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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 18 December 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.

 

Table of Contents:

 

GS Paper 1:

1. Raising legal age of marriage for women.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. India’s data protection Bill.

2. Tamil Nadu makes it mandatory to stand while state song is being played.

3. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Amazon- Future deal.

2. Pegasus case. 

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Card tokenization. (The Hindu, pg 12).

2. Bhutan’s top civilian award for Modi. (The Hindu, pg 08).

3. Kalibari temple. (The Hindu, pg 08).


 

Raising legal age of marriage for women:

GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered: Issues related to women.

 

Context:

The Cabinet has decided to raise the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21. This decision is based on the recommendation of a panel led by Jaya Jaitly.

 

Task force:

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech last year proposed a panel on the “age of a girl entering motherhood” to lower maternal mortality rates and improve nutrition levels.

  • But when the decision to appoint a task force was announced, its terms of reference included examining “the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood” with health and nutritional status of mothers and infants.

 

Important recommendations:

  • The age of marriage should be increased to 21 years.
  • The government should look into increasing access to schools and colleges for girls, including their transportation to these institutes from far-flung areas.
  • Skill and business training has also been recommended, as has sex education in schools.
  • These deliveries must come first, as, unless they are implemented and women are empowered, the law will not be as effective.

 

Rationale behind the proposal:

The committee has said the recommendation is not based on the rationale of population control (India’s total fertility rate is already declining) but more with women’s empowerment and gender parity. The committee has said access to education and livelihood must be enhanced simultaneously for the law to be effective.

 

Criticism:

  • Women’s rights activists have opposed the suggestion and have cited evidence to show that such a move may be used to incarcerate young adults marrying without parents’ consent.
  • Also, this move would lead to criminalisation of a large number of marriages that will take place once the law comes into effect.

 

What the law says?

Currently, the law prescribes that the minimum age of marriage is 21 and 18 years for men and women, respectively.

The minimum age of marriage is distinct from the age of majority, which is gender-neutral.

  1. An individual attains the age of majority at 18 as per the Indian Majority Act, 1875.
  2. For Hindus, Section 5(iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 sets 18 years as the minimum age for the bride and 21 years as the minimum age for the groom. Child marriages are not illegal but can be declared void at the request of the minor in the marriage.
  3. In Islam, the marriage of a minor who has attained puberty is considered valid under personal law.
  4. The Special Marriage Act, 1954 and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 also prescribe 18 and 21 years as the minimum age of consent for marriage for women and men respectively.

 

Why is the law being relooked at?

  • From bringing in gender-neutrality to reduce the risks of early pregnancy among women, there are many arguments in favour of increasing the minimum age of marriage of women.
  • Early pregnancy is associated with increased child mortality rates and affects the health of the mother.
  • Despite laws mandating minimum age and criminalising sexual intercourse with a minor, child marriages are very prevalent in the country.
  • Also, according to a study, children born to adolescent mothers (10-19 years) were 5 percentage points more likely to be stunted (shorter for their age) than those born to young adults (20-24 years).

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Jaya Jailtley committee was constituted for the purpose of?
  2. Legal provisions related to minimum age of marriage for men and women in India.
  3. Key provisions of Special Marriage Act, 1954.
  4. Overview of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

Mains Link:

Do you think minimum age for marriage for men and women should be raised? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express

India’s data protection Bill:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Government policies and issues arising out of it.

 

Context:

Nearly two years after it was constituted on 11 December 2019, the Joint Committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, headed by BJP MP P.P. Chaudhary, has presented its final report on the upcoming bill in both Houses of Parliament on 16 December.

 

Key recommendations:

  1. Remove the word ‘personal’ from the existing title of ‘Personal Data Protection Bill’. This is intended to reflect that the bill, in order to better ensure privacy, will also be dealing with non-personal data, such as personal data that has been anonymised.
  2. Amend the section restricting the transfer of personal data outside India to say “sensitive personal data shall not be shared with any foreign government or agency unless such sharing is approved by the central government.
  3. No social media platform be allowed to operate in India unless its parent company, which controls the technology powering its services, sets up an office in the country.
  4. It proposes a separate regulatory body to be set up to regulate the media.
  5. Jail term of up to 3 years, fine of Rs 2 lakh or both if de-identified data is re-identified by any person.
  6. The word ‘personal’ ought to be dropped from the name of the Bill.
  7. Central government may exempt any government agency from the legislation only under exceptional circumstances.

 

How do these recommendations compare with EU regulation?

The JCP recommendations on the Personal Data Protection Bill are in some aspects very similar to global standards such as European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Similarities:

Consent: Users must have informed consent about the way their data is processed so that they can opt in or out.

Breach: Authorities must be notified of a breach within 72 hours of the leak.

Transition period: Two-year transition period for provisions of GDPR to be put in place.

Data fiduciary: Under EU law, a Data fiduciary is any natural or legal person, public authority, agency or body that determines purpose and means of data processing. In India, it also includes NGOs.

 

The committee has recommended the formation of a Data Protection Authority (DPA):

The Data Protection Authority (DPA) will be dealing with privacy and personal data as well as non-personal data.

Composition of DPA: The Chairperson and the members of the DPA shall be appointed by the Union government based on the recommendation of a selection committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary.

  • Other members of the committee would be the Attorney General of India, the IT and law secretaries.
  • Nominated members: An independent expert and a director each from the IIT and the IIM will be nominated by the Centre.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the genesis of this Bill lies in the report prepared by a Committee of Experts headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna? Read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Data protection bill.
  2. Key Provisions.
  3. Parliamentary panels.
  4. Puttaswamy judgment.
  5. Right to Privacy.

Mains Link:

Comment on the controversial provisions of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.

Sources: Indian Express.

Tamil Nadu makes it mandatory to stand while state song is being played

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Government policies and issues arising out of it.

 

Context:

The Tamil Nadu government has declared Tamil Thai Vaazhthu, a prayer song sung in praise of Mother Tamil, as the State Song.

  • A Government Order (GO) had been issued directing that everyone who is present during the rendition of the song, barring differently abled persons, should remain standing.

 

What’s the issue now?

The order has come less than two weeks after the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court said (Kan. Ilango v. State case) that “There is no statutory or executive order requiring the attendees to stand up when Tamil Thai Vaazhthu is sung.”

 

What has the Supreme Court in this regard previously?

  • The High Court referred to Bijoe Emmanuel vs. State of Kerala case (1986), in which the Supreme Court ordered the readmission to school of three children of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who had been expelled for refusing to sing the national anthem. It was noted (by the Supreme Court) that there is no provision of law which obliges anyone to sing the National Anthem.
  • Again, while the Supreme Court had, in Shyam Narayan Chouksey v. Union of India (2017), directed that all cinema halls shall play the national anthem before the film and all present are obliged to stand, it had modified the original directions and made it “optional and not mandatory”.

 

Questions raised by the High Court:

While “it is true that the members of the audience conventionally stand up whenever Tamil Thai Vaazhthu is sung, the question is whether this is the only mode in which respect can be shown”.

  • When we celebrate pluralism and diversity, insisting that there can be only one way of showing respect reeks of hypocrisy.
  • Also, it would be “false respect” if people respected something only by law, and a law that was made for that one person.

 

Concerns associated:

  • Patriotic “vigilantes” may hackle people for not standing up.
  • Such restriction is not provided under Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.

Sources: Indian Express.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Government policies and issues arising out of it.

 

Context:

The Supreme Court has allowed Maharashtra to hold bullock cart races in the state till the pendency of the matter before the constitutional Bench of the apex court. It is a 400-year-old tradition.

 

What’s the issue?

  • Bullock cart races were banned in Maharashtra after the Supreme Court declared that the race as violative of the provisions of the central act in 2014.
  • After the Tamil Nadu government enacted a law to regulate jallikattu (taming of the bull), there was a demand to revive bullock races in Maharashtra.
  • In April 2017, the Maharashtra assembly had passed a legislation for resumption of bullock cart races across the state.
  • In August 2017, the Bombay High Court passed an interim order restraining the Maharashtra government from giving permission for bullock cart races anywhere in the state.
  • The state then approached the Supreme Court.

 

Demands by Maharashtra:

The Maharashtra government, on Wednesday, had told the SC that the ban on bullock cart races in the state should be lifted as the same is being conducted in the states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

 

What next?

The SC, while allowing the resumption of bullock cart races, has observed that the validity of the amended provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the rules framed by Maharashtra, which provided for bullock cart race in the state, would operate during the pendency of the petitions as the entire matter has been referred to a constitution Bench.

 

 

About the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960:

  • Seeks to “prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals”.
  • The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) was established in 1962 under Section 4 of the Act.
  • This Act provides for punishment for causing unnecessary cruelty and suffering to animals. The Act defines animals and different forms of animals.
  • It provides the guidelines relating to experimentation on animals for scientific purposes.

 

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017:

  • Framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • The Rules allow a Magistrate to forfeit the cattle of an owner facing trial under the Act.
  • The animals are then sent to infirmaries, animal shelters, etc.
  • The authorities can further give such animals for “adoption”.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About PCA.
  2. PCA Rules.
  3. Key Provisions.
  4. Jallikattu.

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with Bullock Cart races conducted by Maharashtra.

Sources: Indian Express.

Amazon- Future deal:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

 

Amazon- Future deal:

Context:

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has frozen its approval given in November 2019 to Amazon’s investment in a Future Group unit on the grounds that the U.S. e-commerce company had suppressed the scope and full details of its investment while seeking regulatory approval. It has also slapped multiple fines on Amazon.

 

Implications:

  • The CCI decision further roils the legal landscape as Amazon seeks to block the Future Group’s 2020 decision to sell its retail assets to Reliance Industries.

Current Affairs

 

What’s the issue?

(Note: just have a brief overview of the case. No details are necessary about the case from the exam’s perspective).

Future Group and Reliance Industries Limited had signed a Rs 24,713-crore deal in August 2020 for Future Retail to sell its retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing units to Reliance Retail and Fashionstyle.

  • Amazon is Future Group’s Indian partner.
  • Amazon says Future violated a partnership contract with the asset sale to its rival and wants to scuttle it, while the indebted Indian group says it would collapse if the transaction fails.

 

Why did Amazon approach SIAC?

The parties in a deal usually sign a contractual agreement which specifies about:

  1. The arbitral institution administering the arbitration.
  2. The applicable rules.
  3. The seat of arbitration.

In this case Amazon and Future Group have under their agreement agreed to refer their disputes to SIAC, with Singapore presumably being the contractual choice for the seat/place of arbitration.

 

How is the dispute taken up at the SIAC? What is the procedure to be followed?

Once a dispute is referred to arbitration, the process of appointment of the arbitral tribunal takes place.

Composition: Typically, in case of a three member tribunal, both the parties appoint one member each to the tribunal, while the third member is jointly appointed by the two nominees or, if they fail to agree, by SIAC.

 

Appointment of an Emergency Arbitrator:

Appointment of the arbitral tribunal usually takes time.

  • Therefore, under the rules of SIAC, parties can move SIAC to appoint an emergency arbitrator to get urgent interim relief, even as the process of appointment of the main arbitral tribunal is underway.

 

What happens when the parties don’t comply with the order voluntarily?

Currently under Indian law, there is no express mechanism for enforcement of the orders of the Emergency Arbitrator.

But, the parties voluntarily comply with the Emergency Award.

  • However, if the parties don’t comply with the order voluntarily, then the party which has won the emergency award, in this case Amazon, can move the High Court in India under Section 9 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996, to get similar reliefs as granted by the Emergency Arbitrator.

 

Why has Singapore become the hub of international arbitration?

  • Foreign investors investing in India typically want to avoid the rigmarole of the Indian courts.
  • Foreign investors feel that Singapore is neutral ground for dispute resolution.
  • Singapore itself over time has built a stellar reputation as jurisdiction driven by rule of law with international standards and high integrity. This gives comfort to investors that the arbitration process will be quick, fair and just”.

According to the 2019 annual report of SIAC, India was the top user of its arbitration seat with 485 cases being referred to SIAC, followed by Philippines at 122, China at 76 and the United States at 65.

 

Does India has any international arbitration centre?

Yes. India now has its own international arbitration centre in Mumbai.

 

About Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC):

It is a not-for-profit international arbitration organisation based in Singapore, which administers arbitrations under its own rules of arbitration and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Arbitration Rules.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about the UN Convention on International Settlement Agreements? Reference

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Arbitration?
  2. About SIAC.
  3. Overview of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996.
  4. About UNCITRAL.

Mains Link:

Discuss why has Singapore become the hub of international arbitration?

Sources: the Hindu.

Pegasus snooping case:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Cybersecurity related issues.

 

Pegasus snooping

The Supreme Court has stayed further proceedings of a Commission of Inquiry appointed by the West Bengal Government to look into allegations of snooping using the Pegasus software.

Current Affairs

What’s the issue?

The continued use of spyware Pegasus, which an Israeli company sells to governments worldwide, has been confirmed with fresh reports. Like the phones it targets, Pegasus has been apparently updated and now comes with new surveillance capabilities.

 

What is Pegasus?

It is a spyware tool developed by an Israeli firm, the NSO Group.

Spyware spy on people through their phones.

  • Pegasus works by sending an exploit link, and if the target user clicks on the link, the malware or the code that allows the surveillance is installed on the user’s phone.
  • Once Pegasus is installed, the attacker has complete access to the target user’s phone.

 

What can Pegasus do?

  • Pegasus can “send back the target’s private data, including passwords, contact lists, calendar events, text messages, and live voice calls from popular mobile messaging apps”.
  • The target’s phone camera and microphone can be turned on to capture all activity in the phone’s vicinity, expanding the scope of the surveillance.

 

What is a zero-click attack?

A zero-click attack helps spyware like Pegasus gain control over a device without human interaction or human error.

  • So all awareness about how to avoid a phishing attack or which links not to click are pointless if the target is the system itself.
  • Most of these attacks exploit software which receive data even before it can determine whether what is coming in is trustworthy or not, like an email client.

 

What’s the Difference Between Malware, Trojan, Virus, and Worm?

Malware is defined as a software designed to perform an unwanted illegal act via the computer network. It could be also defined as software with malicious intent.

Malware can be classified based on how they get executed, how they spread, and/or what they do. Some of them are discussed below.

  1. Virus: A program that can infect other programs by modifying them to include a possible evolved copy of itself.
  2. Worms: Disseminated through computer networks, unlike viruses, computer worms are malicious programs that copy themselves from system to system, rather than infiltrating legitimate files.
  3. Trojans: Trojan or trojan horse is a program that generally impairs the security of a system. Trojans are used to create back-doors (a program that allows outside access into a secure network) on computers belonging to a secure network so that a hacker can have access to the secure network.
  4. Hoax: An e-mail that warns the user of a certain system that is harming the computer. The message thereafter instructs the user to run a procedure (most often in the form of a download) to correct the harming system. When this program is run, it invades the system and deletes an important file.
  5. Spyware: Invades a computer and, as its name implies, monitors a user’s activities without consent. Spywares are usually forwarded through unsuspecting e-mails with bonafide e-mail i.ds. Spyware continues to infect millions of computers globally.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the Supreme Court has appointed an expert technical committee overseen by former Supreme Court judge R.V. Raveendran to examine allegations that the Centre used Israeli software Pegasus to spy on citizens?

Have you heard of Google Project Zero? Reference

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Spyware.
  2. About Pegasus.
  3. Differences between Spyware, malware and Trojans.

Mains Link:

What is a zero-click attack? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu

Facts for Prelims:

Card tokenization:

Tokenization will replace card details with a code, called a “token,” which will be specifically for the card, the token requestor and the device being used to pay. Instead of the card’s details, the token will act as the card at point of sale (POS) terminals and quick response (QR) code payment systems. The goal of the process is to improve the safety and security of payments.

Context:

The Reserve Bank of India’s plans to move towards card tokenization is likely to hit a wide range of companies from major e-commerce firms and food delivery firms to lenders, while increasing the use of cash.

  • RBI issued guidelines in March 2020 saying that merchants will not be allowed to save card information on their websites to boost data security.
  • It issued fresh guidelines in September 2021 giving companies until the end of the year to comply with the regulations and offering them the option to tokenize.

Current Affairs

 

Bhutan’s top civilian award for Modi:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been conferred Bhutan’s highest civilian award, ‘Order of the Druk Gyalpo’.
  • The award was conferred by the King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, in recognition of Modi’s contribution to India-Bhutan relations and his services to Bhutan and its people.
  • Modi is the first foreign head of government to receive the award.

 

Kalibari temple:

  • This Hindu temple is located in Bangladesh.
  • It was recently inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind. It was destroyed by Pakistani forces in 1971.
  • The original Ramna Kalibari was built during the medieval era and was famous for its tall structure.
  • In 1929, the temple complex acquired an additional building for the devotees of the famous saint Anandamayee, who later became Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s spiritual advisor.

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Changes to Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
  2. Open Acreage Licensing Policy.

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