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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 24 November 2017
Topic: Role of women and women’s organization.
‘Safe city’ plan for women
The Central government recently began a process of formulating a comprehensive safe city plans for women in eight metropolitan cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Hyderabad. The process was started in the Steering Committee meeting constituted by the Home Ministry under the chairmanship of Union Home Secretary and attended by Municipal Commissioners, Police Commissioners, senior state government officials and civil society representatives.
During the meeting, a comprehensive review of the progress made and steps taken by the police and civil administration of these eight metropolitan cities regarding women’s safety was taken up.
Initiatives taken so far:
Various initiatives have been taken by these cities for women’s safety. These initiatives include Himmat App, All Women Patrol Van, Shishtachar programme of Delhi Police, SHE teams, Hawkeye Mobile App and Bharosa programme of Hyderabad police, Suraksha App of Bengaluru police and Power Angels of Uttar Pradesh Police.
The steps taken by other metro cities include mobile counselling vans for hearing the grievances of women, lighting in the suburban railway station areas, complaint boxes in the colleges, dedicated helpline for women, awareness programmes organised by the police, setting up of shelter homes for women and making provisions for street lighting.
What else is needed?
Independent analysis and feedback system should be institutionalised to assess the perception of women on ground regarding their safety issues and emphasised on “targeted intervention” by police and civil administration for larger impact on women’s safety.
Also, there is a need for Integrated Command and Control Centres and collaborative monitoring by police and privately installed CCTV cameras. This integration should be in a time-bound and phased manner.
At the end of the meeting, it was decided that police and municipal corporations of these eight cities will frame a plan of action. The plan will be forwarded by the respective state-level committee headed by the Chief Secretary of the state and the plan of action to be submitted by these cities within a month will be assessed by the Steering Committee, which will make suitable recommendations.
GS Paper 2:
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)
Following the impasse over the Bill to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) in the last session of Parliament, the Union government is set to reintroduce the Bill in the Lok Sabha in the forthcoming Winter Session.
The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Third Amendment) Bill, 2017 to bring NCBC, set up in 1993, on a par with National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and National Commisson for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), was passed by the Lok Sabha. But, in Rajya Sabha, a crucial amendment to Clause III was moved. The amendment expanded the three-member commission to five so as to give representation to a woman and a person from minority community and mandated that all five members should necessarily be from Other Backward Classes (OBC). Another amendment sought to protect the federal structure by giving states a significant role in making recommendations to the list.
In the end, the government decided to put the Bill to vote after dropping Clause III. With separate versions of the Bill being passed in the two Houses, it will now have to be passed once again in Lok Sabha.
The Constitution Amendment Bill is for:
- Constitution of a Commission under Article 338B for socially and educationally backward classes by name of National Commission for Backward Classes.
- Insertion of Clause (26C) under Article 366 with modified definition viz. “socially and educationally backward classes” means such backward classes as are so deemed under Article 342A for the purpose, this Constitution.
Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the duties of the NCBC will include: (i) investigating and monitoring how safeguards provided to the backward classes under the Constitution and other laws are being implemented, (ii) inquiring into specific complaints regarding violation of rights, and (iii) advising and making recommendations on socio-economic development of such classes. The central and state governments will be required to consult with the NCBC on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.
Significance of this move:
The NCBC currently plays a recommendatory role to the government on inclusion or exclusion of a community in the Central list of OBC. The proposed legislation will allow the NCBC to look at grievance redressal and safeguarding the interest of OBCs, powers that until now vested with the SC Commission.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential.
The government has launched a new all-in-one application called Umang which offers 100+ center and state government services under a one-single platform.
About Umang app:
What is it?
Umang is an initiative to promote Digital India program. The term — Umang stands for Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance and is envisaged to make e-governance. The application is developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD) in order to drive Mobile Governance in India.
The key goal of launching this application is to allow the citizens of India do everything online, at just a click – be it making a passport, Aadhaar or Pan, book a gas cylinder, know about your Provident fund account or resolving an Aadhaar related. Umang app basically provides a unified approach where you can install one application to avail multiple government services — almost over 100 of them.
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
China forges ‘strategic’ ties with Djibouti after opening base
China and Djibouti have agreed to elevate their nations’ diplomatic relations. The two countries have agreed to form a “strategic partnership”.
China is constructing its first overseas military base in Djibouti — just a few miles from Camp Lemonnier, one of the Pentagon’s largest and most important foreign installations. With this, United States and China will become neighbours in this sun-scorched patch of East African desert.
Base at Djibouti:
The establishment of the PLA Djibouti base was a decision made by the two countries after friendly negotiations, and accords with the common interest of the people from both sides. The base is aimed at ensuring China’s performance of missions, such as escorting, peace-keeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and West Asia.
The base will also conduct overseas tasks, including military cooperation, joint exercises, evacuating and protecting overseas Chinese and emergency rescue, as well as jointly maintaining security of international strategic seaways.
Djibouti, officially the Republic of Djibouti, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east.
Sources: the hindu.
GS Paper 3:
Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country.
Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017
Context: The government has promulgated the Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 to exempt bamboo grown in non-forest areas from definition of tree, thereby dispensing with the requirement of felling/transit permit for its economic use. However, bamboo grown in the forest areas shall continue to be governed by the provisions of Indian Forest Act, 1927.
A major objective of the amendment is to promote cultivation of bamboo in non-forest areas to achieve twin objectives of increasing the income of farmers and also increasing the green cover of the country.
What necessitated this move?
Bamboo, though, taxonomically a grass, was legally defined as a tree under the Indian Forest Act, 1927. Before this amendment, the felling and transit of bamboo grown on forest as well non-forest land attracted the provisions of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 (IFA, 1927). This was a major impediment for bamboo cultivation by farmers on non-forest land.
Significance of this move:
- The amendment and the resultant change in classification of bamboo grown in non-forest areas will usher in much needed and far-reaching reforms in the bamboo sector. While on the one hand, the legal and regulatory hardships being faced by farmers and private individuals will be removed and on the other hand, it will create a viable option for cultivation in 12.6 million hectares of cultivable waste land.
- The measure will go a long way in enhancing the agricultural income of farmers and tribals, especially in North-East and Central India. The amendment will encourage farmers and other individuals to take up plantation/ block plantation of suitable bamboo species on degraded land, in addition to plantation on agricultural land and other private lands under agroforestry mission.
- Some of the other benefits of amendment include enhancing supply of raw material to the traditional craftsmen of rural India, bamboo based/ paper & pulp industries, cottage industries, furniture making units, fabric making units, incense stick making units.
- Besides promoting major bamboo applications such as wood substitutes and composites like panels, flooring, furniture and bamboo blind, it will also help industries such as those dealing with food products (bamboo shoots), constructions and housing, bamboo charcoal etc.
- The amendment will greatly aid the success of recently constituted National Bamboo Mission and is in also line with the objective of doubling the income of farmers, besides conservation and sustainable development.
Benefits of Bamboo:
In generating employment: Bamboo grows abundantly in areas outside forests with an estimated growing stock of 10.20 million tonnes. About 20 million people are involved in bamboo related activities. One tonne of bamboo provides 350 man days of employment. An enabling environment for the cultivation of bamboo will help in creation of job opportunities in the country.
Ecological benefits: Bamboo has several ecological benefits such as soil-moisture conservation, landslide prevention and rehabilitation, conserving wildlife habitat, enhancing source of bio-mass, besides serving as a substitute for timber.
As per the assessment of United Nation’s Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the bamboo business in the North-East Region alone has a potential of about Rs. 5000 crores in the next ten years. The amendment will therefore, help in harnessing this great potential and enhance the scope to increase the present level of market share and improve the economy of the entire country, particularly the North Eastern region.
Topic: money-laundering and its prevention.
Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)
The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down as unconstitutional Section 45 (1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, which imposed stringent conditions on the grant of bail. The court also ordered fresh trial in all cases in which bail was denied because of these conditions. The court said the section to be unconstitutional as it violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
Section 45(1) imposed two conditions for grant of bail in offences punishable with a jail term of more than three years under Part A of the Schedule to the Act. It requires that the public prosecutor must be given an opportunity to oppose any application for release on bail and in cases where the public prosecutor opposes the bail plea, the court must be satisfied that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the accused was not guilty and was unlikely to commit an offence if granted bail.
About PMLA 2002:
Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to prevent money-laundering and to provide for confiscation of property derived from money-laundering.
The Act and Rules notified impose obligation on banking companies, financial institutions and intermediaries to verify identity of clients, maintain records and furnish information.
Sources: the hindu.