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4th January Current Affairs

Two-child policy

In News:

The latest data from the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) shows India doesn’t need a two-child policy: experts.

Supporting findings:

The use of modern contraceptives in rural and urban areas.

An improvement in family planning demands being met.

A decline in the average number of children borne by a woman.

These prove that the country’s population is stabilising.

Key data:

The Total Fertility Rate (number of children born per woman) has decreased across 14 out of 17 States and is either at 2.1 children per woman or less.

This also implies that most States have attained replacement level fertility, i.e., the average number of children born per woman at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next.

Criticisms related to two- child policy:

Critics argue that the population growth of India will slow down naturally as the country grows richer and becomes more educated.

There are already well-documented problems with China’s one-child policy, namely the gender imbalance resulting from a strong preference for boys and millions of undocumented children who were born to parents that already had their one child.

By interfering with the birth rate, India faces a future with severe negative population growth, a serious problem that most developed countries are trying to reverse. With negative population growth, the number of old people receiving social services is larger than the young tax base that is paying for the social services.

The law related may also be anti-women. Human rights activists argue that the law discriminate against women right from birth (through abortion or infanticide of female fetuses and babies).

A legal restriction to two children could force couples to go for sex-selective abortions as there are only two ‘attempts’.

US Congress passes Tibetan Policy and Support Act

In News:

The legislation was recently passed.

Highlights of the new law:

It reaffirms the rights of the Tibetan Buddhists to choose the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama without any interference of China.

The legislation will empower the US Government to impose sanctions on the Chinese Government officials, who might try to interfere in the process of selecting the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama, just as they had done in case of Panchen Lama.

It also acknowledged the legitimacy of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile elected by the exiled community as well as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).

It seeks to introduce key provisions aimed at protecting the environment and water resources on the Tibetan Plateau.

Response:

It has been hailed by the Tibetans, who were concerned over the possibility of the Chinese Government making an attempt to install someone loyal to it as the 15th Dalai Lama after the death of the incumbent and use him as a puppet to fizzle out the global campaign against its occupation of Tibet.

Background:

The incumbent and the 14th Dalai Lama has been living in exile in India ever since his 1959 escape from Tibet, which had been occupied by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 1950-51.

He has been leading the movement for “genuine autonomy” for Tibet and the Tibetans.

But, the speculation is rife over the fate of the movement beyond his lifetime.

About the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE):

The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) has its headquarters in Dharamsala, in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

The 16th TPiE had 45 members:

10 representatives from each of the traditional provinces of Tibetan – U-Tsang, Dhotoe and Dhomey;

Two from each of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the pre-Buddhist Bon religion;

Two representing each of the Tibetan Communities in North America and Europe.

One from Australasia and Asia (excluding India, Nepal and Bhutan).

What does the Tibetan Constitution say?

The Central Tibetan Administration exists and functions on the basis of the Constitution of the Tibetan government called ‘The Charter of the Tibetans in Exile’.

In 1991, The Constitution Redrafting Committee instituted by the Dalai Lama prepared the Charter for Tibetans in exile.

The Dalai Lama approved it on June 28, 1991.

What is Kashag?

The Kashag (Cabinet) is Central Tibetan Administration’s highest executive office and comprise seven members.

CII, FICCI to seek a pause on wage code

In News:

Representatives of industry bodies, including those from CII and FICCI, have requested the Labour Ministry to hold back implementation of new definition of wages, which would increase social security deductions and reduce the take-home pay of workers.

Need for:

The new definition of wages is part of the Code on Wages, 2019 passed by Parliament last year.

The new definition would result in a major cut in take-home salaries and also place a burden on employers.

About the Code on Wages Act:

The code will amalgamate the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

The wage code universalises the provisions of minimum wages and timely payment of wages to all employees, irrespective of the sector and wage ceiling.

It ensures the “right to sustenance” for every worker and intends to increase the legislative protection of minimum wage from existing about 40% to 100% workforce.

It also introduces the concept of statutory floor wage which will be computed based on minimum living conditions and extended qualitative living conditions across the country for all workers.

While fixing the minimum rate of wages, the central government shall divide the concerned geographical area into three categories – metropolitan area, non-metropolitan area and the rural area.

Wages include salary, allowance, or any other component expressed in monetary terms. This does not include bonus payable to employees or any travelling allowance, among others.

The minimum wages decided by the central or state governments must be higher than the floor wage.

Payment of wages: Wages will be paid in (i) coins, (ii) currency notes, (iii) by cheque, (iv) by crediting to the bank account, or (v) through electronic mode.  The wage period will be fixed by the employer as either: (i) daily, (ii) weekly, (iii) fortnightly, or (iv) monthly.

Advisory boards:

The central and state governments will constitute advisory boards.

The Central Advisory Board will consist of: (i) employers, (ii) employees (in equal number as employers), (iii) independent persons, and (iv) five representatives of state governments.

State Advisory Boards will consist of employers, employees, and independent persons. Further, one-third of the total members on both the central and state Boards will be women.  The Boards will advise the respective governments on various issues including: (i) fixation of minimum wages, and (ii) increasing employment opportunities for women.