Current Affairs 6th February

Regulatory code for OTT content soon #GS3 #SnT

Twenty-one MPs cutting across party lines have sought an answer from the government about the content on over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, asking whether the Centre was aware that such platforms were full of content with “sex, violence, abuse, vulgarity and disrespect to religious sentiments”.

Ministry would soon come up with a regulatory code on the content on these platforms. The guidelines are expected to be made public in a week’s time.

The Ministry in its reply on Friday said there are currently 40 OTT platforms operating in India. The government, as a first step towards regulation, amended the “allocation of Business Rules” in November last year, bringing all online platforms under the mandate of the I&B Ministry.

The Government has received several grievances/complaints regarding content of programmes on OTT platforms.

Self regulation

The Ministry said they had several rounds of consultations with the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) impressing upon them the need for an appropriate self-regulatory mechanism for content over OTT platforms.

In August 2020, the IAMAI had informed the Ministry that a self-regulatory mechanism had been developed for the OTT platforms. On examination it was felt that the mechanism proposed by IAMAI did not give adequate cognizance to content prohibited under law and there were issues of conflict of interest, which were communicated to IAMAI in September, 2020.

Benefit of the news– About regulation of the OTT platform.

Aero components sector to double to Rs. 60,000 cr. by 2024 #GS3 #Defence

The aero components sector in the country is set to double from Rs. 30,000 crore today to Rs. 60,000 crore by 2024. On the last day of Aero India here, Mr. Singh said the government’s endeavour to bring down defence imports by at least $2 billion by 2022 would remain.

“We have signed 128 Memorandums of Understanding (MoU), 19 Transfer of Technology (ToT), four handing overs, 18 product launches and 32 major announcements, totalling a grand figure of 201 feats. Further, of the 45 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) participating in Aero India, 21 have bagged orders worth Rs. 203 crore. This is a major achievement. Talking of domestic defence manufacturing, Mr. Singh said that between 2016 and 2019, 138 proposals worth over $37 billion for domestic manufacturing had been approved.

India has a great potential to emerge as a global and regional Maintainance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) hub, given the cost competitiveness of its manpower resources, the availability of abundant, specialist capabilities and geographical advantages.

The aerospace sector has an important role to play, if we have to reach our targets of domestic defence production of $25 billion and exports of $5 billion by 2025.

Benefit of the news– Aero Industry growth

Registered unrecognised parties double in last 10 years #GS2 #Governance

The contribution reports of only 78 (3.39%) of the total 2,301 registered unrecognised political parties are available in the public domain for 2018-19, while the reports of only 82 such parties (3.56%) for 2017-18 are uploaded on the respective State Chief Electoral Officers’ websites, according to the Association For Democratic Reforms (ADR).

The number of these parties increased two-fold in the last 10 years, from 1,112 in 2010 to 2,301 in 2019. The figure spiked disproportionately during the year of parliamentary election. “Between 2018 and 2019, it increased by over 9.8%, while between 2013 and 2014, it increased by 18%,” said an ADR report.

There are 2,360 political parties registered with the Election Commission of India and 2,301 or 97.50% of them are unrecognised.

“Either newly registered parties or those which have not secured enough percentage of votes in Assembly or General Elections to become a State party or those which have never contested in elections since being registered are considered unrecognised parties,” it said. Such parties don’t enjoy all the benefits extended to the recognised parties.

The reports analysed by the ADR declared 6,860 donations worth Rs. 65.45 crore during 2018-19 and 6,138 donations of Rs. 24.6 crore for 2017-18. The Apna Desh Party of Uttar Pradesh declared the highest donations for both financial years, involving Rs. 65.63 crore.

In 2017-18, only 39 registered such parties had submitted contribution reports before the due date and in 2018-19, only 38 did so.

Of the 138 parties analysed for the two-year period, the contribution reports for 2017- 18 are not available for 56 parties. In the case of 2018-19, the reports are not available on the CEO website for 60 parties at the time of making this report

State-wise, 653 parties or 28.38% belong to Uttar Pradesh, followed by 291 parties or 12.65% from Delhi and 184 or 8% from Tamil Nadu. Himachal Pradesh had the maximum share of submission in 2017-18, with five of the 6 registered unrecognised parties furnishing the contribution reports.

In 2018-19, of the 132 parties from Bihar, reports of only 21, and that of only 20 of the 653 parties of Uttar Pradesh are available.

“The contribution reports of none of the registered unrecognised political parties of 25 States/UTs including Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh etc. are available on the respective State CEO websites for 2018-19… for 2017-18, contribution reports of parties of 21 states/UTs are not available,” said the ADR, terming it a violation of the ECI guidelines.

Benefit of the news-Data about unrecognised parties across India

RBI reiterates growth-supportive stance #GS3 #Economy

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it would retain an accommodative policy stance into the next financial year to help revive growth on a durable basis even as it held interest rates and vowed to ensure inflation remains within target.

The RBI also lowered its projection for retail inflation for the current quarter and announced that it would gradually restore the Cash Reserve Ratio — which had been cut to address the pandemic’s fallout — to 4% in two phases by May 22 as part of a ‘normalisation process’.

Core a concern

After breaching the RBI’s upper tolerance threshold of 6% for six consecutive months through November, CPI inflation had eased to 4.6% in December, helped by an appreciable softening in vegetable prices and a base effect. Core inflation, excluding food and fuel, however, remained elevated at 5.5% in December with only a marginal moderation from a month earlier.

The RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) noted in its statement that the RBI’s January survey showed households’ one-year ahead inflation expectations remained unchanged.

“With the larger than anticipated deflation in vegetable prices in December bringing down headline closer to the target, it is likely that the food inflation trajectory will shape the near-term outlook

Sees Q4 inflation at 5.2%

Taking into consideration various factors including risks from increases in industrial raw material prices, the MPC revised its projections for CPI inflation: for the ongoing fourth-quarter to 5.2% (from 5.8% projected in December), that for the first half of 2021-22 to 5.2% to 5.0 % (from 5.2% to 4.6%) and estimated it to ease to an average 4.3% in the third quarter, with risks broadly balanced.

The MPC also estimated real GDP growth at 10.5% in 2021-22, slightly lower than the 11% projected in the Economic Survey and the International Monetary Fund’s forecast of 11.5%.

Stating that growth was recovering, and that the outlook had improved significantly with the roll-out of the vaccine programme in the country, the MPC cautioned that the recovery was, however, still to gather firm traction, making it crucial to persist with policy support. The rate-setting panel voted unanimously to hold rates.

Going forward, the Indian economy is poised to move in only one direction and that is upwards. It is our strong conviction, backed by forecasts, that in 2021-22, we would undo the damage that COVID-19 has inflicted on the economy.

Benefit of the news-RBI MPC Meet review

‘PSUs playing a role in farm sector will be not be sold #GS3 #Economy

Public sector firms engaged in activities allied to the farm sector, such as provision of seeds to farmers, or procurement and distribution of food for the public distribution system, will not be up for sale under the new disinvestment policy announced in the Budget.

While the policy has specified four strategic sectors where ‘bare minimum’ public sector presence will be retained as per Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget speech, an annexure to the policy has listed out types of public sector entities that will remain outside its ambit.

NITI Aayog would be in charge of recommending the firms in strategic sectors that should be retained, considered for privatisation or merger or ‘subsidiarisation’ with another public sector firm, or simply closed.

“DIPAM shall move proposal for obtaining ‘in-principle’ from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for strategic disinvestment of a specific PSE from time to time, on a case-to-case-basis. The timing for specific transactions will, however, be contingent on the considerations of appropriate sequencing, sectoral trends, administrative feasibility, investors’ interests, etc.

Central public sector enterprises concerned with assisting farmers in getting access to seeds; promoting innovation in agriculture; or, procurement and distribution of food for public distribution system’ are excluded.

Benefit of the news– PSU role in farm sector

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