Winter Session of Parliament unlikely amid rising COVID cases

Paper:

Mains: G.S. II Polity & Governance

Why in news?

The winter session of Parliament that usually commences by last week of November is unlikely to be held due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi.

Key details

  • As per parliamentary records, there have only been three instances in the past of the winter session not being held – in 1975, 1979 and 1984.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs(CCPA) and the government is thinking to combine the Budget session of the Parliament, which usually begins on February 1, and the winter session.
  • The Constitution mandates there should not be a gap of six months or more between two sessions.
  • A session of the Indian Parliament is the period during which a House meets almost every day uninterruptedly to manage the business.
  • In general, the sessions are as follows :

Budget Session (February to May) considered to be a highly crucial session of the Parliament.

Monsoon Session (July to September) Winter Session ( November to December)


GAIL completes Kochi-Mangaluru Pipeline

Paper:

Mains: G.S. II & III Polity and Governance, Social Justice, Issues of current importance, Internal Security

Why in news? 

The much delayed Kochi – Mangaluru natural gas pipeline project is finally ready for commissioning as GAIL India has completed the final 540 metre treacherous stretch across the Chandragiri river in Kerala.

Key details

  • The 444km long natural gas pipeline was launched in 2009 at an estimated cost of Rs 2,915 crore and was to be commissioned in 2014.
  • Opposition with regard to safety and on commercial grounds and the land price being the main hurdle, had resulted into project delay and cost over run to the project.
  • Payaswini in also known by the name Chandragiri, is the largest river in Kasaragod district, state of Kerala, India. It was named after the great Mauryan king Chandragupta Maurya. It is believed that he visited the river on his way to Sravanbelgola.

What’s behind the conflict between Ethiopian govt. and Tigray rebels?

Paper

Mains: G.S. II International Relations

Why in news?

Ethiopia’s Nobel Prize winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed started a military operation in the rebellious Tigray region .

Key details

  • The Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) was founded in 1975 as a resistance army of the Tigrayan people against the military dictatorship, called as Derg.
  • The leftist Derg, established in 1974, would change its title in 1987 remained in power till it was ousted by the armed rebels in 1991.
  • TPLF played a crucial role in ousting junta and they were welcomed as national heroes in 1991.
  • The structure of Ethiopia’s federal system allows the country’s ten regions significant autonomy. These regions also have their own parliaments, their own security forces, and the right to a referendum for independent rule.
  • United Nations warned that nine million people risk displacement from an escalating conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

Impacts on Horn of Africa

  • Eritrea may be hardest hit, due to its proximity to Tigray .
  • If the violence and conflict spills outside Ethiopia’s borders, it may potentially destabilize the Horn of Africa region.
  • The US and China have several strategic military bases in that region, the closest being Djibouti. If these military bases were to be impacted by the disturbances in any way, it may cause foreign powers to get militarily involved in the region and the conflict


Fallen through the cracks

Paper:

Mains: G.S. III Indian Economy

Context

India’s high economic growth has been of little value for its under – acknowledged female workers.

Key details 

  • India’s female employment trends do not resonate with its high economic growth, low fertility, and rise in female schooling.
  • Between 2004 and 2018 — unlike the shrinking gender gap in educational attainment — the gender gap in workforce participation yawned, demonstrating one of the lowest labour participation rates for women, which have been consistently declining since 1950.
  • The recently released Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2018 -19 indicates a dramatic fall in absolute employment for men, and more so women, who faced a decline in labour participation rates (from 2011 to 2019) in rural areas from 35.8% to 26.4%, and stagnation in urban areas at around 20.4%.
  • The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report ranks India at 149 among 153 countries in terms of women’s economic participation and opportunity.
  • The gender wage gap is the highest in Asia, with women 34% below men (for equal qualification and work), according to a 2019 Oxfam report.
  • Women also disproportionately populate India’s informal economy, and are concentrated in low paid, highly precarious jobs.
  • Manufacturing employs (almost completely informally) only around 14% of the female labour force.
  • In the context of the ongoing pandemic, in India, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) showed that 39% of women lost their jobs in April and May compared to 29% of men.
  • Women spend (an unpaid) three times (as per NSS) or even six times (as per OECD) more time than men in household work.
  • India recently passed three labour codes, on occupational safety, health and working conditions, on industrial relations, and on social security.
  • The laws are expected to transform labour relations, but they only end up ‘easing business’.
  • The codes acknowledge neither the gender wage gap nor nonpayment of wages and bonuses, and ignore informal (mostly women) workers in terms of social security, insurance, provident fund, maternity benefits, or gratuity.