Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 8th August 2023



Today Topics List:

  1. Blind Dating events by Government: Korea

  2. Perks of Being an Member of Parliament

  3. Data Protection Bill.

  4. Havana Syndrome

  5. Indian made Syrup found contaminated in Iraq, alerts WHO

  6. Malabar Exercise



Blind Dating events by Government: Korea

    • South Korea recorded the world’s lowest fertility rate for three years in a row. Hence, growing number of cities in South Korea are sponsoring blind dating events for singles, desperate to prod young adults onto a track for marriage and family.


  • The cities say, young people just do not want to get married or have babies that would follow in a country where only 2% of the births are outside marriage.
    • A negative attitude toward marriage is continuing to spread in South Korean society
  • Many young Koreans says, the real obstacle to raise children is the raising staggering cost of child care, unaffordable homes, slim job prospects and crushing work hours.
    • Hence, Blind date events make little difference to this.
    • By trying to play match maker, Government is being too intrusive in personal reproductive
  • Women,in particular say they have been discouraged by the prevalence of discrimination against working mothers.
  • But, such events in other countries with low birthrates, including China and Japan have proved popular




Perks of Being an Member of Parliament

    • Following the stay on conviction in a criminal defamation case, Lok Sabha secretariat cleared Rahul Gandhi’s return to Parliament.
    • The salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament Act, 1954 prescribes the range of benefits that an MP is entitled to,
      • An MP receives a salary of Rs. 1 lakh per month.
      • When in session, an MO is entitled to an additional Rs. 2,000 for each day.
      • MPs are entitled to travel allowance, which include free transit by Railways.
      • Medical facilities for the MP and family members, housing, telephone, water and electricity.
    • Housing and Telephone Facilities (Members of parliament) Rules, 1956,
      • Each member shall be entitled without payment of a licence fee to housing accommodation in the form of a flat through out his term of office.
      • Provided that where a member is allotted housing accommodation in the form of bungalow at his request, he shall pay full normal licence fee if he is entitled to such accommodation.


Data Protection Bill.


  • The Digital Personal Protection bill, 2023 was passed in Lok Sabha. It retained contents of the version proposed last November, including those red flagged by privacy experts.

Centre’s powers: According to the Bill

  • Right to exempt “any instrumentality of the state” from adverse consequences citing,
    • National Security
    • Relations with foreign governments,
    • Maintenance of public order, among other things.
  • If an entity is penalised more than twice, the Centre, after hearing the entity, can decide to block their platform in the country.
    • This is a new addition to the measure, not present in the 2022 draft.
    • Experts says this proposal could add to the online censorship regime existing under Section 69 (A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
  • The control over members of the Data Protection Board, to deal with privacy related grievances and disputes have been retained by the centre.
    • The chief executive of the board will be appointed by the centre, which will also determine the terms and conditions of their services.
    • The decisions by the data protection board can be appealed before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal, led by a Judicial member.
  • The Centre can process citizen’s data without expressly seeking their consent for national security reasons and to offer subsidies, benefits, certificates, licence or permit.
    • Private firms have been afforded this privilege to deal with employment related matters, including corporate espionage.
  • The proposed law will apply to processing of digital personal data within India, and to data processing outside the country if it is done for,
    • offering goods or services
    • For profiling individuals in India.
  • It requires entities that collect personal data to maintain the accuracy of such data, keep it secure, and delete it once their purpose has been meant.


Relief for Industry:

  • The Bill addresses two long standing demands of industry – Relaxing the age of consent for children, and significantly easing cross border data flows
  • Centre can prescribe an age of consent lower than 18 for accessing internet services without parental consent, if the platform can process children’s data in a verifiably safe manner.
    • This would essentially mean a white listing approach for companies in the edtech sector, medical purposes.
  • The Centre has proposed to ease data flows to international jurisdictions, by moving away from a whitelisting approach to a blacklisting mechanism.
    • This means that data flows are allowed by default to all regions unless prohibited by the government.
    • Government can notify entities as “significant data fiduciaries” after considering factors such as the volume of personal data they possess, the risks they could pose to electoral democracy, and their impact on National security and public order.
    • Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp are likely to be clubbed under this category
  • These entities are to appoint a data protection officer for grievance redressal and conduct periodic data protection impact assessments.




Havana Syndrome


  • A petitioner had approached the Karnataka High court requesting a writ of mandamus for an inquiry on the Havana syndrome and the prevention of high frequency microwave transmission in India.

Havana Syndrome:

  • It is referred to a set of symptoms said to be experienced by United states intelligence and embassy officials in various countries.
    • It involves hearing certain sounds without any outside noise
    • Nausea
    • Vertigo
    • Headaches
    • Memory loss.


  • It traces its roots to Cuba in late 2016, a year after US opened its embassy in the capital city of Havana, after ties between two countries normalized in 2015.
    • Some US intelligence officials and embassy staff began experiencing sudden bursts of pressure in their brains followed by headaches, disorientation and insomnia.
    • In 2018, similar accusations were made by US diplomats in China.
    • A USAID employee at the US embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in September 2017.
    • In 2019 and 2020, particularly in Washington, USA. One particular incident in Ellipse, a lawn adjacent to the White House.
  • In India, first such case was reported in 2021, when a US intelligence officer travelling to New Delhi with CIA director Williams Burns reported symptoms of the Havana Syndrome.

Causes of Havana Syndrome:

  • Suspicion on a Sonic attack by Cuban agents is said be one of the reasons. But No one is entirely sure.
  • Further studies by scientists in US and medical examinations began to suggest that they may have been subjected to high powered microwaves radiation that interfered with the nervous system.
    • It was suspected that beams of high-powered microwaves were sent through a special gadget that Americans then called a “microwave weapon”
  • After many years of data collection and study, the US has as yet not been able to come up with any conclusive evidence regarding that.
    • Some medical experts call this as psychological illness amplified by fear of being targeted.

Mandamus: Under Article 32 of the Constitution

            It means we command. It is a command issued by the court to a public official asking him to perform his duties that he has failed or refused to perform.

            It can also be issued against any public body, a corporation, an inferior court, a tribunal or a government for the same purpose.

            The writ of mandamus cannot be issued against,

(a)   A private individual or a body

(b)   To enforce departmental instruction that do not possess statutory force.

(c)    When the duty is discretionary and not mandatory

(d)   To enforce a contractual obligation

(e)    Against the President of India or the State Governors

(f)     Against the Chief justice of a High court acting in judicial capacity


Indian made Syrup found contaminated in Iraq, alerts WHO

    • One batch of COLD OUT – Paracetamol and Chlorpheniramine combination syrups used to treat symptoms of the common cold and allergy – manufactured by Fourrts India for Dabilife Pharma Private ltd has been reported to WHO as substandard or contaminated by a third party.
      • It was found to contain unacceptable amounts of,
      • Diethylene glycol (0.25%) and ethylene glycol (2.1%) as contaminants.
    • The acceptable safety limit for both ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol is no more than 0.10%.
    • The substandard batch of products referenced in this alert is unsafe and its use may result in serious injury or death.



  • Malabar Exercise:
    • The 31st edition of Malabar Multi-lateral exercise comprising India, Australia, Japan and the US will be held off Sydney.
      • Australia hosts the war games for the first time this year.
      • Australia has also invited India for the Sea power conference that it is hosting from November 7 to 9.
    • The exercise will take place in a large designated area, the east Australian exercise area, spread over a couple of hundred miles off Sydney and will have a harbour and sea phase.
      • Exercise Malabar will be followed by AUSINDEX, the India- Australia Bilateral naval exercise.
    • Officials have termed Malabar as the most complicated naval exercise that India does.

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