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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 5 March 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. National Cyber Security Strategy 2020, Cyber Crime Volunteers
  2. Ease of Living Index
  3. Biden to deepen global alliances and compete with China

NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY STRATEGY 2020, CYBER CRIME VOLUNTEERS

Context:

  • A National Cyber Security Strategy 2020 is being formulated by the Office of National Cyber Security Coordinator at the National Security Council Secretariat.
  • The Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), a digital liberties organization, has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that the cybercrime volunteers’ concept will lead to a “culture of surveillance and constant suspicion in society creating potential social distrust”.

Relevance:

GS-III: Internal Security Challenges

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the National Cyber Security Strategy 2020
  2. Why do we need a National Cyber Security Strategy?
  3. About Cyber Crime Volunteers
  4. Concerns with having volunteers

About the National Cyber Security Strategy 2020

  • National Cyber Security Strategy 2020 to improve cyber awareness and cybersecurity through more stringent audits. Empanelled cyber auditors will look more carefully at the security features of organisations than are legally necessary now.
  • There will be table-top cyber crisis management exercises regularly to reinforce the idea that cyber-attacks can take place regularly.
  • It does call for an index of cyber preparedness, and attendant monitoring of performance.
  • A separate budget for cybersecurity is suggested, as also to synergise the role and functions of various agencies with the requisite domain knowledge.

Why do we need a National Cyber Security Strategy?

  • The United States is just one of many countries that have invested significant amounts of money in developing not just defences against attack, but the ability to mount damaging cyber warfare offensives.
  • The countries which are believed to have the most developed cyber warfare capabilities are the United States, China, Russia, Israel and the United Kingdom.
  • Critical infrastructure is getting digitized in a very fast way — this includes financial services, banks, power, manufacturing, nuclear power plants, etc.
  • It is particularly significant given the increasing interconnectedness of sectors and proliferation of entry points into the internet, which could further grow with the adoption of 5G.
  • There were 6.97 lakh cyber security incidents reported in the first eight months of 2020, nearly equivalent to the previous four years combined, according to information reported to and tracked by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In).
  • A local, state or central government maintains a huge amount of confidential data related to country (geographical, military strategic assets etc.) and citizens, hence a national level strategy is crucial.
  • Photos, videos and other personal information shared by an individual on social networking sites can be inappropriately used by others, leading to serious and even life-threatening incidents.
  • Companies have a lot of data and information on their systems. A cyber-attack may lead to loss of competitive information (such as patents or original work), loss of employees/customers’ private data resulting into complete loss of public trust on the integrity of the organization.

About Cyber Crime Volunteers

  • Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) has envisaged the Cyber Crime Volunteers Program to bring together citizens with passion to serve the nation on a single platform and contribute in the fight against cybercrime in the country.
  • The programme targets to rope in around 500 persons to flag unlawful content on the Internet.
  • Good Samaritans are welcomed to register as Cyber Crime Volunteers in the role of unlawful content flaggers for facilitating law enforcement agencies in identifying, reporting and removal of illegal/unlawful online content.
  • Volunteers have been advised to study Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, which deals with freedom of expression.
  • Further, the volunteer shall “maintain strict confidentiality of tasks assigned/carried out by him/her”. The State Nodal Officer of States/UTs also reserves the right to take legal action against the Volunteer, in case of violation of terms and conditions of the Program.

Concerns with having volunteers

  • There is no information available on how the Ministry will ensure that the program is not misused by certain elements to extract misguided personal or political vendettas.
  • The programme will essentially result in a similar situation to the one which East Germany was in the 1950s.
  • The Ministry has failed to clearly define unlawful content and content which would relate to “anti-national” activities.

Click Here to read more about cyber-attack and Events of cyber-attacks in India

-Source: The Hindu


EASE OF LIVING INDEX

Context:

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs released the rankings of the Ease of Living Index (EoLI) 2020.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Economic Development)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Ease of Living Index, 2020
  2. Highlights of the performance various cities

About the Ease of Living Index, 2020

The Ease of Living Index is an assessment tool, by which the quality of life and the impact of various initiatives on urban development are assessed.

The index assessed 111 cities by bifurcating them into two categories:

  1. Million+ populated cities (those with a population of more than a million) and
  2. Less than A Million populated cities (those with a population of less than a million) along with all the cities under the Smart Cities Program.

The findings from the index can help guide evidence-based policymaking.

  • It also promotes healthy competition among cities. It encourages cities to learn from each other and advance their development trajectory.
  • The review criteria for EoLI-2020 significantly deviates from that of 2018. While the criteria in 2018 focused more on governance parameters, criteria for 2020 includes several questions on individual choices and priorities by citizens.

Parameters of the Ease of Living Index

The Ease of Living index evaluates cities based on the following parameters:

  1. Quality of Life (weightage – 35%): It looks at the indicators for decent urban life. These indicators include affordable housing, access to clean water, basic education, healthcare facilities, safety and security and recreation avenues.
  2. Economic Ability (weightage – 15%): It captures the economic well-being of citizens. It is done by evaluating the level of economic development and inequalities in a particular city.
  3. Sustainability (weightage – 20%): It evaluates the availability of green spaces, green buildings, level of energy consumption. Moreover, the quality of natural resources such as air, water, and the city’s ability to withstand natural disasters are also assessed.
  4. Citizen Perception Survey (weightage – 30%): It provides a perception of the city residents. Thus, it allows citizens to evaluate the level and quality of development in their respective cities.

Highlights of the performance various cities

  • Million+ category: Bengaluru has emerged as the top performer. It is followed by Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Surat, Navi Mumbai, Coimbatore, Vadodara, Indore, and Greater Mumbai.
  • Less than Million category: Shimla is at the top in this category. It is followed by Bhubaneswar, Silvassa, Kakinada, Salem, Vellore, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Davangere, and Tiruchirappalli.

-Source: The Hindu


BIDEN TO DEEPEN GLOBAL ALLIANCES AND COMPETE WITH CHINA

Context:

Recently elected U.S. President Joe Biden released an interim government strategy document that called for America to re-engage with the world while strengthening itself at home.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the expected changes from Biden’s strategy document
  2. The Outlook for India under the Biden Presidency

About the expected changes from Biden’s strategy document

  • The U.S. would deepen its partnership with India and work alongside New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members to advance its objectives.
  • The U.S. will also move to “earn back” its position of leadership in multilateral organisations to tackle shared challenges like climate change, as per the strategy.
  • America would position itself to compete with China where needed and cooperate with it when it was in American interests to do so.
  • U.S. also extends support for Taiwan and intends to stand up for human rights in Hong Kong, Xinjiang (where there is growing evidence of human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims) and Tibet.

The Outlook for India under the Biden Presidency

  • Mr. Biden as Vice-President played a critical role as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in pushing through the iconic U.S.-India civil nuclear agreement, and also as a firm proponent of the India-U.S. strategic partnership. Hence, under a Biden Administration, defence and security cooperation between India and the U.S. are likely to be further stepped up. Regional security cooperation is also likely to be further enhanced, at least till such time as U.S.-China relations improve.
  • India must brace itself to heed concerns being expressed about issues such as Kashmir, the so-called travails of the Muslim minority in India, treatment of non-governmental organisations and the like. This may take place behind closed doors, so as not to embarrass the Indian government, but Biden’s commitment to human rights is, by far, much stronger than that of many recent U.S. Presidents.
  • From a restricted standpoint, if India were to balance the positive with the negative, and compare the incoming Biden Administration with the previous Trump Administration, the balance sheet could be marginally negative.

-Source: The Hindu

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