Thursday, 18th February 2021

Table of contents

1   News Snapshot


Cabinet approves amendments to Juvenile Justice Act


Kiran Bedi ceases to hold post of Puducherry Lieutenant Governor


Revamped Gold Monetisation Scheme

2   Featured News


Special Series – Budget, Survey and Finance Commission


Theaterisation of Commands

3   Terms & Concepts


Rice Fortification



4   Editorial of the day


Farm laws must reflect regional and crop diversities

5   Case Study of the Day


A Teenager solves water crises in Bundelkhand, inspires 200 women to revive 70 acre lake

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News Snapshot

Cabinet approves amendments to Juvenile Justice Act

In News 

The Union Cabinet has recently approved major amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act 


About the Juvenile Justice Act 

·         The Act provides that minors in the age group of 16-18 years should be treated as adults in case of heinous crimes. 

·         It mandates setting up Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare Committees in every district. Both must have at least one-woman member each. 

·         Also, the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)was granted the status of a statutory body to enable it to perform its function more effectively. 

·         The Act included several new offences committed against children (like, illegal adoptions, use of child by militant groups, offences against disabled children, etc.) which are not adequately covered under any other law. 

·         All Child Care Institutions, whether run by State Government or by voluntary or non-governmental organizations are to be mandatorily registered under the Act within 6 months from the date of commencement of the Act. 


Amendments that have been approved 

·         Exemption in case of some offences from being tried in adult courts - Children accused of offences where the maximum sentence is more than seven years but in which no minimum sentence is prescribed will no longer be tried in adult courts. Crimes committed by children in which the minimum sentence is less than seven years, will be categorized as "serious" and not "heinous" crimes. Such children will be treated as juveniles and will not have to go through the adult criminal justice system. 

·         Additional powers to District Magistrate - District magistrates and additional district magistrates will be allowed to issue adoption orders. In order to enhance accountability, the amendments have also empowered district magistrates to monitor agencies responsible for implementing the JJ Act.  

·         Increased scope for protection of children - Children who have suffered trafficking, drug abuse or have been rescued or children abandoned by their guardians too will come under child in need of protection or CARE. 

News Snapshot

Kiran Bedi ceases to hold post of Puducherry Lieutenant Governor

In News 

The President has directed that Dr. Kiran Bedi shall cease to hold the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry and has appointed Dr.Tamilsai Soundararajan, Governor of Telangana, to discharge the functions of the LG of Puducherry, in addition to her own duties.  


Powers of the LG of Puducherry 

Discretionary powers 

·         The LG has the power to act in his discretion in the matter of lawmaking, even though the Council of Ministers has the task of aiding and advising him. 

·         In case of a difference of opinion between the LG and his Ministers on any matter, the Administrator is bound to refer it to the President for a decision and act accordingly. However, the Administrator can also claim that the matter is urgent, and take immediate action as he deems necessary.

Prior sanctions for certain Legislative Proposals 

·         A prior sanction of the Administrator is required for certain legislative proposals. They include Bills or amendments that deal with the constitution and organization of the court of the Judicial Commissioner, and jurisdiction and powers of the court of the Judicial Commissioner with respect to any of the matters in the State List or the Concurrent List. 

Recommendatory powers 

·         It is obligatory on the part of the UT government to seek the recommendation of the LG in the following matters:

o   Before moving a Bill or an amendment to provide for the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax;

o   The amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken;

o   Anything that has to do with the Consolidated Fund of the UT. 


Comparison with the powers of LG of Delhi 

·         The LG of Delhi has Executive Functions that allow him to exercise his powers in matters connected to public order, police and land in consultation with the Chief Minister, if it is so provided under any order issued by the President under Article 239 of the Constitution. The LG of Delhi enjoys greater powers than the LG of Puducherry. 

·         Under the constitutional scheme, the Delhi Assembly has the power to legislate on all subjects except law and order and land. However, the Puducherry Assembly can legislate on any issue under the Concurrent and State Lists. However, if the law is in conflict with a law passed by Parliament, the law passed by Parliament prevails. 

News Snapshot

Revamped Gold Monetisation Scheme

In News

India launched a revamped Gold Monetisation Scheme that seeks to unlock an estimated 25,000 tonnes of idle gold lying at Indian households. India imports about 700 tonnes of gold every year and is the second-largest consumer after China. 


Gold Monetisation Scheme launched in 2015

·         Investors can make term deposits of their idle gold under GMS

·         Gold, under the scheme, can be deposited in any form - bars, coins or jewellery, and the depositor also has the option to either take cash or gold on redemption.

·         Types of Gold Monetisation Scheme: Short-term gold deposit (1-3 years), Medium-term gold deposit (5-7 years) and Long-term gold deposit (7-12 years).


Benefits of Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS)

·         Mobilise idle gold.

·         Earn Interest: The GMS will help depositor earn interest, which will add to the savings.

·         Avail secured storage: banks will keep gold safe and secure under GMS.

·         Tax benefits: No capital gains tax from profit made with the gold monetisation scheme.

·         Reduce reliance on gold imports: It will help the country reduce dependence on import of gold and address the issue of current account deficit.


Changes brought in Revamped Gold Monetisation Scheme

·         Minimum deposit in GMS has been brought down to 10 gms from 30 gms earlier to make it more accessible and simple.

·         Dematerialisation of medium-term and long-term government deposit certificates to make them tradable in the market. Initially deposit certificates by banks will be moved to a secure digital platform, to be developed by SBI.

·         It seeks to incentivise jewellers to participate, engaging them as gold mobilisation agents and collection and purity testing centres (CPTCs). With household’s trust in their family jewellers, mobilisation of idle gold lying in the lockers will become comparatively easier.

·         Banks have also been permitted to buy Indian-refined gold from market and gold exchange under the scheme.

·         At least one third of the public sector bank branches in all towns will have to provide the revamped gold deposit scheme on demand with special designated officers.

·         The government will also request the private sector banks to participate in the revamped Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS) that will incentivise participating jewellers.

Featured News

Special Series – Budget, Survey and Finance Commission


Topic 14 - Disaster Risk Management and Financing- 15th FC

In News

The 15th FC reviewed the present arrangements on financing Disaster Management initiatives and made appropriate recommendations.

Current Mechanism of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Disaster Risk Financing (DRF)

·         ers a wide range of disaster management functions-relief and response, preparedness, and mitigation, as well as recovery and reconstruction. All this require funding.

·         The responsibility of disaster risk financing is shared between the States and the Union Government. However, States have the primary responsibility to organising rescue, evacuation and relief and providing people with assistance.

·         Union Government provides secondary support through financial and technical assistance.

·         The State Governments incur most of the disaster-related expenditure through their State Disaster Response Funds (SDRF). These are augmented and replenished through National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).

·         Apart from SDRF and NDRF, State Governments also utilise budgetary resources and World Bank loans for supporting larger recovery and reconstruction projects.


Issues with Current DRM Approach

·         Too much emphasis on response rather than adopting a holistic approach by earmarking financial allocations for preparedness, response, mitigation, recovery, and reconstruction.

·         Despite mandates of the DM Act, mitigation funds are yet to be established at the national level and in a majority of the States.

·         Inadequate capacity of institutions and human resources to handle disasters.

·         As disaster risk has increased – both in terms of incidence as well as economic impact – the existing disaster risk financing arrangements are inadequate in terms of both source and application.

Conceptual Framework for Disaster Risk Financing (DRF)

·         The expenditures on disaster response and relief should be viewed in two ways: one, how they impact public finances, and two, whether they help the people reduce their risk and vulnerability.

o   However, DRF should also take interlinkage of poverty and disaster risk into consideration.

·         The existing approach to meeting the contingent liabilities has two weaknesses.

o   First, it is aimed at meeting the contingent liabilities, not reducing them.

o   Second, the SDRF and NDRF are presently the only financial mechanisms for meeting the contingent liabilities. Multiple instruments and funding windows are needed in wake of increasing risk exposure and contingent liabilities could increase significantly.


Approach of Successive FCs towards Disaster Management

·         Initially, the focus was largely on disaster relief. Earlier FCs used the term ‘disaster relief’ while drafting their recommendations.

·         Successive FCs have pursued an expenditure-based approach to determine the allocation of funds for disaster management to State Governments.

·         However, XVFC diverges from this approach saying that expenditure-based methodology would create a highly asymmetric situation across states with variable levels of expenditure and risk.

The Evolving Context of Finance Commission's Recommendations

The XVFC took following considerations while making its recommendations-

·         Impact of climate change: India has witnessed large-scale floods in different States (Uttarakhand, Assam etc.), cyclones (Phailin, Hudud, Amphan etc.) and successive droughts (Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka etc.) over the last five years.

·         Expanding scope of NDMA and SDMAs beyond the traditional response-and-relief functions to include preparedness, mitigation and recovery and reconstruction.

·         Issue of dedicated entry into Seventh Schedule of the Constitution for the management of emerging disasters like COVID-19 pandemic.

·         Growing insurance industry: The insurance sector can be leveraged to substantially reduce the financial burden of disaster management by households.

·         India’s global obligations: India is a signatory to three large global frameworks, which were created in 2015: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Paris Agreement on Climate Change and Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR). India's commitment to these frameworks calls for enabling actions on disaster risk reduction.

Recommendations of XVFC

·         Mitigation Funds should be set up at both the national and State levels.

o    It should be used for local level and community-based interventions to reduce risks and promote environment-friendly settlements and livelihood practices.

·         For State Disaster Risk Management Funds (SDRMF), XVFC has recommended the total corpus of Rs.1,60,153 crore for States.

·         XVFC has recommended six earmarked allocations for a total amount of Rs. 11,950 crore for certain priority areas-

o    Two under the NDRF - Expansion and Modernisation of Fire Services and Resettlement of Displaced People affected by Erosion.

o    Four under the NDMF - Catalytic Assistance to Twelve Most Drought-prone States, Managing Seismic and Landslide Risks in Ten Hill States, Reducing the Risk of Urban Flooding in Seven Most Populous Cities and Mitigation Measures to Prevent Erosion.

·         Diversifying Funding Windows: At present, there is no funding window for recovery and reconstruction to support States. Hence XVFC recommends setting up a Recovery and Reconstruction Facility, both within the SDRF and NDRF.

·         It also provides for Preparedness and Capacity-building Grants for states.

·         Empowering Panchayati Raj Institutions for Disaster Preparedness and Management.

·         Developing a Disaster Database: The database should have disaster assessments, the details of allocations and expenditure and preparedness and mitigation plans.

·         Disbursing Assistance to Women Members of Households: This is an area which requires significant reforms in recognising the legal rights of women and their central role in ensuring the well-being.

·         Alternative Sources of Funding like reconstruction bonds, contingent credit/standby facility with international financial institutions, crowdfunding platforms, and corporate social responsibility.


Model Question – The recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission (XVFC) on Disaster Risk financing seek to address the challenges arising out of poor disaster management capacity in wake of evolving context of disasters and their management. Discuss.


Featured News

Theaterisation of Commands

In News

The Indian military is expected to be reorganised under five theatre commands (including one each for China and Pakistan) by 2022 with defined areas of operation and a seamless command structure for synchronised operations.


Issues with Present Structure

The three Services presently have 17 single Service Commands. In addition, there are two Tri-Service Commands in Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) and Strategic Forces Command (SFC).

·         Currently, the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy all defend Indian airspace on separate communication frequencies and without synergy.

·         The 19 Commands have considerable duplication and need streamlining.

·         The geographical zones of responsibilities of various Commands of the three Services have little commonality.

·         In most cases, the command of one Service overlaps or is linked with two or more Commands of sister Services.

Earlier Kargil Review Committee (2003), Naresh Chandra Committee (2012) and Shekatkar Committee (2016) have suggested the Theaterisation of Commands. Currently China and the US have theatre commands system.


Theaterisation and related proposal

Theaterisation refers to placing units of the army, air force, and navy under a single Theatre Commander. The operational command of such combinations will be under one officer drawn from one of the three services. In military parlance, a ‘Theatre’ is a contiguous geographical area on which military operations are carried out.


·         The Air Defence Command: It will control the air defence resources of all the three services, and will be tasked with protecting military assets from airborne enemies. There is an option of extending this to an aerospace command as per future requirements

·         The Maritime Theatre Command: It will be responsible for securing India from seaborne threats and will have army and air force elements under it.

·         Three integrated commands to secure its western, northern and eastern fronts.

·         In addition, a logistics command is in the works to avoid duplication of efforts and resources.

·         The operational control of all the theatre commands will eventually come under CDS, with the service chiefs being responsible for raising, training and sustaining their forces.

·         The integrated commands will be created using existing infrastructure.

·         CDS will have the Armed Forces Special Operation Division, Cyber Command and the Defence Intelligence Agency under him with manpower drawn from all the three services.


Prerequisites for Multi-Dimensional, Integrated Theatre Commands

·         A clear operational directive from the government: The operational guidance will have to be based on national interests and threat perception, as defined by the political leadership.

·         Well thought-out strategic and operational doctrines based on realistic mid- and long-term threat perceptions will help in proper designing of the commands.

·         Strong budgetary backup for adequate and dedicated war fighting resources and reserves for each theatre.

·         A seamless chain of command & control from the theatre commander upwards up to the PM.

·         A fully integrated intelligence, communications, training and logistics organisations as well as carefully structured tri-service headquarters down to divisional levels to back up commands.

·         The armed forces will also have to ensure that the transformation also factors in transition management, as we have to be present-relevant and effective as also future ready

·         The key to theaterisation of Commands will be training. NDA, DSSC, CDM and NDC which are true joint Service institutions, will help in achieving this objective.


Benefits of Theaterisation of Commands

·         Synergy in application of combat power is essential in new age warfare, which is multi domain and waged in many key battle spaces simultaneously.

·         Complex threats and challenges to security: The sources and types of conflicts for which joint planning must be carried out are becoming more diverse and less predictable.

·         Rationalisation of warfighting resources: setting up of integrated theatre commands will lead to the best use of military resources to fight future battles.

·         Future requirements of dominant manoeuvre, focused and integrated logistics, will be swiftly dealt under the single command.

·         National security cannot be achieved without information superiority. This requires institutionalising joint mechanisms, free from wrangling of jurisdiction and turf protection.

Terms & Concepts

Rice Fortification

·         It is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in rice thereby improving the nutritional quality of rice thereby providing a public health benefit with minimal risk to health.

·         Regular milled rice is low in micronutrients and serves primarily as a source of carbohydrate only. Thus fortification improves its nutritional quality.

·         Fortified rice contains Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Iron and Zinc.

·         In order to fight chronic anaemia and undernutrition, the government is making plans to distribute fortified rice through the Integrated Child Development Services and Mid Day Meal Schemes across the country, with special focus on Aspirational districts.

Terms & Concepts


·         Coelacanth is a giant fish regarded as an example of a “living fossil.”

o   Living Fossils are organisms that have remained unchanged from earlier geologic times and whose close relatives are usually extinct.

·         They are elusive, deep-sea creatures, living in depths up to 2,300 feet below the surface and can grow as big as white sharks.

·         Two known species of coelacanths: one that lives near the Comoros Islands off the east coast of Africa, and one in the waters off Sulawesi, Indonesia.

·         IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
Sulawesi Coelacanth : Vulnerable

·         CITES Status: Appendix I




Editorial of the day

Farm laws must reflect regional and crop diversities

Essence - Editorial is establishing importance of having diversified perspective & plan on India’s agriculture. We cannot nullify the role of Arhtiyas (middlemen) in supply chain of agriculture produce in areas of Punjab, Haryana & western UP. We need not to push populist narrative of diversification in every area since some areas are having great alluvial soil, good irrigation and almost a century-long tradition of the application of science to agriculture, thus they can continue with highest-yielding paddy and wheat.

Why you should read this editorial?

·         It is providing the analysis on factors which make diversification of agriculture redundant for some areas.

·         To know role of e-markets, farmer-managed companies as of now & why there is need of first stage processing in India’s agriculture market scenario.

·         To understand the journey of MSP use in India’s policy framework.

·         To know why we need to be cautious in bringing blanket reforms in COVID recovery time.

Link -

Case Study of the Day

A Teenager solves water crises in Bundelkhand, inspires 200 women to revive 70 acre lake

·         Droughts, Water Crisis, Drying of lakes has been a common sight in the Agrotha Village in Madhya Pradesh during summers

·         Whatever little rainwater, the village received it drained-off from the other side of a hill.

·         Women suffered daily while doing their chores due to lack of water. Children dropped out of school so they could travel long distances to fetch water. The farmers could not cultivate more than one crop, which adversely affected the income

·         Babita Rajput from Agrotha village in Madhya Pradesh convinced the villagers to dig a 12-feet wide trench to divert the rainwater to divert rainwater from one side of the hill and channelising it to fill the Lake.

·         It has rained only twice in her village in 2020 but despite such low rainfall, wells and bore wells had sufficient water in them.

·         Storage of rainwater has prepared the villagers better to tackle water stress, droughts in the drought-affected region of Bundelkhand.


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