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9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – January 29, 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

  1. Ways to control Monopolistic tendencies of Internet Giants
  2. GI tag for Basmati Rice to Pakistan : a cause of concern for India?
  3. Procedure and importance of President’s Address in Parliament
  4. MEA’s Eight broad principles to resolve conflict with China
  5. Why Farm laws must be redrafted?

Ways to control Monopolistic tendencies of Internet Giants

Source- The Hindu

SyllabusGS 3 – Awareness in the fields of IT, space, computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology, and issues relating to intellectual property rights IPR.

Synopsis- The lawmakers are facing the confusion between managing the misuse of monopoly power by major Internet corporations and the economic income generated by them.

Introduction-

In the US and Europe, governments are using antitrust regulations against Internet giants such as Facebook and Google. This is to stop the alleged abuse of the dominant position.

Some are comparing this case to the prior U.S. antitrust inquiries. At the conclusion of this inquiry in 1982, the break-up of the AT&T was dictated by the Department of Justice.

What are the key differences this time when compared to the earlier antitrust investigations?

There are three major variations relative to the earlier investigation-

  1. First, Information non-competition–  These big industries are based on information or data. There is no competition between 2 similar companies. While earlier telecom companies faced competition due to limited network capacity.
  2. Second, Jurisdictional issues– Telecom is jurisdictional and regulators have the authority to create guidelines for orderly actions. In contrast, Internet firms operate globally. Thus, it is often difficult for various country regulators to set international laws of obligation and compliance.
  3. Third, Non-excludable– The nature of goods and services provided by the Internet is non-excludable, unlike telecom. It means it is not exclusive for anyone or anyone can access or enter into it.

How information goods provided by private Internet firms causing problems?

This non-excludable and non-rival model is creating the following issues:

  • First, Personalize Advertisement and third-party sharing– Internet businesses are earning through targeted ads by sharing personal information and data to third-party for monetization purposes.
  • Second, Monopoly- Tech giants are involved in the wrong means such as takeover or suppression of competition, resulting in an uneven playing ground for other organizations.

However, there are positives externalities too, such as-

  • Google Maps API [application Program Interface] use by all logistics and transport companies and Facebook API for advertisement.
  • Recently, Google announced to provide accurate and timely information about vaccine distribution.

What are the possible solutions to regulate Tech giants?

  1. First, need to subsidize the good– Tax subsidies should be granted for tech giant’s orderly behaviour.
  2. Second, there should be controlled expansion of products and services. This needs to be done without damaging the interests of customers and smaller rival companies.
  3. Third, as pointed out by the Australian government, the tech giants such as Google and Facebook must negotiate a fair payment for services such as news by the media industry.
  4. Fourth, to use the power of the public voice. For example- WhatsApp has delayed the rollout of its updated privacy policy after facing a huge backlash of tens of millions of its customers.

Way forward-

The balance between controlling the monopolistic tendencies of internet giants and establishing an environment of positive externalities must be created.

 A secure digital space needs to be established where the human rights of all consumers of digital resources are secured.


GI tag for Basmati Rice to Pakistan: a cause of concern for India?

Source: Click here

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

Synopsis: Pakistan secures the Geographical Indications (GI) tag for its Basmati rice. Experts say it would in no way affect India’s Basmati exports.

Introduction:

Before partition in 1947, both India and Pakistan shared the Basmati rice-growing zone. After partition, Basmati rice became a joint heritage of India and Pakistan.

What is the Geographical Indications (GI) tag?

A GI tag is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are specific to that origin.

  • The tag can be awarded for agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine, handicrafts, and industrial products.
  • A GI tag is a part of the intellectual property rights that comes under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
  • Once a product is accorded a GI tag, it is protected by various legislations, such as legislations by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

What are the regions comes under Basmati zone of both Nation?

India’s Basmati Zone includes- Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Pakistan’s Basmati belt was the Kalar bowl, a tract of land between Ravi and the Chenab rivers, covering the districts of Narowal, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, and Skeikhupura in Punjab province.

How did Pakistan get the GI tag?

Pakistan has also been exporting Basmati rice to European countries, along with India. It is only after enacting the act, that a country can claim for GI tag. Pakistan has just enacted the GI Act and is now following India’s path. Whereas, India enacted GI Act in 2001.

India also applied for an exclusive GI tag for Indian-origin basmati rice. The application was published in the EU journal in 2020.

The geographical identity of Basmati is attached to the Indo-Gangetic Plains. Madhya Pradesh, which is outside this belt, also asked to be included in the GI tag for Basmati. It is only after the inclusion of MP that Pakistan pushed its case for Basmati and received it.

Is it a cause of concern for India?

It is not a cause of concern for India.  India never contested Pakistan’s claim of GI tag for Basmati rice.

Initially, both countries were inclined to file for GI tag together, however, this move could not be successful, due to the following reasons;

    • Firstly, Pakistan had no nodal authority with which the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority [APEDA] of India could have dealt.
    • Secondly, the plan was interrupted by political issues also.  

Pakistan produces Basmati only in its 14 districts in comparison to the 7 States of India. The output of India is very large in comparison to Pakistan, and it won’t be affected by the GI tag.


Procedure and importance of President’s Address in Parliament

Source: Indian Express

Gs2: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.

Synopsis: The History, Procedure & tradition and format of President’s address in Parliament.

Background:

  • The first Parliament session for 2021 is set to begin. It is the constitutional mandate for the President (Ram Nath Kovind) to address the 1st session of the members of both Houses of Parliament, every year.
  • It is the only occasion in the year when the entire Parliament, i.e., the President, Lok Sabha, and Rajya Sabha come together, in a normal situation.
  • This process of President’s address every year during its 1st session has its own history, tradition, and procedures.

History: Before Independence

  • In India, the practice of the President addressing Parliament can be traced back to the Government of India Act of 1919. This law gave the Governor-General the right to address the Legislative Assembly and the Council of State.
  • But the Government of India Act of 1919 did not have any provision for a joint address.

History: After independence

  • After the Constitution came into force, it empowered the President to address either House or a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament.
  • For the first time on January 31, 1950, President Rajendra Prasad addressed members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
  • According to article 87 of the constitution, the President needs to address a joint sitting on two special occasions
      • The first is to address the opening session of a new legislature after each general election.
      • The second is to address the first sitting of Parliament each year.
  • It has to be noted that, Article 87(1) originally required the President to address both Houses of Parliament at the commencement of every session.
  • However, The First Amendment to the Constitution in 1951 changed this position and made the President’s address once a year.

Format for the President’s speech

  • Currently, The address of the President follows a general structure. It highlights the government’s accomplishments from the previous year and sets the broad governance agenda for the coming year.
  • The government also uses the President’s address to make policy and legislative announcements. For example,
      • In 1996, PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s (13-day) government used the president’s address to announce its intention of giving statehood to Uttaranchal and Vananchal (Jharkhand) and 33 percent reservation to women in legislatures.
      • In 2004, After the devastating tsunami of, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government used the President’s Address to announce the creation of a national law for disaster management.
      • And in 2015, the Narendra Modi governments used the president’s address to announce its plan to fast pace financial sector reforms.

Motion of Thanks: Procedure & tradition

  • Following the President’s address, a motion of thanks is moved in the two Houses by the ruling MP’s. The deliberations on this motion last for three to four days.
  • During this period, MPs of both the Houses will have a broad debate on governance in the country.
  • Following the debate, The Prime Minister will reply to the motion of thanks in both Houses and responds to the issues raised by MPs.
  • Then the motion is put to vote and MPs can express their disagreement by moving amendments to the motion.
  • Such amendments may be used for including some issues or highlighting some issues which did not find mention in the speech.
    • Opposition MPs have been successful in getting amendments passed to the motion of thanks in Rajya Sabha on five occasions (1980, 1989, 2001, 2015, 2016). But it has been less successful in Lok Sabha.
  • Also, it has to be noted that the motion of Thanks must be passed in both of the houses.
  • A failure to get a motion of thanks passed (which may rarely happen) amounts to the defeat of the government.
  • Hence, Motion of thanks is sometimes deemed as no-confidence motion.

 


MEA’s Eight broad principles to resolve conflict with China

Source: Indian Express

Gs2: India and its Neighborhood- Relations.

Background: Recently, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar participated in the 13th All-India Conference of China Studies organized by the Institute of Chinese Studies.

What were the observations made by the External Affairs Minister in the 13th All-India Conference of China Studies?

In the conference, he made the following observations;

  1. First, he admitted that the military conflict in eastern Ladakh brought the India-China relationship under “exceptional stress”.
  2. Second, he expressed concern over the fact that till now India has not received any credible explanation for the change in China’s stance or reasons for increasing troops in border areas.
  3. Third, he also criticized China that the developments in eastern Ladakh show disregard” for commitments about minimizing troop levels. It doesn’t show any willingness for peace and tranquillity.
  4. Fourth, He also raised concerns about the increasing construction of border infrastructure by the Chinese side.

The Minister stated that the decisions or choices they make need to be well thought as they will have an impact on the entire world. He proposed eight broad principles to resolve the strained ties between India and China.

What are the eight broad principles and “mutuals” proposed by External Affairs Minister?

The eight broad principles outlined by the External Affairs Minister to take bilateral ties forward are,

  • Strict adherence to all agreements on border management.
  • Fully respecting the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • Making peace and tranquillity along with the frontier the basis for overall ties.
  • Recognizing that a multipolar Asia is an essential constituent of a multipolar world.
  • Managing differences effectively.

Along with this, he mentioned three mutual commitments that need to follow. He described them as determining factors for the ties. They are

  • The Mutual respect
  • Mutual sensitivity
  • Mutual interests

By giving the eight broad principles MEA made clear India’s approach in dealing with China. He also said that the development of ties can only be based on “mutuality”, whether it is the immediate concerns or more distant prospects.


Why Farm laws must be redrafted?

Source: click here

Syllabus: GS 3

Synopsis: The process adopted by the government to enact the three farm laws was not appropriate. The government should reconsider its stand to not withdraw the laws.

Introduction 

Much has been debated about the impacts and benefits of farm laws on farmers. But the ordinance route adopted to enact these laws was a clear violation of the rules and procedures of Parliament. 

What were the discussions between the first Lok Sabha speaker and the first Prime Minister?

After independence, the ordinance route was criticized for being inherently undemocratic by G V Mavalankar in a letter to Nehru. In reply, Nehru also agreed with his view.

They both agreed on one thing that the ordinance route is not appropriate and should be avoided except on special and urgent occasions.

What was wrong in the process of passing these laws?

Passing these farm laws through the ordinance route was bad in law and in clear violation of established parliamentary practices. There was nothing urgent which could not have waited for Parliament to reassemble.

In normal circumstances, bills are referred to the concerned standing committee for examination and report. Only in rare cases, the bills are passed directly by the two Houses without referring them to the committee.

For example, the Companies Amendment Bill was examined by the committee twice in spite of the opposition of the then corporate affairs minister Veerappa Moily. 

The procedures established by the parliament ensures that the two Houses do not go wrong in the passing of bills for the public purpose. In case of a mistake, courts have the power of reviewing these bills. 

Way forward

The Supreme Court has stayed the implementation of the laws. But these laws can be declared void for not following the established procedure, stepping over the power of states.

Although The government agreed and delayed their implementation for 18 months, it should consider the government withdrawing the laws completely. It should redraft the bills if required and send them to the standing committee on agriculture. 

 


Daily Factly Articles – 29Jan. 2021

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Jan 29,2021

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