Data Protection Bill poses severe restrictions to RTI Act, NCPRI cautions govt.
Relevance: GS -2 Read about impact of data protection bill on RTI Act
Context: An upcoming amendment to the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 aims to remove the legal basis for government agencies to share personal information in the public interest.
Digital Personal Data Protection Bill:
- The version of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, set to be introduced in Parliament, includes a section that would significantly alter Section 8(1)(j) of the 2005 RTI Act.
- Section 8(1)(j) currently allows for the disclosure of personal information if it is in the larger public interest and has a relationship to a public activity or interest, while avoiding unwarranted invasion of privacy.
- The data protection bill would remove these provisions, prohibiting government agencies from sharing any private information, irrespective of potential public interest.
Concerns Raised by the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI):
- The NCPRI, a prominent advocacy group for transparency since 1996, expressed alarm over the proposed amendment.
- The NCPRI’s letter to Members of Parliament emphasized that the amendment would restrict the scope of the RTI Act and hinder people’s ability to access information.
- They argued that access to granular information, including personal information, is essential for empowering individuals to monitor collective welfare and access their rights and entitlements.
- The NCPRI warned that the proposed bill could impede public disclosures and create barriers and restrictions in accessing critical information.
India’s Strengthening of Data Protection Regime:
Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Retd) vs Union of India 2017:
- In August 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that Indians have a constitutionally protected fundamental right to privacy under Article 21, which encompasses life and liberty.
B.N. Srikrishna Committee 2017:
- The government appointed a committee chaired by Justice B.N. Srikrishna in August 2017 to propose a framework for data protection.
- The committee submitted its report in July 2018, along with a draft Data Protection Bill.
- The report included recommendations to enhance privacy laws in India, such as imposing restrictions on data processing and collection, establishing a Data Protection Authority, introducing the right to be forgotten, and advocating for data localization.
Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021:
- The IT Rules (2021) impose stricter obligations on social media platforms regarding the content shared on their platforms.
- The rules require platforms to exercise greater diligence in monitoring and moderating content, including addressing concerns related to fake news, misinformation, and harmful content.
India, France set to co-develop jet engine
Relevance: GS -2 Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Context: India and France announced the extension of their defence cooperation in advanced aeronautical technologies.
- The two countries will collaborate on the joint development of a combat aircraft engine and an engine for the Indian multi-role helicopter (IMRH) being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
- This collaboration further enhances the trust and technology sharing between India and France.
Other Defence Cooperation Announcements:
- India and France made several other announcements in the field of defence.
- Cooperation on small and advanced modular reactors was agreed upon.
- A road map for joint actions in the Indo-Pacific region was adopted.
- The joint Earth observation satellite project was finalized.
- Simplification of visa requirements for students was also announced.
Engagement on Multiple Fronts:
- The two countries expressed their commitment to exploring ambitious projects in various sectors, such as submarines and surface ships.
- Agreements were signed between Mazagon Dockyard Ltd., Mumbai and Naval Group for the construction of three additional Scorpene submarines.
- Collaboration between Safran and HAL for the transfer of technology for the Shakti Engine was also mentioned.
- A Technical Office of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is being set up in the Indian embassy in Paris.
Other Aspects of Bilateral Relations:
- Apart from defence, India and France identified areas of cooperation in steel, space, energy, and civil nuclear sectors.
- Both countries expressed their commitment to liberalizing visa systems for students.
- The French President mentioned the presence of Indian troops in the World Wars and expressed pride in seeing the Punjab Regiment in Paris.
Global Issues and Indo-Pacific Cooperation:
- The leaders discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine.
- Both countries emphasized the need for dialogue and diplomacy to resolve issues.
- India and France agreed to enhance cooperation in the fight against cross-border terrorism.
- They recognized their responsibility in maintaining peace and tranquility in the Indo-Pacific region and are working on a cooperation road map.
Meetings and Cultural Exchanges:
- PM Modi attended the Bastille Day parade and participated in various meetings and events.
- He met with prominent personalities from France and of Indian origin, including a yoga practitioner, a French astronaut, and the CEO of Chanel.
- Discussions covered parliamentary cooperation, trade, economy, technology, culture, and environment.
Expansion of Digital Payments and Civil Nuclear Cooperation:
- India’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) will be launched in France, enhancing digital payment systems.
- Both countries are exploring civil nuclear cooperation, including discussions on small, advanced modular reactors.
EU Parliament resolution misdiagnoses the Manipur issue
- India’s dismissal of the EU Parliament’s resolution on Manipur reflects a predictable response to scrutiny.
- Like-minded nations have the right to question actions in Manipur, as India does with issues in other countries.
Context of Violence in Manipur:
- Recent violence in Manipur resulted in 142 deaths and displacement of thousands.
- Conflict sparked by an erroneous court order to include Meiteis in the list of Scheduled Tribes.
- Grievances also exist among the Naga community, predominantly Christian.
- Violence primarily involves militants from the Kuki-Zo and Meitei communities, not driven by religious discord.
Misconceptions in the EU Parliament’s Resolution:
- Resolution wrongly frames the conflict as a religious divide between Hindus and Christians.
- Incidents of vandalized churches and temples do not signify a religious confrontation.
- Resolution fails to recognize the complex socio-political dynamics and ethnic tensions in Manipur.
Need for Accurate Diagnosis:
- Misunderstanding the root causes risks further polarization and division.
- Comprehensive understanding of socio-political dynamics, ethnic tensions, and economic disparities is essential.
- Accurate diagnosis crucial for effective reconciliation and accountability efforts.
Role of Reconciliation and Accountability:
- Support and encourage reconciliatory efforts by civil society in Manipur.
- Government must be perceived as neutral and committed to addressing the ethnic divide.
- Address socio-economic disparities between the “hill” and “valley” areas.
- Scrutiny by the EU Parliament should be welcomed, but accurate understanding is crucial.
- Misconceptions hinder progress towards reconciliation and accountability.
- Acknowledge complexities, promote dialogue, and address socio-economic disparities for sustainable peace and unity in Manipur.
LVM-3’s Chandrayaan success is a big boost for Gaganyaan
Relevance: GS -3 Space
Context: With a human-rated Launch Vehicle Mark (LVM) to be used for the upcoming Gaganyaan mission, the LVM-3’s successful launch of the Chandrayaan-3 on July 14 gained significance, as it has further enhanced the reliability of the launch vehicle.
Significance of Chandrayaan-3 Launch:
- The successful launch of Chandrayaan-3 using the LVM-3 (Human-Rated Launch Vehicle Mark) has increased the reliability of the launch vehicle.
- The mission’s success is crucial as it demonstrates the capabilities of the LVM for future human spaceflights.
Human-Rated Systems Used:
- The Chandrayaan-3 mission utilized multiple systems rated for human spaceflight.
- The S200 solid strap-on motors, previously used for human-rated missions, were employed once again.
- The L110 Vikas engine has now been fully certified as human-rated, further enhancing the safety and reliability of the launch vehicle.
- The Gaganyaan project aims to demonstrate India’s human spaceflight capability.
- It involves launching three astronauts to a 400 km orbit for a three-day mission and safely returning them to Earth, with a landing in Indian seas.
Wide Contribution to Chandrayaan-3 Mission:
- Several public and private sector units across the country played an active role in the Chandrayaan-3 mission.
- Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited (MIDHANI), a defense PSU, supplied critical materials such as alloys and components for the launch vehicle.
- Kerala government undertakings like Keltron and Kerala Minerals and Metals (KMML) provided electronic and titanium-based components, respectively.
- Industry partners, including Ananth Technologies Ltd (ATL) and Kortas Industries Pvt Ltd, contributed to avionics packages and various components.
- The Central Tool Room and Training Centre (CTTC) in Bhubaneswar supplied flow control valves, gyroscopes, propellant walls, and other critical components for the mission.
India’s third lunar odyssey begins with perfect launch
Relevance: GS -3 Space
Context: Only the United States, Russia, and China have successfully achieved soft-landings on the moon so far. The successful launch of Chandrayaan-3 marks India’s endeavor to join this exclusive group.
- Chandrayaan-3 consists of an indigenous propulsion module (PM), lander module (LM), and rover.
- The mission aims to develop and demonstrate new technologies required for inter-planetary missions.
Propulsion Module’s Role:
- The propulsion module will carry the lander (with the rover) from the elliptic parking orbit (EPO) around Earth to a circular orbit around the moon at an altitude of 100 km.
- It also carries an instrument called ‘Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planetary Earth’ (SHAPE), designed to study spectral emissions from Earth.
Remembering a long-forgotten hero
Context: A heritage walk, and a talk in Kolkata to commemorate the bicentenary year of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.
- Reign: Nawab Wajid Ali Shah ruled the kingdom of Awadh, located in present-day Uttar Pradesh, India, during the 19th century.
- Artistic Talents: He was not only a ruler but also a talented artist himself, known for his skills in music, dance, poetry, and theater.
- Exile in Kolkata: After the British East India Company annexed Awadh in 1856, Wajid Ali Shah was exiled to Kolkata (then Calcutta), where he spent the rest of his life.
- Contribution to the Arts: Despite his exile, Wajid Ali Shah continued to promote and support the arts. He established cultural centers and encouraged artists, musicians, and performers to flourish in Kolkata.
- Liberal Approach: Wajid Ali Shah was known for his liberal and progressive outlook. He challenged societal boundaries and restrictions, promoting freedom of expression and creativity.