CIC backlog grows as vacancies remain unfilled

Pending Issues
 
  • 24,302 cases related to information appeals pending with the Central Information Commission as on Thursday, according to the CIC website.
  • This backlog is in spite of the fact that the Commission is returning a majority of appeals coming to it, citing lack of documentation, premature appeals or forwarding of cases to the relevant State Information Commissions.
  • As per data available on the CIC website, in 2017 alone, of the 18,518 cases registered as appeals, the CIC returned 13,796 cases to appellants citing one reason or the other.
Why Pending Casese
 
  • Sources in the CIC blame the lack of sufficient staff strength as among the reasons why their backlog is increasing.
  • There is an understanding that every Information Commissioner handles approximately 270 cases a month, that is 3,240 cases per year.
  • So, when two ICs are not available, it adds a burden of up to 6,000 cases per year.
  • This is too much and it will definitely affect the quality of the judgment.
Members of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) highlighted the lack of transparency in the process of appointment of information commissioners.
Central Information Commission
 
Basic Data
 
  • Formed under the RTI Act 2005. so it is not a constitutitonal body
  • The Central Information Commission is a high-powered independent body which inter alia looks into the complaints made to it and decide the appeals.
  • It entertains complaints and appeals pertaining to offices, financial institutions, public sector undertakings, etc., under the Central Government and the Union Territories
Composition
 
  1. The Commission consists of a Chief Information Commissioner and not more than ten Information Commissioners.
Appointment
 
 
  • They are appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee consisting of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister.
  • They should be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.
  • They should not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any State or Union Territory.
  • They should not hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession.
Tenure
 
  • The Chief Information Commissioner and an Information Commissioner hold office for a term of 5 years or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • They are not eligible for reappointment.
  • Removed by the president

Source : The Hindu

Topic : Polity

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RERA rules CREDAI’s London meet

Why In News

A recent meeting of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) in London was dominated by discussions over the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016, better known as RERA, with industry representatives voicing their concerns particularly over the legislation’s impact on ongoing projects.

RERA AND CONCERNS

  • RERA, brought in to protect the interests of home buyers, and codify the running of the sector (with the aim of boosting investment in real estate over the long term) came into force on May 1, with individual States required to declare the rules within a 90 day period.
  • Under the law, developers have 90 days to register ongoing projects.
  • It will help weed out unscrupulous developers and set higher standards.
  • Its members are concerned about the provisions regarding ongoing projects, warning that it could have long term, negative reverberations for the industry, ultimately hitting supply and pricing.
  • Part of the problem lies around the lack of clarity on what constitutes an ongoing project .
  • Argued that the law, when it comes to ongoing projects, is actually unimplementable in several ways ranging from.
    • The treatment of common areas in buildings to the defect liability period,
    • To the legislation’s requirement that 70% of proceeds from the project be placed in a separate account.
  • Developers have been struggling to meet the 90-day registration process, leaving them potentially in breach of the legislation, and unable to market or sell their projects.
  • In the legislation there is no place where we can go as developers, if we don’t get a completion certification in time for a completed project, there is no provision if developers don’t get the electricity connection, the water for my completed project.

 

Topic : Development Studies

Source : The Hindu

 

 

Centre likely to differ with J&K on Article 35A

What is the issue

Centre is likely to take a divergent opinion from that of the Jammu and Kashmir government on Article 35(A), on the grounds that it discriminates against women who marry outside the State from applying for jobs or buying property, which is in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

Article 14  : says the “State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India, Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

Article 35(A) : which prohibits a non-J&K resident from buying property in the State and ensures job reservation for J&K residents.  Denies property rights to native women who marry from outside the State. The denial of these rights extend to her children also. It also empowers the State’s legislature to frame any law without attracting a challenge on grounds of violating the Right to Equality of people from other States or any other right under the Constitution.

Conflict between Article 14 and Article 35A


Source : The Hindu

Topic : Polity

NITI Aayog selects 3 States for transformative change in Health & Education sectors

In News

NITI Aayog, announces partnership with three States each to radically transform their Health and Education sectors, major push to competitive, cooperative federalism.

About 

  • NITI Aayog has selected Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Karnataka to improve healthcare delivery and key outcomes in these States.
  • In Education, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Jharkhand have been selected for support to better learning outcomes.
  • The six States have been chosen after a rigorous competitive process based on comprehensive metrics to determine potential for impact and likelihood of success.

How is the process ?

  • States were called to, first, express intent of collaborating with NITI Aayog to better their Health and Education indices.
  • States then made presentations for each sector which was assessed by a committee comprised of senior members of NITI Aayog and Health and Education ministries.
  • The States highlighted the initiatives undertaken by them thus far, their willingness to accelerate improvement and justified why they should be selected for the institutional support being offered by NITI Aayog.

Evaluation of states

  • On thorough technical evaluation, the chosen States have committed to time-bound, governance reforms in both sectors.
  • A Program Management Unit to push for efficiency and efficacy in governance structures and service delivery will now be available in the six chosen States for a period of 30 months.
  • It is expected that these three years of focussed attention and support from the premier think tank will lead to a marked transformation and also provide a model for other States to replicate and adapt.

Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital 

This three-way partnership between NITI, State Governments and a knowledge partner for each of the sectors is part of the Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital (SATH) initiative of NITI Aayog.

NITI Aayog has launched SATH, a program providing ‘Sustainable Action for Transforming Human capital’ with the State Governments. The vision of the program is to initiate transformation in the education and health sectors. The program addresses the need expressed by many states for technical support from NITI .


Source : The Hindu

GS II : Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

Venkaiah Naidu becomes India’s new vice-president

Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu has been elected as India’s 15th Vice-president who was a Former Union Minister.

Vice President Election

  • Unlike the presidential election held recently, in which the electoral college also includes MLAs of all state assemblies and union territories, only MPs of the two Houses can vote in the vice-presidential election.

1. It consists of both elected and nominated members of the Parliament

2. It does not include the members of the state legislative assemblies

  • Qualification

1. He should be a citizen of India.
2. He should have completed 35 years of age.
3. He should be qualified for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
4. He should not hold any office of profit under the Union government or any           state government or any local authority or any other public authority.

  • Functions 

1. He acts as the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha
2. He acts as President when a vacancy occurs in the office of the President


Source : In General News

GS II : Polity

Proxy voting raises many complex issues

Why in News

 Union Cabinet on Wednesday agreed to amend the electoral laws to let NRIs nominate04ki vote persons to vote on their behalf in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.The Centre’s nod for `proxy’ voting rights for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) as a major step towards full democratic empowerment.

Need for Proxy voting

For millions of Indians working abroad the Cabinet decision, if implemented after getting Parliament approval, would be a major achievement.

Concerns over the proxy system

  • The proxy voting would lead to gross electoral abuse, particularly in the traditionally small-margin Assembly constituencies.
  • The nomination system would help parties to `buy votes’ from the NRIs’ nominees.

Alternative method instead of Proxy

  • Mahe residents have for long been voting online in the French elections.
  • The government to make Aadhaar mandatory for all, including the NRIs, for voting. And, the NRIs should be allowed to do e-voting from their workplaces overseas using the Aadhaar number.

Source : The Hindu

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

Cabinet clears minimum wage code bill

In News

Union cabinet cleared the first of the four labour codes on wages, paving way for consolidation of more than a dozen different central labour laws dealing with wages of labourers.

Features of the Bill

  • Bill also seeks to empower the Centre to set a minimum wage across sectors, and states will have to maintain that. However, states will be able to provide higher minimum wage in their jurisdiction than fixed by the central government since labour is in the concurrent list.
  • Once approved by Parliament, even workers getting monthly pay of higher than Rs 18,000 would be legally entitled to a minimum wage ensure a universal minimum wage for all industries and workers.
  • Besides, the minimum wage will be applicable on all classes of workers. Now it made for all classes.
  • The Centre to notify a national minimum wage below which no state can fix their minimum wages and this will be revised every two years.

Under the code on wages, the labour ministry plans to streamline the definition of wages by amalgamating four wage-related statutes. These include the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976. At present, there are about half a dozen definitions of wages in various acts across the Centre and states, which employers have to grapple with.


Source : ET

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

States can’t enact law on parliamentary secretaries: SC

Why in news ?

SC ruling : state assemblies hold no power to enact a law that enables them to appoint parliamentary secretaries.

Parliamentary secretary

A Parliament Secretary is similar to a Minister of State who assists a Minister in his or her duties.

Background

The ruling while hearing pleas challenging the appointment of 13 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries by the Assam government in 2015. The verdict would also have an impact on the Aam Aadmi Party government’s decision to appoint 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.

Delhi Ruling : The Delhi High Court too had quashed their appointments, saying it lacked the approval of the lieutenant governor. The matter is currently pending before the Election Commission of India. All 21 MLAs may be disqualified if the poll body finds that AAP MLAs serving as parliamentary secretaries was a case of holding an office of profit.

Assam Ruling : The bench in its 39-page verdict observed that the legislature of Assam lacked the competence to make the impugned act, and declared it unconstitutional.

Why the conflict occur ?

  • The Constitution specifies conditions which disqualify MPs, MLAs, Municipality and Panchayat members from membership of their respective institutions on the reason of holding an “Office of Profit” under the state or central government.
  • The Constitution caps the number of members in the union and state cabinet. Article 164(1A) specifies that the number of ministers including the Chief Minister has to be within 15% of the total number of members of the Assembly. (10% in the case of Delhi, which is not a ‘full’ state).

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

 

SC stays cattle sale rules across nation

In News

Supreme Court stayed the Centre’s May 26 notification, banning cattle sale in livestock markets for slaughter and religious sacrifices.

Background

Notification for implementation of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules, 2017, rules banned trading in cattle for slaughter at animal markets. The rules included buffaloes in their definition of cattle, raising concerns that they would jeopardise the buffalo meat export business as the supply chain of spent buffaloes will be disrupted.

Reason for the stay

Objections from the States about the law’s impact on livelihoods made it realise that the rules need tweaking.

Restrictions on sale in states

Twenty four states currently have in place either partial or full restrictions on sale, transport or slaughter of cows. The north-eastern states, and Kerala and West Bengal are exceptions, but the new regulations are likely to affect these states as well.


Source : The Hindu

GS II : Structure, organisation and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity

Minimum qualifications for cooperative societies’ polls

In News

Rajasthan has become the country’s first State to lay down the minimum educational qualifications for contesting elections to village cooperative societies and various other cooperative bodies.

Changes and Importance of Amendment

  • The State Cooperative Societies Rules, 2003, were amended for the purpose and notified.
  • The minimum educational qualification would be compulsory for the members of the Directorate of Board to ensure the management is assigned to skilled hands.
  • The new rules would benefit about 10,000 cooperative and agricultural credit societies.
  • An elected representative at any level could not directly become a president or vice-president of cooperative society, as it was earlier.
  • Competent and talented personnel could be selected in a transparent way.
  • The educational qualifications will range from Class V to Class VIII for election as members of governing boards of dairy societies, farming societies, consumer societies, weavers’ societies, housing construction societies, urban banks, primary land development banks, credit societies, salary earners’ societies and cooperative unions.
  • A new poll calendar will be issued to facilitate the holding of elections under the new rules.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

Committee formed to study legalities for separate State flag

Why In News ?

Karnataka state has constituted a nine-member committee headed by Principal Secretary, Department of Kannada and Culture, to study and submit a report to the government on the possibility of designing a separate flag for Karnataka and providing it a statutory standing.

Legality of  Separate flag

In Bommai’s case, the Supreme Court has declared that federalism is a basic feature of the Constitution and States are supreme in their sphere. This being the Constitutional position, there is no prohibition in the Constitution for the State to have its own flag. However, the manner in which the State flag is hoisted should not dishonour the national flag. It has to be always below the national flag. The national flag code specifically authorises use of other flags subject to the regulation by the court. So State flag is not unauthorised.

Reason for separate flag

Social worker and some activist  urged the government to design a separate flag for Kannada ‘naadu’ and accord statutory standing for that.


Source : The Hindu

GS II : Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

Government merges Ministries of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation

In News

The government has merged the urban development and housing and urban poverty alleviation ministries. Now this will be known as Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). This is third time the ministries have been merged.

Why the ministries merged ?

The government has merged the ministries of urban development, and housing and urban poverty alleviation — involved in policy making in urban areas — to form the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The merger would help ensure cohesiveness in formulating policies related to urban issues and cut the flab in bureaucracy.

Background

A panel of secretaries in February this year had recommended the merger of the two ministries to increase efficiency in governance. It had recommended that the ministries of housing and urban poverty alleviation, and urban development be merged and that the pharmaceuticals and AYUSH ministries be brought under the health ministry.

With this merger, the government now has 51 ministries. In 2004, the number was 42. The first government in independent India had just 17 ministries.


Source : Pib

GS II : Structure, organisation and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity

SC stays HC verdict on Ganga status

In News

The Supreme Court froze the status of legal persons accorded to rivers Ganga and Yamuna by the Uttarakhand High Court in March 2017.

Background

  • High Court had invoked the rivers Ganga and Yamuna having the status of a legal person, with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person, in order to preserve and conserve them.
  • The Director, Namami Gange project, for cleaning and rejuvenating the river, the Chief Secretary and the Advocate General of Uttarakhand to act as legal parents of the holy rivers.
  • These officers would be bound to uphold the status of the two rivers and also promote their health and well-being.
  • It had also directed the government to form a Ganga Management Board as per a December 2016 order.
  • The high court had also banned all mining on the river bed and directed eviction of encroachers.

Burden over the state

  • Order cast a huge burden on the state government which was expected to take care of it like a human being and be accountable for its upkeep and preservation.
  • The ruling would make the state solely accountable for its upkeep and preservation when the rivers passed through several states.
  • The central government should then be charged with the task.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

Formalise Election Commissioners appointment through law

In News

The court was hearing a PIL filed, contending that successive governments failed in the constitutional obligation to set up a fair, just and transparent process for selection of election commissioners since the adoption of the Constitution.Appointments were made by the President solely on the basis of the advice given by the political-executive at the Centre.

Court Observation

  • Election Commissioners, who are charged with the free and fair conduct of polls in a democracy, should be appointed through a “most transparent and just process” formalised by a law enacted by the Parliament.
  • None other than the Prime Minister is involved in the selection of the election commissioners, Besides it is for the parliament to decide whether there should be a law or not.
  • There is a “gap” due to the lack of a parliamentary law which transparently spells out the eligibility, criteria required for a person to be an election commissioner.

Election Commission

  • Election Commissioners, who are charged with the free and fair conduct of polls.
  • The appointment of the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners shall be made by the president.
  • The President of India (based on a recommendation from incumbent Govt of India) appoints the Chief Election Commissioner.
  • Conventionally, senior-most Election Commissioner is appointed as CEC.
  • He has tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • President may also appoint after consultation with the election commission such regional
    commissioners as he may consider necessary to assist the election commission.
  • At present, the Election Commission of India is a three-member body, with one Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.

Divorce law for Muslims

In the news

Centre informed a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court (SC) that it considered all forms of Muslim divorce unilateral, extrajudicial, unequal. Centre enact a new divorce law for Muslim men, if the SC struck down existing practices.

All three forms of triple talaq

  1. talaq-e-biddat,
  2. talaq hasan
  3. talaq ahasan

Personal Law vs Constitution

All personal laws are also laws governed by Article 13 of the Constitution, which makes it clear that no law can be valid if it violates Fundamental Rights. Violating Fundamental Rights of gender equality, gender justice, gender discrimination, human rights, and dignity under Articles 14, 15, 21 and 51A of the Constitution.

Global Practice

  • Pakistan : Muslim Family Law Ordinance 1961 made triple talaq an illegal act.
  • Egypt : Through a 1929 law Egypt made the practice of divorce cumbersome.
  • Turkey : Banned the practice in 1926 and adopted a more progressive code of marriage.
  • Tunisia : Under 1956 law divorce is not valid out side a court of law.

Source : The Hindu

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

 

Dub regional movies in Hindi

The presidential nod to a parliamentary panel recommendation that the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) either dubs them or carries Hindi subtitles to regional Cinema.

Key Fact

  • Regional movies without any language barrier either dubs them or carries Hindi subtitles.
  • The NFDC facilitates line production services of shooting in India and animation services of overseas clients.
  • Committee of Parliament on Official Language has also recommended that film-makers submit their script in Hindi to the NFDC and make it available to all concerned.
  • As of now, the corporation’s sub-rules on submission of applications for feature films state that the applicants should submit six copies of their script in English and one in the language the movie is to be made.
  • The recommendation only covers regional films produced by the NFDC.

National Film Development Corporation of India

  • NFDC based in Mumbai is the central agency established in 1975, to encourage high quality Indian cinema.
  • It is  under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.
  • It functions in areas of film financing, production and distribution.
  • The  goal of the NFDC is to plan, promote and organise an integrated and efficient development of the Indian Film Industry and foster excellence in cinema.

Source : The Hindu

General Information

EC on recounting rules and bribing

News

The Election Commission is considering revision of its recount rules so that slips generated by the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) devices can be matched with the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) count. As Chief Election Commissioner had received thousands of representations suggesting that changes be made to the recount rules to allow tallying with VVPAT slips.

The rules change is under the consideration.

To stop Bribing

  • Recommendation from EC, Centre to disqualify for five years candidates listed in charge sheets for bribing voters.
  • The move comes after the EC found out bribing voters in a Tamil Nadu byelection.
  • The Election Commission recommend to the Law Ministry seeking changes in the Representation of the People Act to ensure that candidates are disqualified once they are charge-sheeted.
  • Bribing electors by distributing cash and gifts in innovative forms like tokens, prepaid phone recharge coupons, newspaper subscription, milk tokens, money transfer in no-frill accounts in banks and even mobile wallet payment to mobile numbers.

Power of EC now

At present, the EC can countermand an election for use of muscle power. It can use its constitutional powers under Article 324 to countermand a poll over use of money power, but it wants the power to be vested to it under law. The logic is that it does not want to use its constitutional powers too frequently.


Source : The Hindu

GS II : Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies

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

 

 

SC for broad anti-torture legislation

India may be finding it tough to secure extraditions because there is a fear within the international community that the accused persons would be subject to torture in India.

SC on Torture

  • A matter of both Article 21 (fundamental right to life and dignity) and of international reputation that the government must consider a comprehensive law to define and punish torture as an instrument of human degradation by state authorities.
  • India, which had signed the UN Convention against torture way back in 1997, had still not ratified it.
  • The Convention defines torture as a criminal offence.
  • No steps had been taken to implement the Prevention of Torture Bill 2010 even six years
  • 90% of the States had no objection for a special law on torture and the NHRC itself had strongly supported the need for such a law.

Why it needed ?

  • Setback suffered by the CBI in its efforts to get Kim Davy a Danish citizen and prime accused in the Purulia arms drop case of 1995 extradited from Denmark.
  • A Danish court had rejected the plea on the ground that he would risk torture or other inhuman treatment.
  • The Indian Penal Code did not specifically and comprehensively address the various aspects of custodial torture

Source : The Hindu

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

Centre mulls nodal body for transport

The Centre has begun discussions to set up a national level nodal body for all transport-related matters across modes including aviation, railways, surface transport and waterways. Proposed ‘Logistics and Integrated Transport Board’ will initially work on improving inter-ministerial co-ordination to facilitate an efficient multi-modal transport system in India

Facts

  • A single unified transport ministry by merging the ministries of Aviation, Railways, Surface Transport and Shipping to ensure greater ease of doing business and boost India’s internal and external trade.
  • It is in line with the slogan of minimum government and maximum governance.
  • The country’s larger development goals including economic growth, expansion of employment, geographic expansion of opportunities, environmental sustainability, and energy security.
  • The Centre is also reportedly planning to build 35 multi-modal logistics parks by investing more than ₹50,000 crore.

Background 

The report, submitted to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January 2014, had pointed out that nearly all of the 100 largest economies, all of the OECD countries, and all of India’s emerging market peers the BRICS countries, have a Ministry of Transport or similar integrated equivalent rather than the collection of mode-specific ministries found in India.

Source : The Hindu

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

25% of ex-husband’s net salary as benchmark for alimony

A woman can claim 25% of the former husband’s net salary as alimony, the Supreme Court setting a benchmark for maintenance paid to women by former husbands after divorce.

About the SC direction

  • Its order came on the man’s plea challenging a Calcutta high court order directing him to pay her Rs 23,000 per month.
  • The amount of maintenance or permanent alimony must be sufficient to ensure that a woman lived with dignity after separating from her husband.
  • Court’s ruling follows its inclination to protect claims of women in matrimonial disputes affecting their financial status.

Source : Live Mint

GS II : Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

National Action Plan to combat Antimicrobial Resistance

India develops National Action Plan to combat Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). Antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat to global public health. Signed a ‘Delhi Declaration’ for collectively strategizing to contain AMR.

Details of the decision

  • The finalization of India’s comprehensive and multi-sectoral National Action Plan at the function.
  • The Ministers signed a Delhi Declaration’ for collectively strategizing to contain AMR.
  • It pledges to adopt a holistic and collaborative approach towards prevention and containment of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in India.
  • It calls on all stakeholders including UN, WHO, FAO and other UN agencies, civil society organizations etc., to support the development and implementation of the national and state action plans on AMR.

Antimicrobial Resistance

  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites to stop an antimicrobial such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials from working against it.
  • As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.
  • Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”.
  • As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others.

Antimicrobial resistance a global concern

  • New resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in prolonged illness, disability, and death.
  • Without effective antimicrobials for prevention and treatment of infections, medical procedures such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, diabetes management and major surgery (for example, caesarean sections or hip replacements) become very high risk.
  • Antimicrobial resistance increases the cost of health care with lengthier stays in hospitals and more intensive care required.
  • Antimicrobial resistance is putting the gains of the Millennium Development Goals at risk and endangers achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Source : Pib, WHO

GS II : Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

Cabinet approves procurement of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail Units

Cabinet decision

  • The decision of the Government would enable the Election Commission of India to deploy VVPAT Units in all pooling booths in the General Elections, 2019.
  • It will act as an additional layer of transparency for the satisfaction of voters, allaying any apprehension in the minds of the voters as to the fidelity and integrity of the EVMs.
  • This would also result in   compliance of the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court vide its Order dated 8thOctober, 2013.

About purchase

  • Purchase of  16,15,000 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) Units  at a tentative unit cost of Rs.19,650, and at a total estimated cost of Rs. 3173.47 crore (excluding taxes and freight as applicable) during the years 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  • Directing the Price Negotiation Committee to negotiate with M/s Bharat Electronics Ltd and M/s Electronics Corporation of India Ltd.

Details added on 17 April 2017

One Hundred and Twenty-third Amendment) Bill 2017 and NCBC Bill, 2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given

(I) Ex-post facto approval for introduction of

  1. Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-third Amendment) Bill 2017
  2. National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 in the Parliament; and

(II) Approval for retention of posts/incumbents and office premises held by the existing National Commission for Backward Classes by the proposed new National Commission for Backward Classes.

Details of Amendment

  • Constitution of a Commission under Article 338B for socially and educationally backward classes by name of National Commission for Backward Classes.
  • Insertion of Clause (26C) under Article 366 with modified definition viz. “socially and educationally backward classes” means such backward classes as are so deemed under Article 342A for the purpose, this Constitution.
  • Repeal of the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 along with Savings Clause for namely the National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017
  • Dissolution of the National Commission for Backward Classes with effect from such date as the Central Government may appoint in this behalf and the National Commission for Backward Classes constituted under sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the said Act shall stand dissolved.
  • Appropriation of the sanctioned 52 posts, along with incumbents wherever filled of the existing National Commission for Backward Classes in the proposed National Commission for Backward Classes to be constituted under Article 338B.
  • Retention of the office premises of the existing National Commission for Backward Classes at Trikut-1, Bhikaiji Cama Place, New Delhi-110066, by the National Commission for Backward Classes to be constituted under Article 338B.

Why amending the constitution?

  • The above decisions will lead to overall welfare of socially and educationally backward classes.
  • The proposed Act of repeal is necessary in view of setting up of the National Commission for Backward Classes by insertion of Article 338B of the Constitution.
  • The decision will also enable effecting continuity in the functioning of the National Commission for Backward Classes under Article 338B.

Source : Pib

GS II : Constitution of India

States can borrow directly from foreign agencies for infra projects

New rules to allow financially sound state government entities to borrow directly from other countries which give Official Development Assistance for major infrastructure projects

Details of the decision

  • Union Cabinet has approved new rules to allow financially sound state government entities to borrow directly from other countries.
  • The state government concerned will give a guarantee and the Centre will provide a counter-guarantee.
  • The existing guidelines did not allow direct borrowing by state government entities from external agencies.

Need for the decision

  • Several state agencies were implementing infrastructure projects of national importance.
  • These projects, even if viable and sound, have huge funding requirements.
  • Borrowing by state governments for such projects might exhaust their respective borrowing limits.
  • The country has an estimated funding requirement of Rs 43 lakh crore ($646 billion) for infra projects over the next five years.
  • About 70 per cent of this would be needed in power, roads and urban infrastructure.

Current practice

  • Presently, external development assistance from bilateral and multilateral sources is received by the Government of India.
  • A state government is allowed to borrow to the extent that its fiscal deficit does not exceed the limit of three per cent of its gross state domestic product (GSDP).
  • The 14th Finance Commission provided a further flexibility of 0.5 percentage points to states, subject to stiff conditions.

Conditions for new agreement

  • All repayment of loan and interest to the funding agencies will be directly remitted by the borrower concerned.
  • The concerned State Government will furnish guarantee for the loan.
  • The Government of India will provide counter guarantee for the loan.

First of such project

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), a State Government entity, has also been allowed to borrow directly from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan for implementation of Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project. The estimated project cost for Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) is Rs.17,854 crore, out of which JICA loan portion is expected to be Rs.15,109 crore.

Source : Business Standard, PIB

GS III : 1. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment 2. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc