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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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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

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It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

Donald Trump, India
President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)