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Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill, 2017 passed in Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha has passed Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill, 2017 which seeks to give constitutional status to National Commission for Backward Classes. The bill was passed by the house with 360 MPs voting in favor and 2 against the bill.

Objectives of the Bill

The Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill seeks to make the following changes:

  • It seeks to insert a new article 338B in the constitution which provides for NCBC, its composition, mandate, functions and various officers.
  • Insert a new article 342-A which empowers the president to notify the list of socially and educationally backward classes of that state / union territory. In case of a state, president will make such notification after consultation with the Governor. Under the same article, it is proposed that parliament by making a law can include or exclude the classes from the central list of backward classes.

Background

The government had created a Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes via a resolution in 1987. It was given constitutional status by passing Constitution (65th amendment) Act, 1990, leading to creation of National Commission of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (NCSCST) in 1992. Via the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003; the NCSCST was split into two different commissions viz. NCSC and NCST by inserting Article 338-A. NCSC was mandated to look into the grievances and complaints of backward classes also. However, in 1992, the Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney case had directed the government to create a permanent body to entertain, examine and recommend the inclusion and exclusion of various Backward Classes for the purpose of benefits and protection. Towards this, the parliament passed National Commission for Backward Classes Act in 1993 and constituted the National Commission for Backward Classes as a statutory body. Currently, this body is responsible to look into the inclusion and exclusion of backward classes only. To safeguard the interests of these classes more effectively, there was a need to give constitutional status to NCBC. For this purpose, the above said amendment has been introduced and passed in Lok Sabha. The bill will now need to be passed in Rajya Sabha to become act.

Since the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 becomes irrelevant  once this bill becomes an act; Lok Sabha has also passed a separate bill to repeal that act.

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Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016: Key Provisions

The Lok Sabha has passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by a voice vote to give more thrust to road safety, controlling pollution and accidents.

The bill seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 that provides for legal standards for motor vehicles, grant of driving licenses, and penalties for violation of these provisions.

Key Provisions

  • National Transportation Policy: Union government must frame National Transportation Policy, in consultation with the states.
  • Recall of vehicles: It empowers Union government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defects in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users.
  • Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVAF): Mandatory for Union government to constitute Motor Vehicle Accident Fund to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India.
  • MVAF will be credited with cess or tax as approved by Union government, grant or loan made by Union government or any other source prescribed by Union government.
  • Care for road accident victims: Union government will develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour.
  • It defines golden hour as the time period of up to an hour following a traumatic injury, during which the likelihood of preventing death through prompt medical care is the highest.
  • Compensation for death: It increases the compensation for death in a hit and run case from to Rs two lakh or more from Rs 25,000, as prescribed by the Union government.
  • Protection of good samaritans: It defines a good samaritan as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at scene of an accident in good faith, voluntary and without the expectation of any reward.
  • Good samaritans will not be held liable for any criminal or civil action for any injury to or death of an accident victim. Union government may frame rules to provide for procedures for their questioning or disclosure of personal information.
  • Aggregator services: It defines an aggregator as a digital intermediary or market place and their services may be used by a passenger to connect with a driver for transportation purposes.
  • It makes mandatory for these aggregators to obtain licenses and comply with the Information Technology Act (IT), 2000.
  • Electronic services: The Bill provides for the computerization of certain services to improve delivery of services to the stakeholders using e-Governance.
  • It enables (i) online learning licenses, (ii) increases period of driving licenses validity, (iii) Do away with the requirements of educational qualifications for transport licenses etc.
  • It also proposes Aadhar based verification for grant of online services including learner’s licence to ensure the integrity of the online services and stop creation of duplicate licences.
  • Offences and penalties: It increases the penalties for several offences under the parent Act for high risk offences like drunken driving, dangerous driving, overloading, non-adherence to safety norms by drivers.
  • Offences committed Juveniles: The owner or guardian will be deemed guilty in cases of offences by the Juveniles. Juvenile will be tried under JJ Act and the registration of Motor Vehicle will be cancelled.

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29 lakh debit cards subjected to malware attack: Government

The Union Government has announced that total of 29 lakh debit cards were subjected to malware attack in through ATMs that were connected with the switch of Hitachi.

 It was announced by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The reply mentioned that the malware-induced security breach between May and July 2016 had compromised only 3,291 cards as reported by banks to the RBI. 

Measures taken after security breach
  • The Hitachi Payment Services (HPS) had appointed SISA Infosec for The Payment Card Industry (PCI) forensic investigation. NPCI had not carried out independent investigation.
  • The forensic report suggested that the only ATM infrastructure of HPS was breached and not the POS (point of sale) infrastructure.
  • RBI had advised banks to improve and maintain customer awareness and education with regard to cyber security risks.
  • RBI also has set up a Cyber Security and IT Examination (CSITE) Cell within its Department of Banking Supervision in 2015.
  • The central bank also had issued a comprehensive circular in June 2016 covering best practices pertaining to various aspects of cyber security.
  • It had instructions on banks cyber-security framework, asking them to put in place a board-approved cyber security policy, make arrangement for continuous surveillance and prepare a cyber-crisis management plan.

About Malware

Malware is short form of malicious software. It is any software used to disrupt computer or mobile operations, gain access to private computer systems, gather sensitive information, or display unwanted advertising. Before the term malware was coined by Yisrael Radai in 1990, malware was referred to as computer viruses.

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