24 April, 2020
126 Min Read
|GS-II||Corona virus pandemic becoming human right crises: Antonio Guterres|
|e- GramSwaraj portal and Swamitva Scheme on National Panchayats Day on 24th April|
|COVID-19: China announces additional USD 30 million grants for WHO||International Relations|
|Dearness Allowance hike of 4% stalled during COVID19||Governance|
|Supreme court guidelines on prison reforms|
|GS-III||Remittances likely to plunge 23%: World Bank||Economic Issues|
|Alternative Academic Calendar for classes 6 to 8||Economic Issues|
|Nano-Science & Technology Mission (NSTM)|
|Fitch ratings slashes India’s economic growth||Economic Issues|
|Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC)||Economic Issues|
|Horticulture - Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)||Economic Issues|
|National Policy on Marine Fisheries, 2017||Economic Issues|
|PT Pointer||Inauguration of MVRDL to test COVID-19 samples|
|Pakistan receives USD 1.39 billion||International Relations|
|Important GS Topics||The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)|
|World bank and IMF|
|Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI)|
Corona virus pandemic becoming human right crises: Antonio Guterres
Part of: GS-II- UN and COVID-19 (MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
“Human rights — civil, cultural, economic, political and social — are both the goal and the path,”
Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that the Corona virus pandemic is a human crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis. The U N Chief said, there is discrimination in the delivery of public services to tackle COVID-19 and there are structural inequalities that impede access to them.
Mr Guterres said
He warned that with rising ethno-nationalism, populism, authoritarianism and a push back against human rights in some countries, the crisis can provide a pretext to adopt repressive measures for purposes unrelated to the pandemic.
Mr Guterres issued a call to action to countries, businesses and people to help renew and revive human rights across the globe, laying out a seven-point plan amid concerns about climate change, conflict and repression.He said, governments must be transparent, responsive and accountable and stressed that press freedom, civil society organizations, the private sector and civic space are essential.
Guterres said any emergency measures — including states of emergency — must be “legal, proportionate, necessary and non-discriminatory, have a specific focus and duration, and take the least intrusive approach possible to protect public health.” The report said the best response is proportionate to the immediate threat and protects human rights.
“The message is clear: People — and their rights — must be front and center,” Guterres stressed.
Established in 2006 with the aim of promoting and protecting human rights around the globe, as well as investigating alleged human rights violations.
Made up of 47 member states, which are selected by the UN General Assembly on a staggered basis each year for three-year-long terms.
Members meet around three times a year to debate human rights issues and pass non-binding resolutions and recommendations by majority vote.
Members serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.
The council also carries out the Universal Periodic Review of all UN member states, which allows civil society groups to bring accusations of human rights violations in member states to the attention of the UN.
e- GramSwaraj portal and Swamitva Scheme on National Panchayats Day on 24th April
Part of: GS-II- Governance (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address village panchayats across the country to mark the National Panchayati Raj Day. Mr Modi will also interact with various participants through video conferencing in view of lockdown.
Every year, on this occasion, Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been awarding the best performing Panchayats/States/UTs across the country under the Incentivization of Panchayats in recognition of their good work for improving delivery of services and public goods. This year three such awards viz. Nanaji Deshmukh Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar (NDRGGSP), Child-friendly Gram Panchayat Award (CFGPA) and Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) Award have been finalized which will be shared with the concerned States/ UT.
e-GramSwaraj Portal: E Gram Swaraj portal & app is simplified work-based accounting application for Panchayati Raj. The portal & App will strengthen e-Governance in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) across the country. Ministry of Panchayati Raj has launched e Gram Swaraj Portal, a user-friendly web-based portal. Gram swaraj aims to bring in better transparency in the decentralised planning, progress reporting and work-based accounting. The Unified Portal is a new initiative of Ministry of Panchayati Raj which will provide the Gram Panchayats with a single interface to prepare and implement their Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP).
Swamitva Scheme: The scheme provides for an integrated property validation solution for rural India; the demarcation of inhabited land in rural areas would be done by the use of latest surveying methods – Drone’s technology with the collaborated efforts of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, State Panchayati Raj Department, State Revenue Department and Survey of India.
National Panchayati Raj Day
The Constitution of India recognizes Panchayats as 'Institutions of self government'. There are 2.51 lakh Panchayats in our country, which include 2.39 lakh Gram Panchayats, 6904 Block Panchayats and 589 District Panchayats. There are more than 29 lakh Panchayat representatives. Under the 14th Finance Commission for the period 2015-20, more than 2 lakh crore Rupees is being allocated to Gram Panchayats for 5 years to undertake physical and social infrastructure projects in the villages.
Though the Panchayati Raj Institutions have been in existence for a long time, it has been observed that these institutions have not been able to acquire the status and dignity of viable and responsive people's bodies due to a number of reasons including absence of regular elections, prolonged super sessions, insufficient representation of weaker sections like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women, inadequate devolution of powers and lack of financial resources.
The Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 that came into force with effect from 24th April, 1993 has vested constitutional status on Panchayati Raj institutions. This date thus marks a defining moment in the history of decentralization of political power to the grassroots level. The impact of the 73rd Amendment in rural India is very visible as it has changed power equations irreversibly. Accordingly, the Government of India decided in consultation with the States to celebrate 24th April as National Panchayati Raj Day. The commemoration is being anchored by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj. The National Panchayati Raj Day (NPRD) is being celebrated on 24 April since 2010.
National Panchayati Raj Day 2020
Ministry of Panchayati Raj commemorates the National Panchayati Raj Day on 24th April 2020. During the National Panchayat Raj Day event, the following awards were given to the best performing Panchayats.
COVID-19: China announces additional USD 30 million grants for WHO
China announced an additional 30 million US Dollar grant to the World Health Organization, days after Beijing expressed serious concern over US President Donald Trump's decision to freeze the funding for the global health agency over its handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
The grant will be in addition to the 20 million US Dollars provided by China earlier to the WHO. He said, China will always support the Geneva-based WHO in playing an important role in international public health and global anti-epidemic response.
Both China and the WHO faced serious criticism over lack of transparency especially about the discovery of the Corona virus in December last year and its silent spread in Wuhan until Beijing imposed lockdown in the city on 23rd of January. However, China had denied the allegations of any cover-up, saying it was the first country to report the COVID-19 to the WHO.
What is Dearness allowance?
Types of Dearness Allowance
For calculation, DA is divided into two separate categories: Industrial Dearness Allowance and Variable Dearness Allowance.
Variable DA amount that has been fixed by the Government remains fixed unless the government revises the basic minimum wages.
Role of Pay Commissions in the calculation of Dearness Allowance
Dearness Allowance for Pensioners
Changes in DA during COVID-19
Supreme Court guidelines for prison reforms:
The National Crime Records Bureau’s numbers till 31 December 2014, quoted in the order, show that central jails housed 184,386 prisoners as opposed to their capacity of 152,312 and district jails held 179,695 against a capacity of 135,439.
The Supreme Court on Friday kicked off prison reforms with an order directing authorities to ensure quarterly reviews of undertrials, computerization of prisons and providing facilities to ensure prisoners are treated with dignity.
The Model Prison Manual is a document prepared by the home ministry dealing with various incidental issues including custodial management, medical care, education of prisoners, vocational training and skill development programmes, legal aid, welfare of prisoners, after-care and rehabilitation, and prison computerization.
Remittances likely to plunge 23%: World Bank
Part of: GS-III- Economy (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
The World Bank has said that remittances to India are likely to drop by 23 per cent from 83 billion US Dollars last year to 64 billion US Dollars this year due to the Corona virus pandemic, which has resulted in a global recession.
According to a World Bank report on the impact of the COVID-19 on migration and remittances, the remittances are projected to decline sharply by about 20 per cent this year due to the economic crisis induced by the pandemic and shutdowns due to out break of Novel Corona virus.
The projected fall, which would be the sharpest decline in recent history, is largely due to a fall in the wages and employment of migrant workers, who tend to be more vulnerable to loss of employment and wages during an economic crisis in a host country.
World Bank Group President David Malpass (PT) said, remittances are a vital source of income for developing countries and they help families afford food, health care and basic needs.
Importance of remittances for India:
World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief
About World bank
With 189 member countries, the World Bank Group is a unique global partnership: five institutions working for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries.
The Bank Group works with country governments, the private sector, civil society organizations, regional development banks, think tanks, and other international institutions on issues ranging from climate change, conflict, and food security to education, agriculture, finance, and trade.
A Group of Institutions
Together, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA) form the World Bank, which provides financing, policy advice, and technical assistance to governments of developing countries. While the World Bank Group consists of five development institutions.
All of these efforts support the Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity of the poorest 40% of the population in all countries.
Alternative Academic Calendar for classes 6 to 8
Part of: GS-II- Education (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Human Resource Development Minister released Alternative Academic Calendar for the upper primary stage, Classes 6 to 8 in New Delhi. The alternative academic calendars at primary and upper primary stage have been developed by the NCERT under the guidance of the MHRD to engage students meaningfully during their stay at home due to COVID-19.
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an autonomous organisation of the Government of India which was established in 1961 as a literary, scientific and charitable Society under the Societies' Registration Act (Act XXI of 1860). Its headquarters are located at New Delhi. Dr. Hrushikesh Senapaty is director of the council since September 2015.
The Government of India's Ministry of Education resolved on 27 July 1961 to establish the National Council of Educational Research and Training, which formally began operation on 1 September 1961. The Council was formed by merging seven existing national government institutions, namely the Central Institute of Education, the Central Bureau of Textbook Research, the Central Bureau of Educational and Vocational Guidance, the Directorate of Extension Programmes for Secondary Education, the National Institute of Basic Education, the National Fundamental Education Centre, and the National Institute of Audio-Visual Education. It is separate from the National Council for Teacher Education.
The NCERT was established with the agenda to design and support a common system of education which is national in character and also enables and encourages the diverse culture across the country. Based on the recommendations of the Education Commission(1964-66), the first national policy statement on education was issued in 1968. The policy endorsed the adoption of a uniform pattern of school education across country consisting of 10 years of general education program followed by 2 years of diversified schooling.
The Curriculum for the Ten-year school
This framework came in 1975. It emphasised that a curriculum based on the principles laid out in the framework has to be developed on the basis of research. Thus for NCERT, the 1970s was a decade flushed with curriculum research and development activities to relate the content and process of education to Indian realities.
National Curriculum for Elementary and Secondary Education
This revised curriculum framework came in 1988 after the National Policy on Education (1986).It encompassed 12 years of school education and suggested a reorientation of curricular and instructional materials to make them more child-centred. It advocated bringing out examination reforms and the implementation of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation at all stages of education.
National Curriculum Framework for School Education
This framework came in 2000. It stressed the need for a healthy, enjoyable and stress-free childhood and reduction of the curricular load. Thus an integrated and thematic approach was suggested, environmental education was emphasized upon and language and mathematics got integrated in the first two years of schooling.
National Curriculum Framework: The council came up with a new National Curriculum Framework in 2005, drafted by a National Steering Committee. This exercise was based on 5 guiding principles:
The council's objectives are:
Mobile BSL-3 VRDL Lab
What are Biosafety Labs 1,2,3,4 (BSL 1,2,3,4) ?
Biological Safety Levels (BSL) are a series of protections relegated to autoclave-related activities that take place in particular biological labs. They are individual safeguards designed to protect laboratory personnel, as well as the surrounding environment and community.
These levels, which are ranked from one to four, are selected based on the agents or organisms that are being researched or worked on in any given laboratory setting. For example, a basic lab setting specializing in the research of nonlethal agents that pose a minimal potential threat to lab workers and the environment are generally considered BSL-1—the lowest biosafety lab level. A specialized research laboratory that deals with potentially deadly infectious agents like Ebola would be designated as BSL-4—the highest and most stringent level.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sets BSL lab levels as a way of exhibiting specific controls for the containment of microbes and biological agents. Each BSL lab level builds upon on the previous level—thereby creating layer upon layer of constraints and barriers. These lab levels are determined by the following
Nano-Science & Technology Mission (NSTM)
The Government of India launched the Nano Mission in 2007 under the Department of Science and Technology. The Ministry of Science and Technology allocated upto 1000 crores to this mission in order to fulfil its following objectives:
India has been able to rank amongst the top 5 countries in the world for Scientific Publications in Nanoscience & Technology due to the efforts led by the Nano Mission.
The Nano Mission has established national dialogues to promote R&D in the development of standards for nanotechnology and for laying down a National Regulatory Framework Road-Map for Nanotechnology (NRFR-Nanotech).
Nano-Science & Technology Initiative (NSTI)
Approval for the Second Phase of NSTM
COVID-19 Nano Coating
The Department of Science and Technology and the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) called for a Short-term Research Grant for Nano Coating COVID-19 in April 2020.
This rapid project was necessary for the emerging health care requirements in order to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic. The goals of the project are to focus on the following areas:
Project duration should be for a maximum of up to 1 year with a maximum budget limit of Rs. 25-30 lakhs (including overheads) for developing the Nano-coating and new nano-based material for the components of PPE, which can be transferred to the partnering Industry or a Start-up.
The International Conference on NanoScience and NanoTechnology (ICONSAT) is a series of biennial international conferences held in India under the aegis of the Nano Mission, Department of Science and Technology (DST).
Objectives of ICONSAT
The International Conference on NanoScience and NanoTechnology (ICONSAT) 2020 was organized during 5th-7th March at Kolkata (West Bengal)
Fitch ratings slashes India’s economic growth projection to 0.8% in current fiscal
The leading credit rating agency, Fitch Ratings has slashed India's economic growth projections to 0.8 per cent in the current fiscal saying an unparalleled global recession was underway due to disruptions caused by the outbreak of Corona virus pandemic and resultant lockdowns.
In its Global Economic Outlook, Fitch Ratings said India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth will slip to 0.8 per cent for the year April 2020 to March 2021 as compared to an estimated 4.9 per cent growth in the previous fiscal. Growth is, however, expected to rebound to 6.7 per cent in 2021-22.
Fitch said, the slump in growth was mainly due to a projected fall in consumer spending and contraction in fixed investment. The agency has further made large cuts to global GDP forecasts in its latest Global Economic Outlook (GEO) in response to Corona virus-related lockdown extensions and incoming data flows.
Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC)
The main objectives of KVIC include:
(i) The social objectives or providing employment in rural areas;
(ii) The economic objectives of producing saleable articles, and
(iii) The wider objective of creating self-reliance amongst people and building up a strong rural community spirit.
In order to attract younger generation, the KVIC is holding exhibitions, seminars, lectures in over 120 universities and colleges throughout the country so as to disseminate knowledge of KVI products.
Moreover, to create a market-niche for eco-friendly pure and bio-degradable natural products, the KVIC has introduced two new brands viz., “Sarvodaya” and “Khadi”.
The KVIC has worked out a plan to supply KVI products in a big way to Central and State Government organisations. Plans are afoot to set up show windows in Indian Missions abroad as well as to open Khadi Gramodyog Bhawans in Australia, Germany, U.K., U.S.A., Canada, Dubai and Singapore.
Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP)
Salient features of the scheme
Horticulture - Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)
Part of: GS-III- Economy (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Recently, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare released the Third Advanced Estimate (2018-19) of Area and Production of various Horticulture Crops. As per the report, the total horticulture production in the country is estimated to be 313.85 million tonnes which is 0.69% higher than the horticulture production of 311.71 million tonnes in 2017-18. The area under horticulture crops has increased to 25.49 million hectares in 2018-19 from 25.43 million hectares in 2017-18.
What is Horticulture?
Features of Horticulture in India
Indian Council of Agricultural Resource (ICAR)
Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture
Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for the holistic growth of the horticulture sector covering fruits, vegetables, root & tuber crops, mushrooms, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew, cocoa and bamboo.
While Government of India (GOI) contributes 85% of total outlay for developmental programmes in all the states except the states in North East and Himalayas, 15% share is contributed by State Governments. In the case of North Eastern States and Himalayan States, GOI contribution is 100%. Similarly, for development of bamboo and programmes of National Horticulture Board (NHB), Coconut Development Board (CDB), Central Institute for Horticulture (CIH), Nagaland and the National Level Agencies (NLA), GOI contribution will be 100%.
Main objectives of Mission
Sub-schemes and area of operation
Target group / area of operation
National Horticulture Mission (NHM)
All states & UTs except states in NE and Himalayan Region.
Horticulture Mission for North East & Himalayan States (HMNEH)
All states in NE and Himalayan Region - Arunachal Pradesh,
Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura,
Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir
National Bamboo Mission (NBM)
All states & UTs
National Horticulture Board (NHB)
All states & UTs focusing on commercial horticulture
Coconut Development Board (CDB)
All States and UTs where coconut is grown
Central Institute for Horticulture (CIH)
NE states, focusing on HRD and capacity building.
Activities for which financial assistance is provided
Under MIDH, financial assistance is provided for following major interventions/activities:
Key elements of the mission
National Policy on Marine Fisheries, 2017
Marine wealth of India
SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters)
The objective of PMKSY is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease Agri-Waste.
Schemes to be implemented
PMKSY with an allocation of Rs. 6,000 crore is expected to leverage investment of Rs. 31,400 crore, handling of 334 lakh MT agro-produce valuing Rs. 1,04,125 crore, benefit 20 lakh farmers and generate 5,30,500 direct/ indirect employment in the country by the year 2019-20.
Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana:
Inauguration of MVRDL to test COVID-19 samples
Defence Minister inaugurated a Mobile Virology Research and Diagnostics Laboratory (MVRDL) through video conference to test COVID-19 samples. It has been developed by Defence Research and Development Organization- DRDO in association with ESIC Hospital, Hyderabad and Private industry.
The Mobile Viral Research Lab is the combination of a BSL 3 lab and a BSL 2 lab essential to carry out the activities. The labs are built as per WHO and ICMR Bio-safety standards to meet international guidelines. The Mobile Lab will be helpful to carry out diagnosis of COVID-19 and also virus culturing for drug screening, and comprehensive immune profiling of COVID-19 patients towards vaccine development. This lab can be positioned anywhere in the country, as per requirement.
Pakistan receives USD 1.39 billion emergency loan from IMF to deal with Corona virus crisis
Pakistan has received an emergency loan of 1.39 billion US Dollars from the International Monetary Fund to boost its foreign exchange reserves in the wake of the further economic downturn due to the Corona virus crisis.
Earlier, Pakistan requested the global money lender for a low-cost, fast-disbursing loan under its Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to deal with the adverse economic impact of COVID-19.The RFI is used to provide financial assistance to IMF member countries facing an urgent balance of payments need without requiring them to put a full-fledged programme in place. The 1.39 billion US Dollar loan is in addition to the six billion US Dollar bailout package that Pakistan has signed with the IMF in July last year to stave off a balance of payment crisis.
Pakistan has also approached other multilateral donors for additional funds to fight the pandemic and its economic implications. The World Bank has earlier approved one billion US Dollars and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) 1.5 billion US Dollars for Pakistan to keep its economy afloat.
Part of: GS-II- International Organisation (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was founded in 2006 as a substitute to UN Commission on Human Rights which was being continuously abashed for having states with notorious records of human right violation as its members. 12 years later, the UNHRC is seemingly meeting with the same fate as it has members like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Philippines on its board and is accused of keeping mum on grave issues like Russian occupation of Ukraine, human rights violation in Cuba among others. Recently, one of the founding members of the commission, US withdrew from UNHRC citing its ineffectiveness and bias.
In this context, it is important that we take a look at the viability of this body in the upkeep of human rights in the world.
The Mandate and Functioning
Universal Periodic Review:
The Universal periodic review (UPR) mechanism reviews all 192 UN member states every four years to "ensure universality of coverage and equal treatment of all Member States."
The special procedures of the Human Rights Council are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective. The system of Special Procedures is a central element of the United Nations human rights machinery and covers all human rights: civil, cultural, economic, political, and social.
The titles Special Rapporteur, Independent Expert, and Working Group Member are given to individuals working on behalf of the United Nations (UN) within the scope of "special procedure" mechanisms.
UNHRC has played the role of a political platform which aims to ensure that the human rights remain a top priority within the UN.
The Background of US Withdrawal
Impact on India
In this scenario, it is important that states make an effort to robust the UNHRC and come together for deliberations regarding the scope for reform of this institution of global importance. The idea of forsaking it or democratic states walking away from it would be a betrayal of those who are or might one day be, the target of oppression and violence. These people rely on the protection the UN might offer, however imperfect, and rely even more on those committed to human rights to work within the UN to strengthen that protection and make it truly universal.
World Bank and IMF
Part of: GS-II- International organisation (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
The World Bank (WB) is an international organization which provides facilities related to “finance, advice and research to developing nations” in order to bolster their economic development. It plays a stellar role in providing financial and technical assistance to developing countries across the globe. It is a unique financial institution that provides partnerships to reduce poverty and support economic development. It is actually composed of two institutions namely the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). However, there are five institutions within the larger World Bank group. They are following:
The World Bank Group consists of five organizations:
1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) lends to governments of middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries.
2. The International Development Association
The International Development Association (IDA) provides interest-free loans — called credits — and grants to governments of the poorest countries. It is called the soft loan window of the World Bank. Together, IBRD and IDA make up the World Bank.
3. The International Finance Corporation
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. It helps developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments.
4. The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) was created in 1988 to promote foreign direct investment into developing countries to support economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve people’s lives. MIGA fulfils this mandate by offering political risk insurance (guarantees) to investors and lenders.
5. The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) provides international facilities for conciliation and arbitration of investment disputes.
Purpose and Function of the World Bank
The World Bank provides low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants. It focuses on improving education, health, and infrastructure. It also uses funds to modernize a country’s financial sector, agriculture, and natural resources management. The Bank’s stated purpose is to “bridge the economic divide between poor and rich countries”. It does this by turning “rich country resources into poor country growth”. It has a long-term vision to “achieve sustainable poverty reduction”.
To achieve this goal, the World Bank focuses on six areas:
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization that aims to promote global economic growth and financial stability meant to encourage international trade and reduce poverty. It is working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, and promote high employment and sustainable economic growth. The primary purpose of the IMF is to ensure the stability of the international system- the system of exchange rates and international payments. Although the IMF is an agency of the United Nations, it has its own charter, structure and financing arrangements. The IMF not only works with its 187 members, it also collaborates with the World Bank, World Trade Organization and agencies of the United Nations. To become a member of the IMF, countries must apply and be accepted by the other members. Because membership of the World Bank is conditional on being a member of the IMF, the World Bank also has 187 members. These members govern the World Bank through a Board of Governors. Apart from working with developing countries on individual projects, the World Bank also works with various international institutions, along with professional and academic bodies.
Similarities between the WB and IMF
Differences between the WB and the IMF
Despite similarities, however, the Bank and the IMF remain distinct. Following differences exist between them:
Criticism of the WB and the IMF
Critical Role of the Bretton Woods Project
It was established in 1995 by the UK-based Bond Development and Environment Group (DEG) to support civil society to monitor the negative developmental impacts of World Bank and IMF policies and activities. The Bretton Woods Project (BWP) envisions a global economic system that operates on the basis of “primary principles of justice, equity, gender equality, human rights and environmental sustainability”. It is supposed to work with “international institutions that are democratic, inclusive, transparent, accountable, and responsive to citizens, especially the poorest and most vulnerable”. The Bretton Woods Project focuses on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to challenge their power. It is meant to “open space for civil society and social movements to contribute to the development of policies that are gender transformative, equitable, environmentally sustainable and consistent with international human rights norms”.
Many of the criticisms aimed against the WB and IMF are historical and may not hold true in contemporary times. The two institutions are trying to reorient themselves as per the changed geo-economic realities and changing developmental requirements. The internal assessment has also been catalysed by the geopolitical and geo-economic impact of the BRICS bank and the AIIB as a challenge to the Bretton Woods institutions. Hence, the national governments should undertake a calibrated economic liberalization maintaining the due autonomy of their decision-making to have a win-win situation in tune with the sustainable development ethics.
Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI)
Part of: GS-II- Governance (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
If we would see our dream of Panchayat Raj, i.e., true democracy realized, we would regard the humblest and lowest Indian as being equally the ruler of India with the tallest in the land.
— Mahatma Gandhi
Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) is a system of rural local self-government in India. Local Self Government is the management of local affairs by such local bodies who have been elected by the local people.
PRI was constitutionalized through the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 to build democracy at the grass roots level and was entrusted with the task of rural development in the country. In its present form and structure PRI has completed 28 years of existence. However, a lot remains to be done in order to further decentralization and strengthen democracy at the grass root level.
Evolution of Panchayati Raj in India
The history of Panchayat Raj in India can be divided into the following periods from the analytical point of view:
Salient Features of the Constitution 73rd and 74th Amendments
Evaluating the Panchayati Raj Institutions
PRIs has witnessed simultaneously a remarkable success and a staggering failure in the journey of 26 years depending on the goalposts against which they are evaluated.
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