Mains Test Series

 

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GS-2

SCO calls for Global front to fight terror groups

News:

  1. In the recently held Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Qingdao, China, the member states resolved to combat terrorism, extremism and separatism

Important facts

  1. The SCO is an international grouping which comprises of 8 countries: China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, China and Russia.
  2. The Qingdao Declaration was signed by all the SCO members
  3. Plan of Action:
  • Reach a consensus on adopting UN Comprehensive Convention on International terrorism. It is a proposed treaty to counter any form of financing of terrorism and providing mechanical or technical support to it.
  • Joint appeal to Youth- Call to youth not to get influenced by extremist ideologies
  • Addressing the issue of foreign terrorists from West Asia:
  • Improve the information exchange mechanisms regarding the terrorists and their movement
  • Accelerate procedures to extradite foreign terrorists in accordance with the national legislation of the member states
  • Boost international cooperation both on the political level and between the security services.
  • Highlighted the importance of SCO Regional Anti-terrorist structure to counter all forms of terrorism
  • Strengthen international legal framework to address the threat of nuclear weapons
  • Support initiative to draft an international convention against chemical and biological terrorist attacks
  • Control the spread and propagation of terrorist ideology through internet
  • Improve the mechanism within the SCO to combat illegal drug trafficking

Government opens doors to lateral entry

News:

  1. The Department of personnel and training has announced “lateral recruitment” to senior positions in Government of India.

Important News:

  1. The government has invited individual with outstanding quality from Private Sector Companies, Consultancy Organizations, and International/Multinational Organizations to join the government at the joint secretary level at the Centre.
  2. Initially applications for 10 senior level positions is available in the Departments which include:
  • Department of Economic Affairs
  • Department of Revenue
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of  Financial Services
  • Department of Economic Affairs
  • Civil Aviation
  • Agriculture and Cooperation,
  • Highways and Shipping
  • Environment and Climate Change
  1. The government will further expand it to other categories in the second phase.
  2. Eligibility criteria as per notification includes:
  • Minimum age of 40 years
  • Minimum qualification of graduation from a recognized university
  • Individuals who are working at comparable levels in Private Sector Companies, Consultancy Organizations, International/Multinational Organizations with a minimum of 15 years’ experience
  • It also include those working in central public sector undertakings, autonomous bodies, statutory organizations, research bodies and universities.

6. Tenure of office

  • According to the DopT, the recruitment will be on contract basis for three to five years.
  1. Aim
  • To bring in expertise from the private sector individuals and implant talent into the country’s bureaucracy.
  • To impart individual contribute towards nation building.

 Draw the line for Speakers and Governors

Article:

1- Kapil Sibal, Rajya Sabha MP, analyse the misuse of powers by the governors and speakers.

Important Analysis

2- Issues raised by him for Governor:

  • Misuse of discretionary power by governor
  • Recent examples: Karnataka, Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya are examples of political venality initiated by Governors’ actions.
  • Governors protects the interest their own parties.

3-The Supreme Court in R. Bommai v. Union of India (1994), emphasized on illegal dismissal of state governments on the Governor’s recommendations.

4- The Sarkaria Commission and Punchi Commission provide guidelines for Governors in forming the government.

5-For Speaker:

  • Dubious role of the Governor  on Anti-Defection Law. Some times Governor delayed to take action in anti defection (Andhra case) and some times it act promptly (Tamil Nadu – Dinakaran case).
  • The Speaker is more loyal to his party and the government than to the Constitution.

6. The speaker  under the 10th Schedule decides the question of disqualification  of MLAs .

7. To control the abuse of power by speaker and governor, he sought for political consensus for amendment in constitution.

GS-3

Insolvency Code: What’s new?

News:

Recently, the President of India approved the promulgation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code (Amendment) Ordinance 2018

Important Facts:

Recent Changes:

  1. Inclusion of home-buyers in the category of financial creditors
  • Homebuyers (either as an individual or group) can initiate insolvency proceedings against errant builders
  • Homebuyers shall have the right to be represented in the committee of creditors (CoC)
  • The CoC takes the key decision on revival of the company or its liquidation.
  1. Definition of a related party in relation to an individual:
  • Previously, related party was defined only with reference to a company facing insolvency
  • After the amendment, related party is defined in relation to an individual running the firm
  • They would be barred from bidding for the firm under the resolution process
  1. Changes in voting share of the committee of CoC
  • Previously the requirement for extending the insolvency process beyond 180 days till 270 days and for appointment of the resolution professional (one who oversees the process) was 75%.
  • After the amendment, it is 66%
  • Withdrawal from the insolvency process is permitted. It requires the approval of 90% of voting share of the CoC
  1. If Financial creditor is a related party:
  • Financial creditor includes banks and other financial institutions
  • If financial creditor or its authorised representative is a related party to the company facing insolvency, it shall not have any participation or voting during CoC meeting
  • Exemption: If financial creditor has become a related party due to conversion or substitution of debt to equity shares or instruments convertible into equity shares before the starting date of insolvency proceedings.
  1. Moratorium not to be available to the guarantors of a company:
  • During the moratorium period no parallel proceeding are allowed for a company under insolvency
  • Guarantors are persons who provide guarantee for the loans availed by the corporate debtor.
  • Previously there was no clarity on whether this moratorium period is available to guarantors of the company
  • According to the amendment, moratorium is not available to guarantors
  1. Filling of application by company:
  • A company can file an insolvency application. For filing of application it requires to seek three-fourth of the stakeholders’ approval.
  1. Operational creditor to confirm dues only if available
  • Operational creditors are suppliers of the company.
  • Previously it was mandatory for them to provide certificate from the financial institution managing their accounts regarding pending dues from the company. Now they have to confirm dues only if it is available

8. Tenure of an insolvency resolution professional

  • Under insolvency process, at first an interim resolution professional (IRP) is appointed and then, a resolution professional (RP).
  • The IRP had a fixed tenure of 30 days
  • According to the amendment, tenure of the IRP would continue till the appointment of the RP
  • Written consent from RP for appointment in office

Comprehensive screening for newborns in Kerala soon

News:

  1. Kerala is set to introduce Comprehensive Newborn Screening (CNS) programme

Important Facts:

  1. Present Initiatives:
  • Newborns are screened in public sector facilities for inherent metabolic disorders (blood test) and hearing deficit (OAE- Oto Acoustic Emissions test).
  • Hridyam programme introduced- The programme aims at early detection and management of congenital heart diseases
  1. Issues with current programmes:
  • Scattered, not comprehensive
  • No mechanism to document or track infants in need of continuous follow-up treatment
  1. Objectives of CNS Programme:
  • To assess newborns in public sector health facilities for birth abnormalities and critical congenital illnesses within 48 hours of birth
  • To improve the quality of survival of these babies
  1. Benefits of the programme:
  • Early identification and management of all deficits in infants
  • Help in reducing State’s burden of disabilities
  • Help in reducing infant mortality rate (IMR)
  1. Details of the programme:
  • CNS to converge all newborn screening programmes on a web-based platform. It will have a unified reporting system and link-ups with District Early Intervention Centres (DEICs)
  • Newborns to be assessed under 4 domains:

a) Visible birth defects,

b) Functional defects (hearing issues, congenital cataracts, heart diseases)

c) Metabolic disorders

d) Neuro-development issues

  • Android app developed for visible birth defect reporting and documentation at all delivery points. This will link all positive cases of disability recorded to the DEIC

 

Open data, open government

Article:

Rana Kapoor, MD and CEO of Yes Bank, highlights the importance of Open Data

Important Analysis

  1. Open government data means publishing data collected by government in its entirety
  2. Importance of Open government data:
  • Helps to ensure the transparency in policy making. This would enable good governance.
  • Helps in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of public services and ensure citizen welfare
  • Strengthen citizen participation in governance
  • Helps in developing technology-based innovations

Examples:

a) Data on annual crop production, soil health data and meteorological data can enable companies to develop customised crop insurance policies with specific risk-based pricings

b) Data on demographic attributes, literacy can help customised literacy programmes for villages

c) Hospital infrastructure data (beds, occupancy rates etc.) and demographic data can help in designing health-care applications

  • Technological applications can yield economic benefit: A study by PwC, Australia estimated that open data can add 1.5% to country’s GDP

Example: London, UK

  • Transport for London had digitised and shared around 80 data sets. This had led to creation of different technology based applications. The benefit from these applications is estimated to be €130 million

Initiatives in India:

  • Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology introduced: National Data Sharing & Accessibility Policy (NDSAP). In compliance with the policy the Open Government Data (OGD) Platform India has been set up
  • At present, India has 1.6 lakh data resources. It has published 4,015 application programme interfaces

Concerns in India:

  • Potential of Open data is largely unused
  • Data sets shared are fragmented and not comprehensive
  • Data management, storage and privacy issues.
  • To address data protection and privacy issues, the EU has introduced General Data Protection Regulation

Measures to address concerns:

  • Ensure completeness of data stacks opened for use. For example, soil health card should have data on all relevant aspects plus data on emerging technologies
  • Ensure comprehensive data
  • Clustering of relevant data sets and APIs
  • Develop anchor cases or use cases to encourage data usage.
  • Use case is a methodology used in system analysis to understand user interaction with system.
  • For example, after identification in e-KYC, Adhaar data showed huge growth. Its API led to development of market applications, DBT, Adhaar enabled payment systems which have boosted financial inclusion
  • Comprehensive governance framework- open data council for monitoring, regulating and building usage after oversight.

 

Challenges may dampen glee over Deocha Pachami

News:

  1. The West Bengal government has got the permission to mine Deocha Pachami coal block in Birbhum district.

Important Facts:

  1. Deocha Pachami is among the biggest coal mines in the world with a reserve of more than 2 billion tonnes.
  2. The project is expected to generate one lakh jobs and bring significant investments.
  3. Challenges:
  • coals are available at depth of approx. 200-300 meters.
  • Lack of technology to mine at such depth.
  • limited use of coal by power plant due to dipping prices of renewable energy.
  •  large size of land is required to develop the mine.
  • Initial cost is huge.
  1. steps to be taken
  • Use of international expertise to develop new mining method.
  • The mine-capacity has to be large to ensure viability.
  • There is need to think of alternative use for this coal. Technological enhancement for conversion of coal-to-oil or chemicals.
  • A special purpose vehicle for this project would be needed.
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