Battle Against Human Trafficking :-
Cabinet nod to anti-trafficking Bill has been welcomed by the NGO community & who have been working towards the upliftment of women and children in respect to human trafficking. Statistics reveal that heinous crimes like trafficking is on the rise.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau report :-
- In 2016, more than 8,000 cases of human trafficking were reported in India while 23,000 victims were rescued in the same year (61 per cent of them were children).
- Forty five per cent of these victims were trafficked for the purpose of forced labour, followed by sexual exploitation for prostitution (22 per cent).
Flaws in Other Laws :-
- Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013 :-
Trafficking was defined under Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code. Sadly, despite the creation of a new definition of human trafficking, wherein commercial sex, forced labour, child labour, organ trade, forced marriage and illegal adoption were covered, the law was not provided in its elaborate form making all provisions required for the same.
- Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1956 (ITPA) :-
Covered only commercial sex or in the common lingua, the ‘brothels’ or ‘brothel related issues or as they call it ‘prostitution’, wherein the women victims got re-victimised in 70-80 per cent of cases.
ANTI-TRAFFICKING BILL :-
All aspects of human trafficking: Prevention, rescue and rehabilitation covered in Anti-Trafficking Bill
- It includes aggravated forms of human trafficking like
>> Forced labour
>> Trafficking by administering chemical substances or hormones on a person for the purpose of early sexual maturity
>> Trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage or after marriage.
- It provides punishment for
>> Promoting or facilitating trafficking of persons, which includes producing, printing, issuing or distributing un-issued, tampered or fake certificates, registration or stickers as proof of compliance with Government requirements.
>> Commits fraud for procuring or facilitating the acquisition of clearances and necessary documents from Government agencies.
Another Features of the Bill :-
- Designated Courts :-
The Bill also provides for designated courts in each district for time-bound trial and repatriation of victims — within a period of one year from taking into cognizance.
- Seizure of Property :-
The Bill also provides for seizing of property located in foreign lands which is a good effort to deal with such crimes.
- The Bill also provides for an existing agency with all its manpower and resources, the National Investigation Agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs to perform the tasks of anti-trafficking bureau at the national level which shall prove to be more expedient than creating a new body for the same.
- A dedicated mechanism is proposed to be created under this law at each district, State and Central levels to implement the Bill in its entirety.
How AI can help Indian Armed Forces ?
Controversies surrounding autonomous weapons or Military AI :-
- The idea of military Artificial Intelligence (AI) immediately brings to mind “killer robots” which can independently target and kill humans
- The possible presence of such systems on battlefields has sparked a welcome international debate on the legality and morality of using these weapon systems.
Potential uses of AI in Indian scenario :-
There are three areas where AI can be readily deployed without much controversy or effort
Logistics and supply chain management :-
- Substantial work has already been done in deploying AI for logistics and supply chain management in the civilian sector
- An efficient logistics system lies at the heart of any well-functioning military & this is especially complicated for the Indian Armed Forces given the diverse environments and conditions they operate in
- AI-backed systems could go a long way in increasing efficiencies, reducing wastage and overall costs in the military’s logistics management.
- Cyber warfare has become faster, more sophisticated and more dangerous & humans will not be able to tackle evolving threats in an effective manner.
- Specifically trained AI systems could actually prove to be far more efficient and effective than humans for such tasks like to develop both offensive and defensive cyber-war capabilities both to protect the military’s own assets and communication links and to attack similar assets of opposing militaries
Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) :-
- This has already been put into practice by various countries, including the US and possibly China.
- Using AI for ISR tasks can take two different forms :-
- First is the use of AI in unmanned vehicles and systems, whether on air, land or on and underwater :-
Such “intelligent” unmanned systems could be used for patrolling in harsh terrains and weather conditions, providing harbor protection, and allowing the deploying force to scout the battlefield or conflict zone with no danger to human soldiers
- The second use is for data analysis and interpretation :-
An AI system could, for instance, be trained to pick out predetermined suspicious behavior from the video footage of a surveillance drone, and thereby identify potential targets.
- This fact has led the US to develop and deploy an experimental system called Project Maven, which analyses video footage from drones to identify potential threats in the US’ fight against the Islamic State (IS)
What needs to be done by Indian Military ?
- Indian military needs to build a close working relationship with the vibrant private technology sector in India, and especially with start-ups doing exciting work in the AI space.
- Need to hand over potentially sensitive data to private firms so as to enable the building of AI systems that can meet the specific needs of the Indian Armed Forces.
- A unique legal “trust model” needs to be built that accounts for the needs of the military and technological innovation.
- The incorporation of these AI systems in the functioning of the Indian military could potentially lead to a long-term reduction in costs while improving its technological capabilities.
Post NFRA Formation : What is ICAI Role ?
NFRA to be set up
- The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for the establishment of the National Financial Reporting Authority
- It was envisaged under section 132 of the Companies Act, 2013
Roles of NFRA
- It is intended to serve as an independent regulator for the auditing profession.
- It can recommend to the Centre formulation of accounting and auditing standards and policies to be adopted by companies and auditors.
- It can monitor and enforce such standards and policies.
Powers of NFRA
- It can investigate professional matters or misconduct of any member or a firm of chartered accountants.
- It can issue summons and examine on oath.
- It can also inspect any book, registers and documents of any professional/firms probed.
- It may impose penalties and even has powers to debar a member of a firm.
Present role of auditors
- The Companies Act casts a responsibility on auditors to see that corporate accounts are in order.
- Auditors can choose not to sign the accounts if their concerns are not addressed by the management.
- The Companies Act also allows auditors to report to the Centre if they believe an offence involving fraud is being committed by the company, by its officers or employees.
What is ICAI’s role now?
- Institute of Chartered Accountants of India’s role will continue in respect of its members, in general, and, specifically, with respect to audits pertaining to private limited companies and public unlisted companies below the threshold limit to be notified in the rules.
- ICAI will continue with its advisory role on accounting and auditing standards and policies by making its recommendations to NFRA.