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Insights Daily Current Events, March 03, 2014

March 03, 2014

By- DEEPA M

National-

Measures Implemented to Enhance Safety in the Indian Navy –

To inculcate a ‘think safety’ attitude amongst naval personnel, training in safety is undertaken from the ab-initio stage itself and is reinforced at all stages of the naval career.

Safety Checks’ in harbour and at sea are undertaken prior to declaring the ship/submarine ‘operational’.

Safety also forms an important aspect during the ‘work-up’ of a ship or submarine which is usually undertaken at least once in two years. Work-up of ships are undertaken by a specialised team of officers and sailors operating under the Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST).

Safety checks are undertaken for submarines, air-squadrons and air bases by their respective Operational Authorities. Safety standards are also ‘checked’ during audit and inspections by the Command Staff, during the Annual Inspections by the Operational Authorities.

To further promote safety culture, it was decided to introduce a framework comprising Safety Class Authorities (SCAs) who essentially are experts in their respective fields. These authorities undertake various safety related measures such as promulgation of analysis of incidents/accidents, policy guidelines on safety, safety awareness programmes, etc.

Post recent incidents onboard submarines, safety stand-downs were ordered and extensive checks on weapon related safety systems and audit of Standard Operating Procedures on all operational submarines were ordered.

The analysis of all incidents is also being promulgated to the concerned training establishments and Operational Authorities for further dissemination of corrective measures.

Besides, water tight integrity and fire fighting preparedness of units under refit have been ordered once a quarter. A feedback procedure has also been institutionalised and is being monitored at Naval Headquarters.

 

Centralized System to Monitor Communications-

Centralized Monitoring System (CMS) is envisaged to be implemented by DOT to strengthen the security environment in the country. With the implementation of CMS following problems which are inherent in the present system will be overcome.

The CMS gives India’s security agencies and income tax officials centralized access to India’s telecommunications network and the ability to listen in on and record mobile, landline and satellite calls and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and read private emails, SMS and MMS and track the geographical location of individuals all in real time.

It can also be used to monitor posts shared on social media such as Face book, LinkedIn and Twitter, and to track users’ search histories on Google without any oversight by courts or Parliament.

According to a government official, an agency “shall enter data related to target in the CMS system and approach the telecom services provider (TSP), at which point the process is automated, and the provider simply sends the data to a server which forwards the requested information”. The intercepted data is subject to pattern recognition and other automated tests to detect emotional markers, such as hate, compassion or intent, and different forms of dissent

The system aims to attain a tracking accuracy of 80% in the first year of operation, followed by 95% accuracy in the second year, in urban areas.

CMS creates central and regional databases, which authorized Central and State level government agencies can use to intercept and monitor any landline, mobile or internet connection in India.

The CMS will converge all the interception lines at one location, for access by authorized government agencies. CMS is connected with the Telephone Call Interception System (TCIS) which will helps in monitoring voice calls, SMS and MMS, fax communications on landlines, CDMA, GSM, video calls and 3G networks.

 In the existing system secrecy can be easily compromised due to manual intervention at many stages while in CMS these functions will be performed on secured electronic link and there will be minimum manual intervention.

 Interception through CMS will be instant as compared to the existing system which takes a very long time.

The envisaged salient features of CMS are as follows:

-Central and regional database which will help Central and State level Law   Enforcement Agencies in Interception and Monitoring.
– Direct Electronic Provisioning of target numbers by Government agencies without any manual intervention from Telecom Service Providers (TSPs).
– Filters and Alert creation on the target numbers.
– Call Data Records (CDR) analysis and data mining on CDRs to identify call details, location details etc. of the target numbers.
– R&D in related fields for continuous up gradation of the CMS.

Criticism-

Human rights and civil-liberties groups have expressed concerns that the CMS is prone to abuse, and is an infringement of privacy and civil liberties.

Critics have described it as “abuse of privacy rights and security-agency overreach”, and counterproductive in terms of security.

Indian activists have also raised concerns that the system will inhibit them from expressing their opinions and sharing information, especially because the government has repeatedly used the Information Technology Act, since it was enacted in 2011, to arrest people for posting comments on social media that are critical of the government, as well as to put pressure on websites such as Facebook and Google to filter or block content, and impose liability on private intermediaries to filter and remove content from users

A central monitoring system is vulnerable to misuse

The CMS has mainly been criticized by the public for the lack of public information and debate, before its implementation. Many have expressed concern that the system could lead to violations of individual liberty, in the absence of privacy laws

Green India Mission’ scheme- The new scheme, known as the National Mission for a Green India, envisages an expenditure of Rs.13,000 crore in the 12th five-year plan period ending in March 2017, and a total cost of Rs.46,000 crore over the next 10 years.

The Green India Mission is one of eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change. It aims to increase forest cover on 5 million hectares (ha) of forest/non-forest land and improve the quality of forest cover on another 5 million ha.

Funding for the scheme will come from the Plan outlay and convergence with the Mahatma Gandhi national rural employment guarantee Act, the compensatory afforestation management and planning authority, and the national afforestation programme.

The Union government will provide 90% of the funds for implementing the scheme in the north-eastern states, and 75% of the funds for other states. State governments will meet the balance requirement.

The new mission will involve grassroots-level organizations including gram sabhas (village councils) and joint forest management committees (JFMCs). A governing council chaired by the environment minister and a national executive council chaired by the environment secretary at the national level will facilitate implementation of the mission.

Apart from afforestation, the mission will also focus on adaptation of forest-dependent communities. It aims to improve the livelihoods of about 3 million households living in and around forest areas.

It emphasizes a holistic approach to greening, making it clear that the project will not just be limited to trees and plantations, but would focus on restoring diverse ecosystems. It would not only strive to restore degraded forests, but also protect and enhance relatively dense forests.

The nine sub-missions include, separate targets for moderately dense forests, degraded forests, degraded scrub and grasslands, mangroves, wetlands, urban forest lands and institutional areas with tree cover, degraded and fallow agricultural land, wildlife corridors, more efficient stoves and alternative energy devices for better fuel wood use, and enhanced livelihoods for communities dependent on biomass and non-timber forest produce. The Mission envisages a key role for local communities and includes a four-level monitoring framework.

The new and restored forest areas will act as a carbon sink. They are expected to absorb an additional 43 million tonnes of green house gases every year. This means that India’s forests will be able to absorb 6.35 per cent of the country’s annual emissions by 2020

 

Criticism-

In view of Forest rights activist the mission goes against the Forest Rights’ Act (FRA) by seeking to empower the JFMCs instead of the gram sabhas. It appears that there are two sets of framework coming from the Central government—on one hand, they want to empower gram sabhas through FRA, and on other hand, it continues with the status quo on JFMCs and forest bureaucracy

Another likely problem is that plantation of trees under the new mission might encroach over land cultivated by tribals.

The same land that is used by adivasis (tribals) to cultivate food crops might be taken over if the focus is on plantations by the forest department

As far as the FRA is concerned, it is important that land which was under cultivation needs to be identified and allocated to cultivator and boundary must be demarcated urgently.