Daily Current Affairs : 11th November 2023

Topics Covered

  1. Broadcasting Services Bill
  2. Cloud seeding and Pollution
  3. Facts for Prelims  

1 . Broadcasting Services Bill

Context: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting recently released the draft Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023, which aims to bring in a new regulatory framework in keeping with technological advancements in the sector. 

About the Bill

  • The Bill essentially provides regulatory provisions for various broadcasting services under a single legislative framework. The Bill consists of six chapters, 48 sections and three Schedules. 
  • It seeks to replace the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995 and other policy guidelines currently governing the broadcasting sector in India. 

Key Features of the Bill

  • Bill extends its regulatory purview to encompass broadcasting OTT content, digital news and current affairs currently regulated through the IT Act, 2000. 
  • It also includes provisions for emerging broadcasting technologies, according to a government source. 
  • It provides comprehensive definitions for contemporary broadcasting terms along with other important technical terms to be defined in the statute for the first time. 
  • It introduces content evaluation committees for self-regulation and Broadcast Advisory Council to advise the central government on programme code and advertisement code violations. 
  • It provides statutory penalties like advisory, warning, censure, or monetary penalties, for operators and broadcasters. Provision for imprisonment and/or fines is also there, but only for very serious offences, such as obtaining registration with a false affidavit. 
  • The Bill also aims to make broadcasting more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities. It promotes the use of subtitles, audio descriptors, and sign language. It has a provision for appointing a “Disability Grievance Officer” 
  • It also has provisions for infrastructure sharing among broadcasting network operators and carriage of platform services. It streamlines the ‘Right of Way’ section to address relocation and alterations more efficiently, and establishes a structured dispute resolution mechanism. 

2 . Cloud seeding and Pollution

Context: The Delhi government has announced that it was considering cloud seeding or ‘artificial rain’ to wash away pollutants in the air. 

What is Cloud Seeding ? 

  • Cloud seeding is a weather modification technique designed to enhance precipitation by introducing various substances into clouds. 
  •  The most common method involves dispersing seeding agents, such as silver iodide, potassium iodide, or liquid propane, into the air. 
  •  These agents serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, providing a surface for water droplets or ice crystals to form. 

Has cloud seeding been done before in India, and has it been successful? 

  • Seeding has mostly been attempted during the monsoon in India, in places such as Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. 
  • A more recent experiment, the fourth phase of the Cloud Aerosol Interaction and Precipitation Enhancement Experiment (CAIPEEX-IV) that took place in the monsoon seasons of 2018 and 2019, was conducted in drought-prone Solapur in Maharashtra. It pointed to a relative enhancement of 18 per cent in rainfall. 

Cloud seeding to help with pollution levels

  • In India so far, cloud seeding has not been tried with the purpose of reducing pollution, but only been tried to deal with drought-like conditions. 
  • There are a few cases where China tried weather management options. However, in India, there is a dearth of investigations done in this aspect (impact of cloud seeding on pollution). 
  •  The conditions are different, and India will need a dedicated study on this. 
  • Clouds and their processes are very complex, as these are non-linear processes. 
  • This is being done for the first time for fighting air pollution. There should be a significant amount of rain to wash away the pollutants. It will only be temporary, but if at all it is successful, it will break the flow of pollutants. 

3 . Facts for Prelims

NDMA’s Cell Broadcast Alert System (CBAS)

  • The DOT in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will be conducting comprehensive testing of the Cell Broadcast Alert System. 
  • This initiative aims to bolster emergency communication during disasters and prioritize the safety and well-being of our esteemed citizens. 
  • The Cell Broadcast Alert System represents a cutting-edge technology that empowers people to disseminate critical and time-sensitive disaster management messages to all mobile devices within specified geographical areas, regardless of whether the recipients are residents or visitors. 
  • This ensures that crucial emergency information reaches as many individuals as possible promptly. 
  • Common applications of Cell Broadcast include delivering emergency alerts such as severe weather warnings (e.g., Tsunamis, Flash Floods, Earthquakes), public safety messages, evacuation notices, and other critical information. 

 Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) Scale

  • The Modified Mercalli scale is designed to describe the effects of an earthquake, at a given place, on natural features, on industrial installations and on human beings. 
  • The intensity differs from the magnitude which is related to the energy released by an earthquake. 
  • The MM scale measures intensity of shaking, at any particular location, on the surface. 
  • The lesser degrees of the MMI scale generally describe the manner in which the earthquake is felt by people. 
  • The greater numbers of the scale are based on observed structural damage. 

 Richter scale

  • The Richter scale also called the Richter’s magnitude scale, and the Gutenberg–Richter scale, is a measure of the strength of earthquakes, developed by Charles Francis Richter. 
  • All magnitude scales retain the logarithmic character of the original and are scaled to have roughly comparable numeric values. 

Project Beacon of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO)   

  • Project Beacon of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is a project which works on restoring and improving the road to the Amarnath cave shrine, located in the snow-clad Himalayas of Kashmir’s Lidder Valley. 

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