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Ban on porn sites, legitimate content, and limitations on social media: Indian Govt.

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ban on porn in india

ban on porn in india

The plan is to begin by creating a list of pornography sites, especially those hosting child porn, and provide that to Internet service providers (ISPs) to block. And then, to ensure that largescale blocking does not slow Internet access, service providers will be asked to upgrade their infrastructure. The Internet and Mobile Association of India has been asked to curate the list.

On September 5th 2014, 23 individuals, including Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, CERT-IN head Gulshan Rai, government officials from DoT, Deity, CBI, as well as representatives of industry bodies like IAMAI, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, CII met in the Conference Room No. 1007 at the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (Deity) to discuss how such a filter might be implemented…Not whether there should be a filter at all, but how such a filter should be implemented.

In fact, when NASSCOM raised the issue of blocking legitimate content, the Telecom Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, who chaired the meeting, said that the “larger issue of respecting cultural values of the country and sentiments of the Indian society need to be considered and all possible ways and means may have to be devised in this context.”

In addition, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that, along with CERT-In , they are “working together to block websites containing objectionable contents having the potential to create communal violence and law and order problem as well as sensitive from the national security point of view. He further added that Ministry of I&B has set up National Media Centre to monitor contents of various websites on the Internet on 24 x 7 basis.”

The CRAC (Cyber Regulation Advisory Committee) meeting was looking to filteration of the web, following the filing of a writ petition by Kamlesh Vasvani in the Supreme Court of India, alleging that “easy access to porn websites results in illegal activities like rape, harassment, molestations of women.” The filter is likely to be created for censoring porn online, but as we pointed out earlier, this itself is tricky.

Why we’re worried

1. It’s not about porn alone: The problem with blocking pornography is the collateral damage that comes along with it. In the minutes of the meeting, Gulshan Rai, DG, CERT-IN, refers to a letter from Sharad Pawar, MP and leader of the NCP, to the Prime Minister, which raises the issue of incidents “of communal and related violence in Maharastra triggered by objectionable profiles posted on the social networking sites, hurting sentiments of certain sections of society.”

2. Once a filter is in place, it’s mandate will increase: The last line of the minutes of the meeting: “Regarding the misuse of social media for disturbing social harmony in the country, MCIT requested MHA to look into the matter and evolve steps to prevent misuse.”

If we set up a filter, and politicians want content blocked because it hurts certain sections of society, the government will start blocking everything. The mandate will expand to blocking other content as well.

3. We won’t know what is blocked: We’ve seen from the Department of Telecom in the past, there is lack of transparency on what all is being blocked, why it is being blocked. The Department is yet to even acknowledge an RTI filed by MediaNama, for copies of orders related to blocking content, that do not pertain national security concerns. We’ve filed an appeal with the appellate authority. But we never know what is blocked or why it has been blocked.

4. We won’t know how to get content unblocked: Today, if the government blocks a site, whether because of a court order or because a political party doesn’t like criticism, we don’t know how to get the blocks removed. There is no recourse.

5. Filters will make blocking easier: which means more blocks, implemented more quickly, and with lack of transparency, things can get crazy and whimsical.

The social media issue is concerned, the meeting doesn’t shed much light on how the content screening will take place. Will criticism of the government’s policies also come under this web-filtration? We have no details on the specifics. And let’s not forget India is the leader when it comes to blocking content on Facebook.

As the Medianama piece rightly points out the ambiguity of what could end up getting filtered is what makes this scary. Additionally the whole ‘pornography is against Indian culture’ idea is also worrying because it shows that the government is going along with a rigid definition of what is presumed as the “correct” Indian culture. More details about the meetings are available here

Credits: Medianama/Firstpost

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal’s Schools, Colleges to Re-Open for Regular Classes in Feb, DDU Shimla to be Notified Non-COVID Hospital

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Schools re-opens in Himachal Pradesh pradesh

Shimla-Schools in Himachal Pradesh would open for regular classes from February 1, 2021, the State Government decided in a meeting of Cabinet held on Friday.  

All the teachers of summer closing government schools have been asked to attend the schools from 27th of this month. The students of classes 5 and 8 to 12 of summer closing schools would be allowed to attend regular classes from 1st February 2021 by strictly following laid down SOPs. The school management would have to ensure strict use of face masks, social distancing and use of sanitisers in the school premises.

In winter closing schools of Himachal, the students of classes 5 and 8 to 12 would be allowed to attend regular classes after winter vacations with effect from 15th February 2021. Online system for education under Har Ghar Pathshala would continue. The similar system can be adopted by the private schools in the State, the Cabinet suggested.  

 Similarly, ITIs and Polytechnic and Engineering colleges would also be opened from 1st February 2021.  

All the government colleges would be opened for regular classes from 8th February 2021 after winter vacations.

There were reports that the government has also decided to allow gathering of more than 50 people.

It also decided to notify Zonal Hospital Dharamshala and DDU Hospital Shimla as Non-Covid Hospitals.

Further, State Government has constructed four Make Shift Hospitals at IGMC Shimla, CH Nalagarh, RPGMC, Tanda and Medical College, Ner Chowk. Now, the Cabinet said that due to reduction in Covid-19 active cases, the Cabinet decided to use the Make-Shift Hospital at:

  1. IGMC as Medicine Intensive Care Unit
  2. Make-Shift Hospital at RPGMC Tanda as Communicable Diseases/ Infectious Diseases Ward,
  3. Make-Shift Hospital at CH Nalagarh as Trauma Care Centre
  4. Make-Shift Hospital at SLBSGMC Mandi at Ner Chowk as Super Specialty Ward.

The Cabinet gave a mining lease on 599.1935 hectares of area for extraction of limestones and mining minerals for cement plant in villages Kamandal, Kumarla, Gitrata and Aara of Chopal Tehsil in Shimla district for three years to RCCPL Private Ltd., Navi Mumbai.

The Cabinet decided to set up Women Help Desks in District Police Offices and Police Thanas in the State. It also gave its nod to purchase 136 scooty/scooter alongwith 272 helmets and 136 Desktop Computer for the Women Help Desks in Police Department. 

Further, six posts of different categories for newly created Civil Courts at Jhandutta in Bilaspur district and Jaisinghpur in Kangra district would be created and filled, the Cabinet decided.

 

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Environment

The GHNP and Tirthan Wildlife Sanctuary Ranked as Best Managed Protected Areas of India

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MEE Rank himachal pradesh GHNP

Shimla-The Great Himalayan National Park and Tirthan Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS) have been ranked as the best managed protected areas in India. Sainj WLS has also been placed among the top five Sanctuaries.

Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, on January 11 released Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of 146 National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaries in the Country. At present, India has a network of 903 Protected Areas in the country covering about 5% of the total geographic area of the country. The purpose of it was to assess the efficacy of Protected Areas, evaluation of management effectiveness.

The evaluation process was executed by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, in which  nation-wide 146 National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries, including 13 protected areas of Himachal Pradesh, were assessed through a team of evaluators. The score is given for various parameters including staff position, provision of financial resources, degree of protection, peoples’ participation and awareness of the communities towards the conservation values. Against a national average of 62 percent GHNP and Tirthan WLS scored a high of 84.17 percent while Sainj recorded 82.5 percent.

Currently, Himachal Pradesh has a network of 5 National Parks, 28 Wildlife Sanctuaries and 3 Conservation Reserves covering 8391.42 km2 which is 15 percent of the total geographical area of the state.

Top five and bottom five scored NP&WLS

Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of 146 National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaries in India 2

Source: MEE Evaluation Report

According to this Evaluation three of the top five best managed Protected Areas in the country are from Himachal Pradesh. However, the Evaluation also mentioned weaknesses in management in these National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. (Scroll down for details info)

Top two highest and lowest scored NP&WLS in five regions

Managemaent Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of 146 National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaries in India

Source: MEE Evaluation Report

What is Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE)?

Protected area (PA) management effectiveness evaluation (MEE) is defined as the assessment of how well NP&WLS are being managed—primarily, whether they are protecting their values and achieving the goals and objectives agreed upon.

The term ‘management effectiveness’ reflects three main themes of PA management -design issues relating to both individual sites and PA systems, the adequacy and appropriateness of management systems and processes, and delivery of the objectives of NP&WLS, including conservation of values.

 Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of Protected Areas (PAs) has emerged as a key tool for PA managers and is increasingly being used by governments and international bodies to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the protected area management systems.

MEE is a very important document that provides valuable guidance on various aspects of wildlife and protected area expand MEE of Marine Protected Areas. A new framework for MEE of Marine Protected Areas has been also jointly prepared by WII and MoEF&CC.

In recent years there has been a general concern amongst PA professionals and the public that many NP&WLS are failing to achieve their objectives and, in some cases, are actually losing the values for which they were established (Hockings et al. 2008).

As a result, improving the effectiveness of PA management has become a priority throughout the conservation community. Protected areas that are effectively managed generally lead to improved biodiversity outcomes.

However, only 20% (21,743 NP&WLS) of the total coverage of protected areas reported in the WDPA has been assessed for management effectiveness according to the Global Database on Protected Areas Management Effectiveness (UNEP-WCMC, IUCN and NGS 2018). The result indicated that only 17.5% of the countries have achieved the 60% score of management effectiveness (Coad et al. 2015).

Further, Javadekar also announced that from this year onwards 10 best National Parks, 5 coastal and Marine parks and top five Zoos in the country will be ranked and awarded every year.

Management Strengths and Weaknesses of National Parks and Wild Life Sanctuaries in Himachal Pradesh

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Campus Watch

Proposed HPBOSE Date-Sheets for 8th, 10th, 12th Exams 2021 Issued, Objections Invited till Feb 10

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HPBOSE Exam Datesheet 2021

Shimla-Date-sheets for Class 10, 12, and 8 yearly examinations for the 2020-21 session have been released by the Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education yesterday. These schedules would apply to both regular and State Open School (SOS) students. 

These are proposed date-sheets, which have been uploaded on the official HPBOSE website and objections have been invited from teachers, students, and parents. Objections can be mailed on [email protected] till 10 February 2021.

According to the proposed HPBOSE date-sheets, examinations for 10th class would be held from May 5 to May 20, 2021. For 12th class, exams would be held from May 4 to May 29. Exams for 8th class would be held from May 5 to May 19. While timings for class 10th and 8th would be 8:45 to 12 PM, class 12th exams would be conducted from 1:45 PM to 5 PM.

The Board has already decided that yearly examinations of HPBOSE for Class 10th and 12th for the session 2020-21 would not be conducted online. The decision was taken considering the fact that several regions of the state do not have Internet connectivity due to which students face difficulties.

HPBOSE Class 12 Date-Sheet 2021

HPBOSE Class 10 Date-Sheet 2021

HPBOSE Class 8 Date-Sheet 2021

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