- India to chair key ILO forum after 35 years
The issue in news
The Labour Ministry has said that India has assumed the role of chair of the International Labour Organisation’s governing body from October 2020 till June 2021.
India is taking up the role after a gap of 35 years.
- The Governing Body is the executive body of the ILO.
- The ILO body decides on matters of agenda of the International Labour Conference.
- It decides on the budget of ILO.
- It elects the Director-General.
International Labour Organization (ILO)
The ILO was established as an agency for the League of Nations following World War I.
- It was established by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
- Its founders had made great strides in social thought and action before the establishment of the organization itself.
- It became the first specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) in the year 1946.
- The ILO has played a significant role in promoting labour and human rights. It had held a significant position during the Great Depression (1930s) for ensuring labour rights.
- It played a key role in the decolonization process and in the victory over apartheid in South Africa.
- The organization got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969, for its efforts to improve peace amongst the classes, and for promoting justice and fair work for the workers.
International Labour Organization (ILO) Objective
The ILO is the only tripartite U.N. agency. The ILO is a meeting point for governments, workers and employers of ILO’s member States to set labour standards, improve upon policies and create programs that promote decent work for people. The four strategic objectives at the heart of the Decent Work agenda are:
- To develop and effectuate standards, fundamental principles, and fundamental rights at work.
- To ensure that men and women have equal access to decent work while enhancing opportunities for the same.
- To magnify the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for everyone.
- To strengthen Tripartism and social dialogue.
International Labour Organization (ILO) – Structure
The basis of the ILO is the tripartite principle. The ILO comprises the International Labour Conference, the Governing Body, and the International Labour Office.
- International Labour Conference:
- The progressive policies of the ILO are set by the International Labour Conference.
- The Conference is an annual event, which happens in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference brings together all the representatives of the ILO.
- Function: It is a panel for the review of the important issues regarding labour.
- Governing Body:
- The Governing Body is the executive body of the International Labour Organization.
- The governing body meets in Geneva. It meets three times annually.
- The Office is the secretariat of the Organization.
- It is composed of 56 titular members, and 66 deputy members.
- Makes decisions regarding the agenda and the policies of the International Labour Conference.
- It adopts the draft Programme and Budget of the Organization for submission to the Conference.
- Election of the Director-General.
- International Labour Office:
- It is the permanent secretariat of the International Labour Organization.
- Functions: It decides the activities for ILO and is supervised by the Governing Body and the Director-General.
- The ILO member States hold periodically regional meetings to discuss the relevant issues of the concerned regions.
- Each of the ILO’s 183 Member States has the right to send four delegates to the Conference: two from government and one each representing workers and employers, each of whom may speak and vote independently.
International Labour Organization (ILO) Functions
The ILO plays an important role in the formulation of policies which are focussed on solving labour issues. The ILO also has other functions, such as:
- It adopts international labour standards. They are adopted in the form of conventions. It also controls the implementation of its conventions.
- It aids the member states in resolving their social and labour problems.
- It advocates and works for the protection of Human rights.
- It is responsible for the research and publication of information regarding social and labour issues.
- The Trade Unions play a pivotal role in developing policies at the ILO, thus the Bureau for Workers’ Activities at the secretariat is dedicated to strengthening independent and democratic trade unions so they can better defend workers’ rights and interests.
- The ILO also assumes a supervisory role: it monitors the implementation of ILO conventions ratified by member states.
- The implementation is done through the Committee of Experts, the International Labour Conference’s Tripartite Committee and the member-states.
- Member states are obligated to send reports on the development of the implementation of the conventions they have approved.
- Registration of complaints: The ILO registers complaints against entities that are violating international rules.
- The ILO, however, does not impose any sanctions on the governments.
- Complaints can also be filed against member states for not complying with ILO conventions that have been ratified.
- International Labour Standards: The ILO is also responsible for setting International Labour Standards. The international labour conventions which are set by the ILO are ratified by the member states. These are mostly non-binding in nature.
- But once a member state accepts conventions, it becomes legally binding. The conventions are often used to bring national laws in alignment with international standards.
- ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work: The formation of an ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work marks the second stage in the ILO Future of Work Initiative.
- The Commission outlines a vision for a human-centred agenda that is based on investing in people’s capabilities, institutions of work and decent and sustainable work.
- It also describes the challenges caused by new technology, climate change and demography and appeals for a collective global response to the disturbances being caused in the world of work.
International Labour Organization – Core Conventions
The eight fundamental conventions form an indispensable part of the United Nations Human Rights Framework, and their sanction is an important sign of member States’ commitment to human rights. Overall, 135 member States have ratified all eight fundamental conventions.
- The eight-core conventions of the ILO are:
- Forced Labour Convention (No. 29)
- Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No.105)
- Equal Remuneration Convention (No.100)
- Discrimination (Employment Occupation) Convention (No.111)
- Minimum Age Convention (No.138)
- Worst forms of Child Labour Convention (No.182)
- Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to Organised Convention (No.87)
- Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No.98)
- The conventions are highly relevant due to the economic challenges faced by workers all around the world.
- India Meteorological Department (IMD)
The issue in news
India Meteorological Department commissions Flash Flood Guidance Services for South Asia.
- India has launched Flash Flood Guidance services for South Asian countries — India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka — to issue impact-based forecasting of floods, which are very sudden and of short duration, at watershed and also city level.
- The Flash Flood Guidance services is the first of its kind for South Asian countries namely, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
- The Flash Flood Guidance is a robust system designed to provide the necessary products in real-time to support the development of warnings for flash floods about 6- 12 hours in advance at the watershed level with a resolution of 4kmx4km for the Flash Flood prone South Asian countries.
- IMD has tested the performance of the system during recent monsoon seasons in the preoperational mode and the Flash Flood Bulletins were issued to National Hydrological and Meteorological Services in the Region for its validation.
- The system has in-depth science, dynamics and diagnostics to provide guidance for the possible occurrences of flash floods at the local level.
- The guidance for flash floods in the form of threats (6 hours in advance) and risks (24 hours in advance) will be provided by the Regional Centre to the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, National and State Disaster Management Authorities and all other stakeholders for taking necessary mitigation measures to reduce the loss of life and property.
- Recognising that flash floods have a particularly disastrous impact on the lives and properties of the affected populations, the 15th WMO Congress had approved the implementation of a Flash Flood Guidance System project with global coverage that had been developed by the WMO Commission for Hydrology jointly with the WMO Commission for Basic Systems.
What are Flash Floods?
- A flash flood is a rapid flooding of low-lying areas: washes, rivers, dry lakes and depressions.
- It may be caused by heavy rain associated with a severe thunderstorm, hurricane, tropical storm, or meltwater from ice or snow flowing over ice sheets or snowfields.
- Flash floods may also occur after the collapse of a natural ice or debris dam, or a human structure such as a man-made dam.
- Flash Floods are highly localized events of short duration with a very high peak and usually have less than six hours between the occurrence of the rainfall and peak flood.
- There is a general lack of flash flood warning capabilities and capacities of the nations across the world.
- Flash floods induce severe impacts in both the built and the natural environment. Especially within urban areas, the effects of flash floods can be catastrophic and show extensive diversity, ranging from damages in buildings and infrastructure to impacts on vegetation, human lives and livestock.
- Price rise in onions
The issue in news
The government has stepped up disposal of onion from the buffer stock.
- The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 provides for the circumstances for the imposition of the stock limit under extraordinary price rise.
- The prices of onions have increased by more than 100% when compared with the average of the last five years.
- Thus, the price triggers under the EC Act have been reached.
Steps taken by the Govt.:
- The stock limit on the onions has been imposed with effect from 23 October 2020.
- The stock limit is 25MT for Whole Sellers and 2MTfor Retailers for a period up to 31-12-2020.
- Further, onions are also being disposed of through Open Market Sales. This will be stepped up further to bring down the price rise.
- To additionally ensure the availability of onions in the Mandis, the government has taken steps to facilitate the import of onion.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020:
- The bill has provisions to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities.
- It aims to remove fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference in their business operations.
- The freedom to produce, hold, move, distribute and supply will lead to the harnessing of economies of scale and attract private sector/foreign direct investment into the agriculture sector.
- It will help drive up investment in cold storages and modernization of the food supply chain.
- It will create a competitive market environment and also prevent wastage of agri-produce that happens due to lack of storage facilities.
- It has been provided in the Amendment, that in situations such as war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity, such agricultural foodstuff can be regulated.
- The installed capacity of a value chain participant and the export demand of an exporter will remain exempted from such stock limit imposition so as to ensure that investments in agriculture are not discouraged.
- Project Snow Leopard (PSL)
The issue in news
International Snow Leopard Day is observed on 23 October to raise awareness on protection of snow leopards which are endangered.
About Project Snow Leopard:
- Project Snow Leopard (PSL) is a programme under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change with the overarching goal to safeguard and conserve India’s unique natural heritage of high altitude wildlife populations and their habitats by promoting conservation through participatory policies and actions.
- The location of the project is all biologically important landscapes in the Himalayan high altitudes in the states/UTs of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.
- PSL was launched in 2009.
- It aims to promote a knowledge-based and adaptive conservation framework that fully involves the local communities, who share the snow leopard’s range, in conservation efforts.
- The Government of India has identified the snow leopard as a flagship species for the high-altitude Himalayas.
Need for the project:
- Since the harsh climate and topography of the area are relatively less conducive to agriculture and other developmental options such as industry, most of the region is largely dependent on pastoralism.
- Wild herbivore species are getting out-competed and their populations are declining due to increasing livestock populations in many areas.
- This is leading to increased dependence of wild predators such as the snow leopard and the wolf on livestock, causing intense human-wildlife conflicts.
- Poaching is a major threat in some areas, along with opening up of areas due to road building, pressures from immigrant labour forces, etc.
- There are increasing reports of conflicts due to crop depredation by wildlife.
- Military and para-military personnel need extensive road networks and are usually settled near important but fragile wetland sites or key mountain passes that are also important for wildlife species such as the Tibetan argali Ovis ammon and waterfowl.
- The high altitudes of India (including the Himalaya and Trans-Himalaya biogeographic zones) support a unique wildlife assemblage of global conservation importance.
- This region has attracted less attention from the point of view of wildlife conservation.
- The region represents a vast rangeland system supporting important traditional pastoral economies and lifestyles.
- The region also provides essential ecosystem services and harbours river systems vital for the nation’s food security.
- Sustainable Processing of Municipal Solid Waste: ‘Waste to Wealth’
The issue in news
CSIR-CMERI has developed a Municipal Solid Waste Processing Facility.
- This new facility has not only helped in achieving decentralized decimation of solid wastes, but has also helped create value-added end-products from abundantly available redundant stuff such as dry leaves, dry grass, etc.
- The MSW Processing Facility is developed for the disposal of solid waste in a scientific way following the Solid Waste Management Rules (SWM) 2016 prescribed by Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Govt. of India.
- The primary focus of CSIR-CMERI is to unburden the common households from the segregation responsibilities through advanced segregation techniques.
- The mechanized segregation system segregates solid waste into metallic waste (metal body, metal container, etc.), biodegradable waste (foods, vegetables, fruits, grass, etc.), non-biodegradable (plastics, packaging material, pouches, bottles, etc.) & inert (glass, stones, etc.) wastes.
- The bio-degradable component of the waste is decomposed in an anaerobic environment popularly known as bio-gasification.
- In this process, biogas is liberated through the conversion of organic matter. The biogas can be used as fuel for cooking purpose.
- The gas can also be utilized in the gas engine for the generation of electricity.
- The residual slurry from the biogas plant is converted to compost in a natural process known as vermi-composting by introducing earthworms. The vermi-compost is utilized in organic farming.
Biomass Waste Disposal
- Biomass waste such as dry leaves, dead branches, dry grass, etc. are disposed of by first shredding it to suitable size followed by mixing with the slurry of the biogas digester.
- This mixture is feedstock for briquette, which is utilized as fuel for cooking. These briquettes are also being utilized in gasifier for production of syngas which can be utilized in gas engine for the generation of electricity.
- The ash produced from the burning of briquette is mixed with cement and water in an appropriate proportion for production of bricks which is used for construction work.
Polymer Waste Disposal
- The polymer waste consisting of plastics, sanitary waste, etc. is being disposed of through two main processes i.e. pyrolysis and plasma gasification.
- In the pyrolysis process, the polymer waste is heated to a temperature of 400 – 600°C in an anaerobic environment in the presence of a suitable catalyst.
- The volatile matter from the polymer waste comes out as a result of heating which on condensation gives pyrolysis oil.
- The non-condensed syngas and crude pyrolysis oil after purification are reused for heating purposes and it helps in obtaining self-sustainability.
- The solid residue known as char is mixed with the biogas slurry for production of briquette.
Sanitary Waste Disposal
- The sanitary items including masks, sanitary napkins, diapers, etc. are disposed of utilizing high-temperature plasma.
- The MSW facility is equipped with special disinfection capabilities to help break the COVID Chain through UV-C Lights and Hot-Air Convection methods.
- The Decentralized Solid Waste Management Plant developed by CSIR-CMERI has all the potentials to scientifically manage the Solid Waste including the COVID and other viruses present in the wastes.
- The integrated MSW pilot plant is also self-sufficient in terms of energy requirement through the installation of roof-mounted solar panels, which can also feed the surplus energy supply onto a mini-grid