Daily Current Affairs, 11th July 2018
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018
Context: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sent the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, to the Union cabinet for approval, to replace the related Ordinance.
Highlights of the Bill:
- It provides for stringent punishment including death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.
- The minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
- In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which means jail term till the convicts’ “natural life”.
- The punishment for gang rape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict, another official said.
- Stringent punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years has been provided with the minimum jail term being 20 years which may go up to life in prison or death sentence. Gang rape of a girl under 12 years of age will invite punishment of jail term for the rest of life or death.
- The measure also provides for speedy investigations and trial. The time limit for investigation of all cases of rape has been prescribed, which has to be mandatorily completed within two months.
- The deadline for the completion of trial in all rape cases will be two months. A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed.
- There will also be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years. It has also been prescribed that a court has to give notice of 15 days to a public prosecutor and the representative of the victim before deciding bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age.
Need for a stringent law:
The number of reported cases of rapes of children increased in India by 82% in 2016 compared to 2015. A climate of violence, social and economic insecurity, alienation, and a progressive undermining of the status of women and children seem to have given an impetus to carry out crimes against women and children.
Therefore, the legal system must give a clear signal that we as a nation consider the rape of children below the age of 12 as among the most heinous of offences. Making such crimes punishable by capital punishment certainly gives such a signal.
Is it sufficient?
Statistics have not been able to prove or disprove the efficacy of capital punishment as a deterrent. While the U.K. has seen an increase in murders since 1965 when capital punishment for murder was removed from the statute book, Canada has not seen any such impact since it abolished the death penalty in 1976. The underlying socio-economic conditions in a society that cause crimes seem to have as much of an impact on the increase or decrease of crimes as the law does.
It is not the severity of the punishment but the certainty and uniformity of it which will reduce crime. Even for capital punishment to work as a deterrent, the fairness of the investigation, the certainty of conviction, and the speed of the trial are vital. With the police and judicial independence being under a cloud, especially after the incidents in Kathua and Unnao, the deterrent value of capital punishment seems diminished unless police reforms and fast-track courts are a part of the package.
- For Prelims: Highlights of the Bill.
- For Mains: Capital punishment- need, concerns and the way ahead.
Topic: Issues related to health.
Eat Right Movement
Context: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has unveiled ‘The Eat Right Movement’ with a view to get industry on board for implementation of draft food labelling regulation.
Eat Right Movement:
- The movement aims to cut down salt/sugar and oil consumption by 30% in three years.
- It is built on two broad pillars of ‘Eat Healthy’ and ‘Eat Safe’.
- It also aims to engage and enable citizens to improve their health and well-being by making the right food choices.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which consolidates various acts & orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments.
- It was created for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
- Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the Administrative Ministryfor the implementation of FSSAI.
- Composition:The Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) are appointed by Government of India. The Chairperson is in the rank of Secretary to Government of India.
Food Safety and Standards (Labeling and Display) Regulations 2018:
- The proposed regulations will prescribe the labeling requirements of pre-packaged foods and display of essential information on premises where food is manufactured, processed, served and stored.
- The draft Regulation also states that HFSS (high in fat, sugar or salt) food products shall not be advertised to children in any form.
- It also introduces labelling of genetically modified (GM) food.
For Prelims and Mains: Eat Right Movement, FSSAI and regulations.
Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
India-Korea Technology Exchange Centre
Context: The India-Korea Technology Exchange Centre was recently Inaugurated in New Delhi. It has been established at the National Small Industries Corporation premises in New Delhi.
India- Korea Technology Exchange Centre:
Purpose: To create a platform for micro, small and medium enterprises of India and Korea where they can be assisted to identify and exchange latest technologies, share management expertise, product development and technology applications for product development.
With this platform, SMEs of both the countries can learn from each other to enhance their comparative advantages and be competitive in the world.
Korea has strong industrial base withwell-developed small and medium enterprises (SME) sector, especially in advanced manufacturing technologies such as machinery & equipment, electronics, electrical machinery & equipment and robotics.
Facts for Prelims:
- National Small Industries Corporation Limited (NSIC)is a Mini Ratna PSU established by the Government of India in 1955.
- It falls under Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises of India.
- NSIC is the nodal office for several schemes of Ministry of MSME such as Performance & Credit Rating, Single Point Registration, MSME Databank, National SC ST Hub, etc.
Government Schemes implemented by NSIC:
- MSME DataBank.
- National Scheduled Caste And Scheduled Tribe Hub.
- Performance & Credit Rating Scheme.
- Marketing Assistance Scheme.
- For Prelims: Technology exchange centre, NSIC.
- For Mains: MSME- significance and the need for innovative technologies.
Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
Ease of Doing Business Ranking of States
Context: Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has released the final rankings of States in Ease of Doing Business.
Performance of states:
- The top rankers are Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Haryana. Jharkhand and Gujarat stood fourth and fifth respectively.
- Delhi is placed at 23rd among 34 states and Union territories. Its rank also worsened from 18th in 2016.
- Karnataka has occupied the eighth spot, against 13th in 2016.
- The rankings are based on the performance of states in implementing the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP).
- DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the World Bank conducted an annual reform exercise for all States and UTs under the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP). The aim of this exercise is to improve delivery of various Central Government regulatory functions and services in an efficient, effective and transparent manner.
- The reform plan includes 372 recommendations for reforms on regulatory processes, policies, practices and procedures spread across 12 reform areas including labour regulation enablers; contract enforcement; registering property; inspection reform enablers; single window system; land availability and allotment; construction permit enablers etc.
- BRAP 2017 includes two new sectors i.e. Healthcare and Hospitality.
Facts for Prelims:
India climbed up 29 spots to the 100th position out of 190 surveyed countries in the World Bank’s ease of doing business (EDB) index 2018.
- For Prelims: BRAP- action points (Brief idea), Ease of Doing Business rankings.
- For Mains: Ease of doing business in states- challenges, potential and innovative solutions by the centre.
Facts for Prelims:
In news- Marshall Islands:
Context: The Union Minister of State (MoS) for Human Resource Development Shri Upendra Kushwaha is on an Official Visit to the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI). This is the first ever Ministerial visit from India to Majuro, Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI).
- It is a country in the central Pacific Ocean.
- It consists of some of the easternmost islands of Micronesia.
- The Marshalls are composed of more than 1,200 islands and islets in two parallel chains of coral atolls—the Ratak, or Sunrise, to the east and the Ralik, or Sunset, to the west.
- Majuro atoll is the nominal capital of the republic.
First Chairman of Rajya Sabha to sign an MOU:
- Rajya Sabha has, for the first time in 76 years since it came into being, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a foreign counterpart for promoting inter-parliamentary dialogue.
- Shri Venkaiah Naidu, has, in the process, become the first Chairman of Rajya Sabha to sign such an agreement when he inked an MOU with the visiting President of the Senate of the Republic of Rwanda, Mr. Bernard Makuza.
World’s largest mobile phone factory:
What? Samsung Electronics has opened the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturing plant by production capacity.
Where? In the industrial city of Noida, India.
Lonely Planet’s top five “2018 Best in Asia” list:
What is it? It is a collection of 10 of the best destinations to visit in the continent for the year. It is considered a Bible by travellers worldwide.
- Busan, South Korea.
- Ancient cities and jewelled architecture of Uzbekistan.
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
- Western Ghats, India.
Cybersecurity: What India needs to do
Cyber-attacks have grown in terms of sophistication and reach in the recent times. The countries are witnessing growing cybercrime ranging from fraud calls to malwares that bring banking systems to a standstill.
India was one of the worst hit countries by the WannaCry ransomware malware affecting sectors such as banking, finance and manufacturing last year.
Cyberattacks on Estonian networks in 2007, on Georgian networks in 2008, and the Stuxnet attack in 2010 that destroyed the Iranian uranium enrichment centrifuges alerted the world to the reality of cyberwarfare.
Attacks are often anonymous and difficult to attribute to specific actors, state or non-state. Advanced Precision Threats (APTs) carried out by anonymous hackers are often silent and go unnoticed for long periods.
Importance of cyber security:
Cyber security is an important arena of internet when the country is moving forward towards a cashless society and digitization. Till 2013, India did not even have a cyber security policy in place. It is of paramount concern to take cyber security seriously in India with most of the transactions going online and cashless.
Security becomes a challenge as now privacy is a fundamental right as per SC verdict and the rise in cybercrimes can lead to violation of private space and liberty of expression.
Cyber security becomes a vital law of cyber law today. There is need of new tools; capacity building must be done in various departments and a mechanism in place to address these challenges.
The Indian government has embarked on a programme to turn the country into a digital economy. It has unveiled a series of initiatives—from introducing Aadhaar, MyGov, Government e-Market, DigiLocker, Bharat Net, Startup India, Skill India and Smart Cities to propel India towards technological competence and transformation.
Cyber security for Government and Public DATA: Need of the hour:
The government is stepping up authority around cyber security to check the rising menace of financial frauds.Global Conference on Cyberspace was conducted in India for first time where the theme for the conference was Cyber4All: A Secure and Inclusive Cyberspace for Sustainable Development. GCCS was launched with a view to establish internationally agreed ‘rules of the road’ for behaviour in cyberspace and create a more focused and inclusive dialogue between all stakeholders on how to implement them.
GCCS 2017 aims to foster a holistic view of cyber space ensuring not only empowerment of individuals but also enabling the Governments to achieve national goals of sustainable development.
Much like state actors, many companies are developing their own capabilities of going after suspected cyber attackers in what is called ‘hunting’. Such unchecked proliferation of offensive cyber tools and practices can destabilise the entire cyberspace in the absence of any accepted norms of behaviour.
The Indian military needs to make a proper assessment of an offensive cyber doctrine adopted by many countries and undertake action that goes beyond simply the building of defensive capabilities. Offensive cyber response is not limited to states alone.
The international community has been unable to agree on suitable norms of behaviour in cyberspace. In 2013, the UN Group of Government and Experts (UNGGE) had suggested 11norms.
However, implementing them in cyberspace is a difficult task. In a major setback to the process of norms development, the 2015 UNGGE failed to arrive at a consensus. Presently, there are no acceptable norms of behaviour in cyberspace.
In India, it is imperative that cyber networks, software and cyber-physical systems, and platforms should be cyber-secure. This requires a judicious mix of people, policies and technology, as well as robust public-private partnership.
The reliance on imported information and communication technology (ICT) products and our inability to screen them for vulnerabilities is a major cybersecurity risk.
Cyber Deterrence will be the way forward?
Detecting and responding to such cyberattacks is a daunting task. Analysts have been debating whether cyber deterrence, on the lines of nuclear deterrence, can dissuade such attackers.
Cyber deterrence can be of two kinds: by denying attacks (defensive) and by punishment (offensive). Cyber defences are raised so that the attacker is unable to pierce the adversary’s networks. In the latter case, the cyber attacker is assured of a devastating response.
Evidently, neither deterrence by denial nor by punishment works in cyberspace. Attackers are able to bypass the best of cyber defences. For offensive cyber deterrence, it is necessary to identify the attacker with pinpointed accuracy. But attribution is the Achilles heel of offensive cyber deterrence.
Indiscriminate targeting could prove to be more destabilising and counterproductive. Some analysts have argued that for cyber deterrence to hold, the response need not always be in cyberspace. It can be in political, economic or military domains.
The attacker’s assets can be targeted in a kinetic military response. Economic sanctions can be imposed. Irrespective of the problems associated with the efficacy of the concept of cyber deterrence, countries are acquiring offensive capabilities in cyberspace. They are building bits of software called ‘cyberweapons’ that can do enormous damage to the adversary’s networks.
Recent Government Initiatives:
- To combat cyber threat, the government is coming up with more cyber security labs.
- The government has earlier launched Digital Investigation Training and Analysis Centre (DITAC)to tackle these crimes.
- The government launched its first DITACin Gurugram, Haryana in 2016 in collaboration with National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO). The second one is being set up in Mohali, Punjab.
- DITACs will monitor and police cyber-crimes committed through different platforms such as mobile, email, computer and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
- Apart from DITACs, the government also established National Cyber Coordination Centre, an operational cyber security and e-surveillance agency in India.
- National Informatics Centreopened the fourth new data centre in Bhubaneswar, the second largest after the one in New Delhi, recently.
Most of the Indian banking industry and financial institutions have embraced IT to its full optimization. Reports suggest that cyber-attacks are understandably directed toward economic and financial institutions. With innovative, technology led programmes such as AADHAAR, MyGov, GeM, Digital Locker the new India is the land of technological prowess and transformation.
Government and the private sector jointly have to give cyber security some priority in their security and risk management plan.
Cyber awareness must be spread and there should be multi-stakeholder approach- technological inputs, legal inputs, strengthening law enforcements, systems and then dealing with transborder crime involves lot of international cooperation.
Institutions such as the National Cybersecurity Coordinator (NCC), National Technical Research Organisation, Computer Emergency Response Team and the National Cyber Security Coordinator Centre are all doing a reasonable job. But they suffer from the lack of skilled manpower and proper coordination.
The existing National Information Board (NIB), headed by the National Security Adviser (NSA), duly empowered, can play the role of an apex body in India.
NCC, set up in 2015 as a part of the National Security Council Secretariat, should be strengthened to bring about a much-needed synergy among various institutions and to work out a coordinated approach to cyber security, including cyber deterrence.