Cabinet nod for amendments in Juvenile Act, powers of defence chiefs

Parliament of India. Image - YinYang, Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its nod for amendment in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 to introduce measures for strengthening the child protection set-up to ensure the best interests of children.

It was a proposal by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD), which seeks amendment in the existing JJ Act for giving protection to children that face trafficking, child labour and other issues.

Chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Cabinet approved the WCD ministry’s proposal for amendments seeking authorisation to the District Magistrate, including the Additional District Magistrate, to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act, in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability.

Among some other aspects of the proposal, the District Magistrates have been further empowered under the JJ Act to ensure its smooth implementation as well as garner synergised efforts in favour of children in distress.

The draft amendment also defines eligibility parameters for appointment of CWC members and categorises previously undefined offences as a ‘serious offence’. Several difficulties faced in implementation of various provisions of the Act have also been addressed in the amendment proposal.

While announcing the move, Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said, “This is a big step to protect children.”

For faster processing and implementation of projects for modernisation of armed forces to meet the security challenges, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved enhanced delegation of financial powers under capital procurement to deputy chiefs and command chiefs of the armed forces.

The Cabinet approved enhanced delegation of financial powers under capital procurement to levels below the vice chiefs.

As per the approval, under other capital procurement procedure of Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020, financial powers up to Rs 100 crore have been delegated to the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (army), the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (navy), the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (IAF) at the command level of the three services, and the regional commanders of the Indian Coast Guard.

Powers up to Rs 200 crore has been delegated to the Deputy Chief of Army Staff, the Master General Sustenance (Army), the Chief of Material (Navy), the Air Officer Maintenance (IAF), the Deputy Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff and the Additional Director General, Coast Guard.

“This delegation of powers within service headquarters and up to command level for items of capital nature such as overhauls, refits and upgrades will enhance the utility of existing assets and will facilitate faster processing and implementation of projects for modernization of armed forces to meet the security challenges of the nation,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said.

The Cabinet has also approved enhanced financial powers in the Make-I category under which government funding up to 70 percent of the prototype development cost is available for design and development of equipment, systems, major platforms or upgrades thereof.

The Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, the Vice Chief of Army Staff, the Vice Chief of Naval Staff, the Deputy Chief of Air Staff and the Director General, Coast Guard have now been given powers to sanction government support up to Rs 50 crore towards cost of prototype development

Financial powers have also been enhanced for other competent financial authorities under ‘Make-I’ in line with government’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’ for a robust defence industrial ecosystem.

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