PIB Notes – July 25, 2014

Notes from PIB covering important information for exams like UPSC, State PSC, Govt Exams, Bank Exams etc.

5th India-US Strategic Dialogue will host US Secretary of State John Kerry in New Delhi from July 30 to August 1, 2014.

India and the United States launched the Ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue in July 2009, focusing on five pillars of mutual interest, namely:

Strategic Cooperation;
Energy and Climate Change,
Education and Development;
Economy, Trade and Agriculture;
Science and Technology, Health and Innovation.
The first Strategic Dialogue was held in Washington DC in June 2010, followed by successive rounds in New Delhi (July 2011), Washington DC (June 2012) and New Delhi (June 2013).

A Finance Ministers forum of the G-20 Countries.

In the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008, the G-20 Summit was elevated from the level of being a Finance Ministers forum to a Leaders Forum.

It was later declared as the premier forum for international economic cooperation in 2009.

The forum has played a catalytic role to initiate discussions and measures for reform in the global financial architecture as well as taking measures to ensure greater macroeconomic policy coordination and cooperation among the world’s largest economies.

The Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth, launched at the G-20’s Pittsburgh Summit in September 2009 has provided a mechanism for such co-operation.

India’s Contribution at G-20 Summits :

India has repeatedly underscored the need for the G-20 to take measures to enhance investments in infrastructure and for effective exchange of tax information.

India has also been advocating the need for the G-20 members to take measures to facilitate labour mobility and skill portability to address issues related to global labour and skills market imbalances.

India also plays an important role as co-chair of some of the working groups within the G-20 such as

The G-20 Framework Working Group,
The G-20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion Sub Group on Principles and Standards Setting Bodies and
Co-facilitator for infrastructure in G-20 Development Working Group.

NSDA is an agency that is mandated to coordinate the skilling effort of the Government of India. It is not mandated to skill a targeted number of people.

The NSDA is an autonomous body, with functions which inter alia include

Taking all possible steps to meet skilling targets as envisaged in the 12th Five Year Plan and beyond;
Coordinating and harmonizing the approach to skill development in the country;
Anchoring and operationalizing the National Skills Qualification Framework to ensure that quality and standards meet sector specific requirements;
Being the nodal agency for State Skill Development Missions;
Evaluating existing skill development schemes with a view to assessing their efficacy and suggesting corrective action to make them more effective;
Creating and maintaining a national database relating to skill development including development of a dynamic labour market information system; and ensuring that the skilling needs of the disadvantaged and the marginalized groups like SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities, women and differently abled persons are taken care of.

A quality assurance framework which organizes qualifications according to a series of levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude. These levels are defined in terms of learning outcomes which the learner must possess regardless of whether they were acquired through formal, non-formal or informal learning.

The NSQF would also help shift emphasis to outcome based learning – both in the general and vocational space. Today, there is lack of uniformity in the outcomes associated with different qualifications across institutions, each with its own duration, curriculum, entry requirements as well as title. This often leads to problems in establishing equivalence of certificates/diplomas/degrees in different parts of the country, which in turn impacts the employability and mobility of students. By shifting the focus from inputs to learning outcomes, the NSQF would aim to tackle this challenge.

NSQF will also facilitate Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) that is largely lacking in the present education and training scenario. Additionally, it would help alignment of Indian qualifications to international qualifications.

The credit accumulation and transfer system that will be integrated in the NSQF will allow people to move between education, vocational training and work at different stages in their lives according to their needs and convenience.

The NSQF is a nationally integrated education and competency based skill framework that will provide for multiple pathways, horizontal as well as vertical, both within vocational education and vocational training and among vocational education, vocational training, general education and technical education, thus linking one level of learning to another higher level. There are 10 levels in the framework, with the entry level being 1, and the highest level being 10. This will enable a person to acquire desired competency levels, transit to the job market and, at an opportune time, return for acquiring additional skills to further upgrade competencies.

The Comptroller & Auditor General of India today assumed office as Member of the United Nations Board of Auditors for a six year term upto June 2020. Shri Shashi Kant Sharma took over the charge of this prestigious position from Mr. Liu Jiayi, the Auditor General of the People’s Republic of China at the United Nations Headquarters at New York.

Benefits for India

The UN Board of Auditors is one of the key oversight organs of the United Nations and its importance has grown in recent years, especially in view of the resource crunch being faced by all Member Nations in the wake of economic crisis. The reports of the Board form a key input in policy-making within the UN system. The election of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India to the UN Board of Auditors is a matter of prestige for the country and would greatly enhance the visibility of India within the UN system.

Unlike most elections in the UN and its Agencies, this election was a rare case where an institution was involved. With the election of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India as a member of the UN Board of Auditors, one of the most prestigious institutions of Indian democracy got its due recognition at the international stage and image of the country has enhanced in terms of its democratic traditions.

CAG of India will now get access for audit of UN Organizations, the prominent one being the UN Headquarters itself. By auditing international organizations of the UN system, not only would the Comptroller and Auditor General of India add value to the operations of UN, but its own officers would also be further exposed to the best international auditing and accounting practices leading to enhancement of their professional skills. Deploying of such professionals in India would translate into high quality of auditing and accounting and would promote accountability, transparency and good governance in India.

Benefits for United Nations

With their wide experience in the audit of UN and its Agencies and other International Organizations, the auditors of the CAG of India would assist the UN in bringing about greater efficiency, economy and effectiveness in its operations by focussing their audit thrust on key risk areas within the UN.

Presently, the United Nations is in the process of business process transformation by way of migrating to International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) for financial reporting and introduction of a SAP based Enterprise Resource Planning solution. C&AG of India has a pool of audit professionals specialising in IPSAS, who have assisted World Health Organization (WHO), International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) in their on-going migration to an IPSAS compliant financial accounting system. Similarly, C&AG of India is known for its expertise in the audit of IT systems. India’s twin strengths in IPSAS and auditing ERP systems would bring immense value to the United Nations in its ongoing migration to IPSAS and implementation of its SAP system, UMOJA.

The proportion of States’ share in Central taxes is recommended by the Finance Commission constituted every five years.

As per accepted recommendations of 13th Finance Commission (FC-XIII), the States’ share has been fixed at 32% of the net proceeds of shareable Central Taxes for the period from 1.4.2010 to 31.03.2015, and accordingly, devolution is being made to the State Governments.

The 14th Finance Commission has already been constituted on 2nd January, 2013. The Commission is holding consultation with States and Union Government and is scheduled to submit its report by end of October, 2014 covering its award period from 1.4.2015 to 31.3.2020.

India has achieved the goal of polio eradication as no polio case has been reported for more than 3 years after last case reported on 13th Jan, 2011.

China disputes the international boundary between India and China.

In the Eastern Sector, China claims approximately 90,000 square kilometres of Indian territory in the State of Arunachal Pradesh.

Indian territory under the occupation of China in Jammu & Kashmir is approximately 38,000 square kilometres. In addition, under the so-called China-Pakistan “Boundary Agreement”, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 square kilometres of Indian territory in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to China.

The fact that Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir are integral and inalienable parts of India has been clearly conveyed to the Chinese side on several occasions, including at the highest level.

Government of India is not in favour of making military training compulsory to all the youth of the country due to the following reasons:-

India is a democratic Republic and the Constitution does not provide for compulsory military training. In our democratic set up, people are free to choose their professions. Compulsion in respect of Military Training, it is felt, would go against the democratic ethos.
Military training to all the youth of the country may also lead to militarisation of an entire nation. With our socio-political and economic conditions, it is highly undesirable, lest some of the unemployed youth trained in military skills join the ranks of the undesirable elements.
Armed Forces in India have a large number of volunteers to draw upon and there is no problem in getting adequate numbers of volunteer recruits. All the youth of the country, therefore, do not compulsorily need to be given military training.

Source : PIB July 25, 2014. 

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