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GS Paper II – Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.


Govt unveils online vigilance clearance system, e-service book

Key Points discussed were:

Implementation:

  • Initially, the system will be made available for board-level appointments done by Public Enterprises Selection Board for Central Public-Sector Enterprises (CPSEs).
  • Later or Sooner, it will be extended for senior appointments in banks and in government departments.

Benefits and Bottlenecks:

  • The non-availability of vigilance clearance has been one of the bottlenecks in ensuring prompt filling of vacancies in the CPSEs. This system will bring about sea change in appointment processes and will cut delay in the process.
  • All central government ministries will be asked to regularly update database of officers on the system which will act as “computerised parameter of honesty“.
  • There have been complaints from some bureaucrats about delay in processing cases of vigilance clearance which may take over three months in a few cases.
  • After Implementation this time will be cut from a maximum of three months at present, to a day or two. It is a big step towards transformation of processes.

e-Service Book:

  • The ‘e-service book’ will electronically maintain service records, including leave, house building allowance, history of work done by employees at various departments and other relevant details.
  • The e-service book will help in maintaining the employee’s service related records online and result in quick processing of cases of pension (in case of retirement) or salary (in cases of inter-departmental or inter-state transfers.

Pilot Project:

  • The e-service book has been started on pilot-project mode for the employees of Personnel Ministry and soon it will be extended to other departments as well.
  • Employees will have an option to update necessary details on the e-service book module.

What’s Happening-

  • An online system to process cases of vigilance clearance for senior-level appointments in central governments was launched by Union Minister Jitendra Singh.

GS Paper III – Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Multi-Lateral New Development Bank to Aid India

What’s Happening-
The Second Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of NDB is now scheduled to be held in Delhi from 31st March to 2nd April, 2017.
During the three-day Annual Meeting of Board of Governors, many Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) with Multi-lateral Development Banks will also be signed among others.

Key Points discussed were:

Share of Capital:

  • The five member nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – have an equal shareholding in the NDB.
  • The NDB has an initial authorized capital of USD 100 billion and initial subscribed capital of USD 50 billion of which USD 10 billion will be paid-in capital.
  • The initial subscribed capital is equally distributed amongst the founding members.

2/7 Projects in India:

  • In 2016, the NDB Board of Directors has approved seven projects, of which two are in India, for a total of over USD 1.5 billion, in the areas of renewable and green energy, and transportation.
  • All projects are coherent with the Bank’s mandate of supporting infrastructure projects, with more than 75% of projects dedicated to sustainable infrastructure, mainly renewable energy generation.
  • The two projects in India target up-gradation of major district roads in Madhya Pradesh and Renewable Energy generation.
  • The project would result in reconstruction and rehabilitation of 1,500 km of roads with focus on all-weather road availability and improved road maintenance and asset management.
  • The project fosters inclusive economic growth through increased incomes as a result of improved connectivity and access to markets for interior regions of the state.
  • The signing of the loan agreement for this project is likely to happen soon. The loan will be provided for 20 years with a grace period of 5 years.
  • The Second Project financed by the New Development Bank (NDB) in India will lead to generation of about 500 MW Renewable Energy thereby preventing generation of 815,000 tonneCO2 per annum.
  • USD 250 million sovereign guaranteed loans will be given to Canara Bank in three tranches under this project.

Background-
New Development Bank (NDB) is the first Multi-lateral Development Bank established by developing countries and emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) – in accordance with the agreement on New Development Bank signed on 15th July, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil.
The NDB members represent 42 percent of world population, 27 percent of the global surface area and accounting for over 20% of the Global GDP.
The NDB was established aiming to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries.
NDB establishment complements the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.

GS Paper III – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Meet ‘Bhoorsingh the Barasingha’: Kanha tiger reserve becomes first in India get official mascot

What’s Happening-

  • Kanha has become the first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce a mascot — Bhoorsingh the Barasingha — to present the hard ground swamp deer as the spirit of the reserve and spread awareness to save it from possible extinction

Key Points discussed were:

  • Barasingha, or swamp deer, is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh.
  • The Kanha tiger reserve, spread over Mandla and Balaghat districts, is the only place in the world where the species exists.
  • To create a better connect with its visitors, especially the younger generation, this initiative has led to introduction of the mascot.

Background:

  • The barasingha also called swamp deer, is a deer species distributed in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Populations in northern and central India are fragmented, and two isolated populations occur in southwestern Nepal.
  • It is extinct in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • The swamp deer differs from all the Indian deer species in that the antlers carry more than three tines. Because of this distinctive character it is designated barasingha, meaning “twelve-tined.” Mature stags have 10 to 14 tines, and some have been known to have up to 20.
  • In Assamese, barasingha is called dolhorina; dol meaning swamp.
  • In central India, it is called goinjak (stags) or gaoni (hinds)

Present Distribution:

Sources- The Indian Express, The Hindu. Page 49

Key Points discussed were:

Threats:

  • The swamp deer populations outside protected areas and seasonally migrating populations are threatened by poaching for antlers and meat, which are sold in local markets.
  • Swamp deer lost most of its former range because wetlands were converted and used for agriculture so that suitable habitat was reduced to small and isolated fragments.
  • The remaining habitat in protected areas is threatened by the change in river dynamics, reduced water flow during summer, increasing siltation, and is further degraded by local people who cut grass, timber and fuelwood, and by illegal farming on government land.
  • In India, it is included under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

Sources- The Indian Express, The Hindu. Page 50