Post-GST, heavy sacks and small change

In News

It might have adverse consequences for the environment explained in the article.

Why GST adversely affect environment ?

  • The tax rate on recycled plastic shooting up from 5.5% to 18% post-GST, ragpicking as a livelihood is turning unviable.
  • After GST came in, the 18% tax on waste plastic has sparked a downward spiral in prices in the recycling markets.
  • Plastic recyclers, faced with the new tax, are protecting their margins by slashing prices at which they buy from thousands of waste managers and ragpickers.
  • The price of mixed plastic is down from Rs. 19 per kg to around Rs. 13 now.
  • The lower demand, coupled with the “sudden introduction of confusing taxes” has resulted in reduced purchases of waste.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation


First meeting of Integrated Monitoring and Advisory Council (IMAC)

Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan chaired the first meeting of apex body for policy formulation and implementation of Roadmap to achieve target of 10 % reduction in import dependency in oil and gas by 2021-22 under an institutional mechanism ‘Integrated Monitoring and Advisory Council (IMAC).

Integrated Monitoring and Advisory Council (IMAC)

  • IMAC was envisaged to facilitate better coordination and comprehensive strategy for all energy resources by focusing on supply and demand side management.
  • IMAC is consisted of Secretary, Petroleum & Natural Gas and other Senior Officers from various Ministries such as Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Urban Development, Road and Transport, Agriculture, Power/Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Rural Development, Finance, Petroleum Planning Analysis Cell, PCRA, DGH etc

Source : Pib

GS II : Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

Railway launched various Railway initiatives

Railway launched the following Initiatives

1. RailCloud

  • Rail Cloud works on popular Cloud Computing system.
  • Most Important works are done through Cloud Computing.
  • Also, this is going to reduce the cost & data may be safely ensured on the servers.
  • RailCloud will pave the way for swifter deployment of application (within 24 hrs as compared to conventional time running into weeks and months).
  • The technology enables maximising the usage of the available server and storage resulting in accommodation of bigger data and more applications within same server space.
  • The existing resources available with railway will be subsumed in RailCloud thereby ensuring that expenditure is minimized in acquiring new resources.
  • Server and storage space will scale up and down as per the demand which makes the system suitable to meet the higher demand at peak hours with less expenditure.
  • The cloud shall be equipped with security features as per the latest GOI guidelines,

Cloud computing is a new form of Internet-based computing that provides shared computer processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand.

2. NIVARAN-Grievance PortalfFirst IT application on RailCloud

  • It is the platform for resolution of service related grievances of serving and former railway employees.
  • The existing application was hosted on a conventional server; it has been made cloud-ready and being migrated as the first cloud application of Indian Railways.
  • It will save significant revenue and at the same time user experience will also improve.

3. Cashless treatment Scheme in Emergency (CTSE)

  • Railway provides Comprehensive Health Care Facilities to its beneficiaries through in-house health Institutions, supplementing with referrals to recognized hospitals whenever necessary.
  • The beneficiaries include retired employees and their dependent family members.
  • A web based system of communication between private hospitals and railway authorities has been developed.
  • Identity of the beneficiary shall be established using biometrics stored in Aadhar (UIDAI) server, eligibility shall be determined using Railway Data Base and emergency shall be verified by Railway Medical Officer based on private hospital clinical report.
  •  The whole system is online and even the bill processing shall be online.

Source : Pib

GS II : Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

5 States, a UT sign pact with Centre on e-Marketplace

Why In News

5 States and a Union Territory (UT) formally adopted the Centre’s initiative called the Government e-Marketplace (GeM).

Objective of e-market

  • Aims to ensure that public procurement of goods and services in India worth more than Rs. 5 lakh crore annually is carried out through the online platform for transparency and to eliminate corruption.
  • The States and the UT that signed an MoU with the Centre include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Telangana, Puducherry and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • GeM can enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement.
  • The GeM will strengthen the cooperative federalism

Four more states, including Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Haryana, will ink such an MoU soon.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures

President unveils online education portal Swayam

President Pranab Mukherjee launched Swayam and Swayam Prabha and a ‘National Academic Depository’ where verified educational records will be digitally stored by universities and boards to counter forgery.

Swayam and Swayam Prabha

  • Aim of the portal is to take education to the remotest corners of the country
  • Swayam and Swayam Prabha and the depository were conceived and executed by the HRD ministry.
  • Emphasised on “quality” of teaching and learning process in higher educational institutions.
  • Courses will be offered through digital classrooms with online study material available free of cost.
  • Students who want certification will have to registerand they will be offered a certificate on the completion of the course for a nominal fee, the Swayam website.
  • They will have the opportunity to raise queries which would be answered in real time.

Need for making quality Education

There were differences in the quality of education in urban and rural areas. Also quality education difference between states and in educational institutions within a state.

Source : Pib

GS II : Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures

NALSA launches web app to monitor legal service to prisoners

A web application was launched for providing free legal services to prisoners so as to ensure that no inmate goes unrepresented in court.

About the App

  • The app is an initiative of National Legal Services Authority
  • The application shall make the legal services system more transparent.
  • It will be universally useful for all the relevant authorities to monitor the grant of legal aid to the prisoners.
  • It will ensure no prisoner goes unrepresented right from the first day of his production in the court.
  • The software will be able to generate reports showing total number of inmates, number of inmates unrepresented, number of inmates represented by legal services lawyers and number of inmates represented by private lawyers
  • All the information can be generated state-wise, district-wise and also in respect of each jail.

National Legal Services Authority

  • The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
  • The Chief Justice of India is the Patron-in-Chief and the Senior most Hon’ble Judge, Supreme Court of India is the Executive Chairman of the Authority.
  • Aim is to provide free and competent Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society.
  • NALSA ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities, and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
  • Apart from the abovementioned, functions of NALSA include spreading legal literacy and awareness, undertaking social justice litigations etc.

Source : Indian Express, NALSA

GS III : Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures

Darwaza Band for open defecation

New campaign titled ‘Darwaza Band’ to promote toilet use and freedom from open defecation across the country’s villages. The campaign produced by the MDWS under Swachh Bharat Mission was launched.

Key Facts

  • Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) launches a fresh national campaign led by Amitabh Bachchan.
  • Darwaza Band’ campaign has been supported by the World Bank and is being rolled out countrywide immediately after the launch.
  • It is designed to encourage behaviour change in men who have toilets but are not using them.
  • Communication campaigns have been taken up both, at the central and State levels, for promoting sustained use of toilets and for sustaining the Open Defecation Free status.

Source : PIB

GS II : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Public Affairs Index 2017

In News

Public Affairs Index (PAI) for the year 2017 has been released which aims to rank the states of India objectively in the field of governance based on various focus subjects and indicators. iT is an initiative of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC).

Performance of various states

  • Kerala and Tamil Nadu – secured first and second rankings for the second year.
  • Gujarat gained two positions rising from five in 2016 to three in 2017 in public affairs index (PAI).
  • Karnataka slipped from third position in 2016 to fourth in 2017 while Maharashtra stood fifth (4th in 2016) in governance indicators.
  • Last four positions among large States. Like in the previous year, Bihar (18th), Jharkhand (17th), Odisha (16th) and Assam (15th)
  • Among 12 small States (population less than two crore), Himachal has wrested the first rank, followed by Goa and Mizoram.
  • Delhi from third position in 2016 to 9th position in 2017.
  • Meghalaya (12th), Arunachal Pradesh (11th) and Jammu Kashmir (10th) are at the bottom of the table.
  • Bihar (18th), Jharkhand (17th), Odisha (16th) and Assam (15th) are at the bottom of the table.
  • Infrastructure : Punjab is the best performer among all States, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat secured second, third and fourth positions, respectively.
  • Human Development : Kerala, Maharshtra, and Punjab are top of the table while Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Assam are the worst performers.
  • Implementation of social protection policies : Kerala, Assam and Madhya Pradesh secured top three ranks in , while Telangana, Haryana and Punjab are lagging in execution of various State and Central government schemes.
  • Women and children : Kerala topped the list followed by Odisha and Karnataka while Jharkhand, Haryana and Maharashtra are poor performers.
  • Tamil Nadu secured first rank in maintaining law and order, delivery of justice and environment categories and secured last rank in transparency and accountability in the administration.
  • Fiscal Management Telangana is the best performer while Andhra Pradesh secured last rank.
  • Economic freedom : Gujarat secured top rank while  Bihar secured the last rank.

About the Report

  • Public Affairs Centre (PAC) is a not-for-profit research think tank situated in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • It works at improving the quality of governance in India.PAC_LOGO
  • The institute conducts research activities in two major fields, public policy and participatory governance.
  • The survey was based on 10 themes, 26 focus subjects and 82 indicators.
  • Wide range of themes such as essential infrastructure, support to human development, social protection, women and children, crime, law and order, delivery of justice, environment, transparency and accountability, fiscal management and economic freedom.
  • Public Affairs Index (PAI) is an attempt to bring together the states of the country which are culturally, economically and socially diverse, into a common data-driven framework, to facilitate an interstate comparison.
  • A well-framed methodology backed by statistical data from government sources, have been included in the study to provide insights into the subject.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures

Judicial performance index mooted

Need for index

Creation of a judicial performance index that could help High Courts and their chief justices keep track of the performance and processes at district courts and subordinate levels for reducing delay.

About the Index

  • Proposed the introduction of a judicial performance index to reduce delays and the outsourcing of non-core functions of the police to private agencies or other government departments.
  • Also  NITI Ayog mooted changes in criminal justice and procedural laws, a repeal of all irrelevant legislation by March 2019 and reforms in land ownership laws — which account for 67% of litigants in civil suits.
  • The index should be ‘the first step’ in judicial system reforms that Aayog its draft three-year action plan.
  • The performance index for courts will entail fixing of non-mandatory time frames for different types of cases to benchmark when a case has been delayed.
  • The index can also include certain progress on process steps already approved by High Courts and such an annual evaluation should give judges in High Courts a sense of where they are failing and what they need to fix.

Quality of policing

  • To improve the quality of policing, create a task force to identify non-core functions that can be outsourced to private agents or government departments in order to reduce the workload of the police.
  • United Nations norms of 222 per lakh population not yet reached.
  • India’s police to population ratio should reach to 222 per lakh, over the next seven years from the current level of 137.
  • Red-flagging the adverse implications of crimes against women beyond the obvious horror for affected individuals.
  • Aayog has proposed to push for greater hiring of women in the police force, with a target of 30% of all new recruits.

Source : The Hindu 

GS II ; Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government



Govt plans ID for cows

Government committee has recommended unique identification numbers for cows as one way to prevent their trafficking, according to documents filed by the central government with the Supreme Court.

About the recommendation

  • Unique ID will contain details of the cattle’s age, breed, sex, height, body colour, horn type, tail switch and special marks, according to the panel set up by the home ministry.
  • In the case of milch cattle, it will also have the lactation profile.
  • This ID will take the form of a polyurethane tag.
  • Registration proof must be maintained by the owner of the cattle which may be transferred to the next owner in case a legitimate sale/transfer takes place.
  • The panel also recommended maintaining state- and national-level registries of cattle and prohibiting livestock markets within a 20km radius of the international border with Bangladesh.
  • It is  an attempt to increase the productivity of the country’s dairy industry also helps to curb cattle smugling.


Committee was set up in response to a 2015 public interest litigation seeking the apex court’s intervention on smuggling of cows to Bangladesh from the border states.

Source : Live Mint

GS III : Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability