POLITY & GOVERNANCE
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Governance [Paper-I]: Public Policy and Governance
- Parliament passed Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Bill amends the Special Protections Group Act, 1988.
- The Bill aims to reduce the financial burden of VIP security on the state exchequer.
- Special Protection Group is an elite agency that is charged with the proximate security of the Prime Minister of India.
- SPG was set up in 1985 after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was killed by her own bodyguards in 1984.
- The SPG Act was enacted in 1988 to provide for the constitution and regulation of the SPG as an armed force to provide proximate security to the Prime Minister and his/her immediate family members.
- The Act was amended in 1991, 1994, 1999 and 2003 to extend SPG cover to former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members for different periods of demitting office.
- The existing Act provides security to former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members for a period of one year from the date on which they cease to hold the office.
- Beyond this period, the SPG security is provided in case the person concerned is apprehended by grave and continuing threat by a military or terrorist organization
Why amending the Act?
- In the existing Act, there is no cut-off period for providing SPG protection to former Prime Ministers or members of their immediate families.
- Thus, the number of individuals to be provided SPG cover can potentially become quite large.
- In such a condition, there can be severe constraint on resources, training and related infrastructure of the SPG.
- This can also impact the effectiveness of the elite force in providing adequate cover to the the Prime Minister in office.
Key Features of the Bill
- SPG shall provide proximate security to the Prime Minister and his immediate family members residing with him at his official residence.
- The family members of a former Prime Minister who do not reside with him at his official residence will not be guarded by SPG commandos.
- SPG will also provide security to any former Prime Ministers, and his immediate family members residing with him at the residence allotted to him.
- This security will be provided for a period of five years from the date on which he ceases to hold the office of Prime Minister.
- If the SPG security is withdrawn from a former Prime Minister, it will also be withdrawn from his immediate family members.
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Indian Constitution, Governance [Paper-I]: Constitutional Authorities – Powers, Functions and Responsibilities, Public Policy and Governance
- Election Commission of India has reviewed the system and process of registration of political parties.
- The new guidelines will be effective from 1st January, 2020.
- Accordingly, Election Commission has decided to implement Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System (PPRTMS).
- It will be implemented through an online portal, to facilitate tracking of status of application by applicants.
- The applicant who is applying for party registration from January 1, 2020 onwards will be able to track the progress of his or her application and will get status through SMS and email.
- The applicant is required to provide contact mobile number and email address of the party / applicant in his application if he/she wishes to track the progress of the application.
Registration of Political Parties
- It is governed by the provisions of section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- A party seeking registration has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation in prescribed format with basic particulars about the party.
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Economy [Paper-II]: Infrastructure in Indian Economy, Ports
- Parliament passed “The Recycling of Ships Bill 2019’’ for Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships in India.
About the Bill
- It provides for the regulated recycling of ships, which is in accordance with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 adopted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
- It lays out rules for existing facilities and is applicable to all ships registered in India or entering Indian waters, apart from warships and other government ships.
- The Bill seeks to restrict the use of hazardous material on ships and regulates the recycling of ships by establishing a National Authority.
- It defines ship recycling as dismantling it at a facility to recover the components and materials for reuse and taking care of the hazardous material so produced.
- Under the legislation, every ship recycler must ensure safe and environmentally sound removal and management of hazardous materials from a ship.
- On the violation of these provisions, the ship recycler will be liable to pay environmental damages and cleanup operation compensation as prescribed.
- India’s 7,500-km-long coastline gives the opportunity to expand ship-breaking facilities, which would lead to creation of jobs.
- India accounts for 30% of the breaking that happens currently, with 300 ships being recycled here every year. 99% of recycling happens in Gujarat’s Alang ship-breaking yard.
- As per data available for 2018, India handles around five million gross tonnage (MnGT) annually, which is around 25% share of the world’s ship recycling industry.
- The government plans to nearly double this by 2024, at around nine MnGT.
- The new legislation will ensure environment friendly recycling process of Ships and adequate safety of the yard workers.
[Source: The Hindu, All India Radio, Economic Times]
FACTS OF THE DAY
- NASA has credited Chennai-based freelance space observer and professional programmer Shanmuga Subramanian with discovering the first spot of debris from the Chandrayaan-2 mission’s lander and alerting it on October 3, 2019.
- However, ISRO chief K Sivan has rejected NASA’s claims that they have located the debris of the crashed Vikram lander on the lunar surface and said that ISRO had located it long back.
SAMJIYON, NORTH KOREA
- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has unveiled his signature construction project – a whole new city near the sacred mountain where his family claims its roots.
- The city named Samjiyon is envisaged as what North Korea calls a “socialist utopia” with new apartments, hotels, a ski resort and commercial, cultural and medical facilities.
- Its construction was delayed chiefly due to shortages in construction materials and labour as a result of U.S. sanctions.
- The city, at the foot of the Mount Paektu, is one of the largest economic initiatives Kim has launched as part of his drive for a “self-reliant economy”.
SARDAR PATEL STADIUM, AHMEDABAD
- Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah visited the new Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.
- The Sardar Patel Stadium is set to become the world’s largest stadium and is expected to have a seating capacity for 1.10 lakh spectators.
- The stadium which has been renamed in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is also known as the Gujarat Stadium and Motera stadium.
CHRISTOPHER MARTIN-JENKINS SPIRIT OF CRICKET AWARD FOR 2019
- MCC’s Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket Award for 2019 was won by New Zealand cricket team for their sporting conduct in the aftermath of the World Cup final against England.
- 2018’s joint winners were Dan Bowser and Chris Edwards of the England Learning Disability team, who were recognized for their outstanding sporting actions during the team’s tour of the Netherlands.
- The CMJ Spirit of Cricket award was created in 2013 by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the BBC in memory of former MCC President and BBC Test Match Special commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins (“CMJ”), who was passionate about promoting the spirit of the game.
INDIAN RANKINGS SOCIETY (IRS)
- Human Resource Development Ministry has informed the Lok Sabha that “India Rankings Society (IRS)” was given the accorded approval in August 2019.
- IRS aims to develop and evolve methodologies and system for the ranking of higher educational institutions.
- Presently, National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) is being used for ranking of institutes on five broad generic groups of parameterers namely — Outreach and Inclusivity; teaching, learning and resources; research and professional practise; graduation outcomes and perception.
TORREFACTION TECHNOLOGY TO REDUCE STUBBLE BURNING
- Pollution from stubble burning in winter is the key contributor to the sharp decline in air quality in Delhi.
- To find a solution to this issue, India is testing a Swedish technology called torrefaction that can convert rice stubble into ‘bio-coal’.
- The Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to Government of India has funded a pilot project in Punjab to evaluate the feasibility of the technology.
- Bioendev, a Swedish company, has set up a pilot plant at the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute in Mohali, Punjab.