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Daily Current Affairs IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 22nd January 2019

  • IASbaba
  • January 22, 2019
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Daily Current Affairs IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 22nd January 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


How a CBI Director is appointed?

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Indian Polity; Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

In news:

  • After the high-power committee ousted Alok Verma as CBI Director, now the committee is set to select the agency’s Director.
  • The CBI draws its legality from the 1946-Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DSPE). Before the Lokpal Act was legislated, the CBI director was appointed by the DSPE Act.
  • Now, the Lokpal Act governs the appointment of the CBI director.

Centre appoints the CBI

  • The CBI director is appointed by the Centre on the basis of the recommendation of a search committee comprising of the Prime Minister as the chairperson, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition.
  • Above Selection committee was constituted under The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
  • The process of selecting the CBI director begins in the Home Ministry, which prepares a list of IPS officers, who are eligible for the post on the basis of their seniority and experience in the field of probe.
  • The MHA list goes to the Department of Personnel, which prepares the final list on the basis of “seniority, integrity and experience in the investigation of ant-corruption cases”.
  • The search committee examines the names and sends its recommendation to the government for the appointment of CBI director.
  • Earlier, under the DSPE Act, the CBI director was appointed on the basis of the recommendation by a panel comprising the Central Vigilance Commission as chairperson, other vigilance commissioners, Home Secretary and Secretary (Co-ordination and Public Grievances the Cabinet Secretariat).

Do you know?

  • The Chief Justice of India can nominate a Supreme Court judge if he does not attend the search committee meeting.
  • In the absence of a formal Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the leader of the floor of the largest opposition party takes part in the search committee meetings.

Centre proposes to hike pensions

Part of: GS Prelims II – Social/Welfare issue; Social Security Schemes; Govt policies and schemes

In news:

  • Union Rural Development Ministry has proposed to increase the monthly pensions of the elderly poor, disabled and widows from ₹200 to ₹800.
  • For those above the age of 80, the proposal is to increase the pension from ₹500 to ₹1,200 a month.
  • If implemented, it would lead to additional annual cost implication of ₹18,000 crore to the Finance Ministry.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2019/01/22/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_01/df6c754c_2681458_101_mr.jpg

Do you know?

  • Rural Development Ministry administers the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP).
  • A study has been launched to consider doubling the number of people covered by the scheme, a promise originally made in last year’s Budget.
  • Discussions are also being held with the State governments on a proposal to merge the Central and State pension schemes.

About National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)

  • It came into effect from 15th August,1995
  • It represents a significant step towards the fulfillment of the Directive Principles in Article 41 of the Constitution.
  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
  • It provides financial assistance to the elderly, widows and persons with disabilities in the form of social pensions.
  • It is a welfare programme being administered by the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • However, this programme is being implemented in rural areas as well as urban areas.
  • NSAP at present, comprises of Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS), Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS), National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) and Annapurna.

‘Plastic waste imports to India go up’

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Biodiversity; Pollution

In news:

  • In spite of a ban on the import of plastic waste into India, the influx of PET bottles has quadrupled from 2017 to 2018 (due to legal loophole)
  • Indian firms are importing plastic scraps from China, Italy, Japan and Malawi for recycling.
  • To incentivise domestic plastic recycling units, the government had banned the import of plastic waste, particularly PET bottles in 2015.
  • In 2016, an amendment allowed such imports as long as they were carried out by agencies situated in Special Economic Zones. It’s this loophole that’s been exploited.

Do you know?

  • Government and industry estimates suggest that India consumes about 13 million tonnes of plastic and recycles only about 4 million tonnes.
  • A lack of an efficient waste segregation system and inadequate collection is the root cause for this wide gap.

Miscellaneous:

  1. ‘Bihar outgrew others in FY18 GDP’

In news:

According to Crisil report –

  • Bihar and Andhra Pradesh led the pack among States in terms of GDP growth in financial year 2017-18.
  • Bihar registered 11.3% and Andhra Pradesh registered 11.2% growth, compared with the national GDP growth of 6.7% for the year.
  • 12 of the 17 general category States grew faster than the national growth rate.
  • However, the report noted that this growth was not equitable, with the gap between the per capita incomes in low-income and high-income States widening over the last five years.
  • Jharkhand, Kerala, and Punjab are at the bottom.
  1. China’s 2018 growth slows to 28-year low

In news:

  • China’s economy shows growing signs of weakness. Its growth slows to 28-year low.
  • Reasons: Weak domestic demand, bruising U.S. tariffs drag economy
  • China to roll out more stimulus to avert a sharper slowdown.
  • Slowdown has fuelled anxiety about global risks.
  1. 19 amphibian species are critically endangered: ZSI list

In news:

According to an updated list of Indian amphibians (released by Zoological Survey of India) –

  • 19 amphibian species are being treated as critically endangered and 33 species as endangered.
  • The list prepared by ZSI notes whether the species are in danger, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • In 2009, the total number of species listed was 284. In 2010 it was 311, in 2011 it was 314, in 2012 and 2013 it was 342, in 2015 it was 384 and in 2017 it was 405 species.

IUCN Status

  • The current list bears the names of 432 amphibian species from India, the year of discovery and their IUCN ‘red list’ conservation status.
  • Among the amphibians listed, 19 species are treated as critically endangered and 33 species as endangered.
  • The list describes 19% of amphibians as data deficient species and 39% as not assessed by the IUCN. Therefore, it is high time that IUCN status for the Indian ‘not assessed’ amphibians (169 species) are assessed.
  1. Tribal meet held in Rajasthan

In news:

  • Rajasthan tribal meet stresses on preserving indigenous practices.
  • It laid emphasis on re-establishing their links with the livestock, local herbs, traditional foodgrain and indigenous agricultural practices as a safeguard for protecting their culture.
  • Subjects of agriculture and health care discussed.
  • The tribal farmers took a pledge to preserve the fertile soil in their areas for ensuring food security.

Person in news: Shivakumara Swami

Why in news?

  • Shivakumara Swami, the 111-year-old seer of Siddaganga Mutt, Karnataka passed away.
  • He was popularly known as “Nadedaduva Devaru” (Walking God).
  • The Lingayat seer was known for his humanitarian work in education.

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSwt2Bwu4T7Jis-4b1DgHp90r7uub8q_-GrPeddT_0qsOpYSKzj

  • A Padma Bhushan awardee, the seer founded over 125 institutions and was a follower of the Virakta Lingayat tradition.
  • He had followers across caste and religious barriers.
  • He became a seer of the mutt in 1941, had a long stint of 78 years.

(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Need for strong judiciary in a market economy like India

Introduction

  • Since the 1991 economic reforms, India has improved tremendously in almost all economic indicators, and is now one of the fastest growing nations in the world.
  • Various economic policies of the current government have enabled the economy to move faster than ever before.
  • These include tax reforms leading to the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax, reforms making India more competitive in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index, and implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
  • But it has never been more important to also strengthen the quality of the material which makes up the engine of the economy, i.e. India’s institutions.

An inefficient Judiciary

  • As a democracy, India has an advantage: the roots of all its institutions are strong.
  • However, they have simply failed to grow with the growing population and with increasing demands. (An inefficient judiciary)
  • The judicial system, in particular, is far from reaching the pace required for efficient functioning.

Importance of the judiciary in a market economy

Three things are crucial for the market economy to function efficiently:

  1. transparency in information,
  2. efficient dispute settlements, and
  3. contract enforcement in a time-bound manner powered by an effective judiciary.

In a market economy, the government has little role to play in transactions among players. However, it plays an effective role by setting up efficient dispute settlement mechanisms, so that the costs of transactions are minimal.

In such an economy, the judiciary plays the pivotal role by enforcing contracts in the case of disputes through minimal costs.

Concerns:

  • Over the years, and with the advent of the Internet, India has taken a leap towards transparency of information. However, little progress has been made in the case of dispute settlement mechanisms due to an inefficient judiciary.
  • Economic Survey of 2017-18 had also pitched for the need for ‘Timely Justice’.
  • Poor working capacity of Supreme Court and High Courts; Huge numbers of pending cases; Poor GDP expenditure on administration of justice are some of the major issues.

Conclusion:

  • The focus on the judiciary should increase for better.
  • If the official dispute settlement mechanism does not deliver justice in a time-bound manner, the market players try to bypass the system by paying rents to government officials, a system that became customary in the License Raj.
  • Strong institutions are the key to move India up the economic ladder. Otherwise, India will remain a land of crony capitalists.

Connecting the dots:

  • Critically analyse the reasons behind justice delivery being delayed in India and the associated effects on a market economy like India.
  • The judicial system has simply failed to grow with the growing population and with increasing demands. Do you agree? What can be the practical solutions to this problem? Discuss.

NATIONAL/SOCIAL

TOPIC: General studies 1 and 2

  • Social Empowerment
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes

Middle class, redefined

Context:

  • The below article provides the definition of “middle class” and the current government’s policies or measures taken towards them.  
  • Some critics have raised questions whether the government is doing enough for the middle class.

Definition of Middle Class:

  • A formal definition of the term “Middle Class” does not exist, though some efforts to provide an outline have been made.
  • One view considers individuals earning US $2 to $13 a day (i.e. an income of roughly Rs 50,000 to Rs 3.2 lakh per annum) as middle class.
  • Another view takes into account consumption pattern to identify middle class. As per this, individuals/families who own basic lifestyle goods such as a fridge, two-wheeler, colour television, etc. can be called middle class.

A middle class family can therefore be envisioned as one where one or more members is gainfully employed and they may own some basic lifestyle goods such as those stated above.

Further, it is reasonable to consider that this class is liable to pay income taxes (that is, earns at least Rs 2.5 lakh per annum).

Has government failed to target this middle class?

Considering the above definition, one can notice that the Union government has rolled out a clear development strategy targeting the middle class.

Government’s strategy has three broad components.

  1. The first involves implementing measures that put more money into the pockets of the middle class, helping them save more.
  2. The second relates to creating an environment that reduces their day-to-day hassles and stresses, thus simplifying their daily lives.
  3. And the last pertains to empowering them and creating suitable development opportunities.
  1. Increased savings for the middle class
    • Inflation brought down: The government has deftly brought down double-digit inflation (that persisted before May 2014) to around 3-5 per cent. This has reduced the day-to-day expenses incurred by the middle class, but has also reduced interest amounts paid by them for various loans.
    • Low interest rates: Cost of most loans such as home loans, auto loans, education loans is less compared to that before May 2014.
  • Tax sops: several changes were also made in the income tax structure –
  • tax exemption limit was increased from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh and from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakhs for senior citizens.
    • increase in deduction limit under Section 80C from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh
    • reduction in tax rate (from 10 per cent to 5 per cent) for individuals earning less than Rs 5 lakh per annum.

Together, all these measures increased savings for the middle class to a substantial extent.

  1. Making day-to-day life simple for the middle class
  • Physical connectivity: On a daily basis, a majority of the middle class ends up spending hours on personal/office-related commute. To reduce this daily stress, faster and more comfortable transit modes such as metros are being provided. Besides intra-city/town connectivity, inter-city/town connectivity is also being augmented by expanding roads and highways, railways, aviation and waterway networks.
  • General services: Government has taken measures to offer public services in a simple and cost-efficient manner. Today, it is considerably easier and faster to get a passport made or to get income tax issues resolved. Senior citizens can submit life certifications digitally.
  1. Empowerment of Middle Class and create development opportunities
  • Increased credit flow: A host of initiatives are being taken to simplify the regulatory environment for businesses and entrepreneurs. (Stand-Up India, MUDRA, etc)
  • Impart necessary technical skills to youth.
  • Capacities of higher educational institutes have been increased considerably.

Conclusion:

  • Today’s middle class is aspirational. It is financially prudent but at the same time willing to take risks. What it needs is an enabling ecosystem to realise its full potential.
  • The current government has attempted to do this through its various initiatives.

Connecting the dots:

  • Define the term “middle-class”. Discuss the recent measures taken by the government which has enabled conducive ecosystem to realise its full potential.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Which of the following is/are related to CBI?

  1. Balwantray Mehta committee
  2. Vineet Narain case
  3. Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act of 1946

Choose the correct option

  1. 3 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.2) The Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) was established by the resolution of Ministry of Home Affairs in 1963. Which of the following statements regarding CBI are correct?

  1. It is a statutory body.
  2. It derives its powers from Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
  3. It is an independent body and does not come under government’s control.

Select the code from following:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3
  4. All of the above

Q.3) Consider the following about the appointment of CBI Director:

  1. CBI director is appointed by the Centre.
  2. CBI director is appointed on the basis of the recommendation by a panel comprising the Central Vigilance Commission as chairperson, other vigilance commissioners, Home Secretary and Secretary.
  3. Lokpal Act governs the appointment of the CBI director.

Which among the following is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 1 and 3
  3. 2 and 3
  4. 1,2 and 3

Q.4) The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) is a social security programme comprised of different sub-schemes targeted at different deprives sections of population. Which of the following schemes come under NSAP?

  1. Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)
  2. Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS)
  3. Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS)
  4. National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS)

Select the code from following:

  1. 1,2 and 3
  2. 2,3 and 4
  3. 1,3 and 4
  4. All of the above

Q.5) The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) is a social security programme comprised of different sub-schemes targeted at different deprives sections of population. Which of the following statements are correct regarding NSAP?

  1. The scheme is administered by Ministry of Rural Development.
  2. The program is being implemented in rural as well as urban areas.
  3. For getting benefits under NSAP the applicant must belong to a Below Poverty Line (BPL) family.

Select the code from following:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. All of the above

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