News: Every year 21st September is celebrated as International day of Peace. It was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. The 2020 theme for the International Day of Peace is “Shaping Peace Together.”
News: The Election Commission of India (ECI) is going to organize an International Webinar on the Theme ‘‘Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during COVID-19: Sharing Country Experiences’. The webinar will mark ECI’s completion of one year of Chairmanship of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB).
- Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) is largest association of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) worldwide.
- At present A-WEB has 115 EMBs as Members & 16 Regional Associations/Organisations as Associate Members.
- An India A-WEB Centre has been established at New Delhi. It aims at world class documentation, research and training for sharing the best practices and capacity building of officials of A-WEB members.
News: Delhi police has arrested a Delhi journalist under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
- Background: Official Secrets Act (OSA) is India’s anti espionage (Spy and Secret agent) Act enacted in 1923 during the British Rule. It extends to all matters of secrecy and confidentiality in governance in the country.
- Scope of the Act: It broadly deals with two aspects —
- spying or espionage, covered under Section 3, and
- disclosure of other secret information of the government covered under Section 5. Secret information can be any official code, passwords ketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information. Under Section 5, both the person communicating the information, and the person receiving the information, can be punished.
- Classification of Document: A government Ministry or Department follows the Manual of Departmental Security Instructions, 1994, not under OSA. It is the government’s discretion to decide what falls under the ambit of a “secret” document to be charged under OSA.
- Primacy of RTI Act:
- Section 22 of the RTI Act provides for its primacy vis-a-vis provisions of other laws, including OSA. So if there is any inconsistency in OSA with regard to furnishing of information, it will be superseded by the RTI Act.
- However, under Sections 8 and 9 of the RTI Act, the government can refuse information. If the government classifies a document as “secret” under OSA Clause 6, that document can be kept outside the ambit of the RTI Act.
- In 2006, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) recommended that OSA be repealed, and replaced with a chapter in the National Security Act containing provisions relating to official secrets.
- In 2015 also, government had set up a committee to look into provisions of the OSA in light of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. It recommended that OSA be made more transparent and in line with the RTI Act
News: Russia has rejected US terms and conditions on New START treaty.
- The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation. It was signed in 2010.
- The treaty limits the US and Russia to possess a maximum of 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers well below Cold War caps.
- The duration of the treaty is ten years and can be extended for a period of no more than five years at a time.
News: INS Viraat will be broken at Alang in Gujarat and sold as scrap. It was decommissioned in 2017.
- Background: INS Viraat is a Centaur class aircraft carrier. It had served in the British Navy as HMS Hermes for 25 years from November 1959 to April 1984. After refurbishment it was commissioned into the Indian Navy in May 1987.
- Motto: Its motto was (in Sanskrit) – “Jalamev Yasya Balmev Tasya” (One who controls the sea is all powerful).
- Played pivotal in Operation Jupiter in 1989 during the Sri Lankan Peacekeeping operation.
- It was also deployed during 2001-02 operation Operation Parakram following the terror attack on the Indian Parliament.
- It is the longest serving warship in the world and holds a Guinness Book of World Records.
News: The government has introduced Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2020, Code on Social Security Bill, 2020 and Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill, 2020 in Lok Sabha
Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2020
- Introduce more conditions restricting the rights of workers to strike: It proposes that no person employed in an industrial establishment shall go on strike without a 60-day notice and during the pendency of proceedings before a Tribunal or a National Industrial Tribunal.
- threshold for requirement of a standing order. It is rules of conduct for workmen employed in industrial establishments. The threshold for requirement of standing order has been increased to over 300 workers.
- Layoffs: It has increased the threshold relating to layoffs and retrenchment in industrial establishments with 300 workers, from 100 workers or more at present
- worker re-skilling fund: It proposes establishment of a worker re-skilling fund.
Code on Social Security Bill, 2020
- Registration of workers: It makes provisions for registration of all three categories of workers – unorganised workers, gig workers and platform workers.
- Social Security fund: It states that the central government will set up social security funds for unorganised workers, gig workers and platform workers.
- National Social Security for gig workers and platform workers: It calls for establishment of a national and various state-level boards for administering schemes for unorganised sector workers, gig workers and platform workers.
Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions, 2020
- Contract Labour: It prohibits contract labour in core activities, except where: (i) the normal functioning of the establishment is such that the activity is ordinarily done through contractor, (ii) the activities are such that they do not require full time workers for the major portion of the day, or (iii) there is a sudden increase in the volume work in the core activity which needs to be completed in a specified time.
- Daily work hour limit: It fixes the maximum limit at eight hours per day.
- Employment of women: It provides that women will be entitled to be employed in all establishments for all types of work under the Bill.