India Current Affairs 2017

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SC introduces Middle Income Group Scheme

The Supreme Court has introduced Middle Income Group Scheme, (MIGS) a self-supporting scheme for providing legal services to the middle and relatively lower income groups.

Under this scheme, middle class people who cannot afford the expensive litigation in the apex can avail the services of the society for a nominal amount.

Key Facts
  • MIGS is a self-supporting scheme that will provide legal services to the middle income group citizens whose gross income does not exceed Rs.60, 000 per month or Rs. 7, 50, 000 per annum.
  • A case will be registered under the MIG Legal Aid Scheme and forwarded to Advocate-on-Record/ Senior Counsel/Arguing Counsel on the panel for their opinion.
  • If Advocate-on-Record is satisfied that case is fit, then the society will consider that applicant is entitled to legal aid.
  • The view expressed by Advocate-on Record will be final in determining eligibility of the applicant for obtaining the benefit under the scheme.
  • A society will be created with Chief Justice of India (CJI) as Patron-in-Chief. Attorney General will be its ex-officio Vice President, Solicitor General its Honorary Secretary and other senior advocates as its members.
  • If an advocate, appointed under the scheme, is found negligent in pursuing the case entrusted to him, he will be required to return the brief together with the fee received by him from the applicant.
  • The society will not be responsible for the negligent conduct and the entire responsibility will be that of the advocate. The name of the Advocate will be struck off from the panel prepared under the scheme.

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Union Cabinet approves merger of SBI, 5 associate banks

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the merger of State Bank of India (SBI) with five of its associate/subsidiary banks.

These five subsidiary banks are State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore.

The Union Cabinet also approved the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to repeal the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959 and the State Bank of Hyderabad Act, 1956. 

Key Facts
  • The acquisition under Section 35 of the SBI Act, 1955 will result in the creation of a stronger merged entity. It will minimize vulnerability faced by subsidiary banks to any geographic concentration risks.
  • It will improve operational efficiency and economies of scale resulting into in improved risk management and unified treasury operations. Existing customers of associate banks will benefit from SBI’s global network.
  • The merger will lead to better management of high value credit exposures through focused monitoring and control over cash flows rather than separate monitoring by six different banks.
  • The merger will also result in recurring savings, estimated at more than Rs. 1,000 crore in first year, because of reduced cost of funds and enhanced operational efficiency.
Comment

The acquisition of subsidiary banks of SBI is considered an important step towards strengthening the banking sector through consolidation of public sector banks (PSBs). It is in pursuance of the Indradhanush action plan of the Central Government. In 2015, SBI was ranked 52 in the world in terms of assets, however the merger will allow its entry un top 50. The merger does not include Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) and its proposal is still under consideration.

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Union Cabinet approves bill to amend Collection of Statistics Act, 2008    

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved introduction of Bill in Parliament to extend the jurisdiction of the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 to Jammu & Kashmir.

The Amendment will be pertained to statistics under Union (List-I) and Concurrent lists (List- III) in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution and Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 1954.

Key Facts about Bill
  • It will strengthen data collection mechanism in the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • It will extend the jurisdiction of the parent Act to J&K in respect of matters not reserved for the State as per the 1954 Order.
  • It also envisages appointment of nodal officer at Centre and in each State/UT to effectively coordinate data collection activities and provide consultation to government departments to avoid unnecessary duplication.
Background
  • The Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 was enacted by the Parliament to facilitate the collection of statistics on economics, social, demographic, scientific and environmental aspects etc.
  • The Act extends to the whole of India, except J&K. The J&K state legislature also had enacted the Jammu & Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010, which is replica of the central legislation extending to whole state.
  • However, both central and state legislations are not applicable to statistical subjects falling in the Union List, as applicable to the J&K under the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order 1954.
  • This has created a legislative vacuum. Besides, concurrent jurisdiction to be exercised by Centre in J&K also has not been provided in the Central legislation. So the amendment is intended to address this vacuum.

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