26&27, November 2017

1.Inter-State Council

Source: PIB

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh chaired the recently held 12th meeting of the Standing Committee of Inter-State Council (ISC).

Recommendations of the Punchhi Commission on Centre-State Relations were discussed during the meeting.

Punchhi Commission:

  • The Punchhi Commission was set up by the Government under the chairmanship of Justice (Retd.) Madan Mohan Punchhi, former Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India in 2005. The Punchhi Commission submitted its report in 2010.
  • The Central government constituted the Punchhi Commission to look into the new issues of Centre-state relations keeping in view the changes that have taken place in the polity and economy.

Inter-state council:

  • The Council is a recommendatory body to investigate and discuss subjects, in which some or all of the states or the union government have a common interest.
  • Article 263 of the Constitution of India provides for the establishment of an Inter-State Council.
  • It considers recommendations for the better coordination of policy and action, and also matters of general interest to the states.
  • The inter-state council is not a permanent constitutional body for coordination between the states and union government. It can be established ‘at any time’ if it appears to the President that the public interests would be served by the establishment of such a council.

Chairman and Members:

  • Prime minister who is the chairman.
  • Chief ministers of all states who are members.
  • Chief ministers of union territories and administrators of UTs as members.
  • Six union ministers of cabinet rank in the union council of ministers nominated by the prime minister are also members.

2.National Law Day

Source: PIB

November 26 is regarded as the second Constitution Day in the modern history of India. It is also celebrated as the National Law Day.

This year, the National Law Day was celebrated jointly by the Law Commission of India and NITI Aayog.

National Law Day:

  • Sixty-eight years ago on November 26, the Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituency Assembly. However, the Constitution was only partially adopted that day. The full adoption came two months later on January 26, 1950 – the day is celebrated as the Republic Day to mark the anniversary of occasion.
  • It was in 1979, when the first proposal was mooted to celebrate November 26 as an anniversary of the adoption of Constitution and assess the state of law in the country as envisaged by the framers of the legal document. Noted jurist and former parliamentarian LM Singhvi proposed to in the Supreme Court Bar Association that National Law Day should be celebrated to mark the adoption of Constitution on November 26. A resolution was passed by the Supreme Court Bar Association in 1979. The National Law Day was celebrated thereafter till 2015.

Constitution Day or National Law Day:

  • The government in October 2015 decided that November 26 would be celebrated as the Constitution Day in the memory of Dr BR Ambedkar. On November 19 that year, the government issued a gazette notification declaring that November 26 as the Constitution Day.
  • The Constitution was prepared over 2 years, 11 months and 17 days. The session of the Constituent Assembly was held on December 9, 1946.
  • A total of 11 sessions of the Constituent Assembly was held including those by the drafting committee under the chairmanship of BR Ambedkar.
  • The drafting committee was one of the 17 such bodied set up under the Constituent Assembly.
  • Dr Rajendra Prasad, who went on to become the first President of India, was the chairman of the Constituent Assembly. The Constitution making committees held meetings on 165 days to hold deliberations and debate provisions to be incorporated.
  • There were 299 members, including 15 women, of the Constituent Assembly. Of them 284 members finally signed the Constitution, when it was adopted in 1949.

3.WHO releases guidelines on responding to child sex abuse

Source: The Hindu

For the first time, WHO has published guidelines to help (primarily) front-line healthcare providers give high-quality, compassionate, and respectful care to children and adolescents (up to age 18) who have or may have experienced sexual abuse, including sexual assault or rape.

Key facts:

  • Girls and boys who experience abuse often face a number of short and long term negative consequences for their mental, physical, sexual, and reproductive health and well-being.
  • Boys and girls who are sexually abused face higher risks of lifetime diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, externalizing symptoms, sleep disorders, and having thoughts of suicide and self-harm.
  • They are more likely to engage in unsafe-sex, abuse of drugs and misuse of alcohol, placing them at higher risk for STIs and HIV and for other negative health outcomes that last into adulthood. For girls there is also increased risk of pregnancy and gynaecological disorders.
  • The new guidelines address an important gap in providing quality and trauma-informed care to survivors by placing emphasis on the safety, wishes, autonomy of children and adolescents.

Health care providers are recommended to:

  • Provide first line support that is child or adolescent-centred and gender sensitive in response to disclosure of sexual abuse.
  • Minimize additional trauma and distress while taking medical history, conducting the examination and documenting the findings.
  • Offer HIV post-exposure prophylaxis and adherence support to those who have been raped and who present within 72 hours.
  • Offer emergency contraception to girls who have been raped and who present within 120 hours/ 5 days.
  • Consider STI presumptive treatment or prophylaxis in settings where laboratory testing is not feasible.
  • Offer Hepatitis B and HPV vaccination as per national guidance.
  • Consider cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with a trauma focus for those have PTSD symptoms and diagnosis and where safe and appropriate to do so involve at least 1 non-offending caregiver.
  • Where required to report child sexual abuse to designated authorities, health care providers should inform the child or adolescent and their non-offending caregivers about the obligation to report the abuse and the limits of confidentiality before interviewing them.

 Way ahead:

  • The presence of guidelines and following them is extremely essential. But, there is more than just guidelines required in the country. These should be followed with ground training of all first line respondents. However, guidelines and training is not the end of the issue. The victims and their families face the worse in terms of investigation and its outcome. It is not adequate to pass on the burden on the healthcare sector. The government needs to adopt a policy that will streamline all the other aspects as well.

4. Atal Pension Yojana Scheme

Source: The Hindu

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is stepping up its initiative to achieve the target of one crore accounts under the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) by the fiscal-end. Focused on the workers in the unorganised sector, PFRDA has already been able to open 73 lakh such accounts so far.

The regulator is going all out to promote pension scheme in the rural areas with the help of regional rural banks.

APY:

  • The Atal Pension Yojana became operational from June 1, 2015 and is available to all the citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years.
  • Under the scheme, a subscriber would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month, depending upon his contribution, from the age of 60 years.
  • The same pension would be paid to the spouse of the subscriber and on the demise of both the subscriber and the spouse, the accumulated pension wealth is returned to the nominee.
  • The Central Government would also co-contribute 50% of the total contribution or Rs. 1000 per annum, whichever is lower, to each eligible subscriber account, for a period of 5 years, that is, from 2015-16 to 2019-20, to those who join the NPS before 31st December, 2015 and who are not members of any statutory social security scheme and who are not Income Tax payers.

PFRDA:

  • The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is a pension regulatory authority which was established in 2003. It is authorized by Ministry of Finance, Department of Financial Services.
  • It promotes old age income security by establishing, developing and regulating pension funds and protects the interests of subscribers to schemes of pension funds and related matters. It is also responsible for appointment of various intermediate agencies such as Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA), Pension Fund Managers, Custodian, NPS Trustee Bank, etc.



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