geography

Arctic Region and Arctic Council

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020

BRAHMAPUTRA AND ITS TRIBUTARIES

About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 7th April 2022

    1.    MANUAL SCAVENGERS

    • News: A total of 971 people lost their lives while cleaning sewers or septic tanks since 1993, the year law prohibiting employment of manual scavengers was enacted, according to the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry.
    • About Manual Scavenging:
      • Manual scavenging refers to the practice of manually cleaning, carrying, disposing or handling in any manner, human excreta from dry latrines and sewers.
      • It often involves using the most basic of tools such as buckets, brooms and baskets.
      • Manual scavengers are amongst the poorest and most disadvantaged communities in India.
      • In 1993, India banned the employment of people as manual scavengers.
      • In 2013, landmark new legislation in the form of the Manual Scavengers Act was passed which seeks to reinforce this ban by prohibiting manual scavenging in all forms and ensures the rehabilitation of manual scavengers to be identified through a mandatory survey.
      • Seventy three percent of these are in rural areas and 27 percent are in urban areas.
      • The Government of India has adopted a two-pronged strategy of eliminating insanitary latrines through demolition and conversion into sanitary latrines, and developing a comprehensive rehabilitation package for manual scavengers through a survey.
      • Key features of the Act:
        • Prohibits the construction or maintenance of insanitary toilets
        • Prohibits the engagement or employment of anyone as a manual scavenger
        • Violations could result in a years’ imprisonment or a fine of INR 50,000 or both
        • Prohibits a person from being engaged or employed for hazardous cleaning of a sewer or a septic tank
        • Offences under the Act are cognizable and non-bailable
        • Calls for a survey of manual scavengers in urban and rural areas within a time bound framework
      • There remain several challenges in implementing the legislation to ensure that manual scavengers can work and live with dignity. These include:
        • Time frame within which land is to be allotted as part of the rehabilitation package for former manual scavengers as provided for in the 2013 Act
        • Correct and timely identification of insanitary latrines and manual scavengers
        • Implementation of provision regarding prohibiting ‘hazardous cleaning’ of sewers and septic tanks
        • While the Act is encouraging in that it focuses on the responsibility of officials to ensure its implementation, it does not outline administrative measures beyond conduct rules that can be imposed if officials do not implement the Act

    2.    INDIA’S OIL IMPORTS

    • News: At least two Indian refiners plan to buy less Saudi oil than usual in May, after the kingdom raised the official selling price to record highs for Asia.
    • Details:
      • India increases purchases of cheap Russian crude.
      • India, the world’s third biggest oil importer and consumer, has been hit hard by rising crude values, with pump prices in some States touching record highs.
      • Saudi Aramco, the world’s top oil exporter, has raised crude prices for all regions, with those to Asia hitting all-time highs.
      • West Asia accounts for the bulk of India’s oil imports, with Iraq and Saudi Arabia the top suppliers.
      • The sources did not disclose the volumes refiners would buy, and said the cuts would be marginal because they have to lift the amount they have committed to under annual contracts.
      • To mitigate the rising cost of oil imports, India has turned to Russian barrels, which are available at a deep discount to the dated Brent benchmark, citing “national interests”.