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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 28 November 2017
GS Paper 1:
Topic: Role of women and women’s organization.
Program to train Elected Women Representatives of PRIs
the government has launched an intensive training program for Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Master Trainers, in New Delhi.
This capacity building program is being organized by National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) of the WCD Ministry which will ultimately train approximately twenty thousand EWRs covering nearly 50 EWRs from each district by March, 2018.
Need for training:
Not many women sarpanches and EWRs in the country come forward to take up their responsibilities and mostly allow their husbands to take the lead. So, they remain ‘sarpanchanis’ in name only. Therefore, the Capacity building of Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) is critical to empower women to participate effectively in the governance processes. This will help them assume the leadership roles expected of them and guide their villages towards a more prosperous future.
Significance of this move:
This is an historic step since for the first time ever an initiative of this scale has been taken up to train EWRs who will go out and administer the villages professionally. Training two lakh women sarpanches across the country will help bring following important changes:
- It will help to create model villages.
- It will help prepare women as political leaders of the future.
GS Paper 2:
Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
Bill on quota in private sector in RS
A private member’s resolution on job reservations for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes in the private sector is listed for discussion in the winter session of Parliament. The resolution, tabled in the last Parliament session by CPI Rajya Sabha member D. Raja, could not come up for discussion.
About Private Member’s Bill:
What is it?
A private member’s bill is introduced by an individual member of the legislative, as opposed to a party. He/She may belong to the party in power or the Opposition.
A member who wants to introduce a bill has to give prior notice of one month, with a copy of the an Statement of Objects and Reasons, unless the speaker permits a shorter notice. If the bill accompanies the President’s recommendation, if necessary, the period of notice is calculated from the date of receipt of the recommendation in Lok Sabha Secretariat.
Once the bill is drafted, it is circulated among members of the Lok Sabha two days before its introduction. When the bill is tabled in the house, by convention, the motion is not opposed. There have been exceptions, however. A member cannot introduce more than four bills during a session. And while a bill is pending, a similar bill cannot be admitted.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
UN Convention against Torture
The Supreme Court recently disposed of a PIL seeking to put in place a statutory framework to curb torture and custodial violence as it said that it can’t direct the government to make an anti-torture law or ratify the UN convention against Torture.
The government is considering an anti-torture law. The Law Commission has recommended that the Centre ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and frame a standalone anti-torture law, making the state responsible for any injury inflicted by its agents on citizens.
Though India signed the convention in 1997, it is yet to ratify it. Efforts to bring in a standalone law have failed. The National Human Rights Commission has been urging the government to recognise torture as a separate crime and codify the punishment in a separate penal law.
UN convention against torture:
India has signed the UN Convention against torture way back in 1997. But, it has still not ratified it. The Convention defines torture as a criminal offence. The Convention requires states to take effective measures to prevent torture in any territory under their jurisdiction, and forbids states to transport people to any country where there is reason to believe they will be tortured.
Efforts in this regard:
A bill was also proposed in this regard. But, no action has been taken on the Prevention of Torture Bill 2010 even six years after it was passed by the Lok Sabha on May 6, 2010 and recommended by a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha of which he had been Chairman. The centre contends some States were not in favour of such a law and the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code were more than sufficient.
Considering it a matter of both Article 21 (fundamental right to life and dignity) and of international reputation, the government should consider promulgating a standalone, comprehensive law to define and punish torture as an instrument of “human degradation” by state authorities. Such a law is in the national interest.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.
The 2017 edition of International Multilateral Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise (IMMSAREX) was recently held in Bangladesh under the aegis of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). This is the first ever operational exercise held under the aegis of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) in Bangladesh.
The Exercise comprised drills related to fire-fighting, sea accidents and rescue, as well as deep sea searches for missing ships, searches for missing aircraft, and other emergency rescue operations.
What you need to know about IONS?
The IONS is a regional forum of Indian Ocean littoral states, represented by their Navy chiefs, launched by India in February 2008. It presently has 23 members and nine observers.
- It is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime co-operation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues and, in the process, endeavors to generate a flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possibly agreements on the way ahead.
- Under the charter of business adopted in 2014, the grouping has working groups on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Information Security and Interoperability (IS&I) and anti-piracy now renamed as maritime security.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
G 20 Sherpa
Shri Shaktikanta Das, Former Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, has been appointed as India’s G 20 Sherpa till December 31, 2018 for the Development Track of the G20.
Who is a Sherpa?
A Sherpa is a personal representative of the leader of a member country at an international Summit meeting such as the G8, G20 or the Nuclear Security Summit. The term is derived from the Nepalese Sherpa people, who serve as guides for mountaineers in the Himalayas.
Sherpas are career diplomats or senior government officials appointed by the leaders of their countries. There is only one Sherpa per Summit for each member country; he/she is assisted by several sous Sherpas.
What they do?
The Sherpa engages in planning, negotiation and implementation tasks through the Summit. They coordinate the agenda, seek consensus at the highest political levels, and participate in a series of pre-Summit consultations to help negotiate their leaders’ positions.
Sherpas at G20 summit:
There are two tracks in G 20- Finance Track and Development Track. Finance Track is managed by the Secretary (Economic Affairs) as India’s Deputy to G 20 and the Development Track is coordinated by the Sherpa. The Department of Economic Affairs will provide necessary support to the Sherpa.
GS Paper 3:
The first edition of the International Symposium to Promote Innovation & Research in Energy Efficiency (INSPIRE 2017) was kicked off in Jaipur recently. The five-day symposium is being organized by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) in partnership with The World Bank, and Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE).
About INSPIRE 2017:
What is it? INSPIRE 2017 is an International Conference that brings together various stakeholders such as policy makers, innovators, financiers, influencers to showcase best practices in the sector.
What it does? It provides a platform for energy efficiency community to discuss energy efficiency policies, market transformation strategies, emerging technologies, delivery and business-model driven transformations. The event is further designed to provide global and national thought-leaders and implementers to expand perspectives on energy efficiency and spur ideas and solutions that will help leverage the full potential of energy efficiency and bring its multiple co-benefits to the fore.
Participants: Policy makers and experts from Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), The World Bank Group, The Energy Institute (TERI), International Energy Agency (IEA), Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), USA and representatives of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) will take part in the event. Several global organizations like the Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, International Finance Corporation, International Energy Agency will also share their perspectives at INSPIRE.
Energy efficiency is the winning strategy to simultaneously address a variety of policy objectives, including security of supply, climate change, competitiveness, balance of trade, reduced investment need and environmental protection.
Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
Narcotics Control Bureau
A Joint Action Plan was recently signed between the Narcotics Control Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs of India and the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation for the period 2018-20.
What is it?
The Narcotics Control Bureau is the apex coordinating agency. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 which came into effect from the 14th November, 1985 made an express provision for constituting a Central Authority for the purpose of exercising the powers and functions of the Central Government under the Act. In presence of this provision, the Government of India constituted the NARCOTICS CONTROL BUREAU on the 17th of March, 1986.
The Bureau, subject to the supervision and control of the Central Government, is to exercise the powers and functions of the Central Government for taking measures with respect to:
- Co-ordination of actions by various offices, State Governments and other authorities under the N.D.P.S. Act, Customs Act, Drugs and Cosmetics Act and any other law for the time being in force in connection with the enforcement provisions of the NDPS Act, 1985.
- Implementation of the obligation in respect of counter measures against illicit traffic under the various international conventions and protocols that are in force at present or which may be ratified or acceded to by India in future.
- Assistance to concerned authorities in foreign countries and concerned international organisations to facilitate coordination and universal action for prevention and suppression of illicit traffic in these drugs and substances.
- Coordination of actions taken by the other concerned Ministries, Departments and Organizations in respect of matters relating to drug abuse.
The National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is based on the Directive Principles, contained in Article 47 of the Indian Constitution, which direct the State to endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption, except for medicinal purposes, of intoxicating drugs injurious to health. The government’s policy on the subject which flows from this constitutional provision is also guided by the international conventions on the subject. India is a signatory to the single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the Conventions on Psychotropic Substances, 1971 and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
Facts for Prelims:
Context: Indonesian and regional authorities have heightened flight warnings around Bali’s Mount Agung as the volcano’s eruptions sent a plume of volcanic ash and steam more than 6,000 metres into the skies above the island.
Where is Mt Agung located? Mount Agung or Gunung Agung is a volcano in Bali, Indonesia, southeast of Mt Batur volcano, also in Bali. Gunung Agung stratovolcano is the highest point on Bali. It is an active volcano.