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26th September Current Affairs

About the Central Pollution Control Board

Why in News?

CPCB recently celebrated its 46th Foundation Day.

Details:

CPCB is a statutory organisation which was constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

It was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Important functions:

to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution.

to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.

Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan

Why in News?

Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) recently submitted a report on the performance of this program.

Aim: to meet the Right to Education Act’s mandate that all schools must have separate toilets for boys and girls.

Details:

Launched in 2014 by the then Ministry of Human Resource Development (now Ministry of Education).

Central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) were roped in to implement the program.

The programme norms require the CPSEs to build toilets with running water and hand washing facilities.

It also requires CPSEs to maintain the toilets for three to five years while charging the annual expenses to their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budgets.

Key Highlights:

Public sector units claimed to have constructed 1.4 lakh toilets in government schools as part of a Right to Education project, but almost 40% of those surveyed were found to be non-existent, partially constructed, or unused.

Over 70% did not have running water facilities in the toilets, while 75% were not being maintained hygienically.

The objective of providing separate toilets for boys and girls was not fulfilled in 27% of the schools, said the CAG.

G4 seeks time-bound reform of Security Council

Why in News?

The foreign ministers of the G4 countries held a virtual meeting coinciding with the 75th session of the UN General Assembly during which they held extensive discussion on the need for urgent reform of the UNSC.

Who are G4 Nations?

The G4 nations comprising Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan are four countries which support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.

 Basis for these demands:

Each of these four countries have figured among the elected non-permanent members of the council since the UN’s establishment.

Their economic and political influence has grown significantly in the last decades, reaching a scope comparable to the permanent members (P5).

Support:

The United Kingdom and France have backed the G4’s bid for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.

Japan has received support from the United States and the United Kingdom.

All the permanent members of P5 have supported India’s bids for permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) but China had previously implied that it is only ready to support India’s bid for a permanent seat on United Nations Security Council if India did not associate its bid with Japan.

Brazil has received backing from three of the current permanent members, namely France, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

Opposition:

There has been discontent among the present permanent members regarding the inclusion of controversial nations or countries not supported by them.

For instance, Japan’s bid is heavily opposed by China, Russia and South Korea who think that Japan still needs to make additional atonement for war crimes committed during World War II.

Under the leadership of Italy, countries that strongly oppose the G4 countries’ bids have formed the Uniting for Consensus movement, or the Coffee Club, composed mainly of regional powers that oppose the rise of some nearby country to permanent member status.

They expressed their concern over lack of any “meaningful” forward movement on long-pending reform of Council and demanded “urgency” on the issue.

What are their demands?

Permanent seats should be given in the council for these countries.

There is a clear need for an enhanced role of developing countries and of major contributors to the United Nations to make the Council more legitimate, effective and representative.

Africa needs to be represented in both the permanent and non-permanent categories to correct the historical injustice against this continent with regard to its under-representation.

Need for text-based negotiations within a fixed time frame for the UNSC reform.

Present structure of the UNSC:

At present, the UNSC comprises five permanent members and 10 non-permanent member countries which are elected for a two-year term by the General Assembly of the UN.

The five permanent members are Russia, the UK, China, France and the United States.

These countries can veto any substantive resolution.

What is a cess?

Why in News?

The Centre retained in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) more than ₹1.1 lakh crore out of the almost ₹2.75 lakh crore collected in 2018-19 through various cesses, instead of transferring the receipts to the specified Reserve Funds that Parliament had approved for such levies, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India observed in a report.

Details:

It is a form of tax levied or collected by the government for the development or welfare of a particular service or sector.

It is charged over and above direct and indirect taxes.

Cess collected for a particular purpose cannot be used for or diverted to other purposes.

It is not a permanent source of revenue for the government, and it is discontinued when the purpose levying it is fulfilled.

Examples:

Education Cess, Swachh Bharat Cess, Krishi Kalyan Cess etc.

What is the difference between tax and cess? What is cess tax?

Cess is different from taxes such as income tax, GST, and excise duty etc as it is charged over and above the existing taxes.

While all taxes go to the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI), cess may initially go to the CFI but has to be used for the purpose for which it was collected.

If the cess collected in a particular year goes unspent, it cannot be allocated for other purposes. The amount gets carried over to the next year and can only be used for the cause it was meant for.

Key Points:

₹1,24,399 crore collected as cess on crude oil over the last decade had not been transferred to the designated Reserve Fund — the Oil Industry Development Board.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Compensation Cess, which has become a bone of contention between the States and the Centre, was also ‘short-credited’ to the relevant reserve fund to the extent of ₹40,806 crore in 2018-19.