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Cabinet approves transgender bill
- The Union Cabinet has approved the Transgender Persons
(Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019.
- The Bill aims at the social, economic and educational
empowerment of transgender persons.
- Under the bill, transgender persons are defined as those “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”
- The Bill prohibits any person or establishment from
discriminating against a transgender person in any way.
- According to the bill, a person would have the right to choose
to be identified as a man, woman or transgender, irrespective of sex
reassignment surgery (SRS) and hormonal therapy
- It also states that the government, through an insurance
scheme, will cover medical expenses for sex reassignment surgery, hormonal
therapy, laser therapy or any such health related expenses of transgender
- The Bill has proposed establishing a National Council for
Transgender persons. The Council would advise the central government on
related policies and legislation and also act as a centre for grievance
- World Population Day 2019 is observed on July 11
- The Day aims to focus attention on the urgency and importance
of population issues.
- World Population Day was established by United Nations
Development Programme in 1989.
- 2019 World Population Day calls for global attention to the
unfinished business of the 1994 International Conference on Population and
Development (ICPD) held in Cairo.
- At IPCD 179 governments adopted a Programme of Action and
called for women’s reproductive health and rights to take centre stage in
national and global development efforts.
- The Programme of Action is the steering document for the United
Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
- The UNFPA is a UN organization which works to support family
planning by ensuring supply of contraceptives, strengthening national
health systems and promoting gender equality.
India controls dessert locusts
- Agriculture Minister has told Parliament that recently, there
has been an incursion of desert locusts in Rajasthan and Gujarat from
areas bordering Pakistan.
- Locusts are large herbivorous insects that can be serious pests
of agriculture due to their ability to form dense and highly mobile
swarms. They are species of short-horned grasshoppers.
- India has a Locust Control and Research scheme responsible for
control of desert locusts.
- It is implemented through the Locust Warning Organisation
(LWO). LWO, based in Jodhpur, was established in 1939.
- LWO was later amalgamated with the Directorate of Plant
Protection Quarantine and Storage in 1946.
- LWO is responsible to monitor and control the locust situation
in Scheduled Desert Area (SDA) mainly in the States of Rajasthan and
Gujarat by way of intensive survey, surveillance, monitoring and control
approves changes in POCSO Act, includes death penalty for sexual offences
- The Union Cabinet has approved an amendment to the Protection
of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, 2012.
- The amendment provides for stringent punishment, including
death penalty, for sexual assault of 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.
- The amendments are aimed to establish clarity regarding the
aspects of child abuse and punishment thereof.
- It is expected to discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by
acting as a deterrent due to strong penal provisions incorporated in the
- Further, it will protect the interest of vulnerable children in
times of distress and ensures their safety and dignity.
- The POCSO Act, 2012 was enacted to protect the children from
offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography.
- The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of
age. Further, the Act is gender neutral.
to adopt ASRAAM missile across its fighter fleet
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking to adopt Advanced Short
Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) across its fighter fleet.
- ASRAAM has been developed by European missile-maker MBDA. It is
currently in service in UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Australian
Air Force (RAAF).
- ASRAAM is a high speed, extremely manoeuvrable, heat-seeking,
air-to-air missile. It is designed as a “fire-and-forget” missile
- It is widely used as a Within Visual Range (WVR) air dominance
missile with a range of over 25km.
India stands in battle against measles, How Sri Lanka eliminated it
- WHO has declared Sri Lanka measles free. 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.
- Sri Lanka’s success follows its persistent efforts to ensure
maximum coverage with two doses of measles and rubella vaccines being
provided in the childhood immunisation programme. The vaccination coverage
- Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that is spread by
contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. Rubella, or
German measles, is an infection caused by the rubella virus. Both can be
entirely prevented with vaccine.
- According to the latest Global Measles and Rubella Update,
India reported 47,056 measles cases and 1,263 rubella cases during May
2018 and April 2019
- Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, WHO has targeted to
eliminate measles and rubella by 2020. Rubella control is achieved when a
country reduces the number of rubella cases by 95% as compared to cases in
- India has initiated the world’s largest Measles-Rubella (MR)
Campaign in 2017. It targets vaccination of 410 million children and
adolescents aged between 9 months and 15 years.
approves Inter State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill 2019
- The Union Cabinet has approved Inter-State River Water Disputes
(Amendment) Bill, 2019.
- The bill seeks to amend the Inter State River Water Disputes
- It aims to streamline the adjudication of inter-state water
disputes and make the present institutional architecture robust.
- The bill provides for dissolution of existing tribunals. A key
feature of the bill is the constitution of a single tribunal with different
Benches. It also provides for setting strict timelines for adjudication.
- The Bill also proposes a Dispute Resolution Committee set up by
the Central Government for resolving inter-State water disputes within 18
- Article 262 of Constitution deals with adjudication of disputes
relating to matters of inter-state rivers or river valleys.
- Article 262(2) states that neither the Supreme Court nor any
other Court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute.
- Note: Water is a State subject.
approves bill to put brakes on chit funds
- The Union Cabinet has approved the Banning of Unregulated
Deposit Schemes Bill.The bill aims to tackle the menace of illicit
deposit- taking activities in the country.
- The bill defines regulated deposits as all deposit-taking
schemes which are overseen and regulated by regulators like (a)Reserve
Bank of India (RBI) (b)Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
(c)Ministry of Corporate Affairs and (d)state and union territory
- On the other hand,deposit-taking scheme is defined as
unregulated if it is not registered with the regulators listed in the
- The bill completely bans the promoting,operating,issuing
advertisements or accepting deposits in any Unregulated Deposit Scheme.
- The Bill also defines “Deposit Taker” and “Deposit”.Deposit
Takers include all possible entities including individuals receiving or
soliciting deposits except specific entities such as those incorporated by
- Deposit is defined in such as an amount of money received
through an advance, a loan, or in any other form with a promise to be
returned with or without interest.Such deposit may be returned either in
cash or as a service and the time of return may or may not be specified.
- The Bill define three types of offences:(a)running
of Unregulated Deposit Schemes (b)fraudulent default in Regulated Deposit
Schemes and (c)wrongful inducement in relation to Unregulated Deposit
- The bill also provides for severe punishment and heavy fines to
act as a deterrent.It also has a provision for repayment of deposits in
cases where such schemes manage to raise deposits illegally.
- Further,the bill provides clear cut timelines for attachment of
property and reimbursement to depositors.It also provides for designation
of Courts to oversee repayment of depositors and to try offenses under the
- The bill also provides for the creation of an online central
database for collection and sharing of information on deposit-taking
activities in the country.
hold dialogue on enhancing bilateral ties
- The Second India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue (IRSED) was
held in New Delhi,India.
- The dialogue focussed on six core areas of cooperation namely,
(a)Transport Infrastructure and Technologies (b)Agriculture and
Agro-Processing sector (c)Small and Medium Business support (d) Digital
Transformation and Frontier Technologies (e)Cooperation in Trade,Banking
and (f)Tourism & Connectivity.
- The IRSED was established following an MoU
signed between NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Economic Development of the
Russian Federation during the 19th edition of the Annual India-Russia
Bilateral Summit in 2018.
- The objective of the dialogue is to identify the most promising
areas to improve bilateral trade,economic and investment cooperation and
to define joint projects in the framework of national programmes.
- The First India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue was held in
manual scavenging deaths in 3 years
- According to the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry,88
people have died in manual scavenging related deaths in the past three
- The ministry has said that the number of deaths of sanitation
workers while cleaning septic tanks and sewers has risen despite a ban on
- Further,among the 15 States/UTs that submitted details to the
Ministry, Tamil Nadu had the highest number of sewer deaths followed by
- Manual scavenging is the
practice of manually cleaning,carrying, disposing of, or handling human
- The International Labour Organization(ILO) distinguishes three
forms of manual scavenging: a) Removal of human excrement from public
streets and dry latrines, b) Cleaning septic tanks, and c) Cleaning
gutters and sewers.
- Manual scavenging in India is prohibited under the Prohibition
of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013. The
law intends to eliminate insanitary latrines and prohibit employment as
manual scavengers.It also prohibits hazardous manual cleaning of sewer and
- In 2014,the Supreme Court has made it mandatory for the
government to identify all those who died in sewerage work since 1993 and
provide ₹10 lakh each as compensation to their families.
facial recognition: what NCRB proposes, what are the concerns
- The National Crime Records Bureau(NCRB) has released a Request
for Proposal for an Automated Facial Recognition System(AFRS) to be used
by police officers across the country.
- The AFRS would be used to identify criminals, missing people,
and unidentified dead bodies as well as for crime prevention.
- AFRS works by maintaining a
large database with photos and videos of peoples faces. Then,a new image
of an unidentified person is often taken from CCTV footage is compared to
the existing database to find a match and identify the person.
- The artificial intelligence technology used for pattern-finding
and matching is called neural networks.Neural networks are a
set of algorithms modeled loosely after the human brain that are designed
to recognize patterns.
- NCRB has also proposed integrating this facial recognition
system with multiple existing databases.The most prominent is the
NCRB-managed Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems(CCTNS).
- CCTNS is a project initiated
in June 2009 which was aimed at creating a comprehensive and integrated
system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing at the
Police Station level.
- The project targets to interconnect about 15000 Police Stations
and additional 5000 offices of supervisory police officers across the
country and digitize data related to FIR registration, investigation and
charge sheets in all Police Stations.
- The new facial recognition system will also be integrated with
(a) Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS) (b)state-specific systems
(c)Immigration,Visa and Foreigners Registration & Tracking(IVFRT) and
(d)Koya Paya portal.
- Khoya Paya portal is a citizen
based website to exchange information on missing and found children.It has
been developed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the
Department of Electronics and Information Technology(DeitY).
- The NCRB is an Indian government agency
responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the
Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws (SLL).NCRB is
headquartered in New Delhi and is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs
(MHA),Government of India.
launches portal for farmers to report land and crop details
- Haryana government has launched ‘Meri Fasal Mera Byora’
- This portal enables farmers to self-report their land and crop
details through IT based system and help them receive the benefit of
several government schemes directly.
- The portal has brought the departments of agriculture and
farmer’s welfare,revenue, food civil supplies and consumer affairs and science
and technology on a single platform for the betterment of the farmers.
- The farmers will be required to upload information like (a)name
of crop sown (b)area under cultivation (c)cropping month (d)bank account
number and (e)mobile number.
- This system would also make crop damage assessment during
natural calamities and disbursal of relief easier.Also,the information
relating to sowing,harvesting season and mandi related information would
be provided on real time basis.
people on Kharchi Pooja
- The Prime Minister has greeted the people of Tripura on the
start of the auspicious Kharchi Puja.
- Kharchi Puja is one of the
most popular festivals in Tripura.It’s a week long Puja which falls in the
month of July on the eighth day of the new moon.
- This festival is celebrated at Agartala in the temple premises
of fourteen gods.The word Kharchi is derived from the word Khya which
means earth.Kharchi Puja is basically done to worship the earth.
- The Puja is also performed to wash out the sins and to clean
the post-menstrual phase of mother earth’s menstruation.
- On the day of the Puja,the fourteen gods are carried to river
Saidra by the members of chantai.The gods are bathed in the holy water and
are brought back to the temple.Further,animal sacrifice is also an
important part of this festival.
for ‘Plan Bee’ that helped save jumbos
- Plan bee has been given the best innovation award in Indian
Railways for the 2018-19 fiscal.
- Plan bee is an amplifying
system imitating the buzz of a swarm of honey bees to keep wild elephants
away from railway tracks.This strategy was adopted by the Northeast
- NFR officials have said that a mix of Plan Bee and other
measures have helped them save 1,014 elephants from 2014 to June 2019.
- Plan bee was adopted as there are 29 earmarked elephant
corridors with the operating zone of NFR spread across the north-eastern
states and parts of Bihar and West Bengal.
- But elephants have ventured into the path of trains even in
non-corridor areas often leading to accidents resulting in elephant
deaths.In this background,this plan was adopted.
safety code Bill gets Cabinet approval
- The Union Cabinet has approved a proposed Code on Occupational
Safety,Health and Working Conditions Bill,2019.The bill seeks to merge 13
central labour laws into a single code.
- The code will be applicable to all trades including IT
establishments and service sector where more than 10 workers are
employed.It will also be applicable to mines and docks that employ even
- The code makes it mandatory for employers to provide free
annual medical check-ups and issue appointment letters to all employees.
- Further,the multiple committees under five labour Acts would be
replaced by the National Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Board.The
code has also framed rules for women workers working night shifts.
- The Code on Occupational Safety,Health and Working Conditions
is one of the four codes that would subsume 44 labour laws.The four codes
will deal with (a)wages (b)social security, (c)industrial safety and
welfare and (d)industrial relations.
- Earlier,the Union Cabinet had approved the Code on Wages Bill
which seeks to subsume existing laws related to workers’ remuneration.
Sabha gives nod to arbitration Bill
- The lok Sabha has passed the New Delhi International
Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) Bill,2019.
- The Bill provides for setting up of an independent autonomous
body for institutional arbitration and to acquire and transfer the
undertakings of International Centre For Alternative Dispute Resolution
(ICADR) to NDIAC.
- The NDIAC will be headed by a chairperson who has been a judge
of the Supreme Court or a judge of a high court or an eminent person
having special knowledge and experience in the conduct or administration
- There is also a provision for appeal and Section 29 of the bill
deals with the time frame.It says that arbitration cases should be
disposed off within a year.
- The salient features of the bill are speedy appointment of
arbitrators through designated arbitral tribunals set up by the Supreme
Court and high courts without having to reach court in any matter.
- The NDIAC will also provide (a)facilities and administrative
assistance for conciliation, mediation and arbitral proceedings
(b)maintain panels of accredited arbitrators,conciliators and mediators
(c)provide timely services for the conduct of arbitrations and (d)promote
studies in the field of alternative dispute resolution.
- Arbitration is one of the methods of Alternative Dispute
Resolution (ADR).ADR is the procedure for settling disputes without
litigation. Arbitration is a procedure in which the dispute is submitted
to an arbitral tribunal which makes a decision on the dispute that is
binding on the parties.
can repeal Article 370 at will: Centre
- The government has said that Article 370 is a temporary
provision in the Constitution and Article 35A was added through a
Constitution order issued by the President of India.
- The government has also said that Jammu and Kashmir is an
integral part of India and matters relating to the Constitution are
internal and entirely for the Parliament to deal with.Hence,no foreign
government or organisation has any stake in the matter.
- This reply came on a question on whether repeal of Articles 370
and 35A will in any way violate any United Nations regulation or any
international obligation of the country.
- Article 370 is a temporary
provision granting special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir.
- Article 370 specifies that a) except for Defence,Foreign
Affairs,Finance and Communications the Indian Parliament needs the State
Government’s concurrence for applying all other laws b) the residuary
powers belong to the Legislature of the State and c) No preventive
detention law made in India extends to Jammu & Kashmir.
- Article 35-A was incorporated
in the Constitution in 1954 through Presidential order.It gives the Jammu
and Kashmir Legislature a complete freedom to decide,who are all
‘Permanent Residents’ of the State.
- Article 35-A provides them(a) special rights and privileges in
public sector jobs (b) acquisition of property in the State and
(c)scholarships as well as public aid and welfare.
to hold women startup summit
- The Kerala Startup Mission(KSUM) is hosting the Women Startup
Summit on August 1,2019.
- The summit will be held in association with the Indian Women
Network floated by Confederation of Indian Industry(CII).The theme of the
Summit is “Developing an Inclusive Entrepreneurship Ecosystem”.
- The summit aims at encouraging aspiring women professionals to
take up their entrepreneurial journey and developing an inclusive
entrepreneurship ecosystem in the State.
- Further,about 20 women startups shortlisted from the “She Loves
Tech” national grand challenge will be showcased in the summit.
- She Loves Tech 2019 Global
Startup Competition is a global platform for women entrepreneurs as well
as startups dedicated to improve the lives of women.
Mantri Evolves Methodology to Prevent Ammunition Accidents
- Defence Minister has chaired a meeting to review the
recommendations of the Task Force of Experts to evolve methodology to
prevent ammunition accidents and minimise its effects.
- The task force was headed by Philip Campose.He
explained the causes for ammunition accidents and brought out preventive
and mitigative measures.
- The task force emphasised that the safety of the soldiers and
the common people are of paramount importance.
- The task force lauded the efforts of Defence Research and
Development Organisation (DRDO) which has come up with several
scientifically designed ammunition store houses that prevents loss of life
even if accidents take place.
- The recommendations of the Task Force were appreciated by the
Defence Minister and gave directions to expedite implementation.
must rethink informal sector estimates:Pronab Sen
- Former Chief Statistician of India has said that Central
Statistics Office (CSO) needs to rethink how it estimates the growth of
the informal sector as the current method is no longer accurate.
- The current method uses the corporate sector data to estimate
the activity in the non-corporate sector.
- However,this works only as long as the technologies being used
in both sectors are reasonably similar.But Indian corporates especially
the large ones have been using greater technology and this is not the case
for the non-corporate sector.
- He said that one way in which the CSO could better estimate the
informal sector activity is to use employment data.
- The Central Statistics Office(CSO) is a
governmental agency in India under the Ministry of Statistics and
- It is responsible for coordination of statistical activities in
India and evolving and maintaining statistical standards.