POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission)

POSHAN Abhiyaan under Innovation component envisages undertaking activities to be implemented intended to improve the service delivery system, capacity building of frontline functionaries and community engagement for better nutritional outcomes. The successful pilots may be taken up later-on for scaling up in similar contextual specificities on a broader platform.

An Executive Committee has been set up under the Chairpersonship of Secretary, Ministry of Women & Child Development to provide policy support and guidance to States/ UTs under POSHAN Abhiyaan from time to time. A National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges has also been set up under the Chairpersonship of Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog for policy direction, review, effective coordination and convergence between Ministries which have a sectoral responsibility for the challenge of nutrition.

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16th International Energy Forum (IEF)

The IEF Ministerial meetings are informal dialogues, at both the political and technical levels, aimed to improve policy and investment decisions, and through increased knowledge and experience sharing.

The meeting was held under the theme: “The Future of Global Energy Security – Transition, Technology, Trade and Investment”

The biennial IEF Ministerial Meetings are the world’s largest gathering of Energy Ministers who engage in a dialogue on global energy issues.

The International Energy Forum (IEF) is an inter-governmental arrangement set up in 1991.  It is based in Riyadh.

It serves as a neutral facilitator of informal, open, informed and continuing global energy dialogue among its members comprising of energy producing and energy consuming states, including transit countries.

There are 72 member countries of IEF, including India, covering all six continents, which are signatories to the Charter of the IEF. Its membership accounts for 90% of global supply and demand for oil and gas.

The Executive Board (EB) set up in 2002 comprising of 31 designated representatives of Ministers of the member states comprise the governing board of IEF.

It meets twice a year.

International Energy Agency (IEA) and Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are non-voting members of the Executive Board.

The EB is chaired by the Host State of the next biennial Ministerial Meeting. Currently, India is the Chair of the Executive Board of IEF.

 

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India 3rd most Vulnerable Country to Cyber Threats

India emerged as the third most vulnerable country in terms of risk of cyber threats, such as malware, spam and ransomware, in 2017, moving up one place over the previous year, according to a report by security solutions provider Symantec.

In 2017, 5.09% of global threats detected were in India, slightly less than 5.11% in 2016. The U.S. (26.61%) was most vulnerable to such attacks, followed by China (10.95%), according to ‘Internet Security Threat Report’.

The global threat ranking is based on eight metrics — malware, spam, phishing, bots, network attacks, web attacks, ransomware and crypto miners.

As per the report, India continues to be second most impacted by spam and bots, third most impacted by network attacks, and fourth most impacted by ransomware.

The report also pointed out that with the threat landscape becoming more diverse, attackers are working harder to discover new avenues of attack and cover their tracks while doing so.

This coin mining gold rush resulted in an 8,500% increase in detections of coin miners on endpoint computers during the final quarter of 2017.”

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UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) Session

India has voiced opposition to the “weaponization” of outer space, saying it should not become an area of conflict while calling for collective efforts to strengthen safety and security of the space-based assets. India voiced its concerns in the recently held UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) session.

About UNDC:

The United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) is a deliberative body and a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly which is mandated to consider and make recommendations on various disarmament-related issues and to follow up the relevant decisions and recommendations of the special sessions devoted to disarmament held so far.

The Disarmament Commission was re-established at the first Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament in 1978 to succeed an earlier Disarmament Commission, which ceased to convene after 1965.

Since 1978, the Disarmament Commission has dealt with numerous disarmament-related questions, both nuclear and conventional, and has submitted guidelines and principles on various subject items, including guidelines for appropriate types of confidence-building measures, guidelines and recommendations for regional approaches to disarmament within the context of global security, and guidelines and recommendations for objective information on military matters.

At a time of growing mistrust and rising international tensions as well as numerous challenges to both the disarmament agenda and the disarmament machinery, the role of the UNDC as a platform for dialogue and cooperation assumes a greater significance.

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Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018 for better protection and promotion of human rights in the country.

Salient Features:

  1. It proposes to include “National Commission for Protection of Child Rights” as deemed Member of the Commission;
  2. It proposes to add a woman Member in the composition of the Commission;
  3. It proposes to enlarge the scope of eligibility and scope of selection of Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission as well as the State Human Rights Commission; and
  4. It proposes to incorporate a mechanism to look after the cases of human rights violation in the Union Territories.
  5. It proposes to amend the term of office of Chairperson and Members of National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commission to make it in consonance with the terms of Chairperson and Members of other Commissions.

The Amendment will strengthen the Human Rights Institutions of India further for the effective discharge of their mandates, roles and responsibilities. Moreover, the amended Act will be in perfect sync with the agreed global standards and benchmarks towards ensuring the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual in the country.

The amendment to the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 will make National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) more compliant with the Paris Principle concerning its autonomy, independence, pluralism and wide-ranging functions in order to effectively protect and promote human rights.

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Competition Commission of India

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for rightsizing the Competition Commission of India (CCI) from One Chairperson and Six Members (totalling seven) to One Chairperson and Three Members (totalling four) by not filling the existing vacancies of two Members and one more additional vacancy, which is expected in September, 2018 when one of the present incumbents will complete his term.

Benefits:

The proposal is expected to result in the reduction of three Posts of Members of the Commission in pursuance of the Government’s objective of “Minimum Government – Maximum Governance”.

As part of the Government’s objective of easing the mergers and amalgamation process in the country, the Ministry had revised de minimis levels in 2017, which have been made applicable for all forms of combinations and the methodology for computing assets and turnover of the target involved in such combinations, has been spelt out. This has led to reduction in the notices that enterprises are mandated to submit to the Commission, while entering into combinations, thereby reducing the load on the Commission.

The faster turnaround in hearings is expected to result in speedier approvals, thereby stimulating the business processes of corporates and resulting in greater employment opportunities in the country.

The proposal is expected to result in the reduction of three Posts of Members of the Commission in pursuance of the Government’s objective of “Minimum Government – Maximum Governance”.

Background:

Section 8(1) of the Competition Act, 2002 (the Act) provides that the Commission shall consist of a Chairperson and not less than two and not more than six Members. Presently, the Chairperson and four Members are in position.

An initial limit of one Chairperson and not more than ten Members was provided in the Act, keeping in view the requirement of creating a Principal Bench, other Additional Bench or Mergers Bench, comprising at least two Members each, in places as notified by the Central Government. In the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007 (39 of 2007), Section 22 of the Act was amended removing the provision for the creation of Benches. In the same Amendment Act, while the Competition Appellate Tribunal comprising one Chairperson and two Members was created, the size of the Commission itself was not commensurately reduced and was kept at one Chairperson and not less than two but not more than six Members.

The Commission has been functioning as a collegium right from its inception. In several major jurisdictions such as in Japan, USA and U.K. Competition Authorities are of a similar size.

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SEBI eases Algo Trade Rules

In a bid to relax algorithm trading norms at commodity derivatives exchanges, markets regulator Sebi raised the limit to process up to 100 orders per second by a user for such trade from the existing limit of 20 orders per second.

The decision has been taken after receiving representations from exchanges along with views of Sebi’s subcommittee — Commodity Derivatives Advisory Committee.

The markets regulator asked exchanges to ensure that the limit it provides is subject to its ability to handle the load.

Besides, the regulator has decided to do away with the requirement of empanelment of system auditors by the exchanges for system audit of algorithmic trading.

Algorithmic trading or algo in market parlance refers to orders generated at a super-fast speed by use of advanced mathematical models that involve automated execution of the trade, and it is mostly used by large institutional investors.

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EC Backs One Seat, One Candidate Policy

The Supreme Court asked the Centre to respond to an affidavit filed by the Election Commission (EC) of India to amend the law to prevent candidates contesting from multiple constituencies.

The Supreme Court had in December 2017 issued notices seeking replies from the Election Commission and the Centre on the issue. At the time, the Supreme Court had said the practice of one candidate contesting multiple seats was a drain on the exchequer since it necessitated by-polls.

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging Section 33(7) of the Representation of the People Act of 1951 that allows a person to contest elections to Parliament and state assemblies from two constituencies and sought an end to the practice.

Political parties across the country field senior leaders from more than one seat in a bid to ensure victory. If they win from multiple seats, these leaders are then required to vacate other seats and continue to hold only one. This means a general election is usually followed closely by a by-election to the seats that have been vacated.

Section 33(7) of the Representation of People’s Act permits a candidate to contest any election (Parliamentary, State Assembly, Biennial Council, or by-elections) from up to two constituencies. The provision was introduced in 1996 prior to which there was no bar on the number of constituencies from which a candidate could contest.

One person, one vote & one candidate, one constituency is the dictum of democracy. However, as per the law, as it stands today, a person can contest the election for the same office from two constituencies simultaneously. When a candidate contests from two seats, it is imperative that he has to vacate one of the two seats if he wins both. This, apart from the consequent unavoidable financial burden on the public exchequer, government manpower and other resources for holding bye-election is also an injustice to the voters of the constituency which the candidate is quitting from.

The ECI has alternatively suggested that if existing provisions are retained then the candidate contesting from two seats should bear the cost of the bye-election to the seat that the contestant decides to vacate in the event of his/her winning both seats. The amount in such an event could be Rs 5 lakh for assembly election and Rs 10 lakh for parliament election.

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NIRF Rankings

Science and Engineering education institutions dominated the national rankings released by the HRD Ministry on Tuesday, with Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, topping the list, followed by Madras and Bombay IITs. The third edition of the National Institute Ranking Framework saw marginal changes in the top-10 institutions in the overall ranking and engineering, management, college and university categories.

While IIT-Madras was adjudged the best Engineering College, IIM-Ahmedabad was the top-ranked Management Institution. IISc topped the university category, Miranda House, Delhi, the college category, and AIIMS-Delhi the best medical institution.

NLSIU-Bengaluru was declared the best law school and IIT-Kharagpur took the top position in architecture.

All institutions are assessed on parameters of teaching, learning and resources, research and professional practices, graduation outcomes, outreach and inclusivity, and perception.

In overall category, besides IISc, IIT Madras and IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi occupied the fourth rank, followed by IIT Kharagpur and JNU. Barring Anna University, Chennai, which broke into the club, and IIT Guwahati that dropped out, others in the overall top-10 list are the same.

In Engineering, all seven old IITs occupied the top seven spots. The Indian Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai gained four positions from last year (rank 14) to enter the top-10.

Medicine was introduced as a new category this year. While AIIMS-Delhi emerged top, PGIMER-Chandigarh stood second and Christian Medical College third, followed by Kasturba Medical College in Tamil Nadu and KGMU, Lucknow.

Among colleges, St Stephen’s College (Delhi) was adjudged second, Bishop Heber College in Tamil Nadu stood third, Hindu College (Delhi) fourth, and Presidency College, Chennai, emerged fifth.

Institutions of Eminence scheme:

  • The institutes of eminence scheme under the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry aims to project Indian institutes to global recognition.
  • The 20 selected institutes will enjoy complete academic and administrative autonomy.
  • The government will run 10 of these and they will receive special funding.
  • The selection shall be made through challenge method mode by the Empowered Expert Committee constituted for the purpose.
  • Only higher education institutions currently placed in the top 500 of global rankings or top 50 of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) are eligible to apply for the eminence tag.
  • The private Institutions of Eminence can also come up as greenfield ventures provided the sponsoring organisation submits a convincing perspective plan for 15 years.
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‘Adopt a Heritage’ Project

Infrastructure conglomerate GMR and tobacco company ITC Ltd are currently bidding to adopt the Taj Mahal under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project. The iconic tomb in Agra was not initially on the list of monuments to be adopted under the Adopt a Heritage scheme, because of its importance. However, it was added to the list in February and a seven-member Oversight and Vision Committee will now decide whom to hand over the bid to.

Adopt a Heritage  Project:

On the occasion of “World Tourism Day” which is celebrated on September 27 annually, the government of India has launched “Adopt a Heritage” project.

The project plans to entrust heritage sites/monuments and other tourist sites to private sector companies, public sector companies and individuals for the development of tourist amenities. They would become ‘Monument Mitras’ and adopt the sites. The basic and advanced amenities of the tourist destinations would be provided by them. They would also look after the operations and the maintenance of the amenities.

Adopt a Heritage /Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan Project is a unique endeavour of Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which envisages developing monuments, heritage and tourist sites across India and making them tourist friendly to enhance their tourism potential and cultural importance, in a planned and phased manner.

The project primarily focuses on development and maintenance of world-class tourist infrastructure and amenities which includes basic civic amenities and advanced amenities like Cleanliness, Public Conveniences, Ease of access, secure environment, illumination and night viewing facilities for an overall inclusive tourist experience that will result in more footfall from both domestic and foreign tourists.

Monument Mitras

Successful bidders selected for adopting heritage sites/monuments by the Oversight and Vision Committee shall be called as Monument Mitras. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed between Monument Mitra, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Archaeological Survey of India and the concerned stakeholder from the state.

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