Bills and Acts in Current Affairs 2017

Parliament passes Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016

The Parliament has passed the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016 to provide statutory status to the existing Regional Centre for Biotechnology in Faridabad, Haryana.

The Bill seeks to provide legislative backing to the Regional Centre and also confers upon it the status of an institution of national importance.

Key Facts

  • Objectives of the Regional Centre: (i) Disseminate knowledge by providing teaching and research facilities in biotechnology and related fields, (ii) create a hub of biotechnology expertise, (iii) facilitate transfer of technology and knowledge in the SAARC region and generally Asia and (iv) Promote cooperation at the international level.
  • Powers: (i) Provide masters, post-graduate diplomas and doctoral degrees in biotechnology and related subjects (eg. Agricultural, medical and engineering sciences)

(ii) Institute academic positions like professorships and appoint them (iii) Determine standards of admission to the Regional Centre etc.

  • It will have Board of Governors, Programme Advisory Committee, Executive Committee and Finance Committee etc. as authorities responsible for its administration and functioning.

Background

  • In 2006, India had entered into an agreement with the UNESCO regarding establishment of the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education in India to serve the member countries of UNESCO.
  • In light of this agreement, the Union government had established the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education in Faridabad, Haryana in 2009 through an executive order.

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Union Cabinet considers Model Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016

The Union Cabinet has considered the Model Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016.

The Bill will be sent to States/UTs so that they will be able to modify their individual Acts, if they so desire. The States/UTs can either adopt the Bill as it is or modify its provisions as per their requirements.

Key features of the Bill

  • Provides freedom to the establishment to operate 365 days and also their opening/closing time.
  • Covers only establishments employing ten or more workers under it ambit. It does not cover manufacturing units.
  • Permits women during night shift, if the establishments have provisions of shelter, rest room, ladies toilet, transportation and adequate protection of their dignity etc.
  • Does not allow discrimination against women in the matter of recruitment, training, promotions or transfer.
  • Empowers Government to make rules regarding adequate measures to be taken for the safety and health of workers by the employer.
  • Establishing a simplified one common online Registration procedure. Provision of clean and safe drinking water in the establishments.
  • Provisions for common creche, lavatory, first aid and canteen by group of establishments. It will be applicable in case not possible for individual establishment due to constraint in space or otherwise.
  • Compulsory provisions of five paid festival holidays in addition to national holidays etc.
  • Provides exemption to highly skilled workers from daily working hours of 9 hours and weekly working hours of 48 hours.
  • However, this provision is to subject to maximum 125 over-time hours in a quarter for the skilled workers. In this case skilled workers may be workers employed in Biotechnology, R&D and IT division.

Comment

This model Bill will bring uniformity in the legislative provisions for making it easier for all the States to adopt it. It will ensure uniform working conditions across the country and also facilitate generation of employment opportunities and ease of doing business. It will also allow shops, malls and cinema halls, among other establishments to run 24×7 throughout the year.

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