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January 08, 2019
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Vote on Account (VoA)

  • The Union Budget is nothing but a projected income and expenditure statement for the coming year.
  • As per the Constitution, all the revenue received and the loans raised by the Union government are parked in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI).
  • Article 266 mandates that Parliamentary approval is required to draw money from the CFI
  • So the Budget has to be approved by Parliament before the commencement of the new financial year.
  • But the discussion and passing of Budget generally goes beyond the current financial year.
  • So a special provision called “Vote on Account” is used, where the government obtains the vote of Lok Sabha to withdraw money from CFI to keep the money flowing for the government’s day to day functions, until the Budget is passed. (Article 116).
  • e.g Salary to government employees, loan interest payments, subsidies, pension payments etc.
  • It is also used in the years where Lok Sabha elections are due.
  • But here vote on account is also presented along with minor policy changes, as it would be improper for the outgoing government to impose major budgetary constraints on its successor.
  • Such a measure that includes both short term expenditure and income part is called an Interim Budget.
  • The vote-on-account is normally valid for 2 months and is in operation till the full Budget is passed.
  • But during an election year, it may be extended for more than 2 months.
  • VoA is usually passed without much discussion as it typically does not seek funds for major projects or new initiatives.
  • It usually does not contain any direct tax proposals, as that requires amendments to the Finance Bill.
  • On indirect taxes though, there could be clarifications or minor tweaks.
  • On the downside, the country may lose crucial time on developmental projects during the hiatus after the vote on account.

Gandhi Circuit

  • The Government commemorated centenary of Champaran Satyagrah during the period for April, 2017 to April, 2018.
  • As a part of this, a project for “Development of Gandhi Circuit: Bhitiharwa-Chandrahia-Turkaulia under Rural Circuit theme of Swadesh Darshan Scheme” has been sanctioned in Bihar with central financial assistance.
  • The most famous Gandhian site in Champaran, Bihar is Bhitiharwa.
  • It is a place where Gandhi set up a school and ashram in 1917.
  • Recently government has erected an ashram complex which includes a museum.
  • On April 18, 1917, Mahatma Gandhi embarked on a journey from Motihari to Jasauli Patti in the then undivided Champaran district of Bihar.
  • During the journey Mahatma Gandhi was served an order by the British rulers at Chandrahia village, prohibiting him from traveling any further.
  • As a result, he had to return to Motihari to face trial.
  • However, he continued to be in Champaran until the plight of the indigo farmers was addressed.

Champaran Satyagraha

  • During British rule, many tenant farmers were forced to grow row indigo on part of their land, which was used to make dye.
  • But the demand for indigo dropped when the Germans invented a cheaper artificial dye.
  • However, during the First World War the German dye ceased to be available and indigo once more became profitable.
  • So a tinkathia system was put in place by the British.
  • According to it, a Champaran tenant was bound by law to plant 3/20th parts of his land.
  • This led to anger and resentment among the tenants.
  • A farmer named Raj Kumar Shukla appealed to Gandhiji to organize the struggle to save the plantation workers.
  • Gandhi visited the district in April 1917.
  • Gandhi’s was charged with violating Section 144 of Cr. PC (creating unrest) and was ordered to leave the district.
  • Gandhi refused, leading to India’s first civil disobedience movement.
  • He was arrested which lead to massive non-violent protests and rallies, which eventually led to his release.
  • Further, the Collector wrote to Gandhi saying he was free to conduct the inquiry.
  • 8,000 statements were taken from of ryats (tenants) by volunteers.
  • The Bihar administration grew anxious  and so the then Lieutenant Governor of Bihar declared the formation of a Champaran Inquiry Committee with Gandhi aboard.
  • The Government accepted almost all its recommendations, including complete abolition of Tinkathia system.
  • During this time, Gandhi also
  1. deliberately stayed away from INC
  2. reiterated that he was there on humanitarian basis &
  3. promoted primary education in the region

Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG)

  • It is implemented by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for the welfare of PVTGs. 
  • It strives to retain the culture and heritage of the community by adopting habitat development approach.
  • This is a demand driven scheme. i.e Conservation-cum-Development (CCD)/Annual Plans are prepared by each State/UT based on their need assessment, which are then appraised and approved by the Project Appraisal Committee of the Tribal Affairs Ministry.
  • Activities under the scheme include housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural development, animal husbandry, and construction of link roads etc.
  • Tribal communities generally have specific signs such as primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness to contact with the community at large and backwardness.
  • But some tribal groups have some specific features such as dependency on hunting, gathering for food, having pre-agriculture level of technology, zero or negative growth of population and extremely low level of literacy.
  • Due to this factor, these groups are more vulnerable and need more focussed approach for their development.
  • So a separate categorization called PVTG was formed.
  • Categorization of tribal groups as PVTGs is done by Ministry of Home Affairs.

Leadership development measures for youth

  • Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India has taken several initiatives towards increasing leadership skills among the youth of India.
  • Some of the programmes include National Programme for Youth and Adolescent (NPYAD) Scheme
  • The scheme has a component namely ‘Youth Leadership Personality Development Training’ to develop leadership qualities, national character  and personality development among the rural youth.
  • Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan conducts programmes such as Training on Youth Leadership and Community Developmen.
  • It also conducts Nationwide contest on Patriotism and Nation Building to develop leadership and increase leadership skills amongst the youth and to make them responsible citizens.

X-Calibur telescope

  • It is a telescope that has been successfully launched recently by US scientists from the McMurdo Station in Antarctica.
  • It was launched on a helium balloon intended to reach an altitude of 130,000 feet i.e at nearly four times the cruising altitude of commercial airliners, and above 99 per cent of the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • It will analyse X-rays arriving from distant neutron stars, black holes and other exotic celestial bodies.
  • The prime observation target will be Vela X-1, a neutron star in binary orbit with a supergiant star.
  • Neutron stars are objects of very small radius (typically 30 km) and very high density, composed predominantly of closely packed neutrons.
  • Neutron stars are thought to be formed by the gravitational collapse of the remnant of a massive star after a supernova explosion.
  • It is the same process by which black holes are formed except that here the star is not massive enough to produce a black hole.
  • Supergiant stars are the largest stars in the universe. They can be thousands of times bigger than our Sun and have a mass up to 100 times greater.
  • The largest known supergiant star, VY Canis Majoris, is up to 2,100 times the size of the Sun.
  • Binary stars are two stars orbiting a common center of mass.

Source: PIB, The Hindu, The Indian Express

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