GOVERNMENT MEASURES TO CURB THE NATIONAL CAPITAL’S RISING POLLUTION LEVELS

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In the recent times it has been observed that the National Capital’s pollution index is elevating to toxic levels because of various factors such as increased vehicular emissions, major ongoing construction works, burning of rice straw and agricultural wastage by farmers of Haryana and Punjab, inter alia. The Government of NCT of Delhi has been in action to curb the rising levels of pollution in the National Capital by organizing public awareness campaigns about the health hazards and control measures of vehicular emissions; by deploying mobile enforcement teams on regular basis at road locations for prosecution of polluting vehicles and vehicles not having Pollution Under Control (PUC) Certificates; by banning more than 15 years old commercial/ transport vehicles, autos & taxis driven on conventional fuels and diesel driven city buses; by registering four wheelers petrol driven vehicles which have catalyst converters fitted into their system and which comply with Bharat Stage III/Euro-III emission norms; by registering two and three wheelers which comply with Bharat Stage II/Euro-II emission norms; by banning 50 major construction works ongoing in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) for a week on 8th November 2016; and by asking National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to find all possible solutions, including generating power from farm waste and converting farm waste into briquettes which can be burnt as fuel to generate electricity in its existing power plants.

According to Mr. Gufran Beig, the Program Director of SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research), Government of India, the proportion of pollutants from crop fires in Delhi’s air has risen dramatically from almost zero on November 1 to a peak of 70% on November 6. SAFAR’s chemistry transport model shows that pollution load from crop fires in Punjab and Haryana rose steadily after November 1. The biomass burning in Punjab and Haryana has contributed to the air pollution levels in Delhi. According to Professor V K Vijay, Centre for Rural Development and Technology (CRDT), IIT-Delhi, burning rice straw biomass adds up to 30kg of particulate matter, 600kg of carbon monoxide, 14.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide along with 20kg of sulphur dioxide emissions that are very harmful to humans as well as the environment.  Such farm wastes if used as forage for livestock would reduce the environmental impact but mostly they are burnt by farmers and left on the field to be ploughed down into the soil because they act as a soil improver and this would prepare the fields for the next sowing cycle.

It was reported recently that the States of Punjab and Haryana collectively produce about 15 million tonnes of rice straw which can be used to generate about 1,000 MW of electricity. But for installation of biogas plants hardly any debt funding is received from financial institutions and in case they are installed, they have a high cost of power. As a result very few biogas plants have been installed in India.

On November 15th, a team from IIT Delhi had come forward to offer technical support for Asia’s first biogas-based power plant in Fazilka, Punjab, which will be using the agro biomass for production of bio-fertilizers for farmers as well as for generation of power. This will not only help enrich the soil but will also help in controlling pollution. Also, if the Governments of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh collectively make efforts to install or co-invest in such plants, the farm wastes would be used in a prudent manner which would result in controlling the rising levels of pollution in these regions.

 

Harini Daliparthy

Legal Associate

The Indian Lawyer

DEBIT CARD FRAUDS

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Debit Card fraud occurs when a criminal gains access to a debit card number and the PIN to make unauthorized purchases and/or withdraw cash from your account.

In the 1st week of September, 2016 a few banks witnessed fraudulent exchanges in which debit cards were utilized in China and the US whereas card holders were in India. Cardholders also found this activities and many filed a complaint with their respective banks. The test by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) found a malware-prompted security break in the frameworks of Hitachi Payment Services, which gives ATMs, PoS (Point of Sale) and other different services in India.

After the test, it was found that ATMs’ security had been breached in May 2016 and all the three service suppliers Visa, MasterCard and RuPay asked banks to either tell their customers to change their PIN, or issue them new cards. Most banks requested their clients to change their ATM PIN, and in specific cases issue new cards by making the old ones null and void.

It is one of the greatest information breaches in the nation. As per NPCI, 90 ATMs have been compromised, and no less than 641 card holders of over 19 banks have lost Rs 1.3 crore as a consequence of deceitful transaction on their debit cards.

In order to alleviate this problem, RBI has set up a specialist board on IT Examination and Cyber Security to help the banks with cyber security activities, and proposes to cover, by 2017-18, all banks under a point by point IT examination program that it propelled in October 2015.

Here are some of the ways to avoid becoming the victim:

  1. Banking alerts: On signing up for banking alerts, your bank will contact you by email or text message when certain activity occurs on your account, such as a withdrawal exceeding an amount you specify or a change of address.
  2. Use a credit card: Instead of using a debit card for purchasing, use a credit card as it offers greater protection against fraud.
  3. Beware of phishing scams: Make sure you know who you’re interacting with, When checking your email or doing business online.
  4. Use a secured network: One should never do financial transactions online, while using the computer in a public place and/or over an unsecured network.

 

Sanchayeeta Das

Legal Associate

The Indian Lawyer

Legal Implication of Wrongful death

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Wrongful death is a death caused by the negligent, willful, or wrongful act, neglect, omission, or default of another. The wrongful death law applies in tort cases where the defendant’s conduct has resulted in the death of the victim leaving behind family members and dependents who will suffer as a result of the victim’s death.

The main intention behind this law is to compensate the family members and the dependents. The wrongdoers who injure others cannot escape liability as the injury caused was severe enough to kill the victim.

The burden of proof lies with the victim’s family in order to recover damages.

Not just anyone can file a suit for wrongful death. Only the immediate family members (spouses, children, etc.), distant family members (siblings and grandparents), life partners, parents of a deceased fetus and anyone who was financially dependent on the victim can file a suit for wrongful death.

Both civil and criminal proceedings can be brought against a defendant charged with wrongful death. The difference is that in criminal case, the suit will be filed by a Public Prosecutor on behalf of the State. While in case of a civil suit, it is filed by the victim’s family in order to recover money damages for their own benefit.

The defendant in order to defend himself/herself has the right to investigate the relation between the plaintiff and the victim. Damages in civil cases are based on the victim’s contribution to the family. The defendant can reduce damages by proving that the victim did not have any close ties with his or her family and that they were not financially dependent on the victim.

It requires considerable capital and skill in order to litigate a wrongful death case. It is always advisable to take help from lawyers who handle these kinds of cases to avoid problems.

 

 

Sanchayeeta Das

Legal Associate

The Indian Lawyer

ABOUT THE SCHEME OF WITHDRAWING OLD HIGH DENOMINATION NOTES

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In a move to curb corruption, black money and fake currency circulation and terrorism funding, PM Narendra Modi declared that currency notes of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 denomination will not be legal tender and would be

void from the midnight of 9th November 2016. Moreover, new notes of Rs. 500 and 2000 will be printed by RBI. The rationale behind this scheme of the BJP Government is that there is circulation of fake currency notes of high denomination such as Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 in the economy and are mostly used by terrorists for illegal activities and by black money hoarders. As a consequence of withdrawal of these high denomination notes by the Government from the economy, the old high denomination (OHD) notes cannot be used by public to transact for any purpose except at government bus stands for travel by state government or state PSU buses and railway stations (till 72 hours from the date of notification), Public sector Petrol Pumps (till midnight of 11th November), government hospitals and government dispensaries (till 72 hours from the date of notification), co-operative societies (till 72 hours from the date of notification), Government dairies (till 72 hours from the date of notification), airports (till 72 hours from the date of notification) but they have to maintain a register for the same.

OHD notes can be exchanged by people at all Issue Offices of RBI and branches of commercial banks/Regional Rural Banks/Urban Co-Operative Banks/State Co-operative Banks or at any Head Post Office or Sub-Post Office

from 10th November 2016 to 30th December 2016. If within this time period any person is unable to exchange the OHD notes, then an opportunity will be given to him/her to do so at specified offices of the RBI, along with necessary documentation as may be specified by the Reserve Bank of India. For instance, if a person is not there in India during this period, then he/she may authorize in writing enabling another person in India to deposit the notes into the former’s bank account and the authorized person will have to come to the bank branch with the OHD banknotes, the authority letter given by the person and a valid identity proof such as Aadhaar Card, Driving License, Voter ID Card, Pass Port, NREGA Card, PAN Card, Identity Card Issued by Government Department, Public Sector Unit to its Staff.

The limit for exchanging OHD notes in cash is Rs 4000 per person and anything claimed over and above will be receivable by way of credit to bank account. In case the amount to be exchanged exceeds Rs 4000, any branch of a bank, where an account is held by the person concerned, will credit the account of the holder and any branch of any other bank, where an account is not held by such person, can also credit his account on production of valid identity proof and bank account details for electronic fund transfer to his account. But a foreign tourist can purchase foreign exchange equivalent to Rs 5000 using the OHD notes at airport exchange counters within 72 hours after the notification but only if he/she is able to produce a proof of purchasing the OHD notes.

For making payments above Rs. 4000,

  1. The bank account balance has to be used to pay via cheque or electronic means of transfer such as internet banking, mobile wallets, immediate payment service (IMPS), credit/debit cards etc and in the absence of a bank account, the person concerned has to open a new bank account.
  2. The cash that can be withdrawn from Banks against withdrawal slip or cheque is subject to ceiling of Rs10, 000/- in a day within an overall limit of Rs.20, 000/- in a week (including withdrawals from ATMs) and this limit is applicable up to 24th November 2016.
  3. The cash can also be withdrawn from ATMs from 11th November 2016 up to a maximum of Rs.2, 000/- per card per day up to 18th November, 2016. This limit will be raised to Rs.4000/- per day per card from 19th November 2016 onwards.

 

Although this move will cause short-term inconvenience to public at large, but as a long term benefit, there will be a boost to the banking sector liquidity because there will be bank deposit growth as new bank accounts would be opened by people who did not have any account earlier in order to deposit the OHD notes instead of exchanging them for new notes; real currency circulation would increase in the economy; and with black money brought under legitimate channels, the government’s tax revenue collections would get a boost. As a result, the economy and the banking system would benefit as a large part of the black economy will eventually become a part of the formal economy.
Daliparthy Harini

Legal Associate

The Indian Lawyer