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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 13 November 2021

 

 

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically. 

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Permanent Commission for Women Officers.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. New RBI initiatives.

2. Centre allows seven states to borrow more.

3. Cybercrime went up by 500% during pandemic.

4. Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.

5. Plea on Hate Speech in Supreme Court.

 

Relevant Facts for Prelims:

1. Delhi Declaration on Afghanistan.

2. Next COP venues.

3. Kashi corridor project.


 

Permanent Commission for Women Officers

GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered: Issued related to women.

 

Permanent Commission for Women Officers

Context:

After the Supreme Court cautioned the Indian Army of contempt, the Centre has assured the court that it will roll out Permanent Commission (PC) option to all eligible women Army officers.

 

What’s the issue?

The Supreme Court in February 2020 directed the government to ensure that women officers in the Army be granted permanent commission (PC) as well as command postings in all services other than combat.

Lt. Col. Nitisha vs. Union of India Case: On 25th March  2021, the Supreme Court held that the Army’s selective evaluation process discriminated against and disproportionately affected women officers seeking permanent commission.

 

What is a Permanent Commission?

A Permanent Commission means a career in the army till retirement, while Short Service Commission is for 10 years, with the option of either leaving or opting for Permanent Commission at the end of 10 years. If an officer doesn’t get Permanent Commission then, the officer can choose a four-year extension.

 

Women in Army: Background of the case:

The induction of women officers in the Army started in 1992.

They were commissioned for a period of five years in certain chosen streams such as Army Education Corps, Corps of Signals, Intelligence Corps, and Corps of Engineers. Recruits under the Women Special Entry Scheme (WSES) had a shorter pre-commission training period than their male counterparts who were commissioned under the Short Service Commission (SSC) scheme.

  • In 2006, the WSES scheme was replaced with the SSC scheme, which was extended to women officers. They were commissioned for a period of 10 years, extendable up to 14 years.
  • Serving WSES officers were given the option to move to the new SSC scheme, or to continue under the erstwhile WSES. They were to be however, restricted to roles in streams specified earlier — which excluded combat arms such as infantry and armoured corps.

 

What was the main issue now?

While male SSC officers could opt for permanent commission at the end of 10 years of service, this option was not available to women officers. They were, thus, kept out of any command appointment, and could not qualify for government pension, which starts only after 20 years of service as an officer.

 

Why was the government against granting a permanent Commission?

  1. Motherhood, childcare, psychological limitations have a bearing on the employment of women officers in the Army.
  2. Family separation, career prospects of spouses, education of children, prolonged absence due to pregnancy, motherhood were a greater challenge for women to meet the exigencies of service.
  3. Physical limitations: Soldiers will be asked to work in difficult terrains, isolated posts and adverse climate conditions. Officers have to lead from the front. They should be in prime physical condition to undertake combat tasks. The Govt. said women were not fit to serve in ground combat roles.
  4. Behavioural and Psychological Challenges: Army units were a “unique all-male environment”. The presence of women officers would require “moderated behaviour”. The male troop predominantly comes from a rural background and may not be in a position to accept commands from a female leader.

 

Insta Curious:

Know about schemes related to women empowerment in India. Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is SSC?
  2. What is permanent Commission?
  3. Article 14 vs 16.
  4. Overview of SC judgment.
  5. What is WSES?

Mains Link:

The Supreme Court’s ruling granting permanent commission to women on a par with men has been hailed as a “great leap” towards equality in the army. Comment.

Sources: the Hindu.

New RBI initiatives:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Indian economy and issues related to planning.

 

Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched two customer-centric initiatives of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI):

  1. The RBI Retail Direct Scheme.
  2. The Reserve Bank-Integrated Ombudsman Scheme.

The two schemes will expand the scope of investment in the country and make access to capital markets easier and more secure for investors.

 

What is the RBI Retail Direct Scheme?

The Scheme is aimed at enhancing access to the government securities market for retail investors.

  • It offers them a new avenue for directly investing in the securities issued by the Centre and the state governments.
  • Investors will be able to easily open and maintain their government securities account online with the RBI, free of cost.
  • The scheme offers a portal avenue to invest in central government securities, treasury bills, state development loans and Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs).
  • The scheme places India in a list of select few countries offering such a facility.

 

What is the Reserve Bank-Integrated Ombudsman Scheme?

  • It is aimed at further improving the grievance redress mechanism for resolving customer complaints against entities regulated by the central bank.
  • The central theme of the scheme is based on ‘One Nation-One Ombudsman’ with one portal, one email and one address for the customers to lodge their complaints.
  • The RBI has decided to integrate the three ombudsman schemes into one and also simplified the scheme by covering all complaints involving deficiency in service by centralising the receipt and initial processing of complaints to enhance process efficiency.
  • RB-IOS will do away with the jurisdictional limitations as well as limited grounds for complaints. RBI will provide a single reference point for the customers to submit documents, track status of complaints filed and provide feedback.

 

Please note that:

The central bank’s alternate grievance redress mechanism currently comprises three ombudsman schemes— the Banking Ombudsman Scheme (BOS), launched in 1995, the Ombudsman Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies (OS-NBFC), 2018 and the Ombudsman Scheme for Digital Transactions (OSDT), 2019.

 

Importance of the schemes:

  • The move comes at a time when rising inflation adds pressure on the RBI to lift rates.
  • Tighter monetary policy is likely to weaken the demand for bonds, making it challenging for the government to execute its near-record borrowing program.
  • Other emerging-market nations in Asia, like the Philippines, have also sought to raise funds from citizens to battle the pandemic.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know what Fine Paper is? Read Here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What a G-Secs?
  2. Short and long term securities.
  3. Powers of the Centre and states to issue these instruments.
  4. Role of RBI.
  5. Factors which affect the prices of these securities.

Mains Link:

What are G-Secs? Why are they significant? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

Centre allows seven states to borrow more

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Inclusive growth and issues relating it.

 

Centre allows seven states to borrow more

Context:

The Finance Ministry has permitted seven States to borrow an additional ₹16,691 crore, linked to their having met specified capital expenditure targets in the June to September quarter.

 

Background:

  • States were required to achieve at least 45% of their capex targets for the year by the second quarter to be eligible for a nod to raise incremental borrowings from the market.
  • Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Punjab, Rajasthan and Telangana had met the targets for the first half of the year.

 

Why do states need the centre’s permission while borrowing? Is it mandatory for all states?

Article 293(3) of the Constitution requires states to obtain the Centre’s consent in order to borrow in case the state is indebted to the Centre over a previous loan.

  • This consent can also be granted subject to certain conditions by virtue of Article 293(4).
  • In practice, the Centre has been exercising this power in accordance with the recommendations of the Finance Commission.

Every single state is currently indebted to the Centre and thus, all of them require the Centre’s consent in order to borrow.

 

Does the Centre have unfettered power to impose conditions under this provision?

Neither does the provision itself offer any guidance on this, nor is there any judicial precedent that one could rely on.

  • Interestingly, even though this question formed part of the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission, it was not addressed in its interim report.

 

So, when can the centre impose conditions?

The Centre can impose conditions only when it gives consent for state borrowing, and it can only give such consent when the state is indebted to the Centre.

 

Why are such restrictions necessary?

  • One possible purpose behind conferring this power upon the Centre was to protect its interests in the capacity of a creditor.
  • A broader purpose of ensuring macroeconomic stability is also discernible, since state indebtedness negatively affects the fiscal health of the nation as a whole.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Article 293 is related to?
  2. Do states need Centre’s permission to Borrow from markets?
  3. Finance Commission- composition.
  4. Functions of the Finance Commission.

Mains Link:

Why do states need the centre’s permission while borrowing? Is it mandatory for all states? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

Cybercrime went up by 500% during pandemic:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Cybersecurity related issues.

 

Context:

The 14th edition of c0c0n, the annual cyber security and hacking conference is being organised by the Kerala Police.

  • At the event, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat has stressed the need for a national framework to thwart cyber attacks that have been on the rise in the country.

 

Need for cybersecurity:

With data gradually transcending into the open domain with numerous firms permitting employees to work from their homes amid the pandemic, sensitive information has become susceptible to security vulnerabilities. The rise of digital payments has also increased complex cyber crimes.

  • Also, Cyber crimes have gone up by almost 500% in India during the global pandemic.
  • The Information Technology Act, 2000, that dealt with cybersecurity and cyber crimes is not equipped to consider new-age changes in the mode of functioning of businesses and modus operandi of crimes in cyberspace.

 

Need of the hour:

  • While a National Cybersecurity Strategy is in the offing, the country is also in dire need of a data protection law, with cybercriminals increasingly weaponising data as a tool against national security in the post-pandemic era.
  • We need to consider the emerging threats from new technologies such as drones, ransomware, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and also the role of nation states in such cyber attacks.

 

Steps taken by the Government to spread awareness about cyber crimes:

  1. Online cybercrime reporting portal has been launched to enable complainants to report complaints pertaining to Child Pornography/Child Sexual Abuse Material, rape/gang rape imageries or sexually explicit content.
  2. A scheme for establishment of Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) has been established to handle issues related to cybercrime in the country in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.
  3. Establishment of National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) for protection of critical information infrastructure in the country.
  4. All organizations providing digital services have been mandated to report cyber security incidents to CERT-In expeditiously.
  5. Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre) has been launched for providing detection of malicious programmes and free tools to remove such programmes.
  6. Formulation of Crisis Management Plan for countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism.

 

What needs to be done ahead?

  • Regularly issue alerts/advisories,l.
  • Capacity building/training of law enforcement personnel/ prosecutors/ judicial officers.
  • Improving cyber forensics facilities etc.
  • Speed up investigation.

Finally, ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are State subjects as per the Constitution of India. States/UTs are primarily responsible for prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of crimes through their law enforcement machinery.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C).
  2. National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC).
  3. CERT- In.
  4. Cyber Swachhta Kendra.

Sources: the Hindu.

Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Cybersecurity related issues.

 

Context:

A Parliamentary panel deliberating on the Personal Data Protection Bill has made the following recommendations:

  • Limit the exemptions available to the government under the current version by placing reasonable restrictions on how the exemption can be availed.
  • The government be exempted only under a “just, fair, reasonable and proportionate procedure”.
  • The government keep non-personal data “including anonymous data” outside the purview of the personal data protection bill.

 

Background:

The draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) in 2019 which was tasked to come up with a report on its recommendations on the various provisions in the bill.

 

What’s the issue?

Currently, the contentious clause 35 of the draft data protection bill allows the government and its agencies to gain blanket exemptions from complying with any and all provisions of the bill, with no checks and balances in place.

  • Agencies like the Aadhaar authority UIDAI and the Income Tax Department have already sought to be exempted from the bill.

 

The Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill 2019:

The genesis of this Bill lies in the report prepared by a Committee of Experts headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna.

The committee was constituted by the government in the course of hearings before the Supreme Court in the right to privacy case (Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India).

 

How does the bill seek to regulate data?

The bill constitutes 3 personal information types:

  1. Critical
  2. Sensitive
  3. General

 

Other Key provisions:

Data principal: As per the bill, it is the individual whose data is being stored and processed.

Social media companies, which are deemed significant data fiduciaries based on factors such as volume and sensitivity of data as well as their turnover, should develop their own user verification mechanism.

An independent regulator Data Protection Agency (DPA) will oversee assessments and audits and definition making.

Each company will have a Data Protection Officer (DPO) who will liaison with the DPA for auditing, grievance redressal, recording maintenance and more.

The bill also grants individuals the right to data portability, and the ability to access and transfer one’s own data.

The right to be forgotten: This right allows an individual to remove consent for data collection and disclosure.

 

Exemptions:

The Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill 2019 has a contentious section 35, which invokes “sovereignty and integrity of India,” “public order”, “friendly relations with foreign states” and “security of the state” to give powers to the Central government to suspend all or any of the provisions of this Act for government agencies.

 

Why there are Concerns over the bill?

The bill is like a two-sided sword. While it protects the personal data of Indians by empowering them with data principal rights, on the other hand, it gives the central government with exemptions which are against the principles of processing personal data.

  • The government can process even sensitive personal data when needed, without explicit permission from the data principals.

Sources: the Hindu.

Plea on Hate Speech in Supreme Court:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

 

Context:

Two petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court on hate speeches in the recent past.

  1. One petition asked the court to issue directions for action in such cases.
  2. The second plea sought special provisions, insisting that the IPC wasn’t enough to deal with hate speech and rumour mongering.

Both petitions relied on a 2020 Supreme Court decision in Amish Devgun case where hate speech was linked to the violation of unity and fraternity and breach of human dignity, which constitutes an essential facet of the right to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.

 

What’s the issue?

The petitioners were concerned over concerted events in the recent past that targeted political, social and economic exclusion of Muslims through a series of rallies and hate speeches.

 

 

What is Hate Speech?

Hate speech is an incitement to hatred against a particular group of persons marginalized by their religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, and so on.

  • The Law Commission, in its 267th report on hate speech, said such utterances have the potential to provoke individuals and society to commit acts of terrorism, genocide, and ethnic cleansing.

 

Why Hate Speech must be curbed?

  1. Internal Security: The Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 was triggered by a fake video that incited communal passions.
  2. Igniting extremist sentiments.
  3. Mob lynching.
  4. Misinformation and disinformation: Delhi Riots.

 

Measures:

  1. The world’s biggest social media companies, including Facebook, Google, Twitter and ByteDance, are exploring an industry-wide alliance to curb fake news on their platforms in India.
  2. The Election Commission of India must tie up with tech companies to identify the creator of such news.
  3. Educating the end-users.
  4. The government should bring out a policy framework on the possible harm due to the internet messaging platforms to engage at a deeper level.
  5. Imposing hefty fines, like in Germany the Social media companies face fines of up to €50m if they persistently fail to remove illegal content from their sites.

 

Need of the hour:

  • Hate speech is a discursive process of pushing marginalised groups outside of social, economic and political spheres of society by disseminating hate propaganda and encouraging discrimination. At its most harmful, it is widely recognized as a precursor to ethnic cleansing.
  • Public authorities must be held accountable for dereliction of the duty of care and also for non-compliance with this court’s orders by not taking action to prevent vigilante groups from inciting communal disharmony and spreading hate against citizens of the country and taking the laws into their own hands.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Information Technology Act.
  2. Section 66A of the Act.
  3. About the Law Commission of India.
  4. Regulation of Hate speech under IT Act.

Mains Link:

What is Hate speech? How it should be curbed? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

Delhi Declaration on Afghanistan:

  • A regional security summit was recently hosted by India. The summit was attended by eight nations including Iran and Russia.
  • This is the third meeting of the Regional Security Dialogue (the earlier two meetings were held in in Iran, in 2018 and 2019).
  • Conference was represented by the national security advisors of each country.
  • During the conference, it was announced that Afghanistan & its territories cannot be used to shelter or train terrorists, or to finance any act of terrorism.
  • Countries issued a joint statement, dubbed as “Delhi Declaration on Afghanistan”.
  • The Declaration emphasised on: Secure and Stable Afghanistan, condemning terrorism, Ensuring Fundamental Rights, collective Co-operation and the role of UN.

 

Next COP venues:

The 2021 UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, concluded recently at Glasgow.

  • At the end of the conference, the council decided that the 2022 edition of the Conference of Parties, or the 27th COP, will take place at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, and the 28th edition in 2023 will be held in the UAE.

 

Kashi corridor project:

  • The project connects the Kashi temple with the ghats of the Ganga, with a paved walkway around 320 metres long and 20 metres wide.
  • It will also have facilities for a museum, library, a facilitation centre for pilgrims and a Mumuksha Bhawan (salvation house).

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

1. Panel report on data bill.


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