22 January, 2020
30 Min Read
|GS-II||Code of conduct for Ministers|
|India, Brazil to sign Strategic Action Plan||International Relations|
|World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2020 report|
|GS-III||Regulating Artificial Intelligence (AI)|
|Recession and Stagflation||Economic Issues|
|Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT)|
|New Industrial Policy||Economic Issues|
Prelims and Mains focus: about the new code of conduct for Ministers at both national and state level: its need and significance
News: A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday said the possibility of enforceability ought to be explored if a new code of conduct is framed for Ministers at the Centre and in the States.
What is the SC examining?
The government and the legislature should be asked by the court to formulate a voluntary code of conduct with respect to the personal and public lives of Ministers and to publish it after finalising the same based on due deliberations.
Arguments in favour of new code of conduct for ministers at both Centre and State level
Note: to read more about the code of conduct for ministers at Union and State level, click on the link below
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus subtopic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests
Prelims and Mains focus: about the agreements to be signed during Brazilian President’s visit; about India-Brazil relations
News: India and Brazil will upgrade their strategic partnership with an “action plan” and sign a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) when Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro visits as the Chief Guest of the Republic Day celebrations from 24-27.
About the agreements to be signed during the visit
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus subtopic: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the SC judgement and concerns raised by it for timely disqualification of defecting MPs and MLAs; about the Tenth Schedule
News: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Parliament to amend the Constitution to strip Legislative Assembly Speakers of their exclusive power to decide whether legislators should be disqualified or not under the anti-defection law.
Context: On Tuesday, in a 31-page judgment, a three-judge Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman questioned why a Speaker, who is a member of a particular political party and an insider in the House, should be the “sole and final arbiter” in the disqualification of a political defector.
Concerns highlighted by the SC
What did the court recommend?
About the Tenth Schedule
If a member of a house belonging to a political party:
Exceptions under the law:
Legislators may change their party without the risk of disqualification in certain circumstances. The law allows a party to merge with or into another party provided that at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favour of the merger. In such a scenario, neither the members who decide to merge, nor the ones who stay with the original party will face disqualification.
Decision of the Presiding Officer is subject to judicial review:
The law initially stated that the decision of the Presiding Officer is not subject to judicial review. This condition was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1992, thereby allowing appeals against the Presiding Officer’s decision in the High Court and Supreme Court. However, it held that there may not be any judicial intervention until the Presiding Officer gives his order.
Merits of anti-defection law:
Various Recommendations to overcome the challenges posed by the law:
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus subtopic: Important International Institutions, agencies and fora - their Structure, Mandate
Prelims and Mains focus: about the report and its key highlights; About ILO and its other reports
News: UN's International Labour Organization released its report, The World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2020 (WESO) on Monday,
About the report
The annual WESO Trends report analyses key labour market issues, including unemployment, labour underutilisation, working poverty, income inequality, labour income share and factors that exclude people from decent work.
Key highlights of the report
What does the report recommend?
About International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Reports published by ILO
Source: Indian Express
Syllabus subtopic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the need for regulating AI; about AI and its applications
News: One of the most powerful men in tech, Sundar Pichai, has backed regulations for artificial intelligence (AI). While Pichai isn’t the first big tech executive to say so publicly, his voice matters, given that Google is arguably the world’s largest AI company.
2019 AI Readiness Index
India ranks 17 on the 2019 AI Readiness Index that tracks how “well-placed” governments are to take advantage of the benefits of AI in delivering public services. Singapore is the most well-prepared, while China rounds out the top 20.
Why is there a need to regulate the use of AI?
AI depends on the gathering of data, automatically making it an issue that needs regulation. Any organization will require large amounts of data to train an AI software, so how it acquires the data must be regulated.
When AI is put to use practically, it becomes an even more direct threat to privacy. For example, facial recognition can be used for mass surveillance. AI algorithms are usually built for specific tasks, but if left unchecked they can deviate from their desirable behaviour. For example, two Facebook chatbots created their own language when they were allowed to interface with each other in any way they wanted.
Who else has called for regulation of AI?
Pichai is not the first big name in tech to have sought regulations on AI. Tesla and SpaceX chief Elon Musk has been vocal about the need for regulating AI several times in the past. Musk even said that “by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late”.
Microsoft president Brad Smith is another prominent person in tech who has called for regulation of AI. Pichai, in his editorial, advocated for AI to be regulated keeping in mind both the harm and societal benefits that the technology can be used for. He also said that governments must be aligned on regulations around AI for “making global standards work”.
Which fields are using the technology at present?
AI is a buzzword in almost every field. Smartphone makers are marketing AI- driven cameras, while governments have been looking to reap the benefits of AI in various areas. Regulation has to take into account all the use cases. The use of AI in governance, healthcare, law enforcement, etc. is more intrusive than, say, enhancing a phone camera’s imaging capabilities.
What is the status on regulation of AI?
Pichai’s editorial came soon after reports that the European Union was planning to ban the use of facial recognition in public areas for up to five years. This would give regulators time to figure out ways to avoid the abuse of such AI technologies. The US proposed certain principles for AI regulation earlier this month, which were more lenient than the EU’s proposed policy. In May, 42 countries had adopted the inter-governmental policy guidelines on AI by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Where does India stand on regulations?
While India has been vocal about the use of AI in various sectors, it is far from regulating it. A 2018 NITI Aayog paper proposed five areas where AI can be useful. In that paper, the think tank also noted the lack of regulation around AI as a major weakness for India. While presenting the 2019 Union budget, then interim finance minister Piyush Goyal had said the Centre was planning to launch a national programme on AI. While India’s startup ecosystem has built several products using AI, we do not yet have principles for regulating it.
What is AI?
Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the two terms and their significance in determining the status of the economy
News: The Indian economy is going through tough times with the advance estimates for the rate of growth for real gross domestic product (GDP) for 2019-20 being pegged at 5% compared to 6.9% in 2018-19.
What have been the trend so far?
Does the combination of slowdown in the rate of growth of the economy and higher inflation mean that the economy is in recession or going through a period of stagflation?
The data is considered over a period of time and not just at one point or a few months for a contraction to be called an economy in recession or stagflation.
Syllabus subtopic: Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the decisions taken in the DAC meeting; about project 75I and its significance; about iDEX scheme
News: The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday cleared Mazgaon Docks Limited (MDL) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) as the Indian partners in the Navy’s tender for six advanced submarines under Project-75I worth over Rs 45,000 crore.
Decisions taken in the meeting
About Project 75I (called “Project-75 India (P-75I)”)
About Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) Scheme:
Key Functions of iDex:
Defence India Start Up Challenge:
The vision of the Challenge is two-fold:
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus subtopic: Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the telescope and its applications; roadblocks in its construction
News: India, a partner in the construction of one of the largest telescopes in the world, has said it wants the project to be moved out of the proposed site at Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in Hawaii.
About the Telescope and its applications
Countries involved in its construction:
The $2 billion project is a joint venture (JV) involving five countries:
Why does India wants the project side to be shifted to an alternate site?
Where is the proposed alternate site?
Roadblocks in its construction
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus subtopic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the details of the project and its significance; Ports of India, About National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP)
News: An inter-ministerial panel has approved a Ministry of Shipping proposal for deepening and optimisation of inner harbour facilities of the Paradip Port Trust.
Details of the project
About the Paradip Port
Initiatives taken by the govt. in Infrastructure sector
About National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP)
It is estimated that India would need to spend $4.5 trillion on infrastructure by 2030 to sustain its growth rate. The endeavour of the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), is to make this happen in an efficient manner.
Funding: The central government and state governments would have an equal share of 39% each in the NIP. The private sector, on the other hand, would have 22% share which the government expects to increase to 30% by 2025.
Need for infrastructure funding:
Seaports in India
Source: Indian Express
Syllabus subtopic: Effects of Liberalization on the Economy, Changes in Industrial Policy and their Effects on Industrial Growth.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the new industrial policy and its key objectives
News: With the government aiming to finalise the new industrial policy within the current financial year, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is seeking specific inputs from ministries and states on focus areas to boost manufacturing and private investment.
Last week, the government organised an inter-ministerial workshop on 14 priority sectors that would need a fillip to boost manufacturing to $1 trillion, including capital goods, electronics, food processing, metals and mining, tourism and renewable energy.
About the new policy
Source: Indian Express
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