1. Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh constituted a seven-member committee to probe the allegations of sexual harassment
A seven-member committee has been constituted by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to probe allegations of sexual harassment leveled by prominent wrestlers against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
An overview of the news
The Indian Olympic Association took the decision at its executive council meeting, which was attended by IOA president PT Usha and joint secretary Kalyan Choubey, besides sportspersons like Abhinav Bindra and Yogeshwar.
The seven-member committee constituted by the IOA includes veteran women boxer MC Mary Kom, wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, archer Dola Banerjee and Indian Weightlifting Federation president Sahdev Yadav, besides two lawyers Talish Ray and Shlok Chandra and former shuttler Alaknanda Ashok.
What is the matter ?
30 wrestlers of India along with Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik made many serious allegations against the President of the Wrestling Association, Brij Bhushan Singh.
Wrestlers have made many serious allegations against Brijbhushan like running the wrestling association in an arbitrary manner and not sending coaches with wrestlers in many competitions and threatening to protest.
Vinesh Phogat has accused Brij Bhushan of exploiting girls.
Wrestlers staged a sit-in at Delhi's Jantar Mantar for several days demanding formation of a committee to investigate the WFI president.
Urges IOA to immediately set up a committee to look into complaints of sexual harassment
Demand to dissolve WFI.
Wrestlers demand sacking of WFI president
A new committee should be constituted in consultation with the wrestlers to look after the functioning of WFI.
2. Government Formed Committee to Protect Ladakh Culture, Language & Employment
Recently a high-powered committee has been formed to discuss measures to protect Ladakh's unique culture, language & employment in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
An overview of the news
A 17 member committee has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai.
Members of the High powered committee - Ladakh Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur, MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Chairmans of Leh and Kargil Hill councils, representatives of Apex Body Leh, Kargil Democratic Alliance and nominee officials of Home ministry.
The committee will discuss the preservation of culture and language in view of the geographical location and strategic importance of Ladakh.
Apart from this, measures related to security of land and employment for people, inclusive growth, employment generation and empowerment of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils of Leh and Kargil will also be discussed.
Need for the committee
There has been increasing demand for the inclusion of Ladakh under the 6th Schedule.
Civil society groups in Ladakh have been demanding security of land, resources and employment for the last three years.
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has recommended that the Union Territory of Ladakh be included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
The main reason behind the demand is that more than 90% of Ladakh's population consists of tribals.
Communities like the Drokpa, Balti and Changpa in the Ladakh region have many distinctive cultural heritages, which need to be preserved and promoted.
Sixth Schedule of the Constitution
The Sixth Schedule under Article 244 of the Constitution protects the autonomy of tribal populations by creation of Autonomous Development Councils.
It can legislate on land, public health and agriculture.
Currently, ten autonomous councils exist in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
3. AVGC Task Force Report calls for National AVGC Mission with budgetary outlay
The Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic (AVGC) Task Force set up by the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry has submitted its report to the government. The Task force headed by Apurva Chandra, headed by the Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting was set up in April 2022.
It also included members from State Governments of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, heads of education bodies such as All India Council of Technical Education, National Council of Educational Research and Training and representatives of industry bodies - MESC(Media and Entertainment Skills Council), FICCI(Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) and CII(Confederation of Indian industries ).
The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced in the Union Budget 2022-23 the constitution of a Task force on AVGC to identify interventions to build domestic capacity for serving our markets and the global demand.
Some of the key recommendation of the Task Force
In a detailed report submitted to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Task Force has recommended certain measures. Some of the recommendations are as follows;
- Government shall launch ‘Create in India’ campaign with exclusive focus on content creation, in India, For India & for World.
- A national AVGC-XR mission to be set up for integrated promotion and growth of the AVGC sector.
- Government shall set up a National Centre of Excellence for the sector.
- The Regional Centre of Excellence shall be instituted in collaboration with the State Governments to provide access to local industries and to promote local talent and content.
- It has been recommended by the Task Force to leverage National Education Policy to develop creative thinking with dedicated AVGC course content at school levels to build foundational skills and to create awareness about AVGC as a career choice.
- It has also been recommended to establish AVGC accelerators and innovation hubs in academic institutions, on the lines of Atal Tinkering Labs.
- A dedicated production fund shall be set up for domestic content creation from the country to promote Indian culture and heritage globally.
4. CJI D Y Chandrachud constitutes a committee to conduct accessibility audit of Supreme Court premises for disabled
The Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud has set up a committee to conduct an audit of “physical and functional access” of the top court premises to make them disabled friendly.
The committee which was set up on 22 December 2022 will be headed by the Supreme Court Judge S Ravindra Bhat.
The committee will prepare a report on the accessibility audit, result of the survey of persons with disability and recommendations/proposals geared towards removing the barriers to access.
The other members of the committee include Dr Sanjay Jain, professor of National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, Shakti Mishra, librarian nominated from the apex court, V Sridhar Reddy, advocate nominated by the Supreme Court Bar Association and Nilesh Singit, independent accessibility expert nominated by the Centre for Disability Studies (NALSAR University of Law).
5. M P government set up a task force to recommend regulation of online gambling and gaming
In an order issued on 16 December 2022 the Madhya Pradesh government has constituted a high-level task force, which will make recommendations about regulating online gambling and gaming in the state after examining the technical and legal aspects.
This task force will be headed by the state chief secretary Iqbal Singh Bains.
The task force has been constituted to examine various judicial precedents, legal situations and technical aspects related to prevention and controlling online gambling and gaming and make recommendations to the state government.
The government took this step after a number of incidents were reported in the state where children addicted to online games were committing suicide after being scolded by parents.
Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh: Shivraj Singh Chauhan
6. Centre approves formation of Advisory Group for streamlining development of Bamboo sector
The Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has approved the formation of an Advisory Group for streamlining the development of the Bamboo sector.
The Union Agriculture Secretary will be the Chairperson and Mission Director of National Bamboo Mission will be the Convener of the Committee.
The Advisory Group has a representation of various stakeholders including academicians, researchers, innovators, progressive entrepreneurs, designers, farmer leaders, marketing specialists, and policymakers.
Inter-ministerial and public-private consultations are envisaged to help improve the developmental framework of the bamboo sector with synergy among all sections related to the bamboo value chain.
National Bamboo Mission
It was launched during 2018-19 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
It is being implemented as a sub-scheme of Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH).
The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is the nodal agency for its implementation.
The mission envisages promoting holistic development of bamboo sector by adopting area based, regionally differentiated strategy and increasing the area under cultivation and marketing of bamboo.
7. Government of India set up a panel to set a timeline for adoption of common standard charger in India
The Department of Consumer Affairs under the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has formed a committee to set a timeline for the adoption of USB Type-C as the standard charging port for electronic products, including smartphones, tablets and laptops.
The committee will be headed by the Additional Secretary in the Department of Consumer Affairs, Nidhi Khare.
Why need a single charger?
A customer has to buy different types of charger for different electronic products like feature phones, smart phones, laptops, tablets etc. A lot of e-waste is generated when the customer buys a new model of phone or laptop because they have to buy a new charger.
To reduce the e waste the government wants a single charger so that customers do not have to change chargers every time they buy a new electronic product.
Why USB type C charger
USB (Universal Serial Bus) type C charger has a faster charging capability and also it can be used for multiple electronic products which require chagrin capability of 65 watts or less.
Recently the European Union has announced adoption of a common charger for small electronic devices by 2024.
India is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of chargers in the world.
8. Kirit Parekh panel suggest complete deregulation of Gas prices from 1 January 2026
The Kirit Parekh panel set up by the government of India to review the gas pricing formula in India has submitted its report to the Government of India on 30 November. It has made a host of recommendations to deregulate gas prices in India by January 1, 2026. Deregulation here means the price of the gasses shall be decided by the market not by the government.
In September, the government constituted the committee, led by energy expert and former Planning Commission (since renamed NITI Aayog) member Kirit Parikh, to review the gas pricing formula for gas produced in the country with the aim to ensure a fair price.
Background to the Issue
India is a major importer of gas in the world but there are certain gas fields in India which produce Natural Gases.
There are broadly two types of Gas field in India.
One is called a legacy gas field. They are those gas fields that were allotted to Government owned ONGC and Oil India Limited (OIL). The price of the gasses produced from these fields are decided by the government and they are provided to consumers at a highly subsidized price. Also ONGC and OIL neither give any royalty to the government nor share their profit with the government.
Such fields account for about 80 per cent of annual gas output of India.
Other Gas fields
The other gas fields are owned by private companies like Reliance, Vedanta. They have to give royalty to the government. In these gas fields there is pricing freedom but the maximum price is fixed by the government.
Recommendation of the Parekh Committee
- For the Legacy gas field it has recommended a minimum price of USD 4 per Metric Million British Thermal Unit (mmBTU) and the maximum price at USD 6.5/mmBTU.
- It has recommended increasing the upper limit by USD 0.5/mmBTU every year. The proposal is to implement this from 1 January 2027.
- For the other gas field it has recommended that the upper price limit shall be removed from 1 January 2026. This will give them full freedom to set prices and make marketing strategies.
- The committee has also recommended bringing natural gas under the ambit of Goods and Services Tax (GST) to bring transparency in the pricing of gas.
Gas price mechanism in India
The government sets the price of gas every six months, on April 1 and October 1 of each year, based on rates prevalent in gas-surplus nations such as the US, Canada and Russia in one year with a lag of one quarter.
9. SEBI forms a panel headed by Justice Shiavax Jal Vazifadar to review the Corporate Takeover rules
The Capital market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has formed a 20 member high level panel to review the extant corporate takeover rules.
The 20 member panel will be headed by the former chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Shiavax Jal Vazifadar.
The takeover code was last reviewed in 2009 by the Achutan committee.
Function of the Panel
The panel will review the existing corporate takeover rules and suggest changes in it keeping in mind the judicial pronouncement and best global practices.
It will suggest measures to facilitate ease of doing business in India.
Corporate takeover code in India
With the opening of the Indian economy to the private sector and foreign investors, a need was felt to make a rule which will promote transparency in the case of Merger and Acquisition (M&A) of companies.
SEBI made the first comprehensive code for M&A in 1994 called Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations.
The code has amended significantly twice.
It was amended in 1997 on the recommendation of Justice P N Bhagwati committee.
The code was again amended in 2011 by SEBI on the recommendation of the 2009 Achutan committee on corporate takeover.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
The Securities and Exchange Board of India was constituted as a non-statutory body on April 12, 1988 through a resolution of the Government of India.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India was established as a statutory body in the year 1992 and the provisions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 (15 of 1992) came into force on January 30, 1992.
It is the regulator of the capital and commodities market in India.
Current Chairman: Madhabi Puri Buch
10. Centre forms panel to revamp MGNREGA job guarantee scheme
The central government has constituted a committee to improve the MNREGA scheme. This committee will examine the efficacy of MGNREGA as a means of poverty alleviation.
The first meeting of this committee, headed by former Rural Development Secretary Amarjit Sinha, was held on November 21.
It has been given three months to give its suggestions.
The committee has been asked to review the work demand in MGNREGA, spending patterns, variation in demand across states and the incremental cost of providing employment since inception of the scheme.
Also, this committee will suggest what changes can be made to make this scheme more effective.
The committee will also have to submit recommendations for better implementation of the scheme in poor areas.
This scheme was brought as a means of poverty alleviation in rural areas, but states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where the level of poverty is high, have not been able to get the proper benefits of this scheme.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme
MNREGA Act was passed by the Indian Parliament on 23rd August 2005 but it came into force on February 6, 2006.
On 2nd October 2009 an amendment was made in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005, to change the nomenclature of the Act from NREGA to MGNREGA
The mandate of the MGNREGA is to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
The scheme is under the administrative control of the Union Ministry of Rural Development.
Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj - Giriraj Singh