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9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – March 6, 2021

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

About 9 PM Brief- With the 9 PM Daily Current affairs for UPSC 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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We know for a fact that learning without evaluation is a wasted effort. Therefore, we request you to please go through both our initiatives i.e 9PM Briefs and Factly, then evaluate yourself through the 10PM Current Affairs Quiz.

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Indian Diaspora in US and its Impacts on India- US Relations

Source: The Hindu

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

Synopsis: The stature of the Indian diaspora in the US is growing. It will have a significant impact on India-US relations.

Significance of Indian Diaspora in the US

  • Indian-Americans are the second-largest immigrant community in the US(4 million-plus).
  • They are considered as one of the most influential groups in the US. and they have played a key role in transforming the relations. For example, the U.S. signing the civil nuclear deal.
  • In addition, many American Indians have entered into the administration and the US congress.
  • Yet, over the past years, there has been a divergence in the preference of the community especially the second generation of American Indians. They have become more Americanised.

How the attitude changes of Indian-Americans is affecting India-US relations?

  1. First, the second generation of American Indians has their own assessment of developments in India. For example, Government steps on Farmers protest in India was criticized by many American- Indian citizens.
  2. Second, the India caucus (A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a specific political party) with the Indian Ambassador to the United States offers an insight into the changing attitude of the Indian-American community.
      • For example, the caucus with representatives from the Indian-American community urged the Government of India to make sure that the norms of democracy are maintained.
      • Also, they stated that protesters shall be allowed to protest peacefully with access to the Internet and journalists.
  3. Third, notably, the External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar cancelled the engagement with the top leadership of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee congress in December 2019.
      • This was due to the presence of Ms. Jayapal (Democrat, Indian-American) who voiced against the Indian government clampdown in Kashmir.
  • In addition to the above issues, Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) might impact India-USA ties. Because India has proceeded to procure the Russian S-400 missile defence system which is against the CAATSA act.

Suggestion

India-U.S.-Parliamentary Exchange for formal and reciprocal visits by parliamentarians should be established. It was expressed in the India-U.S. 2+2 meeting, in October 2019, it will help to solve the above issues.


India’s Space Sector: Initiatives and Issues

Source: click here

Syllabus: GS – 3

Synopsis: ISRO should take advantage of the market opportunities in the space sector. 

Introduction 

Brazil’s Amazonia-1 satellite was launched last week from Sriharikota. It was the first dedicated commercial mission of NewSpace India Limited (NSIL). NSIL is a two-year-old commercial arm of the Department of Space.  

Initiatives by India for promotion of Space sector

 There is a potential explosion of market opportunities from space applications in the near future. 

  1. Firstly, the institutionalization of space commerce. Regulatory agency the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe) and an independent tribunal are formed. It will be helpful in resolving disputes among private space entities. It also signifies the recognition of potential in space commerce by the government.
  2. Secondly,  the private sector plays an important role in developing launch and satellite infrastructure for ISRO. Many companies now offer numerous services. Many of these companies even aspire to launch their own satellites.
  3. Thirdly, NSIL has a broad ambit of functions. It will collaborate on new launch programs and with overseas space industries. It is also expected to be a marketer of ISRO’s technologies. Likewise, it has to find new business opportunities and expand the sector.

What are the issues?

  1. Firstly,  the Commercialization experience of ISRO has not always been smooth. The Government still owes nearly $1.2 billion to devas multimedia due to the Devas-Antrix deal controversy. Antrix was a commercial arm of the Department of Space.
  2. Secondly, the motivation behind NSIL may not be purely commercial. NSIL is considered to be a move by India’s space establishment to protect the space industry in India from the consequences of the Devas-Antrix mess.
  3. Third, there is a scope of overlapping of roles between NSIL and ANTRIX.  This is primarily because the difference in the responsibilities of NSIL and Antrix is quite confusing. It is yet to be properly delineated.

The way forward

NSIL must try to not be another Antrix but be continuously in start-up mode. It must think of ways to aid space start-ups to reach out to rural India and enable more recruits from India’s young. It must see itself both as an Indian ambassador and disruptor in the space arena.


Cyber Attacks in India and Institutional arrangements for Cybersecurity

Source: The Hindu

Gs3: Basics of Cyber Security

Synopsis: India’s Critical Infrastructure is vulnerable to Cyberattacks from foreign countries. India needs to upgrade its Institutional arrangements for Cybersecurity.

Background

  • Recently, The New York Times reported that China is threatening India through Cyber-attacks.
  • It raised the possibility that the power outage in Mumbai (on October 13 2020) could have been an attack by a Chinese state-sponsored group.
  • In the same direction, Maharashtra’s Home Minister acknowledged a report by the Maharashtra Cyber Cell. The report showed that the grid failure was potentially the result of “cyber sabotage”.
  • However, Power ministry contended that the grid failure was not linked to any cybersecurity incident.

Has India been affected by Chinese state-sponsored Cyber security attacks in the past?

India has been attacked by suspected Chinese state-sponsored groups multiple times in the past. For example,

  • In 2009, GhostNet (cyber espionage network) extensively targeted Indian entities. These entities included military establishments, news publications, and even the National Security Council Secretariat.
      • After the attack, Shadow Network investigation by researchers found clear evidence that confidential documents accessed by the attackers.
  • Suckfly attack, targeted government and private entities including a firm that provided tech support to the National Stock Exchange.
  • Dtrack attack in2019, it first targeted Indian banks, and later the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (Tamil Nadu).
  • India also faced attack from Stuxnet, which had hampered functioning of nuclear reactors in Iran.
  • Apart from state-sponsored Cyber-attacks, there are enough evidence to show that the Chinese are also helping them to dismantle the infrastructure behind some of these attacks.
  • More fearfully, WikiLeaks has shown that groups such as the Central Intelligence Agency’s UMBRAGE project have advanced capabilities of ‘false flag attacks. (ability to make other nations responsible for cybersecurity attacks with false proofs)

What are the Institutional arrangements in India related to cybersecurity?

Over the past two decades, India has made a significant effort for providing cyber security, some of them are

  • One, Cyber security is given high priority by including cyber portfolios in PMO (Prime Minister’s Office). For example, National Security Council, chaired by the National Security Adviser.
      • The NSA also chairs the National Information Board, the apex body for cross-ministry coordination on cybersecurity policymaking.
  • Two, Establishment of National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre under the NTRO. It protects critical information infrastructure,
  • Three, in 2015, the Prime Minister established the office of the National Cyber Security Coordinator. It advises the Prime Minister on strategic cybersecurity issues.
  • Four, the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), is the nodal agency. It responds to various cybersecurity threats to non-critical infrastructure.
  • Five, The Ministry of Defence has recently upgraded the Defence Information Assurance and Research Agency.
      • It aims to establish the Defence Cyber Agency, a tri-service command of the Indian armed forces to coordinate and control joint cyber operations and craft India’s cyber doctrine.
  • Six, the Ministry of Home Affairs oversees “coordination centres”. It focuses on law enforcement efforts to address cybercrime, espionage and terrorism.
  • Finally, the Ministry of External Affairs coordinates India’s cyber diplomacy with other countries and at international fora like the United Nations.

What are the issues in India’s cybersecurity framework?

  • First, the institutional framework for cybersecurity has the following concerns.
      • Lack of effective coordination.
      • Overlapping responsibilities
      • Lack of clear institutional boundaries and accountability.
  • Two, India is yet to prepare a Cyber doctrine that defines the limits for offensive cyber operations, or the scope of countermeasures against cyber-attacks.

What is the way forward?

  1. First, a clear-cut cyber doctrine similar to Nuclear doctrine is needed for protecting cyber spaces. For example, the ‘No First Use’ nuclear posture was critical in preventing a nuclear war despite rising tensions.
      • The absence of a credible cyber deterrence strategy allows states and non-state actors to conduct cyberattacks on critical information infrastructure.
  2. Second, India should push for the debate on global governance architecture regarding Cyber space in international fora based on India’s strategic interests and capabilities.
      • It should also push for making binding rules that makes cyberspace-attacks on critical infrastructure illegitimate. (health-care systems, electricity grids, water supply, and financial systems)
  3. Third, need for improved coordination between the government and the private sector at the national and State levels. It will effectively counter threats from both state actors and their proxies.
  4. Four, need to publish cyber-attack information in Public domain for enabling meaningful public discussions on future Cyber policies.

Appointment of Police officers for Prison Management

Source: Indian Express

Gs2: Separation of Powers between various organs

Synopsis: The appointment of Police officers for Prison management is not right. It is against strengthening the criminal justice system.

Background

  • Recently, the Uttarakhand government issued a notification to post IPS officers as superintendents of Prisons.
  • A PIL has been filed against the government’s decision before the Uttarakhand High Court.

What are the reasons for Posting police officers to monitor Prisons?

  • First, it was done for strengthening security and to control corruption.
  • Second, prison departments have limited strength at the officer level, leading to malpractices. So, the suggested solution is to bring fresh talent from outside, who would not have any long-term stake in the system.

Why appointing police officers to prison is criticised?

Though there are problems in Prison management, the process of appointing police officers is adhoc and short-sighted. Because of the following reasons,

  • First, the skill requirement for police is different from a prison officer. For instance, police personnel recruited and trained to detect crime and maintain law and order. Whereas, prison officers are recruited and trained to reform and rehabilitate offenders.
  • Second, it is not legal and amounts to a violation of rules and procedures. For example,
      • The decision contradicts the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Jail (Group A and B) Service Rules, 1982.
      • Also, appointing police officers in prisons amounts to a violation of the principle of separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution.
  • Third, it is against the philosophy of correctional administration. It goes against the Prison reform committee reports like the Justice Mulla Committee on Prison Reforms Report (1983), the Justice Krishna Iyer Committee on Women Prisoners Report (1987). They advocated;
      • Prisons should be houses of reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners and their families.
      • Creation of a specialised All India Prison Service along the lines of the IPS or IAS.
      • Currently, Bihar is the only state which continues to have an IAS officer heading the prison department.
  • Finally, posting IPS officers as superintendents of Prisons amounts to police custody. It is because it gives the police direct access to prisoners during “judicial custody”.

What is the way forward?

  • First, we need to invest in the prison system in terms of resources and staff. It can be done in the following ways,
      • Appointing social workers and counselors in sufficient numbers.
      • Conducting regular training in human rights and social reintegration for prison staff.
      • Filling vacancies, which are as high as 30 to 40 percent as per the India Justice Report 2020.
  • Second, institutionalize practices that will promote upward mobility for prison officers. For example, rewarding good work with promotions.
  • Third, need to uniformize their career growth equally across states. It will motivate them for better work performance.
      • For example, in a few states, a prison officer who starts his career as a deputy superintendent of a central prison can end up as Additional IG or IG Prisons. Whereas in most states, one can only rise to the rank of DIG Prisons.

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Mar 6, 2021

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