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Africa


Africa

Africa

Africa is the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent. At about 30.3 million km² (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth’s total surface area and 20.4 % of its total land area.
AFRICA FACTS FILE 
Area: about 30 244 000 km2 (11 700 000 mi2) including its adjacent islands it covers about 20 percent of Earth’s total land area.
Population: 1.2 billion (2016).
Highest Point: Mount Kilimanjaro – 5895 m (19340 ft) in Tanzania.
Largest Lake: Lake Victoria or Victoria Nyanza; (68 870 sq. km.)
Longest river: Nile (6695 km.).
Largest Urban Area: Cairo, Egypt (15.6 million people)
Largest Watershed: Congo River (4 million square kilometers/1.55 million square miles)
Most Renewable Electricity Produced: Lesotho (100%, hydropower)
Population Density: 87 people per square kilometer
Africa is located in all four hemispheres: Eastern, Northern, Western, and Southern.
Africa’s absolute location affects its climate. The continent is in the tropical and sub-tropical zones.
East Africa is located at the boundary between tectonic plates. This affects the development of the East African topography

GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES
1. The Sahara Desert is the massive but largely empty region in North Africa that contains the world’s second largest desert (after Antarctica).
2. The Maghreb is a region of northwest Africa encompassing the coastlands and Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.
3. The Sahel region covers a belt of grasslands south of the Sahara stretching from Senegal to Sudan.
4. The Sudan region lies just below the Sahel but is slightly more humid and arable.
5. The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in East Africa lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. It encompasses Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti.
6. Sub-Saharan Africa is the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara.
7. The Guinea region is distinguished from the neighboring Sudan region by its rainforests and runs along the Atlantic coast from Guinea to Nigeria.
8. The Congo is the rainforest region
9. Great Rift Valley.
OTHER GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES OF AFRICA
Great Rift Valley
• Great Rift Valley a geological fault system stretching about 6,400 km from the valley of the Jordan River in south western Asia to the Zambezi River in Mozambique. It is the longest fault system in the world.
• Elevations range from about 400 m below sea level in the Dead Sea to more than 1,800 m above sea level in southern Kenya.
• South of Ethiopia the Great Rift Valley divides into an eastern and a western branch. The eastern branch, which runs through Kenya and Tanzania, has many volcanoes and several shallow lakes.
• The western branch, which runs along the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern frontier, is marked by a chain of large, deep lakes and has few volcanoes. The branches converge at Lake Nyasa, in southeastern Africa, and continue south as one system to central Mozambique.
• The deep rift valleys of the Eastern Highlands hold a great series of lakes. This equatorial lake system includes Lakes Turkana, Albert, Tanganyika, and Nyasa (Malawi).
• Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa and the third largest in the world, is, however, not part of this system.
Victoria Falls
The waterfall is in southern Africa on the Zambezi River, on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The fall is higher and wider than Niagara Falls measuring 1,600 m across and drop about 107 m in some parts.
Cape of Good Hope
• It is southern end of Cape Peninsula in southwestern Africa.
• It is 48 km south of Cape Town (South Africa) and 160 km northwest of Cape Agulhas.
• The Cape of Good Hope for centuries was a landmark indicating to navigators that they were at the meeting of the Atlantic and Indian oceans.
Cape Agulhas
• It is in South Africa and is southernmost point of Africa. 
• It lies where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet and is 160 km southeast of the Cape of Good Hope.
• The name Agulhas (Portuguese for “needles”) refers to the jagged reefs and sunken rocks around the cape, on which many ships have been lost.
Sinai Peninsula
• An area of Asia that forms a land bridge to Africa.
• It is part of Egypt.
The Sahara Desert
• Sahara, the vast desert of northern Africa, and the world’s largest arid region. It occupies much of the broad northern half of Africa and covers 9,000,000 km2.
• Northern boundaries of Sahara desert are the Atlas Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea and stretches upto 17° north of the Equator for 1,900 km.
• From the Red Sea on the east to the Atlantic Ocean on the west it stretches more than 5,600 km.
• It is a low plateau with an uplifted center that has several mountainous areas. Elevations over much of the Sahara average only 300 to 450 m above sea level.
• Except for the Nile and the Niger, which flow along the desert margins, there are no permanent rivers.
• Central Sahara is dominated by mountainous like Ahaggar (in Algeria), and Tibesti (in Chad). These rugged and barren highlands of volcanic origin have been eroded by wind and water into many strangely shaped peaks.
• The extinct volcano of Emi Koussi, in the Tibesti, reaching 3,415 m, is the Sahara’s highest point.
Kalahari Desert
• It is an arid region in southern Africa comprising parts of Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia covering an area of 310,000 km2.
• The northeastern part of the Kalahari receives the most rain up to 500 mm annually. Rainfall declines toward the southeast, where some areas receive virtually no rain. Summer daytime temperatures often reach more than 100° F (38° C.).
Libyan Desert
• It is a part of the Sahara covering 1,300,000 km2 in Libya, Egypt, and Sudan.
• Elevations generally vary from 150- 900 m. In the northeast, in Egypt, the Qattara Depression drops to 133 m below sea level-one of the lowest points in Africa.
• The Libyan Desert is extremely dry; it often receives no rain for several years at a time.
Namib Desert
• An arid coastal region in Namibia extending about 1,600 km from Angola in the north to South Africa in the south.
• It is 130 km wide and lies between a high inland plateau and the Atlantic Ocean.
• The weather is generally cool because of westerly winds moving inland from cold offshore water; morning fog is common.
• Annual rainfall is less than 1 inch (25 mm).
• Two rivers, the Orange and the Kunene, cross the desert on its extreme northern and southern edges.
• Diamonds are mined in the alluvial sands along the coast. Except for a few mining towns and ports, the area is virtually uninhabited.
DIVISION OF AFRICA
1. North Africa lies north of the Sahara and runs along the Eastern coast.
2. West Africa is the portion roughly west of 10° east longitude, excluding Northern Africa and the Maghreb.
3. East Africa stretches from the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa to Mozambique, including Madagascar but excluding the southern and northern edges of the continent.
4. Central Africa is the large mass at the center of Africa, which either does not fall squarely into any other region or only partially does so.
5. Southern Africa consists of the portion generally south of 10° latitude and the great rainforests of Congo.
NORTH-WEST AFRICA
• Comprises of Morocco, N. Algeria and Tunisia Called Barbary States.
• The relief and climate of this region make it unique.
• The chain of mountains is Atlas Mountains. 
• The Chief agriculture product is vine followed by tobacco. Pastoral activity is also important.
• The Sahel is one of the most important regions in the world for the production of Olives.
NORTH EAST AFRICA
Egypt
 Nile river is the most important geographical feature.
• The Western deserts, comprising ¾ of the total areas of Egypt. The eastern desert occupies the comparatively long and narrow region lying between the Nile valley and the Red sea.
• Cotton is the most important agricultural product of Egypt. Maize sugarcane, vegetables and rice are grown.
• Cairo is the chief town and capital of Egypt, Alexandria the chief harbor and leading commercial center.
Sudan
• The largest country of Africa (in area)
• Over 80% inhabitants derive their income from the farming.
• Cotton is the most important agricultural product followed by peanuts, sesames seeds and gum
• Khartoum is the capital, Omdurman is another town.
The Sahara Desert
• Meaning “wilderness” extending 1600 km in north-south and 4800 east-west across the entire continent from Atlantic Ocean to Red sea.
• Djanet Oasis in Southern Algaria is considered as the most beautiful Oasis in the world.
• A1 Aziziya is the hottest place in the world lying 40 km south of Tripoli (Libya).
• Chad lake is highly functioning size varies between 1000 km2 to 25000km2.
WEST AFRICA
Guinea Republic
• It is very important in bauxite production: it is viewed that half of the world’s bauxite is stored here. 60% of the country exchequer comes from the export of bauxite.
Ivory Coast
• It is one of the most prosperous countries in west Africa- Coffee, Cocoa, Banana and rubbers are main agricultural Products.
Ghana
• Formerly named Gold coast one of the leading exporters of manganese in the world
• One of the leading producer of cocoa in the world.
Nigeria
• It is the largest country of Africa in population
• Palm oil, peanuts and Cocoa are chief products.
• Laos is the capital and chief sea port.
Sierra Leone
• Diamond is major export item.
• Freetown is the capital and most beautiful port of Africa.
EAST AFRICA
Comprises the countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania along-with Rwanda and Burundi.
Uganda
• Lake Victoria is in this country.
• Ruwenzori range which is the highest non-volcanic peak of Africa (5119m) the mountain is also called “mountain of moon”.
Kenya
• Lies between 4° N and 4° S of equator.
• It has been named after famous peak Mount Kenya.
• Major export items are coffee tea, maize, wheat, sugar; sisal and cotton are chief products.
Tanzania
• Africa’s highest peak Mt. Kilimanjaro lies here.
• It is largest producer of sisal in the world. Cotton, Coffee, tea tobacco are also gown.
• Zanzibar and Pemba are known as islands of cloves. They are the largest producer of clove in the world.
• Zanzibar is also and important port.
CENTRAL AFRICA
• It lies in the northeast of lake Tanganyika, Batusti (Tutsi) and Batula (Tutu) are two major ethnic groups. Twa is the third major ethnic group.
• Coffee is by far the most important export item, followed by cotton and tobacco.
Zambia
• It is a land locked country and is one of the largest producer of copper.
• The Zambezi and the Kafue are the chief river basins.
Malawi
• Formerly known as Nyasa land,
• It is a landlocked country.
Mozambique
• It has a long coastline facing the Indian ocean-crossed by Zambezi and the Limpopo river.
• Limpopo river was once called “The valley that trembles” because of the herd of elephants in the region.
• Sugarcane, cotton, copra, sisal, and cashew nuts are the chief agricultural products.
HORN OF AFRICA
• It the term denote that horn shaped part of Africa surrounded by Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in the East, Indian Ocean in South and Sudan in West
• It consists of Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti.
• Formed mostly of volcanic rocks and some portion are characterized by the fault scrap.
• Ethiopian economy is agrarian 90% of the total area is cultivated. Coffee is the must important commercial output
SOUTHERN AFRICA
Comprises most the regions lying between latitude 17° as 35° S.
The Countries are South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.
The Republic of South Africa
• The cape region is the Mediterranean region with mild-moist winters and hot dry summers.
 The Namib is the arid coastal strip between the plateau of South west Africa and the Atlantic. It is a true desert.
• Veldt is the tropical Savana region south of the equatorial rainforest in Africa- the region lies on the highest ground in South Africa.
• Kalahari desert lies in the western and north western part.
• Kimberley is a noted famous diamond mining center lies in the northern part
• Cope town is a port and center of country’s legislature.
 Johannesburg is famous for gold.
• Pretoria is the capital of South Africa.
• Krunger is a National Park, a large wild game preserve, is also located In the Transvaal.
• Natal is located on the eastern; lies under the highest part of the Drakensburg Escarpment. Most of the Indian population lives in this state.
Namibia
• Capital city of Namibia is Windhoek.
• The country is rich in diamond mineral. Copper, lead and Zinc are also mined.
Botswana
• It is a land locked country. The country has a very rough topography.
• Majority of the people work in South African mines.
Swaziland
• Gold, coal, asbestos and iron ore are mined.
• Sugarcane and fruits are chief farm products.
THE AFRICAN ISLANDS
The Azores
• Forms part of Portugal.
• It lies in the Atlantic between 25º- 30º W longitude and 36º-39º N latitude
• The island is of volcanic origin.
The Modiras
• It is between 33º- 34º N latitude
• It is volcanic in origin
• It has Mediterranean type of climate.
The Canary Islands
• Forms part of Spain.
• It lies 50 miles away from the African coast, between 27º-29º N latitude
• The Islands comprise seven inhabited and six uninhabited islands
The Cape Verde Islands
Group of 10 inhabitated and 4 unihabited islands lies between 14-17º N
Harmattan is the prevailing wind.
Madagascar
It is the fifth longest islands of the world after green land, New Guinea, Bosnia and Baffin Islands.
It is separated from Mozambique by the Channel of the Dame.

Institutions related to Social Welfare


Institutions related to Social Welfare

Institutions related to Social Welfare

A. National Commission for Scheduled Castes
• The National Commission for Scheduled Castes, a Constitutional body monitors the safeguards provided for Scheduled Castes and also reviews issues concerning their welfare.
• Functions and duties of the commission are:
a) To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes under this Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguar
b) To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Castes;
c) To participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State;
d) To present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
e) To make in such reports recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes; and
f) To discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Castes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.
B. National Commission on Scheduled Tribes
• The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes was first formed by the Government of India in 1978 as a Non-statutory Multi-Member Commission. Initially, the Commission was set up through a resolution for both the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes. In the year 1987, the Government of India re-structured the duties of the Commission by authorizing it to advice on the Broad Policy Issues and Levels of Development of SCs and STs.
• The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely- (i) the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), and (ii) the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) in 2004.}
• Functions of the Commission are:
a) To investigate and monitor all the matters relating to the safeguards provided for the SCs and STs under the Constitution of India or under any other law and to evaluate the working of such scapegoats.
b) To enquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of the rights and the safeguards of the SCs and the STs.
c) To participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.
d) To present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
e) To make in such reports or recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Schedule Castes and the Schedule Tribes as the President may by lured specify.
C. National Commission for Backward Classes
• National Commission for Backward Classes came into effect on the 2nd April, 1993.
• The Act provides that the Commission shall consist of five Members, comprising of a Chairperson who is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court; a social scientist; two persons, who have special knowledge in matters relating to backward classes; and a Member-Secretary, who is or has been an officer of the Central Government in the rank of a Secretary to the Government of India
• The Commission shall examine requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in such lists and tender such advice to the Central Government as it deems appropriate.
• The advice of the Commission shall ordinarily be binding upon the Central Government.
• The Commission shall, while performing its functions have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit and in particular, in respect of the following matters, namely:-
a) Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath;
b) Requiring the discovery and production of any document;
c) Receiving evidence on affidavits;
d) Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
e) Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents; and
f) Any other matter which may be prescribed.
D. National Commission for Women
• The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 to :
a) Review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women ;
b) Recommend remedial legislative measures ;
c) Facilitate redressal of grievances and
d) Advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.
• The objective of the NCW is to represent the rights of women in India and to provide a voice for their issues and concerns. The subjects of their campaigns have included dowry, politics, religion, equal representation for women in jobs, and the exploitation of women for labour. They have also discussed police abuses against women.
• The commission regularly publishes a monthly newsletter, Rashtra Mahila in both Hindi and English.
E. National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
• The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, an Act of Parliament (December 2005).
• The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
• The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.
• The Commission visualises a rights-based perspective flowing into National Policies and Programmes, along with nuanced responses at the State, District and Block levels, taking care of specificities and strengths of each region.
• In order to touch every child, it seeks a deeper penetration to communities and households and expects that the ground experiences gathered at the field are taken into consideration by all the authorities at the higher level.
• Thus the Commission sees an indispensable role for the State, sound institution-building processes, respect for decentralization at the local bodies and community level and larger societal concern for children and their well-being.
F. National Commission for Safai Karamcharis
• National Commission for Safai Karamcharis is an Indian statutory body was established through National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993.
• The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis seeks to study, evaluate and monitor the implementation of various schemes for Safai Karamcharis as an autonomous organisation and also to provide redressal of their grievances.
• The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely:-
a) Recommend to the Central Government specific programmes of action towards elimination of inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities for Safai Karamcharis under a time-bound action plan;
b) Study and evaluate the implementation of the programmes and schemes relating to the social and economic rehabilitation of Safai Karamcharis and make recommendations to the Central Government and State Governments for better co-ordination and implementation of such programmes and schemes;
c) Investigate specific grievances and take suo moto notice of matters relating to non-implementation of:
i. Programmes or schemes in respect of any group of Safai Karamcharis;
ii. Decisions, guidelines or instructions, aimed at mistigating the hardship of Safai Karamcharis;
iii. Measures for the social and economic upliftment of Safai Karamcharis;
iv. The provisions of any law in its application to Safai Karamcharis, and take up such matters with the concerned authorities or with the Central or State Governments;
d) Make periodical reports to the Central and State Governments on any matter concerning Safai Karamcharis, taking into account any difficulties or disabilities being encountered by Safai Karamcharis
e) Any other matter which may be referred to it by the Central Government.
• In the discharge of its functions under sub-section, the Commission shall have power to call for information with respect to any matter specified in that sub-section from any Government or local or other authority.
G. Human Rights Commission
Section 2 (d) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 defines human rights as rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual, guaranteed by the Constitution, or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India. Human Rights Commission according to the Act has been established at the central as well as state level.
1. National Human Rights Commission
• When established? On October 12, 1993 under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
• Headquarter – New Delhi
• Composition –
a) A Chairperson
b) One Member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court
c) One Member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court
d) Two Members from among persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights
e) In addition, the Chairpersons of four National Commissions of (Minorities, SC, ST, & Women) serve as ex-officio members
f) The CEO of the Commission is the Secretary-General, an officer of the rank of Secretary to the Government of India. The Secretariat of the Commission works under the general supervision of the Secretary-General.
• There are six Divisions in the Commission namely administration; law; training; policy research, projects & programmes; investigation; information & public relations.
• Functions
a) Inquiring, suo motu, or on petitions, presented to it by victims, or any persons on their behalf, or on a direction or order of any court, into complaints of violation of human rights or abetment thereof, or negligence in the prevention of such violation, by a public servant.
b) Intervening in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights pending before a Court, with the approval of such Courts.
c) Visiting any jail or other institution under the control of the State Government, where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection, for the study of the living conditions of the inmates thereof and making recommendations.
d) Reviewing the safeguards under the Constitution, or any law for the protection of human rights, and recommending measures for their effective implementation.
e) Reviewing the factors, including acts of terrorism, that inhibits the enjoyment of human rights, and recommending appropriate remedial measures.
f) Studying treaties and other international instruments on human rights, and making recommendations for their effective implementation.
g) Undertaking and promoting research in the field of human rights.
h) Spreading human rights literacy and promoting awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights, through publications, the media, seminars etc.
i) Encouraging the efforts of non-governmental organisations, and institutions working in the field of human rights.
2. State Human Rights Commission
• When established? State Governments may constitute State Human Rights Commission to exercise the power conferred under the Human Rights Protection Act, 1993.
• Composition –
a) A chairperson should be a retired Chief Justice of a High Court
b) One member who is a serving or retired judge of a High Court or a District Judge in the state with a minimum of seven years experience as District Judge and
c) One member who is a person having knowledge or practical experience with respect to human rights.
• Most of the powers & functions of the State Human Rights Commission are similar to that of its counterpart at the national level.

DISHA Policy


DISHA Policy

The concept of a special category state was first introduced in 1969 when the 5th Finance Commission sought to provide certain disadvantaged states with preferential treatment in the form of central assistance and tax breaks. Initially three states Assam, Nagaland and Jammu & Kashmir were granted special status but since then eight more have been included (Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand). The rationale for special status is that certain states, because of inherent features, have a low resource base and cannot mobilize resources for development.
The criteria for granting special status are as follows:
Some of the features required for special status are: (i) hilly and difficult terrain; (ii) low population density or sizeable share of tribal population; (iii) strategic location along borders with neighbouring countries; (iv) economic and infrastructural backwardness; and (v) non-viable nature of state finances. The decision to grant special category status lies with the National Development Council, composed of the Prime Minster, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and members of the Planning Commission, who guide and review the work of the Planning Commission.
The special category states have some distinct characteristics. They have international boundaries, hilly terrains and have distinctly different socio-economic developmental parameters. These states have also geographical disadvantages in their effort for infrastructural development. Public expenditure plays a significant role in the Gross State Domestic Product of the states. The states in the North-East are also late starters in development. In view of the above problems, central government sanctions 90 percent in the form of grants in plan assistance to the states in special category. The most important prescription for special category states is interest free loan with rationalization of public expenditure based on growth enhancing sectoral allocation of resources.
Advantages of getting special category status
• Preferential treatment in federal assistance and tax break
• Significant excise duty concessions. Thus, these states attract large number of industrial units to establish manufacturing facilities within their territory leading to their economy flourishing
• The special category states do not have a hard budget constraint as the central transfer is high
• These states avail themselves of the benefit of debt swapping and debt relief schemes (through the enactment of Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act) which facilitate reduction of average annual rate of interest.
• Significant 30% of the Centre’s gross budget goes to the Special category state
• In centrally sponsored schemes and external aid special category states get it in the ratio of 90% grants and 10% loans. For the rest of the states as per the recommendations of the 12th Finance Commission, in case of centrally sponsored schemes only 70% central funding is there in the form of grant. The rest of the states receive external aid in the exact ratio (of grants and loans) in which it is received by the Center.
Raghuram Committee recommendations
Raghuram Committee proposed changes in providing special status. The proposed methodology allocates funds across states based on need thus underdevelopment index has been constructed.
The underdevelopment index the Committee proposes includes the following ten sub-components: (i) monthly per capita consumption expenditure, (ii) education, (iii) health, (iv) household amenities, (v) poverty rate, (vi) female literacy, (vii) percent of SC-ST population, (viii) urbanization rate, (viii) financial inclusion, and (x) connectivity. The Committee recommends that “least developed” states, as identified by the index, be eligible for other forms of central support that the Central Government may deem necessary to enhance the process of development.
Following the constitution of the NITI Aayog (after the dissolution of the Planning Commission) and the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC), Central plan assistance to SCS States has been subsumed in an increased devolution of the divisible pool to all States (from 32% in the 13th FC recommendations to 42%) and do not any longer appear in plan expenditure.

National Institutional Ranking Framework


National Institutional Ranking Framework

MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development) has released Ranking System Framework for Higher Educational Institutions of India. This is the first time that a reliable, transparent and authentic ranking system is being implemented in the country for Higher Education.
The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) has been launched to rank higher educational institutions in the Country based on objective, verifiable criteria. The ranking system is expected to promote excellence in education in a competitive environment.
India Rankings 2016 is the country’s first exercise to rank the higher educational institutions in the country based on objective, identifiable parameters. The ranking, which will be an annual exercise, was done by an independent and autonomous body National Board of Accreditation (NBA).
These clusters have been assigned certain weightage and this weightage is a function of type of institution. Ranking methods have been worked out for 6 categories of institutions viz. Engineering, Management, Pharmacy, Architecture, Universities and Colleges There are separate rankings for different types of institutions depending on their areas of operation.
Significance of the ranking:
NIRF ranks the institutions broadly on Five clusters of parameters viz. these ranking has follows the Indian approach Including:
1) Teaching-learning; Teaching, Learning & Resources (30%)
2) Research, Professional Practice & Collaborative Performance (30%)
3) Graduation Outcome (15%)
4) Outreach and Inclusivity (15%)
5) Peer group Perception (10%)
The rankings are arrived at after detailed analysis and validation of the data submitted by more than 3,600 higher educational institutions in the country classified in 6 categories. Each of these has been further subdivided into nearly 20 sub criteria to comprehensively assess an institution.
Importance of such rankings in India:
• In the list is its timing. With the ‘admissions season’ round the corner, students looking to study in reputed institutions will not have much time to make up their minds.They can make their choice of the institution they wish to take admission into on the basis of the ranking of the institute.
• Prior to this initiative, Indian students have had to rely on the Shanghai or the QS World Rankings which do not take into account the peculiarities of our subcontinent.
• In many countries, this exercise has been outsourced to third parties, so the move by the Indian government is praiseworthy.
The grounds of criticism:
• There has been no cross-verification of data before announcing the ranking. The data used for evaluation was submitted by the institutions themselves (Self-verification criteria) and the responsibility for accuracy and authenticity of the data lies with the respective institutions.
• The stated intent of the government was to prepare India-centric ranking parameters that were sensitive to metrics such as access to higher education and social inclusion. Interestingly, the weightage given to India-specific parameters is not pronounced.
• The IITs have chosen to participate in the rankings under the “engineering” category. They should have competed under the category of “universities”. Institutions devoted to specific disciplines like Institute of Chemical Technology is ranked along with multidisciplinary universities like JNU/BHU.
• Some top institutions could not have figured in the ranking because they did not participate in the process and submit the data for judging them over various parameters.
• Disciplines like literature, commerce and social work appear to have been left out. The country is also being well served by many autonomous institutions that have their own expertise and excellence. Have they been taken into consideration is a question mark.
Way forward:
• The self-verification criteria are advisable to be cross-checked with an independent agency. The methodology needs to be improved.
• Ways and means should also be found to reassure students about the authenticity of the data.
• The categories should include the arts and sciences.
• The rankings should include ‘IPs/ patents by the institute’, ‘student satisfaction’, etc.
• Outreach and inclusivity are useful data to help students get a feel of the composition and outlook of the university.
• The NIRF should be transparent about the criteria adopted by it to rank Indian universities.
• The rankings are a step towards bringing the Indian institutes on a global platform.

Office of Profit


Office of Profit

The concept of office of profit has evolved in England to preserve the independence of the legislature by keeping the members away from any temptations from the executive that can come in the way of independent discharge of their duties. It also seeks to enforce the principle of separation of power between the legislative, the judiciary and the executive – a basic feature of the Constitution.
Office of profit under Indian Constitution
The term office of profit has not been defined in the Constitution. But, articles 102 (1) and 191 (1) – which give effect to the concept of office of profit — prescribe restrictions at the central and state level on lawmakers accepting government positions. Any violation attracts disqualification of MPs or MLAs, as the case may be.
According to Article 102 (1) (a), a person shall be disqualified as a member of Parliament for holding any office of profit under the government of India or the government of any state, “other than an office declared by Parliament by law not to disqualify its holder”. Article 191 (1) (a) has a similar provision for the members of state assemblies.
However, articles 102 and 191 clarify that “a person shall not be deemed to hold an office of profit under the government of India or the government of any state by reason only that he is a minister”.
Further, the last part of the two provisions protects a lawmaker holding a government position if the office has been made immune to disqualification by law.
Principles of declaring Office of Profit
Four broad principles have evolved for determining whether an office attracts the constitutional disqualification.
• First, whether the government exercises control over appointment, removal and performance of the functions of the office.
• Second, whether the office has any remuneration attached to it.
• Third, whether the body in which the office is held has government powers (releasing money, allotment of land, granting licences etc.).
• Fourth, whether the office enables the holder to influence by way of patronage.
Office of profit under NCT Act, 1991
• Section 15(1)(a) of the government of national capital territory of Delhi act, 1991, says “a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member of the legislative assembly if he holds any office of profit” under the government of India, a state or a union territory” other than an office protected by law.
• Like articles 102 (1) and 191(1), Section 15(2) of the NCT act also protects ministers at the Centre, in states or union territories from disqualification. Section 15(3) of the NCT act says in case of a dispute over disqualification of an MLA, the matter would be referred to the President, whose decision would be final.
• But, before deciding on a petition seeking disqualification, the President, says the NCT act, has to get the opinion of the election commission which is binding on him.

Sai Praveen

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