Indian Current Affairs | Current Affairs India - August 2011

Multi-pronged approach underway for easy wage payments to MGNREGA workers
Wage disbursement to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, MGNREGA workers through Banks and Post Office accounts has been made mandatory to ensure proper disbursement of wages. Moreover, the State Governments have been advised to make use of Information and Communication Technology, ICT enabled models like Business Correspondent, Rural ATM, handheld devices, smart cards, bio-metrics and mobile banking for easy wage payments to MGNREGA workers. He also informed that disbursement of wages shall be made on weekly basis or in any case not later than a fortnight after the date on which such work was done.

Implementation of BRGF
The Backward Regions Grant Fund(BRGF)  Programme is designed to redress regional imbalances in development by providing funds for supplementing and converging existing developmental inflows in the identified districts. The Government has identified 250 districts in 27 States as backward and is implementing the district component of the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) Programme in these districts since 2006-07.

Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) has formulated “e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project (MMP)” for implementation of e-governance in Panchayats as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the umbrella of National e-Governance Programme (NeGP). The scheme aims at supporting all the State Governments for making effective use of IT in Panchayats in the process of planning at grassroots level, bring out transparency in the working of the PRIs and also help in increased accountability of these institutions.

Autonomy to Panchayats 
Within the Constitutional framework, ‘Panchayats’ is a State subject. Under Article 243G, State legislatures may endow Panchayats with powers and authority to enable them to function as institutions of self-government and plan and implement schemes for economic development and social justice including on matters listed in the Eleventh Schedule. As per Article 243A a Gram Sabha may exercise such power and perform such functions as the legislature of a State may, by law, provide. States vary in the extent to which they have devolved powers to the Panchayats. Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) has constantly urged the Union Ministries and States/UTs to devolve functions, funds and functionaries (3Fs) to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and strengthen Gram Sabhas.

Ultra Mega Power Projects
The work on four coal based Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs), each with capacity of about 4000 MW have already been awarded and transferred to the identified developers and are at different stages of implementation. The four UMPPs are Sasan in Madhya Pradesh, Mundra in Gujarat, Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Tilaiya in Jharkhand.

Solatium fund to Compensate Accident Victims in Hit and Run Cases
In ‘Hit & Run’ cases, accident victims are eligible for compensation through a Special Fund constituted in terms of Section 163 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 called ‘Solatium Fund’. The amount of Compensation is `25,000/- in the event of death and `12,500/- for grievous injuries.

‘Ujjawala` Scheme
This scheme is provided for prevention of trafficking and for rescue, rehabilitation and re-integration of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. Under the ‘Ujjawala’ Scheme, 21 projects have been sanctioned in the North Eastern States of Assam, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.

India Signs DTAA with Georgia
The low level of withholding rates of taxation for dividend (10%), interest (10%) and royalties & fess for technical services (10%) will promote greater investments, flow of technology and technical services between the two countries.