Polity & Governance
- Centre hands over to SC accreditation guidelines for NGOs, Vos
- Centre kicks off programme on cyber physical systems
- Multi-Modal Terminal at Sahibganj
- FMCG is highest paying sector in India: Randstad
Key Facts for Prelims
- Thailand’s army-drafted constitution
- World’s first country to neutralise gender pay gap
- April 7: World Health Day
Polity & Governance
Centre hands over to SC accreditation guidelines for NGOs, Vos
The Centre has handed over to the Supreme Court the new guidelines framed for accreditation of nearly 30 lakh NGOs and voluntary organisations (VOs) in the country.
The Ministry of Rural Development has framed the accreditation guidelines to regulate “manner in which the VOs/NGOs, which are recipient of grants, would maintain their account, the procedure for audit of the account, including procedure to initiate action for recovering of the grants in case of misappropriation and criminal action.”
Some of the important guidelines:
- NITI Aayog has been appointed as the nodal agency for the purpose of registration and accreditation of VOs/NGOs seeking funding from the Government of India. The Aayog has been also tasked with maintaining of database systems to manage and disseminate information relating to NGOs/VOs.
- As per the new guidelines, an NGO will be blacklisted if it provides false and misleading information to the Centre.
- Under the stringent guidelines, NGOs would be provided a unique ID and subjected to the Income Tax Act and Foreign Contribution Regulations act. They would be granted accreditation after their internal governance and ethical standards are evaluated.
- Past record of NGOs too would be scrutinized before they are given accreditation. A three-tier scrutiny would be in place to evaluate utilization of funds and the process would also include quality of work done by the NGOs.
- It would be mandatory for the NGOs to execute a bond to refund the amount with 10% interest if they fail to execute the project for which the grant is allocated. Misappropriation of funds would invite both criminal and civil cases.
Need for the new guidelines:
- The Supreme Court had in January directed the government to audit nearly 30 lakh NGOs which received public funds but consistently failed to explain how they spent the money.
- The court had ordered that any NGO, found in the audit, to have cooked its books or indulged in misappropriation of the public funds should be subject to immediate criminal prosecution. Besides, the government should initiate civil recovery proceedings from these rogue NGOs. The court had demanded that the government file a compliance report by March 31, 2017.
- The judicial order was unprecedented as defaulting NGOs were till then only subjected to blacklisting by the government.
Centre kicks off programme on cyber physical systems
Department of Science and Technology (DST) has launched Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) programme dealing with self-driven cars, autonomous unmanned vehicles and aircraft navigation systems.
- The programme is still at a nascent stage. Rs. 3,000-crore has been has been conceived for it and it will first take root in some of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
What is Cyber Physical Systems (CPS)?
- CPS is an interdisciplinary field that deals with the deployment of computer-based systems that do things in the physical world. For example, self-driven cars produced by Google and Tesla.
- It is a mechanism controlled or monitored by computer-based algorithms, tightly integrated with the internet and its users.
- It involves transdisciplinary approaches, merging theory of cybernetics, design and process science and mechatronics.
- In it, physical and software components are deeply intertwined, each operating on different spatial and temporal scales.
- Both exhibit multiple and distinct behavioural modalities, and interact with each other in a myriad of ways that change with context.
- Autonomous unmanned vehicles (UAVs) and aircraft navigation systems and smart grids (where electricity is optimally distributed on the basis of calculations in real time by micro-processors) also qualify as CPS.
About Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) programme:
- The thrust of the CPS initiative is to break silos in academia and encourage greater synergy between the university scientists and industry.
- Under it, centres of excellence would be developed at the IITs and universities. Moreover, there will be dedicated courses on the subject.
Need for CPS programme:
- CPS is an important technological evolutionary area that needed to be addressed as it has potential to pose unprecedented challenges and also stresses to India’s demographic dividend.
- It can be turned into a huge opportunity by ensuring that India’s future workforce is skilled in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication and IoTs.
- The National Science Foundation of the United States already has identified CPS as a key area of inter-disciplinary research back in 2003. It means that India is late entrant in this technology which has huge potential.
Multi-Modal Terminal at Sahibganj
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi recently laid the foundation stone of the multi-modal terminal at Sahibganj, Jharkhand.
- The terminal at Sahibganj is an important component of the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) for the augmentation of the navigation capacity of National Waterway-1 (Ganga) from Varanasi to Haldia (1390 km).
- A Roll-on Roll-off (Ro-Ro) terminal at Sahibganj will provide critical connectivity to Bihar at Manihari for the cross –river movement of loaded and empty trucks. This will considerably reduce the cost and time of cargo movement between Sahibganj and Manihari.
- The state of the art terminal at Sahibganj will have cargo handling capacity of 2.24 Million Tons Per Annum (MTPA) on completion in 2019. The overall cost of the Sahibgang terminal is estimated to be Rs 467 Crore.
- The construction of multi-modal terminal and Ro-Ro terminal will help create substantial direct and indirect employment in Sahibganj and Jharkhand. Overall additional employment opportunities for 1.5 lakh persons are expected to be generated under the Jal Marg Vikas Project on Ganga river.
- The Sahibganj Multi Modal Terminal will link the city and the landlocked state of Jharkhand to foreign shores through the Bay of Bengal.
- The terminal will generate considerable direct and indirect employment for local people also.
- Jharkhand is richly endowed with mineral resources. The multi-modal terminal at Sahibganj will play an important role in transportation of domestic coal from the local mines (in Rajmahal area) to various thermal power plants located along NW-1.
FMCG is highest paying sector in India: Randstad
According to a survey by Randstad, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) is highest paying sector in India.
Highlights of the survey:
- Employees of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry receive the highest salaries in India at ₹11.3 lakh a year as the average annual cost-to-company (CTC) across all levels and functions.
- The FMCG sector is followed by power and information technology, where employees earn average annual salaries of ₹9.8 lakh and ₹9.3 lakh respectively, according to Randstad 2017 Salary Trends Study findings.
- Pharma and healthcare, offering an average annual CTC of ₹8.8 lakh and telecom ₹8.7 lakhs take the fourth and fifth position in the list as India’s most lucrative industries.
- As far as the location-specific salary trends are concerned, Bengaluru, the IT capital of India tops the chart as the highest paying city in the country, with an average annual CTC of ₹14.6 lakhs while Mumbai offered ₹14.2 lakh.
- In a country like India where job loyalty is considerably low, salary becomes one of the most critical parameters that workforce takes into consideration while changing jobs.
- For employers too, it is an imperative to get the internal compensation structure right, which is primarily a function of various facets like capability, experience, location, job profile, industry of operation etc.
Key Facts for Prelims
Thailand’s army-drafted constitution
- Thailand’s new king has signed an army-drafted constitution that sets the country on the path to elections while cementing the grip of the military over any future government.
- The constitution is the nation’s 20th since the absolute monarchy was abolished in 1932.
- The new charter introduces a different electoral system, a modified proportional method of choosing the 500 members of the lower house of parliament in which people vote for one of 350 constituency candidates; those votes are totalled to determine which of the remaining 150 party list seats go to which party.
World’s first country to neutralise gender pay gap
- Iceland is set to become the first country in the world to neutralise gender pay gap.
- In this regard, a bill was introduced in Iceland’s parliament that makes mandatory for public and private businesses to prove they offer equal pay to employees.
- The bill entails companies and institutions of a certain size (25 or more employees), to undertake a certification of their equal-pay programmes.
- According to World Economic Forum (WEF)’s 2015 Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI), Iceland was ranked first and was followed by fellow Nordic nations Norway, Finland and Sweden.
April 7: World Health Day
- The World Health Day (WHD) is observed every year on 7 April to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO).
- 2017 theme: “Depression: Let’s talk”.
- Observance of the day focuses on disseminating knowledge and awareness about human health, increasing life expectancy by adding good health to the lives of people and promoting healthier living habits across the globe.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) annually marks World Health Day on 7 April to celebrate its founding in 1948.
- It is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by WHO.
- On this day in 1948, the first World Health Assembly was held Geneva, Switzerland. Since then the World Health Assembly decided to celebrate 7 April of each year with effect from 1950 as the World Health Day.