2nd April, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘Central Vigilance Commission’
(GS2: Statutory body)
Issue: The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has urged the Prime Minister’s Office to bring private sector banks under its watch, citing the fact that they have been involved in many recent instances of malfeasance.
Vigilance officers in all State-owned public sector banks are required to report irregularities and possible wrongdoing to the CVC, India’s apex body for checking corruption in the government. Private sector banks are out of the CVC’s purview, but are subjected to statutory audits from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Empowering CVC will provide a strong deterrent against those willing to engage in scams such as Punjab National Bank scam
The Central Vigilance Commission was set up by the Government in February,1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam, to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the field of vigilance. CVC is conceived to be the apex vigilance institution, free of control from any executive authority, monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government and advising various authorities in Central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.
Consequent upon promulgation of an Ordinance by the President, the Central Vigilance Commission has been made a multi member Commission with “statutory status” with effect from 25th August, 1998
The Commission shall consist of:
- A Central Vigilance Commissioner – Chairperson;
- Not more than two Vigilance Commissioners – Members;
Roles & Functions
- Exercise superintendence over the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) insofar as it relates to the investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; or an offence under the Cr.PC for certain categories of public servants – section 8(1)(a);
- Give directions to the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) for superintendence insofar as it relates to the investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 – section 8(1)(b);
- To inquire or cause an inquiry or investigation to be made on a reference by the Central Government – section 8(1)(c);
- To inquire or cause an inquiry or investigation to be made into any complaint received against any official belonging to such category of officials specified in sub-section 2 of Section 8 of the CVC Act, 2003 – section 8(1)(d);
- Review the progress of investigations conducted by the DSPE into offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 or an offence under the Cr.PC – section (8)(1)(e);
- Review the progress of the applications pending with the competent authorities for sanction of prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 – section 8(1)(f);
- Tender advice to the Central Government and its organizations on such matters as may be referred to it by them – section 8(1) (g);
- Exercise superintendence over the vigilance administrations of the various Central Government Ministries, Departments and Organizations of the Central Government – section 8(1)(h);
- Shall have all the powers of a Civil court while conducting any inquiry – section 11;
- Respond to Central Government on mandatory consultation with the Commission before making any rules or regulations governing the vigilance or disciplinary matters relating to the persons appointed to the public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or to members of the All India Services – section 19.
- The Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) is the Chairperson and the Vigilance Commissioners (Members) of the Committee, on whose recommendations, the Central Government appoints the Director of Enforcement – section 25.
- The Committee concerned with the appointment of the Director of Enforcement is also empowered to recommend, after consultation with the Director of Enforcement appointment of officers to the posts of the level of Deputy Director and above in the Directorate of Enforcement – section 25;
- The Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) is also the Chairperson and the Vigilance Commissioners (Members) of the Committee empowered to recommend after consultation with Director (CBI), appointment of officers to the post of the level of SP and above except Director and also recommend the extension or curtailment of tenure of such officers in the DSPE (CBI) – Section 26 and Section 4C of DSPE Act, 1946
Appointment of CVC
The Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners shall be appointed by the President on recommendation of a Committee consisting of the Prime Minister (Chairperson), the Minister of Home Affairs (Member) and the Leader of the Opposition in the House of the People (Member).
The Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner can be removed from his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be, ought to be removed. The President may suspend from office, and if deem necessary prohibit also from attending the office during inquiry, the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court until the President has passed orders on receipt of the report of the Supreme Court on such reference. The President may, by order, remove from office the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner if the Central Vigilance Commissioner or such Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be:
- is adjudged an insolvent; or
- has been convicted of an offence which, in the opinion of the Central Government, involves moral turpitude; or
- engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or
- is, in the opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body; or
- has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as a Central Vigilance Commissioner or a Vigilance Commissioner
‘Karnataka Money Lenders act, 1961’
(GS2: Government policies and issues arising of their design and implementation)
Issue: The State government has won a 20-year-long legal battle against moneylenders and pawnbrokers as the Supreme Court (SC) has now termed these trades “definitely usurious businesses” and held that the “legislature has the power to impose onerous conditions to restrict or even discourage people from entering into such businesses”.
Significance of the judgment
The SC made these observations while upholding constitutional validity of provisions in amendments made in 1998 to the Karnataka Money Lenders Act, 1961, and the Karnataka Pawnbrokers Act, 1961, denying interest on the security amount deposited by moneylenders and pawnbrokers annually while obtaining or renewing licenses to carry out these trades. And it also gives power to legislature to regulate this kind of business
‘Primary health care sector in India’
(GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: According to information provided by the Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare of the total 25,650 primary health centres (PHCs) in the country, 15,700 (61.2%) function with one doctor each. As many as 1,974 (7.69%) PHCs do not have even a single doctor.
What the regulation states for PHC in India?
As per to the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) guidelines, each 24/7 PHC should have a minimum of two doctors apart from a desirable third, apart from three nurses, one lab technician and one pharmacist.
How the states perform?
Among the big States, where the numbers of PHCs are more than 600, Gujarat tops the list with 100% of its 1,392 centres having one doctor each. Among the better performing States are Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, where only 14.4% of 1,362 PHCs and 23.8% of 1814 PHCs, respectively, have one doctor each.
In Karnataka, 1,973 of the 2,359 PHCs in the State have just one doctor each. Karnataka stands fifth (in terms of PHCs with single doctor) with 83.6%, followed by Kerala with 81.7%
Significance of PHC
The closer health facilities are to people, the more likely they are to access it and the less expensive they will be. Primary health centres are the first point of contact for patients. They are the core of preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative healthcare. A fully functional primary health centre can meet most healthcare needs, and only complicated cases need to be referred to secondary or tertiary facilities. This makes budgetary sense and healthcare sense
‘PM National Relief fund’
(GS2: Welfare schemes for vulnerable section of the population)
Issue: Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, whose term as Rajya Sabha MP ended recently, has donated his entire salary and allowances to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.
About the fund
In pursuance of an appeal by the then Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in January, 1948, the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) was established with public contributions to assist displaced persons from Pakistan. The resources of the PMNRF are now utilized primarily to render immediate relief to families of those killed in natural calamities like floods, cyclones and earthquakes, etc. and to the victims of the major accidents and riots. Assistance from PMNRF is also rendered, to partially defray the expenses for medical treatment like heart surgeries, kidney transplantation, cancer treatment and acid attack etc. The fund consists entirely of public contributions and does not get any budgetary support. The corpus of the fund is invested with scheduled commercial banks in various forms. Disbursements are made with the approval of the Prime Minister. PMNRF has not been constituted by the Parliament. The fund is recognized as a Trust under the Income Tax Act and the same is managed by Prime Minister or multiple delegates for national causes. PMNRF operates from the Prime Minister’s Office
‘Insolvency and Bankruptcy code set for major overhaul’
(GS2: Government policies for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
Issue: The corporate affairs ministry is finalizing a series of IBC amendments as the government wants to decisively deal with business failures that slow down the Indian economy
What are the proposed amendments?
About Insolvency and Bankruptcy code, 2016 (IBC)
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) is the bankruptcy law of India which seeks to consolidate the existing framework by creating a single law for insolvency and bankruptcy.
Features of the IBC
Insolvency Resolution: The Code outlines separate insolvency resolution processes for individuals, companies and partnership firms.The process may be initiated by either the debtor or the creditors. A maximum time limit, for completion of the insolvency resolution process,has been set for corporates and individuals. For companies, the process will have to be completed in 180 days, which may be extended by 90 days, if a majority of the creditors agree. For start-ups (other than partnership firms), small companies and other companies (with asset less than Rs. 1 crore), resolution process would be completed within 90 days of initiation of request which may be extended by 45 days.
Insolvency regulator: The Code establishes the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, to oversee the insolvency proceedings in the country and regulate the entities registered under it. The Board will have 10 members, including representatives from the Ministries of Finance and Law, and the Reserve Bank of India.
Insolvency professionals: The insolvency process will be managed by licensed professionals. These professionals will also control the assets of the debtor during the insolvency process.
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Adjudicator: The Code proposes two separate tribunals to oversee the process of insolvency resolution, for individuals and companies: (i) the National Company Law Tribunal for Companies and Limited Liability Partnership firms; and (ii) the Debt Recovery Tribunal for individuals and partnerships
Issue: The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Sunday confirmed that it had lost communication with GSAT-6A satellite, three days after its launch, breaking the near impeccable recent record of the space agency.
About GSAT 6A
The 2,140-kg GSAT-6A is a high powered S-band communication satellite which would help improve mobile communications to handheld devices, as well as network management techniques that would have been useful in satellite- based mobile communication applications. The technology was aimed at helping the armed forces among other users by improving communications in remote areas. It had a mission life of 10 years.
‘Space X and launch of iridium satellites’
Issue: Space Exploration Technologies Corp. launched a rocket carrying 10 Iridium Communications Inc. satellites to orbit early Friday, its fifth in a series of eight launches contracted for the communications company as it builds its NEXT constellation network.
What is NEXT constellation network?
Iridium NEXT will replace the world’s largest commercial satellite network of low-Earth orbit satellites in what will be one of the largest ‘tech upgrades’ in history
Iridium NEXT, a second-generation worldwide network of telecommunications satellites, consisting of 66 active satellites, with another nine in-orbit spares and six on-ground spares. These satellites will incorporate features such as data transmission that were not emphasized in the original design. The constellation will provide L-band data speeds of up to 128 kbit/s to mobile terminals, up to 1.5 Mbit/s to Iridium Pilot marine terminals, and high-speed Ka-band service of up to 8 Mbit/s to fixed/transportable terminals. The next-generation terminals and service are expected to be commercially available by the end of 2018. However, Iridium’s proposed use of its next-generation satellites has raised concerns the service will harmfully interfere with GPS devices.
Issue: The sulfuric acid-rich atmosphere of Venus, the closest neighbor to Earth in the Solar System, has the right conditions to host a variety of extraterrestrial life. The lower clouds of Venus have been found to have the right amount of pressure and temperature to actually support life.
About planet Venus
Venus is the second planet from the Sun and is the second brightest object in the night sky after the Moon. Named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, Venus is the second largest terrestrial planet and is sometimes referred to as the Earth’s sister planet due the their similar size and mass. The surface of the planet is obscured by an opaque layer of clouds made up of sulphuric acid.
Some facts of Venus
- Venus does not have any moons or rings.
- Venus is nearly as big as the Earth with a diameter of 12,104 km.
- Venus is thought to be made up of a central iron core, rocky mantle and silicate crust.
- A day on the surface of Venus (solar day) would appear to take 117 Earth days.
- A year on Venus takes 225 Earth days.
- The surface temperature on Venus can reach 471 °C.
Venus rotates in the opposite direction to most other planets.
This means that Venus is rotating in the opposite direction to the Sun, this is also know as a retrograde rotation. A possible reason might be a collision in the past with an asteroid or other object that caused the planet to alter its rotational path. It also differs from most other planets in our solar system by having no natural satellites.
Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system.
The average surface temperature is 462 °C, and because Venus does not tilt on its axis, there is no seasonal variation. The dense atmosphere of around 96.5 percent carbon dioxide traps heat and causes a greenhouse effect.
The Russians sent the first mission to Venus.
The Venera 1 space probe was launched in 1961, but lost contact with base. The USA also lost their first probe to Venus, Mariner 1, although Mariner 2 was able to take measurements of the planet in 1962. The Soviet Union’s Venera 3 was the first man-made craft to land on Venus in 1966.
‘World Autism Day, 2018’
(GS2: Issues related to health)
Issue: April 2 is observed as the World Autism Awareness day.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and non-verbal communication as well as by unique strengths and differences. It is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
The biggest issue with autism still remains at the grassroots level. Patients need social acceptance and intervention at an early stage.
Early signs of autism can often be detected in children as young as 2-3 years and it is advisable that parents start treatment as soon as possible for improved outcomes, according to doctors.
‘International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) junior world cup’
(Facts that can be asked in prelims)
Issue: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday took to Twitter to congratulate the young Indian shooters who finished second overall at the recently concluded ISSF Junior World Cup in Sydney, Australia. India won 22 medals, which included nine gold, five silver and eight bronze, to finish second behind China, who won 25 medals, in the medal tally.
Arjun Babuta, Elavenil Valarivan, Vivaan Kapoor, Manu Bhaker, Gaurav Rana, Anmol Jain, Anish Bhanwala (who was Emerging Player of the Year at TOISA 2018), Muskan Bhanwala and Ganemat Sekhon won gold for India