31, May 2017

1.Minesweeper deal to be inked soon

Source: The Hindu

After repeated delays and protracted negotiations, India and South Korea are set to be close to finalising the deal for 12 minesweepers for the Indian Navy. Commercial negotiations are in the final stages and should be concluded in the next two months. The technical negotiations have long been completed which also involves the Indian Navy.

Key facts:

  • The deal for 12 minesweepers or Mine Counter Measure Vessels is worth about ₹32,640 crore and the ships would be manufactured in India under Transfer of Technology.
  • The first ship is expected to be delivered three years after the contract is signed. Minesweepers are crucial to detect mines and explosives planted by the enemy targeting our ships as they enter or leave harbours.

 Minesweepers:

  • Minesweeper ships use sonar systems to detect mines planted on the seabed or mines that float at predetermined depths.
  • They are used to keep seas mine-free.
  • The Navy is presently left with four ageing minesweepers which will be retired by 2018 end. However, efforts to procure new MCMVs have been repeatedly delayed.

2.Important Decision of NCST

Source: PIB

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has asked the Department of Personnel and Training to constitute a committee having minimum of two members from ST community to investigate any matter requiring penalty on employees belonging to Scheduled Tribes community.

  • As per the recommendations of the commission if ST officers are not available in the Department or Ministry then ST officers from other Departments may be included in the committee.
  • The commission has also asked the Department of Personnel and Training to issue instructions to all Departments and Ministries so that they take necessary action on the recommendations of NCST. If the Department face any problem than before approaching the High Court they should take permission of the concerned Ministry.

NCST:

  • NCST was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely- (i) the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), and (ii) the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST).
  • The term of office of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and each member is three years from the date of assumption of charge. The Chairperson has been given the rank of Union Cabinet Minister and the Vice-Chairperson that of a Minister of State and other Members have the ranks of a Secretary to the Government of India.
  • NCST is empowered to investigate and monitor matters relating to safeguards provided for STs under the Constitution or under other laws or under Govt. order. The Commission is also authorized to inquire into specific complaints relating to rights and safeguards of STs and to participate and advise in the Planning Process relating to socio-economic development of STs and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and States.
  • The commission submits its report to the President annually on the working of safeguards and measures required for effective implementation of Programmers/ Schemes relating to welfare and socio-economic development of STs.

3.International Comparison Programme (ICP)

Source: PIB

India is participating in the current phase of International Comparison Programme (ICP) with reference to 2017.

International Comparison Programme

  • The ICP is a worldwide statistical initiative led by the World Bank under the auspices of the United Nations Statistical Commission, with the main objective of providing comparable price and volume measures of gross domestic product (GDP) and its expenditure aggregates among countries within and across regions. Through a partnership with international, regional, sub-regional and national agencies, the ICP collects and compares price data and GDP expenditures to estimate and publish purchasing power parities (PPPs) of the world’s economies.
  • In India, Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MOSPI) will take up the price collection work in rural and urban areas shortly all over the country.

PPPs

  • PPPs measure the total amount of goods and services that a single unit of a country’s currency can buy in another country.
  • The PPP between countries A and B measures the number of units of country A’s currency required to purchase a basket of goods or services in country A as compared to one unit of country B’s currency to purchase a similar basket of goods in country B. PPPs can thus be used to convert the cost of a basket of goods and service into a common currency while eliminating price level differences across countries. In other words, PPPs equalize the purchasing power of currencies. Due to large differences in price levels across economies, market exchange rate- converted GDP does not accurately measure the relative sizes of economies and the levels of material well-being. PPPs make it possible to compare the output of economies and the welfare of their inhabitants in ‘real’ terms, thus controlling for price level differences across countries.

Uses of PPPs:

  • Sustainable Development Goals and Millennium Development Goals (United Nations).
  • Human Development Index (United Nations Development Programme).
  • Poverty rates at international poverty line, size of the economy, and price levels in the World Development Indicators (World Bank).
  • Country group aggregates and growth rates in the World Economic Outlook and country quota formula (International Monetary Fund).
  • Allocation of the European structural and investment funds (European Union).

Darwaza Band for open defecation

The centre has launched an aggressive new campaign titled ‘Darwaza Band’ to promote toilet use and freedom from open defecation across the country’s villages.

 



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