Daily Current Affairs : 7th & 8th July 2022

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Nominated Members of Rajya Sabha
  2. Rising Temperature During monsoon
  3. CCP Guidelines of False or Misleading Advertisement
  4. Bharat New Car Assessment Programme
  5. Facts for Prelims

1 . Nominated Members of Rajya Sabha

Context : The government on Wednesday (July 6) nominated musician Ilaiyaraaja, track-and-field icon PT Usha, Telugu screenwriter V Vijayendra Prasad, and philanthropist and spiritual leader Veerendra Heggade to Rajya Sabha. The four new entrants to Rajya Sabha belong to four southern states, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.

What does the Constitution say about nominated members?

  • Article 80 of the Constitution (“Composition of the Council of States”) says “The Council of States shall consist of
    • (a) twelve members to be nominated by the President in accordance with the provisions of clause (3); and
    • (b) not more than two hundred and thirty-eight representatives of the States and of the Union territories.”
  • Clause 3 of the article lays down the qualifications for the appointment: “The members to be nominated by the President…shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely:— Literature, science, art and social service.”
  • Since Rajya Sabha was constituted in 1952, a total 142 individuals have been nominated as its members. The list includes scholars, jurists, educationists, historians, scientists, litterateurs, journalists, engineers, economists, administrators, artistes, sportspersons, social workers, and politicians, mostly with loyalty to the government of the day.

What is the role of nominated members?

  • Nominated members of Rajya Sabha enjoy all the powers and privileges to which the elected MPs are entitled.
  • Nominated members are not allowed to vote in the election of the President. They do have the right to vote in the election of the Vice-President, however.
  • Nominated member can join a political party within six months of taking his/ her seat in the House

Why are members nominated to the Rajya Sabha?

  • Pitching for a provision in the Constitution to allow eminent persons to be nominated to the Council of States, N Gopalaswami Ayyangar, who was part of the Constitution Drafting Committee, said: “We also give an opportunity, perhaps, to seasoned people who may not be in the thickest of the political fray, but who might be willing to participate in the debate with an amount of learning and importance which we do not ordinarily associate with the House of the People (Lok Sabha).”
  • The first list of 12 Presidential nominees perfectly represented this sentiment: Zakir Husain, who later became the President of India; historians Kalidas Nag and Radha Kumud Mookerji; the eminent Hindi poet Maithilisharan Gupt; Gandhian author Kakasaheb Kalelkar; scientist Satyendranath Bose; social worker N R Malkani; danseuse Rukmini Devi Arundale; Gandhian scholar J M Kumarappa; jurist Alladi Krishnaswami; actor Prithviraj Kapoor; and medical scientist Major General S S Sokhey.

2 . Rising Temperature During Monsoon

Context : The monsoon has usually meant respite from the heat, but temperatures during these months — June to September — are seeing a rise, says an analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), an environment group

Key Findings of the study

  • At an all-India level, average temperatures during the season are 0.3 degrees Celsius higher than the average summer temperatures (March to May) when compared from 1951 to 1980. In the past decade, 2012-2021, this anomaly has risen to 0.4 degrees Celsius.
  • India’s average temperature has risen 0.62 degrees Celsius from 1901 to 2020, according to India Meteorological Department records. However, in a breakdown of this rise, the CSE analysis shows it has translated to summer temperatures rising slower than not only monsoon but even post-monsoon (October-December) and winter (January and February) temperatures.
  • The increase in these two seasons are 0.79 degrees and 0.58 degrees, respectively, whereas summer temperatures has risen only 0.49 degrees. This year, India saw record pre-monsoon temperatures in northern and western regions, in the absence of rain.
  • The average daily maximum temperature for March and April for Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand — as per IMD classification — was almost 4 degrees Celsius above normal (compared to its baseline of 1981-2010). This is almost twice as much as the anomaly observed at an all-India level, and it holds true for even average daily minimum, daily mean and land surface temperatures, the CSE noted. Temperatures became closer to normal during May.

Impact of rising temperature

  • These numbers had a bearing on heatwave deaths. From 2015 to 2020, 2,137 people had reportedly died of heat stroke in the States in northwest but the southern peninsula region had reported 2,444 deaths due to excess environmental heat, with Andhra Pradesh alone accounting for over half the reported casualties.
  • Delhi reported only one death for the period. Most deaths have been reported among working age men (30-60 age group).

3 . CCP Guidelines of False or Misleading Advertisement

Context : The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) recently issued guidelines to prevent false or misleading advertisements. The guidelines are pathbreaking because they fill significant consumer protection gaps while explicitly outlining advertiser duties. 

About the New Guidelines

  • The guidelines also try to discourage the promotion of illogical consumerism aimed at children. The problem of misleading, bait, surrogate and children-targeted advertisement has festered without respite for far too long.
  • The guidelines perform an essential function in bringing the Indian regulatory framework at par with international norms and standards.

Defining a ‘valid’ advertisement

  • The guidelines lay down the conditions for non-misleading and valid advertisements. Briefly, an advertisement can be considered non-misleading if it contains true and honest representation of goods and does not exaggerate the accuracy, scientific validity or practical usefulness or capability.
  • In case of unintentional lapse, the advertisement may still be considered as valid if the advertiser has taken prompt action in letting the consumer know the deficiency.
  • Rather than defining what constitutes a ‘misleading or invalid advertisement,’ the guidelines have sought to define ‘valid or non-misleading advertisement.’ This take on policy drafting significantly reduces the scope for exploitation of any inadvertent loopholes.

Surrogate advertisements

  • “Surrogate advertisement” refers to the advertisement of goods in the shadow of other goods. For example, the advertisement of tobacco in the garb of pan masala. Advertisement of tobacco as such is prohibited by the law. While existing laws such as the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act, 2003 already seeks to govern advertisements related to tobacco, manufacturers and advertisers have been able to circumvent the regulation through the grey area created by a surrogate advertisement.
  • The guidelines seek to ensure that these grey areas are filled by the black letter of the law, completely disallowing any attempts to advertise products that are otherwise prohibited by law.

Advertisements targeting children

  • Another important issue taken up by the new guidelines is the discouragement of “children targeted advertisements”.
  • Advertisements that condone, encourage, inspire or unreasonably emulate behaviour that could be dangerous for children or take advantage of children’s inexperience, credulity or sense of loyalty etc. have been prohibited.
  • Advertisements tend to influence children’s buying behaviour and encourage them to consume unhealthy goods, or develop negative feelings toward healthy goods.
  • The guidelines further require that the goods which require a health warning should not be advertised through children as well as personalities from music, sports and cinema.
  • Advertisements that state “any health or nutritional claims or benefits without being adequately and scientifically substantiated” or any surgery which may have adverse effects on the physical and mental health of children are prohibited.
  • An advertisement may be considered as children targeted if the advertisement of any goods, product or service which addresses or targets children may develop negative body image in children or give any impression that such goods, product or service is better than natural or traditional food. For example, advertisements relating to milk additive products often imply that the products have higher nutritional value for the growth of children, increase retention power of the brain during exams, strengthen bones in sports etc., even though these claims are yet to be scientifically proven.
  • Additionally, the guidelines also require that advertisements including “chips, carbonated beverages and such other snacks and drinks” shall not be cast on channels exclusively meant for children. However, it remains to be seen as to whether such a guideline can survive a challenge under Article 14 and Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian Constitution in as much as it impinges upon the right of the channels such as Cartoon Network to earn revenue from such advertisements.

Other reforms

  • The guidelines have also introduced the need to have “disclaimers in advertisements” to “clarify a claim made in such advertisement or make qualifications or resolve ambiguities therein in order to explain such claim in further detail.”
  • The guidelines also impose duties on the manufacturers, service providers and advertising agency to not claim and make comparisons in an advertisement which relate to matters of objectively ascertainable facts. Moreover, the advertisement must be framed to gain the trust of the consumers and not to “abuse the trust of consumers or exploit their lack of experience or knowledge”.

4 . Bharat New Car Assessment Program (Bharat-NCAP).

Context : On June 24, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari approved a Draft GSR (general statutory rules) Notification seeking comments on a proposal to introduce the Bharat New Car Assessment Program (Bharat-NCAP).

About New Car Assessment Programs (NCAP)

  • New Car Assessment Programs (NCAP) provide reliable information about the crash safety of a vehicle based on certain common criteria and procedures. This then helps vehicles acquire a foothold in international markets.
  • Bharat NCAP would assign vehicles between one and five stars on parameters such as Adult Occupant Protection (AOP), Child Occupant Protection (COP) and Safety Assist Technologies (SAT). 

What is the purpose of an NCAP?

  • New Car Assessment Programs (NCAPs) provide globally reliable information about the crash safety of a vehicle based on certain common criteria and procedures. This then helps vehicles acquire a foothold in international markets. They are separate from country-specific motor standards in the sense that the latter restricts itself to assessing the vehicle’s roadworthiness and not necessarily how it would ensure safety in a collision. However, a zero rating in an NCAP cannot prevent a car from being sold in any geography.
  • Global NCAP is a standardised platform establishing cooperation and coordination among NCAPs internationally whereas regional NCAPs take into account specific local conditions. A car may have attained a good rating elsewhere but it might not be the case in another geography because of potentially separate manufacturing origins and quality.
  • The nature of the domestic markets also matter — consumers may prefer a car with reduced safety specifications for there is greater insistence on affordability.

How would the vehicles be evaluated?

  • The voluntary Bharat NCAP would assign vehicles between one and five stars on parameters such as Adult Occupant Protection (AOP), Child Occupant Protection (COP) and Safety Assist Technologies (SAT). It would study frontal impact, side impact and the possibility of a door opening after a crash. The potential impact is studied with the help of dummies, of pre-specified measurements, placed inside the vehicle. The car is crashed into an aluminium deformable barrier impersonating an opposing force of the same magnitude — a crash-like situation, with a 40% overlap.
  • Bharat NCAP would conduct its frontal offset crash testing at 64 kmph instead of the prevailing 56 kmph norm. Offset collisions are those where one side of a vehicle’s front and not the full width hits the barrier. Even though the existing regulations adhere to United Nations Regulation 94 for collision testing, its absence in domestic testing norms, and inadequate side protection in vehicles (such as airbags), has been often cited as reasons for the poor performance of Indian vehicles at NCAPs.
  • After the test collision, to assess adult protection, the dummy would be checked for injuries on the head, neck, chest, knee, pelvis area, lower leg, foot and ankle. Whether the airbags protect the occupant’s head that moves forward reflexively in the aftermath of a collision would be evaluated. There must not be any rib compression or injury to the knee joint. Additionally, full or partial ejection of an occupant because of a door opening is negatively marked.
  • For assessing child protection, the NCAP would evaluate the impact to a child restraint system (CRS) and airbag safety. CRS are portable seats designed to protect children during vehicle collisions. Vehicles that can accommodate a broad variety of child seats available in the domestic market would be rewarded. The child must not be ejected from the CRS and his/her head must be contained within the shell of the CRS preventing any outside blow following a crash.
  • Higher ratings would be accorded to vehicles with a permanent warning label on frontal airbags. Sudden braking may propel a child in the front row towards the dashboard, against an airbag which is inflating at an immense speed and having huge volume, causing injury or death. Cars must have manual switches to disable airbags which should not be within the child’s reach.

5 . Facts for Prelims

Section 69 (A) of the Information Technology Act

  • Section 69 (A) of the IT Act, 2000 allows the Centre to issue blocking orders to social media intermediaries “in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence relating to above”.
  • As per rules that govern these blocking orders, any request made by the government is sent to a review committee, which then issues these directions. Blocking orders issued under Section 69 (A) of the IT Act are typically confidential in nature.

Deficiency Pricing Payment

  • Deficiency pricing payment (DPP) was one such means of giving MSP to farmers. Under DPP, the difference between the open market price and MSP is given to farmers. It has been implemented in some States like Madhya Pradesh

Dragon Fruit

  • Gujarat and Haryana governments, the Centre has decided to promote the cultivation of dragon fruit, known as a “super fruit” for its health benefits.
  • The Gujarat government recently renamed dragon fruit as kamlam [lotus] and announced an incentive for farmers who cultivate it.
  • The Haryana government also provides a grant for farmers who are ready to plant this exotic fruit variety.
  • The fruit is considered good for diabetic patients, low in calories and high in nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium and zinc. 

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