12 November 2020
A) Netflix, Amazon Prime, other OTT platforms now under government regulation.
The government has issued an order bringing online news portals and Over The Top (OTT) content providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hotstar under the regulatory purview of the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry. From now on, government regulations will also apply to news on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. At present, the Press Council of India regulates the print media, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) represents the news channels, the Advertising Standards Council of India regulates advertising, while the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) monitors films. Until now, there was no law or autonomous body governing digital content. This order, therefore, will give the government control over OTT platforms, which were unregulated till now. This is a move that could have potentially far-reaching consequences. We explain here in detail how the I&B Ministry might approach the question of digital content.
B) Nitish Kumar set to return as CM, thanks PM Modi for support.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose party Janata Dal (United) had a dismal performance in the Bihar Assembly elections, on 11 November he thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his support. Kumar-led JD(U) won only 43 seats out of the total of 115 that it contested under the NDA coalition umbrella. People are the real owners who gave majority to NDA. He pay his respect to them. He thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for getting his support, CM and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar tweeted. When the election results became clear late on Tuesday night, Kumar had not come out of his official residence to address media persons, or make any statement. He stayed confined to his sprawling bungalow, triggering speculation that he might take some surprise steps in view of his party’s dismal performance. However, his party men, along with the BJP national leadership, have reiterated that Kumar would be the chief minister of the state again. Before the elections, the BJP national leadership had announced that whatever numbers the NDA parties would get in the Bihar poll, Nitish Kumar will be the chief minister of the state. The new government in Bihar is expected to be formed after Diwali, with the state assembly likely to be constituted by November 29.
C) Supreme Court grants interim bail to Arnab Goswami.
The Supreme Court on November 11 ordered the Maharashtra government to forthwith release Republic TV editor-in-cheif Arnab Goswami and two others on interim bail in an abetment to suicide case, holding that personal liberty is increasingly becoming a casualty in the country. People are now put in jail for a tweet. They are travelling through the path of destruction of liberty. They may not like his ideology. Left to himself, he will not watch his channel. But citizens are sent to jail, high courts don’t grant bail. They have to send a strong message, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, heading the Bench, orally observed. The Bench, also comprising Justice Indira Banerjee, directed Goswami and two others to execute a personal bond of ₹50,000 each with the jail superintendent. The court said they should co-operate with the probe and not influence witnesses. Goswami had appealed to the apex court after the Bombay High Court refused him bail on November 9. During the day-long hearing, Justice Chandrachud referred to a recent case of a woman who was hauled up by the West Bengal government for a tweet.
D) Supreme Court refuses to interfere with Calcutta High Court crackers ban.
The Supreme Court on 11 November has refused to interfere with the Calcutta High Court order banning the use and sale of firecrackers in West Bengal on Kali Puja, saying preservation of life was more important amid the coronavirus pandemic. A vacation Bench of Justices D.Y.Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee said that though festivals were important, life itself has been in imperil amid the pandemic. The Bench said the high court knew the local conditions better and it should be allowed to do the needful. The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by one Gautam Roy and the Burrabazaar Fireworks Dealers Association, challenging the high court order last week banning the use and sale of firecrackers during the upcoming festivals, including Kali Puja and Chhath Puja, to curb pollution. Kali Puja will be celebrated on Saturday. They are all battling for life in this situation and all of them have elderly people in our home, it observed. They are in a situation where, at this time, preservation of life is more important and the high court knows what is required at the ground level.
E) Wholesale passenger vehicle sales up 14% in October: SIAM. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on 11 November has said wholesale passenger vehicle sales, i.e. the passenger vehicles dispatched by manufacturers to the dealers, continued its upward trend, rising 14.19% in October due to festive demand. The double-digit growth in wholesale comes even as retail sales of passenger vehicles in October declined nearly 9%, with factors such as lower discounts and supply chain-related issues dragging down demand, according to the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA). As per the data shared by the SIAM, passenger vehicle sales volume stood at more than 3.10 lakh units last month, as against approximately 2.71 lakh units in October 2019. This was driven by 9.68% growth in car sales to 1.82 lakh units, and 20.45% growth in utility vehicle sales to over 1.13 lakh units.
A) Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V shows 92% efficacy, says Russia.
Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has proven to be 92%efficacious among a group of volunteers who are part of Phase 3 trials to test the vaccine, the Russian Health Ministry said in a statement on 11 November. The results were based on an analysis of 20 participants in the trial who were confirmed Covid-19 positive. The trials consisted of 20,000 people who got one dose of the vaccine, and 16,000 who got two, 14 days apart. The efficacy percentage means that when cases were split among the placebo group and vaccinated group, 92% of those who were vaccinated were safe. This is close to the efficacy percentage claimed by Pfizer, which said on Monday that its m-RNA vaccine was 90% efficacious, though that relied on a larger Covid-19-positive volunteer set of 94. The Russian trials are ongoing in multiple countries, and a Phase 2/3 trial that tests for an immune reaction in a limited number of people is ongoing in India too. Hyderabad-based Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories is a partner of the Russian organization, Gamaleya Research Foundation, which has developed Sputnik V.
B) Ladakh standoff: India, China finalising phased disengagement plan.
India and China are working out modalities to finalize a plan for phased disengagement and de-escalation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, beginning with the North Bank of Pangong Tso. The proposal from the Chinese side, put forward at the eighth round of Corps Commander talks on November 6, includes pulling back their troops and equipment from Finger 4 to Finger 8 on the North Bank, two sources confirmed on 11 November. This is still a proposal under discussion and will be taken up at the next round of Corps Commander talks soon. Once agreed upon, it will be done in multiple phases, with on-ground verification after each step. There is no change in the ground situation as of now. Verification on the ground at each step, in addition to aerial monitoring using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), will be key to ensuring that the Chinese fully honour the understanding on the ground. Since the standoff began in early May, China has moved a large number of troops and equipment close to the LAC, in addition to the ingress by Chinese troops inside Indian territory at various places in eastern Ladakh. On the North Bank, Chinese troops made ingress from Finger 8 up to Finger 4, blocking Indian patrols. India holds till Finger 4 but claims till Finger 8 as per alignment of the LAC.