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12th June – Editorials/Opinions Analyses

Contents

  1. Over-the-top (OTT) media streaming
  2. What are symbols of Confederate states in the US?
  3. Declaring an Animal as Vermin: WLPA

OVER-THE-TOP (OTT) MEDIA STREAMING

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

What is Over-the-Top (OTT) Media Service?

  • An over-the-top (OTT) media service is a streaming media service offered directly to viewers via the Internet.
  • OTT bypasses cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms, the companies that traditionally act as a controller or distributor of such content.
  • The term is most synonymous with subscription-based video-on-demand (SVoD) services that offer access to film and television content.

What accounts for the rise of OTTs in India?

Faster internet, aided by cheap smartphones and data packs provided by telecom players across the board such as Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea have powered the growth of more than 30 OTT entities in India, including US platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, as well as home-grown Disney+ Hotstar, ZEE5, ALTBalaji and Voot.

The OTT vs DTH Scene in India

  • Meanwhile the rise of OTT services also seems to have impacted the DTH subscription numbers.
  • A recent survey suggests that more than 50% Indians prefer OTT over DTH services and almost 90% of Indians use mobile to watch videos these days.
  • The content and the context of DTH and OTT are completely different. OTT platforms are very personal whereas DTH connections are more social in nature.
  • They complement each other as well like the OTT platforms suggest about the material available on DTH by advertisements.
DTHOTT
DTH is an acronym for ‘Direct To Home’ service. It is a digital satellite service that provides television viewing services directly to subscribers through satellite transmission anywhere in the country.The signals are digital by nature and are received directly from the satellite.An ‘Over The Top’ media service is any online content provider that offers streaming media as a standalone product. The term is commonly applied to video-on-demand platforms, but also refers to audio streaming, messaging services, or internet-based voice calling solutions.It needs access to the internet and smartphones, tablets, laptop/computers.

What is the best way forward?

  • OTT is going to be on rise for sure. Internet penetration levels are not stagnant and increasing day by day with the help of Digital India and broadband programmes taking it to far flung areas.
  • The ease in information collection and more importantly the trust towards the phones show that the base of OTT is going to increase further.
  • OTT user base has seen a rise of nearly 100% during the pandemic, but experts believe the big-screen cinematic experience will never disappear in India.
  • Also, OTTs cannot afford to help recoup the budgets of big films by digital sales alone.

-Source: Livemint


WHAT ARE SYMBOLS OF CONFEDERATE STATES IN THE US?

Focus: GS-I History

Why in news?

  • Following African American George Floyd’s death, after a white police officer pressed his knee onto his neck, large-scale protests have broken out across the US and some other parts of the world against racism, reviving the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which was started in 2013.
  • Amid these protests, some of the participants have demanded the removal of statues or monuments that can be perceived as symbols of racism, including Confederate monuments.

What are Confederate symbols?

  • The Confederate States of America or the Confederacy refers to the government of 11 Southern slaveholding states that seceded from the Union in 1860-61 in the American Civil War, after they felt threatened by the election of Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln as the US President in 1860.
  • These pro-slavery states operated under the presidentship of Jefferson Davis and vice president Alexander Stephens.
  • Soon, the Confederacy acquired symbols such as the Confederate flag and their own stamps.
  • These states carried out all their affairs separately until they were defeated in 1865.

The American Civil War (1861-1865)

Background

  • When American won Independence from England in 1776, there were 13 colonies which formed a federal government. Colonies expanded from east coast to west forming 34 states by 1861.
  • There were differences between states in the north and states in the south – which resulted in the American Civil War.

The course of the American Civil War

  • Southern states declared their secession from the Union and established a Southern government – the Confederate States of America in 1860s adopting their own constitution with Jeff Davis as president.
  • War broke out in April 1861 when the Confederates attacked a U.S. fortress (Fort Sumter) at South Carolina.
  • In September 1862, Lincoln issued the Proclamation of Emancipation, which freed millions of slaves.
  • The war ended with the surrender of all the Confederate armies and the collapse of the Confederate government in 1865.

Significance of the American Civil War

  • The war put an end to the institution of slavery.
  • The war abolished the secession of states for all times to come.
  • In the economic sphere, the war led to the growth of large scale manufacturing industries.
  • More area came under cultivation – particularly in the western regions on North America.

-Source: Indian Express


DECLARING AND ANIMAL AS VERMIN: WLPA

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology, GS-IV Ethics

Introduction

Many animals succumb to ‘snaring’ every year across India.

It is a practice by which an edible item is filled with explosives, or sharp materials, to kill ‘vermin’ that destroy crops adjacent to forest reserves.

Vermin?

  • ‘Vermin’, described as a ‘noxious animal’, etymologically means worms. This meaning was later extended to other wild animal species — and even humans.
  • Legally, The Wild Life (Protection) Act (WLPA), 1972, states that ‘vermin’ is any wild animal that is specified in its Schedule 5.
  • Section 62 tells us that GoI can notify any wild animal as vermin, for a specific period and a specific area, and include it in Schedule 5.
  • Permanent inhabitants of Schedule 5 include the common crow, fruit bats, mice and rats.
  • States can send a list of wild animals to GoI to be declared as vermin for selective slaughter (culling). In select states, for instance, wild boar, wild elephants, nilgai, rhesus monkey and peacock fall in this category.

Is the Criteria for Vermin clearly defined?

  • States do NOT have clearly defined criteria for declaring wild animals as vermin.
  • This is despite an environment and forests ministry advisory requirement.
  • As soon as farms and human lives around a forest area are threatened, there is a tendency to declare a wild animal as vermin.

How easy is it to declare an animal as a vermin?

Section 11(b) states, ‘The chief wildlife warden or the authorised officer may, if he is satisfied that any wild animal specified in Schedule 2, Schedule 3, or Schedule 4 has become dangerous to human life or to property (including standing crops on any land), or is so disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery, by order in writing and stating the reasons therefor, permit any person to hunt such animal or cause such animal to be hunted.

How are vermin handled?

One of these four criteria must be met:

  1. Only forest officials can kill ‘The Vermin animal’.
  2. Anyone can kill ‘The Vermin animal’, but only by shooting, and only licensed firearm-owners can do this.
  3. A farmer who kills ‘The Vermin animal’ will be given ₹1,000 per kill, thereby incentivising killing, with a trader driven demand for ‘The Vermin animal’ meat existing in any case.
  4. Anyone can kill ‘The Vermin animal’ through any means, including snares.

The primary issue

  • One presumes certification (about the area where killing is permitted) is enforceable.
  • A person who shoots can, hopefully, distinguish between a wild boar and a wild elephant.
  • But a snare, or cracker-filled fruit, is ‘anonymous’, and the animal does not know that this is geotagged and meant for a wild boar that was declared as ‘vermin’.

Conclusion

  • More importantly, this solution to the man-animal tension solves nothing, and can lead to not only undesirable, but unintended, consequences on the ecosystem.
  • Population pressures have heightened the man-animal tension.
  • Traditional farmers probably had a better handle on dealing with it.
  • It is the advent of commercial farming and larger estates that have tilted the scales, failing to distinguish between an animal and its actions.

-Source: The Hindu

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