Daily Current Affairs
12 February 2021

1) 17 major OTT players adopt self-regulatory toolkit

GS 2

Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

 

ABOUT:

  1. The government is soon expected to come out with regulations for OTT platforms.
  2. The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) recently said 17 platforms, including Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video, have adopted a ‘toolkit’ for effective implementation of the self-regulation code introduced last year.
  3. The industry body added that it will set up an ‘IAMAI Secretariat for the Code’, comprising representatives from the signatories to the Code, as well as the IAMAI, for its implementation.
  4. The toolkit amplifies all the critical points that were addressed in the Code signed last year and aims to address feedback received from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, particularly on strengthening the grievance redressal mechanism.

 

INDIAN LAWS WHICH REGULATED THESE ONLINE CONTENTS BEFORE THIS AMENDMENT:

  1. While there are no specific laws that are enacted to regulate the content available online, there are a collective of multiple different articles and sections from different acts that regulate the content available online.
  2. Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution, gives everybody the Freedom of Speech but right under Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution, such freedom can be taken away by imposing reasonable restrictions in case such a content is against the wellbeing of the State, leads to hamper in the public order, international relations or aims towards inciting any crime.
  3. The Indian Penal Code, serves to punish anybody who has been indulged in the selling or distribution of work of literature which is obscene (Section 293). Has the intention of outraging religious sentiments which is intentional and done maliciously (Section 295 A). Any act of publishing defamatory content (Section 499) and of anyone who insults any woman’s modesty (Section 354).
  4. The Indecent Representation of Women (Prevention) Act, 1986 acts towards making sure that there is complete prohibition of indecent representation of women in advertisements, books, movies, painting etc.
  5. The POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act makes it an offence to sell and distribute child pornography
  6. Sections 67A, 67B and 67C if the Information Technology Act, 2000 provide for penalty as well imprisonment to be imposed on anybody who has transmitted or published any kind of obscene material, any sexually explicit material including those where children are depicted in sexual acts. The Central Government is also provided with the powers to issue directives to block certain information to be in public access, under Section 69A of this Act.
  7. Though not an Act, many of the OTT platforms signed a self-regulatory Code, the ‘Code of Best Practices for Online Curated Content Providers’ which was released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). This code works towards a framework of open disclosure.

 

Source: The Hindu

 

2) HC allows minor to end pregnancy

GS 2

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

 

ABOUT:

  1. The Kerala High Court recently allowed the medical termination of a young rape survivor’s pregnancy that had crossed the legally permissible period for the procedure.
  2. Justice P.V. Asha permitted the medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) on a petition by the mother of a 16-year-old girl.
  3. Her pregnancy had crossed 28 weeks, the oldest to be cleared by the Kerala High Court.

 

HIGH RISK:

  1. The court had permitted medical termination of pregnancy for seven girls in six months.
  2. The accused in the case is also a minor and has been sent to a care home for children in conflict with the law.
  3. The police have booked a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
  4. A medical board reported that the foetus faced high risk of poor neurological development and the mental and physical development of the foetus was likely to be “very bad.”
  5. The panel suggested termination of pregnancy considering the possible adverse psychological impact on the girl and the anomalies in the foetus.
  6. The board noted that there was the possibility of the child being born alive. However, the survivor and her guardian were not willing for resuscitation.
  7. The Kerala State Legal Services Authority, which took forward the petition, will offer legal support to the girl and try to get her compensation under the victim compensation scheme.
  8. Compensation would be granted based on the recommendation of the POCSO court.

 

CONDITIONS FOR TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY:

  1. If the pregnancy has not exceeded 12 weeks, only one doctor needs to be satisfied that the conditions have been fulfilled.
  2. If the pregnancy has exceeded 12 weeks and is below 20 weeks (now amended to 24 weeks), two doctors need to be satisfied that the conditions have been fulfilled.
  3. The gestation period does not matter if a doctor feels that an immediate abortion must be conducted to save the life of the patient.
  4. The doctor who determines if it is necessary to perform an abortion and performs it needs to be a ‘registered medical practitioner’ under the law.

 

Source: The Hindu

 

3) ‘Water again building up in the Rishiganga’

GS 3

Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

 

ABOUT:

  1. A fresh pool of water may be building up in the Rishiganga river that could tip over a mass of rock and debris, thereby impeding ongoing rescue operations in Uttarakhand.
  2. The staggering collapse of part of a glacier in Uttarakhand’s Nanda Devi mountain and the ensuing floods that have claimed many lives come as a deadly reminder that this fragile, geologically dynamic region can never be taken for granted.
  3. A significant slice of the glacier, dislodged by a landslide, according to some satellite images, produced roaring torrents in the Rishiganga and Dhauliganga rivers in Chamoli district, trapping unsuspecting workers at two hydro power project sites.
  4. Geologist has said the flow of the river had been blocked by rock and debris — forming a sort of natural dam — and this could potentially roll down and impede ongoing relief operations.
  5. The debris is from the avalanche that had resulted from the breaking of a large portion of rock and ice from the Raunthi peak.

 

UTTARAKHAND- FRAGILE AND VULNERABLE:

  1. This is a natural event that occurred in the high Himalayan ranges. They happen every now and then.
  2. Except this one is closer to a populated area. Secondly, one would have never heard of it, if it had not led to a disaster. There is a natural event. But disasters happen when we do something stupid.
  3. In 2013, after the Kedarnath tragedy, the committee that was heading put out a report which clearly said that projects should not be built in these valleys.
  4. They are called paraglacial zones – glaciers in the geological pass have receded from this area leaving behind a lot of debris, boulders, rocks, etc.
  5. And when there is heavy rainfall or snowfall, and there is melting of water, snow and ice – the combination of the three is deadly – then it is able to gather a lot of the solids lying in the path and move them downstream.
  6. Experts had described the process of how destruction takes place and had clearly said not to build them. This valley had six projects planned. To ignore this warning is foolhardy.

 

Source: The Hindu

 

4) High diversity of birds, many rarely seen in Delhi, in Mangar area: Study

GS 3

Conservation, Bio-diversity

 

ABOUT:

The Mangar landscape of the Aravallis in Faridabad has a “high diversity” of bird species, with 219 species in a 17.13 sq km area, reflecting its “high conservation value”, reveals a study of the birds by the Centre for Ecology Development And Research (CEDAR).

 

DIVERSITY:

  1. The study, which is the result of a year-long field survey and compilation of e-bird data.
  2. It covers the Mangar landscape, which includes Mangar Bani — a sacred grove in Faridabad with an area of 2.66 sq km — and its surrounding forests.
  3. According to the study, the 219 species found in the Mangar landscape include 130 resident species, 53 winter migrants, 12 summer migrants, and 16 passage migrants.
  4. Among the species found, several are “rare” in Delhi, including the common rosefinch, black breasted weaver, and red munia.
  5. Five “nationally endangered raptor species”, including king vulture and Egyptian vulture, as well as six bird species that have been showing a “national-level decline”, including the yellow crowned woodpecker and short-toed Snake Eagle, were also found to be “thriving” in the Mangar landscape, states the study.
  6. The biggest takeaway from the report is the species richness in the Mangar area. Another important takeaway is regarding the kind of species that were found.
  7. There are several dry forest specialists. Most of these are not very frequently seen in other dry forests in NCR.
  8. Based on the study, the researchers have concluded that “conservation of Mangar Bani, along with the surrounding forests, contributes immensely to NCR’s avifaunal biodiversity”.

 

Source: Indian Express

 

5) India to formulate policy to develop new battery tech for EVs

GS 2

 

GS 3

 

 

 

Government Policies & Interventions

Growth & Development

 

ABOUT:

India will work out a policy to institutionalise research and development on the next generation of battery technologies for electric vehicles, like metal-ion, metal air, hydrogen fuel cell, etc, to replace lithium-ion batteries and reduce India’s dependence on other countries for its import within this decade.

 

INTEGRATED APPRAOCH:

  1. Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways recently said that an integrated approach, with all key arms of the government working in tandem, to develop the next generation technology will require a policy and work on that has started.
  2. The challenge that we currently face as a nation is the control on strategic reserves on lithium.
  3. It is hence imperative for us to look for alternative technologies, like metal-ion and metal-air, using metals such as aluminium, zinc, iron-ore etc.
  4. Minister said that work on these areas has been happening in silos. “We will now work in an integrated and concerted manner bringing together the best technologies.
  5. India will also focus on economic viability and will need a policy in this regard and for it we have decided to take an integrated approach.
  6. Most of us have come to realise that for lithium supply we are going to be dependent on one or two countries in the future. That can actually create some strategic issue with the country.

 

WHY MOVE IS CRUCIAL:

  1. China is currently the leader in supplying lithium-ion batteries to the world, and India’s EV industry is heavily dependent on import of the batteries.
  2. China also has stakes in strategic reserves of lithium mines in other countries. The move to boost R&D on battery technology is significant in this context.
  3. The various agencies made presentations on their projects and roadmap on battery technologies like lithium-ion, metal-ion, sodium sulphur, hydrogen, iron sulphur, polymer electrolyte membrane cell system, zinc gel, etc.
  4. DRDO in its presentation showed how technology transfer has resulted in manufacture of 400 batteries of 120 MW by some institutes, and added that mass production could reduce its prices.
  5. NITI Aayog said it has collaborated with four IITs including Guwahati and Delhi for research in aluminium-ion battery.
  6. CEO Amitabh Kant said that India should concentrate on lithium-ion alternative batteries and mining sector companies should explore opportunities abroad for acquiring assets in this regard.

 

Source: Indian Express

 

6) In PM’s words for pvt sector, India Inc sees booster shot

GS 3

 

 

 

Banking Sector & NBFCs

Mobilization of Resources

 

ABOUT:

A day after Prime Minister emphasised the crucial role of the private sector in the Indian economy and pitched for privatisation at a time when there has been a decline in private sector investment, industry leaders welcomed the statement.

 

IMPORTANCE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR:

  1. PM’s statements pitching the importance of the private sector come in the backdrop of a push towards government spending, which the government expects will help crowd in private investment.
  2. The government is working towards creating a Development Finance Institution for infrastructure financing, aiming to have a government owned DFI and have space for the private sector also.
  3. Private sector investment in the country has been tapering over the years, while the government’s efforts to elicit such expenditure have been largely unsuccessful.
  4. This includes plans to raise Rs 2.1 lakh crore in funds through divestment and strategic sales of government-owned enterprises in 2020-21, of which the centre was only able to raise Rs 19,499.07 crore.
  5. As per CMIE data from October last year, 44 per cent of the new investments in the July-September quarter were by government agencies and the rest were by the private sector.
  6. Rs 258 billion of investment proposals made by the governments, both central and the states, were the lowest made by them in any quarter in the past 16 years since June 2004, while the private sector investments of Rs 328 billion were also the lowest by them since June 2004.
  7. Also, as per CMIE, cumulative new investment proposals in 2020-21 were estimated at Rs 1.3 trillion, with total not expected to cross Rs 5 trillion, which hasn’t been lower than that level since 2004-05.

 

STEP TO BUILD CONFIDENCE:

  1. Private sector investment has been tapering over the years, while the government’s efforts to elicit such expenditure have been largely unsuccessful.
  2. The Prime Minister’s speech seems to have enthused confidence in India Inc about the nation’s growth story.
  3. The private sector contributes as much as 87 percent to India’s GDP and almost 60 percent to employment in the country.
  4. If India has to lift its teeming millions out of poverty, we need to create a national consensus to ensure that those who create jobs, economic value and a culture of enterprise are recognised for their contribution.

 

Source: Indian Express