Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
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.
General Studies 1
Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes
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.
One explanation can be, with rising incomes, women have the opportunity to escape harsh labour in farms and on construction sites. They can now focus more on families.
But another view, possibly more realistic one is- with declining farm sizes, rising mechanisation, and consequently dwindling labour demands in agriculture, women are being forced out of workforce.
If the latter view is true, it has a serious implication on future policies pertaining to agriculture, economy and women empowerment.
Research shows that when women have access to more work opportunities, they take them instantly.
India Human Development Survey (IHDS) with other partners found that work provisions under MGNREGA has brought more rural women into wage labour.
This can be verified from the fact that 45% were not in wage labour before the scheme was initiated.
Moreover, increased availability of wage work also enhances women’s control over household decision-making.
However, it is imperative to explore other avenues for work for women as MGNREGA cannot be expected to provide consistent stable employment.
From policy perspective, two main challenges have to be addressed for augmenting women’s workforce participation rates:
Agricultural to non agricultural work
Because of shrinking farm work, there is need to create opportunities for women to move from agricultural to non-agricultural manual work.
A research by University of Maryland finds that where roads were constructed between the first (2004-05) and second (2011-12) survey of IHDS, both men and women were more likely to undertake non-agricultural work but this effect was greater for women.
The construction of roads has cascading effect such as improvement in transportation services such as buses, which in turn can facilitate movement of the rural workforce, especially women, into non-agricultural work in neighbouring villages and towns.
White collar job access
On the other end of the employment spectrum too, it is necessary to make possible for educated women to continue work even while raising families.
In India, the prevalence of a rigid work environment and dearth of family-friendly work institutions create impediments to women’s access to white-collar jobs in the formal sector.
Also, long distances between the home and the workplace increase both commuting time and work burdens, leaving workers with even less time for family duties.
Hence, there must be a work environment that allows more women, especially urban and educated women, to take up salaried jobs.
Single handed responsibility
It has been known worldwide that women continue to bear the major share of household work and childcare.
The women are expected to invest more in child’s education over professional achievement thereby surfacing the skewed work-family equation.
However, this highlights the contrasting situations- in west, there is decline in fertility rates because women prefer to opt out of marriages for better employment prospects whereas here, children’s future achievements take the front seat instead of career development. This has led to urban and educated Indian women dropping out of the labour pool.
Neither of these, however, seems an optimal outcome for society.
The only thing that can address this issue is by encouraging workplaces to become more responsive to family needs and to promote sharing of household responsibilities between both genders.
Sharing the burden
The global competition has made the companies make the employees work even on weekends as well as increasing the work hours.
A study has found that young workers in India worked 52 hours per week as against 42 hours by their counterparts in Canada.
Work-family balance requires increased participation by men in household chores and caring for children. However, workplace inflexibility makes for difficult choices, involving trade-offs between investing in careers of either of couple, often resulting in women taking a back seat and at times even dropping out of the workforce.
Japan’s ‘Womenomics’ needs to play an important role in the Indian economy by investing and encouraging more female participation in workforce and in positions of leadership.
The beginning has been done in terms of passage of a landmark Maternity Benefits Bill which will benefit women returning to the workforce with availability of quality childcare centres at workplace.
Beyond education, skilling, pay parity and board positions, India’s agenda should also include providing women leadership positions in political life. The recent violent experience in Nagaland, wherein the local community refused to let women have 33% reservation in local governments, shows how far the distance has to be covered yet.
Connecting the dots:
Critically analyse the role of women in Indian economy.
Women as home makers or women as professionals? In your opinion, what should be the role of women in helping India’s growth?