Today’s News Updates – 11.January 2018

National Youth Festival

National Youth Festival is being celebrated on 12th January, that is, on the occasion of birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, the youth icon of India.

About the National Youth Festival:

What is it? National Youth Festival (NYF) is the biggest Youth Festival of its kind in the Country. The Festival is organised by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports in collaboration with State Govt. of Uttar Pradesh at Gautam Buddha University.

Objective: The objective of organizing NYF is to provide a platform to bring the youth of the country together in an attempt to provide them opportunity to showcase their talents in various activities.

Theme: The Theme of the Festival is ‘Sankalp Se Siddhi’, to capitalize on the demographic dividend of young India, to capture the vibrancy and fresh perspective of youth and to pledge to accomplish the Goal of New India.

Significance of the festival: The Festival also provides an arena, by creating a Mini-India, where youth interact in formal and informal settings and exchange their social and cultural uniqueness. This blend of diverse socio-cultural milieu creates ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’. The entire programme is designed to enhance the awareness about government initiatives and exhorting the youth to express their perceptions and concepts of how to make their initiatives more effective.

Facts for Prelims:

This is the 22nd National Youth Festival. The 1st National Youth Festival was held in 1995 in Bhopal.
This is the first time that the National Youth Festival is being organized in NCR.

Source:pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=175517


National Trust

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to amend Section 4(1) and Section 5(1) of the National Trust for the Welfare of Person with Autism, Cerebral Plasy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999 to fix the term of the Chairperson and Members of the Board of National Trust for three years. The proposed amendments are aimed at eliminating any chance of prolonged continuation in the same post by any incumbent.

What necessitated this move?

Section 4(1) of the National Trust Act, 1999 provides that the Chairperson or a Member of the Board of National Trust would continue in office beyond the prescribed term of three years until his successor shall have been duly appointed. In case of resignation of the Chairperson, section 5(1) of the Act provides for him to continue in office until his successor is duly appointed by the Government. The wording of the above provisions of the Act in its present form has resulted in continuation of a Chairman for an indefinite period as no suitable successor could be found eligible for appointment.

About National Trust:

What is it? The National Trust is a Statutory Body under Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. The National Trust was envisaged with a core mission of providing opportunities for capacity development of Persons with Disabilities and their families, fulfilling their rights, facilitating and promoting the creation of an enabling environment and an inclusive society.

Functions: The National Trust has been set up to discharge two basic duties – legal and welfare. Legal duties are discharged through Local Level Committee (LLC) set up at district level under the chairmanship of the District Collector / District Magistrate and providing legal guardianship. Welfare duty is discharged through the schemes and activities. The schemes and activities of the National Trust inter-alia include training, awareness and capacity building programmes and shelter, care giving and empowerment.

The Board shall consist of:

A Chairperson to be appointed by the Central Government from amongst the persons having expertise and experience in the field of autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disability.
Nine persons to be appointed in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed from amongst the registered organisations out of which three members each shall be from voluntary organisations, associations of parents of persons with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disability and from associations of persons with disability, members; Provided that initial appointment under this clause/shall be made by the Central Government by nomination.
Eight persons not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India nominated by the Government to represent the Ministries or Departments of Social Justice and Empowerment, Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare, Finance, Labour, Education, Urban Affairs and Employment and Rural Employment and Poverty Alleviation, Members, ex officio.
Three Persons to be nominated by the Board representing the associations of trade, commerce and industry engaged in philanthropic activities, members.
The Chief Executive Officer, who, shall be of the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India, Member-Secretary, ex officio.


Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval to continuation of Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) till the term of the 14th Finance Commission i.e. 31.03.2020.

About MPLAD scheme:

What is it? It was launched in December, 1993, to provide a mechanism for the Members of Parliament to recommend works of developmental nature for creation of durable community assets and for provision of basic facilities including community infrastructure, based on locally felt needs.

Works under the scheme: Works, developmental in nature, based on locally felt needs and always available for the use of the public at large, are eligible under the scheme. Preference under the scheme is given to works relating to national priorities, such as provision of drinking water, public health, education, sanitation, roads, etc.

Funds: Funds are released in the form of grants in-aid directly to the district authorities. The funds released under the scheme are non-lapsablee. The liability of funds not released in a particular year is carried forward to the subsequent years, subject to eligibility.

Execution of works: The MPs have a recommendatory role under the scheme. They recommend their choice of works to the concerned district authorities who implement these works by following the established procedures of the concerned state government. The district authority is empowered to examine the eligibility of works sanction funds and select the implementing agencies, prioritise works, supervise overall execution, and monitor the scheme at the ground level.

Recommendation of works: The Lok Sabha Members can recommend works in their respective constituencies. The elected members of the Rajya Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the state from which they are elected. Nominated members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha may select works for implementation anywhere in the country.


 

FDI policy further liberalized in key sectors

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to a number of amendments in the FDI Policy. These are intended to liberalise and simplify the FDI policy so as to provide ease of doing business in the country. In turn, it will lead to larger FDI inflows contributing to growth of investment, income and employment.

Changes include:

100% FDI under automatic route for Single Brand Retail Trading.
100% FDI under automatic route in Construction Development.
Foreign airlines allowed to invest up to 49% under approval route in Air India.
FIIs/FPIs allowed to invest in Power Exchanges through primary market.
Definition of ‘medical devices’ amended in the FDI Policy.


Background:

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a major driver of economic growth and a source of non-debt finance for the economic development of the country. Government has put in place an investor friendly policy on FDI, under which FDI up to 100%, is permitted on the automatic route in most sectors/ activities. In the recent past, the Government has brought FDI policy reforms in a number of sectors viz. Defence, Construction Development, Insurance, Pension, Other Financial Services, Asset reconstruction Companies, Broadcasting, Civil Aviation, Pharmaceuticals, Trading etc. Measures undertaken by the Government have resulted in increased FDI inflows in to the country.


Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) index

The Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) index, a perception-based index of mobility of goods and efficiency of logistics chain, has been released.

LEADS Index:

What is it? The Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) index is a composite indicator to assess international trade logistics across states and Union territories. It is based on a stakeholders’ survey conducted by Deloitte for the ministry of commerce and industry. LEADS is loosely based on the World Bank’s biannual Logistics Performance Index (LPI), on which India was ranked 35 among 160 countries in 2016, up from 54 in 2014.

Parameters: LEADS is based on eight parameters such as infrastructure, services, timeliness, track and trace, competitiveness of pricing, safety of cargo, operating environment and regulatory process.

Performance of states:

While Gujarat topped the first-of-its-kind index, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh took the second and third positions, respectively.

Challenges:

The study found that supply chain efficiencies and economies of scale are yet to be unlocked, mostly due to suboptimal investment in building scale in infrastructure, automation, human capital and technology. It also highlighted problems such as inadequate terminal capacity, poor last-mile terminal connectivity and issues in regulatory services provided by government agencies, among others. It also underlined issues specific to certain states.

Push by the government:

In a major push to developing an integrated logistics framework in the country, including industrial parks, cold chains and warehousing facilities, the government in November granted infrastructure status to the logistics sector, enabling the industry to access cheaper finances. The government also created the position of a special secretary in the commerce ministry to exclusively handle logistics.

What needs to be done?

The report has identified focus areas where action can help improve. Regulation through cumbersome rules, rigid slabs for rail cargo, poor customs facilities and frequent stoppages have been flagged as challenges. Similarly, it has suggested that digitisation and last mile connectivity, specially road links to ports and airports, or inadequate capacity at ports in addtion to lack of grievance mechanism, need to be addressed.


UIDAI introduces 2-tier security to shield Aadhaar data

In the wake of reports of an alleged breach of the Aadhaar database published in a newspaper last week, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has rolled out a new two-tier security process that will come into effect from June 1.

About the new security process:

The UIDAI has introduced the concept of a virtual ID which an Aadhaar holder can use in lieu of his/her Aadhaar number at the time of authentication, besides sharing of ‘limited KYC’ with certain agencies.

What is VID? A Virtual ID (VID) will be a temporary 16-digit random number mapped with the Aadhaar number. There can only be one active and valid VID for an Aadhaar number at any given time and it will not be possible to derive the Aadhaar number from VID. The VID authentication will be similar to using Aadhaar numbers. However, since a VID is temporary, agencies will not be able to use it for de-duplication. Only the Aadhaar holder will be able to generate a VID and no other entity, including authentication user agencies (AUAs), can do it on their behalf.

Limited KYC: To address the issue of storage of Aadhaar number within various databases, the UIDAI has brought in the concept of limited KYC. It has categorised its AUAs into Global AUAs and Local AUAs wherein the latter will get access to only need based or limited KYC details. AUAs, which by law are required to use Aadhaar number in their KYCs, will be categorised as Global AUAs and have access to Full e-KYC and the ability to store Aadhaar numbers within their system.

UID Token: Once storage of Aadhaar number is restricted and since VID is temporary, agencies need a mechanism to uniquely identify their customers within their system. For this, a 72 character alphanumeric ‘UID Token’ will be generated for “system use”. UID token allows an agency to ensure uniqueness of its beneficiaries, customers etc. without having to store Aadhaar number in their databases.


International Dharma-Dhamma Conference:

Context: 4th International Dharma-Dhamma Conference on “State and Social Order in Dharma-Dhamma Traditions” was recently inaugurated at Rajgir in Nalanda district. The event is being organised as part of the commemorative events to celebrate the Silver Jubilee year of ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership.

Organizers: Nalanda University, in collaboration with the Centre for Study of Religion and Society, India Foundation, Ministry of External Affairs and the Vietnam Buddhist University, is organising the conference.

Significance of the conference: The central theme of the conference is the ideal state and just social order based on dharmic principles. Through this conference it is aimed to facilitate crosspollination of ideas and foster harmony at the global level. In the present era of globalization it is all the more needed to integrate the world through the common bond of Dharma-Dhamma which provides strong thread of interconnectedness. Thus, the conference seeks to explore the shared values of the dharmic traditions, which may provide the guiding light to the troubled world today.

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