Polity & Governance
- Prasoon Joshi Appointed New CBFC Chairman
Government Schemes & Policies
- Odisha govt and Facebook launches ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme
- Economic Survey proposes law to promote transparency of citizen rules
- Economic survey on state of Agriculture and Food Management
- MCX gets SEBI approval for launching options contract in gold
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Environment Ministry launches ‘Gaj Yatra’ to mark World Elephant Day 2017
Bilateral & International Relations
- 15th BIMSTEC Ministerial meeting
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Polity & Governance
Prasoon Joshi Appointed New CBFC Chairman
The Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry has appointed Prasoon Joshi as the new Chairman of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
- He will replace Pahlaj Nihalani and shall have tenure of three years.
CBFC Board Reconstituted:
- In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 and the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983, the Central Government has reconstituted the existing Central Board of Film Certification for a period of three years or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
- The new board will be headed by Sh. Prasoon Joshi.
About the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC):
The Central Board of Film Certification (often referred to as the Censor Board) is a statutory censorship and classification body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.
- It is tasked with “regulating the public exhibition of films under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952“.
- It assigns certifications to films, television shows, television ads, and publications for exhibition, sale or hire in India.
- Films can be publicly exhibited in India only after they are certified by the Board.
- The Board consists of non-official members and a Chairman (all of whom are appointed by Central Government) and functions with headquarters at Mumbai.
- The members of the panels are nominated by Central Government by drawing people from different walks of life for a period of 2 years.
- At present films are certified under 4 categories
- U: Unrestricted Public Exhibition
- UA: Unrestricted Public Exhibition – but with a word of caution that Parental discretion required for children below 12 years
- A: Restricted to adults
- S: Restricted to any special class of persons
Government Schemes & Policies
Odisha govt and Facebook launches ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme
Odisha government and social networking giant Facebook has launched ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme to train women entrepreneurs in the state.
- Under this initiative, 25, 000 women entrepreneurs and self-help group (SHG) members from the state will be given training on digital marketing skills within by the end of 2018.
- It was launched in partnership between Odisha’s MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) department and Project Mission Shakti.
- Facebook will also make a database of entrepreneurs in the state and will monitor their growth, turnover and profit after one year. While success stories among them will be highlighted to inspire others.
- Women entrepreneurs will get hands on training on digital marketing free of cost and they need not create their website to promote their business. The platform will also facilitate vertical integration.
About ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme:
- The programme is designed to reach out to aspiring and established women entrepreneurs to help them build and grow their business online.
- It has been launched in 16 countries around the world including India.
- As many as 201 million monthly active people on Facebook in India on their mobile and 57% of people on Facebook in India are connected to at least one small business.
- Moreover, 1.99 billion interactions generated between businesses and people in India through Facebook.
- Number of new women-owned small and medium business pages on Facebook in India has increased approximately six-fold in the last four years (between 2012 and 2015).
Economic Survey proposes law to promote transparency of citizen rules
The Second volume of Economic Survey 2016-17 has proposed Transparency of Rules Act (TORA), a progressive legislation to end any asymmetry of information regarding rules and regulations faced by an average citizen.
What is Transparency of Rules Act (TORA)?
TORA is an attempt to change in some ways the relationship between the average normal citizen and the State.
- The objective of TORA is to help citizens overcome an opaque mesh of complicated rules that often leads to corruption and endless litigation.
- TORA will require all government departments to mandatorily place all citizen-friendly rules on their website.
- Government Officials will not be able to impose any rule not mentioned beforehand. It will make mandatory for updating all existing laws by the department.
- Government websites will also have to notify the date and time of each change made.
- TORA will normally be applicable after a specified time after the rule has been posted.
- “TORA compliant” departments will ensure that citizens get authentic and updated information.
Need for such law:
- At present due to opaque mesh of regulations prevalent in India make life of ordinary citizens as well as businesses difficult as it is not easy for ordinary citizens for them to navigate the multitude of rules, regulations, forms, taxes and procedures imposed by various tiers of government.
- Moreover, these rules frequently change and sometimes contradict each other.
- Even government officials struggle to keep up with ‘the latest version’ of complicated rules. They also act as a magnet for corruption and endless litigation.
Economic survey on state of Agriculture and Food Management
The Economic Survey 2016-17 Volume II released recently has taken into consideration various challenges faced by the Agriculture sector in India.
- It has suggested multi-dimensional Agricultural and Food Management Reforms Measures.
Small Operational Land Holdings:
- The average farm size in India is small and declining since 1970-71. It is a major limitation to reap the benefits of economies of scale in agriculture operations.
- The predominance of informal sources of credit for farmers is a concern. Moreover, there is regional disparity in the distribution of agricultural credit.
Post- harvest losses:
- The horticulture sector in India faces problems like post-harvest losses, availability of quality planting material and lack of market access for horticultural produce of small farmers.
- Strengthening and building marketing infrastructure along the entire value chain.
- The share of irrigated area should be expanded by increasing the coverage of water saving irrigation systems like micro irrigation systems.
- Standards should be set and enforced for better quality, pest and disease resistant seeds.
- It should be announced well before sowing and should stay till arrivals and procurement is over.
- Funds should be earmarked through appropriate mechanisms.
- It should be provided in timely and affordable manner to the small and marginal farmers is the key to inclusive growth. Regime based on timely interventions needs to be adopted.
MCX gets SEBI approval for launching options contract in gold
The Multi Commodity Exchange Ltd (MCX) has received capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) approval to launch options on gold.
- The gold futures contract will have bi-monthly duration. The option will also have the existing gold kilo futures contract as its underlier.
- SEBI is going to put strict eligibility criteria and options could be launched on futures contract of only those commodities that are among the top five in terms of total trading turnover value of previous 12 months.
- It also has stipulated necessary guidelines with regard to the product design and risk management framework to be adopted for trading in options on commodity futures.
- The launch of gold options is one of the major reforms SEBI has taken for the commodity derivatives market.
- Earlier in June 2017, SEBI had allowed options trading in commodities to deepen the market but permitted each exchange to launch options on futures of only one commodity initially.
About Multi Commodity Exchange Ltd (MCX):
- The MCX is the country’s largest metals and energy commodity bourse.
- It began functioning in November 2003 and operates within the regulatory framework of the Forward Contracts Regulation Act, 1952 (FCRA, 1952).
- It is country’s first listed commodity futures exchange that facilitates online trading, and clearing and settlement of commodity futures transactions, thereby providing a platform for risk management.
- It offers futures trading in bullion, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, energy, and a number of agricultural commodities (mentha oil, cardamom, potatoes, palm oil and others).
- Globally, MCX ranks first in silver, second in natural gas, and third in crude oil and gold in futures trading.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Environment Ministry launches ‘Gaj Yatra’ to mark World Elephant Day 2017
On the occasion of World Elephant Day (August 12), the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest launched a 15-month-long campaign – ‘Gaj Yatra’, a nationwide campaign to protect elephants.
- The Ministry also released the All India Census 2017 Report on elephants as also the Agreed Points of Action on Trans-Boundary Conservation of Elephants by India and Bangladesh
About Gaj Yatra Campaign:
- Gaj Yatra, which is partnered by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), is the biggest-ever event planned around India’s wild elephants.
- The ‘Gaju’ mascot, which was released by the Ministry in 2012, will be helm the campaign.
- The campaign will be led by the Wildlife Trust of India.
- The campaign aimed to raise awareness about the shrinking space for India’s wild elephants and their corridors.
- Over the next 15 months, the Gaj Yatra will do roadshows across 12 elephant states.
- During the period of the campaign, artists and craftsmen will create life-size works on the theme of elephants in places along the route of the roadshow, covering 12 states that have wild elephants, using local art and craft. Specially fabricated vehicles will be deployed to display these on pre-determined routes with campaigners.
“Right to Passage”
- The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), which is leading the Gaj Yatra campaign, also launched the second edition of its publication “Right to Passage”, which found and mapped a total of 101 elephant corridors in 2017.
- The last 2005 edition of “Right to Passage” had declared a total of 88 elephant corridors across 22 elephant states.
12th August: World Elephant Day
- The World Elephant Day is observed every year on August 12 to support various stakeholders involved in supporting various conservation policies to protect elephants.
- It also seeks to support stakeholders involved in improving enforcement policies to prevent illegal poaching and trade in ivory, conserving elephant habitats, providing better treatment for captive elephants and reintroducing captive elephants into sanctuaries.
- The World Elephant Day was conceived in 2011 by Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark of Canazwest Pictures and Sivaporn Dardarananda, Secretary-General of Elephant Reintroduction Foundation of Thailand.
- Now it is supported by over 65 wildlife organisations and many individuals in several countries across the globe.
Key facts about Elephants:
- As per the available population estimates, there are about 400,000 African elephants and 40,000 Asian elephants across the globe.
- Asian elephants are listed as “endangered” and African elephants are listed as “vulnerable” in the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
- The vanishing corridors or passages within the forests through which the animal migrates without human disturbance is the biggest stumbling block in the way of conservation.
Bilateral & International Relations
15th BIMSTEC Ministerial meeting
The 15th edition of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) ministerial meeting was held in Kathmandu, Nepal.
- India was represented by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
- The main agenda of this edition of the meeting is to finalise a free trade agreement among the BIMSTEC member countries.
- The meeting endorsed the memorandum of understanding for the establishment of BIMSTEC grid interconnection.
- The meeting decided to establish cells focused on areas, like energy, environment and culture, among others, for effective cooperation and to elevate BIMSTEC as a vibrant and visible regional cooperation.
- The meeting also decided to form an eminent persons’ group to prepare the future roadmap of BIMSTEC.
- The BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) is a sub-regional group of seven countries in South Asia and South East Asia lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal viz. Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
- It was established on 6th June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
- It is headquartered at Dhaka, Bangladesh.
- Its objectives are technological and economical cooperation among south Asian and south East Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.
- It also covers cooperation in commerce, technology, investment, agriculture, tourism, human resource development, fisheries, transport and communication, textiles, leather etc.
- The whole region which constitutes the BIMSTEC is home to over 1.5 billion people. The population counts for around 22 percent of the total world population. These countries have a combined GDP of $2.7 trillion.