Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: Committees

Committees

Committee to Review the Role, Functioning and Structure of CEIB Constituted

The Government of India is determined to fight all economic crimes. For this purpose, the Government of India has set up the following Investigating Agencies which function under the Department of Revenue in Union Ministry of

Finance:

  1. The Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (Apex Intelligence & Co-ordinating body)

  2. Directorate General of Revenue Intelligence (for Customs related offences)

  3. Directorate of Enforcement (for Foreign Exchange related offences)

  4. Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (for Central Excise related offences)

  5. Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation) (for Income Tax related offences)

  6. Narcotics Control Bureau (for Drugs related offences)

Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission

  • The Central Government has constituted the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) under the chairmanship of former Justice B. N. Srikrishna to rewrite and harmonise financial sector legislations, rules and regulations.

  • The commission has been set up in pursuance of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's budget announcement last year.

  • Apart from Justice Srikrishna as the head, other members of the 11-member commission include former PFRDA Chairman D. Swarup, former Axis Bank chief P. J. Nayak and PMEAC member M. Govinda Rao. Headquartered in Delhi, the commission is to hold its first meeting on April 5 and submit its report to the Finance Minister within 24 months.

  • As for the terms of reference, the commission will examine the architecture of the legislative and regulatory system governing the financial sector in the country and also look at the most appropriate means of oversight over regulators and their autonomy from the government.

  • There are over 60 Acts and multiple rules and regulations dealing with the financial sector and many of them have become archaic.

B. K. Chaturvedi committee on Devas S-band deal submits its report

The committee, constituted by PM, consisting of the former Cabinet Secretary, B. K. Chaturvedi, and Professor

Roddam Narasimha, was asked to go into all aspects of the satellite deal.

  • The Committee headed by Sh. B. K. Chaturvedi Committee, looking into the issues pertaining to the development of National Highways has submitted its second report to the Government.

  • B. K. Chaturvedi is Planning Commission member and former Cabinet Secretary. New steps in National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC)

  • To reduce the pendency of cases thirteen cities across the country have been notified by the Govt. Where NCDRC can hold Circuit Benches.

  • The number of Members of the Commission has been increased from 5 to 9 enabling the Commission to set up 5 Benches.

  • Further 2 additional posts of Members have been created for a period of five years for setting up an additional Bench to clear backlog of cases in NCDRC.

  • The Government is implementing an important scheme CONFONET to make the Consumer Fora more efficient, transparent and systematic in their functioning. This project for Computerization & Computer Networking of Consumer Fora in the country is being executed on a turnkey basis by the National Informatics Centre.

  • Under this scheme, the consumer fora at all the three tiers would be fully computerized and inter-connected enabling them to access information leading to quicker disposal of cases.

  • With the implementation of this scheme consumers across the country will be able to file complaints online and can also find out the status of the case on the website.

  • Out of 35 State Commissions and 607 District Fora, 34 State Commissions and 593 District Fora have been covered under this project so far.

  • Similarly, Government has another scheme titled Strengthening of Consumer Fora where financial assistance is being extended to States/UTs to supplement their efforts in strengthening infrastructure of the Consumer Fora.

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC)

  • As per provisions of Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

  • To provide inexpensive, speedy and summary redressal of consumer disputes, quasi-judicial bodies have been set up in each District and State and at the national level, called the District Forums, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions and the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission respectively. At present, there are 604 District Forums and 34 State Commissions with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) at the apex.

  • Each District Forum is headed by a person who is or has been or is eligible to be appointed as a District Judge and each State Commission is headed by a person who is or has been a Judge of High Court.

  • The National Commission was constituted in the year 1988. It is headed by a sitting or retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India.

  • A written complaint, can be filed before the District Consumer Forum for pecuniary value of upto Rupees twenty lakh, State Commission for value upto Rupees one crore and the National Commission for value above Rupees one crore, in respect of defects in goods and or deficiency in service.

  • The service can be of any description and the illustrations given above are only indicative. However, no complaint can be filed for alleged deficiency in any service that is rendered free of charge or under a contract of personal service.

Wadhwa Committee's tenure extended

The Supreme Court extended by six months the tenure of the Justice Wadhwa Committee formed to probe the issues in the Public Distribution System.

Pursuant to the order dated 12th July, 2006 passed by the Honorable Supreme Court of India in Writ Petition (C)

No. 196 of 2001, People's Union for Civil Liberties vs. Union of India and Ors. the Government of India, Ministry of

Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution (Department of Food) vide Notification No. 6 − 1 (Accommodation)/2006-BP-II dated 01.12. 2006 has constituted a Central Vigilance Committee under the

Chairmanship of Hon'ble Mr. Justice D. P. Wadhwa, a former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, to be assisted by

Dr. N C Saxena, the Commissioner earlier appointed by the Supreme Court, to look into the maladies affecting the proper functioning of the Public Distribution System and also suggest remedial measures.

Ashok chawla committee

Central government has setup a committee under Ashok chawla to look into pricing, allocation and utilisation of

India's natural resources

Task force to review deemed universities

  • to examine applications by the deemed-to-be-universities to review whether they had overcome the deficiencies that would allow them to continue with their deemed status.

  • As many as 44 such institutions had been given three years time to overcome their deficiencies in 2009

  • The task force comprises P N Tandon, professor emiretus at AIIMS; Goverdhan Mehta, National Research Professor; Prof Anandakrishnan, chairman IIT, Kanpur; and Prof Mrinal Miri, former Vice-Chancellor of North East Hill University. Nilekani to head task force on direct subsidies

  • It will work out a suitable mechanism to provide direct subsidies on kerosene, cooking gas (LPG) and fertilizers for the intended beneficiaries.

  • Besides Mr. Nilekani, the task force will comprise secretaries of the Ministries of Finance, Chemicals & Fertilizers, Agriculture, Food & Public Distribution, Petroleum & Natural Gas and Rural Development, along with the Director-General of UIDAI.

Malegam panel on MFI

Recommendations

  • micro finance institutions (MFIs) be allowed to charge a maximum interest of 24 per cent on small loans which cannot exceed Rs. 25, 000.

  • a separate category of non-banking financial companies (NBFC-MFI) for the micro finance sector be created

  • The panel also said small loans of up to Rs. 25, 000 could be given to families having an income up to Rs. 50, 000 per annum.

  • the borrowers should be given the option of weekly or fortnightly or monthly return of the loan.

  • 75 per cent of loans extended by MFIs should be for income generation purposes

  • a borrower cannot take loans from more than two MFIs

  • should be implemented from April 1, 2011.

  • regulations of MFIs, the Malegam Committee should be done by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural

Development (NABARD) in close coordination with the RBI

The RBI constituted the committee in October last in the wake of allegations of overcharging and using coercive recovery practices by MFIs that led to a spate of suicides in Andhra Pradesh.

The decisions taken by the State government to regulate MFIs slowed down the loan recovery process hitting the financial health of the sector. It was further aggravated by the reluctance of banks to support MFIs

Sunder Committee Set up to Review the Motor Vehicle Act Submits its Report

Expert Committee set up to review the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 and to suggest changes therein submitted its report to the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shri C. P. Joshi.

Recommendations

  • Suggested that a unique number be issued to every licensee. It will help to check fake licenses (current it is possible that different RTO even within the State may allot same number).

  • To ensure better driving and road safety, there will be different categories of licences.

  • The committee has suggested portability of registration numbers allowing the original registration number to remain valid throughout the country instead of changing it with a shift in residence or place of business from one State to another. The implementation of this provision will start with non-transport vehicles.

  • Periodic Fitness Check: Doing away with the present system of registering non-transport vehicles for 15 years with no requirement of a fitness certificate till the end of this period, the committee has called for a change and left it to the Union government to fix the periodicity.

  • But, for transport vehicles it suggested that the validity period be initially for two years and that the fitness certificate be obtained annually.

  • To put a stop to overloading, both the owner and the consignor will be presumed to have committed the offence.

  • A two-stage procedure has been suggested for grant of the licence and subsequent authorisation where necessary.

  • Under the proposed law, the validity of a driving licence for a non-transport vehicle will be for 20 years or until the holder attains the age of 50. It could be renewed every five years till the age of 70 and thereafter renewal will be based on medical certificate.

  • For a transport vehicle, the driving licence will be for three years and it will be renewed thereafter for periods of five years.

  • The government will also provide for disposal of vehicles and components thereof when they cease to be roadworthy.

  • The committee has suggested that the Centre withdraw protection to state transport undertakings and enable them to use both the public and private sectors to provide public transport. Background Note: Don't get confused with another Sunder committee. Sunder Committee on Road Safety and Traffic Management (2007) The Committee constituted under the Chairmanship of Shri S. Sundar, former Secretary, Ministry of Surface Transport, submitted its report on 20.2. 2007, recommending creation of the National Road Safety and Traffic

  • Management Board and also creation of a dedicated fund namely National Road Safety Fund.

Madhav Gadgil committee

on the Western Ghat ecology

Bimal Jalan Committee

  • Working and ownership norms of market infrastructure institutions (MIIs), including stock exchanges.

  • Appointed by SEBI, had last month recommended not allowing listing by stock exchanges, putting a cap on their profits and fixing their executive remunerations etc.

  • Favored allowing anchor investors up to a total of 49 per cent shares in bourses. Panel recommends for lower interest on farm loans

  • Prime Minister, in April 2010 during the meeting of CMs, constituted three working groups to tackle the rising food inflation. Group Head Recommendation working group on agriculture

  • Bhupinder Singh Hudda suggested that the government provide farm loans to farmers at four per cent interest rate, raise the minimum support price (MSP) for farm produce to 50 per cent higher than the actual cost of cultivation and expand diesel subsidy scheme across the country. Working group on consumer affairs

  • Narendra Modi recommends setting up of Special Courts under the Essential Commodities Act to try offences and to constitute a price stabilisation fund for government intervention when prices become unreasonably high. Working group on food and public distribution Montek Singh Ahluwalia

Pranab Sen Committee for Slums

The committee was established by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA) to examine the definition of slums and provide a more accurate statistical model for enumerating India's slum populations.

The committee was also tasked with suggesting a uniform definition of slum which can be adopted by the government for its Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) that seeks removal of slums.

Findings:

A Government of India expert committee has suggested that India's slum population is significantly higher than originally estimated and recommended new guidelines for enumerating slums in the 2011 Census. In a report issued 3 September 2010, the Committee on Slum Statistics/Census projected that India's slum population in 2011 would be 93.06 million more than 23 per cent higher than the 75.06 million originally estimated by the 2001 Census using new definition. The 2001 census had put the slum population at 52.4 million.

Important Recommendations

  • New definition of slums.

  • An urban information management system on slums should be created and each state that gets funds from the ministry should indicate time-bound plans for addressing issues concerning slum clusters.

  • It has recommended checklists for the purpose of identification of slums and said that households having roof material other than concrete, not having facility of drinking water, drainage and latrine should be treated as having slum characteristics.

Pranab Sen

Pranab Sen, principal adviser to the Planning Commission and the country's former chief statistician.

New definition for slums by Pranab Sen Committee for Slums

The Pranab Sen Committee has given a new definition for slums. It has defined a slum as a compact settlement of at least 20 households with a collection of poorly built tenements, mostly of temporary nature, crowded together usually with inadequate sanitary and drinking water facilities in unhygienic conditions.

The new definition of slum is different from the definition adopted by the 2001 Census of India. Accordingly to 2001

Census, slum areas broadly constitute of:

  1. All specified areas in a town or city notified as Slum by State/Local Government and UT Administration under any Act including a Slum Act

  2. All areas recognized as Slum by State/Local Government and UT Administration which may have been formally notified as slum under any act

  3. A compact area of at least 300 population or about 60 − 70 households of poorly built congested tenements in unhygienic environment usually with inadequate infrastructure and lacking in proper sanitary and drinking water facilities.

As reported by the Office of Registrar General of India (ORGI), Census 2011 will use the same definition as used by Census 2001 for delineating the slum blocks in the notified, recognized and identified slum areas of each statutory town.

In addition, the Houselisting and Housing Census data will be used for earmarking the slum like clusters uniformly through the country. The ORGI will also identify all the House-listing Blocks (HLBs) where at least 20 households satisfying the set criterion, as recommended by the Pranab Sen Committee exist.

Shunglu Committee

Government has approved the constitution of a High Level Committee (HLC) headed by Shri V. K. Shunglu, the former Comptroller & Auditor General of India, to look into the organization and conduct of the Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 and also to draw lessons from it.

Shunglu has been given the status of a Supreme Court judge.

one-member Patil committee

Government appointed retired Supreme Court Judge Shivaraj V. Patil to examine the appropriateness of the procedures adopted by the DoT in the issuance of licences and spectrum allocation during 2001 − 2009.

Expert committee on mullaperiyar Dam

The Supreme Court had appointed the committee headed by the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, A S Anand (in February, 2010), to go into all issues, including the safety aspects of the dam, raising the water level beyond 136 ft as also Kerala's demand for a new dam.

The five-member committee includes K T Thomas and A R Lakshmanan, former judges of the Supreme Court; C. D.

Thatte, former secretary to the Ministry of Water Resources; and D. K. Mehta, former Chief Engineer, Central Water

Commission. While Mr. Thomas represents Kerala, Lakshmanan is the representative of Tamil Nadu.

The Kerala Periyar Dam

  • New proposed dam by Kerala Govt near old dam (Mullaperiyar Dam).

  • Issue: Environment clearance

  • Empowered committee on the Mullaperiyar reservoir headed by A. S. Anand visited the site. Mullaperiyar Dam

  • is constructed over the Periyar River in Kerala. It is operated by the Government of Tamil Nadu according to a 999-year lease agreement made during erstwhile British colonial rule.

  • Issue: The government of Tamil Nadu has proposed an increase in the storage level of the dam from the currently maintained 136 feet (41 m) to 142 feet (43 m).

  • The Kerala government has opposed this move, citing safety concerns for the more than hundred year old bridge and especially for the thickly populated districts downstream.

Meena Gupta Panel

The panel was set up by the Environment Ministry in July to probe all environmental approvals granted to the Posco project, the implementation of the Forest Rights Act and the resettlement and rehabilitation provisions. Ms. Gupta, who was chosen to head the committee, was Environment Secretary when the Posco clearances were granted in the first place, prompting concerns about conflict of interest in some quarters.

Issue: In a letter sent to Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh, the other three members, tribal affairs expert Urmila Pingle, former director-general of forests Devendra Pandey and Madras High Court advocate V.

Suresh have pointed out that Ms. Gupta's recommendations are not only untenable but legally impermissible

Sub-committee on MFI

The Reserve Bank of India has appointed a sub-committee under the chairmanship of Y. H. Malegam to look at the governance issues.

At present, only MFIs registered as non-banking finance companies with the RBI come under the central bank's regulatory control.

National Council on India's Nutritional Challenges

Though the PM-headed Council was formed in October 2008, it will hold its first meeting held in Nov 2010. Panel has directed Planning Commission and the ministry of women and child development (WCD) to prepare a roadmap for 200 of the poorest districts with special focus on children under 2 years and pregnant women.

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India