Daily Current Affairs – 8th March, 2017DEVENDRA VISHWAKARMA
Censor board and cinematography act
India is a country with rich art and culture. Cinematography and art are crucial areas for expression and any curb on the same is discriminatory and violatory. All Censor Board chiefs have grappled with the guidelines even though censoring films is not their job.
In recent days actions of the censor board is in news for all the wrong reasons. Known as the Central Board for Film Certification it has overstepped its bound repeatedly.
- Perhaps it is the provocative title of the film or perhaps it is that women are seen engaging, or even grappling, with their sexuality.
- But clearly something about Lipstick Under My Burkhahas set the Central Board of Film Certification’s teeth on edge.
- The Examining Committee of the Board stated by way of explanation for denying the film certification: “The story is lady oriented, their fantasy about life. There are continuous sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society [they were not referring to women here], hence film refused…”
What’s in a name?
In 1983, the Central Board of Censors was renamed the Central Board of Film Certification, but the hangover seems to continue.
- When asked why Lipstickwas axed instead of being given a more nuanced certification for distribution, Board officials had no answers.
- They referred to the guidelines crafted by Information and Broadcasting Ministry officials for certification, which, in turn, draw from reasonable restrictions to free speech in the Constitution.
- The 1991 principles for guidance in certifying films cover everything from depiction of sex to double entendres, to stoking communal passions, to protecting the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
According to Board officials, of the 1,700-odd films that come up for certification in a year, only 90 are denied a certificate.
- Lipstickparticularly failed to adhere to Clause 3 in the guidelines, which requires the Examining Committee to ensure that “the film is judged in its entirety from the point of view of its overall impact and is examined in the light of the period depicted in the films and the contemporary standards of the country and the people to which the film relates provided that the film does not deprave the morality of the audience.”
- Given this tall, tall order, it is no wonder that conforming to the guidelines and obtaining certification for a film that pushes the envelope a little is no easy task.
The answer as solution to all the above lies in the fact that appointments are political and not by merit. Further it has to be ensured all standards of film certification are ensured in letter and spirit and not popular perceptions. The recommendations of the Shyam Benegal Committee have to be adhered to and government has to meet the necessary requirements.
Connecting the dots:
- CBFC is more acting a Censor board and less a certification board. Critically analyse the functions of the same in light of recent controversies.
Women, employment and empowerment
Data at a glance
- As per recent report by ILO, India and Pakistan have the lowest rates of women’s labour force participation in Asia. In India, the worrying cause is further declining of labour force participation.
- According to National Sample Survey, in 1999-2000, 25.9% of all women worked and by 2011-12 this proportion had dropped to 21.9%.
- This is in contrast with global trends as well as countries like Nepal, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in Asia that have the highest women labour force participation. Even countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are placed behind them.
- Of the 185 nations that are part of the ILO database, since the 1990s, 114 countries have recorded an increase in the proportion of women in the workforce. 41 countries have recorded the decline and India is leading the pack here.
- Even the Economic Survey 2016-17 expressed concern that the demographic dividend is already receding, reducing the opportunity for the Indian economy to catch up with its East Asian counterparts.
The declining participation of women in labour force and subsequently in economy tells a sorry story about India’s growth. It needs to be seen what ails the falling down of women participation.