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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 15th April, 2016

  • April 15, 2016
  • 1
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs April 2016, UPSC
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 15th April, 2016

 

ECONOMICS

 

TOPIC

General Studies 2:

  • 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.

General Studies 3:

  • Marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers

 

E-platform for trading farm produce to make agriculture remunerative

Background:

  • Trading of farm produce in India is set to go digital as the government plans to introduce an electronic trading platform for farmers in its efforts to build a national market and double farm incomes by 2022
  • The e-platform called National Agriculture Market will connect 21 mandis or markets from eight states in the first phase. The platform will begin by trading in 25 crops, including wheat, maize, pulses, oilseeds, potatoes, onions and spices.

 

Current scenario of agriculture and marketing:

  • As Agriculture and Marketing fall under state subjects, each wholesale mandi being governed by its own Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) of the states. Thus there is a variation in farm marketing from state to state and also within the states as these mandis require separate licenses and charge different marketing fees.
  • Farmers have no option but to sell their produce at the nearest mandi at a price quoted by traders who suppress prices by forming cartels.
  • Falling prices of key commodities such as rice, wheat and cotton have dented farm incomes in the past few years.
  • Lack of unified markets has led to varying rates of horticulture crops such as onions and potatoes in different states.
  • Lack of warehouses equipped with facilities for weighing, grading and standardization of stocks sold through the electronic platform.
  • Lack of technology leading to lack of transparency in transactions, which eventually hurts farmers.

 

Advantages of “e-mandi” platform – National Agriculture Market:

  • Goal of the NAM platform is to double farm incomes by 2022.
  • Farmers can sell their produce in any one of these markets where prices are quoted higher
  • Platform will improve transparency and provide farmers with wider choice and better prices. For instanceKarnataka already has a statewide barrier-free electronic market for farm produce which has resulted in better price realization for farmers by reaching out to more buyers, including food processors and organized retail chains. The new national platform will broadly follow the Karnataka model.
  • The Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), the nodal agency for running the new electronic platform will serve as an aggregator through its existing or specially created local units.

 

Hurdles ahead:

Limited integration:

  • States like Kerala and Bihar which do not have an APMC Act have to amend APMC act to get integrated to the platform.
  • Several states levy taxes and duties on trading of farm produce and they may not want to forego these revenue sources. For instance, Punjab does not want to lose the5000 crore they earn from this route.

 

Way ahead:

The three critical prerequisites to be addressed to integrate a wholesale mandi with the online platform state governments have to amend their APMC Act to ensure that there is

  • Single wholesale trading license valid across the catchment area
  • Single-point levy of market fees
  • E-auction as the mode for price discovery.

Inter-state trade:

  • Goal of a national market will fall flat if laws are not streamlined to allow for inter-state trade.
  • Inter-state sale of agri-produce will be allowed once the targeted 585 wholesale mandis across the country are integrated with NAM by March 2018 after addressing issues related to taxes among others.

 

Lack of Dispute redressal mechanism:

Lack of disputes settlement mechanism arising out of lack of quality standards of farm produce traded on the platform. For instance: Selling apples over the electronic platform claiming they are of good quality, but if the actual shipment turns out to be of a poor quality then such disputes must be addressed to deliver quality service to customers.

Connecting the dots:

  • Can “e-mandi” platform – National Agriculture Market, make agriculture remunerative and de-stress agriculture distress? Comment.

 

DEFENCE/SECURITY

TOPIC

General Studies 3:

  • Science and Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology. 
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention. 

General studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 

 

Cybersecurity trends for financial services industry

  • If ‘financial inclusion’ has become an established vision for the government via Initiatives such as Digital India and Make in India coupled with the surge of ecommerce and introduction of digital wallets, the country has simultaneously also become an attractive target for cybercriminals
  • In 2015, financial institutions were prime target of cybercriminals looking to maximize their payloads and in fact, the impact of some high-profile hacks of financial institutions, in the US, has been valued at over $100 million.

The financial services sector especially of the emerging economies, is more vulnerable to cyberattacks and thus, necessary steps need to be taken to ward off the evil named ‘cybercrime’

 

Increase Transparency

  • Need to establish uniformity in Asia when it comes to laws mandating the disclosure of cyber breaches.
  • While sharing less with regulators may keep the heat off organizations in the short term, it increases the chances of additional attacks targeting similar organizations with similar techniques.
  • Steps taken— establishment of the Cyber Threat Alliance—a group of cybersecurity solutions providers coming together to share threat intelligence on attacks taking place across the region, including motivations, tactics and information on those responsible.

Increase Security

The level of investment in cybersecurity solutions needs to be accelerated (increase their security budget by over 70%) as cybercrimes in India alone- more than doubled in 2015 compared to the previous year

Adoption of International regulations on cybersecurity

  • The introduction of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, which aims to help US companies to work with the US government to combat hackers need to be evaluated by Asian countries as well as be adopted while fostering the principle of sharing the cyberthreat information.
  • They also need to ensure that there are responsible privacy protections in place, for the purpose of identifying, preventing, mitigating and responding to cyberthreats, vulnerabilities and malicious campaigns.

 

A more holistic approach to cybersecurity

With new technologies there will be new vulnerabilities created, giving hackers more opportunities to carry out targeted attacks and thus, there is a need to re-architect the systems and networks—from legacy platforms to adopting next-generation technology to cover all bases, which include the network, endpoint and the cloud.

Big Data adoption for security purposes

Gartner expects over 25% of global firms to have adopted big analytics for at least one security and fraud detection use case by 2016 and therefore, countries such as India, China, and Singapore will find themselves at the receiving end, if they do not translate their failure- to adoption of Big Data for increased security purposes.

Alarming third-party risk

  • Frequent instances of compromised client data due to lapses in vendors’ security serves as a reminder that it is no longer just about banks, but also about their vendors, subcontractors and suppliers who have access to the data
  • Regulators need to take a closer look into how banks are managing risk when it comes to taking on third-party vendors, and as more enterprises in the region make the move to invest in more resilient platform-based security platforms.

Connecting the Dots:

  • Cyber security will only become more important as more devices, ‘the internet of things’, become connected to the internet. Discuss.

 

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