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Current Affairs 28 July 2023

CONTENTS

  1. Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023
  2. Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Industry Coalition
  3. Flash floods
  4. Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021
  5. Ethical aspects of Controlled Human Infection Studies
  6. UK-India Young Professionals Scheme
  7. Conjunctivitis

Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023


Context:

The Rajya Sabha passed the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023 that introduces stringent anti-piracy provisions, expanding the scope of the law from censorship to also cover copyright. 

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023
  2. Significance of the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023
  3. Concerns Regarding the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023

The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023

Amendment Purpose and Authority:

  • The Bill seeks to amend the Cinematograph Act 1952, which gives the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) the authority to approve films for exhibition in cinemas and television, including requiring cuts if necessary, or rejecting the exhibition of a film.

Introduction of Additional Certificate Categories:

  • The Bill introduces new certificate categories based on age-appropriateness in line with the Shyam Benegal committee (2017) recommendations.
  • Under the Act, film may be certified for exhibition:
    • without restriction (‘U’),
    • without restriction, but subject to guidance of parents or guardians for children below 12 years of age (‘UA’),
    • only to adults (‘A’), or
    • only to members of any profession or class of persons (‘S’).
  • The UA (Unrestricted Public Exhibition-Adult Guidance) category is replaced with three age-specific categories: UA 7+, UA 13+, and UA 16+.

Separate Certificates for Television and Media Exhibition:

  • Films with ‘A’ or ‘S’ certificates (restricted to specific professions/classes) will require a separate certificate for exhibition on television or any other media as prescribed by the central government.
  • The Board may instruct applicants to make necessary changes for the separate certificate.

Combatting Film Piracy:

  • The Bill prohibits unauthorized recording and exhibition of films to address film piracy.
  • Offences related to piracy will be punishable with imprisonment between 3 months and 3 years, along with a fine ranging from 3 lakh rupees to 5% of the audited gross production cost.
  • Certain exemptions under the Copyright Act 1957 will apply to these piracy offences.

Perpetual Validity of Certificates:

  • While current certificates are valid for 10 years, the Bill proposes perpetual validity for film certificates.
  • Removal of Central Government’s Revisional Powers:
  • The central government’s power to examine and make orders regarding certified films or those pending certification is removed.
  • The Board will be solely responsible for disposing of matters based on its certification decisions.

Significance of the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023:

  • Modernization of Certification Process: The proposed amendments will update and streamline the film certification process, making it more effective and relevant to current times.
  • Combatting Film Piracy: By addressing film piracy through strict penalties and provisions, the bill aims to significantly reduce the illegal distribution of films. This will contribute to the growth of the film industry and create more job opportunities within the sector.

Concerns Regarding the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023:

  • Exclusion of OTT Platform Content: The bill does not explicitly cover content on Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms, leaving a potential gap in regulating films and shows available on digital streaming services. There might be concerns regarding the release of uncensored films on OTT platforms.
  • Age-Based Categories Reliance on Self-Regulation: The introduction of age-based categories places the responsibility on society, particularly parents and guardians, to determine whether the content is suitable for specific age groups. Critics might question the effectiveness of self-regulation in protecting young audiences from inappropriate content.

-Source: The Hindu


Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Industry Coalition


Context:

The Union Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change launched the Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Industry Coalition (RECEIC). As part of this, 39 multinational corporations (MNCs) from various sectors came together to pledge to adopt resource efficiency and circular economy principles. 

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Industry Coalition (RECEIC)
  2. Circular Economy: A Sustainable Model of Production and Consumption

Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Industry Coalition (RECEIC)

  • Conceptualization and Purpose: The RECEIC was conceptualized under India’s G20 Presidency and is designed to be an industry-driven and self-sustaining initiative that continues its operation even beyond India’s G20 Presidency.
  • Mission and Objectives: The coalition’s mission is to facilitate and encourage collaboration among companies, enhance advanced capabilities across sectors and value chains, leverage diverse global experiences of coalition members, promote on-ground private sector actions to improve resource efficiency, and accelerate the transition towards a circular economy.
  • Three Guiding Pillars: The coalition’s structure is built around three guiding pillars:
    • Partnerships for Impact: Fostering greater company-to-company collaboration to achieve tangible and positive outcomes.
    • Technology Cooperation: Promoting the sharing of technological advancements and knowledge across industries to drive resource efficiency.
    • Finance for Scale: Mobilizing financial resources to support and scale circular economy initiatives.
  • Global Contribution: RECEIC aims to contribute to the achievement of key global goals and priorities set by the G20 and other international forums. By focusing on resource efficiency and circular economy principles, the coalition seeks to align its efforts with broader global agendas for sustainability and economic progress.

Circular Economy: A Sustainable Model of Production and Consumption

The circular economy is a production and consumption model that aims to minimize waste and maximize resource efficiency. It involves various practices, such as sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products throughout their life cycle. The key characteristics of the circular economy model are:

  • Extending Product Life Cycle: By promoting sharing, reusing, and recycling, the circular economy model extends the life cycle of products, reducing waste and minimizing environmental impact.
  • Recycling for Resource Retention: When products reach the end of their life, materials are kept within the economy through recycling, ensuring that valuable resources are used productively again and again.
Benefits of the Circular Economy Model:
  • Environmental Impact: Reusing and recycling products reduce the consumption of natural resources, decrease landscape and habitat disruption, and help limit biodiversity loss. The circular economy contributes to lower greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change mitigation.
  • Resource Security: Recycling raw materials mitigates risks associated with resource supply, such as price volatility, availability, and import dependency. This becomes especially crucial as the world’s population grows and demands for raw materials increase.
  • Economic Growth and Competitiveness: Transitioning to a circular economy can stimulate innovation, increase competitiveness, and lead to economic growth. Redesigning materials and products for circular use fosters innovation across different sectors.
  • Improved Quality of Life: Consumers benefit from durable and innovative products that save money in the long run. A circular economy offers more reliable and long-lasting products, enhancing the overall quality of life.
Circular Economy Opportunities for India:
  • Growth Potential: As India is expected to become the world’s third-largest economy by 2030, the circular economy presents vast opportunities for sustainable growth and economic development.
  • Environmental Resilience: Adopting circular economy practices can help India build a sustainable and resilient framework, benefiting both the economy and the environment.

-Source: The Hindu


Flash Floods


Context:

The 2023 Monsoon rain in Himachal Pradesh has brought severe Flash Floods in many regions causing unprecedented loss of lives and assets.

Relevance:

GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Flash Floods: Sudden and Destructive Water Events
  2. Differences Between Flash Floods and General Floods

Flash Floods: Sudden and Destructive Water Events

  • Flash floods are rapid and unexpected floods that occur within a short time, usually hours, following heavy rainfall or intense water accumulation events.
  • The National Weather Service in the United States defines flash floods as floods caused by rainfall within a duration of less than 6 hours.
  • They are characterized by a swift rise in water levels in rivers, streams, or urban areas, often catching people off guard.
Causes:
  • Heavy rainfall is the primary cause of flash floods, but they can also result from dam or levee failures, ice or debris jams, or sudden release of water from natural reservoirs.
  • In India, flash floods are often associated with cloudbursts, which are sudden and intense rainfall episodes.
Factors Contributing to Flash Floods:
  • Intensity and duration of rainfall, steepness of terrain, soil conditions, and the presence of man-made structures affecting water flow can contribute to flash floods.
Features:
  • Flash floods are characterized by their powerful force and velocity, carrying large volumes of water, debris, and sediment.
  • Drainage systems can become overwhelmed, rivers may overflow their banks, and low-lying areas can be inundated.
  • Flash flooding is more common in narrow and steep river systems, as the water flows rapidly.
  • Urban areas located near small rivers are susceptible to flash floods due to the inability of hard surfaces to absorb water.

Differences Between Flash Floods and General Floods:

Flash Floods:
  • Rapid onset, occurring within a short span of time (hours or minutes).
  • Short-lived events that subside quickly after the intense rainfall or water accumulation ends.
  • High intensity with a sudden surge of water, resulting in significant destruction.
  • Little to no warning time, happening rapidly and often catching people off guard.
  • Localized events, usually occurring in specific areas where intense rainfall or other factors lead to rapid water accumulation.
General Floods:
  • Develop gradually over a longer period (days or weeks) due to sustained rainfall or melting snow.
  • Longer duration, lasting for days, weeks, or even months.
  • Lower peak intensity compared to flash floods due to the slower rise in water levels.
  • More advance warning, allowing for evacuation plans and emergency measures to be implemented.
  • Can cover larger areas, including river basins, coastal regions, or expansive low-lying areas.

-Source: The Hindu


Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021


Context:

Recently, the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 has been passed in the Lok Sabha.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of Environment and Ecology)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021
  2. The need for amending Biodiversity Act 2002
  3. Concerns with the Biological Diversity Amendment Bill 2021

Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021

  • The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill 2021 seeks to amend the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 in order to fulfil India’s obligations under the Convention of Biological Diversity and Nagoya Protocol.
  • The Bill seeks to reduce the pressure on wild medicinal plants by encouraging the cultivation of medicinal plants.
  • The Bill proposes to exempt AYUSH practitioners from intimating biodiversity boards for accessing biological resources or knowledge.
  • The Bill also facilitates fast-tracking of research, simplify the patent application process, decriminalises certain offences.
  • The Bill brings more foreign investments in biological resources, research, patent and commercial utilisation, without compromising the national interest.
  • The bill focuses on regulating who can access biological resources and knowledge and how access will be monitored.
  • The Bill has also clarified and strengthened the role of state biodiversity boards.
  • In the direction of Decriminalization, Violations of the law related to access to biological resources and benefit-sharing with communities, which are currently treated as criminal offences and are non-bailable, have been proposed to be made civil offences.

The need for amending Biodiversity Act 2002

  • People from AYUSH medicine urged the government to simplify, streamline and reduce the compliance burden to provide for a conducive environment for collaborative research and investments.
  • They also sought to simplify the patent application process, widen the scope of access and benefit-sharing with local communities.
  • Ayush companies have been seeking relaxation of the benefit-sharing provisions.
  • Case study: Divya Pharmacy founded by Swami Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna in Uttarakhand. The Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) sent a notice to Divya Pharmacy in 2016 stating that the company was in violation of the Biodiversity Act for using biological resources from the state for its ayurvedic formulations, without intimating the board and that it was liable to pay an access and benefit-sharing fee.
    • The company filed a writ petition in the Uttarakhand high court challenging the powers of the biodiversity board to determine benefit-sharing by Indian companies.
    • The court in 2018 upheld the powers of the biodiversity board in its judgement.
    • Under the Biodiversity Act 2002, national and state biodiversity boards are required to consult the biodiversity management committees while taking any decision relating to the use of biological resources.

Concerns with the Biological Diversity Amendment Bill 2021

  • Experts criticized the law for prioritizing intellectual property and commerce over the Act’s primary goal of safeguarding biological resources.
  • The bill imposed a heavy “compliance burden” and made it difficult to conduct collaborative research and investments, as well as to simplify patent application processes.
  • According to the bill’s text, it also wants to “extend the scope of levying access and benefit sharing with local populations, as well as for greater conservation of biological resources.”
  • The Bill intends to exclude registered AYUSH medical practitioners and those who have access to codified traditional knowledge, among others, from notifying State biodiversity boards before utilizing biological resources for specific reasons.
  • The bill would “reverse all of the recent attempts to implement the Biological Diversity Act.”
  • There was not a single “suggested amendment provision to safeguard, conserve, or strengthen the stake of local communities in the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity.”
  • The modifications will allow “biopiracy” and eliminate the necessity for AYUSH manufacturing enterprises to get permits.

-Source: The Hindu


Ethical Aspects of Controlled Human Infection Studies


Context:

The Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) Bioethics Unit has drafted a consensus policy statement addressing the ethical aspects of Controlled Human Infection Studies (CHIS), opening the door for its potential implementation in India.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Controlled Human Infection Studies (CHIS) and Ethical Concerns
  2. Ethical Challenges in Controlled Human Infection Studies (CHIS)
  3. The Way Forward in Addressing Ethical Concerns

Controlled Human Infection Studies (CHIS) and Ethical Concerns

  • CHIS is a research model that deliberately exposes healthy volunteers to pathogens in controlled settings.
  • This research approach has been employed in various countries to study diseases like malaria, typhoid, and dengue.
Benefits of Implementing CHIS Recognized by ICMR
  • Deeper Disease Understanding: CHIS offers unique insights into the development and progression of infectious diseases, contributing to a more profound understanding of these conditions.
  • Accelerated Treatment and Vaccine Development: Researchers can study disease progression more rapidly using CHIS, which can expedite the development of new treatments and vaccines.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: CHIS requires smaller sample sizes compared to large clinical trials, making it a more cost-effective research model.
  • Informing Public Health Responses: Findings from CHIS can be instrumental in shaping public health responses, healthcare decision-making, and policy development.
  • Preparedness for Future Pandemics: Understanding disease dynamics through CHIS can enhance preparedness for handling potential future pandemics effectively.
  • Community Empowerment: Involving communities in CHIS research can empower them to take ownership of their health and actively participate in healthcare initiatives.

Ethical Challenges in Controlled Human Infection Studies (CHIS)

  • Potential Harm to Participants: Exposing healthy volunteers to pathogens raises concerns about possible harm to their health and well-being.
  • Compensation Complexity: Determining appropriate compensation for CHIS participants is challenging, as offering too much or too little compensation can pose ethical dilemmas.
  • Informed Consent Concerns: Ensuring informed consent becomes a challenge when compensation incentives might unduly influence a participant’s decision or when vulnerable individuals may be exploited.
  • Risk of Disease Transmission: There is a concern about the potential transmission of the pathogen to third parties beyond the research participants.
  • Representation of Marginalized Communities: CHIS may disproportionately involve participants from low-income or marginalized communities, raising issues of fairness and equity.

The Way Forward in Addressing Ethical Concerns

  • Establish Independent Ethics Committee: The first step is to create an independent ethics committee comprising experts in medical ethics, infectious diseases, and legal representatives. Their role is to thoroughly evaluate CHIS protocols and safeguard participant safety and rights.
  • Informed and Voluntary Participation: Full disclosure of risks and benefits is essential, ensuring that volunteers are fully informed about the potential consequences of participating in CHIS. Participants must provide voluntary informed consent and retain the right to withdraw from the study at any time without facing any penalties.
  • Minimizing Participant Risk: Robust measures should be in place to minimize the risk to participants. This includes close medical monitoring during the trial and providing access to appropriate medical care and treatment if any participant falls ill during the study.

-Source: The Hindu


UK-India Young Professionals Scheme


Context:

The British Government recently announced the opening of the second ballot of the Young Professional Scheme for Indian citizens.

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. India-UK Young Professionals Scheme
  2. Features of the India Young Professionals Scheme Visa
  3. Conditions for Visa Holders in the UK:

India-UK Young Professionals Scheme

  • Conceived from India-U.K. Migration and Mobility MoU: The scheme was initiated as part of the India-U.K. Migration and Mobility Memorandum of Understanding signed in May 2021. The announcement took place in November during the G20 summit in Bali.
  • Formal Launch in February 2023: The India-UK Young Professionals Scheme was formally launched in February 2023.
  • Two-year Work and Residence Opportunity: Under this scheme, up to 3,000 degree-holding citizens aged between 18 and 30 from each country can live and work in each other’s countries for two years.
  • India Becomes First Visa-National Country Benefiting from the Scheme: India is the first visa-national country to benefit from this reciprocal visa program.

Features of the India Young Professionals Scheme Visa:

  • Eligibility Criteria: Indian citizens between 18 and 30 years old with a bachelor’s degree or above and £2,530 in savings are eligible to apply.
  • Visa Ballot and Application Process: Applicants must be selected in the India Young Professionals Scheme ballot before they can apply for the visa.
  • Flexibility in Travel: Visa holders can enter the UK at any time while their visa is valid and are allowed to leave and return to the UK during their stay.

Conditions for Visa Holders in the UK:

  • Study and Work Opportunities: Visa holders can study, work in most jobs, and be self-employed (with certain conditions) during their stay in the UK.
  • Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Requirement: For sensitive degree programs like post-graduation or research, applicants need an additional certificate under the Academic Technology Approval Scheme before starting their course or research.
  • Limitation on Financial Responsibility: Applicants must not have any children under 18 living with them or be financially supporting such dependents.
  • Entry within Six Months of Visa Issuance: If issued a visa, applicants must enter the UK within six months from the date of visa issuance.
  • Self-employment Restrictions: While self-employed, certain restrictions apply, including the requirement that premises must be rented, equipment should not exceed £5,000 in value, and there should be no employees.

-Source: Indian Express


Conjunctivitis


Context:

Amid heavy rainfall in Delhi and nearby areas over the past few weeks, multiple cases of conjunctivitis are being reported in the National Capital Region.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as Pink Eye, is an infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva, the transparent membrane that covers the eyelid and eyeball.

  • Pink Appearance: Swollen and irritated blood vessels in the conjunctiva make the eyes’ whites appear reddish or pink.
  • Causative Agents: Conjunctivitis can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or allergies. Bacterial and viral types are highly contagious, while allergic conjunctivitis is not.
  • Transmission: It spreads through direct or indirect contact. Direct transmission occurs through droplets from coughs or sneezes of infected individuals or hand-to-eye contact. Indirect transmission happens via shared personal items like towels, makeup, pillows, or contact lenses.
  • Signs and Symptoms: Common signs include redness, swelling, and itching in the eyes. The eyes may also become watery during the early stages.
  • Treatment: Treatment involves a combination of medicines. Artificial tears or lubricating eye drops help maintain moisture. Warm or cold compresses provide relief from inflammation and swelling. Proper care can alleviate discomfort and aid recovery.

-Source: Indian Express


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