- 200th anniversary celebrations of the Paika Rebellion
The President of India Shri Pranab Mukharjee recently inaugurated the “Bicentenary celebration of the heroic Paika Rebellion of Odisha, a valiant uprising of Paikas against the British rule” organised by the Ministry of Culture
Reason for the revolt:
- The Paikas were the traditional land-owning militia of Odisha and served as warriors. When armies of the East India Company overran most of Odisha in 1803, the Raja of Khurda lost his primacy and the power and prestige of the Paikas went on a decline. The British were not comfortable with these aggressive, warlike new subjects and set up a commission under Walter Ewer to look into the issue.
- The commission recommended that the hereditary rent-free lands granted to the Paikas be taken over by the British administration and this recommendation was zealously adhered to.
- However, the rebellion had several other underlying causes – like the rise in the price of salt, abolition of the cowrie currency for payment of taxes and an overtly extortionist land revenue policy.
- Although initially the Company struggled to respond they managed to put down the rebellion by May 1817. Many of the Paik leaders were hung or deported. Jagabandhu surrendered in 1825.
- Government plans ‘I stand by my country’ campaign
The government hopes to trigger a citizen movement around the theme ‘I stand by my country’s part of a twin celebration to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Quit India movement and the 70th Independence Day.
As part of the programme, the government plans a multimedia campaign that will focus on inspiring the young generation and instilling in them a sense of pride and responsibility.
- The celebrations will stress that in the next five years — in an era of determination, will and struggle — a ‘New India’ will be built which is “rid of corruption and black money” and fulfils the aspirations of its teeming millions.
- The campaign will also drive home the point that the country has already proved its worth in every field, be it science and technology, sports, spirituality, art, space exploration, economy and defence.
- The aim of the campaign, hence is to portray an India which is “bold and decisive, can secure its future, is on the path of reforms, and that cares.
- Jiyo Parsi
- “Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-2” was recently launched by the government. The scheme aims to fulfil the objective of inclusive growth of the government.
- “Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-1” was initiated in 2013 for containing the declining trend of population of the Parsi community
- The main objective is to reverse the declining trend of Parsi population by adopting a scientific protocol and structured interventions, stabilize their population and increase the population of Parsis in India.
- Ministry of Minority Affairs’ scheme has two components: Medical Assistance and Advocacy/Counselling.
- Mekedatu dispute?
- Karnataka intends to build a reservoir across river Cauvery near Mekedatu in Kanakapura taluk. It was first proposed along with Shivanasamudra hydro power project at Shimsa in 2003 with an intention to use the water for a hydro power station and supply drinking water to Bengaluru city.
- However, Tamil Nadu objected saying Karnataka had not sought prior permission for the project. Its argument was that the project would affect the flow of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.
It is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources and is presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.
- The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation of the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development.
- Central Water Commission CWC is headed by a Chairman, with the status of Ex-Officio Secretary to the Government of India.
- Parliamentary secretaries
A Parliament Secretary is similar to a Minister of State who assists a Minister in his or her duties.
Experts argue that the post of parliamentary secretary is in contradiction to Article 164 (1A) of the Constitution which provides for limiting the number of Ministers in the State Cabinets to 15% of the total number of members of the State Legislative Assembly. But, the number of Cabinet Ministers in Delhi cannot exceed 10% of the total 70 seats — that is seven — as per Article 239AA of Constitution.
- Who is eligible to run for the President?
- A person who is 35 years of age.
- An Indian National.
- Must have a support of 50 MPs/MLAs (these can’t be nominated members).
- Must deposit Rs 15,000 as a security amount with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- Must not hold any Office of Profit. (Any Constitutional position, which may further give rise to a conflict of interests in discharging of duties).
Other key facts:
Secret Vote: Unlike the voting for any Bill or any motion in Parliament or state Assembly, secret voting is done to elect the President (Nobody can ever come to know who voted for whom).
Parties can’t issue a whip to their members: Since the Presidential election is intended to be free and fair, and representatives are supposed to exercise their free will, political parties are not allowed to issue a whip to their members for voting.
The public sector construction major, Central Public Works Department (CPWD) turned 163 on July 12th, 2017.
About CPWD: CPWD came into existence in July, 1854 when Lord Dalhousie established a central agency for execution of public works and set up Ajmer Provincial Division. It is housed under the Ministry of Urban Development.
The MCI was established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933, as an elected body for maintaining the medical register and providing ethical oversight, with no specific role in medical education.
- The Amendment of 1956, however, mandated the MCI “to maintain uniform standards of medical education, both under graduate and postgraduate; recommend for recognition/de-recognition of medical qualifications of medical institutions of India or foreign countries; accord permanent registration/provisional registration of doctors with recognised medical qualifications; and ensure reciprocity with foreign countries in the matter of mutual recognition of medical qualifications.”
- The second amendment came in 1993, at a time when there was a new-found enthusiasm for private colleges. Under this amendment, the role of the MCI was reduced to an advisory body with the three critical functions of sanctioning medical colleges, approving the student intake, and approving any expansion of the intake capacity requiring prior approval of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- Cabinet nod for IWAI bond issue
- The Union Cabinet has given its nod to Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) for raising ₹660 crore in bonds for extra budgetary resources in 2017-18.
- Funds received through issue of bonds will be used exclusively for capital expenditure to improve infrastructure funding.
Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the statutory authority in charge of the waterways in India. Its headquarters is located in Noida, UP. It does the function of building the necessary infrastructure in these waterways, surveying the economic feasibility of new projects and also administration.
- First meeting of Integrated Monitoring and Advisory Council (IMAC)
Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan recently chaired the first meeting of apex body for policy formulation and implementation of ‘Roadmap to achieve target of 10 % reduction in import dependency in oil and gas by 2021-22 under an institutional mechanism ‘Integrated Monitoring and Advisory Council’ (IMAC).
- IMAC was envisaged to facilitate better coordination and comprehensive strategy for all energy resources by focusing on supply and demand side management.
- IMAC is consisted of Secretary, Petroleum & Natural Gas and other Senior Officers from various Ministries such as Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Urban Development, Road and Transport, Agriculture, Power/Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Rural Development, Finance, Petroleum Planning Analysis Cell, PCRA, DGH etc.
- National Company Law Tribunal:
National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) is a quasi-judicial body that will govern the companies in India. It was established under the Companies Act, 2013 and is a successor body of the Company Law Board.
- NCLT will have the same powers as assigned to the erstwhile Company Law Board (which are mostly related to dealing with oppression and mismanagement), Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR)(revival of sick companies) and powers related to winding up of companies (which was available only with the High Courts).
- The setting up of NCLT as a specialized institution for corporate justice is based on the recommendations of the Justice Eradi Committee on Law Relating to Insolvency and Winding up of Companies.
- Article 370?
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a ‘temporary provision’ which grants special autonomous status to Jammu & Kashmir.
- Under Part XXI of the Constitution of India, which deals with “Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions”, the state of Jammu & Kashmir has been accorded special status under Article 370.
- All the provisions of the Constitution which are applicable to other states are not applicable to J&K.
Important provisions under the article:
- According to this article, except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, Parliament needs the state government’s concurrence for applying all other laws. Thus the state’s residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians.
- Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in Jammu & Kashmir.
- Under Article 370, the Centre has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the state. It can declare emergency in the state only in case of war or external aggression. The Union government can therefore not declare emergency on grounds of internal disturbance or imminent danger unless it is made at the request or with the concurrence of the state government.
- Under Article 370 the Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state.
- Government plans new agency to keep check on Chartered Accountants
The government is reviewing plans to put in place the National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) as it seeks to rein in the Institute of Chartered Accounts for India (ICAI) for its perceived failure in enforcing discipline.
While Companies Act 2013 had provided for NFRA as a regulatory agency for audit, accounts and financial reporting, Section 132 of the law has remained on paper as the rules are yet to be notified. It is one of the few sections of the law that has not been notified yet.
What you need to know about the new agency?
- The new agency -which can have up to 15 members, including the chairman – is mandated to advise on issues related to audit and accounting standards and be the regulator for the profession.
- The law provides for NFRA to look into matters of professional or other misconduct and also suspend CAs and firms from practising for six months to 10 years.
- Islands Development Agency (IDA).
Ten islands from Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep have been identified by the government for improving maritime economy, preserving the eco-system and addressing security concerns. The decision was taken at the first meeting of the newly- constituted Islands Development Agency (IDA).
- The islands include Smith, Ross, Aves, Long and Little Andaman in Andaman and Nicobar and Minicoy, Bangaram, Suheli, Cherium and Tinnakara in Lakshadweep.
- Members of the IDA include cabinet secretary, home secretary, secretary (environment, forests and climate change), secretary (tourism) and secretary (tribal welfare).
- National Anti-profiteering Authority
The GST Council has formed a Selection Committee under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary to identify and recommend eligible persons for appointment as the Chairman and Members of the National Anti-profiteering Authority under GST.
- The National Anti-profiteering Authority is tasked with ensuring the full benefits of a reduction in tax on supply of goods or services flow to the consumers.
- It shall be responsible for applying anti-profiteering measures in the event of a reduction in rate of GST on supply of goods or services or, if the benefit of input tax credit is not passed on to the recipients by way of commensurate reduction in prices.
- The National Anti-profiteering Authority shall be headed by a senior officer of the level of a Secretary to the Government of India and shall have four technical members from the Centre and/or the States.
Powers and functions of the authority:
- In the event the National Anti-profiteering Authority confirms the necessity of applying anti-profiteering measures, it has the power to order the business concerned to reduce its prices or return the undue benefit availed along with interest to the recipient of the goods or services.
- If the undue benefit cannot be passed on to the recipient, it can be ordered to be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund.
- In extreme cases the National Anti-profiteering Authority on the defaulting business entity and even order the cancellation of its registration under GST.
- Innovate in India (i3)
- In a bid to create a globally competitive biopharmaceutical industry that addresses the country’s major concerns around barriers to affordable healthcare, innovate in India (i3) program has been launched.
- It is a 250 million USD program of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Ministry of Science & Technology in collaboration with World Bank. It will be implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Public Sector Enterprise, set up by DBT.
- It is a first- of-its-kind mission that brings together industry and academia to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the biopharmaceutical sector
What is it for?
- The programme will specifically focus on the development of new vaccines, bio-therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices to better address the rising burden of diseases in the country.
- It will also bring isolated Centers of excellence together, enhance regional capabilities and strengthen the current bio-clusters network in terms of capacities as well as quantity and quality of output.
Significance of this program:
- This endeavor will help nurture next- generation technical skills; promote entrepreneurship; and support institutions in adoption of global innovations, technologies, and licensing models.
- It will provide young entrepreneurs the confidence as well as the systemic support to pursue their aspirations in biotechnological innovation, and transform India into a global hub for cutting-edge biotechnology research and development.
- Presidential assent for Kambala Bill
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017, has finally received Presidential assent. With this, all the hurdles for resuming Kambala — the traditional slush-track buffalo race of the coastal districts — are cleared.
The Karnataka Legislative Assembly passed the Bill in February 2017 to put the traditional sport out of the ambit of PCA Act. Governor of Karnataka then referred the Bill to the President for his assent. In April, the Union Home Ministry suggested modifications to the Bill and returned it to the State. It wanted the government to modify or omit the phrase “subject to such other conditions as may be prescribed”, which would open the window for inclusion of more such sports.
- Kambla in its traditional form is non-competitive with buffalo pairs made to race one after another in paddy fields, which is considered a thanksgiving to the Gods for protecting the animals from diseases.
- Over the years, it has however become an organised sport with animal rights activists claiming that the buffaloes run in the race due to fear of being beaten, which the organisers dismiss, saying no violence is involved and that several modifications had been made to ensure that it is an animal friendly event.
- Linking Aadhaar and PAN is not mandatory for all
CBDT has notified that Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act is not applicable to the following individuals:
- Those categorised as Non-resident Indians as per the Income Tax Laws.
- Not a citizen of India.
- Is of age 80 years or more at any time during the tax year.
- Residents of the states of Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir.
However, it should be noted here that the above mentioned categories of Individuals are exempted from the purview of section 139AA i.e. exempted from compulsory linking of PAN and Aadhaar, only if they do not possess Aadhaar or Aadhaar Enrolment ID.
What is section 139AA is about?
The newly introduced section 139AA of the Income Tax Act states that every person who has been allotted PAN as on July 1, 2017 and who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar Number shall intimate the same to the tax authorities. The PAN of those who fail to do so will become invalid on a date to be notified later by the department.
- Centre may partially lift AFSPA
The Centre is considering partial removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The Home Ministry has asked the States for their views on AFSPA withdrawal and said that it was open to reviewing the stringent law in other States like Manipur
What is AFSPA?
AFSPA, enacted in 1958, gives powers to the army and state and central police forces to shoot to kill, search houses and destroy any property that is “likely” to be used by insurgents in areas declared as “disturbed” by the home ministry.
- The Act provides army personnel with safeguards against malicious, vindictive and frivolous prosecution.
- Security forces can “arrest without warrant” a person, who has committed or even “about to commit a cognizable offence” even on “reasonable suspicion”.
What are ‘disturbed’ areas? –The state or central government considers those areas as ‘disturbed’ “by reason of differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.”
How is a region declared ‘disturbed’?
Section (3) of the Afspa empowers the governor of the state or Union territory to issue an official notification in The Gazette of India, following which the Centre has the authority to send in armed forces for civilian aid. Once declared ‘disturbed’, the region has to maintain status quo for a minimum of three months, according to The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976.
AFSPA in force:
Currently, it is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding the seven Assembly constituencies of Imphal). In Arunachal Pradesh, it is in force in 16 police stations and in Tirap, Longding and Changlang districts bordering Assam. Tripura withdrew AFSPA in 2015. It is not in force in Meghalaya (except 20 kilometre area along Assam border) and Mizoram.