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In news:

PM NarendraModi advised the youth in central India’s Maoist belt and Jammu and Kashmir to emulate the Bodos and shun the path of violence.

Highlights of the Agreement:

  • Villages dominated by Bodos that were presently outside the BTAD would be included and those with non-Bodo population would be excluded.
  • Bodos living in the hills would be conferred a Scheduled Hill Tribe status.
  • The BTAD is to be renamed as the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR).
  • The criminal cases registered against members of the NDFB factions for “non-heinous” crimes shall be withdrawn by the Assam government and in cases of heinous crimes it will be reviewed.
  • A Special Development Package of Rs. 1500 Crore would be given by the Centre to undertake specific projects for the development of Bodo areas.
  • It proposes to set up a commission under Section 14 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution which will recommend the inclusion or exclusion of tribal population residing in villages adjoining BTAD areas.
  • In this commission, besides State government, there will be representatives from ABSU and BTC. It will submit its recommendation within six months.
  • The total number of Assembly seats will go up to 60, from the existing 40.
  • The Assam government will also notify Bodo language as an associate official language in the state and will set up a separate directorate for Bodo medium schools.
  • Bodo with Devnagri script would be the associate official language for the entire Assam.

Sharang Artillery Gun

In news:

The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) handed over Sharang, upgraded 155mm to the Indian Army.

In brief:

  • Sharang is the 130mm artillery gun ‘up-gunned’ to 155mm, 45 calibre up- gunning based on the Army’s tender.
  • The upgradation was done by the Gun Carriage Factory (GCF) in Jabalpur
  • The gun’s range has now gone from 27 km to over 39 km with the upgrade. In all, OFB will upgrade 300 130mm guns to 155mm and the contract will be completed in four years.

RBI’s Repo Operations On Feb 17,24

In News:

RBI set to conduct long-term repo operations on Feb 17, 24 for Rs 50K crore.

In Brief:

  • The RBI move is aimed at providing cheaper money to banks at the repo rate and, thus, improve liquidity in the banking system.
  • It will begin the first tranche of its long-term repo operations on February 17 with three-year repo of Rs.25,000 crore, followed by another on February 24 for an equal amount.
  • LTROs will be conducted on the CBS (E-KUBER) platform. The operations would be conducted at a fixed rate.
  • Banks would be required to place their requests for the amount sought under LTRO during the window timing at the prevailing policy repo rate. Bids below or above policy rate will be rejected.
  • In case of over-subscription of the notified amount, the allotment will be done on a pro-rata basis. RBI will reserve the right to inject marginally higher amount than the notified amount due to rounding effects.
  • The minimum bid amount would be ₹1 crore and multiples thereof. There will be no restriction on the maximum amount of bidding by individual bidders.

About Long Term Repo operation:

  • What is LTRO? Under LTRO, RBI will conduct term repos of one-year and three-year tenors of appropriate sizes for up to a total amount of Rs 1 lakh crore at the policy repo rate.
  • How it will Work? It is a measure that market participants expect will bring down short-term rates and also boost investment in corporate bonds. These new measures coupled with RBI’s earlier introduced ‘Operation Twist’ are an attempt by the central bank to manage bond yields and push transmission of
    earlier rate cuts.
  • What was the immediate impact of LTRO? Shorter duration government bond yields plunged on Thursday after the Reserve Bank of India announced Long Term Repo Operation.

Govt. Mulls Enhancing Audit Independence, Accountability

In News:

Government’s consultation paper on proposed legal changes and amendments to existing regulations to enhance independence and accountability of auditors.

In Brief:

  • The government has come out with a consultation paper on proposed legal changes regarding auditing in India. It has called for suggestions on the major issues relevant to auditing in India.
  • The paper has suggestions for curbing five “threats” for the independence of auditors. The threats pertain to self-interest, self-review, advocacy, familiarity, and intimidation.
  • PWC, Deloitte, EY, and KPMG are generally referred to as the ‘Big Four’, which operate in India through a network of local chartered accountants firms.
  • There is a need to review whether the number of audits under one audit firm or auditor needs to be reduced. This would limit the concentration of business in the hands of a few firms and help create a level playing field.
  • The paper discusses the need to build the capacity of home-grown Indian firms that will be at par with global organizations in terms of audit procedures and manpower capacity.
  • Inspection of audit engagements would help increase transparency in the domain of auditing.
  • The development of a ‘Composite Audit Quality Index’ would help improve the accountability of auditors and audit firms.

Include Gender Bias In Scope Of Law To Curb Sexual Harassment

In News:

  • Congress MP from Karnataka urged the government to widen the scope of the existing law aimed at preventing sexual harassment at workplace to include gender bias.
  • He pointed out that the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (PoSH) Act passed by Parliament in 2013 does not cover a range of harassments that women are subjected to in the workplace.

About PoSH:

This act was enacted in April 2013 as India’s first law dealing with the protection of women against sexual harassment at workplace.

Features of the Act:

  • This Act aimed to provide every woman, irrespective of her age or employment status, a safe and secure working environment free from all forms of harassment.
  • It covered both the organized and unorganized sectors in India. The statute applied to all government bodies, private and public sector organizations, non-governmental organizations, organizations carrying out commercial, vocational, educational, entertainment, industrial, financial activities, hospitals etc.
  • This Act defined ‘sexual harassment’ in line with the Supreme Court’s definition in the Vishaka Judgment.
  • It extended the meaning of the word sexual harassment to include “presence or occurrence of circumstances of implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment, threat of detrimental treatment in employment, threat about present or future employment, interference with work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment, or humiliating
    treatment likely to affect the lady employee’s health or safety could also amount to sexual harassment”.
  • The Act also introduced the concept of ‘extended workplace’ since sexual harassment is not always confined to the primary place of employment. Therefore, the Act defined ‘workplace’ to include any place visited by the employee arising out of or during the course of employment, including
    transportation provided by the employer for the purpose of commuting to and from the place of employment.
  • The Act provided for the establishment of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at each and every office or branches of the organization employing 10 or more employees, in order to provide a forum for filing complaints to facilitate fast redressal of the grievances pertaining to sexual harassment.
  • It also provided for the establishment of local complaints committee (LCC) at the district level by the Government to investigate and redress complaints of sexual harassment of the unorganized sector or from those establishments where the ICC has not been constituted for the reason being, it having less
    than 10 employees

Govt Set To Host Another Visit By Foreign Diplomats To J&K

In news:

The central government is making preparations to organise a second visit of diplomats, including several European Ambassadors to visit Srinagar and Jammu soon.

In Brief:

  • About 20 to 25 envoys from “different geographical regions” are being invited to join the delegation.
  • The visit will also include a briefing by Army officials, and meetings with civil society members and politicians chosen by the government.