21 Jul 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
GOVERNANCE
1. WhatsApp to Cap Forwards to 5 Chats
POLITY
1. Potholes Death: SC says it is frightening
SOCIAL JUSTICE
1. Child Custody Disputes
C. GS3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. MSTrIPES
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. SC/ST Atrocities Act
F. Tidbits
G. Prelims Fact
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. WhatsApp to Cap Forwards to 5 Chats

Context

  • WhatsApp, in India, has decided to put a cap on the number of chats one can forward a message to in one go. Users will be allowed to forward messages to only five chats at once as against 20 for the rest of the world.
  • So, it is now restricting the ability to forward messages to friends and on groups—any user will now be able to forward the same message only five times, and the option to forward will then be blocked on that message.

Stats

  • WhatsApp noted that its users in India “forward more messages, photos, and videos, than any other country in the world”
  • The Facebook-owned company has over one billion users globally, of which over 200 million are in India

Verificado 2018

  • It is a collaborative election reporting and fact-checking initiative used in Mexico
  • Krzna, an AI-powered search tool was used to scan such posts during the election.
  • Verificado set up a WhatsApp account and invited WhatsApp users to send in information that they receive not just on the instant messaging app but also other sources and social networks. F
    • For every message that a WhatsApp user forwarded, the team manually verified that information and responded to every single user individually, confirming or correcting the information that they had.
  • This initiative was supported by Google News Initiative, Twitter and the Facebook Journalism Project, among others.

Govt Role

  • The primary responsibility to fix this lies with law enforcement agencies. A mob takes the law into its hands if it believes that either law enforcement agencies are incapable/unwilling to help or that its crimes will go unpunished.
  • Law enforcement agencies shut down the Internet to prevent the forwarding of messages and possible riots. In 2017, according to data from the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), India had 70 Internet shutdowns.
  • An Internet shutdown is a suspension of the constitutional right to free speech; a disproportionate act of censorship of all speech in response to the actions of a few.
  • The data suggest that there are no shutdowns in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, while smaller towns bear the brunt of such actions. The lack of capacity of law enforcement agencies in smaller towns to deal with these situations is a worrying sign, especially in the run-up to elections
  • State governments need to build law enforcement capacity and ensure prosecution in case of mob violence. A new law covering lynchings will be ineffective if our criminal justice system is incapable of enforcing the law.

What WhatsApp should do?

  • Messages between individuals should remain private and not be those that can be forwarded.
  • However, if a message creator wants to enable the forward ability of that message, the chat should be treated as public, and attributed with a unique ID linked to the original creator. This will allow WhatsApp to shut down such a message across its network once it is reported and identify the creator when a court-directed request is made by law enforcement agencies.
  • It’s important to remember that incorrect or false information is not illegal and people could be mistaken. It is messages with incitement of violence that need to be addressed.

So, the government, law enforcement agencies, and WhatsApp, need to come together mob violence and lynchings.

Category: POLITY

1. Potholes Death: SC says it is frightening

Context

  • The Supreme Court expressed grave concern over deaths in accidents caused by potholes on roads across the country and observed that the number of fatalities caused due to such accidents was more than those in terror attacks.

Recommendation

  • Persons who have lost their lives as a result of accidents caused due to potholes should be entitled to compensation

Supreme Court’s Road Safety Committee

  • The committee, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan, was formed in 2014 by the apex court on the basis of a PIL to measure and monitor the implementation of road safety laws in the country.
  • The committee directed the States to strengthen enforcement on drunken driving, over speeding, red light jumping and helmet and seat belt laws.
  • Other directions include tightening of road patrols on highways, the establishment of road safety fund to which a portion of traffic fines collected would go to finance road safety expenses and remove encroachments on pedestrian paths, among others.

Category: SOCIAL JUSTICE

1. Child Custody Disputes

Context

  • The government has told Parliament that a mediation cell would be set up under the apex child rights body, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), to resolve child custody disputes arising from cases of transnational marital discord.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

  • It is a statutory body, set up in March 2007 under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, an Act of Parliament
  • It falls under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development
  • The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.

Scientific Research Infrastructure for Maintenance and Networks (SRIMAN)

What was the need for this Policy?

  • In recent years India has seen a growth in acquisition of research equipment (mostly imported). However, access to equipment’s needs attention.
  • It is common to find in Indian laboratories, expensive equipment’s lying idle or underutilized.
  • According to a recent study by NSTMIS, DST (2013), 94% of the research equipments used in India are imported while only 6% are being manufactured indigenously.
    • Further, the study showed that large number of equipment’s are not shared and are marred with issues related to maintenance and want of spares.
    • This adds to the burden of research infrastructure costs.
  • A suitable ecosystem for sharing of scientific equipments is a solution to this problem. A culture of collaboration/sharing between institutions helps in optimum utilization of equipments resulting in better maintenance of the equipment.

So, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has come up with this policy document.

Features

  • Procurement and maintenance of equipment and infrastructure for research
  • Providing access and sharing of scientific equipment and infrastructure
  • Disposal of scientific equipment and infrastructure
  • Capacity Building of operators and technicians for efficient operations
  • Monitoring of usage of expensive scientific research infrastructure
  • Infrastructure Management for efficient operations

It plans to hire out to researchers all lab equipment that cost more than ₹10 lakh.

How does it work?

  • It envisages institutions declaring on a website how often their instruments would be available for use by those outside the department or university.
  • Those who would like to use, for example, a DNA-sequencing machine, would have to pay a fee and specify the purpose and time they would want it for.

Advantages

  • The Govt would now rent instruments in government labs generating a steady rental income
  • This would reduce the amount of time such expensive instruments remain idle.
  • The policy also aims through its proper implementation to increase scientific output by wider access and reduce brain drain by providing access to wide section of researchers.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. MSTrIPES

 

  • Monitoring System for Tigers Intensive Patrolling and Ecological Status
  • It is a software-based monitoring system launched across Indian tiger reserves by the Indian government’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in 2010

Implementation

  • Forest guards in tiger reserves will be equipped with personal digital assistants and GPS devices
  • This way, the signs such as bonfire, snare, tree felling, animal carcass or body parts etc signifying illegal activities will also be recorded by the field staff with site images, which with other set of information will reach out to the software enabled phones and systems immediately.
  • The software system maps the patrol routes of forest guards, and the resulting data are then analyzed in a geographic information system.

Advantages

  • MSTrIPES produces easily interpretable reports and maps that are useful for management and policy decisions.
  • the system reduces the response time to detrimental events like poaching or habitat degradation and becomes a comprehensive tool to keep the pulse of a tiger reserve.
  • All these years, data pertaining to carnivore signs, pellets and status of habitat was manually recorded in the prescribed format on a paper by the field staff, but this exercise was prone to errors. With the availability of M-STRiPES, human error will be eliminated
  • It paves the way for greater standardisation and elimination of inconsistencies in data interpretation.

 

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. SC/ST Atrocities Act

Context

  • The verdict on the SC/ST Atrocities Act marks the collapse of the constitutional scheme to protect the weaker sections of society as well as a certain intolerance of persons in high places towards requirements of social justice.

The framing guidelines on how to deal with a person accused under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

  • An innocent should not be punished. There should not be terror in society. We do not want any member of the Scheduled Castes (SCs)/Scheduled Tribes (STs) to be deprived of his rights.
  • The judgment that the Atrocities Act is creating “terror in society”, no sensible person can question the need to protect those who are innocent from arbitrary arrest.
  • All the three organs of the state are united in their lack of fidelity to both the letter and spirit of the Constitution insofar as it is concerned with the rights of the weaker sections.
  • The judgment is concerned with a limited aspect of the Act — protecting innocent officers and employees in government and private sectors from the misuse of the Act (especially “when no prima facie case is made out or the case is patently false or mala fide”).
  • But, the judgment has ended up conveying a false and dangerous message that the Atrocities Act is “a charter for exploitation or oppression,” and “an instrument of blackmail or to wreak personal vengeance”.

‘Minor’ infractions

  • For example, while the court appears to have mistaken a large number of acquittals in atrocities cases to be false cases, the general consensus is that police apathy, the social and the economic might of the accused and the dependence of SC/STs on those accused would have resulted in acquittals.
  • There is no precise data on the scale and extent to which the Act has been misused by SC/ST employees.

Procedural lapse in making policies that affect the SC/STs.

  • The court’s single-minded mission to end “terror in society” rendered it oblivious to the constitutional procedure to be followed in making policies that affect the SC/STs.
  • Article 338 clause 9 stipulates: The Union and every State Government shall consult the Commission [National Commission for Scheduled Castes] on all major policy matters affecting Scheduled Castes.
  • Article 338A, which created the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, provides the same procedure (as per Clause 9) in case of STs.
  • Therefore, when the court wears the policy-making hat in matters related to SC/STs, it too is constitutionally-bound to consult these commissions.
  • It is not just Article 338 but Part XVI of the Constitution, of which the Article is a part, has long ago been reduced to a charade by successive governments.

What is the use of a principle if it is not followed?

  • One is confronted with the dilemma — whether to retain the ideal of social justice in the statute book even if it is not followed or excise it since the ideal is found to be out of tune with the new India.
  • 123rd Amendment of the constitution, which seeks to create the new National Commission for Backward Classes under a new Article 338B.
  • This too has clause 9 in verbatim. At least the government must explain why it is replicating a consultative procedure for the Other Backward Classes which remains a dead letter in the case of SC/STs.

Conclusion

  • The task of balancing the rights of innocent persons facing false accusations and the need to accord legitimacy to the Atrocities Act requires compassion, equanimity, reverence for the Constitution and awareness so even impromptu comments from the top court will acquire the force of law. Unfortunately, the verdict lost that balance.

F. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Which of the following statement/s is/are correct?
  1. Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan Committee was setup to measure and monitor the implementation of road safety laws in the country.
  2. All Roads are covered under the Union List of legislation..

Options:

  1. i only
  2. ii only
  3. Both i and ii
  4. None of the above

 

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements about National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR):?
  1. Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan Committee was setup to measure and monitor the implementation of road safety laws in the country.
  2. All Roads are covered under the Union List of legislation.
  1. 1 only.
  2. 2 only.
  3. Both 1 and 2.
  4. None of the above

 

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements about MSTRIPES::
  1. It is a software-based monitoring system launched by the Indian government’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in 2010.
  2. MSTRIPES stands for Monitoring System for Tigers Intensive Patrolling and Ecological Status.

Choose the correct option:

  1. I only
  2. II only
  3. Both I and II
  4. None of the above

 

See

Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. The recent judgement of the Supreme Court on the SC/St atrocities act sends out a message that the Act is being misused.To what extent is it Constitutionally right to dilute the provisions of the Act.Critically Analyse.

  2. Social media induced violence is a rising threat in Indian society. What makes India vulnerable to such a phenomena? Suggest some measures to curb this trend of Social Media induced violence.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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