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List of Contents
Source- The Hindu
Syllabus- GS 2 – Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
Synopsis – Recently, the US Navy challenged India’s maritime rights in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) near Lakshadweep Islands. It called India’s claim excessive and its actions as per the freedom of navigation.
- Recently, a move by the US navy came as a surprise to India. It is a surprise, especially after two successful visits by senior U.S. officials.
- The US Navy carried out Freedom of Navigation Operation [FONOP] in India’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) near Lakshadweep Islands.
- The US warship did not request India’s permission before sailing through its Exclusive Economic Zone.
- It also challenges India’s excessive maritime claims. This operation, according to the US Seventh Fleet, was to assert navigational rights and freedoms. Moreover, it also claims that this move was in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
What was India’s stand on the issue?
- However, India has raised its concern to the US, through diplomatic channels.
- Further, India also said that UNCLOS did not authorize military maneuvers on the continental shelf or EEZ. That too without the prior consent of a country.
The incident is an unusual fallout between the two members of the QUAD. They both recently pledged to work together to protect freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific.
US may adopt a new SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for these FONOPs. India must take some of the following steps to avoid any further tension.
- India needs to deal with the US’s open challenge to its maritime claims.
- Further, India must clearly articulate its stance, demonstrating to all stakeholders how Indian maritime law is consistent with international law.
- Also, India must seek clarification from the US that how the aim of the Quad grouping of “free and accessible Indo-Pacific,” can coexist with the US Navy’s open challenge.
Need for a robust Personal Data Protection Bill
Source: The Hindu
Gs-3: Basics of Cyber Security
Synopsis: Some concerns in the draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 needs to be addressed to make it more effective.
- After the Pandemic, many people are participating in the digital economy. For example, online purchase of groceries, telemedicine, e-education, etc.,
- During the same period, the number of personal data breaches from major digital service providers has increased. For example, The recent alleged data breach at MobiKwik (data of 9.9 crore users at risk).
- Hence, robust data protection regulations are necessary to prevent such events and the existing data protection regulations in India have become inadequate.
- The K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) v. Union of India case, established the right to privacy as a fundamental right. Thus, a more robust data protection legislation is desirable.
- Currently, a revised version of The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, is under scrutiny by a Joint Parliamentary Committee. It can provide adequate protection to users and their personal data.
What are the issues in the existing data protection regulations?
In India, at present, data protection is governed by the Information Technology Act, 2000, and various other sectoral regulations. However, they are inadequate because of the following reasons,
- First, by obtaining users’ consent to processing personal data, entities are able to override the data protection rules.
- This is problematic because users might not understand the terms and conditions or the implications of giving consent.
- Second, the current framework while emphasizes data security it does not give importance to data privacy. For example, the provision on users’ preferences on how his personal data can be processed is unclear. As a result, entities could use the data for purposes different to those that the user consented to.
- Third, the data protection provisions under the IT Act does not apply to government agencies. This limits the efficacy of data protection framework since governments are collecting and processing large amounts of personal data.
- Fourth, the current regime has become inadequate in addressing risks emerging from new developments in data processing technology.
How the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 can be more effective than the current regulations in place?
- First, the Bill seeks to apply the data protection regime to both government and private entities across all sectors.
- Second, the Bill emphasizes data security and data privacy equally. For example, to protect personal data the entities will have to maintain security safeguards. Similarly, to protect the data privacy of its users, the entities will have to fulfill a set of data protection obligations and transparency and accountability measures that govern how entities can process personal data.
- Third, the Bill gives users a set of rights over their personal data and means to exercise those rights. For instance, a user will be able to obtain information about the different kinds of personal data that an entity has about them and how the entity is processing that data.
- Fourth, the Bill seeks to create an independent regulator known as the Data Protection Authority (DPA) to monitor and regulate data processing activities. The DPA will grievance redressal authority when entities do not comply with their obligations under the regime.
Concerns regarding Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019
However, there are few concerns regarding the draft bill that needs to be addressed.
- One, it gives wide exemptions to government agencies, and thereby it dilutes user protection safeguards.
- For example, under clause 35, the Central government can exempt any government agency from complying with the Bill. This allows Government agencies to process personal data without following any safeguard under the Bill. This could create severe privacy risks for users.
- Two, enforcement of various user protection safeguards such as rights and remedies could be difficult for users. For instance, the Bill threatens legal consequences for users who withdraw their consent for a data processing activity. In practice, this could discourage users from withdrawing consent for processing activities that they want to opt-out.
The above-mentioned concerns should be addressed to bring a stronger and more effective data protection regime in India.
NYAY Scheme: Significance of Cash Transfer Schemes
Source: click here
Synopsis: Congress has promised the revival of the NYAY scheme in its Kerala manifesto. This cash transfer scheme could have been beneficial during the lockdown.
The NYAY Scheme has become more relevant in today’s age and time of the Pandemic crisis.
- This scheme offers a monthly transfer of ₹6,000 to homes living below the poverty line. This unconditional cash transfer to the poor is a good idea.
- Cash transfers lead to important short-term effects such as better nutrition, less food insecurity, higher consumption.
- Other benefits of cash transfer according to research are it can totally transform people’s futures, unlock blocked entrepreneurship, investment etc. It could lead to a bearable exit from poverty. Cash transfers are a powerful tool for sustainable poverty reduction.
Why a scheme like NYAY is important in the present times?
The need for NYAY has only become stronger after the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, rural-urban migrants faced hardships during the lockdown, followed by the economic slowdown.
- Firstly, if an NYAY-like scheme during the lockdown, could have helped migrant workers to remain where they were, after losing their job. Further, it could have helped companies to restart activity easily once lockdown was lifted.
- Secondly, Ideas42 is non-profit behavioural science research and design firm. It experimented with the benefits of cash transfers on 2 types of people in Africa:
- The one’s who just received cash transfers.
- Others, who along with the cash transfers, also were trained with some (Nudge tools) behavioural methods. These methods were directed towards setting long-term goals, saving more and making productive investments.
- After the pandemic, ideas42 interviewed both the recipients. Everyone stated a loss of income and also told that the cash they had received helped them cope. However, the people that received the “nudge” tools did better because they saved more.
- Even during a pandemic, cash transfers helped people feel in control, and adding behavioural tools increased the cash’s impact on people’s well-being.
- Thirdly, a state-level implementation of a scheme like NYAY helps the necessary fixing out of logistical challenges.
- Fourthly, it also allows for strategically including ‘nudges’ and other proven involvements that can help increase the effect of cash transfers.
- Such involvements can help ensure that people receiving cash are able to meet their immediate needs. Also, they are able to set some money aside for emergencies, such as the pandemic or natural disasters.
Increasing Importance of Indo-Pacific for EU
Source: The Indian Express
Syllabus: GS:2 – Important International institutions, agencies, and fora- their structure, mandate
Synopsis: Europe is ready for a new Indo-Pacific relationship. The new EU and Indo-Pacific relationship are mutually beneficial. Further, the EU can aid the Indo-Pacific region to become globally competitive.
When the global economy crashed in 2020, Economies such as Vietnam and China grew. A number of Asia’s open societies shown how to successfully contain the virus. Further, the world depends on India to end the pandemic for its capacity as a vaccine exporter.
At present, one can observe three types of Asian countries.
- Firstly, Asia of business – This includes Asian countries with open, dynamic, interconnectedness.
- Secondly, Asia of geopolitics – This includes Asian countries with nationalistic policies, territorial conflicts, arms races, etc. Geopolitical rivalries threaten free trade.
- Lastly, Asia of global challenges – This includes countries that lack cooperation in fair globalization and getting climate crisis.
The European involvement in the Indo-Pacific:
- Recently, the German government has for the first time adopted certain guidelines for the Indo-Pacific.
- European countries are the key trading, technology, and investment partner for many countries of the region. Germany alone now conducts one-fifth of its foreign trade with the Indo-Pacific countries.
- Recently the EU has concluded free trade agreements with Japan, Singapore, and Vietnam.
- China remains a key economic partner for the EU.
- The EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN) concluded a strategic partnership. This connects the EU with the South-East Asian Countries.
- The EU is the biggest supporter of the international vaccine platform(COVAX). Further, India as a leading producer of vaccines is the most important COVAX supplier. The benefits of this platform are beyond the Indo-Pacific region.
- Europe also supports human rights and the promotion of democracy in the region. For example,
- Sanctions against those responsible for human rights violations in Xinjiang
- Sanctions against Myanmar’s generals following the Myanmar coup.
Suggestions to improve the European presence in the Indo-Pacific:
The European strategy for the Indo-Pacific must include all three Asia’s into account.
- The time for the EU is running short. Because in 2020 the countries of East and Southeast Asia created the world’s largest free trade area(RCEP). The RCEP(Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) includes one-third of the global economy. So Europe has to act swiftly and starts negotiations for FTA’s with Indonesia and India.
- The EU should not neglect the developed economies of Asia like Japan, South Korea etc.
- Europe must take a stand against polarisation and geopolitical rivalry. Further, the EU can also advise on inclusive, rules-based Indo-Pacific.
Advantages for EU engaging with Indo-Pacific:
- Europe can set standards for new technologies, human-centered digitization, and sustainable connectivity.
- Europe can improve its innovation and economic strength as well as its regulatory power at a global level.
- Indo-Pacific is the biggest emitters of CO2 in the world(China and India contribute to that). The EU can invest in renewable energies, climate protection and biodiversity in the region.
Upcoming engagement of EU in Indo-Pacific:
- The EU aims to launch a connectivity partnership with India in the upcoming EU-India Summit.
- To ensuring fair market access and investment conditions in Asia, the EU will hold meetings with the US.
- This week, Germany and Japan are going to undertake Ministerial discussions on challenges in free trade and security in the region.
- Further, France and the Netherlands also started their work on a European strategy for the Indo-Pacific. The strategy is expected to be in place by the end of the year.
In conclusion, Europe is ready for a new partnership that focuses on all three types of Asian economies. Further, it focuses on dialogue with open Asia, taming geopolitical rivalry in Asia and providing solutions to the Asian Challenges.