Daily Current Affairs : 07-Feb-2020

Major Topics Covered :


  1. MONETARY POLICY COMMITTEE

  2. 15TH FINANCE COMMISSION HAS REDUCED THE VERTICAL DEVOLUTION FROM 42% TO 41%

  3. INTERNATIONAL GANDHI AWARDS FOR LEPROSY

  4. NATIONAL MEANS-CUM-MERIT SCHOLARSHIP SCHEME

  5. LUCKNOW DECLARATION ON DEFENCE

  6. NAMASTE ORCHHA

  7. FIT INDIA

  8. FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

  9. PUBLIC SAFETY ACT

  10. SECOND NATIONAL JUDICIAL PAY COMMISSION SUBMITS ITS REPORT


MONETARY POLICY COMMITTEE

Why in news?

  • RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das today said that the Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to maintain status quo on policy rates for the second time in a row, must not be viewed as a pointer for future action.


Highlights:

  • This is the second straight policy review meeting where the rates have been kept unchanged. The RBI reduced the rates by 135 bps between February and October 2019 before pressing the pause button in the December policy review.

  • The central bank took two measures that could ease lending rates further.

  • One, it opened a window to extend ₹1 lakh crore to the commercial banks at the repo rate, which is 5.15%. In order to ensure availability of adequate liquidity in the banking system, the RBI Governor announced that it will soon start conducting long-term repos of one-year and three-year tenors of appropriate sizes for up to a total amount of 1,00,000 crore rupees.

  • Second, banks have been exempted from maintaining the cash reserve ratio (CRR) — which is 4% of the net demand and time liabilities now for home, auto and MSME loans that are extended from January 31 to July 31.

Source: The Hindu



15TH FINANCE COMMISSION HAS REDUCED THE VERTICAL DEVOLUTION FROM 42% TO 41%

Why in news?

  • The Fifteenth Finance Commission (FC) has considered the 2011 population along with forest cover, tax effort, area of the state, and “demographic performance” to arrive at the states’ share in the divisible pool of taxes.


Highlights:

  • The report of the Fifteenth FC, along with an Action Taken Report, was tabled in Parliament on 1st February, 2020.

  • The Commission has reduced the vertical devolution — the share of tax revenues that the Centre shares with the states — from 42% to 41%.

  • The 1 per cent decrease in the vertical devolution is roughly equal to the share of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, which would have been 0.85% as per the formula described by the Commission.

  • The Commission has said that it intends to set up an expert group to initiate a non-lapsable fund for defence expenditure.


  • The terms of reference of the Commission included considering the Centre’s demand for funds for defence and national security.


  • FINANCE COMMISSION Article 280 of the Constitution of India provides for a Finance Commission as a quasi judicial body.It is constituted by the president of India every fifth year or at such earlier time as he considers necessary.

  • COMPOSITION The Finance Commission consists of a chairman and four other members to be appointed by the president. They hold office for such period as specified by the president in his order.

  • They are eligible for reappointment.The Constitution authorises the Parliament to determine the qualifications of members of the commission and the manner in which they should be selected.Accordingly, the Parliament has specified the qualifications of the chairman and members of the commission.

  • The chairman should be a person having experience in public affairs and the four other members should be selected from amongst the following:

  • A judge of high court or one qualified to be appointed as one.A person who has specialised knowledge of finance and accounts of the government.A person who has wide experience in financial matters and in administration.A person who has special knowledge of economics.

  • FUNCTIONS The Finance Commission is required to make recommendations to the president of India on the following matters:The distribution of the net proceeds of taxes to be shared between the Centre and the states, and the allocation between the states of the respective shares of such proceeds.The principles that should govern the grants-in-aid to the states by the Centre. The measures needed to augment the consolidated fund of a state to supplement the resources of the panchayats and the municipalities in the state on the basis of the recommendations made by the state finance commission.Any other matter referred to it by the president in the interests of sound finance.

  • Under Article 280(3)(a), the Commission must make recommendations to the President “as the distribution between the Union and the States of the net proceeds of taxes which are to be, or may be, divided between them under this Chapter and the allocation between the States of the respective shares of such proceeds”.Accordingly, the Commission determines a formula for tax-sharing between the states, which is a weighted sum of the states’ population, area, forest cover, tax capacity, tax effort and demographic performance, with the weights expressed in percentages.This crucial role of the Commission makes it instrumental in the implementation of fiscal federalism.

Source: Indian Express



INTERNATIONAL GANDHI AWARDS FOR LEPROSY

Why in news?

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has said that in the fight against Leprosy, India has achieved a lot over the years and successfully accomplished levels of leprosy elimination defined as less than one case per ten thousand populations.


Highlights:

  • Presenting the International Gandhi Awards for Leprosy to Dr N.S. Dharmashaktu and the Leprosy Mission Trust in New Delhi.

  • Mr Kovind said, the stigma and prejudice against leprosy have reduced considerably due to constant work of scientists, researchers, organizations and community workers.

  • He said, new cases continue to occur and high-burden pockets of the disease do exist.

  • Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation, Wardha, a pioneering organisation established in 1951 in the field of leprosy in India, has instituted the award titled “International Gandhi Award” in 1986.

  • Periodicity: The Award is presented once in two years and consists of Rs. 2 lakhs as cash award, a Medallion and a Citation.

  • Number of Awards: Two awards are presented either to individuals or institutions.

  • Eligibility: The Award is given to a Leprosy Worker or Institution who/which has undertaken work in the field of leprosy for a period of not less than 10 years. The Award is open to medical, paramedical or non-medical and social workers in leprosy field.

Source: PIB



NATIONAL MEANS-CUM-MERIT SCHOLARSHIP SCHEME

Why in news?

  • The Central Sector Scheme ‘National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme’ (NMMSS) is being implemented since 2008 with the objective to award scholarships to meritorious students of economically weaker sections to arrest their drop out at class VIII and encourage them to continue the study at secondary stage.

Highlights:

  • Under the Scheme one lakh fresh scholarships @ of Rs.12000/- per annum per student are awarded to selected students of class IX every year and their continuation/renewal in classes X to XII for study in a State Government, Government-aided and Local body schools.

  • There is a separate quota of scholarships for each State/UT.

  • The selection of students for award of scholarships under the scheme is made through an examination conducted by the States/UTs Governments.

  • As on date approx 16.93 lakh scholarships have been sanctioned to the Students across the country.

  • The scheme is boarded on National Scholarship Portal (NSP) since 2015-16.

  • The NSP has been developed by Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) for streamlining and fast tracking the release of Scholarships across Ministries / Departments with efficiency, transparency and reliability.

  • The eligible students from different States/UTs register themselves on NSP.

  • The Scheme was evaluated by the National Institute of Planning and Administration (NIEPA).

Source: PIB



LUCKNOW DECLARATION ON DEFENCE

Why in news?

  • India and several African countries on 6th February, 2020, pledged to deepen cooperation to combat the growing threat of terrorism and preserve maritime security by sharing information, intelligence and surveillance, in a joint deceleration adopted at the first India- Africa Defence Ministers conclave at the ongoing Defexpo.


Highlights:

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said India was geared to provide a range of military hardware to Africa.

  • The strongest terms, the growing threat of terrorism and acknowledge that it constitutes a major threat to peace and security in the region.

  • Countries to take resolute action in rooting out terrorism in all forms and manifestations, terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and eliminating financing channels and halting cross-border movement of terrorists.

  • The Declaration also called for strengthening the UN Counter-Terrorism mechanisms and to ensure strict compliance with the UN Security Council sanctions regime on terrorism.

  • The international community to envisage the adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UNGA.

  • Recognising the importance of the oceans and seas to the livelihoods of our peoples and that maritime security is a pre-requisite for the development of blue or ocean economy, the Declaration said.

  • It seek to increase our cooperation in securing sea lines of communication, preventing maritime crimes, disaster, piracy, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing through sharing of information and surveillance.

Source: The Hindu



NAMASTE ORCHHA

Why in news?

  • A three-day multi-cultural festival aims to promote tourism in the heritage city of Orchha, Madhya Pradesh.


Highlights:

  • ‘Namaste Orchha’, organised by the Madhya Pradesh government, will celebrate the cultural diversity, natural beauty and the architectural heritage of the town.

  • A curtain raiser to encourage visitors to visit Orchha was held in Mumbai on 5th February, 2020.

  • The festival, which begins on March 6, will showcase music, dance, heritage walks, local cuisine, arts and handicrafts.

  • The first day of the festival will be held at Jahangir Mahal, built in 17th Century by the then ruler Vir Singh Deo in honour of the Mughal emperor Jahangir.

  • Mumbai-based Clinton Cerejo, known for composing ‘Madari’ on Coke Studio, will collaborate with Madhya Pradesh’s local folk and classical artistes.

  • Through this collaboration we aim to empower the local artists and bring them on the global map.

  • Organisers have put together a maha aarti on the banks of river Betwa to give the visitors an immersive experience.

Source: The Hindu



FIT INDIA

Why in news?

  • For the Fit India Movement, the Government is playing the role of a catalyst so that Fit India becomes a people’s movement.


Highlights:

  • Fit India is a people centric movement to be run on voluntary basis with participation of as many citizens as possible.

  • The main objective of Fit India Movement is to create awareness amongst all the citizens of India about fitness and its importance in daily life through sports, yogasan, walking, cycling, dancing or any other physical activity.

  • Traditional rural and indigenous games generally exist in informal setup and do not have adequate leaders to represent.

  • Government’s emphasis on promotion of rural and indigenous games has encouraged leadership and formalization of the same.

  • It is organised by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

Source: PIB



FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

Why in news?

  • Every year, February 6 is observed as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). As per the World Health Organization (WHO), globally, over 200 million girls alive today have suffered FGM in over 30 countries.


Highlights:

  • FGM is the name given to procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical or cultural reasons, and is recognised internationally as a violation of human rights and the health and integrity of girls and women.

  • WHO classifies four types of FGM:

  • Type 1 (partial or total removal of the clitoral glans);

  • Type 2 (partial or total removal of the external and visible parts of the clitoris and the inner folds of the vulva);

  • Type 3 (infibulations, or narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal),

  • Type 4 (picking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterising the genital area).

  • Most girls and women who have undergone FGM live in sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab States, but it is also practiced in some countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

  • Countries where FGM is performed include Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Egypt, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Iran, Georgia, Russian Federation, Columbia and Peru, among others.

  • According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), while the exact origins of the practice remain unclear, it seems to have predated Christianity and Islam. It says that some Egyptian mummies display characteristics of FGM.

  • Female Genital Mutilation in India

  • According to the aforementioned study, the reasons for FGM referred to as “Khafd” in India include continuing an old traditional practice, adhering to religious edicts, controlling women’s sexuality and abiding by the rules stated by the religious clergy.

Source: Indian Express



PUBLIC SAFETY ACT

Why in news?

  • The Jammu and Kashmir administration on February 6 slapped the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) against former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah besides two political stalwarts from the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party.


Highlights:

  • A magistrate accompanied by police served the order to Ms. Mehbooba Mufti at the bungalow where she has been detained, officials said. Mr. Abdullah was also booked under the PSA, they said.


  • PUBLIC SAFETY ACT Preventive Detention Law: Under Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978, a person is taken into custody to prevent him or her from acting in any manner that is prejudicial to the security of the state or the maintenance of public order.

  • Period of Detention: Up to 2 years.

  • Enforcement: Detention order is passed either by Divisional Commissioner or the District Magistrate.

  • Challenging the Detention: The only way the administrative preventive detention order can be challenged is through a habeas corpus petition filed by relatives of the detained person.The High Court and the Supreme Court have jurisdiction to hear such petitions and pass a final order seeking quashing of the PSA.However, if the order is quashed, there is no bar on the government passing another detention order under the PSA and detaining the person again.There can be no prosecution or any legal proceeding against the official who has passed the order.

  • Habeas CorpusIt is a Latin term which literally means ‘to have the body of’.This writ is a bulwark of individual liberty against arbitrary detention.The writ of habeas corpus can be issued against both public authorities as well as private individuals.The writ, on the other hand, is not issued where the: detention is lawful,The proceeding is for contempt of a legislature or a court, Detention is by a competent court, and Detention is outside the jurisdiction of the court.

Source: The Hindu



SECOND NATIONAL JUDICIAL PAY COMMISSION SUBMITS ITS REPORT


Why in news?

  • The Second National Judicial Pay Commission has filed the main part of the Report in 4 volumes covering the subject of Pay, Pension and Allowances, in the Registry of the Supreme Court on 29.01.2020.


Highlights:

  • The Commission has been constituted pursuant to the Order of the Supreme Court in All India Judges Association case and the Government of India, Ministry of Law & Justice issued a Notification dated 16.11.2017 in this regard.


The salient recommendations are:

PAY:

  • The Commission having considered various alternative methodologies has recommended the adoption of Pay Matrix which has been drawn up by applying the multiplier of 2.81 to the existing pay, commensurate with the percentage of increase of pay of High Court Judges. @ 3% cumulative has been applied.

  • As per the revised pay structure evolved by the Commission, the Junior Civil Judge/First Class Magistrate whose staring pay is Rs.27,700/- will now get Rs.77,840/-. The next higher post of Senior Civil Judge starts with the pay of Rs.1,11,000/- and that of the District Judge Rs.1,44,840/-. The highest pay which a District Judge (STS) will get, is Rs.2,24,100/-.

  • The percentage of Selection Grade and Super Time Scale District Judges proposed to be increased by 10% and 5% respectively.

  • The revised pay and pension will be effective from 01.01.2016. Arrears will be paid during the Calendar year 2020 after adjusting the interim relief.


PENSION:

  • Pension at 50% of last drawn pay worked out on the basis of proposed revised pay scales is recommended w. e. f. 1-1-2016.

  • The family pension will be 30% of the last drawn pay. Additional quantum of pension will commence on completing the age of 75 years (instead of 80 years) and percentages at various stages thereafter are increased.

  • The existing ceiling of retirement gratuity and death gratuity will be increased by 25% when the DA reaches 50%.

  • Nodal officers will be nominated by the District Judges to assist the pensioners/family pensioners.

  • Recommendation has been made to discontinue the New Pension Scheme (NPS) which is being applied to those entering service during or after 2004. The old pension system, which is more beneficial, will be revived.


ALLOWANCES:

  • The existing allowances have been suitably increased and certain new features have been added. However, the CCA is proposed to be discontinued.

  • Recommendations are made to improve the medical facilities and to simplify the reimbursement procedure. Medical facilities will be granted to pensioners and family pensioners also.

  • Certain new allowances viz. children education allowance, home orderly allowances, transport allowance in lieu of pool car facility, have been proposed. HRA proposed to be increased uniformly in all States. Steps to ensure proper maintenance of official quarters recommended.

  • The recommendations made by the Commission are applicable to the Judicial officers throughout the country.

  • Supreme Court will have to issue directions regarding the implementation of recommendations after hearing the stakeholders.

Source: PIB

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