- Restrictions on Public Procurement from certain countries
- Permanent Commission to Women Officers in Army
- Largest Solar Power Plant of Navy Commissioned
- Study in India Programme
Focus: GS-III Indian Economy
Why in news?
The Government of India today amended the General Financial Rules 2017 to enable imposition of restrictions on bidders from countries which share a land border with India on grounds of defence of India, or matters directly or indirectly related thereto including national security.
- The Department of Expenditure has, under the said Rules, issued a detailed Order on public procurement to strengthen the defence of India and national security.
- As per the Order any bidder from such countries sharing a land border with India will be eligible to bid in any procurement whether of goods, services (including consultancy services and non-consultancy services) or works (including turnkey projects) only if the bidder is registered with the Competent Authority.
- The Competent Authority for registration will be the Registration Committee constituted by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
- Political and security clearance from the Ministries of External and Home Affairs respectively will be mandatory.
- The Order takes into its ambit public sector banks and financial institutions, Autonomous Bodies, Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs)and Public Private Partnership projects receiving financial support from the Government or its undertakings.
Role of State Governments
- State Governments too play a vital role in national security and defence of India.
- The Government of India has written to the Chief Secretaries of the State Governments invoking the provisions of Article 257 (1) of the Constitution of India for the implementation of this Order in procurement by State Governments and state undertakings etc.
- For State Government procurement, the Competent Authority will be constituted by the states but political and security clearance will remain necessary.
What are General Financial Rules (GFRs)?
- The General Financial Rules (GFRs) are set of rules that deal with matters that involve public finances. They were first issued in 1947 bringing together all the existing orders. They are instructions that pertain to financial matters.
- They lay down the general rules applicable to Ministries / Departments, and detailed instructions relating to procurement of goods are issued by the procuring departments broadly in conformity with the general rules, while maintaining flexibility to deal with varied situations.
Article 257 in The Constitution Of India
Control of the Union over States in certain cases
(1) The executive power of every State shall be so exercised as not to impede or prejudice the exercise of the executive power of the Union, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a State as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose.
- In short, the Union Government can issue directions to the state Government even with regard to the subjects enumerated in the state list.
- The Union Government can also give directions to the state with regard to construction and maintenance of the means of communication declared to be of national or military importance.
- It can also ask the state Governments to construct and maintain means of communication as part of its functions with respect to naval, military and air force works.
- It can also issue them necessary directions regarding the measures to be taken for the protection of the railways within the jurisdiction of the state.
- It may be noted that the expenses incurred by the state Governments for the discharge of these functions have to be reimbursed by the Union Government.
- It may be noted that the state Governments cannot ignore the directions of the Union Government, otherwise the president can take the plea that the Government of the state cannot be carried on the accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and impose President’s rule on the state.
Focus: GS-III Internal Security Challenges
Why in news?
Ministry of Defence has issued the formal Government Sanction Letter for grant of Permanent Commission (PC) to Women Officers in the Indian Army, paving the way for empowering Women Officers to shoulder larger roles in the organisation.
- The order specifies grant of PC to Short Service Commissioned (SSC) Women Officers in all ten streams of the Indian Army.
- In anticipation, the Army Headquarters had set in motion a series of preparatory actions for conduct of the Permanent Commission Selection Board for affected Women Officers.
Recently in news: Supreme Court Eligibility for Permanent Commission
- The Supreme Court dismissed the Union government’s submissions that women are physiologically weaker than men as a “sex stereotype”.
- The Supreme Court declared that Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers are eligible for permanent commission and command posts in the Army irrespective of their years of service
- The court dismissed the government’s stand that only women officers with less than 14 years of service ought to be considered for permanent commission, and those with over 20 years of service should be pensioned immediately.
- The court has done away with all discrimination on the basis of years of service for grant of PC in 10 streams of combat support arms and services, bringing them on a par with male officers.
Women in the Indian Defence Forces
Year wise induction details of women officers in the three armed forces during the past three years and current year, given in a written reply is as follows:
|Indian Air Force||59||59||51||00|
|Indian Navy||57||38||54||18 (in progress)|
% of women officers is more in Indian air force than army and navy.
Focus: Prelims, GS-III Industry and Infrastructure, Environment and Ecology
Why in news?
A 3 MW Solar Power Plant was commissioned at Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala.
- The solar plant is the largest in the Indian Navy and has an estimated life of 25 years.
- All components have been indigenously sourced, including highly efficient monocrystalline solar panels employing the latest technology.
- This is in line with the Govt of India initiative of ‘National Solar Mission’ to achieve 100GW of solar power by 2022.
- The Solar Power Plant project will help Naval Station Ezhimala in reducing the carbon foot print and is one of the many initiatives undertaken by INA towards a clean and green environment.
- Surplus power generated will also feed the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) electricity grid.
National Solar Mission
- The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), or the National Solar Mission, is an initiative of the Government of India and State Governments to promote solar power in India.
- The JNNSM has been revised twice and now boasts a target of 100 GW of solar PV by 2022.
- The Objective of JNNSM is to establish India as a global leader in solar energy by creating the policy conditions for its deployment across the country. Each Phase is supported by differing key policies and targets.
Focus: Prelims, GS-II Social Justice
Why in news?
- The Ministry of HRD conducted the first ever Indian Scholastic Assessment (Ind-SAT) Test 2020 under its ‘Study in India’ programme.
- Nearly five thousand candidates from Nepal, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Sri-Lanka, Kenya, Zambia, Indonesia and Mauritius appeared for the exam conducted.
- Ind-SAT is an exam for grant of scholarships and admissions to foreign students for studying in select Indian universities under the Study in India programme.
- The Ind-SAT scores will serve as a criterion to shortlist the meritorious students for the allocation of scholarships for under graduate as well as post graduate programmes under ‘Study in India’ programme.
‘Study in India’ Programme
- The Study in India Programme will provide meritorious foreign students fee waiver and scholarship.
- The Programme aims at boosting country’s share of international students and subsequently, improve global reputation and rankings of Indian educational institutions.
- It will target students from 30 countries, primarily in Asia and Africa, including Nepal, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt, Iran, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Rwanda, among others.
- The proposed fee waiver and scholarship will be decided by institute concerned based on predefined structure.
- The seats for foreign students will not affect number of seats which are meant for Indian students in any educational institute.