Everything about Net Neutrality

Net neutrality

• The term was coined by Tim Wu in 2003.

• It is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet.

• It means that the Internet Service Provider may not discriminate between different kind of content and applications online.

• It guarantees a level playing field for all websites and Internet technologies.

• In this, all data on the Internet is treated as same and is not discriminated or charged differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment or method of communication.

• Under  this principle, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.

• In net neutrality all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally, the service providers should allow access to all content without favouring any particular product or website.

Advantages of Net Neutrality

• It has remained a core democratising tenet of the internet since the time it came into existence.

• It protects innovation and if big companies like Google and Netflix could pay to get exceptional treatment, more bandwidth, faster speeds, the new start-up firms would be at a disadvantage.

• It will also negatively affect freedom of speech. In absence of net neutrality, the big companies could give priority to TV networks from videos it owns and slow down the signals from its peers.

• It supports competitive marketplace and provides chance to every firm, from big companies to small start-ups to take part in it. Curbing netizens right to a neutral net will be a big blow for the budding entrepreneurs.

Disadvantages of Net Neutrality

• The users download large amount of software, music and movies illegally. The changes will put a restriction.

• The various companies like Google have created services that allow people to make calls for free on networks that telecom companies have spent billions to build. Net neutrality is injustice to these companies.

• Net neutrality do not protects innovation instead stifles innovation. If the telecom companies can charge higher fees to the prime bandwidth hogs, they can also afford to develop advanced fiber networks that support all forms of new Internet services.

• Some level of prioritisation or restriction is essential to support the best interest of consumers as a whole.

• Bandwidth is definitely a limited commodity and regulation will help restrict illegal use of the platform.

Net neutrality in India

• There are no laws enforcing net neutrality in India.

• Although TRAI guidelines for the Unified Access Service license promotes net neutrality, it does not enforce it.

• The Information Technology Act, 2000 also does not prohibit companies from throttling their service in accordance with their business interests.

• In India, telecom operators and ISPs offering VoIP services have to pay a part of their revenues to the government.

• Violations of net neutrality have been common in India.

• Examples include Facebook’s internet.org, Aircel’s Wikipedia Zero along free access to Facebook and WhatsApp, Airtel’s free access to Google and Reliance’s free access to Twitter .

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Everything about Umang App (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG)

Umang (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) app:

• It is a unified app to serve e-governance through mobile devices.

• It is developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD).

• It is to offer services of the central, state, local bodies and various government agencies right on Android and iOS based mobile devices.

• It will provide over a hundred citizen-centric services.

• At the back-end, these services will be catered for by many different departments of the Union and State Governments.

• This integrated approach will add an automatic layer of ‘peer performance pressure’, in the working of these departments.

List of services:

• The Umang app bundles a list of Digital India services, including Aadhaar, DigiLocker and PayGov.

• The app provides citizens with all the major government services provided through app, web, SMS and IVR channels.

• The citizens can use the app to access their income tax filing, LPG cylinder bookings and Provident Fund account.

• Parents can use the Umang app to access CBSE results.

Multilingual support:

• The app has multilingual support with as many as 13 languages and includes a payment-based transaction access.

Social media integration

• The app has social media integration that allows to connect your Facebook, Google, and Twitter accounts and enable one-touch login process.

• The interface of the Umang app appears to be convenient for novices.

• The app comes with features like favourites and push notification alerts.

Accountability without responsibility is like a bird without wings. Comment. (150 words – 10 marks)

Accountability is necessary for better governance but not sufficient. It has some
fundamental limitations which can be overcome only by performing our duties
with a sense of responsibility. Such limitations include:
i) Difficulties in constantly monitoring the various activities of subordinates.
ii) Accountability can consider quantity but not quality. In situations where
discretion is involved, accountability is of limited value.
iii) It is vulnerable to the risk of collusion.
Due to these limitations, accountability remains effective only till supervision is
maintained. It needs to be supplemented by self-regulation, which is driven by a
sense of responsibility. Therefore, to address these issues, it is imperative that
we use our discretion/judgment in deciding how best to perform our duties in a manner that promotes public welfare. This can only come from a sense of
responsibility and devotion towards public welfare.

Question on Growth of Naxalism

“Being the centers of concentration of the industrial proletariat, urban areas play an important part within the political strategy of the new Democratic Revolution”. Examine this statement in the light of rising Maoist activity in the urban areas and why is it essential to keep a close watch on Maoist activities in towns and cities?

Approach:
 Introduce the first statement of the question
 Evidences of Maoist activities in urban centres
 Causes for the rise in Maoist activities

Answer:

The urban movement has a defined role in the political strategy and military strategy of the CPI (Maoist). They believe that in the absence of a strong revolutionary urban movement, the growth of the people’s war will face limitations and difficulties in its advancement. Working class leadership is the indispensable condition for the Maoist design in India. Working class has to send its advanced detachments to rural areas. The rebels stress on forming secret party units in the bastis and slums of the urban areas. Their main focus is that of mass political mobilization by inculcating the leadership qualities in the urban working class: the real class, according to Karl Marx, which possesses the consciousness of revolution.
Evidences:

 The basic task of the Communist Party of India (Maoists) in the urban domain is to deal with the problem of coordination between open and secret work. Another chief component is to retain contacts between city organization and leadership in the rural areas – the heartland of the insurgency.
 Propaganda through student-worker organizations would be the mainstay of their strategy
 According to latest estimates, 104 districts in 13 states are affected by the Maoist movement.
 With 2017 marking the 50th anniversary of the Naxalite movement, security forces
stationed in the so-called Red Corridor have sounded the alarm that recent attacks on security forces could signal the start of a resurgence of anti-state activity by the armed insurgents. On March 11, 12 personnel of the CRPF were killed by Maoists in Sukma of Chhattisgarh.
Causes:
 India’s central and eastern parts, home to about 84 million adivasi, or indigenous people,is rich in mineral resources. Renewed mining activity pose a threat to their livelihoods. Most of them are subsistence farmers or landless, mainly living in extreme poverty.
 The Naxalite movement heavily draws intellectual support from urban intelligentsia.
 Maoists from Andhra Pradesh helped organize tribals in Chhattisgarh over the issue of land rights and displacement during the 1980s. The state has emerged as the stronghold of the Maoists in recent decades since 2000 when mining was initiated.
 The movement keeps on reappearing like a phoenix because the basic socio-economic factors, which are responsible for it, remain unaddressed. Poverty continues to be a problem and, according to the expert group headed by C Rangarajan, 29.5% of the population lived below the poverty line in 2011-12. Wealth is increasing, but its distribution is unequal.
 Unemployment is another area of concern. Land reforms have been forgotten. Tribals are an alienated lot, largely due to their displacement as a result of developmental activities in the forest areas.
 Home Ministry has identified several org. in Delhi & National Capital Region as Maoist front organizations.
 These organizations and political parties try to gain inroads by talking about issues
like “bijli, paani, sadak aur rojgaar “, issues that are relevant to the common person. At the same time, the masterminds work on their bigger strategy of disruption and taking over control of government.

Way forward:
 The state police to take the terrorists/extremists head-on, to win the battle against terrorism/extremism.
 Government departments to establish themselves in areas when the Maoists have been driven away, so that it does not surface again.
 Step up human intelligence network and continue to nab the urban outfits of the Maoists as they had been doing for some time recently.
 Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, equipped with cameras, data and video links are the latest weapons can be deployed against Naxals in India.
 Government service delivery should be improved in these tribal areas. Both state and government must ensure that things such as statutory minimum wages, access to land and water sources initiatives are implemented.
 By opening dialogue, the government can give opportunity for the rebels 2join the
mainstream by showing them that solutions can be created together with the government, by being part of the political system in a legitimate way

 

Discuss the Seven Principles of Public Life given by the Nolan Committee. (150 words – 10 marks)

The Nolan Committee provides 7 Principles which state that holders of public
office should:
i) Selflessness: act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in
order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their
friends.
ii) Integrity: Not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside
individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance
of their official duties.
iii) Objectivity: should make choices on merit in carrying out public business,
including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending
individuals for rewards and benefits.
iv) Accountability: hold themselves accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
v) Openness: be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they
take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only
when the wider public interest clearly demands.
vi) Honesty: declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take
steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
vii) Leadership: promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

H1N1 Flu:

H1N1 Flu:

  • It is a respiratory disease caused by a strain of the influenza type A virus known as H1N1.
  • H1N1 Flu is also known as swine flu.
  • It is called swine flu because in the past the people who caught it had direct contact with pigs.
  • It can be transmitted from one person to another by coughing and sneezing.
  • Its symptoms are similar to those of standard, seasonal flu like fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and chills.
  • The vulnerable groups include pregnant women, children under five, the over-65s and those with serious medical conditions.
  • The virus first appeared in Mexico in 2009 and rapidly spreaded around the world.
  • In 2009, H1N1 was spreading fast around the world, so the World Health Organisation called it a pandemic.

What makes Maharashtra, particularly vulnerable?

  • Urbanisation and overcrowding: More the number of people, more are the chances of spreading the disease.
  • Good surveillance system: Presence of good surveillance system helps in tracking of all the cases. The increased number of cases is a reflection of good surveillance system.
  • Antigenic shift: It is a process in which two or more strains of a virus combine to form a new subtype. It is observed at regular intervals which is the main reason why there has been a spurt in the cases.
  • Failure to detect on time: The symptoms of disease such as fever, a runny nose and a sore throat are often ignored and self-treated. By the time patients consults the doctor two or three days have been wasted.
  • Faded effect of vaccination: Vaccine against H1N1 was administered to the patients in 2015 when major cases were reported. The vaccine gives immunity for about 8-9 months. This could be the reason why state of Maharashtra did not have many cases in 2016 but now see a rise in number of cases.

Madhyamik and Uchchatar Shiksha Kosh (MUSK)

Madhyamik and Uchchatar Shiksha Kosh (MUSK)

  • A single non-lapsable corpus fund Madhyamik and Uchchatar Shiksha Kosh (MUSK) will work as a repository for the revenue of the Secondary and Higher Education Cess.
  • It will be inducted to help the education schemes for which demand exceeds budgetary allocations.
  • A non-lapsable reserve fund means that if the amount collected is not utilized it would be carried forward to the next financial years.
  • The HRD Ministry will be responsible for the administration and maintenance of MUSK.
  • The fund will cater the following schemes:
  1. Interest subsidy on education loans
  2. Education credit guarantee fund
  3. Scholarship schemes
  4. Girls’ education schemes
  5. Higher education funds in states.
  • MUSK is similar to Prarambhik Shiksha Kosh (PSK) which was in place to fund elementary education schemes such as Sarva Shikha Abhiyan (education for all) for which the government collects a separate 2% cess.