Group of Ministers establishes steps to ‘neutralize’ critical speeches of the Modi regime
Daily NEWS Summary || 04-03-2021; In an effort to “neutralize” critical narratives of the Narendra Modi government, a Group of Ministers (GoM), formed to refine “government communication,” made various suggestions, including tracking “50 negative and 50 positive influencers”on social media, and “neutralize people who write against the government without facts and who release false stories / spread false news.”
- It turns out that the decisions to limit FDI (foreign direct investment) to 26% for digital media and the new IT rules that have a separate section dealing with a code of ethics for Over The Top (OTT) platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime were the result of GoM deliberations.
- The FDI cap is essential, to limit foreign influence in the Indian media. After the cap, the Huffington Post, which had published reports criticizing the Modi regime, shut down its operations in India.
- Minister of Information Technology (IT) Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Development of Women and Children Smriti Irani, Minister of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Prakash Javadekar, foreign minister S Jaishankar, Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of Sports Kiren Rijiju, Minister of Urban Development Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (MoS) of Finance Anurag Thakur and MoS of the Ministry of Environment Babul Supriyo were part of the GoM, which met six times between 14 June and July 9 of last year.
- The GoM report was first published by Caravan magazine. The GoM report cites suggestions made by ministers.
- For example, Prasad suggested a list of media personnel and prominent figures who support our line of thought should be prepared, both nationally and globally.
- Few prominent academics, vice chancellors, retired Indian foreign service officers, must be identified to write govt. achievements and project our point of view.
- Irani, who held the I&B portfolio in the previous Modi government, recommended that to follow 50 negative and 50 positive influencers.
- Naqvi suggested direct action against those who write against the government.
- Other action points recommended as to include the expansion of the Prasar Bharati press service into a “main news agency.”
- Among the long-term agreed strategies is “coordination with journalism schools, because current students are future journalists.”
- Puri told GoM that journalists who support the government, although now unemployed, should be tied up.
- According to the report, this suggestion would also be implemented.
- Thakur wanted the BJP and the Modi government to reach out to right-wing parties around the world to find common ground.
Bengaluru, Shimla’s most livable cities on the government’s ease of living index
Daily NEWS Summary||04-03-2021; Bengaluru was ranked the most livable among 111 Indian cities in the government’s “Ease of Living Index”, followed by Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Surat, Navi Mumbai, Coimbatore, Vadodara, Indore and Greater Mumbai.
- Of the 49 cities ranked in the livability index as “millions of people or more”, Delhi ranks 13th and Srinagar last.
- According to the index published by the Union Minister of Housing and Urban Planning, Hardeep Singh Puri, Shimla leads the category of cities with “less than one million inhabitants”.
- In this category, Bhubaneshwar finished second, Silvassa third, and they were followed by Kakinada, Salem, Vellore, Gandhinagar, Gurgaon, Davangere and Tiruchirapalli.
- Muzaffarpur was at the bottom of the livability index for 62 cities in the “less than one million inhabitants” category.
- The New Delhi Municipal Corporation has outperformed the Municipal Performance Index in the population category of “less than one million”.
- Indore tops the municipal performance index in the million population category.
The Supreme Court favors the regulation of OTT platforms
Daily NEWS Summary||04-03-2021; On Thursday, the Supreme Court made it clear to over-the-top (OTT) platforms like Netflix and Amazon that it was in favor of “showing” the content they broadcast. They said that some of the films hosted by the platform were pornographic.
- Attorney General Tushar Mehta said the content contained “disgusting abuse”.
- The hearing was based on an allegation by Purohit, chief commercial officer of Amazon Prime, against the Allahabad High Court decision to deny his pre-arrest bail as part of the Tandav investigation, a web series hosted by the platform.
- The FIR said the series ridiculed the Hindu gods and the country’s political power brokers.
- Judge Bhushan said the court wanted to examine the Purohit case in light of new guidelines notified by the government to hold social media and OTT platforms accountable for their content.
- The judiciary has requested that the guidelines be recorded and that a hearing be scheduled for March 5.
- The 2021 Information Technology Rules (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Code of Ethics for Digital Media) require streaming platforms to comply with a new three-tiered self-regulation system for complaints.
- It also includes an independent self-regulatory body headed by a retired Supreme Court or Supreme Court judge, who will decide content issues.
- At the same time, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting clarified today that none of the OTT platforms will have to register with the government and that no government candidate will be present at the self-regulatory body.
- The statement was released after I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar interacted with representatives of the OTT platforms.
Labor rights activist Shiv Kumar secures bail
Daily NEWS Summary||04-03-2021; Labor rights activist Shiv Kumar was released on bail by the Sonipat Sessions Court in Haryana on Thursday in an assassination attempt that led to his release from prison. He had already been released on bail in two other cases on Wednesday.
- Kumar, district chairman of Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan, a workers’ rights group, was arrested by Haryana police on February 2 in connection with three cases filed against him in the past two months.
- His fellow activist and co-accused in all three cases, Nodeep Kaur, was released on bail last week and released from prison.
- Kumar’s medical report filed in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana revealed multiple injuries to him.
EPFO keeps interest rates unchanged
Daily NEWS Summary||04-03-2021; The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) decided to keep the interest rate at 8.5% for the fiscal year 2020-2021, the decision was taken at a meeting of the central management board of EPFO chaired by union labor minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar.
- The notification of the interest rate will be made after the approval of the Union Ministry of Finance.
- The 8.5% rate remains the lowest since 2012-2013. However, EPFO said it was higher compared to other investments.
The number of coronavirus cases reported in India was 1,11,68,458 at the time of publication of this bulletin, with a toll of 1,58,930.