Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS | 13th November 2021

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UPSC Current Affairs: Cybercrime and Cyber Security | Page – 10

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper III – Security

Sub Theme: Cyber Crime | National Framework | IT Act 2000 | UPSC

All about the article

  • Cybercrimes have gone up by almost 500% in India during the global pandemic.
  • Why? deeper adoption of interconnected devices and hybrid work environment,
  • Need for a national framework to thwart cyberattacks that have been on the rise in the country.
  • Government institutions and officials are now becoming easy target of cyber criminals
  • Information Technology Act, 2000, that dealt with cybersecurity and cybercrimes is not equipped to consider new-age changes in the mode of functioning of businesses and modus operandi of crimes in cyberspace.

Section 66F of ITA: Specific provision dealing with the issue of cyber terrorism that covers denial of access, unauthorized access, introduction of computer contaminant leading to harm to persons, property, critical infrastructure, disruption of supplies, ‘sensitive data’ thefts. Provides for punishment which may extend to lifetime imprisonment.

National Critical Information Infrastructure

Protection Centre (NCIIPC):

  • Under IT Act, 2000
  • to secure India’s critical information infrastructure.
  • to enhance the protection and resilience of Nation’s Critical information infrastructure.
  • functions under the National Technical Research Organization (NTRO).

National Cyber Security Policy 2013:

  • Established National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) to improve the protection and resilience of
  • the country’s critical infrastructure information;
  • Create a workforce of 5 lakh professionals skilled in cybersecurity in the next 5 years.

CERT-IN:

to respond to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout the country.

Sectoral CERT-Ins for dedicated sectors have also

been mandated. For ex for finance, power sector etc.

Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative: to spread awareness about cybercrime and building capacity for safety measures

  • Cyber Crisis Management Plan (CCMP): countering cyber threats and cyber terrorism
  • National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC): to generate necessary situational awareness of existing and potential cyber security threats and enable timely information sharing for proactive, preventive and protective actions by individual entities.
  • National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) under National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) coordinates with different agencies at the national level for cyber security matters.
  • Cyber Swachhta Kendra: for internet users to clean their computers and devices by wiping out viruses and malware.
  • Information Security Education and Awareness Project (ISEA): Training of personnel to raise awareness and to provide research, education and training in the field of Information Security.

Data Security Council of India: setup by NASSCOM a not-for-profit premier industry body on data protection in India.

 

Way forward

  • Appointment of Chief Information Security Officer in all the Organisations.
  • Earmark funds towards enhancing cyber security.
  • Provide tax incentives to companies to upgrade information infrastructure
  • Investment in R&D to improve Cyber Security- Big data, AI
  • Enhancing Awareness among the people through the awareness campaigns
  • Stricter regulatory compliance and increased self-reporting of security incidents.
  • Surge in cyber insurance to protect critical assets – As per the Data Security Council of India, the global cyber insurance market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27% from US$4.2 billion in 2017 to US$22.8 billion in 2024.

 

UPSC Current Affairs:Emergency measures under GRAP likely | Page 3

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper III – Environment

Sub Theme: GRAP | Pollution | UPSC

All about GRAP

  • It is an emergency plan to control air pollution in Delhi NCR.
  • Prepared by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC) after the order of Supreme Court of December 2016.
  • Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) is the implementing agenc
  • Objective: To prevent worsening of Air Quality of Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region) and prevent PM10 and PM2.5 levels to go beyond ‘moderate’ national Air Quality Index (AQI) category.

 

National Air Quality Index (AQI)

  • National Air Quality Index (AQI) is under the aegis of the CPCB.
  • AQI has been developed to inform people about the level of eight pollutants— PM2.5, PM10, Ammonia, Lead, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, ozone, and carbon monoxide.

 

 

UPSC Current Affairs: Joint Parliamentary Committee | Page 9

UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Polity & Governance | Mains: GS Paper-II

Sub Theme: JPC | UPSC

Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) is a kind of Ad Hoc Committee constituted for a specific purpose. The JPC, an ad-hoc body, is set up for a given period of time and is aimed at addressing a specific issue.  Joint committees are set up by a motion passed in one house of Parliament and agreed to by the other. The details regarding membership and subjects are also decided by Parliament.

  • JPC are generally constituted on the basis of consensus arrived between the government and the opposition to investigate specific issues. The mandate of a JPC depends on the specifics of motion presented in either House of Parliament.
  • Thus, a JPC has a wider ambit and need not only be limited to the scrutiny of government finances.   The committee’s members are decided by Parliament.
  • Number of members for a JPC is not fixed and may vary each time. In a JPC, number of Lok Sabha members are double than the Rajya Sabha members. For example, the motion to constitute a JPC on the Stock Market Scam(2001) and Pesticide Residues in soft drinks (2003) was moved by the government in the Lok Sabha.
  • The Speaker has the final word in case of a dispute over calling for evidence.

Joint Parliamentary Committee so far   

  • The first JPC was constituted to enquire into the allegations of corruption in defence contract in purchase of Bofors in 1987.
  • The second JPC was constituted to enquire into irregularities into Banking and Security transactions in 1992 which is popularly referred as Harshad Mehta scam.
  • The third JPC was constituted an identical scam in stock market manipulation popularly known as Ketan Parekh scam.
  • The fourth JPC was constituted in 2003 to inquire into enquire into levels of pesticide residues in soft drinks, fruit juice and other beverages.
  • Fifth JPC was set to probe 2G spectrum scam in 2011 to examine policy prescriptions and their interpretation” by successive governments in the allocation and pricing of telecom licences and spectrum from 1998 to 2009. The said JPC had 20 MPs from Lok Sabha and 10 members from the Rajya Sabha.
  • VVIP Chopper Scam in 2013. The last time a committee was set up in 2015 for the purpose of examination of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill.

Powers of JPC

  • A JPC is authorised to collect evidence in oral or written form or demand documents in connection with the matter which is being investigated.
  • A JPC can obtain evidence of experts, public bodies, associations, individuals or interested parties suo motu or on requests made by them.
  • If a witness fails to appear before a JPC in response to summons, his conduct constitutes Contempt of the House.
  • The proceedings and findings of the committee are confidential, except in matters of public interest. The government can take the decision to withhold a document if it is considered prejudicial to the safety or interest of the State.
  • The Speaker has the final word in case of a dispute over calling for evidence.

Recommendations of JPC    

  • JPC recommendations have persuasive value but the committee cannot force the government to take any action on the basis of the report.
  • The government may decide to launch fresh investigations on the basis of a JPC report. However, the discretion to do so rests entirely with the government.
  • The government is required to report on the follow-up action taken on the basis of the recommendations of the JPC and other committees.
  • However, the opposition can always attack the government on the reports and recommendations made by the JPC in a particular case.
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