Current Affairs Current Affairs - 11 April 2018 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 11 April 2018

General Affairs 

Class 10, 12 Exams Postponed In Punjab To Be Held On April 27: CBSE
  • The CBSE today announced that the Class 10 and Class 12 examinations that were postponed in Punjab due to the 'Bharat bandh' on April 2 will now be conducted on April 27.

    At the request of the state government in view of bandh called by several Dalit organisations against the alleged dilution of the SCs/STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had postponed the exams scheduled on April 2.

    It has been decided to conduct the cancelled examination in Punjab on April 27. The roll numbers and examination centres already allotted to the students will remain the same, said K K Chaudhury, Controller of Examinations, CBSE.

    While Class 12 students were supposed to appear for the Hindi exam, language exams of French, Sanskrit and Urdu were scheduled for Class 10 on that day.

    The board had then said that it had received a letter of request, dated April 1, from the director general (school education) of the Punjab government to postpone all its examinations scheduled to be held on April 2, on account of apprehensions of law and order problems and other disturbances in the day during the 'Bharat bandh'.

    The Punjab government had also taken a decision to keep all schools shut for the day, the CBSE had said referring to the former's letter.

Supreme Court Rebuts Centre's Arguments On Privacy Infringement
  • The Supreme Court today rebutted the centre's defence that collection of biometric details has not infringed the right to privacy of the citizens even if these were collected before the enactment of a law on Aadhaar in 2016.

    While the government referred to verdicts in two earlier cases relating to privacy and said the top court had then held that privacy was not a fundamental right, the top court bench said the question of privacy was "irrelevant" in these cases.

    A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra has been persistently asking the centre what would be the status of the biometric details collected between 2010 and 2016 as there was no enabling law empowering the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to collect personal details for Aadhaar registrations.

    A nine-judge bench, on August 24, 2017, had held that the right to privacy was a fundamental right and laid down parameters to test State action regarding its infringement. It had held that one of the conditions was that there should be a law.

    On the 26th day of the ongoing arguments, Attorney General K K Venugopal referred to the top court verdicts in the M P Sharma (1950) and the Kharak Singh (1962) cases and said these had held that the right to privacy was not a fundamental right and hence, the centre and the UIDAI had not violated the privacy rights while collecting biometric details between 2010 and 2016, when there was no law.

    "All subsequent judgements of smaller benches, holding right to privacy as a fundamental right, were per incuriam (characterised by lack of due regard to the law)," Mr Venugopal submitted before the bench, which also comprised justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.

    "Privacy was not a fundamental right when UIDAI was collecting the biometric details from the citizens," he said, adding that moreover, during 2010 to 2016, the collection of biometric details under Aadhaar scheme was voluntary and hence, nobody can claim that they were forced to part with personal details.

    The top law officer said the judgements in the M P Sharma and the Kharak Singh cases were overruled in 2017 only in the Justice Puttaswamy verdict that had held the right to privacy as a fundamental right.

    However, Justice Chandrachud, who had penned the main privacy verdict, differed with Mr Venugopal and said, "we have dealt with the M P Sharma order in our judgement. There was no occasion for the bench to deal with privacy. In that case, the petitioner was asked to produce some documents... (so) the question of privacy was irrelevant in M P Sharma (case)." 

    The court said the M P Sharma judgement had held that in the absence of a provision similar to the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, the right to privacy cannot be read into the provision of Article 20(3) (no person can be forced to be a witness against himself) of the Constitution.

    "The judgment does not specifically adjudicate on whether right to privacy would arise from any of the other provisions of the rights guaranteed by Part III including Article 21 and Article 19," it said, adding that the right to privacy was not required to be discussed in the M P Sharma verdict.

    Mr Venugopal, however, said he was not "giving up" his arguments on the issue.

    At the outset, Mr Venugopal referred the case laws to show that a particular action can be validated by a subsequent Act which has been done in the case of Aadhaar.

    He also read out the Aadhaar enrolment form to buttress his stand that Aadhaar enrolment was "free and voluntary and has the provisions for taking informed consent".

    Mr Venugopal then said that the UIDAI does not part with Aadhaar details without the consent of the individual and referred to an example when the CBI had to move the Bombay high court to obtain the biometrics of an accused in connection with a rape case as the UIDAI had refused to provide biometric data.

    The top law officer wound up his submissions on behalf of the Centre during the marathon hearing on a clutch of petitions challenging the validity of Aadhaar and its enabling 2016 law.

    Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for UIDAI, started his arguments and referred to a judgement by which the apex court had allowed the Centre to link Aadhaar with PAN cards.

    "The challenge to section 139 AA of the Income Tax Act was examined by this court. Apart from right to privacy, all other aspects were considered," he said, adding that moreover, the Privacy judgement has also affirmed that right to privacy is not absolute.

    He said the demographic information required under Aadhaar was already being taken since 1989 under section 139A of the Income Tax Act for obtaining the PAN. Left hand thumb impression was also taken for people who cannot sign, he contended.

    To this, the bench said, "There was no collection of biometrics and there was no authentication taking place at that time." 

    Mr Mehta then referred to reports of SIT on black money and said that Aadhaar has helped in getting rid of fake ration and PAN cards. He will resume arguments tomorrow.

Bharat Bandh Violence: Bail Pleas Of 12 Accused Rejected In Uttar Pradesh
  • A local court today rejected the bail pleas of 12 accused in connection with the violence during the 'Bharat Bandh' on April 2.

    Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Ankur Sharma rejected the bail pleas saying that there was no chance of bail in the case.

    According to prosecutor AK Sager, bail plea of four accused had already been rejected earlier by the court in connection with the violence during the Dalit agitation on April 2.

    Police have registered 43 cases and arrested more than 90 people in the case.

Don't Deny Pension To People Without Aadhaar : EPFO Tells Banks
  • The Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has asked banks not to deny monthly pension to the people for want of biometric national ID, Aadhaar, and said that alternate means for identification should be used if needed.

    The EPFO, in a circular to all heads of pension disbursing banks and postal services, on Monday listed out alternate mechanism of handling pensioners who do not possess Aadhaar or those whose identity cannot be authenticated due to wear out of fingerprint.

    It asked banks to ensure that pensioners are facilitated for Aadhaar enrolment and a paper life certificate is accepted, in place of a digitally generated one, for pensioners who have enrolled for Aadhaar.

    For those whose fingerprint wear out has made authentication difficult, banks will make provisions for IRIS scanner along with the fingerprint scanner in bank branches, it said.

    EPFO said the agreement it signed with banks for disbursement of pension lays down the duties and responsibilities of banks including collection of Life Certificate/Non-re-marriage certificate in November every month from pensioners and forwarding the same to EPFO field offices for necessary action.

    Concerned branches of the banks were doing this by collecting Life Certificate in paper form.

    But since 2016, the Life Certificates are being obtained from the pensioners digitally as Jeevan Pramaan in place of the Life Certificate in paper form being submitted by the pensioners to the bank earlier. Submission of Jeevan Pramaan digitally has been facilitated through UMANG APP in the mobile phones also.

    "Some complaints have been received from pensioners who are being turned away and denied pensions for want of Aadhaar or Aadhaar fingerprint authentication not being successful due to poor fingerprint of the beneficiary or due to network/ connectivity or other technical reasons. Because of this, pensioners are not able to get and submit Jeevan Pramaan," the circular said.

    For giving pension to the pensioners who cannot get and submit Jeevan Pramaan on account of not possessing Aadhaar, EPFO asked banks to ensure that such pensioners are facilitated for Aadhaar enrolment. "Banks should also make special arrangement for the bed-ridden, differently abled, or senior citizens who are unable to visit the Aadhaar involvement Centre," it said.

    Till such time Aadhaar is assigned to such pensioners, a paper life certificate may be accepted after collecting Aadhaar enrolment application receipts from such pensioners. "After due verification through alternate identification documents as deemed necessary by the bank, pensions may be disbursed," it said.

    An entry with necessary details such as paper life certificate, Aadhaar enrolment application receipts and the like may be recorded "in an exception register which should preferably be maintained in an electronic form". it said.

    For giving pension to the pensioners whose fingerprint authentication fails for any reason, EPFO asked banks to make provisions for IRIS scanner along with the fingerprint scanner in bank branches.

    "It has been observed that in many cases IRIS authentication is successful even though finger print authentication may have failed. This is particularly true for many senior citizens. In such cases, digital life certificate may be generated on the basis of IRIS authentication and pension may be given," it said.

    In case where finger print or IRIS authentication is not feasible for any reason, an entry should be made in the exception register with reasons and pension may be provided on the basis of paper life certificate and physical Aadhaar card or E-Aadhaar card of the pensioner after due verification as deemed fit by the bank.

    "The exception register which would contain the details of exception granted alongwith paper life certificate, Aadhaar number or Aadhaar enrolment ID etc, maybe reviewed and audited periodically by senior management of the bank," the circular said.

Centre Eases Fears On Non-Release Of Cauvery Water For Irrigation
  • The Centre today sought to ease fears that water was not being released to Tamil Nadu for irrigation from Cauvery basin reservoirs due to non-formation of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB).

    Union Water Resources Secretary UP Singh clarified that as per the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award, water can be released from the dam between February and May only to maintain 'environmental-flow' in the river and not for any other purpose.

    His remarks came amid reports of protests by Tamil Nadu farmers seeking establishment of the CMB and their complaints of non-availability of water for irrigation.

    "Some people are making it sound as if there is an urgency to release water and as if the water is not being released because of non-formation of CMB. So, I want to clarify that during these four months, water is to be released only for (maintaining) environmental-flow", Mr Singh told reporters.

    The water for irrigation, he added, is to be released only from June to January as per the tribunal order and not between February and May.

    He also said that there is a supervisory committee headed by him to look into the issues or concerns, if any, on sharing of the river water.

    On April 9, the Supreme Court had asked the centre to formulate the draft of the Cauvery management scheme and submit it to the court by May 3. The court had also asked the authorities of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other stakeholders to ensure peace in the meantime.

    Asked about formulation of the scheme, Union Minister of State for Water Resources Arjun Ram Meghwal said that the process is on to draft the scheme.

    Asked whether a board or an authority will be formed under the scheme to implement the court order, Mr Singh said that the ministry has no problem with the nomenclature of the structure that takes shape.

    There has to be a structure under that scheme, he added.

    According to media reports, on March 30, the ministry had cited the Karnataka elections to request the top court to extend the deadline for implementing its February 16 order (of framing the scheme) by three months.

    In February, the Supreme Court had granted six weeks to the Centre to formulate a scheme to ensure compliance of its judgement on the decades-old Cauvery dispute, modifying the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award of 2007.

    When asked, Mr Singh said that the ministry did not pray for anything before the Supreme Court based on the election schedule.

    "We only wanted to sensitize the court about it, because it (Cauvery) is a very sensitive issue in both the states (Karnataka and Tamil Nadu). And naturally, when the elections are on, the sensitivity further increases. So, we just factually mentioned that in the meantime the elections (were announced in Karnataka)", he added.

Business Affairs

E-way bill rollout for intra-state movement of goods in five states from April 15
  • After the rollout of the e-way bill system for all inter-state movement of goods on April 1, the government on Tuesday said the electronic way bill system for the intra-state movement of goods in five states will be launched from April 15. In the first phase, the states that will have the e-way bill system for the intra-state movement of goods are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.  

    The intra-state movement of goods under the e-way bill is already operational in Karnataka - the first state to do so - from April 1. According to a statement by the ministry of finance, more than 63 lakh e-way bills have been generated till April 9. "The e-way bill system for the intra-state movement of goods would be implemented from April 15, 2018, in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh," said the statement.

    With the roll-out of e-Way Bill system in these states, it is expected that trade and industry will be further facilitated in terms of the transport of goods, thereby paving the way for a nation-wide single e-way bill system, the ministry said. Trade people and transporters in these states can now get registration done on e-way bill portal -

    On March 10, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the e-way bill would be implemented for inter-state transportation of goods from April 1 but there would be phased rollout of e-way bill for intra-state movement of goods from April 15. All the states have been divided into four groups.

    Wary of system collapsing like it happened when the e-way bill was first introduced on February 1, the Council had decided to rollout the requirement of carrying the permit for intra-state movement in a staggered manner.

    The government in its last GST meeting had said all the states would have the system in place by June 1.

    According to the government, a total of 11,18,292 taxpayers have registered on e-way bill portal. Further, as many as 20,057 transporters have enrolled themselves on the e-way bill portal. Though the number would go up substantially when e-way bills for intra-state transportation of goods is also required.

    The successful implementation of e-way bill is very crucial as both the states and the centre consider it as an important anti-evasion provision to check tax leakages.

    The government, which is already facing continuous drop in monthly GST collections, hopes to see improvement on this front after the e-way bill is implemented.

ED to file first chargesheet against Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi next month
  • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is all set to file its first chargesheet by the second week of May against Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and others in the Rs 13,700-crore PNB fraud case.

    The complaint would have investigation details with the annexure of evidence that includes the copies of fraudulent Letter of Undertakings (LoUs), the complex structure of web companies, a complete modus operandi of diverting bank money from India to abroad and back, the details of dummy directors and shareholders created to manage these shell companies and inflatory import-export bills used to seek bank loans.

    The complaint would include the statements of the main accused Nirav Modi's close confidante Shyam Wadhwa and PNB employee Gokulnath Shetty, directors of Firestar Diamond International/Gitanjali Gems and employees of group companies. Also, it will include the statements of Sunil Mehta, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of PNB, and other bank officials.

    In the next few days, the agency may also take the remand custody of Rajesh Jindal, General Manager Credit at PNB's head office in New Delhi, to record his statement. Shetty had confessed before the ED officials that it was Rajesh Jindal who directed him to issue the first fraudulent LoUs to Nirav Modi's companies for the first time in 2010.

    Besides, the final valuation report of seized diamonds, pearls and gem stones is likely to come out by the next one week. The report would indicate the real/fake price of diamonds sold to consumers. Earlier, the ED had announced the seizure of diamonds, jewellery and gold worth Rs 5,700 crore from Nirav Modi's showrooms and properties.

    The complaint would also consist of the quantum of attachment and seizures of Modi's and Choksi's movable and immovable assets such as flats, apartments, luxury cars, higher end watches, paintings, bank accounts (cash worth Rs 100 crore) in India and abroad (two accounts in Belgium), stocks/shares, worth Rs 2,000 crore.

    "The first prosecution complaint would be full of evidence to nail Modi and Choksi under the money laundering act," the ED source told Business Today. The agency has already traced a money trail of around Rs 6,000 crore, which was laundered with the help of shell companies registered in Hong Kong.

Air India disinvestment: Why government might need to change terms
  • IndiGo, India's most profitable airline, was the first one to come out and say it was not interested. "We do not believe we have the capability to take on the task of successfully turning around all of Air India's airline operations," Aditya Ghosh, President of InterGlobe Aviation (IndiGo's parent company) had stated in a release sent by the company on April 5, just a week after the government made public the terms and conditions for bidders who were interested in buying the public sector airline.

    Ghosh, in the same statement, had also said that IndiGo was primarily interested only in Air India's international operations and Air India Express."

    Since then, Jet Airways has also come out and said that it is not interested in taking over Air India. Swiss Aviation Consulting, which was rumoured to be interested, has also come out and said that it is not in the race.

    In terms of the other Indian airlines, none of them have the net assets required or the werewithal to take over Air India operations by themselves - they would all need to come in with partners if they wanted to. Vistara, SpiceJet and GoAir could come in with financial partners, but the government's list of conditions for the sale makes Air India a bit of a bad buy for a value seeking buyer.

    Consider first what terms the government wants to sell for. It is ready to sell 76 per cent of the airline, which includes 100 per cent of Air India Express and 50 per cent of Air India SATS. The government also wants the buyer to take on about two-thirds of the debt and liabilities to the tune of Rs 33,392 crore, and give a guarantee that none of the permanent employees are sacked for one year. (Post that the new owner can work out a voluntary retirement package (VRS) for employees).

    What will the bidder get in return? It gets the operations of Air India, including 100 per cent of Air India Express and 50 per cent of Air India SATS. It also gets the fleet of planes, and the slots and other flying rights that Air India (and Air India Express) has, in India and abroad. It does not get the non-core assets - that is, the lands, buildings, paintings etc that Air India owns currently.

    For any bidder, the most value in Air India lies in its flight slots (take off, landing, hangers), both in India and in its international operations, and its bilaterals. Its market share (though it is far from its glory days) is also not too bad - 12 per cent domestic, and 17 per cent in the India-International flights. The fleet is a bit of a mish-mash - a mix of narrow bodies and wide bodies, both Airbus and Boeing, and a mix of new and old planes. And the people too are a mix. It has some good and experienced staff, but it also has a bad people to aircraft ratio compared to its peers, and also a lot of mediocre and bad staff and adamant unions. Its operational efficiency is not great, and the government has to pump in Rs 4,000 crore or more a year just to keep it up and running.

    The problem is that the government expects the bidder to pay for both the good and the bad. And also take over a huge debt burden. For domestic airlines like SpiceJet, Vistara or Go Air, only the slots are valuable and some parts of the fleet. Guaranteeing the airline staff jobs for a full year is probably not something any bidder is looking forward to. And the debt, compared to the assets, seems huge. Also, much like Indigo, most bidders would only be interested in specific parts of the Air India operations, not the entire bit. And that, perhaps, is what the government should realize. Allowing potential buyers to bid for different parts of Air India would probably get it more bids than trying to sell the whole lot together.

FM Arun Jaitley says controversy over 15th Finance Commission ToRs 'needless'
  • A few hours after three non-BJP ruled states and a Union Territory expressed opposition to the Terms of Reference (ToR) specified by the central government in the 15th Finance Commission, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called it "needless controversy", which is "further from truth".

    During a conclave of the finance ministers of southern states in Thiruvanantapuram, the ministers of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry said these ToRs were in contradiction to the principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution and also would result in revenue loss to performing states, reported PTI.

    "The share in Central taxes is allocated to the States based on recommendations made by the Finance Commissions (FCs) to help states to meet fiscal deficiency in providing a minimum standard of services to their people. This calls for assessing states' 'needs' on rationale and equitable basis. FCs use appropriate criteria to assess true needs of states. Population proxies very well for the needs of the people in quantitative sense. Another criterion, the income distance, which captures very well relative poverty of people in the states, is used to assess qualitative needs," said the finance minister.

    He added that these two parameters allocate more resources to the populous and poorer states, which need additional funds for providing education, health and other services to the people, which own resources of these poorer states may otherwise not allow.

    The states that are not happy over the ToRs have said they strongly oppose the use of the 2011 census to calculate population for allocation of union tax revenue instead of the 1971 census data used by previous finance commissions.

    "The 14th FC had no specific mandate for using 2011 census. Yet, the 14th FC rightly used the 2011 census population data to capture the demographic changes since 1971 to make realistic assessment of the needs of the states. It allocated 10 per cent weight to 2011 population. The 14th FC had allocated a 42 per cent share in the central taxes to the states more than ever before," said Jaitley.

BSE chief Ashish Chauhan dismisses banking crisis talk as 'fearmongering'
  • Is there any authority left who's not been approached in the ongoing Binani Cement-Dalmia Bharat consortium-UltraTech Cement drama? A day after news broke that Binani Industries had moved Supreme Court regarding UltraTech Cement's out-of-court offer for its subsidiary Binani Cements, Dalmia Bharat has reportedly sought the Central Vigilance Commission's (CVC) intervention in the matter.

    According to The Economic Times, Dalmia Bharat dashed off a letter to the CVC laying out the progression of events since February 27, when its subsidiary, Rajputana Properties, was declared the highest bidder for Binani Cements by the beleaguered company's Committee of Creditors (CoC). "The unsuccessful bidder, UltraTech Cement, sent mails to CoC members revising its offer upwards on March 8, 2018 and requested CoC to consider its revised offer despite being well aware that the bidding process did not allow submission of revised bids. Shockingly, two PSU banks (EXIM Bank and SBI Hong Kong) who are part of the CoC petitioned the NCLT seeking directions to CoC that negotiations also be done with the H2 bidder. These actions are in clear violation of CVC guidelines for closed bids," the letter said, mentioning two CVC circulars dating back to 2007 and 2010.

    It added that apart from violating CVC guidelines and shaking public confidence in the bankruptcy code, the settlement between Binani and the lenders will also "send a wrong message to the international investing community, whose participation in resolving mounting NPAs of the banking sector is vitally important and in public interest". The New Delhi-based cement maker was reportedly referring to the participation of Bain Capital Credit in the consortium along with Piramal Enterprises.

    Pointing out that the CoC's reported move to allow the promoters to seek an out-of-court settlement circumvents the dedicated insolvency process, Dalmia Bharat's letter sought the CVC's intervention to examine the matter and pass suitable guidelines in public interest. "The CVC will be taking its own action. Let the IBC be saved," Mahendra Singhi, group CEO - Cement at Dalmia Bharat told the daily.

    Lenders of Binani Cement are meanwhile looking forward to April 13, when the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Binani Industries' petition. The latter has already deposited a sum of Rs 750 crore to show its commitment, along with a bank guarantee for the remaining amount of the total offer of Rs 7,266 crore.

    To remind you, last month, UltraTech's board had agreed to issue a 'comfort letter' to provide the above-mentioned amount in return for 98.43 per cent stake in Binani Cement. "If they can take the company out of insolvency proceedings, we are happy to pay the same amount of money to buy the company and it has to be used to repay the debt. For that purpose they wanted a letter of comfort and we have given them a letter of comfort. I do not think that we have gone against IBC anyway," UltraTech Cement CFO Atul Daga was quoted saying earlier.

    This offer is certainly more tempting to lenders since it is not only fatter than Dalmia Bharat's winning bid of around Rs 6,500 crore but also promises 100% payout to both unsecured and secured creditors. The daily added that Binani Cement's CoC on Saturday decided to conditionally back the deal between Binani Industries and UltraTech, subject to the Supreme Court's nod.

    The Kolkata bench of the National Company Law Tribunal also recently adjourned the hearing of the Binani case to April 16 in light of the hearing in the apex court.

    While the battle for this stressed asset is intensifying by the day, the clock is ticking down to the 270-day deadline specified for bankruptcy resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. Bank of Baroda had dragged Binani Cement to NCLT last July after it failed to repay a loan of over Rs 97 crore. It will be ironic if after all this litigation drama, the asset just ends up being liquidated.

General Awareness

The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
“Satyagraha se Swachhagraha” campaign

  • Context: To commemorate the launch of Champaran Satyagraha over a century ago on 10th April, 1917, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, in coordination with the Government of Bihar, is working to spread the message of Swachhata across the country by initiating the “Satyagraha se Swachhagraha” campaign.

    Under the campaign, Swachhagrahis from different parts of the country were invited to Bihar, where they worked with 10,000 Swachhagrahis from Bihar to “trigger” behaviour change throughout the 38 districts of the State and build momentum of the jan andolan further.

    Significance of the campaign:

    Mahatma Gandhi launched the Champaran Satyagraha over a century ago, on 10th April, 1917, to give the country freedom from foreign rule. April 10th, 2018 marks the end of the centenary year celebrations of the Champaran Satyagraha, and is going to be celebrated through the “Satyagraha se Swachhagraha” campaign, which is aimed at achieving freedom from filth.

    About SBM- Gramin:

    Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Gramin, launched on October 2, 2014 is the largest behaviour change campaign ever attempted in the field of sanitation in the world.
    It aims to build an ODF (Open Defecation Free) and Swachh Bharat by October 2, 2019 as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary.
    SBM-Gramin mainly focuses on ensuring the use of toilets, besides their construction. The States and their implementing agencies will be given incentives for meeting performance standards: reducing open defecation, sustaining their open defecation-free status and improving solid and liquid waste management in rural areas.

    Significance of the scheme:

    In Rural India, this would mean improving the levels of cleanliness through Solid and Liquid Waste Management activities and making villages Open Defecation Free (ODF), clean and sanitised.

    About the Champaran Satyagraha:

    It was undertaken in the erstwhile undivided Champaran district in northern Bihar. Mahatma Gandhi went there in April, 1917 on learning about the abuses suffered by the cultivators of the district, forced into growing indigo by British planters/estate owners.
    Even Gandhi was reluctant to commit himself to task in the beginning. But he was so thoroughly persuaded by Rajkumar Shukla, an indigo cultivator from Champaran that he decided to investigate into the matter.
    Gandhi’s method of inquiry at Champaran was based on surveys by the volunteers. The respondents who willingly gave statements should sign the papers or give thumb impressions.
    For those unwilling to participate, the reasons must be recorded by the volunteers. The principal volunteers in this survey were mostly lawyers like Babu Rajendra Prasad, Dharnidhar Prasad, Gorakh Prasad, Ramnawami Prasad, Sambhusaran and Anugraha Narain Sinha.


    In June 1917, the British administration declared the formation of a formal inquiry committee with Gandhi aboard. The Government accepted almost all its recommendations. The principal recommendation accepted was complete abolition of Tinkathia system. It was a major blow to the British planters who became resentful. But they could not prevent the passage of Champaran Agrarian Act in Bihar & Orissa Legislative Council on March 4, 1918.

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