9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – May 28, 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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Improving Resilience to Cyclones Disasters in India

Source- The Hindu

Syllabus- GS 3 – Disaster and disaster management

Synopsis – The Government needs to ensure fiscal rehabilitation for improving resilience to Cyclones disasters.

Introduction-

  • The Indian subcontinent is among the worst affected regions of the world when it comes to tropical cyclones. It is due to its 4,670-mile coastline, where a large percentage of the country’s population lives.
  • Even after all the planning for reducing risk and forecasting cyclone paths still, cyclones have been incredibly destructive as seen in the case of Cyclone YAAS. Thousands have lost houses and property.
  • There is still a lot of work to do in terms of preserving assets and developing fiscal tools to assist people to rebuild their lives.

What are the reasons behind frequent cyclones disasters in India?

Extreme tropical storm precipitation events and accompanying inland floods may become more common. Because the climate continues to warm due to increasing human activities.

  • Rising Ocean temperatures – Warmer ocean temperature makes atmospheric and ocean conditions favorable for the intensification of cyclones.
    • It could intensify the speed of the winds by up to 10%. It will result in an increase of 10-15% in precipitation. Both of these factors could cause more flooding and widespread damage.
  • Rise in seas level due to global warming.

Impact of recent cyclones- According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report on the State of Global Climate 2020-

  • The economic losses caused by cyclone Amphan amounts to about $14 billion.
  • Around 2.4 million people were displaced in India, mainly in West Bengal and Odisha.

Ways to address the risk of cyclones and other extreme events

Following cyclone Amphan, the West Bengal government faces allegations of irregularities and corruption in the distribution of financial relief. Governments are in the best position to compensate people against the cost of disasters by spreading the cost across the population. Thus,

  • Government should ensure proper distribution of funds without corruption and mismanagement.
  • It should make citizens, members in a social insurance model.
  • Rebuilding should be green and follow a build-back better approach. It is necessary, considering the negative impact of climate change on tropical cyclones.

Dairy Sector in India Needs Urgent Attention

Source: India Express 

Syllabus: GS 3 – Agriculture and allied activities

Synopsis:

The second wave of pandemic has brutally impacted the dairy sector. There is a reduction in milk demand coupled with a shortage of livestock feed. The situation is very grim and requires the adoption of robust measures to support the dairy sector.

Background:

  • In the first wave, agriculture and allied sectors put up a spectacular performance. It showed an annual growth of 3.4 % while the economy contracted by (-)7.2 % in 2020-21. 
  • However, this good performance was not replicated by the dairy sector in the second wave.

About the dairy and livestock sector:

  • In India, around 70 million farm-dependent people are engaged in the dairy and livestock sector. 
    • Further, 7.7 million people are exclusively engaged in the sector. Amongst them, 69% are female which means the sector is a crucial source of women empowerment.
    • The labour force of the sector mainly comprises unpaid female members.
  • In the Gross Value Added (GVA) from agriculture, the livestock sector contributed 28 percent in 2019-20. Further, India witnesses a 6% growth rate in milk production every year.
  • Farmers keep 2-5 milk animals for livelihood which provides great support to them, especially during drought and flood.

Challenges faced by the dairy Sector:

  • Price Sensitivity: Milk producers are highly susceptible to even minor shocks.  For instance, small changes in the employment and income of consumers can leave a significant impact on milk demand.
  • Unorganised Nature: The majority of cattle raisers are unorganised unlike sugarcane, wheat, and rice-producing farmers. This nature further inhibits the creation of political clout to advocate for their rights.
  • Data Deficiency: There is no official and periodical estimate of the cost of milk production. Even though the value of milk produced outweighs the combined value of the output of wheat and rice in India.
  • Poor returns: There is no MSP (Minimum Support Price) for milk unlike 24 major agricultural commodities in the country including wheat and rice. Further dairy cooperatives are not a preferred choice for landless or small farmers.
    • The cooperatives adopt a fat-based pricing policy which is 20 to 30 % less than the price in the open market. 
    • Further, more than 75 % of the milk bought by dairy cooperatives is at its lower price band.

Adverse impact of Pandemic on the Dairy Sector:

  1. First, the threat of disease has restrained the door-to-door sale of liquid milk to households. This has forced the farmers to sell the entire produce to dairy cooperatives at a much lower price.
  2. Second, the lockdown had led to the closure of shops. This has reduced the demand for milk and milk products.  
  3. Third, the severe shortage of fodder and cattle feed has pushed up the input cost.
  4. Fourth, private veterinary services have almost stopped due to Covid-19. This has led to the death of milch animals.

Steps taken by Government for the Dairy Sector:

  • The government has launched a Nationwide AI (artificial insemination) program. It targets to augment annual milk productivity from 1,860 kg/per animal to 3,000 kg/per animal upon its completion.
  • The dairy farmers have been included in the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) program. It provides adequate and timely credit support from the banking system to the farmers for their cultivation and other needs.
  • Similarly, dairying was brought under MGNREGA to compensate farmers for the income loss due to Covid-19.

Concerns associated with the above steps:

  1. First, there is a shortage of AI technicians in India. In August 2020, the department of animal husbandry reported a requirement of 2.02 lakh technicians while only 1.16 lakh were available.
  2. Second, the dairy cooperatives have not applied for a sufficient number of loans under KCC. As of October 2020, not even one-fourth of the dairy farmers’ loan applications had been forwarded to banks.
  3. Third, the MGNREGA scheme may not be able to provide relief as its budgetary allocation has been curtailed. The budgetary allocation for 2021-22 was curtailed by 34.5 percent in relation to the revised estimates for 2020-21.

Way Forward:

  • The dairy farmers must be given a stable market and remunerative price for the milk. For the price, a greater weightage should be accorded to the quantity of milk than its fat content
  • They must be ensured of an uninterrupted supply of fodder and cattle feed at a reasonable price.
  • The government should also provide a regular supply of veterinary services and medicines to them.

Tussle between Government and Social Media companies

Source: Click Here

Syllabus: GS 3 – Challenges to internal security through communication networks

Synopsis:

The new IT rules have initiated a tussle between Government and Social Media companies. The government wants compliance while the companies are hesitant to adopt them on the grounds of privacy and freedom.

Background:

  • The fault lines are hardening between the government and social media companies over the adoption of the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
  • WhatsApp has approached the Delhi High Court to challenge the traceability provisions under the new rules. 
    • As per the platform, implementing such a provision would infringe on the users’ “fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of speech”.
  • Experts believe that this petition was filed after witnessing inappropriate behavior on the part of the government.
    • The Delhi police had recently visited Twitter’s offices in Delhi and Gurgaon to serve the platform a notice over its flawed way of identifying “manipulated media”.

Issues in new IT rules:

  • First, the government will be performing a dual role of an appellant and arbitrator. This is against the principle of natural justice as a person can’t be made a judge in his own cause.
  • Second, a blanket demand on traceability may allow the government to wield power in an arbitrary manner for purposes that remain opaque. 
    • Further such a demand is unnecessary as the companies have on various occasions complied with the government’s requests on issues pertaining to terror, child abuse, national security, etc. 
    • The provisions of the Indian Penal code are sufficient to ensure companies’ compliance with government requests.

Concerns associated with Social Media Companies:

  • There is not much clarity over the policy adopted by them before taking down content. Despite their professions of faith in openness, the decision-making processes of these platforms are wrapped in secrecy. 
  • Further, they evade their responsibility as per their convenience by invoking the protection granted under Section 79 of the IT Act 2000.
    • It states that any intermediary shall not be held legally or otherwise liable for any third-party information, data, or communication link made available or hosted on its platform.

Thus, the judiciary should decide the case in such a way that targeted access is given to the government, subject to due process cleared by a neutral arbiter.


Challenges involved in Shifting the  National Museum of India

Source: The Hindu

Gs2: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Synopsis:  Shifting the National Museum of India as per the Central Vista Redevelopment Project has many issues and challenges.

Background

According to the plans of the “Central Vista Redevelopment Project”, the National Museum of India will be shifted to the South Block offices as well as the North Block offices of the Indian government.

What are the issues and challenges involved in shifting the National Museum of India?

  1. First, the major issue is that the vision of urban planning for a single, linked cultural district is disregarded in the Central Vista Redevelopment Project.
    • For instance, the existing architecture plan in which the four cultural buildings are arranged form a single, linked cultural district. (Archaeological Survey of India, the National Museum, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, the National Archives).
    • However, according to the Central Vista Redevelopment Project, all four cultural buildings will be set up in different places.
  2. Second, implementing the Central Vista Redevelopment Project results in Disaggregation, rather than the unification of India’s cultures. For instance, The National Museum’s collections have to be split up. Some in the Red Fort, some in storage, some in new buildings.
  3. Third, the scale of arranging for the packing and moving of each of the Museum’s artifacts poses a big logistical challenge.
  4. For instance, the Museum houses a variety of artifacts, from small delicate objects to as heavy as a tonne. For example, paintings on birch-bark, palm leaf, and paper, Pallava and Chola sculptures weigh many tonnes.
  5. Fourth, absence of more qualified conservation personnel and trained staff to file documentation about the condition of the artifacts at the time of packing. For example, recently, Vacancies for 92 posts at the National Museum were closed as finding qualified specialists in India could not be completed for years.
  6. Fifth, the lack of public information about the collections in a museum will reduce accountability and transparency in the shifting process. For instance, in many world museums, each artifact is connected to an online location index by providing a way barcode number.
    • It allowed curators, the conservators, and researchers with access to the collections even while they were in storage.
    • More importantly, they allowed the inventory to be safeguarded. However, the National Museum has more than 2,06,000 objects, but the official Museums of India website still only has a fraction of the collection on it.
  7. Sixth, issue of cost and time. Refurbishing old buildings such as the North and South Blocks to provide the facilities for a museum will cost money and time. Also, it demands exceptional skill, and few architects have the necessary experience in adapting historic buildings.
  8. Seventh, lack of safety. Many buildings in the North and South Blocks buildings are structurally unsafe and are ill-equipped to meet even the basic fire and earthquake safety norms.

Need to Reform the Information Technology Rules, 2021

Source: The Hindu

Gs2:  Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and issues arising out of their Design and Implementation

Synopsis: Though, the Information Technology Rules, 2021 has many positives there are some ambiguities that need to be addressed.

What are the positive provisions in the Information Technology Rules, 2021?

  • Positives in the Information Technology Rules, 2021: It mandates duties on social media platforms such as
    • Removal of non-consensual intimate pictures within 24 hours,
    • Publication of compliance reports increasing transparency,
    • Setting up of a dispute resolution mechanism for content removal
    • Adding a label to information for users to know whether the content is advertised, owned, sponsored, or exclusively controlled.

What are the ambiguities in the Information Technology Rules, 2021?

  • First, the Information Technology Rules, 2021 goes against some landmark judicial precedents of the supreme court.
    • For instance, in the case of Life Insurance Corpn. Of India vs Prof. Manubhai D. Shah (1992), the SC had stated that ‘the freedom to circulate one’s views as the lifeline of any democratic institution’.
    • The Information Technology Rules, 2021 by making the Government the ultimate adjudicator of objectionable speech online restricts the citizen’s right to dissent against the government.
  • Second, the act violates the legal principle of colourable legislation, and it is void.
    • For instance, the act was framed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY).
    • Although, the Second Schedule of the Business Rules, 1961 does not empower MeiTY to frame regulations for ‘digital media’.
    • The power to legislate on digital media belongs to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • Third, no alternative option for fair recourse by the social media intermediaries.
    • For instance, an intermediary is now supposed to take down content within 36 hours upon receiving orders from the Government.
    • However, in the event of a disagreement with the Government’s order, the Intermediary does not have an option for a fair recourse.
  • Fourth, undermine the right to privacy by imposing a traceability requirement.
    • For instance, a User’s privacy is protected by guaranteeing end-to-end encryption.
    • It does not allow intermediaries to have access to the contents of user’s messages. However, imposing this mandatory requirement of traceability will break this immunity.
    • This will also render all the data from these conversations vulnerable to attack from third parties.
  • Fifth, the rules empower a government authority to classify Fake news. In the event of the authority becoming arbitrary, ill-decisioned, and biased the purpose of eliminating fake news will fail.
  • Sixth, the rules place a barrier on the “marketplace of ideas” and also on the economic market of intermediaries by adding redundant financial burdens.
    • For instance, the Rules requiring intermediaries to have Indian resident nodal officers, compliance officers, and grievance officers. Intermediaries are also required to have offices located in India.

The above-mentioned issues in Information Technology Rules, 2021 need to be addressed. Further, provisions should be made to ensure citizen’s right to have a private conversation, to engage in a transaction, to dissent, to have an opinion, and to articulate the same without any fear of being imprisoned.

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 28 May, 2021

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