25th May, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
(DOWNLOAD THE PDF AT THE END OF THIS PAGE)
SIDBI, CSC SPV ink MoU to provide financial support to village level entrepreneurs (GS-2 Governance)
Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and Common Service Centres (CSC) Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) signed MoU for providing financial support village level entrepreneurs in CSCs. Through the MoU, SIDBI will extend financial support to VLEs of CSCs, with minimum one year of operation, under its direct financing window.
1. Through the MoU, both CSC SPV and SIDBI seek to work together to bring more citizens under ambit of financial inclusion. Moreover, it will also aim to enhance financial viability of CSCs by including additional services in their bouquet of products
2. Under Direct Financing Window, CSC SPV will approve list of VLEs, within 25 km distance of SIDBI Branch Offices, who require financial support.
3. To avail loan, VLEs need to submit their CSC project, with maximum project outlay of Rs. 3.50 lakh and term loan requirement not exceeding Rs. 2 lakh
About Common Service Centres (CSC)
1.CSC is an initiative of Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY)
2.It is strategic cornerstone of the Digital India programme. It is pan-India network catering to regional, geographic, linguistic and cultural diversity of country, thus enabling Government’s mandate of a socially, financially and digitally inclusive society.
3.There are as many as 2.91 lakh CSCs operate in the country today. They are mostly ICT enabled front end service delivery points at village level for delivery of government and private services.
4.These CSCs serve as access points for delivery of essential public utility services, social welfare schemes,financial, healthcare, education and agriculture services, apart from host of B2C services to citizens in rural and remote areas of the country.
About Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)
1.SIDBI is principal development financial institution for promotion, financing and development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector in india.
2.It was established on April 2, 1990 through an Act of Parliament (thus, it is statutory body). It is headquartered in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
3.It facilitates and strengthens credit flow to MSMEs and address both financial and developmental gaps in MSME eco-system across the country.
India falling short of meeting conservation goals on biodiversity (GS-3 Environment)
India is falling way short of fulfilling conservation goals
1.In the last three years, it has lost 36,500 hectares of forest land to development
2.Expansion of National Highways 6 and 7 in central India is destroying at least six crucial tiger corridors, including the Pench-Kanha corridor
3.The submergence of a part of the Panna tiger reserve by river interlinking projects, proposed denotification of tiger reserves for mining and hydropower projects are also huge setbacks for the conservation of biodiversity
Convention on Biological Biodiversity (CBD): Not as per expectations
1.A total of 196 countries, including India, are signatories of the CBD and will highlight their achievements as part of the programme
2.All 196 signatories are part of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for 2011-2020
3.However, with only two years left for completion, experts say there is little to celebrate when the actual figures and status are considered
- India currently spends about $2 billion per year on biodiversity conservation efforts,
- but the country requires between $5-15 billion more every year to meet its biodiversity conservation targets
Reality is quite different from Government Data
1.Yet there are glaring examples of how natural forest is getting fragmented by linear infrastructure
2.Rampant poaching of endangered species, excessive pollution, unplanned infrastructure and urban development are indicating a decline in biodiversity
Do we need the office of the Governor? (GS-2 Polity)
Role of governor
1.Inviting the immediate majority party to form the government is perhaps a legitimate exercise of Governors constitutional discretion.
2.However, the recent Karnataka elections have raised questions about the Governor’s discretionary powers following several open criticisms about the office bearer
3.If we want to put an end to the continuous misuse of the Raj Bhavan for partisan political ends in a manner that threatens both federalism and democracy, we have to rethink the role of the Governor in the constitutional scheme
Where does the flaw lie?
1.Some have suggested that the post of the Governor be reserved for non-political appointees, and still, others have urged the Supreme Court to lay down the law on how the Governor ought to act when an election yields a fractured verdict
2.All of these, however, are patchwork solutions that miss the point
3.For that, it is important to understand the origins of the office in the colonial British regime
Provisions in Govt. of India Act, 1935
1.Through the course of the early 20th century, the Indian nationalist movement managed to extract gradual and incremental reforms towards responsible government from the British rulers
2.These reforms culminated in the Government of India Act, 1935 which established provincial legislative assemblies elected from a limited franchise
3.In order to ensure that overriding power remained with the British, the Act retained the post of Governor, and vested him with “special responsibilities” that, in essence, allowed for intervention at will
The Critique of the Post
1.In a searing critique, K.T. Shah (who was later one of the most articulate members of the Constituent Assembly), wrote that the Governor would inevitably be biased in his functioning and his actions would remain at odds with those of popularly elected Ministers
2.During CA debates, it was pointed out that the Articles dealing with the powers of the Governor were almost verbatim reproductions of the 1935 Act.
Defenders of the office raised two broad arguments:
1.First, that there was a dearth of competent legislators in the States
2.Second that a certain amount of centralization of power was necessary in a nascent state such as India
The way forward: Specify the rules
1.The idea of the Governor standing as a bulwark against secessionism, or providing legislative expertise to States otherwise starved of it, are no longer valid justifications
2.On the other hand, the Governor’s interference with the democratic process is both real and continuing
3.As history shows, the solution is not to tinker around the edges or hope that the courts will come to our rescue
India ranks 145th among 195 countries in healthcare, disparity among states (Facts for Prelims)
Highlights of the HAQ Report
1.India ranks a lowly 145th among 195 countries in terms of healthcare access and quality in 2016, as assessed in a Global Burden of Disease study published in The Lancet.
2.The global average HAQ score was 54.4. Iceland and Norway top the list with a HAQ score of 97 each.
3.India’s HAQ score is 41.2, up from 24.7 in 1990 showing improvement.
4.For the first time, the study also analysed healthcare access and quality between regions of seven countries including India.
5.The study used an index based on 32 causes of death that should be preventable with effective medical care. Each country was given a healthcare access and quality (HAQ) score between 0-100.
Performance by States
1.Goa and Kerala had the highest scores in 2016, both over 60, whereas Assam and Uttar Pradesh had the lowest, both below 40.
2.Particularly low were scores like 12 for skin cancer, 24 for neonatal deaths and adverse medical treatment, and 30 for tuberculosis and chronic kidney ailments.
Low score in TB
1.This is not surprising, since India accounts for nearly 30 per cent of global TB deaths.
2.TB being often missed by practitioners and MDR-TB is diagnosed very late.
What are its inferences?
1.This scorecard shows that the health system is weak in our country.
2.While centrally funded schemes have provided health access in some areas, quality has not improved in certain states.
For better protection of Human Rights(GS-1 social issues)
1.The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has been often described as a toothless tiger, unable to protect ordinary citizens from human rights violations, committed at times by the state machinery.
2.In one such case, the NHRC, disillusioned by its helplessness in bringing justice in the alleged extrajudicial killings of 1,528 persons in Manipur, had last year referred to itself as a “toothless tiger” before the Supreme Court.
Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018
1.On April 4, the Union Cabinet approved the Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018, in order to protect and promote better human rights in India.
2.The Bill intends to give the NHRC teeth as well as claws to act against human rights violations.The Bill makes many proposals. One is to ensure that the NHRC is more inclusive.
Broadening the Scope of NHRC
1.To make itself more inclusive, the Bill proposes to include one member of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights within its fold as a deemed member as well as a woman member.
2.It proposes to enlarge the scope of eligibility and selection of the Chairperson of the NHRC as well as of SHRCs.
3.It also proposes to incorporate a mechanism to look into cases of human rights violations in Union Territories.
4.Further, it proposes to amend the term of office of the Chairperson and members of the NHRC and the SHRCs to ensure that it is in consonance with the terms of the Chairpersons and members of other commissions.
The Way Forward
1.The Amendment Bill seeks to strengthen human rights institutions so that they can discharge their roles and responsibilities effectively.
2.Moreover, the amended Act will be in sync with the agreed global standards and benchmarks on ensuring rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of individuals in the country.
3.The amendment to the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 will make the NHRC and State Human Rights Commissions more compliant with the Paris Principle “concerning its autonomy, independence, pluralism and wide-ranging functions in order to effectively protect and promote human rights”.
India disappointed by rich nations’ Paris Climate Agreement track record(GS-3 environment)
1.As negotiators bargain the details of the Paris climate agreement that starts next decade, India is concerned that rich nations still haven’t fulfilled pledges made in a previous treaty
2.Other emerging nations have also joined a chorus of criticism on rich countries’ lack of progress on emission cuts and funding to adapt to the increased frequency of storms, droughts and floods
Bad performance of Western Countries
1.Germany will probably miss its 2020 emissions-reduction target
2.The US is rolling back domestic measures designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Doha amendment: Ratification not completed yet
1.Under an extension to Kyoto, known as the Doha amendment, 37 nations agreed to cut greenhouse gases by 5% to 40% by 2020 versus 1990 levels
2.It’s ratified by 112 countries, short of the 144 required, according to the UN climate unit
5th India-CLMV Business Conclave held at Phnom Penh, Cambodia( GS-2 IR)
1. The Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India along with Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia organized the 5th India-CLMV Business Conclave in Phnom Penh on 21-22 May 2018.
2.After four rounds of the Business Conclave in India, this initiative was brought by Department of Commerce of Government of India to Cambodia,for greater participation from the region. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is the institutional partner of the event.
1.The business conclave provided opportunity for developing better understanding of CLMV economies which have untapped potential for development and offer more scope for enhancement of economic engagement with India.
2.The conclave called for collaboration of CLMV countries and India on agriculture, health, tourism, education and connectivity to promote regional integration and creation of value chain and emphasized need for strengthening India-CLMV business and trade relations.
3.The sessions of conclave focused on sectors such as SME, manufacturing, agriculture, plantation, fisheries and related industries, healthcare, education, information technology and skill development.
4.India proposed setting up of India-Cambodia Chamber of commerce with institutional partnership between CII and Cambodian Chamber of Commerce.
5.Such similar bilateral business forums will be also setup in Vietnam and Laos to institutionalize bilateral business to business engagements of India with each of CLMV countries.
1.CLMV region is considered as India’s gateway to entire ASEAN and provides access to huge markets of these countries.
2.These four countries represents rapidly growing economy with rising consumption, strategic location and access, rich natural resources (oil, gas, copper, teak and gemstones), biodiversity and industrious workforce with low wages.
3.They also offer significant opportunities for trade in goods and services, investment and project exports. India seeks to invest in CLMV countries (which are part of 10-member ASEAN group) to take advantage of free trade agreements they have with various countries such as China.
The one-child policy had limited impact on growth(GS-1 Social issues)
1.After four decades of population control, the concerns of an ageing population have caught up with the Chinese
2.There have been reports suggesting that it will likely phase out population controls in 2019
3.The Chinese experience holds valuable lessons for other developing countries that are experiencing declining fertility due to economic growth
1.The one-child policy was implemented by Deng Xiaoping in 1979, at a time when China was home to a quarter of the world’s population, and two-thirds of it was under 30 years
2.A large, young population together with economic liberalization became the foundation for three decades of economic growth in China
3.In 2011, China surpassed Japan to become the second-largest economy at market exchange rates, and 2016 World Bank data shows it’s already ahead of the US in purchasing-power-parity dollars
The one child policy which contributed to this growth is coming back to bite China
1.China’s fertility rate was around 2.7 at the end of the 1970s, and dropped to 1.57 in 2015
2.That is far less than the rate of replacement—the fertility rate needed to hold the population size constant—which is 2.1
3.That means even if the fertility rate increases by 0.7 percentage point (which is an optimistic number), China’s total population would peak in 2030, at approximately 1.46 billion
4.The composition of the population is, however, changing unfavourabl
5.The working-age population, which peaked in 2014, is at present below 2010 levels and is expected to shrink by 23% by 2050
The problem of population ageing is going to affect every developed country
1.Europe is well and truly in population decline, and government debt is already at unsustainable levels due to unfunded liabilities, primarily due to social security
2.The US, with a fertility rate of 1.76, has been an outlier in the developed world because it has historically been open to immigrants, whose fertility rate is also higher
3.Australia has not had a recession in the last three decades, despite stagnant per-capita output, because of its rapidly increasing population, which has grown 50% in that period
4.This success, however, is difficult to emulate for homogenous, and inert, societies like China
5.Japan, another ageing and inert nation, has struggled to build political support for immigration
Advantage for India
1.The immensity of the ageing problem should make it obvious that India has a massive demographic advantage
2.It has a growing share of working-age population, at the same time as China’s is declining; and the country’s median age is only 27, against China’s 38
But this is also a challenge
3.But while China managed its demographic dividend by transitioning to stable jobs in manufacturing, the share of manufacturing jobs in India has remained stagnant in the last three decades, at 10%
4.Moreover, the share of labour-intensive jobs within manufacturing, such as textiles and leather, has actually shrunk
5.As the economy struggles to create formal sector jobs, India is creating an army of peons, guards and delivery boys
Lesson for India
1.What the Chinese economic success has shown is that a burgeoning population can be the source of economic prosperity, if accompanied by economic liberalization
2.India, on the other hand, will squander its demographic advantage if it doesn’t act on key policy challenges in its labour, land acquisition and trade policy