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a) Cinema & censorship

In a system that sets much store by retaining the power to censor films in the name of certifying them, random attempts by petitioners seeking cuts or even a ban often add to the pre-release anxieties of filmmakers. While rejecting the petition filed by a person claiming to be the daughter of the late Sanjay Gandhi to set aside the certificate granted to Indu Sarkar, a film directed by Madhur Bhandarkar, the Supreme Court has rightly banked on a well-established principle that freedom of expression cannot be curtailed without a valid reason. It has reiterated that the film is nothing but artistic expression within the parameters of law and that there is no warrant or justification to curtail it. Earlier, the Central Board of Film Certification, which under its present director, Pahlaj Nihalani, has not exactly distinguished itself, had granted a certificate to the film after suggesting 14 cuts. The Revision Committee had reduced the number of cuts, leaving nothing to be adjudicated as far as the suitability of the film for exhibition is concerned. Yet, a single individual managed to create some uncertainty over the release of the film by approaching the courts. The film relates to events set during the 1975-77 Emergency and, going by the director’s disclaimer, its factual content is limited to 30%. Apart from the expression of concern by some Congress functionaries, there was little to suggest that anyone would take seriously the claim that the party’s leaders may be convincingly shown “in a bad light”. Recent experience suggests that the CBFC does not always see itself as a certifying authority, but rather plays the censor quite merrily. In the case of Udta Punjab last year, it was seeking to be the guardian of Punjab’s honour against the depiction of the high prevalence of drug addiction in the State. The Bombay High Court had to remind the CBFC that certification, and not censorship, is its primary role and that its power to order changes and cuts must be exercised in accordance with constitutional principles. More recently, the CBFC sought to play the moral censor with regard to Lipstick Under My Burkha, a film it thought was too “lady-oriented” to be given a certificate, presumably because it depicts their fantasies. The Film Certification Appellate Tribunal had to intervene to secure the release of the film, with an ‘A’ certificate. These instances demonstrate that challenges to freedom come from both within the systemic framework and outside. It is a matter of satisfaction that the courts prefer to protect the right to free expression rather than entertain excuses such as maintenance of law and order and public tranquillity, or someone’s sense of hurt or the fear of someone being portrayed in a bad light. It is disconcerting, nonetheless, that the battle for free expression is having to be fought so often these days.

b) The state’s domain

The potential of India’s district hospital system to dramatically expand access to quality secondary and tertiary health care has never really been realised. The majority of patients today use the facilities created mostly by for-profit urban hospitals. That asymmetry could potentially be offset, though only in small part, through the proposal of the NITI Aayog and the Union Health Ministry to allow private entities to use the premises of the district hospitals to provide treatment for cardiac and pulmonary diseases and cancer. Viewed in perspective, a quick scaling-up of care for such non-communicable diseases is possible under the arrangement, because there are 763 functional district hospitals, with just five States led by Uttar Pradesh accounting for over 42% of the facilities. Yet, contracting out services in a virtually unregulated and largely commercial private system is fraught with risks. One major concern in such an arrangement is to ensure that the bulk of health spending, whether from government funds, subsidy or private insurance, goes into actual care provision, and that administrative expenditure is capped under the contract. Moreover, in consonance with the goal to provide health for all under the National Health Policy, care should be universal, and free at the point of delivery. A market-driven approach to providing district hospital beds for only those with the means would defeat the objective. Providing 50 or 100 beds in a district hospital may expand access to care, but such arrangements do not offer a cure for the larger problem of the growing non-communicable disease burden. Lifestyle choices and social determinants, such as tobacco and alcohol use, and environmental pollution, are often linked to such diseases. Controlling the epidemic, therefore, requires other policy approaches too. Given the already high prevalence of cardiac and pulmonary conditions, some arising from diabetes and hypertension, and cancers, having more beds for treatment is a necessity. It is incongruous, however, to opt for contracts of 30 years, given the move towards achieving universal health coverage and, aspirationally, a single-payer governmentled model that mainly relies on public facilities. Strong oversight is also necessary to ensure that ethical and rational treatment protocols are followed in the new facilities, and procurement and distribution of drugs are centralised to keep costs under control. Ultimately, the success of such systems depends on medical outcomes on the one hand, and community satisfaction on the other. Both dimensions must find place in a contract, and be assessed periodically. A provision for audits, penalties and cancellation of contracts is essential. Given the recourse to tax funds for viability gap funding and use of public infrastructure, the operations should be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General.



1) Retaining

Meaning: Continue to have (something); keep possession of.

Example: Labour retained the seat.

Synonyms: Keep, Keep possession of

Antonyms: Give up, Lose

2) Curtailed

Meaning: Reduce in extent or quantity; impose a restriction on.

Example: Civil liberties were further curtailed.

Synonyms: Reduce, Cut

Antonyms: Increase, Lengthen

3) Reiterated

Meaning: Say something again or a number of times, typically for emphasis or clarity.

Example: She reiterated that the government would remain steadfast in its support.

Synonyms: Repeat, Say again

4) Adjudicated

Meaning: Make a formal judgement on a disputed matter.

Example: The Committee adjudicates on all betting disputes.

Synonyms: Judge, Adjudge

5) Factual

Meaning: Concerned with what is actually the case.

Example: A mixture of comment and factual information.

Synonyms: Truthful, Accurate

Antonyms: Fictitious

6) Depiction

Meaning: The action of depicting something, especially in a work of art.

Example: The painting’s horrific depiction of war.

Synonyms: Picture, Portrait

7) Prevalence

Meaning: The fact or condition of being prevalent; commonness

Example: The prevalence of obesity in adults.

Synonyms: Commonness, Widespread presence

8) Accordance

Meaning: In a manner conforming with.

Example: The ballot was held in accordance with trade union rules.

Synonyms: In agreement with, In conformity with

9) Presumably

Meaning: Used to convey that what is asserted is very likely though not known for certain.

Example: It was not yet ten o’clock, so presumably the boys were still at the pub.

Synonyms: I assume, I expect

10) Intervene

Meaning: Take part in something so as to prevent or alter a result or course of events.

Example: He acted outside his authority when he intervened in the dispute.

Synonyms: Intercede, Involve

11) Systemic

Meaning: Relating to a system, especially as opposed to a particular part.

Example: The disease is localized rather than systemic.

12) Tranquillity

Meaning: The quality or state of being tranquil; calm.

Example: Passing cars are the only noise that disturbs the tranquillity of rural life.

Synonyms: Peace, Repose

Antonyms: Commotion

13) Portrayed

Meaning: Describe (someone or something) in a particular way.

Example: The book portrayed him as a self-serving careerist.

Synonyms: Represent, Depict

14) Disconcerting

Meaning: Causing one to feel unsettled.

Example: He had a disconcerting habit of offering jobs to people he met at dinner parties.

Synonyms: Unsettling, Discomfit

Antonyms: Reassure

15) Tertiary

Meaning: Relating to or denoting the medical treatment provided at a specialist institution.

Example: Patients in tertiary care.

16) Asymmetry

Meaning: Lack of equality or equivalence between parts or aspects of something; lack of symmetry

Example: There was an asymmetry between the right and left ears.

17) Offset

Meaning: Counteract (something) by having an equal and opposite force or effect.

Example: Donations to charities can be offset against tax.

Synonyms: Counterbalance, Balance

18) Perspective

Meaning: A particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view.

Example: Most guidebook history is written from the editor’s perspective.

Synonyms: Outlook, View

19) Fraught

Meaning: (of a situation or course of action) filled with (something undesirable); Causing or affected by anxiety or stress.

Example: Marketing any new product is fraught with danger.

Synonyms: Full of, Filled with, Anxious

Antonyms: Calm

20) Capped

Meaning: Place a limit or restriction on (prices, expenditure, or borrowing).

Example: Council budgets will be capped.

Synonyms: Set a limit, Limit, Restrict

21) Consonance

Meaning: Agreement or compatibility between opinions or actions.

Example: Consonance between conservation measures and existing agricultural practice.

Synonyms: Agreement, Concord

22) Incongruous

Meaning: Not in harmony or keeping with the surroundings or other aspects of something.

Example: The new computer looked incongruous in the dark book-filled library.

Synonyms: Inappropriate, Unsuitable

Antonyms: Appropriate, Harmonious

23) Aspirationally

Meaning: Having or characterized by aspirations to achieve social prestige and material success.

Example: Young, aspirational, and independent women.

24) Oversight

Meaning: The action of overseeing something.

Example: Effective oversight of the financial reporting process

Synonyms: Supervision, Surveillance

25) Assessed

Meaning: Calculate or estimate the price or value of.

Example: The damage was assessed at £5 billion.

Synonyms: Evaluate, Value


THE HINDU EDITORIAL : 28, July – 2017