Relevance : GS Paper II ( Polity & Governance )
The Supreme Court recently ordered the eviction of lakhs of people whose claims as forest dwellers have been rejected under Forest Rights Act.
Is this order of the court justified?
- Claims are being rejected on invalid grounds such as wrong consideration of land as ‘not forest land’
- The rejections are not being communicated to the claimants
- Claimants’ exercise of right to appeal is not being facilitated
- It is unclear whether the Supreme Court has the authority to order evictions of Scheduled Tribes from Scheduled Areas.
- This eviction goes against the constitutional apparatus that prescribes protection to Adivasi homelands.
The immediate result will be the forced eviction of over one million people. We, as citizens, have every reason to worry.
Relevance : GS Paper II & III ( Polity & Governance & Science & technology)
A balance between free speech and curbing misinformation is proving to be a challenge .
The across the globe are demanding more aggressive intervention by internet platforms in filtering the content they host.
India’s recent intervention
Draft of the Information Technology Act 2018 mandates the platforms to remove or disable public access to unlawful information or content.
Is such an intervention justified?
- The vague wording of the law does not provide clarity.
- It can lead to over-compliance to avoid expensive litigation.
- The govt is engaging in ‘censorship by proxy’ through private sector.
Problems with automated technologies
- Incomplete or inaccurate training data
- Further, an algorithmically driven solution is an amorphous process.
- crafting of mechanisms that can differentiate between false content and unlawful content.
- users of an online platform should be encouraged to regulate the flow of information.
- oversight and grievance redressal mechanism to address any potential violation
- use of Application Programme Interfaces (APIs) or ‘Public Interest Algorithms’
- community driven social mechanisms to raise awareness
A mix of empirical and legal analysis is needed to calibrate a set of policy interventions that may work for India today.
Category: Defence & Security
- India sealed a $3-billion deal with Russia for leasing a nuclear-powered attack submarine for the Indian Navy for a period of 10 years.
- Under the pact, Russia will have to deliver the Akula class submarine, to be known as Chakra III, to the Indian Navy by 2025.
- It will be the third Russian submarine to be leased to the Navy.
Coins for blind
Category: social sector
- Prime Minister released a new series of coins meant for the visually challenged coins.
- The ₹1, ₹2, ₹5, ₹10 and ₹20 coins increase in size and weight from lower to higher denominations.
- The ₹20 coin will be 12-sided with no serrations.
- The rest of the denominations are round in shape.
BSE Midcap and BSE Smallcap
- BSE introduced the new index series called ‘BSE MID-Cap’ index and ‘BSE Small-Cap’ index to track the performance of companies with relatively smaller market capitalization.
- BSE-500 Index – represents more than 93% of the listed universe.
- Companies with large market capitalization bias the movement of BSE-500 index.
- This necessitated construction of a separate indicator to capture the trend in companies with lower market capitalization.
- Companies with more than Rs 10,000 crores of market cap are large cap companies.
- Companies with market caps between Rs 500 to 10,000 crores are mid cap companies.
- Companies with market cap of less than Rs 500 crores are small cap companies.
Large hydro projects
- According to the new policy, large hydro projects will also be designated as renewable energy projects.
- So far, only smaller projects of less than 25 MW in capacity were categorised as renewable energy.
- With the removal of this distinction, large hydro projects will be included as a separate category under the non-solar renewable purchase obligation policy.
- The number of net jobs created in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector in the last four years stood at just 3,32,394.
- The survey shows just three States — Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Telangana — accounted for over 50% of the jobs created in this period (2015-16 to 2018-19).
- It also shows that 73% of the jobs were created by micro enterprises.
- “‘Net jobs created’ is defined as recruitment, less exits,”.
Category: Polity & Governance
- Rajasthan has amended the Lokayukta Act to reduce the Lokayukta’s tenure from eight years to five years.
- The decision has led to an abrupt end of the term of the present Lokayukta.
- A committee constituted by the govt has recommended that forest surveys — the biennial exercise by the government to estimate forest cover — explicitly demarcate trees grown in forests from those grown outside, that is, in plantations and private lands.
- Currently, the government counts both towards estimating the portion of India’s geographical area covered by forest.
- India posted a marginal 0.21% rise in the area under forest between 2015 and 2017.
- India has about 7,08,273 sq. km. of forest, which is 21.53% of the geographic area of the country (32,87,569 sq. km.).
- Getting India to have at least 33% of its area under forest has been a long-standing goal of the government since 1988.
- The Supreme Court cautioned the Haryana government against doing “anything” to harm the ecologically fragile Aravali range.
- The Aravalli Range is a range of mountains running approximately 692 km in a southwest direction, starting in North India from Delhi and passing through southern Haryana, through to Western India across the states of Rajasthan and ending in Gujarat.
- In a first of its kind, State Bank of India has decided to link the interest rate paid on savings bank balance of over ₹1 lakh to the repo rate — the key policy rate set by Reserve Bank of India.
- Also, the bank will link cash credit accounts and overdrafts, with limits above ₹1 lakh, to the repo rate.
- The move comes ahead of the April 1 deadline for banks to link the lending rate to the external benchmark which is aimed at increasing the effectiveness of monetary transmission.
- Most banks are likely to link their lending rates to the repo rate.
White label ATM
- In a step to boost activities of white label automated (WLA) teller machine operators, the RBI has allowed such entities to buy wholesale cash, above a threshold of 1 lakh pieces of any denomination, directly from the RBI and currency chests against full payment.
- WLAs are also allowed to source cash from scheduled banks, including cooperative banks and regional rural banks.
- California is experiencing its second super bloom in two years as a wave of rain-fed bright purple, yellow, and orange wild flowers pops up across its deserts.
- The occurrence happens only when rain and warm temperatures set conditions for mass concentrations of wild flowers.
Category: Social sector
- Anganwadi services have a poor reach among key beneficiaries – the poorest of the poor and uneducated mothers – according to a paper published in a WHO bulletin recently.
- The government’s Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) provides a package of six services at anganwadi or child-care centres to young children and pregnant women and lactating mothers.
- These services include supplementary nutrition, referral services, immunisation, health check-up, pre-school non-formal education and health and nutrition education.
Category: Sc & tech
- ISRO and its French counterpart CNES sealed an agreement to set up a joint maritime surveillance system in the country.
- The two nations will explore putting up a constellation of low-Earth orbiting satellites that will identify and track movement of ships globally – and in particular those moving in the Indian Ocean region where France has its Reunion Islands.
- The two agencies have put up two climate and ocean weather monitoring satellites Megha-Tropiques (of 2011) and SARAL-AltiKa (2013) that are considered a model. This fleet will be augmented with the launch of Oceansat-3-Argos mission in 2020 along with a joint infrared Earth-observation satellite.
Category: Sc & tech
- Google launched a mobile application named ‘Bolo’ (speak) to help schoolchildren improve their Hindi and English reading skills.
- The beta version of the free application — launched first in India, uses Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology.
Kiru Hydro Electric Project
- The project is located on River Chenab in Kishtwar district of Jammu & Kashmir.
- It envisages construction of a 135 m high concrete gravity Dam.
- It is envisaged as a Run of River (RoR) Scheme.