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SC asks center to set up anti-trafficking agency by Dec 1, 2016

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to take steps to set up Organized Crime Investigative Agency (OCIA) to curb children and women trafficking for sexual exploitation by September 30, 2016, and make it operational by December 1, next year.

An order from an apex court bench of Justice Anil R. Dave, Justice Madan B. Lokur, and Justice Kurian Joseph came after the Union Home Ministry spelt out the time required for making OCIA functional.

The court also gave six months to a committee set up by Women and Child Development Ministry under the chairmanship of its secretary on November 16 to draft a comprehensive legislation to address all aspects of trafficking.

On October 13, the apex court had directed the Cabinet Secretary to take steps vis-a-vis the committee.

With Wednesday’s order, the apex court brought down the curtains on a public interest litigation filed by a non-governmental organization- Prajwala in 2004.

The Standing Committee on Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Sexual Exploitation, in its first meeting on September 30, decided to ask the apex court to set up the committee for framing a comprehensive legislation on trafficking of women and children.

The Central Advisory Committee functioning under the chairmanship of the ministry’s secretary had advocated for the setting up of the OCIA. Thereafter, the Union Home Ministry was asked to work out a proposal on OCIA. (IANS)

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Uber India Rolls Out Driver Reward Programme “Uber Plus”

Uber India has planned free doctor access and micro loans for drivers

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Uber
Uber has rolled out a reward programme for drivers in India. Wikimedia Commons

Global ride-hailing major Uber on Wednesday rolled out a driver rewards programme called “Uber Plus” in India that will let drivers earn points for rides so that they can win free doctor consultations, concessions on education modules, access to micro loans, faster airport pick ups and savings on vehicle maintenance costs.

These points will be earned by the driver partners in 13 cities over a fixed period of every three months and can be then accumulated to unlock higher rating tiers such as blue, gold, platinum and diamond which, in turn, will let them access better rewards, informed the company.

“Under the programme, the Uber drivers get access to four tiers. To unlock these awards, they need to maintain a certain threshold rating and keep a low cancellation rate to unlock access to these benefits,” Prabhjeet Singh, Head of Cities, Uber India and South Asia, told IANS.

Uber Plus
Under this programme, Uber drivers get access to four tiers. Pixabay

“We have always worked towards prioritising their welfare and making them feel valued, respected and appreciated. ‘Uber Plus’ is an effort in that direction and will enable our driver partners to access greater benefits during their everyday journeys,” he added.

The rewards and offers are only available to drivers who use the Uber driver app, are participating in Uber Plus and meet applicable criteria.

Asked if this initiative will help in bringing down the number of cancellations, Singh replied: “We encourage ri ders to flag such cases if the driver cancels because the mode of payment is not cash, etc. That will help us take strict action against such drivers.

“We want to encourage behaviour which helps improve the marketplace reliability. Less the cancellation, the chances of the trip getting completed goes up and, overall, the network efficiency increases.”

An initial pilot phase was carried out in Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh and Mumbai and now, Uber Plus is being rolled out across 10 new cities, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi, Guwahati and Jaipur.

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“We also want to reward drivers who have lower cancellations,” said Uber.

Under the driver programme, Uber has partnered with “Ayushman Bharat” to provide access to free healthcare to its drivers, wherein they have access to free healthcare of up to Rs 500,000 in empanelled hospitals. (IANS)