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Prime Minister to launch Accessible India Campaign for Physically disabled people n important aim of the society is to integrate persons with disabilities in the society so that they can actively participate in society and lead a normal life. Ideally, a disabled person should be able to commute between home, work place and other destinations with independence, convenience and safety. The more persons with disabilities are able to access physical facilities, the more they will be part of the social mainstream. With firm commitment of the government towards socio-economic transformation of the persons with disabilities there is an urgent need to create mass awareness for universal accessibility. DEPwD is also in the process of creating a mobile app, along with a web portal for crowd sourcing the requests regarding inaccessible places. With the app, downloaded on his/her mobile phone, any person would be able to click a photograph or video of an inaccessible public place (like a school, hospital, government office etc.) and upload the same to the Accessible India portal. The portal will process the request for access audit, financial sanction and final retrofitting of the building to make it completely accessible. The mobile app and portal will also seek engagement of big corporates and PSUs to partner in the campaign by offering their help to conduct access audit and for accessibility- conversion of the buildings/transport and websites. India is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has formulated the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan), as a nation-wide campaign for achieving universal accessibility for PwDs. The campaign targets three separate verticals for achieving universal accessibility namely the built up environment, transportation eco-system and information & communication eco-system. The campaign has ambitious targets with defined timelines and will use IT and social media for spreading awareness about the campaign and seeking commitment / engagement of various stakeholders. The Department has asked various State Govts. to identify about 50 to 100 public buildings in big cities and also identify citizen centric public websites, which if made fully accessible would have the highest impact on the lives of PwDs. Once identified, “Access Audit” of these buildings and websites will be conducted by professional agencies. As per the audit findings, retrofitting and conversion of buildings, transport and websites would be undertaken by various government departments. This will be supported by the Scheme of Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act (SIPDA), an umbrella scheme run by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) for implementing various initiatives for social and economic empowerment of PwDs. Article 9 of UNCRPD casts an obligation on all the signatory governments to take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities. Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995 under Section 44, 45 and 46 also categorically provides for non-discrimination in participation, non-discrimination of the roads and built up environment. As per Section 46 of the PwD Act, the States are required to provide for : i) Ramps in public buildings ii) Provision of toilets for wheelchair users iii)Braille symbols and auditory signals in elevators or lifts iv) Ramps in hospitals, primary health centres and other rehabilitation centres. Article 9 – Accessibility of UNCRPD 1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia: Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces; Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services. 2. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to: Develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public; Ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities; Provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities; Provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms; Provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public; Promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information; Promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet; Promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.
Cabinet approves the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016. 
The Supreme Court laid down norms for state governments to select public prosecutors and government advocates and limited the earlier discretion they had to accommodate lawyer supporters of the ruling party. in choosing government lawyers, the state must look for competence and not appoint anyone with a criminal background. Though appointment of PPs and several layers of government advocates for district courts in Uttar Pradesh was in question, the judgment of Justices Vikramjit Sen and A M Sapre will have a salutary effect on other states too. The bench said, “It is beyond cavil that it is in the interest of the dispensation of criminal justice that competent counsel possessing integrity should alone be appointed, since otherwise, there is a strong miscarriage of justice. In choosing them, the state will not only have to be satisfied of their forensic competence, but also that they are bereft of any criminal antecedents.” It clarified that strict selection process to be appointed by states in choosing government lawyers did not mean there would be any security of tenure for them. Justice Sen said, “The state, like any other litigant, must have the freedom to appoint counsel in whom it reposes trust and confidence. The only expectation is that the choice made by the state should not be such as could defeat the sacred and onerous responsibility of ensuring that justice is meted out to all citizens.” Referring to an earlier judgment in Johri Mal case, the bench said the SC had categorically rejected the claim of a lawyer for continuous renewal of appointment as a government advocate. “We entirely agree with this exposition of law, ” the bench said. The bench agreed with the apex court’s Johri Mal judgment, in which it had said district counsel did not have a statutory right for renewal of tenure and the state government enjoyed discretionary power in this regard. State of Uttar Pradesh v. Johri Mal 2004 1. A distinction is to be borne in mind between appointment of a Public Prosecutor or Additional Public Prosecutor on the one hand, and Assistant Public Prosecutor, on the other. So far as Assistant Public Prosecutors are concerned, they are employees of the State. They hold Civil posts. They are answerable for their conduct to higher statutory authority. Their appointment is governed by the service rules framed by the respective State Government. 2. The appointment of the Public Prosecutors, on the other hand, is governed by the Code of Criminal Procedure and/or the executive instructions framed by the State governing the terms of their appointment. Proviso appended to Article 309 of the Constitution of India is not applicable in their case. Their appointment is a tenure appointment. Public Prosecutors, furthermore retain the character of legal practitioners for all intent and purport. They, of course, discharge public functions and certain statutory powers are also conferred upon them. Their duties and functions are onerous but the same would not mean that their conditions of appointment are governed by any statute or statutory rule. Article 309 of Constitution “Recruitment and conditions of service of persons serving the Union or a State”.
ICFT-UNESCO Fellini award to be declared International Film Festival India (IFFI) 2015 in collaboration with the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication (ICFT), Paris will present a special ICFT prize consisting of the UNESCO Fellini Medal, awarded to a film, which reflects the ideals promoted by UNESCO. Background: Five films have been shortlisted from the official selection of IFFI following the recommendations of the Film Preview Committee constituted by the Directorate of the Film Festivals. The broad guidelines for the selection of the films are: The film shall exhibit artistic excellence in screenplay, music, and filming technique. The film shall promote the common good, which is defined as a society in which persons and communities care for one another’s well-being. The film shall exhibit sensitivity to the human situation, promoting the dignity of all. The film shall cultivate a realistic hope of creative transformation. The film shall reflect the ideals of peace, love, tolerance, harmony, and friendship. The UNESCO Fellini Medal: When Italian film director Federico Fellini died in 1993, UNESCO’s Member States had just adopted a General Conference resolution calling for the safeguarding of the cinematographic heritage. An appeal was launched to the international community inviting governments, industry, and the public to participate in a campaign to keep the seventh art alive. Activities were also earmarked for UNESCO’s participation in the forthcoming cinema centenary celebrations in 1995. The Fellini medal, first unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1995, therefore had a double significance: to honour the director’s tremendous contribution to film as an art form and to commemorate the centenary of the birth of cinema (1895-1995). The medal’s design of fragmented, interlocking images is the work of Italian painter Valerio Adami. The obverse side features a profile of Fellini with his signature hat, facing the inscription 8 1/2, the title of one of the most famous films in the history of cinema. The reverse is inscribed Fellini (1920-1993) UNESCO. French sculptor Robert Michel created the model and the Paris Mint strike the medal. The Indian films that made it to the competition are- 1. Cinemawala – Bengali 2. Katyar Kaljat Ghusli – Marathi 3. Ain – Malayalam 4. Valiya Chirakulla Pakshikal – Malayalam
Smriti Irani inaugurates GIAN scheme at IIT-Gandhinagar India may not yet have managed to get the Ivy League to set up campus in India through the much-awaited Foreign Universities Bill but is close to drawing in over 200 academics from global varsities to teach in India at $8, 000- $12, 000. The Ivy League is a collegiate athletic conference comprising sports teams from eight private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States. The conference name is also commonly used to refer to those eight schools as a group. The eight institutions are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University. The term Ivy League has connotations of academic excellence, selectivity in admissions, and social elitism. The Smriti Irani-led Union Human Resource Development ministry is learnt to have quietly come to an agreement with academics from across countries to teach more than 200 short term academic courses in Indian institutes starting this November through its new scheme — Global Initiative for Academics Network (GIAN). The first GIAN backed course by a foreign faculty is expected to start with NIT Surathkal this November. Prashant V Kamat, John A. Zahm Professor of Science at the University of Notre Dame in USA, it is learnt, is likely to take the first course to be launched under GIAN at the NIT, officials from the HRD ministry said on condition of anonymity. The Union Cabinet has approved a new program titled Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) in Higher Education aimed at tapping the talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs, internationally to encourage their engagement with the institutes of Higher Education in India so as to augment the country’s existing academic resources, accelerate the pace of quality reform, and elevate India’s scientific and technological capacity to global excellence. A number of academics from Germany, USA, Canada, France and Australia have shown considerable interest in GIAN and academics from across top global varsities including MIT, Oxford University, Cambridge, Stanford University, University of Berkeley, Imperial College of London are queuing up, sources from across institutes said. Spain, Brazil, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, Russia, Norway, Singapore and Sweden are among other nations sending in academics to India. The Indian gov government had last year also engaged with Manjul Bhargava, R. Brandon Fradd Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University, to help pitch the GIAN scheme as a brand ambassador. MHRD Scheme on International Summer/Winter Term (ISWT) under GIAN: Objective: To arrange Guest Lectures by international renowned experts. (1) Long and Short Term Goals: To increase the footfalls of reputed international faculty in the Indian academic institutes. Provide opportunity to our faculty and students to learn and share knowledge and teaching skills in cutting edge areas. To create avenue for possible collaborative research. To increase participation and presence of international students in the academic Institutes. Opportunity for the students of different Institutes/Universities to interact and learn subjects in niche areas through collaborative learning process. Provide opportunity for the technical persons from Indian Industries to improve understandings and update their knowledge in relevant areas. Motivate the best international experts in the world to work on problems related to India. BUDGET OUTLINE Sl No. Description of budgetary head per Course Amount* (Rs) 1. International and National Expert Air Fare – 2, 00, 000/- 2. Honorarium to International, National and Host faculty – 2, 00, 000/- 3. Travel and Stay Support to some Participants – 75, 000/- 4. Local hospitality to International and National expert – 50, 000/- 5. Lecture Notes/video-learning material preparation – 50, 000/- Incidentally, a few IITs and IIMs had raised concerns about paying this huge a remuneration to the visiting faculty citing insufficiency of funds available with them. Some of the IIMs that do not take any financial support from the Centre had also argued heir inability to do so. The Centre is even pitching in with additional funds where institutes may have cited difficulty in paying the decided remuneration for the visiting faculty. IIT Madras is learnt to be leading the tally so far with over 25 courses expected to be taught by visiting foreign faculty.
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