Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - April 25, 2018

National

Island Development Agency – 3rd Meeting chaired by Home Minister Restricted Area Permit regime to be relaxed for tourism promotion

  • The Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh, chaired the third meeting of the Island Development Agency (IDA)
  • The Island Development Agency reviewed the progress made towards preparation of Development Plans for identified Islands (four in A&N Islands i.e. Smith, Ross, Long, Avis and five in Lakshadweep i.e. Minicoy, Bangaram, Thinnakara, Cheriyam, Suheli).

Enlighten about IDA

  • The IDA was set up on June 01, 2017 following the Prime Minister’s review meeting for the development of islands.
  • The government has chosen 10 islands in Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar for their holistic development in the first phase of work being done by newly constituted Island Development Agency (IDA)
  • Smith, Ross, Aves, Long and Little Andaman in Andaman and Nicobar, and Minicoy, Bangaram, Suheli, Cherium and Tinnakara in Lakshadweep are those selected in the first IDA meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh

Housing & Urban Affairs

Mobile App (m-Awas)

What

  • The housing ministry has launched a Mobile App (m-Awas) for allotment of Government accommodations in General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA) in Delhi under the control of the Directorate of Estates
  • The application has been developed by NIC.
  • The dedicated application of online allotment i.e. e-Awas will support this App.
  • The app will facilitate the applicants of the Central Government accommodation in Delhi as well as those who are in waiting list, to apply for allotment for allotment of General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA) through Automated System of Allotment (ASA) launched

Agreements

Government of India and World Bank Signs Agreement to Improve Rural Road Network in Madhya Pradesh

  • A $210 million loan agreement for the Madhya Pradesh Rural Connectivity Project.
  • The Project is expected to improve the durability, resilience and safety of the gravel surfaced rural roads and enhance the capacity of the state to manage its rural roads network.
  • under the Chief Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (CMGSY) program.

Enlighten about the uniqueness of this project

  • This project will leverage resources to support innovations in road construction, improve road safety, and reduce carbon footprint in the transport sector by mainstreaming climate resilient technology in road design and construction
  • This project will undertake resilience measures such as surface sealing of roads, embankment pitching, and balancing culverts to prevent damages caused by extreme flood events.
  • Alternate sealing options for road construction like polymer modified asphalt, asphalt blended with plastic waste, and multiple surface treatment to be piloted on approximately 20 percent of the length will not only be more cost-effective but will also reduce the carbon footprint of the transport sector.
  • This project, on a pilot basis, will engage women self-help groups (SHG) in the post construction maintenance activity.

Internal Security

Protected Area Permit regime Relaxed norms in Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur

Authorising Ministry

  • The Union Home Ministry

What

  • Foreign tourists, except from (Pakistan, China and Afghanistan) would now be allowed to visit some of the most pristine locations of the country which, so far, were out of bounds for them without a special permit.

Enlighten about Protected area permit

  • Under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958
  • all areas falling between the Inner line and the International Border of some states have been declared as protected areas.
  • The protected areas currently include whole of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim(includes some restricted area also), besides parts of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • a foreign national is not allowed to visit a protected or restricted without the prior permission from the government
  • Except a citizen of Bhutan, every foreigner who desires to enter and stay in a protected or restricted area, is required to obtain a special permit from a competent authority
  • the prior approval of the Union home ministry to facilitate foreign tourists is needed.

AFAPA (Armed Force Special Power Act) The Centre has removed the AFSPA from Meghalaya

  • w.e.f April 1 onwards.
  • The Act was effective in the State in the 20 km area along its border with Assam.
  • In Arunachal Pradesh, the AFSPA has been restricted to eight police stations, instead of 16 earlier.

Enlighten about AFSPA

  • AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.
  • They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law.
  • If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search a premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
  • Any person arrested or taken into custody may be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station along with a report detailing the circumstances that led to the arrest.

DISTURBED AREA

  • An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.
  • The Central Government, or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area.

Enlighten about AFSPA Status

  • It is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven assembly constituencies of Imphal) and parts of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Centre revoked it in Meghalaya on April 1, 2018.
  • Earlier, the AFSPA was effective in a 20 km area along the Assam-Meghalaya border.
  • In Arunachal Pradesh, the impact of AFSPA was reduced to eight police stations instead of 16 police stations and in Tirap, Longding and Changlang districts b5.ordering Assam.

National

The National Commission for Minorities (NCM)

What’s the NEWS

  • NCM approached the government for granting Constitutional status to protect the rights of minority communities more effectively.
  • Present status – statutory body/quasi-judicial
  • NCM has powers to summon officials, including chief secretaries and director generals of police, but has to rely on departments concerned to take action against them.

If granted constitutional status

  • The NCM will be able to act against errant officials who do not attend hearings, follow its order or are found guilty of dereliction of duty.
  • The NCM can penalise or suspend an officer for two days or send him/her to jail.
  • The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment (2017-18), in its 53rd report had also noted that the NCM is “almost ineffective” in its current state to deal with cases of atrocities against minorities.

Enlighten about NCM:

  • The Union Government set up the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
  • Six religious communities - Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains have been notified as Minorities
  • The Commission shall consist of a Chairperson, a Vice Chairperson and five Members to be nominated by the Central Government from amongst persons of eminence, ability and integrity; provided that five Members including the Chairperson shall be from amongst the minority communities.

Sources – The Hindu, PIB, Indian Express