BIMS and Bhoomi Rashi
Bidder Information Management System (BIMS) and Bhoomi Rashi and PFMS linkage – are launched by Road Transport & Highways Ministry and are aimed at expediting pre construction processes relating to bidding and land acquisition respectively.
BIMS is aimed at streamlining the process of pre-qualification of bidders for EPC Mode of contracts for National Highway works with enhanced transparency and objectivity.
· The portal will work as a data base of information about bidders, covering basic details, civil works experience, cash accruals and network, annual turnover etc.
· The pre-qualification of bidders can be assessed from data already stored in the portal, so that technical evaluation can be carried out much faster.
· It is estimated that BIMS portal will significantly reduce the procurement time for projects through an objective and transparent online evaluation system thereby leading to accelerated project implementation.
Bhoomi Rashi, the portal developed by MoRTH and NIC, comprises the entire revenue data of the country, right down to 6.4 lakh villages.
· The entire process flow from submission of draft notification by the State Government to its approval by the Minister of State for RT&H and publication in e-Gazette, is online.
· The portal, created for expediting the process of publication of notifications for LA, is now being fully utilized for issuing the notifications, and more than 900 notifications have been issued using the portal so far.
· Bhoomi Rashi portal has been instrumental in reducing the time taken for approval and publication of notifications pertaining to land acquisition
Integration of Public Financial Management System (PFMS) with Bhoomi Rashi is one of the key functionalities to facilitate payment related to compensation for land acquisition to all the beneficiaries directly through the Bhoomi Rashi system.
PFMS is a web-based online software application developed and implemented by the Office of Controller General of Accounts (CGA). to facilitate sound public financial management system for Government of India (GoI).
· It provides various stakeholders with a real time, reliable and meaningful management information system and an effective decision support system, as part of the Digital India initiative of GoI.
With integration of Bhoomi Rashi with PFMS, payment of Compensation by the Ministry to the beneficiaries will be just-in-time, and without any parking of funds.
Key Words: BIMS, Bhoomi Rashi.
The Bill extending constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) was cleared unanimously by the Rajya Sabha .
· Earlier the Lok Sabha had passed the proposed law ,with more than a two-thirds majority.
In the Upper House, the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017, was adopted by all the present 156 members, incorporating certain amendments made by the Lok Sabha
· Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot said the law would help the Other Backward Classes (OBC) get justice.
The Minister also assured the House that the NCBC would not encroach upon the rights of State governments as they would have their own backward classes commissions.
· The States had their own lists of OBC castes, while the Centre had a separate one and that the NCBC would make recommendations only to the Centre.
Key Words: NCBC, Rajya Sabha, Supreme Court
Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura have emerged as the new hotspots for HIV, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
· Government attributed the reason for the rise in the incidence of HIV in the three northeastern States to the high-risk behaviour of Injecting Drug Users (IDUs), and unsafe sexual practices.
The HIV Sentinel Surveillance (HSS), a biennial study conducted by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), is one of the largest regular studies in the world dealing with HIV in high risk groups of the population.
· The HSS had referred that HIV prevalence in the context of ANCs in the northeastern States of Mizoram (1.19%), Nagaland (0.82%), Meghalaya (0.73%), Tripura (0.56%) and Manipur (0.47%) were among the highest.
Key Words: HIV, North East
SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018
The Lok Sabha passed the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018, to bypass the recent ruling of the Supreme Court laying down procedures for arrests under the Act.
· The Bill inserts section 18A (1) (a) in the 1989 Act, that says a preliminary enquiry shall not be required for registration of an FIR against any person.
· The Bill also inserts Section 18A (1) (b), which says the investigating officer shall not require approval for the arrest, if necessary, of any person against whom an accusation of having committed an offence under this Act has been made and no procedure, other than that provided under this Act or the Code, shall apply.
· The Bill says that under the CrPC, the decision to arrest a person is taken by the investigating officer and there was no requirement for approval.
· The Bill also goes back to the original SC/ST (PoA) Bill, doing away with the provision of anticipatory bail the Supreme Court ruling had permitted.
· The provision of section 438 of CrPC(deals with direction for grant of bail to a person apprehending arrest) shall not apply to a case under this Act, notwithstanding any judgment or order or direction of any Court,” says section 18A (2) of the Bill.
The Supreme Court had on March 20, 2018, introduced protective provisions in the SC/ST (PoA) Act, 1989, to permit anticipatory bail —despite a section of the Act denying it — and laying down a preliminary enquiry by police before any action is taken.
· It had also laid down that the permission of the appointing authority would be required to arrest a public servant and that of an SSP for the arrest of a person who is not a public servant.
Key Words: SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Supreme Court, Anticipatory bail
Making Adoption easier
The government introduced an amendment to the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, 2015, to empower District Magistrates with the authority to grant adoption orders.
· It will make the adoption procedure faster for prospective parents, by avoiding delays in courts.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2018, revises the provisions governing adoptions in the JJ Act by making changes by replacing the word “court” by “District Magistrate.”
· The changes are applicable for both domestic and international applications.
The government has said all adoption cases in various courts should be transferred to the District Magistrates concerned.
Key Words: JJ Act, Adoption
Iran Nuclear deal
Why in News?
U.S. President Donald Trump told Iran to change its “destabilising” behaviour or risk further economic isolation, hours before the reimposition of sweeping sanctions against Tehran, though he left the door open to a new deal.
· Mr. Trump pulled Washington out of the historic 2015 multilateral accord in May, to the consternation of his European partners.
A first phase of U.S. sanctions against Iran went into effect from 08 August, targeting Iran’s access to U.S. banknotes and key industries including cars and carpets.
· Trup said that he remains oen to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime’s malign activities, including its ballistic missile programme and its support for terrorism.
· Renewed U.S. hostility has already sparked a run on Iran’s currency, which has lost around half its value since Mr. Trump’s announcement.
· It has added to tensions inside Iran, which has seen days of protests and strikes in multiple towns and cities over water shortages, high prices and wider anger at the political system.
· EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc, as well as Britain, France and Germany, deeply regretted the move by Washington.
· Responding to Mr. Trump’s comments, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that Washington’s call for new nuclear negotiations at the same time the U.S. reimposes crippling sanctions “makes no sense”.
Key Words – Iran Nuclear deal, USA, sanctions, Iran, Trump
RBI must resume issuing LoUs, LoCs’
Why in News?
The Reserve Bank of India’s decision to discontinue the issuance of Letters of Undertaking (LoU) and Letters of Credit (LoC) for trade credit was a “knee-jerk reaction” to the Punjab National Bank fraud case and the facility should be restored at the earliest, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce said in a report tabled in the Rajya Sabha.
· The Committee also noted that all the stakeholders it consulted, representing trade and industry, unanimously said that the discontinuation of the LoU and LoC facility had resulted in a 2-2.5% increase in the cost of credit.
· The Committee feels that the RBI got unnerved with the PNB fraud and it hastened the decision to ban LoU/LoC without much thought and consideration.
· The panel noted that all the stakeholders, including banks, were of the opinion that LoUs and LoCs were accepted globally and their efficacy as a source of cost-effective short term credit of foreign currency for importers was “unmatched”.
· The Committee notes that there is also unanimity that the ban of LoU/LoC has resulted in rise in the cost of credit by 2% to 2.5%, the report added.
· This will affect the cost competiveness of the country’s trade and industry and have a cascading effect on jobs. The loss of jobs is something the country can ill-afford.
· The Committee said that RBI should have engaged in more consultations with stakeholders on the matter before resorting to discontinuation of LoUs and LoCs.
· The Committee is of the considered opinion that LoU/LoC should be restored at the earliest albeit with proper safeguards,” the report said.
· Its restoration assumes more significance in the face of the fact that the content of imports is over 20% of India’s total exports.
· The Committee also highlighted the fact that the discontinuation of LoUs and LoCs as a response to the fraud has set off a knock-on effect of conservatism in the banking sector.
· The banks have become very stringent in their operation and credit exposures, the report said.
· The caution has inadvertently made banks becoming inaccessible to the MSME sector. The Committee is concerned that such an approach has the dangers of making banking services elitist and subservient to a few large corporates leaving out the vast majority of MSME units.
Key Words - Letters of Undertaking (LoU), Letters of Credit (LoC), RBI, PNB scam, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce.
One-third of PSBs remain headless
Why in News?
One-third of public sector banks remain headless as a Prime Minister-headed panel is yet to clear the CEO appointments.
· The chief executive officer post at three PSBs remain vacant for more than seven months.
· There are 21 public sector lenders in the country.
· Dena Bank, Punjab & Sind Bank and Andhra Bank do not have a CEO since January this year.
· In May, Allahabad Bank MD and CEO Usha Ananthasubramanian was divested of her responsibilities after the CBI charge-sheeted her in the Nirav Modi scam.
· In June, R. Marathe, MD & CEO, Bank of Maharashtra too was divested of his portfolio after he was arrested (later obtained bail) for allegedly violating norms while extending loans to a real estate developer.
· Bank of Baroda’s MD & CEO P.S. Jayakumar will complete his three-year term in August, but is likely to get an extension.
· The Banks’ Board Bureau (BBB) had recommended names of 14 candidates to the Union government by June end.
· These candidates were to be appointed for vacancies arising in the current financial year.
· The Appointment Committee of Cabinet (ACC), headed by the Prime Minister, makes the appointments.
· According to bankers, the decision-making process at banks gets affected in the absence of leadership, particularly when the festive season, during which credit demand picks up, is about to kick in.
Key Words – top level appointments at banks, Appointment Committee of Cabinet, Banks’ Board Bureau.
Approximately 8,000 illegal settlements are currently standing on what used to be the stream of Musi river, according to a technology-driven rough mapping by the revenue department to support Musi River Front Development .
The structures were identified using Google Maps. Though the preliminary remote identification is complete, officials are yet to start any ground-level survey.
Key Words: Musi, Encroachment, Telangana
Makers of Italian superbike Benelli announced a partnership with Hyderabad’s Mahavir Group arm to set up an assembly plant here and plans to explore prospects for a full-fledged manufacturing facility in the State.
· Under the agreement with Adishwar Auto Ride India (AARI), a subsidiary of Mahavir Group, the assembly plant on three acres in Kompally is expected to become operational by October.
· It will have a capacity to assemble 10,000 bikes and begin with around 100 employees.
The partnership entitles AARI to assemble, manufacture bikes and import exclusive range of Benelli bikes from Italy and South East Asia regions.
As part of the second phase plans, the company will explore the prospects of a manufacturing facility, on 20 acres. Towards this, it signed an MoU with the State government.
· A task force is to be formed by Benelli to explore possibility of localisation of components. Indigenous production could cut down production cost by up to 30%.
Key Words: Benelli, Manufacturing, Telangana
MEPMA and Jeevandan
Why in News?
The Mission for Elimination of Poverty in Municipal Areas (MEPMA) secured a place for the State government’s Jeevandan scheme in the India Book of Records (IBR) by getting 1.20 lakh persons pledge to donate their organs in the event of brain death.
· This exercise was undertaken by Sadhikara Mitras under the aegis of MEPMA and NSS volunteers of Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences (NTRUHS), who got the donations registered mostly online in just a span of ten days.
CM joins campaign
Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu too pledged his organs, saying that it was a humble gesture everyone should make to save precious lives.
· Mr. Naidu said it was a great achievement to motivate such a large number of people to donate their organs given the deep-rooted prejudices about it.
· He called for intensifying the campaign in order to benefit those needing organs such as heart, kidneys and liver without which survival was difficult, and suggested that organ donation should be included as a topic of study in schools to spread awareness among the children.
Key Words - Jeevandan scheme, India Book of Records, MEPMA, Andhra Pradesh
1. Which of the following statements are True with regard to Government e- Marketplace.
a . It is an online platform for procurement of common use goods and services by government organizations.
b. It is PPP initiative where govt owns 51% share.
A. a only
B. b only
C. Both a and b
D. Neither a nor b
As an initiative to improve transparency in procurement, Government has set up Government e- Marketplace as a 100% Government owned company registered under the Companies Act, 2013 for providing online platform for procurement of common use goods and services by government organizations.
It leverages technology to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement. It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users, achieve the best value of their money. It is paperless, cashless and contactless platform giving end to end solution.
2. Which of the following statements are Truw with regard to Startup academia Alliance programme.
a. It aims to provide mentorship to Startups
b. It aims to reduce the gap between scientific research and industrial applications
A. a only
B. b only
C. Both a and b
D. Neither a nor b
To fulfill the Government of India’s mission to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship in the country, Startup India launched the Startup Academia Alliance programme, a unique mentorship opportunity between academic scholars and startups working in similar domains.
· The Startup Academia Alliance aims to reduce the gap between scientific research and its industrial applications in order to increase the efficacy of these technologies and to widen their impact.
· By creating a bridge between academia and industry, the Alliance strives to create lasting connections between the stakeholders of the startup ecosystem and implement the third pillar on which the Startup India Action Plan is based - Industry Academia Partnerships and Incubation.
3. Who appoints the Chief Executive Officers of Public Sector Banks?
A) Reserve Bank of India
B) Banks’ Board Bureau
C) Indian Bankers Association
D) Appointment Committee of Cabinet
Explanation – It is the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet which make the top level appointments at Public Sector Banks based on the recommendations of the Banks’ Board Bureau.
4. Which of the following statements is/are true about the Letter of Undertaking?
a) Letter of Undertaking is a bank guarantee under which a bank allows its customer to raise money from another Indian bank’s foreign branch in the form of short-term credit.
b) The loan is used to make payment to the customer’s offshore suppliers in foreign currency.
c) The overseas bank usually lends to the importer based on the LoU issued by the importer’s bank.
Choose the correct combination
A) a, b and c
B) Both a and b
C) Both b and c
D) Both a and c
Explanation - Letter of Undertaking is a bank guarantee under which a bank allows its customer to raise money from another Indian bank’s foreign branch in the form of short-term credit. The loan is used to make payment to the customer’s offshore suppliers in foreign currency. The overseas bank usually lends to the importer based on the LoU issued by the importer’s bank.
LoUs are important instruments that allow those in the import trade to transact their business. As an importer in India cannot simply buy dollars and send it abroad to make payments to his supplier, various instruments such as LoUs and Letters of Credit are required to carry out the transaction. LoUs, which are essentially a form of guarantee, have come to be a far cheaper and convenient way for importer to raise credit.