- General election to 17th Lok Sabha, 2019 and State Legislative Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim 2019 - Media Coverage during the period referred to in Section 126 of RP Act, 1951.
- The Schedule for holding general election to the 17thLok Sabha 2019 and Legislative Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim 2019 has been announced on 10th March, 2019.
- Poll is scheduled to be held in multiple phases.
- Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, prohibits displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency.
- The relevant portions of the said Section 126 are re-produced below:
- (126. Prohibition of public meeting during period of forty-eight hours ending with hour fixed for conclusion ofpoll
(1) No person shall
Display to the public any election matter by means of cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus;
- During elections, there are sometimes allegations of violation of the provisions of the above Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 by TV channels in the telecast of their panel discussions/debates and other news and current affairs programmes. The Commission has clarified in the past that the said Section 126 prohibits displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency. "Election matter" has been defined in that Section as any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election. Violation of the aforesaid provisions of Section 126 is punishable with imprisonment upto a period of two years, or with fine or both.
- The Commission once again reiterates that the TV/Radio channels and cable networks/internet website/social media platforms should ensure that the contents of the programmes telecast/broadcast/ displayed by them during the period of 48 hours referred to in Section 126 do not contain any material, including views/appeals by panelists/participants that may be construed as promoting/ prejudicing the prospect of any particular party or candidate(s) or influencing/ affecting the result of the election. This shall, among other things include display of any opinion poll and of standard debates, analysis, visuals and sound-bytes.
- In this connection, attention is also invited to Section 126A of the R.P. Act 1951, which prohibits conduct of Exit poll and dissemination of its results during the period mentioned therein, i.e. the hour fixed for commencement of poll in the first phase and half an hour after the time fixed for close of poll for the last phase in all the States.
- During the period not covered by Section 126, concerned TV/Radio/Cable/FM channels/internet websites/Social Media platforms are free to approach the state/ district/ local authorities for necessary permission for conducting any broadcast/Telecast related events (other than exit polls) which must also conform to the provisions of the model code of conduct, the programme code laid down by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting under the Cable Network (Regulation) Act with regard to decency, maintenance of communal harmony, etc. All Internet websites and Social Media platforms must also comply with the provisions of The Information Technology Act, 2000 and ECI guidelines No491/SM/2013/Communication, dt 25th October,2013, for all political content on their platform.
- As regards political advertisement, the same needs pre-certification by the Committees set up at State/District level as per the Commission's order No. 509/75/2004/JSI, dt 15th April,2004.
- Attention of all print media is also drawn to the following guidelines issued by Press Council of India to follow for observance during the election:
i. It will be the duty of the Press to give objective reports about elections and the candidates. The newspapers are not expected to indulge in unhealthy election campaigns, exaggerated reports about any candidate/party or incident during the elections. In practice, two or three closely contesting candidates attract all the media attention. While reporting on the actual campaign, a newspaper may not leave out any important point raised by a candidate and make an attack on his or her opponent.
ii. Election campaign along communal or caste lines is banned under the election rules. Hence, the Press should eschew reports, which tend to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between people on the ground of religion, race, caste, community orlanguage.
iii. The Press should refrain from publishing false or critical statements in regard to the personal character and conduct of any candidate or in relation to the candidature or withdrawal of any candidate or his candidature, to prejudice the prospects of that candidate in the elections. The Press shall not publish unverified allegations against any candidate/party.
iv.The Press shall not accept any kind of inducement, financial or otherwise, to project a candidate/party. It shall not accept hospitality or other facilities offered to them by or on behalf of any candidate/party.
v . The Press is not expected to indulge in canvassing of a particular candidate/party. If it does, it shall allow the right of reply to the other candidate/party.
vi.The Press shall not accept/publish any advertisement at the cost of public exchequer regarding achievements of a party/ governmentin power.
vii. The Press shall observe all the directions/ orders/instructions of the Election Commission/Returning Officers or Chief Electoral Officer issued from time to time.
- Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has also developed a “Voluntary Code of Ethics” for all the participating social media platforms to ensure free, fair & ethical usage of their platforms to maintain integrity of electoral process during the general elections to the Lok Sabha 2019 and Legislative Assemblies of four states and the bye-elections being held simultaneously. Attention of all concerned Social Media platforms is invited to the following text of “Voluntary Code of Ethics” dt 20th March, 2019:
- "Guidelines were also issued for Election Broadcasts" by NBSA dt 3rd March, 2014.
- News Broadcasting Standards Authority is an independent body set up by the News Broadcasters Association. Its task is to consider and adjudicate upon complaints about broadcasts. The nine-member Authority comprises:
1) A Chairperson, being an eminent jurist;
2) Four eminent persons having special knowledge and/or practical experience in the field of law, education, medicine, science, literature, public administration, consumer affairs, environment, human psychology and/or culture; and
3) Four eminent editors employed with a broadcaster.
- The Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards laid down by NBA for violation of which a complaint may be made, include the following editorial principles:
- A news channel must:
- Ensure impartiality and objectivity in reporting
- Ensure neutrality
- Ensure that when reporting on crime, that crime and violence are not glorified
- Ensure utmost discretion while reporting on violence and crime against women and children
- Abhor sex and nudity
- Ensure privacy
- Ensure that national security is not endangered
- Refraining from advocating or encouraging superstition and occultism
- Ensure responsible sting operations
- NITI Aayog to organise FinTech Conclave 2019
- RBI Governor to inaugurate the Fin Tech 2019 Conclave
- Will facilitate stakeholder deliberation upon the future of India’s burgeoning FinTech space
- NITI Aayog is organising a day-long FinTech Conclave at Dr. Ambedkar International Center, New Delhi tomorrow on 25th March, 2019.
- The objective is to shape India’s continued ascendancy in FinTech, build the narrative for future strategy and policy efforts, and to deliberate steps for comprehensive financial inclusion, The Conclave will be featuring representatives from across the financial space – central ministries, regulators, bankers, startups, service providers and entrepreneurs.
- Conclave will host more than 300 representatives from the leading Financial Institutions including HDFC Bank, IndusInd, ICICI Bank, SBI Card, Tata Capital and FinTechs including BankBazaar, PhonePe, Capital Float, Zerodha, PayTM, MobiKwik, PayU, leading venture capital investors, state governments, MSMEs and industry subject matter experts.
- The valedictory session of the conclave shall include presentations consolidating sector-specific findings of the various breakout panels on themes such as Digital Onboarding of Customers/Merchants for Financial Inclusion, Building Financial Products for Millennial India, Emerging Areas of FinTech, Fast Tracking Investments in FinTech Industry and Financial Inclusion of MSMEs.
- Government of India’s efforts focused on Digital India and developing India Stack including Voluntary Aadhaar for financial inclusion have evoked significant interest from various stakeholders in the area of Financial Technology (FinTech).
- India is one of the fastest growing FinTech markets globally and industry research has projected that USD 1 Trillion or 60% of retail and SME credit, will be digitally disbursed by 2029.
- The Indian FinTech ecosystem is the third largest in the globe, attracting nearly USD 6 billion in investments since 2014.
- The Indian FinTech industry is creating cutting edge intellectual property assets in advanced risk management and artificial intelligence that will propel India forward in the global digital economy while simultaneously enabling paperless access to finance for every Indian.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
- Health Ministry commemorates World TB Day
- The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare commemorated the World TB Day with a function to mark the occasion, and reiterated the commitment to eliminating TB in the country by 2025.
- Ms. Preeti Sudan, Health Secretary presided over the function. She stressed on the importance of more sensitive and responsive doctors, paramedics, frontline health workers and community partners, while dealing with TB patients.
- The systems of care for TB patients should be patient – centric, and sympathetic to their wellbeing, she emphasised. She stated that India has been able to free of Polio, Yaws, MNTE due to the sturdy health systems, especially at the primary healthcare levels. S
- he stated that partnerships with all stakeholders hold the key to making India TB-free. She led the participants of the event to take a pledge to unite together to contribute and support towards making India TB free.
- Various presentations made at the event highlighted the key changes introduced in the policy landscape of TB in the country. India is now closest ever to covering all TB cases with 21.5 lakh new TB patients notified in 2018. With the aim of universal access to free diagnostics and treatment services, path breaking policy changes have been introduced. Universal drug susceptibility testing has been rolled out, shorter and newer treatment regimen has been expanded countrywide. India is moving towards an injection free regimen.
- Private sector engagement has been elevated as one of the highest priorities with strengthened regulatory measures, collaborative incentives and scale up of successful Patient Provider Support Agency (PPSA) interventions which led to a 35% increase in TB notification from the private sector.
- The Nikshay Poshan Yojana has benefited 15 lakh TB patients for nutrition support with Rs. 240 cores disbursed as DBT since April 2018. A comprehensive call centre (1XXX-XX-6666) for information, addressing grievance, patient linkages and provider relationship has been established.
- Institutional system of award for TB free status has been introduced to generate federal competitiveness, motivate and to bring about proactive actions from States and Districts. As on date, 15 lakh patients have been initiated in the Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) regime. TB forums at various levels in the states have been formed to remove stigma and to create awareness about the symptoms of the disease and the free treatment available at the government health facilities.
- 1180 CBNAAT labs have been made operational throughout the country, along with 4 lakh treatment support centres at the village level. These efforts have resulted in increase from 25% to 83% in the treatment success rates (2017-2018), and the TB prevalence rates have come down from 29% to 4%.
- TB champions from states shared their stories of overcoming the stigma of being a TB patient and motivating other patients to undergo the treatment. A special issue on TB of the Indian Journal of Tuberculosis and a toolkit on Patient Provider Support Agency were also unveiled at the function.