Polity & Governance
- I&B Min launches Online Film Certification System of CBFC
- Parliament Passes Mental Health Bill, 2016
- Sahitya Akademi awardees cannot return award: HC
- ‘Triple talaq not in SC purview’
- Allow sale of unsold BS-III vehicles post April 1 deadline, Centre tells Supreme Court
- Food processing ministry approves 101 new cold chain projects
- Automation’s impact will be grave, 4 out of 10 jobs to go: Experts
Bilateral & International Relations
- India, Nepal renew fuel supply pact
Defence & Security Issues
- Find alternatives to pellet guns: SC
Key Facts for Prelims
- Glenfiddich’s Emerging Artist of the Year award 2017
- Cyclone Debbie
- China nominates Tai Chi for UNESCO list
- 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games
Polity & Governance
I&B Min launches Online Film Certification System of CBFC
The Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry has launched Online Film Certification System E-Cinepramaan of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) with an aim to promote transparency and ensure Clean Cinema Clean India.
- This initiative was launched on the lines of Union Government’s vision of ease-of-doing business and digital India, to make the entire process transparent and efficient.
- Its objective is to eliminate the need for human interface to the extent possible and enable good governance by automating film certification process.
- This online system integrated the payments made by the producers towards certification fees with Bharatkosh portal, a system for all non-tax revenue receipts.
Key features of the E-Cinepramaan:
- This online certification system will enable in making the CBFC Office paper less.
- It will enable effective monitoring & real time progress in tracking for both CBFC Officials and the applicant.
- In the e-cinepramaan, the status of each application will be visible online in the dashboard of the producer or the concerned CBFC official.
- In case of short films and trailers which are of less than 10 minutes, the producer need not visit the office or theatre. They can submit their creations online.
- For films longer than 10 minutes, the applicant will only have to show the film at the Examining theatre and will not have to visit the CBFC Offices at all.
- The producer or applicant will be informed by SMS or e-mail of the status of their application.
- The transparency in the system and elimination of middle men will mitigate chances of any corruption and will also avoid allegations of jumping the queue or rigging up of Examination committees.
- The implementation of QR code on the certificates will eliminate chances of fraudulent certificates.
- It will envisage a robust MIS system for performance tracking and efficient reporting.
- The system also includes inbuilt alerts depending on the pendency of the application to ensure that time limits prescribed by the rules are not violated.
Parliament Passes Mental Health Bill, 2016
The Parliament passed the Mental Healthcare Bill, 2016.
- It will replace the Mental Health Act, 1987.
- The Bill recognises the rights of mentally ill people to affordable treatment and also seeks to decriminalise suicide.
- The bill aims to provide for mental healthcare and services for persons with mental illness and ensure these persons have the right to live a life with dignity by not being discriminated against or harassed.
Key features of the bill:
Definition of mental illness:
- The Bill describes mental illness as “a substantial disorder of thinking, mood, perception, orientation or memory that grossly impairs judgment, behaviour, capacity to recognise reality or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life, mental conditions associated with the abuse of alcohol and drugs.”
Rights of persons with mental illness:
- It gives every person right to access mental healthcare from services operated or funded by the government.
- It also includes good quality, easy and affordable access to services.
- It also provides right to equality of treatment, protect such persons from inhuman treatment, access to free legal services, medical records and right to complain in case of deficiencies in provisions.
- It empowers a mentally-ill person to have the right to make an advance directive that explains how they want to be treated for the requisite illness and nominate their representative.
Mental Health Establishments:
- Every mental health establishment must register with the respective Central or State Mental Health Authority.
- For registration, the concerned establishment must fulfill different criteria as mentioned in the Bill.
Procedure and process:
- It also outlines the procedure and process for admission, treatment and subsequent discharge of mentally ill persons.
Community based treatment:
- It focuses on community based treatment and special provisions for women and health.
Mental Health Review Commission and Board:
- It will be quasi-judicial body responsible for reviewing procedure for making advance directives.
- It will advise the government on the protection of rights of mentally ill persons’.
- It will constitute Mental Health Review Boards in states’ districts will help of state governments.
- It effectively decriminalises suicide attempt under the section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) by mentally ill persons by making it non-punishable
Prohibits electro-convulsive therapy:
- It will be not used for minors. It will be allowed only with the use of anaesthesia.
- The Bill is the first mental health law framed as per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to which India is signatory. It requires the countries to align their laws with the Convention.
- The Bill provides “rights-based” approach to mental illness by consolidating and safeguarding the rights of fundamental human rights of the patients.
- In India, around 6 to 7% of the population suffers from some kind of mental illnesses, while 1 to 2% suffers from acute mental disease.
Sahitya Akademi awardees cannot return award: HC
The Delhi High Court ruled that Sahitya Akademi awardees are not eligible to return their awards as they are granted after considerable deliberations.
What’s the issue?
In 2015, several writers, poets and artists had returned their awards protesting against the Akademi’s “silence” on the murder of M M Kalburgi as well as against the atmosphere of “intolerance and communalism” in the backdrop of the Dadri lynching incident over rumours of beef consumption.
Opposing the return of awards, a PIL was moved in the high court for framing of guidelines to return the prize money received along with the awards.
The PIL had also sought framing of norms to protect the sanctity of the Sahitya Akademi Puraskar as is done for the National symbols.
It had also urged for strong punitive action against those who return such awards.
- The court dismissed the petition, saying since the Sahitya Akademi’s Constitution does not provide for taking back any award once given, “the issue sought to be raised by the petitioners deserves no further consideration”.
- The court noted that the executive board of the Akademi in 2015 had resolved that awards once granted cannot be taken back and therefore, there was no need to formulate guidelines against the return of the awards.
‘Triple talaq not in SC purview’
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) recently told the Supreme Court that the court had no jurisdiction to hear petition challenging the practices of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy.
- The Muslim body has called for judicial restraint as the issues in the petitions before the court fell within the legislative domain.
Arguments put forth by AIMPLB:
- The Board said the validity of Mohammedan Law, founded essentially on the Koran and sources based on it, could not be tested on the particular provisions of the Constitution.
- It said, the petitions, filed by a plethora of Muslim women against the practices, were misconceived.
- The AIMPLB argued in an affidavit filed before the court that the preamble of the Constitution clearly enshrines values of liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship.
The government had earlier opposed the AIMPLB stand in court that triple talaq was intended to save the family from delayed justice in conventional courts and to avoid mud-slinging in public.
The Board had contended that concern and sympathy for women lay at the core of polygamy. That it was a better option for a “barren” wife to allow her husband to marry a second time than let him indulge in a “mistress”.
The Centre had countered that in a secular democracy, any practice which left women socially, financially or emotionally vulnerable or subject to the whims and caprice of men folk was incompatible with the letter and spirit of Articles 14 and 15.”[Ref: The Hindu]
Allow sale of unsold BS-III vehicles post April 1 deadline, Centre tells Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has asked automobile companies not to frustrate the government’s initiative to check increasing levels of pollution by selling BS-III vehicles which they are holding in stock.
What’s the issue?
Companies have been seeking permission to sell their existing stock of BS-III vehicles even after Bharat Stage-IV emission norms come into force from April 1.
The motor companies are holding a stock of 8,24,275 BS-III vehicles, which includes 96,724 commercial vehicles, 6,71,308 two-wheelers, 40,048 three-wheelers and 16,198 cars.
The Supreme Court, which is hearing pleas of automobile manufacturers, indicated that either it will ban registration of such vehicles or impose costs to compensate for the health hazards created by pollution.
The Centre has come out in support of auto manufacturers and urged the Supreme Court to allow the companies to sell their existing stock of BS-III vehicles even after Bharat Stage-IV emission norms come into force from April 1.
The government has argued for the case on the following grounds:
- The existing rules that govern migration of emission standards provide only for halting of manufacturing of vehicles that comply to the previous norms.
- These rules have not been challenged or objected to at any stage.
- The same set of rules were followed when the country moved on to BS III emission norms.
- Sale and registration of BS III vehicles can continue as these vehicles do not become redundant. They can very well be run on BS IV fuel.
- The stock of BS III vehicles that remain unsold account for a tiny fraction of the 19 crore vehicles already plying on the roads.
Food processing ministry approves 101 new cold chain projects
The Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) sanctioned 101 new Integrated Cold Chain Projects.
- They were sanctioned under the Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure Scheme.
- These are in addition to the 30 Cold Chain Projects that were sanctioned in May 2015.
- Cumulatively, these new projects will attract Rs. 3100 crore investment for the creation of modern infrastructure in the food processing sector.
- These projects are meant for fruits and vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, marine, poultry, ready to eat and ready to cook sectors.
- These new projects will reduce wastage of perishables, add value to the agricultural produce and create huge employment opportunities especially in rural areas.
- They will create additional capacity of 2.76 lakh MT of cold storage/controlled atmosphere storage. It will also benefit 2.6 lakh farmers and provide employment to 60,000 people.
- These projects will not only provide a big boost to the growth of food processing infrastructure in the concerned States, but also help in providing better prices to farmers.
- The projects are aimed at doubling farmers’ income, reducing wastage in the agri-supply chain and creating huge employment opportunities.
Why India needs Integrated Cold Chain Projects?
- India is one of the largest food producers in the world. Though it is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, it only processes 2.2 per cent of total fruits and vegetables produced.
- To ameliorate this situation, India requires affordable cold storages and cold chains at every food producing hub in the country.
- Against this backdrop, the MoFPI is building the National Cold Chain Grid, in which building Integrated Cold Chain Projects is one of the key components.
- The goal of the National Cold Chain Grid, as well as Integrated Cold Chain Projects, is to connect all food producing hubs to cold storage and processing industries.
- These initiatives will create short, consistent and compressed supply chains from producers to processors, retailers and exporters.
- They also give major boost to fruits and vegetables processing, milk processing and non-horticulture food processing in the country.
Automation’s impact will be grave, 4 out of 10 jobs to go: Experts
Automation is the new normal in sectors like engineering, manufacturing, automobiles, IT and banking. As automation adoption increases, all high transaction and labour intensive jobs will take a hit.
- Experts say, this will affect the bottom of the pyramid so much so that four out of every 10 jobs globally would be lost due to this by 2021.
What are the concerns?
- There will be a visible change in the next 3-4 years, first major effects will be seen in the sectors like manufacturing, IT and ITeS and security services and agriculture.
- By 2021, four out of every 10 jobs globally would be lost because of automation. And of these, one in every four will be from India. That sums up to 23% of job loss in India.
- India produces 5.5 million jobs (across levels) every year, but this number falls short of jobs needed to employ available talent and automation is further increasing the gap.
- Low skill and high transaction jobs will be affected as automation takes away their jobs. Hiring for short term projects, flexi hiring would be the way forward in these areas for roles that cannot be automated.
Automation will not take away all the jobs because you still need someone to build and monitor the robots. So, while jobs mostly at the bottom of pyramid will be affected, new jobs will get added.
However, to cater to this fallout, government needs to focus on two key areas:
- Strengthening the mid-market segment.
- Reskilling the workforce to take up new jobs which will emerge post automation.
Bilateral & International Relations
India, Nepal renew fuel supply pact
India and Nepal signed an agreement to renew the supply of petroleum to Nepal for five years.
- The renewed MoU was signed between Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) and Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) for another five years.
- The renewed agreement is an umbrella document between the two countries detailing the continued supply of petroleum, oil and lubricant products.
- It also puts in place an institutional mechanism for cooperation in the areas of additional services and technical assistance between the two countries.
- Under it IOC will supply about 1.3 million tonnes of fuel annually to Nepal with a promise to double the volume by 2020.
The Indian Oil has been supplying petroleum and associated products to Nepal since 1974.
The renewing of the agreement is considered India’s continued support to Nepal in meeting its complete hydrocarbon requirement.
Fuel supplies from India witnessed temporary disruption in 2015 when protestors blocked the main transit point on the border. Indian Oil then used alternative entry points to supply fuel to Nepal. Nepal also signed a fuel purchase deal with China, but the route between the nations presents logistic challenges.
Thus, the new agreement also maintains the fuel supply exclusivity to India.
About Motihari-Amlekhgunj Pipeline:
Both countries are at present working toward further deepening engagement in the oil and gas sector, including construction of petroleum product Motihari-Amlekhgunj Pipeline.
Once the pipeline completed, it will further ensure continuous and uninterrupted supply of products to Nepal.
India also agreed to extend the proposed Raxaul-Amlekhganj product pipeline to Chitwan and to start work on the pipeline in 2017-18.[Ref: LiveMint]
Defence & Security Issues
Find alternatives to pellet guns: SC
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to come up with alternatives to pellet guns used by security forces against agitators and stone-pelting mobs on the streets of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The court reminds the government that it is a ‘welfare state’ meant to protect all without causing harm to none.
- The court expressed its concern about how minors, students and innocent by-passers of the Valley become collateral damage, sometimes scarred permanently for life, in the battle for the streets between forces and the mobs.
- For their sake and that of their parents and loved ones, the court asked the government to consider other alternatives to quell the mobs.
- The centre informed the court that security personnel battle for their own lives and use these guns, at the minimum, as a means of self-defence, and at the most, to bring law and order back on the streets.
- In December 2016, the Supreme Court sought a similar assurance from the Jammu and Kashmir government to avoid the “indiscriminate” use of pellet guns on protesters in the restive State.
- The court’s recent reservations about the use of pellet guns without “proper application of mind” came while hearing a petition filed by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association.
What are pellet guns?
They are a form of non-lethal crowd control methods used by police and military worldwide.
- The other popular methods are tear gas, water cannon, pepper spray, taser guns etc.
- Pellet guns are also popular in hunting and pest control.
What are they intended for?
- Pellets guns are intended to injure individuals and cause pain. They are effective over short ranges up to 500 yards but when fired from close quarters can be lethal, particularly when sensitive parts like eyes are hit. Pellets can penetrate soft tissues.
- Security forces were asked to open minimal fire at protesters and if necessary “below their waist.”
How does a pellet look like?
- A cartridge of a pellet gun contains few hundred pellets made of Lead. Pellets can be of various shapes either like ball bearings or irregular.
- When fired, the cartridge disperses few hundred pellets over few hundred metres depending on the type.
Who manufactures them?
- Pellet guns are manufactured at the Ordinance Factory, Ishapore.
When were they introduced?
- They are used by Jammu & Kashmir Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). They were first introduced in August 2010. The CRPF has 600 such guns.
Where are they put to use?
- These guns are used in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) areas but they are mostly used in the Kashmir Valley.
Key Facts for Prelims
Glenfiddich’s Emerging Artist of the Year award 2017
- Odisha-based installation artist Sitaram Swain has been chosen as the Glenfiddich’s Emerging Artist of the Year 2017.
- From among 810 participants from across India, Sitaram Swain was awarded the sixth recipient of Glenfiddich’s Emerging Artist of the Year 2017.
- He will represent India at the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence (AiR) programme at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Scotland with seven artists from around the world.
- Every year since 2002, some of the world’s most creative minds from around the world have been invited to live and work for a period of three months on site at the Glenfiddich Distillery.
- The artists have complete freedom to develop projects that are inspired by their surroundings and whisky making crafts.
- It is a powerful cyclone, which has pummelled the north-east Australian coast, causing major damage, torrential rain and power cuts to tens of thousands of homes.
- Cyclone Debbie made landfall between Bowen and Airlie Beach in Queensland as a category four storm.
China nominates Tai Chi for UNESCO list
- China has nominated Tai Chi, a form of ancient martial art, for inclusion in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
- China attempted to get the UNESCO status for the martial art form in 2008, but the application — one of 35 from China — was withdrawn after an evaluation deemed it “too vague”.
- The latest attempt to include Tai Chi comes amid speculation that South Korea and Japan could make similar nominations.
2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games
- India’s special athletes won 73 medals in the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games.
- The games were held between 18 March and 25 March 2017 in Austria.
- World Winter Games 2017, also known as Special Olympics, are the brainchild of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who is the sister of former US president John F Kennedy.
- The Special Olympics are the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 4 million athletes in 170 countries.
- Special Olympics World Games are held alternatively between summer and winter games. Special Olympics World Games are held every two years.
- Only those who are over eight years of age are allowed to participate.
- A competitor needs to be identified by an agency or professional as having one of the following conditions: intellectual disabilities, cognitive delays as measured by formal assessment, or significant learning or vocational problems due to cognitive delay that require or have required specially designed instruction.