Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban)-4124 Cities & Urban Areas of 21 States / UTS Declared ODF SWM- Processing Increased to 46% Consultative Committee Meeting of the MoHUA Held
The Housing & Urban Affairs Minister informed the Members on the progress made under the Swachh Bharat Mission and stated that the physical targets with regard to building of individual and Community/Public toilets are well on the way to being achieved. “There is, however, a much larger challenge that will require participation of all sections of society. That is the behavioural change among the citizens.The SBM architecture has Behaviour change strategy and Information Education Communication (IEC) as critical components. Under the Mission, all public toilets and urinals constructed have a minimum 5 year maintenance contract. Yet, that is not enough if the users do not change their mindset. All stakeholders must, therefore, ensure that mindset change becomes as important as achieving the physical targets”, he further stated.
Elaborating on some of the innovative initiatives taken under the Mission, he informed that while the first survey was among 73 cities, the second round of Survekshan was held among 434 cities. Swachh Survekshan 2018 has covered 4,203 cities, making it the largest such cleanliness survey in the world. Swachh Survekshan 2019 will cover all ULBs in the country. This ranking framework is introducing a healthy competition among all the participating ULBs.Mentioning about the star rating protocol for garbage free cities, he informed thatMoHUA has launched a ‘star rating protocol for garbage free cities’ to motivate cities to achieve garbage free status. This protocol, designed on a SMART framework, addresses a city’s complete Solid Waste Management chain across 12 cleanliness parameters.
In a first of its kind initiative in the world MoHUA has partnered with Google to upload and make available on Google maps all the public and community toilets in the cities so that citizens and visitors are able to easily locate these facilities in their vicinity. So far this has been completed for more than 1000 cities/towns across the country.Through other initiatives such as thematic drives with citizen participation, engaging students and self-help groups to be the agents for social behaviour change, engaging swachhagrahis across the country to drive behaviour change, running multi-media communication campaigns with messages of ‘swachhata’, and use of various Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools and apps (Swachhata app, Swachh Manch, 1969 Swachhata helpline) for greater citizen participation and engagement - there is now a growing appreciation among people that each of us is equally responsible for maintaining cleanliness of our surroundings.
The focus will now be not only on sustaining the momentum but on accelerating the pace further through innovative, game changing approaches, continuous capacity building of Urban Local bodies, along with a strong regulatory and legal framework and strict enforcement.
Major achievements of MHA:Smooth conduct of local body elections in J&K, AFPSA lifted from parts of North-East, peaceful rollout of NRC in Assam, Improvement in LWE scenario, Smart fence on Western border, Launch of single digit pan-India emergency phone number ‘112’, First India-China Agreement on Bilateral Security Cooperation and Unveiling of the National Police Memorial
Highlights The Internal Security scenario during the year 2018 remained largely peaceful while the situation on the borders with Bangladesh, Myanmar and China has significantly improved. On the Western borders, the Security Forces have retaliated with equal measure to ceasefire violations and neutralised infiltration attempts. In J&K, concerted anti-militancy Operations have resulted in the elimination of a large number of terrorists while the local body elections were conducted smoothly. In the North-East, the security scenario has vastly improved during the last four years with the result the AFPSA was lifted from Meghalaya & parts of Arunachal Pradesh this year; the Draft NRC in Assam was published without any incidence of violence and the Final NRC is on course. In the hinterland, the LWE affected districts have shrunk from 76 in 2013 to just 58.
Under the Modernization of Police Forces (MPF) programme, two pilot projects of smart fencing were unveiled along the Indo-Pak International Border in Jammu. Launch of a single digit pan-India emergency phone number ‘112’, under the Emergency Response Support System (ERSS), has been heralded in Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland. MHA set up a new Division to address Women’s Safety issues while two separate portals, namely – Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) and National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO), furthered Women’s Safety issues.
Enhancement of Centre’s share in the State Disaster Response Fund from 75% to 90%, tremendous success of e-Visa, First India-China High Level Meeting on Bilateral Security Cooperation, conduct of regular meetings of the Zonal Councils, dedication of the National Police Memorial to the nation at the hands of Prime Minister and new Police Medals instituted are some of the other highlights of the Ministry of Home Affairs during the year gone by. J&K: Security Forces launch counter-terrorism Operations; successful conduct of local body elections
In Jammu and Kashmir, amidst recurring incidents of stone pelting in the Kashmir Valley, the Union Government took a major conciliatory initiative in May, 2018 by declaring the Suspension of Operations in the State coinciding with the holy Ramazan month; however, after a review it was not extended beyond the Ramazan period following which the Security Forces launched concerted anti-militancy Operations resulting in significant gains. 238 terrorists were killed in as many as 587 incidents while 86 Security Forces personnel were martyred and 37 civilians killed this year as on December 2, 2108. In June the Union Ministry of Home Affairs conveyed its approval for raising two women Battalions for J&K Police.
Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh paid a 2-day visit to J&K on June 7-8, 2018 where he announced sanction of grants-in-aid amounting to Rs. 14.30 crore for Bock level sports in the state under the ‘Khelo India’ Scheme by the Union Sports Ministry. The Union Home Minister paid another two-day visit to J&K the next month, on July 4-5, 2018, during which he reviewed the security situation and developmental issues in the State.
On 28th September MHA announced New Initiatives in J&K undertaken by the State Government pursuant to the review meeting on 4-5 July, 2018 during Union Home Minister’s visit to the state. Most significant of these was the peaceful conduct of the historic Local Body Elections. Ahead of the landmark local body elections in the State, the Union Home Minister again visited Srinagar on 23rd October and reviewed the security situation.
The local body elections helped re-establish the long overdue grassroots level democracy in J&K. The urban local body elections were held after 2005 and Panchayat elections after 2011. These elections have paved the way for making available nearly Rs. 4,335 Crores of 14th Finance Commission Central grants to the duly constituted local bodies. Central Government provided all possible support to the State Government for smooth conduct of these elections including deployment of Central forces in sufficient numbers.
The Leh and Kargil Autonomous Hill Development Councils have been strengthened and empowered to become the most autonomous councils in the country to address various issues being faced by people living in the remote areas of Ladakh region. The LAHDC & KAHDC have been given more powers to levy and collect local taxes. Control has been given over functioning of various departments as well as the Government employees working for the subjects that stand transferred to them.
Considering the crucial role being played by the Special Police Officers in anti-militancy operations in J&K, MHA enhanced their honorarium from Rs 6,000 per month to 9,000 on completion of 5 years and Rs 12,000 on completion of 15 years. MHA also approved a scheme of Rs 5.5 Lakh financial assistance to nearly 5,764 West Pakistan Refugees settled in J&K. Peaceful North-East: AFPSA lifted from Meghalaya & parts of Arunachal; Peaceful rollout of Draft NRC; pacts with more insurgent groups
The security scenario in the North East is constantly improving. Last year recorded the lowest insurgency incidents and casualties among the civilians and security forces in two decades since 1997. While there is almost no insurgency left in Tripura and Mizoram, there has been a marked improvement in security situation in other States of the region. In the last four years since 2014, there has been 63% reduction in insurgency incidents in the region. Similarly, there is huge reduction of 83% in civilian deaths and 40% in SF casualties in 2017, compared to 2014.
Further, the lifting of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from all areas of Meghalaya on 31st March is illustration of the vast improving security scenario in the NER. In Arunachal Pradesh also, areas under AFSPA have been reduced from 16 PS/Outposts areas bordering Assam to 8 Police Stations, besides Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts. The Centre extended ceasefire for one more year with NSCN/NK and NSCN/R wef 28th April.
Continuing with the North-East, in a major breakthrough on repatriation of displaced Bru persons from Mizoram since 1997, an agreement was signed on 3rd July by Government of India, Governments of Mizoram and Tripura and Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) in presence of Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh, Chief Minister of Mizoram, Shri Lalthanhawla and Chief Minister of Tripura, Shri Biplab Kumar Deb.
The incident-free rollout of Draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a significant achievement. On 25th July, MHA issued guidelines to Assam State Government and neighbouring States to ensure maintenance of law & order in the run-up to and post-publication of Draft NRC on July 30, 2018. In the run-up to Draft NRC publication in Assam, Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh issued separate statements on 22nd & 30th July assuring that every individual will get justice and will be treated in a humane manner.
Union Home Minister chaired the 67th Plenary Session of the North Eastern Council (NEC) in Shillong on July 9-10, 2018. HM urged the eight member states for effective implementation of the recently approved financial package of Rs 4,500 crore by the Centre and directed them to focus on specific areas and better convergence of the govt. sponsored schemes.
Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas shrink, development beckons Over the last four years, there has been a substantial improvement in the LWE scenario. Incidents of violence have seen a sharp decline while the geographical spread of LWE violence also shrunk from 76 districts in 2013 to just 58 districts. Besides, just 30 of these districts account for 90% of the LWE violence in the country. At the same time certain new districts have emerged as the focus of expansion by the Left Wing Extremists.
MHA undertook a comprehensive exercise in consultation with the States to review the affected districts in order to ensure that the deployment of resources is in sync with the changed ground reality. Accordingly, 44 districts have been excluded and 08 new districts have been added to the list of Security Related Expenditure Scheme (SRE) districts.
The Union Home Minister attended the passing out parade of 241 Bastariya Battalion of CRPF in Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh on 21st May. The ‘Bastariya Battalion’ that came into existence on 1st April 2017, has been created to enhance local representation in CRPF’s combat layout in the Bastar area.
On the Internal Security front, MHA issued two Advisories to the States on 7th March to sternly deal with incidents of vandalism of statues in some parts of the country. Advisories were also issued to the States to deal with incidents of mob lynching. On 23rd July, Government set up a High Level Committee (HLC) chaired by the Union Home Secretary to deliberate on incidents of mob lynching;
Government further decided to constitute a Group of Ministers headed by the Union Home Minister to consider the recommendations of the HLC. On 25th October, Union Home Secretary chaired a review meeting with representatives of social media platforms on steps to check rumour-mongering and sexually abusive content over the net. This has been followed up with several meetings.
On 17th September, Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated two pilot projects of smart fencing along the Indo-Pak International Border in Jammu. The smart border fencing projects built under the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) programme is the first of its kind in the country. The two projects each covering a 5.5 km border stretch along the International Border have got hi-tech surveillance system that create an invisible electronic barrier on land, water and even in air and underground and help the BSF detect and foil infiltration bids in most difficult terrains. The CIBMS is designed to guard stretches where physical surveillance is not possible either due to inhospitable terrain or riverine borders.
The Government on 19th January sanctioned raising of 6 additional Battalions of BSF having total financial implication of Rs. 2,090.94 crore. All these battalions have since been raised for deployment. A proposal for raising some additional battalions in ITBP is also under consideration.
Newly built 6th Battalion ITBP Headquarter of Jalalpur in Chhapra district of Bihar was inaugurated by Union Home Minister and Bihar Chief Minister Shri Nitish Kumar on 22nd April.
On July 12, 2018, Union Home Minister had interaction with Field and State Level Officers implementing the Border Area Development Programme (BADP).
Modernization of Police Forces (MPF) has been the topmost priority before the Government and the launch of single digit pan-India emergency phone number ‘112’, under the Emergency Response Support System (ERSS), by the Union Home Minister in Himachal Pradesh on 28th November and in Nagaland on 1st December, marks a landmark milestone.
NCRB on 14th March unveiled a Mobile App template, which is a bouquet of 9 police related services, for the citizen. These services will provide smooth interface between Citizens and Police. States/UTs upon customization can host this App on their CCTNS platform through which citizens can register Police Complaint, and can check the Status of their complaint. Another feature of the App also enables a complainant to download FIR (except those categorized as "Sensitive").
Women’s Safety is a matter of concern for all and in order to channelize Government’s efforts, the MHA created a new Division in May to address issues of Women’s Safety comprehensively. This Division deals with all aspects of women safety in coordination with relevant Ministries/Departments and State Governments. It was considered to create a National Mission for the Safety of Women, with participation of stakeholder Ministries/Departments, who would undertake specified actions in a time bound manner. These included setting up of Special Fast Track Courts (FTCs), strengthening of forensic set up and building up of National Registry of Sexual Offenders, appointing additional Public Prosecutors, and providing appropriate medical and rehabilitation facilities to victims.
On 24th October the Government constituted a GoM headed by the Union Home Minister to strengthen legal & institutional frameworks to deal with & prevent sexual harassment at workplace.
On 20th September, the Home Minister launched two separate portals to strengthen Women Safety, namely –Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) portal to check objectionable online content and National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO) to aid in monitoring & investigation of sexual crimes. The portal “cybercrime.gov.in” receives complaints from citizens on objectionable online content related to child pornography, child sexual abuse material, sexually explicit material such as rape and gang rape. The National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO), which is accessible only to law enforcement agencies, assists in effectively tracking and investigating cases of sexual offences.
A “Handbook on legal processes for Police in respect of Crime against Children” was earlier launched on 19th June by Union Minister of Women and Child Development (WCD), Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi at a function in New Delhi. On 10th August, Union Home Minister was the chief guest at the induction ceremony of an all-Women SWAT Team of Delhi Police.
Liberalization of Visa regime, e-Visa gets hugely popular During the last one year, the MHA has taken a series of steps to liberalize the visa process in India. Some of the major steps are described below:
The Electronic Visa Facility now covers practically all the countries of the world. Foreign nationals of 166 countries can now enjoy this facility at 26 airports and 05 seaports. The foreigner does not have to interact with any Indian official till his arrival at the immigration counter. The Bureau of Immigration (BoI) generally decides within 24-48 hours whether or not to grant an e-visa to a foreigner. The popularity of e-visa is sky rocketing. The number of foreigners who visited India on e-visa has gone up from 5.17 lakhs in 2015 to 21 lakhs this year till 30th November. The number of Visas issued through e-Visa system is now approximately 40% of the total number of Visas issued and the figure is soon expected to cross the 50% mark, which is an indication of its popularity.
Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh on 13th April launched the web-based application ‘e-FRRO’ (e-Foreigners Regional Registration Office). e-FRRO module provides 27 Visa related services to foreigners. It has proved to be very successful and has obviated the need for foreigners to visit FRRO Offices for extending their stay, change of Visa status etc.
With a view to promote flow of tourism and investment, 30 islands of Andaman & Nicobar have been excluded from the RAP regime notified under the Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order, 1963. Foreigners are also allowed to visit 11 uninhabited islands, as notified by Andaman & Nicobar Islands Admn., only for day trips without any RAP. Requirement of registration by foreigners visiting these islands has also been dispensed with. On 1st June, the Union Home Minister launched an Online Analytical Tool for effective monitoring of FCRA remittances.
MHA Event Clearance & Investment Security Clearance become faster with online process The Union Home Secretary Shri Rajiv Gauba Shri Rajiv Gauba on 2nd May launched the online Event Clearance System (https://conference.mha.gov.in) for grant of security clearance to the conference/seminar/workshop organized in India. This has enabled the Indian Missions abroad to issue Conference Visa for foreign nationals/delegates intending to attend such events.
On 18th September Union Home Secretary launched an online ‘e-Sahaj’ portal for grant of Security Clearance. MHA has cleared about 1,100 cases of security clearance in the past one year. Although the given timeline is 90 days, MHA strives to decide Security Clearance cases in 60 days (average time per case in 2018 is 53 days), which is being reduced further. In 2016, there were 209 cases which were over 6 months old; in 2017, this came down to 154 cases and further down to 47 cases in 2018.
On 22nd October, the First India China High Level Meeting on Bilateral Security Cooperation was held in New Delhi. Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh and Mr. Zhao Kezhi, State Councillor and Minister of Public Security of the People's Republic of China led the respective delegations. An Agreement on Security Cooperation between the Ministry of Home Affairs of India and the Ministry of Public Security of China was also signed by the two Ministers. The Agreement further strengthens and consolidates discussions and cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism, organized crimes, drug control and other such relevant areas.
Earlier, the Union Home Minister co-chaired the 6th meeting of the Home Minister level talks with his Bangladesh counterpart, Mr. Asaduzzaman Khan in Dhaka on 15th July. The two Ministers also witnessed the signing of the Revised Travel Arrangement 2018 (RTA 2018) amending the earlier RTA 2013 for further liberalizing the visa regime between the two countries, including enhanced duration for employment and student visas. During his 3-day visit, Shri Rajnath Singh also called on the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Ms. Sheikh Hasina.
On 26th October the 22nd National Level Meeting between India & Myanmar was held in New Delhi. The Indian delegation was led by Shri Rajiv Gauba, Union Home Secretary and the Myanmar delegation was led by Major General Aung Thu, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs. During the meeting both sides agreed to take action against insurgent groups operating within their territories. The two countries agreed on providing of security cooperation along with international border and facilitating movement of people and trade across the border.
Union Home Minister conducted a 4-day visit to Mongolia from June 21-24, 2018. During the visit, Home Minister along with the Prime Minister of Mongolia presided over the ground-breaking ceremony of Mongolia’s first petrochemical refinery project. Home Minister also visited the headquarters of the Mongolian General Authority for Border Protection (GABP) and announced GOI’s decision to provide a high capacity server for the GABP’s main control centre in order to assist them in more efficient border management.
The Union Cabinet on 7th February approved signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC), USA and Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D), India on Law Enforcement Training.
On 28th March, the Union Cabinet approved signing of an MoU between India and United Kingdom and Northern Ireland regarding cooperation and Exchange of Information for the Purposes of Combating International Criminality and Tackling Serious Organised Crime.
Union Home Secretary Shri Rajiv Gauba co-chaired the Third Home Affairs’ Dialogue between India and U.K. held in New Delhi on 30th May. Senior Officers Meeting on Homeland Security Dialogue between India and USA was held on 18th July.
The two-day meeting of the Joint Steering Committee on Homeland and Public Security of India and Israel was held on February 27-28, 2018. Capacity building and modernization in the Police Forces besides border management issues were discussed.
A delegation from Morocco visited MHA on 12th November and signed agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters with Indian team lead by MoS (Home) Shri Kiren Rijiju. The Union Cabinet had approved the Agreement on 1st November.
On 7th March, the Union Cabinet approved an Agreement between India and France on the Prevention of the Illicit Consumption and Reduction of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Chemical Precursors, and related offences.
Union Home Minister inaugurated the 2-day Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in New Delhi on 14th March and the Valedictory Session was addressed by MoS (Home) Shri Kiren Rijiju.
On 6th September, the Union Home Minister inaugurated the 3-day Defence & Homeland Security Expo and Conference- 2018 in New Delhi.
Seamless Centre-State relations: Regular Meetings of Zonal Councils conducted
It has been the objective of the present Government to strengthen the institution of the Zonal Councils as well as the Inter-State Council in order to promote and maintain a good federal atmosphere of cooperation among the States and between the Centre and the States as well. As a result, during the last four years, more than 600 issues were discussed, out of which more than 400 issues resolved.
Standing Committee of the Inter-State Council (ISC) headed by the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh, at its meeting in New Delhi on 25th May, completed the onerous task of deliberations on all the 273 recommendations of the Punchhi Commission.
Earlier, the 23rd Meeting of the Western Zonal Council was chaired by Union Home Minister at Ahmedabad on 26th April. The 28th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council was held under the Chairmanship the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh in Bengaluru on 18th September. Out of the 27 items discussed, 22 were resolved in the meeting. On 1st October, the Union Home Minister chaired the 23rd meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council in Kolkata, where 30 issues on agenda were discussed and 26 resolved.
Disaster Management gets more funds from Centre: GoI enhances its contribution to SDRF from 75 to 90%; 4 new NDRF Battalions approved
Disaster Management during natural or manmade calamity is another major responsibility the MHA has been tasked with. On 27th September, Government of India took an important decision to enhance its contribution in the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) from 75% to 90%. w.e.f. 1st April 2018. Central Government will contribute 90 per cent and all States will contribute 10 per cent to the SDRF.
On 9th August, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the raising of four additional Battalions of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) at an estimated cost of Rs 637 crore. These four battalions will initially be raised as two battalions in ITBP and one battalion each in BSF and Assam Rifles. Later these four battalions will be converted into NDRF battalions. Based on the vulnerability profile, these four battalions will be placed in J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi NCR. At present there are 12 Battalions in NDRF which are deployed strategically across the country to provide immediate response.
The Vice-President laid the Foundation Stone of Southern Campus building of the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) on 22nd May in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh.
The Task Force constituted by the MHA presented its report on “Establishing a Coalition on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)” to the Union Home Minister on 2nd May. MHA and ISRO signed an MoU on 20th September for setting up of an state-of-the-art Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response (ICR-ER). It will cater to the requirement of Disaster Management as well as Internal Security.
During the July-August floods in Kerala in two spells, Cabinet Secretary chaired six meetings of NCMC in as many days during August to review the flood situation in the state. Centre launched massive rescue and relief operations. In one of the largest rescue operations, 40 helicopters, 31 aircraft, 182 teams for rescue, 18 Medical Teams of Defence forces, 58 teams of NDRF, 7 companies of CAPFs were pressed into service along with over 500 boats and necessary rescue equipments. They successfully saved over 60,000 human lives by rescuing them from marooned areas and shifting them to relief camps. Defence aircrafts and helicopters made 1,084 sorties of duration 1,168 flying hours and airlifted 1,286 tonne of load and carried 3,332 rescuers.
On 21st July, a Central Team led by MoS (Home) Shri Kiren Rijiju reviewed the flood situation in Kerala, followed by a visit of the Union Home Minister to the flood affected areas of Kerala on 12th August. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi monitored the rescue & relief efforts on a daily basis and he visited the State on August 17-18, 2018.
The Centre also provided urgent aid and relief material to Kerala in a timely manner and without any reservation. Central assistance of Rs.500 crore, as announced by the Prime Minister, and Rs.100 crore, announced by the Union Home Minister, for flood affected Kerala was released to the Government of Kerala on 21st August. This was in addition to Rs.562.45 crore already made available in SDRF of the State. Later, High Level Committee (HLC) meeting held on 6th December under the chairmanship of Union Home Minister approved the additional assistance from National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) of Rs 3,048.39 crore to Kerala.
On 4th August, MoS (Home) Shri Kiren Rijiju visited flood affected areas in Nagaland.
NCMC also met under chair of Cabinet Secretary on 10th October to take stock of preparatory measures in the wake of impending landfall of the cyclonic storm “TITLI” along the coast between Orissa and north Andhra Pradesh.
On 26th February, the Union Home Minister chaired a meeting of the HLC, approving assistance of Rs 1711.66 crore in respect of state of Bihar. The HLC also approved assistance from NDRF amounting to Rs 1055.05 crore for the state of Gujarat, Rs 169.63 crore for the state for Kerala, Rs 420.57 crore for the state of Rajasthan, Rs 133.05 crore for the state of Tamil Nadu, Rs 420.69 crore for the state of Uttar Pradesh, Rs 838.85 crore for West Bengal, Rs 395.91 crore for Chhattisgarh and Rs 836.09 crore for the state of Madhya Pradesh. HLC on 14th May approved Central assistance of Rs 1,161.17 crores to states of Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Rajasthan and UT of Lakshadweep. HLC in its meeting on 29th June approved additional Central Assistance to the flood/drought hit States of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
On 12th September, HLC and approved additional assistance from NDRF of Rs 157.23 crore for the state of Uttar Pradesh (affected by rabi drought during 2017-18) and Rs 60.76 crore for the state of Maharashtra (affected by pest attack & cyclone during 2017). On 31st October, Union Home Minister approved release of 2nd installment of Central Share of SDRF amounting to Rs. 229.05 crore, in advance for the year 2018-19, to help Andhra Pradesh in providing relief measures to the people affected by the 11th October severe cyclonic storm Titli. On 19th November, HLC approved the additional assistance from NDRF of Rs. 546.21 crore to Karnataka.
On 30th November, the Union Home Minister approved to release the 2nd installment of Central Share of SDRF amounting to Rs. 353.70 crore, for the year 2018-19, as an interim relief to help Tamil Nadu in providing relief measures to the people affected by cyclone Gaja. HLC meeting held on 6th December approved additional assistance from NDRF to Kerala, besides Rs. 131.16 crore to Nagaland and Rs 539.52 crore to Andhra Pradesh.
Coinciding with the Police Commemoration Day, on 21st October, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, speaking on the occasion, announced an award in the name of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, to honour those involved in disaster response operations. The award would be announced every year, recognizing the bravery and courage displayed in saving lives of people, in the wake of a disaster.
On 12th January, the two-day International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (IWDRI) was inaugurated by the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh, in New Delhi; the Valedictory Session was addressed by MoS (Home) Shri Kiren Rijiju. The Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog, Dr. Rajiv Kumar inaugurated the First India-Japan Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction in New Delhi on 19th March, while Shri Kiren Rijiju addressed the Valedictory Session. Shri Kiren Rijiju led a high level delegation to participate in Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR), 2018 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia from 03-06 July, 2018.
A record number of 49,992 nominations for the Padma Awards-2019 have been received which is 32 times higher over the nominations received in 2010. As against 1,313 nominations received in 2010, 18,768 were received in the year 2016 and 35,595 nominations in 2017.
The Government has transformed the Padma Awards into a ‘People’s Awards’ in a true sense. People are encouraged to nominate unsung heroes who deserve these top Civilian awards (Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri).
The nomination process for Padma Awards was made online in the year 2016; and a simple, accessible and secure online platform was put in place to encourage citizens to participate in large numbers.
The technological intervention that has made the nomination process accessible to the people at large and the emphasis of the Government to confer Padma Awards upon unsung heroes, who are doing selfless service to the nation, have resulted in a transformation.
In order to recognize the gallant efforts of the CAPF personnel and encourage high standards of professionalism, the MHA announced on 28th June the institution of five Police Medals. - the Home Minister's Special Operation Medal, Antarik Suraksha Medal, Asadharan Aashuchan Padak, and Utkrisht & Ati-Utkrisht Seva Medal to promote professionalism and excellence in service and give recognition to those security personnel doing good work in stressful environment and in difficult areas.
Earlier in March, the Government instituted the “Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Police Investigation” to promote high professional standards of Investigation of Crime in the State/UT Police and Central Investigating Agencies in the country.
Officers from the rank of Sub-Inspector to Superintendent of Police are eligible. Based on the average crime data for the last three years, a total of 162 medals will be awarded every year; of these, 137 will be for the States/UTs and 25 for the Central Investigating Agencies. The names of awardees will be declared on 15th August every year.
National Police Memorial dedicated to the Nation The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, dedicated the National Police Memorial to the nation, on Police Commemoration Day, in New Delhi on 21st October. The memorial has been erected on 6.12 acres of land in Chanakyapuri, at the northern end of Shanti Path. The National Police Memorial consists of Central Sculpture, a Wall of Valour-engraved with the names of police personnel who laid down their lives in the line of duty and a State of Art Museum dedicated to the memory of the martyred police personnel.
This Police Memorial represents all State/UT Police Forces and Central Police Organizations of the country. Since 1947, 34,844 police personnel have been martyred, with 424 losing their lives this year.
Launch of Student Police Cadet (SPC) programme In a novel initiative, the Union Home Minister launched the Student Police Cadet (SPC) programme for nationwide implementation at a ceremony in Gurugram, Haryana on 21st July. The SPC programme focuses on students of Classes 8 & 9 and special care has been taken to ensure that it does not lead to increase in the workload of the students.
Career enhancement and welfare measures for CAPF jawans The Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, on 10th January, approved the Cadre review of Group ‘A’ Executive Cadre of CISF. It provides for creation of 25 posts of various ranks from Assistant Commandant to Additional Director General ranks to enhance the supervisory staff in Senior Duty posts of CISF.
Union Home Minister attended a ceremony in New Delhi on 20th January to raise funds for the “Bharat ke Veer” fund to assist the families of martyrs of the Central Armed Police Forces. Continuing with his practice over the years, Union Home Minister celebrated the New Year 2018 with ITBP Jawans in Uttarakhand.
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 18th July gave its approval to grant Special Remission to Prisoners as part of Commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Elder convicts, physically challenged, terminally ill and prisoners who have completed two-third (66%) of their actual sentence period, barring certain categories involving heinous crimes, are eligible for remission to be granted in three phases.
Union Home Ministry on 11th October advised the Chandigarh Administration to follow the notification issued by Delhi Government giving an exemption to Sikh women from wearing protective headgear (helmet) while driving two wheelers in UT Chandigarh.
With 506 monuments under its belt, Karnataka continues to top the list in South India, followed by Tamil Nadu (413). Nationally too, Karnataka is in the second place after Uttar Pradesh, which has 745 such monuments.
The six monuments declared as Monuments of national importance in 2018 are: Old High Court Building in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Haveli of Agha Khan in Agra. Haveli of Hathi Khana in Agra. Neemrana Baori in Rajasthan’s Alwar district. Group of Temples at Ranipur Jharail in Odisha’s Bolangir district. Vishnu Temple in Kotali, Pithoragarh district, Uttarkhand.
What is an Ancient Monument? According to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, any structure, sculpture, inscription, etc., which is in existence for not less than 100 years is termed ancient.
About ASI: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), under the Ministry of Culture, is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation.
Functions: Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI. Besides it regulate all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was formed in 1861 by a statute passed into law by Canning, with Alexander Cunningham as its first Archaeological Surveyor, to excavate and conserve India’s ancient built heritage.
The action was taken under rule 374A of the Lok Sabha which says they cannot attend the remaining days of the session.
Provisions in this regard: Among the tools available to the Speaker for ensuring discipline is the power to force a member to withdraw from the House (for the remaining part of the day), or to place him under suspension.
Rule Number 373 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business states that in case the Speaker is of the opinion that the conduct of any member is “grossly disorderly”, he or she may direct that member to “withdraw immediately from the House”. The member is required to “do so forthwith”, and stay away from the “remainder of the day’s sitting”.
The Speaker may invoke Rule 374A in case of “grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the well of the House or abusing the Rules of the House, persistently and wilfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise…”. The member concerned, “on being named by the Speaker, stands automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less”.
While the Speaker is empowered to place a member under suspension, the authority for revocation of this order is not vested in her. It is for the House, if it so desires, to resolve on a motion to revoke the suspension.
Similar powers to the Chairman of Rajya Sabha: Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is empowered — under Rule Number 255 of its Rule Book — to “direct any member whose conduct is in his opinion grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately” from the House. “…Any member so ordered to withdraw shall do so forthwith and shall absent himself during the remainder of the day’s meeting.”
The Chairman may “name a member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the Council by persistently and wilfully obstructing” business. In such a situation, the House may adopt a motion suspending the member from the service of the House for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session. The House may, however, by another motion, terminate the suspension. Unlike the Speaker, the Rajya Sabha Chairman does not have the power to suspend a member.
WHAT IS THE CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT BILL 2016? The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 seeks to allow illegal migrants from certain minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. In other words, it amends the Citizenship Act of 1955. The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.
WHAT DOES IT WANT? The Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to allow illegal migrants belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian religious communities coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan to not be imprisoned or deported. It also appeals for the minimum years of residency in India to apply for citizenship to be lessened from at least 11 to six years for such migrants. The Bill, however, does not extend to illegal Muslim migrants. It also does not talk about other minority communities in the three neighbouring countries, such as Jews, Bahais etc.
WHY ARE PEOPLE IN ASSAM NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT? The Citizenship Amendment Bill has not been sitting well with the Assamese as it contradicts the Assam Accord of 1985, which clearly states that illegal migrants heading in from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971, would be deported.
What is the Citizenship Act 1995? Under Article 9 of the Indian Constitution, a person who voluntarily acquires citizenship of any other country is no longer an Indian citizen. Citizenship by descent: Persons born outside India on or after January 26, 1950, but before December 10, 1992, are citizens of India by descent if their father was a citizen of India at the time of their birth.
From December 3, 2004, onwards, persons born outside of India shall not be considered citizens of India unless their birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of the date of birth. In Section 8 of the Citizenship Act 1955, if an adult makes a declaration of renunciation of Indian citizenship, he loses Indian citizenship.
Who is an illegal immigrant? According to the Citizenship Act (1955), an illegal immigrant is defined as a person who enters India without a valid passport or stays in the country after the expiry of the visa permit. Also, the immigrant who uses false documents for the immigration process.
What are the guidelines to become an Indian citizenship? Citizenship is granted to an individual by the government of the country when he/she complies with the legal formalities, so it’s like a judicial concept.
In India, the Citizenship Act, 1995 prescribes five ways of acquiring citizenship: Birth Descent Registration Naturalization Incorporation of the territory.
National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) will now go-ahead with a class action suit brought against Maggi noodle makers Nestle.
What’s the issue? The apex court had allowed the case against Nestle to reopen after the Swiss food giant had admitted the presence of toxic ingredients in its noodles during a court hearing. Nestle’s lawyers have admitted that toxic elements like lead and MSG are found in its sample tests conducted by CFTRI (Central Food Technological Research Institute), Mysuru. However, the company has argued that the lead was within the permissible limit.
Effects of lead and MSG on health: Lead: According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems, including your liver and kidneys in particular.
It is especially harmful to infant and pregnant women as it can cause damage to the central nervous system in children. Since lead is a heavy metal it can get stored in the teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time. In pregnant women, prolonged exposure to lead can result in miscarriage, prematurity, low birth weight, etc.
Monosodium glutamate: MSG, short for Monosodium glutamate, is an amino acid found in your body and most foods. It is a flavour enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups, and processed meats. When consumed in excess, it can cause several health issues, including a headache, nausea, sweating, weakness, chest pain, tingling or burning in the face as well as neck and other areas. It is claimed that MSG can cause asthma and even brain damage.
MSG may cause adverse symptoms in some people, including a condition called Chinese restaurant syndrome or MSG symptom complex. However, there is no definitive evidence that MSG is solely responsible for causing these symptoms.
About NCDRC: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), India is a quasi-judicial commission in India which was set up in 1988 under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. The commission is headed by a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court of India.
Statutory provisions: Section 21 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 posits that the National Consumer shall have jurisdiction to entertain a complaint valued more than one crore and also have Appellate and Revisional jurisdiction from the orders of State Commissions or the District fora as the case may be.
Section 23 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986, provides that any person aggrieved by an order of NCDRC, may prefer an Appeal against such order to Supreme Court of India within a period of 30 days.
Challenge for start- ups: Corruption Bureaucratic inefficiencies. Securing loans. Funding
Angel tax: Angel tax is one area that falls under corruption and bureaucratic inefficiencies as it takes the focus of entrepreneurs away from building a product or service to responding to tax notices and filing appeals, something that start-ups can clearly do without.
Angel tax continued to be a key pain point for start-ups, where the assessing officers in many cases reject the valuation method used by the start-up and instead treat the capital raised as income from other sources, thereby, raising a tax demand and penalty on the start-up. Several start-ups and angel investors have raised concerns over notices received from the authorities related to taxation of angel funds. The Centre has set up a panel to look into the taxation issues faced by start-ups and angel investors.
What is Angel Tax? Angel Tax is a 30% tax that is levied on the funding received by startups from an external investor. However, this 30% tax is levied when startups receive angel funding at a valuation higher than its ‘fair market value’. It is counted as income to the company and is taxed.
The tax, under section 56(2)(viib), was introduced by in 2012 to fight money laundering. The stated rationale was that bribes and commissions could be disguised as angel investments to escape taxes. But given the possibility of this section being used to harass genuine startups, it was rarely invoked.
Why is Angel tax problematic? There is no definitive or objective way to measure the ‘fair market value’ of a startup. Investors pay a premium for the idea and the business potential at the angel funding stage. However, tax officials seem to be assessing the value of the startups based on their net asset value at one point. Several startups say that they find it difficult to justify the higher valuation to tax officials.
In a notification dated May 24, 2018, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had exempted angel investors from the Angel Tax clause subject to fulfilment of certain terms and conditions, as specified by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). However, despite the exemption notification, there are a host of challenges that startups are still faced with, in order to get this exemption.
As per the internal and extra budgetary resources approved for 2018-19 by the government, a sum of Rs62,000 crore is to be raised by NHAI through various instruments/sources including Bharatmala bonds.
What is Bharatmala project? Bharatmala Project is the second largest highways construction project in the country since NHDP, under which almost 50,000 km or highway roads were targeted across the country. Bharatmala will look to improve connectivity particularly on economic corridors, border areas and far flung areas with an aim of quicker movement of cargo and boosting exports.
About NHAI: The National Highways Authority of India was constituted by an act of Parliament, the National Highways Authority of India Act,1988. It is responsible for the development, maintenance and management of National Highways entrusted to it and for matters connected or incidental thereto. The Authority was operationalised in Feb, 1995.
About the Project: The project would be implemented in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in high-conservation-value landscapes of five States namely, (i) Madhya Pradesh: Chambal Landscape, (ii) Mizoram: Dampa Landscape, (iii) Odisha: Similipal Landscape, (iv) Rajasthan: Desert National Park Landscape and v) Uttarakhand: Corbett-Rajaji Landscape.
The Green-Ag project seeks to integrate biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management objectives and practices into Indian agriculture. The project aims to catalyze a transformative change of India’s agricultural sector to support the achievement of national and global environmental benefits and conservation of critical biodiversity and forest landscapes.
The project supports harmonization between India’s agricultural and environmental sector priorities and investments to realise the national and global environmental benefits without compromising on India’s ability to strengthen rural livelihoods and meet its food and nutrition security.
About GEF: The Global Environment Facility was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. It is an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector that addresses global environmental issues.
GEF funds are available to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreements. The World Bank serves as the GEF Trustee, administering the GEF Trust Fund.
Government of India has launched the Namami Gange Programme in May 2015, with the total budgetary outlay of Rs. 20,000 crore for the period from 2014-2015 till 31 December 2020 to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga and its tributaries.
Namami Gange Programme – is an umbrella programme which integrates previous and currently ongoing initiatives by enhancing efficiency, extracting synergies and supplementing them with more comprehensive & better coordinated interventions. Government of India is supplementing the efforts of the state governments in addressing the pollution of river Ganga by providing financial assistance to the states. 961 Grossly Polluting Industries (GPIs) have been identified on main stem of river Ganga.
Cleaning of the river is a continuous process and efforts are being made to complete the projects by the year 2020 for creating adequate Sewage Treatment Capacity.
Background: Each day, more than 500 million liters of wastewater from industrial sources are dumped directly into Ganga. In many places, this wastewater entering the rivers is completely raw, completely untreated.
Main Pillars of the Namami Gange Programme are: Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure River-Surface Cleaning Afforestation Industrial Effluent Monitoring River-Front Development Bio-Diversity Public Awareness Ganga Gram
Its implementation has been divided into: Entry-Level Activities (for immediate visible impact), Medium-Term Activities (to be implemented within 5 years of time frame) and Long-Term Activities (to be implemented within 10 years). National Mission for Clean Ganga, endeavors to deploy best available knowledge and resources across the world for Ganga rejuvenation. Clean Ganga has been a perennial attraction for many international countries that have expertise in river rejuvenation.
Countries like Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Israel, etc. have shown interest in collaborating with India for Ganga Rejuvenation.
The 1360 kms long India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway is an initiative pertaining to India, Myanmar and Thailand. India is undertaking construction of two sections of the Trilateral Highway in Myanmar namely,
Construction of 120.74 KM Kalewa-Yagyi road section, and Construction of 69 bridges along with the approach road on the 149.70 KM Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa (TKK) road section.
Both these sections were awarded on Engineering, Procurement and Construction mode in May 2018 for Kalewa-Yagyi section and November 2017 for the TKK section. The scheduled time for completion of both the projects is three years from the date of commencement at the project site by the executing agency. The above mentioned projects are funded by Government of India under Grant Assistance to the Government of Myanmar.
Other Information: A Motor Vehicles Agreement along with protocols for regulating and facilitating movement of cargo and passenger vehicular traffic is under inter-governmental negotiations between India, Myanmar and Thailand.
Background: The India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway is a highway under construction under India’s Look East Policy that will connect Moreh, India with Mae Sot, Thailand via Myanmar. The road will boost the trade and commerce in the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area, and with the rest of Southeast Asia. India has also proposed extending the highway to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
Look-East Policy: India’s Look East Policy is an effort being made by the Indian government to cultivate and strengthen economic and strategic relations with the nations of Southeast Asia in order to solidify its standing as a regional power. This policy also serves to position India as a counterweight to the strategic influence of the People’s Republic of China in the region.
Look-East Connectivity: Commerce with South and East Asian nations accounts for almost 45% of India’s foreign trade. Myanmar and ASEAN nations are part of India’s Look East Policy.
Context: The hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Kerala has been opened for the 21 day-long Makaravilakku festival season, marking the concluding phase of the annual pilgrimage season.
About Makaravilakku festival season: Makaravilakku is an annual festival held on Makar Sankranti in Kerala, at the shrine of Sabarimala. The festival includes the Thiruvabharanam (sacred ornaments of Ayyappan) procession and a congregation at the hill shrine of Sabarimala.
Institutions in News- DRI: Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, formed in 1957, is the major intelligence agency which eradicates smuggling of drugs, gold, diamonds, electronics, foreign currency, counterfeit Indian currency, etc. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence functions under the Central Board of Excise and Customs in the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue.
The Directorate is run by officers from Central Excise and Customs. Though its early days were committed to combating smuggling in of gold, it has now tuned itself to the changing nature of crimes in the field of narcotics and economic crimes.