Reading Time: 6 mins External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankar, on December 9, 2019, introduced Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha. The introduction of the Bill comes days after 18 Indians aboard a crude oil carrier were kidnapped off the coast of Nigeria. This Bill provides for stringent punishment, including the death penalty to those who are involved in acts of maritime piracy. It was criticised by the opposition for the inclusion of the death penalty. It was referred to the parliamentary standing committee on external affairs chaired by former Union Minister P.P.Choudhary.
Reading Time: 9 mins With the decreasing revenue and increasing expenditure, the Finance Minister took the fiscal expansion path not just for the current fiscal, but also for the next fiscal. This is despite over 37% reduction in food subsidy and nearly 11% reduction in fertilizer subsidy. The deficit for the current fiscal is to be 3.8% as against 3.3% announced in the last year’s budget. This was done by making use of Section 4(2) of the FRBM Act that provides for the deviation from the estimated fiscal deficit. The government argued that this fiscal path aims for fiscal consolidation without compromising the investment needs from the public funds. This shows that there is a need for a comprehensive investment on the capital front to ensure an increase in the revenue for the government and reform in the FRBM Act to make sure that the targets set by this law are achieved.
Reading Time: 5 mins Seeds occupy a peculiar position in agriculture. They are at the root of big policy-making, scaled agricultural outputs, while also at the top of discourses on food security, livelihood and innovation. They may seem to strengthen the quality food policy but are integral to farmers. Recently, the ministry of agriculture and farmer’s welfare introduced the draft seed bill, 2019 in the parliament. It was introduced with the aim of regulating the seed industry in India and ensuring the welfare of farmers through regulating the prices of hybrid seeds, ensuring certification of seeds, holding seed companies accountable if seeds don’t perform according to the expectations, etc. It was followed by the protest by farmers all over India stating that it threatens the sovereignty of farmers over seeds.
Reading Time: 5 mins The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 was passed by both houses of parliament and came into effect on 15 January 2016. This act was under public scrutiny because of the provision that provided for the consideration of the 16-18 year olds as adults in case of them indulging in heinous crimes.
Reading Time: 6 mins Recently, the Parliament has passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which seeks to ease norms for religious minorities from neighboring nations (non-Muslims) to get Indian citizenship by amending the age-old Citizenship Act, 1955. However, it has polarized regions in border states such as Assam since the locals fear that it will result in demographic change due to immigration.
Reading Time: 7 mins India is a victim of numerous road accidents annually. Road safety is a necessary measure that needs to be taken for the safety of all road users. It is the all-encompassing methods and measures used to prevent road users from being killed or injured. The typical road users include pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, vehicle passengers and passengers of on-road public transport. India’s road safety is the worst in the record. About 149,000 people lost their lives on Indian roads in 2018 alone. India accounts for about 2% of motor vehicles globally. Yet, it is the home for more than 11% of the world’s road traffic deaths. According to a UN study, India loses 3% of its GDP to road accidents by removing prime age adults from the workforce. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 was enacted this year to address the hazard of deaths and injuries due to road accidents. According to Union Transport Minister, it could come down by half if the provisions of this Act are implemented stringently.
Reading Time: 9 mins RTI (Amendment) Act, 2019 had received the President’s assent despite the protests due to certain controversial provisions in the amended Act. This Act seeks to empower the Centre to decide the tenure, salary, allowance and other terms of services of the Information Commissioners of the Central Information Commission and also of State Information Commissions. Giving such powers to the Centre undermines the fundamental purpose of this Act – the government’s accountability and transparency.
Reading Time: 5 mins India’s real estate environment has been facing land market distortions, including inflexible zoning, rent control and protected tenancies for many years now. These were harmful to the health of this market. The earlier Rent Control Act was an attempt by the government to eliminate the exploitation of tenants by the landlords. However, in the long …