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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB Summary 07 December 2019

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB Summary 07 December 2019

Table of contents:

GS Paper 2:

  1. Data Protection Bill.
  2. Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG).

GS Paper 3:

  1. Odisha’s Kalia to be merged with PM- KISAN.
  2. Head on Generation (HOG) technology.
  3. Neutrino project.
  4. Adaptation fund.

GS Paper 2:


Topics Covered:

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

 

Data Protection Bill

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the bill.

For Mains: Concerns and issues.

 

Context: Cleared by the Cabinet, the Personal Data Protection Bill is due to be placed in Parliament.

The Bill has three key aspects that were not previously included in a draft version, prepared by a committee headed by retired Justice B N Srikrishna.

 

How does the bill seek to regulate data?

The bill constitutes 3 personal information types:

  1. Critical
  2. Sensitive
  3. General

Sensitive data constitutes or is related to passwords, financial data, health data, official identifier, sexual orientation, religious or caste data, biometric data and genetic data. It may be processed outside India with the explicit consent of the user.

Critical data will be characterised by the government every once in a while, and must be stored and handled only in India.

General data: Any data that is non-critical and non-sensitive is categorised as general data with no limitation on where it is stored or managed.

 

Other Key provisions:

Data principal: As per the bill, it is the individual whose data is being stored and processed.

Exemptions: The government is qualified to order any data fiduciary to acquire personal and non-personal/anonymised data for the sake of research and for national security and criminal investigations.

Social media companies, which are deemed significant data fiduciaries based on factors such as volume and sensitivity of data as well as their turnover, should develop their own user verification mechanism.

An independent regulator Data Protection Agency (DPA) will oversee assessments and audits and definition making.

Each company will have a Data Protection Officer (DPO) who will liaison with the DPA for auditing, grievance redressal, recording maintenance and more.

The bill also grants individuals the right to data portability, and the ability to access and transfer one’s own data.

The right to be forgotten: this right allows an individual to remove consent for data collection and disclosure.

 

Why does data protection matter?

With a population of over a billion, there are about 500 million active web users and India’s online market is second only to China. 

Large collection of information about individuals and their online habits has become an important source of profits. It is also a potential avenue for invasion of privacy because it can reveal extremely personal aspects. Companies, governments, and political parties find it valuable because they can use it to find the most convincing ways to advertise to you online.

Besides, presently, there are no laws on the utilisation of individual information and forestalling its abuse, even though the Supreme Court maintained the right to privacy as a fundamental right back directly in 2017.

 

How is data handled?

Data is collected and handled by entities called data fiduciaries.

While the fiduciary controls how and why data is processed, the processing itself may be by a third party, the data processor.

The physical attributes of data — where data is stored, where it is sent, where it is turned into something useful — are called data flows.

 

Why there are Concerns over the bill?

The bill is like a two-sided sword. While it protects the personal data of Indians by empowering them with data principal rights, on the other hand, it gives the central government with exemptions which are against the principles of processing personal data.

The government can process even sensitive personal data when needed, without explicit permission from the data principals.

Sources: the Hindu.


 

Topics Covered:

Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG)

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: About AsESG, SSC and Asian elephant.

 

Context: The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) 10th Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) Meeting was held recently at Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia.

  • More than 130 elephant conservationists, partner organisations and experts gathered at the meeting.
  • Issues discussed included national action plans for elephant conservation by Asian elephant range states, best practices in managing human-elephant conflict, mechanisms to involve group members in monitoring the illegal killing of elephants, issues related to captive elephant welfare and sharing and learning from the African experience.

 

About AsESG:

The IUCN Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) is a global network of specialists (both scientists and non-scientists) concerned with the study, monitoring, management, and conservation of Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus).

Aim: To promote the long-term conservation of Asia’s elephants and, where possible, the recovery of their populations to viable levels.

AsESG is an integral part of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

 

Functions:

It shall provide the best available scientifically grounded evidence to the abundance, distribution, and demographic status of Asian elephant populations in all 13 range states.

Gajah is the bi-annual journal of the IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG).

Sources: the Hindu.


 

GS Paper 3:

 

Topics Covered:

  1. Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

 

 

Odisha’s Kalia to be merged with PM- KISAN

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features and significance of both the schemes.

For Mains: Why such schemes are good compared to loan waivers?

 

Context: The Odisha government has decided to merge its flagship scheme- Kalia with the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) yojana, apparently due to financial constraint.

 

Key features of Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation or KALIA Scheme:

Involves payments to encourage cultivation and associated activities.

Primary targets are small farmers, cultivators and landless agricultural labourers.

All farmers will be provided Rs 10,000 per family as assistance for cultivation.

Each family will get Rs 5,000 separately in the kharif and rabi seasons, for five cropping seasons between 2018-19 and 2021-22.

Targets 10 lakh landless households, and specifically SC and ST families. They will be supported with a unit cost of Rs 12,500 for activities like goat rearing, mushroom cultivation, beekeeping, poultry farming and fishery.

Exception: A critical trade, dairy production, has deliberately been kept out because keeping a cow is more expensive, while milk production needs to have a collection route or agency that processes and refines this low shelf-life product.

It will assist the elderly, sick and differently-abled population who are unable to take up cultivation, by providing Rs 10,000 per household per year.

The scheme includes a life insurance cover of Rs 2 lakh and additional personal accident coverage of the same amount for 57 lakh households.

Crop loans up to Rs 50,000 are interest-free.

This is also going to be an area-specific scheme in the sense that an input support for a particular trade, say mushroom cultivation, will be provided if it is prevalent throughout that locality so that there is aggregation of produce.

 

About Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi:

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme.
  • Under this programme, landholding farmer families, having cultivable land up to 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year.
  • This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal installments of Rs. 2,000 each.

Sources: the Hindu.


 

Topics Covered:

Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

Head on Generation (HOG) technology

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Features and significance of HOG and EOG technologies.

 

Context: Between April 2018 and November 2019 around 436 trains have been converted into HOG compliant.

 

What is Head on Generation (HOG) technology?

The system runs the train’s ‘hotel load’ (the load of air conditioning, lights, fans, and pantry, etc.) by drawing electricity from the overhead electric lines through the pantograph.

The power supply from the overhead cable is 750 volts at single-phase, and a transformer with a winding of 945 kVA converts it to a 750 Volts 50 Hz output at 3-phase. This energy is then provided to the compartments.

 

How is it different from the present EOG technology?

In the End on Generation (EOG) system, the ‘hotel load’ is provided with electricity from two large diesel generator sets.

The generator cars are attached to either end of the train, giving the system its name.

 

Benefits of HOG over EOG:

  1. HOG-fitted trains do not require power from diesel generators and need only one emergency generator car attached,instead of two regular generator cars.
  2. HOG system is free of air and noise pollution: It would bring down yearly CO2 and NOx emissions, which are currently at 1724.6 tonnes/annum and 7.48 tonnes/annum respectively, to zero.
  3. The reduction in emissions could also help the Railways accrue carbon credits, and trade them on the international market.
  4. With the noise-emitting generator sets gone, noise pollution would also drop.

Sources: pib.


 

Topics covered:

  1. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

Neutrino project

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Neutrino project, significance and what are neutrinos?

 

Context: The Centre has reiterated that the Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO) will be established in picturesque Theni in south Tamil Nadu though there has been opposition to the project by locals.

neutrino projectAbout the project:

The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) Project is a multi-institutional effort aimed at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approx.1200 m for non-accelerator based high energy and nuclear physics research in India. The initial goal of INO is to study neutrinos.

It is a mega-science project jointly funded by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

 

The project includes:

  • Construction of an underground laboratory and associated surface facilities at Pottipuram in Bodi West hills of Theni District of Tamil Nadu.
  • Construction of an Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) detector for studying neutrinos.
  • Setting up of National Centre for High Energy Physics at Madurai, for the operation and maintenance of the underground laboratory, human resource development and detector R&D along with its applications.

 

What are neutrinos?

Neutrinos, first proposed by Swiss scientist Wolfgang Pauli in 1930, are the second most widely occurring particle in the universe, only second to photons, the particle which makes up light. In fact, neutrinos are so abundant among us that every second, there are more than 100 trillion of them passing right through each of us — we never even notice them.

Neutrinos occur in three different types, or flavours. These are separated in terms of different masses. From experiments so far, we know that neutrinos have a tiny mass, but the ordering of the neutrino mass states is not known and is one of the key questions that remain unanswered till today. This is a major challenge INO will set to resolve, thus completing our picture of the neutrino.

 

Why detect them?

Neutrinos hold the key to several important and fundamental questions on the origin of the Universe and the energy production in stars. Another important possible application of neutrinos is in the area of neutrino tomograph of the earth, that is detailed investigation of the structure of the Earth from core on wards. This is possible with neutrinos since they are the only particles which can probe the deep interiors of the Earth.

Why should the laboratory be situated underground?

Neutrinos are notoriously difficult to detect in a laboratory because of their extremely weak interaction with matter.

  • The background from cosmic rays (which interact much more readily than neutrinos) and natural radioactivity will make it almost impossible to detect them on the surface of the Earth. This is the reason most neutrino observatories are located deep inside the Earth’s surface.
  • The overburden provided by the Earth matter is transparent to neutrinos whereas most background from cosmic rays is substantially reduced depending on the depth at which the detector is located.

Sources: the Hindu.


 

Topics Covered:

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Adaptation fund

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Key features and significance of the fund.

 

Context: The latest data show that since 2010, the Adaptation Fund has directed $532 million to 80 concrete adaptation projects in the most vulnerable communities of developing countries, serving 5.8 million direct beneficiaries.

 

What is Adaptation fund?

Established under the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

  • It finances projects and programmes that help vulnerable communities in developing countries adapt to climate change.
  • Initiatives are based on country needs, views and priorities.

 

Financing:

The Fund is financed in part by government and private donors, and also from a two percent share of proceeds of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) issued under the Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism projects.

 

Governance:

The Fund is supervised and managed by the Adaptation Fund Board (AFB). The AFB is composed of 16 members and 16 alternates and meets at least twice a year. 

The World Bank serves as trustee of the Adaptation Fund on an interim basis.

 

Challenges ahead:

The Adaptation Fund, despite its limited size, is one of the few consistent avenues for finance sourced from developed countries, over which developing countries have significant control.

The challenge now is to keep raising money from developed countries, while retaining control in the representatives of those who are most vulnerable to the climate crisis.

 

Sources: down to earth.

 

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