November 2019

Daily Current Affairs (27-11-19)

POLITY & GOVERNANCE

FLOOR TEST

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Indian Constitution [Paper-I]: Indian Constitution and its salient features, Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, function, power and privilages

News

Supreme Court has ordered a floor test in the Maharashtra legislative Assembly recently.

What is a “floor test”?

  • A floor test is a motion through which the government seeks to know whether it still enjoys the confidence of legislature.
  • In this procedure, a Chief Minister (CM) appointed by the Governor can be asked to prove majority on the floor of the Legislative Assembly of the state.
  • The determination of majority is done in a sitting of the legislature, for which the legislature has to be convened.
  • When a floor test is called for in the assembly of a state, CM will move a vote of confidence and prove that he has the majority support.
  • If the floor test fails, CM will have to resign.
  • The whole idea of a floor test is incorporated in the constitution of India to ensure transparency in the constitutional process.

Who will order the convening of Legislative Assembly?

  • Under the Constitution, the Governor convenes the session of the legislature.
  • But on multiple occasions, the Supreme Court has ordered the convening of the Assembly to hold the floor test.

Pro Tem Speaker

  • The election of the Speaker is taken up after the conclusion of the floor test.
  • In the absence of a Speaker, the Governor appoints one of the MLAs to perform the duties of the Speaker. This MLA is referred to as the Pro tem Speaker.
  • He administers the oath of office to the other MLAs, and thereafter oversees the floor test in the legislature.
  • Conventionally, the longest serving House member is nominated as pro tem speaker, who also conducts the election of the full-time speaker.

[Source: Indian Express]

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE

TRANSGENDER PERSONS (PROTECTION OF RIGHTS) BILL, 2019

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Social Justice [Paper-I]: Rights Issues (Human rights, Women rights, SC/ST rights, Child rights, etc.)

News

  • Parliament passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, with the Rajya Sabha approving it on 26th November, 2019. Lok Sabha had already passed the bill.
  • The bill seeks to provide a mechanism for social, economic and educational empowerment of transgender persons in India.

Key Features of the Bill

Definition of a transgender person:

  • The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth.
  • It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra.

Right of residence:

Every transgender person shall have a right to reside and be included in his household.

Prohibition against discrimination:

The Bill prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to:

  • Education, Employment and Healthcare
  • Access to or enjoyment of goods, facilities, opportunities available to the public
  • Right to movement
  • Right to reside, rent, or otherwise occupy property
  • Opportunity to hold public or private office
  • Access to a government or private establishment in whose care or custody a transgender person is

Employment:

No government or private entity can discriminate against a transgender person in employment matters, including recruitment, and promotion.

Education:

Educational institutions funded or recognised by the relevant government shall provide inclusive education, sports and recreational facilities for transgender persons, without discrimination.

Health care:

  • The government must take steps to provide health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centres, and sex reassignment surgeries.
  • The government shall review medical curriculum to address health issues of transgender persons, and provide comprehensive medical insurance schemes for them.

Certificate of identity:

  • A transgender person may make an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’.
  • A revised certificate may be obtained only if the individual undergoes surgery to change their gender either as a male or a female.

Offences and penalties:

Penalties for offences against transgender persons vary between six months and two years, and a fine. The Bill recognizes the following offences against transgender persons:

  • Forced or bonded labour (excluding compulsory government service for public purposes)
  • Denial of use of public places,
  • Removal from household, and village
  • Physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic abuse

Significance

  • The Bill will make all the stakeholders responsive and accountable for upholding the principles underlying the Bill.
  • It will bring greater accountability on the part of the Central Government and State Governments/Union Territories Administrations for issues concerning Transgender persons.
  • The Bill will benefit a large number of transgender persons, mitigate the stigma, discrimination and abuse against this marginalized section and bring them into the mainstream of society.
  • It will lead to greater inclusiveness and will make the transgender persons productive members of the society.

Criticisms Againt the Bill

  • While the Act is progressive in that it allows self-perception of identity, it mandates a certificate from a district magistrate declaring the holder to be transgender. This goes against the principle of self determination itself.
  • The Bill appears to continue to mandate sex reassignment surgery for transgender people. This requirement would contravene the Supreme Court’s judgment in National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) v. Union of India (UOI), which guarantees the right to self-identification without the need for medical intervention.
  • The Bill does not make provision for affirmative action in employment or education despite the Supreme Court’s judgement.
  • The Bill sets out lighter sentences for several criminal offences, such as “sexual abuse” and “physical abuse”, when they are committed against transgender people.
  • In addition, the Bill does not adequately define these offences and retains provisions that could be used in a discriminatory manner to target transgender people for criminal prosecution.
[Source: PRS, The Hindu, Livemint]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

NAGRIK KARTAVYA PALAN ABHIYAN
  • Union HRD Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ launched the ugc.ac.in portal on the occasion of ‘Constitution Day’, as a part of year long Nagrik Kartavya Paalan Abhiyan being observed throughout the country.
  • The portal will be used primarily for holding monthly essay competitions for students as well as other activities like quizzes, debates, poster making etc pertaining to Nagrik Kartavya Paalan Abhiyan.
  • The current year 2019 marks the 70th year of the adoption of the Indian Constitution.
  • It has been decided by the Government to run a Nagrik Kartavya Palan Abhiyan from 26th November 2019 to 26th November 2020, to create mass awareness about the Fundamental Duties as enshrined in the Constitution.
  • Nagrik Kartavya Paalan Abhiyan will give direction to the youth of the country and will make them aware that rights are automatically realized, when a person follow the duties religiously.
ASSAMESE GAMOSA
  • The multipurpose Assamese gamosa, a white cotton towel, has been assigned a new function of conservation of rare freshwater turtles.
  • Few cultural symbols are as utilitarian as the white handmade cotton gamosa, with its characteristic red border of woven motifs.
  • It is valued as a gift for visitors, used as a scarf, anti-dust mask, wrapped around the head as a turban.
  • Conservationists are now relying on this cultural icon to carry forward the message of turtle conservation, with gamosas woven with turtle images.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF DESIGN (AMENDMENT) BILL
  • Parliament has passed the National Institute of Design (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
  • It seeks to amend the National Institute of Design Act, 2014, which declares the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad as an institution of national importance.
  • It also seeks to declare four National Institutes of Design located at Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Jorhat in Assam and Kurukshetra in Haryana as institutions of national importance.
  • Currently, these institutes are registered as Societies under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and do not have the power to grant degrees or diplomas.
  • On being declared institutions of national importance, the four institutes will be granted the power to grant degrees and diplomas.
CONTRACT FOR THE WEB
  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, has announced a “Contract for the Web” — aimed at saving the future of his invention, which is now almost an essential condition for human existence.
  • The idea is to create a global plan of action for all stakeholders to together commit to building a “better” Web. It aims to create a standard policy for a Web that benefits all.
  • The Contract consists of nine principles — three each for governments, private companies, and individuals and civil society to endorse — with 76 clauses each.
  • It was created by representatives from over 80 organisations, including governments, companies, civil society activists, and academics.
  • According to Berners-Lee, the Web is at a tipping point and needs radical intervention from all stakeholders — governments, companies, civil society groups, as well as individual users.
G SATHEESH REDDY
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Chairman G Satheesh Reddy was awarded the honorary fellowship by the Royal Aeronautical Society of United Kingdom.
  • The Aeronautical Society recognised contributions of Reddy towards indigenous design, development and deployment of diversified missile systems, aerospace vehicles, guided weapons and avionics technologies in India.
  • He is the first Indian recipient of the prestigious award in over 100 years.
MERGER OF DADRA AND NAGAR HAVELI & DAMAN AND DIU
  • Lok Sabha passed the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019.
  • The bill was brought to provide for merger of UTs of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, in view of the policy of the Government to have Minimum Government, Maximum Governance“.
  • This would bring about administrative convenience, speedy development and effective implementation of central and state government schemes.
  • The Bill provides for better delivery of services to the citizens of both Union territories by improving efficiency and reduction in paper work; reduction in administrative expenditure; bringing uniformity in policies and schemes; better monitoring of schemes and projects; and, better management of cadres of various employees.

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