Sunday, February 23, 2014

APPSC Panchayat Secretary Exam Paper - I Solved Paper (Exam Held on: 23-02-2014)

APPSC Panchayat Secretary Exam Paper - II Solved Paper (Exam Held on: 23-02-2014)

An Analysis of the Indian Electorate from 1998 To 2014

A comparison of the electoral data as per the final publication of summary revision 2014 (released by the Election Commission of India on 14th February, 2014) with that of last four General Elections (from 1998 onwards) shows that the total electorate size of the country grew by 34.45% from 605,880,192 electors in 1998 to reach 814,591,184 in 2014. This growth was 21.31% relative to an electorate size of 671,487,930 in 2004. Among the 28 states and 7 union territories, Dadra & Nagar Haveli at 53.9% registered the highest rate of growth in electorate size during the period from 2004 to 2014, next followed by Puducherry at 39.1%. Among states, West Bengal registered the highest rate of growth at 31.7%. Among all states and UTs, Andaman & Nicobar Islands registered the lowest rate of growth at 6.7%, next followed by Jammu & Kashmir at 8.9%. In absolute numbers, Uttar Pradesh registered the highest growth in electorate size relative to 2004, while Lakshadweep the lowest.

Comparison of the Indian Electorate from 1951–1952 To 2014

A comparison of the electoral data as per the final publication of summary revision 2014 (released by the Election Commission of India on 14th February, 2014) with that of previous General Elections shows that the total electorate size of the country grew from 173,212,343 electors in the 1st General Elections of 1951 – 1952 to become 814,591,184 in 2014 - more than 4.7 times the figure in 1951 – ’52. Relative to 1971 (the year since when the sex-wise break-up of electors is available), the size of the total electorate grew by 197.1% or became 2.97 times. Further, both the number of male electors and the number of female electors became 2.97 times of their respective numbers in 1971. The proportion of female electors in the Indian electorate has showed little variation since 1971, always hovering between 47.4% and 48.0%.

Cabinet approved the setting up Equal Opportunities Commission

Union Cabinet approved the setting up of an Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) on 20 February 2014. The proposal for EOC was made by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs on the recommendations of the Justice Sachar Committee on Social, Economic and Educational Status of Muslim Community in India.

The Equal Opportunities Commission will address the grievances of people from the minority communities when minorities are discriminated against by government agencies. Its role is advisory in nature and will have no jurisdiction over private agencies.

EOC is a three-member body and will be headed by a retired judge of the High Court. It will not have any powers to impose penalties.

Cabinet approved Odia as Classical Language

Union Cabinet on 20 February 2014 gave its nod for classifying Odia, the official language of Odisha as a classical language to give impetus to scholarships in the language. Odia is the first language from the Indo-Aryan linguistic group to be billed in the list of classical language. The proposal to give Odia a status of classical language was moved by the Culture Ministry.

Odia being one of the oldest languages has been declared as classical language because of the demands and also because it has no resemblance to Hindi, Bengali, Telugu and Sanskrit. Odia is the sixth language to become the classical language of the country.Other languages that have been declared as the classical languages are Tamil in 2004, Sanskrit in 2005, Telugu in 2008, Kannada in 2008 and Malayalam in 2013 of which four are Dravidian languages.

National Skill Development Agency (NSDA)

The National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) is an autonomous body, with functions, inter-alia, including, taking all possible steps to meet skilling targets as envisaged in the 12th Five Year Plan and beyond and coordinating and harmonizing the approach to skill development in the country. The Agency has undertaken a number of activities, inter-alia, including facilitating the operationalisation of National Skills Qualification Framework; setting up of a committee for rationalisation of Central Government Schemes on skill development; commencing work on creating and maintaining a national database relating to skill development including development of a dynamic labour market informational system and creating online education resources. NSDA is also engaging with States Skill Development Missions for enabling them to converge efforts across State Ministries and advising them to develop their plans for increasing vocational training capacity in the State. 

NSDA is an agency that is mandated to coordinate the skilling effort of the Government of India (GOI). NSDA has informed that a target of skilling 73.42 lakh persons was set for the year 2013-14 by GOI Ministries and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and 49.16 lakh persons have been skilled till December, 2013. 


 Village Revenue Officers and Village Revenue AssistantResults

Monday, February 17, 2014


Leaving direct taxes untouched, finance minister P Chidambaram on February 17 slashed excise duty on cars, SUVs and two-wheelers, and capital goods and consumer durables to boost manufacturing and growth. Presenting the interim Union Budget for 2014-15, he also provided service tax exemption for storage and warehousing of rice like it was done in case of paddy last year. Also, blood banks have been exempted from its purview. 

Highlights of the Budget:
  • * Fiscal deficit for current fiscal to be 4.6%
  • * Revenue deficit estimated at 3% for current fiscal
  • * 140m people lifted out of poverty in last 10 years
  • * Excise duty on SUVs cut from 30 to 24%, in large and mid-segment cars from 27-24% to 24-20%
  • * Excise duty on small cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles cut from 12% to 8%; appropriate cut to be done on chassis, trailers
  • * A Rs 100 crore scheme formulated to promote community radio stations
  • * RBI must strike a balance between growth and moderating inflation, Chidambaram says
  • * We must focus on manufacturing, specially manufacturing for exports: Chidambaram
  • * I am disappointed that we could not introduce GST: Chidambaram
  • * No changes in tax laws in interim budget
  • * Govt has obtained information in 67 cases of illegal offshore accounts of Indians: Chidambaram
  • * Excise duty cut from 12 to 10 per cent in capital goods sector to stimulate growth
  • * Excise duty on mobile handset to be 6% on CENVAT credit to encourage domestic production
  • * Service tax relief storage for warehousing for rice
  • * Blood banks to be exempt from service tax
  • * Rs 500 crore estimated requirement for implementing one-rank-one-pay scheme for armed forces in 2014-15
  • * Rs 6000 crore to rural housing fund, Rs 2000 crore for urban housing fund
  • * Minority bank accounts have swelled to 43,53,000 by 2013-14 from 14,15,000 bank accounts 10 years ago
  • * Rs 3711 crore for minority affairs; housing and urban poverty alleviation gets Rs 6000 crore
  • * Social justice ministry gets Rs 6730 crore; panchayati raj ministry Rs 7000 crore
  • * Moratorium on interest on student loans taken before March 31, 2009; to benefit 9 lakh borrowers
  • * Public Debt Management Bill ready
  • * Fiscal deficit target of 3% to be achieved by 2017
  • * Fiscal deficit to be contained at 4.6% of GDP in 2013-14.
  • * CAD will be $45 billion in 2013-14
  • * Foreign exchange reserves up by $15 billion
  • * Foodgrain production estimated at 263 million tons in 2013-14
  • * Agriculture credit will cross $45 billion against $41 billion in 2012-13
  • * 296 projects worth Rs 6,60,000 crore cleared by Cabinet Committee on Investment by end January 2014
  • * Merchandise export to grow by 6.8% to $326 billion
  • * 3 more industrial corridors — Chennai-Bangalore, Bangalore-Mumbai, Amritsar-Kolkata — under various stages of implementation
  • * GDP growth rate in Q3 and Q4 of 2013-14 will be at least 5.2%
  • * Declining fiscal deficit, moderation of CAD, stable exchange rate and increase in project implementation result of hardwork
  • * Power capacity rises to 234,600 MW in 10 years
  • * Expenditure on education has risen from Rs 10,145 crore 10 years ago to Rs 79,251 crore this year
  • * Sugar decontrol, gradual correction of diesel prices, application for new bank licenses, sick electricity distribution companies restructured
  • * Average growth under UPA's ten year rule was 6.2 per cent against 5.9 during NDA period of 1999-2004
  • * Average growth under UPA-I was 8.4 per cent and UPA-II 6.6 per cent
  • * PSUs to achieve record capex of Rs 2,57,645 crore in 2013-14
  • * 500 MW fast breeder nuclear reaction in Kalpakkam to be ready shortly; 7 nuclear power reactors under construction
  • * National Solar Mission to undertake 4 ultra mega solar power projects in 2014-15
  • * Rs 1,200 crore additional assistance to N-E states to be released before end of the year
  • * Rs 1,000 crore grant for Nirbhaya Fund will be non-lapsable; another Rs 1,000 crore to be given next fiscal
  • * Rs 3,370 crore to transferred to 2.1 crore LPG users
  • * Govt committed to Aadhaar-based LPG transfer but scheme on hold temporarily
  • * Aadhaar is tool for empowerment
  • * Non-plan expenditure to exceed by a small amount in 2013-14
  • * 500 MW fast breeder test reactor in Kalpakkam to be ready shortly; 7 nuclear power reactors under construction
  • * Plan expenditure will be Rs 5,55,322 crore in 2014-15, unchanged from last fiscal
  • * Budgetary support to railways increased from Rs 26,000 crore to Rs 29,000 crore 2014-15
  • * Rs 2,46,397 crore allocated for food, fertilizer and fuel subsidy
  • * Food subsidy will be Rs 1,15,000 crore for implementation of National Food Security Act
  • * Defence allocation increased by 10 per cent to Rs 2.24 lakh crore
For key features of the budget 2014-15 Click Here

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Afghan capital Kabul reported First polio case since 2001

The Capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, reported its first case of polio since 2001 on 11 February 2014. The three-year-old from a nomadic family living on the northeastern edge of the city contracted the disease.
 After detecting the first case, Afghanistan has launched an emergency polio vaccination campaign in Kabul.
The highly contagious polio virus remains endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but Kabul city has not had reported case since the Taliban regime was ousted by a US-led invasion in 2001. 
The polio strain in the Pakistan and Afghanistan is identical. Around 1.5 million children crossed the frontier every year, which causes cross-border transmission. Nearly all of the cases in Afghanistan in 2013 were in regions close to the Pakistan border.
Since the Afghan Taliban changed their policy, allowing vaccination in recent years, there has been a decline in cases in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has deployed health workers at the border crossings, attempting to monitor all children who cross, and vaccinating those at risk.
Besides Afghanistan and Pakistan, Nigeria is the only other country in the world where polio is still endemic. In all the three countries Islamic extremists have obstructed health workers, preventing polio eradication campaigns from taking place.

Canada announced to open Consulate General in Bangalore

Canada announced to open a Consulate General Office in Bangalore on 11 February 2014. The office of the Consulate General of Canada will be located at the World Trade Centre in the Bangalore.  The office of Consulate General will work on the supervision of Visa and Immigration services. The services will be offered for the entire South India. That is, the new office is supposed to cater to the needs of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. According to officials in the High Commission of Canada, the services are expected to commence by April 2014.   This would be the third office in India; the first two were in Mumbai and Chandigarh. Canada has a consulate in Chennai and trade offices in Ahmadabad, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Canada first established its Trade Office in Bangalore in 1996. The Consulate General is expected to reinforce Canada’s strong commercial relations and make future business easier providing immigration and visa services, according to a statement from the High Commission. Indian citizens have been eyeing at abroad education for higher studies, and thus the new Consulate General would aid the students from South India to come in terms with the admission procedure to Canadian educational institutions. 

India ranked 8th in demand for digital governance

India was ranked 8th in the list of ten countries in terms of digital governance. The report on digital governance was released by Accenture on 11 February 2014.
The list was topped by Singapore followed by Norway and UAE at second and third place respectively.
The report revealed the demand for the digital governance is rising in India and emerging economies which will enhance efficiency and output. In India the Government embarked on e- Governance model and the infrastructure which would pay the dividends in the long run.
The report is based on survey of 5000 respondents in ten countries including Brazil, Germany, India, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the Unitied Kingdom and the United States.
According to the report, high-performing digital governments are:
• Focusing on their digital strategy, which is deeply embedded in the government agenda and public reforms.
• Continuing long-term investment in key information and communication technology (ICT) assets and the digitalization of core public services, such as taxation, pensions and healthcare.
• Leveraging the power of new technologies, such as social media, mobility, analytics, big data and cloud computing.
• Connected across agency boundaries and have a strong culture of collaboration and data sharing.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Millennium Development Goals - India Country Report 2014

Former SC Justice Mathur to head 7th Central Pay Commission

Former Supreme Court judge and retired chairman of Armed Forces Tribunal Ashok Kumar Mathur has been appointed as the Chairman of the 7th Pay Commission. The Commission has been mandated to submit its report in 19 months and its recommendations would be put into action from January 1, 2016.

The constitution of the commission will benefit about 50 lakh central government employees, including defence and railways, and about 30 lakh pensioners. But, on the other hand, it would significantly increase the fiscal burden of the centre and state governments. Implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission increased salaries by 21% resulting in an additional annual outgo of nearly Rs.18,000 crore for the Union government, besides a pay out of arrears of Rs.30,000 crore.

Besides Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur, the commission’s full-time member will be Petroleum and Natural Gas Secretary Vivek Rae and part-time member will be Rathin Roy, Director, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy and Meena Agarwal (OSD, Department of Expenditure) its secretary.

The 101st Indian Science Congress begins at Jammu

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the 101st Indian Science Congress held at Jammu University from 3rd to 7th February with focal theme “Innovations in Science and Technology for Inclusive Development”. While inaugurating the five-day event Prime Minister pitches for more funds to promote science. Further he added that the country's annual expenditure on science and technology should be at least two per cent of the GDP.

In his inaugural address at the 101st Indian Science Congress in Jammu, the Prime Minister also said that India is joining the CERN, a premiere European Organisation for Nuclear Research, as an associate member.

The Prime Minister also announced a National Mission on High Performance Computing with an outlay of Rs 4500 crore. To ensure food security and to improve and water productivity, we have to launch a national drive for an ever-green revolution." Singh also announced institution of 25 Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowships, under which eminent scientists from abroad will be invited to work in India for 12 months over a period of three years.

Under this initiative, the government will give 1 lakh USD for three years to the fellows. The government has already selected five scientists, who are also the Fellows of the Royal Society, London, under this scheme.

The Prime Minister also urged scientists to learn from the past and connect with the present and focus on the future.

This is the first time that the Indian Science Congress is being held in Jammu. Delegates from more than 65 countries participated in it along with numerous scientific institutions from across the country.