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Monthly DNA

16 Feb, 2021

24 Min Read

Toolkit conspiracy case

GS-III : Internal security Cyber Security

Toolkit conspiracy case


  • The police in India are using arrests and filing questionable cases as a tool of harassment.
  • The Delhi Police have outdone all of them by arresting a 22-year-old climate activist (Disha Ravi) in a case that makes the incredible allegation that a social media toolkit for organisers of protests against the farm laws amounted to sedition and incitement to riots.

Tool of harassment

  • The manner in which a Delhi Police team travelled to Bengaluru and took Disha Ravi into custody, apparently without following the guidelines laid down by the Delhi High Court on inter-State arrests.
  • Even though Ms. Ravi was produced before a duty magistrate in Delhi within the mandatory 24-hour period, there is no indication whether the Delhi Police informed the local police and if she was properly represented by counsel.
  • It appears that the main charge against her is that she edited a Google document shared among activists, including global climate change icon Greta Thunberg.
  • The toolkit, the prosecution alleges, was prepared by a pro-Khalistani outfit, and based on this, it was concluded that Ms. Ravi was working with separatists to create disaffection against India.

What is a toolkit?

  • Toolkits are common for those organising protests online, and they contain not much more than calls for protests, texts to be tweeted, hashtags to be used, and names of authorities and public functionaries whose handles can be tagged.


  • The government of India is more likely to attract international embarrassment and opprobrium by the indiscriminate use of police power against activists, protesters and the media.
  • The state is increasingly resorting to heavy-handed responses to issues that attract a convergence of activism, opposition political activity and adverse media scrutiny.

Way ahead

  • A government truly worried about its global image would instead seek to address the deficit in tolerance and surfeit in repression that are becoming more obvious with each passing day.

Source: TH

Disaster management- Fireworks accident at Virudhunagar

GS-III : Disaster and Disaster management Disaster management act

Accidents at the fireworks unit in Virudhunagar


  • In the latest accident at a fireworks unit in Virudhunagar, at last count, 20 lives have perished, while 28 workers are in hospital.

Major fireworks Industries in Tamil Nadu are at:

  • Virudhunagar, Cuddalore ,Sivakasi and Madurai

Reasons for accidents at fireworks Industries

  • Gross violation of norms governing the hazardous industry.
  • Human error in handling explosive substances.
  • Unlicensed units that have mushroomed in and outside Sivakasi mostly escape scrutiny till explosions occur.
  • A greater concern is the illegal sub-leasing of contracts for manufacturing crackers by licensed units.
  • Sub-leasing of works to several persons.
    • The very nature of work in a hazardous industry makes sub-leasing a byword for safety compromise.
    • It leads to the conversion of every shed in a manufacturing unit into a ‘factory’ in itself with inflammable chemicals stored all over.
    • Consequently, the limit on workers to be deployed is violated resulting in crowding in each shed.
  • Untrained workers and the piece-rate system, which induces people to race to produce more units per day, have also caused accidents.
  • Shortage of labour has prompted the industry to hire new recruits with limited skills.

Steps were taken by the government

  • On the ground there is only short-term action:
    • registration of cases, arrests, identification of causes, token inspections, issuance of warnings and safety advisories.
  • While the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) offers training for workers.
  • A decade ago Parliament was informed that automation of the hazardous manufacturing process would be undertaken.

Way forward

  • Periodic inspections at factories, sustained crackdowns and stringent penal action against violators are non-negotiable.
  • For this, Central and State governments must provide the needed manpower for enforcement agencies as the industry has grown manifold.
  • A sustained political push for labour reforms and technological innovations within the industry is also essential.

Source: TH

New Guidelines for the Geo-Spatial Sector

GS-III : S&T Space

New Guidelines for the Geo-Spatial Sector

What is the news?

  • The Ministry of Science and Technology has released new guidelines for the Geospatial sector in India.
  • It deregulated the existing protocol and liberalizes the sector into a more competitive field.

What is a Geo-Spatial Data?

  • Geospatial data is data about objects, events, or phenomena that have a location on the surface of the earth.
  • The location may be static in the short-term, like the location of a road, an earthquake event, malnutrition among children, or dynamic like a moving vehicle or pedestrian, the spread of an infectious disease.
  • Geospatial data combines location information, attribute information, and often also temporal information or the time at which the location and attributes exist.
  • Geo-spatial data usually involves information of public interest such as roads, localities, rail lines, water bodies, and public amenities.
  • The past decade has seen an increase in the use of geospatial data in daily life with various apps such as food delivery apps like Swiggy or Zomato, e-commerce like Amazon or even weather apps.

What is the present policy on geospatial data?

  • There are strict restrictions on the collection, storage, use, sale, and dissemination of geospatial data and mapping under the current regime.
  • The policy had not been renewed in decades and has been driven by internal as well as external security concerns.
  • Private companies need to navigate a system of permissions from different departments of the government as well as the defence and Home Ministries, to be able to collect, create or disseminate geospatial data.

Why has the government deregulated geospatial data?

  • This system of acquiring licenses or permission, and the red tape involved, can take months, delaying projects, especially those that are in mission mode – for both Indian companies as well as government agencies.
  • The deregulation eliminates the requirement of permissions as well as scrutiny, even for security concerns.
  • Indian companies now can self-attest, conforming to government guidelines without actually having to be monitored by a government agency- these guidelines, therefore, place a great deal of trust in Indian entities.
  • There is also a huge lack of data in the country which impedes planning for infrastructure, development and businesses which are data-based.
  • The mapping of the entire country too with high accuracy, by the Indian government alone, could take decades.
  • The government, therefore, felt an urgent need to incentivise the geospatial sector for Indian companies and increase investment from private players in the sector.
  • Large amounts of geospatial data are also available on global platforms, which makes the regulation of data that is freely available in other countries, untenable.

What next?

  • While for decades, geospatial data has been a priority for strategic reasons and for internal and external security concerns.
  • This priority has seen a shift in the past 15 years – geospatial data has now become imperative for the government in planning for infrastructure, development, social development as well as the economy.
  • More and more sectors such as agriculture, environment protection, power, water, transportation, communication, health (tracking of diseases, patients, hospitals etc) are relying heavily on this data.
  • There has also been a global push for open access to geospatial as it affects the lives of ordinary citizens.

Expected impacts

  • By liberalizing the system, the government will ensure more players in the field, the competitiveness of Indian companies in the global market, and more accurate data available to both the government to formulate plans and administer, but also for individual Indians.
  • Startups and businesses can now also use this data in setting up their concerns, especially in the sector of e-commerce or geospatial-based apps – which in turn will increase employment in these sectors.
  • Indian companies will be able to develop indigenous apps, for example, an Indian version of Google maps.
  • There is also likely to be an increase in public-private partnerships with the opening of this sector with data collection companies working with the Indian government on various sectoral projects.
  • The government also expects an increase in investment in the geospatial sector by companies, and also an increase in the export of data to foreign companies and countries, which in turn will boost the economy.

Source: TH

Leatherback Sea Turtle

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Wildlife & Fauna

Leatherback Sea Turtle

  • It is the largest of the seven species of sea turtles.
  • Other species are: Olive Ridley turtle, Green turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Loggerhead turtle, Leatherback turtle
  • Except the Loggerhead, the remaining four species nest along the Indian coast.
  • It is found in all oceans except the Arctic and the Antarctic.
  • Within the Indian Ocean, they nest only in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • It is the only living species in the genus Dermochelys and the family Dermochelyidae.
  • It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell.
  • They are listed in Schedule I of India’s Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.


  • They are protected in the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, under Schedule I.
  • They are also protected under the Biodiversity Conservation and Ganga Rejuvenation programme
  • Five species of Indian turtles along with their IUCN status are as follows:
  • Olive Ridley – Vulnerable
  • Green turtle – Endangered
  • Loggerhead – Vulnerable
  • Hawksbill – Critically Endangered
  • Leatherback – Vulnerable

NITI Aayog’s Tourism Vision

  • NITI Aayog’s vision includes a proposal for a mega-shipment port at Galathea Bay on Great Nicobar Island.
  • Also, the Little Andaman plan proposes phased growth of tourism on this untouched island, which may lead to the de-reservation of over 200 sq km of rainforests and also of about 140 sq km of the Onge Tribal Reserve.

Source: TH

National Marine Turtle Action Plan

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Conservation

National Marine Turtle Action Plan

  • The Ministry of Environment has released National Marine Turtle Action Plan in which A&N Islands are given prominent importance.
  • According to the plan, India has identified all its important sea turtle nesting habitats as ‘Important Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Areas.
  • These areas have been included in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) – 1.
  • South Bay and West Bay on Little Andaman and Galathea on Great Nicobar, are mentioned as “Important Marine Turtle Habitats in India”

Source: TH

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