Government Schemes & Policies
- Parliament Passes Bill To Ban E-Cigarettes
- NPS Traders Scheme
- Primitive Tribals in Hilly/Forest Areas
- Corporate Affairs Ministry Launches Independent Director’s Databank
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Blue Flag Certification for beaches
Key Facts for Prelims
- Navy Gets its First Woman Pilot
[Note: Today’s PIB Daily News are already covered in Today’s Current Affairs Analysis. This PIB News Analysis news are only for those who wants to get only PIB news]
For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here
For IASToppers’ PIB Daily Archive, Click Here
Government Schemes & Policies
Parliament Passes Bill To Ban E-Cigarettes
Parliament has passed the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019.
PROVISIONS OF THE BILL:
- The Bill categorizes production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage, and advertisement of e-cigarettes and similar devices as cognizable offences.
- The bill stipulates that persons found in violation of the law for the first time will face a jail term of up to one year or a fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both. For subsequent offences, a jail term of up to three years and fine upto Rs 5 lakh.
- It further punishes storage of e-cigarettes with imprisonment up to six months or a fine of up to Rs 50,000, or both.
Once the Bill comes into force, the owners of existing stocks of e-cigarettes will have to declare and deposit these stocks at the nearest office of an authorized officer.
WHAT IS AN E-CIGARETTE?
- E-cigarettes are battery powered devices that work by heating a liquid into an aerosol (suspension of fine solid particles/liquid droplets in air) that the user inhales and exhales.
- Electronic-cigarettes include all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), Heat Not Burn Products, e-Hookah and the like devices.
- The main components of the liquid vaporized are nicotine, propylene glycol or glycerol, and flavourings.
- e-cigarettes have documented adverse effects on humans including DNA damage, carcinogenic, cellular, molecular and immunological toxicity, respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological disorders and adverse impact on fetal development and pregnancy.
REASON FOR BAN
- Highly addictive nature of nicotine
- Safety concern of flavours in combination with nicotine
- Risk of use of other psychoactive substances through these devices
- Initiation of nicotine or psychoactive substances by non-smokers, especially adolescents and youth
- Dual use of e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes
- Scant scientific evidence for use of e-cigarettes as effective tobacco cessation aids;
- Threat to country’s tobacco control efforts;
- Hindrance in achieving the targets envisaged under Sustainable Development Goals, National Monitoring Framework for Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases and National Health Policy, 2017
PROHIBITION OF NICOTINE
- Nicotine is prohibited for use Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.
- Nicotine and Nicotine Sulphate are listed as hazardous chemicals in the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989 made under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
- Nicotine is also Listed as an insecticide in the Schedule of insecticides under the Insecticide Act 1968.
- However, The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 & Rules, 1945 permit the use of Nicotine up to 2 mg and 4 mg in gums, Iozenges and strips, which may be used as aids for Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).
ARGUMENTS AGAINST E-CIGARETTES
- E-cigarettes contained not only nicotine solution, which is highly addictive, but also harmful ingredients such as flavoring agents and vaporizers.
- While e-cigarettes typically have fewer chemicals than regular cigarettes, they may still contain heavy metals like lead which is poisonous.
- Quitting of tobacco due to the usage of e-cigarettes have not been firmly established.
- There is evidence that there is risk of people continuing to use both them as well as tobacco products. In fact, dual users are at greater risk of heart attacks.
- Various flavors and attractive designs are adding to the allure the users. There is an increasing trend for the use of e-cigarettes among youth and adolescents in many countries which is harmful to their health.
- These devices could encourage non-smokers to get addicted to tobacco.
- Studies have found that youths using e-cigarettes and other such devices are more likely to use regular cigarettes later.
- Even though warnings on many ENDS products clearly indicate that they cannot provide alternative to smoking, e-cigarettes are often falsely promoted as alternative to smoking.
- The Tobacco industry claims that the sale of ENDS products does not violate any regulations despite the fact that the companies are in clear violation of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which prohibits the sale of any product that appeals to minors.
- E-cigarettes have caused fires and explosions resulting in injuries, loss of lives and property. Further, their accidental ingestion by children has also caused some deaths.
ARGUMENT IN FAVOUR OF E-CIGARETTES
- E- cigarettes produce far fewer carcinogens than traditional cigarettes. Since e-cigarettes use vapor technology, they expose users to fewer carcinogens.
- In multiple studies and surveys, e-cigarettes have been shown to potentially help smokers to reduce their habit or to quit altogether.
- The second-hand effects (unintentional inhalation of vapor by a person from another person using e-cigarettes) are far less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Though second-hand vapor exists, the levels of smoke and second-hand effects of vaping are magnitudes lower than traditional smoking.
- They are more socially acceptable and do not smell. E-cigarettes provide the same experience and sensation for smokers but can be used in far more places.
- They are a cheaper alternative to smoking. While this has not been extensively researched, studies in the U.K. and the U.S. show that vaping habits can be up to 40 percent less expensive than cigarette smoking habits.
- ENDS and vaping products are sold across about 70 countries around the world and there are clear laws that regulate ENDS.
- The Delhi High Court and the Bombay High Court in their orders of March 2019 and July 2019 respectively have held that ENDS are not drugs and therefore cannot be banned under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and hence no proceedings can be initiated against the manufacturers, sellers and importers of ENDS.
NPS Traders Scheme
Recently, in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, an information was given about the National Pension Scheme for Traders and Self Employed Persons (NPS Traders Scheme).
ABOUT NATIONAL PENSION SCHEME FOR TRADERS AND SELF EMPLOYED PERSONS
- It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme for entry age of 18 to 40 years with a provision for minimum assured pension of Rs 3,000 monthly on attaining the age of 60 years.
- The Central Government shall give 50 % share of the monthly contribution and remaining 50% contribution shall be made by the beneficiary.
- The enrolment under the scheme is free of cost for the beneficiaries.
- The enrolment is based upon self-certification.
- For self-employed shop owners, retail owners and other vyaparis
- Entry Age between 18 to 40 years
- Annual turnover should not exceed Rs 1.5 crore
Should not be
- Covered under any National Pension Scheme
- An income tax payer
- Enroled under Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan Yojana/Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maandhan Yojana
- An estimated 3 crore Vyaparis in the country are expected to be benefitted under the pension scheme.
Primitive Tribals in Hilly/Forest Areas
The Union Minister of Tribal Affairs recently informed about the funds released under the PVTGs scheme, to the Parliament.
PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE TRIBAL GROUPS (PVTGS):
- Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) are more vulnerable among the tribal groups.
- In 1975, the Government of India initiated to identify the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category called PVTGs and declared 52 such groups, while in 1993 an additional 23 groups were added to the category, making it a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes, spread over 18 states and one Union Territory (A&N Islands) in the country (2011 census).
- Among the 75 listed PVTG’s the highest number are found in Odisha (13), followed by Andhra Pradesh (12).
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs implements the Scheme of “Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)” exclusively for them.
- Under the scheme, Conservation-cum-Development (CCD)/Annual Plans are to be prepared by each State/UT for their PVTGs based on their need assessment, which are then appraised and approved by the Project Appraisal Committee of the Ministry.
- Priority is also assigned to PVTGs under the schemes of Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Tribal Sub-Scheme (TSS), Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution, Grants-in-aid to Voluntary Organisations working for the welfare of Schedule Tribes and Strengthening of Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts.
HOW PVTGS ARE IDENTIFIED?
- PVTGs are identified by Union Government according to procedure in which state governments or UT governments submit proposals to Union Ministry of Tribal Welfare for identification of PVTGs.
- After ensuring the criteria is fulfilled, the Tribal Ministry selects those groups as PVTGs.
Criteria followed for determination of PVTGs are as under:
- A pre-agriculture level of technology.
- A stagnant or declining population.
- Extremely low literacy.
- A subsistence level of economy.
Corporate Affairs Ministry Launches Independent Director’s Databank
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs, with the objective of strengthening the institution of Independent Directors under the Companies Act, launched the Independent Director’s Databank in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013.
ABOUT INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR’S DATABANK
- The Databank portal was developed by the Indian Institute for Corporate Affairs (IICA).
- Every individual whose name is included in the data bank have to pass (minimum 60% of marks) an online proficiency self-assessment test conducted by IICA within a period of one year from the date of inclusion of his name in the data bank, failing which, his name will be removed from the databank. This will curb promoters placing their own ineligible candidates and family members on the listed companies’ boards.
- Develop a databank of Independent directors as well as the professionals aspiring to become independent directors.
- Build capacities of Individuals by delivering eLearning courses on topics related to corporate governance, regulatory framework, financial prudence etc.
- Provide a platform to individuals to help them acquire knowledge, develop new skills, assess their understanding, and apply best practices.
- Create an eco-system of individuals looking for opportunities and corporate requiring to appoint independent directors.
WHO IS AN INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR?
- An Independent Director is a director on a board of directors representing minority shareholders and who does not have a pecuniary relationship with the company or related persons, except for sitting fees.
- Their role is to take a stand unambiguously and independently to have a check and balance on the exuberance of majority shareholders that may expose the company to unwarranted risks.
- The Companies Act, 2013 has mandated all listed public companies to have at least one-third of the total Directors to be independent.
- Independent directors role came into sharp attack following the crisis at the Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services and in many credit rating agencies who liberally granted and downgraded the companies as per their wish and got away with it. Their reckless grading created much of the IL&FS crisis.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Blue Flag Certification for beaches
The MoEFCC has embarked upon a programme for ‘Blue Flag’ Certification for select beaches in the country.
- 13 pilot beaches have been identified for the certification.
IDENTIFIED BEACHES IN INDIA:
- These include Ghoghala Beach (Diu), Shivrajpur beach (Gujarat), Bhogave (Maharashtra), Padubidri and Kasarkod (Karnagaka), Kappad beach (Kerala) etc.
- Chandrabhaga beach of Odisha’s Konark coast was the first to complete the tag certification process will be the first in Asia to get the Blue Flag certification.
ABOUT THE BLUE FLAG PROGRAMME:
- The Blue Flag Programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental FEE (the Foundation for Environmental Education).
- It started in France in 1985 and now has been implemented worldwide.
- Japan and South Korea are the only countries in South and southeastern Asia to have Blue Flag beaches.
- Spain has the highest blue flag certifieed beaches followed by Greece and France.
BLUE FLAG CERTIFICATION CRITERIA:
- There are nearly 33 criteria that must be met to qualify for a Blue Flag certification, such as the water meeting certain quality standards, having waste disposal facilities, being disabled- friendly, have first aid equipment, and no access to pets in the main areas of the beach.
- Some criteria are voluntary and some compulsory.
Key Facts for Prelims
Navy Gets its First Woman Pilot
A batch of three trainee officers of the 7th Dornier Conversion Course (DOCC) including a lady officer qualified as Dornier pilots and were awarded the coveted golden “Wings” at a ceremony held at INS Garuda.
ABOUT DORNIER DO 228 AIRCRAFT
- The Dornier Do 228 was manufactured by Dornier GmbH until 1998. In 1983, Hindustan Aeronautics bought a production licence.
- It a highly versatile multi-purpose light transport aircraft that has been developed specifically to meet the requirements of utility and commuter transport, third level services and air-taxi operations, coast guard duties and maritime surveillance.
ABOUT THE AWARD OF THE WINGS
- The award of the ‘Wings’ is given after one year of flying training at the Air Force Academy (AFA), Dundigal and Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 550, INS Garuda in Kochi.