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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Sep 29, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Examining A Sexual Harassment Complaint

 

Gender Equality" and "Right to Life and Liberty" guaranteed under Article 14, 15, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India.'

India being a State Party to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 1979 ('CEDAW') was under an obligation to adopt a legislation specially addressing workplace sexual harassment. Therefore, the resultant Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred as POSH Act), was enacted. The fundamental paradigm of POSH is to:

Section 2(n) of the POSH Act, defines 'Sexual Harassment' akin to the definition provided by CEDAW, which includes any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication) namely: -

This progressive POSH Act, provides for protection and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment by an aggrieved woman. As per Section 4, POSH Act, the redressal mechanism of the complaint provides for a mandatory constitution of an Internal Complaints Committee (hereinafter ICC), wherein, every employer having ten or more employees shall constitute a Committee by an order in writing.

Step 1: Filing of Complaint

An aggrieved woman of an act of sexual harassment at workplace may make a written complaint to the ICC within three months from the date of such incident.

Upon the receipt of complaint, it is incumbent upon the ICC to take steps to settle the matter by way of conciliation, excluding monetary settlement, at the request of the aggrieved woman before initiating an inquiry under the Act. Where a settlement through conciliation is arrived, no further inquiry is conducted. However, if the conciliation fails, the committee shall proceed with the inquiry in accordance with Section 11, POSH Act.

Step Il: Understanding the Complaint

In order to allow a fair, prompt and impartial inquiry, it is necessary that the ICC is capable of understanding the fundamentals of the complaint. Therefore, it is pertinent that an environment of trust and confidence is developed throughout such inquiry. As sexual harassment places the aggrieved woman in an atmosphere of intimidation, humiliation and/or hostility it is for the ICC to empathize with her.

Step IV: Inquiry

Section 1 1, POSH Act provides that an inquiry into such complaint must be in accordance with the service rules applicable to the respondent.

Section 1 1 (3) vests ICC with the similar powers are vested civil court under CPC, 1908, which includes power to summon and enforce attendance, require discovery and production of documents.

To ensure substantive justice, it is pertinent for the ICC to abide by the Principles of Natural Justice. While inquiring into the complaint it is requisite for the ICC to understand the root from which the complaint is arising. Thus, the Internal Committee should be impartial, free form any prejudice and allow fair opportunity to the Respondent to be heard.

As the inquiry is required to be completed within 90 days, during its pendency the ICC also has the power to either transfer or grant leave or any other relief to the aggrieved woman.

Step V: Cross-Examination

Thereafter it is incumbent upon the ICC to find inconsistencies/falsity, if any, in the complaint, examinations, statements and evidences placed before it and frame appropriate issue. While cross examining and during the pendency of the inquiry, it is the responsibility of the ICC to verify and analyze the capability of the aggrieved to depose before them freely without any intimidation. Throughout the inquiry, ICC is duty bound to ensure confidentiality of the contents of complaint, proceedings, identity and addresses of the aggrieved woman, respondent and witnesses in accordance to Section 16, POSH Act.

Step V: Findings

Once the inquiry is completed, the ICC shall provide its report of findings to the employer and the concerned parties within a period of 10 days. If according to the report, it appears that the allegations against the respondent are proved or disproved, then the ICC shall recommend the employer to take necessary steps in consonance with the POSH Act within 60 days.

As no straight jacket formula can be applied while conducting such inquiry it becomes necessary that the decisions of the ICC are based on evidences and reasoning which upholds the intent of the legislature and the Principles of Natural Justice.

The success of an inquiry under the POSH Act, 2013 can only be predicated on the competence and expertise of the Internal Complaints Committee. The relevance of a just and impartial Internal Complaints Committee, which upholds equal standing, dignity and self-respect of women to have a cordial workplace has been realized. Recently in Bibha Pandey v. Punjab National Bank, it was observed that power of the ICC to hold inquiry and give report ought to be within the scheme and four corners of the statute.

Current Affair 2:
Carbon sequestration

 

Carbon dioxide is the most commonly produced greenhouse gas. Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change.

Types of Carbon Sequestration

Biological Carbon Sequestration

This roughly is the storage of carbon dioxide in vegetation like grasslands and forests, as well as in soils and oceans.

In oceans: Naturally, oceans absorb about 25% of the carbon dioxide emitted through human activities each year. Colder and nutrient-rich parts of the ocean absorb more carbon dioxide than the warmer parts of the ocean. As such, the polar regions absorb more carbon dioxide and by 2100, most of the global oceans are expected to be made up of carbon dioxide, potentially altering the chemistry of the ocean, making it more acidic

In forests: plant-rich landscapes like forests, rangelands and grasslands absorb about 25% of the global carbon emissions. When the trees, branches and leaves die and fall to the ground, they release the carbon they had stored into the soil. Deforestation and wildfires continue to diminish forests as a carbon sink

In soils: carbon can be sequestered in soil by plants through photosynthesis. As such, agroecosystems degrade and deplete the soil organic carbon levels. Luckily, soil can also store carbon as carbonates, created over thousands of years when carbon dioxide dissolves in water and percolates the soil. The carbonates are inorganic and can store carbon for tens of thousands of years while soil organic matter stores carbon for a few decades.

In grasslands: grasslands and rangelands are more reliable areas of storing carbon than forests due to the rapid wildfires and deforestation affecting forests. Grasslands can sequester more carbon underground and when they burn, the carbon stays fixed in the roots and soil instead of in leaves and woody biomass.

Geological Carbon Sequestration

This is where carbon dioxide is stored in underground geologic formations, such as in rocks. Industrial sources of carbon dioxide such as steel or cement production companies or energy-related sources like power plants or natural gas processing facilities will release their carbon dioxide, which is then injected into porous rocks for long-term storage. Such carbon capture and storage allow the use of fossil fuels until a substitute energy source is introduced on a large scale

Technological Carbon Sequestration

This is a relatively new way of capturing and storing carbon dioxide and continues to be explored by scientists. The method uses innovative technologies, which means scientists are also looking into more ways of using carbon dioxide as a resource rather than removing it from the atmosphere and directing it elsewhere.

Graphene production: technology is being used to produce graphene from carbon dioxide as its raw material. Its production is limited to specific industries but if carbon can be used to make more of the product, it might be a viable resource and an effective solution in reducing carbon’s emissions from the atmosphere.

Engineered molecules: scientists are engineering molecules that can take new shapes by creating new compounds capable of singling out and capturing carbon dioxide from the air. These engineered molecules act as filters and only attract the element they are engineered to seek

The following can be the potential sites for carbon sequestration

  1. Abandoned and uneconomic coal seams
  2. Depleted oil and gas reservoirs
  3. Subterranean deep saline formations

Current Affair 3:
Agriculture Infrastructure Fund

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched the financing facility of Rs 1 lakh crore under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund via video conferencing. The fund has been launched as part of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) to make farmers self-reliant.

So, we will cover this topic in detail. Life and UPSC both will become easy. For any such schemes, we should always cover introduction, why this was created. It becomes easy then to understand scheme.

Objectives of Scheme

To mobilize a medium - long term debt finances facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets through incentives and financial support in order to improve agriculture infrastructure in the country. This financing facility will have numerous objectives for all the stakeholders in the agriculture eco-system.

  1. Improved marketing infrastructure to allow farmers to sell directly to a larger base of consumers and will improve the overall income of farmers.
  2. With modern packaging and cold storage system access, farmers will be able to further decide when to sell in the market and improve realization.
  3. Due to improvements in post-harvest infrastructure, government will further

be able to reduce national food wastage percentage thereby enable agriculture sector to become competitive with current global levels.

  1. With a dedicated source of funding, entrepreneurs will push for innovation in agriculture sector by leveraging new age technologies including IoT, AI, etc.
  2. It will also connect the players in ecosystem and hence, improve avenues for collaboration between entrepreneurs and farmers.
  3. With Credit Guarantee, incentive and interest subvention lending institutions will be able to lend with a lower risk. This scheme will help to enlarge their customer base and diversification of portfolio.
  4. Refinance facility will enable larger role for cooperative banks and RRBs.
  5. With reduced inefficiencies in post-harvest ecosystem, key benefit for

consumers will be a larger share of produce reaching the market and hence, better quality and prices.

Government Budgetary Support

All loans under this financing facility will have interest subvention of 3% per annum up to a limit of Rs. 2 crores. This subvention will be available for a maximum period of 7 years. In case of loans beyond Rs.2 crore, then interest subvention will be limited up to 2 crores.

Current Affair 4:
Electronic Gold Receipts (EGRs): (yet to be launched by SEBI)

 

When you purchase shares of a company from a stock exchange then you directly own the assets of the company. But when you purchase (invest in) mutual fund/ETF, then these mutual funds/ETF purchase shares of other different companies on your behalf i.e., you are indirectly investing in shares.

In the same way, when you will be purchasing EGRs from the Exchange then it’s like you are purchasing physical gold but you will not be possessing that gold rather you will be having RECEIPTS called EGRs (Vault managers will hold the physical Gold). If you want, you can sell EGRs and can get cash or physical gold.

Difference between EGRs and Gold ETF: Whatever is the difference between directly purchasing shares and purchasing/investing in mutual fund/ETF, same is the difference between EGRs and Gold ETF. And when you sell your Gold ETF, you get cash not physical gold, but by selling EGRs you can get physical gold too.

 

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