26th December – Prelims Booster

Chief of Defence Staff

Relevance –

  • Prelims
  • GS 2 Governance, GS 3 Security

The Union Cabinet has approved to create the post of Chief of Defence Staff in the rank of a four-star General with salary and perquisites equivalent to a Service Chief. The Chief of Defence Staff will also head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), to be created within the Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary.

Mandate –

The following areas will be dealt by the Department of Military Affairs headed by CDS:

  • The Armed Forces of the Union, namely, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
  • Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence comprising Army Headquarters, Naval Headquarters, Air Headquarters and Defence Staff Headquarters.
  • The Territorial Army.
  • Works relating to the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
  • Procurement exclusive to the Services except capital acquisitions, as per prevalent rules and procedures.

Other functions –

  • Promoting jointness in procurement, training and staffing for the Services through joint planning and integration of their requirements.
  • Facilitation of restructuring of Military Commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of joint/theatre commands.
  • Promoting use of indigenous equipment by the Services.

Role as Chief of Staff Committee –

The Chief of Defence Staff, apart from being the head of the Department of Military Affairs, will also be the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. He will act as the Principal Military Adviser to Raksha Mantri on all tri-Services matters. The three Chiefs will continue to advise RM on matters exclusively concerning their respective Services. CDS will not exercise any military command, including over the three Service Chiefs, so as to be able to provide impartial advice to the political leadership.

Functions as Permanent Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee –

  • CDS will administer tri-services organisations. Tri-service agencies/organisations/commands related to Cyber and Space will be under the command of the CDS.
  • CDS will be member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Raksha Mantri and Defence Planning Committee chaired by NSA.
  • Function as the Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority.
  • Bring about jointness in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance, etc of the three Services, within three years of the first CDS assuming office.
  • Ensure optimal utilisation of infrastructure and rationalise it through jointness among the services.
  • Implement Five-Year Defence Capital Acquisition Plan (DCAP), and Two-Year roll-on Annual Acquisition Plans (AAP), as a follow up of Integrated Capability Development Plan (ICDP).
  • Assign inter-Services prioritisation to capital acquisition proposals based on the anticipated budget.
  • Bring about reforms in the functioning of three Services aimed at augmenting combat capabilities of the Armed Forces by reducing wasteful expenditure.

Atal Bhujal Yojana

Relevance –

  • Prelims
  • GS 2 Governance; GS 3 Agriculture and Economy

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the implementation of the Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL), a Central Sector Scheme with a total outlay of Rs.6000 crore to be implemented over a period of 5 years (2020-21 to 2024-25).

Objective –

The scheme aims to improve ground water management through community participation in identified priority areas in seven States, viz. Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Components –

  • Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building Component for strengthening institutional arrangements for sustainable ground water management in the States including improving monitoring networks, capacity building, strengthening of Water User Associations, etc.
  • Incentive Component for incentivising the States for achievements in improved groundwater management practices namely, data dissemination, preparation of water security plans, implementation of management interventions through convergence of ongoing schemes, adopting demand side management practices etc.

Significance –

  • Source sustainability for Jal Jeevan Mission in the project area with active participation of local communities.
  • Will contribute towards the goal of doubling the farmers’ income.
  • Will promote participatory ground water management.
  • Improved water use efficiency on a mass scale and improved cropping pattern;
  • Promotion of efficient and equitable use of ground water resources and behavioural change at the community level.

Census of India and National Population Register

Relevance –

  • Prelims
  • GS 2 Governance

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for conducting Census of India 2021 at a cost of Rs. 8,754.23 crore and updation of National Population Register (NPR) at a cost of Rs. 3,941.35 crore.

Mandate –

Census of India will cover the entire population in the country while NPR will also cover all the population except in the state of Assam.

Details –

  • The Indian Census is largest administrative and statistical exercise in the world. The next decennial Census is due in 2021 and would be conducted in two phases:
  1. House listing and Housing Census – April to September, 2020 and
  2. Population Enumeration – 9th February to 28th February, 2021.
  • The National Population Register (NPR) will also be updated along with House listing and Housing Census except in Assam.
  • 30 lakh field functionaries will complete this gigantic exercise of national importance, up from 28 lakh in 2011.
  • Use of mobile app for data collection and the Central portal for monitoring purpose will ensure early release of Census data with improved quality.

Significance –

  • Census is not a mere statistical exercise. The results will be made available to general public in a user-friendly manner.
  • All the data would be put for use of all stake holders and users including Ministries, Departments, State Governments, research organisations etc.
  • Data sharing to all, up to the lowest Administrative Unit i.e. Village/Ward level.
  • Block level data of Enumeration to Delimitation Commission for delimitation of the Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies.
  • Census data is a powerful tool for public policy when combined with other administrative or survey data.
  • One of the major outcome of these two mammoth exercises will be direct as well as indirect employment generation across India including the far flung areas.

Background –

  • Decennial Population Census is being conducted in India synchronously since 1872 without break.
  • Census 2021 will be 16th Census in the country and 8th after independence.
  • Census is the biggest source of primary data at village, town and ward level providing micro level data on various parameters including Housing Condition; Amenities & Assets, Demography, Religion, SC & ST, Language, Literacy & Education, Economic Activity, Migration and Fertility.
  • The Census Act, 1948 and the Census Rules, 1990 provide the legal framework for conduct of Census.
  • The National Population Register (NPR) was prepared in 2010 under the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and Citizenship Rules, 2003, which was subsequently updated in 2015 by seeding it with Aadhaar.

Railway board revamped

The Union Cabinet has approved the restructuring of the Railway Board, including a reduction in its strength as well as the merger of the different cadres into a central service called the Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS).

Structure –

  • The Board will now consist of five members – Chairman, who will act as a CEO, along with four members responsible for infrastructure, operations and business development, rolling stock and finance.
  • There will also be a DG (HR) under the Chairman. The Board will also have some independent members, who will be highly distinguished professionals.
  • The Railways will also upgrade the 27 GMs working at zonal levels and various production and specialised units. They will be given apex grade – secretary level grade – highest in the government of India.

Impact –

  • It would help end “departmentalism”, while ensuring smooth functioning of the Railways and expediting the decision-making process.
  • The Railway Board started in 1905, and over a period of time, it has divided the management into several silos. Now, all the 8,400 employees at the management level will come into the Railways through one service.

Background –

It is based upon the recommendations of Bibek Debroy Committee on restructuring of Indian Railways.

Daily MCQs

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