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Current Affairs 19 January 2022 for UPSC Exam | Legacy IAS

CONTENTS

  1. World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2022
  2. Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022
  3. The Houthi attack on the United Arab Emirates
  4. Devas-Antrix deal

World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2022

Context:

International Labour Organisation (ILO) has released the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends (WESO) report 2022.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy, Important International Institutions and their reports, Employment)

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. International Labour Organization (ILO)
  2. Highlights of the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends (WESO) report 2022
  3. Employment in the Indian Economy

International Labour Organization (ILO)

  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social justice and promote decent work by setting international labour standards.
  • It was the first specialised agency of the UN.
  • The ILO has 187 member states: 186 of the 193 UN member states plus the Cook Islands are members of the ILO.
  • In 1969, the ILO received the Nobel Peace Prize for improving fraternity and peace among nations, pursuing decent work and justice for workers, and providing technical assistance to other developing nations.
ILO’s Tripartite Structure:
  • Unlike other United Nations specialized agencies, the International Labour Organization has a tripartite governing structure that brings together governments, employers, and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
  • The tripartite structure is unique to the ILO where representatives from the government, employers and employees openly debate and create labour standards.
  • The structure is intended to ensure the views of all three groups are reflected in ILO labour standards, policies, and programmes, though governments have twice as many representatives as the other two groups.
The Functions of the ILO
  • Creation of coordinated policies and programs, directed at solving social and labour issues.
  • Adoption of international labour standards in the form of conventions and recommendations and control over their implementation.
  • Assistance to member-states in solving social and labour problems.
  • Human rights protection (the right to work, freedom of association, collective negotiations, protection against forced labour, protection against discrimination, etc.).
  • Research and publication of works on social and labour issues.
Objectives of the ILO
  • To promote and realize standards and fundamental principles and rights at work.
  • To create greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment.
  • To enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all.
  • To strengthen tripartism and social dialogue.

Highlights of the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends (WESO) report 2022

  • Global unemployment is projected to stand at 207 million in 2022. This is 21 million more than in 2019 before the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic began.
  • Global working hours in 2022 will be almost two per cent below their pre-pandemic level — that is equivalent to the loss of 52 million full-time jobs.
  • The downgrade in the 2022 forecast reflects the impact of ever new variants of COVID-19 on the world of work, according to the Outlook.
  • It is estimated that in 2022 around 40 million people will no longer be participating in the global labour force.
  • The Outlook remains fragile because the future path of the pandemic remains uncertain. Also, wider economic risks such as accelerating inflation may come into play.
  • The pandemic has pushed millions of children into poverty. It is estimated that in 2020, an additional 30 million adults fell into extreme poverty (living on less than $1.90 per day in purchasing power parity) while being out of paid work.
  • The number of extreme working poor — workers who do not earn enough through their work to keep themselves and their families above the poverty line — rose by eight million.
  • Many low and middle-income countries have low access to vaccines and limited scope to expand government budgets to address the crisis.
  • Thus, these countries are struggling more than high-income ones to get back to pre-pandemic levels of employment and job quality.
  • Some sectors, such as travel and tourism have been particularly hard hit, while other sectors such as those related to information technology have thrived.
  • Women have been worse hit by the labour market crisis than men and this is likely to continue. The closing of education and training institutions will have long-term implications for young people, particularly those without internet access.
  • Many temporary workers lost their jobs at the start of the crisis. However, many new temporary jobs have also been created since.
  • There is the need for a broad-based labour market recovery — the recovery must be human-centred, inclusive, sustainable and resilient.

Employment in the Indian Economy

  • In 2012, there were around 487 million workers in India, the second largest after China.
  • In 2018 reports show: Close to 81% of all employed persons in India make a living by working in the informal sector, with only 6.5% in the formal sector and 0.8% in the household sector.
  • Among the five South Asian countries, informalisation of labour is the highest in India and Nepal (90.7%), with Bangladesh (48.9%), Sri Lanka (60.6%) and Pakistan (77.6%) doing much better on this front.
  • Over 94 percent of India’s working population is part of the unorganised sector.
  • Employment in India is multifaceted. There are people who are permanently unemployed; and there are people who are temporarily employed or temporarily unemployed (known as seasonal unemployment/employment), and in addition there is disguised unemployment – which in simple terms is the condition where a task that requires only 5 workers to handle it, is being handled by 12 workers.
  • Agriculture, dairy, horticulture and related occupations alone employ 43 percent of labour in India. However, Agriculture and the allied sectors contribute only to 14.6% of India’s GDP!

-Source: Down to Earth


Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022

Context:

The World Economic Forum’s ‘Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022’ was released during its online Davos Agenda summit.

Relevance:

GS-III: Internal Security Challenges (Cybercrime and Cyber Security issues)

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. About  Global Cybersecurity Outlook
  2. Highlights of Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022
  3. What is Cyber Attack and Cyber Security?
  4. The need for improved Cybersecurity
  5. What are the Concerns of Cyber Security?
  6. Measures taken by the government to improve the Cyber Security

About  Global Cybersecurity Outlook:

  • The Global Cybersecurity Outlook is an annual report highlighting the trends and progression as organizations begin to shift from a cyber-defensive posture to a stronger cyber-resilience position.
  • As our cyber ecosystems expand and integrate, it is becoming more important to ensure all organizations can anticipate, recover and adapt quickly to cyber incidents.
  • Security-focused leaders must be able to communicate their risk and mitigation strategies effectively and clearly to business leaders.
  • It surveyed 120 global cyber leaders from 20 countries across the World Economic Forum Cybersecurity Leadership Community and the Accenture Cybersecurity Forum, to gain a global perspective on how cyber resilience is being perceived and implemented, and how they can better secure our ecosystems, together.
  • To build an ecosystem resilient enough to withstand and not falter in today’s environment will need a unified approach.
  •  Its  goal is to provide insights and solutions to build stronger ecosystems from which organizations can benefit, learn from and move into this highly connected and digital future with confidence.

Highlights of Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022:

  • The accelerating pace of digitalisation, fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a record-breaking year for cybercrime with ransomware attacks rising 151% in 2021, and an average of 270 cyberattacks per organisation being faced.
  •  While many factors are driving cybersecurity policies forward, It is identified through our survey that 81% of respondents believe that digital transformation is the main driver in improving cyber resilience.
  • Each successful cyber breach cost a company $3.6 million (almost ₹27 crore) last year, while the average share price of the hacked company underperformed the NASDAQ index by close to 3% even six months after the event in case of the breach becoming public.
  • The WEF said the global digital economy had surged on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, but so had cybercrime.
  • There is also a perception gap between business executives who think their firms are secure and security leaders who disagree.
  • Some 92% of executives surveyed agreed cyber resilience was integrated into risk-management strategies, but only 55% of cyber leaders agreed.
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are seen as a key threat to supply chains, partner networks and ecosystems.  88% of respondents indicate that they are concerned about cyber resilience of SMEs in their ecosystem.
  • This report uses a retrospective analysis of recent years to share the knowledge and concerns of cyber leaders with one goal: helping decision-makers prepare for the next generation of cyberattacks.

What is Cyber Attack and Cyber Security?

  • A cyber attack is an assault launched by cybercriminals using one or more computers against a single or multiple computers or networks. A cyber attack can maliciously disable computers, steal data, or use a breached computer as a launch point for other attacks. Cybercriminals use a variety of methods to launch a cyber attack, including malware, phishing, ransomware, denial of service, among other methods.
  • Cybersecurity means securing the cyberspace from attack, damage, misuse and economic espionage. Cyberspace is a global domain within the information environment consisting of interdependent IT infrastructure such as Internet, Telecom networks, computer systems etc.
Cyberwarfare and cyberterrorism
  • Cyberwarfare utilizes techniques of defending and attacking information and computer networks that inhabit cyberspace, often through a prolonged cyber campaign or series of related campaigns. It denies an opponent’s ability to do the same, while employing technological instruments of war to attack an opponent’s critical computer systems.
  • Cyberterrorism, on the other hand, is “the use of computer network tools to shut down critical national infrastructures (such as energy, transportation, government operations) or to coerce or intimidate a government or civilian population”. That means the end result of both cyberwarfare and cyberterrorism is the same, to damage critical infrastructures and computer systems linked together within the confines of cyberspace.
Ransomware
  • Ransomware is malware that employs encryption to hold a victim’s information at ransom. A user or organization’s critical data is encrypted so that they cannot access files, databases, or applications. A ransom is then demanded to provide access.

The need for improved Cybersecurity

  • The country is in dire need of a data protection law, with cybercriminals increasingly weaponising data as a tool against national security in the post-pandemic era.
  • In the post-pandemic period, hackers are increasingly weaponizing data as a tactic against national security.
  • The rise of digital payments has also increased complex cybercrime. The government urgently needs data protection legislation.
  • The sensitive information and fragmented approach that prevailed in handling the threat is becoming prime targets for cyber attacks.
  • There are emerging threats from new technologies such as drones, ransomware, Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
  • The role of nation-states in such cyberattacks also needs to be considered.
  • The lockdown has witnessed a deeper adoption of interconnected devices and hybrid work environments. It has increased our dependence on technology, rendering us digitally more vulnerable than ever before.

What are the Concerns of Cyber Security?

  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 is not equipped to consider new-age changes in the mode of functioning of businesses and modus operandi of crimes in cyberspace.
  • The delay in passing the Personal Data Protection Bill states the inefficiency of the government to deal with cybersecurity and cybercrimes.
  • Data is the new goldmine for any organisation, especially for the bad elements that lurk in the dark web.
  • With cybercriminals and inimical actors increasingly using information to threaten national security, the matter is of serious concern.

Measures taken by the government to improve the Cyber Security

  • National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) to battle cyber security threats in strategic areas such as air control, nuclear and space. It will function under the National Technical Research Organisation, a technical intelligence gathering agency controlled directly by the National Security Adviser in PMO.
  • National cyber coordination centre (NCCC) to scan internet traffic coming into the country and provide real time situational awareness and alert various security agencies.
  • A new Cyber and Information Security (CIS) Division has been created to tackle internet crimes such as cyber threats, child pornography and online stalking.
  • Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative to strengthen Cybersecurity ecosystem in India. It is first public private partnership of its kind and will leverage the expertise of the IT industry in cybersecurity.
  • Information Technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008) to provide a legal framework for transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange, for data access for cybersecurity etc.

-Source: The Hindu


The Houthi Attack on the United Arab Emirates

Context:

 A suspected drone attack in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), caused multiple explosions in which three people were killed —two Indians and one Pakistani. The Shia Houthi rebels of Yemen, who have been controlling the northern parts of the country, including the capital Sana’a, for almost seven years, have claimed responsibility for the attack. While the UAE hasn’t confirmed the Houthi claims, its officials said to the media that the explosions were caused by a suspected drone attack. The Saudi-led coalition that is fighting the Houthis in Yemen, launched air strikes on Sana’a.

Relevance:

GS II- International relations

Dimensions of the article:
  1. Who are the Houthis?
  2. What led to the Houthis’ rise?
  3. Why did Saudi Arabia attack Yemen?
  4. Why did the Houthis target the UAE?

Who are the Houthis?

  • The roots of the Houthi movement can be traced to “Believing Youth” (Muntada al-Shahabal-Mu’min), a Zaydi revivalist group founded by Hussein al-Houthi and his father, Badr al-Din al-Houthi, in the early 1990s.
  • Badr al-Din was an influential Zaydi cleric in northern Yemen. Inspired by the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the rise of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in the 1980s, Badr al-Din and his sons started building vast social and religious networks among the Zaydis of Yemen, who make up roughly one-third of the Sunni-majority country’s population.
  • For centuries, the Zaydis were a powerful sect within Yemen. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, the Zaydis would establish a monarchy (the Mutawakkilite Kingdom) in the country.
  • But their dominance would come to an end in 1962 when the Egypt-backed republicans overthrew the monarchy.
  • When Badr al-Din al-Houthi and his son Hussein launched the Believing Youth, the plan was to reorganise the Zaydi minority.
  • But when the movement turned political and started attacking the “corrupt” regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh and his support for the U.S.’s war on terror, it became a thorn on Saleh’s side.
  • They called themselves Ansar Allah (Partisans of God), mobilised tribesmen in the north against the Government and chanted “Death to America”.
  •  In 2004, Saleh’s government issued an arrest warrant against Hussein al-Houthi. He resisted the arrest, starting an insurgency.
  • In September, the Government troops attacked the rebels and killed Hussein. Since then, the Government launched multiple military campaigns in Sa’dah, the Zaydi stronghold, to end the resistance, which was locally called the Houthis movement, after their “martyred” leader.
  • But it only strengthened the Houthis, who, by 2010, when a ceasefire was reached, had captured Sa’dah from the Government troops.

What led to the Houthis’ rise?

  • When protests broke out in Yemen in 2011 as part of the Arab Spring protests that felled Tunisian and Egyptian dictators, the Houthis, now confident from their military victories and the support they enjoyed in Sadah,backed the agitation.
  • President Saleh, a Zaydi who was in power for 33 years, resigned in November, handing the reins to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, a Saudi-backed Sunni.
  • Yemen, under the tutelage of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, started a national dialogue to resolve internal differences.
  • The Houthis were part of the dialogue. But they fell out with the transitional Government of Mr. Hadi, claiming that the proposed federal solution, which sought to divide the Zaydi-dominated north into two land-locked provinces, was intended to weaken the movement.
  • They soon got back to insurgency. Saleh, who was sidelined by the interim government and its backers, joined hands with his former rivals and launched a joint military operation.
  • By January 2015, the Houthi-Saleh alliance had captured Sana’a and much of northern Yemen, including the vital Red Sea coast. (Later the Houthis turned against Saleh and killed him in December 2017).

Why did Saudi Arabia attack Yemen?

  • The rapid rise of the Houthis in Yemen set off alarm bells in Riyadh which saw them as Iranian proxies.
  • Saudi Arabia, under the new, young Defence Minister, Mohammed Bin Salman, started a military campaign in March 2015, hoping for a quick victory against the Houthis.
  • But the Houthis had dug in, refusing to leave despite Saudi Arabia’s aerial blitzkrieg. With no effective allies on the ground and no way-out plan, the Saudi-led campaign went on with no tangible result.
  • In the past six years, the Houthis have launched multiple attacks on Saudi cities from northern Yemen in retaliation for Saudi air strikes. 
  • In 2019, the Houthis claimed the attack on two Saudi oil installations that knocked out, briefly, half of the kingdom’s oil output (the Houthi claim was disputed by experts and governments, who said the attack was too sophisticated for the rebels to carry out. The U.S. has blamed Iran).
  • The Houthis have established a Government in the north. The Supreme Political Council, headed by its President, Mahdi al-Mashat, is the executive branch of their rule.
  • Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, Hussein’s brother, leads the movement. There are serious allegations against both the Saudis and the Houthis in the war.
  • While the Saudi bombings caused a large number of civilian deaths, the Houthis were accused, by rights groups and Governments, of preventing aid, deploying forces in densely populated areas and using excessive force against civilians and peaceful protesters.

Why did the Houthis target the UAE?

  • This is not the first time the Houthis attacked the UAE. In 2018, when the UAE-backed forces were making advances in Yemen, the Houthis claimed attacks against the Emirates.
  • Since then, the UAE pulled out its troops from Yemen and offered tactical support to the Southern Transitional Council, a group of rebels based in Aden, that was also fighting the Saudi-backed Government forces of President Hadi.
  • During this period, the Houthis stayed focussed entirely on Saudi Arabia and Saudi-backed forces inside Yemen.
  • But in recent months, Giants Brigades, a militia group largely made up of Southern Yemenis (backed by the UAE) and the Joint Forces (the militia led by a nephew of the slain former President Saleh) turned their guns against the Houthis.
  • They inflicted major damages on the Houthis in Shabwah on the Arabian coast and have, with Government troops, pushed into the Houthi territories in al-Bayda and Marib.
  • By flying armed drones undetected all the way from northern Yemen to the Gulf coast, either across Saudi Arabia or through the Gulf of Oman, and carrying out attacks on Abu Dhabi, the second most populous city in the tiny UAE, the Houthis appear to have sent a clear message to the Emiratis — stay out of Yemen or face more attacks.

-Source: The Hindu


Devas-Antrix deal

Context:

The Supreme Court has upheld the liquidation of Devas, whose foreign investors continue to fight for compensation following the cancelled 2005 satellite deal with Antrix.

Relevance:

GS III- Science and technology,

GS-III: Indian Economy (Capital Market, Statutory Bodies)

Dimensions:
  1. What was the Devas-Antrix deal?
  2. How was Devas formed?
  3. What led to the liquidation?
  4. About National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT)
  5. About National Company Law Appellate Tribunal
  6. Differences between NCLT and NCLAT

What was the Devas-Antrix deal?

  • “Agreement for the Lease of Space Segment Capacity on ISRO/Antrix S-band spacecraft was signed by Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd” on January 28, 2005, a month after Devas was incorporated in Bengaluru in December 2004 by two former ISRO employees.
  • Under the deal, ISRO would lease to Devas two communication satellites (GSAT-6 and 6A) for 12 years for Rs 167 crore.
  • Devas would provide multimedia services to mobile platforms in India using S-band transponders on the satellites, with ISRO leasing 70 MHz of S-band spectrum.
  • The deal progressed smoothly for six years before it was annulled by the UPA government on February 25, 2011, following a Cabinet Committee on Security decision of February 17 to terminate the agreement to use the S-band for security purposes.
  • The government decision was taken in the midst of the 2G scam and allegations that the Devas deal involved the handing over of communication spectrum valued at nearly Rs 2 lakh crore for a pittance.

How was Devas formed?

  • At the turn of the century, the telecom revolution threw open the possibility of satellite-based systems providing Internet services to remote areas, and top experts from ISRO began consulting global satellite communication experts in 2002-03.
  • According to ISRO officials from the period, the International Telecommunication Union granted India S- band spectrum in the 1970s and some of this was with ISRO.
  •  By 2003, there was a fear that the spectrum would be lost if not used effectively; 40 MHz of S-band was given to the DoT for terrestrial used and 70 Mhz was to be put to efficient used by the DoS.
  • Some of the initial consultations that eventually led to the creation of Devas took place in the US between top ISRO officials and a US consultancy, Forge Advisors.
  • Initially an MoU was signed by Forge and Antrix in July 2003 for use of the satellite spectrum for growth of communication systems in India, but later a start-up was envisaged, and Devas Multimedia was floated.
  • In end-2005, the Cabinet approved the creation of GSAT-6 by ISRO for providing satellite-based video and audio services.
  • Following this, Devas was able to attract foreign investors. Mauritius based Columbia Capital/Devas and Telcom/Devas picked up stakes for $15 million initially in 2006 and 2007, followed by an investment of $99.2 million in 2008-09 by the German firm Deutsche Telekom through a Singapore arm.
  • Devas got a total of Rs 579 crore foreign investment with clearances from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board. Deutsche Telekom held 20.7% of the stake while three Mauritius investors held 37.5% when the deal was annulled in 2011.

What led to the liquidation?

  • Antrix filed a plea in the National Company Law Tribunal in January 2021 for liquidation of Devas in India, which it said was incorporated in a fraudulent manner.
  • May 2021, the NCLT ordered the liquidation, which was upheld by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal on September 8, 2021 and by the Supreme Court.
  • The order came even as three Mauritius-based investors and a German telecom major have approached federal courts in the United States to seize assets linked to the Indian government such as those of Air India. The investors have won separate compensation awards in international tribunals, including $1.2 billion awarded by an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) tribunal on September 14, 2015. The Supreme Court has kept the $1.2 billion award in abeyance.

About National Company Law Tribunal

  • The National Company Law Tribunal is a quasi-judicial body in India that adjudicates issues relating to Indian companies.
  • The tribunal was established under the Companies Act 2013 and was constituted on 1 June 2016 by the government of India. Hence, NCLT is a Statutory Body.
  • All proceedings under the Companies Act, including proceedings relating to arbitration, compromise, arrangements and reconstruction and winding up of companies shall be disposed of by the National Company Law Tribunal.
  • The National Company Law Tribunal is the adjudicating authority for insolvency resolution process of companies and limited liability partnerships under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  • No criminal court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter which the Tribunal or the Appellate Tribunal is empowered to determine by or under this Act or any other law for the time being in force and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act or any other law for the time being in force, by the Tribunal or the Appellate Tribunal.

About National Company Law Appellate Tribunal

  • The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) is a tribunal which was formed by the Central Government of India under Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013. Hence, NCLAT is also a Statutory Body.
  • The tribunal is responsible for hearing appeals from the orders of National Company Law Tribunal(s) (NCLT), starting on 1 June, 2016.
  • The tribunal also hears appeals from orders issued by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India under Section 202 and Section 211 of IBC.
  • It also hears appeals from any direction issued, decision made, or order passed by the Competition Commission of India.

Differences between NCLT and NCLAT

  • NCLT makes the judgement on the insolvency resolution proceedings. NCLAT makes judgement on the decisions made by the NCLT.
  • NCLT is the primary Tribunal and NCLAT is the appellate tribunal.
  • NCLT analyzes the evidences that are presented by the insolvent debtor or their creditors. NCLAT analyzes the decisions that are made by the NCLT.

-Source: Indian Express


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