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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st August 2019

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  • August 21, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st August 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Aadhaar-social media profile linking

Part of: GS Mains II – Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

In News

  • There is growing demand to link social media profiles of users with their Aadhaar numbers to check circulation of fake, defamatory and pornographic content, as well as material that is anti-national or related to terror activities.
  • As a result, petitions – to link aadhar & user profile – have been filed against Social media platforms (like Facebook) in different High Courts of India
  • Facebook has in turn filed a plea in Supreme Court, to transfer all such petitions pending before different high courts to Supreme Court for adjudication.
  • Facebook contended that there were four petitions – two in the Madras High Court and one each in the Bombay and the Madhya Pradesh High Courts – on the issue.
  • There was a risk that the different High Courts may arrive at conflicting decisions on the issue of Aadhaar linkage. It would be better to have the SC take the final call
  • The Supreme Court stressed the need to find a balance between the right to online privacy and the right of the State to detect people who use the web to spread panic and commit crimes.
  • Governments response on the issue is crucial given that SC has upheld the right to privacy as a fundamental right in 2017

Electric Vehicles

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains III – Economy

In News

  • Low-quality Chinese batteries could slow down India’s EV drive
  • Chinese government has nudged its battery makers to move up the value chain by recalibrating its subsidy regime.
  • China used to provide subsidies to e-scooters with small batteries of short range and with 25kmph speed.
  • Now they have stopped the subsidies on those low-technology EVs and are providing subsidies only to high-range, high-density batteries and to EVs with a longer range
  • As a result, manufacturers of older models unable to sell their products in their domestic market (China) are exporting their low quality batteries to India
  • As batteries dominate costs of electric vehicles, some Indian developers tend to buy poor quality Chinese modules to meet cost pressures and timelines.
  • This comes against the backdrop of India’s FAME 2 scheme—to expand commercial vehicle fleet—announced with an outlay of ₹10,000 crore in March.
  • It is imperative to get cell cost and parameters like energy density (size and weight), lifecycles, safety, temperature tolerance right, so that its batteries are manufactured in India and suited to Indian conditions.

Do You know?

  • India is currently giving final touches to a plan to build Tesla-style giga factories to develop its own domestic battery manufacturing ecosystem. 
  • This involves a raft of incentives such as concessional financing options, friendly tax regimes and a suitable basic customs duty safeguard
  • According to NITI Aayog, India will need six such gigawatt-scale facilities (of 10GWh each) by 2025 and 12 by 2030. 
  • Besides electric vehicles, such battery storages will cater to electricity grids, given the intermittent nature of electricity from clean energy sources such as solar and wind. 

Lake Conservation

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains III – Environmental Conservation

In News

  • The Odisha Wetland Authority has approved implementation of an integrated management plan for Chilika and Ansupa lakes at an estimated cost of Rs 180 Crore.
  • Chilika, country’s largest brackish water lagoon, is spread over 1,100 sq km. Lakhs of tourists visit the lake to watch endangered Irrawaddy dolphins and migratory birds during winter
  • Ansupa, Odisha’s largest freshwater lake, is spread over almost 2 sq km. Ansupa is famous for its sweet water fish and is also the wintering ground for 32 species of migratory birds.
  • The five-year management of lakes is intended at strengthening livelihood of thousands of fishermen relying on the two water-bodies. Besides, tourism promotion and conservation of ecology will be taken up.

Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) & Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS III – Science and Technology

In News

  • Treating drug-resistant tuberculosis – like MDR-TB and XDR-TB – got a boost after U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug Pretomanid
  • Pretomanid is only the third new anti-TB drug approved for use by FDA in more than 40 years.
  • The drug was developed and tested in clinical trials by New York-based non-profit organisation TB Alliance
  • The duration of treatment for drug-resistant TB can be drastically cut from 18-24 months to just six-nine months when pretomanid drug is used along with two already approved drugs — bedaquiline and linezolid.
  •  The all-oral, three-drug regimen can also vastly improve the treatment success rate (presently it is 30% -50%) and potentially decrease the number of deaths due to better adherence to treatment.

Do You know?

  • Worldwide, TB has surpassed HIV-AIDS as the leading cause of death due to infectious diseases. In 2017, over 13 lakh people died of the disease.
  • People with TB who do not respond to at least isoniazid and rifampicin, which are first-line TB drugs are said to have MDR-TB. 
  • People who are resistantto isoniazid and rifampin, plus any fluoroquinolone and at least one of three injectable second-line drugs (amikacin, kanamycin, or capreomycin) are said to have XDR-TB.
  •  According to WHO reports an estimated 4.5 lakh people across the world have MDR-TB and nearly 37,500 people have XDR-TB. 
  • India has 24% of MDR-TB cases in the world.

(MAINS FOCUS)


URBANISATION 

Topic: General studies 2

  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

Urbanise India to eliminate poverty

CONTEXT:

  • Sustainable urbanisation can mobilise India’s potential. The world is at 55.3% urbanisation on average, whereas India lags at 34%.
  • India must systematically urbanise and provide mass-employment to its large population in high-growth sectors like industry and services.

 Can we grow enough food with a reduced agriculture workforce?

  • World Bank data shows that with only 1.3% of its workforce in farms, the US produces enough food to feed double its population. 
  • In 2017, median farming household income was $75,994, which exceeded the $61,372 US household median. 
  • China, with 27% of its workforce involved in farming, produces 500 million tonnes of food every year with less arable land than India.
  • India, in comparison, produces 290 million tonnes of food with a 43% agriculture workforce when 20% would suffice. 
  • With higher yield and productivity, a smaller agriculture workforce will earn comparably with industry and services.

The case for urbanisation is evident when we examine state-wise data. 

  • The accompanying graphic shows urban percentage, per-capita GSDP, higher education Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), and Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for representative states. 
  • GER is an indicator of human capital development; crucial for high-growth sectors like services. 
  • TFR indicates whether a population is shrinking or expanding and is vital to policy planning, 

States in the South-West zones:

  • These states are more urbanised.
  • All above the 31% all-India average. These states also have low TFR, considerably below the national average of 2.18.
  • Low fertility and high GER has resulted in better educated, smaller populations that are earning more than their northern counterparts.

Tamil Nadu (TN):

  • It has India’s highest GER, at 48.6, and one of the lowest TFRs, at 1.7. In 2011 itself, we can see TN is most urbanised at 48.4%, with an already-high GER of 40. No other big Indian state attained a GER of 40 even in 2017-18.
  • Rapid urbanisation has boosted TN’s enrolment in higher education. However, regressive focus on caste politics has taken away from growth. 
  • Though TN had the second-highest per-capita GSDP in 2011-12, growth is lower compared to states like Karnataka and Telangana, which are driven by services. 
  • The TN government must converge on using high GER and urbanisation to drive its strong industry legacy and build a large services sector.

Karnataka:

  • Karnataka is an intriguing case. With one of the highest per-capita GDPs at Rs 2 lakh in 2017-18 and a reasonably high urban percentage at 38%, a reality check indicator is its lower GER of 27.8. 
  • Data from RBI and the Economic Survey show 60% of Karnataka’s GDP comes from Bengaluru and the services sector—driven by IT and other technological drivers. 
  • Like most southern states, TFR is low; but, the state sees significant immigration. Despite its large services sector, by defocusing on human capital 
  • Karnataka’s government is placing natives in an unfortunate situation of being unable to compete for the best jobs in their state. 
  • Karnataka must focus on urbanisation and development of human capital to remedy this, which will further boost the state’s impressive growth trajectory.

Gujarat:

  • Gujarat is another unusual case—high urbanisation at 43% but lower-than-average GER of 20.1. Gujarat’s steady growth and high per-capita GSDP of Rs 2 lakh are driven by its phenomenal industry sector, which accounts for more than half of GVA. 
  • High dependency on industry, and not services, which contribute only 35% of GVA, means Gujarat’s growth will start slowing down when automation and other factors kick in. 
  • With a TFR of 2.03, Gujarat’s population downturn is not as steep as southern states. Without the development of human capital, Gujarat is in danger of lagging in the future. 
  • The answer to this is investing in higher education and building a strong services sector to complement its industry.

Northern states 

Punjab:

  • Punjab stands out among northern states. It boasts a high urban percentage (37.5%), high GER (30.3) in 2017-18, and one of the lowest TFRs (1.62). 
  • Despite this, Punjab still relies heavily on agriculture; its services and industrial output is lower than that of southern states. 
  • With indicators of high urbanisation, high GER and low population growth, Punjab can easily make the transition to a high-growth economy focused on services, with the right policies.

North-Central-East zones 

  • Other states in the North-Central-East zones mostly have low urbanisation and low GER. The lack of urbanisation has resulted in a shortage of industry and services sectors and low per-capita GDP. 
  • The populations in these states will keep growing in the foreseeable future, indicated by higher TFRs.
  • Without employment options in high-growth sectors, these large populations cannot rely on agriculture or industry alone for growth. Services are a must. Uttar Pradesh has made a valiant effort to develop human capital—GER rose from 17.4 to 25.9 in six years. 
  • Now, policies to boost output with labour-intensive industries (LIIs) and services to provide formal employment can increase growth.

Bihar :

  • Bihar is a troubling case study on the effects of low urbanisation and human capital. Only 11.3% of the population is urban. GER is the lowest in India and hardly growing—from 12.5 to 13 in six years.
  • Per-capita GSDP is lowest, at `42,000 in 2017-18. Despite having fertile land, Bihar’s agriculture sector cannot grow because it is disorganised with a large number of dependents. 
  • With India’s highest TFR—3.41—Bihar’s expanding population is condemned to a sub-aspirational existence due to the state’s stagnant economy. 
  • Bihar needs special attention from the Centre, with focused schemes to organise the agricultural industry, urbanise and educate the masses, and provide mass employment through LIIs.
  • Madhya Pradesh has set a good example here by prioritising agrarian growth as well as instituting LIIs to provide mass employment

Conclusion:

  • It is clear that every state—irrespective of prosperity or geographical location—is diverse. We are now in an era where the role of the Centre is increasingly limited, and state spending is growing. Each state must evaluate its economy—workforce distribution, sectoral contribution, demographics, formal employment, higher education and specialisation, unique growth drivers—and set a development plan.

Connecting the dots:

  1. For India to make urbanisation sustainable, it must first tackle the problems of multiplicity of jurisdictions, weak revenue base and human resource capacity deficit that impact most of its cities. Analyse.
  2. How to harness the benefits of Urbanisation for more economic development. Discuss

AADHAAR

TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

Aadhaar –social media link

Context:

  • The Supreme Court on Tuesday stressed the need to find a balance between the right to online privacy and the right of the State to detect people who use the web to spread panic and commit crimes.
  • A Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Ghose expressed concern over the dangers of the dark web.
  • The Bench’s comments were in response to submissions by Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Tamil Nadu government along with advocate Balaji Srinivasan, about the need to link social media profiles of registered users with their Aadhaar numbers, and if required, have platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp share the 12-digit unique identity with law enforcement agencies to help detect crimes.

Arguments of Mr.venugopal in favour of linking Aadhaar with social media profiles:

  • The linking of social media profiles with Aadhaar is needed to check fake news, defamatory articles, pornographic materials and anti-national and terror contents in the online media.
  • He said the government found it a challenge to trace the ‘originator’ of such online content. The services of social media platforms, which were used to circulate such content, was the need of the hour.
  • Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Kapil Sibal, representing social media platforms, said they had moved the Supreme Court for the sole purpose of transferring the proceedings pending in High Courts to the apex court for adjudication.

Multiple cases:

  • Facebook contended that there were four petitions — two in the Madras High Court and one each in the Bombay and the Madhya Pradesh High Courts — on the issue. 
  • The court, as the highest court in the country, and not the High Courts, should decide the issue that affected the privacy of an online user. 
  • A decision of the top court would cover the entire span of the country and would uniformly apply to all the States.
  • Mr. Sibal said a decision of the Indian courts would have global ramifications.
  • Both lawyers pointed out that a nine-judge Constitution Bench had declared privacy as a fundamental right associated with life and dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • Mr. Venugopal asked why social media platforms have decided to approach the Supreme Court at this point of time.

 Aadhaar :

  • It is a 12 digit individual identification number issued by UIDAI (Unique identification authority of India) on behalf of Government of India 
  • It will serve as identity and address proof anywhere in India. 
  • It is available in 2 forms, physical and electronic form i.e. (e-Aadhaar). 
  • Any resident (a person who has resided in India for 182 days, in the one year preceding the date of application for enrollment for Aadhaar) of India irrespective of age, sex, class can avail it. 
  • The UID authority will authenticate the Aadhaar number of an individual, if an entity makes such a request.  A requesting entity (an agency or person that wants to authenticate information of a person) has to obtain the consent of an individual before collecting his information.

Benefits of Aadhaar 

  • JAM trinity –  Jan DhanYojana, Aadhaar and Mobile numbers – This will make the government support to poor more targeted and less distortive.
  • Identification of the beneficiaries of the government’s welfare schemes – Aadhar will help to remove fake and duplicates identities. It can be used to filter the list of beneficiaries and stop the leakage of public money.
  • To tackle the black money issue – Use of Aadhar in financial transactions can reduce the menace of black money in the country.
  • In Income tax return – Use of Aadhar in income tax filing will reduce the number of documents needed. It can make the process more efficient and cost-effective way.
  • In Opening a bank account – There is no need to collect multiple identity proofs or run around for documentation. Your humble Aadhaar Card is ample proof of your identity and address.
  • In getting subsidies directly to the bank account – By linking Aadhar with bank accounts, subsidies like LPG will get credited to bank account directly.
  • To get pension money on time – By just registering with the Aadhaar number, pension-related documentation process will be eased and a timely payout of pension money can be ensured.
  • The issue of digital Life certificate – Aadhar number can be used to get a digital life certificate. It will help pensioners without the hassle of physically going to the bank and submitting the life certificate.
  • Easy Provident Fund disbursement – The Aadhaar will ensure that the Provident Fund money is not diverted and is disbursed directly to the pensioner’s account.
  • Accepted as a proof of address by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for investing in stock market.
  • Mapping development parameters – In critical sectors of the country like healthcare and education, Aadhar can be used to map the development process.
  • It can help to map skilled manpower, based on the vocational training acquired by the individual, to suitable job vacancies/ skill requirements of the State.

 Legislative Backing for Aadhaar: How will it help?

  • The Narendra Modi government introduced the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. The legislation seeks to provide statutory backing to Aadhaar and enable targeted delivery of subsidies and other benefits to the intended beneficiaries.
  • The Bill was introduced as a money Bill in the Lower House as it can be tabled and passed only in the Lok Sabha. However opposition parties have expressed concerns about calling Aadhar as Money bill. The issue of privacy has also been one of the sticky points in this regard. The article briefly deals with the issues involved.

What makes the Aadhaar platform suitable for direct benefit transfer?

  • It is transparent and has the potential to eliminate leakage. It does so by assigning a unique identity number to each resident.
  • The identity remains unique because of the inclusion of biometrics like finger prints and iris.
  • The platform offers benefits like portability to the beneficiaries.

There are three important issues that are debated around:

  • Tabling the Aadhaar as money bill the government is setting up a dangerous precedent. With this, the Rajya Sabha cannot make amendments to money bill passed by the Lok Sabha and can only make recommendations. It also has to return money bills to the Lok Sabha within 14 days from the date of their receipt, thus ensuring a time-bound process.
  • Privacy concerns around the Aadhaar project have been numerous, given that it requires the use of biometric information such as fingerprints and iris scans of citizens. Critics claim that without appropriate checks and balances, this information isn’t secure, and that it can be misused by the state itself—to profile people. There needs to have a effective robust law to protect privacy of the citizens.
  • The efficacy of biometric finger print is another issue that is not properly addressed. UIDAI in its various reports has come up with certain glitches that it faced during taking biometric details of a person. There are instances where people (especially in Villages) fail get proper thumb impression, apparently making them not eligible for subsidies. The government should come up with innovative solutions to address this issue

The Supreme Court upheld the validity of India’s ambitious biometric identity project, ‘Aadhaar’, saying it benefited the marginalized and poor, but sharply reined in a government push to make it mandatory for various services.

  • Aadhaar is meant to help benefits reach the marginalised sections of the society and takes into account the dignity of people not only from personal but also from community point of view.
  • The panel ruled the programme had merits, but struck down provisions in the act that made its use mandatory in applications for services ranging from bank accounts to mobile telephone connections and school admissions.
  • The court also ruled unconstitutional the use of Aadhaar by companies to establish an individual’s identity.

Where is Aadhaar going to be required?

  • Section 7 which states Aadhar is mandatory for any government scheme that draws out of the consolidated fund of India. This means that if you want to avail benefits such as ration, LPG subsidy, MGNREGA, you have to furnish your Aadhaar number or your Aadhaar enrollment ID.
  • An individual has to furnish their Aadhaar number or the enrollment ID while filing Income Tax returns.
  • It has made Aadhaar-PAN card linking mandatory as well as the requirement of Aadhaar when applying for PAN card. This is an indirect link to banks, where PAN card number is mandatory. It is this part that, in a way, makes it mandatory for you to obtain an Aadhaar number.

What of the Aadhaar Act has the court struck down?

  • Section 33(1) which allows disclosure of information, including identity and authentication records, if ordered by a court not inferior to that of a District Judge. Individuals should be given the opportunity of a hearing.
  • Section 33(2) which allowed identity and authentication data to be disclosed in the interest of national security on direction of an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India. A Judicial Officer (preferably a sitting High Court Judge) should be associated with it and that the government should bring in legislation to this effect.
  • Section 47 which referred to cognizance of offences. Under this Section, no individual was allowed to file a complaint if he/she felt their data was leaked or misused. The law only allowed the court to take cognizance of a complaint filed by UIDAI or anyone authorised by it. Any individual will now be allowed to file a complaint if he/she feels their data has been compromised.
  • Section 57 refers to the use of Aadhaar data by any “body corporate or person” to establish the identity of an individual. Justice Sikri, in his judgment, found this section to be unconstitutional. It was under this provision that private companies like Paytm and Airtel Payments Bank sought Aadhaar details from customers.
  • The court also ruled that authentication record should not be kept beyond the period of six months and the provision that allowed archive records for five years has been struck down. It has excluded storage of meta-data of transactions by individuals. This banning means UIDAI cannot collect data sets and mine it for more data or analysis. It has also struck down data sharing with corporates.
  • The Supreme Court also called for Parliament to draft and pass a data protection law immediately. “We have also impressed upon the respondents to bring out a robust data protection regime in the form of an enactment on the basis of Justice BN Srikrishna (Retd.) Committee Report with necessary modifications thereto as may be deemed appropriate.”

Connecting the dots:

  1. Are privacy concerns over Aadhaar valid? Critically examine.
  2. Recently government tabled Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 as a money bill in the Lok Sabha thus completely bypassing Rajya sabha. Do u think this act of the government is harmful for the fedarilism of India. Comment.
  3. Address the outstanding issues associated with converting Aadhar in to an Act of Parliment?

(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) In which case did Supreme Court ruled unanimously that privacy is a constitutionally protected right in India?

  1. K.S.Puttaswamy v Union of India.
  2. Kesavananda Bharati Vs State of Kerala.
  3. Indira Sawhney & Ors v. Union of India.
  4. None of the above

Q.2) Pretomanid, bedaquiline and linezolid often seen in the news is related to which of the following?

  1. News vaccines for Malaria
  2. Banned drugs used in Poultry industry
  3. Treatment of drug resistant Tuberculosis
  4. None of the above

Q.3) FAME India scheme is being implemented by which Union Ministry?

  1. Prime Minister’s Office
  2. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
  3. Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises
  4. Ministry of Electronics and IT

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