Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
- TRP racket: Republic TV, 2 others
The issue in news
Recently Mumbai Police Crime Branch busted a racket involving Republic TV, Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi that manipulated Television Rating Points (TRPs).
- It has been found that a company that is a part of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) misused confidential data, which had been entrusted to them.
- The findings suggest that It has been done for wrongful gains of various TV channels, which resulted in a wrongful loss to various advertisers and their agencies.
What is TRP?
- The Target Rating Point (TRP) or Television Rating Point is the metric used by the marketing and advertising agencies to evaluate the viewership.
- Anyone who watches television for more than a minute is considered a viewer.
How is TRP recorded?
- In India, the TRP is recorded by the Broadcast Audience Research Council using Bar-O-Meters that are installed on televisions in selected households.
- The Broadcast Audience Research Council is an organisation that functions under the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). BARC has installed these meters in 44,000 households across the country, so far.
- 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.
- Viewing details and watermarks are recorded by the Bar-O-Meters.
How are the households selected?
The selection of households 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 is done annually.
- Out of these, the households which will have Bar-O-Meters are randomly selected.
- The fieldwork to recruit households is not done directly by the BARC.
- On its website, it has said that the viewing behaviour of panel homes is reported to BARC India daily.
- Coincidental checks either physically or telephonically are done regularly.
- BARC India also involves a separate vigilance agency to check on outliers that it considers highly suspicious.
- 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 every month.
- The Ministry guidelines call for maintenance of secrecy and privacy of the panel homes.
BARC is directed to follow a voluntary code of conduct.
What are the loopholes in the process?
- Public broadcaster Doordarshan has time and again said that TRP did not reflect the actual viewership.
- As per reports, about 70% of the revenue for television channels comes from advertising and only 30% from the subscription.
- Several doubts have been raised on many previous occasions about the working of the TRP.
- The Mumbai police alleged that households are being paid to manipulate the TRP.
- Information and Broadcasting Minister has said that the TRP process needs a rethink and criticized what he called “TRP journalism”.
- Assam jails cannot be detention centres: HC
The issue in news
Recently The Gauhati High Court stated that people declared as foreigners cannot be kept in jails that serve as detention centres, depriving them of basic human rights and human dignity.
- People declared foreigners or illegal migrants in Assam as per the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) are kept across detention centres within six jails where they share space with others serving time for various crimes.
Directions by the HC:
- The Court has issued a notice to the Assam Government to submit a report on the steps taken to set up detention centres outside jail premises and hire any private premises if suitable government accommodations are not available for the purpose.
- The HC ruled that jails being used as detention centres were in conflict with the model manual for such centres.
- It referred to the Supreme Court’s observation that detainees should be kept in an appropriate place with restricted movements pending deportation or repatriation and provided basic facilities such as electricity, water, hygiene, etc.
Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- Indo-Lanka Accord can’t be thrown away: Tamil MP
The issue in news
Following India’s Prime Minister’s request to the Sri Lankan counterpart to address Tamil aspirations with the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the Tamil MPs of Sri Lanka have questioned the government’s commitment to the preceding Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987.
The Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord
- The Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord was signed on 29thJuly 1987 in Colombo between the then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the then Sri Lankan President J R Jayewardene in an effort to bring the Sri Lankan civil war to an end. This accord saw the induction of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka.
Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord – Background
- Sri Lanka was facing major ethnic strife from the 1980s onwards. The Tamilian population of Sri Lanka, which formed a significant minority there, was demanding more rights and equal treatment along with the Sinhalese citizens. The more radical of the Tamil groups were engaged in separatist movements.
- The origins of the Sri Lankan ethnic tensions can be traced to 1948 when the tiny island country achieved its independence from the British. A Sinhalese government was formed and Tamils started facing active discrimination in the country. There were many incidences of violence and brutality against the Tamil minority.
- The separatist movements that started in the eighties led to the emergence of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) led by V Prabhakaran.
- In the beginning, the governments of Indira Gandhi and then Rajiv Gandhi had supported the Tamil separatists by giving them military training and arms. The reason for India’s intervention was twofold. Firstly, India had a huge Tamil population which strongly supported Tamil agitation in Sri Lanka. Secondly, India wanted to prevent any other foreign power like the USA, Pakistan or China from intervening and undermining India’s clout in the region.
- But from 1985, the Sri Lankan government also commenced its own military’s rearmament in order to suppress the insurgency. In this regard, it received support from Pakistan, Israel, South Africa and Singapore.
- Violence increased in the island nation in which many civilians became casualties. In 1987, the Tamil stronghold region of Jaffna was besieged by the Sri Lankan forces. Civilian deaths increased in the region leading to a sort of humanitarian crisis and there were increasing demands for intervention by India.
- The Indian government, afraid of a backlash from its Tamil population, called upon the Sri Lankan government to curb the military offensive and push for a political settlement.
- Failing in this regard, the Indian government sent a fleet of unarmed ships to Sri Lanka with humanitarian aid. This was, however, intercepted by the Sri Lankan navy and sent back.
- After that, India decided to airdrop relief supplies to Jaffna. The Air Force, in its Operation Poomalai, airdropped relief supplies to the tune of 25 tonnes over Jaffna in broad daylight. Simultaneously, the Sri Lankan Ambassador to India was summoned by the External Affairs Minister and briefed about the operation. It was also indicated to the Ambassador that any Sri Lankan intervention in the operation would cause a full-fledged military retaliation by India against Sri Lanka.
- The Sri Lankan President then agreed to hold talks with the Indian government on this issue.
- The Jaffna siege was lifted and the Peace Accord was signed on 29th July 1987 in Colombo.
- According to the terms of the accord, Sri Lankan forces would withdraw from the north and the Tamil rebels would disarm. This also saw the introduction of the IPKF in Sri Lanka.
- When Rajiv Gandhi was in Colombo to sign the accord, during the Guard of Honour, he was assaulted by a Sri Lankan sailor.
- The IPKF was to oversee the LTTE’s surrender but it ended up fighting the LTTE.
- It was withdrawn from Sri Lanka in 1990 and then fighting continued between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan forces.
- Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the LTTE in 1991.
- Fighting continued between the Sri Lankan and Tamil forces until 2009 when the LTTE suffered a thorough defeat and their leader Prabhakaran was killed.
- PM hails Afghan ceasefire efforts
The issue in news
Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) Abdullah Abdullah is in India on a five-day visit.
Abdullah said he had been energised and re-energised by India’s support to the people of Afghanistan achieving a dignified, durable and sustainable peace.
He expressed gratitude for the $3billion aid India has disbursed for projects across Afghanistan since 2001.
It highlights India’s increased engagement with the ongoing Intra-Afghan Dialogue.
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.
Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
- EPCA directs Delhi, other States to implement GRAP
The issue in news
The EPCA has directed Delhi and neighbouring states to implement air pollution control measures under “very poor” and “severe” category air quality of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) including a ban on the use of diesel generators, except for emergency activities.
- EPCA Chairman has pointed out that there is enough evidence that pollution will make COVID-19 more dangerous and therefore, there must be zero-tolerance for air pollution.
Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA):
- The Environment Pollution Control Authority is a Supreme Court-mandated body tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in the Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region).
- The body is constituted under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
- It is mandated to enforce the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region)
What is Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)?
- A Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) is a set of stratified actions that are taken once the pollution level reaches a certain specified limit.
- Approved by the Supreme Court in 2016, the plan was formulated after several meetings that the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) held with state government representatives and experts. The result was a plan that institutionalised measures to be taken when air quality deteriorates.
- GRAP works only as an emergency measure. As such, the plan does not include action by various state governments to be taken throughout the year to tackle industrial, vehicular and combustion emissions. When the air quality shifts from poor to very poor, the measures listed under both sections 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.