Daily Current Affairs for 9th October 2020

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What is TRP and How is it manipulated


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations

Why in news?


  • Anyone who watches television for more than a minute is considered a viewer.
  • A viewer can be as young as a two-year-old.
  • The TRP or Television Rating Point is the metric used by the marketing and advertising agencies to evaluate this viewership.
  • In India, the TRP is recorded by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) using Bar-O-Meters that are installed in televisions in selected households.
  • As on date, the BARC has installed these meters in 44,000 households across the country.
  • Audio watermarks are embedded in video content prior to broadcast. These watermarks are not audible to the human ear, but can easily be detected and decoded using dedicated hardware and software.
  • As viewing details are recorded by the Bar-O-Meters, so are the watermarks.

How are household selected

  • Selection of households where Bar-O-Meters are installed is a two-stage process.
  • The first step is the Establishment Survey, a large-scale face-to-face survey of a sample of approximately 3 lakh households from the target population. This is done annually.
  • Out of these, the households which will have Bar-O-Meters or what the BARC calls the Recruitment Sample are randomly selected.
  • The fieldwork to recruit households is not done directly by BARC. The BARC on its website has said that the viewing behaviour of panel homes is reported to BARC India daily.
  • Coincidental checks either physically or telephonically are done regularly. Certain suspicious outliers are also checked directly by BARC India.
  • “BARC India also involves a separate vigilance agency to check on outliers that it considers highly suspicious,” the website says.
  • And as per the guidelines of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, these households rotate every year.
  • This rotation is in such a manner that older panel homes are removed first while maintaining the representativeness of the panel.
  • The rotation is conducted in a staggered manner by rotating panel homes every month. The Ministry guidelines further say that the secrecy and privacy of the panel homes must be maintained, and asked the BARC to follow a voluntary code of conduct.

What are the loopholes in the process?

  • The Mumbai police claimed that households were being paid to manipulate the TRP.
  • Several doubts have been raised on many previous occasions about the working of the TRP.
  • As per several reports, about 70% of the revenue for television channels comes from advertising and only 30% from subscription.
  • Many channels have argued that the subscription rates, which are controlled by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), should be raised so that TV channels are not forced to serve the lowest common denominator.

Regulation of media in India – A brief overview

  • Media in India is mostly self-regulated.
  • The existing bodies for regulation of media such as the Press Council of India which is a statutory body and the News Broadcasting Standards Authority, a self-regulatory organization, issue standards which are more in the nature of guidelines.
  • The PCI was established under the PCI Act of 1978 for the purpose of preserving the freedom of the press (print media) and of maintaining and improving the standards of newspapers and news agencies in India.
  • Today news channels are governed by mechanisms of self-regulation. One such mechanism has been created by the News Broadcasters Association. 
  • The NBA has devised a Code of Ethics to regulate television content.
  • The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), of the NBA, is empowered to warn, admonish, censure, express disapproval and fine the broadcaster a sum upto Rs. 1 lakh for violation of the Code.
  • Another such organization is the Broadcast Editors’ Association.
  • The Advertising Standards Council of India has also drawn up guidelines on content of advertisements. These groups govern through agreements and do not have any statutory powers.
  • In 2006 the government had prepared a Draft Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill, 2006. The Bill made it mandatory to seek license for broadcasting any television or radio channel or program.  It also provides standards for regulation of content.  It is the duty of the body to ensure compliance with guidelines issued under the Bill.

Rules framed to tackle fake news on social media


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations

Why in news?

The Central government has informed that it was aware of the dangers of fake news on social media platforms, and accordingly necessary guidelines have been framed under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules.

Key details

  • Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules provides a set of elaborate practices to be followed by the intermediaries — social media platforms — to redress complaints of users.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, in an affidavit, stated that any unlawful content on social media platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter, can be removed either by an order of the court, or a government notification or by the company’s grievance officers.
  • The grievance officer under the IT (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules is bound to redress any complaint relating to unlawful content within one month.

Fake news

  • Fake news refers to misinformation or disinformation in the country which is spread through word of mouth and traditional media and more recently through digital forms of communication such as edited videos, memes, unverified advertisements and social media propagated rumours.
  • Fake news spread through social media in the country has become a serious problem, with the potential of it resulting in mob violence, as was the case where at least 20 people were killed in 2018 as a result of misinformation circulated on social media.
  • Governments, companies, and users are all waking up to how serious public opinion manipulation—as manifested in “fake news”—can be.
  • Governments are starting to recognize that fake news is something that must be actively fought. Various government agencies are now setting up services to debunk stories that they consider to be false. They are also considering imposing regulations and punishing sites that do publish misinformation.

EPCA directs Delhi, other States to implement GRAP


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

A Supreme Court-appointed pollution monitoring body has directed Delhi and neighbouring States to implement Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

Key details

  • EPCA directs Delhi and neighbour states to implement Air pollution control measures under “very poor” and “severe” category air quality of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) from October 15, including a ban on the use of diesel generators, except for emergency activities.
  • The Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) wrote to Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan on the issue.
  • The use of diesel generator sets will be banned (other than essential/emergency services) in Delhi and in vicinity towns — Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida in U.P. and Faridabad and Gurugram in Haryana.
  • In 2019, the States of U.P. and Haryana had informed EPCA that they will put in the required measures by winter 2020 so that electricity from the grid can be supplied without disruptions in these areas, which would then obviate the need for diesel generators.

Additional steps

  • The CPCB-led task force and the EPCA will continue to review the situation.
  • If the weather pollution turns adverse, then “additional steps”, including a ban on construction activity and enhanced parking fees among others will have to be implemented, as mentioned under a different category of the GRAP.

Environment Pollution Control Act

  • EPCA is Supreme Court mandated body tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region. It was notified in 1998 by Environment Ministry under Environment Protection Act, 1986.
  • EPCA was constituted with the objective of ‘protecting and improving’ the quality of the environment and ‘controlling environmental pollution’ in the National Capital Region.
  • The EPCA assists the apex court in various environment-related matters in the region.


It constitutes of a Chairman, has 14 members, some of whom are the environment secretary of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), chairperson of the New Delhi Municipal Council, transport commissioner of the NCT, the commissioners of various municipal corporations of Delhi and professors at IIT Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University.


  • To protect and improve quality of environment and prevent and control environmental pollution in National Capital Region.
  • To enforce Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)in NCR as per the pollution levels.

Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)

  • The action plan which was formulated in 2016 and notified in 2017 has been in effect for two years in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).
  • These are institutionalized measures to be taken when air quality deteriorates, hence works only as an emergency measure.
  • When the air quality shifts from poor to very poor, the measures listed have to be followed since the plan is incremental in nature.
  • If air quality reaches the severe+ stage, GRAP talks about shutting down schools and implementing the odd-even road-space rationing scheme.
  • The plan requires action and coordination among 13 different agencies in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan (NCR areas).
  • At the head of the table is the EPCA, mandated by the Supreme Court.

Central Pollution Control Board

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India is a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Mo.E.F.C). It was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act, 1974.
  • The CPCB is also entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It Co-ordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards by providing technical assistance and guidance and also resolves disputes among them.
  • It is the apex organisation in country in the field of pollution control, as a technical wing of MoEFC.

American poet Louise Glück wins the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations

Why in news?

American poet Louise Gluck won the 2020 Nobel Literature Prize, an unexpected choice known for themes of childhood and family life that draw inspiration from myths and classical motifs.

Key details

  • Gluck, was honoured “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”.
  • She has won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for her collection “The Wild Iris” and the National Book Award for her latest collection, “Faithful and Virtuous Night”, in 2014.
  • Louise Elisabeth Glück is an American poet and essayist.
  • She has won many major literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, National Humanities Medal, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, Bollingen Prize, and the Nobel Prize in Literature.

PM hails Afghan ceasefire efforts


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations

Why in news?

In a sign of India’s increased engagement with the ongoing Intra-Afghan Dialogue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a meeting with Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) Abdullah Abdullah.

Key details

  • During the talks, Mr. Abdullah briefed the Prime Minister on the deliberations in Doha between the Afghan government and civil society representatives with Taliban representatives.
  • Prime Minister Modi reiterated India’s commitment towards sustainable peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and welcomed efforts towards a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire in Afghanistan.
  • According to US agency SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction), civilian casualties in Afghanistan had increased nearly 60% between April-June 2020 over the previous quarter, despite the U.S.-Taliban accord being signed in February.

More engagement with Kabul

  • With two new officials, including Joint Secretary (Pakistan-Afghanistan-India) J.P. Singh and new Ambassador in Kabul Rudrendra Tandon being appointed within the MEA, New Delhi is signalling an uptick in its engagement with Afghanistan.
  • India has significant role to play in advising and counselling unity and creating a common platform that represents the aspirations of new Afghanistan. Preserving unity is key to any negotiation and likely outcomes.


Recently, the United Nations Secretariat held a meeting of the “6+2+1” group on regional efforts to support peace in Afghanistan.

This group includes six neighbouring countries: China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan; two global players the United States and Russia, and Afghanistan itself.

India has not been invited to this peace process. The reason given for keeping India out of this regional discussions is that India holds no “boundary” with Afghanistan. However, the “6+2+1” grouping ignored India’s stand that its territory borders Afghanistan (along Wakhan Corridor) and is currently under Pakistan’s illegal occupation.

India-Afghan relations

  • India and Afghanistan have a strong relationship based on historical and cultural links.
  • In recent past, India-Afghanistan relations have been further strengthened by the Strategic Partnership Agreement, which was signed between the two countries in October 2011.
  • The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between the two sides, inter alia, provides for assistance to help rebuild Afghanistan’s infrastructure and institutions, education and technical assistance to re-build indigenous Afghan capacity in different areas, encouraging investment in Afghanistan’s natural resources, providing duty free access to the Indian market for Afghanistan’s exports support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, broad-based and inclusive process of peace and reconciliation, and advocating the need for a sustained and long-term commitment to Afghanistan by the international community.
  • In 2016 PM Modi inaugurated the newly built Afghan Parliament; announced 500 scholarships for the children of the martyrs of Afghan Security Forces and gifted four Mi-25 Attack helicopters to the Afghan Air Force.

India- Taliban

  • In the past, due to terror activities of the Taliban, India has been very critical of the Taliban coming into power and shown resistance to publicly dealing with the Taliban.
  • Under the US-Taliban peace deal, the Taliban will be in the centre of power in Afghanistan, as the US forces withdraw from Afghanistan.
  • In the present scenario, India has never announced its support for the U.S.-Taliban peace deal. Rather, India supports the Ashraf Ghani government and backs the idea of an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled process.

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