M.S. Swaminathan Commission (Agriculture)

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Commission:

  • The government of India constituted the National Commission on Farmers (NCF) on November 18, 2004.
  • The NCF was chaired by Professor M.S. Swaminathan.
  • It submitted five reports to the government.
  • The reports had suggestions for “faster and more inclusive growth” for farmers as was envisaged in the Planning Commission’s Approach to 11th Five Year Plan.
  • The fifth report was the most crucial as it contained suggestions for inclusive growth of farmers and agriculture sector.
  • NCF’s Swaminathan Commission Report aimed at working out a system for food and nutrition security, sustainability in the farming system, enhancing quality and cost competitiveness of farm commodities and also to recommend measures for credit and other marketing related steps.
  • Dr Swaminathan had requested the government to implement the recommendations given in the report so that it could provide minimum support price for grains, safeguard the interest of small farmers and addressing the issue of increasing risk overtaking agriculture as a profession.

 

Observations

  • The Commission observed that farmers needed to have an assured access to and control over rightful basic resources. These basic resources include land, water, bioresources, credit and insurance, technology and knowledge management, and markets.
  • It observed that agriculture must be implemented in the concurrent list from the state list — hence putting it as a matter of concern for both the Union and the states.

 

Recommendations

  • One of the key reforms was land reforms. It was aimed to address the issue of access to and for both crops and livestock. The commission said that the inequality in landholdings in shown starkly in land ownership. It said that in 1991-92, the share of the bottom 50 per cent of the rural households in the country’s total land ownership was only three per cent. The top 10 per cent owned as much as 54 per cent.
  • Land Reforms: Distribution of ceiling-surplus and waste lands; prevention of diversion of prime agricultural land and forest to corporate sector for non-agricultural use; to ensure grazing rights are provided and seasonal access is allowed in forests to tribals and pastoralists. It recommended access to common property resources. One main case was establishing a National Land Use Advisory Service. The purpose of this service would be to connect land usage decisions with ecological meteorological and marketing factors.
  • Irrigation Reforms: It recommended framing a set of reforms to provide farmers with “sustained and equitable” access to water for irrigation. Ensuring boost in water supply by rainwater harvesting, water level recharging by mandatory aquifers; Million Wells Recharge programme to be initiated targeted at private wells. To target increase in investment in irrigation sector under 11th five year plan.
  • Productivity Growth: NCF said that with the objective of achieving higher productivity growth, it recommended “Substantial increase in public investment in agriculture-related infrastructure particularly in irrigation, drainage, land development, water conservation, research development and road connectivity etc.” It also recommended a national network of advanced soil testing labs with an aim to test areas for apt micronutrient levels.
  • Credit and Insurance: Expand outreach of formal credit system; reduce crop loan interest rates to 4%; provide moratorium on debt recovery; agricultural risk fund; kisan credit cards for women farmers; integrated credit-cum-crop-livestock human health insurance package; crop insurance across country for all crops with reduced premiums; sustainable livelihoods for the poor, investment in human development; institutional development services etc
  • Food Security: The commission recommended Implementation of a universal public distribution system; reorganising delivery of nutrition support programmes on a life-cycle basis with panchayat participation and that of local bodies; elimination of micronutrient deficiency induced hunger and food cum fortification; community food and water banks to be operated by women self-help groups; help small and marginal farmers; formulate national food guarantee act with features as food for work and employment guarantee programmes.
  • Prevention of Farmer Suicides: Providing affordable health insurance at primary healthcare centres in villages; national rural health mission to be extended to suicide hotspots on priority basis; state level farmers’ commissions with representatives of farmers, restructuring of microfinance policies that may serve as a sort of livelihood finance; covering all crops by crop insurance; village to be the assessor and not the block, social security net that gives old age support with health insurance and aquifer recharge and rain water conservation; plans for decentralised water usage etc.

Injeti Srinivas Committee (Competition Law Review)

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Union Finance Ministry has constituted Competition Law Review Committee to ensure that legislation is in tune with changing business environment.

 

Committee’s Terms of references

  • The committee will review competition regulations in view of changing business environment and suggest the necessary changes to strengthen and re-calibrate existing law to promote best practices.
  • It will also look into international best practices in competition field with thrust on anti-trust laws, merger guidelines and handling cross-border competition issues.
  • It will also study other regulatory regimes, institutional mechanisms and government policies which overlap with Competition Act.
  • It will submit its report within three months of the date of its first meeting.

 

Why is it needed?

  • The Competition Act was passed in 2002 and Competition Commission of India (CCI) was set up in 2009.
  • However, since inception of the commission, the size of the economy has grown immensely making it one of the fifth largest economies in the world.
  • In this context, it was seen necessary to that Competition Law is strengthened and re-calibrated to promote best practices which result in the citizens of this country achieving their aspirations and value for money.

Amitava Roy Committee (Prison Reforms)

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The Supreme Court has formed a Committee on Prison Reforms chaired by former apex court judge, Justice Amitava Roy, to examine the various problems plaguing prisons in the country, from overcrowding to lack of legal advice to convicts to issues of remission and parole.

 

Issues in Prisons:

  • Overcrowding in prisons
  • Unnatural deaths of prisoners
  • Gross inadequacy of staff
  • Lack of staff

 

Terms of reference:

  • Apart from the above four issues, committee will comprehensively examine and respond to the dire necessity of reforms in prisons.
  • Committee to examine the extent of overcrowding in prisons and correctional homes and recommend remedial measures, including an examination of the functioning of Under Trial Review Committees, availability of legal aid and advice, grant of remission, parole and furlough.
  • The panel would also probe the reasons for violence in prisons and correctional homes and recommend preventive measures.

Injeti Srinivas Committee (CSR)

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The Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has constituted High Level Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility which will review existing framework and guide and formulate roadmap for coherent policy on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

 

Committee’s Terms of Reference

  • It will review existing CSR framework as per Act, Rules and Circulars issued from time to time and recommend guidelines for better enforcement of CSR provisions.
  • It will analyse outcomes of CSR activities, programmes and projects and suggest measures for effective monitoring and evaluation of CSR by companies.
  • It will also give suggestions on innovative solutions, use of technology, platform to connect stakeholders, and social audit.
  • It will submit its report to Government within three months from date of holding its first meeting.

ias4sure.com - Injeti Srinivas Committee (CSR)

AJ Paulraj committee

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The committee was set up by Government in September 2017 to suggest a road map for adoption of 5G.

 ias4sure.com - AJ Paulraj committee

Recommendations

  • It has proposed promulgation of key norms on regulatory matters by March 2019 in order to facilitate early deployment of 5G technology.
  • It expects commercial rollout of 5G in India by 2020.
  • It noted that 5G technologies will start entering service globally beginning 2019 and advance to full range of services by 2024.
  • It recommended that deployment of 5G in India should be classified into three phases based on technologies and use cases.
  • By early embracing 5G technology, India can accelerate its dividends and potentially also become innovator in 5G applications.
  • It expects that economic impact of 5G to be over $1 trillion.
  • The committee noted that vendor ecosystem for 5G is maturing as telecom tech giants like Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE have production ready equipment in trials based on 5G-NR standard.
  • China Telecom is doing a pilot deployment in six cities ahead of the full 5G commercial launch in 2020.
  • The committee also pointed out conflicting considerations faced by early adoption of 5G.
  • The early adoption will likely make equipment needed for 5G roll out more expensive and it will also be glitchy as needed for cost maturing.
  • However, early adoption will fast track India’s embrace of 5G’s benefits and increase opportunities to develop innovative use cases that support Indian needs.
  • The committee also noted that even after entry of 5G into Indian telecom sector, the earlier generation mobile technologies – 2G, 3G and 4G, will continue to remain in use and it may take 10 or more years to phase out

Rajiv Gauba Committee (Mob Lynching)

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Committee is created to suggest measures and legal framework to effectively deal with incidents of mob violence and lynching.

 

Why committee was formed?

  • The move came after recent Supreme Court direction to central government on the issue of mob violence and lynching.
  • The apex court had denounced sweeping incidents of lynching as an affront to the rule of law and called for law to deal with such horrendous acts of mobocracy.
  • It had passed a series of “preventive, remedial and punitive” measures to deal with lynching and mob vigilantism.
  • It had made Centre and state governments accountable for mob violence and lynching and had asked them to take steps to curb and stop dissemination of irresponsible and explosive fake messages and videos on social media platforms which incite such incidents.

 

Key Recommendations:

  • FIR against officials : A senior government official said social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Twitter etc. would be made accountable for not blocking malicious posts and videos when brought to their notice and an “FIR could be lodged against their country heads” for not complying with government orders and they could be prosecuted under law.
  • Objectionable content:
    • Timely compliance of objectionable content removal requests should be ensured.
    • Some countries employ non-governmental organisations and volunteers who proactively surf the Internet.
  • Special task force: Appoint an officer in each district at the level of Superintendent of Police, set up a special task force to gather intelligence, and closely monitor social media contents to prevent mob attacks on people on the suspicion of being child-lifters or cattle smugglers.

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P K Sinha Committee

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Committee is formed to identify various items and policy interventions to reduce dependence on imports.
 
Details:
  • It will suggest ways to cut import of those items which can be manufactured or explored in the country.
  • The move holds significance as India is heavily dependent on imports of several items such as oil, machinery, electronic hardware, pharmaceuticals ingredients including (active pharmaceuticals ingredients), gold and chemicals.
  • On an average, India’s imports stand at around US $450 billion per year. In financial year 2017-18, the inbound shipments grew about 20% to US $460 billion.
  • India’s oil imports during same fiscal had risen by 25.47% to US $109.11 billion.
  • Though increase in imports of intermediates and raw materials reflects boost in economic activities, but the inbound shipments of final goods impact domestic manufacturers.
  • Earlier, concerns were raised over high dependence on pharmaceutical ingredients from China by trade experts.
 

B N Srikrishna Committee (Data Protection)

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The Union Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) has constituted an expert Committee to study and identify key data protection issues and recommend methods for addressing them.

 

Why needed?

There is a need to ensure growth of the digital economy while keeping personal data of citizens secure and protected. Even though the Information Technology Act contains certain provisions about data protection and handling, experts are of the opinion that India needs a fresh data protection law with the increased digitisation led by Aadhaar, the Goods and Service Tax and the push towards a digital economy. IT Act may also be inadequate to deal with the current requirements since it was drafted almost 17 years ago in 2000 and was amended last in 2008.

Also, in the last 5-6 years there has been a quantum leap in the world of technology which has been driven by trends such as proliferation of social media, growth of ecommerce leading to boom in transactions over the Internet and demonetisation, which has pushed more people into the digital economy, so the IT act may have to be obviously reconsidered in the light of these developments.

The government’s decision to focus on data protection comes on the back of a wave of privacy and data breaches– from corporates such as McDonalds, Reliance Jio and Zomato to government agencies that have leaked the

personal data and Aadhaar of over 100 million citizens.

 

Draft Data Personal Data Protection Bill

  • For data processors not present in India, the Act will apply to those carrying on business in India or other activities, such as profiling, which could cause privacy harms to data principals in India.
  • The draft also provides for penalties for the data processor as well as compensation to the data principal to be imposed for violations of the data protection law.
  • It has suggested a penalty of ₹15 crore, or 4% of the total worldwide turnover of any data collection/processing entity, for violating provisions.
  • Failure to take prompt action on a data security breach can attract up to ₹5 crore or 2% of turnover in penalty.
  • Personal data, the draft law states, may be processed on the basis of the consent of the data principal, given no later than at the commencement of the processing.
  • The processing of sensitive personal data should be on the basis of explicit consent.
  • The law will not have retrospective application and will come into force in a structured and phased manner.
  • Processing that is ongoing after the coming into force of the law would be covered.
  • Other personal data may be transferred outside the territory of India with some riders. However, at least one copy of the data will need to be stored in India.
  • On right to be forgotten, the draft states that data principal will have the right to restrict or prevent continuing disclosure of personal data by a data processor.
  • The committee has not treated data as property as the relationship between the individual and entities with whom the individual shares his personal data is one that is based on a fundamental expectation of trust.
  • The draft law will go through the process of inter-ministerial discussions and the Cabinet as well as parliamentary approval.

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Data Protection Authority

  • The Justice Srikrishna committee has recommended the creation of a Data Protection Authority that will be in charge of ensuring that entities processing data do so in keeping with the law.
  • The DPA, a sector agnostic body, will ensure that every entity that handles data is conscious of its obligations and that it will be held to account in case of failure to comply.
  • The authority will be governed by a board consisting of six whole-time members and a chairperson appointed by the Union government on the recommendation of a selection committee.
  • The selection committee shall consist of the Chief Justice of India or her nominee (who is a judge of the Supreme Court of India), the Cabinet Secretary, Government of India, and one expert of repute who has special knowledge of, and professional experience in, areas related to data protection, information technology, data management, data science, cyber and Internet laws and related subjects.
  • The members of the DPA are to be individuals of integrity and ability with special knowledge of, and professional experience of not less than 10 years in, areas related to data protection, information technology, data management, data science, cyber and internet laws and related subjects.
  • The DPA members will have a five-year term, subject to a suitable retirement age and their salaries will be prescribed by the Central government.
  • Broadly, the DPA will have four departments and related functions: monitoring and enforcement; legal affairs, policy and standard setting; research and awareness; and inquiries, grievance handling and adjudication.
  • The DPA will be stating codes of practice, conducting inquiries, and issuing warnings and injunctions.

 

Exemptions

  • The expert committee has recommended that processing of data for certain interests such as security of the state, legal proceedings, research and journalistic purpose, may be exempt from certain obligations of the proposed data protection law.
  • For the creation of a truly free and fair digital economy, it is vital to provide certain exemptions from obligations that will facilitate the unhindered flow of personal data in certain situations.
  • These exemptions derive their necessity from either a state or societal interest.
  • It, however, added that adequate security safeguards must be incorporated in the law to guard against potential misuse.
  • The processing of personal data in the interests of the security of the state shall not be permitted unless it is authorised pursuant to a law and is in accordance with the procedure established by such law, made by Parliament and is necessary for, and proportionate to, such interests being achieved.
  • It has been recommended in the report that the Central government should expeditiously bring in a law for the oversight of intelligence gathering activities.
  • The research exemption has not been envisaged as a blanket one and only those obligations that are necessary to achieve the object of the research will be exempted by the Data Protection Authority (DPA).
  • It further added that to strike a balance between freedom of expression and right to informational privacy, the data protection law would need to signal what the term ‘journalistic purposes’ signifies, and how ethical standards for such activities would need to be set.

 

Protecting the data of children

  • The committee on data privacy has made specific mention of the need for separate and more stringent norms for protecting the data of children, recommending that companies be barred from certain types of data processing such as behavioural monitoring, tracking, targeted advertising and any other type of processing which is not in the best interest of the child.
  • It is widely accepted that processing of personal data of children ought to be subject to greater protection than regular processing of data.
  • The justification for such differential treatment arises from the recognition that children are unable to fully understand the consequences of their actions.

Ratan P Watal Committee

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To suggest steps to promote card payments with an aim to discourage cash transactions.

Terms of reference:

  • Recommend various measures to incentivise transactions through cards and digital means, e.g., through tax incentives/rebates, introduction of cash back/lottery.
  • Review the payments system in the country and recommend measures for encouraging digital payments.
  • Study and recommend need for changes, if any, in the regulatory mechanism under various laws, relevant for the purpose of promotion of payments by digital modes.
  • Study feasibility of creating a payments history of all card and digital payments and ensure that merchants and consumers can leverage the data to access.
  • Study and recommend ways for leveraging Unique Identification Number (UID) or any other proof of identity for authentication of card and digital transactions.
  • Study introduction of single window system of payment gateway to accept all types of cards and digital payments of government receipts.
  • Look into the scope of integration of all government systems like Public Finance Management System, Bharatkosh, PayGov and eKuber.
  • Identify regulatory bottlenecks and suggest changes. Study global best practices in payments and identify possible market failures along with suitable interventions

Steps taken by government to promote cards:

  • The Cabinet had approved withdrawal of surcharge, service charge and convenience fee on card and digital payments.
  • It also approved mandating payments beyond a prescribed threshold only through a card or digital mode.

Recommendations:

  • The Committee has recommended medium term strategy for accelerating growth of Digital Payments in India.
  • The strategy must be backed with regulatory regime which is conducive to bridging the Digital divide by promoting competition, interoperability and open access in payments.
  • It also recommends inclusion of financially and socially excluded groups and assimilation of emerging technologies in the market.
  • It calls for need of safeguarding security of Digital Transactions and providing level playing to all stakeholders and new players who will enter this new transaction space.
  • It has suggested inter-operability of payments system between banks and non-banks, up-gradation of digital payment infrastructure and institutions.
  • It also recommends a framework to reward innovations for leading efforts in enabling digital payments.
  • Greater use of Aadhaar and mobile numbers for making digital payments as easy as cash.
  • Proposed to make regulation of payments independent from the function of central banking to give the entire digital payments boost.
  • Give Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems (BPSS) independent statutory status within overall structure of RBI.
  • Called for amendments to the Payments and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 to provide BPSS explicit mandate for competition and innovation, consumer protection, open access and interoperability, regulations on systemic risks and data protection.
  • Operations of payment systems like National Electronic Fund Transafer (NEFT) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) can be outsourced after a cost benefit analysis.

watal-recommendations 

BCCI – Lodha Committee

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Lodha committee was set up by the Supreme Court to recommend reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The three-member panel was headed by Justice (Retd) RM Lodha.
 
SC has accepted following recommendations of Lodha Committee:
  1. Ministers and civil servants and those above 70 years of age cannot become BCCI members.
  2. An office-bearer of BCCI cannot hold a post for more than three years
  3. Parliament to decide whether BCCI should come under the Right to Information Act (RTI)
  4. There should be a player’s association in the BCCI
  5. Disallowing BCCI office-bearer from holding dual posts simultaneously i.e. in a state cricket association and in the BCCI
  6. Each state should have only one vote. States like Maharashtra and Gujarat having more than one cricket association will have voting rights on rotational basis
  7. Member of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to be included in the BCCI’s governing council
 ias4sure.com - BCCI – Lodha Committee
 
New Developments:
  • The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has constituted a special seven-member committee (Rajeev Shukla Committee) to analyse the few contentious Lodha panel reforms which are being opposed by the state units.
  • One of the major reforms of the Lodha Committee which are being opposed by the state units speaks about disqualifying any individual who is more than 70-years-old, and who has already completed nine years in cricket administration.
  • BCCI’s move to constitute a committee is widely seen as its attempt to delay the implementations of the reforms suggested by the Lodha Committee.
 

Relaxation given by SC:

  • Two years after accepting the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee’s recommendations, the Supreme Court has now extended some concessions to those aggrieved by the rigorous rules, which aimed to revamp cricket administration in the country.
    • Cooling off period:
      • Against the panel’s view that every office-bearer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, in the national board or in a State association, should have a three-year break after a three-year term, the court has now allowed two three-year terms — that is, a tenure of six years — before the mandatory break kicks in
      • The logic behind a cooling-off period is that office-bearers should not be given lengthy tenures that enable them to establish personal fiefdoms.
      • The argument against it is that the experience and knowledge that office-bearer gains over three years should not be frittered away, and a second term could help consolidate such learnings.
    • One State One Vote Rule:
      • The Lodha panel had also favoured the ‘one State, one vote’ norm. This meant that an association representing a State alone should be recognised as a voting member of the BCCI, while associations representing a region within a State or entities that do not represent a territory should not have the same vote or status.
      • This norm has been overruled. Gujarat and Maharashtra will have three votes each, as the associations of Baroda and Saurashtra in Gujarat, and Mumbai and Vidarbha in Maharashtra will have separate votes.
      • In this, too, the court has accepted the reasoning that associations that had contributed significantly to Indian cricket need not be stripped of their full membership.
All 15 salient recommendations are (Not important)
  1. Membership : ‘One State, One Vote’. Only cricket Associations representing the States would have voting rights as Full Members of the Board, thereby ensuring equality among the territorial divisions. Any other existing members would be Associate Members.
  2. Zones  : ‘Zones for Tournaments alone’. The Zones would be relevant only for the purpose of the tournaments conducted amongst themselves, but not for nomination to the governance of the Board or to the various Standing Committees.
  3. State Associations : ‘State Associations – Uniformity in Structure’. The Associations that are the Members would necessarily have to restrict the tenures of office bearers and prescribe disqualifications, do away with proxy voting, provide transparency in functioning, be open to scrutiny and audit by the BCCI and include players in membership and management. They would also have to abide by the conflict of interest policy prescribed by the Board, and divorce the Association from the social club, if any.
  4. Office Bearers : ‘Limited Tenures & Cooling Off’. While all the existing office bearers (President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Joint Secretary) are retained in honorary positions, the number of Vice Presidents is pruned from five to one. Their duties have been realigned. The President is shorn of his say in selections. The additional vote for the President at meetings is deleted. The terms of these Office Bearers continue to be of 3 years, but with a maximum of 3 such terms regardless of the post held, with a cooling off period after each such term.
  5. Governance : ‘Governance separated from management’. The 14 member Working Committee is replaced by a 9 member Apex Council (with one-third independent members) consisting of the Office Bearers of the BCCI, an elected representative of the General Body, two representatives of the Players Association (one man and one woman) and one nominee from the C&AG’s office. Terms of eligibility and disqualification are specified with a bar on Ministers and government servants.
  6. Management : ‘Professionalism in management’. Professionalism is brought in by introducing a CEO with strong credentials assisted by a team of managers to handle non-cricketing affairs. The large number of Standing Committees and Sub-Committees created by the BCCI has been reduced to two essential ones that would advice the CEO with reference to tours, technical aspects and tournaments.
The selection, coaching, performance evaluation and umpiring are to be handled by Cricket Committees manned only by former professionals. Specific provisions have been made to encourage cricket for women and the differently-abled.
  1. The IPL : ‘Limited Autonomy for IPL’. The Governing Council of the IPL is reduced to 9, but includes 2 representatives of the Franchisees and nominees of the Players’ Association and the C&AG’s office.
  2. Players  : ‘A voice for Players’. There shall be a Cricket Players’ Association affording membership to all international and most first class men and women retired cricketers. This Association shall discharge assigned functions with the financial support of the BCCI. It shall be brought into existence by an independent steering committee.
  3. Agents : ‘Arms length for agents’. Players’ interests are protected by ensuring that their Agents are registered under the prescribed norms administered by the BCCI and the Players’ Cricket Association.
  4. Conflict of Interest : ‘Avoidance of conflicts’. Detailed norms have been laid down to ensure there is no direct or indirect, pecuniary or other conflict or appearance thereof in the discharge of the functions of those persons associated or employed by the BCCI, its Committees, its Members or the IPL Franchisees. These norms shall be administered by an Ethics Officer.
  5. The Ombudsman and the Electoral Officer : ‘Independent monitors’. Provision has been made to have an independent ombudsman to resolve grievances of Members, Administrators, Players and even members of the public as per the procedures laid down. Similarly, an independent Electoral Officer to oversee the entire electoral process is also mandated.
  6. Functioning : ‘Transparency’. The BCCI must provide the relevant information in discharge of its public functions. All rules and regulations, norms, details of meetings, expenditures, balance sheets, reports and orders of authorities are to be uploaded on the website as well.
  7. Oversight : ‘Accountability’. An independent auditor to verify how the Full Members have expended the grants given to them by the BCCI, to record their targets and milestones, and to submit a separate compliance report in this regard.
  8. Betting & Match-fixing : ‘Legalization for betting and Criminalization for match-fixing’. A recommendation is made to legalize betting (with strong safeguards), except for those covered by the BCCI and IPL regulations. Also a recommendation for match/spot-fixing to be made a criminal offence.
  9. Ethics for Players : ‘Awareness and sensitization’. Provisions to be made for lectures, classes, handbooks and mentoring of young players.
 
Note : Use this name in questions related to sports administration