11th June, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘Vigilance Commissioner’ (GS2: Statutory bodies)
Issue: Shri Sharad Kumar has been appointed as the Vigilance Commissioner in the Central Vigilance Commission
About Central Vigilance Commission
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
- 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
- To inquire or cause an inquiry or investigation to be made on a reference by the Central Government
- 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
- 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
- Review the progress of the applications pending with the competent authorities for sanction of prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
- Tender advice to the Central Government and its organizations on such matters as may be referred to it by them
- Exercise superintendence over the vigilance administrations of the various Central Government Ministries, Departments and Organizations of the Central Government
- Shall have all the powers of a Civil court while conducting any inquiry
- 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 to CVC
- PM + Home minister + leader of opposition in LS
- Although 2003 CVC act says, if no Leader of Opposition (LoP) then leader of single largest party can be made part of the Committee.
But same act also says if vacancy in Committee, still appointment can be done.
Members to CVC are appointed for a term of 4 years or till they attain an age of 65 years, whichever is earlier
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 president, 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 the CVC or a Vigilance Commissioner.
- If the CVC or a vigilance Commissioner in any way, concerned or interested in any contract or agreement made by or on behalf of the Government of the India or participates in any way in the profit thereof or in any benefit or emoluments arising therefrom otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company, he shall, for the purposes of sub-section (1), be deemed to be guilty of misbehaviour.
‘GST amendments’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The government is set to table amendments to goods and service tax laws in the monsoon session of Parliament to simplify GST returns filings, modify the composition scheme under which small traders can pay tax based on their revenue, and eliminate ambiguities in the laws.
- The proposed GST changes will do away with the need for filing tax returns on purchases made by businesses, called GSTR2, and comprehensive returns called GSTR3
- Several amendments including those that will simplify GST compliance and improve ease of doing business in GST
‘Lateral entry’ (GS3: Governance)
Issue: The government is looking to fill 10 positions at the joint secretary level in important departments such as economic affairs, revenue, financial services and commerce.
Need for lateral entries
Since policymaking is becoming increasingly complex, it is essential to have people with specialized skills and domain expertise in important positions. Specialists coming from outside are likely to bring fresh ideas and help improve outcomes. Further, rather than being dependent on officers of a particular service, this gives the government a wider pool of talent from which to select officials.
‘D-Mart’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: D-Mart parent Avenue Super-marts Ltd on Monday joined the elite club of companies with Rs1 trillion market capitalization after its share price surged to a record-high of Rs1,608.50, up 1% from previous close
‘Bitcoin Hack’ (GS3: Science and Technology)
Issue: Cryptocurrencies plunged in Asia on Monday after a hack on a South Korean exchange sparked fresh concerns about the safety of the digital units.
Cryptocurrencies have plunged since the end of 2017, when bitcoin hit a record high near $20,000, having surged from less than $1,000 just 11 months earlier. The unit is now worth around $6,780.
South Korea is one of the biggest markets for trading in digital currencies but the boom in their popularity has forced the government to tighten regulations, following similar moves in other countries.
‘India-Pakistan ties’ (GS2: Bilateral relations)
Issue: In a significant gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain shook hands and exchanged pleasantries after a press conference by the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
Significance of this gesture
India was exploring the possibility of connectivity to Central Asia through the Pakistan-Afghan corridor, under the SCO framework.
Other major policy announcement of India
Asserting India’s continued opposition to China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, Mr. Modi said mega connectivity projects must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries.
‘Bad bank’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: Union Minister Piyush Goyal, currently in charge of the Finance Ministry, has announced the formation of a committee to assess the idea of special asset reconstruction companies or asset management companies to take over bad loans from banks
What is a bad bank?
Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian had suggested the creation of a Public Sector Asset Rehabilitation Agency (PARA) to deal with what he described as India’s “festering twin balance sheet problem”. By this he meant over-leveraged corporates unable to service debt or invest afresh, and banks hit by non-performing assets (NPAs) cagey about fresh lending. This overhang hurts new investments and continues to dent India’s medium-term growth and job creation prospects. A professionally-run PARA, or the so-called ‘bad bank’, could assume custody of the largest and most difficult-to-resolve NPAs from lenders’ balance sheets. This would allow banks to focus on extending fresh credit and supporting the pick-up in growth.
Concerns with regards to Bad bank
- The new entity would need a lot of capital support, just as banks do.
- Very time-consuming and there would be challenges on its ownership structure as well as the pricing of bad loans taken over from banks.
Others possible ways to solve NPA issues
One, amend the Prevention of Corruption Act to shield bankers and officers from investigative witch-hunts. Two, back bankers to take demonstrable action against wilful defaulters. And three, take a hard look at what ails the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
‘Features of a Data Policy’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: A 5C framework to address the current underlying execution gaps of the Open Data project, and believe it can help India achieve its stated objectives to double farmers’ incomes by 2022 and provide universal health coverage and micro loans to micro, small and medium enterprises among others.
Features of a data policy
The first step is to ensure completeness of data stacks opened for use either through machine-readable formats or direct APIs. Completeness would imply a data set. For example, soil data cards will have data on all relevant aspects as well as current emerging technologies such as Blockchain and the Internet of Things to provide the opportunity to automate data collection.
Comprehensiveness of a data stack or various data sets is essential. For example, a comprehensive agri-data set would have digitised data sets on soil data, rainfall, crop production as well as market rates. Currently, data sets shared in India are somewhat disjointed and not comprehensive.
Clustering of relevant data sets and APIs would be the next step. This would mean combining data sets which can lead to the creation of applications such as farm insurance from weather, soil and crop cycle/sale data. Therefore, technology developers have a road map of “innovations in focus” for national development.
The fourth step is building anchor cases or use-cases to encourage data usage. A case in point is Aadhaar/identity data which has seen exponential growth (post identification in e-KYC). Taking the Aadhaar case further, its API has led to the development of market applications, an Aadhaar-enabled payment system, and direct benefit transfers among others which are clearly pushing the “financial inclusion” drive.
The final step would be setting up a comprehensive governance framework which includes an open data council with cross-sector representation to monitor, regulate and build usage after proportionate oversight.
‘Roland Garros’ (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: Rafael Nadal was at his best as he crushed Austrian Dominic Thiem to snatch a record-extending 11th French Open title
The Spanish world number one took his Roland Garros win-loss record to 86-2 as he captured his 17th Grand Slam title by demolishing the seventh seed, who was hoping to become the second Austrian to win at Roland Garros.
Simona Halep won the women’s single title at Roland garros this year
‘Inter-continental Cup’ (Facts that could be asked in prelims)
Issue: Inspirational Indian captain Sunil Chhetri scored a brace to put himself on par with Lionel Messi and lead the home side to Intercontinental Cup title triumph with a 2-0 win over Kenya in the summit clash
The 33-year-old Chhetri’s double strike capped a brilliant tournament which saw him score eight out of India’s 11 goals and put him on par with Argentine superstar Messi with 64 strikes for the country to be the joint second highest international goal scorer among active players.
‘Inflation’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: India’s retail inflation jumped further in May to a four-month high, primarily driven by a surge in energy prices
Effects of the inflation
On 6 June, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised the repo rate for the first time since 2014, by 25 basis points to 6.25%, as recent data showed significant increases for both inflation and growth. But the central bank kept its “neutral” policy stance unchanged.