Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 5, 2018

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Q.1) The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Finance to introduce the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018. In this context discuss the significance of this Bill. Why there is need for such law?(GS-2)

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Finance to introduce the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 in Parliament. The bill aims to tighten the noose on the wilful defaulters who tends to abscond the nation to evade the clutches of the law.

The Bill will give the right to the government to confiscate the property of such economic offenders in India and abroad. The Bill will also be applicable on the proxy-owned properties of the economic offenders. The Bill defines the economic offenders as those against whom a legal warrant has been issued, but they refuse to adhere to the summons of the legal authorities.

Significance of the Bill:

  • The Bill is expected to re-establish the rule of law with respect to the fugitive economic offenders as they would be forced to return to India to face trial for scheduled offences.
  • This would also help the banks and other financial institutions to achieve higher recovery from financial defaults committed by such fugitive economic offenders, improving the financial health of such institutions.
  • It is expected that the special forum to be created for expeditious confiscation of the proceeds of crime, in India or abroad, would coerce the fugitive to return to India to submit to the jurisdiction of Courts in India to face the law in respect of scheduled offences.

Need for a law in this regard:

  • There have been several instances of economic offenders fleeing the jurisdiction of Indian courts, anticipating the commencement, or during the pendency, of criminal proceedings.
  • The absence of such offenders from Indian courts has several deleterious consequences:

1-It hampers investigation in criminal cases;

2-It wastes precious time of courts of law; third, it undermines the rule of law in India.

  • Such cases of economic offences involve non-repayment of bank loans thereby worsening the financial health of the banking sector in India.
  • The existing civil and criminal provisions in law are not entirely adequate to deal with the severity of the problem.

Q.2)As per data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), human trafficking numbers rose by almost 20% in 2016 against the previous year. In this context discuss the relevance of  the newly approved Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018.(GS-1)

As per data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), human trafficking numbers rose by almost 20% in 2016 against the previous year. NCRB said there were 8,132 human trafficking cases last year against 6,877 in 2015, with the highest number of cases reported in West Bengal (44% of cases), followed by Rajasthan (17%). Of the 15,379 victims who were caught in trafficking, 10,150 were female and 5,229 males.

Significance of the Bill:

  • Trafficking in human beings is the third largest organized crime violating basic human rights. However, there is no specific law so far to deal with this crime.
  • The new Bill addresses one of the most pervasive yet invisible crimes affecting the most vulnerable persons especially women and children.
  •  The new law will make India a leader among South Asian countries to combat trafficking.
  • Trafficking is a global concern also affecting a number of South Asian nations.
  •  Presently, there is no single law dealing with human trafficking and the crime is covered under different acts administered by at least half-a-dozen ministries, including WCD, home, labour, health, Indian overseas affairs and external affairs.
  • The Bill identifies various forms of trafficking, including for the purposes of bonded labour and begging.

Q.3)Write  short note on  any two of the following:

a) Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) Scheme(GS 3)

b- Conservation Assured (CA)(GS-3)

c- Mega Food Park Scheme (GS-3)

a) Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) Scheme

Under RISE, all centrally-funded institutes (CFIs), including central universities, IITs, IIMs, NITs and IISERs, can borrow from a Rs 1,00,000 crore corpus over the next four years to expand and build new infrastructure. The initiative aims to step up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions, including health institutions.

Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) would be suitably structured for funding this initiative. The manner in which investment in institutions is provided is likely to be the same as is practised in HEFA, but there may be different windows for different institutions.

Funding from HEFA is expected to boost infrastructure, especially state-of-the-art laboratories, in key institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs).

In news:

IITs will corner the largest chunk of loans on offer under the new funding model — Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) — for all centrally-run institutes, announced in the Union Budget. A quarter of loan amount under the scheme will be set aside exclusively for the 23 IITs. The second largest share, Rs 20,000 crore, will be earmarked for central universities.

b) Conservation Assured (CA) (GS 3)

  • CA is a set of criteria which allows tiger sites to check if their management will lead to successful tiger conservation.
  • CA is organised under seven pillars and 17 elements of critical management activity.
  •  Officially launched in 2013, it is an important part of Tx2, the global goal to double wild tiger numbers by the year 2022.
  • Developed by WWF and partners, the Global Tiger Forum (GTF) has endorsed CA and has requested member countries to establish National Review Committees for purpose of initiating CA.
  • CA is an important tool in the achievement of the CBD’s Global Aichi Targets, in particular Aichi Target 11 and 12, and contributes to the implementation of the Programme of Work on Protected Areas, particularly the last goal related to Standards, Assessment and Monitoring.

c) Mega Food Park Scheme (GS 3)

  • To give a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with particular focus on perishables, Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing Mega Food Park Scheme in the country.
  •  Mega Food Parks create modern infrastructure facilities for food processing along the value chain from farm to market with strong forward and backward linkages through a cluster based approach.
  • Common facilities and enabling infrastructure is created at Central Processing Centre and facilities for primary processing and storage is created near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centers (PPCs) and Collection Centers (CCs).
  • The Mega Food Park project is implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is a Body Corporate registered under the Companies Act. However, State Government, State Government entities and Cooperatives are not required to form a separate SPV for implementation of Mega Food Park project.
  • Under the Scheme, Government of India provides financial assistance upto Rs. 50.00 Crore per Mega Food Park project.
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