Playing National Anthem in cinema halls not mandatory: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on 9 January 2017 ruled that playing the national anthem before screening movies in cinema halls is not mandatory. The ruling modifies November 2016 order of Supreme Court that made the playing of national anthem in cinemas mandatory.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra accepted the Union Government's affidavit that said a 12-member inter-ministerial committee had been set up to suggest changes in the 1971 Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act.
The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, asked the committee to take a comprehensive decision on what changes are required in the law and it’s executive orders related to national anthem.
However, exemption to the disabled people from standing in cinema halls during the national anthem will remain in force till the committee takes a decision. The inter-ministerial committee will now take a final call on the matter.
India and Saudi Arabia sign bilateral annual Haj 2018 Agreement
India and Saudi Arabia on 7 January 2018 signed the bilateral annual Haj 2018 agreement, giving the green signal for India’s decision to revive the option of sending Haj pilgrims through sea route also.
The agreement was signed by Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Haj and Umrah Minister of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Mohammad Saleh bin TaherBenten at Makkah.
Now, after the signing of the agreement, officials from both the countries will discuss on all the necessary formalities and technicalities so that Haj pilgrimage through sea route can be started in the coming years. Sending pilgrims through ships will help cut down travel expenses significantly.
BharatNet Phase 1: One lakh gram panchayats become internet-service ready
The government of India has achieved a major milestone by connecting over one lakh Gram Panchayats (GP) across the country with high-speed optical fiber network under the BharatNet Phase-1 project as per the declared deadline of 31 Dec 2017.
BharatNet network built under Phase 1 envisages delivery of high-speed broadband services in over 2.5 lakh villages benefitting more than 200 million rural Indians.
As per the government, BharatNet project is the world’s largest rural broadband project shaped on the mantra of Collaborate, Create and Conquer. It is started with the vision and mission of the Prime Minister’s Digital India by bridging the digital divide.
SC stays Karnataka HC verdict on 85% pictorial warning on tobacco products
The Supreme Court of India on 8 January 2018 stayed the Karnataka High Court order, which overturned the 2014 government regulation that packets of tobacco products must carry pictorial warning covering 85 per cent of the packaging space.
The decision was taken by a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud. The bench took the decision saying that the ‘health of a citizen has primacy’ and emphasised on the importance of public health and the harmful effects of tobacco products.
The bench was also unimpressed with the submissions of the Tobacco Institute of India (TII) that the interim stay would harm the fundamental right to do business of tobacco manufacturers.
India gets its first supercomputer 'Pratyush'
Union Minister of Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan dedicated to India, the nation’s first and fastest multi-petaflops supercomputer at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune on 8 January 2017.
Named ‘Pratyush’, which means the Sun, the supercomputer will be a national facility for improving weather and climate forecasts and services under the umbrella of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
Speaking on the occasion, Harsh Vardhan said that it will be India’s number one HPC facility in terms of peak capacity and performance.