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23rd November Current Affairs

Domestic workers’ survey kicks off

(GS-II: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population)

In News:

The first All-India Survey on Domestic Workers was recently flagged off.

About the Survey:

The survey is being carried out by the Labour Bureau.

It is aimed at estimating the number of domestic workers at the national and State levels, those engaged in informal employment, and migrant and non-migrant workers; the proportion of domestic workers who stay at their employers’ homes and those who do not; the wages of such workers; and other socio-economic factors.

The survey would also include details of the number of households with “live-in and live-out” domestic workers and the average number of workers engaged by various kinds of households.

Draft National Policy on domestic workers:

A draft National Policy on domestic workers is under consideration of the Central Government. The policy, if finalised, will benefit 50 lakh domestic workers in the country including maids and drivers amongst others.

Salient features of the policy:

  • Inclusion of Domestic Workers in the existing legislations.
  • Domestic workers will have the right to register as workers. Such registration will facilitate their access to rights & benefits accruing to them as workers.
  • Right to form their own associations, trade unions.
  • Right to have minimum wages, access to social security, protection from abuse, harassment, violence.
  • Right to enhance their professional skills.
  • Protection of Domestic Workers from abuse and exploitation.
  • Domestic Workers to have access to courts, tribunals, etc.
  • Establishment of a mechanism for regulation of concerned placement agencies.

Measures already being taken:

The Central Government has enacted the Unorganized Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 for providing social security to all unorganized workers including domestic workers.

Social security schemes like National Old Age Pension Scheme (Ministry of Rural Development); National Family Benefit Scheme (Ministry of Rural Development); Janani Suraksha Yojana (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare), Ayushman Bharat (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare).

Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana (AABY) with Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) provide life and disability coverage to the unorganised workers for the age group of 18 to 50 years depending upon their eligibility.

Domestic Workers Sector Skills Council has been established under the Ministry of Skills Development to enable professionalization of domestic workers and enable their career progression.

ASEAN meet

(GS-II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate)

In News:

China has announced USD 1.5 billion development assistance for the ASEAN besides the elevation of the ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership to strengthen security cooperation with the 10-nation bloc, amid the US push into the resource rich Indo-Pacific.


Xi made the remarks at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Special Summit to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations.

He also said China would never seek hegemony nor take advantage of its size to coerce smaller countries, and would work with Asean to eliminate “interference”.

What is ASEAN?

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a regional organization which was established to promote political and social stability amid rising tensions among the Asia-Pacific’s post-colonial states.

The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.

ASEAN Secretariat – Indonesia, Jakarta.


Established in 1967 with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by its founding fathers.

Founding Fathers of ASEAN are: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Ten Members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Significance of ASEAN for India:

Against the backdrop of aggressive moves by China, including the Ladakh standoff, India placed the ASEAN at the centre of India’s Act East policy and held that a cohesive and responsive ASEAN is essential for security and growth for all in the region.

ASEAN is necessary for the success of the Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) Vision.

The region is significant for diversification and resilience of supply chains for post-Covid-19 economic recovery.

It is India’s 4th largest trading partner with about USD 86.9 billion in trade.

JPC retains exemption clause, adopts personal data Bill

(GS-II: Government policies and issues related)

In News:

The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, 2019 has submitted its report.

It has retained the controversial exemption clause that allows the Government to keep any of its agencies outside the purview of the law with minor changes.

Key recommendations made:

Stricter regulations for social media platforms: The Committee recommended that all social media platforms, which did not act as intermediaries, should be treated as publishers and be held accountable for the content they host, and should be held responsible for the content from unverified accounts on their platforms.

It said no social media platform should be allowed to operate unless the parent company handling the technology sets up an office in India and that a statutory media regulatory authority, on the lines of the Press Council of India, may be set up for the regulation of the contents on all such platforms irrespective of the platform where their content is published.

Some of the other recommendations of the committee included development of an alternative indigenous financial system for cross-border payments on the lines of Ripple (U.S.) and INSTEX (European Union).

Clause 35– a Controversial provision in the Bill:

Clause 35, in the name of “public order”, “sovereignty”, “friendly relations with foreign states” and “security of the state”, allowed any agency under the Union Government exemption from all or any provisions of the law.

This was one of the widely debated clauses in the panel meetings.

Various suggestions in this regard:

The members had argued that “public order” should be removed as a ground for exemption.

They had also pressed for “judicial or parliamentary oversight” for granting such exemptions.

The members had also suggested that “there should be an order in writing with reasons for exempting a certain agency from the ambit of the Bill”.

Some of them had asked that only partial exemption should be given to the agency if needed.

However, none of these suggestions was accepted.

Rationale behind the retention of this clause:

A secure nation alone provides the atmosphere which ensures personal liberty and privacy of an individual whereas multiple examples exist where without individual liberty and privacy, national security itself gives rise to autocratic regimes.

The report noted that this clause was for “certain legitimate purposes” and also said there was precedent in the form of the reasonable restrictions imposed upon the liberty of an individual, as guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution and the Puttaswamy judgment.

Concerns raised against certain provisions:

The Bill did not provide adequate safeguards to protect the right to privacy and gave an overboard exemption to the Government. Clause 35 was open to misuse since it gave unqualified powers to the Government.

The Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill 2019:

The genesis of this Bill lies in the report prepared by a Committee of Experts headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna.

The committee was constituted by the government in the course of hearings before the Supreme Court in the right to privacy case (Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India).

How does the bill seek to regulate data?

The bill constitutes 3 personal information types:

  • Critical
  • Sensitive
  • General

Other Key provisions:

Data principal: As per the bill, it is the individual whose data is being stored and processed.

Social media companies, which are deemed significant data fiduciaries based on factors such as volume and sensitivity of data as well as their turnover, should develop their own user verification mechanism.

An independent regulator Data Protection Agency (DPA) will oversee assessments and audits and definition making.

Each company will have a Data Protection Officer (DPO) who will liaison with the DPA for auditing, grievance redressal, recording maintenance and more.

The bill also grants individuals the right to data portability, and the ability to access and transfer one’s own data.

The right to be forgotten: This right allows an individual to remove consent for data collection and disclosure.

A.P. to rework law on three capitals move

(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

In News:

The Andhra Pradesh Assembly has passed a Bill to repeal the A.P. Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act (aimed at setting up three capitals), and the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Repeal Act of 2020.


The Government plans to bring a more comprehensive law that ‘dispels the wrong notions of the land-givers in Amaravati’ and clarifies its position on the legalities raised by the petitioners in the High Court.

Need for:

The repeal was intended to impart more clarity to the policy of decentralisation and an exhaustive explanation to all sections of people.

Three- capitals:

On July 31 the state government notified the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Act, 2020.

This law paves the way for three capitals for the state.

  • Amaravati– legislative capital.
  • Visakhapatnam– executive capital.
  • Kurnool– judicial capital.

Need for three capitals:

The government says it is against building one mega capital while neglecting other parts of the state. Three capitals ensure equal development of different regions of the state.

Decentralisation has been the central theme in recommendations of all major committees that were set up to suggest a suitable location for the capital of Andhra Pradesh. These include Justice B N Srikrishna Committee, K Sivaramakrishnan Committee, G N Rao Committee etc.

Why implementing this idea will be difficult?

Coordination and logistics fear: Coordinating between seats of legislature and executive in separate cities will be easier said than done, and with the government offering no specifics of a plan, officers and common people alike fear a logistics nightmare.

Time and costs of travel: Executive capital Visakhapatnam is 700 km from judicial capital Kurnool, and 400 km from legislative capital Amaravati. The Amaravati-Kurnool distance is 370 km. The time and costs of travel will be significant.

Which other Indian states have multiple capitals?

Maharashtra has two capitals– Mumbai and Nagpur (which holds the winter session of the state assembly).

Himachal Pradesh has capitals at Shimla and Dharamshala (winter).

The former state of Jammu & Kashmir had Srinagar and Jammu (winter) as capitals.