November 2019

Daily Current Affairs (25-11-19)

POLITY & GOVERNANCE

LOKPAL

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Indian Constitution, Political System, Governance [Paper-I]: Indian Constitution and its salient features, Public Policy and Governance

News

Chairperson of Lokpal, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose launched the logo of Lokpal.

About Lokpal

  • Lokpal is the first institution of its kind in independent India.
  • It was established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 to inquire and investigate into allegations of the corruption against public functionaries who fall within the scope and ambit of the above Act.
  • Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose was appointed as the first Chairperson of the Lokpal. He was administered oath on 23rd March, 2019 by the President of India.
  • Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, which envisages appointment of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in States to look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants, was passed on 2013.

Key Features

  • According to rules, there is provision for a chairperson and a maximum of eight members in the Lokpal panel. Among these, four need to be judicial members.
  • Not less than 50 per cent of the members of the Lokpal shall be from amongst the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, minorities and women.
  • Upon selection, the chairperson and members shall hold office for a term of five years or till they attain 70 years of age.
  • The salary and allowances of the Chairperson will be same as that of the Chief Justice of India.
  • The members will be paid salary and allowances same as that of a judge of the Supreme Court.

Eligibilty for Lokpal Chairperson

  • For the appointment as the chairperson, a person who is or has been Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge is eligible to apply.
  • In addition, individuals with “impeccable integrity and outstanding ability” having special knowledge and expertise of not less than 25 years in matters related to anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance including insurance and banking, and law and management are eligible to apply.
  • Those with less than 45 years of age are not eligible to apply.

Who are the public servants covered under Lokpal?

  • Lokpal has the jurisdiction to inquire into allegations of corruption against anyone who is or has been Prime Minister, or a Minister in the Union government, or a Member of Parliament, as well as officials of the Union government under Groups A, B, C and D.
  • Chairpersons, members, officers and directors of any board, corporation, society, trust or autonomous body either established by an Act of Parliament or wholly or partly funded by the Centre are also covered under Lokpal.
  • It also covers any society or trust or body that receives foreign contribution above 10 lakh.

Exceptions for PM

  • Lokpal cannot inquire into any corruption charge against the Prime Minister if the allegations are related to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy and space.
  • For inquiry into such cases, a full Bench of the Lokpal consisting of its chairperson and all members considers the initiation of a probe and at least two-thirds of the members should approve it.
[Source: The Hindu, Indian Express, Economic Times]

 

ECONOMY

EXCHANGE-TRADED FUND (ETF)

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Economy and Planning [Paper-II]: Stock Exchange and Share Market

Why in News?

  • Union government is expected to launch India’s first fixed income Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) comprising debt securities of about a dozen state-owned companies (PSUs) by mid-December 2019.

News in Detail

  • The debt ETF provides a new option to conservative investors to own securities of government-owned companies along with the facility of overnight liquidity as ETF units will be listed on exchanges.
  • The debt ETF can comprise corporate debt securities in the form of bonds, credit-linked note, debentures, and promissory notes as underlying instruments.
  • Large central public sector enterprises are expected to participate in the maiden debt ETF.
  • Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) has appointed Edelweiss Asset Management as the asset manager for the proposed debt ETF.
  • In the Union Budget 2018-19, the then Finance Minister had announced the plan of DIPAM to come out with a debt ETF, which will help government companies better plan their capital expenditure and borrowing needs.

What is an Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF)?

  • An ETF is a fund that comprises a group of stocks that are listed on an exchange and can be simply traded like any other listed security.
  • Typically, an ETF mirrors a particular index, which means the group of stocks in the ETF would be similar to those in the index that it is benchmarked to.
  • For example, an ETF mirroring the Sensex would have the same 30 stocks that the Sensex has.
  • ETFs are not only available for stocks, but can be created for any kind of asset or security that has an index or a liquid market for the underlying securities of the ETF.

Benefits

  • The biggest benefit of investing through ETFs is liquidity.
  • Since an ETF is publicly listed and traded on a stock exchange, liquidity is not an issue.
  • An investor can know the price of each unit of the ETF and take an informed decision.
  • The price of the ETF is based on the net asset value of the underlying stocks. The fund management fee of an ETF is much lower than that of a normal mutual fund scheme.
  • Thus, investors save on that aspect as well while getting the benefit of a professional fund manager.

Difference between ETF and Index Fund

  • An index fund is a type of mutual fund with a portfolio constructed to match or track the components of a financial market index, such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500).
  • Index fund is also designed to mirror a particular index. But, there are some differences between an ETF and an index fund.
  • An index fund is just like any other mutual fund wherein the net asset value (NAV) of the fund is based on the closing price of the underlying securities.
  • In the case of an ETF, NAV is continuously linked to the current market price of the underlying stocks, which also makes it possible to buy or sell the ETF unit throughout the day just like an ordinary stock.
  • Since an ETF is traded like a stock, one needs a demat account to buy or sell an ETF.
  • An index fund can be bought directly from an asset management company without having a demat account.

[Source: The Hindu, Indian Express, PIB]

 

GOLDEN RICE

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Economy and Planning [Paper-II]: Agriculture Sector, Technological change in Agriculture, Issues in Food Security

News

  • Bangladesh is on the verge of becoming the first country to approve plantation of Golden Rice.
  • International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and its partners, the Philippines Rice Research Institute and the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, have recently successfully cultivated Golden Rice in a controlled environment on IRRI campus.

About Golden Rice

  • It is a variety of rice (Oryza sativa) produced through genetic engineering to biosynthesize beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, in the edible parts of rice.
  • Beta-carotene is the reason for golden colour of the rice.
  • It is intended to produce a fortified food to be grown and consumed in areas with a shortage of dietary vitamin A.
  • Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness among children and can also lead to death due to infectious diseases such as measles.
  • There is no change in cost of cultivation of golden rice and it reduces water use by up to 30 per cent without any yield loss.
  • It will not be more expensive than the conventional variety.

Why Golden Rice is needed in Bangladesh?

  • A recent research has indicated that one cup of Golden Rice can provide up to 50 per cent of the daily requirement of an adult for vitamin A.
  • In Bangladesh, over 21 per cent of the children have Vitamin A deficiency.
  • Golden Rice is expected to provide required nutrients to make a difference to the public health.
[Source: The Hindu, Indian Express]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

QUOTA FOR DISABLED IN PANCHAYATS
  • Chhattisgarh Cabinet has approved the nomination of at least one differently abled member to each panchayat, if not elected, making it the only State to have such members in all panchayats.
  • Every panchayat will now have differently abled members, either elected or nominated.
  • If differently abled members are not elected through the electoral process, then one member, either male or female, would be nominated.
  • Differently abled people constitute 6% of the population of Chhattisgarh.
340 BLACK SPOTS IN KERALA ROAD NETWORK
  • An analysis of the accident-prone stretches during 2016, 2017, and 2018 based on the districtwise Accident Severity Index (ASI) value of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) revealed that Black spots accounted for 90% of the road accidents in India.
  • Kerala has 340 blackspots in its road network. 232 black spots fall in high-risk and 108 in medium-risk categories.
  • A “road accident black spot” is a road corridor, about 500 m long, in which either five road accidents, involving fatalities and grievous injuries, were reported during the last three calendar years or 10 fatalities during the last three calendar years.
CONFEDERATION FOR AYURVEDIC RENAISSANCE-KERALAM LTD. (CARe KERALAM)
  • A section of small and medium-scale manufacturers has sought revival of CARe Keralam.
  • It is an industrial cluster for research set up in Thrissur district in 2012 to promote Kerala as a destination of quality Ayurvedic products and services.
  • CARe Keralam is a public limited company launched with the financial support of the Union Ministry of AYUSH and the Kerala government through the Kerala State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (KINFRA).
  • Ayurvedic drug manufacturers from Kerala are the members of the company.

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