Mitras Analysis of News : 30-6-2017

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1.Need for a cyber security reboot (Live Mint)

2.Should the sedition law be scrapped? (The Hindu)

3.Progress in the making (The Indian Express)

 

1.Need for a cyber security reboot (Live Mint) 

Synoptic line: It throws light on the need of cyber security infrastructure for a digital India. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • ‘Digital India and ‘Make in India’ are two initiatives launched by the Government of India. ‘Digital India’ aims to tranform India into a ‘digitally empowered society and knowledge economy’ whereas ‘Make in India’ is ‘to facilitate investment, foster innovation, enhance skill development, protect intellectual property and build best in class manufacturing infrastructure’.
  • The industries and enterprise would prosper only if they take care of the 4 Ms of manufacturing (Man, Machine, Material and Method) and now, most importantly, the cyber security.

Role of cybersecurity

  • Why cyber security has become the backbone of the industries and enterprises now? Thirty years back, no one had even heard of cyber security, but then, no one had heard of hackers and hacks either.
  • This is because of the Internet. It did not come into being with a Big Bang like the Universe, but it sure is expanding like Universe in all directions and now has become all-pervasive.
  • Internet has changed everything. Quick adoption of the technology by businesses and enterprises has made mobile-banking, on-line shopping, on-line trading and social networking possible. Its many benefits help the business growth by creating new opportunities.
  • The move towards a digital economy is likely to help trigger a fresh wave of economic growth, attract more investment, and create new jobs, across multiple sectors.
  • With the move towards a digital economy, increasing amount of consumer and citizen data will be stored digitally and a large number of transactions will be carried out online, by companies, individuals as well as government departments.
  • That makes India a bigger target for cyber-criminals and hackers. Various stakeholders, especially Indian companies, need to be better prepared to handle this threat.

Estimating the threat

  • The cost of cyber attacks in India currently stands in excess of Rs25,000 crore ($4billion). It is important to note that there are many cyber attacks that go undetected and unreported as well, so this number could be much higher.
  • The losses emanate from operational disruptions, loss of sensitive information and designs, customer churn and impact on brand image, as well as increase in legal claims and insurance premium.
  • The issue is forecast to balloon further in the coming years, reaching as high as Rs1.25 trillion ($20 billion) over the next 10 years, as the business operations of most Indian companies become networked.
  • One of the biggest reasons behind this is the limited awareness of the impact and importance of cybersecurity currently. Many companies do not treat it as a strategic agenda, but rather as a small issue for their IT departments. In fact, a lot of cybersecurity incidents go unidentified and hence, unreported
  • As such, there is limited awareness of the need for specialized and customized industry-specific cybersecurity measures which are significantly different from IT security and need to be adapted by the industry.

Rethinking cyber security

  • One of the biggest misconceptions about cybersecurity is that cyberattacks are restricted to the financial services and banking sector. It is important to note that industrial companies are equally vulnerable.
  • At the same time, it has become clear that conventional IT systems and firewalls are increasingly becoming ineffective in preventing sophisticated hackers from creating havoc.
  • Companies in India need to be proactive to ensure they foster efficiency and efficacy in cybersecurity management. The vision for this has to come from the very top. It is important that the chief executive officers make this a high priority on the management agenda and build clearly defined security road maps to have a more structured implementation in line with their security strategy.
  • It is also important that companies run regular stress tests, which simulate real-life attacks. This can help identify places in the environment (systems, data, etc.) which will be affected the most in case of attacks and assess the company’s detection and response preparedness. Further, companies need to start cooperating with peers to learn from each other’s experiences identify potential attack scenarios, identify hidden threats and co-develop a security framework.
  • Organizations also need to enlist their employees in the fight against breaches. There is a need to change the perception of cybersecurity from being a passive agent, to an active business enabler. It is a must to ensure active participation across the organization.
  • Finally, the regulators need to ensure they are covering all aspects at their end. This includes regulations that set minimum standards on cybersecurity for companies across the country. Maybe, even some rating system that classifies companies based on their preparedness on this front.
  • At the same time, tough laws are needed to be put in place for perpetrators of cybercrime to ensure such criminals are deterred effectively.

Way ahead

  • India is sitting on the cusp of digital evolution. The government has overcome its detractors with an eagle-eyed focus to achieve this goal for the country. It is now up to companies to ensure they are ready and prepared to harness and exploit the opportunities this evolution will bring. The only way to do that is to ensure that cybersecurity finds its way into the boardroom agenda.

Question: What are the implications of a weak cyber security infrastructure for a cashless India ?

 

2.Should the sedition law be scrapped? (The Hindu)

 Synoptic line: It throws light on the role of sedition law and whether there is a need to discard it. (GS paper II)

Overview

  • The sedition law, introduced by the British in India in 1870, outlaws speech that “brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in India.” The penalty for running afoul of the statute: up to life imprisonment.
  • Many observers believe it is an archaic law that needs to be scrapped, while the law’s supporters say it’s necessary to protect the nation’s integrity.

History of sedition in India

  • One of the original motives of the law was to suppress the Indian rebellion against British colonialists at a time when it was gaining momentum. Over the years, several freedom fighters have been charged with sedition. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a leading advocate of Indian self-rule, wascharged with sedition on two occasions.
  • In 1897, he was charged for speeches that allegedly incited violence and resulted in the killings of two British officers. Mr. Tilak was convicted but got bail in 1898. In another incident in 1909, he was prosecuted for sedition for his newspaper writings.  He maintained he was innocent but was convicted and sent to jail for six years.
  • Mahatma Gandhi, India’s most famous freedom fighter,was jailed for six years on sedition charges because of the articles he wrote for a weekly journal, ‘Young India’, that challenged the British government and asked Indians to stop serving it. However, Mr. Gandhi did not oppose the verdict, saying it was a “privilege” to be charged with sedition.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister after Independence from Britain, was one of the fiercest critics of the law. During a parliamentary debate on free speech in 1951, he said the sedition law “is highly objectionable and obnoxious, the sooner we get rid of it the better”

Sedition is against the spirit of democracy

  • Sedition, defined as “incitement to violence” or “disorder”, is a legislation meant to suppress the voice of Indian people and has no place in a 21st century democracy.
  • The Supreme Court, being the protector of the fundamental rights of the citizens needs to declare the law unconstitutional. Since the governments and its agencies have strictly gone by the text of Section 124A though the Supreme Court itself did not apply these principles to the speech of Kedarnath, the law declared in Kedarnath has lost its potency.
  • Independent India’s governments seem to have found great relief in having a provision on sedition. Amendments made to Article 19 of the Constitution imposing curbs and validating them on the ground of “reasonable restrictions”.
  • ‘Sedition’ is an offence incorporated into the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which they have found handy to silence or discipline critics. This nineteenth century law, enacted to silence the Indian people by the colonial rulers, has been retained by the democratic government in free India. Not only that, it has perhaps been used more often by free India’s governments than the colonial government did during the 77 years of its presence in the Penal Code.
  • In the Ram Nandan vs. State (1958), the Allahabad High Court held section 124-A to be unconstitutional citing that the section restricts freedom of speech (Article 19) in disregard of whether the interest of public order or the security of the state is involved and is capable of striking at the very root of the Constitution which is free speech.
  • In the Menaka Gandhi case, the Supreme Court had held that  freedom of speech and expression is not confined to geographical limitations and it carries with it the right of a citizen to gather information and to exchange thought with others not only in India but abroad too.
  • Thus, criticism against the government policies and decisions within a reasonable limit that does not incite people to rebel is consistent with freedom of speech and expression. In the Kedarnath Singh case, the Supreme Court has warned against the arbitrary use of sedition law because such arbitrary use would violate the violate the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution.

Why sedition should stay?

  • Denunciating the sedition law for ‘rampant misuse’ concedes ground that there exist instances where its ‘use’ may be necessary.
  • A denunciation against the law of sedition is that its misuse is rampant and thus must be done away with. This argument has two fallacies. First, it concedes ground that there exist instances where its ‘use’ may be warranted and necessary.
  • The effect of any individual seditious activity is far-reaching, which is why the offence is categorised in ‘Offences Against the State’ and not in Chapter XIII of the IPC pertaining to ‘Offences Against Public Tranquility.
  • The impact on public tranquility is but one of the consequences of any seditious activity. However, far more alarming potentialities include calls for violent revolutions seeking to overthrow the government, appeals for a separate Khalistan or Kashmir and other atrocity propaganda, which does not qualify as protected speech and has the ability to denude the legitimacy of a democratically elected government. Second, the Supreme Court has repeatedly observed that the mere possibility of misuse of a provision does not per se invalidate the legislation.

Way ahead

  • Mere criticism of the government, or of governance, indeed of the institutions of governance, however harsh, will not qualify as sedition. From a layman’s perspective, the issue of sedition would come into play only if the territorial integrity of India as well as the sovereignty of the country are questioned by an individual or a group.
  • In other words, sedition is relevant only in the context of a demand for secession. ‘Waging war’ with India or other inimical acts against the country will be met by other legal provisions but cannot replace 124-A if a situation arises.

Question: Throw light on various judgements by Supreme court on the domain of sedition law in India.

 

3.Progress in the making (The Indian Express)

 Synoptic line: It throws light on how India is pushing a national manufacturing policy touted to be the policy that will bolster manufacturing and bridge the missing link in India’s growth story. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • Manufacturing has emerged as one of the high growth sectors in India. The ‘Make in India’ program is to place India on the world map as a manufacturing hub and give global recognition to the Indian economy. India is expected to become the fifth largest manufacturing country in the world by the end of year 2020.
  • IIP (index of industrial production) in 2016-17 only grew by 5 per cent; while the manufacturing component of the IIP grew by 4.9 per cent, a little lower than the aggregate. The Government of India has set an ambitious target of increasing the contribution of manufacturing output to 25 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025, from 16 per cent currently.
  • The “Make in India” has every ingredient of a work in progress, unlike the 2011 NMP, which was work in promise.

National Manufacturing Policy (NMP)

  • According to the National Manufacturing Policy (NMP), announced in 2011. “The DIPP‘s vision to increase the share of manufacturing in GDP from 16 per cent to 25 per cent. Over the “medium-term”, rate of growth in manufacturing was supposed to increase to 12-14 per cent per annum. The share of manufacturing in GDP was to become 25 per cent by 2022. One hundred million additional jobs were supposed to be created by 2022.
  • The draft policy envisages establishment of National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZ) equipped with world-class infrastructure that would be autonomous and self-regulated developed in partnership with the private sector.
  • The National Investment and Manufacturing Zones are being conceived as giant industrial green field townships to promote world-class manufacturing activities. The central government will be responsible for bearing the cost of master planning, improving and providing external physical infrastructure linkages including rail, road, ports, airports and telecom, providing institutional infrastructure for productivity, skill development and the promotion of domestic and global investments.
  • The policy is the first of its kind for the manufacturing sector as it addresses areas of regulation, infrastructure, skill development, technology, availability of finance, exit mechanism and other pertinent factors related to the growth of the sector.

Vision

  • An increase in manufacturing sector growth to 12-14% per annum over the medium term.
  • An increase in the share of manufacturing in the country’s Gross Domestic Product from 16% to 25% by 2022.
  • To create 100 million additional jobs by 2022 in manufacturing sector.
  • Creation of appropriate skill sets among rural migrants and the urban poor for inclusive growth.
  • An increase in domestic value addition and technological depth in manufacturing.
  • Enhancing the global competitiveness of the Indian manufacturing sector.
  • Ensuring sustainability of growth, particularly with regard to environment.

Challenges

  • The key to success will be policy implementation, to setup National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZ) contiguous land required will not be available due to the size of the requirement. Moreover, acquiring land of this scale will be a major challenge in India.
  • A National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) was set up in 2005. In 2006, this produced a National Strategy for manufacturing which listed the following generic issues-
  • Taxation, both direct and indirect;
  • Labour laws;
  • Entry and exit problems;
  • Administrative laws and complicated procedures;
  • Credit problems, both cost and availability;
  • Lack of skills;
  • Deterrents against urbanisation and formalization; and
  • Infrastructure constraints.
  • On infrastructure, the Power supply remains the main physical infrastructure bottleneck to industrial growth on account of chronic shortages, high cost and unreliability.
  • The average manufacturer in India loses 8.4 per cent a year in sales on account of power outages as opposed to less than 2 per cent in China and Brazil. The adverse impact on similar units in the unorganized sector could be higher. It is estimated that power shortage alone contributed to a production loss of at least one per cent of GDP.”

Government initiatives

  • With the help of Make in India drive, India is on the path of becoming the hub for hi-tech manufacturing as global giants such as GE, Siemens, HTC, Toshiba, and Boeing have either set up or are in process of setting up manufacturing plants in India, attracted by India’s market of more than a billion consumers and increasing purchasing power.
  • Small saving rates have been reduced, facilitating lower deposit and lending rates. For MSMEs, there is MUDRA and the Stand Up India window. Labour laws are being unified under four codes (wages, safety, social security, industrial relations). There is a Skill India programme.
  • Many instances of inverted duty structure have been addressed. In addition to the World Bank’s “Doing Business” indicators, DIPP has triggered improvements in ease of doing business in States. Both entry (such as FDI) and exit (such as Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code) have been simplified. A public procurement policy has been announced.
  • Since 2014 there have been public investments in highways, railways, inland water transport, ports and airports. There have been power sector (including renewable) reforms and discoms are in better shape. Bad infrastructure increases logistics costs.
  • The World Bank has a Logistics Performance Index, also disaggregated into international shipments, timelines, customs, logistics competence, infrastructure and tracking and tracing. In the 2016 report, across segments, and in the aggregate, scores have improved since 2014 and therefore, so has India’s cross-country rank.

Way ahead

  • In a bid to push the ‘Make in India’ initiative to the global level, government has pitched India as a manufacturing destination at the World International Fair in Germany’s Hannover in 2015 by showcased India as a business friendly destination to attract foreign businesses to invest and manufacture in the country.
  • The Government of India has taken several initiatives to promote a healthy environment for the growth of manufacturing sector in the country. It needs to give more impetus to local manufacturers such as in infrastructure sectors like power, oil and gas, and automobile manufacturing that require large capital expenditure, it will help in revive the Indian capital goods business.

Question: What are the chief pillars of Make in India? How govt. should respond to infrastructural bottlenecks in this regard?

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