Tanaji_Malusare_iastoppers
Current Affairs Analysis

22nd October 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Subedar Taanaji Malusare; Battle of Singhagad (1670); Global Status of Legal Limits on Lead in Paint September 2019; National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data; QS World University Rankings; TechSagar; Data Security Council of India; BHIM 2.0; MeitY StartUp Hub (MSH); National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI); Unified Payments Interface (UPI); Ecological flow notification; Draft National River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Bill 2018; Ganga river; India Plans to Regulate Social Media; Defence Acquisition Council (DAC); Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI); Siachen Glacier Dispute; Palm oil imports; US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF); 'Population and Women Empowerment Policy of Assam'; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
October 22, 2019

Contents

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Only 38% UN members have laws for minimum lead concentration in paints
  • IITs dominate in QS India University rankings, IIT Bombay leads the pack

Social Issues

  • NCRB data for 2017 shows how rising cases, creaking criminal justice system ail city

Economy

  • Govt launches BHIM 2.0 with new functionalities, additional language support

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Hydropower projects violating norms may be shut

Bilateral & International Relations

  • US India Strategic Partnership Forum calls on PM
  • Avoid oil imports from Malaysia: trade body

Defence & Security Issues

  • What is US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative
  • Government approves procurement of indigenously developed military hardware

Indian History

  • Taanaji Malusare and the role he played in the Battle of Singhagad

Science & Technology

  • TechSagar, national repository of India’s cyber tech capabilities launched

Key Facts for Prelims

  • India Plans to Regulate Social Media as It Can Cause Disruption
  • Assam: Starting 2021, no govt jobs for those with more than two kids
  • Siachen open for tourists: Defence Minister

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Issues related to Health & Education

Only 38% UN members have laws for minimum lead concentration in paints

As World Lead Prevention Week started on October 20, 2019, a new United Nations (UN) report has revealed that many of its members do not have proper laws inhibiting the concentration of lead in items like paints.

38% UN members have laws for minimum lead concentration in paints

Permissible limit:

  • Ninety ppm is the concentration limit recommended by the Model Law and Guidance for Regulating Lead Paint published by the UNEP in 2018.
  • It is the lowest and most protective regulatory limit for lead paints that has been set in India and some other countries.

Highlights of Global Status of Legal Limits on Lead in Paint September 2019

  • As of September 2019, 73 countries have legally binding controls to limit the production, import and sale of lead paints, which is 38% of all countries.
  • Out of these 73 countries, only 13 countries have laws which prescribe that lead concentration should not be more than 90 particles per million (ppm).
  • Most of the paints tested for lead were found to exceed the 90 ppm or 600 ppm legal limit that has been set by many countries as an achievable limit.
  • The cost of removing existing decorative lead paint from surfaces in homes, schools and other buildings can be substantial. By contrast, the economic cost is low for eliminating the use of lead compounds in new decorative paints.
  • The largest economic burden of lead exposure was borne by low- and middle-income countries.

Region-wise laws

Region-wise-laws

  • African region: 6 countries (11% of total African countries)
  • Asia-Pacific: 9 countries (23 %)
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: 11 countries (33 %)
  • Europe: 42 countries (78%)

Recommendation:

  • The most effective means of preventing lead exposure from paints is to establish national laws, including legislation, regulations and/or legally binding standards as appropriate, that ban the use of lead additives in paints.

Global Approaches to Lead Paint Laws

Countries that have enacted laws to limit the lead content in paint have generally used one of two approaches:

Establish a single regulatory limit on the total concentration of lead in paint from all sources:

  • Of the 73 countries with lead paint laws, 35 countries have established a single regulatory limit on the total or soluble lead concentration in paint (in parts per million). These existing lead limits range from 90 ppm to 1,000 ppm or higher.
  • India has 90 ppm lead limit for manufacture, trade, import and export of household and decorative paints.

Establish a set of chemical-specific regulatory limits based on the management of risks of individual lead compounds that are used as additives in paint:

  • Chemical-specific regulatory limits are used by 38 countries, of which 31 have adopted the EU REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical) regulation on lead compounds.

Why lead is added in Paints?

  • Lead is added to paints for various reasons, including enhancing the colour, reducing corrosion and decreasing the drying time.

Negative Health Effects from Lead Exposure

Negative-Health-Effects-from-Lead-Exposure

  • Permanent damage to the brain and nervous system, resulting in decreased IQ and increased behavioural problems.
  • Cause anemia, increase the risk of kidney damage and hypertension, and impair reproductive function.
  • Young children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of lead.

Various initiatives for addressing lead based paint issues
Various-initiatives-for-addressing-lead-based-paint-issues

About the report

  • The Global Status of Legal Limits on Lead in Paint are provided annually by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) in support of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (Lead Paint Alliance).
[Ref: Down To Earth]

 

IITs dominate in QS India University rankings, IIT Bombay leads the pack

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) dominates QS India University Rankings, with seven of them figuring among the top 10 institutes.

iit

  • This is the second standalone ranking of India’s higher education institutions from Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). The number of institutes included in the list has been extended from the top 75 to top 100 this time.

Top 10 Indian Universities

Top-10-Indian-Universities

Different from QS World University Rankings

  • These India rankings do not necessarily match the QS World University Rankings that were released earlier in 2019. In that list, IIT-Bombay has been ranked the best Indian institution and IIT-Delhi the second best. The two rankings use different criteria. For example, while academic reputation is given a weight of 30% in the India University Rankings, its weight is 40% in the World Rankings.

About QS World University Rankings:

About QS World University Rankings

  • The QS World University Rankings is launched by a global higher education company named QS (Quacquarelli Symonds).
  • Launched in 2004, World University Rankings is an annual publication of university rankings which comprises the global overall and subject rankings (in 48 different subjects and five composite faculty areas).
  • QS also produces: Graduate Employability Rankings, Best Student Cities, Higher Education System Strength Rankings, Rankings by Location and the suite of Business School Rankings (i.e., Global MBA, EMBA, Distance Online MBA etc.).

Indicators used for QS Ranking:

  • Academic Reputation (30%)
  • Employer Reputation (20%)
  • Faculty/Student Ratio (20%)
  • Citations per faculty (10%)
  • Proportion of staff with a PhD (10%)
  • Citations per paper from Scopus database (5%)
  • International Faculty Ratio (2.5%)
  • International Student Ratio (2.5%)
[Ref: Economic Times, Indian Express]

 

Social Issues

NCRB data for 2017 shows how rising cases, creaking criminal justice system ail city

Despite being one of the most modern police force in India, Delhi Police had over 1.70 lakh cases pending, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data released for 2019.

criminal justice system ail city

Delhi specific highlights of NCRB report

Delhi,

  • Has the highest amount of pending cases
  • Has lowest charge-sheet rate (20%)
  • Disposes the highest number of cases due to insufficient evidence or other similar factors
  • Has highest crime cases committed by juveniles in the metropolitan cities (nearly 35% cases)
  • Has Second highest cases of child trafficking after Rajasthan
  • Women safety: Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal are deemed most unsafe for women.
  • Riots cases: There were 58,880 incidents of rioting in 2017 of which the maximum incidents were reported from Bihar at 11,698, followed by Uttar Pradesh at 8,990. Of the total, communal and sectarian riots accounted for the largest.
  • Among union territories, Delhi recorded the most murder cases in 2017 at 487.
  • Fake news: NCRB for the first time collected data on circulation of “false/fake news and rumours.” Maximum incidents were reported from Madhya Pradesh (138).
  • A new category of offences committed by various categories of “Anti-National Elements”: Maximum offences were committed by Left Wing Extremist (LWE) operatives (652), followed by North East insurgents (421) and Terrorists (Jihadi and other elements) (371). Most killings took place in Chhattisgarh.

Reason for pendency of cases

  • High number of case registration
  • An investigating officer must handle about 20 cases but currently, they are looking at more than 60 cases.

To know more about the pendency of cases in India, refer IASTopper’s Video summary here: https://www.iastoppers.com/rstv-big-picture-strengthening-judicial-apparatus/

[Ref: The Hindu, India Today]

 

Economy

Govt launches BHIM 2.0 with new functionalities, additional language support

The IT Ministry unveiled a slew of new initiatives and programmes, including BHIM 2.0 that packs-in new functionalities, supports additional languages and has increased transaction limits.

Govt launches BHIM 2.0 with new functionalities, additional language support

  • IT Ministry also launched a StartUp Hub portal and Indian Software Product Registry at IT Ministry’s MeitY Start-up Summit.

About BHIM App:

bhim

  • BHIM is Aadhaar-based payments app developed by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • The app is rebranded version of UPI (Unified Payment Interface) and USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) for simpler digital payments without cash.

Features of BHIM 2.0

  • Donation gateway
  • Increased transaction limits for high value transactions
  • Linking multiple bank accounts
  • Offers from merchants
  • Option of applying in IPO
  • Gifting money
  • Supports three additional languages (Konkani, Bhojpuri and Haryanvi) over and above the existing 13.

About MeitY StartUp Hub (MSH)

  • MeitY StartUp Hub (MSH) has been envisioned as an overarching collaborative platform to act as a national coordination centre for all activities in the tech startup ecosystem.
  • MSH will support startups to reach out to mentors and facilitate startups to scale from ideation to marketplace.

About Indian software products registry

  • The Indian software products registry will act as a single window portal to collate Indian software product database.

About the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

About the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

  • NPCI is an umbrella organization for all retail payments system in India.
  • Founded in 2008, NPCI is a not-for-profit organisation registered under the Companies Act 2013.
  • It aims to allow all Indian citizens to have unrestricted access to e-payment services.
  • It was set up with the support of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).
  • NPCI’s ten core promoter banks: State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Citibank N. A. and HSBC.

Projects of NPCI

  • National Financial Switch (NFS) and Cheque Truncation System (CTS) are the flagship products of NPCI.
  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM).
  • Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) (in pilot mode).
  • RuPay Credit Card
  • National Common Mobility Card – Tap & Go
  • Electronic Toll Collection

What is Unified Payments Interface (UPI)?

Unified Payments Interface

  • UPI is a system developed by the NPCI and the RBI to aid instant transfer of money using a cashless system.
  • It was launched by NPCI in April 2016 to allows easy, quick and hassle free money transfer between any two parties.
  • Using UPI services, one just requires a smartphone and a banking app to send and receive money instantly or to pay a merchant for retail purchase.
  • In the long run, UPI is likely to replace the current NEFT, RTGS, and IMPS systems as they exist today.
  • The UPI app merges a number of banking features, facilitating seamless and secure fund transfer and merchant payments at single platform. It also allows Peer to Peer collection request.
  • UPI, built on IMPS, allows a payment directly and immediately from bank account. There is no need to pre-load money in wallets. It allows payments to different merchants without the hassle of typing one’s card details or net-banking password.

The UPI ecosystem functions with three key players:

  • Payment service providers (PSPs) to provide the interface to the payer and the payee. Unlike wallets, the payer and the payee can use two different PSPs.
  • Banks to provide the underlying accounts. In some cases, the bank and the PSP may be the same.
  • NPCI to act as the central switch by ensuring VPA resolution, effecting credit and debit transactions through IMPS.
[Ref: Livemint]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Hydropower projects violating norms may be shut

Hydropower projects that do not comply with the Centre’s ecological flow notification, which mandates that project developers ensure a minimum supply of water all through the year, could face closure.

Hydropower-projects-violating-norms-may-be-shut

Ecological flow notification

  • In October 2018, Ministry of Jal Shakti published the ecological flow notification. The e-flow notification specifies that the upper stretches of the Ganga (from its origins in the glaciers and until Haridwar) would have to maintain:
  • 20% of the monthly average flow of the preceding 10-days between November and March (dry season)
  • 25% of the average during the lean season of October, April and May; and
  • 30% of monthly average during the monsoon months of June-September.
  • Earlier, this notification gave companies deadline of October 2021 to ensure that a minimum amount of water flowed during all seasons. However, recently, government advanced this deadline, to December 2019.
  • Power producers generally hoard water to create reserves to increase power production.

About Draft National River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Bill 2018

About Draft National River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Bill 2018

  • The National River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Bill 2018 provides for the constitution of Ganga Protection Corps as an armed forces of the union. The Ganga Protection Corps is proposed to be empowered to arrest for offence under the prposed Act.
  • It envisages constitution of National Ganga Council and a National Ganga Rejuvenation Authority to enforce the law.
  • The draft Act confer powers to the National Ganga Council to carry out impact assessment of certain projects which affect the flow of water in river Ganga, such as building barrages, deforestation on hill slopes, hydroelectric projects etc.
  • It bans the commercial fishing, polluting the river and construction of jetties, ports or permanent hydraulic structures in the Ganga, unless permitted by the National Ganga Council.
  • It proposes to create a management structure that will supervise the health of the 2,500-kilometre long Ganga which, the draft Bill defines, as ‘India’s national river.’
  • The Bill lays down a host of restrictions to ensure the “uninterrupted, ecological flow” of the river. Currently, a host of dams in the upper stretches of the river lead to the river’s flow being obstructed.
  • The proposed legislation specifies that “unauthorized” activities that cause obstruction or discontinuity of water in the River Ganga due to engineered diversion of water or stoppage of water.
  • The Armed Ganga Protection Corps (GPC) personnel will be provided by the ministry of home affairs and will be deployed by the National Ganga Rejuvenation Authority. The GPC personnel will have power to arrest those who pollute the river covering offences like obstructing the flow of the river to commercial fishing.
  • It specifies that the upper stretches of the Ganga — from its origins in the glaciers and until Haridwar — would have to maintain: 20% of the monthly average flow of the preceding 10-days between November and March, which is the dry season; 25% of the average during the ‘lean season’ of October, April and May; and 30% of monthly average during the monsoon months of June-September.

The Bill has listed out a list of offences marked as cognizable which includes:

  • Construction activities causing obstruction in the river.
  • Withdrawal of ground water for industrial or commercial consumption from the land fronting the river and its tributaries.
  • Commercial fishing or aqua culture in the river and its tributaries.
  • Discharging untreated or treated sewage into the river.

About Ganga river:

  • The Ganga River is among the largest rivers in Asia, flowing from Goumukh in Uttarakhand to the Bay of Bengal at Ganga Sagar in West Bengal.

About Ganga river

  • It covers 26% of India’s landmass.
  • It is a trans-boundary river forming the world’s largest delta, Sunderbans.

Degradation

  • The increasing demand for developmentin ganga basin has resulted in water scarcity and water quality degradation. Nearly all of the sewage, rarely treated, from these settlements enters the basin’s waterways.
  • In addition to these domestic and industrial pollutants, hundreds of human corpses and animal carcassesare released in to the river each day as spiritual rites.
  • The aquatic wildlife of the Ganga basin is in peril due to reduction in water level, pollution and over exploitation of riverine resources, leading to habitat degradation.
  • Additionally, aquatic species like waterbirds and island nesting birdsare greatly impacted due to the change in the system.

Government’s efforts

  • Initiatives to clean the Ganga began with the Ganga Action Plan I in 1986. However, the river remained dirty. So in 2015, government launched the Namami Gange Project. Namami Gange is being implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
  • The National Ganga Council (NGC) was created in 2016 by replacing National Ganga River Basin Authority. The Prime Minister is the head of NGC. NGC has chief ministers of five Ganga basin states: Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
  • The Centre had also said it would establish a 4-battalion Ganga EcoTask Force to spread awareness about pollution and protecting the river. The government also tasked seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to prepare a report on the best strategies to clean up the river.
[Ref: The Hindu, Economic Times]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

US India Strategic Partnership Forum calls on PM

The members of US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) called on Indian Prime Minister at New Delhi.

US India Strategic Partnership Forum calls on PM

US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF)

  • The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) is a non-profit organization, with the primary objective of strengthening the India-US bilateral and strategic partnership through policy advocacy in the fields of economic growth, entrepreneurship, employment-creation, and innovation.
  • It was established in 2017.
[Ref: India Today]

 

Avoid oil imports from Malaysia: trade body

In line with the Union Government’s strong objections to Malaysia’s unprovoked remarks and criticism on India’s move to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, India’s apex oil trade body advised all its members to avoid imports from the Malaysia amid prevailing tensions between the two countries.

Avoid-oil-imports-from-Malaysia

What is the issue?

  • The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEAI) issued a short advisory asking its members to avoid importing palm oil from Malaysia till clarity emerges.
  • The tension between India and Malaysia arose Malaysian Prime Minister said that Jammu and Kashmir has been invaded and occupied after the abrogation of Article 370.

Palm oil imports

  • India’s total annual palm oil import is 9 million tonne out of which around 3-3.5 million tonne is imported from Malaysia and rest from Indonesia, another major palm oil producing country.
  • Palm oil accounts for almost two-thirds of the country’s total edible oil imports.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Defence & Security Issues

What is US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative

The ninth India-US Defence Technologies and Trade Initiative (DTTI) group meeting is scheduled to happen in New Delhi soon.

US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative

Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)

  • It is a flexible mechanism to ensure that senior leaders from India and US are engaged consistently to strengthen the defence collaborations.
  • The aim of DTTI is to expedite the scope of cooperation on defence technology between India and US that become narrow due to the presence of differing legal requirements.
  • The DTTI was initiated by US in 2012.
  • DTTI initiative is led by Undersecretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment from US and Secretary for Defence Protection from India.
  • Essentially, DTII is an initiative to provide increased US senior level oversight and engagement to get beyond these obstacles.

Background

  • In August 2018, the US granted to India the designation of Strategic Trade Authority Tier 1 (STA-1). It allowed US companies to export a greater range of dual-use and high-technology items to India. This authorisation is the equivalent of NATO allying with Japan, South Korea and Australia.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Government approves procurement of indigenously developed military hardware

The Defence Ministry accorded approval for procurement of indigenously designed and developed military equipment including anti-tank guided missiles worth over Rs 3300 crores for the armed forces.

Government-approves-procurement-of-indigenously-developed-military-hardware

  • The decision was taken at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

About Defence Acquisition Council (DAC):

To counter corruption and speed up decision- making in military procurement, the government of India in 2001 decided to set up an integrated DAC.

  • It is headed by the Defence Minister.
  • The DAC is responsible to give policy guidelines to acquisitions, based on long-term procurement plans.
  • It also clears all acquisitions, which includes both imported and those produced indigenously or under a foreign license.

Objective of DAC:

  • The objective of the Defence Acquisition Council is to ensure expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces in terms of capabilities sought, and time frame prescribed, by optimally utilizing the allocated budgetary resources.

Functions of the DAC include:

  • In-principle approval of 15 Year Long-Term Integrated Perspective Plan for Defence Forces;
  • accord of Acceptance of Necessity to acquisition proposals;
  • categorization of the acquisition proposals relating to ‘Buy’, ‘Buy & Make’ and ‘Make’;
  • issues relating to Single vendor clearance;
  • decision regarding ‘offset’ provisions in respect of acquisition proposals above Rs. 300 crores;
  • decisions regarding Transfer of Technology under ‘Buy & Make’ category of acquisition proposals; and
  • Field Trial evaluation.
[Ref: PIB, Economic Times]

 

Indian History

Taanaji Malusare and the role he played in the Battle of Singhagad

Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn shared the first look of his upcoming period drama film, Tanhaji: The unsung warrior, based on Subedar Taanaji Malusare.

Taanaji Malusare

Who is Subedar Taanaji Malusare?

Subedar-Taanaji-Malusare

  • He was a Maratha military leader who fought alongside Maratha leader Shivaji Maharaj in various battles.
  • Hailing from the Malusare clan, Taanaji is popularly remembered for the Battle of Singhagad.

About Battle of Singhagad (1670)

  • The Battle of Sinhagad took place during in 1670 on the fort of Sinhagad near Pune, Maharashtra.
  • The battle was fought between Tanaji Malusare, a Koli commander of Maratha ruler Shivaji Maharaj and Rajput ruler Jai Singh.

Outcomes of the battle:

  • Even though the attack by Taanaji took the Mughals by surprise, the latter nonetheless outnumbered the Marathas.
  • The two clashed for long. Malusare was gravely wounded in the fight and died.
  • Enraged by the death of their general, the Marathas fought under the leadership of his brother, Suryaji Malusare, and eventually vanquished the enemy.
  • The fort was renamed as Singhagad (lion’s fort) by Shivaji to honour Tanaji.

Background

  • In 1665, the Treaty of Purandar was signed between Rajput ruler Jai Singh I and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
  • Amongst several demands, the treaty had required the Shivaji to give up Fort Kandhana to the Mughals. Fort Kandhana, located near Pune, was one of the most heavily fortified and of high strategic importance.
  • After it was taken over by the Mughals, the fort was guarded by Rajput, Pathan and Arab troop guards and was said to be impenetrable.
  • In 1670, Shivaji Maharaj, along with Taanaji, attacked the fort to recapture it. In this battel, although Marathas conquer the fort, Taanaji died. The fort was renamed as Singhagad (lion’s fort) by Shivaji to honour Tanaji.
[Ref: Indian Express, Times of India]

 

Science & Technology

TechSagar, national repository of India’s cyber tech capabilities launched

As India aspires to become a trillion-dollar digital economy, the TechSagar repository will facilitate new opportunities for businesses.

TechSagar,

About TechSagar

TechSagar

  • TechSagar is an online portal which will include database of business and research entities from the IT industry, startups, academia, and individual researchers.
  • It would provide insights and targeted search about India’s cyber capabilities in 25 key areas including internet of things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cyber security, among others.
  • It was launched by the National Cyber Security Coordinator’s office in partnership with Data Security Council (DSCI) of India.

Significance:

  • The repository will facilitate new opportunities for businesses and academia to collaborate, connect and innovate in future.
  • TechSagar will allow targeted search, granular navigation and drill down methods using more than 3000 niche capabilities. As of now, the repository features 4000+ entities from industry, academia and research including large enterprises and start-ups providing a country level view of India’s cyber competencies.

About Data Security Council of India

  • It is a not-for-profit industry body on data protection setup by National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).
  • It aims to make the cyberspace safe, secure and trusted by establishing best practices in cyber security and privacy.
  • To further its objectives, DSCI engages with governments and their agencies, regulators, industry sectors, industry associations and think tanks for policy advocacy, thought leadership, capacity building and outreach activities.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

India Plans to Regulate Social Media as It Can Cause Disruption

India plans to introduce rules to regulate social media because it can cause unimaginable disruption to democracy, government said in a legal document filed in the nation’s Supreme Court.

India Plans to Regulate Social Media as It Can Cause Disruption

Background

India’s Supreme Court is hearing a case filed by Facebook that may decide whether WhatsApp, other messaging services providers, and social media companies can be forced to trace and reveal the identity of the originator of a message.

Need

  • Under existing laws, social media channels are already required to take down content if they are directed to do so by a court or law enforcement. However, these have been reported to be arbitrarily taken down in the past. Hence, there is need for minimum legal standards that need to be fulfilled to compel such take-downs on social media.
  • In India, social media platforms already come under the purview of the Information Technology (IT) Act, the ‘intermediaries guidelines’ that were notified under the IT Act in 2011 and the Indian Penal Code.
  • It has been reported earlier that social media companies such as Facebook, due to its lack of understanding of the Indian context as well as diversity, often fails in removing hate speech from the platform in India. Facebook’s community guidelines are unavailable in several Indian languages too.
  • It is a responsibility of social media companies to tract the targeted harassment and online bullying messages to defame someone. However, currently, the person who has sent (forwarded) the message is held guilty.
  • If unregulated, social media channels has power to influence country’s socio-political debates and its outcomes.
  • Fake news on social media has led to lynchings and communal flare-ups in many parts of the country.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Assam: Starting 2021, no govt jobs for those with more than two kids

The Assam Cabinet decided that no government jobs will be given to persons having more than two children after January 1, 2021.

Assam Starting 2021

  • Assam Cabinet also adopted a New Land Policy, which will give three bighas of agricultural land to landless indegenous people and half a bigha for constructing a house.

Background

  • In September 2017, the Assam Assembly had passed the ‘Population and Women Empowerment Policy of Assam‘ that specified that job candidates with two children only would be eligible for government employment.
[Ref: India Today, Economic Times]

 

Siachen open for tourists: Defence Minister

Siachen glacier is now open for tourism from Siachen Base Camp to Kumar Post.

Siachen-Glacier-1

About Siachen Glacier

Siachen Glacier

About Siachen Glacier:

  • The Siachen Glacier is known as the highest battlefield of the world.
  • Siachen Glacier lies in Northern Ladakh in the Karakorams, a mountain range originating from the Pamirs. Its position is located near Indo-Pak Line of Control.
  • The total area of Siachen Glacier is approximately 78 km. Siachen is the 5th largest glacier of the Karakoram Range and second largest glacier in the world.
  • Siachen is the source of the Nubra River that eventually feeds the Indus river.
  • The average elevation of Siachen Glacier from sea level is approximately 17770 feet. Most of the Siachen Glacier as is the LoC, a disputed territory between India and Pakistan.
  • The area of “Aksai Chin” is also located in this area. It is very important for India to deploy its troops in this area to monitor the activities of the Pakistan and China in this area. Prior to 1984 neither India nor Pakistan had any permanent presence in the area.

Siachen Glacier Dispute

Siachen Glacier Dispute

  • In the Shimla Agreement of 1972, the Siachen area was termed as barren and useless. But this agreement did not determine the boundary between India and Pakistan.
  • While most positions were delineated as per the 1972 Shimla agreement, the boundary line was specified to only a point called NJ 9842, till the area from where Siachen starts.
  • The agreement did not specifies which nation would have control over which area.
  • In 1984, Indian Army discovered that Pakistan was issuing permission to foreign expeditions to trek in Siachen. But before the consignment of Pakistan suit taken place; India already deployed its troops on “Bilafond La Pass”.
  • Thus, the Indian army launched Operation Meghdoot to capture the glacier.
  • In 1987, Pakistan achieved success in creating a post called “Quaid Post” at an altitude of 21 thousand feet, because the Indian army had finished all its ammunition.
  • Since India’s army had reached this place first that is why Indian army is sitting at higher altitude and Pakistan army is sitting at lower altitude; hence Indian army is in commanding position in this region.
  • In 2003, there was an armistice treaty signed between India and Pakistan. Since then firing and bombardment has ceased in this area but the army of both nations is stationed here.

Where do both countries disagree?

Where do both countries disagree

  • India’s stance is that the LoC runs from point NJ 9842 along the watersheds formed by the Saltoro Mountain ridge that puts the entire Siachen glacier within Indian territory.
  • Pakistan claims that the line joins point NJ 9842 with the Karakoram Pass that lies towards the northeast, putting Siachen within its territory.
  • The ground position now is that the Indian Army controls the entire Saltoro ridge.

Background

  • After the Indo-Pakistan war in 1971, an agreement was signed between the two countries in 1972, which came to be known as the Shimla Agreement, but it failed to clearly mention who controlled the glacier.
  • In the 1970s and early 1980s, Pakistan sent expeditions to reinforce claim on the area. In 1984, when the Pakistan army attempted to move into the region, India launched a successful military operation and has since maintained control over all of Siachen Glacier and its tributaries.
  • Between 1984 and 1999, frequent skirmishes took place between India and Pakistan. A cease-fire was announced in 2003.
  • Both India and Pakistan maintain permanent military presence in the region and continue to deploy thousands of troops in Siachen.

Way Forward:

A number of suggestions have been made on how the problem can be resolved, including

  • Declaring the area a peace park
  • Joint patrolling of the region
  • International peacekeeping force being deployed in the region

 [Ref: India Today, Times of India]

 

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