Daily news update

21 March 2015
Dream IAS
Disclaimer : The content of this document is a compilation from various sources. The creator of the document
does not take any credit for these articles.
Women get 33 p.c. quota in UT police
The Union Cabinet cleared 33 per cent reservation for women in the direct recruitment for nongazetted posts of constables to sub-inspectors in the police forces of all Union Territories,
including Delhi.
The decision to recruit more policewomen is expected to instill confidence among women,
especially in Delhi where crime against women is very high and often the victims are afraid to
approach the police as they may have to deal with male police officers.
“It has been observed that many women do not approach the police, as they may have to confide
or report an incident to a male police officer. This is particularly so in respect of sex-related
crimes. A skewed police force with inadequate gender representation is a major practical barrier
in effective implementation of legislations intended for the protection of women,” said a
government release.
The decision has also been taken in the light of amendments brought about in the Criminal
Procedure Code in the wake of the 2012 gang-rape case in Delhi which requires that reports of
crimes against women as well as their statements must be collected by women officers only.
The Delhi Police currently has about 7,000 women police officers, which form merely 8 per cent
of its total strength.
“About 20,000 more women will have to be recruited,” said the official.
Black money Bill tabled in Lok Sabha
In a step towards delivering on the BJP’s poll promise of unearthing black money stashed abroad,
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced in the Lok Sabha the Undisclosed Foreign Income
and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015.
The Bill, which Mr. Jaitley proposed in his budget speech last month, while aiming to bring in a
comprehensive new law for specifically dealing with black money stashed abroad, also provides
for a separate taxation of such money.
Undisclosed income abroad, according to an official release, will no longer be taxed under the
Income Tax Act. Tax on all foreign income will have to be paid at the flat rate of 30 per cent
without any exemption, deduction, set off or carry forward losses that the Income Tax Act permits.
It provides for criminal liability with enhanced punishment of jail for 3-10 years for willful evasion
of tax on foreign income along with a penalty equal to three times the amount of tax evaded or 90
per cent of the undisclosed income or the value of the asset.
However, it provides for a window to offenders seeking to come clean on such undisclosed
assets. In prosecution proceedings, the wilful nature of the default shall be presumed with the
onus on the accused to prove that he/she is not guilty.
Those availing of the limited compliance window offer would have to pay tax at the rate of 30 per
cent but concessional penalty would be equal to the tax amount.
Failure to file returns of foreign income or assets will attract a penalty of Rs. 10 lakh. Second and
subsequent offence will be punishable with rigorous imprisonment of 3-10 years with a fine of up
to Rs. 1 crore.
Introducing the Bill, Mr. Jaitley proposed that it would come into effect from April 1, 2016. He later
told reporters that Parliament would consider it in the second half of the Budget session
scheduled to commence on April 20.
The tax authorities will have powers of discovery and inspection, issue of summonses,
enforcement of attendance, production of evidence and impounding of account books and
Undisclosed holdings of less than Rs. 5 lakh at any time during a year not reported out of
oversight or ignorance will not entail penalty or prosecution.
The right to appeal will be to the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and to jurisdictional High Courts
and the Supreme Court on substantial questions of law.
To include tax evasion under the proposed legislation as a scheduled offence the Bill proposes to
amend the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
It also empowers the Centre to enter into agreements with other countries for the exchange of
information, recovery of tax and avoidance of double taxation.
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave its approval for
the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) with an outlay of Rs.1500 crore.
This will be the flagship scheme for skill training of youth to be implemented by the new Ministry
of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship through the National Skill Development Corporation
(NSDC). The scheme will cover 24 lakh persons.
Skill training would be done based on the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) and
industry led standards.
Under the scheme, a monetary reward is given to trainees on assessment and certification by
third party assessment bodies. The average monetary reward would be around Rs.8000 per
Out of the total outlay of Rs.1120 crore to be spent on skill training of 14 lakh youth, special
emphasis has been given to recognition of prior learning for which an amount of Rs.220 crore has
been provided.
Awareness building and mobilization efforts would be focused for attention, for which Rs.67 crore
has been provided.
Mobilization would be done through skill melas organized at the local level with participation of
the State Governments, Municipal Bodies, Pachayati Rai Institutions and community based
organizations. The focus under the scheme is also on mentorship support and placement
facilitation for which an outlay of Rs.67 crore has been provided. An allocation of Rs.150 crores
has been made for training of youth from the North-East region.
Highlights of skill training would be that it would be done on the basis of demand assessed on the
basis of recent skill gap studies conducted by the NSDC for the period 2013-17.
For assessment of demand of Central Ministries/Departments/State Governments, industry and
business would be consulted. A demand aggregator platform would be launched for the purpose
very soon.
The target for skilling would be aligned to demand from other flagship programmes launched in
recent times such as Make in India, Digital India, National Solar Mission and Swachh Bharat
Abhiyan. Skill training under the new scheme will primarily be focused on a first time entrants to
the labour market and primarily target Class 10 and Class 12 drop outs.
The scheme would be implemented through NSDC training partners.
Currently NSDC has 187 training partners that have over 2300 centres.
In addition, Central / State Government affiliated training providers would also be used for training
under the scheme. All training providers will have to undergo a due diligence before being eligible
for participating under this scheme.
Focus under the PMKVY would be on improved curricula, better pedagogy and better trained
instructors. Training would include soft skills, personal grooming, behavioral change for
cleanliness, good work ethics. Sector Skill Councils and the State Governments would closely
monitor skill training that will happen under PMKVY.
Skill Development Management System (SDMS) would be put in place to verify and record
details of all training centres a certain quality of training locations and courses. Biometric system
and video recording of the training process would be put in place where feasible.
All persons undergoing training would be required to give feed back at the time of assessment
and this would become the key element of the evaluation framework to assess the effectiveness
of the PMKVY scheme.
A robust grievance redressal system would be put in place to address grievances relating to
implementation of the scheme. An online citizen portal would be put in place to disseminate
information about the scheme.
Approval to Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Bill 2015
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave its approval to
introduce the Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Bill, 2015 in Parliament so as to repeal 758
Appropriation Acts [including Appropriation (Railways) Acts and 111 State Appropriation Acts
enacted by Parliament since 1950 to 1976].
This is in keeping with the Prime Minister’s commitment to bring reform in the country’s legal
system, so as to make it more accessible to the common man. This is also in consonance with
the recommendations of the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha to have a repeal clause in the
Appropriation Acts.
However, such clause shall be provided when the enactment of the Appropriation Act, 2016 is
undertaken where under the Appropriation Acts of 2013 shall be repealed.
The Appropriation Acts [including Appropriation (Railways) Acts] enacted from the year 1950 to
2012 and 111 State Appropriation Acts enacted by Parliament since 1950 to 1976, in reality have
lost their meaning and are still shown on the Statute-Books.
The repealing of Appropriation Acts whose terms have ended will in no way cause any negative
impact on actions that were validly taken under these Acts.
The Commission on Review of Administrative Laws (P.C. Jain Commission) gave its Report in
1998 identifying a large body of laws for the purposes of repeal. It has recommended the repeal
of 700 Appropriation Acts passed by Parliament from time to time since 1950 as they are, in
terms, temporary in nature. The Commission has recommended their repeal on the ground that
these laws have become either irrelevant or dysfunctional.
Recently, the Law Commission of India in its 248th Report on "Obsolete Laws: Warranting
Immediate Repeal" has observed that a large number of Appropriation Acts enacted during past
several years, have lost their meaning but these are still shown on the Statute-Books.
The Legislative Department had also proposed that the repeal mechanism in vogue in United
Kingdom to systematically repeal Appropriation Acts (on whose Appropriation Acts we model our
own) usually two sessions in arrears may be followed.
Five-tier monitoring and review mechanism introduced for ICDS scheme
The Union Minister of Women and Child Development recently said that the Government has
introduced a 5-tier monitoring & review mechanism at different levels (National/ State/ District/ Block
and Anganwadi level) in order to strengthen the performance of the Integrated Child Development
Services Scheme.
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme:
ICDS was launched in 1975 in accordance to the National Policy for Children in India. The
scheme aims at holistic development of under-six children and providing nutritional and health
support to pregnant and lactating mothers. Scheme provides for a package of six services viz.
supplementary nutrition, immunization, referral services, health check-up, pre-school non formal
education and health and nutrition education. Three of the six services namely Immunization,
Health Check-up and Referral Services are delivered through Public Health system.
These services are provided from Anganwadi centres established mainly in rural areas and
staffed with frontline workers.
In addition to fighting malnutrition and ill health, the programme is also intended to combat gender
inequality by providing girls the same resources as boys.
The scheme is implemented through the States/UTs on a cost sharing basis in the ratio of 50:50
for supplementary nutrition (SNP) and 90:10 for other components except in the case of North
Eastern States where the share of Central and State Government is in the ratio of 90:10 for all the
components including SNP.
The predefined objectives of ICDS are:
To raise the health and nutritional level of poor Indian children below 6 years of age.
To create a base for proper mental, physical and social development of children in India.
To reduce instances of mortality, malnutrition and school dropouts among Indian children.
To coordinate activities of policy formulation and implementation among all departments of
various ministries involved in the different government programmes and schemes aimed at child
development across India.
To provide health and nutritional information and education to mothers of young children to
enhance child rearing capabilities of mothers in the country of India.
To provide nutritional food to the mothers of young children & also at the time of pregnancy
Coal Bill cleared
The Rajya Sabha recently passed the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015.
The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in December 10, 2014. It
seeks to amend the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973 and the Mines and Minerals
(Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. The Bill replaces the Coal Mines (Special Provisions)
Ordinance, 2014 that was promulgated on October 21, 2014.
Important provisions in the Bill:
The Bill seeks to enable private companies to mine coal for sale in the open market.
The Bill creates three categories of mines: (i) Schedule I, (ii) Schedule II, and (iii) Schedule III.
Schedule I mines includes (i) all the 204 coal mines cancelled by the Supreme Court in August
2014, (ii) any land acquired by the prior allottee in or around the coal mines, and (iii) mine
infrastructure. Schedule II includes 42 Schedule I mines that are currently under production or
about to start production. Schedule III mines includes the 32 Schedule I mines that have been
earmarked for a specified end-use.
Method of allocation: Schedule I mines can be allocated by way of either public auction or
government allotment. Schedule II and III mines will be allocated by way of public auction. Public
auction will be conducted by way of e-auction on a payment of maximum fee of Rs five crore.
For the auction of Schedule I mines, any government, private or joint venture company is eligible
to bid. For the government allotment process, only government companies and companies that
have been awarded power projects on the basis of competitive bidding for tariff are eligible. For
Schedule II and III mines, government, private and joint venture companies with a specified enduse are eligible to bid.
Purpose of mining:
Coal mined from Schedule I mines can be used by companies for their own consumption, sale or
any other purpose as specified in their mining lease.
Prior allottees:
A prior allottee shall not be eligible to participate in the auction process (i) if he has not paid the
additional levy imposed by the Supreme Court, or (ii) if he is convicted of an offence related to
coal block allocation and sentenced to imprisonment for more than three years.
Nominated Authority:
The central government shall appoint a nominated authority who will be an officer of the rank of a
joint secretary in the government.
Functions of the nominated authority include:
1) conducting the process of auction and allotment,
2) executing the vesting and allotment orders,
3) collecting the auction proceeds and transferring them to the respective state
Vesting order:
The vesting order shall transfer and vest upon the successful bidder, rights and licenses which
all the rights, title and interest of the prior allottee, in Schedule I coal mines,
a mining lease that will be granted by the state government, and
any statutory licences, approval or consent required to undertake coal mining operations
in Schedule I coal mines, if already issued to the prior allottee.
Responsibility of the central government:
The government may appoint a designated custodian to operate and manage the mine, on behalf of
the central government, till the completion of auction or allotment.
Compensation for prior allottees:
Prior allottees shall be compensated for land and mine infrastructure. For the purpose of such
compensation, land shall be valued as per the registered sales deed together with 12% simple
interest from the date of purchase or acquisition, till the date of the execution of the vesting order.
Mine infrastructure shall be valued as per the audited balance sheet of the previous financial year.
Prior allottees shall not be entitled to compensation till the additional levy has been paid.
India, US move forward on implementation of N-deal
India and the US are in the process of exchanging the inked copies of Administrative
Arrangements (AA) for the nuclear deal, paving the way for the implementation of the pact which
was signed seven years ago.
"...After the necessary internal procedures, the signed texts are currently being exchanged
between India's Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the US Department of Energy,"
Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry, Syed Akbaruddin, told reporters here today.
The AA, text of which was finalised during the visit of US President Barack Obama in January this
year, contains the terms and conditions for the implementation of the landmark Indo-US nuclear
He also added that even though no round of negotiations was currently scheduled, discussions
between India and Japan on civil nuclear cooperation continue as per the direction of Prime
Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe following their Summit meeting
in Tokyo in September, 2014.
Meanwhile, government was organising a day-long workshop on Indian Nuclear Insurance Pool
(INIP) today to brief and apprise its international partners on setting up of the fund as a part of the
overall risk-management scheme for liability.
Business and Economy
Renault Nissan appoints new MD
Renault Nissan Automotive India (RNAIPL), said it had appointed Colin Macdonald as the
Managing Director with effect from April 1.
He began his career at Nissan in the Sunderland plant in 1991, and had been Deputy Managing
Director of RNAIPL since January last year.
He will be responsible for the operations of the Renault-Nissan Alliance factory at Oragadam,
near Chennai. The plant exports cars to more than a hundred countries.
Science and Technology
DigiLocker gets good response
DigiLocker, the digital locker system launched by the government to securely store documents
online, has received good response since its beta launch last month. The locker can be accessed
by individuals, using their number.
According to available data, DigiLocker has around 58,698 users and about 53,016 documents
online so far. Gujarat tops the user base with more than 9,526 users followed by Uttar Pradesh
(8,299 users) and Maharashtra (6,711 users).
Technology companies such as Google and Dropbox offer storage space for users to store
The users can store their documents such as insurance, medical reports, PAN card, passport,
marriage certificate, school certificate and other documents in the digital format.
With this, the government is trying to create an electronic version of documents, which can be
easily verified and stored in printable format.
The initiative was launched by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, under
the Ministry of Communications and IT under the leadership of R. S. Sharma, Secretary,
Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), who was also the DirectorGeneral and Mission Director of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
“The launch of DigiLocker was part of Mr. Sharma’s plan to build an application based on
Aadhaar for digitally storing documents. In this system, Aadhaar provides a unique identity
verification platform for an individual. Aadhaar is a good technology platform, and we want an app
ecosystem to be created to support the use of this platform,” said Pramod Varma, now Chief
Architect and Technology Advisor to the Unique Identification Authority of India.
Apart from e-documents, DigiLocker can store Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) link of edocuments issued by various issuer departments.
At present, the digital locker gives 10MB of free space for individuals to store documents and
links of government department or agency-issued e-documents. The government is also planning
to subsequently increase the storage space to 1 GB.
To sign-up for the DigiLocker, you need to have an Aadhaar and mobile number registered with.
Type your Aadhaar number and the captcha code.
After clicking signup button, an OTP (One Time Password) will be sent to the registered mobile
number and email-id.
Enter OTP and click on “Validate OTP” button to complete the sign up and login.
‘Voice of Century’ award goes to Lata
Singer Lata Mangeshkar was presented the ‘Laadli Voice of the Century’ award during the sixth
edition of the national Laadli Media and Advertising Awards for Gender Sensitivity. Queen won
the best movie award, while advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather won the “Laadli Grand Prix”
for its Titan Raga — ‘tum nahi badle’ advertisement.
The Laadli extraordinaire award went to Charu Khurana, who won a landmark judgment in the
Supreme Court regarding Bollywood's bias against women make-up artistes.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was the chief guest at the awards ceremony.
Population First and UNFPA (United Nations Population First) also announced 13 national media
awards and eight awards to advertising agencies.
Actor Lisa Haydon accepted the Laadli award on behalf of the cast and crew of Queen movie.
Smita Bharti won the ‘best theatre award’ for her play ‘Jug Jug Jiyo.’
President of India presents National Safety Awards (Mines)
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presented the National Safety Awards (Mines) for
the Years 2011 and 2012 at a function organized by Ministry of Labour & Employment in Vigyan
Bhavan, New Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that in the sphere of safety, a multi-pronged
strategy - comprising legislation; self-regulation; worker participation in safety management; and
introduction of safety management systems based on risk assessment of workplace - has
resulted in a steady decline in fatality rates. Yet, there are emerging challenges to face. With
expanding scale of mining operations, intensification of mechanization and extension of mining
activities to adverse geo-mining conditions, the management of occupational health and safety
(OHS) issues are likely to become more complex. OHS challenges have to be dealt at both the
mine level as well as business level. Mitigating these challenges call for enhanced application of
information technology solutions. Introduction of state-of-the-art technology in mining activity can
lead to improvement in safety, besides productivity and financial gains. Another important factor
that can elevate safety standards and prevent accidents is training of the mining workforce.
The President said that Government initiatives to augment mineral production ought to have a
large skilled manpower which calls for modern training facilities. Concerns about worker safety
should engage attention at the highest corporate level. He expressed hope that the National
Safety Awards (Mines) would continue to be the catalyst in enhancing occupational health and
safety standards among our mine workers.
Persons in News
Ex-Australian PM Fraser dead
Malcolm Fraser, the former Australian Prime Minister who was notoriously catapulted to power by
a constitutional crisis that left the nation bitterly divided, died in his office . He was 84.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister had “restored economically
responsible government while recognizing social change.”
Art & Culture
Chadar Badar
It is a rare and obscure form of performing art. It is an ancient form of puppetry which tells stories
of the Santhal way of life, and migration.
It is prevalent among the Santhal tribes of Jharkhand and West Bengal.
It is performed with small puppets of dark seasoned wood and bamboo, manipulated by a
combination of rods and strings to songs accompanied by Santhali or Bengali songs.