26, October 2017

1.CVC to develop Integrity Index of 25 Organizations – Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions

Source: PIB

In line with the broader strategy and emphasis on preventive vigilance, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) believes that the next level of systemic change can be through the tool of Integrity Index.

  • The CVC has therefore decided to go in for development of the Integrity Index-based on bench-marking of internal processes and controls within an organisation as well as management of relationships and expectations of outside stakeholders.
  • The Integrity Index will bring out annual scores/rankings of Public Sector Undertakings/Public Sector Banks and Financial Institutions/Departments/Ministries of Government of India by linking the essential drivers of vigilance with long term efficiency, profitability and sustainability of public organizations and create an internal and external ecosystem that promotes working with Integrity in public organizations.

The main objectives for which the Integrity Index is to be established are:

  • Define what constitutes Integrity of Public Organizations
  • Identify the different factors of Integrity and their inter-linkages
  • Create an objective and reliable tool that can measure the performance of organizations along these above factors
  • Validate the findings over a period of time to improve upon the robustness of the tool that measures Integrity
  • Create an internal and external ecosystem that promotes working with Integrity where public organizations lead the way.

2.International Conference on Consumer Protection for East, South and South-East Asian Countries with the theme of “Empowering Consumers in New Markets”

Source: PIB

International conference on Consumer Protection- Theme: “Empowering Consumers in New Markets”

Key facts:

  • The United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP) were adopted by United Nations General Assembly on 16 April 1985 and revised in December 22nd 2015.
  • The new guidelines call for greater International cooperation.
  • Against this backdrop, the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) are organizing an International Conference on Consumer Protection for South, South East and East Asian Nations on the theme “Empowering Consumers in New Markets”.
  • This is the first time an international conference on consumer protection is being organised by India for countries of the region which account for a majority of the global consumers and share common challenges and experiences. 22 countries from East, South and South-East Asia are participating in the international conference.
  • The Conference will have six working sessions on the subjects of the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection and Implementation, Stakeholder Participation in Consumer Protection, Protection of Online Consumers, Stakeholders participation, Fostering Consumer Inclusion in Financial Services, Protection of vulnerable Groups of Consumers and Consumer empowerment through education.

Way ahead:

  • The Conference will provide a platform to discuss and deliberate upon different aspects of consumer protection in the backdrop of revised UNGCP, aimed at shared learning and will explore a way forward for enhanced regional cooperation on the subject.

United Nations guidelines for consumer protection- UNCTAD

  • The United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP) are “a valuable set of principles for setting out the main characteristics of effective consumer protection legislation, enforcement institutions and redress systems and for assisting interested Member States in formulating and enforcing domestic and regional laws, rules and regulations that are suitable to their own economic and social and environmental circumstances, as well as promoting international enforcement cooperation among Member States and encouraging the sharing of experiences in consumer protection

Guidelines for consumer protection have the following objectives:

  • To assist countries in achieving or maintaining adequate protection for their population as consumers;
  • To facilitate production and distribution patterns responsive to the needs and desires of consumers;
  • To encourage high levels of ethical conduct for those engaged in the production and distribution of goods and services to consumers;
  • To assist countries in curbing abusive business practices by all enterprises at the national and international levels which adversely affect consumers;
  • To facilitate the development of independent consumer groups;
  • To further international cooperation in the field of consumer protection;
  • To encourage the development of market conditions which provide consumers with greater choice at lower prices;
  • To promote sustainable consumption

3.$300 Million Loan to Promote Further Fiscal Reforms in West Bengal

Source: The Hindu

The first ADB policy-based loan of $400 million was sanctioned in 2012 for the first West Bengal Development Finance Program. It aimed to create the fiscal space necessary to sustain higher public investment in the state. The state government achieved full compliance on all policy actions under the first program, received several awards for e-governance in tax administration.

Key facts:

  • Focused on augmenting public investment, the Second West Bengal Development Finance Program will support private investments more directly by creating an infrastructure facility to support project preparation, development, and appraisal, with emphasis on public-private partnerships in health and education.
  • It also seeks to simplify the registration and licensing procedure for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.
  • It will carry forward reforms such as linking medium term expenditure plans to actual budgets, supported by strengthening internal audit system, and enhancements in the integrated financial management system (IFMS).
  • The program include improved tax monitoring and continued support for information technology systems in strengthening tax and land administration.

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK:

  • Conceived in the 1960s, the ADB was established to foster economic growth and cooperation across Asia and the Pacific. In 5 decades, ADB has mobilized more than $250 billion in infrastructure, research, and knowledge sharing, thus creating opportunities and prosperity, which contributed to the region’s historic global rise.
  • Asian Development Bank/Headquarters: Mandaluyong, Philippines

4.First Jurassic-Era ‘Fish Lizard’ Fossil Found In India

Source: The Hindu

A near-complete Jurassic-era fossil of an intriguing animal that looks like a mashup of a dolphin and lizard, and lived during the twilight of the dinosaurs, has been unearthed in Kutch, Gujarat.

  • Ichthyosaurs, or ‘fish- lizards’ in Greek, were large reptiles that lived at the same time as dinosaurs. While many ichthyosaur fossils have been found in North America and Europe, the fossil record in the Southern Hemisphere has mostly been limited to South America and Australia.
  • The 5.5 metre-long skeleton is thought to belong to the Ophthalmosauridae family, which likely lived between 165 and 90 million years ago, when the arid Kutch was a sea. The remains were found among fossils of ammonites and squid-like belemnites, and the way the creature’s teeth were worn out suggest it ate animals with thick, bony coverings, the team of scientists report in the October 25 edition of PLOS ONE .



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