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North America


North America

North America

North America is the third largest continent in the world. It is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the east, Gulf of Mexico in the south, the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Arctic Ocean in the north. To the north, it is separated from the eastern most tip of Siberia by the Bering Strait.
Salient Facts
• Two of the world’s largest countries in area, i.e. the USA and Canada are present in this continent.
• North America mainly includes three countries: the USA, Canada and Mexico.
• Central America: Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.
• Its greatest extent, north to south 7400km and east to west 5700 Km.
• It was discovered by Columbus in 1492.
• It is bounded by the Arctic, Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans in the north, east-and west respectively, while in south, it connected With South America through the Isthmus of Panama.-
• Culturally, it is divided into the Anglo America (Canada and U.S.A.) and Latin America (south of U.S.A.) including Mexico and Central American Countries.
North America can also be divided into four great regions:
1. Great Plains: stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian Arctic;
2. The geologically young, mountainous west: including the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, California and Alaska; the raised but relatively flat plateau of the Canadian Shield in the northeast;
3. The varied eastern region: including the Appalachian Mountains, the coastal plain of the Atlantic Seaboard, and the Florida peninsula.
4. Mexico and its long plateaus and cordilleras fall largely in the western region, although the eastern coastal plain does extend south along the Gulf.
Physiographic Division
• The Western Cordilleras
The Western Cordilleras are young fold mountain ranges spread from Alaska to Mexico. It consist of the Rocky Mountain range in the east, the Sierra Nevada range at the center of the continent, the Coastal range in the west and the Alaskan range in the north. The highest peak of North America is Mount Mickinely.
The plateaus surrounded by mountain ranges are the Columbia plateau, the Colorado plateau and Mexican plateau. The Great Basin also lies in the Western Cordilleras.
The plateau of Colorado lies to its south. There are many gorges in the Colorado plateau, and many of them are almost 1,800 metres deep.Very deep gorges with wall-like sides are called canyons.The Canyon of Colorado in the largest canyon in the world. This area consists of the Appalachian Mountains and their extension to Labrador and New Foundland.
• The Great Central Plains
The Great Central Plains are located between the Western Cordilleras and the Eastern Highlands, the Great Central Plains show a variety of physical features.
The North American Great Central Plains also contain the hot and dry deserts of Arizona and Mexico towards the south and also the famous Niagara falls.
The Crater Lake is a spectacular mountain lake located in the Cascade Mountains of the United States of America. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and the seventh deepest in the world. It is known to terrify visitors with its oppressive stillness.
These plains also host the five big lakes of North America- The Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huran, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. These provide the plains with an ample supply of fresh water. The Great Central Plains contain the vast and flat Mississippi river basin in its central and southern parts.
 The Eastern Highlands
The Eastern Highlands include the Appalachian ranges and the Labrador plateau. To east of the  Appalachian The Piedmont and the Atlantic coastal plains are located. The Appalachian ranges and the Labrador Plateau are separated by the St. Lawrence Valley.
Climate of North America
The climate is divided as:
 Tundra type of climate: This type of climate prevails in northern parts of Canda and Greeenland. Winters are long and very cold while summers are cool and short. Blizzards, severe cold winds blow  during winter.
• Cool Temperate Interior type of climate: This type of climate prevails to the south of Tundra region. Where,  tempearture is below freezing point in winter and summers are warm.The annual precipitation is low with a maximum in summer.
• Laurentian type of climate: Laurentian type of climate  is around the valley of river St.Lawrence.Here winters are cold due to Cold Labrador current and summers are warm due to the Gulf stream current.
• West European type of climate: This type of climate is along the north western coast. Due to the warm pacific drift the sea and rivers are free from freezing
• Continental interior type of climate: This type of climate is experienced by the central central parts of USA. Here, winters cold Summers are quite hot. The rainfall is  uncertain and often drought like conditions prevail.
• Warm Temperate East margin type of climate: This type of climate is found in Eastern USA. Summers are hot and humid while winters are cool and relatively dry in this region.
 The Mediterranean type of climate: This type of climate is found along the west coast of California. Here, summers are hot and dry but winters are mild and wet.
• The Hot Desert type of climate: This type of climate is found in southern California, Arizona and northern parts of  Mexico. Summers are very hot and dry. Days are quite hot but nights become very cold. This is extreme type of climate.
 The Mountainous type of climate: The Mountainous type of climate is found in the Rocky Mountains, which is controlled by the altitude.
Important Rivers of North America

Great Lakes
• The Great Lakes — Superior, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Erie — make up the largest body of fresh water on Earth, accounting for one-fifth of the freshwater surface on the planet
• The lakes are on the U.S.-Canadian border, touching Ontario in Canada and Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York in the United States.
• Lake Superior has the largest volume of all the Great Lakes. It is the coldest and deepest and because it has a cooler climate and poor soil conditions it is the least polluted.
• Lake Michigan is the second largest of the Great Lakes. It is located completely within the United States. It is the only one of the Great Lakes to be completely within one country.
• Lake Huron, by volume, is the third largest of the Great Lakes. Lake Huron also includes Georgian Bay. Lake Huron is popular with cottagers because it has shallow sandy beaches and rocky beaches suitable for swimming, boating, fishing, and other water activities.
• Lake Erie is the smallest Great Lake in terms of volume, but the fourth largest in area.
• The largest salt mine in the world is the Goderich Mine which runs partially under Lake Huron.
Important Seas, Bays and Gulfs
Important Islands

Institutions For Maintaining Transparency


Institutions For Maintaining Transparency

Institutions For Maintaining Transparency

Information Commission
• In order to promote transparency and accountability in administration, the Indian Parliament enacted the Right to Information Act which came into force on 12 October 2005. It empowers citizens to seek information from a Public Authority, thus making the Government and its functionaries more accountable and responsible.
• The act sets up a practical regime for citizens to access information available with public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in their working.
Central Information Commission
• When established? On 12-10-2005 under the Right to Information Act, 2005.
• Headquarter – New Delhi
 Composition  1 Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and not more than 10 Information Commissioners (IC) who are appointed by the President.
• Powers and Functions –
a) Receive and inquire into complaints from any person relating to access to information under the control of public authorities and to decide appeals against the decisions of designated appellate officers.
b) Impose penalties on erring Central Public Information Officers and recommend disciplinary action against those who have, without any reasonable cause, denied access to information under the provisions of the Act or deprived a citizen of right to access information with public authorities in a malafide manner.
c) To require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other damage suffered.
d) The decision of the Commission on an appeal is binding and is not subject to further appeal in a court of law.
e) Recommend public authorities the steps which ought to be taken for promoting conformity with the provisions of the Act.
f) While inquiring into a complaint the CIC has the same powers as are vested in a civil court trying a suit like summoning and enforcing the attendance of persons and compelling them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce documents or things; requiring the discovery and inspection of documents; receiving evidence on affidavit; requisitioning any public record or copies thereof from any court or office; issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents etc.
g) The Commission may, during the inquiry into any complaint, examine any record under the control of the public authority, and no such record may be withheld from it on any grounds.
State Information Commission
• When established? The State Information Commission is constituted by the State Government through a Gazette notification.
• Composition – A State Chief Information Commissioner and not more than Ten State Information Commissioners appointed by the Governor.
• Most of the powers & functions of the State Information Commission are similar to that of its counterpart at the national level.
Consumer Dispute Redressal Agencies
• Consumer Forums have been established across country at the different levels with view to provide speedy, less expensive and simple, hassle-free dispute redressal to the consumers.
• The Consumer Protection Act provides three tier dispute redressal agencies namely the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission & the District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum. All these agencies are quasi-judicial in terms of nature and power.
National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission
• When established? Set up in 1988 under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986
 Headquarter – New Delhi
• Composition –
a) A President who is or has been the judge of Supreme Court
b) Four other members including one woman member & not more than fifty percent of the members should be from judicial background
• Jurisdiction of National Commission has been categorized in five parts i.e. pecuniary, territorial, appellate, revisional and review of jurisdiction.
• Powers of the National Commission
a) It has some powers of civil court, criminal court
b) To make summary judgment
c) Exercise of administrative control over all the State Commissions by calling for periodical returns regarding the institution, disposal and pendency of cases
d) Power to issue instructions regarding adoption of uniform procedure in the hearing of the matters, prior service of copies of documents produced by one party to the opposite parties, oversee the functioning of the District Forums to ensure that the objects and purposes of the Act are best served, without interfering with their quasi-judicial freedom.
• Any person aggrieved by an order of the National Commission may prefer an Appeal against such order to the Supreme Court within a period of 30 days.
State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission
• When established? Set up under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986
 Composition –
a) A President who is or has been the judge of High Court
b) Two other members including a woman member & not more than fifty percent of the members should be from judicial background
• Jurisdiction of National Commission has been categorized into pecuniary, territorial, appellate, and revisional jurisdiction
• Most of the powers & functions of the State Commission are similar to that of its counterpart at the national level.
District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum
• When established? Set up under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986
• Composition –
a) A President who is or has been the judge of District Court
b) Two other members including a woman member
• Jurisdiction of District Forum has been categorized into pecuniary, territorial, and appellate jurisdiction
• Most of the powers & functions of the District Forum are similar to that of its counterpart at the national & state level.
CBI derives power to investigate from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. Later on, the Government of India set up Central Bureau of Investigation by a resolution dated 1st April, 1963. Hence, CBI is not a statutory body as it was created by executive resolution.
The CBI is subject to three ministries of the Government of India and two Constitutional bodies-
– Ministry of Home Affairs: Cadre Clearance
– DoPT: Administration, Budget and Induction of non IPS officers
– Union Public Service Commission: Officers of and above the rank of Deputy SP
– Law and Justice Ministry: Public prosecutors
– Central Vigilance Commission: Anti-corruption cases.
• Special Cells were created to take up investigations in important & sensational cases of conventional nature.
• Over a period of time, some of the work originally allotted to the CBI was transferred to other organizations. Part of the work relating to Crime Records and Statistics Division was transferred to NCRB and that relating to Research Division was transferred to BPR&D.
• In the last 65 years, the organization has evolved from an anti corruption agency to a multi faceted, multi disciplinary central police law enforcement agency.
• Director, CBI as Inspector General of Police, Delhi Special Police Establishment, is responsible for the administration of the organization. With enactment of CVC Act, 2003, the Superintendence of Delhi Special Police Establishment vests with the Central Government except investigations of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, in which, the superintendence vests with the Central Vigilance Commission.
• CBI has been provided security of two year tenure in CBI by the CVC Act, 2003. The CVC Act also provides mechanism for selection of Director, CBI and other officers of the rank of SP and above in CBI.
At Present CBI has following divisions:
– Anti Corruption Division
– Economic Offences Division
– Special Crimes Division
– Directorate of Prosecution
– Administration Division
– Policy & Coordination Division
Central Forensic Science Laboratory
 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
During the early stages of World War-II, the then Government of India realized that the enormously expanded expenditure for purposes connected with the war had brought about a situation in which unscrupulous and antisocial persons, both officials and non-officials, were enriching themselves dishonestly at the cost of the public and the Government. It was felt that the Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies, which functioned under the State Governments, were not adequate to cope with the situation. It was under these circumstances, that the setting up of a separate organization to investigate offences connected with these transactions became a dire necessity. Consequently, the organization known as the Special Police Establishment (S.P.E.) was created under a Deputy Inspector- General of Police by the Government of India, in 1941, by an executive order.
The functions of the S.P.E. were to investigate cases of bribery and corruption in transactions with which the War and Supply Department of the Government of India was concerned.
Even after the end of the War, the need for a Central Government agency to investigate cases of bribery and corruption by Central Government employees was felt. This was subsequently replaced by the Delhi Special Police Establishment 1946. This Act transferred the superintendence of the SPE to the Home Department and its functions were enlarged to cover all departments of the Govt. of India. The jurisdiction of the SPE extended to all the Union Territories and could be extended also to the States with the consent of the State Government concerned.
The DSPE renamed as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 1963. Initially the offences that were notified by the Central Government related only to corruption by Central Govt. servants. In due course, with the setting up of a large number of public sector undertakings, the employees of these undertakings were also brought under CBI purview. Similarly, with the nationalization of the banks in 1969, the Public Sector Banks and their employees also came within the ambit of the CBI.
As the CBI, over the years, established a reputation for impartiality and competence, demands were made on it to take up investigation of more cases of conventional crime such as murder, kidnapping, terrorist crime, etc. Apart from this, even the Supreme Court and the various High Courts of the country also started entrusting such cases for investigation to the CBI on petitions filed by aggrieved parties.
It was therefore decided in 1987 to constitute two investigation divisions in the CBI, namely, Anti-Corruption Division and Special Crimes Division, the latter dealing with cases of conventional crime, besides economic offences.
Even though the CBI is empowered to investigate all offences notified by the Central Government under Section 3 of the DSPE Act, 1946, it does not take up all such cases keeping in view its limited resources and its powers being concurrent and coextensive with those of the State Police Forces, which if exercised without coordination with the State Police, might lead to conflict and duplication of efforts. To avoid such duplication, an administrative arrangement has been arrived at by CBI with the State Police Forces, according to which:
a) The cases, which are substantially and essentially against Central Government employees or concerning affairs of the Central Government, shall be investigated by CBI although certain employees of the State Government may also be involved. The State Police or State Anti-Corruption Bureau will render necessary assistance to the CBI, during investigation and prosecution of such cases.
b) The cases, which are essentially and substantially against State Government employees or are in respect of matters concerning the State Government, shall be investigated by the State Police irrespective of the fact that certain employees of the Central Government are also involved as co-accused. CBI will just assist them.
c) Cases relating to the breaches of Central Laws; Big cases of fraud, cheating, embezzlement etc; Cases having interstate and international ramifications CBI will be the sole authority engaged in investigation of cases.
But because of limited resources and need to concentrate on cases having interstate or international ramifications and those involving bribery and corruption CBI is not able to take up all the cases committed by Central Government employees such as ordinary cases of theft, misappropriation and cheating.
• Central Vigilance Commission
In the Transparency International rankings for 2011, India was placed 95th among the 183 countries rated. Corruption flourishes in India because it is perceived to be a low risk, high profit business. In service delivery, there is lack of transparency in rules and procedures, and significant delays in operations or functioning. The lack of transparency provides an opportunity for public servants to mislead citizens who have to transact business with them, and extract bribes. Certainly, the size of India’s parallel economy (or black market), estimated at 40% of GDP, provides fertile ground for corruption to flourish. Equally important, the corrupt face little deterent. There are enormous delays in the prosecution of cases in courts. What is worse, the conviction rate is hardly 6% in criminal cases.
Thus to propagate the idea of zero tolerance for corruption the Central Vigilance Commission was set up by the Government in February, 1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention  of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam, to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the field of vigilance.
CVC is conceived to be the apex vigilance institution, free of control from any executive authority, monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government and advising various authorities in Central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.
CVC is a multi member body consisting of a central Vigilance Commissioner and not more than two vigilance commissioners. They are appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal on the recommendation of a three member committee consisting of the Prime Minister as its head, the Union minister of home affairs and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
The jurisdiction of CVC extends to members of All india Services; officers of scale V and above in public sector banks; officers in D Grade in RBI, NABARD and SIDBI, Managers in Insurance companies etc.
Some initiatives taken by the CVC to combat corruption
a) Project Vigeye
CVC has launched the Project Vigeye which is a citizen-centric initiative, wherein citizens join hands with the Central Vigilance Commission in fighting corruption in India.
Project Vigeye is the platform through which vigilance information flows freely through common public, the government agencies and the vigilance commission, making it possible to achieve a step jump in improving the corruption index of the nation.
Salient features:
• Citizens have multiple channels to air their grievances and complaints to CVC
– Through their mobile phones: by downloading the mobile application from the CVC website. The complaints can be better articulated with additional data like audio/ video/ photo evidence from their mobiles directly.
– Through the internet: by filling up the complaint form online they can attach audio/video/photo evidence.
– Through telephone: help line have been setup
• The entire complaint processing is done online, in digital form, enabling fast and accurate processing of complaints.
• The concerned CVO will interact with the complainant directly over phone/email or in person, as the case may be, to take it forward.
• Status of the complaint is communicated back to the complainant – the communication loop becomes complete.
Lokpal and Lokayukta
The ‘Lokpal’ is the central governing body that has jurisdiction over all members of parliament and central government employees in case of corruption. Whereas, the ‘Lokayukta’ is similar to the Lokpal, but functions on a state level.  Scope of the ‘Lokpal’ is based on a national government level basis and the scope of the ‘Lokayukta’ relied on a state level.
The main function is to address complaints of corruption, to make inquiries, investigations, and to conduct trials for the case on respective state and central government with having responsibility to help in curbing the corruption in the central and state government.
Salient features of the Act
1. The Lokpal to consist of a Chairperson and a maximum of eight Members, of which fifty percent shall be judicial Members. Fifty per cent of members of Lokpal shall be from amongst SC, ST, OBCs, Minorities and Women.
2. The selection of Chairperson and Members of Lokpal shall be through a Selection Committee consisting of –
a) Prime Minister;
b) Speaker of Lok Sabha;
c) Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha;
d) Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court Judge nominated by CJI;
e) An eminent jurist to be nominated by the President of India
3. A Search Committee will assist the Selection Committee in the process of selection.  Fifty per cent of members of the Search Committee shall also be from amongst SC, ST, OBCs, Minorities and Women.
4. Lokpal’s jurisdiction will cover all categories of public servants including Group ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ & ‘D’ officers and employees of Government.  On complaints referred to CVC by Lokpal, CVC will send its report of Preliminary enquiry in respect of Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ officers back to Lokpal for further decision.  With respect to Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ employees, CVC will proceed further in exercise of its own powers under the CVC Act subject to reporting and review by Lokpal.
5. All entities receiving donations from foreign source in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of Rs. 10 lakhs per year are brought under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
6. Lokpal will have power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by Lokpal.
7. A high powered Committee chaired by the Prime Minister will recommend selection of the Director, CBI.
8. Attachment and confiscation of property of public servants acquired by corrupt means, even while prosecution is pending.
Enquiry procedure
The Lokpal’s inquiry wing is required to inquire into complaints within 60 days of their reference.  On considering an inquiry report the Lokpal shall-
(i) order an investigation; (ii) initiate departmental proceedings; or (iii) close the case and proceed against the complainant for making a false and frivolous complaint.  The investigation shall be completed within 6 months.  The Lokpal may initiate prosecution through its Prosecution Wing before the Special Court set up to adjudicate cases.  The trial shall be completed within a maximum of two years.
The recent amendment has amended Section 44.
a) Now the every public servantshall make declaration of their assets and liabilities in the form and manner as prescribed by government. It has abolished the previous 30 days timeline.
b) Gives extension of the time given to public servants and trustees and board members of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to declare their assets and those of their spouses.
1) Press Council of India
• When established? On 4 July 1966 as an autonomous, statutory, quasi-judicial body.
• Headquarter – New Delhi
 Composition – A Chairman (by convention a retired judge of the Supreme Court), 28 other members of whom 20 represent the press and nominated by the press organizations/news agencies, five members nominated from the two Houses of Parliament and three represent cultural, literary and legal fields as nominees of the Sahitya Academy, University Grants Commission and the Bar Council of India
• Functions of the PCI –
a) to help newspapers to maintain their independence
b) to build up a code of conduct for newspapers and journalists
c) to ensure maintenance of high standards of public taste
d) to encourage a sense of responsibility and public service in the journalism
e) to promote common services for the supply and dissemination of news to newspapers
f) to provide facilities for proper education and training in journalism
 Powers of the PCI –
a) Power to Censure on receipt of a complaint when a newspaper or news agency has offended against the standards of journalistic ethics, public taste, professional conduct. The decision of the Council shall be final and shall not be questioned in any court of law.
b) The Council shall have the powers vested in a civil court namely summoning and enforcing the attendance of persons and examining them on oath, requiring the discovery and inspection of documents, receiving evidence on affidavits, requisitioning any public record or copies thereof from any court or office etc.
c) Every inquiry held by the Council shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code.

Pressure Groups


Pressure Groups

The term ‘pressure group’ refers to any interest group whose members because of their shared common attributes make claims on the other groups and on the political process. They pursue their interests by organising themselves and by influencing the governmental policies. Their aim is to see that laws or government’s actions are favorable to their interests.
Pressure groups are defined by three key features:
• They seek to exert influence from outside, rather than to win or exercise government power. Pressure groups do not make policy decisions, but rather try to influence those who do (the policy-makers). In that sense, they are ‘external’ to government.
• They typically have a narrow issue focus. In some cases, they may focus on a single issue (for instance opposing a planned road development).
• Their members are united by either a shared belief in a particular cause or a common set of interests. People with different ideological and party preferences may thus work happily together as members of the same pressure group.
These groups influence both public policy as well as administration. They also contribute towards determination of political structure of society and the form of government. Any social group which seeks to influence the behaviour of any political officer, both administrative as well as legislative, without attempting to gain formal control of the government can be called a pressure group.
Types of Pressure Group
Although they can be distinguished in a variety of ways (including local/national/transnational groups and temporary/permanent groups) the most common distinctions are between:
1. Interest and Cause Groups
Interest groups (sometimes called ‘sectional’, ‘protective’ or ‘functional’ groups) are groups that represent a particular section of society: workers, employers, consumers, an ethnic or religious group, and so on.
Interest groups have the following features:
a. They are concerned to protect or advance the interests of their members
b. Membership is limited to people in a particular occupation, career or economic position
c. Members are motivated by material self-interest
Trade unions, business corporations, trade associations and professional bodies are the prime examples of this type of group. They are called ‘sectional’ groups because they represent a particular section of the population.
Cause groups activities range from charity activities, poverty reduction, education and the environment, to human rights, international development and peace. Cause groups have the following features:
a. They seek to advance particular ideals or principle
b. Membership is open to all
c. Members are motivated by moral or altruistic concerns (the betterment of others)
Specific examples of cause groups include the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), Amnesty International, etc.
2. Insiders and outsiders
Insider groups are groups that are consulted on a regular basis by government. They operate ‘inside’ the decision-making process, not outside. Their degree, regularity and level of consultation varies, of course. ‘Ultra-insider’ groups are regularly consulted at ministerial or senior official level within the executive. They may also sit on government policy committees and agencies and have links to parliamentary select committees.
Outsider groups, by contrast, have no special links to government. They are kept, or choose to remain, at arm’s length from government. They therefore try to exert influence indirectly via the mass media or through public opinion campaigns.
Pressure groups can be seen as providing an additional form of representation within the political system and an additional channel of political communication.
Pressure Groups promote Democracy
Pressure groups have played a significant role in those developing countries which have a more stable government and political system or which have adopted democracy as its system. The role of pressure groups in a developing countries with a stable political system are listed out in the following :
• They balance the national and particular interests. They constitute links of communication between the citizens and the state.
• They render a necessary service by making much valuable data available to governmental agencies and to the public in general. They supply necessary information and accurate statistic to policy-makers. With the help of the data supplied by the pressure groups, the pressure groups can support the necessary arguments. Thus, from a mass of conflicting information and views, the truth can always be discerned.
• A democracy which permits its citizens to express their varying interest and desires thereby gain a sort of ‘Build In’ protection against the emergence of a single, dominant social force. Businessmen, workers, farmers, social groups, women and religious groups- all seek to advance their own interests, but they are forced to compete with one another. The inevitable result is that they balance each other’s demands and this countervailing tendency protects the society against the threat that an individual group will come to wield total power.
• Pressure groups keep democracy alive during the interval and during the elections, and constitute a barrier against inter-regnums. They supplement the party system and the formal instruments of government by serving as spokesman of special interests within society.
• Pressure Groups have become a legislature behind a legislature. By their zeal and enthusiasm, their expertise knowledge and specialised skills, they influenced law-making on the floor of the legislatures.
• The powers and functions of the government are increasing day by day. The theory of the welfare state and the method of planned development are the new phenomenon which have led to growth of government power. Socialism and Positivism have increased them considerably and today we need ‘Groups’ as a shield against the sword wielded by the government.

National Mission on Bio-Economy


National Mission on Bio-Economy

National Mission on Bio-economy was launched in Shillong, Meghalaya by the Institute of Bio-resources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) under the Ministry of Science and Technology, In order to boost rural economy by utilizing bio-resources. The mission is unique to south-east Asia and India has become one of the few countries to have tapped bio-resources, which when optimally utilized can create a large number of jobs at village level.
National Mission on Bio-economy envisages the development of a roadmap for an actionable policy recommendation involving all stakeholders for the transformation of India through job creation from small scale livelihood enterprises to commercial scale production for increased economic growth through technological packages to increase primary production, value addition of the unique bio-resources through industrial biotechnology and provision of bio services, with tailored packages that are relevant to specific regions across India.
The purpose of the mission is to boost rural economy by utilizing bio-resources Besides, it can be optimally utilized can create a large number of jobs at village level
The mission could have the potential to generate new solutions for the planet’s major challenges in the field of energy, health, food, water, climate change and deliver social, environmental and economic benefits.

Shyam Benegal Committee Submits Recommendations on Film Certification


Shyam Benegal Committee Submits Recommendations on Film Certification

• A Committee was set up under the Chairmanship of Shyam Benegal to lay down a holistic framework for certification of films, to lay down norms for film certification that take note of best practices in various parts of the world and give sufficient and adequate space for artistic and creative expression, to lay down procedures and guidelines for the benefit of the CBFC Board to follow and examine staffing patterns with a view to recommending a framework that would provide efficient and transparent user friendly services.
• The Highlights of the recommendations of the committee broadly cover the areas related to Film Certification Process and its simplification, Restructuring staffing pattern of Central & Regional censor advisory panels and Recertification of films for purposes of telecast on television and measures to preserve the identity of Indian Cinema.
• Following are the major highlights of the report –
a) CBFC should only be a film certification body whose scope should be restricted to categorizing the suitability of the film to audience groups on the basis of age and maturity except in the following instances to refuse certification –
• When a film contains anything that contravenes the provisions of Section 5B (1) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
• When content in a film crosses the ceiling laid down in the highest category of certification.
b) The applicant must specify the category of certification being sought and the target audience.
c) The objective of these guidelines would be to ensure that –
• Children and adults are protected from potentially harmful or unsuitable content
• Audiences, particularly parents are empowered to make informed viewing decisions
• Artistic expression and creative freedom are not unduly curbed in the process of classification of films
• The process of certification by CBFC is responsive, at all times, to social change
• The certification by CBFC keeps within the rights and obligations as laid down in the Indian Constitution.
d) Regarding the categorisation of films, the committee recommends that it should be more specific and apart from U category, the UA Category can be broken up into further sub-categories – UA12+ & UA15+. The A category should also be sub-divided into A and AC (Adult with Caution) categories.
e) The Certification of films shall be carried out in accordance with the Guidelines proposed for certification that have been split into three sections, with each section required to be read with the other two – General Guidelines, Issue Related Guidelines and Category Specific Guidelines.
f) The committee has also made certain recommendations regarding the functioning of the board and has stated that the Board, including Chairman, should only play the role of a guiding mechanism for the CBFC, and not be involved in the day-to-day affairs of certification of films. The functions of the Board shall be confined to the duties defined in the existing CBFC rules, which inter alia include an annual review of CBFC work, submission of annual report to the government, review of public reactions to films, and periodic recommendations for revision of guidelines. Given these limited functions, the size of the Board should be compact with one member representing each Regional Office. Therefore, the total composition of the Board should not be more than nine members and one Chairman.
g) Online submission of applications as well as simplification of forms and accompanying documentation should be done.
h) Recertification of a film for purposes of telecast on television or for any other purpose should be permitted.
i) In order to preserve Indian Cinema, the committee recommends that every applicant be asked to deposit the Director’s Cut in the NFAI for preservation of Indian Cinema, instead of the certified version, in order to truly reflect the cinematic history of Indian cinema.
j) Out-of-turn certification may be permitted for which the applicant would have to pay five times the fee that would have to be paid if the certification were done in the normal course.
k) In the event that complaints are received by the Central Government, the same shall be referred to the CBFC. The Chairperson may, if he considers it necessary to do so, refer the film to a Revising Committee for examination once again, on account of alleged violation of Section 5B(1) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

Sai Praveen

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