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Daily Current affairs 11 July 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

SL. NO.

TOPICS   

THE HINDU

PAGE NO.

1

Worker safety code Bill gets Cabinet approval

01

2

Single tribunal to hear water disputes

09

3

Death penalty for child abuse

09

4

Bill to tackle Ponzi schemes

09

5

IAF to adopt ASRAAM missile for fighter fleet

09

6

A demographic window of opportunity

10

7

Green light for rural roads 

09 

8

Support for transgenders

09 

9

Tariff Tensions – GSP

13 

 

Title

1. Worker safety code Bill gets Cabinet approval (The Hindu, Page 1)     

Syllabus

Prelims: Polity & Governance  

Mains: GS Paper II – Polity & Governance    

Theme

Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill, 2019 

Highlights


Objective - This proposal would enhance the coverage of the safety, health and working conditions provisions manifold as compared to the present scenario. 

 

After the enactment of the Code, all these Acts being subsumed in the Code will be repealed. 

 
  • The New Code has been drafted after amalgamation, simplification and rationalisation of the relevant provisions of the 13 Central Labour Acts:

  • The Factories Act, 1948;

  • The Mines Act, 1952; The Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986;

  • The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996;

  • The Plantations Labour Act, 1951;

  • The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970;
    The Inter-State Migrant workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979;

  • The Working Journalist and other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service and Misc. Provision) Act, 1955;

  • The Working Journalist (Fixation of rates of wages) Act, 1958;

  • The Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961;

  • Sales Promotion Employees (Condition of Service) Act, 1976;

  • The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966; and

  • The Cine Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers Act, 1981. 


Benefits

  • Safety, Health, welfare and improved Working Conditions are pre-requisite for well-being of the worker and also for economic growth of the country as healthy workforce of the country would be more productive and occurrence of less accidents and unforeseen incidents would be economically beneficial to the employers also. 

  • With the ultimate aim of extending the safety and healthy working conditions to all workforce of the country, the Code enhances the ambit of provisions of safety, health, welfare and working conditions from existing about 9 major sectors to all establishments having 10 or more employees.      

 

Title

2. Single tribunal to hear water disputes (The Hindu, Page 9)   

Syllabus 

Prelims: Polity & Governance  

Mains: GS Paper II -  Polity & Governance   

Theme

Inter-state water disputes    

Highlights

 

Article 262 - Adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter-State rivers or river valleys.—(1) Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State river or river valley.           

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Title

3. Death penalty for child abuse (The Hindu Page 9)

Syllabus 

Prelims: Social Issues 

Mains: GS Paper II – Social Issues 

Theme

Cabinet approves Amendment in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012

Highlights


Key features of the Act 

 

  • The POCSO Act, 2012 was enacted to Protect the Children from Offences of Sexual Assault, Sexual harassment and pornography with due regard for safeguarding the interest and well-being of children. 

  • The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age, and regards the best interests and welfare of the child as matter of paramount importance at every stage, to ensure the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child. 

  • The act is gender neutral.

 

Amendment 

  • It will make punishment more stringent for committing sexual crimes against children including death penalty. 

  • The amendments also provide for levy of fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography.

 

Impact

  • The amendment is expected to discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent due to strong penal provisions incorporated in the Act.

  • It intends to protect the interest of vulnerable children in times of distress and ensures their safety and dignity.

  • The amendment is aimed to establish clarity regarding the aspects of child abuse and punishment thereof. 

 

Title

4. Bill to tackle Ponzi schemes (The Hindu Page 7)      

Syllabus 

Prelims: Economy    

Mains: GS Paper III – Economic Issues 

Theme

Ponzi Schemes  

Highlights


What is the news?

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister had earlier given its approval to move official amendments to The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018, after the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF). 

  • The 2019 Bill will replace the The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Ordinance 2019. 

  • The 2019 ordinance helped in the creation of a central repository of all deposit schemes under operation, thus making it easier for the Centre to regulate their activities and prevent fraud from being committed against ordinary people.       

  • The ordinance allowed for compensation to be offered to victims through the liquidation of the assets of those offering illegal deposit schemes.   

Background

  • The Finance Minister in the Budget Speech 2016-17 had announced that a comprehensive Central legislation would be brought in to deal with the menace of illicit deposit taking schemes. 

  • This was because in the recent past, there have been rising instances fraud by illicit deposit taking schemes across India. The worst victims of these schemes are the poor and the financially illiterate, and the operations of such schemes are often spread over many States.    

The Unregulated Deposit Schemes Ordinance 2019 – Important features

  • The ordinance aims to provide for a comprehensive mechanism to ban unregulated deposits schemes and thereby protect the interests of depositors. 

  • The Ordinance bans Deposit Takers from promoting, operating, issuing advertisements or accepting deposits in any Unregulated Deposit Scheme. 

  • The Bill creates three different types of offences: 

  1. Running of Unregulated Deposit Schemes, 

  2. Fraudulent default in Regulated Deposit Schemes, and 

  3. Wrongful inducement in relation to Unregulated Deposit Schemes.

  • A prize chit or money circulation scheme banned under the provisions of The Prize Chits and Money Circulation Scheme (Banning) Act, 1978 shall also be considered an unregulated deposit and has been banned accordingly.       

  • The Ordinance enables creation of an online central database, for collection and sharing of information on deposit-taking activities in the country.   

  • The law also makes it incumbent upon newspapers to verify the advertisements placed in them to ensure that none of them is for unregulated deposit schemes.        

     

 

Title

5. IAF to adopt ASRAAM missile for fighter fleet (The Hindu Page 9)     

Syllabus 

Prelims: General Science

Mains: GS Paper III – Science & Technology  

Theme

The Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM)

Highlights

 

Context - The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) move to integrate British Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air missile (ASRAAM) to Russian-origin Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighter jets. IAF is looking to replace the Russian-made Vympel R-73 missile with the ASRAAM in phases.

 

About ASRAAM

  • ASRAAM is widely used as a Within Visual Range (WVR) air dominance missile with a range of over 25km (Short range).   

  • It is air-to-air missile.

  • It is an imaging infrared homing ("heat seeking") missile.

 

Title

6. A demographic window of opportunity - Article (The Hindu Page 10)     

Syllabus 

Prelims: Economy 

Mains: GS Paper III – Economy 

Theme

Optimum utilisation of human resources 

Highlights

Context:

According to the UN Report released recently, India is expected to overtake China as the most populous country by 2027. In this regard, this article discusses as to how the Indian Government must manage its human resources efficiently.

 

How to reduce the Population Growth rate?

  • Punitive actions such as such as restriction on maternity leave, disqualification from panchayat elections for more than 2 children in some states etc. cannot lead to decrease in population growth rate. Such disincentives are not strong enough to overcome the desire for children as the people who desired larger families go ahead in spite of consequences.

  • There are sharp differences in the Total Fertility rate (TFR) among the different socio-economic groups in India. The TFR of the poorest women was 3.2 as compared to TFR of 1.5 of richer women. The lower TFR among the richer households is because of their desire to invest in their children’s education and future prospects that seems to drive people to stop at one child.Richer individuals see greater potential for ensuring admission to good colleges and better jobs for their children, inspiring them to limit their family size.

  • Thus, we must focus on reducing the TFR among the poorer households by improving the access to education and ensuring better jobs for their children. Such efforts have to be substantiated by provision of contraceptive services.

 

Integrating Population policy into Development Policies

The 15th Finance Commission has planned to use the 2011 census data for the distribution of taxes among the states. However, it has been opposed by the Southern states since such a policy would penalize them for taking efforts to reduce the population and it would implicitly reward the populous states which may not have implemented the population control measures strictly.

This article here argues that continuing with the 1971 census-based allocation would be mistake on the basis of following grounds:

Varying Stages of Demographic Transition

  • Different states in India are at different stages of demographic transition. States such as Kerala and TN are already past their demographic dividend stage, while in next 20 years states such as Karnataka would have window of opportunity. States such as UP and Bihar are expected to have peak in their demographic dividend much later.

  • The states with higher share of workers would be able to contribute to higher revenue to the centre and such revenue can in turn be used to support the states with higher share of ageing population. For example, workers in Haryana would be able to support ageing population of Kerala in future.

Need to invest in Human Capital Formation

Presently, the states with higher fertility rates and higher population growth need to be supported by the Centre so as to enhance human capital formation in the form of Education, health etc. By sticking to 1971 census, we would not be able to address the demands of such states.


 

Title

7. Green light for rural roads (The Hindu Page 109    

Syllabus 

Prelims: Economy 

Mains: GS Paper III – Economy 

Theme

Approval for the launch of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana-lll (PMGSY-III) 

Highlights


Background: PMGSY-III scheme was announced by the Finance Minister in Budget Speech for the year 2018-19.

Objective - It involves consolidation of Through Routes and Major Rural Links connecting habitations to Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals.

Impact - This would facilitate easy and faster movement to and from Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals. Roads constructed under PMGSY would also be maintained properly.

Project period: 2019-20 to 2024-25.

PMGSY-I

PMGSY was launched in December, 2000 with an objective to provide single all-weather road connectivity to eligible unconnected habitation of designated population size (500+ in plain areas and 250+ in North-East, hill, tribal and desert areas as per Census, 2001) for overall socio-economic development of the areas. 97% of the eligible and feasible habitations have already been connected by all-weather road. 

 

Title

8. Support for transgenders (The Hindu Page 9)     

Syllabus 

Prelims: Economy 

Mains: GS Paper III – Economy 

Theme

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019


Highlights

 

Objective : The Bill provides a mechanism for their social, economic and educational empowerment

Impact - The Bill will benefit a large number of transgender persons, mitigate the stigma, discrimination and abuse against this marginalised section and bring them into the mainstream of society. This will lead to inclusiveness and will make the transgender persons productive members of the society.

Title

9. Tariff Tensions - GSP (The Hindu Page 13)     

Syllabus 

Prelims: Economy 

Mains: GS Paper III – Economy  

Theme

Generalised System of Preferences  

Highlights

What is GSP? 

  • The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a U.S. trade program that began in 1976 and it is designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated beneficiary countries and territories.

  • Benefit of GSP: GSP provide opportunities for many of the world’s poorest countries to use trade to grow their economies and climb out of poverty.

  • It also boosts American competitiveness by reducing costs of imported inputs used by U.S. companies to manufacture goods in the United States. 

WTO & GSP.

  • Under the normal trade laws, the WTO members must give equal preferences to trade partners. 

  • There should not be any discrimination between countries. 

  • This trade rule under the WTO is called the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause. 

  • At the same time, the WTO allows members to give special and differential treatment to and from developing countries (like zero tariff imports). 

  • This is an exemption for MFN. The MSP given by developed countries including the US is an exception to MFN. 

How GSP benefitted India? 

  • India has been the biggest beneficiary of the GSP regime and accounted for over a quarter of the goods that got duty-free access into the US in 2017.

  • Exports to the US from India under GSP — at $5.58 billion — was over 12 per cent of India’s total goods exports of $45.2 billion to the US that year. 

  • The US goods trade deficit with India was $22.9 billion in 2017. Possible Impact 

  • Its impact would be “minimal”, given that Indian exporters were only receiving duty-free benefits of $190 million on the country’s overall GSP-related trade of $5.6 billion. 

  • The move will not have a major impact on India also because it has been diversifying its market in the Latin American and the African region and its trade with countries of the Global South has also been expanding at a “very competitive pace”. 

  • The move could hit Indian exporters if it gives an edge to competitors in its top export categories to the US. 

  • The amount of price advantage India has versus competitor countries and what happens to their GSP privileges will determine the extent to which India’s exports will be impacted

What next? 

  • Changes announced may not take effect until at least 60 days after the notifications are sent to the US Congress and the governments of India, and will be enacted by a Presidential Proclamation. 

  • India, in June 2018, had intended to impose higher tariffs on 29 goods imported from the US in retaliation to the country’s decision to impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminium products. 

 

GS Paper 1:

Topics covered:

  1. Women and related issues.

 

POCSO Act

 

What to study?

For Prelims: POCSO Act provisions.

For Mains: Sexual abuse of children- prevention and need for stringent provisions.

 

Context: Union Cabinet has approved the Amendments in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

 

Key changes proposed:

  • It will make punishment more stringent for committing sexual crimes against children including death penalty.
  • It includes provision of death penalty in cases of sexual offences against children.
  • The amendments also provide for levy of fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography.
  • Amendments are also proposed to protect children from sexual offences in times of natural calamities and in other situations where children are administered, in any way, any hormone or any chemical substance, to attain early sexual maturity for the purpose of penetrative sexual assault.

 

Impact:

  • The amendment is expected to discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent due to strong penal provisions incorporated in the Act.
  • It intends to protect the interest of vulnerable children in times of distress and ensures their safety and dignity. 
  • The amendment is aimed to establish clarity regarding the aspects of child abuse and punishment thereof.

 

POCSO Act:

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 was formulated in order to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.

 

Role of police: The Act casts the police in the role of child protectors during the investigative process. Thus, the police personnel receiving a report of sexual abuse of a child are given the responsibility of making urgent arrangements for the care and protection of the child, such as obtaining emergency medical treatment for the child and placing the child in a shelter home, and bringing the matter in front of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), should the need arise.

 

Safeguards: The Act further makes provisions for avoiding the re-victimisation of the child at the hands of the judicial system. It provides for special courts that conduct the trial in-camera and without revealing the identity of the child, in a manner that is as child-friendly as possible. Hence, the child may have a parent or other trusted person present at the time of testifying and can call for assistance from an interpreter, special educator, or other professional while giving evidence. Above all, the Act stipulates that a case of child sexual abuse must be disposed of within one year from the date the offence is reported.

Mandatory reporting: The Act also provides for mandatory reporting of sexual offences. This casts a legal duty upon a person who has knowledge that a child has been sexually abused to report the offence; if he fails to do so, he may be punished with six months’ imprisonment and/ or a fine.

 

Definitions: The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age. It defines different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography. It deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances, such as when the abused child is mentally ill or when the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority like a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor.

 

Mains Question: Discuss the merits and demerits of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act of 2012


GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  2. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

 

Transgender Rights Bill

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Definitions included and key features of the bill.

For Mains: Significance of the bill, criticisms and the need for a comprehensive review.

 

Context:  Cabinet approves The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019.

 

Impact:

The Bill will benefit a large number of transgender persons, mitigate the stigma, discrimination and abuse against this marginalized section and bring them into the mainstream of society. This will lead to inclusiveness and will make the transgender persons productive members of the society. 

 

Background:

Transgender community is among one of the most marginalized communities in the country because they don’t fit into the stereotypical categories of gender of ‘men’ or ‘women’. Consequently, they face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lack of education facilities, unemployment, lack of medical facilities and so on. The Bill shall empower the transgender community socially, educationally and economically. 

 

New definition:

According to the new definition, a transgender person is somebody “whose gender does not match the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-men or trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons having socio-cultural identities such as kinnar, hijras, aravani, and jogta”.

 

Highlights of the Bill:

  1. The Bill aims to stop discrimination against a transgender person in various sectors such as education, employment, and healthcare. It also directs the central and state governments to provide welfare schemes for them.
  2. The Bill states that a person will be recognised as transgender on the basis of a certificate of identity issued through the district screening committee. This certificate will be a proof of identity as transgender and confer rights under this Bill.
  3. Going by the bill, a person would have the right to choose to be identified as a man, woman or transgender, irrespective of sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy.
  4. It also requires transgender persons to go through a district magistrate and “district screening committee” to get certified as a transperson.
  5. The committee would comprise a medical officer, a psychologist or psychiatrist, a district welfare officer, a government official, and a transgender person.

 

Criticisms:

The Bill is silent on granting reservations to transgender persons.

The bill has prescribed punishments for organised begging. However, the Bill doesn’t provide anything to better to condition in those areas, it doesn’t provide for reservation.

The Transgender Bill does not mention any punishments for rape or sexual assault of transgender persons as according to Sections 375 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code, rape is only when a man forcefully enters a woman.

 

Need of the hour:

The Bill must recognise that gender identity must go beyond biological; gender identity is an individual’s deep and personal experience. It need not correspond to the sex assigned at birth. It includes the personal sense of the body and other expressions such as one’s own personal inducing proceeds.

 

Mains Question: The new law on rights of transgender fail to take into account the lived realities of the lives of transgenders. Discuss.


GS Paper 3:

Topic covered:

Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

 

Inter-state River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Key features, need for and significance of the bill.

 

Context: Cabinet approves Inter-State River Water disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

The Bill seeks to amend the Inter State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 with a view to streamline the adjudication of inter-state river water disputes and make the present institutional architecture robust.

 

Features of the bill:

  1. Disputes Resolution Committee: The Bill requires the central government to set up a Disputes Resolution Committee (DRC), for resolving any inter-state water dispute amicably. The DRC will get a period of one year, extendable by six months, to submit its report to the central government.
  2. Members of DRC: Members of the DRC will be from relevant fields, as deemed fit by the central government.
  3. Tribunal: The Bill proposes to set up an Inter-State River Water Disputes Tribunal, for adjudication of water disputes, if a dispute is not resolved through the DRC.  This tribunal can have multiple benches. All existing tribunals will be dissolved and the water disputes pending adjudication before such existing tribunals will be transferred to this newly formed tribunal.
  4. Composition of the Tribunal: The tribunal shall consist of a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and not more than six nominated members (judges of the Supreme Court or of a High Court), nominated by the Chief Justice of India. 

 

Drawbacks of interstate Water Dispute Act, 1956:

  • The Inter State Water Dispute Act, 1956 which provides the legal framework to address such disputes suffers from many drawbacks as it does not fix any time limit for resolving river water disputes.
  • Delays are on account of no time limit for adjudication by a Tribunal, no upper age limit for the Chairman or the Members, work getting stalled due to occurrence of any vacancy and no time limit for publishing the report of the Tribunal.
  • The River Boards Act 1956, which is supposed to facilitate inter-state collaboration over water resource development, remained a ‘dead letter’ since its enactment.
  • Surface water is controlled by Central Water Commission (CWC) and ground water by Central Ground Water Board of India (CGWB). Both bodies work independently and there is no common forum for common discussion with state governments on water management.

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  2. Transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

 

Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features and significance of the Bill.

For Mains: Need for a legislation on this, recent issues and concerns associated with such schemes.

 

Context: Cabinet approves the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019.

 

Significance and impact:

  • The Bill will immediately tackle the menace of illicit deposit-taking activities in the country launched by rapacious operators, which at present are exploiting regulatory gaps and lack of strict administrative measures to dupe poor and gullible people of their hard-earned savings, an official statement said.
  • It will altogether ban unregulated deposit taking schemes, and the law has adequate provisions for punishment and disgorgement or repayment of deposits in cases where such schemes nonetheless manage to raise deposits illegally.

 

Key provisions of the Bill:

Substantive banning clause which bans Deposit Takers from promoting, operating, issuing advertisements or accepting deposits in any Unregulated Deposit Scheme. The Bill bans unregulated deposit taking activities altogether, by making them an offence ex-ante rather than the existing legislative-cum-regulatory framework which only comes into effect ex-post with considerable time lags.

Creation of three different types of offences, namely, running of Unregulated Deposit Schemes, fraudulent default in Regulated Deposit Schemes, and wrongful inducement in relation to Unregulated Deposit Schemes.

Severe punishment and heavy pecuniary fines to act as deterrent.

Provisions for disgorgement or repayment of deposits in cases where such schemes nonetheless manage to raise deposits illegally.

Attachment of properties / assets by the Competent Authority, and subsequent realization of assets for repayment to depositors.

Clear-cut time lines have been provided for attachment of property and restitution to depositors.

Creation of an online central database, for collection and sharing of information on deposit-taking activities in the country.

 

The Bill defines “Deposit Taker” and “Deposit” comprehensively:

Deposit Takers” include all possible entities (including individuals) receiving or soliciting deposits, except specific entities such as those incorporated by legislation.

Deposit” is defined in such a manner that deposit-takers are restricted from camouflaging public deposits as receipts, and at the same time, not to curb or hinder acceptance of money by an establishment in the ordinary course of its business.

 

Why do we need a comprehensive law on this?

  • To deal with the menace of illicit deposit taking schemes, as in the recent past, there have been rising instances of people in various parts of the country being defrauded by illicit deposit taking schemes.
  • The worst victims of these schemes are the poor and the financially illiterate, and the operations of such schemes are often spread over many States.

GS Paper 2 and 3:

Topics Covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  2. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.

 

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana-lll (PMGSY-III)

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: features and significance of PMGSY, need for enhanced rural connectivity.

 

ContextCabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for the launch of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana-lll (PMGSY-III).

 

Key facts:

  • Under the PMGSY-III Scheme, it is proposed to consolidate 1,25,000 Km road length in the States.
  • It involves consolidation of Through Routes and Major Rural Links connecting habitations to Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals.
  • The funds would be shared in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and State for all States except for 8 North Eastern and 3 Himalayan States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand) for which it is 90:10.

 

Progress under PMGSY:

A total of 5,99,090 Km road length has been constructed under the scheme since inception till April, 2019 (inclusive of PMGSY-I, PMGSY-II and RCPLWEA Scheme.

 

PMGSY-I:

PMGSY was launched in December, 2000 with an objective to provide single all-weather road connectivity to eligible unconnected habitation of designated population size (500+ in plain areas and 250+ in North-East, hill, tribal and desert areas as per Census, 2001) for overall socio-economic development of the areas.

 

Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Area (RCPLWEA):

Government launched Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism affected Areas in the year 2016 as a separate vertical under PMGSY to provide all-weather road connectivity with necessary culverts and cross-drainage structures in 44 districts (35 are worst LWE affected districts and 09 are adjoining districts), which are critical from security and communication point of view. Under the Scheme, 5,066 Km road length has been sanctioned.

 


 

Relevant articles from various news sources:

 

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  2. Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

 

Article 370

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of Article 370 and related facts.

For Mains: Arguments in favour and against the removal of Article 370, what is the right move and can an amendment solve the issue?

 

Context: The government has said that Article 370, which provides for special status to Jammu and Kashmir, is a temporary provision in the Constitution and Article 35A, which gives special rights to the natives of the state, was added through a Constitution order issued by the President of India.

The reply came in response to a question on whether the government is going to repeal articles 370 and 35A and whether repeal of these articles in any way violate United Nations regulations or any international obligation of the country.

 

What is Article 370?

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a ‘temporary provision’ which grants special autonomous status to Jammu & Kashmir.

Under Part XXI of the Constitution of India, which deals with “Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions”, the state of Jammu & Kashmir has been accorded special status under Article 370.

All the provisions of the Constitution which are applicable to other states are not applicable to J&K.

 

Important provisions under the article:

  • According to this article, except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, Parliament needs the state government’s concurrencefor applying all other laws. Thus the state’s residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians.
  • Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Under Article 370, the Centre has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the state. It can declare emergency in the state only in case of war or external aggression. The Union government can therefore not declare emergency on grounds of internal disturbance or imminent danger unless it is made at the request or with the concurrence of the state government.
  • Under Article 370, the Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state.
  • The Jurisdiction of the Parliament of India in relation to Jammu and Kashmir is confined to the matters enumerated in the Union List, and also the concurrent list. There is no State list for the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • At the same time, while in relation to the other States, the residuary power of legislation belongs to Parliament, in the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the residuary powers belong to the Legislature of the State, except certain matters to which Parliament has exclusive powerssuch as preventing the activities relating to cession or secession, or disrupting the sovereignty or integrity of India.
  • The power to make laws related to preventive detention in Jammu and Kashmir belong to the Legislature of J & Kand not the Indian Parliament. Thus, no preventive detention law made in India extends to Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Part IV (Directive Principles of the State Policy) and Part IVA (Fundamental Duties) of the Constitution are not applicable to J&K.

 

How should the centre counter the growing unrest in the region?

  • Focus on investing in J&K’s infrastructure.
  • Absence of an effective information and communication plan has hobbled the government’s ability to respond even when it is on the moral high ground. This must be immediately corrected.
  • Standard operating procedures must require the use of lethal force only when there is an imminent threat to life and property, force should be used proportionately and not as a punitive measure.
  • What is needed at the moment is the deployment of new socio-cultural resources, and a new operational cultureto wind down the militancy without alienating more locals who could either join or influence their relatives and friends to join various terrorist organisations.
  • Lethal force should be the last resort, used only when lives are threatened. Promptly investigating allegations of abuses and prosecuting those responsible is key to resolving this mess.
  • Externally, wide-ranging peace talks between India and Pakistan, the Indian administration and ‘azaadi’ groups is needed and internally, peace-building on the ground by multiple stakeholders involved is necessary.

 

Article 35 A: It lets the J&K Legislature decide the “permanent residents” of the State, prohibits a non-J&K resident from buying property in the State and ensures job reservation for its residents.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

Mains Question: Critically comment on the history of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, its implications and relevance for the Union of India.


GS Paper 2:

Topic covered:

  1. Issues related to health.

 

Measles

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Measles- causes, symptoms, spread and vaccines.

 

ContextSri Lanka has made health history after spending three years free of any new measles cases and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that the deadly childhood infection has been eliminated in the island nation.

Sri Lanka is the fifth country in WHO’s Southeast Asia region to eliminate measles. The other four countries are Bhutan, Maldives, DPR Korea and Timor-Leste.

 

About Measles:

What is It? Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It remains an important cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.

Spread: Measles is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.

Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10–12 days after infection, include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.

Vulnerability: Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.

The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, and severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia.

Prevention: Routine measles vaccination for children, combined with mass immunization campaigns in countries with low routine coverage, are key public health strategies to reduce global measles deaths.

Preventive efforts: Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in five WHO Regions by 2020. WHO is the lead technical agency responsible for coordination of immunization and surveillance activities supporting all countries to achieve this goal.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 


 

Facts for prelims:

 

Organized Group ‘A’ Status to Indian Railway Protection Force (RPF) Service:

Context: Cabinet approves Grant of Organized Group ‘A’ Status to Indian Railway Protection Force (RPF) Serviceand and consequential benefits of Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU).

Impact: This will end stagnation, improve career progression of the officers and keep up their motivational level. Eligible officers of RPF will get benefitted.

About NFFU scheme:

Non Functional Upgrade (NFU) also called “non-functional financial up-gradation” (NFFU) is the name of a scheme to reward civil servants of 49 ‘Organized Central Group A Services’ with automatic time bound pay promotions till the Higher Administrative Grade(HAG).

This scheme ensures that all civil servants, at a minimum, retire at the HAG pay grade, a grade equated by Government with Lt Generals, Vice Admirals, and Air Marshals of Armed Forces.

The promotion under NFU scheme are independent of organizational requirements, vacancy, level of responsibility or span of control of a post.

 

World Population Day 2019:

World Population Day observed on July 11 every year with aims and objectives to spread knowledge about population related issues across the world.

This year’s World Population Day calls for global attention to the unfinished business of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development.

The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989. It was inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day on July 11, 1987, the approximate date on which the world’s population reached five billion people.

Most populous countries in the world: China remains the most populous country in the world with 1.4 billion inhabitants (18.4 per cent of world population) followed by India with 1.3 billion inhabitants (17.7 per cent of world population). 


Summaries of important Editorials:

 

The malaise of malnutrition:

Context: A new report, ‘Food and Nutrition Security Analysis, India, 2019’, authored by the Government of India and the United Nations World Food Programme, has been released.

 

Questions raised?

Why despite rapid economic growth, declining levels of poverty, enough food to export, and a multiplicity of government programmes, malnutrition amongst the poorest remains high?

 

Key findings:

The poorest sections of society caught in a trap of poverty and malnutrition, which is being passed on from generation to generation.

Mothers who are hungry and malnourished produce children who are stunted, underweight and unlikely to develop to achieve their full human potential.

The effects of malnourishment in a small child are not merely physicalUndernutrition can affect cognitive development by causing direct structural damage to the brain and by impairing infant motor development. This in turn affects the child’s ability to learn at school, leading to a lifetime of poverty and lack of opportunity.

 

Concerns :

The report highlig

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