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9th April Current Affairs

CAG’s audit of UIDAI

(GS-II: Important Statutory Bodies)

In News:

CAG has presented its performance audit of Aadhaar’s regulator, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). It was carried out over a four-year period between FY2015 and FY2019.

CAG’s audit portrays an unsatisfactory picture of the systems and processes in UIDAI.

Issues highlighted by the Report:

Issue of duplicate Aadhaar.

Lack of oversight of subcontractors: Many failed to get their operations audited annually.

UIDAI neither has granular data nor is it able to pinpoint the cause of failure.

No Documents for Proof of Residency: UIDAI has not prescribed any specific proof/document or process for confirming whether an applicant has resided in India for the specified period.

Faulty Enrolment Process: UIDAI appeared to have charged people for biometric updates when poor quality data was fed in during enrolment. UIDAI did not take responsibility for poor quality biometrics.

Bal Aadhar: The audit was also critical of UIDAI’s move to issue Aadhaar cards to children and newborns without biometrics under an initiative known as Bal Aadhaar. This needs to be reviewed because anyway after 5 years, a child has to apply for new regular Aadhar.

Issues related to data security.

Recommendations:

Prescribe a Procedure for Self Declaration.

Tighten the Service Level Agreement (SLA) parameters of Biometric Service Providers (BSPs).

Explore Alternate Ways to Capture Uniqueness of Biometric Identity for Minor.

Proactive Steps to Identify and Fill the Missing Documents.

Frame a Suitable Data Archival Policy.

How does UIDAI operate?

UIDAI operates Aadhar through a layer of subcontractors. So, when an applicant’s biometrics are uploaded to the Central Identities Data Repository, it may be executed by the third layer of subcontractors. A similar system is in place when a financial intermediary seeks to authenticate the identity of a potential customer by using the Aadhar database.

About UIDAI:

The UIDAI is a statutory authority established on 12th July 2016.

Parent body: Works under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Initially, the UIDAI was set up by the Government of India in January 2009, as an attached office under the aegis of the Planning Commission.

Mandate: The UIDAI is mandated to assign a 12-digit unique identification (UID) number (Aadhaar) to all the residents of India.

Total: As of 31st October 2021, UIDAI had issued 131.68 crore Aadhaar numbers.

Positive indigenisation list

(GS-II: Government policies and issues arising out of their implementation)

In News:

Recently, the Ministry of Defence has released the third positive indigenisation list of 101 items, comprising major equipment/platforms.

Details:

The ‘First Negative Indigenisation’ List comprising 101 items was notified in August 2020.

The Second Indigenisation list was notified in June 2021 import list for 108 items.

The Third List includes:

Hghly complex Systems, Sensors, Weapons and Ammunitions like Light Weight Tanks, Mounted Arty Gun Systems, Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessels (NGOPV) etc.

What is the positive indigenisation list?

Introduced in August 2020, the negative list essentially means that the Armed Forces—Army, Navy and Air Force—will only procure such items from domestic manufacturers.

The manufacturers could be private sector players or Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).

Why was this policy needed? What will be the impact?

As per Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India has been the second largest importer between 2014 and 2019 with US$ 16.75 billion worth of imports during this period.

The government wants to reduce the dependence on imported items in defence and give a shot in the arm to the domestic defence manufacturing industry.

By denying the possibility of importing the items on the negative list, the domestic industry is given the opportunity to step up and manufacture them for the needs of the forces.

2nd list:

The Defence Ministry notified the second negative import list, in May 2021, of 108 items that can now be only purchased from indigenous sources. The new list takes the total number on the list to 209.

The list comprises complex systems, sensors, simulator, weapons and ammunitions like helicopters, next generation corvettes, Air Borne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) systems, tank engines.

Significance and implications of this move:

Recognises the potential of local defence industry.

Invigorate impetus to domestic Research and Development by attracting fresh investment into technology and manufacturing capabilities.

Provides an excellent opportunity for ‘start-ups’ as also Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Lingaraj Temple

(GS-I: Art and Architecture)

In News:

The Central government has told the Odisha government that its ordinance to bring the 11thcentury Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar and its associated temples under a special law is outside the legislative competence of the state legislature.

About Lingaraj Temple:

Lingaraj temple is the largest temple in Bhubaneswar.

Constructed by King Jajati Keshari in the 10th Century and completed by King Lalatendu Keshari in the 11thcentury.

The temple is built in the Deula style.

The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, marks the culmination of the temple architecture in Bhubaneswar which was the cradle of the Kalinga School of Temple Architecture.

Overview of the Lingaraj Temple Ordinance of 2020:

The ordinance covers 12 centrally protected monuments including the Lingaraj temple and three tanks.

The ordinance has a provision for retail shops for sale of commodities inside or outside of the temples.

The managing committee will oversee the lease or sale of movable or immovable property attached with the Lingaraj temple.

It has Provisions for Repair and construction of new buildings.

What’s the issue now?

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has said several provisions of the proposed ordinance were in conflict with the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958.

Firstly, it was outside the legislative competence of the state legislature as it violates the provisions of AMASR Act. Under AMASR Act, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is responsible for the conservation and preservation of these 12 centrally protected monuments.

As per AMASR Act a monument should not be used for any other purposes not consistent with its character. Allowing retail shops to be constructed under the ordinance violates this provision.

As per the AMASR Act, new constructions are not allowed in prohibited areas (100 metre zone from protected monument).

Mission Vatsalya

(GS-II: Welfare schemes for the vulnerable sections of the society)

In News:

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has sent its draft guidelines for Mission Vatsalya Scheme to States and Union Territories to seek their suggestions.

Details:

Mission Vatsalya is one of the new triad of schemes along with Mission Shakti, and Poshan 2.0, that aims at securing a healthy and happy childhood for every child.

It focuses on Child Protection Services and child welfare services.

It is essentially a renamed version of the pre-existing scheme called Child Protection Services.

Objectives of the Mission:

  • To secure a healthy and happy childhood for every child in India.
  • To foster a sensitive, supportive and synchronized ecosystem for the development of children.
  • To assist States/UTs in delivering the mandate of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015.
  • To achieve the SDG goals.

Components:

It will include statutory bodies; service delivery structures; institutional care/services; non-institutional community-based care; emergency outreach services (through Childline or the national helpline 1098 for children); training and capacity building.

Implementation:

Under the mission, the Government plans to partner with the private sector as well as volunteer groups for its scheme for the protection of vulnerable children such as those abandoned or missing.

For this, a Vatsalya portal will be developed that will allow volunteers to register so that State and District Authorities can engage them in executing various schemes.