15, December 2016

1.RS passes Disabilities Bill with more benefits

Source: The Hindu

  • The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2014, which was introduced in Rajya Sabha in 2014, was recently cleared with 119 amendments.
  • The legislation, drafted to make Indian laws compliant with the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, will replace the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995.


    • The number of disabilities listed rises from seven in the 1995 Act through 19 in the 2014 bill to 21 after the amendments, including acid attack and Parkinson’s disease.
    • The Bill has also laid down provisions to allow the central government to notify any other condition as a disability.
    • Now individuals with at least 40% of a disability are also entitled to benefits such as reservations in education and employment, preference in government schemes and others.
    • The bill sets the government a two-year deadline to ensure persons with disability get barrier-free access in all kinds of physical infrastructure and transport systems.
    • It recognises the need for reservation for them in promotion and makes special mention of the rights of disabled women and children.
    • It defines many terms vague in previous versions, including what constitutes discrimination.
    • According to the bill, the District courts may bestow upon two types of guardianship: limited guardian (who has to take joint decisions with mentally ill person) and plenary guardian (who can take decisions on behalf of mentally ill person, without consulting them).


  • A penalty will also be slapped for violating the rules of the Act. The 1995 Act did not have any such penal provision. However, 2014 Bill had made violation of any provision of the Act punishable with a jail term of up to 6 months, and/or a fine of Rs 10,000


  1. NSG waiver has attendant risks, govt. tells Lok Sabha

Source: The Hindu

The government recently informed the Lok Sabha that it is looking for full membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as the current arrangement with the elite club carries “attendant risks”.

The government’s statement is significant as it is the first time that it has declared the waiver in such terms.

Minister of Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh said in a written answer that the “waiver” that the NSG gave India “has an element of unpredictability”.



  • India is currently engaged in nuclear trade with international partners based on a waiver from the NSG in 2008. The waiver is in the form of a concession without according India the status of a full member and therefore has an element of unpredictability and attendant risks in the long run for India’s long-term nuclear power programme.
  • The NSG took a consensus decision in September 2008 to permit its members to engage in civil nuclear cooperation with India despite India not being a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
  • Since then, India has been trying to upgrade the “waiver” into a full member status and the government accordingly made two attempts this year to become member of the elite organisation. India has been engaging nuclear energy producing countries in civil nuclear deals since getting the waiver.

Full membership of the NSG would enable India to have enhanced and predictable global access to nuclear technology, fuel, materials and components required for our expanding civil nuclear programme. It would advance energy security, contribute to India’s growth strategy based on clean energy to combat climate change, and strengthen global nuclear non-proliferation.

3.Mahila Police Volunteer Initiative launched in Haryana

Source: PIB

  • The Mahila Police Volunteer initiative was recently launched in Haryana. By launching the initiative in Karnal and Mahendragarh districts, Haryana became the first state to adopt this scheme.


Originally conceived by the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development, Mahila Police Volunteer is a joint initiative with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

  • The Mahila Police Volunteers scheme envisages creation of a link between the police authorities and the local communities in villages through police volunteers who will be women specially trained for this purpose.
  • Their primary job will be to keep an eye on situations where women in the village are harassed or their rights and entitlements are denied or their development is prevented.
  • In order to provide a link between police and community and facilitate women in distress, one Mahila Police Volunteer (MPV) is envisaged per Gram Panchayat across the country. These will be selected through a laid out procedure from among the empowered, responsible, socially aware women who will facilitate police outreach on gender concerns.

The Chief Secretaries/UT Administrators have been requested by the WCD Ministry to adopt the scheme in their respective States/UTs.

4.MoU between India and Kyrgyzstan for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Cultural, Information & Tourism of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism.

  • To expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector.
  • To exchange information and data related to tourism.
  • To encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders including Hotels and Tour operators.
  • To establish exchange programme for cooperation in Human Resource Development. Etc.

This would enable both parties to enter into a constructive dialogue for development and promotion of tourism in each other’s country for the economic development of two nations.

  1. Major Port Trust Authorities Bill, 2016

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of Ministry of Shipping to replace the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 by the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016.

This will empower the Major Ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision making and by modernizing the Institutional structure of Major Ports.

Major Port Trust Authorities Bill, 2016

  • The bill aims at decentralizing decision making and infuse professionalism in governance of ports.
  • It aims to impart faster and transparent decision making benefiting the stakeholders and better project execution capability.
  • The Bill is also aimed at reorienting the governance model in central Ports to landlord port model in line with the successful global practice. This will help in bringing transparency in operations of Major Ports.

Key facts:

1.Members: The Bill has proposed a simplified composition of the Board of Port Authority which will comprise of 11 members from the present 17 to 19 Members representing various interests.


  • A compact Board with professional independent members will strengthen decision making and strategic planning.


Provision has been made for inclusion of representative of the State Government in which the Major Port is situated, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Defence and Customs, Department of Revenue as Members in the Board apart from a Government Nominee Member and a Member representing the employees of the Major Ports Authority.

2.Significance of the bill:

(a). The role of Tariff Authority for Major Ports [TAMP] has been redefined. Port Authority has now been given powers to fix tariff which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP projects.

    • PPP operators will be free to fix tariff based on market conditions.


  • The Board of the Port Authority has been delegated the power to fix the scale of rates for other port services and assets including land.


(b). An independent Review Board has been proposed to be created to carry out the residual function of the erstwhile TAMP for Major Ports,

  • To  look into disputes between ports and PPP concessionaires,  
  • To  review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to revive such projects and
  • To  look into complaints regarding services rendered by the ports/private operators operating within the ports would be constituted.

(c). The Boards of the Port Authority have been delegated full powers to enter into contracts, planning and development, fixing of tariff except in national interest, security and emergency arising out of inaction and default. In the present MPT Act, 1963 prior approval of the Central Government was required in 22 cases.

Provisions of CSR & development of infrastructure by Port Authority have been introduced.

  1. MoU between Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to improve the effectiveness of rural development programmes in India and to facilitate knowledge sharing.


    • The MoU will facilitate South-South cooperation mechanisms around Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM)’s experience through exchange visits and dialogues, and establishment of a good-practice Learning Centre.


  • It will strengthen the vertical upscaling of the livelihoods of rural populations that are supported by DAY-NRLM, help to develop inclusive and sustainable value chains for key crops and agro-industrial products, employment diversification, skills development, especially for rural youth, strengthening of social protection, risk management mechanisms and enhanced resilience building, especially in arid and disaster risk-prone districts.
  • The MoU will provide for collaboration on activities of common interest to support an integrated approach to rural poverty reduction through activities aimed to promote the economic empowerment of rural women, access of rural poor to natural resources and their sustainable use and social protection.


  • The MoU will also provide for exchange of visits and dialogue for knowledge and experience sharing.


Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY -NRLM) is a flagship rural poverty reduction program of Ministry of Rural Development launched nationwide with the objective of social mobilization, financial inclusion and sustainable livelihoods promotion.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as other global priorities, that relate to rural poverty reduction, sustainable rural livelihoods, rural employment, social protection, good governance and gender equality.

7.Cabinet approves ISRO and USGS for cooperation in the Exchange and use of U.S. Land Remote Sensing Satellite Data

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and United States Geological Survey (USGS) for Cooperation in the exchange and use of U.S. Land Remote Sensing Satellite Data.

This MoU will enable ISRO to receive USGS’s Landsat-7 & 8 in India and USGS to receive ISRO’s Resourcesat-2 (AWiFS and LISS III) data of US region.

  1. Desert National Park records 11 Great Indian Bustard births

Source: Indian Express

The Great Indian Bustard, popularly known as ‘Godawan’, is Rajasthan’s state bird. The state government has started “Project Godawan” for its conservation.

  • The Desert National Park (DNP) in Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) witnessed successful birth of 11 Great Indian Bustards (GIB). With this, the figure of critically endangered species reached to 151.
  • GIB is popularly known as ‘Godawan’.
  • It is Rajasthan’s state bird. It has been exterminated from almost 90% of their former range due to habitat loss and poaching.
  • IUCN has listed GIB as Critically Endangered (CR) species in the Red Data Book. It is listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972.


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