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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 10th May, 2016

  • May 11, 2016
  • 8
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs May 2016, National, UPSC
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 10th May, 2016

 

NATIONAL

 

TOPIC:

General studies 2:

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

General studies 3:

  • Security challenges; Science and Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life 

 

Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016

Proposed bill—

  • Aimed at regulating the acquisition and use of geospatial information pertaining to India
  • Makes it illegal to acquire and even maintain previously acquired Indian geospatial data without applying for and receiving a licence from an authority that is to be created for this purpose
  • Security Vetting Authority
    • Conduct “sensitivity checks” on the geospatial information being used
    • “Screen” the “credentials” of both end users and end applications

Geospatial information— According to the draft it means:

  • Geospatial imagery or data acquired through space or aerial platforms such as satellite, aircrafts, airships, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Graphical or digital data depicting natural or man-made physical features, phenomenon or boundaries of the earth
  • Any information related thereto including surveys, charts, maps, terrestrial photos referenced to a co-ordinate system and having attributes

 

Violation of the law (if it becomes a law):

  • Illegal acquisition of geospatial information of India – Fine ranging from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 100 crore and/or imprisonment for a period up to seven years.
  • Illegal dissemination, publication or distribution of geospatial information of India – Whoever disseminates, publishes or distributesany geospatial information of India in contravention of section 4, shall be punished with a fine ranging from Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 100 crore and/or imprisonment for a period up to seven years.
  • Use of geospatial information of India outside India – Fine ranging from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 100 croreand/or imprisonment for a period up to seven years

Logistical Issues:

Geospatial information—covers information that we think of as relatively stable but also talks about “graphical or digital data depicting… man-made physical features”. Geospatial information, especially when so widely defined, keeps changing and therefore, there occurs a natural question in case of the changes in infrastructure being made– what happens when the data change?

Example: Case of a restaurant discovery app:

Will it have to apply for a new licence every time a new restaurant opens (or closes) in Hauz Khas Village?

  • Since the draft bill proposes that only data that bear the watermark of the vetting authority be used for display, it will have to.
  • Changing the name of a restaurant in such data would amount to tampering with watermarked data.
  • Not propagating updates till security clearance is released may affect the business model of businesses premised on providing up-to-date information.
  • The bill promises a three-month turnaround on all clearances which might not be quick enough, even if it was feasible, which leads us to the next question.

Do we have the bandwidth to handle all applications for this usage inside and outside India?

  • High usage of Indian geospatial data both outside and inside India— needs hundreds of experts who can “vet” terabytes of data from each applicant
  • This might lead to stifling of the innovation ecosystems depending upon geospatial data

Does every single end user of such data also need a licence?

  • Large organisations like Google, which are acquiring and making geospatial data available through their application programming interfaces (APIs), are in some sense at the lowest level of an application stack which could potentially have several layers (and probably already has)

Example: App A mashes up data from services B, C and D which in turn have bought their data from E, F and G and, guess what, F and G have some kind of data-sharing agreement. How will A get its data acquisition vetted?

  • What is happening here is creation of new efficiencies or provision of leverage to the existing ones

 

An alternative?

  • Need to switch to a simple registration-based system that doesn’t make the acquisition of a licence a precondition to using data
  • However, scrutinising the credentials of every end user is not possible and therefore, a clear distinction must be made between the producers and consumers of geospatial data
  • Need to access the impact on Digital India Initiative by the government
  • The bill mentions about the exclusion of government departments but still does not give any clear direction of which all departments will be exempted—need to clarify
  • Other steps:
    • Widen the definition of ‘consumers’
    • All publishers of geospatial data should register with the security-vetting authority and provide an online window through which the authority can conduct an audit of their data— for the vetting authority to go through and raise an objection if there exists something objectionable
    • Allow the data to be used by end users and be updated by the publisher as required

Connecting the Dots:

  • Discuss the role and responsibilities of the Security Vetting Authority proposed by the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016.

 

NATIONAL

 

TOPIC:  General studies 2

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

NEET order: What’s in store?

Background:

  • There are about 35 entrance tests for admission to the 412 medical colleges in the country. The concept of entrance tests started with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, followed by some government and private colleges.
  • As per a 1984 Supreme Court judgment, all government colleges were directed to set aside 30 per cent of the seats, later reduced to 15 per cent, for open admission on all-India basis, giving birth to the annually held All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT).
  • In 2009, petition was filed against the multitude of tests resulting in a Supreme Court direction to consider the possibility of holding a single national test.
  • In December, 2010, the MCI issued a notification to conduct the NEET subjecting all admissions, including in reserved seats, to the ranking obtained in the examination.
  • The Supreme Court recently gave the green signal for the CBSE to hold the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for the year 2016-17 in two phases for admission to undergraduate medical and dental courses. The long-awaited decision on NEET has evoked mixed response from students and various stakeholders.

 

What is NEET all about?

  • It is a single common entrance test National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to MBBS and BDS courses for the academic year 2016-17.
  • All government medical colleges, deemed universities and private medical colleges will be covered under the NEET.
  • Those examinations which have already taken place or slated to be conducted separately stands scrapped.

 

Why admission into MBBS and BDS must be qualitative?

  • Medical profession deals with human lives and is dependent on the knowledge and basic competencies of the doctor.
  • It is important that standards are not diluted for any reasons. Instead, the focus of governments should be towards improving the standards of science education in high schools.
  • The NEET will compel governments to focus on high school education.

 

What were the issues with the current system of examination?

  • In the current system, a student has to go through multiple exams.
  • Syllabus differences, date clash, different exam patterns, remote exam centers and so on, make it more burdensome for students .
  • Single entrance exam system holds the promise of taking away a lot of stress and saving money.

 

What is the necessity of having NEET?

  • Multiple examinations are often held on overlapping dates
  • There is rampant malpractice in admissions where merit is of little consequence
  • The abysmally poor standards of knowledge, particularly in science subjects, are largely reflective of the poor standards of the high school education system in the country.
  • It can help in removing the unethical practices of private seat allotments. And, most importantly, it can pave the way for a selection based on merit.

 

What are the challenges ahead?

  • The single entrance exams will also deprive States or private colleges of their rights to conduct separate exams and admit students as per their own procedures.
  • Students who have not been exposed to competitive exams (like in Tamil Nadu) and students whose syllabus of class XI and XII is not aligned with the CBSE will surely be at a disadvantage writing the test in the second phase.

 

Why there are so many furores against the Supreme Court ruling in favour of a single medical entrance exam?

  • One reason is the timing of the exam. Until a few days ago, medical aspirants were focusing on an exam they thought they were eligible for and had been preparing for based on a pattern.
  • Now, all of a sudden, they have an all-new pattern to contend with.
  • Tamil Nadu students are not familiar with multiple-choice questions; the State has done away with entrance examinations for professional courses.
  • Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, and Gujarat conduct common entrance examinations based on their own higher secondary syllabus.
  • There is a marked difference in the difficulty level of questions asked in State common entrance exams and the AIPMT/NEET.
  • Also, the time given for preparation for NEET Phase-II exam may not be sufficient for students, especially for those who had been concentrating only on State CETs.

 

Way ahead:

  • The intention of moving towards a single entrance exam is welcome, but ideally, NEET should be implemented uniformly across all States, superseding all examinations from 2017, instead of 2016. This way, teachers and students will get sufficient time for preparation. Meanwhile, as the NEET storm takes time to subside, students should aim to give their best for the second phase of the exam
  • The health sector in India has failed to develop to its full potential on account of the corrupt and incompetent MCI.
  • The MCI has done nothing regarding reforms of curriculum, quality assurance, ethical practice, rational treatment, and humane patient care.
  • By overhauling this institution with appropriate expertise as required to govern this sector, India can expect a great leap forward on health outcomes.

 

Connecting the dots:

  • Do revamping Medical Council of India (MCI) and Implementation of NEET will they induce expertise in health sector qualitatively and also make selection process neat? Comment.

For More information on MCI refer the below article-

Getting Medical Education on track

 

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