Medical Council of India

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  • Medical Council of India is a statutory body.
  • Initially, it was set up in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933.
  • The Council was later reconstituted under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 that supplanted the before Act.
  • It establishes the uniform and high standards of medical education in India.
  • It also registers doctors to practice in India, in order to protect and promote the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine.
  • The registration of doctors and their qualifications is usually done by state medical councils.
  • Recently the NITI Aayog has suggested the substitution of Medical Council of India (MCI) with the National Medical Commission (NMC).

CBI crisis

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Crisis:

  • There has been a long-running feud between the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) top boss Alok Vermaand Rakesh Asthana, the special director who is the No. 2 at CBI.
  • This long running feud has been marked by allegations and counter-allegations of corruption and interference in high-profile cases, filing of an FIR against Asthana and the arrest of senior CBI officer associated with him.
  • In October 2017, Asthana, who is a Gujarat-cadre IPS officer, was elevated to the position of No. 2 at the CBI by a selection committee headed by Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).
  • CBI head Verma had reportedly opposed Asthana’s elevation on the ground that he was being probed in a corruption case related to a Gujarat-based company Sterling Biotech.
  • Verma had placed before the committee a confidential report on Sterling Biotech in which names of various government officials including Asthana were mentioned for allegedly receiving money from the company.
  • However, it is important to note that Chief Vigilance Commissioner K V Chowdary said the decision was taken unanimously by members of the selection committee.
  • Later, Common Cause, which is an NGO of advocate Prashant Bhushan, moved the Supreme Court against Asthana’s elevation but the court refused to quash Asthana’s elevation.

Prior Precedents where the CBI was brought under a negative light:

  • The Supreme Court held the charges that Ranjit Sinha, when heading the agency, sought to help the accused in several cases and interfered in ongoing probes were ‘prima facie credible’; as a result, he was asked to keep away from the 2G telecom cases.
  • Similarly, A. P. Singh, another director, was booked last year for alleged links with meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
  • Thus, clearly, the existing procedure for the appointment of CBI Directors, which is made by a committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition, has not stripped the office of controversy.

CBI Director removed:

  • Central Vigilance Commission has ordered removal of Mr. Verma.
  • CVC said that since the atmosphere within the agency had become vitiated due to a factional feud, it had to intervene.
  • It also charged Mr. Verma with not making available the records and files sought by the CVC in connection with a corruption complaint against him – an approach which it held was wilfully obstructionist.
  • CVC has power of superintendence over CBI.

Security of Tenure of CBI Director:

  • Section 4B of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act assures the CBI Director of a two-year tenure and makes it clear that he cannot be transferred except by the high-power committee.
  • High-power committee comprises of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India — that appointed the CBI Director.
  • The Honourable Supreme Court will address the question whether the ‘interim measure’ amounts to unlawfully curtailing the Director’s tenure.
  • The Honourable Supreme Court will also examine whether the CVC’s power of superintendence has been rightly invoked in the present case.

Role of CVC with respect to CBI:

  • The CVC is not an investigating agency. The only investigation carried out by the CVC is that of examining Civil Works of the Government.
  • Corruption investigations against government officials can proceed only after the government permits them. The CVC publishes a list of cases where permissions are pending, some of which may be more than a year old.
  • The Ordinance of 1998 conferred statutory status to the CVC and the powers to exercise superintendence over functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment, and also to review the progress of the investigations pertaining to alleged offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 conducted by them.
  • In 1998 the Government introduced the CVC Bill in the Lok Sabha in order to replace the Ordinance, though it was not successful.
  • The Bill was re-introduced in 1999 and remained with the Parliament till September 2003, when it became an Act after being duly passed in both the Houses of Parliament.
  • The CVC has also been publishing a list of corrupt government officials against which it has recommended punitive action.
  • In 2004, GoI authorised the CVC as the “Designated Agency” to receive written complaints for disclosure on any allegation of corruption or misuse of office and recommend appropriate action.

Latest changes in CVC Act

  • The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 has amended some provisions of CVC Act, 2003 and the Commission has been empowered to conduct preliminary inquiry into complaints referred by Lokpal in respect of officers and officials of Groups B, C & D, besides Group A officers.
  • The Commission’s additional functions would include conducting preliminary inquiry into the complaints referred by Lokpal in respect of Gr. ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’& ‘D’ officials for which a Directorate of Inquiry for making preliminary inquiry is to be set up in the Commission.
  • The preliminary inquiry reports in such matters referred by Lokpal in respect of Group A and B officers are required to be sent to the Lokpal by the Commission. Further, as per mandate, the Commission is to cause further investigation into such Lokpal references in respect of Gr. ‘C’& ‘D’ officials and decide on further course of action against them.

Hawala Case judgement: The landmark verdict of SC on CVC

  • From 1964 to 1993, for nearly three decades, the CVC rolled along without making any visible dent on the problem of corruption in the country.
  • A very important milestone in its history occurred when the Supreme Court pronounced its judgement in what is popularly known as the Hawala Case.
  • The gist of allegations made in the writ petitions filed on 4 October 1993 was that:
    1. financial support was given to terrorists by clandestine and illegal means using tainted funds obtained through hawala transactions;
    2. the CBI and other agencies failed to investigate these properly and prosecute those who were involved in committing the offences; and
    3. this was done deliberately to protect persons who were influential and powerful.

SC Judgment and CVC

In this judgment court declared the Single Directive null and void and gave directions to establish institutional and other arrangements aimed at insulating the CBI and the Directorate of Enforcement of the Ministry of Finance from outside influences.

  1. The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) shall be given statutory status.
  1. Selection of CVC:
    • Selection for the post of Central Vigilance Commissioner shall be made by a Committee comprising the Prime Minister, Home Minister and the Leader of the Opposition from a panel of outstanding civil servants and others with impeccable integrity, to be furnished by the Cabinet Secretary.
    • The appointment shall be made by the President on the basis of the recommendations made by the Committee. This shall be done immediately.
  2. CVC will oversee CBI:
    • The CVC shall be responsible for the efficient functioning of the CBI. While Government shall remain answerable for the CBI’s functioning, to introduce visible objectivity in the mechanism to be established for overviewing the CBI’s working, the CVC shall be entrusted with the responsibility of superintendence over the CBI’s functioning.
    • The CBI shall report to the CVC about cases taken up by it for investigation; progress of investigation; cases in which charge-sheets are filed and their progress.
    • The CVC shall review the progress of all cases moved by the CBI for sanction of prosecution of public servants which are pending with the competent authorities, especially those in which sanction has been delayed or refused.
  1. The Central Government shall take all measures necessary to ensure that the CBI functions effectively and efficiently and is viewed as a non-partisan agency.
  2. The CVC shall have a separate section in its Annual Report on the CBI’s functioning after the supervisory function is transferred to it.
  1. Appointment of CBI Director:
    • Recommendations for appointment of the Director, CBI shall be made by a Committee headed by the Central Vigilance Commissioner with the Home Secretary and Secretary (Personnel) as members.
    • The views of the incumbent Director shall be considered by the Committee for making the best choice.
    • The Committee shall draw up a panel of IPS officers on the basis of their seniority, integrity, experience in investigation and anti-corruption work. The final selection shall be made by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) from the panel recommended by the Selection Committee.
    • If none among the panel is found suitable, the reasons thereof shall be recorded and the Committee asked to draw up a fresh panel.
  2. Security of tenure of director:
    • The Director, CBI shall have a minimum tenure of two years, regardless of the date of his superannuation.
    • This would ensure that an officer suitable in all respects is not ignored merely because he has less than two years to superannuate from the date of his appointment.
  1. The transfer of an incumbent Director, CBI in an extraordinary situation, including the need for him to take up a more important assignment, should have the approval of the Selection Committee.
  2. The Director, CBI shall have full freedom for allocation of work within the agency as also for constituting teams for investigations. Any change made by the Director, CBI in the Head of an investigative team should be for cogent reasons and for improvement in investigation, the reasons being recorded.

SC decision on CBI director issue:

  • SC has not immediately reinstated the CBI Director and instead has clipped the wings of the “interim” Director, restraining him from making any policy or major decisions, except those that are routine and essential for the CBI to function.

Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)

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  • FTII is premier institute in country that provides training for acting, film making, video editing, direction and production.
  • It is autonomous body under Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. 
  • It was established in 1960 and is registered under Societies’ Registration Act of 1860.
  • FTII is  situated in Pune (Maharashtra) on premises of erstwhile Prabhat Film Company.
  • Since its inception, FTII has become India’s premier film and television institute.
  • Its alumni have become technicians, actors and directors in the film and television industry.

Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE)

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  • It is defence PSU and one of India’s leading state-owned shipyards, located in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • It builds and repairs commercial and naval vessels. It also has started building export ships.
  • It was founded in 1884 as small privately owned company on eastern bank of Hooghly River.
  • It was renamed as Garden Reach Workshop in 1916. It was nationalised by Government in 1960.
  • It has Miniratna status.
  • It is first Indian shipyard to build 100 warships. It is currently handling major project to make three Stealth Frigates for Indian Navy under P17A Project.
  • 100 warships built by GRSE so far range from advanced frigates to anti-submarine warfare corvettes to fleet tankers, fast attack crafts, etc.

ADMM-Plus

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  • ADMM stands for ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting
  • ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN and its eight dialogue partners to strengthen security and defence co-operation for peace, stability, and development in the region.
  • Its objective is to promote mutual trust and confidence between defence establishments through greater dialogue and transparency.
  • The inaugural ADMM-Plus was convened in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2010.
  • The defence ministers then had agreed on five areas of practical cooperation, including maritime security, counter-terrorism, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian assistance.

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

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  • It is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system
  • It is responsible for promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
  • It was created by UNGA on 15 March 2006 by adopting resolution 60/251 to promote human rights globally.
  • It had replaced former UN Commission on Human Rights.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • Members: 
    • UNHRC is made up of 47 UN member states which are elected by UN General Assembly (UNGA) with specific number of seats allocated for each region of the globe.
    • The term of each seat is three years, and no member may occupy a seat for more than two consecutive terms.
  • Functions: 
    • Members of the council work to engage countries on improving human rights.
    • They make decisions ranging from exposing violations to recommending that UN Security Council make referral to International Criminal Court (ICC).
    • UNJRC does not have authority to take action but can exert significant pressure on violating country.
    • It can also set up special rapporteurs with mandate to investigate and report human-rights violations and abuses.
    • The council works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and engages the United Nations’ special procedures.
    • The General Assembly can suspend the rights and privileges of any Council member that it decides has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during its term of membership.
    • The suspension process requires a two-thirds majority vote by the General Assembly.
  • United States under President Donald Trump Administration had withdrawn from UNHRC after it questioned legitimacy of the council

because of presence of several dictatorial regimes violating human rights.

  • Why in news? India was elected to United Nations’ Human Rights Council’, the main body of UN charged with promoting and monitoring human rights for period of three years beginning January 1, 2019.

UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)

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  • It was established in 1999 as dedicated secretariat to facilitate implementation of International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).
  • It is an organisational unit of UN Secretariat and is led by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (SRSG).
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It is mandated by United Nations General Assembly resolution (56/195) to serve as focal point in United Nations system for coordination of disaster reduction and to ensure synergies among disaster reduction activities of United Nations system and regional organizations and activities in socioeconomic and humanitarian fields.

World Economic Forum (WEF)

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  • WEF is Swiss non profit foundation, based in Geneva.
  • Founded in 1971.
  • It works to improve the state of the world through public-private cooperation.
  • It serves as independent not-for-profit organization that works closely with other international organizations.
  • WEF is best known for its annual winter meeting for five days in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in eastern Alps region of Switzerland.
  • The meeting brings together some international political leaders, 2,500 top business leaders, selected intellectuals, and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world.

National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET)

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  • NCVET will regulate functioning of entities engaged in vocational education and training, both long-term and short-term.
  • It will also establish minimum standards for functioning of such entities.
  • It will be headed by Chairperson and will have Executive and Non-Executive Members.
  • It will follow best practices of regulatory processes and ensure that it performs its functions professionally and as per applicable laws.
  • It will utilize existing infrastructure and resources of NCVT and NSDA.
  • Primary functions of NCVET
    • Recognize and regulate awarding bodies, assessment bodies and skill related information providers.
    • Approve qualifications developed by awarding bodies and Sector Skill Councils (SSCs).
    • Indirectly regulate vocational training institutes through awarding bodies and assessment agencies.
    • Conduct Research and disseminate information.
    • Redress Grievances.
  • Benefits
    • The establishment of NCVET by merging NCVT and NSDA will lead to improvement in quality and market relevance of skill development programs.
    • It will also improve credibility of vocational education and training by encouraging greater private investment and employer participation in the skills space.
    • It will help achieve twin objectives of enhancing aspirational value of vocational education and increasing skilled manpower furthering Government’s agenda of making India skill capital of the world.
    • It is also expected to facilitate ease of doing business by providing steady supply of skilled workforce to the industry and services

Rapid Action Force (RAF)

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  • RAF is a specially trained and equipped wing of Central Reserve Police Force, the country’s largest paramilitary force or Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) with over 3 lakh personnel.
  • It was formed in 1992 to deal to deal with riots, riot like situations, crowd control, rescue and relief operations and related unrest.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • Its motto is “Serving Humanity with Sensitive Policing”
  • RAF battalions are based in various parts of the country in order to cut down response time and rush the teams in shortest possible time to counter an incident.
  • The 10 old RAF battalions are based in Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Aligarh, Delhi, Coimbatore, Jamshedpur, Bhopal and Meerut.
  • Single RAF battalion has strength of just over 1,000 personnel and it is equipped with gadgets and non-lethal weapons like, tear smoke grenade launchers, pump action guns and others to enforce security and law and order in case of protests or riot-like situations.