Why in News
The study titled ‘An Inquiry into the world of the Adivasis of West Bengal’, conducted by Professor Amartya Sen’s Pratichi Institute and Asiatic Society, food scarcity in varying degrees in about 31% of tribal households in West Bengal.
· The survey was conducted in 1,000 tribal households to ascertain living conditions, health and education.
· The preliminary survey report claimed that “nearly one third [31%] of the surveyed households” reportedly faced “food scarcity in varying degrees” in the past year.
· In addition “poverty-born vices like alcoholism [and] the fragility of the public health system…seemed to have resulted in a much lower life chances among the Adivasis than their more privileged co-citizens,” the report noted.
· Degradation of forest and environmental degradation are cited as two more reasons for “reduced availability of natural nutrients” resulting in early deaths.
· The report indicated that the number of deaths reported to have occurred in the surveyed households, in the year preceding the survey, “was 52, among which 48 [92%] were premature deaths” and only four were due to old age.
· The work participation rate [WPR] is higher among the Adivasis in Bengal “forcing the children of school going age to discontinue their studies in order to fend [for] themselves and support the families,” the report noted.
· According to the Census of 2011, while WPR is 39% and 49% in Bengal and India, respectively, “the corresponding figures for Adivasis were 49% and 47%,” indicating the participation of more children.
· Both the children and elderly were also involved in earning, and that the rate of transition in education was low…the report said.
Key words: Food Scarcity, Adivasis, West Bengal
Staff Selection Commission
Why in News
A Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) has recommended that the Centre accord statutory status to the Staff Selection Commission (SSC).
· The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and all State Public Service Commissions either have constitutional or legal status.
· The SSC is the only such organisation that performs similar functions on a much larger scale, but does not enjoy statutory status.
The SSC was created to ease the burden of the UPSC by taking over the recruitment for posts below the Group ‘A’ level.
· There has been a phenomenal increase in the workload of the SSC, from 9.94 lakh candidates in 2008-09 to over 2 crore in 2016-17.
· While the workload and responsibilities of the SSC have increased exponentially over the years, it has remained an “attached body” under the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), and has to depend entirely on the government for all its needs, with no autonomy.
The Committee, headed by Bhupender Yadav, said that according statutory status to the SSC would contribute to greater functional autonomy, faster decision-making and efficiency in the overall performance and delivery of results by the SSC in the recruitment process.
Key words: SSC, Constitutional Status
Why in News
The Centre has set up a high-level committee headed by former IAS officer M.P. Bezbaruah to assess the appropriate level of reservation of seats in the Assam Assembly and local bodies for the Assamese people, besides providing employment opportunities.
The committee would examine the effectiveness of actions taken since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.
· The committee will assess the appropriate level of reservation of seats in the Assam Legislative Assembly and local bodies for the Assamese people.
· The committee will recommend the appropriate level of reservations in employment under the government of Assam for the Assamese people.
The panel will hold discussions with various stakeholders, including social organisations, legal and constitutional experts, eminent persons from the field of art, culture and literature, conservationists, economists, linguists and sociologists.
· It will suggest measures to be taken to protect Assamese and other indigenous languages of Assam.
· The committee can also suggest any other measures, as may be necessary, to protect, preserve and promote cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
Key words: Assam accord, Bezbaruah committee
Why in News
The government issued a notification simplifying the process for approval of manufacturing of a range of defence and aerospace equipment and components by private industry.
· Items are listed in three categories — defence aircraft, warships of all kinds, and allied items of defence equipment.
· It gives a boost to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs.
· It is also expected to help foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) looking for partnerships with the private sector.
Key words: Defence Manufacturing, DIPP, Make in India
Why in News
A study conducted by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) favoured direct investment support(Rythu Bandhu) over the price difference(Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana) stating that the latter is too technical has many practical issues.
· Under the Rythu Bandhu scheme every landholding farmer is given a direct benefit of Rs 4,000 per acre per crop season as investment support irrespective of his/her extent of landholding.
The Centre is contemplating unveiling a new direct benefit scheme for farmers on the lines of either Rythu Bandhu or ‘Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana’ a short-lived scheme of Madhya Pradesh under which the farmers were paid the difference between the minimum support price and prevailing market price of selected crops.
In their study, “Supporting Indian Farmers: Price Support or Direct Income/Investment Support?” ICRIER estimated
· The financial impact of scaled-up investment support on the lines of Rythu Bandhu at Rs 1.97 lakh cores for the entire country with Rs 4,000 per acre once a year and Rs 98,500 crore with half the benefit amount of Rs 2,000 per acre.
· If scaled-up across the country, the price difference scheme discontinued in Madhya Pradesh after one (2017-18 kharif) season would require anything between Rs 57,000 crore to Rs 1.7 lakh crore, depending on the market prices — if they are lower by 10% to 30% compared to MSP, the study suggested.
Key words: Rythu Bandhu, ICRIER, Direct Investment Support