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14 Feb Current Affairs

Registration of Marriage of NRI Bill, 2019

In News:

The Union Cabinet has approved the introduction of Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Bill, 2019 to create more accountability to Indian citizens living abroad.

Objective of the bill:

To offer more protection against the exploitation of Indian citizens, mostly Indian women by their NRI partners.

Key provisions:

Amendment of the legal framework to act as a deterrent to the erring NRI spouses and creating more accountability and offer protection against exploitation of Indian Citizens, especially women married to NRIs.

Registration: Under the new bill, a marriage between an NRI and an Indian citizen will have to be registered in India or Indian missions and posts abroad within 30 days from the date of marriage. If the marriage isn’t registered within 30 days, the passport of the NRI will be revoked, summons and warrant be issued.

Section 86A: After the bill’s passing, the necessary changes would be carried out in the Passports Act, 1967 and Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 by insertion of Section 86A.

The bill would amend the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, solving a major problem of serving judicial summons for court proceedings in India.

Significance and impact of the legislation:

The Bill would offer great protection to Indian citizens married to NRIs and serve as a deterrent to NRIs against harassment of their spouses.

Need for a legislation on this:

The bill has been introduced with the hope of restricting NRI husbands from using marriage as a tool of exploitation and making money and providing better enforcement of rights for the deserted woman under the family laws.

The introduction of the Bill was necessitated due to numerous complaints received from Indian nationals mostly women, who were deserted or harassed by their Non-Resident Indian Spouses.

Since marriage takes place outside India, there are no records or legal documents for further procedures to be initiated against the offender.

Actions undertaken to tackle climate change

In News:

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has released a publication titled “India – Spearheading Climate Solutions” on climate actions in India.

Details:

The publication mentions the key initiatives undertaken by India under various sectors towards combating and adapting to climate change.

Major initiatives of the Government towards combating climate change:

National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): The Action plan covers eight major missions on Solar, Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Habitat, Water, Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, Green India, Sustainable Agriculture and Strategic Knowledge on Climate Change.

International Solar Alliance (ISA): ISA was jointly launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the then President of France, Francois Hollande in Paris on the side-lines of CoP 21 in 2015. The vision and mission of the alliance is to provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries that lie completely or partial between the Tropics of Capricorn & Cancer.

State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC): State governments have drafted climate strategies aligned with the eight National Missions under the NAPCC. The strategies focus on issues ranging from climate mitigation, energy efficiency, and resource conservation to climate adaptation.

FAME Scheme for E-mobility: Union Government in April 2015 launched Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) – India Scheme with an aim to boost sales of eco-friendly vehicles in the country. It is a part of the National Mission for Electric Mobility.

Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for Smart Cities.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana: The scheme provides LPG connections to five crore below-poverty-line beneficiaries. The connections are given in the name of women beneficiaries to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and conventional fuel like cow dung for cooking food, thus reducing air pollution.

UJALA scheme: The scheme was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2015 with a target of replacing 77 crore incandescent lamps with LED bulbs. The usage of LED bulbs will not only result in reducing electricity bills but also help in environment protection.

Swachh Bharat Mission: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Movement) is a campaign that was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2, 2014. The campaign seeks to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country’s 4041 statutory cities and towns.

Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019

In News:

The Parliament has passed the Personal Laws (Amendment Bill), 2018 that seeks to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce. Leprosy is being removed as a ground for divorce as it is now a curable disease as against the earlier notion of it being incurable.

Objectives of the bill:

To uphold the rights of people with leprosy as the disease is curable.

To amend five personal laws- the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939, Divorce Act (for Christians) 1869, Special Marriage Act 1954 and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act 1956- to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce.

Various efforts in this regard:

The first attempt towards eliminating the bias against people suffering from the disease was made in 2008 when the National Human Rights Commission had underlined the need to make amendments in certain personal laws and other legislations.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a Resolution on the ‘Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members’, which was signed and ratified by India.

Subsequently, the 20th Law Commission of India in its 256th Report titled “Eliminating Discrimination Against Persons Affected by Leprosy” had recommended repeal of laws and provisions that were discriminatory against leprosy-affected people.

In 2014, the Supreme Court had also asked the Centre and the state governments to take the necessary steps for rehabilitation and integration of leprosy-affected people into the mainstream including the steps to repeal the provisions where leprosy has been treated as a stigmatic disability.

Need for a legislation in this regard:

Over 110 Central and State laws discriminate against leprosy patients. These laws stigmatise and isolate leprosy patients and, coupled with age-old beliefs about leprosy, cause the patients untold suffering.

The biased provisions in these statutes were introduced prior to medical advancements. Now, modern medicine specifically, multi-drug therapy (MDT) completely cures the disease.

Leprosy:

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. It usually affects the skin and peripheral nerves, but has a wide range of clinical manifestations.

The disease is characterized by long incubation period generally 5-7 years and is classified as paucibacillary or mulitbacillary, depending on the bacillary load. Leprosy is a leading cause of permanent physical disability.

Timely diagnosis and treatment of cases, before nerve damage has occurred, is the most effective way of preventing disability due to leprosy.

Credit linked capital subsidy scheme

In News:

The Central government will continue the “Credit Linked Capital Subsidy and Technology Upgradation Scheme” for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) beyond the 12th Plan period for three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

Details:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the continuation of the scheme with a total outlay of Rs 2,900 crore.

Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme:

The objective of the Scheme is to facilitate technology up-gradation in MSMEs by providing an upfront capital subsidy of 15 per cent (on institutional finance of up to Rs 1 crore availed by them) for induction of well-established and improved technology in the specified 51 sub-sectors/products approved.

The major objective is to upgrade their plant & machinery with state-of-the-art technology, with or without expansion and also for new MSEs which have set up their facilities with appropriate eligible and proven technology duly approved under scheme guidelines.

The Scheme is a demand driven one without any upper limit on overall annual spending on the subsidy disbursal.

Nature of assistance:

The revised scheme aims at facilitating technology up-gradation by providing 15% up front capital subsidy to MSMEs, including tiny, khadi, village and coir industrial units, on institutional finance availed by them for induction of well-established and improved technologies in specified sub-sectors/products approved under the scheme.

National Commission for Safai Karmacharis

In News:

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for Extension of tenure of the National Commission for Safai Karmacharis(NCSK) beyond 31.3.2019 for three years.

Background:

The NCSK was established in the year 1993 as per the provisions of the NCSK Act 1993 initially for the period upto 1997.

Later the validity of the Act was initially extended upto 2002 and thereafter upto 2004. The NCSK Act ceased to have effect from 2004.

After that the tenure of the NCSK has been extended as a non-statutory body from time to time. The tenure of the present Commission is upto 31.3.2019.

Role of NCSK:

Recommend to the Government regarding specific programmes for welfare of Safai Karamcharis, study and evaluate the existing welfare programmes for SafaiKaramcharis, investigate cases of specific grievances etc.

Also as per the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, the NCSK has been assigned the work to monitor the implementation of the Act, tender advice for its effective implementation to the Centre and State Governments and enquire into complaints regarding contravention/non-implementation of the provisions of the Act.

Major impact:

The major beneficiaries of the proposal would be the Safai Karamcharis and persons engaged in manual scavenging in the country since the NCSK will work for their welfare and upliftment.

Though the Government has taken many steps for the upliftment of the SafaiKaramcharis, the deprivation suffered by them in socio-economic and educational terms is still far from being eliminated. Further the practice of manual scavenging is still prevalent in the country and its eradication continues to be an area of the highest priority for the Government.

e-AUSHADHI portal

In News:

Ministry of State (IC) for AYUSH, launched the e-AUSHADHI portal, for online licensing of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs and related matters.

Key facts:

e-AUSHADHI portal is intended for increased transparency, improved information management facility, improved data usability and increased accountability.

Timelines will be fixed for processing of application through this portal with SMS and e-mail status updates at each step of the process.

It will provide real-time information of the licensed manufactures and their products, cancelled and spurious drugs, contact details of the concerned authority for specific grievances.

National Board for Wildlife (NBWL)

In News:

India’s apex National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has cleared 682 of the 687 projects (99.82%) that came up for scrutiny. Only five projects were rejected since August 2014.

About National Board for Wildlife:

It is a “Statutory Organization” constituted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Its roles is “advisory” in nature and advises the Central Government on framing policies and measures for conservation of wildlife in the country.

Primary function of the Board is to promote the conservation and development of wildlife and forests.

It has power to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.

No alternation of boundaries in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries can be done without approval of the NBWL.

Composition: The NBWL is chaired by the Prime Minister. It has 47 members including the Prime Minister. Among these, 19 members are ex-officio members. Other members include three Members of Parliament (two from Lok Sabha and one from Rajya Sabha), five NGOs and 10 eminent ecologists, conservationists and environmentalists.

Source: The Hindu

Trans fatty acids (TFA)

In News:

Kerala has drawn up an action plan to generate public awareness on the harmful effects of trans fatty acids (TFA) in commercially available food items and to encourage the local food industry to meet the current statutory limits set for TFA.

Details:

Various studies suggest that an unhealthy diet with a high TFA content is a significant factor that pushes up metabolic syndrome and the burden of its associated complications.

The Health Department is being supported in this initiative by Vital Strategies, the nutrition wing of the World Bank; the WHO; the FSSAI; and the State Food Safety wing, which will be in charge of enforcement.

What are Trans fats?

Trans fatty acids (TFAs) or Trans fats are the most harmful type of fats which can have much more adverse effects on our body than any other dietary constituent. These fats are largely produced artificially but a small amount also occurs naturally. Thus in our diet, these may be present as Artificial TFAs and/ or Natural TFAs.

Artificial TFAs are formed when hydrogen is made to react with the oil to produce fats resembling pure ghee/butter.

In our diet the major sources of artificial TFAs are the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVO)/vanaspati/ margarine while the natural TFAs are present in meats and dairy products, though in small amounts.

Harmful effects:

TFAs pose a higher risk of heart disease than saturated fats. While saturated fats raise total cholesterol levels, TFAs not only raise total cholesterol levels but also reduce the good cholesterol (HDL), which helps to protect us against heart disease. Trans fats consumption increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

It is also associated with a higher risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, infertility, certain types of cancers and can also lead to compromised fetal development causing harm to the yet to be born baby.

Why they are increasingly being used?

TFA containing oils can be preserved longer, they give the food the desired shape and texture and can easily substitute ‘Pure ghee’. These are comparatively far lower in cost and thus add to profit/saving.

Permissible limit:

WHO recommends that trans-fat intake be limited to less than 1% of total energy intake and has called for the total elimination of TFAs in global food supply by 2023. FSSAI has proposed to limit TFA limit in foods to 2% and eliminate trans fats from foods by 2022.

Source: The Hindu

Ghumot to be declared Goa’s heritage musical instrument

In News:

Ghumot, an indigenous earthen drum will soon be notified as a heritage instrument of Goa.

Details:

Ghumot is an indigenous earthen drum fashioned as a designed clay pot, with the skin of the monitor lizard stretched taut across the pot’s mouth, forming a drumhead. It is a percussion instrument widely played during Ganesh Chaturthi Aarties.

The instrument was banned due to the use of the skin of the endangered monitor lizard for the drum membrane. In recent years, ghumot makers have started using goat skin instead.

The ban is applicable to the use of any animal listed in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and that the goat is not one of them. Monitor lizard is listed under this.

‘Exercise Topchi’

It is an annual exercise held by Indian Army to showcase its artillery firepower, aviation and surveillance capabilities. The latest edition was held at Deolali Camp near Nashik.

Cobra Gold Military Exercise

In News:

The United States and Thailand are hosting the multi-nation Cobra military exercise this year. The exercise is taking place in the northern Thai province of Phitsanulok. This is the 38th edition of this exercise.

About the exercise:

This is a Thai-American initiative with an aim to improve coordination between the armed forces. It is one of the Asia-Pacific region’s largest multinational military exercises that is held in Thailand every year. It was first held in 1982 and its headquarters is in Bangkok, Thailand.

India joined this exercise for the first time in 2016 while China was admitted for the first time in 2015 but was only allowed to participate in humanitarian assistance training.

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