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Current Affairs – 29 October 2021

Traffic management of drones in lower airspace

India Today

GS 2 : Polity and Governance

Context:

  • The Civil Aviation Ministry has notified a traffic management framework for drones under which public and private third-party service providers will manage their movement in the airspace under 1,000 feet.
  • The framework has been issued under the Drone Rules 2021.

About:

  • The framework allows third-party service providers to give services such as registration, flight planning, dynamic deconfliction and access to supplementary data like weather, terrain and position of manned aircraft.
  • A set of supplementary service providers will also be permitted under the framework to provide services such as insurance and data analytics to support the UAS (unmanned aircraft system) Traffic Management (UTM) ecosystem.
  • All drones (except Nano drones operating in the green zone) shall be required to mandatorily share their real-time location through the network to the Centre either directly or through third-party service providers.
  • Service providers will be permitted to charge drone operators a service fee and a small portion of it might have to be shared with the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which manages the ATM.

Why a separate framework for drones?

  • It has become important to safely manage both manned and unmanned aircraft, particularly at low-level airspace where the drones fly.
  • The number of drones being used in India is all set to increase after the latest liberalized drone regulations.
  • Current air traffic management (ATM) systems have not been designed to handle the traffic from unmanned aircraft.
  • Traditional traffic management services provided by Air Traffic Controllers for manned aircraft cannot be scaled for managing drone traffic
      • Which is expected to become at least 100 times higher
      • Since the traditional ATM is manual and requires human intervention.
  • Integration of unmanned aircraft in the Indian airspace using conventional means may require unmanned aircraft to be equipped with bulky and expensive hardware, which is neither feasible nor advisable

Security concerns:

    • Drones being used to drop explosive devices, triggering blasts inside the Air Force Station’s technical area in Jammu.
    • Pakistan is regularly deploying drones over the past two years to smuggle arms, ammunition and drugs into Indian territory.
    • Rapidly proliferating drone technology and exponential growth of its global market, the possibility of a drone attack cannot be ruled out.
    • Recently, Iranian drones were apparently used in a strike on an oil tanker operated by an Israeli-owned company.

 

16th East Asia Summit

Indian Express

GS

Context:

  • Recently, the Indian Prime Minister spoke about Global Value Chains, during ASEAN – East Asia Summit virtual summit on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit with the leaders.
  • He also stressed the importance of Free, Open and Inclusive Indo-Pacific and raised the idea of developing global standards on cybersecurity.

About:

  • The summit was hosted by Brunei as EAS and ASEAN Chair. It saw participation of leaders from ASEAN countries and other EAS Participating Countries, including Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, the US and India.

Focus of India:

  • Reaffirmed the importance of EAS as the premier leaders-led forum in the Indo-Pacific, bringing together nations to discuss important strategic issues.
  • Reiterated its support of $1 million to “ASEAN Covid Recovery Fund” and raised the idea of developing global standards on cyber security.
  • India’s commitment to provide Quad-sponsored vaccines to Indo-Pacific nations was reiterated.
  • ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign was talked about for post-pandemic recovery and in ensuring resilient global value chains.
  • There is a need for establishment of a better balance between economy and ecology and climate sustainable lifestyle.”
  • “ASEAN centrality” in the Indo-Pacific was reaffirmed and the synergies between ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) were highlighted.

National database of births, deaths

Times of India

GS 1 : Social Issues

Context:

  • The Centre has proposed amendments to a 1969 law that will enable it to “maintain the database of registered birth and deaths at the national level”.

About:

  • Currently, the registration of births and deaths is done by the local registrar appointed by States.
  • The State Government may appoint a Registrar for each local area comprising the area within the jurisdiction of a municipality, panchayat or other local authority or any other area or a combination of any two or more of them.
  • Changes proposed:
    • It is proposed that the Chief Registrar (appointed by the States) would maintain a unified database at the State level and integrate it with the data at the “national level,” maintained by the Registrar General of India (RGI).
      • The amendments will imply that the Centre will be a parallel repository of data.
    • Appointment of Special Sub-Registrars
      • In the event of disaster, he/she would be given powers for on the spot registration of deaths.

Significance :

  • The database may be used to update the Population Register and the electoral register, and Aadhaar, ration card, passport and driving license databases.
  • It would help update:
  1. Population Registerprepared under the Citizenship Act, 1955;
  2. Electoral registersor electoral rolls prepared under the Representation of the People Act, 1951
  3. Aadhaar databaseprepared under the Aadhaar Act, 2016;
  4. Ration card databaseprepared under the National Food Security Act, 2013;
  5. Passport databaseprepared under the Passport Act; and
  6. Driving licence databaseunder the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, and
  7. Other databasesat the national level are subject to provisons of Section 17 (1) of the RBD Act, 1969.

Registration of Births and Deaths Act (RBD), 1969

  • The registration of births, deaths and stillbirths are compulsory under the provisions of RBD Act in all parts of the Country.
  • The normal period of 21 days (from the date of occurrence) has been prescribed for reporting the birth, death and stillbirth events.

Pegasus

Tribune India

GS 2 : Polity and Governance

Context:

  • Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) has appointed an expert committee [to be overseen by a retired apex court judge (Justice Raveendran Committee)] in the Pegasus case.
  • Under the case, the Union Government is alleged to have used spyware for surveillance on private citizens.

About:

  • The government did not answer whether it had bought the spyware to snoop upon Indians or not and stonewalled questions in Parliament about its usage.
  • It further refused to respond to the allegations made by the petitioners even when prodded by the Supreme Court.
  • In fact, the Court cited the 2011 landmark ruling on black money Ram Jethmalani v. Union of India to say that the Government “should not take an adversarial position when the fundamental rights of citizens are at threat”.
  • The Constitution mandates that any restriction on the right to privacy must be through a valid law, be necessary to meet a legitimate purpose and be proportionate, i.e., there is a proper balance to be achieved between that purpose and the harm caused by limiting the right.
  • It is likely that the snooping, if any, through Pegasus may not be sanctioned by any law.
  • The government refused to disclose information on who was spied on claiming it’s a national security secret.
  • The government cannot get a “free pass”, citing the “bugbear” of violation of national security, when constitutional rights of the citizens were at stake. The government cannot merely evoke ‘national security’ to stonewall judicial review. There cannot be an omnibus denial of information.
  • A balance has to be struck between cherished liberties and “necessary” surveillance by the State to protect the citizens’ liberties.
  • The SC feels if the allegation is right, the snooping exercise would widely impact the right to privacy and freedom of speech of ordinary citizens.

Quality of life in informal settlements

Down to Earth

GS 1 : Urbanization, their problems and their remedies

Context:

  • The study of National Sample Survey (NSS) data on urban slums presents a grim picture of the settlers there, regarding the provisioning of basic amenities.
About:
  • In India, increasing urbanization is pushing disadvantaged populations living in informal settlements into a more poverty-stricken way of life.
  • Multiple factors influence the quality of life in informal settlements, including access to drinking water, toilets, sanitation and waste management.
Challenges:
  • Residents often have no tenancy rightsover the place they reside.
  • According to a National Sample Survey (NSS) study of unit-level data on urban slums:
    • Basic amenities- Around 41% households in informal settlements depended on sources of ‘exclusive use’ for basic amenities, followed by ‘unrestricted public sources’ (25.63%) and ‘common use’ (18.04%).
    • Water- Rather than being a public good, it is a rival economic good since its access depends on the willingness to pay moneyand a certain amount of walking to obtain it.
    • Toilets- As many as 52.6% households had ‘exclusive use’ toilets. Others used ‘common use’, ‘public toilets without payment’,’public toilets with payment’. 3% had no access to any kind of toilets. The SC / STcommunity had the highest proportion of those who did not have access to a toilet, followed by Muslims and then OBCs.
    • Disposal of excreta-The urban local bodies are entrusted with the work of emptying tanks and pits of excreta. But the frequency of the cleaning indicates that they do not complete the task on time. More than half of the households (53%) depend on private agencies to get the excreta emptied and 25% depend on hired labour.
    • Waste mismanagement- Around 47% households in these settlements do not have access to daily   garbage collection in their area. Out of that, garbage collection happens just once a week for 23.45%   households.
Concerns:
  • Informal settlements emerge unlawfully, either on government property or private land, thereby breaching government planning requirements.
  • The fundamental issue in providing services to these informal / illegal settlements is their lack of tenurial security / status.
  • These informal settlers are frequently in direct contact with garbage lying around, they are highly vulnerable to communicable diseases.
  • These informal settlements do not receive the government’s attention because they have been established unlawfully and lie outside government’s jurisdiction.
  • The issue questions the State’s role in providing access to basic amenities to every citizen, since the state exists to offer its citizens basic human rights.
  • The informal private players fill the gap in providing services, raising serious concern regarding the rights and entitlements of these residents.