19 July Current Affairs
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July 23, 2019
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20 July Current Affairs

Paramarsh scheme

In News:

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched ‘Paramarsh’ – a University Grants Commission (UGC) scheme.

About Paramarsh:

The scheme is for Mentoring National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC) Accreditation Aspirant Institutions to promote Quality Assurance in Higher Education.

The scheme will be a paradigm shift in the concept of mentoring of institution by another well performing institution to upgrade their academic performance and enable them to get accredited by focusing in the area of curricular aspects, teaching-learning & evaluation, research, innovation, institutional values & practices etc.

Implementation:

The Scheme will be operationalized through a “Hub & Spoke” model wherein the Mentor Institution, called the “Hub” is centralized and will have the responsibility of guiding the Mentee institution through the secondary branches the “Spoke” through the services provided to the mentee for self improvement.

Significance and impact of the scheme:

  • The scheme is expected to have a major impact in addressing a national challenge of improving the quality of Higher Education in India.
  • This allows a centralized control over operational efficiency, resource utilization to attain overall development of the mentee institution.
  • The scheme will lead to enhancement of overall quality of the Mentee Institutions and enhance its profile as a result of improved quality of research, teaching and learning methodologies.
  • Mentee Institution will also have increased exposure and speedier adaptation to best practices.
  • The scheme will also facilitate sharing of knowledge, information and opportunities for research collaboration and faculty development in Mentee Institutions.
  • Mentor-Mentee relationship will not only benefit both the institutions but also provide quality education to the 3.6 crore students who are enrolling to Indian Higher Education system at present.

One Stop Centre (OSC)

In News:

The Government of India is implementing One Stop Centre (OSC) scheme for setting up One Stop Centre since 1st April 2015 to support women affected by violence.

Details:

One Stop Centre (OSC) at the district level maintains the record of complaints received from women affected by violence.  Ministry of Women and Child Development reviews the functioning of OSCs from time to time.

Facilities at OSC:

  • facility for temporary stay up to 5 days with 5 beds
  • police facilitation
  • legal counselling
  • psycho-social counselling
  • medical aid and
  • temporary shelter in an integrated manner under one roof.

Funds:

The Scheme will be funded through Nirbhaya Fund. The Central Government will provide 100% financial assistance to the State Government /UT Administrations under the Scheme.

Need for protection:

Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a global health, human rights and development issue that transcends geography, class, culture, age, race and religion to affect every community and country in every corner of the world.

The Article 1 of UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence 1993 provides a definition of gender – based abuse, calling it “any act of gender – based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.

In India, gender based violence has many manifestations; from the more universally prevalent forms of domestic and sexual violence including rape, to harmful practices such as, dowry, honour killings, acid attacks, witch – hunting, sexual harassment, child sexual abuse, trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, child marriage, sex selective abortion, sati etc.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019

In News:

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal to introduce The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019. The Bill will be introduced in the ensuing Session of Parliament.

The Bill provides a mechanism for their social, economic and educational empowerment.

Impact:

The Bill will benefit a large number of transgender persons, mitigate the stigma, discrimination and abuse against this marginalized section and bring them into the mainstream of society. This will lead to inclusiveness and will make the transgender persons productive members of the society.

Background:

Transgender community is among one of the most marginalized communities in the country because they don’t fit into the stereotypical categories of gender of ‘men’ or ‘women’. Consequently, they face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lack of education facilities, unemployment, lack of medical facilities and so on. The Bill shall empower the transgender community socially, educationally and economically.

Lok Sabha clears Bill on NHRC constitution

In News:

The Lok Sabha passed the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019 by voice vote.

Details:

The Bill expedites the process of appointment of Chairperson and members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and provides for, among others, including the chairpersons of the National Commission for Backward Classes, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities as members of the NHRC.

The amendment will ensure transparency in the appointment of chairman and members of the commission and will help fill all the vacancies.

About NHRC:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is a Statutory public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993.

It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA).

The NHRC is the National Human Rights Commission of India, responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, defined by the Act as “Rights Relating To Life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants”.

Some of the functions of NHRC:

  • proactively or reactively inquire into violations of government of India human rights or negligence in the prevention of such violation by a public servant
  • by leave of the court, to intervene in court proceeding relating to human rights
  • make recommendations about granting relief to the victims and their families.
  • review the safeguards provided by or under the Constitution or any law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation
  • review the factors, including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures

The NHRC consists of:

  • A Chairperson, should be retired [Chief Justice of India]

(through GoI mulling appointment of retired SC Judges as chairperson)

  • One member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court of India
  • One member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court
  • Two members to be appointed from among persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights
  • In addition, the Chairpersons of four National Commissions (Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Women and Minorities) serve as ex officio members.

The sitting Judge of the Supreme Court or sitting Chief Justice of any High Court can be appointed only after the consultation with the Chief Justice of Supreme Court.

RTI Bill introduced

In News:

Amid protests by the Opposition parties, a Bill to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act and give the Union government the power to set the service conditions and salaries of Information Commissioners was introduced in the Lok Sabha.

Details:

The new Bill seeks to change the status of the Information Commissioners who are on a par with the Election Commissioners, and states that the term of office, salaries, allowances and other terms and conditions shall be “as prescribed by the Central government”.

Currently, Section 13(5) of the Act provides that these are equivalent to that of the Chief Election Commissioner for the Chief Information Commissioner and to an Election Commissioner for an Information Commissioner.

The functions being carried out by the Election Commission and the Central and State Information Commissions are totally different. The Election Commission of India is a constitutional body… On the other hand, the Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions are statutory bodies established under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Proposed Amendments to RTI Act:

The govt has recently proposed some changes in the act which are said to be regressive in nature.

There are set of targeted and fashioned amendments to the RTI Act which will not only undermine one part of the Act but structurally weaken the independence and authority of the only body that gives it teeth, thereby nullifying the entire Act.

The government proposes to do away with the equivalence of the Central Information Commissioners with the Election Commissioners on the ground that the two have different mandates.

The underlying assumption that transparency is less important for a democracy than holding of free and fair elections is absurd.

The government also proposes to replace the existing fixed five-year tenure of the Information Commissioners with tenure as may be prescribed by it. This would make the tenure largesse to be bestowed by the government.

This would be detrimental to the independence and authority of the Information Commissions.

Benefits of right usage of RTI:

The right to information laws, alongside expanding the citizen’s rights, should be systematically employed to transform governance.

These laws could be a powerful magnet for mobilizing the people and enthusing them to use these laws to enhance and expand their choices for their own betterment.

RTI laws directly contribute to improvement in governance by breaking down the barriers between the government and the people by enhancing trust.

RTI is the most powerful assault on developing countries endemic corruption.

RTI should be an instrument to bring an end to the culture of governmental secrecy and the battle for transparency is to be fought and won in the minds of the civil servants.

SEBI

What is SEBI

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is a regulatory body of the Government of India. It controls the securities market. It was established on April 12, 1992 under the SEBI Act, 1992. It is headquartered at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, India. It has regional offices in major cities of India such as New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad. These cover the North, South, East and West regions of India. Besides, it has a network of local branch offices in prominent Indian cities.

Structure of SEBI:

SEBI has a corporate framework comprising of various departments each managed by a department head. Some of the departments are foreign portfolio investors, communications, human resources, collective investment schemes, commodity and derivative market regulation, legal affairs department, etc.

SEBI’s hierarchical organisation structure consists of nine members:

– a chairman nominated by the Union Government of India

– two members who are officers from the Union Finance Ministry

– one member from the Reserve Bank of India

– five other members who are also nominated by the Union Government of India.

Functions of SEBI:

The Preamble of the Securities and Exchange Board of India describes the basic functions of SEBI is the protection of investors interests in securities and to be a platform to promote, develop and regulate the securities market in India as well as the relating matters that are connected with it.

The securities exchange board is permitted to approve rules and laws pertaining to the stock exchanges. It also implies that SEBI should enforce the laws for stock exchanges to follow. SEBI examines books of accounts of financial mediators and recognized stock exchanges. Another role of SEBI is to urge respective companies to list their shares in stock exchanges and manage the registration of distributors/brokers.

Authority and Power of SEBI:

The SEBI board has three main powers:

Quasi-judicial– In this, SEBI can deliver judgments related to the securities market pertaining to fraud and other unethical practices. This helps to ensure fairness, transparency, and accountability in the securities market.

Quasi-legislative– These powers allow SEBI to frame rules and regulations to protect interests if the investors. Some of its regulations consists of Insider Trading Regulations, Listing Obligation, and Disclosure Requirements etc. These have been formulated to keep malpractices at bay.

Quasi-executive– SEBI is empowered to implement its regulations and to put up a case against violators. It is also authorized to inspect books of accounts and other documents if it comes across any violation of the regulations.

Despite the powers, the results of SEBI’s functions still have to go through the Securities Appellate Tribunal and the Supreme Court of India.

Mutual Fund Regulations by SEBI:

Some of the regulations for mutual funds laid down by SEBI are:

(1) A sponsor of a mutual fund, an associate or a group company which includes the asset management company of a fund, through the schemes of the mutual fund in any form cannot hold:

  1. a) 10% or more of the shareholding and voting rights in the asset management company or any other mutual fund
  2. b) An asset management company cannot have a representation on a board of any other mutual fund

(2) A shareholder cannot hold 10% or more of the shareholding directly or indirectly in the asset management company of a mutual fund.

When Indira banked on socialism

In News:

It’s now 50 years since the Indian government nationalized the 14 biggest commercial lenders on 20 July, 1969.

News Summary:

The Indian financial sector underwent a massive shift 50 years ago, when the government nationalized the 14 biggest commercial lenders.

The official history of the Reserve Bank of India describes bank nationalization as the single-most important economic policy decision taken by any Indian government after 1947.

The banks that were nationalised included Allahabad Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra, Central Bank of India, Canara Bank, Dena Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank, UCO Bank, Union Bank and United Bank of India.

Thereafter, in 1980, six more banks that were nationalised included Punjab and Sind Bank, Vijaya Bank, Oriental Bank of India, Corporate Bank, Andhra Bank and New Bank of India.

It was an outcome of the pursuance of the socialist doctrine which advocated public ownership of the ‘commanding heights’. What started off initially as public sector enterprises in the manufacturing sector was expanded to include banks which were the facilitators of finance for growth.

  1. A) Collapse of private banks
  2. B) Bank consolidation
  3. C) Bank nationalisation process

Reasons for Nationalisation:

  1. A) Low finance growth
  2. B) Need of expanding the credit
  3. C) Regional Disparities

Positive impacts:

  1. A) Welfare measures
  2. B) Job creation
  3. C) Expansion
  4. D) Infrastructure Development
  5. E) Savings

Negative impacts:

  1. A) Political and administrative interference
  2. B) Under lending
  3. C) Reduced efficiency
  4. D) Complex rate structure
  5. E) Lost decade

F)Misguided economic philosophy

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