29, December 2017

1.Regional Project to Tackle Stubble Burning

Source: PIB

In another significant step to combat climate change, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has approved a regional project on ‘Climate Resilience Building among Farmers through Crop Residue Management’ under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).

Key facts:

  • The first phase of the project has been approved at a cost of approximately Rs. 100 Crore for the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The project will leverage approximately three times the approved amount with contribution from the States as well as farmers.
  • The project not only aims to mitigate climate change impacts and enhance adaptive capacity, but will also counter the adverse environmental impacts that arise from burning.
  • The project will be implemented following a phased approach. Initially, awareness generation and capacity building activities will be undertaken to encourage farmers to adopt alternate practices which would also help diversify livelihood options and enhance farmer’s income.
  • A slew of technological interventions will be undertaken for timely management of crop residue in addition to effective utilisation of existing machineries. Implementable and sustainable entrepreneurship models will be created in rural areas through upscaling successful initiatives and innovative ideas.

 Issues:

  • The problem of crop residue burning has been intensifying over the years, with Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh being the major burning hotspots.
  • Increased mechanization, declining number of livestock, long period required for composting and no economically viable alternate use of residues are some of the reasons for residues being burnt in field.
  • This not only has implications for global warming, but also has an adverse impact on air quality, soil health and human health.

The National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC):

  • The National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) was established in August, 2015 to meet the cost of adaptation to climate change for the State and Union Territories of India that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • The projects under NAFCC prioritizes the needs that builds climate resilience in the areas identified under the SAPCC (State Action Plan on Climate Change) and the relevant Missions under NAPCC (National Action Plan on Climate Change).
  • Considering the existing arrangement with NABARD as National Implementing Entity (NIE) for Adaptation Fund (AF) under Kyoto Protocol and its presence across the country, NABARD has been designated as National Implementing Entity (NIE) for implementation of adaptation projects under NAFCC by Govt. of India.
  • Under this arrangement, NABARD would perform roles in facilitating identification of project ideas/concepts from State Action Plan for Climate Change (SAPCC), project formulation, appraisal, sanction, disbursement of fund, monitoring & evaluation and capacity building of stakeholders including State Governments.

2.The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2017

Source: The Hindu

The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2017, initiated by the women & child development ministry, is currently with a group of ministers (GoM) that will take a final view on the matter. The Bill has proposed severe punishment for those engaging in the heinous crime.

Highlights of the Bill:

  • The Bill identifies various forms of trafficking, including for the purposes of bonded labour, sexual exploitation, pornography, removal of organs and begging. Listing out the ‘aggravated forms of trafficking’, the bill also speaks of offences such as intimidation, inducement, promise of payment of money, deception or coercion. It mentions trafficking after administering any drug or alcohol or for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage.
  • Whoever commits the offence of aggravated form of trafficking of a person shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 10 years, but which may extend to life imprisonment and shall be liable to fine that shall not be less than Rs 1 lakh. For repeat offenders, it suggests imprisonment for life “which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life”, apart from a fine that will not be less than Rs 2 lakh.
  • The bill proposes the establishment of a national anti-trafficking bureau, which shall be entrusted with the gamut of issues aimed at controlling and tackling the menace under various forms.
  • Functions include coordination, monitoring and surveillance of illegal movement of persons and prevention. The bureau will also be entrusted with increasing cooperation with authorities in foreign countries for boosting operational and long-term intelligence for investigation of trafficking cases, and driving in mutual legal assistance.
  • The bill also aims at having state-level anti-trafficking officers who shall also provide relief and rehabilitation services through district units and other civil-society organisations.
  • The bill also spells out measures towards relief and rehabilitation for the victims of trafficking, and seeks the formation of a committee for this purpose. The committee is proposed to be headed by the women & child development secretary and would have members from the ministries of home; external affairs; labour and employment; social justice and empowerment; panchayati raj; and heath and family welfare.

Background:

  • As per data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), human trafficking numbers rose by almost 20% in 2016 against the previous year. NCRB said there were 8,132 human trafficking cases last year against 6,877 in 2015, with the highest number of cases reported in West Bengal (44% of cases), followed by Rajasthan (17%). Of the 15,379 victims who were caught in trafficking, 10,150 were female and 5,229 males.
  • The purpose of trafficking included forced labour; sexual exploitation for prostitution; other forms of sexual exploitation; domestic servitude; forced marriage; child pornography; begging; drug peddling; and removal of organs.

3.The Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC)

Source: The Hindu

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will chair pre-Budget consultation meeting with financial sector regulators and take stock of the economic situation.

  • Fiscal position, external sector environment, financial sector reforms, rising non-performing assets and regulatory issues are likely to figure in the meeting.
  • Apart from offering proposals for the Union Budget 2018 -19, the FSDC would also review the measures taken by the government and the RBI for dealing with the stressed assets and initiation of insolvency action against defaulting promoters.

FSDC:

  • The Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was constituted in December, 2010. The Council is chaired by the Union Finance Minister and its members are Governor, Reserve Bank of India; Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs; Secretary, Department of Financial Services; Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance; Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India; Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.
  • The Council deals, inter-alia, with issues relating to financial stability, financial sector development, inter–regulatory coordination, financial literacy, financial inclusion and macro prudential supervision of the economy including the functioning of large financial conglomerates. No funds are separately allocated to the Council for undertaking its activities.



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