that he was “reasonably convinced” of persuading the U.S. to accept India’s decision on the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defence system, U.S. officials warned that any such purchases may risk sanctions.
- US warn all of its allies to forgo transactions with Russia that risk triggering sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
- In October 2018, India inked the historic agreement with Russia to procure four S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile defence system, the most powerful missile defence system in the world ignoring the CAATSA act.
- The U.S. threatened India with sanctions over India’s decision to buy the S-400 missile defense system.
About CAATSA law
- The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, CAATSA is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
- The aim of the CAATSA law is to prevent revenue from flowing to the Russian Government.
- The Act empowers the US President to impose at least five of the 12 listed sanctions on persons engaged in a “significant transaction” with Russian defence and intelligence sectors.
Potential Consequences of having sanctions due to S-400 mislsie purchase
- CAATSA merely requires the President to impose five or more of the sanctions described in section CAATSA. That section lists 12 types of sanctions. Of these, 10 will have very little, or no, impact on India’s current relations with either Russia or the US.
- However, there are only two sanctions that may impact either India-Russia relations or India-US relations.
- One is the “Prohibition of Banking transactions”. Under this, the US Secretary of the Treasury would prohibit /impose strict conditions on opening and maintaining bank accounts in the United States of or payable-through accounts of Financial Institutions engaged in transfer of funds from the sanctioned person to the Russian defence sector. This would mean difficulties for India in making payments in US Dollars to for the purchase of the S-400 systems.
- The second sanction will have far greater consequences, not for India-Russia relations, but for India-US relations. And that is the Export sanction which has the potential to completely derail the India-US Strategic and Defence partnership, as it will deny the license for, and export of, any items controlled by the US to the sanctioned person.
- S-400 Triumf is one of the world’s most advanced air defence systems.
- The highly automated S-400 has radars that can pick up an incoming object up to a 1,000 kilometres away, track several dozen incoming objects simultaneously, distribute the targets to appropriate missile systems and ensure a high success rate.
- The system is specifically designed to detect and destroy an array of targets — strategic bombers; aircraft used for electronic warfare, early warning, and reconnaissance; fighter jets; and incoming missiles.
- The development of S-400 was started towards the end of the Soviet Union in the 1980s and was disrupted by the collapse of the Communist bloc in 1991.
India, Hyderabad Nizam heirs win UK court battle with Pakistan for £35m
The UK high court ruled in favour of India and the titular 8th Nizam of Hyderabad and his younger brother in a case they had been fighting against Pakistan relating to who has the rights to £35m (Rs 306 crore) stashed away in a British bank account since Partition.
What is the Hyderabad Fund case?
- In 1948, over £1m were deposited by Hyderabad into the London bank account of the Pakistan High Commissioner, Habib Ibrahim Rahimtoola.
- The transfer was made as Indian troops began their annexation of Hyderabad immediately after the death of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
- After the transfer, by which time Hyderabad was under Indian control, the 7th Nizam, Osman Ali Khan, said the payment had been unauthorised and Pakistan had no right to the money.
- During his lifetime, Osman Ali Khan was often described as the richest man in the world and since his death in 1967, his descendants have fought many battles for shares of his wealth.
- In 1954, the 7th Nizam together with the state of Hyderabad issued a writ before the UK high court against Pakistan, asking for the £1 million to be returned to them. The money has stayed frozen in a British bank account ever since and grown to £35 million in the span of seven decades.
- Pakistan government found documents showing that, fearing an Indian invasion of Hyderabad, the 7th Nizam had asked Mr Jinnah to provide an airlift of weapons from Karachi to Hyderabad.
- On this basis, Pakistan argued that Hyderabad transferred the money to the Rahimtoola account in order to compensate, reimburse, and indemnify Pakistan in connection with assistance provided to Nizam VII and to place the funds in the hands of Pakistan.
- The court, however, denied Pakistan’s arguments when it ruled that the fund was held by Pakistan through the High Commissioner in the United Kingdom on trust for Nizam VII and not by Mr Rahimtoola personally.
- Operation Polo is the code name of the Hyderabad “police action” in September 1948, by the newly independent India against the Hyderabad State.
- After the integration, the Nizam was retained as the head of state in the same manner as the other princes who acceded to India.
Key Facts for Prelims
Students of Delhi-NCR create Guinness Book world records
Students from Delhi-NCR region created two Guinness Book world records for environment protection on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.
About the two world records
- First world record: It was in the category of ‘environmental sustainability lessons to the largest number of students at one place’.
- Second world record: It pertains to ‘the largest number of assembly & lighting of Solar lamps’.