Supreme Court issues notice to WhatsApp, Centre on data privacy

Supreme Court issues notice to WhatsApp, Centre on data privacy:

A plea in the Supreme Court has sought a ban on data transfer by WhatsApp to its parent organization Facebook in which it recognizes users’ right to data privacy.
The initial reaction of the court was to take it or leave it! But the petitioner has argued that constitutional rights cannot be subjected to take it or leave it.
But a bench led by Chief justice of India J S Khehar was convinced that the right to data privacy on social media sites must be examined irrespective of the fact whether the user has agreed to share data by pressing “ok” and “proceed”. Thus, providing free service does not entitle a subscriber to violate data privacy.

Concerns that were raised:

  • The court expressed concerns as on one hand the user wants to use the free service and on the other expressed concerns over his privacy.
  • The services provided are not illegitimate but they are provided by a service provider and are voluntarily opted by the user.
  • What prevented users to unsubscribe from WhatsApp and Facebook, when there exist privacy concerns regarding the data that the user shares with them.
  • The petitioner has also raised concerns on how social media can remain out of the current regulatory structure.
  • The bench also made a distinction between phone calls and WhatsApp, while the later was a free service the user must pay for the former.
  • It is alleged that violation of data privacy amounts to infringement of the basic constitutional rights of Art 19(Freedom of Speech and Expression and Art 21(Right to Life).

Directives of the court:

  • The court issued notices to Government, TRAI, WhatsApp and Facebook in this regard.
  • The constitutional rights under Art 21 and also the regulations of TRAI can be invoked to protect the right to privacy of citizens.
Though India does not possess a law on data protection, but still courts can protect our basic rights by invoking the fundamental principles of the constitution.

Global relevance on this issue:

  • Concerns have also been raised in Germany over data security. The German privacy watchdog has ordered Facebook to delete all data that it received from subsidiary WhatsApp
  • Unlike India, where there no specific privacy laws exist, Germany has a strict data privacy policy to deal with these matters.


Source: xaam.in




Tribals of Chinna Jaggampeta left to starve by authorities [ Land Alienation , Land Reform , Tribal Issues , GS Paper 3 , Hindu ]

They have developed a unique cooperative system, where none is the owner of any plot and the entire produce is shared equally after harvest.

It was 7 a.m. on January 6 and the adivasi farmers of Chinna Jaggampeta in Nathavaram mandal of Visakhapatnam district were getting ready to tend to their farms. Even before they could realise what was happening, the local Mandal Revenue Officer (MRO), a team of about 50 armed policemen, led by the Inspectors from Narsipatnam and Nathavaram, and about 70 labourers from the neighbouring villages descended on the village, forcibly packed 70 of them — including women, the elderly and children — into the police vans and chopped off and carried away the paddy crop that was nearing harvest.

Such a scene one witnessed in films like Mother India, where zamindars and local financiers grabbed the produce as the farmers could not repay loans. But now it was done by the district administration with the support of policemen and reportedly at the behest of a local non-tribal political leader, who had been eyeing the 22-acre piece since 1974.

The Konda Dora adivasis themselves do not know since when they have been tilling the land. “It has been ages. We regard Chinna Jaggampeta as our native soil,” said Pydiraju, a farmer, who having cleared Intermediate is one among the educated adivasis.

The 50 families have been growing one crop of paddy on 11 acres and cashew, coconut and palm on the other 11 acres. They have developed a unique cooperative system, where none is the owner of any plot and the entire produce is shared equally after harvest.

“This year, we had a good crop. We produce about 30 bags from each acre and every family gets around six bags of rice and this is our only source of livelihood. The festive mood was just setting in, as the harvest time was nearing. And the authorities came down and destroyed our crop,” said Vellagada Parvathi.

According to her, there were about 10 policewomen and they used considerable force to bundle them into the vans to take them to the KD Peta police station, about 30 km away. “And the next day, we found our lush green fields turned a barren tract,” she added

The labourers were brought from the neighbouring villages such as Gummidi Konda and Yedurupalli (native village of Minister Ayyanna Patrudu); generators, high power lights and tractors too were brought in. “They worked from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. next day and our entire produce was harvested before time and taken away,” lamented Satya.

In 1974, one Ankam Reddy Nookaraju, a local non-tribal politician, obtained a sale agreement (not a registered sale deed) and based on that he procured a pattadar pass book and had been staking his claim of ownership ever since.

In 2011, both the adivasis and Mr. Nookaraju also called Jameel, went to court and the case is pending in the High Court, said Mr. V. Kiran of Rythu Swarajya Vedika. He said Mr. Nookaraju wanted to take advantage of the fact that the land did not fall under Schedule V of the Constitution.

The case is due for hearing on January 6. The High Court had ordered ‘status quo’ which was communicated to the MRO. Still, the officials deprived the adivasis of their food, said Mr. B. Ramakrishna Raju of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM).


Source: xaam.in




Government Schemes 2016(Jan-Dec)





Government Schemes 2016(Jan-Dec) 
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‘Serious job losses are taking place’ [Amartya Sen , The Hindu , Economy , GS 3 ]

The truth may ultimately prevail about demonetisation, but the government might be able to maintain the loyalty of a large part of the public for a long time, says Amartya Sen

More than two months after the demonetisation, Nobel Laureate and economist Amartya Sen says that any proper “economic reasoning could not have sensibly led to such a ham-handed policy.” He predicts that the demonetisation will hit the economy quite drastically. In an interview with Suvojit Bagchi at his home in Santiniketan, which he visits every winter, Professor Sen spoke about the motives and impact of the move.

We’ve seen the primary impact of the demonetisation: long queues outside banks and shortage of cash. Now we are seeing the secondary impact, which is on the informal sector. Potato sowing in West Bengal is affected and some other businesses are collapsing. What could be the impact of all this?

What you are calling “the secondary impact” shouldn’t at all be surprising since the availability of money plays a very big part in facilitating business and trade. Particularly for small businesses (farming, for example), money is often used in the form of cash. In the long run, cashless transactions can perhaps be made into routine practice, through organisation and training, but that would take time. To act on the presumption of instant learning and institutionalisation is to place the hard-earned interests of many people without any connection to ‘black money’ in serious risk.

Most of what we now call cash is actually promissory notes, the emergence of which reflected a big advance over relying only on precious metals (like gold and silver). Promissory notes played a significant part in building up the financial backbone of industrial Europe. If in the 18th or 19th century, Britain had been demonetised suddenly, it would have devastated British industrial progress.

Given the underdevelopment of electronic accounts and transactions, big parts of the economy are similarly vulnerable. For many, especially among the poor, making efficient and correct use of electronic payments and receipts would remain difficult to master and the possibility of losing one’s money would be hard to avoid, especially given the shortage of infrastructure and the slowness of learning in using cashless transactions. The perplexing question is why some people — those who gave us demonetisation — did not foresee that this would happen and even more perplexing is how the promoters of demonetisation can be so blind even now to the overwhelming evidence of a crisis.

Why has over 85 per cent of cash suddenly been taken out of circulation?

The Government of India seems to have been caught in a confusion of purposes. Demonetisation has been seen both as a way of catching and eliminating ‘black money’, and as a way of moving towards a ‘cashless economy’. The former has gradually been replaced in the rhetoric of the government by the latter, which is not surprising as demonetisation can make only a very small contribution — at a huge social cost — to the ‘black money problem’. This is because only a very small proportion of black money (it is estimated to be 6 per cent or so, certainly less than 10 per cent) is in cash. Most black money is in the form of precious metals and other assets in foreign accounts. The inconvenience and loss imposed with no black money (workers earning wages; small businesses doing trade or production; people, even housewives, keeping small savings) are much more acute than any benefit from catching relatively small amounts of black money. There are going to be huge job losses too, and the recent reports by All India Manufacturers’ Organisation are beginning to show that serious job losses are already happening as a result of what London’s Financial Times has called “a dramatic drop in business in the 34 days since Narendra Modi… announced his plan to scrap 86 per cent of its banknotes.”

The unrealistic governmental expectation that the ‘black money problem’ can be solved, or largely removed, by demonetisation soon became clear even to the government. Then the initially trumpeted objective of getting rid of black money through demonetisation was suddenly changed into a very different objective — to leap rapidly into a cashless society. However, for such a structural change, much more time is needed, and the draconian measures — penalties installed in the hope of catching black money — are particularly ill-suited. The result has been a combination of chaos and widespread suffering rather than an orderly transition to a cashless society.

Do you think there are political reasons behind the demonetisation move? The elections are coming up, so that may have been one?

I don’t really know. Since economic reasoning could not have sensibly led to such a ham-handed policy, it is natural for people to suspect an explanation in terms of political advantages that the ruling parties were expecting to get. It has certainly given, at least for the time being, a great political image to the Prime Minister of being a huge fighter against corruption, even though the policy has done very little to achieve anything on that front.

These 50 days of hardship will not take black assets out of the economy?

How could it? Only a very small proportion of black money (around 6 per cent, certainly less than 10 per cent) is in cash. How can cleaning up of 10 per cent, at most, of black money clean it all up? Even that 10 per cent is a huge overestimate, since the ‘black money dealers’ are much more skilled in overcoming official barriers than are normal honest people who are simply harassed — or made to lose their money — because of their lack of specialised skill in avoiding transaction barriers.

If it is a bad policy, why do you think there haven’t been protests against demonetisation yet?

The government’s publicity surrounding this inept move has been very strong. People have been told again and again that if you are against demonetisation, you must be in favour of black money. This is a ridiculous analysis, but a readily exploitable political slogan. The persistent crisis created by demonetisation is only slowly becoming clear in terms of hard statistics as well as in public perception.

The false perception of nobility and success can be held up through endless repetition of distorted ‘facts’ and propaganda. The truth may ultimately prevail, but the government might be able to maintain the loyalty of a large part of the public for a long time, certainly until after the U.P. elections.

It is worth remembering that the notorious Irish famines in the 1840s did not immediately cause serious public agitation against the government run from London. That happened only later — much later — but when it did happen, the understanding of blame had a huge long-run impact, making the Irish people deeply suspicious of everything that the government in London did.


Source: xaam.in




Market regulator tightens merger norms

Market regulator tightens merger norms

SEBI (Securities and exchange board of India) has tightened the norms for merger of an unlisted company with a listed entity.

Steps taken in this regard:

  • Public shareholder holding in a company post-merger cannot be less than 25%.
  • A similar threshold will apply in case of institutional investors of the unlisted firm.
  • An unlisted firm can be merged with a listed firm only when the latter is listed on a stock exchange with nationwide trading terminals.
  • The regulator has also reduced the broker fee to ensure reduction in the overall cost of transaction which will benefit the investors.
  • E-voting is made mandatory in certain cases.
  • To help investors take informed decisions, fund houses have been asked to include as part of their advertisements the performance of the scheme since its inception.
  • Mutual funds are herewith allowed to invest in instruments like Real estate(REITs) and Infrastructure investment(InvITs) funds. This to ensure greater participation of retail investors.

Concerns:

  • Merger is used as a route to get an unlisted company listed.
  • Concerns related to electronic voting requirement.
  • In another case of misuse shares were issued post-merger to promoters only.
The entire exercise is aimed to protect the rights of public shareholders in case of a merger:


Source: xaam.in




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TARGET – 2017 PRELIMS – CUM- MAINS YOJANA ISSUE EXPECTED QUESTIONS (AUGUST 2016 TO DECEMBER 2016)

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3. 12 Full length Mock Test
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Source: xaam.in




Corporate Social Responsibility In India | Mains | GS-II | Civil Socities

What is CSR?
  • It efforts that go beyond what may be required by regulators.
  • The income is earned only from the society and therefore it should be given back.
What is the legal mandate?
  • Under Companies Act, 2013 any company with a
    1. net worth of the company to be Rs 500 crore or more or
    2. turnover of the company to be Rs 1000 crore or more or
    3. net profit of the company to be Rs 5 crore or more.
has to spend at least 2% of last 3 years average net profits on CSR activities as specified in Schedule VII and as amended from time to time. The rules came into effect from 1 April 2014.
  • Further as per the CSR Rules, the provisions of CSR are not only applicable to Indian companies, but also applicable to branch and project offices of a foreign company in India.
  • Further, the qualifying company will be required to constitute a CSR Committee consisting of 3 or more directors.
  • The CSR Committee shall formulate and recommend to the Board, a policy which indicates the activities to be undertaken, allocate resources and monitor the CSR Policy of the company.
  • If the company did not spend CSR, it has to disclose the reason for not spending. Non-disclosure or absence of the details will be penalised from Rs 50,000 to Rs 25 lakh or even imprisonment of up to 3 years
  • India is the first country in the world to enshrine corporate giving into law.
What activities can be carried on?
CSR is a commitment to support initiatives that measurably improve the lives of underprivileged by one or more of the following focus areas as
  • Promoting education
  • Ensuring environmental sustainability
  • Protection of national heritage
  • Measures for the benefit of armed forces
  • Promoting sports
  • Contribution to the Prime Minister‘s National Relief
  • Slum area development etc.
How is it beneficial to companies?
  • Businesses that show how they are more socially responsible than their competitors tend to stand out.
  • CSR practices have a significant impact on employee morale, as it reinforces his confidence on Company’s empathy.
What is the effect of legislation?
  •  The private sector’s combined charitable spend increased from 33.67bn rupees in 2013 to around 250bn rupees after the law’s enactment.
  •  It has brought CSR from the fringes to the boardroom. Companies now have to think seriously about the resources, timelines and strategies needed to meet their legal obligations.
  • But it also has its shortcomings.
  •  A survey found that 52 of the country’s largest 100 companies failed to spend the required 2% last year.
  • A smaller proportion has gone further to allegedly cheating by giving donations to charitable foundations that then return the fund minus a commission.
  •  Charitable spending was used as a big reputation builder for family-led conglomerates with a long tradition of philanthropy. Now it’s just about legal compliance. Many companies that were giving more than 2% have scaled back their spending.
  • Compounding the problem is that smaller charities often lack the capacity to cope with companies’ bureaucratic and operational demands.
  •  There is also a geographic bias under the 2% law, with companies funding projects closer to where they are based. Therefore more industrialised states are winning over poorer, more remote regions where development aid is acutely needed.
  •  Some companies looking to gain goodwill by backing government-led projects rather than independent initiatives.
What should be done?
  • What India needs is large-scale social innovation and systems change and mandatory spending achieves a little in this direction.
  • It also deflects pressure on companies to change their business practices.
  • CSR should be more inclusive by which an organization should think about and evolve its relationships with stakeholders for the common good, and demonstrate its commitment by adopting appropriate business processes and strategies.
  • A set of national voluntary guidelines to spell out what responsible business should look like and set out that CSR is more than just charitable giving should be formalised.
Category: Mains | GS-II | Civil Socities
Source: The Guardian


Source: xaam.in




Drought Guidelines And Management Plan Mains | GS – III | Disaster Management

Why in news?
  • Tamil Nadu was declared drought-hit recently by the state government. Earlier Kerala also was declared drought-hit due to deficit South-West Monsoon.
  • Click Here
What is Drought?
  • There is no universally accepted standard definition of drought because of its varying characteristics and impacts.
  • A drought is a period of below-average precipitation in a given region, resulting in prolonged shortages in its water supply, whether atmospheric, surface water or ground water.
  • Drought is a recurrent feature of climate and occurs in all climatic regimes.
  • Drought is a temporary aberration unlike aridity, which is a permanent feature of climate.
Why drought is different from other disasters?
Unlike other natural disasters, drought is different in the sense that
  • It is difficult to determine the beginning and end of the event
  • Duration may range from months to years
  • No single indicator can identify the onset and severity and its impacts
  • Spatial extent is usuall greater than that for other hazards
  • Impacts are difficult to quantify and they usually magnify when events continue from one season to the next.
Why drought recurs in India?
  • High average annual rainfall of around 1,150 mm. No other country has such a high annual average.
  • Variability in rainfall as compared to Long Period Average (LPA) exceeds 30% in large areas of the country and is over 40- 50% in parts of drought prone Saurashtra, Kutch, and Rajasthan.
  • Around 33% of the cropped area in the country receives less than 750 mm rain annually making such areas hotspots of drought.
  • Irrigation, using groundwater aggravates the situation in the long term as groundwater withdrawal exceeds replenishment.
  • What are the impacts of drought?
  • When is a drought declared?
Drought may be declared by the State Government at these levels.
The following four indicators are usually applied in combination for drought declaration.
  1. If the total rainfall received during the months of June and July is less than 50% of the average rainfall for these two months. 
  2. If the total rainfall for the entire duration of the rainy season of the state is less than 75%. 
    1. What are the classifications of drought?
In the literature, droughts have been classified into three categories in terms of impact.
  • Meteorological drought is defined as the deficiency of precipitation from expected or normal levels over an extended period of time.
  • Hydrological drought is best defined as deficiencies in surface and subsurface water supplies leading to a lack of water for normal and specific needs. Such conditions arise, even in times of average precipitation when increased usage of water diminishes the reserves.
  • Agricultural drought, triggered by meteorological and hydrological droughts, occurs when soil moisture and rainfall are inadequate during the crop growing
What are the Relief Measures taken?
The state governments submit reports on drought condition with all the relevant information and the government of India extends support via various ministries based on these reports. They include
  • Allocation of additional days of work under MGNREGA to households in drought affected areas
  • Diesel Subsidy Scheme for farmers in affected areas Enhancement of ceiling on Seed subsidy
  • Moratorium on farm loans and arrangement for crop loss compensation.
  • The public distribution mechanism should be strengthened to provide food and fodder as a measure to sustain the rural economy.
  • The government should initiate actions to recharge the groundwater table by building check dams and providing pipeline water and other irrigation facilities.
  • Interventions for saving perennial horticulture crops
  • Implementation of additional fodder development programme
  • Flexible allocation under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)  and other centrally sponsored schemes for undertaking appropriate interventions.
  • Availability of seeds and other inputs for kharif.
  • SDRF/NDRF funds should be released.

Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya

Who is Deendayal Upadhyaya?
  • Deendayal Upadhyaya was born in a poor family in Nagla Chandrabhaan village near Mathura, UP, on 25 September, 1916.
  • As a child, Deendayal had to face the profound grief of several deaths in the family. Deendayal  moved from place to place and completed his masters degree. He was introduced to RSS and became a full timer in the late 1930s.
  • Deendayal was a prolific writer and a successful editor. He wrote a number of books including Samrat Chandragupt and Jagatguru Shankaracharya, and an analysis of the Five Year plans in India.
  • He was deputed to work in the Jana Sangh by Shri Golwalkar when the party was founded in 1951 by Dr Syama Prasad Mukherjee. From then till 1967 he remained the Jana Sangh All India General Secretary.
  • It was during this time that he propounded the political philosophy of Integral Humanism. It is now 50 years since the Jana Sangh adopted Integral Humanism as its political-economic manifesto.
  • Deendayal Upadhyaya died on February 11, 1968 under mysterious circumstances at the age 52. The murder of Pandit Deendayal still remains unresolved.
What are some of his ideals?
  • The concept of Integral Humanism he propounded envisages remedies for the post-globalisation maladies of the world.
  • Upadhyaya conceived a classless, casteless and conflict-free social order. He stressed on the ancient Indian wisdom of oneness of the human kind.
  • For him, the brotherhood of a shared, common heritage was central to political activism. He emphasised on coexistence and harmony with nature.
  • He conceptualized an alternative approach which was free from the dialectics of competition and envy, a third way from the inertia of Capitalism and Communism.
  • He was a pioneer of many political experiments. He was the architect of the first coalition phase in Indian politics.
  • Deen Dayal Upadhyaya was an advocate of less government and more governance.
  • He believed in self-sustaining autonomous units, more power to states and decentralized and competitive federalism, solidly cemented on the cultural mosaic of our tradition, heritage and experience of the past.
What are the initiatives started in his name?
  • The Centre government’s schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana, Mudra Yojana, Ujwala Yojana, to give free LPG connection to five crore BPL families, Gram Jyoti Yojana, to electrify the last of the 75,000 villages, toilet for all and house for all are all inspired by this vision.
  • To mention a few, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana strives to provide continuous power supply to rural India.
  • Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana is the skilling and placement initiative to cater to the occupational aspirations of rural youth and enhancing their skills for wage employment.
  • Deendayal Upadhyay Shramev Jayate Karyakram works towards a conducive environment for industrial development and doing business with ease, also to impart skill training for workers.
  • As the nation celebrates the birth centenary of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya this year, the ideals, he stood for have become more relevant in modern India.
Category: Prelims & Mains | GS – I | Indian History
Source: Employment News


Source: xaam.in