Daily Current Affairs (English) - 05.04.2018


National


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Union Cabinet approves rightsizing the Competition Commission of India

On 4th april the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for rightsizing the Competition Commission of India (CCI) from One Chairperson and Six Members to One Chairperson and Three Members by not filling the existing vacancies of two Members and one more additional vacancy, which is expected in September, 2018 when one of the present incumbents will complete his term.

  • The proposal is expected to result in reduction of three Posts of Members of the Commission in pursuance of the Governments objective of "Minimum Government - Maximum Governance".
  • As part of the Governments objective of easing the mergers and amalgamation process in the country, the Ministry had revised de minimis levels in 2017, which have been made applicable for all forms of combinations and the methodology for computing assets and turnover of the target involved in such combinations, has been spelt out.
  • This has led to reduction in the notices that enterprises are mandated to submit to the Commission, while entering into combinations, thereby reducing the load on the Commission.
  • The faster turnaround in hearings is expected to result in speedier approvals, thereby stimulating the business processes of corporates and resulting in greater employment opportunities in the country.
  • The proposal is expected to result in reduction of three Posts of Members of the Commission in pursuance of the Governments objective of "Minimum Government - Maximum Governance".
  • Section 8(1) of the Competition Act, 2002 (the Act) provides that the Commission shall consist of a Chairperson and not less than two and not more than six Members. Presently, the Chairperson and four Members are in position.
  • An initial limit of one Chairperson and not more than ten Members was provided in the Act, keeping in view the requirement of creating a Principal Bench, other Additional Bench or Mergers Bench, comprising at least two Members each, in places as notified by the Central Government. In the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007 (39 of 2007), Section 22 of the Act was amended removing the provision for creation of Benches.
  • In the same Amendment Act, while the Competition Appellate Tribunal comprising one Chairperson and two Members was created, the size of the Commission itself was not commensurately reduced and was kept at one Chairperson and not less than two but not more than six Members.
  • The Commission has been functioning as a collegium right from its inception. In several major jurisdictions such as in Japan, USA and U.K. Competition Authorities are of a similar size.

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The Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018

On 4th April the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018 for better protection and promotion of human rights in the country.

Salient Features:

  • It proposes to include “National Commission for Protection of Child Rights” as deemed Member of the Commission;
  • It proposes to add a woman Member in the composition of the Commission;
  • It proposes to enlarge the scope of eligibility and scope of selection of Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission as well as the State Human Rights Commission; and
  • It proposes to incorporate a mechanism to look after the cases of human rights violation in the Union Territories.
  • It proposes to amend the term of office of Chairperson and Members of National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commission to make it in consonance with the terms of Chairperson and Members of other Commissions.

The Amendment will strengthen the Human Rights Institutions of India further for effective discharge of their mandates, roles and responsibilities. Moreover, the amended Act will be in perfect sync with the agreed global standards and benchmarks towards ensuring the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual in the country.

The amendment to the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 will make National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) more compliant with the Paris Principle concerning its autonomy, independence, pluralism and wide-ranging functions in order to effectively protect and promote human rights.


Economy


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Enhancement of Gratuity Limit

The Government has issued Notification the same day wherein gratuity limit has been increased from Rs.10 lakhs to Rs.20 lakhs under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.

  • The Government has also issued another Notification on the same day wherein it has also increased the maximum period of maternity leave in case of female employees to be counted as continuous service from 12 weeks to 26 weeks under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.
  • Representations from various stakeholders have been received in the Ministry. The Ministry had also organised tripartite consultations on 23.02.2017 with all stakeholders including representatives of employers and employees, who supported the proposal.
  • The provision contained in the amended Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 have been implemented w.e.f. from 29.03.2018.
  • This information was given by Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on 4th April.

India-World


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India-Afghanistan : cooperation in the field of food safety and related areas

On 4th April the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of a Cooperation Arrangement between Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoH & FW) and Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock (MAIL), Afghanistan for cooperation in the field of Food Safety and related areas.

The areas of cooperation include the following:

  • Establishment of a mechanism of information exchange and communication;
  • Facilitating technical exchange on identified topics of interestespecially about import procedures, quality control operations, sampling,testing, packaging and labeling;
  • Facilitating/organization of joint seminars, workshops, visits, lectures,training programme, etc;
  • Other areas of interest to the participants within their responsibilitiesas they may mutually determine.
  • The cooperation arrangement will facilitate information sharing training and capacity building measure and learning from each others best practice to improve food safety ecosystem.

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