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In news: Two-child NormBills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Art. 47

Mains level : Population explosion in India


A Rajya Sabha MP has introduced a Private Member’s Bill on two-child norms.

Key propositions of the Bill

  • Essentially, the Bill aims to amend the Constitution in order to incentivise limiting families to two children by offering tax concessions, priority in social benefit schemes and school admissions, among other things.
  • It proposes incentives in taxation, education and employment for people who limit their family size to two children.

Article 47A

  • The Bill has sought the incorporation of a new provision, Article 47A in Part IV of the Constitution, to withdraw all concessions from people who fail to adhere to the “small-family” norm.
  • Article 47A says the following:

 “47A. The State shall promote small family norms by offering incentives in taxes, employment, education etc. to its people who keep their family limited to two children and shall withdraw every concession from and deprive such incentives to those not adhering to small family norm, to keep the growing population under control.”

Note: Article 47 of the Indian Constitution is one of the DPSP  which directs the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health.

Why such Bill?

  • The Bill’s Statement of Object and Reasons states that the fact that India’s population has already crossed 125 crore is “really frightening”.
  • It goes on to say that India’s population has doubled in the last 40 years and that it is expected to unseat China as the world’s most populous nation in the next couple of decades.
  • Despite the fact that we have framed a National Population Control Policy, we are the second most populous country in the world.
  • Further, the population explosion will cause “many problems” for our future generations.
  • The Bill also makes a reference to “overburdened” natural resources that are overexploited because of overpopulation.

Statewide policies relating to two-child norms

Assam Cabinet has recently decided that those with more than two children will be ineligible for government jobs from 2021. Other states with similar norms:

Rajasthan: For government jobs, candidates who have more than two children are not eligible for appointment.

Madhya Pradesh: The state follows the two-child norm since 2001. Under Madhya Pradesh Civil Services (General Condition of Services) Rules, if the third child was born on or after January 26, 2001, one becomes ineligible for government service. The rule also applies to higher judicial services.

Telangana: Under Section 19 (3) read with Sections 156 (2) and 184 (2) of Telangana Panchayat Raj Act, 1994, a person with more than two children shall be disqualified from contesting election. However, if a person had more than two children before May 30, 1994, he or she will not be disqualified.  The same sections in the Andhra Pradesh: AP Panchayat Raj Act, 1994, apply to Andhra Pradesh, where a person having more than two children shall be disqualified from contesting election.

Gujarat: In 2005, the government amended the Gujarat Local Authorities Act. The amendment disqualifies anyone with more than two children from contesting elections for bodies of local self-governance — panchayats, municipalities and municipal corporations.

Maharashtra: The Maharashtra Zilla Parishads And Panchayat Samitis Act disqualifies people who have more than two children from contesting local body elections (gram panchayats to municipal corporations). The Maharashtra Civil Services Rules, 2005 states that a person having more than two children is disqualified from holding a post in the state government. Women with more than two children are also not allowed to benefit from the Public Distribution System.

Karnataka: The Karnataka (Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj) Act, 1993 does not bar individuals with more than two children from contesting elections to local bodies like the gram panchayat. The law, however, says that a person is ineligible to contest “if he does not have a sanitary latrine for the use of the members of his family”.

Odisha: The Odisha Zilla Parishad Act bars those individuals with more than two children from contesting.

Human Rights Issues

Karnataka Anti-superstition LawBills/Act/LawsStates in News

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Superstitions and associated socail injustice


A controversial anti-superstition law in Karnataka was formally notified by the current government.

Provisions of the earlier drafts

  • The law, which was initially drafted as the Karnataka Anti Superstition Bill, 2013, was a pet project of former CM Siddaramaiah.
  • The model Bill held human dignity as its central tenet and sought eradication of irrational practices found in different communities.
  • The first draft made practices like inflicting self-wounds and conversion through bribery illegal.
  • Some of the proposals opposed by religious leaders and political parties in the early draft were the ban on practices such as the carrying of priests in palanquins, worshipping the feet of religious leaders.
  • It sought to ban Made Snana practised in the Dakshina Kannada region where Dalits roll over the remains of food consumed by upper castes.

The current version

  • A Bill with sizable consensus across the political spectrum finally evolved in 2017. A total of 16 practices have been banned under the law.
  • The practice of Vaastu, astrology, pradakshina or circumabulation of holy places, yatras, parikramas performed at religious places were kept out of the purview of the law.
  • Made Snana was banned under the law with respect to having Dalits roll over leftover food.
  • The practice has now been modified to be voluntary and not involving leftover food.
  • Practices such as barring menstruating women from entering houses of worship and their homes, coercing people to take part in fire-walks, and beating up people by declaring them evil, are among the irrational practices that have been banned under the 2017 law.

Penalties

  • The law stipulates “imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to seven years and with fine which shall not be less than five thousand rupees but which may extend to fifty thousand rupees”, as punishment for violations.
  • The law is to implemented by the state police with the appointment of vigilance officers under the law at police stations.
Mother and Child Health – Immunization Program, BPBB, PMJSY, PMMSY, etc.

[pib] The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020Bills/Act/LawsPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Highlights of the bill

Mains level : MTP: Ethical and health issues surrounding it


The Union Cabinet has approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.

About the Bill

  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 is for expanding access of women to safe and legal abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian or social grounds.
  • It aims to increase upper gestation limit for termination of pregnancy under certain conditions and to strengthen access to comprehensive abortion care, under strict conditions, without compromising service and quality of safe abortion.

Salient features of proposed amendments:

  • Proposing requirement for opinion of one provider for termination of pregnancy, up to 20 weeks of gestation and introducing the requirement of opinion of two providers for termination of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of gestation.
  • Enhancing the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women which will be defined in the amendments to the MTP Rules and would include ‘vulnerable women including survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women (like differently-abled women, Minors) etc.
  • Upper gestation limit not to apply in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities diagnosed by Medical Board. The composition, functions and other details of Medical Board to be prescribed subsequently in Rules under the Act.
  • Anonymity of the person: Name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated shall not be revealed except to a person authorised in any law for the time being in force.

Benefits

  • It is a step towards safety and well-being of the women and many women will be benefitted by this.
  • Recently several petitions were received by the Courts seeking permission for aborting pregnancies at a gestational age beyond the present permissible limit on grounds of foetal abnormalities or pregnancies due to sexual violence faced by women.
  • The proposed increase in gestational age will ensure dignity, autonomy, confidentiality and justice for women who need to terminate pregnancy.
Women Safety Issues – Marital Rape, Domestic Violence, Swadhar, Nirbhaya Fund, etc.

Andhra Pradesh Disha Act, 2019Bills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Disha Act

Mains level : Need for stringent framework for crimes against women and children


The AP Legislative Assembly has passed the Andhra Pradesh Disha Act, 2019 (Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2019).

Disha Act

  • The bill provides for awarding death sentence for offences of rape and gangrape and expediting trials of such cases to within 21 days.
  • The Act envisages the completion of investigation in seven days and trial in 14 working days, where there is adequate conclusive evidence, and reducing the total judgment time to 21 days from the existing four months.
  • The AP Disha Act also prescribes life imprisonment for other sexual offences against children and includes Section 354 F and 354 G in IPC.
  • In cases of harassment of women through social or digital media, the Act states two years imprisonment for the first conviction and four years for second and subsequent convictions.
  • For this, a new Section 354 E will be added in IPC, 1860.

Highlights of the Disha Act

Introducing women and children offenders registry

  • The government of India has launched a National Registry of Sexual offenders but the database is not digitized and is not accessible to the public.
  • In the Disha Act, 2019, the Andhra Pradesh government will establish, operate and maintain a register in electronic form, to be called the ‘Women & Children Offenders Registry’.
  • This registry will be made public and will be available to law enforcement agencies.

Exclusive punishment of death penalty for rape crimes

  • At present, provision for punishing an offender in a rape case is a fixed jail term leading to life imprisonment or the death sentence.
  • The Disha Act 2019 has prescribed the death penalty for rape crimes where there is adequate conclusive evidence.
  • Provision is given by amending Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Reducing the judgment period to 21 days

  • The existing judgment period as per the Nirbhaya Act, 2013 and Criminal Amendment Act, 2018 is 4 months (two months of investigation period and two months of trial period)
  • As per the  Disha Act 2019, the judgment will now have to be pronounced in 21 working days from date of offence in cases of rape crimes with substantial conclusive evidence.
  • The investigation shall be completed in seven working days and trial shall be completed in 14 working days.
  • For this, amendments have been made to Section 173 and Section 309 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, 1973 and via the introduction of additional clauses in the act.
  • The same has been done in cases involving minors.

Stringent punishment for sexual offences against children

  • In cases of molestation/sexual assault on children under the POCSO Act, 2012, punishment ranges from a minimum of three years to maximum of seven years of imprisonment.
  • In the Disha Act 2019, apart from rape, the Government of Andhra Pradesh prescribes life imprisonment for other sexual offences against children.
  • New Sections 354F and Section 354G ‘Sexual Assault on Children’ is being inserted in the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Punishment for harassment of women through social media

  • In the AP Disha Act, 2019, in cases of harassment of women through email, social media, digital mode or any other form, the guilty shall be punishable with imprisonment.
  • The imprisonment will be for a term which may extend to two years on first conviction and with imprisonment for a term which may extend to four years on second and subsequent conviction.
  • At present, no such provision exists in the Indian Penal Code. A new Section 354E ‘Harassment of Women’ is being added in Indian Penal Code, 1860

Establishment of exclusive special courts in every district of Andhra Pradesh

  • In the Disha Act, 2019, the government will establish exclusive special courts in each district to ensure speedy trial.
  • These courts will exclusively deal with cases of offences against women and children including rape, acid attacks, stalking, voyeurism, social media harassment of women, sexual harassment and all cases under the POCSO Act.
  • The state government has introduced the ‘Andhra Pradesh Special Courts for Specified Offences against Women & Children Act, 2019′.

Reducing appeal to 3 months for disposal of rape cases 

  • At present, the period for disposal of appeal cases related to rape cases against women and children is six months.
  • In the Disha Act, 2019, the period for disposal of appeal cases has been reduced to three months.
  • Amendments are being made in Section 374 and 377 of Code of Criminal Procedure Act, 1973.

Constitution of special police teams and appointment of the special public prosecutor in special courts

  • There is no such provision in existing laws.
  • In the AP Disha Act, 2019, the government will constitute special police teams at the district level to be called District Special Police Team to be headed by DSP for investigation of offences related to women and children.
  • The government will also appoint a special public prosecutor for each exclusive special court.
Right To Privacy

Keywords in Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, 2019Bills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various keywords mentioned in the Bill

Mains level : Personal Data Protection: Prospects and challenges


The Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, 2019, introduced in Lok Sabha this week, has been referred to a joint select committee. Here are some terms described in the Bill:

  • Data: Information that is represented in a form that is more appropriate for processing.
  • Cross-border transfer: The movement of data across nation borders
  • Data localisation: Restrictions on the transfer of data outside national borders.
  • Data processing: The analysis of data to glean patterns, turning raw data into useful information
  • Personal data: Data that identifies an individual
  • Non-personal data: Data that is anonymised, most probably because it is presented in an aggregated or summary form
  • Data principal: The individual whose data is being collected and processed
  • Data fiduciary: The entity that collects and/or processes a data principal’s data
  • Data processor: The entity that a fiduciary might give the data to for processing, a third-party entity
  • Notice: The fiduciary gives the principal a notice of the collection, including the purpose, the type of data, fiduciary contact details, the principals’ rights, and more
  • Right to correction and erasure: Principal’s right to correct and erase their data
  • Right to data portability: The right to receive the data from the fiduciary in a machine-readable format
  • The right to be forgotten: The right to restrict continuing disclosure of personal data
  • Privacy by design: Developing the product and business with privacy concerns in mind
  • Significant data fiduciaries: The Data Protection Authority labels certain as this depending on its data processing, such as volume of data, sensitivity of data, company turnover, risk of harm, and newer technologies.
  • Data protection impact assessment: The fiduciary’s internal assessment
  • Data protection officer: A representative of the fiduciary that coordinates with the Authority
  • Critical personal data: The government decides the definition from time to time and it cannot be taken outside of India at all.
  • Adjudicating officers: Officers in the DPA with the power to call people forward for inquiry into fiduciaries, assess compliance, and determine penalties on the fiduciary or compensation to the principal. Adjudication decisions can be appealed in the appellate tribunal.

Sensitive personal data

  • Data related to finances, health, official identifiers, sex life, sexual orientation, biometric, genetics, transgender status, intersex status, caste or tribe, religious or political belief or affiliation.
  • This data can only be sent abroad with Authority approval.

Data Protection Authority

  • A government authority tasked with protecting individuals’ data and executing this Act through codes of practice, inquiries, audits and more
  • The authority has four groups of tasks. In adjudication, the DPA receives grievances and handles enforcement.
  • In monitoring, it oversees internal assessments and external audits of the fiduciaries, as well as tracks data security breaches.
  • In policy, the DPA defines sensitive personal data, reasonable purposes for processing, forms of consent, and the lawful transfer of data outside of India. Finally, the Authority conducts research and awareness building about data protection.
Genetically Modified (GM) crops – cotton, mustards, etc.

The New Seeds Bill, 2019Bills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Salient features of The New Seeds Bill, 2019


Govt plans to change existing law to ensure availability of quality seeds to farmers with a proposed Bill to replace The Seeds Act, 1966

The New Seeds Bill, 2019

  • The new Seeds Bill, 2019 provides for compulsory registration of “any kind or variety of seeds” that are sought to be sold.
  • According to Section 14 of the draft Bill, “no seed of any kind or variety… shall, for the purpose of sowing or planting by any person, be sold unless such kind or variety is registered”.
  • In other words, even hybrids/varieties of private companies will need to be registered, and their seeds would have to meet the minimum prescribed standards relating to germination, physical and genetic purity, etc.
  • Breeders would be required to disclose the “expected performance” of their registered varieties “under given conditions”.
  • If the seed of such registered kind or variety “fails to provide the expected performance under such given conditions”, the farmer “may claim compensation from the producer, dealer, distributor or vendor under The Consumer Protection Act, 1986”.

Why need such a bill?

  • The 1966 Act only covers “notified kinds or varieties of seeds”.
  • Thus, regulation of quality, too, is limited to the seeds of varieties that have been officially notified.
  • Such varieties would be mostly those that are bred by public sector institutions — the likes of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the state agricultural universities (SAUs).
  • And the provisions of The Seeds Act, 1966, apply only to certified seeds produced of notified varieties.

What is the context for bringing the Bill?

  • The 1966 legislation was enacted at the time of the Green Revolution when the country hardly had any private seed industry.
  • The high-yielding wheat and paddy varieties, which made India self-reliant in cereals by the 1980s, were developed by the various ICAR institutes and SAUs.
  • These public sector institutions have retained their dominance in breeding of wheat, paddy (including basmati), sugarcane, pulses, soyabean, groundnut, mustard, potato, onion and other crops.
  • Over the last three decades or more, however, private companies and MNCs have made significant inroads, particularly into crops that are amenable to hybridization.
  • Their seeds are first-generation hybrids produced by crossing two genetically diverse plants, and whose yields tend to be higher than that of either of the parents; the grains from these, even if saved as re-used as seed, will not give the same “F1” vigour.

So, are privately-bred hybrids not covered under any regulation?

  • The current Seeds Act, as already noted, applies only to notified varieties. Also, unless a variety or hybrid is notified, its seeds cannot be certified.
  • Most of the private hybrids marketed in India, by virtue of not being officially “released”, are neither “notified” nor “certified”. Instead, they are “truthful labeled”.
  • The companies selling them simply state that the seeds inside the packets have a minimum germination (if 100 are sown, at least 75-80, say, will produce plants), genetic purity and physical purity (proportion of non-contamination by other crop/weed seeds or inert matter).

How does the proposed Seeds Bill, 2019 address the above lacuna?

  • It does away with the concept of “notified” variety.
  • By providing for compulsory registration of “any kind or variety of seeds”, private hybrids — whether officially “released” or “truthful labeled” — will automatically be brought under regulatory purview.
  • It must be mentioned here that the Seeds (Control) Amendment Order of 2006 under the Essential Commodities Act mandates dealers to ensure minimum standards of germination, purity, and other quality parameters even in respect of “other than notified kind or variety of seeds”.
  • Enforcing mandatory registration under a new Seed Act, encompassing all varieties and hybrids, is expected to bring greater accountability from the industry, even while rendering the Seeds Control Order redundant.
Banking Sector Reforms

International Financial Services Centres (IFSC) Authority Bill, 2019Bills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IFSC Bill

Mains level : Banking regulation in India


The International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill, 2019 is likely to be taken up by Parliament.

IFSC Authority Bill, 2019

  • The Bill provides for the establishment of an Authority to develop and regulate the financial services market in the International Financial Services Centres in India.
  • The Bill will be applicable to all International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) set up under the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005.

What is IFSC?

  • IFSCs are intended to provide Indian corporates with easier access to global financial markets, and to complement and promote further development of financial markets in India.
  • An IFSC enables bringing back the financial services and transactions that are currently carried out in offshore financial centres by Indian corporate entities and overseas branches/subsidiaries of financial institutions (FIs) to India.
  • This is done by offering business and regulatory environment that is comparable to other leading international financial centres in the world like London and Singapore.
  • The first IFSC in India has been set up at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gandhinagar.

What is the need for such an Authority?

  • The release issued by the government explained that currently, the banking, capital markets and insurance sectors in IFSC are regulated by multiple regulators, i.e. RBI, SEBI and IRDAI.
  • However, the dynamic nature of business in the IFSCs necessitates a high degree of inter-regulatory coordination.
  • It also requires regular clarifications and frequent amendments in the existing regulations governing financial activities in IFSCs.
  • The development of financial services and products in IFSCs would require focussed and dedicated regulatory interventions.
  • Hence, a need is felt for having a unified financial regulator for IFSCs in India to provide world class regulatory environment to financial market participants.
  • Further, this would also be essential from an ease of doing business perspective.
  • The unified authority would also provide the much needed impetus to further development of IFSC in India in sync with the global best practices.

What is the Authority that the Bill seeks to set up?

  • The International Financial Services Centres Authority will consist of nine members, appointed by the central government.
  • They will include, apart from the chairperson of the authority, a member each from the RBI, SEBI, the IRDAI, and the PFRDA; and two members from the Ministry of Finance.
  • In addition, two other members will be appointed on the recommendation of a Search Committee.
  • All members of the IFSC Authority will have a term of three years, subject to reappointment.

Functions of the Authority

  • According to the PRS note, the Authority will regulate financial products such as securities, deposits or contracts of insurance, financial services, and financial institutions which have been previously approved by any appropriate regulator such as RBI or SEBI, in an IFSC.
  • It will follow all processes which are applicable to such financial products, financial services, and financial institutions under their respective laws.
  • The appropriate regulators have been listed in a Schedule to the Bill, and include the RBI, SEBI, IRDAI, and PFRDA.
  • The central government may amend this schedule through a notification.
  • Other functions of the Authority are the regulation of any other financial products, financial services, or financial institutions in an IFSC, which may be notified by the central government; and to recommend to the central government any other financial products, financial services, or financial institutions, which may be permitted in an IFSC.

Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019Bills/Act/LawsPriority 1

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the bill

Mains level : Old age care



The Union Cabinet has approved The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

About the Bill

  • The Bill seeks to amend The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007, passed by Parliament during the term of UPA-I.
  • The 2007 Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 20, 2007, and passed on December 5 and 6 of that year by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively.
  • Among the key features of the Bill, as per a summary were:
  1. Children and heirs were legally obligated to provide maintenance to senior citizens.
  2. State governments were permitted to establish old age homes in every district.
  3. Senior citizens who are unable to maintain themselves, were given the right to apply to a maintenance tribunal seeking a monthly allowance from their children or heirs.
  4. State governments were to set up maintenance tribunals in every subdivision to decide the level of maintenance. Appellate tribunals were to be established at the district level.
  5. State governments were to set the ceiling for the maximum monthly maintenance allowance. The Bill capped the maximum monthly allowance at Rs 10,000 per month.
  6. Punishment for not paying the required monthly allowance was fixed at Rs 5,000, or up to three months in prison, or both.

The proposed changes

  • The “major salient features” of the proposed Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Amendment Bill are:

(i) Definition of ‘children’ and ‘parents’ has been expanded.

(ii) Definition of ‘maintenance’ and ‘welfare’ has been expanded.

(iii) Mode of submission of application for maintenance has been enlarged.

(iv) Ceiling of Rs 10,000/- as maintenance amount has been removed.

(v) Preference to dispose of applications of senior citizens, above eighty years of age, early has been included.

(vi) Registration of Senior Citizens Care Homes/Homecare Service Agencies etc. have been included.

(vii) Minimum standards for senior citizen care homes has been included in the Bill.

(viii) Appointment of Nodal Police Officers for Senior Citizens in every Police Station and District level Special Police Unit for Senior Citizens has been included.

(ix) Maintenance of Helpline for senior citizens has been included.

LGBT Rights – Transgender Bill, Sec. 377, etc.

Parliament passes Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019Bills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Transgenders and their upliftment measures



The Parliament has passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, with the Rajya Sabha approving it by a voice vote. The Lok Sabha had already passed the bill in December 2018.

Various provisions of the Bill

Defining Transperson

  • The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth.
  • It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra.

Prohibition against discrimination

  • It prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to education, employment, healthcare, access to, or enjoyment of goods, facilities, opportunities available to the public.
  • Every transgender person shall have a right to reside and be included in his household.
  • No government or private entity can discriminate against a transgender person in employment matters, including recruitment, and promotion.

HRD measures

  • A transgender person may make an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’.
  • Educational institutions funded or recognised by the relevant government shall provide inclusive facilities for transgender persons, without discrimination.
  • The government must provide health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centres, and sex reassignment surgeries.

Grievances redressal

  • The National Council for Transgender persons (NCT) chaired by Union Minister for Social Justice, will advise the central government as well as monitor the impact of policies with respect to transgender persons.
  • It will also redress the grievances of transgender persons.

Legal Protection

The Bill imposes penalties for the offences against transgender persons like bonded labour, denial of use of public places, removal from household & village and physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic abuse.

Named Driver PolicyBills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Telematics

Mains level : Salient features of the Named Driver Policy


Soon, the way we drive will determine our motor insurance cover a/c to the Named Driver Policy.

Named Driver Policy

The ‘Named Driver Policy’ to the use of telematics data to reclassification has been recommended by the IRDAI against the own damage (OD) segment of motor insurance.

Why such move?

  • Vehicle plying on the road is a risk, but the driver who drives the vehicle is a key determinant of the risk.
  • Such a move is part of an effort to make pricing reflect risk, which is an international practice.
  • Opting for driver information in a policy will help integrate information from government authorities, particularly about traffic violations.

Use of Telematics

  • Another recommendation was adoption of telematics for motor insurance.
  • Use of telematics or tracking devices will monitor the driving habits such as acceleration, and braking and will provide feedback to the driver.
  • Auto owners only pay the premium aligned to their driving profile and thus avoid paying for coverage based on one-size-fits-all system.
  • Telematics will eventually pave the way for a ‘Pay As You Drive’ and ‘Pay How You Drive’ model.

Benefits for Insurance companies

  • Over time, with access to drivers’ or their driving habit data, insurers will be able to develop sharper risk-based underwriting practices.
  • Having information about drivers, with details such as age and gender would help assess the risk better.
  • Also, the insurance firm will pay the claim amount in full only if the named driver was at the wheel.
Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

The Occupational safety, health and working conditions code, 2019Bills/Act/LawsPriority 1

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Provisions of the code

Mains level : Labour reforms in India


  • The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019 introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Labour and Employment is now open for suggestions.

About the Code

  • The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Labour and Employment on July 23, 2019.
  • The Code repeals and replaces 13 labour laws relating to safety, health and working conditions. These include the Factories Act, 1948, the Mines Act, 1952, and the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970.
  • The Code applies to establishments employing at least 10 workers, and to all mines and docks.
  • It does not apply to apprentices.
  • Further, it makes special provisions for certain types of establishments and classes of employees, such as factories, mines, and building and construction workers.

Various provisions of the Code

Relevant authorities

  • All establishments covered by the Code must be registered with registering officers.
  • Further, Inspector-cum-facilitators may inquire into accidents, and conduct inspections of establishments.
  • Both these authorities are appointed by the central or state government.
  • Additionally, the government may require certain establishments to set up safety committees comprising representatives of employers and workers.

Advisory Bodies

  • The central and state governments will set up Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Boards at the national and state level, respectively.
  • These Boards will advise the central and state governments on the standards, rules, and regulations to be framed under the Code.

Duties of employers

  • The Code specifies several duties of employers.
  • These include: (i) providing a workplace that is free from hazards that may cause injury or diseases, and (ii) providing free annual health examinations to employees, as prescribed.
  • In case of an accident at the workplace that leads to death or serious bodily injury of an employee, the employer must inform the relevant authorities.

Rights and duties of employees

  • Duties of employees under the Code include:
  • (i) Taking care of their own health and safety, (ii) complying with the specified safety and health standards, and (iii) reporting unsafe situations to the inspector.
  • Every employee will have the right to obtain from the employer information related to safety and health standards.

Working Hours

  • Work hours for different classes of establishment and employees will be provided as per the rules prescribed by the central or state government.
  • For overtime work, the worker 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

  • No employee may work for more than six days a week.
  • However, exceptions may be provided for motor transport workers.
  • Workers must receive paid annual leave for at least one in 20 days of the period spent on duty.
  • For sales promotion employees medical leave must be provided for at least one-eighteenth of the period of service.
  • During medical leave, the worker must be paid half his daily wages.

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.
  • Other welfare facilities may be provided as per standards prescribed by the central government.
  • These facilities may include separate bathing places and locker rooms for male, female and transgender employees, canteens, first aid boxes, and creches.

Offences and penalties

  • Under the Code, an offence that leads to the death of an employee will be punishable with imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine up to five lakh rupees, or both.
  • Further, courts may direct that at least 50% of such fine be given as compensation to the heirs of the victim.
  • For any other violation where the penalty is not specified, the employer will be penalized with a fine between two and three lakh rupees.
  • If an employee violates provisions of the Code, he will be subject to a fine of up to Rs 10,000.
Waste Management – SWM Rules, EWM Rules, etc

Draft National Resource Efficiency PolicyBills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NREP

Mains level : Need for enhancing resource efficiency



  • Against the backdrop of resource depletion in India the MoEFCC has drafted a National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP).

About the Policy

  • It aims to double the recycling rate of key materials to 50% in the next five years and enable upcycling of waste.
  • The agenda is to develop a circular economy.
  • This can be achieved by two measures—
  1. by recycling the materials, and
  2. by increasing the efficiency of use of these resources.
  • The draft has proposed significant policy instruments like addressing regulatory gaps in implementation of waste laws, landfill taxes, high tipping fees especially for bulk generators of waste, etc.

National Resource Efficiency Authority

  • The draft policy envisions setting up a National Resource Efficiency Authority which will help develop resource efficiency strategies for different sectors and adopt them into a three-year action plan.
  • To begin with, seven key sectors have been identified—automobile, plastic packaging, building and construction sector, electrical and electronic equipment sector, solar photo-voltaic sector, and steel and aluminium sector.

Why need such Policy?

  • Linear production and consumption is leading to a lot of wastage in the entire value chain.
  • Opportunities exist at each and every stage of the product cycle which can be utilized, especially at a time, when the economy is going through a rough patch.

For various sectors

The Automobile Sector

  • The NGT had imposed ban on diesel vehicles more than ten years old in the National Capital Region in view of the rising pollution levels.
  • Following which, more vehicles will end up as end-of-life vehicles.
  • Under the policy, the government plans to set up centres to collect such vehicles and carry out the deregistration process, and shredding centres which would segregate materials for recycling.
  • As many as 20 official dismantlers would be established across major urban centres by 2020.
  • The plan is to ensure 75% recycling rate for vehicles made before 1990, 85% recycling rate for vehicles made between 1990 and 2000, and 90% recycling rate for vehicles made after 2000.

Plastic wastes

  • Another concern is plastic waste, contributing 8% of the total solid waste.
  • The draft policy aims to achieve a 100% recycling and reuse rate polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic by 2025.

Construction materials

  • The draft policy also aims to gradually reducing dependence on virgin materials and enhance re-use of construction and demolition waste.
  • There will be emphasis on developing codes and standards for quality of secondary raw materials to ensure confidence in the product, so that by 2025, at least 30% of total public procurement of construction materials can be from recycled materials.
Corporate Social Responsibility: Issues & Development

Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) PolicyBills/Act/LawsPriority 1

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SSR

Mains level : Need for SSR Policy


  • A draft of the new Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) Policy has been made available by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) on its website for public comments.
  • India is going to be possibly the first country in the world to implement a SSR Policy on the lines of CSR.

Defining SSR

  • The draft defines SSR as “the ethical obligation of knowledge workers in all fields of science and technology to voluntarily contribute their knowledge and resources to the widest spectrum of stakeholders in society, in a spirit of service and conscious reciprocity”.

SSR Policy

  • The policy aims to harness latent potential of the scientific community for strengthening linkages between science and society, and for making S&T ecosystem vibrant.
  • This is in a move to encourage S&T institutions and individual scientists in the country to proactively engage in science outreach activities to connect science with the society.
  • It is aimed at developing a mechanism for ensuring access to scientific knowledge, transferring benefits of science to meet societal needs, promoting collaborations to identify problems and develop solutions.

Why such move?

  • When most research is being done by using taxpayers’ money, the scientific establishment has an ethical obligation of “giving back” to the society.
  • SSR is not only about scientific impact upon society but also about the social impact upon science.
  • SSR would therefore strengthen the knowledge ecosystem and bring efficiencies in harnessing science for the benefit of society,” says the draft policy.

Premise for the Policy

  • This draft policy builds upon traditions of earlier policies (Scientific Policy Resolution 1958, Technology Policy Statement 1983, S&T Policy 2003 and Sci-Tech and Innovation Policy 2013).
  • The new policy is proposing more pragmatic provisions to make institutions and individual scientists socially responsible.

Key propositions

  • Under the proposed policy, individual scientists or knowledge workers will be required to devote at least 10 person-days of SSR per year for exchanging scientific knowledge to society.
  • It also recognizes the need to provide incentives for outreach activities with necessary budgetary support.
  • It has also been proposed to give credit to knowledge workers/scientists for individual SSR activities in their annual performance appraisal and evaluation.
  • No institution would be allowed to outsource or sub-contract their SSR activities and projects.

Implementation

  • For implementation of the policy, a national portal will be developed up to capture societal needs requiring scientific interventions and as a platform for implementers and for reporting SSR activities.
  • A central agency will be established at DST to implement the SSR.
  • Other ministries would also be encouraged to make their own plans to implement SSR as per their mandate.
Real Estate Industry

Home buyers can start bankruptcy cases against errant buildersBills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Details of the bill

Mains level : Nothing much


NEWS

Supreme Court upheld the validity of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Act which empowered harassed home buyers to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against errant real estate builders.

Background

  1. Many real estate builders have been under fire for incomplete projects leaving home buyers in dire straits.
  2. The Act had brought the home buyers on par with the creditor banks of the property builder.
  3. Before the Amendment Act of 2018 came into existence, the assets of the bankrupt builder were divided among his employees, creditor banks and other operational creditors. Home buyers had hardly figured.

Arguments

  1. The builders argue that home buyers were already armed with the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA).
  2. SC reasoned that IBC and the RERA operate in different spheres and can be used harmoniously.
  3. IBC deals with the replacement of the bankrupt builder and lead to a resolution plan. The RERA’s purpose is to protect individual home buyers by requiring the promoter to strictly adhere to the purchase deal and complete the project within a stated period.
  4. As home buyers were a large, amorphous group, their presence in the CoC would be a nuisance. But, home buyers finance from 50% to even 100% of a housing project. Their absence from the CoC and denying them a voice on future plans would be “manifestly arbitrary.”

The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019Bills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Provisions of the bill

Mains level : Nothing much


Provisions of the bill

  1. The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019 was introduced by the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs
  2. It amends the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971.
  3. The Act provides for the eviction of unauthorized occupants from public premises in certain cases
  4.  Residential accommodation: it is the occupation of public premises by a person on the grant of a license for such an occupation. The occupation must be allowed under the rules made by the central, state or union territory government, or statutory authority.
  5. Notice for eviction: It requires an estate officer to issue a written notice to a person if he is in unauthorized occupation of residential accommodation. 
  6. Order of eviction: After considering the cause shown, and making any other inquiries, the estate officer will make an order for eviction.  If the person fails to comply with the order, the estate officer may evict such a person from the residential accommodation, and take possession of it. 
  7. Payment of damages: If the person in unauthorized occupation of the residential accommodation challenges the eviction order passed by the estate officer in court, he will be required to pay damages for every month of such an occupation. 
Food Safety Standards – FSSAI, food fortification, etc.

Five new rights you get as a consumerBills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Consumer Rights bill

Mains level : Consumer Protection law - analysis


NEWS

Consumer Protection Bill passed in Rajya Sabha

Provisions

  1. More responsibility on companies for misleading advertising and faulty products
  2. Lays out penalties for celebrities endorsing or promoting false advertising and adulterated goods

Additional consumer rights

  1. RIGHT TO FILE A COMPLAINT FROM ANYWHERE 
    1. file a complaint with the District Consumer Commission or State Consumer Commission from your place of residence or work instead of filing at a place of purchase or where the seller has its registered office
    2. A complaint can also be filed by a recognized consumer body or by multiple consumers with the same interest
    3. Consumer affairs ministry will frame rules for the filing of complaints electronically and will also specify norms for paying the required fee digitally
  2. RIGHT TO SEEK COMPENSATION UNDER PRODUCT LIABILITY 
    1. Can file a case against a product manufacturer or seller for any loss caused on account of a defective product. This applies to all services as well
    2. The manufacturer shall be held liable if there is a manufacturing defect or if there is a deviation from the manufacturing specifications or the product does not conform to the express warranty
    3. Recognizes “sharing personal information of consumers” as an unfair trade practice
  3. RIGHT TO PROTECT CONSUMERS AS A CLASS
    1. A complaint relating to the violation of consumer rights or unfair trade practices or misleading advertisements prejudicial to the interests of consumers may be forwarded either in writing or in electronic mode to any one of the authorities — district collector or commissioner of regional office or Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) for class action
  4. RIGHT TO SEEK A HEARING THROUGH VIDEO CONFERENCING
    1. Every complaint shall be heard by district commission on the basis of documentary evidence placed before it
    2. the commission can allow an application made for hearing or for an examination of parties through video conference
  5. RIGHT TO KNOW WHY A COMPLAINT WAS REJECTED
    1. The commission cannot reject a complaint without hearing the complainant
    2. Commission has to decide about admitting or rejecting a complaint within 21 days
    3. If the commission doesn’t decide within the time limit, it shall be deemed to have been admitted
    4. The commission can direct both parties to give their consent to have the dispute settled through mediation

Exceptions

  1. Endorser exercised due diligence to verify the veracity of the claims made in the advertisement regarding the product or service being endorsed
  2. The publisher has done an advertisement in the ordinary course of his business

Grey areas

  1. The government removed healthcare as one of the services to make the bill ‘non-controversial’
  2. While the CCPA will be a central regulator for consumer issues, there are other regulators for various sectors like telecom, insurance, which leaves the scope for overlapping jurisdictions and confusion
  3. The law proposes a 21-day deadline for hearing complaints, but 118 posts of president of consumer commissions and 362 posts of commission members are lying vacant in 596 districts

Other penalties

  1. Adulteration
    1. No injury to consumer – Up to 6 months jail with up to Rs 1 lakh fine
    2. Causes injury – Up to 1 year in jail & fine up to Rs 3 lakh
    3. Grievous injury – Up to 7 years in jail & fine up to Rs 5 lakh
  2. Non Compliance
    1. Failure to comply with an order of CCPA – Up to 6 months in jail/jail with fines up to Rs 20 lakh or both
    2. Failure to comply with orders of the district, state or national commission – Jail from 1 month – to 3 years/jail with fine from Rs 25,000 up to Rs 1 lakh or both
Special Category Status and States

Explained: Special Provisions for Other StatesBills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Special provisions in the constitution

Mains level : Nothing much


News
 The union government has revoked the ‘special status’ granted to Jammu and Kashmir by the Constitution.
 However, a range of “special provisions” for as many as 11 other states continue to be part of the Constitution.

Part XXI of the Constitution
 The part ‘Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions’, includes, apart from Article 370 (Temporary Provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir) Articles 371, 371A, 371B, 371C, 371D, 371E, 371F, 371G, 371H, and 371J.
 These define special provisions with regard to other states of the Indian Union.

Special Provisions but not special treatment
 All these provisions take into account the special circumstances of individual states, and lay down a wide range of specific safeguards that are deemed important for these states.
 In these range of Articles from 371 to 371J, Article 371I, which deals with Goa, stands out in the sense that it does not include any provision that can be deemed “special”.
 Article 371E, which deals with Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, too, is not that “special”.
 The special provisions laid down in Article 370 before it was modified were obviously much more farreaching than the special provisions for other states, described in Articles 371, 371A-H, and 371J.
The following special provisions are guaranteed by the Constitution to states
other than Jammu and Kashmir:
Maharashtra and Gujarat (Article 371)
The Governor has a “special responsibility”-
 To establish “separate development boards” for “Vidarbha, Marathwada, and the rest of Maharashtra”, and Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat;
 To ensure “equitable allocation of funds for developmental expenditure over the said areas”, and “equitable arrangement providing adequate facilities for technical education and vocational training, and adequate opportunities for employment” under the state government.

Nagaland (Article 371A, 13th Amendment Act, 1962)
 Parliament cannot legislate in matters of Naga religion or social practices, the Naga customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law.
 Parliament also cannot intervene in ownership and transfer of land and its resources, without the concurrence of the Legislative Assembly of the state.

 This provision was inserted in the Constitution after a 16-point agreement between the Centre and the Naga People’s Convention in 1960, which led to the creation of Nagaland in 1963.
 Also, there is a provision for a 35-member Regional Council for Tuensang district, which elects the Tuensang members in the Assembly.
 A member from the Tuensang district is Minister for Tuensang Affairs. The Governor has the final say on all Tuensang-related matters.
Assam (Article 371B, 22nd Amendment Act, 1969)
 The President of India may provide for the constitution and functions of a committee of the state Assembly consisting of members elected from the tribal areas of the state.
Manipur (Article 371C, 27th Amendment Act, 1971)
 The President of India may provide for the constitution and functions of a committee of elected members from the Hill areas of the state in the Assembly, and entrust “special responsibility” to the Governor to ensure its proper functioning.
 The Governor has to file a report every year on this subject to the President.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (Article 371D, 32nd Amendment Act, 1973; substituted by the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014)
 The President must ensure “equitable opportunities and facilities” in “public employment and education to people from different parts of the state”.
 He may require the state government to organise “any class or classes of posts in a civil service of, or any class or classes of civil posts under, the State into different local cadres for different parts of the State”, and allot them.
 The President has similar powers vis-à-vis admissions in any university or state government-run educational institution.
 Also, he may provide for setting up of an administrative tribunal outside the jurisdiction of the High Court to deal with issues of appointment, allotment or promotion in state civil services.
 Article 371E allows for the establishment of a university in Andhra Pradesh by a law of Parliament. But this is not really a ‘special provision’ in the sense of the other provisions in this part of the Constitution.
Sikkim (Article 371F, 36th Amendment Act, 1975)
 The members of the Legislative Assembly of Sikkim shall elect the representative of Sikkim in the House of the People.
 To protect the rights and interests of various sections of the population of Sikkim, Parliament may provide for the number of seats in the Assembly, which may be filled only by candidates from those sections.
 The Governor shall have “special responsibility for peace and for an equitable arrangement for ensuring the social and economic advancement of different sections of the population”.
 All earlier laws in territories that formed Sikkim shall continue, and any adaptation or modification shall not be questioned in any court.
Mizoram (Article 371G, 53rd Amendment Act, 1986)
 This provision lays down that Parliament cannot make laws on “religious or social practices of the Mizos, Mizo customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Mizo customary law, ownership and transfer of land… unless the Legislative
Assembly… by a resolution so decides”.
Arunachal Pradesh (Article 371H, 55th Amendment Act, 1986)
 The Governor has a special responsibility with regard to law and order, and he shall, after consulting the Council of Ministers, exercise his individual judgment as to the action to be taken.
 Should a question arise over whether a particular matter is one in which the Governor is “required to act in the exercise of his individual judgment, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final”, and “shall not be called in question”
Karnataka (Article 371J, 98th Amendment Act, 2012)
 There is a provision for the establishment of a separate development board for the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, the working of which will be reported annually to the Assembly.
 There shall be “equitable allocation of funds for developmental expenditure over the said region”, and “equitable opportunities and facilities” for people of this region in government jobs and education.
 An order can be made to provide for reservation “of a proportion” of seats and jobs in educational and vocational training institutions and state government organisations respectively in the Hyderabad-
Karnataka region for individuals who belong to that region by birth or domicile.

Surrogacy in India

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019Bills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Key provisions of the bill

Mains level : Analysis of the bill


News
 The Lok has passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 by a voice vote.
 The Bill seeks to ban commercial surrogacy and provides for constituting a National Surrogacy Board, State Surrogacy Boards, and the appointment of authorities for its regulation of practice and processes.

Defining Surrogacy
 The Bill defines surrogacy as a practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an intending couple with the intention to hand over the child after the birth to the intending couple.
Regulation of surrogacy
 The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy, but allows altruistic surrogacy.
 Altruistic surrogacy involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate  mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.
 Commercial surrogacy includes surrogacy or its related procedures undertaken for a monetary benefit or reward (in cash or kind) exceeding the basic medical expenses and insurance coverage.

Purposes for which surrogacy is permitted
Surrogacy is permitted when it is:
 for intending couples who suffer from proven infertility;
 altruistic;
 not for commercial purposes;
 not for producing children for sale, prostitution or other forms of exploitation; and
 for any condition or disease specified through regulations.

Eligibility criteria for intending couple
 The intending couple should have a ‘certificate of essentiality’ and a ‘certificate of eligibility’ issued by the appropriate authority.
 A certificate of essentiality will be issued upon fulfillment of the following conditions:
1. a certificate of proven infertility of one or both members of the intending couple from a District Medical Board;
2. an order of parentage and custody of the surrogate child passed by a Magistrate’s court; and
3. insurance coverage for a period of 16 months covering postpartum delivery complications for the surrogate.
 The certificate of eligibility to the intending couple is issued upon fulfillment of the following conditions:
1. the couple being Indian citizens and married for at least five years;
2. between 23 to 50 years old (wife) and 26 to 55 years old (husband);

3. they do not have any surviving child (biological, adopted or surrogate); this would not include a child who is mentally or physically challenged or suffers from life-threatening disorder or fatal illness; and
4. other conditions that may be specified by regulations.

Eligibility criteria for surrogate mother
To obtain a certificate of eligibility from the appropriate authority, the surrogate mother has to be:
 a close relative of the intending couple;
 a married woman having a child of her own;
 25 to 35 years old;
 a surrogate only once in her lifetime; and
 possess a certificate of medical and psychological fitness for surrogacy.  Further, the surrogate mother cannot provide her own gametes for surrogacy.

Appropriate authority
 The central and state governments shall appoint one or more appropriate authorities within 90 days of the Bill becoming an Act.
 The functions of the appropriate authority include;

1. granting, suspending or cancelling registration of surrogacy clinics;
2. enforcing standards for surrogacy clinics;
3. investigating and taking action against breach of the provisions of the Bill;
4. recommending modifications to the rules and regulations.

Registration of surrogacy clinics
 Surrogacy clinics cannot undertake surrogacy related procedures unless they are registered by the appropriate authority.
 Clinics must apply for registration within a period of 60 days from the date of appointment of the appropriate authority.

National and State Surrogacy Boards
 The central and the state governments shall constitute the National Surrogacy Board (NSB) and the State Surrogacy Boards (SSB), respectively.
 Functions of the NSB include, (i) advising the central government on policy matters relating to surrogacy; (ii) laying down the code of conduct of surrogacy clinics; and (iii) supervising the functioning of SSBs.

Parentage and abortion of surrogate child
 A child born out of a surrogacy procedure will be deemed to be the biological child of the intending couple.
 An abortion of the surrogate child requires the written consent of the surrogate mother and the authorisation of the appropriate authority.
 This authorisation must be compliant with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
 Further, the surrogate mother will have an option to withdraw from surrogacy before the embryo is implanted in her womb.

Offences and penalties
 The offences under the Bill include:
1. undertaking or advertising commercial surrogacy;
2. exploiting the surrogate mother;
3. abandoning, exploiting or disowning a surrogate child; and
4. selling or importing human embryo or gametes for surrogacy.

 The penalty for such offences is imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine up to 10 lakh rupees.
 The Bill specifies a range of offences and penalties for other contraventions of the provisions of the Bill.

Minority Issues – SC, ST, Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

President gives assent to Triple Talaq BillBills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the bill, President's assent

Mains level : Triple Talaq Issue


  • Hon’ble President gave his assent to the Triple Talaq bill, which makes giving instant oral triple talaq a criminal offense with provisions of jail term of up to three years.
  • The Triple Talaq law or the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights On Marriage) Act, 2019, has come into effect retrospectively from September 19, 2018.

Key provisions of the Act

Defining Triple Talaq

  • It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce.
  • Talaq-e-biddat refers to the practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce.

Offence and penalty

  • The Bill makes declaration of talaq a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years’ imprisonment with a fine. (A cognizable offence is one for which a police officer may arrest an accused person without warrant.)
  • The offence will be cognizable only if information relating to the offence is given by: (i) the married woman (against whom talaq has been declared), or (ii) any person related to her by blood or marriage.

Grant of Bail

  • The bail may be granted only after hearing the woman (against whom talaq has been pronounced), and if the Magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail.

Settlement

  • The offence may be compounded by the Magistrate upon the request of the woman (against whom talaq has been declared).
  • Compounding refers to the procedure where the two sides agree to stop legal proceedings, and settle the dispute. The terms and conditions of the compounding of the offence will be determined by the Magistrate.

Alimony

  • A Muslim woman, against whom talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children.
  • The amount of the allowance will be determined by the Magistrate.

Custody of Children

  • A Muslim woman, against whom such talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek custody of her minor children.
  • The manner of custody will be determined by the Magistrate.

Back2Basics

Presidents Assent and Vetoes

Veto Powers of the President of India – Comprehensive Notes

 

For additional readings navigate to the page:

[Burning Issue] Triple Talaq

Corporate Social Responsibility: Issues & Development

The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019Bills/Act/Laws

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Read the attached story


  • Lok Sabha has passed The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Highlights of the Amendment bill

Issue of dematerialized shares

  • Under the 2013 Act, certain classes of public companies can issue shares only in demat form.
  • The Bill states this may be prescribed for other classes of unlisted companies as well.

Re-categorization of Offences

  • Under the 2013 Act, there are 81 compoundable offences that carry punishments of a fine and/or prison terms. These offences are heard by courts.
  • The Bill makes 16 of these offences civil defaults, where government-appointed adjudicating officers may levy penalties.
  • Some of these offences are the issuance of shares at a discount, and the failure to file annual returns. The Bill also amends penalties for some other offences.

Corporate Social Responsibility

  • As of now, companies that are required to budget for CSR must disclose in their annual reports the reasons why they were unable to fully spend these funds.
  • Now, any unspent annual CSR funds must be transferred to one of the funds under Schedule 7 of the Act (for example, the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund) within six months of the financial year.

Debarring auditors

  • Under the Act, the National Financial Reporting Authority can debar a member or firm from practicing as a Chartered Accountant for six months to 10 years in case of proven misconduct.
  • The Bill amends this punishment to provide for debarment from appointment as an auditor or internal auditor of a company, or performing a company’s valuation, for the same period.

Registration of charges

  • Under the Act, companies must register charges (mortgages, etc.) on their property within 30 days of creation of the charge, extendable up to 300 days with permission from the Registrar of Companies.
  • The Bill changes the deadline to 60 days (extendable by 60 days).

Change in approving authority

  • Under the Act, change in period of financial year for a company associated with a foreign company, has to be approved by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
  • Any alteration in the incorporation document of a public company which has the effect of converting it to a private company, too, has to be approved by the NCLT.
  • Under the Bill, these powers have been transferred to the central government.

Compounding

  • Under the 2013 Act, a regional director can compound (settle) offences with a penalty of up to Rs 5 lakh.
  • This ceiling has been raised to Rs 25 lakh in the amendment.

Bar on holding office

  • Under the existing Act, the central government or certain shareholders can apply to the NCLT for relief against mismanagement of the affairs of the company.
  • The Bill states that in such a complaint, the government may also make a case against an officer of the company on the ground that he is not fit to hold office in the company, for reasons such as fraud or negligence.
  • If the NCLT passes an order against the officer, he will not be eligible to hold office in any company for five years.