Current Affairs 29th September 2018
Model Code of ConductElection Commission (EC) has announced that Model Code of Conduct comes into force immediately in states where legislative assemblies have been dissolved prematurely.
EC has also held that after dissolution caretaker government as well as the central government is barred from announcing new schemes in particular state from date of dissolution of legislative assembly till new House is elected.
Model Code of Conduct(MCC):
What is MCC? These are the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, election manifestos, processions and general conduct.
Aim: To ensure free and fair elections.
When it comes into force? So far, the Model Code of Conduct came into force immediately on announcement of the election schedule by the commission. The Code remains in force till the end of the electoral process.
Status: The need for such code is in the interest of free and fair elections. However, the code does not have any specific statutory basis. It has only a persuasive effect. It contains what is known as “rules of electoral morality”. But this lack of statutory backing does not prevent the Commission from enforcing it.
Evolution: The Commission issued the code for the first time in 1971 (5th Election) and revised it from time to time. This set of norms has been evolved with the consensus of political parties who have consented to abide by the principles embodied in the said code and also binds them to respect and observe it in its letter and spirit.
What it contains? The salient features of the Model Code of Conduct lay down how political parties, contesting candidates and party(s) in power should conduct themselves during the process of elections i.e. on their general conduct during electioneering, holding meetings and processions, poll day activities and functioning of the party in power etc.
What to study?
For Prelims: Features of MCC, constitutional status.
For Mains: Significance, need for reforms of MCC, committee constituted in this regard.
Appointment of LokpalGovernment has constituted eight-member search committee headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, to recommend names for posts of Lokpal chairperson and members. The selection process of Lokpal is underway as per guidelines of laid down in Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
Committee’s Terms of Reference:
The search committee will start functioning soon.It will recommend names for Lokpal chairperson and members. It can also consider names other than those recommended by the search committee.
Highlights of the Lokpal Act of 2013:
The Act allows setting up of anti-corruption ombudsman called Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the State-level.
The Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members.
The Lokpal will cover all categories of public servants, including the Prime Minister. But the armed forces do not come under the ambit of Lokpal.
The Act also incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while the prosecution is pending.
The States will have to institute Lokayukta within one year of the commencement of the Act.
The Act also ensures that public servants who act as whistleblowers are protected.
The Lokpal will have the power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by the ombudsman.
As per the Act, the Lokpal can summon or question any public servant if there exists a prima facie case against the person, even before an investigation agency (such as vigilance or CBI) has begun the probe. Any officer of the CBI investigating a case referred to it by the Lokpal, shall not be transferred without the approval of the Lokpal.
An investigation must be completed within six months. However, the Lokpal or Lokayukta may allow extensions of six months at a time provided the reasons for the need of such extensions are given in writing.
Special courts will be instituted to conduct trials on cases referred by Lokpal.
#LooReview CampaignThe Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, under the aegis of Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban has partnered with Google to launch the Loo Review campaign.
About the Loo Review campaign:
It is aimed to encourage all local guides in India to rate and review public toilets on Google Maps.
This campaign will allow all citizens to locate public toilets in their cities on Google Maps, Search and the Assistant and also provide feedback on the same.
Local Guides are people who share reviews, photos, and knowledge on Google Maps to help people explore the world.
The joint campaign to be run throughout October and November 2018 is an effort to increase the awareness and ease of locating public toilets across India. 500+ cities in India with more than 30,000 toilets with the name of “SBM Toilet” are currently live on Google Maps.
One of the objectives of the SBM- U is to provide sanitation coverage through public toilet facilities across cities in India for achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. There is now a need to ensure that the ODF status is sustained through continuous usage and proper maintenance of public toilets. The ‘Public toilets near me’ feature will benefit citizens, particularly women and senior citizens, who often find it difficult to find access to clean toilets in the public space.
The feedback provide by local guides through the Loo Review campaign will press upon the Urban Local Bodies to take proactive steps to improve public toilet facilities across the country.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Features and significance of the campaign.
UN Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF)NITI Aayog and United Nations in India have signed Sustainable Development Framework for 2018-2022.
What is UN Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF)?
UNSDF 2018-2022 outlines development cooperation strategy between Union Government and United Nations Country Team in India in support of achievement of India’s key national development priorities and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It was framed following highly participative process, in consultation with government entities, civil society representatives, academia, and private sector.
Focus areas under it include poverty and urbanization, health, water, and sanitation, education, climate change, nutrition and food security, clean energy, and disaster resilience; skilling, entrepreneurship, job creation, gender equality and youth development.
UNSDF also includes set of UN flagship programs that are aligned with major government schemes. These flagship programs will be scalable innovative, multi-sectoral solutions to some of most pressing development challenges that India faces and also serve as catalysts for increased investment of development finance.
UNSDF programmes range from affordable housing for poor to increasing access to clean energy in rural off-grid areas, protecting all children from vaccine-preventable diseases, providing quality education for all children and skilling for young people, especially young girls and ending stunting to improving child sex ratio.
Across these outcome areas, UN will support Union Government in south-south cooperation in partnership with Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The total planned budget outlay for implementation of UNSDF is approximately Rs. 11000 crore, of which 47% is planned to be mobilized through course of implementation from multiple sources, including private sector and government.
The programmatic work outlined in UNSDF targets seven low-income states viz. Bihar, Jharkhand, MP, Odisha, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and UP along with North-East region and aspirational districts identified by the NITI Aayog. It will work on improving lives of most marginalized, poor, and vulnerable communities and people in the country, especially women and girls.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: SDGs and UNSDF- key facts and significance.