Daily Current Affairs : 10th July 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Country of origin of the products sold through E-commerce portal
  2. Exercise Malabar
  3. Diplomatic Bag
  4. Code on Wages Act
  5. Army personnel told to delete 89 apps

1 . Country of origin of the products sold through E-commerce portal

Context: Country of origin tag a must for all e-commerce portals

About the news

  • Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs has sent out a reminder to all e-commerce portals to ensure that the “country of origin” of the products being sold by them should be mentioned as part of mandatory declarations.
  • This move has been made amidst the clamour to ban China-made goods and also at the time when the government is pushing for ‘Make in India’ products.

Legal provisions regarding country of origin for e-commerce portals

  • According to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 it is mandatory for all manufacturers to declare the package name and address of the manufacturer, common and generic name of commodity, net quantity, month and year of manufacturing, MRP and consumer care details.
  • In 2017, new provisions were added for e-commerce websites such as Amazon, Flipkart and so on, making it compulsory for them to display these information along with “declaration of country of origin or manufacture or assembly” and a clear mention of expiry date.
  • There are also punitive provisions in the law. For the first offence, a penalty up to ₹25000 can be charged, for the second offence, the fine may extend to ₹50,000. Any subsequent offences can attract a jail term of one year.
  • The law has been in place for the last three years but the Ministry has no details on how many times it has been invoked to penalise any of these portals.

Significance of the move

  • It will help consumers know about the origin of products and thus give a push to Make in India initiative.
  • This will empower consumers to make an informed choice.

2 . Exercise Malabar

Context: India will take a decision on whether to include Australia in the Malabar exercises with Japan and the U.S. at a Defence Ministry meeting early next week, according to a defence source.


  • In April 2017, Australia made a request for observer status in the trilateral exercise and since then, it has made repeated requests to join the exercises.
  • In January 2018, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had said talks on the Malabar exercises were “progressing well”. However, India did not include Australia in the exercises in 2018 and 2019.

About Malabar exercise

  • Exercise Malabar began as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the U.S. in 1992, and was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.
  • The exercise has been more regular since 2004 with other Asian nations joining in the annual event.

Significance in inclusion of Australia

  • This decision could bring all Quad countries together as part of the annual war games. India is already a member of the Quad and attended the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue held in November 2019. Quad is the informal strategic dialogue between India, the USA, Japan and Australia with a shared objective to ensure and support a free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.
  • Australia’s inclusion can be seen as a possible first step towards the militarisation of the Quad coalition, something Beijing has opposed in the past. China has been uncomfortable with the informal coalition of four democracies, which was first formed in 2004 to help nations in the Indo-Pacific after the tsunami and revived in 2017. Post the coronavirus pandemic, the grouping has been coordinating efforts every month with Vietnam, South Korea and New Zealand.
  • The inclusion would also mark a major shift for India’s Indo-Pacific plans.

3 . Diplomatic Bag

Context : Gold smuggled through diplomatic bag addressed to a diplomat in the United Arab Emirate Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala caught at the Kerala airport

About the news:

  • As the gold was being smuggled in diplomatic baggage and as per the law a diplomatic cargo is not subjected to routine Customs examination and is cleared as early as possible.
  • But in this case, Customs officials had suspected the role of the well-orchestrated smuggling lobby operating in the Middle East
  • Two former employees of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram have been named in the case.
  • This is reportedly the first incident in the state where the customs department seized illegal consignment from a diplomatic bag.

What is a Diplomatic bag?

  • A diplomatic bag, also known as a diplomatic pouch, is a container with certain legal protections used for carrying official correspondence or other items between a diplomatic mission and its home government or other diplomatic, consular, or otherwise official entity.
  • The “bag” has diplomatic immunity from search or seizure as long as it is externally marked to show its status under article 27 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Article 27 of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961

  • Under Vienna Convention diplomatic bag shall not be opened or detained.
  • The packages constituting the diplomatic bag must bear visible external marks of their character and may contain only diplomatic documents or articles intended for official use.
  • The diplomatic courier, who shall be provided with an official document indicating his status and the number of packages constituting the diplomatic bag, shall be protected by the receiving State in the performance of his functions. He shall enjoy person inviolability and shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention.
  • The sending State or the mission may designate diplomatic couriers ad hoc.
  • A diplomatic bag may be entrusted to the captain of a commercial aircraft scheduled to land at an authorized port of entry. He shall be provided with an official document indicating the number of packages constituting the bag but he shall not be considered to be a diplomatic courier.
  • The mission may send one of its members to take possession of the diplomatic bag directly and freely from the captain of the aircraft.

4 . Code on Wages Act 2019

Context : The Union Labour and Employment Ministry published the draft rules framed for the implementation of the Code on Wages Act, 2019, that guarantees minimum wages to all, defines how the wages will be calculated and prescribes a national floorwage for all States.

About the Bill

  • The Code on Wages is one of the four codes that would subsume 44 labour laws with certain amendments to improve the ease of doing business and attract investment for spurring growth.
  • The four codes will deal with wages, social security, industrial safety and welfare, and industrial relations. 
  • The Code on Wages will replace the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.
  • The bill provides that the Central Government will fix minimum wages for certain sectors, including railways and mines, while the states would be free to set minimum wages for other category of employments.
  • The code also provides for setting up of a national minimum wage.
  • The Central Government can set a separate minimum wage for different regions or states. The bill also says that the minimum wage would be revised every five years.

Details of the draft

  • The official said the latest draft clarified the issue as the nine hours mentioned earlier included one hour of rest, which has now been mentioned separately from the eight working hours.
  • According to the draft rules, the basis for calculating the minimum wage would be a standard working class family of one earning worker, a spouse and two children, a net intake of 2,700 calories per day each, 66 metres of cloth per year, rent expenditure equal to 10% of the food and clothing expenditure, fuel, electricity and other miscellaneous expenses of 20% of minimum wage and expenditure on children’s education, medical care, recreation and contingencies amounting to 25% of minimum wage.

5 . Army personnel told to delete 89 apps by July 15

Context: The 1.3 million-strong Indian Army has directed all its personnel to remove 89 apps, including Facebook and Instagram, from their mobile phones by July 15. The apps also include the 59 Chinese apps banned by the government recently.

Reasons for the move

  • The order was issued to prevent leakage of sensitive information and also due to security considerations.
  • In December last year, the Indian army identified 150 profiles being used by Pakistan to lure honey trap Indian army officers. This is when someone is posing as an attractive person entice another into revealing confidential information or doing something unwise.
  • Indian Army describes honey- trapping as a weapon of hybrid warfare being waged by its enemies.
  • “Operation Dolphin Nose” is an ongoing investigation by the Indian Navy to track down personnel being honey trapped.

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