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TOPIC: 2 Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency and Accountability, E-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; Citizens Charters, Transparency & Accountability and institutional and other measures.

Supreme Court to hear the plea against Electoral bonds

What is the news?

NGO seeks stay on scheme ahead of election in key states

  • Electoral bond is like a promissory note that can be bought by any Indian citizen or company incorporated in India from select branches of State Bank of India.
  • The citizen or corporate can then donate the same to any eligible political party of his/her choice.
  • The bonds are similar to bank notes that are payable to the bearer on demand and are free of interest.
  • An individual or party will be allowed to purchase these bonds digitally or through cheque.

How to use electoral bonds?

  • The bonds will be issued in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 100,000 and Rs 1 Crore (the range of a bond is between Rs 1,000 to Rs 1 Crore).
  • These will be available at some branches of SBI.
  • A donor with a KYC-compliant account can purchase the bonds and can then donate them to the party or individual of their choice. Now, the receiver can encash the bonds through the party’s verified account.
  • The electoral bond will be valid only for fifteen days.

Electoral bonds: Conditions

  1. Any party that is registered under section 29A of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and has secured at least one per cent of the votes polled in the most recent General elections or Assembly elections is eligible to receive electoral bonds. The party will be allotted a verified account by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the electoral bond transactions can be made only through this account.
  2. The electoral bonds will not bear the name of the donor. Thus, the political party might not be aware of the donor’s identity.

Why is there a controversy over electoral bond?

  • Experts are of the view that if the electoral bonds scheme had been introduced to bring about greater transparency, the government must not restrain from allowing details of such donations to be made public.
  • Experts and several politicians say that since neither the purchaser of the bond nor the political party receiving the donation is required to disclose the donor’s identity, the shareholders of a corporation will remain unaware of the company’s contribution. Voters, too, will have no idea of how, and through whom, a political party has been funded.
  • Opponents of the electoral bond scheme argue that since the identity of the donor has been kept anonymous, it could lead to an influx of black money. Some others allege that the scheme was designed to help big corporate houses donate money without their identity being revealed. According to civil rights societies, the concept of donor “anonymity” threatens the very spirit of democracy.
  • The Opposition party said that the donations made through electoral bonds were equivalent to money laundering

Election Commission of India’s view on electoral bonds

The Election Commission on April 10, 2019 told the Supreme Court of India that while it was not against the Electoral Bonds Scheme, it did not approve of anonymous donations made to political parties.

Way forward

There is serious apprehension that any further sale of electoral bonds before the upcoming state election in west Bengal, Tamil nadu, Kerala and Assam would further increase illegal and illicit funding of political parties through shell companies.

Mains question

What are electoral bonds? Discuss its implication on electoral funding

Sources : https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-to-hear-on-march-24-plea-against-sale-of-electoral-bonds/article34097973.ece

TOPIC : GS 3 Issues related to Direct and Indirect Farm Subsidies and Minimum Support Prices; Public Distribution System – Objectives, Functioning, Limitations, Revamping; Issues of Buffer Stocks and Food Security; Technology Missions; Economics of Animal-Rearing.

Aadhaar as a hurdle

What is the news?

Supreme court by terming serious allegation by a petitioner that Three Crore ration card were cancelled for not being linked with Aadhaar database that connected to  starvation death in some states .

Analysis

  • The UDAI scheme has been existence in more than one decade and recent data has estimated that nearly 90% of Aadhaar projected population has been assigned the Aadhaar number
  • SC Judgment :

Following judgment in 2018 upholding the Aadhaar programme as reasonable restriction on individual privacy to fulfill welfare requirements and dignity, court also rejected a review petition about the validity for public purposes  in 4:1 judgment case

  • The concern and failure include inefficiencies in biometric authentication and updating, linking of Aadhaar with bank account, and the use of Aadhaar bridge payment.
  • With benefits under the PDS , the NREGA AND LPG subsidy ,among other essentials requiring individuals to have the Aadhaar number ,inefficiencies and failure to inconvenience and suffering of poor
  • There are report that show failures in authentication having led to delays in disbursal of benefits and in many cases , in their denial due to cancellation of legitimate beneficiary names
  • The government have promised the exemptions mechanisms that would allow for overriding such failures will help beneficiaries still avail subsidies and benefits despite system failures .This was response by government to recent petition as well as report from states such as Jharkhand from 2017 there have been starvation deaths due to denial of benefits and subsidies
  • Biometric authentication failures are but expected of large scale technology intensive project such as UID .
  • Despite being designed to store finger and iris scan most users , doubts about the success rates of authentication and the generation of false negatives have persisted more of labourers and tribal people

       Way forward

  • Mostly engaged in manual and hard labour are susceptible to finger print changes over time .
  • In practice beneficiaries have tended to use Aadhaar card as identity markers but there have been instances of people losing cards and being denied benefits
  • Central and state government would be allowed alternative identification so that genuine beneficiaries are not denied the subsidies .
  • Fraud can still be addressed by the use of other verification cards by decentralized disbursal of services at Panchayats level

Mains question

Aadhaar as hurdle in welfare scheme. critically analyze

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/aadhaar-as-a-hurdle-the-hindu-editorial-on-biometric-authentication-failures-and-welfare-delivery/article34102754.ece

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/aadhaar-10-years-on-6173890/

TOPIC: GS 3 Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.

Re-evaluating inflation targeting

What is the news?

Inflation Targeting is monetary policy framework wherein the Central Bank of a country focuses

only on maintaining the rate of Inflation within a targeted range. It is believed that increasing

Prices in an economy create uncertainties in decision making, adversely affecting savings and

encouraging speculative investments (such as buying Gold).  Inflation targeting brings in more

Predictability and transparency in deciding monetary policy.

When was it introduced?

The Inflation targeting was introduced through the Monetary Policy Framework

Agreement signed between the RBI and Government in 2015. As per terms of the agreement, RBI& Government primary objective would be to maintain price stability, while keeping in mind the objective of growth. The RBI is required to maintain rate of inflation of 4% with a deviation of 2% i.e. inflation has to be maintained between 2% to 6%.

Benefits of  Inflation Targeting

  • Target moderate rate of inflation and promote economic growth and development
  • Enhanced transparency that brings more clarity and predictability with respect to rate of inflation and monetary policy framework
  • Matches the autonomy of RBI with its accountability
  • Empirical evidence that are successful in New Zealand and UK kind of advanced economy

Problems of inflation Targeting

  • Disregards the Multi-faceted role of RBI: In a developing country like India, it is not practical for the central bank to focus exclusively on inflation without taking into account the larger development context. The RBI needs to balance between growth, price stability and financial stability.
  • No clear link between Price Stability and Financial Stability
  • Empirical Evidence against Inflation Targeting in India: The GDP growth rate has been reduced to 25 quarter low of 5% for the first quarter of financial year 2019-20.
  • Poor Monetary Policy Transmission
  • Does not address the Supply Side Inflation: Inflation in India may take place due to supply side bottlenecks such as increase in global crude oil prices, poor monsoon, floods etc. For instance, the recent increase in the prices of Tomato and Onions is mainly on account of supply side disruptions.

Way forward

The Central banks should focus on flexible inflation targeting rather than pure inflation targeting. In this aspect, there is a need for greater debate around kind of Inflation targeting in India.

Mains question

There is need for revaluating of inflation target in India

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/re-evaluating-inflation-targeting/article34094821.ece

PRELIMS PUNCHERS

  1. EBRIL

Erbil or Hawler known in ancient history as Arbela is the capital and most populated city in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Erbil’s archaeological museum houses a large collection of pre-Islamic artefacts, particularly the art of Mesopotamia, and is a center for archaeological projects in the area. The city was designated as Arab Tourism Capital 2014 by the Arab Council of Tourism. In July 2014, the Citadel of Arbil was inscribed as a World Heritage site.

The city has an ethnically diverse population of Kurds, Turkmens Assyrians, Arabs and Armenians. It is equally religiously diverse, with believers of Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, Christianity, Yarsanism and Yazidism.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/biden-and-the-west-asian-tinderbox/article34102769.ece

  1. Supplementary grants

The additional grant required to meet the required expenditure of the government is called Supplementary Grants. When grants, authorised by the Parliament, fall short of the required expenditure, an estimate is presented before the Parliament for Supplementary or Additional grants. These grants are presented and passed by the Parliament before the end of the financial year.

When actual expenditure incurred exceeds the approved grants of the Parliament, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Railways presents a Demand for Excess Grant. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India bring such excesses to the notice of the Parliament.

The Public Accounts Committee examines these excesses and gives recommendations to the Parliament. The Demand for Excess Grants is made after the actual expenditure is incurred and is presented to the Parliament after the end of the financial year in which the expenses were made.

Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/definition/supplementary-grants#:~:text=Definition%3A%20The%20additional%20grant%20required,for%20Supplementary%20or%20Additional%20grants.

  1. RE-HAB project

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) launched a unique project of creating “bee-fences” to mitigate human – elephant conflicts.

The pilot project RE-HAB was launched at four locations around village Chelur in Kodagu district of Karnataka. These spots are located on the periphery of Nagarhole National Park and Tiger Reserve and prone to human-elephant conflicts.

The total cost of the RE-HAB project is just Rs. 15 lakh.

Objective:

To thwart elephant attacks in human habitations using honey bees and thus reducing loss of lives of both, humans as well as elephants. RE-HAB is an acronym for Reducing Elephant – Human Attacks using Bees. Project RE-HAB is a sub-mission under KVIC’s National Honey Mission. While the Honey Mission is a programme to increase the bee population, honey production and beekeepers’ income by setting up apiaries, Project RE-HAB uses bee boxes as a fence to prevent the attack of elephants.

Source : https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1704902

  1. IAMAI –The Internet and mobile Association of India

The Internet and Mobile Association of India [IAMAI] is a young and vibrant association with ambitions of representing the entire gamut of digital businesses in India. It was established in 2004 by the leading online publishers, but in the last 10 years has come to effectively address the challenges facing the digital and online industry including mobile content and services, online publishing, mobile advertising, online advertising, ecommerce and mobile & digital payments among others. The association is still the only professional industry body representing the online and mobile VAS industry in India. The association is registered under the Societies Act and is a recognized charitable institution in Maharashtra. With a membership of 180 plus Indian and MNC companies, offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, the association is well placed to work towards charting growth path for the digital industry in India.

 Source:  https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/secrecy-shrouds-proposed-cryptocurrency-bill-iamai/article34000011.ece

PRELIMS QUESTIONS

  1. Consider the following statement regarding RE-HAB project
  2. The project is launched by Ministry of Environment , Forest and climate change
  3. These spots are located on periphery of Nagarahole National park of Karnataka

Select the correct statement using code given below.

(a). 1only       (b) 2 only

(c).Both       (d). None of  above

Answer: B

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) launched a unique project of creating “bee-fences” to mitigate human – elephant conflicts.

The pilot project RE-HAB was launched at four locations around village Chelur in Kodagu district of Karnataka. These spots are located on the periphery of Nagarhole National Park and Tiger Reserve and prone to human-elephant conflicts.The total cost of the RE-HAB project is just Rs. 15 lakh.

Objective:

To thwart elephant attacks in human habitations using honey bees and thus reducing loss of lives of both, humans as well as elephants. RE-HAB is an acronym for Reducing Elephant – Human Attacks using Bees. Project RE-HAB is a sub-mission under KVIC’s National Honey Mission. While the Honey Mission is a programme to increase the bee population, honey production and beekeepers’ income by setting up apiaries, Project RE-HAB uses bee boxes as a fence to prevent the attack of elephants.

  1. Erbil recently seen in news located in
  2. Iran
  3. Iraq
  4. Saudi Arabia
  5. Oman

Answer: B

Erbil or Hawler known in ancient history as Arbela is the capital and most populated city in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Erbil’s archaeological museum houses a large collection of pre-Islamic artefacts, particularly the art of Mesopotamia, and is a center for archaeological projects in the area. The city was designated as Arab Tourism Capital 2014 by the Arab Council of Tourism. In July 2014, the Citadel of Arbil was inscribed as a World Heritage site.

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