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November 25, 2020
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November 27, 2020
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26th November Current Affairs

Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ)

In News:

Indian diplomat Vidisha Maitra elected to U.N. ACABQ.

About ACABQ:

Advisory Committee is an expert Committee of sixteen Members elected by the General Assembly for a period of three years, on the basis of a broad geographical representation.

Members serve in a personal capacity and not as representatives of Member States.

The Committee holds three sessions a year with total meeting time between nine and ten months per year.

The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Committee are elected by the Members of the Advisory Committee.

Functions:

To examine and report on the budget submitted by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly.

To advise the General Assembly concerning any administrative and budgetary matters referred to it.

Examines, on behalf of the General Assembly, the administrative budgets of the specialised agencies and proposals for financial arrangements with such agencies.

To consider and report to the General Assembly on the auditors’ reports on the accounts of the United Nations and of the specialised agencies.

Haryana to reserve 75% private jobs

In News:

The Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, 2020 has been passed paving way for more employment opportunities for locals in private sector.

Key provisions of the Bill:

Sectors to be covered: All the companies, societies, trusts, limited liability partnership firms, partnership firms and any person employing 10 or more persons and an entity, as may be notified by the government from time to time.

Exclusion: It shall not include the central government or state government or any organisation owned by the central or state government.

Posts covered: Posts where the gross monthly salary or wages are not more than Rs. 50,000 or as notified by the government from time to time.

Exemption: The employer may claim exemption where adequate number of local candidates of a desired skill, qualification or proficiency are not available.

The employer may be penalised with fine upto Rs. 5 Lakh for not following provisions of this Act.

Concerns expressed by experts:

Haryana’s Bill may be in violation of Article 16. But, Haryana government claims that while Article 16 talks about the “public employment”, the Bill only pertains to “private sector employment”.

Besides, it may not be in the interest of industry.

There are apprehensions that if Haryana implements this kind of a reservation, other states will also follow the same and that shall result in a “complete chaos”.

Previously, Andhra Pradesh’s decision of introducing 75% reservation for local candidates was challenged in the Andhra Pradesh High Court which observed that “it may be unconstitutional”.

New UN alliance to stave off ‘catastrophic food crisis’

In News:

Taking cognisance of the catastrophic food crisis caused by Covid 19 Pandemic and the urgency to tackle it, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has launched a Food Coalition.

About the Alliance:

Proposed by Italy and led by Food and Agriculture Organization, the alliance aims to increase resilience of agricultural food systems and ensure global food access.

Italy and the Netherlands have already pledged and delivered financial resources and technical support to the coalition.

The alliance would work as a network of networks and a multi-stakeholder coalition for a unified global action to ensure food access and increase the resilience of agricultural food systems in response to COVID-19.

The alliance involves a devoted trust fund and a web-based hub allowing participants to access a basket of project-focused information and data, as well as the funding and types of assistance needed for many on-the-ground projects.

Key Objectives of the alliance:

  • Mobilising resources, expertise and innovation
  • Advocating for a joint and coordinated COVID-19 response.
  • Promoting dialogue and exchange of knowledge and expertise among countries.
  • Working towards solution-oriented plans and programmes.
  • Expanding international cooperation and partnership for a longer term impact.

Why do we need such United efforts?

Global food prices continued to rise in October for the fifth successive month, according to the FAO Food Price Index also released November 5. Even though the forecast for global cereal production was low, the output for 2020 was still expected to reach an all-time high.

COVID-19 could add up to 132 million more people to the ranks of the world’s undernourished in 2020 — a grave challenge that the pandemic poses to the eradication of hunger by 2030.

Fifteenth Finance Commission

In News:

The Fifteenth Finance Commission led by Chairman N K Singh, submitted its Report to the President of India.

Details:

The Report will be available in the public domain once it is tabled in the Parliament by the Union Government.

Background:

The Finance Commission was required to submit two reports. The first report, consisting of recommendations for the financial year 2020-21, was tabled in Parliament.

Terms of reference (ToR):

The Commission was asked to give its recommendations on many unique and wide-ranging issues in its terms of reference.

Apart from the vertical and horizontal tax devolution, local government grants, disaster management grant, the Commission was also asked to examine and recommend performance incentives for States in many areas like power sector, adoption of DBT, solid waste management etc.

The Commission was also asked to examine whether a separate mechanism for funding of defence and internal security ought to be set up and if so how such a mechanism could be operationalised.

What is the Finance Commission?

The Finance Commission is a constitutionally mandated body that is at the centre of fiscal federalism.

Set up under Article 280 of the Constitution, its core responsibility is to evaluate the state of finances of the Union and State Governments, recommend the sharing of taxes between them, lay down the principles determining the distribution of these taxes among States.

CCI to probe Google’s ‘abuse’ of position

In News:

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered a detailed probe against Google for ‘abuse’ of its dominant position, primarily with regard to its digital payments application GPay.

What’s the case against Google?

Multiple instances of abuse of dominant position including pre-installation of GPay on Android OS smartphones and use of Google Play’s in-app billing as the method of payment by developers.

What next?

CCI is of the prima facie view that the opposite parties have contravened various provisions of Section 4 of the Act. These aspects warrant a detailed investigation.

Section 4 of the Competition Act pertains to abuse of dominant market position.

Competition Commission of India:

It is a statutory body of the Government of India, responsible for enforcing the Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an adverse effect on competition.

Functions of the commission:

It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.

The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.