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Here are the topics covered for 28 July 2023: Parliamentary Committee Criticizes Government’s Approach in estimation of PwD Population, Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 passed in Rajya Sabha, India protests Chinese “stapled visas”, National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill 2023, Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023, Union Govt. may extend PLI scheme to chemicals, petrochemicals sectors, Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Industry Coalition (RECEIC).
Table of Contents
GS Paper 2:
- Parliamentary Committee Criticizes Government’s Approach in estimation of PwD Population
- Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 passed in Rajya Sabha
- India protests Chinese “stapled visas”
- National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill 2023
- Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023
GS Paper 3:
- Union Govt. may extend PLI scheme to chemicals, petrochemicals sectors
Prelims Related Facts
- Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Industry Coalition (RECEIC)
Parliamentary Committee Criticizes Government’s Approach in estimation of PwD Population
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment criticizes the Union government for failing to accurately estimate the current population of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in India.
Recommendations for Accurate Estimation:
- The committee recommends the government to use all available resources, collaborate with State governments, and consult experts to estimate the PwD population until Census 2021 results are available.
- Emphasis on sensitizing surveyors of the Ministry of Statistics to ensure accurate data collection.
Issues with Unique Disability ID (UDID) Cards:
- The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities introduced UDID cards, but the committee questions its effectiveness.
- The government has issued 94.09 lakh UDID cards, far lower than the actual PwD population, raising doubts about the rationale behind this approach.
Inadequate Data from Surveys:
- The Health Ministry justifies dropping disability-related questions from the NFHS-6, citing data availability from the 76th Round of the NSS conducted in 2018.
- The Department of PwDs highlights that the NSS survey lacks the total number of PwDs in India, leading to a data gap.
Urgent Need for Realistic Assessment:
- The committee urges the government to explore innovative solutions and collaborate with State governments and other organizations to arrive at a realistic assessment of the PwD population in the country.
- Stress on the importance of accurate data for policy formulation and welfare of PwDs.
Persons with Disabilities: Definition and Rights
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) defines PwDs as individuals with long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments, facing barriers to full participation in society.
- Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, further defines “Person with Benchmark Disability” as someone with at least 40% specified disability.
Challenges Faced by PwDs
- Discrimination and Inequality: PwDs encounter various forms of discrimination, leading to limited employment opportunities and social integration.
- Loss of Social Status: Limited access to education and employment results in a loss of social status and financial independence.
- Inhumane Treatment: PwDs, especially those with mental illness, experience social exclusion and inhumane treatment due to stigma and misunderstanding.
- Access to Education: PwDs face barriers in accessing education and may be excluded from schools.
- Unemployment: PwDs have lower employment rates due to stereotypes and a lack of inclusive hiring practices.
Current Status of PwDs in India
- 2011 Census: Approximately 26.8 million PwDs in India, constituting 2.21% of the total population.
- Rural and Urban Distribution: Around 69% of PwDs reside in rural areas, while 31% are in urban areas.
- Types of Disabilities: 20% have a disability in movement, 19% have visual impairment, 19% have hearing impairment, and 8% have multiple disabilities.
- Age Group: The age group with the highest prevalence of disabilities is 10-19 years.
- Employment: About 36% of PwDs are employed, with higher percentages in certain states.
Constitutional Provisions for Disabled Persons in India:
- Preamble: Secures justice and equality for all citizens, including disabled persons.
- Article 14: Right to Equality for every citizen, including PwDs.
- Article 15: Prohibits discrimination against any citizen, including disabled individuals.
- Article 21: Ensures the Right to Life and Liberty, applies to disabled persons as well.
- Article 23: Protects disabled individuals against trafficking.
- Article 32: Guarantees the right of all citizens, including PwDs, to approach the Supreme Court for enforcing Fundamental Rights.
- Article 41: State must provide provisions for the right to work, education, and public assistance for PwDs.
- Article 226: Allows every person, including disabled individuals, to approach the High Court for enforcing Fundamental Rights.
- Article 243 G: Includes social welfare measures for disabled and mentally disabled persons in local governance.
- Seventh Schedule: Specifies “relief of the disabled and unemployed” in the State List.
- Eleventh and Twelfth Schedule: List welfare of disabled and mentally retarded individuals.
National Legislations for Disabled Persons in India:
- Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992:
- Statutory status to Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI).
- Regulates and monitors services for disabled persons.
- Maintains a Central Rehabilitation Register.
- National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation, and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999:
- Enables independence and equal opportunities for disabled persons.
- Provides protection and appointment of guardians/trustees.
- Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016:
- Replaced the 1995 Act.
- Fulfills UNCRPD obligations.
- Increased reservation in jobs and education.
- Ensures accessibility in public buildings.
- Mental Healthcare Act, 2017:
- Implemented by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- Provides mental healthcare services for those with mental illness.
- Protects and promotes rights of individuals with mental illness.
Initiatives Empowering Persons with Disabilities:
- Unique Disability Identification Portal: Provides a unique ID to individuals with disabilities, enabling access to welfare schemes and services.
- Accessible India Campaign: Aims to make public spaces, transportation, and ICT accessible to PwDs.
- DeenDayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme: Offers financial assistance for rehabilitation services, education, and healthcare for economically disadvantaged PwDs.
- Assistance for Aids and Appliances: Provides support for the purchase and fitting of aids and appliances for PwDs.
- National Fellowship for Students with Disabilities: Offers fellowships to promote higher education opportunities for disabled students.
- National Action Plan for Skill Development of Persons with Disabilities: Focuses on enhancing employability and skills of PwDs.
- Scholarship Schemes: Offered to support education and skill development of PwDs.
- Accessible Education: Promotes inclusive education for PwDs through various programs.
- Reservation in Government Jobs: PwDs entitled to reservation in government jobs and public sector undertakings.
- Incheon Strategy: Aims to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific.
- United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities: International treaty protecting the rights and dignity of PwDs.
- International Day of Persons with Disabilities: An annual observance to raise awareness and promote the rights of PwDs.
- UN Principles for People with Disabilities: Guiding principles to ensure inclusion and equality for PwDs worldwide.
Empowering persons with disabilities involves providing reasonable accommodation to ensure equal participation and rights. Empathy and understanding are essential, and the practicality of accommodation should be assessed based on the legal test of “undue burden.” Efforts from citizens are crucial to improve the lives of the differently-abled. There is the need for behavioral changes, investments in accessible infrastructure, and inclusive innovations to empower PwDs and benefit society.
Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 passed in Rajya Sabha
The Cinematograph Amendment Bill 2023 seeks to amend the Cinematograph Act 1952 and introduce new provisions for film classification, harsher punishment for piracy, and alignment with Supreme Court judgments. The key details are:
Amendments to the Cinematograph Act 1952:
- New sub-age categories for films to bring about uniformity in categorisation across platforms, including ‘UA-7+’, ‘UA-13+’, and ‘UA-16+’ for 12 years.
- Perpetual certification once given.
- Recertification of edited films for television broadcast.
- Only unrestricted public exhibition category films can be shown on television.
- Alignment with provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 to maintain uniformity.
Stricter laws against piracy:
- Imprisonment for three years and a Rs 10 lakh penalty for those found involved in piracy.
- The act of piracy will be a legal offense, and even transmitting pirated content will be punishable.
The Cinematograph Act 1952:
- Enacted to ensure that films are exhibited in accordance with the limits of tolerance of Indian society.
- Establishes Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to sanction and certify films.
- Board scrutinizes films based on contemporary standards and can either reject or grant certification, which is valid for ten years.
- Authorizes police to conduct search and seizure if film is exhibited in contravention of Act provisions.
India protests Chinese “stapled visas”
- India strongly protested China’s decision to issue stapled visas to 3 athletes from Arunachal Pradesh going to a sporting event in China.
- India termed the stapled visas to its citizens as “unacceptable” and reserved the right to respond suitably.
- China has issued stapled visas to Indians from Arunachal Pradesh and J&K in the past, which India opposes as a violation of its sovereignty.
Modi-Xi exchange in Bali
- While China claimed PM Modi and Xi Jinping reached an “important consensus” in Bali to stabilise ties, India clarified that PM Modi and Xi Jinping merely exchanged courtesies and spoke of the need to stabilise bilateral relations.
India’s key demand
- India said the key to resolving bilateral issues was to resolve the border issues at the LAC and restore peace and tranquility.
National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill 2023
- NRF Bill approved by the Union Cabinet to strengthen research ecosystem in India.
- Aims to establish an independent apex body for research and innovation in universities and colleges.
Replacing the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)
- NRF to replace the SERB, bringing multiple research funding agencies.
- NRF to coordinate with other funding agencies to avoid duplication.
Financial Outlay for NRF
- Kasturirangan Committee recommended an annual grant of Rs. 20,000 Crores.
- NRF to receive ₹10,000 crore for five years, with ₹36,000 crore from private sources.
- The proposed grant is only 14% of the committee’s recommendation.
- Importance of Research and Funding
- The New Education Policy highlights the importance of research for economic prosperity.
- A robust research ecosystem crucial due to global challenges and technological advancements.
- Strengthening research necessary for India to become a knowledge leader.
Future Expectations for NRF Hope that NRF’s budget won’t be reduced compared to the previous allocation for SERB.
Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023
- Lok Sabha passed the bill on July 26 with no substantive changes.
- Public objections raised due to concerns about its provisions.
Problem Areas of the Bill
- Bill deviates from the spirit of the original law.
- Narrowed definition of forests and exclusion of significant forest areas.
- Grants sanction to additional activities that were previously regulated.
Impact on Forest Cover and Fragile Ecosystems
- Godavarman judgment’s scope restricted, impacting around 28% of India’s forest cover.
- Exempts security-related infrastructure near international borders, affecting fragile ecosystems.
- Introduces exemptions for construction projects, potentially allowing exploitation of forest resources.
Disenfranchising Forest People
- No reference to relevant forest laws, such as the Forest Rights Act.
- Forest people’s institutions no longer need to be consulted, leading to disenfranchisement.
Exclusions and Concerns
- Bill excludes certain privileged sectors from forest clearances without addressing deficiencies.
- Blanket exemptions from regulatory laws not suitable; proper assessments needed for development projects.
- Emphasizes the importance of valuing and preserving India’s natural ecosystems.
Union Govt. may extend PLI scheme to chemicals, petrochemicals sectors
- Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, revealed that large global investors are interested in partnering with Indian companies for investments in the chemicals and petrochemicals sectors.
- To encourage such partnerships, the government may introduce a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to chemicals, petrochemicals sectors.
- Global Investors Interested in India’s Chemicals Sector: BASF, Adnoc, Rosneft, and Aramco are looking for joint venture partners to invest in India’s chemicals industry.
- Potential Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme: The Indian government is open to introducing a PLI scheme to encourage investments in the chemicals and petrochemicals sectors.
- Emphasis on sustainability and new technologies Indian companies urged to adopt sustainable practices. Collaboration with global investors requires meeting global standards.
- Addressing inverted duty structures: Government open to corrections but cautious about potential impacts.
What is Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme?
- Introduced as part of the National Policy on Electronics to incentivize electronic companies manufacturing components like mobile phones, transistors, etc.
- Incentivizes companies based on production and sales, encouraging increased production, job creation, and economic growth.
- Objective: Enhance domestic manufacturing, reduce imports, and generate employment.
- Targeted Industries: PLI schemes introduced for 14 sectors, including automobile, electronics, telecom, pharmaceuticals, textiles, drones.
- Incentives: Range from 1% to 20% based on incremental sales and performance.
Expansion of PLI Scheme
- Union Cabinet approved the PLI scheme for 10 key sectors to enhance India’s manufacturing capabilities and exports.
- Targets a USD 1 trillion digital economy by 2025 and growth in automotive, textile, steel, telecom, solar panels, and other sectors.
PLI Scheme for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing
- First phase focused on increasing mobile phone manufacturing and setting up ATMP units.
- Total proposed cost: INR 40,995 crore.
- Aims to boost domestic production, meet demand, and generate over 2 lakh jobs.
PLI Scheme for Pharmaceuticals
- Targets incremental sales of Rs. 2,94,000 crore and exports of Rs. 1,96,000 crore during FY 2022-23 to 2027-28.
- Estimated to create 20,000 direct and 80,000 indirect jobs.
- Scheme duration: FY 2020-21 to FY 2028-29.
Success of PLI Scheme (DPIIT Data)
- Increase in FDI: 76% rise in manufacturing sector FDI in FY 2021-22, boosting various industries.
- Value Addition: 20% value addition achieved in mobile manufacturing within 3 years.
- Exports Growth: India’s export basket transformed, leading to a boost of Rs. 2.56 Lakh Crore till FY 2022-23.
- Investment: 733 applications approved with expected investment of Rs. 3.65 Lakh Crore, creating around 3,25,000 jobs.
- Positive Impact on Farmers and MSMEs: Food processing PLI benefited Indian farmers and MSMEs.
- Import Substitution: Telecom sector achieved 60% import substitution, making India self-reliant.
- Growth in Drones Sector: Drones sector turnover saw a 7 times increase.
Challenges with the Scheme
- Lack of Clarity: Some industries lack clarity on incentives, causing delays in disbursements.
- Insufficient Disbursements: Incentive payments fell short of claimed amounts in various sectors.
- Limited Investment: Low disbursement raises concerns about expected investment, especially in certain sectors.
- Potential Competition Concerns: Selecting champions and providing fiscal incentives may impact sector competition.
- Documentation Issues: Incentives require proper documentation, hindering disbursements.
- Limited Allocation Usage: Actual disbursement lower than allocated budget.
Policymakers should not overly rely on the PLI scheme as a solution for manufacturing sector inadequacies. To foster modern manufacturing, improving the overall industrial environment is crucial, considering complex supply chains and diverse producer needs.
Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Industry Coalition (RECEIC)
- Union Minister Bhupender Yadav launches Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Industry Coalition (RECEIC) to promote a circular economy model on the sidelines of the 4th G-20 Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) and Environment and Climate Ministers’ meeting in Chennai.
- 39 multinational corporations pledge to adopt resource efficiency and circular economy principles.
- Aim to address environmental challenges related to waste, including plastics and e-waste.
- Adopting a circular economy model means moving away from the traditional linear approach of taking resources, making products, and then disposing of waste. Instead of the traditional approach of taking resources, making products, and throwing away waste, the circular economy focuses on reusing and recycling materials.
India’s Efforts in Reducing Plastic Waste
- Government supports the coalition led by industries.
- India generates 41 lakh tonnes of plastic waste, with 30 lakh tonnes sent for recycling in 2021-22.
- Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR) guidelines established to tackle plastic waste.
- Under new EPR guidelines, 2.6 million tonnes of EPR certificates were generated by plastic waste processors.
- 51 million tonnes of those certificates were purchased by producers and importers against 2022-23 obligations.
G-20 Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group
- The ECSWG discusses environmental issues and fosters global collaboration for a sustainable future.