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15 August, 2019

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-II Consumer Protection Bill
Every child to get Rota virus vaccine by September
Incisive interventions that blunt the RTI’s edge
GS-III Allocation are Keys Economic Issues
Centre unveils plan for coastal zone management
Rethinking water governance strategies
GS-II :
Consumer Protection Bill

GS-II: Consumer Protection Bill

Context

Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 gets Parliamentary approval.

Provision of the Bill:

Definition of consumer:

A consumer is defined as a person who buys any good or avails a service for a consideration.

What it covers?

It covers transactions through all modes including offline, and online through electronic means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling.

What it doesn’t cover?

It does not include a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purpose.

Six consumer rights have been defined in the Bill, including the right to:

(i)Be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property. (ii)Be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services; (iii) Be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices (iv) Seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.

Functions of  Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) :

  • CCPA shall promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.
  • It will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements.

Jurisdiction of Consumer Disputes Redressal Comission (CDRCs):

  • The District CDRC will entertain complaints where value of goods and services does not exceed Rs one crore. 
  • The State CDRC will entertain complaints when the value is more than Rs one crore but does not exceed Rs 10 .

Why is this Bill significant?

  • Swift remedies: Presently Consumer only have a single point of access to justice, which is time consuming. Additional swift executive remedies are proposed in the bill through Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA).
  • Deterrent punishment to check misleading advertisements and adulteration of products.
  • Product liability provision to deter manufacturers and service providers from delivering defective products or deficient services.
  • Ease of approaching Consumer Commission and Simplification of Adjudication process.
  • Scope for early disposal of cases through mediation.

 

 

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GS-II :
Every child to get Rota virus vaccine by September

GS-II : Every child to get Rota virus vaccine by September

Context

Health Ministry has decided to provide Rotavirus vaccine to every child across all States and Union Territories by September 2019.

Background

  • Diarrhoea is one of the biggest killers in children and Rotavirus was one of the most common causes of severe diarrhoea in children less than 2 years of age.
  • Rotavirus vaccine along with proper sanitation, handwashing practices, ORS and zinc supplementation will go a long way in reducing the mortality and morbidity due to diarrhoea in children.
  • In India, every year, 37 out of every 1,000 children born are unable to celebrate their 5th birthday, and one of the major reasons for this is diarrhoeal deaths.
  • Out of all the causes of diarrhoea, Rotavirus is a leading cause of diarrhoea in children less than 5 years of age.
  • Rotavirus diarrhoea can be prevented through vaccination. Other diarrhoea can be prevented through general measures like good hygiene, frequent hand washing, safe water and safe food consumption, exclusive breastfeeding and vitamin A supplementation.

Rotavirus Vaccine

Rotavirus vaccine was introduced in 2016 and is now available in 28 States/Union Territories. It is expected to be available in all 36 States/Union Territories by September 2019.

 

 

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GS-II :
Incisive interventions that blunt the RTI’s edge

GS-II: Incisive interventions that blunt the RTI’s edge.

Context

The RTI Act, 2005 proved transformative to India’s democracy; it revolutionized the citizen’s ability to engage with the state, arming people with a mechanism to ferret out some of the truth from the government’s otherwise secretive operations.

Amendments to the act

  • Amendments have been passed without scrutiny by a parliamentary committee.
  • It changes the term in office of the information commissioners (ICs) and the manner of determination of their salaries.
  • In place of the existing five-year term, it grants to the Union government the power to notify their terms through executive regulations.
  • It deletes the RTI Act’s mandate that the salary paid to the CIC and the ICs should be equivalent to that of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
  • Now, the salary, allowances, and terms and conditions of service of the CIC and the ICs will be determined by executive guidelines.

Challenges it poses

  • Supreme Court has affirmed RTI’s position as intrinsic to the right to freedom of expression (for example, in PUCL v. Union of India, 2004)
  • For democracy to be valuable, citizens must possess a right to freely express themselves and have a right to know what the state is up to.
  • When a plea for information goes unheeded, CIC and the ICs play an especially vital role.
  • These amendments subvert the independence of the information commission.
  • The delegation of the power to fix the tenure and the salaries of the CIC and the ICs to the political executive places the information commission’s autonomy in a state of peril.

Efficacy of RTI

Through a response to an RTI request, it was discovered that between 2006 and 2010 more than ?700 crore had been diverted from Delhi’s special component plan for the development of Scheduled Caste communities to projects related to the Commonwealth Games.

An exposé into the horrifying processes of the “Foreigners Tribunal” in Assam was made by securing information through the RTI Act.

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GS-III : Economic Issues
Allocation are Keys

GS-III: Allocation are Keys

Context

The budget must focus on the priority areas for the budget allocations. It is expected to provide funds and an assurance that the allocations would be rule-based.

Rural distress needs to be allocated to funds.

  • Drinking water
  • Improving the efficiency of existing irrigation systems
  • Rural finance  including temporary waiver of loan repayments :

Job creation

  • It will depend on the revival of industrial production, continuing growth of exports and an agricultural revival.
  • Most policies have a lag of around four to six months.
  • In the short run, the money will be needed for the MGNREGA.
  • The budget should concretely raise public investment to revive private investment to reverse the declining growth rate in every quarter.

Fiscal Deficit

  • The fiscal deficit is a real issue and leads to pressures on the bank rate and exchange rates.
  • The need is to raise resources by taxation and not cutting consumption by the government and non-government sectors.

Banking sector

  • The cleanup of the banking and NBFC sectors should be immediate and it needs funds.
  • Though these are outside the budget, they determine the fiscal deficit.
  • Raise government investment at the central, state and parastatal level.
  • The economy is suffering from a decline in investment ratios. This is reflected in the declining growth rate, which is below the potential of 8%.
  • The last round of the NSS data shows that girl child dropped out of school more than earlier. If she goes to college, marries late, the first child comes later the real demographic dividend starts.
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GS-III :
Centre unveils plan for coastal zone management

GS-III : Centre unveils plan for coastal zone management

NEWS

The Environment Ministry has unveiled a draft plan that will dictate how prospective infrastructure projects situated along the coast ought to be assessed before they can apply for clearance.

Plan

  1. The draft Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) is part of a World Bank-funded project.
  2. It lays out guidelines for coastal States to adopt when they approve and regulate projects in coastal zones.
  3. It seeks to assist the Government of India in enhancing coastal resource efficiency and resilience by building capacity for adopting and implementing integrated coastal management approaches
  4. The document was prepared by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management, a Ministry-affiliated body.
  5. As per the report, Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) has to be a continuous process rather than a “one-off” investment action.
  6. The key activities proposed for coastal zone development include: 
    1. mangrove afforestation/shelter beds
    2.  habitat conservation activities such as restoration of sea-grass meadows
    3. eco-restoration of sacred groves
    4. development of hatcheries
    5. rearing/rescue centres for turtles and other marine animals
    6. creation of infrastructure for tourism
    7. restoration and recharge of water bodies
    8. beach cleaning and development
    9. small infrastructure facilities
  7. Livelihood improvement projects include
    1. demonstration of climate-resilient or salinity resistant agriculture
    2. water harvesting and recharge/storage
    3. creation of infrastructure and facilities to support eco-tourism
    4. community-based small-scale mariculture
    5. seaweed cultivation
    6. aquaponics
  8. Environmental and social aspects ought to be integrated into the planning, design, implementation of projects.
  9. Projects should avoid or minimise impacts on cultural properties and natural habitats, compensate any loss of livelihood or assets, adopt higher work safety standards, occupational and community health and safety

Action so far

  1. So far three coastal States, Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal, have prepared Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plans with support from the World Bank.
  2. Such plans would be prepared for the selected coastal stretches in other States/UT.
  3. Inadequate planning has often obstructed coastal zone development projects.

 

 

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GS-III :
Rethinking water governance strategies

GS-III: Rethinking water governance strategies.

Context

India’s severe ‘water crisis’ is in the news recently. India’s cities are running out of water. Chennai witnessed the worst drinking water woes.

Facts

  • Niti Aayog’s report ‘Composite Water Management Index: A tool for water management’ stated that 21 major cities are expected to run out of groundwater as soon as 2020, affecting nearly 100 million people.
  • The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has been reporting on the increasing number of over-exploited blocks across India, labeled as the ‘dark’ category blocks.  The recent annual book of CGWB has reported 1,034 units, out of the 6,584 units it monitors, as over-exploited.
  • CGWB’s 2013 estimates say that the groundwater development in India is just about 62% of the utilizable groundwater reserves.
  • A recent report by the Central Water Commission and ISRO asserted that India is not yet in “water scarcity condition”, but in a “water-stressed condition”, with reducing per capita water availability.

Way ahead

  • Ensure adequate access to quality water, more so in urban areas where inequities over space and time are acute.
  • With rapid urbanization, demand cannot be met by groundwater reserves alone. Groundwater meets just 10% of Delhi’s drinking water needs. The rest is met by surface water sources transported from outside Delhi.
  • Water resource departments in States are following conventional approaches to supply augmentation. They should reorient themselves and deploy demand management, conservation, and regulation strategies.
  • Centre and states should work towards an institutional change by building federal governance of water resources.
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