Comprehensive News Analysis – 03 August 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. UGC amends anti-ragging regulations

2. AYUSH drugs to get trial guidelines

3. Prachanda to be next Prime Minister of Nepal

C. GS3 Related:

1. Rajnath to press for SAARC terror desk The facility, set up in Colombo in 1995, is yet to become operational

2. Stage set for roll-out of GST regime

3. Centre to meet diplomats for boosting food products trade

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials : A Quick Glance

1. Vocational Training: Bridging the skill gap

2. Pawns in the great forest game

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
H. Archives

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here today folks!

 

B. GS2 Related


1. UGC amends anti-ragging regulations

Category: Indian Polity

Topic: Education

Key Points:

  • Students can henceforth be expelled for ethnic, regional, linguistic insults on campuses.
  • Harassing a student from the north-east on the basis of ethnicity or a Bihari student on the basis of regional background can now lead to expulsion or rustication, among other punishments, in higher educational institutions.
  • Regulations to include physical or mental abuse on grounds of ethnicity, caste, religion, colour, regional background, linguistic identity, nationality and sexual orientation.
  • The changes are incorporated in the Curbing the Menace of Ragging in Higher Educational Institutions (third amendment), Regulations, 2016, which have come into force.

 

2. AYUSH drugs to get trial guidelines

Category: Indian Polity

Topic: Education

Key Points:

  • To bring research on Ayurvedic drugs and formulations closer to practices in Western medicine, the Indian Council of Medical Research has released a set of guidelines concerning standards that must be adhered to in testing medicines from AYUSH
  • The draft guidelines say that research on traditional and folk medicines and patented and proprietary varieties of traditional medicines involving human participants must be done using the same ethical principles under which drug trials are conducted.
  • That means the adverse effects of such drugs and a system whereby the potency and safety of the investigational drug can be measured ought to be in place. Compensation should be provided to the affected persons.
  • the legitimate rights/share of the tribe or community from which the knowledge was gathered should be taken care of appropriately while applying for Intellectual Property Rights and patents for the product
  • Specify that all participants be made aware of the risks and not be offered undue inducements to participate in the trial of a new drug.
  • This is a positive step and is important for traditional Indian formulations to be able to access international markets
  • India has frequently seen controversies over the improper conduct of clinical trials and there is a proposed amendment to the Drug and Cosmetics Act that seeks to impose stricter penalties for those found violating clinical trial guidelines.

 


 

C. GS3 Related


1. Rajnath to press for SAARC terror desk The facility, set up in Colombo in 1995, is yet to become operational

Category: Internal Security

Topic: Counter Terrorism, SAARC

Key Points:

  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh will press for bringing into operation the SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk (STOMD) when he visits Islamabad on Wednesday to take part in the conference of Home Ministers.
  • The desk was established in Colombo in 1995 to collate, analyze and disseminate information on terror offences, tactics, strategies and methods in the SAARC region.

 

2. Stage set for roll-out of GST regime

Category: Economics, Polity

Topic: Taxation, Constitutional Amendment

Key differentiators Proposed amendments to the 2014 Bill in the Lok Sabha that have been incorporated in the 2016 Bill

2014 Bill 2016 proposed amendment
Dispute resolution 2014 Bill (Clause 12): GST Council maydecide upon modalities to resolve disputes The GST Council shallestablish a mechanism to adjudicate any disputes
Entry Tax 2014 Bill (Clause 18): An additional tax of 1% on supply of goods will be levied by the Centre on inter-State trade or commerce Deletes the provision
Compensation to States 2014 Bill (Clause 19): Parliament may by law, provide compensation to States for any loss of revenues up to five years. Parliament shall, by law provide for compensation to States for any loss.

Source: PRS Legislative Research
Key Points:

  • Parliament shall, by law, provide for compensation to states for any loss of revenues, for a period which may extend to five years,” PRS Legislative said in a note. “This would be based on the recommendations of the GST Council. This implies that (i) Parliament must provide compensation; and (ii) compensation cannot be provided for more than five years, but allows Parliament to decide a shorter time period.
  • The removal of the one per cent additional tax was an amendment welcomed by industry and parliamentary opposition alike. The point of GST is to create a common market in the country and remove supply chain distortions arising from different tax rates in different States; the 1 per cent tax would have continued the distortions. Removing it addresses industry concerns

 

3. Centre to meet diplomats for boosting food products trade

 Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Food processing

Key Points:

  • The Centre will hold a meeting with ambassadors and high commissioners in the country to attract foreign direct investment into trading of food products.
  • On June 20 the Centre allowed 100 per cent FDI under government approval route (through Foreign Investment Promotion Board) for trading, including through e-commerce, of food products manufactured or produced in India to give a fillip to the food processing sector.
  • The meeting is likely to be attended by ambassadors and high commissioners to India from as many as 18 countries, including Japan, Thailand, the U.K., the U.S. and South Korea etc.
  • Through a liberal policy, the government aims to ensure greater value addition to farm produce, bring down wastage of perishables, curb inflation and price fluctuation of food items, raise farmers’ income, generate more employment and to ensure that India attracts the latest technologies in the food processing sector.
  • The move to allow 100 per cent FDI in trading of food products manufactured or produced in India, will help drastically reduce post-harvest losses and ensure that farmers get better prices. It will also result in the strengthening of backend infrastructure and lead to a direct purchase by retailers

 

D. GS4 Related

 

E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance


1. Vocational Training: Bridging the skill gap

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Employment

Key points:

  • Financing technical vocational education and training (VET) is costlier than general education due to its technical nature. Pre-service training requires the installation of equipment and trained instructors to train youth. This raises the cost of training, and remains a factor preventing pre-service training from expanding more rapidly.
  • There are four places where VET is imparted in India:
  • in secondary/higher secondary schools and polytechnics;
  • industrial training institutes (ITIs, both public and private);
  • private vocational training providers publicly financed and incubated by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC); and
  • In-firm, enterprise training (either of government-funded apprentices or large firms conducting training for their own new recruits).

 

  • There are four ways in which technical vocational education and training (TVET) is financed in at these four locations:
  • General tax revenues, used to fund public and private vocational training providers;
  • In-firm financing and provision of training by and for a firm conducting such training;
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) requirements by the government, mandating a certain proportion of CSR funds to be spent on vocational training; and
  • Levy on firms by the government, held in a special fund, resources from which are earmarked for vocational training.
  • In India, only the first two forms of financing have been used. Even the NSDC is funded with general tax revenues. However, its scale is too small, training too short, and it is being expanded too rapidly at the cost of quality/employability of trainees.
  • One outcome of the rising need for skilled personnel on the one hand and limited financing available for skill development on the other is that the wages and salaries of skilled and highly skilled staff have been rising sharply in the past decade.
  • Hence firms are facing rising input costs on account of human resources. another outcome of rising skilled labour costs is that large firms decide to invest in machinery, substituting capital for labour, thus reducing the potential for increasing jobs.
  • CSR funds for skill development: The CSR Act encourages companies to spend at least 2 per cent of their average net profit in the previous three years on CSR.
  • However, the provision in the Act is ‘indicative’, not mandatory. Putting skill development in the category of CSR may enable such companies to transfer the costs of normal skill development activities the firm is running in any case as CSR activities now. While CSR could be used as a means of enhancing financing for skill development, the Government of India has to be careful that it does not end up subsidizing activities by the firm that it might have undertaken in any case.
  • With regard to financing for skill development, 62 countries of the world have adopted an option that seems to have served them well. A tax is levied on companies that goes into an earmarked fund meant exclusively for TVET purposes. Firms can be reimbursed the costs of training from such a fund. A second objective such a fund would serve is to provide a stipend to students who receive TVET, given that the demand for TVET is lower than for general academic education.
  • Levies can provide a steady and protected source of funding for training, particularly in the context of unstable public budgets.

 

2. Pawns in the great forest game

Category: Environment,

Topic: Forest Rights, Tribal Rights and Conservation

Key Points:

  • In the context of Project Tiger- the efforts usually mean increasing vigilance against poaching of tigers and their prey, expanding existing tiger reserves, notifying new tiger reserves, and the likely relocation of people out of forests as a consequence of expansion of forests under state protection.
  • Forests are as much cultural and social places as they are a habitat for wildlife. Forests are home to one in eight Indians, and tiger conservation has come at a terrible human cost, they are prone to exclaim, recounting several instances of injustice where tribals have been forced out of forests, uprooted from their social and cultural context, deprived of education, development and livelihoods, plunged into poverty, and remained either unwilling or unable to integrate into the mainstream.
  • That conservation of the tiger and other wildlife should not be at the cost of the fundamental rights of our citizenry is a common refrain.
  • In the last two decades or so, elected governments in India have sanctioned the cutting down of forests to build highways, flattened forests for coal and other minerals, and drowned out forests for dams, significantly devastating wildlife and forest dwellers alike.
  • The last decade has also seen monumental efforts to assure legal rights to bona fide forest dwellers through the passing of the Forest Rights Act (FRA). The FRA recognises historical injustice meted out to forest dwellers, and seeks to undo this travesty by granting land and management rights in forests where they live.
  • Strengthening of the Panchayati Raj (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, or PESA, ensures that any developmental activity that destroys forests must have the prior approval and consent of gram sabhas.
  • Both the FRA and PESA have been met with severe opposition from conservationists and the forest department largely because of mistrust, fears of misuse, and fear of the dilution of existing powers.
  • Rajya Sabha passed the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, thereby paving the way for disbursement of funds from to individual States’ forest departments. This fund, established in 2009, is the repository of monies levied upon any entity (government or private) as the charge for destroying forests based on their net present value.
  • The Bill passed because a key condition that gram sabha consultation is required for fund utilisation was removed at the last moment.
  • This move is likely to rankle both conservationists and tribal rights activists alike, since it puts too much money (and power) in the hands of the forest department, and because it bypasses democratic institutions like the gram sabha.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • AYUSH
  • National Skill Development Corporation
  • Forest Rights Act
  • Food Processing Industries
  • Traditional Knowledge Digital Library


G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements?
  1. AYUSH is a department under the Ministry of health and family welfare.
  2. The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) aims to prevent grant of “bed” patents on traditional knowledge and biopiracy.

(a) Only 1

(b) Only 2

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 2: The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure(RATS) is a part of which multi-lateral grouping?

(a) SAARC

(b) ASEAN

(c) NATO

(d) SCO


Question 3: Consider the following statements,
  1. The National Skill Development Corporation, (NSDC) is a Public Private Partnership under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.
  2. NSDC provides funding to build scalable, for-profit vocational training initiatives.


Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 Only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 4: Consider the following statements,
  1. The Scheme of Mega Food Park aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers so as to ensure maximizing value addition, minimizing wastages, increasing farmers’ income and creating employment opportunities particularly in rural sector.
  2. The Mega Food Park Scheme is based on “Cluster” approach.



Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 Only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 5: Consider the following statements,
  1. PESA is a law enacted by the Government of India to cover the “Scheduled areas”, which are not covered in the 74th amendment act.
  2. PESA was enacted to enable Gram Sabhas to self govern their natural resources.

Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 Only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Check Your Answers

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