Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 2nd August 2023



Today Topics List:

  1. GI Tags – Crafts from Rajasthan, Mangoes from Goa.

  2. Lokayukta

  3. Bills in the Parliament

  4. Data – Economic and Social and its issues

  5. Akira Ransomware




GI Tags – Crafts from Rajasthan, Mangoes from Goa.

    • News:
    • Seven products from across India, were given GI  Geographical Identification tag by the Geographical Indications Registry, Chennai.
    • The Products and their features:
    • The Jalesar Dhatu Shilp – Metal Craft – Etah district of Uttarpradesh, which was the capital city of Magadha king Jarasandha, over 1200 small units are engaged in making Jalesar Dhatu Shilp, known for making decorative metal craft as well as brassware.
    • Goa Mankurad Mango – Filed by All Goa Mango Growers association, Panaji. The Portuguese named the mango as Malcorada, meaning poor coloured and with time it transformed to Mankuradaamo
    • Goan Bebinca – All Goa Bakers and Confectioners Association. Bebinca is a type of pudding and a traditional Indo- Portuguese dessert. It is also known as Queen of Goan desserts.
    • Udaipur Koftagari Metal craft – The craftsmen practices the ancient art of koftgari used in making ornamental weaponary.
      • The weapons are exquisitely ornamented by a complicated process of etching of design, heating and the cooling intertwined with the process of embedding gold and silver wire into the metal, pressing and flattening it to a smooth surface using moonstone and finally polishing.
    • Bikaner kashidakari craft – It is a work done majorly on objects associated with marriage, especially gift items, and makes use of mirror works.
    • Jodhpur Bandhejcraft – Is the Rajasthani art of tying and dyeing. It is the art of painting varied patterns on fabrics using tie and dye method.
    • Bikaner Usta Kala craft – also known as gold nakashi work or gold manauti work, due to the prominence of golden colour in an actual manner developed by gold in the previous period, which gives longevity to the craft.

Geographical Indication – GI Tag

►  A GI is a sign that a particular item has originated from a particular region only. It is definite to the geographical territory.

▪       It acts a certification and protection that the product possesses specific qualities and is made according to traditional methods or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin.

▪       It ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users are allowed to use the popular

▪       The GI products need to be produced, processed or prepared in a specific region.

▪       It is also essential that the product has a special quality or reputation.

Geographical Indication –Important facts:

►  Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 came into force in 2003.

►  Certification of registration of GI is given by the GOI under Goods (Registration &Protection ) Act, 1999

►  It is given by GI Registry, Chennai. It works under the Department for promotion of Industry and Internal Trade under Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

►  Only Goods can be give GI certification not services.

►  It is valid for 10 years from the date of filing application and can be renewed.

►  Darjeeling Tea , is the first GI tagged product in India – 2004-05.







  • The Kerala High court upheld the Lok Ayukta Division Bench’s order referring a case related to the alleged misuse of CM’s Disaster relief Fund (CMDRF) to its full bench.


  • The first administrative reforms commission (ARC) of India 1966-1970 recommended the setting up of two special authorities designated as Lokpal and Lokayukta for the redressal of citizens’ grievances.
    • These institutions were to be set up on the pattern of Ombudsman in Scandanavian countries and the Parliamentary commissioner for the investigation in New Zealand.
    • According to this while Lokpal deals with complaints against ministers and secretaries at centre and state levels, Lokayukta – one at centre and one in every state would deal with complaints against other specified higher officials.
    • ARC kept judiciary out of the purview of them as in New Zealand.
  • Even much before the enactment of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013, many states have already set up the institutions of Lokayuktas.
    • It must be noted here that the institution of lokayukta was first established in Maharashtra in 1971.
    • Odisha has passed a law much before in 1970 but came into force only in 1983.

Features of Lokayukta:

  • The structure of Lokayukta is not same in all states, while some states have both Lokayukta and Upa-lokayukta, Some states only have Lokayuktas, there are also other states which designated officials as Lokpal.
  • The appointment is done by the Governor of the state. In most of the states he take consultation of Chief justice of the state high court and leader of opposition in the legislative assembly.
  • While some states specify qualifications the others did not.
  • In most states, the term of office is 5 years or 65 years of age, with no scope for reappointment.


Bills in the Parliament

Bill on Birth Registration;

  • Lok Sabha passed the Registration of Births and deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2023 that paves the way for digital certificates which will be a single document to be used admission to educational institutions, applications for driving licences, government jobs, passports or Aadhaar, voter enrolment, and registration of marriage, and others.
    • This will avoid multiplicity of documents to prove the date and place of birth in the country.
    • All states had consented to the provisions of the legislation that was also put up for consultation in public domain.
    • The database will also update the National population register, ration Cards, Property registrations.
  • NPR, first collected in 2010 and updated in 2015 through door – door enumeration, already has a database of 119 crore residents.

Multi state Cooperative societies:

  • The Rajya Sabha passed Multi state Cooperative societies (Amendment) Bill, 2023
    • The Bill which had been approved by Lok Sabha on July 25, 2023, was passed in Rajya Sabha by voice vote.
    • The bill provides norms for appointing employees, ensuring no nepotism practices exist.
    • The Bill seeks to establish a “Cooperative Election authority’ with a view to introducing electoral reforms in the Cooperative sector.

Bio Diversity Bill:

  • Rajya Sabha passed the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021, a week after it was cleared I Lok Sabha.
    • The Bill aims to amend the Biological diversity Act, 2002 and was drafted in response to complaints by traditional Indian medicine practitioners, the seed sector, and industry and researchers facing heavy complaiance burden and difficulties conducting collaborative research.
    • Another aim is to simplify patent application processes.
    • It also proposes to widen the scope of levying access and benefit sharing with local communities and for further conservation of biological resources.
    • The Bill also proposes to decriminalise offences under the Act and substitute them with penalties – between Rs. 1 lakh and Rs 50 lakh.
    • Continuing violations can attract an additional penalty of up to Rs. 1 crore with no imprisonment.



Data – Economic and Social and its issues

    • There has been a lot of debate around the data and the way in which it is collected and most importantly the utility of the available data to measure social and economic progress of a transforming economy that is India.
      • This debate becomes even more important in the context of growing prominence of Indian economy and its election to the highest statistical body of the UN for a four-year term.

Economic and social data:

  • Economic and social data is a public good and is the responsibility of the Government, because private entities who also collect data excludes data from consumers with their pricing and restrictive access policies.
  • Anticipating this, Independent India planned a well-designed statistical system, which was the envy of the world till the early 1970s.
  • Over the time it saw a steady decline and has reached its present stage, which is the subject of the current debate.

Issues with the current Economic and social data:

  • Quality and Credibility – Policy formulation, implementation and research are not possible without accurate and credible data. While credibility is depending on the reliability of the source, accuracy is a measure of true representation of expected values.
    • Such data becomes crucial for guiding policy, conducting economic research.
    • Surveys such as household surveys are facing questions of credibility due to the sample size selected.
    • A recent paper by EAC-PM argues that surveys do not adequately capture the urban part of the economy.
  • Multiple agencies working to collect data on same parameters for the same sector but produce different numbers.
    • This poses a problem of choosing appropriate data set to formulate policies.
    • For example: Data on a sector for calculating GDP is from Ministry of Corporate affairs MCA 21 portal, differs from data published by Annual Survey of Industries.
    • A 2019 report by the National Sample survey Office on the services sector found that nearly 36% of the companies in the MCA 21 system were either not traced or not classified properly.
  • The competence and ability of the system to generate and disseminate high quality data is another issue, where not only the surveys have been delayed, but the publication of processed data of completed survey has also been withheld.
    • This has hampered generation of micro level on important variables such as consumption, used for assessing poverty.
    • This is also true for Inflation indices – wholesale and consumer which are overdue for revision.
  • Non availability of updated data hinders the assessment of economic growth and poverty reduction. With delay in 2021 census, a re look is required for methods of surveys, data are not available for assessing economic performance and development outcome
    • In the absence of such data, policymakers look for a quick fix and celebrate success on the outcomes.

Steps to be taken:

  • It’s time to overhaul the system, with better communication between creators and users of the data.
  • There should be an attempt to move beyond dashboards and disseminate data more transparently.
  • Going back to Rangarajan committee report (2001) and taking stock of what has been done could be a good starting point.




Akira Ransomware

    • The Computer Emergency Response Team of India issued an alert for the ransomware dubbed “Akira”. It is found to target both Windows and Linux devices, steals and encrypts data, forcing victims to pay double ransom for decryption recovery.
    • Akira Ransomware:
    • It is designed to encrypt data, create a ransomware note and delete Windows shadow volume copies on affected devices.
      • It gets its name due to its ability to modify filenames of all encrypted files by appending them with the “. akira”
      • Once the ransomware infects a device and encrypts sensitive data, group behind the attack extorts the victims into paying a ransom, threatening to release the data on their dark web blog if their demands are not met.

How does it work?

  • Once sensitive data is stolen and encrypted, the ransomware leaves behind a note named akira_readme.txt which includes information about the attack and the link to Akira’s leak and negotiation site.
    • Each victim is given a unique negotiation password to be entered into threat actor’s Tor site.
  • Unlike other ransomware operations, this negotiation site just includes a chat system that the victim can use to communicate with the ransomware gang, a report from The Bleeping Computer shares.

How does it infect devices:

  • It is typically spread through spear phising emails that contain malicious attachments in the form of archived content (Zip/rar) files.
    • Other methods include drive – by – download, a cyber attack that unintentionally downloads malicious code onto a device, and specially crafted weblinks in emails, clicking on which downloads malicious code.
    • It also spreads through insecure remote desktop connections.
  • It has steadily built up a list of victims, targeting corporate networks in various domains including education, finance, real estate, manufacturing and consulting.
    • Once it breaches a corporate network, it spreads laterally to other devices after gaining Window domain admin credentials.
    • The threat actors also steal sensitive corporate data for leverage in their extortion attempts.

How to protect users against it?

  • CERT In has advised users to follow basic internet hygiene and protection protocols to ensure their security against ransomware.
    • Maintaining up to date offline backups of critical data, to prevent data loss in the event of an attack.
    • Ensure updating of all operating systems and networks with virtual patching for legacy systems and networks.
  • Companies must establish Domain based Message Authentication, reporting and Conformance, Domain key Identified Mail, and sender policy for organisational email validation, which prevents spam by detecting email spoofing.
    • Strict external device usage policies, data at rest and data in transit encryption along with blocking attachments like .exe, .pif. or .url to avoid downloading malicious code.
    • Periodic security audits of critical networks/systems, especially database servers.

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