Earthquake in Kashmir Valley
The Kashmir Valley was hit by an earthquake of 5.7-magnitude on Thursday afternoon at 1.06 PM with the epicentre in Hindukush region of Afghanistan, although no damage or loss of life have been reported.
“Rape” to be replaced with “sexual assault”
A proposal to replace the word “rape” with the phrase “sexual assault”, making it a gender-neutral offence, was approved by the Union Cabinet on Thursday. Acid attacks have also been identified as a separate offence punishable for a maximum of ten years.
It has also been decided that minors will be defined uniformly as a person below 18 years in both Cr.P.C. or IPC, which is now the legal age for minors.
New Project Clearance Board announced
In order to speed up clearances for infrastructure and energy projects, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announced the setting up of a Project Clearance Board under the Cabinet Secretary, on Thursday. As, over 70 blocks awarded under NELP (New Exploration Licence Policy) rounds were facing issues of clearances, badly hurting the progress of exploration activity. All the Ministries would report the status of issuing of clearances to this Board.
The Project Clearance Board will have representatives from the Ministries of Home, Defence, Environment and Forests, Commerce, Coal, Department of Space and other infrastructure and energy-related Ministries/Departments. It will meet regularly every month to review the status of clearances for energy and infrastructure projects, and expedite issuing of security and other clearances.