Current Affairs for today- 22nd October 2019
GS Paper II
China’s growing clout at the UN
Amidst the vacuum created by the withdrawal of the US from the UN Human Rights Council in the international fora, Beijing is burrowing its way into the higher rungs of the UN.
What is China doing?
- It is rightfully aiming at more positions in the UN Secretariat hierarchy, while India can only stretch along its customary advocacy of expansion of the Security Council.
- China is utilizing the lack of US in the forum to actively propagate its manifestoes and ideologies at the global body, with a history of thwarting the liberalization policies of the western world
- It also aims at playing a bigger game at the peacekeeping missions.
- President Xi is looking forward to conteningChina as a “Champion of Multilateralism” by increasing its contributions fivefold in the last decade while facing trade war through Trump Administration.
- China wants to change the face of governance by catalyzing and leading the reforms.
- Currently, with it’s huge financial aiding to the UN, it has found top places in various bodies of the UN including Food and Agriculture Organisation, The Industrial Development Organisation, The International Civil Aviation Administration and The International Telecom Communication Union.
- China is pushing its ideologies and promoting its world view on human rights in the Human Rights Council, from which the US recently announced its withdrawal by sincerely diluting the universal values listed out.
- With the failing coordination between the western members of the Security Council, the world could expect a Sino-Russian front at the UN.
- With no strong adversary, China is trying to promote its foreign policy initiatives, especially the Belt and Road Initiative (which it feels is the very essence of the purpose and principle of the UN Charter.
GS Paper II, Paper III
New rules to regulate social media by January
With the increasing threat to the security, integrity and sovereignty at the individual and national level, The Ministry of Information Technology has ramped up the regulatory regime. Since the Internet is speeding advances and emerging as the next age superpower potent tool, it can cause unimaginable damage to the democratic polity fabric.
Expected rolling out of the new guideline: The new Information Technology Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules, 2018 would be notified by January 15, 2020
Why the delay?
The Law and Justice Ministry has to vet out the new amendments along with the views of other ministries, including Home Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, Health, Women and Child Development, and Commerce on the draft revised rules.
Why is the Govt. appealing for the transparency and linking of Aadhar with the social media accounts?
- With increasing global importance, the internet has already been one of the major media to send/receive hate speech or fake news.
- If one end, the Internet is greatly contributing to the growth of the economy and societal development, there are cases pounding on anti-national themes, scheduled tribes offences, defamatory postings, disruption of public peace and order along with other unlawful activities through the internet.
- With the last mile connectivity, availability of smart devices, lower internet tariffs, there has been rampant use of the Internet and social media platforms and the internet, ensuring more people in the infinite loop of abuse and threat.
- The proposed regulations in the draft stage are yet to be rolled out and the changes are made on the existing Intermediaries Guidelines Rules (2011) to hold the intermediary giants like WhatsApp, Facebook more liable to the content transmitted or published through their service, but is however difficult to force these giants to give up on their selling proposition of end-user-confidentiality.
- It reiterates that social media icons must support the centre in making the system more credible and transparent for the purpose of crime detection, national security, etc.
Key Features of the Rules
- The Intermediary Guidelines Rules, 2011 require intermediaries to prohibit users from hosting certain content on its platform (e.g. obscene content). The Draft Rules prohibit a new category of information, i.e., content which threatens ‘public health or safety’.
- Intermediaries must, within 72 hours, provide assistance to any government agency. Further, they must enable tracing of the originator of the information on their platform.
- Intermediaries must deploy technology-based automated tools to identify and remove public access to unlawful information. Further, intermediaries with more than fifty lakh users must incorporate a company in India.
Key Issues and Analysis
- Intermediaries are required to prohibit the publication of content that threatens public health or safety. This may violate the right to free speech under Article 19(1).
- Intermediaries are required to deploy automated tools for removing access to unlawful content. This may be contrary to the reasoning of a recent Supreme Court judgement.
- Intermediaries with more than fifty lakh users must incorporate a company in India. It is unclear as to how this number will be calculated. Therefore, an intermediary will find it difficult to determine if it is required to set up a company in India under this provision.
GS Paper I, Paper II
Siachen now open for tourism
The entire area from the Siachen Base Camp to the Kumar Post has now been opened for tourism purposes after the Defence Minister inaugurated the strategically important Col. Chewang Rinchen bridge on the Shyok River in Eastern Ladakh.
What’s in the news?
Tourism in Ladakh shall increase with the better connectivity with already posted army assisted civilian trek from Siachen Base Camp to Kumar post located at about 15, 500 feet.
Col. Chewang Rinchen Setu was constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) at an altitude of 14, 650 feet in Ladakh.
Significance of the bridge
- Increasing number of tourists with netter connectivity in Ladakh.
- Strategic asset in the border areas
- All time weather connectivity in the region
Importance of Siachen
- It is very important for India to deploy its troops in this area to monitor the activities of Pakistan and China in this area.
- India’s army had reached this place first that is why our army is sitting at higher altitude and Pakistan army is sitting at lower altitude.
- Around the time of The Shimla Agreement, 1972, Siachen was considered barren and unwanted. But India got intelligence in 1984 that Pakistan was trying to occupy the area and hence deployed its troops on “Bilafond La Pass” under Operation Meghdoot.
- According to the Shimla Agreement, the ceasefire line was described as running up to the map coordinate NJ9842 in Kashmir, ie, north of the glacier which was then converted into the LoC for Pakistan-India.
- The area of “Aksai Chin” is also located in this area and hence involves a contentious battleground for three countries contributing to the Siachen Conflict.
- India controls the Leh Ladakh region while the Pakistan exercise control over the Gyong La Pass that overlooks the Nubra and Shoyk river as there is restricted movement from the height (Indian army) and the lower heights of the glacier (Pakistan Army).
- According to the Karachi Agreement 1949, both Indian and Pakistan side is not supposed to cross the non-demarcated area on the western frontier of the glacier.
- Apart from these conflicting issues, Siachen largest single source of freshwater on the Indian subcontinent.
- It is where the Nubra River originates that eventually meets the Indus River – the major water source that irrigates the Punjab plains in Pakistan. Gaining control over it can result in barring this water to that helps in irrigation.
- The glacier could be the most viable entry point in Kashmir that is naturally a threat to border security.
Location of Siachen
Siachen Glacier lies in Northern Ladakh in the Karakorams, a mountain range originating from the Pamirs. The total area of Siachen Glacier is approximately 78 km. Siachen is the 5th largest glacier of the Karakoram Range and second-largest glacier in the world.
The Siachen Glacier is located near Indo-Pak Line of Control. The average elevation of Siachen Glacier from sea level is approximately 17,770 feet. The Siachen Glacier is known as the highest battlefield of the world.
GS Paper II
NCRB Report- UP tops in crimes against women
The delayed Annual Crime in India, 2017 report published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) was released and says Uttar Pradesh tops crimes against women.
What’s in the news- Report 2017
- The number of crimes against women has surged by 6% in 2017 compared with the 2016 figures and by 9% compared with the 2015 data.
- Maximum rioting cases have been reported in Bihar, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
- There has been a 3.6% rise in the number of cognizable offences since 2016, while 61.2 % cases were registered under IPC, the rest 38.8% was under Special and Local Laws (SLL).
- Delhi, Assam and Kerala showed the highest rise in the rate of crime.
What is NCRB?
NCRB was set-up in 1986 to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals so as to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators based on the recommendations of the Tandon Committee to the National Police Commission (1977-1981) and the MHA’s Task force (1985).
- Monitoring, coordinating and implementing the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) project in the year 2009. The project connects 15000+ police stations and 6000 higher offices of police in the country.
- NCRB also compiles and publishes National Crime Statistics i.e. Crime in India, Accidental Deaths & Suicides and also Prison Statistics.
- To maintain National Database of Sexual Offenders (NDSO) and share it with the States/UTs on regular basis.
- NCRB has also been designated as the Central Nodal Agency to manage technical and operational functions of the ‘Online Cyber-Crime Reporting Portal’ through which any citizen can lodge a complaint or upload a video clip as an evidence of crime related to child pornography, rape/gang rape.
- NCRB also deals with associated work of Cyber Crime Prevention against Women & Children (CCPWC) through this portal.
- On 21st August 2017, NCRB launched National Digital Police Portal. It allows search for a criminal / suspect on the CCTNS database apart from providing various services to citizens like filing of complaints online and seeking antecedent verification of tenants, domestic helps, drivers etc.