News & Editorial Analysis 24 December 2022
The Hindu News Analysisi
1 – About the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna:
Topic Government Policies and Interventions
Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje said on Thursday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will decide whether to extend the PMGKAY scheme past December due to the government’s sufficient supply of foodgrains.
The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package’s (PMGKP) PMGKAY initiative aids those who are less fortunate in their battle against COVID-19.
The project aimed to give each person covered by the National Food Security Act of 2013 an additional 5 kg of free grains (rice or wheat) on top of the 5 kg of subsidised foodgrain that was being given out through the Public Distribution System (PDS).
An earlier announcement stated that 80 lakh ration card holders would be impacted over the course of three months (April, May, and June 2020). Later, September 2022 was added to the deadline.
The Ministry of Finance is its nodal Ministry.
Any migrant worker or ONORC programme participant can receive the free ration by transferring their benefits to one of the nation’s 5 lakh ration outlets.
Cost: The entire cost of PMGKAY for all phases will be Rs. 3.91 lakh crore.
Challenges: The National Food Security Act uses the most recent census to determine who is eligible (2011). Since then, the number of people without access to food has increased.
Costly: The expense of maintaining it increases the appeal of a plentiful supply of reasonably priced grains. Due to a poor harvest in 2022 that increased pressure on food prices and shook the world agricultural markets as a result of unpredictable adverse weather, India was forced to impose export restrictions on wheat and rice.
The government’s goal of maintaining the budget deficit at 6.4% of GDP may become more challenging to achieve as the deficit grows.
Inflation: There may be an impact on inflation from the programme decision. Because of lesser production brought on by a heatwave and irregular rains, rice and wheat prices are rising. These two items are responsible for about 10% of India’s retail inflation.
2 – Details of the Bharat Biotech’s Nasal Booster Vaccine:
Topic Health related issues
The Union Health Ministry has authorised the intranasal Covid vaccine from Harat Biotech as a booster dosage for anyone above the age of 18, according to official sources on Friday.
In private institutions, the needle-free vaccine will be offered. According to them, it will soon be made available on the Co-WIN platform.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization of the Ministry of Health has approved the COVID-19 recombinant nasal vaccine for primary immunisation of people 18 years of age and older in emergency circumstances.
Currently, only those who have never received vaccinations are able to acquire the vaccine, known as iNCOVACC (BBV154).
All over the nation, including Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Telangana, the vaccine will be produced. It is stable between 2 and 8°C, making storage and distribution simple.
The new intranasal SARS-CoV-2 vaccine BBV154, often referred to as iNCOVACC, is an adenovirus vectored with pre-fusion stabilised spike proteins.
The third stimulus package, Atmanirbhar 3.0, included the COVID Suraksha mission, which was established to aid and speed the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.
With a focus on Atmanirbhar Bharat, the mission’s main objective is to streamline and concentrate already available resources into a warpath for quicker vaccine development in order to provide residents with a COVID-19 vaccine that is safe, efficient, affordable, and accessible as soon as is practical.
A nasal vaccine is what?
Intramuscular injections into muscles or surrounding tissue are the most popular way to give vaccinations (subcutaneous).
Some vaccinations can be administered differently, such as by giving newborns the liquid solution orally as opposed to intravenously.
The nasal route offers a substantial opportunity for vaccination because the nasal mucosa has an effective immune system.
It does not involve the use of needles.
It is simple to administer because trained healthcare professionals are not required.
This can reduce the dangers of using needles (injuries and infections).
It will be the perfect size for both kids and adults.
There hasn’t been much evidence to date to support the efficacy of this method of distribution, save from a few flu vaccines, and previous attempts to do so have all been unsuccessful.
Despite being typically safe, it can be challenging to produce them because their success depends on a number of bioengineering strategies.
Mass administration could provide erroneous outcomes because there aren’t yet adequate data from human trials.
The best vaccination protection will be provided by single dosage vaccine delivery systems, which require extremely advanced filling technology.
3 – About the DGCA:
Topic Statutory and Non-Statutory Bodies
According to a suggestion by the aviation regulator, domestic and international airlines may soon be compelled to refund the whole ticket price and offer free travel for any passenger they downgrade from business or premium economy to economy class.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s history is as follows:
It was established as a statutory body by the 2020 Aircraft (Amendment) Bill.
It is in charge of giving out aviation licences in India, including PPLs, SPLs, and CPLs. Additionally, it enforces all aviation laws and conducts investigations into aviation mishaps and events.
The organisation will be replaced by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which the Indian government plans to replicate after the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Aircraft registration for civil aviation
Pilots, engineers in charge of maintaining aircraft, air traffic controllers, and flight engineers are all issued licences. Additionally, proper examinations and inspections are carried out.
Establishing requirements for civil aircraft with Indian registration to acquire airworthiness certificates.
Examining incidents and significant occurrences involving aircraft up to 2250 kg AUW and implementing safety aviation management programmes are two steps that can be taken to prevent accidents.
Analyze the skill levels of the cockpit crew as well as those of other operational personnel, including flight attendants and flight dispatchers.
4 – Details of the CAG:
Topic Statutory and Non-Statutory Bodies
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) discovered irregular project closure declaring projects successful despite non-achievement of one or more key objectives and parameters and taking on new projects to achieve the unmet objectives of earlier closed projects declared successful when evaluating the Mission Mode (MM) projects of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
According to the Indian Constitution, the CAG has its own authority.
He oversees the Indian audit and accounts division and serves as the main Guardian for the Public Fund.
The organisation is in charge of ensuring that the government and other public authorities (those who use public funds) are accountable to the State Legislatures and Parliament and, through them, to the general public.
What led to the establishment of the CAG Office?
In 1858, the Office of the Accountant General was founded (the year the British took over administrative control of India from the East India Company). In 1860, Sir Edward Drummond was named the initial Auditor General.
The Auditor General of India changed his title to Auditor and Accountant General of the Government of India during this period after considerable restructuring.
Originally known as Comptroller General of Accounts, the job was renamed in 1866, and in 1884 it was promoted to Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
The Auditor General job was made non-ministerial by the Government of India Act of 1919, which provided the position with legal protection.
By establishing Provincial Auditors General inside a federal structure, the Government of India Act of 1935 strengthened the role of the Auditor General even more.
The act also included a brief summary of the responsibilities of the Auditor General of India as well as information on appointment and service procedures.
The detailed accounting and auditing responsibilities of the auditor general were laid forth in the 1936 Accounts and Audits Order.
This approach remained until 1947, when India attained independence. Following independence, the President of the country was required by Article 148 of the 1949 Indian Constitution to appoint a Comptroller and Auditor General.
Jammu and Kashmir were added to the CAG’s authority in 1958.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971 was enacted by the federal government in that year. The law granted CAG control over the federal and state governments’ accounting and auditing responsibilities.
CAG was stripped of its accounting duties in 1976.
Since the 1990s, CAG has quickly modernised and computerised due to the widespread corruption in India. Additionally, it has continued to be watchful, audited, and looked into some of the worst and most contentious corruption scandals in Indian history.
Which provisions of the Constitution apply to the CAG?
Article 148 covers the CAG’s appointment, oath, and general terms of service.
The duties and authority of India’s Comptroller and Auditor General are covered under Article 149.
According to Article 150, the President may establish a format for the Union and State accounts based on suggestions from the CAG.
At the request of the President, the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India shall provide reports on the financial statements of the Union to each House of Parliament.
The Governor of the State shall direct the presentation of the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India pertaining to the accounts of a State before the State Legislature.
India’s Comptroller and Auditor-General determines and certifies the calculation of “net proceeds” in compliance with Article 279, and his or her certificate is enforceable.
The format of the oath or affirmation that Supreme Court judges and the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India must take when taking office is outlined in Section IV of the Third Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
Schedule VI – In accordance with this schedule, the District Council or Regional Council must continue in the format that the CAG specifies, with the President’s permission. These bodies’ financial records are also audited in accordance with CAG standards, and the Governor is given the results from those audits so that he can arrange for the Council to hear them.
What distinctions can be made between the CAGs in Britain and India?
In India, the CAG only has the authority of an Auditor General, in contrast to Britain, where they also have the authority of a Comptroller.
After the expense has been incurred, the CAG audits the accounts in India. In the UK, no funds may be removed from the public treasuries without the CAG’s consent.
CAG is a member of the British Commons even though it does not belong of the Indian parliament.
How autonomously does the Office of CAG operate?
The Constitution contains many clauses that protect the CAG’s independence.
The appointment of the CAG, who has a six-year term or until they reach 65, whichever comes first, is made through a warrant bearing the President’s signature.
The Constitution specifies a method that must be followed in order to remove the CAG from office, which is the same one used to remove a Supreme Court justice.
After he leaves or resigns as a CAG, he is not qualified to assume any posts with the Indian government or any state.
One of the foundational elements of India’s democratic system of governance is the CAG. The Supreme Court, the Election Commission, and the UPSC complete the list.
Speaking in Parliament on behalf of the CAG is not permitted by a minister.
Once he has been appointed, his pay and other service requirements cannot be changed to his detriment.
The President has the only authority to determine the terms of employment for those working for the Indian Audit and Accounts Department after consulting him.
The Consolidated Fund of India, which is not subject to a vote, is used to cover all administrative costs associated with the office of the CAG, including all salaries, allowances, and pensions.
Functions of CAG:
The Consolidated Fund of India, each state’s Consolidated Fund, and the Consolidated Funds of the UTs with legislative assemblies are all audited by the CAG.
He audits both the Public Account and Contingency Fund of India and the Public Account and Contingency Fund of every state.
Every balance sheet, manufacturing account, profit and loss account, and any other subsidiary accounts maintained by any division of the federal government and state governments are examined by him.
He audits all organisations and authorities that get the majority of their funding from the federal government or the state, as well as other organisations and bodies as required by applicable law.
Upon the request of the President or Governor, he audits the financial records of any other authority, including municipal authorities.
He gives the President suggestions on how to set up the system for keeping track of the Center and State accounts.
He provides the President with his audit reports on the Center’s financial records, who then presents them to the two chambers of Parliament.
The reports of his financial audit are given to the governor, who subsequently presents them to the state assembly.
In addition, CAG serves as a mentor, friend, and philosopher to the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.
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Editorial Analysis The Hindu
History Of Gujarat’s Vadnagar
Both the Sun Temple of Modhera and the Mehsana district of Vadnagar in northern Gujarat have recently been included on the list of potential UNESCO World Heritage sites.
It is believed that Vadnagar, also known as Vridhanagar, Anandapur, Anantapur, and Nagar, has been continuously inhabited for more than 2,700 years.
How does a location get listed as a World Heritage Site? An official definition of a World Heritage Site:
A location is deemed to have “outstanding universal importance” if it qualifies as a World Heritage Site. “Cultural and/or natural importance that is so outstanding as to transcend national boundaries and be of common interest to current and future generations of all humanity” is the phrase used in this statement.
A tentative list is a “inventory” of properties that, in accordance with the operational standards of the World Heritage Convention, a country feels should be included on the World Heritage List.
A government is required to submit a nomination paper for the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to review once UNESCO places a location on the Tentative List. An official from UNESCO will conduct a review and inspection as the following step.
A well-known “Living City” is Vadnagar:
Vadnagar “displays a continually evolving ancient urban landscape/area that played a significant role in the hinterland commerce network of Western India,” according to UNESCO’s tentative classification. In contrast to historically significant locales like Harappa and Kalibangan (Rajasthan), which were finally abandoned, the historic town’s continued survival demonstrates its fortitude and unique worldwide importance. The town’s walls, torana-arched gates, temples, wells, homes (kothis), and uncovered structures like Buddhist monasteries and dedicated stupas all show the influence of several cultural eras. The substantial water management system in this area has contributed to the survival of the town. Vadnagar was strategically positioned between two important ancient trade routes, one of which connected central India with Sindh and other northwest regions, and the other which connected the port cities along Gujarat’s coast to northern India, according to studies on the historical geography of ancient India. The discovery of cowry shells connected to the Maldives during excavation points to a greater involvement in international trade. In addition, a gold coin thought to be from Egypt’s Mamluk era and dating to the 15th century was discovered.
When were the excavations at Vadnagar completed?
The Gujarat State Archaeology and Museum Directorate began the initial excavations in Vadnagar in 1953–1954, and they were continued in 2006.
2014 saw the start of excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in Vadnagar’s Ghaskol, Darbargadh, and Badi Garbano Sheri. Excavation was carried out up until 2022 in order to build an experience museum. According to a state government official, the excavation and museum, which are two separate components joined by a bridge, are expected to be finished by the end of 2023. This would support the state’s UNESCO nomination if it were to be successful.
Due to the excavations’ discovery of a continuous sequence of seven successive cultures, its antiquity was shown to date as far back as 750 BCE. The Gaekwad era and before are the main areas of excavation. According to the ASI application to UNESCO, “Such a long period of human occupancy is rare in the Indian setting with only a few monuments claiming equal uninterrupted continuity.”
Vadnagar: A Buddhist centre:
Before Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Gujarat in September 2014, Modi mentioned Vadnagar as a Buddhist centre and how the religion had brought China and India closer.
The PM gave Xi sketches of archaeological digs in his hometown that uncovered “a charred brick edifice that has been identified as a Buddhist monastery” during his 2015 visit to China.
It is believed that Vadnagar was visited by the Chinese traveller Xuanzang or Hieun Tsang sometime in the year 641 AD. He is credited with calling the city “Anandpur” in his writings, which claim that more than 1,000 monks of the Sammitiya School or Little Vehicle resided in 10 monasteries at Vadnagar, indicating that the city was a significant hub of Buddhist knowledge.
Assertions made by ASI:
In their submission to UNESCO, the ASI asserted a “Roman connection” between the sealing of a Roman coin, the discovery of an intaglio (a printing method) in clay, and a coin mould of the Greco-Indian king Apollodotus II (80-65 BC). It suggested that there might have been a connection to West Asia as well.
Editorial Analysis The Indian Express
Reshaping The World’s Responses To Terror Matrix
The topic of combating terrorism has been the subject of a flurry of meetings and conferences around the world. The list, which resembles an alphabet soup, contains gatherings where terrorism was a major topic, such as the No Money for Terror (NMFT) Conference, UNSC-CTC sessions, and an Interpol Conference.
There is no agreement on terrorism:
India will host a special UNSC-CTC session in Mumbai and New Delhi in October 2022. The session’s main emphasis was on cutting-edge and contemporary technologies.
When India assumed the presidency of the UN Security Council in December, it presided over a special briefing on the “Global Counter-Terrorism Architecture.”
The third “No Money For Terror” (NMFT) conference on AML/CFT was recently held in India (anti-money laundering and fighting funding of terrorism).
The necessity of waging a coordinated struggle against terrorism is a recurrent problem. However, little appears to have changed. For instance, despite being two of the nations most severely impacted by terrorism, India and Pakistan have continued to insult one another rather than collaborating. The bulk of people on Earth continue to follow their current routes. None of this aids in the fight against terrorism.
The IS committed a number of other spectacular attacks in Asia, Europe, and North Africa in 2016. (some in collaboration with its allies). Since then, there has been a certain decrease in intensity, although this has been partially counterbalanced by signs of brand-new, intricate relationships among numerous terrorist organisations. While many terrorist organisations continue to assault Europe and Asia, it appears that Al-Qaeda and IS members have turned their attention to Africa and northwest Asia.
Al-Qaeda operations in particular are becoming increasingly widespread. It’s well-known in Afghanistan and is thriving there as well as in Eastern and the Sahel parts of Africa. Today, there is no denying that the Taliban is one of Al Qaeda’s most trustworthy allies. The Haqqani Network, a part of the new Taliban government, provides Al-Qaeda with various chances to increase its power in the area.
It would be inaccurate to assume that the recent surge in meetings about terrorism was primarily motivated by the rise in terrorist activity. There doesn’t appear to have been any discussion about how to handle the most recent surge of new terrorist groups—those excluding al-Qaeda and the IS—whose operations have grown and become more pervasive.
There are few signs, once more, that the discussions considered the fact that religious fanaticism paired with ideology posed a greater threat than previously. Instead, despite the fact that their reasons lack much substance, it appears that many governments have utilised the “handle” of terrorism as a practical tool of winning support for their own purposes.
Many of the earlier issues still exist. However, the decrease in violent terrorist incidents does not signify a decrease in terrorism.
Unfortunately, a number of recent terrorist assaults, notably those in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) and Mangaluru, have not been fully understood by security professionals across India (Karnataka). Although the instances may not seem like much, they are signs of rising radicalization and demonstrate that a sizable base is being established in the southern region, which could result in the development of organisations that are motivated by the Indian Mujahideen (of the early 2000s).
These efforts, as well as the connections that transnational terrorist organizations—whose presence is less well known than that of al-Qaeda and the IS—are developing, require special attention from counterterrorism professionals (under the radar).
Leaders from around the world shouldn’t just accept claims that terrorism is declining or categorise terrorists as either good or bad based entirely on national preferences.
In order to successfully combat “new age terrorism,” anti-terrorism organisations around the world must improve their capabilities. Additionally, there is a definite need for increased collaboration and intelligence sharing across international counterterrorism organisations.
They must assess the risks posed by Internet-enabled terrorism, which is characterised as violent acts planned and directed by controllers from thousands of kilometres away. These modern types of terrorism include “enabled terrorism” and “remote control terrorism.”
The next stage is to finish the list of elements required to end all forms of terrorism and to resurrect the CCIT plan, which has been dormant in the UN headquarters since India originally presented it in the 1990s.
The following significant aims were part of CCIT:
the development of a uniform definition of terrorism that will be included by each of the 193 UNGA members into their individual national criminal laws.
to destroy terror camps and outlaw any terrorist organisations.
to administer special legal sanctions to all terrorists.
This convention states that anyone who acts in a way that either:
Substantial physical harm or death to any person;
The following offences are committed when serious damage is done to either public or private property, including a place of public usage, a State or government facility, a public transportation system, an infrastructure facility, or the environment: Accepting the CCIT would communicate the necessity of preventing terrorism in a way that is considerably more convincing than the meaningless declarations made by world leaders at conferences. If the CCIT was approved by the UN, the war on terror would acquire new significance.
Conclusion: Experts in counterterrorism will once more need to broaden their knowledge in order to participate in multi-domain operations and engage in terror “gaming,” both of which are crucial in the modern world.
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