UPSC Daily Current Affairs | Prelims and Mains Exam 11th May 2020

Inter-State Migrant Act, 1979

  • The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979, seeks to regulate the employment of inter-State migrants and their conditions of service.
  • It is applicable to every establishment that employs five or more migrant workmen from other States; or if it had employed five or more such workmen on any day in the preceding 12 months.
  • It is also applicable to contractors who employed a similar number of inter-State workmen.
  • The Act would apply regardless of whether the five or more workmen were in addition to others employed in the establishment or by the contractors.
  • The principal employer is prohibited from employing inter-State workmen without a certificate of registration from the relevant authority.
  • The law also lays down that every contractor who recruits workmen from one State for deployment in another State should obtain a license to do so.
  • The provision for registration of establishments employing inter-State workers creates a system of accountability and acts as the first layer of formalizing the utilization of their labour.
  • It helps the government keep track of the number of workers employed and provides a legal basis for regulating their conditions of service.
  • The wage rates, holidays, hours of work and other conditions of service of an inter-State migrant workman shall be the same as those extended to other workmen in the same establishment, if the nature of their work is similar.
  • In other cases, it would be as prescribed by the appropriate government.
  • In no case, shall the wages be lower than what is prescribed under the Minimum Wages Act.

Sample Registration System (SRS)

  • The SRS is a demographic survey for providing reliable annual estimates of infant mortality rate, birth rate, death rate and other fertility and mortality indicators at the national and sub-national levels.
  • It was initiated on a pilot basis by the Registrar General of India in a few states in 1964-65, it became fully operational during 1969-70.
  • The field investigation consists of continuous enumeration of births and deaths in selected sample units by resident part time enumerators, generally anganwadi workers & teachers, and an independent survey every six months by SRS supervisors.
  • The data obtained by these two independent functionaries are matched.
  • Recently, the Registrar General of India released data related to birth rate, death rate and infant mortality rate in its Sample Registration System (SRS) bulletin for 2018.
  • The rates are calculated per one thousand of the population.

Highlights of 2018 SRS

  • Birth rate – Birth rate is a crude measure of fertility of a population and a crucial determinant of population growth.
  • India’s birth rate has declined drastically over the last four decades from 36.9 in 1971 to 20.0 in 2018.
  • The rural-urban differential has also narrowed. However, the birth rate has continued to be higher in rural areas compared to urban areas.
  • Bihar (26.2) continues to remain at the top of list in birth rate while Andaman and Nicobar (11.2) is at the bottom.
  • Death rate – The ratio of deaths to the population of a particular area or during a particular period of time, usually calculated as the number of deaths per one thousand people per year.
  • Mortality is one of the basic components of population change, The data related to it is essential for demographic studies and public health administration.
  • The death rate of India has witnessed a significant decline over the last four decades from 14.9 in 1971 to 6.2 in 2018.
  • In the last decade, death rate at an all-India level has declined from 7.3 to 6.2, the decline has been steeper in rural areas.
  • Chhattisgarh has the highest death rate at 8 and Delhi, an almost entirely urban state, has a lowest death rate of 3.3.
  • Infant mortality rate – Infant mortality is the number of deaths of children under one year of age per 1000 live births.
  • IMR has decreased to 32 about one-fourth as compared to 1971 (129).
  • The IMR at an all-India level has declined from 50 to 32 in the last decade.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the highest IMR of 48 and Nagaland has the lowest IMR of 4.

Registrar General of India

  • Registrar General of India was founded in 1961 by the Government of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It arranges, conducts and analyses the results of the demographic surveys of India including Census of India and Linguistic Survey of India.
  • The position of Registrar is usually held by a civil servant holding the rank of Joint Secretary.

PM CARES Vs PMNRF

   PM CARES PMNRF
  • In March 2020, Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund, or the PM CARES Fund, was set up to tackle distress situations such as that posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The fund receives voluntary contributions from individuals and organizations and does not get any budgetary support.
  • Donations have been made tax-exempt, and can be counted against a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations.
  • It is also exempt from the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, and accepts foreign contributions, although the Centre has previously refused foreign aid to deal with disasters such as the Kerala floods.
  • The Prime Minister chairs the fund in his official capacity, and can nominate three eminent persons in relevant fields to the Board of Trustees.
  • The Ministers of Defence, Home Affairs and Finance are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund.
  • It is not clear whether the fund comes under the ambit of the RTI Act or oversight by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, although independent auditors will audit the fund.
  • The PM CARES web page is opaque regarding the amount of money collected, names of donors, and the expenditure of the fund so far, or names of beneficiaries.
  • The PM CARES Fund’s trust deed is not available for public scrutiny.
  • The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) was set up in January 1948, originally to accept public contributions for the assistance of Partition refugees.
  • It is now used to provide immediate relief to the families of those killed in natural calamities and the victims of major accidents and riots and support medical expenses for acid attack victims and others.
  • The PMNRF was originally managed by a committee which included the Prime Minister and his deputy, the Finance Minister, the Congress President, a representative of the Tata Trustees and an industry representative.
  • However, in 1985, the committee entrusted the entire management of the fund to the Prime Minister, who currently has sole discretion for fund disbursal.
  • A joint secretary in the PMO administers the fund on an honorary basis.
  • As of December 2019, the PMNRF had an unspent balance of ₹3,800 crore in its corpus.
  • States also have similar Chief Minister’s Relief Funds.
  • The PMNRF provides annual donation and expenditure information without any detailed break-up.

 

Strict Liability Vs Absolute Liability

  • The National Green Tribunal’s order on Visakhapatnam gas tragedy, found LG Polymers prima facie liable under the law principle of “strict liability”, which was made redundant in India by the Supreme Court in 1986.
  • Under the “strict liability principle”, a party is not liable and need not pay compensation if a hazardous substance escapes his premises by accident or by an “act of God’” among other circumstances.
  • The Supreme Court, while deciding the Oleum gas leak case of Delhi, 1986, found strict liability woefully inadequate to protect citizens’ rights in an industrialized economy like India and replaced it with the ‘absolute liability principle’.
  • The principle of absolute liability is part of Article 21 (right to life).
  • The country was then reeling under the shock of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.
  • The court under then Chief Justice P.N. Bhagwati wanted corporations to be made fully liable for future “undeserved suffering of thousands of innocent citizens”.
  • So, under the absolute liability principle, the apex court held that a company in a hazardous industry cannot claim any exemption.
  • It has to mandatorily pay compensation, whether or not the disaster was caused by its negligence.
  • The court said a hazardous enterprise has an “absolute non-delegable duty to the community”.
  •  If any harm results on account of such activity, the enterprise must be absolutely liable to compensate for such harm irrespective of the fact that the enterprise had taken all reasonable care and that the harm occurred without any negligence on its part.
  • The court found that strict liability, evolved in an 1868 English case called Rylands versus Fletcher, provided companies with several exemptions from assuming liability.
  • Absolute liability, on the other hand, provided them with no defence or exemptions.
  • The National Green Tribunal Act of 2010 has wholeheartedly adopted ‘absolute liability’. Section 17 mandates that the Tribunal should apply the ‘no fault principle’ even if the disaster caused is an accident.
  • “The NGT statute recognizes only absolute or non-fault liability. That is, a hazardous enterprise is liable even if the disaster is an accident and not caused by the negligence of the company.

Lunar Perigee and Apogee

  • The Moon’s orbit around Earth is elliptical, with one side closer to Earth than the other.
  • The point of the orbit closest to Earth is called perigee, while the point farthest from Earth is known as apogee.
  • As a result, the distance between the Moon and Earth varies throughout the month and the year.
  • The Moon’s phase and the date of its approach to its perigee or apogee are not synced. When a Full Moon or New Moon occurs close to the Moon’s perigee, it is known as a Supermoon.
  • On the other hand, when a Full Moon or New Moon occurs close to the Moon’s apogee, it is known as a Micromoon.

Super Moon

  • A super moon is a full moon or a new moon that nearly coincides with perigee, the closest that the Moon comes to the Earth in its elliptic orbit resulting in a slightly larger-than-usual apparent size of the lunar disk as viewed from Earth.
  • The technical name is a perigee syzygy (of the Earth–Moon–Sun system) or a full (or new) Moon around perigee.
  • The term super moon is astrological in origin and has no precise astronomical definition.
  • The real association of the Moon with both oceanic and crustal tides has led to claims that the super moon phenomenon may be associated with increased risk of events like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but no such link has been found.
  • The opposite phenomenon, an apogee syzygy or a full (or new) Moon around apogee, has been called a micro moon.

Apsis

  • Apsis denotes either of the two extreme points (i.e., the farthest or nearest point) in the orbit of a planetary body about its primary body (or simply, “the primary”).
  • The plural term, “apsides,” usually implies both apsis points (i.e., farthest and nearest); apsides can also refer to the distance of the extreme range of an object orbiting a host body.
  • For example, the apsides of Earth’s orbit of the Sun are two: the apsis for Earth’s farthest point from the Sun, dubbed the aphelion; and the apsis for Earth’s nearest point, the perihelion.

Source: The Hindu, Indian Express

Author: IAS Blogger