Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 18th October -2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 18-10-2021

                                                                                                  

 Topics                                                                                                                                                   

  • Jurisdiction Enhancement –BSF powers
  • CRISP-M and MGNREG Scheme
  • E-voting/Remote Voting in India
  • India-U. S Economic & Financial Partnership
  • International E-Waste Day

 

1. Jurisdiction Enhancement –BSF powers

#GS3-Various Security Forces & Agencies & Their MandateSecurity

Context

  • In Assam, West Bengal, and Punjab, the Ministry of Home Affairs recently issued a notification expanding the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) for seizure, search, and arrest up to 50 kilometres from the international border.

In depth information

What changes have been made?

  • The MHA has used the authority granted to it by the Border Security Force Act of 1968.
  • It has so defined the jurisdiction of the BSF.
  • While the locations shown above are within 50 kilometres of the respective boundaries, they are not under the authority of the BSF.
  • At the same time, the Ministry has restricted the BSF’s operational area in Gujarat from 80 kilometres to 50 kilometres from the border.

Problems Involved

  • Public Order vs. State Security: A state government’s first job is to maintain public order, which includes public peace, safety, and serenity (Entry 1, State list).
  • However, when major public disturbance threatens the state’s or country’s security or defence (entry 1 of the Union list), the issue becomes a source of worry for the Union Government as well.
  • Weakening of Federalism: The notification amounts to an incursion on state authorities if it is made without the consent of the state government.
  • This notice, according to the Punjab government, is an invasion by the Centre under the cover of security or development.
  • Affecting BSF Functioning: Policing in the hinterland is not the function of a border guarding force; rather, it would erode the Border Security Force’s capacity to carry out its primary mission of protecting the international border.

Next Steps

  • The existing connection between the Union military forces and the State civil authority does not require any changes, given the security situation in India’s neighbourhood.
  • However, it is preferable that the State Government be consulted before the Union Government deploys its military troops, if at all possible.
  • State Self-Sufficiency: Each state government may work out short- and long-term measures for bolstering its Armed Police in conjunction with the Union government.
  • The goal will be to become largely self-sufficient in terms of Military Police, so that the Union’s armed forces will only be called in in the event of really severe disruptions.
  • Regional Arrangement: A group of neighbouring states may agree to a standing arrangement for the use of each other’s Armed Police in the event of an emergency.
  • The best forum for reaching consensus among states within a zone for developing such a system would be the Zonal Council.
  • Police Reforms: As many committees and judgments have stated, it is past time to implement much-needed police reforms.

 

Concerning the Border Security Force (BSF)

?       On India’s border with Pakistan and Bangladesh, the BSF is in charge of border patrol.

?       The Ministry of Home Affairs is in charge of it.

?       It was established on December 1, 1965, in the aftermath of the 1965 War, for the purpose of ensuring the security of India’s borders and related affairs.

?       The BSF has its own cadre of officers, but its commander, known as a Director-General (DG), has been an officer from the Indian Police Service from its inception (IPS).

2.CRISP-M and MGNREG Scheme

#GS2-Government Policies & Interventions

 Context

  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) recently introduced the Climate Resilience Information System and Planning (CRISP-M) platform.

In depth information

  • CRISP-M Tool: This tool will aid in the integration of climatic data into MGNREGS planning and implementation using a Geographic Information System (GIS).
  • A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system that analyses and displays spatially referenced data.
  • The introduction of CRISP-M will provide rural communities with additional options for dealing with climate change challenges.
  • Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Rajasthan will all use this technology.

MGNREGA Information

  • It provides every rural home with 100 days of labour each year in order to improve people’s livelihood security.
  • The scheme was established by the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act of 2005. NREGA was renamed MGNREGA in 2010.
  • Except for areas with a 100% urban population, the Act currently includes all districts.
  • The scheme is monitored by the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) in collaboration with state governments.

The MGNREGS’ Most Important Features

  • Demand-driven scheme: Workers will get jobs when they want them, not when the government has jobs available.
  • Employment Allowance: Gram Panchayats are required to provide jobs within 15 days of receiving a job application. If it fails, the worker will be entitled to unemployment benefits.
  • Payment on time: Wages must be paid within 15 days following conclusion of work. If the worker fails, he or she will be paid a delay compensation of 0.05 percent of the wages earned per day.
  • Women’s empowerment: Women should make up at least one-third of the workforce.
  • Wages should be paid in accordance with the Minimum Wages Act of 1948 for agricultural labourers in the state.
  • Gram Sabhas conduct Social audits to enable the community to monitor the implementation of the scheme.Both the Center and the States share the funding of the scheme.

 

3. E-voting/Remote Voting in India

#GS2- Government Policies & Interventions

 Context

  • Former Chief Election Commissioners (CEC) have recently expressed concerns about the idea of online voting and remote voting, ranging from maintaining the secrecy of ballots to bringing political parties on board.
  • The statement comes as the Telangana State Election Commission prepares to conduct an e-voting trial, and the Election Commission of India is also looking into remote voting.

In depth information

 What is E-voting/Remote Voting, and how does it work?

  • It will allow voters to vote without having to travel to their constituency’s designated polling location.
  • To use this facility, voters must arrive at a specific location within a predetermined time frame.
  • Using blockchain technology, the IIT-M is building a system for two-way remote voting in a regulated setting.
  • It would involve biometric data and web cams for authentication on the Electoral Registration Officer Network (ERO Net), followed by a blockchain-based e-ballot generation, which would turn into a vote once the hash code was generated on its execution.
  • At the pre-counting step, the encrypted remote votes cast would be checked once more to guarantee that they had not been decrypted, tampered with, or substituted.

What is Blockchain Technology and How Does It Work?

  • A blockchain is a distributed ledger of data that is copied across multiple nodes on a “peer-to-peer” network (P2P Network). The technology’s goal is to ensure the integrity and verifiability of data stored on the ledger.
  • Blockchain ledgers have typically been employed as supporting structures for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, but their use in non-cryptocurrency applications, such as facilitating remote voting and elections, has seen a steady rise as well.

From a global perspective:

  • In the past, countries such as the United States, Argentina, Russia, Estonia, Thailand, and South Korea have used blockchain methods to conduct citizen voting processes with a fair share of positives and negatives deriving consequentially.

The Indian position is as follows:

  • India has reacted positively to the prospect of implementing blockchain networks in a variety of sectors, including election systems.
  • The Telangana government is one of the most prominent examples, as it plans to undertake an experimental run of e-voting.
  • For the first time in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the ECI employed a one-way electronic method for servicing electors. The electronic transmission of postal ballots to service electors resulted in a 60.14 percent increase in turnout.
  • In 2020, the Election Commission held a series of meetings and demos with state governments, policy think tanks, and private industry players to investigate the possibility of a nationwide remote blockchain election system.
  • It collaborated with the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, in February 2020. (IIT-M)

Significance

  • The problem of ballot portability has been solved:
  • Internal migrants and seasonal employees, who make up around 51 million of the population, appear to profit from remote voting (Census 2011).
  • Useful for People in Remote Locations:
  • The proposed approach could be useful for some members of the Indian armed forces who are stationed in remote locations (although that exhaustive infrastructure of Elections has helped address this)
  • Increases Voter Participation:
  • Remote voting solutions may make it easier for certain categories of citizens, such as expats, military voters, voters in health and care facilities, and prisoners, to vote in elections.
  • Speed and Security:
  • The blockchain-based voting system not only delivers real-time results, but also ensures that the counting is error-free, and that no one can tamper with the results thanks to blockchain.
  • Vote counting efficiency
  • It will improve the efficiency with which votes are counted.
  • By utilising fundamental elements such as facial recognition technology (FRTs) and biometric identification protocols, it will help in reducing errors and simplifying the overall process for the voter.

Concerns/Issues

  • Physical presence and biometric authentication:
  • Electors would still need to physically travel to a designated voting location, where systems would employ “white-listed IP devices on dedicated internet lines,” and the system would use the biometric characteristics of voters.
  • Adds Vulnerability to failure:
  • Digitisation and interconnection provide new sites of failure that are not present in today’s processes.
  • Technology isn’t completely secure yet:
  • Cryptographic protocols must be implemented correctly in order for blockchain solutions to work. If a system’s implementation has flaws, it could be abused.
  • Easily targeted Denial-of-Service attacks, in which an attacker is able to stop traffic from the system, effectively halting or at the very least delaying voter registration.
  • Privacy Concerns:
  • With such intrusive technologies being utilised in elections, which, when combined, can go against Puttaswamy’s decision,

Next Steps

  • It might be said that blockchain technology in elections is a double-edged sword, and one must consider whether extra complications occur as a result of it.
  • Existing laws will have to be changed in order to carry out this massive undertaking, which will also necessitate political agreement.
  • The issue of individual privacy and data protection during the collection and validation of personal data for blockchain elections necessitates considerable thought.
  • Before the facility is implemented, there will be procedure modifications and broader engagement with all stakeholders, including political parties.
  • Two considerations must be made in order to establish a successful blockchain election system:
  • The use of cryptography in the blockchain election system should ensure that the data used in the election is recorded, displayed, and calculated in a tamper-proof manner.
  • When using biometric systems to authenticate a valid voter, policymakers should pay close attention to data security and privacy.

 

4. India-U. S Economic & Financial Partnership Dialogue–Ministerial meeting

#GS2- India & Foreign Relations

 Context

  • The Economic and Financial Partnership Dialogue between India and the United States recently held its eighth ministerial conference in Washington, D.C.
  • The meeting was co-chaired by India’s Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

In depth information

  • The Economic and Financial Partnership Dialogue between India and the United States has a long history.
  • The Indo-US Economic and Financial Partnership Dialogue was initiated in 2010 by the US Treasury and India’s Ministry of Finance.
  • It was established as a framework with the following goals: to strengthen economic ties between our two countries and to provide the groundwork for future collaboration and economic progress.

The Meeting’s Major Highlights

Discussions on a variety of topics took place during the ministerial conference of the India-US Economic and Financial Partnership.

Among the topics discussed were

  • The macroeconomic prognosis and the COVID-19 pandemic recovery:
  • Collaboration that succeeds in obtaining more private sector financing to finance India’s infrastructure needs will help both countries thrive.
  • The United States continues to assist India’s National Infrastructure and Investment Fund with technical assistance (NIIF).
  • India and the United States are also looking forward to collaborating on the preparation of more cities to issue municipal bonds.
  • Collaboration in terms of financial regulation and technology:
  • Discussions on emerging financial industry topics, such as
  • Payment systems and cross-border payments
  • GIFT City is constructing an International Financial Services Centre.

Engagement on a global scale:

  • The US is ready to assist India in hosting a successful and productive year as it prepares for its G20 Presidency in 2023.
  • In bilateral lending, both parties reaffirmed their commitment to debt sustainability and transparency.
  • Both stressed the significance of collaborating with multilateral development banks to assist India in gaining access to and mobilising available funding to achieve development goals, especially those related to climate change.
  • Both parties applauded the political agreement reached by the OECD and the G20 on the Inclusive Framework.
  • It is a huge achievement in terms of modernising the worldwide tax system.
  • It builds a more stable, equitable, and fit-for-purpose international tax system for the twenty-first century.
  • Both talked on how far they’ve come in exchanging financial account information to combat offshore tax evasion.
  • The Inter-Governmental Agreement, which is governed by the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, governs it (FATCA).

Climate finance:

  • The US reiterated the collective developed country goal to mobilize $100 billion annually for developing countries from public and private sources.
  • It will be used for meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation.
  • Both emphasised on the Finance Mobilization for the recently launched Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD).
  • It is under the U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership.

Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT):

  • Both will improve data sharing and collaboration in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • Both sides recognise the importance of combating financial crimes and ensuring that the Financial Action Task Force rules are effectively implemented to protect our financial systems from exploitation.
  • Both sides reaffirmed their resolve to continue working together at both bilateral and multilateral levels.
  • They will work together to address mutual and global economic concerns, aiming for cooperative strategies and solutions.

 

5.International E-Waste Day

# GS2- Government Policies & Interventions, GS3- Environmental Pollution & Degradation

 Context

  • Every year on October 14th, International E-Waste Day is commemorated.
  • The WEEE Forum, a Brussels-based non-profit association of e-waste collection systems, created International E-Waste Day (IEWD) in 2018.

In depth information

  • Waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) is an acronym for waste electronic and electrical equipment.
  • “Consumers are the key to the Circular Economy,” says the theme.
  • The goal is to encourage proper e-waste disposal around the world by improving re-use, recovery, and recycling rates.
  • The International E-Waste Day will be held for the fourth time in 2021.
  • This year’s International E-Waste Day will highlight the critical role that everyone of us plays in making e-product circularity a reality.

International E-Waste Day is a day dedicated to raising awareness about electronic waste.

Since 2018, the 14th of October has been designated as International E-Waste Day.

  • The WEEE Forum claimed in a statement that recycling will enable the recovery of “a king’s fortune in priceless materials” and eliminate the requirement for new resources.
  • Waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) is an acronym for waste electronic and electrical equipment. The non-profit organisation located in Brussels provided some startling figures about the swelling tide of e-waste.
  • According to the WEEE Forum, e-waste generation is increasing by 2 MT every year. It ascribed the increase to increased technology usage, shorter device lifecycles, and restricted repair choices.
  • Electronic waste is projected to account for 40% of heavy metals in landfills in the United States.
  • We will need to continue mining all-new minerals as long as citizens do not return their worn, damaged gear, sell it, or give it, creating significant environmental damage. This year’s theme for International E-Waste Day is the critical role that everyone of us plays in making e-product circularity a reality.
  • A tonne of used cellphones contains more gold than a tonne of gold ore.
  • Furthermore, compared to virgin metal mining, recovering gold and other materials from waste reduces carbon dioxide emissions significantly.

Some startling figures

 Electronics use is increasing:

  • In drawers and other storage spaces, there are 54-113 million cell phones weighing 10-20 tonnes.
  • Shorter product life cycles:
  • It was discovered that older phones become slow as soon as new upgrades and models were released.
  • Repair choices are limited:
  • Many manufacturers, such as Apple and Samsung, do not allow for repair and reuse.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States estimates that over 151 million phones are discarded each year, or about 416,000 per day, and that they are cremated or landfilled.
  • Consumers’ Uncertainty and Unawareness:
  • Consumers themselves did not recycle discarded electronic gadgets, which was a major role in their non-recyclability.
  • The Consequences of Not Recycling or Reusing
  • Environmental Consequences:
  • Mining of all-new resources will continue as long as citizens do not return their worn, broken gear, sell it, or donate it.
  • It will have a significant negative impact on the ecosystem.
  • Loss of valuable resources:
  • When compared to virgin metal mining, recovering gold and other materials from waste saves a lot of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Economic Consequences:
  • A tonne of discarded cellphones contains more gold than a tonne of gold ore.
  • In 2019, high-value, recoverable materials worth $57 billion were primarily dumped or burned rather than being collected for treatment and reuse, a figure bigger than the Gross Domestic Product of most countries.

Ahead of Schedule

  • Increased Awareness:
  • Successfully increasing collection rates would necessitate the involvement of all actors, including consumers and producers.
  • More dead or unused plug-in or battery-operated goods should be delivered to repair or recycling facilities.
  • Government Intervention:
  • By incentivizing customers, the government can assist with rubbish collection.
  • A provision for a penalty for breaking the regulations will be added.
  • Circular Economy:
  • Recycling will allow a king’s fortune to be recovered in valuable materials while also reducing the requirement for new resources.
  • Right to Repair:
  • The EU is at the forefront of a paradigm that empowers consumers to reuse their electronic items.

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