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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS ANALYSIS

16th November 2021

. No. Topic Name Prelims/Mains
1.    Pegasus Inquiry must reverse the chilling effect Prelims & Mains
2.    The debacle of demonetization Prelims & Mains
3.    House Panel meets Crypto Industry Prelims & Mains
4.    In a first à SC Collegium recommends gay advocate as the Delhi HC Judge Prelims & Mains
5.    Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In) Prelims Specific
6.    Yuktdhara Prelims Specific

 

  1. Pegasus Inquiry must reverse the chilling effect:

GS II

Topic – Right to Privacy vs National Security:

  • Why in News:
  • Emphasizing that state power to act on behalf of national security cannot completely be on the cost of compromising the ‘Right to Privacy’ of citizens, the Supreme Court has appointed a specialist committee of experts headed by former Supreme Court judge R.V. Raveendran to investigate allegations that the Central Government used Israeli software Pegasus to spy on citizens.
  • What is the problem:
  • Petitioners have complained about the misuse of spyware software ‘Pegasus’ by the Government of India to get hold of their personal information, that directly infringes on the privacy of citizens, which is a fundamental right under article 21 of the Indian Constitution as declared by SC in KS Puttaswamy Case.
  • Background:
  • Continued use of spyware Pegasus in India which is made by an Israeli company that sells it only to governments around the world, has been confirmed by various non-official reports.
  • Also, it is alleged that the Pegasus Software has apparently been updated and now comes with new monitoring capabilities.
  • What is Pegasus:
  • It is a spyware tool developed by an Israeli company, NSO Group.
  • It is used to spy on people through their phones.
  • Pegasus works by sending an exploit link, and when the target user clicks on the link, a malicious computer program or a software code is installed on the user’s phone which allows to do the surveillance of the user.
  • Once Pegasus is installed, the attacker has full access to the target user’s phone.
  • What can Pegasus do:
  • Pegasus “can retrieve targeted personal data, including passwords, contacts, calendar events, text messages, and live voice calls from popular mobile messaging apps”.
  • The target’s phone camera and microphone can be turned on to capture all activities close to the phone, thus increasing the range of surveillance.
  • Prelims Hot-Link:
  • About Spyware.
  • About Pegasus.
  • Differences between Spyware, Malware and Trojans.
  • Source – https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/pegasus-inquiry-must-reverse-the-chilling-effect/article37511279.ece
  1. The debacle of demonetization:

GS III

Topic – Indian Economy related issues:

  • Why in News:
  • 08th November 2021 marked the 5th anniversary of the announcement of demonetization in India, wherein the legal tender currency of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 were declared illegal, null & void in India
  • Reasons because of which demonetisation can be said to be a failure:
  • Disruption: It caused widespread disruption to the economy.
  • For example, personal hardship, loss of income and savings, and economic downturn.
  • Very few of its intended goals could have been fulfilled such as a cap on corruption, reduce the black money usage, reducing the flow of black money, enhancing the digital economy ecosystem in India.
  • Also, more than 99.3% of demonetized notes have been returned to banks.
  • There is no difference in the tax base: If the intention was to register a permanent increase in the tax base, it failed miserably.
  • Enhanced use of physical cash: Cash expenditure has now surpassed the levels that existed before demonetisation.
  • Also, after COVID-19, monetary dependence is very high.
  • Did the narrative on black money influence the decision of demonetisation in any way:
  • Black money is not really kept in cash except for a small amount but is usually collected through houses, buildings and other assets.
  • Black money theory: is easily seen and understood by ordinary people, who see corruption in everyday life and see it in cinemas, newspaper articles, or in everyday conversations over the years.
  • Psychological satisfaction: The idea of ​​a miraculous act and a beating against illegal wealth is deeply satisfying.
  • Moral issue: Criticism of demonetisation may suggest that critics are interested in protecting black money and corruption.
  • Change of narrative: When it became clear that the demonetized money was being returned to the banks at a higher rate than expected, the narrative was changed to shift focus from black money & counterfeit currency to enhanced usage of digital / cashless payments.
  • Source – https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-debacle-of-demonetisation/article37510767.ece
  1. House Panel meets Crypto Industry:

GS III

Topic – Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights. 

  • Background:
  • Private cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which are unregulated, mined through a complex process and have highly volatile prices, are under the regulatory gaze in India despite their proliferation as an asset class.
  • Present status of Cryptocurrencies in India:
  • An inter-ministerial panel on cryptocurrency has recommended that all private cryptocurrencies, except any virtual currencies issued by state, will be prohibited in India.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also raised concerns on the cryptocurrencies traded in the market and conveyed them to the Centre.
  • Back in March 2020, the Supreme Court had allowed banks and financial institutions to reinstate services related to cryptocurrenciesby setting aside the RBI’s 2018 circular that had prohibited them (Based on the ground of “proportionality”).
  • What are Cryptocurrencies:
  • Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.
  • Examples: Bitcoin, Ethereum etc.
  • Why is the RBI against the use of cryptocurrencies:
  • Sovereign guarantee: Cryptocurrencies pose risks to consumers.  They do not have any sovereign guarantee and hence are not legal tender.
  • Market volatility: Their speculative nature also makes them highly volatile.  For instance, the value of Bitcoin fell from USD 20,000 in December 2017 to USD 3,800 in November 2018.
  • Risk in security: A user loses access to their cryptocurrency if they lose their private key (unlike traditional digital banking accounts, this password cannot be reset).
  • Malware threats: In some cases, these private keys are stored by technical service providers (cryptocurrency exchanges or wallets), which are prone to malware or hacking.
  • Money laundering.
  • SC Garg Committee recommendations (2019):
  • Ban anybody who mines, hold, transact or deal with cryptocurrencies in any form.
  • It recommend a jail term of one to 10 years for exchange or trading in digital currency.
  • It proposed a monetary penalty of up to three times the loss caused to the exchequer or gains made by the cryptocurrency user whichever is higher.
  • However, the panel said that the government should keep an open mind on the potential issuance of cryptocurrencies by the Reserve Bank of India.
  • Prelims Hot-Link:
  • Various cryptocurrencies. 
  • Cryptocurrencies launched by various countries. 
  • What is Blockchain technology? 

Source – https://indianexpress.com/article/business/economy/house-panel-meets-crypto-industry-balancing-regulation-innovation-in-focus-7624697/

  1. Lawyers oppose the transfer of Madras HC Chief Justice:

GS II

Topic – Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies

  • Why in News:
  • The SC Collegium has recently recommended a gay advocate as the judge of the Delhi HC.
  • This is the first such recommendation in Indian history, that’s why its very important keeping in view the renewed emphasis of providing equal rights and benefits to citizens belonging to the LGBTQ community.
  • What is the procedure to appoint judges to the Supreme Court & the High Courts:
  • In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India,the appointments are made by the President of India.
  • The names are recommended by the Collegium.
  • Eligibility to become a Supreme Court judge:
  • The norms relating to the eligibility has been envisaged in the Article 124 of the Indian Constitution.
  • To become a judge of the Supreme court, an individual should be an Indian citizen.
  • In terms of age, a person should not exceed 65 years of age.
  • The person should serve as a judge of one high court or more (continuously), for at least five years or the person should be an advocate in the High court for at least 10 years or a distinguished jurist.
  • Is the collegium’s recommendation final and binding:
  • The collegium sends its final recommendation to the President of India for approval.
  • The President can either accept it or reject it.
  • In the case it is rejected, the recommendation comes back to the collegium.
  • If the collegium reiterates its recommendation to the President, then he/she is bound by that recommendation.
  • Common criticism made against the Collegium system:
  • Opaqueness and a lack of transparency.
  • Scope for nepotism.
  • Embroilment in public controversies.
  • Overlooks several talented junior judges and advocates.
  • Reforms needed:
  • A transparent and participatory procedure, preferably by an independent broad-based constitutional body guaranteeing judicial primacy but not judicial exclusivity.
  • It should ensure independence, reflect diversity, demonstrate professional competence and integrity.
  • Instead of selecting the number of judges required against a certain number of vacancies, the collegium must provide a panel of possible names to the President to appointment in order of preference and other valid criteria.
  • Prelims Hot-Link:
  • What is Collegium System?
  • How SC judges are appointed and removed?
  • How HC judges are appointed and removed?
  • Constitutional provisions in this regard.

Source – https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/in-a-first-sc-collegium-suggests-gay-advocate-for-delhi-hc-judge/articleshow/87728204.cms#:~:text=NEW%20DELHI%3A%20In%20a%20first,of%20the%20Delhi%20high%20court.

  1. Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In):

Prelims Specific Topic

  • Established in 2004, it is an organisation of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, with the objective of securing Indian cyberspace.
  • It is the nodal agency which deals with cybersecurity threats like hacking and phishing.
  • It collects, analyses and disseminates information on cyber incidents, and also issues alerts on cybersecurity incidents.
  • Source – The PIB
  1. Yuktdhara:

Prelims Specific Topic

  • It is a Geospatial Planning Portal for facilitating Gram Panchayat level planning of MGNREGA. It is a new portal under ‘Bhuvan’.
  • Launched by the Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
  • The platform will serve as a repository of assets (Geotags) created under various national rural development programmes i.e. MGNREGA, Integrated Watershed Management Programme, Per Drop More Crop and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, etc.
  • Source – Ministry of Rural Development Website

 

 

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