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9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – January 23, 2021

Good evening dear reader

Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

About 9 PM Brief- With the 9 PM Current affairs brief we intend to simplify the newspaper reading experience. In 9PM briefs, we provide our reader with a summary of all the important articles and editorials from three important newspapers namely The Hindu, Indian Express, and Livemint. This will provide you with analysis, broad coverage, and factual information from a Mains examination point of view.

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List of 9 PM Articles
  • Socio-Economic and Caste Census: A Need for reforms
  • Impacts of devaluing domestic work
  • WhatsApp Privacy Policy Issue: Need for Data Protection Law
  • The Cost of Guaranteed MSP

Socio-Economic and Caste Census: A Need for reforms

Source: click here

Syllabus: GS 1 – population and associated issues

Synopsis:  Socio-Economic and Caste Census is suffering from many issues. All the issues must be removed before the next exercise is conducted.

Introduction 

The Census of India is one of the largest exercises which counts and collects demographic and socio-economic information on the Indian population. It has its own history, context, and purpose.

About the Census

The census was a colonial exercise practiced since 1881. It has evolved with time. It is used by the government, policymakers, etc. to estimate the Indian population and its access to resources.

  • Census Commissioner for India in 1941 had pointed out that the census is a very powerful tool. But it is not a suitable tool for detailed inquiry about the population.
  • Later, many scholars also found census not useful enough for a detailed and comprehensive understanding of a complex society.

The Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) was conducted in 2011. It was the largest exercise of the listing of castes and has the potential of finding inequalities at a broader level.

However, there were many concerns associated with it.

What are the main apprehensions with regard to the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC)?

First, This census has the potential to solidify the caste identities of individuals.  It won’t be helpful in eliminating discrimination from society. 

Second, SECC has not been able to cover the effects of the caste system on social structure from the local, to the regional, and national scales. 

Third, the data captured by the census is considered confidential under the census act of 1948. Whereas the personal data captured by SECC is open for use by Government departments. It makes the SECC data prone to use and for misuse by govt. 

Fourth issue is the time duration between each census and the delay in the release of data after it is done.  It makes the data obsolete and unusable to estimate the present status of issues. For example, a sizeable amount of data collected under SECC has not been released even a decade later.

What can be done?

There should be transparency on the use of existing caste data by the government for granting or withdrawing benefits. Further, the following steps should be taken:

  • First, the collected census data should be linked with other databases of national sample surveys or the National Family Health Surveys that cover issues such as maternal health. This will help in the utilization of this data for dealing with social issues in a better way.  
      • Scholars like Mamta Murthi have suggested linking the data of surveys in the past.
  • Second, This linking of data sources that involve the Census should be inclusive and non-discriminatory.
  • Fourth, there should be a closer and continuous engagement between officials of the Census and SECC. It is because the Census and the SECC are projects of governance as well as of academic interest.
  • Fifth, there should be an evaluation of the previous exercise before the next SECC is conducted.

Way forward

Concerns regarding methodology, significance, rigidity, spreading, transparency, and privacy needs to be taken seriously.

Impacts of devaluing domestic work

Source: Indian Express

GS-2: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and issues arising out of their Design and Implementation

Synopsis: There are negative social impacts of devaluing the household care activities of women.

Background

  • The following incidents have brought the issue of valuation of Women’s household activities.
    • Recently, Kamal Hassan the leader of the Makkal Needhi Mayam (MNM) party made an election promise of a salary for Women’s unpaid care work at home.
    • A recently released Malayalam film, The Great Indian Kitchen has highlighted the hard labour of women in the kitchen.
    • As per  time-use survey 2019, nearly 4.5 lakh Indian women spend nearly five hours every day on unpaid domestic work. This time duration is  98 minutes daily for men.

Why household care activities by women need to be valued?

  • First, like other work, household care work demands skill, creativity, and organization.
  • Second, The household work performed by a majority of Indian women helps to sustain households. Also, it enables men to take up productive paid jobs, without hindrance at home.
  • Third, the culture to take up unpaid care activities at home by women is one of the leading causes for their declining labour force participation. (one of the lowest in the world).
  • Fourth, It denies women an opportunity in a formal employment. For example,
      • A study by economist Ashwani Deshpande found that the gender gap in domestic work reduced during the lockdown, but widened again when many men returned to employment.
  • Fifth, it compromises the rights of women to participate in a democratic protest. For example,
      • A recent statement by SC chief justice that women farmers from Punjab should leave democratic protests and return home.

Is Paying salary for housework by the state a good decision?

The proposal will only recognize the value of women’s household care, but it will not address the following issues.

  • First, the proposal does not challenge the notion of fundamental hierarchy in  the patriarchal home. It establishes that a woman’s place is in the home.
  • Second, a salaried worker is entitled to bargain for higher wages, and exit her workplace. But, such negotiations cannot take place at home.
  • Third, a woman cannot get a fair price for her domestic works at her home. It is because the household care work is not seen as valuable in fundamental societies.

How this practice of devaluing household care work affects society?

  • Impact on marginalized people: The practice of devaluing household care work allows caste-privileged women and nearly all men to pass on this work to those from lower castes and the marginalized for low wages.
  • Impact on work culture: It creates a work-culture that gives preference to males. It is because they can afford to work 24×7 and can ignore the demands of the home.
  • Impact on domestic workers: It leads to low wages paid to domestic workers. It is evident from the struggle of ASHA workers.

Removing the hierarchies of patriarchy and making women independent at home will make the family a happy place.


WhatsApp Privacy Policy Issue: Need for Data Protection Law

Source: Indian Express

GS-3: Security and related issues

Synopsis: Draft data protection law needs to be enacted in India to curb data privacy violations in India.

What is the issue?

  • Recently, WhatsApp updated its terms of service (ToS) and privacy policy for users. It permits WhatsApp to share users’ data with Facebook and its companies with their consent.
  • This data would include transaction data, mobile device information, IP addresses, and other metadata on how users interact with businesses on WhatsApp.
  •  This is a classic case of an organization using its near-monopolistic power against the interest of Consumers.
  • The government responded strongly by asking the platform to withdraw proposed changes. Along with this, the government sought their response to 14 queries related to their practices in India.
Why it is a cause of concern?
  • First, Even though sharing will be done by notifying the user it is against the Principle Of Purpose Limitation. The principle has been used to address Privacy concerns at a global level.
  • Second,  Facebook has a poor record on data protection of its users. For example, Analytica data scam during the 2016 US elections and Brexit.
  • Third, recently there were reports stating that Facebook is entering into data-sharing deals with other tech firms like Apple, Amazon, Spotify.
  • Fourth, it is a cause of concern because WhatsApp’s growth was mainly due to its virtue of protecting user privacy through end-to-end encryption. But, with the change in the privacy policy on users, they are breaking away from their core virtue.

 

Principle Of Purpose Limitation

    1. A specific and legitimate reason is needed for the collection of any personal data.
    2. Personal data can only be used for the specified reasons
    3. Exceptions could be made if further processing is for any of the following purposes:
      • archiving in the public interest
      • scientific or historical research
      • statistical reasons.
What is the way forward?
  • First, the government should pass the Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB) 2019 because of the following reasons,
    • It has the provision on Principle Of Purpose Limitation. This would have restricted  WhatsApp’s action as it is illegal against the Principle Of Purpose Limitation.
    • Such practices are not allowed in the EU. Their users’ private data is protected by General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • Second, given the digital proliferation in the country tech giants needs to be monitored closely through competent legal and regulatory frameworks.

In India, the User base of social media for communications and business is increasing at a fast pace. Hence, it should be the priority of the government to ensure a safer digital space. 

 


The Cost of Guaranteed MSP

Source: click here

Syllabus: GS 3

Synopsis: Farmers want guaranteed MSP which has no legal backing as of now. It is feasible and won’t cost very high for the government. 

Introduction 

Farmer unions are protesting to achieve two fundamental demands. 

  • The first demand is to take back the three agricultural reform laws enacted by the Centre. 
  • The second demand is to provide a legal guarantee for the minimum support prices (MSPs).  

How can MSP be made legally mandatory?

This can be done in 2 ways:

    • First, the private buyers are enforced to pay it, and then no crop can be bought below the MSP. It would also act as the floor price for bidding in mandi auctions. 
      • For instance, in sugarcane, mills have to pay farmers the Centre’s “fair and remunerative price” within 14 days of supply as per the law. 
    • Second, the government itself has to buy at MSP, the entire crop that farmers grow.

How much of farmers’ produce can the government buy at MSP?

MSP is currently applicable on 23 farm commodities including 7 cereals, 5 pulses, 7 oilseeds, and 4 commercial crops. The MSP value of all 23 commodities was around Rs 10.78 lakh crore in 2019-20.

    • However, the entire produce is not marketed as farmers retain a part of it for self-consumption, as a seed for the next season’s sowing, and for feeding their animals.
    • Therefore, the MSP value for the marketable crop which farmers actually sell would be around Rs 8 lakh crore. 

What would be the government expenditure to ensure MSP?

The earlier mentioned amount will not be the amount the government has to spend because of the following reasons: 

  • Firstly, sugarcane should be excluded from the calculations. MSP for sugarcane is paid by sugar mills and not the government.
  • Secondly, the government is already buying several crops like paddy, wheat, cotton, pulses, and oilseeds which made the combined MSP value of these crops more than Rs 2.7 lakh crore in 2019-20.
  • Thirdly, Government need not buy the entire produce of farmers. Even if the government buys a quarter or third of the crops available in the market, it is enough to lift the prices. 
    • For example, CCI has so far bought 87.85 lakh bales of cotton out of the current year’s projected crop of 358.50 lakh bales. This has led to open market prices crossing the MSPs. 
    • Fourthly, the crop bought by the government also gets sold. The profits gathered from sales would partially balance the costs from MSP procurement.
  • Lastly, the maximum amount the government has to spend on buying crops to guarantee MSP to farmers, will not be more than Rs 1-1.5 lakh crore per year.

Government buying crops at MSP is a better option rather than forcing private buyers.

Way forward

Economists suggest guaranteeing minimum incomes instead of minimum prices to farmers. This can be done by direct cash transfers either on a flat per-acre like done in the Telangana government’s Rythu Bandhu scheme or per-farm household basis, under the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. 

 


Daily Factly Articles – 23 Jan. 2021

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Jan 23,2021

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