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2nd January Current Affairs

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

In News:

Skill India undertakes Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for workers under Department of Panchayati Raj in Chandauli and Varanasi.

Details:

The programme is being implemented under SANKALP Programme of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).

The implementing agency for the programme is National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

Significance:

About 70% of our country’s population resides in rural India and hence the inclusion of gram panchayats is crucial for the success of District Skill Development Plans and will provide a huge fillip to the Skill India Mission.

Through RPL, the aim is to align the competencies of the pre-existing workforce of the country to the standardized framework.

Certification builds confidence, brings respect and provides recognition to the candidates, it has the potential to make skills aspirational.

Supporting formalization of the informal learning of youth will supplement their efforts in finding sustainable livelihood opportunities and reduce inequalities based on privileging certain forms of knowledge over others.

What is RPL?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme recognizes the value of learning acquired outside a formal setting and provides a government certificate for an individual’s skills.

Candidates receive exposure to concepts of digital and financial literacy and an accidental insurance coverage for three years at free of cost.

No fee is charged from a candidate for participating in the RPL program and every successfully certified candidate will receive INR 500.

This initiative is part of a larger programme on ‘Skill Development Planning at the level of ‘Gram Panchayat’ that focuses on introducing Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in a structured manner in GPs of various districts across the country.

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)

In News:

Canada’s PSP, US’ DFC, Axis Bank invest $107 million in NIIF’s master fund.

After the new commitment from the three investors, the overall size of the ‘master fund’ has touched USD 2.34 billion.

About NIIF:

The government had set up the ₹40,000 crore NIIF in 2015 as an investment vehicle for funding commercially viable greenfield, brownfield and stalled infrastructure projects.

NIIF’s mandate includes investing in areas such as energy, transportation, housing, water, waste management and other infrastructure-related sectors in India.

NIIF currently manages three funds each with its distinctive investment mandate. The funds are registered as Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

NIIF Investors:

The NIIF signed the first investment deal of worth USD 1 billion with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) in October 2017. The ADIA became the first-ever international investor in the NIIF’s master fund.

The Indian Government holds a 49% share in the NIIF. Domestic investors such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Life are the other notable investors in the NIIF.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in June 2018 announced to invest USD 200 million.

The three funds are:

Master Fund: Is an infrastructure fund with the objective of primarily investing in operating assets in the core infrastructure sectors such as roads, ports, airports, power etc.

Fund of Funds: Managed by fund managers who have good track records in infrastructure and associated sectors in India. Some of the sectors of focus include Green Infrastructure, Mid-Income & Affordable Housing, Infrastructure services and allied sectors.

Strategic Investment Fund: Is registered as an Alternative Investment Fund II under SEBI in India. The objective is to invest largely in equity and equity-linked instruments. It will focus on green field and brown field investments in the core infrastructure sectors.

CBI Brings Out Updated Crime Manual After 15 Years

In News:

The agency had set up a task force under Additional Director Praveen Sinha to make necessary changes in the crime manual, a set of guidelines for the investigating officer to follow while probing a case, which was last changed in 2005.

Details:

The changes were proposed after factoring in the changing crime landscape, evidence collection, international treaties, emergence of new avenues to track criminals among others.

What is CBI’s crime manual?

It lays down the standard operating procedures for the agency to implement in matters pertaining to special investigations, economic offences and cyber crimes. The crime manual dictates the working of the investigative agency and lays down procedures on how the agency is expected and supposed to act in its investigations.

New chapters and changes introduced:

Changes in the standard operating procedures — especially to probe digital crimes in the cyber world and those across national boundaries.

Quickening the pace of investigation: Cases at the heads-of-branches level will now have to be completed within six months while those supervised at the senior level of heads of zones will have to be completed within nine months from the earlier deadlines of around one year.

A new chapter on procedures to be followed while conducting investigations abroad and coordinating and operating with Interpol.

A chapter on investigations in the digital world and cyber crime.

A new standard operating procedure for handling digital evidence has been introduced in the chapter.

Significance and implications of the new manual:

The new manual aims to break the silos while handling larger and complex cases by focussing more on team approach in the agency to achieve better results.

The revised manual takes into account the latest laws, Supreme Court judgements and their interpretations which are condensed into manual form, making it easy for the investigating officer to easily refer to and follow them.

About CBI:

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the premier investigating agency of India.

Operating under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, the CBI is headed by the Director.

CBI, India’s first agency to investigate corruption, the Special Police Establishment, was set up in 1941, six years before independence from British rule to probe bribery and corruption in the country during World War II.

In 1946, it was brought under the Home Department and its remit was expanded to investigate corruption in central and state governments under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.

The DSPE acquired its popular current name, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), through a Home Ministry resolution in 1963.

HC orders ‘composite floor test’ in BTC

In News:

The Gauhati High Court has ordered a “composite floor test” in Assam’s autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) on or before December 26.

Details:

The BTC falls under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and the governor is its constitutional head.

What’s the issue?

Election to the 40 member council had resulted in fractured mandate with Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) emerging single largest party with 17 seats.

However, BJP and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) supported by Gana Shakti Party (GSP) formed the government of council.

Following this, a petition was filed in the court.

What are Autonomous District Councils?

As per the Sixth Schedule, the four states viz. Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram contain the Tribal Areas which are technically different from the Scheduled Areas.

Though these areas fall within the executive authority of the state, provision has been made for the creation of the District Councils and regional councils for the exercise of the certain legislative and judicial powers.

Each district is an autonomous district and Governor can modify / divide the boundaries of the said Tribal areas by notification.