News & Editorial Analysis 12 December 2022

News & Editorial Analysis 12 December 2022


The Hindu Analysis

Stop grading terrorists as good and bad: India in UN (Important for Security: GS lll) Page 1

The era of classifying terrorists as “bad” or “good” on the basis  of “political convenience” must end immediately: India in UN.

Categorizing terror acts by intent as religious or ideologically motivated will dilute the shared global commitment to fighting terrorism.

Stressing that terrorism cannot be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group, the concept note circulated by India in the UN said all acts of terrorism were criminal.

India, the current President of the 15 ­nation Council will hold two signature events on reformed multilateralism and counter-terrorism. India also maintained that existing and emerging threats call for a renewed collective approach to terrorism as there has been a resurgence of terrorist acts in range, diversity and geography.

Crypto regulation a key focus area as G­20 finance talks begin tomorrow (Important for IR: GS ll) Page 10

A coordinated approach to regulating crypto assets, managing debt vulnerabilities and reorienting global financial institutions have been identified as critical focus areas of the Finance Track agenda for India’s G20 Presidency.

A globally coordinated approach to unbacked crypto assets  advancing the international taxation agenda, managing global debt vulnerabilities, advancing financial inclusion and productivity gains, financing for climate action and sustainable development goals, and financing “cities of tomorrow” are some of the key issues identified.

The officials maintained that the Finance Track, “will endeavor to add significant value to the global economic discourse” and that ‘the need today is that benefits of development are universal and all-inclusive’ in the Finance Track agenda.

‘Clean Ganga’ changes course to conservation, tourism, livelihood (Important for Environment and Economy: GS lll) Page 12.

The Namami Gange programme, conceived to improve the sanitation levels in the Ganga, making a shift in emphasis, is now geared towards conservation, tourism and providing livelihoods.

A “comprehensive plan” for developing tourism circuits along the Ganga in line with Arth Ganga (harnessing economic potential from Ganga), organic farming and cultural activities is to be developed.

The Agriculture Ministry is also taking steps to build organic farming and natural farming corridors; the Urban Affairs Ministry is focused on mapping drains and solid waste management, and the Environment Ministry is scaling up afforestation and conservation efforts to protect the Gangetic river dolphin.

In States, the focus would be on completing projects and every Ganga district was expected to develop a scientific plan and  health card for at least 10 wetlands and adopt policies for water reuse.


Editorial Analysis The Hindu Analysis

MGNREGA

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) has significantly aided in the development of enduring assets and the security of rural livelihoods. As evidenced by the migrant crisis, it has served as a crucial safety net and employment instrument.

The MGNREGS budget allocation in FY 2022–23 has been underwhelming despite the high demands of the scheme as outlined by the Economic Survey 2021–22.

Concerns about the inadequate amount have been expressed by groups like the All India Kisan Sabha and NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM).

Budgetary Allocations and the MGNREGA Problem:

About MGNREGA

Launched in 2005, MGNREGA is one of the biggest work guarantee programmers in the world.

The scheme’s main goal is to provide adults living in rural households who are prepared to guarantee unskilled physical labour for the public good with 100 days of guaranteed employment per fiscal year

In contrast to prior employment guarantee programmes, MGNREGA employs a rights-based framework to address the root causes of persistent poverty.

Beneficiaries must include at least one-third of women.

According to the Minimum Wages Act of 1948, wages must be paid in accordance with the statutory minimum wages established for agricultural labourers in the state.

What is the problem with MGNREGA’s low budgetary allocations?

Initial allocations for the previous two fiscal years (2020–21 and 202–22) were roughly halved from what organisations like the People’s Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG) and NSM suggested.

Due to the ongoing funding shortfall, MGNREGA has been plagued by problems such as State government deficits, protracted wage payment delays, a drop in work completed in the last two quarters of the fiscal years, and substantial unpaid balances at the conclusion of the fiscal years.

This flagship programme for rural employment has received less funding overall, even for FY 2022–2023 — roughly 25,000 crore (a 25% fall) from RE 2021–2022’s 98,000 crore.

According to the NSM, the present allocation only allows for 16 days of employment for each household with a valid job card.

What Problems Arise in Projected Person days Calculation?

The total number of working days predicted for the year is known as projected persondays. The two key factors on which budget estimates are based are projected person days and wage rate.

The number of persondays produced in Q4 of FYs 2019–20 and 2020–21 was almost 18.4% greater than in Q3 of FYs 2019–20 and 2020–21.

However, compared to Q3, the estimated persondays for Q4 in FY 2021–22 were much fewer.

Only around 40% of the Q4 of FY 2020-21 was anticipated for Q4 of FY 2021–22.

This is true even if the number of persondays produced in the first three quarters of FY 2021–22 compared to FY 2020–21 was only marginally different (approximately 7% lower).

The government may not have updated its Q4 FY 21–22 predictions, according to this data, despite its recent announcement of supplemental funding for MGNREGA totaling 25,000 crore.

What Effect Does Underestimated Personday Projection Have?

Since expected persondays serve as the basis for budget allocations, understated projections will result in insufficient funding.

When activists had called for an additional allocation of at least 50,000 crore, the Q4 of FY 21–22 predictions, which were exceptionally low, contributed to the supplementary allocation of only 25,000 crore.

Artificially low person days predictions are also likely to be the cause of the low allocation for FY 2022–23.

What Is the MGNREGA Wage Rate Issue?

The average MGNREGA salaries paid in FY 21-22 remained at a pitiful $209 per day, according to the NREGA ‘At a Glance’ report. The official MGNREGA salaries also help to maintain a tight budget.

The MGNREGA Act explicitly states that the wage payment cannot be less than the minimum wage in each State, however the former still falls far short of the latter.

Due to this, both the Act’s terms and the MGNREGA workers’ basic rights have been violated.

What actions are possible?

Budget allocations for MGNREGA that are adequate: Any rural household can request up to 100 days of work per year, and the government is required to comply under MGNREGA, which sees employment guarantee as a legal entitlement. The government is required to meet demand as it develops.

The PAEG suggested a minimum budget of 2.64 lakh crore for FY 2022–23, correcting for the aforementioned inconsistencies and only taking into account the households that were engaged this year.

A novice’s effort in this area will be appreciated, despite the fact that this number is significantly less than the number of households that are enrolled under the scheme.

Adding to MGNREGA Funds: The fundamental tenet of the scheme is undermined if the budget allocation is viewed as a “limit” on the amount of work that can be delivered.

MGNREGA funding must be constantly refilled by supplemental grants granted based on the actual job need in each State, even if an initial budget allocation must be made.

The basic foundation of MGNREGA has been undermined by methods for predicting predictions, maintaining criminally low wages, and considering the budget as a cap on the amount of work that may be done.

Minimum Wage Rate Revisions: Estimates of what the typical MGNREGA wage should be have been developed.

The national minimum wage, for instance, was projected by an expert group headed by Dr. Anoop Satpathy to be 375 per day as of July 2018.

In contrast, PAEG’s recently disclosed pre-budget brief employed a cautious estimate of $269 per day.

In either case, raising the minimum pay rates is urgently required for the scheme to succeed.

Consolidating the Plan: Better coordination is required between the many government agencies and the system used to distribute and evaluate the work.

One of the best welfare programmes in recent years, it has benefited the underprivileged in rural areas. However, government representatives must take the initiative to put the scheme into action and cannot obstruct the effort.

The government must make sure that there is employment available despite the demand, and they should broaden the scheme, concentrate on value addition, and increase the number of community asset works.


Editorial Analysis The Indian Express

Data Protection In India

Protection of Data (Meaning)

Data protection is the process of defending sensitive information against loss, tampering, or
corruption.

The extensive group of information that is kept in a computer or on a network is referred to as data.

As data is created and stored at previously unheard-of rates, the significance of data protection grows

Need

India has over 504 million active web users, and its online market is second only to China, according
to the Internet and Mobile Association of India’s (IAMAI) 2019 report, Digital in India.

A significant source of revenue is now the extensive collection of data about people and their online
behaviors. Because it can disclose very private information, it presents a possible opportunity for
privacy infringement.

It is useful because it allows businesses, governments, and political organisations to identify the most persuasive internet advertising strategies.

International Data Protection Laws:

European Union: Giving people control over their personal data is the main goal of the General Data

The US has specific legislation to address issues relating to digital privacy, including the GrammLeach-Bliley Act and the US Privacy Act of 1974.

Indian initiatives

2000 Information Technology Act

It offers protection against specific breaches involving computer system data. It has clauses that forbid the misuse of computers, computer systems, and the data stored on them.

The 2019 Personal Data Protection Bill

In the historic ruling of K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the right
to privacy as a basic right, and the Union government subsequently created the Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee to recommend rudimentary legislation in the field of data protection.

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018, was the committee’s report and proposed piece of law.

The 2019 Bill was revised by Parliament once more, and it was clear that the 2018 Bill had changed
significantly. Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 is the name of the new Bill.

The goal of this Bill is to establish a Data Protection Authority of India for the abovementioned
purposes and matters relating to an individual’s personal data in addition to providing for the
protection of individuals’ privacy with regard to their personal data.

Personal Data Protection Bill 2019: Concerns

It resembles a sword with two edges. While giving Indians data primary rights to protect their personal information, it also grants the central government exemptions that go against the fundamental rules for processing personal information.

Without the data principals’ explicit consent, the government may process even sensitive personal data when necessary.

Steps to Take

Data is a significant resource in the current digital era that shouldn’t be left unregulated. In light of
this, India should establish a strong data protection regime.

It is time for the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, to undergo the necessary revisions. It must be
rewritten with a focus on user rights and a strong emphasis on privacy for users. To safeguard these
rights, a privacy commission would have to be created.

Along with enhancing the right to information, the government would also need to protect citizens’
right to privacy. In addition, given their potential to render the legislation obsolete, the technical
advancements of the last two to three years also need to be addressed.


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