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Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 8th December 2018

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  • December 8, 2018
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Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 8th December 2018

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Person in news: Krishnamurthy Subramanian

Why in news?

  • New chief economic adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian replaces Arvind Subramanian.
  • Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has cleared the appointment of Krishnamurthy Subramanian as the Chief Economic Adviser for three years.
  • The CEA in the finance ministry is a key contributor to the government’s overall strategy in managing the economy and offers a critique of the hits and misses through the economic survey.

About CEA

  • The Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) is the economic advisor to the Government of India.
  • The CEA is the ex-officio cadre controlling authority of the Indian Economic Service.
  • The CEA is under the direct charge of the Minister of Finance.
  • CEA enjoys rank and pay equivalent to that of a Secretary to Government of India.
  • The CEA heads the Economic Division under the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA).

NSCN(K) faction asks Centre to revive ceasefire

Part of: GS Mains III – Internal Security and Security issues

In news:

  • A breakaway faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), led by Khango Konyak asks Centre to revive ceasefire.
  • Recently NSCN(IM) cadre was killed – A hardcore cadre of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issac-Muivah) was killed in an encounter with security forces in Arunachal Pradesh.

About National Socialist Council of Nagaland

  • NSCN is a Greater Naga Revolutionist, Christian Naga nationalist insurgent group operating mainly in Northeast India, with minor activities in northwest Myanmar until 2012.
  • The main goal of the organisation is to establish a sovereign Naga state, “Nagalim”, which would consist of all the areas inhabited by the Naga people in Northeast India and Northwest Myanmar.
  • According to the NSCN manifesto, their slogan is “Nagaland for Christ”.
  • The group is accused of kidnapping, assassination, forced conversion and committing terrorist activities.

Do you know?

  • Two major factions of NSCN include NSCN (K), led by Khaplang; and NSCN (I-M), led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muviah.
  • On November 6, 2015 in response to an attack on an army convoy in Manipur India designated The NSCN (K) a terrorist organization under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
  • India’s Ministry of Home Affairs labeled NSCN a major insurgent group.

Are GM crops a failure?

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Agriculture; Environment and Biodiversity; Science and Technology

In news:

According to a research paper co-authored by leading agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan –

  • GM crops are considered to be a failure.
  • GM crops such as Bt cotton, the stalled Bt brinjal as well as DMH-11, a transgenic mustard hybrid – has failed as a sustainable agriculture technology and has, therefore, also failed to provide livelihood security for cotton farmers who are mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
  • It raised questions on the genetic engineering technology itself on the grounds that it raises the cost of sowing.

Prof. Swaminathan, credited with leading India’s Green Revolution, has in recent years advocated ‘sustainable agriculture’ and said the government should only use genetic engineering as a last resort.

Swaminathan emphasised that genetic engineering technology is supplementary and must be needbased. Only in very rare circumstance (less than 1%) may there arise a need for the use of this technology.

However, the research paper – ‘Modern Technologies for Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security’ – was criticised by India’s Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA), K. VijayRaghavan as ‘deeply flawed’.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2018/12/08/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_05/9728cd03_2579296_101_mr.jpg


Sri Brihadeeswarar temple, Thanjavur

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I – Art and architecture; Conservation of Heritage and Monuments

In news:

  • HC stays Art of Living event at Sri Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • The iconic Great temple was over 1,000 years old and by allowing private parties to put up temporary structures within its premises, the authorities were showing no regard for heritage.

About Sri Brihadeeswarar temple

  • It is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
  • It is also known as Periya Kovil (Great Temple), RajaRajeswara Temple and Rajarajeswaram.
  • It is one of the largest temples in India and is an example of Dravidian architecture during the Chola period.
  • Built by emperor Raja Raja Chola I and completed in 1010 AD, the temple turned 1000 years old in 2010.
  • The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Great Living Chola Temples”, with the other two being the Brihadeeswarar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Airavatesvara temple.

(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 3 and Essay

  • Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks
  • Essay

Is social media polarising society?

Introduction

  • Due to advancement in information and technology, there has been rapid growth in social media platforms such as facebook, twitter, whatsapp etc. This becomes extremely important for India because India has now became the second most populated country in terms of access to internet.
  • Access to internet helps in gathering information, express personal views on various social media sites, mass mobilisation of current issues (Arab Spring) increases engagement with the government.
  • However, the social media is also used to spread fake news which further increases hatred among communities.
  • This rapid growth of social media has proved to be very controversial because of which there is an ongoing debate; whether the social media is a boon or bane?

ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AS A POLARISING AGENT

Ideal Purpose of Social Media

  • To promote 3Ds: discussion, debate and dissent among members of societies. It helps in making an informed society.
  • It should help in reducing inherent bias among people on various issues.
  • It should make people more receptive to others’ viewpoints, beliefs and opinions.
  • Thus, effectively it should promote harmony, brotherhood and tolerance in the society.

What has social media done?

  • Rather than achieving the above mentioned goals, social media has hardened people’s belief’s views and opinion and has made people more conservative in their outlook.
  • This process of moulding people’s opinion has been achieved by social media through a concept known as “Echo chamber Phenomena”.
  • Social Media uses algorithms where; it suggests whom to follow, posts and comments consistent with our views and Filter news based on views and opinions.
  • These algorithms when used repeatedly by social media companies creates a cyclical rhythm of views which when bombarded regularly, helps in creating an effect similar to echo of a sound.
  • This “Echo chamber Phenomena” has been used by various agencies to fulfill their interest which has further helped in hardening of people’s beliefs, views and opinions.
  • Apart from this, the social media also impacts the individual behaviour which could be understood by Asch conformity experiment.

Dou you know?

Asch Conformity Experiment

  • As per the Asch Conformity Experiment people gave wrong answers (knowingly) to confirm their alignment with the majority because according to them the majority viewpoint is correct.
  • This phenomenon of confirming with majority has helped in increasing acceptance of fake news to be as true.

SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN ENABLER

Inclusive and participative tool of governance

  • Social media is inclusive, participative and Disruptive in a positive way.
  • Inclusive: as it provides equal opportunity to all without discrimination or bias. It provides for a inclusive framework for all the people to to express their viewpoints and opinions.
  • Participative: It promotes good governance in India, because it enables the government to engage with its citizens. At the same time it enables the citizens to put forward their concerns before the government. Thus it leads to strengthening of Democracy in India.
  • Disruptive: The social media has also been used for mass mobilisation campaigns, for example, during the Arab Spring, #MeToo campaign and disaster management.
  • Social media if used effectively, can further good governance initiatives of the government through people’s participation.

Tool of persuasion

  • Aristotle gave three modes of persuasion: Ethos(Credibility), Pathos(emotional appeal) and Logos(logic).
  • People believe credible person or medium or they would believe if theres an emotional appeal or they will believe if there is logic and rationality in an argument.
  • Thus, ability to persuade people depends on these three factors, and social media can play utmost a persuasive tool.
  • It is wrong to blame the mushrooming growth of social media as it is the people who feed information as per their beliefs and opinion.

Conclusion

  • Improper use of social media has dented our secular fabric. It is now our duty to use social media in responsible manner.
  • In order to make social media more effective, it’s the people who must understand their responsibility towards society rather than believing and spreading fake news which can cause hatred and promote divisiveness in the society.
  • And on part of government; it should enact laws for data privacy and protection so that no other Cambridge Analytica will ever happen.

Connecting the dots:

  • Write an Essay; “Social media: An Enabler or Polarizer”.

NATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Governance; government policies and interventions
  • Justice delivery system in India

Shielding witnesses: on protection scheme

Introduction

  • The Supreme Court of India has ordered all states and union territories to implement the Draft Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 framed by the Centre in consultation with the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
  • The scheme intends to protect witnesses in criminal trials from threat, intimidation and undue influence.  Witnesses turning hostile are a major reason for most acquittals in criminal cases.
  • In the present system, there is little incentive for witnesses to turn up in court and testify against criminals. Threats to their lives, hostility and harassment while attending courts makes extremely difficult for the witness to give evidence in Court of law.  
  • Moreover, the need to protect witnesses has been emphasised by Law Commission reports and court judgments for years. 

About Scheme

  • It broadly classifies witnesses in need of protection into three types based on the threat assessment.
  • A witness protection order will be passed by a competent authority.
  • The scheme is to be funded by budgetary support from State governments and donations. This is at variance with the Law Commission’s recommendation in 2006 that the Centre and the States share the cost equally.

Basic Features & Challenges

  • The Basic features such as in camera trial, proximate physical protection and removing identity details of testimony and references to witnesses in the records can be easily implemented.
  • However, advanced forms of identity protection: giving witnesses a new identity, address and even ‘parentage’, with matching documents will be the real challenge in terms of witness protection.
  • The implementation of the Witness Protection Scheme will face logistical and financial challenge which both the Centre and states need to fix together.

Aims and Objectives of Draft Witness Protection Scheme, 2018

    • The ability of a witness to give testimony in a judicial setting or to cooperate with law enforcement and investigations without fear of intimidation or reprisal is essential in maintaining the rule of law.
    • The objective of this Scheme is to ensure that the investigation, prosecution and trial of criminal offences is not prejudiced because witnesses are intimidated or frightened to give evidence without protection from violent or other criminal recrimination.
    • It aims to promote law enforcement by facilitating the protection of persons who are involved directly or indirectly in providing assistance to criminal law enforcement agencies and overall administration of Justice.
    • Witnesses need to be given the confidence to come forward to assist law enforcement and Judicial Authorities with full assurance of safety.
    • It is aimed to identify series of measures that may be adopted to safeguard witnesses and their family members from intimidation and threats against their lives, reputation and property.
  • As such witnesses should be entitled to the following rights:
    • Right to give evidence anonymously
    • Right to protection from intimidation and harm
    • Right to be treated with dignity and compassion and respect of privacy
    • Right to information of the status of the investigation and prosecution of the crime.
    • Right to secure waiting place while at Court proceedings
    • Right to transportation and lodging arrangements.

Steps taken to protect witnesses and way forward

  • There have been ad hoc steps such as those outlined for concealing the identity of witnesses in anti-terrorism and child-centric laws.
  • A few dedicated courtrooms for vulnerable witnesses, mostly child victims, are also functional. However, expanding such facilities and implementing a comprehensive and credible witness protection programme will pose logistical and financial challenges.
  • It will be well worth the effort, as the scheme could help strengthen India’s tottering criminal justice system.

Connecting the dots:

  • A robust witness protection scheme will strengthen the criminal justice system. Comment.

(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) Consider the following statements about Brihadeeswarar Temple:

  1. The great temple of Brihadeeswarar Temple is dedicated to the Lord Vishnu.
  2. It was built by Rajaraja Chola’s son Rajendra I.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q 2) With regard to Gangaikonda Cholapuram consider the following statements:

  1. The city was founded by Rajendra Chola I to commemorate his victory over the Pala Dynasty.
  2. The great temple of Brihadeeswarar Temple at this place is dedicated to the Lord Vishnu.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None

Q 3) Which of the following organization is responsible for the preparation of economic survey in India?

  1. Department of revenue
  2. Department of economic affairs
  3. Department of revenue
  4. Department of financial services

 

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