30 SEPTEMBER 2014
Komagata Maru centenary observed
A year-long centenary commemoration of the Komagata Maru was launched in the presence of three granddaughters of Baba Gurdit Singh who was among the leaders of the 376 immigrants aboard the ship that had been turned away from Canada and forced to return to India.
The British imperial government saw the men on the ship as dangerous political agitators, and sent the police to arrest Singh and others. While Singh escaped arrest, 19 men were killed in the firing.
About Komagata Maru incident:
A Japanese steam ship named Komagata maru, filled with Indian immigrants was forced to return to India on September 29, 1914 from Canada when the passengers were not allowed to land in Canada(only 24 out of 352 passengers were admitted to Canada). This was due to the Continuous passage act enacted by the Canadian government to check the immigrants and particularly from India.
In this incident, 19 Canada-bound Indian immigrants were killed in police firing and many were arrested by the British police. This incident made the Ghadar Party proclaim war and inspired thousands of Indian immigrants to come back and organize an armed rebellion against British imperialism. However, this movement was crushed by the British.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013
The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 which came into force on 6th December, 2013, is an important tool for achieving the government’s objective of complete sanitation.
The Act addresses the twin problems of insanitary latrines and manual scavengers in a very comprehensive manner. It provides for elaborate mechanisms at the local, state and central level to ensure that the insanitary latrines which are the root cause of manual scavenging are eliminated and the manual scavengers are rehabilitated in alternative occupations on a sustainable basis.
- The act prohibits the employment of manual scavengers, the manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks without protective equipment, and the construction of insanitary latrines.
- It seeks to rehabilitate manual scavengers and provide for their alternative employment.
- Each local authority, cantonment board and railway authority is responsible for surveying insanitary latrines within its jurisdiction. They shall also construct a number of sanitary community latrines.
- Each occupier of insanitary latrines shall be responsible for converting or demolishing the latrine at his own cost. If he fails to do so, the local authority shall convert the latrine and recover the cost from him.
- The District Magistrate and the local authority shall be the implementing authorities.
- Offences under this act shall be cognizable and non-bailable, and may be tried summarily.
As per the Act, the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis has been mandated to monitor the implementation of the Act. It states that the Commission shall perform the following functions:
- To monitor the implementation of the Act;
- To enquire into complaints regarding contravention of the provisions of the Act, and to convey its findings to the concerned authorities with recommendations requiring further action; and
- To advise the Central and the State Governments for effective implementation of the provisions of the Act.
- To take suo motu notice of matter relating to non-implementation of the Act.
In the discharge of its above mentioned functions, the Commission has been given the powers to call for information with respect to any matter specified above from any Government or local or other authority.
Sources: PIB, www.prsindia.org.
It is an apex development and specialized bank established on 12 July 1982 by an act by the parliament of India.
Its main focus is to uplift rural India by increasing the credit flow for elevation of agriculture & rural non farm sector.
It was established based on the recommendations of the Committee set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the chairmanship of Shri B. shivaraman.
It replaced the Agricultural Credit Department (ACD) and Rural Planning and Credit Cell (RPCC) of Reserve Bank of India, and Agricultural Refinance and Development Corporation (ARDC).
It is one of the premier agencies to provide credit in rural areas.
It has been accredited with “matters concerning policy, planning and operations in the field of credit for agriculture and other economic activities in rural areas in India”.
NABARD is active in developing financial inclusion policy and is a member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.
Its role and functions:
It looks after the development of the cottage industry, small industry and village industry, and other rural industries.
The Bank has been given certain roles as follows:
- It Serves as an apex financing agency for the institutions providing investment and production credit for promoting the various developmental activities in rural areas
- It takes measures towards institution building for improving absorptive capacity of the credit delivery system, including monitoring, formulation of rehabilitation schemes, restructuring of credit institutions, training of personnel, etc.
- Co-ordinates the rural financing activities of all institutions engaged in developmental work at the field level and maintains liaison with Government of India, State Governments, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other national level institutions concerned with policy formulation
- It Undertakes monitoring and evaluation of projects refinanced by it.
- NABARD refinances the financial institutions which finances the rural sector.
- It regulates the institution which provides financial help to the rural economy.
- It provides training facilities to the institutions working the field of rural upliftment.
- It regulates the cooperative banks and the RRB’s, and manages talent acquisition through IBPS CWE.
NABARD is also known for its ‘SHG Bank Linkage Programme’ which encourages India’s banks to lend to SHGs.
Sources: The Hindu, www.nabard.org, Wiki.
01 OCTOBER 2014
About Enforcement Directorate
Enforcement Directorate, established in the year 1956, is a law enforcement agency and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India.
Directorate of Enforcement is a specialized financial investigation agency under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, which enforces the following laws: –
Foreign Exchange Management Act,1999 (FEMA) – A civil law having quasi judicial powers, for investigating suspected contraventions of the Exchange Control laws and regulations with powers to impose penalties on those adjudged guilty.
Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) – A Criminal Law, with the officers empowered to conduct investigations to trace assets derived out of the proceeds of crime, and to provisionally attach/ confiscate the same, to arrest and prosecute the offenders found to be involved in Money Laundering.
The other functions include:
- To collect, develop and disseminate intelligence relating to violations of FEMA, 1999, the intelligence inputs are received from various sources such as Central and State Intelligence agencies, complaints etc.
- To investigate suspected violations of the provisions of the FEMA, 1999 relating to activities such as “hawala” foreign exchange racketeering, non-realization of export proceeds, non-repatriation of foreign exchange and other forms of violations under FEMA, 1999.
- To adjudicate cases of violations of the erstwhile FERA, 1973 and FEMA, 1999.
- To realize penalties imposed on conclusion of adjudication proceedings.
- To handle adjudication, appeals and prosecution cases under the erstwhile FERA, 1973
- To process and recommend cases for preventive detention under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA)
- To undertake survey, search, seizure, arrest, prosecution action etc. against offender of PMLA offence.
- To provide and seek mutual legal assistance to/from contracting states in respect of attachment/confiscation of proceeds of crime as well as in respect of transfer of accused persons under PMLA.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, http://www.enforcementdirectorate.gov.in/.
Vigilance Commissioner Rajiv to act as CVC
President Pranab Mukherjee has authorised Vigilance Commissioner Rajiv to act as Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) until a regular appointment is made.
Established in 1964, it is the Main agency to address governmental corruption.
The CVC is not an investigating agency, and works through either the CBI or through the Departmental Chief Vigilance Officers.
It was created by a resolution of the central government on the recommendation of the Santhanam commission.
The CVC is headed by a Central Vigilance Commissioner who is assisted by two Vigilance Commissioners. They are appointed by the President of India by warrant under his hand and seal on the recommendation of a 3 member committee consisting of Prime Minister, central Home Minister and the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha.
The term of office of the Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners would be four years from the date on which they enter their office or till they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier and they are not eligible for further reappointment.
The Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner can be removed from his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be, ought to be removed.
CVC is only an advisory body. Central Government Departments are free to either accept or reject CVC’s advice in corruption cases.
The Ordinance of 1998 conferred statutory status to the CVC and the powers to exercise superintendence over functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment, and also to review the progress of the investigations pertaining to alleged offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 conducted by them.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, cvc.nic.in.
Rift between Hong Kong and China
China has failed to keep up the political commitments it made before taking control of Hong Kong from Britain in 1997. And hence protests are going on in Hong Kong demanding Democratic elections.
About Hong Kong and its relationship with China:
Hong Kong is officially known as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and is an autonomous region on the southern coast of China geographically enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea.
It is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. It is also known for its deep natural harbour.
Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after the First Opium War (1839–42). Hong Kong Island was first ceded to the UK in perpetuity, followed by Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and then the New Territories was put under lease in 1898. It was occupied by Japan during the Pacific War (1941–45), after which the British resumed control until 1997.
As a result of the negotiations and the 1984 agreement between China and Britain, Hong Kong was handed over to the People’s Republic of China and became its first Special Administrative Region on 1 July 1997, under the principle of “one country, two systems”.
As the last Crown Colony of the United Kingdom, loss of Hong Kong also represented the end of the British Empire.
It has a different political system from mainland China. Hong Kong’s independent judiciary functions under the common law framework. The Hong Kong Basic Law, the constitutional document drafted by the Chinese side before the handover based on the terms enshrined in the Joint Declaration, governs its political system, and stipulates that Hong Kong shall have a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign relations and military defence.
Points of tension between the Mainland and the Special Administrative Region (SAR), handed back to Beijing in 1997 after British rule ended, have been demonstrated in terms of marked differences in public behaviour to business ethics, as well as language and colloquialism barriers.
The agreement signed by Britain and China allowed Hong Kong to retain its free-market economy, a legal system with an independent judiciary and other rights, including greater civil liberties than residents of the mainland. China also promised free elections for Hong Kong’s chief executive in 2017, but, in august 2014, China’s legislature called for limiting the candidates who would be allowed to run, among other restrictions. With the government insisting on controlling the nomination process, the protesters’ demand for fully democratic elections looked to be slipping away, so they took to the streets.
China blocked moves by Hong Kong to move to full democracy, by ruling that only three candidates could run for elections as leader in 2017, and they would not be chosen by any process in Hong Kong, but by a nomination committee established by China.
Hong Kongers will be able to vote for their next chief executive in 2017 elections but only two or three candidates vetted by a pro-Beijing committee will be allowed to stand – something demonstrators have labelled a “fake democracy” that shows Hong Kong cannot trust its mainland overseers.
Civil liberties have also been increasingly restricted, while the election of the region’s chief executive is largely seen as a farce puppet-stringed by Beijing.
The crisis is also raising concerns in Taiwan, a self-governing island that the Chinese government insists is a province of China that must one day be reunited with the mainland. After what’s happened in Hong Kong, the Taiwanese will have no reason ever to trust China’s promise of “one country, two systems.”
Sources: The Hindu, www.nytimes.com, wiki.
Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002
The Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA), which came into force in July 2005, is aimed at combating money laundering in India with three main objectives –
- to prevent and control money laundering.
- to confiscate and seize the property obtained from laundered money, and
- to deal with any other issue connected with money laundering in India.
The Act provides that whosoever directly or indirectly attempts to indulge or knowingly assists or knowingly is a party or is actually involved in any process or activity connected with the proceeds of crime and projecting it as untainted property, shall be guilty of offences of money-laundering. For the purpose of money-laundering, the PMLA identifies certain offences under the Indian Penal Code, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, the Arms Act, the Wild Life (Protection) Act, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act and the Prevention of Corruption Act, the proceeds of which would be covered under this Act.
Special Court under Section 43 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) says that the Central Government, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court, shall, for trial of offence punishable under Section 4, by notification, designate one or more Courts of Session as Special Court or Special Courts for such area or areas or for such case or class or group of cases as may be specified in the notification.
A person, who is accused of having committed the offence of money laundering, has to prove that alleged proceeds of crime are in fact lawful property.
This act extends to the whole of India including the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
The Directorate of Enforcement in the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance is responsible for investigating the cases of offence of money laundering under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND) under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance is the central national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analyzing and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions to enforcement agencies and foreign FIUs.
For further reference: http://www.enforcementdirectorate.gov.in/faqs_on_pmla.pdf.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, www.enforcementdirectorate.gov.in, fiuindia.gov.in.
Reserve Bank keeps policy rates unchanged
Repo rate unchanged : 8 per cent.
Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) : 4 per cent.
(The repo rate is the rate at which the central bank lends money to banks. The CRR is the portion of total deposits of customers, which commercial banks have to hold as reserves either in cash or as deposits with the central bank).
Medium-term objective: inflation target of 6 per cent by January 2016.
p style=”text-align: right”>Sources: The Hindu.