Government issues new guidelines for OTT platforms and digital media
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) announced new rules “The Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021” to regulate content on social media and Over The Top (OTT) platforms on 24th February.
The rules focus on banning content that might affect the sovereignty and integrity of India and national security. It also mandates social media intermediaries like Twitter/Facebook to disclose the name of the first originator of any suspicious message. The platforms will also have to comply with government and court orders seeking removal of content.
The grievance redressal system remains a core focus of the new guidelines. The government has introduced a three-tier grievance redressal system. The guidelines also provide for designating an officer of the rank of a Joint Secretary or above as the “Authorised Officer” who can direct blocking of content.
Further, the platforms are also required to self classify the content based on five age categories.
Centre sends teams to ten states and one Union Territory in the wake of COVID-19 spike
The union government has sent teams to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir after witnessing a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. Each team has three members including a Joint Secretary-level officer from the Health Ministry. These teams will work closely with the state administrations and enquire into the reasons for the rise in COVID-19 cases.
The teams will also work on measures for breaking the chain of infection. In the light of increasing new cases, the central government has asked states to increase RT-PCR tests and conduct strict contact tracing of positive patients.
Several states make negative COVID report mandatory for visitors from other states
The West Bengal government made it mandatory this week for travelers coming from Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Telangana to produce negative RT-PCR reports. This is a precautionary step to reduce the spread of COVID infection in the state after a rise in COVID cases is seen in these four states. According to the rule, passengers should mandatorily go for the RT-PCR test within 72 hours of flight departure. The rule shall be applicable from 27th February 2021.
Around the same time, Delhi also made it mandatory for visitors from Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh to carry a negative test report before entering the capital. The rule would be applicable for anyone who enters Delhi, either by air, train or bus and will be in force till March 15th.
In view of what many fear might be a second coming of the dreaded pandemic, several states are now rethinking entry of visitors from other states. A list of other states with similar requirements and the respective mandates introduced recently can be found here.
Source: NDTV | Hindustan Times | Livemint
Second phase of vaccination to begin from March 1st
The Union Government announced the roll out of the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, which is to commence from 1st March. People above 60 and those over 45 with comorbidities will be vaccinated in this round. It is expected that around 27 crore people will be vaccinated, out of which 10 crore are over 60 years.
The vaccination will be done at 10,000 government and 20,000 private vaccination centers. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar shared that the vaccine will be given free of cost at government centres, whereas private centres will charge for it, the rules regarding which will be announced later.
BJP wins Gujarat civic polls, AAP makes huge gains
As results for Gujarat civic polls were announced on 24th February, BJP won 483 out of total 576 seats in all the six municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar. Notably though, the Aam Aadmi Party has made a grand entry and emerged as the main opposition party by winning 27 out of 120 seats in Surat. The Congress failed to win any seat in Surat. The BJP won 159 out of 192 seats in Ahmedabad, 68 out of 72 seats in Rajkot, 50 out of 64 seats in Jamnagar, 44 out of 52 seats in Bhavnagar, 69 out of 76 seats in Vadodara and 93 out of 120 seats in Surat.
Source: News 18
Compiled by Rishabh Shrivastava