News Feed 21-July ‘2016

Reform subterranean universe of UNSC sanctions regimes: India

  • India has called for improvement in the “subterranean universe” of the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions regimes as it criticized the lack of clearness in their functioning, stating that principles of “anonymity and unanimity” release individual members of accountability.
  • Akbaruddin, India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador is hopeful that this will be a “harbinger of greater change” in the overall functioning of the sanctions administration.
  • Akbaruddin said there is a “sense of unease” among U.N. member states that regularly articulate suggestions for enhancing transparency, effectiveness and inclusivity in the work of the Council and have expectations that these suggestions will be implemented.
  • He has also pointed to the lack of institutionalized communication and consultation between the Council and Troop and Police Contributing Countries, saying the Council itself has noted that this lack of effective dialogue had generated frustration on all sides and undermined mandate implementation.
  • Putting forth the example of recent developments concerning the U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, Akbaruddin said there has been talk about increasing the number of troops and of possible expansion of authorization but at no stage have there been efforts at institutionalized consultations with troop contributing countries on any of these.
  • India had previously criticized the U.N. sanctions committee for taking a “selective approach” in handling terrorism after a technical hold was put on the request to include the name of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar on the committee’s list of designated terrorists.

 

Over 1.57 lakh people affected by Assam floods

  • An excess of over 1.57 lakh people have been reportedly affected by floods in Assam which has led to evacuation of people using helicopters and boats.
  • According to the state officials,approximately 229 villages have been submerged in five districts and the Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger mark at many places. Also a total of over 13,635 hectares of agricultural land with standing crops have been destroyed.
  • ASDMA (Assam State Disaster Management Authority) has declared that the Brahmaputra river has been flowing above the danger mark at Nematighat in Jorhat and Dhubri, Dhansiri at Numaligarh in Golaghat, Jia Bhorali at N T Road Crossing in Sonitpur district and Sankosh in Dhubri district.
  • Severe erosion has hit several places and a number of roads, embankments and other infrastructure facilities have been damaged in many districts. The reasons for urban flooding, river side flooding and flooding in the hills have been attributed to various reasons which include unchecked construction activity.
  • Rs 8,938 crore has been allocated as central share to all the states in their SDRF accounts for 2016-17. So far, 3,431.02 crore have been released as first instalment of central share of SDRF for the year 2016-17 to 20 states.

 

Cabinet approves Transgender Persons Bill 2016

  • Union Cabinet headed by PM Narendra Modi has approved The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016.
  • The bill will help a large number of transgender persons, ease the stigma, discrimination and abuse against this marginalized section and bring them into the conventional society. A particular portion in the bill deals with “offences” that may be treated as atrocity and violence associated with transgender.
  • Using this bill the government seeks to create an evolved mechanism for their social, economic and educational empowerment. This will lead to better inclusiveness and will make the transgender persons productive members of the society.
  • The bill will make all the stakeholders responsive and accountable for upholding the principles underlying the Bill. It will bring greater accountability on the part of the Central Government and State Governments or Union Territories Administrations for issues concerning Transgender persons.
  • The approval has come after more than a year after the Rajya Sabha in April 2015 passed a private member bill titled “The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014’.

 

Govt. defends LPG subsidy calculations

  • Union Government has defended its calculations highlighting the concerns raised by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) regarding the authenticity of its claims on dramatic savings in LPG subsidy.
  • According to the government clarification, it has been clarified that an intensive exercise was carried out for identifying duplicate/fake/ghost/inactive domestic LPG connections and, as of April 1, 2015, 3.34 crore such connections were identified by the oil marketing companies [OMCs].
  • The CAG audit has found that the saving from people voluntarily giving up LPG subsidy — under the government’s Give It Up campaign — and direct bank transfers under the PAHAL scheme adds up to less than Rs. 2,000 crore, a far cry from the Rs. 22,000 crore-odd touted by the government.
  • Further the clarification stated that, for the financial year 2014-15, for 3.34 crore consumers outside the PAHAL net, the estimated savings would be 3.34 crore x 12 cylinders x Rs.369.72 (average subsidy/cylinder for FY 2014-15) equivalent to Rs. 14,818.4 crore. Following a similar principle, the savings estimated for FY 2015-16 is Rs. 6,443 crore and the total for both the years, works out to Rs. 21,261 crore.
  • The explanation also seeks to show that the proof of the elimination of the bogus connections lies in the growth of non-subsidized connections in 2015-16.
  • The declaration takes into account the number of non-subsidized LPG connections that would have been added due to people legally giving up their subsidy. Over 1 crore people had given up their LPG subsidies under the Give It Up campaign.

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