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CURRENT AFFAIRS 26-05-2018

Justice and Redemption

 

Relevancy

  • G.S. Paper 2,4

Why in News?

  • The recent Judicial hearing in the Kathua rape and murder case has been shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab.
  • This has raised serious questions about the role of society and importance of justice in child protection.

What is Justice?

  • The delivery of justice to a childhood is different from the conventional idea of justice.
  • Childhood is a formative and vulnerable period of life which makes the justice delivery difficult.
  • It has been recognized all over the world that nothing is tougher to leave behind than sexual assault in early life.
  • The rape of small girls on the scale at which it is currently taking place, especially in the north, signifies a breakdown of the ethical order of common living.
  • Incidents of rape of small girls have been reported from cities as well as villages, suggesting a much wider crisis.
  • When rape has been committed by a person who enjoys fame and power, justice may bring the victim a sense of vindication.
  • This happened in a recent case against a famous ‘godman’. Victim’s victory at the level of a local court is impressive.
  • In kathua rape case, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has forbidden the mention of victims name to protect the dignity of girl’s parents.
  • Shifting of kathua rape and murder case from J&K to Punjab has raised the hope for justice.

Meaning of justice for child carries two kinds of value:-

Value of deterrence

  • If the rapists and murderers of a child go untracked and unpunished, this might encourage the tendency to commit such crimes.

Recognition of a child’s right to justice

  • This recognizes children as beneficiaries of universally applicable human and civic rights.
  • By punishing those who rape and kill, the judiciary posthumously imparts the significance to their lives that they ought to have received as children.

What are the issues raised by the kathua case?

  • Such violence impacted the protective fabric of society.
  • Impact the child as they feel insecure and unprotected.
  • Parents alone cannot protect a child.
  • The responsibility to protect children is embedded in the very idea of society.
  • When a child faces brutality, in or outside the family, society’s contact with its own spirit is violated.
  • This cannot be redeemed with judicial punishment only.

What could be the possible reasons for such crisis?

  • Culture and new technological environment.
  • Hatred for the weak and treatment of rejection of their right as human ethos.
  • Loss of collective self-awareness of society.

What needs to be done?

  • Society must improve its own apparatus of security and protection of children.

Discredited office of Karnataka Governor

 

Relevancy

  • GS Paper 2

Why in news?

  • The role of Governor in Karnataka elections has raised question regarding the usefulness of the office of the Governor.

How Karnataka Governor discredited his office?

  • Karnataka Governor initially decided to invite the BJP to form the government by exercising discretion as mentioned in the constitution.
  • But he failed to consider the opposition parties and give them an opportunity to form government as they has absolute majority.
  • The Governor then granted the BJP chief 15days to prove his majority, when the chief himself asked only for a week.
  • This troubled the Supreme Court enough to intervene and ordered for an immediate floor test.
  • Finally the Governor again chose a MLA who had been criticized by the SC for partisan conduct as a Pro Term Speaker and conduct the floor test.

The origin of the office of Governor:-

  • The origin of the office of Governor can be traced back to the colonial British regime.
  • Through the early 20th century, Indian nationalist movement extracted gradual and incremental reforms towards responsible government from the British rulers.
  • These reforms culminated in the Government of India Act, 1935 which established provincial legislative assemblies elected from a limited franchise.
  • However, in order to ensure that overriding power remained with the British, the Act retained the post of Governor and vested him with “special responsibilities” that allowed for intervention at will.
  • After Independence, the office of Governor was deeply discussed in the Constituent Assembly Debates (CAD) as they knew the Governor would inevitably be biased in his functioning.
  • Still they decided to retain the post on the basis of 2 broad arguments.
  • Dearth of competent legislators in the States certain amount of centralization of power was necessary in a nascent stage of nation building.
  • And assurance that the Governor would remain only a constitutional post, and have no power to interfere in the day-to-day administration of the State.

What are the present day concerns with the office of the Governor?

  • The concerns inherent in the post of the Governor are amplified now due to the present political conditions.
  • The arguments which supported retaining the office of Governor no longer hold true.
  • The concern of misusing the discretionary power while forming government has time and again proven as many Governors make decisions supporting the majority party.
  • The constitutional mandate for the office of the Governor checks both federalism and popular democracy has not been demonstrated in these years.
  • And a mere constitutional post has taken discretion in its hand and skewing the political process in direction of the majority party.

What is the way forward?

  • There are various short term solutions prescribed after the Karnataka elections such as resignation of the Governor, reserving the post for non-political appointees, rules to be laid by the SC, etc.
  • However these patchwork solutions miss the point as the flaw lies not with the identity of the individual who occupies the post, but in the design of the Constitution itself.
  • Government need to rethink the role of the Governor in the constitutional scheme and if found obsolete, dissolve the office of the Governor.

 

EU’s GDPR

 

Relevancy

  • GS Paper-2 & 3
  • Polity, Data Protection, Right to Privacy, GDPR, India’s Data Protection Law

Why in news?

  • The European Union has proposed a new data protection law, which can have potential policy ramification across the world.
  • The law seeks to prevent the export of personal data outside EU.

What is GDPR?

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was recently introduced by the EU.
  • It is expected GDPR will harmonize data laws across EU member counties.
  • GDPR ensures data protection and privacy for all those living within the EU.
  • It also prevents the export of personal data outside its territories.

GDPR deals with three primary areas:

  1. Personal data collection (although what constitutes personal data remains a little ambiguous),
  2. its use, and
  3. Design privacy.

What are the concerns with the Personal Data Collection?

Issue of Consent:

  • The law demands that clear consent is to be sought from the concerned person to use personal data after providing sufficient information on the same.
  • GDPR changes are expected to drastically alter the landscape for most Internet companies, which are fuelled in every sense by the data of users.
  • Notably, their entire business model of the internet big-wings is based on small bits of data they collect from users.

What are the possible outcomes?

  • A lot of data is offered voluntarily by users, but often, they are not fully aware of what data they are creating, what they are transmitting, and how it is used.
  • The explicit consent requirement under GDPR hence expected to reduce the volume of data transmitted.
  • While the overall implications are still under study, experts vouch that the effective functionality of some internet services might get affected.
  • GDPR is also likely to bar a lot of Internet services for those under age 16 and also curtail the unsolicited marketing emails.

What are the changes like in future due to GDPR?

  • While Facebook has stated that it would comply with GDPR within the stated deadline of May 25th, most other internet biggies seem under prepared.
  • This could result in a spate of litigations in the coming days.
  • The “Right of Access” clause is expected to worry companies the most, as this will make data collection extremely transparent.
  • The clause provides for users to demand internet companies to display all information related to them, which is in the company’s procession.
  • This can be followed through with requests for correction or even erasure, which might affect their business and also prove to be a compliance nightmare.
  • The European data protection standards might end up becoming the default for the rest of the world, even without clear enactments.
  • Notably, Microsoft announced that it would implement GDPR standards to all its customers worldwide, a move to get its backend infrastructure streamlined.
  • If more companies follow suit, it will be good for consumers in countries like India, where user data is still up for grabs for the highest bidder.

GDPR and India

Why should we bother about a European data protection rule?

  • GDPR will replace the 1995 Data Protection Directive and is aimed at protecting the personal data of EU citizens in the new digital world.
  • The regulation covers all the EU member states and citizens, so all global enterprises with operations or customers in EU must comply.
  • Europe is a significant market for the ITeS, BPO and pharma sectors in India.

What if Indian firms do not comply with GDPR?

  • Flouting the rules can attract a maximum fine equivalent to 4% of an organization’s global annual revenue or €20 million, whichever is higher.

What are the positives to EU GDPR with respect to India?

  • Indian companies are likely to face increased compliance costs on the back of GDPR or risk huge penalties if they fail to comply.
  • But they could see it as a business opportunity.
  • Moreover, following the Supreme Court’s verdict, a data protection framework has been proposed by the Srikrishna Committee in India.

How should Indian companies prepare for the EU GDPR?

  • They should review their policies, procedures and existing privacy programmes;
  • Imparting of data privacy training to employees; and review or update contracts signed with third-party vendors, among other things.
  • Besides, Indian companies also need to evaluate how equipped they are to deal with the audit process, and use appropriate technology solutions to prepare for the same.

India’s Natural Capital/Green GDP

 

Relevancy

  • GS Paper-3
  • Environment and Biodiversity

Why in news?

  • As per World Bank Report India suffered a cost of $550 billion i.e., 8.5% of GDP due to air pollution.
  • So when we crow about GDP growth, we should also consider the decline in natural capital in our national accounts.

What is the issue?

  • Development sans environmental preservation is a mirage.
  • Hence, India must calculate its “Green GDP” to factor in the value of the environment in its growth.

What are the drawbacks of development?

  • As per the World Bank report it cost India about $550 billion which is 8.5% of its GDP, due to air pollution.
  • Experts have also vouched that the cost of externalities due to water pollution and land degradation were possibly far higher.
  • Our disregard for environment in pursuit of advancing economic development is raising the risk of desertification and land degradation significantly.
  • Not surprisingly, estimates are that our food production could see a loss of 10-40% if these trends continue unabated.
  • While natural capital like water and clean air is self regulating, it needs to be handled sustainably in order to avoid depletion.
  • For this, it is crucial to understand the environmental footprint of our economic activities, which also needs to be accounted in our GDP.

How can natural capital be accounted in GDP?

  • Natural capital can cover entire ecosystems such as fisheries and forests, besides multiple other hidden and overlooked ecological services.
  • Regeneration of soil, nitrogen fixation, nutrient recycling, pollination and the overall hydrological cycle are all components of natural capital.
  • Valuing such ecosystem services is challenging as these aspects can’t be monetised directly, but their depletion does reduces productivity.
  • Giving a monetary value to this depreciation to natural capital is also not exactly possible as the numbers are interpretative in nature.
  • To address these issues, concepts like “environmental Kuznets curve” that plots “per capita GDP” against “Sulphur dioxide concentration” in the local air have been put forward.

What are the dangers?

  • India routinely suffers from high levels of air pollution that impose costs on local transport, health and livability in urban and rural areas.
  • When economic growth leads to the destruction of forests, wetlands, mining or even urban expansion, it is typically the poorest who suffer.
  • Full-scale ecological collapse is already visible in the Darfur region of Sudan and countries in the Horn of Africa.
  • Indian people and policy makers need to act immediately and coherently to arrest such rapid socio-economic decline.

What have been done so far?

  • India’s current national accounts already do incorporate such environmental considerations in a limited fashion but it is not comprehensive.
  • In this context, it was planned in 2013 to release a comprehensive “Green GDP” estimate in 2013, and the various departments started working on it.
  • But lack of micro level data on natural capital formation (and destruction), proved a major constrain and the exercise never saw completion.
  • The 12th Five Year Plan undertook groundwater resource mapping at the national level, which was indeed a significant exercise
  • Similar comprehensive exercises are now essential for data on land usage, forests and mineral wealth.

 

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