InstaLinks : help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions ina your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
- Misleading food ads and regulations to curtail them
GS Paper 3:
- 25th anniversary of Pokhran-II
GS Paper 4:
- Ethical Issues with Remission
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
- E-governance and digitization: NITI Aayog’s Compendium on Best Practices in Social Sector 2023
- Punjab: Right to Walk
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
- India is heating up slower than the world average
- SAKSHAM Learning Management Information System
- ODF Plus Status
- Telangana: State Robotics Framework
- Sludge to Fertilizer
- Mitochondrial Donation Treatment (MDT)
- Thermobaric Bomb
- Ranthambore Tiger Reserve (RTR)
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Governance: Government Policies and Interventions
Context: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has flagged 32 new cases of misleading advertisements and claims made by food business operators.
- FSSAI has referred the cases to licensing authorities and warned that offenders face penalties of up to INR 10 lakh or suspension or cancellation of licenses for repeated offences.
What are misleading advertisements?
Misleading advertisements are those that make false or exaggerated claims about a product or service with the intention of deceiving consumers.
Examples of misleading advertisements:
|Detox Tea Co.||“Lose 10 lbs in 7 days with our tea”|
|Beauty Products Inc.||“Eliminates wrinkles in one day”|
|Bourn Vita||“Our drink is low in sugar” (when it contains high sugar content)|
|Fresh Teeth Inc.||“Whitens teeth 10 shades in one use”|
|Hair Care Co.||“Regrows hair in 2 weeks”|
|Social Networking Inc.||“100% safe and secure”|
Impact of misleading advertisement:
|Loss of Customer Trust||Volkswagen used deceptive advertising to market their diesel cars as environmentally friendly, causing damage to the environment and a loss of trust in the company by customers.|
|Negative Brand Image||PepsiCo’s advertising campaign for Aquafina bottled water, which claimed the water was “pure, perfect and refreshing,” was misleading because the water was sourced from tap water.|
|Legal Consequences||L’Oreal was sued by the Federal Trade Commission (USA) for advertising that their anti-ageing creams could mimic the effects of a surgical facelift.|
|Health Impact||For example, sugary drinks such as soda are associated with many health problems.|
|Ethical impact||Unfair Competition, Breach of Trust, Deception and Manipulation|
Legal provisions against misleading advertisements:
|CCPA’s Guidelines to Prevent False or Misleading Advertisements||Issued in 2022, these guidelines cover goods, products, and services, and aim to prevent false or misleading advertising.|
|Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2018||Specifically deals with food (and related products), and regulates product claims, while the above guidelines deal with goods, products and services.|
|Cable Television Network Rules, 1994||Advertisements must not draw inferences that it has “some special or miraculous or supernatural property or quality, which is difficult to prove.|
|FSS Act 2006||Misleading ads are punishable under Section 53 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.|
|Consumer Welfare Fund||Set up under the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017, this fund promotes and protects the welfare of consumers.|
|Central Consumer Protection Council||Monitors and enforces consumer protection laws facilitates consumer education, and provides consumer redressal mechanisms.|
|Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020||These mandatory rules require sellers to take back defective or deficient goods, withdraw services, or provide refunds if goods or services do not meet the description on the platform.|
|Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)||A self-regulatory organization that monitors ads and deals with complaints against them in India.|
Tags given to packaged foods:
|Natural||A food product that is a single food derived from a recognized natural source and has nothing added to it. Packaging must be done without chemicals and preservatives.||Fresh fruits and vegetables|
|Fresh||The term “fresh” can only be used for food products that have been washed, peeled, chilled, trimmed, or cut without any other processing that alters its basic characteristics. If food is processed in any way to extend its shelf life, it cannot be labelled as “fresh.”||Freshly baked bread, freshly squeezed juice|
|Pure||“Pure” is to be used for single-ingredient foods to which nothing has been added, and the unavoidable contaminants are within prescribed controls.||Pure honey, pure maple syrup|
|Original||“Original” is used to describe food products made to a formulation, with a traceable origin that has remained unchanged over time.||Original recipe potato chips|
|Nutritional Claims||Nutritional claims in food advertisements can be about the specific contents of a product or comparisons with another food item.||“High in protein”, “Low in sugar”|
To improve food safety in India, companies should provide evidence to support their claims and modify advertisements for better consumer understanding. FSSAI and state food authorities should conduct surveys to ensure better enforcement and administration of the FSS Act. Compensation and fines should be increased in cases of injury or death, and more food testing laboratories should be established.
Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)
Central Consumer Protection Authority (founded 2019; HQ: New Delhi; Ministry: Ministry of Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution) is a regulatory authority set up under Section 10 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 in relation to matters affecting the rights of consumers by individuals or entities
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
FSSAI (founded 2008; HQ: New Delhi) is a statutory body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. The FSSAI has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which is a consolidating statute related to food safety and regulation in India.
Do you think that the brand ambassadors of products should be held accountable for misleading advertisements and endorsements? Examine. (250 Words)
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Challenges to Internal Security/Indigenization of Technology
Context: On May 11, 1998, codenamed Operation Shakti (literally, “strength”)/Pokhran-II, India conducted three nuclear bomb test explosions at the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range.
Timeline of Operation Shakti/Pokhran-II:
Foundation of India’s nuclear programme laid by physicist Homi J Bhaba:
- Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR): India’s first research institution dedicated to the study of nuclear physics opened (1945) in Bombay, after Bhaba’s successful lobbying.
- Department of Atomic Energy (DAE): Founded in 1954 with Bhabha as director.
The threat of China and Pakistan:
- The 1962 Sino-Indian War and China’s subsequent nuclear bomb test at Lop Nor in 1964.
- The 1965 India-Pakistan war, with China openly supporting Pakistan.
- Therefore, India was surrounded by two unfriendly nations and needed to take steps towards building self-sufficiency.
The “discriminatory” NPT:
- By the 1960s, discourse around nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as the Cold War arms race pushed the US and the USSR to great extremes.
- In 1968, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) came into existence, defining nuclear-weapon states as those that have built and tested a nuclear explosive device before January 1, 1967 – the US, Russia (formerly USSR), the UK, France and China.
- This disallows any other state from acquiring nuclear weapons.
- The government of India refused to accede to the terms of the treaty because it failed to address India’s concerns.
Pokhran-I/Operation Smiling Buddha:
- By the 1970s, Vikram Sarabhai (Bhaba’s successor at the DAE) had worked to significantly broaden India’s nuclear technology.
- The Indira Gandhi government showed political will and on May 18, 1974, India carried out its first nuclear test at the Pokhran test site.
- This test was conceptualised as a “peaceful nuclear explosion” with “few military implications”.
International sanctions on India post-Pokhran-I:
- The world was not willing to buy India’s version of the motive behind Pokhran-I and countries like the US and Canada imposed significant sanctions.
- These sanctions (majorly on tech transfer) would be a major setback for India’s nuclear journey and majorly decelerate its progress.
The period between the two tests:
- Domestic political instability: The Emergency of 1975 and PM Morarji Desai’s opposition to nuclear weapons brought the programme to a grinding halt.
- 1980s: Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was made in charge of India’s missile programme (1983) and India exponentially increased its plutonium stockpiles.
- With the fall of the USSR in 1991, India lost one of its biggest military allies.
- The US continued to provide military aid to Pakistan.
- Discussions regarding a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) were also underway in the UN (it would be finalised in 1996, but India did not sign it).
Pokhran-II – Projecting India’s strength:
- In 1995, permission for carrying out a nuclear test was granted. However, logistical and political reasons pushed back the tests further.
- In 1998, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government showed political will and successfully conducted Operation Shakti.
- Unlike the 1974 test, the Indian Government declared itself as a state possessing nuclear weapons following Pokhran-II.
- Though the test invited sanctions from some countries (like the US), the condemnation was far less than in 1974.
- The test helped India enter the highly guarded club of countries with the capability to deploy nuclear weapons, helping it to cement its status as a dominant nation-state.
India’s nuclear doctrine (presented in 1999) since Pokhran-II:
- It highlighted a credible minimum deterrence (CMD) and a no-first-use (NFU) policy, while concurrently supporting non-proliferation and universal disarmament.
- The sole purpose of India’s nuclear deterrence is to deter adversaries’ use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
- The policy changed India’s image and the US (once an adversary of India’s nuclear programme) signed a civil nuclear deal with India in 2008, acknowledging India as a responsible nuclear player.
- India needs actions at two levels for sustainable national security:
- To address immediate security threats by intelligently building sufficient and resilient retaliatory capability to signal credible deterrence.
- To make long-term innovative diplomatic investments towards the creation of a global environment conducive to peace and universal nuclear disarmament.
- Simultaneously, India can leverage the economic, political and cultural appeal to showcase the advantages of its philosophy of nuclear deterrence.
GS Paper 4
Syllabus: Determinants and consequences of ethics in-human actions.
Context: The article argues that the recent remissions of Anand Mohan Singh and the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case are ethically wrong and politically motivated.
|Definition||The complete ending of a sentence at a reduced point without changing the nature of the sentence.|
|Purpose||To provide prisoners with the hope of release and encourage reformation.|
|Legal Basis||Constitutional provisions under Articles 72 and 161 and Statutory Power under Sections 432, 433, 433A, 434 and 435 of the CrPC.|
|Eligibility||Any person convicted of any offence, is subject to certain conditions and the discretion of the appropriate government.|
|Conditions||Breach of any condition will result in cancellation of remission and the need to serve the full sentence.|
|Evaluation||Each case must be considered on an individual basis, taking into account relevant factors.|
|Fundamental Right||The Supreme Court has clarified that no convict has a fundamental right to remission, but the state must give due consideration to every case of clemency.|
|Remission vs Pardon||Remission is the reduction of a sentence without changing its nature, while pardon is the complete forgiveness of a sentence and the removal of all legal consequences associated with it.|
Ethical issues with remission:
|Injustice to victims||Remission of sentence for convicts in the Bilkis Bano case who were found guilty of raping and murdering multiple people, including a pregnant woman, during the 2002 Gujarat riots.|
|Political interference||Remission of sentence for Anand Mohan Singh, a former MP and convicted criminal who was involved in multiple cases of violence and murder. He was granted remission after his wife, also a former MP, appealed to the Chief Minister of Bihar.|
|Lack of accountability||Remission being granted without proper evaluation of the convict’s behaviour or reformation during the sentence.|
|Discrimination based on social status||Convicts from privileged backgrounds being granted remission more often than those from marginalized communities.|
|Lack of transparency||Lack of clear guidelines or criteria for granting remission, leading to inconsistency and possible favouritism.|
|Disregard for the severity of the crime||Remission being granted for heinous crimes, such as murder or rape, without proper consideration for the severity of the offense and its impact on the victim and their family.|
Remission is an important aspect of the criminal justice system that allows for the reduction of a sentence for a prisoner. It should be used judiciously and with consideration of principles of justice, mercy, and public safety.
What are the ethical considerations in the granting of remission for prisoners, and how should governments balance the principles of justice, mercy, and public safety in making these decisions? (150 Words)
Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)
Source: Niti Aayog
Every day, in this section we are bringing best practices from each category. Today’s best practices will cover ‘E-governance and digitization’
|Farmer Registration and Unified Beneficiary Information System (FRUITS)||Karnataka||A database of farmers across Karnataka that facilitates faster and targeted delivery of agriculture-related services to farmers. It sends SMS on crop advisories, animal disease forewarning, and vaccination advisories.|
|Kutumba: Social Protection cum Entitlement Management System||Karnataka||An IT-based platform for improving ease of access to government benefits to the poor in Karnataka, bringing about inclusive growth.|
|UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance)||Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology||A mobile application that aggregates citizen-centric government services on a single platform.|
|Akanksha: An Integrated Online Platform for SDG and CSR||Karnataka||An IT platform that brings together the stakeholders of the CSR ecosystem in Karnataka.|
|Blockchain-based caste certificates||Gadchiroli, Maharashtra||Issuance of caste certificates whose authenticity is guaranteed by a blockchain, thereby preventing forgery and disallowing fake caste certificates to be used for availing government services.|
|Infrastructure Snapshot App||Goalpara, Assam||An application that enables a user to monitor the maintenance of public services in the district and hold the concerned officials accountable for tardy work.|
|Loksewak App: E-Attendance||Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh||An attendance and field monitoring tool based on M-governance and E-governance technology.|
Punjab has become the first state in India to enforce the “right to walk” by making it mandatory for road-owning agencies, including the NHAI, to provide footpaths and cycle tracks in all future expansion of roads and construction of new ones.
The state government has issued these directions and instructed all agencies to prepare an action plan to construct footpaths and cycle tracks with a time frame and budget provision.
Usage: The example can used as solution to reduce deaths related to road accidents. It also shows the values of Commitment to safety, Empathy and concern, Responsiveness to citizen’s demands and Commitment to equity
Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: The annual mean temperature of the world is known to have increased by 1.1 degree Celsius from the average of the 1850-1900 period. But this increase is not uniform. It varies in different regions and also at different times of the year.
Context: The Union Health Ministry has launched the SAKSHAM (Stimulating Advanced Knowledge for Sustainable Health Management) Learning Management Information System (LMIS) developed by the National Institute of Health & Family Welfare (NIHFW)
|Ministry||Ministry of Health and Family Welfare|
|System Name||SAKSHAM LMIS is a dedicated and unified platform for providing online training and medical education to all health professionals in the country|
|Capacity Building||Ensures inclusive capacity building of health professionals from primary health centres located in rural and remote areas up to tertiary care and corporate hospitals in metropolitan cities|
|Other programs with the name ‘SAKSHAM’||Saksham Anganwadi (Ministry of Women and Child Development); Project Saksham (Indian Railways- for increasing the productivity and efficiency of its employees); SAKSHAM awareness campaign (Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas) to spread awareness about green energy|
Context: India’s Ministry of Jal Shakti has announced that over half of the nation’s villages have achieved ODF Plus status under the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) Phase II.
Meaning of ODF+ status:
It means that these villages not only maintain their Open Defecation Free (ODF) status but also implement solid or liquid waste management systems.
Leading states: Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh are among the top-performing states, while Goa and Sikkim lead among smaller states. Over 1 lakh gram panchayats have also passed resolutions banning Single Use Plastic.
The Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) Phase I was launched in 2014 to eliminate open defecation in rural areas by 2019. Phase II, implemented from 2020-21 to 2024-25, focuses on sustainability of ODF status. It also includes:
- Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM)
- Plastic Waste Management (PWM)
- Faecal Sludge Management (FSM)
- Information Education and Communication
- Behaviour Change Communication
- Capacity Building
Context: Telangana has become the first state in the country to launch a state robotics framework with a vision to create a sustainable robotics ecosystem.
Aim: It intends to leverage robotics technology in key domains, including agriculture, healthcare, industrial automation, and consumer robotics. The ultimate goal of the framework is to become a leader in robotics and promote a sustainable robotics industry in Telangana
- Telangana Robotics Innovation Centre (TRIC) will be established as an independent entity to implement the framework
- Robo park and robotics accelerator for start-ups will also be established
Context: The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an end to the global health emergency for mpox after 10 months.
- WHO declared mpox as a public health emergency of international concern in July 2022 to combat the spread of the disease. The WHO recently also declared an end to the public health emergency status for COVID-19.
Context: A recent study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Roorkee has found that the sludge from sewage treatment plants (STP) in India, which is rich in organic chemicals, has “high potential” for use as fertilizer.
Context: A baby has been born in the UK using a technique called mitochondrial donation treatment (MDT) (popularly called ‘Three Parents Baby’), which involves using the DNA of three people in an effort to prevent children from inheriting incurable diseases.
The procedure combines the sperm and eggs from the biological parents with mitochondria from a donor’s eggs. Harmful mutations in mitochondria, which are inherited only from the mother, can affect all the children a woman has. As of now, the technique is still in its experimental stage.
Approximately 1 in 5,000-10,000 children are born each year with mitochondrial disease. Concerns: Development of designer babies, dilutes parenthood, costly in nature etc.
Context: The Myanmar military used a thermobaric or vacuum bomb, also known as a fuel-air explosive, in an attack on a village in Sagaing last month, killing more than 160 people, including children, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
|About Thermobaric Bomb|
|Two-stage Explosion||First explosion splits open the bomb’s fuel container, releasing a cloud of fuel and metal particles. Second explosion ignites the aerosol cloud, creating a giant ball of fire and sending out intense blast waves|
|Prohibition||Not prohibited by any international law or agreement|
|Possible Action||Use against civilian populations in built-up areas, schools or hospitals, could attract action under the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907|
Myanmar has been facing violence since the military overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021 and brutally suppressed nonviolent protests.
Context: The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has approved the relocation of three tigresses from Ranthambore Tiger Reserve (RTR) to Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve (MHTR) in Kota and Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve in Bundi.
Reason for relocation:
To maintain the one plus two (one male, two female) rule and to address the increasing population of big cats at RTR. The death of five tigers, including three cubs, and the mysterious disappearance of one male tiger led the state to seek permission from NTCA to relocate the tigresses.
About the two reserves:
|Feature||Ranthambore Tiger Reserve||Mukundra Tiger Reserve|
|Location||Eastern part of Rajasthan state (Sawai Madhopur districts) at the junction of the Aravali and Vindhya hill ranges||Near Kota, Rajasthan. The reserve was the royal hunting ground of the Maharaja of Kota|
|Parks and Sanctuaries Included||Ranthambore National Park as well as Sawai Mansingh and Keladevi Sanctuaries||Darrah, Jawahar Sagar, and Chambhal Wildlife Sanctuaries|
|Vegetation||Tropical dry deciduous with ‘dhak’ (Butea monsoperma) being the commonest||Very thick and dense forest. Chambal river forms the boundary of the Mukundra TR valley|
|Wildlife||Tigers, leopards, striped hyenas, common or hanuman langurs, rhesus macaques, jackals, jungle cats, caracals, blackbuck, etc.||Similar|
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) (formed 2005, following the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. It was constituted under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, for strengthening tiger conservation. It is responsible for management of Project Tiger and India’s many Tiger Reserves in India.
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