bharat ias - Trading away our digital rights

Trading away our digital rights

Trading away our digital rights  Context India must first secure its digital sovereignty before it can begin global trade talks  Global Trade Treaties Global trade negotiations are now eyeing the digital area in an attempt to pre-emptively colonise it  Big Data Collected from Developing Countries and converted, or manufactured, into digital intelligence in developed countries, mostly the U.S  Control Various Sectors This digital data forms a kind of “social brain” that begins to control different sectors and extract monopoly rents  Questions raised It is important to frame who owns data and digital intelligence, and how their value should be socially distributed Should governments buy data?: Would the society or government then buy data and intelligence even for crucial public purposes from these digital companies, when the data actually come from our various social and personal interactions over digital platforms? Ownership of our data?:Does the ownership of the platform give corporations economic ownership of all the data so produced? Is ownership of data of sensitive sectors to be treated differently?  Demands of the developed countries at Digital Trade talks Free and unhindered access to the “network” running throughout our society to mine social and personal data from every nook and corner Ensuring completely free flow of data across borders, with no requirement of local storing, even for sensitive sectors like governance, banking, health, etc Exclusion from future regulation of all services other than those already committed to a negative list, which will of course include e-versions of every sector  Conclusion India should avoid entering into such agreements   India must resist any digital trade negotiations at this time. It has little to gain from them, and much to lose. It must first build its digital sovereignty — and digital rights — before it can begin negotiating a part of it in global trade talks...

Publishes on : 08-May-2017 11:25 AM
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bharat ias - SC bats for the rights of Internet users

SC bats for the rights of Internet users

SC bats for the rights of Internet users  Context More and more problems make their way to the court  What has happened? The Supreme Court has made it clear that it wants to protect the rights of the citizen and make Internet companies liable under Indian laws The court is against imposing any general online ban as that would curtail the right of the genuine information-seeker to gain knowledge and information from the Internet  Objectionable content These cases have seen the ordinary man engage Internet giants like Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft in litigation in the Supreme Court These petitions demand that the Internet giants should also be made liable for the objectionable and illegal content posted online  PCPNDT Act In a separate case, Dr. Sabu Mathew George took on Google, Yahoo and Microsoft for hosting pre-natal sex determination advertisements on their search engines in violation of Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT) Act of 1994. These cases have led the court to order Internet companies to set up in-house expert bodies to scour the Internet and remove objectionable and illegal content  Nodal Officers The litigation has further triggered the government to appoint nodal officers at State levels to keep tabs on the Net for offensive material The government’s officers would alert the search engines, who are liable to remove the objectionable material within the next 36 hours  Right to be left alone   A Constitution Bench of five judges has started hearing two law students who have challenged the 2016 contract entered into by WhatsApp to give Facebook access to information and personal details shared by millions of its users is a violation of their privacy and free speech...

Publishes on : 08-May-2017 11:23 AM
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bharat ias - At war with itself

At war with itself

At war with itself  Context Afghanistan and its allies need a coherent, gritty plan to roll back Taliban advances  What has happened? The attack on a military base in Afghanistan in which at least 140 people, mostly unarmed soldiers, died, speaks volumes about the state of security in the war-ravaged country  Taliban Rising By running over such a fortified structure, the Taliban are effectively challenging the professionalism, resolve and resources of the entire force Taliban made steady and substantial gains in the civil war over the last couple of years, since most American troops withdrew from Afghanistan as part of the drawdown plan. Now the group controls or has influence in more than half the country  Afghanistan Govt. on backfoot As Taliban expands and strengthens its hold in the countryside, the govt. has failed to reach out to people.  Afghanistan needs International Support The U.S. would do well to help the Afghan security forces craft a credible, sustainable military strategy and provide them more resources and training to take on the Taliban Dropping the biggest non-nuclear bomb (MOAB) in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan may make headlines, but, as last week’s attack suggests, they hardly deter the militants.    ...

Publishes on : 08-May-2017 11:18 AM
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bharat ias - Centre mulls nodal body for transport

Centre mulls nodal body for transport

Centre mulls nodal body for transport  Context A unified ministry to deliver a multi-modal system planned  What has happened? The Union government is planning to establish a single unified transport ministry by merging the Ministries of Aviation, Railways, Surface Transport and Shipping so as to ensure greater ease of doing business and boost India’s trade  Logistics and Integrated Transport Board Will be a nodal body at the central level for all transport-related matters across modes The ‘umbrella’ Board — likely to be chaired by a Union Cabinet Minister or a Secretary to Government of India — will include top officials from other Ministries concerned such as Finance, Commerce & Industry, External Affairs and Home, as well as senior representatives from the Indian industry and legal experts, especially to address competition aspects  Minimum government In line with the government’s slogan of ‘minimum government and maximum governance To know whether having a single unified ‘logistics and integrated transport body’ at the national level would be advantageous compared with the present system, Centre is considering the report of the National Transport Development Policy Committee, chaired by Rakesh Mohan  National Transport Development Policy Committee The report, submitted to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January 2014, had pointed out that Nearly all of the 100 largest economies, all of the OECD countries, and all of India’s emerging market ‘peers,’ the BRICS countries, have a Ministry of Transport or similar integrated equivalent rather than the collection of mode-specific ministries found in India It further noted that “some of these consolidated national agencies are also combined with the Ministry (or equivalent) of communication, a categorisation reminiscent of India’s early post-independence structure.”  Larger goals The Centre is also reportedly planning to build 35 multi-modal logistics parks by investing more than Rs. 50,000 crore In a bid to link India to global supply chains and logistics, the Union Cabinet had last month approved India’s accession to the United Nations TIR Convention It will allow Indian traders hassle-free access to the global system for movement of goods by road or multi- modal means across the territories.    ...

Publishes on : 08-May-2017 11:17 AM
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bharat ias - Clouds of prosperity

Clouds of prosperity

Clouds of prosperity  Context The ‘normal’ monsoon forecast of the India Meteorological Department brings the promise of a year of growth and good health for India’s economy and ecology  What has happened? The monsoon forecast should galvanise the country to make the most of a good season.  Positives Boost for sectors: The prospect that 2017 will be a good year boosts the prospects of enhanced agricultural output, healthy reservoir levels, more hydropower and reduced conflicts over water Testing of Expensive Water Management Initiatives: It will also test the efficacy of the expensive water management initiatives launched during 2014 and 2015 by the Centre and the State governments to harness rainfall and build resilience for future drought cycles  Forecasting Uncertain Forecasting the all-India summer monsoon rainfall is fraught with uncertainties and has often gone off the mark  Use of Dynamic Model The dynamic model that it is using this year to make a forecast that includes an assessment of two phenomena — a possible late onset El Niño in the Pacific Ocean and variations in sea surface temperatures that create the Indian Ocean Dipole — will be keenly watched  El Niño El Niño is expected only in the later part of the year when the monsoon is in its final stages, the expectation of normal rainfall is reasonable. A confirmation could come in June  Preparing for Drought Droughts affect more than the normal or surplus monsoons  Ways to fight Drought During the Drought the focus has to be on plant protection, water harvesting and access to post-harvest technologies Cutting water use: The NITI Aayog has also been calling for ways to cut water use, since India uses two to three times more water per tonne of grain produced compared to, for example, China, Brazil and the U.S Creation of ponds Provide solar power for more farms Mechanise operations and expand drip irrigation coverage Formal financing: Aiding small farmers with the tools and providing them formal financing can relieve their distress Rainwater harvesting: A normal monsoon will also relieve water stress in the cities if they prepare catchments and reservoirs to make the most of the season and incentivise residents to install scientific rainwater harvesting systems    ...

Publishes on : 08-May-2017 11:15 AM
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