Cabinet approves Amendment in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012
In a historic decision to protect the children from Sexual offences, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Amendments in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
- It will make punishment more stringent for committing sexual crimes against children including death penalty. The amendments also provide for levy of fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography.
- The amendment is expected to discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent due to strong penal provisions incorporated in the Act.
- It intends to protect the interest of vulnerable children in times of distress and ensures their safety and dignity.
- The amendment is aimed to establish clarity regarding the aspects of child abuse and punishment thereof.
- The POCSO Act, 2012 was enacted to Protect the Children from Offences of Sexual Assault, Sexual harassment and pornography with due regard for safeguarding the interest and well-being of children.
- The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age, and regards the best interests and welfare of the child as matter of paramount importance at every stage, to ensure the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child. The act is gender neutral.
Cabinet approves Launch of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana-lll (PMGSY-III)
In a major boost to rural road connectivity across the country, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the launch of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana-lll (PMGSY-III).
- It involves consolidation of Through Routes and Major Rural Links connecting habitations to Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals.
- Under the PMGSY-III Scheme, it is proposed to consolidate 1,25,000 Km road length in the States.The Scheme will also include Through Routes and Major Rural Links that connect habitations to Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals.
- This would facilitate easy and faster movement to and from Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals.
- Roads constructed under PMGSY would also be maintained properly.
- It will entail an estimated cost of Rs 80,250 crore (Central Share-Rs. 53,800 crore, State Share- Rs 26,450 crore).
- The funds would be shared in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and State for all States except for 8 North Eastern and 3 Himalayan States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand) for which it is 90:10.
- Project period: 2019-20 to 2024-25.
- Selection of candidate roads based on the sum total of the marks obtained by particular road on the basis of parameters of population served, market, educational and medical facilities, etc.
- Construction of bridges upto 150 m in plain areas and 200 m in Himalayan and NE States proposed, as against the existing provisions of 75 m and 100 m in plain areas and Himalayan and NE States respectively.
- The States shall be asked to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) before launching of PMGSY-III in the concerned State for providing adequate funds for maintenance of roads constructed under PMGSY post 5-year construction maintenance period.
Progress under PMGSY
- A total of 5,99,090 Km road length has been constructed under the scheme since inception till April, 2019 (inclusive of PMGSY-I, PMGSY-II and RCPLWEA Scheme.
- PMGSY-III scheme was announced by the Finance Minister in Budget Speech for the year 2018-19.
- The CCEA in its meeting held on 9thAugust, 2018 approved continuation of PMGSY-I & II beyond 12th Five Year Plan and covering of balance eligible habitations under PMGSY-I by March 2019, PMGSY-II, and habitations under identified LWE blocks (100-249 population) by March 2020.
- PMGSY was launched in December, 2000 with an objective to provide single all-weather road connectivity to eligible unconnected habitation of designated population size (500+ in plain areas and 250+ in North-East, hill, tribal and desert areas as per Census, 2001) for overall socio-economic development of the areas. 97% of the eligible and feasible habitations have already been connected by all-weather road.
Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Area (RCPLWEA)
- Government launched Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism affected Areas in the year 2016 as a separate vertical under PMGSY to provide all-weather road connectivity with necessary culverts and cross-drainage structures in 44 districts (35 are worst LWE affected districts and 09 are adjoining districts), which are critical from security and communication point of view. Under the Scheme, 5,066 Km road length has been sanctioned.
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