GS Paper I
Context:Tipu Sultan, a historical character who still fascinates people today, had a strong hold on the British people’s imaginations while he was in power. In India, his afterlife has been more complicated, with diverse perspectives and interpretations from various tribes and interests. Yet, the role of the historian has significantly diminished in the hot State of Karnataka, giving way to politicians and religious leaders who now decide what is historical fact.
Who was Tipu Sultan?
Haider Ali, a skilled soldier who rose through the ranks in the army of the Wodeyar king of Mysore before assuming control in 1761, was the father of Tipu.
Tipu was born in 1750 and participated in the First Anglo-Mysore War (1767–69) when he was 17 years old. He then battled the Marathas and participated in the Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84).
During this conflict, Haider passed away; Tipu took his place in 1782.
Tipu Sultan’s portrayal in England:
The British admired and despised Tipu Sultan throughout his rule, portraying him as a strong adversary and using him as a metaphor in numerous works of art, comedies, and plays.
The depictions of his defeat and demise met a very British need by reasserting a severely battered British gallantry in the wake of decades of Mysore resistance to straightforward invasion.
Tipu Sultan’s afterlife in India:
Controversial legacy: Tipu was revered in 19th-century Mysore for his steadfast resistance to the British and his efforts to outlaw alcohol and narcotics. Yet, in modern Karnataka, the only narrative that can be used to describe Tipu is that of his villainy and his hostility towards both Kannada and Hindus (as well as certain Christians).
Conflicting interpretations and the suppression of some points of view are the results of the politics of historical academia.
Admiration for Tipu Sultan:
Tipu Sultan was renowned for his opposition to British colonisation. He engaged in four battles with the British East India Company during the Anglo-Mysore Wars. He established partnerships with the French to fight against the British because he would not accept their dominance. Many people are in awe of his bravery and military strategy.
Tipu conducted a number of economic and agricultural changes in his kingdom, including the introduction of new crops, the installation of irrigation systems, and the building of highways and canals. These changes benefitted his kingdom’s economy as a whole and increased agricultural production.
He was a supporter of the arts and culture, and he helped to advance the fields of architecture, music, and literature. He was well recognised for his passion for poetry and for promoting the growth of the Urdu language.
Tipu Sultan is credited for inventing new military strategies, such as the employment of rockets and iron-hulled battleships. He had an edge against the British, who at first were unprepared for his strategies, because of his employment of rockets in particular.
Tipu Sultan encouraged interfaith discussion and understanding while abolishing the jizya levy on non-Muslims to advance religious tolerance. Hindus, Muslims, and Christians made up his varied court, and he was renowned for his tolerance of various faiths.
Criticism of Tipu Sultan:
Religious stances: Tipu Sultan has come under fire for his religious stances, with some accusing him of being intolerant of non-Muslims. He was notorious for converting Christians and Hindus forcibly to Islam and for destroying churches and temples. the alleged execution of Tipu Sultan’s instructions to destroy the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangapatna.
Handling of prisoners of war: During the Third Anglo-Mysore War, when he ordered the execution of some British captives, Tipu Sultan came under fire for his treatment of prisoners of war.
Community oppression: Tipu Sultan has come under fire for his treatment of several groups, particularly the Nairs of Kerala and the Kodava people of Coorg. He pushed these populations to convert to Islam and levied high levies on them.
Suppression of dissent: It is well known that Tipu Sultan persecuted authors and poets who protested his reign. The poet Diwan Kurnool Srinivas’ punishment, which included torture and imprisonment for penning a satirical poem against Tipu Sultan’s authority, serves as one illustration of this.
The contentious legacy of Tipu Sultan shows how crucial it is to prevent historical study from being politicised and to use it to foster understanding and discussion rather than exploiting it as a tool for petty political advantage. The divergent perspectives and readings of Tipu Sultan’s legacy highlight the necessity of a complex and multi-perspective approach to history.
Source: The Hindu
Ethical Guidelines for AI usage in Healthcare
GS Paper II
Context: The first set of ethical standards for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in biological research and healthcare was recently issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Ethical Guidelines for AI usage in Healthcare:
By establishing “an ethics framework that can aid in the development, implementation, and adoption of AI-based solutions” in particular industries, the recommendations want to promote ethical behaviour.
The ICMR wants to provide “AI-assisted platforms for the benefit of the widest segment of ordinary people with safety and highest precision achievable” through this programme.
It aims to address new ethical issues arising from the use of AI in biological research and healthcare provision.
The recommendations offer an ethical framework that can help with the development, implementation, and acceptance of AI-based solutions in healthcare and scientific research. These actions can be done effectively and safely.
Accountability in case of mistakes: The guidelines ask for procedures that consider accountability in case of errors for safeguarding and protection when AI technologies are further developed and implemented in clinical decision making.
Patient-centric ethical principles: The guidelines list ten fundamental patient-centric ethical principles that should be followed when applying AI to the healthcare industry. These principles include accountability and liability, autonomy, data privacy, collaboration, risk mitigation, equity, accessibility, non-discrimination and fairness, validity, and trustworthiness.
Human oversight: The autonomy principle assures that the performance and operation of the AI system are under human supervision.
Before beginning any process, the patient must provide their informed permission and be made aware of the social, psychological, and physical hazards involved, according to the recommendations.
The safety and risk minimization concept aims to prevent “unintended or purposeful misuse,” anonymized data delinked from global technology to prevent cyber assaults, and a favourable benefit-risk evaluation by an ethical council, among a host of other areas.
Accessibility, equity, and inclusiveness: The recommendations recognise that the general availability of the necessary infrastructure is a precondition for the deployment of AI technology and hence work to close the digital gap.
Participation of pertinent stakeholders: The recommendations provide a summary for those parties, such as patients, the ethics committee, physicians, hospitals, and the public health system.
Standard procedures must be followed at all stages of the development process in order for the AI-based solutions to be technically sound, morally acceptable, and equally and fairly applicable to a wide number of people.
The ethics committee is in charge of conducting the AI in health’s ethical review process, which evaluates a number of factors, including the data source, quality, safety, anonymization, and/or data piracy, data selection biases, participant protection, payment of compensation, and the potential for stigmatisation, among others.
Policy moves for streamlining AI in Healthcare:
With the National Health Policy (2017), National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB 2019), and planned Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act (2018) by the Health Ministry, India already offers streamlining of AI technology in a number of industries, including healthcare.
The National Data Health Authority and other health information exchanges can be established thanks to these initiatives.
Potential applications of AI in healthcare:
The healthcare sector has undergone a transformation thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and its many uses. Among these applications are:
Diagnoses and screenings: Artificial intelligence (AI) may be used to recognise illnesses using X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.
Therapeutics: By examining a patient’s genetic makeup, AI can help in the production of individualised medications.
Preventative actions can be taken thanks to AI’s ability to forecast the likelihood that an illness would manifest itself.
Clinical judgement: AI can examine a lot of data to help doctors decide what treatments to give patients.
AI may be used to track disease outbreaks and provide information for public health initiatives.
Complicated data analysis: AI is capable of analysing vast volumes of data from several sources to find trends and guide healthcare decisions.
AI can predict illness outcomes based on patient data, enabling early diagnosis.
AI can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of behavioural and mental health disorders.
AI may help with patient data management, appointment scheduling and reminders, and medication monitoring in health management systems.
Various challenges for imbibing:
Data security and privacy: A lot of sensitive and private information is gathered when AI is used in healthcare. This information must be kept safe and shielded from any online threats.
Regulation and ethical concerns: AI technology is still in its infancy, and there aren’t yet any established rules or laws governing its application in healthcare. Moreover, ethical issues including responsibility, openness, and prejudice must be addressed.
Costly involvement Infrastructure, software, and training must be heavily invested in for AI to be used in the healthcare industry. Healthcare organisations may face significant difficulties as a result of this expense, particularly in underdeveloped nations.
Integration with current systems: It’s important to integrate AI systems with current healthcare systems and procedures. This can be difficult, particularly when the current systems are antiquated or incompatible with AI.
Lack of trust and acceptance: AI technology in healthcare is still relatively new, and both patients and healthcare professionals lack confidence in it. This might be a significant barrier to the broad use of AI in healthcare.
Threats posed by AI to healthcare:
Data security and privacy: The application of AI in healthcare necessitates the gathering and analysis of enormous volumes of individual health data, which run the danger of being lost or improperly exploited.
Prejudice and discrimination: There is a chance that AI algorithms will reinforce current racial or gender biases and healthcare inequities.
Lack of transparency: Because certain AI models are sophisticated and challenging to comprehend, it may be challenging to explain the thinking behind a given choice.
Medical errors: AI systems are susceptible to mistakes if they are applied incorrectly or if their training data is skewed or inadequate.
Ethical concerns: There are several ethical concerns associated with the use of AI in healthcare, including the potential for AI to replace human doctors, the impact on patient autonomy, and the implications for informed consent.
Create a national AI plan for healthcare that outlines standards for AI usage that is ethical and responsible, as well as regulations for data sharing, privacy, and security.
Spend money on AI research and development: The government should spend money on developing AI technology that can aid in resolving healthcare issues.
Encourage stakeholder cooperation: Cooperation amongst stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, researchers, governmental organisations, and business, can hasten the advancement and uptake of AI technology in the medical field.
Train medical staff in AI: The government can collaborate with businesses, universities, and other organisations to provide training programmes and certifications for healthcare staff.
Addressing regulatory issues is something the government should do in relation to the use of AI in healthcare.
Concentrate on accessibility and affordability: This may be accomplished by supporting innovation, fostering competition, and making sure that AI technologies are included into the current healthcare system.
Source: The Hindu
Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)
GS Paper III
Context: The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) holds anybody who “is or continues to be” even a “mere member” of a prohibited organisation legally accountable for violating India’s sovereignty and integrity. The Supreme Court overruled its prior rulings on this issue.
In a previous decision, the Supreme Court upheld the restrictions on people’ ability to organise groups and unions that were woven into Article 19(4).
What is Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act (UAPA)?
The UAPA aims to effectively deter organisations engaged in illegal activities in India.
Its primary goal was to grant authorities to deal with actions that threatened India’s integrity and sovereignty.
It is an improvement to the TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act), which was abolished in 2004 and allowed to expire in 1995.
It was initially approved in 1967 by the Congress administration at the time, which was headed by former prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Until 2004, secessionist and territorial cession-related activities were referred to as “illegal” activities. The term “terrorist act” was introduced to the list of offences as a result of the 2004 amendment.
What are Unlawful Activities and Associations?
The UAPA outlines the criteria and guidelines for labelling a group as a “unlawful association” if they participate in a specific set of activities.
The government has the authority to deem an organisation “illegal” in accordance with Section 3 of the UAPA Act.
If the government considers that a certain organisation is involved in “terrorist activities,” it may then issue a notification designating the organisation as a terrorist organisation.
(1) Unlawful Activites:
Under section 2(o) of the UAPA, an unlawful activity in relation to an individual or association means – Any action taken by such an individual or association (whether by committing an act or by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise), –
Works for the Cession of a part of the territory of India or the secession of a part of the territory of India from the Union
Disclaims, questions, disrupts or is intended to Disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India; or
which causes or is intended to cause Disaffection against India;
Related and ancillary acts, including financing, support or promotion of any such activities are also “unlawful activity”.
(2) Unlawful Association:
The UAPA also defines an “Unlawful Association” under section 2(p) as meaning any association,–
which has for its object any unlawful activity, or which encourages or aids persons to undertake any unlawful activity, or of which the members undertake such activity or
which encourages or aids persons to undertake any such activity, or of which the members undertake any such activity
Cases registered under UAPA:
5,924 instances were reported from 2015 to 2020, and 8,371 people were detained.
On its website, the National Investigative Agency identified 456 cases, 78% of which featured UAPA allegations.
Why UAPA is often criticized?
Draconian: Extended imprisonment without a trial, a lack of transparency in the procedure, and judicial intervention’s narrow window of opportunity have all been condemned.
Minorities have been singled out by the law, which has also been used to limit free speech and expression.
Definitions that are too wide: According to critics, the law’s definition of “unlawful acts” is too broad and may be used to anybody who disagrees with the government or its policies.
Reported abuse of UAPA:
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics from 2015 to 2020 were examined in the PUCL research.
It was discovered that the UAPA’s per-case conviction rate was 27.57% as opposed to cases under the Indian Criminal Code’s (IPC) 49.67%.
Only 2.8% of those who were arrested were convicted, compared to 22.19% in IPC cases.
This is a much smaller indicator of UAPA performance.
Issues with UAPA:
Burden of evidence: Because the burden of proof is so great, bail is no longer an option for the accused and is instead utilised as a quick way to lock someone up permanently.
No provisional bail:
Due to the use of UAPA, the accused is not even eligible for bail.
Branding as a traitor is being widely employed by the government, the police, and the prosecution. As a result, all dissenters are now frequently accused of sedition or criminal conspiracy and are subject to UAPA prosecution.
Impact of the recent ruling:
For those connected to in India prohibited organisations, the decision is anticipated to have serious ramifications.
There will probably be more instances of people being prosecuted for belonging to a prohibited organisation.
While the court made it clear that anyone who had left the organisation and were not members when it was deemed unconstitutional could not be held accountable under Section 10(a)(i) of the UAPA, this is not the case for all other parties.
The prevention of illegal activity and the preservation of India’s sovereignty and integrity are both advanced by this verdict.
Although the administration has applauded the decision, civil rights activists are concerned about how it may affect fundamental rights.
How this judgement will be administered and upheld in reality is still up in the air.
Source: Indian Express
China’s West Asia policy
GS Paper II
Context: China’s diplomatic efforts in West Asia, which have been made possible by regional governments using Iran’s influence to their advantage, have fueled the country’s growing engagement in global power dynamics. Particularly in the aftermath of the diplomatic thaw between Saudi Arabia and Iran, China’s role as a regional mediator has given it a considerable edge in power struggles throughout the world. Nonetheless, China’s influence on the balance of power in the world has broad ramifications.
China’s Diplomatic Influence in the Region:
The diplomatic thaw between Saudi Arabia and Iran has pushed China farther into the struggle for world dominance. The long-running rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran has made the area unstable. Yet, China now has a chance to increase its influence in the area because to the recent diplomatic thaw.
China’s function as a broker of peace in West Asia: China’s role as a broker of peace in West Asia has given it a sizable edge in struggles for world dominance. China has used its clout with Iran to help mediate peace agreements in the area. China has become a major actor in the dynamics of world power thanks in great part to the effectiveness of its diplomatic efforts.
Consequences of China’s participation in the dynamics of world power: China’s diplomatic efforts have given it a unique opportunity to influence the world order, particularly as the influence of the United States declines. Other powerful nations are concerned about China’s expanding influence because they believe it might endanger their interests.
India’s Political and Diplomatic Outreach in West Asia:
India has a long cultural past and is geographically close to the area, which has allowed it to spread out far to West Asia.
India has always supported diplomacy and engagement but has made no comments on the warming relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Several people in West Asia think that India is well-positioned to serve as a mediator in the disputes in the area, but India has resisted the concept because of its official stance against third-party mediation on Kashmir with Pakistan.
India’s Relations with Iran:
Sanctions and challenges in accelerating or scaling up development operations at Chabahar Port have a negative influence on India’s relations with Iran.
Sanctions and India’s efforts to forge stronger ties with the US by pushing discussions with Iran over the latter’s nuclear programme have hurt India’s commercial ties with Iran.
India continues to have clear strategic interests in Iran, particularly in light of the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan and Russia’s conflict with Ukraine.
China’s influence and impact on India’s relations in the region:
Iran’s susceptibility to Chinese influence: China’s expanding economic and political sway in Iran might provide it considerable clout over Iran’s foreign policy choices, particularly in regards to its relations with India. India’s choice to not join the initiative has constrained its economic links with Iran, while China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has also had a significant role in determining China’s relations with Iran.
Middle East and Russia: India is also concerned about China’s growing cooperation with Russia in the Middle East, notably in Syria. Russia’s expanding military ties with Iran and its shift towards China raise the possibility of a power bloc in the area that could not be advantageous to India.
China might serve as a peacemaker in West Asia by facilitating a diplomatic thaw between the two nations, which would ease regional tensions. Although this can be viewed as a good thing, it might also have an effect on India’s interests in the area, especially considering its strong relations to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
New Delhi’s need to readjust its positions in the region:
India must have close connections with Iran due to its historical links to Iran and its strategic interests in the area.
India will also need to strike a balance in its interactions with other regional players, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who have played a significant role in the country’s economic development and energy security.
With the restrictions imposed by the sanctions and China’s expanding position in the area, India may also need to investigate new options for commercial interaction with Iran.
Although China’s potential position as a broker of peace in West Asia has not yet materialised, its impact on the area and on world politics has repercussions for India’s ties with Iran. India will need to reevaluate its position in the area and modify its foreign policy in light of China’s expanding influence in West Asia.
Source: Indian Express
Facts for Prelims
GST Appellate Tribunal:
A quasi-judicial entity called the GST Appellate Tribunal is being considered for creation to handle cases involving the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India.
It will serve as an impartial body to hear appeals against decisions made by the Appellate Authority or the Tax authorities.
The tribunal will have a national bench as well as many regional benches, and its chair will be chosen by the federal government.
The new tribunal is anticipated to lessen the workload on the judiciary and speed up the adjudication of GST-related issues.
Under GST, if a person is not satisfied with the decision passed by any lower court, an appeal can be raised to a higher court, the hierarchy for the same is as follows (from low to high):
1. Adjudicating Authority
2. Appellate Authority
3. Appellate Tribunal
4. High Court
5. Supreme Court
Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS):
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) offers residents the LRS option to send money overseas for authorised current or capital account transactions, or a combination of both.
The RBI has frequently examined and altered the plan since it was first implemented in 2004.
According to the plan, residents can send up to a set amount in a financial year for permitted transactions such as gifts, investments in equity and debt securities, travel, medical treatment, and education.
Currently, the annual cap for LRS is set at USD 250,000.
Everyone is welcome to participate in LRS, including non-residents, NRIs, PIOs, foreign nationals holding PIO status, and foreign nationals of Indian heritage.
Corporations, partnership businesses, Hindu Undivided Families (HUF), Trusts, etc. are NOT eligible for the Program.
Anybody may send money between two nations using the simple LRS protocol.
Businesses may use it to send money to India, and investors can use it to get their investments returned to them at home, making it particularly helpful for commercial transactions.
Other advantages of LRS include quick transfer times and minimal currency rate complications.
Exercise Konkan 2023:
The Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom conduct the Konkan exercise every year.
Both the Type 23 guided missile frigate HMS Lancaster and the guided missile frigate INS Trishul took part in this edition.
To improve interoperability between the two forces and instill best practises, they conducted several maritime manoeuvres.
The drills included air, surface, and subsurface marine activities.
It comprised ship movements, crew exchanges, helicopter operations, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare drills, visit board search and seizure (VBSS), and gunnery shots on the surface inflatable target “Killer Tomato.”
The joint efforts of the Indian and Royal Navies would be aided by the exercise in maintaining regional law and order and enhancing maritime security.