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Current Affairs – 2 March 2021

Current Affairs (2nd March 2021)

Chinese cyber-attack foiled: Power Ministry

Context

Recently, the Union Power Ministry mentioned that the “State-sponsored” Chinese hacker groups had targeted various Indian power centres.

ABOUT

  • A U.S. cyber security firm’s claim that the Mumbai power outage in October 2020 was part of a coordinated cyber-attack by China, but there was “no data breach” as a result of the threat.
  • Specifically naming the Chinese group “Red Echo”, which has been identified in the U.S. company Recorded Future’s report as responsible for the Mumbai outage.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s (MEITy’s) Cyber Emergency Response Team-In (India) (CERT-in named this malware as “Shadow Pad”.

Concerns

  • The policymakers stated that due to border tensions between India and China in Galwan Valley, the Chinese hackers tried to hacked the Indian power grid systems.
  • This kind of actions may hurt the negotiations between both countries, that aims to ease the border tensions.

Way Forward

  • The Indian authorities must be vigilant against these type of cyber attacks, as this will expose the vulnerability of Indian cyber system.
  • The government, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and defence establishments cyber systems must be strengthened.

What are Cyber Attacks?

  • A cyber attack is an assault launched using computers against a single or multiple computers or networks. A cyber attack can maliciously disable computers, steal data, or use a breached computer as a launch point for other attacks.

 

 “Sugamya Bharat App”

Context

Recently, the Union Minister for Social justice and Empowerment has virtually launched “Sugamya Bharat App”.

About

The App have been developed by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

  • Sugamya Bharat APP — a Crowd sourcing Mobile Application is a means for sensitising and enhancing accessibility in the 3 pillars of the Accessible India Campaign i.e. built environment, transportation sector and ICT ecosystem in India.
  • The 5 main features of app:
    • 4 of which are directly related to enhancing accessibility,
    • the fifth is a special feature meant only for Divyangjan for COVID related issues.
  • The accessibility related features are: the registration of complaints of inaccessibility across the 3 broad pillars of the Sugamya Bharat Abhiyaan; positive feedback of examples and best practices worth emulating being shared by people as jan-bhagidhari; Departmental updates; and guidelines and circulars related to accessibility.
  • It is available in 10 regional languages, namely, Hindi, English, Marathi, Tamil, Odiya, Kannada, Telugu, Gujarati, Punjabi, and Malayalam.
  • The App also has provision of easy photo uploads with geotagging option of the premise where accessibility intervention is required.

 

Recycle e-waste

Context

  • The researchers at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi have developed a zero-emission technology to manage and recycle e-waste to wealth.

About

  • This technology will deal with one of the fastest growing waste streams which uses e-waste as an “Urban Mine” for metal recovery and energy production.
  • By this method, e-waste is shredded and pyrolyzed to yield liquid and gaseous fuels, leaving behind a metal-rich solid fraction.
  • On further separation using a novel technique, the leftover solid residue yields a 90-95% pure metal mixture and some carbonaceous materials.
  • The carbonaceous material is further converted to aerogel for oil spillage cleaning, dye removal, carbon dioxide capture, and use in super capacitors.
  • The technology is an outcome of a Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, funded project and developed technology will cater to the need of “Smart Cities,” “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan,” and “Atmanirbhar Bharat” initiatives of the government.

 

Mining in Aravalli Hills

Context

The Haryana Government appealed to Supreme Court to permit it to resume mining in Aravalli hills.

Concerns

  • Mining in the region has been banned since 2002 under the Supreme Court orders, unless expressly permitted by the Union Environment Ministry. However, mining continued illegally.
  • A 2018 report by a Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) said 25% of the Aravalli range has been lost due to illegal mining in Rajasthan since 1967-68.
  • The mining in this hill region for many years borne the brunt of quarrying and environmental degradation. The consequence of this mining has been a destruction of aquifers and deforestation.

About Aravalli Hill Ranges

  • It is the oldest range of fold mountains in India.
  • The Aravalli hills spanning Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi are an ecologically sensitive zone.
  • The highest peak of Aravalli Hills is Guru Shikhar at 1,722 metres.
  • Major rivers- Banas, Sahibirivers (both are tributaries of Yamuna) and Luni.

 

Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav-2021

Context

The third and final edition of the Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav-2021 has been concluded.

About

  • This years the two day Mahotsav was organised by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India from 27th – 28th February 2021 at Murshidabad, West Bengal.
  • Various folk music like Baul Gaan, Jaari Gaan, Lathi Khela and folk dances Ghoda Naach and Ranapa dances were performed
  • Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav, the flagship festival of Culture Ministry has been organized since 2015 with the active participation of Seven Zonal Culture Centres and has been playing a pivotal role to take the vibrant culture of India.
  • It has been instrumental in showcasing, folk and tribal art, dance, music, cuisines & culture of one state in other states reinforcing the cherished goal of “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” and at the same time providing an effective platform to the artists and artisans to support their livelihood.

 

India’s collaboration in Space Sector

Context

Recently, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region has highlighted India’s ascent to the World Comity of Nations will happen via Space Technology.

ABOUT

  • The Union Minister emphasized that after the successful launch of Amazonia-1 satellite of Brazil the collaboration between the India and Brazil will mark a beginning of robust bonding and is a role model for other countries to follow.
  • Apart from this the launch also marked the first dedicated mission of ISRO’s commercial arm New Space India Ltd. (NSIL).

Significance

  • The extension of applications of Space Technology to different sectors like railways or smart cities, agriculture or disaster management, highways or defence, Space technology and areas brought ‘ease of living’ for common man.
  • The government’s revolutionary decision to “unlock” India’s Space Technology to private players for the first time after independence, that will bring ‘ease of living’, ‘ease of environment’ and ‘ease of humanity’.
  • India is now in the position to provide inputs from Mangalyaan and Chandrayaan to the premier institutions of the world like the NASA of the USA.
  • The joint ventures in Space Technology will offer new opportunities for companies and will help create new jobs.

 

The Master of Roster

Context

Recently, the Supreme Court laid to rest the proceedings inquiring the sexual harassment allegations against Ranjan Gogoi, the former Chief Justice of India (CJI).

ABOUT

  • It enabled Justice Gogoi to institute suomotu proceedings despite being an accused; label the case as a matter of judicial independence; and preside over it.

What is Master of Roster?

  • The CJI called as the Master of the Roster – i.e., the vesting of exclusive discretion in the Chief Justice to constitute benches and allocate cases.

Concerns

  • The Master of the Roster power makes the CJI’s office a high stakes one and CJI as the sole point of defence of the Court against executive interference.
  • However, this has a flip side. With the CJI as the sole Master of the Roster, any executive seeking to influence the Supreme Court needs only a pliant CJI.
  • In other words, a pliant Master of the Roster carries the danger of producing apliant Court. This power is predicated upon the CJI’s seniority in the top court and the resultant presumption of propriety.
  • However, B.R. Ambedkar had forewarned the Constituent Assembly: “…after all, the Chief Justice is aman with all the failings, all the sentiments and all the prejudices which we as common people have”. Yet, the Supreme Court has been reluctant todilute this power.
  • In Asok Pande v. Supreme Court of India (2018), a three ­judge bench of the Court held that Master of the Roster is the CJI’s exclusive power.
  • Thereafter, a two judge bench in Shanti Bhushan v. Supreme Court of India (2018) rejected the plea that the Master of the Roster should be interpreted as the collegium.
  • Therefore, while the CJI’s other powers such as recommending appointments to constitutional courts are shared with other senior judges,the power of Master of the Roster is enjoyed without scrutiny.

Judicial reforms

  • The reforms in the Indian judiciary havebeen a continuing project, mostly responding to crises of the time.
  • Hence, when Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister ordered punitive transfers of High Court judges and superseded judges to appoint the CJI, the Supreme Court formulated the collegium system in response.
  • However,this system has failed to keep executive interferences at bay from the Supreme Court. This is for two reasons:first, there is an attractive lure of post ­retirement jobs; and second, as the privilege of Master of the Roster shows,the CJI’s allocation of cases is an unchecked power.

Way Forward

  • A cooling off period between retirement and a post ­retirement appointment has often been suggested.
  • The power of Master of the Roster needs to be diversified beyond the CJI’s exclusive and untrammelled discretion.
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