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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 28th January, 2016

  • January 28, 2016
  • 8
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs January 2016, National, UPSC
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 28th January, 2016

 

NATIONAL

 

TOPIC: General studies 3:

  • Indian Constitution- significant provisions and basic structure; Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

 

Ensuring privacy in a digital age

Convention 108, 1981: The European Council signed the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data

What about it—

The first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection

28 January-The day has since been celebrated as Data Protection Day in Europe and as International Data Privacy Day around the world

Data Privacy—

Internet and Mobile Association of India Report-India has around 400 million Internet users treating Internet essentially as a data ecosystem where every node is engaged in generation, transmission, consumption and storage of data

Real Issue- Absence of measures that

  • Safeguard the privacy of this data
  • Regulates data retention by platforms collecting it

Resulting in—

  • Zero awareness regarding how their personally identifiable information is collected, stored, used and shared
  • Large scale sensitive data collection and storage due to governance-driven digitization (Aadhaar, digital lockers, and direct account transfers) but with a toothless Information Technology Act which has limited scope to penalize government agencies for breach of data privacy (only legal instrument available to citizens against contravention of their privacy in the data ecosystem)

2013– Maharashtra government simply lost the personal data of 300,000 Aadhaar card applicants

Need of the hour—

  • A comprehensive legislation that provides for a right to privacy as a fundamental entitlement to citizens for which the groundwork has already been laid in 2012 by a Justice A.P. Shah-headed group of experts constituted by the Planning Commission.
  • The commission had proposed a set of national privacy principles that would place an obligation on data controllers to put in place safeguards and procedures that would enable and ensure protection of privacy rights
    • Notice (to be given to users while collecting data);
    • Choice and consent (of users while collecting data from them);
    • Collection limitation (to keep user data collected at the minimum necessary);
    • Purpose limitation (to keep the purpose as adequately defined and narrow as possible);
    • Access and correction (for end users to correct or delete their personal data as may be necessary);
    • Disclosure of information (private data should not be disclosed without explicit consent of end user);
    • Security (defining responsibility to ensure technical, administrative and physical safeguards for data collected);
    • Openness (informing end users of possible collection and utilization of personal data);
    • Accountability (institutionalize accountability for adherence to these principles)

 

The proposed framework—

  • Technology neutral
  • Compliant with international standards already in place to protect user privacy
  • Should recognize the multiple dimensions of privacy
  • Establish a national ethos for privacy protection
  • Flexible to address emerging concerns
  • Should contain horizontal applicability with both the public and private sectors bought under the purview of privacy legislation

In the time being—

It is necessary to adopt mechanisms ensure compliance towards use of Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PET)—

  • Processes and tools that allow end users to safeguard the privacy of their personally identifiable information that they willingly provide to government agencies and other service providers
  • PETs put the end user in control over what information to share, with whom to share and a clear knowledge of the recipients of this information
  • Usage of data encryption and mandating multi-factor authentication for access to end user data can be examples of other PETs that can be implemented by service providers and government agencies alike

-Aligning our technology laws with the evolving Internet landscape

-User privacy concerns and secure designing should be integrated in the charters of respective standard-setting organizations

-Government should seek ‘active user education’ that makes them aware of their choices

-Lengthy and complex privacy policies that practically hand over control of user data to the platforms collecting it need to be replaced with ones that are user friendly in draft and execution.

-Policy documents that address these concerns need to be widely discussed and debated in the public domain

Steps taken by the Government

Draft Internet of Things Policy- Devotes only one line to the need to have security and privacy standards

Policy document on Smart Cities– Indifferent to the issues related to privacy

Introduction of legislation in Parliament, 2011– Failed as there could not be a consensus on which government agencies could seek exclusion from such provisions and collect citizen data without any oversight

2015- Supreme Court referred to a constitutional bench the petition seeking inclusion of the Right to Privacy under Article 21 (Right to Life);

  • Verdict- awaited

Connecting the Dots:

  • ‘Breach of privacy’ is a breach of Right to Life. Critically examine

 

ECONOMICS

TOPIC:

  • General studies 3:
    • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. 
    • Government Budgeting. 
  • General studies 2:
    • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 

 

Budget and Infrastructure investment

A month from now, the Finance Minister will present his Budget for the 2016-17 fiscal to Parliament.

Some fiscal issues the budget needs to tackle:

  • Ongoing demand to introduce Indian Financial Code.
  • To cap fiscal deficit at an achievable target.
  • Demand to make principle of inflation targeting as the sole objective of monetary policy.
  • Issue of composition of theMonetary Policy Committee.

 

What is the need in India?

India needs to create jobs for a fast-growing workforce and lift large numbers out of poverty

Hurdles which come in the way:

One major hurdle in achieving job creation is ‘the scale of the challenge to build infrastructure’.

The other side is whether fiscal consolidation and inflation targeting could become constraints on infrastructure investment, growth and job creation.

Consider the question of fiscal deficit:

  • As conventionally calculated, fiscal deficit is the difference between the government’s income and expenditure on both revenue and capital accounts.
  • The deficit adds to government debt, but surely there is a huge difference between, say, the expenditure incurred in implementing the recent award of the Seventh Pay Commission, and the money spent on building roads, ports, or other infrastructure, which adds to government assets?
  • This apart, investments in infrastructure are essential to maintain growth momentum and the resultant increase in GDP improves the government’s debt servicing capacity.

 

Case study of Ethiopia:

  • Rapid growth in the most successful economy in Africa, namely Ethiopia, was the result of “a massive increase in public investment, from five per cent of GDP in the early 1990s to 19 per cent in 2011 – the third-highest rate in the world.
  • The government went on a spending spree, building roads, railways, power plants and an agricultural extension system that significantly enhanced productivity in rural areas where most of the poor reside.

Lacunas in private sector financing:

  • It may be argued that the building of infrastructure could be left to the private sector and bank financing rather than through fiscal resources.
  • Whileprima facie this sounds reasonable, at present there seem to be several constraints on this happening on any significant scale.

 

Some of the more important ones are as follows:

  1. The banking supervisor has been expressing serious concerns about the level of non-performing assets of the banking system.
    • Loans to the infrastructure sector have a disproportionate share in the aggregate non-performing assets, and banks would be reluctant to increase their exposure.
    • Even otherwise, the banking system would be reluctant to increase its loan book because of the much higher capital requirements prescribed by the Basel III norms, which are to be complied with in the next few years.
  2. For the private sector, its experience with stalled projects in the infrastructure sector has not been happy, and that will surely dim its enthusiasm.
  3. Another problem is that, in Maharashtra at least, there has been strong political opposition and agitations against the collection of tolls on roads financed by the private sector.
    • One also wonders to what extent the prevailing high real interest rates would adversely affect infrastructure investment by the private sector and this is not entirely the result of inefficient monetary transmission on the part of the banking system.

Way ahead:

  • In short, relying on the private sector to undertake infrastructure investment may not be a realistic proposition.
  • The virtue of fiscal deficit may need to be dented in the interest of investment, growth and job creation.

Connecting the dots:

  • Economic survey 2014-15 pointed out to structural problems for low economic growth in India. What do you understand by structural problems? Explain the measures taken by government to solve them.

 

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