Comprehensive News Analysis – 27 May 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Reprisals in Congo; India plans outreach

2. SC allows Italian marine to go home

3. Frame national policy for relief to rape victims: Supreme Court

4. Sixteen states have agreed to form JVs with us: Suresh Prabhu

5. India, China agree to advance ongoing boundary negotiations

C. GS3 Related:

1. G7 discusses economy, terror

2. Solar, wind energy in one device to power Internet of Things

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

The Hindu

1. Reaching out to Africa

2. Birth pangs of payments banks

3. Bloc, stock, and barrel

4. Watch the follow through

The Indian Express

1. What Modi government must unlearn

2. Useful Infographic:

Others:

1. PIB

a) The Committee for the evolution of a National Education Policy has submitted the report containing its recommendations to the Ministry of HRD

b) Unique Disability Identity Card will be soon made Available

c) Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘ARUSH’ Commissioned

2. The Financial Express: Infrastructure: Big impact schemes launched, now to bridge the connectivity gap

3. The Financial Express: Improving India’s numerous laws: Evaluate to improve them, have mandatory review & sunset clauses

4. The Financial Express: Samsung’s Aadhaar-tab can revolutionise payment security

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 for today folks!

 

B. GS2 Related

1. Reprisals in Congo; India plans outreach

Topic: International relations

Category: Indo-African relations

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • Indian mission in Kinshasa(Congo) reported that some Indian establishments and shops were attacked on May 23 and 25 as a reaction perhaps to the killing of a Congolese national in South Delhi last Friday
  • India announced high-level visits to the African continent over the next two months, even as the reports came in( Vice-President Hamid Ansari will undertake a trip to Morocco and Tunisia on May 30)

 

2. SC allows Italian marine to go home

Topic: International relations

Category: India-EU Relations

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • With the Centre endorsing his plea to return to Italy on ‘humanitarian grounds’, the Supreme Court allowed Italian marine Salvatore Girone to go home
  • He will have to return if an international tribunal decides that India has jurisdiction to try the marines for the deaths of two Kerala fishermen in 2012
  • The Italian Ambassador will take the responsibility of ensuring his return within a month in case the tribunal rules in favour of trial in India(The Supreme Court had suspended all court proceedings in India after Italy moved the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea)

 

3. Frame national policy for relief to rape victims: Supreme Court

Topic: Polity

Category: Judicial Outreach

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

 

  • The Supreme Court on asked the Centre to frame a uniform national policy to financially compensate rape victims
  • The court issued notice to the Centre, States and UTs on the question of effective implementation of Section 357 A of the Cr.PC. This provision mandates States to co-ordinate with the Centre to prepare a scheme for providing funds to compensate and rehabilitate victims or dependents
  • “Setting up of Nirbhaya Fund is not enough”, the court observed

 

4. Sixteen states have agreed to form JVs with us: Suresh Prabhu

Topic: Governance

Category: Railways

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • The Railway minister informed that sixteen states have agreed to form a joint venture company withthe Indian Railways with 50:50 equity
  • This is a complete departure from the previous 50:50 cost-sharing system with the states. The projects that will be implemented in the next four years will be several times bigger than those implemented through budgetary resources as these joint ventures can raise debt said the minister
  • These joint venture companies would have separate management structure and board of directors

 

5. India, China agree to advance ongoing boundary negotiations

Topic: International Relations

Category: India-China Relations

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • Mukherjee’s delegation apprised its Chinese counterparts about India’s aims to rapidly expand its civilian nuclear programme in line with the country’s energy needs(China had voiced objection to India joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group without signing the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT))
  • The two leaders also agreed to advance the ongoing boundary negotiations under the ‘Special Representatives’ mechanism, and at the same time resolved to take actions to maintain peace and tranquility in the boundary regions

 

C. GS3 Related

1. G7 discusses economy, terror

Topic: Economy

Category: International Groupings

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • G7 agreed on the need for flexible spending to spur world growth but the timing and amount depended on each country. Britain and Germany have been resisting calls for fiscal stimulus
  • G7 leaders voiced the view that emerging economies are in a severe situation, although there were views that the current economic situation is not a crisis
  • Other summit topics include terrorism, cyber-security and maritime security, especially China’s increasing assertiveness in the East and South China Seas, where Beijing has territorial disputes with Japan and several Southeast Asian nations

 

2. Solar, wind energy in one device to power Internet of Things

Topic: S&T

Category: Energy

Location: The Financial Express

Key points:

  • In a first, scientists have integrated a silicon solar cell and a nanogenerator that can convert wind energy into electricity in a single device that may power the ‘Internet of Things’
  • The ‘Internet of Things’ could make cities “smarter” by connecting an extensive network of tiny communications devices to make life more efficient
  • However, all these machines will require a lot of energy. Rather than adding to the global reliance on fossil fuels to power the network, researchers say they can be powered by a single device that harvests wind and solar energy
  • Installed in large numbers on real rooftops, the hybrid device could help enable smart cities, researchers said

 

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

 

The Hindu

1. Reaching out to Africa

Topic: International Relations

Category: Indian-Afro Indian Relations

Key points:

  • African envoys have called off their proposed boycott of the Africa Day event in the national capital
  • First, by centering their protest on something as particular to them as Africa Day, the African Heads of Mission have highlighted how India fails to appreciate the continent’s changing identity and aspirations by not forging constructive people-to-people contact
  • And second, by making common cause around the murder of a Congolese student in Delhi, they have shown India a brutal mirror. Many attacks on African students may be isolated incidents of urban crime that could catch any individual in its grip, irrespective of identity, but there is a latent expression of discrimination in our everyday interactions that is stinging, that makes the next attack a reminder of a larger problem
  • Upon hearing of the boycott threat, the government went into damage control, with the Minister of State in the MEA reaching out to African envoys, and a mechanism being worked out for a meeting with Heads of Mission every three months
  • However, the remarkable manner in which the problem of “Afro-phobia” has been brought to public attention demands more — more diplomatic introspection and more political will to address dehumanising prejudices in Indian society
  • It is not that India has not recognised the growing importance of Africa. Last year, the Modi government rendered the Africa Summit a spectacular splash to show that it is mindful of the continent’s rising profile. The 54 countries of the African Union — indeed, the 54 seats in the UN General Assembly — are key to India’s global ambitions
  • African countries too are responding to India’s rise by appointing more senior diplomats and often senior politicians to their missions to New Delhi
  • As the MEA’s announcement of the mechanism of minister-level interactions shows, the diplomatic outreach needs re-evaluation. More importantly perhaps, envoys today are more conscious of public opinion back home. They see it to be their remit to respond to anxiety, even anger, over the treatment of their citizens. India is scaling up its engagement with Africa — Vice President Hamid Ansari begins a visit to Morocco and Tunisia next week, Prime Minister NarendraModi goes later this year
  • But this is not only about Africa. India fails itself by carrying on, business as usual, instead of politically and socially tackling the discrimination and violence faced by its citizens as well as visitors

 

2. Birth pangs of payments banks

Topic: Economy

Category: Banking

Key points:

 

  • Barely nine months since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced the names of the 11 applicants who had won “in-principle” approval to start payments banks, three have backed out
  • That a corporate entity, which initially evaluated the business to be attractive enough to apply and was prepared to compete with other players to win a ‘coveted’ licence, could have cited competition as a reason to withdraw is intriguing
  • While it is true that this experimental banking licence would allow licensees limited scope to earn attractive interest spreads since they are prohibited from lending loans, the constraints of the business model were already known
  • Similarly, given the banking regulator’s focus on extending a remittances and payments network to unbanked and far-flung rural areas, it was understood that this new breed of niche banks would take more than a few years to establish standalone profitability
  • The logical surmise is that after the first flush of excitement at the prospect of winning a ‘banking licence’ — albeit a watered down one — they have realised that catering to a customer base that largely comprises low-income households, farmers and the migrant workforce may not be such a rosy proposition after all
  • For the RBI, the experience of having its chosen applicants develop cold feet must be disconcerting, given the time and effort invested in the process
  • But central bankers too need to do some introspection. For one, the ground has shifted in the months since the RBI released draft guidelines for the payments banks in November 2014
  • The National Payments Corporation of India recently introduced its Unified Payments Interface that is expected to alter the way payment transactions are conducted. Also, commercial banks are now aggressively pushing their own mobile application-based offerings, eroding the potential that payments banks had for the banked and technology-savvy segment
  • Ultimately, though, it is in everybody’s interest to see a pared down field of banks unveiling their payments services when the licences are finally issued, especially if the goal of widening financial inclusion is to be sustainably met over the long term

 

3. Bloc, stock, and barrel

Topic: International Relations

Category: India-EU Relations

Key Points:

  • Prime Minister’s visit to Brussels in March did not achieve much of what it was supposed to — jump-starting theIndia-EU relationship which, it was hoped, would be anchored in a free trade deal
  • The proximate causes for the talks being stalled for four years were the Italian marines case and the temporary ban, in 2015, of 700 generic drugs from India
  • The problem is both philosophical and administrative. A supranational association of countries, which has jurisdiction and decision-making power over its member states in some areas (commercial and competition policy, for instance), joint jurisdiction with members in others (for example, foreign and security policy is coordinated by the EU but the actual framing and execution is left to its members) and no jurisdiction whatsoever in others, is confusing to its external partners
  • However, the problem runs deeper than the world not getting the EU: the EU does not fully get the EU. The Eurozone crisis and more recently, the migrant crisis, have strained intra-union relationships. The migrant crisis has also questioned the commitment member states have to the humanistic founding values of modern Europe as well as their ability to coordinate a process to meet their international protection obligations
  • The Europe question is being asked explicitly in Britain, which will hold a referendum next month on whether or not to remain in the EU
  • While these centrifugal forces in Europe are unlikely to undo the union, it is only natural that they impact the relationship with India
  • A second factor that has impacted the pace of development of Indo-EU relations is the fact that the EU is grappling with how India functions. The EU establishment is road-mapping the interaction between State and Central governments, how and where policy is formed and implemented. It is also learning from its member states that doing business directly with State governments in India is often the way forward. Consequently, the EU has been engaging India partly through partnerships with Indian States. The Agenda for Action-2020, which emerged from the March 30 talks in Brussels and sets the strategic agenda between India and EU for the next five years, emphasises sub-national and business-to-business linkages
  • Thirdly, in the case of the above three countries the partnership extends to support forIndia’s bid for permanent membership of the UN Security Council
  • The outcome of the British referendum will mean one of two things — ‘more EU’ or ‘less EU’. Whether there are similar referendums in other countries, or an invigorated EU in case Britain votes to stay (other countries may hold referendums irrespective of the British outcome), we are looking at a medium-to-long-term process of the EU clarifying, to itself, what it is about and how it goes about its business. This will have far-reaching implications for intra-EU relationships as well as the EU’s external partnerships
  • India’s bilateral relationships with individual EU countries are built on a deep and mutual understanding of aspirations and concerns as also a well-developed understanding of the value (monetary and otherwise) of any given partnership
  •  Without these elements in place, the India-EU relationship cannot have an optimal level of priority associated with it. Priority is reflected, in part, by the resources and perseverance accorded to the negotiations and agreements
  •  Therefore, on India’s part, it can regroup and strategise by asking some genuine and open-ended questions: What is the value of this relationship? How far can this relationship extend beyond trade?
  • At a time when India is juggling its relationships with the United States, Russia and China, an India-EU dynamic could be an important element in the country’s multilateral approach to the world. Right now, however, we just do not know

 

4. Watch the follow through

Topic: International Relations

Category: Indo- Iran relations

Key Points:

 

  • The agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) between Iran and P5+1 on Iran’s nuclear programme and the corresponding easing of sanctions, concluded last July, has provided the long-awaited opening
  • The U.S. has lifted “secondary nuclear-related sanctions” but its unilateral sanctions linked to terrorism and missile proliferation remain; so does its general trade embargo with exceptions for export of Iranian carpets and pistachios and U.S. exports of medicines, communication equipment, and commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services
  • Other countries can resume normal trade with Iran, but financial transactions have to bypass U.S. territory even if the transactions are denominated in U.S. dollars. Further, the U.S. still retains about 200 Iranian entities on a prohibited list and transactions with these will attract American sanctions
  • This complexity has slowed down the process of sanctions relief as also the release of Iran’s blocked financial assets. Since petroleum trade is largely dollar-denominated, Western banking channels are still unsure about how to structure these transactions so as to bypass U.S. shores and entities
  • The idea of a sanctions getting reimposed were Iran is to violate the JCPOA may sound politically remote but has made banks, insurance companies and commercial entities cautious, especially when it comes to exports of manufactured goods with U.S. content
  • All the elements identified in the 2003 New Delhi Declaration remain valid today, especially long-term energy cooperation as well as developing Chabahar port for enhancing connectivity to Afghanistan and Central Asia, and were revived during Prime Minister Modi’s visit
  • From being the second largest energy source before the sanctions kicked in five years ago, India’s imports from Iran came down by more than two-thirds in 2014-15. Further, after 2011, 45 per cent of the payment was in Indian rupees and the balance 55 per cent owed to Iran accumulated to $6.5 billion
  • Iranian oil supplies could go up in future from current levels to the pre-sanctions levels of over 500,000 barrels per day. Restoring Iran’s production levels to over three million barrels per day will also need large-scale investment in infrastructure estimated at $150 billion
  • India has indicated a willingness to invest $20 billion in the near future; early implementation is necessary to build a long-term partnership
  • A key development was signing of the Trilateral Transit and Transport Corridor Treaty for which Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was also present in Tehran. The project involves developing Chabahar port (barely a thousand kilometres from Kandla, Gujarat) with road and rail connectivity linking it to Zaranj, on the Afghan-Iran border, 900 km to the north
  • The initial trilateral agreement to develop theChabahar route to facilitate regional trade and transit to Afghanistan and Central Asia had been signed more than a decade ago. In 2008, India completed the 215-km-long Zaranj-Delaram road in Afghanistan at a cost of Rs.600 crore but developments on the Iran side had stalled
  • This time, the trilateral agreement is accompanied by a clutch of memorandums of understanding between Exim Bank, IRCON, Export Credit Guarantee Corporation and India Ports Global Pvt. Ltd. with their respective Iranian counterparts to ensure that the long committed $150 million for Chabahar will be released, Rs.3,000 crore will be made available for the steel rails to start the $1.6 billion rail connectivity project and $85 million is committed for equipping the terminals and berths at Chabahar under long-term lease to India
  • The regional backdrop is more complex today compared to 2003. Developments in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, strains in Iran’s relations with Saudi Arabia and rising sectarianism in the Islamic world are exposing new fault lines. The meeting between the three leaders, Presidents Rouhani and Ghani and Prime Minister Modi, was an opportunity for an exchange of views on the common neighbour Pakistan, especially in view of the killing of Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour by a U.S. drone strike in Balochistan
  • In these troubled times, there is much that can draw India and Iran together provided a degree of trust can be restored.Iran too is looking east for partners. Traditionally, India, China and Japan have been major buyers of Iranian crude. Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Tehran in January just after sanctions were eased and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected later in 2016
  • Before sanctions kicked in, China-Iran trade was of the order of $50 billion; the target for 2026 is $600 billion. China has assured Iran of a welcome in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and a 25-year framework for a strategic partnership. About six weeks after Mr. Xi’s visit, a 32-container train completed a journey from Yiwu to Tehran in a fortnight, a journey of 6,500 miles traversing Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, shrinking the maritime travel period from Shanghai to Bandar Abbas by a month and demonstrating the attraction of the Chinese ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative
  • The challenge for the Modi government therefore will be to ensure timely implementation of the Chabahar project. Japanese interest in working together on Chabahar is a welcome sign and needs to be explored further
  • Other MoUs signed relate to science and technology cooperation, cultural exchanges, projects involving National Archives and policy dialogue involving think tanks and foreign ministries. Project agreements regarding a urea factory in the Chabahar Free Trade Zone, terms for the Farzad B gas field and an alumina plant have yet to be concluded. The joint working group on defence cooperation needs to be activated. A bilateral investment treaty and a double taxation avoidance treaty are other initiatives to be pursued in future
  • There is a substantive follow-up agenda but first, the government has to deliver on project implementation because Iran today is a country in a hurry, with no dearth of suitors from east or west

 

The Indian express

1. What Modi government must unlearn

Topic: Governance

Category: education

Key points:

  • the HRD minister made a series of announcements in the RajyaSabha on how the government plans to track online the learning of every child, on a day-to-day basis
  • But the current state of institutions involved in the delivery of education, especially at the frontline level, are so abysmal that it is hard to see how technology can play the role envisaged for it
  • Most schools do not have computers (84 per cent, 2014-15), and many do not have electricity connections either (40 per cent). None has a budget line for electricity bills. The latter are to be paid for from the school maintenance grant, which is a paltry Rs 5,000 a year, barely sufficient to meet regular maintenance needs of schools
  • Besides the physical infrastructural limitations, there is the well-known shortage of teachers that would make the task of maintaining daily records of learning of every child difficult to accomplish. With more than 10 per cent schools being single-teacher and less than 10 per cent schools having a full complement of teachers, that is, one teacher for every class, the daily computations required will be seen as a huge extra “burden” by the teachers and will in all likelihood take away from their core teaching duties
  • In fact, CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation), a provision under the RTE Act, 2009, which came closest to suggesting a system of maintaining individual records of students on a range of learning parameters has been on the list of ideas to be thrown out since this government took charge. Why, and how then, does it think that an even more complex system can be made to work now?
  • What is desperately required is investment in the institutions of delivery — in teacher education and training; in filling vacancies in schools through new appointments and not through the subterfuge of “deputation”; in putting accountability systems that run all the way up to the top of the chain so that action on the ground can be expected; in local data and information systems that are connected to the planning process; in devolving power, with resources, to frontline levels so that the possibility of using discretion in response to a local situation increases. Parachuting technology onto an incoherent and under-resourced system only amounts to placing the cart before the horse. It could possibly make matters worse

 

2. Useful Infographic:

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capture25

 

Others:

1. PIB

a) The Committee for the evolution of a National Education Policy has submitted the report containing its recommendations to the Ministry of HRD

The online consultations on www.MyGov.in  portal were held from 26th January, 2015 to 31st October, 2015 and over 29,000 suggestions were received

 

b) Unique Disability Identity Card will be soon made Available

A Unique Disability Identity Card to be valid across the country, will soon be made available to PwDs

He said that the current government has emphasized on modernization of assistive aids and equipments by signing MoUs with Ottobock (Germany) and Motivation (UK). This transfer of technology under Make in India Programme will help the Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment further reach out to Persons with Disabilities

c) Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘ARUSH’ Commissioned

The Indian Coast Guard ship ‘Arush’, the seventeenth in the series of twenty Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs), designed and built by M/s Cochin Shipyard Limited, was commissioned today at Kochi by the Coast Guard

 

2. The Financial Express: Infrastructure: Big impact schemes launched, now to bridge the connectivity gap

Topic: Economy

Category: Infrastructure

Key points:

  • The UN, in its 2015 report on India’s performance on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), has pointed out, “much of the achievement of the MDGs has depended upon availability of infrastructure support; as without roads and public transport children cannot go to school and expecting mothers cannot reach health centres; and learning at home and in school, health services at health centres are all hampered without electricity. Better rural infrastructure-such as farm to market roads, storage facilities, market infrastructure, and irrigation-also increases rural productivity and incomes and thereby assists in reducing rural poverty
  • The government has made significant strides in providing electricity and roads, particularly in rural India. According to the latest official figures, during its two years in office, the government has brought electricity to 7,654 villages compared with 5,189 villages in the preceding three years. Similarly, 36,340 and 36,450 kilometres of rural roads have been added during FY15 and FY16, respectively, whereas construction of rural roads in FY13 and FY14, respectively, was 24,160 and 25,320 kilometres
  • This leap in infrastructure growth is expected to have a huge impact on job creation. One of the biggest challenges that India faces today is that jobs are not being created fast enough to accommodate the rapidly multiplying population. While the growing ranks of unemployed youth are pushing them to the cities in search of decent employment, this in turn is putting more pressure on already severely stressed urban infrastructure
  • For the connect between improved roads, more electrified villages and increased employment opportunities to happen, interventions are needed at multiple levels. Take, for instance, the occupational profile of rural India. The developed rural settlements-many of which are located in close proximity to urban centres-have the highest proportion of salaried households (25.1%) compared to emerging rural (12.6%) and underdeveloped rural (8.8%). In contrast, the underdeveloped rural areas have the largest proportion of households that depend on manual labour (45.8%) as against those in emerging rural (35.4%) and developed rural (21%).
  • Now, here’s another significant fact: Households that depend on labour and self-employment in agriculture for their livelihood comprise nearly 75% of all householdsin underdeveloped rural. Youth belonging to such households are the ones that are the most marginalized
  • While a large proportion of underdeveloped rural households (75%) today have electricity connections, only a third (31%) have toilets, 16% have LPG connections, 28% have separate kitchens, and a miniscule 11% have tap water within their premises. Emerging rural areas are much better off on all these scores: electricity is available for 91% homes, 53% have toilets, 45% have LPG connections, 50% have separate kitchens and 36% have access to running tap water at home.
  • While the large schemes—Swachh Bharat, the Jan DhanYojana, DeenDayalUpadhyaya Gram JyotiYojana, among others—are targeted at bringing the marginalised households into the mainstream, the need of the hour is to create small-scale schemes that feed into the larger schemes and multiply their benefits
  • These, if managed efficiently and in a transparent manner, can give the overall push needed to achieve targets. Take for example, building road networks in rural areas. Construction of roads is only the first step in the process of harnessing connectivity. In acknowledgement of this fact, the PradhanMantriGraminParivahanYojana (PMGPY) has been initiated to improve transportation facilities in villages and at the same time give rural entrepreneurship a boost. The plan is to introduce viability gap funding (VGF) so that the government can fund up to 35% of the cost of the vehicles, while the balance can be borrowed from banks via self-help groups
  • While the government has announced a number of big impact schemes, the focus should now be on creating linkages between various departments and roping in stakeholders with different types of expertise. A planned, systematic approach will also result in engagement and participation of the targeted communities resulting in a win-win situation for all

 

3. The Financial Express: Improving India’s numerous laws: Evaluate to improve them, have mandatory review & sunset clauses

Topic: Governance

Category: Legislation

Key points:

  • India enacted the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in 1985 to tackle the growing drug menace in the country. But it is telling that in response to a question in the 16th LokSabha, on whether there has been a reduction in substance abuse-related cases, the minister of social justice and empowerment answered that there was “no authentic data” available with the ministry. This is a symptom of the malaise that has plagued India’s law enforcement
  • Although India has one of the highest numbers of laws on its statute books—over 2,500 Acts just at the central level—its implementation record is distressingly poor. One of the reasons for the poor performance, aside from design issues, capacity constraints and corruption, is the near complete absence of post legislative scrutiny or review of the laws
  • The government, at different points, has taken small steps to design better laws such as making pre-legislative scrutiny of Bills mandatory through public feedback and identifying laws that need to be repealed but these processes are not data-driven or systematic
  • Currently, policy-makers and bureaucrats mostly use anecdotes and evidence provided by non-official sources such as corporates or NGOs and advocacy groups to argue for or against an amendment in a law.
  • The NDPS Act was amended thrice—in 1989, 2001 and 2014. Each time, the initiative was taken by activists and lawyers. Furthermore, as is evident from a reading of the parliamentary debates, the legislators themselves were hampered in their understanding due to the lack of information about the effectiveness of the law. They tended to rely on harsh punishments to deter drug users and traffickers but produced no evidence to make their case. They also never questioned the government on what evidence the Act was being amended multiple times.
  • An example is the Right to Information Act, which came into force in October 2005. Since its enactment, the government has made multiple attempts to curtail some of the powers of the Act on various grounds such as promoting efficiency and effectiveness (in 2006 and 2009, it tried to remove ‘file notings’ from the purview of the Act). Activists have staunchly resisted such attempts. However, the fact remains that there is no objective scrutiny of the effectiveness of the Act so both sides have depended on anecdotal tales to bolster their arguments
  • In the 1990s, many European countries as well as the US, Australia and Canada developed “better regulation” policies, which included ex-ante and ex-post evaluation of legislation.
  • Among European countries, the U.K. required laws to be reviewed within three to five years of enactment. These reviews are conducted by existing departmental select committees on the basis of a memoranda provided by a government department. All Acts passed since 2005 are reviewed with a few exceptions such as budgets, very technical acts and trivial acts. In Germany, ex-post evaluation is systematic and based on a standardized methodology set out in guidelines for public administrators. France requires mandatory periodic evaluation, which is enshrined within the law itself.
  • In the US, each standing committee, except Committee on Appropriation, is required to review and study, on a continuing basis, the application, administration, execution, and effectiveness of the laws dealing with the subject matter over which the committee has jurisdiction
  • In Australia, most laws have to be reviewed within two years and they have to expire after 10 years. In Canada most laws have review and sunset clauses.
  • Developing a “better regulation” policy for India
  • India stands to gain by requiring all substantive Bills to have mandatory review and sunset clauses (subject to reviews). These reviews can be designed to assess whether the objectives and the anticipated effects of a Bill have taken place on the ground. They can also identify any unintended effects of the legislation. There would also be the added benefit of requiring the relevant ministry to (a) set out clear objectives and intended effects of the Bill; (b) give quantitative and qualitative data on the subject; and (c) give a detailed budget and man-power planning at the Bill’s drafting stage itself
  • To get started, the Law Commission or an expert committee could first decide, with inputs from government and non-government stakeholders, the scope of post-legislative scrutiny by defining its boundaries, the types of legislation that require scrutiny, benchmarks of a successful legislation, the procedure for scrutiny, the body that should undertake the scrutiny and the time-period of the scrutiny
  • Of course, this calls for an overhaul of how ministries function. Legislative departments need to be equipped to undertake regular surveys, be trained in monitoring and evaluation and data analysis. Since it would take a considerable time to equip the ministries, in the interim, the government could commission such reviews from reputed institutions. In the long run, this, more than anything else, would allow the present government to deliver on its electoral promise of “good governance.”

 

4. The Financial Express: Samsung’s Aadhaar-tab can revolutionise payment security

Topic: Governance

Category: service delivery

Key points:

  • Given how the biometrics of over 90% of the population are already registered under Aadhaar and the fact that the government is already distributing significant sums to Aadhaar-linked bank accounts, how soon the entire Rs 3 lakh crore spent annually on social security payments including food and fertilizer subsidies is linked to Aadhaar is the big question
  • This will depend on the speed at which beneficiaries under various schemes are identified, their names linked to Aadhaar numbers which, in turn, have to be either linked to bank accounts in case cash is being transferred or to Aadhaar-enabled Point of Sale (PoS) devices in the case of, for instance, physical rations – the government has a target of having PoS devices in all ration shops within 16-18 months to tackle the situation today where over 40% of rations do not reach the target audience
  • This process got a big leg up with Samsung coming up with a tab that has a built-in iris scanner – using the tab’s camera – that dips into the Aadhaar database for instant authentication. Though the tab is reasonably priced at Rs 13,500 a piece, that is still a considerable cost, and puts it out of the reach of the bulk of users
  • But with the technology now proven, it is only a matter of time before more reasonably-priced fingerprint and iris-scan phones are available to be able to quickly authenticate users using Aadhaar’s database
  • Once this is done, it will truly be a leg up for Aadhaar usage since, apart from use in government schemes like PDS and MGNREGA, proof of identity is also sought in various other places such as airports or for opening accounts in banks. So instead of carrying documentary proof – Aadhaar documents or passports and driving licenses – users will be able to simply do a fingerprint or an iris scan on their phones to prove identity
  • The benefit will perhaps be the greatest in the case of financial transactions where complicated passwords are required – sometimes, in addition, SMS verification codes are also used to prove identity
  • Since iris scans are considered the gold standard of security, a phone/tab that allows this can be used to move away with the current systems which offer lesser degrees of security. Samsung is already filing patents in Europe for iris scanners to be incorporated in phones, a sure sign of the commercial potential it feels the device has

 

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea)
  • Nirbhaya Fund
  • NSG
  • NPT
  • G7
  • Internet of Things
  • African Union
  • Payments Bank
  • India-EU FTA
  • Trilateral Transit and Transport Corridor Treaty
  • OBOR
  • RTE Act,2009
  • Sunset Clause
  • PMGPY
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Which of the following statements is/are correct ?
  1. Payments Bank banking model was proposed to improve financial inclusion
  2. Payments Bank banking model was introduced according to NachiketMor committee recommendation
  3. Payment banks cannot undertake lending activities

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All the Above

 

Question 2: Which of the following statements is/are correct ?
  1. Prime Minister’s Gram ParivahanYojana is aimed to provide all weather road connectivity to villages
  2. Prime Minister’s Gram SadakYojana is aimed to improve and regulate transportation facilities in villages and also enhance job opportunities for the rural youth

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Question 3: Which of the following statements is/are true?
  1. IPv6 will play a major role in handling the network layer scalability needed for Internet of Things(IoTs)
  2. There are three core sectors of the IoT: enterprise, home, and government, with the government internet of things (GIoT) being the largest of the three

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Question 4: Which of the following statements is/are correct about the Right to education Act,2009 ?
    1. It requires all private schools(except the minority institutions) to reserve 25% of seats for the poor
    2. Right to Education has become a fundamental right in India with the enactment of the act

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Question 5: Which of the following countries is/are included in G7?
  1. Russia
  2. Japan
  3. China
  4. The U.S.A

a) 1 and 4 only

b) 2 and 4 only

c) 1 ,2 and 3

d) All the Above

 

Check Your Answers

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