The Hindu Newspaper Analysis for UPSC
- The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and the West Bengal government to submit reports on the non-payment of wages to workers enrolled in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme in the State.
- During the hearing, the Union government’s counsel said that the Centre had informed the State government, via a letter dated March 9, 2022, that the release of all further funds would be stopped until the State government ensured compliance with the Centre’s directives regarding inquiry reports.
- The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), also known as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) is Indian legislation enacted on August 25, 2005.
- The MGNREGA provides a legal guarantee for one hundred days of employment in every financial year to adult members of any rural household willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage.
- The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Govt of India is monitoring the entire implementation of this scheme in association with state governments.
- This act was introduced with an aim of improving the purchasing power of the rural people, primarily semi or un-skilled work to people living below poverty line in rural India.
- It attempts to bridge the gap between the rich and poor in the country.
- Must be Citizen of India to seek MGNREGA benefits.
- Job seeker has completed 18 years of age at the time of application.
- The applicant must be part of a local household (i.e. application must be made with local Gram Panchayat).
- Applicant must volunteer for unskilled labour.
- Parliament has lost its effectiveness as an instrument of oversight — there is a declining process of scrutiny, debate and dissent.
- Our parliamentary system, crafted with some care, was sought to achieve law-making; accountability of the executive; approval of taxation proposals and control of national finances, and discussion of matters of public interest and concern.
- India, it said, ‘shall be a Union of States’ and the provisions of Part XI of the Constitution would govern the relations between the Union and the States.
- First, as defined by political theorists, a nation-state is a territorially-bounded sovereign polity. However, this fundamental notion of a nation-state of a geographical unit in which citizens live is undergoing a massive change because of technology.
- Second, geography-based rules are no longer easily enforceable simply because of the declining significance of conventional geographical borders in the era of high technology.
- Third, the emergence of newer technologies has exposed the incapacity and inability of the government of the nation-state to administer and regulate these technologies.
- In such a scenario, a principle-based global order for technology would help in streamlining the enforceability challenges in the adoption and diffusion of technology and providing guidance to emerging economies on how to deal with the evolving definitions of their sovereignty.
- Further, as we have seen in case of the COVID-19 pandemic, the way forward in managing future global pandemics is probably by the adoption of digital health.
- With India, as the current chair of the G-20, this is the perfect opportunity to take leadership in this as it has done earlier in green initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance or the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.
- The setting up of a three-member panel by the Union government to probe the ethnic violence in Manipur, that has claimed nearly 100 lives and displaced over 35,000 people, must be welcomed.
- Its terms of reference are clear — an inquiry into the causes and the spread of the violence and whether there was any dereliction of duty by the authorities.
- Affixing responsibility for the violent actions to key actors and holding them accountable are the first steps in building trust in those responsible for governance.
- Many among the Kukis (and the Nagas) claim that the demand for Scheduled Tribe status for Meiteis — opposed by a section among them — is unjustified, while Meitei sections resent the benefits of affirmative action for “hill-tribes”. The Meiteis also have the grievance that they lack the explicit privilege of owning land in hill areas, unlike the rights that anyone can have in the Imphal valley.
- In the upcoming G20 forum, India is planning to propose a multiple energy pathways approach to accommodate the diverse contexts and development trajectories of countries.
- The diversity of India’s States, which necessitates multiple pathways, will determine its own domestic energy transition.
- India’s global climate pledges — 50% non-fossil electricity generation capacity by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2070 — are backed by domestic energy targets at the national level.
- States are critical actors in India’s energy transition as there is a multi-tier governance of energy production and usage.
- India’s achievements on its 2022 target for 175 GW renewable energy offer some insights into the complexities. While it achieved a significant portion of the target, only Gujarat, Karnataka, and Rajasthan met their individual targets. Moreover, about 80% of the current renewable energy capacity is confined to Six states in the west and south of India.
- States are important entry points to engage with policy visions, plans and actions. Central mandates to update the State Action Plans on Climate Change, recommendations to set up State-level steering committees for energy transitions, and regular meetings of the Central and state energy ministers reinforce the importance of States.
- Despite stating over the past few years that manual scavenging had been eliminated in the country and the only remaining threat was the hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks, the Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has now said that only 508 of the 766 districts in the country have been declared free of manual scavenging.
- the scheme for rehabilitation of manual scavengers has now been merged with the NAMASTE scheme for 100% mechanisation of sewer work.
- The Union Budget for 2023-24 showed ₹100-crore allocation for the NAMASTE scheme and no allocation for the rehabilitation scheme.
What is Manual Scavenging?
- Manual scavenging refers to the practice of manually cleaning, carrying, disposing or handling in any manner, human excreta or any kind of dry or wet waste from insanitary latrines, open drains, septic tanks or other similar places.
- Manual scavenging is a dehumanizing practice that involves the use of basic and often unsafe tools like brooms, buckets, and baskets, which can lead to serious health hazards, injuries, and even death.
Steps Taken by the Government
- The government has formulated the NAMASTE scheme or National Action Plan for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem in an effort to stop deaths due to hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks,
- The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 was introduced to ban manual scavenging.
- The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 to further reinforce the ban and to provide for the rehabilitation of people employed as manual scavengers.
- In 2014, the Supreme Court directed the government to take several measures including:
- One-time cash assistance to people employed as manual scavengers
- Houses for manual scavengers
- Training in livelihood skills for at least one member of their families
- Concessional loans to prop them up financially and find an occupation
- Payment of 10 lakh in compensation in the case of sewer deaths
- Despite the legal prohibition and government efforts to eradicate manual scavenging, the practice still persists in various parts of the country.
- Reporting of offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, particularly by doctors, requires strict compliance, failing which the offender committing the offence arising out of a consensual sexual activity or rape or sexual abuse on a child will get away from the clutches of law, said the High Court of Karnataka.
Background of the POCSO ACT
- The Act took effect in 2012.
- The Act has been enacted to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography and provide for establishment of Special Courts for trial of such offences and related matters and incidents.
- What are the challenges faced in the implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in India since its inception?
- India’s consumer inflation could moderate further from April’s 18-month low of 4.7%, with food price rise likely to have cooled further in May even as prices of some items like milk, rice and pulses moved up on a month-on-month basis, economists reckoned.
- The National Statistical Office will release the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for May next Monday.