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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Jul 08, 2022

Current Affair 1:
Guidelines On Levy of Service Charges in Hotels & Restaurants

 

The Notification by the Ministry of Consumer affairs issued on 04.07.2022 in the form of Guidelines are meant to stop levy of service charge by the Hotels and restaurants in the bill while customer avails service by visiting at their premises.

The question arises here as to whether guidelines in this form are really of any help to consumers and serve any purpose? We need to go back to the similar Guidelines issued in the year 2017 also on 21st April when Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) was not formed and guidelines were issued by Ministry under the signature of Dy Secretary to the Government of India. 

This time CCPA under its power under section 18(2) of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 has done the same act with the similar guidelines.

 

To implement 18(1), it can take various steps mentioned under 18(2). There are many points, so we have not pasted 18(2).

Now, 

In the earlier Guidelines of 21.04.2017 observations by Ministry, guidelines issued were:

• The bill presented to the customer may clearly display that service charge is voluntary and the service charge column of the Bill may be left blank for the customer to be fill up before making payment

• A customer is entitled to exercise his/her rights as a customer to be heard and redress under provisions of the Act in case of unfair/restrictive trade practices and can approach Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission/Forum of appropriate jurisdiction

The above Guidelines were found absurd by many consumer luminaries and were criticised for the reason service charges were made optional /voluntary. It is not clear from the language whether it is voluntary to put in bill or voluntary to pay by the customer .But Hotels / restaurants are guided to keep column blank meaning thereby column can be very much there.

New Guidelines Dated 4.07.2022

• Now coming to the new guidelines, the same observations are made that Hotels /Restaurants are levying service charge in the bill by default without informing consumers that paying such charge is voluntary and optional.

• Further Ministry again talks of Tips system like earlier guidelines and assumes that service charge is levied in substitute to Tip to waiter for good services

• Further Ministry holds that service charges shall not be collected by adding it along with the goods bill while levying GST on the total bill

• Further emphasis given that aforesaid guidelines shall be in addition to and not in derogation of the guidelines dated 21.04.2017

The bottom line of the present Guidelines is-

• Levy of service charge is optional

• Earlier guidelines dated 21.04.2017 are very much valid, customer must be informed that they may or may not pay service charges.

• It is also said that consumer can go for redressal of grievance to the redressal agencies

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 has come into force from 20th July, 2020. As provided in section 10 of the Act, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has been established w.e.f. 24th July, 2020.

 

Current Affair 2:
Vice-President’s Election

 

Like the President of India, the Vice-President is also not directly elected by people.

He is elected directly by the representatives of people, i.e., Members of Parliament (MPs) from both the Lok Sabha & the Rajya Sabha.  Even nominated MPs from both the houses are eligible to vote in this election.

Eligibility to contest the election of Vice-President of India

The following are the mandatory requirements for anyone to contest the election for the Vice-President of India.

Are there any other conditions to be fulfilled to contest?

Apart from the above conditions, the nomination paper of a candidate has to be signed by at least twenty (20) eligible voters as proposers and at least twenty (20) eligible voters as seconders. Here the voters are the MPs of the both the houses and not citizens. A voter cannot propose or second more than one candidate.

What is the value of vote of each MP?

Unlike in the President of India’s election, the value of the vote of each MP in the Vice-President’s election is ONE. It has to be noted that nominated members of both the Lok Sabha & the Rajya Sabha are also eligible to vote in the Vice-President’s election. The total number of voters in the Vice-Presidential election is 790. The number of voters from the Lok Sabha is 545 (543 elected & 2 nominated) while the number of voters from the Rajya Sabha is 245 (233 elected & 12 nominated).

How is this election different from the Presidential Election?

The Election Process

The election happens through a ballot paper, that contains names of the contesting candidate. The ballot paper does not contain any election symbol. There will be two columns in the ballot paper, Column 1 of the ballot paper contains the heading “Name of Candidate”, and Column 2 contains the heading “Mark order of preference”.

Each voter can mark as many preferences, as the number of candidates contesting the election. These preferences for the candidates are to be marked by the voter, by marking the figures 1,2,3, 4, 5 and so on, against the names of the candidates, in the order of preference.

 

Counting Process

The winning candidate has to secure the required quota of votes to be declared elected, i.e., 50% of valid votes polled +1. For e.g., if the total number of valid votes polled is 790, then the quota required for getting elected is

What about the Anti – Defection Law & Whips?

The provisions of the anti-defection law are not applicable to the Vice-Presidential election since the voting is through a secret ballot. The voters can vote according to their conscience and are not bound by any party whips.

Current Affair 3:
UNDP launches Ocean Promise

 

At the UN Ocean Conference, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced that it will enable 100 coastal countries including all Small Island Developing States to realize the maximum potential of their blue economies through sustainable, low-emission and climate-resilient ocean action by 2030.

UNDP’s Ocean Promise launched at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, underscores that every penny invested in achieving the Paris Agreement is a penny invested in ocean health— the foundation of the sustainable blue economy.

The Ocean Promise is our blue economy vision that emphasizes the restoration of the nearly $1 trillion in annual socioeconomic losses due to ocean mismanagement. The promise is also about helping countries to tap into new and emerging ocean sectors for increased ocean-related socio-economic opportunities.

Current Affair 4:
NISHTHA: National Initiative for School Heads' and Teachers' Holistic Advancement

 

NISHTHA is a capacity building programme 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 – centred 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 counsellors.
  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 personal-social qualities of students for their holistic development.
  6. Creation of healthy and safe school environment.
  7. Integration of ICT in teaching learning and assessment.

Current Affair 5:
What is molecular ecology and how does it help in conservation?

 

As urbanisation, deforestation, loss of wildlife, and human-wildlife conflicts continue to spiral up, there is a need to use every available tool available, to help protect what is left of the natural world. Molecular ecology is one such tool for conservation and can help in wildlife disease management and forensics in illegal trade.

What is molecular ecology?

Molecular ecology is a hybrid field that combines molecular biology techniques with ecological data to make sense of natural processes such as the growth or decline of populations, formation of new species, extinctions and invasiveness.

Molecular ecology is used to estimate population genetic diversities to aid wildlife breeding and conservation efforts, define species for conservation policy, track diseases, and combat poaching.

What are genetic data and population genetic diversity?

Genetic data from organisms is collected in the form of ‘molecular markers,’ which are biological molecules that may be used to distinguish between species, populations, or individuals.

By studying and documenting the variations in the genes and molecular markers, one can measure the genetic diversity of a population of animals with the help of statistics.

Why is genetic variation important for wildlife breeding and conservation efforts?

Genetic diversity is the fuel for natural selection. It is a source of inheritable variations in characteristics that can allow populations to survive changing environments. Higher the genetic diversity of a population, higher the chance that some individuals in that population can adapt to new environmental conditions. Thus, the population will not go extinct due to any changes.

Large populations typically have high genetic diversities, whereas small populations have low genetic diversities. If the population size of a species drops sharply due to natural disasters or human negligence and anthropogenic activities, its genetic diversity is reduced, creating a genetic bottleneck. When this happens, not only is the population robbed of its potential to survive, it also becomes vulnerable to inbreeding. Inbreeding occurs in small populations, where genetically related individuals are more likely to mate with each other.

Over time, such populations suffer from ‘inbreeding depression’, a condition where genetic variants with harmful mutations begin to accumulate.

How is molecular ecology useful in detecting and managing diseases in wild animals?

Molecular ecology has now become an important part of wildlife disease management. Rapid detection of even low intensities of viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections is now possible using tests based on PCR (polymerase chain reaction — a technique that ‘amplifies’ or makes more copies of specific DNA regions). Currently, PCR-based diagnostic tests allow for the swift detection of a number of diseases in wildlife such as the Kyasanur forest disease (a tick-borne viral disease in South India), Ebola, Nipah, tuberculosis, rabies, and malaria, all of which are directly responsible for endangering wildlife and spilling over into domestic livestock and human populations.

 

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