Current Affairs 2017 – May

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Union Cabinet Approves National Procurement Policy Giving Preference to Make in India

The Union Cabinet Chaired by Prime Minister has given its approval for a national procurement policy that gives preference to ‘Make In India’ in government procurements. The policy aims to maintain the balance between promoting ‘Make in India’ and ensuring timely, quality and value-for-money products for the procuring government entities.

Need

The new policy will boost domestic manufacturing and service provision and will enhance income and employment. It will facilitate flow of capital and technology into domestic manufacturing and services. As the government procurement is always substantial it can contribute towards increasing the participation of local employees and improve their living conditions.

Salient Highlights

The national procurement policy will provide purchase preference to local content in Government procurements. Local content essentially means domestic value addition and local suppliers are those whose goods or services meet minimum thresholds (50%) for local content.

For the procurement of goods below Rs 50 lakhs, only local suppliers will be eligible if the Nodal Ministry determines that there is a availability of sufficient local capacity and local competition.

For procurements valued above Rs 50 lakhs or in case of insufficient local capacity and if the lowest bid happens to be from a non local supplier, then the lowest-cost local supplier who is within a margin of 20% of the lowest bid, will be offered an opportunity to match the lowest bid. If the order can be split into more than one supplier, the order will be split between the non-local supplier and the local supplier.

Small procurements valued below Rs 5 lakhs are exempted from the policy.

The order also covers autonomous bodies and all the government entities under the control of the government.  

The policy primarily favours self certification for verification of local content. However, if the declarations were found to be false then the supplier will have to face penal consequences.

A Standing Committee in Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will oversee the implementation of this order. It will further make recommendations to Nodal Ministries and procuring entities.

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World Economic Forum: Mumbai and Kota among World’s most Crowded

World Economic Forum citing UN-Habitat data has named two Indian cities-Mumbai and Kota among the world’s most crowded cities. Dhaka has topped the list followed by India’s financial capital Mumbai. Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh has a population density of 44,500 people per square kilometre. Mumbai has a population density of 31,700 people per square kilometre. Another Indian city Kota in Rajasthan with 12,100 people per square kilometre has been ranked seventh in the list.

Medellin in Columbia with a population density of 19,700 people per square kilometre has been ranked third followed by Manila, Philippines at 4th place with a density of 14,800;Casablanca, Morocco at 5th place with a density of 14,200; Lagos, Nigeria at 6th place with a density of 13,300; Singapore at 8th place with a density of 10,200 and finally Jakarta, Indonesia at 9th place with a density of 9,600.

It has been estimated that more than half of the world’s population resides in urban areas and the UN expects this to increase to 66% by 2050 with around 90% increase concentrated in Asia and Africa.

UN-Habitat

UN-Habitat, also known as United Nations Human Settlements Program is a UN agency for sustainable urban development and human settlements. It was established in 1978 and has its headquarters in the UN Office at Nairobi, Kenya. It is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. It is also a member of UNDP. UN-Habitat works in more than 70 countries in five continents focusing on seven areas: Urban Legislation, Land and Governance; Urban Planning and Design; Urban Economy; Urban Basic Services; Housing and Slum Upgrading; Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation; and Urban Research and Capacity Development.

 

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Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ Resigns

Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has resigned from his post. He was elected as the 39th Prime Minister of Nepal. Prachanda has stepped down honouring a power sharing agreement entered by him with the ruling partner Nepali Congress on August 3, 2016. As per the agreement, Dahal, who is the Chairman of CPN (Maoist Centre) was to have a brief stint of 9 months and will be succeeded by Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba. It was agreed that the government will be run on a rotational basis until elections to Parliament are held in February 2018.

Sher Bahadur Deuba is expected to assume the office by next week. In his tenure, he will oversee the remaining two elections — provincial and central which are to be conducted by January 2018.

Prachanda’s tenure has helped to ease the hostile relationship between the Government of Nepal and Madhesis. Both Prachanda and Sher Bahadur Deuba are committed to amend the constitution to accommodate the aspirations of Madhesi people who have been protesting since 2015 against those constitutional provisions that excludes them from the power structure.

Background

First local level polls were held in Nepal on May 14 which is a first in two decades. After 1997, local level elections could not be held in Nepal due to the decade-long Maoist insurgency and ensuing political instability.  Nepal has seen around 25 prime ministers in the last 25 years.

Nepal is also recovering from the devastating earthquake which killed over 9,000 people. In addition, it is also plagued by the protests of the minority ethnic Madhesis who demand amendment of the Nepali Constitution.

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