Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Daily Current Affairs 28th August

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 28th August-2021

Daily Current Affairs 28th August-Topics

  • India flags security concerns from Afghanistan
  • ‘Right to be Forgotten’ and ‘Right to Privacy’ in India
  • Supreme court of India on Economic criteria to decide creamy layer
  • Liberalised Drone rules, 2021
  • Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP)
  • SUJALAM Campaign by Jal Shakthi Ministry

 

1.India flags security concerns from Afghanistan

#GS2 #India and its Neighbourhood – Relations #Important International Institutions #GS3 #Security Challenges & their Management in Border Areas

Context: Recently, Prime minister of India engaged with the heads of the government of Russia and Germany, after the establishment of Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

  • Stability in Afghanistan is linked to the peace and security of the region and India is no exception.
  • Highlighting concerns about Pakistan-based terrorist groups, India offered help to deal with the humanitarian condition in Afghanistan, and also called upon the Taliban subtly without mentioning or criticising them — to ensure an inclusive governance structure in the country.
  • Russia’s President Vladimir Putin showed interest in working with India bilaterally, multilaterally at the UNSC, and at other fora like SCO and BRICS, in spite of the differences between India and China on the Afghanistan issue, and on the role of Pakistan in facilitating the Taliban.
  • India and Russia both agreed to form a permanent bilateral channel for consultations on this issue.

Restoration of Taliban Rule in Afghanistan:

  • US signed a deal with Taliban in 2020 at Doha, that envisioned a complete withdrawal of foreign soldiers from Afghanistan.
  • However, the US excluded the Afghan government in the talks and agreement which turned out to be a major flaw.
  • Further, Taliban refuse to accept democratic government as legitimate ruler and they don’t believe in the Constitution, rule of law, or democracy.
  • Hence, immediately after the US troops withdrawal, Taliban took control of major cities including capital Kabul in Afghanistan.
  • This has raised various concerns regarding cross-border terrorism, humanitarian crisis, and new geopolitical order.

Threats for India Emanating from Afghanistan:

  • With the return of Taliban, chances of rise in Cross-Border Terrorism is worrying for India.
    • Terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed which have close bonding with Taliban and enjoy Pakistan state support, threaten regional peace and security.
  • Religious Fundamentalism: as Taliban are associated with the orthodox and discriminative attitude towards women, harsher punishments, and human rights violations. It will have trouble balancing its religious ideology with the requirements of state interests.
    • Here, India faces a challenge to deradicalize the region for long lasting peace and stability.
  • New Regional Geopolitical Developments: There can be development of new regional geopolitical alliance between China-Pakistan-Taliban, which may act against the interests of India.
  • Economic Losses: Restoration of Taliban will jeopardise India’s investment in Afghanistan. It will also slows down connectivity projects to Central Asia via Afghanistan.
    • For example, Chabahar Port, International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), TAPI Pipeline.
  • Drug menace: India is geographically closer to the Golden Crescent. Because of this, large amounts of opium and heroin pass through the Indian heartland. The effect of this has been devastating, to say the least, and nowhere has it been more evident than in the Indian state of Punjab.
    • Taliban rule might further complicate the fight against drug problem.

India’s Diplomatic Engagement Regarding Afghanistan:

  • Recently, India’s National Security Advisor chaired a meeting of the NSAs of the BRICS countries.
  • The meeting also adopted and recommended the BRICS Counter Terrorism Action Plan for consideration by the BRICS Summit.
  • The Action Plan aims to further strengthen existing mechanisms of cooperation in areas such as:
    • Financing and combating terrorism,
    • Misuse of the Internet by terrorists,
    • Curbing travel of terrorists,
    • Border controls,
    • Capacity building,
    • Regional and international cooperation.
  • At the 31st special session of the UN Human Rights Council, India raised various concerns over the serious human rights concerns and situation in Afghanistan.

Way Forward:

  • India called for an inclusive and broad-based dispensation which represents all sections of Afghan society and the protection of Afghan women, aspirations of Afghan children and the rights of minorities.
    • This broad-based representation would help the Taliban rule gain more acceptability and legitimacy.
    • This is the clearest that the Indian government has so far been about its position with respect to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
  • Engaging in talks with Taliban would allow India to seek security guarantees from the insurgents in return for continued development assistance.
  • India can also convince the Taliban to explore the possibility of its autonomy from Pakistan.
  • There is a need for the global community to fight against the global concern of terrorism.
    • In this context, it is the right time to accept the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (proposed by India at UN in 1996).
  • With the resurgence of Taliban, there is a convergence of interests between India and 03 key regional stakeholders — China, Russia and Iran — in seeing a political settlement in Afghanistan.
    • Thus, there is a need for cooperation from compatible countries on this front.

 

2.‘Right to be Forgotten’ and ‘Right to Privacy’ in India

#GS2 #Judiciary #Indian Constitution-Significant Provisions and Basic Structure #Fundamental Rights

Context: An actor had filed a case in the Delhi High Court, pleading to remove the videos that were uploaded on the online platforms, without her consent.

  • The court observed that the right to privacy of the woman is to be protected.
  • Conversely, online platforms questioned their right to publish.

About the Judgement:

  • In its judgement the Delhi High Court upheld the view that the “Right to Privacy” includes the “Right to be Forgotten” and the “Right to be Left Alone”.
  • “In the circumstances and in view of the fact that the plaintiff is entitled “to be left alone” and “to be forgotten”, she is entitled to protection from invasion of her privacy by strangers and anonymous callers on account of such publication/streaming/transmission of the suit videos by the defendants,” the court said in its order.

About the Right to Privacy:

  • In Puttaswamy v. Union of India case, 2017, the Right to Privacy was declared a fundamental right by the Supreme Court.
  • Right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.

What is the ‘Right to be Forgotten’?

  • It is the right to have publicly available personal information removed from the internet, search, databases, websites or any other public platforms, once the personal information in question is no longer necessary, or relevant.
  • The Right to be Forgotten falls under the purview of an individual’s right to privacy, which is governed by the Personal Data Protection Bill that is yet to be passed by Parliament.
  • In 2017, the Right to Privacy was declared a fundamental right by the Supreme Court in Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Retd) Vs Union of India.
    • The court said at the time that, “the right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution”.

Personal Data Protection Bill and RTBF:

  • The Personal Data Protection Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in 2019. It aims to set out provisions meant for the protection of the personal data of individuals.
  • Clause 20 under Chapter V of this draft bill titled “Rights of Data Principal” mentions the “Right to be Forgotten.”
    • It states that the “data principal (the person to whom the data is related) shall have the right to restrict or prevent the continuing disclosure of his personal data by a data fiduciary”.
    • Therefore, broadly, under the Right to be forgotten, users can de-link, limit, delete or correct the disclosure of their personal information held by data fiduciaries.
      • A data fiduciary means any person, including the State, a company, any juristic entity or any individual who alone or in conjunction with others determines the purpose and means of processing of personal data.
    • Data Protection Authority (DPA): Even so, the sensitivity of the personal data and information cannot be determined independently by the person concerned, but will be overseen by the Data Protection Authority (DPA).

Right to be Forgotten in Other countries:

  • The Centre for Internet and Society notes that the “right to be forgotten” gained prominence when the matter was referred to the Court of Justice of European Union (CJEC) in 2014 by a Spanish Court.
  • In the European Union (EU), the right to be forgotten empowers individuals to ask organisations to delete their personal data.
    • It is provided by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a law passed by the 28-member bloc in 2018.
  • The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in 2019 that the ‘right to be forgotten’ under European law would not apply beyond the borders of EU member states.
    • This ruling was considered an important victory for Google, and laid down that the online privacy law cannot be used to regulate the internet in countries such as India, which are outside the EU.

Challenges:

  • Right to be forgotten may get into conflict with matters involving public records.
  • The Right to be forgotten cannot be extended to official public records, especially judicial records as that would undermine public faith in the judicial system in the long run.
  • This Right creates a dilemma between the right to privacy of individuals and the right to information of society and freedom of press.

Way Forward:

  • There must be a balance between the right to privacy and protection of personal data (Article 21) and the freedom of information of internet users (Article 19).
  • A comprehensive data protection law must address these issues and minimize the conflict between the two fundamental rights.

 

  1. Supreme court of India on Economic criteria to decide creamy layer

#GS2 #Significant Provisions – Fundamental Rights #Judiciary #Reservation # Statutory, Regulatory & Quasi-Judicial Bodies

Context: The Supreme Court of India recently held that the economic criterion cannot be the sole basis for deciding the creamy layer from among backward classes for the purpose of excluding it from the purview of providing reservation.

  • A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose said this while quashing a Haryana government notification of August 17, 2016, sub-classifying backward classes solely on economic basis while fixing the criteria for creamy layer.

Supreme Court Verdict:

  • Recalled the judgement in the Indra Sawhney-II case, reported in 2000. Haryana government’s notifications have violated the law stated in the Indra Sawhney judgment by identifying creamy layer solely on the income basis.
    • In the Indira Sawhney case, also known as the Mandal Commission case, the supreme court, while calling upon state governments to classify creamy layer amongst the backward classes and exclude them from the benefits of reservation, also held that “the basis of exclusion of creamy layer cannot be merely economic”.
    • The government cannot repudiate reservation to a person belonging to a backward community merely on the ground that he or she is rich.
    • Social advancement, higher employment in government services, etc, play an equivalent role in determining whether such a person fit in to the creamy layer and could be deprived of quota benefits.
  • The Supreme Court has illustrated that ‘creamy layer’ would include “persons from backward classes who occupied posts in higher services like IAS, IPS and All India Services had reached a higher level of social advancement and economic status, and therefore, were not entitled to be treated as backward”.
    • People with sufficient income who were in a position to offer employment to others should also be taken to have reached a advanced social status and therefore, should be treated as outside the backward class.
    • People from backward classes who had larger agricultural holdings or were receiving income from properties, beyond a set limit, do not earn the benefit of reservation.

Creamy Layer:

  • The creamy layer sets a threshold within which Other Backward Classes reservation benefits are valid.
  • The creamy layer principle was based on the fundamental right to equality. Unless it is applied, the genuinely deserving person would not get the benefits of reservation.
  • The exclusion basis should be more than just economic, unless the economic improvement is so high that it essentially means social advancement.
    • While the person’s income can be taken as a degree of his social progression, the limit to be prescribed should not be such as to result in taking away with one hand what is given with the other.
    • The income limit must be such as to mean and signify social advancement

Creamy Layer as defined by the Union Government:

  • The Department of Personnel and Training have given various categories of people of certain rank/status/income whose children cannot use the advantage of OBC reservation.
    • Income: For those not in government, the present threshold is an income of Rs 8 lakh per annum.
      • This threshold is supposed to be raised every 03 years.
      • It was last revised in 2017.
    • Rank of Parents: For children of government employees, the threshold depends on their parents’ rank and not income.
      • For example, an individual is considered to fall within the creamy layer if either of his or her parents is in a constitutional post; if either parent has been directly recruited in Group-A; or if both parents are in Group-B services. There are other criteria as well.

Constitutional Provisions Related to OBCs:

  • Articles 15(4), 15(5) and 16(4) of the Indian Constitution confer power on a state to identify and declare the list of SEBCs (Socially and Educationally Backward Classes).
  • The Rohini Commission was established in October 2017 under Article 340 of the Constitution for sub-categorising 5000-odd castes in the central OBC list.
  • The 127th Constitution Amendment Bill 2021, reinstates the power of states to classify SEBCs, usually called OBCs.
  • The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act of 2018 conferred constitutional status to the NCBC (National Commission for Backward Classes), and empowered the President of India to notify the list SEBCs for any state or union territory.

 

  1. Liberalised Drone rules, 2021

#GS2 #Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation # Challenges to Internal Security

Context: The Ministry of Civil Aviation has recently notified the Drone Rules 2021.

Background:

  • Earlier in March this year, the union government had released the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Rules, 2021.
  • They were alleged by academia, Start-ups, end-users and other stakeholders as being deterring in nature as they involved considerable paperwork, required permissions for every drone flight and very few “free to fly” green zones were available.
  • Based on the feedback, the Union Government has decided to repeal the UAS Rules, 2021 and replace the same with the liberalised Drone Rules, 2021.

Key changes:

  1. Digital sky platform shall be developed as a business-friendly single-window online system.
  2. The total number of forms that were to be filled has been reduced from 25 to 05, and the total number of fees that are to be paid before being able to operate drones has been reduced from 72 to just 04.
  3. In addition to this, the quantum of fees, which was earlier linked to the size of drone, has been reduced and delinked from the size.
    1. For example, the remote pilot license fee, which was Rs 3,000 for a large size drone, has been reduced to Rs 100 — which is the fee for all categories of drones.
  4. No flight permission required up to 400 feet in green zones and up to 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.
  5. No pilot licence required for micro drones (for non-commercial use), nano drone and for R&D organisations.
  6. No restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India.
  7. Import of drones and drone components to be regulated by DGFT.
  8. No security clearance required before any registration or licence issuance.
  9. No requirement of certificate of airworthiness, unique identification number, prior permission and remote pilot licence for R&D entities.
  10. Coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 increased from 300 kg to 500 kg. This will cover drone taxis also.
  11. Issuance of Certificate of Airworthiness delegated to Quality Council of India and certification entities authorised by it.
  12. Manufacturer may generate their drone’s unique identification number on the digital sky platform through the self-certification route.
  13. Maximum penalty under Drone Rules, 2021 reduced to INR 1 lakh. This shall, however, not apply to penalties in respect of violation of other laws.
  14. Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries.
  15. Drone promotion council to be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime.

Significance of the new rules:

  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems, usually known as drones, provides tremendous benefits to almost all sectors of the economy like – agriculture, mining, infrastructure, surveillance, emergency response, transportation, geo-spatial mapping, defence, and law enforcement etc.
  • Drones can be important generators of employment and economic growth due to their reach, versatility, and ease of use, particularly in India’s remote and inaccessible areas.
  • In view of its traditional strengths in innovation, information technology, frugal engineering and massive domestic demand, India has the potential to be global drone hub by 2030.
  • Liberalised rules will help leverage these benefits make India a global hub.
  • New rules highlight the administration’s intent to let the use of drones while at the same time ensuring security from rogue drones through the anti-rogue drone framework that was announced in 2019.
  • The rules are based on the principle of trust and self-certification and non-intensive monitoring.
  • The Rules will greatly help start-ups and our youth working in this sector. It will create new potentials for innovation & business.

Need for stricter rules and regulations:

  • Recently, Unmanned Aerial vehicles were used for the first time to drop explosive devices, triggering blasts inside the Air Force Station’s technical area in Jammu.
  • Over the past few years, drones have been arrayed regularly by Pakistan-based outfits to smuggle arms, ammunition and drugs into India.
  • As per the government data, 167 drone sightings were recorded along the border with Pakistan in 2019, and in 2020, there were 77 such sightings.
  • With the rapid proliferation of drone technology and its rapid growth of its world market in recent years, the likelihood of a drone attack cannot be ruled out even in the safest cities in the world.
  • Drones are now a security threats mostly in conflict zones where non-state actors are active and have easy access to the technology.

 

5.Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP)

#GS2 # India and its Neighbourhood – Relations # India and its Neighbourhood – Relations #GS3 #Infrastructure

Context: India and Maldives recently signed a contract on the mega Greater Male Connectivity project (GMCP), the largest infrastructure project in the country.

  • The project is the outcome of bilateral discussion between India and the Maldives and has been under discussion since the visit of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to Male in 2019.

About the project:

  • The project will involve the construction of a 6.74 km long bridge and causeway link that will connect capital Male with the adjoining islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi.
  • This infrastructure project is the largest-ever by India in the Maldives.
  • This project was sponsored by India in a grant of $100 million, with a line of credit of $400 million.
    • The Line of Credit is not a grant but a ‘soft loan’ provided on concessional interest rates to developing countries, which has to be repaid by the borrowing government.

Why were these islands chosen?

  • In the island of Gulhifalhu, a port is currently being built under the Indian line of credit. Located some 6kms from Male, since 2016, the island has been promoted by the Maldives government as a strategic location for manufacturing, warehousing and distribution facilities due to close distance to the capital city.
  • Island of Thilafushi: Located 7 km from the capital, the artificial island of Thilafushi was created and selected as a landfill in the early 1990s, to receive garbage created mostly in Male.

Significance:

  • This is not only the biggest project India is doing in the Maldives but also the biggest infrastructure project in the Maldives overall.
    • The GMCP project would be bigger than the Sinamale Bridge built with Chinese assistance that connects Male with Hulhumale and Hulhule and was completed in 2018.
  • It is considered as the economic lifeline for the Maldives and will provide a most important boost to connectivity between the 04 islands accounting for about 50% of the Maldivian population.
  • It will add dynamism to the Maldivian transport and economic activities.
  • Also, the GMCP is concrete proof that India is a robust development partner of the Maldives in addition to being the First Responder in times of any emergency in the Maldives.
    • The India-Maldives relationship suffered a setback when Maldives entered into a Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) with China in 2017.
  • For India, Maldives holds strategic importance and showing that it can deliver would help mitigate some concerns that may exist in the Maldives.
  • This will also provide a strategic edge to India over China with regards to Maldives.

 

  1. SUJALAM Campaign by Jal Shakthi Ministry

#GS2 #Government policies and interventions #Urbanisation #Gs2 #Issues Relating to Development & Management of Social Sector/Services-Health and sanitation

Context: The Ministry of Jal Shakti has begun (From 25th August) ‘SUJALAM’, a ‘100 days campaign’ as part of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.

Key Details:

  • The goal is to create more and more ODF Plus villages by undertaking waste water management at village level.
  • This is done mainly by creating 10 lakh Soak-pits and also other grey water management activities.

The main activities that will be organised in the villages under this campaign include:

  1. Arranging Community consultations, Khuli Baithaks and Gram Sabha meetings to analyse the current situation.
  2. Pass non-binding orders to maintain ODF sustainability and attain needed number of soak pits to manage the grey water.
  3. Form a 100 days’ plan for sustainability and soak pit construction related activities.
  4. Construct required number of soak pits.
  5. Retrofit toilets where needed through IEC and community mobilization.
  6. To make sure all freshly emerging Households in the village have access to toilets.

Significance of the campaign:

  • The campaign will not only build required infrastructure but will also support in sustainable management of waterbodies.
  • The campaign would enhance the momentum of Swachh Bharat Mission- Grameen phase II activities through community participation.

Need for this campaign:

  • The waste water disposal and waterbody clogging in the villages or on the outskirts of the villages remain one of the major complications. The Campaign would help in management of the wastewater and in turn would help to revive the waterbodies.

What is ODF tag?

  • A city/ward is notified as ODF city/ward if, at any point of the day, not a single person is found defecating in the open.

What is ODF+?

  • A city, ward or work circle could be declared ODF+ if, “at any point of the day, not a single person is found defecating and/or urinating in the open, and all community and public toilets are functional and well-maintained.”

What is ODF++?

  • The ODF++ protocol adds the condition that “faecal sludge/sept age and sewage is safely managed and treated, with no discharging and/or dumping of untreated faecal sludge/sept age and sewage in drains, water bodies or open areas.”

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