Polity & Governance
- WCD Ministry holds consultation to discuss issues related to India’s accession to Hague Convention
- Bill in LS to make holding of scrapped notes punishable
- Govt introduces bill for wage payment via e-mode, cheques
- SC asks Government to prepare plan for eradication of leprosy
Bilateral & International Relations
- India to host key RCEP meeting at Hyderabad in July
Defence & Security Issues
- Underwater harbour defence, surveillance system launched
Key Facts for Prelims
- Tribal Health Care Research Program
- RTI Act comes into force in Sri Lanka
- Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana
- Rs 11 cr penalty on telcos for poor service
Polity & Governance
WCD Ministry holds consultation to discuss issues related to India’s accession to Hague Convention
The Ministry of Women and Child Development held a National Consultation to discuss issues related to India’s accession to Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, in New Delhi.
- The consultation was attended by judges of various high courts and members of law commission.
What has been decided?
- Based on the discussions and guidance given by the Hon’ble Judges, it was decided that the Chandigarh Judicial Academy Chandigarh along with NRI Commission of Punjab to examine in detail the legal issues involved by taking all viewpoints into account including those of suffering women.
- They will give recommendations as to how the problems of parents and children involved in such situations can be addressed. They will also study the draft Protection of Children (Inter-Country Removal and Retention) Bill, 2016.
- It was also decided that if a model legislation is required to safeguard the interests of parents and children, the same will be drafted.
- It was decided that this exercise will be completed in four months.
Currently, there is no specific Indian legislation addressing issues related to abduction of children from and into India.
- Law Commission of India had submitted the 218th Report titled “Need to accede to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980” on 30th March, 2009.
- In view of this report, before acceding to the Convention, the Ministry of Women and Child Development prepared a draft Bill titled “The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill, 2016”.
- The draft Bill was placed on the Ministry’s website for comments and suggestions from various stakeholders.
The Law Commission of India has recently suggested some modifications in the above mentioned Bill and re-named it as the “The Protection of Children (Inter-country Removal and Retention) Bill, 2016”.
About the Hague Abduction Convention:
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or Hague Abduction Convention is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH).
- It provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one-member country to another.
- The Convention was entered into force between the signatories on 1 December 1983.
- The Convention was drafted to ensure the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence or wrongfully retained in a contracting state not their country of habitual residence.
- The primary intention of the Convention is to preserve whatever status quo child custody arrangement existed immediately before an alleged wrongful removal or retention thereby deterring a parent from crossing international boundaries in search of a more sympathetic court.
- The Convention applies only to children under the age of 16.
- 94 states are party to the convention. In 2016, Philippines acceded to the convention.
Bill in LS to make holding of scrapped notes punishable
Government has introduced in Lok Sabha the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Bill.
Highlights of the bill:
- The bill provides for holding, transfer and receiving of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes a criminal offence, punishable with a minimum fine of Rs 10,000.
- The Bill seeks to end the liability of RBI and the government on the currency notes demonetised in November last.
- Once passed by Parliament, the bill will replace an ordinance promulgated on December 30 last which provides for a fine of Rs 10,000 or five times the cash held, whichever is higher, on holding of more than 10 banned 1,000 and 500 Rupee notes.
- The bill states that the government took the demonetisation decision on the recommendations of the RBI’s central board to eliminate unaccounted money and fake currency notes from the financial system.
- Apart from aiming at ceasing the liability on old notes, the bill also provides that an Indian citizen, who was outside the country between November 9 and December 30, will be entitled to tender the demonetised noted within the grace period under rules provided by the RBI.
- It also prohibits the holding, transferring or receiving of these notes from December 31, 2016.
- It also seeks to impose penalty for contravention of the ordinance, which it will replace, and to confer power upon the court of a first class Magistrate to impose penalty.
The ordinance provided for amending the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1934 to provide legislative support for extinguishing the central bank and government’s liability on the demonetised banknotes that are not returned.
The main objectives of the ordinance were:
- To provide clarity and finality to the liability of the RBI and the Government of India for the specified bank notes (of 1,000 and 500);
- To provide an opportunity to those persons who were unable to deposit the SBNs within the time provided; and
- To declare holding, transferring or receiving SBNs as illegal, with provisions for penalty for contravention of any of the provisions of the Ordinance.
Govt introduces bill for wage payment via e-mode, cheques
Government has introduced a bill, Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill 2017, which seeks to enable employers to pay wages to workers through cheque or crediting to their bank accounts without obtaining written authorisation of the employees.
- The bill will replace the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill 2016, which was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 15, 2016.
- It also seeks to repeal the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Ordinance 2016 promulgated on December 28, 2016.
- The bill enables Centre and states to specify the industries which will have to pay wages to workers only through cheques or crediting it to their bank accounts.
- The bill enables employers to pay through cheque or e-mode without the written authorisation of the worker. At present, with the written authorisation of an employee, wages can be given through cheque or transferred to his or her bank account.
- It provides that non-notified industries will have the option to pay “in current coin or currency notes or by cheque or by crediting wages in the bank account of the employee”.
SC asks Government to prepare plan for eradication of leprosy
The Supreme Court has asked the Central Government to prepare a comprehensive policy for implementation of a plan to eradicate leprosy from the country.
- The court asked the Government to submit the plan within four weeks.
- It also told the Centre that people are required to successfully implement the government policies at the ground level.
- The court was hearing a PIL which had rapped the Government authorities for their apathy in eradicating leprosy, saying despite it being curable, the disease still remains a stigma.
- The PIL had mentioned that leprosy affects over 1 lakh 25,000 people in the country annually and government has failed to eliminate the disease despite medical treatment available since 1981.
Bilateral & International Relations
India to host key RCEP meeting at Hyderabad in July
India is expected to host in July 2017 the negotiations for mega trade deal RCEP which aims at liberalising norms for trade in goods and services and boost investment among 16-member countries.
- As the domestic industry has apprehensions over a deluge in imports from countries such as China after the duty cut under the agreement, India wants certain deviations for such countries.
- Under deviations, India may propose a longer duration for either reduction or elimination of import duties for such countries.
- Currently the member countries are deliberating upon the single-tier system of duty relaxation under the proposed pact.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement (FTA) is proposed between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
- RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
- The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is among the proposed three mega FTAs in the world so far. The other two is:
- The TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership, led by the US) and
- The TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the US and the EU).
- RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the TPP trade agreement, which includes the United States but excludes China.
Defence & Security Issues
Underwater harbour defence, surveillance system launched
An Integrated Underwater Harbour Defence and Surveillance System was inaugurated in Mumbai.
- The system will enhance the security of valuable assets against asymmetric threats.
- The inauguration of IUHDSS is a significant step in strengthening Harbour Defence and Security at Mumbai.
- The IUHDSS is a state of the art system with integrated radars, electro optic cameras and sonars.
- The sensors have been strategically installed around the Mumbai Harbour to provide comprehensive real-time situational awareness for monitoring and analysis.
Key Facts for Prelims
Tribal Health Care Research Program
- In a written reply to Parliament, Union Ministry of AYUSH has informed about the Tribal Health Care Research Program (THCRP).
- The Tribal Health Care Research Program (THCRP) was started by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), an autonomous organization under Central Government in 1982.
- The project involves
- Studies of the living condition of tribal people including health Traditions (LHT);
- Use of common medicinal plants in the area;
- Propagation of knowledge about hygiene and prevention of diseases; and
- Extending medical aid at door steps.
- The objectives of the project are as under:
- Provide health care facility to tribal population;
- Promote healthy living among tribes; and
- Collect and document the folk claims and local health traditions to enable research etc.
RTI Act comes into force in Sri Lanka
- The Right to Information (RTI) Act has come into force in Sri Lanka.
- This legislation is aimed at restoring transparency and good governance in a country that has been plagued by corruption and misrule.
- The authorities are bound to respond to these requests as per the specified guidlines, within a maximum period of 28 days.
- The RTI law is unique in several ways:
- It overrides all other written law, where there may be contradiction.
- Furthermore, all information can be revealed if the greater public interest is served by disclosing the information.
- This applies even where the information sought could potentially fall within the exceptions in the law
Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana
- In a written reply to Parliament, Union Textiles Minister, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani has informed that 4.33 lakh handloom weavers from North Eastern States availed benefits in the last five years under the Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana (MGBBY).
- The MGBBY scheme was launched in December, 2003 with a combination of Janshree Bima Yojana and Add-on Group Insurance Scheme.
- The scheme is being implemented by the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India.
- The basic objective of the scheme is to provide enhanced insurance cover to the handloom weavers in the case of natural as well as accidental death and in cases of total or partial disability.
- Under the scheme, the authority in-charge of Handlooms in the State shall finalise insurance coverage of the weavers with the Life Insurance Corporation of India.
Rs 11 cr penalty on telcos for poor service
- Telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has imposed over Rs 11 crore penalty on service providers, highest on Aircel, for poor service quality including call drops.
- TRAI imposes financial disincentives for non-compliance with the benchmarks for Quality of Service parameters including call drops.