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31st March Current Affairs

PM-YUVA Scheme

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

In News:

The Government has decided that the books selected under the PM-YUVA Scheme are translated into different Indian languages to ensure the exchange of Indian culture and literature in order to promote `Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’.

What is PM Yuva Yojana?

Pradhan Mantri – Mentorships’s Scheme for Young writers (PM-YUVA) has been launched by the Ministry of Education on 29 May 2021 for young writers up to the age of 30 years.

Aim:

Aim of this scheme is to create young aspiring writers into skilled writers representing the rich heritage of India.

Through the scheme, new writers will be allowed to participate and become future writers through a mentorship program.

Key objectives of the scheme are:

Engage youth of the country in rich Indian history and culture.

Creating a pool of young authors in the country who will be the modern/ young ambassadors of our Indian Literature.

Create young learners for future leadership roles to represent the country on an international level.

To help young authors project their ideas on an international platform, therefore allowing them to promote Indian literature and culture globally.

Building skilled writers from new aspiring authors in various genres by providing expert mentoring.

Implementation:

The scheme would be implemented by the National Book Trust under the Ministry of Education. The scheme would be implemented in a phase-wise structure.

In Phase I– training, the selected candidates would be provided by the NBT for three months.

In Phase II– The candidates selected would expand their understanding and also hone their skills through an interactive process at various events internationally organized, such as book fairs etc.

Labour Codes

(GS-II: Government Policies and issues arising out of their implementation)

In News:

The long-awaited introduction of four labour codes, originally scheduled to happen at the beginning of the current fiscal year, may take at least three more months because all states have not framed rules on them.

What’s the issue?

Labour is on the Concurrent List of the Constitution. As many as 23 states have framed rules on the codes. Seven states are left.

Background:

The four labour codes are on wages, social security, occupational safety and industrial relations.

Under these new codes, a number of aspects related to employment and work culture, in general, might change – including the take-home salary of employees, working hours, and the number of weekdays.

Opposition:

Trade unions, however, have planned to intensify their agitation this week against the codes in the wake of the government’s decision to repeal the three farm laws.

What are the demands by trade unions?

The two codes we accepted — on wages and social security — be implemented immediately and the two to which we had objections — industrial relations and occupational safety — be reviewed.

About the labour codes:

The new set of regulations consolidates 44 labour laws under 4 categories of Codes namely, Wage Code; Social Security Code; Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions Code; and the Industrial Relations Code.

The Parliament has already passed all the four Codes and it has also received the President’s assent.

The 4 codes are:

The Code on Wages, 2019, applying to all the employees in organized as well as unorganized sector, aims to regulate wage and bonus payments in all employments and aims at providing equal remuneration to employees performing work of a similar nature in every industry, trade, business, or manufacture.

The Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions, 2020 seeks to regulate the health and safety conditions of workers in establishments with 10 or more workers, and in all mines and docks.

The Code on Social Security, 2020 consolidates nine laws related to social security and maternity benefits.

The Code on Industrial Relations, 2020 seeks to consolidate three labour laws namely, The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947: The Trade Unions Act, 1926 and The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946. The Code aims to improve the business environment in the country largely by reducing the labour compliance burden of industries.

Issues with these codes:

The work hours provisions for regular workers do not provide flexibility to fix work hours beyond eight hours a day.

The codes have also missed laying down uniform provisions for part-time employees.

There are also provisions that impact employee wages.

The labour codes also chalk out fines on businesses for non-compliance of provisions, second offences and officer-in-default. In the current pandemic situation, a majority of small businesses are in no position to adopt and implement the labour code changes.

Right to be forgotten

(GS-II: Government policies and issues related)

In News:

In the absence of a central law, several local courts have ruled recently that the right to be forgotten, or to be left alone, is inherent to the right to privacy, which was recognised as a fundamental right by India’s Supreme Court in 2017 (Puttaswamy Judgment).

Details:

It has become a hot-button issue worldwide with the explosive growth in social media and other online platforms, but few countries have legislation that enshrines it.

A long-awaited data protection bill addresses the right to be forgotten.

Background:

In December, the Centre told the Delhi High Court that “right to be forgotten” is part of the fundamental right to privacy, but added it has no significant role to play in the matter.

Petitions across courts have been seeking enforcement of this “right” — a legal principle that is not yet backed by statute in India.

What is the right to be forgotten?

It allows a person to seek deletion of private information from the Internet. The concept has found recognition in some jurisdictions abroad, particularly the European Union.

What is the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ in the Indian context?

The Right to be Forgotten falls under the purview of an individual’s right to privacy, which is governed by the Personal Data Protection Bill that is yet to be passed by Parliament.

In 2017, the Right to Privacy was declared a fundamental right (under Article 21) by the Supreme Court in its landmark verdict (Puttuswamy case).

The court said at the time that “the right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution”.

Need for its recognition:

At least eight petitions are pending before Delhi High Court seeking removal of private information from the Internet, court records of previous convictions and proceedings, and news reports of past events. Only a few have been able to get that relief from courts so far.

Which countries have such laws?

European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Russia in 2015 enacted a law that allows users to force a search engine to remove links to personal information on grounds of irrelevancy, inaccuracy and violation of law.

The right to be forgotten is also recognised to some extent in Turkey and Siberia, while courts in Spain and England have ruled on the subject.

Menstruation Benefit Bill 2017

(GS-II: Protection of Vulnerable Sections of the society)

In News:

For five years, Ninong Ering, a Congress MLA from Pasighat West in Arunachal Pradesh, has championed legislating menstrual leave into law.

Details:

In November 2017, as a Lok Sabha MP, Ering introduced the Menstruation Benefit Bill 2017, a private member’s bill, in the Lok Sabha.

Now again, as an MLA, Ering has tabled the same private member’s bill on the first day of the 2022 Budget Session in the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

Highlights of the Bill:

It seeks to provide leave for menstruating school and college-going girls, women in jobs, better facilities for rest at the workplace during menstruation, and better hygiene provisions for women and adolescent girls.

Need for paid leave:

Menstruating can be exhausting and disturbing for women, especially on the first day. Indian states such as Bihar and Kerala already provide the paid leave facility.

Significance:

Given that sanitation and menstrual health are essential components of a woman’s life, one can reasonably infer that they also come within Article 21, mandating the provision of necessary conditions for women to work with dignity. The case for granting menstrual leave is, thus, a fundamental rights issue and should receive due diligence.

Who is a Private Member?

Any MP who is not a Minister is referred to as a private member.

The purpose of private member’s bill is to draw the government’s attention to what individual MPs see as issues and gaps in the existing legal framework, which require legislative intervention.

Admissibility of a private member’s Bill:

The admissibility is decided by the Chairman for Rajya Sabha and Speaker in the case of Lok Sabha.

Its rejection by the House has no implication on the parliamentary confidence in the government or its resignation.

The procedure is roughly the same for both Houses:

The Member must give at least a month’s notice before the Bill can be listed for introduction.

The House secretariat examines it for compliance with constitutional provisions and rules on legislation before listing.

Are there any exceptions?

While government Bills can be introduced and discussed on any day, private member’s Bills can be introduced and discussed only on Fridays.

Has a private member’s bill ever become a law?

As per PRS Legislative, no private member’s Bill has been passed by Parliament since 1970. To date, Parliament has passed 14 such Bills, six of them in 1956. In the 14th Lok Sabha, of the over 300 private member’s Bills introduced, roughly four per cent were discussed, the remaining 96 per cent lapsed without a single dialogue.