fbpx
To Study Daily Current Affairs, Click here. To Download Budget Highlights. Click here.

Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill, 2019

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Why in the news?

The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill, 2019 has been passed by the Parliament. The Rajya Sabha passed the Bill on July 3 after it was passed in Lok Sabha on 1st July, 2019. The Bill replaces the “The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019”.

What are the major provisions of the Bill?

  • The Bill provides for reservation of teaching positions in central educational institutions for persons belonging to: (i) Scheduled Castes, (ii) Scheduled Tribes, (iii) socially and educationally backward classes, and (iv) economically weaker sections.
  • Reservation of posts: The Bill provides for reservation of posts in direct recruitment of teachers (out of the sanctioned strength) in central educational institutions.  For the purpose of such reservation, a central educational institution will be regarded as one unit. This implies that the allocation of teaching posts for reserved categories would be done on the basis of all positions of the same level (such as assistant professor) across departments.  Note that, under previous guidelines, each department was regarded as an individual unit for the purpose of reservation.
  • Coverage and exceptions: The Bill will apply to ‘central educational institutions’ which include universities set up by Acts of Parliament, institutions deemed to be a university, institutions of national importance, and institutions receiving aid from the central government. 
  • However, it excludes certain institutions of excellence, research institutions, and institutions of national and strategic importance which have been specified in the Schedule to the Bill. It also excludes minority education institutions.  

What will be the impact of the passage of the Bill (and subsequent assent by the President)?

This decision will:

  • Allow up of more than 7000 existing vacancies in Central Educational Institutions and pave the way for filling up 3 lakh vacancies in the Government (Central and State) Educational institutions by direct recruitment in Teacher’s Cadre.
  • Ensure compliance of the Constitutional Provisions of Articles 14, 16 and 21.
  • Ensure full representation of the Scheduled Castes/ the Scheduled Tribes, the socially and Educationally Backward Classes and Economically Weaker Sections in direct recruitment in teachers’ cadres.
  • This decision is also expected to improve the teaching standards in the higher educational institutions by attracting all eligible talented candidates belonging SCs/STs/SEBCs/EWS.

 

Union Public Service Commission

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

Why in the news?

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the Civil Service Council of Mongolia here today, to take forward the cooperation between the Commissions of the two countries.
  • The MoU primarily aims to facilitate sharing and promoting best practices through bilateral exchanges.  The areas of cooperation include exchange of experience in use of Information Technology in examination processes, modern approach to public service reforms, exchange of resource persons for conducting specialised training programs, seminars or workshops in areas of mutual interest.  
  • The MoU also contains enabling provisions for such other cooperation as may be mutually decided in due course.

What is the Union Public Service Commission?

  • It is a constitutional body established under Article 315 of the Constitution to conduct examinations for appointments to the services of the Union or if requested by any two or more States so to do, to assist those States in framing and operating schemes of joint recruitment for any services for which candidates possessing special qualifications are required.

The Union Public Service Commission shall be consulted—

  • on all matters relating to methods of recruitment to civil services and for civil posts;
  • on the principles to be followed in making appointments to civil services and posts and in making promotions and transfers from one service to another and on the suitability of candidates for such appointments, promotions or transfers;
  • on all disciplinary matters affecting a person serving under the Government of India or the Government of a State in a civil capacity, including memorials or petitions relating to such matters;
  • on any claim by or in respect of a person who is serving or has served under the Government of India or the Government of a State or under the Crown in India or under the Government of an Indian State, in a civil capacity, that any costs incurred by him in defending legal proceedings instituted against him in respect of acts done or purporting to be done in the execution of his duty should be paid out of the Consolidated Fund of India, or, as the case may be, out of the Consolidated Fund of the State;
  • on any claim for the award of a pension in respect of injuries sustained by a person while serving under the Government of India or the Government of a State or under the Crown in India or under the Government of an Indian State, in a civil capacity, and any question as to the amount of any such award,

What is the composition of the UPSC?

  • The Chairman and other members of a Public Service Commission shall be appointed, in the case of the Union Commission or a Joint Commission, by the President
  • Nearly as may be one-half of the members of every Public Service Commission shall be persons who at the dates of their respective appointments have held office for at least ten years either under the Government of India or under the Government of a State,
  • A member of a Public Service Commission shall hold office for a term of six years from the date on which he enters upon his office or until he attains, in the case of the Union Commission, the age of sixty-five years
  • The Chairman or any other member of a Public Service Commission shall only be removed from his office by order of the President on the ground of misbehaviour after the Supreme Court, on reference being made to it by the President, has, on inquiry held in accordance with the procedure prescribed in that behalf under article 145, reported that the Chairman or such other member, as the case may be, ought on any such ground to be removed.
  • The President may by order remove from office the Chairman or any other member of a Public Service Commission if the Chairman or such other member, as the case may be,—
  1. is adjudged an insolvent; or
  2. engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or
  3. is, in the opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body.

 

  • The Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission shall be ineligible for further employment either under the Government of India or under the Government of a State;
  • A member other than the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission shall be eligible for appointment as the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission or as the Chairman of a State Public Service Commission, but not for any other employment either under the Government of India or under the Government of a State;

 

India- Maldives

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations

Why in the news?

  • The Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval for the MoU between India and Maldives for the establishment of passenger and cargo services by sea, which was signed on June 8, 2019 during the visit of Prime Minister of India to Maldives.With a view to harness the potential opportunity that lies in passenger and cargo transportation by sea between Kochi in India and Male and Kulhudhuffushi in Maldives, this MoU has been signed. The proposed ferry service would contribute in a big way to promote people to people contact and to boost bilateral trade.
  • The Union Cabinet has given ex-post-facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Republic of Maldives on cooperation in the field of Health signed on 08th June, 2019.The Memorandum of Understanding covers the following areas of cooperation: –
  1. Exchange  & Training  of medical doctors, officials, other   health professionals and experts;
  2. Medical and health research development;
  3. Regulation  of medicines  and medical products, and  exchange of information thereon;
  4. Communicable and Non-Communicable diseases;
  5. E-Health and Telemedicine; and
  6. Any other area of cooperation as may be mutually decided upon.

 

Minimum Support Price

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices

Why in the news?

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday announced a Minimum Support Price (MSP) of 14 Kharif crops

What is the Minimum Support Price?

  • Minimum Support Price (MSP) is a form of market intervention by the Government of India to insure agricultural producers against any sharp fall in farm prices. 
  • The minimum support prices are announced by the Government of India at the beginning of the sowing season for certain crops on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). 
  • MSP is price fixed by Government of India to protect the producer – farmers – against excessive fall in price during bumper production years. 
  • The minimum support prices are a guaranteed price for their produce from the Government. The major objectives are to support the farmers from distress sales and to procure food grains for public distribution. 
  • In case the market price for the commodity falls below the announced minimum price due to bumper production and glut in the market, government agencies purchase the entire quantity offered by the farmers at the announced minimum price.

 

What factors are considered by the CACP for calculating MSP?

In formulating the recommendations in respect of the level of minimum support prices and other non-price measures, the Commission takes into account, apart from a comprehensive view of the entire structure of the economy of a particular commodity or group of commodities, the following factors:-

  • Cost of production
  • Changes in input prices
  • Input-output price parity
  • Trends in market prices
  • Demand and supply
  • Inter-crop price parity
  • Effect on industrial cost structure
  • Effect on cost of living
  • Effect on general price level
  • International price situation
  • Parity between prices paid and prices received by the farmers.
  • Effect on issue prices and implications for subsidy

 

India’s Trade Deficit

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: growth, development and employment

Why in the news?

Trade deficit increased in 2017-18 and 2018-19 as compared to the previous years. Trade deficit depends upon relative fluctuations in the imports and exports of different commodities due to the global and domestic factors such as demand and supply in domestic and international markets, currency fluctuations, cost of credit and logistics costs.

Trade deficit = Imports – Exports

What steps have been taken to boost exports and reduce trade deficit?

  • A new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-20 was launched on 1st April 2015. The FTP 2015-20 provides a framework for increasing exports of goods and services as well as generation of employment and increasing value addition in the country, in line with the Make in India, Digital India, Skills India, Startup India and Ease of doing business initiatives. The policy, inter alia, rationalised the earlier export promotion schemes and introduced two new schemes, namely Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) for improving export of goods   and ‘Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS)’ for increasing exports of services. Duty credit scrips issued under these schemes were made fully transferable.
  • A new Logistics Division was created in the Department of Commerce to coordinate integrated development of the logistics sector.  India’s rank in World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index moved up from 54 in 2014 to 44 in 2018.
  • Various measures for improving ease of doing business were taken. India’s rank in World Bank ‘Ease of doing business’ ranking improved from 142 in 2014 to 77 in 2018 with the rank in ‘trading across borders’ moving up from 122 to 80.
  • A comprehensive “Agriculture Export Policy” was launched on 6th December, 2018 with an aim to double farmers’ income by 2022 and provide an impetus to agricultural exports.
  • A new scheme called “Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES)” was launched with effect from 1stApril 2017 to address the export infrastructure gaps in the country.
  • A new scheme called “Transport and Marketing Assistance” (TMA) scheme has been launched for mitigating disadvantage of higher cost of transportation for export of specified agricultural products.  
  • The policy includes measures to nudge procurement of capital goods from indigenous manufacturers under the EPCG scheme by reducing specific export obligation from 90 percent to 75 percent of the normal export obligation.
  • The policy provides issue of Advance Authorisation to allow duty free import of inputs, which is physically incorporated in the export product within a specified timeline.
  • The Mid-term Review of the FTP 2015-20 was undertaken on 5th December, 2017. Incentive rates for labour intensive / MSME sectors were increased by 2% with a financial implication of Rs 8,450 crore per year.
  • Niryat Bandhu Scheme has been launched for outreach/ trade awareness amongst new/potential exporters.
  • Interest Equalization Scheme on pre and post shipment rupee export credit was introduced with effect from 1.4.2015 providing interest equalisation at 3% for labour intensive / MSME sectors. The rate was increased to 5% for MSME sectors with effect from 2.11.2018 and merchant exporters were covered under the scheme with effect from 2.1.2019.
  • A new scheme called Scheme for Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (RoSCTL) covering the export of garments and made-ups was notified on 7.3.2019 providing refund of duties/taxes at higher rates.

 

Safeguarding Intellectual Property Rights

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: issues relating to intellectual property rights

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.

What are intellectual property rights?

Intellectual property rights are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. They usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.

India has laws covering various areas of intellectual property as enumerated herein below:

  • Trade Marks
  • Patents
  • Copyright and Related Rights
  • Industrial Designs
  • Geographical Indications
  • Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits
  • Plant Varieties
  • Information Technology and Cyber crimes
  • Data Protection

What steps has India taken to improve patent filing and safeguard intellectual property rights?

  • National IPR Policy for India was adopted by the Government of India on 12th May, 2016, as a vision document that lays the future roadmap of IPRs in India. The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) has been set up to coordinate the implementation of the National IPR Policy.
  • IP awareness programmes have been undertaken in academic institutions, at both school and college level, as also for industry.  
  • To streamline the processing of IP applications, IP procedures have been simplified and made user friendly by amendment to the Patents Rules in 2016 and Trademarks Rules in 2017.
  • Since 2014-15, the manpower has been augmented both in the Patent office and Trademarks registry which has resulted in major impact on pendency of IP applications.
  • Under the amended Patents Rules, 80% patent fee reduction has been provided for Startups as compared to large companies.
  • Under the Scheme for Facilitating Startups Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP), 208 Patent Agents have been empanelled as facilitators by the Controller General of Patents, Trademarks and Designs, to provide assistance to Startups in the preparation and filing of their patent applications and, subsequently, during the stage of prosecution of applications before the Patent Office. Fees of the facilitators are paid by the Government as per the norms of the scheme.
  • Startups are also eligible for getting the processing of their patent applications expedited.

 

Energy Efficiency in Indian Railways

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

What steps have been taken by the government to increase energy efficiency in the Indian Railways?

  • Use of energy efficient 3-Phase technology with regenerative features for electric locomotives, Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMUs), Electrical Multiple Units (EMUs), train sets for better energy efficiency.
  • Introduction of Head On Generation (HOG) system in trains to reduce diesel fuel consumption in power cars. 350 electric locomotives are equipped with hotel load converters.
  • Provision of energy efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting in all Railway installations including Railway stations, service buildings, Residential quarters & coaches for reduction in electricity consumption.
  • Regular energy audits at consumption points – Energy Efficiency studies of six (6) Production Units (PUs) and four (4) Workshops were conducted and upto 15% energy efficiency improvement achieved. This included activities like identification of significant energy saving opportunities, one day training program, identification of potential technology suppliers who can offer energy saving technologies to the units etc.
  • Emphasis on use of 5 Star rated electrical equipments.
  • Regular training of Loco pilots for use of coasting, regenerative braking features and switching off blowers of electric- locos in case yard detention is more than 50 minutes. Similarly, diesel locos are also shut down, if expected detention is more than 30 minutes and thereby resulting in reduction of Green House Gases (GHG) emissions.
  • Trailing locomotive of multi units (MU) hauling empty freight trains are switched off to save energy.
  • Energy consumption on electric locomotives is regularly monitored through microprocessor based energy meters provided in all the electric locomotives and benchmarking is done based on average energy consumption.
  • Monitoring the fuel consumption with respect to trip ration of diesel locomotive drivers.
  •  
  • Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) has been provided in 986 diesel locomotives to reduce fuel consumption when locomotive is idle.
  • Monitoring of idling of diesel locomotives is being done through remote monitoring and management of Locomotives and trains (called as REMMLOT). 2606 locomotives at present are equipped with REMMLOT.
  • Use of 5% bio-diesel in traction fuel- Blending of bio-diesel with HSD (High Speed Diesel), to the extent of 5%, to save HSD.
  • 20% Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) substitution in DEMUs -CNG usage emits less GHG than liquid fuels. Indian Railways have the distinction of being the only railway in the world to be using CNG run power cars for passenger transportation. IR has also started conversion of DEMU Driving Power Car (DPC) into dual fuel mode DEMU/DPC with CNG. 25 numbers of DPCs have been converted and are under operation.

 

Rathole Mining

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Why in the news?

  • Urging the need to stop rampant illegal mining in the hill districts of Meghalaya, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the northeastern State to transfer ₹100 crore from the Meghalaya Environment Protection and Restoration Fund (MEPRF) to the Central Pollution Control Board to be used for restoring an environment ravaged by miners.
  • The case was based on a 2012 incident concerning the death of 15 of 30 labourers trapped inside a rat-hole coal mine in South Garo Hills.

What is rat hole mining?

  • Rat hole mining is a term used in coal mining and is so named because of its name during colonial times, the sistema del rato, and because of the sizes of the holes. 
  • Generally done illegally, this type of mining is mainly carried out in the Northeast regions of India (mainly the state of Meghalaya), by members of the community or families. 
  • The mining is done by digging small holes into the ground, much like the holes dug by rats.
  •  Miners break the rocks with axes and other hand-held equipment and carry out the material in baskets or buckets. 
  • This form of illegal mining has significantly impacted the environment of the region and has resulted in water polluted by the waste from the mining and the death of fish and animals. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned this practice. 

 

Prelims Specific

  • Ratha Yatra is a Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri in the state of Odisha It is the oldest Ratha Yatra taking place in India and the World, whose descriptions can be found in Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, and Skanda Purana and Kapila Samhita. This annual festival is celebrated on Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya (second day in the bright fortnight of Ashadha month). The festival commemorates Jagannath’s annual visit to Gundicha Temple via Mausi Maa Temple (aunt’s home) near Balagandi Chaka, Puri. It will be held on July 4
  • Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana is a scheme of the Government of NCT of Delhi under which the government pays for the pilgrimage of citizens above 60 years of age to different places in India.
  • Baal Sabhas is an initiative of the Government of Rajasthan to hold public gatherings of stakeholders in the schools in Rajasthan to gain inputs for better functioning of schools and to raise academic standards. Now it also includes the village elders.
  • South Central Railway has commissioned India’s longest electrified tunnel measuring 6.6 km between Cherlopalli and Rapuru stations in Andhra Pradesh. It would reduce the distance between Krishnapatnam Port and hinterland areas by 60 km.