Elders – Law makers do not consider prevention of Child Sexual offences Act amendments important, in this Lok Sabha! Any Justification?

 

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The Government on Tuesday introduced in Lok Sabha amendments to the POCSO Act, which provides for death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children, making it gender neutral and introducing provisions against child pornography and for enhancing punishment for certain offences.

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019, seeks to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography and provide for establishment of Special Courts for trial of such offences.

The proposed amendments make provisions for enhancement of punishments for various offences so as to deter the perpetrators and ensure safety, security and dignified childhood for a child.

The POCSO Amendment Bill, introduced by Minister of State in Ministry of Women and Child Development Virendra Kumar, also provides for stringent punishments for other crimes against those below 18 years of age.

“The said Act is gender neutral and regards the best interests and welfare of the child as matter of paramount importance at every stage so as to ensure the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child,” said the statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill.

The Sections 4, 5, 6 of the Act are proposed to be amended to provide the option of stringent punishment, including death penalty, for committing aggravated penetrative sexual assault on a child.
The Act defines child as any person below the age of 18 years and the amendments are aimed at discouraging the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent.
Besides, Section 9 of the Act is being amended to protect children from sexual offences in times of natural calamities and disasters and in cases where children are administered any hormone or chemical substance to attain early sexual maturity for the purpose of penetrative sexual assault.

The Bill proposes a fine of not less than Rs 1,000 for not destroying or deleting or reporting the pornographic material involving a child. In case of subsequent offence, the fine would be not less than Rs 5,000 crore.

The offender can be further penalised with 3-year jail term or fine or both for transmitting, propagating, administrating such material.

“In the recent past incidences of child sexual abuse cases demonstrating the inhumane mind-set of the abusers who have been barbaric in their approach towards young victims is rising in the country. Children are becoming easy prey because of their tender age, physical vulnerabilities and inexperience of life and society,” the Bill said.
It said there is a strong need to take stringent measures to deter the rising trend of child sex abuse in the country.

UNFPA Fellowship Application

Young Innovators Fellowship Programme

Hiring today’s innovators, developing tomorrow’s leaders!
Do you have the drive to lead change, and want to develop your skillsets to do so?

Do you want to advocate for the rights of young people in your country?

Do you have the passion to drive innovation in the UN?

If you have answered yes, then we invite you to apply to our Young Innovators Fellowship Programme!

UNFPA is seeking twelve of the brightest and most ambitious youth globally to be a part our Fellowship Programme. Our opportunity-of-a-lifetime programme covers expenses related to travel, stipend, accommodation and health insurance.

This exciting development opportunity will see fourteen fellows join us at UNFPA Headquarters in New York for a period of two months (April-May 2019) where fellows will undergo leadership training. Twelve fellows will then move to their Country Offices for a period of six months, in a capacity most relevant to their experience, while two fellows will remain at HQ.

UNFPA recognizes the untapped potential of young people around the world.. We want to channel your energy and creativity to develop innovative solutions in our Country and Regional Offices.

Our goal is to provide you with the essential tools, skillsets and international experience that will empower you to realize your career goals; we are looking for you to provide us with innovative insights and ideas that will enable us to be better aligned with youth-problems in your community

Young Innovators Fellowship Programme – Delivering on UNFPA’s Innovation Strategy

The Fellowship programme will help support delivery in our Country Offices of four strategic pillars outlined in UNFPA’s Innovation Strategy:

mHealth: new mobile technologies to increase access to sexual reproductive health (SRH) services for adolescents and young people
Last mile for SRH commodities: overcoming our distribution challenges to ensure access to SRH services in remote or hard to reach areas
Data: Using innovative systems, technologies and demographic intelligence to improve population data systems and address inequalities for more effective development policies

Innovative fundraising:  Exploring possibilities of fundraising through innovative partnerships, financial platforms and instruments and face-to-face fundraising activities.

Eligibility Criteria:

Demonstrated interest and dedication to development issues in areas of UNFPA’s mandate  through either volunteer experience, work experience, or youth network affiliations
Demonstrated, or clear idea of, delivery of UNFPA’s mandate in an innovative way
Working knowledge of English
Aged between 18 years to 29 years old

 Special consideration will be given to indigenous people, persons with disabilities and LGBTQI candidates

A word from some of our previous fellows:

“It has been a transformative journey, and I am still growing!”

“The exposure and knowledge the fellowship has given me will be harnessed by young people in my country. I hope to share a lot with the young people in my country, to make our lives better.”

“It was a conducive environment, because we were treated as equals.”

“Best thing that ever happened”  “It is designed for social change”  “It’s perfect- very collaborative”

Reasonable accommodation:

The UN system is committed to creating an inclusive workplace, and commits to taking appropriate measures to enable persons with disabilities to access employment opportunities and benefit equally from employment-related opportunities by providing reasonable accommodation. In this context, “reasonable accommodation” means necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Should applicants need reasonable accommodation arrangements to facilitate their interview and assessment during the recruitment and selection process, please submit your request with your application.

Punjab Paid leave for Blood Donation!

 

Punjab Government employees may now get paid leave for blood donation.

On lines with the Central Government, the State Government has also proposed to introduce a special provision for the government employees to avail a casual leave to donate blood.

Employees, who are willing to donate their blood, can avail the special casual leave for four times in a year. As of now, the service rules allow leave for whole blood donation and not apheresis donation.

A spokesperson said that it was felt that the rule should cover apheresis donation as well since it will have the added advantage of getting blood components like platelets, plasma, etc.

As per the proposal, a special casual leave may be granted for blood donation or for apheresis (blood components such as red cells, plasma, platelets etc) donation at licensed blood banks on a working day (for that day only) up to a maximum of four times in a year on submission of valid proof of donation.

The state Additional Chief Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) Satish Chandra, in a letter, stated that considering the significance of voluntary blood donation, it is important to make provision to grant special casual leave to the Punjab Government employees for blood donation or blood components’ donation or aphaeresis’ donation at the licensed blood bank on working days up to maximum four time in a year.

Employee seeking casual leave will have to submit valid proof of donation of blood, it added.

The provision by Punjab Government has been rolled out in reference to an office memorandum of the Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions’ Department of Personnel and Training.

The measure has been taken to achieve the target of 100 percent voluntary blood donation.

No Negative marking, rules High Court!

IIT Madras campus. File

Court says the practice will eradicate intelligent guessing in competitive exams

Differentiating between ‘intelligent guessing’ and ‘wild guessing’ and stressing upon the need to encourage the former, the Madras High Court on Friday held that the practice of awarding negative marks in competitive examinations should be done away with. The court was of the view that deducting marks for wrong answers would not in any way help in analysing the intelligence, aptitude or knowledge of the candidates.

Justice R. Mahadevan said, “Intelligent guessing is an art. It is very useful in our life. One cannot be sure about all things at all times. An individual will come across a situation where he/she has to decide an issue not merely based on his knowledge but with little guessing… While intelligent guessing requires an amount of prior knowledge on the subject, wild guessing is a decision taken just like that.”

The judgment was passed while disposing of a writ petition filed in 2013 by S. Nelson Prabhakar, a Sceduled Caste student, who did not qualify for writing the Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) for gaining admission into an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

25 marks lost

When his answer script was produced in the court, it revealed that the petitioner had actually scored 72 marks but ended up losing 25 of those marks due to negative marking system. Though the court had passed an interim order on May 30, 2013 permitting the student to write JEE (Advanced) subject to the result of the writ petition, he was not allowed to write the exam and therefore he joined a private engineering college and completed his course.

When the case was taken up for final hearing now, the relief sought for had become infructuous. Nevertheless, the petitioner’s counsel A. Arulmozhi urged the court to give a finding on the necessity for negative marking. Accepting her plea, the judge ruled against the practice and ordered that his judgment should be communicated to National Testing Agency established by the Centre for conducting examinations for admission in higher educational institutions.He observed that every candidate could not be expected to know all answers for sure. In such circumstances, the practice of negative marking would hamper brain development and create a fear psychosis among students.

 

This professor-led NGO is lighting up villages across India with solar-powered lamps

Chirag Rural Development Foundation, which has brought solar power to 400 villages till now, aims to electrify 15,000 villages and impact two lakh lives by 2020. 

India is the world’s third largest producer and consumer of electricity after the United States and China. But, millions of people still remain in the dark. While a number of projects have been taken up by both government and private agencies, an NGO is lighting up the lives of people in rural India.

The Chirag Rural Development Foundation (CRDF) has successfully electrified its 400th village, Baldyachapada in Mokhada, Palghar district, in Maharashtra. It also plans to introduce solar-powered lamps in over 16,000 homes under its project Chirag.

The project was started in 2010 by 62-year-old Pratibha Pai, a professor at H.R. College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai.

Pratibha Pai
Pratibha Pai, on the extreme left, with team members of project Chirag. Source The Logical Indian

She initially started Chirag to electrify villages with the help of her students. However, what started as a holistic venture became her passion after it started bringing a significant change in the lives of people.

The next year, in 2011, she left her full-time job, and focused more on the project under her newly co-founded NGO. Sharing why she started her NGO, she told DNA:

“There are thousands of villages in this country with no electricity, and we wanted to bring about a change in rural India.”

Nine years and counting, Pai’s NGO has come a long way. With the help of a local NGO called Diganta Swaraj Foundation, it has electrified its 400th village in India. With this, Pai has benefited around a lakh people in rural India.

Pratibha Pai
Launching the solar power lift irrigation system. Source Free Press Journal

In a conversation with The Logical Indian, she said,

“We identify villages based on their needs for electrification, visit the area, and come up with a proposed plan.It is a 360-degree model that not only brings light, but also impacts lives by addressing issues such as education, livelihood, health, and environment.”

A single project runs into lakhs, and to carry out such large-scale electrification, the NGO collects funds from corporates and private companies. It charges a nominal fee for the solar equipment to give a feeling of ownership to the villagers. The charges are waived off for areas that are extremely poverty-stricken.

Pratibha Pai
Source Free Press Journal

In addition to this, the NGO also conducts seminars and orientation programmes to help villagers understand the need to use solar energy and avoid using kerosene lamps.

Apart from the installation of solar panels, the NGO undertakes maintenance work to keep the lights running. For instance, Pai explained,

“The solar panels are only required to be wiped when dirty and the battery needs to be changed once every two to three years.”

Not just homes, but even street lights and solar power lift irrigation systems to water fields have also been taken under consideration. The NGO also educates people on how to save money to afford solar batteries, which can cost anywhere between Rs 300 and Rs 500.

The NGO is present operating in Meghalaya, Assam, Uttaranchal, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan. It plans to electrify 15,000 villages and impact two lakh lives by 2020.