9 PM Daily Brief – August 15th,2020

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

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  1. Changing geopolitics in West Asia
  2. Foreign policy: Fairy Tales of Indian Government
  3. Data privacy as a fundamental right
  4. Poverty Alleviation

9 PM for Preliminary examination


1.Changing geopolitics in West Asia

Source: Indian Express

Syllabus: Gs2- Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.

Context: Full normalisation of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel, brokered by the United States, marks an important moment in the volatile geopolitics of the Gulf and the Middle East.

More in news

  • Israel is Expanding its political, economic and strategic engagement with the Arab Gulf states
  • Also, in recent years, the United Arab Emirates has been hosting Israelis from ministers to athletes and businessmen to artists
  • The UAE will be the third Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

Reasons for Arab-Israel hostile Relationship:

  • Israel’s unfriendly attitude towards the Palestinians and its continuing expansion in to the Palestinian territory were one factor that made it hard for Arab states to normalise ties with Israel.
  • Other than the Palestinian issue, the rise of al Qaeda, the 9/11 attacks on the United States, the American invasion of Iraq, and the Arab Spring were some of the problems that deterred Arab-Israel friendly relationships.

Reasons for new Arab – Israel ties

  • Increasing conflict between the Arab Gulf Kingdoms and Iran in recent years.
  • The Gulf monarchies were also threatened by the resurgent Muslim Brotherhood which tries to establish a new order in the region and being supported by Turkey.
  • Dependence on U.S for their regional security. With Israel being the U.S close allies, Gulf countries are in a compulsion to maintain friendly relation with Israel.
  • With the possibility of an end to the age of oil Gulf countries are reconsidering their Petro- their national strategies they have started looking for new partnerships, including with Israel, China and India.

Conclusion: Despite Palestinian objections, with more Gulf states expected to follow the UAE’s lead on Israel, the gulf region will see some major realignment in their national strategies that is of special significance for India.

2.Foreign policy: Fairy Tales of Indian Government

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS-2:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Context: The danger of disillusionment when hopes are belied is greater than removing the cobwebs of fairy tales.

India’s prevailing International issues: The issues which will influence the shape of the post COVID- 19 World-

  1. Chinese military spreading on India’s side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  2. Pakistan military shooting across the Line of Control (LOC).
  3. Cartography aggression by the Government of Nepal.
  4. Iran joining a virtual alliance with China.
  5. Russia’s increasing closeness with China.

Level of India’s Fairy Tales: Many challenges of India have been taken by surprise by these new developing issues because of the numerous fairy tales which surround international issues. The understanding of every issue is at three different levels:

  1. Real Situation: It is that situation where the issue is known correctly only to those at higher levels and the interlocutors in the government.
  2. Official Version: It is properly calibrated for the guidance of spokespersons of the government.
  3. Rosy Version: It is for the general public so they could feel comfortable that the government that they elected is doing well.

Truth of India’s Fairy Tales: The fairy tales are created by the government officials and friendly press and commentators and embraced by the public opinion that all is well with the world and their elected government is doing well.

India- China Relation’s Truth:

  1. China’s deceitful behavior-After all the investments made by the Prime Minister and India’s large galaxy of experts on China, India had no impression of the Chinese untrustworthiness as it had romanticized the ‘Wuhan Spirit’ and the ‘Chennai Connect’ in Tamil Nadu.   
  2. India’s leader lie-The Prime Minister who knew what transpired in the informal summits, said nothing, however his body language and enthusiasm fooled into thinking that these leaders would never fight a war.

India- Russia Relation’s Truth:

  1. War of 1962 – India was surprised when erstwhile Soviet Union refused to intervene in the India-China conflict in 1962 on the plea that “one was a brother and the other was a friend.” Even this time India had taken the support of Russia for granted after the Prime Minister’s visit to Russia.
  2. India’s perception of Russia has the veil of a fairy tale, even when Russia had the quasi- alliance with China.

Mirage of United Nations Security Council and Nuclear Suppliers Group:

  1. India as Permanent Member- It is to make public believe and maintain the myth that the India is likely to get a place on the high table with veto power. The reality is that the vast majority of the members of the UN would want to abolish the veto rather than give it to more countries.
  2. India Joining Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) – It is a mirage that public believes is a reality. India is joining nuclear supplier group. It is quite impossible as NSG was originally setup to deny India any nuclear material following India’s nuclear tests in 1974. The best it could do was to grant an unconditional waiver, which India already has.

India- U.S.A. Bilateral Relation’s truth:

It has been known that the America will set up six nuclear reactors in Andhra Pradesh. However, reality is that the U.S. was using the civil liability law as a tool not to transfer nuclear technology to India.

Way Forward:

The need of the time is that government should examine all the policies and other international developments consecutively. So that it can apply correctives wherever possible.

3.Data privacy as a fundamental right

Source- The Hindu

Syllabus- GS 2- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Context- In the world of internet and technology, it is important how government, political parties and citizens are responding to this new triangular interplay between data protection, privacy and a flow of information.

Data theft in India

Data is becoming more valuable day by day and information theft is the most expensive and fastest rising consequences of cybercrime. Personal and sensitive data of millions of people is compromised for the money. Here are some of the biggest data breaches of year 2019.

  1. Malicious 3rdparty app leaks personal data from Twitter and Facebook.
  2. More than 1.3 million credit and debit card details from Indian banks were spotted for sale. A cyber security company found that the information was being sold for 130 million US dollars.
  3. The data of 6.8 million users from an Indian health-care website were also stolen.

Potency of the data-

Electoral process- Data driven campaigning has been at the core of recent elections, many private enterprises routinely share the personal data of individuals with political organizations. Campaigns rely on the data to facilitate a number of decisions –

  1. Where to hold the rallies, on which States or constituencies to focus.
  2. The campaign messages to promote in each area or to each constituency.
  3. How to target supporters (and people ‘like’ them), undecided voters, and non-supporters.

Misinformation- Social networks are amplifying some fake theories and helping them gain a foothold in the popular imagination. Fear and uncertainty also provide a fertile ground for disinformation to grow. For example :

  1. Delhi riots – The forwards that triggered the primitive “Us v/s Them” group mentality and is manifested in Delhi riots reports
  2. COVID 19 – The forwards on the novel coronavirus which declare COVID-19 a bacteria and the World Health Organization stating that vegetarians cannot be infected with COVID-19.

Personal Data Protection Bill

Justice B.N Srikrishna submitted that draft bill which deals with the following guidelines

  1. It recommended that critical personal data of the citizens be processed in centers located within the country.
  2. It says that sensitive personal data can be processed only with the explicit consent of the person.

Sensitive personal data includes- password, financial and health data, sexual orientation, biometric data and religious or political belief.

However, the bill cleared by the cabinet is different which allows State and private parties to process personal data without obtaining consent.

Way forward-

Government policy on national security should be based on advance strategic assessment rather than on a reactive basis. Internet ombudsman can be an effective antidote to unregulated technological disruptions.

4.Poverty Alleviation

Source: Indian Express

Syllabus: Gs2: Issues relating to Poverty and Hunger.

Context: Efforts to combat poverty in India and the recent setback

Fight against Poverty in India

  • In 1877, Dadabhai Naoroji presented the first estimates of poverty in his paper ‘Poverty in India’, that subsequently published in his book Poverty and Un-British Rule in Indiain 1899.
  • During the course of freedom struggle the idea of poverty got reflected in Mahatma Gandhi’s speeches references to Antyodaya and later in the National Planning Committee reports of 1938.
  • Many stalwarts, mainly Babasaheb Ambedkar supported the idea of economic emancipationas a precondition for a vibrant democracy.
  • The constitution-makers were conscious that the task of a free India was to ensure freedom from exploitation, poverty and inequality. Our Directive Principles of State Policy lays out that it is the responsibility of the state in providing adequate means of livelihood and better provisions for ensuring equality in assets, opportunity and access for all citizens.
  • During the late Sixties and early Seventies, with the call of “Garibi Hatao” by Indira Gandhi, poverty became an issue of political mobilisation and a priority for economic policy-making. It gave impetus for the initiation of poverty alleviation programmes of the central government as well as the states.

Efforts paved off:

  • Today, the average per capita income of Indians is 7.5 times compared to the 1950’s.
  • India has transformed from low growth rate economy of 3-4 per cent to a higher growth rate economy of 7 per cent per annum.
  • According to 2011-12 official estimate of poverty only 22 per cent of the population were below the poverty line. Between 2005-2012, 110 million of rural poor and 27 million urban poor moved out of poverty.
  • High growth rate accompanied by pro poor policies such as NREGA, Forest Rights Act, Right to Education, National Health Mission and the expansion in food programme paved way for the success in poverty reduction.
  • However, the acceleration in growth after the economic reforms in 1991 has also been accompanied by increasing inequality.

Recent Trends:

  • As per the estimates of last consumption survey which got leaked without any formal publication revealed that there is a decline in consumption expenditure in rural areas while in urban areas it increased in urban areas indicating a rise in overall poverty.
  • Other indicators such as unemployment, declining wages and incomes substantiate this.
  • With growth likely to slow down, accompanied with severe economic disruption due to the pandemic the challenge to eradicate extreme poverty will only make become more difficult.

Conclusion: Freedom to participate meaningfully in the democratic process, free from discrimination based on caste, class, religion and regional considerations along with equality of access to education, employment, nutrition, health and a decent quality of life, all these are important for the success in poverty alleviation.

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