Jammu and Kashmir Current Affairs - 2019
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Employing or engaging a person has become an offence now as Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013 comes 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:
- Construct or maintain an insanitary latrine
- Engage or employ a person to work as the Manual Scavenger
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.
- District level committees will be headed by District Magistrate
- Sub-Division level committees will be headed by Sub Divisional Magistrate
- State level committees will be headed by Chief Minister
Centre level committees will be headed by Minister of Social Justice and Employment
According to National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Eastern and North Eastern states, which are battling with acute storage deficit, will get a priority in fund allocation for building warehouses.
The government has directed NABARD to give priority to states with food deficits like Jammu and Kashmir and to treat these states favourably to cut farm losses amid implementation of the world’s biggest population feeding programme under the National Food Security Bill.
Due to lack of proper storage facilities, a large quantity of horticulture produce go waste in the eastern states. States, which are not self-reliant in food grain production, will also be treated favourably as these states perhaps need more storage facilities sooner than others to prevent food grains from going waste.
What is NABARD doing to create warehousing facilities?
The country as a whole has a gap of 47 million tonnes of storage facility. To plug this gap, the RBI has approved NABARD’s Warehouse Financing Scheme, which was created with a Rs 5,000-crore government corpus to provide direct loans to private as well as public sector companies to build warehousing facilities to strengthen the country’s food storage infrastructure. The scheme has just begun.
A few years ago, NABARD had begun using the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) for providing refinance to commercial banks against loans to private entrepreneurs for building warehouses.
This created controversies as the RIDF was not meant for refinancing activity. This had prompted the RBI to intervene and prohibit NABARD from doing this. So, Nabard has formulated a new scheme for both public and private consumption to fulfill the growing demand for food storage capacity.