27 and 28 Apr 2016 (Shyam Benegal Committee report on Cinematograph Act/ Rules,NITI Aayog to launch Urban Management Program, Heritage Status to Indian Sites by UNESCO)
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Shyam Benegal Committee report on Cinematograph Act/ Rules :-
For quite sometime now the CBFC- Central Board of Film Certification has been subjected to public discourse and debate, more so , it took headlines and it’s actions made few heads turn.In order to find a viable solution to the problem a committee under Shyam Benegal was constituted to look in to film certification procedures and suggest a way forward.Given then Cinema has a significant influence on shaping the society , it became an imperative to find the ever so increasing skirmishes between morality and obscenity and artistic freedom and regulations.
The Committee chaired by Shri Shyam Benegal submitted major part of their recommendation to Hon’ble Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting.Following are the major highlights of the report –
CBFC should only be a film certification body whose scope should be restricted to categorizing the suitability of the film to audience groups on the basis of age and maturity except in the following instances to refuse certification –
When a film contains anything that contravenes the provisions of Section 5B (1) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
When content in a film crosses the ceiling laid down in the highest category of certification.
The applicant must specify the category of certification being sought and the target audience.
The objective of these guidelines would be to ensure that –
Children and adults are protected from potentially harmful or unsuitable content
Audiences, particularly parents are empowered to make informed viewing decisions
Artistic expression and creative freedom are not unduly curbed in the process of classification of films
The process of certification by CBFC is responsive, at all times, to social change
The certification by CBFC keeps within the rights and obligations as laid down in the Indian Constitution.
The Highlights of the recommendations of the committee broadly cover the areas related to Film Certification Process and its simplification, Restructuring staffing pattern of Central & Regional censor advisory panels and Recertification of films for purposes of telecast on televisionand measures to preserve the identity of Indian Cinema.
Regarding the categorisation of films, the committee recommends that it should be more specific and apart from U category, the UA Category can be broken up into further sub-categories – UA12+ & UA15+. The A category should also be sub-divided into A and AC (Adult with Caution) categories.
The Certification of films shall be carried out in accordance with the Guidelines proposed for certification that have been split into three sections, with each section required to be read with the other two – General Guidelines, Issue Related Guidelines and Category Specific Guidelines.
The committee has also made certain recommendations regarding the functioning of the board and has stated that the Board, including Chairman, should only play the role of a guiding mechanism for the CBFC, and not be involved in the day-to-day affairs of certification of films. The functions of the Board shall be confined to the duties defined in the existing CBFC rules, which inter alia include an annual review of CBFC work, submission of annual report to the government, review of public reactions to films, and periodic recommendations for revision of guidelines. Given these limited functions, the size of the Board should be compact with one member representing each Regional Office. Therefore, the total composition of the Board should not be more than nine members and one Chairman.
Regarding the Regional Advisory Panel the committee has laid down the criteria for appointment. All nine regions will have advisory panels comprising persons who are acquainted with the languages being certified by that regional office.
Members from all walks of life, recommended by the National Film Development Corporation to the Central Government – 25%
Members of the general public recommended by the FFSI (Federation of Film Societies of India) – 25%
Members recommended by the National Council for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and National Commission of Women (NCW)- 25%
Representatives of the local film industry, as recommended by FFI (Film Federation of India) – 25%
Women to have 50% representation on each Panel.
In addition to the forgoing, the Committee has recommended
Online submission of applications as well as simplification of forms and accompanying documentation.
Recertification of a film for purposes of telecast on television or for any other purpose should be permitted.
In order to preserve Indian Cinema, the committee recommends that every applicant be asked to deposit the Director’s Cut in the NFAI for preservation of Indian Cinema, instead of the certified version, in order to truly reflect the cinematic history of Indian cinema.
Out-of-turn certification may be permitted for which the applicant would have to pay five times the fee that would have to be paid if the certification were done in the normal course.
In the event that complaints are received by the Central Government, the same shall be referred to the CBFC. The Chairperson may, if he considers it necessary to do so, refer the film to a Revising Committee for examination once again, on account of alleged violation of Section 5B(1) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
The Committee sought some more time to give recommendations on the certification of films regarding:
Issues relating to clearances to be obtained from the Animal Welfare Board under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Issues relating to depiction of smoking in films wherein films are required to show a disclaimer in every scene that involves smoking, as per a directive from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Developing Inland Waterways in Odisha
The following six waterways in the State of Odisha have been declared as National Waterways under the National Waterways Act, 2016.
National Waterway – 5 : Talcher-Dhamra stretch of Brahmani-Kharsua-Tantighai-Pandua Nala-Dudhei Nala-Kani Dhamra river system, Geonkhali-Charbatia stretch of East Coast Canal, Charbatia-Dhamra stretch of Matai River and Mahanadi Delta Rivers, with prescribed limits.
National Waterway – 14 : Baitarni River – The stretch between Dattapur village to confluence with Dhamra river near Laxmiprasad Dia.
National Waterway – 22 : Birupa-Badi Genguti-Brahmani river system- Birupa Barrage at Choudwar to confluence of Birupa and Brahmani rivers near Upperkai Pada village including alternative route from Samaspur village to near Kharagpur village.
National Waterway – 23: Budha Balanga River – Barrage at Patalipura village to confluence of Budha Balanga river with Bay of Bengal at Chandipur Fishing Port.
National Waterway- 64: Mahanadi River : Sambalpur barrage to Paradip.
National Waterway-96: Subarnrekha River – Chandil Dam to confluence with Bay of Bengal.
Panic Button and Global Positioning System in Mobile Phone Handsets Rules 2016
The Department of Telecommunications has notified the “Panic Button and Global Positioning System in Mobile Phone Handsets Rules 2016”. The Ministry of Women and Child Development had taken up the issue of installation of a physical panic button on mobile phones as one of the initiatives in June 2014.
It was observed that in order to provide safety to women in distress situation, it is important to enable them to send out distress signal to a family member or the police authorities so that they can be rescued.
NITI Aayog to launch Urban Management Program for Capacity Building in States and Urban Local Bodies
NITI Aayog in collaboration with Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) and Temasek Foundation, Singapore is organizing an Urban Management Programme for Capacity Building of officials of State Governments and ULBs in implementing the Urban Rejuvenation Mission.
Urbanisation offers an opportunity to India to achieve higher economic growth as cities provide economies of agglomeration. Urbanisation level in India, which was around 31 per cent in census 2011 is estimated to increase and reach 40 per cent by 2030 in percentage terms, the urbanisation level may appear to be modest, however in absolute numbers it is very large.
Urban population of India is more than the entire population of United States of America or Brazil. The urban economy has also witnessed significant growth and is contributing to around 60 per cent of GDP. However, to reap the full benefits of urbanisation, it is important that it is efficient and sustainable.
Rapid urbanisation is increasing the pressure on provision of basic services to citizens like water, sanitation and mobility in the urban areas in the country. Infrastructure deficit is increasing the coping costs as well as leading to loss of productivity in the cities. It is also adversely affecting the ability of cities in attracting investment in this globalized world.
Governance in urban centres is also emerging as a major challenge particularly with the increasing number of census towns. Further, with the increasing pressure on natural resources, sustainability of cities is emerging as a major concern. A deficiency in processing and scientific disposal of urban waste is resulting in a situation where Indian cities are polluting water bodies, degrading soil and environment at a much larger scale than they use these resources. Environmental sustainability of Indian cities is therefore becoming a major imperative for guiding efficient urbanisation.
Therefore it is necessary to take measures to ensure that the urbanisation is efficient. It is imperative to improve the provisioning of basic infrastructure and governance in our cities so that the cities enable better living and drive economic growth and emerge as ‘Engines of Economic Growth’ and moreover do so in a sustainable manner.
The urban centres have to become areas of intense mobility, socio-economic activity and hope for a large number of population. To transform the urban landscape in the country, the Government has recently launched the Urban Rejuvenation Mission (URM) comprising of Atal Mission for Urban Rejuvenation and Transformation (AMRUT), Smart Cities Mission and Housing for All.
The 74th Constitutional Amendment accorded constitutional status to the municipal bodies by initiating a process of democratic decentralisation with the objective of making urban governance more responsive. In order to meet the growing aspirations and expectations of people, and to meet the challenges of urbanisation, governance in the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) needs to become more efficient, effective, responsive, citizen friendly, transparent and accountable. Currently, many Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) do not have sufficient capacity to plan, finance and implement efficient, smart and sustainable solutions for urban problems.
In order to effectively realise the vision of urban transformation, one of the key objectives is to build sufficient capacities in the Urban Local Bodies and State Government in urban management and provide greater financial and functional autonomy to the ULBs. In this backdrop, NITI Aayog has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) to tap the expertise of Singapore in urban sector to build capacities in State Governments and ULBs to facilitate in implementation of the Urban Rejuvenation Mission.
UJALA – Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA)
Government of India’s National LED programme – Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) was launched today in Madhya Pradesh.
As of now, EESL has distributed over 10 crore LED bulbs under UJALA programme and this has led to significant savings to the country and consumers who are using these bulbs.
Under India’s commitment to achieving 30-35% reduced carbon emissions, the country has recognized energy efficiency as a key mitigation strategy. Therefore, the government is committed to executing schemes like UJALA. State governments are voluntarily adopting this scheme and the scheme is already present in over 13 states. EESL would be starting distribution in more states within a month.
The UJALA scheme has played a significant role in creating awareness about energy efficient lighting. In 2014-15, the total number of LED bulbs that were distributed was mere 30 lakhs. The number of LED bulbs distributed in 2015-16 has crossed 15 crore, where 9 crore LED bulbs were distributed under UJALA and the remaining were contributed by the industry. For this year, the Government of India is confident of distributing an additional 20 crore LED bulbs. Sustained efforts under UJALA, coupled with industry support, will help the government achieve its objective of replacing 77 crore inefficient bulbs by March 2019.
Efficient domestic lighting is one of the largest contributors to energy savings globally and the distribution of 10 crore LED bulbs in India has led to savings of over 1,298 crore kWh annually. This number has also helped the country avoid capacity of about 2,600 MW. Most importantly, the country has benefitted from reduction of CO2 emission by over 1 crore tonnes annually.
LED bulbs consume half the energy as that of CFLs and one tenth as that of incandescent bulbs. UJALA is the largest non-subsidised LED programme in the world. The programme has led to significant savings to the consumers who are using these bulbs.
Andhra Pradesh first state in the country to become Open Defecation Free in urban areas
Andhra Pradesh is set to become the first State in the country to make all of its urban areas ‘Open Defecation Free’ by October 2nd this year, marking the two years of the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission by Prime Minister
Launch of NERS
The “Nationwide Emergency Response System” project that seeks to establish a modern emergency response system by connecting police with the citizens. It includes integrating Police and other ER services such as Ambulance, Fire etc. The project includes establishment of an Integrated Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) platform for supporting Geographical Information System (GIS) based call taking and Geographical Positioning System (GPS) based Police vehicle dispatch to respond to emergency calls. The proposed system is to be implemented in 114 identified cities that include 54 cities having a population of more than four million, and 41 highly crime prone districts.
External support to Naxalism
No specific inputs are available to indicate that the Maoists/ Left Wing Extremists are getting backing from foreign agency/ country in India. However, the CPI (Maoist) party have close links with foreign Maoist organizations in Philippines, Turkey etc. The outfit is also a member of the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA). The Maoist parties of South Asian countries are members of this conglomerate. Besides, Left Wing Extremist (LWE) groups have participated in conferences/ seminars conducted in Belgium and Germany. The so-called ‘People’s War’ being waged by the CPI(Maoist) against the Indian State has also drawn support from several Maoist fringe organisations located in Germany, France, Holland, Turkey, Italy etc.
The recovery of arms and ammunitions of foreign origin from the Left Wing Extremists in different encounters / operations is an indication of the fact that they are procuring weapons from different sources. Inputs indicate that some senior cadres of the Communist Party of the Philippines imparted training to the cadres of CPI(Maoist) in 2005 and 2011.
As part of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Cooperation, space agencies of respective nations, including India, are pursuing technical discussions to realise a virtual constellation (network of remote sensing satellites provided by space agencies) in a phased manner, wherein space agencies could provide data from their existing remote sensing satellites. Such virtual constellation is intended to deal with challenges of the mankind such as global climate change, natural disasters and environmental protection.
Thirty Metre Telescope
The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project is the joint responsibility of the Department of Science & Technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) from India.
TMT is an international project being funded by scientific organisations of Canada, China, India, Japan and USA.
The Evaluation process for an appropriate site includes scientific suitability (water vapour in the atmosphere, atmospheric turbulence and number of cloud-free nights in a year), infrastructure and logistics for setting-up of such a large international scientific project.
While Mauna Kea, Hawaii is the preferred choice for the TMT project, given the large investments that have already been made and committed, the project is also looking at alternate sites both in the northern and southern hemispheres.
Hanle, Ladakh is one of the sites being evaluated for hosting the telescope. Hanle being the protected area in the state of J&K, the project requires clearances from State and Central agencies such as environmental, defence, external affairs and home affairs.
TMT will enable scientists to study fainter objects far away from us in the Universe, which gives information about early stages of evolution of the Universe. Also, it will give us finer details of not-so-far-away objects like undiscovered planets and other objects in the Solar System and planets around other stars. TMT being the largest optical and infrared telescope in the northern hemisphere will enable several discoveries which will surely inspire future generations. Project will also provide state-of-the-art high end technologies to the country, which would benefit a number of industries and R&D centers in the country.
Heritage Status to Indian Sites by UNESCO
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is the nodal agency for forwarding any request for World Heritage status to any Indian site whether cultural or natural. Based on the proposals received from the Central or State Government agencies as well as management Trusts, etc., and after their due scrutiny, the Government forwards the nomination dossiers to the World Heritage Center. The list of places in India which have been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO is given below
There are 10 enlisted criteria (given below) for determining Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) for World Heritage nomination. The proposed nomination must satisfy at least one of these 10 criteria.
Name of Site
Ajanta Caves (1983)
Ellora Caves (1983)
Agra Fort (1983)
Taj Mahal (1983)
Sun Temple, Konarak (1984)
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984)
Churches and Convents of Goa (1986)
Group of Temples, Khajuraho (1986)
Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986)
Group of Monuments, FatehpurSikri (1986)
Group of Temples, Pattadakal (1987)
Elephanta Caves ( 1987)
Great Living Chola temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram (1987 & 2004)
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993)
Qutb Minar Complex, Delhi (1993)
Prehistoric Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)
Champaner-Pavagarh Archaeological Park (2004)
Red Fort Complex, Delhi (2007)
Hill Forts of Rajasthan
(Chittaurgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Jaisalmer and Ranthambhore, Amber and Gagron Forts) (2013)
(Amber and Gagron Forts are under protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums)
Rani ki Vav (2014)
Under Protection of Ministry of Railways
Mountain Railway of India ( Darjeeling,1999), Nilgiri (2005), Kalka-Shimla(2008)
West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004)
Under Protection of Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee
Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya (2002)
Under Protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums Department
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010)
Under Protection of Ministry of Environment & Forest
Kaziranga National Park (1985)
Manas Wild Life Sanctuary (1985)
Keoladeo National Park (1985)
Sunderban National Park (1987)
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005)
Western Ghats (2012)
Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu
Great Himalayan National Park (2014)
CRITERIA FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF OUTSTANDING UNIVERSAL VALUE (OUV) AS PER UNESCO’S OPERATIONAL GUIDELINES
to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria.
to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
Monuments & Sites Identified/Proposed by State Governments for Central Protection:-
There are 3686 monuments/sites declared as of National importance are under the protection of Archaeological Survey of India. Though no such demand has been received in the recent past from the Conservationists to include more ancient monuments in the list of Archaeological Survey of India protected monuments, a few proposals have been received from State Governments, list thereof is given below.
Name of Monument/Site
Ancient Buddhist Institute Remains in the locality of Nyarma Thiksay, District Leh
Group of Temples at Ranipur Jhariyal, District Bolangir
Proposal for protection as of national importance in respect of Biranchi Nayarana Temple, buguda, Orissa.
Vimalesvari Temple, Huma, Dist. Sambhalpur
Nilamadhava Temple, Kantilo, Dist. Nayagarh
Ganjam Fort, Ganjam
Nrusinghanatha Temple, Paikmal, Dist. Baragarh
Suku Sari Deula and Bhabanisankara Temple Complex by the side of Sari Deula in Bhubaneswar
Protection proposal of Jagatjit Palace, Kapurthala, Punjab.
Birth Place of Madan Mohan Malviya, Lucknow
Proposal of Jyotisher, Dist. Kurukshetra, Haryana.
Submerged temples in Govind Sagar lake in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh.
Unakoti Rock cut carvings near north Tripura district
Buddhist Stupa and other Navograha temples excavated at Pilak in south Tripura district
Buddhist Stupas at Boxanagar in west Tripura district
Rock cut Carvings across the bank of Gomti River at Chabimura in south Tripura district
Fateh Billas Mahal, Khetri
Fort of Bajrang Garh
Protection of Patna College Building and Jackson hostel.
Mandar Parvat, Bihar
Birth Place of Dr. Dwarikanath Kotnis Memorial, Solapur
Birth Place of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar at Mhow
39 Countries Brought on Board for Trans-National Nomination for World Heritage Under Project “Mausam”
The Government has identified 39 countries (as given below) to bring on board for trans-national nomination for World Heritage under Project “Mausam”. The disciplines involved in the project are those of archaeology, history, sociology, ethnography, marine archaeology, oceanography, geography, economics, satellite imagery technology, numismatics, art and architecture.
*List is given for reference purpose only
Réunion, French Department
Iran (Islamic Republic)
Syrian Arab Republic
United Republic of Tanzania
United Arab Emirates
The Measures taken by the Government to Curb Black Money in the Country
(i) Constitution of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Black Money under Chairmanship and Vice-Chairmanship of two former Judges of Hon’ble Supreme Court,
(ii) Enactment of a comprehensive new law – The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 which has come into force w.e.f. 01.07.2015 to specifically and more effectively deal with the issue of black money stashed away abroad, (iii) Introduction of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015 to amend the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 with a view to, inter alia, enable confiscation of Benami property and provide for prosecution,
(iv) Proactively engaging with foreign governments with a view to facilitate and enhance the exchange of information under Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs)/Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs)/Multilateral Conventions,
(v) According high priority to the cases involving black money stashed away abroad for investigation and other follow-up actions including prosecutions in appropriate cases,
(vi) While focusing upon non-intrusive measures, due emphasis on enforcement measures in high impact cases with a view to prosecute the offenders at the earliest for credible deterrence against tax evasion/black money,
(vii) Proactively furthering global efforts to combat tax evasion/black money, inter alia, by joining the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement in respect of Automatic Exchange of Information and having information sharing arrangement with USA under its Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA),
(viii) Constitution of a Multi-Agency Group under the Convenorship of Member(Investigation), Central Board of Direct Taxes
Merry-Go-Round System in Railways
In order to provide an economical and reliable alternative short lead traffic, a rationalized scheme with lump-sum rates for Merry-Go-Round has been notified. Some of the features of this scheme are as under:
• The MGR Terminals at both ends shall be privately owned.
• Rail track between the two terminals will be provided by the customer.
• Railways will provide locos, wagons, brake-vans and other rolling stock as per requirement for running of the rakes under MGR system.
• Terminals at both ends will operate round the clock.
• Lump-sum rates charged under the MGR System would depend upon the number of rakes loaded per day and the lead of traffic.
• For 18 km lead, the average MGR rate for 2-3 trips per day is around ₹ 47 per tonne.
• Expected traffic under this scheme is around 4-5 million tonnes in the financial year 2016-17