IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


16th March, 2020


COVID-19: communication key to cope with challenges of isolation


Effective communication to ensure people stay in quarantine:

-       Telling people what is happening and why.

-       Explaining how long it will continue,

-       Providing meaningful activities for them to do while in quarantine,

-       Providing clear communication, ensuring basic supplies (such as food, water, and medical supplies) are available,

-       Reinforcing the sense of altruism that people should rightly be feeling.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/covid-19-communication-key-to-cope-with-challenges-of-isolation/article31077693.ece


Labour Ministry yet to spend ₹2,053.59 crore of 2019-20 Budget, says Panel

Parliamentary standing committee findings:

-       Labour Ministry had utilised 81.64% of the ₹11,184.09 crores allocated to it in the revised estimate.

-       The utilisation of funds was not evenly spread out across all the four quarters which stood at ₹504.88 crore, ₹5,975.92 crore, ₹1,806.77 crore, ₹842.93 crores (up to 10.02.2020) respectively.

-       Utilisation of funds for the National Career Services (NCS) scheme of the Ministry, which facilitates job-seekers, was the worst compared to other schemes.

-       While 3,751 job fairs had been conducted under the scheme till December 2019, “only 3.69 lakh” of the 19.71 lakh candidates had received job offers.

About Parliamentary Committee:

-       Parliamentary Committees are setup as an instrument to assist the working of Parliament in its various activities.

-       The Parliamentary committees are established to study and deal with various matters that cannot be directly handled by the legislature due to their volume. 

-       They are classified into- Standing Committee and Adhoc Committee (temporary). Standing Committees are permanent, constituted every year and work in a continuous manner.

-       It is a permanent and regular committee which is constituted from time to time according to the provisions of an Act of Parliament or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/labour-ministry-yet-to-spend-205359-crore-of-2019-20-budget-says-panel/article31075892.ece


Prime Minister Modi calls for COVID-19 Emergency Fund for SAARC

India’s views in SAARC meeting:

-       The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation should create a fund to fight the threat of COVID-19.

-       India extended $10 million as India's contribution for the fund.

-       The Foreign Secretary of India Harsh Vardhan Shringla and his counterparts from other member countries of SAARC should meet and decide the plan ahead for the creation of the SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund.

Other leaders comment:

-       Bangladesh pitched for the creation of an institution to fight contagious diseases that pose threat to public health and extended the support of Bangladesh for the initiative.

-       Maldives said that the economy of Maldives will be deeply affected as the tourist inflow from Italy, China and Europe - main source of tourists for the country - have dried up.

-       The regional leaders explained how they have taken various measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus through the population.

-       Afghanistan highlighted the vulnerability of Afghanistan as it shares a long border with Iran, one of the worst affected countries in the world.

-       Afghanistan has shut schools, stopped public prayers and urged India to provide necessary satellite links so that students could carry out distant education from home.

About SAARC:

-       The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia.

-       Its member states are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

-       Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal.

-       The organization promotes development of economic and regional integration.

-       It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006.

-       The SAARC summit could not be held in Islamabad in 2016 after India faced terror strikes blamed on elements in Pakistan.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-pm-modi-participates-in-saarc-videoconference-to-formulate-joint-strategy-to-combat-covid-19/article31074653.ece


SC approves Kerala slotting construction in orange category


The Supreme Court has declined to interfere in an appeal filed by the Kerala chapter of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) that the inclusion of constructions between 2,000 sq.m and 20,000 sq.m in the ‘orange category’ by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board was arbitrary.

Categorisation of Industries:

-       The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) slotted industrial activities into the red, orange, green and white categories, based on the pollution index.

-       The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has developed the criteria of categorization of industrial sectors based on the Pollution Index, which is a function of the emissions (air pollutants), effluents (water pollutants), hazardous wastes generated and consumption of resources.

-       Due importance has been given to relative pollution potential of the industrial sectors based on scientific criteria. Further, wherever possible, splitting of the industrial sectors is also considered based on the use of raw materials, manufacturing process adopted and in-turn pollutants expected to be generated.

-       There shall be no necessity of obtaining the “Consent to Operate’’ for White category of industries.

-       No Red category of industries shall normally be permitted in the ecologically fragile area / protected area.

-       The purpose of the categorization is to ensure that the industry is established in a manner which is consistent with the environmental objectives.

-       The new criteria will prompt industrial sectors willing to adopt cleaner technologies, ultimately resulting in generation of fewer pollutants.

-       Another feature of the new categorization system lies in facilitating self-assessment by industries as the subjectivity of earlier assessment has been eliminated.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/sc-approves-kerala-slotting-construction-in-orange-category/article31078546.ece


‘J&K will have a domicile policy’

Home Minister’s comment:

-       The intention of the government was not to bring in any “demographic changes” in the region.

-       J&K would have a “better domicile policy than other States in the country”.

-       The statehood of J&K would be restored at an early opportunity.

-       All decisions on relaxation of restrictions in J&K that were being taken by the Prime Minister and implemented by the Home Ministry were based on ground realities and not under any pressure.

-       Political prisoners would be freed in the time to come as the main objective of the government is that not a single person should die, be it a common Kashmiri or security personnel.

-       Soon, an attractive industrial policy and an economic development policy would be announced.

-       A commission would be set up soon and no injustice would be done to Gujjars, nomads and other communities.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/jk-will-have-a-domicile-policy/article31078184.ece


CJI Bobde rules out complete shutdown of courts

CJI comments:

-       There cannot be a complete shutdown of courts in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

-       As virtual courts are on the verge of commencement, there can only be a possibility of limited shutdown at present.

-       Any demand of the Bar and Bench would be subordinated to the medical advice drawn at the meeting attended by doctors.

-       Soon the “people-to-people” contact will be reduced by introducing court proceedings via videoconferencing.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/cji-bobde-rules-out-complete-shutdown-of-courts/article31079108.ece

MPs’ panel flags delay in revamping film certification

Comment of Parliamentary Panel:

-       It has found the scope of the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2019 limited.

-       Piracy can happen at various levels. The bill only tackles illegal recording at cinema halls.

-       The punishment prescribed in the Bill is too little when compared with the losses that a pirated film can lead to.

-       The committee has suggested that the fine for creating a pirated version of it should be a percentage of the total budget instead of the Rs. 10 lakh prescribed in the Bill.

-       The government has done little to implement reports of the expert committees.

-       It continues to follow archaic processes with only superficial improvements.

The Cinematograph Amendment Bill, 2019:

-       It is a measure by the government to tackle the issue of piracy.

-        It seeks to introduce two sections to the Cinematograph Act, 1952 :

-       Prohibiting illegal recording in cinema halls to make a “pirate copy” of the film,

-       Prescribing punishment of up to three years or a fine of up to Rs. 10 lakh towards the said offence.

About Cinematograph act:

-       In the Act, there is a provision for the establishment of a Central Board of Film Certification (the Board). It is the regulatory body in India that issues a certificate to the makers of films for public exhibition.

-       Objectives of Film Certification:

-       To ensure that the medium of the film responsible. Additionally, to safeguard the sensitivity of standards and value of the society.

-       To ensure that creative freedom and expression are not unjustifiably curbed.

-       To ensure to adapt to the social changes.

-       To ensure the theme of the film provides a healthy and clean entertainment.

-       To ensure that the film is of cinematically an adequate standard and aesthetic value.

Supreme Court Judgement related to Film Certification:

K A Abbas vs. Union of India:

-       Censorship of films, which includes pre-censorship, was constitutionally lawful.

-       Unjustified restriction on freedom of expression by the Board should not be exercised.

S. Rangrajan vs. Jagjivan Ram:

-       If the exhibition of the film could not be validly restricted under Article 19(2), risk of procession and demonstration was not a valid ground to suppress the same.

-       Court added that it was the State's duty to protect the freedom of expression.

Bobby Art International vs. Om Pal Singh Hoon

-       A film must be judged in its entirety.

-       The court added that where the theme of the film is to condemn violence and degradation, scenes of expletives to advance the message, which was the main intention of the film, is permissible.

Common Reasons for Censorship or Banning of a Film:

Sexuality:  Hence, a medium, which portrays sexuality regardless of the audio, written or visual form, which has not been fathomed by the society and is concerned a social stigma is banned because it might have the effect of undignified morals of Indians.

Politics: Overt political overtones are not appreciated by the government and hence are a common reason why certain films are either entirely banned or such scenes are censored or removed.

Communal Conflict: If the state believes that a movie would open a window for riots by a community for the way they have been portrayed in the film, the same is banned by the Board or censored.

Incorrect Portrayal: Sometimes, a situation arises where a well-known personality objects his own depiction in a medium, which would be exhibited and consequently goes for censoring the same.

Religion: Any medium which directly or indirectly distorts any aspect of the religion including its preaching, values, idols, to name a few, is highly criticized and therefore, censored.

Extreme Violence: Indubitably, the portrayal of extreme gore and violence may meddle and disturb the human mind. Viewing such scenes may have a negative psychological effect on the mind.

About Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC):

-       The CBFC is headed by the Chairperson.

-       The board comprises up to 25 members and 60 advisory panel members from across India, appointed by the I&B Ministry.

-       While the board members are usually film and TV professionals, members of the advisory panel are often from outside the industry.

-       The chairperson and board members serve for three years, and advisory panel members for two years.

Shyam Benegal Committee observations on censorship:

-       Central Bureau of Film Certification (CFBC) should primarily be allowed to issue certificated to the films depending on its content.

-       It helps the audiences to make a better informed decision and the artistic freedom is maintained.

-       Certification protects children and adults from potentially harmful or unsuitable content.

-       The chairman should only play the role of a guiding mechanism and not involve himself/herself in day to day activities of CFBC.

-       The committee also made recommendations regarding the size of Board and its functioning.

-       The broad themes of the report suggested that henceforth the focus will be on certification and not censorship;

-       The numbers of members of the CBFC will be reduced from 25 to 9.

Criticism of Film Censorship:

-       The process is arbitrary. Individuals appointed to the CBFC continue to act as if they were the sole guardians of public morality, free speech and permissiveness in society.

-       Films, particularly documentary films on communal violence are about violence that has already been practised by someone. Banning it only hides the truth from society and prevent further reform in society.

-       The world over, films have been critical of the state, of the army or its actions. However, In India, one cannot hold any institutions accountable through this medium.

-       Today, content that is more expressive is widely available on internet. It defeats the complete purpose of certification.

-       Section entitled ‘Principles for Guidance in Certifying Films’ virtually gives the Censor Board unbridled / unaccountable powers to refuse certification, impose arbitrary cuts, grant certificates ranging from U (Universal viewing) to S (for Specialized presentation).

-       Many times, despite having certification from CBFC, state government has banned screening of films citing law and order issue like Padmavat.

Way Forward:

-       Article 19 (1) (a) guarantees the freedom of speech and expression to all citizens.

-       The right is however caveated by Article 19 (2) that allows the state to impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of this right.

-       Since the scope of constraints under Article 19 (2) of the Constitution are almost infinite they have been engrafted virtually in-toto in Section 5 (B) of the Cinematographic Act.

-       There is a need to clearly establish guidelines for certification.

-       CBFC should be downsized and process should be made streamline.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/mps-panel-flags-delay-in-revamping-film-certification/article31078203.ece