9 PM Current Affairs Brief – October 10th, 2018


Download the compilation of all summaries of all the news articles here


GS-2

When woman is harassed at work

When woman is harassed at work

Article

  1. India’s #MeToo movement, with editors, actors and minister being publicly accused, is breaking the culture of silence around sexual harassment and everyday sexism marks a watershed moment in societal evolution.

Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013

  1. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act was passed in 2013.
  2. It defines sexual harassment, lays down the procedures for a complaint and inquiry, and the action to be taken. It broadens the Vishaka guidelines, which were already in place.

Vishaka guidelines

  1. These were laid down by the Supreme Court in a judgment in 1997.
  2. This was on a case filed by women’s rights groups, one of which was Vishaka.
  3. They had filed a public interest litigation over the alleged gang-rape of Bhanwari Devi, a social worker from Rajasthan. In 1992, she had prevented the marriage of a one-year-old girl, leading to the gang-rape in an act of revenge.

Sexual harassment as defined in the law

  1. Sexual harassment includes “any one or more” of the following “unwelcome acts or behaviour” committed directly or by implication:
  • Physical contact and advances
  • A demand or request for sexual favours
  • Sexually coloured remarks
  • Showing pornography
  • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.

 

  • Additionally, the Act mentions five circumstances that amount to sexual harassment — implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment; implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment; implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status; interference with her work or creating an offensive or hostile work environment; humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.

Challenges of the #MeToo movement

  • In Public ‘naming and shaming’, there is danger of personal scores being settled in public.
  • There is ethical aspects of naming harassers without them being afforded the chance to be heard and who is accountable for naming someone falsely.
  • As the movement is rising, what are the institutional processes it seeks to install.
  1. The culture of male entitlement and patriarchy is so prevalent that most victims have thus far preferred silence to challenge these cases.
  2. #MeToo is a challenge to these attitudes that enforce a culture of silence.
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Salvaging a strategic partnership  

Salvaging a strategic partnership  

Article:

  1. S. Raghavan, Convener of the National Security Advisory Board has discussed about the trade opportunity India will have with Russia despite U.S sanction.

Important Analysis:

  1. In a recent Summit with Russia, India has given assurance that growing proximity with U.S will not affect India-Russia relations.
  2. India has emphasized the contribution made by Russia is unique and it will be on Top priority.
  3. However, there are some key issues where India and Russia perspective differs such as:
  • India’s strategic linkages with the U.S
  • India’s relation with its neighbor like Pakistan, Afghanistan and China.
  • When dealing with cross border terrorism
  1. Both countries have asserted that there were detailed discussions on “all international issues of mutual interest”, specifically citing common interest on Terrorism.
  2. On Afghanistan, India expressed support for the “Moscow format”, in which Russia involves regional countries and major powers in an effort to draw the Taliban into negotiations with the Afghan leadership.
  3. India and Russia have in their joint statement
  • Made the list of priority areas of cooperation, including infrastructure, engineering, natural resources, space and technology.
  • Expresses the commitment to raise trade and investment.
  • Talked about opportunities for cooperation between Russia, which is natural resources-rich, and India, which is resource-hungry.
  1. However, there are concern over U.S sanction. U.S has already made it public, that India’s deal with Russia may attract provisions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
  2. S. State Department announced sanctions on a Chinese company that had imported the S-400 over eight months earlier, asserting that it was a signal to others engaged with the Russian defence sector.
  3. With proper structuring of business deals, trade and investment exchanges with Russia are possible, and without losing business with Europe and America. In this way only economic engagement of major European countries with Russia grew in 2017 and 2018 despite the Sanctions.
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We need a pro-liberty judicial approach

We need a pro-liberty judicial approach

Article:

  1. Writer, a former Judge of the Supreme Court has raised the concern over threat to Civil Liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Important Analysis:

  1. Article 21 of the Indian constitution places the civil liberty on the highest pedestal and it is the duty of the Supreme Court to uphold the same.
  2. In Romila Thapar v. Union of India, the case concerning the Bhima-Koregaon accused, SC has failed to apply the ‘clear and present danger’ test, which, if would have applied, could have quashed the proceedings against all the five accused and consequently released them.
  3. Supreme Court has ordered house arrest for them is not justified as the offence was not as grave or heinous as murder, or gang-rape.
  4. So, the denial of their release even though their activity does not pose any clear and present danger of a violence is violation of Article 21.
  5. Even in Abhijit Iyer-Mitra v. State of Odisha, the Supreme Court refused bail to journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra over his alleged objectionable remarks against Odisha’s popular Konark Suns feelings, an offence under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code. But on the principles laid down by the court in State of Rajasthan v. Balchand, bail should have been granted.
  6. It is being argued, Supreme Court is deviating itself from its own precedents because the seven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India. ruled that the mere existence of an enabling law was not enough to restrain personal liberty.
  7. Also, In GHANI V JONES, UK – Lord Denning held: The privacy and possessions of an individual were not to be invaded except for the most compelling reasons.
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Arrest the exodus

Arrest the exodus

News:

  1. Gujarat is seeing increasing discontent over the lack of adequate jobs for young people.

Important Facts:

  1. There has been an exodus out of northern Gujarat of Hindi-speaking migrant workers due to incident of revenge attack on them as a result of horrific rape of a toddler.
  2. Ipsos-Gates Foundation survey found that Indians were most worried about unemployment (48%).
  • 6% of those surveyed and actively looking for work in Gujarat were not employed in September 2018.
  1. Economic Survey in 2016-17 pointed out that Gujarat is among the States, including Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal, with the highest net in-migration of workers.
  2. States that were relatively better developed were also host to more migrants.
  3. It stands to reason that migrants have played a vital role in providing growth in States like Gujarat by providing cheap labor in the many small and medium enterprises in the manufacturing and construction sectors.
  4. The Gujarat government has promised to make it mandatory for manufacturing and service sector companies to hire 80% of their workforce from the State’s domiciles and to reserve 25% of hires for residents from the location.
  5. Considering the economic role of migrant labor and ensuring job-oriented growth, the State must follow a more holistic policy of creating incentives for firms leading to greater employment, instead of merely dictating higher recruitment of locals.
  6. Apart from steps to arrest the violence against the migrants and stop the exodus, the Gujarat government must commit itself to a facilitating role for job-creation.
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GS-3

The truth about inequality in India

The truth about inequality in India

Article

1.The writer notes that it is impossible to know about inequality in India as the income and wealth data of the well-off people are far from reliable

Important analysis:

  1. The publication of James Crabtree’s book The Billionaire Raj and last year the research paper by Luke Chancel and Thomas Piketty ‘Indian Income Inequality, 1922-2015: From British Raj to Billionaire Raj’ both highlighted the economic inequality in India.
  2. Economic inequality is rising because of the rise of super-wealthy class.
  3. There are intellectuals like Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Jagdish Bhagwati, etc. who denied this, citing two reasons:
  • First, they argued that,  rather than inequality look at other parameters like poverty, satisfaction surveys,  etc.
  • Second, they questioned the methodology of these surveys on inequality.
  1. There are no government data on income and wealth.
  2. Tax data gives some information but the data is prone to understatement.
  3. They argued the main reason that we do not know the true level of inequality is that the income of wealthy people is unreadable.

Limitations in getting true picture of inequality

  1. Government of India does not collect income data. It collects expenditure data. That is, not how much people earn, but how much they spend.
  2. For income, the only reliable data is data collected by India Human Development Survey (IHDS). In the IHDS 2004-05 survey, the individual with the highest income out of 43,000 families earned less than Rs. 22 lakh per year. It shows the loopholes in the data.
  3. The All India Debt and Investment Survey (AIDIS) of the NSSO gives the wealth data. There is question mark on their methodology too.
  4. The writer added that a nation that appears to care much for economic and social inequality, needs to work hard to find out how much inequality there is.
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IMF projects India’s growth at 7.3% in 2018

IMF projects India’s growth at 7.3% in 2018
News
1. IMF projects India to grow at 7.3% in 2018 and 7.4% in 2019.
Important facts:

International Monetary Fund

  • IMF is an international organization consisting of 189 member countries.
  • It is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
  • It is  working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.

World Economic Outlook

  • The World Economic Outlook (WEO) is a survey conducted and published by the International Monetary Fund.
  • It is published biannually.
  • It portrays the world economy in the near and medium context, with projections for up to four years into the future.
    1. India had registered 6.7% growth rate in 2017.
    3. India’s medium-term growth remains strong benefitting from the ongoing structural reforms like GST, the inflation-targeting framework, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code, steps to liberalise foreign investment and improvement in ease of doing ranking.
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ICMR scientists confirm canine distemper virus in 21 Gir lions

ICMR scientists confirm canine distemper virus in 21 Gir lions

News:

  1. The canine distemper virus (CDV) has been found by scientists in the recent death of 21 Asiatic lions in Gujarat’s Gir forest.

Important Facts:

  1. Scientists at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) National Institute of Virology in Pune have found active transmission of the canine distemper virus (CDV) in at least 21 lions of Gujarat’s Gir forest.
  2. ICMR- National Institute of Virology (NIV) also asked the government to shift healthy lions from Gujarat’s Gir forest after, fresh samples of the wild cats tested positive for CDV virus.
  3. Scientists collected samples of nasal, ocular and rectal swabs, from 27 lions from Gir forest, who were unwell using molecular methods i.e. RT-PCR and were under treatment or observation at Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh, Gujarat.

Note

About RT-PCR: Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)  is a technique commonly used in molecular biology to detect RNA expression. It has been used to detect and study many RNA viruses.

  1. ICMR-NIV had also earlier said it had found the CDV responsible for the death of five Asiatic lions in the Gir forest and  for the first time a complete genome of the CDV has been recovered by the NIV.

Note

About Canine Distemper Disease: It is a contagious and serious disease caused by a canine distemper virus (CDV)  that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs. It has also been found in foxes, wolves, raccoons, red pandas, lions, tigers, leopards and other wild cats as well as seals.

Spread:  CDV is transmitted through air as well as infected body secretions, shared food and water bowls and equipment and  through the placenta of mother to its baby.

Treatment:  There is no cure for canine distemper infection.  Treatment typically consists of supportive care and efforts to prevent secondary infections; control vomiting, diarrhea and neurologic symptoms; and combat dehydration through administration of fluids. Animals infected with canine distemper are separated from other animals to minimize the risk of further infection.

  1. According to ICMR scientists, there are no papers about the mortality rate due to the CDV in lions. The prevalence of this virus and its diversity in wildlife of India is not studied and only a few reports are available regarding the detection of the CDV in captive wild carnivores which included tigers and red panda.
  2. ICMR-NIV also noted that CDV infection has been found to kill 50 percent of adult dogs and 80 percent of infected puppies. In the past, the CDV wiped out 30 percent of the total population of lions in Serengeti forest areas in East Africa.
  3. The Gujarat Forest Department has started vaccination of lions in the Gir sanctuary and scientists suggested that vaccines are made up of CDV American genotypes can be used as it has been found to be effective in a number of countries.

Note

The National Institute of Virology, Pune is an Indian virology research institute, of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

NIV is also the National Monitoring Center for Influenza, Japanese encephalitis, Rota, Measles and Hepatitis.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR):

  • Apex body in India for formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research.
  • Conduct, coordinate and implement medical research for the benefit  of the Society.
  • Translating medical innovations in to products/processes and introducing them in to the public health system.
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Titli’ puts coastal Odisha on high alert

Titli’ puts coastal Odisha on high alert

News:

  1. IMD has forecasted that the cyclone Titli may further intensify into a severe cyclonic storm and make landfall between southern Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

Important Facts:

  1. The deep depression over the Bay of Bengal intensified into cyclonic storm Titli and is moving towards the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh coast.
  2. This severe cyclonic storm is expected to move west-northward and make landfall between Gopalpur in south Odisha and Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh by October 11 morning.
  3. According to India Meteorological Department (IMD) this severe cyclonic storm is expected to have a wind speed of 100 to 110 km/hr with gusts of up to 125 km/hr during the landfall on Odisha’s coast.
  4. Precautionary measures by state government:
  • The Odisha government announced the closure of all schools and colleges from Wednesday in four districts of the state as a precautionary measure.
  • The vulnerable areas are being identified and people of these areas are being evacuated to safe multi-purpose shelters as a precautionary measure to minimize loss of life and property.
  • It has also set a target of “zero casualty”. The state has put the districts on high alert and asked the authorities to evacuate those living in low-lying areas and in ‘kuchha’ houses along the coast.

Note

“Zero casualty is part of the Odisha’s government’s disaster management policy. Stocking of food and shifting of people to cyclone shelters are included in the policy.

  • The regional meteorological department has sounded ‘Red’ warning for several coastal districts where heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to occur and ‘Orange’ alert for other areas.
  • Threat to thatched houses and snapping of power and communication lines due to uprooting of trees and branches have also been on the alert list for the administration.
  • 300 boats have been kept ready while NDRF teams have been despatched to Puri, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Gajapati, Bhadrak and Nayagarh districts.
  • The Durga puja organisers have decided to postpone several pending works including construction of pandals as cyclone ‘Hudhud’ had caused large-scale destructions at several pandals in 2014.

Note

  • Odisha is prone to multiple and recurring natural disasters. Almost every year, the state experiences floods, cyclones or droughts.
  • In 1999, Odisha was devastated by a super cyclone, and the Phailin and Hudhud cyclones in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
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Target 1.5: Tackling global warming

Target 1.5: Tackling global warming

News:

  1. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), recently released a report in Seoul  highlighting the impacts that developing countries like India would face if global warming touches 2°C as compared to 1.5°C.

Important Facts:

  1. The IPCC makes it clear that the human and economic costs of a 2°C rise are far greater than for 1.5°C, and the need for action is urgent.
  2. Risks to food security and water, heat exposure, drought and coastal submergence all will increase significantly even for a 1.5°C rise.
  3. Human activity has warmed the world by 1°C over the pre-industrial level and with another half-degree rise (1.5°C), many regions will have warmer extreme temperatures, raising the frequency, intensity and amount of rain or severity of drought.

Note

The Paris Agreement aims to keep global temperature rise in this century well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the increase even further, to 1.5°C.

  1. Likely Impacts:
  • India, Pakistan and China are already suffering moderate effects of warming in areas such as water availability, food production and land degradation, and these will worsen, as the report says.
  • Closer to a 2°C increase, these impacts are expected to spread to sub-Saharan Africa, and West and East Asia.
  • The prognosis for India, of annual heat waves by mid-century in a scenario of temperature increase in the 1.5°C to 2°C range, is particularly worrying and India  is among the regions that would experience the largest reductions in economic growth in a 2°C scenario.
  1. Steps to be taken:
  • The sensible course for national policy would be to fast-track the emissions reduction pledges made for the Paris Agreement.
  • Governments should achieve net zero CO2 addition to the atmosphere, balancing man-made emissions through removal of CO2.
  • The commitment to generate 100 GW of solar energy by 2022 should lead to a quick scale-up from the 24 GW installed, and cutting down of coal use.
  • Agriculture needs to be strengthened with policies that improve water conservation, and afforestation should help create a large carbon sink.
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Making smart cities cyber-secure

Making smart cities cyber-secure

News:

  1. The article discusses about the cyber security challenges and the threats that integrated technologies in a smart city pose along with efficient delivery of services.

Important Facts:

  1. India’s digitalisation roadmap is expected to propel its digital economy to 1 trillion USD by 2025. India is witnessing an unforeseen digital transformation, and at the same time, a rapid rate of urbanisation.
  2. The Government of India’s 100 Smart Cities Mission blends these digitalisation and urbanisation waves, and endeavours to accomplish urban renewal through a Pan-City Smart Solutions initiative, and technology-enabled ‘city improvement (retrofitting), city renewal (redevelopment) and city extension (greenfield development)’.

Note

Smart Cities Mission:

  • It is an urban renewal and retrofitting program by the Government of India with the mission to develop 100 cities across the country making them citizen friendly and sustainable.
  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, is the nodal ministry for this mission. The Mission will cover 100 cities and its duration will be five years from 2015 to 2020.
  • The significance of the Smart Cities Mission can be judged from the fact that its allocation was doubled during Budget 2018-19 to ₹2.04 lakh crore.
  1. While the smart city initiative focuses on sustainable development of our cities and harnessing digital technologies for integrated citizen service delivery, it demands a strong focus on cyber security.
  2. The Indian Smart City technology architecture is based on four logical layers of sensors, communication, data and application layers. The technology across these four layers works in an integrated manner to deliver smart city services.
  3. Benefits of Information and Computing Technologies (ICT) and Internet of Things in a Smart City:
  • Smart energy meters, security devices, smart appliances for health and domestic life offer unprecedented conveniences and improved quality of life.
  • Cities get cleaner due to monitoring and technology is being deployed in road construction, property tax management, water management and waste management etc.
  • The artificial intelligence based solutions is an example of smart infrastructure, eg. a smart pole that combines the benefits of LED lighting, Wi-Fi connection, surveillance cameras and mobile connectivity.
  1. Challenges:

Cyber attacks, which earlier targeted data centres, are now directed towards numerous systems and devices spread across a smart city. A single intrusion may leave the entire smart city network compromised.

Hence, connected IoT (internet of things) devices need to be protected, including software, hardware and data.

  • Security governance: There is no security organisation responsible for ensuring cyber security within smart cities. Additionally, there is no or limited consideration of cyber security during the various phases of smart city development.
  • Budget allocation:  Limited budget is allocated for cyber security in the overall smart city budget. Even when a budget is allocated, it does not match the risk profile of smart cities, thereby making the process of setting up adequate defences a difficult proposition.
  • Security products selection and implementation: Business-driven risk assessments are not conducted to identify appropriate security products based on the risk profile of the smart city. Additionally, there are no baseline security guidelines for implementation and configuration of security products.
  • Cyber security capability and awareness: Smart city stakeholders have low awareness of cyber security risks and vulnerabilities. Further, the stakeholders responsible for securing the smart cities, have limited cyber security capabilities.
  • Review and monitoring mechanism: There is no mechanism in place to regularly perform security assessments of the smart city set-up in order to identify and mitigate security risks on a continual basis.
  1. Steps taken to strengthen ICT infrastructure in smart cities:
  • Recognising cyber security as a key priority, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) published the ‘Cyber Security Framework for Smart Cities’ in May 2016 and issued an advisory to all smart cities to drive conformance to this framework. The report acknowledges that cyber security is the combined responsibility of various stakeholders.
  1. Eleven Integrated Control and Command Centres have been installed at Ahmedabad, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur and Pune, among others.

Note

Securing Smart Cities: It is a not-for-profit global initiative that aims to solve the existing and future cybersecurity problems of smart cities through collaboration between companies, governments, media outlets, other not-for-profit initiatives and individuals across the world.

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