ASTROSET

ASTROSET

ASTROSAT is the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission aimed at studying distant celestial objects.The mission is capable of performing observations in Ultraviolet (UV), optical, low and high energy X-ray wavebands at the same time.  The satellite is planned to be launched during the second half of 2015 by PSLV C-34 to a 650 km near equatorial orbit around the Earth. It is significant to note that ASTROSAT is the first mission to be operated as a space observatory by ISRO.

The project was conceived following the success of the Indian X-Ray Astronomy Experiment, carried on a remote sensing satellite launched in 1996.

The government cleared the Astrosat project In 2004 at a cost of Rs. 178 crore. The satellite was planned to be launched in about 4 years.

ASTROSAT would be India’s first multiwavelength astronomy satellite. It will facilitate simultaneous observations of celestial bodies and cosmic sources in X-ray and UV spectral bands. The uniqueness of ASTROSAT lies in its wide spectral coverage extending over visible (3500-6000 Å), UV (1300-3000 Å), soft X and hard X ray regions (0.5-8 keV; 3-80 keV).

The satellite will be launched by PSLV C-34 to a 650 Km near equatorial orbit around the earth. Apart from ISRO there are 4 other Indian institutions are involved in payload development:

(a)Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

(b) Indian Institute of Astrophysics

(c)Inter-university center for Astronomy and

(d) Astrophysics and Raman Research Institute and

two of the payloads are developed with the collaboration of Canadian Space Agency and University of Leicester,UK.

Science Payload

ASTROSAT carries four X-ray payloads, one UV telescope and a charge particle monitor.  Two of the payloads are in collaboration with Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and University of Leiscester (UoL), UK.

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The instruments carried include:

1. Large-Area Xenon-filled Proportional Counters (LAXPC)

2. A Coded-mask Camera with Cadmium-Zinc-Telluride detector array (CZTI)

3. A Soft-Xray imaging telescope with multi-foil Wolter optics and CCD detector (SXT)

4. A Scanning X-ray Sky Monitor consisting of three one-dimensional coded mask cameras (SSM)

5. Two 40-cm dia Ultraviolet Telescopes for Visible, NUV and FUV coverage (UVIT)

6. A Charged particle monitor (CPM)

The camera was designed by the University of Leicester and the manufacture of the hardware components was undertaken by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. In addition to the manufacture of the camera hardware, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research has built the main telescope body and mirror. The University of Leicester is to assemble the camera, support the project through consultancy and calibrate the camera at the Space Research Center. The satellite will be launched by PSLV C-34 to a 650 Km near equatorial orbit around the earth.

ATAL PENSION YOJANA

ATAL PENSION YOJANA

The Government of India is extremely concerned about the old age income security of the working poor and is focused on encouraging and enabling them to join the National Pension System (NPS).  To address the longevity risks among the workers in unorganised sector and to encourage the workers in unorganised sector to voluntarily save for their retirement, who constitute 88% of the total labour force of 47.29 crore as per the 66th Round of NSSO Survey of 2011-12, but do not have any formal pension provision, the Government had started the Swavalamban Scheme in 2010-11. However, coverage under Swavalamban Scheme is inadequate mainly due to lack of clarity of pension benefits at the age after 60.

Therefore GOI announced a new initiative called Atal Pension Yojana (APY) in 2015-16. The APY will be focussed on all citizens in the unorganised sector, who join the National Pension System (NPS) administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) and who are not members of any statutory social security scheme. Under the APY, the subscribers would receive the fixed pension of    Rs. 1000 per month, Rs. 2000 per month, Rs. 3000 per month, Rs. 4000 per month, Rs. 5000 per month, at the age of 60 years, depending on their contributions, which itself would vary on the age of joining the APY. The minimum age of joining APY is 18 years and maximum age is 40 years. Therefore, minimum period of contribution by the subscriber under APY would be 20 years or more. The benefit of fixed pension would be guaranteed by the Government. The Central Government would also co-contribute 50% of the subscriber’s contribution or Rs. 1000 per annum, whichever is lower, to each eligible subscriber account, for a period of 5 years, i.e., from 2015-16 to 2019-20, who join the NPS before 31st December, 2015 and who are not income tax payers. The APY would be launched from 1st June, 2015. The existing subscribers of Swavalamban Scheme would be automatically migrated to APY, unless they opt out.

Benefit of APY:
 Fixed pension for the subscribers ranging between Rs. 1000 to Rs. 5000, if he joins and contributes between the age of 18 years and 40 years. The contribution levels would vary and would be low if subscriber joins early and increase if he joins late.

Eligibility for APY: Atal Pension Yojana (APY) is open to all bank account holders who are not members of any statutory social security scheme.

Age of joining and contribution period: The minimum age of joining APY is 18 years and maximum age is 40 years. Therefore, minimum period of contribution by the subscriber under APY would be 20 years or more.

Focus of APY: Mainly targeted at unorganised sector workers.

Enrolment and Subscriber Payment:  All bank account holders under the eligible category may join APY with auto-debit facility to accounts, leading to reduction in contribution collection charges.

Enrolment agencies:  All Points of Presence (Service Providers) and Aggregators under Swavalamban Scheme would enrol subscribers through architecture of National Pension System.

Operational Framework of APY: It is Government of India Scheme, which is administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority. The Institutional Architecture of NPS would be utilised to enrol subscribers under APY.

Funding of APY: Government would provide

(i) fixed pension guarantee for the subscribers;

(ii) would co-contribute 50% of the subscriber contribution or Rs. 1000 per annum, whichever is lower, to eligible subscribers; and

(iii) would also reimburse the promotional and development activities including incentive to the contribution collection agencies to encourage people to join the APY.

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Analysis of Scheme

(a) There is lukewarm response for the Atal Pension Yojana (APY). The poor response to pension scheme is symptomatic of the general mindset of the people who do not take retirement planning seriously,

(b) It is not a surprise that APY is not doing well as the previous generation depended on their children to help them tide over old age and did little retirement planning. The present generation has not woken up to the reality of retirement which is considered a distant future and hence tend to ignore it

(c) This scheme will benefit non-tax payers and those who are not yet covered under a social security scheme. But for most of those living in urban areas, a pension of Rs5,000 per month will be insufficient. For example, for a 40-year old who will have 20 years till retirement, a pension of Rs5,000 will be worth just Rs1,292 i.e. Rs40 per day. This is assuming a rate of inflation of 7%. We all know that the rate of inflation will be much higher in urban areas. For a younger person of 25 years and assuming an inflation rate of 9%, the pension of Rs5,000 per month at the time of retirement will work out to just Rs245 per month.

 

The Central Vigilance Commission (cvc)

The Central Vigilance Commission (cvc)

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The Central Vigilance Commission (cvc) was established in 1964, as an apex body for exercising general superintendence and control over vigilance administration, through the Government of India Resolution of 11.2.1964. The main mandate of the Commission was based on the report of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, popularly known as the Santhanam Committee.

Before finalising its report, the Santhanam Committee submitted its interim recommendations to the government in two parts. The first recommended the establishment of the Central Vigilance Commission. The second suggested conferring powers on the Commission, similar to those under Sections 4 and 5 of the Commission of Enquiry Act, 1952 so that it could undertake an inquiry into transactions where public servants were suspected of having acted improperly or in a corrupt manner.

The Committee envisaged a wide role for the CVC. It was not satisfied merely with the existing arrangements intended to investigate and punish corruption and misuse of authority by individual officers. “While this is indispensable, the Committee feels that the Central Vigilance organisation should be expanded so as to deal with complaints of failure of justice or oppression or abuse of authority suffered by the citizens though it may be difficult to attribute them to any particular official or officials.”

The Committee therefore recommended that the CVC should be vested with jurisdiction and power, inter alia, to “inquire into and investigate:

(a) Complaints against acts or omissions, decisions or recommendation, or administrative procedures or practices on the grounds that they are:

(i) wrong or contrary to law;

(ii) unreasonable, unjust, oppressive or improperly discriminatory;

(iii) in accordance with a rule of law or a provision of any enactment or a practice that is or may be unreasonable, unjust, oppressive or improperly discriminatory; or

(iv) based wholly or partly on a mistake of law or fact.”

The Government of India did not accept this recommendation. The Resolution with which the CVC was set up did not have this clause in its charter of functions. The reasoning for its exclusion was explained in these words: “The importance and urgency of providing a machinery for looking into grievances of citizens against the administration and for ensuring just and fair exercise of administrative power is fully recognised. But it is considered that the problem is big enough to require a separate agency or machinery and that apart from this the Central Vigilance Commission would be overburdened if this responsibility were to be placed upon it, and the Commission might as a result be less effective in dealing with the problem of corruption.”

The recommendation made by the Committee in the second part8 that the CVC should be given through suitable legislation certain powers to enable it to undertake enquiries remained unimplemented till 2003 when the CVC Act was legislated. Though these powers are now available with the Commission, they are not used by it

The Resolution of 1964

The Resolution of 1964 had two significant provisions.

♦ One, it defined the charter of the CVC. Its main function was to undertake an enquiry or to cause an enquiry or investigation to be made into any complaint of “corruption, misconduct, lack of integrity, or other kinds of malpractices or misdemeanour on the part of a public servant including members of the All India Services even if such members are for the time being serving in connection with the affairs of a state government.”

♦ The other was to maintain that though the Commission will be an attached office of the Ministry of Home Affairs, “in the exercise of its powers and functions it will not be subordinate to any Ministry/Department and will have the same measure of independence and autonomy as the Union Public Service Commission.”

The Hawala Case From 1964 to 1993, for nearly three decades, the CVC rolled along without making any visible dent on the problem of corruption in the country. A very important milestone in its history occurred when the Supreme Court pronounced its judgement in what is popularly known as the Hawala Case.

  • The gist of allegations made in the writ petitions filed on 4 October 1993 was that: „ financial support was given to terrorists by clandestine and illegal means using tainted funds obtained through hawala transactions;
  • the CBI and other agencies failed to investigate these properly and prosecute those who were involved in committing the offences; and
  • this was done deliberately to protect persons who were influential and powerful.

SC Judgment and CVC

In this judgment court declared the Single Directive null and void and gave directions to establish institutional and other arrangements aimed at insulating the CBI and the Directorate of Enforcement of the Ministry of Finance from outside influences.

1. The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) shall be given statutory status.

2. Selection for the post of Central Vigilance Commissioner shall be made by a Committee comprising the Prime Minister, Home Minister and the Leader of the Opposition from a panel of outstanding civil servants and others with impeccable integrity, to be furnished by the Cabinet Secretary.The appointment shall be made by the President on the basis of the recommendations made by the Committee. This shall be done immediately.

3. The CVC shall be responsible for the efficient functioning of the CBI. While Government shall remain answerable for the CBI’s functioning, to introduce visible objectivity in the mechanism to be established for overviewing the CBI’s working, the CVC shall be entrusted with the responsibility of superintendence over the CBI’s functioning. The CBI shall report to the CVC about cases taken up by it for investigation; progress of investigation; cases in which charge-sheets are filed and their progress. The CVC shall review the progress of all cases moved by the CBI for sanction of prosecution of public servants which are pending with the competent authorities, specially those in which sanction has been delayed or refused.

4. The Central Government shall take all measures necessary to ensure that the CBI functions effectively and efficiently and is viewed as a non-partisan agency.

5. The CVC shall have a separate section in its Annual Report on the CBI’s functioning after the supervisory function is transferred to it.

6. Recommendations for appointment of the Director, CBI shall be made by a Committee headed by the Central Vigilance Commissioner with the Home Secretary and Secretary (Personnel) as members. The views of the incumbent Director shall be considered by the Committee for making the best choice. The Committee shall draw up a panel of IPS officers on the basis of their seniority, integrity, experience in investigation and anti-corruption work. The final selection shall be made by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) from the panel recommended by the Selection Committee. If none among the panel is found suitable, the reasons thereof shall be recorded and the Committee asked to draw up a fresh panel.

7. The Director, CBI shall have a minimum tenure of two years, regardless of the date of his superannuation. This would ensure that an officer suitable in all respects is not ignored merely because he has less than two years to superannuate from the date of his appointment.

8. The transfer of an incumbent Director, CBI in an extraordinary situation, including the need for him to take up a more important assignment, should have the approval of the Selection Committee.

9. The Director, CBI shall have full freedom for allocation of work within the agency as also for constituting teams for investigations. Any change made by the Director, CBI in the Head of an investigative team should be for cogent reasons and for improvement in investigation, the reasons being recorded.

10. Selection/ extension of tenure of officers up to the level of Joint Director (JD) shall be decided by a Board comprising the Central Vigilance Commissioner, Home Secretary and Secretary (Personnel) with the Director, CBI providing the necessary inputs. The extension of tenure or premature repatriation of officers up to the level of Joint Director shall be with final approval of this Board. Only cases pertaining to the appointment or extension of tenure of officers of the rank of Joint Director or above shall bee referred to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) for decision.

11. Proposals for improvement of infrastructure, methods of investigation, etc. should be decided urgently. In order to strengthen CBI’s in-house expertise, professionals from the Revenue, Banking and Security sectors should be inducted into the CBI.

12. The CBI Manual based on statutory provisions of the CrPC provides essential guidelines for the CBI’s functioning. It is imperative that the CBI adheres scrupulously to the provisions in the Manual in relation to its investigative functions, like raids, seizure and arrests. Any deviation from the established procedure should be viewed seriously and severe disciplinary action taken against the officials concerned.

13. The Director, CBI shall be responsible for ensuring the filing of charge-sheets in courts within the stipulated time-limits, and the matter should be kept under constant review by the Director, CBI.

14. A document on CBI’s functioning should be published within three months to provide the general public with a feedback on investigations and information for redress of genuine grievances in a manner which does not compromise with the operational requirements of the CBI.

15. Time-limit of three months for grant of sanction for prosecution must be strictly adhered to. However, additional time of one month may be allowed where consultation is required with the Attorney General (ersonAG) or any other law officer in the AG’s office. 16. The Director, CBI should conduct regular appraisal of pnel to prevent corruption and/ or inefficiency in the agency.

16. Directions issued by the Court on the selection and tenure of the Head of the Enforcement Directorate of the Ministry of Finance

Government Response

the government hurriedly promulgated the Central Vigilance Commission Ordinance, 1998 validifying Single Directive. The following main amendments were made in the principal Ordinance:

♦ The number of Vigilance Commissioners was reduced from four to three.

♦ The entry making the Secretary to the Government of India in charge of the Ministry of Personnel an ex-officio member was deleted. „

♦ Selection of the Chairperson and members of the Commission would be done from civil servants and those “who have held office or are holding office in a corporation established by or under any Central Act or a Government company owned or controlled by the Central Government and persons who have expertise and experience in finance including insurance and banking, law, vigilance and investigations.” „

♦ The Commission would no longer be authorised or required to grant approval to conduct investigations into allegations of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against certain categories of persons.

The Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003:

In 1998 the Government introduced the CVC Bill in the Lok Sabha in order to replace the Ordinance, though it was not successful. The Bill was re-introduced in 1999 and remained with the Parliament till September 2003, when it became an Act after being duly passed in both the Houses of Parliament and with the President’s assent. The provisions of the Act include inquiries into offences alleged to have been committed by certain categories of public servants of the Central Government; corporations established by or under any central Act; government companies; societies; and local authorities owned or controlled by the Central Government; and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Important Features of the CVC Act, 2003

♦ The Commission shall consist of a Central Vigilance Commissioner (Chairperson) and not more than two Vigilance Commissioners (members).

♦ The Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners shall be appointed by the President on recommendation of a Committee consisting of the Prime Minister (Chairperson), the Minister of Home Affairs (Member)  and the Leader of the Opposition in the House of the People (Member).

♦ The term of office of the Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners would be four years from the date on which they enter their office or till they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

♦ The Commission, while conducting the inquiry, shall have all the powers of a Civil Court with respect to certain aspects.

Commission’s Jurisdiction under CVC Act

♦ Members of All India Services serving in connection with the affairs of the Union and gazetted officers of the Central Government.

♦ Board level appointees and other senior officers upto two grades below the Board level, in the Public Sector Undertakings of the Central Government;

♦ Officers of the rank of Scale V and above in the Public Sector Banks; • Officers of the rank of Assistant Manager and above in the Insurance Sector (covered by LIC and GIC and four non-life insurance companies in the Public sector); and central Government.

♦ Officers drawing basic pay of Rs. 8700/- (Pre-revised) per month and above in autonomous bodies/local authorities or societies owned or controlled by the Central

Functions and powers of the Central Vigilance CommissionUnder the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003

♦ Exercise superintendence over the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) insofar as it relates to the investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; or an offence under the Cr.PC for certain categories of public servants – section 8(1)(a);

♦ Give directions to the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) for superintendence insofar as it relates to the investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 – section 8(1)(b);

♦ To inquire or cause an inquiry or investigation to be made on a reference by the Central Government – section 8(1)(c);

♦ To inquire or cause an inquiry or investigation to be made into any complaint received against any official belonging to such category of officials specified in sub-section 2 of Section 8 of the CVC Act, 2003 – section 8(1)(d);

♦ Review the progress of investigations conducted by the DSPE into offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 or an offence under the Cr.PC – section (8)(1)(e);

♦ Review the progress of the applications pending with the competent authorities for sanction of prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 – section 8(1)(f);

♦ Tender advice to the Central Government and its organizations on such matters as may be referred to it by them – section 8(1) (g);

♦ Exercise superintendence over the vigilance administrations of the various Central Government Ministries, Departments and Organizations of the Central Government – section 8(1)(h);

♦ Shall have all the powers of a Civil court while conducting any inquiry – section 11;

♦ Respond to Central Government on mandatory consultation with the Commission before making any rules or regulations governing the vigilance or disciplinary matters relating to the persons appointed to the public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or to members of the All India Services – section 19.

♦ The Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) is the Chairperson and the Vigilance Commissioners (Members) of the Committee, on whose recommendations, the Central Government appoints the Director of Enforcement – section 25.

♦ The Committee concerned with the appointment of the Director of Enforcement is also empowered to recommend, after consultation with the Director of Enforcement appointment of officers to the posts of the level of Deputy Director and above in the Directorate of Enforcement – section 25;

♦ The Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) is also the Chairperson and the Vigilance Commissioners (Members) of the Committee empowered to recommend after consultation with Director (CBI), appointment of officers to the post of the level of SP and above except Director and also recommend the extension or curtailment of tenure of such officers in the DSPE (CBI) – Section 26 and Section 4C of DSPE Act, 1946.

Removal of Central Vigilance Commissioner and Vigilance Commissioner.-

1. Subject to the provisions of sub-section (3), the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner shall be removed from his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be, ought on such ground be removed.

2. The President may suspend from office, and if deem necessary prohibit also from attending the office during inquiry, the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court under sub-section (1) until the President has passed orders on receipt of the report of the Supreme Court on such reference.

3. Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the President may by order remove from office the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner if the Central Vigilance Commissioner or such Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be,-

(a). Is adjudged an insolvent; or

(b). Has been convicted of an offence which, in the opinion of the Central Government, involves moral turpitude; or

(c). Engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or

(d). Is, in the opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body; or

(e). Has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as a Central Vigilance Commissioner or a Vigilance Commissioner.

4. If the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner is or becomes in any way, concerned or interested in any contract or agreement made by or on behalf of the Government of India or participates in any way in the profit thereof or in any benefit or emolument arising there from otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company

Recent Development

♦ In a major blow to the Centre, the Supreme Court in 2011 quashed the appointment of P.J. Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC). A Bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar set aside his appointment acting on the writ petitions filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, the former Chief Election Commissioner, J.M. Lyngdoh, and others.

Mr. Thomas had been appointed CVC pursuant to a recommendation made by a high power committee (HPC) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, who was a HPC member, disagreed with the decision.

Justice Kapadia, who wrote the judgment, held invalid the HPC’s decision and pointed out that as of date, Mr. Thomas was accused No. 8 in the Kerala palmolein case pending in the Court of the Special Judge, Thiruvananthapuram, for offences under Section 13(2) read with 13(1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and under Section 120B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

The Bench, quoting an earlier judgment, said eligibility criteria would indicate that eligible persons should be without any blemish whatsoever and they should not be appointed merely because they were eligible to be considered for the post.

♦ The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill passed by Parliament received the assent of the President on 1st January, 2014 and came on the statute book as The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 (1 of 2014). The Act provides for establishment of a body of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayuktas for States to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for matters connected therewith. The jurisdiction of Lokpal includes the Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament, Groups A, B, C and D officers and officials of the Central Government. The Lokpal has powers to inquire or cause an inquiry or investigation into offences alleged to have been committed under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 by the categories of public functionaries prescribed in Section 14 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 has amended some provisions of CVC Act, 2003 and the Commission has been empowered to conduct preliminary inquiry into complaints referred by Lokpal in respect of officers and officials of Groups B, C & D, besides Group A officers. The Commission’s additional functions would include conducting preliminary inquiry into the complaints referred by Lokpal in respect of Gr. ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’& ‘D’ officials for which a Directorate of Inquiry for making preliminary inquiry is to be set up in the Commission. The preliminary inquiry reports in such matters referred by Lokpal in respect of Group A and B officers are required to be sent to the Lokpal by the Commission. Further, as per mandate, the Commission is to cause further investigation into such Lokpal references in respect of Gr. ‘C’& ‘D’ officials and decide on further course of action against them.

 

Pharma Jan Samadhan Scheme (PJSS)

Pharma Jan Samadhan Scheme (PJSS)

It is a web enabled system for redressal of consumers’ grievances relating to pricing and availability of medicines, created by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

The ‘Pharma Jan Samadhan’ scheme has put in place a speedy and effective complaint redressal system with respect to availability and pricing of medicines. It would serve as a robust e-governance tool for protection of consumers’ interests through effective implementation of the Drugs (Price Control) Order 2013.

Pharma Jan Samadhan’ will provide consumers and others with an on-line facility to redress their complaints relating to over-pricing of medicines, non-availability or shortage of medicines, sale of new medicines without prior price approval of NPPA, and refusal of supply for sale of any medicine without good and sufficient reason. NPPA will initiate action on any complaint within 48 hrs of its receipt.

New initiative shows that  NPPA is not only regulator but more of a facilitator. This phama-literacy initiative would create awareness among the people and would act as a deterrence against black-marketing, spurious medicines, and inflated cost of drugs. Pharma industry stands on three pillars- quality, availability and affordability, and ‘Pharma Jan Samadhan’ is a step in this direction. Pharma is the sun-rise sector of the country and considering the size, it seems to be a fit case to make a separate Ministry to handle issues relating to pharmaceutical industry..

This is a step in empowering the common man. Health is the prime issue for the people and making them aware about availability and pricing of medicine would help in improving the system..

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)

NPPA is an organization of the Government of India was established under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995  to regulate the prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations and to enforce prices and availability of the medicines in the country.The organization is also entrusted with the task of recovery of amounts overcharged by manufacturers for controlled drugs from the consumers & also monitors the prices of decontrolled drugs.

Functions of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)

1. To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order in accordance with the powers delegated to it.

2. To  deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the Authority;

3. To monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps;

4. To collect/ maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc, for bulk drugs and formulations;

5. To undertake and/ or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of drugs/ pharmaceuticals;

6. To recruit/ appoint the officers and other staff members of the Authority, as per rules and procedures laid down by the Government;

7. To render advice to the Central Government on changes/ revisions in the drug policy;

8. To render assistance to the Central Government in the parliamentary matters relating to the drug pricing.

GSLV Mark III

GSLV Mark III

The Indian Space Research Organization has launched the first test flight of its newest rocket – the GSLV Mk.III – conducting a suborbital flight that also demonstrated a prototype crew capsule (CARE) for India’s proposed manned missions.

Vehicle description:- 

India’s new rocket, which the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) refers to by the names GSLV Mk.III and LVM3, is a completely new vehicle marking the third generation for India’s orbital launch systems.

The two-stage rocket is designed to place around 10 tonnes of payload into low earth orbit or four tonnes to a geosynchronous transfer orbit.

Weighing 630 tons, the GSLV Mk III is a new-generation launch vehicle. It is 43 meters (142 ft) long. The cryogenic upper stage C 25 will be powered by the CE-20 engine burning liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, producing 186 kilonewtons (19.0 tf) of thrust. The C 25 will be 4 meters (13 ft) in diameter and 13.5 meters (44 ft) long, and contain 27 tons of propellant.

Based on the PSLV technology, it replaces the solid rocket boosters with larger liquid boosters and introduces a cryogenically-fuelled third stage. Early flights of the GSLV Mk.I used a Russian KVD-1M engine on the third stage, however the Mk.II configuration, first flown in April 2010, has an Indian-built engine in its place.

The LVM-3 or GSLV Mk.III is completely new development, a two stage rocket with twin solid boosters augmenting an all-liquid core vehicle.The first stage, or L110, is powered by two Vikas engines, derived from France’s Viking series used on Ariane rockets between 1979 and 2004.

Each of the two boosters will burn 207 tonnes of solid propellant – a mixture of ammonium perchlorate, aluminum and hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB).

The rocket’s second stage, which was not tested on Thursday’s mission, is designated the C25. It was powered by a CE20 engine burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen; however for the maiden flight the second stage was inert, loaded with liquid nitrogen to simulate propellant.

The name of the new rocket remains unclear, with ISRO continuing to refer to the rocket as both the LVM3 and GSLV Mk.III.

GSLV Mk III is conceived and designed to make ISRO fully self-reliant in launching heavier communication satellites of INSAT-4 class, which weigh 4,500 to 5,000 kg. It would also enhance India’s capability to be a competitive player in the multi-million dollar commercial launch market.

Payload – Crew Module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE)

The payload for this maiden launch was the Crew Module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE), which demonstrated the crew capsule which ISRO has been developing for its manned programme. The primary objective of CARE’s mission was to validate the reentry and recovery of the prototype spacecraft.

CARE was mounted upside-down inside the payload fairing of the GSLV Mk III. CARE was made of aluminum alloy and had a lift-off mass of 3,735 kg. Its diameter was 3100 mm and its height was 2678 mm. The module had an ablative thermal protection. The side panels were covered with Medium Density Ablative (MDA) tiles and the forward heat shield was made of carbon phenolic tiles. It was powered by batteries and was equipped with six liquid-propellant 100 N thrusters.

By launching upside-down, ISRO aim was to simplify the CARE mission and increase the chances of success; eliminating the risk of having to modify the capsule’s heat shield to interface with the rocket and removing the need for the spacecraft to maneuver to reentry attitude following launch.

The GSLV Mk.III is not expected to fly again until 2016 or early 2017, when the rocket will make its first orbital flight – designated D1 – with the GSAT-19E spacecraft.

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Namami Gange

Namami Gange

Namami Gange is 100% centrally funded. The intention is to “ramp up progress” of the Ganga clean-up mission. Misiion  has been announced as an Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission in the Union Budget of 2014-15 with the aim of Ganga Rejuvenation i.e., restoration of the wholesomeness of the holy river.

47 TOWNS, 12 RIVERS

Covered under the project in 8 states. Dept of Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation proposes to make 1,632 gram panchayats by the Ganga open defecation-free by 2022, at a cost of Rs 1,700 cr (central share). Several ministries such as Environment, Shipping, Urban Development, Tourism, Rural Development have been working with the nodal Water Resources Ministry to undertake projects.

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PEOPLE-CENTRED

According to the government, a major change in implementation from earlier efforts will lie in the focus on involving people living on the river’s banks. States and grassroots institutions such as Urban Local Bodies and Panchayati Raj institutions will be involved by implementing agency National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and its state counterparts, State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs)

1433240442.PEOPLE-CENTRED

POLLUTION FOCUS

Pollution abatement interventions: Interception, diversion, treatment of waste water in drains through bio-remediation/ in-situ treatment/use of innovative technologies/sewage treatment plants/effluent treatment plants; immediate measures to arrest inflow of sewage; PPP/SPV approach for pollution hotspots; 4-battalion Territorial Army Ganga Eco-Task Force; possible new laws.

Alarming levels of pollution: A river is considered polluted when the Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand (BoD) level rises above 2mg/l. A recent Central Pollution Control Board report says about 2,300 km of Namami Gange rivers are polluted, including 550 km of Ganga, 667 km of Yamuna, 250 km of Gomti. Some 12,363 km of India’s 275 prominent rivers (including Namami Gange rivers) are polluted

WHAT ABOUT OTHER RIVERS?

Rs 1,500 cr were provisioned for NRCP in the 12th Plan, but only Rs 388.38 cr were provided in the first three years. For 2015-16, projected requirement for rivers other than Ganga and its tributaries was Rs 295 cr; only Rs 40 cr have been provided.

Earlier effort to clean Ganga

Ganga Action Plan Ph I & II:

Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi launched Phase I in 1985, covering 25 Ganga towns in three states; Rs 862.59 crore were spent.

Phase II
covered 59 towns in five states; Rs 505.31 cr were spent. Rivers such as Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar, Mahananda had separate action plans. No results were visible.

Mission Clean Ganga

“Mission Clean Ganga” project on 31st December, 2009 with the objective that by 2020, no municipal sewage and industrial waste would be released in the river without treatment, with the total budget of around Rs.15,000 crore.

NGRBA effort:

The Government also established the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), chaired by the Prime Minister, with the objective to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga, by adopting a river basin approach for comprehensive planning and management.

Apart from this a clean ganga fund (GCF) was launched in September 2014. with voluntary contributions from residents of the country and Non-Resident Indian (NRIs) / Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and others to harness their enthusiasm to contribute towards the conservation of the river Ganga. The Fund will have the objective of contributing to the national effort of cleaning of the river Ganga. Domestic donors to the Fund shall be eligible for tax benefits as applicable in the case of the Swachh Bharat Kosh. The Fund would be managed by a Trust to be headed by Finance Minister. The secretariat of the Trust will be set up in Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation under the Mission Director, Clean Ganga.

The main features of CGF are:

i. CGF will have the objective of contributing to the national effort of improving the cleanliness of the river Ganga with the contributions received from the residents of the country, NRIs/ PIO and others.

ii. CGF will be operated through a bank account by a Trust.

iii. Domestic donors to the fund shall be eligible for tax benefits as in the case of “Swachch Bharat Kosh”. Foreign donors could get suitable tax exemptions in domestic law, wherever permissible.

iv. CGF will explore the possibility of setting up daughter funds in other jurisdictions/countries of high donor interest such as USA, UK, Singapore, UAE, etc. to enable tax benefits to donors in their respective jurisdictions.

v. CGF will be catalytic in nature and will identify and fund specific projects which could be pilot projects, R&D projects, innovative projects or other focused projects. The Fund will define specific and measurable objectives to form the basis for planning, funding, and evaluation.

vi. Broad activities proposed to be financed from CGF include, inter alia, Activities outlined under the ‘Namami Gange’ programme for cleaning of river Ganga; control of non-point pollution from agricultural runoff, human defecation, cattle wallowing etc.; setting up of waste treatment and disposal plants along the river around the cities; conservation of the biotic diversity of the river; community based activities to reduce polluting human interface with the river; Development of public amenities including activities such as Ghat redevelopment; R&D and innovative projects; Research and Development projects and innovative projects for new technology and processes for cleaning Ganga; independent oversight through intensive monitoring and real time reporting; any other activity as approved by Governing Council. This is an indicative list and can be expanded within the overall objective by the Governing Council. The Fund shall not be utilised for activities such as dredging.

vii. CGF will be subject to such audit as required by law as well as audit by any agency determined by Government. CGF would be administered by a Trust to be chaired by Finance Minister and upto 8 members from different fields including NRIs, nominated by the Government. Secretary (Economic Affairs), Secretary (Overseas Indian Affairs), Secretary (Environment, Forest and Climate Changes) and Secretary (Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation) will be members. The CEO of the Fund will be the Member Secretary of the Trust. Two Secretaries from the concerned state governments shall be additional members on a rotation basis. Government may also nominate experts and / or persons of eminence in public life as expert invitees. The Secretariat of the Governing Council shall be set up in Ministry of Water Resources. The Mission Director shall be the CEO of the Fund unless a separate CEO is appointed.

The following broad activities will be financed from the Fund:

(a) Activities outlined under the ‘Namami Gange’ programme for cleaning of river Ganga.

(b) Control of non-point pollution from agricultural runoff, human defecation, cattle wallowing, etc.

(c) Setting up of waste treatment and disposal plants along the river around the cities.

(d) Conservation of the biotic diversity of the river.

(e) Community based activities to reduce polluting human interface with the river.

(f) Development of public amenities including activities such as Ghat redevelopment.

(g) Research and Development and innovative projects.

(h) Research and Development projects and innovative projects for new technology and processes for cleaning the river.

(i) Independent oversight through intensive monitoring and real time reporting.

(j)  Any other activity as approved by the Trust.

Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana

Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana

Mr. Modi’s Ministry came up with yet another ambitious approach launched in Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme which is the dire need of the hour. The scheme started with Rs.100 crore initial corpus funds and is likely to move ahead with its well thought-out plan and direction. The welfare measures voiced are for protecting and planning the lives of the down trodden daughters of this country. The union minister Mr. Arun Jaitley stated there are various areas of women and child which need to be addressed immediately. The idea is to create awareness about gender equality and extend medical aid for various ailments for women and child. He felt school syllabus has to create topics which helps the child to feel there is gender equality. It is stated that the funding for all these activities will be done by Nirbhaya fund.

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It is also proposed to start a special small savings scheme for the education of the girl child with a fund of Rs. 14,389 crores. Also there is a proposal to Rs. 150 crores on the safety of women in urban and large cities.

However, the initiative though good has been largely criticized by many people. It is not enough to allot funds and schemes. More importantly we need to rearrange and amend the laws and punish those vigorously who interfere with the peaceful existence of the girls in the society. Sabu George, who is working for more than 30 years towards this, is under the impression that money allotment is never the solution, it’s high time we see to it the law is punishing the culprits very severely. “We need to have a strong law meant to punish those engaged in the practice of sex determination and sex selective abortion- Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act. The government has to ensure that they talk tough so that doctors do not indulge in this malpractice,” George said.

According to Subash Mendapurkar of the Society for Social Uplift, through rural action, there is a need to connect with the communities first, right from the gram panchayat level to ensure gender equality. He has been working on the issue of the girl child especially in Himachal Pradesh. He pointed out that there has been a marginal increase in the child sex ratio. “What we need to do is provide an enabling environment for our girls and educate and inform person’s right at the grass root level that there should be no gender bias”, he said.

Kiran Moghe, President of the State All India Democratic Women Association however was critical of budgetary allocation of Rs 200 crore for the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue and a mere Rs 100 crore to save the girl child. “Need I say more,” she said adding that the increase in number of violations against the girl child was on the rise. “There also is a need to launch more dedicated efforts than just allocating monetary incentives,” she said.

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Gender respect should be taught at the school level more so from the home level by the parents. Also we need to address the associated problems in bringing up the girl child, her marriage expenses and discrimination in the society. If these are addressed properly there is no issue which will discriminate the girl from the boy in the society. We need not campaign door to door about the girl child and her safety. Let us all not forget that we live in a country where state of Kerala and its law extends the best of status to its girls. Also we should remember there are families, brothers and fathers who care exclusively for their girl children. They need to be rewarded, applauded and be taken as role models in the society. The girl child issue has to be attacked more smartly and encourage the future parents with a positive note.

Among the list of immediate issues, few are very important, they are,

  1. Education for women
  2. Health issues
  3. Campaigns on sensitization towards women and children
  4. Women safety cells
  5. Safety of women on public Transport system
  6. Cyber crime cells
  7. Crisis management centre’s
  8. Government and private hospitals for women
  9. Awards for best parents, Samaritans in the society
  10. Awards for daring girls standing up as role models in the society

The government has to initiate various schemes, take necessary precautions, along with that it has to show new direction to the young generation.

We need to understand solution lies just beside the problem, smile is in the mile. Let us help India walk that extra MILE’s with a smile in the eyes of a girl child.

Higgs Boson : The God Particle

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The standard model of particle physics hypothesized about Higgs Boson in 1964. The discovery of Higgs particle was announced at CERN on 4 July 2012. The discovery has been called monumental because it appears to confirm the existence of the Higgs field, which is pivotal to the Standard Model and other theories within particle physics. As scientists are busy finding out the details of the Higgs Field, let’s have a quick look at some of the most perplexing questions based on Higgs particle.

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WHY IS THE HIGGS PARTICLE CALLED THE “GOD PARTICLE”?

The nickname is pure invention. There’s nothing in the mathematical equations, in the interpretation of the physics, in any philosophy, or in any religious text or tradition that connects the Higgs particle or the Higgs field with any notion of religion or divinity. Professor and Nobel Prize Winner Leon Lederman, allowed his book on the Higgs particle to be assigned this attention-getting title, and thus the name!

FIELD VS WAVES VS PARTICLE

A field is normally made up of waves. An waves are made up of particles. The least-intense possible wave that a field can have is called a particle. Applying the concept in Higgs Field : Higgs particle is the smallest possible Higgs wave, and a Higgs wave is a ripple in the Higgs field.

WHAT’S SO IMPORTANT ABOUT THE HIGGS PARTICLE?

Finding the Higgs particle is the first big step toward the main goal: understanding the properties of the Higgs field and why it has a non-zero average value.

WHAT’S SO IMPORTANT ABOUT THE HIGGS FIELD?

The Higgs field has a non-zero average value. And because it does, many elementary particles have mass. Remember that the electric field has zero average value. Discovery of Higgs field would explain why some fundamental particles have mass when the symmetries controlling their interactions should require them to be massless. It would also explain why the weak force has a much shorter range than the electromagnetic force. The discovery of a Higgs boson should allow physicists to finally validate the last untested area of the Standard Model’s approach to fundamental particles and forces, guide other theories and discoveries in particle physics, and potentially lead to developments in “new” physics.

LARGE HADRON COLLIDER

Higgs Boson

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Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was built to figure out what the Higgs field is (or Higgs fields are), how it works (or they work), and whether it is (or they are) elementary or composite. In-fact LHC was built to do much more than discover the Higgs Boson, such as…

  • Identify dark matter
  • Search for extra dimensions of space and microscopic black holes
  • Look for signs of unification of fundamental forces
  • Find “evidence” for string theory
  • Find the Higgs Boson
  • Understand antimatter
  • Learn about the fundamental forces that have shaped the universe since the beginning of time, and will determine its fate.

THE HIGGS FIELD IS NOT THE UNIVERSAL GIVER OF MASS TO THINGS IN THE UNIVERSE!

Ordinary matter’s mass is mostly from atomic nuclei. That doesn’t come entirely from the Higgs field.The Higgs field gives mass to most of the elementary particles, but not to bigger composite particles. This means even if there is no Higgs field, there would have been protons and neutrons, which of-course has mass. So Higgs field is not the universal giver of mass to things in the universe.

HIGGS FIELD IS NOT THE SOLE MASS GIVER EVEN TO ELEMENTARY PARTICLES!

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The Higgs field is not the universal giver of mass to all elementary particles. The Higgs particle itself gets its mass, at least in part, from elsewhere, may be from dark matter.

PS: Now it is true that the W and Z particles, the quarks, the charged leptons and the neutrinos must get their mass from a Higgs field. It’s not possible for them to have masses any other way. But this is not true of the Higgs particle itself.

NB : The mass-less particles are photons, gluons and gravitons.

BEYOND THE HIGGS BOSON

The standard model of particle physics hypothesized about Higgs Boson. In fact this hypothesis states that the Higgs Field is made up of elementary particles called Higgs Bosons. But in reality there might be more than one Higgs Field made up of particles other than Higgs Bosons too.

 

Parliamentary Committees in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

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You all are familiar with Parliament as a major organ of the state dealing with law making. Parliament is also the authority to check the Executive (government). Every Executive is answerable to the Parliament. Our discussion and analysis on Parliament will be incomplete if we don’t touch the Parliamentary Committees. These are committees, with MPs as members, for specialized work on behalf of the entire Parliament.

Why Parliamentary Committees?

The work done by the Parliament in modern times is considerable in volume and varied in nature. The time at its disposal is limited (Remember that our Parliament normally meets only for 3 sessions, that too only for around 100 days each year!). It cannot, therefore, give close consideration to the details of all the legislative and other matters that come up before it. Hence Parliamentary Committees are necessary for detailed study on specific matters.

 

Types of Parliamentary Committees

  • Based on purpose and duration.
  1. Standing – Advisory and Enquiry.
  • Based on composition.
  1. Select – Single House, ie either LS or RS.
  2. Joint – Both Houses.
-COMMITTEE TYPES- STANDING  COMMITTEE ADHOC COMMITTEE
SELECT COMMITTEE Eg: Estimate (LS),Ethics Committee (RS) Committees on Bills (Select)
JOINT COMMITTEE Eg : PAC Committees on Bills ( Joint)

Ad hoc Committees vs Standing Committees

Ad hoc Committees are appointed for a specific purpose and they cease to exist when they finish the task assigned to them and submit a report.

Examples of ad hoc committees

  1. Committees on Bills (Select and Joint).
  2. Railway Convention Committee.
  3. Committees on the Draft Five Year Plans.
  4. Hindi Equivalents Committee.

Standing Committees are permanent committees. Each House of Parliament has Standing Committees.

Examples of standing committees:

  1. Business Advisory Committee.
  2. Committee on Petitions.
  3. Committee of Privileges.
  4. Rules Committee.

How Parliament transacts its business with Parliamentary Committees?

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  1. When a Bill comes up before a House for general discussion, it is open to that House to refer it to a Select Committee of the House or a Joint Committee of the two Houses.
  2. A motion has to be moved and adopted to this effect in the House in which the Bill comes up for consideration.
  3. In case the motion adopted is for reference of the Bill to a Joint Committee, the decision is conveyed to the other House requesting them to nominate members of the other House to serve on the Committee.
  4. The Select or Joint Committee considers the Bill clause by clause just as the two Houses do. Amendments can be moved to various clauses by members of the Committee.
  5. The Committee can also take evidence of associations, public bodies or experts who are interested in the Bill.
  6. After the Bill has thus been considered the Committee submits its report to the House.
  7. Members who do not agree with the majority report may append their minutes of dissent to the report.

Standing Committees in Loksabha (Select)

  1. Absence of Members from the sitting of the House
  2. Business Advisory Committee
  3. Committee on Welfare of Other Backward Classes
  4. Empowerment of Women
  5. General Purposes Committee
  6. Government Assurances
  7. House Committee
  8. Library Committee
  9. Papers Laid on the Table
  10. Petitions
  11. Private Members Bills and Resolutions
  12. Privileges
  13. Rules Committee
  14. Subordinate Legislation
  15. Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes

Standing Committees in Rajysabha (Select)

  1. Committees to enquire—

(a) Committee on Petitions;
(b) Committee of Privileges; and
(c) Ethics Committee.

  1. Committees to scrutinise and control—

(a) Committee on Government Assurances;
(b) Committee on Subordinate Legislation; and
(c) Committee on Papers Laid on the Table.

  1. Committees relating to day-to-day business of the House—

(a) Business Advisory Committee; and
(b) Rules Committee.

  1. House Keeping Committees—

(a) House Committee;
(b) General Purposes Committee; and
(c) Committee on Provision of Computers to Members of Rajya Sabha.

PS : The 12th committee in Rajya Sabha is Committee on Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme.

Sl. No. Name of the Committee No. of members in the Committee
1. Business Advisory Committee 11
2. Committee on Papers Laid on the Table 10
3. Committee on Petitions 10
4. Committee of Privileges 10
5. Committee on Rules 16
6. Committee on Subordinate  Legislation 15
7. Committee on Government  Assurances 10
8. General Purposes Committee Not fixed
9. House Committee 10
10. Ethics Committee 10
11. Committee on Provision of  Computers for Members of Rajya Sabha 7
12. Committee on Members of  Parliament Local Area Development Scheme 10

Joint Standing Committees

All Department related standing committees are joint. Also two of the three Financial committees are Joint (PAC and PUC). In addition to these the below mentioned are the important joint committees in Parliament.

(a) Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
(b) Committee on Offices of Profit.
(c) [Parliamentary Committee to review the rate of dividend payable by the Railway Undertaking to the General Revenues] (Railway Convention Committee).
(d) Committee on Empowerment of Women.
(e) Library Committee.
(f) Committee on Food Management in Parliament House Complex.
(g) Committee on Installation of Portraits/Statues of National Leaders and Parliamentarians in the Parliament House Complex.
(h) Committee on Security Matters in Parliament House Complex.

Department related Standing Committees (Joint)

Out of the 24 Committees, 18 Committees are serviced by the Loksabha Secretariat and 6 Committees by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat. Each of these Standing Committees consists of not more than 45 members—30 to be nominated by the Speaker from amongst the members of Lok Sabha and 15 to be nominated by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha from amongst the members of Rajya Sabha. A Minister is not eligible to be nominated to these Committees.The term of members of these Committees is one year.

DEPARTMENT RELATED STANDING COMMITTEES (LS)

SL NO. NAME OF THE DEPARTMENT RELATED STANDING COMMITTEE (LS)
1 Committee on Agriculture
2 Committee on Chemicals & Fertilizers
3 Committee on Coal & Steel
4 Committee on Defence
5 Committee on Energy
6 Committee on External Affairs
7 Committee on Finance
8 Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution
9 Committee on Information Technology
10 Committee on Labour
11 Committee on Petroleum & Natural Gas
12 Committee on Railways
13 Committee on Rural Development
14 Committee on Social Justice & Empowerment
15 Committee on Urban Development
16 Committee on Water Resources

DEPARTMENT RELATED STANDING COMMITTEES (RS)

SL NO  NAME OF THE DEPARTMENT RELATED STANDING COMMITTEE (RS)
1 Committee on Commerce
2 Committee on Health and Family Welfare
3 Committee on Home Affairs
4 Committee on Human Resource Development
5 Committee on Industry
6 Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice
7 Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests
8 Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture

Functions of Department Related Standing Committees

The newly constituted departmentally related Standing Committee System is a path-breaking endeavour of the Parliamentary surveillance over administration. With the emphasis of their functioning to concentrate on long-term plans, policies and the philosophies guiding the working of the Executive, these Committees will be in a very privileged position to provide necessary direction, guidance and inputs for broad policy formulations and in achievement of the long-term national perspective by the Executive. With reference to the Ministries/Departments under their purview, the functions of these committees are:

  1. Consideration of Demands for Grants.
  2. Examination of Bills referred to by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha as the case may be.
  3. Consideration of Annual Reports.
  4. Consideration of national basic long term policy documents presented to the House and referred to the Committee by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha, as the case may be.

NB: These Committees do not consider matters of day-to-day administration of the concerned Ministries/Departments

INTERNAL SECURITY MANAGEMENT

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INTERNAL SECURITY MANAGEMENT

In the Arthashastra, Kautilya wrote that a state could be at risk from four types of threats – internal, external, externally-aided internal, and internally-aided external. He advised that of these four types, internal threats should be taken care of immediately, for internal troubles, like the fear of the lurking snake, are far more serious than external threats. The most dangerous enemy is the enemy within.
Kautilya’s teachings on internal security and his skillful expression of the warp and weft of internal and external security has great relevance in the globalised 21st century. Destabilising a country through internal disturbances is more economical and less objectionable, particularly when direct warfare is not an option and international borders cannot be violated. External adversaries, particularly the weaker ones, find it easier to create and aid forces which cause internal unrest and instability. India’s history is full of such experiences. Since Independence, we have faced many such situations, initiated by China, Pakistan and others in the Northeast and even in the western sectors of the country since the mid-60s. But only after the events of 11
September 2001 has the world has started looking at these external and internal linkages more seriously.
Presently, almost all the countries of South Asia – India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan and Afghanistan – are experiencing internal security problems, due to insurgency movements, ethnic conflicts, religious fundamentalism, or just cussed political polarization. India has a unique centrality in the South Asian security zone. It has special ties with each of its neighbours: ties of ethnicity, religion, language, culture, common historical experience, and of shared access to vital natural resources. However, apart from the advantages that these special ties offer, they often make it easier for external forces to exploit any internal dissent. Within the country, these special ties also tend to encourage Indian secessionist groups in establishing safe sanctuaries across the borders in neighbouring states; trans-border illegal migration, gun-running and drug-trafficking. Situated as we are between the ‘Golden Crescent’ and the ‘Golden Triangle’, secessionist groups taking to violence find little difficulty in indulging in drug trade and obtaining small arms within the country.
India is a country exemplified by diversity – over one billion people are spread over approximately 3.1 million square kilometers of territory. The people of the country speak 16 major languages, in over 200 dialects. There are about one dozen ethnic groups, seven major religion communities with several sects and sub-sects, and 68 socio-cultural subregions. When a socio-political and socioeconomic equilibrium is maintained in such a scenario, there is unity in diversity. But if there is even the slightest imbalance, we have more diversity and less unity.
This has been a hallmark of India’s history and it has always been exploited by external elements. Even after 65 years of independence, our secular, Internal troubles, like the fear of the
lurking snake, are far more serious than external threats open and pluralistic society continues to be vulnerable to several internal contradictions. Some specific issues that we are faced with, which have an impact on our internal security are:

  • Problems of national assimilation and integration, particularly of the border areas in the North and Northeast.
  • Porous borders with Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, which enable illegal trans-border movements and smuggling of weapons and drugs. It is presumed that erecting fences on the international borders can stop all illegal trans-border movements. That is not so. First, it is not possible to guard or police every metre of the land, sea and air borders. Second, the construction of a fence along land borders is expensive and requires a tremendous amount of manpower for effective surveillance. Border fencing can assist in checking infiltration to an extent, but it does not and cannot eliminate it.
  • Weak governance including an ineffective law and order machinery and large-scale corruption. An ever-increasing section of the population is getting disenchanted with social justice, or the lack thereof. There is a continuous decay of the political, administrative, and security institutions of the country. Efforts to stem the rot have failed so far. Declining political and public values have led to consistent and persistent political interference.
  • Nexus between crime, insurgency and politics.

At the annual internal security conference of Governors and Chief Ministers in 2009, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acknowledged that the internal security threat to India is a major cause of concern. Currently, about 45 percent of India’s geographical area, covering 220 districts, is facing internal security problems at various levels. On 23 December 2009, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, while delivering the 22nd Intelligence Bureau Centenary Endowment Lecture, stated, “India in the twenty-first century has turned out to be the confluence of every kind of violence: insurrection or insurgency in order to carve out sovereign states; armed liberation struggle motivated by a rejected ideology; and terrorism driven by religious fanaticism. Never before has the Indian state faced such a formidable challenge. Never before have the Indian people been asked to prepare themselves for such fundamental changes in the manner in which the country will be secured and protected.”
Internal security problems in J&K and Northeastern states are well known. However, two additional problems which serve to highlight the seriousness of the internal security situation in the country are as follows:

NAXAL/MAOIST INSURGENCY
In October 2003, 55 districts in nine states were affected by Naxalite violence. It has now spread to about 180 districts in 17 states. Most of the severely affected districts are situated in Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Maharashtra; eight of them are critical. More than 13,000 civilians and 5,500 security personnel have been killed as a result of Naxalite violence since 1990. In that, 2009 was the bloodiest year till date.
The origins of the Naxal movement can be traced back to the 1960s, when Naxalites started operating from various parts of the country. However, Naxalism emerged as a real security threat when armed groups like the Peoples’ War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre joined hands in 2004 and formed the CPI (Maoists) to fight against the Indian state. One of the basic objectives of the Naxal movement is the overthrow of the existing state machinery in India. Naxals do not believe in parliamentary democracy. In fact, they consider it an aberration. While projecting the state as well as its armed forces as the “enemy”, the Naxal movement calls upon its members to take up arms and defeat the enemy decisively. The movement believes that the state is merely an agent. The bane of our counter-Naxalite strategy, even after the lessons from Nepal in recent years, has been the lack of lucid analysis and consistency in formulating and implementing a viable strategy. Centre for land warfare studies victory through vision of the elitist class and does not cater to the interests of the lower strata of society.
A statement issued by CPI (Maoist) on 14 October 2004, stated, “We hereby declare that the two guerilla armies of the CPI (ML)[PW] and MCCI have been merged into the unified Peoples’ Liberation Guerrilla Army. Hereafter, the most urgent task, i.e. the principal task of the party is to develop the unified PLGA into a full-fledged liberation Army and transforming the existing Guerrilla Zones into Base Areas, thereby advancing wave upon wave towards completing the New Democratic Revolution.” The statement further said: “The new party will also continue to support the struggle of the nationalities (Kashmiris and tribals of India’s Northeast) for self-determination, including their right to secession and condemn the brutal state repression on these movements.”
The recent large-scale Naxalite/Maoist attacks on railway stations, police posts and patrols in West Bengal (Silda), Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhatisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere, and the recovery of sophisticated weapons like semi-automatic rifles, machine guns, rocket launchers, and training material, should give an idea of their strength, motivation, and potential. By spreading their movement to 17 states, and the latest declaration to take the war to urban areas, the Maoists have shown that they mean business. Till recently, it has been considered more as a law and order problem of the states and less an issue to be dealt with by the central government. The states have used inadequately armed, equipped, trained and motivated police forces and other resources in a ‘switch on’ and ‘switch off’ mode. The bane of our counter-Naxalite strategy, even after the lessons from Nepal in recent years, has been the
lack of lucid analysis and consistency in formulating and implementing a viable strategy. It is evident that the central government has woken up to the problem now, but the desirable synergy with state governments is yet to be achieved. Besides, there are many powerful NGOs in civil society and the media, who still consider the Maoists as nothing more than modern avatars of Robin Hood.

COMMUNAL TERRORISM

Communal terrorism, induced, by and large, from outside our country, poses yet another grave threat to India’s sovereignty and integrity. It subverts the fundamental rule of law, denies basic rights to citizens, endangers the social fabric, and threatens political and economic stability. The primary objective of terrorists has been to trigger communal riots in communally-sensitive areas. Since the mid-1980s, India’s share of terrorist-related incidents and civilian casualties has risen to become the second highest in the world. The terrorist organisations seem to have perfected their modus operandi. Serial, high-intensity blasts in crowded places in metropolitan cities gets them the best results – maximum damage and the loudest message. Such incidents require strategising, meticulous planning, extensive logistic support and trusted execution. Only large, well-organised outfits with considerable means, expertise and support at their disposal can carry out such deeds.

ANALYSIS OF INTERNAL SECURITY POLICIES

It is apparent that existing internal security policies and the primary instruments for tackling law and order and internal security have not been able to cope with these growing challenges. In many troubled states, the Army has been employed in large numbers (of units) to create a semblance of law and order and conditions wherein elections can be held for the elected representatives to govern the state. But once committed, these forces have usually had to remain deployed for several decades.
Three points merit elaboration here:

  • Military pressure alone cannot resolve matters unless there is good governance, with a strong thrust on socio-political and socio-economic issues. The political leadership and civil administration have to govern the states and the country with greater commitment and efficiency.
  • Protracted and excessive employment of the Army leads to the ‘Law of Diminishing Returns’ for several reasons. First, an over-dependence on the Army reflects lack of trust and faith in the capability of the state and central armed police and paramilitary forces. Second, with the passage of time, the locals start treating the Army as just another police force. Third, such deployments and prolonged duties have an adverse impact on the Army’s discipline, morale and operational effectiveness. And fourth, during a war/war-like situation, the Army requires public support. It cannot afford to alienate the localpopulation as is currently happening in Manipur, and to some extent, in J&K and Assam.
  • Reduction in Army deployment will be possible only if the paramilitary, central and state police forces can be revamped. There is a need to modernise these forces, improve their leadership, training and man management capabilities.

CENTRE-STATE SYNERGY

Law and order is a state subject. Policing authority, therefore, is vested with state governments. Thus, the central government cannot directly influence the quality of policing, a source of much of the problems in the management of internal security. Unfortunately, the state governments devote little attention to this important issue, and very often, refuse to recognise the basic linkages between normal policing and the maintenance of internal security. They have neither the resources nor the inclination to upgrade the quality of the state police or to raise extra forces, without substantial financial help from the centre. There is, thus, a tendency to let the situation deteriorate till it blows out of their control. At the operational level too, as observed in many states recently, synergy is lacking, particularly when the central and state governments are run by different political alliances.
Recently, the Finance Commission allocated a substantial amount of money to the states for the purpose of police training. But these police forces are still in deplorable shape. In many areas, the actual number of police personnel is much lower than the posts sanctioned. Thus, a large number of police posts lie vacant. There is far too much of political interference in the professional functioning of police organisations in these states. As a result, law enforcement agencies across the country, without exception, are in a state of utter disrepair. Unless these are re-invigorated and energised, the desired results from internal security operations cannot be achieved. The ‘responsibility without resources’ attitude at the state level, and the lack of accountability at state and central levels, needs to be resolved. Although the centre has built up large central police organisations, which stands at about six lakh personnel in 354 battalions (of which 220 battalions are meant for border guarding duties), it has been insufficient and ineffective. The government must implement the recommendations of the National Police Reforms Commission of 1979 and the Supreme Court’s directives in 2006 in letter and spirit. We need synergised centre-state strategies and doctrines to deal with different aspects of internal security, including insurgencies and terrorism. These would cover the afore-mentioned law and order-related reforms, better coordination as well as the broad-based domains of national and state policies like accelerated economic development and social justice, security and media policies in affected areas. For example, the root causes of the Naxal problem in the tribal areas are the loopholes in the Forest (Conservation) Act, the Mines Act, and land acquisition laws, among others. Until and unless the necessary measures are adopted by the government to
reform these acts, it will not be possible to uproot the Naxal movement or any other extremist movement in India.

OPERATIONAL SYNERGY AMONG CIVIL AND MILITARY FORCES

Greater liaison, coordination and inter-operability for operations amongst agencies responsible for internal security is essential. It is time to think in terms of integrated capabilities and synergy among forces, for the optimum utilisation of police and military power. Synergy can be ensured only when the aims, goals, resources and techniques are harmonised by a single internal security doctrine.

Many years ago, the Army had proposed revamping the state armed police, central police forces and paramilitary forces, by the lateral induction of trained Army personnel with 8-10 years of service. This would result not just in the inculcation of Army ethos and culture, but also reduce training expenses. The laterally inducted personnel would benefit by serving longer terms (more savings due to late receipt of pension) and being able to serve within their own states. The Army would also benefit by maintaining a younger age profile. It would be a win-win situation for all. After keeping this proposal under consideration for over a decade, the government has now declared its intention to implement this proposal in a modified form.

Considering the length of India’s borders, the border holding forces will always remain inadequate. They have to be supplemented with ‘Home and Hearth’ units or village guards of the kind employed in Arunachal Pradesh. These ‘Home and Hearth’ units, staffed with as many local exservicemen as possible, can be raised wherever border holding forces are thin on the ground.
In the Northeast, the Assam Rifles had been raised primarily for deployment in that area and comprised personnel from that region. Its composition was eventually changed to that of an all-India force. The force, thus, lost its excellent rapport with the local people, which is essential for intelligence gathering and maintaining law and order. Ideally, about 65-70 percent of this force should be recruited from the Northeast.

INTELLIGENCE

India’s track record on internal security and counterterrorism makes it obvious that the intelligence establishment in the states and the centre require revamping. Our inability to pursue intelligence leads vigorously and to book the culprits to a logical conclusion is evident in most terror related cases. The intelligence agencies have yet to develop new tradecraft and techniques for the penetration of nonstate actors through human and technical moles, for the collection of intelligence, greater expertise in collation, analysis, and better coordination between intelligence and law enforcement agencies. This effort is underway now and should produce better results in the future.
Counter-intelligence continues to be a weak point in the Indian intelligence infrastructure. The regularity with which penetrations take place in sensitive departments and intelligence agencies is a disturbing development. A review and revamping of counter-intelligence capabilities is an urgent need.
In 2001, the Intelligence Task Force had recommended the establishment of a Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) for counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence. On 31 December 2008 – rather belatedly – MAC and subsidiary-MAC (in each state capital) were established through an Executive Order. In these new establishments, relevant information or intelligence gathered by every participating agency is analysed and the analysis is shared with each participating agency. The MAC-SMAC State Special Branch network has been a welcome step. Since its establishment, it has been able to provide more information and better intelligence to the Intelligence Bureau and the state security systems.

SYNERGY IN LAW ENFORCEMENT, LEGAL AND JUDICIAL SYSTEMS

Another positive measure taken recently to ensure synergy in the investigation of terrorists’ activities is the promulgation of National Investigation Agency (NIA) and notification of Special Courts under Section 11(1) of the NIA Act.
Synergy between law enforcement and legal and judicial systems is essential. Insurgency, proxy war and terrorism are acts of war. To tackle these problems, tougher anti-terrorism laws are required. Legal punishments to terrorists, their active or logistic supporters, and corrupt officials who enable smuggling of arms and explosives into India, need to be made prompt and severe. The prosecution of the perpetrators of terrorist acts needs to be expedited. The United States and the United Kingdom have provisions in their anti-terrorism laws that are much tougher than India’s.

PROPOSED MEASURES BY HOME MINISTER

While delivering the 22nd Intelligence Bureau Centenary Endowment Lecture on 23 December 2009, Home Minister Chidambaram outlined a series of measures – organisational and systemic – for revamping India’s internal security architecture and greater synergy in internal security operations:
Transparent Police Recruitment: The central government has devised and commended to the states a transparent recruitment procedure that will be technology-based and free of any human interference. According to the Home Minister, the central government has implemented the new procedure in the recruitment to the CPOs and PMFs.

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS): With no system of data storage, sharing and access, the police stations in the country today are virtually unconnected islands. To overcome this gross deficiency, the central government is implementing an ambitious scheme called the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS). This system will facilitate the collection, storage, retrieval, analysis, transfer and sharing of data and information at thepolice stations and between the police stations and the state headquarters and the CPO.

Community Policing: To encourage community policing, a toll-free service will be established, under which any citizen can provide information/lodge a complaint. The myriad bits of information flowing from such different sources can then be sifted, analysed, matched, correlated and pieced together to make actionable intelligence.

National Database Grid: Currently, each database stands alone, with its owners having no access to other databases. As a result, crucial information that rests in one database is not available to another agency. In order to remedy this deficiency, the central government has decided to set up NATGRID, under which 21 sets of databases will be networked to achieve quick, seamless and secure access to desired information for intelligence/ enforcement agencies.

Unified National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC): At present, there is no single authority to which myriad counter-terrorism organisations are supposed to report.There is no single or unified command which can issue directions to these agencies and bodies. The NCTC will perform functions relating to intelligence, investigation and operations to counter any type of terrorism. All intelligence agencies would be represented in the NCTC. MAC would be subsumed into the NCTC. An Operations Wing of the NCTC – absent at present – will give it an edge in counter-terrorism, including preventing a terrorist attack and responding to a terrorist attack, should one take place. CCTNS and NATGRID will then come under the jurisdiction of the NCTC.

Division of Work in the Ministry of Home Affairs: Given the imperatives and the challenges of the times, subjects not directly related to internal security should be dealt with by a separate Ministry or brought under a separate Department in the MHA under an independent minister.
These are only proposals at this stage, which will be discussed, analysed and further reformed. What must be appreciated, however, is that the Home Minister has shown the vision, will and determination to create a need-based organisation to synergise efforts in internal security operations.

CONCLUSION
Synergy is essential to deal with India’s complex internal security operations. Post 26/11, there appears to be a conscious effort to ensure better networking of agencies involved in these operations. Strategically, India cannot afford to be perceived to be buckling down under internal security or externally induced terrorist pressures. That would be disastrous. Neither can it afford to depend on other nations to take care of its internal security problems. Hard decisions, based on hard analysis of options in the current trend of internal security activities, have to be taken.
We need a comprehensive centre-state strategy to deal with different insurgencies and communal terrorism. It should include broad-based domains of national and state policies
including accelerated economic development and social justice, security and media policies. Most importantly, it should address dedicated and effective governance through good administration, prompt and fair judiciary and a law and order machinery that inspires public confidence.
Courtesy:CLAWS