▼ 12 special courts for trying tainted MP, MLA leaders [12-15-17]
The Union Government has framed a scheme to set up 12 Special Courts for a year to fast-track the trial of criminal cases against 1,581 MPs and MLAs.
This decision was conveyed by Government to Supreme Court and is intended to end inordinate delay in prosecution of politicians in criminal cases.
The court had directed the government that aim of the scheme to achieve this must be disposing of 1,581 criminal cases involving political persons within a time frame of one year.
The apex court was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay. The petitioner is seeking a lifelong ban on convicted politicians from contesting elections.
The Scheme: Know More
- Initially, 12 courts would be constituted.
- Two special courts will handle cases against 228 MPs and remaining 10 courts will be set up in 10 states viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
- These 10 states have more than 65 MLAs booked for criminal acts.
- In states where there are less than 65 cases, the cases will be sent to existing fast track courts with the Supreme Court approval.
- The number of courts has been calculated on basis of 11th Finance Commission analysis which mandates that one such court can dispose of 165 cases per annum.
- The scheme is silent on special judicial forum to hear criminal cases against 44 Rajya Sabha MPs and also on which court will hear them.
▼ DCI, NHAI sign MoU [12-15-17]
Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) have signed a MoU for facilitating the supply of sand for highways construction work.
The MoU aims to fill sand supply gap by facilitating the availability of sand for concessionaires working on highways projects who were facing shortage of sand at many sites.
Under this MoU, DCI intends will do dredging operations at locations in South East Asia and generate large volumes of sand.
This dredging will be done for purpose of obtaining sand. Business intermediaries will ship and store this sand at various ports in India and market it for highways projects.
NHAI will facilitate process by displaying availability of sand at various stockyards at ports.
Dredging Corporation of India (DCI)
- DCI is Indian Government Miniratna undertaking engaged in business of dredging. It was established in 1976 and reports to the Ministry of Shipping.
- It is headquartered at Visakhapatnam and has project offices at many seaports in India.
- DCI is involved in maintenance dredging, capital dredging, beach nourishment, land reclamation, shallow water dredging, Project Management consultancy and Marine construction.
- It also occasionally dredges at foreign seaports in countries such as Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Dubai.
▼ Safe City Surveillance Scheme launched in Bihar [12-14-17]
The Bihar government has launched Safe City Surveillance Scheme for checking crime against women.
It aims to bring all major public places under watch of close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and improve overall crime control in the state.
The scheme has been launched in a phase-wise manner, will commence from capital city Patna. It has specially launched for checking crime against women, such as harassment, eve-teasing and molestation, snatching incidents and roadside scuffles etc. It will also help in keeping a track of miscreants.
The scheme will bring all major public places under the watch of CCTV cameras.
These will used for crime control as well as traffic management. Bihar home department will be nodal agency for implementation of the surveillance scheme.
The network of CCTV cameras under this scheme will be connected to control room, where it will be monitored round the clock by policemen.
Those in control room will coordinate with their counterparts in field and police stations and also alert them about any incident in their area.
▼ Bail in clause of FDRI bill widely debated [12-13-17]
Recently, a bill tabled in Parliament in August - the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill 2017 - has been making news due to its controversial ‘bail-in' clauses.
However, important as that clause may be, the other provisions of the Bill are equally so.
The FRDI Bill is part of a larger, more comprehensive approach by the Centre towards systematic resolution of all financial firms - banks, insurance companies and other financial intermediaries.
The Bill comes together with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code to spell out the procedure for the winding up or revival of an ailing company.
The need for a specific regulation rose following the 2008 financial crisis, which witnessed a large number of high-profile bankruptcies. With the Centre also actively encouraging people to engage more with the banking sector - both through schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana and moves like demonetisation - it becomes critical to protect savers and those joining the formal economy in case a bank or insurance firm starts failing.
Main Provisions of the Bill
- The Bill provides for the setting up of a Resolution Corporation - to replace the existing Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation - which will be tasked with monitoring financial firms, anticipating their risk of failure, taking corrective action and resolving them in case of failure. The corporation is also tasked with providing deposit insurance up to a certain limit yet to be specified, in the event of a bank failure.
- The Corporation will also be tasked with classifying financial firms on their risk of failure - low, moderate, material, imminent, or critical. It will take over the management of a company once it is deemed critical.
- Among other tools, the FRDI Bill also empowers the Corporation to bail-in the company. While a bail-out is the use of public funds to inject capital into an ailing company, a bail-in involves the use of depositors' funds to achieve those ends.
- This can be done either by cancelling the bank's liabilities, or converting them into other forms, such as equity.
- This has caused a lot of concern among depositors who are worried they may lose their hard-earned money deposited with banks.
- However, the fact is that the risk is no more or no less than it ever was.
- The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation provides deposit insurance of up to Rs.1 lakh. The rest is forfeited in the event of a bank failure.
- The FRDI Bill has not specified the insured amount yet, but it is unlikely to be lower than that amount, as the limit was set way back in 1993.
▼ NIC-CERT is MeitY's Digital India Initiative [12-12-17]
Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon'ble Minister of Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology inaugurated the "NIC-CERT", a setup of National Informatics Centre, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on 11thDecember 2017.
During the inauguration, Hon'ble Minister said that as part of its Digital India initiatives, the Government has introduced a lot of its services online.
Although this has made services very accessible to the citizens, it has also exposed them to the threats and vulnerabilities which are an inherent part of cyberspace.
This led to Government drafting the Data protection Act. As Internet with its ever expanding canvas of opportunities is touching the life's of people, it necessitates the requirement to upscale the existing security infrastructure.
Government needs an agile and responsive eco-system.
NIC-CERT has been setup with the objective of creating a comprehensive framework that integrates world class security components and inbuilt threat intelligence for detection, prevention and incident response.
Using the tools the team will correlate events that would help in generating a canvas of the attack surface and identify the vulnerabilities and possible exploits.
The gathered intelligence assimilated with the knowledge of the open web would give the CERT the ability prevent and predict attacks.
NIC's PAN-India connectivity and reach is one of its key strengths and this coupled with its enhanced ability to detect and prevent attacks would collectively upscale the Government's ability to protect its data.
Setting up NIC-CERT is MeitY's initiative under Digital India aimed at enhancing the security posture of NIC and the Government which will in turn lead to enhanced trust of the citizens as the services offered to them would be configured in a framework that is secure by design.
NIC-CERT will operate in close coordination and collaboration with sectoral CERT's and more so with Cert-in.
▼ NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant heads NPA committee [12-11-17]
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.
▼ UP becomes first state to support anti triple talaq law draft [12-11-17]
Uttar Pradesh became first state to endorse Union Government's draft draft law - Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act that makes practice of instant "triple talaq" or talaq-e-biddat. a cognisable and non-bailable criminal offence.
The draft law was endorsed by the state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
In August 2017 landmark verdict, Supreme Court had banned practice of "triple talaq" in which Muslim men unilaterally divorce their wives by uttering talaq three times in quick succession, calling it "unconstitutional".
As per Supreme Court pronouncement, the practice of "triple talaq" is un-Islamic and "arbitrary" and was not integral part of religious practice. It also violated Article 14 (Equality before law) and Article 21 of Indian Constitution.
- It makes any declaration of talaq-e-biddat or triple talaq by Muslim man illegal and void. It makes it a "cognizable and non-bailable" offence, punishable with three years jail and a monetary fine.
- It applies to instant triple talaq in "oral, written, electronic or any other form".
- It aims to empower Muslim women especially victims of triple talaq to move to court for seeking subsistence allowance for herself and dependent children, as well as custody of minor children. The draft bill prescribes for three-year imprisonment and a fine to a man who tries to divorce his wife through triple talaq.
- The law will be effective across whole country, however, will not apply to Jammu and Kashmir.
▼ Department of Pharmaceuticals forms DPCO committee [12-6-17]
The Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers will constitute multi-disciplinary committee of experts for consultation on matters pertaining to implementation of drug price control order (DPCO) including technicalities involved in pricing and new launches.
It will have member secretary of National Pharmaceutical Pricing authority (NPPA) as its convener.
It will also have representatives from Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), Department of Health Research/Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and NIPER as members.
Department of Pharmaceuticals
- The Department of Pharmaceuticals was created on the 1st of July in the year 2008 in the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers so as to provide greater focus for the growth of the high potential Pharmaceuticals industry.
- Shri Ananth Kumar is the Minister of Chemical and Fertilizers and Shri Mansukh L. Mandaviya is the Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers.
▼ MP becomes first state to give death penalty for rape of minor [12-5-17]
The Madhya Pradesh Assembly on Dec 4, 2017 unanimously passed a Bill awarding death to those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 and below.
With this, Madhya Pradesh becomes the first State where those convicted of such rapes will face the gallows.
Introduced in the House by Law and Legislative Affairs Minister Rampal Singh, the Bill was discussed in detail and then passed by all parties, including the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress.
The Bill will now be sent to the President for his assent after which it will become a law, State Home Minister Bhupendra Singh told reporters outside the Assembly.
Capital punishment would be awarded to convicts under Section 376 (A), which is related to rape, and Section 376 (D, A), pertaining to gang rape.
MP: Know More
- Madhya Pradesh, with an area of 3, 08, 000 sq.km. is the second largest state in India after Rajasthan.
- It is a part of peninsular plateau of India lying in north central part, whose boundary can be classified in the north by the plains of Ganga-Yamuna, in the west by the Aravali, east by the Chhattisgarh plain and in the south by the Tapti valley and the plateau of Maharashtra.
- The topography of Madhya Pradesh is defined by the Narmada Sone Valley.
- The population of Madhya Pradesh is over 7 crore.
- More than 75% of the population resides in villages whose main occupation is agriculture, while the rest of the population lives in towns.
- A majority population is Hindu with Muslims making up the largest minority community.
- The tribes of Madhya Pradesh constitute over 20 % of the state's population and are mainly concentrated in southern southwestern and eastern parts of the state.
- The social customs prevalent among different tribes and castes vary more due to variation in their habitat and surrounding geographical conditions.
- For earnings they depend upon agriculture, forest produce and local craft.
▼ SAUBHAGYA scheme launched in Manipur [12-1-17]
The Union Ministry of Power launched Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA) in Manipur. Total of approximately 1.75 lakh households (1.62 lakh rural households and 0.13 lakh urban households) of Manipur are proposed to be included under scheme.
Union Government will provide the required financial assistance for strengthening and improvement of infrastructure in the power sector in Manipur.
Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA)
The Union Ministry of Power launched had Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana -"Saubhagya" in September 2017 with an aim to achieve universal household electrification in all parts of country by providing last mile electricity connectivity to all rural and urban households.
Under the scheme, government will provide free electricity to all households identified under Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) data 2011. The Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) is nodal agency for operationalisation of scheme throughout country. For easy & accelerated implementation of Scheme, modern technology will be used for household survey by using Mobile App.
Gram Panchayat/Public institutions in rural areas will be authorised to collect application forms along with complete documentation, distribute bills and collect revenue in consultation with Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).