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MAINS Q/A 19-06-2018

Q1. It would be appropriate for India to draw up a data protection law using the rights-based approach of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, 2016, in which data protection is comprehensive and exemptions limited. Discuss. (250 Words)

  • The dawn of the information age opened up great opportunities for the beneficial use of data. It also enhanced the perils of unregulated and arbitrary use of personal data.
  • Unauthorised leaks, hacking and other cyber crimes have rendered data bases vulnerable.
  • Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committeeis to elicit views from the public on the shape and substance of a comprehensive data protection law

Need for data protection

  • In this era ofBig Data analytics and automated, algorithm-based processing of zettabytes of information, the fear that their personal data may be unprotected may conjure up visions of a dystopian world in which individual liberties are compromised.
  1. European model
  • Therefore, it would be appropriate todraw up a law using the rights-based approach of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, 2016, in which data protection is comprehensive and exemptions limited.
  1. American model
  • Norms are stringent for government departments processing personal information, while private entities have to abide by the norms of giving notice and receiving consent.
  • An enlightened citizenry will only help itself in participating in the search for a good data protection framework.

Current status

  • India does not have a separate law for data protection.
  • Section 43A of the Information Technology Act provides a measure of legal protection of personal information.
  • Even though the InformationTechnology Act contains certain provisions about data protection and handling, experts are of the opinion that India needs a fresh data protection law with the increased digitisation led by Aadhaar, the Goods and Service Tax and the push towards a digital economy.
  • IT Act may also be inadequateto deal with the current requirements since it was drafted almost 17 years ago in 2000 and was amended last in 2008.
  • Also, in thelast 5-6 years there has been a quantum leap in the world of technology which has been driven by trends such as proliferation of social media, growth of ecommerce leading to boom in transactions over the Internet and demonetisation, which has pushed more people into the digital economy, so the IT act may have to be obviously reconsidered in the light of these developments

Way forward

  • It is legitimate to collect personal data in the public interest, but this information should be protected and used only for the purposes it was collected.
  • Above all, the law must provide for a suitably empowered statutory authority to enforce its promised protection to citizens’ data.
  • The new Bill should be based on five salient features:technological neutrality and interoperability with international standards; multi-dimensional privacy; horizontal applicability to state and non-state entities; conformity with privacy principles; and a co-regulatory enforcement regime.

 

Q2. “Gender gaps come in the way of business competitiveness.” In the light of recent gender gap report findings, analyze.

  • TheGlobal Gender Gap ranking for 2017, compiled by the World Economic Forum was released last month.
  • India slipped 21 places in this ranking compared to last year.
  1. Economic Participation and Opportunity
  • It includes three indicators:
    • Theparticipation gap (difference in labour force participation between men and women),
    • theremuneration gap (captured by a hard data statistic of ratio of estimated female-to-male earned income, as well as a qualitative indicator about wage equality for similar work), and
    • theadvancement gap (measured through two hard data statistics: Ratio of women to men among legislators, senior officials and managers, and the ratio of women to men among technical and professional workers
  1. Political Empowerment
  • It identifies gender gaps in the highest level of political decision-making, and includes the ratio of women to men among ministers, among parliamentarians, and in terms of years in executive office (president or prime minister) over the last 50 years.
  1. Educational attainment
  • in primary, secondary and tertiary levels
  1. Health and survival
  • Sex ratio t birthto capture the phenomenon of “missing women” due to strong son preference
  • gendergaps in life expectancy.

Gender equality and growth

  1. Largest talent pool
  • Gender equality is desirable, even for purely instrumental reasons, and should be supported even by those who think equity concerns are getting in the way of business.
  • As the 2017 report points out,talent is important for competitiveness and to find the best talent, everyone should have equal opportunit
  • When women and girls are not integrated, the global community loses out on skills, ideas and perspectives that are critical for addressing global challenges and harnessing new opportunities.
  • There is ample research documenting the staggering economic costs of sidelining women.
  1. Loss to GDP
  • AnOECD estimate reveals that gender-based discrimination in social institutions could cost up to $12 trillion for the global economy, and that a reduction in gender discrimination can increase the rate of growth of GDP.

Conclusion

  • Internalisation of this understanding would mean that gender equality has to be mainstreamed into economic policymaking, rather than viewed as a residual concern to be tackled later, as an afterthought.

 

Q3. Inequality in China today is considerably lower than in India. Drawing from Chinese experience, how can India reduce inequality? Examine.

  • World Inequality Report 2018asserts that there has been continuous growth in inequality here since the mid-1980s.
  • However, inequality in India declined for three and a half decades since 1950 even as the economy grew steadily, though maybe not spectacularly.

Case of China

  • World Development Indicatorsdata released by the World Bank show that per capita income in China was five times that of India in 2016 while the percentage of the population living on less than $1.90 a day was about 10 times less at the beginning of this decade. India has a forbidding gap to traverse in all directions, but for now let us focus on inequality.
  • Since 1980, while the Chinese economy has grown 800% and India’s a far lower 200%, inequality in China today is considerably lower than in India. The share of the top 1% of the Chinese population is 14% as opposed to the 22% reported for India.
  • Inequality actually declined in China from the early 21st century.

Investment in human Capital

  • If there is to be a meta narrative for China’s economic development, it is that its leadership combined the drive for growth with thespreading of human capital. Human capital is a person’s endowment derived from education and robust health.
  • The spread of health and education in China enabled the Chinese economy to grow faster than India by exporting manufactures to the rest of the world.
  • As the human capital endowment was relatively equal, most people could share in this growth, which accounts for the relative equality of outcomes in China when compared to India.
  • An ingredient of this is also the greater participation of women in the workforce of China, an outcome that eludes India.

Way forward for India

  • India’s full panoply of interventions, invariably justified as being pro-poor, have not only not spread human capital, but they have also not been able to prevent a growing income inequality.
  • The focus must be on expanding profit-sharing arrangements, without stifling or centralizing market incentives that are crucial to drive growth.
  • A first step would be togive all of a country’s residents the right to a certain share of the economy’s profits
  • There is need to spread health and education far more widely amidst the population.

 

Q4.Analyse the nature and significance of Supreme Court’s recent judgements related to issues of fundamental rights, the status of the individual, and the idea of democracy.

Individual autonomy and fundamental rights

  1. Judgment on triple talaq
  • InShayara Bano vs Union of India, popularly known as the “triple talaq case”, the court came perilously close to completely submerging individual rights within community claims.
  • Two judges out of five held that personal law systems (inherently unequal and discriminatory towards women) were protected by Article 25(1)’s near-absolute guarantee of the freedom of religion.
  • Itsimpact on future constitutional cases involving religious claims remains to be seen.

2.Judgment on privacy

  • The nine-judge bench’s decision inS. Puttaswamy vs Union of India, where the court unanimously held that the constitution protects the fundamental right to privacy.
  • The judges articulated a concrete vision of the relationship between the individual and the state: a relationship in which the individual rights to dignity, to autonomy, and to liberty, were paramount, and the fundamentalvalue of privacy – whether it was the privacy of the home and other spaces, the privacy of personal information, or the privacy of intimate decision-making – was in how it protected, promoted and fulfilled individual autonomy and dignity.

Democracy

  1. Judgment on use of identity in politics
  • InAbhiram Singh vs C.D. Commachen,a majority of four judges ruled that the Representation of the People Act prohibited any kind of appeal to caste, community, language, and religion during an election campaign.
  • They based their holding on the view that these markers of identity were inherently divisive, and impeded the formation of the universal citizenhood that was so important to democracy.
  • Three judges, however, dissented, noting thatelectoral politics was a stage where historical discrimination – that had always been identity-based – could be addressed and remedied, and that the only feasible way of doing this was by appealing to identity.

2.Judgment on ordinance power

  • In Krishna Kumar vs State of Bihar, the court significantly narrowed the power of the executive to pass ordinances.
  • Not only did it hold that ordinances would be subject to judicial review (albeit to a limited extent), it alsoheld that, subject to a very narrow class of exceptions, acts done through the duration of the ordinance would also lapse if the ordinance lapsed. In doing so, the court set aside two previous decisions that had equated ordinances to “temporary laws”, and had therefore held that acts done during the course of an ordinance would continue to have effect even after the ordinance itself was allowed to lapse.
  • While ordinances had been a regular tool of governance under the colonial regime, their utility in a democratic society had to be severely curtailed and regulated – ordinances were, at best, a subordinate form of lawmaking, necessitated in emergencies, but under no circumstances could they supplant parliamentary legislation.

3.Judgment on power conflict between elected and nominated in UT

  • In NCT of Delhi vs Union of India, which concerned the distribution of powers between the elected Delhi government and the Lieutenant-Governor.
  • Thepost of the LG is another colonial holdover, from a time when people were subjects instead of citizens, and territories were to be “administered” instead of governed.
  • The constitution is dotted with such colonial holdovers, and Article 239AA, which laid out Delhi’s legislative and executive arrangements, reflected this tension.

 

 

 

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