Act of 2013 against Sexual Harassment (Posh)
Tags: Paper GS 1/2/Social Issues /Government Policies and Interventions
- According to a recent investigation, more than half of India’s thirty national sports federations lack an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), which is mandated by the 2013 Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act.
About Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH) Act, 2013
- The Indian government has passed the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act) in an effort to provide women with a safe and secure workplace.
- It broadened and gave legislative support to what are known as the Vishaka Guidelines, which were established by a 1997 Supreme Court ruling.
- The Vishaka Guidelines defined sexual harassment and imposed on institutions three essential obligations: prohibition, prevention, and redress.
- The Supreme Court ordered the establishment of a Complaints Committee that would investigate sexual harassment of women in the workplace.
- The court rendered the guidelines legally enforceable.
- It required every employer with 10 or more employees to establish an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in each office or branch.
- It outlined procedures and defined various aspects of sexual harassment, including the aggrieved victim, who could be a woman of “any age, employed or unemployed” who “alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment.”
- Under the Act, a woman “of any age, whether employed [at the workplace] or not” who “alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment” can be a victim of sexual harassment.
- Section 2n of the Act defines sexual harassment. o The Act protects the rights of all women who are working or visiting a workplace in any capacity. Sexual harassment includes any one or more of the following unwanted acts or conduct (whether directly or indirectly): o Physical contact and advances;
- A demand or request for sexual favors; o Making sexually tinged remarks; o Displaying pornographic material; o Any other unwanted physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct of a sexual nature.
- Section 3 (2) of the Act specifies that if any of the following occurs or is present in relation to or in connection with any act or behavior of sexual harassment, it may constitute sexual harassment: o Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment; o Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment; o Implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status.
- Procedure for complaint: The victim is not required to register a complaint in order for the ICC to take action.
- She “may” file a written complaint, and if she cannot, any member of the ICC “shall” provide her with “all reasonable assistance” to do so.
- The complaint must be filed “within three months of the incident’s date.”
- After the ICC has filed its report, if the allegations of sexual harassment are proven, the ICC will recommend to the employer that action be taken “in accordance with the provisions of the company’s service rules” These may differ from business to business.
- The ICC may also recommend that the company deduct the culpable party’s salary “as it may deem appropriate.”
Issues and Concerns
- Sexual harassment in the workplace has emerged as one of the most prevalent issues affecting women worldwide.
- The Posh Act of 2013 fails to address accountability adequately. Notably, it does not specify who is responsible for assuring workplace compliance with the Act or who can be held accountable if its provisions are violated.
- In certain regions, awareness of the Posh Act of 2013 remains low, making it difficult for victims to report cases.
- State Women’s Commissions should oversee the formation of internal and local complaint committees at the district level in their respective states.
- The State Women’s Commissions should conduct regular programs to disseminate information about the Act’s provisions and rules in their respective states in order to improve its implementation.
- Educate all employees on the various aspects of sexual harassment and the measures that must be taken in the event of a complaint.
- Establish a formal complaint procedure and ensure that all complaints are promptly and equitably addressed.
- Ensure that all employees are aware of their rights and the complaint procedure.
- Administer disciplinary measures to offenders of sexual harassment.
- Provide both the complainant and the accused with counseling services.
|Internal Complaints Committee(ICC)
• The ICC was intended to be the first point of contact for any complaint under the PoSH Act, a crucial requirement for creating a secure workplace for women.
• According to the law, it must have a minimum of four members, at least half of whom must be women, and one must be an external member, preferable from an NGO or an association working for women’s empowerment, or a lawyer familiar with sexual harassment issues.
• In fact, a functional ICC is one of the Ministry of Sports’ essential requirements for granting annual recognition to the federations.
Multimodal Project in Kaladan
Tags: Paper: GS2 / International Relations
- The MV-ITT LION (V-273) was recently launched from the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata as the inaugural shipment to activate the Sittwe Port in Rakhine State, Myanmar.The Port was constructed with grant funding from the Indian government as part of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP).
Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP)
- It is a massive connectivity project connecting the Haldia port (West Bengal) to Mizoram via Myanmar.
- The route entails a maritime voyage from Haldia to Sittwe port in Myanmar. It will then connect Sittwe seaport to Paletwa via the Kaladan river transport route, and Paletwa to Zorinpui in Mizoram state, Northeast India, via road.
Significance of KMTTP Project
- This initiative will shorten the distance between Kolkata and Sittwe by approximately 1,328 kilometers and reduce the need to transport goods through the Chicken’s Neck corridor in Siliguri.This essential and strategic route will strengthen trade, commerce, and economic ties with Myanmar, our North-Eastern States, and South Asian nations.
- The beginning of Sittwe port operations will pave the way for Sittwe to become a maritime center for Myanmar and improve regional connectivity.
- It will help combat Chinese expansion in the region.
Another project – alternate route to northeast India
- India is also developing a railway route from Cox’s Bazar deep water port to South Tripura district by rehabilitating the railway link between Santirbazar in India and Feni in Bangladesh, where a road and rail bridge is being constructed to connect the “Belonia, India–Parshuram, Bangladesh road and rail crossing checkposts.”
India -Myanmar Relations
- The two nations share a 1,600-kilometer-long land border and a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.
- India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway – This project involves the construction of a 1,360 km road from Moreh in India to Mae Sot in Thailand via Myanmar.
- Operation Sunrise is a coordinated effort by the security forces of India and Myanmar to target insurgent groups operating along the border between the two nations.
- India has invested in Myanmar’s energy sector, including the construction of a gas pipeline from Myanmar to India.
- India has been providing Myanmar’s security forces with training and equipment to enhance their capacity to deal with security concerns.
Tags: Paper :GS2/International Relations
- The United States and South Korea have signed the “Washington Declaration” as a strategy for nuclear deterrence.
What is the Washington Declaration?
- Purpose of the Agreement:
- To protect the Korean Peninsula from a North Korean nuclear attack.
- An American nuclear-armed ballistic submarine would be stationed on the Korean peninsula.
- A nuclear consultative group would be founded to develop joint response tactics based on a set of guiding principles.
- The United States would provide South Korea with intelligence on nuclear advancements.
- Through joint military training programs and an annual intergovernmental simulation, the United States will enhance South Korea’s nuclear deterrence capabilities.
Significance of the Declaration
- The declaration reaffirmed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, implying that South Korea would not pursue the development of its own independent nuclear capabilities, focusing instead on alliance-based deterrence measures.
- It also designates the President of the United States as the’sole authority’ to use the nation’s nuclear arsenal in the event of a nuclear confrontation. While the existence of the agreement is based on South Korea’s security requirements, the policy reflects the politics of great powers in which the interests of the larger power (the United States) take precedence.
- The declaration enables both nations to establish a Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) similar to the one between the United States and NATO. Through this organization, South Korea would be able to exert greater control over nuclear response planning and coordination.
- Through its proactive approach, the Washington Declaration demonstrated South Korea’s commitment to its goal of becoming a “global pivotal power.”
- It also mentioned the ‘need for peace and stability’ in the waters surrounding Taiwan, the need to maintain the status quo in the Indo-Pacific, and the prohibition of any illicit maritime claims, militarization of reclaimed features, or coercive actions.
- Overall, the Washington Declaration is a significant step in the direction of creating a more overt and close coordination among US allies in the Indo-Pacific in order to confront not only North Korea, but also Chinese and Russian actions.
Need for the Agreement
- In January 2021, North Korea outlined a plan to augment its nuclear arsenal with new categories of capabilities.
- The following year, North Korea conducted more missile tests, which prompted South Korea and the United States to resume large-scale military exercises that had been suspended to encourage diplomacy, and North Korea responded by conducting even more missile tests.
- North Korea has consistently increased its arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching U.S. cities, most recently conducting a test of a solid-fuel ICBM and modifying its nuclear doctrine to include the option to conduct preemptive strikes.
- In January 2023, the president of South Korea stated that North Korea’s continued provocations could lead to the acquisition of nuclear weapons or force the United States to increase its extended deterrence commitment.
- Seoul opted for Washington’s extended deterrence or the Washington Declaration’s nuclear umbrella.
Why is the U.S. not keen on South Korea having a nuclear arsenal?
- Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty:S. pressure impeded South Korea’s nuclear development program. As part of their Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the United States removed 100 nuclear weapons from South Korea in the 1990s.
- The United States erroneously believed it could deter North Korea from producing weapons by removing South Korea’s nuclear capacity.
- Conundrum for the United States: The Nuclear Posture Review 2022 reflects a shift in the U.S. narrative, which is now concerned about North Korea’s growing nuclear capabilities.
- North Korea creates deterrence dilemmas for the United States, its Allies, and partners, and a crisis or conflict on the Korean Peninsula could involve multiple nuclear-armed actors, increasing the risk of a wider conflict.
- The objective of non-proliferation is for the United States to control global nuclear weapons production. It has been reluctant to allow South Korea to develop its own nuclear arsenal due to the fact that it would impede efforts to control global nuclear production.
- The assurance that the United States and its nuclear weapons will safeguard its allies by maintaining stability in the region is consistent with the larger objective of nonproliferation.
What is the domestic response?
- The South Korean populace is skeptical of American support. According to a survey conducted by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, 71% of South Koreans want to develop their own nuclear weapons. In the presence of an aggressive North Korea, they would prefer their own deterrence.
Modification to the 2002 Prevention of Money Laundering Act
Tags: Paper: Indian Economy & related issues
- The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) now applies to certified public accountants, company assistants, and cost and works accountants who conduct financial transactions on behalf of their clients.
- Amendments to the PMLA in accordance with FATF recommendations.If these professionals carry out financial transactions on behalf of their client, such as the purchase and sale of immovable property, the management of client funds, securities, or other assets, the management of bank, savings, or securities accounts, the organization of contributions for the creation, operation, or management of companies, the creation, operation, or management of corporations, limited liability partnerships, or trusts, and the purchase and sale of immovable property, the PMLA will recognize the activity.
- The financial professionals who have obtained certifications as chartered accountants, company secretaries, and cost and work accountants would be considered relevant for reporting transactions on behalf of their individual clients.
- Reporting entities will be required to maintain records of all transactions and provide them to the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit.
- The reporting entities would also be required to conduct KYC prior to the commencement of each specified transaction, including examining the client’s ownership and financial position, including sources of funds, and documenting the reason for conducting the transaction.
Criticism of the Amendment
- According to tax specialists, the inclusion of CAs, CSs, and CWAs was unnecessary in light of the law’s stringent compliance requirements and low conviction rate.
- Concerns among financial professionals that they might not only face penalties for noncompliance, but also encounter investigative agencies such as the ED.
Other recent changes
- The government expanded the scope of reporting entities under money laundering provisions in March to include more disclosures for non-governmental organizations and politically exposed persons (PEPs).
|About Prevention of Money Laundering Act,2002 (PMLA)
· The PMLA was enacted as a result of an international commitment to combat with vigor the threat posed by the laundering of criminal proceeds with transnational effects on the financial systems of the countries.
· The PML Act is intended to combat money laundering in India and has three primary goals:
· To prevent and control money laundering
· To address any additional issues associated with money laundering in India.
The Meitei community’s demand for ST status and the violence in Manipur
Tags: Paper: GS3/Extremism, Challenges to Internal Security, Various Security Agencies; GS2/ Government Policies & Interventions.
- Recently, violent confrontations erupted at various locations in Manipur during a “Tribal Solidarity March” organized by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur.
- Hundreds of homes, churches, temples, and vehicles were vandalized or set ablaze during the conflict, and many people were slain.
More about the news
- Unrest at the ‘Tribal Solidarity March’:
- March was convened to oppose the long-standing demand that the Meitei community be included in the state’s list of Scheduled Tribes (ST), which was given a boost by a recent Manipur High Court order.
- Other reasons of unrest:
- The state government’s notices since August 2022 claiming that 38 villages in the Churachandpur-Khoupum Protected Forest area (in Churachandpur and Noney districts) are “illegal settlements” and its residents are “encroachers” have been a major source of discontent among the hill tribes of the state.
- The government then initiated an eviction campaign, which resulted in conflict.
|Major communities residing in Manipur
· The central valley of the state comprises approximately 10% of its landmass and is predominantly inhabited by Meitei and Meitei Pangals, who account for approximately 64.6% of the state’s population.
· They are presently classified as OBCs or SCs, and they dominate more than half of the State’s Assembly districts. The majority of them identify as Hindu, while approximately 8% identify as Muslim.
- At least since 2012, the Scheduled Tribes Demand Committee of Manipur (STDCM) has been leading an organized effort in support of this demand.
- Plea before the Manipur High Court:
- Meetei (Meitei) Tribe Union recently filed a petition with the Manipur High Court.The petition requested that the Manipur government submit a recommendation to the Union Ministry for Tribal Affairs for the inclusion of the Meetei/Meitei community in the list of Scheduled Tribes in the Indian Constitution, as a “tribe among Manipur’s tribes.”
- Why does the Meitei community want ST status?
- Loss of identity:
- In their petition to the High Court, the petitioners argued that the Meitei community was recognized as a tribe prior to 1949, when the princely state of Manipur merged with the Union of India.They also claim that after the merger, they lost their tribal identity.
- Preserving the community & land rights:
- It was argued in court that the demand for ST status arose from the need to “preserve” the community and “and save the ancestral land, tradition, culture, and language” of the Meiteis.
- The Meitei/Meetei are marginalized progressively in their ancestral lands.
- Victimization of the community & reduction in population:
- In various petitions to the state and central governments, the STDCM has stated that “the community has been victimized without any constitutional protections to date” as a result of being left off the ST list.
- Their population, which comprised 59% of Manipur’s total population in 1951, has decreased to 44% according to 2011 Census data.
Manipur High Court’s order
- The court noted that “the petitioners and other Unions have fought for many years to include the Meetei/Meitei community on Manipur’s tribe list.”
- The court also ordered the government to submit its recommendation after reviewing the petitioners’ case, preferable within four weeks of receiving the order.
Opposition by the other tribal groups
- The Meitei community’s demand for ST status has long been opposed by the state’s tribal organizations.
- Dominance of the Meiteis:
- One of the reasons cited for the opposition is the population and political dominance of the Meiteis in the valley, where forty of the state’s sixty Assembly constituencies are located.
- Loss of opportunities:
- The ST communities of Manipur have consistently opposed the inclusion, fearing the loss of employment opportunities and other affirmative actions granted to STs by the Indian Constitution to a more developed community such as the Meitei.
- Pre existing status & opportunities:
- Other arguments against the demand include the fact that the Manipuri language of the Meiteis is included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution and that sections of the predominantly Hindu Meitei community are already classified as Scheduled Castes (SC) or Other Backward Classes (OBC) and have access to the benefits associated with that status.
|Scheduled Tribes in India
called “Food Street Project”
Tags: Paper : GS /3Economy
- With senior officers of the Health Ministry and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare reviewed the ‘Food Street Project’ to develop 100 healthful and hygienic food streets across the country.
About the ‘Food Street Project’
- The National Health Mission (NHM) of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will provide Rs. 1 crore per food street as a pilot initiative to support the operationalization of 100 food streets in various locations across the country.
- The grant will be distributed under NHM at a ratio of 60:40 or 90:10, with the stipulation that these food avenues will be branded in accordance with FSSAI guidelines.
- Financial support would be provided for activities such as the provision of safe drinking water, hand washing, toilet facilities, tiled flooring of common areas, appropriate liquid & solid waste disposal, provision of dustbins, the use of billboards, facade preparation and permanent signage, common storage space, lighting, specialized carts for a particular type of trade, branding, etc.
- The initiative will be implemented by the National Health Mission in coordination with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), in addition to FSSAI’s technical assistance.
Need and Significance
- Street food has played a significant role in sustaining and influencing the Indian food economy and has been an integral part of the Indian food culture.
- Consequently, the purpose of this initiative is to promote safe and healthy food practices among food businesses and community members, thereby decreasing foodborne illnesses and enhancing overall health outcomes.
Other Related Initiatives
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has taken numerous measures to enhance the hygiene and food safety protocols for food street centers.
- These initiatives include food handler training, independent third-party audits, and certification under the Eat Right India initiative Clean Street Food Hub.
The phase-out of gas furnaces and stoves in New York
Tags: Syllabus: GS3/ Environment & degradation
- Beginning in 2026, all newly constructed structures in New York will be required to utilize electric induction ranges and heat pumps.
Reason of phase-out
- Natural gas combustion for energy accounted for approximately 34% of total US energy-related CO2 emissions.
- Natural gas extraction also results in the discharge of certain greenhouse gases.
- Occasionally, gas extraction also involves fracking, which has been criticized for contributing to water pollution and leaving geological structures vulnerable.
- Researchers discovered that residential natural gas contained varying concentrations of volatile organic compounds known to be toxic when leaked. These compounds are linked to cancer and have the potential to form other pollutants that are hazardous to human health.
- Burning natural gas also produces contaminants such as Nitrous Oxide (NOx), which can degrade the indoor air quality.
- Factors such as kitchen dimensions and ventilation also influence this, with a smaller kitchen and fewer ventilation outlets resulting in a greater buildup of hazardous pollutants.
- Inhaling air with a high concentration of Nitrous Oxides, specifically Nitrous Dioxide, can irritate the human respiratory system’s airways.
- Natural Gas
- Natural gas consists primarily of methane and other upper alkanes, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and hydrogen sulfide.
- It is a domestic fuel because it is used to power furnaces, ovens, boilers, and other home-heating appliances.
- Natural gas is a relatively clean-burning fossil fuel, producing fewer emissions of nearly all types of air contaminants and carbon dioxide (CO2) than coal or petroleum products do when producing the same amount of energy.
- Natural gas currently comprises 6% of the nation’s total energy blend.
• It is a flagship program designed to make clean cooking fuels such as LPG accessible to rural and disadvantaged households that previously relied on traditional cooking fuels such as charcoal, coal, cow-dung cakes, etc.
• It is a program of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas that provides women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households with LPG connections.
• Recently, the government announced that 9,59 crore Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries will receive an annual subsidy of?200 for each 14.2 kg LPG gas cylinder.
Tags: Paper GS3/ Places in News, Miscellaneous
- The Brazilian government headed by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has pledged to expedite the expulsion of illegal miners from the country’s largest indigenous territory, Yanomami.
- The Yanomami territory is the largest Indigenous land in Brazil, covering approximately 96,000 square kilometers in the Amazon rainforest.
- The Yanomami region, which stretches across Roraima and Amazonas states in the northwest corner of Brazil’s Amazon, has attracted illegal gold miners for decades.
- With their languages, customs, and beliefs, the Yanomami are one of the most isolated and culturally diverse indigenous groups in the world.
- They reside in the remote forests of the Orinoco River Basin in southern Venezuela and the northernmost portion of the Amazon River Basin in northern Brazil.
Impact of illegal mining in Yanomami territory
- The proliferation of illegal mines and the influx of thousands of miners has led to an increase in the number of reported cases of tuberculosis and malaria.
- Malnutrition is the leading cause of these fatalities. Historically, the Yanomami natives have relied on the forest, wildlife, and animals for sustenance. However, illegal gold mining has destroyed extensive areas of the forest, resulting in a food shortage.
- Problem is mercury poisoning: Miners in the region “search for gold by mixing liquid mercury into excavated sediment of the Amazon’s rivers”; this has polluted Yanomami areas traditionally used for hunting, fishing, and gathering.
- In January 2023, with assistance from the military, environmental agencies, and police, the President launched a crackdown on illicit mining in the Yanomami territory.
- The operation seeks to remove all illegal miners remaining on Indigenous land and restore its sovereignty and integrity.