IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th July 2019
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Worker safety code Bill gets Cabinet approval
Part of Prelims and mains GS II social justice GS III labour reforms
- A Bill that seeks to merge 13 labour laws into one code on occupational safety, health and working conditions that would apply to all establishments with 10 or more workers was approved by the Union Cabinet.
- The Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill, 2019, which would impact “40 crore unorganised workers”, was approved at a Cabinet meeting.
- The Bill was the second of four proposed codes that aim to merge 44 labour laws, with the Code on Wages Bill, 2019 that was approved on earlier being the first.
- The decision will enhance the coverage of the safety, health and working conditions provisions manifold.
- While the code will be applicable to all trades, including IT establishments and service sector, where more than 10 workers are employed.
- It will be applicable to mines and docks that employ even one worker.
- The code also framed rules for women workers working night shifts.
Bengal port records country’s highest sea level rise in 50 years
Part of Prelims and mains GS III Global warming and climate change
- According to the data from the Ministry of Earth Sciences, four ports- Diamond Harbour (5.16 mm per year), Kandla (3.18 mm), Haldia (2.89 mm)and Port Blair (2.20 mm)- recorded a higher sea level rise than the global average.
- Chennai and Mumbai recorded a sea level rise far below the global and the national averages at 0.33 mm per year (1916-2005) and 0.74 mm (1878-2005) respectively.
- While recent studies reveal that sea level rise in the country has been estimated to be 1.3 mm per year along India’s coasts during the last 40-50 years.
Cause and effects
- Sea level rise is said to be linked with global warming and as per the fifth assessment report of the International Panel on Climate Change, the global sea level was rising at an average rate of 1.8 mm per year over the last century.
- Rising sea levels can exacerbate the impacts of coastal hazards such as storm surge, tsunami, coastal floods, high waves and coastal erosion in the low lying coastal areas in addition to causing gradual loss of coastal land to sea.
- The sea level rise is higher in West Bengal, particularly in the Sunderbans delta because of the deltaic sediment deposition as a result of the mixing of fresh water and saline water.
- Global warming not only causes melting of ice and glaciers, but also leads to internal expansion of water in oceans and thus a rise in the sea level.
Single tribunal to hear water disputes
Part of Prelims and mains GS II interstate relations and governance
- The Union Cabinet has approved the Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that will help adjudicate disputes relating to waters of inter-State rivers and river valleys.
- The Bill seeks to amend the Inter State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 to streamline the adjudication of inter-State river water disputes.
Need to amend 1956 Act
- There are about a dozen tribunals that now exist to resolve disputes among States on sharing water from rivers common to them.
- The standalone tribunal so envisaged will have a permanent establishment, office space and infrastructure so as to obviate with the need to set up a separate tribunal for each water dispute – a time consuming process.
- The Bill can also affect the composition of the members of various tribunals, and has a provision to have a technical expert as the head of the tribunal.
- Currently all tribunals are staffed by members of the judiciary, nominated by the Chief Justice.
- A key feature of the Bill is the constitution of a single tribunal with different Benches, and the setting of strict timelines for adjudication.
- The Bill also proposes a Dispute Resolution Committee set up by the Central Government for amicably resolving inter-State water disputes within 18 months.
- Any dispute that cannot be settled by negotiations would be referred to the tribunal for its adjudication.
- The dispute so referred to the tribunal shall be assigned by the chairperson of the tribunal to a Bench of the tribunal for adjudication.
TOPIC: General studies 3
- Challenges to internal security
- Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges
- Security challenges and their management
The growing power of the lumpen
- Increasing cases of mob violence in the society based on discrimination on different fronts have raised concerns on law and order situation in the country including safety of the vulnerable sections of the society.
A rising graph
Studies of hate crimes in India show that they have steadily risen over the past five years.
- Amnesty International India documented 721 such incidents between 2015 and 2018.
- Last year alone, it tracked 218 hate crimes, 142 of which were against Dalits, 50 against Muslims, 40 against women, and eight each against Christians, Adivasis, and transgenders.
- The more common hate crimes, they found, were honour killings and ‘cow-related violence’, that was rare earlier but has become more frequent over the past five years.
One of the causes and solution
- Worldwide data show that hate speech encourages or legitimises acts of violence and a climate of impunity.
- France has a draft Bill to prohibit hate speech, and Germany has already enacted one.
Supreme Court direction
- Supreme Court in the case of Tehseen Poonawala v Union of India, has provided a 11-point prescription for preventive, remedial and punitive measures and has asked Parliament to legislate a separate offence for lynching and provide adequate punishment for the same.
Do you know?
Separate law on mob lynching by Manipur
- On the lines of Supreme Court judgment, State Government of Manipur has legislated a separate law to make lynching a criminal offence.
- Definition of Mob as per Manipur law – The Act has defined lynching in a comprehensive way and covers many forms of hate crimes. It covers any act or series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting such act/acts whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation, ethnicity or any other related grounds.
- As per the law, mob means a group of two or more individuals, assembled with a common intention of lynching. However, the law does not cover solitary hate crimes carried out by one individual.
Punishments Provided under the Manipur Law
- Victim suffering from hurt: For a term which may extend to 7 years + fine, which may extend upto Rs. 1 lakh
- Victim suffering from grievous hurt: For a term which may extend to 10 years + fine, which may extend upto Rs. 3 lakhs
- Death of the victim: Rigorous imprisonment for life + fine upto Rs. 10 lakhs
Committee headed by Home Secretary on Mob Lynching
- Four Member Committee of secretaries headed by Home Secretary was formed in July 2018 to look into the incidents of mob violence and lynchings and submit recommendations on ways to tackle the challenge.
- The committee has submitted its report to the Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by Home Minister who will now examine the recommendations of this panel.
- The Committee was constituted in wake of Supreme Court judgment where the Court directed the Centre to draft strong legislation to make lynching a separate offence and also to take preventive measures to control the spread of fake messages on social media platforms, after a series of mob lynching incidents took place.
Responsibility of states
As per the Constitutional scheme, ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are State subjects. State Governments are responsible for controlling crime, maintaining law and order, and protecting the life and property of the citizens. They are empowered to enact and enforce laws to curb crime in their jurisdiction.
- For a demographically diverse country such as India, hate crimes, including crimes of contempt, are a disaster.
- Each of our religious and caste communities number in the millions, and crimes that are directed against any of these groups could result in a magnitude of disaffection that impels violence, even terrorism.
- Far less diverse countries than India are already suffering the result of hate ‘moving into the mainstream’, as UN Secretary General António Guterres recently highlighted.
Connecting the dots:
For a demographically diverse country such as India, hate crimes are a disaster. Discuss.
General studies 1
- Population and associated issues
- Poverty and developmental issues
General studies 2
- Issues relating to poverty and hunger
The malaise of malnutrition
A new report, ‘Food and Nutrition Security Analysis, India, 2019’, authored by the Government of India and the United Nations World Food Programme, paints a picture of hunger and malnutrition amongst children in large pockets of India.
Vicious cycle poverty, malnutrition
- The report shows the poorest sections of society caught in a trap of poverty and malnutrition, which is being passed on from generation to generation.
- Mothers who are hungry and malnourished produce children who are stunted, underweight and unlikely to develop to achieve their full human potential.
- According to a study in the Lancet, these disadvantaged children are likely to do poorly in school and subsequently have low incomes, high fertility, and provide poor care for their children, thus contributing to the intergenerational transmission of poverty.
- In other words, today’s poor hungry children are likely to be tomorrow’s hungry, unemployed and undereducated adults.
Effects of malnourishment on cognitive development
- The effects of malnourishment in a small child are not merely physical.
- A developing brain that is deprived of nutrients does not reach its full mental potential.
- According to Lancet study, undernutrition can affect cognitive development by causing direct structural damage to the brain and by impairing infant motor development.
- This in turn affects the child’s ability to learn at school, leading to a lifetime of poverty and lack of opportunity.
Progress so far
- India has long been home to the largest number of malnourished children in the world. Some progress has been made in reducing the extent of malnutrition.
- The proportion of children with chronic malnutrition decreased from 48% percent in 2005-06 to 38.4% in 2015-16.
- The percentage of underweight children decreased from 42.5% to 35.7% over the same period.
- Anaemia in young children decreased from 69.5% to 58.5% during this period. But this progress is small.
An ambitious target
- The government’s National Nutrition Mission (renamed as Poshan Abhiyaan) aims to reduce stunting by 2% a year, bringing down the proportion of stunted children in the population to 25% by 2022.
- A year after it was launched, State and Union Territory governments have only used 16% of the funds allocated to them.
- Fortified rice and milk were to be introduced in one district per State, this had not been done.
- Anganwadis are key to the distribution of services to mothers and children. But many States, including Bihar and Odisha, which have large vulnerable populations, are struggling to set up functioning anganwadis, and recruit staff.
Pattern of socio-economic exclusion
- Malnutrition is a reflection of age-old patterns of social and economic exclusion. Over 40% of children from Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes are stunted.
- Close to 40% of children from the Other Backward Classes are stunted.
- The lack of nutrition in their childhood years can reduce their mental as well as physical development and condemn them to a life in the margins of society.
The problem is access to food
- As Amartya Sen noted, famines are caused not by shortages of food, but by inadequate access to food.
- For the poor and marginalised, access to food is impeded by social, administrative and economic barriers
- In the case of children and their mothers, this could be anything from non-functioning or neglectful governments at the State, district and local levels to entrenched social attitudes that see the poor and marginalised as less than equal citizens.
UN report punctures the image of a nation marching towards prosperity. It raises moral and ethical questions about the nature of a state and society that, after 70 years of independence, still condemns hundreds of millions of its poorest and vulnerable citizens to lives of hunger and desperation. The poorest two-fifths of the country’s population, that is still largely untouched by the modern economy which the rest of the country inhabits.
Connecting the dots:
Despite rapid economic growth, declining levels of poverty, enough food to export, and a multiplicity of government programmes, malnutrition amongst the poorest remains high. Comment.
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Q.1) Consider the following statements about Inter State River Water Disputes Act, 1956,
- It provides for single tribunal to hear water disputes
- Tribunal is to be headed by technical expert.
Select the incorrect statements
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.2) Consider the following statements about labour reforms in India,
- Four proposed codes aims to merge 44 labour laws.
- The code will be applicable to all trades, including IT establishments and service sector, where more than 10 workers are employed.
Select the correct statements
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
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