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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th January 2023

  • IASbaba
  • January 25, 2023
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Aravalli Safari Park

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography and Environment and Ecology

Context: Aravalli safari park project proposed by Haryana Chief Minister which will affect the ecosystem of Aravallis region.

  • In April 2022, Chief Minister of Haryana proposed 10,000-acre Aravalli safari park project
  • As per Aravalli Bachao Citizens, this will affect the natural habitats, increase waste generation and destroy the region’s fragile ecosystem.

About Aravalli Mountain range:

  • It is located in the north-western part of India.
  • It is one of the oldest fold mountain systems in the world.
  • It is divided into two sections:
    • The Sambhar-Sirohi ranges: It is taller and includes Guru Peak on Mount Abu (the highest peak in the Aravalli Range).
    • The Sambhar-Khetri ranges: It consisting of three ridges that are discontinuous.
  • Several rivers are originated from Aravalli range such as the Banas, Luni, Sakhi, and Sabarma
  • It’s passes through states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi.
  • Its average height is from 600 to 900 m.

Significance of Aravalli Mountain range:

  • They act as a barrier to cloud to shift eastwards to the lower Himalayas thus contributing to the climate of north India as well.
  • Protects the plains from the effect of westerly flowing from the Central Asia region.
  • Its responsible for adequate monsoon rainfall and therefore sustaining a plethora of diverse flora fauna, rich biodiversity, livelihood and agriculture in the constituent states.
  • A greener Aravalli acts as a groundwater recharge for the region facing acute water scarcity.
  • It plays a major role in affecting the local climate and directing economic activities, leveraging geographical and environmental resources and biodiversity profiles of the region.

The key concerns regarding the proposed project:

  • Increase in human footfall and vehicular traffic will affect fauna of the area;
  • It will disturb the aquifers under the Aravalli hills that are critical reserves for the water-starved districts;
  • The location of safari park is in water-scarce region and
  • Location of Aravalli safari park project falls under the category of ‘forest’ according to orders by the Supreme Court and protected under the Forest Conservation Act.

Source: DownToEarth

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Consider the following pairs:

Peak                                          Mountains

  1. Namcha Barwa                   Garhwal Himalaya
  2. Nanda Devi                         Kumaon Himalaya
  3. Nokrek                                 Sikkim Himalaya

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 3 only

Q.2) “If rainforests and tropical forests are the lungs of the Earth, then surely wetlands function as its kidneys.” Which one of the following functions of wetlands best reflects the above statement?

  1. The water cycle in wetlands involves surface runoff, subsoil percolation and evaporation.
  2. Algae form the nutrient base upon which fish, crustaceans, molluscs, birds, reptiles and mammals thrive.
  3. 58 15 Wetlands play a vital role in maintaining sedimentation balance and soil stabilization.
  4. Aquatic plants absorb heavy metals and excess nutrients.

Norovirus

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

Context: The Kerala Health Department confirmed two cases of the gastrointestinal infection norovirus.

About Norovirus:

  • Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Norovirus, also called the “winter vomiting bug”, is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea.
    • However, norovirus illness is not related to the flu which is caused by influenza virus.
  • It is an RNA virus of the family Caliciviridae.
  • It is a human enteric pathogen that causes substantial morbidity across both health care and community settings.
  • People of all ages can get infected and sick with norovirus.
  • A 2022 study says that norovirus infections are more frequently detected in high income countries, with almost 40% cases being seen in long-term care facilities.
  • In contrast, the cases in India have mostly been detected in settings like schools and hostels, where people share food.

Source:  Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Which one of the following statements best describes the role of B cells and T cells in the human body?

  1. They protect the body from environmental allergens
  2. They alleviate the body’s pain and inflammation.
  3. They act as immunosuppressants in the body.
  4. They protect the body from the diseases caused by pathogens.

Q.2) Consider the following:

  1. Bacteria
  2. Fungi
  3. Virus

Which of the above can be cultured in an artificial/ synthetic medium?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Param Vir Chakra

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Miscellaneous

Context: Recently, Prime Minister named 21 islands in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands after recipients of Param Vir Chakra.

About Param Vir Chakra:

  • It is the highest wartime gallantry award in India.
  • It is granted for “most conspicuous bravery in the presence of the enemy”.
  • The first recipient was Major Somnath Sharma for his actions in the 1947-48 India-Pakistan War.
  • The last recipient was Captain Vikram Batra for actions in the Kargil War in 1999.
  • Till now it has been granted to 21 armed forces personnel.
  • Most of the Param Vir Chakras were granted posthumously as they made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty.
  • It was designed by Savitri Khanolkar, a Swiss national whose real name was Eve Yvonne Maday de Maros.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements in respect of Bharat Ratna and Padma Awards:

  1. Bharat Ratna and Padma awards are titles under the Article 18 (1) of the Constitution of India.
  2. Padma Awards, which were instituted in the year 1954, were suspended only once.
  3. The number of Bharat Ratna Awards is restricted to a maximum of five in a particular year.

Which of the above statements are not correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

British Broadcasting Corporation

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

Context: The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has recently been facing soe heat after the release of its documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’, with the Indian government calling the film a “propaganda piece” and accusing the broadcaster of having a “colonial mindset”.

About British Broadcasting Corporation:

  • Founded on October 18, 1922, the BBC was earlier a private corporation, known as the British Broadcasting Company, in which only British manufacturers were allowed to hold shares.
  • In 1926, a parliament committee recommended that the private company should be replaced by a public, Crown-chartered organisation, the British Broadcasting Corporation.
  • This made the company ultimately answerable to Parliament but it continued to enjoy independence regarding its activities.
  • Till now, the BBC operates under the Royal Charter.
  • The charter has to be renewed every 10 years and the current one will run until December 31, 2027.
  • Till 2017, the company was regulated by the BBC Trust, its executive board, and a government-approved regulatory authority, called Ofcam.
  • The trust was abolished and a BBC Board was set up to govern the company.
  • Ofcam was given the sole responsibility of regulating it.

Source: Indian Express


Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AIC)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

Context: Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AIC) has recently released compensation for damage of kharif crops of 2021 after paying claims under the Prime Minister’s Fasal Bima Yojana.

About Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AIC):

  • It is central public sector undertaking under the ownership of Ministry of Finance.
  • It was incorporated under Indian Companies Act 1956, in 2002.
  • AIC has taken over the implementation of National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) which, until FY 2002-03 was implemented by General Insurance Corporation of India.
  • In addition, AIC also transacts other insurance businesses directly or indirectly concerning agriculture and its allied activities.
  • Promoters (Share Holding):
    • General Insurance Corporation of India – 35 %
    • National Bank for Agriculture And Rural Development (NABARD) – 30 %
    • National Insurance Company Limited – 8.75 %
    • The New India Assurance Company Limited – 8.75 %
    • The Oriental Insurance Company Limited – 8.75 %
    • United India Insurance Company Limited – 8.75 %
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • National Agricultural Insurance Scheme
    • National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) was introduced by the Government of India to provide insurance coverage and financial subsidy to the farmers in the event of crop losses suffered on account of natural calamities, pests and diseases.
    • This scheme aims to help stabilise farm incomes, particularly in disaster years.

About Prime Minister’s Fasal Bima Yojana:

  • Launched in 2016, the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) is a large-scale crop subsidy insurance scheme that was aimed to safeguard farmers.
  • This flagship scheme was designed in line with the ‘One Nation, One Crop, One Premium and replaces three older initiatives—Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS), Weather-based Crop Insurance Scheme and the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS)—by incorporating their best features and removing inherent shortcomings to improve insurance services available to farmers.
  • This scheme is being administered by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare under the Ministry of Agriculture, along with empanelled general insurance companies.

Source: The Hindu


Water Hyacinth

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In News: An artificial lake in Madhya Pradesh’s Shivpuri district has virtually disappeared under a thick layer of an invasive aquatic plant, threatening the biodiversity of the water body.

Water hyacinth

  • Water hyacinth (Pontederia crassipes) is an invasive species native to South Africa.
  • The plant has naturalised itself in many other parts of the world.
  • While the plant has some uses too, when it covers the entire surface of a water body, it becomes a threat to aquatic biodiversity.
  • Macrophytes like water hyacinth can’t be outrightly placed in a harmful or useful category
  • Water hyacinth acts as a water purifier by removing heavy metals from water when present in small quantities.
  • However, the plant is a prolific spreader and when it covers the entire surface of a water body, it does not allow sunlight to penetrate the water and also starts depleting oxygen.
  • This leads to death of aquatic animals and plants, which in turn decompose and further reduce oxygen levels
  • The presence of water hyacinth indicates that there are high nitrogen levels in the water
  • It is a symptom of an underlying problem and how the water nutrients behave.
  • It also indicates a lack of effective competing factors to prevent its growth.

The Sankhya Sagar

  • It was declared a Ramsar site in July 2022.
  • The lake spreads across 248 hectares (612.82 acres) with a catchment of 37,522 ha and helps maintain the ecological balance of the Madhav National Park.
  • As a Ramsar site, it is a wetland site designated internationally important by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
  • Sankhya Sagar supports significant populations of 19 indigenous fish species, which spawn and breed in its habitat
  • The water body has a mix of riverine and palustrine (marsh) habitat fish populations, making them critical to maintaining the overall biodiversity of the region.
  • The fish species, in turn, support the population of piscivorous (fish-eating) birds.
  • Waterfowls are also present here in large numbers.
  • The lake is home to 73 species of birds and welcomes migratory birds during winter.
  • The lake is also home to marsh crocodiles aka ‘Mugger’ (Crocodylus palustris) is a Schedule I reptilian species protected under the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • The reptiles were introduced in Jadhav Sagar in 1987 by the Madras Crocodile Bank.
  • The northern side of the water body is a hilly area and several minor drains join it.
  • The Maniyar river connects the Sankhya Sagar to another lake, Jadhav Sagar, which passes through the national park.
  • The lake’s western side is downstream and has a dam line — a barrier to control water levels.
  • The water flows through the spillway towards another waterbody, the Madhav Sagar lake. Both Jadhav Sagar and Madhav Sagar are also covered in water hyacinths.
  • Sankhya Sagar falls under the forest department and can only be cleaned with the efforts of the director of Madhav National Park.

Source DTE

Previous Year Questions

Q1) Which of the following can be threats to the biodiversity of a geographical area? (2012)

  1. Global warming
  2. Fragmentation of habitat
  3. Invasion of alien species
  4. Promotion of vegetarianism

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Ajmer Sharif Dargah

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Art and Culture

In News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has handed over Chadar which would be offered on the Urs of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at the Ajmer Sharif Dargah.

Ajmer sharif dargah

  • It is a Sufi tomb (dargah) of the revered Sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishti, located at Ajmer, Rajasthan, India.
  • The shrine has Chishti’s grave (Maqbara).
  • All the member of committee of Dargah alknown as “Khadims”
  • Moinuddin Chishti was a 13th-century Sufi saint and philosopher.
  • during the reign of the Sultan Iltutmish
  • The white marble dome of Chishti’s shrine, as seen today, was built in 1532.
  • It is an example of Indo-Islamic architecture and the dome features a lotus and a crown of gold, donated by Rampur’s Nawab Haider Ali Khan.
  • The dargah has a royal darbar, Mehfil Khana, that was constructed in 1888.
  • The complex also has a Langar Khana and a Mahfil Khana
  • The Jhalara is a natural tank of water that is used by pilgrims
  • The Jannati Darwaza is a door made of silver that is used only on rare occasions. It is also referred to as the Bihisti Darwaza.
  • The death anniversary of Moinuddin Chishti is called the Urs Sharif festival

Sources: Newsonair


The Directorate General of Civil Aviation

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy

In News: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has imposed a penalty of 10 lakh rupees on Air India for not reporting unruly behaviour of two passengers during the Paris to New Delhi flight on 6th December,  2022.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)

About:

  • It is the statutory and regulatory body in the field of Civil Aviation primarily dealing with safety issues and to regulate civil aviation in India.
  • It was formed under the Aircraft (Amendment) Act, 2020.
  • It comes under the Ministry of Civil Aviation
  • The headquarters are located in New Delhi with regional offices in the various parts of India.

Functions

  • It is responsible for formulation of national policies and programmes for the development and regulation of the Civil Aviation sector in the country.
  • It is responsible for regulation of air transport services to/from/within India and for enforcement of civil air regulations, air safety and airworthiness standards.
  • It also co-ordinates all regulatory functions with International Civil Aviation Organisation.
  • The DGCA investigates aviation accidents and incidents, maintains all regulations related to aviation and is responsible for issuance of licenses.
  • Keeping a check on aircraft noise and engine emissions in accordance with ICAO Annex 16 and collaborating with the environmental authorities in this matter, if required.
  • Approving training programmes of operators for carriage of dangerous goods, issuing authorizations for carriage of dangerous goods, etc.

Source: Newsonair


Bhoj Wetland

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In News: The National Green Tribunal has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) to periodically monitor the activities of a cruise vessel polluting the Bhoj wetland in Bhopal, MP.

  • A mid-sized cruise vessel can consume 150 tonnes of fuel each day and dump toxic waste in water

Bhoj Wetland

  • It is located around Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh
  • The wetland is also a Ramsar site with international importance.
  • It has two lakes, Upper lake, also called Bhojtal and Lower Lake or Chhota Talaab.
  • It provides drinking water to 1.2 million people, Pandey highlighted during the January 10 hearing.
  • Upper lake hosts 15 varieties of fish and turtles
  • About 2,500 migratory birds across the world visit the wetland that serves as a breeding and nesting habitat for them.
  • Bhoj wetland has become a near-natural ecosystem in the 900 years since it was first conceived by a visionary king. Paramara Raja Bhoj (1005-1055 CE), the benefactor-ruler of Malwa, after whom the state capital Bhopal is also named, had the lake built by raising an earthen dam across the Kolans.
  • The Bhoj wetland is among the most accessible Ramsar site, with a road going all around the twin lakes.

Wetlands

  • Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season.
  • Water saturation (hydrology) largely determines how the soil develops and the types of plant and animal communities living in and on the soil.
  • Wetlands provide a wide range of important resources and ecosystem services such as food, water, fibre, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation.
  • They are, in fact, are a major source of water and our main supply of freshwater comes from an array of wetlands which help soak rainfall and recharge groundwater.

Source DTE

Previous Year Question

Q1) Consider the following pairs: (2022)

Wetland/Lake:                                    Location

  1. Hokera Wetland                        Punjab
  2. Renuka Wetland                   Himachal Pradesh
  3. Rudrasagar Lake                       Tripura
  4. Sasthamkotta Lake                 Tamil Nadu

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

  1. Only one pair
  2. Only two pairs
  3. Only three pairs
  4. All four pairs

Development of Sustainable Urban Infrastructure

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Syllabus

  • Mains – G S 2 (Governance)

Context: A report by the World Bank, released last year, on financing India’s urban infrastructure needs, focuses on private investments ameliorating urban problems.

About Urbanization:

  • Urbanisation is the increase in the proportion of people living in towns and cities.
  • Urbanisation occurs because people move from rural areas to urban areas (towns and cities).
  • This usually occurs when a country is still developing.
  • Employment Factor:
    • In India, people have been attracted to move from rural to urban areas on account of improved employment opportunities.
  • India is home to 11% of the total global urban population.
  • From a population of 377 million in 2011, Indian cities are projected to house 870 million people by 2050, according to the UN’s projections which is by far the highest among all nations.
  • Delhi is likely to become the world’s most populous urban agglomeration by 2030, surpassing Tokyo.

Funding patterns for Urban Development:

  • Urban finance predominantly comes from the government in India.
    • Of the finances needed to fund urban capital expenditures, 48%, 24% and 15% are derived from the central, State, and city governments, respectively.
  • Public–private partnership projects contribute 3% and commercial debt 2%.
  • The flagship programmes of the government, the Smart City mission, the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY),, are not more than Rs. 2 lakh crore (that too for a period of five years).

Highlights of the report:

  • The World Bank estimates that nearly $840 billion (Rs. 70 lakh crore) would be needed for investment in urban India to meet the growing demands of the population, and $55 billion would be required annually.
  • Revenue by Cities:
    • This report already points out that nearly 85% of government revenue is from the cities.
    • This means that urban citizens are contributing large revenues even as the World Bank report emphasises the levying of more burdens in the form of user charges on utilities, etc.

Other reports:

  • Isher Judge Ahluwalia’s report says that by 2030, nearly Rs. 39.2 lakh crore would be required.
  • Likewise, the 11th Plan puts forth estimates of Rs. 1,29,337 crore for four basic services, Rs. 1,32,590 crore for urban transport and Rs. 1,32,590 crore for housing.

Challenges faced by Urban Cities in India:

  • Poor Water Supply and Waste Management: Water supply is unreliable and irregular among major cities.
    • Mountains of solid waste sit on the fringes of our cities.
    • Poor drainage, congested roads and deteriorating air quality are other challenges.
  • Affordable Housing: Inadequate affordable housing has meant that almost one-sixth of the urban population lives in slums.
  • Issues of Urban Slums: Urban Slums are subject to insecure land tenure, lack of access to basic minimum civic services such as safe drinking water, sanitation, storm drainage, solid waste management, internal and approach roads, street lighting, education and health care, and poor quality of shelter.
  • Poor Urban Planning: The existing urban planning and governance framework is complex, which often leads to ambiguity and a lack of accountability.
    • City planning has become a highly technocratic exercise with long delays and there is a need for the demystification of the master plans.
  • Funding: More sources for funding are required like resources other than the public budget need to be tapped. High prices will make services unaffordable.
  • Migrant Crisis: Urban dwellers are ignored and unable to live, work and play safely and happily.
    • An urbanisation policy needs to take cognisance of future mobility patterns.
  • Lack of Coordination: Lack of synergy between urban and rural planning and development. The ‘State Town and country planning acts need to be revisited to harmonise the two.
  • Connectivity and Congestion: Congestion and delays in both passenger and commercial traffic are widespread in Indian cities.

Government of India Initiatives:

  • Smart Cities Mission: The Smart Cities Mission is a major urban renewal program launched by the Government to develop and upgrade living conditions and infrastructure in selected 100 cities all over the country.
    • Objective of the programme is to modernize cities by providing core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart’ Solutions.
    • Ministry of Urban Development is the anchoring agency for the implementation of the project.
  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) Project: Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) along with smart cities were jointly planned and launched by the government to transform urban living conditions through infrastructure up gradation.
    • AMRUT is aimed at transforming 500 cities and towns into efficient urban living spaces over a period of five years.
    • Ministry of Urban Development has selected the five hundred cities with the help of state governments.

Suggestive Measures:

Bottom-up planning:

  • For the urban context, plans must be made from below by engaging with the people and identifying their needs.

Empowering the city governments:

  • National task force chaired by K.C. Sivaramakrishnan suggested the following:
    • Empowering the people and Transferring subjects to the city governments, suggesting that 10% of the income-tax collected from cities be given back to them and
    • Ensuring that this corpus fund was utilised only for infrastructure building.
    • This would ensure that city governments had an advantage in ensuring rapid transformation.

Urban governance with regular elections:

  • Another important aspect of urban infrastructure is linked to urban governance, which is in shambles in most parts of the country.
  • Regular elections should be held in cities and there must be empowerment through the transferring of the three Fs: finances, functions, and functionaries.

Steps for Enhancing the Role of the Private Sector:

  • These include the adoption of fair processes for
    • procuring technical consultancy services,
    • strengthening project structuring and management skills in the public sector, and
    • empanelment of private sector consultancies.

Clarity and expertise are need of the hour:

  • There is a need to bring in more institutional clarity and also multi-disciplinary expertise to solve urban challenges.
  • The key aspects that would need to be addressed in this effort are:
    • Clear division of the roles and responsibilities of various authorities, appropriate revision of rules and regulations, etc.
    • Creation of a more dynamic organizational structure,
    • Standardisation of the job descriptions of town planners and other experts,
    • Extensive adoption of technology for enabling public participation and inter-agency coordination.

World Banks’s Suggestions:

  • The solutions suggested include improving the fiscal base and creditworthiness of the Indian cities.
  • Cities must institute a buoyant revenue base and be able to recover the cost of providing its services.
  • In simpler terms, it means increasing property taxes, user fees and service charges to name a few.

Source: The Hindu


Sexual Harassment at Workplace

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 1 Women Empowerment

Context:

  • Several top Haryana-based World and Olympic medallist wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, began a protest in Delhi, alleging sexual harassment of young wrestlers by Mr. Singh and financial misappropriation by the WFI.
  • Union Sports Minister announced that six-time World champion and Olympic medallist boxer M.C. Mary Kom will head a government-appointed five-member Oversight Committee (IOA panel) to investigate the charges levelled by some prominent wrestlers against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Definition of Sexual harassment

  • As per Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace Act 2013, “sexual harassment” includes any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour
  • physical contact and advances; or
  • a demand or request for sexual favours; or
  • making sexually coloured remarks; or
  • showing pornography; or
  • any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature;
  • Additionally, the Act mentions five circumstances that amount to sexual harassment —promise of preferential treatment in her employment, threat of detrimental treatment, threat about her present or future employment status, interference with her work or creating an offensive or hostile work environment and humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.

Vishaka guidelines

  • These were laid down by the Supreme Court in a judgment in 1997.
  • This was on a case filed by women’s rights groups, one of which was Vishaka.
  • They had filed a public interest litigation over the alleged gang-rape of Bhanwari Devi, a social worker from Rajasthan.
  • In 1992, she had prevented the marriage of a one-year-old girl, leading to the alleged gang-rape in an act of revenge.
  • Legally binding, these defined sexual harassment and imposed three key obligations on institutions — prohibition, prevention, redress.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act

  • It was passed in 2013.
  • It defines sexual harassment, lays down the procedures for a complaint and inquiry, and the action to be taken.
  • It broadens the Vishaka guidelines as follows:
  • It mandates that every employer constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at each office or branch with 10 or more employees.
  • It lays down procedures and defines various aspects of sexual harassment, including aggrieved victim — a woman “of any age whether employed or not”, who “alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment”, which means the rights of all women working or visiting any workplace, in any capacity, are protected under the Act.

Procedure for complaint

  • The Act says the aggrieved victim “may” make, in writing, a complaint of sexual harassment.
  • If she cannot, any member of the ICC “shall” render “all reasonable assistance” to her for making the complaint in writing.
  • The complaint of sexual harassment has to be made “within three months from the date of the incident
  • Section 10 of the Act deals with conciliation – The ICC “may”, before inquiry, and “at the request of the aggrieved woman, take steps to settle the matter between her and the respondent though conciliation” — provided that “no monetary settlement shall be made as a basis of conciliation”.
  • After the recommendations, the aggrieved woman or the respondent can appeal in court within 90 days
  • Section 14 of the Act deals with punishment for false or malicious complaint and false evidence. The Act, however, makes it clear, that action cannot be taken for “mere inability” to “substantiate the complaint or provide adequate proof”.

Priya Ramani case

  • In February 2021, a trial court acquitted Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case filed by her former boss and editor-turned-politician, MJ Akbar for accusing him of sexual harassment during the #MeToo movement in 2018.
  • Judge Ravindra Kumar Pandey made significant observations in the judgment – the woman cannot be punished for raising voice” as the “right of reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the right of life and dignity of a woman

Suggestions for future:

  • IOA panel formed to probe the allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment and intimidation, financial irregularities and administrative lapses – Mary Kom heads the IOA panel as well.
  • Attitudinal shift – Organisations must take institutional responsibility for an attitudinal shift.
  • Institutional accountability requires employers to institute a Complaint Mechanism and a Complaints Committee as per Vishakha guidelines, reiterating the importance of its independence by having an external member, conversant with the issue of sexual harassment.
  • Role of judiciary – the Supreme Court of India in Medha Kotwal Lele and ors. Vs. Union of India recognised that “women still struggle to have their most basic rights protected at workplaces”
  • The Medha Kotwal judgment accepted that a woman has reasonable grounds to believe that her objection would disadvantage her at work or create a hostile work environment.
  • Regulatory framework –  Sexual harassment has been brought under the ambit of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which is an important step in understanding the gravity of its impact on women.
  • A significant amendment to the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, stated that where the question of consent is an issue, “evidence of the character of the victim or previous sexual experience shall not be relevant”.
  • This amendment would necessitate a transformational change in how survivors are treated in court, emphasising the need to stop re-victimisation.

Way forward

  • Despite these watershed moments in our legal history that demand a cultural shift in the treatment of survivors, they continue to fear for their physical safety, their job security and their mental health for rejecting an unwelcome sexual advance or reporting it.
  • Evidence shows that due processes meant to protect survivors and help them access justice, leave survivors feeling betrayed.
  • Shifting blame on the survivor or making veiled accusations during the inquiry process coerces them into silence and unjustifiably puts the burden of proof back on the victim.
  • As Ramani expressed upon her acquittal in the defamation suit against her, that despite being a victim of sexual harassment, she had to stand in Court as the accused.

Source The Hindu


Baba’s Explainer – Domestic Workers

Domestic Workers

Syllabus

  • GS -2: Issues relating to development and management of Human Resouces
  • GS-3: Economy & Development

Context: Despite offering necessary services, domestic workers lack access to rights and protection. They are also susceptible to harassment, assault, and restrictions on their freedom of movement. The informality in this sector is due to implementation issues and loopholes in national labour and social security laws.

Read Complete Details on Domestic Workers


Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) With reference to ‘Water hyacinth’, consider the following statements

  1. It acts as a water purifier by removing heavy metals from the water.
  2. It indicates presence of high levels of oxygen in the water

Which of the statements given above are correct?

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

Q.2) With reference to the cultural history of India, The Ajmer Sharif Dargah has a tomb of which of the following Sufi saints?

  1. Khwaja Pir Mohammad
  2. Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti
  3. Nizam-ud-din Auliya
  4. Baba Farid.

Q.3) Consider the following statements regarding Aravali mountain ranges:

  1. It is one of the oldest fold mountain systems in the world.
  2. It spreads across three states only
  3. Rives such as the Banas, Luni, Sakhi, and Sabarma originates in the region

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1 2 and 3

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’ 25th January 2023 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st


ANSWERS FOR 24th January – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – c

Q.2) – b

Q.3) – a

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