Current Affairs 1st October 2018
Committee to review the Competition ActIn pursuance of its objective of ensuring that Legislation is in sync with the needs of strong economic fundamentals, the Government has constituted a Competition Law Review Committee to review the Competition Act headed by Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
The Terms of References of the Committee are as follows:
To review the Competition Act/ Rules/ Regulations, in view of changing business environment and bring necessary changes, if required.
To look into international best practices in the competition fields, especially anti-trust laws, merger guidelines and handling cross border competition issues.
To study other regulatory regimes/ institutional mechanisms/ government policies which overlap with the Competition Act.
Any other matters related to competition issue and considered necessary by the Committee.
The Competition Act was passed in the year 2002 and the Competition Commission of India was set up in pursuance of the same. The Commission started functioning in right earnest from 2009 and has contributed immensely towards the development of competition and fair play practices in the Indian market.
Need for review of the act:
During the past nine years the size of the Indian Economy has grown immensely and India is today amongst the top five Economies in the World and poised to forge ahead further. In this context, it is essential that Competition Law is strengthened, and re-calibrated to promote best practices which result in the citizens of this country achieving their aspirations and value for money.
The Competition Act:
The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key features of the Act.
For Mains: Need for review.
Assam to launch wage compensation scheme for pregnant women in tea gardensAssam Government has become the first Indian state to offer a Wage Compensation Scheme for pregnant women working in the tea gardens of the state.
Aim: The scheme is aimed at providing better health and nutrition supplements to the pregnant women. It stresses on providing proper healthcare facilities to the pregnant women working in the tea gardens of the state.
Under the scheme, an amount of Rs 12,000 will be given to the pregnant women so that they can take care of themselves and the unborn baby without compromising the livelihood of their family.
The compensation of wages to pregnant women will be given in 4 instalments – Rs 2,000 in the first trimester, Rs 4,000 in the second trimester, Rs 3,000 for institutional delivery and Rs 3,000 for registration of the child’s birth.
The women would also be given a maternity leave. They will not be engaged in work from the third trimester of pregnancy to three months after delivery.
In addition, they will get assistance for ante-natal care and the first cycle of immunization of the child.
The scheme is likely to benefit over 60,000 women in the state. It is expected to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in the tea areas.
The maternal mortality rate of women working in the tea plantations of Assam is unusually high. In the Annual Health Survey of 2012-13, Assam recorded one of the highest maternal mortality rates in India, with over 300 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. The MMR in the state’s tea gardens was even higher, as it was recorded to be 404. The national average during 2014-16 was 130.
Also, almost 50% of the pregnant women aged between 15 and 49 years in the state were recorded to be anaemic, which is a leading contributor to maternal mortality. The bulk of the workforce in Assam’s tea gardens is women.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Features and significance of the scheme.
‘Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism’ (CCIT)External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reiterated India’s demand for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the UN General Assembly recently.
As a country affected by terrorism, long before the more powerful countries of the developed world began to take cognisance of the threat it poses to international peace and security, India has always condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; stressed that tackling such behaviour required a holistic approach and collective action; and recommended that the scope of legal instruments must be expanded to bring the perpetrators of terrorism to justice.
India, therefore, has a vital stake in the formulation of counter-terrorist measures at the international level, including a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT). It is in this context that India had proposed a draft of a CCIT as far back as 1996.
The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism is a proposed treaty which intends to criminalize all forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters access to funds, arms, and safe havens. It is a draft proposed by India in 1996 that is yet to be adopted by the UNGA.
What does it call for?
Universal definition of terrorism: no good terrorist or bad terrorist.
Ban on all groups regardless of country of operation, cut off access to funds and safe havens.
Prosecution of all groups including cross border groups.
Amending domestic laws to make cross-border terror an extraditable offence.
It also addresses, among other things, the issue of Pakistan’s alleged support for cross-border terrorism in south Asia.
Concerns expressed by various countries:
US + allies: concerns over definition of terrorism, including acts by US soldiers in international interventions without UN mandate.
Latin American countries: concerns over international humanitarian laws being ignored.
There are also concerns that convention will be used to target Pakistan and restrict rights of self-determination groups in Palestine, Kashmir etc.
What to study?
For Prelims: CCIT- key facts.
For Mains: Significance and the need for convention, terrorism- threats, concerns and need for international cooperation in curbing.
GCTF Terrorist Travel InitiativeUnited States and Morocco have launched GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative under auspices of Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). It was launched on sidelines of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York.
GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative:
The initiative brings together stakeholders to share expertise on developing and implementing effective counterterrorism watchlisting and screening tools.
The new initiative will strengthen UNSC Resolution 2396 aiming to stop terrorist travel altogether. It will improve capabilities for detecting and interdicting terrorist travel through enhanced terrorist screening and information sharing.
It will bring together national and local governments, law enforcement and border screening practitioners and international organizations to share expertise to develop and implement effective counterterrorism watchlisting and screening tools.
Under this initiative, series of four regional workshops in 2018 and 2019 will be convened to develop set of good practices that will be endorsed at 2019 GCTF Ministerial. The resulting document will reinforce countries and organizations to use border security tools prescribed in UNSC Resolution 2396 to stop terrorist travel.
Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF):
GCTF’s is international apolitical, multilateral counter-terrorism (CT) platform of 29 countries and European Union (EU) with overarching mission of reducing vulnerability of people worldwide to terrorism by preventing, combating, and prosecuting terrorist acts and countering incitement and recruitment to terrorism. It was launched officially in New York on 22 September 2011.
GCTF’s goal is to strengthen capabilities to develop strategic, long-term approach to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremist ideologies that underpin it. Its mission is to diminish terrorist recruitment and increase countries’ civilian capabilities for dealing with terrorist threats within their borders and regions.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Need, features and significance of GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative, about GCTF.