12 & 13 ,November 2017

Urdu was declared second official language in Telangana. It was announced by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao in the state Assembly.
Constitutional provision of Official Language Article 345 of the Constitution deals with Official language or languages of a state which empowers state legislature to adopt ‘any one or more of the languages in use in the State or Hindi as the language or languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes’ of the concerned State.

Haryana became India’s first state to treat Hepatitis-C patients of all categories through oral medicine. This is for first time state government has included oral medicine in government hospitals. This oral medicine will be provided free of cost for permanent residents of all categories at the district level.

Hepatitis:

Hepatitis is a medical condition in which there occurs inflammation of liver cells and its complications vary with type of infection. There are 5 types of hepatitis viz. A, B, C, D and E. Each type is caused by a different hepatitis virus. It is mostly caused by a group of viruses called hepatitis viruses and also be caused by intoxicants like drugs, alcohol, chemicals and other infections and autoimmune diseases. The disease mostly spreads through infection and blades used by barbers were also responsible for this.

Former French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay (45) was appointed as Director General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). She replaces outgoing DG Irina Bokova. She is the 11th Director-General of UNESCO and the second woman to occupy this position. She is also first Jewish Director of UNESCO.

1.Can an FIR be filed against a sitting judge?
Source: IE

Can the police or any investigating agency file a first information report (FIR) against a sitting High Court or a Supreme Court judge and even the Chief Justice of India?

Veeraswami case

  • A majority judgment delivered by a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, in this case, answers the above question
  • The majority held that no criminal case shall be registered under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code (an FIR) against a judge of the High Court, Chief Justice of the High Court or a judge of the Supreme Court unless the government first “consults” the Chief Justice of India
  • The justification given was that the CJI’s assent was imperative as he was a “participatory functionary” in the appointment of judges
  • The majority in the Constitution Bench classifies a judge as a “public servant”
  • The Veeraswami case specifically dealt with the Prevention of Corruption Act in judiciary, but the majority judgment had extended its ambit to “any criminal case”

How important is CJIs opinion?

Due regard must be given by the government to the opinion expressed by the Chief Justice.If the Chief Justice is of opinion that it is not a fit case for proceeding under the Act, the case shall not be registered

If the CJI allows the FIR to be registered, the government shall, for the second time, consult him on the question of granting sanction for prosecution

Consultation with the CJI while registering a criminal case against a judge, whether of the High Court or the Supreme Court, has been made mandatory to protect the independence of judiciary

What if CJI himself is the accused?

The verdict held that if the Chief Justice of India himself is the person against whom the allegations of criminal misconduct are received, the government shall consult any other judge or judges of the Supreme Court

Procedure for other judicial officers:

  • The Supreme Court has also laid down guidelines for the arrest of a judicial officer of the subordinate judiciary
  • This has been done by the Delhi Judicial Service Association versus State of Gujarat judgment of the Supreme Court
  • The court held that a judicial officer “should be arrested for any offense under intimation to the District Judge or the High Court”
  • The immediate arrest shall only be a “technical or formal arrest”, after which it should be immediately communicated to the District and Sessions Judge of the district concerned and the Chief Justice of the High Court
  • The arrested judicial officer shall not be taken to a police station without the prior orders of the District Judge and no statements shall be recorded from him or her except in the presence of a counsel
  • He or she will not be handcuffed

Exemptions provided to Judges:

  • Section 3 of the Judges (Protection) Act of 1985 protects judges and former judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts from “any civil or criminal proceedings” for any act, thing or word committed, done or spoken by him in the course of their judicial duty or function
  • No court shall entertain such complaints
  • Section 77 of the Indian Penal Code exempts judges from criminal proceedings for something said or done during judicial duties

Option available to government

The government can initiate criminal proceedings against a sitting or former judge of a superior court under subsection (2) of Section 3 of Judges (Protection) Act, 1985.This can be done if it can produce material evidence to show that a judgment was passed after taking a bribe

2.ASEAN Summit: Eye on China as India joins quadrilateral with US, Australia & Japan
Source: IE

With an eye on China’s activities in the region, the first meeting of Indian officials in Manila with those from the US, Australia, and Japan described as the “quadrilateral” was held a day before the ASEAN summits begin in the Philippines

The meeting was chaired by Japan

The last such meeting took place in 2007, after which Australia had quit such a dialogue mechanism

Key Issues discussed in the meeting:

  • Key issues of common interest in the “Indo-Pacific region” were discussed, with an eye on China and the aim of reaching a common ground on a “free and open” Indo-Pacific with an apparent reference to freedom of navigation on the South China Sea
  • The common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region were also discussed.
  • The clandestine links between North Korea and Pakistan in the development of their nuclear programmes were also highlighted.

Indian Statement

  • According to the Indian statement, discussions focused on cooperation based on converging vision and values for the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region that they share with each other and with other partners.
  • The Indian side highlighted India’s Act East Policy as the cornerstone of its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, placing focus on the role of ASEAN and Southeast Asia.

Japanese Statement

  • Japan’s foreign ministry said they discussed measures to ensure a free and open international order based on the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific
  • Also proliferation threats, including North Korea’s nuclear and missile issues, against which maximized pressure needs to be applied, ensuring freedom of navigation and maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, and countering terrorism were also discussed

Australian Statement

  • Australia shared the vision for increased prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific region and to work together to ensure it remains free and open.
  • This includes upholding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and respect for international law, freedom of navigation and overflight; increase connectivity; coordinate on efforts to address the challenges of countering terrorism and upholding maritime security in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Officials agreed to work together to address threats to international peace and security posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programmes.
  • The participants are committed to continuing quadrilateral discussions and deepening cooperation on the basis of shared values and principles.

3.More capital will push PSBs to up MSME credit: Arun Jaitley
Source: The Hindu

Amid declining credit to micro and small enterprises, the finance minister said more capital for public sector banks will prompt them to increase credit flow to MSMEs

This will ensure that “third engine” of private investment is fired up to propel growth and create jobs

While there has been a significant increase in public investment and FDI inflows, but the private investment a key growth engine has continued to lag

Why increase Credit flow to MSMEs?

This is because the sector creating jobs and giving the boost to the economy has no access to international finance or bond market.Last year’s Demonetisation decision has especially affected the MSMEs

Steps Taken by the Government:

  • Last month, the government had unveiled a mega capital infusion worth Rs 2.11-lakh crore two-year roadmap to strengthen PSBs, which includes recapitalization bonds, budgetary support, and equity dilution
  • The government has decided to put in more capital through bonds and banks’ equity expansion and therefore, it is the country which is virtually going to pay to keep the banking system in good health
  • The government also ensured noninterference in commercial transactions
  • A robust public sector banking system is desired so that ability to support growth itself increases

The Statistics:

  • Latest data from the Reserve Bank of India shows that credit to micro and small industry contracted at 3.4 percent in the financial year so far while for medium sector industry the credit contraction was at the rate of 5.7 percent
  • Non-performing assets of PSBs have increased to Rs 7.33 lakh croreas of June 2017, from Rs 2.78 lakh crore in March 2015
  • In the last three-and-a-half years, the government pumped in more than Rs 51,000 crore capital in PSU banks.

4.All-women SHGs can avail funds at 7% interest: RBI
Source: IE

RBI has issued revised guidelines on interest subvention scheme under DAY NRLM, as received from the Ministry of Rural Development for implementation by 21 public sector banks and 19 private banks. All women SHGs will be eligible for interest subvention on credit upto Rs 3 lakh at 7 per cent per annum.

Interest subvention scheme:

  • The Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India is operating a scheme namely ‘Interest Subvention Scheme under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural
    Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM)’. The funding for the scheme will be met out of Central Allocation under DAY- NRLM.
  • This scheme is limited to Women Self Help Groups in
    rural areas only and 21 Public Sector Banks and 19 Private Sector Banks are implementing the scheme. For the year 2017-18, Canara bank has been nominated as the Nodal bank by MoRD which will operationalize the scheme through a web based platform, as advised by MoRD.
  • Besides commercial banks RRBs and Co-operative banks have been implementing the scheme regulated by NABARD.

Objective

Mission aims at creating efficient and effective institutional platforms of the rural poor, enabling them to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improved access to financial services.

Eligibility

  • All women SHGs in rural areas will be eligible for interest subvention on credit upto Rs 3 lakhs at 7% per annum.
  • The women SHGs already availed capital subsidy under SGSY in their existing credit outstanding will not be eligible for benet under this scheme.
  • CBS enabled banks can only participate in the scheme.
  • Additional interest subvention of 3%for prompt payment
  • The SHGs are provided with an additional 3% subvention on the prompt repayment of loans/cash credit accounts.
  • The account is considered as an account as an account having prompt payment if they satisfy following repayment criterion specified by RBI.
  • In case of Cash Credit Limit, the outstanding balance shall not have remained in excess of the limit/drawing power continuously for more than 30 days and there shall be regular credit and debits in the accounts.
  • In any case there shall be at least one customer induced credit during a month and such customer induced credit must be sufficient to cover the interest debited during the month.
  • A term loan account where all of the interest payments and/or instalments of principal were paid within 30 days of the due date during the tenure of the loan would be considered as an account having prompt payment.

Role of the State Governments:

All women SHGs from rural areas, are regarded as SHGs under DAY-NRLM and will be eligible for interest subvention on credit upto Rs 3 lakhs at the rate of 7% per annum on prompt repayment.

This scheme will be implemented by the State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLMs). SRLMs will provide interest subvention and the funding for this subvention will be met out of the Central Allocation and State Contribution as per the norms of Government of India.

For the purpose of the Interest Subvention, an account will be considered as prompt payee if it satisfies the following criterion as specified by RBI.

Meaning of Self-Help Group (SHG):

It is a village-based financial intermediary committee usually composed of 10–20 local women or men. A mixed group is generally not preferred. Most self-help groups are located in India, though SHGs can be found in other countries, especially in South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Members also make small regular savings contributions over a few months until there is enough money in the group to begin lending. Funds may then be lent back to the members or to others in the village for any purpose. In India, many SHGs are ‘linked’ to banks for the delivery of micro-credit.it is a group which help every needy.

Need of Self-Help Group (SHG):

The very existence of SHGs is highly relevant to make the people of below poverty line hopeful and self-reliant. SHGs enable them to Increase their income, improve their standard of living and status in society. It acts as a catalyst for bringing this section of society to the main stream.

Ultimately, the nation reaps the advantages of socialism.

The Government of India and various state Governments have been implementing various programmes for rural upliftment

Objectives of SHG:

  • To inculcate the savings and banking habits among members.
  • To secure them from financial, technical and moral strengths.
  • To enable availing of loan for productive purposes.
  • To gain economic prosperity through loan/credit.
  • To gain from collective wisdom in organising and managing their own finance and distributing the benefits among themselves.
  • To sensitize women of target area for the need of SHG and its relevance in their empowerment.
  • To create group feeling among women.
  • To enhance the confidence and capabilities of women.
  • To develop collective decision making among women.
  • To encourage habit of saving among women and facilitate the accumulation of their own capital resource base.
  • To motivate women taking up social responsibilities particularly related to women development.
  • It acts as the forum for members to provide space and support to each other.

Advantages of financing through SHGs:

  • An economically poor individual gains strength as part of a group.
  • Besides, financing through SHGs reduces transaction costs for both lenders and borrowers.
  • While lenders have to handle only a single SHG account instead of a large number of small-sized individual accounts, borrowers as part of an SHG cut down expenses on travel (to and from the branch and other places) for completing paper work and on the loss of workdays in canvassing for loans.
  • Where successful, SHGs have significantly empowered poor people, especially women, in rural areas.
  • SHGs have helped immensely in reducing the influence of informal lenders in rural areas.
  • Many big corporate houses are also promoting SHGs at many places in India.
  • SHGs help borrowers overcome the problem of lack of collateral.


5.Government to launch BharatNet phase 2 project today
Source: IE

The government has proposed a subsidy of Rs 3,600 crore to private telecom such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio through viability gap funding, for setting up Wi-Fi in rural areas as part of the second phase of the BharatNet project.

Target:

Under the project, the government aims to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats through 10 lakh kilometres of additional optical fibre and give bandwidth to telecom players at nearly 75% cheaper price for broadband and wifi services in rural areas.

Highlights:

Rs4.5 lakh crore value can be added to the national gross domestic product on completion of BharatNet phase 2 as a study has suggested that every 10% usage of Internet in India drives up GDP by 3.3%.

The government estimates that the second phase of BharatNet will double the existing optical fibre footprint in the country and generate employment of 10 crore during the rollout of the project.

Broadband services rates, Sundararajan said, are expected to be low because of intensive competition in the sector and the government is offering bandwidth under the project to telecom operators at 75% lower rate than they currently buy it.

The government will provide support of Rs3,600 crore to telecom operators for rolling out wifi in villages. “India at present has 38,000 wifi hotspots. Under BharatNet phase 2, around 6-7 lakh wifi hotspots will be added with 2-5 hotpsots in each panchayats.

BharatNet Vision:

BharatNet is a project of national importance, a highly scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis, to provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on demand capacity to all institutions, to realise the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector.

The entire project is being funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was set up for improving telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country.

The objective is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to the rural India.

National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN):

It is an ambitious initiative to trigger a broadband revolution in rural areas. NOFN was envisaged as an information super-highway through the creation of a robust middle-mile infrastructure for reaching broadband connectivity to Gram Panchayats.

The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) aims to connect all the 2,50,000 Gram panchayats in the country and provide 100 Mbps connectivity to all gram panchayats (GPs). To achieve this, the existing fibres of PSUs (BSNL, Railtel and Power Grid) were utilised and incremental fibre was laid to connect to Gram Panchayats wherever necessary.

 



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