Committees Current Affairs - 2019
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Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has proposed to set up five-member committee to suggest changes to JEE (Advanced) in the wake of an inadequate number of candidates qualifying entrance test this year. The committee will be headed by IIT-Madras director Bhaskar Ramamurthy.
The mandate of committee is to develop robust and scientifically designed entrance exam system to test potential of candidates as well as to reduce their dependence on coaching institutes. Other members of the committee will include Abhay Karandikar (Director of IIT-Kanpur), Vineet Joshi (Director General of National Testing Agency) and Professor Kannan Moudgalya of IIT-Bombay.
The first merit list for JEE (Advanced) 2018 had only 18,138 candidates, which was only 1.6 times total sanctioned seats. It was smallest pool of qualified candidates since 2012. It was also very less than mandated required of twice number of seats on offer. This had forced HRD Ministry to step in last-minute and order IIT Kanpur (which had organised JEE-Advanced this year) to release list of candidates, twice number of seats in each discipline and category (strictly as per merit) prior to starting the choice filling through JoSAA (Joint Seat Allocation Authority). Subsequently, IIT Kanpur added another 13842 candidates (8,954 general, 3,824 OBC, 771 SCs and 293 from ST category) to merit list, taking total up to 31,980 candidates. To avoid such incident in future, HRD Ministry has proposed to set up five-member member Committee.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has constituted three-member committee to look into draft food labelling and display regulations-Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations 2018. The committee will be headed by B Sesikeran, former director of National Institute of Nutrition (NIN)and comprises of current NIN director Hemalatha and AIIMS’ endocrinologist Nikhil Tandon.
FSSAI had released draft Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations 2018 in April 2018. It had proposed mandatory red-label marking on such packaged food products which are high in fat, sugar and salt contents. The front-of-the-pack red label mark was aimed to make consumers more aware about healthy and unhealthy food products. But, Union Health Ministry had put on hold on the draft regulations, after industry stakeholders had expressed concerns, citing that it may have an adverse impact on evolving packaged food industry. So address their concerns, FSSAI has decided to set up committee of experts with health and nutrition background to look into t draft regulations.
India can learn from best practices from the other countries such as Denmark, Norway and Singapore on labelling and trans-fat regulations. Consultation process started by FSSAI is seen as an attempt to begin dialogue among stakeholders on proposed draft labelling regulations. Moreover, recently, several companies had pledged to FSSAI’s Eat Right Movement and have made voluntary commitments to reduce salt, sugar and fat in their products. FSSAI in future is likely to push more and more companies to make similar voluntary commitments.