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The Occupational safety, health and working conditions code, 2019

Mains Paper 2 : Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted For The Vulnerable Sections |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Provisions of the code

Mains level : Labour reforms in India


News

  • 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.
Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NREP

Mains level : Need for enhancing resource efficiency



News

  • 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.
Waste Management – SWM Rules, EWM Rules, etc

Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) Policy

Mains Paper 2 : NGO, SHG & Civil Society |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SSR

Mains level : Need for SSR Policy


News

  • 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.
Corporate Social Responsibility: Issues & Development

Home buyers can start bankruptcy cases against errant builders

Mains Paper 3 : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways Etc. |

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.”
Real Estate Industry

The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019

Mains Paper 2 : Government Scheme/Policies |

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. 

Five new rights you get as a consumer

Mains Paper 2 : Government Scheme/Policies |

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
Food Safety Standards – FSSAI, food fortification, etc.

Explained: Special Provisions for Other States

Mains Paper 2 : Schemes For Vulnerable Sections |

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.

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019

Mains Paper 2 : Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted For The Vulnerable Sections |

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.

Surrogacy in India

President gives assent to Triple Talaq Bill

Mains Paper 2 : Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted For The Vulnerable Sections |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the bill, President's assent

Mains level : Triple Talaq Issue


News

  • 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

Minority Issues – Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Mains Paper 2 : Governance, Transparency & Accountability, Citizens Charters |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Read the attached story


News

  • 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.
Corporate Social Responsibility: Issues & Development

Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Mains Paper 3 : Organized Crime & Terrorism |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UAPA Act

Mains level : Curbing terror related activities in India


News

  • The Lok Sabha has passed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill 2019, in a move that gives a big push to India’s internal security machinery.
  • The move comes after amendment to the NIA Bill.

About UAPA

  • The UAPA is an upgrade on the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act TADA, which was allowed to lapse in 1995 and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was repealed in 2004 .
  • It was originally passed in 1967 under the then Congress government led by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
  • 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.

Why amendment?

  • The Bill amends the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, providing special procedures to deal with terrorist activities, and individuals and groups that foster terrorism in India.

Key takeaways of the Bill

  • The proposed amendments to the existing Act redefines “Who may commit terrorism“, establishing that under the Act, the Centre may designate an organisation as a terrorist organisation if it commits or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for terrorism, promotes terrorism, or is otherwise involved in terrorism.
  • The Bill also additionally empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists on the same grounds.
  • The Bill also paves the way for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to seize property as part of investigations into terror cases.
  • At the same time, while the existing Act provides for investigation of cases to be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.
  • The proposed amendment additionally empowers the officers of the NIA to investigate cases — of the rank of Inspector or above.
  • Further, the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005) has also been added in the Second Schedule through this Amendment.

Why is UAPA amendment essential?

  • It is often accused that UAPA Act assigns absolute power to the central government to declare someone as terrorist.
  • Terrorism is not just fostered by the gun. Terrorism is also the spread of hate and radicalism.
  • If the bill is passed, a person can be declared a terrorist when they take part in terror activities, or provide funds, or harbour a terror theory and then spread it among youth.

Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Mains Paper 3 : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways Etc. |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Mains level : Key propositions of the bill and their necessity


News

  • Minister for Road Transport and Highways has been in the news as he pushes the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Parliament.
  • The amendments proposed by the government to the existing Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 essentially focus on improving road safety.

Key elements of the proposed amendment

Minimum Compensation

  • The Bill proposes to increase the minimum compensation for hit and run cases.
  • In particular, in case of death, such compensation would vary from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 Lakh.
  • In the case of grievous injury, it would vary from Rs 12,500 to Rs 50,000.
  • Beyond road safety, the Bill also increases penalties for several offences such as driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Cashless treatment of victims

  • The Bill also enables the Central government to develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during the “golden hour” (first 60 minutes following the injury during which doctors have the best chance of saving a life).

Accident Fund

  • The government’s insurance scheme is likely to be funded through a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund that the central government is expected to constitute to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India.
  • This fund will be available for the treatment of the injured.

Defining Good Samaritan

  • The Bill also defines a good samaritan as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at the scene of an accident.
  • However, to be seen as one, such assistance must have been given in good faith, voluntarily, and without the expectation of any reward.
  • If these conditions are met, such a person will not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of an accident victim, caused due to their negligence in assisting the victim.

National Road Safety Board

  • The Bill also proposes a National Road Safety Board which will advise the central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management.
  • The Bill also enables the central government to order a recall of motor vehicles if it is found that they are defective and can cause harm to other road users or the environment.
  • In case of such a recall, the manufacturers would either have to replace the faulty vehicle or pay full compensation to the customer.

Regulating digital intermediaries

  • The Bill also attempts to plug a policy gap that has been introduced by the emergence of shared economy concepts and technology.
  • As such, it defines taxi aggregators as digital intermediaries or market places which can be used by passengers to connect with a driver for transportation purposes.
  • These aggregators will be issued licenses by state, but, they must also comply with the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Road and Highway Safety – National Road Safety Policy, Good Samaritans, etc.

Private member’s Bill calls for two-child norm

Mains Paper 1 : Population & Associated Issues |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Private members

Mains level : Private member’s Bill


News

  • A nominated MP has introduced a private member’s Bill in the Rajya Sabha, seeking to enforce a two-child norm by giving incentives for those adopting the small family practice and penalties for those contravening it.

Population Regulation Bill, 2019

  • The bill introduced in the Upper House, suggests that people with more than two living children should be “disqualified” from being chosen as an MP, MLA or a member of any body of the local self government after the commencement of the Act.
  • Similarly, it suggests that government employees should give an undertaking that she or he will not procreate more than two children.
  • It says those government employees who have more than two children on or before the commencement of the Act should be exempted.
  • Other penalties include reduction in subsidies on loans and interest rates on savings instruments, reduction in benefits under the public distribution system, and higher than normal interest rates for availing loans from banks and financial institutions.
  • The provisions also list out several benefits for Central and public sector enterprise employees who adopt the two-child norm “by undergoing sterilization operation himself or of the spouse”.

Why such bill?

  • According to UN population projections, India is expected to become the most populated country by 2050.
  • The Bill as stated is intended to create a balance between people and the resources, human resources as well as natural resources.
  • 72 districts in the country have a total fertility rate of more than four children per woman.
  • There is also a case of regional imbalance….while the southern and western states are better off, in the northern and eastern states of India, birth control is either not accepted or not applied.

Back2Basics

Private member’s bill

  • Members of Parliament other than ministers are called private members and bills presented by them are known as private member’s bills.
  • A private member bill can be introduced by both ruling party and opposition MPs.
  • They can introduce a bill in the parliament after giving prior notice of one month.
  • The bill needs to be passed in both houses of parliament.
  • Once passed in both the houses, bill needs to get assent of the president to become an act.
  • By set tradition, President can easily exercise his absolute veto power against such bills.
  • In Lok Sabha, the last two and a half hours of a sitting on every Friday are generally allotted for transaction of “Private Members’ Business”, i.e., Private Members’ Bills and Private Members’ Resolutions.

Centre to streamline labour laws into set of 4 codes

Mains Paper 2 : Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted For The Vulnerable Sections |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Minimum Wages



News

  • The government in its second term would streamline several existing labour laws into a set of four labour codes in a move aimed at reducing disputes.

Set of four labour laws

  • The government is proposing to streamline multiple labour laws into a set of four labour codes.
  • The government wants to concise 44 labour laws into four broad codes on wages, social security, industrial safety and welfare, and industrial relations.
  • This will ensure that process of registration and filing of returns will get standardised and streamlined.
  • The Bill will replace the current Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.
  • It provides that the Central government will fix minimum wages for certain sectors, including railways and mines, while the states would be free to set minimum wages for another category of employment.
  • The code also provides for setting up of a national minimum wage.
  • The Central government can set a separate minimum wage for different regions or states.
  • The draft law also says that the minimum wage would be revised every five years.

Beginning with wages

  • The first of these labour codes– Wage Code Bill –will likely be enacted in the ongoing budget session, paving the way for benchmarking minimum wage for different regions.

For more reading, navigate to:

New Code on Wages Bill

Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

New Code on Wages Bill

Mains Paper 2 : Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted For The Vulnerable Sections |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Minimum Wages. MGNREGS

Mains level : Read the attached story


News

New Code on Wages Bill

  • The Union Cabinet has cleared the new version of Code on Wages Bill, which seeks to define the norms for fixing minimum wages.
  • It will be applicable to workers of organised and unorganised sectors, except government employees and MNREGA workers.
  • It will amalgamate the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

New determining factors of wages

  • As per the Bill, minimum wages will be linked only to factors such as skills and geographical regions.
  • At present, minimum wages are fixed on the basis of categories such as skilled, unskilled, semi-skilled, high skilled, geographical regions, and nature of work such as mining.
  • These are applicable for 45 scheduled employments in the central sphere and 1709 scheduled employments in states.
  • This is expected to effectively reduce the number of minimum wage rates across the country to 300 from about 2,500 minimum wage rates at present.

Floor Wage

  • A National Floor Level Minimum Wage will be set by the Centre to be revised every five years, while states will fix minimum wages for their regions, which cannot be lower than the floor wage.
  • The current floor wage, which was fixed in 2017, is at Rs 176 a day, but some states have minimum wages lower than it such as Andhra Pradesh (Rs 69) and Telangana (Rs 69).

Importance

  • An effective minimum wage policy is a potential tool not only for the protection of low paid workers but is also an inclusive mechanism for more resilient and sustainable economic development.
  • A simple, coherent and enforceable Minimum Wage System should be designed with the aid of technology as minimum wages push wages up and reduce wage inequality without significantly affecting employment.
Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

[pib] Parliament passes the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill, 2019

Mains Paper 2 : Government Scheme/Policies |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the bill, President's assent

Mains level : Particulars of the Bill


News

  • The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill, 2019 has been passed by both the houses of Parliament.
  • The Bill will now be sent for President’s assent.

About the Bill

  • The Bill replaces the “The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019”.
  • The new bill considers the University/College as one unit restoring earlier reservation system based on 200 point roster.
  • No longer will ‘Department/Subject’ be treated as one unit.
  • This decision will:
  1. Allow up of more than 7000 existing vacancies in Central Educational Institutions and pave the way for filling up 3 lakh vacancies in the Government (Central and State) Educational institutions by direct recruitment in Teacher’s Cadre.
  2. Ensure compliance of the Constitutional Provisions of Articles 14, 16 and 21.
  3. Ensure full representation of the Scheduled Castes/ the Scheduled Tribes, the socially and Educationally Backward Classes and Economically Weaker Sections in direct recruitment in teachers’ cadres.
  • This decision is also expected to improve the teaching standards in the higher educational institutions by attracting all eligible talented candidates belonging SCs/STs/SEBCs/EWS.
  • It will also ensure providing of 10% reservation to EWS.
Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Cabinet clears Bill banning Commercial Surrogacy

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Surrogacy

Mains level : Surrogacy regulation in India


News

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the introduction of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 to ban commercial surrogacy in India.

Background

  • India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from other countries.
  • There have been reports concerning unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy, and rackets involving intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes.
  • The 228th report of the Commission of India has recommended prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing altruistic surrogacy by enacting suitable legislation.

What is Surrogacy?

  • Surrogacy is considered one of many assisted reproductive technologies.
  • It is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman (the surrogate mother) agrees to become pregnant and give birth to a child for another person(s) who is or will become the parent(s) of the child.
  • People may seek a surrogacy arrangement when pregnancy is medically impossible, when pregnancy risks are too dangerous for the intended mother, or when a single man or a male couple wishes to have a child.

About the Bill

  • The Bill proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and State Surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities in the State and UTs.
  • It aims to prohibit commercial surrogacy and allows surrogacy services only for married Indian couples who have no children.

Why such bill again?

  • The Bill had been passed by the 16th Lok Sabha but lapsed after it did not clear the Rajya Sabha.
  • There have been several reports about the exploitation of surrogate mothers, who are confined to “hostels” during pregnancy.
  • They are not allowed to meet their families and were forced to do it for a paltry amount, putting their own bodies at risk.

Benefits

  • The benefits of the Act would be that it will regulate the surrogacy services in the country.
  • While commercial surrogacy will be prohibited including sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes, ethical surrogacy to the infertile couples will be allowed on fulfillment of conditions.
  • It will also prohibit exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy.

Assist this newscard with:

Explained: Altruistic Surrogacy

 

Surrogacy in India

Explained: Why govt wants to bank DNA

Mains Paper 2 : Governance, Transparency & Accountability, Citizens Charters |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Debate over the proposed legislation


Context

  • The Union Cabinet cleared the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill once again, paving the way for its reintroduction in Parliament.
  • The Bill had been passed by Lok Sabha in January this year, but could not get the approval of Rajya Sabha before general elections.
  • The fresh clearance by the Cabinet is the third attempt since 2003 by the government to enact a law to regulate the use of DNA technology in the country.
  • The text of the Bill has undergone several changes over the years to address some of the concerns on privacy and the possibility of abuse.

DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill

  • The Bill seeks to create a regulatory framework for obtaining, storing and testing of DNA samples of human beings, mainly for the purposes of criminal investigations, and with the objective of establishing the identity of a person.
  • DNA testing is already being used for a variety of purposes, such as criminal investigations, establishment of parentage, and search for missing people.
  • The proposed law seeks to bring in a supervisory structure to oversee these practices, and frame guidelines and rules so that the DNA technology is not misused.
  • To achieve these objectives, the bill proposes to set up two institutional structures — a DNA regulatory board, and a DNA data bank — at the national level.
  • Regional centres of the board as well as the data bank can be set up at the state level as well.

Supervisory structure

  • The DNA regulatory board, which is proposed to be the main regulatory authority, would frame the rules and guidelines for DNA collection, testing and storage.
  • The data bank would be the repository of all DNA samples collected from various people under specified rules.
  • The Bill proposes that testing of DNA samples can be carried out only at laboratories that are authorised to do so by the regulatory board.
  • The bill also specifies the circumstances under which a person can be asked to submit DNA samples, the purposes for which such requests can be made, and the exact procedure for handling, storing and accessing these samples.

DNA Regulatory Board

  • The Regulatory Board will comprise 12 members.
  • Some of them will be experts in the field of biological sciences, whereas the others will be the director-general of the NIA, the directors of the CBI, the heads of the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics and the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, and a member of the NHRC.
  • The principal responsibility of the Board will be to accredit DNA-testing labs from which data can be collected for the databank and ensure they maintain high quality standards at all times.

Collecting DNA samples

  • DNA samples can be collected from the objects found at the crime scene, or from the body of the accused or volunteer.
  • The samples, collected by an authorised technician or medical practitioner, would have to be sent to an accredited laboratory for tests and analysis.
  • The information generated from these tests would have to be mandatorily shared with the nearest DNA data bank, which in turn, would be required to share it with the national data bank.

DNA data banks

  • Under the provisions, the data banks are required to store the information under one of the five indices — a crime scene index, a suspect or undertrial index, an offenders’ index, a missing persons’ index, and an unknown deceased persons’ index.
  • Although information from DNA can yield a lot of information about the person, the data banks are supposed to store only that information that is necessary to establish the identity of the person.
  • While the information in the crime scene index can be stored permanently, entries in other indices can be removed through processes prescribed.

Removal of information

  • People whose DNA samples have been collected, either from the crime scene, or through voluntary written consent, can also request the removal of their information from the index.
  • DNA samples of people who are not suspects or undertrials cannot be matched with already stored information in the suspects/undertrial index or the offenders’ index.

Using DNA samples

  • According to the provisions of the proposed law, police can ask for DNA samples of the person accused of an offence to facilitate their investigation.
  • But unless the offence is of a very serious nature, punishable by death or by imprisonment for at least seven years, the DNA sample can be obtained only on the written consent of the accused.
  • It can be also be obtained if an authorised magistrate is satisfied that a DNA test is absolutely necessary for investigation of the crime.
  • People who are witness to a crime, or want to locate their missing relatives, or in similar other circumstances, can volunteer to give their DNA samples, again through written consent.

Criticisms  of the bill

I. Over matter of Consent

  • Written consent is required from everyone for their DNA samples to be collected, processed and included in the database except from those who have committed crimes with punishment of 7+ years or death.
  • However, a similarly specific instruction is missing for the collection of DNA samples for civil matters. Such matters include parentage disputes, emigration or immigration and transplantation of human organs.
  • The Bill also doesn’t state that the consent has to be voluntary.

II. Civil Disputes

  • Second, it’s not clear if DNA samples collected to resolve civil disputes will also be stored in the databank (regional or national), although there is no index specific for the same.
  • If they will be stored, then the problem cascades because the Bill also does not provide for information, consent and appeals.
  • If a person’s DNA data has entered the databank, there is no process specified by which they can have it removed.
  • All of these issues together could violate the right to privacy.

III. Authenticity of DNA Labs

  • There’s also the question of whether the DNA labs accredited by the Regulatory Board are allowed to store copies of the samples they analyse.
  • And if so, how the owners of those samples can ensure the data is safe or needs to be removed from their own indices.
  • It’s unclear if the Regulatory Board will oversee other tests performed at the accredited labs.
  • This could become necessary because, unlike one’s biometric data or PAN number, the human genome contains lots of information about every individual.

IV. Overreaching access to identity

  • So a test undertaken to ascertain a person’s identity by analysing her DNA will in the process also reveal a lot of other things about that person, including information about their ancestry, diseases to which they are susceptible, etc. – i.e. information that the individual has a right to keep private.
  • The Bill does not specify which parts of an individual’s DNA can be analysed to ascertain their identity.
  • The more parts are subjected to analysis, the more conclusively a person’s identity can be established.
  • But this can’t be used as a license to parse more than is necessary, because then the DNA lab is also likely to reveal more information than it has the right to seek.

Govt. stance on this

  • The government, on the other hand, has been arguing that since DNA tests are already happening, and frequently used as the most reliable tool to establish identity.
  • It would be better to have regulatory safeguards so that it is carried out only in prescribed manner and by authorised personnel and institutions.
  • The government has also claimed that very limited information is proposed to be stored in the indices — just 17 sets of numbers out of billions that DNA samples can reveal.
Right To Privacy

[pib] Space Activities Bill

Mains Paper 3 : Awareness In The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Space Activities Bill

Mains level : Promoting private space activities in India


News

  • India has begun prelegislative consultations on a “Space Activities Bill” that is designed to encourage domestic private rocket and satellite companies to offer services for Indian and global customers.

About the Space Activities Bill, 2017

  • The Bill will address the liability issues arising from their space activities, in a suitable/ rational manner, in line with international practices.
  • The government first introduced the Bill in 2017.

Key propositions of the Bill

  • The provisions of this Act shall apply to every citizen of India and to all sectors engaged in any space activity in India or outside India
  • A non-transferable licence shall be provided by the Central Government to any person carrying out commercial space activity
  • The Central Government will formulate the appropriate mechanism for licensing, eligibility criteria, and fees for licence.
  • The government will maintain a register of all space objects (any object launched or intended to be launched around the earth) and develop more space activity plans for the country
  • It will provide professional and technical support for commercial space activity and regulate the procedures for conduct and operation of space activity
  • It will ensure safety requirements and supervise the conduct of every space activity of India and investigate any incident or accident in connection with the operation of a space activity.
  • It will share details about the pricing of products created by space activity and technology with any person or any agency in a prescribed manner.
  • If any person undertakes any commercial space activity without authorisation they shall be punished with imprisonment up to 3 years or fined more than ₹1 crore or both.

Why reconsider the Bill?

  • The current space policy does not cover liabilities for damage to third party space assets although the country is a signatory to the UN Treaties on Outer Space activity.
  • The Bill will help formulate necessary rules under the Space Activities Act to deal with damages under the liability provisions and the mode of securing financial guarantee to compensate for damages.
  • This bill would address a long-pending concern on covering liabilities in the event of a mishap or damage to spacecraft.

For tapping global opportunities

  • India’s PSLV has emerged as the preferred rocket to hurl small satellites globally.
  • India is also working on a small satellite launch vehicle that is designed to tap the global opportunity to carry satellites of less than 50 kg into space.
  • The US, France and the EU have legislations that underwrite costs of damage if it exceeds insurance when a private satellite launch goes awry or a rocket hits another object in space.

With inputs from: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/the-hindu-explains-what-is-the-space-activities-bill-2017/article20680984.ece

ISRO Missions and Discoveries

[pib] New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019

Mains Paper 2 : International Institutions |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Arbitration

Mains level : NDIAC


News

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Bill New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) Bill, 2019 for introduction in the ensuing session of Parliament.

About the Bill

  • In view of the provisions of the Article 107 (5) and 123 (2) of the Constitution, the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019 is proposed to be introduced in the Parliament.
  • The Bill provides for setting up of an independent an autonomous body for institutional arbitration.
  • It aims to acquire and transfer the undertakings of International Centre For Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR) to New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC).

New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC)

  • The NDIAC will be headed by a Chairperson, who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or a Judge of a High Court or an eminent person, having special knowledge and experience in the conduct or administration of arbitration, law or management,
  • He is to be appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.
  • Besides, it will also have two Full-time or Part-time Members from amongst eminent persons having substantial knowledge and experience in institutional arbitration in both domestic and international.
  • In addition, one representative of a recognized body of commerce and industry shall be nominated on rotational basis as a Part-time Member.
  • The Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice, Financial Adviser nominated by Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance and Chief Executive Officer, NDIAC will be ex-officio Members.

Aims and objectives of NDIAC

  • bring targeted reforms to develop itself as a flagship institution for conducting international and domestic arbitration
  • provide facilities and administrative assistance for conciliation, mediation and arbitral proceedings;
  • maintain panels of accredited arbitrators, conciliators and mediators both at national and international level or specialists such as surveyors and investigators;
  • facilitate conducting of international and domestic arbitrations and conciliation in the most professional manner;
  • provide cost effective and timely services for the conduct of arbitrations and conciliations at Domestic and International level;
  • promote studies in the field of alternative dispute resolution and related matters, and to promote reforms in the system of settlement of disputes; and
  • co-operate with other societies, institutions and organisations, national or international for promoting alternative dispute resolution.

Impact

  • The benefits of institutionalized arbitration will be manifold for the Government and its agency and to the parties to a dispute.
  • This will result in quality experts being available in India and also an advantage in terms of cost incurred.
  • It will facilitate India becoming a hub for institutional arbitration.

Back2Basics

International Arbitration in India

  • It has been the endeavor of the Government of India to establish an independent and autonomous institution for resolving International and domestic commercial disputes expeditiously by Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism.
  • In this regard, a HL Committee headed by Mr. Justice B.N. Srikrishna, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, was constituted in the year 2017.
  • The HLC recommended that the Government may take over the International Centre For Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR), an existing institution which has been established in the year 1995 using the public funds and develop it as an Institution of National Importance.
  • Taking into consideration the HLC’s recommendations, a Bill, namely the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) Bill 2018 was approved.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism – NCA, Lok Adalats, etc.