25, April 2017

Solve a problem, win ₹1 crore

  • The Centre is set to launch a scheme for students from higher educational institutions to volunteer to offer innovative, original and practical solutions to problems facing the country and get rewarded for their efforts.
  • The scheme will be called IDEAS, or Innovations for Development of Efficient and Affordable Systems. It is an initiative to challenge young minds with problems of society in general, to come up with innovative, original, practical and economical solutions.

  1. ‘Child artistes can work only for 5 hours a day

Source: The Hindu

20% of child’s income to be kept in fixed deposit, as per Labour Ministry’s proposed changes to law

  • The Labour Ministry has proposed draft rules to fix the working conditions for child artistes and for employing children in family enterprises.
  • While a child artiste will not be allowed to work for more than five hours a day, a child “assisting” in a family business can only work for three hours a day, according to the proposed amendments to the Child Labour Rules, 1986.

Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017

  1. No child (artist) shall be allowed to work for more than five hours in a day, and for not more than three hours without rest
  2. Children will be allowed to assist their family in running family enterprises “without affecting” their school education.
  3. The family would include parents, real siblings, and “real brother and sister of the parents. Such children will not be allowed to engage in any production, supply or retail chain which is “remunerative for the family and hazardous activities.”
  4. Under the proposed rules, at least 20% of the income earned by the child artiste will be required to be deposited in a fixed deposit account “in a nationalised bank”.
  5. The money would be credited to the child after she turns 18.
  6. The permission of the district magistrate would be mandatory for engaging a child artiste.

The production unit must nominate a person, who would be held responsible for the safety and security of the child artiste, according to the draft rules. A child cannot take part in a “street performance for monetary gain”.


  • The government had brought a new law to govern child labour, known as the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016, which put a blanket ban on employment of children below 14 years of age.
  • However, it had made two exceptions in favour of child labour: children could work as child artistes (in the entertainment sector), and could “help” in their family enterprises.

  1. Goldman Prize for Prafulla Samantra, the activist who blocked Vedanta’s Niyamgiri mine

Source: The Hindu

Social activist Prafulla Samantra was announced one of six winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize, in San Francisco.

The prize citation said this was for his “…historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondh’s land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine.”

The Goldman Environmental Prize

The Goldman Environmental Prize honors grassroots environmental heroes from the world’s six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. The Goldman Prize views “grassroots” leaders as those involved in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation in the issues that affect them. Through recognizing these individual leaders, the Prize seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.

The Prize Recipients

Goldman Prize recipients focus on protecting endangered ecosystems and species, combating destructive development                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   What the Goldman Prize Provides

The Goldman Prize amplifies the voices of these grassroots leaders and provides them with:

  • International recognition that enhances their credibility
  • Worldwide visibility for the issues they champion
  • Financial support to pursue their vision of a renewed and protected environment

Prize Selection and Announcement

The Goldman Environmental Prize recipients are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide group of environmental organizations and individuals. The winners are announced every April to coincide with with Earth Day.

  1. Hindi being ‘promoted’ as per Act: Rijiju

Source: The Hindu

Faced with criticism that the Central government is unfairly imposing Hindi on non-Hindi-speaking States, the government has iterated that it was only promoting the language as per an Act of Parliament.

In May 2015, the government had issued an order that as per the Official Languages Act, 1963, all government files would have to be issued bilingually, in Hindi and English.


  • The Department of Official Language of the Home Ministry pulled out a 2011 report of a Committee of Parliament on Official Language and sent it to the President for approval.
  • The “progressive” use of Hindi in the Central government offices is reviewed by this Committee every 10 years under the Official Languages Act, 1963 and the Rules framed under it.
  • As many as 110 out of the 117 recommendations in this report were accepted by the President.
  • The Home Ministry has issued an advisory to all States and government departments to implement the recommendations.

Important recommendations made by the committee include:

  • Giving students the option of writing their exams in Hindi.
  • Making minimum knowledge of Hindi compulsory for government jobs.
  • Ensuring that the government spends more on Hindi advertisements than English ones.
  • The railway ministry should buy equipment with lettering in Devnagri script.
  • Railway tickets should be bilingual, with Hindi being one of the two languages.
  • Hindi should be an option for UPSC aspirants.
  • Cabinet ministers should deliver their speeches in Hindi as much as possible.
  • Making it mandatory at railway stations in ‘C’ category (non-Hindi speaking) states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Kerala to have announcements in Hindi.

Constitution says

Article 351 says it shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.

  1. Government e-Marketplace (GeM)

Source: PIB

In the light of alleged irregularities, the government has reiterated that GeM is the most transparent, accountable and efficient public procurement portal and has already resulted in savings of crores of Rupees to the Government.

  • The government noted that the processes on GeM are completely transparent and GeM is the first Government portal that places all the procurements- big or small- by Government organizations in public domain, with details about the buyer, seller, item, quantity and price.
  • The government has also assured that there are adequate checks and balances in place on GeM which do not allow suppliers to get away with supplying at a higher price to the Government, than the prevailing market or Last Procurement Price (LPP).


  • Government e-Marketplace (GeM) aims to transform the way in which procurement of goods and services is done by the Government Ministries/Departments, PSUs, autonomous bodies etc.
  • DGS&D with technical support of NeGD (MeitY) has developed GeM portal for procurement of both Products & Services.
  • GeM is a completely paperless, cashless and system driven e-market place that enables procurement of common use goods and services with minimal human interface.

  1. Panel moots UID numbers for cows

Source: The Hindu

The Centre has proposed issuing “Unique Identification Number Sequences” for cows and their progeny to protect them from cattle smuggling. A government committee has also iterated the same.

The plan is the brainchild of the Union Agriculture Ministry for “tamper-proof identification of cattle using polyurethene tags with a Unique Identification Number Sequence.”


  • Each animal be tagged with proper records of identification details, including age, breed, sex, lactation, height, body, colour, horn type, tail switch and special marks.
  • Cattle smuggling has become a “by-product” of the dairy industry. Stray, “retired” and abandoned cattle face high risk of falling into smugglers’ hands.

  1. SC for broad anti-torture legislation

Source: The Hindu

Referring to the setback suffered by the CBI in its efforts to get Kim Davy — a Danish citizen and prime accused in the Purulia arms drop case of 1995 — extradited from Denmark, the Supreme Court has observed that India may be finding it tough to secure extraditions because there is a fear within the international community that the accused persons would be subject to torture here.

A Danish court had rejected the plea on the ground that he would risk “torture or other inhuman treatment” in India.


  • Considering it a matter of both Article 21 (fundamental right to life and dignity) and of international reputation, the court has asked the government to consider promulgating a standalone, comprehensive law to define and punish torture as an instrument of “human degradation” by state authorities. Such a law is in the national interest.

1997 convention:

India has signed the UN Convention against torture way back in 1997. But, it has still not ratified it. The Convention defines torture as a criminal offence.

Efforts in this regard:

  • A bill was also proposed in this regard. But, no action has been taken on the Prevention of Torture Bill 2010 even six years after it was passed by the Lok Sabha on May 6, 2010 and recommended by a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha of which he had been Chairman.
  • The centre contends some States were not in favour of such a law and the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code were more than sufficient.

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