UPSC Key—7 September, 2023: Draft Telecom Bill, New Cold War and Service Charge | UPSC Current Affairs News

UPSC Key—7 September, 2023: Draft Telecom Bill, New Cold War and Service Charge | UPSC Current Affairs News


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story-As the United States confirmed Wednesday that President Joe Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi Friday, ahead of the G20 Summit over the weekend, The Indian Express has learnt that the government is considering inviting leaders of the Quad grouping for the Republic Day celebrations next year.

• “An invitation to be the Republic Day chief guest is highly symbolic from the government’s perspective”-How?

• How does New Delhi decide its chief guest for Republic Day?

• Do You Know-An invitation to be the Republic Day chief guest is highly symbolic from the government’s perspective. New Delhi has been weaving a strategy with hospitality to decide its chief guest for the Republic Day. The choice of chief guest every year is dictated by a number of reasons — strategic and diplomatic, business interest and international geopolitics. A formal invitation is usually sent only after ascertaining informally the availability of the leaders. Sources said the Indian side is working on those lines since all three leaders of the Quad grouping will be here for the G20 Summit. It is India’s turn to host the Quad Leaders’ Summit next year.

• “If this plan of getting all the Quad leaders together works out, it will be a strong signal to China”-What kind of strong signal?

• What is Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD)?

• Formation of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD)-Know in detail

• Do You Know-Following the Indian Ocean tsunami, India, Japan, Australia, and the US created an informal alliance to collaborate on disaster relief efforts. In 2007, then PM of Japan, Shinzo Abe, formalised the alliance, as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or the Quad. The Quad was supposed to establish an Asian Arc of Democracy but was hampered by a lack of cohesion amongst its members and accusations that the group was nothing more than an anti-China bloc. The early iteration of the Quad, largely based around maritime security, eventually dissipated.
In 2017, faced again with the rising threat of China, the four countries revived the Quad, broadening its objectives and creating a mechanism that aimed to slowly establish a rules-based international order. However, despite its lofty ambitions, the Quad is not structured like a typical multilateral organisation and lacks a secretariat and any permanent decision-making body. Instead of creating policy along the lines of the European Union or United Nations, the Quad has focused on expanding existing agreements between member countries and highlighting their shared values. Additionally, unlike NATO, the Quad does not include provisions for collective defence, instead choosing to conduct joint military exercises as a show of unity and diplomatic cohesion.
In 2020, the trilateral India-US-Japan Malabar naval exercises expanded to include Australia, marking the first official grouping of the Quad since its resurgence in 2017 and the first joint military exercises among the four countries in over a decade. In March 2021, the Quad leaders met virtually and later released a joint statement titled ‘The Spirit of the Quad,’ which outlined the group’s approach and objectives.

• Know the Principles and the motive behind the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD)

• Who are member nations in Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD)?

• Who are observer nations in Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD)?

• Know the difference between observer and member countries?

• What are U.S. interests in the Quad?

• What is Japan’s aims for the Quad?

• How is China’s relations with each of the Quad members?

• The QUAD in the Indo-Pacific region and its geopolitical implication-Know in detail

• How QUAD is Significant for India?

• India’s Role in Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD)?

• What are the challenges and opportunities for QUAD in Current Scenario?

• Is Quad is perceived to be anti-China?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Explained: How was the Quad formed, and what are its objectives?

📍Quad: Opportunities, challenges

SC sets aside Ladakh poll process, rules in favour of JKNC symbol


Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

Main Examination: General Studies II: Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- The Supreme Court Wednesday set aside the “entire election process, initiated pursuant to” the August 2 notification issued by the Ladakh administration for elections to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) and directed that a fresh notification be issued within seven days.

• What is the issue exactly?

• What Supreme Court has said?

• How did the matter of the symbol for NC candidates reach the courts?

• Why is this election significant?

• What is Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act?

• When was Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council created?

• Why was Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council was created?

• How has political representation changed in Ladakh since Ladakh became a UT?

• Map Work-Ladakh

• What is the sixth schedule of Article 244?

• Do You Know-The Sixth Schedule under Article 244 provides for the formation of autonomous administrative divisions — Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) — that have some legislative, judicial, and administrative autonomy within a state.
ADCs have up to 30 members with a term of five years, and can make laws, rules and regulations with regard to land, forest, water, agriculture, village councils, health, sanitation, village- and town-level policing, inheritance, marriage and divorce, social customs and mining, etc. The Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam is an exception with more than 40 members and the right to make laws on 39 issues. The Sixth Schedule applies to the Northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram (three Councils each), and Tripura (one Council).

• What is the autonomous district council under the 6th Schedule of Indian Constitution?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Explained: What is the Sixth Schedule, and can Ladakh be included under it?

📍Supreme Court restores National Conference’s party symbol for Ladakh polls: What was the case?

Services like Whatsapp, Google Meet not your remit: IT to DoT


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story-A DIFFERENCE OF opinion has emerged between the Information Technology Ministry and the Department of Telecommunications over the inclusion of internet-based communication services such as WhatsApp and Google Meet in the upcoming Telecommunications Bill. The IT ministry maintains these services fall under its jurisdiction and should not be regulated under the telecom Bill, The Indian Express has learnt.

• What is an internet communication service?

• So, what is the dispute over internet communication services between the Ministry of Information Technology and the Department of Telecommunications?

• What draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022 says about internet communication service?

• Draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022-Know the highlights of the bill

• Know about the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and The Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Protection) Act, 1950

• How these three acts (the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and The Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Protection) Act, 1950) governs the telecommunication sector in India?

• Is OTTs comes under the ambit of telecom services?

• For Your Information-A draft copy of the Telecommunication Bill was sent to an inter-ministerial group for consultations in May. Following the objections raised by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is learnt to have gone back to the drawing board to reframe portions of the Bill which regulated over-the-top (OTT) communication services, a senior MeitY official told this paper. OTT communication services are internet-based voice and text messaging services.
“In May, the DoT had formed a second draft of the Bill and when it came for consultation in the inter-ministerial group, MeitY made it clear that the DoT can only regulate the carriage layer, that is telephony, wireless communications, and private sector licences, etc.,” the official said, requesting anonymity since the discussions are private.
Last September, in the first draft of the Bill, the DoT had proposed regulating communication services including voice, video, and data offered by platforms such as Whatsapp as telecom services, requiring them to obtain a licence from the government just like other telecom operators.
WhatsApp and other similar services were mentioned as telecom services under the first version of the draft, addressing a long-standing demand by telecom operators which have on several occasions called for a level playing field. At present, while telecom companies need a licence to offer services, OTT platforms do not.
MeitY believes that under the Allocation of Business Rules, internet-based communication services are not part of DoT’s jurisdiction. In July this year, almost three years after it first recommended against creating a specific regulatory framework for such platforms, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) commenced fresh consultations on how OTT services can be regulated.
After public comments, the DoT is learnt to have whittled down the definition of telecom services as transmission, emission or reception of messages in formats such as texts, images, videos, and data streams in its May draft. The concept of licensing was also done away with, with a new provision of “authorisation” being introduced in its place.
However, MeitY believed that even this definition was wide enough to include services like WhatsApp, which forced it to voice its objections.

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍What is the draft Telecom Bill, and what changes it aims to bring


Less G in G20


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Main Examination: General Studies II: India and its neighborhood- relations.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story-Sanjaya Baru writes: In preparing to host the Group of Twenty (G20) Summit in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed credit for converting a heads of government meeting into “a people’s festival”. The government did well to popularise the Indian G20 agenda among people across the country and the world, even if this was sometimes done a la Bollywood style. It is, therefore, striking that in the run-up to the summit there has been considerable criticism of the Prime Minister’s leadership style in international media.

• “The world is taking an increasingly critical view of India”-Comment

• “When diplomatic relations worsen, people-to-people (P2P) contacts can help maintain a balance in the relationship between nations, especially neighbours”-How far you agree with the same?

• “It is in our national interest that even as our government adopts a tough stance on national security issues pertaining to our neighbourhood, it ought to encourage greater civil society contact across borders, especially among media and academia”-Do you agree?

• “If Prime Minister Modi has found it difficult to get President Xi Jinping to come down for the G20 summit, it is in part due to the deterioration in the bilateral relationship and questions in the minds of both about each other’s intentions”-Discuss

• How would you characterise India’s relations with its neighbouring countries?

• What is India’s Neighbourhood First Policy?

• Map Work-India’s Neighbours

• What are the Challenges in India’s Neighbourhood First Policy?

• “We can choose our friends but not our neighbours”-Decode the quote

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍This is G20 for we, the people

📍C Raja Mohan writes: From Great Powers to Asia – India is raising its diplomatic game


Lift-off and the law


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies III: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- Ranjana Kaul writes: This has been an exciting year. First, India is a signatory to the US Artemis Accords, a non-binding arrangement with NASA, which explores the implementation of provisions of the Outer Space Treaty, 1967 and other international instruments, thereby establishing a political understanding regarding mutually beneficial practices for future use of outer space. Second, the deepening of US-India engagements, particularly iCET — establishment of the US-India Civil Space and Commercial Space Working Groups — has met with excitement and expectations.

• What is Artemis Accords?

• Why is India key to the Artemis Accords?

• Why India joined the Artemis Accords?

• Is Outer space a “global common”?

• What is global common?

• For Your Information-Traditionally, “global common” is used to define those parts of the planet that fall outside the sovereignty of any state. It is a concept built upon the legacy of Grotius’s idea of mare liberum (free sea), an idea that aimed to preserve the freedom of access and benefit of all. The term is used typically to describe supra-national and global resource domains in which common-pool resources are found. The UN identifies four “global commons”, namely the high seas, the atmosphere, Antarctica and the outer space. The question has been discussed since the prospect of off-Earth commercial planetary resource extraction and utilisation became a possibility in the second decade of the 21st century.
Many have categorically answered in the negative. Others have argued that outer space is a “global common” and must remain so, concerned that the rejection of this widely accepted, fundamental construct threatens the ability of developing countries to benefit from freedom of access and benefit of all guaranteed under the principles of the Outer Space Treaty.
In the absence of an authoritative definition, “global commons” could be viewed from two lenses. First, when rooted in geopolitical or military relevance, it is generally viewed as an enabling concept. When we consider “global common” from these perspectives, it is not surprising that security establishments across the world recognise domains beyond the national jurisdictions, including the high seas, the air space outside territorial bodies of a state, and outer space, as vital connecting channels for the international order. Others recognise outer space as a vital operational domain for keeping their nation safe while upholding international law. After all, if outer space as a “global common” were rejected, by what logic would high seas continue to be regarded as one? How then could a collective regional security initiative like the QUAD continue to legitimately call for the freedom of navigation? Indeed, open access is vital for a nation’s security and economy.
Second, “global common” is viewed as a constraining concept based on the economic and commercial implications of shared resources, which could be overused by some at the expense of others, regardless of national jurisdiction. “Commons” is seen as constraining because it is associated with notions of shared ownership, public governance or limitations on use.

• What is Outer space?

• Is space governed by international law?

• Global Governance of outer space is very much required now?

• “Commons” is sometimes also associated with the “common heritage of mankind” (CHM) concept as expressed in Article 11(3) Moon Agreement, 1979-What is “common heritage of mankind”?

• Do You Know-CHM was a new concept that created a territorial status in which the Moon and celestial bodies are themselves not subject to national appropriation, but the fruits and resources of which are also deemed to be the property of mankind at large.
CHM is not limited to outer space. The 1970 UN General Assembly passed a non-binding resolution that “the seabed and ocean floor, and the subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, as well as the resources of the area are the common heritage of mankind.” After the Moon Agreement, this principle was codified as Article 136 of the United Convention on Law of the Seas, 1982. Thus, to some, the high seas beyond territorial waters is a “global common” allowing freedom of navigation and access to all (an enabling concept), others may refer to the deep sea bed as a “global common” (in a constraining sense).

• What is Moon Agreement of 1979?

• “Great power rivalry on the Earth has inevitably begun to envelop the Moon”-Discuss and attest with some examples

• “With outer space and the Moon set for an increased range of activity, Delhi needs laws – domestic as well as international – for its effective promotion and regulation”-What’s your opinion?

• “This is a moment to seize the new possibilities for India’s leadership in transforming the relationship between humanity and outer space”-Discuss

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍India signs the US-led Artemis Accords: What does it mean, how the country can benefit


China sends ASEAN a message: Do not take sides, avoid blocs over conflicts


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- Chinese Premier Li Qiang said on Wednesday it is important to avoid a “new Cold War” when dealing with conflicts between countries as world leaders gathered in Indonesia amid sharpening geopolitical rivalries across the Indo-Pacific region. Speaking at an annual summit involving members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, Japan and South Korea, Li said countries needed to “appropriately handle differences and disputes”.

• What is the new Cold War?

• New Cold War between whom and why?

ASEAN, which has warned of the danger of getting dragged into major powers disputes-What major powers disputes?

• What is the relationship between ASEAN and China?

• Several ASEAN members rejected the map recently published by China-what is point of contention?

• For Your Information-High on the agenda at the gatherings in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, is concern about China’s increasingly assertive activity in the South China Sea, an important trade corridor in which several ASEAN members have claims that conflict with China’s.
ASEAN this week discussed with China accelerating negotiations on a long-discussed code of conduct for the waterway, said Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi of the ASEAN chair, Indonesia. The issue also came up during an ASEAN-Japan summit where leaders “expressed the importance of keeping situations in the region conducive, especially in the Korean Peninsula and also the South China Sea”, she said. The United States and its allies have echoed ASEAN’s calls for freedom of navigation and overflight and to refrain from building a physical presence in disputed waters. China has built various facilities, including runways, on tiny outcrops in the sea. Just before this week’s gatherings, China released a map with a “10-dash line” showing what appeared to be an expansion of the area it considers its territory in the South China Sea. Several ASEAN members rejected the map. Some members of the Southeast Asian grouping have developed close diplomatic, business and military ties with China while others are more wary. The United States has also courted ASEAN countries with varying degrees of success. ASEAN, in a draft of a statement it will issue this week and seen by Reuters, said it needed to “strengthen stability in the maritime sphere in our region … and explore new initiatives towards these ends”. Lina Alexandra, a political analyst at think tank CSIS, said the draft was “very weak on the issues of the South China Sea”, noting the Philippines was losing patience with ASEAN when it came to dealing with China’s presence in the area.
“If ASEAN is not useful that is a great danger, because the other option is they go up to the big powers and they bring these big powers to the region,” Alexandra said. The summit also saw South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol pledge to work with Japan and China for the early resumption of a three-way talks between them in building better ties. The 10 members of ASEAN held their summit earlier in the week with leaders seeking to assert the bloc’s relevance in the face of criticism it is failing to press Myanmar’s military leaders to cooperate on a plan for peace in their strife-torn country. ASEAN member Myanmar has been gripped by violence since the generals overthrew an elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi in early 2021. ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

• Map Work-ASEAN countries

• What is the ASEAN and East Asia Summit?

• What is the rationality behind the ASEAN and East Asia Summit?

• Who is hosting the East Asia Summit 2023?

• What is the significance of East Asia Summit?

• The ASEAN and EAS-connect the dots?

• The ASEAN and EAS and India-Connect the dots

• When and Where the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established?

• What was Bangkok Declaration?

• Who were the Founding Fathers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asia Summit?

• Which are the current members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)?

• Know the ASEAN-led Forums name and their objectives

ASEAN and EAS commands greater influence on Asia-Pacific trade, political, and security issues, together they contributes what percentage to world economy?

• Know the Economic relations between India and ASEAN in detail

• ‘In Asia, the ASEAN-led regional institutions struggle to cope with China’s aggressive territorial expansionism’-
How far you agree?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍PM leaves for ASEAN, East Asia summits today

📍What is ASEAN?




Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Main Examination: General Studies II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- Drug manufacturer Abbott India has withdrawn all batches of the popular antacid syrup, Digene gel, which were manufactured at its Goa facility, after customers reported that the liquid in the bottle had turned white, tasted bitter and had a pungent smell when they bought it early August. The syrup is usually pink with a sweetish taste. The public notice issued by the apex drug controller, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, on its website, said: “The impugned product may be unsafe and its use may result in adverse reaction.” It urges people to discontinue the use of Digene gel manufactured at the Goa facility. Doctors say there is no need to panic but add that anyone consuming this over-the-counter medicine for long durations should check in with their physicians. However, consuming Digene in tablet form is safe.

• What is Digene used for?

• What is the doctors’ view on the recall?

• Can the medicine be safely consumed by all?

• What does the notice say?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍DCGI issues alert against popular antacid Digene; Company recalls product

Driest Aug, falling reservoirs


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance

Main Examination: General Studies I: Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- The large deficit in rainfall in August, more than 35 per cent, has had an expected impact on the water storage in the country’s reservoirs. The cumulative amount of water in the 150 large and important reservoirs fell below the normal level in August — the first time this has happened since the beginning of the current southwest monsoon season.

• What does the latest data from the Central Water Commission (CWC) shows?

• ‘The country recorded 162.7 mm of rainfall in August, a deficit of 36 per cent for the month’-Why deficit?

• For Your Information-August is the second rainiest month in India, after July. In a normal year, August sees about 255 mm rainfall over the country, accounting for about 22 per cent of the annual rainfall of 1,160 mm. July, the rainiest month, accounts for a little over 24 per cent.
But this August is set to go down as the driest since 1901, from when rainfall records of the India Meteorological Department are available. By Tuesday morning, the country as a whole had received only 160 mm of rainfall this month. That means a deficit of about 33 per cent for the month. Never has the country received less than 190 mm of rainfall in August (see accompanying charts). States like Gujarat and Kerala have had a deficit of nearly 90 per cent for the month so far. Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh also have more than 50 per cent deficiency. Tamil Nadu, which receives a bulk of its rainfall during the winter months, has a shortfall of about 23 per cent. “The influence of El Nino is very clearly visible now. We were lucky to have good rainfall in July, otherwise we would have been staring at a very difficult situation,” M Rajeevan, former Secretary in the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said.

• What is normal rainfall in India?

• For Your Information-IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra pointed to El Nino conditions, a warming of equatorial Pacific Ocean waters that is associated with suppression of rainfall, as a major factor for deficit rain in August. “El Nino was one of the most important factors to have caused deficient rainfall activity in August. In addition to that, there are many other factors – the Madden Julian Oscillation was unfavourable, low-pressure systems did not form (there were only nine low pressure system days against a normal of around 16.3 days in August), and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) was neutral,” he said. The Madden Julian Oscillation refers to an eastward moving system of clouds and wind along the equator, which can influence rainfall depending on whether it is in an active or weak phase. While weak to moderate El Nino conditions are prevailing over the Pacific Ocean, it is expected to strengthen and extend into the early part of next year, Mohapatra said.
An IOD that is now positive, which is marked by warming over the western Indian Ocean and cooling over the eastern Indian Ocean, could help counter the impact of El Nino conditions in September.

• What are the conditions which causes El Niño?

• EL Nino Southern Oscillation or ENSO impact on Monsoon?

• How El Niño Impacts-Know Sector and region wise

• Do You Know-El Nino refers to the unusual warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean off the coast of northwest South America, which influences weather events across the world. Over India, it has the effect of suppressing the monsoon rainfall. A similar phenomenon in the Indian Ocean, called the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), was expected to turn favourable for the monsoon rainfall this year, but did not have much impact, Rajeevan said.
“It is only now that the IOD is getting into a positive phase. But the relationship of the IOD with the Indian monsoon is not as well established as El Nino’s. It is futile to expect that IOD would compensate for El Nino. In fact, there is some evidence to even suggest that it is the monsoon that affects the IOD, and not the other way. This is not yet a settled question,” Rajeevan said. The only regions that received good rainfall in August were east and northeast India. Incidentally, these parts had remained significantly dry in June and July, showing a deficit of 15 per cent and 32 per cent in those respective months. August rainfall brought welcome relief in this region, but even though the monthly rainfall in most of these states has been more than normal, it has not been sufficient to wipe off the seasonal deficit. “The impacts of El Nino unfold in such a manner that rainfall over almost the entire country, barring the east and northeast, is suppressed. And that is exactly what we have seen in August. Beyond El Nino, there are some other systems that can also bring about short spells of rain. Many of these were favourable during July, but unfortunately, none in August. For example, except for one feeble low-pressure event that brought some rains over Madhya Pradesh, there was a complete absence of low-pressure systems in August,” D Sivananda Pai, a senior scientist with IMD, said. Both Rajeevan and Pai said there were chances of a revival of the monsoon in the first or second week of September. “A strengthening of monsoon activity is expected around the first week of September and it is likely to last for a week or 10 days, but it is uncertain how much rainfall this will result in. As of now, under the influence
of El Nino, September is expected to be deficient too,” Rajeevan said.

• But why have El Niño conditions continued for three years?

• What is Inter Tropical Convergence Zone?

• Impact of Monsoons on Life in India-Economical, Cultural and Social

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Driest August, but near normal rainfall likely in September, says IMD

‘Staff contribution’, not service charge; HC’s 10% cap on bill amount


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Main Examination: General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- The Delhi High Court in an interim order Tuesday directed members of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI) to replace the term ‘service charge’ with ‘staff contribution’, while adding that the amount charged should not exceed 10% of the total bill. In doing so, Justice Pratibha Singh said that around 3,300 FHRAI-associated hotels and restaurants will now specify on their menus in bold that tips need not be given after staff contribution is paid.

• What is this case?

• What is the court saying now?

• What were the July 4, 2022 guidelines on service charge?

• What are the 2017 guidelines?

• For Your Information-On April 21, 2017, the Central government issued guidelines prohibiting the levy of service charge on consumers by hotels and restaurants, and terms the charging for anything other than “the prices displayed on the menu card along with the applicable taxes” without “express consent” of the customer as “unfair trade practices”. These guidelines were passed under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, in light of eateries charging consumers service charges without their consent. It was also noted that many customers have been paying tips to waiters in addition to the service charge, mistakenly assuming that the service charge is part of taxes. Apart from this, there were cases where customers were restrained from entering if they did not agree to pay the service charge.

• What is service charge?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

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📍Use the term ‘staff contribution’ in place of ‘service charge’: Delhi HC to hotel body

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