News: Prime Minister’s Office(PMO) has refused to provide information about the PM CARES Fund stating that the fund is not a ‘public authority’ under Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
Public authority under RTI: As per Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self government established or constituted—
- by or under the Constitution;
- by any other law made by Parliament/State Legislature.
- by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any—
- body owned, controlled or substantially financed;
- non-Government organisation substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government.
Right to Information Act, 2005:
- RTI Act provides for timely disclosure of information by citizens from both central and State Public Authorities. It seeks to empower citizens and promote accountability and transparency.
- Under the Act, Public Authorities are required to make disclosures on various aspects of their structure and functioning. This includes:
- disclosure on their organisation
- functions and structure
- powers and duties of its officers and employees and
- Financial information.
News: The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has announced a scheme for street vendors named PM Street Vendors Atma Nirbhar Nidhi(PM SVANidhi).
- PM SVANidhi: It is a special micro-credit facility scheme to enable more than 50 lakh urban/peri-urban & rural street vendors to restart their livelihoods affected due to the lockdown.
- Features of the Scheme:
- Under this, each of the street vendors will be given a credit loan of Rs 10,000 which they can return as monthly installments within a year.
- Those who repay their loans on time will get 7% annual interest as subsidy which will be transferred in their bank accounts.
- Duration: The scheme will be applicable till March 2022.
- Coverage: The scheme is applicable to vendors, hawkers, thelewale, rehri wala among others.Street vendors belonging to the surrounding peri-urban/rural areas are also included.
News: Union Cabinet has announced policy changes for the MSME sector as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat package.
- Upward revision of MSME Definition: This will help in attracting investments and creating more jobs in the MSME sector:
Note: The turnover limits for micro, small or medium enterprises will not include the profits made from exports.
- Distressed Asset Fund: A distress fund of Rs 20,000 crores has been set up.Under this, an MSME can avail a loan of maximum Rs 75 lakh or 15% of their total investment.
- The Centre will provide a guarantee coverage of up to 85% for loans up to Rs 5 lakh and 75% for those above Rs 5 lakh to enable MSMEs to raise funds from financial institutions.
- Fund of Funds for MSMEs: A Fund of Funds worth Rs 50,000 crore for MSMEs has been set up in which the central government will be an anchor investor to encourage private sector investments in the sector.
News: Government of India will provide Kisan Credit Card(KCC) to 1.5 crore dairy farmers belonging to Milk Unions and Milk producing Companies within the next two months under a special drive.
- The Kisan Credit Card(KCC) scheme was launched by the Government of India in 1998.
- Objective: To provide adequate and timely credit support from the banking system to the farmers for their cultivation and other needs as indicated below:
- To meet the short term credit requirements for cultivation of crops;
- Post-harvest expenses and Produce marketing loan;
- Consumption requirements of farmer household;
- Working capital for maintenance of farm assets and activities allied to agriculture;
- Investment credit requirement for agriculture and allied activities.
- Implementation: It is being implemented by Commercial Banks, RRBs, Small Finance Banks and Cooperatives.
- Coverage: Small farmers, marginal farmers, sharecroppers, oral lessee and tenant farmers, Self Help Groups (SHGs) or Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) are eligible for availing benefits under the scheme.
News: A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Haryana government’s decision to enforce use of Hindi language in all lower courts and tribunals across the state.
Constitutional Provisions Related to the Issue:
- Article 348(1): It provides that all proceedings in the Supreme Court and in every High court shall be in English Language until Parliament by law otherwise provides.
- Article 348(2): It says that Governor of the State may with the previous consent of the President authorize the use of the Hindi language or any other official language of the state in the proceedings of the High Court
- However, the decrees, judgments or orders passed by such High Courts must continue to be in English only (until Parliament otherwise provides).
- Section 7 of the Official Languages Act, 1963: It enables the governor of the state with the previous consent of the president to authorise the use of Hindi or any other official language of the state in the decrees, judgments or orders passed by such High Courts but they should be accompanied by an English Translation.
- The provision of optional use of Hindi in proceedings has already been made in the High Courts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
News: Government of India has discontinued the 7.75% savings (taxable) bonds,2018 for subscription.
- The 7.75% Savings(Taxable) Bonds,2018 were issued with effect from January,2018.
- Eligibility: The bonds were available for subscription to resident citizens/Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) to invest in a taxable bond.
- Investment: The minimum investment in this bond starts at Rs 1,000 with no maximum limit.
- Duration: The bonds had a 7-year lock-in period from the date of issue but it permitted premature encashment to individuals who were 60 years and above.
- Interest on these bonds was taxable under the Income-tax Act,1961.
News:Defence Research and Development Organization(DRDO) has developed a disinfection unit named Ultra Swachh.
- Purpose: To disinfect a wide range of materials, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), electronics items, fabrics and others.
- Bodies Involved: Developed by Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences, laboratory of DRDO with industry partner Gel Craft Health care Private Ltd.
- Working: It uses an advanced oxidative process consisting of multiple barrier disruption approaches using Ozonated Space Technology for disinfection.
- It is double layered with specialised Ozone sealant technology assuring trapping of ozone for the necessary disinfection cycle.It also has a catalytic converter to ensure environment friendly exhaust i.e. only oxygen and water.
- Types: It comes in two variants namely Ozonated Space and Trinetra Technology. Trinetra technology is the combination of Ozonated space and radical dispenser.