Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Indian economy grows by 8.8% in Q1

Economy grew by an impressive 8.8 per cent during the quarter ended June on the back of robust manufacturing growth.

However, certain sectors like financial services restrained the growth in economy, which had recorded 6 per cent growth rate in April-June 2009-10.

Agriculture and allied activities grew by 2.8 per cent, higher than 1.9 per cent in the year-ago period, but it is nowhere between the target of four per cent pegged by the government in the medium term.

Manufacturing expanded by strong 12.4 per cent in April-June, 2010 against a mere 3.8 per cent growth rate in the same period last year.

Construction too grew by 7.5 per cent compared to 4.6 per cent.

Among services, financial, insurance and real estate services expanded by just 8 per cent, against a growth rate of 11.8 per cent in the year-ago quarter, while community social and personal services growth slowed down to 6.7 per cent, against 7.6 per cent a year ago.

However, trade, hotels and communication services rose by 12.2 per cent, against 5.5 per cent during April-June 2009.

The government expects economy to grow by 8.5 per cent this fiscal. Though the GDP numbers for the April-June quarter are higher than that of 8.6 per cent in the previous quarter, they lag expectations of 8.9-9.4 per cent forecast by various experts.

The last time the economy grew at a faster clip was in the last three months of 2007 when it expanded 9.7 percent.

Deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia said that India's economy could grow better than 8.5 percent in the fiscal year that ends in March 2011.

Monday, August 30, 2010

New sunspot photos reveal amazing detail

The most detailed image of a sunspot to date (see top of post), featured this month on the Ciel et l'Espace website, was produced by New Jersey Institute of Technology Distinguished Professor Philip R. Goode and the team at California's Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO). Scientists achieved "first light," the first light image that used a deformable mirror in what is called adaptive optics.

"This photo of a sunspot is now the most detailed ever obtained in visible light," according to Ciel et l'Espace. In September, the popular astronomy magazine will publish several more photos of the Sun taken with BBSO's new system.

The images were achieved with the 1.6 m clear aperture, off-axis New Solar Telescope (NST) at BBSO.

That telescope, the worlds' largest ground-based solar instrument, is the crown jewel of BBSO which is the first facility-class solar observatory built in more than a generation in the U.S. The telescope, now in commissioning stage at BBSO, has a resolution covering about 50 miles on the Sun's surface.

"First light" is the first use of a telescope to take an astronomical image after it has been constructed. The first light image is normally of little scientific interest and is of poor quality since the various telescope elements are yet to be adjusted for optimum efficiency. These BBSO solar images were taken July 1 and 2, 2010.

Scientists believe sunspots hold an important key to understanding space weather. Space weather that originates in the Sun can have dire consequences on Earth's climate and environment. A bad storm can disrupt power grids and communication, destroy satellites and even expose airline pilots, crew and passengers to radiation.

Since 1997, under Goode's direction, NJIT has owned and operated BBSO. Its location in a clear mountain lake that is characterized by atmospheric stability as been essential for BBSO's primary interest: measuring and understanding solar complex phenomena.


On August 29, 2010, the remainder of the 62nd Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards – 26 categories for programs and individual achievements - were revealed via a live television broadcast from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.

The winners from the broadcast of the 2010 Prime Time Emmy Awards are:

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester in “Glee”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:
Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker in “Modern Family”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton in “Nurse Jackie”

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper in “The Big Bang Theory”

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: the Pilot episode for “Modern Family”

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series: Ryan Murphy for the pilot episode of “Glee”

Outstanding Reality Competition Program: “Top Chef”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma in “The Good Wife”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in “Breaking Bad”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson in “The Closer”

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Dram Series: Bryan Cranston as Waltr White in “Breaking Bad”

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: the Shut the Door, Have a Seat episode of “Mad Men”

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series: Steve Shill for the Getaway episode of “Dexter”

Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Special: Dave Boone and Paul Greenberg for the “63rd Annual Tony Awards”

Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Special: Bucky Gunts for the “Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony”

Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special: “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Julia Ormond as Eustacia in “Temple Grandin”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie: David Strathairn as Dr. Carlock in “Temple Grandin”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Claire Danes as Temple Grandin in “Temple Grandin”

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie: Al Pacino as Dr. Jack Kevorkian in “You Don’t Know Jack”

Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Adam Mazer for “You Don’t Know Jack”

Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special: Mick Jackson for “Temple Grandin”

Outstanding Miniseries: “The Pacific”

Outstanding Made for Television Movie: “Temple Grandin”

Outstanding Drama Series: “Mad Men”

Outstanding Comedy Series: “Modern Family”

China to fund gallery at Tagore House

The Chinese government has decided to donate Rs. 53.6 lakh for the establishment of a gallery on “Rabindranath and China” at Tagore's ancestral house in Kolkata.

An agreement towards this was entered into between the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Rabindra Bharati University and was signed on Friday at Tagore House by Mao Siwei, Consul-General of China and Karuna Sindhu Das, the Vice-Chancellor of the university.

A press release said that according to the agreement, the gallery would cover an area of 180 square meters and display motifs including Chinese Civilization, Lord Buddha – the Great Liaison between India and China, Rabindranath's interest and respect for China since his boyhood. It would also cover Rabindranath's visit to China in 1924.

Mr. Mao said, the gallery will be inaugurated in May 2011, coinciding with Rabindranath Tagore's 150th-Birth Anniversary celebrations.

Pointing out that Rabindranath Tagore is very popular in China, he said a decade ago, ‘The Complete Works of Tagore' was published in 24 volumes in China.

“As far as I know, Chinese is the language which has done the most for Tagore's publications, after Indian languages and English,” he added.

In his speech , Mr. Mao highlighted Rabindranath's China visit in 1924. He said in the ancient times China learned Buddhism from India; in the modern-age the country has been inspired by Rabindranath Tagore, the great son of Bengal.

Asia’s biggest Hi-tech Saket Court Complex inaugurated

Touted as Asia’s biggest Court Complex, the New Delhi’s sixth District Court came up in Saket and became operational from August 28, 2010.

Spread over 16 hectares, using a budget of Rs 313 crore,, the seven-story centrally air-conditioned Saket Court complex has 81 courts catering to the south and southeast districts of New Delhi, 700 lawyers’ chambers and 128 residential houses for judicial officers. Each floor is supported by a large central litigant waiting space with public amenities like toilets, drinking water and information display panels among others. Two bar rooms and a library for the judges and lawyers have also been provided. A temporary lock-up has been made for the undertrials till a permanent judicial lock-up is constructed.

Apart from having the best infrastructure in place, Saket court complex has also focused on security arrangements. Around 50 CCTV cameras have been placed in and out of the complex with a recording capacity of three days. The daily recordings will be monitored by the staff and all the entrances will be strictly monitored.

With its functioning, the litigants of south Delhi will not have to travel to the Patiala House Court complex to attend their cases. Earlier, 42 civil and criminal trial courts of New Delhi, south and south-east districts were located in the Patiala House courts. The Patiala House court complex houses a total of 5,000 lawyers and over 40 courts. At present, Patiala House Court has south district, south-east district and New Delhi district under its jurisdiction. As per the plans, only New Delhi district will stay in the Patiala House complex and other two districts will be transferred to Saket court.

From judges holding courts in the “space under the staircase” to “centrally airconditioned” courtrooms, the new swanky court complex at Saket is now a Model Court complex for other States. Sharing his experience of seeing judges working in “pathetic conditions” for the last 20 years, Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia on 28.08.2010 said that after opening of Saket court complex, which has the best infrastructural facilities, the subordinate courts will work with “dignity”.

Garima-II buffalo calf cloned through ‘hand-guided cloning technique’

A cloned buffalo calf was born at the Karnal-based National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) on 22.08.2010, where two calves were cloned a year ago, the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) announced here on 23.08.2010.

The buffalo calf, named Garima-II, was born through the new and advanced ‘hand-guided cloning technique’. It weighs 32 kg and is apparently normal and healthy. “This cloned buffalo calf is different from the earlier clone calf because, in this case, the used donor cell was an embryonic cell,” said NDRI Director A.K. Srivastava in a press statement.

Faster multiplication
According to him, the technology could go a long way in facilitating faster multiplication of superior milch buffaloes in the country. “There is an acute shortage of good bulls in the country. The technology of cloning will decrease the gap between supply and demand by breeding the bulls in the shortest possible time,” he said.

Dr. Srivastava said that although the world’s largest population of buffaloes was in India, and it contributed about 55 per cent to the total milk production in the country, the percentage of elite buffaloes was low.

Dr. Srivastava and his team of scientists, including M.S. Chauhan, S.K. Singla, R.S. Manik, Shiv Prasad and Aman George, feel that embryonic stem cells have a better cloning ability as compared to somatic cells (used in earlier cloning) that are lineage committed.

The world’s first buffalo calf through the ‘hand-guided cloning technique’ developed by the NDRI was born on February 6, 2010 but it could not survive beyond five days. The second cloned calf, Garima-I, was born on June 6, 2009. It survived and is reportedly healthy.
The new calf was developed from embryos that were cultured and grown in a laboratory and then transferred to recipient buffalo. It was born in a Caesarean operation carried out by a team of doctors from the NDRI and Chaudhary Charan Singh Agricultural University, Hisar.

New era
Congratulating the team, ICAR Director-General S. Ayyappan said the new technology of hand-guided cloning of buffaloes may lead to a “new era in faster multiplication of elite germplasm to face the challenges of increasing demands of milk in view of the ever-growing human population”.

Fight against Child Marriage in India

Marriage is a celebration in India, but unfortunately so is child marriage. Although we have a statute since 1929 to restrain the same, the power of that legislation in controlling this social evil is dismal. Interestingly, in the era of Chandrayan, we repeatedly hear cases of Child Marriages. Child marriage is a stigma on the forehead of our society. In a recent case, a widow and mother of six children married her 12-year-old daughter to a 35-year-old man in Channa Bakhar village of Jodhpur

The marriage took place clandestinely in the village in the presence of a few relatives and was kept hidden from other villagers. But when the news leaked, the village Panchayat and Sen Samaj declared the marriage illegal. The villagers worked together to save the girl. The Balika Vadhu has purportedly gone into hiding even as her husband Gajendra Sen and his parents were running away.

Child-marriage originated in the medieval age and was born from the same compulsions that perpetuated Sati. It was not prevalent in ancient India. The most popular form of marriage was Swayamvara where grooms assembled at the bride’s house and the bride selected her spouse. Svayam-vara can be translated as self selection of one’s husband, Svayam = self, Vara = husband. Instances of Swayamvara ceremony are found in our national epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Various types of marriages were prevalent in ancient India Gandharva Vivaha (love marriage), Asura Viviha (marriage by abduction) etc., But among these Bal-Viviha (Child marriage) is conspicuous in its absence.

Origin and Causes of child marriages

In the medieval ages, law and order was not yet a universal phenomenon and arbitrary powers were concentrated in the hands of a hierarchy led by a despotic monarch. In India the Sultans of Delhi who held the place of the despotic monarch, came from a different type of culture. Orthodox in their beliefs with a fanatical commitment to their religion there was a ruthless method in its propagation. Intolerant as they were to all forms of worship other than their own, they also exercised contempt for members of other faiths.

As usual, women were the victims during any war, arson, plunder, etc. During the reign of the Delhi Sultans, these were the order of the day and the worst sufferers were Hindu women. During these dark days were spawned customs like child-marriage and selection of women from the rest of the society, wearing of the Ghungat (veil). This age also perpetuated customs like Sati and looking upon the birth of a female baby as an ill omen, even killing newly born baby girls by drowning them in a tub of milk. Amidst the feeling of insecurity, the presence of young unmarried girls was a potential invitation for disaster.

The predatory Sarasenic feudal lords and princes of Sarasenic origins who stalked all over India in the middle ages were a source of constant threat. A girl at home was an invitation for disaster. As such, parents would seek to get over with the responsibilities of their daughters by getting the custom of child marriages with the ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ still in their cradles was a culmination of this tendency. This way the danger to a growing girl’s modesty was somewhat reduced.

Along with this principal reason, there were a few other reasons arising from the nature of the feudal society which were conducive for the prevalence of this practice. In a feudal society, qualities like rivalry, personal honour, hereditary friendship or enmity are rated very highly. Because of this, military alliances play a very important role in preserving or destroying the balance of power between the various kingdoms and fiefdoms. To ensure that the military alliances entered into were observed by both parties, practices like exchanging juvenile members of the respective families who were educated and brought up at each other’s palaces were followed.

They were considered to be captives who were held to ensure that the military alliances between the two kingdoms or clans were honoured. But, a more lasting bond that could back up military alliances was matrimonial alliances between members of the two families. But such matrimonial alliances could be worked out smoothly only if the bride and groom were ready to accept each other. Young men and women of marriageable age are bound to be choosy. This difficulty could be avoided when the marriage was between two children or babies where there was no question of their having any sense of choice as to who their partners in life should be.

The caste hierarchy also perhaps had its role to play in perpetuating such a system. Caste which is based on birth and heredity does not allow marriages between members of different castes. But as youngsters whose emotions and passions could be ruled by other considerations might violate this injunction. Out of the necessity to preserve itself, the hereditary caste system could have helped in nourishing the practice of child-marriage.

Among other subsidiary considerations which could have helped to preserve this custom might be the belief that adults (or adolescent) boys and girls would indulge in unhealthy moral practices. This consideration would have been more relevant in the context of the puritanical and orthodox environment of the bygone ages. The practice could also have been perpetuated, especially among- the economically weaker sections, by the consideration of keeping marriage expenses to a minimum. A child-marriage need not have been as grand an affair as adult marriages.

The Current Scenario

The legal age for marriage in India is 18 years for a female and 21 for a male as per Section 6 of the Hindu Marriages Act, 1956. Any marriage of a person younger than this is banned and punishable in India under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

But child marriages still take place in India, particularly around the Hindu holy day of Akshya Tritiya. Normally Hindus decide the date for marriages based on horoscopes interpreted by pundits. Some dates however are considered so auspicious that no pundit needs to be consulted. One such day is Akshya Tritiya (also knows as Akha Teej), the third day of Baishakh, the month of the Hindu calendar generally falling in May. During this time lots of marriages take place. Unfortunately, many of them are child marriages. It is a religious tradition in many places in India and therefore quite difficult to change.

And that is really the crux of the problem — child marriages are a reflection that, like sati, women and girls are seen as property that ‘belongs’ to someone: her family, her husband, her in-laws. If her marriage is left too late, she is considered a burden to her own family. In some communities where child marriage takes place, instead of dowry there is a system of ‘bride price’ where, when the girl gets married, the husband’s family has to pay a sum of money in exchange for the bride. Instead of making things better, this system also means that families are eager to get their daughters married off so they can bring in money.

In any case, child marriages are worse for girls than for boys, since the girls are usually younger than the boys. Marriage also puts an end to any education girls may have been receiving. And if they get pregnant while still young, their health gets much worse since their bodies are often not ready to bear children. According to the United Nations, maternal mortality i(which indicates the number of women dying in childbirth or from pregnancy-related causes) is 25 times higher for girls under 15, and two times higher for 15-19-year-olds.

Interestingly enough, around the same time as Akshya Tritiya in 2010, the United Nations had just concluded a special session on children where they adopted 21 child welfare goals for the next decade. One of these was to end “harmful traditional or customary practices such as early and forced marriage”.

Consequences of Child Marriage

All children have a right to care and protection; to develop and grow into a complete and full individual, regardless of their social and economic situation. Child marriage is a blatant violation of all these rights.

Child marriage denies children their basic rights to good health, nutrition, education, and freedom from violence, abuse and exploitation.

When the persons in the marriage are children, their body and mind are put to grave and heinous danger. Most often the child is not even aware of what really awaits her/him as a consequence. Marriage by its very institution imposes certain social responsibilities on the persons in it. It also provides the legal sanction for engaging in sexual activity and procreation. This amounts to sanction for child sexual abuse and rape.

For girls early marriage is the beginning of frequent and unprotected them to early motherhood, reproductive tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. It also means frequent pregnancies and abortions.

Early marriage resulting in early motherhood means placing both the young mother and her baby at risk. It leads to increase in the rate of infant mortality and maternal mortality and birth of babies who have low birth weight, malnutrition and anaemia.

Early child marriage violates the child’s right to education. Children remain illiterate and unskilled, which in turn limits their opportunities for economic employment and economic independence as an adult.

Child brides often experience a sudden decline in their social networks, leaving them with few friends and peers if any. Such social isolation pose a host of other challenges that limit their ability to promote their health, development and well-being.

Parents justify early marriage as a way to protect the girl child from violence. However, parents do not understand that child marriage actually opens the door to an endless and vicious cycle of domestic violence and abuse. Marriage is also often used as the first step to trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, forced labour or any other purpose.

Preference for sons leads to female foeticide adding to the woes of the girl child. It results in fall in the number of girls available for marriage and hence buying of young brides, particularly in states with a skewed sex ratio. Some girl children are victims of “fake marriages” after which they are trafficked for sexual exploitation or as labour. Reports from Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan bear testimony to this.

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006

The basic premise of the law is:

  1. To make a child go through a marriage is an offence.
  2. Child or minor is a person up to 18 years in the case of girls and 21 years in the case of boys.

Voidability of Marriage at the Option of Child

Unlike the earlier legislation, wherein there was no provision for the voidability of the marriage, the new legislation makes the child marriage voidable at the option of contracting party who was a child at the time of marriage i.e. the child who has been married off has the option to go to the court of appropriate jurisdiction (district court or family court, as the case may be) and get his/her marriage declared cancelled. Further, there were only punishments prescribed for individuals getting into child marriage i.e. for the male adult, for the guardians who solemnized the marriage and for individuals who conduct or perform the marriage in any manner. However, the punishment was a meager simple imprisonment upto three months and fine.

However, under the new Act, the child can get the marriage cancelled if he/she so desires. If she does not exercise this option then the marriage remains valid. At the same time, if one spouse is not a child, he cannot get his marriage cancelled and he has to fulfill all the marital obligations of a husband like sustaining the wife, maintenance etc.

This option can be exercised by the child who has been married off and not by anybody else. If the child is still a minor at the time of filing the petition, the guardian can file the petition along with the Child Marriage Prohibition officer for him.

Further, a limitation period of two years from the date of attaining majority has been imposed.

While granting a decree of nullity under this section, the district court shall make an order directing both the parties to the marriage and their parents or their guardians to return to the other party, his or her parents or guardian, as the case may be, the money, valuables, ornaments and other gifts received on the occasion of the marriage by them from the other side, or an amount equal to the value of such valuables, ornaments, other gifts and money. Further, no order for nullity shall be passed unless the concerned parties have been given notices to appear before the district court and show cause why such order should not be passed.

Maintenance and Residence for the Female Child

Section 4 of the Act makes a provision for maintenance and residence to female contracting party to child marriage. If the child marriage is cancelled or nullified, then the district court may also make an interim or final order directing the male contracting party to the child marriage, and in case the male contracting party to such marriage is a minor, his parent or guardian to pay maintenance to the female contracting party to the marriage until her remarriage.

Looking at the social conditions in India, it can be imagined that it would be difficult for the girl to find a good residential place for herself. Therefore, the law along with making provision for maintenance also gives the power to court to make a suitable order as to her residence.

Children of Child Marriage – Their Custody, Legitimacy and Maintenance

The law also makes provision for custody and maintenance of children of child marriages. It gives the discretion to make a suitable order for the custody of such children. Undoubtedly, while making an order for the custody of a child under this section, the welfare and best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration to be given by the district court.

An order for custody of a child may also include appropriate directions for giving to the other party access to the child in such a manner as may best serve the interests of the child, and such other orders as the district court may, in the interest of the child, deem proper. The district court may also make an appropriate order for providing maintenance to the child by a party to the marriage or their parents or guardians.

To dive further into the problems and consequences of child marriage, another issue that could arise, would be the legitimacy of the children born under a child marriage where such marriage has been declared to be null.


Originally, Child Marriage was dealt with by the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 (Act 19 of 1929). In 2006, it was repealed and replaced by The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. It contains 21 Sections.

Sections 9, 10, 11 and 13 of The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 deal with punishments for various contraventions.

Section 9: The punishments for a male adult marrying a child shall be rigorous imprisonment upto two years or fine upto one lakh rupees or both.

Section 10: The punishment for solemnising a child marriage in the form of performing the child marriage or abetting in any form shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years and shall be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees unless he proves that he had reasons to believe that the marriage was not a child marriage.

Section 11: The law makes provision for the punishment of any person having charge of the child, whether as parent or guardian or any other person or in any other capacity, lawful or unlawful, including any member of an organization or association of persons who does any act to promote the marriage or permits it to be solemnised, or negligently fails to prevent it from being solemnised, including attending or participating in a child marriage. The quantum of punishment has been laid down as rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend up to one lakh rupees. The Act makes an exception in case of women and provides that no woman shall be punishable with imprisonment.

Section 13: Prescribes punishment for performing child marriage by disobeying the injunction granted by any competent Court and the punishment is imprisonment of either description which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend up to one lakh rupees or with both.

Further, the action also makes a presumption against the accused (which is again a deference from the normal law that the accused is always presumed innocent till proven guilty). It is presumed, unless and until the contrary is proved, that where a minor child has contracted a marriage, the person having charge of such minor child has negligently failed to prevent the marriage from being solemnised.

Marriages to be void in certain cases

The law further lays down the few cases in which the marriage of a minor child is to be void, i.e. where the child,

  • is taken or enticed out of the keeping of the lawful guardian; or
  • by force compelled, or by any deceitful means induced to go from any place; or
  • is sold for the purpose of marriage; and made to go through a form of marriage or if the minor is married after which the minor is sold or trafficked or used for immoral purposes,
  • such marriage shall be null and void.

A complaint regarding a possible child marriage may be made by any person having personal knowledge or reason to believe, and a non-governmental organisation having reasonable information, relating to the likelihood of taking place of solemnisation of a child marriage or child marriages.

It is also provided that the Court of the Judicial Magistrate of the first class or the Metropolitan Magistrate may also take suo motu cognizance on the basis of any reliable report or information.

The mass marriages conducted on the day of akshay trutiya are not unknown. For the purposes of preventing solemnisation of mass child marriages on certain days such as Akshaya Trutiya, the District Magistrate shall be deemed to be the Child Marriage Prohibition Officer with all powers as are conferred on a Child Marriage Prohibition Officer by or under this Act. The District Magistrate shall also have additional powers to stop or prevent solemnisation of child marriages and for this purpose, he may take all appropriate measures and use the minimum force required.

Offences to be cognizable and non-bailable

Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, an offence punishable under The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 206 shall be cognizable and non-bailable.

Child Marriage Prohibition Officers

This statute also introduced the concept of special Child Marriage Prohibition Officers.

With the coming into force of the Act, the State Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint for the whole State or such part thereof as may be specified in that notification, an officer or officers to be known as the Child Marriage Prohibition Officer having jurisdiction over the area or areas specified in the notification. The State Government may also request a respectable member of the locality with a record of social service or an officer of the Gram Panchayat or Municipality or an officer of the Government or any public sector undertaking or an office bearer of any non-governmental organisation to assist the Child Marriage Prohibition Officer and such member, officer or office bearer, as the case may be, shall be bound to act accordingly.

The duties of the CMPO are:

  • to prevent solemnisation of child marriages by taking such action as he may deem fit;
  • to collect evidence for the effective prosecution of persons contravening the provisions of this Act;
  • to advise either individual cases or counsel the residents of the locality generally not to indulge in promoting, helping, aiding or allowing the solemnisation of child marriages;
  • to create awareness of the evil which results from child marriages;
  • to sensitize the community on the issue of child marriages;
  • to furnish such periodical returns and statistics as the State Government may direct; and
  • to discharge such other functions and duties as may be assigned to him by the State Government.

The State Government may invest the Child Marriage Prohibition Officer with such powers of a police officer as may be needed and issue a notification in such respect. The Child Marriage Prohibition Officer shall have the power to move the Court for an order under sections 4, 5 and 13 and along with the child under section 3.

The Child Marriage Prohibition Officers shall be deemed to be public servants.

This Act is not in force as of now, i.e. sometimes after a statute receives the assent of the parliament, the state needs to develop the necessary machinery to actually put the Act and its provisions into action. It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint; and different dates may be appointed for different States.

To stop such child marriages, governments and civil society organisations are trying to get laws against child marriage made stronger, since it does not seem to be working in its present state. Right now the police cannot make arrests without applying for a magistrate’s order, which may take days. The punishment, a maximum of three months in prison, and a fine is not enough to stop people. Proposed changes include more punishment, a compulsory registration of all marriages rather than just religious rites, the appointment of anti-child marriage officers in every state, and making it a law that anyone who attends a child marriage has to report it.

40% child marriages in India: UNICEF

Forty per cent of the world’s child marriages take place in India, resulting in a vicious cycle of gender discrimination, illiteracy and high infant and maternal mortality rates.

According to the UNICEF’s latest “State of the World’s Children-2009” report, discrimination on the basis of gender has a direct impact on maternal health. It can deny girls and women access to education, prevent them from receiving or seeking adequate health care and bar them from making critical decisions that can affect their health and that of the newborn.

Saving the lives of mothers and their newborns require more than just medical intervention. To be truly effective, these interventions must exist within an environment supportive of women’s rights. This, the report suggests, requires respect for the rights of women and children, quality education, a decent standard of living, protection from abuse, exploitation, discrimination and violence and empowerment of women.

Educating girls and women is not only pivotal to improving maternal and neonatal health, but it also has tangible benefits for families and societies.

Educated women are more likely to delay marriages, ensure their children are immunised, be better informed about nutrition for themselves and their children, and choose safer birth spacing practices. Their children have higher survival rates than those of uneducated women and tend to be better nourished.

Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh top list of child marriages

Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have topped in the list of child marriages in India, a government data released on, Mar 30, 2010 said.

According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, the national capital has recorded one such incident in the year 2008.

This is only the second case reported from Delhi in this decade. It had recorded one such incident in 2003.

The report noted that 23 cases have been reported from Gujarat and 19 cases were reported in Andhra Pradesh.

The other states which reported child marriage cases in 2008 are Karnataka (9), Bihar (8), Punjab and West Bengal (6 each), Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra (5 each), Haryana, Kerala and Tamil Nadu (4 each), Rajasthan (3), Himachal and Madhya Pradesh (2 each) and Assam, Goa and Orissa (one each).

The Child Marriages that took place in India are 99 in 2006, 96 in 2007 and 104 in 2008 as per Crime in India 2008, a publication of National Crimes Records Bureau in India. This is only a tip of the iceberg but in reality most of the Child Marriages go unreported in India as the Child Marriages are sloemnised willingly by the family members and they feel that it is not a crime and hence no report comes against it. It can be prevented only when the society is educated, especially the girls.

300% Pay rise for Members of Parliament in India

Hours after the Union Cabinet on 19.08.2010 cleared a 300 per cent salary hike, from Rs. 16,000 to Rs. 50,000, for members of Parliament and doubled their perks, they appeared to be a dissatisfied lot and stalled the Lok Sabha proceedings thrice during the day, demanding more money.

Though the Cabinet, which met in Delhi under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved the Bill seeking a three-fold increase in the basic salary of MPs, it fell short of the Rs. 80,001 recommended by a joint parliamentary committee, which stated that an MP should get at least Re. 1 more than the top Central government bureaucrats.

Besides salary, an MP gets an allowance of Rs.1,000 for each day the Parliament is in session or for taking part in House committee meetings. This has been doubled. A member is also entitled to a constituency allowance of Rs.20,000 a month and an office expense allowance of Rs.20,000 a month. These perks have also been doubled.

The increase will be given with retrospective effect from May 2009, when the 15th Lok Sabha was constituted. However, the increase will be implemented when the Bill seeking amendment to the Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, is brought in Parliament and passed by both the Houses.

The deadlock over MPs’ salary hike ended on 20.08.2010 after the government’s trouble-shooter Pranab Mukherjee met agitating parliamentarians who are unhappy with the three-fold increase and are demanding a 500 per cent raise. The government is likely to consider marginally increasing the hike, official sources said.

How much an MP will now get?

The following is the summary of monetary benefits MPs are entitled to as salary and other perks which were on 19.08.2010 proposed to be hiked manifold.

Each MP gets:

  1. Basic salary of Rs 16,000. The salary has been hiked by 300 percent as proposed by the cabinet.
  2. Daily allowance of Rs 1,000 for each day when parliament is in session or taking part in house committee meetings. This has been doubled.
  3. Constituency allowance of Rs 20,000 a month. This has been doubled.
  4. Office expense allowance of Rs 20,000 each month. Also doubled.
  5. Conveyance allowance of Rs 1 lakh, which has gone up to Rs 4 lakh now.
  6. Spouses of MPs get free train travel from their place of residence to Delhi. They also get up to eight free plane tickets from their place of residence to Delhi.

With pay hike, an MP to cost Rs 37 Lakh a year

Not satisfied with a three-fold hike in their basic salary, many MPs stalled Parliament proceedings on 19.08.2010, saying that the “low” hike was an insult to the country’s legislators. But do these MPs have a case? Times of India did some calculations to help our MPs do a reality check on how their pay packet compares with countries around the world.

In comparison with legislators from the developed world, Indian MPs may appear to be poorly paid when we compare basic salaries at normal forex rates. However, this can be misleading.

It’s well known that basic salary is only a small part of the overall compensation given to an MP. Hence we did some calculations to get a rough estimate of the overall cost of an MP to his or her country by finding out the approximate monetary values of various perks and allowances. Converting this into international dollars in terms of purchasing power parity (the same benchmark that makes India the world’s fourth largest economy), it works out that Indian MPs cost more to the country than their counterparts in Singapore, Japan and Italy — nations globally known for their highly paid politicians.

Without including accommodation, travel, medical facilities and water charges, and taking 151 Parliament session days (from June 1, 2009 to June 1, 2010) as the annual average, it works out that the new salaries and allowances (constituency allowance, office, telephone, internet, furniture, electricity, daily allowances) given to an MP is worth more than Rs 20 lakh annually.

Now, consider the accommodation provided free or at nominal rates to MPs at some of the most upscale localities in the country — places like Lodhi Estate, Aurangzeb Road, Tughlak Lane, Akbar Road and Ferozeshah Road in Lutyens Delhi — where rent for a two or three BHK flat can go up to Rs 2 lakh a month. We can safely assume that an MP living at these places gets an additional perk of Rs 1 lakh per month by way of saving rent.

To calculate the average cost of air travel of an MP, we considered Kolkata as a point of reference (some constituencies may be farther or nearer) and assumed that an MP travels by Air India booking the ticket one week in advance. By that count, the 34 single air journeys that each MP is entitled to in a year, costs Rs 5 lakh. This brings an MP’s compensation to more than Rs 37 lakh annually.

When converted to PPP dollars, each MP’s pay and perks work out to 2.2 lakh PPP dollars — higher than the salary plus perks of MPs in Singapore (2.1 lakh) Japan (1.9 lakh) and Italy (1.9 lakh). In comparison, the cost to country of an MP in Pakistan — at 46,000 PPP dollars — makes legislators in that country appear positively poor.

There’s another way of looking at the pay packets of our MPs — by comparing it with the people they claim to represent. India’s per capita GDP being $ 3,176 (PPP), it works out that after the hikes our MPs will cost the country 68 times more than what an average Indian earns annually. That makes the disparity in India between the citizen’s average income and an MP’s cost to country, among the highest in the world. Kenya is an example of an even higher disparity, with its MPs earning 180 times the average population. The ratio is 35 for the US while for most of Western Europe and Japan, the cost of an MP doesn’t exceed 10 times the country’s per capita income.

MPs may get Rs.10,000 more – 21.08.2010

The government appears to have achieved a compromise with the Opposition parties on the issue of increasing the salary and allowances of members of Parliament. The constituency allowance will be hiked by Rs. 5,000 and the secretarial allowance by Rs. 5,000, adding up to Rs. 10,000 a month.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hari Prasad – man who proved Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) can be tempered arrested by Maharashtra Police

the man who proved the so called secure () can be tempered, was arrested by Maharashtra Police. was arrested on Saturday based on a complaint filed by a District Election Officer, which stated that an has been stolen from a government godown.

is working as technical coordinator with VeTA ( Citizens for Verifiability, Transparency and Accountability in Elections) an NGO.

a member of a three member global team that proved that EVMs are not tamperproof. This team needed the () for testing and have requested EC for same. But the Election Commission did not help efforts by failing to provide machines. The team procured one, and that is why he was accused of stealing one from Mumbai. The other two members of the team were , assistant professor of computer science at the University of Michigan and Dutch hacker .

An Electronic Voting Machine consists of two Units – a Control Unit and a Balloting Unit – joined by a five-meter cable. The Control Unit is with the Presiding Officer or a Polling Officer and the Balloting Unit is placed inside the voting compartment. Instead of issuing a ballot paper, the Polling Officer in-charge of the Control Unit will press the Ballot Button. This will enable the voter to cast his vote by pressing the blue button on the Balloting Unit against the candidate and symbol of his choice.

EVMs manufactured in 1989-90 were used on experimental basis for the first time in 16 Assembly Constituencies in the States of Madhya Pradesh (5), Rajasthan (5) and NCT of Delhi (6) at the General Elections to the respective Legislative Assemblies held in November, 1998.

EVMs run on an ordinary 6 volt alkaline battery manufactured by Bharat Electronics Ltd., Bangalore and Electronic Corporation of India Ltd., Hyderabad. Therefore, even in areas with no power connections, EVMs can be used.

EVMs can record a maximum of 3840 votes. As normally the total number of electors in a polling station will not exceed 1500, the capacity of EVMs is more than sufficient. EVMs can cater to a maximum of 64 candidates. There is provision for 16 candidates in a Balloting Unit. If the total number of candidates exceeds 16, a second Balloting Unit can be linked parallel to the first Balloting Unit. Similarly, if the total number of candidates exceeds 32, a third Balloting Unit can be attached and if the total number of candidates exceeds 48, a fourth Balloting Unit can be attached to cater to a maximum of 64 candidates.

In case the number of contesting candidates goes beyond 64 in any constituency, EVMs cannot be used in such a constituency. The conventional method of voting by means of ballot box and ballot paper will have to be adopted in such a constituency. An Officer is put on duty to cover about 10 polling stations on the day of poll. He will be carrying spare EVMs and the out-of-order EVM can be replaced with a new one. The votes recorded until the stage when the EVM went out of order will be safe in the memory of the Control Unit and it will be sufficient to proceed with the polling after the EVM went out of order. It is not necessary to start the poll from the beginning.

The EVMs have been devised and designed by Election Commission in collaboration with two Public Sector undertakings viz., Bharat Electronics Ltd., Bangalore and Electronic Corporation of India Ltd., Hyderabad after a series of meetings, test-checking of the prototypes and extensive field trials. The EVMs are now manufactured by the above two undertakings. The cost per EVM (One Control Unit, one Balloting Unit and one battery) was Rs.5,500/- at the time the machines were purchased in 1989-90. Even though the initial investment is somewhat heavy, this is more than neutralised by the savings in the matter of printing of ballot papers in lakhs, their transportation, storage etc., and the substantial reduction in the counting staff and the remuneration paid to them. In fact, voting by EVMs is simpler compared to the conventional system, where one has to put the voting mark on or near the symbol of the candidate of his choice, fold it first vertically and then horizontally and thereafter put it into the ballot box. In EVMs, the voter has to simply press the blue button against the candidate and symbol of his choice and the vote is recorded. Rural and illiterate people had no difficulty in recording their votes and, in fact they have welcomed the use of EVMs.

By booth-capturing, if one means, taking away or damaging of ballot boxes or ballot papers, this evil cannot be prevented by the use of EVMs as EVMs can also be forcibly taken away or damaged by miscreants. But if one looks at booth capturing as a case of miscreants intimidating the polling personnel and stamping the ballot papers on the symbol and escaping in a matter of minutes, this can be prevented by the use of EVMs. The EVMs are programmed in such a way that the machines will record only five votes in a minute. As recording of votes has necessarily to be through Control Unit and Balloting Unit, whatever be the number of miscreants they can record vote only at the rate of 5 per minute. In the case of ballot papers, the miscreants can distribute all the 1000 odd ballot papers assigned to a polling station, among themselves, stamp them, stuff them into the ballot boxes and run away before the police reinforcements reach. In half- an –hour, the miscreants can record only a maximum of 150 votes by which time, chances are the police reinforcement would have arrived. Further, the presiding Officer or one of the Polling Officers can always press the “close” button as soon as they see some intruders inside the polling station. It will not be possible to record any vote when once the ‘close’ button is pressed and this will frustrate the efforts of the booth-capturers.

The most important advantage is that the printing of millions of ballot papers can be dispensed with, as only one ballot paper is required for fixing on the Balloting Unit at each polling station instead of one ballot paper for each individual elector. This results in huge savings by way of cost of paper, printing, transportation, storage and distribution. Secondly, counting is very quick and the result can be declared within 2 to 3 hours as compared to 30-40 hours, on an average, under the conventional system. Thirdly, there are no invalid votes under the system of voting under EVMs. The importance of this will be better appreciated, if it is remembered that in every General Election, the number of invalid votes is more than the winning margin between the winning candidate and the second candidate, in a number of constituencies. To this extent, the choice of the electorate will be more correctly reflected when EVMs are used.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nuclear Bill or Nuclear Liability Bill Passed by Lok Sabha

Nuclear power

or has been Passed by . The , 2010 was approved by a voice vote. The main opposition party BJP has supported Congress led Government in passing the bill. This has opened the way for nuclear commerce with the world as most Neuclear suppliers are asking for Liability bill.

The Government dropped the controvertial provision of “intent” in case of accidents, while adopting a BJP amendment. They have also increased the liability to three times from 500 crore to 1500 crore.

The members rejected a Left / CPI(M) asked amendment to fix the liability cap on operators rpt operators in case of accidents at Rs.10,000 crore instead of the Rs.1,500 crore proposed in the measure.

The left has alleged that Government is passing the bill just to please Barak Obama and Americans before his visit to India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh however made a spirited speech in the debate rejecting allegations.

The passing of bill will make India attractive for business supplying neuclear machinery and will help India advance with Civil Neuclear Power.

IMU Prizes of ICM 2010

President Pratibha Patil arrived on August 18, 2010 in city for to inaugurate the () at HICC today on August 19, 2010 (Thursday). She was received at Begumpet airport by Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Chief Minister K. Rosaiah and his Cabinet colleagues J. Geeta Reddy, Sabita Indra Reddy, Ponnala Lakshmaiah, R. Venkat Reddy, Sunita Laxma Reddy and D.K. Aruna. Legislative Council chairman A. Chakrapani, Chief Secretary S.V. Prasad and Director General of Police R.R. Girish Kumar were also present.

will also be remembered for hosting the first ever International Congress of Women Mathematicians. Some 300 women are participating in the congress, breaking the old myth that women cant handle maths. For the first time in the history of the ICM, two sessions will be open to public, at the Global Peace Auditorium, Shanti Sarovar Campus, Gachibowli. On August 23, students from 60 schools will be listening to lecture by Bill Barton from University of Auckland and Gunter Ziegler from the Berlin Maths School. On August 24, Viswanathan Anand will play a game of chess with 40 mathematicians. Though the event is not open to public, it will underline the origin of chess in India.

The entire mathematics community eagerly awaits the announcement, at the opening of the , of the Fields Medals (started in 1936) and the Nevanlinna Prize (started in 1982). At the 2006 Congress another award, the Gauss Prize, was added. A new award, the Chern Prize, will be given for the first time in Hyderabad.

The IMU has been awarding the Fields Medals- generally considered the “Nobel Prize for mathematics” – since 1936, the Nevanlinna Prize in the field of theoretical computer science since 1982, and the Gauss Prize for applied mathematical work since 2006. The Fields Medals and the Nevanlinna Prize are given to young researchers below 40 years of age, in recognition of specific path breaking results. The Gauss Prize recognizes mathematical results that have opened new areas of practical applications.

IMU awarded its 2006 prizes on August 22, 2006 during the Opening ceremony of the in Madrid, Spain.

Chern Medal Award – a new prize in mathematics

In addition to the above three prizes, a new prize – the Chern Medal Award – will be awarded jointly with the Chern Medal Foundation (CMF), for the first time at the opening ceremony of , Hyderabad, India on August 19, 2010 to an individual whose lifelong outstanding achievements in the field of mathematics warrant the highest level of recognition.

The Award is established in memory of the outstanding mathematician Shiing-Shen Chern (1911, Jiaxing, China – 2004, Tianjin, China).

New Direct Tax Code (DTC) 2011 Bill Highlights

The New Direct Tax Code (DTC) 2011 Bill or Direct Tax Code India 2011 draft or has been released by finance minister which would replace current Income Tax structure from 2011- 12. This New Direct Tax Code (DTC) 2011 Bill or Direct Tax Code India 2011 draft will be applicable from Financial Year 2011-12 starting from 1st Day of April 2011 and has been declared. The new Direct Tax Code (DTC) bring relief to the taxpayers, as the tax slabs have been simplified further which was approved by Cabinet yesturday on August 26, 2010. The taxpayers can now get more benefits.

Key Features of New Direct Tax Code (DTC) 2011 Bill:

  • Tax Exemptions for Salaried People – Rs 2 lakh
  • Tax Exemption for Senior Citizens – Rs 2.5 lakh
  • Tax for Income between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 5 lakh – 10%
  • Tax for Income between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh – 20%
  • Tax for Income over Rs 10 lakh – 30%
  • Rs 1.5 lakh Tax Incentives on Housing Loans will continue
  • The DTC provides for MAT of 20 per cent of book profits of companies

The original draft had promised a whole new paradigm in direct taxation, drastically lowering the tax burden while also doing away with most exemptions. A revised draft released in June this year brought back some of the exemptions like the one available for interest on housing loans that the first draft had proposed to get rid of.

The speculation that this might force the finance ministry to make the revision of tax slabs also less ambitious to avoid giving away too much revenue has now proved well-founded. Under the original proposal, the 10% slab would have extended up to Rs 10 lakh and the 20% slab up to Rs 25 lakh, meaning that the 30% rate would have applied only to incomes of over Rs 25 lakh per annum.

On the plus side for individual taxpayers, withdrawal from provident funds will not be taxed as the original DTC had proposed to do. Also deductions from taxable income will be available for interest on housing loans up to Rs 1.5 lakh per annum and on payments into PF and similar superannuation schemes up to Rs 1 lakh. Also available will be a deduction of up to Rs 50,000 for life insurance and health insurance premiums or tuition fees.

White collar crimes are wide spread in society

White-collar crime and its consequences are recognized from centuries which categorize number of crimes. Mostly business and government professionals are involved in series of frauds termed as white-collar crime because these are lucrative, comparatively risk-free, and nearly socially up to standard. Due to high occurrence of these crimes, security officials plan modern technique to fight back through prevention, investigation, and prosecution. When the term white-collar crime is conversed, people are encouraged to think decisively about the nature of crime, law, and criminal justice. In the criminal justice system, the focal point of the investigative efforts on the crimes of the poor. If it is viewed from same legal eye of the state, the crimes of the powerful are hidden. White-collar crime is defined as "those illegal acts which are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and which are not dependent upon the application or threat of physical force or violence.

Individuals and organizations commit these acts to obtain money, property, or services; to avoid the payment or loss of money or services; or to secure personal or business advantage. Generally the white collar criminals commit range of frauds to get personal financial gain. White collar crimes do not show any vicious activity, but the extent of these crimes are intense and it can bring about great economic loss for companies, investors. Computer fraud is characterized as the crime committed to perform a plan or illegal activity and the targeting of a computer with the intention to modify, damage, or put out of action the data of computer system. There are many examples of crimes which include offering missing goods to a buyer, stealing someone's funds by hacking into his bank or credit card account. Hackers find passwords and delete information, create programs to steal passwords, or even rummage through company garbage to find secret information. Embezzlement is another type of white collar crime, termed as the misuse of items with which a person has been assigned. Charges of embezzlement can even be levied if the embezzler intended to return the property later. Employee theft is most common example of embezzlement. Company employees can have access to company property so they can easily misuse the property. Numerous examples can be quoted such as theft of retail items, discounted sale of retail items, and theft from cash registers.

Health care frauds are a stereotypical white collar crime in which highly qualified medical practitioners and health supervisory abuse their posts and professional skills through misleading nonviolent tactics such as fake bills just for individual financial gain. Environmental crimes are the infringement of laws which are made to protect the environment and human health. Littering, Improper waste disposal, Oil spills, Destruction of wetlands are some of the Environmental crimes. Perpetrator of Environmental law violation is fined, put on experimentation, sent to jail. Financial crimes are major white collar crimes. These are any non-violent felony that is committed by or against an individual or corporation and lead to great fiscal loss. These frauds include tax evasion, cheating of company funds, and the sale of fictitious insurance plans.

Another category of serious white collar crime is government fraud, which is an unlawful act that deliberately rid the government of funds through trickery. When the government gets fiddled, taxpayers pay the price. Procurement and contractor fraud are examples of costliest government fraud. In Identity theft the criminal use the personal information of another in order to commit fraud. Crooks of this type of crime have to face heavy penalties if trapped. Insurance fraud is very common in which offender forged claims to an insurance company, personal injury and property damage claims that are overstated in order to collect extra reimbursements. Mail fraud is committed by using Postal Service or any private or commercial interstate mail carrier, such as Mailboxes, etc. Money laundering is a felony in which lawbreakers hide the resource and objective of illegitimately acquired funds. Public corruption is an act of violating the public official's duty of faith towards his or her society. Anyone who is elected, appointed, hired, or employee of a constituency of citizens commits crime on the state, or local level when an official takes favorable decision in exchange of offered some value. Securities fraud is committed by white collar criminal such as corporations, broker-dealers, analysts, and private investors when the executor intentionally deceives investors for financial profits. The culprit of tax evasion deliberately and illegally avoids paying mandatory taxes to the government. Telemarketing fraud fall under white collar criminal in which wrongdoer make some plan that uses telephone contact to fraudulently rid its victims of funds or assets. The most regular type of telemarketing frauds are prize offers and sweepstakes, magazine sales, credit card sales.

In today's hi-tech world, white collar crimes are creating a serious trouble for government. People who commit white-collar crimes are sometimes the same kind of people who are in a position to see to it that their crimes are not defined too detrimental. While the impact of white-collar criminals leave an immense impact on the nation but the cost to each individual is petite. Practically it is observed that no effort from police department goes into skirmishing white-collar crime.

Our social system is corrupted by number of white collar crime and it is a great challenge for us to discover suitable resolution to the increasing menace of white-collar crime. These crimes are directly affecting the economy of the nation and the public's confidence, therefore corrective action must be taken immediately for preventing, detecting, investigating, and prosecuting economic crimes in order to minimize their outcome. Main blockade to get to the bottom of the white-collar crime hazard is that the public is not aware of its seriousness. It is more important to create wakefulness and businesses, and the nation's lawmakers must be convinced with its significance in identifying that such high-tech and economic crimes have an undesirable effect on society. Mostly people are innocent and they are not aware of the degree to which their lives, financial status, businesses, families, or privacy might be pretentious by electronic crime. A rock-hard inspection or accounting background is obliging to detect white-collar crime because swindlers are very clever and they can manipulate the situation very well.

Deforestation: Major environmental problem

Deforestation is a main environmental concern in the world. Deforestation includes the cutting down, burning, and destructing of forests. Numerous researches suggests that deforestation may be the first link in a chain of environment degradation that includes erosion, climatic changes, loss of biodiversity and genetic endowment, air pollution, decline in watershed functions, and the apparent loss of hardwood, fuel wood, and aesthetic stocks.

Population explosion is major basis for decline of the rain forests. These forests are being cut down at a petrifying rate to supply man with lumber, pasture land, and farm land. The outcome of such human activities is deforestation; the world's most valuable environment is being ruined. Plants and animals life is gradually diminishing as the natural habitats are bested. Deforestation occurs because people need land for agricultural. Large companies clear vast amounts of land, often for cattle pastures to fill the beef market. They also use the land for large plantations and use pesticides and irrigation systems that are very harmful to the land. The chemicals which are used to destroy pests also kill other animals and cause a lot of damage to surrounding areas. The rain washes the chemicals into the water system killing the aquatic life. The use of Land in such a way affects negatively the surrounding areas. It also can take centuries to re-grow.

There is solid cause of deforestation which is mainly related to a competitive global economy. It forces countries to utilize their only resource for funds. This process takes place at local and national level. Locally, people use land for farming to generate income because of poverty and population growth. Nationally, governments sell logging concessions to cover debts and develop industries. People are using their rainforests only for a short-term solution and could not assess the long term effects of their distractive activities. It is predicted that half the rain in tropical countries comes from evaporation of moisture from the covering of the trees. As trees and plants are destroyed, the moist awning of the tropical rain forest rapidly reduces. Evaporation and Evapotranspiration processes from the trees and plants return large quantities of water to the local atmosphere, promoting the formation of clouds and precipitation. Due to less evaporation, more of the Sun's energy is able to warm the surface and the air above which leads to increase in temperatures and the drying of land. Today, it is novel policies and program of development; rapid industrialization, urbanization and growing consumerism that have resulted in the large scale destruction of the forests. Due to the difficulty of deforestation, a major environmental issue, many clashes have arisen between environmental activist groups and those concerned in deforestation activities. The solutions to crisis of deforestation lie in dealing with the root cause. To resolve the issue, experts have to consider the economic problems that lie at the heart of the situation. Many proposals have been offered such as sustainable wood sources. If deforestation continues at its current rate then in just 100 years, there will be no more rainforests left at all and people will be the most sufferers.

Governments and environmentalists are facing major challenge- what steps must be taken to stop deforestation so that current environmental conditions would not get poorer. Scarcity and over population are main causes which alarms to governments. Policies must be made to overcome such problems so that we can save our forest and animals. Environmentalists and forestry supporters have been telling people and governments to instantly act on the problem regarding continued deforestation practices all around the world. Deforestation could be gradually stopped if people would be more environmentally mindful. That means, to speed up efforts in stopping deforestation. We must start participating in recycling programs. Governments should also implement legislations that would successfully prevent the deforestation process. Government must encourage reforestation which is the sought-after healing process

Everyone must understand that rainforest are splendid, exceptional gift of nature on our valuable Earth. If preventive measures are not taken immediately to stop the effects of deforestation, humans will be under grip of severe crisis. They may lose animals, plants, and there are great possibilities for dreaded diseases that are killing off our own race. All people must join their hands to work out a plan that is appropriate for businesses, governments, and most importantly the environment. Another important threat to human is that deforestation leads not only to species annihilation but also to loss of the genetic diversity that could help certain species adjust to a changing world. People are well familiar with the environmental crisis which can happen due to deforestation. Still they are destroying speedily.

The effects of deforestation can be devastating. It can lose the land of its natural aesthetic. In coming years, dangerous consequences will be visible. Deforestation can damage to the environment, usually stemming from its ability to cause land erosion. When an area is cleared, the soil under the surface is essentially stripped of the roots that provided it structural integrity and support. Without this support, the force of water, gravity, or both can cause the land to move, either as one piece, or more commonly, steadily and incrementally. Soil erosion due to deforestation is the main cause of Costa Rica's environmental calamity such as flooding, desertification and sedimentation in rivers, long-term hydroelectric shortages, loss of wildlife diversity, and the obvious depletion of the wood resources. Such a severe climate change can be arrested through reducing tropical deforestation. Deforestation bans and moratoria can effectively work if implemented properly.

Deforestation of is a severe environmental destruction which can not be revived if damaged at current rate. People cut down trees to meet out their own need without considering future outcome. They do not recognize about the damage they are doing. The deforestation affects the plant life. People have general impression that if trees are cuts down, it will grow back in a few years. Plants will ultimately grow back, but the forest will be changed into a secondary forest and may never be the same.

The New Child Labour Law

The New Child Labour Law

“The child is father of the man”- William Wordsworth

Child is a bundle of joys a flower incarnate in person. A flickering smile of the child pleases everyone. The brightness and future welfare of the society is closely interwoven with the brightness of the child and its careful upbringing. Childhood is the most important period of life, as it shapes adulthood. The very initiation of life-making starts at childhood. The early lesson of the child starts from the cradle. Parents adopt different methods to rear up the child in different ages, to make it a happy man or woman later. The mother being closer, has a greater responsibility to train up the child well from the very infancy.

If one desires to know a nation, he should look for it into its children. Child is not only the future of the nation and its aspirations but also, and mainly, its strength in reserve. The future of nation is best insured if its children are healthy and active, educated and informed, disciplined and trained, as well as free from social prejudices, having a scientific outlook. It is, therefore a duty cast on the society at large to protest this crop of nation from the damaging effects of excessive exposure to vagaries of climate, as well as, from social oppression and injustice.

Talking all the aspects as a whole, the childhood is the most significant period of one’s life. It is considered, and rightly so, to be the very foundation of life on which depends the entire structure the whole personality as such child the father of man – is the natural future leader of the nation in every walk of life, may it be industry, education, politics, social services, administration defence, civil services or anything else. It is during this formative period of moulding that the life begins to acquire shape and substance, and the attitudes, behaviours, manners and emotions do get developed.

Concept of Child Labour

The term ‘Child Labour‘ is, at times, used as a synonym for ‘employed child’ or ‘working child’. In this sense it is co-extensive with any work done by a child for profit or reward. But more commonly than not, the term ‘child labour’ is used in a derogatory sense. It suggests something which is hateful and exploitative.

Thus, child labour is recognized by the sociologists, development workers, educationists and medical professionals as hazardous and injurious to the child, both physically and mentally.

According to Shri. V.V.Giri, former president of India, has thus distinguished the two concepts of the ‘child labour’s: the term ‘child labour’ is commonly interpreted in two different ways: first, as an economic practice and secondly, as a social evil. In the first context it signifies employed of the children in gainful occupations with a view to adding to the labour income of the family. It is in the second context that the term child labour is now more generally used. In assessing the nature and extent of the social evil, it is necessary to take into account the character of the jobs on which the children are engaged, the dangers to which they are exposed and the opportunities of development which they have been denied.”

The term ‘child labour’ applies to children engaged in all types of activities whether these be industrial or non-industrial but which are determined to their physical, mental, moral and social well being and development. The brain of a child develops anatomically till the age of ten, the lungs till the age of fourteen and the muscles till the age of seventeen. Anything which obstructs the natural growth of any or all of these vital organs should be considered as determinate to natural physical growth, or even hazardous.

Some Historical Aspect on Child Labour in India

In ancient India it was the duty of the king to educate every girl and boy and parents could be punished for not sending their children to school called ashrams, which were really residential schools under a guru (a learned sage). Child labour existed only in the form of child slaves children, sometimes even less than 8 years of age, were purchased, to do so-called low and dishonorable work. Kautilya (4th century B.C) considered it degrading to make children work on such jobs and hence prohibited the purchase and sale of slave children below 8 years.

Children, however, helped their parents in household activities and family crafts. They learnt the skills by observing and participating in such activities. A predominantly rural society is inevitably characterized by small and marginal economic units. India, through its medieval period, was no exception. Increasing pressure on land led to fragmentation of holdings. Growing families had to look beyond personal cultivation for subsistence. A class of landless labourers came into existence, often bonded to the large landowners. These labourers used their children to help in their economic activities. The rural artism rarely worked alone. Infact the entire family was a work unit with the ‘pater familia’ being the master craftsman. Occupations were determined largely on the basis of heredity, and children were introduced to their traditional craft at a young age.

Nature of Child Work

From time immemorial it has been the practice that children were to engage themselves in some sort of work or the other, both in home and in the field. In olden days, children of tender age performed even toilsome work alongwith adult agricultural and other workers. In the medieval period, children used to be engaged as trainees under the guidance of their parents to learn traditional crafts of the family.

In agriculture, children are employed not on agricultural operations but in non-agricultural operations also. They are employed in such diverse agricultural operations as ploughing, sowing, transplanting, weeding, harvesting threshing and guarding the crops, etc.

In plantations, child labour is a part of family labour. They assist their parents in plucking of leaves and coffee berries, or collecting of latex, or they do some secondary jobs, such as, weeding, spreading of fertilizers, the care of nurseries, digging of drains, etc. they are also employed to pick out stalks and coarse leaves of tea spread over the green leaves in the shadow.

There is also an increasing concern about the accident and disease incident among child agricultural workers, controls on hazardous insecticides and pesticides are deficient and neither the children nor their parents receive any instruction as how to use them safely. The same is true of mechanical operations.

Children in cities perform much larger varieties of activities than those in villages because of the extensively diversified structure of urban economics. Often, children are employed for packing, labeling, etc., in the factories. Other industries in which children are engaged are match factories, bidi manufacturing, mica cutting, wood and cork, furniture and fixture, printing, publishing and allied trades, leather products, rubber and rubber products, machinery, transport equipment, lock factories, gem cutting and polishing, potteries, glass bangle industries, brass work, carpet industries and personal services like laundaries, deying and cleaning.

Millions of small boys and girls are engaged in the unorganized sector, comprising hotels, restaurants, canteens, wayside ‘dhabas’, shops, repair workshop, and establishments of various types. They also work as hawkers, coolies, shoe-shine boys and venders. In big cities, children can be seen cleaning and washing automobiles just for a trip. The bigger the city, the higher is the persistent demand for teenagers to work as domestic servants and it is there that they are often subjected to worst types of exploitation without any means of protections-legal or social on the kitchen floor and are, as a rule, not permitted to attend school. Sexual abuse is also reported to be frequent.

In a good number of occupations child worker is invariably exposed to risks of various nature because of his tender age. For instance, he is likely to suffer burn injuries while working round about big ovens, or while carrying hot beverages; the newspaper hawkers and shoe-shine boys are exposed to the risk of road accident; rag-pickers may get cut injuries from glass pieces or broken tin cans; or the child working on construction sites alongwith his parents may sustain injuries while carrying brick or stone loads.

Interestingly, children are sometimes also employed as performing artists. They are given roles in films, and in circus they perform acrobatic feats, Magicians and jugglers use them as ‘Jamura’ (the helping boy) and they are also used by them for arousing public sympathy at wayside shows for alms.

Some writers and social workers are of the view that begging is a major field of operations where children are put to work. Mrs. Sengupta has observed.:
“Our seething millions where child employment is rife and has become a various form of exploitation ….. begging is becoming a real profession and there are scaring rumours that gangsters and syndicates of inhuman beings trade in human babies and children. Certainly the mother clad in a rag and clutching a baby in her arms is a sight that is shameful. Children are drugged or even, one hears, tortured. To see pavement dwellers in all their horrors living in filth, children picking up rejected and popping food mixed with filth into their mouths makes one feel desperate: but no one seem to do prevent from flaunting drugged babies or little tots on the road and to use them for employment purposes.”

Curiously, some well to do urban families, having connections in the country-side, take in some child of a poor relative, ostensibly, for supporting the child out of sympathy for the for the poor relatives, but he or she eds up as a domestic servant with no opportunity for education.

It has been also discovered that a sizable number of children ranging between 5 to 12 years of age had actually been kidnapped from different places to weave carpets and were forced to work for as long as 22 hours a day. These children treated like virtual slaves, were found to bear scar marks of torture. They were, reportedly, severely beaten even with iron rods, if they were deficient in work or committed errors in weaving.

The most nefarious rather barbarian form of child exploitation is the practice of bonded labour. The child is handed over by the loaner as security or collateral security against small sums of loan obtained at an exorbitant rate of interest. The bonded child usually gets only a handful of coarse grain for his subsistence. He has to toil very hard and exists at the mercy of his lord for the whole of life without the least hope of redemption. The mortgagee is usually some big landlord, money –lender or the village businessman and the mortgager is the poor landless labourer. Through this practice is prevalent in many parts of rural India, it is predominant in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu but with a distinguishing feature that there the bonded child is allowed to stay with his parents on the condition that he must present him self at work daily at 8 a.m. The practice of bounded labour is still prevalent dispite stringent laws against it which provide for imprisonment of, and imprisonment of, and imposition of fine on, the guilty.

Causes Of Child Labour

Child labour is a socio-economic phenomenon. It is generally concerned that illiteracy, ignorance, low wages, unemployment, poor standard of living, stark poverty, deep social prejudices and appalling backwardness of the country-side are all, severally and collectively, the root causes of child labour. Mr Madan, Deputy Director, Ministry of Labour, is of the view that “the children are required to seek employment either to augment the income of their families or to have a gainful occupation in the absence of availability of school going facilities at various places.”

It has been officially stated that, “child labour is no longer a medium of economic exploitation but is necessitated by economic necessity of the parents and in many cases that of the child himself.” Prof. Gangrade believes that child labour is a product of such factors as customs, traditional attitude, lack of school or reluctance of parents to send their children to school, urbanization, industrialization, migration and so on.

Age Limit

The Indian constitution in its article 24 lays down that, “No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.” The abuse of the tender age can be stopped by bringing these vast unorganized sectors under legislative control. We see that children employed in different occupations and different states are subject to different set of regulations and treatment. But our primary interest is to save the tender aged children from health risks, hazardous and other forms of exploitation. The complex socio-economic conditions in different social milieu may not advocate the uniform age limit. But this should not rule out the possibility of acceptance of age uniformity, though child labour (Prohibitions and Regulation) Act has brought about much needed uniformity in certain cases. Not only in our country, but also in almost all other countries of the world the non-uniformity of age regulation is still in existence. The most widely covered and most strictly regulated sector is industry. Fifty-four of the member countries for which such information is available, have fixed the minimum age for industrial employment at 14. A higher age – 15 or 16 is the general rule in another forty-five and a lower one -12 or 13 – in just over a dozen. In case of non-industrial employment national laws and regulations are naturally extremely diverse. The majority of countries have, in principle, a uniform minimum age of 14, 15 or 16 years for all employment (disregarding agriculture for the moment).

But in our country where dire poverty is manifest in every walk of life what will be the minimum age for child labour? The International Labour Organization in its Convention No. 138 (1973), in Article 3 had clearly stated, “The minimum age for admission to any type of employment or work which by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out is likely to jeopardise the health, safety or morals of young persons shall not be less than 18 years.” If India ratifies this convention, millions of children will be thrown out of employment. In the present socio-economic condition in the country it is difficult to prescribe the minimum age. It will make the problem of unemployment and poverty more acute. But for the sake of uplifting the future standards of employment as well as to protect the children from such abuse of their tender age, at least we can appeal to our government to provide free and compulsory education to every child up to the age of 14 years. The law –makers must keep in mind the recommendation of the Convention No. 138. age limits should be gradually raised to a level consistent with the fullest physical and mental growth and development of child workers as recommended by the International Labour Organization to save the children from the clutches of social injustice and deprivation and to ensure for them a happy normal growth in the national interest of every country.

Hours of Work

The health and efficiency of the workers depend mostly on the hours of work. Long hours of work are harmful not only for moral and physical development, but also retard efficiency. Considering our climate and geophysical conditions the hours of work should be lowered. The long working days minimize the working life. So it is less productive in the long run. Shorter working days are also less productive, but it provides more employment. The socio-economic conditions of India demands shorter working hours. The tender age of the working children should be protected from the onslaught of rigorous working hours. The environment of the working places, such as, hotels, restaurants, tea-stalls, and sweet-shops is most uncongenial to the development of the child. But the working children devote 16 to 20 hours daily to serve the clients.

According to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, no child shall be permitted to work more than a period of 6 hours inclusive one hours rest in one day. Moreover short working hours, with rest intervals would enable the child workers to perform their duties efficiently and happily. The most surprising thing is that the employer hardly takes any care to make a difference between the child and the adult worker. Naturally working children become the victim of exploitation. Working hour should be restricted in such a way that they may be permitted to part time education. The most striking thing is that no special provision have been made regarding the condition of work, conservancy services whole- some drinking water, medical facilities, accident benefits, rest, etc., for the child workers. They should enjoy the same facilities like the adult workers.

Implementation of Schemes

Our constitution provides, as a fundamental right, that no child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed in any factory, or mine, or be engaged in any other hazardous occupation. Once Dr. Rajendra Prasad had remarked, “We might search our hearts and ask ourselves whether we have done everything possible to implement this directive.”

According to the report of the National Commission on Labour, the employment of children in factories, mines, plantations or in other organized sectors has been decreasing. However, this report adds that it continues to persist in varying degrees in the unorganized sector, such as, small plantations, restaurants, hotels, cotton ginning and weaving, carpet weaving, stone breaking, brick kiln, handicrafts and road building, etc. Employment of children, who are below the prescribed age, was also reported to be continuing at far off places and in rural areas where enforcement of statutory provisions was all the more difficult.

The real enforcement lies in the implementation. The positive side of implementation is that law should have and validity. The greedy employers do not care the existing laws. Like all other countries several industrial activities such as manufacturing, mines, construction and various kind of transport are dealt with by separate laws and regulations. On the other hand the immature children are in the dark about legal protection. Like all laws should be properly administered. The essential feature of the administration of labour law is inspection. A peculiar feature is that the employer always tries to draw a screen before the inspector. Inspector hardly gets any opportunity to identify the child for verify his age and the other working conditions. Children do not come openly to the inspector to report about their grievances.

International Labour Organization and Child Labour

The basic aim of the ILO to abolish Child Labour altogether is yet a distant goal in view of the present economic setup of the World. It has taken measures to protect the working children and to ameliorate their working and living conditions and to impart job-based education. The United Nations declaration of the rights of the child says:

“The child shall enjoy special protection and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.”

It further states that: “the child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form. The child shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age; he shall in no case be caused or permitted to be engaged in any occupations or employment which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.”

Best blessings on those
Little, innocent lives
Bloomed on earth,
Who have brought the message
Of joy from heavenly garden
- Rabindra Nath Tagore

It is the bounded duty of the country to provide for atleast free primary education for all children. One must remember that the industrialization can wait but youth does not last long. This right to primary education must be for all the present time, and not a dubious or ambiguous must be for the present for some defined future. The basic guarantees of our Constitutional must be fulfilled here and now.

Therefore, so far as the projects for development of human resources are concerned, the programme for welfare of children must be given top priority. It is only in this way that children can be trained to be good future citizen, mentally alert and prosperous. We should aim at providing proper and equal opportunities for development to all children in the light of the above mentioned constitutional directives. It is only then that we can fulfill our aspirations and achieve our objectives of social justice and equality enshrined in our constitution.