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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 3rd March 2021

  • IASbaba
  • March 3, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Khujli Ghar: Nagaland’s traditional form of punishment

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – I- Culture/ Society

In news

  • Some villages in Nagaland are trying to revive a traditional form of punishment to reduce crime. 

Key takeaways 

  • Khujli ghar is a cramped, triangular cage made from the logs of Masang-fung. 
  • Masang-fung is a local tree that causes irritation. 
  • Social offenders of Naga customary laws dread this punishment due to humiliation within the community. 
  • Such itchy cages are referred to as khujli ghar in Nagamese — a pidgin lingua franca — but each Naga community has its own name. 
  • The Aos, one of the major tribes of Nagaland, call it Shi-ki (flesh-house). 
  • The cage is usually placed at a central spot in the village, usually in front of the morung (bachelor’s dormitory) for the inmate to be in full public view. 

Related articles:


Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Economy; Science & Techbology

In news

  • Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC) System has been commissioned in Western Railway Trains in Mumbai.

Key takeaways 

  • The Mobile Train Radio Communication system is an effective and a technologically advanced communication system. 
  • It can play an important role in preventing train accidents and reducing delays through effective communication.
  • MTRC acts in a similar way to that of Air traffic control (ARC) for aircrafts. 
  • The system will monitor, track and aid in communication between the trains and the control room. 
  • This is the first time that MTRC is commissioned in Indian Railways. 
  • The new system has already been installed in 90 out of 100 rakes running between Churchgate and Virar.

Launch of Sugamya Bharat App 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Governance

In news

Key takeaways 

  • Developed by: Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • It is a Crowdsourcing Mobile Application. 
  • It is a means for sensitising and enhancing accessibility in the 3 pillars of the Accessible India Campaign i.e. built environment, transportation sector and ICT ecosystem in India.
  • The app provides for five main features, 4 of which are directly related to enhancing accessibility. 
  • The fifth is a special feature meant only for Divyangjan for COVID related issues.

Launch of Swachhta Saarthi Fellowship 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Governance 

In news

  • Swachhta Saarthi Fellowship was Recently launched. 
  • Launched by: The Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India under its “Waste to Wealth” Mission 

Key takeaways 

  • Aim: To recognize students, community workers/self-help groups, and municipal/sanitary workers who are engaged in tackling the enormous challenge of waste management, scientifically and sustainably.
  • The Waste to Wealth Mission is one of the nine national missions of the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).
  • The three categories of awards under the fellowships are as below:
  • Category-A – Open to School students from 9th to 12th standards engaged in waste management community work
  • Category-B – Open to College students (UG, PG, Research students) engaged in waste management community work
  • Category-C – Open to Citizens working in the community and through SHGs, municipal or sanitary workers working beyond specifications of their job requirement
  • Up to 500 fellows will be recognised under the fellowship.

(Mains Focus)


EXECUTIVE/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive 
  • GS-2: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications 

Municipal Budget

Context: Union Budget and State Budget receive attention and coverage that is not the case with Municipal Budget.

Why Municipal Budget matters for common man?

  • Impacts Large number of people: A staggering 4,500+ municipalities in which over 300 million people live present their budgets every year during the budget season. 
  • Concerns with everyday matters: Municipal budgets deal with clean air, clean drinking water, clearing of garbage properly and on time, access to clean toilets at home and in public spaces, wastewater treatment and safe disposal, children and old-age friendly public places etc.
  • Substantial Financial Resource involved: We don’t yet have accurate data, estimates suggest that taken together, these 4,500+ city budgets aggregate to an amount in the range of Rs 1,50,000-1,80,000 crore annually.

Challenges with Municipal Budgets

  • Lacks Citizen Participation: Most municipal laws don’t provide for citizen participation in budgets or transparency in civic works and tenders
  • Not People Friendly: Budget documents themselves are not easy to read and understand for an average citizen
  • Issue of Transparency & Accountability:  Substantial expenditure in the city happens through parastatal agencies such as development authorities, transport corporations and water supply boards, which have separate budgets which are never discussed in the city council or covered in the media.

What is Participatory Budgeting?

  • “Participatory Budgeting” is a concept that was pioneered in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre in the mid-1980s. It is now practised in one form or other in thousands of cities around the world.
  • Participatory budgeting (PB) is a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making, in which ordinary people decide how to allocate part of a municipal or public budget.
  • More recently the MyCityMyBudget campaign, first launched in 2015, is gathering traction in Bengaluru, Mangaluru and Visakhapatnam, as a collaborative effort between respective city corporations and neighbourhood communities. 
  • In these cities, over 85,000 budget inputs have been crowdsourced from over 80,000 citizens in over 350 wards on a wide range of civic issues. These inputs will be reviewed and incorporated into the city budget. 

Merits of Participative Budgeting

  • First Step towards responsive governance: This is significant because in the government system, allocating budgets is the first step towards getting any piece of work done. 
  • Local Solutions:  It facilitates a targeted, hyperlocal focus on budgeting and problem-solving.
  • Enhances Political & Public Trust:  It makes citizens feel like they have a voice in civic governance and thereby builds trust
  • Improves Efficiency: It addresses inefficiencies arising from misplaced prioritisation of civic works relative to citizen needs. 
  • Increased Accountability: Finally, it improves accountability for civic works at the last mile (as citizens would monitor budget execution).
  • Inclusive Governance: Children, women, senior citizens, the differently-abled and several interest groups would be able to make a case for their causes and aspirations in Municipal Budget through direct representations and have them fulfilled
  • Helps in better maintenance of assets: This would foster far greater ownership in communities for civic assets and amenities, thereby resulting in better maintenance and upkeep. At the local level, it is a win-win for communities, elected councillors and the city administration.
  • Strengthens Grassroots Democracy: Unlike the Union budget, the municipal budget is not just a financial or legal document. It can be an enabler of grass roots democracy in cities and tangible change for communities particularly children, women and the urban poor. 

Conclusion

We need greater degrees of citizen engagement and media engagement on Municipal budgets for them to become instruments of real change at a street, neighbourhood and ward level.

Connecting the dots:

  • 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act

GOVERNANCE/ SECURITY

Topic:

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation 
  • GS-3: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, Cyber Security

China’s cyber eye and India

Context: Recently, a cyber intelligence firm claims Chinese government-linked hacking group has targeted the makers of the two vaccines currently used in India’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Stone Panda & vaccines

  • Chinese hacker group known as Stone Panda had “identified gaps and vulnerabilities in the IT infrastructure and supply chain software of Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India.
  • These companies have developed Covaxin and Covishield, which are currently being used in the national vaccination campaign. They are also in the process of testing additional Covid-19 vaccines that could add value to efforts around the world.
  • Increased Cyber Attacks: Some Indian companies involved in Covid-19 vaccine development have told that they have noticed a nearly hundred-fold increase in cyberattack attempts by foreign entities from countries like China and Russia over the last six months.

Possible Reasons

  • One major factor is the border clash between the two countries in June 2020. 
  • These attempts could also be part of a long-term strategy – to test and lay the grounds for further operations in the future. 
  • They can also be used as diversionary tactic.
  • When vaccine companies are targeted, the motive could be competition. The motivation behind Stone Panda’s attack against SII and Bharat Biotech’s IT systems was to extract the companies’ intellectual property and gain a “competitive advantage over Indian pharmaceutical companies”.

A look at the various surveillance and hacking attempts, and their implications:

  • Monitoring Digital Footprint in September 2020: Amid souring relations between India and China last year, evidence emerged in September of a Chinese government-linked company’s attempt to monitor the digital footprint of thousands of Indian citizens. 
  • Red Echo & ShadowPad: Malware threat in Power Infrastructure: In November, the government was apprised of a malware threat in segments of its power infrastructure — malware that was last month linked to a Chinese state-backed firm.

Implications

  • Maintenance of “information library”: Those monitored during September 2020 included not only influential political and industrial figures, but bureaucrats in key positions, judges, scientists and academicians, journalists, actors, sportspersons, religious figures, activists etc.
  • Database is liable for Tactical Manoeuvring: The collection of such data does not violate any rules under the Information Technology Act of 2000, as nearly all of this data is available in the public domain. However, cybersecurity experts are of opinion that the information collected could be put together for tactical manoeuvring, targeting the individuals under surveillance or their institutions.
  • Attack on Stability & Integrity of Power grid: Red Echo’s attempts to target the country’s load despatch centres of the Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (POSOCO) through its ShadowPad malware, negatively impacts the smooth operation of the country’s power grid.

Challenges

  • India has not voluntarily made information about these attempts public. This could leave other companies and government bodies may be in the dark about their vulnerability to such attacks.
  • There is also little clarity on the government’s chain of command where cybersecurity issues are concerned, as different agencies deal with this issue. This makes it difficult to understand who all to approach in the event of such cyber threats.

Connecting the dots:


(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1 Aos is the major tribe of which of the following state? 

  1. Nagaland 
  2. Manipur
  3. Mizoram
  4. Meghalaya 

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC) System:

  1. Mumbai has become the first state to have this system. 
  2. It can play an important role in preventing train accidents and reducing delays through effective communication.

Which of the above is or are correct? 

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

Q.3 Sugamya Bharat App is launched by which of the following Ministry? 

  1. Ministry of Power 
  2. Ministry of Environment 
  3. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment 
  4. Ministry of Minority affairs 

ANSWERS FOR 2nd March 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 C
3 B

Must Read

On rebound of Indian Economy:

The Hindu

On reviving nuclear deal:

The Hindu

On Judiciary’s proposal for rape victim:

Indian Express

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