Polity & Governance
- Private Member’s bill to prevent the addiction of Tech Gadgets
- Alathur, Kerala to become first organic block panchayat
- Devadasi system: Home Ministry asks States to take strong action
- China adopts tough anti-terror law
Polity & Governance
Private Member’s bill to prevent the addiction of Tech Gadgets
The Private Member’s Bill that was introduced in Rajya Sabha has proposed a law to prevent children and teenagers from being addicted to technological gadgets.
- The bill argues that children and teenagers are isolating themselves socially and that the rising addiction is destroying the country’s cultural ethos.
Key Features of the Bill:
- The Bill calls for setting up of digital detoxification centres to ensure that the “patients suffering from gadgets or Internet overdose are treated in an effective manner so that they can live a more peaceful and happy life.”
- The Bill also mandates the creation of National Research Centre for Prevention of Technological Gadget Addiction in the country.
- The Bill is made an instrument to recognise addiction to gadgets as a mental illness and a form of substance abuse, while insisting that the government take steps to create appropriate awareness about the addiction through television, radio and print.
Steps taken worldwide:
- Countries such as China, South Korea and Japan have identified the addiction to technological gadgets as a serious problem.
- China became the first country in the world to declare Internet addiction a clinical disorder in the year 2008.
- Later, in the year 2013, South Korea’s government stated that one in every five students was addicted to smartphone usage.
- The Government of South Korea has passed a Shutdown Law also known as Cinderella Law whereby children under the age of 16 are not allowed to access gaming websites from midnight till 6 a.m.
- A study published by the Japanese government too said that in the 2013, 8.1 per cent of about 100,000 junior-high and high-school students polled were likely to be “pathologically” addicted to the Internet.
Effects of excessive use of technological gadgets:
- The gadgets, such as mobile phones, laptops, gaming devices and tablets, are turning children into couch potatoes; hampering their physical, mental and psychological growth as well as making them isolated from the society.
- The excessive use of technological gadgets is extremely detrimental to the health of population especially young and growing children.
- Due to this “disorder,” people stay glued into their technological gadgets at all times of the day.
- A survey by IT security solutions firm, Kaspersky Lab, revealed that 73 per cent of the respondents in India were found to be ‘digital addicts’.
- While driving or crossing the road or even while performing daily life tasks such as eating or using the washroom, people just cannot move away from their technological gadgets.
- This problem is slowly but steadily penetrating into Indian households and has the capability of destroying the ethos of cultural traditions of the country.
What is Private Member’s Bill?
- While most Bills are proposed by the government, those presented by individual MPs are described as private member’s bills.
- Generally, most private bills do not get passed. They act as an instrument to draw attention to a particular issue.
[Courtesy: Hindu, wiki]
Alathur, Kerala to become first organic block panchayat
Alathur will soon become the first block panchayat in Kerala to achieve self-sufficiency in production and consumption of organically grown vegetables.
- The block panchayat has begun a novel initiative in this regard with the cooperation of eight grama panchayats under it.
- By the end of the next economic year, the block will produce all fruits and vegetables for its residents based on the requirement.
- A farmers’ market without the involvement of middlemen will be set up at Vadakkanchery.
- After achieving self-sufficiency, retail outlets will be started in other parts of the State to sell the excess quantity of fruits and vegetables.
Implementation of the Project:
- The project is being implemented with the help of Hill Area Development Authority, Integrated Watershed Development Programme and Swachh Bharat Mission.
- The Agriculture Department will coordinate the farming activities with the help of local bodies.
- Efforts are already on to ensure the active involvement of the masses in the project.
- Loans with subsidies will be made available to interested farmers, besides supply of seeds and organic fertilizers.
Devadasi system: Home Ministry asks States to take strong action
The Home Ministry has asked all States to take strong action against those involved in the heinous practice called Devadasi system which is against dignity of women.
- The Ministry said it has come to notice through various PILs and media news that the Devadasi system still existed in certain parts of the country, especially in “Beriya” and “Nat” communities in the name of religious practices.
- In a letter to all States and Union territories, the Home Ministry has said the Devadasi system is inhuman and one of the most heinous practices against women degrading them to the lowest level.
What is Devadasi system?
- Devadasi system is a religious practice in parts of southern India, including Andhra Pradesh, whereby parents marry a daughter to a deity or a temple.
- The practice of Devadasi system in any form is in total contravention of the provisions of Section 370 and 370A as amended through Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 as well as Section 372 of Indian Penal Code.
- It is also against Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, the letter said. These provisions have been strengthened with enhanced punishment.
- While various state governments have enacted laws to stop such practices, the tradition remains entrenched in some parts of the country, especially some southern states.
[Courtesy: Hindu, wiki]
China adopts tough anti-terror law
China has adopted its first counter-terrorism law that grants overarching powers to security agencies amid criticism from the U.S. over privacy and freedom of speech.
- National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee unanimously adopted the draft law earlier approved by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).
- The anti-terrorism law is also applicable to other provinces including Tibet which in the past witnessed over 120 self-immolations against tightening of security controls.
Powers under the new law:
- The new law grants overarching powers to security agencies, allows the military to venture overseas on counter-terror operations and requires technology firms to give sensitive data like encryption keys to the government.
- The new law makes it legal for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to participate in counter terror missions overseas.
- The PLA and the country’s armed police forces may carry out such operations with the approval from the Central Military Commission, the new law says.
- Public security and national security authorities may also send personnel overseas for counter-terrorism missions, with the approval from the government and agreements from concerned countries, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
- The law also restricts the right of media to report on details of terror attacks, including a provision that media and social media cannot report on details of terror activities that might lead to imitation, nor show scenes that are “cruel and inhuman”.
- Earlier, China has appointed a top cop as its first new anti-terrorism czar to enhance coordination among all the security agencies especially in the volatile Xinjiang province where the security forces are battling militants of the al-Qaeda—backed East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
- Several ETIM militants from Xinjiang crossed over to Syria to fight along with IS and some of them returned home to carry out attacks in the country.
- Xinjiang is on the boil due to unrest among its majority Uyghur Muslim population over the increasing settlements of members of Han community from other provinces of China.
- The draft law has attracted Western concern as it could require technology firms to hand over sensitive information such as encryption keys to the government.
Unites States’ concerns:
- S. expressed “serious concerns” saying that such a law which would do more harm than good against the threat of terrorism.
- It would constrict U.S. trade and investment in China
- S. strongly believe that broad, vaguely phrased provisions in this draft law, along with the National Security Law passed this year and the draft Foreign NGO Management law also under consideration, would do more harm than good in addressing the threat of terrorism.
- According to U.S., the draft Counter-terrorism Law would lead to greater restrictions on the exercise of freedoms of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and religion within China.