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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 26 February 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy


  1. Government to monitor OTT content with new IT Rules
  2. CSE’s State of Environment Report on ‘Pandemic generation’
  3. India and Pakistan agree to observe 2003 ceasefire
  4. Inscription on Krishnadevaraya’s death discovered



For the first time, the government, under the ambit of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, has brought in detailed guidelines for digital content on both digital media and Over The Top (OTT) platforms, while giving overriding powers to the government to step in.


GS-II: Polity and Government (Government Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Over-the-Top (OTT) Media Service?
  2. OTT vs DTH in India
  3. How the new rules regarding OTT came to be?
  4. About the new Guidelines for Social Media/Intermediaries
  5. Rules for News Publishers and OTT Platforms and Digital Media
  6. Grievance Redressal Mechanism

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.

OTT vs DTH 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.
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.

How the new rules regarding OTT came to be?

  • In 2018, the Supreme Court (SC) had observed that the Government of India may frame necessary guidelines to eliminate child pornography, rape and gangrape imageries, videos and sites in content hosting platforms and other applications.
  • In 2020, an Ad-hoc committee of the Rajya Sabha laid its report after studying the alarming issue of pornography on social media and its effect on children and society as a whole and recommended for enabling identification of the first originator of such contents.
  • In 2020, the government brought video streaming over-the-top (OTT) platforms under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

About the new Guidelines for Social Media/Intermediaries

Based on the number of users, on the social media platform intermediaries have been divided in two groups:

  1. Social media intermediaries.
  2. Significant social media intermediaries.
  • In case, due diligence is not followed by the intermediary, safe harbour provisions will not apply to them.
  • The safe harbour provisions have been defined under Section 79 of the IT Act, and protect social media intermediaries by giving them immunity from legal prosecution for any content posted on their platforms.
  • Intermediaries shall appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with complaints and share the name and contact details of such officers.
  • Grievance Officer shall acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and resolve it within fifteen days from its receipt.
  • Intermediaries shall remove or disable access within 24 hours of receipt of complaints of contents that exposes the private areas of individuals, show such individuals in full or partial nudity or in sexual act or is in the nature of impersonation including morphed images etc.
  • Such a complaint can be filed either by the individual or by any other person on his/her behalf.
  • An intermediary upon receiving actual knowledge in the form of an order by a court or being notified by the Appropriate Govt. or its agencies through authorized officer should not host or publish any information which is prohibited under any law in relation to the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, friendly relations with foreign countries etc.

Rules for News Publishers and OTT Platforms and Digital Media

OTT Platforms

  • The OTT platforms, called as the publishers of online curated content in the rules, would self-classify the content into five age-based categories- U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult).
  • Platforms would be required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher, and reliable age verification mechanisms for content classified as “A”.
  • Shall prominently display the classification rating specific to each content or programme together with a content descriptor informing the user about the nature of the content, and advising on viewer description (if applicable) at the beginning of every programme enabling the user to make an informed decision, prior to watching the programme.

News on Digital Media

They would be required to observe Norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act 1995 thereby providing a level playing field between the offline (Print, TV) and digital media.

Grievance Redressal Mechanism

A three-level grievance redressal mechanism has been established under the rules with different levels of self-regulation.

  1. Level-I: Self-regulation by the publishers;
  2. Level-II: Self-regulation by the self-regulating bodies of the publishers;
  3. Level-III: Oversight mechanism.

Self-regulation by the Publisher:

  • Publisher shall appoint a Grievance Redressal Officer based in India who shall be responsible for the redressal of grievances received by it.
  • The officer shall take decision on every grievance received by it within 15 days.

Self-Regulatory Body:

  • There may be one or more self-regulatory bodies of publishers.
  • Such a body shall be headed by a retired judge of the SC, a High Court or independent eminent person and have not more than six members.
  • Such a body will have to register with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • This body will oversee the adherence by the publisher to the Code of Ethics and address grievances that have not been resolved by the publisher within 15 days.

Oversight Mechanism:

  • Ministry of Information and Broadcasting shall formulate an oversight mechanism.
  • It shall publish a charter for self-regulating bodies, including Codes of Practices. It shall establish an Inter-Departmental Committee for hearing grievances.

-Source: The Hindu



The State of Environment Report, 2021 which was recently released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)


GS-III: Indian Economy (Economic Development and Issues with Economic Development)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the CSE report on ‘Pandemic Generation’
  2. Highlights of the CSE report on Lack of Action and Environment degradation

Highlights of the CSE report on ‘Pandemic Generation’

  • 375 million children (from newborns to 14-year-olds) likely to suffer long-lasting impacts, ranging from being underweight, stunting and increased child mortality, to losses in education and work productivity – as a part of the ‘Pandemic Generation’ according to the State of Environment Report, 2021
  • The pandemic also has its hidden victims — over 500 million children forced out of school globally and India accounted for more than half of them.
  • India ranked 117 among 192 nations in terms of sustainable development and was now behind all South Asian nations except Pakistan.
  • India’s air, water and land have become more polluted between 2009 and 2018. Of 88 major industrial clusters in the country, according to the Central Pollution Control Board, 35 showed overall environmental degradation, 33 pointed to worsening air quality, 45 had more polluted water and in 17, land pollution became worse. Tarapur in Maharashtra emerged as the most polluted cluster.

Highlights of the CSE report on Lack of Action and Environment degradation

  • CSE experts pointed out that this data clearly indicated a lack of action over the years to control and reduce pollution even in areas that were already identified as ‘critically’ or ‘severely’ polluted.
  • When ranked on the basis of achieving Sustainable Development Goals, the best performing States were Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. The worst performers were Bihar, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Forestland diversion continued unabated in the country. Over11,000 hectares were diverted in 22 States in 2019.
  • Eight coal projects granted clearance in ‘No-Go’ areas would divert 19,614 hectares of forestland, fell over 1 million trees, and evict over 10,000 families.
  • Sixty-seven million Indians died due to air pollution in 2019. The economic cost was over $36,000 million, equivalent to 1.36 per cent of the country’s GDP.

-Source: The Hindu, Down to Earth Magazine



In a first joint statement issued by the two sides in years, India and Pakistan said they have agreed to a “strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and all other sectors” with effect from the midnight of February 24th 2021.


GS-II: International Relations (India’s Neighbours, Foreign policies and developments affecting India’s interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Border Disputes between India and Pakistan
  2. Why was the agreement on the 2003 pact required now?

Border Disputes between India and Pakistan


  • Because of the political differences between India and Pakistan, theterritorial claim in J&K has been the subject of wars in the years of 1947, 1965 and also limited conflict in 1999 and violations of cease fire and promotion of rebellion within the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu & Kashmir is still a contentious issue which is divided between these two countries by the Line of Control (LoC), that demarcates the line of the cease fire agreed post-1947 conflict.

Siachen Glacier

  • Siachen Glacier located in Northern Ladakh in the Karakoram Range and is the 2nd largest glacier in the world. Siachen glacier is a disputed territory between India and Pakistan. Before 1984, neither India nor Pakistan had any permanent presence on the glacier.
  • In 1984, India got intelligence that Pakistan was planning to occupy Siachen Glacier. So, India launched Operation Meghdoot to reach the glacier first. By the success of Operation Meghdoot, the Indian Armed forces obtained the area at a higher altitude and Pakistani army getting control of much lower altitude.
  • Thus, India has a strategic advantage in this region. As a result of the 2003 Armistice treaty between the two countries, ring and bombardment have stopped in this area, though both the sides have placed their armed forces in the region.

Sir Creek Dispute

  • Sir Creek is a 96-km estuary in the Rann of Kutch region of India.
  • It lies between Gujarat (India) and Sindh (Pakistan). The dispute is about the interpretation of the maritime boundary line between the two countries.
  • Pakistan claims the entire Sir Creek to be its own according to a 1914 agreement which was signed between Government of Sindh and then Rulers of Kutch.
  • Whereas India claims that the boundary lies mid-channel as per a 1925 map.
  • No country is willing to give away the creek to the other because that means a loss of a vast amount of Exclusive Economic Zone that is rich with gas and mineral deposits.

Why was the agreement on the 2003 pact required now?

  • The agreement comes in the wake of over 5000 CFVs [cease-fire violations] last year, the highest in 19 years, and this shows the realisation in New Delhi and Islamabad that they cannot afford to let violence spiral out of control given its inherently escalatory nature.
  • According to data provided by the Ministry of Defence in Parliament earlier this month, there were more than 5000 instances of CFVs along the LoC and other areas in Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in almost 50 fatal casualties in 2020, and almost 3,500 CFVs in 2019.
  • In 2018, the DGsMO agreed during a similar hotline conversation to observe the ceasefire strictly, but subsequent tensions over the Pulwama attack, Balakot air strikes and the Article 370 move led to a sharp spike in CFVs.

-Source: The Hindu



The first-ever epigraphical reference to the date of death of Vijayanagar king Krishnadevaraya has been discovered at Honnenahalli in Tumakuru district.


Prelims, GS-I: History, Art and Culture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. The Vijayanagar Empire (1336-1646 A.D.)
  2. Krishnadevaraya‘s Contributions

The Vijayanagar Empire (1336-1646 A.D.)

  • Harihara and Bukka are the founders of the Vijayanagar City in 1336 A.D. on the southern banks of Tungabhadra
  • They made Hampi as the capital city.
  • They served under Vira Ballala III, the Hoysala King

Vijayanagar Empire was ruled by four important dynasties and they are:

  1. Sangama
  2. Saluva
  3. Tuluva
  4. Aravidu

Harihara I

  • In 1336 A.D. Harihara I became the ruler of Sangama Dynasty
  • He captured Mysore and Madurai.
  • In 1356 A.D. Bukka-I succeeded him

Krishnadevaraya (1509-1529 A.D.)

  • Krishnadevaraya of the Tuluva dynasty was the most famous king of the Vijayanagar Empire
  • According to Domingo Paes, a Portuguese traveler “Krishnadevaraya was the most feared and perfect king there could possibly be”.
  • He conquered Sivasamudram in 1510 A.D and Raichur in 1512A.D
  • In 1523 A.D. he captured Orissa and Warangal
  • His empire extended from the river Krishna in the north to River Cauvery in the south; the Arabian Sea in the west to Bay of Bengal in the East.

Krishnadevaraya‘s Contributions

  • Krishnadevaraya was an able administrator, and it was during his period the Vijayanagar Empire reached its zenith of glory.
  • He built large tanks and canals for irrigation and he also developed the naval power understanding the vital role of overseas trade.
  • He maintained friendly relations with the Portuguese and Arab traders.
  • He patronized art and architecture and was a great scholar himself.
  • Ashtadiggajas is the collective title given to the eight Telugu scholars and poets in the court of Krishnadevaraya, and they are:
  1. Allasani Peddanna – the author of Manucharitram, he was also known as Andhra Kavitapitamaha
  2. Nandi Thimmana – the author of Parijathapaharanam
  3. Madayagari Mallana
  4. Dhurjati
  5. Ayyalaraju Ramabhadra Kavi
  6. Pingali Surana
  7. Ramaraja Bhushana
  8. Tenali Ramakrishna

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024