India Event Diary – 28th August 2012, Tuesday
Exposure limit for radio frequency to be brought down
The Central Government has informed the Parliament that the exposure limit for radio frequency fields (base station emissions) will be brought down to one-tenth of the existing level with effect from September 1, however the direction will be implemented from April 1.
This firm response of government came in the wake of several petitions in High Courts and the Supreme Court on fears of health hazards from mobile tower radiations. As there have been issues of radiations causing cancer, which has drawn the attention of people across the country, including many civil societies and resident welfare associations.
But, against the common perception that radiations are emitted from mobile towers, In reality, radiation is emitted from base stations atop mobile towers which is called radio frequency field (base station emissions). Moreover, the government has reaffirmed in the parliament that there have no been no cases of either short term or long term effects of mobile tower radiations on people, till the radiations are in limit.
2G auction deadline extended by the Supreme Court
Extending the August 31 deadline for 2G spectrum auctions, the Supreme Court has now directed the Centre to finish up the auctions of the 122 cancelled licenses by January 11, 2013. This decision cam on Monday, and SC has also said that contempt proceedings will be initiated if this deadline is not met by the government.
Cabinet clears the manual scavenging bill
The Supreme Court was told by the Centre on Monday that the Cabinet has cleared the “Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012”. This bill to tabled in the ongoing session of the Parliament, evisages a heavy penalty for employing people in inhuman jobs. This bill also covers the hazardous job of cleaning septic tanks and sewers, accordingly every insanitary latrine will be converted into a sanitary toilet within nine months of the notification. This law thus totally prohibits any agency or individual from employing manual scavengers, and those already employed will have to be discharged immediately.
Manual scavenging means cleaning of the excreta from the toilet manually, therefore anybody employing people for such works, or for cleaning of septic tanks and sewers within one year of notification, will have to pay Rs.2 lakh as fine for first violation. While if there are subsequent violations then a fine of Rs.5 lakh will have to paid along with an imprisonment of 5 years.
While District Magistrates will be responsible for ensuring that there are no insanitary toilets in their jurisdiction, the overall implementation of the law will be monitored by the National Commission for Safai Karmacharis.
BCCI to propose Padma Award for Dravid
The BCCI has decided to recommend Rahul Dravid, the former cricket captain, for Padma Bhushan award and opener Gautam Gambhir for the Padma Shri award.