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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 2 June 2021

Contents

  1. Invoking DM Act in notice for WB Chief Secretary
  2. NCPCR tracks data on orphans
  3. BRICS will assist India to fight COVID-19, says China

Invoking DM Act in notice for WB Chief Secretary

Context:

Before he retired, former Chief Secretary of West Bengal Alapan Bandyopadhyay was served a show cause notice by the Union Home Ministry under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Relevance:

GS-III: Disaster Management (Government Policies & Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the recent notice served to the WB Chief Secretary
  2. Disaster Management Act, 2005
  3. What is Section 51 (b) of DM Act?

About the recent notice served to the WB Chief Secretary

  • Former Chief Secretary of West Bengal Alapan Bandyopadhyay was served a show cause notice under the section of DM Act which pertains to “punishment for obstruction” for refusal to comply with a direction given by the Central government.
  • The notice was served because he had refused a three-month extension sanctioned to him by the State and Central government.
  • The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) also shot off a letter asking him to comply with its order to report to the Central government’s office in Delhi.

What does the notice say?

The notice said that the officer, by abstaining himself from the review meeting taken by Prime Minister is in way like acting in a manner tantamount to refusing to comply with lawful directions of the Central Government and is thus violative of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Click Here to read more about the Central Deputation of WP Chief Secretary

Disaster Management Act, 2005

  • The Disaster Management Act, 2005, received the assent of The President of India in 2006.
  • The Act extends to the whole of India.
  • The Act provides for “the effective management of disasters and for matters connected there with or incidental thereto.”
  • The Act calls for the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
  • The Act under Section 8 enjoins the Central Government to Constitute a National Executive Committee (NEC).
  • All State Governments are mandated under Section 14 of the act to establish a State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).
  • The Chairperson of District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will be the Collector or District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner of the district.
  • The Section 44–45 of the Act provides for constituting a National Disaster Response Force “for the purpose of specialist response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster” under a Director General to be appointed by the Central Government.

What is Section 51 (b) of DM Act?

  • The section prescribes “punishment for obstruction” for refusal to comply with any direction given by or on behalf of the Central government or the State government or the National Executive Committee or the State Executive Committee or the District Authority under the Act.
  • It says that violation shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term that may extend to one year or with a fine or both upon conviction. It adds that if “such refusal to comply with directions results in loss of lives or imminent danger thereof, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.”

Section 51 of the DM Act has two important caveats

Under the Act, the action on the part of the person has to be

  1. ‘Without reasonable cause’ and
  2. ‘Failure of an officer to perform the duty without due permission or lawful excuse.’

If the Chief Secretary had ‘reasonable cause’ and ‘lawful excuse’ for not attending the meeting then he can highlight them in his reply.

-Source: The Hindu


NCPCR tracks data on orphans

Context:

Bal Swaraj, an online tracking portal of a national child rights body National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), shows details of nearly 10,000 children in the country in immediate need of care and protection.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice (Issues Related to Children, Government Policies and Interventions), GS-II: Polity (Statutory Bodies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
  2. The functions of NCPCR
  3. About the Recent updated given by the NCPCR
  4. NCPCR’s online portal ‘Bal Swaraj’

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

  • The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is an Indian Statutory Body established by an Act of Parliament, the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005.
  • The Commission works under the aegis of Ministry of Women and Child Development, GoI.
  • The Commission is mandated under section 13 of CPCR Act, 2005 “to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
  • As defined by the commission, child includes person up to the age of 18 years.
  • Also, NCPCR cannot enquire into any matter which is pending before a State Commission or any other Commission duly constituted.
  • The commission consist of the following members:
    1. A chairperson who, is a person of eminence and has done a outstanding work for promoting the welfare of children; and
    2. Six members, out of which at least two are woman, from the following fields, is appointed by the Central Government from amongst person of eminence, ability, integrity, standing and experience in:
      • Education,
      • Child health, care, welfare or child development,
      • Juvenile justice or care of neglected or marginalized children or children with disabilities,
      • Elimination of child labour or children in distress
      • Child psychology or sociology
      • Laws relating to children

The functions of NCPCR

  • Examine and review the safeguards provided by or under any law for the time being in force for the protection of child rights and recommend measures
  • Present to the Central Government –  reports upon working of those safeguards
  • Inquire into violation of child rights and recommend initiation of proceedings in such cases
  • Examine all factors that inhibit the enjoyment of rights of children affected by terrorism, communal violence, riots etc., and recommend appropriate remedial measures
  • Look into the matters relating to the children in need of special care and protection including children in distress, marginalized and disadvantaged children
  • Study treaties and other international instruments and undertake periodical review of existing policies, programmes and other activities on child rights and make recommendations
  • Undertake and promote research in the field of child rights
  • Spread child rights literacy among various section of society and promote awareness
  • Inspect or cause to be inspected any juveniles custodial home, or any other place of residence or institution meant for children
  • Inquire into complaints and take suo motu notice of matter relating to:
    1. Deprivation and violation of child rights;
    2. Non implementation of laws providing for protection and development of children;
    3. Noncompliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating hardships to and ensuring welfare of the children and provide relief to such children;
    4. Or take up the issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities.
  • Such other functions as it may consider necessary for the promotion of Child Rights
  • Undertake formal investigation where concern has been expressed either by children themselves or by concerned person on their behalf
  • Promote the incorporation of child rights into the school curriculum, training of teachers or personnel dealing with children

About the Recent updated given by the NCPCR

  • The cataclysmic COVID-19 pandemic devastated the vulnerable sections of society and there are a number of children who have become orphans due to the demise of either the breadwinner of the family or of both their parents.
  • The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) informed the Supreme Court that these children ran a high risk of being pushed into trafficking and flesh trade.
  • The Commission said it had already received several complaints of government authorities illegally transferring details of children to private entities and NGOs.

NCPCR’s online portal ‘Bal Swaraj’

  • In view of the growing problem related to children affected by COVID-19, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has devised an online tracking portal “Bal Swaraj (COVID-Care link)” for children in need of care and protection.
  • The portal has been created with the purpose of tracking and monitoring children who need care and protection in real-time, digitally.
  • The portal will also be used to track children who have lost both their parents during COVID-19.
  • The “COVID-Care” link on the portal has been provided for the concerned officer or department to upload the data of such children.
  • The “Bal Swaraj-COVID-Care” aims at tracking the children affected by COVID-19 right from their production before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), to the restoration of the children to their parent, guardian, or relative, and its subsequent follow-up.
  • The Commission will be able to get information about whether the child is getting his/her entitlements, benefits, and entitled monetary gains, through the data filled in the portal by the District officers and State officers for each child.

Click Here to read more about Adoption issues for those orphaned during Covid-19 and Juvenile Justice Act, 2015

-Source: The Hindu


BRICS will assist India to fight COVID-19, says China

Context:

The Foreign Ministers of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) grouping expressed “grave concern” with regard to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the Chinese Foreign Minister expressed solidarity with India over the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (India’s Neighbors, Important International Groupings)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is BRICS?
  2. Achievements of BRICS
  3. Highlights of the meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs

What is BRICS?

  • BRICS is the international grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • This was set up as a move towards greater multi­polarity; hence the spread across three continents and both hemispheres.
  • In terms of GDP, China occupies the second position; India the fifth; Brazil the ninth; Russia the 11th; and South Africa the 35th.
  • In terms of growth rates, China grew at 6%; India at 4.5%, Russia 1.7%, Brazil 1.2% and South Africa 0.1%.
  • BRICS does not exist in form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.
  • The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.
  • The BRICS seeks to deepen, broaden and intensify cooperation within the grouping and among the individual countries for more sustainable, equitable and mutually beneficial development.
  • BRICS takes into consideration each member’s growth, development and poverty objectives to ensure relations are built on the respective country’s economic strengths and to avoid competition where possible.
  • BRICS is emerging as a new and promising political-diplomatic entity with diverse objectives, far beyond the original objective of reforming global financial institutions.

Achievements of BRICS

  • The main achievement of BRICS is the New Development Bank, with each country contributing equally to its equity
  • The bank has so far financed over 40 projects at a cost of $12 billion
  • The BRICS countries are also developing a joint payments mechanism to reduce foreign trade settlements in U.S. dollars
  • An offshoot of the group, dealing with climate change, is BASIC (BRICS without Russia), which met at the Spain conference in December 2019 and reiterated its support to the Paris Agreement.
  • The BRICs called for the “the reform of multilateral institutions in order that they reflect the structural changes in the world economy and the increasingly central role that emerging markets now play”.
  • BRICs managed to push for institutional reform which led to International Monetary Fund (IMF) quota reform in 2010. Thus the financial crises had momentarily reduced western legitimacy and briefly let the BRICs countries become “agenda setters” in multilateral institution

Highlights of the meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs

  • Chinese Foreign Minister said the BRICS grouping was ready to assist the country to fight the pandemic “as long as needed”.
  • The Ministers also agreed on reforming the multilateral system, which was the “first time” that such a consensus was reached.
  • India is the Chair of BRICS for 2021, when the organisation completes its 15th year of existence.
  • A joint statement issued after the meeting called for “equitable” access to vaccines, medicines and technologies as well as equipment to deal with the pandemic.
  • India and South Africa have been demanding the TRIPS waiver for the COVID-19 vaccines. The mention of the term “flexibilities” in the joint statement is being viewed as a normative step forward towards greater vaccine equality and availability in the world.
  • Apart from the support at the WTO, the Foreign Ministers also expressed support for the “comprehensive strengthening and reforming” of the UN Security Council, the General Assembly, the UN Secretariat and the Economic and Social Council.

-Source: The Hindu

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