Categories
Governance

Spices Board discusses establishing ETO limits using CODEX

  • The Spices Board has taken aggressive steps with CODEX, the international food standards organisation, to address the critical issue of ethylene oxide (ETO) pollution in spices.
    • This endeavour comes after recent recalls of certain branded spices supplied from India to Hong Kong and Singapore owing to worries about ETO contamination.
    • Concerns over spice quality have also been expressed by nations such as the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, necessitating continuous assessments of Indian spice imports.

CODEX Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs

  • The CODEX committee (CCSCH) was established in 2013 with the cooperation of over 100 nations, with India serving as the host country and the Spices Board serving as the Secretariat for committee meetings.
  • Objectives:
  • To consult with other international organisations on the spice market’s standard development process.
  • To establish and expand global standards. 
  • Since its creation, the CODEX Committee has been working to set worldwide standards for herbs and spices.

About the Codex Standards:

Codex standards are voluntary in nature and might be generic or particular. They are recognised as reference standards under WTO Agreements. 

  1. General Standards, Guidelines, and Codes of Practice: These basic Codex publications primarily address sanitary practice, labelling, pollutants, additives, inspection and certification, nutrition, and residues of veterinary medications and pesticides, and apply horizontally to goods and product groups.
  2. Commodity standards apply to specific products, however Codex is progressively developing criteria for food groupings.
  3. Regional standards: Standards set by the different Regional Coordinating Committees that apply to their respective regions. 

India’s push for Permissible ETO Limits

  • Advocacy for restrictions: Recognising the differences in rules between nations, India has lobbied for the introduction of restrictions on ETO usage.
    • So far, CODEX has not set a restriction on ETO usage, and India has proposed standardising ETO testing processes.
  • Focus on Safety: While understanding the carcinogenic danger of ETO when used in excess, measures to prevent contamination have been increased.
    • Notably, India’s sample failure rate in spice exports is less than 1% in key countries, demonstrating the industry’s dedication to quality and safety.
Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/spices-board-discussing-setting-of-eto-limits-with-codex/article68179578.ece#:~:text=%E2%80%9CIndia%20has%20taken%20up%20with,%2C%E2%80%9D%20an%20official%20told%20businessline.
Categories
Governance Polity

The EC’s Model Code of Conduct (MCC) need reforms

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued notifications in response to allegations of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) infractions by renowned Indian figures.

Model Code of Conduct (MCC)

  • Set of guidelines: The Election Commission of India (EC) released the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) to political parties and candidates.
  • The goal is to create rules of conduct throughout election campaigns and polls.The MCC contains procedures for filing complaints with EC observers and governs the conduct of governing party ministers throughout the MCC term.
  • In 2019, an amendment was adopted to election manifestos that prohibited commitments antithetical to constitutional objectives.
  • The MCC is not legally binding because it is not a legislative document passed by Parliament.
  • While breaching many MCC criteria may not result in punishment, certain behaviours are classified as electoral offences and corrupt practices under the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of the People Act of 1951.
  • Violations of these laws will result in appropriate penalty. 

MCC’s evolution 

  • Its origin: The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) began as a short set of principles for the Kerala Assembly elections in 1960.
  • Initially, it addressed a variety of issues, including electoral meetings, processions, speeches, slogans, banners, and placards.
  • Under Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) K V K Sundaram in 1968, the EC worked with political parties and enlarged the MCC to maintain basic standards of conduct for free and fair elections.
  • By 1979, it had been routine practice for the EC to disseminate the MCC prior to each General Election.
  • MCC Consolidation: The MCC evolved throughout time as a result of negotiations between the EC and political parties. It was consolidated and reissued in 1991 with new parts, including prohibitions on the “party in power” to prevent the abuse of government for undue gain.

Features of MCC:

  • Activation of MCC: The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is activated immediately upon the Election Commission’s release of the election timetable and continues in force until the election process is completed, including the announcement of results.
  • Applicable to all elections: It applies to all Lok Sabha, State Assembly, and State Legislative Council elections held by Local Bodies, as well as Graduates’ and Teachers’ Constituencies.
  • Across India: During general elections, the MCC is imposed across India, however during legislative assembly elections, it is applied in the individual state going to polls.
  • Supported to comply with the MCC: All organisations, committees, businesses, and commissions supported entirely or substantially by the Central or State governments must comply with the MCC.
  • List of Political Parties: In addition to the listed political parties and candidates, non-political organisations that run campaigns in support of a political party or candidate must follow the Election Commission’s guidelines.

Issues relating to MCC:

  • The political atmosphere in the country has gotten increasingly heated, reducing the efficacy of the Model Code of Conduct. 
  • Violations of the MCC are constantly rising, becoming more prevalent and harsh.
  • Political leaders are leveraging their power, resources, and persuasive strategies more forcefully than ever before, frequently exploiting gaps between the literal and intended meanings of the MCC.
  • Money power has surpassed physical strength, while technological improvements have created new methods to avoid rules.
  • The MCC’s lack of clarity on the penalties of infractions undermines its capacity to discourage misbehaviour.
  • Delayed responses to violations reduce the impact of penalties and erode public trust in the Election Commission’s credibility. 
Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/election-commission-model-code-of-conduct-reform-9293757/
Categories
Governance

Implementing the Street Vendors Act

The Street Vendors Act, which was celebrated as progressive legislation, is now facing significant operational issues. 

The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 

  • It is an Act passed by India’s Parliament to regulate and safeguard the rights of street sellers in public places.
  • The Act seeks to preserve the rights of urban street sellers while also regulating their activity. It clearly defines the duties and responsibilities of both suppliers and various levels of government.
  • According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, India has around 10 million street vendors, including major cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad. 

Significance of street vendors

  • Street vendors account for around 2.5% of a city’s population and play a variety of roles in city life, including providing necessary services, a small income for migrants and the urban poor, and inexpensive items for others.
  • Street vendors are vital for preserving affordability and accessibility to food, nutrition, and commodities distribution, as well as being part of the cultural fabric of cities such as Mumbai and Chennai. 

Challenges with Act Implementation

  • Administrative challenges include an increase in harassment and evictions of street sellers, despite the Act’s emphasis on protection and regulation.Outdated bureaucratic attitude regards suppliers as unlawful entities.
  • Lack of information and education of the Act among state officials, the general public, and vendors.
  • Street vendor representatives have limited power in Town Vending Committees (TVCs), which are frequently controlled by local municipal officials.Tokenistic depiction of female sellers in television commercials. 
  • Governing Issues: Inadequate current urban governing institutions.
  • The Act is not fully integrated with the framework provided by the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act for urban governance.
  • ULBs have insufficient power and capacity.
  • Top-down programmes such as the Smart Cities Mission prioritise infrastructure development while disregarding measures for including street sellers into municipal design.
  • Societal Challenges: The dominant image of the ‘world-class metropolis’ is sometimes restrictive.Street sellers are marginalised and stigmatised as barriers to urban development rather than genuine contributions to the urban economy.
  • These issues are reflected in city design, urban planning, and public views of neighbourhoods. 

Way forward.

  • Decentralisation of Interventions: It is necessary to decentralise interventions and strengthen the capacity of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) to plan for street vending in cities.
  • Shift from department-led actions to deliberative processes: It is critical to shift away from high-handed departmental operations and towards true deliberate procedures at the Town Vending Committee (TVC) level. 
  • Urban plans, city planning rules, and ordinances must be updated to incorporate allowances for street vending.
  • Need-Based Welfare Provisions: The Act’s broad welfare provisions should be creatively used to meet the rising requirements of street vendors, such as mitigating the impact of climate change, e-commerce rivalry, and lower salaries.
  • Adaptation to the National Urban Livelihood Mission: The National Urban Livelihood Mission’s street vendor sub-component should recognise changing circumstances and encourage new solutions to meet demands. 
Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1986250#:~:text=In%20order%20to%20protect%20rights,and%20Plan%20for%20Street%20Vending
Categories
Governance

Accreditation by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is preparing to defend India’s human rights procedures at a key meeting of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) in Geneva.
  • This summit will decide if India’s NHRC will keep its “A status” accreditation. 

About National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

Details
EstablishmentThe Protection of Human Rights Act of 1993 established this statutory body. 
FunctionsInquire about any infringement of human rightsRecommend quick temporary aid for victims and their families.Intervene in court cases involving human rights breaches.Review the constitutional and legal safeguards for human rights.Study international human rights instruments.Promote human rights literacy. Support the efforts of NGOs working in the field of human rights
PowersRegulate its own procedures.Have all the powers of a civil court.Proceedings have judicial nature. 
ChairpersonApplicants must be former Supreme Court Justices or Chief Justices appointed by the President of India. 
MembersFour full-time members.Chairperson: Former Supreme Court Justice or Chief Justice; Other Members: Former Supreme Court Judges; Other Members: Former High Court Chief Justices.Three members have expertise or experience in human rights, including at least one woman-Seven ex-officio members:  Chairpersons of National Commissions viz., National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women , National Commission for Minorities, National Commission for Backward Classes, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights; and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities.
AppointmentRemoval by order of the President of India.Appointed by the President on the suggestion of a committee including the Prime Minister, Speaker of Lok Sabha, Home Minister, Leaders of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and others.Consultation with the Chief Justice of India on judicial appointments. 
RemovalRemoval by order of the President of India.Consultation with the Supreme Court Before Removal 
Terms of OfficeHold office for three years, or until the age of 70.Ineligibility for continued government job after leaving office.Suitable for reappointment. 
SalariesDetermined by the Central government
ReportingSubmits yearly or special reports to the central government and the relevant state governments.Reports presented to the different legislatures, together with a summary of action taken on the recommendations and reasons for non-acceptance of any suggestions. 
LimitationsThe commission is not empowered to investigate any case beyond the expiry of one year from the date on which the act constituting the violation of human rights is claimed to have occurred.Functions are recommendatory in nature, with no ability to penalise or grant remedy to offenders.Limited involvement regarding armed forces transgressions. 

GANHRI’s Concerns About India’s NHRC

The SCA voiced concerns about India’s NHRC’s operational independence and composition, which might result in a degradation of its accreditation status in 2023.

  • Political intervention: The NHRC-India encountered allegations regarding political intervention in appointments, jeopardising its independence.
  • The involvement of the police in investigations into human rights crimes generated questions about impartiality and fairness.
  • Lack of collaboration: The NHRC’s weak collaboration with civil society was criticised for undermining its ability to safeguard human rights.
  • Lack of Diversity: The GANHRI identified a lack of diversity among NHRC staff and leadership roles. There is also an absence of gender and minority representation.
  • Insufficient Protection of Marginalised Groups: The NHRC was judged to have taken insufficient action to safeguard marginalised groups, which violated the United Nations’ rules on national institutions (the “Paris Principles”). 
Source: https://nhrc.nic.in/press-release/nhrc-india-retains-its-status-accreditation-ganhri#:~:text=accreditation%20with%20GANHRI-,NHRC%2C%20India%20retains%20its%20'A'%20status%20of%20%3Cbr,consecutive%20term%20of%20five%20years.
Categories
Governance Uncategorized

Regarding the PMAY scheme

The scheme’s declared objectives included slum dweller rehabilitation with private developer participation, promotion of affordable housing for the weaker sections through Credit Linked Subsidy Schemes (CLSS), affordable housing in partnership with the public and private sectors, and a subsidy for Beneficiary-led Construction (BLC).

Regarding the PMAY scheme:

The scheme’s declared objectives included slum dweller rehabilitation with private developer participation, promotion of affordable housing for the weaker sections through Credit Linked Subsidy Schemes (CLSS), affordable housing in partnership with the public and private sectors, and a subsidy for Beneficiary-led Construction (BLC).

Issues with the PMAY Scheme:

  • The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban (PMAY-U) scheme has been criticised for its poor performance. According to data from the PMAY dashboard, there is a gap of around 40 lakh dwellings in sanctioned and finished sectors.
  • ISSR Failure: The in-situ slum rehabilitation (ISSR) component, which was designed to handle the highest demand in cities, has been heavily criticised for its failure. Only a few dwellings have been approved under ISSR, falling far short of expectations.
  • The vast disparity between achievement and need: Despite providing 80 lakh dwellings, the PMAY-U program has only addressed roughly 25.15% of the housing deficit. Even if the remaining sanctioned units are built by the end of 2024, they will only meet around 37% of the true requirement, leaving about 2.4 crore families without suitable accommodation.
  • Not meeting the promise based on spending: The housing programme, which got enormous fiscal support (more than $29 billion over the previous five years), has failed to deliver on its promise of “Housing for All.” Despite the effort and financial assistance, the aim remains unmet. 

The reason behind the failure of the PMAY Scheme

  • The PMAY Scheme failed due to challenges in slum rehabilitation. Despite attempts, certain slum rehabilitation initiatives have encountered challenges, such as vertical expansion, which results in higher utility bills and inappropriate living areas, as well as difficulty in procuring land.
  • Neglecting social housing requirements: Consultants who favour capital-intensive solutions frequently influence city development plans, including PMAY, possibly overlooking social housing needs and community engagement.
  • PMAY’s funding system includes major payments from recipient families and state governments, with the federal government playing a minor role.
  • Minimal Government Role: The PMAY design leaves minimal responsibility on the government, notably in terms of interest subsidies and cost-sharing with beneficiaries, raising concerns about meeting the requirements of the landless and impoverished.

Way Forward:

  • To provide sufficient funding for housing developments, the central government should reconsider its financial allocation.
  • Enhanced Focus on Slum Rehabilitation: The government should assess and improve the in-situ slum rehabilitation (ISSR) component. This might include greater planning, community participation, and tackling issues like land acquisition and vertical expansion.
  • Community Participation and Needs Assessment: Community engagement in the development and execution of housing projects is critical.  
Source: https://cleartax.in/s/pradhan-mantri-awas-yojana#:~:text=Modi%20in%202015.-,What%20is%20Pradhan%20Mantri%20Awas%20Yojana%3F,houses%20at%20an%20affordable%20price.
Categories
Governance

What are the new Green Credit Programme rules?

  • On April 12, the Environment Ministry announced further instructions on its Green Credit Programme (GCP).

Features of the Green Credit Programme:

  • Open-Platform: Individuals, organisations, and public and private enterprises can invest in these environmental efforts and get ‘green credits’ in exchange. These credits are awarded depending on the environmental effect of the investment activity.
    • According to reports, public sector corporations like Indian Oil, Power Grid Corporation of India, National Thermal Power Corporation, Oil India, Coal India, and National Hydropower Corporation have registered to invest in the GCP.
  • Set with Priority: The Ministry has established guidelines for the first project under the GCP, which will focus on afforestation. Participants can contribute to afforestation initiatives in degraded forest and wasteland regions, with tree planting overseen by state forest agencies.
    • The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), an autonomous entity of the Environment Ministry, is in charge of managing the GCP. They develop algorithms for calculating green credits and operate a credit exchange trading platform.
  • Regional Participation: Thirteen state forest departments have contributed 387 land parcels totaling almost 10,983 hectares of degraded forest area for afforestation initiatives under the GCP.
  • Enhanced Decision-Making: Successful participants will be given cost estimates for their chosen afforestation projects, allowing them to make more informed decisions and plan accordingly. 

Why has the GCP sparked controversy?

  • Commodification of Environmental Conservation: Critics believe that the GCP reduces environmental conservation to a commodity, potentially compromising India’s forest conservation legislation.
  • Forest Diversion Concerns: The GCP’s provision allowing enterprises to “exchange” green credits for complying with compensating afforestation criteria raises fears that it would be misused by industries trying to alleviate forest diversion regulations, notably in mining and infrastructure.
  • Ecological Impact: Planting trees as part of an afforestation programme does not ensure ecosystem improvement. India’s different forest types necessitate unique techniques, and planting the incorrect trees might result in the spread of invasive species or damage sustainable ecosystems.
  • Monoculture Threat: There is a concern that the GCP may encourage the replacement of natural forests with invasive monocultures, threatening biodiversity and ecological balance.
  • Carbon Trading Controversy: The GCP permits green credits from carbon storage (e.g., tree planting) to be utilised in carbon trading. However, the mechanism for equating these activities is imprecise, raising concerns about the efficacy and legality of carbon trading programmes. 

Conclusion: 

The Green Credit Programme in India has been criticised for possibly commodifying conservation, raising worries about forest diversion, creating ecological dangers such as monoculture, and missing clarity in carbon trading procedures. As a result, intensive supervision and adaptability are required.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/what-are-the-new-green-credit-programme-rules-explained/article68088803.ece#:~:text=Under%20this%2C%20individuals%2C%20organisations%20and,to%20receive%20'green%20credits.'
Categories
Governance

The centre has released a curricular framework for children aged three to six years old

  • For the first time ever, the Central government has announced curriculum that should be taught to youngsters from three to six years old.

Objective of Aadharshila

  • The early childhood education curriculum is meant to address core reading and numeracy deficiencies that may occur in later school years. 

Who launched?

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) has announced the National Curriculum for Early Childhood Care and Education 2024, termed ‘Aadharshila,’ which follows the National Education Policy 2020 and the National Curriculum Framework.

Where?

  • Aadharshila (English as foundation stone) is a detailed 48-week curriculum designed for children aged three to six who attend anganwadis.

Significance Aadharshila’s Curriculum

  • Structure of Curriculum: The curriculum is organised weekly and covers 48 weeks of learning over a three-year period. It is intended to serve children aged three to six attending anganwadis.
  • The curriculum begins with four weeks of initiation, which focuses on academic activities to help children transfer from their homes to the anganwadi centre. These activities are engaging, enjoyable, and allow for free play.
  • The following 36 weeks are dedicated to discovery, free play, conversation, creativity, and appreciation. During this era, children engage in activities such as storytelling, singing rhymes, painting and craft, and other enjoyable hobbies. Conflict resolution, responsibility, and cooperation are common storytelling themes.
  • Learning Objectives: Children learn about colours, shapes, numbers, body parts, family and friends, listening and reacting to directions, basic counting, and seasonal, festival, and culinary themes.

Anganwadi 

  • Anganwadi services in India are part of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) plan, which began on October 2, 1975.
  • The primary goal of the Anganwadi programme is to improve the nutritional and health status of children aged 0 to 6, lay the groundwork for proper psychological, physical, and social development, and reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition, and school dropout.

Conclusion: 

The launching of ‘Aadharshila’ represents a big step forward in early childhood education, with the goal of bridging basic gaps. To improve its effectiveness, continual monitoring, teacher training, and community involvement are needed..

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/education/centre-releases-curriculum-framework-for-three-to-six-year-olds/article68084489.ece#:~:text=SUBSCRIBE%20%26%20SAVE-,Aadharshila%20(translated%20as%20foundation%20stone)%20is%20a%20detailed%2048%2D,of%20pregnant%20mothers%20and%20children.
Categories
Governance

Krishi Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC)

  • The Agriculture Minister recently inaugurated the Krishi Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC) at Krishi Bhavan in New Delhi.

What is the Krishi ICCC?

  • The ICCC uses a variety of IT applications and platforms to provide actionable information and facilitate informed decision-making.
  • 8 big LED screens present critical information in graphical style, including crop yields, production, drought conditions, cropping patterns, and important trends.
  • The dashboard provides insights, warnings, and comments on agricultural schemes, programmes, projects, and initiatives, allowing stakeholders to access full information.

Data utilised by Krishi ICCC

The ICCC will consolidate geospatial data from various sources, including 

  1. plot-level data from Soil Survey, 
  2. weather data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), 
  3. sowing data from Digital Crop Survey, 
  4. farmer-related data from Krishi MApper, 
  5. geo-fencing and geo-tagging of land, and 
  6. market intelligence from the Unified Portal. 

Objectives and Functionality

  • complete Monitoring: The ICCC seeks to enable complete monitoring of the farm sector by combining geospatial data from multiple sources such as remote sensing, meteorological data, soil surveys, and market intelligence.
  • Decision Support: Integrated visualisation enables policymakers and stakeholders to make quick and efficient decisions based on real-time data and analysis. 

Farmer-Specific Advice and Practical Applications

  • Individual Farmer advises: The ICCC has the ability to generate individual farmer-specific advises using apps such as Kisan e-Mitra (a chatbot built for PM-Kisan recipients), which use AI and machine learning to tailor recommendations based on farmer data.

Practical Applications:

  1. Farmer’s Advisory: GIS-based soil mapping, soil health card data, and weather information may all be visualised to provide customised crop selection and agricultural management advice.
  2. Drought Actions: By correlating yield data with weather patterns, we may take preventative efforts to lessen the impact of droughts.
  3. Crop Diversification: Analysing crop diversification maps can assist identify places that are appropriate for diverse cropping, hence increasing agricultural productivity.
  4. Farm Data Repository: The Krishi Decision Support System (K-DSS) serves as an agriculture data repository, enabling evidence-based decision-making and the creation of tailored advice for farmers.
  5. Validation of Yield: The ICCC provides the validation of yield data gathered through diverse applications, ensuring correctness and reliability.
Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/iccc-integrated-farm-data-dashboard-for-customised-solutions-9235150/#:~:text=The%20ICCC%20will%20enable%20comprehensive,sowing%20data%20from%20Digital%20Crop
Categories
Governance

Centre notifies Fact-Check Unit to review online content

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has assigned the Press Information Bureau’s Fact Check Unit to identify falsehoods about Central government departments on social media platforms ahead of the election.

Context: 

  • According to the IT Rules of 2021, social media platforms may lose legal protection from being held liable for user-posted content if they continue to promote disinformation detected by Fact Check Unit.

Background of this news-

  • The Union government delayed notifying the Fact Check Unit due to ongoing litigation in the Bombay High Court opposing the provision.
  • However, this month, the court opted not to extend the temporary halt that barred the government from enforcing the guidelines.

Key aspects as per IT Rules, 2021- 

  • Mandates: In essence, the IT Rules (2021) require social media companies to be more cautious about the content they host. Legally, intermediaries must make reasonable measures to prevent users from uploading such content.
  • Appoint a Grievance Officer: Social media sites are required to establish a grievance redressal process and immediately remove illegal and unsuitable content within stipulated deadlines. 
  • Ensuring Users’ Online Safety and Dignity: Intermediaries are obligated to remove or disable access within 24 hours of receiving complaints about content that exposes individuals’ private areas, depicts them in full or partial nudity, shows them engaged in sexual acts, or involves impersonation, including morphed images
  • Informing people about privacy policies is critical. The privacy policies of social media platforms should include measures to educate users about not sharing copyrighted material or any content that could be considered defamatory, racially or ethnically offensive, promoting paedophilia, threatening the unity, integrity, defence, security, or sovereignty of India or its friendly relations with foreign states, or breaking any existing laws.

Fake news on social media can have various harmful effects for governments:

  • Undermining faith: Fake news can destroy public faith in government institutions and politicians. When incorrect information spreads extensively, it can raise suspicions and doubts about the government’s integrity.
  • Misinformation has the ability to destabilise democracy by distorting popular perceptions of government policies and actions, leading to unrest, protests, and even bloodshed. This can destabilise democratic processes and weaken government operations.
  • Manipulating Public Opinion- Fake news can be carefully utilised to influence public opinion in favour or against a specific government or political party. Individuals or groups can have an impact on elections and policymaking by propagating false narratives.
  • False information on social media can cause confusion and opposition to government programmes and activities. This can inhibit the successful execution of programmes and reforms.
  • Wasting Resources- Governments may be required to commit resources to handle the consequences of fake news, such as conducting investigations, issuing clarifications, or opposing misinformation operations. This takes resources away from other vital tasks.
  • Fake news can aggravate social and political tensions in a country by disseminating controversial narratives or encouraging hatred and enmity towards specific groups or communities. This can further polarise society and impede efforts to promote unity and cohesiveness. 

Measures to Tackle Fake News on Social Media:

  • It include mandatory fact-checking. Implement a mandate for social media sites to fact-check content before it is distributed.
  • Enhanced User Education: To assist users in distinguishing between credible and false information, promote media literacy and critical thinking abilities.
  • Strengthened Regulation: Enforce tougher restrictions on social media platforms to combat misinformation and hold them accountable for content moderation.
  • Collaborative Verification: Encourage collaboration between governments, fact-checking organisations, and social media platforms to ensure the accuracy of information.
  • Transparent Algorithms: Ensure transparency in the algorithms employed by social media platforms to prioritise content, hence decreasing the spread of misinformation.
  • Establish systems for the timely elimination of bogus news and penalise users or companies that spread it.
  • Public Awareness Campaigns: Launch campaigns to raise awareness about the negative impacts of fake news and encourage responsible sharing.
Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/centre-notifies-fact-check-unit-under-pib-as-authorised-unit-for-centre-9225084/
Categories
Governance

 ULLAS Initiative

  • The Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL), Ministry of Education, recently administered the Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Assessment Test (FLNAT) as part of the ULLAS – Nav Bharat Saaksharta Karyakram Initiative.

What is the ULLAS Initiative?

  • ULLAS stands for Understanding Lifelong Learning for All in S.
  • It aims to encourage lifelong learning and close literacy gaps among those aged 15 and up.
  • The project aims to provide citizens with the fundamental knowledge and skills required for personal and national growth.
  • The ULLAS User-Friendly Mobile Application is a digital platform that enables access to a wide range of learning resources via the DIKSHA portal. 

Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Assessment Test (FLNAT)

  • FLNAT is a national assessment test administered as part of the ULLAS effort.
  • It seeks to assess the foundational literacy and numeracy skills of registered nonliterate learners aged 15 and up.
  • The assessment includes three components: reading, writing, and numeracy, and is administered in all districts of participating states/UTs.
  • The test is critical in determining the impact of teaching-learning sessions done under the ULLAS programme and boosting reading and numeracy abilities in citizens.
  • It is conducted in the regional language of the learners, in line with the NEP 2020’s emphasis on multilingualism.
  • The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) awards certificates to qualified students.

Key Features of ULLAS:

  1. Emphasises lifelong learning.
  2. Promotes a culture of knowledge exchange and personal growth.
  3. Participants gain digital literacy skills.
  4. Increases awareness and empowerment in financial concerns.
  5. teaches important life skills including legal literacy and digital competency.
  6. Improves citizenship awareness and empowerment.
  7. Student volunteers receive credits from their schools or universities.
  8. Certificates, letters of gratitude, and felicitation ceremonies are used to recognise achievements. 
Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1944168
JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
And get notified everytime we publish a new blog post.