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PM-Yuva scheme

UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 31st March 2022

UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 31st March 2022

 

 

 

Topics for the day:

  1. BIMSTEC
  2. Bamiyan Buddha
  3. PM-Yuva scheme
  4. Fuel cell electric vehicle
  5. Labour codes to take some more time to get implemented
  6. Centre to reduce AFSPA in Nagalanda,Assam and Manipur

 

 

BIMSTEC

BIMSTEC

 Context :

  • Prime Minister Modi called for strengthening the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), and welcomed the unveiling of the Charter of the organisation that connects the littoral countries of the Bay of Bengal
About the recent meeting of BIMSTEC :
  • The fifth BIMSTEC summit concluded in Colombo.
  • Some of the important outcomes of this summit was the adoption of the BIMSTEC charter and signing of the BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity.
  • There was also signing of three BIMSTEC agreements: These represent progress being achieved in ongoing cooperation activities
    • BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters
    • BIMSTEC Memorandum of Understanding on Mutual Cooperation in the field of Diplomatic Training
    • Memorandum of Association on Establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility.
  • 5th BIMSTEC Theme: The 5th BIMSTEC Summit’s theme is “Towards a Resilient Region, Prosperous Economies, Healthy People”.
  • BIMSTEC Theme captures the efforts by BIMSTEC to develop cooperation activities that support member state’s program to deal with the economic and development consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The prime minister also announced a USD one million ad-hoc grant for the operational budget of the BIMSTEC secretariat and another USD 3 million assistance to revive the grouping’s centre for weather and climate.
  • Prime Minister Modi called for a Free Trade Agreement among the member countries.
More on the charter :
  • Under the Charter, the members are expected to meet once in every two years.
  • With the Charter, the BIMSTEC now has an international personality. It has an emblem, it has a flag.
  • It has a formally listed purpose and principles that it is going to adhere to. It represents a significant evolution of the grouping.
  • For developing the organisation into a formal structure, the leaders of the member-countries had agreed to divide the working of the grouping into seven segments, with India providing leadership to the security pillar.
  • He mentioned the necessity for coastal shipping ecosystem and electricity grid interconnectivity, as two of the necessary components of the evolving shape of the BIMSTEC.
BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity
  • The summit saw the declaration of the Master Plan for Transport Connectivity that would provide a framework for regional and domestic connectivity.
More on the BIMSTEC :
  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional multilateral organisation.
  • Its members lie in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity.
  • Out of the 7 members, Five are from South Asia – Bangladesh,Bhutan,India,Nepal,Sri Lanka Two are from Southeast Asia – Myanmar,Thailand
  • BIMSTEC not only connects South and Southeast Asia, but also the ecologies of the Great Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal
  • Significance for India :
    • Allows India to pursue three core policies:
      • Neighborhood First – primacy to the country’s immediate periphery;
      • Act East – connect India with Southeast Asia;
      • Economic development of India’s northeastern states – by linking them to the Bay of Bengal region via Bangladesh and Myanmar.
    • Allows India to counter China’s creeping influence in countries around the Bay of Bengal due to the spread of its Belt and Road Initiative.
    • A new platform for India to engage with its neighbors with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) becoming dysfunctional because of differences between India and Pakistan.
  • Areas of Cooperation – Trade and Investment,Technology,Energy,Transportation and Communication,Tourism,Fisheries,Agriculture,Cultural Cooperation,Environment and Disaster Management,Public Health,People-to-People Contact,Poverty Alleviation,Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Climate Change
  • Each of the member countries guide the way in at least one or more of these areas. India carries the beacon in areas of counterterrorism, telecommunications, transport and transnational crime.

  Comparison between Saarc and BIMSTEC :

Parameter                  SAARC BIMSTEC
What is it?                                          .           It is a regional organisation focused on the South Asian region.

 

It is an inter-regional organisation focused on the South Asian and South-East Asian region.
Headquarters Its headquarters are in Kathmandu, Nepal Its headquarters are in Dhaka, Bangladesh
When was it established? It was established in 1985. It was established in 1997
Member States Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand,

 

Bamiyan Buddha

Bamiyan Buddha

Context :

  • The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has said it would protect the ancient Buddha statues in Mes Aynak, also the site of a copper mine where the Taliban are hoping for Chinese investment.
  • Previously, they brought down the centuries-old Buddha statues in Bamiyan using artillery, explosives, and rockets.
  • The apparent change of heart over the Mes Aynak statues seems to be driven by economic interests, with the regime in desperate need of the income Chinese investment in the copper mines could generate.
The ancient Bamiyan Buddhas:
  • The Bamiyan valley, in the Hindu Kush mountains and along the river Bamiyan, was a key node of the early Silk Routes, emerging as a hub of both commercial and cultural exchange.
  • In their Roman draperies and with two different mudras, the Bamiyan Buddhas were great examples of a confluence of Gupta, Sassanian and Hellenistic artistic styles.
  • The Bamiyan Buddha statues, cut from sandstone cliffs, are said to have dated back to the 5th century AD, and were once the tallest standing Buddhas in the world.
  • The two most prominent statues were the giant standing sculptures of Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras performed.
  • They were called Salsal and Shamama. Salsal means “light shines through the universe”; Shamama is “Queen Mother”.
  • UNESCO included the remains in its list of world heritage sites in 2003.

 

 PM-Yuva scheme

PM-Yuva scheme

Context :

  • 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 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 of the scheme :
  • 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.

 

Fuel cell electric vehicle

Fuel cell electric vehicle

Context :

  • Union Transport Minister travelled to the Parliament House in a hydrogen-based Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), in what could be interpreted as a strong indication of a shift in stance by the Centre that has so far backed conventional battery-powered electric vehicles
  • Earlier ??Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd. along with International Center for Automotive Technology (ICAT) initiated a pilot project on Hydrogen-based advanced Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV)
  • This Pilot project aimed to study and evaluate the world’s most advanced FCEV Toyota Mirai which runs on hydrogen, on Indian roads and climatic conditions.
 How does the hydrogen fuel cell work in electric vehicles?
  • A fuel-cell electric vehicle is essentially a hybrid electric vehicle wherein, the internal combustion engine is replaced with a fuel-cell stack.
  • The onboard sources of power include hydrogen as well as an advanced battery
  • The fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate an electric current, water being the only byproduct.
  • Fuel cells generate electricity through an electrochemical process.
  • And, there are no moving parts in the fuel cell, so they are more efficient and reliable by comparison.
How is it different from an electric vehicle (EV)?
  • Unlike a battery-electricity vehicle, it does not store energy and, instead, relies on a constant supply of fuel and oxygen in the same way that an internal combustion engine relies on a constant supply of petrol or diesel, and oxygen.
Advantages of fuel cells:
  • They produce much smaller quantities of greenhouse gases and none of the air pollutants that cause health problems.
  • If pure hydrogen is used, fuel cells emit only heat and water as a byproduct.
  • They are also energy efficient than traditional combustion technologies.
  • Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles most models exceed 300 km of range on a full tank.
Disadvantages:
  • The process of making hydrogen needs energy often from fossil fuel sources. That has raised questions over hydrogen’s green credentials.
  • There are questions of safety as hydrogen is more explosive than petrol.

 

 Labour codes to take some more time to get implemented

Labour codes to take some more time to get implemented

Context :

  • 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.
  • This is because Labour is on the Concurrent List of the Constitution. While as many as 23 states have framed rules on the codes. Seven states are still left.
About the labour codes:
  • The new set of regulations consolidates 44 labour laws under 4 categories of Codes
  • 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.
  • The Code on Wages :
    • The Code on Wages Bill, will subsume four laws:
      • Minimum Wages Act (MWA)
      • Payment of Wages Act (PWA)
      • Payment of Bonus Act (PBA)
      • Equal Remuneration Act (ERA)
    • Coverage: The Code will apply to all employees. The central government will make wage-related decisions for employments such as railways, mines, and oil fields, among others.  State governments will make decisions for all other employments.
    • 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.
    • Floor wage: According to the Code, the central government will fix a floor wage, taking into account living standards of workers. It may set different floor wages for different geographical areas.  Before fixing the floor wage, the central government may obtain the advice of the Central Advisory Board and may consult with state governments.
    • The minimum wages decided by the central or state governments must be higher than the floor wage. In case the existing minimum wages fixed by the central or state governments are higher than the floor wage, they cannot reduce the minimum wages.
    • Fixing the minimum wage: The Code prohibits employers from paying wages less than the minimum wages. Minimum wages will be notified by the central or state governments.  This will be based on time, or number of pieces produced. 
    • The minimum wages will be revised and reviewed by the central or state governments at an interval of not more than five years.
    • While fixing minimum wages, the central or state governments may take into account factors such as: (i) skill of workers, and (ii) difficulty of work.
    • Overtime: The central or state government may fix the number of hours that constitute a normal working day. In case employees work in excess of a normal working day, they will be entitled to overtime wage, which must be at least twice the normal rate of wages.  
  • The Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions :
    • Coverage: The Code applies to establishments employing at least 10 workers, and to all mines and docks. It does not apply to apprentices.
    • License and registration: Establishments covered by the Code are required to register within 60 days (of the commencement of the Code) with registering officers, appointed by the central or state government.
    • Duties of employers: Duties include:
      • providing a workplace that is free from hazards that may cause injury or diseases
      • providing free annual health examinations to employees in notified establishments
      • issuing appointment letters to employees
      • informing relevant authorities in case an accident at the workplace leads to death or serious bodily injury of an employee.
      • Additional duties are prescribed for employers in factories, mines, docks, plantations, and building and construction work, including provision of a risk-free work environment, and instructing employees on safety protocols.
    • Rights and duties of employees:
      • Duties include taking care of their own health and safety, complying with safety and health standards, and reporting unsafe work incidents to the Inspector.
      • Employees also have certain rights including the right to obtain information on safety and health standards from the employer.
    • Work hours: Work hours for different classes of establishment and employees will be notified by the central or state government.
    • For overtime work, the worker must be paid twice the rate of daily wages. Prior consent of workers is required for overtime work.
    • Female workers may work past 7 pm and before 6 am with their consent, and if approved by the government.
    • Journalists cannot work more than 144 hours in four weeks.
    • Leave: Workers cannot be required to work for more than six days a week. Further, they must receive one day of leave for every 20 days of work per year.
  • The Code on Social Security :
    • Social security schemes: Under the Code, the central government may notify various social security schemes for the benefit of workers. Such as :
      • Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Scheme
      • an Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS)
      • an Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance (EDLI) Scheme.
    • The government may also notify: (i) an Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Scheme to provide sickness, maternity, and other benefits, (ii) gratuity to workers on completing five years of employment (or less than five years in certain cases such as for journalists and fixed term workers), (iii) maternity benefits to women employees, (iv) cess for welfare of building and construction workers, and (v) compensation to employees and their dependants in the case of occupational injury or disease.
    • In addition, the central or state government may notify specific schemes for gig workers, platform workers, and unorganised workers to provide various benefits, such as life and disability cover.
    • Coverage and registration: The Code specifies different applicability thresholds for the schemes.
      • The EPF Scheme will apply to establishments with 20 or more employees.
      • The ESI Scheme will apply to certain establishments with 10 or more employees, and to all establishments which carry out hazardous or life-threatening work notified by the central government.
    • These thresholds may be amended by the central government.
    • Contributions : The EPF, EPS, EDLI, and ESI Schemes will be financed through a combination of contributions from the employer and employee.
    • All contributions towards payment of gratuity, maternity benefit, cess for building workers, and employee compensation will be borne by the employer.
    • Schemes for gig workers, platform workers, and unorganised workers may be financed through a combination of contributions from the employer, employee (or aggregators for gig workers and platform workers), and the appropriate government. .
    • Inspections and appeals:
      • The appropriate government may appoint Inspector-cum-facilitators to inspect establishments covered by the Code, and advise employers and employees on compliance with the Code.
      • Administrative authorities may be appointed under the various schemes to hear appeals under the Code.For instance, the appropriate government may notify an appellate authority to hear appeals against the order of the Inspector-cum-facilitator for non-payment of maternity benefits.
      • The Code also specifies judicial bodies which may hear appeals from the orders of the administrative authorities. For example, industrial tribunals (constituted under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947) will hear disputes under the EPF Scheme.
    • Offences and penalties: The Code specifies penalties for various offences, such as the failure to pay gratuity, which may be punished with imprisonment of one year. Some offences may also be compounded (settled).
  • The Code on Industrial Relations :
    • Trade unions: Under the Code, seven or more members of a trade union can apply to register it.
      • Trade unions that have a membership of at least 10% of the workers or 100 workers, whichever is less, will be registered. The central or state government may recognise a trade union or a federation of trade unions as Central or State Trade Unions, respectively.
    • Negotiating unions:
      • If there is only one trade union in an industrial establishment, the employer is required to recognise such trade union as the sole negotiating union of the workers.
      • In case of multiple trade unions, the trade union with support of at least 51% of workers on the muster roll of that establishment will be recognised as the sole negotiating union by the employer.
    • Unfair labour practices: The Code prohibits employers, workers, and trade unions from committing any unfair labour practices listed in a Schedule to the Code. These include: (i) restricting workers from forming trade unions, (ii) establishing employer sponsored trade union of workers, (iii) coercing workers to join trade unions, (iv) damage to employer’s property, and (v) preventing any worker from attending work.
    • Standing orders: All industrial establishments with at least 300 workers must prepare standing orders on certain matters. These include: (i) classification of workers, (ii) manner of informing workers about hours of work, holidays, paydays, and wage rates, (iii) termination of employment, (iv) suspension for misconduct, and (v) grievance redressal mechanisms for workers.
    • Notice of change: Employers must not change the conditions of service in certain matters without giving notice of the proposed changes to the workers being affected, or within 21 days of giving such notice. These matters include wages, contribution, allowances, working hours, and leave.
    • Lay-off and retrenchment: Employers of non-seasonal industrial establishments such as mines, factories, and plantations with 50 to 300 workers must
      • pay 50% of basic wages and dearness allowance to a worker who has been laid off
      • give one month’s notice or wages for the notice period to the retrenched worker.
      • Lay-off is the inability of an employer from giving employment to a worker due to reasons such as shortage of coal, power, or breakdown of machinery.
      • Retrenchment means termination of services of a worker for reasons other than disciplinary action.
    • Non-seasonal industrial establishments with at least 300 workers must take prior permission of the central or state government before lay-off, retrenchment or closure.
      • Such establishments must pay 50% of basic wages and dearness allowance to a worker who has been laid off
      • In case of retrenchment, the employer must either give three months’ notice or pay the retrenched worker for the notice period.
    • Within one year of retrenchment of workers, if an employer seeks to re-employ a person, he must prefer retrenched workers over other persons.
    • Voluntary arbitration: The Code allows for industrial disputes to be voluntarily referred to arbitration by the employer and workers through a written agreement. After investigating the dispute, the arbitrator will submit the arbitration award to the government.

 

Centre to reduce AFSPA in Nagalanda,Assam and Manipur

Context :

  • The Centre has decided to reduce the disturbed areas under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades
  • According to the Ministry of Home Affairs :
    • The AFSPA is in force in the whole of Assam since 1990. However, due to the significant improvement in the situation now AFSPA is being removed completely from 23 districts and partially from 1 district of Assam with effect from April 1.
    • The disturbed area declaration is in force in the entire Manipur (except Imphal Municipality area) since 2004. Now, taking an important step, 15 police station areas of 6 districts of Manipur will be excluded from the notification with effect from April 1.
    • The disturbed area notification is in force in the whole of Nagaland since 1995. The Centre has accepted the recommendation of a committee constituted in this context for withdrawal of AFSPA in a phased manner. The disturbed area notification is being withdrawn from 15 police stations in 7 districts in Nagaland with effect from April 1
  • This is because most of the extremist groups have laid down their arms and have expressed their faith in the Constitution of India
  • Today all these persons have become a part of the democratic process and are participating in the peace and development of the North East.
  • About 7,000 militants have surrendered in the last few years.
What is AFSPA,1958?
  • The ASFPA is a parliamentary act that gives unfettered powers to the armed forces and the Central armed police forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law and arrest and search any premises without a warrant and with protection from prosecution and legal suits.
  • The law first came into effect in 1958 to deal with the uprising in the Naga Hills, followed by the insurgency in Assam.
  • The Act was amended in 1972 and the powers to declare an area as “disturbed” were conferred concurrently upon the Central government along with the States

Current status of the act :

  • Currently, the Union Home Ministry issues periodic “disturbed area” notification to extend AFSPA for Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh
  • While the notification for Manipur and Assam is issued by the State governments.
  • Tripura revoked the Act in 2015 and Meghalaya was under AFSPA for 27 years, until it was revoked by the MHA from 1st April 2018.
  • Jammu and Kashmir has a separate J&K Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1990.

UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 31st March 2022

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