Current Affairs - 04 January 2018

1. Govt notifies electoral bonds to replace cash donations to political parties

In an attempt to ensure more transparent financing of political parties participating in elections, the government has announced the introduction of new electoral bonds that donors can buy from the State Bank of India (SBI). The political parties who get these bonds can in turn encash them only through a designated bank account. The bonds will be available at specified SBI branches for 10 days each in the months of January, April, July and October.

About Electoral bonds: What are electoral bonds? Electoral bonds will allow donors to pay political parties using banks as an intermediary. Although called a bond, the banking instrument resembling promissory notes will not carry any interest. The electoral bond, which will be a bearer instrument, will not carry the name of the payee and can be bought for any value, in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh or Rs 1 crore.

Eligibility: electoral bonds, can be given to a registered political party which has secured at least 1 per cent vote in the last Lok Sabha or state assembly elections. That party will have to give one bank account to the Election Commission and it will have to be encashed within 15 days.

Need: The electoral bonds are aimed at rooting out the current system of largely anonymous cash donations made to political parties which lead to the generation of black money in the economy.

Source: The Hindu

2. Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Surakhsa Yojna (PMSSY)

Context: The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of an AIIMS in Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh with an outlay of Rs. 1,350 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Surakhsa Yojna (PMSSY).

What you need to know about PMSSY?
The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was announced in 2003 with objectives of correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.

The scheme has two components: Setting up of new AIIMS and upgradation of government medical colleges. Under this scheme, AIIMS have been established in Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Raipur, Jodhpur, Rishikesh and Patna while work of AIIMS Rae Bareli is in progress. Also, three AIIMS in Nagpur (Maharashtra), Kalyani (West Bengal) and Mangalagiri in Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) have been sanctioned in 2015 and two AIIMS have been sanctioned at Bathinda and Gorakhpur in 2016.

Source: The Hindu

3. India is pushing forward its proposal to include Hindi as one of the official languages of the United Nations

The ministry of external affairs [MEA] is currently reviewing a draft advocacy paper to present the Indian case with regard to introducing Hindi in the UN.
Procedure for language to be recognised as an official one of UN:
The procedure for getting any language recognized as one of the Official Languages of the UN involves obtaining approval of the General Assembly. Such a proposal has to be approved by more than half of the members of the General Assembly where every member-State has a vote. In addition, recognizing any language as the official language of the UN entails a substantial increase in the expenditure of the UN necessitating an enhanced contribution by every member country, which is why most of the members remain reluctant to support such a proposal.

Need for recognition:
According to the estimates around 340 million to 500 million speak, and as many as 800 million people understand Hindi language. Outside India there are countries like Nepal South Africa, Mauritius, the United Kingdom, the United States, Yemen, and Uganda where a significant number people speak Hindi. Also, the government believes that at a time when Indian economy is shining and the country is emerging as next global power it is the best time for the country to promote its national language and get it recognised as an official language of United Nations.
Official languages of the UN:
1. There are six official languages of the UN. These are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. These languages are used at meetings of various UN organs, particularly the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the Security Council.
2. Each representative of a country may speak in any one of these six languages, or may speak in any language and provide interpretation into one of the six official languages. The UN provides simultaneous interpretation from the official language into the other five official languages, via the United Nations Interpretation Service. The six official languages are also used for the dissemination of official documents. Until a document is available in all six official languages, it is not published. Generally, the texts in each of the six languages are equally authoritative.
3. The six official languages spoken at the UN are the first or second language of 2.8 billion people on the planet, less than half of the world population. The six languages are official languages in more than half the nations in the world.

Multilingualism and the UN:
Multilingualism enables communication between the UN’s linguistically and culturally diverse Member States within the meeting rooms and halls of the UN. By promoting tolerance, multilingualism also ensures increased participation of all Member States in the Organization’s work, as well as greater effectiveness, better outcomes and more involvement.

What’s India doing in this regard?
India has already started diplomatic efforts to promote Hindi at international level and to gain the support of other countries. The MEA has set up the World Hindi Secretariat in Mauritius along with the ministry of external affairs has prepared Hindi-Chinese, Hindi-Arabic, Hindi-French, and Hindi-Spanish dictionaries to promote Hindi. A consolidated Hindi-based dictionary of UN languages is also under compilation.

Source: The Hindu

Tags : Current Affairs | 03 Jan '18 | 05 Jan '18