Insights Daily Current Events, 03 November 2015
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
SC takes serious view of job scheme arrears
The Supreme Court has sought the Centre’s response on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition, alleging haphazard implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), and delay in payment of wages and compensation to labourers.
- According to the petitioner, the government has a pending liability of Rs. 3,200 crore in wages to be paid to workers and irregularities in the scheme have defeated the entire objective of securing livelihood for the people of rural India, the petition claimed.
- The petition has also sought setting up of independent social audit units and indexing wage rates for MGNREGS work at a rate higher than prescribed under the Minimum Wages Act.
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005, also known as the “Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act” is a labour law and social security measure.
- To guarantee the ‘right to work’ and ensure livelihood security in rural areas.
- To create durable assets that would augment the basic resources available to the poor.
- To follow the Directive Principles of State Policy enunciated in Part IV of the Constitution of India and conforms to the Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that defines the right to work as a basic human right.
- The scheme provides at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
- This law guarantees the right to work to the people of India and hence is termed as a “People’s Act”.
- The Act sets a minimum limit to the wages, to be paid with gender equality. The states are required to evolve a set of norms for the measurement of works and schedule of rates. The unemployment allowance must be paid if the work is not provided within the statutory limit of 15 days.
sources: the hindu, mgnrega.
Paper 3 Topic: Biodiversity.
Pelicans face disappointment
With the poor monsoon this year failing to replenish the Kolleru lake, Pelican birds will find the sanctuary less welcome than last year.
- Thousands of pelicans visit Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary every year for the annual breeding season.
- In a bid to help these birds, forest officials are pumping water from the Polraj drain to the lake to raise water levels up to 1 m as against the required average level of 3-4 m.
- On the other hand, the fish population in the pond is down to near zero. Most of the fish in the pond were caught in the summer when the water dried up completely. This will also directly impact the breeding of the pelicans.
- Kolleru lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes in the country. It is located between Krishna and Godavari delta.
- It was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1999.
- It is a Ramsar site.
- It is also listed as an Important Bird Area.
- Important avifauna of the lake include a variety of water fowls, ducks, teals, storks, egrets, herons, ibises, bitterns, cormorants and a number of waders. As many as 224 species of birds have been from in and around the lake.
Grey Pelicans in the area:
- The lake is known to amateur birdwatchers and professional ornithologists as a Pelicanery — a location where the Grey Pelicans, a large magnificent bird, nest and breed.
- Grey pelicans had vanished from the lake in 1973 for nearly 35 years and returned to it to nest again in December 2006. The Grey Pelican also called the Spot Billed Pelican is listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act and in the Red Data Book. It is also considered a “globally threatened species” under the “vulnerable” category.
- The Grey Pelican returned to the lake only after Operation Kolleru, in which the fish tanks were destroyed implementing a Supreme Court order.
sources: the hindu, wiki.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
India’s APEC membership not on the agenda, says U.S.
The U.S. has said that India’s desire for membership is not on the agenda of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum meeting which will be held in Manila in Philippines this month.
- During his recent visit to India, the US president Obama had supported India’s desire for membership. However, officials of the APEC say that President Obama had so far only welcomed India’s interest in joining the APEC.
- India has been an observer at the forum since 2011.
- The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. APEC has 21 members.
Aim: to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.
- APEC works to help all residents of the Asia-Pacific participate in the growing economy.
- APEC projects provide digital skills training for rural communities and help indigenous women export their products abroad.
- Recognizing the impacts of climate change, APEC members also implement initiatives to increase energy efficiency and promote sustainable management of forest and marine resources.
- The forum adapts to allow members to deal with important new challenges to the region’s economic well-being. This includes ensuring disaster resilience, planning for pandemics, and addressing terrorism.
- APEC’s 21 member economies are Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.
- APEC Members account for approximately 40% of the world’s population, approximately 54% of the world’s gross domestic product and about 44% of world trade.
In APEC, all economies have an equal say and decision-making is reached by consensus. There are no binding commitments or treaty obligations. Commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis and capacity building projects help members implement APEC initiatives. The APEC process is supported by a permanent secretariat based in Singapore.
sources: the hindu, apec.