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October 16, 2020
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October 19, 2020
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17th October Current Affairs

Who is a declared foreigner?

In News:

The Gauhati High Court has said that people declared as foreigners cannot be kept in jails that serve as detention centres, depriving them of basic human rights and human dignity.

The court has also 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”.

Who is a declared foreigner?

A declared foreigner, or DF, is a person marked by Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) for allegedly failing to prove their citizenship after the State police’s Border wing marks him or her as an illegal immigrant.

What is a Foreigners tribunal?

In 1964, the govt brought in the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order.

Composition: Advocates not below the age of 35 years of age with at least 7 years of practice (or) Retired Judicial Officers from the Assam Judicial Service (or) Retired IAS of ACS Officers (not below the rank of Secretary/Addl. Secretary) having experience in quasi-judicial works.

Who can setup these tribunals?

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has amended the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, and has empowered district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals (quasi-judicial bodies) to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.

Earlier, the powers to constitute tribunals were vested only with the Centre.

Who can approach?

The amended order (Foreigners (Tribunal) Order, 2019) also empowers individuals to approach the Tribunals.

Earlier, only the State administration could move the Tribunal against a suspect.

What is TRP, why was it manipulated?

In News:

Mumbai police have alleged that three television channels are involved in manipulating TRPs.

What is Target Rating Point (TRP)?

Sometimes it is also known as the Television Rating Points.

It is the metric used by the marketing and advertising agencies to evaluate viewership.

TRPs represent how many people, from which socio-economic categories, watched which channels for how much time during a particular period.

How is it 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.

As on date, the BARC has installed these meters in 44,000 households across the country.

Besides, 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.

Why these ratings are important?

On the basis of audience measurement data, ratings are assigned to various programmes on television.

Television ratings in turn influence programmes produced for the viewers.

Better ratings would promote a programme while poor ratings will discourage a programme.

Incorrect ratings will lead to production of programmes which may not be really popular while good programmes may be left out.

Besides, TRPs are the main currency for advertisers to decide which channel to advertise on by calculating the cost-per-rating-point (CPRP).

How can TRP data be rigged?

If broadcasters can find the households where devices are installed, they can either bribe them to watch their channels, or ask cable operators or multi-system operators to ensure their channel is available as the “landing page” when the TV is switched on.

What is BARC?

It is an industry body jointly owned by advertisers, ad agencies, and broadcasting companies, represented by The Indian Society of Advertisers, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation and the Advertising Agencies Association of India.

The Right To Information Act, 2005

In News:

October 12 marks 15 years since the implementation of the Right to Information Act.

A look at its performance:

More than 2.2 lakh cases are pending at the Central and State Information Commissions, which are the final courts of appeal under the law.

The increasing backlog is exacerbated by the fact that most commissions are functioning at a reduced capacity, including the Central Information Commission (CIC), which has been headless since August.

Maharashtra had the highest number of pending appeals, with over 59,000 cases, followed by Uttar Pradesh (47,923) and the CIC (35,653).

About the RTI Act, 2005:

It sets out the rules and procedures regarding citizens’ right to information.

It replaced the former Freedom of Information Act, 2002.

This act was enacted in order to consolidate the fundamental right in the Indian constitution ‘freedom of speech’. Since RTI is implicit in the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, it is an implied fundamental right.

Key Provisions:

Section 4 of the RTI Act requires suo motu disclosure of information by each public authority.

Section 8 (1) mentions exemptions against furnishing information under RTI Act.

Section 8 (2) provides for disclosure of information exempted under Official Secrets Act, 1923 if larger public interest is served.

Information Commissioners and PIOs:

The Act also provides for appointment of Information Commissioners at Central and State level.

Public authorities have designated some of its officers as Public Information Officer. They are responsible to give information to a person who seeks information under the RTI Act.

Time period:

In normal course, information to an applicant is to be supplied within 30 days from the receipt of application by the public authority.

If information sought concerns the life or liberty of a person, it shall be supplied within 48 hours.

In case the application is sent through the Assistant Public Information Officer or it is sent to a wrong public authority, five days shall be added to the period of thirty days or 48 hours, as the case may be.

Applicability of RTI to:

Private bodies:

Private bodies are not within the Act’s ambit directly.

In a decision of Sarbjit roy vs Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, the Central Information Commission also reaffirmed that privatised public utility companies fall within the purview of RTI.

Political parties:

The Central Information Commission (CIC) had held that the political parties are public authorities and are answerable to citizens under the RTI Act.

But in August 2013 the government introduced a Right To Information (Amendment) Bill which would remove political parties from the scope of the law.

Currently no parties are under the RTI Act and a case has been filed for bringing all political parties under it.

Chief Justice of India:

Supreme Court of India on 13 November 2019, upheld the decision of Delhi High Court bringing the office of Chief Justice of India under the purview of Right to Information (RTI) Act.