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Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 21st December 2018

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  • December 23, 2018
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Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 21st December 2018

Archives


(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Centre seeks ₹41,000 crore more to recapitalise banks

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Indian Economy and related issues

In news:

  • The government moved a proposal in Parliament for an additional ₹41,000 crore to recapitalise public sector banks, over and above the already budgeted ₹65,000 crore.
  • If approved by the House, this would take the total recapitalisation package for the current financial year to ₹1,06,000 crore, of which the government plans to utilise ₹83,000 crore over the remaining portion of the year.

According to the government,

  • recognition of loans that are non-performing assets (NPAs) was nearly complete
  • recovery process is progressing strongly
  • ₹60,726 crore recovered in the first half of this financial year

The government fund infusion will have four express objectives:

  • To help banks meet regulatory capital norms
  • Enable better performing PCA (prompt corrective action) banks to get capital
  • Infuse funds into non-PCA banks that are closer to the red line and
  • Give regulatory and growth capital to banks that are being amalgamated

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2018/12/21/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_01/805f9775_2608916_101_mr.jpg


Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (or SSLV)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Technology; India’s achievements; Indigenous technology

In news:

  • ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Kerala has completed the design for the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).
  • SSLV is a ‘baby rocket’ designed to launch small satellites (payload capacity of 500 kg to Low Earth orbit or 300 kg to Sun synchronous orbit) in quickest way to the space.

Do you know?

  • SSLV was developed with the aim of launching small satellites commercially at drastically reduced price and higher launch rate as compared to PSLV. The manufacturing cost of SSLV is expected to be 10% of that of PSLV.
  • It takes a mere 15 days and minimum personnel to design the SSLV.
  • The SSLV has three solid motor stages and like the PSLV and GSLV, can accommodate multiple satellites.
  • Unlike the PSLV and GSLV, the SSLV can be assembled both vertically and horizontally.

Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Technology; India’s achievements; Indigenous technology; Defence/Security

In news:

  • User-assisted trials of the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun are likely to start soon.

About ATAGS –

  • indigenously-designed heavy artillery gun
  • developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
  • The gun has several significant features including an all-electric drive, high mobility, quick deployability, auxiliary power mode, advanced communications system, automated command and control system.
  • It also sports a six-round magazine instead of the standard three-round magazine.

Do you know?

  • The Army, which has been seeking to modernise its weaponry, recently inducted its first modern pieces of artillery in 30 years: the M777 Ultra-Light Howitzer from the U.S. and the K9 Vajra-T self-propelled artillery gun from South Korea.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2018/12/21/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_07/9b86c457_2608927_101_mr.jpg


India and Pakistan: Row over ownership of the Jinnah House

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India and its neighbours; International relations

In news:

  • India rejected Pakistan’s claim of ownership of the Jinnah House in Mumbai. The Jinnah House on Malabar Hill in Mumbai was designed by architect Claude Batley in European style and Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah lived there in the late 1930s.
  • Pakistan has been demanding that the property be handed over to it for housing its Mumbai consulate.
  • India’s MEA decides to use it for official events.

Pakistan and China ties draws more irk

  • A Chinese-built seaport and special economic zone in the Pakistani town of Gwadar, gives Beijing a strategic card to play against India and the U.S. if tensions worsen to the point of naval blockades as the two powers increasingly confront each other at sea.
  • Pakistan is the only other country that has been granted access to the China’s Beidou satellite navigation system. It allows more precise guidance for missiles, ships and aircraft.
  • China had agreed in 2015 to sell eight submarines to Pakistan in a deal worth up to $6 billion.
  • An SEZ under the CPEC would be created in Pakistan to produce a new generation of fighter jets. For the first time, navigation systems, radar systems and onboard weapons would be built jointly by the countries at factories in Pakistan.
  • The Chinese-designed JF-17 fighter jets have given Pakistan an alternative to the U.S.-built F-16 fighters.

All computers now under govt. watch

Part of: GS Mains III – Defence/Security issues; Cyber Security

In news:

  • Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order authorising 10 Central agencies to intercept, monitor, and decrypt “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer.”
  • According to the order, the subscriber or service provider or any person in charge of the computer resource will be bound to extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies and failing to do will invite seven-year imprisonment and fine.

Do you know?

The MHA gave the authorisation under 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 which says that the Central government can direct any agency after it is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient to do so in the “interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above or for investigation of any offence.”


Miscellaneous

  1. may infuse ₹2,345 cr. more in debt-laden Air India (AI) and a separate sum of ₹1,300 crore for a special purpose vehicle (SPV) which houses the national carrier’s debt and non-core assets.
  2. Panel to review issues start-ups face on tax – CBDT said that an expert committee will be set up to look into all the taxation issues being faced by start-ups and angel investors. Start-ups are going to bring lot of innovation to the country and therefore, have to be supported in every possible manner.
  3. China looks to India as key market – As its trade war with the U.S. intensifies, China has started looking at India as a major market to sell its products and machinery. However, Indian companies want China to share its technology and even partner with them in its growth story rather than treating India purely as a market of its products.

(MAINS FOCUS)


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

TOPIC:General studies 2 and 3

  •  Important aspects of governance, social justice
  • Justice System
  • Science and Technology
  • Awareness in biotechnology
  • Security issues

DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018

Introduction

  • The draft DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill has been by the Union Cabinet.
  • It aims to create a national DNA database for solving crimes (offences under the Indian Penal Code) and also civil matters such as parentage disputes, emigration or immigration, and transplantation of human organs etc.
  • It aims for expanding the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country.
  • The Bill seeks to ensure that DNA test results are reliable and the data remain protected from misuse or abuse in terms of the privacy rights of our citizens.

The below editorial assesses whether the draft Bill is better in present form or it requires changes.

Do you know?

  • The utility of DNA based technologies for solving crimes, and to identify missing persons, is well recognized across the world.
  • The genes encoded in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which can be collected from blood, hair, skin cells and other such bodily substances, have undoubtedly proven to be an important tool in forensic science.
  • Much like fingerprints, a person’s DNA profile is unique (except in the case of identical twins) and can, therefore, help in establishing the identity of, say, a suspect.
  • Across the world, the use of DNA evidence has helped exonerate a number of innocent people from wrongful conviction, and has also helped find the guilty party in complex investigations.
  • Code of Criminal Procedure in 2005 authorises investigating officers of a crime to collect a DNA sample from an accused with the help of a medical practitioner.

Concerns with the draft Bill

  • The draft statute not only disregards the serious ethical dilemmas that are attendant to the creation of a national DNA database, but also, contrary to established wisdom, virtually treats DNA as infallible, and as a solution to the many problems that ail the criminal justice system.
  • Any infringement of civil liberties, caused by an almost indiscriminate collection of DNA, is seen as a legitimate trade-off made in the interests of ensuring superior justice delivery.
  • Creating large databases is often not a cost-effective way to solve more crimes, and limited resources must be targeted effectively.
  • Bill fatally ignores the disproportionality of the DNA bank that it seeks to create, and the invasiveness of its purport and reach, imposes a Faustian bargain on the citizen.

*Faustian bargain – Faust, in the legend, traded his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge. To “strike a Faustian bargain” is to be willing to sacrifice anything to satisfy a limitless desire for knowledge or power.

  • The proposed law is not only decidedly vague on how it intends to maintain this DNA Bank, but it also conflates its objectives by allowing the collection of DNA evidence not only in aid of criminal investigations but also to aid the determination of civil disputes.
  • Moreover, while consent is not required before bodily substances are drawn from a person accused and arrested for an offence punishable with either death or imprisonment for a term exceeding seven years, in all other cases a person refusing to part with genetic material can be compelled to do so if a Magistrate has reasonable cause to believe that such evidence would help establish a person’s guilt. Therefore, there’s no end to the state’s power in coercing a person to part with her DNA.

The way ahead:

  • The proposed Bill should provide a constitutionally sustainable model.
  • Any meaningful right to privacy should include protection over the physical body. (Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) v. Union of India Judgment)
  • In India, even illegally obtained evidence is admissible in a court of law, so long as the relevance and genuineness of such material can be established.
  • The Bill’s failure to place sufficient checks on the use of DNA evidence collected in breach of the law makes the process altogether more frightening.
  • It’s been reported previously that the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, whose director will occupy an ex officio place in the DNA Regulatory Board, already seeks information on a person’s caste during the collection of genetic material. One hardly needs to spell out the dangers inherent in gathering such data.

To enact the law in its present form, therefore, would only add a new, menacing weapon to the state’s rapidly expanding surveillance mechanism.

Connecting the dots:

  • The DNA technology (use and application) Bill, 2018 can establish a balance between right to privacy and right to justice. Evaluate with suggestions.

INTERNAL SECURITY

TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Security issues
  • Challenges to internal security through social media

Need for strong Data Protection Law

About:

  • Some of the social networking platforms have come under tough scanner and are in news often for privacy breaches and misinformation campaigns (interfering in the election processes of major democracies etc).
  • The latest in this torrent of disclosures is the investigation by The New York Times documenting a range of private deals struck by Facebook for reciprocal sharing of user data with the knowledge of top management. (Example – Cambridge Analytica exposé)
  • Some deals permitted access even to private chats. (Violation of user trust by Facebook and Right to Privacy)

Do you know?

  • In India, there is lack of institutional capacity to respond to such challenges.
  • There is no data protection authority or an office of a privacy commissioner to investigate and independently audit social networking platforms.

WhatsApp-Facebook case

  • Facebook changed its privacy policy after acquiring WhatsApp. It allowed sharing a user’s metadata between WhatsApp and Facebook, without clearly explaining what was being shared and how it was being used.
  • Earlier, Facebook was not clearly stating how it would use the personal data of users on the Free Basics platform.
  • Changes to these terms of service were challenged in a public interest petition in the Court.
  • The WhatsApp-Facebook case is still pending in the Supreme Court.

Many of these problems go much beyond Facebook, to the entire wave of digitisation from the big building blocks down to a fine grain of Indian society.

All these triggered Union government to constitute a data protection committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge, Justice B.N. Srikrishna.

Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee

  • Srikrishna panel had submitted a draft “The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018”
  • It recommended that critical personal data of Indian citizens be processed in centres located within the country.
  • The government should notify categories of personal data that will be considered critical.
  • The draft bill also provided for penalties for the data processor as well as compensation to the data principal to be imposed for violations of the data protection law.
  • The Committee has made specific mention of the need for separate and more stringent norms for protecting the data of children
  • It recommended that companies be barred from certain types of data processing such as behavioural monitoring, tracking, targeted advertising and any other type of processing which is not in the best interest of the child.

The way ahead:

Need of the hour is such a law to safeguard privacy. However, the draft Personal Data Protection Bill is not listed for the ongoing winter session of Parliament. The government must act with urgency.

To properly harness digitisation, we now have the challenge of developing and prioritising institutions of governance to protect users. This must start immediately with a strong, rights-protecting, comprehensive privacy law.

At present, despite having the second highest number of Internet users in the world, India has little to show as a country in investigatory outcomes, measured regulatory responses or parliamentary processes which safeguard users.

Connecting the dots:

  • The dawn of the information age has opened up great opportunities for the beneficial use of data. However, it has also enhanced the perils of unregulated and arbitrary use of personal data. Discuss. Also, examine the need of framing a robust law to protect individual data.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Which among the following are the objectives behind government fund infusion in public sector banks?

  1. To help banks meet regulatory capital norms
  2. Enable better performing PCA (prompt corrective action) banks to get capital
  3. Infuse funds into non-PCA banks that are closer to the red line and
  4. Give regulatory and growth capital to banks that are being amalgamated

Choose the correct answer:

  1. 1 and 4 only
  2. 1, 2 and 4
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Q.2) Consider the following with regard to ISRO’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLV):

  1. It offers affordable launch options for smaller satellites.
  2. SSLV is expected to reduce launch time as well as cost less to launch small satellites.
  3. SSLV has three solid motor stages like the PSLV and GSLV; however it cannot accommodate multiple satellites.
  4. Unlike the PSLV and GSLV, the SSLV can be assembled both vertically and horizontally.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1, 2 and 4
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Q.3) What is the full form of ASLV?

  1. Automatic Satellite Launch Vehicle
  2. Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle
  3. Aero Space Launch Vehicle
  4. Area Satellite Launch Vehicle

Q.4) ‘Karamay Declaration’ is associated with which of the following?

  1. INSTC
  2. CPEC
  3. TAPI
  4. SCO

Q.5) Which of the following countries is developing BeiDou Navigation Satellite system to rival USA’s GPS?

  1. Russia
  2. Japan
  3. China
  4. North Korea

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