Rajya Sabha Current Affairs - 2020

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Parliament nod to bill to protect rights of street vendors

Parliament passed “Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) bill-2014” to regulate street vending activities and protect the rights of urban street vendors besides ensuring steps against harassment by police and civic authorities. The Rajya Sabha adopted the bill by a voice vote and without discussion. (the bill was already passed by Lok Sabha).

Excerpts of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) bill-2014

  • Objective: To protect the rights of urban street vendors and regulating street vending activities and to create conducive atmosphere where street vendors will be eligible to carry out their business in a fair and transparent manner, without fear of eviction and harassment.
  • Legalizes street vending activities to ensure urban street vendors’ safety from police harassment.
  • Propose: To set up Town Vending Committees (TVC), which will be responsible for deciding vending zones and the number of vendors that each zone should have.
  • Provides protection of livelihoods rights, social security of street vendors, regulation of urban street vending in the country and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • Provides time-bound release of seized goods, for both perishable and non-perishable goods
  • There is a provision for establishment of an independent dispute redressal mechanism under the chairmanship of retired judicial officers to maintain impartiality towards grievance redressal of street vendors.
  • In order to avoid uncertainty of authorities, the Bill provides for a survey of all existing street vendors, and subsequent survey at-least once in every five years, and issue of certificate of vending to all the street vendors identified in the survey, with preference to SC, ST, OBC, women, persons with disabilities, minorities etc.
  • As per Section 29 of the Bill street vendors will be protected from harassment by police and other authorities and there is a prime clause to ensure they carry on their business without the fear of harassment by the authorities under any other law.
  • To prevent delay in implementation, the bill provides that the Rules under the Bill have to be notified within one year of its commencement, and Scheme has to be notified within six months of its commencement. 

Note: The Parliament also passed two other bills: Governors Emoluments, (Allowances and Privileges) Amendment and National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment). These two bills were also approved by the Rajya Sabha without discussion after these were adopted by the Lok Sabha.

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Union Government launched HIV Salvage Therapy

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched third-line drug therapy for people living with HIV/AIDS and extended free Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) to more of them by revising the eligibility norm.

  • The third-line therapy also known as salvage or rescue therapy is prescribed for people who have limited drug options left. 

At the launch of the National AIDS Control Programme Phase IV (2012-2017), Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad stated that:

  • For receiving free ART, the minimum CD4-count limit reduced from 500 to 350. The count is a measure of the viral load.
  • The highly expensive therapy (Third-Line Therapy) would enhance longevity and improve the quality of life of patients and will also be provided free of charge to patients.

The Union Government has also tabled the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014, in the Rajya Sabha to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and to protect the human rights of people living with it.

  • The Bill seeks to prohibit any kind of discrimination against the infected person — for instance, denial or termination of employment or occupation, unfair treatment, denial of access to any sector and forcible HIV testing.
  • Currently, India is estimated to have 2.39 million people living with HIV/AIDS.

Note: ART consists of the combination of at least three Anti-Retro Viral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease.

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