GS Paper II
Context: The idea of citizen-centric governance is still developing, and in order to implement it, public servants’ actions and people’ interactions with the government must be clearly defined. To promote the overall growth of a community or a country, citizen engagement must involve all stakeholders in cooperative relationships and debate.
- Traditional governance paradigm change: Citizen-centric governance is a traditional governance paradigm shift where the focus is transferred from the power holders to the population.
- Citizens’ access to information and services: Historically, governing structures have the authority to make choices that have an impact on people’ lives. Yet, citizen-centric governance places a greater emphasis on giving individuals access to information, services, and resources as well as on including them in the formulation of policy.
- Participation of citizens in decision-making processes is to be increased; this is the goal of citizen-centric government.
- Developing the capacities of public servants: Mission Karmayogi, the National Program for Civil Services Capacity Development, has been deliberately attempting to do so through a variety of creative interventions to sensitise and recast the fabric of citizen engagement.
- Karamachari to Karayogi: Thousands of employees of the railway, Gramin Dak Sevaks, UT police, and BSNL are currently undergoing an outcome-based capacity-building programme, which is transforming them from thinking like a karmachari to behaving like a karmayogi.
- Involvement of citizens in the political, social, and economic spheres of their society or community is referred to as citizen engagement.
- The nature of the political and governance setting, as well as the current power relations, are deeply ingrained in citizen involvement.
- It is crucial to comprehend that public participation is a fundamental part of every governance system, and in democracies, it is a fundamental tenet since it is acknowledged that governments receive their legitimacy and power from the populace.
What the multi-stakeholder engagement requires?
- Constructive discussion: It is feasible to develop by and for the people. Engaging citizens in the development process in order to democratise it necessitates an open discussion between and among all stakeholders.
- Mutual respect and trust are necessary for meaningful discourse to take place among the many stakeholders, including the government, citizens, business sector, media, civil society, and academics. Respect for one another as well as an understanding of dependency and reciprocity must underpin the connection between these numerous stakeholders.
- Yet, this may necessitate redefining the roles that stakeholders have historically played and the bounds of their involvement.
- Partnership approach: All parties participating in the multi-stakeholder interaction must adopt the partnership approach.
Every democracy’s progress must include citizen participation and citizen-centric government. Stakeholders may cooperate to guarantee the general growth of a community and nation by adopting a partnership approach and mutual respect for each other’s duties. Mission Karmayogi, a government initiative in India, is a positive step towards enhancing the skills of public officials and increasing their awareness of citizen engagement.
Source: The Hindu
DPDP Bill 2022
GS Paper II
Context: The digital economy in India is expanding quickly and producing enormous volumes of personal data. Understanding how this data is managed and secured has grown essential as citizens embrace convenience. The Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill 2022 attempts to protect people’ data from abuse and unauthorised access, although several sections, such the interaction with sectoral data protection rules, lack definition.
The Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill 2022:
- A proposed law called the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill 2022 aims to protect Indian people’ personal information from abuse and unlawful access.
- The measure tries to control how personal data is handled in India’s fast expanding digital economy.
Seven principles of DPDP Bill, 2022:
- According to an explanatory note for the bill, it is based on seven principles-
- Use of personal data by organisations must be legitimate, fair to the persons involved, and transparent to the individuals. This is the first requirement.
- Dissemination with purpose: According to the second principle, personal information shall only be utilised for the purposes for which it was obtained.
- Data minimization: Just the bare minimal information required to achieve a goal should be gathered.
- Accuracy of the data at the time of collection. There ought to be no overlap.
- Length of storage: The fifth principle discusses how acquired personal data cannot be maintained indefinitely by default and should only be kept for a specific amount of time.
- Permitted collection and processing: Reasonable precautions should be in place to make sure that no personal data is collected or processed without permission.
- Responsibility of users: The individual who chooses the motives and tools used to handle personal data should be held responsible for such actions.
Challenges regarding conflicting sectoral regulations in India:
- Several sections of the DPDP Bill 2022 regarding the interaction with sectoral data protection legislation lack clarification.
- Contradictory sectoral regulations might lead to misunderstanding even though the Bill permits closing regulatory gaps.
- India already has sector-specific data protection laws, such as the National Health Authority’s Health Data Management Policy and the Reserve Bank of India’s order on the preservation of payment data. Any departure from the rules in place will force the industry to alter its operations once more, which will be expensive.
Approach to regulate privacy and protect data:
- Broad legislation and sector-specific laws are the two main strategies for regulating privacy and safeguarding data.
- The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union serves as an illustration of comprehensive law with industry-specific regulations.
- The sectoral system used in America is a patchwork of rules designed for certain sectors, with problems with uneven enforcement, inconsistent protection, and a lack of federal control.
- The connection between the DPDP Bill and sectoral legislation in India requires further articulation and precision.
- In order to avoid undermining their efforts and necessitating extra expensive changes, it is crucial to build upon current sectoral legislation.
- In order to provide Indian residents with a safer, more secure, and vibrant digital environment in the future, sectoral specialists will play a crucial role.
The DPDP Law must act as the foundational layer of security, and sectoral regulators should be able to build on it to create a digital environment that is safer and more secure.
Source: The Hindu
Prices of Essential Medicines Increases
GS Paper III
Context: Due to a significant increase in the Wholesale Price Index, the costs of 384 critical medications and more than 1,000 formulations are expected to increase by more than 11%. (WPI).
Implications for customers:
- The National List of Essential Medicines’ (NLEM) annual price increases are based on the WPI.
- Consumers will now have to pay extra for common and necessary medications, such as antibiotics, painkillers, and anti-infection medications.
What are Essential Medicines?
- The World Health Organization (WHO) defines essential medicines as those that meet the population’s top healthcare needs.
- In 1996, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare created and published India’s first National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), which included 279 drugs.
- The list is compiled taking into account the prevalence of the diseases, the effectiveness, safety, and comparative cost-effectiveness of the medications.
- Such medications are supposed to be readily available in sufficient quantities, in suitable dose forms and strengths, and with guaranteed quality.
- They ought to be accessible in a way that a person or a group of people may afford.
- NLEM in India:
- Because the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) controls pharmaceutical costs and only allows modifications based on wholesale price index-based inflation, drugs classified under NLEM, also known as scheduled drugs, will be less expensive.
- The list also covers anaesthetics, HIV, TB, cancer, contraceptives, hormonal medications, and anti-infectives for treating diabetes, such as insulin.
- They represent 17–18% of the local pharmaceutical industry, which is thought to be worth 1.6 trillion rupees.
- Businesses who offer non-scheduled medications have the ability to increase prices by up to 10% annually.
- The department of pharmaceuticals within the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers typically adds newly issued NLEM to the Drug Price Control Order after which the NPPA regulates the price.
Who regulates Drugs prices?
- The Medicines (Prices Control) Ordinance, 1995-2013 established the NPPA in 1997 to fix/revise prices of restricted bulk pharmaceuticals and formulations and to enforce pricing and availability of the medicines in the nation.
- Its mission is to carry out and uphold the DPCO’s provisions in line with the authority granted to it.
- to address any legal issues resulting from NPPA rulings
- should keep an eye on medicine availability, spot shortfalls, and take action
- The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is also required to gather and maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies, etc., for bulk drugs and formulations, as well as to conduct and/or sponsor pertinent studies regarding the pricing of drugs and pharmaceuticals.
How does the pricing mechanism work?
- The drug regulator permits a yearly increase in the cost of Scheduled Medicines in accordance with the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), although the annual adjustment is tightly restricted and hardly ever exceeds 5%.
- Yet, the pharmaceutical industry participants noted that input prices had risen sharply in recent years.
- The pharmaceutical industry lobby has long demanded the increase.
- The prices of all medications covered by the NLEM are regulated.
Source: The Hindu
Institutions of Eminence Scheme (IOE)
GS Paper II
Context: Indian Express has released a story underlining the fact that the autonomy promised under the IOE system has only ever existed on paper.
The Union Human Resource Ministry’s institutes of eminence programme seeks to elevate Indian institutions to a level of international renown.
The program’s chosen institutions have total academic and administrative autonomy.
- Only institutions of higher learning that are currently ranked among the top 500 worldwide or the top 50 according to the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) are qualified to apply for the eminence badge.
- Private Institutions of Eminence may also be established as new businesses, providing the sponsoring organisation produces a compelling 15-year vision plan.
- The Empowered Expert Committee established for the purpose makes the choice using the challenge method mode.
Issues with the scheme:
- Private campuses are not funded under the IOE programme.
- There are around 15 organisations that regulate higher education, which causes red tape, delays, and compliance requirements even though IOE statutes provide autonomy from the University Grants Commission.
- Illusion of Autonomy: The report concludes that UGC continues to meddle in matters ranging from department naming to fee setting.
- Tough visa requirements: The IOE institutes find that the 2-year foreign faculty visa, which is issued to them, is very short and a barrier to attracting the top faculties from across the world.
The creation of a higher education umbrella organisation and the relaxation of visa requirements for foreign professors at these institutions would aid in the quicker achievement of the IOE scheme’s goals.
Source: Indian Express
Essential Commodities Act
GS Paper III
Context: In order to combat hoarding and speculation, the government has announced the creation of a committee to keep track of the stocks of tur dal held by importers, mills, stockists, and merchants.
Also, in order to facilitate simple and smooth imports, the government scrapped the 10% tax on goods imported from non-LDC nations because the charge presents procedural obstacles even for imports from LDC nations with no tariff (LDCs).
As the retail price of tur soared to Rs 200 per kg in 2016, India and Mozambique agreed to an Agreement for the import of 0.2 MT of tur yearly for five years. In September 2021, this Agreement was renewed for a further five years.
Under the Essential Commodities Act of 1955, the government sent a warning to state governments and union territories on August 12 of last year demanding stock declaration for tur dal.
Tur is a kind of long-lasting (180 day) pulses that is cultivated in rainfed environments. It is grown across India, notably in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. Around 10–12% of India’s domestic consumption is satisfied by imports.
What is the Essential Commodities Act, 1955?
- The Essential Commodities Act of 1955 was created to deal with the issue of food scarcity in India at the time. The law was also passed to prevent food hoarding and black selling.
- India was reliant on aid and imports from other nations, especially the purchase of wheat from the US, to feed its population.
What are Essential Commodities?
- The Essential Commodities Act of 1955 does not define essential commodities directly, but Section 2(A) of the legislation emphasises that a “essential commodity” is defined as a commodity included in the Act’s Schedule.
- This legislation gives the Union government the authority to add or remove a commodity listed in the schedule. If required, the Central Government may declare a product vital after consulting with the State Governments.
- Following the COVID-19 outbreak, face masks and sanitizers were added to the list on March 13, 2020.
- The production, distribution, and supply of the proclaimed vital item are all subject to governmental regulation. A stock limit may also be imposed.
Withdrawal of the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020:
- The Essential Commodities (Amendment), which was approved in 2020, included various amendments and gave the government the authority to eliminate specific goods designated as “essential.” War, starvation, natural disasters, and unusual price increases are said to not constitute exceptional conditions and can thus be crossed off the list.
- Nevertheless, as a result of widespread farmer protests across India, the Center overturned the legislation.
Issues Related to Essential Commodities Act 1955:
- There are no such penalties for stockpiling or black selling under the Essential Commodities Act.
- The Economic Report 2019–20 emphasised that while government involvement under the ECA 1955 was completely useless at reducing inflation, it frequently impacted agricultural commerce. This type of action does provide chances for harassment and rent-seeking.
Source: Indian Express
GS Paper III
Context: Successful satellite launches by ISRO’s LVM-3 complete the OneWeb constellation.
Launch Vehicle Mark-3 (LVM3), the most potent rocket in India, just launched satellites for OneWeb’s first-generation internet network from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center.
36 OneWeb broadband satellites were launched by an Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) rocket into low Earth orbit (LEO), a spherical orbit 280 miles (450 kilometres) above the planet.
During the next several days and weeks, the satellites will boost their own orbits, eventually settling at a height of roughly 745 miles (1,200 km).
The launch was the 18th and last mission for OneWeb’s first-generation broadband constellation in LEO, which had 582 satellites prior to the flight.
The 36 OneWeb satellites launched weighed a total of 12,798 pounds, although the 143-foot-tall LVM3 is India’s strongest rocket and can carry 17,600 pounds (8,000 kg) of payload to LEO (5,805 kg).
India has been working to increase its market share, which is now only 2% of the commercial sector, in the worldwide commercial space industry.
What is OneWeb Constellation?
- A satellite-based network called OneWeb Constellation seeks to offer global high-speed, low-latency internet connection.
- It is a joint venture between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), located in the UK, and OneWeb Group, together with NewSpace India Ltd. (NSIL).
- A network of 588 operational spacecraft, arranged in 12 rings of 49 satellites each, make up the OneWeb Constellation.
- The satellites are stationed in low Earth orbit (LEO), and they take 109 minutes to complete one full round of the planet.
- The network offers high-speed, low-latency connection, allowing communities, businesses, and governments all over the world to communicate with one another and access the internet.
- In addition to businesses, the constellation will also deliver secure solutions to India’s most remote cities, villages, municipalities, and educational institutions.
Major challenges of space-based broadband projects:
- Cost: Building, launching, and maintaining a constellation of satellites may be quite expensive. Satellite launches into orbit are very costly.
- The design, construction, and operation of a constellation of satellites present numerous technical challenges because satellites must be able to communicate with both ground stations and with one another.
- Orbital debris: Satellites and their operations may be at risk from the growing amount of trash in orbit.
- Regulatory matters The rules regulating the use of space, particularly those pertaining to radio frequency interference, orbital debris, and spectrum allotment, must be complied with by space-based broadband initiatives.
- Concerns about the environment include the possibility of an increase in the risk of accidents and the buildup of orbital debris caused by the deployment of large satellite constellations.
- The success of any given project may depend on its capacity to set itself apart from its rivals and draw clients in the space-based broadband market, which is populated by a number of businesses and organisations.
Advantages of OneWeb broadband:
- Worldwide Coverage: Unlike conventional ground-based broadband systems, space-based broadband systems may offer connectivity to even the most remote and isolated regions of the planet.
- Closing the Digital Gap The digital divide can be closed by providing accessible, high-speed broadband connectivity to underserved and remote locations that currently lack dependable internet access.
- High-speed internet access is essential for many applications, including video conferencing, cloud services, and real-time data transmission, and space-based broadband systems can offer it to consumers.
- In the aftermath of natural catastrophes like hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods, the system may be swiftly deployed to offer emergency communication services, helping to save lives and better coordinate relief operations.
- Reduced Latency: Compared to conventional satellite-based systems, space-based systems may dramatically reduce latency, which can make a big impact in many applications, including online gaming and virtual reality.
- It can handle the expanding number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and enable machine-to-machine communication, which is becoming more and more crucial in sectors like logistics, agriculture, and transportation.
- Redundancy: In locations without typical broadband infrastructure, it can offer consumers a redundant connection, which is crucial in emergency circumstances.
- Low latency, high-speed space-based broadband networks can enhance connection for air and sea transport, allowing passengers to stay connected during their voyage and enhancing safety for ships and aeroplanes.
- Scalability: Space-based broadband networks can grow fast and easily to accommodate rising demand, which is crucial in regions with rapid population expansion or when there is a sudden spike in demand as a result of an emergency or disaster.
In general, the OneWeb broadband system has the power to change how we connect and communicate and open up the advantages of the internet to everyone, wherever they may reside or work.
OneWeb, a system that offers a viable way to give consumers everywhere in the globe high-speed and dependable internet connection, especially those in rural and isolated locations, needs to be supported.
Source: Indian Express
Facts for Prelims
Wildlife (Protection) Act, of 1972:
- In order to preserve the safety of the environment and the ecological system, WPA provides for the preservation of the nation’s wild animals, birds, and plant species.
- It calls for the creation of a nationwide network of biologically significant protected areas as well as the conservation of a number of recognised species of animals, birds, and plants.
- It allows for a variety of protected places, including national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
- There are six schedules provided in the WPA for the protection of wildlife species which can be concisely summarized as under:
- Schedule I: These species need rigorous protection and therefore, the harshest penalties for violation of the law are for species under this Schedule.
- Schedule II: Animals under this list are accorded high protection. They cannot be hunted except under threat to human life.
- Schedule III & IV: This list is for species that are not endangered. This includes protected species but the penalty for any violation is less compared to the first two schedules.
- Schedule V: This schedule contains animals which can be hunted.
- Schedule VI: This list contains plants that are forbidden from cultivation.
WTO and its Subsidies Boxes:
- An intergovernmental institution called the World Trade Organization (WTO) is in charge of policing cross-border commerce.
- It was founded on January 1, 1995, and as of now, 164 nations are members.
- Making ensuring that commerce moves as easily, reliably, and freely as possible is the main goal.
- Frameworks: Constructing and formalising trade agreements, settling trade disagreements among members, and keeping track of national trade policy.
- Non-discrimination, openness, and equity in international commerce are the guiding ideals.
- Three different subsidy boxes—green, blue, and amber—are used by the WTO. Several levels of trade-distorting subsidies are represented by each box.
- Subventions in the “green box” are those that are not seen to distort trade and are thus permitted under WTO regulations. These cover activities including research, illness prevention, and infrastructure improvement.
- Subsidies marked with a blue box are less likely to cause trade distortion than those marked with an amber box, although they can still have some impact. If certain requirements are satisfied, such as the utilisation of set areas or yields, they may involve actions like direct incentives to farmers to decrease production.
- Subsidies in the “amber box” are those that are thought to be the most likely to distort trade and are subject to reduction obligations under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture. These consist of policies that do not have any restrictions, such as price support, input subsidies, and direct payments.
Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act:
- To stop atrocities against SC/STs, the Indian government passed the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in 1989.
- The Act’s goals were to stop atrocities and promote Dalits’ social integration into society.
- This Act intends to stop crimes against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from being committed by people who are not members of such groups.
- Anybody who violates the Act’s enumerated offences against a member of a scheduled caste or scheduled tribe while not belonging to one of these groups is considered an offender.
- There are no non-cognizable offences stated in the Act.
- Without a warrant, the police can make an arrest and launch an investigation without waiting for a court permission.
- The Act specifies both a minimum and a maximum penalty.
- In most situations, the minimum term is six months in prison and the maximum is five years in prison plus a fine.
- The minimum penalty is occasionally increased to a year, while the highest penalty might be a life sentence or even the death penalty.