IASCLUB Daily Current Affairs : 21 August 2019

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Aadhaar-social media link: SC concerned over misuse of web

Topic : GS III Security 

Context:

  • Facebook Inc has approached the Supreme Court seeking transfer of cases filed in the High Courts of Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh for linking social media accounts with Aadhaar.
  • The transfer petition states that the matters in High Courts seek substantially similar reliefs and involve substantially same questions of law.

Details:

  • The Tamil Nadu government has suggested that the social media profiles of users need to be linked with Aadhaar numbers to check circulation of fake, defamatory and pornographic content as also anti-national and terror material.
  • There are four petitions including two in Madras High Court, one in Bombay and one in Madhya Pradesh High Courts containing almost similar suggestions.
  • The attorney general appearing for TN state government stressed on the need for linking Aadhaar to social media accounts in order to identify the source or originator of fake news, messages and other such content.
  • He highlighted the need for knowing the originator of messages, especially in criminal cases. He referred to how online game Blue Whale had not long ago terrorised parents and claimed several young lives in India.
  • The Supreme Court, however has stressed the need to find a balance between the right to online privacy and the right of the State to detect people who use the web to spread panic and commit crimes.

What are Facebook Inc’s concerns?

  • Facebook is resisting the Tamil Nadu government’s suggestion on the ground that sharing of 12-digit Aadhaar number, the Biometric Unique Identity, would violate the privacy policy of users.
  • Facebook Inc said that it cannot share the Aadhaar number with a third party as the content on its instant messaging Whatsapp are end-to-end encrypted and even they do not have access to it.
  • Facebook and the other social media platforms like Twitter, Whatsapp etc have submitted before the court that it is impossible for them to monitor each and every personal content.

The court finally issued notice to the Centre and the States on the plea made by social media platforms for transferring the proceedings in High Courts to the apex court.

Govt. defence test facilities to be opened to private sector

Topic : GS III Economy

Context:

Addressing a long-pending demand of private industries to provide a level playing field in defence manufacturing, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that test facilities of the government and the Services would soon be opened for the private sector.

Background:

  • Of late, Indian industries had been manufacturing bigger military platforms but there were no test ranges to evaluate and improve the systems, forcing them to take the hardware abroad.
  • The defence products list had been revised for the purpose of issuing licences under the Industry Development and Regulation Act and most of the components, parts, sub-systems and testing and production equipment had been removed from it.

Details:

  • It was said that a proposal to provide the test facilities of the government to the private sector after incorporating the comments of the stakeholders participating in indigenous manufacturing has been approved.
  • He added that a formal order that would remove the bottlenecks in the way of using test facilities by private entities would be issued.
  • Speaking at a seminar on indigenisation and modernisation of the IAF, jointly organised by the Air Force and the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers, he said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is a technologically advanced and extremely potent force and the recent offensive strikes on terror outfits in the neighbourhood showed the reach and lethality of this formidable arm of the armed forces.

Significance of the announcement:

  • Private sector participation in India’s defence sector has led to fruitful results.
  • The involvement of Tata Power SED in building the Samyukta — India’s first major electronic warfare system — and L&T’s contribution to the nuclear submarine programme are noteworthy examples.
  • L&T’s in-house development of hull construction technologies for submarines gave the company an opportunity to participate in building INS Arihant — India’s first nuclear submarine, despite severe sanctions.
  • Since 2001, the private sector has displayed capability in the complete product life cycle for advanced systems such as missile launchers, rocket launchers, land-based as well as naval engineering systems, sensors such as radars and sonars, avionics, secure communication, and aircraft sub-systems.
  • With world-class skills in IT, ITeS and manufacturing, the private sector has augmented India’s indigenous defence production capability.
  • The private sector has also built up extensive infrastructure without waiting for any orders from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • Despite this track record, the Indian private sector does not enjoy a level playing field vis-à-vis foreign equipment makers and defence PSUs.
  • The defence sector should learn from the phenomenal success that India achieved in the strategic nuclear and space sectors.

Resolve stressed assets on time in your interest, RBI tells banks

Topic : GS III Economy

Context:

  • Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor N.S. Vishwanathan has urged banks for timely resolution of stressed assets in their ‘own interest’.
  • Vishwanathan, was speaking at a banking seminar organised by industry body FICCI and the Indian Banks’ Association.

Details:

  • He said that the banks should resolve assets under the new framework that was announced by RBI in June to extract the best value.
  • He emphasised the need for dealing only in ‘genuine’ cases.
  • He emphasised how timely resolution, besides meeting the regulatory requirement, could result in better valuation.
  • It was said that RBI is making less intrusive regulations with the hope that banks will use it to deal with genuine stress in their balance sheets to address the problem.

Stressed Assets:

  • Stressed assets = Non Performing Assets + Restructured loans + Written off assets
  • Stressed assets is a powerful indicator of the health of the banking system.
  • NPA means interest or principal is not repaid by the borrower during a specified time period.
  • But NPA  alone doesn’t tell the whole story of bad asset quality of loans given by banks. Some of the loans are restructured by banks by giving a further opportunity to the borrower if they default.
  • This opportunity is in the form of an extended time period for repayment and a reduced interest rate or such soft conditions. Hence a new classification is made in the form of stressed assets that comprises restructured loans and written off assets besides NPAs.
  • Restructured asset or loan are that assets which got an extended repayment period, reduced interest rate, converting a part of the loan into equity, providing additional financing, or some combination of these measures.
  • Written off assets are those the bank or lender doesn’t count the money borrower owes to it. The financial statement of the bank will indicate that the written off loans are compensated through some other way.

Editorial Section :

The monk who shaped India’s secularism – The Hindu

The competition law and data advantage conundrum – live mint

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