Significance of the move: This is a major step towards making the workplace safe for the women in the private sector. This will cast as ever higher responsibility on the Directors of the Companies for implementation of the Act.
THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN AT WORKPLACE (PREVENTION, PROHIBITION AND REDRESSAL) ACT 2013: The Act seeks to cover all women, irrespective of their age or employment status and protect them against sexual harassment at all workplaces both in public and private sector, whether organized or unorganized. It came into force on December 9, 2013.
Some important provisions of the Act: The Act defines sexual harassment at the work place and creates a mechanism for redressal of complaints. It also provides safeguards against false or malicious charges. The definition of “aggrieved woman”, who will get protection under the Act is extremely wide to cover all women, irrespective of her age or employment status, whether in the organized or unorganized sectors, public or private and covers clients, customers and domestic workers as well.
Definition of workplace: While the “workplace” in the Vishaka Guidelines is confined to the traditional office set-up where there is a clear employer-employee relationship, the Act goes much further to include organisations, department, office, branch unit etc. in the public and private sector, organized and unorganized, hospitals, nursing homes, educational institutions, sports institutes, stadiums, sports complex and any place visited by the employee during the course of employment including the transportation.
Every employer is required to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee at each office or branch with 10 or more employees. The District Officer is required to constitute a Local Complaints Committee at each district, and if required at the block level.
Functions of the committee: The Committee is required to complete the inquiry within a time period of 90 days. On completion of the inquiry, the report will be sent to the employer or the District Officer, as the case may be, they are mandated to take action on the report within 60 days.
Powers: The Complaints Committees have the powers of civil courts for gathering evidence. The Complaints Committees are required to provide for conciliation before initiating an inquiry, if requested by the complainant.
Penalties have been prescribed for employers. Non-compliance with the provisions of the Act shall be punishable with a fine of up to 50,000. Repeated violations may lead to higher penalties and cancellation of licence or registration to conduct business.
The index has been developed to allow city managers to get a grip on the city’s baseline and compare its performance across key indicators. The index covers 111 cities that are smart city contenders, capital cities, and cities with population of 1 million plus. The index captures the quality of life based on the data collected from the urban local bodies on four parameters, which were further broken down into 15 categories.
The four parameters include institutional (governance), social (identity, education, health, security), economic ( economy, employment) and physical factors (waste water and solid waste management, pollution, housing/ inclusiveness, mixed land use, power and water supply, transport, public open spaces). Institutional and social parameters carry 25 points each, physical factors have a weightage of 45 points and economic factors five points totalling to a 100 mark scale on which cities were evaluated.
Performance of states: Pune has ranked first while two more Maharashtra cities — Navi Mumbai and Greater Mumbai — figure in the second and third spots. Tirupati, Chandigarh, Thane, Raipur, Indore, Vijaywada and Bhopal also figure in the top 10 list in that order. Among other major cities, Chennai holds 14th rank, Ahmedabad 23rd, Hyderabad 27th, and Bengaluru 58th.
Rampur in Uttar Pradesh has ranked the worst on the scale with Kohima and Patna on the bottom two and three ranks while Varanasi stands at 33. Kolkata is excluded from the index.
Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL): Appellate Tribunal for Electricity is a statutory body constituted for the purpose of hearing cases against the orders of the Regulatory Commissions and the Adjudicating officer.
By virtue of Section 110 of The Electricity Act, 2003, an Appellate Tribunal for Electricity having jurisdiction through out India has been set up to hear appeals or original petitions against the orders of the Adjudicating officer or The Central Regulatory Commission or State Regulatory Commission or Joint Commission. The Tribunal is conferred with original jurisdiction to hear petitions under Section 121 of the Act and issue directions to all Commissions for the performance of its statutory functions.
Composition: The Appellate Tribunal shall consist of a Chairperson and three other Members. Every Bench constituted by the Chairperson shall consist of at least one Judicial Member and one Technical Member.
Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana - A National Mission to bring comprehensive financial inclusion of all the households to ensure access of all households to financial services.
Launched by the Prime Minister on 28 August 2014 for financial inclusion.
60% bank accounts opened in rural areas (As on 25.4.2018)
31.52 crore Jan Dhan accounts opened (As on 25.4.2018)
Total balance in Jan Dhan accounts = Rs. 80871.67 crores (As on 25.4.2018)
Over 23.71 Crore Rupay Cards issued (As on 25.4.2018)
Share of zero-balance Jan Dhan accounts dropped to 24% in December 2016 from 73% in December 2014.
Over 1.26 lakh bank-mitras appointed by banks
2.5 lakh Gram-Dak-Sewaks will function as banking correspondents
Pradhan Mantri Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana A small deposit savings scheme to promote the welfare of girl child and ensure them a secure future.
· More than 1.26 crore accounts have been opened
· Amount of over Rs. 19,183 crores deposited till November 2017
Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana To provide financial support for growth (development and refinancing) of micro enterprises sector.
Easy, loans without guarantee under three categories – Shishu, Kishore and Tarun by the banks. Loan of up to Rs. 50000 is given under sub-scheme ‘Shishu’ between Rs. 50,000 to 5.0 Lakhs under sub-scheme ‘Kishore’ and between 5.0 Lakhs to 10.0 Lakhs under sub-scheme ‘Tarun’.
Number of PMMY loans sanctioned in 2017-18: 4535109
Loans disbursed in 2017-18; Rs. 220596.05 crore
Loans disbursed in 2016-17: Rs. 175312.13 crore
Loans disbursed in 2015-16: Rs.132954.73 crore
Budget allocation for 2018-19 raised to Rs. 3lakh crore, a hike of 20% over the previous year which was Rs.2.44 lakh crores against Rs. 1.22 lakh crores in 2016-17
Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana : To provide a very affordable insurance scheme for the poor and underprivileged people in the age group of 18 to 70 years with a bank account at a premium of Rs.12 per annum; risk coverage of Rs.2 lakhs for accidental death and full disability and Rs.1 lakh for partial disability. As on Feb 2018, 13 crore 25 lakh persons have been insured with personal accident cover of Rs.2 lakh on payment of a premium of only Rs.12 per annum.
Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana Objective: To create a social security system for the poor and underprivileged in the age group of 18-50 years by providing a renewable life insurance cover of Rs.2 lakhs with just a premium of Rs.330 Achievements: · As on February 2018, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Beema Yojana (PMJJBY) has benefitted 5.22 crore families with a life insurance cover of Rs. 2 lakh on payment of a premium of only Rs.330/- per annum.
Atal Pension Yojana To provide financial security in old age through guaranteed minimum monthly pension for those working in informal sector or daily wagers in the age group of 18 to 40 years. Government contribution - 50 percent of beneficiaries’ premium (up to Rs. 1000) for 5 years in new accounts opened before December 31, 2015. Achievements: · As on 5 January, 2018 about 80 lakh subscribers have been enrolled under APY.
PRADHAN MANTRI VAYA VANDAN YOJANA
· Announced by PM on New Year eve of 2017& launched by the Finance Minister on 21.7.2017
· To provide social security and protect elderly.
· For citizens aged 60 years and above, it was opened for subscription from May 4, 2017 to May 3, 2018
· Now PMVVY Pension Investment Limit has been Doubled from Rs. 7.5 lakh to 15 lakh
· Now Senior Citizens can get up to Rs. 10,000 pension per month.
· Scheme has been extended by two years from May 4, 2018 to March 31, 2020.
· The scheme provides an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8 per cent per annum for ten years.
· As of March, 2018, 2.23 lakh senior citizens have subscribed to PMVVY
Gold Monetization Scheme, Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme, and India Gold Coins Objective: To reduce the country’s reliance on the imports of gold to meet the domestic demand and to reduce the demand for physical gold Achievements: · As on Mar 10, 2017 As much as 6,410 kg gold has been mobilized under the Gold Monetization Scheme so far, according to the reports received till February 18 this year.
SOVEREIGN GOLD BONDS To provide a new financial instrument of investment to public at large and reduce the demand for physical gold. Achievements: · The target mobilization under the scheme at Rs. 15,000 crore in 2015-16 and at Rs.10,000 crore in 2016-17. · Revision of guidelines of Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme approved by Cabinet on 26th July2017.
Stand- Up India To support entrepreneurship among women and SC & ST communities by facilitating bank loans between 10 lakh and 1 Crore to them. To benefit at least 2.5 lakh entrepreneurs.
· The number of loans given by Public Sector, Private and Regional Banks under the Stand-up India Scheme are 51,888, 2,445, and 1,009 respectively up to 07.03.2018 since inception of the Scheme.
· Regional Rural Banks sanctioned 180 loans to borrowers of Scheduled Castes (SC) category as on 07.03.2018 since inception of the Scheme.
· 56260 Self Unemployment Insurance, SUI applications sanctioned for 12194 crores
· 44460 SUI applications disbursed for 6641 crores
· 7424 online SUI loan applications submitted of which 2641 SUI online loans have been sanctioned
Demonetization and fight against black money Objective: A major war against black money was unleashed on 8th November with demonetization of Rs 500 and 1000 currency notes as the first step.
· There is a major fillip in digital transactions and unearthing of substantial amounts of black money.
· 50 lakh new bank accounts opened to enable cashless transaction of wages.
· 26.6% increase in number of taxpayers added from FY 2015-16 to FY 2016-17
· 27.95% increase in number of e-returns filed.
· Value of IMPS transactions increased almost 59% from August 2016 to August 2017, 2.24 Lakh shell companies were struck off, undisclosed income worth Rs. 29,213 crores was detected and admitted and revenues of the ULBs across the country increased.
· Income Tax Department (ITD) launched Operation Clean Money (OCM) on 31st January 2017 to leverage technology for e-verification of cash deposits made during the demonetization period i.e. 9th November to 30th December 2016.
As per the new rules: 13 activities are permitted for funding. They include plantation, assisted natural regeneration of forests, forest fire prevention, pest and disease control in forests, soil and moisture conservation works and improvement of wildlife habitat.
Usage of funds: 80% of the compensatory afforestation amount will be utilised by states for plantations, assisted natural regeneration of forests, forest fire prevention, pest and disease control in forest, soil and moisture conservation works and improvement of wildlife habitat, among others, in the list of 13 permissible activities. The remaining 20% will be used for 11 listed works to strengthen forest and wildlife protection related infrastructure.
Role of gram sabhas: Besides enlisting the 24 activities which are to be taken up using the fund, the rules also specify that the working plan will be taken up “in consultation with the gram sabha or village forest management committee”.
Significance of the move: The move will help India re-green its forest and non-forest areas which have lost trees due to forest diversions — amounting to more than 1.3 million hectares after the Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 kicked in — for allowing various developmental activities.
Background: Over the last ten years, the fund had accumulated the amount as compensations by user agencies for diverting forest land for industries and infrastructure projects. The CAMPA was created as per a Supreme Court ruling in 2009.
Much of the funds collected under the legislation had been left unspent with an ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) in absence of enabling rules.
Until now, the funds were disbursed to states under a temporary and time consuming mechanism. With the relevant rules now in place, the implementation of the act is expected to gather pace.
Way ahead: Since the rules for utilisation of the fund have been notified, the unspent amount will now be transferred to the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund at the Centre and the respective State Compensatory Afforestation Funds in a phased manner, depending on its utilisation. The national and state funds — both non-lapsable — can be utilised for only the activities listed under the CAF Act.
Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act 2016: This act provides for setting up Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) at both central and state level to ensure expeditious and transparent utilization of amounts realized in lieu of forest land diverted for non-forest purpose. The act also seeks to establish the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state. The payments into the funds include compensatory afforestation, NPV, and any project-specific payments.