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CURRENT AFFAIRSTHE HINDU : AUGUST 2019

Daily Current Affairs : 7th August 2019 : The HINDU News Analysis



Consumer Protection Bill 2019 get parliamentary nod



The Bill seeks to replace the earlier Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Its key features includes following :
  • The Bill defines Consumer as a 'person who buys any good or avails a service for a consideration'. 
    • The definition does not includes a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purpose. 
    • It covers transactions through all modes including offline, and online through electronic means, tele-shopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling.
  •  The Bill defines a set of Consumer Rights which includes the following :
    1. Right to be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property; 
    2. Right to be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services; 
    3. Right to be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices; and 
    4. Right to seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.
  • Provision for Central Consumer Protection Authority(CCPA)
    • The central government to set up a CCPA to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.  It will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements.  
    • The CCPA will have an investigation wing, which will be headed by a Director-General, which may conduct inquiry or investigation into such violations.
    • Functions of CCPA includes :
      • It will inquire into violations of consumer rights, investigating and launching prosecution at the appropriate forum; 
      • It will pass orders to recall goods or withdraw services that are hazardous, reimbursement of the price paid, and discontinuation of the unfair trade practices, as defined in the Bill; 
      • It will issue directions to the concerned trader/ manufacturer/ endorser/ advertiser/ publisher to either discontinue a false or misleading advertisement, or modify it; 
      • It will oversee the imposition of penalties, and; 
      • It will issue safety notices to consumers against unsafe goods and services.
  • Penalties in case of Misleading Advertisement 
    • A fine up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years. If there is a case of repeated offence, the fine may extend up to  Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of up to five years.
  • Establishment of Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission(CDRC)
    • CDRC will be set up at district, state and national level.
    • A CDRC can address the complaints related to 
      • Unfair or restrictive trade practices; 
      • Defective goods or services; 
      • Overcharging or deceptive charging; and 
      • The offering of goods or services for sale which may be hazardous to life and safety.
    • Complaints against an unfair contract can be filed with only the State and National  Level Commissions whereas,  appeals from a District CDRC will be heard by the State CDRC.  
    • Appeals from the State CDRC will be heard by the National CDRC.  Final appeal will lie before the Supreme Court.
  • Jurisdiction of CDRCs
    • The District CDRC will entertain complaints where value of goods and services is not more than Rs 1 crore.  
    • The State CDRC will come to play in case the value is more than Rs 1 crore but does not exceed Rs 10 crore.  
    • Complaints with value of goods and services over Rs 10 crore will be entertained by the National CDRC.
  • Provision for the product liability : It means the liability of a product manufacturer, service provider or seller to compensate a consumer for any harm or injury caused by a defective good or deficient service.  
    • To claim compensation, a consumer has to prove any one of the conditions for defect or deficiency, as given in the Bill.

NATIONAL HANDLOOM DAY

The 5th edition of National Handloom Day is celebrated on 7th August 2019 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

Bhubaneswar has been chosen as the venue for the main event due to its rich tradition of Handlooms. A large portion i.e., more than 50% of total weavers population of India resides in Eastern and North Eastern Regions and most of them are women.

The prime objective of holding the National Handloom Day in Bhubaneswar is to empower women and girls.

Background

The National Handloom Day is observed annually on 7th August to 'honour the handloom weavers in the country and also highlight India’s handloom industry.' 



The Day seeks to focus on the contribution of handloom to the socio-economic development of the country and also increase the income of weavers.

It was in July 2015 that this day of August was declared  as the National Handloom Day by the Central Government with the objective of generating awareness about the importance of the handloom industry to the socio economic development of the country.

August 7 was chosen as the National Handloom Day to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement which was launched on this day in 1905 in Calcutta Town Hall to protest against the partition of Bengal by the British Government. The movement had aimed at reviving domestic products and production processes.

The first National Handloom Day was inaugurated on 7th August 2015 by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, at the centenary of Madras University in Chennai.

Source : Press Information Bureau



Mountaineering Expedition team to climb Mt. Elbrus
The expedition team comprises of eight professional mountaineers, and plans to summit Mt. Elbrus, the highest peak in European Continent on August 15, 2019 and hoist India's national flag atop the mountain to coincide with 73rd  Independence Day.

About Mt. Elbrus
It is a dormant volcano in the Caucasus Mountains in Southern Russia, near the border with Georgia. It is the highest mountain in Europe, and the 10th most prominent peak in the world.

It is worth noting that Mt. Elbrus sits on a moving tectonic area, and has been linked to a fault.






The Code on Wages, 2019
The Bill seeks to regulate wage and bonus payments in all employments where any industry, trade, business, or manufacture is carried out.
  • The Code replaces the following four laws:
    1. The Payment of Wages Act, 1936, 
    2. The Minimum Wages Act, 1948,
    3. The Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and 
    4. The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.
Key Highlights :
  • Coverage of the Bill 
    • It will apply to all employees.  
    • All the wage-related decisions for employments such as railways, mines, and oil fields, among others will be made by Central Government.  
    • State governments will make decisions for all other employments.
  • Definition of Wages : According to the Code, wages include 'salary, allowance, or any other component expressed in monetary terms.' This does not include bonus payable to employees or any travelling allowance.
  • Provision for Floor wage : A floor wage will be fixed by Central Government, taking into account living standards of workers. Also, there might be a set of different floor wages for different geographical areas.  
    • The central government may obtain the advice of the Central Advisory Board and State governments before fixing the Floor Wage.   
It is to be noted that the according to the Code, the minimum wages decided by the central or state governments must be higher than the floor wage.

In case the existing minimum wages fixed by the central or state governments are higher than the floor wage, they cannot reduce the minimum wages.
  • Setting up the minimum wage : The Code prohibits employers from paying wages less than the minimum wages which will be notified by the central or state governments and will be based on time, or number of pieces produced.  
    • Central or state governments at will review the minimum wage at an interval of not more than five years.  
    • Also, central or state governments may take into account factors while fixing the minimum wage, (i) skill of workers, and (ii) difficulty of work. 
  • Provisions for Overtime : Number of hours that constitute a normal working day are to be fixed by Central or State Government.  Also, an Overtime Wage, which should be atleast twice the normal wage is to be given in case of extra work done other than the normal day.   
  • Method of Payment of Wages :  Wages are to be paid in coins, currency notes, by cheque, by crediting to the bank account, or through electronic mode.  
    • The wage period will be fixed by the employer as either daily, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly.
  •  Deductions under the Code (Not to exceed 50% of the Employee's total wage) : It could be done on the following grounds :
    • Fines, 
    • Absence from duty, 
    • Accommodation given by the employer, or 
    • Recovery of advances given to the employee.
  • Method of calculating bonus : All employees whose wages do not exceed a specific monthly amount, notified by the central or state government, will be entitled to an annual bonus.  
    • The bonus will be at least 8.33% of his wages, or Rs 100, whichever is higher.  
    • Besides this, the employer will distribute a part of the gross profits amongst the employees.
    • An employee can receive a maximum bonus of 20% of his annual wages.
  •  Discrimination on ground of sex : The Code prohibits gender discrimination in matters related to wages and recruitment of employees for the same work or work of similar nature.
  • Establishment of Advisory boards : It is to be constituted both at State as well as Central Level. 
    • The Central Advisory Board will consist of employers, employees (in equal number as employers), independent persons, and five representatives of state governments.  
    • State Advisory Boards will consist of employers, employees, and independent persons.
    • Further, 1/3rd of the total members on both the central and state Boards will be women. 
    • The Boards will have advisory functions with respect to : 
      • fixation of minimum wages, and 
      • increasing employment opportunities for women.
  • Provision for Offences under the Code : It specifies penalties for offences which may vary depending on the nature of offence, with the maximum penalty being imprisonment for three months along with a fine of up to one lakh rupees. These include :
    • Paying less than the due wages, or 
    • For contravening any provision of the Code.  



Pashmina Products Receive BIS Certification

The move is aimed at will ensuring better prices for the goat herding community in Ladakh as well as for the local handloom artisans who produce the genuine Pashmina products and are constantly under exploitation due to malpractices.

About Pashima Herders
These nomadic herders live in the hostile and tough terrain of Changthang and Pashmina is their sole source of livelihood. Currently, there are approximately 2400 families rearing 2.5 lakh goats.

How this will help them?
This initiative will protect the interests of these families, and motivate the younger generation to continue in this profession as well as encourage more families to take up this occupation.

What is the present scenario?
Presently, Ladakh produces 50 MT of the finest grade of Pashmina in the world (12-15 microns).

Ministry of Textiles is in process for a proposal for funding of Rs. 20 crore for a de-hairing plant for Leh which along with this initiative will lead to progress in the Pashmina sector in Ladakh.

About Changthangi Goat
It is also know as Pashmina Goat and is a special breed of goat which is indigenous to the high altitude regions of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.

They are generally raised for the ultra-fine cashmere wool, known as Pashmina once woven.

The Textiles are handspun and were first woven in Kashmir. These goats grows a thick, warn undercoat which is the source of Kashmir Pashmina wool – the world’s finest cashmere measuring between 12-15 microns in fiber thickness.

These goats are in general domesticated and reared by nomadic communities called the Changpa in the Changthang region of Greater Ladakh.


QUICK FEEDS 
  • Former External Affairs Minister of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, passed away at the age of 67 years.
    • She was the second woman after Indira Gandhi to hold the office.
    • At the age of 25, in 1977, she became the youngest cabinet minister of Haryana.
    • She was called as the India's "best-loved politician" by the U.S. daily Wall Street Journal.
  • Toni Morrison, a Nobel laureate of 1993 in literature,  passed away. Her work explored Black identity in America and in particular the experience of Black women.
    • She was the first African-American woman to win Nobel in Literature.
  • Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) is a viral infectious disease that severely infects the gastrointestinal, respiratory and the central nervous systems.
    • It is spread through air and direct and indirect contact with the infected animals or materials.
    • There is no cure as for now known for this virus.
  • National Population Register (NPR)
    • It is basically a register of normal citizens of India which is prepared at local, sub-district, district, State and National level under the provisions of Citizenship Act of 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
    • It is compulsory for every usual resident of India to get their name registered under National Population Register as it contains both demographic as well as bio-metric data of the citizen of India.

Also Read : 6th August 2019 current affairs

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