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Statutory status for BCs panel

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Statutory, regulatory & various quasi-judicial bodies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: 123rd Constitutional Amendment Bill, National Commission for Backward Classes, Article 338 B, Article 368

Mains level: Reservation and various issues related to it


News

Backward classes panel now a constitutional body

  1. The Lok Sabha has passed the 123rd Constitutional Amendment Bill providing for a National Commission for Backward Classes as a constitutional body
  2. The bill provides for the grant of constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) on par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

Provisions of the bill

  1. The Bill as passed by the Lower House inserts Article 338 B in the Constitution
  2. It provides for a Commission for the socially and educationally backward classes with a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and three other members, all of whom shall be appointed by the President of India
  3. It states that the President may specify the socially and educationally backward classes in the various states and union territories
  4. He may do this in consultation with the Governor of the concerned state

Domain of NCBC

  1. The duties of the NCBC include investigating and monitoring how safeguards provided to the backward classes under the Constitution and other laws are being implemented and probe specific complaints regarding violation of rights
  2. Under this measure, the NCBC will have the powers of a civil court while probing any complaint

Bill sent back to RS

  1. As the Lok Sabha passed an alternative amendment to one proposed by the Rajya Sabha, the Bill will once again go to the Rajya Sabha
  2. A constitutional amendment under Article 368 needs to be passed by both Houses separately with a special majority
Minority Issues – Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) in Fin Min domain: Govt

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF), Central Road Fund Act, 2000

Mains level: Various cess being charged and their usage as well as relevance


News

Fund for roads & infra

  1. Work related to the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) has been taken away from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and brought under the domain of the Finance Ministry
  2. It will now be under the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Finance Ministry

Changes in the usage pattern of road cess

  1. Budget 2018 amended the Central Road Fund Act, 2000, and renamed the Central Road Fund the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund
  2. The objective of the amendment was to use proceeds of the road cess under CRIF to finance other infrastructure projects such as waterways, some portion of the railway infrastructure and even social infrastructure, including education institutions and medical colleges

Ministerial Panel to approve projects

  1. The government recently constituted a ministerial panel headed by the Finance Minister to decide on fund allocation for infrastructure projects from the CRIF
  2. The four-member committee would approve recommendations made by the sub-committee headed by the Economic Affairs Secretary on the list of infrastructure projects to be financed from the CIRF
  3. Other members of the committee include the Ministers of Road Transport and Highways, Railways and Human Resource Development
Road and Highway Safety – National Road Safety Policy, Good Samaritans, etc.

NCTE amendment Bill passed

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Council for Teacher Education, NCTE (Amendment) Bill

Mains level: Vrious initiatives to improve teacher’s education system and their outcomes


News

Lok Sabha nod to the NCTE (Amendment) Bill

  1. The Lok Sabha has passed the National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill to grant retrospective recognition to Central/State institutions that are conducting teacher education courses without NCTE approval
  2. This has been done as a one-time measure to ensure that the future of students studying in these institutions is not jeopardised

Recognition mandatory

  1. The NCTE Act, 1993, came into force in 1995 and applies to all parts of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir
  2. All institutions running teacher education courses, such as B.Ed and D.El.Ed have to obtain recognition from the NCTE under section 14 of the NCTE Act

Back2Basics

National Council for Teacher Education

  1. National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) is a statutory body of Indian government set up under the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993 in 1995
  2. It has been established to formally oversee standards, procedures and processes in the Indian education system
  3. This council functions for the central as well as state governments on all matter with regard to the Teacher Education
  4. Functions
  • undertake surveys and studies pertaining to all aspects of the teacher education and publish the corresponding results
  • For the preparation of suitable plans and programmes regarding the field of teacher education, it makes recommendations to both the state and central governments, universities, University Grants Commission (UGC), and other recognised institutions.
  • it coordinates and monitors the teacher education system throughout the country.
  • it lays down the guideline for the minimum qualifications need for an individual to be a teacher in schools and recognised institutions.
  • it lays downs guidelines for the provision of physical and infrastructural facilities, staffing pattern etc. for the compliance by recognised institutions.
  • it lays down standards with respect to examinations, the major criteria for such admission as well as schemes for courses or training.
  • it promotes and conducts research and innovation in schools and recognised institutions and then disseminates the results thereof.
  • it examines its own laid-down guidelines, norms and standards for the improvement.
  • it identifies the recognised institutions and set up new institutions for the developmental programmes of teacher education system.
  • it takes up necessary steps for the prevention of the commercialisation of teacher education.
  • it also performs other function that is entrusted to it by the central government
Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Kerala trumps high-profile peers to top Public Affairs Index 2018

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: PAI

Mains level: Measures of Human Development in India.


News

Public affairs Index 2018

  1. The index provides a multi-dimensional and comprehensive matrix that attempts to capture the complexities of governing the plural and diverse people of this sub-continent.
  2. It is conducted by the Public Affairs Centre, a Bengaluru-based think tank.
  3. The think tank has undertaken the study across all the Indian states considering them across 10 themes such as essential infrastructure, support to human development, social protection, women and children as well as law and order.
  4. The states were divided into two categories — large and small — on the basis of their population. States with more than two crore population were considered large.
  5. PAI 2018 comprises 10 broad themes, 30 focus subjects and 100 indicators as well as a special chapter on the children of India relying solely upon government data and no private data sources that may be interpreted as “biased”.

Performance of the States

  1. Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat followed Kerala among the top five states delivering good governance, according to the report.
  2. Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar ranked the lowest on the PAI, indicating higher social and economic inequalities in the states.
  3. Among smaller states (with a population less than two crores), Himachal Pradesh topped the list, followed by Goa, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura which figured among the top five states with good governance.
  4. Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya were ranked at the bottom of the index among small states.

Kerala leads

  1. Kerala, according to the think tank, has emerged first overall among 30 States in the country, with a top ranking in four of the 10 parameters for big States.
  2. These include essential infrastructure, support to human development, women and child development and a child-friendly approach.
  3. While the theme on essential infrastructure includes power, water, roads and communication and housing, that on support to human development covers education and health.

Other Indices

  1. This year’s PAI also included a separate index on the children of India, giving a measure of how child-friendly each of the states is.
  2. Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Mizoram topped the index on being the states to provide better living conditions for all children.

Counter-drone strategy for airports ready

A “soft kill” approach instead of a hard kill approach has been suggested.

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Statutory, regulatory & various quasi-judicial bodies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security)

Mains level: New technologies such as Drones and emerging security threats from them


News

Guidelines for drones

  1. The government is set to unveil a framework to regulate unmanned aircraft systems in the country
  2. The Ministry of Civil Aviation had released draft rules for unmanned aircraft systems in November last year and proposed to ban their operation within 5 km radius of an airport and 50 km from an international border

BCAS to ensure implementation near airports

  1. Aviation security watchdog BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security) has finalised a strategy to neutralise drones near airports
  2. The strategy deals with drones operating near aerodromes as the body is mandated to ensure aviation security
  3. The Ministry of Home Affairs may prepare a separate plan to deal with drone attacks in sensitive zones such as Parliament

Softkill approach to be used

  1. A “soft kill” approach instead of a hard kill approach has been suggested because destroying a drone with a payload of explosives or biochemical will result in an attack and serve the purpose of their handlers
  2. The best approach is to entrap the drones and not destroy them

Back2Basics

BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security)

  1. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security is an attached office of the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India
  2. BCAS is the regulatory authority for civil aviation security in India. It is headed by an officer of the rank of Director General  of Police  and is designated  as Commissioner of   Security (Civil Aviation)
  3. Commissioner of security (CA) is the appropriate authority for implementation of Annexure 17 to Chicago convention of International civil aviation organization (ICAO)
  4. Commissioner of security (CA) is responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of the National Civil Aviation Security Programme
  5. The main responsibility of BCAS are laying down standards and measures in  respect of security of  civil flights  at International  and  domestic  airports in India
Civil Aviation Sector – CA Policy 2016, UDAN, Open Skies, etc.

[pib] Development without Felling/Cutting of Trees

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NBCC

Mains level: Example of re-location and transplantation of trees at mass level 


News

  1. Last weekend, over 1,500 people protested in South Delhi against the proposed cutting of over 14,000 trees for a project by the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC).
  2. The NBCC/CPWD will re-work the design and plans for the remaining redevelopment of the 7 GPRA colonies to avoid felling/cutting of trees.

Tree Re-location and Transplantation

  1. NBCC has already floated an Expression of Interest for the acquisition of tree re-location/transplantation equipment and for engaging services of trained professional entities in this respect.
  2. Further, Citizens groups will be invited to suggest where transplanted trees will be planted.
  3. It may be clarified that these will not be saplings but trees of 8-12 feet height.
  4. The LG of Delhi has been advised to set up a Group of Experts/concerned citizens to interact on environmental issues and for specific further actions to be taken in respect of these colonies.

Back2Basics

National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC)

  1. It is a Navratna organization under category I, is a Central Public Sector undertaking which trades publicly in the market and is largely owned by Government of India.
  2. It engages in the Real Estate Development & Construction business and also provides Project Management Consultancy.
  3. NBCC has also undertaken overseas projects in countries like Iraq, Libya, Nepal, Mauritius, Turkey, Botswana, Republic of Maldives, Republic of Yemen et al.
  4. NBCC is also designated as the implementing agency for executing projects under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY), Solid Waste Management (SWM) and developmental work in North Eastern Region.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] Cabinet approves capital infusion in Export Credit Guarantee Corporation Ltd.

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy & their effects on industrial growth

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: ECGC

Mains level: Various initiatives by government to boost trade and exports 


News

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the capital infusion of Rs.2000 crore for strengthening of  Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC)

How will it benefit?

  1. The infusion would enhance insurance coverage to MSME exports and strengthen India’s exports to emerging and challenging markets like Africa, CIS and Latin American countries.
  2. With enhanced capital, ECGC’s underwriting capacity and risk to capital ratio will improve considerably.
  3. With a stronger underwriting capacity, ECGC will be in a better position to support Indian exporters to tap new and unexplored markets.
  4. Increased capital infusion will help ECGC to diversify its product portfolio and provide cost effective credit insurance helping exporters to gain a stronger foothold in the difficult markets.
  5. Covers from ECGC will help in improving competitive position of India exporters in International markets.
  6. More than 85% of customers benefitted by ECGC’s covers are MSMEs.

 Back2Basics

Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC)

  1. The ECGC Limited is a company wholly owned by the Government of India based in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  2. It provides export credit insurance support to Indian exporters to facilitate exports from the country and is controlled by the Ministry of Commerce, GoI.
  3. The ECGC offers credit insurance schemes to exporters to protect them against losses due to non-payment of export dues by overseas buyers due to political and / or commercial risks.
  4. ECGC covers exports to around 200 countries in the world.
  5. The ECGS:
  • Offers insurance protection to exporters against payment risks
  • Provides guidance in export-related activities
  • Makes available information on different countries with its own credit ratings
  • Makes it easy to obtain export finance from banks/financial institutions
  • Assists exporters in recovering bad debt
  • Provides information on credit-worthiness of overseas buyers
Trade Sector Updates – Falling Exports, TIES, MEIS, Foreign Trade Policy, etc.

Centre proposes new body to replace UGC

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the draft HECI, UGC, TSR Subramanian Committee Reforms

Mains level: Considering the ineffectiveness of UGC, the idea of setting up HECI has come forward to improve the scope of regulation of Educational Institutions.


 News

The Centre has placed in the public domain a draft Bill for a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) – aimed at replacing the University Grants Commission – for eliciting suggestions from educationists.

Draft Higher Education Commission of India – a Regulator

  1. HECI is tasked with the mandate of improving academic standards with specific focus on learning outcomes, evaluation of academic performance by institutions, mentoring of institutions, training of teachers, promote use of educational technology.
  2. The draft HECI India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Act, 2018, takes away funding powers from the proposed regulator and gives it powers to ensure academic quality and even close down bogus institutions.
  3. HECI will be in charge of ensuring academic quality in universities and colleges, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) – or another mechanism that will be put in place later – will be responsible for funding universities and colleges.
  4. Once UGC is replaced by HECI, the technical education regulator AICTE and the teachers’ education regulator NCTE will also be reformed on similar lines.
  5. The new regime separates the academic and funding aspects of higher education.

Shutting Bogus Institutions

  1. The Regulator will have powers to enforce compliance to the academic quality standards and will have the power to order closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions.
  2. It will develop norms for setting standards for opening and closure of institutions, provide for greater flexibility and autonomy to institutions, lay standards for appointments to critical leadership positions at the institutional level irrespective of university started under any law (including state list).
  3. Non-compliance could result in fines or even a jail sentence.
  4. Till now, the UGC had no such powers. All it could do was to release a list of bogus institutions and not recognise their degrees.

Who will be the new staff?

  1. UGC staff would be retrained to adapt to the HECI regime, which will be fully digital and would do away with file work.
  2. The HECI will have a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and 12 other members, including ex-officio members, eminent academics and a doyen of industry.

Back2Basics

UGC (University Grants Commission)

  1. The University Grants Commission of India (UGC India) is a statutory body set up by the Indian Union government in accordance to the UGC Act 1956 under Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  2. The UGC has two primary responsibilities:
  • providing funds to educational institutions; and
  • coordinating, determining and maintaining standards in institutions of higher education.

Its main functions are:

  • promoting and coordinating education in universities,
  • determining and maintaining standards for teaching, examination and research in universities,
  • framing regulations on minimum standards for education,
  • disbursing grants to universities and colleges,
  • liaising between the CG, State governments and higher educational institutions, and
  • advising the CG and State governments on possible policy measures to improve higher education in India.
Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Mammals go nocturnal to avoid humans, says study

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: The newscard exemplifies the impact of man-animal conflict on the patterns of wildlife


News

Man-Animal Conflict on a rise

  1. Human activity is causing the planet’s mammals to flee daylight for the protection of night, a study has found.
  2. The study, published in the journal Science, represents the first effort to quantify the global effects of human activity on the daily activity patterns of wildlife.
  3. Its results highlight the powerful and widespread process by which animals alter their behavior alongside people: human disturbance is creating a more nocturnal natural world.

Is the increasing animal nocturnality good?

  1. Wildlife adapting to avoid humans temporally could be viewed as a path for the coexistence of humans and wild animals on an increasingly crowded planet
  2. However, there are a range of potential negative consequences of the shifts they report in wildlife which include
  • mismatches between the environment and an animal’s traits
  • disruption of normal foraging behaviour
  • increased vulnerability to non-human predators
  • heightened competition
Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Time to shift focus from land to water productivity in farming, says NABARD

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country

From UPSC perspectives, following things are important:

Prelims level: NABARD, Particulars of the report

Mains level: The newscard highlights need for effective management of water for irrigation purpose based on stats from study.


News

The report calls for a shift in policy focus from land productivity to an efficiency of water use

  1. Indian agriculture needs to stop being “obsessed” with the land productivity and instead start worrying about water productivity, says a report released by the NABARD this week based on study of 10 states.
  2. Titled Water Productivity Mapping of Major Indian Crops, the report is part of a research project with ICRIER, mapping a water atlas for ten major crops — rice, wheat, maize, red gram or tur, chickpea or chana, sugarcane, cotton, groundnut, rapeseed-mustard and potato.
  3. Given that Indian agriculture uses almost 80% of all the country’s water resources, which are increasingly under stress, changing the objective of agriculture development to increasing productivity per unit of water, especially irrigation water, is crucial, says the report.

Observations

  1. Most differences between land and water productivity are seen in rice and sugarcane cultivation, the report says.
  2. Punjab reports the highest land productivity for rice, producing four tonnes per hectare. However, it only produces 0.22 kg of rice for every meter cube of irrigation water.
  3. Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, on the other hand, produce 0.75 and 0.68 kg for the same amount of water.
  4. However, low irrigation coverage results in low land productivity in these States. Jharkhand has only 3% of its land under irrigation.
  5. For sugarcane, another water-guzzling crop, Tamil Nadu reports the highest land productivity, producing 105 tonnes per hectare. Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh also have high rates of land productivity.
  6. In fact, an average of 40 rounds of irrigation are needed in Tamil Nadu. In the Gangetic Plain States of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, on the other hand, need five and eight rounds of irrigation respectively.

Key Recommendations

  1. The report recommends that cropping patterns be re-aligned to water availability, using both demand and supply-side interventions.
  2. With water and power subsidies skewing cropping patterns, it also recommends reform in these areas, with a shift from the price policy approach of heavily subsidizing inputs to an income policy approach of directly giving money farmers on per hectare basis.
  3. Prices will then be determined by market forces.
Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

New health scheme flawed: IMA

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Ayushman Bharat Scheme

Mains level: The newscard highlights very important bottleneck in the implementation of the very ambitious health care initiative, which cannot be ruled out.


News

Limitations of Insurance Driven Healthcare

  1. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has demanded a review of the Centre’s ambitious National Health Protection Scheme, saying it has “conceptual deficits and operational flaws”.
  2. It said current policy change in India will only end up strengthening the insurance business.
  3. In addition to non-creation of new public sector hospitals, the government will lose around ₹400 crore to private health insurance companies which will manage the scheme.

Issues highlighted by IMA

  1. The IMA demanded that the costing undertaken be transparent and be in public domain.
  2. The doctor’s body said the money allotted for the Ayushman Bharat — National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPS) would have better served the country if every district hospital is strengthened with an infrastructure of ₹2 crores each.
  3. The same money invested in our public hospitals would have brought secondary and tertiary care closer to poor in our government hospitals.
  4. The doctors body said the rates quoted by the government for various procedures are abysmal and impractical and most of them do not cover even 30% of the cost of the procedure.
  5. In the garb of cost-cutting, the government is exposing the people to danger in the hospitals.

Example: Caesarean sections underwritten for ₹9,000 cannot ensure the safety of the mother and the child

Key Suggestions

  1. IMA has suggested to the Union government that NHPS should be modeled as healthcare purchase directly from the provider hospitals removing the insurance companies and third-party administrators.
  2. These intermediaries siphon off 40% of the budgeted money and are breeders of corruption and unethical practices.
  3. The IMA said the way forward for the country is to invest in our government hospitals for better health infrastructure and manpower.

Back2Basics

Indian Medical Association

  1. The IMA is a national voluntary organization of Doctors of Modern Scientific System of Medicine in India, which looks after the interest of doctors as well as the well being of the community at large.
  2. It was established in 1928 as the All India Medical Association, renamed “Indian Medical Association” in 1930 and is headquartered in New Delhi.
  3. It is a society registered under The Societies Act of India, 1860.
  4. It delegates its powers to a Working Committee (A representative body of all state Branches) for implementation of programmes and activities.
  5. The Indian Medical Association is a founder member of the World Medical Association.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

India faces worst water crisis: NITI Aayog

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims Level: Particulars of the report

Mains Level: The newscard emphasizes need to prioritize water conservation amidst other environmental crises.


News

Demand for potable water will outstrip supply by 2030, says NITI  

  1. The NITI Aayog released the results of a study warning that India is facing its ‘worst’ water crisis in history and that demand for potable water will outstrip supply by 2030 if steps are not taken.
  2. Nearly 600 million Indians faced high to extreme water stress and about 2,00,000 people died every year due to inadequate access to safe water.
  3. Twenty-one cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people, the study noted.
  4. If matters are to continue, there will be a 6% loss in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2050, the report says.

Ranking the States

  1. The NITI Aayog’s observations are part of a study that ranked 24 States on how well they managed their water.
  2. Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh took the top three spots, in that order, and Jharkhand, Bihar and Haryana came in last in the ‘Non-Himalayan States’ category.
  3. Himachal Pradesh — which is facing one of its worst water crises this year — led a separate 8-member list of States clubbed together as ‘North-Eastern and Himalayan.
  4. These two categories were made to account for different hydrological conditions across the two groups.

Low performers

  1. About 60% of the States were marked as “low performers” and this was cause for “alarm,” according to the report.
  2. Many of the States that performed badly on the index — Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh — which accounted for 20-30% of India’s agricultural output.

Conservation counts, not Scarcity

  1. The index noted, several of the high and medium performers — Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana — irrespective of droughts in recent years.
  2. Therefore, a lack of water was not necessary grounds for States not initiating action on conservation.
  3. Most of the gains registered by the States were due to their restoration of surface water bodies, watershed development activities and rural water supply provision.

The Way Forward

  1. Given the combination of rapidly declining groundwater levels and limited policy action this is likely to be a significant food security risk for the country.
  2. Envisioned as an annual exercise, the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI), to evaluate States, has been developed by the NITI Aayog to raise awareness for the concern.
  3. Experts however say unless India woke up to its water crisis, disaster loomed.
  4. There is great awareness now about air pollution however; India’s water crisis does not get that kind of attention.
Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Minorities’ commission to seek constitutional status

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Statutory, regulatory & various quasi-judicial bodies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Commission for Minorities (NCM), Constitutional status, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

Mains level: Various bodies constituted for vulnerable sections and their effectiveness


News

Asking for constitutional status 

  1. The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has decided to approach the government for granting it Constitutional status
  2. This is being done in order to protect the rights of minority communities more effectively

Why is such demand being made?

  1. If granted such a status, the NCM will be able to act against errant officials who do not attend hearings, follow its order or are found guilty of dereliction of duty
  2. After getting constitutional status, the NCM can penalise or suspend an officer for two days or send him/her to jail
  3. In its present form, the NCM has powers to summon officials, including chief secretaries and director generals of police, but has to rely on departments concerned to take action against them

Constitutional bodies

  1. Till now, only the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes enjoy constitutional status

Back2Basics

National Commission for Minorities (NCM)

  1. The Union Government set up the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992
  2. Six religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities by the Union Government all over India
  3. The NCM adheres to the United Nations Declaration of 18 December 1992 which states that “States shall protect the existence of the National or Ethnic, Cultural, Religious and Linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity”
  4. Constitution of India doesn’t define the word ‘Minority’ but has used the word minorities considering two attributes religion or language of a person
  5. The Commission shall consist of
  • a Chairperson,
  • a Vice-Chairperson and
  • Five Members to be nominated by the Central Government from amongst persons of eminence, ability and integrity; provided that five members including the Chairperson shall be from amongst the minority communities
Minority Issues – Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

In name of fake news, Government frames rules to blacklist journalists

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Statutory, regulatory & various quasi-judicial bodies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Press Council of India, News Broadcasters Association

Mains level: Ethical issues related to Media in India


News

New guidelines for journalists

  1. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has amended guidelines for journalists’ accreditation
  2. If a journalist is found to have “created and/or propagated” fake news, the journalist’s accreditation will be suspended or permanently canceled

Authorities to take the decision

  1. The Press Council of India and News Broadcasters Association (NBA), the two regulatory bodies for print and television media respectively, will determine whether the news is fake or not
  2. These bodies are not “regulated/operated” by the government
  3. The regulatory agencies will examine whether the `Norms of Journalistic Conduct’ and `Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards’ prescribed by the PCI and NBA respectively are adhered to by the journalists

Back2Basics

Press Council of India

  1. The Press Council is a statutory, quasi-judicial body which acts as a watchdog of the press
  2. It adjudicates the complaints against and by the press for violation of ethics and for violation of the freedom of the press respectively
  3. It was first set up on 4 July 1964 by the Parliament to regulate the press in India
  4. The basis at that time was the Press Council Act, 1965 which resulted from the recommendations of the First Press Commission of India (1952-1999)
  5. After 2017, the Council functions under the Press Council Act 1978 which arose from the recommendations of the Second Press Commission of India (1978)
  6. The Press Council is headed by a Chairman: usually, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India
  7. It consists of a Chairman and 28 other members. Of the 28 members, 13 represent the working journalists

News Broadcasters Association

  1. The News Broadcasters Association is a private association of different current affairs and news television broadcasters in India
  2. It was established by leading Indian news broadcasters in October 2008
  3. The association was set up to deal with ethical, operational, regulatory, technical and legal issues affecting news and current-affairs channels
Censorship Issues – Censor Board, Banning films, etc

Post NFRA formation, what is ICAI’s role?

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Statutory, regulatory & various quasi-judicial bodies.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Financial Reporting Authority, Companies Act, 2013, ICAI

Mains level: Role of auditors in various frauds and measures to prevent such instances in future


News

NFRA to be set up

  1. The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for the establishment of the National Financial Reporting Authority
  2. It was envisaged under section 132 of the Companies Act, 2013

Roles of NFRA

  1. It is intended to serve as an independent regulator for the auditing profession
  2. It can recommend to the Centre formulation of accounting and auditing standards and policies to be adopted by companies and auditors
  3. It can monitor and enforce such standards and policies

Powers of NFRA

  1. It can investigate professional matters or misconduct of any member or a firm of chartered accountants
  2. It can issue summons and examine on oath
  3. It can also inspect any book, registers and documents of any professional/firms probed
  4. It may impose penalties and even has powers to debar a member of a firm

Present role of auditors

  1. The Companies Act casts a responsibility on auditors to see that corporate accounts are in order
  2. Auditors can choose not to sign the accounts if their concerns are not addressed by the management
  3. The Companies Act also allows auditors to report to the Centre if they believe an offence involving fraud is being committed by the company, by its officers or employees

What is ICAI’s role now?

  1. Institute of Chartered Accountants of India’s role will continue in respect of its members, in general, and, specifically, with respect to audits pertaining to private limited companies and public unlisted companies below the threshold limit to be notified in the rules
  2. ICAI will continue with its advisory role on accounting and auditing standards and policies by making its recommendations to NFRA

Back2Basics

National Financial Reporting Authority

  1. National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) is a body proposed in Companies Act 2013 for the establishment and enforcement of accounting and auditing standards and oversight of the work of auditors
  2. The establishment of NFRA as an independent regulator for the auditing profession will improve the transparency and reliability of financial statements and information presented by listed companies and large unlisted companies in India
  3. The jurisdiction of the NFRA for investigation of Chartered Accountants and their firms would extend to listed companies and large unlisted public companies
  4. The Central Government can also refer such other entities for investigation where public interest would be involved
  5. The Quality Review Board (QRB) will also continue quality audit in respect of private limited companies, public unlisted companies below the prescribed threshold and also with respect to audit of those companies that may be delegated to QRB by NFRA
  6. It will consist of a Chairperson, three full-time Members, and one Secretary