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23 August, 2019

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GS-II :
Village Volunteer System.

GS-II: Village Volunteer System.

Context

The ward and village volunteer system has been launched in Andhra Pradesh.

About Village Volunteer System

  • The scheme would be officially launched on 2 October 2019, which also marks 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. It is aimed at providing governance services at doorsteps of people. Basic idea behind implementing scheme is to infuse confidence among people in government and to see that their basic needs are met at their door-steps.
  • Village secretariats would be set up in each village to deliver governance to people in 72 hours. This scheme involves provision of one volunteer to cover 50 families in each village. Identity cards would be given to the volunteers and they would be given an honorarium of Rs 5,000 per month. The volunteers would first identify the beneficiaries, get to know their problems and then delineate the schemes being provided by the government for them.
  • Telephone No Toll-free telephone number 1902 would be set up at call centre in Chief Minister Office (CMO) to receive grievances of people.

Significance

 The scheme will be able to reach poorest of poor and make all villages self-sufficient.

 

Source: The Hindu

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GS-II :
Chief Defence Service

GS-II: Chief Defence Service

Context

In his Independence Day address, Prime Minister announced the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff.

Who is Chief Defence Service?

  • The Chief of Defence Staff is meant to be a single-point military advisor to the government on important defense and strategic issues for the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.
  • On long-term it provides for defence planning and management, including manpower, equipment and strategy, and above all, “jointsmanship” in operations.
  • In most democracies, the CDS is seen as being above inter-Service rivalries and the immediate operational preoccupations of the individual military chief.
  • India being a nuclear weapons state, the CDS will also act as the military advisor to the Prime Minister on nuclear issues.
  • It is not clear yet how long the tenure of the CDS will be and whether the rank of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) will be the same or higher than the three army chiefs.
  • Worth to mention here that all major countries, especially the nuclear weapon states, have a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

History behind Chief Defence Service in India

It is not the first time that creation of post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is in progress. The proposal for setting up a Chief of Defence Staff has been contemplated around 20 year ago after the Kargil war of 1999 by the K. Subrahmanyam committee. But in the absence of political consensus and apprehensions among services it never moved forward.

What is the current status?

As of now the senior-most of the three Chiefs functions as the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). The role of COSC is additional and the tenures have been very short. 

Why change it now?

  • CoSC arrangement is seen as unsatisfactory”, and its Chairman as a “figurehead”.
  • The post did not further tri-service integration, resulting in inefficiency and an expensive duplication of assets.
  • The CoSC system is a leftover from the colonial era, with only minor changes being carried out over the years.
  • Apprehensions in the political class about a powerful military leader, along with inter-Services bickering, have long worked to disincentivise the upgrade of the post.

Naresh Chandra Committee recommendations

  • In 2011, more than a decade after the KRC Report, the UPA government which had opposed the CDS proposal when in opposition, set up the Naresh Chandra Committee on defence and security.
  • The 14-member Committee, comprising retired Service Chiefs and other defence experts, suggested a watered-down version of the CDS proposal, in which the Chairman CoSC in the rank of a four-star officer would have a fixed tenure of two years.

Way Forward

  • Navy played a silent role while the Army and Air Force collaborated to evict intruders from Indian soil.
  • The lessons learnt then prompted the K. Subrahmanyam Committee to propose having a CDS for the first time.
  • But the threat matrix has changed since 1947 and the Indian Ocean region is fast metamorphosing into a major arena of friction, with increasing forays by the Chinese Navy and building up of regional navies with help from China.
  • In a conflict situation, what would unfold are short and swift skirmishes which call for agility and swift action by the three services in unison.

 

 

Source: The Hindu

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GS-II :
Financial Action Task Force

GS-II: FATF group ‘blacklists’ Pakistan

Context

Terror funding watchdog FATF Asia-Pacific Group ‘blacklists’ Pakistan.

News

  • Pakistan has been placed on the lowest rung, or “Enhanced Expedited Follow Up List (Blacklist) of the Financial Action Task Force’s Asia Pacific Group (APG) .
  • The APG is one of nine regional affiliates of the FATF.
  • APG has found Pakistan non-compliant on 32 of the 40 compliance parameters of terror financing and money laundering.
  • While the placing does not bring any new punitive measures on Pakistan, it will mean quarterly reporting to the group on improvement in its financial safeguards.
  • In June, the FATF had warned Pakistan that its failure to complete its action plan on terror financing could possibly lead to the country getting blacklisted.
  • The Paris plenary of FATF in October will decide whether to remove Pakistan from the greylist, continue the listing, or downgrade it to a blacklist of non-cooperative countries.
  • Officials said the downgrade might not occur, given that any three countries in the FATF can veto it, and Pakistan is likely to secure the backing of China, Turkey and Malaysia. 
  • Nevertheless, the APG decision on Friday would make it difficult for Pakistan to extricate itself from the greylist. 

What are Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was established in July 1989 by a Group of Seven (G-7) countries in a Summit held in Paris. Initial motive of FATF was to examine and develop measures to combat money laundering.
  • In October 2001, the FATF expanded its wings to incorporate efforts to combat terror financing, money laundering and human trafficking.

Functions

  • The FATF is an independent inter-governmental body that develops and promotes policies to protect the global financial system so that it could bot be used by the terrorists and other anti social elements. 
  • FATF has started dealing with the Virtual currency.
  • The FATF is an international policy-making body. It does not have any role in law enforcement matters, investigations or prosecution.

What are Black List and Grey List of the FATF?

Black List

Countries which are supporting terror funding and money laundering activities are listed in the Black list. The FATF blacklist or OECD blacklist has been issued by the Financial Action Task Force since 2000 and lists countries which it judges to be non-cooperative in the global fight against money laundering and terror funding.

Grey List

Those countries which are considered as the safe heaven for supporting terror funding and money laundering; included in this list. The inclusion in this list is not as severe as black listed.

 

 

 

 

Source: The Hindu

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GS-III :
Single Use Plastic

GS-III: Single Use Plastic

Context

 In response to Prime Minister’s call on India’s 73rdIndependence day, to make India free of single use plastics, a massive public campaign will be launched engaging all stakeholders.

What are single use of plastics?

  • Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These items are things like plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles and most food packaging.
  • Some states like Telangana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh banned plastic bottles and Tetra packs, single-use straws, plastic/styrofoam tea cups/containers, etc. But many like Bihar banned only polythene bags.

Problem of plastic in India

  • India is responsible for about 60% of all the plastic dumped annually in the world’s oceans.
  • Over 42% of our plastic use is in packaging.
  • India produces 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste every day and nine million tonnes every year.

Plastic ban and its impact on economy

  • Plastic bags are not safe for the ecosystem, since they are not easy to recycle. They cause severe health hazard for human, animals and the environment. Though plastics is banned in several states include Maharashtra, which has become the 17 other states and Union Territories so far, in order to prevent litter and help the environment.

Gaps existing:

Waste plastic from packaging of everything from food, cosmetics and groceries to goods delivered by online platforms remains unaddressed.

Collect-back system The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 are clear that producers, importers and brand owners must adopt a collect-back system for the plastic they introduce into the environment. However, not much has been done to take the process forward.

Extended Producer Responsibility clause: Small producers of plastics are facing the ban, while more organised entities covered by the Extended Producer Responsibility clause continue with business as usual.

What is needed?

  • Governments must start charging the producers for their waste, and collect it diligently, which will lead to recovery and recycling.
  • State and local governments should upgrade their waste management systems, which is necessary to even measure the true scale of packaging waste.
  • Role of local bodies: Local bodies should consult manufacturers or importers to assess the problem. Cities and towns need competent municipal systems to achieve this.
  • central legislation with a clear definition of what constitutes single-use plastic is also necessary.

Source: The Hindu

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GS-III :
Lessons after the great deluge

GS-III: Lessons after the great deluge

Context

  • Almost 60 people are feared dead, buried alive under layers of mud and rocks in the Kavalappara landslide.
  • It is the worst tragedy in Kerala’s devastating monsoon so far this year.

Causes of Landslides

Natural causes-

  1. Landslides are generally associated with natural calamities like earthquake, volcanic eruptions, floods, cloudburst, etc.
  2. Long spell of rainfall.
  3. Loose soil cover and sloping terrain.

Anthropogenic causes-

  1. Rapid urbanization and changes in land use patterns
  2. Rampant deforestation and mining activities like blasting and quarrying, etc.
  3. Increased industrialisation leading to climate change and weather disturbances
  4. Change in river flow due to construction of dams, barriers, etc.

Various measures needed to mitigate them are:

  • Hazard mapping by demarcating areas prone to landslides and avoiding stress on those areas for settlement.
  • Construction of retention walls to avoid land from slipping.
  • Increasing afforestation and vegetation cover.
  • Practise measures to check soil erosion like terrace farming, contour ploughing, etc.
  • Implementing surface drainage control works to control the movement of landslide along with rain water and spring flows.
  • Proper planning of developmental processes following sustainable methods.

Source: The Hindu

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