Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
- Govt. to govern OTT platforms
The issue in news
Gazette notification placing ‘Over the Top’ (OTT) platforms or video streaming service providers like Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime and digital news under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The change was made through the amendment of the Allocation of Business Rules.
- Currently, there is no law or autonomous body governing digital content. Complaints regarding these had largely been dealt with by the Communications and IT Ministry with laws such as the Information Technology Act and the Indian Penal Code being invoked.
- The government wanted the platforms to come up with a self-regulatory body on the lines of the News Broadcasting Standards Authority, which governs the TV news channels.
- In January 2019, eight video streaming services had signed a self-regulatory code that laid down a set of guiding principles for the content on these platforms.
- The code prohibited five types of content, including content which deliberately and maliciously disrespects the national emblem or flag, any visuals or storylines that promote child pornography, any content that “maliciously” intends to outrage religious sentiments; content that “deliberately and maliciously” promotes or encourages terrorism; and any content that has been banned for exhibition or distribution by law or by a court.
- The government had refused to support this code.
- The gazette notification gives the government control over the OTT platforms, which were unregulated till now. The exponential growth in the reach of the OTT platforms and digital media forums and their ability to influence necessitates the need to regulate them and the current move is a step in this direction.
- The move will help tackle the issue of fake news being propagated through some of the digital media platforms.
- The move will also help create a level playing field between linear TV and over-the-top (OTT) services.
- The government would be able to prevent objectionable content that some smaller and newer companies in the space have been distributing.
The move has raised fears of censorship.
Some digital media creators have lamented that the move and the subsequent regulation could undermine creativity due to undue regulation.
- Incentives to boost manufacturing
The issue in news
The Central government’s new production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme.
Previously, a Production Linked Incentive scheme was announced for the electronic manufacturing sector.
The government had proposed expanding this scheme to other sectors as well.
- The new scheme focuses on 10 sectors
- The sectors have been identified on the basis of their employment creation potential and with the vision to make India self-reliant. Sunrise sectors and products with linkages with the global value chain have been prioritized.
- The selected sectors include food processing, telecom and networking products, electronics, textiles, speciality steel, automobiles and auto components, solar photovoltaic modules, advanced chemistry cell battery, pharmaceuticals and white goods, such as air conditioners and LEDs.
- According to the scheme, companies will get incentives on incremental sales from products manufactured in domestic units.
- The scheme has an estimated outlay of about Rs. 1.46 lakh crore for over the next five years, with around 57,000 crore allocated for automobiles and auto components production.
- Individual Ministries in charge of the sectors would be implementing the scheme.
- Applications to avail of the benefits will be vetted by an Empowered Finance Committee, following which they will be taken up to the Cabinet for final approval.
- The PLI scheme would encourage domestic manufacturing investments in the considered sectors.
- The increased domestic investments would lead to job creation and assuage some of the employment pressures in the Indian economy.
- Given the focus on cutting-edge technology, the scheme is expected to help fulfil the vision of making India self-reliant. This will help reduce imports.
- The scheme will help make Indian manufacturers globally competitive, by creating economies of scale. This will help enhance exports from India and make India an integral part of the global supply chain.
- The scheme is also aimed as a clear signal to potential foreign investors that India is not turning protectionist as foreign companies are also encouraged to set shop in India as the government is providing incentives.
- The above moves are expected to help India in its economic revival in the post-pandemic phase.
- ‘GDP shrank 8.6% in Q2 pushing economy into a recession’
The issue in news:
Reserve Bank of India’s monthly bulletin.
- The RBI bulletin notes a sharp rebound of the Indian economy from May/June owing mainly to the reopening from lockdowns. This has helped slow the pace of economic contraction to 8.6% in the second quarter of the current fiscal year.
- Given the fact that the manufacturing industry has been normalising faster than contact-intensive service sectors, this seems to be indicative of a short-lived contraction. This has helped brighten the near-term outlook for the Indian economy and stirred up consumer and business confidence.
- Technically, India has entered a recession given the two successive quarters of GDP contraction. This is also the first time in India’s history that it has witnessed two successive quarters of GDP contraction.
- Despite some signs of recovery, formidable downside risks still exist in the Indian economic recovery process.
- High inflation over the last few months is a cause of concern. The accelerating inflation will only further pressurize India’s pandemic-hit economy.
- The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic could hit external demand for Indian goods. This would reduce exports from India. Foreign trade has been an important aspect of India’s economy since the liberalization of the economy in 1991.
- Financially stressed households and companies would undermine the recovery. The low disposable income with the households will subdue demand in the economy while the financially stressed companies would subdue supply in the economy and would also entice a financial crisis in the Indian economy due to the rise in non-performing assets. Thus unlike previous economic challenges, the government will have to concentrate on both the demand as well as the supply sides of the economy