News & Editorial Analysis 27 February 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – G 20:
GS II Topic International Organizations:
Russian military must leave Ukrainian territory “totally and unconditionally,” the majority of attendees at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) conference on Saturday in Bengaluru stated.
The “Outcome Document” for the meeting made reference to divisions among the G20 participants in its conclusion.
The European Union and 19 other countries make up the intergovernmental group known as the Group of Twenty (G20) (EU)
The G20 is responsible for about half of the planet’s surface area, two-thirds of the world’s population, 75-80% of global trade, and over 90% of the GWP (gross world product). It is made up of the vast majority of the world’s most powerful economies, including both developed and underdeveloped nations.
The G20 was founded in 1999 in response to numerous economic issues on a worldwide scale.
Since 2008, it has held summit meetings at least once annually, with the presidents of state or government, the ministers of finance and foreign affairs, and other top officials from each member attending. The European Union is represented by the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
The chair being rotated:
With the exception of the European Union, all nations are split up into one of five groups to choose which nation would preside over the G20 leaders’ meeting for a particular year.
All countries in a group are eligible to hold the G20 Presidency when their turn comes around. As a result, the states involved in the group must compromise in order to select the next G20 President.
The G20 does not have a permanent secretariat or employees.
The current chair hires a temporary secretariat to manage the group’s operations and schedule meetings for the duration of its term.
The summits will be held in 2023 and 2024, respectively, in India and Brazil.
Along with these 20 members, the heads of numerous other international organisations and forums also attend G20 meetings.
Putting Money First:
The primary goals of the G20’s initial agenda were to ensure the stability of the global financial system and the viability of sovereign debt under an open structure that included the largest developing economies as partners on an equal footing.
Also, attendees’ frequent discussions at the G20 summit have prioritised global economic growth, financial market regulation, and international trade.
With the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, other “issues of global relevance,” such as migration, digitalization, employment, healthcare, the economic empowerment of women, and development aid, were added to the G20 agenda in 2015.
The G20 and India:
India’s participation in the G20 process was motivated by the knowledge that it, as a sizable developing nation, has a vital stake in the stability of the international economic and financial system.
India’s agenda at the G20 Summit is driven by:
the need to broaden financial system inclusion in order to curb protectionist tendencies and safeguard developing countries’ growth prospects.
2 – Digital India:
GS III Topic Government Policies and Interventions:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that programmes like the eSanjeevani programme had made sure that people living in rural areas of the country had access to medical treatment in the 98th episode of his weekly radio address Mann Ki Baat. He said Mann Ki Baat had been a great platform for expressing public engagement. Every month, millions of texts from various people convey their “Mann Ki Baat” to me. You are conscious of the power of your thoughts… How does a nation’s power grow with societal advancement in a similar vein? Many episodes of “Mann Ki Baat” have demonstrated and explained this, and I have personally experienced and accepted it, Mr. Modi continued.
The Prime Minister emphasised that the demographic dividend and data present a significant opportunity and that this decade will be “India’s techade.”
In the following years, more Indian tech businesses are predicted to join the unicorn club (with a valuation of USD 1 billion).
It costs Rs. 1,13,000 crore and is the government of India’s flagship programme.
India as a knowledge-based economy and society is the goal.
Eyes on the Prize:
Digital infrastructure services on demand and governance: A Citizen’s Essential Utility.
Digital empowerment of citizens.
What Digital India is Worth:
The foundation of digital India is the notion of little government and maximum governance, which has produced opportunities, amenities, and participation for all.
The common Indian is empowered by digital India. It has reduced corruption, increased transparency and inclusivity, and improved public access to government services and processes.
Supports Several Plans: It has helped various initiatives including PM SVANidhi, eNAM, eSanjeevani for telemedicine, DigiBunai, and Diksha that were launched after Digital India.
For citizens, services are easily accessible: With the help of Digital India, it is now exceedingly easy and quick to get a driver’s licence, a birth certificate, pay a utility bill, a water bill, or file an income tax return. All of this is happening in neighbourhoods and CSCs close to people’s homes.
Thanks to 2.5 lakh CSCs, there is now Internet connection in rural areas. Under the Bharat Net programme, work is now being done on a mission mode to provide broadband internet to the communities.
Millions of people have benefited from Digilocker, which provides a digital storage facility for medical data, school transcripts, and other vital credentials. This has been especially true throughout the outbreak.
PM Kisan Samman Nidhi: By depositing Rs. 1.35 lakh crore directly into the bank accounts of more than 10 crore farmer families, Digital India has realised the idea of “One Nation, One MSP.”
“One Nation, One Ration Card” must be implemented nationwide, according to a Supreme Court order. This effort helps people who commute to work in other states.
MP WANI: Youth in remote regions will be able to connect for better services and education thanks to the construction of high-speed internet access points. Also, 5G technology will significantly alter the world, and India is preparing to seize this opportunity to the fullest.
Direct Transfers to Bank Accounts: The Digital India programme demonstrates the nation’s dedication to independence (Atma Nirbhar Bharat) Around Rs 17 lakh crore has been deposited via Digital India into the bank accounts of those who have benefited from various programmes over the last 6-7 years.
The Epidemic in Digital India:
For the epidemic to continue, access to healthcare, education, and other public services needed to be maintained.
Affordable tablets and other digital devices are available to students across the nation.
Electronic companies are receiving production-linked subsidies to help them reach this objective.
The digital solutions created by India amid the Covid crisis have received widespread acclaim.
The use of the contact tracing software Aarogya Setu has been crucial in preventing Covid from spreading across the country.
Several nations have expressed interest in the CoWIN app, and tools like this highlight India’s technical prowess.
Digital India has proven essential for citizen services.
The movement will advance through the use of cutting-edge technology like blockchain, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
On the one hand, India is thirsty for innovation, and on the other, it is eager to embrace new developments.
As a result, the demographic dividend and data together provide limitless opportunities.
3 – Manual Scavenging:
GS II Topic Social Issues:
In order to implement its nearly ten-year-old ruling to end manual scavenging, safeguard future generations from the “inhuman practise,” and make entering sewers without safety gear a crime even in emergency situations, the Supreme Court has ordered the government to document its actions within six weeks.
The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act of 1993 and the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act of 2013 made the practise illegal, but a court recently took judicial notice of the continued use of manual scavenging and deaths of people trapped in flooded sewer lines. The bench was presided over by Justice S. Ravindra Bhat.
Why is manual scavenging so prevalent in India?
Inefficient sewage management system: Il India, the majority of towns do not have the most up-to-date sewage cleaning equipment, therefore sewage employees must enter the underground sewer networks through manholes.
Meanwhile, because they are significantly less expensive to hire, contractors illegally employ unskilled labourers and pay them a daily wage.
Implementation of Government Policies Has Been Ineffective: Government programmes have mostly concentrated on the financial aspect of rehabilitation while disregarding caste-based discrimination and related societal concerns that have maintained this practise for millennia.
Yet, no suitable strategies to psychologically liberate manual scavengers have been suggested. This motivates people who are already practising manual scavenging to go even deeper.
Lack of Social Mobility: Because they cannot access essentials, education, or employment opportunities, manual scavengers are compelled to work. Even society does not allow them to participate in group activities.
They are not given employment opportunities, and property owners won’t let them rent their homes. As a result, they become exposed, which prevents them from moving up the social scale.
What Effects Does Manual Scavenging Have?
Social Discrimination: The majority of manual scavengers are stigmatised by the community due to the nature of their employment.
Since they are regarded as being untouchable, they are supposed to accept their predicament.
The fact that their children must carry out the same responsibilities as their parents and experience discrimination adds to the severity of the problem.
Caste-based inequality: The caste is still regarded as a lower class and is barred from obtaining better employment.
Hence, scavenging is regarded as a natural component of their line of work.
Also, people from marginal castes who go to cities in pursuit of a greater standard of living always end up working in the same field.
Health-Related Problems: Gases like methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide are among those the scavengers are exposed to. Long-term exposure to these gases can result in serious health issues, including deadly illnesses.
They are also susceptible to a range of diseases in sewers because of the numerous germs that thrive there.
According to the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) database, 608 manual scavengers died between 2013 and 2017 while clearing sewage tanks.
How India can quit manual scavenging:
Proper Identification: Manual scavenging violates human rights and is offensive to all of humanity. In order to ensure that policies are carried out efficiently, state governments should give priority to identifying the people who remove dangerous sludge.
Active Stakeholder Participation In order to handle this issue, it would be crucial to involve all of the major parties.
These include the District Administrative Officers, Chief Medical Officer, NGOs, and Municipal Corporation, among other relevant officials.
The program’s inclusion of the neighbourhood surrounding the most affected neighbourhoods is equally important.
By requesting information from the community and the authorities, it will be simpler to make an informed decision about how to best proceed with the project.
Broader Education The authorities should better inform the populace about the consequences of scavenging and using dry toilets legally as well as the underlying causes of these behaviours by holding a session with the community.
Advertising ought to provide people an alternative means of making money in addition to cautioning them against the dangers of scavenging.
Locals may be allowed to provide solutions that they are already familiar with.
The payment of compensation and manual scavengers’ rehabilitation is one of the most important parts of rehabilitation.
The new posts would aim to provide equal opportunities for locals. Manual scavengers can be integrated into society through the new jobs.
A 2014 Supreme Court decision mandated that the government identify each individual who passed away while working on sewage systems since 1993 and provide their families with Rs. 10 lakh in compensation.
Efficient Human Waste Management Investments: Two examples of how we might use garbage for the benefit of humanity are municipal bio composting and fixing the problems with solid and liquid waste segregation.
By viewing garbage as an asset rather than a liability, manual scavenging will eventually decline, opening the way for Swacch Bharat and Swasth Bharat.
Robotic scavenging: With the help of robotics and artificial intelligence, machines that can replace people in manual labour can be built.
Bandicoot is a name for one such robotic gadget made for cleaning various kinds of sewer manholes.
In pursuit of social integration Scavenging provides meagre money that cannot support a child’s education. In the end, the kid stops going to school and starts working with their parents.
Plans should be made to help these children complete their academic work in order to eliminate stereotypes and misconceptions about manual scavenging.
4 – Domestic Violence in India:
GS II Topic Women Empowerment:
The Supreme Court has asked the government for further information about Mission Shakti, an umbrella programme for the safety, security, and empowerment of women, inquiring about a probable ongoing shortage of protection officers to handle domestic violence cases.
In a sample of 801 districts, there are currently 4.4 lakh domestic violence cases outstanding, according to a government filing with the highest court.
About Domestic violence:
The goal of domestic violence is to gain or maintain control over an intimate partner in any form of relationship.
Abuse is any harmful behaviour that impacts another person, whether it be physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or psychological.
This encompasses any behaviour that terrifies, intimidates, manipulates, causes pain, degrades, or assigns blame to another individual.
Domestic abuse affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and educational levels.
Domestic abuse is a crime that is sanctioned by Indian law. That goes against peoples’ rights.
Domestic violence in India:
Fifth National Family Health Survey (2019–21):
In 32% more rural areas than in urban areas, women who have ever been married and are between the ages of 18 and 49 say that their husbands have abused them emotionally, physically, or sexually. This does not even sufficiently depict the prevalence of violence by family members.
According to the NFHS-5, just 14% of women who have experienced domestic abuse have ever sought assistance, and this number is significantly lower in rural areas.
To justify violence:
According to NFHS-5 statistics, social norms about gender inequality are so firmly ingrained that women are more likely than men to support a scenario in which a husband abuses or assaults his wife.
Issues associated with domestic violence:
Despite the legal presence of the laws, it is nevertheless difficult for women to really utilise the law. Its promises and benefits are out of reach, sporadic, and unreachable for the majority of Indian women.
32% of women who have ever been married and are between the ages of 18 and 49 have experienced emotional, physical, or sexual abuse by their husbands, according to the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019–21). Domestic abuse is more prevalent among women in rural than in metropolitan regions.
Just 14% of women who have experienced domestic abuse have ever sought treatment, according to the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019–21), and this number is significantly lower in rural areas. Despite the fact that domestic violence affects almost one third of women, this is the case.
Women who reported acts of violence to the police had negative expectations for the outcome.
Instead of filing a formal complaint or linking the women to protection officers and other service providers as advised by the PWDVA, it has been seen that police in several States frequently use violence against offenders as a deterrent or send women back into abusive situations.
In a few States, protection police are not yet in use. They are also overworked, under-resourced, and underqualified for their current role, which makes their mandate challenging.
Sometimes women decide not to report instances of domestic violence because they believe things will get better.
Women did not want to be a “burden” on their families or society as large. Women believed that they would be a nuisance or a source of “stress” for their families, bringing them shame and disgrace, regardless of the survivor’s level of education, caste, or status.
The pandemic exacerbated the economic difficulties experienced by millions of people.
What police officers do:
Women who reported acts of violence to the police had negative expectations for the outcome.
Some people had positive interactions with the police, but for the vast majority of women, they were more of a part of the problem than the solution.
According to reports from all over the country, police frequently used violence as a deterrent against them or sent women back into abusive situations so they could make amends with the abusers rather than filing a formal complaint or connecting women to protection officers and other service providers as the PWDVA advises.
Protection officers are not yet in place in many States, and when they are, they are overworked, underfunded, and untrained, which renders their position untenable.
Act of 2005 Protecting Women from Domestic Violence: A forward-thinking statute that was passed in 2005 offered a coordinated plan, including both civil and criminal protections, to help and protect victims of domestic violence.
In order to protect women from domestic abuse, a law specifically protecting women was passed.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013 was enacted to effectively use the legal system to prevent sexual offences.
In order to establish even tougher penalties, such as the death penalty for raping a girl under the age of 12, a new law known as the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2018 was also passed.
The Nirbhaya Fund, which the government established for projects for the safety and security of women, has a focal point for analysing and approving proposals or programmes to be supported. This focal point is the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
To manage a variety of initiatives for women’s safety, MHA established a Women Safety Department.
The Indian government carries out awareness-raising campaigns and public relations efforts on the various laws pertaining to women and their rights through workshops, cultural programmes, seminars, training programmes, advertisements in print and electronic media, and other techniques.
How to Proceed:
Women’s education has not equipped them to challenge patriarchy, hence the solution should focus on gender equality in education to begin with.
The government should recognise and treat domestic violence, regardless of its manifestation, as a crime rather than a “family issue.”
Additional important efforts include building institutional responses to trauma that are informed by impact assessments and increasing the number of one-stop centres with skilled employees.
Institutions need to be strengthened with more diverse representation, and campaigns need to be continued and intensified.
the development and promotion of a service directory that offers details and phone numbers for use in an emergency by survivors, their family members, or acquaintances.
Data and information systems must be enhanced in order to address the issue of domestic violence in India with better evidence-informed policy.
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The Hindu News Analysis
Cyber Attacks Are Rising, But There Is An Ideal Patch:
Over the past few weeks, our rapidly expanding digital networks’ fragile underbelly has come to light. The first ransomware attack was directed at India’s leading institution, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). When the systems finally went online more than two weeks later, over 40 million health records were impacted.
Soon after, the ransomware organisation BlackCat broke into the parent company of Solar Industries Ltd, one of the Ministry of Defence’s munitions and explosives suppliers, and stole over 2 Terabyte of data.
These days, ransomware is a prominent component of the majority of destructive assaults. In this case, the perpetrators ask for enormous quantities of money in exchange for revealing secret information. According to data, similar attacks have affected more than 75% of Indian organisations, with each breach costing an average of 35 crore. By 2023, it is predicted that cybercrimes would have caused $8 trillion in damage to the world economy.
There are other forms of malware that can infect any kind of computer system. All crucial infrastructure, including as banking, power, and transportation, is becoming increasingly vulnerable to attacks from rival governments and non-state actors as the line separating the real and digital worlds is fast blurring.
Malicious software, also referred to as malware, is any programme or file designed to intentionally harm a computer, network, or server. Malware includes things like spyware, ransomware, Trojan horses, computer viruses, and worms.
Until a ransom is paid, ransomware, a type of malware from cryptovirology, threatens to reveal the victim’s personal information or to permanently block access to it.
In 2022, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) released a set of guidelines for companies to abide by when connected to the internet. They included naming a pointsperson with domain expertise to correspond with CERT-In and the necessity to report cyberattack incidents as soon as they were found.
The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team is housed within the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of the Indian Government (CERT-IN or ICERT). It serves as the focal point for managing threats to cyber security including hacking and phishing. It enhances the security-related defence of the Indian Internet domain.
The Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill 2022, which is now in draught form, calls for fines of up to 500 crore rupees for data breaches. Defense Cyber Agency (DCyA), which is geared for both offensive and defensive manoeuvres, has been established by the Indian armed forces. In India, there is a separate cyber command and control centre for each state.
Nevertheless, the majority of organisations lack the tools necessary to detect cyberattacks. India also suffers a severe scarcity of cybersecurity professionals. India is expected to employ around 3,000 people in this business total, compared to the 1.2 million workers in the United States.
The possibility for digital security breaches and the power of dangerous viruses will only increase with the advent of 5G and quantum computing. India’s cybersecurity policy would be good to keep an eye on these developments.
To understand the world, you must:
Because the vast majority of cyberattacks originate from outside of our borders, international cooperation is crucial to preserving the security of our digital environment. Also, it would be a cause with broad appeal.
India has already approved cybersecurity agreements with the United States, the European Union, South Korea, Russia, and other countries. There are initiatives to encourage cooperation in cyber event responses, technology collaboration, capacity building, and the enhancement of cyber resilience, even in international frameworks like the Quad and the I2U2 (of which India is a member).
Two procedures have already been established by the UNGA to handle security issues in the context of information and communication technologies (ICTs):
Every member state is a part of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG), which Russia established through a UN resolution.
The Group of Governmental Experts (GGE), a group of 25 countries representing all the major areas, was called upon by the United States in a resolution that was enacted.
The two competing permanent members of the UN Security Council, which are among India’s most important strategic allies, hold extremely divergent opinions on a variety of Internet-related topics, such as openness, restrictions on data flow, and digital sovereignty.
Nonetheless, member states have concluded that the two resolutions are complimentary rather than incompatible based on acceptance. These UN organisations will have a difficult time conducting fruitful discussions in light of the unstable global conditions of today.
The G-20 meeting this year in India, which will feature representation from all the major world powers, offers a chance to strengthen global cyber security. India could attempt to create a set of universally recognised basic cybersecurity requirements.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
Slow Path To Peace In J&K:
The Union government is reportedly debating a “plan to withdraw the Indian Army totally from the Valley hinterland,” according to a recent report.
The Army will only be present along the Line of Control (LoC) if approved. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the J&K police could take over control of counterterrorism operations as the Army is pulled out, starting with a few Kashmiri areas.
Army withdrawal from valley due to:
The decrease in violence in J&K since the decisions made on August 5, 2019, is the driving force behind this decision.
This has happened in the past. For instance, two divisions were removed from counterterrorism activities in J&K between 2007 and 2009 and returned to their original function.
Also, two brigades from Kashmir were transferred to Ladakh to reinforce the deployment near the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
It will also resolve the labour shortage.
Also, there are manpower issues for the Army. The two-year moratorium on recruiting during Covid-19 has led to a shortage of roughly 1,20,000 soldiers, and there are no plans to address the gap through fresh recruitment.
The increased force deployment along the LAC to address the issue that broke up in Eastern Ladakh in 2020 has made the manpower shortage worse. The Army has the chance to properly size its force structure whenever internal security responsibilities are reduced.
In fact, the Army has been considering this already. The number of RR companies in a unit would be decreased from six to four, and part of the sector and force headquarters would be dissolved.
Moreover, several RR units have already been deployed along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. When all of this is considered, the Army’s presence in the hinterland would be significantly reduced.
When pulling the Troops out of the valley, the following variables must be taken into account:
Initially, the timing. Outside Factor:
Examining the internal and external causes that have kept the issue from being resolved is necessary for determining what constitutes normalcy.
The outside influence has lost strength. In the past, Pakistan has generously supported terrorism in J&K, but today, it has less power to change the situation.
This is due to Pakistan’s severe political, economic, and internal security problems, as well as India’s robust response to terrorist acts bearing a Pakistani hallmark.
In order to address internal factors, it is necessary to govern the security situation, combat radicalization, meet the needs of the populace, promote economic development, and resume political engagement.
Lessons from the past show that the prevalence of violence alone does not represent normalcy. The number of people killed in acts of terrorism was less than half that of 2022 in 2012, but because the root reasons of the conflict in J&K were not addressed, the situation continuously got worse.
Although the security situation is currently calm, it would be wise to spend some additional time to address the other issues thoroughly. This would guarantee that J&K maintains its stability even if the Army is not present.
Stages in the army’s transition:
Areas should be turned up to the CRPF gradually. The region of Jammu, where the CRPF assumes full responsibility for counterterrorism activities, could serve as the starting point.
For any unforeseen circumstances, a small number of RR units could be maintained on hand.
However, it is not advised to try turning over specific districts in Kashmir because it would lead to concerns with operational integrity, intelligence gathering, and command and control with neighbouring forces acting under different ministries.
Phasing is being recommended for two key reasons:
Now, the Army, CRPF, and J&K police work in cooperation, with each force bringing its own expertise to the missions. In the case of the Army, these comprise not only the highly trained soldiers but also the logistics, communication, engineering, and medical support that is crucial to the organisation. This competence gap would need to be filled in the absence of the Army, and the initial deployment of the CRPF in the Jammu region could teach important lessons in this respect before they assume duty in the Kashmir valley.
The government’s suggestion that the return to normalcy be followed by a decrease in the Army force levels stationed in J&K for counterterrorism operations has some merit.
This would also come as a relief to the Army faced with manpower cuts even as its operational obligations have expanded. Yet, the achievements in J&K have come at significant cost, and it would be smart to err on the side of caution and perform the pull out of the Army in a graduated and staged manner.
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