NITI Aayog, Ramesh Chand - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

1)   India has constituted an HLC under which NITI Aayog executive to address NPAs in power sector?

a. Amitabh Kant
b. Arvind Panagriya
c. Naveen Kumar
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Amitabh Kant

Explanation:
The Union Government has constituted high-level committee headed by NITI Aayog Chief Executive Amitabh Kant to address problem of Non-performing assets (NPAs) or stressed assets in India's power sector.

It comprises secretaries in the ministries of power, coal and department of financial services as it members.

The Government is also planning to investigate whether private developers have inflated project costs to show higher debt.

NPAs: Know More

  • According to second volume of Economic Survey 2016-17 released in August 2017, NPAs in power generation accounted for around 5.9% of the banking sector's total outstanding advances of Rs. 4.73 trillion.
  • Tackling issues that afflict so-called stranded power assets will provide much-needed relief for Indian banks weighed down by bad loans.
  • Besides, weak financial health of state-owned power distribution companies (discoms) is also hampering process of signing long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) through competitive bidding.
  • So far, a total of 34 coal-fuelled power projects, with an estimated debt of Rs. 1.77 trillion were reviewed by government after being identified by department of financial services.
  • Issues faced by these projects include paucity of funds, lack of PPAs and absence of fuel security.


2)   National Institution for Transforming India/NITI Aayog signed an SOI for ITS with which organization?

a. ROSNEFT
b. NASA
c. JICA
d. IRF Geneva
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: IRF Geneva

Explanation:
The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) and the International Road Federation, Geneva (IRF Geneva) have on 21st Sept 2017 signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) to cooperate in the field of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).

The objective of the SoI is to create a national platform, involving all relevant Government of India stakeholders, Indian and foreign companies active in the sector, and relevant technical experts for the purpose of developing a National ITS Policy covering:

1) Traffic Management,

2) Parking Management,

3) Electronic Enforcement of Traffic Rules and Regulations,

4) Fleet Management and Monitoring,

5) Innovation in the field of ITS, and

6) Education in the field of ITS.

Objectives of National ITS Policy

  • The objectives of this national ITS Policy will be to contribute to reducing urban traffic congestion, improving the situation around parking of vehicles in cities, improving road safety, and improving the security of passenger and goods traffic.
  • The work of this National Platform will provide a coherent and consistent National ITS Policy covering domains such as traffic and parking management, enforcement, and security.


3)   Who took over as the new Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog in Sept 2017?

a. Arvind Panagriya
b. Raghuram Rajan
c. Rajiv Kumar
d. Rajiv Singh
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Rajiv Kumar

Explanation:
Dr. Rajiv Kumar has taken charge as the new Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog today.

A renowned economist, he replaces Shri Arvind Panagariya as the head of the premier think tank of the country.

The new Vice Chairman said there would be more emphasis on improving Government capacity at the state level to ensure the values of co-operative and competitive federalism.

NITI Aayog is well placed to play the role of a platform that cuts across these issues. The thematic focus will be on generating employment, enhancing investment, improving ease of doing business, transforming agriculture, and reforming education and health.

Members of NITI Aayog: Shri Ramesh Chand, Shri VK Saraswat, Dr.VKPaul and CEO NITI Aayog, Shri Amitabh Kant.


4)   Which government agency has developed a Handbook of State Statistics?

a. DEA
b. NITI Aayog
c. Planning Commission
d. Both a and b
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: NITI Aayog

Explanation:
NITI Aayog has developed a Handbook of State Statistics that consolidates key statistics across sectors for every Indian State/UT.

While the State data on crucial indicators is currently fragmented across different sources, this handbook provides a one-stop database of important State statistics.

Starting with Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), the handbook provides sectorial compositions of State economies from 1980-81 to the latest possible year.

Five different GSDP series are available between 1980-81 and now, and this database covers all of them.

It covers statistics on State government finances from 1981 to 2017across indicators such as gross fiscal deficits, revenue deficits, social sector expenditure, capital expenditure etc.

Labour statistics from the national sample surveys (NSS), statistics on labour force participation rates (LFPR), worker-population ratio (WPR) by industry and unemployment rates are also presented.

Data on education covers primary, secondary and tertiary levels including enrolment ratios, schools, enrolment, teachers and performance indicators, among others.

Some of the health indicators covered by the handbook include infant mortality rate (IMR), birth rates, life expectancy, sex ratio at birth, immunisation and institutional deliveries among others.

For certain indicators such as IMR, TFR, birth rates, data from 1971 onwards to 2015 is available.

For other indicators the data series starts in 2005.

Data in the Handbook: Know More

  • The final section of the publication provides state-wise estimates of poverty numbers. Data has been presented according to the Lakdawala Methodology (data from 1973-74 to 2004-05) and the Tendulkar Methodology (data from 1993-94 to 2011-12).
  • Data is quinquennial, as estimates for poverty are derived from NSS Household Consumption Surveys.


5)   NITI Aayog has issued a __________ index to check delay in trial and arrest pendency of cases.

a. Judicial performance index
b. Judicial action index
c. Judicial pendency index
d. Judicial trial index
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Judicial performance index

Explanation:
The Niti Aayog has suggested introduction of a ‘judicial performance index’ to check delay in trial and address the issue of pendency of cases.

Asserting that corruption cases get held up in the judicial system inordinately, the policy think-tank has also recommended putting a time-limit for processing them.

In its draft three-year action agenda (for 2017-18 to 2019-20), the Aayog has suggested several judicial reforms.

This is including increasing the use of information and communication technology, and streamlining judicial appointments.

The draft was circulated among the Niti Aayog’s Governing Council members (consisting of chief ministers of all states and others) on April 23.

It takes eight years to finalise a major vigilance case from the date of occurrence of irregularity and underlined the need to speed up decision - making process in corruption cases.

The judicial system is another avenue where corruption cases get held up. Delays in obtaining justice encourage the corrupt and discourage those who are honest.

Beyond the larger reforms in the justice system to reduce pendency, special courts set up to try corruption cases should be strengthened and time limits to process corruption cases should be introduced.

The report has also suggested introduction of a ‘judicial performance index’.

Such an index could be established to help high courts and high court chief justices keep a track of performance and process improvement at the district courts and subordinate levels for reducing delay.

This would require fixing non-mandatory timeframes for different types of cases as broad guidelines to benchmark when a case has been delayed, it said.


6)   NITI Aayog in partnership with MyGov and which international body announced Women Transforming India Awards 2017?

a. United Nations
b. World Health Organisation
c. Food and Agricultural Organisation
d. International Women's Association
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: United Nations

Explanation:
Celebrating the outstanding achievements of women in India, NITI Aayog, in partnership with MyGov and the United Nations, announces winners of the Women Transforming India Awards, 2017.

The awards ceremony recognizes the exceptional work of 12 women in critical areas such as preventing violence against women; bridging the gender gap in education; providing healthcare.

Additionally the awards recognize building livelihoods and enterprises for women; and promoting inclusion for persons with disabilities.

The awardees were selected after a rigorous process by an eminent jury comprising P.T. Usha, track and field Olympian; Pooja Thakur, Wing Commander, Indian Air Force; Nirupama Rao, Former Foreign Secretary and Ambassador, Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog; Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog and Yuri Afanasiev, UN Resident Coordinator.

Launched on International Women’s Day on 8 March, the contest aimed to gather lesser-own stories of women leading change.

It was hosted on MyGov.in and ran till 1 June and was supported by an extensive outreach campaign to promote equal opportunity for women.

Top 6 Contestants

Laxmi Agarwal: Attacked in 2005 in broad daylight at the age of 15, Laxmi Aggarwal is today a champion of violence against women.

She has filed public interest litigations in India’s highest court to restrict the sale of acid.

Safeena Husain: The founder and executive director of Educate Girls, a non- profit organization working for girls’ education, Safeena Husain has worked to bring education to some of India’s most backward districts.

Kamal Kumbhar: Broke free from the shackles of poverty and a suffocating marriage to create a micro-enterprise network, enabling women like herself to realise their dreams of a brighter tomorrow.

Subasini Mistry: After losing her husband at a young age, Subasini Mistry saved for two decades to build a hospital for the needy.

Arunima Sinha: Is the first female amputee to scale the highest mountain in the world.

Jamuna Tudu: Along with her band of women activists, Jamuna Tudu has conserved 50 hectares of forest land around her village in Jharkhand, taking on encroachers with little more than bows and arrows and courage.


7)   NITI Aayog has launched which report on an Enterprise Survey of 3,500 manufacturing firms?

a. Ease of Doing Business
b. Doing Business
c. Ease of Business
d. Business Advancement
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Ease of Doing Business

Explanation:
The Survey was released by the Union Minister of Commerce Smt. Nirmala Sitaraman and Minister of Law & Justice and Electronics and Information Technology, Shri Ravishankar Prasad.

The Ease of Doing Business report based on an Enterprise Survey of 3,500 manufacturing firms Survey comes in the backdrop of the fact that India needs to create an environment that fosters globally competitive firms, capable of driving and sustaining economic growth.


8)   Which strategic nation building initiative is NITI Aayog set to launch to mentor students?

a. Mentor India Campaign
b. Student India Campaign
c. Teacher India Campaign
d. Coach India Campaign
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Mentor India Campaign

Explanation:
NITI Aayog will launch the Mentor India Campaign.

This is a strategic nation building initiative to engage leaders who can guide and mentor students at more than 900 Atal Tinkering Labs.

These were established across the country as a part of the Atal Innovation Mission.

CEO NITI Aayog, Shri Amitabh Kant will unveil the online nationwide initiative in the capital tomorrow on Wednesday, 23rdAugust.

Mentor India is aimed at maximizing the impact of Atal Tinkering Labs, possibly the biggest disruption in formal education globally.

The idea is to engage leaders who will nurture and guide students in the Atal Tinkering Labs.

These labs are non-prescriptive by nature, and mentors are expected to be enablers rather than instructors.

NITI Aayog is looking for leaders who can spend anywhere between one to two hours every week in one or more such labs.

This will enable students to experience, learn and practice future skills such as design and computational thinking.

Atal Innovation Mission: Know More

  • Atal Tinkering Labs are dedicated works spaces where students from Class 6th to Class 12th learn innovation skills.
  • They also develop ideas that will go on to transform India.
  • The labs are powered to acquaint students with state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, robotics & electronics development tools, Internet of things & sensors etc.
  • NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission is among one of the flagship programs of the Government of India.
  • This is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country to set up the Atal Tinkering Labs across the country.
  • The Mission has / is in the process of setting up 900+ such labs across India and aims to have 2,000 such labs by end of 2017.


9)   NITI Aayog has partnered with which three states to improve healthcare delivery?

a. MP, Odisha and Jharkhand
b. UP, Assam and Karnataka
c. MP, Assam and Karnataka
d. UP, Odisha and Jharkhand
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: UP, Assam and Karnataka

Explanation:
In a major push to competitive, cooperative federalism, NITI Aayog on Aug 8, 2017 launched a partnership with three States each to radically transform their Health and Education sectors.

NITI Aayog has selected Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Karnataka to improve healthcare delivery and key outcomes in these States.

In Education, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Jharkhand have been selected for support to better learning outcomes.

The six States have been chosen after a rigorous competitive process based on comprehensive metrics to determine potential for impact and likelihood of success.

States were called to, first, express intent of collaborating with NITI Aayog to better their Health and Education indices.

States then made presentations for each sector which was assessed by a committee comprised of senior members of NITI Aayog and Health and Education ministries.

The States highlighted the initiatives undertaken by them thus far, their willingness to accelerate improvement and justified why they should be selected for the institutional support being offered by NITI Aayog.

On thorough technical evaluation, the chosen States have committed to time-bound, governance reforms in both sectors.

A Program Management Unit to push for efficiency and efficacy in governance structures and service delivery will now be available in the six chosen States for a period of 30 months.

It is expected that these three years of focussed attention and support from the premier think tank will lead to a marked transformation and also provide a model for other States to replicate and adapt.

This three-way partnership between NITI, State Governments and a knowledge partner for each of the sectors is part of the Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital (SATH) initiative of NITI Aayog.

SATH by NITI Aayog: Know More

  • NITI Aayog has been working to foster co-operative federalism by ranking states through health, water, education, and agricultural indices.
  • However, SATH has been launched to go beyond ranking states and to handhold them in improving their social sector indicators.
  • SATH is a challenging and ambitious initiative as the baseline of various indicators and parameters of education and health in the States are in public domain.
  • It defines a new dimension for cooperative federalism, where NITI Aayog and its knowledge partner will actively aid implementation of their recommendations, in addition to just policy inputs.
  • All stakeholders will be under pressure from the day of signing of the MOU to initiate reforms or processes which will show improvement in education and learning outcomes.


10)   Dr. Rajiv Kumar has been appointed vice president of which government think tank?

a. ICAR
b. CSIR
c. NITI Aayog
d. CPR
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: NITI Aayog

Explanation:
Economist Dr. Rajiv Kumar has been appointed as the new vice-chairman of the government think tank NITI Aayog.

Present vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya had stepped down earlier this month.

The Columbia University professor will be returning to the U.S. to rejoin academia.

The spokesperson added that Dr. Vinod Paul, paediatrician at AIIMS, has also been appointed as a member of the NITI Aayog.

Dr. Kumar, who holds a DPhil in economics from Oxford and a Ph. D from Lucknow University, has served as director and chief executive of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), and has earlier worked with the Asian Development Bank.

He was also a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research.


Kumar, a former CEO of Delhi-based think-tank Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), will replace Arvind Panagariya.

Kumar is currently the founding director of Pahle India Foundation, a non-profit research organisation that specialises in policy-oriented research and analysis.

He is also chancellor of the Gokhale Institute of Economics and Politics in Pune.

Until January this year, he was a senior fellow at Centre for Policy Research (CPR), and is widely regarded for his work in the areas of India’s economy and national security.

Before coming to CPR, he was Secretary General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

He has also served as Director and Chief Executive of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and chief economist of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), as well as in positions with the Asian Development Bank, the Indian Ministry of Industries, and the Ministry of Finance.

His latest books are: Modi & His Challenges (2016), Resurgent India: Ideas and Priorities (2015) and Exploding Aspirations: Unlocking India's Future (2014).

Kumar will take over as the second Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog.

Panagariya will demit office on August 31 at the nascent institution that was set up in January 2015 replacing the erstwhile Planning Commission.

The NITI Aayog is currently drafting a 15-year long-term plan, which will replace the practice of five-year plans.

The five-year plan system will be discontinued after the end of the 12th five year plan in 2017, ending six-decade old policy framework inspired by the Gosplan-aided industrialisation.

Kumar will also likely head the NITI Aayog panel that is modernising India’s labour data to give a more realistic picture about the jobs market in an economy characterised by a large informal sector.

Kumar concurrently serves as:

  • a government-nominated independent director on Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India,
  • a member of the International Board of Management of King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre, Riyadh;
  • director, Institute of Human Development, Delhi;
  • director, Giri Institute of Development Studies, Lucknow;
  • independent director on the Board of DHFL; and member, Advisory Board of CISCO, India.
In the past, he served as the Indian government’s nominee on the boards of Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and Asia (ERIA) Jakarta.

He was also on Central Board of the State Bank of India (SBI), Mumbai; Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi; Part Time Member, National Security Advisory Board (2006-2008).

He was also Part Time Member Economics, TRAI, New Delhi (2007-2010).


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