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GoalTide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Jun 22, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Centre Proposes to Amend E-Commerce Rules

The Central Government on Monday proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020.

The proposed changes aim to tighten the existing regulatory regime and make e-commerce companies more accountable. The new draft proposes a host of changes:

  1. mandatory registration requirements for online retailers
  2. greater scrutiny of flash sales
  3. enhanced liability of e-commerce entities, and
  4. a stronger grievance redressal mechanism.

The Rules were first notified in July 2020 in exercise of powers conferred by Section 101(1) (zg) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

Revised definition of e-commerce entity:

The new draft proposes an updated definition of what constitutes an e-commerce entity— any person who "owns, operates or manages digital or electronic facility or platform for electronic commerce" as well as "any entity engaged by such person for the purpose of fulfilment of orders placed by a user on its platform". This enhances the liability of e-commerce companies for delivery of goods and services ordered through their platforms.

Mandatory registration of e-commerce entities:

The new draft rules also make registration with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) mandatory for all e-commerce entities within such period as may be prescribed by DPIIT for allotment of a registration number.

Disclosure regarding cross-selling of goods:

"Cross-selling" refers to the sale of goods or services which are related, adjacent or complimentary to a purchase made by a consumer at a time from any e-commerce entity in a bid to maximise the revenue of such an e-commerce entity. In the spirit of complete transparency, the proposed rules authorise such e-commerce entities to make "adequate disclosures" regarding such cross-selling techniques by displaying on their platform:

  1. Name of the entity providing data for cross-selling
  2. Data of such entity used for cross-selling.

Prohibition of mis-selling of goods:

The new rules also propose a ban on the "mis-selling" of goods and services offered on e-commerce platforms. Mis-selling" by an e-commerce entity refers to the sale of goods or services through deliberate misrepresentation of information regarding such goods or services so as to entice the consumer to make a purchase.

Ban on fraudulent "flash sales":

The proposed rules also seek to ban "flash sales" on e-commerce platforms.

A "flash sale" has been defined as "a sale organized by an e-commerce entity at significantly reduced prices, high discounts or any other such promotion or attractive offers for a predetermined period of time on selective goods and services or otherwise with an intent to draw a large number of consumers.

However, the Ministry has clarified that "conventional e-commerce flash sales are not banned. Only specific flash sales or back-to-back sales which limit customer choice, increase prices, and prevent a level playing field are not allowed." This ensures the maintenance of a level playing field for all e-commerce entities and prevents the curtailment of consumer choices.

Grievance redressal mechanism:

The proposed amendments also outline a stringent grievance redressal mechanism to secure the interests of consumers.

E-commerce companies are mandated to appoint (i) a Chief Compliance Officer, (ii) a Nodal contact person; and (ii) a Resident Grievance Officer, to secure timely adjudication of consumer grievances. These persons have to be Indian citizens and residents of India.

Prevention of preferential treatment:

In order to curb the growing concerns of preferential treatment, the new rules propose to ensure that none of the related parties to a marketplace are listed as sellers or are allowed to use any consumer information (from the online platform) for 'unfair advantage'. Even logistics service providers to these marketplaces will be prohibited from providing any preferential treatment to any sellers.

Non-discrimination between imported and domestic goods:

As a part of the new proposed rules, e-commerce platforms will also have to identify goods based on their country of origin and provide a filter mechanism at a pre-purchase stage for customers, in order to ensure a " fair opportunity" for domestic sellers.

Prevention of "abuse of dominant position":

Under the proposed rules, e-commerce entities are prohibited from abusing their dominant positions in the market, so as to ensure a "free market".

Final liability to rest on the e-commerce platform:

It has also been made clear in these new rules that in the event a seller fails to deliver goods or service, the final liability will fall on the e-commerce marketplace. Such a "fall-back liability" will be imposed on e-commerce entities in case "a seller registered on its platform fails to deliver the goods or services ordered by a consumer due to negligent conduct, omission or commission of any act by such seller in fulfilling the duties and liabilities in the manner as prescribed by the marketplace e-commerce entity which causes loss to the consumer."

The new draft rules come at a time when leading e-commerce giants such as Flipkart and Amazon India are being investigated by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for alleged abuse of market dominance and giving preferential treatment to sellers in which they hold indirect Stakes.

Current Affair 2:
Delimitation Commission

Firstly, let’s understand what delimitation means. The Election Commission of India describes it as the “act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province (state or Union Territory) having a legislative body.” The process may also entail a change in the number of Lok Sabha seats allotted to different states, as well as in the number of Legislative Assembly seats for each state.

What is mention in Constitution about Delimitation?

Article 82 of the Indian Constitution provides for delimitation and it says: Upon the completion of each census, the allocation of seats in the House of the people to the States and the division of each State into territorial constituencies shall be readjusted by such authority and in such manner as Parliament may by law determine.

Delimitation Commission:

As per Article 82, Parliament by law enacted a Delimitation Act after every census. Once the Act comes into force, the Central Government constitutes a Delimitation Commission.

Therefore, Delimitation Commission has been constituted four times since independence:

  1. In 1952 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1952
  2. In 1963 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1962
  3. In 1973 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1972
  4. In 2002 under Delimitation Commission Act, 2002

 What is the composition of the Delimitation Commission?

 

Current Affair 3:
NISHTHA: National Initiative for School Heads' and Teachers' Holistic Advancement

NISHTHA is a capacity-building program for "Improving Quality of School Education through Integrated Teacher Training". It aims to build competencies among all the teachers and school principals at the elementary stage. The functionaries (at the state, district, block, cluster level) shall be trained in an integrated manner on learning outcomes, school-based assessment, learner–centered pedagogy, new initiatives in education, addressing diverse needs of children through multiple pedagogies, etc.

It has been launched under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Samagra Shiksha in 2109-20.

This is being organized by constituting National Resource Groups (NRGs) and State Resource Groups (SRGs) at the National and the State level who will be training 42 lakhs teachers subsequently.

Who all will be National Resource Person (NRP)?

Educationists, Subject-Experts and Teacher Educators drawn from National level Institutions such as NCERT, NIEPA, etc.

The main expected outcomes from NISHTHA are:

  1. Improvement in learning outcomes of the students.
  2. Creation of an enabling and enriching inclusive classroom environment
  3. Teachers become alert and responsive to the social, emotional, and psychological needs of students as first-level counselors.
  4. Teachers are trained to use Art as pedagogy leading to increased creativity and innovation among students.
  5. Teachers are trained to develop and strengthen the personal-social qualities of students for their holistic development.
  6. Creation of a healthy and safe school environment.
  7. Integration of ICT in teaching-learning and assessment.

 

Current Affair 4:
Virtual Water Analysis

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati researchers have come up with a way for better water management policies in India. IIT Guwahati, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Zaragoza, Spain, used ecological economics to study the socio-political factors governing ‘Virtual Water Flow’, an emerging concept at the science-policy interface, with particular reference to India.

What is the importance of Virtual Water?

Virtual Water:

The growing water concerns and issues have led to the development of new concepts. One such idea is ‘virtual water’ concept. This is regarded as one of the waters saving methodology in product production. It refers, in the context of trade, to the water used in the production of a good or service. Virtual-water content of a product is defined as “The volume of freshwater used to produce the product, measured at the place where the product was actually produced.” It refers to the sum of the water use in the various steps of the production chain.

Virtual water trade refers to the idea that when goods and services are exchanged, so is virtual water. When a country imports one tonne of wheat instead of producing it domestically, it saves about 1,300 cubic metre of real indigenous water. If this country is water-scarce, this water ‘saved’ can be used towards other ends. If the exporting country is water-scarce, however, it has exported 1,300 cubic metre of virtual water since the real water used to grow wheat will no longer be available for other purposes.

The water is said to be virtual because once the wheat is grown, the real water used to grow it is no longer actually contained in the wheat. The concept of virtual water helps us realize how much water is needed to produce different goods and services. In semi-arid and arid areas, knowing the virtual water value of a good or service can be useful towards determining how best to use the scarce water available.”

Aim of Virtual water flows assessment

Assessment is done with the aim of inducing sustainable use which can lead to water security. It will also address the gap between science & policy on water scarcity by analysing water flows hidden in agriculture products which are moving across states in India. It can also help in framing evidence-based water policies and establishing link between hydrological-economic-institutional aspect of water scarcity.

 

Current Affair 5:
World Investment Report 2021

World Investment Report 2021” was released by UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

You don’t need an entire report. Just see few important graphs and report with respect to India.

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows fell by 35 percent in 2020, reaching $1 trillion, from $1.5 trillion in 2019 (figure I.1). This is the lowest level since 2005 and almost 20 percent lower than the 2009 trough after the global financial crisis.

FDI flows to developed economies fell by 58 per cent to $312 billion.

Study on India

According to report, FDI has increased by 27 per cent to USD 64 billion in 2020. FDI was increased up by acquisitions in information and communication technology (ICT) industry. Pandemic has also increased demand of digital infrastructure and services globally. It has led to higher values of greenfield FDI project in ICT industry and has increased by more than 22 per cent. 

                         

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