Page no. 1
No separate labour rights for transgenders
In 2014, the Supreme Court recognised transgender persons as the ‘third gender’ and asked the Centre and the States to give them equal opportunities in education and employment. The Wages Code Bill was drafted by the Labour Ministry to rationalise the country’s 44 labour laws into four codes covering all the regulations pertaining to wages, industrial relations, social security and safety, and health and working conditions. However, the present NDA government has dropped plans to recognize transgender persons as the ‘third gender’ in the country’s labour law framework because of the objection of the Law Ministry. According to the General Clauses Act of 1897 ‘transgenders’ fall within the definition of ‘person’ and hence the Law Ministry objected that there was no need to add a separate clause for them.
Page no. 1
North Korea tests ‘hydrogen’ bomb, sparks outrage
North Korea said on Sunday that it tested a ‘hydrogen’ bomb which it can mount on a missile, declaring its biggest-ever nuclear detonation a “perfect success.” This sparked a strong rebuke around the world. U.S. President Donald Trump slammed the act “dangerous” while China strongly condemns the test and began emergency monitoring for radiation at its border with the North Korea. Japan described it as “absolutely unacceptable,” while South Korea asked United Nations to “completely isolate North Korea.”
Page no. 1
In Cabinet rejig, PM Modi rewards performance
Nirmala Sitharaman get Defence; key posts for Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal
Page no. 3
Flood waters enter newer areas in Dhemaji district
Rivers of Assam flowing above the danger mark; 41,500 people affected in 6 districts
Page no. 5
Mahabali debuts at shadow puppetry on ‘thiruvonam’
Ancient art form has an Asura king as central character for the first time
Page no. 5
‘Jeevamrutam’ gives a push to natural farming
The Tribal people of Hukumpeta and Anantagiri of Andhra Pradesh are now started to make bio-fertilizer/pesticide called ‘Jeevamrutam.’ Cow urine and dung are the main ingredients of this bio-fertilizer/pesticide. This initiative is taken under the Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) policy of Andhra Pradesh state government. Under the ZBNF, the government provides an assistance of Rs. 12,000 to construct cattle-sheds and collect cow urine. Only 15 persons are producing ‘Jeevamrutam’ in the four mandals of Anantagiri, Araku, Dumbriguda, and Hukumpeta and to make cultivation totally organic, the number of ‘Jeevamrutam’ maker should increase.
Page no. 6
‘Give proof of incentivising farmers’
The National Green Tribunal has directed the governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to submit at least 10 specific cases of small farmers who are being given incentives to desist them from burning crop residue in a bid to prevent air pollution within three weeks. The direction came after a group of farmers alleged that the Punjab government was not taking any effective steps on the issue except passing orders and not providing infrastructure or any kind of benefits to them. The NGT had earlier fixed the environment penalty amounts per incident of crop burning to be paid by small land owners having less than two acres of land at Rs. 2,500, medium land owners holding over two acres and less than five acres at Rs. 5,000 and those owning over five acres at Rs. 15,000. It had also directed the State governments to take coercive and punitive action against persistent defaulters and asked them to withdraw the assistance provided to such farmers.
Page no. 7
Odisha villagers grow back their forest
International market for medicinal wild produce sparks interest in its regeneration
Page no. 11
Nirmala will have to hit the ground running
Nirmala Sitharaman will take over as the first full-time woman Defence Minister of India on Wednesday. The Ministry did not have a full-time Minister for over 10 months since Manohar Parrikar’s exit in November. Ms. Sitharaman has a multitude of challenges to tackle as Defence Minister. The big challenge for her is to craft out a national security strategy for the future. In addition, she is faced with three or four major challenges; handle the dynamics on India-China border, handle the volatile Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, defence procurements and military modernization and open up domestic defence manufacturing to the private sector.
Page no. 8
Perform or perish
In the present reshuffle in the Council of Ministers, performance is evaluated rather than the political expedience. A few of the poor performers are out while some other better performer including Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradan are elevated to the Cabinet ranks. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is most probably serious about the 75-year- rule for the ministerial position as few minister lost their position because of age. The entrant of former civil servants is indicating that their mandate will be to single-mindedly focus on results without having to worry about nurturing a constituency or reporting to a career politician. Ms. Sitharaman was rewarded with the Defence Ministry, making her only the second woman after Indira Gandhi to hold the portfolio. However, by choosing to ignore the claims of the BJP’s allies, and by making no attempt to correct imbalances in regional representation, Mr. Modi succeeded in creating the impression that he had nothing in mind other than picking the best person for each job. Mr. Modi has signalled by this reshuffle that he creates his own team and for it, he can neglect the political claims and political compromise
Page no. 8
Investing in the ecosystem
Prime Minister Mr. Nardrea Modi emphasise through this quote on the importance of India’s natural ecosystems as its ‘natural capital’ and factoring in the economic, social, cultural and spiritual value of ecosystem services into the calculation of true economic growth and development. Natural resources are a critical yet often ignored part of our country’s national infrastructure. Boasting 11% of the world’s floral and faunal species, India is one of the 17 most ecologically diverse countries. Blessed with every major ecosystem, these biomes directly contribute billions of dollars annually to the Indian economy. The financial value of India’s forests, for example, which encompass economic services such as timber and fuel wood and ecological services such as carbon sequestration, is estimated to be $1.7 trillion. With increasing economic activity, natural capital assets are on the decline, directly affecting the quality of life and potentially giving rise to future inefficiencies in the economy. Scientists have identified nine earth system processes to have boundaries which mark the safe zones, beyond which there is a risk of ‘irreversible and abrupt environmental change’. Four of these boundaries have now been crossed — climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land system change and altered biogeochemical cycles, such as phosphorus and nitrogen cycles. This means that human activity has already altered the balance of a few delicate equilibriums, the effects of which are reflected by changing weather patterns, accelerated extinction events for both flora and fauna, and global warming. This stresses the need for a comprehensive evaluation system that takes these undesirable side-effects of economic activities into account. Unlike the economic value of goods and services, the intangible nature of natural assets is mostly invisible and hence remains unaccounted for. While it may be difficult to put a price tag on nature, unchecked exploitation of scarce natural resources and an inadequate response to India’s unique climate challenges can be a very costly mistake. Making natural capital thinking the norm requires a strong policy push and the adoption of valuation frameworks such as the Natural Capital Coalition’s Natural Capital Protocol. Integrating natural capital assessment and valuation into our economic system is critical to usher in a truly sustainable future for India