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21 JUNE 2022

. No.Topic NamePrelims/Mains
1.    Cybersecurity in IndiaPrelims & Mains
2.    Recognition of Political PartiesPrelims & Mains
3.    Single Use PlasticPrelims & Mains
4.    Lightning in IndiaPrelims & Mains
5.    TRIPSPrelims Specific Topic


1 – Cybersecurity in India: 


Internal Security

  • Context:
  • Cybersecurity is related to national security, and with several countries forming their own “cyber armies,” India is beefing up its defences to combat the threat, according to Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
  • Why is a National Cyber Security Strategy Necessary?
  • The Number of Cyber Attacks Is Increasing: Maharashtra was the top targeted state in India, according to Palo Alto Networks’ 2021 report, accounting for 42 percent of all ransomware assaults.
  • According to the report, India is one of the most economically lucrative regions for hacker groups, thus they urge Indian companies to pay a ransom, generally in cryptocurrency, to recover access to their data.
  • In 2021, one out of every four Indian businesses would be hit by ransomware, which is higher than the global average of 21%.
  • Cyber Warfare Offensives: The United States is one of many governments that has spent a large amount of money creating not only anti-attack defences, but also the ability to launch damaging cyber warfare offensives.
  • The United States, China, Russia, Israel, and the United Kingdom are thought to have the most advanced cyber warfare capabilities.
  • Digital usage has risen. Post-Covid: Critical infrastructure, such as financial services, banking, power, manufacturing, nuclear power plants, and so on, is rapidly becoming digitised.
  • For Protecting Critical Sectors: Given the rising interconnection of sectors and proliferation of internet entry points, which could rise even more with the implementation of 5G, this is especially important.
  • According to statistics reported to and maintained by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, there were 6.97 lakh cyber security incidents reported in the first eight months of 2020, nearly equaling the preceding four years combined (CERT-In).
  • Cyberattacks in the News:
  • A Chinese outfit named Red Echo has increased its use of resources like malware to target “a broad swath” of India’s power sector.
  • Red Echo deployed ShadowPad malware, which uses a backdoor to get access to servers.
  • Stone Panda, a Chinese hacking organisation, “discovered weaknesses and vulnerabilities in Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India’s IT infrastructure and supply chain software.”
  • For the government: A local, state, or federal government keeps a significant amount of sensitive information on the country (geographical, military-strategic assets, and so on) and its citizens.
  • Individuals should:
  • Individuals’ photos, videos, and other personal information uploaded on social networking sites can be misused by others, resulting in serious and even life-threatening situations.
  • For Businesses: Companies’ systems include a great deal of data and information.
  • A cyber attack could result in the loss of competitive information (such as patents or original work) as well as private data of employees and customers, culminating in a full loss of public trust in the organization’s integrity.
  • What are the Key Elements of a National Cyber Security Strategy?
  • Digitization of Public Services on a Large Scale: In all digitization initiatives, security should be prioritised from the start.
  • Developing institutional capacity for core device assessment, evaluation, certification, and rating
  • Vulnerabilities and occurrences should be reported as soon as possible.
  • Supply Chain Security: Integrated Circuits (ICT) and electronics products supply chain monitoring and mapping.
  • At the strategic, tactical, and technical levels, using the country’s semiconductor design strengths around the world.
  • Protection of Critical Information Infrastructure: SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) security integration
  • Keeping a vulnerability database up to date.
  • Creating a security baseline for the sector at a high level and tracking its controls.
  • Setting cyber-insurance products and developing audit guidelines for threat preparedness.
  • Mapping and modelling of deployed devices and platforms, supply chain, transacting entities, payment flows, interfaces, and data sharing are all examples of digital payments.
  • State-level cyber security includes developing state-level cybersecurity policies, allocating dedicated money, scrutinising digitization plans, and establishing security architecture, operations, and governance guidelines.
  • Small and Medium Business Security: Policy intervention in cybersecurity that provides incentives for greater cybersecurity preparation.
  • Developing security standards, frameworks, and architectures for IoT uptake and industrialization.
  • What are the recommendations in the report?
  • Provisions for the Budget: It is recommended that a minimum of 0.25 percent of the annual budget be made aside for cyber security, with the possibility of increasing this to 1 percent.
  • Separate ministries and agencies should set aside 15-20 percent of their IT/technology budgets for cybersecurity.
  • It also proposes creating a cybersecurity Fund of Funds and allocating central financing to states to develop cybersecurity skills.
  • Research, innovation, skill development, and technology development: The report recommends investing in ICT modernisation and digitisation, establishing a short and long-term cyber security agenda through outcome-based initiatives, and investing in deep-tech cyber security innovation.
  • The DSCI further suggests forming a “cyber security services” comprised of cadres drawn from the Indian Engineering Services.
  • DSCI advocates holding cybersecurity simulations that incorporate real-life scenarios and their repercussions in order to adequately prepare for a catastrophe.
  • Cyber Insurance: Because cyber insurance is a relatively new area, it requires actuarial science in order to manage cybersecurity risks in business and technological situations and quantify threat exposures.
  • Cyber diplomacy: India’s worldwide relations are heavily influenced by cyber diplomacy. As a result, significant regional blocs such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) must maintain their cyber security preparedness through programmes, exchanges, and industrial support.
  • To improve diplomacy, the government should promote India’s brand as a responsible actor in cyber security and appoint “Cyber envoys” to critical countries and areas.
  • Cybercrime Investigation: With the rise of cybercrime around the world, the research suggests that the court system be relieved of its burden by enacting rules to address spamming and fake news.
  • It also recommends creating a five-year framework that takes into account anticipated technological transformations, establishing special courts to deal with cybercrime, and clearing the backlog of cybercrime cases.
  • In addition, DSCI recommends sophisticated forensic training for law enforcement agencies to stay current in the age of AI/ML, Blockchain, IoT, Cloud, and Automation.
  • Source – The Hindu

2 – Recognition of Political Parties:


Election related issues

  • Context:
  • The Indian Election Commission has decided to de-recognize 111 political parties across the country.
  • The provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 govern the registration of political parties:
  • A party seeking registration with the Election Commission under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, must submit an application to the Commission within 30 days of its formation, according to guidelines prescribed by the Election Commission of India in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Commission of India and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • To be eligible for a ‘National Political Party of India’ membership, you must meet the following criteria:
  • At a general election for the House of the People or the State Legislative Assembly, it receives at least 6% of the valid votes cast in any four or more states.
  • Furthermore, it must gain at least four seats in the House of People from any State or States.
  • It gets at least 2% of the seats in the House of People (11 seats out of a total of 543 seats), and these members are elected from at least three distinct states.
  • To be considered for a ‘State Political Party,’ you must meet the following criteria:
  • It obtains at least 6% of the legitimate votes cast in a general election in the State, either for the House of People or the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned.
  • Furthermore, it obtains at least two seats in the State’s Legislative Assembly.
  • It must win at least 3% (3%) of the total number of members in the State’s Legislative Assembly, or three seats in the Assembly, whichever is greater.
  • Benefits:
  • If a party is recognised as a ‘State Party,’ it is entitled to exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to candidates it creates in the State in which it is recognised, and if a party is recognised as a ‘National Party,’ it is entitled to exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to candidates it creates across India.
  • Recognized ‘State’ and ‘National’ parties require only one proposer to file a nomination and are entitled to two sets of electoral rolls free of charge at the time of roll revision, as well as one copy of the electoral roll free of charge during General Elections.
  • During general elections, they also have access to broadcast/telecast facilities via Akashvani/Doordarshan.
  • Star campaigners’ travel expenses are not to be included in the election expense records of their party’s candidates.
  • Source – The Hindu

3 – Single Use Plastic:


Environmental Conservation

  • Context:
  • From July 1, the Centre will prohibit the use of “single-use plastic.” The Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change announced the prohibition in a gazette notice last year, and has now established a list of things that will be prohibited beginning next month.
  • “With effect from July 1, 2022, the manufacturing, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of the following single-use plastic commodities, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, shall be prohibited,” states the Ministry notification.
  • Major Producers:
  • Twenty major corporations produce half of the world’s single-use plastic.
  • Two American firms were followed by a Chinese-owned petrochemicals behemoth and a Bangkok-based firm.
  • Financial services organisations, especially banks, are major investors in the project.
  • Governments play a significant role in this industry. Governments, such as China and Saudi Arabia, own over 40% of the world’s major single-use plastic manufacturers.
  • Growth:
  • Single-use plastic has done exceptionally well, and this trend is expected to continue. Production capacity is expected to increase by 30% in the following five years.
  • The wealth gap between wealthy and poorer countries is enormous:
  • Every year, the average American uses and discards 50 kilos of single-use plastic, whereas the average Indian uses less than a twelfth of that amount.
  • Concerns:
  • Less Recycling: In the United States, only approximately 8% of plastic is recycled. Making goods out of newly created plastic is significantly less expensive than using recycled plastic.
  • Limited Efforts: Certain items like as plastic grocery bags, foam cups, and drinking straws have been banned by state and municipal governments. However, efforts to reduce the manufacture of single-use plastic have so far been limited.
  • Consumer advocacy efforts to urge them to use less plastic have largely failed.
  • Global Initiatives: By 2025, the European Union has adopted a law requiring consumer brands to include at least 30% recycled content in their plastic bottles.
  • Indian Initiatives: In an effort to rid India of single-use plastics by 2022, the Union government unveiled a multi-ministerial plan in 2019 to discourage the use of single-use plastics across the country.
  • The 2016 Plastic Rubbish Management Rules gave producers and brand owners more responsibility for collecting waste generated by their products.
  • About:
  • Single-use plastics, often known as disposable plastics, are only used once before being discarded or recycled.
  • Plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles, and most food packaging are examples of these goods.
  • Plastic has supplanted all other materials in the packaging sector because it is so inexpensive and handy, but it takes hundreds of years to degrade.
  • It is a major issue. According to the figures, single-use plastic accounts for 43 percent of the 9.46 million tonnes of plastic garbage generated in our country each year.
  • Single-use plastic goods are also useful in preventing the transmission of infection.
  • Disposable instruments like syringes, applicators, drug tests, bandages, and wraps are common.
  • Additionally, single-use plastic goods have been enlisted in the fight against food waste, keeping food and drink fresher for longer and decreasing contamination risks.
  • Problems:
  • Petroleum-based plastic is not biodegradable and usually ends up in a landfill or in the water, where it eventually ends up in the ocean.
  • Toxic chemicals (additives used to shape and harden the plastic) are released throughout the breakdown process and end up in our food and water supplies.
  • Next Steps:
  • Alternatives that are both economically and environmentally feasible and do not deplete resources are required, and their prices will fall as demand grows.
  • Alternatives such as cotton, khadi bags, and biodegradable plastics must be promoted.
  • To find sustainable feasible choices, more R&D (Research and Development) and funds are required.
  • Citizens must adjust their behaviour and contribute by not littering and assisting in garbage separation and management.
  • Source – The Hindu

4 – Lightning in India:


Environmental Conservation

  • Context:
  • Over the previous two days, seventeen people have been murdered by lightning in various regions of Bihar. Six people have been killed in Bhagalpur district, three in Vaishali, and two each in Banka and Khagaria. Madhepura, Saharsa, Munger, and Katihar also saw deaths.
  • What is Lightning:
  • It is a vast and extremely quick discharge of electricity into the atmosphere. It is the natural occurrence of a’very brief duration and high voltage electrical discharge between a cloud and the ground or within a cloud,’ accompanied by a brilliant flash and sound, and sometimes thunderstorms.
  • Lightning that occurs between clouds or within clouds (IC) is visible and harmless.
  • Cloud to ground (CG) lightning is dangerous because it causes electrocution due to the “high electric voltage and electric current.”
  • Process:
  • The differential in electrical charge between the top and bottom of a cloud causes it.
  • The lightning-producing clouds normally reach a height of 10-12 km, with a base of 1-2 km from the Earth’s surface. The temperature at the summit varies between -35°C and -45°C.
  • Because of the lower temperatures, water vapour condenses into water as it goes upward in the cloud. The process generates a lot of heat, which pushes the water molecules up higher.
  • Droplets become into tiny ice crystals as temperatures dip below zero. As they climb higher, they gain mass until they are so heavy that they must drop.
  • It results in a system in which smaller ice crystals rise while larger ones fall. In a mechanism comparable to the formation of electric sparks, the resultant collisions cause the release of electrons. Additional collisions and more electrons result from the moving free electrons, resulting in a chain reaction.
  • As a result of the process, the top layer of the cloud becomes positively charged, while the middle layer becomes negatively charged.
  • Other details:
  • A massive current, on the magnitude of lakhs to millions of amperes, begins to flow between the layers in a short period of time.
  • It generates heat, which warms the air column between the two layers of cloud.
  • The air column appears red during lightning because of this heat.
  • Thunder is produced when a hot air column expands and produces shock waves.
  • Strikes The Surface of the Earth:
  • The Earth is an excellent electrical conductor. While electrically neutral, it is positively charged when contrasted to the cloud’s middle layer. As a result, approximately 20% to 25% of the current flow is directed towards the Earth.
  • Damage to life and property is caused by the current flow.
  • Lightning is more likely to strike higher items on the ground, such as trees or buildings, than it is to strike low-lying objects.
  • Lightning A conductor is a device that prevents structures from being struck by lightning. During construction, a metallic rod taller than the structure is inserted in the building’s walls.
  • The shore of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela has the greatest lightning activity on the planet.
  • Every year, on average, 260 storm days occur around the Catatumbo River’s confluence with Lake Maracaibo, with 28 lightning flashes per minute in October – a phenomena known as the Beacon of Maracaibo or the Everlasting Storm.
  • Climate Change and Lightning: What’s the Connection?
  • According to a study published in 2015 by California University, an increase of one degree Celsius would increase the incidence of lightning strikes by 12%.
  • In March 2021, a study published in Geophysical Research Letters found ties between climate change and increased lightning strikes in the Arctic.
  • Between 2010 and 2020, the number of lightning strikes recorded throughout the summer months increased from around 18,000 at the start of the decade to over 1,50,000 by 2020.
  • As a result, the Indian Institute of Tropical Management (IITM) believes that the rise in lightning strikes is linked to the climate crisis and the availability of more moisture over land as a result of global warming.
  • The IITM in Pune is India’s sole full-time lightning and thunderstorm research institute.
  • In India, Lightning Strikes Have Increased:
  • According to India’s second annual report on lightning, released recently by Lightning Resilient India Campaign (LRIC), 18.5 million lightning strikes were reported in India between April 2020 and March 2021.
  • Climate Resilient Observing-Systems Promotion Council (CROPC), National Disaster Management Authority, India Meteorological Department (IMD), Union Ministry of Earth Science, World Vision India, and UNICEF are among the organisations that have joined forces to form LRIC.
  • By 2022, the programme hopes to reduce the number of deaths to under 1,200 per year.
  • Between April 2019 and March 2020, at least 13.8 million strikes were documented, a 34 percent increase over the previous year.
  • Source – The Hindu

5 – TRIPS:

Prelims Specific Topic

  • Context:
  • The 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, which ended last week, struggled to find adequate answers to some of the most complex questions about global trade. These concerns include waiving the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) regime on vaccines during public health emergencies such as the Covid pandemic, loosening the rules on public stockholding for food security, reducing/eliminating fisheries subsidies, resolving contentious issues in e-commerce, and reforming the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • What is the TRIPS Agreement?
  • The TRIPS Agreement is an international legal agreement between all of the World Trade Organization’s member countries (WTO).
  • It defines minimal requirements for national governments to regulate various forms of intellectual property (IP) as they apply to citizens of other WTO member countries.
  • TRIPS was negotiated between 1989 and 1990 at the close of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and is administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • It was the first multilateral agreement on intellectual property to be included in the multilateral trade system, and it remains the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property to date.
  • Important provisions:
  • TRIPS demands that member governments offer strong intellectual property rights protection.
  • It aims to encompass authors and other copyright holders, as well as holders of related rights, such as performers, sound recording producers, and broadcasting organisations.
  • Geographical indications (GI), industrial designs, integrated circuit layout designs, patents, novel plant varieties, trademarks, trade names, and undisclosed or sensitive information are all covered by this law.
  • It also lays out the methods for enforcing the law, as well as remedies and dispute settlement.
  • A most favoured nation (MFN) clause is also included in TRIPS.
  • What is the purpose of TRIPS?
  • The duties of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) principal international agreements that existed before to the WTO’s creation:
  • Convention on the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention) (patents, industrial designs, etc)
  • The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works was established in 1815. (copyright).
  • These agreements do not cover all locations. In several circumstances, the recommended protective levels were deemed insufficient.
  • As a result, the TRIPS Agreement greatly enhances current international norms.
  • What else does the TRIPS Agreement cover?
  • Unless based on the author’s life, copyright terms must last at least 50 years.
  • Under copyright law, computer programmes must be treated as “literary works” and must be protected in the same way.
  • Patents in all disciplines of technology must be granted for “inventions” and must be enforced for at least 20 years.
  • Source – The Hindu


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