04, April 2017

1.African Development Bank to hold 52nd annual meet in Gujarat

Source: PIB

India is hosting 52nd annual meeting of the African Development Bank in Ahmedabad.

African Development Bank Group:

  • The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is a multilateral development finance institution established to contribute to the economic development and social progress of African countries.
  • The AfDB was founded in 1964 and comprises three entities: The African Development Bank, the African Development Fund and the Nigeria Trust Fund.
  • The AfDB’s mission is to fight poverty and improve living conditions on the continent through promoting the investment of public and private capital in projects and programs that are likely to contribute to the economic and social development of the region.
  • Governing: The AfDB is controlled by a Board of Executive Directors, made up of representatives of its member countries.
  • Voting: The voting power on the Board is split according to the size of each member’s share, currently 60%-40% between African (or “regional”) countries and “non-regional” member countries (“donors”). The largest African Development Bank shareholder is Nigeria with nearly 9% of the vote.
  • Representation: All member countries of the AfDB are represented on the AfDB Board of Executive Directors. Member governments are officially represented at the AfDB by their Minister of Finance, Planning or Cooperation who sits on the AfDB Board of Governors. The AfDB Governors meet once a year to take major decisions about the institution’s leadership, strategic directions and governing bodies.
  • Unit of account: The African Development Bank is using a Unit of Account which is registered as XUA as ISO 4217 standard currency code. It is not exchanged directly by individuals, it is used for accounting between state members.

 India and the African Development Bank:

India joined the African Development Bank in 1982. The country is a key member of the institutions 24 Non-Regional Member Countries, which support the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional resource window of the Bank. In 2013, Delhi increased its contribution to the 13th replenishment of the fund by 57.28% to USD 18.5 million, among other investments.

2.Defence Ministry nod to buy Barak missiles

Source: The Hindu

The government has approved procurement of a fresh batch of Barak missiles for Naval warships to enhance India’s maritime capability in view of the changing security dynamics in the Indian Ocean region.

  • The approval in this regard was given by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) of the Defence Ministry.
  • Navy warships: Israeli-built Barak short-range SAMs are installed on most of the front-line warships, including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.
  • Barak missiles are short range surface-to-air missiles.
  • The missiles will be procured under ‘Buy Global’ category from Rafael Advance Defense Systems Limited of Israel at an approximate cost of around Rs 500 crore.
  • Almost all ships of the navy will be equipped with these missiles.

Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)

  • The DAC, set up in 2001 as part of the post-Kargil reforms in defence sector, approves the long-term integrated perspective plan for the forces, accords acceptance of necessity (AON) to begin acquisition proposals, and has to grant its approval to all major deals through all their important phases.
  • It also has the power to approve any deviations in an acquisition, and recommends all big purchases for approval of the Cabinet committee on security.

3.Govt. seeks opinion on changes in RTI Act

Source: The Hindu

The Centre has sought public opinion on proposed amendments to the Right to Information Act, with respect to the powers of the Central Information Commission (CIC), filing of applications, complaints and appeals.

Amendment proposes:

  • The suggestions have to be submitted to the Department of Personnel and Training by April 15. An amendment proposes that an applicant can file complaints within 135 days of filing the application under the Act, and in case of delay a request for condonation will also have to be filed. There is another provision empowering the CIC to convert a complaint into a second appeal.
  • Thus, as proposed, it can order the disclosure of information on a complaint. The Commission can also allow an amendment to the complaint during the hearing, if other remedies have been exhausted.

Power to decide

Also, as suggested, the CIC has been given the power to decide if an appeal or a complaint can be withdrawn on the applicant’s request. However, once the issue has been decided, the withdrawal will not be allowed.

Right to Information:

  • Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information.
  • It is an initiative taken by Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions to provide a– RTI Portal Gateway to the citizens for quick search of information on the details of first Appellate Authorities,PIOs  amongst others, besides access to RTI related information / disclosures published on the web by various Public Authorities under the government of India as well as the State Governments.
  • Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen may request information from a “public authority” (a body of Government or “instrumentality of State”) which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days.
  • The Act also requires every public authority to computerise their records for wide dissemination and to proactively certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.
  • The Act covers the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir, where J&K Right to Information Act is in force.
  • Private bodies are not within the Act’s ambit directly. In a decision of Sarbajit Roy versus Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, the Central Information Commission affirmed that privatised public utility companies continue to be within the RTI Act.

4.No. of beneficiaries under Ujjwala Yojana crosses 2 cr mark

Source: The Hindu

The number of beneficiaries of PM Ujjwala Yojana for providing LPG connections to BPL households has crossed 2 crore mark in less than a year.

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:

  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana – Scheme for Providing Free LPG connections to Women from BPL Households. Under the scheme, Rs 8000 crore has been earmarked for providing five crore LPG connections to BPL households
  • Under the scheme, an adult woman member of a below poverty line family identified through the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) is given a deposit-free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.
  • Eligible households will be identified in consultation with state governments and Union territories.
  • The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

5.Global initiative launched to fight fake news

Source: The Hindu

A global alliance of tech industry and academic organisations has unveiled plans to work together to combat the spread of “fake news” and improve public understanding of journalism.

The News Integrity Initiative will launch with $14 million from Facebook, the Ford Foundation, Mozilla and others, based at the City University of New York’s journalism school, which will coordinate research, projects and events.

Key facts:

  • The initiative’s mission is “to advance news literacy, to increase trust in journalism around the world and to better inform the public conversation.”
  • The founding funders include Facebook and the Craigslist founder Craig Newmark’s philanthropic fund along with the Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Tow Foundation, AppNexus, Mozilla and Betaworks.
  • Helping the public understand the difference between fraudulent news and serious journalism will constitute an important element of the effort.

 Background:

Facebook and Google have already taken steps to cut off advertising revenues to news sites promoting misinformation.

  • Fake news became a serious issue in the U.S. election campaign, when clearly fraudulent stories circulated on social media, potentially swaying some voters.
  • Concerns have been raised since then about hoaxes and misinformation affecting elections in Europe, with investigations showing how “click farms” generate revenue from online advertising using made-up news stories.

In Europe and Asia

  • Denmark’s Constructive Institute at Aarhus University is also taking part, along with the European Journalism Centre in the Netherlands, the Colombia-based Fundacion Gabriel Garcia Marquez para el Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano, the Hamburg Media School and Hans-Bredow-Institut in Germany, the Polis media department at the London School of Economics, France’s Sciences Po university, the Hong Kong-based Society of Publishers in Asia, the Walkley Foundation in Australia, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and UNESCO.
  • In February, a group of 37 French and international media outlets, supported by Google, began “CrossCheck” a fact-checking platform aimed at detecting fake information that could affect the French presidential election.


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