Daily Current Affairs : 21st and 22nd November 2022

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Suicide Prevention Policy
  2. Standard for Product Review  
  3. Data Protection Bill
  4. Facts for Prelims

1 . Suicide Prevention Policy

Context: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced a National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS), the first of its kind in the country, with time-bound action plans and multi-sectoral collaborations to achieve reduction in suicide mortality by 10% by 2030.

About the strategy

  • The strategy broadly seeks to establish effective surveillance mechanisms for suicide within the next three years.
  • It aims to establish psychiatric outpatient departments that will provide suicide prevention services through the District Mental Health Programme in all districts within the next five years.
  • It plans to integrate a mental well-being curriculum in all educational institutions within the next eight years. I
  • It also envisages developing guidelines for responsible media reporting of suicides and restricting access to means of suicide.
  • The stress is on developing community resilience and societal support for suicide prevention.
  • While the strategy is in line with the WHO’s South East-Asia Region Strategy for suicide prevention, it says it will remain true to India’s cultural and social milieu.

Need for the strategy

  • Suicides impact all sections of the society and thus require concerted and collaborative efforts from individuals and the community at large.
  • In India, more than one lakh lives are lost every year to suicide, and it is the top killer in the 15-29 years category.
    • The recent National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report stated that 1.64 lakh people died by suicide in 2021.
  • In the past three years, the suicide rate has increased from 10.2 to 11.3 per 1,00,000 population.
  • The most common reasons for suicide include family problems and illnesses, which account for 34% and 18% of all suicide-related deaths.
  • Marginalised groups in particular are at a higher risk of suicide and self-harm; it is thus important to work on suicide prevention of these groups.
  • The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.4 aims to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one-third, through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and well-being
    • But since the time India became a signatory for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in 2015, the suicide rate has increased to 12.0 (in 2021) from 10.6 (in 2015) per lakh population

What the strategy should include-

  • The NSPS should articulate the need for awareness about suicide as a social issue and reduce the stigma around it.
  • The NSPS should also encourage community-based interventions for suicide prevention, meaning services delivered by people from the community, who understand the context of the individual and the services are culturally appropriate.
  • Such services should be provided through the Health & Wellness Centres (HWCs) integrated within Ayushman Bharat, as part of mental health services that are offered.
  • Healthcare workers, doctors, police, and the judiciary need to be sensitised, too. This will result in better care and empathetic conversations on suicide.
    • It will help shift the lens from suicide being a medico-legal issue, to one that recognises the social structures (gender, caste, religion, class, or sexuality) that adversely impact certain communities and contribute to suicide.
  • The Mariwala Health Initiative’s report Suicide Prevention – Changing the Narrative mentions, suicide prevention needs psychosocial approach where interventions that include both—providing psychological support through counselling and enabling access to social benefits like employment, health services, and education, among other things.
    • For example, to reduce the death among students, while there need to be helplines that can support the needs of the students during crisis/board exams, there will also be need to create awareness about supplementary exams to reduce their anxiety.
  • The national policy must also be designed through a consultative process that has representation from policy makers, psychiatrists, psychologists, NGOs, academicians, survivors of suicide, families of people with suicidal ideation, as well as families who have lost a loved one to suicide.
  • We also need widespread rigorous data, not just on deaths by suicide, but also attempted suicides, which will highlight its causes.
    • Building this knowledge on causes and approaches to suicide prevention will ultimately improve the quality of care that people with suicide ideation or survivors of suicide receive.

2 . Standard for Product Review

Context: The Department of Consumer Affairs is bringing out a standard for publishing product reviews for e-commerce platforms from November 25. India is probably the first country in the world to formulate standard for online reviews.

Key Features of the Framework-

  • The framework is meant to safeguard and protect consumer interest from fake and deceptive reviews on e-commerce platforms.
  • The standards will be applicable to every online platform which publishes consumer reviews.
  • The new standards will initially be voluntary. They will become mandatory after observing the platforms’ compliance with the standards.
  • If made mandatory, the violation of the standard, titled Indian Standard (IS) 19000:2022 ‘Online Consumer Reviews — Principles and Requirements for their Collection, Moderation and Publication’, can invite punishment for unfair trade practice or violation of consumer rights.
  • Also once made mandatory, a consumer may submit grievances to the National Consumer Helpline, Consumer Commissions, or the CCPA, against misleading reviews.
  • The guiding principles of the standard are integrity, accuracy, privacy, security, transparency, accessibility and responsiveness.
  • The standard prescribes specific responsibilities for the review author and the review administrator.
    • For the review author, these include confirming acceptance of terms and conditions, providing contact information, and for review administrator, these include safeguarding personal information and training of staff
  • The standard also provides for methods for verification of the review author through email address, identification by telephone call or SMS, confirming registration by clicking on a link, using captcha system, etc., to check the traceability and genuineness of the review author.
  • The standard provides both automated and manual moderation to check the content of the review.

What are ‘Fake Reviews’?

  • Fake reviews were defined in a 2015 document of the European Parliament, the highest law-making body of the EU, as: “Any review that is not an actual consumer’s honest and impartial opinion, or that does not reflect a consumer’s genuine experience of a product, service or business.”

Need for the standards-

  • Due to fake and misleading reviews, the right to be informed, which is a consumer right under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is violated. Thus they need to be eliminated.
    • The Act states that the consumers have a right to be “informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods, products or services”.
  • With the growth of the e-commerce industry, the need for transparency has increased.
    • In a 2018 report by Kearney, a global management consulting firm, it was estimated that by 2030 the e-commerce sector in India will be valued at $40 billion or more than Rs 3 lakh crore.
  • The standard is expected to benefit all stakeholders in the e-commerce ecosystem, that is, consumers, e-commerce platforms, sellers, etc.
  • It will help usher in confidence among consumers to purchase goods online and help them take better purchase decisions

3 . Facts for Prelims

Jeevan Pramaan (Digital Life Certificates)

  • Jeevan Pramaan is a biometric enabled digital service for pensioners. Pensioners of Central Government, State Government or any other Government organization can take benefit of this facility.
  • More than One Crore families in India can be classified as pensioner families, where the pension disbursed by the various government bodies forms the basis for their income and sustainability.
  • One of the major requisites for the pensioners post their retirement from service, is to provide life certificates to the authorized pension disbursing agencies like Banks,Post offices etc., following which their pension is credited to their account.
  • In order to get this life certificate the individual drawing the pension is required to either personally present oneself before the Pension Disbursing Agency or have the Life Certificate issued by authority where they have served earlier and have it delivered to the disbursing agency.
  • This very requirement of personally being present in front of the disbursing agency or getting a life certificate often becomes a major hurdle in the process of seamless transfer of pension amount to the pensioner.
    • This causes a lot of hardship and unnecessary inconvenience particularly for the aged and infirm pensioners who cannot always be in a position to present themselves in front of the particular authority to secure their life certificate.
    • In addition to this a lot of government employees post their retirement choose to move to a different location either to be with their family or other reasons.
  • Digital Life Certificate for Pensioners Scheme of the Government of India known as Jeevan Pramaan seeks to address this very problem by digitizing the whole process of securing the life certificate.
  • It aims to streamline the process of getting this certificate and making it hassle free and much easier for the pensioners.
  • With this initiative the pensioners requirement to physically present himself/herself in front of the disbursing agency or the certification authority will become a thing of the past benefiting the pensioners in a huge way and cutting down on unnecessary logistical hurdles.

Air Suvidha Form-

  • The central government, on November 21, cancelled Air Suvidha forms for international passengers.
  • Air Suvidha is a contactless solution by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Health Family Welfare, which is facilitated by Delhi Airport for all international passengers coming to India. It is a self-declaration form for international arriving passengers.
  • The portal, which was launched in August 2020, was the means through which international passengers had to compulsorily submit details of their journey and COVID-19 vaccination or testing status.
  • Late in 2021, as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spread, the Union Health Ministry made it mandatory to submit details on the portal, including passengers’ 14-day travel histories and negative RT-PCR test reports, to map if the traveller was arriving from an ‘at-risk’ country.
  • The Centre has now said that the present norms are being revised “in light of sustained declining COVID-19 trajectory and significant advances being made in COVID-19 vaccination coverage both globally as well as in India”.

FTP route for Defence Procurement

  • The aim of the Fast Track Procedure is to ensure expeditious procurement for urgent operational requirements of the Armed Forces, foreseen as imminent during war as well as peace time and for situations in which crisis emerges without prior warning.
  • Fast Track Procedures may also be applied for cases where timelines of the normal prescribed procedure in procuring of operationally critical equipment is seen to be adversely impacting the capability and operational preparedness of the Armed Forces.
  • The Fast Track Procedure (FTP) will cover acquisitions undertaken by the Ministry of Defence and Defence Services under ‘Buy category’ or outright purchase.
  • Under FTP, deliveries should start in six months from the signing of the contract and be completed in one year.


  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will attempt the 200th consecutively successful launch of the Rohini RH-200 sounding rocket on 23rd November from Thumba.
  • RH-200 is a two-stage rocket capable of climbing to a height of 70 km bearing scientific payloads.
  • The first and second stages of RH-200 are powered by solid motors.
  • The ‘200’ in the name denotes the diameter of the rocket in mm. Other operational Rohini variants are RH-300 Mk-II and RH-560 Mk-III.
  • The sounding rocket programme ‘was indeed the bedrock on which the edifice of launch vehicle technology was built.
  • The ISRO has launched more than 1,600 RH-200 rockets so far. The rocket celebrated its 100th consecutive successful mission on July 15, 2015.
  • For years, the RH-200 rocket had used a polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-based propellant. The first RH-200 to use a new propellant based on hydroxyl-terminated Polybutadiene (HTPB) was successfully flown from the TERLS in September 2020.

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