News & Editorial Analysis 17 May 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Misleading Food Ads:
Government Policies and Interventions
· The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has reported 32 new instances of food company operators making false statements in their advertising and product claims.
· The FSSAI has reported the incidents to the licencing authorities and issued a warning that repeat offenders risk licence suspension or revocation in addition to fines of up to INR 10 lakh.
· What exactly are deceptive advertisements?
· Ads that intentionally mislead consumers include those that make untrue or excessive promises about a good or service.
· Effect of deceptive advertising:
· Loss of Customer Trust: Volkswagen marketed their diesel vehicles as being ecologically benign through false advertising, which hurt the environment and eroded consumers’ faith in the brand.
· Negative Brand Image: PepsiCo’s advertising campaign for Aquafina bottled water, which characterised the product as “pure, perfect, and refreshing,” was deceptive because it used tap water as its source.
· Legal repercussions: The Federal Trade Commission (USA) filed a lawsuit against L’Oreal for falsely claiming that its anti-ageing lotions could simulate the results of a surgical facelift.
· Health Impact: For instance, sugary beverages like soda are linked to a variety of health issues.
· Unfair competition, breach of trust, deception, and manipulation are the ethical effects.
· Legal protections against deceptive advertising:
· Guidelines from the CCPA to Prevent False or Deceptive Advertising:
· These rules, which were released in 2022 and apply to commodities, services, and products, are intended to stop deceptive or false advertising.
· Regulations for Food Safety and Standards, 2018:
· While the aforementioned rules cover goods, products, and services, the latter rule specifically addresses food (and related products) and controls product claims.
· Rules for Cable Television Networks, 1994:
· Advertisements cannot imply that a product has “some special, miraculous, or supernatural quality, which is difficult to prove.”
· 2006 FSS Act:
· According to Section 53 of the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006, deceptive advertisements are illegal.
· Fund for Consumer Welfare:
· This fund was established under the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act of 2017 and works to advance and safeguard consumer welfare.
· Central Consumer Protection Council provides consumer redress methods, supports consumer education, and monitors and enforces consumer protection laws.
· Rules for Consumer Protection in E-Commerce, 2020:
· These requirements force merchants to accept returns for flawed or inadequate goods, discontinue services, or issue refunds if the goods or services do not match the platform’s representation.
· ASCI, the Advertising Standards Council of India:
· a self-regulatory body that oversees advertisements in India and responds to complaints against them.
· Foods packed with labels include:
· a food item that is a single serving of food with no additional ingredients and was derived from a reputable natural source. There must be no preservatives or chemicals used in packaging.Fresh produce and fruits
· Fresh Only food products that have been washed, peeled, refrigerated, trimmed, or cut without any further preparation that modifies its fundamental features are eligible to be referred to as “fresh”. Food that has been altered in any way to increase its shelf life cannot be described as “fresh.”
· freshly squeezed juice and freshly baked bread.
· Pure: Foods containing a single ingredient should be considered “pure” if no additional ingredients have been added and any unavoidable impurities fall within set limits.
· Pure maple syrup and pure honey.
· When referring to food goods with a traceable origin and an established formula, the term “original” is used.
· potato chips made using a unique formula.
· Nutritive assertions:
· Nutritional claims in food ads may refer to a product’s particular ingredients or make comparisons to other foods.
· Low in sugar and high in protein.
· Businesses in India should adjust their advertising to better communicate with consumers and give proof to back up their claims in order to improve food safety. Surveys should be conducted by the FSSAI and state food regulatory agencies to achieve better FSS Act administration and enforcement. In cases of injury or death, compensation and punishments should be enhanced, and new food testing facilities should be constructed.
· CCPA, the Central Consumer Protection Authority:
· Consumer Protection Central Authority was established in 2019.
· Headquarters: New Delhi.
· A regulatory body established under Section 10 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 to address issues impacting the rights of consumers by people or organisations is the Ministry of Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution.
· About FSSAI:
· A statutory agency established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, the FSSAI was constituted in 2008 and has its headquarters in New Delhi. The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, a consolidated act pertaining to food safety and regulation in India, is what gave rise to the establishment of the FSSAI.
· Source à The Hindu
2 – Pokhran II:
· Three nuclear bomb test explosions were carried out by India on May 11, 1998, at the Pokhran Test Range of the Indian Army under the codename Operation Shakti, which is Sanskrit for “strength”/Pokhran-II.
· Operation Shakti/Pokhran-II’s timeline:
· Physicist Homi J. Bhaba established the groundwork for India’s nuclear programme:
· After Bhaba’s persuasive lobbying, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), India’s first research facility devoted to the study of nuclear physics, opened its doors in 1945 in Bombay.
· Founded in 1954, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was led by Bhabha.
· China and Pakistan’s threat:
· the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and China’s nuclear bomb test at Lop Nor the following year.
· the India-Pakistan war of 1965, in which China publicly backed Pakistan.
· As a result, India needed to take steps to develop her independence because it was surrounded by two hostile countries.
· NPT that is “discriminatory”:
· By the 1960s, discussions on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation had reached extremes as the US and the USSR were being driven by the Cold War weapons race.
· The US, Russia (previously USSR), the UK, France, and China are considered nuclear-weapon nations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which was established in 1968 and defines nuclear-weapon states as those that constructed and tested a nuclear explosive device prior to January 1, 1967.
· This makes it impossible for any other state to acquire nuclear weapons.
· Due to the treaty’s failure to resolve India’s concerns, the Indian government refused to abide by its provisions.
· Operation Smiling Buddha/Pokhran-I:
· Vikram Sarabhai, Bhaba’s replacement at the DAE, worked to dramatically advance India’s nuclear technology by the 1970s.
· India conducted its first nuclear test at the Pokhran test site on May 18, 1974, thanks to the political will displayed by the Indira Gandhi administration.
· A “peaceful nuclear explosion” with “few military implications” was how this test was envisioned.
· Post-Pokhran I international sanctions against India:
· The world did not accept India’s explanation of Pokhran-I’s motivation, and nations like the US and Canada levied severe sanctions.
· These restrictions (which focus mostly on tech transfer) would be a significant setback and significant slowdown for India’s nuclear path.
· Between the two tests’ interval:
· Domestic political unrest: The programme was abruptly stopped by the Emergency of 1975 and PM Morarji Desai’s resistance to nuclear weapons.
· The 1980s saw an exponential expansion in India’s plutonium stockpiles after Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was appointed to oversee the country’s missile programmes in 1983.
· 1990S: India lost one of its most important military partners with the demise of the USSR in 1991.
· The US kept giving Pakistan military assistance.
· The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would be finalised in 1996 but was not signed by India, was also being discussed at the UN.
· Projecting India’s strength at Pokhran II:
· The go-ahead to conduct a nuclear test was given in 1995. However, the tests were further delayed due to political and logistical issues.
· Operation Shakti was carried out effectively in 1998 thanks to the political resolve displayed by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee administration.
· Following Pokhran-II, the Indian Government declared itself to be a state having nuclear weapons, unlike the 1974 test.
· Although the test prompted sanctions from several nations (including the US), there was much less outrage than there was in 1974.
· The test enabled India to solidify its position as a powerful nation-state and to join the closely guarded group of nations with nuclear weapons capability.
· India’s nuclear doctrine following Pokhran II, which was presented in 1999:
· It emphasised a no-first-use (NFU) policy and credible minimum deterrence (CMD), while also promoting non-proliferation and total disarmament.
· India’s nuclear deterrence serves only to dissuade enemies from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons.
· As a result of the policy, the US, who had previously opposed India’s nuclear programme, inked a civil nuclear agreement with India in 2008, recognising it as a responsible nuclear participant.
· Way Forward:
· India needs to take two types of steps for long-term national security:
· to construct intelligently enough and resilient retaliatory capability to communicate genuine deterrence in order to handle immediate security concerns.
· to make innovative, long-term diplomatic investments geared towards fostering world peace and complete nuclear disarmament.
· India can simultaneously use its economic, political, and cultural attractiveness to highlight the benefits of its nuclear deterrent strategy.
· Source à The Hindu
3 – Remission:
Parliament related issues
· The recent pardons of Anand Mohan Singh and the defendants in the Bilkis Bano case, according to the report, are unethical and politically driven.
· About Remission:
· the full end of a sentence at a shortened point without altering the phrase’s meaning.
· to inspire repentance and give convicts hope for release.
· Legal Support:
· Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution, as well as Sections 432, 433A, 434, and 435 of the CrPC, grant statutes power.
· Any person found guilty of a crime is subject to specific restrictions and the authority of the relevant authorities.
· Any condition that is broken will result in the remission being cancelled and the requirement to complete the entire sentence.
· Each case needs to be examined individually while taking into account all pertinent variables.
· Principled Right:
· The Supreme Court has made it clear that no prisoner has a basic right to be pardoned, but the state is required to give each application of mercy serious attention.
· Pardon vs. Remission:
· While a pardon is a complete absolution of a punishment and the removal of all associated legal ramifications, remission is the lessening of a term without altering its essence.
· Remission’s moral ramifications
· Unfairness to the victims: Remission of punishment for those found guilty in the Bilkis Bano case of raping and killing many people, including a pregnant mother, during the riots in Gujarat in 2002.
· Political meddling:
· Remission of sentence for Anand Mohan Singh, a former member of parliament and convicted felon who participated in numerous violent and homicidal incidents. After making a request to the Chief Minister of Bihar, his wife—who was also a former MP—was granted remission.
· Absence of responsibility:
· Without properly evaluating the offender’s behaviour or progress during the term, remission is granted.
· Social status-based discrimination:
· Prisoners from wealthy families receive pardons more frequently than those from underprivileged areas.
· Insufficient transparency:
· Lack of precise procedures or standards for awarding remission, which could indicate favouritism.
· Disregard for how serious the offence is:
· granting pardons for severe crimes like murder or rape without taking into account the gravity of the offence or how it would affect the victim and their family.
· Remission is a crucial component of the criminal justice system that enables a prisoner to have their sentence reduced. It should be applied sparingly and in accordance with the laws of justice, mercy, and public safety.
· Source à The Hindu
4 – ODF Plus Status:
· Over half of the country’s villages have attained ODF Plus status under the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) Phase II, according to a statement from India’s Ministry of Jal Shakti.
· What ODF+ status means:
· It implies that these communities develop solid or liquid waste management systems in addition to maintaining their Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.
· Leading states: Among the best-performing states are Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh. Among smaller states, Goa and Sikkim are at the top. Additionally, more than 1 lakh gramme panchayats have adopted resolutions against single-use plastics.
· Regarding SBM-Gramin:
· Open defecation in rural regions is to be eradicated by 2019 according to the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) Phase I, which was initiated in 2014. Phase II, which runs from 2020–2021 through 2024–2025, is concerned with the sustainability of the ODF status.
· It also contains:
· Waste Management of Solid and Liquid (SLWM).
· Management of Plastic Waste (PWM).
· Management of faeces and sludge (FSM).
· Communication and Information Education.
· Communication that changes behaviour.
· Capacity Development
· Source à The Hindu
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT WORKPLACE:
· Even though the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (PoSH) has been in effect for 10 years, the Indian Supreme Court Bench has noted that there have been “serious lapses” and there is “uncertainty” over how it has been put into practise.
· Defining sexual harassment at work:
· Sexual harassment in the workplace is defined as any inappropriate sexual behaviour that has the purpose or effect of preventing a person from carrying out their job responsibilities or from generating a hostile, abusive, or unpleasant work environment.
· Sexual harassment at work is prohibited by the PoSH Act of 2013 if any of the following things take place, are present, or are connected to any act or behaviour that qualifies as sexual harassment:
· a promise of special treatment in her job, whether implied or spoken; or
· covert or explicit threat of receiving undesirable treatment at work; or
· threat to her employment status, either now or in the future, whether covert or obvious;
· obstructing her work or creating a frightful, disagreeable, or unpleasant atmosphere at work; or
· degrading treatment that could put her health or safety in peril.
· PoSH Act of 2013:
· The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act was passed in 2013, defining sexual harassment and laying out the procedures for filing complaints, conducting investigations, and taking necessary action.
· It took the place of the Vishaka rules, which were previously in force. Following a case initiated by women’s rights organisations, including Vishaka, the Supreme Court issued a judgement in 1997 that established the Vishaka regulations.
· Regardless of whether they work regularly, temporarily, under contract, on an as-needed or daily salary basis, as apprentices or interns, or even without the knowledge of their primary employer, all female employees have the right to report sexual harassment in the workplace.
· In addition to typical offices, the law expands the concept of “workplace” to include all types of organisations across industries, including non-traditional workplaces. It is applicable to all businesses in the public and private sectors in India.
· Employers must meet the following criteria:
· A female employee may visit the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), which is a legal requirement for any company with more than 10 employees, to report sexual harassment.
· It must be run by a woman, have at least two women employees, another worker, and a third person—possibly an NGO employee with five years of experience who is conversant with the challenges posed by sexual harassment.
· In terms of calling someone to appear before it, requiring them to testify under oath, and demanding the production of documents, the ICC has similar authority as a civil court.
· The Act also requires the District Officer to create a Local Complaints Committee in each district and, if necessary, at the block level.
· The employer is expected to provide the district officer with an annual audit report that includes information on the number of sexual harassment claims that were filed during the year and any actions that were taken as a result.
· The difficulties in implementation:
· The actual composition of the ICC is still to be determined.
· Either an essential external member is absent from the ICC, or there are not enough members.
· One of the problems is that the Act does not sufficiently address accountability by missing to specify who is in charge of ensuring that workplaces comply with the Act’s obligations and who may be held accountable in the event that those criteria are not met.
· Experts have also noted that incidences of sexual harassment at work are grossly underreported for a number of reasons.
· The access restrictions associated to the judicial system have ended up being duplicated as a result of the inadequate functioning and uncertainty in the legislation regarding how to conduct such inquiries.
· Moving forward:
· Sexual harassment in the workplace is a violation of women’s rights to respect and dignity. It affects the group as a whole as well as the individual and society as a whole. To address the concerns brought up by the PoSH Act 2013 as quickly as possible, all parties must cooperate. Then, and only then, will we be able to create an environment that is respectful, safe, and fair for everyone.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
· Context: Working women in urban India continue to encounter long-standing biases, according to the most recent Deloitte Women@Work Survey Report for 2023. 42% of them still manage all household duties in addition to their jobs, while 85% of them still manage significant domestic duties.
· Women’s Achievements:
· Many women have achieved success in a variety of disciplines. They are now free to pursue their goals because they are no longer bound by gender stereotypes. As an example:
· Social activist Sindhutai Sapkal (Padma Shri 2021) is raising orphaned children.
· Encyclopaedia of Forestry by Tulsi Godwa, Padma Shri 2021.
· The first Indian woman to fly a solo MiG-21 Bison fighter jet is Avani Chaturvedi.
· Mary Kom was the first female boxer to take home an Olympic medal.
· PV Sindhu is the first Indian woman to have won two medals at the Olympics (Bronze in Tokyo in 2020 and Silver in Rio in 2016).
· Indian Women’s Cricket Team: semifinalist at the 2022 Commonwealth Games
· International Organisations: Gita Gopinath is the first female chief economist of the IMF (International Monetary Fund).
· The space sector:
· The Indian Missile Woman, Tessy Thomas (Agni-V project).
· Shanan Dhaka, AIR 1 National Defence Academy Entrance Examination (1st Women’s Batch of NDA), reports that female applicants in the UPSC Civil Services Examination 2021 received the Top 3 All India Ranks.
· Women’s working conditions:
· Only 47% of women currently work around the world, compared to 72% of men.
· Only 77% of the legal rights guaranteed to men globally are also given to women. At the current rate, legal gender equality would not be reached for at least 50 years.
· Only 1.5% of men provide full-time unpaid care, compared to 21.7% of women worldwide. Thanks to Covid-19, this disparity has become much more pronounced.
· In the OECD countries, 2.4 billion women of working age do not have equal access to the economy, and there are still 176 countries where there are legal limitations on how much they can contribute to it.
· The figures in India are still lower, though:
· In the most current Global Gender Gap (GGG) Index for 2022 published by the World Economic Forum, India was ranked 135th out of 146 countries.
· With a score of 0.490, India is ranked 122nd out of 191 countries in the UNDP’s Gender Inequality Index (GII) for 2021.
· According to World Bank data from 2021, less than one in five Indian women are engaged in the formal, structured sector.
· From 32% in 2005 to 19% in 2021, India’s female workforce participation rate looks to have been continuously falling over the past nearly two decades.
· Issues of Interest:
· In politics, industry, and society as a whole, women continue to be underrepresented in positions of leadership.
· From entry-level jobs to high-paying professions, this underrepresentation in the workforce intensifies in senior management positions.
· 91% of women in high positions are unsatisfied with their businesses’ gender diversity and gender support programmes, according to a Deloitte report from 2023.
· Women make up roughly 12–13% of the total membership in the Indian Parliament and state legislatures.
· India ranks 148th out of 193 countries in a study by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women that looked at the proportion of elected female parliamentarians.
· Lack of Maternity Leave: People have a greater rate of unemployment and more difficulty finding new jobs during the years spent raising children.
· One of the few countries that allows employees to take seven months off is Finland.
· In India, the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 (the Act) increased the duration of maternity leave for mothers with two living children from 12 to 26 weeks.
· However, the Indian Maternity Benefit Act does not apply to women who work for themselves or in companies with fewer than ten employees.
· According to estimates, between 30 and 70 percent of women in a variety of professions encounter unwelcome verbal, visual, nonverbal, or physical harassment.
· In India, 53% of working women endure extreme levels of stress and mental health issues, according to a Deloitte report from 2023.
· Pay disparity: According to statistics, women make around 22% less money than males do on average.
· The daily wage for men in rural agricultural areas in India is 264.05, while the daily wage for women is 205.32, according to the Labour Bureau.
· For non-agricultural occupations, the average daily salary rate for males is 271.17 and for women it is 205.90.
· Unpaid Caregiving and Family Duties: Due to the needs of their families, women are regularly required and pressured to alter their employment. The few family issues that women in the workplace encounter are brought on by things like being a mother’s responsibility, juggling work and personal obligations, issues that arise from business travel or attending training sessions, safety concerns, etc.
· The Covid-19 Pandemic had a greater global impact on women’s labour market participation than it did on men.
· In some countries, men and women with advanced degrees still have different employment rates.
· Even while domestic or agricultural labour, which makes up the majority of employment in India, is unofficial, it is sometimes not documented.
· How to Proceed:
· The 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted, and the commitment of world leaders to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” (SDG 5) and “to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value” (SDG) by that year are proofs of this awareness.
· The Indian government has introduced a variety of initiatives to improve women’s employment opportunities.
· 2013 Act for the Prevention, Prohibition, and Redress of Sexual Harassment of Women at Work.
· Maternity Benefits Modification Bill, 2016.
· Women can now be hired by factories for night jobs in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.
· NGOs help disadvantaged women in India by providing them with a steady source of income and a safe atmosphere where they can travel without fear of harassment. One such scheme is the Women on Wheels programme of the Azad Foundation.
· According to a World Bank estimate, closing the gender wage gap would increase the global GDP by 26% and benefit both developed and developing countries. A McKinsey Global Institute study suggests that improving women’s equality might increase the global GDP by $12 trillion by 2025. India could make significant progress towards its goal of having a $5 trillion economy by 2024 by raising its GDP.
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