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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs 21th April, 2017

  • April 21, 2017
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs April 2017, National
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 21th April 2017

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NATIONAL

TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government;
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

End to Red-light (Lal bhatti) Privilege

Introduction

Since independence government and bureaucracy has been symbolized by the traditional symbols of the red beacons on the vehicles. Red beacons are synonymous with the “Raj mentality” and are the “antithesis of the concept of a Republic”, the Supreme Court held in 2013.Government’s decision to do away with the same is a significant step.

Issue:

The Union Cabinet’s decision to curb the use of beacons is a decisive move to change the perception of the state and its functionaries from rulers to public servants who are to serve rather than govern. This was the vision of our founding fathers.

  • Speaking before the Constituent Assembly on the right of all people to be treated equally, Jawaharlal Nehru said: “The word ‘people’ means all the people. I am myself a servant of the farmers. To work with them is my highest glory.”
  • In a poignant note identifying the role of the government and its functionaries, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on August 15, 1947, said, “those who have so far been playing the role of rulers and regulators of the lives of our men and women have to assume the role of servants”.
  • However, in the Supreme Court, the second UPA government’s law officers had defended the use of red beacons for its officials and politicians.
    • The government then argued in Abhay Singh v. Union of India that “certain dignitaries and category of officials constitute a class by themselves”.
    • They denied any illegality in the use of red lights on vehicles carrying a “large number of public representatives and public servants”.
    • They said red lights were “essential for effective discharge of their duties”.

Supreme Court’s reaction:

The court reacted by terming red beacons a “menace”.

  • “Red lights symbolise power and a stark differentiation between those who are allowed to use it and those who are not.
  • A large number of those using vehicles with red lights have no respect for the laws of the country and they treat the ordinary citizens with contempt.
  • The use of red lights on the vehicles of public representatives and civil servants has no parallel in the world democracies,” the court observed.
  • “Isn’t the state under an obligation to afford the same degree of protection to safety and security of person irrespective of office and status?” it asked.

Recent measures:

  • In recent cases post elections chief ministers of UP and Punjab had banned the use of read beacons for all ministers and government servants.
  • The ne politics that was initiated in Delhi with a new party in power had realized its promise not to use red beacons at any cost.

Conclusion:

India is country of a billion plus people and representative government comes to represent them in parliament. Red beacons have more served as privilege than facilitating governance and reaching to people. Hence the step to do away is thinking in right direction.

Connecting the dots:

Critically analyse the maxim of ‘Minimum government and maximum governance’ in light of the various measures initiated by the government.

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

  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security.

Digital Rights

Introduction

Information revolution and e-governance have set in almost all aspects of governance. Further with increased bilateral and multilateral trade arrangements in services and IT sector it important for India to raise its levels of governance. India must first secure its digital sovereignty before it can begin global trade talks.

Issue:

  • Global trade treaties have come to represent a whole new global legal system supplanting national policy space and sovereignty, in the interest of global big business.
  • With the digital phenomenon restructuring most social sectors, it is little surprise that global trade negotiations are now eyeing the digital area.

Growth of a Digital Society:

  • To judge how the digital society is shaping, just extrapolate this situation to every sector; not only the regular commercial ones but also key social areas of education, health, agriculture, and, indeed, governance.
  • Would the society or government then buy data and intelligence even for crucial public purposes from these digital companies, when the data actually come from our various social and personal interactions over digital platforms?
  • Does the ownership of the platform give corporations economic ownership of all the data so produced? Is ownership of data of sensitive sectors to be treated differently?
    • These are key political economy questions that must be sorted out first.

Big data – ownership

Big data is the key resource in the digital space.

  • It is freely collected or mined from developing countries, and converted, or manufactured, into digital intelligence in developed countries, mostly the U.S.
    • This digital intelligence forms a kind of “social brain” that begins to control different sectors and extract monopoly rents.
    • Example: Uber’s chief asset, for instance, is not a network of cars and drivers. It is digital intelligence about commuting, public transport, roads, traffic, city events, personal behavioural characteristics of commuters and drivers, and so on.
  • It is important to frame who owns data and digital intelligence, and how their value should be socially distributed.
  • Most key data required for policymaking is increasingly with global data companies.

Accessing the network

Fronting for the global big business, developed countries make three key demands at digital trade talks

  • The first is a free and unhindered access to the “network” running throughout our society to mine social and personal data from every nook and corner.
    • Basically, India must give up its right to regulate digital technologies and networks within its territory.
  • The second demand in trade discussions is of ensuring completely free flow of data across borders, with no requirement of local storing, even for sensitive sectors like governance, banking, health, etc.
    • Free global flow of data is a significant expression of self-declared ownership by global digital corporations over the social and personal data that they collect from everywhere, including India.
  • The third key demand is the exclusion from future regulation of all services other than those already committed to a negative list, which will of course include e-versions of every sector.

Digital Rights – India:

India has been resisting global digital trade negotiations. But attempts will be made to flatter its self-image of an IT or digital superpower to seek concessions.

  • India’s global IT business relationships are largely B2B where the principal party is abroad, and owns the involved data.
  • India has much native technical and entrepreneurial capabilities in the digital area, and to match them, a huge domestic market.
  • Conditions are extremely good for developing strong domestic digital industry.

Conclusion:

India must resist any digital trade negotiations at this time. It has little to gain from them, and much to lose. It must first build its digital sovereignty — and digital rights — before it can begin negotiating a part of it in global trade talks.

Connecting the dots:

Digital governance and digital rights have to go hand in hand. Critically analyse the global scenario and the measures initiated by the government.

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