20 November 2015



Pay panel moots 23.5% hike, to cost govt. Rs 1.02 lakh cr.  –   (Economics)

  • In its report submitted to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday, the Seventh Central Pay Commission has recommended an overall increase of 23.55 per cent in pay, allowances, and pension for government employees.
  • Within this, the Commission’s report recommends a 16 per cent increase in basic pay, a 63 per cent increase in allowances and a 24 per cent hike in pension. The recommendations are to come into force on January 1, 2016.


SC banks on collegium to fill judicial vacancies  –   (Indian Polity)

  • With judicial vacancies in the High Courts mounting and transparency yet to kick in over appointments, the Supreme Court on Thursday turned to the very collegium process it wants to reform to appoint judges, at least for the time being.
  • Addressing the growing anxieties about vacancies touching 40 per cent in the High Courts, the Constitution Bench headed by Justice J.S. Khehar said judges would continue to be appointed under the prevailing collegium system, which was restored when the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) laws were struck down as “unconstitutional” by the Supreme Court.



Press Council serves notice on Assam Rifles   –    (Governance)

  • On November 16, when the country celebrated the National Press Freedom Day, three newspapers in Nagaland were published with blank editorials to protest a notification from the Assam Rifles that had the effect of muzzling press freedom.
  • The notification had warned newspapers against carrying statements made by militant outfits. The Press Council of India has served notice suo motu on the Assam Rifles and the State government.


Cybercrime hit half of India’s Net users: study  –    (Security)

  • Nearly half of India’s Internet-using population has been affected by cybercrime during the past year, with each person losing over Rs. 16,500 on an average as a result, says a report released by security services firm Norton.
  • “In the past year, 48 per cent of India’s online population, or approximately 113 million Indians, were affected by online crime … Despite the threat of cybercrime in India, it hasn’t led to widespread adoption of simple protection measures to safeguard information online, with almost one in four Indians sharing passwords as a common practice,” Ritesh Chopra, country manager (India) for Norton by Symantec, said.


First batch of enclave residents from Bangladesh arrives in West Bengal  –    (International Relation)

  • The first batch of people who have been living in erstwhile Indian enclaves in Bangladesh, who opted to come to India, arrived in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district on Thursday. Sixty-two persons belonging to 19 families were greeted by the district administration at the international border check-post at Changrabandha in the district on their arrival.
  • “We are providing all the facilities to the people. We are providing them food and have set up medical camps also,” P.Ulaganathan, the District Magistrate of Cooch Behar, told The Hindu . A brief welcome ceremony was also organised at the check-post.


India, China link Home Ministries to counter terror   –    (International Relation)

  • India and China have decided to establish a ministerial mechanism that would, for the first time, link the two home ministries, filling a vital gap in the overall institutional architecture of the bilateral ties.
  • The decision was taken following Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s talks with Guo Sheng Kun, China’s Public Security Minister, who is also the State Councillor in the Communist Party of China. Mr. Singh also called upon Prime Minister Li Keqiang, and both leaders agreed that there was a need to “upgrade” the security collaboration between New Delhi and Beijing to the next level.


Children’s deaths from pneumonia, diarrhoea bring India shame  –    (Health)

  • India has the highest number of pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths among children globally, reports the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
  • The 2015 annual report of the IVAC reads like a repeat of last year’s report card, despite the progress the country is making to accelerate immunisation.


A way to judicial independence  –    (Indian Polity)

  • By striking down the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act and the 99th Constitution (Amendment) Act as unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has, once again, focussed public attention on the process of appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.
  • Neither the Executive-appointment model, which prevailed till 1998, nor the judges-appointing-judges (Collegium) model, as practised till recently, have been found satisfactory to preserve the independence of the judiciary while promoting efficiency and accountability in the system.


Planning for the next flood  –    (Governance)

  • Cyclonic storms on Tamil Nadu’s 1,076-km coastline are not unusual, and at least once in two years there is some disaster or the other. The common thread running through every such instance is that all claims of preparedness are invariably exposed as either hollow or woefully inadequate. The focus, as well as any claim to administrative efficiency, is solely on rescue and relief operations.
  • What the government is able to demonstrate is only some good mobilising of human and material resources after the event. Rarely is there a reconsideration of the policy of civic planning, especially the tendency to place real estate and commercial interests above those of nature and ecology.


Holding power to account    –    (Governance)

  • The Right to Information (RTI) Act has completed 10 years of implementation. According to a conservative estimate based on the Information Commission’s annual reports, there are at least 50 lakh RTI applications filed in India every year.
  • The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative used the data to estimate that just under 1 per cent of the electorate uses the RTI every year. Over the last decade, at least 2 per cent of the Indian population has used the law. For a law that requires proactive initiative, those are extraordinarily high numbers.


Centre to auction eight blocks in fourth round  –    (Economics)

  • The government will auction eight coal blocks for the unregulated sector, which includes — iron, steel, cement and capacitive power plants — in the fourth round of e-auctions to be held in January, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said on Thursday.
  • Mr. Swarup said the notification inviting tender would be issued on November 20, kick starting the auction process and the last date for submission of bids will be December 31, 2015.


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