Recently, the Supreme Court of India has asked the Central government to frame guidelines on social media to control the spread of fake news. The directive came in the wake of growing incidents of violence fuelled by online rumours and fake videos.
Laws and Regulations to Curb Fake News in India
There are various regulations in India mentioned in different Indian laws like Section 66 in The Information Technology Act, 2000, Civil or Criminal Case for Defamation, Indian Penal Code, etc. that restrict the spread of fake news throughout the nation.
Global Laws dealing with Fake News
- Malaysia was among the first countries to pass an anti-fake news law in the year 2018.
- In Malaysia, spreading fake news draws a fine of 500,000 Malaysian ringgits (Rs 85 lakh) or up to six years of imprisonment.
- European Union
- In April 2019, the Council of the European Union passed directives to change copyright laws and hold online platforms responsible for infringements by its users.
- The law protects intellectual property that is frequently stolen and misused online.
- The law applies to social media, internet service providers and search engines.
- A draft law proposes jail term of up to 10 years for those who spread online falsehoods to harm the public interest.
- Social media sites face fines of up to S$1 million (Rs 5 crore) for failing to act against such content.
- There, individuals can also be asked to alter or remove their posts and could be fined up to S$20,000 (Rs 10 lakh) and imprisoned for a period ranging up to 12 months if they fail to comply.
- Germany’s NetzDG applies to companies with more than two million registered users in the country.
- The law requires companies to review complaints about content and remove anything illegal within 24 hours.
- Individuals face fines of up to €5m (Rs 40 crore) and corporations up to €50m (Rs 400 crore) for failing to comply.
- A law was passed in Australia earlier this year that introduced penalties up to 10% of a company’s turnover and up to three years in prison for tech executives for failing to remove social media content depicting terrorism, murder, rape or other serious crimes.
- Failure to comply draws fines of up to A$168,000 (Rs 80 lakh) for individuals or A$840,000 (Rs 4 crore) for corporations.
- In October 2018, France passed two anti-fake news laws following allegations of Russian interference in the 2017 presidential election.
- The laws allow the candidates and political parties to seek court injunctions to prevent the publication of false information.
- It gives the French broadcasting authority the power to take off the air any network spreading misinformation throughout the country.
- In 2019 law punishing the individuals and companies for spreading fake news and information that disrespects the state was passed in Russia.
- Publications found to spread fake news face fines of up to 1.5 million rubles (Rs 16 lakh).
- Also, insulting state symbols and authorities draw fines of up to 300,000 rubles (Rs 3 lakh) and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.
- China has blocked most of the social media sites and internet services like Twitter, Google, and WhatsApp in the country.
- The country has thousands of cyber police personnel who monitor social media and screen content the government considers politically sensitive.
- The government outright censors certain content, such as references to the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident.
- Recently, BBC news conducted the Trusted News Summit globally bringing together senior figures from major global technology firms and publishing, to fight the disinformation present over different media platforms.
- The summit agreed to work towards a joint ‘Online Social Media Education Campaign’ to create and spread awareness regarding fake news present on different social media platforms.
The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare has launched the ‘TB Harega Desh Jeetega Campaign’, along with the National TB Prevalence Survey.
- He also released the TB India Report (2019).
- As per the TB India report 2019, 21.5 lakh cases of tuberculosis were notified to the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) in 2018 — a 16% increase from 2017.
- He also launched an all-oral regimen kit for multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis (TB) patients which does not include injections which are painful and can have side effects.
- He also announced a partnership with the World Bank which is providing a $400 million credit for accelerating TB response in 9 states through private sector engagement and other critical interventions.
- He also awarded states for their excellent performance in tackling TB.
- Among states with a large population (>50 lakhs), Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat were awarded as best performers.
- Tripura and Sikkim were recognized for their efforts among medium population (less than 50 lakhs) states.
- Puducherry, and Daman and Diu were judged as the best performers among Union Territories.
TB Harega Desh Jeetega Campaign
- It has three strong pillars which include clinical approach, public health component and active community participation.
- It aims to improve and expand the reach of TB care services across the country by 2022.
- This includes preventive and promotive approaches and proposes potentially transformative interventions such as engagement with the private sector health care providers, inter-ministerial partnerships, corporate sector engagement, latent TB infection management, and community engagement.
- The interventions will be accompanied by a comprehensive, mass media and communications campaign to generate awareness about the disease and the free treatment services available under the government program.
The National TB Prevalence Survey
- The Union Health Minister flagged off a van for the National TB Prevalence Survey.
- In all, 25 such vans will be part of the prevalence survey, which shall take 6 months and be carried out across the country.
- This shall present national and state-level data, which will be used as a policy tool for further interventions.
Other Recent Initiatives
- The Government of India has partnered with the Global Fund to launch JEET (Joint Effort for Elimination of TB), a private sector engagement program operating across the country.
- In April 2018, the government launched the Nikshay Poshan Yojana, a direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme to provide nutritional support to TB patients. Under the scheme, TB patients have been receiving Rs. 500 per month for the entire duration of treatment. Since its inception, a total amount of Rs. 427crore has been paid to over 26 lakhs beneficiaries through direct transfers to their bank accounts.
The Kerala Police has set up a ‘state-of-the-art lab’ to intervene and crack down on the rising criminal activities over the Darknet, also known as the underworld of the Internet.
- Spearheading the programme is Cyberdome, the State police department’s premier facility dedicated to prevent cybercrime and mitigate security threats to the State’s critical information infrastructure.
- Internet consists of three layers:
- The first layer is public, consisting of sites that one uses frequently such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and LinkedIn. This layer makes up only 4% of the entire internet.
- The second layer, the deep web, is a network where data is stored in inaccessible databases (i.e. cannot be accessed through traditional search engines like Google). It is used to provide access to a specific group of people.
- The data is generally sensitive and private (government private data, bank data, cloud data etc), so kept out of reach.
- The third layer is the darknet which is also known as a part of the ‘Deep Web’. It is a network built over the internet which is encrypted.
- It is basically a layer of the Internet accessible only by using special software like Tor (The Onion Router), or I2P, which stands for Invisible Internet Project.
- Anything present on the dark web will not be pulled up in internet searches, thereby offering a high degree of anonymity.
- Concerns over Darknet:
- In February 2016, in a study titled ‘Cryptopolitik and the Darknet’, researchers analysed content over the TOR network.
- Of the 2,723 websites they could classify by content, 1,547 – 57 % – hosted illicit material ranging from drugs (423 sites), illegitimate pornography (122) and hacking (96), among others.
- There were also reports of log-in details of streaming sites like Netflix being sold on the dark web marketplaces for cheap rates.
- In February 2016, in a study titled ‘Cryptopolitik and the Darknet’, researchers analysed content over the TOR network.
- The network is also used by several activists especially those living under oppressive regimes to communicate without any government censorship.
- The TOR network was used by activists during the Arab Spring.
- Darknet and India:
- The Information Technology Act deals with cybercrime and comes under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. There are only six sections in the law that deal with cybercrime.
- With the changing times, India needs a code of criminal procedures dealing with cybercrime that would come under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which deals with policing issues.
- Also, there is a need for police, trained in changing cyber trends who are dedicated only to cybercrime and not transferred to other police units.
On the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, the Indian Prime Minister has announced a $150 million worth line of credit to the group of Pacific island nations for undertaking solar, renewable energy and climate-related projects.
- The Indian PM also invited the leaders of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).
- Reaffirming the commitment to provide developmental assistance for capacity building, the PM proposed to organize specialized courses under the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) programme in priority areas identified by partner countries.
- In the health sector, the Prime Minister offered to organize a Jaipur Foot Artificial Limb Fitment Camp in a Pacific regional hub under ‘India for Humanity’ programme.
India for Humanity
- As part of 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, the 'India for Humanity' initiative was launched in 2018 in honour of Gandhiji's service to humanity.
- “India For Humanity” initiative was launched by the Ministry of External Affairs.
- It features a year-long series of artificial limb fitment camps in a number of countries spanning the globe.
India and PSIDS Relations
- With the evolution of the Act East Policy of India, India’s relationship with Pacific Island nations has deepened.
- This resulted in the setting up of an action-oriented multinational grouping named Forum for India-Pacific Island Cooperation (FIPIC) in 2014, between India and the 14 Pacific Island nations.
- The PSIDS comprises of the 14 Pacific Island countries viz. The Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
- India and PSIDS have shared values and a shared future. The need today is for inclusive sustainable development policy in order to reduce inequalities and improve the quality of people’s lives.
Line of Credit
- It is a credit facility extended by a bank or any other financial institution to a government, business or an individual customer, that enables the customer to draw the maximum loan amount.
- The borrower can access funds from the line of credit at any time as long as they do not exceed the maximum amount (or credit limit) set in the agreement and meet any other requirements such as making timely minimum payments.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made public ‘The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’ which underlined the dire changes taking place in oceans, glaciers, and ice-deposits on land and sea at the United Nations Climate Summit underway in the United States.
- The published report is the last in a series of three reports on specific themes that IPCC has published namely:
- Global Warming of 1.5° C: A special report, which was commissioned to specifically explore the scientific feasibility of the 1.5°C goal set in the Paris Agreement, on global warming.
- Land and climate change: The report focuses on the contribution of land-related activities to global warming i.e how the different uses of land affect the emission of greenhouse gases.
- The report also updates the IPCC's 5th Assessment Report — and summarises the disastrous impacts of warming based on current projections of global greenhouse gas emissions.
IPCC's 5th Assessment Report
- The IPCC prepares comprehensive Assessment Reports about the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for reducing the rate at which climate change is taking place.
- However, IPCC does not conduct its own research.
- The Assessment Report released by IPCC in 2014 was the 5th in a series of such reports.
- 6th Assessment Report of IPCC is expected to be released in 2022.
Key Findings of the Report
- Over the 21st century, the ocean is projected to transition to unprecedented conditions with increased temperatures, further ocean acidification, marine heatwaves and more frequent extreme El Niño and La Niña events.
- Ocean Warming:
- Global ocean has warmed unabated since 1970 and has taken up more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system.
- Since 1993, the rate of ocean warming and marine heatwaves have very likely doubled in frequency and intensity.
- Global Mean Sea-Level:
- It has increased by 16 cm between 1902 and 2015, and that the rate of increase had doubled of late.
- Between 2006 and 2015, the global mean sea level recorded an average rise of 3.6 mm per year, which was more than double of 1.4 mm per year recorded in the first 90-year-period of the 20th century.
- Sea-level rise is not globally uniform and varies regionally. Regional differences, within 30 % of global mean sea-level rise, result from land ice loss and variations in ocean warming and circulation
- The Melting of Glaciers:
- Between 2006 and 2015, the Greenland ice sheet lost ice-mass at an average rate of 278 billion tonnes every year (e.g. Okjokull glacier of Iceland), which was enough to result in a global sea-level rise of 0.8 mm per year. During the same period, the Antarctic ice sheet lost a mass of 155 billion tonnes on an average every year.
- Snow cover outside these two poles, like the glaciers in the Himalayas, together lost an average of 220 billion tonnes of ice every year.
- The melting glaciers are the dominant source of sea-level rise, exceeding the effect of thermal expansion of ocean water (due to rising temperatures).
- Since the mid-20th century, the shrinking cryosphere has led to predominantly negative impacts on food security, water resources, water quality, livelihoods, health, and well-being, as well as the culture of human societies, particularly for Indigenous peoples.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change.
- It was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.
- IPCC assessments provide a scientific basis for governments at all levels to develop climate-related policies, and they underlie negotiations at the UN Climate Conference – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
During the United Nations Climate Summit, the Prime Minister of India also inaugurated the Gandhi Solar Park and Gandhi Peace Garden at the headquarters of the United Nations.
- This underlines the importance of Gandhiji's principles as a moral compass for the world which grapples with challenges of climate change, terrorism, and corruption.
- On the occasion, a special UN Postage stamp on Gandhi's 150 years was also released.
Gandhi Solar Park
- It is a first of its kind symbolic Indian effort at the UN that highlights India's willingness to go beyond the talk on climate change and climate action.
- At a contribution of about USD 1 million, India has gifted solar panels that have been installed on the roof of the UN Headquarters, one panel each for every 193 UN member states.
- The solar panels are powered up to reach the max of 50 KW of generation power.
- Energy generated in the park is equivalent to the energy that would have been created through the use of 30,000 kilograms of coal.
Gandhi Peace Garden
- It is an innovative initiative under which the Consulate-General of India in New York, Long Island-based NGO Shanti Fund and the State University of New York-Old Westbury have entered into an agreement to plant 150 trees.
- It is a crowd-sourced project, with people adopting trees in the memory of their loved ones.
- The garden is in an open site within the 600-acre campus of the university.
- Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the Global Goalkeeper Award for the implementation of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
- The award has been conferred by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the government’s initiatives on sanitation, including the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also reported that improvement in rural sanitation has led to:
- A decline in heart problems among children.
- Improvement in the Body Mass Index (BMI) among women.
- Goalkeepers Award is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards sustainable development goals.
The phrase ‘quantum supremacy’ was coined in the year 2011 by John Preskill, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology.
- Quantum supremacy refers to a problem-solving process by the quantum computer that cannot be solved by a classical computer in its normal lifetime.
- The concept is related to the speed at which a quantum computer performs.
- Quantum computers are different from binary digital electronic computers that are based on transistors (a semiconductor device used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power).
- The common digital computing requires the data to be encoded into binary digits (bits), each of which is always in one of two definite states (0 or 1).
- Quantum computation uses quantum bits (qubits).
Quantum Bit (Qubit)
- A quantum bit (qubit) is the smallest unit of quantum information, which is the quantum analog of the regular computer bit, used in the field of quantum computing.
- They operate according to two key principles of quantum physics: superposition and entanglement.
- Superposition means that each qubit can represent both a ‘1’ and a ‘0’ at the same time.
- Entanglement means that qubits in a superposition state can be correlated with each other; that is, the state of one qubit (whether it is a 1 or a 0) can depend on the state of another qubit. It means that particles remain connected so that actions performed on one affect the other, even when separated by great distances. The phenomenon so riled Albert Einstein that he called it "spooky action at a distance."
- Using these two principles, qubits can act as more sophisticated switches, enabling quantum computers to function in ways that allow them to solve difficult problems that are unmanageable using today’s computers.
- According to research, the quantum processor took 200 seconds to perform a calculation that would have been accomplished in 10,000 years by the world’s fastest supercomputer ‘Summit’.
The 23rd edition of the Trilateral Maritime Exercise MALABAR is scheduled between the navies of India, Japan, and the USA.
- It is an annual exercise between the navies of India, Japan, and the U.S. held alternately in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
- It began in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between India and the U.S.
- Then it got permanently expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.
- MALABAR 2019 would endeavour to further strengthen India - Japan - US Naval cooperation and enhance interoperability, based on shared values and principles.
- India and Japan defence forces organize a series of bilateral exercises namely, JIMEX, SHINYUU Maitri, and Dharma Guardian.
- Whereas India and USA conduct Joint Military Exercises namely, Yudha Abhyas.
The International Monetary Fund formally selected Kristalina Georgieva of Bulgaria as the second woman ever to lead the 189-member institution for a five-year term starting on October 1, 2019.
- She will replace Christine Lagarde, who is set to take over the European Central Bank later this year.
- She is also the first person from an emerging economy to head the global lender.
- The Managing Director is the chief of the IMF’s operating staff and Chair of the Executive Board. The Managing Director is assisted by four Deputy Managing Directors.
- She was also the Interim President for the World Bank Group before being appointed as the Chief of IMF.
- David Malpass, a top U.S. Treasury official was unanimously selected as the new President of the World Bank for a five-year term starting from April 9, 2019.
- By tradition, the IMF managing director is a European, while the United States chooses the president of the World Bank. The situation leaves little hope for ascendant emerging economies that, despite modest changes in 2015, do not have as large an IMF voting share as the United States and Europe.
International Monetary Fund
- The IMF, also known as the Fund, was conceived at a UN conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, in July 1944.
- It provides financial assistance to member countries with balance of payments problems, lends money to replenish international reserves, stabilize currencies, etc.
- Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) is the IMF’s unit of account and not a currency. SDR basket of currencies includes the U.S. dollar, Euro, Japanese yen, pound sterling and the Chinese renminbi (included in 2016).
Recently, the Indian Defence Minister commissioned the Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Varaha at the Chennai port.
- The ICGS Varaha is the fourth in the series of seven 98-m Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).
- The ship has been designed and built indigenously and will operate from the port of New Mangalore on the West Coast (covering Exclusive Economic Zone) up to Kanyakumari.
- It is fitted with the latest navigation and communication equipment which include the Integrated Bridge System, Automated Power Management System and indigenously built Integrated Platform Management System and Halo Traversing System.
- ICGS Varaha is capable of operating the indigenously developed advanced light helicopter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
- The ship is well equipped with high-speed boats, medical facilities, and modern surveillance systems for conducting boarding operations, search and rescue, law enforcement and maritime patrolling.
- This ship will enhance the ICG's strength in responding to the threats of maritime terrorism, smuggling, and challenges of maritime enforcement.
Indian Coast Guard
- It was established on 18th August 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 of the Parliament of India as an independent Armed force of India.
- It operates under the Ministry of Defence.
- Headquarter: New Delhi.
- It has jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India including contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone.
- It is responsible for marine environment protection in maritime zones of India and is coordinating authority for response to oil spills in Indian waters.