Important Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Prelims 2021


Some sections or sub-topics are very important for UPSC Prelims. These sections cut across

Women’s panel defends draft Inheritance Bill

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Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The draft Arunachal Pradesh Marriage and Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021 has met with strong opposition in the State.

About Draft Arunachal Pradesh Marriage and Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021:

  1. The bill focuses on the provisions related to the legal status of marriage, the procedure of marriage registration, property right of the wife, widow’s rights, treating polygamy as an offence. 
  2. The two significant contributions of the bill is with respect to the criminalization of polygamy (prospectively means second marriage held before the law comes into force will not be affected) and the property right of the legally wedded wife and widow. 
Why is the bill being opposed?
  1. One of the clauses of the bill deals with the ‘Right of an APST (Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe) woman married to non-APST on immovable property owned and acquired by her’.
  2. The clause states that an APST woman shall enjoy the right of any immovable property owned and acquired by her in her lifetime. 
  3. In the event of her death, her husband and her heir would have full rights of its disposal and alienation to any indigenous tribe of Arunachal Pradesh.
  4. This provision is seen as an invitation to outsiders to take over tribal land through marriage. Further, this provision is also considered against the customary practice.
  5. Hence, due to this, the draft Bill is termed as “anti-tribal”, “anti-Arunachal”.
What do the organizations want now?
  1. The Student Organizations has said that they will not allow the Bill to be passed in the State Assembly unless a tribal woman who marries anyone belonging to non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (non-APST) is stripped of her ST status and benefits.
Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Bills and Acts, PUBLICTagged , , ,

Candy sticks to earbuds: Govt bans single-use plastic from 2022

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Source: Indian Express, The Hindu and PIB

What is the News?

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021. 

Main Purpose of the Rules:
  1. The rules aim to prohibit the use of specific single-use plastic items which have “low utility and high littering potential” by 2022.
Key Provisions of the Rules:

Range of Plastics Banned:

  1. The manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of the following single-use plastic commodities shall be prohibited with effect from the 1st July, 2022:
    • Earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene [Thermocol] for decoration; 
    • Plates, cups, glasses, cutlery, wrapping or packaging films around sweet boxes, invitation cards,  and cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers.
The thickness of Plastic bags:
  1. The permitted thickness of the plastic bags, currently 50 microns, will be increased to 75 microns from 30th September 2021, and to 120 microns from 31st December 2022.
  2. This is because plastic bags with higher thickness are more easily handled as waste and have higher recyclability.

Plastic Wastes not banned:

  1. Compostable Plastics: The ban will not apply to commodities made of compostable plastic.
    • Instead of using plastic made from petrochemicals and fossil fuels, compostable plastics are derived from renewable materials like corn, potato, and tapioca starches, cellulose, etc. These plastics are non-toxic and decompose back into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass when composted.
  2. Plastic Packaging waste which is not covered under the phase-out of identified single-use plastic items should be collected and managed in an environmentally sustainable way through the Extended Producer Responsibility as per Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
    • Extended Producer Responsibility is a policy approach in which producers take responsibility for the management of the disposal of products they produce once those products are designated as no longer useful by consumers.
Other Plastic Commodities:
  1. For banning other plastic commodities in the future, other than those that have been listed in this notification, the government has given the industry ten years from the date of notification for compliance.
Implementation of Rules:
  1. The Central Pollution Control Board, along with state pollution bodies, will monitor the ban, identify violations, and impose penalties already prescribed under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986.

Terms to know:

 

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Environment, PUBLICTagged , , ,

Lok Sabha passes Constitution amendment Bill to restore states’ powers on OBC list

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Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

Lok Sabha has unanimously passed the Constitution (127th Amendment) Bill, 2021.

About Constitution (127th Amendment) Bill, 2021:

Main Purpose of the Bill:

  • The Bill amends the Constitution to allow states and union territories to prepare their own list of socially and educationally backward classes

Key Provisions of the Bill:

List of socially and educationally backward classes: 
  • The National Commission for Backward Classes(NCBC) was established under the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.  
  • The Constitution (One Hundred and Second Amendment) Act, 2018 gave constitutional status to the NCBC, and empowered the President to notify the list of socially and educationally backward classes for any state or union territory for all purposes. 
  • The 2021 Bill amends this to provide that the President may notify the list of socially and educationally backward classes only for purposes of the central government. This central list will be prepared and maintained by the central government.  
  • Further, the Bill enables states and union territories to prepare their own list of socially and educationally backward classes.  This list must be made by law and may differ from the central list.

Consultation with the NCBC:

  • Article 338B of the Constitution mandates the central and state governments to consult the NCBC on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.  
  • The Bill exempts states and union territories from this requirement for matters related to the preparation of their list of socially and educationally backward classes.
Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Polity and Nation, PUBLICTagged , , ,

Air Quality Commission Bill for National Capital Region cleared

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Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

Lok Sabha has passed the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021.

About Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021:

  • The Bill provides for the constitution of a Commission for better coordination, research, identification, and resolution of problems related to air quality in the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining areas.
    • Adjoining areas have been defined as areas in states of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh adjoining the NCR where any source of pollution may cause an adverse impact on air quality in the NCR.
  • The bill also dissolves the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority established in the NCR in 1998.

Key Features of the Bill:

Functions of the Commission: 
  • Planning and executing plans to prevent and control air pollution in the NCR
  • Providing a framework for identification of air pollutants,
  • Conducting research and development through networking with technical institutions among others.
Powers of the Commission:
  • Restricting activities influencing air quality
  • Investigating and conducting research related to environmental pollution impacting air quality
  • Preparing codes and guidelines to prevent and control air pollution and
  • Issuing directions on matters including inspections, or regulations which will be binding on the concerned person or authorities among others.

Note: In case of any conflict, the orders or directions of the Commission will prevail over the orders of the respective state governments, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), state PCBs, and state-level statutory bodies.

Composition:
  • The Commission will consist of a Chairperson and others members. The Chairperson and members of the Commission will have a tenure of three years or till the age of seventy years, whichever is earlier.
  • It will also include ex-officio members from the central government and concerned state governments and technical members from CPCB, the Indian Space Research Organisation and NITI Aayog.
Penalties:
  • Contravention of provisions of the orders and directions of the Commission will be punishable with imprisonment of up to five years, or a fine of up to one crore rupees, or both.
  • All appeals against the Commission’s orders will be heard by the National Green Tribunal.
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Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Bill 2021 passed in Parliament

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Source: PIB

What is the News?

Parliament has passed the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

Purpose of the Bill:

  • The bill seeks to amend the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008.
  • The 2008 Act established the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA).
    • AERA regulates tariffs and other charges (such as airport development fees) for aeronautical services rendered at major airports in India.

Click here to read the Key Features Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021

 

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Govt. introduces Bill on insurance firms

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Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The Government of India has introduced the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021.

Purpose of the Bill:
  • The Bill introduces amendments to the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972 to enable the privatisation of public sector insurance companies.
Key Features of the Bill:
  • Reduces Shareholding Limit: The Bill removes a clause that requires the Centre to hold at least 51% shares in the public sector insurance companies.
    • Currently, there are four public sector general insurance companies — National Insurance Company Limited, New India Assurance Company Limited, Oriental Insurance Company Limited, and United India Insurance Company Limited.
  • Applicability of the Act: The bill includes a new section that states that the applicability of the Act ceases from the date the central government relinquishes control over an insurer.
  • Liability of Director: The Bill makes the director of an insurer who is not a whole-time director liable for any acts of omission or commission committed with his knowledge and consent.
Significance of the Bill:
  • The Bill will allow private participation in public sector insurance companies with the government reducing its shareholding.
  • Moreover, the bill has tightened the noose around directors (other than whole-time directors).
Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Bills and Acts, PUBLIC

Amendments to Act regulating major airports passed in LS

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Source: Livemint

Introduced: Rajya Sabha (12th July 2019)

Passed: Rajya Sabha (16th July 2019)

Passed: Lok Sabha (2nd August 2019)

Present status: Received assent of the President on 6th August 2019

The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

Purpose of the Bill:
  • The Bill seeks to amend the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008.
  • The 2008 Act established the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA).
    • AERA regulates tariffs and other charges (such as airport development fees) for aeronautical services rendered at major airports in India.
Key provisions of the Bill:
 1. Definition of Major Airports:
  1. The 2008 Act designates an airport as a major airport if it has an annual passenger traffic of at least 35 lakh.
  2. The central government may also designate any airport as a major airport by a notification.
  3. The Bill adds that the central government may group airports and notify the group as a major airport.

2. Tariff:

  1. The amendment will allow AERA to regulate tariff and other charges for aeronautical services for not just major airports with annual passenger traffic of more than 35 lakh, but also a group of airports

3. Clubbing of Airports:

  • The bill will allow the government to club profitable and non-profitable airports as a combination/package to bidders to make it a viable combination for investment under PPP (Public-Private Partnership) mode.
Benefits of the Amendment:
  • The Bill will pave the way for the privatization of a small, loss-making airport by clubbing it with a larger airport.
    • The government has already decided to privatize airports at Amritsar, Varanasi, Bhubaneshwar, Indore, Raipur, and Tiruchirapalli. But it is yet to finalize smaller airports that can be paired with them for disinvestment.
  • Moreover, the bill will also help in expanding the air connectivity to relatively remote areas and as a result, expediting the UDAN regional connectivity scheme.
Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Bills and Acts, PUBLIC

Distressing’ and ‘shocking’ that people are still tried under Section 66A of IT Act, says SC

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Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has expressed shock at the practice of police registering FIRs under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act. The act was struck down by the SC in the 2015 judgment in the Shreya Singhal case.

What is the issue?
  • A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). The petition seeks various directions and guidelines against the FIRs under the struck-down provision of Section 66A.
  • The plea has stated that as many as a total of 745 cases are still pending and active before the District Courts in 11 States under 66A of the IT Act.
  • Moreover, Section 66A has continued to be in use not only within police stations but also in cases before trial courts across India.
What has the Supreme Court said?
  • The Supreme Court has termed the continued use of Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 as a shocking state of affairs and sought a response from the Centre.

About Section 66A:

  • Section 66A defines the punishment for sending “offensive” messages through a computer or any other communication device like a mobile phone or a tablet.
  • A conviction can fetch a maximum of three years in jail and a fine.
What were the issues with the Act?
  • The vagueness about what is “offensive”. The word has a very wide connotation and is open to distinctive, varied interpretations.
  • Hence, it was subjective and what may be fine for one person, may lead to a complaint from someone else. Consequently, an arrest under Section 66A if the police prima facie accepts the latter person’s view.

Terms to know 

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Bills and Acts, Factly: Polity and Nation, PUBLIC

Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021

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Present Status: Open for public suggestions till 14th Jul 2021
About Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021
  • Objectives:
    • To prevent and counter trafficking in persons, especially women and children.
    • To provide for care, protection, and rehabilitation to the victims, while respecting their rights
    • To create a supportive legal, economic and social environment for the victims
    • To ensure prosecution of offenders
  • The bill has increased the scope of the nature of offenses of trafficking as well as the kind of victims of these offenses with stringent penalties.
  • Ministry: Women and Child Development (WCD)
  • A previous draft of the bill (The Trafficking of Persons Bill 2018) was passed in the Lok Sabha in 2018 but was never introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
Key Provisions of the Bill:
  • Definition: The bill defines exploitation to include the exploitation of the person for prostitution or other forms. Which includes pornography, forced labour, forced removal of organs or illegal clinical drug trials.
  • Includes Transgender: The bill extends beyond the protection of women and children as victims. It now includes transgenders as well as any person who may be a victim of trafficking.
  • Victim Definition: The bill does away with the provision that a victim necessarily needs to be transported from one place to another to be defined as a victim of trafficking.
  • Application: The law will apply to all citizens of India, within and outside the country, persons on any ship or aircraft registered in India wherever it may be or carrying Indian citizens wherever they may be, and a foreign national or a stateless person who has residence in India. It also says the law shall apply to every offence of trafficking in persons with cross-border implications.
  • Punishment: The Punishment will be for a minimum of seven years period, which can go up to an imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of Rs 5 lakh. However, in cases of the trafficking of more than one child, the penalty is life imprisonment. In certain cases, even the death penalty can be sought.
    • More severe penalties in case of aggravated offences, like death of a victim.
  • Nodal Investigative Agency: National Investigation Agency (NIA) shall act as the national investigating and coordinating agency responsible for prevention and combating of trafficking in persons.
  • National Anti Trafficking Committee: Once the bill becomes an Act, the central government will notify and set up a National Anti Trafficking Committee, while state governments will set up these committees at state and district levels to ensure effective implementation.
  • Jurisdiction: The bill will extend to all citizens inside as well as outside India. It will also be applied to every offence of trafficking in persons with cross-border implications.
  • Seizing of Property: Property bought via trafficking as well as used for trafficking can now be forfeited, similar to that of the money laundering Act.
  • Expands coverage: The scope of the Bill vis a vis offenders will now also include defence personnel and government servants, doctors and paramedical staff or anyone in a position of authority. Penalty for the guilty will include life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 30 lakh.
Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Bills and Acts, PUBLICTagged

Juvenile Justice Act inadequate in dealing with juveniles under-16

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Source: TOI

What is the news?

The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court has observed that the present law (Juvenile Justice Act) dealing with children aged below 16 in heinous-crime cases as juvenile offenders is “totally inadequate and ill equipped”.

Background

Court made the observations on June 25 while dismissing a criminal revision petition regarding bail sought by a 15-year-old boy accused of raping a 10-year-old girl.

  • The boy’s bail plea was denied by the Juvenile Justice Board on February 2. He appealed in the sessions court, which upheld the Juvenile Justice Board’s decision on March 2, after which the boy’s counsel filed a criminal revision petition in the HC.
Also Read: Juvenile Justice Act 2015
What did the court say?

Court made some scathing observations regarding juvenile justice act and the role of the legislature.

  • It remarked that no lessons had been learned from the Nirbhaya case “as the age of a child is still kept below 16 years in heinous offences under Section 15 of the JJ Act. This gives a free hand to delinquents under the age of 16 to commit heinous offences”. It wondered “how many such sacrifices would be needed”. Thus, apparently, despite committing a heinous offence, the petitioner (15-year-old boy in this case) will be tried as a juvenile only because he is less than 16 years old.
  • Also, the present law is present law dealing with children aged below 16 in heinous-crime cases as juvenile offenders is “totally inadequate and ill equipped”.
Also read: Should age threshold under Juvenile Justice Act be lowered?
Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Bills and Acts, PUBLICTagged , , ,

Repeal draft Cinematograph Bill: film fraternity writes to I&B ministry

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Source: Indian Express

 What is the News?

The Film Fraternity has written a letter to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting(I&B) to withdraw the Draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

About the Draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021.

  • The Draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021 makes an amendment to the Cinematograph Act,1952.
  • The bill gives the union government the power to ask for recertification of an already certified film if there is any complaint against it.
  • It also penalizes piracy and introduces age-based certification.

What are the concerns and suggestions raised by Film Fraternity against the Bill?

  • Role of CBFC: The Bill must clearly define the role of the Central Board of Film Certification(CBFC) as a body that certifies film content for public exhibition, and not as a censoring body.
  • Drop Central Government Powers on Film Certification: The amendment giving powers to the Central Government to revoke a film certificate must be dropped.
  • On Penalising Film Piracy: The existing law already penalizes piracy. Hence, there is no need to introduce further penal provisions. The bill should bring sufficient exceptions on fair use. The offense of piracy must also be made non-cognizable and bailable.
  • Age-Based Certification: The film fraternity has welcomed the age-based certification. But they have also asked for a guidance or grievance cell within the CBFC to address and arbitrate any public grievances or complaints about films.
  • Reinstate FCAT: The Film Fraternity has urged the government to reinstate the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT). It was abolished in April.
  • Clear Definition of Public Exhibition: The Cinematograph Act must be amended to include a clear definition of ‘public’ exhibition and bring under its purview only commercial films.
Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Bills and Acts, PUBLIC

Indian Vessels Bill, 2021

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Introduced: Lok Sabha (22nd Jul 2021)
Passed: Lok Sabha on 29.07.2021
Present status: Passed by Rajya Sabha on 2nd Aug 2021
About Indian Vessels Bill, 2021:
  • Indian Vessels Bill seeks to replace the Inland Vessels Act, 1917. The bill aims to regulate the safety, security and registration of inland vessels.
Key Features of the Indian Vessels Bill, 2021:
  •  Unified Law:
    • The Bill provides for a unified law for the entire country, instead of separate rules framed by the States.
    • This means that the certificate of registration granted under the proposed law will be deemed to be valid in all States and Union Territories.
    • Moreover, there will also be no need to seek separate permissions from the States.
  • Central Database of Vessels:
    • The Bill provides for a central database for recording the details of the vessel, vessel registration, crew on an electronic portal. The Bill defines such vessels to include ships, boats, sailing vessels, container vessels, and ferries.
  • Mandatory registration of Vessels:
    • The bill requires all mechanically propelled vessels to be mandatorily registered.
    • On the other hand, all non-mechanically propelled vessels will also have to be enrolled at the district, taluk or panchayat or village level.
  •  Prevention of pollution:
    • Vessels will discharge or dispose sewage, as per the standards specified by the central government. State governments will grant vessels a certificate of prevention of pollution, in a form as prescribed by the central government.
About Inland Waterways:
  • India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which comprises rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks among others.
  • About 55 million tonnes of cargo are being moved annually by Inland Water Transport (IWT), in a fuel-efficient and environment-friendly mode.

About Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI):

  • Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) was constituted in 1986 for the development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
  • Purpose: The Authority primarily undertakes projects for the development and maintenance of IWT infrastructure on national waterways. IWAI did this through the grants received from the Ministry of Shipping.

 

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Model Tenancy Act: Need and Challenges – Explained, pointwise.

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Introduction

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the Model Tenancy Act and circulated it to all States/Union Territories. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs had earlier released the draft guidelines in July 2019. The Act aims to bridge the trust deficit between tenants and landlords by clearly delineating their obligations. It aims to create a vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive rental housing market in the country.

However, the success of the act depends upon the ground level realisation of the notified provisions. Further, it is not binding on states as Land is a state subject under List 2 of the Seventh Schedule. Therefore, optimum benefits would be generated only when states adopt the act in letter and spirit. 

Salient features of the Model Tenancy Act
  • Mandatory Rent Agreement: The act makes it mandatory to create a written lawful rent agreement between the owner and tenant. 
  • Rent Authority: The Act requires establishing rent authorities in every district to regulate renting of premises. 
    • Both the landlord and tenant will have to submit a copy of the rent agreement to the district Rent Authority. 
    • The proposed authority will also provide a speedy adjudication mechanism for the resolution of disputes.
  • Tribunal and Courts: It calls for creating dedicated tribunals and courts for dealing with tenancy related disputes. 
  • Security Deposit: The act puts a cap on the amount of security deposit. It will be a maximum of two months of rent in case of residential premises and six months in case of non-residential premises.
  • Subletting: The act bars tenants from subletting the property in part or whole.
  • Vacating Rental Premises: It says that if a landlord has fulfilled all the conditions stated in the rent agreement, then the tenant has to vacate the premises. 
    • If the tenant fails to vacate the premises, then the landlord is entitled to double the monthly rent for the first two months and four times after that.
  • Increase in Rent: The rent can be revised according to the terms and conditions mentioned in the agreement. If there is no such agreement, the landowner will have to give a 3 months notice to the tenant before revising the rent.
  • Coverage: The Act will apply to premises rented for residential, commercial, or educational use but not for industrial use. It also won’t cover hotels, lodging, etc. This model law will be applied prospectively and will not affect existing tenancies.
Need of the Model Tenancy Act
  1. Obsolete Laws: The current tenancy regime is governed by the decades-old Rent Control Act, 1948 and its varied versions adopted by the state governments. 
    • These obsolete laws are more biased towards the tenant and were made with the sole intention of preventing exploitation of tenants by landlords.
    • Further, many of the old laws have not amended in over two decades, ensuring that the rent ceiling remains capped at the levels prevalent in the late 90s.
  2. Institutionalise the Rental Market: Currently, the rental market is largely informal in nature. The rents are raised anytime, summary eviction of tenants is quite common. Sometimes the malicious tenants are seen illegally occupying the rented property. All this would be curtailed by the enactment of the new act as it forbids verbal rental agreements. 
  3. Better Grievance Redressal: The establishment of a rent authority in every district and provision for rent courts/tribunals will enable quick and efficient settlement of disputes. The current process of dispute settlement through traditional courts is very long and expensive.
  4. Encourage Renting:  As per Census 2011, nearly 1.1 crore houses were lying vacant in urban areas across the country. The act gives sufficient rights to landowners, which may encourage greater renting and reduce homelessness.
  5. Preventing Unnecessary Financial Burden: The act places a cap of two months on the security deposit. This reduces financial strain on tenants and encourages more renting.
    • Currently, the security deposit in Mumbai and Bengaluru can reach 6-8 times the monthly rent.
  6. Respecting the privacy of the Tenant: The landlords in India have a habit of entering the rented property as per their will. It violates the tenant’s Right to Privacy under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. But now a notice of 24 hours needs to be given before entering. 
  7. Minimise creation of Unauthorised Colonies: As renting would be made safer and easier, therefore people would be disincentivized to live in slums and unauthorised colonies.
Challenges with the Model Tenancy Act
  1. Non-Binding nature: Land and Urban Development is a state subject. The states may or may not adopt the proposed law, as done by them in the case of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act.
  2. Prospective effect: The new model act would have a prospective effect. This means it would be applicable to future disputes only, hence past disputes would continue to linger on for years.
  3. Inadequate Security Cover: Security Cap for two months may not be enough to cover damages, especially during the last month when tenants adjust their rent in the security deposit.
  4. Lacunae in the formation of the Act: The act fails to properly define the term ‘habitation’. Further, it fails to mention the penalty if the owner delays in paying back the security deposit. Also, it is altogether silent on sudden leave and license arrangements.
Suggestions
  1. States must immediately adopt the Model Tenancy act as per their peculiar needs. However, they should refrain from diluting the true spirit of the act like the West Bengal did it with WB HIRA
  2. Further, they can allow retrospective application of the act for some specific set of cases in order to expedite the grievance redressal process.
  3. States will have to invest time and resources to set up rent authorities, rent tribunals and rent courts for effective implementation of the Model Tenancy Act.
Conclusion

The government has laid a good framework that balances the social welfare of tenants and the economic interests of landlords. The states now just need to adopt the Model Tenancy Act as per their peculiar requirements. This will help them in releasing the dream of Housing for All by 2022.

Posted in 7 PM, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged

Model Tenancy Act

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Introduced: The Bill was introduced as a Government Bill (Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs)
Present Status: Model Act is enacted and circulated to States
Aim of the Act:
  • To create a vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive rental housing market in the country.
  • It will address the issue of homelessness by creating adequate rental housing stock for all the income groups. It aims towards the goal of housing for all by 2022.
  • Lastly, it will institutionalize rental housing by gradually shifting it towards the formal market.
Coverage:
  • The Act will apply to premises rented for residential, commercial, or educational use but not for industrial use. It also won’t cover hotels, lodging, etc.
  • This model law will be applied prospectively and will not affect existing tenancies.
Key Features of the Model Tenancy Act:
Tenancy agreement:
  • The Model Act states that to rent any premises, a written agreement must be signed between the landlord and the tenant. The agreement must specify:
    • the rent payable
    • the time period for the tenancy
    • terms and period for revision of rent
    • the security deposit to be paid in advance
    • reasonable causes for entry of landlord into the premises, and
    • responsibilities to maintain premises.
Rent Authority:
  • The Act requires establishing rent authorities in every district to regulate renting of premises. Authority will protect the interests of landlords and tenants.
  • The proposed authority will also provide a speedy adjudication mechanism for the resolution of disputes.
Security Deposit:
  • The act puts a cap on the amount of security deposit. It will be a maximum of two months of rent in case of residential premises and six months in case of non-residential premises.
  • Currently, this amount differs from one city to another. For instance, in Delhi, the deposit is usually two-three times the monthly rent, but in Mumbai and Bengaluru, it can be over six times the monthly rent.
Increase in Rent:
  • The rent can be revised according to the terms and conditions mentioned in the agreement.
  • If there is no such agreement, the landowner will have to give a notice in writing to the tenant, three months before the due date of revised rent.
Vacating Rental Premises:
  • The act has provided a mechanism for vacating the premises. It says that if a landlord has fulfilled all the conditions stated in the rent agreement – giving notice, etc., then the tenant has to vacate the premises.
  • If the tenant fails to vacate the premises on the expiration of the period of tenancy or termination of tenancy, then the landlord is entitled to double the monthly rent for two months and four times after that.
Entering of Rental Premises:
  • Every landlord or the property manager may enter the rented premises in certain conditions. Like he/she needs to serve a notice, in writing or through electronic mode, to the tenant at least twenty-four hours before the time of entry.

Sub-letting:

  • Under the Model Act, sub-letting is prohibited unless allowed through a supplementary agreement.

Note: Model acts are not binding on states. They merely suggest provisions that either can be accepted as it is by states or with modification. States may also completely ignore these acts. Furthermore, Land is a state subject and only states can legislate to regulate the housing market.

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Bills and Acts, PUBLICTagged

Impact of New FCRA Rules on Relief Work of NGOs – Explained, Pointwise

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Introduction

The second wave of Pandemic has struck the country very hard. There has been an enormous rise in Covid-19 cases reaching around 4 lakh/day. This necessitates active participation from all the stakeholders including NGOs. However, NGOs are not able to contribute much due to the stringent conditions imposed on them by the Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment) Act 2020 and Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment) Rules 2020.

There are a lot of donors who are willing to send money/Covid-19 related equipment like ventilators, oxygen cylinders, etc. via NGOs and hospitals. However, the new rules are acting as a big hurdle to them. Christian Educational Society (NGO) has even filed a petition in the High court. It has demanded relaxation against the mandatory opening of an FCRA account at SBI, New Delhi branch. In this article, we will focus on the concerning rules and provide some suggestions for improving the present situation.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act:
  • It is an act of Parliament enacted in 1976 and amended in 2010. It was to regulate foreign donations and to ensure that such contributions do not adversely affect internal security.
  • Coverage: It is applicable to all associations, groups, and NGOs which intend to receive foreign donations.
  • Registration: It is mandatory for all such NGOs to register themselves under the FCRA. The registration is initially valid for five years. Further, it can be renewed subsequently if they comply with all norms.
  • Registered NGOs can receive foreign contributions for five purposes — social, educational, religious, economic, and cultural. There are 22,591 FCRA registered NGOs.
Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment), Act 2020:
  • Transfer of foreign contribution: Under the Act, foreign contribution cannot be transferred to any other person unless such person is also registered for that purpose.
    • The amendment also forbids sub-granting by NGOs to smaller NGOs who work at the grassroots.
  • FCRA account: The act states that foreign contributions must be received only in an FCRA account opened in the State Bank of India, New Delhi Branch. No funds other than the foreign contribution should be received or deposited in this account.
  • Regulation: The Act states that a person may accept foreign contributions if 
    • They have obtained a certificate of registration from the central government or 
    • They have taken prior permission from the government to accept foreign contributions. 
  • Aadhar usage: The act makes it compulsory for all trustees to register their Aadhaar card with the FCRA account.
    • The Act also makes Aadhaar a mandatory identification document. It is for all the office bearers, directors, and other key functionaries of an NGO.
  • Restriction in utilisation of foreign contribution: The act gives government powers to stop utilization of foreign funds by an organization through a “summary enquiry”.
  • Reduction in use of foreign contribution for administrative purposes: The act decreases administrative expenses through foreign funds by an organization to 20% from 50% earlier.
    • Administrative expenses include salary, office rental, furnishing, stationery, communication, and transport.
  • Surrender of certificate: The act allows the central government to permit a person to surrender their registration certificate.
 Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment) Rules 2020:
  • New rules require any organization that wants to register itself under the FCRA to have existed for at least three years. Further, it should have spent a minimum of Rs. 15 lakh on its core activities during the last three financial years for the benefit of society.
  • Office bearers of the NGOs seeking registration under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act must submit a specific commitment letter from the donor. It should indicate the amount of foreign contribution and the purpose for which it is proposed to be given.
  • Any NGO or person making an application for obtaining prior permission to receive foreign funds shall have an FCRA Account.
Current Scenario:
  • Christian Educational Society (NGO) has filed a plea in Delhi High Court. 
  • It demands an extension of 6 months for the opening of an FCRA account with State Bank of India, New Delhi Branch. 
  • Further, it desires to set aside the restriction on receiving foreign contributions in existing FCRA accounts for 6 months from 1 April 2021.
  • Both the requests are made aimed to smoothen its economic, educational, and social activities.
  • Similarly, on May 3, the government permitted imports without GST levies for pandemic relief material donated from abroad for free distribution in the country. However, no FCRA exemption was granted for this purpose. 
Issues in implementing the amended rules during the pandemic:
  1. First, there are considerable administrative delays in the functioning of banks and ministries. 
    • For instance, the Christian Educational Society (NGO) had applied to open the account at the SBI Delhi branch before the March 31 deadline. However, the administrative delays prevented the opening. It, later on, filed a petition for a 6-month relaxation.
    • Similarly, in some cases, the Ministry failed to authorize a form sent by the SBI. It, thereby, prevented the eligible NGOs from receiving foreign funds.
  2. Second, NGOs are also facing severe inconvenience in submitting the necessary papers and personal documents of trustees and other members. This inconvenience is created as members live at different locations and various regions are under a lockdown.
    • Due to this, NGOs are not able to receive foreign contribution in their existing non-SBI FCRA account nor are they able to open a primary FCRA account with SBI to receive foreign contribution.
  3. Third, the government has adopted a suspicious stance towards NGOs. They perceive them to be rule breakers by default and take strict action against them. This has resulted in the cancellation of FCRA registration of around 16500 NGOs since 2014.
  4. Fourth, the new rules pay disregard to the successful NGO partnership model across the world. Under this, the focus is placed on establishing a synergy between urban and hinterland regions. 
    • Urban professionals are better trained to raise funds, lobby with the government for policy changes, grants, etc. On the other hand, field workers are better acquainted with ground conditions, people, and their culture and issues at the local level. 
Impact of stricter rules:
  1. Firstly, the NGOs are spending more time doing paperwork than on the ground. This has reduced the ambit of development works carried on by them.
    • Covid 19 relief work, Community work involving awareness building, legal and constitutional literacy, participatory research, etc. have been hit by the new rules.
  2. Secondly, Indian entities (including hospitals and charitable trusts) can’t receive COVID-19 relief material from foreign donors. Unless they are registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) with a stated objective involving the provision of medical care.
    • This has jeopardized some large donors’ plans to buy equipment like oxygen plants and concentrators for Indian hospitals and smaller charities.
  3. Thirdly, the new rules have enhanced compliance formalities which have made it very difficult to run an NGO. This has resulted in the closure of many NGOs and the livelihood loss of people working in them.
    • For instance, the capping of administrative expenditure at 20% has made them unviable. This is especially true for NGOs hiring professionals like lawyers and doctors who charge hefty fees for their services.
  4. Fourthly, the new rules have made ‘sub granting illegal. Due to this, big NGOs based in Delhi or Mumbai are not able to subgrant their foreign funds to implement programs via partner organizations in districts and villages.
Suggestions:
  • The government should issue a clarification on exempting the receiver/importer of Covid related material from complying with the FCRA provisions.
  • The Delhi high court should give a quick decision over the request for a 6-month extension on the 31st March 2021 deadline for opening an FCRA account at SBI, New Delhi.
  • The government should adopt a liberal stance towards the NGOs. They must be allowed grace periods to file papers or other documents rather than outrightly canceling their registration for non-compliance.
  • Further, the state governments should set up an NGO coordination center at the local level as recommended by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
Conclusion

Civil society supplements government works and works at the grass-roots level. They should be given due freedom and autonomy to support the needs of communities and provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted in 7 PM, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged

FCRA Amendments are Crippling Work of NGOs

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What is the News?

The FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Amendment) Act, 2020 has affected the work of many NGOs. They are facing difficulties in receiving foreign funds.

FCRA Amendment Act, 2020:
  • The amendment has made it compulsory for the NGOs to open an exclusive Bank account with the State Bank of India in New Delhi to receive foreign donations.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs had given the deadline of March 31st, 2021 to open this bank account.
What is the issue with this amendment?
  • Firstly, a was petition filed in the Delhi High Court seeking exemption from the Union Home Ministry’s March 31 deadline to open an FCRA account with the SBI branch in New Delhi.
  • Secondly, the petitioner argued that it had applied to open the account before the March 31 deadline.
  • Thirdly, the administrative delays in approval by the bank and Ministry severely are causing many troubles for them. It restricted activities of NGOs including providing COVID-19 relief and paying urgent salaries of staff, and also affected its charitable and educational activities.
  • Hence, the Delhi High Court has now issued a notice to Union Home Ministry for a reply.
 About FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act):
  • Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act is an act of Parliament enacted in 1976 and amended in 2010 to regulate foreign donations. It aimed to ensure that such contributions do not adversely affect internal security.
  • Coverage: It is applicable to all associations, groups, and NGOs which intend to receive foreign donations.
  • Registration: An FCRA registration is mandatory for NGOs to receive foreign funds.
  • Purpose: Registered NGOs can receive foreign contributions for five purposes — social, educational, religious, economic and cultural.

Click Here to Read about FCRA

Source: The Hindu


 

 

Voluntary Organisations

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Bills and Acts, Factly: Polity and Nation, PUBLICTagged

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021

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Introduced: Lok Sabha (15th Mar 2021)

Passed: Lok Sabha passed GNCTD Bill (22nd Mar 2021)

Passed: Rajya Sabha passed GNCTD Bill (24th Mar 2021)

Present Status: Assent granted. Converted to an Act

About GNCTD Amendment Act 2021

Objectives:

  • Define the responsibilities of the elected government and the Lt. Governor (LG)
  • Create a harmonious relationship between the Legislature and the Executive
  • To ensure better governance in the NCT of Delhi. Further, it aims to improve the implementation of schemes and programmes meant for the common people of Delhi.
Key provisions of the Act:
  • “Government” to mean “Lieutenant Governor (LG)”: The expression ‘Government’ referred to in any law to be made by the Legislative Assembly shall mean the Lieutenant Governor(LG).
  • Widening of Discretionary Powers of LG: The Act gives discretionary powers to the LG. This power is extended to LG even in matters where the Legislative Assembly of Delhi is empowered to make laws.
  • Proceedings of Delhi Assembly: The Act curbs the Delhi Assembly’s power to conduct its proceedings as per the rules of procedure made by it. It provides that the Rules made by the Delhi Legislative Assembly must be consistent with the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Lok Sabha.
  • Opinion of LG: The Act provides that if the LG specifies then the opinion of the LG must be obtained before taking any executive decisions of the Delhi Government.
  • Administrative Activities: The Legislative Assembly cannot make rules to consider matters of the day-to-day administration. Further, the Assembly cannot conduct any probe into administrative decisions. All such rules made before the enactment of this Act will be void.
  • Reserve Bills: The L-G also has to reserve bills that cover any of the matters outside the purview of the Legislative Assembly for the consideration of the President.

Source: PIB

 

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Bills and Acts, PUBLICTagged

The National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions (NCAHP) Bill, 2020

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Introduced: Rajya Sabha (15th Sep 2020)

Passed: Rajya Sabha (16th Mar 2021)

Passed: Lok Sabha (24th Mar 2021)

Present Status: Assent granted. Converted to an Act.

About National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions [NCAHP] Bill, 2020 

Objective:

  • The Bill seeks to regulate and standardize the education and practice of allied and healthcare professionals.
  • Ministry: Health and Family Welfare

Allied health professionals and their role in the delivery of healthcare services-

Allied health professionals are individuals engaged in the delivery of health or related care. Their area of expertise includes therapeutic, diagnostic, curative, preventive, and rehabilitative interventions.

Role- They are the first to recognize the problems of the patients and serve as safety nets. Their awareness of patient care accountability adds tremendous value to the healthcare team in both the public and private sectors.

Key provisions of the NCAHP bill 2020
  1. Definition of Allied health professional: The Bill defines an allied health professional as an associate, technician, or technologist. The professional, who is trained to support the diagnosis and treatment of any illness, disease, injury, or impairment. For example- The bill recognizes over 50 professions such as physiotherapists, optometrists, nutritionists, medical laboratory professionals, radiotherapy technology professionals.
  2. Healthcare professional: A ‘healthcare professional’ includes a scientist, therapist, or any other professional who studies, advises, researches, supervises, or provides preventive, curative, rehabilitative, therapeutic, or promotional health services.  Such a professional should have obtained a degree under this Bill.  The duration of the degree should be at least 3,600 hours (over a period of three to six years).
  3. The bill uses the International System of Classification of Occupations (ISCO code) to classify allied professionals.
    • This allows for greater global mobility and better prospects for such professionals.
    • It will benefit up to 8-9 lakh current allied and healthcare professionals.
  4. The establishment of a central statutory body as a National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions. It shall perform the following functions:
    • To frame policies and standards.
    • To govern professional conduct.
    • Also, to recommend credentials.
    • Further, to establish and maintain a central registry.
  5. Professional Councils: The Commission will constitute a Professional Council for every recognised category of allied and healthcare professions.  The Professional Council will consist of a president and four to 24 members, representing each profession in the recognised category.  The Commission may delegate any of its functions to this Council.
  6. The Bill has the provision for state allied and healthcare councils to execute major functions through autonomous boards.
    • The state councils are in charge of implementation, while the National Commission is in charge of policy formulation.
  7. Offences and penalties: No person is allowed to practice as a qualified allied and healthcare practitioner other than those enrolled in a State Register or the National Register.  Any person who contravenes this provision will be punished with a fine of Rs 50,000.

Why government’s recognition of allied healthcare professionals is a paradigm shift?

  • Stressful life due to modern lifestyle, rapid urbanization
  • Rising chronic non-communicable disease burden.
  • An increasing proportion of elderly people.

The above issues require a change in healthcare delivery methods. Therefore, trained, allied health professionals are needed to care for patients with mental illnesses, the elderly, those in need of palliative treatment. Also, it will enable professional services for lifestyle change related to physical activity and diets.

Way forward-
  • Allied healthcare professionals are an important part of the medical profession. Their contribution is equal to, if not greater than, that of doctors.
  • The law would increase job opportunities for allied and healthcare professionals and also provide dignity to their valuable works.

Source- The Indian Express 

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged

Issues in the MTP Amendment Bill

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Synopsis: The Medical Termination of Pregnancy or MTP Amendment bill is a step forward in recognising the rights of women. But it is not a giant leap.

Introduction:

The 1971 Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act aims to reduce the maternal mortality ratio due to unsafe abortions in India. The amendments made a few significant updates to the 1971 Act.

Salient provisions of The MTP Act, 1971:
  1. The act allows a woman to terminate her pregnancy within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. After consulting an RMP (registered medical practitioner) woman can terminate her pregnancy.
  2. If a woman want to terminate her pregnancy between 12-20 weeks, she needs to get an opinion from 2 RMPs.
  3. The Medical practitioners have to ascertain that continuance of the pregnancy would risk the life of the pregnant woman or substantial risk (Physical or mental abnormalities) to the child if it is born
Salient provisions of the MTP Amendment Bill:
  1. The amendment extends the upper limit for permitting abortions from the current 20 weeks to 24 weeks. 
  2. The opinion of one RMP is required for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation. (Between 20 weeks to 24 weeks the opinion of two RMP’s is required).
  3. The Amendment also allows the termination of pregnancy beyond 24 weeks if there are foetal anomalies.
  4. Formation of the medical boards in each state by State governments for this specific purpose(termination of pregnancy after 24 weeks).
  5. Further, the amendment facilitates abortion of “unmarried women also. As the amendment replaced the word ‘husband’ with the word ‘partner’. For the first time, the amendment of the MTP Act moved beyond marital relationships.
The problems in the MTP Amendment Bill:

But the MTP Amendment falls short of few important things. Such as,

  1. The amendment does not address the heart of any debate on abortions. That is a woman as an agency of reproduction.
  2. The key decision-maker regarding the termination of pregnancy after 24 weeks should be the woman and her gynaecologist (for deciding the health of the woman/foetus). Instead, the amendment created a Board of specialists. The board will make the woman undergo a difficult process before such an abortion. Sometimes the cases will also get decided in courts.
  3.  The Amendment is not in line with the global trend. Over 60 countries allow women to abort their pregnancy at any point during their 10-month gestation.
Suggestions to improve the MTP Amendment Bill:
  1. Because of a lack of development in medical technology, the 1971 Act prescribes the 12-week limit. As it is not safe for pregnant women to abort after 12-weeks.
    • But with the advancement of medical technology, it is safe to abort at any stage during their gestation. So the government has to remove the gestation limit in the Amendment.
  2. Fundamental change in mindset is the need of the hour. Until women are seen as an agent of reproduction, nothing will change in reality.

So, the improvement of the MTP Amendment is not a holistic one. Instead, it is a minor update.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulationsTagged

IBC Amendment Ordinance 2021 Allows “Pre-Pack Insolvency Resolution”

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What is the news? The President of India promulgates the IBC Amendment Ordinance 2021. It allows the use of Pre-Pack insolvency resolution.

About Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021:

  • IBC Amendment Ordinance 2021 amends the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  • The Amendment allows the use of Pre-Packaged insolvency resolution as an alternative resolution mechanism for MSMEs. The threshold limit to trigger the Pre-Packaged insolvency resolution is between Rs 10 lakh to 1 Crore.
What is Pre-Pack insolvency resolution?
  • A pre-pack resolution is a form of restructuring that allows creditors and debtors to work on an informal plan and then submit it for approval.
  • Under this system, financial creditors will agree to the terms of a potential investor. Further, they will seek approval of the resolution plan from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
  • However, the resolution plan cannot be submitted directly to NCLT. It requires approval of a minimum of 66% of financial creditors that are unrelated to the corporate debtor before submission of a resolution plan.
  • Further, NCLTs also require to consider any application for a pre-pack insolvency proceeding before considering a Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process(CIRP).
    • CIRP is the process of resolving corporate insolvency according to the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
Benefits of Pre-Packs over CIRP:

Quicker Resolution:

  • One of the key criticisms of the CIRP is the time taken for resolution. At the end of December 2020, over 86% of the ongoing insolvency resolution proceedings crossed the 270-day threshold.
  • In contrast, the pre-pack resolution process is limited to a maximum of 120 days. Further, only 90 days are available to the stakeholders to bring the resolution plan to the NCLT.
Management Control:
  • Another key difference between pre-packs and CIRP is that the existing management retains control in the case of pre-packs. Whereas a resolution professional takes control of the debtor as a representative of financial creditors in the case of CIRP.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, Factly: Bills and Acts, PUBLICTagged

Promulgation of “Tribunals Reforms Ordinance 2021”

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Promulgated: On 4th April 2021

Ministry: Law and Justice

About the Tribunals Reforms Ordinance 2021:

Purpose of the Ordinance: 

  • It dissolves at least eight existing appellate tribunals. Now, High Courts and certain other bodies will be the appellate bodies under 9 acts.
  • Further, it also amends the Finance Act 2017.
Key Provisions of the Tribunals Reforms Ordinance :
  1. Nine Laws: The above-mentioned nine laws where the existing appellate authorities have been replaced are:
    1. The Cinematograph Act, 1952.
    2. The Trade Marks Act, 1999.
    3. The Copyright Act, 1957.
    4. The Customs Act, 1962.
    5. The Patents Act, 1970.
    6. The Airports Authority of India Act, 1994.
    7. The Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2002.
    8. The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
    9. Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act,2001.
  2. Amendment to Finance Act,2017:
    1. The ordinance empowers the Central Government to make rules for qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal and other terms and conditions of service of Members of Tribunals.
    2. Search-cum-Selection Committee: It also provides that the central government will appoint the Chairperson and Members of the Tribunals on the recommendation of a Search-cum-Selection Committee.
    3. Composition: The Committee will consist of:Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court Judge nominated by him, as the Chairperson (with casting vote),Secretaries nominated by the central government,The sitting or outgoing Chairperson, or a retired Supreme Court Judge, or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court.The Secretary of the Ministry under which the Tribunal is constituted (with no voting right).
    4. Tenure: Now, The tenure of Chairperson of a Tribunal is for a term of four years or till the age of 70, whichever is earlier. Members of a tribunal will also have a tenure of four years or until they turn 67
    5. .Abolishing of appellate bodies and transfer of functions: The Bill abolishes certain appellate bodies and transfer their functions to existing judicial bodies.
About Tribunals:
  • Tribunal is a quasi-judicial institution that was set up to deal with problems such as resolving administrative or tax-related disputes.
  • For this purpose, Tribunals were added to the Constitution by Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976 as Part XIV-A which has only two articles:
    • Article 323-A deals with Administrative Tribunals.
    • Article 323-B deals with tribunals for other matters.

Click Here to Read more about Tribunals

Source: The Hindu

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Bills and Acts, PUBLICTagged

Right To Education Act still has some arbitrariness

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Synopsis: The Right To Education Act evolved so much in the past. But there is still some arbitrariness in the RTE Act.

Introduction:

Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act or RTE Act is a horizontally enforceable Fundamental Right. That is, the Right is enforceable against the State and Individuals.

But the Right To Education Act have some arbitrary discrimination against private institutions and favours minority educational institutions.

Evolution of Right To Education as a Fundamental Right:

Earlier, Article 45 mentions the right to education as a part of the Directive Principles. It mentions that the state should provide free and compulsory education to children up to the age of 14. The provision also mentions a timeline for this achievement(within a decade).

Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka case 1992: In this case, the Supreme Court held that the Right to education is a part of the right to life recognised in Article 21.

Unnikrishnan JP v. State of Andhra Pradesh case 1993: In this case, the Supreme Court held that the state was duty-bound to provide education to children up to the age of 14. Further, the SC also mentions that the state alone cannot fulfil the task. Private educational institutions, including minority institutions, have to assist the State in that.

86th constitutional amendment of 2002:The government provided a status of a fundamental right to the right to education. The government inserted Article 21A into the constitution.

Evolution of Right To Education Act:

P A Inamdar vs State of Maharastra 2005 case: In this case, the court held that there shall be no reservation in private institutions, minority and non-minority institutions.

93rd constitutional amendment of 2005: This amendment included Clause(5) to Article 15. Under this, the State can provide for admission in institutions, including private institutions for the advancement of “backward” classes. This purposefully omitted both the aided and unaided minority educational institutions.

In 2009, the government enacted the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act or RTE Act. The Act provides for 25 per cent reservation in private institutions.

Society for Unaided Private Schools of Rajasthan v. Union of India case. Private schools challenged the 25% percent reservation in the RTE Act. The court, on the other hand, upheld the validity of the legislation. But the court exempted the unaided minority institutions from providing reservation.

The arbitrariness in Right To Education Act:

The amendment to the Right to Education Act 2012: The amendment mentions that the RTE Act will subject to Articles 29 and 30. In other words, It protected the administrative rights of both unaided and aided minority educational institutions.

But in the Pramati Educational Trust vs Union of India case 2014, the court held that the RTE Act is applicable to both non-minority aided and unaided Private schools.

This created an arbitrariness in the Act. This has the following problems in the RTE Act,

  1. Onus on private unaided schools is higher than the government schools
  2. Minority institutions both aided and unaided were exempt.
  3. According to Article 21, there is no discrimination between minority and non-minority institutions. But, the RTE Act has.
  4. There is no explicable or rational explanation for leaving minority institutions, especially the unaided ones.

Suggestions to improve the Right to Education Act

In the Sobha George v. State of Kerala case, 2016 the court held that the no-detention policy will apply to minority schools also. Further, the court also held that the minority institutions will not subject to the RTE Act. But they are subject to the fundamental rights of the Constitution. The Court demands two fundamental questions on Section 16(no-detention policy).

    1. Whether the provisions such as Section 16 of RTE are statutory right or Fundamental Right?
    2.  If it is the Fundamental Right, then the minority institutions will not claim the exemption under the Pramati Educational Trust case. 

So, the government has to relook the Right to Education Act to fulfil the view of the Sobha George v. State of Kerala case. Until then the Supreme court may overrule its judgement on the Pramati Educational Trust case.

Source: The Indian Express

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulationsTagged ,

Health Ministry Releases “National Policy for Rare Diseases 2021”

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What is the News?

The caretakers of patients with ‘rare diseases’ are not satisfied with the National Policy for Rare Diseases 2021. The Union Health Ministry recently released the policy.

Rare Diseases: WHO defines a rare disease as a lifelong disease or disorder that often highly weakens an individual. It has a prevalence of 1 or less per 1000 population. Example: Haemophilia, Thalassemia, Sickle cell anaemia, auto-immune diseases among others.

  • However, every country has its own definition for rare diseases.
  • The US  defines rare diseases as a disease or condition that affects fewer than 200,000 patients in the country.
  • Likewise, the EU defines rare diseases as life-threatening or chronically debilitating (weakening) condition. It should affect no more than 5 in 10,000 people.
About National Policy For Rare Diseases,2021:
  • Aim: The policy aims to lower the incidence and prevalence of rare diseases based on an integrated and comprehensive preventive strategy. The strategy includes awareness generation, counselling programmes, providing affordable Health Care among others.

Key Features of the National Policy For Rare Diseases,2021:

  • Categorisation: The policy categorizes rare diseases into three groups:
    • Group 1: Disorders amenable to one-time curative treatment;
    • Group 2: Diseases requiring long term or lifelong treatment; and
    • Group 3: Diseases for which definitive treatment is available, but challenges are to make an optimal patient selection for benefit.
  • Government Support:
    • The government will provide Financial support of up to Rs. 20 lakh under the Umbrella Scheme of Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi for treatment of those rare diseases listed under Group 1.
    • Moreover, Beneficiaries for such financial assistance would not be limited to BPL families. About 40% of the population, eligible under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, will also be eligible for assistance.
    • Further, for group 2, the State Governments can consider supporting specific patients. It includes a rare disease that can be managed with special diets or hormonal supplements or other relatively low-cost interventions (Diseases listed under Group 2).
  • Voluntary Crowdfunding: The government has said that it will assist in voluntary crowd-funding for the treatment of Group 3. It is because it will be difficult to fully finance the treatment of high-cost rare diseases of Group 3.
Objections to the Policy:
  • The policy offers no support to patients awaiting treatment since the earlier National Policy for Treatment of Rare Diseases 2017 was kept on hold.
  • The policy has left patients with Group 3 rare diseases to fend for themselves. It has absolutely no consideration for Group 3 patients who require lifelong treatment support.

Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi scheme:

It provides financial assistance to patients living below the poverty line and who are suffering from major life-threatening diseases, to receive medical treatment.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Science and Technology, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill, 2020 – Associated Issues

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Synopsis – The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2020  Continues to ignore Pregnant person’s rights.

Introduction-
  • Recently, The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2020  passed in the upper house by voice vote.
  • The bill seeks to amend the MTP Act, 1971. It provides for enhancing the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women but does not specify the category.
  • Although the MTP Amendment Bill does expand the gestational cap in some cases, it falls well short of becoming rights-based legislation.

Medical termination of pregnancy bill 2020 – explained

Objections raised in the Upper House
  • Lack of consultation with stakeholders.
  • Lack of inclusion of transgender people within the MTP framework.
  • Moreover, there is a lack of emphasis on women’s autonomy in pregnancy.
  • Medical boards would be a breach of privacy. It would cause excessive delays in access to abortion due to a shortage of specialists.
  • The time limit for decision-making by the medical board is missing. Moreover, the women’s representation is unclear.
Issues in the proposed Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020
  1. Lack of consultation with civil society and grassroots organizations. This is an example of drafting and enacting laws without consultation with the people who are most affected. The Recent Farm Bill, 2020 is a prime example of this.
  2. The provision still restricts abortion to a heteronormative framework. Only cisgender women are considered in it, and not persons with other gender identities.
    1. Under the heteronormative framework, it is a belief that there are only 2 two sexual orientations and genders i.e. male and female.
    2. Cisgender is the person, who identifies herself with the sex at the time of birth. The person who undergoes gender change is not a cisgender.
  3. Issues with setting up of Medical Boards – The MPT bill mandates the setup of a Medical Board in every state. The Medical Boards require giving opinions based on the facts regarding the termination of pregnancies.
      • This could cause severe delays in the abortion process.
      • Pregnant women living in rural areas in large parts of the country could find these Medical Boards inaccessible.
  4. The bill retains the hetero-patriarchal population control legacy. The bill continues with the lack of control to the women, of their reproductive and sexual rights. Abortion will be subject to doctor approval. This is in direct contrast with the Supreme Court’s precedent on reproductive autonomy and bodily integrity.
  5. The Bill’s provisions continue to criminalize abortion. It will promote negative stereotypes and stigma surrounding reproduction, sexuality, and motherhood.
Way forward

Before drafting or enacting legislation, the government must ensure the following:

  • Consultation with all stakeholders – Consultations and deliberations with members from civil society and grassroots organizations should be held by the government since they all have an interest in the implementation of such laws based on their personal experiences.
  • Women can be responsible for their own choices- The decision to terminate a pregnancy should be granted to the woman, not to doctors or any medical board.
      • The paternalistic notion that women need assistance in making decisions about their sexual and reproductive rights needs to change.

Source- The Indian Express

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged

The NCT of Delhi Act, 2021 Enhances Cooperative Federalism

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Synopsis: The accusation made on the Government regarding the passage of the Government of the NCT  of Delhi Act 2021  is groundless.

Background of the NCT of Delhi Bill
  • Last week, both Houses of Parliament voted in favor of the amendments to the Government of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi Act.
  • Many criticized the passage of the bill that the government is undermining the federal structure of the country. Some have equated the passage of the bill as the death of democracy and Federalism.
  • But the government mentioned the Bill as a necessary change vital for the following things,
    • Ensuring clear-cut roles and responsibilities.
    • To remove ambiguities in the governance of the NCT of Delhi
    • To facilitate a clear chain of command among stakeholders
 Why the accusation against the NCT of Delhi Bill is groundless?

The Evolution of The GNCT of Delhi bill has to be examined carefully to understand the issues against the accusations of the GNCT bill.

  • First, the aim of the amendments was to clear the ambiguities in the roles of various stakeholders. Since various court judgments have observed the ambiguities and lack of clarity. The government through the recent amendment brought consistency in the definition of the term “Government”.
    1. The amendment clearly stated that the term ‘government’ refers to the Lieutenant Governor. By doing this, the government has only formalised the definition of a term that the Delhi Assembly itself had already accepted.
    2. For example, in 2015 the Legislative Assembly of Delhi passed the Delhi Netaji Subhas University of Technology Bill. It was sent for the President’s assent.
    3. However, it was returned to the Delhi assembly as it had defined the term “Government” as the “Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
    4. Later, the Delhi assembly sent a modified version of the Bill for the President’s assent. This time the definition of “government” was described as “Lieutenant Governor of NCT Delhi appointed by the President.”
  • Second, the government has proved itself as a torch-bearer of Federalism. For example, the government provided equal opportunities for States in the following events. Such as,
      1. The creation of NITI Aayog,
      2. During the establishment of the Goods and Services Tax Council,
      3. The acceptance of the Fifteenth Finance Commission’s recommendations for greater devolution.
  • Third, the amendments will ensure that there is no encroachment in legislative matters in the union’s jurisdiction. NCT Delhi has no legislative competence in matters pertaining to the police, public order, and land. However, the current proposals for providing statehood to Delhi Legislative Assembly involve one major risk. That is the encroachment of the Delhi assembly on these subjects.
  • Fourth, Delhi is of unique importance to India. It hosts the Parliament, the seat of the Union Government, Supreme court, Foreign embassies, and other institutions of national importance. In such instances, ensuring the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor can only ensure the smooth functioning of the government.

So, the NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill balances the proper functioning of the Delhi Assembly and the cooperative federalism in India.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged

SC Issues Directions for “Accident Information Report”

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What is the News?

The Supreme Court issues directions to police, Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals(MACTs), and insurance companies regarding accident information reports. The aim of the directions is to make the compensation process to victims more smooth and claimant-friendly.

What was the case?
  • The Insurance company Bajaj Allianz filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court. The petition raised the issue of the difficulty of accident victims, waiting for years for compensation.
  • Bajaj Allianz said that the police take months to even file an accident report for submission before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals(MACTs). This is the norm in many parts of the country,
What did the Supreme Court say?

The Supreme Court issued directions to prevent delays in the disbursement of compensations to victims. The police, motor accident claims tribunals and insurers across the country have to uniformly practice these directions:

  • Firstly, Accident Information Report: The jurisdictional police station shall report the accident under Section 159 of the Motor Vehicle Act. Further, the police need to send the report of the accident to the tribunal and insurer within the first 48 hours.
  • Secondly, Detailed Accident Report: Police shall collect the documents relevant to the accident. This includes documents for computation of compensation and verification of the information and documents. This report shall be emailed to the tribunal and the insurer within three months.
  • Thirdly, the tribunal shall issue summons along with the Report or the application for compensation to the insurer by email.
  • Fourthly, the insurer shall email their offer for settlement/response to the Report to the tribunal.
  • Fifthly, after passing the award, the tribunal shall email an authenticated copy of the award to the insurer.
  • Sixthly, the insurer shall satisfy the award by depositing the awarded amount into a bank account maintained by the tribunal by RTGS or NEFT.

Further, the Supreme Court has also ordered the Centre to launch a national online platform. The platform could be operated and accessed across the country for submission of accident reports, claims and responses to claims. This would end the distress felt by victims during accidents that happened in places other than their native State.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

Bihar Assembly Passed the “Bihar Special Armed Police Bill 2021”

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What is the News?

Bihar State Assembly has passed the Bihar Special Armed Police Bill, 2021.

About Bihar Special Armed Police Bill, 2021
  • The mandate of the bill is to maintain public order, combat extremism. Further, the bill ensures better protection and security of specific establishments.
  • For this, the Bill proposes setting up a Special Armed Police force. The Special Armed Police will have one or more battalions depending on the requirement for any specified period.
  • Nodal Authority: The command, supervision, and administration of the Special Armed Police shall vest in the Director-General of Police, Bihar.
  • However, the general superintendence of the Special Police shall be exercised by the Government.
Powers of the Special Armed Police force:
  • Firstly, Power to arrest without a warrant: They will have the power to arrest people even without a warrant. This power will be available to any of the Special Armed Police’s officers.
  • Secondly, Arrests on suspicion: They have the power to arrest people on the basis of mere suspicion. This includes suspicion like disrupting state government functions or attempting to conceal their presence with the aim to commit a crime or cognizable offence.
  • Thirdly, Search without Warrant: They have the power to conduct a search of a suspect’s premises without obtaining a warrant from a magistrate. The only safeguard is that the search can be conducted by an officer of a notified rank or above.
  • And Lastly, Immunity from Courts: The bill also grants immunity to the officers of the Special Armed Police. It bars courts from taking cognizance of any complaint against the Special Armed Police. The court can take action only when the state government has sanctioned action against the concerned officers.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Bills and Acts, Factly: Polity and Nation, PUBLICTagged ,

MTP Bill 2021 is not progressive enough

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Synopsis: The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2021 MTP Bill  aims to improve women’s reproductive rights. But it will restrict women’s bodily autonomy if implemented.

Introduction:

The Lok Sabha passed the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2021. Now the bill is in the Rajya Sabha. The Rajya Sabha has to maintain caution in passing the Bill as it enforces societal prejudices against women.

Important Provisions of the MTP Bill:

The bill is hailed as a much-needed departure from the existing MTP Act, 1971 for two reasons.

  1. Firstly, the MTP bill replaces “any married woman or her husband” with “any woman or her partner”. This step will facilitate the termination of pregnancy due to contraception failures and destigmatize the pregnancies outside marriage.
  2. Secondly, the MTP Bill increased the time limit. The Bill increases the pregnancy termination time from the current 20 weeks to 24 weeks. There are two categories for that:
    1.  Termination of Pregnancy from 12 weeks to 20 weeks: Women can terminate the pregnancy after consulting one RMP (registered medical practitioner).
    2. Termination of Pregnancy from 20 weeks to 24 weeks: Women can terminate the pregnancy after consulting two RMPs.

Challenges with the MTP Bill:

There are a few significant challenges with the MTP bill. They are,

  1. The problem with the upper limit: The government increased the upper age to 24 weeks(Category 2). But, that does have certain conditions like
    1. the life of the pregnant woman or pregnancy can cause grave injury to her mental or physical health.
    2. If the child were born it would suffer from any serious physical or mental abnormality.
      But these limitations are not useful when the opinion of the medical board is necessary. So, the medical board can certify any pregnant woman as not having ‘substantial foetal abnormalities’ and force her not to terminate the pregnancy.
  2. Restricting the bodily autonomy of women: The Bill still enforces the patriarchal setup. The woman alone cannot terminate her pregnancy. She always needs the opinion of one or two RMPs.
  3. The scientific necessity of the 24-week ceiling: There might be abortions after 24 weeks as well. It could be for the reasons like,
    1. Development of foetal abnormalities after 24-week
    2.  A sudden change in circumstances (due to separation from or death of a partner), etc.
      But the MTP Bill does not cover these points into consideration.
  4. Reduced access to termination facilities: Pregnant women will also fail to approach termination facilities for having a fear of judgment from medical practitioners.
  5. Against the Supreme Court judgment: The SC in KS Puttaswamy v Union of India case upheld the women’s constitutional right to make reproductive choices. But the MTP Bill is a clear violation of women’s Fundamental Right to make choices individually.

So, the government has to reconsider the MTP Bill in a holistic manner of women’s development.

Source: The Indian Express

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged

Concerns with the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021

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Synopsis:The Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021 has few important concerns. But the move is a welcome step to the Insurance sector.

Introduction:

The Lok Sabha has passed the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The Bill had earlier been cleared by the Rajya Sabha also. Now it only requires the presidential assent to become a law.

About the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021:
  1. The Bill amends the Insurance Act,1938. The Bill seeks to increase the maximum foreign investment allowed in an Indian insurance company from 49% to 74%.
  2. However, such foreign investment may be subject to additional conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government. The conditions include,
    • The majority of directors on the Board and key management persons in health and general insurance companies has to be resident Indians.
    • At least 50% of directors of the Insurance companies have to be independent directors.
  3. The bill also removes restrictions on ownership and control.

Click Here to Read more about the Insurance (Amendment) Bill

Concerns with the Insurance (Amendment) Bill:

There are certain key concerns raised by the critics of the bill. These include,

  1. The present actual share of FDI in the insurance sector is less than the current limit of 49%. Further, the present target was aimed to achieve within 5 years. But that is not achieved so far. Hence, there is no justification for increasing the limit to 74%.
  2. Infusion of market funds in the insurance sector is not viable. The critics mention the time when financial institutions like DHFL, Yes Bank have collapsed, infusing market funds might lead to the collapse of insurance institutions also.
  3. The Bill does not have a provision to prevent financially weak foreign companies from entering into the Indian insurance sector.
  4. Many Indian insurance companies are already in Joint Venture with foreign companies. Hence, the Government’s claim that foreign investment is needed for bringing newer technology to the country is not substantiated.
Government’s response to the concerns:
  1. The bill is aimed at solving some long-term capital availability issues in the insurance sector.
  2. The banking and insurance industry fall under the strategic sectors according to the government’s strategic disinvestment policy. The 74% cap is just a limit posed on the FDI. Hence, there should be no apprehension on privatization.
  3. The bill will increase competition in the insurance sector. This will in turn facilitate affordable schemes for middle-class people.
  4. Half of the market share of the Indian insurance sector is already held by private companies. The public sector insurance market share is merely 38.78%. On the other hand, the private sector enjoys 48.03% of the market share. So the increase in FDI is essential to improve the insurance penetration further.

The Insurance (Amendment) Bill might facilitate insurance penetration among middle-class Indians. But the adequate safety mechanisms have to put in place to check the insurance companies.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged ,

NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill is against the spirit of Federalism.

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Synopsis: The Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 gives more powers to the Lieutenant governor(LG). Further, It is against the principle of representative democracy.

Evolution of The Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) act 1991

  1. India follows Parliamentary democracy with a cabinet form of government. This is a basic structure of the Indian Constitution.
  2. When the Constitution came into force, there were four kinds of States. (Parts A, B, C and D States)
  3. The states under C and D were directly administered by centrally appointed Chief Commissioners and Lieutenant Governors. They don’t have any elected Assemblies. Delhi came under Part C.
  4. But in 1951, a Legislative Assembly was created with an elected Chief Minister for Delhi.
  5. However, issues of jurisdictions and functional autonomy between the Chief Minister and chief commissioner of Delhi was always present. This led to the resignation of the 1st chief minister in 1955.
  6. In 1956, following the States Reorganisation Act, only two categories(States and Union Territories) remained in the Indian Union.
  7. Delhi became a Union Territory. Also, the Legislative Assembly of Delhi was abolished. Then, Delhi was administered by an Administrator appointed by the President.
  8. In 1966, the Delhi Administration Act 1966 provided a limited representative Government in Delhi. But there were repeated political demands that demanded a full statehood to Delhi.
  9. To resolve this, the Balakrishnan Committee was set up in 1987. Consequently, the committee made the following recommendations
      • Delhi should continue to be a Union Territory.
      • But there must be a Legislative Assembly and Council of Ministers responsible with appropriate powers to ensure stability.
  10. Based on this report, the Constitution (69th) Amendment Act and the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCT) Act, 1991 were passed.
  11. This act provided Delhi with a Legislative Assembly, a Council of Ministers and an elected Chief Minister.

Why Delhi is kept under the control of the Union Government?

  1. First, our Constitutional makers feared that Delhi will acquire a predominant position compared to other States if Delhi had statehood. So they included Delhi under Part C.
  2. Second, Delhi is the National capital. So Parliament decided to keep Delhi under Union Government on the basis of national interest.
  3. Third, to avoid federal disputes and provide for smooth administration in Delhi. For example, If full statehood is provided to Delhi, then two different political parties at the centre and Delhi will result in higher conflicts than the present ones.

Salient provisions of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill:

The NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill has few significant provisions. They are,

  1. The bill reduces the power of representative government. It provides enormous powers to the Lieutenant governor (directly appointed by the centre).
  2. It makes the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor mandatory for taking any executive action.

Challenges with the NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill:

  1. The Bill is against federalism (basic structure of the constitution). It gives more powers to the centre.
  2. The bill is against the provisions of representative democracy. It limits the power of the people. On the other hand, it gives more powers to the directly appointed administrators.
  3. The Bill aims to hand over the accountability of Delhi to an unelected, centrally appointed government functionary.
  4. The bill also violated the directions given by the Supreme Court. The SC provided a balanced approach. It mentions the LG has to ‘aid and advice’ the matters on which the Delhi Assembly has powers under the State and Concurrent Lists.

The government must reconsider the NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill as per the advice of the Supreme Court.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in 7 PM Brief Infograph, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged

Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill 2021- Explained, Pointwise

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Introduction

The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha passed the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Bill,2021. The MMDR Bill 2021 seeks to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. This bill is expected to be the watershed moment in the development of mines and minerals in India.  In this article, we will analyze the MMDR Bill 2021.

Types of Mines in India

At present, there are two types of mines in India. They are:

  1. Captive Mines: Captive industries own these mines. The coal or mineral produced from these mines is for the exclusive use of the owner company of the mines. The company cannot sell coal or mineral outside. Some electricity generation companies used to have captive mines.
    For Example, If an iron ore mine is allowed to a captive industry(iron and steel plant). Then that iron and steel plant can use the iron ore only for producing steel for their company. They cannot sell the ore to any outsider.
  2. Non- Captive Mines: In Non-captive mines, the minerals obtained by a company can be sold in the market.

Note: Specified minerals include minerals other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals.

About the MMDR Bill 2021
  1. There are two important Acts that govern the mines and minerals in India. They are,
    1. The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act)
    2. The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 (CMSP Act).
  2. The MMDR Act regulates the overall mining sector in India. Further, the MMDR Act empowers the central government to reserve any mine for the particular end-use(Captive mines).
  3. Similarly, the CMSP Act provides for the auction and allocation of mines.
  4. The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Bill,2021 amends both the MMDR Act and CMSP Act. Further, it aims to provide holistic development of mines and minerals in India.
  5.  An Ordinance with similar MMDR bill provisions was also promulgated in January 2020.
Salient provisions of the MMDR Bill 2021
  1. Removes distinction between captive and non-captive mines:
    • The Bill removes the distinction between captive and non-captive mines. It will not reserve any mine for a particular end-use. All mines will now be able to sell their extra minerals.
  2. Sale of minerals by captive mines: The MMDR Bill 2021 provides that captive mines (other than atomic minerals) may sell up to 50% of their annual mineral production in the open market after meeting their own needs. But they need to pay the royalty to the central government.
  3. National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET): The Bill provides for the constitution of a Statutory body named the National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET). It will see the overall functioning of the mining sector.
  4. National Mineral Index(NMI): The Bill proposes to introduce an index-based mechanism by developing a National Mineral Index(NMI). Various statutory payments and future auctions can use the National Mineral Index in the future.
  5. Transfer of statutory clearances:
    • Presently, an auction is conducted to determine the fresh mining leases after the expiration of a mineral lease.
    • The auctioned person(new lessee) needs to obtain statutory clearances before starting mining operations.
    • The MMDR Bill 2021 changes this provision. It makes the transferred statutory clearances valid throughout the lease period of the new lessee.
  6. Auction by the central government in certain cases: The Bill provides that if the State Government is not able to complete the auction process within a specified time, the Central Government may take over and conduct such an auction.
Concerns with the MMDR Bill 2021
  1. The bill is seen by various state governments as the restriction of their revenue generation and indulgence of the central government in the State mineral policy. The reasons are,
    • Fixing the royalty to States: The bill mentions fixing royalty payments to the states for the mining leases provided to Central PSUs. This might reduce the amount of revenue to the state government.
    • Vesting the ultimate power with the Centre: The bill provides for auction by the central government in certain casesState governments see this as the central government supremacy in the State mining lease policy.
    • Centre’s direction to District Mineral Fund(DMF): Under the MMDR Bill 2021, the centre can direct the spending of DMF. The States on the ground have to perform the actions directed by the Centre. States see this as the Centralization of DMF.
      District Mineral Fund: The District Mineral Fund is established based on the contribution of major or minor mineral exploring companies in a district. The fund is utilised in the interest of the persons and areas affected by mining-related operations.
  2. Environment concerns with the MMDR bill 2021: As the mining is liberalised under the MMDR Bill 2021, there are higher chances of degrading the environment, restricting tribal rights, threatening the biodiversity of the area etc.
Advantages of the MMDR Bill 2021
  1. Exploration of India’s mineral potential: India has the same mineral potential similar to Australia, South Africa. Further, India is producing 95 minerals. But India still imports minerals worth more than Rs. 2.5 lakh crore a year. The MMDR Bill 2021 facilitates to explore better mining of minerals. This will improve the commercial mining capability of India.
  2. Effective mining and creates huge employment benefits: More exploration of mines will lead to effective and profitable mining in India. Further, the mines and minerals located in the Indian hinterland will create local employment at an enormous level.
  3. Transparency in the mining process: The MMDR Bill 2021 aims to infuse transparency in the mining sector. Further, it will also reduce the red-tapism as the bill provides for the transfer of statutory clearances, new NMI index etc.
  4. Variety of benefits: The relaxation of mining restriction on Captive mines and the transfer of statutory clearances have few significant advantages, like,
    • More investment into the mining sector: This will facilitate more internal investments, FDI and increase Forex reserves. Apart from that, this will bring more new technology into the mining sector.
    • Since the captive mines can sell their minerals commercially to other industries, It will spur the growth of other industries. Further, this will reduce the import of raw materials. This is in line with creating Atmanirbhar Bharat.
    • Companies can create additional revenue by selling minerals to other Industries and intermediaries.
Suggestions
  1. Protect the Environment: Both the Centre and State government should ensure the protection of the environment. Further, the relaxation of mining to the companies should not violate the provisions of the environment. To ensure that, the government have to create a proper and periodic environmental auditing mechanism.
  2. Creating other safeguards in long run: The implementation of the MMDR Bill 2021 have to monitor closely for enhancing the contribution of the mining sector to 2.5% of Indian GDP(at present it is 1.75%). The implementation of the MMDR Bill 2021 depends upon various organs of the state and private sector. So, the issues in the implementation have to identify and rectified either Judicially or legislatively or administratively or in other ways.
  3. Creating adequate infrastructure in other sectors: The development of mines and minerals depend on India’s logistical capability, development of ports, railways etc. So to create an adequate export capacity of Mines and minerals, India needs to develop adequate infrastructure in other sectors.
  4. India needs to reduce the cost of the value addition of minerals: The government has to reduce the losses associated with the value addition of minerals. Or else, India can face challenges in sustaining the industry.
    For example, China imports iron ores from India. But due to efficient value addition, China produces steel at a low cost. Further, China also exports them to India and disrupt the domestic steel industry.
Conclusion

Overall the MMDR Bill 2021 might provide a strategic push in the mining sector. Over a period of time, India can fulfil its mineral needs, create employment, ensure the growth of industries, etc. Thus, the proper implementation MMDR Bill will make India a global supplier of minerals to the whole world.

 

Posted in 7 PM, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged

GNCT of Delhi Amendment Bill 2021 and Supreme Court’s Verdict

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Synopsis: GNCT of Delhi Amendment Bill 2021 appears to go against the idea of representative government.

Introduction 

The Centre’s Bill is trying to amend the law that relates to the governance of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The bill claims that its aim is to implement the Supreme Court judgments on Delhi’s governance structure. However, the proposed changes are the very opposite of what the Court has said.

What was the Supreme Court’s 2018 verdict on the matter?
  • The Constitution Bench verdict in 2018 stated that the LG (Lieutenant Governor) has not been trusted with any independent decision-making power
  • The LG either has to act on the aid and advice of council ministers. Or, he has to implement the decision of the President on the matters referred to him.
  • The ‘aid and advice’ clause applies to the matters on which the Delhi Assembly has powers under the State and Concurrent Lists. This comes with an exception of public order, police, and land.
  • Wherever there are differences between the L-G and the elected government, the L-G should refer the question to the President.
  • Further, different judgments have clarified that the power to refer “any matter” to the President does not mean “every matter”.
  • This bill completely undermines the Court’s efforts. The judgment strengthened the elected government in relation to Lieutenant Governor. 

Read moreNCT Amendment Bill

What are the issues with the NCT amendment bill? 

The Court wanted to clarify that the power to refer any matter to the President did not mean that every matter should be referred. 

  1. Firstly, the Bill states all references to the government in the bills and orders would mean the LG. It is irrational to declare LG as the government, in the UT with an elected House.
    • As per the guiding principle, an elected government should not be undermined by the unelected administrator.
  2. Secondly, the provision to Article 239AA empowers L-G to refer the matter to the President, in case of difference of opinion. However, this does not mean that the administrator should come up with a different opinion on every government decision.
    • However, the bill provides the L-G with an opportunity to refer every matter to the President.
  3. Third, instead of Parliament identifying the matters on which the L-G’s opinion should be required, the Bill proposes that the L-G himself would specify such matters.

This bill amounts to a rollback of representative government. The Union Territory concept is one of the many ways in which India regulates relations between the Centre and its units. It should not be used to undermine the basis of electoral democracy.  

Source: click here

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged ,

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Act, 2021

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Introduced: The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on 15.03.2021 as a Government Bill (Ministry of Mines).
Present Status: The Bill was passed in both the Houses and received President’s assent on 28.03.2021.

The Act seeks to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. This act regulates the mining sector in India.

Salient provisions of the Amendment Act
  1. Firstly, removes distinction between captive and non-captive mines:
    • The Act empowered the central government to reserve any mine (other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals) for particular end-use. Such mines are known as captive mines.
    • The Bill removes the distinction between captive and non-captive mines. It will not reserve any mine for particular end-use. All mines will now be able to sell their extra minerals.
  2. Secondly, the sale of minerals by captive mines: The Bill provides that captive mines (other than atomic minerals) may sell up to 50% of their annual mineral production in the open market after meeting their own needs.
  3. Thirdly, National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET): The bill provides for the constitution of a Statutory body named the National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET). It will see the functioning of the mining sector.
  4. Fourthly, National Mineral Index(NMI): The bill proposes to introduce an index-based mechanism by developing a National Mineral Index(NMI). It will be used for various statutory payments and for future auctions.
  5. Fifthly, transfer of statutory clearances: Presently, upon expiry of mining lease and transfer of the lease to a new lessee, the statutory clearances issued to the previous lessee are transferred for a period of two years. The new lessee needs to obtain fresh clearances within the two years.
    • The Bill changes this provision. It makes the transferred statutory clearances valid throughout the lease period of the new lessee.
  6. Sixthly, inclusion of Private Sector: The bill allows the participation of private players in mining operations with enhanced technology.
  7. Seventhly, auction by the central government in certain cases: The Bill provides that if the State Government is not able to complete the auction process within a specified time, the Central Government may take over and conduct such an auction.
  8. Lastly, allocation of mines with expired leases: The Bill says that mines (other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals) whose lease has expired, may be allocated to a government company in certain cases.
Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Bills and Acts, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged

The Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2021- Explained, Pointwise

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Introduction

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 or the NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2021 got introduced in Lok Sabha. It amends certain provisions related to the distribution of powers and responsibilities among the L-G (Lieutenant Governor) and the Delhi legislative assembly. The issue of power tussle between the L-G and the elected government of Delhi has come into the limelight again. It is because of the introduction of this bill.

Key Provisions related to Delhi
  1. Delhi’s current status as a Union Territory with a Legislative Assembly is an outcome of the 69th Amendment Act. The act introduced Articles 239AA and 239BB in the Constitution.
    • They have created the Union Territory of Delhi with a legislative assembly.
    • Further, the administrator appointed under article 239 gets designated as the Lieutenant Governor. There shall be a council of ministers to aid and advise LG.
    • Lastly, provisions of public order, police and land are not under the jurisdiction of the Delhi government. The Centre will maintain these provisions.
  2. Article 239AA(4) mandates that in case of a difference of opinion between the L-G and the Council of Ministers, the L-G has to refer the issue to the President.
    • Until the decision is pending before the President, the L-G can use his discretion to take immediate action if urgency requires him/her to take an action.
  3. The GNCTD Act 1991 got passed to supplement the constitutional provisions relating to the Assembly and the Council of Ministers in the national capital. The act outlines few important provisions such as: 
    • the powers of the Assembly
    • the discretionary powers enjoyed by the L-G 
    • duties of the Chief Minister with respect to the need to furnish information to the L-G.
Salient features of the NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2021

The NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill mainly aims to amend four clauses of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 (GNCTD Act 1991). They are, 

  1. Section 21 – This section deals with the restrictions on laws passed by the Legislative Assembly concerning certain matters.
    • The Bill provides that the term “government” referred to in any law made by the Legislative Assembly will imply Lieutenant Governor (L-G).
  2. Section 24 – This section deals with assent to Bills passed by the Legislative Assembly. The L-G will reserve the bills for the consideration of the President in a few matters. It includes bills that diminish the powers of the High Court of Delhi, the President directed the L-G to reserve a bill, etc.
    • The NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill requires the L-G to reserve bills for the President that incidentally cover any of the matters outside the purview of the powers of the Legislative Assembly.
  3. Section 33- It mentions that the Legislative Assembly will make rules to regulate the procedure and conduct of business in the Assembly.
    • The 2021 NCT bill states that such rules must be consistent with the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha.
  4. Section 44 – It deals with the conduct of business. Accordingly, all executive decisions taken by the elected government should be under the L-G’s name. 
    • The 2021 bill empowers the L-G to specify his suggestions on certain matters. His opinions has to be taken before making any executive action on decisions of the Minister/ Council of Ministers.  
Background of LG and Delhi Government Relationship
  1. Frequent tussles have been witnessed between the Delhi government and the L-G of Delhi since 2015. 
  2. The primary reason behind it was the lack of clarity over Article 239AA. The proviso of Article 239AA(4) seems to give primacy to the L-G. Using this, the LG was able to undermine the will of the elected government.
  3. A case also filed on the court about the L-G’s power of discretion. In the

    Government of NCT of Delhi v. Union of India case 2018, the Supreme Court defined the limits of L-G’s discretionary powers. The important points of that judgement were,

    • L-G is bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers except in subjects of land, public order and police.
    • Executive decisions do not need the concurrence of the Lieutenant General. Further, the court also held that the L-G has no powers to overrule the decisions of the elected government.
    • The difference of opinion has to be referred to the president under Article 239AA(4) provision.
      • The Lieutenant Governor cannot act mechanically and refer every decision to the president.
      • Only genuine cases of public interest can be referred to the President.
      • Before referring a bill to the President, the L-G has to consider the principles of collaborative federalism, the concept of constitutional governance, objectivity, etc.
    • Executive power rests with the council of ministers of NCT, Delhi. The union government has no overruling powers with respect to the executive powers.
Impact of Supreme Court Verdict on NCT of Delhi 
  • It established a situation of calm between the Delhi Government and the L-G.
  • The Delhi government stopped sending files on executive matters to the L-G before the implementation of decisions. This resulted in swifter decisions like: 
    1. Free bus rides to women, 
    2. Doorstep delivery of rations to the city’s residents, 
    3. Free electricity to households that are using less than 200 units of power 
    4. Mechanization of sewage cleaning operations
    5. Moreover, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government restricted Delhi’s medical resources to its residents alone
Need for new NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill

The Centre introduced the bill in Lok Sabha by mentioning the needs of the bill which includes: 

  1. The Bill seeks to give effect to the 2018 judgement and implementing the verdict.
  2. The new Bill is also intended to promote cooperative federalism between the centre and the state.
  3. The Bill would address the ambiguities in the interpretation of legislative provisions.
Implications of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill
  1. Equating the L-G with the government simply undermines the legitimacy of the elected government thereby disrespecting representative democracy.
  2. Further, The bill goes against the spirit of the 2018 verdict. The provisions such as getting the compulsory opinion from the L-G are against the verdict.
  3. The NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill restricts the Delhi government from inquiring into executive matters. The Delhi assembly at present is examining multiple issues ranging from riots to the environment. This disregards the ideal of democracy conceived for the NCT of Delhi by Article 239AA of the Constitution.
  4. The NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill if passed would be a huge setback for Delhi’s quest for full statehood. As the L-G gets precedence to the Delhi government.
  5. The bill empowers L-G to specify certain matters on which his opinion must be taken. This can curtail the autonomy that any elected government legitimately requires for governance.
  6. Providing excess powers to L-G can also distort the federal equilibrium. The centre can use this bill as a precedent to curtail the powers of other states in the future.
Suggestions
  1. The new bill should be reconsidered in the light of Justice D Y Chandrachud’s note in the 2018 verdict: “In a democratic form of government, the real power must subsist in the elected arms of the state”.
  2. A cautious discussion and deliberation should take place between the Centre and Delhi government on the ambiguous provision of the bill. This will help in the eradication of unconstitutional and undemocratic provisions.
  3. Apart from that, the government at the centre and state must cooperate to make sure that L-G can discharge its constitutional function. At the same time, they need to avoid L-G doesn’t become a hindrance to development.

Conclusion:

The government must reconsider the NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill as per the advice of the Supreme Court. The revamped provisions should enable L-G to act as a facilitator for upholding the law of the land and constitutional provisions.

Posted in 7 PM, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged , ,

Issue of Consent in POCSO Act

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Synopsis: The Madras High Court quashed a case of aggravated sexual assault of a minor under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act. The High Court also mentioned the need to amend the POCSO act.

The case and ruling 
  • Madras HC was hearing a case of aggravated penetrative sexual assault under the POCSO act.
  • This case was filed against an auto driver, in his early twenties, for marrying a minor girl in 2018.
  • Recently the HC Quashed the case. In this case, the Court observed the consensual relationship between the accused and the minor girl.
  • The court stated that the POCSO Act is not intended to bring the romantic relationships between adolescents or teenagers within its ambit. Thus, the act requires appropriate amendments.
About the POCSO Act:
  1. POCSO was enacted as per Article 15 of the Constitution and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It aims to protect children from sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography.
    • Article 15 allows the state to make special provisions for women and children.
  2. Aggravated penetrative sexual assault under the POCSO Act, 2012 is equal to the provision for aggravated rape.
    • It means rape occurs within a relationship of trust, leads to pregnancy or any other aggravating circumstance. 
  3. Further under POCSO, an individual will be punished if the victim is below 18 years. It does not consider the consent of minors as relevant. Thus, the accused can’t plead consent as a defence. 
Rationale behind the judgement:
  • POCSO has become a tool for the persecution of young people in consenting sexual relationships. The act completely ignores the natural sexual tendencies of adolescents and undermines their right.
  • The court also said that this case was purely individual in nature. Thus, releasing the accused in this particular case will not undermine the public interest.
  • Punishing consenting youngsters results in their persecution throughout life. This is more evident in cases where the minor victim has willingly eloped or married the accused or carrying his child. 

Concerns associated with judgement:

  • It goes against the established Supreme Court precedent of considering rape cases as a matter of public concern.
  • The Parliamentary Committee (Rajya Sabha) in 2011 prescribed a uniform age of 18. It would make sure that trials of child rape would focus on the conduct of the accused and the circumstances of the offence. Thus, The Possibility of consent was not meant to be an exception under POCSO.
  • The five State studies on the functioning of Special Courts under the POCSO Act shows the complicated nature of consensual cases. 
    • As per the study, adolescents can and do choose to have sex. However, they are still children, and their growing sexual autonomy is prone to abuse. This issue resulted in inconsistent and unprincipled adjudication.
Way Ahead:
  • The judgement has highlighted the urgent need of amending the rigid stance in the POCSO Act.
  • The courts should create a fine balance between the sexual rights of adolescents and their gullibility of being exposed.
  • Further, this balance can be rightly created when the legislature is willing to provide clarity on the core wrongs that POCSO is meant to address.

Source:THE HINDU

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged

National Institutes of Food Technology Bill, 2019

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Introduced: Rajya Sabha (13th Feb 2019)

Passed: Rajya Sabha (15th Mar 2021)

About National Institutes of Food Technology Bill, 2019

Ministry: Food Processing Industries

What does the bill provide?

The bill declares two institutes of food technology, entrepreneurship, and management as institutions of national importance. These are:

  • National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management, Haryana
  • Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology, Tamil Nadu.
What are Institutions of National Importance?
  • An institution that serves as an important player in developing highly skilled personnel within the specified region of the country/state.
  • The status is conferred on a premier public higher education institution in India by an act of the Parliament of India.
Benefits of National Importance Tag:
  • Firstly, these institutes are provided functional autonomy to:
    • design and develop courses
    • Award Degrees such as Bachelor of Technology, Master of Technology, and Ph.D.
    • Undertake research activities
  • Secondly, the institutes would also implement the reservation policy of the government. It would also undertake special outreach activities for the benefit of concerned stakeholders.
  • Lastly, the recognition would also enable the institutes to provide world-class teaching and research experience by adopting innovative practices.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Bills and Acts, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged

National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws Second (Amendment) Bill, 2020

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Introduced: Rajya Sabha (8th Feb 2021)

Passed: Rajya Sabha (9th Feb 2021)

Passed: Lok Sabha (10th March 2021)

Present status: Received assent on 12th Mar 2021 and converted to Act.


About National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws Second (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

Ministry: Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation

  • The bill amends the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Act,2011. The 2011 Act was valid till 31st December 2020. The Bill seeks to extend this deadline till the end of December 2023.
  • The bill seeks to regularise unauthorized colonies based on 2 qualifications
    1. that existed in the National Capital Territory of Delhi as of June 1,2014 and
    2. that had seen development up to 50% as of January 1,2015.
  • It also provides protection to certain forms of unauthorized developments in Delhi from punitive action where adequate measures are yet to be taken.

What was the need for this bill?

  • There are 1,700 unauthorized colonies in Delhi. Due to unauthorization, these colonies are not receiving proper amenities. This Bill provides ownership rights to those living in these colonies.
  • The bill would also facilitate access to institutional credit and also improve the basic amenities.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Bills and Acts, PUBLICTagged

Status of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act(UAPA) in 2019

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What is the News?

The Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) informed Lok Sabha about the number of cases registered under the Unlawful Activities [Prevention] Act(UAPA) in 2019.

Key Data Provided by MHA on cases under UAPA:
  • Persons arrested under UAPA: In 1226 cases around 1948 persons were arrested under UAPA across the country in 2019.
    • This is a 72% increase in the number of persons arrested under the UAPA in 2019 compared to 2015.
  • The Highest Number of Cases: In 2019, the highest number of cases were registered in Manipur. This is then followed by Tamil Nadu, Jammu, and Kashmir, Jharkhand, and Assam.
  • The Highest Number of Arrests: The highest number of arrests in 2019 was made in Uttar Pradesh. The is then followed by Manipur, Tamil Nadu, Jammu, and Kashmir and Jharkhand followed the UP.
  • Terrorist Organisations: The government has declared 42 organisations as terrorist organisations and listed their names in the First Schedule of the UAPA.
  • Convictions: Only 2% of cases registered under the UAPA between 2016-2019 ended in convictions by the court.

Read about National security Laws

About Unlawful Activities [Prevention] Act(UAPA):
  • UAPA was introduced in 1967 to target secessionist organizations. It is primarily an anti-terror law aimed at preventing certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations.
  • Investigation: The cases under the UAPA are investigated by the State police and the National Investigation Agency(NIA).
  • Bail: Under the act, getting bail is rare. The investigating agency has up to 180 days to file a charge sheet.

Click Here to Read More about UAPA

 Source: The Hindu

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Bills and Acts, PUBLICTagged

Clarification on IT Rules, 2021 for OTT Platforms

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What is the News?

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting clarifies certain aspects of IT Rules, 2021 for OTT platforms. It clarified that there will be no government nominee in the self-regulatory body.

What is the issue?

The Central government notified Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021. These rules broadly deal with social media and over-the-top(OTT) platforms.

What is the Ministry’s clarification?

  • The over-the-top(OTT) platforms will not have to get themselves registered with the government.
  • There will be no government-appointed member in the self-regulatory body that will address complaints.

Rules for OTT Platforms:

  • Self-Classification of Content: The OTT platforms would self-classify the content into five age-based categories i.e. U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult).
  • Parental Lock: Platforms would implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher. A reliable age verification mechanism for content classified as “A” is required.

Read moreIT Rules 2021 for OTT and Social Media

3- Tier Grievance Redressal Mechanism

  • Grievance Cell: The publisher has to appoint a Grievance Redressal Officer based in India. The officer shall be responsible for the redressal of grievances received by it. He shall take a decision on every grievance it receives within 15 days.
  • Self Regulatory Body: There may be one or more self-regulatory bodies of publishers. Such a body shall be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, a High Court, or an independent eminent person. It will not have more than six members.
    • This body will oversee the adherence by the publisher to the Code of Ethics and address grievances that have not been resolved by the publisher within 15 days.
  • Oversight Mechanism by Government: An Inter-ministerial panel will be set up. It will look into the complaints if they are not resolved at the first two levels.

Source: The Hindu

 

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Polity and Nation, PUBLICTagged

New IT Rules for Social Media and OTT platforms – Explained Pointwise

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Introduction

The Government of India has released the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. It aims to regulate social media, digital news media, and Over-The-Top (OTT) content providers. The rules were jointly announced by the Minister for Information Technology and the Minister for Information and Broadcasting. Despite being praised by few experts as revolutionary, it also has certain challenges to be addressed. 

Need for the New IT Rules 2021:

India at present doesn’t have any specific rules to govern the digital news media and OTT platforms. At present these are governed under Section 79 of the IT Act. But it was not able to effectively control the misuse of data over social media and digital platforms. The reasons were,

  1. Non-liability of Intermediary:
    • Section 69 of the IT Act gives power to the government to issue directions “to intercept, decrypt or monitor…any information generated, transmitted, received or stored” in any digital equipment.
    • The Intermediaries are required to preserve and retain specified information. Further, they have to obey the directions issued by the government from time to time.
    • By adhering to government rules, they will get protected from legal action for any user-generated content under Section 79Section 79 states that an intermediary (Digital media and OTTs) shall not be liable for any third party information, data, or communication
  2. Further, the user base of big companies has expanded rapidly. Currently there are over 53 crore WhatsApp users, over 44.8 Crore YouTube users and 41 Crore Facebook users. 
  3. The government rejected the Self-regulatory toolkit submitted by 17 OTT Platforms. The government rejected them for reasons like lack of independent third-party monitoring, the tool-kit did not have a well-defined Code of Ethics, etc.

This induced the government to come up with new rules under the IT Act, 2000. The IT Rules 2011 got replaced with the new IT Rules 2021.

Salient provisions of IT Rules 2021

The new IT rules have been framed to address the Social Media, Digital Media and OTT platforms in a specific manner.

New IT Rules related to Social Media:
  1. Social media companies are prohibited from hosting or publishing any unlawful information. These information are “in relation to the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, friendly relations with foreign countries, etc.
  2. If such information is hosted or published the government can take down such information within 24 hours. The user will be given a notice before his/her content is taken down.
  3. The government can direct messaging platforms to tie the identity of the user with the message transmitted by him/her for strengthening traceability.
  4. The IT rules 2021 call for social media companies to publish a monthly compliance report.
  5. Social media platforms are classified into two categories
    1. Social media intermediaries – Platforms that have a limited user base.
    2. Significant social media intermediaries – These are the platforms with a large user base.
  6. The significant social media intermediaries have to follow few additional measures like:
    • These platforms should have a physical contact address in India. 
    • Appointing a Chief Compliance Officer, Nodal Contact Person, and a Resident Grievance Officer in India. All of them should be Indian Residents.
      • Nodal Contact Person will do 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies.
      • The Resident Grievance Officer must acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours, and resolve it within 15 days of receipt.
New IT Rules related to Digital media and OTT platforms:
  • A Code of Ethics has been prescribed for OTT platforms and digital media entities.
  • The streaming platforms (Like Netflix and Amazon Prime) will have to self-classify content on five age-based categories: U (universal), 7+, 13+, 16+, and A (adult).
  • They need to have suitable parental locks for 13+ content and a robust age verification system for accessing adult content.
  • Publishers of news on digital media will have to observe the norms of journalistic conduct of the Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act.
  • A three-level grievance redressal mechanism has also been established:
    • Level-I: Self-regulation by the publishers
    • Level-II: Self-regulating body: This body shall be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court or independent eminent person.
    • Level-III: Oversight mechanism: I&B Ministry will formulate an oversight mechanism and establish an inter-departmental committee for hearing grievances. This body will also have censorship and blocking powers.
Advantages of the new IT Rules 2021
  1. It will ensure that social media platforms have to keep better checks and balances over their platforms. This will ensure the data is not shared unlawfully. This will ensure adherence to the rule of law.
  2. The new IT rules enhance government regulation over social and digital media. This will enhance accountability and prevent arbitrary actions by digital platforms like the recent one by Twitter.
  3. The new IT rules will lead to the empowerment of citizens. Since there is a mechanism for redressal and timely resolution of their grievances.
  4. Disinformation (Fake and wrong information) of data can be controlled. Since there is proper regulatory mechanism, disinformation can be removed easily. This will reduce instances of fake news, violence, the spread of defamatory content and disruption of public order.
  5. Giving due notice before removing content will prevent arbitrary removal of content. 
  6. The imposition of print and electronic code of conduct on digital news media would ensure a level playing field for every media.
  7. It will strengthen India’s position as a leader in digital policy and technological innovation. For example, China, with its larger digital population, has not been able to provide a fair and open local market for global companies in the digital space due to absence of proper IT Rules and Regulation.
Criticisms of the new IT Rules 2021
  1. The New IT rules were not put for public consultation. Especially those related to regulations of online news portals and video streaming platforms. For example, IAMAI(Internet and Mobile Association of India) was not consulted on the proposed OTT guidelines.
  2. The rules allow the government to enforce a traceability mechanism. This simply means a threat to the user’s privacy. It will hamper the end-to-end encryption of platforms like WhatsApp. 
  3. As the new rules curtail free speech on digital platforms, there will be a sense of fear among the users.
  4. The IT Act doesn’t cover content authors and creators like news media. But rules have included them.  This provides discretionary powers to the government
  5. The proposed oversight mechanism doesn’t have any legislative backing which is generally given to other regulators. 
    • For example, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act provides powers to TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India). Under the rules, the regulation will be done by a body composed of bureaucrats who might perform discretionary censorship thereby enhancing political control.
Suggestions for smooth implementation of new IT rules
  • The government should consult with appropriate stakeholders. This will improve the inclusivity and acceptability of the new IT rules.
  • The focus should be on strengthening citizen’s rights by learning from successful global examples like OFCOM (OFCOM is a communication regulator in the UK).
  • The government must have a mindset of flexibility and agility to support the rules adequately.
  • OTT platforms while regulating the content have to strike a balance. Especially between the diverse Indian society and the beliefs of viewers in India.

The enactment of new IT rules 2021 is a watershed moment that will transform the digital information ecology in India. A fine balance between freedom of speech and the need to curb the misuse in digital platforms have to be maintained. Both the government and the digital platforms will have to work together and fulfill this responsibility. 

Posted in 7 PM, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged ,

Govt announces new social media rules to curb its misuse

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What is the news?

The Government of India has released the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. It aims to regulate social media, digital news media and over-the-top (OTT) content providers.

Key Provisions of the Rules:

Social media companies and redressal: The government wants social media companies to have a mechanism to address complaints from users. It wants social media intermediaries to appoint the following officers:

  1. Chief Compliance Officer, who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act and Rules.
  2. Nodal Contact Person for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies.
  3. Resident Grievance Officer: He will receive and resolve complaints from users. The officer must acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours, and resolve it within 15 days of receipt.

All these officers have to be residents of India.

Categories of Content that should not be posted: The rules lay down categories of content that the social media platform should not host. It includes content that

  • Threatens the unity, integrity, defence, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign states or public order
  • Causes incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence or
  • Prevents investigation of any offence or is insulting any foreign States
  • Content is defamatory, obscene, pornographic, paedophilic, invasive of another’s privacy,
  • Related to encouraging money laundering or gambling or is inconsistent with or contrary to the laws of India.

Removal of these contents: The rules stipulate that the platforms should remove the content within 36 hours. Duration will count from the receipt of information from a court or the appropriate government agency about the platform hosting prohibited content.

Monthly Compliance Report:

  • The platforms will need to publish a monthly compliance report. It should have the details of complaints received and action taken on the complaints.

Track Originator of Message:

  • The social media platforms need to disclose the first originator of the objectionable tweet or message if asked either by a court or a government authority.
  • This will be required in matters related to the security and sovereignty of India, public order, or with regard to rape or any other sexually explicit material.

 Self-Classification of Content:

  • The Over the Top(OTT) platforms would classify the content into five age-based categories- U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult).
  • Platforms would be required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher.  A reliable age verification mechanisms for content classified as “A” should be placed.

Publishing News on Digital Media:

  • Publishers of news on digital media will be required to observe norms of journalistic conduct of the Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act.

Penalties for Non-Compliance of Rules:

  • In case an intermediary fails to observe the rules, it will be liable for punishment under any law for the time being in force including the provisions of the IT Act and the Indian Penal Code.
  • The penal provisions vary from imprisonment for three years to a maximum of seven years, with fines starting from Rs 2 lakh.

Source: Indian Express

New social media rules – an analysis

 

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged

Why Sedition law needs a relook?

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Synopsis: Recent charges of sedition against individuals have brought back focus to seditions law. The oppression of dissenters is more dangerous for society. It creates more division in society compared to seditious acts. 

Introduction 

In Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar (1962), the Supreme Court defended the constitutional validity of sedition. It noted that it is a reasonable restriction on free speech as provided in Article 19(2) of the Constitution.

The court also made clear that an individual has the right to speak or write anything about the government. However, it should not result in inciting people to violence against the government. 

Why does the sedition law need a relook?

In the Aseem Trivedi case, the Bombay High Court issued guidelines which the police must follow in a sedition case. These guidelines include an objective evaluation of the seditious material. By that police must form an opinion on whether the words and actions caused disaffection and disloyalty to the government. However, the law needs a relook due to the following reasons: 

  • Firstly, despite repetitive warnings to law enforcement agencies by courts, there is poor implementation of guidelines given by the court. 
  • Secondly, the recent reports show that the number of cases of sedition under Section 124A increased by 160%. Whereas the rate of conviction dropped to 3.3% in 2019 from 33.3% in 2016. 
  • Thirdly, in this social media age, information travels at a lightning speed, and Cyberbullies can easily trend wrong information. Any kind of misinformation can lead to public disorder. 
  • Fourthly, the U.K. abolished the offence of sedition in 2010. Whereas, India is still retaining the law given by the British Empire.
  • Fifthly, various commissions have questioned the efficacy of such a law in the statute book. For instance, the Law Commission of India questioned how far it is justified to retain Section 124A. 

What steps can be taken to deal with sedition?

Sedition laws will not be repealed anytime sooner. In the meantime, courts can adopt an approach that can balance the issue of National security and the right to speech.  

  • At present sedition is decided based on a content-based test that reviews only the text i.e. even if a written material not caused any social unrest, it can be held a seditious text based on the words used.  
  • Courts must adopt an effect-based test that examines the effects of the seditious text. It means whether the text resulted in violence or not.
  • The principles of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity exists in the Preamble to our Constitution. Courts must uphold these principles. 

It is not the alleged seditious acts that are creating fragments in our society; it is in fact the persecution of individuals and labelling them that are really creating cracks in our socio-political ecosystem. 

Criminalisation of government criticisms: Laws and issues

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged

Amendments proposed to the Juvenile Justice Act – Explained pointwise

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Recently Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to amend the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. This was proposed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The proposed changes will strengthen the Child Protection mechanism and ensure smooth implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Who is Juvenile in India? 

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act,2015 defines “Juvenile” or “Child” as a person who has not completed 18 years of age.

Salient provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015:

The Juvenile Justice Act of 2015 replaced the Juvenile Justice Act of 2010. The salient provisions of the 2015 Act are,

  1. The Act changed the nomenclature from ‘juvenile’ to ‘child’ or ‘child in conflict with law’.
  2. Further, the Act defined terms such as abandoned, orphaned and surrendered children.
  3. The Act categorized the crimes committed by children into three categories. Such as petty, serious and heinous offences.
  4. The Act provided for setting up of mandatory Juvenile Justice Boards (JJB) and Child Welfare Committees (CWC) in every district. Also, these boards and committees must have at least one woman member each.
    • CWC: The Committee have the power to dispose of cases for the care, protection, development, treatment and rehabilitation of the children. Further, the committee also certifies the Child as legally free for the adoption process.
  5. Further, the Act made the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) a statutory body. This facilitated better performance and functions of CARA.
  6. All Child Care Institutions(CCI) have to register themselves under the Act within 6 months from the date of commencement of the Act.
  7. Children in the age group of 16 – 18 years can be treated as adults in the case of heinous crimes. But for treating them as an adult the JJB has to assess the child’s physical and mental capacities and certify the child.

    What is a Heinous offence?
    If an offence attracts minimum imprisonment of seven years or more under any existing law then such an offence is called a heinous crime.

What are the issues with the present Act?

  1. Non-compliance to the provisions of the Act: A survey conducted by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) points out that not even a single Child Care Institution (CCI) in India was in 100 per cent compliance with the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act. This is because,
    • If the CCI did not receive a reply from the government within 3 months, it was “deemed as registered’’ for six months, even without government permission. This increased the non-compliance.
    • The survey also found CCIs with large funds, including foreign funding, had been keeping children in unsanitary conditions.
  2. Under this ACT, no specific criteria has been provided to check the background of the members of the child welfare committees (CWC).
  3. Long pendency of cases: Juvenile Justice Committee of the Supreme Court in 2017 highlighted that about 800-1000 adoption cases are pending in various courts. The committee further pointed out that the delay in adoption is leading to various challenges like not able to get a birth certificate of a child, school admission is not feasible, etc.
  4. Ambiguity related to the Offences: The 2015 Act has various ambiguities related to the offences like;
    • At present, there is no mention of a minimum sentence in the Act.
    • Moreover, the Act does not provide what is a serious offence?
  5.  There are little oversight and monitoring of CCIs by CWC and the State Child Protection Units. So, District Magistrates are informed about an offence committed by the CCI only after the occurrence of the incident. For example,
    • Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) seen an increase in child abuse and trafficking during the Covid-19 lockdown.
    • Further, the Ministry of WCD has also shut down 500 illegal child welfare institutions that had not been registered under the JJ Act.

What are the Proposed amendments by the Ministry of WCD?

The recent amendments aim to strengthen child protection and ensure proper monitoring of CCIs.

  1. Clearing the ambiguity: For the first time, the proposal clarifies both heinous and serious crimes. The Amendment for the first time mentioned the category of “serious crimes” and also defined that.
    Serious crime: If an offence under any Indian law attracts a maximum punishment of seven years or more but no minimum sentence is prescribed or a minimum sentence less than seven years is prescribed. Then that offence is considered a serious offence.
    For example, possession and sale of an illegal substance, such as drugs or alcohol, will now fall under the ambit of a “serious crime’’.
  2. Reaching the unreached: The amendment will include victims of trafficking, drug abuse and those abandoned by their guardians under the definition of “child in need of care” and protection.
  3. Checking the background of the members of CWC more clearly: The amendment will not only check the background of the members of CWC but will also check the educational qualification of a CWC member.
  4. Expanding the role of District Magistrates (DM): The amendment provides more power to the District Magistrate to tackle the various challenges faced by the present Act.
    • Speedy disposal of pending adoption cases: The amendment authorizes the DM and Additional District Magistrate (ADMs) to issue adoption orders for faster adoption of children.
    • Increase the scrutiny of Child Care Institutions: DMs and ADMs will monitor the functioning of various agencies under the Act. Like Juvenile Justice Boards, Child Welfare Committees, etc.
      • Further, DMs are empowered to undertake regular inspections of CCIs
      • Apart from that, no new children’s home can be opened without the sanction of the DM.

Suggestions to improve the implementation of Act:

  1. Child Welfare Committees are not effectively performing their functions of care, protection and rehabilitation of a child. So, the government have to provide adequate training to the members of CWC.
  2. Role of State government: State governments should provide immediate bail to a child who committed petty and serious crimes. Currently, children are staying in welfare homes for a longer time period, as the bail is not getting provided on time by State governments.
  3. Training, sensitisation of DM: The current amendment confers many powers upon the DM. But the DM is already overburdened with the other works. So the DMs should get adequate training and sensitisation for faster and effective implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act.

The recent amendment approved by the Cabinet is one of the much-needed steps to ensure proper implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act. But the real change will occur only if the amendment becomes the Act along with the proper training of officials.

 

Posted in 7 PM, acts, bills and regulationsTagged ,

“Vishaka Guidelines” and “The Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act 2013”

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What is the News?

A Delhi court has acquitted a former journalist in a defamation case filed by former Union minister.

In this case, a journalist initially made allegations of sexual harassment against the former Union Minister. In turn, a criminal defamation case was filed in Delhi High Court against the journalist by Union Minister. However, Delhi High Court acquitted the journalist of the Criminal Defamation charges in its very recent verdict.

Key Observations made by the Court:

  • Sexual abuse takes away the dignity and self-confidence of women. So the right to dignity will be protected not the right of the reputation of a person.
  • The women have the right to put her grievance even after decades after the occurrence of the incident.
  • As there was no Vishaka Guidelines and The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 at the time of the harassment.

Vishaka Guidelines

In 1997 as part of the Vishaka judgment, the Supreme Court laid down specific guidelines on the prevention of sexual harassment of women at the workplace. The important points of the guidelines were:

  • The Vishaka guidelines defined sexual harassment and codified preventive measures like the formation of the complaints committee
  • All employers both public and private sector should take appropriate steps to prevent sexual harassment.
  • Victims of sexual harassment should have the option to seek transfer of the perpetrator or their own transfer.
  • The guidelines were superseded by the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace(prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act, 2013:

The government enacted the Act in 2013The major provisions of the Act were,

  1. Aim: To prevent and protect women against sexual harassment at the workplace and also to ensure effective redressal of complaints of sexual harassment.
  2. The Act defines sexual harassment in the workplace. The Act creates a mechanism for redressal of complaints. It also provides safeguards against false or malicious charges.
  3. Every workplace is required to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). The ICC is mandatory at each office or branch with 10 or more employees.
  4. These Internal Complaints Committees have the powers of civil courts for gathering evidence.
  5. Penalties have been prescribed for employers. Non-compliance with the provisions of the Act shall be punishable with a fine.
  6. Higher penalties and cancellation of license or registration to conduct business is also mentioned if violations are repeated.

Further Section 354A was added to the Indian Penal Code through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 to provide enough punishment for sexual harassment to women at the workplace.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged

Issues in Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020

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Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Synopsis: The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill 2020 (MTP Bill) does not confer women with rights over their own bodies.

Background

  • Recently termination of pregnancy was legalised up to the 14th week of pregnancy by Argentina’s Congress.
  • Parliament of India will also debate the abortion law in this budget session.
  • However, the proposed Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (MTP Bill) is also not providing autonomy to women, unlike Argentina.

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971

  1. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 was enacted to reduce the maternity mortality ratio due to unsafe abortions.
  2. The MTP Act only allows termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Further, it requires a second doctor’s approval if the pregnancy is beyond 12 weeks.
  3. The grounds on which a pregnancy can be terminated are-
    • If there is a grave risk to the physical or mental health of the woman.
    • If the pregnancy results from a sexual offense such as rape or intercourse with a mentally challenged woman.

Issues in the MTP Act-

  • First, the act provides the State with control over women’s rights through legal and medical methods. It gives no regard to the woman’s choice of keeping or terminating her pregnancy.
  • Second, It promotes arbitrary interpretation. In one case, the Court held that there were no grounds for abortion since the pregnancy was the outcome of a voluntary act. The woman knew the consequences of her Act.

Thus, due to such circumstances women recourse to the unsafe method of abortion. This is the third-largest cause of maternal deaths in India.

Now, the draft MTP bill 2020 is under consideration. But it is also not providing women with the required autonomy.

Issues in the proposed Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020

  • First, The bill continuous with the legacy of hetero-patriarchal population control. Thus, men’s control over women’s bodies will continue.
  • Second, It still requires the signature of one doctor on termination of pregnancies up to 20 weeks old. For pregnancies between 20 and 24 weeks old, approval of two doctors is required.
  • Third, The bill mandates the setup of a Medical Board in every state. The Medical Boards require giving opinions based on the facts regarding the termination of pregnancies. However, their personal beliefs could impact their opinion.
  • Fourth, The bill allows safe abortions in case of foetal “abnormalities at any stage of pregnancy. However, it does not consider valid situations for abortion like personal choice, sudden separation or death of a partner or domestic violence.
  • Fifth, the word ‘women’ is used in the proposed bill. This can deny access to safe abortion to transgender, intersex, and gender diverse persons.  

Way Forward

  • Termination of pregnancy is a woman’s choice to decide her life’s decision as an adult. Women can be responsible for their own choices.
  • The Government needs to understand the fact that State or doctors have no right to deny a woman a safe abortion. Otherwise, it will put questions on women’s empowerment in the nation.
Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2021

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Introduced: Lok Sabha (2nd March 2020)

Passed: Lok Sabha (17th March 2020)

Passed: Rajya Sabha (16th March 2021)

Present status: Received assent on 25th Mar 2021 and converted to act

Ministry: Health and Family Welfare

Table of contents:

Recently Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill 2021 is scheduled to be tabled in Rajya Sabha. The MTP bill was passed in Lok Sabha last year. The bill aims to strengthen the abortion rights of women from the earlier Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971. But the bill has certain important challenges associated with it, preventing it to become a comprehensive legislation.

What is the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act 1971?

The Act defines the conditions on which the termination of pregnancy can be made, and the qualified persons to perform the same. The Act aims to reduce the maternal mortality ratio due to unsafe abortions in India.

The act allows a woman to terminate her pregnancy within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. After consulting an RMP (registered medical practitioner) woman can terminate her pregnancy.

If the women want to terminate her pregnancy between 12-20 weeks, she needs to get an opinion from 2 RMPs. The Medical practitioners have to ascertain that continuance of the pregnancy would risk the life of the pregnant woman or substantial risk (Physical or mental abnormalities) to the child if it is born.

Need for the Amendment:

First,  the present abortion law is five decades old. The law permits abortion up to a maximum foetal gestation period of 20 weeks only. This denies reproductive rights to women. (Abortion is one of the important aspects of women’s reproductive health).

Second, currently, if a woman wants to terminate the pregnancy beyond 20 weeks, she has to follow legal procedure. The slow judicial process in India force woman to take illegal means to terminate the pregnancy. India Journal of Medical Ethics report in 2015 mentioned unsafe abortions were leading to 10-13% of maternal deaths in India. This makes unsafe abortions as the third-highest cause of maternal death.

Third, the advancement of science. After the 20th week, many foetal abnormalities can be detected using techniques like Ultrasonography. As the current law limit the time to 20 weeks, it can cause trouble to the mother as well as children in the near future. Hence, its extension is much needed.

Fourth, International practice: 52 % of global countries including the UK, Ethiopia, Austria, Spain, Italy, France allow termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks if there are any foetal abnormalities. 23 countries including Germany, Canada, Vietnam allow termination of pregnancy at any time based on the request of the mother.

Salient provisions of MTP Amendment Bill 2021:

First, the Bill extends the upper limit for permitting abortions from the current 20 weeks to 24 under special circumstances. This is applicable to a “special category of women”. Victims of abuse, rape survivors, the differently-abled, and minors fall under this category.

Second, the Bill proposes the requirement of the opinion of one registered medical practitioner (RMP) for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation.

Third, the Bill provides for two RMPs opinions for termination of pregnancy between 20 and 24 weeks.

Fourth, Bill constitutes a Medical Board. Every state government has to constitute a medical board. These medical boards will diagnose pregnant women for substantial foetal abnormalities. If any such substantial foetal abnormalities get detected then the termination of pregnancy can be done even after 24 weeks of gestation (no upper limit for the termination of pregnancy in this case).

The Medical Boards will consist of the following members:

    1.  a gynecologist,
    2.  a pediatrician,
    3. a radiologist or sonologist,
    4. any other number of members, as may be notified by the state government.

Fifth, Bill protects the privacy of a woman. No RMP can reveal the name and other particulars of a woman who performs the abortion. However, RMP can reveal the identity to a person authorised by law. The violation of this provision is punishable with imprisonment up to one year, or a fine, or both.

Advantages of the proposed Bill:

First, the Bill raises the foetal gestation period for termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks. The MTP Bill also includes a special category of women. In short, the bill enables access to safe abortion and curb illegal abortion practices.

Second, the 1971 MTP Act states that, if a minor wants to terminate her pregnancy, the guardian has to provide written consent. The proposed bill has excluded this provision.

Third, the Bill will strengthen the reproductive rights of women. The Supreme Court in Mrs X v. Union of India2017 case has recognised women’s right to make reproductive choices and their decision to abort as a dimension of their personal liberty. The court also mentioned abortion primarily fall within the Right to Privacy.

Fourth, the Bill will reduce the burden on the Judiciary. At present, there are many cases registered in court seeking permission for abortion beyond 20 weeks. Meanwhile, with the establishment of the Medical Board, the burden on the judiciary will reduce.

What are the challenges associated with the present Bill?

First, the constitution of the Medical board. The constitution of the medical board presents a variety of challenges such as

  • The present healthcare budgetary allocation (1.5% of GDP) makes setting up a board across the country, both financially and practically impossible.
  • Apart from that, even if it is set up, access to the board by pregnant women in remote areas of the state is a matter of concern.
  • No time limit is set for the board to respond to the requests.
  • The board subject women to multiple examinations before allowing her to terminate her pregnancy. This is a violation of rights to privacy and dignity.
  • Personal beliefs could impact the medical board’s opinion. For example, Madhya Pradesh High Court denied terminating the pregnancy of 13-year-old rape survivor only because a psychiatrist on the medical board had not supported her abortion.

Second, the amendments continue the patriarchal population control legacy. The bill does not give women control over their own bodies. It requires the medical practitioner’s opinion and not the request or will of pregnant women alone.

Third, the current bill does not consider a few important things in the termination of pregnancy. Such as personal choice, a sudden change in circumstances (due to separation from or death of a partner), and domestic violence.

Fourth, the amendment also fails to consider the abortion rights of intersex, transgender, and gender diverse persons.

Suggestions:

First, the government needs to amend the bill to include a few changes in the Medical Board.

  • The government has to specify a time limit for the board.
  • The government have to consider the majority of opinion of the board members to avoid personal belief’s interfering with the board opinions.

Second, the government has to introduce personal choice, a sudden change in circumstances, and domestic violence as a criterion. Apart from that, the bill must include abortion among intersex, transgender, and gender diverse persons.

Third, the government might include a provision of will to terminate the pregnancy at an early stage within 20 weeks without the opinion of RMP. On the other hand, the government also have to release clear guidelines to restrict,

    • Women performing abortions to prefer a male child
    • Women performing abortions due to family pressures etc.

In conclusion, the MTP bill 2020 is a step in the right direction to ensure access to safe and legal abortion. But, it falls a few steps behind in terms of ensuring dignity, autonomy and justice for women. This can be done by including the necessary suggestions under the Act.

Posted in 7 PM, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged ,

Low conviction rate under “Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act” (UAPA)

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What is the news?

Union Home Ministry has informed Rajya Sabha about the cases registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Sedition(Section-124A).

Cases under UAPA:

  • Between 2016 and 2019, the total number of the persons arrested and convicted in the country under UAPA were 5,922 and 132 respectively. This means only 2.2 % of cases registered under the Act ended in convictions by the court.
  • The NCRB does not maintain this data on the basis of religion, race, caste or gender.

Cases under Sedition:

  • In 2019, as many as 96 persons were arrested for sedition (Section 124A IPC) but only two were convicted and 29 persons were acquitted.
  • The most cases of sedition in 2019 were registered in the States of Karnataka followed by Assam and J&K & Ladakh.

Click Here to Read about Sedition

 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,1967:

  • It is primarily an anti-terror law – aimed at more effective prevention of certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations and for dealing with terrorist activities.
  • It was promulgated in 1967 to target secessionist organisations. It is considered to be the predecessor of laws such as the (now repealed) Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) and Prevention of Terrorism Act(POTA).

Key Provisions of the Act:

  • The Act assigns absolute power to the central government. It can declare an activity as unlawful, by way of an Official Gazette.
  • The act has the death penalty and life imprisonment as the highest punishments.
  • Under the act, both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged. It will be applicable to the offenders in the same manner, even if the crime is committed on a foreign land, outside India.
  • The investigating agency can file a charge sheet in maximum 180 days after the arrests. This duration can be extended further after information to the court.

2004 amendment:

  • The act was amended in 2004. It added “terrorist act” to the list of offences, to ban organisations for terrorist activities.
  • Till 2004, “unlawful” activities referred to actions related to secession and cession of territory. Following the 2004 amendment, “terrorist act” was added to the list of offences.

2019 amendment:

  • The amendment empowers the Central Government to designate individuals as terrorists on certain grounds.
  • It empowers the Director-General, National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is under investigation by the agency.
  • It also empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above to investigate cases of terrorism in addition to those conducted by the DSP or ACP or above rank officer in the state.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged

Centre’s Powers under “Section 69A of IT Act”

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What is the News?
The Government of India has asked Twitter to follow Indian laws. The government has also expressed disappointment over partial compliance with its orders.

What was the issue?

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MeitY) ordered Twitter to block several Twitter accounts for posing a threat to law and order. The order was issued under Section 69A of the Information Technology(IT) Act.
  • On this, Twitter blocked several accounts. But very soon it reactivated several of them citing free speech and because it found the content newsworthy.

Government’s response:

  • The government has said that Twitter was free to formulate its own rules and guidelines. But the Indian laws which are enacted by the Parliament must be followed irrespective of Twitter’s own rules.
  • On free speech, the government has said that freedom of speech and expression is provided under Article 19 (1) of the Constitution of India.
  • However, freedom of expression is not absolute, and it is subject to reasonable restrictions as mentioned in Article 19 (2) of the Constitution of India.

Section 69A of the Information Technology(IT) Act:

  • When was it introduced? Section 69A of the IT Act was introduced by an amendment to the Act in 2008.
  • Powers: It allows the government to block public access to any intermediary in the interest of
    • Sovereignty and integrity of India
    • Defence of India
    • Security of the state
    • Friendly relations with the foreign States or
    • Public order or
    • Preventing incitement of any cognisable offence relative to the above.
  • Intermediaries: The intermediaries under the Act include; telecommunication companies, internet service providers, network operators, web-hosting services, search engines, payment gateways and other relevant portals and services.
  • Procedure: Section 69A provides the government with the power to block public access. But the procedure to do that is listed in the IT (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.
  • Penal Provisions: The Act says prescribes punishment for any intermediary (internet platform) for failure to comply with the government direction. Punishment can be imprisonment for up to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Miscellaneous, PUBLICTagged ,

law on draping National Flag over body of a deceased

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What is the News?

Police in Uttar Pradesh has booked few persons under The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. They had allegedly draped the body of their relative in the national flag after his death.

Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act,1971:

  1. This act penalises the desecration of or insults to the country’s national symbols including, the National Flag, the constitution, the National Anthem, and the map of India. It also includes penalties for contempt of the Indian constitution.
  2. Section 2 of the act specifies punishment for insults to the Indian National Flag and the Constitution of India.
  3. The law specifies acts of insult to the Indian flag and constitution. Some acts of insult include burning, mutilation, defacing, disfiguring, or showing disrespect to the National Flag.
  4. It also prohibits using Indian National Flag as a drapery in any form except in State funerals or armed forces or other para-military forces funerals.
  5. It prescribes punishment of imprisonment for insults for up to 3 years or a fine or both.

About Flag Code of India, 2002

The Flag Code of India contains a set of laws, practices, and conventions for the display of the national flag of India. It also prohibits using the national flag as a drapery except in State/Military/Central Paramilitary Forces funerals.

Use of National Flag as a drapery

  1. The National Flag of the country can only be used as a drapery if a funeral has been accorded the status of a state funeral.
  2. State funerals are held if a person passed away belongs to police, armed forces, office of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Cabinet Minister, Chief Minister.
  3. The state government can accord the state funeral status to the person other than the mentioned categories.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Polity and Nation, PUBLICTagged

DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019

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Introduced: Lok Sabha (8th July 2019)

Present status: Standing Committee gave its report on 3rd Feb 2021

Ministry: Science and Technology and Earth Sciences

Need for such DNA Technology Bill in India:

  • First, countries having such legislation like the USA, have proved a significant increase in conviction rate. According to NCRB, India’s conviction rate is 48.8% only in 2017. The conviction rate can improve significantly if the DNA Bill is enacted in India.
  • Second,  in India, Each year more than 4000 FIRs filed for not recognising the victim’s body. Not only that, In India around 175 persons missing each day.   The bill will help in identifying them very easily with scientific intrastate co-operation.
  • Third, the Bill will come in handy during the parental disputes resolution. The Bill can also establish the identity of missing children and baby-swapping cases in hospitals.
  • Fourth, accurate and faster investigation of crime is feasible. Since the Bill maintains a database for convicts and suspects, the crime scene investigation will completely be based on scientific principles. This can result in a faster and accurate investigation by police officers.
  • Fifth, the Bill will help in research works in DNA and also create employment opportunities for skilled manpower and other non-skilled jobs.
Significance of DNA technology:

DNA analysis is extremely useful and accurate. DNA analysis can ascertain the identity of a person from his/her DNA sample. The DNA sample can also establish biological relationships between individuals. For example, A hair sample or blood stains from clothes taken from a scene of the crime can clearly establish whether the DNA in the sample belongs to the suspected individual or not.

As a result, DNA technology is being increasingly relied upon in investigations of crime, identification of unidentified bodies, or in determining parentage, etc.

Key provisions of the DNA Technology Bill, 2019:

  1. The Bill mentions the situations under which DNA Data will be used. Under the Bill, DNA testing is allowed only in respect of 4 matters. They are,
    • For offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. 
    • Civil disputes and other civil matters related to paternity suits, or to identify abandoned children.
    • Offences under certain special legislations like Immoral Trafficking prevention Act, MTP Act etc. 
    • Medical negligence or unidentified human remains.
  2. While preparing a DNA profile, bodily substances of persons may be collected by the investigating authorities. There are certain conditions mentioned under which the DNA will be collected.
    • Like, For arrested persons, if the offence carries a punishment of up to seven years. Consent is needed to collect the DNA sample.  
    • If the offence carries more than seven years of imprisonment or death, consent is not required
  3. The Act establishes the DNA Data Bank.  The data banks will be established at the National and regional level. At the regional level, the data bank will be established for every state or two or more states
  4. The Bill states that the criteria for entry, retention or removal of the DNA profile will be specified by regulations. The Bill provides that the information contained in the crime scenes will be retained.
  5. The Bill also establishes a DNA Regulatory Board. This DNA Regulatory Board will supervise the DNA Data Banks and DNA Laboratories. The Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, will be the ex officio Chairperson of the Board. 
  6. The Bill also has a provision of mandatory accreditation from the Board to establish DNA Laboratories in India. The Board may revoke the accreditation for reasons such as failure to undertake DNA testing or the non-compliance of DNA Lab with the conditions attached to the accreditation. 

Arguments against the Bill:

First, concerns regarding the collection of DNA itself. DNA is the base of any individual person. DNA not only not just reveal how a person looks, or what their eye colour or skin colour is. It will also reveal more intrusive information like their allergies, or susceptibility to diseases etc

Second, the collection of DNA has also seen as a violation of two Fundamental Rights. Such as Right to Privacy under Article 21 and Right against self-discrimination under Article 23. The Bill is also seen as a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Third, science advances more quickly than law. Scientific laws if legislated, they need frequent course corrections to prevent misuse. In India, there are few legislations which are being used for centuries without any amendments. Failure to bring the amendment at a necessary stage will create a plethora of problems.

Fourth, there are only 15 DNA profiling labs in India. DNA Training Academy also faces a shortage of manpower. Considering this situation one cannot ensure a smooth implementation like DNA profiling, etc

Fifth, there is also a privacy concern. The DNA data can be misused just like other personal information like Cambridge Analytica scandal of Face book. For example, the Andhra government signed up with a private firm to collect DNA data from all citizens. The private firm may misuse the data for profit motives.

Lastly, there is also a possibility of Miscarriage of Justice. Like by planting innocent person DNA in crime scenes to confuse the investigation and if a crime scene is occurred in commonplace then many innocent might be harassed.

Arguments favors DNA technology Bill:

First, there will be no racial and communal profiling possible. The government mentions it will store very limited information in the DNA profile. That is just 17 sets of information (from the billions of information available in DNA sample). This will not reveal any personal data about an individual. 

Second, DNA tests are already happening without any regulatory safeguards. The PSC in its recent report mentions the importance of the DNA Bill to bring the DNA tests into the ambit of the law.

Third, an individual’s privacy is ensured in the Bill. The Bill has very specific provisions for the collection of DNA data. The DNA is not collected from common people and it is collected from the convicts and missing person. The PSC also supported the view in its recent report.

Way forward:

First, the law would be better implemented if the Data Protection Bill based on the Sri Krishna Committee is passed first. Since the Data Protection Bill fixes the privacy of data protection.

Second, there is also a need for a robust procedure and policy for collection of DNA samples, within the constitutional provisions like respecting Article 21. Apart from that the policy also has to respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In conclusion, It is much-needed legislation.  If implemented clearly then there going to be the voluntary submission of DNA. But that will be possible if the government enacts the Bill with necessary checks and balances. 

Posted in 7 PM, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged ,

Govt. releases new guidelines for banks under “Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act”

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What is the News?
Union Home Ministry has announced new guidelines for banks, under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act. These guidelines are related to the donations received by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and associations.

What are the new FCRA guidelines?

  1. The donations received in Indian rupees by the NGOs and associations from any foreign source should be treated as a foreign contribution. Even if that source is located in India at the time of such donation.
  2. It will include the contributions by foreigners of Indian origin like OCI or PIO cardholders, in Indian rupees(INR).
  3. As per the existing rules, Banks need to report any receipt or utilization of any foreign contribution, by any NGO, association, or person. Banks should submit these reports to the Central government within 48 hours.
  4. Rules cover all NGOs, whether they are registered or granted prior permission under the FCRA.
  5. Any violation by the NGO or by the bank of these rules of FCRA may invite penal provisions under the FCRA Act, 2010.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act:

  • FCRA was enacted in 1976 and amended in 2010. It regulates foreign donations and ensures that such contributions do not adversely affect internal security.
  • Coverage: It is applicable to all associations, groups, and NGOs which intend to receive foreign donations.
  • Exemption: Members of the legislature and political parties, government officials, judges, and media persons are prohibited from receiving any foreign contribution.
    • However, in 2017 the FCRA was amended through the Finance Bill. This amendment allowed political parties to receive funds from,
      1. The Indian subsidiary of a foreign company or
      2. A foreign company, in which an Indian holds 50% or more shares.
  • Registration: It is mandatory for all such NGOs to register themselves under the FCRA. The registration is initially valid for five years, and it can be renewed subsequently if they comply with all norms.
  • Amendment of FCRA Rules: In September 2020, the FCRA Act was amended by Parliament and a new provision was added. It makes it mandatory for all NGOs to receive foreign funds in a designated bank account at the State Bank of India (SBI) New Delhi branch.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in acts, bills and regulations, Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, PUBLICTagged ,

The POCSO Act and associated issues

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Bombay High Court in Satheesh vs State of Maharastra case acquitted a man of sexual charges under the POCSO ( Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) act. The court cited the stringent Mandatory Minimum Sentence provision in the POCSO act and punished the person based on the IPC section 354 (Outraging the modesty of women).

However, the Supreme Court stayed the Bombay High Court verdict. But this is not an only incident, where, an accused has been acquitted under POCSO Act. Today, one more HC acquitted an accused in a similar case.

There is an urgent need to understand the issues and challenges Courts are facing in the implementation of The POCSO Act. The recent interpretation by Bombay High Court is one such issue among many.

What is the POCSO Act?

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) enacted in 2012 and amended in 2019. The Act was formulated to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and pornography.

Salient provisions of the Act:

First, The Act defines Child as any person below eighteen. The Act also defines different forms of sexual abuses.

Second, The Act provides for relief and rehabilitation as soon as the complaint is made to the Special Juvenile Police Unit or the local police.

Third, The Act prescribes a maximum punishment of life imprisonment or the death penalty. The Act provides a mandatory minimum punishment of three years.

Fourth, The Act provides for the establishment of Special Courts for the trial of offences under the Act.

Read more about the POCSO Act

What is the intent behind the enactment of the POCSO Act?

First, data from the 2011 Census shows, India has a 472 million population of children below the age of eighteen. To protect them from sexual offences separate legislation was required.

Second, India is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. So the POCSO Act was a mandatory international commitment to protect the rights of children.

Third, the Goa Children’s Act 2003 was the only legislation which specifically focuses on child abuse. Thus national-level legislation was the need of the hour that can be implemented in every State and UTs.

Fourth, Child sexual abuse was prosecuted under various sections of IPC such as Section 375 deals with rape etc. But the IPC sections suffer from various issues such as

    • IPC Section 375 does not protect male Child and protect only the traditional sexual offences like peno-vaginal intercourse.
    • IPC Section 377 and IPC Section 354 does not define the terms “unnatural offences” and “modesty”.

What is the significance of the POCSO Act?

First, The Act provides for immediate relief at the filing of the case. The compensation amount can change, based on the need of the victim. For example, the Act does not define the outer limit. The Judges can include Child’s educational need, medical needs including trauma compensation while deciding the compensation amount.

Second, The Act is Gender-neutral and Child friendly. The Act defines Child as any person below 18 years of age. Apart from that, the Act includes various safeguards for the child, like protecting the identity, avoiding victimization etc.

What are the challenges associated with the POCSO Act?

First, The POCSO Act is suffered by Abysmal rate of conviction like 14% in 2014 and 18% in 2017. The National Crime Records Bureau(NCRB) data of 2016, mentions the conviction rate as 29.6%, while pendency is as high as 89%. The NCRB also mentions the cases are not disposed within a year due to reasons such as frequent adjournments, the inability of the police to file investigation report etc.

Second, Though, the Act mentions Special Children courts to be established to hear the cases. Many states did not establish such courts. This is highlighted by  Re: Exploitation of Children in Orphanages in the State of Tamil Nadu v. Union of India & Ors case.

Third, the Act provides a maximum punishment of death penalty. But Justice J.S. Verma Committee (Constituted on the aftermath of the Nirbhaya case) and 262nd Report of the Law Commission of India, 2015, were against the imposition of the death penalty for rape cases.

Fourth, Section 8 of the POCSO Act prescribes a mandatory minimum sentence of three years. The state of J&K vs Vinay Nanda case the Court held that it cannot prescribe punishment lesser than the minimum prescribed punishment. This resulted into the various challenges such as

    • More acquittals in POCSO cases: Percentage of acquittal is high because the Judges thinks the mandatory minimum punishment prescribed is more compared to the seriousness of the crime.
    • Else the Court can acquit the accused and punish him like that of Satheesh vs State of Maharastra caseIn other words, punishing the person under Section 354 of IPC (Outraging the modesty of women).

Section 7 and 8 of POCSO Act: Section 8 prescribes the punishment for the offence of sexual assault defined in Section 7 of the Act. It provides for the mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years and a maximum of 5 years.

Section 7 of the POCSO Act mentions whoever “with sexual intent” touches the private part of children or commit any such act “which involves physical contact”… “is said to have committed sexual assault”.

Difference between Section 8 of the POCSO Act and Section 354 of IPC:

Section 8 of the POCSO ActSection 354 of IPC
This section is gender-neutralThis section is only for women and not for male or transgender child
Punishment can be a minimum sentence of 3 years and may extend to the maximum sentence of 5 yearsPunishment shall not be less than one year but it may extend to five years

Fifth, The POCSO Act is considered as a victim-oriented statute (i.e., the damage caused to the victim assumes more importance). This makes the Act, not a neutral one. For example, Section 29 of the POCSO Act mentions If a person is prosecuted under the POCSO Act, the special court “shall presume” the accused to be guilty.

Sixth, The Act does not cover all the aspects of sexual violence of children. For instance, the Act is silent on cyberbullying and other online sexual crimes of children. The Act is also silent on cases were one child made sexual violence against another child/children.

Way forward:

First, the government has to amend the POCSO Act to overcome the challenges by removing the mandatory minimum sentence and the death penalty. The amendment should also include offences such as cyber bullying of children and other online sexual crimes against children.

Second, High courts should instruct the trial courts not to grant unnecessary adjournments during the trial. State police chiefs should constitute special task forces investigating cases to prevent the pendency of cases.

Third, The Supreme Court issued a direction to set up special courts within 60 days on the districts that are having more than 100 pending POCSO cases. This has to be implemented urgently.

Fourth, the introduction of sex education in schools and educating the children about good touch and bad touch is significant. In 2008-09 Parliamentary committee report mentions the introduction of sex education, but it never materialized. It has to be implemented.

Though the Act can be amended and faster implementation can provide relief to the Children, Awareness and sensitization of people is equally important to prevent the crime itself.

 

Posted in 7 PM, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged , , ,

What is the POCSO Act?

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

In 2019, The Act has been amended. The amendment contains provisions for enhancement of punishments for various offences, provides security and dignified childhood for a child. 

Salient provisions of the Act:

First, The Act defines Child as any person below eighteen. The Act remains gender-neutral. 

Second, The Act also defines different forms of sexual abuse:  including penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography.

Third, The Act deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated”: If the abused child is mentally ill or the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority like a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor.

Fourth, The law provides for relief and rehabilitation as soon as the complaint is made. The Special Juvenile Police Unit or the local police will make immediate arrangements for the care and protection of a child. The arrangements such as obtaining emergency medical treatment for the child and placing the child in a shelter home etc. 

Fifth, The Act has provisions for Mandatory reporting. 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.

Sixth, The Act provides for the establishment of Special Courts for the trial of offences under the Act.

Lastly, The Act prescribes a maximum punishment of life imprisonment or the death penalty. The Act provides a mandatory minimum punishment of three years.

What are the Safeguards available to Children? 

  • The Act has provisions for avoiding the re-victimisation of the child at the hands of the judicial system.
  • The accused has to be away from the child at the time of testifying.
  • The Act mentions special courts have to conduct the trial without revealing the identity of the child. And also in a child-friendly manner as much as possible
  • The child may have a parent or other trusted person present at the time of testifying. The Child can also call for assistance from an interpreter, special educator, or other professional while giving evidence.
  • The cases must be disposed of within one year from the date the offence is reported.

Limitations of POCSO Act:

  • The POCSO Act is only applicable to child survivors and adult offenders. For example, If two children have sexual relations with each other, or in case a child perpetrates a sexual offence on an adult, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, will apply.
Posted in acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged

Ensuring accountability in the new Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020

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  • Synopsis: the consumer protection rules will not guarantee better power supply quality without strong accountability provisions. 

Background 

  • Many states in India are not able to provide a quality supply of electricityspecifically to rural and small consumers. 
  • To resolve this issue, recently, the Union Ministry of Power has promulgated the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020. The rules provide the consumer with the rights of power. 
  • It is expected that the new Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 will protect and empower electricity consumers’ rights. 

Read more – Electricity Rules 2020 |ForumIAS Blog 

 What are the limitations of the Rules?  

The following issues highlight the need for implementation of existing provisions in letter and spirit along with strong accountability provisions. 

  • First, Discoms are unable to provide quality supply. Reason for this is not a lack of rules or regulations but the lack of accountability mechanism to enforce them. For instance,  
  • Many rights provided in rules 2020 already exists in Standards of Performance (SoP) of various State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs). 
  • Second, the past efforts such as the draft National Tariff Policy, the proposed Electricity Act amendments, or various committee processes did not address the accountability concerns. 
  • Third, it is also doubtful that how Discoms will automatically compensate its consumers in the event of failure of power supply. Because, till now the availability of power supply is not monitored properly. 
  • Fourth, compensating consumers in the event of failure of power supply has serious financial implications. For example, 
  • In August 2020 rural areas received only 20 hours of supply. If existing regulations are followed it would cost hundreds of crores to discoms. 
  • Fifth, the new rules dilute the progressive mechanisms that exist in a few States. For example, 
    • As per the new rules faulty meters should be tested within 30 days of receipt of a complaint. 
    • However, states such as Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh have rules that mandate that such testing needs to be conducted within 7 days. 
  • Sixth, the rules that the Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum should be headed by a senior officer of the DISCOMS company is a regressive provision.  
  • Because it will reduce the number of cases that are decided in favour of consumers.  
  • It also questions the credibility of the new Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020. 
  • Seventh, some provisions are confusing and requires clarity. For example,  
  • The rules guarantee net metering for a solar rooftop unit less than 10 kW. But it is not clear whether solar rooftop unit above 10 kW can also avail net metering.  
  • This confusion will lead to unnecessary litigation which will increase investments costs in rooftop solar units. 
  • It will discourage medium and large consumers from opting an environment-friendly, cost-effective option. 

What steps are required? 

To ensure accountability, we need to consider implementing the following solutions, 

  • SERCs needs to be tasked to assess the SoP reports of DISCOMs and revise their regulations more frequently. Also, SERCs should be assisted in setting up public grievance mechanisms, to help consumers raise their concerns. 
  • Further, DISCOMs should be directed to ensure automatic metering at least at the 11 kV feeder level. This information should be available online. 
  • Apart from this, The Central Electricity Authority of India can also be directed to collect supply quality data from DISCOMs, publish data in the public domain and prepare analysis reports. 
  • Finally, the Central agencies too can support in independent surveys and nudge State agencies to enforce existing SoP regulations. 

The enactment of the new Rules will not change the status quo. Governments, DISCOMs and regulators should demonstrate the commitment and the will power to implement existing regulations to make the new Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 successful.  

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulations, PUBLICTagged

RERA 2016 protects the interest of Homebuyers 

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Synopsis: As compared to RERA 2013 act, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) 2016 was successful in empowering the home buyers. This has reduced the incidence of unfair trade practices in the real estate sector. 

How RERA 2016 act was better than RERA 2013 act? 

The RERA 2013 act had the following issues; 

    • It did not cover either “ongoing projects” or “commercial real estate”.  
    • Also, the minimum limit for registration of projects was so high that it excluded many projects from the coverage under law. 
    • These exclusions made the 2013 bill meaningless and harmful to the interests of home buyers. 

However, the 2016 RERA act has fixed all the loopholes in the RERA act 2013, 

    • First, after a holistic review along with multiple stakeholder consultations both “ongoing projects” and “commercial projects” were included in the act.  
    • Second, the minimum limit for registration of projects was reduced to cover more projects. It reduced evasion under law.  

How the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) 2016 has contributed to the empowerment of consumers? 

RERA act addressed the existing power gap in the real estate sector between buyers and promoters. It further empowered the consumers in the following ways. 

    • First, the real estate sector which was largely unregulated is now being regulated under RERA. 
    • Second, RERA along with demonetization and GST has reduced the use of black money in the real estate sector. 
    • Third, it has the mandatory rules of getting approval of competent authority for project plans.  
      • Also, according to the RERA act, the builder needs to register with a regulatory authority. 
      • This stringent regulation has ended the practice of selling real estate based on false advertisements. 
    • Fourth, to prevent fund diversion, Promoters are required to maintain funds of a specific project in separate bank accounts. 
    • Fifth, disclosure of unit sizes based on “carpet area” has been made mandatory. It has reduced the scope for unfair trade practices.  
    • Sixth, it promotes equity by making it mandatory for payment of “equal rate of interest” by the promoter or the buyer in case of default. 

Federal issues in its implementation 

RERA is a product of cooperative federalism. Though the Act was introduced by the Central government, state governments are empowered to notify the rulesappoint regulatory authorities and the appellate tribunalsCurrently, RERA is notified in 34 states and Union territories.  

However, the act is facing implementation-related issues in some states such as Maharashtra and West Bengal. 

    • First, in the case of Maharashtra, the state enacted its own law in 2013. The law was not consumer-friendly, and it has created a disadvantageous position for homebuyers in Maharashtra. 
      • However, the center repealed the state act and enforced the RERA act 2016 for the regulation of real estate sector. 
    • Second, in the case of West Bengal, the state government ignored RERA act 2016 and enacted its own state law (the West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act (WBHIRA)) in 2017. 
      • Even after multiple efforts by the Centre, West Bengal refused to implement RERA. 
      • Though there was a central law on the subject, Knowingly, the state government enacted WBHIRA in 2017. 
      • This act of WB government is violation of constitutional principles and has been challenged in the court. 

As SEBI is to securities market RERA will be to the real estate sector. RERA act 2016 will provide huge impetus to the growth of real estate sector while significantly contributing to the needs of Urban India.  

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulationsTagged

Flawed understanding of triple talaq law is leading to its misuse

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Synopsis– Faulty understanding of the triple talaq law i.e., Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act of 2019, as well as the Islamic law on divorce is leading to misuse of the act. 

Introduction-  In the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act of 2019, a Supreme Court Bench led by Justice D Y Chandrachud observed that mother-in-law of the second respondent (wife) cannot be accused of the offence of pronouncement of triple talaq under the Act as the offence can only be committed by a Muslim man (husband). It clearly shows that the act is being misunderstood.  

Background of the anti-triple talaq law-  

  • Anti-women divorce customs prevalent in pre-Islamic Arabia had been given a severe blow by the teachings of  great social reformer Prophet Muhammad.  
  • On the basis that “old habits die hard”, unscrupulous men innovated ways and means to circumvent the Prophet’s noble teachings.  
  • One of these was the practice of triple talaq — repeating the word “talaq” thrice — which was believed to effect instant dissolution of marriage leaving no room for any reconsideration or reconciliation.  
  • Instead of defeating this innovation, law men of the time called it talaq-ul-bidat and declared it to be “sinful but effective”.  
  • This concept remained in Muslim societies for centuries across the globe.  
  • But due to its devastating effects on families and societies, country after country in Asia and Africa gradually abolished by legislation the detestable practice of triple talaq. 

Situation in India- 

India took a much longer time to follow suit. During British rule, courts kept this law alive as a  sinful but effective” form of divorce after calling it a concept “bad in theology but good in law.”  

Post– Independence, some High Court judges like VR Krishna Iyer of Kerala and Baharul Islam of Assam tried to awaken the custodians of state authority to the need for its abolition.  

Finally, the practice of triple talaq was outlawed in the Shayara Bano case of 2017. The anti-triple talaq Act of 2019 was the outcome of this judicial reform. 

How provisions of Triple Talaq law are often misunderstood

  • Misuse of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (cruelty to a woman by her husband or his relatives) was once acknowledged by the apex court and formalized some measures. But under feminist pressure, the measures were withdrawn.  
  • Anti-triple talaq law together with Section 498A is proving destructive for the families.  
      • For Instance, in one triple talaq case in Kerala, a lawyer of a woman included her husband’s mother in the FIR filed against her husband in reference to the said IPC provision.  
  • Kerala High Court had refused bail to the accused husband’s mother. The case went to SC where SC highlighted the faulty applications os the act, that
      • There is no specific provision in Section 7(c), or elsewhere in the Act, making Section 438 inapplicable to an offence punishable under the Ac 
  • Section 7 of the 2019 act is particularly misunderstood. Many lawyer misbelief that it overrides the general provision for anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code.  
      • For example, after enactment of the act, a man accused in the Triple talaq case sought anticipatory bail in the Bombay High Court. Lawyer argued that the non-obstante clause in Section 7, makes CrPC provision inapplicable.  
      • However, Court rejected the argument and granted bail to the person. 
  • For understanding the common-sense fact that this Act is meant to discipline erring husbands only, the learned lawyers needed a learning session with the apex court. 

Conclusion

The verdict of SC is a significant step towards preventing the misuse of the anti-triple divorce law.

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulations, daily news, Daily News Updates, PUBLICTagged ,

Issue of privacy and Personal Data Protection Bill 2019

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Synopsis– Present data-based technological development and Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 presents a unique challenge to the privacy of individuals.  

Introduction Personal Data Protection Bill 2019   –

By Puttaswamy v India (2017) case, privacy was established as a fundamental right. In other cases, MP Sharma v. Satish Chandra (1954) and Kharak Singh v. Uttar Pradesh (1962), as well, Privacy rights were upheld by SC.  

However, the development of global technology and implementation of the Aadhaar biometric programme in India have diluted the effect of these rulings. Now there is an urgent need to take a new look at the legal position of privacy in India. 

As depicted by Aadhaar based technology and global social media platforms, data has become a new oil i.e., it has become a tool for economic and political gain. It created a stream of data protection legislations, globally. India is also trying to join the league by Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 (DPB).   

In India, the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 (DPB) is currently under consideration by a parliamentary committee. There are various issues in this bill that go against the privacy rights of individuals. 

Commercial and Political consequences of the Data Protection Bill (DPB): 

Data Collection related issues  

  • First- Bill will negatively impact the emerging technologies market of India dealing in creation, use, and sale of data that is valued at $1 trillion by 2025.  
  • Second- The bill requires digital firms who want to operate in India to obtain permission from users before collecting their data.  
  • Third– Bill also declares that users who provide data are, in effect, the owners of their own data and may control its usage or request firms to delete it.  
      • European internet-users are able to exercise a “right to be forgotten” and have evidence of their online presence removed. 
  • Fourth– The bill allows the government to use “critical” or “sensitive” personal data, related to information such as religion, to protect national interest. 
  • Fifth– Open-ended access to government could lead to misuse of data. Mr. B N Srikrishna, the chairmen of the drafting committee of the original bill, warned that government-access exemptions risk creating an “Orwellian state”.

Issues related to Establishment of Data Protection Authority (DPA)  

  • Bill aims to establish a Data Protection Authority (DPA), which will be charged with managing data collected by the Aadhaar programme. 
      • Authority will consist of chairperson and six committee members,  
      • Members will be appointed by the central government on the recommendation of a selection committee.
      • Members will be selected from senior civil servants, including the Cabinet Secretary. 
  • The government’s power to appoint and remove members at its discretion provides it an ability to influence the independence of agency.
  • Unlike similar institutions, such as the Reserve Bank of India or the Securities and Exchange Board, the DPA will not have an independent expert or member of the judiciary on its governing committee.
  • The UIDAI, for its part, has a chairperson appointed by the central government and reporting directly to the Centre.

Issues related to government use of data for surveillance

There are instances that suggest, India is acquiring some features of a surveillance state

  • As stated by the Union Home minister recently, police used facial recognition technology to identify people after the anti-CAA protests and the Delhi riots. 
  • There is a high possibility that police was matching the video offstage with the database of Election Commission and e-Vahan, a pan-India database of vehicle registration.

Issue related to safety of data 

There are instances of controversy where government has shown casual approach towards data safety and privacy of its citizens:  

  • First, Safety concerns were raised during aadhaar data collection, which stores biometric data in the form of iris and fingerprints which is a violation of right to privacy.  
  • Second instance was of Aarogya Setu contact-tracing app which was allegedly not able to protect the data provided by citizens.  

Way Forward 

  • The Data Protection Bill is a unique opportunity for India, a country with some 740 million internet users.  It would be a standard setter for privacy of individuals. 
  • Inclusive debate needs to take place in the Joint Parliament Committee and then in Parliament to examine the Data Protection Bill and promote transparency.
Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulations, daily news, Daily News Updates, PUBLICTagged , ,

Shakti Act 2020 concerns

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Context – The Maharashtra Shakti Bill, 2020, and the Special Court and Machinery for Implementation of Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law, 2020 have been criticized by prominent women’s rights advocates for being “draconian.

More in news-

The two interconnected bills are the Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law (Maharashtra Amendment) Act 2020 and the Special Court and Machinery for Implementation of Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law 2020.

  • The Bill is proposed to be enacted as Shakti Act, 2020.

What does the draft bill proposes?

  1. The draft Bill proposes to make changes to the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
  2. The changes are proposed in existing sections of rape, sexual harassment, acid attack and child sexual abuse.
  • The death penalty is proposed in cases which are heinous in nature and where adequate conclusive evidence is available and circumstances warrant exemplary punishment.
  • The media is not allowed to report the name of a rape victim.
  • The draft Bill proposes an additional law to deal with abuse of women on social media.
  1. Provisions for “false” information – The Bill proposes punishment in cases of false complaints and acts of providing false information regarding sexual and other offences against women with the intention to humiliate, extort and defame.

What are the concerns related to new laws?

  1. Patriarchal conception [Control by men] – The new will punish the filing of false complaints. This, according to the signatories, “perpetuates the patriarchal notions of viewing women with suspicion, as unworthy of being believed”
  • This will only deter victims from reporting sexual offences.
  1. Improper investigation and trial– The 15 days’ time-frame will not be sufficient for gathering all evidence and will become an excuse for police to not conduct a proper investigation.
  • A hurried investigation and trial, they said, is likely to lead to miscarriage of justice.
  • Lacking in infrastructure required for effective implementation – Neither the police nor the courts have the infrastructure to comply with these timeframes. There are not enough prosecutors at trial courts and in high courts.
  1. The general perception is that since the laws have been made more stringent, so the rapists resort to extreme measures in a bid to destroy the evidence.
  • The death penalty in the new law reduces both the reporting of sexual offences and of conviction rates.
  1. No clarity of ‘heinous in nature’ cases– The proposed bills does not define what cases would qualify as being “heinous in nature”, thus leaving it open to the interpretation of courts.

Way forward-

  • The Bills’ content reflects the absence of a larger consultative process and lack of understanding of existing criminal laws.
  • The Maharashtra government should focus on improving infrastructure.
  • The two Bills should have been discussed with lawyers, activists, and academics working on women’s issues before they were passed by the state Cabinet.
Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulations, daily news, Daily News Updates, PUBLICTagged

Will Farm laws reduce Farmers income?

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Context: The present farm laws alter the bargaining landscape in favour of the corporate players to the detriment of the farmers.

What is current issue with farm laws?

  • The three recently enacted farm laws assented have led to a showdown between the peasantry and the Union government.
  • No consultation undertaken by the central government at the time of promulgating the ordinances and then pushing the bills.
  • Despite repeated demands of the oppositions to refer the farm bills to the standing/select committee for reconsideration and necessary consultation with all stakeholders.
  • Present dispensation believes that its shock-and-awe methods are to be the main medium of governance.
  • The Union government has bypassed the federal structure by legislating on subjects that exclusively fall within the domain of the state government under the state list of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.

What are the salient features of the bill?

  • Reducing role of MSP: The farm laws open the field to an alternate set of markets/private yards, where the buyer will have no statutory obligation to pay the minimum support price (MSP).
  • No fee: Markets/private yards will not be charged any market fee/levy. The agricultural sector will see the gradual shifting of trade from the APMC mandis to these private yards.
  • Reduce APMC role: The shifting of trade to avoid payment of any levy/market fee by private players and the Food Corporation of India (FCI) will eventually witness the redundancy of the APMC mandis, leaving the famers at the mercy of the corporate sharks.
  • Exclude the jurisdiction of the civil court: It will leave the farmers remediless and with no independent medium of dispute redressal mechanism. The farm laws empower the Sub-Divisional Authority (executive) to adjudicate on disputes between the farmers and traders.
  • Increased bureaucracy: The increased bureaucratic control over the adjudication of disputes between the farmers and corporate players will open the floodgates for corruption and rent-seeking.

How the bills are anti-farmers?

  • There are several pro-corporate and perceived anti-farmer provisions in the farm laws.
  • The global experience across agricultural markets demonstrates that corporatisation of agriculture without a concomitant security net in the form of an assured payment guarantee to the farmers results in the exploitation of farmers at the hands of big business.
  • The primary cause for concern is the systematic dismantling of the APMC mandis which have stood the test of time and have provided farmers the remuneration to keep themselves afloat.

What needs to be done?

  • The legality of laws should be expeditiously decided by the Supreme Court to halt the central government’s repeated encroachment on states’ rights.
  • There is need of robust system to annually re-calculate the MSP keeping in mind the rising input costs of diesel, fertilisers, etc to make farming a viable and lucrative vocation.
  • A statutory regulator in the field of agriculture akin to regulators in other fields would fill the gap to address information access and market distortions.

The three legislative nails in the farmer’s aspirations might lead to a bitter harvest.

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulations, daily news, Daily News Updates, PUBLICTagged , ,

Draft Indian Ports Bill, 2020

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Initial status: Ministry had circulated the draft Indian Ports Bill 2020 for inputs from stakeholders. Feedback incorporated in the draft Indian Ports Bill, 2021

Present status: Draft Indian Ports Bill, 2021 is under consultative stage.

About Draft Indian Ports Bill, 2020

Ministry: Ports, Shipping and Waterways

Aim: 

  • To enable the structured growth and sustainable development of ports to attract investments in the Port sector for optimum utilisation of the Indian Coastline by effective administration and management of ports.
  • The Bill will repeal and replace the Indian Ports Act, 1908.

Key Provisions of the Bill:

  1. Constitution of Maritime Port Regulatory Authority
  2. Formulation of the National Port policy and National Port plan in consultation with Coastal State Governments, State Maritime Boards and other stakeholders.
  3. Formulation of specialised Adjudicatory Tribunals namely Maritime Ports Tribunal and Maritime Ports Appellate Tribunal to curb anti-competitive practises in the port sector and act as a speedy and affordable grievance redressal mechanism.

Way Forward

  • The Bill seeks to provide increased opportunities for public and private investments in the Indian maritime and ports sector by way of removing barriers to entry, simplifying processes and establishment of agencies and bodies to plan and enable growth of the ports sector.
  • Enhancing “Ease of Doing Business’,it will provide greater impetus to a self-reliant domestic investment climate in the maritime sector, towards Atamanirbhar Bharat initiatives of the Government.
Posted in acts, bills and regulationsTagged

Karnataka’s cow protection bill

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Context: The Karnataka’s cow protection bill, like similar laws in other states affects rural economy.

Background

  • Recently, Karnataka state’s Vidhan Sabha passed the contentious cattle protection bill that had been passed by the state assembly 10 years ago which could not enter the statute book because the governor refused assent.

What are the issues involved?

  • Lack of debate: The Speaker did not give the opposition adequate time to voice their opinion.
  • Disturbs existing network: The relationship between the farmer and the butcher is threatened as witnessed in similar stares like Uttar Pradesh.
  • Indiscriminate powers to law agency: The proposed law stipulates a prison term of three to five years and fines ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh for purchasing or disposing of cattle for slaughter and gives the police sweeping powers to search premises and vehicles.
  • Affects farmers whose livelihood is dependent on Livestock: the cow becomes virtually uneconomical for the farmer after eight years when its milk output falls. Also, such animals along with male cattle not required for draught and breeding purposes.
  • Misuse of law: As observed by Allahabad High Court, The Act is being used against innocent persons.
Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, acts, bills and regulations, daily news, Daily News Updates, PUBLICTagged

ISSUE OF INTERFAITH MARRIAGES AND LAWS IN INDIA

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The article is based on The Big Picture: Special Marriage Act and Indian Express Explained, Roll it back appeared in the month of November. 

Context: The Uttar Pradesh government has cleared an ordinance that enables the state to police and punish inter-faith marriages with “the sole intention of changing a girl’s religion”.

Important provisions of Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religious Ordinance, 2020:

  • Law prohibits conversion from one religion to another by “misrepresentation, force, fraud, undue influence, coercion, allurement or marriage”.
  • Marriage will be declared “shunya” (null and void) if the “sole intention” was to “change a girl’s religion”
  •  The persons forced the girl to change religious conversion may face jail term of up to 10 years if the girl is minor, a woman from the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, if the person involved religious conversion on a mass scale. For the rest of the cases, the jail term ranges from 1 to 5 years.
  • The law also provides for the way to conversion. The person willing to convert to other religion would have to give it in writing to the District Magistrate at least two months in advance.
  • The burden to prove would be on the person who caused the conversion or the person who facilitated it. If any violation is found under this provision, then she/he will face a jail term from 6 months to 3 year
  • ·If any person reconverts to his immediate previous religion, then it shall not be deemed to be a violation of the ordinance.

Why Uttar Pradesh drafted such an ordinance?

  • In the past few months, cases of alleged “love jihad” have been reported from different parts of the state, especially eastern and central UP especially Lakhimpurkheri.
  • a group of parents from a particular locality in Kanpur had complained that their daughters are being allegedly trapped by Muslim men
  • In some cases, girls refused to accept that they were tempted into marriage.

Criticisms against the law

Many critics of the law have put forward a few issues regarding the law:

  • Allowing the police to examine subjective “intentions” of men and women entering a marriage veers into thought control — and sets the law up for rampant abuse.
  • Law against fundamental rights: By clearing the ordinance, the state government has trespassed the fundamental right to marry guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. 
What is the term ‘Love Jihad’ or ‘Romeo Jihad’?:

  • The term itself is based on a conspiracy Theory. It simply means that the Islamic men target non-Islamic women for religious conversion by feigning their love.
  • This theory is completely unproven. The theory got national attention with the alleged conversions first in Kerala and later in Karnataka in 2009.
  •  In 2010, the speech of then CM of Kerala creates widespread allegation (Source)

 Anti-conversion law at central level:

Central government proposed various bills but none of them passed and became a law. They are:

  • Indian Conversion (Regulation and Registration) Bill 1954
  • Backward Communities (Religious Protection) Bill 1960
  • Freedom of Religion Bill in 1979

In 2015, the Law Ministry said passing of any law on religious conversion is purely a “State subject” and Central government has no role in it.

Is Uttar Pradesh being the only state to initiate law for forceful conversion?

  • No, after the central government failed to pass 1960 bill, Odisha government moved on and passed the first anti-conversion law in 1968
  • After that so far 10 states have had passed anti-conversion laws in India.
  • The Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2019, and the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, both prohibit conversion by misrepresentation, force, fraud, undue influence, inducement, allurement and ‘by marriage’.

But Uttar Pradesh has become one of the first State to pass forcible conversion only during Interfaith marriages as special legislation. States such as Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka have also sought to bring such legislation.

Interfaith Marriages:

  • It simply means the matrimonial relation between individuals who follow different religious faiths.
  • Marriage between the same faiths has been governed by the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, Muslim personal Law. But to rectify and include interfaith marriages Centre passed the Special Marriage Act 1954.
  • Special Marriage Act considers Interfaith Marriages as secular.
Few important provisions of the Special Marriage Act of 1954:

  • The law allows the solemnization of marriages without any religious customs or rituals. The law solemnizes marriages by the way of registration.
  • The consenting couple (Men above 21 years and women above 18 years) who were going to get married have to provide 30-day Notice at the Marriage Registrar’s office.
  • After 30 days they can get married. If there are any objections raised then the Marriage Registrar will investigate the objection
  •  The Act is applicable to all Indian citizens and Indian nationals who live in abroad.
  • Allahabad High Court observed the Special Marriage Act as ‘one of the earliest endeavors towards Uniform Civil Code. (Source)

 Judicial pronouncement regarding interfaith marriages and forcible conversions:

  • The Rev Stanislaus vs Madhya Pradesh case: Supreme Court said Article 25 does provide freedom of religion in matters related to practice, profess and propagate, but the word propagate does not give the right to convert and upheld the laws prohibiting Conversion through force, fraud, or allurement.
  • Based on the above case it is clear that forcible conversion or conversion through fraud and allurement is against the Right to Freedom of Religion.
  • Sarla Mudgal case: The court had held that the religious conversion into Islam by a person from non-Islamic faith is not valid if the conversion is done for the purpose of polygamy.
  • Lily Thomas case: In this case Court observed that marrying another woman after converting to Islam is punishable under the bigamy laws.
  • Hadiya Case: Supreme Court said that the right to marry a person of one’s choice is integral to Article 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution
  • Allahabad High Court, in the case, Noor Jahan Begum @ Anjali Mishra and another vs. State of U.P. and Others observed that one shouldn’t change one’s faith just for the sake of matrimony. As two persons professing different religions can marry under the Special Marriage Act.
  • But in the most recent judgment, Allahabad High Court itself overturned its previous judgment, calling the decision “bad in law”. The division bench of the Allahabad high court said on November 11, that judgment does not take into account the right to life and personal liberty of mature adults.

Way forward:

Based on the judicial pronouncements it is clear that the Right to marry a person belongs to another faith is a Fundamental Right but that does not have to be associated only with personal laws or religious conversions. It is the Right of the individual’s personal liberty to involve in Interfaith Marriage either by the Special Marriage Act of 1954 or by Personal laws (after getting himself converted).

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Govt. seeks comments on draft Industrial Relations Code rules

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News: Union Labour and Employment Ministry has published the draft rules framed under the Industrial Relations Code,2020.

Facts:

  • Industrial Relations Code combines and simplifies relevant provisions of three Central Labour Acts: Trade Unions Act,1926, the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act,1946, and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

Key Highlights of the Draft Rules:

  • Exit provisions relating to retrenchment and others: Firms with 300 or more workers are required to seek approval from the government before 15-day notice for lay-offs, 60-day notice for retrenchment, and 90-day notice for closure.
  • Electronic Methods of Communication: The rules propose electronic methods for most communication including maintenance of an electronic register for standing orders for all industrial establishments among others.
  • Rules on Strike: The notice of strike has to be signed by the secretary and five elected representatives of the registered trade union and given to the employer, with a copy sent to the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) electronically or otherwise.
  • Reskilling Fund: The rules also proposed establishing a re-skilling fund for retrenched workers. Employers would have to electronically transfer an amount equal to 15 days of the last drawn wages of the retrenched workers or workers into an account maintained by the government within 10 days of the retrenchment.
    • The fund so received shall be transferred by the Central Government to each worker or workers‘ account electronically within 45 days of receipt of funds from the employer and the worker shall utilize such amount for his re-skilling.
Posted in acts, bills and regulations

SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act: New developments and Evolution

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SC has delivered a judgment in a recent appeal filed by a person booked under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for allegedly abusing a Dalit woman in her house.

SC judgment on SC/ST (PoA)act

In this latest judgment related to the SC/ST Act, the Supreme Court has said:  

  • All types of intimidations or insults to persons belonging to Dalit or tribal communities will not be categorized as an offense under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
  • Only insults specifically intended to humiliate the victim for his caste should be tried under the SC/ST act.

What was the case?

  • Judgment was delivered in response to the hearing of an appeal filed by a person, booked under the Act for allegedly abusing a Dalit woman in her house.
  • The court found that allegations against persons do not fulfill the basic ingredient under the Act that such humiliation should have happened in public view.
  • Since the incident occurred within four walls in the absence of the public, he can be tried under ordinary criminal law but not under the SC/ST act.

Evolution of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989

Constitutional Provisions

Article 17 of the constitution abolished the practice of untouchability. In line with the constitutional provisions under article 17 and Articles 14, 15 , the untouchability (offenses) Act, 1955 was passed in parliament. In 1976, the act was renamed as protection of the civil rights act.

But due to the ineffectiveness of previous acts, ‘Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989’ was enacted.

SC/ST Act, 1989

Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, also known as the SC/ST Act, was enacted to protect the marginalized communities against discrimination and atrocities.

  • The Act lists various offenses relating to various patterns or behaviors inflicting criminal offenses and breaking the self-respect and esteem of the scheduled castes and tribes community, which includes denial of economic, democratic, and social rights, discrimination, exploitation, and abuse of the legal process.
  • Under section 18 of the act, provision for anticipatory bail is not available to the offenders.
  • Any public servant, who deliberately neglects his duties under this act, is liable to punishment with imprisonment for up to 6 months.

SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities (Amendment) Act, 2015

Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 was introduced to make the act more stringent with the following provisions:

  • It recognized more instances of “atrocities” as crimes against SCs and STs.
  • It provided for the establishment of exclusive special courts and special public prosecutors to try offenses under the PoA Act.
  • Act defined the term ‘wilful negligence’ in the context of public servants at all levels, starting from the registration of the complaint to dereliction of duty under this Act.
  • If the accused was acquainted with the victim or his family, the court will presume that the accused was aware of the caste or tribal identity of the victim unless proved otherwise.

2018 SC judgment

Supreme Court in its Kashinath Mahajan judgment, introduced the following safeguards to the accused under SC/ST act.

Key guidelines

  • The bar on anticipatory bail under the Act need not prevent courts from granting advance bail if there is no merit in a complaint
  • “Preliminary enquiry” to be conducted in all cases before registration of FIRs.
  • The person can be arrested by an investigating officer, only if the “appointing authority” (in the case of a public servant) or the SP (in the case of others) approves such arrest. 

2018 amendment to the Act

In 2018, in response to this dilution of the act and public uproar against it, Parliament introduced Section 18A to overturn safeguards introduced by the Supreme Court.

  • Preliminary inquiry shall not be required for registration of a First Information Report against any person.
  • No approval is required before the arrest of the accused under this act.
  • It rules out any provision (Section 438 of the CrPC that deals with anticipatory bail) for anticipatory bail for the accused.

Prathvi Raj Chauhan case, 2020

In this case, the constitutional validity of section 18-A of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018 was challenged.

  • In this case, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India has upheld the Constitutional validity of section 18-A.
  • pre-arrest bail should be granted only in extraordinary situations where a denial of bail would mean a miscarriage of justice
  • Anticipatory bail can only be given in exceptional cases by Courts and not in every case.

How effective has been SC/ST act?

Following are some of the figures that raise questions over the effectiveness of the SC/ST PoA Act:

  • Increase in crimes: As per the NCRB report, 2019, Crimes against members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities increased by 7.3% and 26.5% respectively in 2019.
  • State-wise: Uttar Pradesh has the most number of cases of crime against SCs – 11,829 cases, which is 25.8% of the total such cases in the country followed by Rajasthan with 6,794 cases (14.8% of all cases), Bihar (14.2%), and Madhya Pradesh (11.5%).
  • Conviction rate: According to a status report on the implementation of the PoA Act, released by the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ), over the decade prior to 2018, the average conviction rate under(Prevention of Atrocities) Act
     for cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis remained at 25.2% and 22.8% respectively.

What more should be done?

  • Registration of Cases: Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) should be developed for filing and investigating cases so that there is no confusion or doubt among the investigators about the procedure to be followed.
  • Training and Capacity building of judges, lawyers, and policemen is required in these types of cases
  • Prosecution: Successful prosecution of genuine cases by the lawyers must be rewarded.
  • Research: There is a requirement for research into the types of punishment, as an alternative to imprisonment that can prevent future crimes by individuals or communities.

Way forward

As signified in the figures above, Laws alone cannot realize the vision of our constitution-makers to make India a country where everyone has equal rights, opportunities, and access to justice, it is only one of the steps required.

It requires the educational and economic advancement of the backward communities like SCs and STs in India and educational reforms all over the country so that root cause of the discrimination can be dealt with.

 

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National Forensic Science University Bill 2020

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Introduced: Lok Sabha (23rd March 2020)

Passed: Lok Sabha (20th Sept 2020)

Passed: Rajya Sabha (22nd Sept 2020)

Present status: Received assent on 28th Sept 2020 & converted to Act.

About National Forensic Science University Bill, 2020

Ministry: Home Affairs

Aim: 

  • It establishes National Forensic Science University as an institute of national importance.
  • The proposed university would facilitate and promote studies and research and help achieve excellence in the field of forensic science along with applied behavioural science studies, law, criminology and other allied areas.

Key provisions of National Forensic Science University Bill, 2020

  1. Establishment of the University: The Bill establishes the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar (established under the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University Act, 2008) and the Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Sciences, New Delhi, as a University called the National Forensic Sciences University at Gujarat.
  2. Objectives and functions of the University: Promoting academic learning in the field of forensic science in conjunction with applied behavioural science studies, law and other allied areas to strengthen the criminal justice institutions in India.
  3. Authorities: The Bill provides for several authorities under the University. These include the Chancellor of the University, the Court, the Board of Governors and the Academic Council
  4. Board of Governors: The Board of Governors will be responsible for all administrative affairs of the University.
  5. Fund: The University will maintain a Fund which will be applied towards its expenses.

 

 

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Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020

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Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) – 2020

News: The Defence Minister has unveiled the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) – 2020

Facts:

Key Features:

  • Notify a List of Weapons/Platforms for Ban on Import: Relevant incorporation has been done in the DAP to ensure that NO equipment as mentioned in the list is procured ex import post timelines notified.
  • New Category of Buy (Global – Manufacture in India): The new category incorporates ‘manufacture of either the entire/part of the equipment or spares/assemblies/sub-assemblies/Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility for the equipment, through its subsidiary in India.
  • Revised Offset Guidelines: The Offset guidelines have been revised, wherein preference will be given to manufacture of complete defence products over components and various multipliers have been added to give incentivisation in discharge of Offsets.
  • Project management unit: Setting up of a project management unit (PMU) has been mandated to support contract management. The PMU will facilitate obtaining advisory and consultancy support in specified areas to streamline the acquisition process.
  • FDI in Defence Manufacturing: Provisions have been incorporated like a new category ‘Buy (Global — Manufacture in India)’, to encourage foreign companies to set up manufacturing through its subsidiary in India.

 

Additional Information:

  • DAP 2020 is the renamed iteration of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). The first DPP was promulgated in the year 2002.
  • The DAP remains in place for a period of five years. The last DAP was issued in 2016.
  • Enhancement in Indigenous Content (IC)
CategoryDPP 2016DAP 2020
Buy (Indian-IDDM)Min 40%Min 50%
Buy (Indian)Min 40%Indigenous design — Min 50%

Otherwise – Min 60%

Buy & Make (Indian)Min 50% of MakeMin 50% of Make
Buy (Global — Manufacture in India)Min 50% of Buy plus Make
Buy (Global)Min 30% for Indian vendors

 

Posted in acts, bills and regulations

Labour Code on Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions, 2018

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Labour Code on Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions, 2018

In News: Lok Sabha has cleared three labour code Bills viz the Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2020, Code on Social Security Bill, 2020 and Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill, 2020.

Key Features of Labour Code on Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions, 2018

  • Consolidation of laws: It will amalgamate 13 labour laws including the Factories Act, 1948; the Mines Act, 1952; the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 etc.
  • Mandatory registration: All establishments covered by the Code must be registered with registering officers
  • Advisory Bodies: The bill provides for the setting up of Occupat ional Safety and Health Advisory Boards by the central and state governments at the national and state level.
  • Annual health check-up: It has been made mandatory in factories and its charge will be borne by the employers.
  • Duties of employers: Appointment letters for all workers (including those employed before this code), underlying their rights to statutory benefits.
  • Policy on Working Hours: Overtime work must be paid twice the rate of daily wages. Female workers, with their consent, may work past 7pm and before 6am, if approved by the central or state government.
  • Leave policy: No employee may work for more than six days a week. Workers must receive paid annual leave for at least one in 20 days of the period spent on duty.
  • Working conditions and welfare facilities: The employer is required to provide a hygienic work environment with ventilation, comfortable temperature and humidity, sufficient space, clean drinking water, and latrine and urinal accommodations.

Way Forward for Labour Code on Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions, 2018

  • Reforms should be made with the consensus of all stakeholders -The workers, their unions, and employers and their associations etc.
  • Any reform should strive to increase the trust between workers and employers.
  • There is a need for a national policy for domestic workers at the earliest, to recognise their rights and promote better working conditions.
  • To achieve the objective of training the 10 million apprentices, the government should form National Apprenticeship Corp by merging the Regional Directorate of Skill Development and the Entrepreneurship and Board of Apprenticeship Training.
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Labour Code on Social Security & Welfare, 2017

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In News: Lok Sabha has cleared three labour code Bills viz the Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2020, Code on Social Security Bill, 2020 and Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill, 2020

Key Features of Labour Code on Social Security & Welfare, 2017

  • Consolidation of multiple laws: It will replace nine social security laws, including Maternity Benefit Act, Employees’ Provident Fund Act, Employees’ Pension Scheme, Employees’ Compensation Act, among others.
  • Universalizes social security: Social security has been extended to those working in the unorganised sector, such as migrant workers, gig workers and platform workers.
  • Covers Agricultural workers: For the first time, provisions of social security will also be extended to agricultural workers also.
  • National Social Security Board: It proposes a National Social Security Board which shall recommend to the central government for formulating suitable schemes for different sections of unorganised workers, gig workers and platform workers.
  • Social security organisations: The Bill provides for the establishment of several bodies to administer the schemes. These include a Central Board to administer the provident fund schemes and national and state-level Social Security Boards to administer schemes for unorganised workers.
  • Social security fund: The Bill proposes setting up a social security fund using corpus available under corporate social responsibility.
  • Reducing employee PF contribution: The bill provides for an option for reducing provident fund contribution (currently at 12% of basic salary) to increase workers disposable income.
  • Gig Workers: The bill states that the central or state government may notify specific schemes for gig workers, platform workers, and unorganised workers to provide various benefits, such as life and disability cover.
  • Exemption: Under the bill the central government is empowered to exempt selected establishments from all or any of the provisions of the code and makes Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits under various social security schemes

Concerns

  • Does not provide for uniform definition on “social security”.
  • There is no dedicated central fund. The proposed corpus will be split into numerous small funds creating a multiplicity of authorities and confusion.
  • There is no clarity on how the proposed dismantling of the existing and functional structures, such as the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) with its corpus of ₹10 lakh crore will be handed over to a government.
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Labour Code on Industrial relations, 2020

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In News: Lok Sabha has cleared three labour code Bills viz the Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2020, Code on Social Security Bill, 2020 and Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill, 2020

Objectives Labour Code on Industrial relations bill, 2020

  • It aims to create greater labour market flexibility to encourage entrepreneurs to engage in labour-intensive sectors and to improve ease of doing business in India.
  • It would consolidate three laws i.e. Trade Unions Act, 1926; Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

Key Features of Labour Code on Industrial relations, 2020

  • Contract workers: It seeks to allow companies to hire workers on fixed-term contract of any duration. Fixed term employment refers to workers employed for a fixed duration based on a contract signed between the worker and the employer.
  • Reduced Threshold: Companies employing up to 300 workers will not be required to frame rules of conduct for workmen employed in industrial establishments. Presently, it is compulsory for firms employing up to 100 workers.
  • Dispute redressal: It provides for setting up of a two-member tribunal (in place of one member) wherein important cases will be adjudicated jointly and the rest by a single member, resulting in speedier disposal of cases.
  • Regulation for Trade Unions: Introduces a feature of ‘recognition of negotiating union’ under which a trade union will be recognized as sole ‘negotiating union’ if it has the support of 75% or more of the workers on the rolls of an establishment.
  • Statutory benefits: Underlines that fixed-term employees will get all statutory benefits on a par with the regular employees who are doing work of the same or similar nature.
  • Regulates strikes: As per the bill, the workers in factories will have to give a notice at least 14 days in advance to employers if they want to go on strike. Presently, only workers in public utility services are required to give notices to hold strikes.
  • Re-skilling Fund: Proposes setting up of a “re-skilling fund” for training of retrenched employees. The retrenched employee would be paid 15 days’ wages from the fund within 45 days of retrenchment.

Concerns

  • The Industrial Relations Code of 2019 has curtailed the right to form unions and accord them powers of representation.
  • It takes away the negotiating rights of trade unions as it would be difficult for any one group to manage 75% support.
  • It will give tremendous amounts of flexibility to the employers in terms of hiring and firing, dismissal for alleged misconduct and retrenchment for economic reasons will be completely possible for all the industrial establishments employing less than 300 workers.
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Labour Rights Codes on wages Bill

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Introduced: Lok Sabha (23rd July 2019)

Passed: Lok Sabha (30th July 2019)

Passed: Rajya Sabha (2nd Aug 2019)

Present status: Received assent on 8th August, 2019.

Ministry: Labour and Employment

Objectives of the Labour Rights Codes on wages Bill, 2019

  • The bill seeks to consolidate laws relating to wages by replacing- Payment of Wages Act, 1936; Minimum Wages Act, 1948; Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.
  • To formulate a statutory National Minimum Wage for different regions. The economic survey 2018-19 had also mentioned that a national mandatory minimum wage is a requirement.

Key provisions of Labour Rights Codes on wages Bill, 2019

  1. Defined Wages appropriately: it removes the multiplicity of wage definitions leading to significantly reduce in litigation as well as compliance cost for employers.
  2. Uniform wages: The Bill stipulates to link minimum wages only to factors such as skillset and geographical location. This would bring down the number of minimum wage rates across the country to 300. These labour Codes seek to universalise the right to minimum wage of workers, presently available to only about 30% of the workforce engaged in the scheduled employments.
  3. Extends to all sectors: It seeks to universalizes the provisions of minimum wages and timely payment of wages to all employees irrespective of the sector and wage ceiling.
  4. National Floor Level Minimum Wage: To be set by the Centre and will be revised every five years, while states will fix minimum wages for their regions, which cannot be lower than the floor wage.

Concerns associated with Labour  Rights Codes on wages Bill, 2019

  • The bill does not define “who is a worker” clearly.
  • The calculation of the level of minimum wage by an expert committee is at variance with ILO parameters.
  • A ‘national minimum wage’ is a good idea, but its computation is cause for concern. Instead of a single national minimum wage, the bill proposes multiple minimum wage structure at different geographical zones.
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FCRA 2010 to 2020: Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act evolution

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In News: Recently, Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2020 was introduced in the Lok Sabha. The Bill amends the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.

What is FCRA?

  • Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act: It is an act of Parliament enacted in 1976 and amended in 2010 to regulate foreign donations and to ensure that such contributions do not adversely affect internal security.
  • Coverage: It is applicable to all associations, groups and NGOs which intend to receive foreign donations.
  • Who cannot receive foreign donations?
    • Members of the legislature and political parties, government officials, judges and media persons are prohibited from receiving any foreign contribution.
    • However, in 2017 the FCRA was amended through the Finance Bill to allow political parties to receive funds from the Indian subsidiary of a foreign company or a foreign company in which an Indian holds 50% or more shares.
  • Registration: It is mandatory for all such NGOs to register themselves under the FCRA. The registration is initially valid for five years and it can be renewed subsequently if they comply with all norms.
  • Purpose of Foreign contribution: Registered associations can receive foreign contributions for social, educational, religious, economic and cultural purposes. Filing of annual returns on the lines of Income Tax is compulsory.
  • Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) New Rules:
    • In 2015, the MHA notified new rules which required NGOs to give an undertaking that the acceptance of foreign funds is not likely to prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India or impact friendly relations with any foreign state and does not disrupt communal harmony.
    • It also said all such NGOs would have to operate accounts in either nationalised or private banks which have core banking facilities to allow security agencies access on a real time basis.

Key provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2020:

  • Prohibition to accept foreign contribution:
    • Include certain public servants in the prohibited category for accepting foreign contribution: These include: election candidates, editor or publisher of a newspaper, judges, government servants, members of any legislature, and political parties.
    • The Bill adds public servants to this list. Public servant includes any person who is in service or pay of the government, or remunerated by the government for the performance of any public duty.
  • Transfer of foreign contribution: Under the Act, foreign contribution cannot be transferred to any other person unless such person is also registered to accept foreign contribution.
  • FCRA account: The Bill states that foreign contribution must be received only in an account designated by the bank as FCRA account in such branches of the State Bank of India, New Delhi. No funds other than the foreign contribution should be received or deposited in this account.
  • Definition of persons: The FCRA 2010 allows transfer of foreign contributions to persons registered to accept foreign contributions. The term ‘person’ under the Bill includes an individual, an association, or a registered company.
  • Regulation: The Act states that a person may accept foreign contribution if they have obtained a certificate of registration from central government or obtained prior permission from the government to accept foreign contribution. The bill makes Aadhaar mandatory for registration.
  • Restriction in utilisation of foreign contribution: The Bill gives government powers to stop utilisation of foreign funds by an organisation through a “summary enquiry”.
  • Reduction in use of foreign contribution for administrative purposes: The bill decreases administrative expenses through foreign funds by an organisation to 20% from 50% earlier.
  • Surrender of certificate: The Bill allows the central government to permit a person to surrender their registration certificate.

Need for such amendments:

  • To monitor Misuse of funds: In Parliament, the government alleged that foreign money was being used for religious conversions. For instance, in 2017, the government barred American Christian charity, Compassion International.
  • To prevent loss to the GDP: An official report quantifying the GDP losses allegedly caused by environmental NGOs was prepared during NPA period, indicating a foreign conspiracy against India.
  • To enhance transparency and accountability: The annual inflow of foreign contribution has almost doubled between the years 2010 and 2019, but many recipients of foreign contribution have not utilised the same for the purpose for which they were registered or granted prior permission under the said Act.
  • To regulate NGO’s: Many persons were not adhering to statutory compliances such as submission of annual returns and maintenance of proper accounts.
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Essential Commodities Amendment Bill, 2020

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Introduced: Lok Sabha (14th Sept 2020)

Passed: Lok Sabha (15th Sept 2020)

Passed: Rajya Sabha (22nd Sept 2020)

Present status: Received assent on 26th Sept 2020 & converted to Act.

Ministry: Consumer Affairs and Food Distribution

Objectives

  • Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 amends the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
  • Aim: To increase competition in the agriculture sector and enhance farmers’ income. It also aims to remove fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference in their business operations.

Key Features of Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020

  • Regulation on food items: Under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, the Government regulates the production, supply and distribution of certain commodities it declares ‘essential’ in order to make them available to consumers at fair prices. The bill removes cereal, pulses, oilseed, edible oil, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities.
  • Stock Limit: It requires that imposition of any stock limit on agricultural produce must be based on price rise. A stock limit may be imposed only if there is: (i) a 100% increase in retail price of horticultural produce; and (ii) a 50% increase in the retail price of non-perishable agricultural food items.

Issues with Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020

  • Undermining Food security: Easing of regulation of food items would lead to exporters, processors and traders hoarding farm produce during the harvest season, when prices are generally lower, and releasing it later when prices increase. This could undermine food security since the States would have no information about the availability of stocks within the State.
  • Deregulation of food items– As the bill removes cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities, it will deregulate the production, storage, movement and distribution of these important food commodities.
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Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020

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Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 is aimed to provide a legal contract for farmers to enter into written contracts with companies and produce for them.

Key Features of Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020:

  • Farming agreement: It provides for a farming agreement between a farmers and buyers (processors, wholesalers, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters etc.) before the production or rearing of any farm produce.
  • Pricing of farming produce: The agreement should mention the following:
    • The price of farming produce
    • For prices subjected to variation, a guaranteed price for the produce and a clear reference for any additional amount above the guaranteed price
    • process of price determination
  • Dispute Settlement: A farming agreement must provide for a conciliation board as well as a conciliation process for settlement of disputes.
  • Protection to farmers: Farmers have been provided adequate protection. Sale, lease or mortgage of farmers’ land is totally prohibited and farmers’ land is also protected against any recovery.

Issues with Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020:

  • No mechanism for price fixation: The bill provides protection to farmers against price exploitation, but does not prescribe the mechanism for price fixation. There are concerns that the free hand given to the private sector could lead to corpotirization of agriculture and farmer exploitation.
  • Unorganised nature of the farm sector: Given the unorganised nature of the farm sector and farmers’ lack of resources for a legal battle with private corporate entities, there are concerns that formal contractual obligations will eventually be detrimental for poor farmers in the country.
  • Lack of assurance about MSP: The bill doesn’t provide any assurance about Minimum Support Price (MSP) in the contract-farming. Critics have opined that there will be no declaration of MSP for all crops, determined by Swaminathan formula of C2 costs plus 50 per cent.
  • Fear of intermediaries: Though the bill seeks to eliminate middlemen from the supply chain, the critics have raised concerns that middlemen will operate in the form of sponsors or farm service provider for contract-farming.
  • Deprivation of farmers from their land: The legislation provides for “farming agreements” “with insurance or credit instrument”. This will entail credit linkage with mortgaging of farmer’s land. There are concerns that in case the contract suffers a financial loss, a farmer might have to pay debt through their land.
  • Subjecting food security to world markets: There are concerns that MNC food giants and their Indian collaborators will integrate Indian agricultural production with world markets. This will reduce the freedom of farmers and undermine food security.
  • Threat to India’s food and political sovereignty: There are concerns that companies will promote banned and dangerous GM seeds, terminator seed technology. This will erode India’s seed sovereignty and threaten food and political sovereignty.
Posted in acts, bills and regulationsTagged

Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation), bill 2020

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Introduced: Lok Sabha (14th Sept 2020)

Passed: Lok Sabha (17th Sept 2020)

Passed: Rajya Sabha (20th Sept 2020)

Present status: Received assent of the President on 24th Sept 2020 & converted to Act.

About Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation), bill 2020

Ministry: Agriculture and Farmers Welfare

Aim

  • Break the monopoly of government-regulated mandis and provide farmers and traders freedom of choice of sale and purchase of Agri-produce.

Key provisions  

  1. Trade of farmers’ produce:
    1. It allows intrastate and inter-state trade of farmers’ produce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislation.
    2. In addition to mandis, freedom to do trading at farmgate, cold storage, warehouse, processing units etc.
  2. Electronic trading: It proposes electronic trading in transaction platform for ensuring a seamless trade electronically.
  3. Abolition of cess or levy for sale: The farmers will not be charged any market fee, cess or levy for sale of their produce and will not have to bear transport costs.

Issues with Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020:

  • Lack of regulatory oversight and reporting: The bill provides for non-APMC markets but does not provide any mechanism for its regulation. There are concerns that the lack of regulation might lead to unregulated trade detrimental to the primary purpose of providing market access to farmers. Further, it does not provide proper grievance redressal mechanism.
  • Loss in revenue for states: The market fee, rural development fee, and arhatiya’s commission are big sources of revenue for some states. With states not permitted to levy market fee/cess outside APMC areas under the new legislation, Punjab and Haryana could lose an estimated Rs 3,500 crore and Rs 1,600 crore each year respectively.
  • Fear over MSP: According to critics, the dismantling of the monopoly of the APMCs is the sign of ending the assured procurement of food grains at minimum support prices (MSP).
  • Setting Price: APMC continues to set the reference price even for private players. In the absence of APMC, there will be no alternative for a large market that can actually set price signals. Global experience such as the French dairy producers and the dairy farmers’ co-operatives in the U.S suggest that buyer cartels will start fixing the market price.
Posted in acts, bills and regulationsTagged

Foreign Contribution Regulation amendment Act (FCRA), 2020

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Introduced: Lok Sabha (20th Sept 2020)

Passed: Lok Sabha (21st Sept 2020)

Passed: Rajya Sabha (23rd Sept 2020)

Present status: Received assent of the President on 28th Sept 2020 & converted to Act.

Background of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) 

  • The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) was first brought in by the Indira Gandhi government during the Emergency in 1976.
  • Its aim was to protect the ‘sovereignty’ of India from ‘foreign hands’ at a time when global powers were engaged in a cold war.
  • The law prohibited political parties, electoral candidates and even cartoonists from accepting foreign contributions.
  • In 2010, the government made the renewal of registrations mandatory every five years and placed a 50% limit on administrative expenses.

About Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment)Act, 2020

Ministry: Finance

Aim: The Act amended the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. 

Key provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment)Act, 2020

  1. Prohibition to accept foreign contribution: These include: election candidates, editor or publisher of a newspaper, judges, government servants, members of any legislature, and political parties.
  2. Transfer of foreign contribution:
    1. Under the Act, foreign contribution cannot be transferred to any other person unless such person is also registered to accept foreign contribution.
    2. FCRA registered organisations are barred from transferring foreign donations to smaller non-profits (a practice known as sub-granting) who often find it difficult to access donors on their own.
  3. Aadhaar for registration: The Act states that a person may accept foreign contribution if they have obtained a certificate of registration from central government or obtained prior permission from the government to accept foreign contribution. The bill makes Aadhaar mandatory for registration.
  4. Restriction in utilisation of foreign contribution: The Bill gives government powers to stop utilisation of foreign funds by an organisation through a “summary enquiry”.
  5. Reduction in use of foreign contribution for administrative purposes: The bill decreases administrative expenses through foreign funds by an organisation to 20% from 50% earlier.
  6. More power to government: FCRA registration can be suspended now after a summary enquiry and the period of suspension can extend up to a year (from 180 days earlier).
Posted in acts, bills and regulations

Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Promoting Telecom and Networking Products Manufacturing in India

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Source: This post is based on the article Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Promoting Telecom and Networking Products Manufacturing in Indiapublished in PIB on 16th October 2021.

What is the News?

The Minister of State for Communications has launched the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Telecom and Networking Products.

What is the objective of the PLI Scheme for Telecom and Networking Products?

To boost domestic manufacturing in the telecom and networking products by incentivising incremental investments and turnover.

To reduce India’s dependence on other countries for the import of telecom and networking products.

What are the target segments under the scheme?

Core Transmission Equipment

4G/5G, Next-Generation Radio Access Network and Wireless Equipment

Access and Customer Premises Equipment (CPE), Internet of Things (IoT) Access Devices, and Other Wireless Equipment

Enterprise equipment: Switches, Routers

What is the eligibility criteria?

MSMEs – Minimum Threshold of Investment ₹ 10 Crores

Other than MSMEs – Minimum Threshold of Investment ₹ 100 Crores

Further, for MSMEs, the scheme has a 1% higher incentive in the first three years.

What are the incentives under the scheme?

An incentive of 7% to 4% on incremental sales (over base year) of goods manufactured in India

Tenure: Support under the scheme shall be provided for a period of five (5) years from 1st April 2021.

Read moreProduction-Linked Incentive or PLI Schemes and its challenges – Explained, pointwise
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Palk Bay scheme to get a fillip: Murugan

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What is the News?

The Union Government is considering increasing the unit cost of deep-sea fishing vessels to make them more attractive to fisherfolk. At present, the Palk Bay scheme covers fishing vessels up to Rs 80 Lakh. The government is considering to increase this amount to Rs 1.3 Cr.

What is the Palk Bay Scheme?

Palk Bay Scheme is also known as Scheme for Diversification Of Trawl Fishing Boats From Palk Straits Into Deep Sea Fishing Boats.

The scheme was launched by the Government of India in 2017 as a Centrally sponsored scheme.

What are the objectives of the scheme?

Firstly, it is a Tamil Nadu-specific scheme aimed at providing 2,000 vessels in three years to fishermen of the State and motivating them to abandon bottom trawling.

Must read: India-Sri Lanka Maritime dispute – Explained

Secondly, it aims to reduce fishing pressure around the proximity of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) so that Tamil Nadu fishermen do not cross the IMBL and fish in Sri Lankan waters.

What is the funding Pattern of the Scheme?

Under the scheme is the Centre is providing 50% cost of the fishing vessel, the State government is providing 20% cost and the 10% cost will be the Institutional funding. The beneficiary will put the remaining 20% for the vessel.

The Scheme is limited to vessels costing up to Rs. 80 Lakh.

What is Bottom Trawling?

bottom trawling

It is an ecologically destructive fishing practice. It involves trawlers dragging weighted nets along the seafloor.

The major problem in bottom trawling is Bycatch (captures juvenile fish and other non-targeted fish species). This will cause great depletion of aquatic resources and affect marine conservation efforts.

Source: This post is based on the articlePalk Bay scheme to get a fillip: Muruganpublished in ‘The Hindu’ on 08th October 2021. 

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Government has approved setting up of 7 Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA) Parks

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What is the news?  

The government has approved the setting up of seven PM MITRA textiles parks, following the “Union Budget for 2021-22″ commitments, with a total outlay of Rs. 4,445 crores in a period of 5 years. 

About “PM-MITRA” Scheme

The scheme aims to realize the vision of building an Aatmanirbhar Bharat by positioning India strongly on the Global textiles map. It is inspired by the 5F vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister –Farm to Fibre to Factory to Fashion to Foreign.

Aim: The scheme aims to create a world-class industrial infrastructure that would attract cutting-edge technology and boost FDI and local investment in the sector.

Sites for the scheme will be selected by a Challenge Method, based on objective criteria for Greenfield / Brownfield sites. The Centre is receiving proposals from states for the ready availability of contiguous and encumbrance-free land parcels of 1,000+ acres along with other textiles related facilities & ecosystems. 

What are the various supports provided by the government under the scheme?

Competitiveness Incentive Support (CIS)– The government will provide a fund of ₹ 300 Crore to ‘investors’ setting up production facilities to incentivize manufacturing units to get established.

For a Greenfield Park ‘developer’, the centre will provide 30% of Capital Support from the Project Cost, with a cap of ₹ 500 Cr. 

For a Brownfield sites ‘developer’, the centre will provide 30% of Capital Support from the Project Cost, with a cap of ₹ 200 Cr. 

The developer will get a 25-year lease of the park, and this could be extended by another 25 years.

What infrastructures do the PM MITRA parks contain?

PM MITRA park will be developed by a Special Purpose Vehicle which will be owned by the State Government and Government of India in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Mode. The Master Developer will develop and also maintain the park during the concession period. 

MITRA Parks
Source: PIB
  1. Core Infrastructure: Incubation Centre & Plug & Play facility, Developed Factory Sites, Roads, Power, Water and Waste Water system, Common Processing House and other related facilities e.g., Design Centre, Testing Centres etc. 
  2. Support Infrastructure: Workers’ hostels & housing, logistics park, warehousing, medical, training & skill development facilities.
What are the advantages of the PM-MITRA Scheme?

The scheme intended to generate approximately 1 lakh direct and 2 lakh indirect employment per park. 

The Scheme will offer an opportunity to create an integrated textiles value chain right from spinning, weaving, processing/dyeing and printing to garment manufacturing at one location that would ease business and will reduce logistics costs of the Industry. 

Source: This post is based on the articles 

  • Government has approved setting up of 7 Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA पीएम मित्र) Parks with a total outlay of Rs. 4,445 crore in a period of 5 years” published in ‘PIB’ on 06 October 2021. 
  • Cabinet approves scheme to setup 7 mega textile park” published in Livemint on 07th October 2021.
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SAUBHAGYA completes Four years of successful implementation

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What is the News?

SAUBHAGYA Scheme has completed four years of successful implementation.

What is the Saubhagya Scheme?

The SAUBHAGYA Scheme was announced by the Prime Minister in 2017. 

Objective: To achieve Universal Household Electrification in the country through last-mile connectivity and providing access to electricity to all un-electrified households in rural areas and poor households in urban areas.

Nodal Agency: REC Limited (Rural Electrification Corporation) has been designated as the nodal agency for the Saubhagya scheme.

What are the key features of the Scheme?

All DISCOMs including Private Sector DISCOMs, State Power Departments and RE Cooperative Societies shall be eligible for financial assistance under the scheme in line with Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).

The prospective beneficiary households for free electricity connections under the scheme would be identified using SECC 2011 data. 

However, un-electrified households not covered under SECC data would also be provided electricity connections under the scheme on payment of Rs. 500 which shall be recovered by DISCOMs in 10 instalments through electricity bill. 

The electricity connection to households includes the release of electricity connections by drawing a service cable from the nearest pole to the household premise, installation of an energy meter, wiring for a single light point with an LED bulb and a mobile charging point.

What is the present status of the Scheme?

As of March 31st, 2021 India has provided electricity access to 2.82 crore households as part of the Saubhagya scheme. Saubhagya Scheme will continue its work of providing a 24×7 quality power supply to all. 

All states have been requested to launch special campaigns in their respective states to identify any left out un-electrified households and subsequently provide electricity connections to them. A dedicated toll-free helpline has also been launched for that purpose.

Source: This post is based on the article SAUBHAGYA completes Four years of successful implementationpublished in PIB on 25th Sep 2021.

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Scheme for “Promotion of Medical Device Parks”, a key initiative to support the medical devices, notified

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What is the News?

The Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has notified the Scheme for “Promotion of Medical Device Parks”.

What is the Scheme for Promotion of Medical Device Parks?

Under the scheme, medical parks will be developed to provide common infrastructure facilities in one place thereby creating a robust ecosystem for medical device manufacturing in the country and also reduce the manufacturing cost significantly. 

Objectives of the Scheme

Easy access to standard testing and infrastructure facilities through the creation of world-class common infrastructure facilities for increased competitiveness. This will result in a significant reduction of the cost of production of medical devices, leading to better availability and affordability of medical devices in the domestic market.

Reaping the benefits arising due to optimization of resources and economies of scale.

Other Features of the Scheme

Duration: The total financial outlay of the scheme is Rs. 400 crores and the tenure of the scheme is from FY 2020-2021 to FY 2024-2025. 

Financial Assistance: ​​The financial assistance to a selected Medical Device Park would be 70% of the project cost of common infrastructure facilities.

In the case of the North-Eastern States and the Hilly States, financial assistance would be 90% of the project cost. Maximum assistance under the scheme for one Medical Device Park would be limited to Rs. 100 crores.

Source: This post is based on the articleScheme for Promotion of Medical Device Parks, a key initiative to support the medical devices, notifiedpublished in PIB on 23rd September 2021.

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Government Notifies PLI Scheme for Automobile & Auto components

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What is the News?

The government of India has issued notification regarding Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Automobile & Auto components. 

What is the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Automobile & Auto components?

Aim: To overcome the cost disabilities of the industry for the manufacture of Advanced Automotive Technology products in India.

Key Features of the Scheme

Eligibility: The scheme is open to existing Automotive companies as well as new Non-Automotive investor companies (who are currently not in the automobile or auto component manufacturing business).

Duration: The scheme will be implemented over a period of five years starting from FY 2022-2023.

Components: The scheme has two components viz 

Champion OEM Incentive scheme: It is a ‘sales value linked’ scheme, applicable to Battery Electric Vehicles and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles of all segments.

Component Champion Incentive Scheme: It is a ‘sales value linked’ scheme, applicable on pre-approved Advanced Automotive Technology components of all vehicles. Pre-approval of the eligible products will be done by Testing Agency.

Base year: Financial Year 2019-20 shall be treated as the Base Year for calculation of Eligible sales. An approved applicant shall be eligible for benefits for 5 consecutive Financial Years.

Any eligible product will be incentivized only for once – Component level or Vehicle level.

Read moreProduction-Linked Incentive or PLI Schemes and its challenges – Explained, pointwise

Minimum 50% domestic value addition will be required to avail incentives under the scheme.

The incentive will be applicable on the Determined Sales Value, which is defined as the incremental eligible sales of a particular year over the base year.

Source: This post is based on the article Government Notifies PLI Scheme for Automobile & Auto components published in PIB on 25th September 2021.

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IT Minister vision for startups takes shape of SAMRIDH Scheme

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Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology(MeitY) has launched the SAMRIDH Scheme.

About SAMRIDH Scheme:
  1. Full-Form: Start-up Accelerators of MeitY for pRoduct Innovation, Development and growth (SAMRIDH).
  2. Aim: To create a conducive platform for Indian Software Product start-ups to enhance their products and secure investments for scaling their business.
  3. Implementation: MeitY Start-up Hub (MSH).
Key Features of the Scheme:
  1. Firstly, the scheme will focus on accelerating the 300 start-ups by providing customer connect, investor connect, and international immersion in the next three years. 
  2. Secondly, an investment of up to ₹ 40 lakh to the start-up based on the current valuation and growth stage of the Start-Up will be provided through selected accelerators. 
Significance of the Scheme:
  1. India is currently the third-largest Unicorn hub globally, with 63 Unicorns having a total valuation of 168 Billion USD.
  2. The programme aims to further the Indian start-up growth and create at least 100 unicorns out of the selected startups.

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMES

Pension scheme for informal workers hits stagnation point

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Source: Livemint

What is the News?

The number of people joining the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM) scheme, has hit an all-time low. This is due to workers in the informal sector facing income and job loss following the two waves of the coronavirus pandemic.

About Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan(PM-SYM) Scheme:
  1. Launched by: Ministry of Labour and Employment 
  2. Type: Central Sector Scheme 
  3. Aim: It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme that aims to ensure old age protection for Unorganised Workers.
  4. Coverage: The scheme covers unorganised workers (home-based workers, street vendors, mid-day meal workers, head loaders, landless labourers and similar other occupations) whose monthly income is Rs 15,000/ per month or less. The beneficiary should also belong to the entry age group of 18-40 years.
    • Moreover, they should also not be covered under New Pension Scheme (NPS), the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme or the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). Further, he/she should not be an income taxpayer.
Key Features of the Scheme:
  1. Minimum Assured Pension: Each subscriber under the PM-SYM, shall receive a minimum assured pension of Rs 3000/- per month after attaining the age of 60 years.
  2. Matching Contribution: It is a contributory pension scheme on a 50:50 basis where prescribed age-specific contributions shall be made by the beneficiary and the matching contribution by the Central Government. 
    • For example, if a person enters the scheme at an age of 29 years, he is required to contribute Rs 100/ – per month till the age of 60 years an equal amount of Rs 100/- will be contributed by the Central Government.
  3. Family Pension: During the receipt of a pension, if the subscriber dies, the spouse of the beneficiary shall be entitled to receive 50% of the pension received by the beneficiary as a family pension. Family pension is applicable only to spouses.
    • If a beneficiary has given regular contribution and died due to any cause (before age of 60 years), his/her spouse will be entitled to join and continue the scheme subsequently by payment of regular contribution or exit the scheme as per provisions of exit and withdrawal.
  4. Fund Management:  The scheme will be implemented through the Life Insurance Corporation of India and CSC eGovernance Services India Limited (CSC SPV). LIC will be the Pension Fund Manager and responsible for Pension payouts. 

 

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High-speed Net comes to a deep jungle

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Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS), a Union government initiative for skill development in rural areas, has brought high-speed internet to some of the remotest tribal hamlets deep inside the Nilambur jungle in Kerala.

About Jan Shikshan Sansthan(JSS) Scheme:

  • The Scheme of Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) was formerly known as the Shramik Vidyapeeth scheme. The scheme was launched in 1967 and was renamed as Jan Shikshan Sansthan in 2000
  • Nodal Ministry: The scheme was transferred from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship in 2018.
  • Mandate: To provide vocational skills in non-formal mode to non-literate, neo-literates, persons with a rudimentary level of education up to 8th and school drop-outs up to 12th standard in the age group of 15-45 years.
  • Target Group: The priority groups are women, SC, ST, minorities and other backward sections of the society. 
  • Implementation: The scheme is implemented through NGOs with 100% grants from the Government of India.
  • At present, 233 JSSs in 25 States and 3 Union Territories are functional. The annual coverage of the beneficiaries is around 4 lakh, out of which 85% are women.
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Odisha CM Launches Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana

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Source: Outlook

What is the News?

The Odisha Chief Minister has launched the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) smart card scheme.

About Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) smart card scheme:

  1. Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) smart card scheme is a new version of the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Scheme that was first launched in 2018.
  2. The scheme aims to transform the health service delivery system of the state.
  3. Under the scheme, smart cards would be distributed to the beneficiaries. The smart cards will have the details of family members and a 12-digit distinctive registration quantity. Each family will be given two cards in case two people fall sick at the same time.
  4. The smart cards can be used by the beneficiaries to avail cashless health coverage across more than 200 empanelled private hospitals.
  5. Those who don’t have smart cards will have to produce their food security cards to avail the services under the scheme.
  6. Each family can get treatment cost up to 5 lakh per year and women will get benefits up to 10 lakh per year under the scheme.
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Government of India developed robust mechanism for Online Trading of Energy Saving Certificates

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Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Ministry of Power issued more than 57 lacs Energy Saving Certificates to 349 industrial units because they saved more energy than the targets. These units will be able to trade certificates through Power Exchange Portal to those units that could not achieve their targets.

About Perform, Achieve and Trade(PAT) Scheme:
  1. Launched by: Ministry of Power
  2. Aim: PAT is a market-based compliance mechanism that aims to accelerate improvements in energy efficiency in energy-intensive industries.
  3. Nodal Agency: It is a flagship programme of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency under the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE).
Key Features of the Scheme:
  1. The scheme seeks to enhance cost-effectiveness through certification of excess energy savings in energy-intensive industries.
  2. Under the scheme, an Energy Audit is done to verify the baseline data (current level of efficiency) and thereafter energy saving targets are given. 
  3. Energy Saving Certificates (ESCerts) are issued to those plants that have achieved excess energy savings over their targets. 
  4. Units that are unable to meet the targets either through their own actions or through the purchase of ESCerts are liable to financial penalty under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
Significance of the Scheme:
  1. The scheme has led to the total energy savings of more than 14 million tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE) which has resulted in mitigation of about 66 million tonnes of CO2 emission.
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Cabinet approves implementation of National Mission on Edible Oils Oil Palm

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Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to launch a new Mission on Oil palm, to be known as the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP).

About National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP):
  • NMEO-OP is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme that aims to boost domestic production of Palm Oil and reduce its dependence on imports.
  • The mission has a special focus on the North-eastern region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Target: The mission hopes to increase the area under oil palm by an additional 6.5 lakh hectares by 2025-26. It also has a target to increase the production of crude palm oil to 11.2 lakh tonnes by 2025-26 and up to 28 lakh tonnes by 2029-30.
Major Focus Areas of the scheme:

Price Assurance:

  1. The oil palm farmers will produce Fresh Fruit Bunches(FFBs) from which Palm oil is extracted by the industry. 
  2. Presently, the prices of these FFBs are linked to the international Crude Palm Oil(CPO) prices fluctuations. 
  3. So if the market is volatile, then the Centre will pay the difference in price to the farmers through direct benefit transfer 
  4. This price assurance will be given in the form of viability gap funding, and the industry will be mandated to pay 14.3% of crude palm oil prices.
  5. Moreover, in a bid to encourage oil palm cultivation in northeastern India and in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Centre will bear an additional cost of 2% of the crude palm oil prices in these States
  6. Hence, this will protect the farmers from the fluctuations of the international CPO  prices and protect them from volatility.  

The assistance of Inputs/Interventions: The scheme has been made a substantial increase in the assistance of inputs/interventions:  

  1. A substantial increase has been made for planting material for oil palm and this has increased from Rs 12,000 per ha to  Rs.29000 per ha. 
  2. Further, a substantial increase has been made for maintenance and intercropping interventions. 
  3. Moreover, assistance will be provided to seed gardens to address the issue of shortage of planting material in the country.
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Govt notifies RoDTEP rates, guidelines

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Source: Livemint and The Hindu

What is the News?

The government of India has notified the rates and norms for the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme.

About RoDTEP Scheme:
  1. Launched by: Ministry of Commerce & Industry 
  2. Which scheme is it replacing? The RoDTEP scheme is replacing the earlier Merchandise and Services Export Incentive Schemes (MEIS and SEIS) that were in violation of WTO norms.
  3. Aim: To reimburse all the taxes/duties/levies being charged at the Central/State/Local level which are not currently refunded under any of the existing schemes but are incurred at the manufacturing and distribution process.
    • The refund under the scheme shall not be available in respect of duties and taxes already exempted or remitted or credited.
  4. Implementation: The refund under the scheme will be credited in an exporter’s ledger account with the customs. It will be used to pay basic duty on imported goods. The credits can also be transferred to other importers.
Key Features of the Scheme:
  1. Coverage: The scheme covers over 8,555 tariff products, accounting for about 75% of traded items and 65% of India’s exports.
  2. Rates: The tax refund rates will vary between 0.5% and 4.3% of the export value of goods.
    • The lowest rate is offered on items like chocolates, toffees and sugar confectionery
    • Yarns and fibres have been granted the highest rate.
  3. Sectors Included: The scheme covers sectors such as marine, agriculture, leather, gems and jewellery automobile, plastics, textiles, electronics among others.
  4. Sectors Excluded: Pharmaceutical, steel and chemicals have been kept out of the purview of the scheme. Products manufactured at export-oriented units and special economic zones have also been excluded from the scheme for the time being.

 

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Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme

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Source: PIB

What is the News?

In order to boost domestic defence and aerospace manufacturing, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched the Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS).

About Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS):
  1. Launched by: Ministry of Defence in 2020.
  2. Aim: To create a state-of-the-art testing infrastructure in partnership with the private industry. 
Key Features of the Scheme:
  1. Target: The scheme aims to set up 6-8 Greenfield Defence Testing Infrastructure facilities that are required for defence and aerospace-related production.
    • A greenfield project is one that is not constrained by prior work. It is constructed on unused land where there is no need to remodel or demolish an existing structure.
  2. Funding: The projects under the scheme will be provided with up to 75% Government funding in the form of ‘Grant-in-Aid’.
    • The remaining 25% of the project cost will have to be borne by the Special Purpose Vehicle(SPV). The SPV constituents will be the Indian private entities and state governments.
  3. Duration of the Scheme: Five Years.
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PM launches Ujjwala 2.0 Scheme

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Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Prime Minister of India has launched Ujjwala 2.0 (Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana – PMUY) by handing over LPG connections at Mahoba, Uttar Pradesh.

About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana(PMUY):
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in 2018.
  • Aim: To replace the unclean cooking fuels mostly used in rural India with the clean and more efficient LPG(Liquefied Petroleum Gas).
  • Under the scheme, an adult woman member of a below poverty line family identified through the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) was given a deposit-free LPG connection with the financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.
  • Target: Initially the target was the installation of 5 crores LPG connections by 2019. But the target was revised to 8 crores which was achieved in August 2019.
About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana(PMUY) 2.0:
  • In the Union Budget for 2021-22, the Government has announced the target of an additional one crore LPG connection. These additional connections will be provided under Ujjwala 2.0.
  • Hence, Ujjwala 2.0 aims to provide deposit-free LPG connections to those low-income families who could not be covered under the earlier phase of PMUY.
  • Along with a deposit-free LPG connection, Ujjwala 2.0 will also provide the first refill and hotplate free of cost to the beneficiaries.
  • Moreover, the migrants would only be required to submit a self-declaration of their residential address to get the gas connection.
Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged , ,

Six Universities/Institutes and five Medical Colleges have been selected for setting up of Sports Science Departments and Sports Medicine Departments under the NCSSR scheme

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Source: PIB

What is the News?

Recently the Minister of Sports, Youth Affairs informed the Parliament that so far Six Universities/Institutes and five Medical Colleges have been selected for setting up of Sports Science Departments and Sports Medicine Departments under the NCSSR scheme

About Scheme of National Centre of Sports Sciences and Research (NCSSR):

  • The scheme of the National Centre of Sports Sciences and Research (NCSSR) is an initiative of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports
  • Aim: To support high-level research, education and innovation with respect to the high performance of elite athletes.
Objectives of NCSSR scheme:
  • Application of scientific principles to the promotion, maintenance and enhancement of sporting performance.
  • Developing athletes to their maximum potential and prolonging their competitive sporting career.
  • Dissemination of sports science information
  • Testing and Certification of food supplements/Indigenous preparations.
  • Application of Ayurvedic/Homeopathic Medicines in sporting performance.
  • Management and rehabilitation of sports injuries.

Components of the Scheme: The scheme has two components:

  1. Setting up of NCSSR centre
  2. Providing support (funding) for setting up of Sports Sciences Departments and Sports Medicine Departments in selected Universities/Institutes and Medical Colleges respectively.
Implementation of the Scheme:
  • The Scheme is implemented through the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the selected Universities/Institutes/Medical Colleges across the country.
  • The funds under the scheme are not sanctioned/released state-wise.

Click Here to Read About TOPS Scheme

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Cabinet approves continuation of Samagra Shiksha Scheme for School Education

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Source: PIB 

What is the News?

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for the continuation of the revised Samagra Shiksha Scheme for a period of five years, i.e. from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

About Samagra Shiksha Scheme:

  • Samagra Shiksha is an Integrated Scheme for School Education. It has been launched throughout the country as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with effect from the year 2018-19.
  • Merged Schemes: The scheme subsumes the three erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), and Teacher Education (TE).
  • Aim: To ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education.
  • Coverage: It is an overarching programme for the school education sector, extending from pre-school to class XII. It covers 11.6 lakh schools, over 15.6 crore students, and 57 lakh teachers of government and aided schools (from pre-primary to senior secondary level).

Samagra Shiksha Scheme(SSA) 2.0:  The upgraded version has been aligned with recommendations of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. Based on this, interventions incorporated are:

  • All child-centric interventions will be provided directly to the students through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode.
  • Provision of up to Rs 500 per child for Teaching Learning Materials for pre-primary sections in Government Schools.
  • For disabled children and children belonging to the SC/ST community in the age bracket of 16-19 years, ₹2,000 will be provided per child to complete their secondary/senior secondary levels through NIOS/SOS.
  • Additional Sports grant of up to Rs. 25000 to schools in case at least 2 students of that school win a medal in Khelo India school games at the National level.
  • The child tracking provision has been included for ensuring the safety of students of government and government-aided schools.
  • A sum of ₹6,000 per annum will be extended to secondary level school students for availing transport facility
  • Provision of training of master trainers for Anganwadi workers
  • Incinerator and sanitary pad vending machines in all-girls hostels.
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Cabinet approves continuation of Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Fast Track Special Courts for further 2 years

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Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of 1023 Fast Track Special Court (FTSCs) including 389 exclusive POCSO courts as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) till March 31, 2023.

Background:
  • Incidents of rape and gang rape of minor girls below the age of twelve and similar heinous crimes against women have always shaken the conscience of the entire nation.
  • To prevent such crimes, stricter laws were introduced through “the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018”. The act made provision for stringent punishment, including the death penalty, for perpetrators of rape.
  • Moreover, to effectively implement the Criminal Law 2018 Act, the Government launched the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Fast Track Special Courts across the country.
About Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Fast Track Special Courts:
  • Fast Track Special Courts are dedicated courts expected to ensure swift dispensation of justice. They have a better clearance rate as compared to the regular courts and hold speedy trials.
    • Besides providing quick justice to the hapless victims, it strengthens the deterrence framework for sexual offenders.
  • Purpose: The scheme by setting up Fast Track Courts aims to reduce the number of pending cases of the Rape and POCSO Act.
  • Coverage: Currently the scheme covers 28 States. It is proposed to be expanded to cover all 31 states which are eligible to join the Scheme.
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Reform-based scheme: Discoms get till Dec 31

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Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

Union Minister of Power has said that the Power distribution companies (discoms) looking to avail funds under the government’s Rs 3.03-lakh crore Reform Based Scheme for discoms will have to submit plans to cut losses by 31st December,2021.

About Reform Based Power Distribution Scheme:
  • The Scheme aims to improve the operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of DISCOMs/ Power Departments excluding Private Sector DISCOMs by providing conditional financial assistance for strengthening of supply infrastructure.
Objectives of the Scheme:
  • Reduction of AT&C losses to pan-India levels of 12-15% by 2024-25.
  • Reduction of ACS-ARR gap to zero by 2024-25.
  • Developing Institutional Capabilities for Modern DISCOMs
  • Improvement in the quality, reliability, and affordability of power supply to consumers through a financially sustainable and operationally efficient Distribution Sector.

Implementation:

  • Power Finance Corporation(PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation(REC) have been nominated as the nodal agencies for the implementation of the scheme.
Duration of the Scheme:
  • The Scheme would be available till the year 2025-26.
Key Features of the Scheme:
  • Financial Assistance: The financial assistance under the Scheme will be based on meeting pre-qualifying criteria as well as upon achievement of basic minimum benchmarks by the DISCOMs.
  • Approach: Implementation of the Scheme would be based on the action plan worked out for each state rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
  • Merging of Projects: The ongoing works under the Integrated Power Development Scheme(IPDS), Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) will be merged under this scheme.
  • Solarisation of agricultural Feeders: The Scheme has a major focus on improving electricity supply for the farmers and for providing daytime electricity to them through solarization of agricultural feeders.
  • Smart Metering: The scheme enables consumer empowerment by way of prepaid Smart metering to be implemented in Public-Private-Partnership(PPP) mode.
  • Use of Technology: Artificial Intelligence would be used to analyze data generated to enable DISCOMs to make informed decisions.
Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMES

DEPwD organises Samajik Adhikarita Shivir for distribution of aids & assistive devices to Divyangjan under the ADIP Scheme

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Source: PIB

What is the News?

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities(DEPwD) has organized Samajik Adhikarita Shivir’. In this shivir, aids and assistive devices will be distributed among ‘Divyangjan’ under the ADIP Scheme and among Senior Citizens under the ‘Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana’.

About ADIP Scheme:
  • Launched by: Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities(DEPwD) under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
  • Aim: To assist the needy disabled persons in procuring durable and scientifically manufactured appliances. It will promote their physical, social, and psychological rehabilitation by reducing the effects of disabilities and enhancing their economic potential.
  • Implementated by: NGOs, National Institutes under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, and ALIMCO (a PSU that manufactures artificial limbs).
  • Eligibility:
    • Indian citizen of any age
    • Has 40% disability or more
    • Monthly income not more than Rs.20,000.
    • In the case of dependents, the income of parents/guardians should not exceed Rs. 20,000/- per month
    • Must not have received assistance during the last 3 years, and for children, it’s the last 1 year.
About Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana:
  • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana is the scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. It was launched in 2017.
  • Type: It is a central sector scheme funded by the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund.
  • Aim: to provide aids and assistive living devices to senior citizens belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) category who suffer from age-related disabilities such as low vision, hearing impairment, loss of teeth, and locomotor disabilities.
    • The aids and assistive devices include walking sticks, elbow crutches, hearing aids, wheelchairs, and spectacles, etc.
  • Implementated by: Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO), which is a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
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Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Unnat Krishi Shiksha Yojana(PDDUUKSY)

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Source: PIB

What is the News?

Government has organized 108 training programmes for the awareness of the farmers across 24 states/UTs under the Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Unnat Krishi Shiksha Yojana(PDDUUKSY).

About Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Unnat Krishi Shiksha Yojana (PDDUUKSY):
  • The scheme was launched in 2016 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • Aim: To develop the human resource in organic farming, natural farming and cow based economy for environmental sustenance and soil health.
  • Objectives:
    • To build skilled Human Resource at village level who are relevant for development organic farming and sustainable agriculture.
    • Provide rural India with technical support in the field of Organic Farming or Natural Farming or Rural Economy or Sustainable Agriculture.
    • To extend other activities of this Yojana at village level through their established centres.
  • Implementation: Education wing of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR).
Other Scheme Mentioned in the Article:

About Student READY (Rural Entrepreneurship Awareness Development Yojana) Programme:

  • The Student READY Programme is an initiative of Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR).
  • Aim: To provide rural entrepreneurship awareness, practical experience in real-life situations in rural agriculture and creating awareness to undergraduate students about practical agriculture and allied sciences.
  • This will in turn help in building confidence, skill and acquiring Indigenous Technical Knowledge(ITK) of the locality thereby preparing the pass-out for self-employment.
Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMES

Affordable Rental Housing Complexes Scheme under Atmanirbhar Bharat Package

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Source: PIB

What is the News? 

Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs has informed that about 88,236 govt-funded vacant houses are available. They can be converted into Affordable Rental Housing Complexes under the Affordable Rental Housing Complexes Scheme.

About Affordable Rental Housing Complexes Scheme:
  • Affordable Rental Housing Complexes(ARHCs) is a Sub-scheme under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Urban (PMAY-U) to provide affordable rental housing to urban migrants/ poor close to their workplace.
Objectives:
  • To address the vision of ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ significantly by creating a sustainable ecosystem of affordable rental housing solutions for urban migrants/poor.
  • To achieve the overall objective of “Housing for All” encompassing the need for affordable rental housing for urban migrants/poor.
  • Also, to create a conducive environment by incentivizing Public/Private Entities to leverage investment in rental housing.

Duration:

  • ARHCs to be considered till PMAY (U) Mission period, i.e. March 2022.
Beneficiaries:
  • Beneficiaries for ARHCs will be varied groups of urban migrants/ poor from EWS/ LIG categories including industrial & construction workers, migrants working with market/ trade associations, educational/ health institutions, hospitality sector, long-term tourists/ visitors, students, etc.

Implementation Strategy: The ARHCs will be built through a two-pronged strategy: –

  • Strategy-1: Utilizing existing Government funded vacant houses to convert into ARHCs through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) or by Public Agencies.
  • Strategy-2: Construction, Operation & Maintenance of ARHCs by Public/ Private Entities on their own available vacant land.
Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMES

Union Cabinet approves Production-linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Specialty Steel

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Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Union Cabinet has approved the Production Linked Incentive(PLI) Scheme for specialty steel.

About PLI Scheme for Speciality Steel:
  • The PLI Scheme aims to boost the production of high-grade specialty steel in the country.
  • Coverage: The five categories of specialty steel that have been chosen in the PLI Scheme are: Coated/Plated Steel Products, High Strength/Wear-resistant Steel, Specialty Rails, Alloy Steel Products, and Steel wires, and Electrical Steel.
  • Incentives: There are 3 slabs of PLI incentives under the scheme. The lowest being 4% and the highest is 12%, which has been provided for electrical steel (CRGO).
  • Eligibility: Any company registered in India engaged in the manufacturing of the identified Specialty Steel are eligible to participate under the scheme.
  • Duration: The duration of the scheme will be five years from 2023-24 to 2027-28.
Expected Benefits of the scheme:
  • The scheme is expected to bring in an investment of approximately ₹40,000 crores and capacity addition of 25 MT for specialty steel.
  • The scheme will give employment to about 5 lakh people, of which 68,000 will be direct employment.
What is Specialty Steel?
  • Specialty steel is value-added steel wherein normal finished steel is worked upon by way of coating, plating, heat treatment, etc. to convert it into high-value-added steel.
  • This steel can be used in various strategic applications like Defense, Space, Power, apart from the automobile sector, specialized capital goods among others.
Why was Speciality Steel chosen for the PLI Scheme?
  • Speciality steel has been chosen as the target segment under the PLI Scheme. It is because out of the production of 102 million tonnes of steel in India in 2020-21, only 18 million tonnes of value-added steel/specialty steel was produced in the country.
  • Apart from this, out of 6.7 million tonnes of imports in 2020-21, about 4 million tonnes import was of specialty steel alone resulting in Forex expenditure of Rs.30,000 crores.
  • Hence, by becoming Atma Nirbhar in producing speciality steel, India will move up the steel value chain and come at par with advanced steel-making countries like Korea and Japan.
Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMES

Adarsh Smarak Scheme

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Source: The Hindu

What is the news?

Recently, the fort at Gandikota was identified for development under the Centrally-sponsored ‘Adopt a Heritage’ programme. Further, 3 monuments – Nagarjuna Konda in Guntur district, the Buddhist remains at Salihundam in Srikakulam district and the Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi in Anantapur district have been identified for development under ‘Adarsh Smarak’ scheme.

About Adarsh Smarak scheme
  • Ministry: Ministry of Culture
  • The scheme was launched in 2014 for providing improved visitor amenities, especially for the physically challenged, besides cleanliness, drinking water, and interpretation centres, cafeteria, souvenir shop, wi-fi, garbage disposal etc.
  • Objectives:
    • To make the monument accessible to differently-abled.
    • To make monument visitor friendly.
    • Furthermore, to implement Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
    • Also, to upgrade/provide washrooms, drinking water, signages, cafeteria, and wi-fi facilities.
    • To provide interpretation and audio-video centers.
    • To streamline wastewater and garbage disposal and a rainwater harvesting system.
    • Lastly, to provide safety and protection
About Adopt a Heritage scheme
  • An initiative of the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
  • Under this scheme, the government invites entities, including public sector companies, private sector firms and individuals, to develop selected monuments and heritage and tourist sites.
  • Basic amenities like drinking water, ease of access for the differently-abled and senior citizens, standardised signage, cleanliness, public convenience, surveillance system and night-viewing facilities are provided and maintained under the scheme.
  • Read more about adopt a heritage scheme here
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Stand Up India Scheme extended up to the year 2025

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Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Ministry of Finance has informed Lok Sabha that the Stand Up India Scheme has been extended up to the year 2025.

About Stand Up India Scheme:
  • The Stand Up India Scheme was launched in 2016 by the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance.
  • Objective: The scheme facilitates bank loans for setting up a new enterprise in manufacturing, services, agri-allied activities, or the trading sector by SC/ST/Women entrepreneurs.
  • Bank Loan: It provides bank loans between Rs 10 lakh and up to 1 crore.
    • The government does not allocate funds for loans under the Scheme. They are extended by Scheduled Commercial Banks(SCBs).
  • Repayable of Loan: The loan is repayable in 7 years, with a maximum moratorium period of 18 months.
Eligibility Condition for Loans under Stand Up India Scheme:
  • Beneficiaries should be SC/ST and/or woman entrepreneurs above 18 years of age.
  • Loans under the scheme are available only for greenfield projects. Greenfield signifies the first-time venture of the beneficiary in the manufacturing, services, agri-allied activities, or the trading sector.
  • In the case of non-individual enterprises, 51% of the shareholding and controlling stake should be held by either SC/ST and/or Women Entrepreneur.
  • Borrowers should not be in default to any bank/financial institution.
Changes made in the Scheme:
  • Margin money requirement for loans under the Scheme has been reduced from ‘upto 25%’ to `upto 15%’.
  • Activities allied to agriculture have been included in the Scheme.

Performance of the Scheme:

  • Banks have sanctioned Rs 26,204 crore to about 1,16,266 beneficiaries under the Scheme in the last five years.
  • The scheme has benefited more than 93,094 women entrepreneurs.
Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Prime Minister inaugurates and dedicates PRASHAD projects in Varanasi

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Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has inaugurated the Tourism Facilitation Centre and operation of Cruise Boat in Varanasi. These projects have been developed under the PRASHAD Scheme.

About the PRASHAD Scheme:
  • The National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive(PRASHAD) was launched by the Ministry of Tourism in the year 2014-15.
  • Purpose: It is a Central Sector Scheme launched with the objective of integrated development of identified pilgrimage and heritage destinations.
  • Objectives of the Scheme:
    • To enhance tourism attractiveness in a sustainable manner.
    • To harness pilgrimage tourism so that it directly affects and multiplies employment generation and economic development.
    • Furthermore, to promote local art and culture, handicraft and cuisines, etc.
    • To develop world-class infrastructure in religious destinations.

Other Tourism Scheme:

Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
  • Swadesh Darshan Scheme was launched by the Ministry of Tourism in 2014-2015
  • Aim: It is a Central Sector Scheme with the objective of integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits in the country.
  • Objectives:
    • position tourism as a major engine of economic growth and job creation
    • Develop circuits having tourist potential in a planned and prioritized manner;
    • Promote cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods in the identified regions.
  • Thematic Circuits under Scheme: North-East India Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Heritage Circuit, Sufi Circuit, and Tirthankar Circuit.

 

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Cabinet approves continuation of scheme for judicial infrastructure development

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Source:PIB

What is the News?

The Central government has approved the continuation of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for the Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary for a further five years till 2026.

Scheme for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary:
  • The Centrally Sponsored Scheme(CSS) for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary has been in operation since 1993-94.
  • Aim: The scheme aims at improving the physical infrastructure of the Subordinate Courts. It also improves the housing needs for judicial officers of District and Subordinate Courts to facilitate better justice delivery.
  • Coverage of the Scheme: The Scheme covers all States and Union Territories. It covers the construction of court buildings and the construction of residential accommodation for Judges and Judicial Officers of District and Subordinate Courts in the States.
Monitoring Mechanism for the Scheme:
  • An online monitoring system has been set up by the Department of Justice.
  • The online monitoring system “Nyaya-Vikas-2.0” has been developed with the technical assistance of ISRO.
  • The portal shall monitor the physical and financial progress of such judicial infrastructure projects by geo-tagging completed and ongoing infrastructure projects.

Support to Gram Nyayalayas:

  • The Cabinet has also approved a proposal to support Gram Nyayalayas by providing recurring and non-recurring grants for a period of 5 years.
  • However, funds will be released to states only after the notified Gram Nyayalayas are operationalized and Nyayadhikaris appointed and reported on the Gram Nyayalaya portal.
  • Moreover, a review will also be undertaken after one year to assess whether Gram Nyayalaya Scheme has achieved its objective of providing speedy and affordable justice to the rural and marginalised populace.
Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMES

G-secs: RBI unveils Retail Direct Scheme

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Source: The Hindu 

What is the News? 

The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has announced the launch of the RBI Retail Direct scheme. 

About RBI Retail Direct Scheme: 
  • RBI Retail Direct Scheme is a one-stop solution to facilitate investment in government securities (G-secs) by individual investors. 
  • Under the scheme, retail investors (individuals) will have the facility to open and maintain the ‘Retail Direct Gilt Account’ (RDG Account) with the RBI. 
  • Gilt Account means an account opened and maintained for holding Government securities. 
  • This RDG account can be opened through an online portal provided for the purpose of the scheme. 
  • The online portal will then allow the registered users access to primary issuance of G-secs and access to NDS-OM (Negotiated Dealing System — Order Matching (NDS-OM).
What are Government Securities(G-secs)? 
  • A Government Security(G-Sec) is a tradable instrument issued by the Central Government or the State Governments. It acknowledges the Government’s debt obligation.  
  • Such securities are short term (usually called treasury bills, with original maturities of less than one year) or long term (usually called Government bonds or dated securities with original maturity of one year or more).  
  • In India, the Central Government issues both, treasury bills and bonds or dated securities while the State Governments issue only bonds or dated securities which are called the State Development Loans (SDLs). 
What are NDS(Negotiated Dealing System)? 
  • The Negotiated Dealing System or NDS is an electronic trading platform operated by the RBI to facilitate the issuing and exchange of government securities and other types of money market instruments.  
  • The goal was to reduce inefficiencies stemming from telephone orders and manual paperwork while increasing transparency for all market participants 
Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMES

PLI schemes evoke mixed response: IT, mobile steal a march on other sectors

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Source: Indian Express

 What is the News?

The production-linked incentive(PLI) schemes for several sectors have received a good response. However, the scheme is struggling across most other sectors where it has been rolled out.

 About PLI Scheme:
  • The scheme aims to invite foreign investors to set up their manufacturing units in India. Similarly, it also aims to promote the local manufacturers to expand their manufacturing.
  • Features: Under the Scheme, companies will get incentives on incremental sales from products manufactured in domestic units.
  • Implementation: The scheme is implemented by the concerned ministries/departments.
  • Sectors: PLI Scheme has been approved for various sectors such as automobiles, pharmaceuticals, IT hardware, mobile phones, telecom equipment, white goods, chemical cells, and textiles, etc.
Performance of the Scheme:
  • The PLI Scheme has received the maximum number of applications for sectors such as food, mobile, electronic components manufacturing, IT hardware as well as telecom equipment manufacturing.
  • On the other hand, sectors such as medical devices, textiles, automobile component manufacturing are struggling to find participants for the PLI scheme.
  • The reason for low interest in these sectors is that most companies either do not meet the qualification norms for the PLI scheme or feel that the return on investment is low compared to the incentives announced.
    • Example: Investors in the steel sector are not very keen on applying under the scheme as they feel that the period of 5 years is too less to set up new units and start production from them or even expand old units.
    • In the case of PLI for automobile and automobile component manufacturing, most Indian companies do not meet the qualification norms and have avoided even applying for the scheme.
Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMES

Cabinet approves Rs. 3.03 lakh crores reform-based power distribution scheme

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Source: PIB 

What is the News?

The Union Cabinet has approved a Reforms-based and Results-linked, Revamped Power Distribution Sector Scheme.

About Reform Based Power Distribution Scheme:

Aim: To improve the operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of DISCOMs/ Power Departments excluding Private Sector DISCOMs by providing conditional financial assistance for strengthening of supply infrastructure.

Objectives of the Scheme:
  • Reduction of AT&C losses to pan-India levels of 12-15% by 2024-25.
  • Reduction of ACS-ARR gap to zero by 2024-25.
  • Developing Institutional Capabilities for Modern DISCOMs
  • Improvement in the quality, reliability, and affordability of power supply to consumers through a financially sustainable and operationally efficient Distribution Sector.
Duration and Implementation of the Scheme:
  • Nodal Agencies: Power Finance Corporation(PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation(REC) have been nominated as the nodal agencies for the implementation of the scheme.
  • Duration: The Scheme would be available till the year 2025-26.
Other Features of the Scheme:
  • Assistance: The financial assistance under the Scheme will be based on meeting pre-qualifying criteria as well as upon achievement of basic minimum benchmarks by the DISCOM.
  • Approach: Implementation of the Scheme would be based on the action plan worked out for each state rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
  • Merging of Scheme: The central schemes, Integrated Power Development Scheme(IPDS), Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) will be merged under this scheme.
  • Focus: The Scheme has a major focus on improving electricity supply for the farmers and for providing daytime electricity to them through solarization of agricultural feeders.
  • Consumer Empowerment: The scheme also enables consumer empowerment by way of prepaid Smart metering to be implemented in Public-Private-Partnership(PPP) mode.
  • Technology: Artificial Intelligence would be used to analyze data generated to enable DISCOMs to make informed decisions.
Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMES

Explained: Ration card reform, so far

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Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has directed all states and Union Territories to implement the One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC) system by July 31st,2021.

What is One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC)?
  • The ONORC scheme is aimed at enabling migrant workers and their family members to buy subsidized ration from any fair price shop anywhere in the country under the National Food Security Act,2013.
  • For example, a migrant worker from Uttar Pradesh will be able to access PDS benefits in Mumbai, where he or she may have gone in search of work. On the other hand, members of his or her family can still go to their ration dealer back home.
How does ONORC work?
  • ONORC is based on technology that involves details of beneficiaries, ration card, Aadhaar number, and electronic Points of Sale (ePoS). The system identifies a beneficiary through biometric authentication on ePoS devices at fair price shops.
  • The system runs with the support of two portals —Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) (impds.nic.in) and Annavitran (annavitran.nic.in) which host all the relevant data.
  • When a ration cardholder goes to a fair price shop, he or she identifies himself or herself through biometric authentication on ePoS, which is matched real-time with details on the Annavitaran portal.
  • Once the ration card details are verified, the dealer hands out the beneficiary’s entitlements.
  • While the Annavitaran portal maintains a record of intra-state transactions — inter-district and intra-district — the IM-PDS portal records the inter-state transactions.
Incentives to States:
  • To promote ONORC reform in the Public Distribution System(PDS), the Government of India has provided incentives to states.
  • The Centre had even set the implementation of ONORC as a precondition for additional borrowing by states during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

How many States have implemented ONORC?

  • To date, 32 states and Union Territories have joined the ONORC, covering about 69 crore NFSA beneficiaries.
  • Four states are yet to join the scheme — Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, and West Bengal.
Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged , ,

Free foodgrain supply until Nov to cost over ₹67,200 cr

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What is the News?

Cabinet has approved key decisions related to food grains, merger of CWC and CRWC and deal with Caribbean Island Nations on Tax matters.

About Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKY)
    • It was announced as part of the relief package during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Aim: To ensure sufficient food for the poor and needy during the coronavirus crisis.
    • Nodal Ministry: Department of Food and Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
    • Features: Under this, about 80 Crore National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries are eligible for an additional quota of free-of-cost foodgrains (Rice/Wheat). It is provided at a scale of 5 Kg per person per month over and above their regular monthly entitlement.
    • Duration of the Scheme: The scheme was announced in 2020 for three months till July. Later it was extended till November 2020.
      • The scheme is functional once again. Now it has been extended till November 2021.
The merger of CWC and CRWC:
    • Cabinet has approved the merger of Central Warehousing Corp. (CWC), a state-run company with unit Central Railside Warehouse Company Ltd (CRWC).
    • The merger aims to improve efficiency, capacity utilization, and financial savings.
    • Benefits of the Merger:
      • It will lead to the transfer of all assets, liabilities, rights, and obligations of CRWC to CWC.
      • It will unify similar functions of both companies such as warehousing, handling, and transportation under a single administration.
      • It will promote efficiency, capacity utilization, transparency, accountability, and ensure financial savings.

Source: Livemint

Posted in CURRENT AFFAIRS, Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged , , , , , , ,

Aspirational District Programme – Achievements and Suggestions – Explained, Pointwise

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Introduction

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) India has released a report titled ‘Aspirational Districts Programme: An Appraisal’. The report calls the program a global example of leveraging local structures of governance and bureaucracy. It applauds the multi-stakeholder partnership for ensuring localization of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

UNDP marks the Aspirational Districts Program as a model replicable program not just within India, but also on a global scale. However, it also calls for broadening its scope and laying greater emphasis on the qualitative aspect of the program. Hence, the government should take proactive steps for ensuring regionally balanced, inclusive, and sustainable growth.

About the Aspirational Districts Programme
  • It was launched in 2018 to improve the socio-economic status of 112 aspirational districts across 28 states. 
    • The selected districts were witnessing the least progress on certain development parameters, such as health and nutrition; education; agriculture, and water resources, etc.
    • These districts account for more than 20% of the country’s population and cover over 8,600 gram panchayats.
  • It is coordinated by Niti Aayog with support from Central Ministries and the State Governments. 
  • The three core principles of the programme are:
    • Convergence of Central & State Schemes, which brings together the horizontal and vertical tiers of the government.
    • Collaboration among citizens and functionaries of Central & State Governments, including district teams. This will enable impactful partnerships between government, market, and civil society.
    • Competition among districts driven by a spirit of the mass movement.
  • Each district is ranked based on 49 performance indicators identified across the 5 core themes. This includes 
    • Health & Nutrition (30% weightage)
    • Education (30% weightage)
    • Agriculture & Water Resources (20% weightage)
    • Financial Inclusion & Skill Development (10%)
    • Basic Infrastructure (10%)
  • The delta ranking of the Aspirational Districts combines the innovative use of data with pragmatic administration. 
    • The programme ranks districts based on the improvement achieved month-on-month through the Champions of Change dashboard (An online Dashboard).

The success of the program lies in its robust institutional framework and core strategy.

Institutional framework and core strategy
  • Framework:
    • NITI Aayog anchors the program at the central level while individual ministries have been responsible to drive progress in districts
    • States are the main drivers of the program
    • For each district, a central Prabhari officer has been nominated. He/she should possess the rank of joint secretary/additional secretary.
  • Core Strategy of the programme:
    • Work on the strength of each district.
    • Make development a mass movement in these districts.
    • Identify low-hanging fruits and the strength of each district which can act as a catalyst for development.
    • Measure progress and rank districts to spur a sense of competition.
    • Districts shall aspire from becoming State’s best to Nation’s best.
Why was it praised by the UNDP?
  1. First, the program can illuminate the path towards the attainment of sustainable development goals. It is a very successful model of local area development and aligned to the principle of “leave no one behind” – the vital core of the SDGs.
  2. Second, real-time monitoring on the ‘Champions of Change’ dashboard and a monthly ranking of the best-performing districts adds a competitive zeal to the programme. This motivates the districts to push themselves to outperform others.
  3. Third, some aspirational districts have performed better than non- aspirational districts in many domains. This shows its efficacy in ensuring balanced regional development.
  4. Fourth, the program received a high degree of political support as it was envisioned by the PM itself. This resulted in more growth and development in the aspirational districts over the last three years.
  5. Fifth, the program managed to deliver optimum results even in security-sensitive LWE (left-wing extremism) affected districts.
  6. Sixth, the program encourages collaboration and coordination among the government, civil society, and private sector. This led to the adoption of a multi-stakeholder approach in planning and implementing the projects, which delivered better results.
Achievements of Aspirational Districts Programme
  • Health and Nutrition: Model anganwadi centres have been set up across districts to benefit women and children. The number of institutional deliveries has increased, along with a dip registered in the rate of severe acute malnutrition in infants.
    • Poshan App has been developed for an aspirational district in Ranchi. It is a real-time data analytics digital platform. 
    • It monitors bed occupancy, child-growth charts, and the inventory of every malnourishment treatment center in the district
  • Education outcomes: Innovation and digitisation have been the cornerstone of transformation in the education sector. The ‘Hamara Vidhyalaya’ model adopted in Namsai, a remote district in Arunachal Pradesh, registered substantial improvement in learning outcomes and overall teaching practices.
    • Under this model, a school prabhari is appointed for each school in the district to ensure monitoring, assessment, and guidance. The model makes use of an online platform called ‘Yathasarvam’ for improving the outcomes.
  • Agriculture and water resources: District administrations have laid tremendous emphasis on improving irrigation facilities and yield, as well as farmer education. Several innovative paths have been adopted to create market linkages for products indigenous to the aspirational districts.
    • The farmers of Chandauli, U.P were encouraged to grow fertiliser-free organic black rice.
    • The experiment was remarkably successful, with Chandauli adding to the thriving global market of black rice and exporting to even countries like Australia and New Zealand. 
  • Basic Infrastructure: This pillar witnessed significant advancement, especially in LWE affected districts. This ensured better connectivity and seamless movement from rural to urban regions.
    • Bijapur in Chhattisgarh and Malkangiri in Odisha have greatly improved the network of roadways and ramped up the infrastructure projects in their jurisdiction. 
  • Financial inclusion and skill development: Micro-ATMs have been launched in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district to provide financial assistance to women self-help group members. They are provided with commission-based income on every transaction.
Issues associated with the Aspirational Districts Programme
  • Inadequate Coverage: Although the program is highly inclusive in nature, it fails to capture crucial variables like environment and gender.
  • Imbalance in implementation: Most districts channelized their efforts focused on health and nutrition, education, and agriculture, and water resources. They paid less emphasis on the sectors of Skill Development and Financial Inclusion.
  • Budgetary Constraints: ADP is affected by the issue pertaining to insufficient budgetary resources. This sustains the lack of human resources and the dearth of technical capacities at the district and block levels.
  • Coordination Issue: Niti Aayog plays a mentoring role in 27 districts in eight states. Twelve central government ministries have similarly adopted the remaining districts. Implementation involving multiple ministries leads to a lack of coordination.
  • Shortcomings of Delta Ranking: It is largely focused on assessing quantity (that is, coverage of access) rather than quality. For instance, timely delivery of textbooks in schools is part of the ranking index however very little weightage is given to the quality of education rendered in these districts.
Suggestions to improve the Aspirational Districts Programme
  • The first UNDP appraisal of the Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) has recommended a realignment of sectors under the program. It calls for the addition of topics such as environment and gender.
  • The weightage of Skill Development and Financial Inclusion sectors must be enhanced so that states give greater focus over them.
  • The government must give greater funding to the districts, especially the LWE districts, which are plagued with the double burden of countering LWE activities and ensuring development.
  • The center and states must work in the spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism in order to improve the lives of the most vulnerable citizens. 
  • Further, the bottom-ranked districts should learn from the success model of the top-ranked districts.
Conclusion

The success of the Aspirational Districts Programme has been testified by national as well as international agencies. It is a flagship initiative for improving the lives of citizens residing in the most backward regions of the country. The need of the hour demands overcoming its challenges and realizing the vision of ‘SABKA SATH, SABKA VIKAS’ for ensuring inclusive development.

Posted in 7 PM, Daily Editorials, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM)

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What is the News? The Government of India released funds for various activities to empower Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization(SMAM).

Various activities include the establishment of Custom Hiring Centres, Farm Machinery Bank and distribution of various agricultural machinery to different states.

Note: Agriculture mechanization is the process of replacing human and animal labour with machines in the agriculture sector. The use of tractors, threshers, harvesters, pump sets is a part of farm mechanization.

About Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization(SMAM):
  • The Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization(SMAM) was launched in 2014-15 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

Read Also:-Important Government schemes & Programs

Objectives of the Scheme:
  • To increase the reach of farm mechanization to small and marginal farmers. Also, to increase the reach in regions where availability of farm power is low;
  • To promote ‘Custom Hiring Centres’ to offset the adverse economies of scale arising due to small landholding and high cost of individual ownership;
  • Also, to create hubs for hi-tech & high-value farm equipment;
  • To create awareness among stakeholders through demonstration and capacity building activities;
  • To ensure performance testing and certification at designated testing centres located all over the country.

Mission Strategy: To achieve the above objectives, the Mission will adopt the following strategies:

  • Conduct performance testing for various farm machinery and equipment at the four Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institutes (FMTTIs), designated State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) and ICAR institutions;
  • Promote farm mechanization among stakeholders by way of on-field and off-field training and demonstrations.
  • Provide financial assistance to farmers for procurement of farm machinery and implements
  • Establish custom hiring centers of the location and crop-specific farm machinery and implements
  • Provide financial assistance to small and marginal farmers for hiring machinery and implements in low mechanized regions.

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

NITI Aayog launches “Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan”

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What is the news?

Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan’ has been launched by NITI Aayog and Piramal Foundation.

About Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan:
  • Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan has been launched in 112 aspirational districts.
  • Aim: To assist district administrations in providing home-care support to COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.
  • Features of the initiative:
    • Firstly, the initiative will be led by district magistrates in partnership with local NGOs.
    • Secondly, the NGOs will help mobilise local volunteers. They shall be trained so that they can provide support to affected families by educating them to follow Covid-19 protocols. They shall also be trained to provide psycho-social support and timely updates about patients to the administration.
    • Thirdly, local leaders, civil societies and volunteers will also work with district administrations to address emerging problems across key focus areas of the Aspirational Districts Programme.
  • Significance of the campaign: The Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan campaign is expected to contribute to district preparedness for managing nearly 70% of COVID cases at home. Hence, it shall reduce pressure on the healthcare system and curbing the spread of fear among the people.

Read Also :-What is National Nutrition Mission?

About Transformation of Aspirational Districts programme (TADP):
  • The TADP programme was launched in 2018. It is coordinated by Niti Aayog with support from Central Ministries and the State Governments.
  • Aim: To quickly and effectively transform underdeveloped districts. This will be done by focusing on the strength of each district, identifying easily achievable areas for immediate improvement, measuring progress and then ranking them.
  • Features: it is based on three broad principles:
    • Convergence (of Central & State Schemes),
    • Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and
    • Competition among districts driven by a mass Movement.
  • Themes: The programme focuses on 5 main themes:
    • Nutrition
    • Education
    • Agriculture & Water Resources
    • Financial Inclusion & Skill Development
    • Basic Infrastructure.
  • Ranking: Each district is ranked based on 49 performance indicators identified across the above 5 core themes. The main objective of the rankings is to measure progress and rank districts to spur a sense of competition among states.

Source: The Hindu 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Haryana’s “Pran Vayu Devta Pension Scheme” and “Oxy Van” (Oxygen Forests)

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What is the News?

Haryana Government has launched the Pran Vayu Devta Pension Scheme (PVDPS) and Oxy Van(Oxygen Forests) on the occasion of World Environment Day.

About Pran Vayu Devta Pension Scheme(PVDPS):

Read Also :-“Pradhan Mantri VAN DHAN Yojana” (PMVDY)

  • Pran Vayu Devta Pension Scheme(PVDPS) is an initiative to honour all those trees which are of the age of 75 years and above. As they have served humanity throughout their life by producing oxygen, reducing pollution, providing shade and so on.
  • Such trees will be identified throughout the state and these will be looked after by involving local people in this scheme.
  • For the maintenance of these trees, a “pension amount” of Rs 2,500 would be given per year.
  • The pension shall be given to the Village panchayats and Urban Local Bodies department for the upkeep of the trees installing plates, grilles among others.
  • This ‘tree pension’ shall continue to increase every year on lines similar to the Old Age Samman Pension Scheme in the state.
About Oxy Van:
  • Oxy Van are identified pieces of land on which as many as 3 crore trees would be planted.
  • The Oxy Vans will occupy 10% of the 8 lakh hectares of land across Haryana.
  • The total cost of the project shall be Rs 1 crore.

Read Also :Issue of Pension System in India

Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Environment, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Govt Launches “Seed Minikit Programme”

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What is the News?

The Ministry of Agriculture has launched the Seed Minikit Programme.

About Seed Minikit Programme:
  • Seed Minikit Programme aims to distribute high yielding varieties of seeds of pulses and oilseeds to farmers.
  • Nodal Agencies: The seed mini-kits are being provided by the following central agencies –
    • National Seeds Corporation(NCS)
    • NAFED
    • Gujarat State Seeds Corporation
  • Funding: The programme is wholly funded by the Center through the National Food Security Mission.
  • Significance: This programme is a major tool for introducing new varieties of seeds in fields and instrumental in increasing the seed replacement rate.
    • Seed Replacement Rate (SRR): Out of the total area of a crop planted in a season, SRR is the percentage of total area sown using certified/quality seeds other than the farm-saved seed (the practice of saving seeds to plant in the next season).
Pulses and Oilseeds Production in India:
  • The Government of India in collaboration with states has been implementing programmes to enhance the production of pulses and oilseeds under the National Food Security Mission.
  • Since 2014-15, there has been a renewed focus on increasing the production of pulses and oilseeds. The efforts have yielded good results.
    • Oilseeds production has increased from 27.51 million tonnes in 2014-15 to 36.57million tonnes in 2020-21.
    • On the other hand, pulses production has increased from 17.15 million tonnes in 2014-15 to 25.56 million tonnes in 2020-21.
    • However, India still imports a lot of pulses and edible oils to meet domestic demand.
About National Food Security Mission(NFSM):
  • The National Food Security Mission(NFSM) was launched in 2007-08 by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
  • Aim: To increase the production of rice, wheat and pulses through
    • area expansion and productivity enhancement
    • restoring soil fertility and productivity
    • Creating employment opportunities and
    • enhancing farm level economy.
  • Coarse cereals were also included in the Mission from 2014-15 under NFSM.

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged ,

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package Insurance Scheme for health workers fighting Covid-19

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What is the News?

The government of India has introduced a new system for quick clearance of claims under the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package(PMGKP) Insurance Scheme for health workers Fighting Covid-19”.

What is the New System for Quick Clearance of Claims?
  • Under the New System, the District Collector will be certifying that the insurance claim in each case is in accordance with the guidelines of the scheme.
  • On the basis of this certificate of the Collector, the Insurance Company will approve and settle the claims within a period of 48 hours.
  • Further, the District Collector will also certify the claims even in the case of Central Government hospitals/ AIIMS/ Railways among others.
About Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package Insurance Scheme for health workers Fighting Covid-19:
  • Launched by: It is a Central Sector Scheme launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2020.
  • Aim: To provide comprehensive personal accident insurance cover of Rs. 50 lakh to all healthcare providers who
    • Lost their life due to Covid-19
    • Accidental death on account of COVID-19 related duty.
  • Coverage of the Scheme:
    • All government health centres, wellness centres and hospitals of Centre as well as States has included under this scheme
    • Private hospital staff and retired/volunteer /local urban bodies/contracted/daily wageworker were also included in the scheme.
    • Safai karamcharis, ward-boys, nurses, ASHA workers and other health workers were also covered.
  • Implementation: The scheme is being implemented through an Insurance policy from the New India Assurance Company(NIACL).

Source: PIB

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Kerala’s “Bell of Faith Scheme” for elderly

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What is the News?

Kerala’s ‘Bell of Faith’ scheme will be expanded to the villages to reach senior citizens staying alone. Earlier, the scheme was successfully implemented in a number of urban households in Kerala.

About Bell of Faith Scheme:
  • Firstly, Bell of Faith Scheme was launched by the Kerala Police in 2018. It aims to provide security to senior citizens staying alone as part of Kerala’s Community Policing Scheme.
  • Secondly, under the Scheme, police have installed a bell in the senior citizens’ houses.
  • Thirdly, the neighbour will get an alert with an alarm when the senior citizen rings the bell during an emergency.
  • Fourthly, the neighbour can immediately rush to the house or contact the police or hospital.
Significance of the Scheme:
  • The Bell of Faith scheme sets an example for community participation to ensure the well-being and safety of the elderly.
  • Moreover, this scheme can be of great support for the senior citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic as many live in fear for their health.

Source: The Hindu

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

PM-CARES for Children scheme

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What is the News?

The Prime Minister has announced a special PM-CARES for Children scheme. The scheme includes a comprehensive financial aid package for children orphaned during the pandemic.

About PM-CARES for Children Scheme:

The PM-CARES for Children Scheme will support children. It is for those who have lost both parents or surviving parent or legal guardian/adoptive parents due to Covid-19.

Features of the PM-CARES for Children Scheme:

Fixed Deposit in the name of the child:

  • Firstly, PM CARES will create a corpus of Rs 10 lakh for each child when s/he reaches 18 years of age.
  • Secondly, this corpus will be used to give monthly financial support from 18 years of age for the next five years.
  • Thirdly, on reaching the age of 23 years, he or she will get the corpus amount as one lump sum for personal and professional use.
School Education: For children under 10 years
  • The child will be given admission to the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or in a private school as a day scholar.
  • If the child is admitted to a private school, the fees as per the Right to Education(RTE) norms will be given from the PM CARES.
School Education: for children between 11-18 years:
  • The child will be given admission to any Central Government residential school such as Sainik School, Navodaya Vidyalaya etc.
  • In case the child is to be continued under the care of Guardian. Then s/he will be given admission to the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or in a private school as a day scholar.
  • If the child is admitted to a private school, the fees as per the Right to Education(RTE) norms will be given from the PM CARES.
Support for Higher Education:
  • The child will be assisted in obtaining an education loan for Higher Education in India as per the existing Education Loan norms. The interest on this loan will be paid by the PM CARES.
  • As an alternative, there will be a scholarship equivalent to the course fees for undergraduate courses, It would be as per Government norms. And they will be provided to such children under Central or State Government Schemes.
Health Insurance
  • All children will be enrolled as a beneficiary under Ayushman Bharat Scheme (PM-JAY) with a health insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakhs.
  • The premium amount for these children till the age of 18 years will be paid by PM CARES.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

“YUVA Scheme”- For Mentoring Young Authors Launched

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What is the News?

The Ministry of Education has launched YUVA Scheme. It is the Prime Minister’s Scheme For Mentoring Young Authors.

 About YUVA-  Prime Minister’s Scheme For Mentoring Young Authors:

  • Firstly, the Department of Higher Education under the Ministry of Education launched the YUVA (Young, Upcoming and Versatile Authors) scheme.
  • Secondly, it is an Author Mentorship scheme. It aims to mentor authors under the age of 30. It will train them to promote reading, writing, and book culture in the country. This will allow India to project its writings globallya
  • Thirdly, this scheme is in line with PM’s vision to encourage young writers to write about India’s freedom struggle.
  • Fourthly, Implementation: National Book Trust of India under the Ministry of Education as the Implementing Agency will ensure execution of the Scheme.
  • Fifthly, Part of: The scheme is a part of the India@75 Project (Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav). The project aims to bring out the perspectives of the young generation of writers, It would be on themes like unsung heroes, freedom fighters, and others in an innovative and creative manner.
Key Features of the YUVA Scheme:
  • Firstly, Under the Scheme, a total of 75 authors will be selected through the All India Contest.
  • Secondly, the themes of the contest are unsung heroes, freedom fighters, National Movement among others.
  • Thirdly, the young authors will be trained by eminent authors/mentors. The books by these authors will be published by National Book Trust, India.
  • Fourthly, the books will also be translated into other Indian languages. It will ensure the exchange of culture and literature thereby promoting ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’.
  • Lastly, a consolidated scholarship of Rs.50,000 per month for a period of six months per author will be paid under the Mentorship Scheme.
About National Book Trust:
  • National Book Trust(NBT) is an Indian publishing house. It was founded in 1957 as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Education of the Government of India.
  • Mandate: The activities of the Trust include publishing, promotion of books and reading, promotion of Indian books abroad, assistance to authors and publishers, and promotion of children’s literature.

Source: PIB

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

“Mid-Day-Meal Scheme” – Govt decides to provide monetary assistance through DBT

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What is the News?

The Ministry of Education has approved the proposal to provide monetary assistance to students enrolled in Mid-Day-Meal Scheme. The cooking cost component amount will be provided through Direct Benefit Transfer(DBT) to all eligible children.

About Mid Day Meal Scheme:

  • Mid Day Meal Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme launched in 1995 by the Ministry of Education.
  • Objective:
    • Firstly, to address the issues of hunger and education in schools by serving hot cooked meals;
    • Secondly, to improve the nutritional status of children
    • Thirdly, to improve enrollment, attendance and retention rates in schools and other education centres.
  • Origin of the Scheme:
    • The roots of the scheme trace back to the pre-independence era. The erstwhile British administration has introduced the midday meal programme in 1925 in Madras Corporation.
    • The French administration in 1930 had also introduced a midday meal programme in the Union Territory of Puducherry.
  • Features of the Scheme:
    • Under the Scheme, cooked meals are provided to every child within the age group of six to fourteen years and studying in classes I to VIII.
    • Cooked meal having nutritional standards of 450 calories and 12 gm of protein for primary (I-V class) and 700 calories and 20 gm protein for upper primary (VI-VIII class).
    • If the Mid-Day Meal is not provided in school on any school day due to non-availability of food grains or any other reason. Then the State Government shall pay food security allowance by 15th of the succeeding month.
  • Coverage: All children in government and aided schools and madrasas supported under Samagra Shiksha.

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged ,

Record Foodgrain Exports Amid hunger in India – Right to Food Campaign

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What is the News?

The Right to Food Campaign has criticized the record export of foodgrains from India in 2020-21. It is the time when the country’s people are struggling with hunger amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The Right to Food Campaign highlighted the following issues:

 Record Foodgrain Exports:

  • The Government of India has exported over 13 million tonnes of non-basmati rice and more than two million tonnes of wheat in 2020-21.
  • The Government could have used the exported grain to provide to 25 crore people with rations for a year.

Coverage of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana Scheme:

  • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana provides additional free grain for only two months. It also covers only those who are already included under the National Food Security Act.
  • The food security crisis faced by the informal sector workers, especially those who do not have ration cards, has been completely ignored.
  • Hence, the Government should immediately universalise the Public Distribution System(PDS). It should also extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana scheme for a period of at least six months.
About Right to Food Campaign:
  • Right to Food campaign is an informal network of individuals and organizations. It has its commitments to the realisation of the right to food in India.
  • The launching of the campaign happened in 2001 with a writ petition filed in Supreme Court in 2001 by People’s Union for Civil Liberties.
    • The petition demanded that the country’s surplus food stocks should be used without delay to protect people from hunger and starvation.

Source: The Hindu

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged ,

Cabinet approves PLI scheme ‘National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell Battery Storage’

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What is the News?

Cabinet approves the Production Linked Incentive(PLI) Scheme ‘National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery Storage’.

PLI Scheme For Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery Storage’:

  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises
  • Aim: The programme aims to set up facilities capable of manufacturing a cumulative 50GWh of Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) batteries.
Key Features of the Scheme:
  • Firstly, the government will select the ACC battery storage manufacturers through a transparent competitive bidding process.
  • Secondly, the selected ACC manufacturer will have to set up the ACC facility within a period of two years.
  • Thirdly, there will be disbursement of the incentive to the manufacturer over a period of five years. The incentive amount will rise with the following,
    • Increased specific energy density and cycles,
    • Increased local value addition.
  • Fourthly, the ACC firms will also have to achieve a domestic value addition of at least 25%. They should also incur the mandatory investment of Rs 225 crore /GWh within 2 years.
  • Lastly, each selected ACC battery Storage manufacturer would have to commit to set up an ACC manufacturing facility of minimum 5GWh capacity. Further, they should also ensure a minimum 60% domestic value addition at the project level within five years.
Benefits of the Scheme:
  • Currently, all the demand for the ACCs is satisfied through imports in India. Hence, the programme on ACC will decrease import dependence.
  • The manufacturing of ACCs will also increase the demand for Electric Vehicles (EV).
  • India can increase net savings of around Rs 2 lakh crore on account of oil import bill due to Electric Vehicles (EV) adoption.
  • Facilitate demand creation for battery storage in India.
  • The impetus in R&D can achieve higher specific energy density and cycles in ACC.
  • Promote newer and niche cell technologies.

What are Advanced Chemistry Cell(ACC) batteries?

  • ACCs are the new generation of advanced storage technologies. They can store electric energy either as electrochemical or as chemical energy. The cells then can convert it back to electric energy as and when required.
  • Sectors: Consumer electronics, electric vehicles, advanced electricity grids and solar rooftops are major battery consuming sectors.

Source: PIB


[Answered]What is ‘National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage’? Discuss its importance.

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, Factly: Science and Technology, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

“Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture”(MIDH) Scheme

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What is the News?

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has provided an enhanced allocation of Rs. 2250 Crore for the year 2021-22 for ‘Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture’(MIDH).

 Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture(MIDH):
  • The mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture(MIDH) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for the holistic growth of the horticulture sector.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is implementing the MIDH scheme since 2014-15.
  • Part of: The scheme is being implemented as a part of the Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana.
  • Coverage: The scheme covers fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops. The scheme also covers mushrooms, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew and cocoa.

Sub Schemes under MIDH: The mission has the following sub-schemes as its component:

  • National Horticulture Mission (NHM)
  • Horticulture Mission for North East & Himalayan States (HMNEH)
  • National Horticulture Board (NHB)
  • Coconut Development Board (CDB)
  • Central Institute for Horticulture (CIH), Nagaland.
Funding: Under the scheme,
  • The government of India(GOI) contributes 60% of the total outlay for developmental programmes in all the states except states in the North East and the Himalayas.
  • In the case of the North-Eastern States and the Himalayan States, GOI contributes 90%.
  • In the case of the following the GOI contributes 100%.
    • National Horticulture Board(NHB),
    • Coconut Development Board(CDB),
    • Central Institute for Horticulture(CIH)
    • The National Level Agencies(NLA)
  • Further, the scheme also provides for technical and administrative support to State Governments/ State Horticulture Missions(SHMs). It also provides technical and administrative support for the Saffron Mission and other horticulture-related activities.

Performance of the scheme: MIDH scheme has played a significant role in increasing the area under horticulture crops such as:

  • Area and production under horticulture crops during the years 2014 – 15 to 2019 – 20 has increased by 9% and 14% respectively.
  • During the year 2019-20, the country recorded its highest ever horticulture production of 320.77 million tonnes from an area of 25.66 million hectares.
  • However, the sector is still facing a lot of challenges. Such as,
    • High post-harvest loss
    • Gaps in post-harvest management
    • Supply chain infrastructure.

Source: PIB


 

Ayushman Bharat programme

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

One lakh tonnes of food grains distributed within 10 days under “PMGKAY”.

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What is the News?

The government is distributing food grains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. According to the Department of Food and Public Distribution, one lakh tonnes of food grains have been distributed so far under the new phase of the Yojana.

About Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana(PMGKAY):

  • PMGKAY was first announced in 2020 as a part of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package(PMGKP). It aims to help the poor to fight the battle against Covid-19.
  • Aim: The aim of the scheme is to provide each person, who is covered under the National Food Security Act(NFSA), with an additional 5 kg of grains (wheat or rice) for free. This is given over and above their monthly entitlement
  • Duration of the Scheme: The scheme was announced in 2020 for three months till July 2020. Later it was extended till November 2020.
    • However, the scheme is functional once again. Under this phase, around 80 crore beneficiaries would be covered for the months of May and June 2021.

Note: The new phase of the PMGKAY Scheme does not provide free-of-cost 1 kg pulses per month to each household covered under the NFSA. This one of the important components available in the earlier phase of the program.

Performance of the PMGKAY scheme till now:

  • The government allotted a total monthly allocation (for May) of 40 lakh metric tonnes (MT) under the PMGKAY. Of these one lakh, tonnes have been distributed so far.
  • Thirteen States and union territories have started distribution under the PMGKAY Scheme.
  • In the first 10 days, PMGKAY grains have reached 2.03 crore
  • Further, 15 lakh MT has been lifted by states from the Food Corporation of India’s stock for distribution.

Petition in Supreme Court:

  • Despite the government intervention, a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a resumption of the 2020 scheme. In 2020 the government provided food grains to those without ration cards also.
    • Note: The Government has ruled out the possibility of a similar scheme in 2021.
  • The petitioners have also asked for the payment of minimum wages as cash transfers and appropriate transport facilities for migrant workers.

Source: The Hindu


 

India and UK launches Virtual Vaccines Hub

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Puducherry becomes ‘Har Ghar Jal’ UT under “Jal Jeevan Mission”

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What is the News?

Puducherry has become the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ Union Territory by ensuring that every rural home gets a household tap connection.

Note: Puducherry has become the fourth state or UT after Goa, Telangana and Andaman and Nicobar Islands to provide assured tap water supply to every rural home under Jal Jeevan Mission(JJM).

About Jal Jeevan Mission(JJM):
  • Jal Jeevan Mission(JJM) was launched by the Ministry of Jal Shakti in 2019.
  • Objective: The aim is to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India.
  • The goal of the mission: The goal is to have ‘Har Ghar Jal’- every house in the village is to be provided with a Functional tap connection.
Fund Sharing Pattern under the mission:
  • The fund sharing pattern between Center and State under the mission is as follow:
    • 90:10 for Himalayan (Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh) and North-Eastern States
    • Total fund for UTs will be provided by Center.
    • 50:50 for the rest of the States.
 Key Features of the mission:
  • Firstly, the mission is a decentralized, demand-driven and community-managed programme. The Gram Panchayat will play a key role in planning and implementation.
  • Secondly, the mission includes extensive Information, Education and communication as a key component of the mission.
  • Thirdly, the mission will also implement source sustainability measures as mandatory elements. This includes measures such as recharge and reuse through greywater management, water conservation, rainwater harvesting.
  • Further, States will give priority to
    • Water quality-affected areas,
    • Villages in drought-prone and desert areas,
    • Scheduled caste/scheduled tribe majority villages,
    • Aspirational districts and Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana villages.

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

“Pradhan Mantri VAN DHAN Yojana” (PMVDY) is Helping Rural Tribal Forest Economy

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What is the News?

The Managing Director of TRIFED recently highlighted the role played by Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana in changing the rural forest-dwelling tribal economy.

About Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana:
  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs launched Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana in 2018, under the Forest Rights Act of 2005.
  • Aim: To provide remunerative and fair prices to tribal gatherers of their Minor Forest Produces. It could be almost 3 times higher than what would be available to them from middlemen,
  • Component of: The scheme is a key component of the ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ Scheme.
  • Implementation:
    • At the National Level, TRIFED acts as the Nodal Agency.
    • At the State level, the State Nodal Agency for MFPs and
    • Lastly, at the grass-root level, the District collectors will play a pivotal role in scheme implementation.
  • Key Features of the Scheme:
    • Firstly, under the scheme, Van Dhan Vikas Kendras are set up. These centers cater to 10 Self Help Groups and each group consists of thirty tribal gathers.
    • Secondly, Vikas Kendras provides skill up gradation and capacity building training and helps in setting up of primary processing and value addition facility
    • Thirdly, They are also provided with working capital to add value to the products which they collect from the jungle.
    • Fourthly, Working under the leadership of Collector these groups can then market their products not only within the States but also outside the States. TRIFED provides training and technical support.
Progress of the Scheme:
  • The North-East Region is leading the way with 80% of the established Van Dhan Vikas Kendras(VDVKs). Further, among the Northeast region, Manipur has emerged as the Champion state.
  • Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh are other states where the scheme has been adopted with overwhelming results.

Source: PIB

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“Large Area Certification Scheme”

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What is the News?

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare has conferred a land area in the Andaman and Nicobar with organic certification. This is the first large contiguous territory conferred with the organic certification under the ‘Large Area Certification’ (LAC) scheme.

This is a scheme of the PGS-India (Participatory Guarantee System) certification program.

Note: PGS is a process of certifying organic products. It ensures that their production takes place in accordance with laid-down quality standards for organics.

About Large Area Certification Scheme:
  • The Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare under its flagship scheme of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY) has launched the Large Area Certification Scheme.
    • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana(PKVY) was launched in 2015 with the aim to support and promote organic farming. This in turn results in the improvement of soil health.
  • Purpose: The purpose is to provide a unique and quick organic certification to harness the potential land areas for organic products.
Process for Large Area Certification:
  • Firstly, under the LAC, each village in the area is considered as one cluster/group. Documentations are simple and maintained village-wise.
  • Secondly, all farmers with their farmland and livestock need to adhere to the standard requirements. After verification, they will get certified as a group. Once issued they don’t need to go under conversion period.
  • Thirdly, certification is renewed on annual basis through annual verification. Annual verification is a process of peer appraisals as per the process of PGS-India.
Benefits of Large Area Certification:
  • As per the established norm of organic production systems, the areas having chemical input usage history will undergo a transition period of a minimum of 2-3 years to qualify as organic.
  • On the other hand, the LAC requirements are simple. The area can be certified as organic almost immediately. Further, the LAC is a Quick certification process that is cost-effective. Apart from that, the farmers do not have to wait for 2-3 years for marketing PGS organic certified products.
Organic Farming:
  • Firstly, Organic Farming avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones). Instead, it relies upon crop rotations, animal manures, off-farm organic waste and a biological system of nutrient mobilization.
  • Secondly, India now has more than 30 lakh ha area registered under organic certification. Also,  more and more farmers are joining the movement slowly.
  • Thirdly, as per the international survey report (2021) India ranks at 5th place in terms of area. Further, India is at the top in terms of the total number of organic producers(the base year 2019).

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

“Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana” – Centre to give 5 kg food grains free to poor

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What is the News? The Union government announced that 5 kg of food grains would be provided to 80 crore beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for the months of May and June 2021.

About Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana(PMGKAY):
  • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana was announced as part of the relief package during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Aim: To ensure sufficient food for the poor and needy during the coronavirus crisis.
  • Ministry: The department of Food and Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
  • Features: Under the scheme, about 80 Crore National Food Security Act(NFSA) beneficiaries are eligible for an additional quota of free-of-cost foodgrains (Rice/Wheat) at a scale of 5 Kg per person per month over and above their regular monthly entitlement.
  • Duration: The scheme was announced in 2020 for three months till July. Later it was extended till November 2020 to combat the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the poor.
    • However, the scheme is functional once again. As many States are undergoing curfews and the high rates of coronavirus infections, leading to a slowdown in economic activity.
Other Key Announcements:
  • Indian Railways and the Indian Air Force(IAF) are being deployed to provide oxygen to different States.
  • The Central government would be providing Covid-19 vaccines acquired by it to the States for free as in the past.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

“RoDTEP Scheme” -Delay in Notification of Rebate Rates

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What is the News? Exporters are upset over the inordinate delay in the notification of the rates under the RoDTEP (Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products) Scheme.

About Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products(RoDTEP) Scheme:

  • Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced the RoDTEP scheme in the year 2020. It came into effect on January 1st, 2021.
  • The scheme replaced the Merchandise Export from India Scheme(MEIS). MEIS was not compliant with the rules of the World Trade Organisation(WTO).
    • US lodged a complaint against India’s MEIS scheme in WTO. Further, a dispute settlement panel of WTO ruled against India’s use of MEIS. It had found the duty credit scrips awarded under the scheme to be inconsistent with WTO norms.
  • Purpose: The RoDTEP scheme will refund the embedded central, state, and local duties or taxes to exporters that were previously non-recoverable. Such as:
    • Firstly, the central & state taxes on the fuel used for transportation of export products
    • Secondly, the duty levied by the state on electricity used for manufacturing
    • Thirdly, mandi tax levied by APMCs
    • Lastly, toll tax & stamp duty on the import-export documentation.
  • Exporters will receive the refund of taxes on exports in exporters’ ledger account with the Customs department. Further, exporters can utilize this credit to pay basic customs duty on imported goods. They can also transfer credits to other importers.
  • Coverage: The scheme covers all export goods starting from January 1, 2021.
  • Significance of the scheme: The scheme would lead to the cost competitiveness of exported products in international markets and better employment opportunities in export-oriented manufacturing industries.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

“Startup India Seed Fund Scheme” launched

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What is the News? Union Minister of Commerce & Industry launches the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS).

About Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS):

Objective:

  • Firstly, Startup India Seed Fund Scheme(SISFS) aims to provide financial assistance to startups. Assistance is provided for proof of concept, prototype development, product trials, market entry, and commercialization.
  • Secondly, it would help to grow startups to a beginner’s level. After that, startups will be able to raise investments from angel investors or venture capitalists or seek loans from commercial banks or financial institutions.

Read Also:-NITI Aayog launches ‘AIM-PRIME’ to … – 

Implementation:
  •  The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) constituted An Experts Advisory Committee(EAC). Which will be responsible for the overall execution and monitoring of the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme.

Funding:

  1. Firstly, Eligible incubators throughout India will hand out funding to eligible startups across India.
  2. Secondly, Grants of up to Rs 5 Crores shall be provided to the eligible incubators selected by the EAC.
  3. Thirdly, the selected incubators shall provide grants of up to Rs 20 lakhs for validation of Proof of Concept, or prototype development, or product trials to startups.
  4. Finally, Startups will further receive investments of up to Rs 50 lakhs for market entry, commercialization, or scaling up through convertible debentures or debt-linked instruments.

Duration:

  • The scheme will have a corpus of Rs. 945 Crore. This will be divided over the next 4 years.
Significance of the scheme:
  • The SISFS scheme will help startups in:
    • Secure seed funding
    • Inspire innovation
    • Support transformative ideas
    • Facilitate implementation and
    • Start startup revolution.
  • The Scheme will also create a robust startup ecosystem particularly in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns of India. These towns lack adequate funding facilities for startups.

Source: PIB


“National Startup Advisory Council” – First Meeting Held

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“Lab on Wheels Programme” For Education Equality

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What is the News?

 Delhi Education Minister inaugurates Delhi Technological University(DTU) Lab on Wheels programme.

About Lab on Wheels Programme:
  • The Programme aims to impart education in the fields of Mathematics and Science. Especially to the students from marginalised and poor economic backgrounds. The programme aims to stimulate their interests in these subjects while pursuing higher education.
  • In the end, the programme becomes mutually beneficial, if some of these students decide to take admission in DTU once they finish schooling.
Key Features of the programme:
  • Under the Lab on Wheels, Delhi Technological University students will travel in a bus across Delhi. Also, they will teach government school students and underprivileged children.
  • The bus will comprise 16 computers, two televisions, one 3D printer, one laptop, cameras and one printer. It will also be Wi-Fi enabled with 100% power back up and fully air-conditioned.
  • The Lab on Wheels programme will cover some important things. Such as basic computer training for students, regular classwork for Class 10 and 12 students, and 3D printing training.

Source: Indian Express

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

“Shaphari Scheme” – Centre to Certify Shrimp Farms

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What is the News? 

Marine Products Export Development Authority(MPEDA) launches a certification scheme for aquaculture called the “Shaphari Scheme”.

About Shaphari Scheme:
  • Shaphari is a Sanskrit word that means the superior quality of fishery products suitable for human consumption.
  • Purpose: It is an Antibiotics free Certification Scheme. It certifies hatcheries and farms for the production of antibiotic-free shrimp products. By doing that, it aims to:
    1. enhance the consumer confidence,
    2. meet international standards
    3. promote hassle-free export
  • Moreover, the entire certification process will be online to minimize human errors and ensure higher credibility and transparency.
  • Based on: The scheme is based on the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization’s technical guidelines on aquaculture certification.
  • Components: The scheme will have two components:
    1. Certifying hatcheries for the quality of their seeds and
    2. Separately approving shrimp farms that adopt the requisite good practices.
  • Significance: The certification of fish hatcheries under the Shaphari Scheme will help farmers easily identify good quality seed producers. Those who successfully clear multiple audits of their operations shall receive a certificate for a period of two years.
Reasons to launch this scheme:
  • Firstly, India is the second-largest fish producer in the world.
  • Secondly, Fish Sector provides employment to 14 million people in harvesting, processing packaging, and distribution.
  • Thirdly, Frozen shrimp is the largest exported item from India. It constitutes 50.58% in quantity and 73.2% in terms of total U.S. dollar earnings from the sector during 2019-20.
  • Fourthly, India exported frozen shrimp worth almost $5 billion in 2019-20 to the U.S. and China — its biggest buyers.
  • Fifthly, Major Producing States: Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu are the major shrimp producing States.
  • However, a combination of factors had hurt export volumes in recent months. This includes container shortages and incidents of rejection of seafood consignments because of food safety concerns. Hence, the scheme was launched.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Nyuntam Aay Yojana(NYAY)

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What is the News?

The Congress Party has promised to implement the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) in Kerala if voted to power.

About Nyuntam Aay Yojana(NYAY):

  • NYAY is a proposed minimum income guarantee scheme. It was first proposed during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Key Features of NYAY Scheme:

  • Beneficiaries: The target population of the Scheme will be 5 crore families. This constitutes the poorest 20% of all families.
  • Benefits: Each family will get a guaranteed cash transfer of Rs. 72,000 a year.
  • Bank Account: The money will transfer to the account of a woman of the family who has a bank account. If she doesn’t have the account, they will be urged to open a bank account.
  • Economic Cost: The estimated cost will be <1% of GDP in Year 1 and <2% of GDP in Year 2 and thereafter. As the nominal GDP grows and families move out of poverty, the cost will decline as a proportion of GDP.
  • Implementation: The NYAY Scheme will become a joint scheme of the Central and State Governments.
  • Funding: New revenues and rationalisation of expenditure will fund the new scheme. Current merit subsidy schemes that are intended to achieve specific objectives will be continued along with the NYAY scheme.

Source: Indian Express

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“PLI Scheme” for white goods and solar photovoltaic modules

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What is the News?

The Union Cabinet approves two PLI schemes for white goods (air-conditioners and LED lights) and high-efficiency solar photovoltaic modules.

About Production Linked Incentive Scheme(PLI):
  • The Government of India launched the Production-Linked Incentive(PLI)  in March 2020.
  • Aim: The aim is to make manufacturing in India globally competitive by removing sectoral disabilities, creating economies of scale, and ensuring efficiencies.
  • Under the scheme, incentives are offered to companies on incremental sales from products manufactured in India over the base year.
PLI Scheme For White Goods:
  • PLI Scheme for White Goods shall provide an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales of goods manufactured in India. The scheme is for a period of five years for the manufacturers of Air Conditioners and LED Lights.
  • Eligibility:
    • Selection of companies under the scheme aims to incentivize the manufacturing of components or sub-assemblies in India. Mere assembly of finished goods shall not qualify for incentives.
    • Incentives shall be open to companies making both brownfield or green field Investments.
  • Significance: The scheme is estimated to lead to an incremental investment of ₹7,920 crore over five years. It will lead to production worth ₹1.68 lakh crore as well as lead to 4 lakh jobs.
PLI Scheme for High-Efficiency Solar PV (Photovoltaic) Modules:
  • Background: Firstly, solar capacity addition presently depends largely upon imported solar PV cells and modules. The domestic manufacturing industry has limited operational capacities of solar PV cells and modules.
    • Hence, the expectation from this scheme is to reduce import dependence in a strategic sector like electricity.
  • Secondly, under the scheme, Solar PV manufacturers will be selected through a transparent competitive bidding process.
  • Thirdly, the incentives will be disbursed for 5 years post commissioning of solar PV manufacturing plants on sales of high efficiency solar PV modules.
  • Fourthly, A Manufacturer will get reward for higher efficiencies of solar PV modules and also for sourcing their material from the domestic market. Thus, the PLI amount will increase with increased module efficiency and increased local value addition.
  • Significance: The scheme may lead to 10,000 MW of additional capacity of solar PV plants and investment of around ₹17,200 crores in solar PV manufacturing projects. It would also lead to direct employment of 30,000 people and indirect jobs to 1.2 lakh.

Source: The Hindu

[Answered]What is OLED technology? How it is different from LED? Discuss its various uses.

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

PMAY-Gramin achieved 92% target in 1st Phase

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What is the News?

PMAY-Gramin (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Gramin) achieves 92% of its target under the 1st phase (i.e. from 2016-17 to 2018-19).

Target under PMAY-Gramin:
  • PMAY-G scheme aims to construct 2.95 crore houses with all basic amenities by the year 2021-22.
    • However, the number of beneficiaries reduced from 2.95 crores to 2.14 crore. It was after 81 lakh were founded ineligible as per Socio-Economic Caste Census(SECC) -2011.
  • 1st Phase Target: A target of 1 crore houses was set for completion in the 1st phase of the scheme i.e. from 2016-17 to 2018-19. So far, 92% of the target completion has been achieved.
Expenditure on PMAY-Gramin:
  • In the financial year 2020-21, the highest ever money allotted since the launch of the PMAY(G) scheme.
  • Further, expenditure incurred by states also seen an unprecedented increase in the current fiscal. This is also the highest expenditure since the launch of the rural housing scheme.

About PMAY- Gramin:

  • Launched by: Ministry of Rural Development in 2016
  • Aim: The aim is to provide a pucca house with basic amenities to all rural families. The scheme aims to achieve this by the end of March 2022. People who are homeless or living in kutcha or old houses are eligible for benefits.
  • Beneficiaries: Beneficiaries under the scheme are identified as per the housing deprivation parameters and exclusion criteria prescribed under Socio-Economic Caste Census(SECC) 2011. Gram Sabha verifies these eligible beneficiaries.

Click Here to Read more about PMAY-G

 Source: PIB


India’s 1st LGBT+ workplace equality index launched

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, Miscellaneous, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Govt. Extends “Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme”

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What is the News? Government extends the Rs. 3-lakh-crore Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) until 30th June 2021. It also widens its scope to new sectors, including hospitality, travel and tourism.

About Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS):
  • Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme(ECLGS) launched as part of the Covid-19 relief package called the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
  • Aim: The aim is to provide Rs 3 lakh crore worth of collateral-free, government guaranteed loans to micro, small and medium enterprises(MSMEs) across India. Further, it aims to mitigate the distress caused by the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
  • National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company(NCGTC) is the guarantee provider under the ECLGS scheme.
ECLGS 1.0:
  • Purpose: It aims to provide fully guaranteed and collateral free additional credit to MSMEs, business enterprises, MUDRA borrowers and individual loans for business purposes. The credit provided to the extent of 20% of their credit outstanding as of 29th February, 2020.
  • Eligibility: MSMEs with up to Rs 25 crore outstanding and Rs.100 crore turnover were eligible.
  • Duration: It had a 1-year moratorium period and a 4-year repayment period.
ECLGS 2.0:
  • Purpose: It aims to extend the ECLGS Scheme to the 26 stressed sectors identified by the Kamath Committee and the healthcare sector.
  • Eligibility: Companies with dues of Rs 50-500 crore as of February 29, 2020 were eligible.
  • Duration: The tenor of the credit under the ECLGS 2.0 was five years including a one-year moratorium.
ECLGS 3.0:
  • Under ECLGS 3.0, business enterprises in the hospitality, travel and tourism, leisure and sporting sectors would be able to avail credit.
  • Extension of Credit: It involves the extension of credit of up to 40% of the total credit outstanding from 20% earlier.
  • Duration: The tenor of loans granted under ECLGS 3.0 is six years, including a moratorium period of two years.
  • Eligibility: The scheme will only consider loans less than 60 days overdue as on February 29, 2020, with total credit outstanding not exceeding Rs 500 crore.

Note: The validity of ECLGS that is ECLGS 1.0, ECLGS 2.0 & ECLGS 3.0 has been extended upto 30 June 2021 or till guarantees for an amount of Rs. 3 lakh crore are issued.

About National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company(NCGTC):
  • NCGTC was set up in 2014 as a private limited company. The Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance established it under the Indian Companies Act,1956.
  • Purpose: To act as a common trustee company to manage and operate various credit guarantee trust funds.

Source: Livemint

 

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Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) Scheme

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What is the News? The Department of Land Resources informs the Standing Committee on Rural Development about the Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) Scheme.

About Unique Land Parcel Identification Number(ULPIN) Scheme:
  • The Unique Land Parcel Identification Number(ULPIN) scheme was launched in 10 States in 2021. It will roll out across the country by March 2022.
  • Key Features of the Scheme:
    • Firstly, under the scheme, authorities issue a 14-digit identification number to every plot of land in the country.
    • Secondly, also called the “the Aadhaar for land”, it is a unique number to identify every surveyed parcel of land. It will prevent land fraud, especially in rural India where proper land records are not available.
    • Thirdly, the longitude and latitude of a land parcel will be the basis for its identification. It will depend on detailed surveys and geo-referenced cadastral maps.
    • Fourthly, the land records database will gradually integrate with the records of revenue courts and bank on a voluntary basis.
  • Significance: The scheme might also be the next step in the Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme(DILRMP). It began in 2008.
    Benefits of the Scheme:
    • Thus, the single source of information can authenticate the ownership and in turn, it can end the dubious ownership.
    • The scheme will also help to identify the government lands easily and protect the land from dubious land transactions.

Source: The Hindu

 

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NITI Aayog launches “AIM-PRIME” to support science based startups

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What is the News?

Atal Innovation Mission(AIM), NITI Aayog in association with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation(BMGF) launch AIM-PRIME (Program for Researchers on Innovations, Market-Readiness & Entrepreneurship).

About AIM-PRIME:
  • AIM-PRIME Program aims at promoting science-based, deep technology. For that, it will provide training and guidance over a period of 12 months.
  • Implementation by: Venture Center – a non-profit technology business incubator.
  • Eligibility: The program is open to:
    • Technology developers (early-stage deep tech start-ups, and scientists/ engineers/ clinicians) with strong science-based deep tech business ideas.
    • CEOs and Senior incubation managers of AIM Funded Atal Incubation Centers that are supporting deep tech entrepreneurs.
  • Benefits of the programme:
    • The candidates selected for the program will get access to in-depth learning resources via a comprehensive lecture series, live team projects, exercises, and project-specific mentoring.
    • They will also have access to a deep tech startup playbook, curated video library, and plenty of peer-to-peer learning opportunities.
About Deep Technology:
  • Deep techs are very high cutting-edge and disruptive technologies. These technologies base on scientific discoveries, engineering, mathematics, physics, and medicine.
  • Examples: A new medical device or technique fighting cancer, data analytics to help farmers grow more food, or a clean energy solution trying to lessen the human impact on climate change.

Source: PIB

 

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Record 11 Crore Worked Under “MGNREGS” in 2020-21

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What is the News?

According to Government data, over 11 crore people worked under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme(MGNREGS) during the financial year 2020-21.

Key Facts Related to MGNREG Scheme during 2020-21:
  • During the financial year 2020-21, around 11 crore people worked under the MGNREGS.
  • This is the first time since the launch of the scheme in 2006-07 that the MGNREGS  numbers crossed the 11-crore mark in a year.
  • Further, the 11 crore mark is also higher by about 41.75% in 2019-20 when about 7.88 crores worked.
  • The expenditure on MGNREGS has also increased. In 2020-21, the total expenditure was 62.31% higher than in 2019-20.

Note: As part of the economic package during the Covid-19 pandemic, the government announced additional funding of Rs 40,000 crore for the MGNREGS over and above the budgetary allocation of  2020-21.

Number of Days People Worked under MGNREGS:
  • In 2020-21, the number of households that completed 100-day employment reached an all-time high of 68.58 lakh, an increase of 68.91% from 40.60 lakh in 2019-20.
  • The average days of employment provided per household too went up marginally from 48.4 days in 2019-20 to 51.51 days in 2020-21.
MGNREG Scheme:
  • MGNREGS is one of the largest work guarantee programmes in the world.
  • Launched in: The scheme was initially launched in the 200 most backward rural districts of the country in 2006-07. The scheme was later extended to an additional 130 districts during 2007-08 and to the entire country from 2008-09 onward.
  • Under the scheme, every rural household whose adult member volunteers to do unskilled manual work is entitled to get at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year.
  • Implementation: Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Government of India in association with state governments monitors the implementation of the scheme.
Key Features of the scheme:
  • Demand-driven scheme: Worker to be hired when he demands and not when the Government wants it.
  • Gram Panchayat is mandated to provide employment within 15 days of work application failing which worker is entitled to unemployment allowance
  • Payment of wages within 15 days of competition of work failing which worker is entitled to delay compensation of 0.05%/ day of wages earned.

Source: Indian Express

 

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Union Cabinet approves PLI Scheme for Food Processing Industry

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Why in the news?

The Union Cabinet approves the PLI(Production Linked Incentive) Scheme for Food Processing Industry (PLISFPI).

About PLI scheme for Food Processing Industry
  • The scheme will be implemented over a six-year period from 2021-22 to 2026-27.
  • Aim: The scheme aims to support the creation of global food manufacturing champions according to the natural resources of India.
Objectives of the Scheme
  1. Firstly, PLI scheme will support food manufacturing org with stipulated minimum Sales.
  2. Furthermore, it will support Indian brands of food products in the international markets with an outlay of Rs. 10900 crore.
  3. Moreover, it will increase employment opportunities for nearly 2.5 lakh persons by the year 2026-27.
  4. Finally, the scheme will ensure good prices for farm produce and higher income to farmers.
Salient features of the PLI scheme for Food Processing Industry
  1. First component of the scheme
    • It will incentivize the manufacturing of four major food product segments:
      1. Marine Products,
      2. Mozzarella Cheese
      3. Processed Fruits & Vegetables
      4. Ready to Cook/ Ready to Eat (RTC/ RTE) foods
    • Selected applicants will require investing in Plant & Machinery in the first two years i.e. in 2021-22 & 2022-23.
    • The amount of Investment during 2020-21 will be counted for meeting investment requirements.
    • The entities selected for making innovative/ organic products will be exempt from the Minimum Sales and mandated investment requirements.
  2. 2nd component of the scheme
    • Under this component, support will be provided for branding and marketing abroad.
    • The entity will receive grants for in-store Branding, shelf space renting, and marketing.
Implementation of the scheme
  • Implemented by: Project Management Agency (PMA)
  • Also, PMA will be responsible for verification of eligibility for support, scrutiny of claims eligible for disbursement of incentive.
  • Furthermore, the scheme is “fund-limited”, i.e. the amount restricts to the approved limit. This amount will not exceed even in case of outstanding performance.

Source: PIB

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Union Minister inaugurates Event for “DSIR-PRISM Scheme”

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What is the News?

The Union Minister for Science & Technology inaugurates the Event for Publicity of the PRISM (Promoting Innovations in Individuals, Startups, and MSMEs) scheme.

About PRISM Scheme:
  • Nodal Ministry: PRISM is an initiative of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research(DSIR), Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • Aim: The aim is to help an individual innovator to become a successful technopreneur. It promotes, supports, and funds implementable and commercially viable innovations created for society.
  • Who is eligible? Under the initiative, an innovator of Indian nationality – student, professional and common citizen- is eligible.
  • Features:  Eligible candidates are provided with technical, strategic, and financial assistance by DSIR-PRISM. Assistance is provided on the stages like idea development, prototype development, and pilot scaling and patenting.
  • Sectors Covered: The proposals under the scheme will be accepted for the following sectors:
    • Green technology
    • Clean energy
    • Industrially utilizable smart materials
    • Waste to Wealth
    • Affordable Healthcare
    • Water & Sewage Management and
    • any other technology or knowledge-intensive area.
  • Financial Assistance: The grant under the scheme is given in two phases:
    1. Phase I:
      • Category-I: For proof of concept/prototype/models, a grant amount of around Rs. 2 lakhs to Rs. 20 lakhs.
      • Category-II: For fabrication of working model/ process know-how/ testing, a grant amount of around Rs. 2 lakhs to Rs. 20 lakhs.
    2. Phase II: For Enterprise incubation, a grant amount of a maximum of around Rs.50 lakhs.

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, Factly: Schemes and Programs, Factly: Science and Technology, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged ,

Only 5.4% of houses under “PM Awas Yojana Gramin (PMAY-G)” Completed this year

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What is the News?

The Ministry of Rural Development has informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee about the progress of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin.

Progress under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G):
  • PMAY-G Scheme has a target of providing housing for all by March 2022. However, the completion of the construction target was only 55%. Even though there was sanctioning of money for almost 85% of beneficiaries.
Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on the Scheme:
  • In 2020-21, less than 6% of houses sanctioned under the PMAY-G have reached the completion stage due to COVID-19.
  • Reasons for Delay: In 2019, it used to take an average of 114 days to construct a house under the scheme. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused long delays at every stage in 2020-21.
  • However, some states such as Odisha and Jharkhand have completed around 10% of the houses sanctioned in 2020-21. It has also used the scheme to provide employment opportunities for migrant workers who had returned to their villages during the crisis.
  • But a number of other states such as Assam, Chhattisgarh, and Karnataka did not see completed construction of even a single house that was sanctioned during 2020-21.
About Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin:
  • Launched by: Ministry of Rural Development in 2016 launched it.
  • Aim: The aim is to provide a pucca house with basic amenities to all rural families by the end of March 2022. People who are homeless or living in kutcha or dilapidated houses are eligible for benefits.
Key Features of the Scheme:
  • Beneficiaries: Beneficiaries are identified as per the housing deprivation parameters and exclusion criteria prescribed under Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011. Gram Sabha verifies the eligible beneficiaries.
  • Target: The scheme had a target of construction of 2.95 crore pucca houses for eligible rural households by March 2022.
  • Fund sharing pattern -The Centre and the states share the grants under the scheme in the ratio of:
    • 90:10 in case of NE States, Himalayan States & Himalayan UTs.
    • For all other States, funds are shared in the ratio of 60:40 by the Centre and the States.
    • In cases of other UTs, entire funds are provided by the Centre.
  • Monitoring: The programme implementation is being monitored not only electronically but also through community participation (Social Audit), Member of Parliament (DISHA Committee), Central and State Government officials, National Level Monitors, etc.

Source: The Hindu

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Jharkhand launched ‘SAAMAR campaign’ to fight malnutrition

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What is the News?

The Jharkhand government has launched the SAAMAR campaign to tackle malnutrition in the state.

About SAAMAR Campaign:
  • Full-Form: SAAMAR is an acronym for Strategic Action for Alleviation of Malnutrition and Anaemia Reduction.
  • Aim: The SAAMAR campaign aims to identify anaemic women and malnourished children. Further, the campaign brings together various departments to effectively deal with the major malnutrition problem in the state.

Features of the campaign:

  • SAAMAR campaign has been launched with a 1000 days target. Under this annual surveys will be conducted to track the progress.
  • Every Anganwadi Centres will be engaged to identify malnourished children. Subsequently, they will be treated at the Malnutrition Treatment Centres.
  • Similarly, anaemic women will also be identified and will be referred to health centres in serious cases.
Why was this campaign launched?
  • According to NFHS-4 data, Jharkhand has some worrying level of malnutrition. The NFHS-4 data reveals the following trends.
    • Every second child in the state is stunted and underweight
    • Every third child is affected by stunting
    • Every 10th child is affected by severe wasting
    • Apart from that, around 70% of children are anaemic in the state.
  • Hence, the intervention was required with a ‘different approach to reduce malnutrition.

Source: Indian Express

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Initiatives under ‘Namami Gange Programme’

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What is the News?

The Government of India is currently implementing several initiatives under the Namami Gange Programme to clean the polluted rivers of Ganga.

Namami Gange Programme:
  • Launched in: The Programme was launched in 2014. It is an Integrated Conservation Mission under the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • Aim: To achieve effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of the National River(Ganga).
  • Main Pillars of the Programme:
    • Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure,
    • River-Surface Cleaning,
    • Afforestation,
    • Industrial Effluent Monitoring,
    • River-Front Development,
    • Biodiversity
    • Public Awareness among others.
  • Implementation: National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is the implementing agency of the Namami Gange Programme at the national level.
    • National Mission for Clean Ganga(NMCG): It is a statutory authority. It is established under the National Council for River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Act, 2016.
  • Projects under the programme: Presently, sewerage infrastructure works for pollution abatement is under execution on 13 tributaries of river Ganga. These include Yamuna, Kosi, Saryu, Ramganga, Kali(West), Kali (East), Gomti, Kharkari, Burhi Gandak, Banka, Damodar, Rispana-Bindal and Chambal.

Source: PIB

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India partnered with ‘United Nations Office for Project Services'(UNOPS)

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What is the News?

The Ministry of Jal Shakti Ministry has entered a partnership with the United Nations Office for Project Services(UNOPS) and the government of Denmark. The agreement aims to bring tap water connections to 11 water-scarce districts in Uttar Pradesh under the Jal Jeevan mission.

About United Nations Office for Project Services(UNOPS):

  • The United Nations Office for Project Services(UNOPS) was established in 1973 as part of the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP). It became an independent, self-financing organization in 1995.
  • Aim: It is dedicated to implementing projects for the United Nations System. Apart from that, UNOPS also help in project implementation of international financial institutions, governments and other partners around the world.
  • Significance: UNOPS is a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group(UNSDG).
  • The headquarters of the United Nations Office for Project Services is located in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Click Here to Read about Jal Jeevan Mission

About United Nations Sustainable Development Group(UNSDG):

  • The United Nations Sustainable Development Group(UNSDG) was established in 1997. It was previously known as the United Nations Development Group (UNDG).
  • It is a consortium of 36 United Nations funds, programs, specialized agencies, departments and offices playing a role in development.
  • The UNSDG was created by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Furthermore, it is created with the intent to improve the effectiveness of United Nations development activities at the country level.
  • Headquarters: New York, United States

Click Here to Read about Jal Jeevan Mission(Urban)

Source: The Hindu

 

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PM launched Jal Shakti Abhiyan: ‘Catch the Rain’ campaign

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What is the News?

The Prime Minister has launched the Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain campaign on World Water Day.

About Catch the Rain Campaign:
  • Catch the Rain is a Jan Andolan campaign. It aims to take water conservation at the grass-roots level through people’s participation. The campaign intends to accelerate water conservation across the country.
  • Aim: To encourage all stakeholders to create rainwater harvesting structures(RWHS). As it is suitable for the climatic conditions and subsoil strata. These structures will ensure the proper storage of rainwater.
  • Tag line: Catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls.
  • Implementation: The campaign will be implemented by the National Water Mission(NWM), Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • Coverage: The campaign will take place across the country, in both rural and urban areas. It will be implemented from March 22 to November 30 (the pre-monsoon and monsoon period) in the country.
Key activities under the Catch the Rain Campaign:

The Catch the Rain Campaign will include certain key activities like,

  • Firstly, removal of encroachments and desilting of tanks. This will increase rainwater storage capacity.
  • Secondly, the campaign includes drives to make water harvesting pits, rooftop RWHS and check dams.
  • Thirdly, removal of obstructions in the channels bringing water from the catchment areas.
  • Fourthly, repairs to traditional Water Harvesting Systems(WHS) like step-wells. Further, using defunct bore-wells and old wells to put the water back to aquifers.
  • Finally, states have been requested to open Rain Centers in each district. These Rain Centres will act as a technical guidance centre in RWHS.
About World Water Day:
  • World Water Day is being observed on 22 March by the United Nations (UN).
  • Aim: To raise awareness about people living without access to safe water and tackle the global water crisis.
  • Theme of world water day 2021: “Valuing Water”

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Power Minister Launches “Energy Efficiency Enterprise(E3) Certifications Scheme”

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What is the news?

Minister for Power launches the “Energy Efficiency Enterprise(E3) Certifications Programme” for the Brick manufacturing Sector.

About Energy Efficiency Enterprise(E3) Certification Programme:

  • Energy Efficiency Enterprise(E3) is a certification scheme. It aims to recognise burnt clay brick manufacturers for adopting energy-efficient manufacturing. Furthermore, it encourages customers to source bricks from such E3 certified manufacturing units.
  • Nodal Agency: Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) will provide certification.
How will the E3 certification be awarded?
  • Brick Manufacturing Enterprises need to meet the minimum Specific Energy Consumption performance criteria.
  • The criteria can be met by Brick Manufacturing Enterprises by adopting a combination of measures, such as:
    • improving energy efficiency in manufacturing
    • producing bricks having lower (bulk) densities e.g. porous, perforated and hollow bricks.
Significance of this programme:
  • The programme will help the brick industry shift towards more efficient technologies. Such energy-efficient bricks will be useful in complying with the requirements of the Energy Conservation Buildings Code (ECBC).
    • ECBC: launched in 2007 by the Ministry of Power, it sets minimum energy standards for new commercial buildings.
  • The adoption of the E3 certification programme may save energy of about 7 Million Tonnes of oil equivalent(MTOE) per year. The savings will be about 25 Million Tonnes by 2030.
Contribution of Bricks Sector in India:
  • India is the world’s second-largest producer of bricks. This demand is expected to multiply three to four times over the next 20 years.
  • Bricks Sector Contributes nearly 0.7% to the country’s GDP. Furthermore, it offers seasonal employment generation to over 1 crore workers and is important for sectors such as transportation and construction.
  • Brick manufacturing industry consumes about 45-50 million tonnes of coal equivalent annually. It amounts to 5-15% of the total energy consumption in the country.
    • However, the brick sector has the second-largest potential for energy efficiency amongst the Indian industrial sector after steel and more than cement.

Source: PIB

 

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Present Status of “Stand Up India Scheme”

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What is the News?

The government has informed the Lok Sabha about the implementation of the Stand Up India Scheme. More than 81% of the accounts under the Stand Up India Scheme belong to women entrepreneurs.

About Stand Up India Scheme:

  • Ministry: Launched in 2016 by the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance.
  • Objective: The Stand-Up India Scheme facilitates bank loans for setting up a new enterprise in manufacturing, services, agri-allied activities, or the trading sector by SC/ST/Women entrepreneurs.
  • Bank Loan: It provides bank loans between Rs 10 lakh and up to 1 crore.
    • The government does not allocate funds for loans under the Scheme. They are extended by Scheduled Commercial Banks(SCBs).
  • Eligibility condition for Stand Up India Scheme:
    • SC/ST and/or woman entrepreneurs above 18 years of age.
    • Loans under the scheme are available only for greenfield projects. Greenfield signifies the first time venture of the beneficiary in the manufacturing, services, agri-allied activities or the trading sector.
    • In the case of non-individual enterprises, 51% of the shareholding and controlling stake should be held by either SC/ST and/or Women Entrepreneur.
    • Borrowers should not be in default to any bank/financial institution.
  • Repayment: The loan is repayable in 7 years with a maximum moratorium period of 18 months.
  • Duration of the Scheme: The Stand-Up India Scheme has been extended up to the year 2025.

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, Factly: Schemes and Programs, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Cabinet approves “Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi | PMSSN”

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What is the News?

The Union Cabinet approves the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN).

About Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi(PMSSN):

This program will ensure access to universal & affordable health care through a fund that does not lapse at the end of the financial year.

Features: 

  1. It has been set up as a single non-lapsable reserve fund for a share of Health.
  2. It will be made from the share of health in the proceeds of Health and Education Cess.
  3. The fund will be administered and maintained by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

Note: Finance Minister announced the 4% Health and Education Cess during the Budget 2018-19. It replaced the existing 3% Education Cess.

How will the fund be utilised? The fund will be utilized for the following flagship schemes of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare:

  • Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY)
  • Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs)
  • National Health Mission
  • Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY)
  • Emergency & disaster preparedness and responses during health emergencies
  • Any future programme/scheme that targets to achieve progress towards SDGs and the targets set out in the National Health Policy (NHP) 2017.

Source: PIB

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, Miscellaneous, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

“Mission Shakti, Mission Poshan 2.0, and Mission Vatsalya” – 3 Umbrella schemes of Ministry of WCD

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What is the news?

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has decided to classify all of its major programmes under three Umbrella Schemes- Mission Shakti, Mission POSHAN 2.0, and Mission Vatsalya.

This step has been taken to ensure the effective implementation of various programmes and schemes of the Ministry.

What are the three umbrella Schemes?

 Mission Shakti:

  • Mission Shakti will consist of the schemes and policies for the empowerment and protection of women.
  • Schemes: Mission Shakti will cover schemes under two categories:
    • SAMBAL: This category will include schemes such as One Stop Centre, Mahila Police Volunteer, Women’s Helpline, Swadhar, Ujjawala among others.
    • SAMARTHYA: This category will include schemes such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana among others.
  • Mission Shakti will run in convergence with the other two Umbrella Schemes.
Mission Vatsalya :
  • Mission Vatsalya will be looking into the child welfare services and child protection services all over the country.
  • Schemes: Mission Vatsalya will include the Scheme for Child Protection Services, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
Saksham Anganwadi and Mission POSHAN 2.0 scheme:
  • Schemes: This will include schemes such as Integrated Child Development Scheme(ICDS), Anganwadi Services, Poshan Abhiyan, Scheme for Adolescent Girls, National Creche Scheme among others.
  • Mission Poshan 2.0: The government will be merging the Poshan Abhiyan and supplementary nutrition programme to launch Mission Poshan 2.0.
    • Mission Poshan 2.0 will look into the ways and measures for strengthening the nutritional content, outreach, delivery, and outcomes.

Source: Economic Times

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Lessons from Operation Flood for Operation Green

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Synopsis: A closer inspection of the Operation Green scheme shows that the scheme is nowhere near achieving its objectives.

Introduction 

The Finance Minister during budget presentations announced the expansion of Operation Green (OG). It will be expanded beyond tomatoes, onions, and potatoes to 22 perishable commodities. 

  • Operation Green was launched in 2018 with three basic objectives:
    1. Firstly, it should control the wide price instability in the three largest vegetables of India (Tomatoes, Onions, and Potatoes).
    2. Secondly, it should build efficient value chains so that a larger share of the consumers’ money is received by the farmers. 
    3. Thirdly, it should reduce the post-harvest losses by building modern warehouses and cold storage.

How is the operation green performing currently?

The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has invited some program management agencies to see the implementation of OG.

  • Rs 500 crore budget was outlined initially. However, only Rs. 8.45 crore has been actually released. 
  • A closer examination of the scheme reveals that OG is progressing in slow motion and is nowhere near achieving its objectives. 
    • Research at ICRIER tells that price instability remains high. Farmers’ share in consumers’ money is very low with 26.6 percent for potatoes, 29.1 percent for onions, and 32.4 percent for tomatoes. 
    • In cooperatives like AMUL, farmers get almost 75-80 percent of consumers’ money. 

What can operation green learn from the operation flood?

Operation Flood (OF) changed India’s milk sector and made India the world’s largest milk producer. There are some important lessons OG can learn from OF: 

  1. Firstly, OG will not get any immediate results and one has to be patient. There should be a separate board to strategize and implement the OG scheme, like the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) for milk. 
  2. Secondly, a respectable leader with commitment and competence is required to head this new board of OG. The person should be given at least a five-year term, sufficient resources, and should be made accountable for delivering results. 
    • The MoFPI can have its evaluation every six months. 
  3. Thirdly, at present, the criterion for the selection of TOP commodity clusters is not transparent. This process should be transparent to keep the politics away.  
  4. Fourthly, the subsidy scheme will have to be made innovative with new generation entrepreneurs, startups, and FPOs. 
    • For instance, the announcement to create an additional 10,000 FPOs along with the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund and the new farm laws are all promising but need to be implemented fast.

Green tax on vehicles older than 15 years

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged ,

“Swachh Iconic Places”-12 sites to be transformed into ‘Swachh Tourist Destinations’

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What is the News?

The Ministry of Jal Shakti has announced 12 iconic sites. Sites will be covered under Phase IV of the Swachh Iconic Places(SIP) Initiative.

Swachh Iconic Places(SIP) Initiative:

  • It is an initiative of the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti under Swachh Bharat Mission(Grameen).
  • Aim:
    • It aims to improve the sanitation and cleanliness standards at and around the sites. The initiative will ensure a distinctly higher level of Sanitation/Cleanliness at these places, especially on the peripheries and in the approach area.
  • Ministries Involved: The initiative is being coordinated by the Ministry of Jal Shakti in association with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, and the concerned State/UT governments.

Places covered under Phase IV: The 12 sites covered under Phase IV are:

  • Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra
  • Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
  • Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan
  • Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan
  • Ramdevra, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
  • Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, Telangana
  • Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha
  • Rock Garden, Chandigarh
  • Dal Lake, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir
  • Banke Bihari Temple, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh
  • Agra Fort, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
  • Kalighat Temple, West Bengal

Click Here to know about the Places covered under other Phases

 Source: PIB

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“PLI Scheme for pharmaceuticals and IT hardware” Approved

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What is the News?

Union Cabinet has approved the Production Linked Incentive(PLI) Scheme for the pharmaceuticals and IT hardware sectors.

About PLI Scheme for Pharmaceutical Sector:

  • Objective: It will promote the manufacturing of high-value products in the pharmaceutical sector.
  • Duration: The duration of the scheme will be for nine years from 2020-21 till 2028-29.

Category of Goods: The scheme shall cover pharmaceutical goods under three categories as mentioned below:

  • Category 1: Biopharmaceuticals such as complex generic drugs, patented drugs, Gene therapy drugs, phytopharmaceuticals, and orphan drugs.
  • Category 2: It would cover active pharmaceutical ingredients, key starting materials, and drug intermediaries.
  • Category 3: Drugs not covered under Category 1 and Category 2.

Significance of the scheme: The scheme will benefit domestic manufacturers. Moreover, it will help to create employment and will make available a wider range of affordable medicines for consumers.

About PLI Scheme for IT hardware sectors:

  • Objective: It will boost domestic manufacturing and investments in the value chain of IT Hardware.
  • Target Segment: The target sectors under the scheme includes laptops, tablets, all-in-one PCs and servers.
  • Incentives: Under the scheme, beneficiaries will be given incentives of 4% to 1% on net incremental sales over the base year(2019-20) for a period of four years.
  • Significance: The government expects the scheme to reduce India’s import dependence for IT hardware in a major way. Currently, 80% of the country’s laptop and tablet demand is met through imports.

Click Here to Read about PLI Scheme

 Source: The Hindu

Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme

 

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Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund

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About Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund

  • Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development (AHIDF) is a Central Sector Scheme. It was launched by the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, and Dairying.
  • Aim: To facilitate incentivization of investments for
    • Dairy processing and value addition infrastructure
    • Meat processing and value addition infrastructure and
    • Animal Feed Plant.
  • Objectives:
    • To help increase milk and meat processing capacity and increase exports from these sectors
    • To develop entrepreneurship and generate employment
    • It would increase the price realization for the producer
    • To make available quality concentrated animals feed to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, pig to poultry.
  • Eligibility: The following entities will be eligible under AHIDF
    • Farmer Producer Organization(FPO)
    • Private companies
    • Individual entrepreneurs
    • Section 8 companies
    • Micro Small and Medium Enterprises.
  • Benefits under the scheme:
    • Loan Contribution: The beneficiaries are to contribute a minimum of 10% margin money as an investment. The balance of 90% would be the loan component to be made available by scheduled banks.
    • Interest Subvention: The Government of India will provide a 3% interest subvention to eligible beneficiaries.
    • Loan Moratorium: There will be a 2 years moratorium period for the principal loan amount and 6 years repayment period thereafter.
    • Credit Guarantee Fund: NABARD would maintain a Credit Guarantee Fund. It would provide a Credit guarantee to those sanctioned projects which are covered under MSME defined ceilings. Guarantee Coverage would be up to 25% of the Credit facility of the borrower.

Source: The Hindu

[Answered] What do you understand by the term ‘right to due process’? Discuss its significance in a democracy.

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100% tap water connections to schools under “100-day Special Campaign”

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What is the news?

Telangana has achieved 100% tap water connections to all schools and Angan Wadi Centres (AWCs) under 100 day Special Campaign.

The other states like Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Haryana and Tamil Nadu, also achieved this target.

Centre’s 100-day Special Campaign:

  • On 2nd October 2020, Ministry of Jal Shakti had launched the 100-day Special Campaign. It was to ensure piped safe water to all schools and anganwadis under the Jal Jeevan Mission.
  • The campaign was launched in order to ensure safe potable piped water for children.  Children are more susceptible to water-borne diseases.

What has been achieved so far?

  • So far, 1.82 lakh grey water management structures and 1.42 lakh rain water harvesting structures had been constructed in all schools and AWCs.
  • In all, 5.21 lakh schools and 4.71 lakh AWCs had been provided with piped water supply and around 8.24 lakh assets in these institutions had been geo-tagged.

Mission Bhagiratha:

  • It is a flagship programme of the Telangana government.It is aimed at providing safe drinking water to every household.

Click Here to read about Jal Jeevan Mission

 Source: The Hindu

 Read also:-

Food security to nutritional security in India

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Miscellaneous, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Govt releases new “Public Sector Enterprise Policy”

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What is the news?

The Government of India has released a new ‘Public Sector Enterprise Policy’.

About ‘Public Sector Enterprise Policy’:

The policy classifies public sector commercial enterprises into the strategic and non-strategic sector:

Strategic Sector: There would be a maximum of four public sector companies in strategic sectors. State-owned firms in other segments would be privatized eventually.

The following 4 sectors are covered under strategic sectors:

  1. Atomic energy, Space and Defence
  2. Transport and Telecommunications
  3. Power, Petroleum, Coal, and other minerals
  4. Banking, Insurance, and financial services

Non- Strategic Sector: CPSEs of this sector shall be privatized or closed, if privatization is not possible.

Exceptions: The policy would not be applied on:

  • Public sector classes like major port trusts, the Airport Authority of India, and undertakings in security printing and minting.
  • Public sector entities such as not-for-profit companies or CPSEs providing support to vulnerable groups.

Process of Privatisation:

  • NITI Aayog will recommend PSUs for retention in strategic sectors and that should be considered for privatization, merger, or closure.
  • The Core Group of Secretaries on Divestment(CGD) headed by the cabinet secretary will consider these recommendations.
  • Final approval will be provided by the Alternative Mechanism. This mechanism consists of the Finance minister, Ministers for Administrative reforms, and the Minister for roads, transport, and highways.
  • Further, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM),  can also approach the Cabinet for strategic disinvestment of a specific PSE from time-to-time. DIPAM manages government equity in public sector companies.

Source: The Hindu

Strategic Disinvestment Policy: Issues and Challenges – Explained 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly - Indian Economy, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme

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What is the News?

The Union Cabinet has approved the production-linked incentive(PLI) scheme for the telecom sector.

About the production-linked incentive(PLI) scheme for the telecom Sector

  • Aim of the scheme: It will make India a global hub for manufacturing telecom equipment. Moreover, it will create jobs and reduce imports especially from China.
  • Focus of the scheme: The scheme will offset the huge import of telecom equipment worth more than Rs 50,000 crore. By that, it will encourage the foreign manufacturers and domestic manufacturers to set up production units in India.  
  • Coverage: The scheme will cover domestic manufacturing of equipment such as
    • core transmission equipment,
    • 4G/5G and next-generation radio access network and wireless equipment,
    • Internet of Things (IoT) access devices,
    • enterprise equipment such as switches and routers
  • Duration of the Scheme: The scheme will be operational from April 1 and will run for the next five years.
  • Eligibility: The eligibility for the scheme will be subject to;
    • Achieving a minimum threshold of cumulative investment
    • incremental sales of manufactured goods, with 2019-20 as the base year.
  • Incentives: For the inclusion of MSMEs in the scheme, the minimum investment threshold has been kept at ₹10 crores while for others it is ₹100 crore. Further, for MSMEs, It proposes a 1% higher incentive in the first three years.

Significance of the scheme:

  • The Government Schemes may lead to an incremental production of about ₹2.4 lakh crore with exports of about ₹2 lakh crore over five years. Moreover, it may bring in investments of more than ₹3,000 crores.
  • With the inclusion of telecom equipment manufacturing under the ambit of PLI schemes, the total number of sectors under such programmes stands at 13.

Click here to Read about PLI Scheme

 Source: The Hindu

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Six years of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme

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Why in News?
During the last six years, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme has increased awareness and sensitized the masses on Gender Equality.

Facts:

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme: It was launched by the Prime Minister in 2015 at Panipat in Haryana.
  • Aim: To bring behavioural change in the society towards birth and rights of a girl child.
  • The Scheme has two major components such as mass communication campaign and multi-sectoral action covering all States and UTs.
  • The scheme is being implemented by a coordinated effort by the Ministry of WCD, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of HRD.

Achievements of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao so far

 Achievement in monitorable targets:

  • Sex Ratio at Birth: During the last 6 years the Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) has improved by 16 points from 918 in 2014-15 to 934 in 2019-20.
  • Health:
    • Percentage of Institutional Deliveries has shown an improving trend from 87% in 2014-15 to 94% in 2019-20.
  • Education:
    • The Gross Enrolment Ratio of girls in the schools at the secondary level has improved from 77.45% (2014-15) to 81.32% (2018-19).
    • The percentage of schools with functional separate toilets for girls has shown improvement from 92.1% in 2014-15 to 95.1% in 2018-19 (2018-19).

Achievement in bringing attitudinal change:

  • Social Change: The BBBP scheme has been able to bring the focus on the important issues of female infanticide, lack of education amongst girls, and deprivation of their rights on a life cycle continuum.
  • BBBP Logo: People are using the BBBP logo on their own at various places such as school buses, buildings, and popular festivals to affirm their commitment to the cause.
  • Community and Administration Level:
    • The frontline government employees have been successfully collaborating at the local level for observing the son-centric rituals and also observed celebrating the birth of a girl child i.e. Kuwapoojan, Thali Bajana, etc.
    • Mothers and girl children are being hailed by the local administration to establish the relevance of the girl child. Beti Janmotsav is one of the key programmes celebrated in each district.

Source: Indian Express

 

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Miscellaneous, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

“Samarth Scheme” for Capacity Building in Textile Sector

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What is the News?

The Ministry of Textiles has informed Rajya Sabha about the Samarth Scheme.

Samarth Scheme:

  • It was launched by the Ministry of Textiles.
  • Aim: It will address the skill gap in the textile sector. It will supplement the efforts of the textile industry in providing gainful and sustainable employment to the youth.
  • Objectives: Following are the objectives of Samarth Scheme:
    • It will provide a program which demand-driven, placement oriented and National Skills Qualifications Framework(NSQF) compliant.
    • It will supplement the efforts of the industry in creating jobs in the organized textile and related sectors, covering the entire value chain of textile. It excludes Spinning and Weaving.
    • Likewise, it will provide for skilling and skill up-gradation in the traditional sectors of handlooms, handicrafts, sericulture, and jute.
  • Target: The Scheme targets to train 10 lakh persons (9 lakhs in organised & 1 lakh in traditional sector).
  • Implementing agencies: The programmes would be implemented through the Textile industry, government institutions and Reputed training institutions/ NGOs/ Societies active in the textile sector.
  • Monitoring and Management Information System(MIS): It is a centralized web-based Information System that has been put in place for monitoring and implementation of the scheme.

Source: PIB

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PM Aatmanirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana

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This scheme aims at developing the capacities of the primary, secondary, and tertiary health sector.

Salient features of the scheme:

  • Over 18,000 rural and over 11,000 urban health and wellness centers will be supported.
  • Public health laboratories will be established in all districts.
  • Critical care hospitals will be set up in 12 central institutions and 602 districts.
  • Strengthens the national centre for disease control, its 5 regional branches as well as 20 metropolitan health surveillance units.
  • The scheme will also strengthen 33 existing Public Health Units at the Points of entry, that is at 11 seaports, 32 airports, and 7 land crossings.
Posted in SCHEMES

KAPILA campaign

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What is the News?

The Union Education Minister informed the Lok Sabha about the KAPILA campaign launched in October 2020. The campaign was launched on 89th birth anniversary of former President and Scientist Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

Facts:

  • KAPILA stands for Kalam Program for Intellectual Property Literacy and Awareness campaign.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Education
  • Objectives: The objectives of the campaign include
    • To create awareness regarding Intellectual Property Rights(IPR) in Higher Education Institutions(HEIs),
    • To develop training program on IPR for faculty and students of HEIs
    • To sensitise and develop a vibrant Intellectual Property(IP) filing system.
    • To enable IPR protection on the inventions originating from the faculty and students of HEIs

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Science and Technology, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

PM Atma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana

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What is the News?

The Finance Minister has launched a new scheme titled “PM Atma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana”. In general, The scheme aims to develop capacities in the health care system over 6 yrs.

PM Atma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana:

  • Type: It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme
  • Aim: The scheme aims to
    • Improve primary, secondary, and tertiary care health systems,
    • Strengthen existing national institutions in Health sector
    • Create new institutions, to cater to detection and cure of new and emerging diseases.
  • Duration of the Scheme: Six Years
  • Features of the Scheme: The scheme will support in the setting up of
    • Rural, Urban Health and Wellness Centres
    • Integrated Public Health Labs
    • Critical health care hospital blocks
    • National institution for One Health
    • Regional research platform for WHO South-East Asia Region,
    • 9 Biosafety Level III laboratories and 4 regional centres of National Institutes for Virology.
    • Strengthening National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and 5 regional branches of it
    • Expanding the integrated health information panel.

Source: The Hindu

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Miscellaneous, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana(PMMVY)

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What is the News?
The Central Government has informed that the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana(PMMVY) has crossed 1.75 crores of eligible women beneficiaries, till the financial year 2020.

Facts:

 Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana(PMMVY):

  • Launched in: It is a maternity benefit scheme introduced in 2017. It is being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD). The scheme is in accordance with the National Food Security Act 2013.
  • Type: It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme
  • Aim:
    • To provide partial wage compensation to women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare.
    • To provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices.
    • To breastfeed the child during the first six months of the birth. As it is very vital the development of the child.
  • Beneficiaries: Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM) who have their pregnancy on or after 1st January 2017 are eligible. The cash incentive is payable in three instalments for the first live birth.
    • Exclusion: PW&LM who are in regular employment with the Central/State Government or PSUs or those who receive similar benefits under any law.
  • Benefits: Under the Scheme, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM) receive a direct cash benefit transfer of Rs. 5,000 in three instalments. The amount will be credited to the beneficiary on fulfilling the respective conditions. Such as:
    • Early registration of pregnancy (First instalment)
    • Ante-natal check-up (Second instalment)
    • Registration of the birth of the child and completion of the first cycle of vaccination. (Third instalment)
  • The eligible beneficiaries also receive cash incentive under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY). Thus, on average, a beneficiary will get Rs. 6,000.
  • Implementation: The scheme is being implemented under the platform of Integrated Child Development Scheme.

Additional Facts:

  • Janani Suraksha Yojana(JSY): It is a safe motherhood intervention scheme launched in 2005 under the National Health Mission (NHM).
  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is implementing the Scheme
    • Objective: To reduce maternal and infant mortality by promoting institutional delivery among pregnant women.
    • Benefits: Under the scheme, eligible pregnant women are entitled for cash assistance of Rs. 1400. There is no bar on the age of mother, the number of children or type of institution (government or private health facility).

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Miscellaneous, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

What is “Make in India Initiative 2.0”?

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What is the News?

The Minister of Commerce and Industry has informed Lok Sabha about the Make in India Initiative 2.0.

Make in India Initiative:

  • Launched Year: It was launched in 2014 by the Government of India.
  • Aim: To make India a global hub for the manufacturing, research and innovation. Also, the integrations of India in the global supply chain.
  • Objectives:
    • To increase the manufacturing sector’s growth rate to 12-14% per annum in order to increase the sector’s share in the economy;
    • To create 100 million additional manufacturing jobs in the economy by 2022; and
    • To ensure that the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP is increased to 25% by 2022 (revised to 2025) from the current 16%.

Make in India 2.0:

  • It presently focuses on 27 sectors with a special focus on ten champion sectors including; 1. capital goods, 2. auto, 3. defence, 4. pharma, 5. renewable energy, 6. biotechnology, 7. chemicals, 8. leather, 9. textiles, 10. food processing.
  • These sectors have the potential to become global champions and drive double-digit growth in manufacturing.
  • In manufacturing, the action plans are coordinated by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). In services,  action plans are coordinated by the Department of Commerce.

Achievements so far:

  • Foreign Direct Investment(FDI): India has registered its highest-ever annual FDI Inflow of US $74.39 billion during the last financial year 2019-20 as compared to US $ 45.15 billion in 2014-2015.
    • Further, in the last six years (2014-20), India has received FDI inflow which is 53% of the FDI reported in the last 20 years.
  • Ease of Doing Business Ranking: India has jumped to 63rd place in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking. This is due to reforms in the areas of Starting a Business, Paying Taxes, Trading Across Borders, and Resolving Insolvency.

Source: PIB

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

What is “One District One Product Scheme”?

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What is the News?

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has informed Lok Sabha about the One District One Product Scheme.

 One District One Product Scheme(ODOP):

  • Aim: To identify one product per district based on the potential and strength of a district and national priorities. A cluster for that product will be developed in the district and market linkage will be provided for that.
  • Significance: This initiative is seen as a transformational step towards realizing the true potential of a district. It will fuel economic growth and generate employment and rural entrepreneurship.

Merging of ODOP  One District One Product with Districts as Exports Hub initiative:

  • The ODOP  One District One Product  initiative has been operationally merged with the ‘Districts as Export Hub’ initiative. Later is implemented by the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Department of Commerce.
  • Objective: To convert each District of the country into an Export Hub by identifying products with export potential. It also aims to address bottlenecks in exporting products and support local manufacturers.
  • Under the initiative, the State Export Promotion Committee(SPEC) and District Export Promotion Committee (DEPC) have been constituted in several districts.

Source: PIB

Central Government Schemes News

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“Jal Jeevan Mission” to revive urban water bodies

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What is the News?

In the Budget 2021-22, the Government has announced the launch of Jal Jeevan Mission(Urban).

About Jal Jeevan Mission(Urban):

Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs

Objective: To provide universal coverage of water supply to all households in all 4,378 statutory towns, through functional taps.

Duration: The duration of the mission is over five years.

Features of the Jal Jeevan Mission

  • It will rejuvenate the water bodies to facilitate sustainable fresh water supply and the creation of green spaces.
  • It will promote a circular economy of water through the development of city water balance plan in each city. The plan will focus on recycling/reuse of treated sewage water and water conservation. 20% of water demand is to be met by reused water.
  • Awareness Campaign: Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) campaign is proposed. It will spread awareness among the masses about the conservation of water.
  • Pey Jal Survekshan will be conducted in cities. It will ascertain the equitable distribution of water, reuse of wastewater, and mapping of water bodies
  • Technology Submission For water: It is proposed to leverage the latest global technologies in the field of water.
  • PPP Model: The mission has mandated that cities having a million-plus population will take up PPP projects. These projects shall constitute a minimum of 10% of their total project fund allocation.

Funding:

  • For Union Territories, there will be 100% central funding.
  • For North Eastern and Hill States, central funding for projects will be 90%.
  • Central funding will be 50% for cities with less than 1 lakh population, one-third for cities with 1 lakh to 10 lakh population, and 25% for cities with the million plus population.

Source: The Hindu

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Miscellaneous, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Swachh Bharat Mission Urban 2.0 and Jal Jeevan Mission

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What is the News?

The Finance Minister launched Swachh Bharat Mission Urban 2.0 along with Jal Jeevan Mission(urban).

Swachh Bharat Mission Urban

  • Launched in: It was launched in 2014 by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission Urban 1.0: The focus of the mission was to make urban India open defecation free (ODF). As well as, 100% scientific solid waste management.

Swachh Bharat Mission Urban 2.0:

  • The mission would be implemented over five years — from 2021 to 2026
  • Focus: Following are focus areas of Mission:
    • Faecal sludge management and waste water treatment,
    • Source segregation of garbage,
    • Reduction in single-use plastic,
    • Reduction in air pollution by effectively managing waste from construction and demolition activities and
    • Bioremediation of all legacy dump sites.

Jal Jeevan Mission(urban)

  • Aim: It aims at universal water supply in all urban local bodies. It will facilitate 2.86 crore household tap connections as well as liquid waste management in 500 AMRUT cities.
  • Duration: The scheme will be implemented over the next 5 years.

Jal Jeevan Mission(Rural): It launched in 2019. It aims to provide every rural household with a tap water connection by 2024. Nearly 30 million tap water connections have been provided under this so far.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Miscellaneous, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged ,

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban)

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Why in News?

According to Government data, a total of 1.1 crore houses has been approved under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), of which more than 70 lakh houses are under various stages of construction and more than 41 lakh houses have been completed.

Facts:

    • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(Urban): It was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs in 2015.
    • Aim: To provide Central assistance through States/Union Territories (UTs) for providing houses to all eligible families/beneficiaries by 2022.

Verticals: The mission seeks to address the housing requirement of the urban poor including slum dwellers through program verticals :

    • Slum rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resource
    • Promotion of Affordable Housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy
    • Affordable Housing in Partnership with Public & Private sector
    • Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction/enhancement.

Key Features of the Scheme:

    • Beneficiaries of the scheme include Economically weaker sections (EWS), low-income groups(LIGs), and Middle Income Groups(MIGs).
    • The Mission is being implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) except for the component of credit linked subsidy which will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme.
    • The houses constructed with central assistance under the mission should be in the name of the female head of the household or in the joint name of the male head of the household and his wife and only in cases when there is no adult female member in the family, the dwelling unit/house can be in the name of a male member of the household.

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Startup India Seed Fund 

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Why in News? 

Rs 1,000-crore ‘Startup India Seed Fund’ was launched during the ‘Prarambh: Startup India International Summit’. 

 Salient features of Startup India Seed Fund Scheme: 

  • ObjectiveFund has been set up to provide initial capital to the startupsAfter that start-ups will be provided with the Govt. Guarantees, to help them raise debt capital. 
  • Coverage: The fund would offer financial assistance to startups for proofs of concept, prototype development, product trials, market-entry, and commercialization of products or ideas. 
  • Funding: The Scheme will offer startups up to Rs. 20 Lakhs as grant for Proof of Concept. Upto Rs. 50 Lakhs can also be availed through convertible debentures or debt or debt-linked instruments for commercialization. 

 Fund of Funds for Start-ups(FFS) Scheme: 

  • It was launched by the Prime Minister in 2016 in line with the Start-up India Action Plan. 
  • Purpose: The fund has a corpus of INR 10,000 crore and is managed by Small Industries Bank of India(SIDBI) for contribution to the corpus of Alternative Investment funds(AIFs) which in turn invest in equity and equitylinked instruments of various Startups. 

 Startups in India: 

  • India is home to the world’s thirdlargest startup ecosystem. There are over 41,000 startups in the country. 
  • In 2014, there were only four startups in the unicorn club but in 2020 there are more than 30. Further, 11 of these startups entered the unicorn club in 2020 itself.  
  • The startups in India are not limited to big cities and about 40% of such budding entrepreneurs are coming from tier-II and -III cities. 

 Further Reading on Prarambh Summit: http://bit.ly/3qzwkuh

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged ,

Government organises a ‘DekhoApnaDesh’ Webinar on “Exploring Buddhist Circuit by Train”

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News: The Ministry of Tourism has organised an interesting webinar titled “Exploring Buddhist Circuit by Train”  as a part of the ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ Webinar series.

 

Facts:

  • Dekho Apna Desh Initiative: It is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism launched in January 2020.
  • Objective: To promote domestic tourism in India which is intended to enhance tourist footfalls in places of tourist interest so as to help develop the local economy.
  • Dekho Apna Desh Webinar series: During the pandemic, the Ministry of Tourism as part of its ongoing engagement with the industry and its audiences is organising webinars on the overall theme of ‘DekhoApnaDesh’.
    • Objective: To create awareness about and promote various tourism destinations of India – including the lesser-known destinations and lesser-known facets of popular destinations.

Article source

 

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Miscellaneous, SCHEMESTagged

One Nation One Ration Card system reform – Tamil Nadu becomes the 11th State to complete the reform

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News: Tamil Nadu has become the 11th State in the country to successfully undertake the “One Nation One Ration Card system” reform stipulated by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.

Facts:

    • One Nation One Ration Card(ONORC) System: It is an important citizen-centric reform. Its implementation ensures the availability of ration to beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes, especially the migrant workers and their families at any Fair Price Shop (FPS) across the country.
    • Features: To ensure seamless inter-state portability of a ration card, Aadhar seeding of all ration cards as well as biometric authentication of beneficiaries through automation of all Fair Price Shops (FPSs) with the installation of electronic point of sale (e-PoS) devices are essential under the system.

Benefits of One Nation One Ration Card:

    • Empowers migrant Population: It empowers the migratory population who frequently change their place of dwelling as migrant beneficiaries can get their entitled quota of food grains from any electronic point of sale(e-PoS) enabled fair Price Shops of their choice anywhere in the country.
    • Better Targeting: The reform enables the States in better targeting of beneficiaries, elimination of bogus/ duplicate/ineligible card-holders resulting in enhanced welfare and reduced leakage.

Are there any benefits given by the Centre for the implementation of the ONORC System?

  • To meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India had in May 2020 enhanced the borrowing limit of the States by 2% of their Gross State Domestic Product(GSDP).
  • Half of this borrowing limit i.e 1% of GSDP has linked to undertaking citizen-centric reforms by the States.
    • The four citizen-centric areas for reforms identified by the Department of Expenditure were (a) Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System, (b) Ease of doing business reform, (c) Urban Local body/ utility reforms and (d) Power Sector reforms.
  • Therefore, an additional borrowing limit of 0.25% of the GSDP is allowed to the States only on completion of both of the following actions: 1) Aadhar Seeding of all the ration cards and beneficiaries in the State and 2) Automation of all the FPSs in the State.

Article Source

 

 

Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Polity and Nation, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Only discoms are allowed to install solar plants under Grid-connected Roof top Solar Scheme: Centre

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News: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has cautioned consumers against rooftop solar companies that are claiming to be authorised vendors for the implementation of the Grid-connected Rooftop Solar Scheme. The scheme is being implemented only by power distribution companies(DISCOMS).

Facts:

    • Grid-connected Rooftop Solar Scheme(Phase-II): The scheme aims to generate solar power by installing solar panels on the roof of the houses.
    • Objective: To achieve the cumulative capacity of 40,000 MW from Rooftop Solar(RTS) Projects by the year 2022.
    • Subsidy: Under this scheme, the Ministry is providing 40% subsidy for the first 3 kW and 20% subsidy beyond 3 kW and up to 10 kW.
    • Implementation: The scheme is being implemented in the state only by DISCOMs.The DISCOMs have empaneled vendors through the bidding process and have decided rates for setting up a rooftop solar plant.
    • Condition: Subsidy will be available for the residential sector only and for availing the benefit of subsidy, indigenously manufactured PV Modules and Cells are to be used.
    • Incentives to Discoms: Performance-based incentives are provided to DISCOMs based on Rooftop Solar capacity achieved in a financial year over and above the base capacity i.e. cumulative capacity achieved at the end of previous financial year.

Article Source

 

 

Posted in PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

PMKVY 3.0: Govt. launches Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana(PMKVY) 3.0

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News: The government of India has launched the third phase of its flagship skilling scheme Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 3.0).

Facts:

    • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana(PMKVY): It is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) launched in 2015 and implemented by National Skill Development Corporation(NSDC).
    • Objective: To enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.
    • Under the scheme, Individuals with prior learning experience or skills will also be assessed and certified under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
    • Training and Assessment fees are completely paid by the Government

PMKVY 2.0 (2016-20)

  • PMKVY 2.0: After the successful implementation of pilot PMKVY (2015-16), PMKVY 2.0 was launched by scaling up both in terms of Sector and Geography and by greater alignment with other missions of the government of India like Make in India, Digital India, Swachh Bharat.
  • Objectives:
    • Enable and mobilize a large number of youths to take up industry designed quality skill training, become employable and earn their livelihood.
    • Increase productivity of the existing workforce, and align skill training with the actual needs of the country.
    • Encourage standardisation of the Certification process and put in place the foundation for creating a registry of skills.
    • To benefit 10 million youth over a period of four years (2016- 2020).

PMKVY 3.0

  • Objective: It envisages to train around 8 lakh candidates over the scheme period of 2020-2021.
  • Key Features:
    • This phase is designed towards making skill development more demand-driven and decentralised in its approach with a focus on digital technology, Industry 4.0 skills and COVID-related skills.
    • District Skill Committees(DSCs) under the guidance of State Skill Development Missions(SSDM) shall play a key role in addressing the skill gap and assessing demand at the district level.
    • It will encourage healthy competition between states. This is achieved by increasing the allocation to those states that perform better.
    • It will also be a propagator of vocational education at an early level for youth to capitalize on industry-linked opportunities.

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Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly: Schemes and Programs, Miscellaneous, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Grid-connected Rooftop Solar Scheme

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News: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has cautioned consumers against rooftop solar companies that are claiming to be authorised vendors for the implementation of the Grid-connected Rooftop Solar Scheme. The scheme is being implemented only by power distribution companies(DISCOMS).

Facts:

    • Grid-connected Rooftop Solar Scheme(Phase-II): The scheme aims to generate solar power by installing solar panels on the roof of the houses.
    • Objective: To achieve the cumulative capacity of 40,000 MW from Rooftop Solar(RTS) Projects by the year 2022.
    • Subsidy: Under this scheme, the Ministry is providing 40% subsidy for the first 3 kW and 20% subsidy beyond 3 kW and up to 10 kW.
    • Implementation: The scheme is being implemented in the state only by DISCOMs.The DISCOMs have empaneled vendors through the bidding process and have decided rates for setting up a rooftop solar plant.
    • Condition: Subsidy will be available for the residential sector only and for availing the benefit of subsidy, indigenously manufactured PV Modules and Cells are to be used.
    • Incentives to Discoms: Performance-based incentives are provided to DISCOMs based on Rooftop Solar capacity achieved in a financial year over and above the base capacity i.e. cumulative capacity achieved at the end of previous financial year.

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Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, Factly: Schemes and Programs, SCHEMESTagged

Hisar Airport Inaugurated Under RCS-UDAN

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News: Government has inaugurated the newly constructed Hisar airport in Haryana from Chandigarh under the Regional Connectivity Scheme – Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (RCS-UDAN).

Facts:

    • Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme: It was launched in 2017 by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The scheme is a component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP), 2016.
    • Aim: To develop a regional aviation market. It seeks to connect under-served and unserved airports in India through the revival of existing airstrips and airports.
    • Objectives:
      • Create affordable yet economically viable and profitable flights on regional routes.
      • Development of remote areas and enhancing trade and commerce and tourism expansion.
      • Employment creation in the aviation sector.
    • Duration: The scheme would be in operation for a period of 10 years.
    • Key Features of the scheme:
      • Under the scheme, airlines have to cap airfares for 50% of the total seats at Rs. 2,500 per hour of flight.
      • This would be achieved through (1) a financial stimulus in the form of concessions from Central and State governments and airport operators and (2) Viability Gap Funding– A government grant provided to the airlines to bridge the gap between the cost of operations and expected revenue.
      • The partner State Governments (other than North Eastern States and Union Territories where contribution will be 10 %) would contribute a 20% share to this fund.
      • Regional Connectivity Fund would be created to meet the viability gap funding requirements under the scheme.The RCF levy per departure will be applied to certain domestic flights.
  • Phases Under the Scheme:
    • UDAN 1.0 and 2.0: During RCS-UDAN version 1.0 & 2.0, 66 airports were identified and 31 heliports (28 unserved heliports and 3 unserved airports).
    • UDAN 3.0: During UDAN version 3.0, to increase the tourism potential at the coastal areas, Tourism routes in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism and Seaplanes for connecting Water Aerodromes were included.
    • UDAN 4.0: The focus of UDAN 4.0 is on priority areas like North East Region, Hilly States, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Islands.

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Posted in PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

Efforts to increase Electric mobility in India

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Synopsis: Significance of shifting towards electric vehicles for India and how the government has actively facilitated this process

What are the significances of shifting to electric vehicles for India? 

Transition to electric vehicles is important for India as not only it will save public money but also the environment. 

    • The progression to electric vehicles will make India sustainable as it has the potential to reduce carbon emissions and build self-reliant domestic energy sector. 
    • it can reduce dependence on crude oil and help to save government money especially the FOREX. For example, India is the third-largest oil importer in the world in terms of value. In 2018–19, India imported 228.6 MT of crude oil worth $120 billion. 
    • Besides being an economically and environmentally viable option, India’s transition to electric vehicles will also allow us to improve our infrastructure 
    • This will also have a significant impact on our foreign policy as our energy security dependence will shift from West Asia to Latin America. 

Sourcing Lithium  

In India, In the last two years, lithium imports have tripled from $384 mn to $1.2 bn and its demands are being fulfilled by imports from China, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. 

  • Latin America’s famous lithium triangle Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia, encompasses about 80% of the explored lithium of the world.  
  • Currently, India’s majority of trade from Latin America is concentrated on crude oil which includes 14%-20% of India’s total crude oil imports which is likely to change towards Lithium and cobalt. 
  • government is looking to buy overseas lithium reserves to develop domestic battery manufacturing capacity.  
      • In 2019, a joint venture agreement was signed between three Indian CPSE’s (National Aluminium Company (NALCO), Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) and Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (MECL)) to form Khanij Bidesh India Limited (KABIL) that has the objective to explore strategic mineral assets like lithium and cobalt abroad for commercial use and to meet the domestic requirement for battery manufacturers. 

What were the steps taken by government to facilitate the shift towards electric vehicles? 

With the vision to have 30% electric vehicles plying the roads by 2030 the government of India has taken up the following initiatives.  

    • First, under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles and Fame 2.0, the government has allocated $1.3 billion in incentives for electric buses, three-wheelers and four-wheelers to be used for commercial purposes till 2022, and earmarked another $135 million for charging stations.  
    • Second, NITI Aayog has proposed for a $4.6 billion subsidy for battery makers to facilitate domestic manufacturing of Lithium batteries. 
    • Third, In September 2019, government gave its nod to set up a manufacturing unit in Gujarat by Japanese consortium (Suzuki Motor+ Denso+ Toshiba) to venture into the production of lithium-ion batteries and electrodes.  

The Indian government’s pre-emptive policy action will not only help the lithium and cobalt industry to grow domestically but also help India to chalk out a long-term solution to clean our cities, build new markets, and skill people for new jobs towards an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.

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Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged

RBI unveils guidelines for Payment Infrastructure Development Fund

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News: Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has announced operational guidelines for the Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) scheme.

Facts:

  • Objectives of the Fund:
    • To increase the number of acceptance devices multi-fold in the country.
    • To benefit the acquiring banks / non-banks and merchants by lowering overall acceptance infrastructure cost.
    • To increase payments acceptance infrastructure by adding 30 lakh touch points – 10 lakhs physical and 20 lakh digital payment acceptance devices every year.
  • Purpose: The fund will be used to subsidize banks and non-banks for deploying payment infrastructure which will be contingent upon specific targets being achieved.
  • Accountability: Acquirers of the subsidy shall submit quarterly reports on the achievement of targets to the RBI.
  • Targets:
    • The primary focus shall be to create payment acceptance infrastructure in Tier-3 to Tier-6 centres.
    • North Eastern states of the country shall be given special focus.
    • The fund will also focus on those merchants who are yet to be terminalised(merchants who do not have any payment acceptance device).
    • Merchants engaged in services such as transport and hospitality, government payments, public distribution system(PDS) shops, healthcare may be included especially in targeted geographies.
  • Duration of Fund: The fund will be operational for three years effective from 1st January, 2021 and may be extended for two more years.
  • Funding::It has a corpus of Rs. 345 crore with Rs. 250 crore contributed by the RBI and Rs. 95 crore by the major authorised card networks in the country. The authorised card networks shall contribute in all Rs. 100 crore. Besides the initial corpus, PIDF shall also receive annual contributions from card networks and card issuing banks.
  • Advisory Council: An Advisory Council (AC) under the chairmanship of RBI deputy governor BP Kanungo has been constituted for managing the PIDF. The council will devise a transparent mechanism for allocation of targets to acquiring banks and non-banks in different segments and locations.
  • Monitoring: Implementation of targets under PIDF shall be monitored by RBI’s Regional Office Mumbai with assistance from card networks, the Indian Banks’ Association, and the Payments Council of India.

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Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged ,

Government approves new scheme for Industrial Development of Jammu & Kashmir

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News: Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Central Sector Scheme for Industrial Development of Jammu & Kashmir.

Facts:

  • Aim: To develop development of Manufacturing as well as Service Sector Units in J&K which will generate employment and leads to the socio economic development of the area.
  • Incentives: The following incentives would be available under the scheme:
    • Capital Investment Incentive at the rate of 30% in Zone A and 50% in Zone B on investment made in Plant & Machinery (in manufacturing) or construction of buildings and other durable physical assets(in service sector) is available.Units with an investment upto Rs. 50 crore will be eligible to avail this incentive. Maximum limit of incentive is Rs 5 crore and Rs 7.5 crore in Zone A & Zone B respectively
    • Capital Interest subvention: At the annual rate of 6% for maximum 7 years on loan amount up to Rs. 500 crore for investment in plant and machinery (in manufacturing) or construction of building and all other durable physical assets(in service sector).
    • GST Linked Incentive: 300% of the eligible value of actual investment made in plant and machinery (in manufacturing) or construction in building and all other durable physical assets(in service sector) for 10 years. The amount of incentive in a financial year will not exceed one-tenth of the total eligible amount of incentive.
    • Working Capital Interest Incentive: All existing units at the annual rate of 5% for maximum 5 years. Maximum limit of incentive is Rs 1 crore.
  • Other Key Features of the Scheme:
    • Scheme is made attractive for both smaller and larger units. Smaller units with an investment in plant & machinery upto Rs. 50 crore will get a capital incentive upto Rs. 7.5 crore and get capital interest subvention at the rate of 6% for maximum 7 years
    • The scheme aims to take industrial development to the block level in UT of J&K, which is first time in any Industrial Incentive Scheme of the Government of India and attempts for a more sustained and balanced industrial growth in the entire UT
    • Scheme has been simplified on the lines of ease of doing business by bringing one major incentive- GST Linked Incentive- that will ensure less compliance burden without compromising on transparency.
  • Expenditure involved: The financial outlay of the proposed scheme is Rs.28,400 crore for the scheme period 2020-21 to 2036-37.
  • Impact:
    • Scheme will bring radical transformation in the existing industrial ecosystem of J&K with emphasis on job creation, skill development and sustainable development.
    • The scheme is likely to attract unprecedented investment and give direct and indirect employment to about 4.5 lakh persons. Additionally, because of the working capital interest subvention the scheme is likely to give indirect support to about 35,000 persons.

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Posted in Daily Factly articles, Factly - Indian Economy, SCHEMESTagged

Union Minister reviews “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan” Project

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Source: PIB

News: Union Minister for Tourism has held a review meeting review meeting of the “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan” project.

Facts:

  • Adopt a Heritage Project: It is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India. It was launched in September 2017 on World Tourism Day.
  • Aim: To ensure quality & inclusive provision of amenities and facilities across heritage, natural, & tourist sites through active participation of private and public sector organizations and individuals. These organizations would be known as “Monument Mitras” for their collaboration initiative.
  • Objectives of the Project:
    • Developing basic tourism infrastructure in and around heritage sites, monuments, natural sites and tourist sites.
    • Develop facilities and amenities to improve the tourist experience at heritage sites, monuments, natural sites and tourist sites.
    • Promote cultural and heritage value of the country and develop avenues to create awareness about the heritage/natural/tourist sites in the country
    • Develop and promote sustainable tourism infrastructure and ensure proper Operations and Maintenance therein.
    • Develop employment opportunities and support livelihoods of local communities at heritage sites.
  • Eligibility: Private and Public Sector Companies, Trusts, NGOs and Individuals are eligible for adopting heritage site (s)/ monument (s) under this project.
  • Key Features of the Project:
    • The sites/monuments are selected on the basis of tourist footfall and visibility and can be adopted by private and public sector companies and individuals known as Monument Mitras for an initial period of five years.
    • The Monument Mitras are selected by the ‘oversight and vision committee,’ co-chaired by the Tourism Secretary and the Culture Secretary on the basis of the bidder’s ‘vision’ for development of all amenities at the heritage site.
    • There is no financial bid involved. The corporate sector is expected to use corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds for the upkeep of the site.
Posted in SCHEMESTagged

Jal Jeevan Mission launches innovation challenge for portable water testing devices

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Source: PIB

News: National Jal Jeevan Mission has launched an innovation challenge in partnership with Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade to develop portable devices for water testing.

Facts:

  • Aim: The challenge aims to ensure that water sources are tested at various locations, at different levels; thereby, helping the policy framers to design programs which address the water contamination issues.

What was the need of this challenge?

  • Drinking water supply in rural areas is from both from the groundwater (80%) and surface water (20%) sources. However, due to the depleting groundwater level, especially in arid and semi-arid regions, the use of surface water is on the rise.
  • Hence, for both groundwater and surface water based rural drinking water supply systems, it is important to measure relevant area-specific contaminations to ensure access to potable water.
  • Further, the Uniform Drinking Water Quality Protocol, 2019 has also specified some important parameters to be monitored for assuring portability of drinking water as per BIS IS 10500:2012 and subsequent amendments.

Additional Facts:

  • Jal Jeevan Mission: It aims to provide every rural household with functional household tap connections (FHTCs) with adequate quantity and of prescribed quality of water on a regular and long-term basis by 2024.
    It is being implemented by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the Jal Shakti Ministry.
  • Key Features:
    • The mission implements source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, such as recharge and reuse through grey water management, water conservation, rain water harvesting.
    • The mission is based on a community approach to water and will include extensive Information, Education and communication as a key component of the mission.
    • Water quality testing is one of the priority areas under the mission. It also looks to create a jan andolan for water thereby making it everyone’s priority.
  • Water Quality Parameters under Jal Jeevan Mission:

Water Quality Parameters

Posted in SCHEMES

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi(PM-KISAN) Scheme

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Source: PIB

News: The Prime Minister has released the next instalment of financial benefit under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi through video conference.

Facts:

  • PM KISAN: It is a Central Sector scheme launched by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare in 2019.
  • Objective: To augment the income of the farmers by providing income support to all landholding farmers’ families across the country and to enable them to take care of expenses related to agriculture and allied activities as well as domestic needs.
  • Income Support: Under the Scheme an amount of Rs.6000/- per year is transferred in three 4-monthly installments of Rs.2000/- directly into the bank accounts of the farmers subject to certain exclusion criteria relating to higher income status.
  • Coverage: The Scheme initially provided income support to all small and Marginal Farmers’ families across the country, holding cultivable land up to 2 hectares. Its ambit was later expanded to cover all farmer families in the country irrespective of the size of their land holdings.
  • Beneficiaries: The entire responsibility of identification of beneficiaries rests with the State / UT Governments.
  • Exclusions: Affluent farmers have been excluded from the scheme such as Income Tax payers in last assessment year, professionals like Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Chartered Accountants etc. and pensioners drawing at least Rs.10,000/- per month (excluding MTS/Class IV/Group D employees).
  • Special Provisions: Special provisions have also been made for the North-Eastern States where land ownership rights are community based, Forest Dwellers and Jharkhand which does not have updated land records and restrictions on transfer of land.

Other Similar programmes by States:

  • Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income augmentation (KALIA)- Odisha
    Each family will get Rs 5,000 separately in the kharif and rabi seasons irrespective of the amount of land.
  • The Rythu Bandhu scheme- Telangana.
    In this scheme the government will provide Rs.4000 per acre per farmer per season to cover the input costs associated in farming like seeds, fertilizers, labour etc.
Posted in SCHEMESTagged

Prime Minister Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PM-FME) Scheme

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Source: PIB

News: Tribal Cooperative Marketing Federation of India(TRIFED) has signed an MoU with Ministry of Food Processing Industries(MOFPI) For Upliftment of Tribal Lives Through the Implementation of PM-FME Scheme. 

Facts: 

  • PM-FME Scheme: It is a centrally sponsored scheme launched by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries(MOFPI). 

What is the aim of PM-FME scheme? 

  • To modernize and enhance the competitiveness of the existing individual micro enterprises and ensure their transition to formal sector 
  • To provide support to Farmer Producer Organizations, Self Help Groups, and Producers Cooperatives along their entire value chain. 
  • Duration: The PM-FME scheme will be implemented over a period of five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25 with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore.  
  • Funding: The expenditure under the PM-FME scheme would be shared in 60:40 ratio between Central and State Governments, in 90:10 ratio with North Eastern and Himalayan States, 60:40 ratio with UTs with legislature and 100% by Centre for other UTs. 
  • Coverage: Under the PM-FME scheme, 2,00,000 micro food processing units will be directly assisted with credit linked subsidy. Adequate supportive common infrastructure and institutional architecture will be supported to accelerate growth of the sector. 

What are the Key Features of PM-FME scheme? 

  • One District One Product:  
  • The PM-FME Scheme adopts One District One Product (ODOP) approach to reap the benefit of scale in terms of procurement of inputs, availing common services and marketing of products. 
  • The States would identify food products for a district keeping in view the existing clusters and availability of raw material.  
  • The ODOP product could be a perishable produce based product or cereal based products or a food product widely produced in a district and their allied sectors. 
  • Other Focus Areas:  
  • The PM-FME scheme focuses on Waste to wealth products, minor forest products and Aspirational Districts. 
  • The Scheme also places special focus on capacity building and research. NIFTEM and IIFPT, two academic and research institutions under MOFPI along with State Level Technical Institutions selected by the States would be provided support for training of units, product development, appropriate packaging and machinery for micro units. 
  • Financial Support: 
  • Existing individual micro food processing units desirous of upgrading their units can avail credit-linked capital subsidy at 35% of the eligible project cost with a maximum ceiling of Rs.10 lakh per unit. 
  • Support would be provided through credit linked grants at 35% for development of common infrastructure including common processing facility, lab, warehouse through FPOs/SHGs/cooperatives or state owned agencies or private enterprise. 
  • A seed capital (initial funding) of Rs. 40,000- per Self Help Group (SHG) member would be provided for working capital and purchase of small tools. 
Posted in SCHEMESTagged ,

“Swachhata Abhiyan” – Mobile Application

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Source: PIB

News: Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment has launched a Mobile Application “Swachhata Abhiyan”. 

Facts: 

  • Swachhata Abhiyan: It is a mobile application developed to identify and geotag the data of insanitary latrines and manual scavengers so that the insanitary latrines can be replaced with sanitary latrines and rehabilitate all the manual scavengers to provide dignity of life to them. 
  • Significance: This would help in rehabilitating all manual scavengers and replace insanitary latrines with sanitary ones. 

Additional Facts: 

  • Manual scavenging: It is the practice of manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of or handling human excreta. 
  • According to the 2011 Census, there are more than 26 Lakh insanitary latrines in the country and the existence of insanitary latrines is the main reason for manual scavenging. 

 Indian Government efforts to end Manual Scavenging: 

  • Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013: The key features of the act are: 
  • It bans manual scavenging and also discharges employees who are engaged in this practice on a contractual or regular basis. 
  • It widened the definition of manual scavengers by including it in all forms of manual removal of human excreta like an open drain, pit latrine, septic tanks, manholes, and removal of excreta on the railway tracks.  
  • It lays key focus on rehabilitating the manual scavengers by providing them with ready-built houses, financial assistance & loans for taking up alternate occupation on a sustainable basis, organizing training programs for the scavengers so that they can opt for some other profession at a stipend of Rs. 3000 and offering scholarships to their children under the relevant scheme of the government. 
  • The Act makes the offense of manual scavenging cognizable and non-bailable. 
  • It calls for a survey of manual scavenging in urban & rural areas and the conversion of insanitary latrines into sanitary latrines. 
  • It makes it obligatory for employers to provide protective tools to the workers. 

Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS):  

  • It aims to rehabilitate manual scavengers and their dependents in alternative occupations, in a time bound manner. 
  • Under this, manual scavengers are provided rehabilitation benefits which include  
  • One Time cash assistance of Rs.40000/-. 
  • Loans up to Rs. 15.00 lacs at concessional rate of interest. 
  • Credit linked back end capital subsidy up to Rs. 3,25,000/-. 
  • Skill Development Training up to two years with a stipend of Rs.3000/- per month. 
Posted in daily news, Daily News Updates, SCHEMESTagged

Cabinet Approves changes In Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme For Scheduled Caste Students

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Source: The Hindu

News: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved changes to the post-matric scholarship scheme for students from the Scheduled Castes.

Facts:

  • Changes are aimed to benefit more than 4 Crore SC students in the next 5 years so that they can successfully complete their higher education.
  • Post Matric Scholarship scheme For Scheduled Caste Students: The Scheme aims to provide financial assistance to the Scheduled Caste students studying at post matriculation or post-secondary stage to enable them to complete their education.
  • Eligibility: These scholarships are available for studies in India only and are awarded by the government of the State/Union Territory to which the applicant actually belongs i.e. permanently settled.
  • Funding: It is a Centrally Sponsored scheme with a funding pattern of 60-40 for the Centre and States.
    • This replaces the existing ”committed liability” system and brings greater involvement of the Central government in this scheme.
  • Income Ceiling: Scholarships will be paid to the students whose parents/guardians’ income from all sources does not exceed Rs. 2,50,000/- (Rupees two lakh fifty thousand only).
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  • Transparency: The scheme will be run on an online platform with cyber security measures that would assure transparency, accountability, efficiency, and timely delivery of the assistance without any delays.
  • Community Audit: The community audits of the scheme would be conducted to make sure the benefits were reaching the students.
Posted in SCHEMESTagged ,

North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project

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Source: PIB

News: Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Revised Cost Estimate (RCE) for the North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project (NERPSIP).

Facts:

  • NERPSIP Scheme: The Scheme was initially approved in 2014 as a Central Sector Plan Scheme of the Ministry of Power.
  • Funding: The scheme is being funded with the assistance of the World Bank fund and by the Government of India through the Budget support of the Ministry of Power on a 50:50 basis.
  • Objective: Government’s commitment for the total economic development of the North Eastern Region and to strengthen the Intra-State Transmission & Distribution Infrastructure in the North East Region.
  • Implementation: The scheme is being implemented through Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID).
  • Beneficiary States: Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura and is targeted to be commissioned by December 2021.
Posted in SCHEMESTagged

Govt approves inclusion of four indigenous sports in Khelo India Youth Games 2021

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Source: Click here

News: Sports Ministry has approved the inclusion of four indigenous Games to be a part of Khelo India Youth Games 2021.The games include Gatka, Kalaripayattu, Thang-Ta and Mallakhamba.

Facts:

  • Gatka: It is a traditional martial art form originated from Punjab.It is associated with the Nihang Sikh Warriors and is used both as self-defense as well as a sport.
  • Kalaripayattu also known as Kalari is an Indian martial art that originated in Kerala.It is believed to be the oldest surviving martial art in India.
  • Thang-Ta also known as Huyen Lallong is a martial art form of Manipur and has been practised by the Meiteis. It is dedicated to fighting skill and worship.
  • Mallakhamba: It is a traditional sport from Indian subcontinent and has been well-known in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.It involves gymnasts performing aerial yoga or gymnastic postures and wrestling grips in concert with a vertical stationary or hanging wooden pole, cane, or rope.

What is Khelo India?

  • Khelo India Programme: It was introduced by the Ministry of Sports and Youth affairs.
  • Aim: To revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports played in our country and establish India as a great sporting nation.
  • Objectives:
    • Mass participation of youth in annual sports competitions through a structured competition;
    • Identification of talent
    • Guidance and nurturing of the talent through existing sports academies and new set up either by the central Government or State Government or in PPP mode.
    • Creation of Sports Infrastructure at mofussil, Tehsil, District, State levels among others.
  • Merger: The scheme is a merger of three schemes namely:
    • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan: Infrastructure in rural areas and encouraging sports through competitions
    • Urban Infrastructure Scheme: Development of Infrastructure in urban areas.
    • National Sports Talent Search: Identifying sports talent.
  • Key Features of the Scheme:
    • Under the scheme, Talented players identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels by the High-Powered Committee will be provided annual financial assistance of INR 5 lakh per annum for 8 years.
    • State wise budget allocation is not made and projects are sanctioned based on their viability. Funds are released project wise.
  • Verticals: To meet the objectives of Khelo India, the entire programme is divided in 12 verticals as mentioned in the below picture:

Khelo India 1

Note: Sports being a State subject, the responsibility of promotion of sports, including identification of young talent and its nurturing rests with State Governments. Government of India supplements the efforts of State Governments through its various schemes.

Posted in PUBLIC, SCHEMESTagged ,

PM-WANI: Revolutionise the way India accesses the internet

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Context: PM-WANI has the potential to revolutionise the way India accesses the internet.

What are the key features of Pradhan Mantri Wireless Access Network Interface (PM-WANI)?

  • Bring large scale deployment of Wi-Fi hotspots through the country to drive up connectivity options and improve digital access.
  • The scheme envisages setting up of public Wi-Fi networks and access points by local Kirana and neighbourhood shops through public data offices (PDO will be set up on the lines of Public Call Offices (PCOs)) that will not involve any licence, fee or registration.

What are the needs of PM-WANI?

  • To create value for the consumer.
  • To quickly reach countrymen in the remotest areas.
  • India’s tele-density of landlines never exceeded 7 per 100 people but due to mobile it exceeded to 90 per 100 people.
  • India grew from 302 million internet subscribers to 750 million.
  • India is one of the fastest growing internet markets in the world.
  • To deliver a resilient and reliable connection to every Indian and reliable access everywhere.
  • Despite excellent advances in 4G technology, wired connections still offer superior quality, reliability and throughput.

How PM-Wani can revolutionise access to internet?

  • UPI created common payments infrastructure that unbundled whose app you use to pay from which bank your money was in.
  • This resulted in 3 Cs — greater convenience, higher confidence and lower costs.
  • PM-WANI unbundles whose wired connection you use from who you pay to use that connection.
  • It allows them to interoperate and focus on connecting the last user. It is built on unbundling three as — access, authorisation and accounting.

What are the dimensions along which PM-WANI has broken away from the past?

  • PM-WANI has liberalised the resale of bandwidth. Earlier only licensed players could become Internet Service Providers and resell bandwidth.
  • This has led to the top 5 ISPs owning 75 per cent of the volume of all wired subscribers.
  • PM-WANI allows anyone — a kirana shop owner, a tea-stall vendor, or a Common Service Centre to resell internet to its customers without a licence and without fees.
  • By installing a wireless router, they can get on the PM-WANI network and start selling connectivity.
  • These small vendors will be called Public Data Offices (PDOs), in a deliberate hark back to the Public Call Offices of yore.
  • Due to this deregulation, the distribution of endpoints of PM-WANI will be selected by entrepreneurs rather than being decided top-down.

How PM-WANI is forward-looking in its design?

  • Presence of robust identity infrastructure in the form of Aadhaar and DigiLocker. It will help to authenticate its users.
  • This architecture also allows a central data balance and central KYC, that users can use inter-operably across all PDOs.
  • The network operators then settle accounting between them, much like how telecom operators settle call termination charges.
  • Indians can log in once and enjoy access on all available WiFi networks.
  • It also allows international travellers to take advantage of India’s connectivity, without paying exorbitant roaming charges to their home networks.
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QCI Launches Recognition Scheme for Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies

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Source: Click here

News: Quality Council of India(QCI) at the behest of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) has launched a “Scheme for approval of Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies”.

Facts:

  • Objective: To scale up Hygiene Rating by increasing the number of recognised Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies in the country.

Additional Facts:

  • Food Hygiene Rating Scheme: It is a certification system by FSSAI for food businesses supplying food directly to consumers, either on or off premise.The food establishments are rated based on food hygiene and safety conditions observed at the time of audit.
  • Quality Council of India (QCI): It was set up in 1997 jointly by the Government of India and the Indian Industry to establish and operate national accreditation structure and promote quality through National Quality Campaign.
    • Nodal Ministry: Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce & Industry is the nodal department for QCI.
    • Chairman: The Chairman of QCI is appointed by the Prime Minister on the recommendation of the industry to the government.
  • FSSAI: It is a statutory, autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.It is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.

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Declare exotic pets, avoid prosecution: how one-time scheme works

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Source: Click here

News: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEFCC) has come out with an advisory on a one-time voluntary disclosure scheme that allows owners of exotic live species that have been acquired illegally or without documents to declare their stock to the government.

Facts:

  • Aim of the scheme: To address the challenge of zoonotic diseases, develop an inventory of exotic live species for better compliance under the CITES and regulate their import.In its current form, the amnesty scheme is just an advisory and not a law.
  • Exotic wildlife covered under scheme: The advisory has defined exotic live species as animals named under the Appendices I, II and III of the CITES.It does not include species from the Schedules of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972.The advisory excludes exotic birds from the amnesty scheme.
  • Process for disclosure: The disclosure has to be done online through MoEFCC’s Parivesh portal The owner of the animal(s) will have to declare the stock to the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) of the concerned state or Union Territory.This will be followed by a physical verification of the animals.

Additional Facts:

  • Exotics Animals: These are those species that are mentioned under the Appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) but not under the schedules of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • Pro Active Responsive facilitation by Interactive and Virtuous Environmental Single window Hub(PARIVESH) Portal: It is a Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change initiative for single window clearances of Environment, Forests and Wildlife and Coastal Regulation Zone(CRZ) Clearances.
  • CITES: It is an international agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in wild animals, birds and plants does not endanger them. India is a member. Appendices I, II and III of CITES list 5,950 species as protected against over-exploitation through international trade.
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PM-WANI: Cabinet approves setting up of public WiFi networks

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News: Union Cabinet has approved a public Wi-Fi access network called PM-WANI (Wi-Fi Access Network Interface).

Facts:

  • Aim: To enable easily accessible public Wi-Fi hotspots spread across the country.
  • Stakeholders: PM-WANI will be operated by different players as described herein under:
    • Public Data Office(PDO): It will establish, maintain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers.

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    • Public Data Office Aggregator(PDOA): It will be an aggregator of PDOs and perform the functions relating to Authorization and Accounting.
    • App Provider: It will develop an App to register users and discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby area and display the same within the App for accessing the internet service.
    • Central Registry: It will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs and PDOs. To begin with, the Central Registry will be maintained by the Centre for Development of Telematic (C-DOT).
  • Other Features:
    • There would be no license fee for providing broadband internet through these public Wi-Fi networks.

 

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Federal Water Governance Ecosystem

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Context- Importance of Centre-States coordination to deal with the emerging challenges of inter-state water governance.

How the two bills on water can attend the longstanding issue of inter-state externalities

  1. The Interstate River Water Disputes Amendment Bill 2019– The bill seeks to improve the inter-state water disputes resolution by setting up a permanent tribunal supported by a deliberative mechanism, the dispute resolution committee.
  2. The Dam Safety Bill, 2019– The bills provides for the surveillance, inspection, operation, and maintenance of specified dams, with the help of a comprehensive federal institutional framework comprising committees and authorities for dam safety at national and state levels.
  • It also provides for an institutional mechanism to ensure the safety of such dams.

However, these two bills were passed by Lok Sabha and are pending in Rajya Sabha.

What is the importance of Jal Jeevan Mission JJM?

  • The chief objective of the Mission is to provide piped water supply (Har Ghar Jal) to all rural and urban households by 2024.
  • The Jal Jeevan Mission will converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across the country.
  • The central assistance through JJM is an opportunity to open a dialogue with the States to address federal water governance gap.

Why a coordinated response from the Centre and states is vital?

  1. Systematic federal response– Emerging concerns of long-term national water security and sustainability, the risks of climate change, and the growing environmental challenges, including river pollution needs systematic federal response where the Centre and the states need to work in a partnership mode.
  2. For implementation of current national projects– Centre-States coordination is also crucial for pursuing the national projects. For example Ganga river rejuvenation or inland navigation or inter-basin transfers.
  3. Critical for Jal Jeevan Mission’s success.
  4. To pursue development and sustainability goals

What is the way forward?

  1. Absence of authoritative water data- Data systems related to water in the country are limited in their coverage, robustness and efficiency. The sector suffers from the following key data problems-
  2. Limited coverage,
  3. Unreliable data
  4. Limited co-ordination and sharing.

Therefore, the Centre can work with the states in building a credible institutional architecture for gathering data and producing knowledge about water resources.

  1. Jal Jeevan Mission presents an opportunity to get states on board for a dialogue towards stronger Centre-states coordination and federal water governance ecosystem.

Federal Structure of Indian Polity

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Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana

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News: Finance minister has announced the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana scheme.

Facts:

  • Aim: To incentivize the creation of new employment opportunities during the Covid-19 economic recovery phase.
  • Beneficiaries (new employees) under Scheme:
    • Any new employee joining employment in EPF registered establishments on monthly wages less than Rs 15,000.
    • EPF members drawing a monthly wage of less than Rs 15,000 who made exit from employment during covid-19 pandemic from March 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020 and are employed on or after October 1, 2020.
  • Government Contribution: Central Government will provide subsidy for two years in respect of new eligible employees engaged on or after 01.10.2020 at following scale:
    • Establishments employing up to 1000 employees: Employee’s contributions (12% of Wages) & Employer’s contributions (12% of wages) totalling 24% of wages
    • Establishments employing more than 1000 employees: Only Employee’s EPF contributions (12% of EPF wages)
  • Duration of the Scheme: The scheme will be operational till June 30, 2021.

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Production-Linked Incentive(PLI) Scheme

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The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval to introduce the Production-Linked Incentive(PLI) Scheme for 10 key sectors.

Facts:

  • Aim: To help encourage domestic manufacturing, reduce imports, and generate employment.
  • Features: Under the Scheme, companies will get incentives on incremental sales from products manufactured in domestic units.
  • Implementation: The scheme will be implemented by the concerned ministries/departments.
  • 10 Key Sectors (and Implementing Ministry/Department):
    • Advance Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery: NITI Aayog and Department of Heavy Industries.
    • Electronic/Technology Products: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
    • Automobiles & Auto Components: Department of Heavy Industries.
    • Pharmaceuticals drugs: Department of Pharmaceuticals
    • Telecom & Networking Products: Department of Telecom
    • Textile Products (MMF segment and technical textiles): Ministry of Textiles
    • Food Products: Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
    • High Efficiency Solar PV Modules: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
    • White Goods (ACs & LED): Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
    • Speciality Steel: Ministry of Steel.
  • Note: The above sectors will be in addition to the already notified PLI schemes in the following sectors:
    • Mobile Manufacturing and Specified Electronic Components: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY).
    • Critical Drug Intermediaries, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and Manufacturing of Medical Devices: Department of Pharmaceuticals.
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‘Back to Village’ programme in J&K

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Back to Village(B2V) programme

News: Jammu and Kashmir Government announced the third phase of ambitious Back to Village(B2V) programme.

Facts:

  • Back to Village(B2V) programme: The programme aims to involve the people of the state and government officials in a joint effort to deliver the mission of equitable development. It also aims to energize Panchayats and direct development efforts in rural areas through community participation.
  • Four main goals:
    • energising panchayats.
    • collecting feedback on the delivery of government schemes and programmes.
    • capturing specific economic potential.
    • undertaking assessment of needs of villages.
  • Phases:
    • Phase I: To understand people’s grievances and demands.
    • Phase-II: It focused on the devolution of powers to panchayats and tried to understand how these panchayats are functioning and what are the grievances and demands
    • Phase-III: It has been designed on the format for grievance redressal.
  • Features of Back to Village(B2V) programme.:
    1. As part of the programme, each gazetted officer will be assigned a gram panchayat where he/she will interact and obtain feedback from the panchayat representatives about their concerns, developmental needs and economic potential of the area.

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The feedback obtained will help the government in needs assessment and subsequently to tailor the various central and state government schemes/programmes in improving the delivery of village-specific services and making the village life better in terms improved amenities and economic upliftment.

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Union Cabinet approves Mission Karmayogi

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News: The Union Cabinet approved the Mission Karmayogi – National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB).

Facts:

  • Mission Karmayogi: It is a nationwide programme to lay the foundation for capacity building of civil servants so that they remain entrenched in Indian Culture while they learn the best practices across the world.
  • Aim: To prepare Indian civil servants for the future by making them more creative, constructive, imaginative, proactive, innovative, progressive, professional, energetic, transparent and technology enabled.
  • How will Mission Karmayogi unfold?
    • iGOT Karmayogi: The mission will be delivered by Integrated Government Online Training-iGOT Karmayogi Platform. It will act as a launchpad for National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building to enable a comprehensive reform of the capacity building apparatus at the individual, institutional and process levels.
    • Human Resources Council: It will be set up under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister comprising select Union Ministers, Chief Ministers who will provide strategic direction to the task of Civil Services Reform and capacity building.
    • Coordination Unit: It will be headed by Cabinet Secretary consisting of select secretaries and cadre controlling authorities.
    • Capacity Building Commission: It will include experts in related fields and global professionals. This commission will prepare and monitor annual capacity building plans and audit human resources available in the government.
    • Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV): It will be a “not-for-profit” company under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013. It will own and manage iGOT-Karmayogi platform to create and operationalise the content, market place and manage key business services of iGOT platform.
  • Funding: To cover around 46 lakh central employees, a sum of Rs 510 crore will be spent over a period of 5 years from 2020-21 to 2024-25. The expenditure is partly funded by multilateral assistance to the tune of $50 million.

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Five Star Villages Scheme

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  • Aim: To ensure universal coverage of flagship postal schemes in rural areas of the country by increasing public awareness and reach of postal products and services.
  • Schemes Covered under the Five Star scheme include:
    • Savings Bank accounts, Recurring Deposit Accounts, NSC / KVP certificates
    • Sukanya Samriddhi Accounts/ PPF Accounts
    • Funded Post Office Savings Account linked India Post Payments Bank Accounts
    • Postal Life Insurance Policy and
    • Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana Account / Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana Account.

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  • Rating System: One Scheme is equal to one star of rating. Therefore, if a village attains universal coverage for four schemes from the above list, then that village gets four-star status and so on.
  • Pilot Implementation: The scheme is being launched on pilot basis in Maharashtra; based on the experience here, it will be implemented nation-wide.
  • Implementation: The scheme will be implemented by a team of five Gramin Dak Sevaks who will be assigned a village for marketing of all products savings and insurance schemes of the Department of Posts.
    • This team will be headed by the Branch Post Master of the concerned Branch Office.
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E-Gopala App

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  • It is a comprehensive breed improvement marketplace and information portal for direct use of farmers.
  • Features: The app will provide solutions on the aspects of:
    • Managing livestock including buying and selling of disease-free germplasm in all forms (semen, embryos, etc.).
    • Availability of quality breeding services (Artificial Insemination, veterinary first aid, vaccination, treatment, etc.).
    • Guiding farmers for animal nutrition and treatment of animals using appropriate ayurvedic medicine/ethnoveterinary medicine.
    • Providing a mechanism to send alerts and inform farmers about various government schemes and campaigns in the area.
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Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana

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Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana

  • It is a flagship scheme for focused and sustainable development of the fisheries sector in the country as a part of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
  • Nodal Ministry: Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries.
  • Aim:
    • Enhance fish production by an additional 70 lakh tonne and increase fisheries export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore by 2024-25.
    • Double the incomes of fishers and fish farmers.
    • Reduce post-harvest losses from 20-25% to about 10%.
    • Generate an additional 55 lakhs direct and indirect gainful employment opportunities in the fisheries sector and allied activities.
  • Investment and Duration: An estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crores for a period of 5 years from financial year (FY) 2020-21 to FY 2024-25 in all States/Union Territories.
  • Components: The scheme has two components — Central Sector Scheme (CS) and Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS).
  • Other significant Features:
    • The scheme Adopt ‘Cluster or Area-based Approaches’ and create fisheries clusters through backward and forward linkages.
    • It focuses especially on employment generation activities such as seaweed and ornamental fish cultivation.

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Guru shishya parampara scheme

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Guru Shishya Parampara Scheme

  • Government of India and Department of Culture launched a Scheme called ‘Guru Shishya Parampara Scheme’through Zonal Cultural Centre to preserve and promote rare and vanishing art forms whether classical or folk/tribal.
  • Objective of the scheme was to nurture the young talents to acquire skills in their chosen field of art through some financial assistance by the ZCCs in the form of scholarship under the guidance of Experts and Masters in these fields.
  • This scheme has provided security to a large number of old and retired artistes. Most of the artistes covered under this scheme are from rural areas and teaching shishyas from within reasonable catchment area of their residence.
  • A Monitoring Workshop-cum-Presentations of Gurus and Shishyas is organised for reviewing and evaluating the progress made in this direction. An Expert Committee comprising eminent Art Experts is constituted for this purpose.
  • To implement this scheme, Great Masters (Gurus) of different art forms of constituent states of NZCC, who are capable to train the interested shishyas are identified.
  • The committee is constituted to process, evaluate and recommend the candidature of expert (Guru) and each Guru is expected to train five to eight shishyas.
  • A small scholarship is provided to the learner and an honorarium to the Master (Guru) as per the norms fixed by Ministry of Culture to motivate them, which are as follows:
    • Guru (Master): @ Rs.5000/- per month
    • Accompanist: @ Rs.2500/- each per month
    • Shishya: @ Rs.1000/- each per month

What are the positives in the guru shishya learning? 

  • The guru shishya parampara provides intimate learning and sharing that goes beyond the syllabus.
  • There are students and teachers who share a bond that goes beyond what the university demanded of them.
  • There are stories of great gurus and famous shishyas across disciplines and geographies.

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What are the issues associated with the guru shishya parampara? 

  • Like most relationships, the guru shishya relationship is grounded in a power imbalance, but here, crucially, the inequality is celebrated.
  • A need to be subservient to and indeed submit to, the master is an unspoken necessity.
  • Structurally flawed: students are forced to commit to hours of household chores just to receive those few moments of wisdom, it is celebrated as sacrifice and commitment and endurance.
  • Lack of evidence: Proof is hard to come by because assault takes place in closed rooms without security cameras or witnesses.
  • Marginalisation of the poor: It is also true that abuse increases exponentially when the student comes from an economically poor or socially marginalized community.
Posted in Art and Culture, SCHEMES

Ayushman Sahakar Scheme

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Ayushman Sahakar Scheme

Launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to assist cooperatives in the creation of healthcare infrastructure. Cooperatives at the present run around 52 hospitals across the country having cumulative bed strength of more than 5,000.
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National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC)Nodal Body: The scheme has been formulated by the National Cooperative Development Corporation(NCDC).

  • Aim: To extend term loans to prospective cooperatives to the tune of Rs. 10,000 Crore for the setting up of healthcare-related infrastructure, education and services.
  • Eligibility: Any Cooperative Society with a suitable provision in its bylaws to undertake healthcare-related activities would be able to access the NCDC fund.
  • Incentives: The scheme provides interest subvention of 1% to women majority cooperatives.
  • NCDC: It is an apex level statutory autonomous institution set up by the Government of India under an Act of the Parliament in 1963. It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
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Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme

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Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme

  • Under the scheme, a fixed amount of subsidy, based on the nutrient content present in them is provided on each grade of subsidized Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizer except Urea.
  • It was expected that the NBS scheme will control farmers from applying too much urea containing only nitrogen.

Method of providing subsidies under Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme

    • In the case of non-urea fertilisers, MRP has been De-regularised and the government pays a flat per-tonne subsidy on the basis of nutrients mix in the fertiliser, to ensure they are priced at “reasonable levels”.
    • The per-tonne subsidy is currently Rs 10,231 for di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), Rs 6,070 for muriate of potash (MOP) and Rs 8,380 for the popular ‘10:26:26’ complex fertiliser, due to their mix of nutrients. That is why the decontrolled fertilisers price way above the Urea.

Process of claiming subsidy

    • Before 2018, fertiliser companies were receiving subsidies after their bagged material had been dispatched and received at a district’s railhead point or approved godown.
    • In 2018, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system was introduced. Now, Fertiliser companies receive subsidies after the actual sales of fertilisers to farmers.
    • Around 2.3 lakh retailers all around the country have point-of-sale (PoS) machinery. PoS machines are linked to the Department of Fertilisers’ e-Urvarak DBT portal.
    • Anyone buying fertilisers has to provide their Aadhaar unique identity or Kisan Credit Card number. PoS devices will capture details like quantities of the individual fertilisers purchased, along with the buyer’s name and biometric authentication.
    • Now on the basis of this registered information on the e-Urvarak platform, a company can claim the subsidy.

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What is SVAMITVA Scheme

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What is SVAMITVA scheme?

SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) scheme is a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, State Panchayati Raj Departments, State Revenue Departments and Survey of India.

Aim – To provide an integrated property validation solution for rural India for setting the boundaries of the rural lands and also provides the record of right to village household owners.

  1. It is a scheme for mapping the land parcels in rural inhabited areas using drone technology and Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) and prepares GIS based maps for each village.
  2. Implementation– The mapping will be done across the country in a phase-wise manner over a period of four years – from 2020 to 2024.
  3. After physical verification and dispute resolution, property cards or Sampatti patrak will be made available on digital platforms or as hard copies to the village household owners.

Technology used– The Survey of India will use technology for topographical mapping, including satellite imageries and drone platforms.

What are the advantages of digital mapping?

Digital mapping will help raise rural productivity and incomes in various ways-
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  1. Smoother implication– The digitization of agricultural land records has contributed to the smooth implementation of the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, Fasal Bima Yojana and Rythu Bnadhu.
  2. Tax collection– The database will help in determination of property tax, which would accrue to the Gram Panchayats directly in states where they are empowered to collect such taxes.
    • The scheme will help in streamlining planning and revenue collection in rural areas and ensuring clarity on property rights.
  3. Digitization of personal identity and agriculture land, and now residential property in rural areas through SVAMITVA, will facilitate transparent transactions in land parcels
  4. Non-farm related activity– This will benefit from clear title and the removal of land supply constraints. Clear title records, accompanied by legalization of land leasing, will improve their access to credit, insurance and support services.
  5. Enhances Liquidity of assets– The cards will help increase liquidity of land parcels in the market and increase the financial credit availability to the village.
  6. Creation of better GPDPs– The scheme will enable creation of better-quality Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDPs), using the maps created under this programme.

Way forward-

SVAMITVA scheme is a welcome step for transparency and accountability. By proper co-ordination between Centre and state, smooth working of dispute settlement systems and training the youth for proper implication is required.

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, PUBLIC, SCHEMES

MSME Udyam Process

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Source: Indian Express

Syllabus:Gs3: Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it.

Context: Udyam initiative is promising in terms of capturing reliable and verified information about MSMEs but it can impact some MSME’s from accessing formal finance

Why the information available on MSME’s are not adequate?

  • Reliable and updated information regarding small businesses in India is absent.
  • Also, a dedicated census for MSME sector was not conducted in last 13 years.
  • Now, basic information available on MSME units is scattered across various databases such as the UAM, MSME Databank, and GSTN.
  • UAM, MSME Databank contain self-certified, voluntary information provided by a fraction of MSMEs
  • Whereas the GSTN has information on businesses with a turnover of more than Rs 40 lakh, the minimum requirement to be registered on it.

What is Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum?

  • An online filing system for MSMEs notified by the government in 2015.
  • The registration process is free, paperless and awarded instant registration.
  • It was based on the self-declaration and self-certification of basic information regarding the enterprise’s existence and functioning.
  • In 2016, the government notified rules under which MSMEs had to furnish information relating to their enterprises, online, in an MSME databank.

Why Udyam registration process?

  • Compared to UAM, the Udyam registration stress on importance of generating a verified database of MSME units.
  • Under the Udyam registration process, Aadhaar is made mandatory for proprietors
  • Irrespective of the number of manufacturing and service activities provided, every enterprise can have only one Udyam Registration Number,
  • The Income Tax department database and the GSTN is used to verify the self-declared information regarding investment and turnover.
  • The government has integrated the Udyam system with the Trade Receivables Electronic Discounting System (TReDS) and the Government e-Marketplace (GeM), In an attempt to nudge more enterprises.
  • This will significantly benefit MSMEs by offering a free and automatic route to onboard bill discounting mechanisms and the government’s online procurement system.

How Udyam process can affect MSME’s Financial inclusion?

  • RBI has clarified that all lenders may now obtain the Udyam Registration Certificate from entrepreneurs.
  • It is clear that in future financial institutions can make the Udyam registration mandatory for lending purposes.
  • Whereas most of the MSME has characteristic features of household enterprises and operate with less than five workers.
  • Most of these firms are not formally registered as being invisible benefits these firms from paying income tax or getting registered under the GST, Also the cost of formalisation and compliance are high.
  • With Udyam registration being the only valid proof for an entity to be recognised as an MSME as per the revised definition invisible MSME’s will lack legal backing to source finance from the financial institutions

 Read also Government Schemes

What is the way forward?

  • In 2018, the International Finance Corporation estimated that the finance from formal sources met only one-third of the credit demand of the MSME sector.
  • Due to their inability to meet documentation protocols, inadequate collateral, disorganised book-keeping etc. these businesses prefer relying on informal sources for financing.
  • So, the government and RBI should consider to exempt registration of units with investment and turnover in the lower end. Such that institutional lending initiatives continue to remain accessible for all businesses, formal and informal.
Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, Economy, SCHEMESTagged ,

States may have to fund for MGNREGA wages

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States may have to fund for MGNREGA wages

Welfare schemes

News

According to the Centre, the states may have to fund MGNREGA wages.

Important facts

Financial issues

  1. The financial statement of MGNREGA scheme shows that as on January 30, 19 States and Union Territories had liabilities.
  2. Nationally, the scheme has a negative net balance of ₹4,101 crore.
  3. The Rural Development Ministry received a supplementary additional allocation of ₹6,084 crore. However, this is not adequate as after paying off liabilities, states would be left with a small amount.
  4. The fund crunch has already resulted in extensive wage payment delays. MGNREGA data shows that 81% of Fund Transfer Orders (FTOs) generated in January 2019 and 43% of FTOs from December 2018 still remain unprocessed by the Centre.
  5. This might necessitate states to fund MGNREGA themselves. West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka are among the States that are likely to use their own funds to pay workers
Posted in SCHEMES

MGNREGS has raised welfare, brought down inequality, says study

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MGNREGS has raised welfare, brought down inequality, says study

Government schemes

News

According to a research published in World Development journal, MGNREGS have improved the well-being of beneficiaries significantly in Andhra Pradesh

Important facts

About MGNERGS

  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) was launched in 2006 to provide 100 days of employment to villagers in the lean season. It has worked as a conditional cash transfer programme.

Findings of the study:

  1. The MGNREGS participants had improved energy and protein intake within a year of participation in the scheme.
  2. Beneficiaries with a two-year exposure to the scheme were also able to accumulate more household assets and livestock.
  3. The benefits were most pronounced for disadvantaged groups such as scheduled castes (SCs), scheduled tribes (STs) and poor households.
  4. Families which had differently abled members and women as head of the household were also significantly benefitted.
Posted in SCHEMES

Right to be Forgotten – Explained, Pointwise

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Introduction

The Delhi High Court ordered the removal of easy access from one of its own judgments. The move respected the petitioner’s right to be forgotten (RTBF) and aimed to prevent post-acquittal stigmatization. RTBF is a right to remove private information about a person from Internet searches and other directories under some circumstances.

It is not explicitly available to the Indian masses. However, it has been implicitly recognised by courts as part of the right to privacy under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. However, some experts have expressed concerns about it. Because RTBF deters the right to information and media freedom under Article 19(1)(a) of the constitution. Therefore, cautious balancing is desired, to enable its implementation in a restricted sense. 

Why in the News?
  • The Delhi High Court in Jorawar Singh Mundy v Union of India (2021) made an interim order protecting the rights of an American citizen.
    • The petitioner desired the removal of a judgment of acquittal in a case filed under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985).
    • As per the petition, the continued existence of judgment on the websites/portals of Google and Indiankanoon had caused irreparable damage to his social life as well as his career prospects.
  • An interim order was issued by the High Court of Delhi. It directed Google and IndianKanoon to remove access to a judgment from their portals.
  • The court recognised that the petitioner has a right to be forgotten, which must be balanced with the right of the public to access the court’s records.
  • This is the first instance of a court ordering the removal of access to its complete final judgment from certain spaces.
About Right to be forgotten
  • It is a right to remove private information about a person from Internet searches and other directories under some circumstances.
  • It empowers individuals to ask organisations to delete their personal data.
  • Likewise, it allows the individuals to determine the development of their life in an autonomous way without being perpetually stigmatized for a specific action performed in the past.
The scenario of Right to be forgotten in India
  • The RTBF is not an explicit right granted to Indian citizens. Although courts in various judgments have emphasized the importance of this right.
    • In K.S Puttaswamy versus Union of India (2017), the court deduced that the right to privacy also encompasses an individual’s right to control his existence on the internet.
  • The recommendations by the B.N Srikrishna committee also emphasized this right. Thus, it was incorporated under the Draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.
    • Section 20 of the bill states that every person has the right to restrict or prevent continuing disclosure of personal data by any data fiduciary. Provided such disclosure meets any one of the following conditions:
      • The disclosure served the purpose for which it was made or is no longer necessary
      • Further, the disclosure was made with the prior consent of the individual, and such consent has since been withdrawn.
      • Lastly, the disclosure was made contrary to the provisions of the new bill or any other law in force.
International Scenario of Right to be forgotten
  • The right took shape largely from the 1995 Directive of the European Union on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data.
  • It is currently being provided by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a law passed by the 28-member bloc in 2018.
  • According to the EU GDPR’s website, the right to be forgotten appears in Article 17 of the regulation.
    • It states that the data subject shall have the right to obtain the erasure of personal data concerning him or her, without undue delay, from the controller. Further, the controller shall have the obligation to erase personal data without undue delay.
  • In 2019, the European Court of Justice ruled that the ‘right to be forgotten’ under European law would not apply beyond the borders of EU member states. 
    • This was in favour of Google, which was contesting a French regulatory authority’s order to have web addresses removed from its global database.
  • Currently, the EU, UK, and Australia are strongly moving towards the consolidation of the Right to be forgotten.
Arguments in Favour of the right to be forgotten
  • First, it will uphold an individual’s privacy under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. This would enable him/her to fully enjoy the right to life and personal liberty.
  • Second, it would prevent post-acquittal social stigmatization by society. The right may save an individual from additional punishments like social boycott, difficulty in getting jobs, doing marriage, etc.
    • The Delhi HC revoked access to its judgment in Jorawar Singh Mundy v Union of India (2021) based on this premise.
  • Third, it would help in maintaining a veil of secrecy on the victim’s identity, especially in highly sensitive cases involving rape or affecting the modesty of the woman. This was observed by the Karnataka High court in Sri Vasunathan v The Registrar General (2017).
  • Fourth, many articles are written based on half-truths and mere accusations. The media doesn’t update its prior articles based on future verdicts.
  • Fifth, much information is published without an individual’s consent which may cause severe harm to its reputation and mental peace. 
    • For instance, uploading fake or revenge posts with respect to a person. 
    • Jasleen Kaur (a former Delhi University student) had in 2015 accused Saravjeet Singh of verbally harassing her at a traffic signal in West Delhi. 
    • This induced media persons to label him an “eve teaser” and a “pervert” however he was later acquitted.
Arguments against the right to be forgotten
  • First, it gets in conflict with the right to information, which is part of freedom of speech under Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian constitution.
    • For instance, a rape victim has a right that her past is forgotten. While a criminal cannot claim that he has the right to insist that his conviction should not be referred to by the media.
  • Second, under the proposed data protection bill, removal depends on the discretion of the adjudicating officer. This may lead to partisan or arbitrary removal in favour of the government.
  • Third, it may impair the right of media personnel to do independent reporting. The adjudicatory officer may remove articles of media groups that generally criticize government policies.
    • Thus, the freedom to criticize the public personalities for their public policies based on their past statements and activities will be in jeopardy.  
  • Fourth, the removal of complete judgments may restrict public scrutiny of judicial performance to ascertain the fairness and objectivity of the administration of justice. Further judgments are an important source of learning for law students.
  • Fifth, the removal sometimes creates a Streisand effect. It is a social phenomenon that occurs when an attempt to hide, remove or censor information has the unintended consequence of further publicizing that information.
Suggestions
  • Privacy needs to be added as a ground for reasonable restriction under Article 19 (2) through a constitutional amendment for the effective implementation of RTBP.
  • The impending Data Protection Bill should be passed expeditiously. This would give individuals a legal right to erase their unnecessary and inappropriate personal data.
  • The courts should resort to narrow tailoring of the judgment rather than forbidding access to its complete judgment.
    • For instance, in the current Jorawar Singh Mundy v Union of India (2021), the court could have ordered that the name and personal details of the petitioner be censored while maintaining public access to the judgment itself.
Conclusion

The right to be forgotten is well established across the world, although Indian courts have not had much occasion to deal with the same. However, this situation may change in the future as more petitions are likely to be filed on account of the evolving international jurisprudence and impending enactment of the Indian Personal Data Protection Bill.

Posted in 7 PM, PUBLICTagged ,

Delhi High Court’s order upholds ‘Right to be Forgotten’

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Synopsis:

Recently, in response to a petition, the Delhi High Court ordered the removal of easy access from one of its own judgments. Delhi HC upheld the petitioner’s right to be forgotten to prevent post-acquittal disgrace faced by him. However, some experts have criticized the order, stating that minor modifications would have yielded better results than complete revocation.

Background:
  • The Delhi HC gave temporary relief to a petitioner. He sought the removal of the judgment from leading database platforms and search engines after his acquittal.
    • The court asked search engines to remove this order from search results. It ordered the database platform to block the judgment from being accessed by search engines.
  • It recognized that the petitioner may have a right to be forgotten, which must be balanced with the right of the public to access courts of record.
  • This is the first instance of a court ordering the removal of access to its complete final judgment from certain spaces.
About Right to be forgotten:
  • It is a right to remove private information about a person from public access.
  • It allows an individual to determine the development of their life in an autonomous way and prevents perpetual stigmatization for past conduct.
  • In 2017, the Supreme Court held it to be a part of the Right to privacy. The court deduced that a lot of personal information may serve no “legitimate interest”, was unnecessary or irrelevant and hence can be taken down.
Issues associated with Right to Forgotten:
  • First, there are no concrete provisions or guidelines to determine the ambit of ‘Right to be forgotten’. It is dependent on the discretion of individual courts and the status of individuals. For instance, a public figure may find greater difficulties in exercising this right.
  • Second, there is no clarity on information uploaded by 3rd parties like a journalist or news agency. There is a broad consensus that one should be empowered to remove the information upheld by him/her over the internet.
    • However, removing 3rd party information may muzzle fair criticism of government policies and the media’s right to report.
    • U.S Supreme court in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964), ruled that public interest reporting may continue without fear as long as it did not intentionally or recklessly make outright false statements.
  • Third, the removal of complete judgments may not allow public scrutiny of judicial performance to ascertain the fairness and objectivity of the administration of justice.
  • Fourth, the removal sometimes creates a Streisand effect. It is a social phenomenon that occurs when an attempt to hide, remove or censor information has the unintended consequence of further publicizing that information.

Way Forward:

  • As per some experts, narrow tailoring of the judgment would have been more beneficial than forbidding access to its complete judgment.
  • The court could have ordered that the name and personal details of the petitioner be censored while maintaining public access to the judgment itself. 

Thus, the right to be forgotten must be studied along with the concepts of fair criticism and accountability.

Source: Click Here 

Read Also :-Misuse of Sedition law in India

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, PUBLICTagged , ,

The SC ordered the closure of Italian Marines case in India

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Synopsis – What is the case of the Italian Marines, what was the conflict between India and Italy over the issue and the possible reason of delay in prosecuting the matter.

Introduction –
  • After Italy deposited Rs 10 crore in compensation, the SC ordered the closure of court proceedings in India against two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012 after mistaking them for pirates.
  • The diplomatic turbulence, legal tangle over jurisdiction between India and Italy caused the delay in resolving the Italian marine’s case.
What was the dispute over the Italian Marines case?
  • India
    • India alleged that the Italian marines on board “Enrica Lexie” had violated the freedom of navigation rights by shooting at the fishing boat.
    • As the two fishermen were killed without warning, India has jurisdiction over the matter.
    • The NIA the NIA invoked anti-piracy law, the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA).
  • Italy – The prosecution under the SUA Convention was challenged by Italy for comparing the occurrence to a terrorist attack.
    • According to Italy, as the Indian vessel approached, the Italian marines determined that it was a pirate attack. As the fishing vessel continued to head towards the tanker despite sustained visual and auditory warnings, and the firing of warning shots into the water.
    • Italy claims the marines had been hired to protect the tanker from pirates and they were only carrying out their duties.
    • Italy also claims that the marines enjoyed sovereign functional immunity in India and Italy alone had jurisdiction to deal with them.
  • Read Also :-Adultery Law in India
International tribunal’s ruling-
  • In 2020, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that the two Italian marines were on a mission for the Italian government and so should be sent to Italy, where they would face criminal charges.
  • By the ratio of 3:2 votes, the Italian marines were entitled to diplomatic immunity as Italian state officers under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and that India could not exercise jurisdiction against them.
  • The UN tribunal had also ruled that the Indian fishing boat and its victims were entitled to compensation as the Italian vessel, had violated the boat’s right of navigation under the Law of the Sea.
Way forward-
  • If India had accepted Italy’s offer of compensation and a trial in its own jurisdiction sooner, the delay in prosecuting the matter could have been avoided.
  • As a result, a lesson learned is that such cases should be handled with using both legal and diplomatic means to get a speedy resolution.

Source – The Hindu

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, CURRENT AFFAIRS, PUBLICTagged , ,

The Right to a fair trial and the Indian Evidence Act

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Synopsis: Acquittals in rape cases are often based on stereotypes about rape survivors and their past sexual history. But that has to change if India wants to ensure the Right to a fair trial.

Background

During the recent judgement by the Goa session’s court in Tarun Tejpal case the court referred to the survivor’s sexual history in graphic detail. Further, the judgement held the following things,

  • The court denied accepting the victim as a sterling witness. It was stated that the survivor did not fit into the court’s preconceived ideas of a rape survivor’s behaviour.
  • This disregards the women’s struggles that forced changes in law, in case of law, and in approaches to victims of rape.
Can the court go into the details of a survivor’s sexual history?

No. Doing so would be a form of discrimination by the court.

  • It violates Article 14’s guarantee of equality before the law and the equal protection of laws.
  • Article 15 of the constitution also forbids the state from discriminating against citizens based on stereotypes related to their sex and gender

There have been many cases wherein the Supreme Court of India has warned against stereotyping rape survivors. This is because it not only violates their fundamental rights but also leads to divergent results in sentencing.

Was the sexual history of a survivor admissible in court in the past?

Yes.

  • Under Section 155(4) of the Indian Evidence Act, a rape survivor’s past sexual history used to be acceptable. The rape accused could state that the rape survivor was of immoral character and claim that she consented to the sexual acts.
    • Past sexual history was used to suggest that the survivor was immoral and thus not a trustworthy witness.
    • This section was removed in 2003 after recommendations in the Law Commission of India’s 172nd report
Significant cases which led to amendments in the Indian Evidence Act: 
  • In Aparna Bhat & Ors. vs State of Madhya Pradesh case, the Supreme Court warned of the dangers of typecasting rape survivors.
    • Rape myths: It mentioned the prevalent rape myths which include fixed notions of chastity, resistance to rape, having visible physical injuries, behaving a certain way, reporting the offence immediately etc.
    • If the survivor had agreed to similar acts in the past should be irrelevant. The SC directed courts not to doubt a woman’s testament just because she was sexually active.
  • In the Mathura rape case (Tukaram vs Maharashtra, 1979), the Supreme Court released two policemen accused of raping a 14-year-old Adivasi girl in a police station. Stating that she was sexually active and considered her proof as “a tissue of lies”(Not considered her as a witness). 
    • This verdict led to the introduction of Section 114-A of the Evidence Act. It applied in serious rape cases where the accused was a police officer or member of the armed forces. 
  • In 1996, in the Punjab v Gurmit Singh case, the SC warned courts against making remarks about the rape survivor’s character. It stated that a woman who was sexually active could still refuse to consent. 
  • In 2013, the JS Verma Committee, created after the Delhi 2012 rape case, suggested that a past relationship between the accused and the victim should be inapt while deciding whether the victim consented. 
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 united many of such judgements and recommendations into legal law. 
    • Section 53A of the Evidence Act stops courts from depending on evidence of the character of the victim. Such as her prior sexual experience with any person to decide questions of consent in sexual assault cases. 
    • The 2013 Act also amended Section 146 so that a rape survivor cannot be asked questions about her immoral character or prior sexual experience to prove consent.
    • The 2013 amendment also introduced a fixed minimum sentence of seven years imprisonment for rape (This is increased in 2018 to 10 years) and 10 years for serious rape. 
How the 2013 amendment impacted the conviction rates in rape cases?

Studies show that conviction rates fell after the 2013 amendment. In a review of 1,635 rape judgements passed by Delhi trial courts between 2013 and 2018, the conviction rate fell from 16.11% under the old law to 5.72% under the new law. This is due to the following reasons. Such as,

  • Survivors were doubted because of varying statements at several stages of the trial,
  • Failure to reveal details of the incident to anybody,
  • Delay in registering the complaint.
Conclusion 

The rape stereotypes and dependence on past sexual history are damaging for rape survivors and the criminal justice system. The right to a fair trial under Article 21 states that cases should be decided on facts. Acquittals based on stereotypes impair the faith of the public in the criminal justice system.

Source: click here

Posted in 9 PM Daily Articles, CURRENT AFFAIRS, PUBLICTagged ,

CBSE can’t refuse to change names after declaring results: Supreme Court

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What is the News?

The Supreme Court has directed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to allow changes in name or date of birth in school certificates issued by it even after the publication of results.

What is the issue?
  • A petition was filed in the Supreme Court challenging the CBSE’s Examination Bye-Laws of 2007. The law prohibited students from changing or correcting their names on Board certificates.
What did the Supreme Court say?
    • The Supreme Court said that the Right to Change Name is part of the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression subject to reasonable restrictions.
    • Hence, the court directed the CBSE to allow students to change their name on the Board certificates issued by them.
    • The CBSC argued that it is denying students to change their name on certificates as it would affect their administrative efficiency. But, the court said that these certificates are used by students to go for higher studies and gain employment. So the presumption of CBSE on administrative efficiency is wrong.
    • The Supreme court also held that the decision of CBSE is in violation of the Right to be forgotten. As the CBSE decision of refusing to change the name forces the student to live with the scars of the past.
What is the Right to be forgotten?

The right to be forgotten (RTBF) is the right to have private information about a person be removed from Internet searches and other directories under some circumstances. For example,

  • If there is a juvenile accused of being in conflict with the law or is a sexual abuse victim. But his identity is leaked due to lapses by the media or the investigative body.
  • The juvenile may consider changing the name to seek rehabilitation in the society in the exercise of his right to be forgotten.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Polity and Nation, PUBLICTagged , ,

Journalists need protection against “sedition charges”: Supreme Court

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What is the News?

Supreme Court of India has quashed the FIR lodged against a senior journalist for sedition charge and other offences. In that, the court held that the Journalists need protection against sedition charges.

What was the case?
  • A sedition case was filed against a senior journalist over his YouTube show where he had criticized the Prime Minister and the Union Government.
  • The journalist approached the Supreme Court seeking the quashing of the FIR. He told the Supreme Court that criticism of the government was not in itself seditious unless it instigated the violence.
What did the Court say?
  • The Supreme Court invalidated the sedition case registered against the journalist.
  • Criticism & disapproval doesn’t amount to sedition: The court said that strong words of disapproval about the ruling government is not sedition.
    • Moreover, mere criticism of governments is not sufficient to constitute sedition. Honest and reasonable criticism is a source of strength to a community rather than a weakness.
  • The Court also referred to the 1962 Kedar Nath Singh verdict and said that under it every journalist is entitled to protection from sedition charges.
Kedar Nath Singh Judgment,1962
  • In Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar (1962), the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the sedition law.
  • The Court said that sedition is a reasonable restriction on free speech as provided in Article 19(2) of the Constitution.
  • However, the court made it clear that a citizen has the right to say or write whatever she/he likes about the government or its measures.
  • But this is only as long as s/he does not incite people to violence against the government and not do things with the intention of creating public disorder.

Source: The Hindu

Posted in Daily Factly articles, daily news, Daily News Updates, Factly: Polity and Nation, PUBLICTagged ,

Supreme Court Guidelines on “Section 304-B” of IPC

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What is the News?

The Supreme Court in its recent judgement has widened the scope of Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code(IPC). This section punishes persons accused of dowry deaths.

Data on Dowry Deaths in India:
  • Dowry deaths accounted for 40% to 50% of homicides in the country for almost a decade from 1999 to 2018.
  • In 2019 alone, 7,115 cases of dowry death were registered under Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code.
About Section 304-B:
  • Section 304-B was inserted into the Indian Penal Code(IPC) in November 1986.
  • According to this section, to make out a case of dowry death:
    • A woman should have died of burns or other bodily injuries or “otherwise than under normal circumstances” within seven years of her marriage.
    • A woman should have suffered cruelty or harassment from her husband or in-laws “soon before her death” in connection with the demand for dowry.
  • Punishment: The section punishes convicts with a minimum of seven years imprisonment extendable up to a life term.
Supreme Court Guidelines on Section 304-B:
  • Avoid Absurd Interpretation:
    • Over the years, the courts had interpreted the phrase ‘soon before’ in Section 304-B as ‘immediately before‘. This interpretation makes it necessary for a woman to have been harassed moments before she died.
    • On the other hand, the Supreme Court recently said that the prosecution needs to show only a “proximate and live link” between the harassment and her death to make out a case of dowry death.
  • Need broader Reading of the Provision:
    • The lower courts should not take a limited approach in categorising death as homicidal or suicidal or accidental. The phrase “otherwise than under normal circumstances” in Section 304-B calls for a liberal interpretation of the provision, not the stricter one.
    • Hence, Section 304-B not imply the narrow categorisation of death as homicidal or suicidal or accidental. Instead, it also includes non-categorised deaths ‘other than under normal circumstances.
  • Proper examination of Accused:
    • The Supreme Court also raised concern about the casual way in which trial courts examine accused persons in dowry death cases under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
    • The court said that the examination of the accused about the incriminatory material against him should be done fairly.
    • The court must put incriminating circumstances before the accused and seek his response. The accused should also be given sufficient opportunity to give his side of the story.

Source: The Hindu