Current Affairs 12-10-2017

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answered Oct 12 by prashant1984 (20,280 points)

Cabinet approves IALA to change its status from Non-Governmental Organization to Inter-Governmental Organization 

- The Union Cabinet has given its approval for International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) to change its status from Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to Inter-Governmental Organization (IGO). 

Significance- The move will facilitate “to foster the safe, economic and efficient movement of vessels". It will bring IALA at par with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO). 

Background:
-The IALA, having headquarters at St. Germainen Laye (France) was established in 1957 under French law.

- It is governed by a General Assembly having 83 National members, with its Council as the executive body. The IALA council consists of 24 National Members and India is one of the council members represented through the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL), Ministry of Shipping.

- DGLL establishes and maintains Aids to Navigation in general waters along coast of India including A&N and Lakshadweep group of islands, as per Lighthouse Act 1927. 

-In its Xll session held in La Coruna, Spain in May 2014, International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) General Assembly adopted a resolution stating its firm belief that the status of IALA from NGO to IGO will best facilitate lALA's aims in the 21st century.

Difference between NGO and IGO- IGO: Intergovernmental Organization A structure based on a formal instrument of agreement between nations.

NGO: Non-Governmental Organization An organization that operates independently from any government – though it may receive funding from a government but operates without oversight or representation from that government.

-The biggest difference is between IGOs and NGOs in that IGOs are within the government scope.  NPOs and NGOs, while they may receive funding from governments, operate independently of governments.  NPOs and NGOs are private organizations.

- An example of an IGO is the United Nations.Examples of NGOs include Oxfam and Greenpeace.

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answered Oct 12 by prashant1984 (20,280 points)

Cabinet approves SANKALP & STRIVE Schemes to boost Skill India Mission 

- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved two new World Bank supported schemes of Rs. 6,655 crore - Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) and Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE).

 SANKALP is Rs 4,455 crore Centrally sponsored scheme including Rs. 3,300 crore loan support from World Bank whereas STRIVE is a Rs. 2,200 crore - central sector scheme, with half of the scheme outlay as World bank loan assistance.

- SANKALP and STRIVE are outcome focused schemes marking shift in government's implementation strategy in vocational education and training from inputs to results. 

Importance of the scheme-1. There has been a long felt need for a national architecture for promoting convergence, ensuring effective governance and regulation of skill training and catalysing industry efforts in vocational training space.

2.The two schemes shall address this need by setting up national bodies for accreditation & certification which shall regulate accreditation and certification in both long and short term Vocational Education and Training (VET).

3.The architecture shall help, for the first time in the history of vocational education in India, to converge the efforts of various central, state and private sector institutions thereby avoiding duplication of activities and bringing about uniformity in vocational training thus, creating better impact. 

4.Both the schemes are aimed at institutional reforms and improving quality & market relevance of skill development training programs in long and short term VET.

5. STRIVE scheme shall incentivize ITIs to improve overall performance including apprenticeship by involving SMEs, business association and industry clusters. The schemes aim to develop a robust mechanism for delivering quality skill development training by strengthening institutions such as State Skill Development Missions (SSDMs), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Sector Skill Councils (SSCs), ITIs and National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) etc.

6.The schemes shall support universalization of National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) including National Quality Assurance Framework (NQAF) across the skill development schemes of central and state governments thus ensuring standardization in skill delivery, content and training output. 

7. The schemes shall provide the required impetus to the National Skill Development Mission, 2015 and its various sub missions.

8. The schemes are aligned to flagship Government of India programs such as Make in India and Swachhta Abhiyan and aim at developing globally competitive workforce for domestic and overseas requirements.

9. SANKALP aims at enhancement of inclusion of marginalized communities including women. Scheduled Castes (SCs), Schedule Tribes (STs) and Persons with Disabilities (PWD) to provide skill training opportunities to the underprivileged and marginalised section of the society. 

10. The schemes will develop a skilling ecosystem that will support the country's rise in the Ease of Doing Business index by steady supply of skilled workforce to the industry.

11.The schemes will also work towards increasing the aspirational value of skill development programs by increasing the marketability of skills, through better industry connect and quality assurance. 

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answered Oct 12 by prashant1984 (20,280 points)

The will to die — on ‘living wills’

Context- 1.The article talks about recent case before constitutional bench of Supreme court.

2.The case is allowing euthanasia as a means to protect the dignity of patients in a vegetative state .

-These are advance directives that people can lay down while being sound of mind, on whether they should continue to get life-sustaining treatment after they reach a stage of total incapacitation, that is, a vegetative state

In a vegetative state the person is still unconscious. They have no awareness of themselves or their environment. The main difference between ‘coma’ and the ‘vegetative state’ is that at some point the person’s eyes will be open and there will be times when they seem to be ‘awake’. They may move parts of their body, but this movement is not voluntary.

Living Will-written statement detailing a person’s desires regarding future medical treatment in circumstances in which they are no longer able to express informed consent, especially an advance directive.

-Should law allow Living wills?

-This questions must be fraught with legal,moral and philosophical implications.

- The court will have to resolve the question whether the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution, which according to an earlier verdict does not include the right to die, is being voluntarily waived by a person giving such an advance directive.

- A living will, at the same time, may relieve the close family members and caregivers of a terminally ill patient of the moral burden of making a life-ending decision.

Court Stand- the court has indicated that it may lay down comprehensive guidelines on operationalising the idea of living wills.

Government stand- The government has opposed the concept of an advance directive, arguing that it would be against public policy and the right to life. The government is rightly concerned that the idea may be misused and result in the neglect of the elderly. 

Earlier Judgement of supreme court- The Supreme Court, in a landmark verdict in 2011, ruled out any support for active euthanasia, but laid down a broad legal framework for passive euthanasia, or the withdrawal of life support subject to safeguards and a fair procedure.

Way Forward-1. the court may have to draw up stringent safeguards for certifying living wills, preferably by a judicial officer, and lay down the exact stage at which the advance directive becomes applicable.

2.  The court’s observation that it would kick in only after a medical board rules that a person’s condition is incurable ought to be sufficient reassurance for those concerned about its possible misuse.

3. Advance directives on withdrawal of life support must come with robust safeguards



 

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answered Oct 12 by prashant1984 (20,280 points)

No independent woman director at 38% of NSE-listed cos

- Report by Prime Data base-About 38 per cent of companies listed on the NSE would have to appoint at least one independent woman director if the recommendation of a high-level panel on corporate governance were to be implemented.

- Of the 1,670 companies listed on National Stock Exchange (NSE), as many as 637 firms need to appoint a woman independent director.

- The panel headed by eminent banker Uday Kotak recommended that listed companies should appoint at least one woman as independent director.

Existing rule- The current rules require that there must be one woman on the board, irrespective of her being an independent or executive director.

All listed firms were required to have at least one woman director on their boards from April 1, 2015, according to a Sebi directive, as also under the Companies Act, 2013.

- The suggestion is aimed at increasing gender diversity, which is often seen to have a positive impact on the decision making processes of corporate boards.

Recommendations- 1.The panel also recommended limiting chairmanship to only non-executive director.

2.The proposal for only non-executive director being allowed to be made chairman would eventually lead to a split in the posts of chairman and managing director.

3.The report said 256 NSE-listed companies would have to increase the size of their board beyond five and 326 firms need to change the board composition to ensure that at least 50 per cent of the total number of directors are independent.

4.It also noted 171 executive promoter directors in 116 companies earned a remuneration of more than Rs 5 crore in the past fiscal.

The Kotak panel suggested that if the pay package of executive promoter directors is more than Rs 5 crore, or 2.5 per cent of net profit, then it should be approved by shareholders.

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answered Oct 12 by prashant1984 (20,280 points)

Sex with wife below 18 years is rape, rules SC; underlines girl’s right to choose

- In a landmark verdict that strengthens legal protection to the girl child, the Supreme Court today criminalised sexual intercourse by a husband with his wife who is under 18 years of age.

- The decision applies to all faiths and is expected to act as a deterrent against child marriage, which, although prohibited under the law, is still prevalent in many parts of the country.

Background- Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which defines the offence of rape, has an exception clause that says intercourse or sexual act by a man with his wife, not below 15 years, is not rape. However, the age of consent is 18 years.

Court Judgement- 1. Sec 375 was inconsistent with other statutes dealing with children such as The Prohibition of Prevention of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), Juvenile Justice Act and The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act — all these have fixed the minimum age of the girl child for sexual relations at eighteen.

2.It is arbitrary, capricious, whimsical and violative of the rights of the girl child and not fair, just and reasonable and, therefore, violative of Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India”.

Court Observation related to law- 1.The exception carved out in the IPC creates an unnecessary and artificial distinction between a married girl child and an unmarried girl child and has no rational nexus with any unclear objective sought to be achieved. The artificial distinction is discriminatory and is definitely not in the interest of the girl child.

2. It was also contrary to the philosophy and ethos of Article 15(3) of the Constitution as well as contrary to Article 21 of the Constitution and our commitments in international conventions.

-Judgment will have “prospective effect” meaning it will not apply to past cases and that cognizance of such offences can be taken only in accordance with the provisions of section 198(6) of the Criminal Procedure Code. 

-Does it applies to women at age of 18 or above- The bench, however, clarified that it was not making any observation on “marital rape” of a woman who is 18 years of age and above as the issue was not before the court.

The question whether marital rape should be criminalised is pending before the Delhi High Court where the Centre has filed an affidavit opposing this saying that doing so may destabilize the institution of marriage apart from being an easy tool for harassing husbands.

NFHS observation- 1.National Family Health Survey — 3 (of 2005) which states that 46 percent of women in Indian between the ages of 18 and 29 were married before the age of 18 years.

2. National Family Health Survey-4, 2015-2016.it was found that at the time of carrying out the survey in 2014, amongst women in the age group of 20-24 years, almost 26.8% women were married before they attained the age of 18 years, i.e. more than one out of 4 marriages was of a girl child.”

3.  A report based on the 2011 Census and said that it reveals a shocking aspect that girls below the age of 18 years are subjected to three times more marital rape as compared to the grown-up women.

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