Insights Daily Current Events, 10 June 2016

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Insights Daily Current Events, 10 June 2016


 

Paper 3 Topic: infrastructure.

 

DMIC states asked to mull options to 5 gas-fired plants

 

The Centre has asked three states along the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) to consider using land allotted for five gas-based power plants to set up “industrial areas” or renewable energy projects following the non-availability of gas.

Background:

The gas-fired projects, each with capacity of 1,000-1,200 MW, were to come up in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat as part of the corridor. However, the structuring and implementation of these projects is pending since long due to the lack of availability of domestic gas. Hence, the projects became non-viable.

About DMIC:

Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor is a mega infra-structure project of USD 90 billion with the financial & technical aids from Japan, covering an overall length of 1483 KMs between the political capital and the business capital of India, i.e. Delhi and Mumbai. A MoU in this regard was signed in 2006.

  • The project would include six mega investment regions of 200 square kilometres each and will run through six states Delhi, Western Uttar Pradesh, Southern Haryana, Eastern Rajasthan, Eastern Gujarat, and Western Maharashtra.
  • The project aims to develop an environmentally sustainable, long lasting and technological advanced infrastructure utilizing cutting age Japanese technologies and to create world class manufacturing and investment destinations in this region.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Saudi plan to tax expats creates unease

 

Saudi Arabia is considering a plan to tax millions of foreign residents as the kingdom seeks to reduce its reliance on oil revenue after the plunge in crude prices.

  • The proposal was included in the Saudi’s National Transformation Plan, an ambitious multi-year program released recently. The government has, however, made it clear that the tax element is only an initiative that will be discussed.

How will this help Saudi?

  • Deepening the taxation base will be an important step in increasing non-oil revenue for the country. Introducing the tax could support efforts to create more jobs for nationals.
  • The government wants to get more Saudi nationals into private sector jobs instead of working in well-paid but marginally productive roles for the government, something that labour reforms since 2011 have already tried to achieve. Increasing the cost of foreign workers through the imposition of an income tax will help make locals more competitive hires.

Negative implications:

  • If the proposal is implemented it could hamper the kingdom’s ability to attract the foreign investment it needs to revive growth hit by the oil slump.
  • It may also reduce the competitiveness of Saudi Arabia to attract labour.
  • A tax on foreigners may end up being borne by their employers, who will find it more difficult to attract staff and fill posts whether it’s for low or high wage jobs.

Background:

The status of Gulf Arab monarchies as tax-free havens has helped attract millions of foreign workers. The revenue wasn’t missed when oil prices were high, but some economists say introducing income tax may be inevitable now. There are nine million foreigners living and working in Saudi Arabia.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Sexual harassment law likely to be amended

 

The Centre is contemplating an amendment to the rules on dealing with sexual harassment cases to make the committee on sexual harassment share its findings with the complainant in cases where no action is recommended or contemplated against the accused.

Details:

  • With this, the panel will not only have to provide a copy of its report to the complainant but would also have to consider any representation against its findings as an appeal before completing its report.
  • Where a Complaint Committee has not recommended any action against the charged officer in a case involving allegations of sexual harassment, the disciplinary authority shall supply a copy of the Report of the Complaints Committee to the complainant.
  • These changes are aimed at providing more security to women government employees at work place and avoid any litigation in such cases.

Benefits:

  • There may be instances where a complainant can be aggrieved in cases she find co-employee accused of sexually harassing her has not been found guilty. As per existing rules, she would go for appeal to tribunal or court after the final verdict which may delay the justice.
  • By these proposed changes, a woman complainant will come to know in advance in case a complaint committee looking into such charges does not recommend action against the accused.
  • The complainant will be able to appeal in such matter when the matter is being examined and it will be considered by disciplinary authority before arriving on its final decision. Existing rules allow appeal by complainants in tribunal or court against the final order only.

THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN AT WORKPLACE (PREVENTION, PROHIBITION AND REDRESSAL) ACT 2013:

The Act seeks to cover all women, irrespective of their age or employment status and protect them against sexual harassment at all workplaces both in public and private sector, whether organized or unorganized.

Some important provisions of the Act:

  • The Act defines sexual harassment at the work place and creates a mechanism for redressal of complaints. It also provides safeguards against false or malicious charges.
  • The definition of “aggrieved woman”, who will get protection under the Act is extremely wide to cover all women, irrespective of her age or employment status, whether in the organized or unorganized sectors, public or private and covers clients, customers and domestic workers as well.
  • Along with the traditional office set-up where there is a clear employer-employee relationship, the Act also includes organisations, department, office, branch unit etc. in the public and private sector, organized and unorganized, hospitals, nursing homes, educational institutions, sports institutes, stadiums, sports complex and any place visited by the employee during the course of employment including the transportation.
  • Every employer is required to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee at each office or branch with 10 or more employees. The District Officer is required to constitute a Local Complaints Committee at each district, and if required at the block level.
  • The Committee is required to complete the inquiry within a time period of 90 days. On completion of the inquiry, the report will be sent to the employer or the District Officer, as the case may be, they are mandated to take action on the report within 60 days.
  • The Complaints Committees have the powers of civil courts for gathering evidence. The Complaints Committees are required to provide for conciliation before initiating an inquiry, if requested by the complainant.
  • Penalties have been prescribed for employers. Non-compliance with the provisions of the Act shall be punishable with a fine of up to 50,000. Repeated violations may lead to higher penalties and cancellation of licence or registration to conduct business.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment includes physical contact and advances, demand or request for sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks, showing any pornography and any other unwelcome physical, verbal, non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature. Besides, implied or explicit promise of preferential or detrimental treatment in employment, implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status, interference with her work and humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety may also amount to sexual harassment.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: conservation.

 

‘Revered’ nilgai turns farmers’ enemy

 

The environment ministry has allowed culling of nilgai in Bihar. They were seen as a “menace” for farmers. The crop-raiding species is found on acres of agricultural fields in riverine areas of the Ganga and Gandak basins. Bihar’s farmers have been demanding a licence from the State government to cull the blue bulls.  

Background:

Increasing man-animals conflict that causes damage to crops and other human property had led the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC), in June 2015, to ask states to send proposals to declare wild animals vermin for specified period in a given area.

What happens when animals are declared Vermin?

  • Once declared vermin, that particular species can be hunted or culled without restriction.
  • If implemented, it will apply to wild animals listed in various Schedules of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) 1972, other than Schedule I & Part II of Schedule II that lists most endangered and iconic species like tigers, leopards, and elephants.

Existing legal provisions for objective management of man-animal conflict:

  • Section 11(1)a of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) authorizes chief wildlife warden to permit hunting of any problem wild animal only if it cannot be captured, tranquillized or translocated.
  • For wild animals in Schedule II, III or IV, chief wildlife warden or authorized officers can permit their hunting in a specified area if they have become dangerous to humans or property (including standing crops on any land).
  • Section 62 of Act empowers Centre to declare wild animals other than Schedule I & II to be vermin for specified area and period.

About Nilgai:

  • Nilgai, also called bluebuck, the largest Asian antelope (family Bovidae). The nilgai is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is the only one of the four Indian antelopes that is still abundant.
  • It is the largest of all Asian antelopes and is one of the most commonly seen wild animals in all of India.
  • The nilgai is categorised as Least Concern by the IUCN.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Safety body mooted to put the brakes on road accidents

 

The Centre has decided to form the National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board through an executive order after it failed to push the Road Safety Bill owing to the logjam in Parliament.

Details:

  • This board will help the government to lay down standards and oversee activities related to road safety. It would be funded by the Ministry. It will be mandated to advise on rules and regulations, road safety and road engineering.
  • The proposed body will have a permanent office and five or six members with expertise in road engineering, road safety, automobile manufacturing, traffic and trauma care. It will also have a joint secretary from the Ministry as its member.

However, experts say that setting up a road safety body through an executive order makes it toothless.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: conservation.

 

Ken-Betwa project, a threat to wildlife?

 

Environmentalists have opposed Ken-Betwa River linking project. They warn of the dangers to the ecology and animal life due to the proposed Ken-Betwa project. Hence, this project has become a stage for a unique man-animal conflict.

Details:

  • Proponents of the project say that the proposed Daudhan dam and the 2.5 km canal — the key structures of the project — that will transfer surplus water from the Uttar Pradesh section of the Ken to the Betwa in Madhya Pradesh are critical to irrigate nearly 7,00,000 hectares in drought-ravaged Bundelkhand.
  • But, opponents say such a dam will submerge at least 4,000 hectares of Madhya Pradesh’s Panna tiger reserve, whose tigers were almost lost to poaching in 2009 and have only recently been partially replenished.
  • They also allege that most districts in Madhya Pradesh will not actually get the promised water. There are vultures in the region, whose nests will be threatened by the height of the dam.

Background:

Since the project involves clearing forest land, affects endangered animals and involves relocating some farmers, it requires multi-pronged environmental clearance by the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change. The National Board for Wildlife has constituted a committee of experts, which includes ecologists, hydrologists, representatives from the Water Ministry, and tiger conservationists to study the impact on wildlife. Their go-ahead is essential for the environmental impact assessment and forest clearance by the Madhya Pradesh government. These authorities have given an ‘in-principle’ clearance but funds for the project — Rs. 9,000 crore — won’t be cleared by the Union Cabinet unless all the clearances are in order.

About the project:

The Ken and Betwa rivers in the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh (MP) are to be linked under an historic agreement that marks the first such project in India’s ambitious and controversial national river-linking project.

  • The project envisages construction of a dam across river Ken in Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh to irrigate 6.35 lakh hectare area of land, drinking water purposes and generation of 78 MW hydropower.
  • The project comprises two powerhouse of 2×30 MW and 3×6 MW each, two tunnels of 1.9 km long upper level, 1.1 km long tunnel lower level and a 221 km long Ken-Betwa link canal, proposed on the left bank of the river.
  • The project will provide irrigation facilities for 6,35,661 hectares of land in Panna, Chhattarpur, Tikamgarh districts in Madhya Pradesh, and Banda, Mahoba and Jhansi districts in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The project was first mooted in the early 1980s but was actively taken up by the NDA government under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It was then challenged in the Supreme Court, which finally gave the nod in 2013.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

  • UNGA member states have adopted a new political declaration, including time-bound global targets, to be reached over the next five years and end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. India has proposed a five-point strategy to end AIDS. The five point strategy includes adoption of the fast-track target; reaching 90 per cent of all people in need with HIV treatment; commitment to maintain the TRIPS flexibilities; creating an inclusive society with programmes that work towards restoring the respect and dignity of individuals, and lastly, global solidarity.