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The Hindu PDF Analysis for UPSC
- Formation of the PoSH Act: The PoSH Act was formed in response to the gang-rape of social worker Bhanwari Devi in 1992. The Supreme Court laid down the Vishakha Guidelines in 1997 as a temporary measure until a law could be enacted. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, also known as the PoSH Act, came into force on December 9, 2013.
- Definition and scope of the PoSH Act: The PoSH Act defines sexual harassment to include various unwelcome acts. It applies to all women employees, including regular, temporary, contractual, ad hoc, daily wage, apprentices, interns, and those employed without the knowledge of the principal employer. The law extends to all kinds of organizations, both public and private sectors, throughout India.
- Requirements for employers: Employers with more than 10 employees must form an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to address sexual harassment complaints. The ICC must have specific composition criteria, including women employees, an external member, and a mandatory NGO representative. Districts are required to establish local committees to receive complaints from organizations with less than 10 employees and the informal sector. Employers must file an annual audit report on sexual harassment complaints and actions taken.
- Hurdles to implementation: The Supreme Court highlighted several implementation-related concerns. These include inadequate constitution of ICCs, lack of accountability measures, limited accessibility for women workers in the informal sector, underreporting of sexual harassment cases, inefficient functioning of the inquiry process, and fear of professional repercussions for complainants.
- Recent directions by the Supreme Court: The Supreme Court directed the Union, States, and UTs to verify the constitution of ICCs, Local Committees (LCs), and Internal Committees (ICs) under the PoSH Act. They are required to publish the details of these committees on their websites. The Ministry of Women and Child Development was instructed to create a portal for uploading committee details and action taken reports. The court emphasized the need for training programs, awareness campaigns, and addressing the issues faced by women in the informal sector.
These key points provide an overview of the PoSH Act, its requirements, implementation challenges, and recent directions by the Supreme Court. UPSC aspirants can use this information to understand the provisions of the Act, its significance in ensuring workplace safety, and the ongoing efforts to improve its implementation and effectiveness.
- Aadhaar-enabled Payment System (AePS): AePS is a bank-led model that allows online financial transactions at Point-of-Sale (PoS) devices and micro ATMs using Aadhaar authentication. It eliminates the need for OTPs and other financial details, making fund transfers possible with just the bank name, Aadhaar number, and fingerprint.
- Concerns over security: Recent incidents have highlighted the vulnerability of biometric information linked to Aadhaar. Cybercriminals are reportedly using silicone thumbs to operate biometric POS devices and ATMs, draining users’ bank accounts. Leakage of Aadhaar data and availability of photocopies and soft copies of Aadhaar numbers have also contributed to security breaches.
- Aadhaar security measures: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has proposed amendments to regulations to restrict the sharing of Aadhaar details unless the numbers are redacted. UIDAI has implemented a two-factor authentication mechanism that combines finger minutiae and finger image capture to verify the ‘liveness’ of a fingerprint. Users are advised to lock their Aadhaar information when not required for authentication.
- Securing Aadhaar biometric information: UPSC aspirants should be aware of the steps to secure their Aadhaar biometric information. This includes locking Aadhaar information when not in use, unlocking it for specific purposes like property registration or passport renewals, and promptly reporting any suspicious activity or financial scams to their banks and concerned authorities.
- Zero liability in case of unauthorized transactions: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has specified that customers are entitled to zero liability if they report unauthorized transactions to the bank within three working days of receiving a communication about such transactions. Prompt reporting can ensure that victims receive the necessary assistance and that any fraudulent transfers are reversed.
Understanding these key points will help UPSC aspirants grasp the issues surrounding Aadhaar-enabled transactions, the concerns over security breaches, and the measures suggested by UIDAI and RBI to protect users’ financial interests.
- The Taliban regime has recalled Afghan Ambassador Farid Mamundzay and appointed Qadir Shah as the acting ambassador (chargé d’affaires) in his place.
- India faces a tough decision on whether to accept or reject the Taliban’s appointment.
- Most countries have refused to recognize the Taliban regime and accept their appointed diplomats, but Russia, China, Pakistan, Central Asian states, and Iran have allowed the Taliban-appointed diplomats to run the missions.
- A public dispute arose after Afghan media outlets published corruption allegations against the existing embassy officials, which were rejected by the embassy.
- The External Affairs Ministry of India has not commented on the Taliban decision, considering it an internal matter for the embassy to resolve.
- The government of India will launch one-stop centres nationwide on May 20 where citizens can deposit old clothes, shoes, books, toys, and plastic for reuse or recycling.
- These centres are part of the nationwide campaign ‘Meri LiFE, Mera Swachh Shehar’ (My Life, My Clean City) under the Swacch Bharat Mission – Urban 2.0.
- Individuals, institutions, and commercial enterprises can deposit items at these centres, which will then be refurbished or made into new products.
- The initiative aims to promote a circular economy and reduce waste generation in urban areas.
- The campaign focuses on the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, and encourages citizens to adopt sustainable daily habits.
- The campaign will conclude on World Environment Day, which is celebrated on June 5.
- India’s merchandise exports decreased by 12.7% in April, reaching a six-month low of $34.66 billion.
- Imports also fell by a sharper 14% to $49.90 billion, resulting in a 17% decline in the monthly goods trade deficit to $15.24 billion, the lowest in 20 months.
- The decline in exports is attributed to weakened demand in key markets and a decrease in commodity prices.
- Director General of Foreign Trade and Additional Secretary Santosh Kumar Sarangi highlighted that imports have declined significantly.
- Global demand from markets like the European Union (EU) and the United States (U.S.) is not looking favorable, and the demand scenario for the next few months is not optimistic.
- The government plans to hold inter-ministerial talks to explore ways to sustain export momentum in light of the challenging global demand.
- Wholesale prices in India experienced deflation of 0.92% in April, reaching a 34-month low.
- The contraction in prices was led by a 2.42% year-on-year decline in manufactured products’ prices, along with significant decreases in fuel, power, and food inflation rates.
- The deflationary reading was primarily influenced by the base effect, as April 2022 recorded a record-high WPI inflation of 15.4%.
- On a month-on-month basis, the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) remained unchanged, with a notable decline of 2.7% in the fuel and power index. However, there was an increase in primary articles and food inflation, marking the highest sequential upticks in at least six months.
- The decline in inflation in April was mainly driven by lower prices in basic metals, food products, mineral oils, textiles, non-food articles, chemicals, rubber and plastic products, and paper and paper products.
- Wholesale price inflation has been moderating for 11 consecutive months since reaching an all-time high of 16.6% in May 2022.
- Vegetable prices continued to decrease year-on-year for the sixth consecutive month but rose by 4.5% compared to March.
Source: The Hindu Epaper
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