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03 October, 2019

15 Min Read

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-II Online Censorship
Making Amends.
GS-III Bharat 22 ETF Economic Issues
National Monsoon Mission
An effective plan to end the use of plastic.
GS-II :
Online Censorship

GS-III: Online Censorship.

News

Indian legal demands for online content removal are the fourth highest in the world, according to a report.

India on the top

  • For the study, the researchers collated all data to find out which governments censor online content the most and which channels are targeted by each government.
  • India is followed by Russia, Turkey, France, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Pakistan, the US and the UK in the top 10.
  • India and Russia are well ahead, accounting for 19.86 and 19.75 percent of the overall number of removal requests (390,764), respectively, Bischoff said.
  • While India sent 77,620 content removal requests, Russia sent 77,162 requests during the study period.
  • However, these two countries do not always dominate the top spots across all channels.

Why censorship in India?

  • The findings come at a time when India is trying to find ways to fight misinformation spread on social media.
  • According to Twitter records, many content removal demands from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology simply cited a violation of Section 69(A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

On the hit list: Social media contents:

While Facebook received most of the content take down requests from India, Google got it from Russia, Microsoft from China, Twitter from Turkey and Wikimedia from the US.

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GS-II :
Making Amends.

GS-II: Making Amends.

Context

The Supreme Court has recalled its 2018 order that diluted provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The previous judgement.A two-judge bench had forbidden the arrest of public servants and private persons without prior permission in cases filed under the SC/ST Act. It insisted on a preliminary inquiry before registering an FIR in such cases.

Current judgement:

  • The three-judge bench observed that the March 20, 2018 judgment was “against the spirit of the Constitution”.
  • The Court also found that the guidelines for the execution of the Act given in the 2018 order were beyond its remit and an encroachment on the legislature’s domain.
  • The 2018 order had read the Act without taking into consideration the social context and imperatives that led to its enactment in the first place.

Incidents involving Dalits in the last few years:

  • The 2018 order triggered unrest among Dalits. It gave fresh impetus to the mobilisations that started in the wake of a series of high-profile crimes against the community.
  • Dalits came under attack from communities whose political-ideological prejudices found validation from elements of the Hindutva agenda such as cow protection. The public flogging of five Dalits by cow vigilantes in Una is a case in point.
  • Attempts were made to crush Dalit assertion. The suicide of Rohith Vemula had bought to the fore the issue of caste discrimination on campus.
  • They created a new narrative of Dalit resistance and agency that led to the emergence of a new generation of leaders such as Jignesh Mevani and political outfits including the Bhim Army.

Conclusion

It is creditable that the Supreme Court has revisited its order and recalled it. It is in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution and institutional resilience.

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GS-III : Economic Issues
Bharat 22 ETF

GS-III: Bharat 22 ETF.

News

The Further Fund Offer 2 (FFO 2) of Bharat 22 Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF), which is part of the government’s divestment programme, will be open for subscription for investors.

Bharat 22

  • Bharat 22 is an ETF that will track the performance of 22 stocks, which the government plans disinvest.
  • The ETF unit represents a slice of the fund, issued units are listed on exchanges for anyone to buy or sell at the quoted price.
  • The B22 will span six sectors, such as basic materials, energy, finance, FMCG, industrials and utilities.
  • Besides public sector banks, miners, construction companies, and energy majors, the ETF will also include some of the government’s holdings in SUUTI (Specified Undertaking of Unit Trust of India).
  • The B22 ETF will be managed by ICICI Prudential AMC while Asia Index will be the index provider.
  • The index will be rebalanced annually.

About Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

  • ETFs are mutual funds listed and traded on stock exchanges like shares.
  • The ETF simply copies an index and endeavors to accurately reflect its performance.
  • In an ETF, one can buy and sell units at a prevailing market price on a real-time basis during market hours.
  • There are four types of ETFs already available  Equity ETFs, Debt ETFs, Commodity ETFs and Overseas Equity ETFs.
  • The Bharat 22 ETF to be offered now allows the Government to park its holdings in selected PSUs in an ETF and raise disinvestment money from investors at one go.
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GS-III :
National Monsoon Mission

GS-III: National Monsoon Mission.

News

The new monsoon model, called the Coupled Forecast Model (CFS), deployed by the IMD under the National Monsoon Mission (NMM) has failed to forecast the excess rainfall received during Aug-Sept 2019.

National Monsoon Mission (NMM)

  • Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) had launched NMM in 2012 with a vision to develop a state-of-the-art dynamical prediction system for monsoon rainfall on different time scales.
  • The responsibility of execution and coordination of this mission is vested to the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune.
  • Climate Forecast System (CFS) of USA has been identified as the basic modelling system for the above purpose, as it is one of the best among the currently available coupled models.

Objective

  • To build an ocean atmospheric model for –
  • Improved prediction of monsoon rainfall on extended range to seasonal time scale (16 days to one season) and
  • Improved prediction of temperature, rainfall and extreme weather events on short to medium range time scale (up to 15 days).

About Coupled Forecast Model (CFS)

  • The American model called “Climate Forecast System” (CFS) is developed by National Centres for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), USA.
  • CFS is a coupled ocean-atmosphere modeling system that combines data from ocean, atmosphere and land for providing long range forecasting (seasonal prediction of Indian Monsoon).

 

 

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GS-III :
An effective plan to end the use of plastic.

GS-III: An effective plan to end the use of plastic.

Context

India is embarking on a “very large campaign” to get rid of single-use plastic.

Plastic – threats

  • Plastic poses a serious threat to the planet.
  • This oil-derived material is not bio-degradable. Careless disposal pollutes the environment.
  • The urban crisis of choked drains and garbage heaps, which can’t be incinerated.
  • Several species at threat of polymer ingestion.
  • Marine life has been suffering since much plastic waste ends up in the sea and in the bellies of aquatic creatures.
  • Micro-particles are increasingly being detected in fish, which puts people at risk of contaminant-caused illnesses.

The mission:

  • The government clarified that it would spread awareness about the menace of plastic and create plastic-free zones around heritage sites to begin with.
  • In the absence of sufficient alternatives to plastic, an outright ban would have caused much disruption across the country.
  • Users of some flexible items such as carry bags can easily switch to slightly more expensive material. Those of hard-plastic products, such as disposable syringes, would have found an overnight switch-over difficult to achieve.
  • It intends to ask all states to enforce existing rules against the storage, manufacture, and use of some single-use products, such as polythene bags.

Other steps needed:

  • Efforts should first be directed at waste disposal mechanisms. These remain archaic.
  • Separation-at-source garbage collection has seen only patchy success in India.
  • Plastic items rarely have separate channels for recycling.
  • Moral suasion could change attitudes here.A nudge of some sort such as express trash clearance assured to those who put anything “poly” in marked-out bins.
  • Final disposal will need well-sealed landfills, inspired loosely by burial crypts for spent nuclear fuel rods.

Conclusion

As demand begins to decline, a timeline could be declared for the elimination of some categories of plastic use. How well the objective is achieved would depend on how well we combine coaxing with coercion to wean the world off plastic.

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