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Parliament passes Indian Medical Council (Amendment Bill), 2016

Rajya Sabha on 1 August 2016 passed Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by voice vote. 
•    The Bill seeks to amend the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956. 
•    It also seeks to replace the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016. 
•    The Bill states that its provisions will come in to force from 24 May 2016.
•    The bill was passed in Lok Sabha on 19 July 2016 after being introduced by Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Jagat Prakash Nadda on the same day. 
•    It seeks to introduce a uniform entrance examination for all medical educational institutions. 
•    This would be applicable at the undergraduate and the post-graduate level.
•    It states that the entrance examinations will be conducted in Hindi, English and other languages.
•    It provides powers to the MCI to frame regulations with regard to:
    The authority designated with the conduct of the exams
    The manner of conducting the exams
    Specifying languages other than English and Hindi in which the examinations may be conducted.
 

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Rajya Sabha passes Compensatory and Afforestation Fund Bill, 2016

The Rajya Sabha on 28 July 2016 unanimously passed the Compensatory and Afforestation Fund (CAF) Bill, 2016 that allows States to access nearly 42000 crore rupees and channel into afforestation projects.
•    The Bill was already passed by Lok Sabha on 3 May 2016.
•    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.  
•    The National Fund will receive 10 percent of these funds, and the State Funds will receive the remaining 90 percent.
•    These Funds will be primarily spent on afforestation to compensate for loss of forest cover, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wildlife protection and infrastructure development.

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Parliament passes Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016

Lok Sabha on 26 July 2016 passed the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016 to amend the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) (CLPR) Act, 1986. 
•    As per data presented in form of answer about child labour in Rajya Sabha in 2014, the number of child labourers decreased by 65% - from 1.26 crore to 82.2 lakh (aged between 5 – 14 years) between Census 2001 to and Census 2011.
•    The five biggest child labour employer states of India are - Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. 
•    Major schemes like Right to Education, MNREGA, Mid-Day Meal have given children an incentive to study and has helped in reducing the population in terms of child labour.
•    Successive governments have fought to end child labour like elimination of child labour from hazardous occupations and processes.
•    A United Nations body has expressed concern over the changes made in Child Labour law. UNICEF India said this could lead to more children working in unregulated conditions.

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Lok Sabha passes Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2016

The Lok Sabha on July 25, 2016 passed the Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
•    The Bill seeks to amend the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961, which declares certain Institutes of Technology as institutions of national importance.
•    The Bill seeks to add six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, Palakkad in Kerala, Goa, Dharwar in Karnataka, Bhilai in Chhattisgarh, and Jammu.
•    It also seeks to bring the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad within the ambit of the Act.  All these institutions will be declared as institutions of national importance.
•    The Bill provides for the incorporation of IIT (Indian School of Mines), Dhanbad.  It states that until the statutes in relation to IIT (Indian School of Mines), Dhanbad are made under the Act, the statutes applicable to IIT Roorkee will apply to it.
•    The Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadekar, on 19 July 2016.

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Committee Constituted to Prepare Draft Ganga Act

Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted a committee to prepare draft Ganga Act. Justice Shri Girdhar Malviya (Retd.) is the Chairman of the committee. Other members ot the committee are : Shri V.K.Bhasin, Ex-Secretary, Legislative Department, Govt of India, Prof. A.K. Gosain, llT Delhi and Prof. Nayan Sharma, llT Roorkee. Shri Sundeep, Director,National Mission for Clean Ganga is the Member Secretary. 

•    The Committee has been asked to prepre a Draft Act on Ganga ensuring wholesomeness of the River. The Act should have provisions to ensure cleanliness (Nirmalta) and uninterrupted e-flow (avirlta)) of Ganga. The Committee may take into consideration any other issue which it may deem fit in the drafting of the Act. The tenure of the Committee would be for a period of three months which may be extended by another three months, if required. 
•    Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti had said on 4th July, 2016 that a new act will be formulated for speedy implementation of Namami Gange programme. Chairing the 6th meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority in New Delhi the Minister had said that five Ganga basin states have agreed in principle to this idea. 
•    79 year old Justice Malviya who is Chairman of Ganga Mahasabha is associated with Ganga conservation movement. The Mahasabha was founded by his grandfather and founder of BHU Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya .

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India's first paperless court opens in Hyderabad

India’s first e-court was opened at High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad on 17 July 2016. It was inaugurated by Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur who heads the e-Committee of the Supreme Court.

Hyderabad High Court is the common high court for the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
•    The purpose of e-court is to ensure speedy justice for the litigants. 
•    The e-Courts will ensure easy and better access to justice for public. 
•    It will also provide solution for large number of pending cases in the country. 
•    It will also make the work of judges, advocates and all those related with judiciary a lot more effective.
Besides the launch of e-court, SC judge Justice Madan B Lokur also announced that India’s first Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS) will be launched in High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad. The system will integrate the courts, police stations, prosecution, forensic science laboratories and jails.

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Rajya Sabha passess bill to set up regional biotech centre

The Rajya Sabha on 18 July 2016 passed the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016. The Bill seeks to establish a Regional Centre for Biotechnology in Faridabad, Haryana. 

This will be an institution of education, training and research, under the auspices of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the National Capital Region.
•    Disseminate knowledge by providing teaching and research facilities in biotechnology and related fields
•    Create a hub of biotechnology expertise
•    Facilitate transfer of technology and knowledge in the SAARC region and generally Asia.
•    Promote cooperation at the international level.

•    The centre, located in Faridabad in Haryana, will be a state of the art institute and a regional hub for interdisciplinary education, training and research in biotechnology.
•    The Regional centre will provide masters’ and doctoral degrees, and post-graduate diplomas in biotechnology and related subjects (eg. medical, agricultural and engineering sciences)
•    It will be responsible for instituting academic positions, like professorships, and appointing persons to such positions
•    It will be determining standards of admission to the Regional Centre
•    It will be fixing and receiving fees.

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Child Labour Amendment bill passed in Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha on 19 July 2016 passed the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012..The official amendment seeks to amend the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) (CLPR) Act, 1986 and allows children below the age of 14 years to work in select non-hazardous family enterprises.
•    It prohibits employment of children below 14 years in all occupation or processes except where the child helps his family after school, with the provision for imprisonment up to two years for any violation. It was made in light to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
•    It also adds a new category of persons called adolescent meaning children between 14 to 18 years of age and prohibits employment of adolescents in hazardous occupations as specified (mines, inflammable substance and hazardous processes).
•    It gives right to the Union Government to add or omit any hazardous occupation from the list included in the Bill.
•    It also enhances the punishment for employing any child in an occupation. It also includes penalty for employing an adolescent in a hazardous occupation.
•    The penalty for employing a child was increase to imprisonment between 6 months and two years or a fine of 20000 rupees to 50000 rupees or both. Earlier, the imprisonment term and penalty were from three months to one year and from 1000) rupees to 20000 rupees or both.
•    The penalty for employing an adolescent in hazardous occupation is imprisonment between 6 months and two years or a fine of 20000 rupees to 50000 rupees or both. 
•    The government may confer powers on a District Magistrate to ensure that the provisions of the law are properly carried out.
•    The Bill empowers the government to make periodic inspection of places at which employment of children and adolescents are prohibited.

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The Supreme Court has ordered the restoration of former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s government

The five-judge Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court (SC) on 13 July 2016 unanimously restored Congress Government led by Nabam Tuki in Arunachal Pradesh.
•    For this purpose, it also quashed the Kalikho Pul government that came into power on 19 February 2016 after Governor J P Rajkhowa ordered dismissal of Nabam Tuki led government of the state.
•    The constitutional bench headed by Justice JS Khehar termed removal of former chief minister Nabam Tuki as unconstitutional. Other members of the bench were Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice P.C. Ghose and Justice N.V. Ramana.
•    It directed the immediate imposition of status quo ante as on 15 December 2015 and paved a way for the return of Congress-led Nabam Tuki government to power.
•    It said that Governor who is not an elected representative is only an executive nominee whose powers flow from the aid and advice of the State Cabinet. Use of his discretionary powers under Article 163 of the Constitution to summon or dissolve assembly sessions without the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his cabinet is unconstitutional.
•    Not being an ombudsman for the legislature, governor can’t advice a speaker to discharge his functions in the manner he considers constitutionally appropriate.
•    Governor carries no power to take a decision on issues that happens within the four walls of the political party. However, Governor Rajkhowa used his constitutional authority to ostensibly favour an “invalid breakaway group” of MLAs disqualified under the Tenth Schedule, which amounts to constitutional impropriety.
•    It is the first time that the Supreme Court used its power of judicial review to restore a government when its successor government is in place. Earlier, the nine-judge bench in the SR Bommai vs Union Of India of 1994 judgement condemned the arbitrary use of Article 356 that involves the President’s rule, but none went to the extent of restore a government that was ousted earlier.

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The Union Government notified the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016

The Union Government has notified the UIDAI (Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and Members) Rules, 2016 to give legalstatus to Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).The government also operationalised some of provisions of the Act, giving a legal shape to UIDAI.
•    The bill seeks to provide for targeted delivery of subsidies and services to individuals residing in India by assigning them unique identity numbers, called Aadhaar numbers.
•    Besides, the Union Government has also separately notified the UIDAI (Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and Members) Rules, 2016. The Act will pave the way for appointment of its chairperson and members.
•    Every resident shall be entitled to obtain an Aadhaar number.  A resident is a person who has resided in India for 182 days, in the one year preceding the date of application for enrolment for Aadhaar
•    To obtain an Aadhaar number, an individual has to submit his (a) biometric (photograph, finger print, iris scan) and (b) demographic (name, date of birth, address) information.  The Unique Identification Authority (UID) may specify other biometric and demographic information to be collected by regulations.
•    At the time of enrolment, the individual will be informed of the manner in which the information will be used, the nature of recipients with whom the information will be shared and the right to access this information.
•    After verification of information provided by a person, an Aadhaar number will be issued to him.
•    To verify the identity of a person receiving a subsidy or a service, the government may require them to have an Aadhaar number.  If a person does not have an Aadhaar number, government will require them to apply for it, and in themeanwhile, provide an alternative means of identification.
•    Any public or private entity can accept the Aadhaar number as a proof of identity of the Aadhaar number holder, for any purpose. However, Aadhaar number cannot be a proof of citizenship or domicile.

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