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31 July Current Affairs

Central Wakf Council

In News:

A national conference of Central Waqf Council (CWC) was recently held.

Details:

Central Wakf Council is a statutory body established in 1964 by the Government of India under Wakf Act, 1954 (now a sub section the Wakf Act, 1995).

It has been established for the purpose of advising Centre on matters pertaining to working of the State Wakf Boards and proper administration of the Wakfs in the country.

It is a permanent dedication of movable or immovable properties for religious, pious or charitable purposes as recognized by Muslim Law, given by philanthropists.

Composition and appointments:

The Council is headed by a Chairperson, who is the Union Minister in charge of Wakfs and there are maximum 20 other members, appointed by Government of India as stipulated in the Wakf Act.

Renaming of states

In News:

Over the years, several demands have been made, for reasons that could be either political or administrative, to change the name of West Bengal.

Details:

A request in 2018 was rejected by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in November 2018 due to the similarity between “Bangla” and “Bangladesh”.

Rationale behind renaming:

The state government first proposed the renaming in 2016. West Bengal argues 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 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.

GI Certification

In News:

Odisha has bagged the geographical indication (GI) tag for its local version of “Rasagola”.

Details:

This GI tag, numbered 612, is the second for Odisha. It got its first GI tag for Kandhamal Haldi.

Background:

This tag comes amid a years-long debate between West Bengal and Odisha over where the sweet had originated.

West Bengal and Odisha had staked their claim on GI tag for Rasagola. In 2017, West Bengal secured the GI tag for its “Banglar Rasogolla”.

Bengalis claim that the Rasgulla was invented in the 19th century by Nobin Chandra Das at his Bagbazar residence in Kolkata, while Odias believe that the tradition of Niladri Bije where Rasgulla is offered started in the 12th century.

Now with Odisha also securing a certificate for a similar but somewhat differently named delicacy, it seems both will be relishing the sweet end.

About GI tag:

A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.

Significance of a GI tag:

Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.

Security:

Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.

Provisions in this regard: GI is covered as element of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property.

At international level, GI is governed by WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In India, Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection Act), 1999 governs it.

5G Technology

Global telecom industry body GSMA expects India to have 920 million unique mobile subscribers by 2025 which will include 88 million 5G connections. This will leave India trailing regional peers such as China, which is set to see almost 30% of its total connection base on 5G by 2025.

The term 5G is used to describe the next-generation of mobile networks beyond Long Term Evolution(LTE) mobile networks.

Applications: It is a mix of telecom technology delivering much higher data speeds on more extensive connectivity, using much lower power, with extended battery life, and emitting less radiation.

  • It is also designed to be the network for the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Not only will people be connected to each other but so will utility machines, industrial equipment, automobiles, city infrastructure, public safety and more.

The technology used: In order to support a huge number of devices, many of which require longer battery life, the 5G network will be building off of the LTE Advanced Pro platform.

It will use the two narrowband technologies platforms:

Enhanced machine-type communication (e-MTC) and narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), to scale down the device and network complexity to reach these support goals.

Advantage

  • 5G network speeds should have a peak data rate of 20 Gb/s for the downlink and 10 Gb/s for the uplink.
  • Latency in a 5G network could get as low as 4 milliseconds in a mobile scenario and can be as low as 1 millisecond in ultra-reliable low latency communication scenarios.

Lok Sabha clears Code on Wages Bill

In News:

The Lok Sabha passed the Code on Wages Bill, 2019, which amends and consolidates laws relating to wages/bonus and universalises the provisions of minimum wages and timely payment of wages to all employees irrespective of the sector and wage ceiling.

Features of the Bill:

  • The bill seeks to define the norms for fixing minimum wages which will be applicable to workers of organised and unorganised sectors, except government employees and MNREGA workers.
  • The bill seeks to do away with current provisions under which minimum wages are fixed based on skilled, unskilled, semi-skilled, high skilled, geographical regions, and nature of work such as mining and are applicable for 45 scheduled employments in the central sphere and 1709 scheduled employments in states.
  • The bill proposes to link the minimum wages across the country only to factors of skills and geographical regions, while the rest of the factors have been removed.
  • The amendments proposed by the bill are expected to reduce the number of minimum wages across the country to 300 from about 2,500 minimum wage rates at present.
  • A National Floor Level Minimum Wage will be set by the Centre and would be revised every five years. State governments will be free to fix minimum wages for their regions, which cannot be lower than the floor wage.
  • The bill proposes penalty ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh and repeat offences would invite imprisonment along with providing for compounding of those offences which are not punishable with imprisonment.

Triple Talaq Bill sails through Rajya Sabha

In News:

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, better known as the Triple Talaq Bill, was passed in the Rajya Sabha.

Details:

Features of the Bill:

The Important features of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill are:

  • The bill makes the all declaration of triple talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal. Talaq-e-biddat.
  • Declaration of Triple Talaq would be a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years’ imprisonment with a fine. The bill states that the offence will be cognizable only if information relating to the offence is given by the married woman (against whom talaq has been declared), or any person related to her by blood or marriage.
  • Under the provisions of the bill, the Magistrate may grant bail to the accused only after hearing the woman (against whom talaq has been pronounced), and if the Magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail.
  • The bill also states that the offence may be compounded by the Magistrate upon the request of the woman (against whom talaq has been declared). The bill empowers the Magistrate to determine terms and conditions of the compounding.
  • A Muslim Women against whom the triple talaq is pronounced is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children and the amount of the allowance will be determined by the Magistrate.
  • A Muslim Women against whom the triple talaq is pronounced is entitled to seek custody of her minor children and the manner of custody will be determined by the Magistrate.

 

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