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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Government Bans 59 Chinese apps

1stJuly 2020

Why in News?

Indian government has put a ban on 59 apps including TikTok and We Chat.

This marks the largest sweep against the Chinese technology companies.

 

Why the Govt decided to ban 59 Chinese apps?

These measures have been undertaken since there is credible information that these apps are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.

  1. The government had received complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ datain an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India.

Therefore, the decision has been taken in a bid to safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile users.

 

Background:

The ban comes days after Indian intelligence agencies red flagged these Chinese apps over safety and privacy issues of users.

The recommendations of the intelligence agencies have backing of the National Security Council Secretariat which determined that certain China-linked applications could be detrimental to the country’s security.

 

How it will affect Indian Users?

Jobs at stake:

Most of these platforms have Indian creators, for many of whom this is the only source of income.

Some apps on the banned list are widely popular among Indians.

  1. TikTok (one of the banned apps) has more than 100 million active users in India. TikTok was the only source of income for many users.

Besides, many of these apps such as UC News and others have offices and employees in India, hence following the ban, scores of jobs could be at stake.

 

What next?

  • Meity has issued instructions to Google and Apple to remove the banned applications from their respective application stores.
  • Additionally, telecom operators and Internet service providers will be asked to block access and use of these applications on their networks.
  • For this, the Ministry has invoked its power under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.

 

About the Section 69:

§  Section 69(1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 allowed this in the interest of the country’s sovereignty and integrity, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence.

§  Section 69 was amended in 2008 to enable the Centre and the State governments to “intercept, monitor or decrypt” any information transmitted through, received or stored in a computer.

 

Fiscal Cliff & Fiscal Drag

About the Fiscal Drag:

Fiscal drag happens when the government’s net fiscal position fails to cover the net savings desires of the private economy, also called the private economy’s spending gap.

  • The first point to remember about fiscal drag is that government will get more tax revenue (mainly income tax) at the time of fiscal drag.
  • Fiscal drag is the tendency of revenue from taxation to rise as a share of GDP in a growing economy. Fiscal drag may happen due to inflation or fiscal policies of the government.

Fiscal drag is normally associated with progressive tax rates. Because of progressive taxes, the government will get more taxes when the economy is booming. This also helps slow the rate of increase in demand, reducing the pace of growth, making it less likely to result in higher inflation.

Thus fiscal drag is an automatic stabilizer, as it acts naturally to keep demand stable.

Also note that fiscal drag means greater tax burden for people. And the greater tax burden can lead to less consumer spending.

About the Fiscal Cliff:

The fiscal cliff refers to a combination of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board government spending cuts that was scheduled to become effective December 31, 2012.

The story of Fiscal Cliff starts with the subprime crisis. Hence we covered that first.

  • US Congress (the legislative body, similar to Indian Parliament) had passed many laws during the recession period calling for tax cuts, in-order to boost economic activity.
  • But there was a time period specified for these exemptions. Many of these exemptions expired at midnight on December 31, 2012.

So period from Jan 1, 2013, was supposed to be a period of high taxes. A sudden condition of high taxes and reduced public expenditure after a long period of tax cuts and liberal public expenditure is known as Fiscal Cliff.

In the case of US, it was more a technical or policy issue, but to avoid this policy issue, the two houses of the US congress had to reach a consensus, which they didn’t reach initially.

Global Intellectual Property Index: 2020

Why in News?

International Intellectual Property Index is released by Global Innovation Policy Center or GIPC of the US Chambers of Commerce.

India has been ranked 40th out of 53 countries on a global intellectual property index 2020.

  • India was placed at 36th position among 50 countries in 2019.
  • India’s score, however, increased from 36.04 per cent (16.22 out of 45) in 2019 to 38.46 per cent (19.23 out of 50) in 2020, a 2.42 per cent jump in absolute score.
  • However, India’s relative score increased by 6.71 per cent.
  • Since the release of the 2016 National IPR Policy, India has improved the speed of processing for patent and trademark applications, increased awareness of IP rights among Indian innovators and creators, and facilitated the registration and enforcement of those rights.
  • The Index specifically highlights a number of reforms over the last year that strengthen India’s overall IP ecosystem.
  • According to GIPC’s report India also continues to score well in the Systemic Efficiency indicator, scoring ahead of 28 other economies in these indicators.
  • To continue this upward trajectory, much work remains to be done to introduce transformative changes to India’s overall IP framework and take serious steps to consistently implement strong IP standards.

GIPC has identified several challenges for India, prominent among them being-

  1. Patentability requirements,
  2. Patent enforcement,
  3. Compulsory licensing,
  4. Patent opposition,
  5. Regulatory data protection,
  6. transparency in reporting seizures by customs,
  7. Singapore Treaty of Law of TMs
  8. Patent Law Treaty.

Kala Kumbh

Why in News?

It is a Handicrafts Exhibitions for promotion of Geographical Indication (GI) Crafts and heritage of India has recently organized by Ministry of Textiles.

  • It is a thematic Exhibition in various parts of the country through the Office of Development Commissioner (Handicrafts).
  • The exhibitions are planned in various major cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
  • The exhibitions sponsored by Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH).
  • The GI tag is used on handicrafts which correspond to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g., a town, region, or country).

As on August 2019, 178 GI handicraft products were registered from all over India.

Few of the exhibits are as follows

  1. Mysore rosewood inlay
  2. Channapatna lacquerware
  3. Dharwad kasuti embroidery
  4. Kolhapur chappal
  5. Bidriware
  6. Molakalmur handblock printing
  7. Ananthapur leather puppet
  8. Thrissur screwpine
  9. Vishakapatna lacquerware
  10. Sandur lambani embroidery
  11. Jodhpur terracota
  12. Jaipur handprinted textile
  13. Medinipur mat weaving
  14. Birbhum artistic leather

FACTS FOR PRELIMS

Covaxin:

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has granted approval to Bharat Biotech to conduct human clinical trials for ‘Covaxin’, making it the first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine candidate to receive this approval.

  • Covaxin has been developed by the company Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). It is an inactivated vaccinemanufactured in the company’s Bio-Safety Level 3 (BSL-3) High Containment facility located in Hyderabad (Telangana).
  • The permission was granted after the company submitted results from pre-clinical studies of the vaccine that demonstrated its safety and immune response. Phase I and II clinical trialswill start across India in July 2020.

Tonoshiro Senkaku:

Japan approved plans to change the name of the area covering the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku Islands — known by Taiwan and China as the Diaoyus — from “Tonoshiro” to “Tonoshiro Senkaku”.

Senkaku Islands are at the centre of a festering row between Japan and China.

  • The Senkaku Islands dispute, or Diaoyu Islands dispute, concerns a territorial dispute over a group of uninhabited islands located in East China Sea known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, the Diaoyu Islands in the China.
  • It is roughly to east of mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands.
  • They are currently controlled by Japan. But both China and Taiwan claim sovereignty over the islands.
  • Oil and gas reserves had been identified under the seabed surrounding the islands and it makes the dispute tougher to resolve.

 

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