Monday, 23 July 2018

22nd & 23rd July 2018 | Daily current affairs for APSC

The Centre is considering the possibility of amending the Indian Penal Code to define ‘mob lynching’ as a penal offence.

  • If the burden of proof to prove innocence is put on the accused, then certain sections of the CrPC and the Indian Evidence Act would also require amendments
  • Another option being considered is to draft a model law that states can adopt to prevent incidents of mob lynching.
  • The government may also further strengthen the framework relating to social media to ensure that rumours which may lead to such incidents are checked.

Kerala stands as the best governed state in the country as per the Public Affairs Index 2018 released by the think tank Public Affairs Centre (PAC)

  • “Kerala has topped the Public Affairs Index (PAI) for 2018 as the best governed state for the third consecutive year since 2016 among large states,” said Bengaluru-based PAC at an event in the city this evening to release its third annual PAI.
  • Released annually since 2016, the index examines governance performance in the states through a data-based framework, ranking them on social and economic development they are able to provide.
  • Assam is 18th in the overall rankings on the PAI for 2018. Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat followed Kerala among the top five states delivering good governance, according to the report. Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar ranked the lowest on the PAI, indicating higher social and economic inequalities in the states.
  • The rankings of the states on the PAI this year are as follows: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Haryana, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Assam, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Nagaland, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, and Bihar.
  • Among smaller states (with population less than two crore), Himachal Pradesh topped the list, followed by Goa, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura which figured among the top five states with good governance. Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya were ranked at the bottom of the index among small states.
  • Founded in 1994 by renowned Indian economist and scholar late Samuel Paul, the PAC works to mobilise a demand for better governance in the country. The think tank has undertaken the study across all the Indian states considering them across 10 themes such as essential infrastructure, support to human development, social protection, women and children as well as law and order.
  • The states were divided into two categories – large and small – on the basis of their population. States with more than two crore population were considered large. A total of 30 focus subjects and 100 indicators were measured to derive the PAI, relying solely upon government data. 

The aim of ‘Act East Policy’ is to promote the country’s economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with countries in Asia-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels

  • It was originally conceived as an economic initiative, but has gained political, strategic and cultural dimensions, including establishment of institutional mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation.
  • At the ‘National Security Dialogue’ organised at the Maharaja Sayajirao University , Singh called for greater connectivity between Northeastern States and South East Asia with the aim to build ties with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries.
  • “Connectivity is the most crucial factor in furthering India’s relations with South East Asia. Therefore, it is imperative to focus on improved airways, roadways, waterways, railways and information ways in this region,” he said, adding India’s Northeastern States are active stakeholders in the country’s Act East policy.
  • “Continued development of relevant infrastructure, both within the (Northeastern) States and at international borders, is necessary with a view to enhance trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people ties,” Singh said.
  • Talking to reporters before the seminar, he called for improving air links between ASEAN and BBIN (Bangladesh- Bhutan-India-Nepal, a sub-regional grouping) countries.
  • Among the connectivity projects already envisaged is a four-lane trilateral highway linking India (Moreh in Manipur) with Mae Sot (Thailand) via Myanmar which will be expanded to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. This highway can only be sustained through movement of goods and also economic activity along the route through Myanmar.
  • For this, it is essential to focus on development and connectivity in India’s Northeastern States itself, with new roads and rail links, opening of multi-modal transport, including river navigation, and setting up industrial corridors and ‘haats’ or local markets.

The Assam Civil Services Rules, 2015

  • The proposed move would result in a wait of a minimum six years from the date of holding of the relevant post for an ACS officer to be promoted from the post of Circle Officer to that of Additional Deputy Commissioner or Deputy Secretary, a minimum wait of six years for an ADC/Deputy Secretary to become Joint Secretary and a minimum wait of seven years for a Joint Secretary to become Additional Secretary
  • “If ratified, the changes in service rules would ensure that most senior ACS officers, mainly of the 1992, 1993 and 1995 batches would not be able to rise above the level of Additional Secretary and thereby be deprived of attaining the level of Secretary at the time of retirement. 
  • The benefit of reservation of 30 Secretary-level posts for ACS officers was implemented during the tenure of the erstwhile Congress government following a cadre review undertaken by then Additional Chief Secretary Subhash Chandra Das.

Mizoram’s own polygamist Ziona, head of what is believed to be world’s largest family, celebrated his 74th birthday at Baktawng Tlangnuam village in central Mizoram’s Serchhip district on Saturday.

  • With 38 wives and over 90 children, Ziona, the head of a Christian religious sect called Chana Pawl, Ziona is the head of a family of about 200 members that include his wives, children, daughter-in-laws, and grand-children, not to mention the 2,000-strong members of his sect. Ziona, fondly called by his followers as ‘hotupa’ (leader), was born on July 21, 1944.
  • Chana Pawl traces its origins to an evangelist called Khuangtuaha, who drew the ire of the headman of his village Hmawngkawn and the then British Government in power with his interpretation of the Bible, which was different from the majority Christians. Evicted from the village, the preacher and his followers began the sect on 12 June, 1942.

Lakshya Sen today became only the third Indian shuttler to secure a gold medal at the Asia Junior Championships after defeating reigning world junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in straight games in the final at Jakarta.

  • Late Gautam Thakkar (1965) and Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu (2012) had won the prestigious title earlier. 
  • Sindhu had won a bronze as well in 2011, while Sameer Verma won a silver and bronze in 2011 and 2012 and the pair of Pranav Chopra/Prajakta Sawant bagged a bronze in 2009.

In a bid to bail it out from the nagging problem of shortfall in power supply, the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL) has signed agreements to purchase 100 MW of solar power and 120 MW of wind power. It has also signed an agreement to purchase 108 MW of hydroelectric power from the neighbouring country, Bhutan.

  • The private parties which have entered into agreements with the APDCL to supply solar power, will set up solar power plants in four regions of the State. While the first region includes the six districts of Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa, Udalguri and Darrang, the second region includes the five districts of Goalpara, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari and Kamrup, the third region includes the seven districts of Sonitpur, Nagaon, Morigaon, Karbi Anglong, Dima Hasao, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji and the fourth region includes the three districts of Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj, sources said.
  • It needs mention here that the peak load hour power demand of the State at present has been worked out to be 1,850 MW. As per the Central Electricity Authority’s (CEA’s) Electric Power Survey Forecast, the peak load hour power demand of the State for 2017-18 fiscal was 1,946 MW and for 2018-19, it was 2,222 MW.
  • In fact, the State is facing a shortfall of around 455 MW compared to what was forecast by the CEA for the current year. As, in practice, the APDCL could supply only 1,767 MW of power against the demand of 1,850 MW it has worked out, as has been revealed by the figures available with this newspaper (The Assam Tribune).

For the first time in the Northeast, Guwahati will have a 33-kV underground power cable network. The Union Government and the World Bank are providing funds on a 50:50 basis for this Rs 123-crore project, which will be executed by the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL).

  • The project started in November 2017 and is scheduled to be completed by March 2019. It is being undertaken to strengthen the existing power supply network of the city.
  • The project will have an around 130-km-long underground cable network covering the areas of Paltanbazar, Ulubari, Rehabari, Uzanbazar, part of Silpukhuri, Chandmari, Bamunimaidam, Narengi, Panbazar, Fancybazar, GS Road, Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) localities, Hengrabari and the RG Baruah Road localities.
  • To feed this network, there will be a 132-kV underground cable network to link the 132-kV substation at Kamakhya with the 132-kV substation at Paltanbazar and the 132-kV substation at Kahilipara with the 132-kV substation in GMCH area.

    Indian archers ended their campaign with a silver and bronze medal, both coming from compound section, at stage four of the Archery World Cup here today.

    • Indian women’s compound team once again failed to cross the final hurdle, this time by a heartbreaking one point, to settle for a silver medal earlier in the day.
    • Eyeing a maiden gold at the World Cup circuit, Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Muskan Kirar and Trisha Deb had a promising 59-57 lead but only to slip in the third end as the French trio snatched the lead before clinching it 229-228. 
    • Jyothi later added a bronze in the compound mixed pair event with Abhishek Verma defeating the Turkish duo of Yesim Bostan and Demir Elmaagacli 156-153.

    Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana (PMAY), an ambitious scheme for the poor and homeless families, has miserably failed to get desired results in Nalbari district so far.

    • 61 per cent houses allotted to the beneficiaries in the 2016-17 financial year remained incomplete in all the seven developmental blocks of the district.
    • During that financial year, a total of 3,161 houses were sanctioned under the PMAY scheme. Of them 99.49 per cent beneficiaries got the first instalment of Rs 32,500 for the initial works of a dream house. 
    • After 36 days of receiving the amount of first instalment, 92 per cent beneficiaries got an amount of Rs 78,000 as the second instalment as per the utilisation certificate of the first instalment. The beneficiaries got Rs 1,10,500 in total in the two instalments together. 
    • However, official sources claimed that after getting the huge amount in the second instalment, 61 per cent beneficiaries did not claim the third instalment of Rs 19,500. 

    Focus Article: Proposals made in 1965 to check influx were ignored

    • Way back in 1965, a proposal was mooted to compile a register of citizens in Assam and to issue identity cards to Indian citizens on the basis of it. But unfortunately, the proposal was not taken up. 
    • Similarly, a proposal to erect barbed wire fencing along the border with the then East Pakistan was also shelved due to various reasons.
    • According to a Government report, in 1965, the Government of India took up with the State Government to expedite compilation of Register of Citizens and to issue identity cards on the basis of this register to Indian inhabitants at least in selected areas of the State. 
    • Under this proposal for Identity cards, Indian citizens in Assam were to carry Identity cards on a voluntary basis so that citizens possessing identity cards are not embarrassed by officials checking infiltration of Pakistanis. But because of the reasons best known to the people at the helm of affairs at that time, the project was not implemented.
    • Moreover, Government of India sent another proposal to the Assam Government to clear a mile deep belt along the border with East Pakistan so that barbed wire fencing can be erected to prevent infiltration of foreigners. 
    • Government of Assam, however expressed difficulties in expeditiously clearing up the border areas since it involved shifting of 25,000 families (1,28,000 persons) along the 560 square mile belt on the Assam-East Pakistan border. In January 1965, the State Government also submitted a scheme to the Union Home Ministry for providing barbed wired fencing to cover vulnerable stretches. 
    • The Home Ministry decided that a beginning in barbed wire fencing must be made in a few key sectors but owing to shortage of barbed wire, amongst other things the project, however, could not get off the ground. Eventually, by 1966, the Central Government dropped the proposal to issue identity cards in consultation with the Government of Assam, having found the project impracticable
    • It may be mentioned here that the process of erecting barbed wire and construction of border roads along the Assam-Bangladesh border ultimately started after the signing of the Assam Accord and even after nearly 33 years of signing of the
    • Accord, the process has not been completed. Moreover, the fencing constructed at a stretch of around 76 kilometers along the international border in the first phase had to be replaced due to faulty design as in most places, the fencing was erected at a much lower height than the border roads and was damaged by floods. Moreover, the international riverine border remains vulnerable as no physical barriers could be placed and now the Government is examining the feasibility of using modern technology to improve vigil along it.


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