Evening digest: Juvenile justice act amendments to come in RS on Tuesday

GN Bureau | December 21, 2015



With the supreme court refusing to detain the youngest rapist in December 16 gang-rape case in the absence of a law, the Rajya Sabha is expected to take up amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act tomorrow.“We want government to list Juvenile Justice bill, discuss, move amendments and pass before Wednesday,” said TMC leader Derek O’Brien. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill was passed by Lok Sabha in May 2015 and is pending before Rajya Sabha.The proposed Bill allows a magistrate to decide if a minor between ages 16 and 18, accused of heinous crimes like rape and murder, can be tried as an adult in a regular court by measuring his mental maturity. As per existing Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, a juvenile (who is below the age of 18 years) in conflict with law, regardless of the type of offence committed, may spend a maximum of three years. The child cannot be given any penalty higher than three years, nor be tried as an adult and be sent to an adult jail.As BJP and Congress traded charges over the delay in clearing of the legislation, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that "the government is ready and very keen to pass this juvenile Bill".
Targeting Congress, he said that "the Bill has been thrice listed in the past for consideration and passage in Rajya Sabha; however, the House has not been able to run"."Because of the Opposition, particularly Congress, the Bill till date has not been passed. There is concern and outrage in the country," he said while urging the party to facilitate the passage of the Bill."I would appeal to Congress to please help in getting the Bill passed. I hope it will cooperate," said  Prasad.

Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha unanimously passed the crucial SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill along with two bills on supplementary demands for 2015-16, within minutes without any debate. The house returned to Lok Sabha the Appropriation (No. 4) Bill and the Appropriation (No. 5) Bill containing the second batch of supplementary demands as part of grants for 2015-16 to meet government’s expenditure.

The scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes (prevention of atrocities) amendment Bill, 2014 aims to prohibit the commission of offences against members of the SCs and STs and provides for establishing special courts for the trial of such offences and the rehabilitation of victims.

Defence ministry website launched to connect with industries

The government today launched a new 'Make in India' website that will provide an interface with industry and promised to finalise the new revised defence procurement procedure by January. With this the government hopes to make defence acquisition process simpler and transparent.The portal provides information related to all policy and procedural issues relevant for defence manufacturing industry. It provides link to industrial promotion policies and programmes of various states and Union Territories.The portal also gives an opportunity to an individual company to seek clarifications or ask questions. Defence Ministry officials said these would be answered within three working days.

Srinagar shivers at minus 5.3 and cold wave sweeps north India
The 40-day period of harshest winter in Kashmir known as 'Chillai-Kalan', began today as the mercury dipped to season's lowest at several places including Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.The mercury in Srinagar plunged by over five degrees from the previous night's minimum of minus 0.3 degrees Celsius to settle at a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius.This was the lowest night temperature of the season so far in the city, which resulted in freezing of some water bodies and residential water supply pipes. Fringes of famous Dal Lake were also frozen due to the sudden drop in the minimum temperature.Meanwhile, cold wave conditions continued unabated in Punjab and Haryana, Amritsar and Narnaul in the respective states became the coldest regions today, recording a minimum temperature of 1.8 degrees Celsius.Ludhiana (4.5 degrees Celsius) and Patiala (5 degrees Celsius) also experienced a cold night. Chandigarh also recorded the season's coldest night so far at 4.8 degrees Celsius, two notches below normal.Apart from Narnaul, other places in Haryana which shivered under biting chill included Hisar, which recorded a low of 2.9 degrees Celsius, down four notches while Karnal recorded a low of 3.4 degrees Celsius, three degrees below normal limit.Ambala also had a cold night at 5.4 degrees Celsius.However, fresh western disturbance is likely to hit Rajasthan by tomorrow which may push mercury up giving little respite from cold wave conditions.

Maharashtra government in ‘dilemma’ over demand for liquor ban on Eid
Maharashtra government is in a ”dilemma” on whether to prohibit liquor sale on Eid-e-Milad, which is falling on Christmas eve, days after a delegation of Muslim MLAs sought a ban on booze citing religious sentiments. ”This is the first time that the government has got a request to ban alcohol on Eid-e-Milad. No legislator or a private citizen has ever made this demand,” Khadse told PTI. ”On one hand, we respect the sentiments of Muslims whose religion forbids them from consuming alcoholic beverages, and on the other it is Christmas Day on 25th,” he said.“Sentiments of both these religions have left us in a dilemma. Though we have not decided on what has to be done, we will reach a final conclusion in a day or two,” he said.

46 Indian sites on UNESCO's tentative list for heritage tag
As many as 46 sites in India, including cities, monuments and archaeological sites are on UNESCO's tentative list for consideration for nomination to bestow them World Heritage Status, parliament was informed today.At present, India has 32 cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List, culture and tourism minister Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply in Lok Sabha."Moreover, there are 46 sites including Indian cities, monuments, archaeological sites, on UNESCO's tentative list, which is a mandatory requirement before a site is finally considered for the nomination," he added.

23 steel projects stuck due to green clearance

As many as 23 steel projects across the country, including those of Tata Steel, JSW Steel, Essar Steel and Posco's JV in Maharashtra, are stuck due to grant of environment clearance, Parliament was informed today."Presently, 23 steel projects are pending due to grant of Environment Clearance, out of which 2 steel projects are from Maharashtra," minister of state for steel Vishnu Deo Sai said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.

Govt sets up working group to examine impact of FTAs
The government has constituted an independent working group under the chief economic advisor to examine the impact of free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by India, the parliament was informed today."The ministry of finance has constituted an independent working group under the chairmanship of the chief economic advisor to examine the impact of FTAs signed by India", commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.India has signed FTAs with countries such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and ASEAN group.The working group would undertake an analysis of bilateral trade and investment flows with the countries with which India has signed FTAs, comprehensive economic cooperation agreements (CECAs) and comprehensive economic partnership agreements (CEPAs), at the aggregate and the sectoral level.

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