9 PM Daily Brief – October 29,2020

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GS1

1.Uniform Civil code

Gs2

2.Indo Pacific Region

3.India-US 2+2 Dialogue

GS3

4.DeepFake

5.Urbanpoverty


9 PM for Preliminary examination

1.Uniform Civil code

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS-1- Society

Context: All states must be brought into the mainstream of family laws as there is no justification for keeping some chosen groups of Indian citizens always tied down to family laws.

Does the provision of Article 44 of the Constitution of India only targets inter-personal diversity in family law? 

  • This has always been the general belief among the custodians of state authority, including the judiciary.
  • Ignoring the words “throughout the territory of India” at the end of the article, they have always understood it as an order only for the abolishment of the traditional personal laws and their replacement by a common family law Act.
  • The preliminary sections in all central family law Acts enacted by Parliament since Independence declare that they will apply to “the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.” 
  • Other exceptions:
  • A new provision was added in 1968 in all these Acts, stating that “nothing herein contained shall apply to the Renoncants in the Union Territory of Pondicherry.”
  • None of these Acts applies in Goa, Daman and Diu.
  • No parliamentary legislation will replace the customary law and religion-based system for its administration in Nagaland and Mizoram unless so demanded by the local legislatures under Articles 371A and 371G.
  • These exceptions regulate the extent of all central laws from the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 up to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act of 2019.

What is the origin of separate personal laws across states ?

  • In Goa, Daman and Diu, the Portuguese rulers had recognised locally dominant personal laws by the name “native customs and usages”, were separately compiled for the three territories and given the force of law by royal verdicts issued from Lisbon.
  • The Portuguese Civil Code of 1867 was extended to these places in 1869, with a clause that native customs and usages will be safeguarded “so far as they are not varying with morality or public order.”
  • The new laws of civil marriages and of canonical marriages were also extended to the three territories, but with a similar protective provision for the local customary laws.
  • After Independence, the Goa, Daman and Diu Administration Act of 1962 maintained the status quo by laying down that “all laws in force” there earlier shall continue to apply until and unless amended or revoked by a capable authority.
  • The exclusionary provision relating to Jammu and Kashmir found in the central family law Acts had originated from Article 370 of the Constitution.

Way forward

  • Bringing Jammu and Kashmir into the country’s mainstream of family laws is an exercise that needs to be undertaken also for Goa, Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Nagaland and Mizoram, where the present situation is opposite to the constitutional policy of uniformity in family law.
  • The citizens’ fundamental rights to equality before law and equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Constitution call for a similar action in respect of these territories as well.

2.Indo-Pacific region

Source- The Hindu

Syllabus- GS 2 –

Context– Both India and the US will look to deepen bilateral defence consultation and collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region.

What are the similarities and differences between Indo-pacific and QUAD?

Similarity-

  • The QUAD members are also major States in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Both the Quad and the Indo-Pacific constructs are focused on China.
  • And also they are centered around India’s geographic location and its policies, without India’s presence their ability to sustain geopolitical constructs might diminish.

On the flip side, the Indo-Pacific is a grand politico-economic vision while the Quad is a forum for strategic and military consultations.

Is Indo-Pacific will be an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative BRI?

The BRI and free and open Indo-Pacific are competing initiatives but, it is too early to compare both because-

  • The BRI is far more advanced, much more thought-out, and has the economic might of the Chinese state behind it.
  • Several Indo-Pacific countries are already members of the BRI.
  • China’s BRI is a unilateral project that advances the interests of one country. The Indo-Pacific strategy meanwhile is inclusive by definition. It must accommodate the interests of all states that are willing to participate in the initiative.

However, the BRI is a ‘Chinese’ project and is already under immense stress from its inherent weaknesses, such as China’s unilateral pursuit of the BRI and the associated economic burdens on the States that sign up to it.

What are the challenges in India’s strategy for the survival of Indo-Pacific?

Economic hurdles

  1. RCEP – India’s determination to not be a part of the Regional Complete Financial Partnership (RCEP) might probably complicate the nation’s future engagements within the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Trade gap– there is a trade gap between Indian and Chinese trade with Indo-Pacific counties and QUAD states which will be a major determining factor in shaping the region’s strategic realities.
  • Free trade agreement– India does not have FTA s with Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Bangladesh and the Maldives. While china has FTAs with all these countries barring the U.S.
  1. India’s limited reach in Indo-Pacific – The economic slowdown in India in the wake of pandemic and the lack of political consensus about regional economic agreements such as the RCEP, India’s ability to economically engage with the region remains limited.

Military hurdle

  1. Chinese dominance– China is a major defence exporter to several countries in the Indo-Pacific region, dwarfing India’s minimal sales, defence dialogues and occasional joint military exercises in the region.

Way forward-

India needs to rethink its strategic posture, and the recognition of its material inability to counter Chinese aggression. The only choice for now is to structured regional strategic alliance with the U.S. and its allies in the broader Indo-Pacific region.

3.India-US 2+2 Dialogue

Source: Indian Express

Gs2: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Context:  Third meeting of India-US 2+2 dialogue was held in New Delhi recently.

More in news:

  • India-U. S signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA).
  • The joint statement on the need to “enhance supply chain resilience and to seek alternatives to the current paradigm” reflects the oneness of India-US interests regarding Chinese trade practices.
  • Jointly, called for observance of international norms in the Indo-Pacific region.

What are the Opportunities in India -US bilateral relations?

  • India’s health, education and science and technology can benefit positively from India-U. S bilateral partnership.
  • India should push for a full defence engagement with the US and develop closer ties in defence industries without constraining the development of indigenous capacity.
  • Closer association with US will enable India to reduce its dependence on Chinese manufactures by giving flip to economic and commercial ties with china.
  • India’s decision to go along with QUAD group including through its maritime exercises, is in line with India’s interests.

India’s should rely on its own strengths in matters of national security and should not lose its autonomy in the hope that an outside power would provide useful inputs. India should collaborate with caution and prudence.

4.DeepFake

Source: The Hindu

Gs3: Issues associated with  Development of  new technologies.

Context: The threat emerging out of Deepfakes and measures to counter it.

What is Deepfakes?

  • Deepfakes are the digital media (video, audio, and images) manipulated using Artificial Intelligence.
  • Using Deepfakes its possible to fabricate media by swapping faces, lip-syncing, and puppeteer.
  • Access to cloud computing, algorithms, and abundant data has opened opportunities for media manipulation.
  • Deepfakes have now become new tool to spread computational propaganda and disinformation at large scale and at faster rate.
  • Disinformation perpetuated using new technologies like Deepfakes are increasingly used for creating social discord, polarisation, and in some cases, influencing an election outcome.
  • Deepfakes and hyper-realistic digital falsification can inflict damage to individuals, institutions, businesses and democracy.

Why it is a threat?

  • Impact on women: Pornographic deepfakes reduce women to sexual objects and harms their reputation and psychology.
  • Economic impact: Using audio and video deepfakes it is possible to deceive individuals for financial gains. Also, it can be used to extract money, confidential information, or exact favours from individuals.
  • Impact on media: It further erodes the trust in news media and can contribute to a culture of factual relativism.
  • Impact on security: It can be used by insurgent groups and terrorist organisations to cultivate anti-state sentiments among people.
  • Impact on social institutions: False information about institutions, public policy, and politicians powered by a deepfakes can be exploited to alter the democratic discourse and undermine trust in institutions.
  • Impact on Democratic processes: A Deepfake produced to harm the image and reputation of political candidate can confuse voters and disrupt elections.
  • Impact on citizen’s Freedom Authoritarian regimes can use this as a tool to justify oppression and to disenfranchise citizens.

What is the way forward?

  • Multi-stakeholder and multi-modal approach: collective techniques across legislative regulations, technology intervention, and media literacy can provide effective and ethical countermeasures to mitigate the threat of malicious deepfakes.
  • Media literacy for consumers and journalists: Consumers of media must have the ability to decipher, understand, translate, and use the information they encounter.
  • Regulation: Facilitate disincentivising the creation and distribution of malicious deepfakes.
  • Technology intervention: Need easy-to-use and accessible technology solutions to detect deepfakes.
  • Behavioural change: Falsity goes viral more than the truth on social platforms. Citizens should restrain themselves from spreading disinformation and become a part of the solution to this infodemic.
  • Re-evaluate: The principle of Democratising nature of information dissemination need to be discussed, debated.

Deepfakes created without consent is a threat to psychology, security, political stability, and business disruption.

5.Urbanpoverty

Source: The Live Mint

Syllabus: GS-3- Economy

Context: India needs policy intervention to uplift its urban poor.

What are the problems faced by urban poor?

  • Lack policy support of the kind provided in the West. During its urbanization, slum residents’ lives in India have been full of instability and unpredictability.
  • They have disposable livelihoods, as they usually make a living when well-off city residents need their services and the pandemic has made slum dwellers’ incomes fall steeply.
  • Multiple informalities: Informality of different kinds fill the lives of slum residents with risk and uncertainty. Only tiny share of slum residents have formal jobs with written contracts.
  • More than 70% have homes without titles, and 40% lack identity papers needed to access entitlements. This makes their lives extremely volatile and vulnerable.
  • The pandemic pushed many slum families into persistent poverty. For example, Residents from 35 out of 40 settlements in Patna continued to cut back on food or other essentials, while residents from 30 settlements needed to borrow money to meet essential needs.
  • Few good jobs:  The urban labour forces are growing but regular factory jobs are not growing alongside; there is a huge scarcity.

What are the steps to be taken?

  • The need for policies:Three kinds of policies are necessary.
  • The conditions of employment must progressively be made more secure, with workplace protection, old-age support, and health care benefits.
  • The process of slum notification needs to be accelerated, so the threat of demolition passes, even if individual titles are not given immediately.
  • Interventions are required in education and skills training, and to make entrepreneurship more rewarding.
  • Such efforts are being made on a small scale by social mobility promoting organizations, including Prerana in Bengaluru, Udaan Foundation in Mumbai, and CSRL in various cities.
  • Affordable and reliable health care is necessary as the worst-off in slums almost always involve families ruined by high medical expenses.
  • The government seems to be pursuing this through Ayushman Bharat.

Way forward

  • It is necessary to raise slum residents’ prospects for good jobs and upward mobility.
  • Policy interventions that help reduce the ill effects of informality are necessary.

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