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September 5, 2018
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September 7, 2018
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06 September Current Affairs

Supreme Court bats for minor rape survivors

In News:

In support of minor survivors of rape or sexual assault, the Supreme Court of India has issued a slew of guidelines.

Highlights:

Minor survivors of rape or sexual assault will get compensation on par with women victims. National Legal Services Authority’s (NALSA) compensation scheme for women rape and sexual assault survivors shall be extended to minor children.

Special Judges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act should disburse compensation to minor victims of sex abuse as per the NALSA’s ‘Compensation Scheme for Women Victims/Survivors of Sexual Assault/Other Crimes-2018’.

The NALSA compensation scheme:

The NALSA scheme provides a uniform payment of ₹ 5 lakh to a maximum ₹ 10 lakh for “loss of life” and to gang rape survivors in any part of the country. Similarly, in case of rape and unnatural sexual assault, the victim would get a minimum of ₹4 lakh and maximum of ₹ 7 lakh as compensation.

Among other categories, if a victim suffers the loss of foetus, that is, by miscarriage as a result of assault or loss fertility, the NALSA scheme offers a compensation of ₹ 2 lakh to 3 lakh.

The scheme provides a victim of acid attacks, in case of disfigurement of face, would get a minimum compensation of ₹ 7 lakh, while the upper limit would be ₹ 8 lakh. In acid attack cases, if the injury was more than 50%, a minimum compensation of ₹ 5 lakh would be given, while the maximum would be ₹ 8 lakh.

Way ahead:

The NALSA scheme would be made applicable to minor victims from October 2 until the Centre frames compensation guidelines under the POCSO.

Background:

The order is a product of the legal efforts undertaken by senior advocate Indira Jaising, who has lent her expertise in the case for uniform compensation for rape survivors. The case had begun in the Supreme Court with Ms. Jaising raising her voice against the dormant state of the Nirbhaya funds. She has argued that compensation for sex abuse survivors should be a source of financial solace for victims of sex crimes and acid attacks during court trial.

About NALSA:

NALSA has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, to provide free legal services to weaker sections of society. The aim is to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reasons of economic or other disabilities.

Important functions performed by NALSA:

  • NALSA organises Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
  • NALSA identifies specific categories of the marginalised and excluded groups and formulates various schemes for the implementation of preventive and strategic legal service programmes.
  • Services provided by the agency include free legal aid in civil and criminal matters for the poor and marginalised people who cannot afford the services of a lawyer in any court or tribunal.
  • Free legal services include provision of aid and advice to beneficiaries to access the benefits under the welfare statutes and schemes and to ensure access to justice in any other manner.

Source: The Hindu

Swadesh Darshan Scheme

In News:

The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned the project “Development of Rural Circuit: Malanad Malabar Cruise Tourism Project’ in Kerala under Swadesh Darshan Scheme for Rs. 80.37 Crores. The project focuses on development of water based thematic cruise experiences in and around Valapattanam and Kuppam Rivers of Kannur District.

The three thematic cruises developed under the project are as follows:

  • Malabari Cuisine and Culinary Cruise in Valapattanam River (Muthappan Cruise) – Cruise starts from Valapattanam to Munambu Kadavu in Valapattanam River with an effective Cruise Length of 40 km.
  • Valapattanam River- Theyyam Cruise- Cruise starts from Valapattanam to Pazhayangadi in Valapattanam River with an effective length of 16 km.
  • Mangrove Cruise in Kuppam River – Cruise starts from Pazhayangadi to Kuppam in Kuppam River with an effective Cruise length of 16 km.

Background:

Waterways have been an important mode of transport in Kerala from the time immemorial with its 44 Rivers and 7 Backwater regions. The total length of the navigation route in the Kerala is 1900 km. This is tune with the water based tourism which is getting prominence all over the world.

About Swadesh Darshan Scheme:

The Tourism Ministry had launched ‘Swadesh Darshan’ scheme with an objective to develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country. These tourist circuits will be developed on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner.

Features of Swadesh Darshan Scheme:

  • The scheme is 100% centrally funded for the project components undertaken for public funding.
  • To leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and corporate sector.
  • Funding of individual project will vary from state to state and will be finalised on the basis of detailed project reports prepared by PMC (Programme Management Consultant).
  • A National Steering Committee (NSC) will be constituted with Minister in charge of M/O Tourism as Chairman, to steer the mission objectives and vision of the scheme.
  • A Mission Directorate headed by the Member Secretary, NSC as a nodal officer will help in identification of projects in consultation with the States/ UTs governments and other stake holders.
  • PMC will be a national level consultant to be appointed by the Mission Directorate.

Source: PIB

Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)

In News:

3rd ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Conference on ‘Global Ageing and Human Rights of Older Persons’ is being held in Seoul, Korea.

Aims and objectives of the conference:

The Conference will reaffirm the universal value of the human rights of older persons, share information on discrimination against the elderly and exemplary cases of long-term and palliative care in Asia and Europe, and also discuss operation and tasks of the ASEM Global Ageing Centre as an implementing institution for mutual cooperation among ASEM members for the protection and promotion of the human rights of older persons.

ASEM:

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an informal process of dialogue and cooperation bringing together the 28 European Union member states, 2 other European countries, and the European Union with 21 Asian countries and the ASEAN Secretariat.

 

The ASEM dialogue addresses political, economic and cultural issues, with the objective of strengthening the relationship between the two regions, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.

It was officially established on 1 March 1996 at the first summit in Bangkok, Thailand.

The ASEM Summit is a biennial meeting between the Heads of State and Government, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, and the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Source: PIB

National Mission on GeM

In News:

The government has launched the National Mission on Government eMarketplace (GeM) for increasing awareness and accelerating the use of (GeM).

Highlights of the mission:

  • The National Mission will cover all central government departments, states and public sector undertakings in a mission mode.
  • It is aimed at creating awareness about GeM, train the buyers and sellers, get them registered in GeM and increase the procurement through GeM.
  • It also aims to promote inclusiveness by empowering various categories of sellers and service providers such as MSMEs, start-ups, domestic manufacturers, women entrepreneurs, and Self-Help Groups.
  • It will also Highlight and communicate the value addition via transparency and efficiency in public procurement, including corruption-free governance in sync with the Central Government’s objective of ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’.
  • The mission also aims to give a boost to cashless, contactless, paperless transactions in line with Digital India objectives.

About GeM:

It is an online marketplace to facilitate procurement of goods and services by various Ministries and agencies of the Government.

The platform offers online, end to end solution for procurement of commonly used goods and services for all central government departments and state governments, public sector units and affiliated bodies.

It aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement of goods and services and eliminate corruption.

Performance:

The e-marketplace completed two years in 2018 and on August 26, 2018, it crossed Rs 10,800 crore in terms of value and 6.96 lakh in terms of volume of transactions through the platform. The platform has more than 1.35 lakh sellers offering 4.43 lakh products and around 26,500 organisations as buyers.

Source: PIB

Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats

In News:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved continuation of the Centrally Sponsored Umbrella Scheme of Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (CSS-IDWH) beyond the 12thPlan period from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

About Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats:

  • The Scheme consists of Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger (CSS-PT), Development of Wildlife Habitats (CSS-DWH) and Project Elephant (CSS-PE).
  • The implementation of the schemes would be done through the respective States in designated Tiger Reserves, Protected Areas and Elephant Reserves.
  • The activities covered under the scheme include the staff development and capacity building, wildlife research and evaluation, anti-poaching activities, wildlife veterinary care, addressing man-animal conflicts and promoting eco-tourism.
  • Financial assistance is also provided to States for relocation of communities from within protected areas to other areas.

The scheme has following three components:

  • Support to Protected Areas (National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Conservation Reserves and Community Reserves).
  • Protection of Wildlife Outside Protected Areas.
  • Recovery programmes for saving critically endangered species and habitats.

Significance and benefits of the scheme:

A total of 18 tiger range States, distributed in five landscapes of the country would be benefitted under the Project Tiger scheme. Similarly, for other two schemes, the coverage is entire country in case of Development of Wildlife Habitats (DWH) and 23 elephant range States for Project Elephant. It would foster wildlife conservation in general with specific inputs for tiger in Project Tiger area and elephant in Project Elephant area.

Besides immense environmental benefits and effective implementation of tiger conservation inputs in and around tiger reserves under Project Tiger, wildlife conservation inputs in Protected Areas & nearby areas under Development of Wildlife Habitats and Elephant conservation inputs in Project Elephant areas, the schemes would result in overall strengthening/ consolidation of tiger, elephant and wildlife conservation in the country.

The schemes would address the human wildlife conflict effectively. Besides, the communities opting for voluntary relocation from the Core/Critical Tiger Habitat (6900 families) would be benefitted under Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger (CSS-PT) and 800 families under Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Development of Wildlife Habitat.

These schemes would generate employment opportunities resulting in economic upliftment of people in and around tiger reserves/ Protected Areas besides leading to reduction in natural resource dependency with substitution by clean energy use. People living in vicinity would also get indirect benefits. Local populace would get opportunities to serve as guides, driver, hospitality personnel and in other ancillary jobs. These schemes would foster imparting various skills towards making people self-dependent through various eco-development projects, thereby enabling them to go for self-employment.

These schemes would result in resource generation through tourist visits, thereby fostering in securing tiger source areas and other areas important for wildlife conservation, besides being helpful in sustaining life support systems as well as ensuring the food, water and livelihood security.

Source: PIB

New Ganga clean-up law

In News:

With an aim to clean the river Ganga, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation has prepared a draft bill. The draft bill has provisions for several stringent measures.

Highlights of the Draft Bill:

Constitution of an armed Ganga Protection Corps (GPC): The draft seeks to constitute GPC whose personnel will have the authority to arrest those who pollute the river. The offenders may face a prison term of up to three years and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh. GPC will follow Code of Criminal Procedure.

Its personnel will be provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs and will be deployed by National Ganga Rejuvenation Authority.

The draft bill lays down provision for a National Ganga Council and a National Ganga Rejuvenation Authority to enforce the law and protect the river which flows over 2500 km.

Among the cognizable offences, there are “Construction activities causing obstruction in the river; withdrawal of ground water for industrial or commercial consumption from the land fronting the river and its tributaries; commercial fishing or aqua culture in the river and its tributaries; discharging untreated or treated sewage into the river”.

No person or municipal authority will establish or take any steps to set up any industrial or residential or commercial premises or structure which may result in discharge of any sewage or trade effluent into the Ganga, otherwise he may face a five-year prison term or a fine of Rs 50,000 per day or both.

Background:

In July 2016, a committee was constituted under retired judge of the Allahabad High Court Justice Girdhar Malviya who had submitted a draft Bill last year named The National River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Bill, 2017. Subsequently, a four-member committee was set up by the Ministry to examine that and the Ministry has circulated a Cabinet note which includes a revised version of that draft Bill.

Source: The Hindu

Asia-Europe Meeting

  • Republic of Korea is organising 3rd Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) conference on ‘Global Ageing and Human Rights of Older Persons’.
  • It will be attended by international institutions including the UN, regional institutions such as UNESCAP, UNECE, European Union, ASEAN and international NGOs.
  • India is also taking part in this conference. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will represent India.
  • ASEM) is an exclusively Asian–European forum, established in 1996 at the firstsummit in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • It currently has 51 nations from the European Union and South Asia and 2 regional organisations (ASEAN,EU) as partners.
  • The 3 pillars of ASEM are Political, Economic, Socio Cultural and Educational.
  • In 2016, it adopted Ulaanbaatar declaration to resolve fight against terrorism was signed in the ASEM summit.

Chagos Island

  • There is a dispute between Mauritius and UK over the sovereignty of Chagos islands in the Indian Ocean.
  • Itis home to Diego Garcia, the key military base of the U.K. and the U.S. in the Indian Ocean.
  • The island was taken by UK before the Mauritius decolonisation.
  • After the Independence in 1968, most of the islanders were deported to give the island in lease to US for its airbase.
  • The evicted islanders have been campaigning for their right to return home.
  • A resolution by Mauritius was passed in UN general assembly asking the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to offer a legal opinion in the issue.
  • Twenty-two countries and the African Union are going to appear before ICJ to give their statements.
  • India has backed Mauritius over its claim on the disputed Chagos islands.
  • Australia and the United States are expected to back Britain’s position.

Mid-Air Refuelling

  • Tejas is an indigenously developedlight combat aircraft.
  • It is a single-seat, single-jet engine, multirole light fighter.
  • It is the smallest and lightest multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft in its class.
  • It can fire Air to Air Missiles, carry bombs and Precision Guided ammunition.
  • The Indian Air Force has successfully carried out the first ever mid-air refuelling ofTejas.
  • A Russian-built IL-78 MKI tanker transferred fuel to a Tejas MK I aircraft.
  • It is considered as a major milestone in its development cycle.
  • The ability to carry out air-to-air refuelling is one of the critical requirements for Tejas to achieve final operational clearance.
  • Earlier, Tejas has successfully fired an air-to-air beyond visual (BVR) range missile.

FOXSI Mission

  • Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager (FOXSI) is a sounding rocket mission by NASA.
  • It aims at directly focus at Sun and search for nanoflares using its X-ray vision.
  • The mission’s third flight is going to be launched soon.
  • FOXSI rockets travel above the Earth’s atmosphere for a peek at space before falling back to the ground.
  • It is the first instrument built specially to image high-energy X-rays from the Sun by directly focusing them.