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GS Paper II-Governance, Polity.

Telangana Government Puts Cap On Weight Of School Bags.

Background

  • Acting on proposals submitted by the Commissioner and Director of School Education, the Telangana School Education Department on Tuesday, 18th July, 2017 issued strict guidelines to reduce the weight of school bags for children in the State. Schools including aided and un-aided private schools have to follow guidelines.
  • Terming the weight of the school bags as a serious threat to the health and well being of the students in primary, upper primary and high schools, the guidelines limit the number of books and notebooks students bring to the classroom. It shifts the onus on school officials to supervise the implementation of the steps.

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Key Points Of The Development-

  • The 1,307-word guidelines from the Government go into the detail for reducing the weight of the school bags including supply of pure drinking water in schools to prevent children from lugging heavy water bottles.
  • The Telangana government has put a cap on the weight of bags carried by schoolchildren in a bid to prevent adverse physical effect and anxiety disorders in students. The government issued an order prescribing the weight limit of school bags for students from primary to Class X. According to the order meant for the school managements, the maximum weight of a school bag with textbooks and notebooks should not exceed 1.5 kg for Class 1 and II and 2 to 3 kg for Classes III to V. For Classes VI and VII, the weight should not exceed 4 kg and for Classes VIII and IX, it should not be more than 4.50 kg. In the case of Class X, it should not be more than 5 kg, the order said.
  • As per estimates in some districts, schoolchildren were currently carrying bags weighing from 6 kg to 12 kg at primary level and up to 17 kg at high school level.
  • The order also bans homework for children in primary classes. For higher classes, the guidelines suggest allocation of particular days for homework of specific subject.
  • Using the guidelines as benchmark, the government has specified an upper limit to weight of school bags for children. The policy was formulated after a survey on the school bag load in some districts.

Sources- The Hindu, NDTV.

 

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

Cabinet Approves Alternative Mechanism For Creation And Launch Of A New Exchange Traded Fund.

Background

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19th July, 2017 authorized the Alternative Mechanism for creation and launch of a New Exchange Traded Fund.
  • The Centre allowed to take decision for divestment through Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) out of all the listed CPSEs including CPSEs listed subsequently subject to GoI retaining 51percent in these CPSEs.
  • The Prime Minister Modi led cabinet also gave nod to take decision on the divestment in respect of Public Sector Banks, other listed Public Sector Financial Institutions and Public Sector Insurance Companies (when listed) through ETF or other methods subject to GoI retaining 52 percent.

Key Points Of This Development-

  • An ETF is a traded security that tracks an underlying asset like a group of companies or commodity.
  • In January, 2017, the Union Cabinet had approved an “Alternative Mechanism” to decide the quantum of divestment in a particular CPSE on a case-by-case basis subject to government retaining 51 percent equity and management control.
  • Under the mechanism, after the Cabinet approves divestment of a CPSE, then a group of ministers will take charge of the process by deciding the price band and the quantum of stake sale.
  • Meanwhile the cabinet also allowed to take decision on matters related to divestment through ETF like constitution of ETF portfolio; the price/net asset value at which share of listed companies forming the ETF basket will be placed by the Govt. for divestment at the disposal of the ETF provider (AMC); the incentive structure for investors – upfront discount, loyalty bonus etc.; and any other aspect of pricing and the mode of disinvestment as required to be taken by the Government.
  • The government has also listed the Central Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Bill, 2017 and the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Bill, 2017 for introduction, consideration and passage in this session of the Parliament.
  • Due to its special status under the Indian Constitution, the State had to separately amend its own Constitution for the implementation of GST.
  • The Cabinet also approved a modified implementation strategy of BharatNet for providing broadband connectivity to all Gram Panchayats by March 2019. The project will cost ₹42,068 crore, which will be funded from the Universal Service Obligation Fund.
  • Further, it approved the revalidation of permission to raise bonds worth ₹660 crore to the Inland Waterways Authority of India as extra Budgetary resources this fiscal.
  • The Cabinet also approved a Memorandum of Cooperation on tax matters between India and Revenue administrations of BRICS countries.

Sources- Firstpost, DNA.

 

GS Paper IV- Aptitude.

Cabinet Approves Establishment Of The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), South Asia Regional Center (ISARC) At Campus Of National Seed Research And Training Center (NSRTC) In Varanasi.

Background

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the establishment of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), South Asia Regional Center (ISARC) at campus of National Seed Research and Training Center (NSRTC) in Varanasi.
  • Under the proposal, a Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA) will be set up in Varanasi. This will include a modern and sophisticated laboratory with capacity to determine quality and status of heavy metals in grain and straw. The Centre will also undertake capacity building exercises for stakeholders across the rice value chain.
  • This Center will be the first international Center in the eastern India and it will play a major role in harnessing and sustaining rice production in the region. It is expected to be a boon for food production and skill development in the eastern India and similar ecologies in other South Asian and African countries.

Key Points Of This Development-

  • Benefits from ISARC
  • The Centre will help in utilizing the rich biodiversity of India to develop special rice varieties. This will help India to achieve higher per hectare yields and improved nutritional contents. India’s food and nutritional security issues will also be addressed. The Centre will support in adopting value chain based production system in the country. This will reduce wastage, add value and generate higher income for the farmers. The farmers in Eastern India will benefit in particular, besides those in South Asian and African countries.
  • Management of ISARC
  • ISARC will operate under the governance of the IRRI Board of Trustees who will appoint an appropriate IRRI staff member as Director. A Coordination Committee will be headed by Director General, IRRI as Chair and Secretary, Government of India, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DACFW) as Co-Chair. The other members of Coordination Committee are Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences), ICAR; Director, NSRTC; IRRI representative in India, representative of Government of UP and representatives of Governments of Nepal & Bangladesh and Private Sector.
  • For setting up of the Centre, A Memorandum of Agreement, will be signed between DAC&FW and IRRI, Philippines. The Department of DAC&FW will provide physical space for laboratories, offices, training classes, etc. with associated infrastructure and land at NSRTC, Varanasi. The Centre will be commissioned within six months.

Sources- PIB.Page 1