Polity & Governance
- Disclosure of compliance under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act
- New Chairperson of Appellate Tribunal for Electricity
Government Schemes & Policies
- First project North East Circuit: Imphal and Khongjom under Swadesh Darshan Scheme launched
- Digital North East Vision 2022 launched
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Government notifies rule for utilisation of Rs 66,000 cr Green Cover Fund
Bilateral & International Relations
- India hands over first lot of houses in Sri Lanka’s tea plantation areas
Key Facts for Prelims
- 12th August: International Youth Day
- Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition to Mt Makalu and MT Kamet
- Fateh Mobin
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Polity & Governance
Disclosure of compliance under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act
Private companies will soon have to disclose their compliance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act in their annual reports.
- It is a major step towards making the workplace safe for women in the private sector.
- The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has amended the Companies (Accounts) Rules, 2014, to make it part of the mandatory non-financial disclosures in annual reports of private companies under Section 134 of the legislation wherein non-disclosure attracts penal provisions.
About the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013:
The Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, focuses on prevention of sexual harassment at workplace and provides a redressal mechanism.
- The Act upholds women’s fundamental rights to equality, right to live with dignity and right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business which includes a right to a safe working environment, free from sexual harassment as provided under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Indian Constitution.
- In order to further mainstream the issue and to help organizations to standardize their response mechanisms, Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD), Government of India has recently published a Handbook on the Act. The booklet has been sent to all Central Government Ministries/Departments, State Governments and Business Chambers for use as ready reckoner.
- The Ministries/ Departments in Government of India have been advised by WCD Ministry to ensure the compliance of the Act. Trade chambers have also been requested to ensure effective implementation of the Act amongst their members in private sector entities.
- The above mentioned Act covers 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. The domestic workers are also included under the ambit of the Act.
- The Act defines “sexual harassment at the workplace” in a comprehensive manner and casts an obligation upon all the organizations (whether private or public sector) having 10 or more workers to constitute Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) for receiving complaints of sexual harassment. A complaint of sexual harassment can be filed within a time limit of 3 months which can be extended in certain situations.
- Employers are required to organize workshops and awareness programmes at regular intervals for sensitizing the employees about the legislation and display notices regarding the constitution of Internal Committee and penal consequences of sexual harassment etc.
- Section 26(1) of the Act states that an employer will be liable to a fine of Rs 50,000 in case of violation of his duties under the Act and in case of subsequent violation, the amount of fine will be doubled together with penalty in the form of cancellation of his licence or withdrawal or non-renewal of the registration required for carrying out his activity.
New Chairperson of Appellate Tribunal for Electricity
Justice Manjula Chellur took oath as Chairperson of Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (ATE), Ministry of Power.
About Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (ATE):
- ATE has been established by Union Ministry of Power in April 2004 by virtue of Section 110 of The Electricity Act, 2003.
- The tribunal ordinarily sits at Delhi.
- It has jurisdiction throughout India has been set up to hear appeals or original petitions against orders of Adjudicating officer or The Central Regulatory Commission or State Regulatory Commission or Joint Commission constituted under Electricity Act.
- It is conferred with original jurisdiction to hear petitions under Section 121 of the Act and issue directions to any appropriate commission for performance of its statutory functions.
- It consists of Chairperson and three other Members. Every Bench constituted by Chairperson consists of at least one Judicial Member and one Technical Member.
Government Schemes & Policies
First project North East Circuit: Imphal and Khongjom under Swadesh Darshan Scheme launched
The first project under Swadesh Darshan Scheme ‘North East Circuit: Imphal and Khongjom’ was inaugurated in Manipur.
About ‘North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom’:
- Under this project, Union Tourism Ministry has carried out works such as restoration and improvement of outer and inner moat of old Govindajee Temple and rejuvenation of sacred ponds, reconstruction of old rampart, among others.
- The project covers two sites i.e. Kangla Fort and Khongjom in Manipur.
- Kangla Fort is one of the most important historic and archaeological site of Manipur located in the heart of the Imphal city. It served as the seat of Manipur’s power till 1891. Kangla has a special place in the hearts and minds of the people of Manipur.
- The old Govindajee Temple, outer and inner moat and other relics are perfect reflections of the rich art and architectural heritage of Manipur.
About Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
The Ministry of Tourism has launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme in 2014-15.
- Aim of the scheme is to develop theme based tourist circuits in the country on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner by synergizing efforts to focus on needs and concerns of all stakeholders to enrich tourist experience and enhance employment opportunities.
Key features of Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
- The scheme is 100% centrally funded for the project components undertaken for public funding.
- To leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and corporate sector.
- Funding of individual project will vary from state to state and will be finalised on the basis of detailed project reports prepared by PMC (Programme Management Consultant).
- A National Steering Committee (NSC) will be constituted with Minister in charge of M/O Tourism as Chairman, to steer the mission objectives and vision of the scheme.
- A Mission Directorate headed by the Member Secretary, NSC as a nodal officer will help in identification of projects in consultation with the States/ UTs governments and other stake holders.
- PMC will be a national level consultant to be appointed by the Mission Directorate.
Objective of Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
- Integrated development of Infrastructure in identified theme based circuits.
- Provide complete tourism experience with varied thematic circuits.
- Follow community-based development and pro-poor tourism approach.
- Creating awareness among the local communities about the importance of tourism for them in terms of increase in sources of income, improved living standards and overall development of the area.
- Promote local arts, culture, handicrafts, cuisine, etc to generate livelihoods in the identified regions.
- Harness tourism potential for its direct and multiplier effects in employment generation and economic development.
What is a Tourist Circuit?
- A Tourist Circuit is defined as a route on which at least three major tourist destinations are located such that none of these are in the same town, village or city. At the same time, it would be ensured that they are not separated by a long distance. It should have well defined entry and exit points. A tourist who enters should get motivated to visit all the places identified in the circuit.
Digital North East Vision 2022 launched
The Digital North East Vision 2022 was released in Guwahati, Assam.
- The document emphasises leveraging digital technologies to transform lives of people of the north-eastern states and enhance the ease of living.
- According to the vision document, high-speed broadband connectivity will be will be provided in all the uncovered villages in the northeastern region.
Eight digital thrust areas:
The vision document identified eight digital thrust areas –
- Digital infrastructure,
- Digital services,
- Digital empowerment,
- Promotion of electronics manufacturing,
- Promotion of IT and IT enabled services including BPOs,
- Digital payments,
- Innovation & startups
- Cyber security
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Government notifies rule for utilisation of Rs 66,000 cr Green Cover Fund
The Centre has notified rules for operationalising a Rs 66,000 crore fund collected as compensations under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act passed in 2016 to promote the green cover in the country.
- The rules specify that 80% of compensatory afforestation amount will be utilised by states for plantations, assisted natural regeneration of forests, pest and disease control in forest, forest fire prevention, soil and moisture conservation works and improvement of wildlife habitat, among other things from list of 13 permissible activities.
- The remaining 20% will be used for 11 listed works to strengthen infrastructure related forest and wildlife protection. The list includes third-party monitoring of works, development of certification standards, forest certification and casual hiring of local people to assist forest department staff.
- It also specifies that working plan will be taken up in consultation with the gram sabha or village forest management committee.
Significance of the move:
- The move will help India re-green its forest and non-forest areas which have lost trees due to forest diversions — amounting to more than 1.3 million hectares after the Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 kicked in — for allowing various developmental activities.
- Over the last ten years, the fund had accumulated the amount as compensations by user agencies for diverting forest land for industries and infrastructure projects. The CAMPA was created as per a Supreme Court ruling in 2009.
- Much of the funds collected under the legislation had been left unspent with an ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) in absence of enabling rules.
- Until now, the funds were disbursed to states under a temporary and time consuming mechanism. With the relevant rules now in place, the implementation of the act is expected to gather pace.
About the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2016:
The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2016 establishes the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.
- These Funds will receive payments for:
- Compensatory afforestation,
- Net Present Value of forest (NPV), and
- Other project specific payments.
- The National Fund will receive 10% of these funds, and the State Funds will receive the remaining 90%.
- These Funds will be primarily spent on afforestation to compensate for loss of forest cover, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wildlife protection and infrastructure development.
- The Bill also establishes the National and State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authorities to manage the National and State Funds.
What is CAMPA?
- In 2002, the Supreme Court of India observed that collected funds for afforestation were underutilized by the states and it ordered for centrally pooling of funds under Compensatory Afforestation Fund.
- The court had set up the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (National CAMPA) to manage the Fund.
- In 2009, states also had set up State CAMPAs that receive 10% of funds form National CAMPA to use for afforestation and forest conservation.
Objectives of CAMPA
Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) are meant to promote afforestation and regeneration activities as a way of compensating for forest land diverted to non-forest uses.
Its mandate includes:
- Lay down broad guidelines for State CAMPA.
- Facilitate scientific, technological and other assistance that may be required by State CAMPA.
- Make recommendations to State CAMPA based on a review of their plans and programmes.
- Provide a mechanism to State CAMPA to resolve issues of an inter-state or Centre-State character.
What is NPV?
- NPV was defined by the Supreme Court in its landmark decision of 2005 to be “the present value of net cash flow from a project, discounted by the cost of capital.”
- In common parlance, it is the sum arrived at by deducting the cost of investment from the present value of all future earnings.
- NPV is a monetised value of forest land to be paid by the user agency to compensate for the loss of tangible and intangible benefits flowing from such lands.
Bilateral & International Relations
India hands over first lot of houses in Sri Lanka’s tea plantation areas
India handed over the first lot of houses built for Indian-origin people (mostly Tamils) in Sri Lanka’s tea plantation areas.
- The houses were built under the Indian Housing Project in Plantation Areas.
- It is the largest Indian assistance project in any country with a grant of over USD 350 million.
- Indian-origin Tamils, mostly employed in tea and rubber plantations in Sri Lanka, lack proper housing.
- The Tamils, mostly residing in the central hill areas of the country, were brought from India by British rulers during the 19th century to work in coffee plantations in Sri Lanka.
- More than a million are still associated with tea and rubber plantations. Though they have been given the Sri Lankan citizenship, housing remains a major issue for these workers employed as daily wagers.
- Sri Lanka’s new government led by President Maithripala Sirisena formulated a national plan of action for the plantation workers and planned for construction of 55,000 houses till 2020.
Key Facts for Prelims
12th August: International Youth Day
- The United Nations’ (UN) International Youth Day is celebrated on August 12 each year to recognize efforts of the world’s youth in enhancing global society.
- The theme for this year is ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’.
- The theme supports 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11, emphasizes need for provision of space towards inclusive and sustainable urbanization.
- The UN’s International Youth Day is a United Nations day of observance, but it is not a public holiday.
- The UN defines the worlds’ youth as the age group between 15 and 24 years old, making up one-sixth of the human population.
- It was instituted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by passing resolution 54/120 in December 1999. It was first observed on 12 August, 2000. The day was instituted by UNHA on the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth held in Lisbon (Portugal) from 8 to 12 August 1998.
- The first IYD was observed on 12 August, 2000.
Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition to Mt Makalu and MT Kamet
Indian Army is planning to attempt Mt Makalu (8485M), the fifth highest mountain peak in the world in 2019.
- As a precursor to it, an expedition to Mount Kamet (7756M), Joshimath District Chamoli, Uttarakhand is being conducted under the aegis of Army Adventure Wing in August-September 2018.
About Mt Kamet:
- Mt Kamet is the 3rd highest peak of India after Kanchanjanga & Nandadevi and is the only highest peak available to climb within the country.
- Kamet Peak is the third most astounding mountain crest in India and the twenty-ninth most noteworthy crest on the planet.
- Kamet is considered as the piece of the Zaskar Range, which lies to the north of the Himalayas between the Suru River and the upper Karnali River.
- Three huge crests bound Kamet, the Mukut Parbat in the northwest of Kamet, Abi Gamin and Mana, which is in the south-southeast of Kamet.
About Mt Makalu:
- Among the eight mountains in Nepal above 8000m, Mt. Makalu is the fourth tallest in Nepal and fifth highest Peak on the Earth.
- Makalu resides in the eastern Himalayas range just 19Km southeast of the giant Mt. Everest in the border of Nepal and China.
- At the base of Mt. Makalu, there lies a natural wonder: The Barun Valley.
- It is Iran’s next generation short-range ballistic missile capable of striking targets on land and sea.
- It is 100% domestically made in Iran.