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Daily Current Affairs

: 08-10-2021 : 50 Minutes

SUBJECT : Polity & Governance

Digital Divide: Survey by the Ministry of Education

In News 

  • A Union Ministry of Education survey has found between 40% and 70% school children in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand do not have access to digital devices.  

About 

  • A preliminary version of the report, titled ‘Initiatives by school education sector in 2020-21 for continuing teaching and learning prepared by the Union Ministry of Education.
  • It documents the response to challenges thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Major Findings: 

  • It had stated that Bihar had the highest tally of students, over 1.4 crores, with no access to digital devices across the country.
    • The report shows a disproportionately wide digital divide in some large states, while some others have coped well by supplying adequate television sets and smartphones
  • State Wise details:  
  • Assam: The state-reported 3,10,6255 students with no digital device.
    •  It has 7,01,5898 students across 65,907 schools. While the state did not distribute devices, it organised home visits by teachers and launched a toll-free helpline for students to clear academic doubts and address psycho-social issues.
  • Andhra Pradesh: The state surveyed 29.34 lakh out of the total 81.36 lakh students in May 2021 and found 2,01,568 students have no cell phone access.
  • Bihar: The state, which has 2.46 crore students, reported that 1.43 crore children have no access to digital devices. 
    • In terms of interventions to bridge the gap, it gave cellphones to 42 students and plans to provide tablets to 250 schools. 
    • With the assistance of UNICEF, mobile vans equipped with TV, videos, math game, and toys were deployed across seven districts, with a special focus on Mahadalit/Mushahar communities
  • Gujarat: A UNICEF survey of 12,000 schools found 40% of the students did not have access to smartphones and the Internet. 
    • The state has 1.14 crore students across 54,629 schools. To bridge the gap, the state government distributed blended learning modules and launched an IVRS helpline. Around 11,200 devices were provided to students and 40,000 to teacher
  • Jharkhand: Out of 74.89 lakh students, 32.52 lakh do not have digital access. 
    • The state informed the Centre that tablets had been provided to schools and cluster resource centres in 2018-19. 
    • As the number of android phones in remote tribal-dominated villages is “very low”, the state tied up with UNICEF to develop modules of home-based learning and started mohalla schools in remote areas.
  • Madhya Pradesh: An education department survey of 98 lakh of the state’s 1.57 crore students found that 70% of them do not have access to smartphones.
    •  The April 2021 survey said 53 lakh have access to TVs, and 57 lakhs to radio sets. 
    • Among the interventions listed are mohalla classes and regular teacher-parent interactions over the phone. 
    • A radio school programme was also launched immediately after the national lockdown.
  • Uttarakhand: State authorities surveyed 5.20 lakh out of 23.39 lakh schoolchildren and found 2.14 lakh do not have access to digital devices for online learning. 
    • It proposes to distribute more than 35,000 ebooks to school students.
    •  The state also attempted community outreach to keep in touch with such students, distribute worksheets among them and also took the help of community radio in five districts.
  • Among the better-placed states and UTs is Delhi with around 4% students without access, Kerala 1.63%, Tamil Nadu 14.51%.
  • Issues
    • The pandemic has led to disruption in the formal school education system in the entire country.
    • It adds that “teaching and learning for children who have no access to digital devices”, is one of the major areas of concern for the government during the pandemic.
  • Measures were taken by the government
    • According to the education ministry report, states took various measures to reach out to the children who did not have access to digital devices.
    • Some of the steps included doorstep delivery of textbooks and worksheets, intervention through gram panchayat or community support for access to TV, radio and digital devices.
    • Some states like Assam and Andhra Pradesh also arranged home visits by teachers while Bihar arranged home visits by volunteers.
    • The report added that mobile and mohalla classes were also organised in Bihar.

Major schemes to promote education in the country implemented by the Government of India are as follows

  • Education is in the concurrent list of the Constitution and the majority of the schools are under the domain of respective State and UT Governments. However, to ensure that every student gets continued access to education, a multi-pronged approach has been adopted. 
  • PM e-VIDYA: A comprehensive initiative called PM e-VIDYA has been initiated as part of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan on 17th May 2020, which unifies all efforts related to digital/online/on-air education to enable multi-mode access to education. The initiative includes:
    • DIKSHA (one nation, one digital platform) is the nation’s digital infrastructure for providing quality e-content for school education in states/UTs and QR coded Energized Textbooks for all grades are available on it. 35 of the 36 states and UTs have onboarded on DIKSHA platform and contextualised the content as per the local need.
  • ‘MANODARPAN’: the Ministry has undertaken a proactive initiative, named, ‘MANODARPAN’ covering a wide range of activities to provide psychosocial support to students, teachers and families for Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing during the COVID outbreak and beyond
  • Samagra Shiksha: The Government of India launched Samagra Shiksha-an Integrated Scheme for school education, w.e.f 2018-19, as an overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class XII, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education, across the country including the rural areas. 
    • The scheme has now been aligned to NEP, 2020 recommendations and extended till 2025-26.
    •  The scheme provides support to States and UTs for strengthening of infrastructure in schools, universal access, bringing gender equality, promoting inclusive education, quality of education, financial support for teachers’ salary, digital initiatives, entitlements under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 including uniforms and textbooks, pre-school education, vocational education, sports and physical education and strengthening of teacher education institutions.
  •  Mid-Day-Meal (MDM):  Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) is an ongoing Centrally-Sponsored Scheme which provides a nutritional supplement to all school children studying in Classes I-VIII of Government, Government-Aided schools, Special Training Centres including Madarsas and Maqtabs.
  • Padhna Likhna Abhiyan:  A centrally sponsored scheme of Adult Education namely, “Padhna Likhna Abhiyan (PLA)” was implemented during 2020-21 with a physical target of imparting functional literacy to 57 lakh adult illiterates in the age group of 15 and above under basic literacy programme. The scheme was extended up to 31.07.2021.
  • Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA): Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) is an overarching scheme, operating in mission mode for funding the State Government Universities and colleges to achieve the aims of equity, access and excellence.The funding to states being made based on critical appraisal of State Higher Education Plans, which describe each state’s strategy to address issues of equity, access and excellence in higher education.
  •  NISHTHA (National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement), an Integrated Teacher Training Programme has been introduced.
  • The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) was entrusted to conduct teachers training through ODL (Open Distance Learning) mode, which has been completed by about 9.58 lakh teachers.
  • The National Education Policy, 2020 focuses on improving the standard of education through various measures such as the introduction of New pedagogical and curricular structure, Early Childhood Care and Education, Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, Transforming Assessment for Student Development, Experiential and Competency-based Learning etc.


Source: IE

SUBJECT : Indian Economy

Welfare Framework of India’s Migrant Construction Workers

In News

  • The COVID-19 pandemic had widespread and devastating consequences to communities and enterprises in India and across the globe.
    • The situation was particularly grim for the 453.6 million internal migrants in India.
      • It was evident by the unprecedented ‘reverse migration’ witnessed during the pandemic.
  • e-Shram portal has been launched to register 38 crore unorganised workers by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
    • It is not a panacea and there are more structural and administrative problems faced by migrant construction workers.
  • There are prominent shortcomings in implementation, especially registration of workers and collection and distribution of Cess.

Status of Construction Sector and Migrant Construction Workers

  • Construction Sector and Employment:
    • Contribution of the construction sector to the real growth rate of the gross value added at basic prices reached 6.8 percent during 2016-2019.
      • It was one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic.
    • It is also one of the key sectors in which India’s migrant workforce find employment.
      • The NSSO (2016-17) puts the number of construction workers in the country at over 74 million.
    • Interstate migrant workers make 35.4 percent of all the construction workers in the country’s urban areas, according to the 2001 Census. 
      • Of all the interstate migrants in India who move out of the farm sector, construction absorbs around 9.8 per cent.
      • It is the second most preferred sector for migrant workers after retail.
  • Family Structure of Migrant Construction Workers:
    • Furthermore, 26 percent of all households with migrant workers employed in the construction sector have nuclear families.
      • This can be viewed as associational migrants in construction.
    • The Jan Sahas Survey conducted at the beginning of the lockdown (March 27-29, 2020), found that 
      • 54 percent of construction workers support 3 to 5 people, while 
      • 32 percent support more than 5 people.

Vulnerability of Construction Sector and Reasons

  • Vulnerability and reasons: The prime reason behind the vulnerability of construction workers are:
    • Informal Employment and Unorganised Sector
      • A large section of the working-age migrant population in India finds employment in the informal economy.
    • No or meagre access to Social Security
      • They are often denied any access to social security benefits upon stoppage of work due to lockdown.
    • Urban Centres of Growth and Regional Inequality
      • The spatial distribution of economic growth and prosperity in India in the past 25 years has been agglomerated in-and-around pre-existing centres of growth.
      • This has accentuated the pre-existing disparities between the cities and the resource-poor regions of this country. 
      • This has resulted in a stupendous rise of the construction industry, particularly in the major metropolitan centres.

Legal safeguards

  • Two acts constituted in 1996 address the issues faced by the construction workers.
    • The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act and
    • The Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act
  • These legislatures mandated the institution of a Construction Workers Welfare Board (CWWB).
    • It is a tripartite entity with equal representation from workers, employers and the government.
    • Aim of CWWB:
      • To register all construction workers in the state and 
      • To promote the welfare of registered construction workers through various schemes, measures or facilities.
    • Funded by: Cess at the rate of 1 percent of the total cost of construction
  • Indicative welfare benefits are listed out in Section 22 of the Act.
    • They include: 
      • medical assistance, maternity benefits, accident cover, pension, 
      • educational assistance for children of workers, assistance to family members in case of death, 
      • group insurance, loans, funeral assistance and marriage assistance for children of workers. 

Shortcomings in implementation

  • There are some prominent shortcomings in implementation, especially with regards to 
    • Registration of workers
    • The Collection and Distribution of the Cess. 

Table: State-wise number of construction & registered workers (Source: DTE)

  • Registration of workers
    • The table above shows that there are approx. 55 million construction workers.
    • Based on the estimation, about 35%-40% of the construction workers would be unable to avail the benefits given out by the DBT mode. 
    • Prime reasons behind the fact:
      • The registration rates are not very high.
      • The estimates show that only 52.5 per cent of all construction workers were registered in 2017.
      • Rates of registration are extremely low in 
        • Assam and Bihar (< 20 percent); 
        • in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, it is lower than the national average. 
      • Possibility of duplicate and fraudulent registrations
        • However, states like Delhi and Chhattisgarh reported a registration rate of more than 100 percent. 
        • It indicates the possibility of duplicate and fraudulent registrations. 

Fig: State Wise Cess collected for and spent on construction workers (Source: DTE)

  • The Collection and Distribution of the Construction Workers’ Cess.
    • There is no proper mechanism for the collection  and transfer of said cess as per the 38th standing committee on labour of the Lok sabha.
    • The committee also reported an under-assessment of Cess
    • As of 2019, only 39 per cent of the collected Cess has been disbursed to the workers. 
    • Some of the states like together contribute more than 70 per cent in the total construction gross value added (GVA)
      • but their contribution to the total Cess amounts to only 37 percent
      • They are Kerala, Tamil Nadu, UP, West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
      • In spite of being the biggest collector of Cess, Maharashtra spends very little (5.4 per cent)
  • Not able to Avail the relief measures of EPF
    • Almost all the migrant construction workers are not be able to avail the relief measures offered by the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), as 
      • such benefits can only be availed by the formal workers registered as contributing members of the EPFO.
    • The formal employment represents only a small percentage of the total construction workers in India.
    • As estimated by the Periodic Labour Force Survey 2018-2019, the construction sector employs 
      • 83 percent casual and 
      • 11 percent self-employed workers. 
    • Only 5.7 percent of the workers work on a regular basis, of which 3.9 percent are informal and only 1.6 percent are regular formal workers.
    • Overall, only 2.2 per cent of the total construction workers are availing some kind of social security benefits.

Conclusion and Way Ahead

  • The administration should ensure that the gap between Cess collected and money spent on welfare activities through CWWBs is reduced.
  • The silver lining has been the intervention by the judiciary in a few cases.
  • Recently, in July 2020, the Delhi HC asked the Delhi government to see if registration of 10 workers with the BOCWW board can be verified online.
  • Also, there should be “no laxity” in registration of workers with the Board, through which they could get ex-gratia of Rs 5,000 during the pandemic.
  • The state and the judiciary should step up and enable provision of benefits to all workers.

Source: DTE

SUBJECT : Indian Economy

National Digital Livestock Mission Blueprint

In News 

  • Recently ,the Union Minister of State Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying unveiled the National Digital Livestock Mission(NDLM) Blueprint at the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
    • National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) was created to promote, finance and support producer-owned and controlled organisations.

Objectives and Need 

  • The livestock sector has a unique combination of being the backbone of rural livelihood. 
  • The growth would have been a lot better if there were concerted efforts to harmonise programmes across the country to create an ecosystem that is conducive for the growth of the sector.
  • This has been the main idea behind the deployment of NDLM, keeping the welfare of the farmer at the core.

About National Digital Livestock Mission(NDLM) 

  • It is a digital platform being developed jointly by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) and NDDB on the foundation of the existing Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health (INAPH).
    •  The bedrock of NDLM will be the unique identification of all livestock, which will be the foundation for all the state and national level programmes including domestic and international trade. 
  • It aims to create a farmer-centric, technology-enabled ecosystem where the farmers can realize better income through livestock activities with the right information.
  • By this, farmers will be able to effortlessly access the markets, irrespective of their location or holdings through this digital platform as a wide range of stakeholders will be connected in this ecosystem.
  • This system will also include robust animal breeding systems, nutrition, disease surveillance, disease control programmes and a traceability mechanism for animals and animal products.

National Livestock Mission

  • It is an initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, introduced in 2014-15, with the objective of sustainable development of the livestock sector.
  •  The livestock sector in the country has been growing at a compound annual growth rate of 8.15% from 2014-15 to 2019-20.
  • Significance:
    •  It helps in creating rural entrepreneurship by engaging farmers in the sector. 
    • The scheme would also provide livelihood opportunities to the unemployed youth and livestock farmers in the cattle, dairy, poultry, sheep, goat, piggery, feed, and fodder sectors.

Other Related Initiatives 

  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM): It was launched in December 2014 with an outlay of Rs 2025 crore for the development and conservation of indigenous breeds through selective breeding in the breeding tract and genetic up-gradation of nondescript bovine population.
    • It also contributes to improving the economic condition of the rural farmers (small and marginal farmers and landless labourers) who mostly breed indigenous cattle breeds.
    • The scheme comprises two components namely National Programme for Bovine Breeding (NPBB) and National Mission on Bovine Productivity (NMBP). 
  • National Dairy Plan Phase I (NDP I): It is a Central Sector Scheme of the Government of India, launched in March 2012.
    • It  is a scientifically planned multi-state initiative being implemented by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) with the network of End Implementing Agencies (EIAs) for the period 2011-12 to 2018-19 with the following objectives:
      • Increase productivity of milch animals and thereby increase milk production to meet the rapidly growing demand for milk.
      • Provide rural milk producers with greater access to the organized milk processing sector.
  • National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP): It is a flagship scheme launched in September 2019 for control of Foot & Mouth Disease and Brucellosis by vaccinating 100% cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population for FMD and 100% bovine female calves of 4-8 months of age for brucellosis in five years (2019-20 to 2023-24).
  • Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development (AHIDF): It  has been approved for incentivizing investments by individual entrepreneurs, private companies, MSME, Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs) and Section 8 companies to establish 
    • The dairy processing and value addition infrastructure.
    • Meat processing and value addition infrastructure.
    • Animal Feed Plant.
  • Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (DEDS): The Department of Animal Husbandry, dairying and fisheries is implementing Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (DEDS) for generating self-employment opportunities in the dairy sector, covering activities such as enhancement of milk production, procurement, preservation, transportation, processing and marketing of milk by providing back-ended capital subsidy for bankable projects. The scheme is being implemented by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
  • Pashu-Aadhar: It is a unique ID on a digital platform for traceability for the animals.


Source: PIB

SUBJECT : Social Justice

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)

In News

  • Recently, the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).

Key Findings

  • India:
    • In India, five out of six multidimensionally poor people are from lower tribes or castes. 
    • The Scheduled Tribe group:
      • It accounts for 9.4 per cent of the population and is the poorest, with 65 million of the 129 million people living in multidimensional poverty.
      • They account for about one-sixth of all people living in multidimensional poverty in India.
    • Scheduled Caste group:
      • With 33.3 percent -- 94 million of 283 million people -- living in multidimensional poverty.
    • Other Backward Class:
      • 27.2 per cent of the Other Backward Class group - 160 million of 588 million people -- lives in multidimensional poverty, 
      • It shows a lower incidence but a similar intensity compared with the Scheduled Caste group.
    • Female headed household:
      • In India, close to 12 percent of the population -- 162 million people -- live in female-headed households.
  • Global:
    • No female studied in family: 
      • Among the 1.3 billion multidimensionally poor people studied globally, almost two-thirds -- 836 million -- live in households in which no female member has completed at least six years of schooling.
      • This exclusion of women from education has far-reaching impacts on societies around the world.
      • Area:
        • These 836 million people live mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa (363 million) and South Asia (350 million).
      • Countries:
        • Seven countries account for more than 500 million of them: India (227 million), Pakistan (71 million), Ethiopia (59 million), Nigeria (54 million), China (32 million), Bangladesh (30 million) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (27 million).
    • No women older than 10:
      • It said that about 16 million multidimensionally poor men and children (0.3 per cent of the total population) live in households without a woman or girl aged 10 or older.
      • But nearly half of multidimensionally poor people who live with a woman or a girl -- 622 million -- live in households in which no one, regardless of gender, has completed six or more years of schooling.
    • Multidimensional poverty: 
      • Countries:
        • According to the report, the top five countries with the largest number of people living in multidimensional poverty are in India (2015/16) at 381 millions, Nigeria (2018): 93 million, Pakistan (2017/18): 83 million, Ethiopia (2019): 77 million, Democratic Republic of the Congo (2017/18): 56 million.
      • Across the 5. 9 billion people who live in the 109 countries studied, more than one in five -- 1.3 billion -- live in multidimensional poverty.
      • Children:
        • Half of global multidimensionally poor people are children. 
      • Social protections during COVID:
        • And although pre pandemic multidimensional poverty levels were declining, the poorest countries lacked emergency social protections during the COVID-19 pandemic and could suffer the most.
      • Female-headed households:
        • One in six multidimensionally poor people -- 207 million -- across 108 countries live in female-headed households.
        • Nearly a quarter of them live in India, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Uganda are together home to another quarter.

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index

  • Definition:
    • The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an international measure of acute multidimensional poverty covering over 100 developing countries. 
    • It complements traditional monetary poverty measures by capturing the acute deprivations in health, education, and living standards that a person faces simultaneously.
  • Developed by:
    • The global MPI was developed by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for inclusion in UNDP’s flagship Human Development Report in 2010. 
    • It has been published annually by OPHI and in the HDRs ever since.
  • Indicator:

Image Courtesy: OPHI 

 

  • Relation with Sustainable Development Goals:

  •  Multi dimensional poor person:
    • A person is multidimensionally poor if she/he is deprived in one third or more (means 33% or more) of the weighted indicators (out of the ten indicators). Those who are deprived in one half or more of the weighted indicators are considered living in extreme multidimensional poverty.
    • MPI is significant as it recognizes poverty from different dimensions compared to the conventional methodology that measures poverty only from the income or monetary terms.

Indian Efforts

  • NITI Aayog is in the last stage for preparation of Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) parameter dashboard and a State Reform Action Plan (SRAP).
  • In this regard, the Niti Aayog will leverage the monitoring mechanism of the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index.
  • NITI Aayog is the nodal agency for the MPI.
  • Global MPI is part of Government of India’s decision to monitor the performance of the country in 29 select Global Indices.
  • Part of the Global Indices to Drive Reforms and Growth (GIRG) exercise:
    • The objective of the “Global Indices to Drive Reforms and Growth (GIRG)” exercise is to fulfil the need to measure and monitor India’s performance on various important social and economic parameters.
  • This will enable the utilisation of these Indices as tools for self-improvement, bring about reforms in policies, while improving last-mile implementation of government schemes.

Way Ahead

  • This year's Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) reminds us of the need for a complete picture of how people are being affected by poverty, who they are and where they live.
  • There is a need to design effective responses that leave no one behind.


Source: NIE

SUBJECT : Internal Security

Cybersecurity Norms for Power Sector

In News

  • Recently, the Central Electricity Authority (Technical Standards for Connectivity to the Grid) (Amendment) Regulations, 2019 has framed Guidelines on Cyber Security in Power Sector to be adhered by all Power Sector utilities.

Background

  • October 2020: 
    • Mumbai faced major power outages that brought key services to a halt. 
    • A US cybersecurity firm had said the failure was due to a cyberattack by Red Echo, a hacker group allegedly affiliated with the Chinese government.

About Guidelines

  • The guideline lays down actions required to ramp up security measures across various utilities to raise preparedness in the power sector.
  • This is the first time that a comprehensive guideline has been formulated on cyber security in the power sector. 
  • Inputs from Various Agencies: The government has said it has drafted the guidelines after taking inputs from cybersecurity agencies like CERT-In, NCIIPC, NSCS, IIT Kanpur.
  • Application: 
    • The cybersecurity guidelines will apply to all “responsible entities” including-
      • power generation utilities, 
      • distribution utilities, 
      • transmission companies and 
      • load dispatch centres among others. 
    • The guidelines are also applicable to system integrators, equipment makers, vendors, service providers, IT hardware and software OEMs engaged in power supply systems.
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO):
    • Some of the key requirements include the appointment of a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at each “responsible entity”.
    • Setting up of an Information Security Division headed by the CISO. 
  • Procedure to Identify: The entities will also be required to incorporate a procedure for identifying and reporting of any disturbances suspected or confirmed to be caused by sabotage and submit the report to the sectoral Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the Indian CERT within 24 hours.
  • The guidelines mandates ICT (Information and Communication Technology)-based procurement from identified “Trusted Sources” and identified “Trusted Products”. 
  • In case the procurement is not from a trusted source, the product needs to be tested for Malware/Hardware Trojan before deployment for use in power supply systems.

Significance

  • The guidelines for cybersecurity in the power sector will help to create a secure power cyber ecosystem. 
  • The guidelines will place mechanisms for security threat early warning, strengthen the protection and resilience of critical information infrastructure, and reduce cyber supply chain risks.
  • The rules will help promote cybersecurity research and development, and create a market for cyber testing infrastructure in both public and private sectors in the country. 
  • It will promote research and development in cybersecurity and open up the market for setting up cyber testing infra in public as well as private sectors in the country.

Cyber Security - Vulnerabilities 

  • Operational Security: IoT basis services require continuity and high availability.
  • Privacy: Valuable data required protection. 
  • Software Patching: Many IoT devices like human users who can install security updates.
  • Identity of Things: In the absence of universal standards, its implementation requires a unique approach to manage authentication in access. 

Future Technology To Be Designed with Security

  • Smart: Security innovation must deliver more capable solutions to keep pace with threats.
  • Open: Platforms and security standards must be open to promote collaboration and accelerate adoption.
  • Trusted: Technology and security providers must be trustworthy in the creation and operation of their products. 
  • Strong: Products and services must be hardened to resist compromise and make security transparent to users.
  • Ubiquitous: Security must protect data wherever it exists or is used, for all parties and devices across the computer landscape.

Image Courtesy: niti.gov

Conclusion

  • The ministry of power noted that these norms must be met by all stakeholders to maintain cyber hygiene. 
  • The guidelines are a precursor to cybersecurity regulations that the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) is working on.

Source: IE

SUBJECT : Social Justice

Quota Norms For Promotions

In News

  • Recently, the Central government submitted data regarding Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes quota in promotions in the Supreme Court (SC).

Government’s Stand

  • According to the data the total number in Group A, B and C categories in 19 ministries is 15.34% for SCs and 6.18% for STs.
  • The figure includes reserved category candidates who are selected on merit.
  • Reservation in promotions had been adequately covered by a constitution bench ruling in the 2006 V. Nagaraj case, yet there was confusion on the guidelines to be followed.
  • The government said that seventy-five years of Independence have not been able to bring members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes on par with the forward classes of society.

Supreme Court’s Stand

  • In the data given by the Government, some classes have more than what has been prescribed.
  • Data produced by the government showed that representation in Group A is low, as if the government is ensuring adequate representation by adjusting in Group B and C, “which is not fair”.

Arguments Against Quota in Promotions

  • Not a Fundamental Right: The Supreme Court reiterated in a judgment that reservation in promotion in public posts cannot be claimed as a fundamental right.
  • Impact on Efficiency: Promotions to SCs and STs during appointments to services and promotions may make it difficult to maintain the efficiency of administration.
  • Redundancy of Reservation: The SCs and STs are getting the benefits of reservation in the appointments to various servicers. Therefore, it is undesirable and inefficient to provide quota in promotions for key posts.
  • Not a Compulsion for Government: The Constitution empowers the State to make reservation in matters of appointment and promotion in favour of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes only “if in the opinion of the State they are not adequately represented in the services of the State”.

Need for Quota in Promotions

  • Representation in Higher Echelons: The main reason for giving promotions in promotions is that there are very few SC/ST candidates in the higher echelons of government.
  • Proper Access to Opportunity: Centuries of discrimination and prejudice suffered by the SCs and STs in a feudal, caste-oriented societal structure poses real barriers of access to opportunity.
  • Constitutional Mandate: Constitution mandates realisation of substantive equality in the engagement of the fundamental rights with the directive principles
  • Special Measures Needed: Unless special measures are adopted for the SCs and STs in promotions also, the mandate of the Constitution for the consideration of their claim to appointment will remain illusory.
  • False Notion of Efficiency: The Constitution does not define what the framers meant by the phrase efficiency of administration. It is a stereotypical assumption that the promotees drawn from the SCs and STs are not efficient or that efficiency is reduced by appointing them.

Constitutional Provisions for Promotion in Reservation

  • Article 16 (4): 
    • Provides that the State can make any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens who, in the opinion of the state, are not adequately represented in the services under the State.
  • Article 16 (4A): 
    • Provides that the State can make any provision for reservation in matters of promotion in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes if they are not adequately represented in the services under the State.
    • It was inserted by the 77th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1995.
  • Article 16(4B): 
    • Added by the 81st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2000 which enabled the unfilled SC/ST quota of a particular year to be carried forward to the next year.
  • Article 335: 
    • It recognises that special measures need to be adopted for considering the claims of SCs and STs to services and posts, in order to bring them at par.
  • 82nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2000: 
    • Inserted a condition at the end of Article 335 that enables the state to make any provision in favour of the members of the SC/STs for relaxation in qualifying marks in any examination.

 

Image Courtesy: IE 

Way Ahead

  • There is an urgent need for the Supreme Court to give concrete basis for the SC, ST and OBC to fill up vacancies.
  • The government can come up with certain guidelines to accommodate demands of SC/ST quota in promotions.

Previous Cases

  • Mandal judgment/ Indra Sawhney case 1992:
    • The Supreme Court’s Indra Sawhney vs Union of India(1992) has been hailed as a landmark judgment as it upheld reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs). However, this judgment also held that reservations in appointments, under Article 16(4) of the constitution, don’t apply to promotions.
    • The Supreme Court upheld the Mandal Commission’s 27 percent quota for backward classes, as well as the principle that the combined scheduled-caste, scheduled-tribe, and backward-class beneficiaries should not exceed 50 percent of India’s population. At the same time, the court also struck down the government notification reserving 10% government jobs for economically backward classes among the higher castes in 1992. In this case, the Supreme Court stated that;
    • Backward Classes of the Citizens of in Article 16(4) can be identified on the basis of caste and not only on the economic basis.
    • Reservation shall not exceed 50%. The court said that this rule should be applied every year. However, it may be relaxed in favor of people from far-flung and remote areas because of their peculiar conditions. However, extreme caution should be exercised in doing so.
    • Carry forward rule is valid but it is subject to 50%
    • There should be NO reservation in the Promotions.
  • 77th and 85th Constitutional Amendment Acts:
    • The Constitution (77th Amendment) Act, 1995: 
      • According to this Act, the Government has decided to continue the existing policy of reservation in promotion for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. 
      • The Constitution (77thAmendment) Act, 1995 was passed by parliament, inserting Article 16(4A) which allows the State to provide reservations to SCs/STs in matters of promotion, as long as the State believes that this category of the marginalized populations –the SCs and STs – aren’t adequately represented.
    • The Constitution (85th Amendment) Act, 2001: Provided for consequential seniority? in the case of promotion by the virtue of rule of reservation for the government servants belonging to the SCs and STs with retrospective effect from June 1995.
  • Nagraj Case:
    • According to it, the government cannot introduce a quota in promotion for its SC/ST employees unless they prove that the particular Dalit community is backward, inadequately represented and such a reservation in promotion would not affect the overall efficiency of public administration. 
    • The opinion of the government should also be based on quantifiable data. 
    • It was made clear that even if the state has compelling reasons, the state will have to see that it's reservation provision does not lead to excessiveness so as to breach the ceiling limit of 50% or obliterate the creamy layer or extend the reservation indefinitely.
    • In the 2006 judgment, the apex court had ruled that the government can provide reservation in promotions to SCs and STs provided it was justified through quantifiable data collected by the State on inadequate representation of the two communities in various posts.
    • The State is not bound to make reservations for the SCs and STs in promotions. But, if it seeks to do so, it must collect quantifiable data on three facets:
      • The backwardness of the class.
      • The inadequacy of the representation of that class in public employment.
      • The general efficiency of service as mandated by Article 335 would not be affected.


Sources: IE + TH

SUBJECT : Facts in News

Henley Passport Index 2021

In News 

  • India has been ranked 90th in the most powerful passport report ‘Henley Passport Index 2021’.

About Henley Passport Index

  • The Henley Passport Index is the original, authoritative ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.
  •  The index is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information.
  •  The index covers 227 destinations and 199 passports.

Top Performers: 

  • Japan and Singapore stood at the top of this year’s list, with their passport holders allowed to travel visa-free to 192 countries, while South Korea and Germany share the second position. 
    • Meanwhile, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen are among the least powerful.
  • India, which held the 84th rank last year, fell down to the 90th position, with its passport holders allowed to travel visa-free to 58 countries. 
    • India shares the rank with Tajikistan and Burkina Faso.

Source :IE

SUBJECT : Facts in News

India’s newest Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh

In News 

  • Recently, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) approved the Chhattisgarh government’s proposal to declare the combined areas of the Guru Ghasidas National Park and Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary as a Tiger Reserve.
    • NTCA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, established in 2005 for strengthening tiger conservation

About 

  • Location: Northern part of Chhattisgarh, bordering Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. 
  • This will be the fourth Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh, after the Udanti-Sitanadi, Achanakmar, and Indravati Reserves.
  • The NTCA’s 11th Technical Committee approved the proposal under Section 38V(1) of The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • Background 
  • The Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary was added to the Sarguja Jashpur Elephant Reserve in 2011.
  • The Guru Ghasidas National Park used to be part of the Sanjay National Park in undivided Madhya Pradesh. 
    • Both were identified as reserve forests, and had been in line to be notified as Tiger Reserve since 2011.
  • However, local resistance in Bhoramdeo forced the government to put the plan on the backburner in 2018.

Significance and Importance

  • Guru Ghasidas National Park is significant as it is the Asiatic cheetah’s last-known habitat in India
  • Wildlife activists and experts believe that converting Guru Ghasidas into a Tiger Reserve is an important step as it connects Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand and provides the tigers with a corridor to move between the Palamau and Bandhavgarh reserves.


Source:IE

SUBJECT : Facts in News

EXERCISE AJEYA WARRIOR

 In News 

  • Recently, the 6th Edition of India - UK Joint Company Level Military Training EXERCISE AJEYA WARRIOR has commenced at Chaubatia, Uttarakhand .

About EXERCISE AJEYA WARRIOR

  •  The exercise is part of an initiative to develop interoperability and sharing expertise with friendly foreign nations.
  • During this exercise, an Infantry Company from the Indian Army and an equivalent strength from UK Army would be sharing their experiences gained during the conduct of various military operations in their respective countries and during overseas engagements. 
    • Together, both the armies stand to benefit from their varied experiences. 
  • As part of the training, both the Armies would familiarise with each other’s weapons, equipment, tactics, techniques and procedures for carrying out joint military operations. 
  • There would be a series of Expert Academic Discussions on various subjects of mutual interest such as Combined Arms Concept, Sharing of Experiences in Joint Force, Operation Logistics etc.  

Significance: 

  • The joint military training would culminate with a grueling 48 hours exercise to validate the performance of both the Armies in conducting joint military operations in a semi-urban environment. 
  • This joint military training will go a long way in improving bilateral relations and also will be a major step towards further strengthening the traditional bond of friendship between the two Nations.


Source :PIB

SUBJECT : Facts in News

2021 Nobel Prize in Literature

In News

  • Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah has won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature.

About

  • It was awarded to him “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee”.
  • In his 10 novels he has consistently, and with great compassion, penetrated the effects of colonialism in East Africa and its effects on the lives of uprooted and migrating individuals.
  • Gurnah is the first African writer to win the award since the Zimbabwean Doris Lessing in 2007, and only the second writer of colour from sub-Saharan Africa.

Image Courtesy: Barron


Source: TH