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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 April 2017

 


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 April 2017


NOTE: Please remember that following  ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1;


Topic: Poverty and developmental issues

1) Economic disparity among and within regions is on the rise. Ho can policy intervention address this growing inequality gap? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :-

It is believed that a rising tide lifts all boats; unfortunately, this is not true about India. Economic development has enhanced divergence rather than fostering convergence. Inter- and intra-regional disparity has accentuated. The recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Economic Survey of India, Article IV Consultations of the International Monetary Fund and the Economic Survey, all conclude that spatial income inequality in India is not only large but increasing. 

balancing

Some of the policy interventions that can be utilised to address this issue are:

  • Improving governance quality of states:-As the economic survey has pointed out that income divergence among people is due to due togovernance or institutional traps in states, so it is a crucial aspect to work upon’
  • Reinventing the role of Inter-state and Zonal councils:-these avenues should be used for comprehensive partnerships for collective and balanced regional growth leading to economic convergence
  • Stop ignoring unskilled labour:-while focus must remain on ‘skilling’ India, the largely unskilled labour must be utilised to make states engines of exports as the low-skilled sectors prevail mainly in backward states
  • Competitive federalism with government aid:- Interstate competition should be promoted to encourage states to liberalise regulatory framework, especially land and labour as well as other factors of production.
  • Inter-municipal competition:-Local self governments must be empower to lessen the inter regional disparities by being responsible for disbursal of funds of government schemes and implementation of infrastructural programmes.
  • Multilateral agencies:-such as World Bank, Asian Development Bank, New Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank could be roped in to provide for the finance for state’s development if domestic funds are low. Government’s order in allowing effective states to borrow directly from abroad is a positive step in this direction.
  • Focus on agriculture:-as seen that states dependent on agriculture fare below than manufacturing states. Centre must intervene on issues such as APMC reforms citing the clause of ‘Actionable wrongs’ in Concurrent list.
  • The mandate and role of the NITI Aayog should be redefined and enhanced to evolve models aimed at balanced regional development. It is axiomatic that the reticence of private investment in backward states can be somewhat overcome through enhanced public outlays.

Conclusion:-

The growing divergence of states needs policy-induced reversal. Growth begets development because, as Henry Ford once put it, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

2) What is extradition? In the light of recent issue of extradition of Vijay Mallya, discuss issues and steps involved in extraditing him from Britain to India. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

Extradition is a cooperative law enforcement process by which the physical custody of a person (i) charged with committing a crime or (ii) convicted of a crime whose punishment has not yet been fully served, is formally transferred, directly or indirectly, by authorities of one jurisdiction to those of another at the request of the latter for the purpose of prosecution or punishment, respectively.

Vijay Mallya:-

Vijay Vittal Mallya (born 18 December 1955) is an Indian businessman and politician. The son of businessman Vittal Mallya, he is the ex-chairman of United Spirits Ltd, the largest spirits company in India and continues to serve as Chairman of UB Group, an Indian conglomerate with interests in beverage alcohol, aviation infrastructure, real estate and fertiliser among others. He has been the Chairman of Sanofi India (previously known as Hoechst AG and Aventis) as well as the Chairman of Bayer CropScience in India for over 20 years, in addition to being the Chairman of several other companies. He recently announced that he shall retire from the chairmanship of Sanofi India.

Once called the “King of Good Times” due to his extravagant lifestyle, Mallya and his companies have been embroiled in financial scandals, and controversies since 2012. Mallya left India on 2 March 2016 after saying he wanted to move to Britain to be closer to his children. A group of 17 Indian banks are trying to collect approximately ₹9,000 crore (US$1.4 billion) in loans which Mallya has allegedly routed to gain 100% or a partial stake in about 40 companies across the world. Investigative agencies, like Income Tax Department and Central Bureau of Investigation for charges including financial fraud and money laundering, and the Attorney General said that Mallya’s assets abroad are “far in excess to loans taken by him”

The following is a chronology of events, from the genesis of the airlines to its fall and the events that took place in the aftermath.

2005: May 2005 – Chairman of the United Breweries (Holdings) Limited Vijay Mallya establishes Kingfisher Airlines. The airlines is slated to be a premium, state-of-the-art, world-class brand.

2006: Kingfisher Airlines approach the IDBI Bank for a loan that would fund its purchase of aircrafts. Mallya had a murky history with the IDBI with regard to his Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers acquisition. The committee therefore decides to decline Mallya’s proposal. Mallya, unfazed, approaches other banks for loans and gets it.

2007: Kingfisher Airlines is doing well and a highly enthusiastic Mallya decides to acquire the almost bankrupt Air Deccan.

2008

  • Air Deccan deal is signed and sealed. United Breweries Limited pays Rs 550 crore for a 26 per cent stake in the carrier. Arguably a wrong move that possibly led to the downfall of United Breweries Limited.
  • March 2008 – Kingfisher Airlines owes a debt of Rs. 934 crores – due to a heightened spike in oil prices and the stress of working a high-cost and low-cost airline company together.
  • September 2008 – Kingfisher Airlines goes abroad for the first time, providing flights between Bengaluru and London.

2009

  • The airlines now owes a debt of Rs. 5,665 crores, which grows into Rs. 7,000 crores.
  • Kingfisher Airlines continues to enjoy popularity. The IDBI changes its mind and decides to provide a loan of Rs. 900 crore to the airlines.

2010

  • November 2010 – Banks inform the airlines that it would give it nine months to pay back the loan.
  • This does nothing to resurrect a failing airlines and Mallya, now a Member of Parliament, continues to live an extravagant lifestyle.

2011 – 2012

  • Mallya withdraws a large sum of money —  Rs. 33.46 crore for each respective year — from Kingfisher Airlines as salary .
  • Kingfisher Airlines’ license to operate is confiscated. As a result, it stops paying its employees salaries.
  • As of March 2016, Kingfisher Airlines owes Rs. 3000 crore to 3000 employees in terms of salary. It owes banks such as SBI and IDBI a colossal sum of US $1 billion as loan.

2013

  • March 2013 – Kingfisher Airlines net worth falls to a negative of Rs. 12,919 crore.
  • UBHL is approached for a payment of Rs. 6,493 crore in loans for Kingfisher Airlines by a consortium of banks, including the SBI.
  • Mallya assures that a large portion of the loan will be settled soon.

2014

  • United Bank of India announces Mallya a ‘wilful defaulter’. Other banks like SBI and PNB follow suit.

2015

  • November 2015 – Finance Minister Arun Jaitleydeclares that the airlines has a debt of Rs. 9,091.40 crore.
  • April 2015 – Mumbai International Airport Private Limited sells Mallya’s personal aircraft to recover funds. It’s sold at Rs. 22 lakhs.
  • The Service Tax Department holds the arlines accountable for a non-payment of Rs. 115 crore.
  • The Department approaches Bombay High Court to seize Mallya’s passport, forcing him to appear in court.

2016

  • February 2016 – Mallya is asked by the board at United Spirits Limited to step down.
  • March 2016 – In a plea to stop Mallya from escaping the country, a syndicate of banks approached the Supreme Court of India. Mallaya however, has already left the country, taking refuge near London.
  • In Hyderabad, a special magistrate court issues a non-bailable arrest warrant (NBW) against Mallya for not appearing in court for a slew of pending cases.
  • April 2016 –The Enforcement Directorate approaches a special court in Mumbai to issue another non-bailable arrest warrant under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The court goes ahead and does so.
  • Reports surface alleging that Mallya has transferred $590 million abroad.

 

Issues and Steps involved in extraditing Mallya:-

India is hopeful that Mallya will be deported as per UK’s Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) as the arrest by Scotland Yard was made upon India’s request.

If he is brought back, the embattled Indian tycoon, who fleed India in March 2016, will face proceedings under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

  • India will be required put in an export extradition request in front of the magistrate. In case of all category 2 countries, the Secretary of State of the Home Department makes the decision on the certification of the extradition request. He, in this step is advised by the Home Office’s International Criminality Unit
  • Following this, the certified request moves to the Westminster Magistrate’s Court and all proceedings in the case are heard there
  • The district judge after going through the documents takes a call to verify if the offence is an extraditable offence or not.
  • Noteworthy that extradition is only accepted when the offence in the request is an offence in the UK as well. It is only then that a warrant is issued
  • The person of interest is then brought to the Westminster Magistrate’s Court, and after an initial hearing, the extradition hearing is fixed
  • The person of interest is also notified about the contents of the extradition request
  • The next date for extradition hearing is scheduled for two months from the date of first appearance.
  • The judge can at this point decide whether to grant bail or remand the person of interest in custody until the extradition hearing is complete.
  • The court however allows both the parties to appeal against the decision of the district court judges’ or the Secretary of State in the High court.
  • The case can be taken to the Supreme Court as well, but only when the High court approves that the appeal relates to a point of law “which is of general public importance”

And then, there are a few conditions under which the extradition request can be declined, these are:

  • If the request is considered to prosecute or punish anyone on the basis of religion, nationality, race, gender, political opinions or sexual orientation
  • If the offence was committed a long time back, that is the passage of longer gap
  • The age of the wanted person is also one condition on which extradition depends
  • The extradition must not violate the European Convention on Human Rights
  • In case there is any possibility of death sentence , extradition can be rejected
  • The offence must fall under the category of extradition offences

If everything turns out fine, the extradition hearing is taken forward to the Secretary of State’s office, which concerns themselves with the issues like sentencing. The Secretary of State after clearing all formalities can order extradition within a period of two months.

 


Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 

3) Should water be privatised? Critically discuss issues involved. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction:

 Water privatization stands for private sector participation in the provision of water services and sanitation. Private sector participation in water supply and sanitation is controversial. Proponents of private sector participation argue that it has led to improvements in the efficiency and service quality of utilities. It is argued that it has increased investment and has contributed to expanded access. They cite ManilaGuayaquil in Ecuador, Bucharest, several cities in Colombia and Morocco, as well as Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal as success stories. Critics however, contend that private sector participation led to tariff increases and has turned a public good into a private good. Many believe that the privatization of water is incompatible with ensuring the international human right to water. Aborted privatizations in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Dar es-Salaam, Tanzania, as well as privately managed water systems in Jakarta and Berlin are highlighted as failures. Water privatization in Buenos Aires, Argentina and in England is cited by both supporters and opponents, each emphasizing different aspects of these cases. Statistical studies comparing public and private utilities show little difference in performance between them.

 

What Are the Pros of Water Privatization?

  • It can help to improve the overall water supply.
    The most dangerous thing that people consume every day is water. Billions of people every year drink water that is contaminated and puts their health at risk. Through water privatization, better water would be achieved for many communities because profitability would be in clean water and not dirty water.
  • It would make systems more efficient.
    Profitability dictates that a system be as efficient as possible so that it can be as profitable as possible. In the world of water distribution, this would mean that more people would receive their water in a more efficient manner and that would limit the ability of the water to be contaminated within the system.
  • It could reduce mortality rates. 
    Most nations are committed to increasing their population’s access applies and this naturally reduces child mortality rates. By releasing the water supply to a profitable business venture, people have more of a guarantee that their water will be clean or have a monetary source of damages if they are given dirty water.
  • It saves municipalities time and money. 
    The city of Chicago has privatized more than 40 city services in the past decade and this has generated more than $3 billion in upfront payments from corporations to be able to lease any assets. Although small communities are going to see this kind of cash upfront, it shows the possibility of how profitable up water privatization venture could be.
  • It reduces public sector risks. 
    By transferring the responsibilities of water distribution to the private sector, the public sector reduces their amount of Worker’s Compensation risk that must be assumed and this benefits the taxpayer on the back end of their fees.
  • It allows for specialized services to be provided through specialized utilities. 
    Instead of placing state workers into a job that they may not be fully knowledgeable about, a for-profit business would be able to bring in specialized employees who can provide a higher level of care to the water systems that are already in place. Starting from the water source, and ending at the user’s tap, a better overall product comes about thanks to the added expertise that is present throughout the entire chain of custody.

What Are the Cons of Water Privatization?

  • It could limit who actually receives water. 
    Many the consumption of water as a basic human right. Without water, humans are unable to survive. By making the system of water in a community about profit instead of about meeting needs, it would reduce public accountability and could ultimately affect the quality of water that is being received.
  • Low income individuals could be without water. 
    In a system of water privatization, those who can pay for the water are going to get it. Those who are unable to pay for the water and can’t find public assistance will be without water. This would create underserved communities and ultimately a new class of citizen in every community and put their lives at risk.
  • It could lead to higher rates and lower service. 
    Water privatization has been tried in several communities in the past. These communities have had to reclaim the water systems to make them public services once again because of the poor water quality and lack of customer service that was achieved. Many communities also have complained about the rate hikes that have occurred when water privatization has occurred.
  • National companies don’t have a stake in local issues. 
    That of hiring people who have local knowledge about water privatization systems, national companies look to the most affordable labor possible that can be as efficient as possible. This creates a system of management that puts the company first, profit second, and the environment and the people living in the community behind all of that.
  • There is no overall accountability in the quality of services provided. 
    Time after time, privatizing public sector has resulted in cost overruns and increased cost because no accountability has been placed on the private institution. Before any government agency decides to hire an outside contractor to work for a privatized utility, it is important to study how cost-effective hiring outside of the public sector would be. Most government agencies find that it’s less expensive to use state workers for service instead of outside contractors.

Indian Case:-

  • Within a decade, however, the private sector participation projects in the water sector shot up to more than 300. As per the databasemaintained by Manthan Adhyan Kendra, a centre set up to research, analyse and monitor water and energy issues, Maharashtra has the maximum number (48 projects) of privatised water followed by Karnataka (26 projects), Tamil Nadu (25 projects), Delhi (20 projects), Rajasthan (17 projects) and Andhra Pradesh (15 projects).
  • More than 70 percent of the projects are under various stages of implementation and still need to be evaluated. As per a study titled Water: The market of the futureby RobecoSAM AG, the global business opportunities related to the water sector are expected to reach one trillion US dollars by 2025.
  • In 2012, the municipal body in Nagpur handed over its water supply to a subsidiary of the French water corporation, Veolia, for 25 years. Since then, the project has seen allegations of corruption, four increases in water tariffs, cost overruns, and delays in plugging leaks. The municipal body’s financial losses from water works has reportedly increased by Rs 60 crore per annum, leading to demands, from both opposition parties and the local community, for the ouster of the private player.
  • India is currently on track in terms of the Millennium Development Goals target for sustainable access to clean drinking water. Under a system of publicly owned and controlled water utilities, the proportion of urban households with access to clean water sources has increased from 87% in 1990 to 95.3% in 2012. A staggering 65 million people live in urban slums in India, and any reversal of gains made so far in terms of access to water will also hit the modest gains in health, education and gender parity among the urban poor.

Conclusion:-

Food and Water Watch, a champion for healthy food and clean water for all, reviewed 18 communities across the US that reclaimed public management of water or sewer services and found that public operation was an average of one-fifth cheaper than private operation. The study concluded that a municipality typically saves 21 cents on every dollar by returning their water systems to public hands.

report by the Transnational Institute (TNI), Public Services International Research Unit (PSRU) and the Multinational Observatory, a prime international research and advocacy organisation working on international water and other social development issues suggests that 180 cities and communities in 35 countries across the globe have “remunicipalised” their water systems in the last 15 years. Remunicipalisation is defined as the transfer of water services from private companies to municipal authorities. It is a way to show that the public sector can outperform the private sector and can be an efficient water provider anywhere in the world.

 


Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

4) Apart from cultural and economic ties, examine what steps the EU and India are taking to deepen the strategic dimensions of their partnership. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction-

While traditionally focussed on economics and culture, today the EU and India are taking bold steps to also deepen the strategic dimensions of their partnership.

Though the India and EU have similar world views, they too have witnessed many impediments in recent years: stalled negotiations over the Free Trade Agreement, mutual recriminations on combating climate change, and divergent positions on Russia’s role during the Crimean crisis. As a result, the strategic partnership has been far from “strategic”.

However, recent developments have shown that there is room for optimism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Brussels and the resumption of the EU-India summit in 2016, after a break of four years, marked a turning point.

Steps that India and EU are taking to deepen the strategic dimensions-

  • Counter-Terrorism: Growing threat of terrorism needs to be addressed. Attacks in France, Belgium and the menace of terrorism in India become a common denominator for both to co-operate.
  • Demographic Synergy: Ageing Europe and young India can be perfect match for one another to address demographic problem. Skill development especially with reference to 4th Industrial Revolution needs to be taken up.
  • Marine Security: With the presence of islands like Reunion Island (France),Chagos archipelago (UK) and Indian interest in India Ocean , improving security and reigning in China form a common ground for cooperation.
  • Climate change and environment- India and most of the members of the EU have convergent stands on the issue of climate change. Both India and EU have ratified the Paris agreement and have adopted INDCs for reduction in the emission of the green-house gases.

Pivoting around “principled pragmatism”, the EU’s new Global Strategy (2010) underlines the “direct connection between European prosperity and Asian security”

Common challenges-

  • Foremost is dealing with challenges in their shared extended neighbourhood, which stretches from Istanbul to Islamabad and from Moscow to Mauritius. This Eurasian arc of instability is of critical importance to Brussels and New Delhi’s aspirations to stabilise their regional peripheries.
  • Afghanistan would be the logical starting point. Political coordination through an EU-India-Afghanistan trilateral, with regular security consultations to exchange assessments, could be the first step in this direction. The Indian Ocean region offers another potential area for cooperation.
  • Both India and EU have common economic rival in China. India is keen to counter China’s European offensive, including €50 billion worth of investments since 2000, a dialogue with the EU on the Belt and Road initiative, and the ‘16+1’ mechanism in eastern Europe. As Europe realises the costs of dependence on China, the EU must have a serious dialogue with India and other partners on how to pursue Eurasian connectivity plans that are truly multilateral and sustainable.

Conclusion-

The EU and India also have similar stakes in stronger international institutions and a liberal order that protects global commons cooperatively. If they agree to expand consultations on issues such as climate, trade and space, it is likely that Delhi and Brussels will find themselves agreeing far more times than usually expected.

 


Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

5) Differentiate between generic drug and brand-name drug. In the light of recent directive by the government to doctors to prescribe generic drugs to patients, critically examine what issues this directive gives rise to and how these issues should be resolved. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction-

Recently Prime Minister referred to the Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP), which aims to provide cheaper medical drugs to the people. He also added that government will bring legal framework under which doctors will have to prescribe generic medicines to the patients.

Generic drugs and Brand-name drugs-

  • A generic drug is a chemically equivalent, lower-cost version of a brand-name drug, costing 30-80% less! A brand-name drug and its generic version must have the same active ingredient, dosage, safety, strength, usage directions, quality, performance and intended use.
  • Branded drugs own the original credit for a medicine and are much expensive because of the cost of invention involved in the form of IPR.
  • When a company develops a new drug — often after years of research — it applies for a patent, which prohibits anyone else from making the drug for a fixed period. To recover the cost of research and development, companies usually price their brand- name drugs on the higher side. Once the patent expires, other manufacturers duplicate and market their own versions of the drug. Since the manufacture of these generic drugs do not involve a repeat of the extensive clinical trials to prove their safety and efficacy, it costs less to develop them. Generic drugs are, therefore, cheaper.
  • However, because the compounds in the generic versions have the same molecular structure as the brand-name version, their quality is essentially the same. The generic drug has the same “active ingredient” as the brand-name drug. This ingredient is the one that cures the patient; and other, “inert ingredients”, which give the drug its colour, shape or taste, vary from the brand-name drug to the generics.

Issues created by directives-

  • The mandatory prescription of generic drugs may result in sudden rise of demands. The existing numbers of ‘Jan Aushadhi Kendra’ are not sufficient to cater such a huge demand.
    More centres especially in high demand areas are required for the supply of generic drugs.
  • Generic drugs are often not subjected to strict trials and quality check in India. Many cases of spurious and substandard drugs have surfaced in recent years. In such scenario, large scale promotion will bring many people health at stake.
    A strict and detailed regulation will ensure the quality of drugs available.
  • Increased usage of generic drugs will decrease the income of brand name owner, which can deter them from further investment.
    Government can provide special incentive to the companies to protect their interest and at the same time promotion of research in public domain will help in new inventions.
  • It might create disincentive for pharma companies within India to innovate and rather merely copy drugs. This does not encourage R&D and innovation in India.
  • Supply side challenge: India is import driven country for active pharmaceutical ingredient and already facing challenge of substandard quality of generic drugs. Along with this current move may reduce FDI inflow in pharm sector and slowdown research & development in domestic pharma companies. However, India has taken steps like ‘India Pharma & India Medical Device 2017’ and new IPR policy that offer incentive & ease of doing business in India. India should adopt stricter accreditation and inspection rules for generic drugs.
  • Ethical concern: Doctors might see this as an interference in their profession and as a violation of “right to profession”.

However, the government can take such steps in the interest of general public.

Conclusion-

The directive for Doctors for prescribing generic drugs is right step in making healthcare affordable and accessible. Even if there are certain issue, government is well within its right to address it properly. The medical and doctors’ associations must understand the concerns and join the hands with government for better implementation.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic: Indian economy, IPR, S&T

6) It is argued that India must first secure its digital sovereignty before it can begin global trade talks. What is digital sovereignty? How should India secure it? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Digital sovereignty-

  • Digital sovereignty means that internet users can freely and independently decide which data can be gathered, distributed, used and saved about them. 
  • Digital sovereignty describes the ability to continually control the reliability, integrity and availability of data transfer, storage and processing. Digital sovereignty ensures country’s ability to define its digital space, design and implement laws to regulate said space and effectively deal against violators.
  • The concept stems from questions of how states can maintain law over an entity such as the internet for which the infrastructure exists in real space, but the entity itself exists in the intangiblecyberspace.

Securing digital sovereignty is important because-

  • Trade negotiations are dominated by developed countries trying to push free digital space rules, which can be detriment to India if not backed by laws regulating digital space.
  • Corporations acquiring big data should be regulated so that data is not misused or sent abroad or mined by other nations.
  • Lack of digital rules may impact the business environment and the ability of India to negotiate with countries and corporations on a world level.

How should India secure it?

  • Regulation- the government should have separate governance entity to regulate the digital sovereignty. Such regulation is required to ensure an equal playing field, open standards, privacy and security-related protections, promoting local technology content and other positive discriminations, like for open-source software which is Indian policy for public sector use, and for economic and social protections.
  • Effective negotiation at multilateral forums: Developed countries are urgently looking to set the global architecture governing digital space to secure their interest. India should ensure that her interests are protected and digital sovereignty is ensured.
  • Innovation: Developed countries are technologically advanced and puts them at an advantageous position in setting up rules. India should focus on technological innovation to ensure that it is not any disadvantage and this will enable sure we have digital sovereignty.
  • Protect its digital space from threats by institution of both offensive and defensive capabilities. Setting up of CERT-IN and NCCC is a step in that direction.
  • Effective stock taking: Given the digital divide we need to take stock of the interests of all the stakeholder, both in and out of digital net, while setting policies to ensure digital sovereignty.

Conclusion-

The digital space is the next big frontier and India should ensure that it is not left behind in the race to regulate and demarcate digital boundaries and sovereignty. The way ahead is to ensure that laws and mechanisms are in place at the earliest protecting our digital dividend before entering trade negotiations in this sphere on bilateral and multilateral levels.

 


Topic: Awareness if IT

7) Discuss the significance of the Internet Bill of Rights of Brazil. (200 Words)

Livemint

Introduction-

Brazilian society celebrated three years of successful enactment of internet bill of rights. It was the first ever national law to “establish principles, guarantees, rights and obligations for the use of the Internet” and has been praised internationally for its progressive nature. 

Significance of the Internet Bill of Rights-

  • The Bill has brought transparency and legal security to the Brazilian digital landscape. Before it became law, no Internet user in the country could be sure about how service and content providers would handle their data. With the current legislation, any request of an Internet user to remove personal information from social media or website must be promptly honoured.
  • The Internet Bill of Rights has also affirmed the principle of network neutrality. Companies and organizations, regardless of size, resources and influence, can rest assured that their content will be accessed and transferred under the same technical parameters as those of any other institution.
  • The Brazilian internet bill of rights is not only a product of lawmakers, but of Brazilian society as a whole. Its original idea stems from protests of civil society organizations against an Internet criminalization draft Bill that would typify crimes such as illegal downloads, electronic financial fraud and paedophilia. Cyber activists claimed that before criminalizing Internet users’ behaviour, their rights and responsibilities had to be defined.
  • Facilitated by an online platform provided by the federal government, Brazilian Internet users began a collaborative drafting process that eventually resulted in the text that was submitted to Congress in 2011 and three years later became the internet bill of rights.

Progressive approach of Brazil in digital realm-

  • The Brazilian tradition of multi-stakeholder participation in the digital realm dates back to the year 1995, when the Brazilian Internet steering committee (CGI.br) was established. The CGI.br is the body responsible for managing the “.br” top-level domain and the countrywide assignment of IP addresses. Since its inception, it has been governed by a multi-stakeholder board, composed of representatives from governmental institutions, private sector, non-governmental organizations and academia. 
  • Using the same participatory approach, Brazilian society has been fully engaged in discussions on a national data privacy law and has contributed to the drafting of the national policy for the Internet of Things, which is soon to be released.
  • In the international arena, Brazil has been a long-standing advocate of multi-stakeholder Internet governance mechanisms, in combination with multilateral arrangements. Brazil is the only country to have hosted the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) twice [Rio de Janeiro (2007) and João Pessoa (2015)].
  • In the context of the UN Human Rights Council, Brazil and Germany have proposed a resolution on the principle that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online”.

Conclusion-

The Internet should be governed by many. And it has to serve all. As of today, more than half of the world’s population has never had access to its benefits. The collaborative approach will continue to be the most suitable one to address the challenge of bringing online those hitherto offline. The example of Brazil stands as model for many countries like India where internet is making great strides in all spheres of human life.