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UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 6 June 2024

Insights IAS UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 6 June 2024 covers important current affairs of the day, their backward linkages, their relevance for Prelims exam and MCQs on main articles

InstaLinks :  Insta Links help you think beyond the  current affairs issue and help you think multidimensionally to develop depth in your understanding of these issues. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in 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.

Table of Contents 

GS Paper : (UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 6 June 2024)

  1. Analysis of NOTA (None of the Above)

 

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP) (UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 5 June 2024)

  1. Self-Declaration Certificate must for advertisers
  2. FSSAI
  3. Central Excise Bill, 2024
  4. Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC)
  5. Preston curve
  6. Hydroxyurea
  7. Reverse Transcriptase

 

Mapping (UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 5 June 2024)

  1. Five Eyes Alliance

 


UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 5 June 2024


Analysis of NOTA (None of the Above)

 GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Polity: Election

 Source: IE

 Context: In Indore, NOTA (None of the Above) emerged runner-up with more than 200,000 votes

 

What happened in Indore? 

In Indore, BJP’s Shankar Lalwani won with a significant margin of 10.09 lakh votes, receiving 12,26,751 votes. Surprisingly, NOTA emerged as the closest competitor with 2,18,674 votes, marking the highest-ever NOTA count in any constituency. The previous record was in Gopalganj, Bihar, in 2019, with 51,660 NOTA votes.

 

What is NOTA? 

NOTA allows voters to reject all candidates, indicating dissatisfaction. Even if it wins the majority, the runner-up candidate wins. The Supreme Court specifies it’s for universal adult suffrage and direct elections. It’s also used in countries like France, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, and Sweden. NOTA was introduced in 2013 after a Supreme Court (SC) direction in a public interest litigation filed by the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

 

What happens if NOTA receives the highest number of votes in a constituency? 

If NOTA receives the highest number of votes in a constituency, currently, there are no legal consequences attached to it. The second most successful candidate wins. However, there’s a petition under consideration by the apex court to declare elections “null and void” if NOTA wins the majority. The petitioner advocates for guidelines ensuring consequences for candidates failing to surpass NOTA.

Some states (states like Maharashtra, Haryana, Puducherry, Delhi, and Chandigarh) have already declared NOTA as a “Fictional Electoral Candidate,” triggering fresh elections if it surpasses individual candidates’ votes. The petitioner argues for uniform rules nationwide, suggesting that NOTA’s introduction in 2013 hasn’t achieved its intended purpose of enhancing voter participation or candidate quality.

 E.g., In the Maharashtra local body election, re-election may be conducted when majority votes are NOTA.

  

Significance of NOTA option:

SignificanceExplanation
DisapprovalNOTA allows dissatisfied voters to express disapproval towards contesting candidates. For example, women activists in Kerala advocated for NOTA when no female candidate was present. In Tamil Nadu, youth groups used NOTA as a protest against corruption.
Participation in votingStudies suggest that NOTA can increase voter turnout by motivating citizens to participate in elections.
Prevent bogus votesBy encouraging more people to cast their votes, even if they don’t support any candidate, NOTA helps reduce the count of bogus votes.
Enable the right to rejectNOTA enables voters to exercise their right to reject all candidates and register a vote of rejection.
Right to secrecyPreviously, voters had to inform the presiding officer if they chose “None of the above,” compromising ballot secrecy. NOTA ensures the maintenance of voters’ right to secrecy.

 

Is NOTA allowed in Rajya Sabha Polls? 

No, the Supreme Court had previously, ruled out the use of the ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) option in the Rajya Sabha elections. The court observed that NOTA is intended for universal adult suffrage and direct elections, not for proportional representation, as in Rajya Sabha polls. This decision aligns with Article 80(4) of the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s 2013 judgment in PUCL v Union of India, which states that Rajya Sabha representatives are elected by state legislative assembly members through proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.

 

Issues with NOTA: 

  1. No electoral value: NOTA votes are merely symbolic and do not affect the outcome of the election. Even if NOTA receives a majority, the candidate with the highest vote share still wins.
  2. Not a right to reject: Critics argue that NOTA does not provide the right to reject candidates but rather registers a negative opinion.
  3. Lack of awareness: Many voters are unaware of NOTA’s existence or its implications, leading to underutilization of this option.
  4. Caste bias: In some cases, high NOTA votes in reserved constituencies suggest a bias against candidates from certain castes, potentially undermining the purpose of NOTA.

 

Suggestions for Improvement of NOTA:

  1. Re-elections: If NOTA wins the majority, re-election should occur with new candidates. Maharashtra and Haryana have implemented similar measures.
  2. Barring candidates: Those receiving fewer votes than NOTA should be barred from re-election. Haryana treats NOTA as a “fictional candidate” in municipal polls.
  3. Cost on candidates: Parties losing to NOTA should cover re-election costs, and disabling the NOTA button during re-elections may prevent repeated cycles.
  4. Short-term ban: Candidates losing to NOTA could face a temporary ban on contesting elections.
  5. Awareness: Alongside NOTA, efforts to enhance voter awareness are crucial to prevent its misuse.

 

Conclusion: 

The Supreme Court expects NOTA to prompt a systemic change, compelling parties to nominate candidates of integrity. Strengthening NOTA by empowering it to reject and call for re-elections if it wins the majority is crucial.

 

Insta links:

 

Mains Links:

Discuss the role of the Election Commission of India in the light of the evolution of the Model Code of Conduct. (USPC 2022)

 

Prelims Links:

Consider the following statements: (USPC 2017)

  1. The Election Commission of India is a five-member body.
  2. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs decides the election schedule for the conduct of both general elections and bye-elections.
  3. Election Commission resolves the disputes relating to splits/mergers of recognised political parties.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 3 only

 

Ans: (d)


(UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 6 June 2024)  Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Self-Declaration Certificate must be for advertisers

Source: PIB

Context: The Supreme Court has mandated that all advertisers and advertising agencies submit a ‘Self-Declaration Certificate’ before releasing any advertisements starting from June 18, 2024.

For TV and radio ads, this certificate must be submitted on the Broadcast Seva Portal, and for print and digital media ads, on the Press Council of India Portal. This certificate must confirm that the advertisement does not contain misleading claims and complies with regulatory guidelines. The portals for submission will be activated on June 4, 2024, and ongoing ads are currently exempt from this requirement. This directive aims to enhance transparency and responsible advertising practices.

Significance:

The Self-Declaration Certificate (SDC) for advertisements is significant as it ensures transparency and accountability by preventing misleading advertisements and holding manufacturers, promoters, and advertisers responsible. It also protects consumers by preventing violations of their rights, unfair trade practices, and false advertisements that harm public interest. Additionally, it supports better implementation of legislation and rules, such as the 2022 guidelines for preventing misleading advertisements.

 

About the Press Council of India (PCI):

It was established in 1979 under the Press Council Act, 1978, and is a statutory quasi-judicial autonomous authority that preserves press freedom and maintains high standards in newspapers and news agencies in India. The PCI consists of a Chairman, who is typically a retired Supreme Court judge, and 28 members, with the Chairman nominated by a committee including the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, and an elected member from the Council.

 

Related information:


FSSAI

Source: TOI

 Context: FSSAI directs companies to stop claiming “100% fruit juice” on labels and ads due to high sugar content.

As per FSSAI, there is no provision of such claims as per Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018. The products must be labelled in accordance with the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020. In the ingredient list, the word “reconstituted” must be mentioned against the name of the juice. If added nutritive sweeteners exceed 15 gm/kg, product must be labelled as ‘Sweetened juice’.

About FSSAI:

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an autonomous body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006. It consolidates various food-related laws and aims to ensure food safety and quality in India. FSSAI regulates food businesses, enforces safety laws, monitors quality, conducts research, provides training, and promotes food fortification and organic food. It operates under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, with headquarters in New Delhi and regional offices across the country.


Central Excise Bill, 2024

Source: PIB

 Context: The Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC), operating under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, has issued an invitation for stakeholders to provide input on the draft ‘Central Excise Bill, 2024’ by June 26, 2024.

  • The Bill aims to enact a comprehensive modern central excise law repealing old and redundant provisions and promoting ease of doing business.

 

About Excise duty: 

Excise duty is an indirect tax collected by retailers or intermediaries from customers at the point of sale. It is paid when goods move from manufacturing units to warehouses. Governed by two key acts, the Central Excise Act of 1944 handles levy and collection, while the Central Excise Tariff Act of 1985 classifies goods and sets duty rates. With the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), many excise duties were subsumed, leaving only petroleum and liquor subject to excise duty. Central GST replaced excise duty in most cases, while state governments collect excise duty on alcohol, alcoholic preparations, and narcotic substances, referred to as “State Excise” duty.


Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC)

Source: TOI

Context: The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) achieved a record 8.9 million transactions in May, a 23% increase from April.

What is ONDC?

The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) is a government initiative aimed at transforming the e-commerce market in India by shifting from a platform-centric model to an open-network model.

Similar to the success of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) project, which enables seamless money transfers across different payment platforms, the ONDC seeks to facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers regardless of the platforms they are registered on.

Explanation using an example:

Let’s imagine you want to buy a product online, like a smartphone. You are registered on Amazon, but you find a better deal on Flipkart for the same smartphone you want to buy. In the current system, you wouldn’t be able to purchase it from Flipkart because you’re not registered there.

But ONDC is like a big network that connects all the different e-commerce platforms together. So instead of being limited to one specific platform, you can buy products from different platforms, even if you are registered on only one of them.

 

About ONDC:

  1. Section 8 Company: Non-profit organization.
  2. DPIIT Initiative: Launched by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.

Benefits of ONDC:

  1. Sellers: Compete fairly with big players, and become discoverable online.
  2. Buyers: Seamless shopping with a wide product range in one checkout.
  3. Tech Companies: Faster product/service adoption and scalability.
  4. FinTech: Offer credit and financing to e-commerce entities.

Challenges:

  1. Resistance from established players.
  2. Transitioning offline businesses to online.

Preston curve

 Source: TH

 Context: The Preston curve gives a positive empirical relationship between a country’s life expectancy and its per capita income. It was first identified by Samuel H. Preston in 1975.

It suggests that as poor countries grow and their per capita income increases, life expectancy rises significantly due to better access to healthcare, education, nutrition, and living conditions. However, this relationship flattens out at higher income levels, indicating diminishing returns on life expectancy gains with further income increases.


Hydroxyurea

 Source: Th

 Context: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is seeking to develop a pediatric oral formulation of hydroxyurea to treat sickle cell disease in India, where over 20 million individuals are affected.

Currently, hydroxyurea is mainly available in 500 mg capsules or 200 mg tablets, making dosing for children challenging.

This initiative is crucial, especially with the launch of the National Mission to eliminate Sickle Cell Anemia/SCD by 2047.

What is SCD (Sickle Cell Disease)? 

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a genetic disorder that affects the shape of red blood cells, causing them to become sickle-shaped instead of round. This abnormal shape can lead to various complications, including pain, anemia, and organ damage. SCD is one of the most common inherited blood disorders and can result in serious health issues, including stroke and organ failure.


Reverse Transcriptase

Source: Th

Context: Researchers have discovered that the bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae may use a newly identified protein, Neo, to counter bacteriophage infections. This protein, created through a process involving Reverse Transcriptase (RTs) and non-coding RNA, can halt the replication of both the bacterium and the invading bacteriophage, effectively stopping the infection.

What are RTs? 

Reverse transcriptase (RT) is an enzyme that synthesizes DNA from an RNA template. This process reverses the usual flow of genetic information, which typically goes from DNA to RNA to protein. RTs play a crucial role in the replication of retroviruses, like HIV, and are used extensively in molecular biology research and diagnostics to study and detect RNA viruses.

This finding highlights the versatile role of reverse transcriptase in bacterial defence mechanisms and hints at potential applications in biotechnology and medicine, particularly in addressing antimicrobial resistance


Mapping

 Five Eyes Alliance

 Source: TH

 Context: Australia will allow non-Australian citizens from Five Eyes countries to join its armed forces, in order to meet the shortage of personnel.

About Five Eyes Alliance:

  1. Five Eyes Alliance:The Five Eyes Alliance refers to an intelligence-sharing partnership among five countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
  2. These nations collaborate closely on intelligence matters, sharing information to protect their shared national interests.
  3. Origins of the Alliance:The alliance traces its origins back to World War II when the UK and the US decided to share intelligence after successfully breaking German and Japanese codes.
  4. It began as the Britain-USA (BRUSA) agreement, later evolving into the UK-USA (UKUSA) agreement, with Canada joining in 1949 and New Zealand and Australia in 1956.

 

 

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 6 June 2024 [PDF]

 


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