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Prime minister released 1st ever Disaster Managment Plan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 June 2016 released the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP). The plan aims to make India disaster resilient and reduce loss of lives.
•    It is the first of its kind of national plan prepared in India. It emphasizes on a greater need for Information, Education and Communication activities to prepare communities to cope with disasters.
 
•    The plan is based on:
•    Understanding disaster risk,
•    Improving disaster risk governance,
•    Investing in disaster risk reduction (through structural and non-structural measures),
•    Disaster preparedness, early warning and building back better in the aftermath of a disaster.
•    It covers all phases of disaster management: prevention, mitigation, response and recovery.
•    It provides for horizontal and vertical integration among all the agencies and departments of the government.
•    The plan also spells out the roles and responsibilities of all levels of government right up to Panchayat and Urban Local Body level in a matrix format.
•    The plan has a regional approach that will be beneficial for disaster management along with development planning.
•    It is designed in such a way that it can be implemented in a scalable manner in all phases of disaster management.
•    It also identifies major activities such as early warning, information dissemination, medical care, fuel, transportation, search and rescue, evacuation, etc. to serve as a checklist for agencies responding to a disaster.
•    It also provides a generalized framework for recovery and offers flexibility to assess a situation and build back better.

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Union Minister releases Draft Model Rules under Juvenile Justice

The Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi released the Draft Model Rules under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 in New Delhi today. The draft rules have been released for stakeholder comments and suggestions.
 The Act is a comprehensive law with strengthened provisions for children in conflict with law and those in need of care and protection. 
•    The Draft Model Rules, 2016 that repeal the Model Rules, 2007, are based on the philosophy that children need to be reformed and reintegrated into society. 
•    The Rules are appreciative of the development needs of children and therefore best interest of the child along with child friendly procedures is incorporated across the provisions and is the primary consideration.
•    One of the key features of the JJ Act, 2015 is special treatment of children in the age group of 16-18 years who commit heinous offences. 
•    The Draft rules prescribe detailed child friendly procedures for police, Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and Children’s Court. 
•    A principle of JJ Act, 2015 is that keeping children in institutional care should be a measure of last resort. The Act therefore provides for various de-institutionalization measures for children such as adoption, foster care and sponsorship. 

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Union Cabinet gives approval to Amendments in Constitution ST Order, 1950

Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 May 2016 gave the ex-post facto approval to the amendments in the Constitution (Schedule Tribes) Order, 1950.
•    The approval was given to modify the list of Scheduled Tribes in respect of five States, namely, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Tripura
•    Assam - i) Boro, Boro Kachari,    Bodo, Bodo Kachari, ii) Karbi (Mikir)
•    Chhattisgarh - iii) Bhuinya, Bhuiyan, Bhuyan, iv) Dhanuhar / Dhanuwar, v)  Kisan
•    vi) Saunra, Saonra, vii) Dhangad
•    Jharkhand - viii) Bhogta, Deshwari, Ganjhu, Dautalbandi (Dwalbandi), Patbandi, Raut, Maajhia, Khairi (Kheri), ix)  Puran
•    Tamil Nadu - x) Malayali Gounder, xi) Narikoravan,      Kurivikkaran
•    Tripura - xii) Darlong
•    Puducherry - xiii) Irular (including Villi and Vettaikaran)
•    
•    Besides, it also seeks to identify new communities in the Union Territory of Puducherry.
•    After the Bill becomes an Act, members of the communities included in the list of Scheduled Tribes will be able to derive benefits meant for Scheduled Tribes under the existing schemes.
•    Further, existing entries in list of Scheduled Castes (SCs) in case of Jharkhand and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) /Most Backward Classes (MBCs) of Central /State lists would be modified.
•    Under Article 342 of the Constitution of India certain privileges/concessions to the members of Scheduled Tribes has been provided.
•    As per the approved Modalities of June 1999, later modified in June 2002, any proposal for inclusion/exclusion by the concerned State Government/UT Administration shall be in concurrence with the both the Registrar General of India (RGI) as well as the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST).

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Cabinet approves 1st ever Capital Goods Policy

On 25 May 2016 The Union Cabinet approved the National Capital Goods Policy 2016. 
•    This is first ever policy for Capital Goods sector with a clear objective of increasing production of capital goods from 2.3 lakh crore rupees in 2014-15 to 7.5 lakh crore rupees in 2025.
•    Objective is to increase the share of capital goods contribution from present 12 to 20 percent of total manufacturing activity by 2025
•    To become one of the top capital goods producing nations of the world by raising the total production to over twice the current level
•    To improve skill availability by training 50 lakhs people by 2025
•    New initiatives and policy actions and they are:
•    Devising a long term, stable and rationalized tax and duty structure to ensure cost competitiveness of the sector
•    Drafting a comprehensive public procurement policy with amended qualifying criteria and introducing special provisions in contracts for domestic value addition
•    Promoting development of new technology through indigenous sources
•    Providing Technology Upgrade Fund Support across all capital goods sub-sectors
•    Developing manufacturing clusters with shared facilities especially for SMEs
•    The capital goods sector operates in a dynamic local and global environment and it is imperative for the policy to undergo a periodic review and revision to maintain its relevance.
•    The National Capital Goods Policy 2016 will be reviewed every five years and revised appropriately to take account of progress in implementation and emerging trends in the national and international environment.

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Justice Tinlianthang Vaiphei sworn in as acting Chief Justice of Tripura High Court

Justice Tinlianthang Vaiphei on 16 May 2016 was sworn in as the acting Chief Justice of Tripura High Court. He was administered the oath of office by the Governor Tathagata Roy at the Raj Bhavan in Agartala.
•    At present Vaiphei is the Acting Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court. He replaced Deepak Kumar Gupta, who was transferred as the chief justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court.
•    Vaiphei was appointed as an Additional Judge in the Gauhati High Court in July 2003. He was elevated as the Chief Justice (Acting) in October 2015.
•    High Court of the state of Tripura was established in March 2013.
•    Prior to the establishment, a bench of the Gauhati High Court used to have jurisdiction over the state.
•    The seat of the High Court is at Agartala, the capital of Tripura.
•    Deepak Gupta worked as the first Chief Justice of the court.
•    This article empowers the President of India to appoint acting Chief Justice to a High Court.
•    Appointment of acting Chief Justice takes place when the office of Chief Justice of High Court is vacant.
•    Such an appointment also takes place when any such Chief Justice is, by reason of absence or otherwise, unable to perform the duties of his office.

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Justice Tinlianthang Vaiphei sworn in as acting Chief Justice of Tripura High Court

Justice Tinlianthang Vaiphei on 16 May 2016 was sworn in as the acting Chief Justice of Tripura High Court. He was administered the oath of office by the Governor Tathagata Roy at the Raj Bhavan in Agartala.
•    At present Vaiphei is the Acting Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court. He replaced Deepak Kumar Gupta, who was transferred as the chief justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court.
•    Vaiphei was appointed as an Additional Judge in the Gauhati High Court in July 2003. He was elevated as the Chief Justice (Acting) in October 2015.
•    High Court of the state of Tripura was established in March 2013.
•    Prior to the establishment, a bench of the Gauhati High Court used to have jurisdiction over the state.
•    The seat of the High Court is at Agartala, the capital of Tripura.
•    Deepak Gupta worked as the first Chief Justice of the court.
•    This article empowers the President of India to appoint acting Chief Justice to a High Court.
•    Appointment of acting Chief Justice takes place when the office of Chief Justice of High Court is vacant.
•    Such an appointment also takes place when any such Chief Justice is, by reason of absence or otherwise, unable to perform the duties of his office.

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Supreme Court upholds validity of Criminal Defamation Law

On 13 May 2016 The Supreme Court agreed with constitutional validity of penal laws on defamation. 
The two-judge bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C Pant said the right to life under Article 21 includes the right to reputation.
•    It said that the current criminal defamation law is constitutionally valid.
•    It held that criminalization of defamation to protect individual dignity of life and reputation is a reasonable restriction on the fundamental right of free speech and expression.
•    The court said that Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code make defamation a criminal offence.
•    The bench said that the freedom of right to speech and expression does not confer any right to a person to trample the reputation of others.
•    It said that defaming a person amounts to offence against society and the government is entitled to lodge a case against a person under criminal defamation law.
•    The bench in its 268-page verdict dismissed apprehensions and said that criminal defamation may have a chilling effect on the freedom to circulate one’s independent view.
Besides, the petitioners who are facing criminal defamation trial were given eight weeks time to approach the High Court’s concerned under Article 226 and Section 482 of the Cr.

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Supreme Court asked Delhi Government not to register New Diesel Cars

On 10 May 2016 The Supreme Court asked the Delhi Government to not register the new diesel cars. 
•    It relaxed its April 30 order of imposing ban on diesel taxis in Delhi-NCR from 1 May 2016
•    It allowed the existing All India Tourist Permit (AITP) diesel taxis to operate in the national capital till the expiry of their permit.
•    The permits which are issued for a period of five years, however, will not be renewed after expiry.
•    It further underlined that diesel taxis will eventually have to go off the roads
•    It is likely to free up more than 60000 taxis, which had to go off roads since they had not switched to CNG.
•    The court-mandated stipulation regarding fare compliance with government norms may affect ‘surge pricing’ used by taxi aggregators, which the Delhi government had sought to stop during odd-even phase 2.

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Ministry Of Road Transport & Highways Sets Up Committee to Frame Policy For Taxi Operators

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has constituted a three member committee to prepare a policy framework for taxi and other transport operators. 
•    The committee will be headed by Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and have Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Delhi Transport Commissioner as its members. 
•    A group of taxi and other transport operators had met Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping.
•    Supreme Court’s order dated 15th December 2015 and directions of EPCA dated 29th April 2016 banned diesel taxis in the NCR
•    People are facing various problems as a result of the ban. 
•    The Ministry has decided to set up the three member committee to look into these issues and come up with appropriate policy recommendations to address the same in a time bound manner. 

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Lok Sabha passed the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015

On 3 May 2016 Lok Sabha passed the Compensatory Afforestation Fund bill, 2015.
It is intended to establish setting up of a National Compensatory Afforestation Fund and also a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund.
•    The Bill establishes the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.
•    These Funds will receive payments for: (a) compensatory afforestation, (b) net present value of forest (NPV), and (c) other project specific payments. 
•    These Funds will be primarily spent on afforestation to compensate for loss of forest cover
•    The Bill establishes the National and State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authorities to manage the National and State Funds.
A High Level Committee on Environment Laws said that quality of forest cover has declined between 1951 and 2014, with poor quality of compensatory afforestation plantations being one of the reasons behind the decline.

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