IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 12th June 2019
New agency to develop space warfare weapon systems
Part of Prelims and mains GS III: Science and Technology
- To enhance the capabilities of the armed forces to fight wars in space, the government has approved the setting up of a new agency which will develop sophisticated weapon systems and technologies.
- The Defence Space Research Agency (DSRO) has been entrusted with the task of creating space warfare weapon systems and technologies.
- The agency would be provided with a team of scientists which would be working in close coordination with the tri-services integrated Defence staff officers.
- It would be providing the research and development support to the Defence Space Agency (DSA) which comprises members of the three services.
Amitabh’s Twitter data put on dark web
Part of Prelims: Science and Technology, Mains: GS Paper III– Science and Technology
What is Dark Web?
- The dark web is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets, overlay networks that use the Internet but require specific software, configurations, or authorization to access.
- The dark web forms a small part of the deep web, the part of the Web not indexed by web search engines, although sometimes the term deep web is mistakenly used to refer specifically to the dark web.
Quad one way to fix regional issues: Australian envoy
Part of Prelims: International relations, Mains: GS Paper II – International relations.
- Quad, ASEAN and RCEP are common interest areas of India and Australia.
- There is need for flexibility, agility and speed in solving regional problems and the Quad is one of many such small groupings in solving them.
- A successful conclusion to negotiations on RCEP would help shape the regional rules and norms governing trade, investment and the broader economy.
It is considered as an informal grouping among India, Japan, Australia, and the United States. It has been seen as a prospective coalition among the four countries with a political and security perspective in the Indo- Pacific region. The group is currently only a proposal, and has not taken form of an official alliance/organization or any other designated international group.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed arrangement between ASEAN and six Asia-Pacific countries including India and Australia. Mainly with the focus on trade and investment.
Virendra Kumar is Pro-tem Speaker
Part of Prelims and mains GS II: Indian Polity
- Virendra Kumar will be the Pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
- As Pro-tem Speaker, he will preside over the first sitting of the Lok Sabha, administer the oath of office to the newly elected MPs, and oversee the election of the Speaker.
Do you know?
- After a general election and the formation of a new government, a list of senior Lok Sabha members prepared by the Legislative Section is submitted to the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, who selects a pro tem speaker. The appointment has to be approved by the President.
- The first meeting after the election when the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are selected by members of the Parliament is held under the pro tem Speaker.
TOPIC: General Studies 2:
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
The 5G Wave
5G is the next generation of mobile standards being defined by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) – a specialized agency of the UN for information and communication technologies responsible for allocation of global radio spectrum and development of technical standards.
Along with high data rate, 5G will also reduce latency, save energy, and enable massive device connectivity, paving the way for next-generation applications such as autonomous vehicles, smart homes and cities, and massive machine-to-machine communications for industries.
It is estimated that the total economic impact from 5G in India can exceed $1 trillion by 2035.
Is India 5G Ready?
India, with the second largest mobile phone subscriber base globally, has also joined the race for 5G.
The delayed adoption of previous generations of mobile networks. The commercial launch of 3G services took place in Japan in 2001, but arrived in India only in December 2008. 4G roll-out in 2012 came three years after the first commercial launch in 2009.
- The telecom industry is under severe financial distress, with falling Average Revenue Per User (ARPU), declining revenues, mounting losses and increasing debt.
The import duty for equipment such as base stations, optical transport gear, 4G LTE products, gateway controllers, carrier Ethernet switches etc., has further been increased to 20 per cent.
5G deployment is a costly affair and debt-ridden telecom service providers have to work their finances out before they chart out plans for acquiring 5G spectrum or investing in equipment.
- One of the fundamental requirements for timely and effective 5G deployment is optical fibre based strong backhaul infrastructure. Optical fibre kilometres per capita in India is around one-tenth that in China and one-fifteenth of that in Japan.
As mentioned in the National Digital Communications Policy 2018, the fibre-to-the-tower programme is supposed to enable at least 60 per cent of telecom towers thereby accelerating migration to 4G/5G. The government’s flagship BharatNet programme also plans to link 2.5 lakh gram panchayats through optical fibre network.
However, to achieve these targets a major change is necessary in existing construction and clearance processes.
High Level 5G India 2020 Forum:
It was set up in 2017 to evaluate and build a roadmap or action plan for 5G deployment in India by 2020. The report laid out three priority areas in 5G:
- Deployment – An early roll out of 5G services to maximise the value proposition of 5G as a technology.
- Technology – To build indigenous industrial and R&D capacity, especially for the design and Intellectual Property.
- Manufacturing – To expand the manufacturing base for 5G technologies, which includes both semiconductor fabrication and equipment assembly and testing.
- Bringing the full benefits of 5G to the people and economy at the lowest cost and in the shortest time possible.
It is in India’s benefit to not exclude any players from the small set of 5G equipment vendors. It is to our advantage to keep competition high, telecom equipment pricing low, and access to the full range of technology options open.
- Minimise any security risks to critical telecom infrastructure.
India can consider forming a techno-diplomatic alliance with countries at risk from the same telecom products and create an information sharing and competency building agreement with them — Russia, Japan, France, and Germany are some of the potential partner countries.
- Maximising India’s opportunities for value creation from the global 5G revolution.
India has limited intellectual property in 5G technologies and is largely going to be a buyer of this technology. However, the size of the Indian market and our strengths in services and software create some opportunities for symmetric dependencies and value creation.
- The government should encourage capacity building in Indian companies for “5G deployment services” such that Indian talent can be used across the world.
Global deployments of 5G are expected to continue over the next decade and will require skilled labour to design, install, and monitor these networks.
Telecom technology generations evolve in decade time-frames. It will take foresight and strong execution of a national plan to make India a relevant player in the next evolution of telecom technology.
If India plays this situation right and plays to win, we can not only bring timely and affordable 5G to India, but do it with due consideration to our security concerns and even get an upside from our engagement with the global 5G revolution.
Connecting the dots:
- India, with the second largest mobile phone subscriber base globally, has joined the ongoing race for 5G. Is India ready for the same? Discuss.
TOPIC: General Studies 2:
- India and its neighbourhood- relations
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
India and Middle East
The government in last few years had invested considerable political capital, time and resources in cultivating critical players in the Middle East, namely, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Iran in the Persian Gulf region, and Israel in the Levant.
It is time to reap the fruits of political investments and elevate the engagements to a higher level.
Challenges and Solutions:
- Iran has been a major foreign policy challenge since the end of the Cold War.
The Trump Administration is determined to halt Iran’s oil exports completely. The government needs to devise a balanced approach vis-à-vis the United States and its demands on Iran.
India also needs to enhance its financial commitments to the Chabahar Port project.
- Sash the bureaucratic cobwebs and enable the flow of investments from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which have committed to invest up to US$ 75 and 100 billion, respectively, in India.
If the Ratnagiri refinery does not take off due to land issues, the government should explore other western coastal states to facilitate Saudi-Emirati investments in the mega refinery project.
- The ongoing intra-Gulf crisis over Qatar does not serve India’s interest.
Given its economic, political, energy and expatriate links, an early resolution of the Saudi-Qatari standoff is in India’s interest. During his first term in office, PM Modi had established a personal rapport with all key players involved in the crisis. The government should leverage this to initiate a dialogue process with the leaders in the region.
- China has managed to entice the Gulf Arab countries to endorse and partake in its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.
India will have to expand its trade basket and move into investment projects with the Gulf Arab countries. The Indo-Omani joint fertiliser company in Sur and India’s economic partnership with Jordan presents a model and precedent for more energised Indian investment in the Gulf economies.
The government should also encourage the private sector to expand its presence in the Middle Eastern economies, especially the Persian Gulf region.
- India should expand its presence in the Israeli economy and technology market through selective but aggressive investments aimed at technology acquisition.
A robust cybersecurity cooperation with Israel should be explored.
- India’s growing political engagements with the Middle East must be given more extensive publicity within the country. This will not only generate broader domestic support for it but also enhance India’s influence in the region
While the government has engaged actively in last few years with the Middle Eastern countries, it is now time for action.
Connecting the dots:
- The government in last few years had invested considerable political capital, time and resources in cultivating critical players in the Middle East. It is time to reap the fruits of political investments and elevate the engagements to a higher level.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Consider the following statements,
- First session of Lok Sabha, after general elections, is presided by President.
- Speaker protem delivers oath to newly elected MPs in Lok Sabha.
Select the correct statements
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.2) Consider the following countries :
Which of the above are among the ‘free-trade partners’ of ASEAN ?
- 1, 2, 4 and 5
- 3, 4, 5 and 6
- 1, 3, 4 and 5
- 2, 3, 4 and 6
Q.3) Consider the following countries :
Which of the above are not members of the proposed Quad?
- 1, 4, 5 and 6
- 3, 4, 5 and 6
- 2 and 3
- All of the above are members
The importance of being neighbourly
Balancing the poles
The middle income illusion