PIB – 24th Dec 2020

Cabinet approves Merger of Five Film Media Units through Rationalization of Infrastructure, Manpower and Other Resources

  • To fulfill the commitment to support the films sector, the Union Cabinet, has approved to merge four of its film media units, namely Films Division, Directorate of Film. Festivals, National Film Archives of India, and Children’s Film Society, India with the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) Ltd. by expanding the Memorandum of Articles of Association of NFDC, which will then carry out all the activities hitherto performed by them. 
  • The merger of Film Media Units under one corporation will lead to convergence of activities and resources and better coordination, thereby ensuring synergy and efficiency in achieving the mandate of each media unit.
  • Films Division, a subordinate office of M/o I&B, was established in 1948, primarily to produce documentaries and news magazines for publicity of Government programmes and cinematic record of Indian history.
  • Children’s Film Society, India, an autonomous organisation, was founded in 1955 under the Societies Act with the specific objective of providing children and young people value-based entertainment through the medium of films.
  • National Film Archives of India, a subordinate office of M/o I&B, was established as a media unit in 1964 with the primary objective of acquiring and preserving Indian cinematic heritage.
  • Directorate of Film Festivals, as attached office of M/o I&B was set up in 1973 to promote Indian films and cultural exchange.
  • NFDC is a Central Public Sector Undertaking, incorporated in the year 1975 with the primary object of planning and promoting an organized, efficient and integrated development of the Indian Film Industry.
  • The umbrella organization, NFDC, consequent upon the merger of Film Media Units will be uniquely placed with regard to promotion, production & preservation of filmic content – all under one management. The vision of the new entity will be to ensure balanced and focused development of Indian cinema in all its genres-feature films, including films and content for the OTT platforms, children’s content, animation, short films and documentaries.
  • The merger of Film Media Units under a single corporation will lead to synergy amongst the various activities with better and efficient utilization of misting infrastructure and manpower. This will lead to reduction in duplication of activities and direct savings to the exchequer.

Cabinet approves transformatory changes in Post Matric Scholarship for SCs

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved changes in the Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Post Matric Scholarship to students belonging to Scheduled Castes (PMS-SC)’ to benefit more than 4 Crore SC students in the next 5 years so that they can successfully complete their higher education.
  • The Cabinet has approved a total investment of Rs. 59,048 Cr of which the Central Government would spend Rs. 35,534 Cr (60%) and the balance would be spent by the State Govts. This replaces the existing ‘committed liability’ system and brings greater involvement of the Central Govt in this crucial scheme.
  • The Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for Scheduled Castes allows students to pursue any post matric course starting from class 11th and onwards, with the Govt meeting the cost of education.
  • The Central Govt is committed to give a big push and further impetus to this effort so that the GER (Higher Education) of SCs would reach up to the National standards within the 5 year period.
  • Following are the details:
  • The focus of the scheme would be on enrolling the poorest students, timely payments, comprehensive accountability, continuous monitoring and total transparency. 
  • A campaign will be launched to enroll the students, from the poorest households passing the 10th standard, in the higher education courses of their choice. 
  • The scheme will be run on an online platform with robust cyber security measures that would assure transparency, accountability, efficiency, and timely delivery of the assistance without any delays.
  • The States will undertake fool-proof verification of the eligibility, caste status, Aadhar identification and bank account details on the online portal.
  • Transfer of financial assistance to the students under the scheme shall be on DBT mode, and preferably using the Aadhar Enabled Payment System. Starting from 2021-22, the Central share (60%) in the scheme would be released on DBT mode directly into the bank accounts of the students as per fixed time schedule, after ensuring that the concerned State Government has released their share.
  • Monitoring mechanisms will be further strengthened through conduct of social audits, annual third party evaluation, and half-yearly self-audited reports from each institution. 

Successful Maiden Launch of MRSAM

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) achieved a major milestone with the maiden launch of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM), Army Version from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, off the Coast of Odisha around 1600 hrs. The missile completely destroyed a high speed unmanned aerial target which was mimicking an aircraft with a direct hit. 
  • Army version of MRSAM is a surface to Air Missile developed jointly by DRDO, India and IAI, Israel for use by the Indian Army. 
  • MRSAM Army weapon system comprises Command post, Multi-Function Radar and Mobile Launcher system. The complete Fire Unit has been used during the launch in the deliverable configuration. 

Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh take the lead in undertaking Urban Local Bodies reforms

  • Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have taken the lead in undertaking the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) reforms. The two States have successfully completed the set of reforms in functioning of ULBs, as specified by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.
  • To motivate the States to undertake reforms in various citizen centric sectors, the Ministry of Finance has linked a part of additional borrowing permission granted to the States to completion of reforms.
  • In view of the resource requirement to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India had on 17th May, 2020 enhanced the borrowing limit of the States by 2 percent of their Gross States Domestic Product (GSDP). Half of this special dispensation was linked to undertaking citizen centric reforms by the States. 
  • The States get permission to raise additional funds equivalent to 0.25 percent of GSDP on completion of reforms in each sector. 
  • The four citizen centric areas identified for reforms were 

(a) Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System, 

(b) Ease of doing business reform, 

(c) Urban Local body/ utility reforms and 

(d) Power Sector reforms.

  • On successfully undertaking the ULBs reforms, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have been granted permission to mobilise additional financial resources through open market borrowings. 
  • Reforms in the urban local bodies and the urban utilities reforms are aimed at financial strengthening of ULBs in the State and to enable them to provide better public health and sanitation services. Economically rejuvenated ULBs will also be able to create good civic infrastructure.  
  • Besides the ULBs reforms undertaken by Andhra Pradesh & Madhya Pradesh, 10 States have implemented the One Nation One Ration Card System and 6 States have implemented the ease of doing business reforms, so far.