Today’s News Updates – 22 January 2018

Government names nine new smart cities

Government has named nine new smart cities. The number of cities picked under the project now stands at 99.

The nine cities chosen in the fourth round are -Bareilly, Moradabad and Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, Erode in Tamil Nadu, Bihar Sharif in Bihar, Silvasa in Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Diu in Daman and Diu, Kavarati in Lakshadweep and Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh. Silvasa topped the list of winners in this round.

About Smart City mission-

Under the scheme that was launched in 2014, around 100 cities in the country will be developed.

Selection of cities: The selection is based on the scores cities get for carrying out urban reforms in areas including sanitation and governance. Cities that score the highest will be picked for the project, to be implemented over a 10-year period.

Development: These cities will be developed to have basic infrastructure through assured water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation. Bottom-up approach has been the key planning principle under Smart City Mission.

Funding: Under the scheme, each city will get Rs 500 crore from the Centre for implementing various projects. An equal amount, on matching basis, will have to be contributed by the state or urban local bodies. The mission will provide central funding of Rs 48,000 crore to the selected cities.

Implementation: The implementation of the Mission at the City level will be done by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) created for the purpose. The SPV will plan, appraise, approve, release funds, implement, manage, operate, monitor and evaluate the Smart City development projects. Each smart city will have a SPV which will be headed by a full time CEO and have nominees of Central Government, State Government and ULB on its Board.

Source:


Smart Star-Rating for Garbage Free Cities

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the ‘Protocol for Star Rating of Garbage-Free Cities’ in Goa.

About the star rating initiative:

What is it? The star-rating initiative, developed by the Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban will be rating cities on a 7-star rating system based on multiple cleanliness indicators for solid waste management.

Indicators: These include Door to Door Collection, bulk generator compliance, source segregation, sweeping, scientific processing of waste, scientific land filling, plastic waste management, construction and demolition management, dump remediation & citizen grievance redressal system etc.

Vision: Vision statement of the star-rating protocol states that “All cities achieve “Garbage Free” status wherein at any point of time in the day, no garbage or litter is found in any public, commercial or residential locations (including storm drains and water bodies) in the city (except in litter bins or transfer stations); 100% of waste generated is scientifically managed; all legacy waste has been remediated and city is scientifically managing its municipal solid waste, plastic waste and construction & demolition waste. Additionally, there must be a steady reduction in the waste generated by the city and visible beautification of the city to achieve a clean & aesthetically pleasing city”.

Rating: Cities can be rated as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 star based on their compliance with the protocol conditions specified for each of the rating. Further city should be ODF(Open Defecation Free) before it could be given rating of 3 star or above. While cities may self-declare themselves as 1-star, 2-star or 4-star, MoHUA will carry out an additional verification through an independent third party to certify cities as 3-star, 5-star or 7-star. Cities will need to get recertified themselves every year to retain their star-status.

Significance of the initiative: The most significant feature of the rating protocol is that it provides stakeholders with a single metric to rate a city’s cleanliness, rather than separately evaluating multiple factors which contribute to a city’s overall cleanliness and garbage free status. The distinctive feature of Star Rating System will be that many cities can have higher stars as compared to only one city can be “Cleanest city” under Swachh Survekshan.


‘Jiyo Parsi’ scheme

Over 130 babies were born since the government launched the ‘Jiyo Parsi’ scheme in 2013 to address the Parsi community’s declining population, says a foundation associated with implementation of the initiative. The Parzor Foundation is implementing the scheme along with the Union minority affairs ministry.

Background:

The population of Parsis plunged from 1.14 lakh in 1941 to 57,264 in 2011. The sharp decline in the birth rate in the community — located mainly in Maharashtra’s Mumbai and parts of Gujarat – is attributed to socio-psychological reasons. These include Parsis having late or non-marriages, its members marrying with people outside the community and also many couples not willing to have babies.

About Jiyo Parsi scheme:

Jiyo Parsi is a Government of India supported scheme to arrest the decline in population of the Parsi Zoroastrian Community in India. The Jiyo Parsi Scheme comprises of three components: Advocacy Component, Health of the Community Component and Medical Component.

The main objective of the “Jiyo Parsi” scheme is to reverse the declining trend of Parsi population by adopting a scientific protocol and structured interventions, stabilize their population and increase the population of Parsis in India.


‘Bharat Ke Veer’

The government has launched an official anthem for “Bharat Ke Veer”, an initiative with a corpus fund to help the families of paramilitary troopers killed in the line of duty. The anthem is sung and composed by singer Kailash Kher.

About Bharat ke Veer:

What is it? It is a web portal and mobile application. The portal is an IT based platform, with an objective to enable willing donors to contribute towards the family of a braveheart who sacrificed his/her life in line of duty. This website is technically supported by National Informatics Centre (NIC) and powered by State Bank of India.

What it does? This domain allows anyone to financially support the bravehearts of his choice or towards the “Bharat Ke Veer” corpus. The amount so donated will be credited to the account of ‘Next of Kin’ of those Central Armed Police Force/Central Para Military Force soldiers. To ensure maximum coverage, a cap of 15 lakh rupees is imposed and the donors would be alerted if the amount exceeds, so that they can choose to divert part of the donation to another braveheart account or to the “Bharat Ke Veer” corpus.

Who will manage the fund? “Bharat Ke Veer” corpus would be managed by a committee made up of eminent persons of repute and senior Government officials, who would decide to disburse the fund equitably to the braveheart’s family on need basis.


IndAS

Banks and non-banking financial companies are due to switch to Indian Accounting Standards (IndAS) from 1 April 2018. However, the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may postpone the implementation of new accounting standards for banks because of the legislative changes and additional capital requirements the process would entail.

Background:

Banks and non-banking financial companies currently follow Indian generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) standards. Other corporate entities started complying with IndAS with effect from 1 April 2016.

What is it?

Ind AS or Indian Accounting Standards govern the accounting and recording of financial transactions as well as the presentation of statements such as profit and loss account and balance sheet of a company. For long, there has been a heated debate about Indian companies moving to the globally accepted International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for their accounts. But firms have resisted this shift, stating that this will lead too many changes in the capture and reporting of their numbers. Ind AS has been evolved as a compromise formula that tries to harmonise Indian accounting rules with the IFRS.

Facts for Prelims:

The implementation of IndAS for public sector banks requires an amendment to the Banking Regulation Act. The schedule in BR Act relating to financial statement disclosures needs to be changed to the IndAS format.
Section 29 of the BR Act deals with the accounts and balance sheets of public sector banks. Private sector banks are covered by the Companies Act, which is based on the new accounting standards.

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