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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Jan 13, 2022

Current Affair 1:
Law regarding Strikes and Lockouts

 

First and foremost, it has to be stated that the right to strike is not a fundamental right under the Constitution of India, the right to form an association/union is. This statement has also been iterated in the Supreme Court judgment of All India Bank Employees Association v. National Industrial Tribunal.

While the right to form association or unions is a fundamental right under Article 19(1), Supreme Court has expressly laid down in Kameshwar Prasad v. State of Bihar that the right to strike is not a fundamental right although, the right to strike has been recognized as a statutory right under Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

Even Article 43A of the Constitution under Directive Principles of State Policy mentions that the state shall take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of undertakings, establishments or other organizations engaged in any industry.

In B.R. Singh v. Union of India, Justice Ahmadi had recorded that, "Strike in a given situation is only a form of demonstration. There are different modes of demonstrations, e.g., go-slow, sit-in, work-to-rule, absenteeism, etc. and strike is one such mode of demonstration by workers for their rights. The right to demonstrate and therefore, the right to strike is an important weapon in the armory of the workers. This right has been recognized by almost all democratic countries. Though not raised to the high pedestal of a fundamental right, it is recognized as a mode of redress for resolving the grievance of workers."

It is also important to note at this point that this statutory right to strike is not available to government employees as has been stated by Justice M.B. Shah in T.K. Rangarajan v. Government of Tamil Nadu & Others.

The Provisions

S.2(q) of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and S.2(zk) of Industrial Relations code, 2020 define a strike as cessation of work by a group of persons employed in any under industry through a concerted effort or refusal or common understanding.

S.2(zk) of Industrial Relations Code, 2020 also includes in the definition of strike, a concerted (joint) casual leave on a given day by 50% or more workers employed in any industry.

Lockouts

This might sound surprising but the history of lockouts is older than the history of strikes. In India, the first lockout was more than twenty-five years later than it was seen on the world stage and was declared in Budge Jute Mills in Bengal.

Causes

 

Lockout is the employer's way of forcing certain terms and conditions on workers and the employer locks the workers out of the workplace till the time they accept these terms and conditions. Lockout is essentially work stoppage being used as a weapon by an employer to force his workers to come to a consensus and the reasons generally have to do with attaining a forceful consensus or expressing his grievance with the workers or as a show of support for one set of workers.

The law

In Shri Ramchandra Spinning Mills v. the State of Madras, the Madras High Court has tried to define a lockout and recorded that, "a flood may have swept away the factory, a fire may have gutted the premises, a convulsion of nature may have sucked the whole place underground; still if the place of employment is closed or the work is suspended or the employer refuses to continue to employ his previous workers, there would be a lockout and the employer would find himself exposed to the penalties laid down in the Act."

The Court further noted that if an employer has closed the business temporarily due to many reasons including but not limited to using temporary closure as a means of coercion or a mode of exerting pressure, then it will be considered a lockdown.

The definition of the lockout has been provided in S.2(l) of ID Act, 1947 and 2(u) of IRC, 2020 and both places, it involves

  • temporary closing of a place of establishment, OR
  • suspension of work, OR
  • Refusal by an employer to continue to employ any number of persons employed by him

 

Current Affair 2:
Mining Sector Reforms

 

India is rich in natural resources, notably minerals, making the mining industry extremely valuable

India produces 95 minerals, including 4 fuel-related minerals, 10 metallic minerals, 23 non-metallic minerals, 3 atomic minerals and 55 minor minerals. India is one of the world's top producers of valuable minerals like chromite, iron ore, coal, and bauxite. Rajasthan is the highest contributor to minerals production in India, followed by Odisha.

India's mining sector is one of the country's most important industries, and many industries rely on it for essential raw resources.

India relies on imports more than it exports for the mining industry; however, exports have remained stable over the years. Exports in the mining sector stood at US$ 24.66 billion for FY 20.

Factors that led to the growth of the mining sector in India are as follow:

 

  • Improved infrastructural development and automobile manufacture.
  • The growth of the power and cement sector.
  • Inclusion of the private sector in the mining industry has played a dominant role in increasing mineral production accounting for 67.33% of the total value.
  • Since the Government took the initiative for policy reforms, there has been a noticeable shift in the mining industry, like relaxing mineral exploration norms.
  • The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, 2021, has introduced various reforms and developments in the mining sector

Major government reforms & environmental considerations

India's central government and state governments are jointly responsible for the mining sector's administration. The industry is governed by a federal system that divides regulatory authorities and responsibilities between the central government and the respective state governments.

The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 (MMDR Act) was enacted by the Indian government as the primary legislation governing the mineral sector (other than petroleum and natural gas). Besides MMDR Act, the following rules and regulations establish the legal foundation for the mining industry:

  • Mineral Concession Rules 1960 (MC Rules):  These rules lay the foundation for granting concessions, rejecting applications, keeping accounts, and submitting reports to state governments.
  • Mineral Conservation and Development Regulations (Mineral Conservation and Development Regulations):  These regulations set the standards to be met to ensure that mining is done in a scientifically sound manner while also protecting the environment.
  • Mineral (Auction) Rules 2015 (Auction Rules): These rules lay the foundation for granting significant mineral concessions through an online electronic auction.
  • Mines Act:   This Act establishes rules for mine worker safety and working conditions and provisions for mine administration and operation.
  • Offshore Areas Mineral Concession Rules 2006 (OAMDR Rules): The process for granting and renewing mineral resource concessions in offshore areas is outlined in these guidelines.

 

The MMDR Act gives the central Government the authority to issue directives to state governments to ensure sustainable mineral development and reduction in the exploitation of air, ground, water, and noise.

The following are some of the most important steps taken by the Government to protect environmental impacts of mining:

 

  • Clearance under the Environment Protection Act 1986 and the Environment Protection Rules 1986, as amended from time to time, is in line with the Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2006.
  • Clearance from the applicable State Pollution Control Board in accordance with the following:
  • Water Act 1974.
  • Air Act 1981.
  • Hazardous and Other Wastes Rules 2016.
  • Solid Waste Management Rule 2016.
  • Noise Pollution Rules 2000.
  • Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules 2016.
  • Ozone Depleting Substances Rules 2000.

 

Current Affair 3:
Arctic lightning strikes up drastically in 2021

 

Lightning strikes have started occurring much more frequently in the Arctic as the region experiences unprecedented warming temperatures. In 2021, 91 per cent more lightning was detected at the highest latitudes of the planet, where the North Pole sits, than the previous year.

The North Pole saw 7,278 lightning strikes in 2021 — nearly double in the previous nine years combined.

Lightning in the Arctic has historically been a rare event, as they require a mixture of cold air, warm air and convective instability.

The Arctic continues to warm more than twice as fast as the rest of the globe. The time between October 2020 and September 2021 was the seventh-warmest since the beginning of records. It was the eighth consecutive year since 2014 when the average temperature of the region was at least 1 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial average.

Current Affair 4:
Supreme Court Issues Comprehensive Guidelines on Who Are 'Vulnerable Witnesses'

 

Noting that "the need for and importance for setting up special facilities which cater to the creation of a safe and barrier-free environment for recording the evidence of vulnerable witnesses has been engaging the attention of this court over the last two decades", the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued comprehensive directions in this regard.

By way of the first direction, the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant clarified that the definition of vulnerable witnesses contained in clause 3 of the VWDC (vulnerable witness deposition centres) scheme shall not be limited only to child witnesses who have not attended the age of 18 years and would be expanded to include inter alia the following categories of vulnerable witnesses-

The other directions issued by the bench are enumerated below-

  1. All High Courts shall adopt and notify a vulnerable witness deposition (VWDC) scheme within a period of two months from the date of this order unless a scheme has already been notified. High courts which have already existing schemes in place may consider making suitable modifications to the scheme in order to bring it in conformity with the guidelines which are indicated in the present order.
  2. Every High Court should set up a permanent VWDC committee
  3. Proportionate to the time required for recording the evidence of the vulnerable witnesses and to conduct periodic training programmes, Every High Court is required to make an estimation towards manpower requirements to set up at least one permanent VWDC in every establishment of the district court
  4. Upon the estimation of costs prepared by the VWDC committee of each High Court, the state government shall expeditiously sanction the requisite funds, not later than within a period of three months
  5. In many states, ADR centres have been set up by the High Court in close proximity to the court establishment in districts. In such an eventuality, where such ADR centres are in place, the high courts would be at liberty to ensure that a VWDC is made available within the premises of the ADR centres so as to secure a safe, conducive and barrier free environment for recording the deposition of vulnerable witnesses
  6. The National Legal Services Authority as well as the State Legal Services Authorities would be vital stakeholders and have an important role particularly in devising and implementing sensitisation and training programmes.

Current Affair 5:
Reaping India’s demographic dividend

Source Link

 

Above is an article from Hindu. It explains what India needs to do to exploit its demographic dividend. Most of the article is self-explanatory, but I would like to tell you that there are some characteristic features of our demographic dividend as compared to other Asian economies like China, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan or (Brazil).

Our demographic cycle is 10-20 years late i.e., the above-mentioned countries have already achieved their demographic dividend by 2000 and some by 2010, but India is still in that phase i.e., the ratio of our 'Working Age Population to Non-Working Age Population' is still increasing and will do so till 2041.

There is heterogeneity in the demographic profile of Southern States and Northern States. The Southern States 'Female Fertility' has already declined to 1.5 to 1.7 while in northern States it’s between 2.2 to 3.0

It’s not bad for India, actually its good because when the Southern States working age population will decline then the labour force can be provided by the Northern States, So overall our demographic dividend will be for long period.

Our demographic dividend (extra economic growth because of higher ratio of working age/non-working age population) is somewhat lower than the other Asian economies. This is because out previous Governments (Central/State both) have not been able to frame proper forward looking polices on health/education/nutrition/infrastructure etc. to exploit the demographic dividend.

Keep in mind that we will be able to achieve 'DIVIDEND' (i.e., benefit in terms of higher growth) from our 'DEMOGRAPHY' only if we are able to use this demography productively combined with suitable economic environment otherwise this 'DEMOGRAPHY' will give us nightmares.

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