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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th November 2019

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  • November 25, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th November 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


NSO survey debunks Swachh Bharat ODF claims

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Sanitation

In News

  • In the first week of October 2018, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Grameen) said 25 States and Union Territories had been declared ODF, while toilet access across the country touched 95%. In reality, the NSO has said 28.7% of rural households had no toilet access at the time.
  • The 71% access to toilets was still a significant improvement over the situation during the last survey period in 2012, when only 40% of the rural households had access to toilets.
  • The NSO survey was carried out between July and December 2018, with a reference date of October 1. 
  • Large States which had been declared ODF — that is, 100% access to toilets and 100% usage — even before the survey began included Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. 
  • According to the NSO, almost 42% of the rural households in Jharkhand had no access to a toilet at that time. In Tamil Nadu, the gap was 37%, followed by 34% in Rajasthan.
  • In Gujarat, which was one of the earliest States declared ODF, back in October 2017, almost a quarter of all rural households had no toilet access, the NSO data showed.

Possible reason for divergence in survey results:

  • There may be respondent bias in the reporting of access to latrine as question on benefits received by the households from government schemes was asked prior to the question on access of households to latrine.

Do You Know?

  • However, 95% of people with access to toilets in rural India used them regularly, indicating that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s efforts to change behaviour had borne fruit.

Ken-Betwa interlinking

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Federalism

In News

  • Union government is pushing Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to make progress on the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project.
  • The project involves transferring surplus water from Ken river in Madhya Pradesh to the Betwa in Uttar Pradesh and irrigate 3.64 lakh hectares in the Bundelkhand region of both States. 
  • The project involves building a 77-metre-tall and a 2 km wide Dhaudhan dam and a 230 km canal. Originally, this phase envisaged irrigating 6,35,661 hectares annually (3,69,881 ha in M.P. and 2,65,780 ha in U.P.)
  • In addition, the project was to provide 49 million cubic metres for drinking water supply en route.
  • The ₹18,000 crore project has been mired in several controversies. The most recent one is a disagreement between the States on the share of water.
  • While there is a 2005 agreement between the two States on how water would be shared, Madhya Pradesh says these assumptions are no longer valid and the only way to meet the increased water requirements would be to include local management projects — the Kotha barrage, Lower Orr and Bina complex that were envisaged in the second phase of the project — in the first phase.
  • Other than differences between the States, there are outstanding environmental obstructions too.

Chhattisgarh panchayats to have disabled quota

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – Polity

In News

  • The Chhattisgarh Cabinet has approved the nomination of at least one differently abled member to each panchayat, if not elected, making it the only State to have such members in all panchayat
  • Every panchayat will now have differently abled members, either elected or nominated.
  • If differently abled members are not elected through the electoral process, then one member, either male or female, would be nominated as a panch. 
  • And as for janpads and zilla panchayats, the State government would nominate two such members, one male and one female, to them
  • This means the State would have 11,000 people with special needs as members of panchayats
  • Differently abled people constitute 6% of the population of Chhattisgarh
  • The Cabinet also decided to drop the educational qualifications eligibility criterion for contesting panchayat elections.
  • In the three-tier panchayati raj system, only being literate would be enough to contest elections.
  • However, it is mandatory for a contestant for the position of a panch to be at least a Class V pass, and above that Class VIII pass.

PLASTIC PARKS

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment

In News

  • Union government has approved setting up of six plastic parks in different parts of the country.
  • These parks will have an ecosystem with infrastructure building and enabling the common facility to consolidate and synergize the capacities of the domestic downstream plastic processing industry.
  • These parks are located in Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu. Out of them, the plastic park at Tamot in Madhya Pradesh is functional.
  • Four new plastic parks have also been given in-principle approval for establishment in West Bengal, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh. 
  • Under the scheme, the Union government provides grant funding up to 50 per cent of the project cost. The remaining project cost is to be funded by State Government beneficiary industries and by a loan from financial institutions

GENERAL SECURITY OF MILITARY INFORMATION AGREEMENT (GSOMIA)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-III- International Affairs

In News

  • South Korea has decided to continue a 2016 military intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan that it previously said it would terminate amid ongoing tensions over wartime history and trade.
  • Previously, South Korea had decided to discontinue the intelligence pact GSOMIA by November 22, unless Japan decided to review its export control measures.
  • The need for GSOMIA was felt amidst a growing threat from North Korea, especially when it started conducting nuclear tests and developing ballistic missiles. The agreement was eventually signed in November 2016. 
  • The US’ interest in this agreement stems from its need to forge alliances in the northeast to be able to analyse and respond to any threats from North Korea. 
  • Significantly, it may be China’s perception that GSOMIA is an attempt by the US-Japan-South Korea trilateral alliance to contain Beijing, thereby maintaining a degree of opposition between this trilateral alliance and that of China-North Korea-Russia.
  • In recent years, the relationship between South Korea and Japan has deteriorated, given the territorial dispute over the Dokdo islands — known as Takeshima in Japan. While South Korea controls them, the islands are claimed by Japan. 

Bougainville

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains III – International Relations

In News

  • Australia could soon have a new nation right on its doorstep, as the people of Bougainville start to cast their votes in a referendum on whether they should seek independence from Papua New Guinea.
  • Between 1988-1998, political factions in Bougainville were involved in an armed conflict with the government of Papua New Guinea, in an attempt to force Papua New Guinea to divest control of the resource-rich island.
  • The conflict in Bougainville and the desire of Bougainvillean people for independence is rooted in the historic plunder of the resource-rich island that has large deposits of copper and the unequal distribution of wealth that followed.
  • Politically, Bougainville is currently an autonomous region within Papua New Guinea. This autonomy was a key part of the 2001 peace agreement signed after the conflict.
  • People voting in the referendum will be given two options to choose from: greater autonomy from Papua New Guinea or complete independence
  • However, the referendum is not binding and would still have to be passed by the Government and the Parliament of Papua New Guinea, in consultation with the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th November 2019

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th November 2019

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(MAINS FOCUS)


POLITY

TOPIC: 

General Studies 2:

  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

General Studies 3:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Wages Act, 2019

Context:

Central government has proposed the rules to the Labour Code on Wages Act 2019

Background

  • Wages had always been the central concern of workers. The provisions of the Minimum Wages Act and the Payment of Wages Act do not cover substantial number of workers, as the applicability of both these Acts is restricted to the Scheduled Employments / Establishments.
  • On the other hand, the biggest issues faced by employers in India is the number of laws governing the employer-employee relationship. This issue has been on the government’s radar for a very long period of time.
  • The government has thus introduced four codes that would subsume 44 labour laws, which are (i) industrial relations, (ii) wages, (iii) social security, (iv) safety, welfare and working conditions. This would also allow for uniformity in the coverage of various labour laws that are in force.
  • Notably, the Centre started notifying a uniform national floor level minimum wage from 1996, which is non-binding on states.
  • The national floor level was last revised by 10% to Rs 176 a day in July 2017.

Features of the Labour code of Wages Act, 2019

  • The Code consolidates, subsumes & transforms four central labour laws relating to wages, namely: (a) the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976; (b) the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (“MWA”); (c) the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 (“PWA”); and (d) the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 (“PBA”
  • Earlier there were 12 definitions of wages in various labour laws, leading to litigation besides difficulty in its implementation. Under the Code, the definition has been simplified
  • The labour code on wages has a provision for a minimum wage. Hence, it brings uniform standard of living across the country. It is expected to treat contract labour on par with regular employee to have dignified life. The wage conditions of unskilled workers will also improve.
  • The Code introduces a new concept of “floor wages“, which rates will be fixed by the Central Government taking into account the minimum living standards of a worker. Once the Code is enacted, the minimum rates of wages fixed by the State Government cannot be less than floor wages as determined by the Central Government.
  • A tripartite committee comprising representatives of trade unions, employers and the state government would fix floor wages for workers throughout the country.
  • It would also ensure that there is no discrimination between men and women as well as transgenders in getting wages.
  • Also, the minimum wages across the country would be only linked to factors of skills and geographical regions, while the rest of the factors have been removed.
  • Bill provides appointment of a Facilitator to carry out inspections, and information to employers and employees for better compliance.
  • Inspection will be done on the basis of an inspection scheme, which will include a web-based inspection schedule. The inspection scheme will be decided by the central or state governments.

Merits of the Act

  • The act is expected to benefit over 50 crores employees across the country
  • Simplified definition of labour is expected to reduce litigation and also reduce compliance cost for employers.
  • The Act would be a ‘game-changer’ to the status quo as far as the lives of workers in the informal sector are concerned. It was believed that informal workers account for 93% of the total working population and contribute to over 60% of India’s GDP 
  • The act would revive the crisis of the current economic slowdown, as the law proposes to increase income capacity and the purchasing power of the informal workers.
  • The act promotes digitization which will also lead to formalisation of economy.
  • Multiplicity of laws are removed which thus facilitates easier compliance by establishments.

Criticism of the rules proposed under the Act

  • The floor wages in effect would mean that “starvation wages” which currently guarantees just 178 per day, will continue to exist. Instead States should have been incentivized to follow uniform standards across India
  • ‘Need-Based Minimum Wage’ (covering nutrition, health care, education, housing and provisions for old age as well) should have been treated as a fundamental constitutional right for every citizen of India, in the draft rules.
  • Another huge concern with the law is in its provision of an arbitrary deduction of wages (up to 50% of monthly wages) based on performance, damage or loss, advances, etc.
  • Draft rules also do not clarify the governance and institutional structure for the “labour inspection system” in the law.
  • The International Labour Organisation’s Labour Inspection Convention of 1947 (Convention C081) — it has been ratified by India — provides for a well-resourced and independent inspectorate with provisions to allow thorough inspections and free access to workplaces. Ignoring these provisions, the draft rules propose another ad-hoc and unclear mechanism called the “inspection scheme”
  • Also, since the act impacts the lives of millions of workers, the act should have been discussed in detail in Parliament, however it was passed in haste without much discussion 

Connecting the dots:

  • Critically examine the provisions of the Labour code of Wages Act, 2019.

POLITY

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Illegal non-citizens

Context:

  • The Home Minister Amit Shah’s had announced in the RajyaSabha earlier this week that a National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be implemented across India, and repeated again in Assam.
  • It has ignited interest in the existing legal framework in India for illegal migrants. 
  • The first enactment made for dealing with foreigners was the Foreigners Act, 1864, which provided for the expulsion of foreigners and their arrest, detention pending removal, and for a ban on their entry into India after removal.

Do you know?

NRC :The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register maintained by the Government of India containing names & certain relevant information for identification of Indian citizens First started in Assam state of India.

Who are illegal migrants?

Migration of people into a country in violation of the immigrationlaws of that country, or the continued residence of people without the legal right to live in that country.

What is the Passport Act?

  • The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920, was one of the early set of rules made against illegal migrants, 
  • It empowered the government to make rules requiring persons entering India to be in possession of passports. 
  • It also granted the government the power to remove from India any person who entered without a passport. 
  • The concept of “burden of proof” was introduced in Foreigners Act, 1940. 
  • Section 7 of the Act provided that whenever a question arose with regard to the nationality of a person, the onus of proving that he was not a foreigner lay upon the person.

When was the Foreigners Act made more stringent?

  • The legislature enacted the Foreigners Act, 1946, by repealing the 1940 Act.
  • It conferred wide powers to deal with all foreigners. 
  • It empowered the government to make provisions for prohibiting, regulating or restricting the entry of foreigners into India.
  • It also restricted the rights enjoyed by foreigners in terms of their stay in the country if any such orders are passed by the authority. 
  • The 1946 Act empowered the government to take such steps as are necessary, including the use of force for securing compliance with such directions.
  • The ‘burden of proof’ lies with the person, and not with the authoritiesis still applicable in all States and Union Territories. 
  • This has been upheld by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court.

What about the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order?

  • In 1964the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order was brought in. 
  • The tribunal has the authority to decide whether a person is a foreigner within the ambit of the Foreigners Act, 1946. 
  • The tribunal has powers similar to those of a civil court.
  • It gives reasonable opportunity to the person alleged to be a foreigner to produce evidence in support of his case, before passing its order.
  • In June this year, the Home Ministry made certain amendments in the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964. 
  • It was to empower district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.

Why did the IMDT Act fail?

  • The Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983, was also referred to as the IMDT Act.
  • It was introduced for the detection and deportation of illegal migrants who had entered India on or after March 25, 1971.
  • It was unsuccessful.
  •  One factor for its failure was that it did not contain any provision on ‘burden of proof’ similar to the Foreigners Act, 1946. 
  • This put a very heavy burden upon the authorities to establish whether a person is an illegal migrant.
  • The result of the IMDT Act was that a number of non-Indians who may have entered Assam after March 25, 1971 without possession of valid documents, continue to reside in Assam. 
  •  In the Supreme Court landmark verdict on a petition by SarbanandaSonowal (now the Chief Minister of Assam), challenging the IMDT Act in 2005 the top court quashed the IMDT Act.
  • The verdict also closed all tribunals in Assam functioning under the Act. 
  • It transferred all pending cases at the IMDT tribunals to the Foreigners Tribunals constituted under the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964.
  • Any person excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) recently concluded in Assam can approach The Foreigners Tribunals, established only in Assam, within 120 days of receiving a certified copy of rejection.
  • In other States, a person suspected to be a foreigner is produced before a local court under the Passport Act, 1920, or the Foreigners Act, 1946.

Connecting the dots:

  • The NRC mess in Assam should serve as a cautionary tale for a nationwide exercise. Comment. 

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1) Consider the following statements about Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

  1. It is being implemented directly by Prime Minister’s Office so as to enable better monitoring and quick implementation of the scheme.
  2. Only 40% of people with access to toilets in rural India used them regularly, indicating that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s efforts to change behaviour was a failure.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) Bougainville island often seen in the news is located in which ocean?

  1. Pacific Ocean
  2. Atlantic Ocean
  3. Indian Ocean
  4. Antarctic Ocean

Q.3) Consider the following statements about Ken-Betwa river linking project

  1. The project involves transferring surplus water from Ken river in Madhya Pradesh (MP) to the Betwa in Uttar Pradesh (UP)
  2. The aim of the project is to provide irrigation and drinking water facilities to Malwa region in both these (MP & UP) states

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.4) Consider the following statements about Plastic Parks

  1. These parks will have an ecosystem with infrastructure building and enabling the common facility to consolidate and synergize the capacities of the domestic downstream plastic processing industry.
  2. Union government would provide grant funding up to 90 per cent of the project cost. The remaining project cost is to be funded by State Government &beneficiary industries

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.5) Which state has approved the nomination of at least one differently abled member to each panchayat (if not elected), making it the first state to have such a policy?

  1. Jharkhand
  2. Bihar
  3. Chhattisgarh
  4. Uttar Pradesh

ANSWERS FOR 23 Nov 2019 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 C
3 A

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