Current Affairs July 2016 - Various Committees

News 1 - SC appointed Environmental Panel suggests 20-22% pollution cess on diesel vehicles

Pollution Cess

According to a report submitted by the Supreme Court appointed Environmental panel, diesel vehicles with engines that are smaller than 1,500cc in size should be charged 20% pollution cess and 22% on those over 1,500cc, so as to have cleaner substitutes. In order to equalize tax payment by diesel and fuel cars, it is necessary to levy tax on diesel vehicles.

Under the current fuel taxation, the total excise and VAT difference between the two fuels was Rs 9.94 per litre while the retail price difference was Rs 10.46 per litre.

News 2 - Govt forms a panel to examine the desirability and feasibility of a new financial year

Financial Year

The Government has set up a four-member committee to examine the desirability and feasibility of having a new financial year. The committee will be headed by former Chief Economic Advisor Shankar Acharya. As per the terms of reference, the committee will examine the merits and demerits of various dates for commencement of financial year including the existing dates. Shri K.M. Chandrasekhar (former Cabinet Secretary), Shri P.V. Rajaraman (former Finance Secretary, Tamil Nadu) and Dr. Rajiv Kumar (Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research) are the other Members.

The committee has been asked to submit its reports by 31st of December 2016. Presently the Financial Year starts from 1st of April.

News 3 - RBI sets up an Inter-Regulatory Working Group on the Fin Tech and Digital Banking


The Reserve Bank of India has set up an inter regulatory Working Group (WG) to study the entire gamut of regulatory issues relating to Fin Tech and Digital Banking in India. The Working Group will be headed by Sudarshan Sen, Executive Director of RBI, and has 12 members. It has been asked to submit its report within six months from the date of its first meeting.

The Financial Stability and Development Council - Sub Committee (FSDC - SC) at its meeting held on April 26, 2016 had decided to set up such a Working Group to look into and report on the granular aspects of Fin Tech and its implications so as to review and appropriately reorient the regulatory framework and respond to the dynamics of the rapidly evolving Fin Tech scenario.

News 4 - Committee Constituted to Prepare Guidelines for Desiltation of River Ganga asked to Submit its Report within Three Months

River Ganga

The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted a committee to prepare guidelines for desiltation of river Ganga from Bhimgauda (Uttarakhand) to Farakka (West Bengal). Shri Madhav Chitale (Expert Member, NGRBA) has been appointed as Chairman of the committee.

The other members of the committee are: Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change and Dr. Mukesh Sinha, Director, Central Water and Power Research Station, Pune.

This committee has also been asked to establish difference between desilting and sand mining and also to establish need for desilting for ecology and e-flow of the river Ganga. The tenure of the committee would be for a period of three months.

News 5 - Committee Constituted to Prepare the Draft of Ganga Act Asked to Submit its Report Within Three Months

Ganga Act

The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted a committee to prepare a draft Ganga Act. Justice Shri Girdhar Malviya (Retd.) is the Chairman of the committee. Other members of the committee are: Shri V.K.Bhasin, Ex-Secretary, Legislative Department, Govt of India, Prof. A.K. Gosain, llT Delhi and Prof. Nayan Sharma, llT Roorkee. Shri Sundeep, Director, National Mission for Clean Ganga is the Member Secretary.

The Committee has been asked to prepare a Draft Act on Ganga which should have provisions to ensure cleanliness (Nirmalta) and uninterrupted e-flow (avirlta) of Ganga. The tenure of the Committee would be for a period of three months which may be extended by another three months, if required.

News 6 - A Judicial panel formed by the Odisha State Government for reforms in the Jagannath temple management

Jagannath Temple

The Odisha Government constituted a Judicial Commission to study the functioning of the Puri Jagannath Temple. The one-man commission, headed by retired Orissa High Court Judge Bimal Prasad Das, will recommend reforms for smooth management of the Shree Jagannath Temple and propagation of the Jagannath culture.

The Government has not set any deadline for the commission to complete its report. The major issues the commission will cover are temple security, behavior of priests, streamlining of rituals and preservation of the 12th century shrine.

News 7 - MHA sets up expert panel to explore possible alternatives to pellet guns in Kashmir

Pellet Guns

Union Home Ministry has setup a sevenmember expert committee for exploring the other possible alternatives to pellet guns as non-lethal weapons. The Committee headed by T V S N Prasad, Joint Secretary in the Ministry, will submit its report within two months.

Other members of the committee include Atul Karwal, IG, CRPF, Rajeev Krishna, IG Operations, BSF, Tushar Tripathy, DDG, Small Arms, Ordnance factory Board and Professor Naresh Bhatnagar of IIT, Delhi.