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27 July Current Affairs

Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2018

In News:

The Lok Sabha has passed the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018. The Bill provides for the prevention, rescue, and rehabilitation of trafficked persons.

Key features of the Bill include:

National Anti-Trafficking Bureau:  The Bill provides for the establishment of a National Anti-Trafficking Bureau to investigate trafficking cases and implement provisions of the Bill.  The Bureau will comprise of police officers, and any other officers as required.  It may take over the investigation of any offence under the Bill, that has been referred to it by two or more states.  Further, the Bureau may: (i) request the state government to co-operate in the investigation, or (ii) transfer the case to the state government for investigation and trial, with approval from the central government.

Functions of the Bureau:  Key functions of the Bureau include: (i) coordinating and monitoring surveillance along known routes, (ii) facilitating surveillance, enforcement and preventive steps at source, transit and destination points, (iii) maintaining coordination between law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders, and (iv) increasing international cooperation with authorities abroad for intelligence sharing, and mutual legal assistance.

State Anti-Trafficking Officers:  Under the Bill, the state government will appoint a State Nodal Officer.  He will be responsible for: (i) follow up action under the Bill, as per the instructions of the State Anti-Trafficking Committee, and (ii) providing relief and rehabilitation services.  The state government will also appoint a Police Nodal Officer at the state and district levels.  The state government will also designate Anti-Trafficking Police Officers for each district, to deal with all matters related to trafficking in the district.

Anti-Trafficking Units:  The Bill also provides for the setting up of Anti-Trafficking Units (ATUs) at the district level.  ATUs will deal with the prevention, rescue, and protection of victims and witnesses, and for the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offences.  In districts where an ATU is not functional, this responsibility will be taken up by the local police station.

Anti-Trafficking Relief and Rehabilitation Committee:  The Bill provides for the establishment of Anti-Trafficking Relief and Rehabilitation Committees (ATCs) at the national, state, and district levels.  These Committees will be responsible for: (i) providing compensation to victims, (ii) repatriation of victims, and (iii) re-integration of victims in society, among others.

Search and rescue:  An Anti-Trafficking Police Officer or an ATU can rescue persons, if there is an imminent danger to them.  They will be produced before a Magistrate or Child Welfare Committee for medical examination.  The district ATC will provide relief and rehabilitation services to the rescued persons.

Protection and rehabilitation:  The Bill requires the central or state government to set up Protection Homes.  These would provide shelter, food, counselling, and medical services to victims.  Further, the central or state government will maintain Rehabilitation Homes in each district, to provide long-term rehabilitation to the victims.  Rehabilitation of victims will not be dependent on criminal proceedings being initiated against the accused, or the outcome of the proceedings.  The central government will also create a Rehabilitation Fund, which will be used to set up these Protection and Rehabilitation Homes.

Time-bound trial:  The Bill provides for setting up designated courts in each district, which will seek to complete trial within a year.

Penalties:  The Bill specifies the penalties for various offences including for (i) trafficking of persons, (ii) promoting trafficking, (iii) disclosing the identity of the victim, and (iv) aggravated trafficking (such as trafficking for bonded labour and begging).  For example, aggravated trafficking will be punishable with rigorous imprisonment of 10 years up to life imprisonment, along with a minimum fine of one lakh rupees.  Further, the publishing of any material which may lead to the trafficking of a person will be punishable with imprisonment between five and 10 years, and a fine between Rs 50,000 and one lakh rupees.

Need for anti- trafficking legislation:

More than 300,000 children went missing in the country between 2012 and 2017, government data shows. Around 100,000 are yet to be traced and it is feared that many of them could have been trafficked.

In 2016, for instance, 111,569 children were reported missing. Of these, 55,944 children were traced but only 8,132 trafficking cases were reported. Many of these children are victims of modern slavery — forced into prostitution, labour or domestic work.

They are also used as drug mules and even given up for adoption illegally. Poverty and lack of opportunity also pushes a lot of young women, especially from the interior parts of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand, into prostitution.

Despite the enormity of the problem, India lacks a single comprehensive law for human trafficking. At present, trafficking is covered under half-a-dozen laws resulting in confusion and poor enforcement.

Source: The Hindu

West Bengal Assembly passes resolution to rename state as Bangla

In News:

West Bengal state assembly has unanimously passed resolution to change state’s name to ‘Bangla’ in all three languages – Bengali, Hindi and English.

Rationale behind renaming:

The state government first proposed the renaming in 2016. West Bengal parliamentary affairs minister Partha Chatterjee had then argued for the change saying bureaucrats and politicians from the state often complain that they are asked to speak at the end of every national-level meeting in Delhi. This was because the speakers’ lists at such meeting are prepared according to alphabetical order of the states they represent. If West Bengal gets the new name, it will leapfrog from bottom of the list to the top of the pecking order.

The renaming will help the state appear at the fourth spot after Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Assam in the alphabetic order of the states.

The name change will only become official when resolution gets approval from Union Home Ministry and Parliament passes Bill.

The procedure of renaming of the state can be initiated by either the Parliament or the State Legislator and the procedure is as follows:

The renaming of a state requires Parliamentary approval under Article 3 and 4 of the Constitution.

A bill for renaming a state may be introduced in the Parliament on the recommendation of the President.

Before the introduction of the bill, the President shall send the bill to the respective state assembly for expressing their views within a stipulated time. The views of the state assembly are not binding, neither on the President nor on the Parliament.

On the expiry of the period, the bill will be sent to the Parliament for deliberation. The bill in order to take the force of a law must be passed by a simple majority.

The bill is sent for approval to the President. After the approval of the said bill, the bill becomes a law and the name of the state stands modified.

Initiation by a State:

If any fresh proposal comes from states to the Home Ministry, it will prepare a note for the Union Cabinet for an amendment to the Schedule 1 of the Constitution. Thereafter, a Constitution Amendment Bill will be introduced in Parliament, which has to approve it with a simple majority, before the President gives his assent to it.

Source: The Hindu

BRICS 2018 Summit

In News:

The 2018 BRICS summit, the tenth such annual summit, is being held in South Africa.

Theme: “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”.


The theme is intended to align and ensure strategic continuity with the approved themes for South Africa’s Chairship of both the South African Development Community (SADC) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

The new areas of BRICS cooperation as proposed by South Africa, are as follows:

  • Establishment of a Working Group on Peacekeeping.
  • Establishment of a Vaccine Research Centre for Collaboration with BRICS vaccine innovation and development partners – this is intended to be a physical research centre focused on research and development and vaccine innovation.
  • Establishment of a BRICS Gender and Women’s Forum – intended as a dedicated track for gender and women’s issues, given the economic benefit to be derived from the socio-economic empowerment of women, particularly in developing countries.
  • Establishment of a BRICS Tourism Track of Cooperation.

What is BRICS?

BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Summits: The BRICS Leaders’ Summit is convened annually with discussions representing spheres of political and socio-economic coordination, in which member countries have identified several business opportunities, economic complementarities and areas of cooperation.

Chairship: The Chairship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S. Over and above the summit, BRICS cooperation in the past decade has expanded to include an annual programme of over 100 sectoral meetings. Cooperation among members is predicated on three levels or “tracks” of interaction, namely:

Track I: Formal diplomatic engagement between the national governments.

Track II: Engagement through government-affiliated institutions, e.g. state-owned enterprises and business councils.

Track III: Civil society and “people-to-people” engagement.

Facts for Prelims:

The First BRIC Summit was held in June 2009 in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

The Ninth BRICS Summit was held in Xiamen, China under the theme “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”. The leaders built on achievements already made with a share vision for future development of BRICS, discussed international and regional issues of common concern and adopted the Xiamen Declaration.

Source: The Hindu

FDI Confidence Index

In News:

2018 FDI Confidence Index was recently released by global consultancy firm A T Kearney.

FDI Confidence Index:

The AT Kearney Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index, created in 1998, is an annual survey of the business executives that ranks countries which are likely to attract the most FDI in the next three years.

The Index is calculated as a weighted average of the number of low, medium and high responses to questions on the possibility of making a direct investment in a market over the next three years.

Global performers:

The United States (US) topped the index, followed by Canada at 2nd and Germany at the 3rd place.

China falls three spots to 5th place this year, the lowest ranking of the country in the history of the Index.

Switzerland and Italy entered the top 10 for the first time in more than a decade, pushing out India and Singapore to 11th and 12th spots, respectively.

Only four emerging markets appear among the top 25 countries for FDI intentions- China, India, Mexico and Brazil.

The newcomers to the Index are all European countries- Denmark (20th), Portugal (22nd) and Norway (23rd).

The countries, that appeared on the 2017 Index but do not appear this year, are all emerging markets: Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa.

Performance of India:

India was ranked 11th, down from 8th in 2017 and 9th in 2016.

Fall in India’s rankings may be due to teething troubles in implementation of goods and services tax (GST) and Government’s demonetisation decision in 2016.

These policies may have deterred investors in the short term as they have disrupted business activity and weighed on economic growth

Several of India’s reforms such as removing Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and liberalising FDI limits in key sectors such as retail, aviation, and biomedical industries have maintained India’s high rankings in terms of FDI attractiveness.

Way ahead:

In future, potential investors are likely to be cautious as they are monitoring political risks such as China abolishing presidential term limits and upcoming general election in India. But sheer size of Chinese and Indian markets, will continue to be draw for investors and they will remain highest-ranking emerging markets on the index.

Source: The Hindu

“Innovate India Platform”

In News:

Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog & MyGov (a citizen centric platform of the Government of India) have launched “Innovate India Platform”.

About InnovateIndia portal:

Aim: It aims to serve as the common point for all the innovation happening across the nation.

It creates the much-needed innovations platform for registering both grassroots and deep-tech innovators at a national level. Those searching for a critical innovation can leverage the portal advantageously for the benefit of the economy as well as national social needs.”

Some of the features of this platform are:

The platform is open to all Indian citizens.

The users can View, comment, share, and rate the innovations crowdsourced on the #InnovateIndia platform.

View the leaderboard which is calculated based on the votes on each innovation.

Citizens can share their/organizations/someone else’s innovation on the platform by login to the MyGov website.

These innovations can also be shared on various social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter.

Significance of the portal:

India has been a very innovation-oriented society, but our challenge has been a structured approach to innovation, capturing them and building an ecosystem to take them global.

The new initiative to capture and support innovation from ground up, is aimed at creating a structured ecosystem to encourage, enhance and develop India’s innovative character.

About AIM:

The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is the Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.

AIM is mandated to create an umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of the country and revolutionizing the innovation eco-system – touching upon the entire innovation life cycle through various programs.

The Atal Innovation Mission shall have two core functions:

Entrepreneurship promotion through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs.

Innovation promotion: to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated.

Source: PIB

Kargil Vijay Diwas

In News:

Indian Army declared the Kargil mission successful on July 26, 1999; since then the day has been celebrated annually as Kargil Vijay Diwas.


India launched ‘Operation Vijay’ to clear the Kargil sector of infiltration by Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants on the Indian side of the Line of Control.

Background: The war took place between May and July of 1999 in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kargil district. It began with the infiltration of both Pakistani troops and terrorists into Indian territory. The infiltrators positioned themselves in key locations that gave them a strategic advantage during the start of the conflict.

Safed Sagar, the Indian Air Force’s operation, was a major part of the Kargil war. It used air power at the height of 32,000 feet for the first time.

Source: PIB

2018 Ramon Magsaysay Award

In News:

Two Indians Bharat Vatwani and Sonam Wangchuk are among six who have been declared winners of 2018 Ramon Magsaysay Award.

About Ramon Magsaysay Award:

It is Asia’s highest honour and is often regarded as the region’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

It was established in 1957 by trustees of the New York City based Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Philippine government in the memory of Philippines’ third President Ramon Magsaysay.

It is awarded annually to individuals or organizations from Asia region for their altruistic and philanthropic service.

It carries Medallion bearing the likeness of the late President Ramon Magsaysay, cash prize and a certificate.

Source: PIB

Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme

  • It is a centrally sponsored scheme which aims to empower rural women through community participation.
  • Under the scheme, community engagement through student volunteers is envisioned in the backward districts at block level.
  • Student volunteers will help in awareness generation regarding various important government programmes as well as social issues.
  • It is envisioned in 115 aspirational districts as part of the Block Level initiatives.
  • Improving the child sex ratio, survival of new born girl child, girl education and empower them through several initiatives are the main motives.
  • It is implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development under umbrella mission for “Protection and Empowerment for Women”.
  • The duration of the scheme is from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
  • The cost sharing ratio of 60:40 between centre and states except for North East and Special Category States where the ratio is 90:10.

National Achievement Survey

  • National Achievement Survey is conducted by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
  • The survey focuses on assessing the learning levels of the students in Classes 3, 5, 8 and 10.
  • The Learning Outcomes for each class in Languages (Hindi, English and Urdu), Mathematics, Environmental Studies, Science and Social Science has been set under RTE Act, 2009.
  • The ambit of the survey includes school leaders, teachers and officials at the Cluster, Block, District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) and the Directorates of Education in the different States/ UTs.

Banganga River

  • Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has accorded in principle approval for inter-state high level bridge on the Banganga
  • Banganga River originates from the Aravalli hills, near Bairath in Jaipur and drains into Yamuna.
  • Ramgarh dam has been constructed across the river in Jaipur.
  • The main tributaries are Gumti Nalla and Suri River, joining the river on its right bank, and Sanwan and Palasan Rivers, meeting the river on its left bank.
  • Its basin extends over parts of Alwar, Jaipur, Dausa, Sawai Madhopur and Bharatpur Districts.
  • Its eastern edge borders the Yamuna River Basin in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The inter-state high level bridge is proposed on the  Sakdi-Dangorali  route  in  Balaghat  district  of Madhya Pradesh.