IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 27th January 2018
Global Centre for Cybersecurity
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Issues related to cybersecurity
- In a bid to safeguard the world from hackers and growing data breaches — especially from nation-states — the World Economic Forum (WEF) has announced a new Global Centre for Cybersecurity.
- Headquartered in Geneva, the centre will become operational from March.
- The centre will help bring all the stakeholders together in ensuring cybersecuriy.
- Cyber breaches recorded by businesses are on the rise. In the last five years, these have almost doubled to an average of 130 breaches per business in 2017.
- As a borderless problem, urgent action is needed to create a safe operating environment for new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, robotics, drones, self-driving cars and the Internet of Things (IoT), the WEF said.
- The global centre will be an excellent opportunity to safeguard verticals like automotive and health care where wireless connectivity is the key.
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Part of: Mains GS Paper II- International cooperation
Counter-terrorism was discussed on the sidelines of the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit held to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of sectoral dialogue between two sides.
- A comprehensive statement targeting terrorism and agreed to uphold freedom in the maritime domain.
- Focusing on the presence of the Islamic State and other forms of radicalism in the region, a joint statement, titled Delhi Declaration, was issued after the plenary session.
- It supported a common approach to counter terrorism.
- Itsought a comprehensive approach to combat terrorism through close cooperation by disrupting and countering terrorists, terrorist groups and networks, including by countering cross border movement of terrorists and foreign terrorist fighters and misuse of Internet including social media by terror entities.
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General Studies 1:
- Urbanization, problems and remedies
General Studies 2:
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3:
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
Clean mobility in India
The year 2017 turned out to be a landmark one for the idea of clean mobility in India.
- The Government announced a 2030 timeline to stop sale of fossil fuel-powered vehicles in favour of electric vehicles.
- The Supreme Court put on hold the sale of vehicles running on BS-III emission standards.
Transport continues to be a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and health experts have long been underlining its impact on air quality. Transport activity will continue to grow, making it important to phase-in a mobility system that is clean, sustainable and health-friendly.
- Policy measures must include major incentives, not just for clean energy transport providers but also for commuters.
- At the same time the Government must expand its vision to include a larger bunch of green transport options.
- Budget 2018 mustincentivise R&D in electric vehicles; announce schemes to improve public transport in polluted cities; and provide the necessary push towards building sustainable infrastructure for cycle users.
Key focus areas:
Long-term support to electric vehicle manufacturers:
Announcing a timeline is not enough. The Government must also look at following-
- Incentivising private companies to invest more in R&D.
- The possibility of offering tax breaks to manufacturing units that produce electric vehicles.
- Creating ‘special zones’ for such plants is another lucrative option.
The UK is putting in place a £400 million Charging Investment Infrastructure Fund for this, comprising a £200 million investment by the government matched by an equal investment by the private sector. The Indian government must consider a similar exercise.
The Government recently announced thatRs. 7 lakh crore worth of roads and highways will be constructed. Budget 2018 should fast-track these projects. Better roads will have a multiplier effect on several sectors.
- The infrastructural boost must also include a thrust on making the country EV-friendly.
For instance, Europe has stipulated regulations, requiring 10 per cent of parking spaces in new buildings to have recharging facilities by 2023. Every new or refurbished house in will also need to be equipped with an EV recharging point.
- The Budget must set out plans to partner private players for the purpose of putting in place charging stations.
Rewarding clean commuters :
Countries like Belgium, Luxembourg and France are actually paying their citizens for cycling to work. The mode of rewards includes cycling reimbursements based on kilometres cycled, income tax breaks for buying bikes or mobility vouchers.
In another interesting global example, Scotland offers interest-free loans to buyers of electric cars, in a bid to bring about a mass change in consumer behaviour.
Fiscal incentives can also be considered for major Indian cities to encourage people to turn to clean mobility options.
Giving cycling its due in the urban infrastructure:
A study of bus commuters in Delhi found that around 7 per cent of commuters had total trip lengths of less than 5 km. Similarly, another study found that as many as 80 per cent of bus commuters owned cycles but very few of them used them to reach bus stops; they walked or hired a short distance commute vehicle.
These commuters are an important group of potential cyclists, and can actively take to cycling if provided safe riding lanes and parking spaces.
- Countries like Netherlands and Denmark have championed the cause cycling by making it safe and comfortable. The urban infrastructure in these countries gives priority to cyclists through measures like dedicated cycling lanes, extensive parking for bicycles and integration with public transport.
- In India, bicycles can become an important mode of last-mile connectivity in cities where people have to cover significant distances to their homes or offices after stepping out of public transport.
Incentivise investment in R&D for e-bikes:
The market for electric bicycles (e-bikes) is in a nascent stage in India. However, e-bikes can play a significant role on Indian roads.
Though there has been remarkable progress in product innovation and quality enhancement in making e-bikes user-friendly and durable in recent years, more needs to be done.
- Need to improve battery technology as well as technology for engines and body of vehicles to increase efficiency.
- Manufacturers investing in e-bikes and electric pedal assisted cycles (Epac) technology must be offered tax breaks and policy support to enable them make more efficient and affordable products.
Connecting the dots:
- Transport continues to be a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and health experts have long been underlining its impact on air quality. Thus,the Government must expand its vision to include a larger bunch of green transport options. Discuss.
- On urban transport is dependent its economy and more than the well-being of the urbanites. This makes it important to phase-in a mobility system that is clean, sustainable and health-friendly. Discuss
TOPIC: General Studies 2:
- India and its International relations.
- 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, Indian diaspora.
Restructuring India’s China policy
As we complete two decades of the 21st century, a paradigm change in the global power structure is taking shape. Technology and size are causing this change.
Potential power is shifting to the two large nations of the Asian mainland, China and India, which are fast-growing economies.
- Asia already accounts for almost half of the world’s population, half of the world’s container traffic, one-third of its bulk cargo and 40% of the world’s off-shore oil reserves.
- It is home to several fast-growing new economies with GDP growth rates above 7% per year, i.e. a doubling of the GDP every 10 years.
Asian defence spending ($439 billion) is also much more than Europe’s ($386 billion).
India and China:
- Since the late 1990s, China and India have been rapidly emerging as influential power hubs.
- Being two of the three most post populous and largest GDP nations, India and China, both culturally akin, are socially structured on family values and associated social attitudes.
- Potentially both are poised to fill the role of global powers.
The global power matrix has undergone a paradigm change, from an exclusively Atlantic shores-based concerns to emerging Indo-Pacific ocean strategic issues. Thus India-China relations matter as never before.
The diminishing influence of Western powers in the region, and as of now the acknowledged rising power of China are the new global reality.
- China has conceptualised and implemented the centrality of befriending all of India’s neighbours and has brought them on board in its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
India has been reduced to merely reacting to such proposals without any of her own to canvass as an alternative.
- There is an unfortunate trust deficit that requires frank bilateral discussion at a high political level.
The key for India today is to bond strategically with China. But this requires dealing bilaterally on huge pending issues.
To achieve the potential, both require hardware, software and the clear mindset for exercising this power.
India is now poised to form a global triangle with the U.S. and China, and therefore the government must seize the opportunity, which requires a serious effort at reconciliation with China in a give-and-take mode without sacrificing our national interest.
From regional to global player:
- A change in strategic conceptualisation is needed, from the present land-focussed thinking to Ocean-centric articulation.
The Indian Ocean has now emerged as the epicentre of global power play in the 21st century.
We need to recognise the centrality and primacy of the Indian Ocean in India’s global economic and military activism: the Indian Ocean is the epicentre of global power play in the 21st century.
With Indonesian partnership, India can monitor the Malacca Strait through which over 80% of the freight traffic of China and East Asia passes.
- As an important part of its diplomacy, India must develop deeper cultural and civilisational linkages with China and the rest of Asia.
- Looking beyond Pakistan:
In terms of hardware capability and mindset, India is at present only a regional power.
Because it is obsessed with the problem of Pakistan-trained terrorists entering Indian territory rather than asserting higher priority on global issues.
This makes it easy for other countires to hyphenate the two regional-minded nations, India with Pakistan.
India needs a new mindset: to look beyond Pakistan.
India has the capacity and the opportunity to rise as a ‘responsible and influential global power’. This will easily fix Pakistan and its terrorist propensity.
- India need to learn to exercise power without being seen as a bully by our neighbors.
- Exerting soft power advantage- The world already is dazzled by India’s prowess in information technology, the capability to produce pharmaceuticals at low cost, and the high quality of its trained manpower capable of innovation. But India does not exert this soft power advantage on the world scene commensurate with this potential or its size in Asia.
Connecting the dots:
- India’s China policy needs a re-structuring based on a fresh perspective that is relevant for the 21st century. Discuss.
The ASEAN embrace
Smart policies for redistribution
Taking ASEAN to the bank