Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - June 14, 2018

Cabinet Decisions

Extension of tenure of the Commission constituted to examine the issue of Sub-categorization within Other Backward Classes

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the final extension of the term of the Other Backward Classes in the Central List currently mandated upto 20th June 2018, till 31stJuly, 2018.

Enlighten about the Sub-categorization within Other Backward Classes

  • Establishment of commission under article 340
  • A five-member Commission headed by Delhi High Court's former Chief Justice G Rohini to examine the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) under Article 340 of the Constitution
  • The commission has been established under Article 340 of Constitution under which Mandal commission had recommended 27% reservation for socially and educationally backward classes
  • Sub-categorisation of OBCs aims to ensure more equitable distribution of reservations in government jobs and educational institutions so that dominant groups among OBCs do not corner all benefits.
  • The exercise will involve sub-categorisation of 5,000 castes in central OBC list.
  • The commission will examine extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among castes included in broad category of OBCs, especially with reference to OBCs included in the Central list.
  • It will also take up exercise of identifying respective castes/sub-castes/communities synonyms in Central List of OBCs and classify them into their respective sub-categories.
  • It will work out mechanism, norms, criteria and parameters, in scientific approach, for sub-categorization within such OBCs


President’s official Foreign Visit- Greece, Suriname and Cuba

  • President Ram Nath Kovind on three nation offcial tour to Greece, Suriname and Cuba from 16 to 22 June 2018.
  • Greece will be first leg of the visit followed by Suriname and Cuba.

Cabinet Decisions

Cabinet approves Repositioning of North Eastern Council

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the proposal of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) for the nomination of the Union Home Minister as ex-officio Chairman of North Eastern Council (NEC) - a statutory body with Governors and Chief Ministers of all the eight North Eastern States as its Member.
  • The Cabinet also approved that Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of DoNER would serve as Vice Chairman of the Council.

Enlighten about the impact of this move

  • NEC implements various projects through the State and Central agencies.
  • Under the new arrangement with Home Minister as Chairman and Minister of DoNER as Vice Chairman, NEC and all the Governors and Chief Ministers of North Eastern States as Member would provide a forum for discussing inter-state matters more comprehensively and also consider common approaches to be taken in future.
  • NEC can now also perform the tasks undertaken by the various Zonal Councils to discuss such inter-State issues as drug trafficking, smuggling of arms and ammunition, boundary disputes etc.
  • This repositioning of NEC will help it to become a more effective body for the North Eastern Region.

Enlighten about NEC

  • NEC was established under the North Eastern Council Act, 1971 as an apex level body for securing balanced and coordinated development and facilitating coordination with the States.
  • Subsequent to the Amendment of 2002, NEC has been mandated to function as a regional planning body for the North EasternArea and while formulating a regional plan for this area, shall give priority to the schemes and projects benefiting two or more states provided that in the case of Sikkim, the Council shall formulate specific projects and schemes for that State.

Cabinet approves proposal for enactment of Dam Safety Bill, 2018

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the proposal for introduction of Dam Safety Bill, 2018 in the Parliament.

Enlighten about the benefits

  • It will help all the States and Union Territories of India to adopt uniform dam safety procedures which shall ensure safety of dams and safeguard benefits from such dams.
  • This shall also help in safeguarding human life, livestock and property.

Enlighten about the Dam Safety bill 2018 (draft)

  • The Bill provides for proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the country to ensure their safe functioning.
  • The Bill provides for constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety which shall evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations as may be required for the purpose.
  • The Bill provides for establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country.
  • The Bill provides for constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by State Government.

Enlighten about the proposed National Dam Safety Authority

  • It shall maintain liaison with the State Dam Safety Organisations and the owners of dams for standardisation of dam safety related data and practices
  • It shall provide the technical and managerial assistance to the States and State Dam Safety Organisations;
  • It shall maintain a national level data-base of all dams in the country and the records of major dam failures;
  • It shall examine the cause of any major dam failure;
  • It shall publish and update the standard guidelines and check-lists for the routine inspection and detailed investigations of dams and appurtenances;
  • It shall accord recognition or accreditations to the organisations that can be entrusted with the works of investigation, design or construction of new dams;
  • It will also look into unresolved points of issue between the State Dam Safety Organisation of two states, or between the State Dam Safety Organisation of a State and the owner of a dam in that State, for proper solution;
  • Further, in certain cases, such as dams of one State falling under the territory of another State, the National Authority shall also perform the role of State Dam Safety Organization thereby eliminating potential causes for inter-state conflicts.

Enlighten about the proposed State Committee on Dam Safety

  • It will ensure proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in that State and ensure their safe functioning.
  • It further provides that every State shall establish a "State Dam Safety Organisation", which will be manned by officers from the field dam safety preferably from the areas of dam-designs, hydro-mechanical engineering, hydrology, geo-technical investigation, instrumentation and dam-rehabilitation.

Statics of Dams in India

  • There are over 5200 large dams in India and about 450 are under construction.
  • Due to lack of legal and institutional architecture for dam safety in India, dam safety is an issue of concern.
  • Unsafe dams are a hazard and dam break may cause disasters, leading to huge loss of life and property.
  • The Dam Safety Bill, 2018 address all issues concerning dam safety including regular inspection of dams, Emergency Action Plan, comprehensive dam safety review, adequate repair and maintenance funds for dam safety, Instrumentation and Safety Manuals. It lays onus of dam safety on the dam owner and provides for penal provisions for commission and omission of certain acts.

Menu on Rails – a new App Launched

  • Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways & Coal launched a new App ‘Menu on Rails’,
  • a Mobile Application developed by IRCTC for creating awareness to the Railway Passengers for the items served to them on their Rail Journey.

Cabinet approves MoU between the ICMR and INSERM, France

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Institut National de la Santeet de la RechercheMedicale (INSERM), France.

Enlighten about the MoU

  • The MoU aims at cooperation in areas of common interest within the medical, life sciences and health research fields. Based on scientific excellence on both sides, the parties have agreed to have a specific focus upon:

- Diabetes and Metabolic disorders;
- Bio-ethics with focus on Ethics and regulatory issues of Gene editing techniques;
- Rare diseases; and
- Any other areas of mutual interest can be considered after discussions between the two sides.


Cabinet approves 'Three Year Action Plan of Agricultural Education Division & ICAR Institutes

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister has approved the continuation of the Three Year Action Plan (2017-2020) of the scheme for Agricultural Education Division and ICAR Institutes
  • For strengthening and developing higher agricultural education in India.

It comprises of

1. "Strengthening and Development of Higher Agricultural Education in India
2. ICAR-National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM)
3. ICAR - Central Institute of Women in Agriculture (CIWA) including All India Coordinated Research Project on Home Science (AICRP-HS)

Enlighten about the action plan

  • The scheme is aimed to generate quality human resources from the institutions of higher agricultural education.
  • It encompasses several new initiatives including, steps to attract talented students, reducing academic inbreeding and addressing faculty shortage.
  • It will also take care of green initiatives, mitigating faculty shortage, international ranking, alumni involvement, promoting innovations, inspired teacher network, reducing inbreeding, academia interface, technology enabled learning, Post-doctoral Fellowships, Agriculture Education Portal, Scientific Social responsibility etc. for quality assurance ranking of the agricultural universities has been linked to the financial support under the scheme along with accreditation.
  • This will lead to generation of competitive and confident human resource.
  • In addition, research on gender issues in agriculture and allied fields, formulating gender-equitable agricultural, policies/programmes and gender-sensitive agricultural-sector responses will be undertaken by ICAR-CIWA

Enlighten about various agricultural research institute

  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) undertakes planning, development, coordination and quality assurance in higher agricultural education through partnership with 75 Agricultural Universities (AUs) established across the country. The human resource developed by Agricultural Universities has played a pivotal role in transforming agricultural scenario to achieve self-sufficiency.
  • The approach is multipronged, addressing the issues of competence enhancement, attracting and retaining talented youth to agriculture education and to improve the overall infrastructure in terms of student and faculty amenities pertaining to teaching and learning.
  • The National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) has played a key role in enhancing the capacities of individuals and institutions of National Agricultural Research and Education System (NARES) in agricultural research, education and technology management.
  • The Central Institute for Women in Agriculture has been providing a leadership role in empowering farm women as in the changing agricultural scenario the roles and responsibilities of women in agriculture are indispensable.

Sources – PIB, The Hindu, liveMint