PIB Analysis : 18th, 19th & 20th July 2020

PIB Analysis for UPSC CSE

  1. Consumer Protection Act, 2019 
  2. COVID Protection System (COPS) for Workplace
  3. Content Regulation of Government funded advertisements in all media platforms
  4. Form 26AS
  5. Facts for Prelims

1 . Consumer Protection Act, 2019 


Background

  • Consumer Protection Act 1986 provided for a three-tier consumer dispute redressal machinery at the National (NCDRC), State ( State Commissions) and District levels ( District Fora)
  • The Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan on July 8, 2019. The Bill replaces the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. 

Salient Features Of Consumer Protection Act 2019

  • Consumer Protection Councils
  • Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)
  • Simplified Dispute Resolution Process
  • Mediation
  • Product Liability
  • Rules on e-commerce and direct selling
  • Penalty for adulteration of products/spurious goods

Definition of consumer

  • A consumer is defined as a person who buys any good or avails a service for a consideration.  It does not include a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purpose.  It covers transactions through all modes including offline, and online through electronic means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling.

Rights of consumers

  • Six consumer rights have been defined in the Bill, including the right to: (i) be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property; (ii) be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services; (iii) be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices; and (iv) seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices. 

Central Consumer Protection Authority

  • The central government will set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.  It will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements.  The CCPA will have an investigation wing, headed by a Director-General, which may conduct inquiry or investigation into such violations.
  • CCPA will carry out the following functions, including: (i) inquiring into violations of consumer rights, investigating and launching prosecution at the appropriate forum; (ii) passing orders to recall goods or withdraw services that are hazardous, reimbursement of the price paid, and discontinuation of the unfair trade practices, as defined in the Bill; (iii) issuing directions to the concerned trader/ manufacturer/ endorser/ advertiser/ publisher to either discontinue a false or misleading advertisement, or modify it; (iv) imposing penalties, and; (v) issuing safety notices to consumers against unsafe goods and services.

Penalties for misleading advertisement

  • The CCPA may impose a penalty on a manufacturer or an endorser of up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years for a false or misleading advertisement.  In case of a subsequent offence, the fine may extend to Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of up to five years.
  •  CCPA can also prohibit the endorser of a misleading advertisement from endorsing that particular product or service for a period of up to one year. For every subsequent offence, the period of prohibition may extend to three years.  However, there are certain exceptions when an endorser will not be held liable for such a penalty.

Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

  • Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (CDRCs) will be set up at the district, state, and national levels.  A consumer can file a complaint with CDRCs in relation to: (i) unfair or restrictive trade practices; (ii) defective goods or services; (iii) overcharging or deceptive charging; and (iv) the offering of goods or services for sale which may be hazardous to life and safety.  Complaints against an unfair contract can be filed with only the State and National   Appeals from a District CDRC will be heard by the State CDRC.  Appeals from the State CDRC will be heard by the National CDRC.  Final appeal will lie before the Supreme Court.

SIMPLIFIED DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESS

  • Deemed admissibility after 21 days of filing
  • Empowerment of Consumer Commissions to enforce their orders
  • State Commission & District Commission can now review their own orders
  • Appeals only on question of law after second stage
  • Ease of approaching Consumer Commissions
    • Filing from place of residence/work
    • E-filing
    • Videoconferencing for hearing

Mediation

  • An Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism
  • Reference to mediation by Consumer Commissions wherever scope for early settlement exists and parties agree for it.
  • Mediation Cells to be attached to Consumer Commissions
  • Panel of mediators to be selected by selection committee consisting of the President and a member of Consumer Commission.
  • Mediation to be held in consumer mediation cell
  • No appeal against settlement through mediation

Product liability

  • Product liability means the liability of a product manufacturer, service provider or seller to compensate a consumer for any harm or injury caused by a defective good or deficient service.  To claim compensation, a consumer has to prove any one of the conditions for defect or deficiency, as given in the Bill.

Product liability benefits to Consumers

  • The CP Act 1986- single point of access to justice, which is time consuming. Additional swift executive remedies provided through CCPA
  • Deterrent punishment to check misleading advertisements and adulteration of products
  • Product liability provision to deter manufacturers and service providers from delivering defective products or deficient services
  • Ease of approaching Consumer Commissions and Simplification of adjudication process
  • Scope for early disposal of cases through mediation
  • Provision for rules for new age consumer issues: e-commerce & Direct selling

2 . COVID Protection System (COPS) for Workplace


Context : CSIR-CMERI, Durgapur, unveiled the  COVID Protection System (COPS) for Workplace as a game-changer in the current Pandemic Scenario

About COVID Protection System (COPS)

  • The COPS for Workplace includes contactless Solar Based Intelligent Mask Automated Dispensing Unit cum Thermal Scanner (IntelliMAST), Touchless Faucet (TouF) and 360° Car Flusher are now available for Technology Transfers and Product Orders.”

The COPS is a conglomeration of the following technologies:

  1. Solar Based Intelligent Mask Automated Dispensing Unit cum Thermal Scanner (IntelliMAST)-The Solar Based IntelliMAST is an Intelligent surveillance kiosk which identifies the body temperature and whether an individual is wearing Face Mask or not through customised Software solutions. The information about an employee not wearing a Face Mask is provided to the Administration for Cashless delivery of the Mask and later deduction of the price from the Salary. In this regard the system harnesses Internet-of-Things in a seamless manner. The in-built Thermal Scanner detects probable rise in Body Temperature through forehead scanning and audio visual alert the Security Guards. The IntelliMAST will help ensure safety of supervising staff and implementation of precautionary measure in any large organization. The IntelliMAST will also facilitate Identity Card based Mask Dispensing & Attendance System. Facial Recognition based &ID Card based Attendance System will be incorporated into the system in the near future and therefore may act as a comprehensive solution for Office & Industrial Complexes as well as School & College campuses. This system uses Artificial Intelligence and Information Technology to give real-time results and can be synchronised with the Human Resource Data of any organisation for any real-time data response and dissemination of information. The IntelliMAST system is backed up by Solar Power for uninterrupted Power Supply during blackouts. The power supply requirement of the IntelliMAST is 40-50 Watts sourced through a Hybrid combination of Solar Power & Electricity.
  2. Touchless Faucet (TouF)-The Touchless Faucet (TouF) is being launched for households and Office Spaces. The system dispenses Liquid Soap and Water from the same Faucet with a time-gap of 30 seconds, which is as per the latest Government guidelines. The Faucet can be very easily mounted on top of any Wash-Basin and will be available in Plug and Play mode for very easy installation. This System dispenses Water 30 seconds after dispensing Soap in a Touch-free Mechanism as per Local Government guidelines and can be very easily mounted on top of household wash basins. This domestic variant of the Dispensing system will help in arresting the contamination and help in further containing the spread of infection among the family members, for any asymptomatic individual. The technology has a power supply requirement of only 10 Watts.
  3. 360° Car Flusher: The CSIR-CMERI developed 360° Car Flusher is a Sodium Hypochlorite Water Screen which uses specialised Nozzle Design to ensure that the Sanitizer Diffused Water is evenly spread over and under the Car Body/Wheels with adequate Water Force and coverage. The Architecture of the 360° Car Flusher is based upon a Water Channel Frame with appropriate number of specialised Nozzles which can be customised and modified as per the specific requirements of any particular organisation. The Water Channel Frame and Nozzle Design of the Flusher have been optimised to ensure Water Efficiency and reduce Water Wastage. It requires 750 watts of power required to run a pump.

3 . Content Regulation of Government funded advertisements in all media platforms


Context : The Supreme Court mandated Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA) has today issued a notice to Government of NCT of Delhi on an advertisement of the Delhi Government which had appeared in newspapers on the 16th July, 2020. 

About the issue

  • The Committee had taken suo-moto cognizance of the points raised in the social media on the Delhi Government advertisement – questions had been raised on  the necessity of Delhi Government to issue  advertisements in Mumbai newspapers and had pointed that the purpose of the ad was only for political messaging. 
  • The one page advertisement was published by the Department of Education and Directorate of Information & Publicity, Government of NCT of Delhi.
  • Under the Supreme Court guidelines dated 13th May, 2015 –  “the content of government advertisements should be relevant to the governments’ constitutional and legal obligations as well as the citizens’ rights and entitlements”.

About CCGRA

  • As per the directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court on 13th May, 2015, the Government of India on 6th April, 2016 had set up a Three Member Body consisting of “persons with unimpeachable neutrality and impartiality and who have excelled in their respective fields” to look into Content Regulation of Government funded advertisements in all media platforms. 
  • The Committee is empowered to address complaints from the general public on violation of the Supreme Court guidelines and make suitable recommendations. 
  • The Committee can also take suo-moto cognizance of any violation/ deviation of the Supreme  Court guidelines and recommend corrective actions.
  • Presently the CCRGA is chaired by Shri Om Prakash Rawat, former Chief Election Commissioner of India and the Members are Shri Ramesh Narayan of Asian Federation of Advertising Associations and Past President, IAA and Dr. Ashok Kumar Tandon,  Member, Prasar Bharati Board.

4 . Form 26AS


Context : New Form 26AS is the Faceless hand-holding of the Taxpayers

What is Form 26AS?

  • Form 26AS is a consolidated annual tax statement that includes information on tax deducted/collected at source, advance tax, self-assessment that is available on the Income Tax website against a taxpayer’s Permanent Account Number (PAN).
  • The Budget for 2020-21 had announced the revised Form 26AS giving a more comprehensive profile of the taxpayer going beyond the details of tax collected and deducted at source.

What are the details in Form 26AS?

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in a statement said the Income Tax Department used to receive information like cash deposit/withdrawal from saving bank accounts, sale/purchase of immovable property, time deposits, credit card payments, purchase of shares, debentures, foreign currency, mutual funds, buyback of shares, cash payment for goods and services, etc. under Section 285BA of Income-tax Act, 1961 from “specified persons” like banks, mutual funds, institutions issuing bonds and registrars or sub-registrars etc., with regard to individuals having high-value financial transactions since the financial year 2016.
  • Now, all such information under different SFTs will be shown in the new Form 26AS
  • As per Section 285BA of the Income-tax Act, filers are required to furnish a Statement of Financial Transaction for specified transactions during the financial year to the income-tax authority or such other prescribed authority.
  • Banks and other prescribed reporting financial institutions in their SFTs record details of transactions involving cash deposits aggregating to Rs 10 lakh or more in a financial year, in one or more accounts (other than a current account and time deposit), cash payments made by any person totalling over Rs 1 lakh, payments of bills for one or more credit card of Rs 10 lakh or more by a person in a financial year.
  • Also, investment in bond/debentures, shares, mutual funds, buyback of shares exceeding Rs 10 lakh in a financial year along with purchase or sale of immovable property for Rs 30 lakh and above by a person will be recorded in the SFTs.

Benefits

  • This would help the honest taxpayers with updated financial transactions while filing their returns, whereas it will desist those taxpayers who inadvertently conceal financial transactions in their returns.
  • The new Form 26AS would also have information of transactions which used to be received up to Financial Year 2015-16 in the Annual Information Returns (AIR)

5 . Facts for Prelims


e-ICU

  • In order to strengthen the Government of India’s efforts to reduce COVID-19 mortality, AIIMS New Delhi has started a video-consultation program with ICU doctors across the country called e-ICU 
  • The program aims at holding case-management discussions among doctors who are at the frontline in treating COVID-19 patients in hospitals and COVID facilities around the country.
  • Physicians who manage COVID-19 patients including those in the ICUs can raise queries, present their experience and share knowledge with other physicians and experts from AIIMS,
  • The primary objective of these discussions is to reduce mortality from COVID-19 by learning from shared experience and strengthening best practices among hospitals with 1000 beds including isolation beds, oxygen supported and ICU beds. 

Manodarpan

  • MANODARPAN’ covering a wide range of activities to provide Psychosocial Support to students for their Mental Health & Well-being during the COVID outbreak and beyond.

Zoram Mega Food Park

  • Zoram Mega Food Park is the first Mega Food Park operationalized in the State of Mizoram.
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