Abhishek kumar aashish jindal

Bali Ministerial of the World Trade Organisation 2013

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Bali Ministerial of the World Trade Organisation 2013

December 7, 2013
What is WTO Ministerial Conference?

The WTO Ministerial Conference is the topmost decision-making body of the World Trade Organization which regularly convenes every two years. It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.

The conference has  key issues to discuss viz. Trade facilitation, Agriculturenegotiations, Cotton Least-developed countries Monitoring mechanism, Small and  vulnerable economies, Yemen’s accession, E-commerce “Non-violation” in intellectual property, etc.

What was India’s stand at the Bali Ministerial of the World Trade Organisation 2013 ?

India decided not to agree to the ‘Peace Clause’ for agriculture subsidies that the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo has proposed for Bali talks.

Here, India stands to seek safeguards for subsidies given to the farmers for food security purposes by poor countries. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said  that for India, food security is non-negotiable, it is an integral part of the millennium development goals and the need for public stockholding of food grains to ensure food security must be respected, and for this WTO rules must be updated.

For this valuable cause, India got support from many WTO members  like SouthAfricaNepalEgyptUgandaNamibiaArgentinaZimbabweEcuador,VenezuelaMauritius and Nicaragua, etc.

What is the Peace Clause under current context and why an issue over this Peace Clause?

Under this ‘Peace Clause’,  developing countries can provide WTO-prohibited subsidies to farmers without inviting any dispute under the Agreement on Agriculture, developed countries will have the right to drag these countries to theWTO Disputes Settlement Body, under the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. This would render the peace clause null-and-void.

Note : Developed countries pressurizing India to accept a peace clause, which offers four years of immunity against penalties imposed for breaching the farm subsidy cap of 10 per cent under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA).
Outcome of the  9th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Because of India’s concern of Food security, WTO’s Bali Ministerial Conference revised draft decisions on a package of issues designed to streamline trade, allow developing countries more options for providing food security, boost least developed countries’ trade and help development more generally.

Union Government denies introduction of ILP in Meghalaya

December 8, 2013

The demand to create Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in Meghalaya has been rejected by the Union Government on grounds that the Constitution does not provide for extending the special provision to new areas.

The Government clarified that it was bound by Article 19 (D) of the Constitution which allows any Indian citizen to move freely throughout the territory of the country.

What is Inner Line Permit (ILP)?

ILP is an official travel document issued by an empowered State government to permit inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected or restricted area for a limited period. It is mandatory for Indian citizens from outside those specific States to get permit for entering the protected State.
Why Inner Line Permit (ILP) is issued?

The ILP system empowers the government to regulate movement to certain areas located near the international borders. It is issued under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. At present, ILP is active in Arunachal Pradesh,Nagaland and Mizoram.

In context of Meghalaya, various organizations in the state have been demanding ILP system claiming the demography of the State is changing due to the intense inflow of people.

Employing manual scavengers made an offence

December 8, 2013

Employing or engaging a person has become an offence now as Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013comes into force across India except J&K. The law forbids the employment of manual scavengers, the manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks without protective equipment and the construction of insanitary latrines.

The law also has provisions for rehabilitation of manual scavengers and providing them alternative employment. With the enactment of this law, the construction and maintenance of the insanitary latrines has become an offence.

Key points of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013:

1.)  Prohibition of Insanitary and Employment or engagement as Manual Scavengers

It will be an offence to: 

Penalty against offenders:

  • First contravention is punishable with imprisonment up to 1 year or with the fine up to Rs 50,000 or both.

  • Any subsequent contravention is punishable with imprisonment up to 2 years or with the fine up to Rs 5 lakh or both.

2.)  Prohibition of person from engagement or employment for hazardous cleaning of a sewer or a septic tank

  • First contravention is punishable with imprisonment up to two years or with a fine up to two lakh rupees or with both

  • Any subsequent contravention is punishable with imprisonment up to five years or with fine up to five lakh rupees or with both

3.)  Under this Act, offences are cognizable and non-bail able

4.)  Time bound survey of Manual Scavengers in Urban and rural areas

5.)  Comprehensive Rehabilitation of the Manual Scavengers within a time bound framework 

  • Manual Scavengers will be issued Photo Identity card

  • Government will provide initial cash aid

  • Children of the Manual Scavengers will be provided scholarship

  • Residential plot with financial aid will be allocated for the construction of the house or a ready built house

  • Imparting Manual Scavengers livelihood skill

  • Providing concessional loan with subsidy for assuming alternative occupation 

  • Extending any other legal or programmatic help 

6.)  Vigilance/ Monitoring Mechanism 

The implementation of the Act will be under the following Vigilance/Monitoring panels at various levels of State and Centre.

Vigilance Committees

  • District level committees will be headed by District Magistrate

  • Sub-Division level committees will be headed by Sub Divisional Magistrate
Monitoring Committees

  • State level committees will be headed by Chief Minister

Centre level committees will be headed by Minister of Social Justice and Employment

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