NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated 2300 kilometre submarine optical fibre cable network between Chennai and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. PM Modi said this project is Union government’s commitment for Ease of living.
Saying this project will boost tourism in the Islands, Prime Minister expressed happiness over the completion of the project before the deadline.
PM Modi said this is Independence Day gift for the people of Andaman and Nicobar islands. He said not only Andaman people will get a big boost but also sea trade will rise exponentially.
PM Modi said the high-speed net in Andaman and Nicobar islands is a big day as the people will get all the benefits of digital India. Saying connectivity is part of tourism growth, Prime minister emphasised the tourists who will travel to the Islands will also be benefitted by the digital initiative.
Prime Minister said the Andaman and Nicobar Islands felt the need for years but no steps were taken to fulfil it. He expressed his happiness for being able to deliver the project notwithstanding such major challenges.
The Prime Minister said providing better and cheap connectivity to the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is the responsibility of the country.
PM Modi said the Submarine Cable is one such effort to prove that Andaman and Nicobar Islands are not far away from Delhi and from the Hearts of the Mainland. He said the Government is committed to the speedy development of national security linked border areas and island states.
The Prime Minister said that the Indian Ocean has been the centre of India’s trade and strategic prowess for thousands of years and that Andaman and Nicobar is an important centre for India’s Economic-Strategic Cooperation. He said all the Islands of India would be playing an important role under India’s new trade strategy for the Indo-Pacific region.
PM Modi said under the Act-East policy, the role of Andaman and Nicobar in India’s strong relations with East Asian countries and other countries connected to the sea is very high and is going to increase. Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was also present on the occasion.
This cable project is running 2313 kilometre under-sea between Chennai and Portblair at the cost of rupees 1 thousand 2 hundred 24 Crore.
Seven islands of Andaman and Nicobar islands other than Portblair are connected namely Swaraj Dweep, Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Kamorta, Great Nicobar, Long Island, and Rangat. This will boost digital services like tele-education, telehealth, e-governance services and tourism on the island.
The Project In Brief:
The project has been implemented at a cost of Rs 1,224 crore.
Besides, Port Blair, it will connect other islands namely Swaraj Dweep (Havlock), Long Island, Rangat, Little Andaman, Kamorta, Car Nicobar, and Greater Nicobar.
PM said that it is the responsibility of the nation to provide modern telecom connectivity to the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
All telecom operators in the country will be able to provide their mobile and broadband services using the CANI optical fibre link.
“The optical fibre connectivity project to connect Andaman and Nicobar with the rest of the country and the world is a symbol of our commitment towards ease of living,” PM Modi said.
According to official data, Internet with a speed of 400 gigabytes (GB) per second will be provided at Port Blair and for other islands, it will be 200 GB per second.
Undersea cable linking the Andaman Islands with Chennai was laid before time, Modi said while inaugurating the cable link.
Work of laying undersea cable has been executed by BSNL in a record time of fewer than 24 months.
This project will give a boost to 4G mobile services and digital services like tele-education, telehealth, e-governance services, and tourism on the islands.
J&K Approves Re-Allocation Of Nearly 2,000 Posts For Kashmiri Hindus (‘Pandits’)
The recruitment will be conducted only on the basis of written or skill tests for suitable candidates.
NEW DELHI: The Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Council on Wednesday approved re-allocation of nearly 2,000 posts for Kashmiri Pandits who want to settle in the Valley, PTI reported. This was done under the prime minister’s package for the community.
“The administrative council, which met under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today, approved the re-allocation of 1,997 number of unfilled supernumerary posts for recruitment of registered Kashmiri migrants and non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits, who are willing to serve and settle down in Kashmir under the prime minister’s package,” a government spokesperson said.
This re-allocation is part of the 3,000 posts announced in 2015. So far, only 806 applicants have been selected and 1,997 positions remain vacant.
The Administrative Council (AC) which met under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, today approved the re-allocation of 1997 number of unfilled supernumerary posts for recruitment of registered Kashmiri migrants and non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits, who are willing to serve and settle down in Kashmir under the Prime Minister’s Package.
Recruitment toPM package posts accelerated
AC which met under the chairmanship ofLG @manojsinha_ approves re-allocation of1997unfilled supernumerary posts to 6 simple categories;both registered Kashmiri migrants &non migrant Kashmiri Pandits,willing to settle down in Kmr eligible pic.twitter.com/ETWxLAdMx4
— DIPR-J&K (@diprjk) September 23, 2020
Admn.council which met under the chairmanship of LG @manojsinha_ approves conduct of elections to vacant Sarpanch/Panch constituencies;13,257 positions vacant.1,089 Sarpanch &12,168 Panch positions to be filled; non functional panchayats to be made functional.
— DIPR-J&K (@diprjk) September 23, 2020
The Administrative Council also approved conducting the recruitment only on the basis of written test/skill test, without viva-voce, for the selection of suitable candidates through the J&K Services Selection Board within six months of the referral of posts by the Department of Disaster Management, Relief, and Rehabilitation & Reconstruction.
The re-allocated posts include posts of Sub Inspector Commercial Taxes and Assistant Compiler in Finance Department (997), Field Assistant, Field Supervisor (Mushroom) and Assistant Store Keeper in Agriculture, Production & Farmers Welfare Department (150), and Depot Assistant in Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department (300), and Class IV in Revenue Department (550).
In order to fast track the recruitments, the posts have been allocated with simpler recruitment rules based on Graduation based; Higher Secondary based and Matric based qualification criteria.
The decision of re-allocation of the unfilled posts is aimed at accelerating the recruitment under the PM’s package and the benefits of employment to Kashmiri migrants and non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits.
Kashmir Valley’s largest group of the community, the Kashmir Pandit Sangharsh Samiti on Tuesday claimed that it was being harassed and their concerns were not being addressed by the local administration.
In a statement released, the group said, “Disaster Management Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (DMRR&R) Department is punishing left out (Non-Migrant) Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus for staying back in Kashmir Valley. Since abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A we the Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir Valley are facing harassment and isolation at the hands of Relief Department. Despite multiple directions from Hon’ble High Court and recommendations from the Central Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs, Relief Department is playing with the life and security of the Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir Valley.”
The group’s chief Sanjay Tickoo announced that he would begin a fast-unto-death until their demands were met.
The association’s main demands included 500 government jobs, which it said were promised to the community during a High Court ruling in 2016.
REFORM: Historic, ‘Game Changer’ Labour Laws Passed
Transparent and simple mechanism reducing to one registration, one license and one return for all codes.
NEW DELHI: The Rajya Sabha in its sitting today passed the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, Code on Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions Code, 2020, and Social Security Code, 2020. With this, the decks for the enactment of these codes have been cleared as Lok Sabha had passed these Bills yesterday.
The Bills can be termed as historic game-changers, which will harmonize the needs of workers, industries and other related parties.
Speaking during the discussions on the bills, Union Minister Santosh Gangwar said that these Labour Codes will prove to be an important milestone for the welfare of the workers in the country.
The OSH Code envisages a safe working environment for workers especially women. The Minister added that an effective dispute resolution mechanism is being ensured through the Industrial Relations Code providing for time-bound dispute resolution system in every institution.
The Social Security Code provides a framework to include organized and unorganized sector workers under the ambit of comprehensive social security.
The Social Security Code contains provisions relating to EPFO, ESIC, building construction workers, maternity benefits, gratuity and social security fund for unorganized sector workers. “Through this Code, we are moving towards fulfilling the Prime Minister’s vision of Universal Social Security”, Shri Gangwar added.
He added that unprecedented steps were taken by Government and launched many welfare measures such as increasing the maternity leave for our sisters from 12 weeks to 26 weeks; women were allowed to work in mines under Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Protsahan Yojana. Formal employment was increased with portability in EPFO and welfare schemes and expansion of ESIC facilities to our fellow citizens.
It may be noted that extensive consultation was undertaken by the Government before finalizing the Labour Codes. These include discussions in nine Tripartite Meetings, 4 sub-committees, 10 inter-ministerial consultations, Trade Unions, Employers’ Associations, State Governments, Experts, International Bodies and also invited public suggestions/comments from people by placing them in the public domain for 2-3 months.
The objective of labour reforms is to have their labour laws in line with the changing world of workplace and provide an effective and transparent system, balancing the needs of workers and industries.
Gangwar emphasized that the structure of welfare and rights of Atmanirbhar Shramik is based on four pillars.
The first pillar is ‘Salary Protection‘. The Minister said that even after 73 years of independence, and despite having 44 labour laws, only about 30 per cent of India’s 50 crore workers had the legal right to minimum wages and all the workers were not paid on time.
“For the first time, our government has worked to correct this discrepancy and has given the legal right to all the 50 crore organized and unorganized sector workers to get minimum wages and timely wages.”
The second pillar is ‘Labour Safety‘. Gangwar said is to give him a safe working environment to protect his health and lead a happy life. For this, he said, for the first time in the OSH Code, annual health check-up has been provided for workers above a certain age. Additionally, to keep the standards related to safety effective and dynamic, they can be replaced with changing technology by the National Occupational Safety & Health Board. In order to provide a safe environment, workers and employers should decide together, for this, a safety committee has been provided for in all institutions.
He also informed the House that the OSH Code reduced the minimum qualification from 240 days to 180 days for leave. The Bill also provides for the payment of at least 50 per cent of the penalty imposed on an employer for injury or death at the workplace, to the aggrieved worker, in addition to other benefits. With all these provisions, an effort has been made to give workers a safe working environment.
Stating that women should have the freedom to do the same work as men, he said that for the first time, a provision has been made that women can work in any type of institution at night as per their choice. “However, the employer will have to make all necessary security arrangements, as determined by the appropriate government”, he added
The third pillar for workers is ‘Comprehensive Social Security‘. In line with this resolution, the scope of ESIC and EPFO is being extended in the Social Security Code. To increase the scope of ESIC, a provision has been made that now its coverage will be in all 740 districts of the country.
In addition to this, the option of ESIC will also be for plantation workers, unorganized sector workers, gigs and platform workers, and institutions with less than 10 workers. If there is a risky work in an institute, that institute will inevitably be brought under the purview of ESIC even if it is a sole labourer.
Similarly, to increase the scope of EPFO, the schedule of the institutions has been removed in the current law and now all those institutions which have 20 or more workers will come under the ambit of the EPF.
Apart from this, the option of EPFO for institutions with less than 20 workers and self-employed workers is also being given in the Social Security Code.
To provide social security to 40 crore unorganized sector workers, he informed, provision for “Social Security Fund” has been made. Through this fund, social security schemes will be made for workers and gigs and platform workers working in the unorganized sector and plans will be formulated to provide all kinds of social security benefits such as death insurance, accident insurance, maternity benefit and pension etc. to these 40 crore workers.
The fourth pillar is ‘Simplified and Effective IR Code‘. Fixed Term Employment to the IR Code, engaged for a short period of their time and do not get service conditions, leave, salary, social security, gratuity etc. like regular employees, he said we have also ensured that Fixed Term Employees’ service conditions, salary, leave and social security will also be the same as a Regular Employee for.
In addition, the Fixed Term Employee has also been given the right to pro-rata Gratuity.
The provisions of Strike in the IR Code do not take back the right of any workers to go on strike.
Prior to going on the strike, the 14-day notice period obligation has been imposed on every institution to attempt to end the dispute through amicable negotiations during this period. Neither the workers nor the industry has any benefit from the workers going on the strike”, he added.
As far as raising the threshold in Retrenchment, Closure or Lay-off in the IR Code from 100 workers to 300 workers, he pointed out that labour is the subject of the concurrent list, and the concerned state governments have right to change the laws. As many as 16 states, using this right, have already increased this limit. Parliamentary Standing Committee also recommended that this limit be increased to 300.
The Minister also informed that according to the Economic Survey 2019, after increasing this Threshold from 100 to 300 in the state of Rajasthan, along with the number of large factories, there has also been an increase in employment generation of workers and an unprecedented reduction in layoffs.
“This makes it clear that changing this one provision will motivate investors to set up large factories in the country, and by setting up more factories, more employment opportunities, more workers in our country will be generated for”, he opined.
For the first time in law, Trade Unions are being recognized at the institution level, state level and centre level. For the first time in the IR Code, a provision of the Re-skilling Fund has been made with the objective of increasing the chances of employment again if any worker is missed. These workers will be given 15 days salary for this.
The definition of migrant workers has been broadened. Now all the workers who come from one state to another state and whose salary is less than 18 thousand rupees will come under the definition of migrant labour and will get the benefit of welfare schemes of the government.
Apart from this, there is a provision to create a database for migrant workers, portability of their welfare schemes, a separate helpline arrangement and travel allowance to be given by the employer once a year for them to go to their place of origin.
Under the various labour laws, there will be no need to have multiple registrations or multiple licenses to set up industries.
“As far as possible, now we are going to arrange to provide registration, license etc. in a time-bound manner and under online process”, Gangwar added.
The four Labour Codes seek to ensure the welfare of workers on the one hand, on the other hand, it is an effort to develop new industries through a simple compliance system, which will create employment for our workforce. New opportunities should be created.
Lok Sabha Passes Jammu And Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020
The Bill proposes to include Kashmiri, Dongri and Hindi in the list of official languages of the UT.
NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill under which Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi, apart from the existing Urdu and English, will be the official languages in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier, the official language for the Union territory was only Urdu.
Speaking about the bill in Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Home Ministry G. Kishan Reddy said that that the legislation will fulfil the long-awaited demand of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Live: Introducing The Jammu & Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020. https://t.co/PbinSjE8Wa
— G Kishan Reddy (@kishanreddybjp) September 23, 2020
He said the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir had informed the Centre that people across the Union Territory had been demanding to include the languages they speak and understand as their official language.
The minister pointed out that around 74 per cent people in the Union Territory spoke Kashmiri and Dogri languages.
He said that according to 2011 census, only 0.16 per cent population in Jammu and Kashmir spoke Urdu, while 2.3 per cent spoke Hindi.
— Dr Jitendra Singh (@DrJitendraSingh) September 2, 2020
The bill was passed by a voice vote.
Meanwhile, the Sikh and Gujjar communities have protested the exclusion of Punjabi and Gojri languages from the bill.
Participating in the debate on the Bill, Naresh Gujral (SAD) termed it “unfortunate” that Punjabi was not included in the Bill and urged the government to reconsider it.
The J&K Constitution included Punjabi and the first Chief Minister of J&K was a Punjabi, he said and added: “It hurts the feeling of those who are settled there. I would urge the government to reconsider because language is the basis of cultural heritage of the community.” He said 13 lakh Punjabis live in Jammu and Kashmir.
Mir Mohammad Fayaz (PDP) demanded inclusion of Gurjari, Punjabi and Pahari in the Bill, saying that the motto of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” was lacking in the state.
“Include Punjabi, Gurjari and Pahari so that we win the trust of everyone in J&K,” he said.
Ramdas Athawale (RPI) expressed “support to Dogri and Kashmiri languages” and in his poetic style said that a day will come when PoK will come to India.
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