NATIONAL

Curb on using national flag in costumes goes

No use of the flag in any uniform, accessory worn below the waist

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Tuesday withdrew the restriction on use of the national flag by the public as a portion of costumes.

However, the flag cannot be used on any undergarment or dress, costume, uniform or accessory worn below the waist. The ban will continue on embroidering or printing the flag on cushions, gloves, handkerchiefs, napkins and any dress material.

Union Minister and Cabinet spokesperson Jaipal Reddy said the Government was committed to liberalising the use of the national flag. At the same time, it wanted to provide safeguards to prevent misuse. The decision would be implemented through an amendment to the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act.

UNESCO convention

The Cabinet decided to ratify the UNESCO convention for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, defined as practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, and skill, including instruments, objects, artefacts, and cultural spaces associated with communities, groups and in some cases even individuals who recognise them as part of their cultural heritage.

Each member-country is required to ensure that its intangible cultural heritage is safeguarded.

The various elements of the heritage have to be identified in partnership with non-governmental organisations, communities and groups.

At least 30 countries will have to ratify the convention before it comes into effect. India is one of the first countries which have decided to decide to ratify it. Once it comes into force, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation will stop the system of proclamation of `Masterpieces of ICH'.

Instead, an inventory, `Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity' will be maintained under the convention. Art forms and other items that have already been proclaimed as Masterpieces of ICH will be included in the inventory.

India now has two art forms so proclaimed: the Tradition of Vedic Chanting and `Kuttiyattam', a Sanskrit theatre.

A third proposal, to include `Ramlila' (the 10-day-long drama on Ramayana staged in the north during Dusshera), will be considered by the UNESCO later this month.

Nutrition programme

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs decided to continue the nutrition programme for adolescent girls in 51 districts this financial year at a cost of Rs. 120 crores.

It was launched in 2002 as a pilot project.

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