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Day: March 8, 2018

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[8 March 2018 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority News Items of the Day:

It’s Neiphiu Rio’s finest hour

Politics in Nagaland, where underground outfits allegedly run parallel governments, has always revolved around a powerful personality. One was S.C. Jamir, whose 15-year rule as Chief Minister made Congress a force in the State. And along came Neiphiu Rio.

It is a political article. In the article, writer is discussing political situation in Nagaland(post-elections). These kind of political articles are not important from UPSC Perspective.

 

Be alert to Operation Dhakka

There one moment, gone the next — statue of Vladimir Ilyich Ulanov, known internationally as Lenin, March 5, 2018, Belonia, Tripura. “ Bharat Mata ki jai !” saffron-sporting men yelled as they felled the statue of the Russian communist revolutionary. It did not matter to them that Lenin had hailed that same Bharat, its revolutionary ardour, for struggling to free itself from British imperialist and indigenous yokes.

The Op-Ed is based on strictly personal point of view. It is written on a very controversial topic going on these days. There is no need to follow these kind of political motivated issues. You can skip this article.


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Cyber Security – CERTs, Policy, etc Security Issues

[op-ed snap] The new front

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Basics of cyber security

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Digital India, NCIIPC, Defence Cyber Agency

Mains level: Cybersecurity and related issues


Context

Growing threat of Cyberwarfare

  1. As “Digital India” grows, vulnerabilities of cyber warfare will only increase
  2. A 2017 study conducted by Symantec found that India ranked fourth in online security breaches, accounting for over 5 percent of global threat detections

Types of cyber threats

  1. Cyber crimes
  2. Cyber theft
  3. Cyber espionage
  4. Cyber intrusions

Measures taken to reduce such incidences

  1. Setting up of the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC)
  2. The appointment of a National Cyber Security Coordinator

Real danger for India

  1. The real danger to India lies in targeted cyber attacks coming from adversarial nation states
  2. Countries like China can bring immense assets to bear in carrying out sophisticated cyber attacks
  3. Cyber warfare is going to become a regular part of the arsenal of nations

National strategy to counter cyber threats

The three main components of any national strategy to counter cyber threats are defence, deterrence and exploitation

  1. Critical cyberinfrastructure needs to be defended and the establishment of the NCIIPC is a good step in this direction
  2. Deterrence in cyberspace is a hugely complex issue. Cyber warfare is characterized by an absence of clarity
  3. Cyber operations cannot be a standalone activity but integrated with land, sea and air operations, and a part of information warfare (exploitation)

Setting up of a Defence Cyber Agency

  1. India is one of the few countries which still does not have a dedicated cyber component in its military
  2. The setting up of a Defence Cyber Agency has been announced but this is a typical half-hearted step which characterizes our strategic planning process
  3. India will never achieve the full capability of fighting and defending in the cyberspace if this agency is hobbled by limited mandates and roles
  4. It would be instructive to take a leaf out of the US Cyber Command, which has one of its focus areas as “strengthening (the) nation’s ability to withstand and respond to cyber attack

Way forward

  1. We are still unclear about how a future cyberwar will play out but capabilities definitely exist, particularly with China
  2. It would be absurd not to prepare, and the military must be at the forefront of this preparation

Economic Survey and Budget 2018 | Advanced Program

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If we go by the trend, every year around 20 questions in prelims and 7-8 questions in mains are directly related to the Economic Survey and Budget

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Aadhaar Card Issues Governance

‘Supreme Court can review Money Bill’

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Structure, organization & functioning of the Executive & the Judiciary

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Money Bill, fundamental right to privacy and personal autonomy

Mains level: Debate related to Aadhar and privacy issues


News

Review of the Money bill

  1. The Lok Sabha Speaker’s decision to declare Aadhaar Bill as a Money Bill attains finality only as far as parliamentarians are concerned
  2. It does not prevent the Supreme Court from judicially reviewing the Speaker’s wisdom
  3. This argument was put up before a five-judge Bench, which is testing whether the Aadhaar scheme is a violation of the fundamental right to privacy and personal autonomy
  4. The bench had earlier raised doubts about whether it can question the Speaker’s decision to declare the Aadhaar Act as a Money Bill
Nobel and other Prizes Basic Sciences

Balkrishna Doshi wins architecture’s top Pritzker Prize, first Indian to do so

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Achievements of Indians in science & technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Pritzker prize, Balkrishna Doshi, Le Corbusier

Mains level: Achievements of Indians in various domains


News

Maiden Pritzker prize for India

  1. Nonagenarian architect and reputed urban planner Balkrishna Doshi has been named this year’s winner of architecture’s highest honor — the Pritzker Prize
  2. He has become the first Indian to do so

Doshi’s work domain

  1. He is influenced by masters of 20th-century architecture, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, and Louis Khan
  2. His ethical and personal approach to architecture has touched lives of every socio-economic class across a broad spectrum of genres since the 1950s
  3. His designs include the IIM-Bangalore; Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad; cultural spaces in Ahmedabad such as Tagore Memorial Hall, the Institute of Indology, and Premabhai Hall

Back2Basics

Pritzker prize

  1. The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually “to honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment
  2. Founded in 1979 by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy, the award is funded by the Pritzker family and sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation
  3. It is considered to be one of the world’s premier architecture prizes and is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture
  4. The prize is said to be awarded “irrespective of nationality, race, creed, or ideology”
  5. Any licensed architect can also make a personal application for the prize before November 1 every year
Special Category Status and States Indian Polity

Special status category no longer exists, says Arun Jaitley

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Functions & responsibilities of the Union & the States, issues & challenges pertaining to the federal structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: 14th Finance Commission, Special category status, Centrally sponsored scheme

Mains level: Debate over special category status to certain states


News

No special category status to Andhra Pradesh

  1. Citing the 14th Finance Commission, the Finance Minister said the category of “special status” no longer exists
  2. Therefore, Andhra Pradesh can no longer be put in that category

Special category status

  1. The special status used to be originally granted to States in the northeast because their own revenue was inadequate
  2. In the case of any Centrally sponsored programme or scheme, the Centre pays 60% of the amount and the State pays 40%
  3. The States enjoying ‘special status’ only have to pay 10% of this contribution

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Women empowerment issues: Jobs,Reservation and education

Nari Shakti Puraskars for 30 women, nine institutions

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Role of women & women’s organization

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Nari Shakti Puraskars, International Woman’s Day, Beti Zindabad Bakery, National Millet Sister Network, Vanastree

Mains level: Various initiatives for women empowerment


News

Nari Shakti puraskar

  1. 30 women and nine institutions will receive the Nari Shakti Puraskars from the President on the occasion of International Woman’s Day
  2. The awardees were finalised by a panel set up by the Ministry of Woman and Child Development

List of awardees

  1. These include the ‘Beti Zindabad Bakery’ initiative by the Chhattisgarh government to set up a bakery unit for survivors of human trafficking among the tribals in Pathalgaon, Jashpur
  2. Avani in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, which is a community built on the principles of community-centric rural development programmes
  3. National Millet Sister Network launched by 100 women from nine states to provide knowledge to women in the area of millet farming
  4. Vanastree, the seed saving collective in the Malnad region of South India’s Western Ghats

Back2Basics

Nari Shakti Puraskars

  1. Stree Shakti Puraskar (Women Power Award) was a series of India’s national honors conferred on individual women for their exceptional achievement
  2. The award was given in six categories, by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India
  3. It recognizes the spirit of courage of a woman in difficult circumstances, who has established this spirit of courage in her personal or professional life
  4. Instituted in 1991, the award is conferred by the President on the occasion of International Women’s Day, 8 March every year
  5. The award is named after eminent women in Indian history, and is given in the following categories:
  • Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Award: named after Ahilyabai Holkar, 18th-century ruler of Malwa kingdom
  • Kannagi Award: named after Kannagi, a legendary Tamil woman
  • Mata Jijabai Award: named after Mata Jijabai, mother of Shivaji, who founded the Maratha Empire in the 17th century
  • Rani Gaidinliu Zeliang Award: named after Rani Gaidinliu, a 20th-century Naga spiritual and political leader
  • Rani Lakshmi Bai Award: named after Rani Lakshmi Bai, the Queen of Jhansi
  • Rani Rudramma Devi Award (for both men and women): named after Rudrama Devi, a 13th-century ruler of Deccan Plateau

6.  From the year 2016, Ministry of Women and Child Development, has revised the guidelines for Women Awards for conferring on eminent women, organizations, and institutions

7. These awards will now be called “Nari Shakti Puruskars” (From the year 2016)

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Telecom and Postal Sector – Spectrum Allocation, Call Drops, Predatory Pricing, etc Industries

Cabinet approves easing spectrum cap

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Cabinet decision and its possible benefits for the telecom sector.


News

Cabinet decision on spectrum

  1. The Union Cabinet has approved relaxing the cap on spectrum holding by telcos
  2. This approval is expected to aid mergers and acquisitions in the sector
  3. The Cabinet has also given telcos the option to extend the time period for payment of spectrum bought in auction to 16 years from the present 10 years
  4. This is likely to help with the cash flow in the short to medium term, while adding Rs. 74,446 crore till 2034-35 to the government’s kitty due to no reduction in interest rates
  5. The government is hopeful that this move would encourage participation in future spectrum auctions

Possible benefits of this decision

  1. The decision based on the recommendations by the Inter Ministerial Group on stressed assets in the telecom sector
  2. It will facilitate investments, consolidation and enhance ease of doing business, said an official release
Solar Energy – JNNSM, Solar Cities, Solar Pumps, etc. Energy

[op-ed snap] Rooftop energy

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: B2B

Mains level: The recent survey done in Bengaluru and why it is important for solar power sector in India.


News

 Mapping of rooftop solar power potential(done in Bengaluru recently)

  1. Bengaluru’s aerial mission to produce a three dimensional map of rooftop solar power potential using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) data can give this key source of power a big boost
  2. The mission was done to assess how much of a city’s power needs can be met through rooftop solar installations

Importance of these surveys

  1.  A survey helps determine usable rooftops, separating them from green spaces, and analyses the quality of the solar resource
  2. With steady urbanisation, solar maps of this kind will help electricity utilities come up with good business cases and investment vehicles and give residents an opportunity to become partners in the effort

These surveys are need of the hour

  1. An initiative(like these surveys) to rapidly scale up rooftop solar installations is needed if the target of creating 40 GW of capacity connected to the grid by 2022 is to be realised

Other important issues

  1. Domestic policy has to evaluate the impact of factors such as imposition of safeguard duty and anti-dumping duty on imports, and levy of the goods and services tax on photovoltaic modules
  2. Major solar projects that connect to the grid often face the challenge of land acquisition and transmission connectivity
  3. This has led to a delay in planned capacity coming on stream during 2017

What should be done?

  1. The Centre should come up with incentives, given the enormous investment potential waiting to be tapped and the real estate that can be rented
  2. The southern States and Rajasthan together host the bulk of national solar infrastructure on a large scale
  3. With some forward-looking policymaking, they can continue to lead by adding rooftop capacity

The way forward

  1. Initiatives such as the Bengaluru mapping project can contribute to assessments of both real potential and risk
  2. This is crucial for (solar power)projects on a large scale involving significant exposure for financial institutions, including banks
  3. With ongoing improvements to solar cell efficiency and battery technology, rooftops will only get more attractive in the future

Back2basics

What is LIDAR?

Banking Sector Reforms Finance and Banking

[op-ed snap] The fight to the finish against banking frauds

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: The three important issues discussed in the newscard. It is one of the most important newscards on the recent Banking Frauds issue.


News

Data on Banking Frauds(Source: RTI)

  1. RBI data shows that public sector banks (PSBs) reported 8,670 cases of “loan fraud” involving Rs61,260 crore over the last five financial years up to March 2017
  2. The amount will go up significantly once the recent frauds are added
  3. But after the recent issuance of a new framework for the resolution of stressed assets by the RBI, the government is working on reducing the possibility of bank frauds

Positive steps done by the government against the recent crisis(related to Banking frauds)

  1. The government has done well by not letting this crisis go to waste. For instance, it has asked PSBs to inspect all bad loan accounts above Rs50 crore
  2. It has also given them 15 days to address technological and operational risks
  3. It has also directed PSBs to rationalize overseas operations and proposed a new law against fugitive economic offenders
  4. This will give the government the power to confiscate the assets of a fugitive offender, both in India and abroad
  5. It has also decided to set up a regulatory body for auditors
  6. The RBI too has formed an expert committee to look into rising instances of fraud

Three broad issues in this fight against bank frauds
FIRST: Government should avoid over-regulating or overburdening the banking system

  1. Inspecting all bad loan accounts in excess of Rs50 crore, for instance, could result in excessive fear among bankers
    (as at some point investigative agencies will also get involved)
  2. This could affect the flow of credit in the economy
  3. Action by investigative agencies in some of the cases related to non-performing accounts in recent years is said to have affected bank lending
  4. Therefore, it is important that bankers are protected adequately and are able to take commercial decisions

SECOND: Laws by themselves don’t act as a deterrent(Indian Experience)

  1. The government will need to build investigatory and judicial capabilities so that cases are decided in a reasonable time frame
  2. Only time-bound closure of cases will deter fraudsters
  3. India will also need to build institutional capabilities to be able to negotiate with foreign authorities in order to bring back fugitives and prosecute them under Indian laws

THIRD:  PSBs need urgent governance reforms

  1. The fraud is the consequence of a complete collapse of governance
  2. Governance in PSBs needs an overhaul and government interference in appointments should be minimized
  3. In this context, the P.J. Nayak committee (2014) rightly noted: “Government officers and regulators may not possess the skills to appoint the top management of commercial banks”
  4. Therefore, the government needs to revisit the way appointments are made in PSBs, starting with the board

The way forward

  1. The shock of frauds and subsequent regulatory action can affect the flow and cost of credit in the short run
  2. Indian banks will emerge stronger after the short-term pain of cleansing the system
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