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News Analysis

  • 26 Dec 2018
  • 12 min read
Indian Economy

Bogibeel Bridge

Prime Minister inaugurated the Bogibeel railway-road bridge, in Assam which is India’s longest railroad bridge (4.94 km).

  • It spans over the river Brahmaputra connecting Dibrugarh and Dhemaji districts of Assam.
  • Besides providing rail connectivity, it will link two existing national highwaysNH-37 on the south bank and NH-52 on the north bank.
  • In a comparison of all bridges across water, the Bogibeel comes in at fourth, after the neighbouring Dhola-Sadiya road bridge (9.15 km), the Patna-Hajipur road bridge (5.75 km), and the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (5.6 km).
  • It has taken more than three decades to build after it was promised as a part of the Assam Accord in 1985 - an initiative directed towards improving the state’s infrastructure.

Significance of the Bridge

  • Regional connectivity: The bridge will significantly reduce the journey from Dibrugarh in Assam to the Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar. It will benefit tourists, trade goods and those seeking medical treatment.
  • Defence: The bridge will facilitate quicker movement of troops and equipment to areas near the India-China border.
  • International relations: With increased intra-North-East connectivity and transnational linkages like trilateral highway connecting Manipur to Thailand, rail connectivity through Bangladesh between mainland India and Tripura etc. open up unprecedented economic opportunity in the region and end its isolation.

Governance

Draft IT Rules Issued by Government

The government has released proposed amendments to the Information Technology (IT) Act for public comments to replace the rules notified in 2011.

  • The aim of the rules is to make social media and internet companies, that have over 50 lakh users, more accountable for the content on their platforms.
  • The proposed amendments seek to curb “unlawful content” on social media and make it mandatory for platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter to trace “originator” of “unlawful” information.

Need for Rules

  • The Information Technology Act (IT Act), 2000 was enacted to give a fillip to electronic transactions, to provide legal recognition for e-commerce and e-transactions, to facilitate e-governance, to prevent computer-based crimes and ensure security practices and procedures.

  • Section 79(2)(c) of the IT Act mentions that intermediaries must observe due diligence while discharging their duties, and also observe such other guidelines as prescribed by the Central Government. Accordingly, the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 were notified in April 2011.

  • Recently, India has seen a rise in the number of lynching incidents in 2018 mostly due to fake news being circulated through Whatsapp and other social media sites.

  • Social media has brought new challenges for the law enforcement agencies, including inducement for the recruitment of terrorists, circulation of obscene content, the spread of disharmony and incitement to violence.

The Information Technology [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules] 2018

  • Social media intermediaries should publish rules, privacy policy to stop users from engaging in online material which is paedophilic, pornographic, hateful, racially and ethnically objectionable, invasive of privacy, etc.
  • The online intermediaries should provide information or assistance within 72 hours when asked by any government agency for reasons of State security, cyber security, investigation, detection, prosecution or prevention of offenses.
    • These offenses may include mob violence, lynching, online sexual abuse, etc. The “originator of the information” can be traced to register an FIR.
  • The social media intermediaries should take all reasonable measures to protect individual privacy as required under the Information Technology Rules of 2011.
  • The online intermediaries should appoint in India, a nodal person of contact for 24X7 coordination with law enforcement agencies and ensure compliance with their orders.
  • Online Intermediaries should remove or disable access to unlawful content,within 24 hours, relatable to Article 19(2) of the constitution of India such as in the “interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offense."
    • The intermediary is also expected to preserve such information and associated records for at least 180 days for investigation purposes.
  • The intermediary should deploy technology based automated tools for identifying and removing or disabling public access to unlawful information or contents.
  • The intermediary should report cybersecurity incidents with the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team.
  • On their website, the intermediary should publish the name of the Grievance Officer and his contact details and the mechanism by which users or any victim who suffers can notify their complaints against such usage.

Supreme Court Orders

  • These draft rules are in line with various judgments given by the Supreme Court (SC) to deal with malicious online content.
  • In July 2018 judgment in the Tehseen S. Poonawalla case, the SC gave the government full freedom to stop/curb dissemination of “irresponsible and explosive messages on various social media platforms, which have a tendency to incite mob violence and lynching of any kind.”
  • In December 2018 in Re: Prajwala Letter case, the SC ordered the government to frame the necessary guidelines/Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and implement them to “eliminate child pornography, rape and gang rape imagery, videos, and sites in content hosting platforms and other applications”.

Concerns

  • The draft rules have been criticized for expanding the scope for state surveillance of citizens. 

Internet/Online Intermediary

  • An internet intermediary is an entity which provides services that enable people to use the internet.
  • There are different kinds of internet intermediaries which fall into two categories: “conduits” and “hosts”.
  • “Conduits” are technical providers of internet access or transmission services. “Hosts” are providers of content services – for instance, online platforms and storage services.


Social Justice

Survive and Thrive: Transforming Care for Every Small and Sick Newborn

According to a recent study by a global coalition that includes UNICEF and WHO, the world will not achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3 (to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages) unless it transforms care for every newborn.

  • According to UNICEF, India witnesses 25.4 newborn deaths per 1,000 births and 0.64 million newborn deaths annually. The Sustainable Development Goal for neonatal deaths requires all countries to bring down the figure to 12 deaths or less per 1,000 births by 2030.

Key Findings

  • An estimated 30 million newborns require specialised care in hospital every year without which many either die or develop preventable health conditions and disabilities that affect them for life.
  • Newborns who are born too soon or too small, or who become sick, are at the greatest risk of death and disability.
  • The challenges facing small and sick newborns and their families include scarce services, barriers to care-seeking (such as a lack of awareness, transportation or finances) and discrimination.
  • Additionally, the financial and psychological toll on their families can have detrimental effects on their cognitive, linguistic and emotional development.
  • Universal access to quality care could prevent 1.7 million neonatal deaths, or 68% of the deaths that will otherwise occur in 2030.
  • As many as 2.9 million women, stillbirths and newborns can be saved during 2030 in 81 high-burden countries if there are interventions for both mother and newborn at the same time, at the same place, by the same healthcare provider.

Recommendations

  • Providing round-the-clock inpatient care for newborns seven days a week.
  • Training nurses to provide hands-on care working in partnership with families.
  • A family-centred approach that strengthens parents’ skills and competence in caring for their small, sick or high-risk infant reduces stress and anxiety, and benefits the newborn’s weight gain and neurodevelopmental progress.
  • Providing good quality of care should be a part of country policies, and a lifelong investment for those who are born small or sick.
  • For continuous quality improvement, countries not only need to collect data about small and sick newborns but also to monitor the data systematically, evaluate it rigorously, and – while guaranteeing confidentiality and data security – share it with relevant partners. Only then can decision-makers guide investments and drive action for better newborn survival and development outcomes.
  • Low and middle income countries will be able to avert two out of every three neonatal deaths by 2030 if they increase their investment by $0.20 per capita.

Way Forward

  • The report maps out a pathway towards 2030. To transform all aspects of newborn care, from its availability and quality to its uptake and affordability requires all stakeholders – governments and partners, competent health-care professionals, professional associations, private sector organizations, researchers, empowered parents, and engaged communities – to work together.

Important Facts For Prelims

Important Facts for Prelims (26th December 2018)

Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)

  • Recently Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has released the year end review of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme.
  • AMRUT along with Smart Cities Mission was jointly planned to transform urban living conditions through infrastructure upgradation.
  • AMRUT provides for basic civic amenities like water supply, sewerage, urban transport, parks as to improve the quality of life for all, especially the poor and the disadvantaged.
  • AMRUT is aimed at transforming 500 cities and towns into efficient urban living spaces over a period of five years.
  • AMRUT is a centrally sponsored scheme with 80% budgetary support from the Centre.

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