Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016
was introduced and passed in Rajya
Sabha today. The Bill amends the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.  The Act regulates the employment of women
during the period of childbirth, and provides maternity benefits.  The Act applies to factory, mines,
plantations, shops and other establishments. 
The Bill amends provisions related to the duration and applicability of
maternity leave, and other facilities.

Duration of maternity leave: The Act states that every woman
will be entitled to maternity benefit of 12 weeks.  The Bill increases this to 26 weeks.

Further, under the Act, this maternity benefit should not be
availed before six weeks from the date of expected delivery.  The Bill changes this to eight weeks.

In case of a woman who has two or more children, the maternity
benefit will continue to be 12 weeks, which cannot be availed before six weeks
from the date of the expected delivery.


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Central Agricultural University (Amendment) Bill
was also passed by Rajya Sabha.  The Bill
proposes to amend Act of 1992. 

The Act provides for the establishment of a University in
the north-eastern region for the development of agriculture, and advancement of
research in agriculture and allied sciences. 
It states that the University is responsible for teaching and research
in the field of agriculture for the north-eastern states.

The Act defines the north-eastern region as comprising the
states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim and
Tripura.  The Bill amends this definition
to include the state of Nagaland.

Rajya Sabha took up discussion on draft National Education
Policy.  Some
data on education indicators such as enrolment of students, drop-out rates,
availability of teachers and share of government and private schools can be
found in our vital stats document here.

Lok Sabha took up discussion on atrocities against Dalits in
various part of the country. Members during the debate emphasized on how such
atrocities have continued over the years due to social values and while crimes
have increased, conviction rates still remain low.

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