Transgender Bill sent to Cabinet :-
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill :-
- The Social Justice ministry has sent a Bill on transgender rights to the Cabinet after finalising nine amendments, including those in the definition of the term ‘transgender’, keeping with the recommendations of a parliamentary panel.
Changes made through the amendments :-
- New definition proposed in the Bill, “A Transgender means a person whose gender does not match with the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-man or trans-women (whether or not such persons have undergone sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy or laser therapy or such other therapy)”.
- It also includes person with intersex variations, gender-queer and person having such socio-cultural identities such as ‘kinnar’, ‘hijra’, ‘aravani’ and ‘jogta’.
- The ministry has also done away with the provision of recommendation required from district screening committees for issuing a certificate, if a transgender undergoes a surgery to change his or her gender.
Concerns among Bill :-
- The ministry did not make any changes on the recommendation that transgenders be exempted from Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)which criminalises homosexuality.
- Despite a Supreme Court order to treat transgender persons as “socially and educationally backward classes and extend all kinds of reservation” in government jobs and higher education to them, the central government’s Bill on transgender rights doesn’t provide for any reservation.
Prelims Level :- Transgender Bill on Transgender Rights
Mains Level :- Transgender Bill Amendments and Changes to ensure Transgender gets their rights.
Bilaspur’s stone age tools link Sivalik cultures :-
Acheulian artifacts found :-
- Researchers from the Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) have discovered a number of Acheulian artifacts (dated to about 1, 500,000–1,50,000 years ago) along with contemporary Soanian ones.
- These were found from an unexplored site at Ghumarwin in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh
- The site is close to the site where scientists in the 19th century discovered fossil remains of Sivapithecus, the last common ancestor of orangutans and humans
Significance of discovery
- The discovery of stone tools belonging to the Acheulian age in a region known to have rich evidence of the Soanian period presents the possibility of continuity of the two stone age cultures at the site.
- Present Acheulian discovery from the unexplored site at Ghumarwin indicates that the river Sutlej and its tributaries have been a prehistoric corridor for the peninsular Acheulian man into the Sivalik region.
Other Acheulian sites :-
- The oldest dated Acheulian sites in India are those at Attirampakkam in Tamil Nadu, dating to 1.5 million years ago
- Recent assessments of the South Asian Paleolithic (stone age culture) records have suggested that most Soanian assemblages are younger than Acheulian evidence in the Sivalik region.
- According to experts, the Soanian stone age cultures date to 600 ka (about 6,00,000) years .ago
About Anthropological Survey of India :-
- Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) is the apex Indian organisation involved in anthropological studies and field data research for human and cultural aspects
- It is working primarily in the fields of physical anthropology and cultural anthropology
- While maintaining a strong focus on indigenous populations, it also attempts to document the cultures of other communities and religious groups
- It operates under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India
About Acheulian :-
- Acheulian is an archaeological industry of stone tool manufacture characterised by distinctive oval and pear-shaped “hand-axes” associated with early humans.
- Acheulian tools were produced during the Lower Palaeolithic era across Africa and much of West Asia, South Asia, and Europe.
Prelims Level :- Anthropological Survey of India, Acheulian, Soanian & Paleolithic stone age, Sivapithecus
Mains level :- Prehistoric era and findings related to it
Government issues dust deadline: March 31 or face suspension :-
The Environment Ministry has asked major infrastructure agencies to implement measures for dust mitigation by March 31 or face suspension of construction work. In letters sent last month to the heads of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI ), NBCC and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the ministry cited recent rule amendments that make it mandatory for projects needing environment clearance to ensure mitigation of dust.
On January 25, The Ministry notified an amendment to the Environment Protection Rules making it mandatory for all projects that require clearance to implement dust mitigation measures. The rules state :-
- No building or infrastructure project requiring environmental clearance shall be implemented without approved Environmental Management Plan inclusive of dust mitigation measures.
- The rules are applicable in all cities where particulate matter, PM 10 and PM 2.5, exceeds limits prescribed in the National Ambient Air Quality standards.
Dust Mitigation measures :-
- Paved roads at construction sites.
- Wind breakers of appropriate height.
- Adequate water sprinkling systems.
- Prohibition of grinding and cutting of building materials in the open area.
- Covering all vehicles carrying construction material and waste.
According to Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2018 :-
According to Environmental Performance Index, a failure to check air pollution led to India being ranked the fourth worst country in the world in terms of curbing environmental pollution. India ranked 177 out of 180 countries, in contrast to a rank of 141 two years ago. The EPI rankings were published on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
About Environmental Performance Index (EPI) :-
- The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is a method of quantifying and numerically marking the environmental performance of a state’s policies.
- It was designed to supplement the environmental targets set forth in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals
- It is jointly published Yale and Columbia Universities along with the World Economic Forum.
Prelims level :- Environmental Performance Index
Mains Level :- Measures to combat rising Air Pollution