Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

UPSC Civils Current Affairs 28th May-2021

Topics

  • National Digital health mission:
  • Panel to define offences of Speech, Expression
  • Interpol
  • APEDA
  • Rwanda Genocide and France

 

  1. National Digital health mission:

Context: PM Modi chairs high level meeting to review progress of National Digital Health Mission.

Background:

  • On 15thAug 2020, during his Independence Day address, Hon’ble Prime Minister had announced the launch of NDHM.
  • Since then, the digital modules and registries have been developed and the mission has been rolled out in six Union Territories. So far, nearly 11.9 lakh Health IDs have been generated and 3106 doctors and 1490 facilities have registered on the platform.
  • This Mission finds its roots in 2017 National health Policy and 2018 Niti Aayog proposal to create a centralised mechanism to uniquely identify every participating user in the National Health Stack.
  • The Mission is expected to bring efficiency and transparency in healthcare services in the country.

What is National Digital Health Mission and its key features?

  • The NDHM is a complete digital health ecosystem. The digital platform will be launched with four key features — health ID, personal health records, Digi Doctor and health facility registry.
  • The National Health Authority has been given the mandate to design, build, roll-out and implement the mission in the country.
  • It has been envisaged that Unified Health Interface (UHI) – an open and interoperable IT network for digital health should soon be rolled out soon.
  • Private stakeholders will have an equal opportunity to integrate and create their own products for the market. The core activities and verifications, however, remain with the government.
  • Health ID – It will be a repository of all health-related information. Every participating stakeholder including healthcare providers and Indian citizens will be part of this health ID system on a voluntary basis. A unique health ID will be created by every citizen interested to access the benefits of this mission.
  • The citizens will be able to give their doctors and health providers one-time access to this data during visits to the hospital for consultation. At a later stage, it will also include e-pharmacy and telemedicine services, regulatory guidelines for which are being framed.
  • Digi Doctor – He/she will be the one who will be responsible for providing healthcare services across the country. An interested healthcare professional can act as a digital doctor to provide prescriptions to patients sitting in a different location altogether. He/she will be assigned free digital signatures which can be used to prescribe medicines.
  • The healthcare services will be provided through a mobile app or through an official website.
  • It will be voluntary for the hospitals and doctors to provide details for the app.

Objectives of National Digital Health Mission

  • Establishment of Digital Health System: To manage the Infrastructure requirements for seamless exchange of services.
  • Creation of Registries: Which will have all credible data of clinical establishments, healthcare professionals, health workers, drugs, and pharmacies
  • Enforcement of adoption of open standards by all national digital health stakeholders
  • Establishment of Standardized personal health records
  • The aim will be to achieve health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Adoption of cooperative federalism while coordinating with states and union territories.
  • Promotion of private players’ participation along with the public health authorities
  • Making healthcare services portable nationally.

Drawbacks:

  • Data misuse – It is a challenge to secure the health data of the citizens along with other personal information to avoid a breach of the right to privacy.
  • Leakages from health repositories – Technological advancement and high security to avoid any leakage of the data.
  • Profiteering by hospitals and other private players by selling data.
  • Enemy state surveillance

National health Stack:

  • The National Health Stack is designed to provide the foundational components that will be required across Ayushman Bharat and other health programs in India.
  • The Health Stack is a nationally shared digital infrastructure usable by both Centre and State across public and private sectors. The Stack is designed to bring a holistic view across multiple health verticals and enable rapid creation of diverse solutions in health.

 

  1. Panel to define offences of Speech, Expression:

Context: As there is no clear definition of what constitutes a “hate speech” in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Committee for Reforms in Criminal Laws constituted by Ministry of Home affairs is attempting for the first time to define such speech, which is expected to submit its report soon.

What is Hate Speech?

  • There is no legal definition internationally for hate speech, and the characterization of what is ‘hateful’ is controversial and disputed.
  • It is generally understood as any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are.
  • Other than direct verbal expression it can take many forms like, a song/video/tweet/cartoon/manipulated image etc.
  • Even merely criticising someone is being termed hate speech. This is happening as there is no proper definition for this.

What are the factors giving rise to hate speech?

  • Negative stereotypes and their roots: The primary reason is the belief in stereotypes that are ingrained in minds and these stereotypes lead them to believe that a class or group of persons are inferior to them and as such cannot have the same rights as them and less worthy of respect.
  • Negative stereotypes appear as a result of the discriminatory institutions, structures and norms like racism, casteism, sexism which are embedded in the fabric of society and justify and sustain unequal social relations
  • The stubbornness to stick to a particular ideology without caring for the right to co-exist peacefully adds further fuel to the fire of hate speech
  • Perpetrators of hate speeches can be motivated by a variety of different factors:
  • Motivated by thrill and excitement
  • Motivated by desire to protect their interest
  • Perpetrators may be influenced by their perception that certain groups pose a threat to them.

Hate Speech can lead to many disturbances in society in form of:

  • Atrocity crime
  • The spread of violent extremism
  • Human rights violation
  • Communal Violence
  • Polarization of communities and sections of the society
  • Erosion of democratic values like: Guarantee of equal dignity to all and public good of inclusiveness.
  • Mobocracy and Mob lynching

Previous attempts to define Hate speech:

  • Earlier in 2018, the Home Ministry had written to the Law Commission to prepare a distinct law for online “hate speech”.
  • The Bureau of Police Research and Development recently published a manual for investigating agencies on cyber harassment cases that defined hate speech as a “language that denigrates, insults, threatens or targets an individual based on their identity and other traits.
  • A committee was formed in the wake of Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000, which provided punishment for sending offensive messages through communication services.

Recommendation of various committees on Hate Speech:

  • An expert committee headed by TK Viswanathan to deal with cybercrimes especially online hate speech in 2017, proposed inserting Sections 153 C (b) and Section 505 A in the IPC for incitement to commit an offence on grounds of religion, race, caste or community, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, place of birth, residence, language, disability or tribe.
  • It proposed punishment by up to two years along with ?5,000 fine.
  • The Bezbaruah Committee was constituted by the Centre in February 2014 in the wake of series of racial attacks on persons belonging to the northeast.
  • It proposed amendment to Section 153 C IPC (promoting or attempting to promote acts prejudicial to human dignity), punishable by five years and fine or both and Section 509 A IPC (word, gesture or act intended to insult a member of a particular race), punishable by three years or fine or both.

About the Committee for Reforms in Criminal Laws:

  • In 2019, the Home Ministry decided to overhaul the IPC, framed in 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) after seeking suggestions from States, the Supreme Court, High Courts, the Bar Council of India, Bar Councils of States, universities and law institutes on comprehensive amendments to criminal laws.
  • The committee thus formed is examining a gamut of subjects pertaining to reforms in the IPC.
  • The committee has decided that instead of ad hoc changes, all the pending issues such as those on hate speech as recommended by the Viswanathan committee can be examined and comprehensive changes are brought in.

What should be the criteria to identify hate speech?

  • The extremity of the speech.
  • Incitement
  • Status of the author of the speech.
  • Status of victims of the speech.
  • Potentiality of the speech.
  • Context of the Speech.

Conclusion:

  • Subjects like hate speeches become a complex issue to deal with, in a country like India which is very diverse, as it was very difficult to differentiate between free and hate speech.
  • There are many factors which should be considered while restraining speeches like strong opinions, offensive comments towards certain communities, the effect on values like dignity, liberty and equality
  • There are laws for such atrocities but certainly, a major part of work is still left.
  • We all have to work together and communicate efficiently for our country to be a healthy place to live in.

 

  1. Interpol

Context: Fugitive Mehul Choksi, who had recently fled from Antigua and Barbuda, was captured in neighbouring Dominica after an Interpol Yellow Notice was issued against him.

Background:

  • Choksi had been living in Antigua and Barbuda since 2018 after taking the citizenship.
  • He is wanted in a ?13,500-crore Punjab National Bank loan fraud case.
  • Choksi is facing criminal proceedings by both CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Interpol:

  • The International Criminal Police Organisation, or Interpol, is a 194-member intergovernmental organisation, which makes it the world’s largest international police organization.
  • It was Established in 1923 with its headquarters in Lyon, France.
  • India joined the organisation in 1949, and is one of its oldest members.
  • It enables cross-border police cooperation and supports and assists all organisations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime.
  • Interpol has an objective to facilitate international police cooperation even where diplomatic relations are not present between certain countries.
  • Action is taken within the limits of existing laws in different countries and in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Interpol’s constitution prohibits ‘any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.’
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is designated as the National Central Bureau of India.

Interpol Notices:

  • INTERPOL Notices are international requests for cooperation or alerts allowing police in member countries to share critical crime-related information.
  • Notices can also be used by the United Nations, International Criminal Tribunals and the International Criminal Court to seek persons wanted for committing crimes within their jurisdiction, notably genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
  • Previously, the INTERPOL has issued a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi’s brother Nehal in connection with the multi-billion dollar Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.

Types of Notices:

Checks and balances:

  • The Interpol says that an notices must comply with its constitution and rules. It says on its website that “every Red Notice request is checked by a specialised task force to ensure it is compliant with (Interpol) rules”.
  • The Interpol argues that a notice is issued only after a competent court has taken cognisance of a chargesheet against the fugitive.

Location of Dominica and Antigua: Both belongs to Caribbean island group in Atlantic Ocean.

 

  1. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)

Context: To boost export potential of India’s agricultural and processed food products during the Covid19 pandemic, the second virtual trade fair for horticultural produce was recently organized by APEDA.

Key details:

  • The three days virtual trade fair display India’s unique fruits, vegetables and floricultural products sourced from various regions for the global importers.
  • The exhibitors or exporters of fresh vegetables, fresh mangoes, fresh pomegranate and grapes and other fresh fruits have showcased their products for their global importers.
  • Because of COVID19 related restrictions on physical travel and trade, APEDA has initiated the concept of VTF for sustaining India’s agricultural and processed food products exports and also exploring new markets for expanding export footprints.

About APEDA:

  • APEDA is an apex body authorised under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India established to promote the export of agricultural commodities and processed food products.
  • It was established under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act, 1985.
  • The Authority replaced the Processed Food Export Promotion Council (PFEPC).
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Functions

  • APEDA is mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the scheduled products viz.
  • Fruits, Vegetables and their Products.
  • Meat and Meat Products.
  • Poultry and Poultry Products.
  • Dairy Products.
  • Confectionery, Biscuits and Bakery Products.
  • Honey, Jaggery and Sugar Products.
  • Cocoa and its products, chocolates of all kinds.
  • Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages.
  • Cereal and Cereal Products.
  • Groundnuts, Peanuts and Walnuts.
  • Pickles, Papads and Chutneys.
  • Guar Gum.
  • Floriculture and Floriculture Products.
  • Herbal and Medicinal Plants.
  • APEDA has been entrusted with the responsibility to monitor import of sugar.
  • It looks after the development of industries relating to the scheduled products for export by way of providing financial assistance or otherwise for undertaking surveys and feasibility studies, participating through subsidy schemes.
  • Registration of persons as exporters of the scheduled products and fixing of standards and specifications for the scheduled products for the purpose of exports.
  • Carrying out inspection of meat and meat products in slaughterhouses, processing plants, storage premises and improving packaging of the scheduled products.
  • Improving packaging and marketing of the Scheduled products outside India;
  • Training in various aspects of the industries connected with the scheduled products.

Administrative set up of APEDA:

  • Chairman – Appointed by the Central Government.
  • Director – Appointed by APEDA.
  • Secretary – Appointed by the Central Government.
  • Other Officers and Staff – Appointed by the Authority.

Important initiatives by APEDA to enhance e-Governance:

  • APEDA has undertaken a number of initiatives to enhance the existing e-Governance system and introduced new online facilities for the benefit of stakeholders. Such as-
  • Developed paperless system for application filing, processing and certificate issuance for Organic Certification bodies including renewal of accreditation.
  • Online processing of Electronic Annual Performance Appraisal Report(e-APAR) for the officials of APEDA was developed and implemented, etc.
  • A Farmer Connect Portal has also been set up by APEDA on its website for providing a platform for Farmer Producer Organisations and Farmer Producer Companies to interact with exporters.
  • Over 800 FPOs have been registered on the portal.

(What are FPOs?

  • FPOs are voluntary organizations controlled by their farmer-members who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions.
  • They are open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
  • FPOs operatives provide education and training for their farmer-members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so that they can contribute effectively to the development of their FPOs.)

 

  1. Rwanda Genocide and France

Context: French President Emmanuel Macron at the Gisozi genocide memorial in Kigali seeks forgiveness over his country’s role in the Rwandan genocide and seeks to reset relations after years of Rwandan accusations that France was complicit in the 1994 atrocities.

Background: Rwanda Genocide:

  • In just 100 days in 1994, about 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda by ethnic Hutu extremists. They were targeting members of the minority Tutsi community, as well as their political opponents, irrespective of their ethnic origin.

Causes:

  1. German and Belgium colonialism: Germans favored Tutsi, who had European features, with better access to education and economic opportunities which resulted in the unfair divide between two races.
  2. The colonialists of Rwanda left Tutsias ruling power even though Hutus formed 85% of Rwanda.
  3. Habyriamana’s political regime and pro-Hutu indoctrination exploited the Tutsis and increased ethnic tension
  4. Transition of government from Tutsi to Hutu in 1962 following the Rwanda independence paved the way for more ethnic tension which resulted in tens of thousands of Tutsis fled to neighbouring countries, including Uganda.
  5. A group of Tutsi exiles formed a rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which invaded Rwanda in 1990 and fighting continued until a 1993 peace deal was agreed.
  6. On the night of 6 April 1994 a plane carrying then-President Juvenal Habyarimana, and his counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi – both Hutus – was shot down, killing everyone on board.
  7. Hutu extremists blamed the RPF and immediately started a well-organised campaign of slaughter. The RPF said the plane had been shot down by Hutus to provide an excuse for the genocide.

Consequences:

  1. Genocide was the direct consequence.
  • The mass murder of almost 75% of the Tutsi population.
  • Nearly 9% of the adult population is HIV-positive(500,00 women and girls were tortured ,raped and abused)
  • Childrens were affected in large numbers, the whole future generation became the victim.
  1. Economic collapse- Decline in Rwandan GDP to more than 40% in 1994- fall in coffee price- devaluation of Rwandan Franc in 1990.
  2. Many refugees died due to disease outbreak, especially cholera and dysentry in the aftermath
  3. Regional socio-economic damage and political instability in neighbouring countries- mass refugees to the neighbouring countries.
  • While the genocide led to death of lakhs of Tutsis, it ended with the RPF gaining power. This led to fear of retribution among Hutus who fled to neighbouring DR Congo in millions.
  • The genocide directly led to decades of unrest in Congo, leading to millions of deaths.
  1. The Rwandan conflict resulted in both international and regional jurisdiction as well as political reform.

International response:

  • World leaders turned blind eye: France, Belgium, USA and UN kept silence on the genocide.
  • Many countries refused to acknowledge it as a “genocide”, or putting any sanctions / condemnation against the Rwanda government. Many nations considered the war as just a tribal conflict.
  • UN Security Council delayed sending UN peace keeping force in Rwanda (UNAMIR).
  • UN approved French intervention in Rwanda for humanisation purpose. But French forces helped some of the genocide plotters to escape.

Post Genocide:

  • An International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was set up to prosecute criminals of genocide, but many escaped due to lack of evidence.
  • Hence, the international community largely remained indifferent to the happenings in Rwanda. A timely intervention and pressure on the Hutu government during genocide could have possible avoided the genocide.
  • The failure of international peace keeping hastened the genocide and contributed to the decline of UN credibility.

French Connection:

  • France maintained close diplomatic ties with Hutu dominated govt. ever since they gained independence in 62.
  • During 1994’s civil war, France sent forces only after it felt that Tutsi rebels (minority) will defeat the Hutu militia (Majority)
  • France saved many Hutu plotters of Genocide, even gave them shelter/asylum in France.
  • Some even blame that France was actively knew and helped Hutus to plot this genocide.

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