9 PM Current Affairs Brief – December 1st, 2019

JJP gets State party status

News:The Election Commission of India has granted the Jannayak Janta Party the status of a recognised State party in Haryana.

Facts:

Conditions for recognition as a state party:For any political party to be eligible for recognition as a State Party in a state, it has to satisfy any of the five conditions listed below.

  • Secure at least 6% of the valid vote & win at least 2 seats in an Assembly General Election.
  • Secure at least 6% of the valid vote & win at least 1 seats in the Lok Sabha General Election
  • Win at least 3% of the seats or at least 3 seats , whichever is more, in an Assembly General Election
  • Win at least 1 out of every 25 seats from a state in a Lok Sabha General Election
  • Secure at least 8% of the total valid vote in an Assembly or Lok Sabha General Elections.

Significance of recognition:

  • The political parties are given recognition as national or state parties by the election commission of India on the basis of their poll performance.
  • The recognition determines their right to certain privileges like allocation of the party symbols, provision of time for political broadcasts on television and radio stations and access to electoral rolls.
  • Every national party and every state party is allotted a symbol exclusively reserved for its use throughout the country and the states respectively.
  • In other words, the Commission specifies certain symbols as ‘reserved symbols’ which are meant for the candidates set up by the recognised parties.

Additional information:

Conditions for recognition as a national party:A party is recognised as a national party if any of the following conditions is fulfilled

  • If it secures 6% of valid votes polled in any four or more states at a general election to the Lok Sabha or to the legislative assembly and in addition if it wins four seats in the Lok Sabha from any state or states or
  • If it wins 2% of seats in the Lok Sabha at a general election and these candidates are elected from three states or
  • If it is recognised as a state party in four states.

Development of Loktak Inland Waterways Project in Manipur

News:The Ministry of Shipping have given approval for the development of Loktak Inland Waterways improvement project in Manipur.

Facts:

About the Project:

  • The project will develop the Inland water transport connectivity in North East States and give a boost to the tourism sector.
  • The project is approved under the Central Sector Scheme(CSS).
  • The project will be implemented under the Ministry of Shipping.

About the Loktak lake:

  • Loktak lake is the largest freshwater lake in North east located at Moirang in Manipur.
  • The lake is famous for its phumdis floating over it which are formed naturally.
  • Phumdis are the floating mass of entangled vegetation formed by the accumulation of organic debris and biomass with soil.
  • Keibul Lamjao National Park which is the only floating National Park in the world is located on the Loktak Lake.
  • The sangai deer which is an endemic and endangered subspecies of brow-antlered deer is found only in the Keibul Lamjao National Park, Manipur.
  • The species is listed as Endangered(EN) in IUCN Red list.

Antibiotic prescription rate high in private sector

News:According to a study by the researchers of Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), antibiotic prescription rate is high in the private sector.

Facts:

About the study:

  • This study is the first ever estimate of outpatient antibiotic prescription rates and patterns in the private sector.
  • It has been published with the title — “Outpatient antibiotic prescription rate and pattern in the private sector in India”.

Key takeaways from the study:

  • The private sector has clocked high levels of antibiotic prescription rates (412 per 1,000 persons per year).
  • Of the 519 million antibiotic prescriptions,the majority were dispensed for the diseases of the respiratory system(55%).
  • The highest rate was seen among children aged 0–4 years (636 per 1,000 persons) and the lowest in the age group 10–19 years (280 per 1,000 persons).
  • The percentage of prescriptions for wide-spectrum antibiotics like cephalosporins and quinolones was significantly higher than the U.S. and Greece.

Additional information:

About Antibiotic resistance:

  • It is the ability of a microorganism like bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites to stop an antimicrobial such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals and antimalarial from working against it.The term antibiotic resistance specifically covers resistance to antibiotics.
  • As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others.
  • India is considered to be one of the top users of antibiotics and there is a growing problem of antimicrobial resistance.
  • The per capita antibiotic consumption in the retail sector has increased by around 22% in five years from 2012 to 2016.

DPIIT invites applications for first-ever National Startup Awards 2020

News:The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has announced the institution of the first ever National Startup Awards.

Facts:

About National Startup awards:

  • The first ever National Startup Awards has been announced by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade(DPIIT).
  • The awards seek to recognize outstanding startups and ecosystem enablers that are building innovative solutions and scalable enterprises, with high potential of employment generation or wealth creation, demonstrating measurable social impact.
  • The awards for startups will be given in 35 areas classified into 12 broad sectors like agriculture, education, enterprise technology, energy, finance, food, health, Industry 4.0, space, security, tourism, and urban services.
  • In addition,there are three special awards for startups from educational institutions making an impact in rural areas and women entrepreneurs.
  • A cash prize of Rs 5 lakh each will be awarded to the winning startup in each area.A cash prize of Rs 15 lakh each will also be awarded to one winning Incubator and one winning Accelerator as well.

Additional information:

About Startup India

  • Startup India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India launched in 2016.
  • It is intended to catalyse startup culture and build a strong and inclusive ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in India.
  • Since the launch of the initiative, Government has rolled out several programs with the objective of supporting entrepreneurs, and transforming India into a country of job creators instead of job seekers.

India Corruption Survey 2019

News:India Corruption Survey 2019 has been released by the Local Circles,a social media firm and the Transparency International India.

Facts:

Key takeaways from the survey:

  • Rajasthan tops corruption chart in India.As per Survey, 78% of people in Rajasthan, participating in the survey admitted to paying a bribe to get work done.
  • Bihar follows Rajasthan and was placed at second spot.In Bihar, 75 % of citizens admitted to paying a bribe to get their work done.
  • Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand were ranked third in the list with 74 % of citizens admitted to paying a bribe to get their work done.
  • In South India,Telangana has topped with 67% of citizens admitted to paying a bribe to get their work done.
  • On the other hand,Kerala was ranked as the least corrupt states where only 10% of people admitted to paying a bribe to get their work done.
  • Besides Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Haryana and Delhi were among the least corrupt states.

Additional information:

About Corruption Perceptions Index 2018:

  • India has been ranked at 78th place out of 180 countries in ‘Corruption Perception Index(CPI),2018.
  • The index is released by the Transparency International.It ranks countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people.
  • It uses a scale of 0 to 100 where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
  • Denmark has topped the index followed by New Zealand and Finland.On the other hand,Somalia has been ranked last in the index.

About Transparency International:

  • Transparency International is an international non-governmental organization.It was founded in 1993 based in Berlin, Germany.
  • Its purpose is to take action to combat corruption and prevent criminal activities arising from corruption.
  • It publishes various reports such as the Global Corruption Barometer and the Corruption Perceptions Index.

India conducts 1st night trial of nuclear capable Agni-III missile

News:India has conducted the first night trial of nuclear capable long-range ballistic missile Agni-III.

Facts:

About Agni-III:

  • Agni-III is an intermediate range nuclear capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile.
  • The missile has been developed by DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization).
  • The missile has a strike range of 3,000 km to 5,000 km and is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads weighing up to 1.5 tonnes.
  • The missile is powered by a two-stage solid propellant engine.It is 17 metres long with two-metre diameter and weighs around 2,200 kg.
  • It is equipped with a hybrid navigation, guidance and control systems along with advanced on-board computer.
  • The trial was carried out by the Strategic Forces Command of the Indian Army with logistic support from the DRDO.

Additional information:

About Strategic Forces Command:

  • The Strategic Forces Command(SFC) was created in 2003.It is a part of India’s Nuclear Command Authority(NCA).
  • It is responsible for the management and administration of the country’s tactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile.

About Nuclear Command Authority(NCA):

  • Nuclear Command Authority is India’s nodal authority responsible for command, control and operational decisions regarding India’s nuclear weapons programme.
  • It has an Executive Council which is headed by National Security Advisor.
  • It gives input to the Political Council headed by the Prime Minister.The Political Council authorizes a nuclear attack if need be.

Govt appoints Soma Roy Burman as new Controller General of Accounts

News:Government has appointed Soma Roy Burman as the new Controller General of Accounts(CGA).

Facts:

About Controller General of Accounts(CGA):

  • Controller General of Accounts (CGA) is the Principal Advisor on Accounting matters to the Union Government.
  • It comes under the Department of Expenditure,Ministry of Finance.
  • The Office of CGA prepares monthly and annual analysis of the expenditures, revenues, borrowings and various fiscal indicators for the Union Government.
  • Under Article 150 of the Constitution, the Annual Appropriation Account (Civil) and Union Finance Accounts are submitted to Parliament on the advice of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Functions of CGA:

  • Responsible for establishing and managing a technically sound Management Accounting System
  • Responsible for preparation and submission of the accounts of the Union Government
  • Responsible for exchequer control and internal audits.

Additional information:

About Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG):

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is a constitutional body established under Article 148 of the Constitution of India.
  • The CAG is appointed by the President following a recommendation by the Prime Minister.
  • CAG audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the state governments,including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government.
  • CAG is also the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department,the affairs of which are managed by officers of Indian Audit and Accounts Service.

Govt seeks House nod for additional spending of over Rs 21,000 crore in current fiscal

News:Recently,the Finance Minister has tabled the first batch of Supplementary Grants for the financial year 2019-20 in both the Houses of Parliament.

Facts:

What are Supplementary Grants:

  • Supplementary grants are additional grant required to meet the required expenditure of the government
  • Supplementary, additional or excess grants are mentioned under Article 115 of the Constitution.

When are Supplementary grants needed?

  • When grants authorised by the Parliament has fallen short of the required expenditure, an estimate is presented before the Parliament for Supplementary or Additional grants.
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General of India bring such excesses to the notice of the Parliament.
  • The Public Accounts Committee examines these excesses and gives recommendations to the Parliament.
  • These grants are then presented and passed by the Parliament before the end of the financial year.

Additional information:

About Additional Grant:

  • It is granted when a need has arisen during the current financial year for additional expenditure upon some new service not contemplated in the budget for that year.

About Excess Grant:

  • It is granted when money has been spent on any service during a financial year in excess of the amount granted for that service in the budget for that year.It is voted by Lok Sabha after the financial year.
  • Before the demands for excess grants are submitted to the Lok Sabha for voting,they must be approved by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.

Vote of credit:

  • It is granted for meeting an unexpected demand upon resources of India when on account of the magnitude or the indefinite character of the service,the demand cannot be stated with the details ordinary given in a budget.
  • Hence,it is like a blank cheque given to the Executive by the Lok Sabha.

Exceptional Grants:

  • It is granted for a special purpose and forms no part of the current service of any financial year,

Token Grant:

  • It is granted when funds to meet the proposed expenditure on a new service can be made available by reappropriation.
  • Reappropriation involves transfer of funds from one head to another.It does not involve any additional expenditure.

About Public account committee:

  • The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was set up first in 1921 under the provisions of the Government of India Act,1919.
  • It is a committee of selected members of Parliament constituted by the Parliament of India.
  • The PAC is formed every year with a strength of not more than 22 members of which 15 are from Lok Sabha and 7 from Rajya Sabha.The term of office of the members is one year.
  • The Chairman is appointed by the Speaker of Lok Sabha.Since 1967, the chairman of the committee is selected from the opposition.
  • The committee examines the audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) after it is laid in the Parliament.
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