A D V E R T I S E M E N T
raises repo, reverse repo
On March 19, 2010, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) surprised banks and money
market players by raising key policy rates 25 basis points. The move, aimed at
taming inflation and anchoring inflationary expectations, marked a reversal in
the easy monetary policy regime amid signs of strong economic revival.
The central bank said the repo rate, or the rate at which banks borrow from RBI,
is being increased 25 basis points to 5 per cent. Similarly, the reverse repo
rate, or the rate at which surplus cash is parked with the central bank, was
increased to 3.5 per cent, from 3.25 per cent earlier.
This was the second action since January 2010, when RBI announced a 75-basis
point rise in the cash reserve ratio (CRR) to 5.75 per cent.
But, unlike CRR, which is used to manage liquidity in the system, an increase in
the repo and reserve repo rates is aimed at signalling an increase in interest
RBI joined central banks in Australia and Malaysia, which raised rates in March,
while Norway and Israel did so at the end of 2009. The US Federal Reserve and
the European Central Bank are among those waiting for evidence of a more
concrete recovery before they unwind record low borrowing costs.
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Delhi High Court orders for Permanent Commission for Women Officers
On March 12, 2010, in a path-breaking judgement, the Delhi High Court has
directed the Centre to offer within two months Permanent Commission (PC) to
Short Service Commissioned (SSC) women officers of the Air Force and the Army at
par with male SSC officers with all consequential benefits, including promotion.
At present, the Indian Army offers permanent commission to women after 10 years
of SSC. This is applicable to those who were recruited after March 2009 and that
too only in two streams — the Judge Adjutant General (JAG) branch and the
Education corps. Women are also recruited in Signals, Engineers, Ordnance and
Air Defence but are not eligible for PC.
In the IAF, women are offered a permanent option in the Legal, Accounts and
Education corps. Women chopper and transport pilots, engineering corps,
Logistics and Meteorological streams are not eligible for permanent commission.
At present, there are about 1,050 and 827 women officers in the Army and the IAF,
respectively. Separately, the Navy has 280 women.
The benefit would be extended to women officers recruited prior to change of
policy (March 2009) and the PC shall be offered to them after completion of five
years. However, these benefits would be available only to women officers in
service or who approached the HC but retired when the case was pending in the
court, the Bench clarified.
The court made significant remark on having women in combat roles saying “the
claim of absorption in areas of operation not open for recruitment of women
officers cannot be sustained being a policy decision.”
Live-in not an offence: SC
The Supreme Court has opined that a man and woman living together without
marriage cannot be construed as an offence. “Living together is not an offence.
It cannot be an offence,” a three judge bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan,
Deepak Verma and B.S. Chauhan observed.
The court said even Lord Krishna and Radha lived together according to
mythology. The apex court made the observation while reserving its judgement on
a special leave petition filed by noted south Indian actress Khusboo seeking to
quash 22 criminal cases filed against her after she allegedly endorsed
pre-marital sex in interviews to various magazines in 2005.
The judges grilled the counsel for some of the complainants in the case and
repeatedly stressed that the perceived immoral activities cannot be branded as
The apex court further said the views expressed by Khusboo were personal. “How
does it concern you. We are not bothered. At the most it is a personal view. How
is it an offence? Under which provision of the law ?” the bench asked the
Khusboo had approached the apex court after the Madras High Court in 2008
dismissed her plea for quashing the criminal cases filed against her throughout
Promotion fundamental right: SC
The Supreme Court has ruled that governments at the Centre and States should
“act as model employers” and that all eligible employees virtually had a
“fundamental right” to promotion as guaranteed under Article 16 of the
A Bench comprising Justices R.V. Raveendran and Asok Kumar Ganguly made the
clarification while directing the Centre and the Union Public Service Commission
to grant promotion with retrospective effect to members of the Uttar Pradesh
State Civil Service (SSC) who had been affected by a delay of more than two
years in the cadre review following the creation of Uttaranchal (now Uttarakhand)
The Centre and the UPSC contended that the statutory mandate of a cadre review
exercise every five years “is qualified by the expression ordinarily” and as
such it was not necessary to undertake it every five years. The Bench, however,
did not buy this argument. “We hold that the statutory duty which is cast on the
State government and the Central government to undertake the cadre review
exercise every five years is ordinarily mandatory subject to exceptions which
may be justified in the facts of a given case.
“Surely, lethargy, inaction, an absence of a sense of responsibility cannot fall
within the category of just exceptions,” the apex court ruled, obviously
indicting the UP government for not responding to the Centre’s reminders.
The court accepted the government’s arguments that Rule 4(2) did not have
retrospective effect, but refused to interfere with the Delhi HC order which
had, by using its special power under Article 142 of the Constitution, directed
the Centre to “mitigate the hardship and denial of legitimate rights of the
employees” in view of the “facts and circumstances of the case.”
Foreign Education Bill
After several years of debate, the Union Cabinet, on March 15, 2010, unanimously
approved a Bill that would allow foreign education providers to set up campuses
in India and offer degrees. A Bill to this effect was first introduced in the
Rajya Sabha in August 1995. The new one is expected to be introduced in
Parliament and be voted into law by the monsoon session of 2010.
This is a milestone which will enhance choices, increase competition and
benchmark quality. A larger revolution than even in the telecom sector awaits
us,” said Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Human Resource Development (MHRD).
The Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations,
Maintenance of Quality and Prevention of Commercialisation) Bill will allow
foreign universities to invest at least 51 per cent of the total capital
expenditure needed to establish the institute in India. Such institutes will be
granted deemed university status under Section 3 of the Universities Grants
Commission (UGC) Act, 1956.
The Bill aims to regulate the entry, operation and maintenance of quality
assurance and prevention of commercialisation by foreign educational
institutions, besides protecting the interest of the student community from
sub-standard and ‘fly by night’ operators.
The Bill is aimed at not only bringing in investment in the education sector,
but also draw in foreign students, besides helping check the flight of Indians
to study (then work and settle) abroad.
India’s food security goals in danger
An alarming new report by the World Bank has shown that an increasing number of
aquifers in India are reaching unsustainable levels of exploitation, endangering
long-term food security goals. If current trends continue, in 20 years about 60
per cent of all aquifers in the country will be in a critical condition, putting
at risk over a quarter of the harvest, concludes the report “Deep Wells and
Prudence: Towards Pragmatic Action for Addressing Groundwater Overexploitation
The report rings alarm bells for policy makers, warning them against status quo.
A rainfall deficit in 1963-66 had decreased India’s food production by 20 per
cent, but a similar drought in 1987-88 had very small impact on food production
due to widespread prevalence of groundwater, which is now declining.
India is the largest groundwater user in the world, exploiting 230 cubic
kilometres of groundwater every year—over a quarter of the global total. Today,
groundwater supports 60 per cent of irrigated agriculture and more than 80 per
cent of rural and urban water supplies.
Even though there is a major dependence of many sectors on groundwater and it is
being overexploited, there is little investment in its management. This inaction
has arisen mainly because the solutions often proposed for groundwater
management are very controversial, including “command-and-control” regulation of
wells and curbing the supply of free or cheap power for groundwater irrigation.
India to sign extradition treaties with Iran, Sri Lanka, Brazil, France &
After signing extradition treaties with Saudi Arabia and South Korea, India has
finalised draft agreements with five more nations—Iran, Sri Lanka, Brazil,
France and Israel. The government is now working out the dates on which the
treaties can formally be signed.
The treaty with Saudi Arabia was signed in February, during Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh’s visit to Riyadh. Another such treaty was signed with South
Korea when its President, Lee Myung-Bak, visited New Delhi in January 2010.
With bilateral cooperation in security and counter-terrorism measures assuming
significance, India has stepped up efforts to formalise agreements with other
nations so suspects can be brought back to the country to be tried under Indian
laws. Indian government is giving extradition treaties the utmost importance as
intelligence inputs suggest that some nations could be used as safe heavens by
terrorists and the underworld.
India has extradition treaties with several countries, including Nepal, Belgium,
Netherlands, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Bhutan, USA, UAE and the Russian
Loan agreement with Japan
India has signed an agreement for Rs 10,500 crore (Yen 215.611 billion) Official
Development Assistance (ODA) from Japan. This includes Rs 1,648.36 crore for the
second phase of Delhi mass rapid transport system project (DMRTS), Rs 4,422.83
crore for the dedicated rail freight corridor and Rs 2,933 crore for Chennai
Six projects will be covered under the loan, including Sikkim Biodiversity
Conservation and Forest Management Project, Kolkata East-West Metro Project (II)
and Rengali Irrigation Project (III). With this, the cumulative commitment of
ODA from Japan has reached Rs 15,5840 crore.
Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of
Russia visit India in March 2010.
Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin’s one-day visit New Delhi on March 13,
2010, has gone some distance in adding a strong economic dimension to ties
between the two nations. The visit helped in building a roadmap to strengthen
economic ties, including in the pharmaceutical sector, getting Russian
investments in infrastructure projects and accessing Russian markets for Indian
Demonstrating the solidity of their strategic relationship to the world, India
and Russia sealed multi-billion dollars deals in key areas like defence, nuclear
energy, diamond, petroleum and aviation as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
reaffirmed Moscow’s support to Delhi in its fight against terrorism.
The visit is noted for the success in taking this vital strategic partnership
forward, giving the much needed economic impetus. A host of steps aimed at
scaling up the current $7.5 billion bilateral trade to $20 billion by 2015 were
set in motion.
Besides agreement on nuclear reactors, an MoU for cooperation in Russia’s
satellite navigation system was also agreed upon during the visit.
Russia announced its readiness to build 16 nuclear reactors for power stations
in India. An important agreement was the umbrella pact between the National
Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and the Atom Stroy for Kudankulam III
and Kudankulam IV nuclear reactors as part of the nuclear cooperation accord
between the two sides. The agreement on peaceful uses of nuclear energy is
expected to open more avenues of nuclear cooperation between the two countries.
The two sides also signed a pact on serial construction of Russian designed
The most significant accords between the two sides were on the Admiral
Gorshkov aircraft carrier that was approved by the Union Cabinet for the
purchase of the vessel at $ 2.33 billion and the supply of 29 MIG 29K—the sea
variant of the fighter used by the IAF—valued at $ 1.5 billion.
India-USA agree on N-reprocessing
India and the United States have reached a deal on reprocessing American-origin
spent nuclear fuel to be supplied to India under the landmark civil nuclear
agreement signed in September 2008.
The talks were wrapped up well before the August deadline. The US statement
noted that these arrangements will enable Indian reprocessing of US-obligated
nuclear material under IAEA safeguards. Completion of these arrangements will
facilitate participation by US firms in India’s rapidly expanding civil nuclear
The reprocessing arrangements were negotiated pursuant to Article 6 (iii) of the
US-India civil nuclear cooperation agreement, also called the 123 Agreement.
Under the 123 Agreement, India will construct new facilities dedicated for
reprocessing the safeguarded nuclear material under IAEA safeguards.
The advanced consent agreement is only the third of its kind ever undertaken by
the US. The US has such agreements with the European consortium EURATOM and
Japan. China, Brazil, Indonesia, South Korea, which have 123 Agreements with the
US, do not have such agreements.
SC okays quota for Andhra Muslims
On March 25, 2010, the Supreme Court okayed religion-based reservation in
government jobs and educational institutes in Andhra Pradesh but referred the
matter to a constitution bench to decide on its constitutional validity.
In an interim order, a bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan extended
the benefit of four per cent reservation in jobs and education to 14 other
backward classes of Muslims in the State. In the process, it stayed the February
order of the State High Court that had quashed the Andhra Pradesh Reservation
for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes of Muslims Act, 2007.
But the apex court refused to grant quota benefit to a 15th category of Muslims
mentioned in the Act as the social groups were not specified. It also made it
clear this was a temporary measure. The constitution bench is expected to take
up the case in August 2010.
According to Andhra government, the reason for giving four per cent quota to
backward Muslims was because they constitute 5-6 per cent of the State's
population. The creamy layer—those who earn over Rs 4 lakh annually, children of
class-I officers working with the State/Central governments and those who hold
constitutional posts—are not entitled.
All parties barring the BJP welcomed the decision.
Rajya Sabha passes historic Women’s Reservation Bill
Fourteen years after it was envisaged, the Rajya Sabha, on March 10, 2010,
passed the landmark Women’s Reservation Bill that will pave the way for
reserving 33 per cent seats for women in Parliament and State Assemblies. But
prior to that, the legislation has to be seen through in the Lok Sabha.
Of the 186 members present in the Rajya Sabha, 185 voted in favour of the Bill.
Barring the parties from the Hindi-belt—Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal
and BSP—all other parties that included the constituents of Congress-led UPA and
BJP-led NDA supported the Bill that was to carry out the 108th amendment to the
Constitution for enabling reservation.
The Congress-led UPA, the BJP-led NDA and also the Left parties were on the same
side as the Parliament authored the “historic move”, which could upstage several
well ensconced politicians but ensure proper representation of women, which
languishes at 11 per cent in Lok Sabha.
SP and RJD MPs walked out even before the discussion began. BSP’s leader in
Upper House Satish Chandra Misra walked out after expressing his party’s point
of view: “We support the cause of reservation, however, oppose the Bill in its
The proposed legislation to reserve 33.3 percent seats in Parliament and State
Legislatures for women was drafted first by the H D Deve Gowda-led United Front
government. The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on September 12, 1996.
Though it has been introduced in Parliament several times since then, the Bill
could not be passed because of lack of political consensus.
Main points of the legislation
Seeks to reserve one-third of seats for women in Lok Sabha and
Allocation of reserved seats shall be determined by the authority
prescribed by the Parliament.
One-third of the total seats reserved for SCs and STs shall be
reserved for women from these groups in LS and Assemblies.
Reserved seats may be allotted by rotation to different
constituencies in the State or Union Territory.
Reservation of seats for women shall cease to exist 15 years after
the commencement of the Act.
Cabinet okays tougher laws to deal with hijackers
With terror threats in the aviation sector looming large, the Union government
has decided to make the Anti-Hijacking Act of 1982 tougher by including death
sentence as a punishment for hijacking a plane with intention of creating a
A cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved the
amendments to be incorporated in the existing Act, which at present only
provides for life imprisonment and fine.
The anti-hijack policy that was revised and approved by the Cabinet Committee
for Security in 2005 could not be made a law primarily due to lack of consensus
on the punishment for the hijacker, having intent of creating terror strike and
The policy also has provision for immobilisation of the plane and disallowing it
to take off, if the hijack occurs on the Indian soil. Notably, during the
Kandahar hijack in December 1999, in which passengers and crew members were
exchanged for four dreaded terrorists, security forces had failed to immobilise
the plane when it had landed at the Amritsar airport. The CCS, in August 2005,
had cleared the proposal to shoot down a commercial plane if it was hijacked. It
also strictly ruled out any negotiations with hijackers on meeting any of their
According to the policy, if a rogue aircraft paid no heed to ATC warnings and
deviated from its specified path or headed towards any strategic spot, a
decision on shooting it down would come into play. In case of an emergency
situation, the shoot down orders could be given by the Prime Minister, the
Defence Minister or the Home Minister, whoever could be contacted first.
Hour 2010 has been celebrated on 27 March
Hour 2010 has been celebrated on 27 March organized by World Wide Fund for
Nature, India. Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru are official Earth Hour Cities among
15 Indian cities.
Supreme Court allowed religion based 4 % reservations in Govt jobs & educational
institutes in Andhra Pradesh
Court allowed religion based 4 % reservations in Govt jobs & educational
institutes in Andhra Pradesh. It extended the benefit to 14 OBC in muslims in
the state. The matter is further referred to Constitutional bench of Supreme
Prohibition of unfair practices in technical, medical educational institutions &
universities Bill is passed by Govt
Prohibition of unfair practices in technical, medical educational institutions &
universities Bill is passed by Govt. It provided for 3 year imprisonment and a
fine of upto Rs 50 lakh for higher education providers guilty of misleading
approved Foreign Educational Institution (Regulation of Entry & Operation) Bill
approved Foreign Educational Institution (Regulation of Entry & Operation) Bill
2010. It provides foreign universities to set up campuses in India.
starts the scheme for creation of the National Population Register (NPR) of
starts the scheme for creation of the National Population Register (NPR) of
Indian residents. The project will cover an estimated 1.2 billion people and
total cost of the project will be Rs. 3539.24 crore.
became 1st country in the world to have a ‘manoeuvrable’ supersonic cruise
missile, when it successfully test fired 290 km range Brahmos missile.
boom leads to numbering problem
With the 10-digit
mobile numbers on the brink of getting exhausted as
1.5-crore-odd mobile subscribers are being added every month, the Telecom
Regulatory Authority of India has begun the process of
finding a long-term solution to this complex issue.
And it might include
11-digit mobile number to ensure unhindered growth of mobile penetration.
The DoT allowed the use of
mobile numbers beginning with ‘8’ after the entire ‘9’ got exhausted besides
doing away with ‘95’ STD dialling to make more mobile numbers available to
Highlights – at a Glance
25% tax savings for people who are earning upto Rs 1 lakh pm
Service tax unchanged at 10%
Online news agencies to attract tax
Account editing for companies with income above Rs 15 lakhs
More services to be taxed
Peak custom duty unchanged at 10%
5% custom duty on crude petrol back
Minimum alternate tax hiked from 15% to 18%
Corporate surcharge down from 10% to 7. 5%
subvention for exports extended
to benefit handicraft, jewellery and gem exports
What cost more
Petro products to cost more
Cement to cost more
Large cars, SUVs to cost more
Cigarettes, non-smoking, chewing tobacco to cost more
Gross Tax Receipts Rs 7. 46 Lakh crore
Fuel price hike in due course
Gold, silver to cost more
TVs, air-conditioners to go up
Air travel to get costlier
What cost less
Fiscal stimulus to be partially rolled back
Defence allocation up by 6000 cr
15% rise in plan expenditure
Fiscal deficit 5.5% for FY 11
Fiscal deficit 4.8% for FY 12
Special allocation for unorganized labour sector
doubled for power sector
To construct 20 km
13% rise in
allocation for transport sector
5 mega food parks
to be set up
thrust to be maintained in rural and urban areas
Govt. committed to
Banking & Finance
Rs 16,500 cr allocated to public sector banks
Divestment proceedings to be spent on social sector
Double digit food inflation a worry
RBI considering giving banking licenses to more private players
Medium term growth plan to cross double-digit figure
Private investment can sustain 9% growth
Need to review fiscal stimulus
GDP to reach 10% soon
Efforts on to reduce inflation in two months
Slum free India at the earliest
Bharat Nirman outlay Rs 48,000 cr
NREGA allocation Rs 40,100 cr
Banks in all villages with over 2000 population
Subsidy for affordable housing increased
Plan allocation to
renewable energy ministry hiked
authority to be set up
energy fund to be set up
Budget gives strong focus to boost agri production
Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna to get Rs 300 cr
Four pronged strategy to boost agri production
Repayment of loans to be extended to 6 months in drought and flood
Fertilizer subsidy to be reduced
Failure in agriculture sector
compensated by good show in manufacturing sector
Indian Aviation2010 in Hyderabad
The stage is set for the
commencement of India Aviation 2010, the second edition of the international
civil aviation exhibition and conference, at the Begumpet airport Hyderabad.
As many as 190 companies,
including 115 from abroad, representing the who’s who of the aviation industry —
including Boeing, Airbus, Cessna, Bombardier, Beechcraft and Bell — are
participating in the five-day event from March 3 to 7 to explore
business opportunities with
After the success of the
first edition in October 2008, India Aviation 2010 will include static and
flying display of over 40 aircraft, providing an ideal
platform for companies to further their commercial aircraft activities
and support services.
found on Moon by Chandrayan
discovery was made by a Nasa payload on board Chandrayaan-1 called Mini-Sar
(miniature synthetic aperture radar). The payload was
sent by NASA onboard Chandrayan- I.
The discovery of ice
deposits in more than 40 craters in the moon’s North
Pole by NASA’s Miniature -Synthetic Aperture Radar (Mini-SAR)
M. Annadurai, Project
Director, Chandrayaan-1 and 2.
The Mini-SAR is one of the
11 scientific instruments that flew on board India’s
Chandrayaan-1. In September 2009, Isro’s moon impact probe and the hyper
spectral imaging camera (Hysi), along with Nasa’s moon minerology mapper,
announced the discovery of water molecules on the
moon. But, these were not large deposits. In contrast, the Mini-Sar is stated to
found huge quantities of water ice.
NASA’s Moon Mineralogy
Mapper (M3), which was another instrument on board Chandrayaan-1, had earlier
indicated that water was getting formed even in the sun-lit regions.
Mini-Sar, the Nasa payload
carried by Chandrayaan-1 collected strips of data while flying over the lunar
poles. The surveyed strips are each eight km wide and between 150-300 km long.
Director of the Ahmedabad-based
Physical Research Labarotory (PRL) is J N Goswami
Improving Income of Farmers is also important – MSS
attention to farmers, agricultural scientist M.S.
Swaminathan said increasing income per hectare was as much of a concern as
improving yield per hectare.
“The National Farmer’s
Policy is unique because it shifts focus from the land to its tiller.”
Non-lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) underutilized
16 per cent of the 150 projects approved by the Centre and funded under the
Non-lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) during 2004-2009 were completed
in Assam as these projects were taken up without adequate planning and
This was revealed in the
report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for the year ended
March 31, 2009 that was tabled on the floor of the Assam Assembly on the opening
day of the budget session on Tuesday.
The NLCPR was created by
the Centre in 1989 from the ten per cent unspent balances provided in the budget
of Central ministries and departments for funding specific infrastructure
projects in the north-eastern region. The Ministry of Development of
North-Eastern Region (DONER) took charge of NLCPR in August 2002.
and Saudi Arabia sign extradition treaty and other agreements
India and Saudi Arabia have vowed to jointly combat terrorism and money
laundering as they signed an extradition treaty and several agreements to raise
their cooperation to a strategic partnership covering security, economic, energy
and defence areas.
extradition treaty enhances existing security cooperation and will help in
apprehending wanted persons in each other’s country.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Saudi King Abdullah signed the Riyadh
Declaration outlining the contours of a new era of strategic partnership between
the two countries.
Both sides emphasised the importance of strengthening the strategic energy
partnership in line with the Delhi Declaration of 2006, including meetingIndia’s
increasing requirement of crude oil supplies and identifying areas of new and
India and Saudi Arabia also signed four other agreements relating to transfer of
sentenced persons, cultural cooperation, memorandum of understanding between
Indian Space Research Organisation and King Abdulaziz City for Science and
Technology for cooperation in peaceful use of outer space and joint research and
spends double of India’s on Military
announced the smallest rise in its military spending in two decades, moved by
its neighbours’ concerns on the rapid growth of its military and as a result of
the financial crisis.
The country will increase
its defence outlay by 7.5 per cent in 2010, Li Zhaoxing. This is the
first time in 20 years that the military spending will
not show double-digit growth. Spending rose by 14.9 per cent in 2009.
The figures for this year
will, however, have to be approved when the NPC opens its annual 10-day session
, during which a number of other government policies and laws will be up for
review and approval.
The planned defence
budget for 2010 was $78 billion. This would still make
China by far the biggest military spender in Asia. India’s defence outlay rose
by 3.98 per cent this year to $ 32 billion (Rs. 1,47,344 crore).
analysts have persisting doubts on how transparent
China’s defence accounting procedures were, and that the figure was more likely
in the range of $140-$150 billion.
will pay for nuke accidents?
after the Kudankulam project began in 2000, the DAE
set up a two-man committee consisting of legal scholar V.B. Coutinho and nuclear
scientist Rajaraman to study the legislative framework on nuclear liability of
different countries. The committee produced a report soon thereafter,
recommending India’s accession to the CSC and drafting a broad nuclear liability
law for the country.
There is a proposal to
limit the liability of private companies in nuclear field in case of accidents.
Questioning the logic of
limiting the liability of private companies in the nuclear field, the Finance
Ministry suggested that a “formula-based limitation be
considered which matches the liability regime for the
operator to the types of accidents that may occur so as to incentivise adherence
to the higher safety standards, limit negligence and encourage the practice of
the highest international standards while providing
reasonable and scientifically determined cover by the Central government.”
Women’s Reservation Bill on the anvil
March 8, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, the government
intends pushing the long-pending women’s reservation
Bill through the Rajya Sabha to give women 33 per cent reservation in the Lok
Sabha and the State Assemblies.
fighter Sagar pawan crashes in Airshow
another crash involving aging aircraft, two young Navy
aviators were killed on Wednesday during a spectacular aerobatics show
after their Surya Kiran MkII, a series inducted about 30 years ago, failed to
pull out of a dive and plunged into a three-storied building in full view of the
who’s who of Indian aviation.
As part of the `bomb burst’ manoeuvre, the four
aircraft from Goa’s Hansa base came down vertically in
formation and were supposed to peel off at a predetermined height like shrapnel
after a blast.
The plane was part of the
Sagar Pawan Aerobatics Team which has enthralled spectators
over years, creating plumes of a coloured smoke across blue skies. On Wednesday,
they were carrying out their last – but most difficult exercise – at the
India Aviation 2010.
The two naval pilots, Cdr Suresh K Maurya (39) and his co-pilot Lt Cdr Rahul
Nair (33), were performing in the aerobatics display when the aircraft crashed
into a building. They were performing at the inaugural function of theIndia
Aviation 2010 Air-show at Hyderabad. Posted at INS Hansa, Goa, the two fly
fighter jets and are specialised pilots.
Railway Budget – quick review
High Speed Rail Authority to be set up
- To achieve 1000km electrification by 2011
- Routes of 21
trains will be extended
- 13,000 unmanned
crossings to be manned in the next 5 years
Railways to acquire 20,000 new wagons
Suburban rail services to be strengthened
- Freight cut on
food-grains and kerosene
- Special train between
India and Bangladesh
- Railways to have a
master-plan for N-E region
- AC service charges cut to
Rs 20 as against Rs 40 earlier
- Special efforts to clear
outstanding debt of the railways
- Railways saved 2,000 cr
during the austerity drive
- 10 more Duranto trains to
- 54 new trains to be
introduced in FY11
- Rs 1,302 crore allocated
for passenger amenities
Integral Coach Factory in Chennai to be modernised
- Dedicated freight &
passenger corridors to be set up
- To provide employment to
1 member of land losers’ family
- Houses to all railway
employees in the next 10 years
- Railway eco parks to be
set up to give importance to nature
- Tourists trains to be
launched on 16 routes
- GPS-based driver guidance
system on locomotives
- Will set up 10 automobile
and ancillary hubs
- 2008-09 combined turnover
of Rs 13,641 cr for railways
- 5 wagon industries to be
set up in JV-PPP mode
- Design development &
testing centre for wheels in Bangalore
- No increase in freight
- To run 101 suburban
trains in Mumbai
- Railways to complete
25,000km of rail lines by 2020
- 50 creches and 20 hostels
for children of women employees
- Mobile e-ticketing
centres at hospitals, courts & universities
- To make e-tickets
available at panchayat level
- New scheme of house for
all railway employees
- Double-decker trains to
be used on pilot basis
Special trains, opportunities to sportspersons for CWG
- Railways to be lead
partner for Commonwealth Games
- Security of women
passengers will be improved
- Railways plans for 6
water bottling plants
- Plan to raise Rs 10,000 –
20,000 crore in FY11
- To complete 1000km lines
in one year
- India Inc needs to join
hands with Railways
- Railway exams can be
taken in regional languages
- 117 trains will be
flagged off by March 31st
proposals have been made on economic viability
- Railways will not be
- Indian Railways needs to
catch up faster with the West
- Policy guidelines will be
made simple and easy
Bill on tackling Unemployment
United States House of Representatives followed the
Senate in passing a jobs bill of $15 billion and setting the ball rolling for
President Obama’s top priority for 2010 — tackling
With a 217-201 vote largely
along partisan lines, the Hiring Incentive to Restore Employment Act (the “HIRE
Act”) offers a payroll tax holiday for businesses that hire unemployed workers
and an income tax credit of $1,000 for businesses that
retain them. The bill passed in the Senate a few weeks ago by a vote of 70-28
and remains to be signed into law by Mr.Obama.
While the bill is
significantly smaller than the $787 billion American Reinvestment and Recovery
Act — more commonly known as the stimulus package — that was passed
approximately a year ago, it offers a range of supports designed to boost new
Maoists plan to overthrow Indian State in 2050
government said the objective of the Maoists engaged in an armed ‘liberation
struggle’ was to overthrow the Indian state by 2050,
as indicated by documents seized from them.
Union Home Secretary G.K.
Pillai has stated that an in-depth analysis of Maoist operations also pointed to
assistance by former Army men.
He also said the Maoists
did their homework before launching attacks and their
approach was that of a well-trained army — surveying the place, making notes and
studying every aspect.
The Home Secretary said
that even though the joint anti-naxal operations were going on, the
rebels had not suffered any significant reverses, and
that the government would need seven to eight years to have full control over
the areas lost to the Maoists.
The operations have not hit
even five per cent of hardcore militants. The real armed cadres are yet to come
The Maoist influence was
spread over 34 districts in eight States.
UN-Special Agency for Women planned
mark the upcoming International Women’s Day, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
has asked the General Assembly to pass a resolution that would create a U.N.
agency to focus solely on the well-being of women.
In 2009, U.N. announced
that four agencies would be amalgamated to create one single agency that would
be dedicated for the welfare and equality of women.
This year’s celebration on
March 8 also marks the fifteenth anniversary of the landmark Beijing
Declaration, which is the most comprehensive document adopted on women’s right
that obligated governments to provide equal opportunities to women in all
In West Asia, however,
representation remains low, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU),
which finds that women make up only 18.8 per cent of MPs worldwide, shy of the
20 per cent target set by the Beijing Declaration.
To mark International
Women’s Day, U.N. AIDS agency (UNAIDS) launched a new
programme called ‘Agenda for Accelerated Country Action for Women, Girls,
Gender Equality and HIV’ that requires governments to address gender
inequalities that put women and girls at risk to contract HIV.
is wrong with India’s stand on emission reductions?
maintained that per capita emission principle is the
basis for an equitable burden sharing. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made an
international commitment that India’s per capita
emission would never exceed that of the developed countries.
At present, India’s
per-capita emission is at 1.2 to 1.4 MT.
The per capita emission
approach does present some problems. It helps countries leverage on their large
populations, as is the case with India and China, allowing for the rich in these
countries to hide behind its poor. The per capitaemission principle does not
address the development concerns.
There is not much support
for this stand internationally. As of now, only Germany
and, to some extent, France have expressed support for it.
and RMSA – summary
of girls especially those belonging to the
scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and minorities is
one of the principle concerns in education, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) provides
support inter-alia for free textbooks up to Class VIII, organizes back to
school camps for out of school girls, as well as bridge courses for older girls.
In addition, the National Programme for Education of
Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL) and the Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalaya (KGBV)
reach out to girls from marginalized social groups in educationally backwards
blocks in the country.
The Rashtriya Madhyamik
Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) envisages several measures for girls education including
inter-alia, appointment of female teachers and provision of separate
toilets for girls. The scheme of girls hostel was launched in November 2008 to
facilitate girls to pursue secondary education. The
scheme envisages setting up hostels in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs).
IIITs to be established
To address the increasing skill
challenges of the Indian IT industry and growth of the domestic IT market, this
HRD Ministry intends to establish 20 Indian Institute of Information Technology
(IIIT) during the XIth Plan.
Although, the proposal is
for setting up all twenty IIITs in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, since
industry participation may not be forthcoming in some States like in the North
East, it is proposed that IIITs in the North East may be set up by the Central
Government with contributions from Ministry of Development of North Eastern
Stem cell banking
Stem cell banking is being done in
the private sector in the country. In addition, the Government is providing
support to the public-funded institutions to generate human embryonic stem cell
lines and their storage for research purpose.
The Department of
Biotechnology and Indian Council of Medical Research have jointly formulated
guidelines for stem cell research and therapy. The guidelines also include
cord blood banking and human embryonic stem cell
are Gram Nyayalays ?
As per the provisions of Section 3
of the Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008, it is for the State Governments to
establish Gram Nyayalayas in consultation with the
respective High Courts. Since the coming into force of the Gram Nyayalayas Act,
2008, the States of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and
Rajasthan have notified 95 Gram Nyayalayas, out of which 47 have started
The Central Government has
requested the State Governments to set up more Gram Nyayalayas in consultation
with their respective High Courts.
As the Gram Nyayalays are
to be established for every Panchayat at Intermediate level, it is estimated
that nearly five thousand Gram Nyayalayas would be ultimately set up, the
locations of which are to be decided by the respective State Governments.
Why Bio-deisel is not
blended like ethanol?
The National Policy on Bio-fuels is
aimed at accelerated promotion and development of bio-fuels such as bio-ethanol
and bio-diesel. The Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have been
directed to sell five per cent ethanol blended petrol in the entire
country except North-Eastern States, Jammu & Kasmir, Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Bio-diesel is currently not
being marketed commercially for blending with diesel as the bio-diesel industry
is still at nascent stage of development. R&D is also being pursued through
different Scientific Agencies on feedstock development, conversion processes and
production of ethanol mainly from sugarcane molasses and bio-diesel from
conference by CAG
The Comptroller and Auditor General
of India (CAG) plans to undertake an environmental audit, the topic of which is
“water pollution in India”. Issues, causes and mitigation methods relating to
rivers, lakes and groundwater in the country would be addressed in the audits.
The aim would also be to identify critical issues and suggest solutions which
would help the government to conserve and protect this scarce resource more
effectively. It is in this backdrop, the CAG is
organising an International Conference on environment concerns about water
The purpose of this
conference is to deliberate on the causes of pollution, action taken by
governments and civil society to address these concerns and environmental,
management and legal interventions needed to put lakes, rivers and ground water
on the path of sustainability.
Over the last decade, the
office of the CAG of India has increased its focus on audit of environmental
issues, keeping in mind the challenges facing India today with respect to
management and conservation of the environment. More than 100 audits on diverse
environmental issues like biodiversity, pollution of rivers,
waste management etc., have been conducted by the CAG.
Need for Human approach
in Tax Collection
Finance Minister Shri Pranab
Mukherjee has asked Indian Revenue Service officials
to consider tax payers as important stakeholders in nation building and to
administer taxes with a human approach. He was addressing the 63rd batch of IRS
trainees last evening.
Shri Mukherjee pointed out
that the shift in policy whereby tax payers are not seen as adversaries has
resulted in a significant growth in tax collection during the past decade. He
asked the trainee officers to imbibe this approach in their daily working.
The Finance Minister said
that direct taxes collection has increased by ten times during the past decade.
He also pointed out that the share of direct taxes is now more than 55 %.
The Finance Minster
reminded the officials that it was due to increased tax buoyancy and collection
efforts of Revenue departments that the government was able to waive off the
loans to farmers amounting to Rs 71,000 crores.
Higher Education –
Dhande Task Force constituted
The Eleventh Five Year Plan
envisages increase in the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher
education to 15 per cent of the population in the age
cohort group of 18-24 years by 2011-12.
This requires a substantial
increase in the number of institutions and consequently would require an
adequate number of teachers for impartingeducation.
The Government has taken
measures to attract talent into the academic profession by liberalizing pay and
other incentives at levels higher than that provided to the All India Civil
Services (Group ‘A’) at the entry stage.
The age of superannuation
has been increased to 65 years for persons engaged in teaching in higher
The Government has
constituted a Task Force under Prof. Sanjay Dhande,
Director, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur to assess the existing faculty
shortage and the requirement of quality faculty in technical, professional and
Universityeducation considering the need to achieve the targeted GER in the
remaining period of the Eleventh Plan and the Twelfth Plan and to suggest
remedial policies and other measures to meet the estimated shortfalls in quality
National Action Plan on
The National Action Plan on
Climate Change which was launched in June 2008,
envisages a National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Eco-system amongst its
8 national missions. A new research centre on Himalayan Glaciology has been
established at Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun.
This Mission and the Centre
would address the issues of Himalayan glaciers. The Government has developed
Guidelines and best practices for Sustaining Himalayan
Eco-system (G-She), which is shared with all State
Governments in the Himalayan Region.
Measures taken by Govt
Adequate counter insurgency/counter
terrorism measures are in place to keep security situation under control.
Measures taken include augmenting the Central Para-Military
Forces; amendment of the CISF Act to enable deployment
of CISF; strengthening and re-organizing of Multi-Agency Centre for
collation and sharing of intelligence with other intelligence and security
agencies; tighter immigration control and effective border management
through border fencing, flood lighting, deployment
of surveillance equipment and coastal security.
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 was amended and
notified in 2008 to strengthen the punitive measures to combat terrorism.
A National Investigation Agency has been constituted under the
National Investigation Agency act, 2008 to investigate and prosecute
NSG hubs at Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Mumbai have been
established. Operations are based upon threats perceptions.
Anti-insurgency weapons developed by DRDO include weapons used by
commandos, survival kits, fire-retardant material/equipment etc.
What if we can do
Banking in Post Offices
There is a proposal to introduce
Core Banking Solution (CBS) in 4,000 post offices for
ensuring “anytime, anywhere and any branch banking” in these 4000 post offices.
There is a financial outlay of Rs.106 crores for development of CBS software,
customer relations management, training, project
management unit, centralised back office etc. during the 11th Five Year Plan.
The project aims at
provision of delivery channels like ATM, internet, phone and
mobile banking services besides streamlining the existing operations of
savings schemes /savings certificates.
Schemes under Foreign
Under the recently announced
Foreign Trade Policy (2009-2014), the Government has
provided a number of incentives to promote exports to
various countries including the African, Latin American and CIS Countries. Some
of the important schemes are Focus Market Scheme (FMS), Focus Product Scheme
(FPS), Vishesh Krishi and Gram Udyog Yojna (VKGUY), and Status Holders Incentive
Steps taken to make Post
Government has also taken the
following steps to make the post offices a profitable
operations through improved transmission of mails, parcel and logistics
between major cities, setting up of automatic mail processing centres for
faster processing of mails and rationalization of the existing mail network.
Induction of technology
in speed post network and financial services so as to increase the
efficiency of operations.
Leveraging the postal
network to provide various utility services.
for improving productivity in post offices.
Imparting need based
training to all staff.
The Government has taken various
measures to provide telecom facilities in rural areas of the country. As a
result, the rural teledensity has become 21.19% as on December, 2009 against the
target of 4% teledensity in rural areas by 2010.
To spread the reach of
telecom connectivity, more than 5.6 lakh villages have been provided with
Village Public Telephones (VPTs) in the country covering
more than 95% of the villages.
Role of TRAI in Telecom
Telecom Regulatory Authority of
India (TRAI) was established with the objective to
regulate the telecommunication services, to protect the interest of service
providers and consumers of the telecom sector, to promote and ensure orderly
growth of the telecom and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
TRAI has been able to
achieve the above objectives as evident from below:
The supportive regulatory
environment created by TRAI through issue of various regulations, directions and
orders has contributed significantly in the growth of telecom services in terms
of increase in the number of service providers, consumer base and vast network
of the telecom services in the country.
These measures have
resulted in overall benefits to the consumer in terms of choice of services,
affordable tariff of telecom services and better
quality of services.
Full Rural Broadband
coverage by 2014: USOF
Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
has taken following steps for providing broadband services
in rural areas:
i. The Indian Telegraph
Rules have been amended, and stream IV has been added under the title “Provision
of broadband connectivity to villages in a phased manner” to bring
provisioning of broadband connectivity to the rural areas under the purview of
ii. For providing broadband
connections in rural areas, including Gram Panchayats, USOF has signed an
Agreement with BSNL on January 20, 2009 under the Rural Wireline
Broadband Scheme to provide wire-line broadband connectivity to rural &
remote areas by leveraging the existing rural exchanges infrastructure and
copper wire-line network. The speed of each of the broadband connections shall
be at least 512 kbps always on.
Under this scheme, BSNL
will provide 8,88,832 wire-line Broadband connections to individual users and
Government Institutions and will set up 28,672 Kiosks over a period of 5-years,
i.e., by 2014.
The subsidy disbursement is
for (i) broadband connections, Customer Premises Equipment (CPE),
Computer/Computing devices (ii) setting up of Kiosks for public access
India – EU Trade and
The Government of India is
negotiating a bilateral Broad – based Trade and Investment Agreement with the
European Union (EU).
The negotiations commenced in June 2007 covering areas
of Trade in Goods, Trade in Services, Investment, Sanitary and Phytosanitary
measures, Technical Barriers to Trade, Trade Remedies,
Customs Cooperation & Trade
Facilitation, Dispute Settlement, Competition and
Intellectual Property Rights.
Legal texts of the proposed
agreement in all these areas have been exchanged and are being discussed.
Tariff liberalisation offers have also been exchanged
on trade in goods. The negotiations are at an advanced stage.
Indian exports to EU will increase, as products exported from India to EU will
get preferential duty treatment from EU on conclusion of this FTA.
The feedback received from
various stakeholders has been considered for drawing up the initial sensitive
list of products on which notariff reductions proposed to be offered by us to
the EU. In addition, in case of a surge in imports and injury to the domestic
industry, India can take measures such as anti dumping and safeguards.
Why Govt. supports GM
Genetically Modified (GM) crops
have the potential to increase farm yields, reduce farm costs and thereby
increase farm incomes. The Government has, therefore, been very supportive of
the efforts to develop transgenic crops. Many transgenic crops are currently
being developed and tested at various public and private institutions. Indian
Council of Agriculture Research
(ICAR) is implementing a mega Network Project on Transgenics in Crops (NPTC) to
initiate and strengthen the Research and Development (R&D) efforts on functional
genomics and transgenic crops.
In view of concerns
regarding the risk to human health and the environment
from the use of GM crops, Government has, adopted a case by case approach to
assess safety concerns in respect of each transgenic event. All issues relating
to bio-safety, environmental safety, etc., have been entrusted to a strict
regulatory regime under the provisions of theEnvironment (Protection) Act, 1986.
Genetically modified (GM) crops are already being planted in 25 countries,
including 15 developed and 10 industrialised countries as per ISAAA, 2008.
Agri : Farm Gate to Home
With a view to bring down the
rising prices, NAFED has launched a “Farm Gate to Home Gate
scheme” in Delhi on 12.02.2010 and Chennai on 15.02.2010 in order to take the
agriculture produce from farmers field to the
consumers avoiding middle man.
The objective of the
initiative is to procure farm produce directly from farmers and sell it to the
consumers at fair and affordable prices. Under this scheme NAFED has identified
17 kitchen basics including pulses, sugar, spices and edible oils. NAFED intends
to extend this scheme to other parts of the country.
Implementation of Forest
have progressed in varying degrees in implementation of the
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers
(Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
While the States like
Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have
established the prescribed structures and procedures, have received a large
number of claims and have started distributing the title deeds, other States,
because of various reasons, are still to catch up.
What are Rural Business
Ministry of Panchayati Raj is
implementing a Scheme of Rural Business Hubs (RBHs) to
promote Rural Non-Farming Enterprises (RNFE) which utilise local skills and/or
resources and promote rural employment. The Scheme works on a 4P
(Public-Private-Panchayat-Partnership) model and is applicable in all the BRGF
districts and all the districts in the North Eastern Region.
Panchayats, the grass-roots democratic institutions, may prepare
plans based on local resource endowments, felt
needs of people and relative absorptive capacity and implement them
Ideally suited for agriculture / horticulture / handloom /
handicrafts related activities, where production
RBH Scheme is operational since September, 2007
What are the benefits of
Community Radio Stations
Grant of Permission Agreement for
establishing, maintaining and operating a Community Radio
Station at Central India Institute of Science and Technology,
Indore, Madhya Pradesh has been signed . With this, the number of CRS will
increase to 67 in the country.
The focus of the Community
Radio Station would be to encourage the community members to speak out their
needs and ideas, to create knowledge content for students and to act as a medium
for teachers to develop knowledge content relevant to their subjects.
It will also ensure that
the community is literate and enabled to absorb information through media
including radio. Regular information on child health,
pregnancy, local health issues and seasonal precautions for women’s related
programmes will benefit the community.
The Government encourages
setting up of community radio stations as it promises
to provide an opportunity to the local communities to express themselves, share
their views and particularly empower the women, youth and the marginalized group
to take part in local self governance and overall socio economic and cultural
development of the area.
Community Radio Station
also better informs the society about the developmental initiatives of
government and promote transparency in the implementation of the schemes.
unit – India and KYC norms
Reserve Bank of
India (RBI), in terms of instructions contained in the guidelines on Know
Your Customer (KYC) norms, have advised the banks that before opening any new
account it should be ensured that the identity of the customer does not match
with any person with known criminal background or with banned entities such as
individual terrorist or terrorist organisation etc. Banks are stipulated to file
suspicious transaction reports pertaining to remittances/withdrawals from
bank accounts and in respect of account holder.
Financial Intelligence Unit
– India (FIU-IND) has been set-up to receive information relating to certain
types of transactions including suspicious transaction from financial sector,
analyze received information and disseminate information in appropriate cases to
relevant intelligence/law enforcement agencies.
System of Rice
In order to increase the
productivity of land, water and other farm inputs in cultivation of rice crops,
a new farming practice – System of Rice Intensification (SRI) has been adopted
in many States including Karnataka.
This system of cultivation
promotes resource conservation wherein use of low inputs such as seeds, water,
fertilizers, as compared to conventional rice production system, is practiced.
Seedlings are grown up to 10-12 days in the nurseries and are directly planted
at prescribed distance.
In this system of
cultivation, use of conoweeders for weeding is practiced which also helps in
better soil aeration and increased soil organic matter due to incorporation of
weeds thereby producing more tillers and panicles. This system is reported to
have increased the production of rice by 30-40%.
Under Centrally Sponsored
Scheme on Integrated Cereals Development Programme in
Rice Based Cropping System Areas under Macro Management of Agriculture and
National Food Security Mission, the technology of SRI is promoted in the
selected States including Karnataka.
Karu Karya – Livelihood
for Naval widows
A design studio called ‘Karu Karya’
established under the aegis of the Naval Wives Welfare Association. ‘Karu Karya’,
which means ‘Fine Work’, is a step by Naval wives aimed at empowerment of
sailors’ wives and Naval widows to help them stand on their own feet.
Apart from this, the Naval
Wives Welfare Association (NWWA), which is a Command Family Support System, has,
through its new ‘Outreach’ programme, also supported
the weaver’s community of India.
The entire raw material for
this fashion line is sourced from artisans from Kalamkari and Madhubani hand
woven by weavers from Andhra Pradesh, Benares and Kerala. The designing and
stitching of these garments has been done by the
community of naval wives including officers’ wives, sailors’ wives and widows.
The boutique also aims to
encourage ‘Khadi’, a symbol of self-reliance, and to prevent the extinction of
this fine art. NWWA has adopted a remote Khadi village
Ponduru in Andhra Pradesh and has been taking care of the medical,
health and nutrition of all its inhabitants.
Railways earn 262 Crore
from Optic Fibre network
The optic fibres have been laid for
modernization of Indian Railways’ communication network necessary for its
As of January 31, 2010,
Indian Railways have laid 37382 kms of optical fibre cable. A total investment
of around Rs. 1500 crore has been made on the optic fibre project.
Revenues have been realized
from the available spare capacity in the optical fibre network. The
revenue earned from Optic Fibre project during the
last five years is Rs. 32 crore in the year 2004-05, Rs. 56 crore in 2005-06,
Rs. 112 crore in 2006-07, Rs. 188 crore in 2007-08 and Rs. 261 crore in the year
Features of 73rd
According to the 73rd
Constitutional amendment, all States and Union Territories to which Part-IX of
the Constitution applies are required to implement
Panchayati Raj system with the following features –
(a) Constitution of
Panchayats at Village, Intermediate and District levels except for States having
a population of less than 20 lakhs which may not constitute a Panchayat at the
elections to the Panchayats every five years;
(c) Reservation of seats
and offices of Chairpersons for Scheduled Castes,
Scheduled Tribes and women at each level of Panchayats and
(d) Constitution of State
Finance Commission and State Election Commission.
Also under Article 243G of
the Constitution, State Legislatures are to endow the Panchayats with powers and
authority to enable them to function as institutions of self government.
PPP in Railways
Certain areas such as development
of world class stations, establishment of super specialty hospital/medical
colleges, setting up of manufacturing units for rolling stock, setting up of
perishable cargo centres, infrastructure projects for port connectivity and
several activities in catering/tourism and hospitality area have been identified
for possible execution through Public Private Partnership/Joint Venture/Special
Purpose Vehicle route.
In South Central Railway,
Obulavaripalle-Krishnapatnam new line project of 112 kilometres has been taken
up with private sector participation through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)
formed by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) in partnership with Krishnapatnam Port
Company Limited and Bramhani Industries Limited along with NMDC Limited and
Government of Andhra Pradesh.
Secunderabad and Tirupati
stations in South Central Railway have been identified for development into
world class stations through Public Private Partnership.
Finance Commission of
Finance Commission of India came into existence in 1951. The Finance commission
is established under article 280 of the Indian Constitution of India by the
President of India. The Indian Finance Commission Act was passed to give a
structured format to the Finance Commission of India as per the world standard.
The need for the Finance Commission was felt by the British for guiding the
finance of India. The structure of the modern Act was laid in the early 1920′s.
The Finance Commission is formed to define the financial relations between the
centre and the state. The Finance Commission Act of 1951 tells about the
qualification, appointment, term, eligibility, disqualification, powers etc of
the Finance Commission.
Functions Of The Finance
The Finance Commission’s duty is to recommend to the President as to-
The distribution of net proceeds of taxes between the Union and
To evaluate the increase in the Consolidated Fund of a state to
affix the resources of the Panchayat in the state.
To evaluate the increase in the Consolidated Fund of a state to
affix the resources of the Municipalities in the
The Recommendation Of Finance Commission
The recommendation of the Finance
Commission are implemented
Powers of the
The Finance Commission has the following powers:
The Commission shall have all the powers of the
Civil Court as per the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
It can call any witness, or can ask for
the production of any public record or document from any court or office.
It can ask any person to give information or document on matters
as it may feel to be useful or relevant.
It can function as a civil court in discharging its duties.
appointment and the manner of selection:
The Chairman of the Finance Commission is selected among persons who have had
the experience of public affairs, and four other members are selected among
Are, or have been, or are qualified as judges of High Court, or
Have knowledge of finance, or
Have vast experience in financial matters and are in
Have knowledge of economics
Term of Office of
Every member of the commission shall be in the office as specified by the
President. He can also be reappointed, provided that he has already addressed a
letter to the President for his resignation.
service and salaries and allowance of members:
Each member should provide whole time or part time service to the
Commission as the President with respect to each case might specify.
Each member shall receive salaries according to the provisions
made by the central government.
A member may be disqualified if:
Doppler Weather Radar at
Radar (DWR) will be installed at
IGI Airport, New Delhi by the end of April, 2010.
DWR is operated in 24 x 7
mode and provides velocity and spectrum width data, in addition to reflectivity
obtained from conventional radars.
Radial velocity data of
weather systems provides better insight into the dynamics of weather systems.
Spectrum width data gives information on turbulence and wind shear in the
It gives better
quantitative rainfall estimates by suppressing ground
clutter and anomalous propagation. It is able to produce wind field patterns
associated with cyclones and make it possible to better analyse the internal
structure of storms.
DWR data is ingested in
Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models for weather
Court in the World
In the context of environmental
Audit, two very important initiatives are ongoing, namely the National Green
Tribunal (NGT) with a network of specialized Environment Courts and National
Environment Protection Authority (NEPA).
he NGT will give the Indian
citizen first time judicial remedy as far as environmental damages are
concerned. India would be the first country in the world to have such an
extensive network of specialized environment courts.
NEPA’s core mandate will be
to ensure that the standards and stipulation under which environmental approvals
are granted are actually adhered to. CPCB and SPCBs will work under one umbrella
of NEPA. Soon all the licensing functions of the Ministry will be transferred to
NEPA. So MOEF becomes a policy making body, and the actual approvals or
rejections, even of clearances, would be the responsibility of this independent
The NEPA will work on the
‘polluter-pays’ and ‘precautionary’ principles on all matters related to
environment in India, essentially project clearances and enforcement of
environment laws. The Central Pollution Control Board and the state regulators
will report to the authority. While NEPA will carry out monitoring and
compliance, the NGT will settle disputes.
US Healthcare bill is
bonanza for Indian IT industry
The outsourcing industry may
receive the biggest bonanza ever with the US healthcare bill getting approved by
the House of Representatives. The opportunity that it
throws up for outsourcers is huge and far bigger than the Y2K opportunity, which
included only changing code, said experts.
When the bill becomes law,
it will bring around 32 million more Americans under insurance cover, pushing
healthcare providers and insurance firms to become more efficient and opening up
demand for less expensive services, better technology and
The opportunity is not at a company-level but at an industry level.
SCHEMES UNDER RURAL
EMPLOYMENT GENERATION PROGRAMME
The Prime Minister’s Employment
Generation Programme (PMEGP), is a new creditlinked
subsidy scheme being implemented by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium
Enterprises both in rural as well as urban areas.
Under this Scheme
entrepreneurs can establish new ‘micro enterprises’
with margin money subsidy.
The Minister further added
that PMEGP is being implemented through Khadi and Village Industries Commission
(KVIC), the nodal agency at the national level.
For Special Category
(including SC / ST / OBC /Minorities/Women, Ex-servicemen, Physically
handicapped, NER, Hill and Border areas etc. the rate
of subsidy for Urban is 25% and for rural is 35% of the Project cost.
Prior to the introduction
of PMEGP in 2008-09, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises,
through KVIC, had been implementing a Central Sector credit-linked
subsidyprogramme, called the Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP) from
01.04.1995 to 31.03.2008, in the rural areas and small towns with population up
PMEGP has replaced REGP
w.e.f. 2008-09 and has an outlay of Rs. 4735
crore (Rs. 4485 crore towards margin money and Rs. 250 crore towards backward
linkages), with a target of creating 36.14 lakh jobs in 4 years.
Gender Equality : What
are the steps to be taken
There are many obstacles to women,
To remove these obstacles, far reaching changes are needed in the interlinked
areas of economics, social policy,
politics, and the law.
In the realm of economics,
policies which ensure that women and men have the same inheritance rights and
rights to land title will put assets in the hands of women, and
significantly improve their ability to make their voice heard inside and outside
Human Development Report estimates that
increasing the proportion of women in the workforce to 70 per cent,
equivalent to the rate of many developed countries, would boost annual GDP in
India by 4.2 per cent, in Malaysia by 2.9 per cent, and in Indonesia by 1.4 per
Political reforms are needed so that more women can enter
legislatures and positions of power. This region has produced a number of
women Presidents and Prime Ministers. More women in power at every level
will ensure that women’s needs get higher priority than they currently do.
Nations in the Asia Pacific committed to
achieving real progress for women when they signed the
Millennium Declaration in 2000 and backed
the Millennium Development Goals. In countries where the
needs and status of women are given low priority, there is the least
progress on the goals. If women’s status is lifted, that greatly improves
the prospects for achieving the MDGs.
maternal mortality will
also have positive spill over effects on the goal of improving children’s
health and access to education, and of reducing poverty and hunger.
with education will, in
time, be positive in reducing child mortality, and improving
child nutrition and health for future generations.
scourge of sexual and gender-based violence
not only addresses a basic human right, but also helps reverse the spread of
The Millennium Development Goals summit at the U.N. this September
is a major opportunity to show how prioritising meeting the needs of women
can transform development progress.
Security Commission for
Union Territories set up
Ministry of Home Affairs
has constituted a Security Commission for Union Territories early this month in
pursuance of directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
The composition of the
Security Commission is as under:
(i) Union Home Secretary …
(ii) Chief Secretary, Delhi
(iii) Chief Secretary, A&N
Islands … Member
(iv) Chief Secretary,
Puducherry … Member
(v) Commissioner of Police,
Delhi … Member
Representatives of other UTs … Member
(according to the
requirements of the agenda of the meeting)
(vii) 5 Independent Members
to be nominated by the Central Government
(viii) Joint Secretary
(UT), MHA … Convenor
The tenure of the
Independent Members, nominated by the Central Government, shall be for a period
of two years.
Role of the
The Commission would frame
broad policy guidelines for promoting efficient, effective, responsive and
accountable policing, in accordance with the law;
identify performance indicators to evaluate the functioning of the Police
These indicators shall,
inter alia, include: operational efficiency, public satisfaction, victim
satisfaction vis-à-vis police investigation and response, accountability,
optimum utilisation of resources, and observance of
human rights standards; and review and evaluate organisational performance of
the Police Service in the state as a whole as well as district-wise against (i)
the Annual Plan, (ii) performance indicators as identified and laid down, and
(iii) resources available with and constraints of the police.
In WP (C) No.310/1996,
titled Prakash Singh & Ors Vs. Union of India & Ors, the Hon’ble Supreme Court
had directed, inter alia, to constitute a State
Prithvi II and Dhanush
missiles test fired
has successfully testfired Prithvi II ballistic
missile from Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur off the Orissa coast also
Dhanush, the naval version of Prithvi has also been testfired .
missile, which has a maximum range of 295 km, was successfully test fired from
the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, about 15 km from Balasore, off the
The sleek missile is
handled by the strategic force command’
Prithvi, the first
ballistic missile developed under the country’s prestigious Integrated Guided
Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), has the
capability to carry 500 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion
‘Dhanush’ missile test
India successfully test
fired its ship-based ballistic missile ‘Dhanush’, with a range of 350 km, from a
naval vessel off the Orissa coast.
The missile was fired from
INS-Subhadra in the Bay of Bengal , The nuclear-capable ‘Dhanush’, a naval
version of ‘Prithvi’, was also test-fired.
The 350-km range missile
will give Indian navy the capability to launch a missile on enemy’s targets with
The sophisticated radar
systems located along the coast monitored Saturday’s entire trajectory of the
The single stage missile is
powered by liquid propellants. It is 10-metre long and weighs six tonnes. It has
one metre diameter and can carry 500 kg warhead.
Supreme Court heralds 4%
reservation for Muslim backwards
The demand for
religious quota in jobs and admissions gained
legitimacy when the Supreme Court leaned in favour of an Andhra Pradesh (AP)
law providing 4% quota to 14 “backward groups” within the Muslim community.
The court, which passed
an interim order, referred the adjudication of
constitutional validity of the AP law to a Constitution
The SC interim order,
passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and justices JM
Panchal and BS Chauhan, may now open the floodgates to extending the
benefits of reservation to Muslims and Dalit
Christians in other states.
The lack of
judicial sanction has so far been cited by the
Centre to stonewall demands for religion-based quota, which was recommended
by the Ranganath Mishra panel.
The AP move was earlier
turned down by the state’s high court for violating the Constitution. In a
majority judgment of 5:2, the high court had
struck down the law arguing that it was “unsustainable” and violative of
articles 14, 15(1) and 16(2) of theConstitution. While Article 14 pertains
to the right to equality, Article 15 prohibits
discrimination on the basis of race, religion and caste while Article
16 is about equality of opportunity in matters of employment.
The only categories now
kept outside the quota ambit are Syeds, Pathans, Arabs and Iranis, but they
account for less than 10% of Muslim population in the state. Muslims
constitute 9.2% of AP’s 77 million population.
The apex court bench
was in agreement with the argument put forth by
Attorney General (AG) GE Vahanvati and former AG K Parasaran that quota
benefits are extended to socially and educationally backward communities on
the basis of their profession and not religion.
It would be social
discrimination of the worst kind if on the one hand reservation was given to
similarly situated groups within the Hindu community, but denied to those in
the Muslim community, they argued.
The Bench was in
agreement with their position that it was not fair to exclude Muslim barber
or washerman community from the quota list when the similarly placed Hindu
groups were being provided with benefits ofreservation.
Role of National Commission for STs
Kujur, Vice-Chairman,National Commission for Scheduled Tribes presented
the Third Report of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes for the year
2007-08to the President.
Shri T.Samphel and Shri
Oris Syiem Myriaw, are Members of the Commission.
The National Commission for
Scheduled Tribes was constituted w.e.f.
19 February, 2004 consequent to the amendment of Article 338 of the
Constitution of India and insertion of a new Article
338A vide the Constitution (Eighty-ninth Amendment)
Article 338A of the
Constitution, inter alia, enjoins upon the National Commission for Scheduled
Tribes to present Report(s) to the President upon the
working of the Constitutional safeguards for Scheduled Tribes and to make in
such Report(s) recommendations regarding measures that should be taken by the
Union or any State for effective implementation of those safeguards and other
measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development ofScheduled
As per the constitutional
provisions the report of the Commission has to be laid in both Houses of
Parliament along with a Memorandum
explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations
relating to the Union.
Similar action has also to
be taken while laying the Report in the Legislative Assembly of the State
concerned, in relation to the recommendations concerning the State.
India – Bangladesh Relations
India has been
maintaining a cordial foreign policy that can be extended even to a non-friendly
nation. As we have a sovereign power in making our own policy but drawing the
policy in an inter-related way that depends upon the different nations of the
world. It has been shifting a dramatic way in its policy from the Western
centric to the East Policy in the name of ‘Look East Policy’. Out of the eastern
countries which it tries to make friendly relations, Bangladesh is considered as
one of the most important to it. Especially, India is
focusing upon the South Asian countries over the few years. Inspite of many
efforts and initiatives like South Asian Association
for Regional Co-operation (SAARC),
Gujral Doctrine, Look East Policy, the relations between India and its
neighbours have been far from satisfactory.
In case of Indo-Bangladesh
relations, it is not only sharing its socio-cultural affinity with India. Even
the credit of formation of Bangladesh goes to India, when the history dated back
to December 1971. Earlier to that Bangladesh was called as East Pakistan, a part
of Pakistan nation. It became independent with the help ofIndia, by making a
long liberation war. After the formation of
Bangladesh, it made its first treaty of friendship and peace with India, by its
founder and father of
Out of 38 years of its
Independence, it has been ruled by military rulers for 15 years – from 1975 to
1990. Again the restoration of democracy in 1991
revived hopes for better relations between the two countries. But it appears
that the domestic politics of Bangladesh has infiltrated into its foreign policy
establishment. Whenever, the Awami League (one of the three national parties),
led by Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of father of Bangladesh, Mujib-ur-Rehman, is
in power in Bangladesh, the relations between the two countries are cordial and
friendly. On the other hand, when the
Nationalist Party, BNP, led by Khalida Zia is in power in Bangladesh, the
relations between the two countries are acrimonious and conflictual.
However, Awami League has
regained its power in 1996, it lost it to the BNP by the year 2001, which led a
major problem between the Indo-Bangladesh relations. The BNP government has been
instrumental in developing warm ties with China, particularly in the last
decade. Between the years 2006-07, trade between China and Bangladesh rose by
28.5% and there have been agreements between the two countries to grant various
Bangladesh commodities tariff free access to Chinese market.
Cooperation between the military of
Bangladesh and the Chinese Army is also increasing with joint military
agreements signed between the two countries. China’s growing influence on
Bangladesh is a cause of worry forIndia.
present, the Awami League has regained its power in December 2008, as the
ruler of Bangladesh by its party leader Shiekh Hasina Wajed, the daughter of
Mujib-ur-Rehman, which is also supported by another national party Jatiya Party,
led by H. M. Ersad. This time, the Awami League has come to power with a 2/3
majority in its parliament, which led it to take independent decisions upon the
foreign policy, which is a major determinat of cordial relations betweenIndia
Recent Visit of
Bangladesh Prime Minister and Agreements
Earlier, the problem of
Ganga Water sharing arose in 1975 when India consturcted Farakka Dam on the
Ganga River to increase the supply of water for maintaing the navigabilityof
Hoogly River. With many ups and downs, the two countries signed Ganga Water
sharing agreement in 1996, which would guide the water sharing between the two
countries for next 30 years. However, the sharing of water of other tributaries
of Ganga between the two countries still remains unclear.
The Teen Bigha corridor is
a small piece of Indian Territory which joins Bangladeshi enclaves of Dahagram
and Angorpota. Agreements for the use of this corridor by Bangladesh were signed
in 1972 and 1982. Following the Indian Supreme Court judgement, the Teen Bigha
corridor was given to Bangladesh on perpertual lease, without any rent in 1992.
However, this perpetual lease provided for the retention of Indian sovereignty
over Teen Bigha with free movement of Indian Citizens living on either side of
Both countries signed
Chakma Hill Tract Agreement in 1997 which paved way for the repatriation of more
than 50000 Chakma refugees living in Tripura. The
repatriation of these refugees is almost complete. To check the further
infiltration of Bangladeshi refugees, the Government
of India has decided to put barbed wire fencing along the 3300 km border between
the two countries. Bangladesh resents the fencing of the border. As a goodwill
gesture, Kolkata-Dhaka Bus service was also initiated in 1999. More recently,
Bangladesh has handed over some Indian insurgent leaders, notably Arbind
Rajkhova, the chief of ULFA toIndia in December 2009.
Recently in January 2010,
Bangladesh Prime Minister made a first visit to India. This visit has proved
instrumental in reviving the friendly relations between India and Bangladesh.
Further improvement, India and Bangladesh signed five
agreements to enhance mutual co-operation. These agreements are:
Agreement to provide mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
Transfer of persons, who are sentenced by each other.
Agreement to fight against terrorist activities, organised crimes
and illegal drug-trafficking.
Agreement in the form of memorandum of understanding to enhance
cooperation in the field of power generation.
Agreement to enhance cultural exchange
And there was a memorandum
of understanding (mou) on co-operation in Power sector, signed between the two
countries is very significant.India has also promised $ 1 Billion line of credit
to Bangladesh for building railway tracks in Bangladesh.
Both India and Bangladesh
share common history and culture and that should reflect in the common sharing
of interests, which can pave way for further development and peace in both of