Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 17th August 2023



Today Topics List:

  1. Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes

  2. PM e-­bus Sewa scheme

  3. PM Vishwakarma Scheme

  4. Global digital platform in G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting

  5. U-turn in idea of merging various environmental organisations



Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes

  • Recently, the Supreme Court has identified and modified words like Career woman, fallen woman, faithful or obedient wife, eve teasing, hermaphrodite and many others as gender unjust terms that are often heard in Indian courts. 
  • The 30-page Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes aims to free the judiciary and the legal community from the mechanical application of gender stereotypical language in judgments, orders, and court pleadings.
  • Example: in the 2017 Supreme Court ruling awarding the death penalty for the convicts in the Delhi gang-rape case, the verdict repeatedly uses the word “ravished” to say raped.
  • The hand book would mark a significantmilestone in the journey towards a more just and equitable society

The alternatives to stereotype language

  • A “career woman” is only a “woman”; “eve teasing” is “street sexual harassment” and “forcible rape” is simply “rape.”

Why right words are needed?

  • Language is critical to the life of the law. Words are the vehicle through which the values of the law are communicated. Words transmit the ultimate intention of the lawmaker or the judge to the nation.
  • The language a judge uses reflects not only their interpretation of the law, but their perception of society as well.




PM e-­bus Sewa scheme

  • In a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister, the Union Cabinet approved for 10,000 electric buses (e-bus) in 169 cities, 7 multi-tracking projects of Indian Railways and many more

What is an e-Bus?

  • An e-­bus is any bus whose propulsion and accessory systems are powered exclusively by a zero-emissions electricity source. 

The PM e­-bus Sewa scheme 

  • It will have an estimated cost of ₹57,613 crore, of which the Centre will provide ₹20,000 crore and the remaining will be borne by the States. It will support bus operations for 10 years.
  • It seeks to enhance green mobility.
  • Under the scheme’s ‘Green Urban Mobility Initiative’ infrastructure, multimodal interchange facilities and the NCMC-based Automated Fare Collection Systems will be updated in 181 cities.

Implementation of the scheme:

Scheme will be implemented in two segments:

  • In 169 cities, 10,000 e-buses will be deployed using the public­ private partnership (PPP) model; 
  • In the first segment, depot infrastructure will also be developed or upgraded to support the new e-­buses, including the creation of behind ­the meter power infrastructure such as substations
  • In 181 other cities, infrastructure will be upgraded under the green urban mobility initiatives.
  • For those in the second segment, the initiatives will focus on bus priority, infrastructure, multimodal interchange facilities, automated fare collection systems, and charging infrastructure


PM Vishwakarma Scheme

  • This scheme was announced by PM Modi in his Independence Day address.
  • It aims to provide subsidised loans of up to Rs 2 lakh to traditional artisans and craftsmen including weavers, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, laundry workers, and barbers.
  • Eighteen traditional trades will be covered under the scheme.
  • It will be available for traditional craftspeople and artisans from 2023-­24 to 2027­-28
  • Artisans and craftspeople will get PM Vishwakarma certificate and ID card and will be provided a subsidised loan of Rs 1 lakh in the first tranche, and another Rs 2 lakh in the second tranche, at a concessional interest rate of 5%.
  • The scheme will be launched with a financial outlay of Rs 13,000 crores on Vishwakarma Jayanti on September 17.

Benefits of the scheme

  • This scheme aims to strengthen and nurture the “Guru-Shishya param para” (teacher student tradition) or the family-based practice of traditional skills by artisans and craftspeople working with their hands and tools.
  • It also aims at improving the quality, as well as the reach of products and services of artisans and craftspeople and to ensure that the Vishwakarma’s are integrated with the domestic and global value chains



Global digital platform in G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting

  • India, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), will launch the Global Initiative on Digital Health, as part of the ongoing G­20 summit in Gandhinagar.
  • The firstsuch global initiative is aimed at data convergence, interface of health platforms and investments in the digital health space around  
  • Thesummit is working on bringing in the crucial interim medical countermeasure (MCM), which is a ‘network of networks approach’ before the next health emergency hits
  • The global digital platform would include an investment tracker, an ask tracker (to understand who needs what kind of products and services) and a library of existing digital health platforms. 
  • The global platform for data sharing will offerno data about its users but will share analyses and work on interoperability of data.



U-turn in idea of merging various environmental organisations

In June, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) issued a notification to change its decision of merging the following four bodies and bring them under the Ministry –

  • Forest Survey of India (FSI),
  • National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA),
  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), and
  • Central Zoo Authority (CZA)
  • The NTCA is the managing authority of Project Tiger and India’s Tiger Reserves.
  • The FSI is a scientific body that primarily deals with forest data. 
  • The WCCB is an enforcement authority. 
  • The CZA’s purview is limited to the functioning of zoos.

Ministry’s plan & Changing Ministry:

  • The idea for such reorganisation was announced during the COVID-19 lockdown and came under criticism from activists that it would render key environmental organisations “toothless”.
  • For example, in the existing structure, the NTCA can oppose a forest clearance for an infrastructure project for diverting Tiger Reserve areas.
  • The proposed merger would have rendered this difficult as the NTCA would have come under the Deputy Director General of Forests, who is in charge of the Integrated Regional Office and reports to the Ministry.
  • Broadly, experts articulated a need for disintegrated and dedicated efforts across the board, including to strengthen environmental monitoring functions.
  • In recent years, the role, and functions of regional offices of the Ministry have been widened both to process environmental approvals and monitor compliance of legally mandated safeguards during project construction, operation, and closures.
  • As a result, such widened roles require additional funding and infrastructural support, but it remains unclear if such support has been provided.
  • Decentralised infrastructure is essential as it increases accessibility to regulators and can potentially enhance legal enforcement

Critics on Merger

  • It will create administrative confusion, chaos
  • It results in loss of independence, 
  • Undue interference in decision making
  • Loss of focus in discharging duties and responsibilities.

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