News & Editorial Analysis 10 March 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – New IT Law:
GS II Topic Government Policies and Interventions
The Union government on Thursday formally announced the Digital India Act, 2023, a significant update to the Information Technology Act, 2000, which has been in existence for many years. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a minister of state for electronics and information technology, presented the changes in Bengaluru.
What will change most in the IT Regulations for 2021?
New advice for social media-using intermediaries:
Intermediaries are currently only required to alert users of the risks associated with uploading a limited range of dangerous or unlawful information. Due to these changes, intermediaries are now mandated by law to use commercially reasonable efforts to prevent users from uploading such content. The new provision will guarantee that the intermediary’s obligation goes beyond mere formality.
The amendment includes a requirement that intermediaries uphold the rights guaranteed to users under Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Indian Constitution, including a reasonable expectation of diligence, privacy, and openness.
It is essential that the intermediary’s policies are effectively communicated in local Indian languages as well.
Amendments to Rule 3:
To clarify the grounds, the words “defamatory” and “libellous” have been removed from subclause 1 of rule 3 (rule 3(1)(b)(ii)).
Any content that may be libellous or defamatory will be subject to judicial review.
Several of the content categories in subclause 1 of rule 3 (rule 3(1)(b)) have been rephrased to expressly target misinformation and content that can encourage violence between different religious or caste groups.
The formation of the committee(s) for grievance appeals: In order to allow users the chance to contest the inaction or conclusions reached by intermediaries about their complaints, Grievance Appellate Committees will be established.
Nonetheless, users will always be able to go to court for help.
What key IT regulations will apply in 2021?
Social media Must Be Used With Greater Caution:
In principle, the IT Guidelines (2021) demand social media platforms to be more vigilant regarding the material on their sites.
Make a Grievance Officer; they must establish a process for dealing with complaints and remove any unlawful or improper content right away.
The grievance officer is in charge of receiving and managing customer complaints as part of the platform’s dispute resolution procedure.
By removing or blocking access to any content that exposes people’s private regions, shows them in full or partial nudity or engaging in sexual acts, is impersonative in nature, uses morphing photographs, etc., within 24 hours of receiving complaints, intermediaries protect users’ safety and dignity online.
Users must be aware of social media platforms’ privacy policies in order to avoid sharing content that is copyleft protected, objectionable due to racial or ethnic origin, pedophilic, or that could jeopardise India’s unity, integrity, defence, security, or sovereignty as well as friendly relations with other nations, or that is illegal under any current laws.
2 – SC/ST Act:
GS II Topic Government Policies and Interventions
The Prevention of Atrocities (SC/ST) Act will not be violated if someone uses someone else’s caste name in jest or says it in the middle of a conversation unless the offender intended to humiliate the victim specifically because of their Scheduled Caste (SC) or Scheduled Tribe (ST) identity, the Orissa High Court recently ruled.
It has changed since the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989:
Article 17 of the constitution forbade the practise of untouchability. In compliance with the stipulations of Articles 14, 15, and 17 of the constitution, the parliament passed the Untouchability (Offenses) Act of 1955. In 1976, the act’s name was changed to the protection of civil rights act.
But because past legislation had failed, the “Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989” was passed.
SC/ST Act of 1989:
The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989, popularly known as the SC/ST Act, was created to protect the marginalised groups from prejudice and atrocities.
Denial of economic, democratic, and social rights, discrimination, exploitation, and abuse of the legal system are just a few of the offences listed under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes Act as patterns or behaviours that lead to criminal offences and undermine the community’s self-respect and self-esteem.
Criminals are not eligible for anticipatory bail under section 18 of the statute.
Every public employee who willfully violates this law’s requirements is subject to a jail sentence of up to six months.
Prevent Atrocities Against SC/ST Act 2015:
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015, was introduced to strengthen the statute with the following clauses:
The number of “atrocities” committed against SCs and STs was increased.
It authorised the establishment of exclusive special courts and special public prosecutors to hear charges involving violations of the PoA Act.
It defined “wilful negligence” for all public employees, including those who file complaints and those who disobey this Act’s requirements.
The court will assume that the accused knew the victim’s caste or tribal identity unless it can be shown otherwise if they were acquainted with him or his family.
2018 SC decision:
In its Kashinath Mahajan ruling, the Supreme Court imposed the following safeguards for the accused under the SC/ST Act.
Judges may still grant advance bail even though a complaint is without substance since “Preliminary Inquiry” is necessary in every instance before the submission of formal police reports (FIRs).
A person cannot be brought into custody by an investigating officer until the “appointing authority” (in the case of a public employee) or the SP (in the case of others) accepts the arrest.
2018 amendment to the Act:
Due to the public outcry over this law’s weakening and Parliament’s passing of Section 18A in 2018, the Supreme Court’s protective measures were reversed.
There is no need for an initial investigation prior to filing a First Information Report against someone.
The accused may be taken into custody at any time in accordance with this law.
The prospect of anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code is no longer an option.
2020: Prathvi Raj Chauhan’s case:
The legality of Section 18-A of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018, was contested in this case.
A three-judge panel of the Supreme Court of India upheld the constitutionality of section 18-A in this case and ruled that pre-arrest bail should only be granted under extraordinary circumstances when rejecting release would lead to a miscarriage of justice.
Judges can only authorise anticipatory bail under specific conditions; they cannot do so routinely.
How effective has the SC/ST Act been?
The SC/ST PoA Act’s effectiveness is called into question by the statistics shown below:
According to the NCRB study, crimes committed against members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes increased by 7.3% and 26.5%, respectively, in 2019.
With 11,829 cases, or 25.8% of all such crimes, Uttar Pradesh leads the country in the number of crimes against SCs. Rajasthan comes in second place with 6,794 cases, or 14.8% of all cases, followed by Bihar (14.2%) and Madhya Pradesh (11.5%).
Conviction rate: In the ten years before to 2018, the average conviction rate for atrocities committed against Dalits and Adivasis under the Prevention of Atrocities Act (PoA Act) stayed at 25.2% and 22.8%, respectively. This is in accordance with the National Dalit Movement for Justice’s status report on the PoA Act’s implementation (NDMJ).
What further has to be done?
Case Registration: Standard Operating Procedures (SoP) should be created to ensure that there is no doubt or ambiguity among the investigators regarding the best course of action.
Judges, attorneys, and police need training and capacity building for these kinds of scenarios.
Prosecution: Lawyers who successfully bring up important cases should be compensated.
To find out what sanctions outside incarceration can stop individuals or groups from committing crimes in the future, research is required.
Laws are simply one of the necessary stages to achieving our constitution’s goal of making India a nation where everyone has equal rights, opportunities, and access to justice, as shown in the numbers above.
The educational and economic conditions of disadvantaged groups like SCs and STs in India must be improved, and nationwide educational reforms must be implemented, in order to address the root causes of prejudice.
3 – Semiconductors in India:
GS II Topic Indian Economy
According to Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo on Thursday, Air India’s decision to purchase 220 Boeing aircraft will result in the creation of a “tremendous number of employment” in the US.
In remarks to the media today, the visiting official announced that the two countries will sign an MoU on semiconductors, supporting India’s desire to play a significant role in the “electronics supply chain,” a day before the India-US Commercial Dialogue continues.
How do semiconductors function?
Computers and other electronic devices can be constructed using semiconductors, a material with unique electrical properties.
Almost all modern electronic gadgets, like as smartphones and connected things for the Internet of Things, are built on it (IoT).
The $500–600 billion international semiconductor market is essential to the $3 trillion global electronics industry.
What are semiconductor chips?
The conductivities of semiconductors fall in the middle of those of insulators and conductors. They could be single elements like silicon or germanium or mixtures like gallium, arsenide, or cadmium selenide.
Why semiconductor chips are important:
These basic elements serve as the brain and heart of all modern devices and products utilising information and communications technology.
These chips are now a common feature of contemporary automobiles, home appliances, and essential medical devices like ECG machines.
Components of a semiconductor chip The basic unit of a semiconductor chip is a piece of silicon that has been etched with billions of tiny transistors to control the flow of electricity.
Nowadays, the most cutting-edge semiconductor nodes are those at 3 and 5 nanometers (nm). Automobiles, consumer electronics, and other devices use semiconductors with higher nanometer values whereas smartphones and laptops use those with lower values.
Issues with the industry that makes semiconductor chips:
Chip shortage caused by pandemic-related plant closures, conflict between the US and China in Taiwan, interruption of the supply chain as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war, and increasing demand.
The production of semiconductors is very specialised. 90% of the 5nm (nanometer) chips used in the world are produced in considerable quantities by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
So, all governments are working to create their own domestic chip manufacturing industry.
Activities by the Indian government:
A $10 billion scheme of production-linked incentives (PLIs) to promote domestic semiconductor and display production.
Help with funding a design-linked initiative (DLI) programme to encourage domestic and foreign investment in design software, intellectual property rights, etc.
The “Programme for Development of Semiconductor and Display Manufacturing Ecosystem in India” has undergone changes. A uniform incentive of 50% of the project cost has been granted by the Union Cabinet for the creation of semiconductor, display, and compound semiconductor fabrication facilities.
An initiative to create facilities for compound semiconductors will be launched by the India Semiconductor Mission (ISM).
Vedanta and Taiwanese chipmaker Foxconn would invest 1,54,400 crores in the construction of a semiconductor manufacturing facility in Gujarat.
What are the challenges?
Costly Investments Required: The cost to create a single semiconductor fab ranges from $3 to $7 billion.
Government financial assistance is scarce.
Nothing Fab Capable.
Insufficient grants under the PLI Scheme.
Low resource industry.
The process of making chips is expensive and resource-intensive.
Moreover, the production of chips requires gallons of ultrapure water in a single day.
4 – IBSA:
GS II Topic International Relations:
According to the Geneva-based DiploFoundation, the three nations that make up the tripartite IBSA Forum—India, Brazil, and South Africa—might be key players in the process of changing digital governance at a time when geopolitical tensions in this area are still quite high.
The trilateral IBSA development project involves collaboration and idea sharing between South Africa, Brazil, and India.
South-South Collaboration (SSC) is not a brand-new concept. A few instances of the decades-long collaboration between nations and organisations to maintain South-South unity include the Bandung Conference in 1955, the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961, the G77 group, UNCTAD, the Buenos Aires Plan of Action in 1978, and the Nairobi Declaration in 2009.
On June 6, 2003, the foreign ministers of the three nations convened in Brasilia (Brazil), where the group was given the moniker IBSA Dialogue Forum.
Both a central office and a specialised executive secretariat are lacking in IBSA.
It depends on summits of leaders of state and government at the highest level.
Five IBSA Leadership Summits have previously taken place. In 2011, the fifth IBSA Summit took place in Pretoria, South Africa. India, the host nation, will hold the sixth IBSA Summit.
Joint Naval Training:
An essential part of the trilateral defence cooperation between IBSA nations is IBSAMAR (IBSA Maritime Exercise).
There have been six IBSAMAR incidents, with the most recent occurring in October 2018 off the coast of South Africa.
The IBSA Support Fund:
The India, Brazil, and South Africa Facility for Poverty and Hunger Alleviation, or IBSA Fund, was established in 2004 and is a special fund through which development initiatives are carried out with IBSA funding in other developing nations.
The management of the fund is under the control of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). A $1 million annual contribution is expected from each IBSA member nation.
Help reduce famine and poverty in South American countries.
To implement scalable, replicable projects in South Asian nations interested in receiving them in order to establish best practises for the struggle against hunger and poverty.
To establish the South-South Cooperation Initiative as a pioneer and role model.
To establish new business alliances in order to grow.
Program for IBSA Fellowships:
It focuses on multilateral institutional frameworks to coordinate, foster, and support sustainable development globally; cooperative research for collaboration and information sharing in the macroeconomics, trade, and development fields; and any other area that may be found of interest within the IBSA framework.
Performance as of now:
Significance following the foundation of BRICS: The association is struggling mightily to stay relevant in light of the emergence of groups like BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
The IBSA had been unable to host its sixth summit up until this moment.
Human Development Projects Implementation:
The fund has invested $39 million over the years and collaborated on 26 projects with 19 global South nations.
Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Burundi, Cambodia, Haiti, Palestine, Vietnam, and other nations have also received project funding.
The fund was given the UN MDG Award in 2010, the South-South and Triangle Collaboration Champions Award in 2012, and the UN South-South Partnership Award in 2006. The fund has also been praised for its exceptional results in the area.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
Tourism In India:
The programme aids in the identification and development of economic drivers based on the local, human, natural, and other resources of the border villages on the northern border; the establishment of growth hubs using a “hub and spoke model” by fostering social entrepreneurship; and the empowerment of young people and women through skill development and entrepreneurship.
by enhancing its authority, Gram Panchayats would help the district administration create dynamic village action plans.
To maximise the potential for tourism, regional, cultural, traditional knowledge, and history should be promoted.
Sustainable eco-agribusinesses built on the principle of “one village, one product” are being created through community-based organisations, cooperatives, and NGOs.
India’s border States have a significant amount of untapped tourism potential because of the areas’ remoteness and accessibility challenges. Aside from the lack of infrastructure, adventure sports, mountaineering, and related commercial activities are all subject to onerous security procedures and permissions that are routinely provided by different agencies.
In coordination with the nation’s leading motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle adventures for citizens should be organised at the Karakoram Pass in Ladakh.
To explore locations like the Saser Kangri massif for mountaineering expeditions, small, experienced teams can collaborate with the military and the Indian Mountaineering Federation.
Similar to this, Pangong Lake in Ladakh is a popular tourist destination. Photographers and birdwatchers will love the area around Pangong Lake and Chushul.
The Changthang wildlife reserve has wetlands and a sizable Kiang population. Lhari Peak is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists.
The Demchok area has a number of hot springs that are well-known for their usage in naturopathic medicine. Three nearby settlements, Tsaga, Koyul, and Hanle, can also be further developed.
The Chumar region needs to increase tourism. With a focus on home stays in particular, the Tso Moriri lake area can improve tourism.
Both the Niti Valley in Uttarakhand and the related Mana hamlet, which are close to the Line of Actual Control, have similar possibilities.
Moreover, the Parvati Kund region near Rimkhim in the Barahoti bowl has promise for increased tourism.
In Sikkim, the region surrounding Doka La is ideal for tourism. Pedong, Nathang Valley, Zuluk, Kupup, Baba Harbhajan Temple, and the Yak Gold Course, the highest golf course in the world, are nearby locations.
In the eastern region, the Bum La Pass in Arunachal Pradesh is already a well-known tourist destination. The number of people visiting the region could rise up until Zero Point, where border guards and Chinese officials meet.
Taksing, which is positioned higher up in the Upper Subansiri district, is surrounded by gorgeous river basins, virgin rainforest, and lovely camping grounds. Buddhist pilgrims who travel the ancient Tsari road view it as having religious significance as well. River rafting is an option in addition to Siyum.
Despite the fact that many border locations are rural and little populated, every effort should be made to establish hubs of civilian presence and arrangements for house stays. When they promote their travels on social media, foreigners provide value. It is advised to use financing from initiatives like the Border Area Development Project to build houses and lay fibre optic cable for communication.
The military’s deployment continues to be the main source of revenue for locals in many far-off places. This needs to change in order to support commercial activities like tourism. Priority should be given to building all-weather roads, rest areas, restrooms, gas stations, medical facilities, electricity (preferably solar and wind energy), communication towers, and suitable medical facilities.
India’s border regions offer a lot of promise for tourism, but it’s equally important to make sure that initiatives are only carried out after performing feasibility analyses. The Himalayan belt is experiencing subsidence due to uncontrolled, illegal growth. It is important to encourage infrastructure that helps the local economy and is built sustainably.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
Women In STEM Sector:
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has released data showing that women’s engagement in scientific and technological disciplines has increased over the past 20 years.
Major conclusions from the data:
While there are still more women researchers in the social sciences and humanities, there has been a noticeable increase in the sciences as well.
In 2018, there were 18.7 more women researchers than there were in 2015.
Engineering and technology now account for 14.5%, natural sciences and agriculture for 22.5%, and health sciences for 24.5%.
At organisations like the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Defence Research & Development Organization, and the Indian Space Research Organization, among others, women hold leadership and research positions.
What STEM is:
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, which are four closely related fields of study. Due to the similarities in theory and practise between the fields, they are frequently connected. Women have historically been underrepresented in several fields when compared to men. There is a global voice calling for increased female engagement for better results.
India’s relations with important nations and a potential problem area:
According to the Ministry of Education’s 2019 All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE):
At the postsecondary level, there are more female STEM graduates from India (43%) than from industrialised countries like the US (34%), UK (38%), Germany (27%) and France (32%). Nonetheless, it fell short of men (56%).
Although women participate in STEM fields at higher rates than men do, just 14% of STEM-related occupations in the nation are held by women.
India is ranked 108th out of 149 nations in the 2018 Global Gender Gap Report.
According to the 2019 All India Survey on Higher Education, women are underrepresented at the PhD level, in part because of the demands of marriage and family planning.
What are the causes of women’s poor involvement in STEM?
Gender stereotypes: From preschool on, instructors and parents sometimes undervalue the arithmetic skills of females because STEM areas are frequently perceived as being masculine.
Women frequently opt out of advanced jobs in science and technology because to patriarchal views in grant, fellowship, and hiring policies, as well as social pressures to fit in, family duties, and stress associated to marriage and childbearing.
Less Role Models: Due to the dearth of female scientists and engineers in books, the media, and popular culture, girls have fewer role models to encourage their interest in these disciplines. Since Marie Curie in 1903, only 17 women have been awarded the Nobel Prize in physics, chemistry, or medicine, compared to 572 men, and only 28% of researchers worldwide are female.
Underrepresentation in the STEM Workforce: Women are less likely to find STEM-related jobs than men are, which deters women from choosing STEM as a career.
Government failure to establish effective measures to encourage women to work in STEM fields.
To promote the involvement of women in STEM, the following actions must be taken:
encouraging women and girls to pursue STEM fields by fostering their confidence and developing their talents.
by giving them access to equal educational opportunities and inspiring them with the example of strong women like Madame Curie.
Encourage the general public to educate parents on how they can support learning opportunities for their daughters in math and science and send empowering messages about their potential.
Women must be drawn to, recruited into, and kept in STEM professions at colleges and universities.
Create STEM-related courses, and alter workplace policies and procedures to make them more welcoming to women.
Set a high priority on inclusive cultures, strong, varied leadership, and diverse, inclusive settings.
Enhance career paths for hiring, retaining, and advancing employees, and cultivate inclusive cultures:
Increase the number of women you hire, and seek to keep and advance them throughout their careers via solid leadership and professional development programmes.
Encourage the creation of friendly work environments by offering pay parity, flexibility, comprehensive family and medical leave policies, and robust anti-harassment and anti-discrimination laws.
For women to participate more effectively in STEM fields, the government needs to develop gender-specific policies.
Government programmes to promote women’s participation include:
GATI programme: Gender Advancement for Changing Institutions
To assist in creating a gender-equitable ecology inside institutions of higher learning and research,
In accordance with this, institutions agree to implement gender-sensitive policies and practises for women enrolled in STEM programmes.
Consolidation of University Research for Innovation and Excellence (CURIE) project helps women’s institutions develop their research and development (R&D) infrastructure. Eight female universities have so far received funding from CURIE with success, and six of those colleges now have AI labs.
The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a Statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, has launched “SERB-POWER” (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research) to address gender disparity in science and engineering research funding in various S&T programmes in Indian academic institutions and research and development (R&D) laboratories.
It focuses on the significantly lower participation of female scientists in research activities and seeks to discover and aid the nation’s most promising female researchers.
Due to the low percentage of women researchers directly involved in R&D in India (16.6%).
KIRAN stands for “Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing.” DST’s Women Scientist Scheme (WOS) under KIRAN offers unemployed women scientists and technologists, particularly those who had a professional break, career options including grants for pursuing research in cutting-edge fields of science and engineering.
DST launched the Women Entrepreneur’s Quest (WEQ) Program in collaboration with the Anita Borg Institute, USA, to identify and assist female entrepreneurs in the technology sector. 42 start-ups in all have received help, and 21 of those have advanced to new levels.
Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine are collectively referred to as STEM. It was started to give Indian women scientists, engineers, and technicians the chance to conduct 3- to 6-month-long worldwide collaborative research projects in prestigious US institutions.
Conclusion / Next Steps:
Short term: establishing the policies, creating the course, and giving employment opportunities to encourage women in STEM disciplines are two strategies to encourage their involvement. Long-term solutions include eradicating the patriarchal mindset and stereotypes that prevent women from actively participating in society.
However, as AI is used more frequently in the sciences, it is anticipated that the participation of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (S&T) will increase exponentially. Women will use more advanced tools that enable remote working, such as something as basic as access to online libraries. It is anticipated that as chemical sciences and the industry advance in intelligence and cleanliness, the proportion of women working will rise.
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