Amendment Bill to be introduced in Lok Sabha today
- The Government has introduced a Bill to
amend the Right to Information Act, 2005 in the Lok Sabha. The amendment
bill proposes two fundamental changes.
- First, it proposes to change the tenure of the Central Information
Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioner (IC) at the centre and
state levels from five years or until the age of 65 years at present to
for such term as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
- Second, it proposes to change the salaries and allowances of CIC and IC
as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
- The RTI Act,2005 provided that at the
central level, the salaries and allowances of the CIC and IC would be the
same as that of the Chief Election Commissioner(CEC) and Election
Commissioner (EC) respectively.
- The Government has said that the amendment
was needed as the functions being carried out by the Election Commission
of India and the Central Information Commissions are totally
- Election Commission is a constitutional
body established under Article 324 of the Constitution of India. But the
Central and State Information Commissions are statutory bodies established
under the RTI Act of 2005.
- Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response to citizen
requests for government information. The basic objective of the Right to
Information Act is to (a) empower the citizens (b) promote transparency,
accountability in the Government (c) contain corruption and (d) make our
democracy work for the people in real sense.
- The CIC is an 11 member
commission set up under the Right to Information Act, 2005 as a quasi
judicial body. It is the highest appeal body available to applicants
seeking information under the RTI Act.
Telangana govt set to send medical supplies via drones
- Telangana Government and the World
Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network has
announced the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project.
- The project aims to deliver emergency
medical supplies such as blood and vaccines via drones. The project will
run in partnership with the State Government and Health Net Global
- The project will also help facilitate
decision-making in healthcare supply chains, focus on last-mile deliveries
and address issues that affect the medical distribution system.
- Drones or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) are unmanned aircraft
piloted from a remote pilot station.
- In 2018, the Director General of Civil
Aviation has announced the policy delineating what classifies as remotely
piloted aircraft. It also outlined how they can be flown and the
restrictions they will operate under.
- It stated that drones can be operated by
someone who is over 18 years of age. He/she should have cleared the Class
X examination in English and should have undergone DGCA ground and practical
- The DGCA has clarified that no remote
pilot can operate more than one drone at any time. Drones cannot be flown
within 5 km of the perimeters of the airports in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai,
Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad and within 3 km from the perimeter of
any other airport.
Amlekhgunj petroleum pipeline will be a game-changer for Nepal: Indian
- Indian Ambassador to Nepal has announced
that Motihari- Amlekhgunj petroleum pipeline will start commercial
operation by August, 2019.
- The 69-kilometre long petroleum pipeline
from Motihari in Bihar to Amelkhgunj in Nepal has been constructed by
- The project will reduce the huge
transportation cost for Nepal. The commercial operation of the oil project
will also ensure reduction in fuel prices.
- The project will ensure smooth, cost-effective
and environmentally friendly supply of petroleum products to Nepal and
will also help in tackling the oil storage problem in Nepal.
- The Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline
project was first proposed in 1996. However, the project finally edged
closer to reality during Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Nepal in 2014.
procedures to attract vendors: Piyush Goyal to GeM officials
- Commerce and Industry Minister has asked
officials of the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) to simplify the public
procurement portal’s procedures.
- The government aims to achieve Rs 1 lakh
crore in GeM’s gross merchandise volume in 2019-20.
- The minister has suggested measures such
as (a) incentives for ministries procuring products and services through
GeM (b) bringing in technical experts for specialised products and (c) creating
more categories to maximise usage of the portal.
- The minister has also requested all
ministries and government departments to nominate a Joint Secretary-level
officer to coordinate with GeM and identify more products and services
that may be procured through the platform.
- Government e Marketplace is an online marketplace setup in 2016 for
procurement of commonly used goods and services by government ministries, departments
and CPSEs. It aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public
- GeM has been envisaged as National
Procurement Portal of India. It functions under Directorate General of
Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- GeM is a completely paperless, cashless
and system driven e-marketplace that enables procurement of commonly used
goods and services with minimal human interface.
Minister releases Deeksharambh
- The Union Minister of Human Resource
Development has released UGC Guide to Student Induction Programme called “Deeksharambh”.
- The Programme aims to engage with the new
students as soon as they come into the institution before regular classes
start. The programme will be implemented by University Grants Commission (UGC).
- The programme will help new students (a) adjust
and feel comfortable in the new environment (b) inculcate in them the
ethos and culture of the institution (c) help them build bonds with other
students and faculty members and (d) expose them to a sense of larger
purpose and self-exploration.
signs International Solar Alliance Framework agreement
- Palau has signed the International Solar
Alliance (ISA) Framework Agreement.
- Palau became the 76th country to sign the
ISA Framework Agreement, which till now has been ratified by a total of 54
of the 76 countries.
- The ISA is an alliance of
more than 122 countries initiated by India most of them being sunshine
countries which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of
Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
- The ISA was established by the Paris
Declaration. It is headquartered at Gurugram, India. The primary objective
of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to
reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
- The alliance is a treaty-based
intergovernmental organization. Countries that do not fall within the
Tropics can join the alliance and enjoy all benefits as other members with
the exception of voting rights.
- The ISA’s objectives includes global
deployment of over 1,000GW of solar generation capacity and mobilisation
of investment of over US$ 1000 billion into solar energy by 2030.
raises over Rs 10,000 crore on net basis via CPSE ETF
- The Central Government has raised over Rs
10,000 crore on a net basis from the 5th further fund offer (FFO) of the
Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE) Exchange Traded Fund(ETF).
- The government aims to raise Rs 1.05 lakh
crore through disinvestment in 2019-20 up from Rs 85,000 crore raised last
fiscal. Disinvestment is defined as the action of an organisation or
government selling or liquidating an asset or subsidiary.
- Government has constructed a fund to sell
the shares in PSUs. It is called CPSE Exchange Traded Fund. The CPSE ETF
is managed by Reliance Nippon Life Mutual Fund.
- CPSE ETF comprises shares of the 11 public sector undertaking
companies which are (a)ONGC (b)Coal India (c)IOC (d)Oil India (e)PFC
(f)REC (g)Bharat Electronics (h)NTPC (I)SJVN (j)NLC and (k)NBCC.
- Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) are index
funds that are listed and traded on stock exchanges just like regular
shares. They are a basket of stocks with assigned weights that reflect the
composition of an index.
- The ETFs trading value is based on the net
asset value of the underlying stocks that it represents. The ETF is aimed
at helping speed up the government’s disinvestment programme.
- The Ministry of Human Resource and
Development has recently launched the Paramarsh scheme. It is a scheme
under the University Grant Commission (UGC)
- Under the Paramarsh scheme, the leading
institutions will provide regular mentoring to help NAAC Accreditation
Aspirant Institutions achieve high quality standards.
- The Scheme will be implemented through a
“Hub & Spoke” model. Under the Scheme, the Mentor Institution called
the “Hub” will be centralized.
- It will guide the Mentee institution
through the secondary branches, called the “Spoke”, through a variety of
services provided to the mentee for self-improvement.
- The scheme also proposes to provide
financial assistance to the mentoring institutions and the option of
appointing an expert, who can be paid a fellowship amount of Rs 31,000 per
- The significance of the scheme is: a) will
lead to enhancement of the mentee institutions’ quality, b) mentee
institution will also have increased exposure and speedier adaptation to
best practices and c) there will be sharing of knowledge, information and
opportunities for research collaboration and faculty development in mentee
- The National Accreditation and Assessment
Council (NAAC) is an autonomous body that assesses and accredits higher
education institutions (HEIs) in India. It assesses the higher learning
institutes on the basis of seven parameters.
passes Protection of Human Rights (Amendment Bill) 2019
- The Lok Sabha has passed Protection of
Human Rights (Amendment) Bill 2019. The bill seeks to amend the Protection
of Human Rights Act, 1993.
- The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993
was enacted to provide for the constitution of a National Human Rights
Commission (NHRC), the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) and the Human
Rights Courts for protection of human rights.
- The bill provides that besides a former
chief justice of India, as is the current requirement, a former Supreme
Court judge can also become the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
- Similarly, a former high court judge can
also become a state human rights commission chairperson besides a high
- The bill also provides for including the
chairpersons of the National Commission for Backward Classes, the National
Commission for the Protection of Child Rights and the Chief Commissioner
for Persons with Disabilities as members of the National Human Rights
- Further, the bill provides for a reduction
in the tenure of chairpersons of national and state human rights bodies to
three years from the current five years.
- The bill also provides for increasing the
Members of the Commission from two to three of which, one shall be a
- The National Human Rights Commission
(NHRC) is a statutory body which deals with promotion and protection of
human rights in India.
set to sign US-like defence logistics sharing pact with Russia
- India and Russia are finalising a defence
agreement called the Agreement on Reciprocal Logistics
- The agreement will simplify
interoperability and enable military platforms to receive support and
supplies across bases in both nations.
- Currently, India has a defence logistics
sharing agreement with the US.A similar agreement was also inked with
France in 2018.
- Further, if the pact is signed India will
be a rare nation that has such a strategic agreement with both the
countries namely US and Russia.
- The agreement will be most beneficial to
the Navy as warships will get access to mutual ports and exclusive
economic zones to refuel and pick up supplies.
- The Indian Navy which has a significant
strength of Russian origin warships will be able to smoothly transit
through for exercises using the agreement while the air force will find it
easier to deploy aircraft for joint exercises.
- Russia can also use ports like Mumbai and
Visakhapatnam. Besides ports Russia would also be able to access
- India could also get access to Northern
route and ports in Russian part of the Arctic. India is looking at an
Arctic station in the near future and Russia could be partner. Russia has
also assured India access to energy resources in the vast Arctic region.
opposes NEXT for MBBS students
- The Tamil Nadu government has opposed the
provision in the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill proposing a common
final-year MBBS exam- National Exit Test (NEXT).
- According to the state government, such an
exam could be held for those studying medicine abroad and coming to India
for practice, not for MBBS students in India.
- The state government has also opined that
provisions of the Bill are against the federal principles and undermine
rights of States.
- Recently, the Union Cabinet approved the
National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 which proposes to repeal the Indian
Medical Council Act, 1956.
- If enacted, the current Medical Council of
India would be replaced by a National Medical Commission.
- The bill proposes a common final year MBBS
exam called National Exit Test (NEXT) to start medical practice. It will
also be used for entrance into postgraduate medical courses, and act as a
screening test for foreign medical graduates.
- The Bill proposes to unify all entrance
procedures for medical courses. The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test
(NEET), common counselling and NEXT will be applicable to Institutes of
National Importance (INIs) such as the All India Institutes of Medical
Sciences (AIIMS) to ensure uniform standards.
- The bill also proposes to set up a Medical
Advisory Council as a separate entity. It will serve as the primary
platform through which the states will put forward their views and
concerns before the NMC.
NRC: SC questions need for sample reverification
- The Supreme court has questioned the plea
made jointly by the Centre and Assam to extend the deadline for
publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) from July 31
in order to conduct a sample reverification process.
- The Centre and Assam government had sought
a 20 % sample re-verification of names included in the final draft of the
NRC in the districts bordering Bangladesh and a 10% sample re-verification
in the remaining districts.
- The rationale behind the sample
reverification is to identify illegal immigrants who may have been
included in NRC list, especially in the districts bordering Bangladesh.
- The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is
a register which contains the name of all citizens of India residing in
Assam. It was first prepared in 1951.
- Currently, the NRC is being updated in
Assam to address the issue of illegal migrants. It seeks to identify
illegal migrants in Assam who had entered the state on or after 25th March
- The update is being carried out under the
Citizenship Act, 1955, and according to rules framed in the Assam Accord,
- The draft Assam NRC was published on July
30, 2018 in which the names of 2.89 crore of the 3.29 crore people were
Trials of Nag Missile successfully Conducted by Indian Army
- The Indian Army has successfully carried
out summer user trials of NAG missile at Pokhran Field Firing Ranges in
- The completion of summer user trials will
now pave the way for production and induction of the missile system into
- The Nag missile is a
third generation fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile. It is an all
weather, top attack missile with a range of 3 to 7 km.
- The missile can seek and destroy all known
enemy tanks during day and night or under any adverse weather condition. The
missile is launched from the NAG missile carrier(NAMICA) which is capable
of carrying up to six combat missiles.
- The missile has been developed by the
Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) under the Integrated
Guided Missile Development Programme(IGMDP).
- The other missiles developed under the
IGMDP include the Agni, Prithvi and Akash. The Trishul project was shut
down after being developed as a technology demonstrator.
- Nag is incorporated with many advanced
technologies including the Imaging Infrared(IIR) Seeker with integrated
avionics, a technology which is processed by a few nations in the world.
rejects SEBI plea to amend provision for transferring reserves
- The Finance Ministry has refused to accept
the request from the Securities and Exchange Board of India(SEBI) to amend
the provision that mandates transferring 75% of the market regulator’s
surplus funds to the central government.
- SEBI had written to the government seeking
a review of the Budget proposal that mandates transferring 75% of the
market regulator’s surplus funds to the central government
- SEBI said that the proposal would result
in compromising its autonomy and its ability to function effectively
towards the progress and development of the Indian securities market.
- The Finance Bill,2019 has proposed a 75%
cash transfer from the Sebi’s general fund to the Central government after
creating a ‘reserve fund’ of the annual surplus. The transfer is proposed
to take place after SEBI incurs all expenses mandated under the law
- The Securities and Exchange Board
of India(SEBI) is the regulator for the securities market in
India.It was established in 1988 and given statutory powers in 1992
through the SEBI Act,1992.
- The Finance Bill is a
money bill. This means that once passed by the Lok Sabha, it can become
law unchanged even if the Rajya Sabha proposes to amend it. In effect, passing
the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha means that the government has chosen to
ignore SEBI’s concerns.
police stations to have separate officers for investigation and law and order
- The Bihar police has decided to bifurcate
its forces on the lines of investigation and law and order at base level
of police stations from August 15,2019.
- Bihar police will have separate sets of
officers, head constables and constables to look after investigation and
law and order.
- This will also allow police stations to
devote up to 70% of its force for investigation. In less sensitive police
stations the ratio can be 50:50 or as decided by the station in-charge.
- This move comes in the backdrop of
improper investigation and pendency of cases. About 1.4 lakh cases are
pending in the state.
- Further, women police personnel will also
not be posted at police stations which do not have separate toilets for
Governor, state-run bank CEOs discuss slow rate transmission
- The Reserve Bank of India Governor has
discussed the issues of banking sector with the officials of Public sector
banks (PSBs) and Indian Banks Association(IBA).
- During the meeting, the issue of less than
desired level of transmission of monetary policy rates was discussed with
the banks. Even though the RBI has cut the Repo rate by 75 basis points in
2019, banks have not fully passed on the benefits to their customers.
- The meeting also discussed about giving
impetus to resolution of stressed assets facilitated by revised framework
for resolution announced by the RBI and strengthening internal control
mechanism for improved fraud risk management.
- The recent initiatives to address issues
relating to non-banking financial companies(NBFCs) and the role banks can
play in mitigating lingering concerns also came up for discussion.
- RBI Governor has also underlined the
importance of expanding and deepening the digital payments ecosystem in
line with the recommendations of the Report on Deepening of Digital
Payments and the Reserve Bank’s Payment System Vision Document 2021.
- The Banks has said that it will identify
one district in each state to make it 100% digitally enabled within a time
frame of one year in close coordination and collaboration with all
stakeholders including state level bankers’ committees(SLBCs),state
governments among others.
Indians lived outside their state of birth in 2011
- According to Census 2011 migration data,
more than 5.6 crore Indians lived in states other than the ones they were
- UP, Bihar, Rajasthan and MP had the
highest ‘outmigration’. Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat had the largest
- Among larger states, Bihar had the lowest
number of people migrating into the state and most of the migrants came
from Jharkhand and UP. Migrants from Bihar moved more towards the eastern
states of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam.
- People born in UP constituted the largest
share (45%) of Delhi’s migrant population followed by Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra and Gujarat.
- In most southern states, people from
neighbouring states constituted the largest share of the migrant
population. In Kerala, Bengalis (5%) were the only significant
non-southern migrant population.
- Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand had more in-migration than out-migration. While, UP, Bihar and Rajasthan had negative net migration i.e. more people left the state than coming in.