Mines Act ,1952

Why in news?

  • Labour Ministry announced last month that an amendment had been effected in the Mines Act 1952 to allow women to work in underground coal mines and also work night shifts in opencast mines

About Mines Act 1952

  • The Actis administered by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
  • The Mines Act, 1952contains provisions for measures relating to the health, safety and welfare of workers in the coal, metalliferous and oil mines.
  • DGMS is the Indian Government regulatory agency for safety in minesand oil-fields.
  • The Mines Act, 1952, restricted the employment of women in underground mines and also in opencast or aboveground workings of the mine during night hours between 7PM and 6AM.
  • Several women employees groups, industry and students enrolled with various institutions persuing mining engineering courses at degree and diploma levels have been representing to the government at different
 
  • forum that women should be provided equal employment opportunity for working in mines. Requests from Mining Companies were also received.

Mines and Minerals Amendment bill, 2016

  • Transfer of mining leases:
  • The Bill provides for transfer of mining leases, which have been granted through procedures other than auction and where minerals are used for captive purpose.
  • This provision will allow for merger and acquisition of companies with captive mining leases
    Leased area: The also bill adds the definition of leased area as the area within which mining operations can be undertaken
  • This will also include the non-mineralised area required and approved for the activities defined under Mines Act 1952
  • Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957: It regulates the mining sector in India.
  • It also specifies the requirement for obtaining and granting leases for mining operations.... 
Official Secrets Act

Why in news?

  • Eminent personalities across the fields staged a protest criticizing central governemt’s threatening act against investigation stories on rafale deal

About Official Secrets Act

  • The Official Secrets Act 1923 is India's anti-espionage act held over from the British colonial period.
  • It states clearly that actions which involve helping an enemy state against India are strongly condemned.
  • It also states that one cannot approach, inspect, or even pass over a prohibited government site or area.
  • According to this Act, helping the enemy state can be in the form of communicating a sketch, plan, model of an official secret, or of official codes or passwords, to the enemy

Conflict with right to information

In the OSA clause 6, information from any governmental office is considered official information, hence it can be used to override Right to Information Act 2005 requests. This has drawn harsh criticism

Official Secrets Act vs RTI 

  • Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act defines 'document' as 'document includes part of a document. This means if any part of the document is secret', then the disclosure of part other than 'secret' part also can be denied.
  • Section 10 of RTI Act provided for separation of the 'secret' part and release of the rest. This is the conflict between these two Acts.
  • Section 22 of the RTI Act expressly provided that the provisions of the RTI Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923, and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by any law other than the RTI Act.
  • This was further fortified in Section 8(2), which stated that information exempted under sub-section (1) or exempted under the Official Secrets Act, 1923 can be disclosed if public interest in the disclosure overweighs the harm to the protected interest.
Delimitation commission

Why in news?

  • The present constituencies carved out on the basis of 2001 census shall continue to be in operation till the first census after 2026
 

About Delimitation Commisiion

  • Delimitation means the drawing of boundaries.
  • The boundaries may be domestic, national and International, but the most general use of this term is in context with electoral boundaries.
  • Article 82 (Readjustment after each census) makes provision for delimitation of the electoral boundaries.
  • It is the process of allocation of number of Seats and their demarcation into territories.
  • Under Article 82, the Parliament by law enacts a Delimitation Act after every census.
  • After coming into force commencement of the Act, the Central Gov ernment constitutes a Delimitation Commission.
  • This Delimitation Commission demarcates the boundaries of the Parliamentary Constituencies as per provi sions of the Delimitation Act.
  • Delimitation commissions have been set up four times in the past viz. 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002 under Delimitation Commission acts of 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002.

Delimitation Commission of 2002

  • The most recent delimitation commission was set up on 12 July 2002 after the 2001 census with Justice Kuldip Singh, a retired Judge of the Supreme Court as its Chairperson
  • , the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) decided to implement the order from the Delimitation Commission
  • This means that all future elections in India for states covered by the commission will be held under the newly formed constituencies.
  • The present delimitation of parliamentary constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census figures under the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002
  • the Constitution of India was specifically amended in 2002 not to have delimitation of constituencies till the first census after 2026. Thus, the present constituencies carved out on the basis of 2001 census shall continue to be in operation till the first census after 2026
  • The assembly election in Karnataka, conducted in three phases in May 2008, was the first to use the new boundaries as drawn by the 2002 delimitation commission.

Reports and Indices

School Education Quality Index

Why in news?

The Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched 70-Point Grading Index to assess the quality of school education in the states.

About SEQI

  • The NITI Aayog developing a School Education Quality Index (SEQI)
  • the SEQI has 44 indicators under ‘Learning outcomes’, ‘Access outcomes’, ‘Equity outcomes’, and  ‘Governance and Management’, as opposed to the 70 indicators in the PGI
  • Admittedly, the index is aimed at helping states identify what their weaknesses are, where they are lagging behind, and planning interventions accordingly.
  • Concerns of the grading system giving rise to increased competition between the states/UTs, for better ranking and the corresponding benefits, are completely valid and legitimate.
  • The idea is not to rank the states but grade their performance as ranking may bring unhealthy competition.
  • Grading will help motivate more states to adopt structural reforms in school education
 

Performance Grading Index (PGI):

Aim: The index is aimed at helping states understand where they may be lagging behind and prioritise areas for intervention to ensure that the school education system is robust at every level.

  • The union Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry is compiling this schooling index.
  • The Index will assess states on a 1,000 point grading system with 10-20 points per parameter.
  • Areas:The 70 indicators will grade state schooling systems on areas like number of existing teacher vacancies, number of direct entry recruitments especially at leadership positions, school infrastructure and so on.
  • The Niti Aayog which was earlier developing its own School Education Quality Index, will be using 33 of the 70 criteria under the PGI for their own assessments.

Current Affairs Capsule

World Press Freedom Index
  • The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders based upon the organisation's own assessment of the countries' press freedom records in the previous year.
  • It intends to reflect the degree of freedom that journalists, news organisations, and netizens have in each country, and the efforts made by authorities to respect this freedom

MAP AIDED PROGRAMME

Buzi
  • The Indian Navy had launched a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operation in coordination with local officials to evacuate about 5000 people stranded at Buzi near Port Beira in Mozambique
  • The African nation has been devastated by tropical cyclone Idai.
  • Buzi District is a district of Sofala Province in Mozambique.
  • Mozambique officially the Republic of Mozambique is a country located in Southeast Africa bordered by the  Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west, and Eswatini (Swaziland) and South Africa to the southwest.
  • The sovereign state is separated from the Comoros, Mayotte and Madagascar by the Mozambique Channel to the east.

Previous Year Questions Revision Series (Pqrs)-(2012)

  1. Consider the following crops of India:      
  1. Cowpea                                             
  2. Green gram
  3. Pigeon pea

Which of the above is/are used as pulse, fodder and green manure?

(a) 1 and 2 only                (b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only                 (d) 1, 2, and 3