Daily Current Affairs – 25-07-2023

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    Bill to Amend Registration of Birth and Death Act 

    Syllabus: GS2/ Parliament, Bills, Government policies & interventions

    In News

    • A Bill to amend the Registration of Birth and Death Act 1969 to be introduced in the ongoing session of Parliament by the Union Home Ministry.
      • The Registration of Births and Deaths Act 1969 is a simple law that was brought for registration of births and deaths in the country.

    Background

    • Recently, the Union government allowed the Registrar General of India (RGI) to perform Aadhaar authentication during registration of births and deaths in the country. 
    • Presently, Aadhaar is not mandatory for such registration. The proposed amendment to the 1969 Act will give it legal teeth.

    About the Bill

    • The Bill will amend the Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1969, and will also enable the sharing of data on births and deaths with the Registrar-General of India (RGI), which is responsible for maintaining the National Population Register (NPR).
    • The Bill also requires States to compulsorily share data on registered births and deaths with the RGI, which functions under the Union Home Ministry. The RGI will maintain its own register of births and deaths, presently States are required to only send annual statistical reports to the RGI.
    • Bill puts in place a mechanism to continuously collect information from individuals.
    • As per the requirements of the amendment, States will have to sign a memorandum of understanding with the RGI to share the Application Programming Interface (API) from where the data can be pulled out.

    Significance & NPR database 

    • If the amendments are implemented, the Union government could use the data to update the NPR that was first prepared in 2010 and revised through door-to-door enumeration in 2015. NPR already has a database of 119 crore residents. 
    • The real-time updation of the data on births and deaths will eliminate the requirement of such enumeration to a large extent.
    • The database will also be used to update the electoral register, Aadhaar, ration card, passport and driving licence databases.

    Concerns Regarding the Bill

    • The proposed amendments to this 50-year-old law will turn a simple state exercise into a population controlling mechanism that can be used against every citizen. 
    • Every individual has the right to documentation, a birth certificate or other forms of identification which they need to lead a dignified life. History shows us this simple yet transformative exercise can be weaponized and used to identify populations that are different and non-conformative.  
    • It pushed the surveillance capacity of the state at population scale. The weaponization of this information without clearly bringing in any surveillance reform is a big concern.
    • At present the lack of a privacy law or surveillance law has ignored any form of accountability on the executive.
    • Even with the Aadhaar project it has only shown that large databases are full of noise with fraudulent data entries. 

    Way Ahead

    • Finding solutions to concerns regarding bill and data protection would help address challenges in implementation in a significant way and make for a more future-proof legislation.

    Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)

    • Brief History of UIDAI:
      • The UIDAI was initially a division of the Planning Commission, which is today known as the NITI Aayog. But in 2015, the government changed the “Allocation of Business Rules” to include UIDAI under the control of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology. 
      • In 2010, a person residing in Nandurbar, Maharashtra, received the first UID number, also known as an Aadhaar.
      • The government of India officially acknowledged UIDAI on July 12, 2016, in accordance with the Aadhaar Act 2016. 
      • With its main office in New Delhi, UIDAI also operates eight or so regional offices across India.
    • Objectives of UIDAI: 
      • The main objective of UIDAI is to issue a 12-digit unique identification number (UID) to each individual in order to:
      • Do away with duplication of identities
      • Verify and authenticate identity in a cost-effective manner
      • The body is now responsible for the enrolment, authentication and management of all stages in the development of the Aadhaar Card life cycle.

    About Aadhar

    • Its a 12-digit unique identity for every Indian individual, including children and infants 
    • Enables identification for every resident Indian 
    • Establishes uniqueness of every individual on the basis of demographic and biometric information 
    • It is a voluntary service that every resident can avail irrespective of present documentation 
    • Each individual will be given a single unique Aadhaar ID number
    • Aadhaar will provide a universal identity infrastructure which can be used by any identity-based application (like ration card, passport, etc.) 
    • UIDAI will give Yes/No answers to any identity authentication queries 

     

    Source: TH

    Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha

    Syllabus:GS2/Polity

    In News

    • Monsoon Session of Parliament proceedings saw the Lok Sabha being adjourned over the issue of Manipur.

    Parliament holds three Sessions in a year

    • Budget Session—February-May; 
    • Monsoon Session—July-September; and
    • Winter Session—November-December.

    Rules for the Conduct of Business of Parliament

    • Under Rule 377 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, Members are allowed to raise matters which are not Points of Order or which have not been raised during the same session under any other Rule. 
    • In the Rajya Sabha, Members are allowed to make a mention of matters of public importance under Rule 180A-E of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States. 
    • There are four main procedures under which there could be a discussion in the Lok Sabha a debate without voting under Rule 193, a motion (with a vote) under Rule 184, and an adjournment motion or a no-confidence motion.” Except the last one, similar measures also exist in the Rajya Sabha.

    Procedures 

    • ‘Zero Hour’: The period of time immediately after the Question Hour is over and before the regular business as entered in the List of Business is taken up, is referred to as the ‘Zero Hour’.
      • The Government is, however, under no obligation to respond to the matters raised during the ‘Zero Hour’.
    • Short Duration Discussion: Members could raise discussion for a short duration without a formal motion or vote.
      • Any member desirous of raising a discussion on a matter of urgent public importance may give notice in writing specifying clearly and precisely the matter desired to be raised. 
      • The notice shall be required to be accompanied by an explanatory note stating reasons for raising the discussion and supported by the signatures of at least two other members. 
      • The discussion concludes with a reply from the Minister concerned.
    • Adjournment Motion: This motion is introduced to draw attention of the house towards a recent matter of urgent public importance.
      • If admitted, it leads to setting aside the normal business of the House for discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance. 
      • While giving his consent to an Adjournment Motion, the Speaker is guided by the principles that the matter sought to be raised should be of recent occurrence, definite, urgent and of sufficient public importance to warrant interruption of the normal business of the House. 
      • Individual matters or matters pertaining to local grievances cannot be raised further, matters that are sub judice or do not involve direct or indirect responsibility of the Union Government cannot be raised under this device. It is also not permissible to raise a question of privilege by way of an Adjournment Motion.
    • No-Confidence Motion: Collective responsibility is the essence of parliamentary democracy. The Council of Ministers must enjoy the confidence of the House at all times to remain in power. 
      • The Opposition Parties in Lok Sabha can move a No-confidence Motion in the Council of Ministers to express the lack of confidence of the House and such a motion, if adopted, results in the fall of the Government.
    • Motion of Confidence: The Motion of Confidence has come up as a new procedural device to cope with the emerging situations of fractured mandates resulting in hung Parliaments, minority Government, etc. in the last two decades or so. 
      • Governments formed with thin majority have been, in recent times, called upon by the President to prove their majority on the floor of the House. 
      • The Government of the day, sometimes, on its own, seeks to prove its majority by moving a Motion of Confidence and winning the confidence of the House. If the Confidence Motion is negative, it results in the fall of the Government.

    Source: IE

    Israel’s Judicial Bill

    Syllabus:GS2/IR

    In News

    • Israel’s government has passed a key clause in its controversial judicial reform package.

    About the Judicial Reform

    • It aims to limit the powers of the Supreme Court in striking down government decisions which the judges deem “unreasonable”.
    • Under the new law, the Supreme Court cannot overrule the national government using the legal standard of “reasonableness” — a concept that judges previously used to strike down decisions made by lawmakers and ministers.
    • Besides the “reasonableness” law, the government wants to:
      • Weaken the power of the Supreme Court to review or throw out laws, enabling a simple majority of one in the Knesset (parliament) to overrule such decisions,
      • Have a decisive say over who becomes a judge, including in the Supreme Court, by increasing its representation on the committee which appoints them,
      • Scrap the requirement for ministers to obey the advice of their legal advisers – guided by the attorney general – which they currently have to do by law.

    Political Structure in Israel

    • ​Israel is a parliamentary democracy, consisting of legislative, executive and judicial branches. Its institutions are the Presidency, the Knesset (parliament), the Government (cabinet), the Judiciary and the State Comptroller.
    • The system is based on the principle of separation of powers, with checks and balances, in which the executive branch (the government) is subject to the confidence of the legislative branch (the Knesset) and the independence of the judiciary is guaranteed by law.
    • Israel has no formal constitution. However, most chapters of the prospective constitution have already been written, and enacted as Basic Laws.
    • Presidential duties, which are mostly ceremonial and formal, are defined by law. The president is elected for one term of seven years.
    • Knesset: The Knesset (Israel’s unicameral parliament) is the country’s legislative body. The Knesset took its name and fixed its membership at 120 from the Knesset Hagedolah (Great Assembly), the 120 Knesset members are elected directly by the public to four-year terms. They represent all of the State of Israel’s citizens.
    • Judiciary: Judges are appointed by the president, upon recommendation of a special nominations committee, composed of supreme court judges, members of the bar and public figures. Judges’ appointments are for life, with a mandatory retirement age at 70. 

    Reasons for the Protest

    • Critics argue that the government wants to rein in the Israeli judiciary, known for its fierce independence, through a series of laws.
    • The judicial revamp will undermine Israel’s liberal democracy by removing checks and balances on the executive, while the government argues it needs to curb judicial overreach.
    • This could open the way to a more authoritarian government by removing checks and balances on the Israeli executive.
    • Opposition see it as a move that would help the ultra-right government enact orthodox and illiberal policies without any intervention of the judiciary.

    Source: TH

     

    Rajasthan’s Bill for Gig Workers

    Syllabus: GS2/ Government policies and interventions, GS3/Inclusive Growth and related issues

    In Context

    • Recently the Rajasthan government passed the Rajasthan Platform Based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Bill, 2023.

    Bill Highlights

    • Registration of a gig worker: The Bill states any person has the right to be registered the minute they join an app-based platform, regardless of the duration of work or how many providers they work for.
      • The Bill applies to:
        • “Aggregators” (digital intermediaries connecting buyers and sellers) and 
        • “Primary employers” (individual or organisations engaging platform-based workers). 
    • Welfare Board: The Bill proposes a Welfare Board comprising State officials, five representatives each from gig workers and aggregators, and two others from civil society. 
      • The Board will set up a welfare fund, register platform-based gig workers, aggregators and primary employers, facilitate guarantee of social security to platform-based gig workers and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
      • The Board will maintain a database of companies and workers and each worker will receive a unique ID which “shall be valid in perpetuity.
    • Social Security and Welfare Fund: According to the Bill, the Board will create a “Social Security and Welfare Fund”. 
      • The fund will comprise of contributions made by individual workers, State government aids, other sources and a ‘welfare cess’ — a cut from each transaction — which the aggregator is required to pay. 
    • Grievance redressal: Gig workers “have an opportunity to be heard for any grievances” with “entitlements, payments and benefits provided under the Act.” 
      • As per the bill, a worker can file a petition physically before an officer or online through the web portal. 
      • The employer can object to the order within 90 days before an ‘Appellate Authority’. 

    Objections & suggestions for the bill

    • Unions objected to contributing to the “Social Security and Welfare Fund”, arguing that it should be sourced only from aggregator companies and State funds, owing to the fluctuating and inadequate nature of pay.
    • Unions have recommended that benefits available to gig workers be enumerated clearly in the Bill, expanding on the clause “other benefits.” 
    • Another responsibility of the Welfare Board, unions say, should be to assist workers in negotiating contracts by developing standard formats and principles for aggregators.

    Gig Economy

    • About: The gig economy is about individual workers carrying out tasks for clients through the intermediation of a platform attributing those tasks and taking care of the transfer of payment on a task-by-task basis.
    • Gig workers: NITI Aayog defines ‘gig workers’ as those engaged in work outside of the traditional employer-employee arrangement.
      • NITI Aayog’s report titled ‘India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy’ defines a gig worker as 
        • “someone who engages in income-earning activities outside of a traditional employer-employee relationship, as well as in the informal sector”
        • Additionally, it defines those working with platforms such as Ola, Uber, Dunzo, Swiggy, Zomato and Urban Company as platform workers.
    • Significance: The gig economy is based on temporary, or freelance jobs, often involving connecting with clients or customers through an online platform
      • The gig economy can benefit workers, businesses, and consumers by making work more adaptable to the needs of the moment and the demand for flexible lifestyles.
        • Time flexibility: Workers operating in the gig economy are allowed to work any of the hours they desire.
        • Income flexibility: It is an increasingly attractive market due to the sheer flexibility that allows individuals to earn extra income.
    • Size of the sector: As per the report, 47 percent of gig work currently is in medium-skilled jobs, 22 percent in high-skilled, and about 31 percent in low-skilled jobs.
      • Drivers and sales persons accounted for more than 52 percent of the gig workers in 2019-20.
      • When workers are classified by industries, the report said that 26.6 lakh gig workers were involved in retail trade and sales in FY20, and about 13 lakh were in the transportation sector
      • Roughly 6.2 lakh persons were in manufacturing and another 6.3 lakh in the finance and insurance activities.

    Challenges faced by the Gig workers

    • Urban factor: Accessibility makes gig work a largely urban phenomenon, as access to the internet and digital technology can be a restrictive factor.
    • Partners & not employees: Under existing labour laws, gig workers who are named ‘partners’ by platforms are not ‘employees’ because theirs is not a “fixed term of employment” — marked by providing exclusive service to one provider for a specified duration.
      • Gig workers often are not employees and hence do not receive income security and social protection. 
    • Safety issues: Along with it comes occupational safety and health risks including road safety, theft and physical assault, discrimination or harassment. 
      • This is amplified for women in app-based taxi work and delivery.
    • Work pressure: Another challenge listed is that workers may be under pressure due to algorithmic management practices and performance evaluation on the basis of ratings.
    • Regulatory framework: India lacks a framework that balances the flexibility offered by platforms while also ensuring the social security of workers. 
      • Currently, they work in a regulatory gray area.
      • The Code on Social Security does not consider how to handle the labour rights of gig and platform workers; rather, it only seeks to give them protections from vulnerable aspects of their work.

    Suggestions & way ahead

    • Extending social security measures: Social security measures are required for gig workers and their families liks paid sick leave, health access and insurance year-round, occupational disease and work accident insurance, retirement/pension plans and other contingency benefits.
    • Skilling: It is recommended that skill gaps be bridged by carrying out assessments periodically and partnering with platform businesses for onboarding skilled women and persons with disabilities. 
      • It is also suggested to make aggregate data public to enable decision-making.
    • Women in the gig economy: Companies should carry out gender sensitization and accessibility awareness programmes for workers and their families, particularly to promote the rights of women and persons with disabilities

    Source: TH

    National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities (NMMA)

    Syllabus :GS 2/Government Policies and Interventions 

    In News

    The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture noted that the National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities (NMMA) has only been able to document 16.8 lakh antiquities out of a total of 58 lakh which is just about 30 percent.

    About National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities (NMMA)

    • It was launched in 2007 to document the country’s monuments and antiquities. 

    Objectives of NMMA

    • Documentation and creation of suitable databases on built heritage and sites through published and unpublished secondary sources for information and dissemination to planners, researchers, etc. and for better management of such cultural resources.
    • Documentation in a uniform developed by NMMA, of all Antiquities that are available in different formats in the form of Registered Antiquities, Catalogued Antiquities with Central as well as State Governments, Private museums and Collections, Universities, etc.
    • Promote awareness and sensitize people concerning the benefits of preserving the historical and cultural aspects of built heritage, sites and antiquities.
    • Extend training facility and capacity building to the concerned State Departments, Local bodies, NGOs, Universities, Museums, Local communities etc.
    • Help in developing synergy between institutions Archaeological Survey of India, State Departments, concerned Institutions and NGOs to generate close interaction. Publication and Research.

    Concerns 

    • A Parliamentary Standing Committee has expressed dismay at the slow pace of documentation of antiquities noting that this was critical in proving ownership and reclaiming stolen heritage items. 

    Way Ahead 

    • A big chunk of movable heritage is unprotected and scattered all over the country without any vigilance and protection. 
    • Therefore, the documentation of all such antiquities in the form of digitized records along with maintenance and periodic auditing of inventory is the first step to ensure the safeguarding of India’s tangible cultural heritage.

    Do you know ?

    • Indian heritage items and cultural repositories which are scattered all over the country come under the purview of various agencies. 
      • Some are protected by ASI, some are under the state government and some are under trusts, local authorities and private ownership.
    • Recently ,the United States handed over 105 trafficked antiquities to India. 
      • India and the US are to work on a Cultural Property Agreement too. That would help prevent trafficking of cultural artefacts in future, a

    Source:TH

    13th Amendment

    Syllabus: GS2/ International Relation

    In News

    • Even after repeated requests from India to meet Tamil aspirations by implementing the 13th Amendment, Sri Lanka’s ruling party rejected the prospect, contending that the President of Sri Lanka had no mandate for it.

    About 13th Amendment

    • It is an outcome of the Indo-Lanka Accord of July 1987, signed by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President J.R. Jayawardene, in an attempt to resolve Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict.
    • It provided for setting up provincial governments across the country and made Tamil, too, an official language, and English, a link language.
    • It also sought to address the Tamils’ right to self-determination. Under this, the Sri Lankan government had committed to a power-sharing arrangement to enable all nine provinces in the country, including Sinhala majority areas, the right to self-govern.

    Why is it contentious?

    • Baggage from civil war years:  It was opposed vociferously by both Sinhala nationalist parties and the LTTE. The former thought it was too much power to share, while the Tigers deemed it too little. 
    • A large section of the Sinhala polity saw the Accord and the consequent legislation as an imprint of Indian intervention, an imposition by a neighbour wielding hegemonic influence.
    • The Tamil polity, especially its dominant nationalist strain, does not find the 13th Amendment sufficient in its ambit or substance. 
    • However, some including the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) — which chiefly represented the Tamils of the north and east in Parliament in the post-war era until its setback in the recent polls — see it as an important starting point, something to build upon.

    India’s Stance 

    • India has always supported both political and economic stability in the island nation.
    • India called upon Sri Lanka to take the necessary steps to address the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil community, including the implementation of the 13th Amendment to ensure that the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all its citizens are fully protected.
    • India considers the full implementation of the 13th Amendment in Sri Lanka “critical” for achieving reconciliation with the minority Tamil community.

    Source: TH

    Facts In News

    Cantonments

    Syllabus: GS2/ Indian Polity

    In News

    • In order to bring uniformity in municipal laws, civil areas of certain cantonments will be merged with neighbouring State municipalities, the Defence Ministry informed Parliament recently .

    About Cantonment Board

    • In terms of Entry 3 of Union List (Schedule VII) of the Constitution of India, Urban Self Governance of the Cantonments and the Housing Accommodation therein is the subject matter of the Union of India. 
    • There are 61 Cantonments in the country which have been notified under the Cantonments Act, 1924 (succeeded by the Cantonments Act, 2006) and come under the Ministry of Defence.
    • The overall municipal administration of the notified Cantonments is the function of the Cantonment Boards which are democratic bodies. 
    • The Station Commander of the Cantonment is the ex-officio President of the Board and an officer of the IDES or Defence Estates Organisation is the Chief Executive Officer who is also the Member-Secretary of the Board. 
    • The Board has equal representation of the elected and nominated/ex-officio members to balance the official representation with the democratic composition. 
    • Cantonment areas are primarily meant to accommodate the military population and their installations. 
    • Cantonments are different from the Military Stations. Military Stations are purely meant for the use and accommodation of the armed forces and these are established under an executive order whereas the Cantonments are areas which comprise both military and civil population.
    • There are four categories of Cantonments which depend on the size of population: Category I (>50,000), Category II (10,000-50,000), Category III (2,500-10,000), and Category IV (<2,500).         
    • DGDE (Directorate General, Defence Estates) is an Inter Services Organisation of the Ministry of Defence which directly controls the Cantonment Administration. 

    Source: PIB

    Inclusion of “Mahara” and “Mahra” Communities in the Schedule Caste List

    Syllabus: GS3/ Indian Economy

    News

    • The Union Social Justice Ministry recently introduced the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023 to add two synonyms for the Mahar community(“Mahara” and “Mahra”) in Chhattisgarh to the State’s Scheduled Castes list.

    The Criteria for inclusion:-

    • Extreme social, educational and economic backwardness arising out of traditional practice of untouchability. 

    Procedure followed for inclusion 

    • Scheduled Castes(SCs) are specified under the provisions of Articles 341 of the Constitution of India.

    (1) The President may with respect to any State or Union territory, and where it is a State after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, specify the castes, races or tribes or parts of or groups within castes, races or tribes which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Castes in relation to that State or Union territory, as the case may be.

    (2) Parliament may by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Castes specified in a notification issued under clause (1) any caste, race or tribe or part of or group within any caste, race or tribe, but save as aforesaid a notification issued under the said clause shall not be varied by any subsequent notification. 

    • Further, the Government has laid down Modalities which envisage that only such proposals of the concerned State Governments/ UTs, which have been agreed to by the Registrar General of India (RGI) and National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), are processed in accordance with provisions of clause (2) of Articles 341. 
    • As any amendment in the list of Scheduled Castes can be made only by an Act of Parliament, in view of clause (2) of Article 341 of Constitution of India, no time frame can be assigned in the matter.

    Source: TH

    Fluorochemical Production

    Syllabus :GS 3/Science and Technology

    In News

    • Scientists from the University of Oxford have come up with a new way to obtain fluorine atoms in a much safer and less energy-intensive way.

    About Fluorine 

    • Fluorine atoms  used to manufacture important chemical compounds used in industry and research. 
    • Fluorine is a highly reactive element used to make fluorochemicals, which in turn are used to produce plastics, agrochemicals, lithium-ion batteries, and drugs. 
    • Source and Process :Fluorine comes from a calcium salt called calcium fluoride, or fluorspar.
      • Fluorspar is mined and then treated with sulphuric acid at a high temperature to release hydrogen fluoride (HF). 
        • HF is then made to react with other compounds to create fluorochemicals.
    • Major downside : HF is an extremely poisonous and corrosive liquid that irritates the eyes and respiratory tract even at low concentrations. 
      • It also requires special transportation and storage. Despite stringent safety regulations, HF spills have occurred numerous times in the last decades, sometimes with fatal accidents and detrimental environmental effects.
    • Relevance of recent breakthroughs :  To avoid HF and to make the extraction process require less energy, the researchers took inspiration from how the human body makes bones and teeth: through calcium phosphate bio-mineralisation. 
      • They ground fluorspar in a ball-mill with potassium phosphate. 
      • While fluorine is very reactive, calcium atoms prefer phosphorus even more, so the milling created calcium phosphate and another compound with fluorine atoms. They called the latter Fluoromix.
      • When Fluoromix was reacted with organic compounds, it could create around 50 fluorochemicals with up to 98% yield.
      • Aside from sidestepping the creation of HF, the new process also shortens the fluorochemicals supply chain.
    • Future steps of the research group : Include producing Fluoro mix at a larger scale and to figure out how its cost will scale. 
      • Two members of the group also co-founded a start-up called Fluorok in 2022 to focus on “cleaner, safer and less expensive access to fluorochemicals”.

    Source:TH

    Interest Rate for PF Deposits

    Syllabus:GS3/Economy

    In News

    The government has approved an interest rate of 8.15 percent on deposits under the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) scheme for the financial year 2022-23. 

    About 

    • EPF is a welfare scheme brought into force to secure a better future for employees. 
    • It is a statutory benefit available to the employees post retirement or when they leave the services. 
    • In case of deceased employees, their dependents will be entitled for the benefits. 
    • Under the EPF Scheme both employers and employees have to make their contributions towards the Fund. 
    • Interest earned on the amount is credited to the member’s Provident Fund Account (PF account) and is available to the employee at the time of retirement or exit from employment as the case may be, provided certain conditions are fulfilled.

    Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)

    • It is a statutory body came into existence with the promulgation of the Employees’ Provident Funds Ordinance in 1951.
    • It promotes employees to save funds for retirement. The organisation is governed by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.
    • The Act and Schemes framed there under are administered by a tripartite Board known as the Central Board of Trustees.
    • The Board operates three schemes – EPF Scheme 1952, Pension Scheme 1995 (EPS) and Insurance Scheme 1976 (EDLI).

    Source: TH

    Meri Maati, Mera Desh campaign

    Syllabus:GS2/Governance

    In News

    The Union government has launched the Meri Maati, Mera Desh campaign.

    About

    • It is envisaged as a culminating event of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebration. 
    • Under the campaign, soil collected from different parts of the country will be used to develop a garden along the Kartavya Path in Delhi.
    • Events have been planned at the panchayat, village, block, urban local body, and State and national levels, respectively. 
    • The five-point agenda includes the installation of a shilaphalakam (memorial plaque), bearing the names of those who have made the supreme sacrifice. 
      • For this purpose, veers (bravehearts) include freedom fighters, defence personnel, CAPF personnel, and State Police .

    Source: TH

    Zero FIR

    Syllabus:GS2/Polity

    News

    • Recently, Zero FIR was in news due to sexual violence in Manipur.

    What is an FIR?

    • First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is a report of information that reaches the police first at that point of time and that is why it is called the First Information Report. 
    • It is generally a complaint lodged with the police by the victim of a cognizable offence or by someone on his/her behalf. Anyone can report the commission of a cognizable offence either orally or in writing to the police. Even a telephonic message can be treated as an FIR.
    • Section 154 of the  Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, deals with the FIR. However the term is not defined in the act.

    What is Zero FIR?

    • When a police station receives a complaint regarding an alleged offense that has been committed in the jurisdiction of another police station, it registers an FIR and then transfers it to the relevant police station for further investigation.This is called a Zero FIR.
    • No regular FIR number is given and after receiving the Zero FIR, the relevant police station registers a fresh FIR and starts the investigation.
    • Purpose:The provision is meant to provide speedy redressal to the victim so that timely action can be taken after the filing of the FIR.

    When was the provision of Zero FIR established?

    • The provision of Zero FIR came up after the recommendation in the report of the Justice Verma Committee, constituted after the 2012 Nirbhaya case.
    • The committee was set up to suggest amendments to the Criminal Law in a bid to provide for faster trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women.

    Source:IE

    Greenfield Airport

    Syllabus:GS3/Economy and Infrastructure

    News

    • The Prime Minister will inaugurate Gujarat’s first Greenfield Airport at Hirasar near Rajkot.

    What is a Greenfield project?

    • Greenfield projects are those that are initiated from scratch on undeveloped ground. They do not include the renovation or demolition of an existing building.
    • The classification takes into account specific environmental characteristics as well as planning, commissioning, and construction processes from scratch.
    • Government of India has accorded ‘In-Principle’ approval for setting up of 21 new Greenfield Airports. Out of these, 11 Greenfield airports have been operationalised.(Till July 2023)

    Source:AIR

    Film Certification in India

    Syllabus:GS2/Governance

    News

    • Union Information & Broadcasting Minister has raised concerns to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) over their nod to the Hollywood film Oppenheimer.

    What is the CBFC?

    • CBFC is a statutory body tasked with regulating the public exhibition of films under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952. Films can be shown in India only after they have been certified by the Board.
    • Parent Ministry: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B).
    • Headquarters:Mumbai
    • Governance:The Board consists of Board members and a Chairperson (all of whom are appointed by the Central Government).The CEO, under the chairperson, is in charge of the administrative functioning.
    • Regional Offices:CBFC has nine regional offices(ROs).In the examination of films, the ROs are assisted by Advisory Panels that can have multiple members. 
      • These members of the Advisory panel are nominated by the Central Government for two years.
      • While the board members are usually film and TV professionals, members of the advisory panel are often from outside the industry.

    Process of film certification 

    • After receiving all of the film’s materials, requisite fees and other matters required under the rules, the regional officer forms an Examining Committee to view the film. 
    • After the film has been previewed, the CBFC has to ensure that each member gives a report in writing about his/her  recommendations about the modifications and the classification recommended to the film. 
    • The Certification process is in accordance with The Cinematograph Act, 1952, The Cinematograph (certification) Rules, 1983, and the guidelines issued by the Central government under section 5 (B) of The Cinematograph Act, 1952.
    • Section 5(B) states that “a film shall not be certified if any part of it is against the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or involves defamation or contempt of court or is likely to incite commission of any offence”.
    • The report is then given to the Chairperson who will ask the regional officer to initiate further procedures.

    Certificates that can be issued to Indian films

    • Certification is decided by the Regional Officer based on reports by Examining Committee members in unanimity or majority. In case of a divided opinion, the case rests with the chairperson.
    • These certifications include unrestricted public exhibition (U),parental guidance for children below age 12 (U/A), adult (A), or viewing by specialized groups (S).
    •  If the applicant is unhappy with the certification or the list of changes, he or she can apply to the Revising Committee.The Committee cannot have any of the members who were on the earlier committee; and it also has to have a Board member (or more) on it, mandatorily.
    • If there is still contention the last point of appeal is the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, an independent body.

    Source:IE