GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.
India Has The Largest Diaspora Population In The World, Says UN Report.
- India has the largest diaspora population in the world, with 16 million Indians living outside the country they were born in, according to United Nations report on migration trends.
- The survey, conducted by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, found 224 million people lived as international migrants, or in a country other to the one they were born in, in 2015 – a 41 per cent increase from 2000.
- Twenty million of these migrants are refugees, the survey found.
Highlights Of The Development–
- Jan Eliasson, the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations said refugees had been included for statistical correctness despite there being a different legal regime for them to migrants.
- The richest Indian diaspora is in the US, where Indians counted for the third-largest ethnic group in 2015, making one per cent of the total US population.
- Mexico had the second largest diaspora population at 12 million, followed by Russia and China.
- Two-thirds of all international migrants lived in only 20 countries – predominantly the US, which hosted 47 million, or a fifth, of all migrants – followed by Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Britain, and the United Arab Emirates.
- The UN data also revealed the number of international migrants has grown faster than the world’s population, with the share of migrants in the global population reaching 3.3 per cent in 2015.
- Mr Eliasson said that what he found particularly interesting is how important migration has been for population growth, which is sorely needed in certain parts of the world.
- In Europe, the size of the population would have fallen between 2000 to 2015, in the absence of positive net migration.
GS Paper III- Environment, Economic Development.
Kaleshwaram Irrigation Project Gets Environmental Nod.
- The Expert Appraisal Committee of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has accorded environmental clearance for the Kaleshwaram irrigation project in Telangana.
- The project is estimated to cost about ₹80,499.7 crore and proposed to be completed in three years.
- However, it directed the State to take care of changes in the micro-climatic conditions in the project area during the construction and post construction period of the project as it involves submergence of a large area.
Highlights Of The Development-
- While according clearance, the committee directed that there was a need to plan a greenbelt and reservoir rim treatment in consultation with the State Forest Department, focussing on local indigenous species.
- It wanted the government to take up construction work after following due procedure of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in land Acquisition, Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
- The State was directed to ensure that at no point of time, the losers of land have any grievances on compensation and the displacement shall be taken up only after completing the process of land acquisition, including providing full compensation to all the project oustees.
- It also called upon the State to file six monthly compliance reports to MoEF, Chennai, until completion of the modernisation works.
- The project envisages construction of a barrage across River Godavari near Madigadda village in Karimnagar district of Telangana. This aims to divert 180 TMC of water for providing irrigation facility in 7.38 lakh hectares covering seven districts of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal, Medak, Nalgonda and Rangareddy districts.
- It also proposed to stabilise the existing command area of 7.62 lakh hectares.
- Apart from these, the project seeks to provide drinking water facility for Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
- As per estimates, the total land required is about 32,000 hectares and of this, about 2,866 hectares is forest land.
- The total submergence area is estimated to be about 13,706 hectares.
- Apart from Medigadda barrage, two more barrages between Medigadda and Sripada Yellampally are proposed to be constructed.
- The project will have a canal system of about 1,832 km. The project lies in the interstate boundary with submergence of 302 hectares in Maharashtra.
- Significantly, the project requires about 4,227 MW of power to be supplied by TSGenco. Public hearings for the project were conducted across 15 districts of the State and one district in Maharashtra.
Sources- The Hindu Business Line.
GS Paper II- Governance, Polity.
Companies Amendment Bill Passed By Parliament.
- The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2017 which seeks to bring about major changes in the Companies Act, 2013, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 19th December, 2017 by a voice vote.
- The bill, which was adopted by the Lok Sabha in July, 2017 will now have to receive the assent of the President to become law.
- The amendment seeks to strengthen corporate governance standards, initiate strict action against defaulting companies and help improve ease of doing business in the country.
- The Companies Act, 2013 has already been amended once under the current government.
Highlights Of The Development-
- It was passed after much debate in the winter session of the Parliament as members raised concerns about independent directors being allowed up to 10% pecuniary interest in a company.
- The major changes include simplification of the private placement process; rationalization of provisions related to loans to directors; replacing the requirement of approval of the central government for managerial remuneration above prescribed limits by approval through special resolution of shareholders; aligning disclosure requirements in the prospectus with the regulations made by Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India); providing for maintenance of register of significant beneficial owners; and making offence for contravention of provisions relating to deposits as non-compoundable.
- Under the Act, certain classes of profitable companies are required to shell out at least 2% of their three-year annual average net profit towards corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. In case of non-expenditure, such entities are required to provide reasons for it to the ministry.
- R. Ramakrishna of the Bharatiya Janata Party supported passing of the bill and said there was no provision of carrying forward the CSR funds and companies should be given more time to use these funds. He added that the upper limit of 300 days for filing returns under the Act led to non-compliance and hence, changes have been made in the law to improve timely filings.
- This was opposed by former finance minister P. Chidambaram, who said a company should not give loans to the director or to those of interest to a director.
- The Standing Committee on Finance had examined the bill and submitted its report on 7 December 2016. In April, the government circulated some amendments to the bill.