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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs 15th June, 2017

  • June 15, 2017
  • 1
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs June 2017, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis, International, National, Science and Technology, UPSC
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 15th June 2017

Archives

NATIONAL/SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

TOPIC:

General Studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  • India and its neighborhood? relations.

General Studies 3

  • Science and Technology? developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space

Can Big Data Analytics lead to eColonisation of India:

What is Big Data?
Big Data, as the term implies, refers to the storage of unusually large magnitude of data in electronic form (order of terabytes and higher). Big Data in itself hold no significance. It is the big Data analysis enabled by increased computational capability & tools which gives us useful insights.

How does Big Data work?
Big Data works on the principle that the more you know about anything or any situation, the more reliably you can gain new insights and make predictions about what will happen in the future. By comparing more data points, relationships will begin to emerge that were previously hidden, and these relationships will enable us to learn and inform our decisions.
What is unique about Big Data Technology (BDT) is the scale at which this data collection can take place. For instance, Google has stored petabytes of information about billions of people and their online browsing habits. Similarly, Facebook and Amazon have collected information about social networks.

Significance of big data analytics : Throws surprising trends which would be otherwise hard to detect. For example, This year Economic survey utilized Big Data analysis to give several surprising facts e.g. inter-state people movement is rather high.

Possible application:

  • Health– Big Data is being used to find solutions of Multi Drug Resistant bacteria, HIV/AIDS, Cancer etc. Data-driven medicine involves analyzing vast numbers of medical records and images for patterns which can help spot disease early and develop new medicines.
  • Education– Andhra Pradesh govt has cooperated with tech giant Microsoft to analyze school drop out rate and suggest solutions.
  • Climate change- A number of variable affecting climate change makes big Data only option for successful analysis and suggesting remedial steps.
  • Agriculture– It can be employed to analyze soil health, predict water availability, impact of pesticides etc. Agriculture is being revolutionized by data which can be used to maximize crop yields, minimize the amount of pollutants released into the ecosystem and optimize the use of machines and equipment
  • Predict and respond to natural and man-made disasters– Sensor data can be analyzed to predict where earthquakes are likely to strike next, and patterns of human behavior give clues which help aid organizations give relief to survivors. Big Data technology is also used to monitor and safeguard the flow of refugees away from war zones around the world
  • Crime tracking & prevention– It can be used to reduce crime by exposing Nexus and crime trends invisible by naked eyes. Police forces are increasingly adopting data-driven strategies based on their own intelligence and public data sets in order to deploy resources more efficiently and act as a deterrent where one is needed.
  • Make our everyday lives easier and more convenient– Shopping online, crowdsourcing a ride or a place to stay on holiday, choosing the best time to book flights and deciding what movie to watch next are all easier thanks to Big Data.
  • Improved governance– Big data and advanced analytics platform can play a critical role in integrating and exploiting the multiple data sources to help tax departments in efficient discharge of their responsibilities and bridging the tax gap. This will not only help them build integrated views of tax filers and individual tax submissions but also empower them to respond in a more targeted way , thereby using resources optimally.
  • It is an indispensable tool for effective policy making , efficient public service delivery and better resource optimization. Big Data can enhance the government’s ability to serve its citizens and address major national challenges involving the economy, healthcare, job creation, natural disasters, and terrorism.

Dangers of big data analytics:

  • Data privacy – The Big Data we now generate contains a lot of information about our personal lives, much of which we have a right to keep private. Increasingly we are asked to strike a balance between the amount of personal data we divulge, and the convenience that Big Data powered apps and services offer.
  • Data security– One major problem with collecting and storing such vast amounts of data overseas is the ability of owners of such data stores to violate the privacy of people. Foreign governments or rogue multinationals could clandestinely access these vast pools of personal data in order to affect policies of a nation. Such knowledge could prove toxic and detrimental in the hands of unscrupulous elements or hostile foreign governments. The alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election tells us that these possibilities are not simply science fiction fantasies.
  • Data discrimination – When everything is known, will it become acceptable to discriminate against people based on data we have on their lives? We already use credit scoring to decide who can borrow money, and insurance is heavily data-driven. We can expect to be analyzed and assessed in greater detail.
  • Potential drain of economic wealth of a nation– Currently, the corporations collecting such vast amounts of data are all based in developed countries, mostly in the U.S. Most emerging economies, including India, have neither the knowledge nor the favourable environment for businesses that collect data on such a vast scale. The advertising revenue that is currently earned by local newspapers or other media companies would eventually start to flow outside the country to overseas multinationals.

What India can do?

Chinese example: China has apparently understood the dynamics of big data analytics and taken measures to counter its threat. It has encouraged the formation of large Internet companies such as Baidu and Alibaba and deterred Google and others from having major market share in China by using informal trade restraints and anti-monopoly rules against them.
India may not be able to emulate China in this way, but we could take other countermeasures to preserve our digital economy independence.

  • The heart of building companies using BDT is their ability to build sophisticated super-large data centres. By providing appropriate subsidies such as cheap power and real estate, and cheap network bandwidth to those data centres, one would encourage our industries to be able to build and retain data within our boundaries.
  • In the short term, we should also create a policy framework that encourages overseas multinationals such as Google and Amazon to build large data centres in India and to retain the bulk of raw data collected in India within our national geographical boundaries.
  • We should also build research and development activities in Big Data Science and data centre technology at our academic and research institutions that allow for better understanding of the way in which BDT can be limited to reduce the risk of deductive disclosure at an individual level.
  • We need to develop software and train individuals on how to protect their privacy and for organisations and government officials to put in place strict firewalls, data backup and secure procedures.
  • It should be ensured that the information is not distorted; not disclosed; not appropriated; not stolen; and not intruded upon within specified rules and guidelines. Hence the importance of government regulation and policies on the use of such collected data and associated privacy rights.
  • India also needs to adopt BDT in areas where it can prove to be beneficial. Gartner, a research firm 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.

Conclusion:
The government has approved the “Digital India” Plan that aims to connect 2.5 lakh villages to the Internet by 2019 and to bring Wi-Fi access to 2.5 lakh schools, all universities and public places in major cities and major tourist centres. This is indeed a very desirable policy step. But unless we evolve appropriate policies to counter the side effects of the Digital Plan, this could also lead to the unforeseen e-Colonisation of India. We need to make sure that India finds a way to protect both financial rewards and ensure individual privacy and national security through appropriate safeguards.

Connecting the dots:

  • What do you understand by big data technology? Discuss its applications as well as danger involved in adopting BDT. Elaborate on measures required to be taken by India in order to ensure privacy, check data theft and at the same time benefit from the rewards of BDT.

INTERNATIONAL

 TOPIC:  General Studies 2

  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

China’s inroads into Myanmar

The first priority Aung San Suu Kyi had on assuming office was to establish ethnic peace in Myanmar, where minority groups have resorted to armed insurrection. President Thein Sein, who headed the Government earlier, had negotiated cease-fire agreements with a number of these groups. But, a number of influential and powerful groups continued with their revolts.

Rather than appreciating Suu Kyi’s efforts to seek ethnic peace, western powers and Islamic busybodies such as Turkey and Malaysia chose to pressurise Myanmar for alleged violation of the human rights of its Rohingya Muslim population.
On the other hand, China’s approach to Myanmar’s ethnic problems which is forcing Myanmar into a tight Chinese bear hug.

How China prevails

  • The long-running ethnic insurgencies in Myanmar now involve 22 armed groups, comprising ethnic minorities. Amongst the strongest of these groups are the United WA State Army (UWSA) and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which operate across the India-China-Myanmar tri-junction. These groups receive weapons and logistical support from China.
  • The KIA has backed India’s north-eastern separatist groups such as ULFA and the NSCN (Khaplang), in consultation with government officials in China’s neighbouring Yunnan province.
  • Cross-border attacks by the UWSA are a major instrument of China to pressurise Myanmar.
  • China also regards Myanmar as a land bridge to the Indian Ocean. Beijing skillfully used its security and economic leverage to ‘persuade’ Suu Kyi to give it a significant say in her quest for peace agreements with armed separatist groups.
  • China shielded Myanmar from western criticism in the UN, on the issue of Rohingya Muslims.
  • It reportedly persuaded the UWSA recently to accept a ceasefire. It is acting similarly with the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO).
  • Large Chinese infrastructure and mining projects in Myanmar have come up since the early 1990s, with scant regard for environmental degradation and displacement.
  • Apart from displacement of thousands, this project involved the transmission of 90 per cent of the power generated to China.

India at a disadvantage

  • India has to recognise the reality that it cannot match China in weapons supply, or in a range of infrastructure and industrial projects. India, for example, cannot match Chinese supply of JF 17 fighters manufactured in Pakistan, as our much-touted Light Combat Aircraft has not yet been operationalised.
  • Likewise, our public sector infrastructure projects such as the Sittwe Port, the Kaladan Corridor linking our landlocked north-eastern States to the Bay of Bengal at Sittwe, or the proposed 1800 MW hydro-electric project, have either been delayed or abandoned.
  • While diplomatic efforts enabled us to get a stake in successful offshore gas exploration, we lost access to the gas because of our inability – and indeed inefficiency – in devising measures to transport/transfer and utilise the gas, which is now transshipped to China by a pipeline.
  • Private sector projects to use Myanmar’s vast bamboo resources for the paper industry, or investment in the agricultural sector have similarly been delayed, or failed.
  • Problems for India have now increased, because of covert Chinese support for India’s north-eastern separatist groups. China’s envoy to Myanmar has “facilitated” talks with the KIO – a development India should closely monitor. China now has an ability to significantly influence Myanmar insurgent groups.

India-Myanmar cooperation needs a review:

We need to review and restructure our economic cooperation with Myanmar, with

  • an increasing focus on assisting the populations living close to our borders through schemes for education, health, communications and small/village industries. The main area which has won us gratitude is vocational training and education facilities for Myanmar personnel.
  • The rupee could be made legal tender for such cross-border projects.
  • This could be undertaken in close cooperation with Japan and the Asian Development Bank and duly integrated with new measures now being considered for giving momentum to Regional Cooperation through BIMSTEC.

Conclusion:

Despite above developments, India has continued its engagement with Myanmar, with both Army Chief General B. P. Rawat and Foreign Secretary Jaishankar visiting Myanmar recently. The Indian Armed Forces have traditionally had friendly relations with their Myanmar counterparts. Both countries face problems of armed separatist groups using each other’s soil. This should be focused upon. Further India must reorient and review its relationship with Myanmar if it wants to maintain stability in Northeastern region of the country.

Connecting the dots:

  • India and Myanmar relation is facing challenges due to China’s inroads into Myanmar. Discuss advantages which India has over China which it can leverage to improve relation with Myanmar.
  • Northeastern India is already a disturbed region due to insurgency. Discuss how strengthening of China’s relationship with Myanmar may further worsen the situation.

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