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14 May Current Affairs

MSME: Technology Centres help to manufacture micro parts of COVID-19 kits

In News:

The technology centres that are operating under the Ministry of MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) are manufacturing critical parts of the RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) machines.

Highlights:

The technology centres in Jamshedpur, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata that are operating under Ministry of MSME are now manufacturing parts of RT-PCR machines. However, these machines are variants of the main RT-PCRs. They are called the Real Time Quantitative Micro PCR System. These machines give results in less than an hour. Also, they are compact and can be easily carried for testing anywhere.

What are the Technology Centres?

The Technology Centres were established by the Ministry of MSME. They play crucial role in providing skill development training to over 2 lakh youth and industry workforce. Today there are 18 technology centres in India. They provide design and manufacture of tools, mould and dies, precision components, forging and foundry, electrical measuring instruments, glass, footwear, sports goods, etc. Some of the technology centres also fulfill the needs of aerospace, defence and research and development.

Atal Pension Yojana completes 5 years

In News:

The “Atal Pension Yojana” launched on May 9, 2015, has completed 5 years of its implementation. The total enrollment under the scheme as on May 9, 2020 was 2,23,54,028.

Highlights:

During the first two years of the launch of the initiative, there were 50 lakh subscribers. In the third year, the numbers doubled with 100 lakh subscribers. In the third year, the numbers increased to 100 lakhs. The milestone of 1.5 crores enrollment was achieved in the fourth year.

Features of the Scheme:

The Scheme can be subscribed by any Indian citizen of age 18 to 40 years. Upon enrollment, the scheme provides a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs 1000 to Rs 5000 on attaining 60 years of age. Also, when the pensioner dies, it amounts to guaranteed pension for lifetime to the spouse. In case of death of the both the subscriber and spouse, a nominee shall claim the amount.

About the scheme:

The scheme was replaced with Swavalamban Yojana. It was established to provide old age income security to the unorganized sector. It was launched by PM Modi in 2015 at Kolkata.

The scheme is implemented by PFRDA (Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority) operating under Ministry of Finance.

International Labour Organization

In News:

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social and economic justice through setting international labour standards.

Details:

Founded in 1919 under the League of Nations, it is the first and oldest specialized agency of the UN.

The ILO’s international labour standards are broadly aimed at ensuring accessible, productive, and sustainable work worldwide in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity.

They are set forth in 189 conventions and treaties, of which eight are classified as fundamental according to the 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

Together they protect freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of forced or compulsory labour, the abolition of child labour, and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

The ILO is subsequently a major contributor to international labor law.

The organization is unique in the UN for its tripartite structure: All standards, policies, and programmes require debate and input from governments, employers, and workers.

This framework is maintained in the ILO’s three main bodies:

The International labour Conference, which meets annually to formulate international labour standards.

Governing Body, which serves as the executive council and decides the agency’s policy and budget.

International Labour Office, the permanent secretariat that helps administer and implement the agency’s activities.

In 1969, the ILO received the Nobel Peace Prize for improving fraternity and peace among nations, pursuing decent work and justice for workers, and providing technical assistance to other developing nations.

Strict Liability Vs Absolute Liability

In News:

The National Green Tribunal’s order on Visakhapatnam gas tragedy, found LG Polymers prima facie liable under the law principle of “strict liability”, which was made redundant in India by the Supreme Court in 1986.

Details:

Under the “strict liability principle”, a party is not liable and need not pay compensation if a hazardous substance escapes his premises by accident or by an “act of God’” among other circumstances.

The Supreme Court, while deciding the Oleum gas leak case of Delhi, 1986, found strict liability woefully inadequate to protect citizens’ rights in an industrialized economy like India and replaced it with the ‘absolute liability principle’.

The principle of absolute liability is part of Article 21 (right to life).

The country was then reeling under the shock of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

The court under then Chief Justice P.N. Bhagwati wanted corporations to be made fully liable for future “undeserved suffering of thousands of innocent citizens”.

So, under the absolute liability principle, the apex court held that a company in a hazardous industry cannot claim any exemption.

It has to mandatorily pay compensation, whether or not the disaster was caused by its negligence.

The court said a hazardous enterprise has an “absolute non-delegable duty to the community”.

If any harm results on account of such activity, the enterprise must be absolutely liable to compensate for such harm irrespective of the fact that the enterprise had taken all reasonable care and that the harm occurred without any negligence on its part.

The court found that strict liability, evolved in an 1868 English case called Rylands versus Fletcher, provided companies with several exemptions from assuming liability.

Absolute liability, on the other hand, provided them with no defence or exemptions.

The National Green Tribunal Act of 2010 has wholeheartedly adopted ‘absolute liability’. Section 17 mandates that the Tribunal should apply the ‘no fault principle’ even if the disaster caused is an accident.

“The NGT statute recognizes only absolute or non-fault liability. That is, a hazardous enterprise is liable even if the disaster is an accident and not caused by the negligence of the company.

Inter-State Migrant Act, 1979

In News:

The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979, seeks to regulate the employment of inter-State migrants and their conditions of service.

Details:

It is applicable to every establishment that employs five or more migrant workmen from other States; or if it had employed five or more such workmen on any day in the preceding 12 months.

It is also applicable to contractors who employed a similar number of inter-State workmen.

The Act would apply regardless of whether the five or more workmen were in addition to others employed in the establishment or by the contractors.

The principal employer is prohibited from employing inter-State workmen without a certificate of registration from the relevant authority.

The law also lays down that every contractor who recruits workmen from one State for deployment in another State should obtain a license to do so.

The provision for registration of establishments employing inter-State workers creates a system of accountability and acts as the first layer of formalizing the utilization of their labour.

It helps the government keep track of the number of workers employed and provides a legal basis for regulating their conditions of service.

The wage rates, holidays, hours of work and other conditions of service of an inter-State migrant workman shall be the same as those extended to other workmen in the same establishment, if the nature of their work is similar.

In other cases, it would be as prescribed by the appropriate government.

In no case, shall the wages be lower than what is prescribed under the Minimum Wages Act.

United States provides 3.6 million USD assistance to India

In News:

On May 12, 2020, the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced 3.6 million USD assistance to India in order to fight against COVID-19.

Highlights:

The fund allocated is to be used to prevent, respond and prepare India to act against the spread of COVID-19. The funds will also be used to strengthen laboratory capacities of India. This specifically includes serology and molecular diagnostics.

The funds will also be used to support Infection Prevention and Control centres. These centres will improve the ability of the hospital networks to detect COVID-19.

Role of CDC:

The CDC has conducted trainings in India for physicians, administrators, nurses and hospital staff to combat COVID-19.

Goal of CDC:

The CDC aims at global health response to COVID-19. The main goal of CDC is to limit human-human transmission of COVID-19. It intends to achieve this through partnerships with non-Governmental organization and mitigate vulnerabilities.

India-US:

Apart from CDC, there are other agencies of the United States that have helped India through financial assistance. This includes USAID (United States Agency for International Development), Department of Health and Human Services Agencies. These agencies together have provided 2.8 billion USD of total assistance and 1.4 billion USD for health.

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