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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 09 February 2024

  1. Global Data Protection Index
  2. Rising Rice Prices


Context:

The latest findings from the Global Data Protection Index (GDPI) emphasize the crucial need to remain vigilant in safeguarding data in the contemporary digitally transformed landscape. Successfully navigating the intricate realm of data protection poses a significant challenge, necessitating a steadfast commitment to comprehending all potential risks that could jeopardize an organization’s data integrity.

Relevance:

GS-2

Government Policies and Interventions

GS-3

IT & Computers

Mains Question:

Highlighting the findings of the recently released Global Data Protection Index, discuss the important trends in cyber security and resilience in the current scenario. (10 Marks, 150 Words).

About the Global Data Protection Index:

  • The GDPI Cyber Resiliency Multicloud Edition is a study involving 1,500 IT and security decision makers across global organizations.
  • This survey offers valuable insights into the participants’ confidence in data protection amidst challenges like cyber threats, multicloud environments, generative AI, and other pertinent factors.
  • The survey, conducted in September and October 2023, encompassed 1,500 IT and IT security decision makers globally, including 25% from the Asia-Pacific region and representatives from various public and private industries.

Statistics on Cyber Threat:           

  • The following list outlines the key findings derived from the survey conducted among organizations in the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region, encompassing countries such as India:
  • A significant 73% encounter challenges with their data protection, primarily stemming from the absence of unified solutions tailored for emerging technologies such as AI and edge computing.
  • Forty-five percent have experienced system downtime due to external security breaches, such as cyberattacks, leading to the unrecoverable loss of sensitive data. This percentage is notably increasing, reaching 50% for organizations facing downtime lasting 1-2 days.
  • Thirty percent have incurred approximately $1 million in costs attributable to cyberattacks or other cyber incidents.
  • Forty-two percent express confidence in the data protection measures they have implemented to secure their existing data needs. They have assurance that in case of a data breach, the resulting loss in terms of data loss will be minimal.
  • Forty-eight percent faced challenges recovering their data despite implementing data protection measures.
  • Thirty-eight percent had to make substantial payments to recover from their losses.
  • Twenty-one percent believe that their data, with a bandwidth ranging from 500GB to 1TB, was lost due to an insufficient commitment to stronger data protection measures.
  • Growing apprehension regarding cyber threats persists as a primary cause of organizational disruption, with 52% of respondents acknowledging a cyberattack that impeded data access in the past year—the highest percentage in over five years.
  • The financial repercussions for organizations are substantial, with costs more than doubling from the previous report to an average of $1.4 million.
  • Validating these concerns, 75% of surveyed organizations express worry that their current data protection measures may not effectively counter ransomware threats.
  • Additionally, 69% lack confidence in their ability to recover reliably following a destructive cyberattack.

Cyber Prevention vis-à-vis Cyber Recovery:

  • Despite these apprehensions, a majority of organizations (59%) allocate more resources to cyber prevention than to cyber recovery.
  • Striking a balance between prevention and recovery becomes crucial in light of the escalating success of cyberattacks.
  • Furthermore, a recurring concern is the impact of the rise in remote work—fuelled by the ongoing pandemic—on organizations’ vulnerability to data loss from cyberattacks.
  • A substantial 81% of organizations believe that the surge in remote workers has increased their exposure to such risks, marking an increase from 70% in the previous research findings.
  • Fresh insights have been revealed regarding the utilization and efficacy of insurance policies in mitigating an organization’s financial risks.
  • While 93% of organizations acknowledged employing ransomware insurance policies, they highlighted various conditions that could constrain coverage.
  • For instance, 57% specified a requirement for proof of best practices in cyberthreat prevention, 40% noted scenarios that could void the policy, and 40% highlighted legal restrictions on payments to certain entities.
  • Ultimately, 85% of organizations had to make payments to regain access to their data. Despite the potential value of insurance policies in a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, it is imperative for organizations to comprehend their limitations.

On Cyber Resilience:

  • In response to escalating threats, organizations are actively enhancing their cyber resilience. Several trends indicate a proactive approach, with 50% engaging professional services to bolster resources, 49% conducting regular cyber recovery testing, and 42% implementing a cyber vault with both physical and logical separation from production data.
  • For the first time, the GDPI delved into the impact of generative AI on the cyber threat landscape and future data protection requirements.
  • Fifty-two percent believe that generative AI will enhance their organization’s cybersecurity posture, but 88% also acknowledge that generative AI is likely to generate substantial volumes of new data, elevating the value of specific data types. This factor needs consideration when outlining future data protection strategies.

Conclusion:

As organizations increasingly adopt public cloud solutions, embrace hybrid working models, and explore generative AI, the importance of data protection becomes more apparent than ever. Safeguarding digital assets is evolving into a complex challenge in a landscape persistently threatened by cyberattacks. In navigating this dynamic environment, businesses need to adopt a strategic, enduring approach, recognizing it as a marathon rather than a sprint.



Context:

The Indian government has recently mandated that traders, wholesalers, retailers, and millers disclose their individual rice stocks. Additionally, the government has introduced “Bharat rice” with the aim of reducing rice prices in the market. Despite these measures, millers and traders believe that these actions are insufficient to effectively manage prices.

Relevance:

GS-2

Government Policies & Interventions

GS-3

Buffer Stocks & Food Security

Mains Question:

What are the measures being taken by the government to bring down the increasing price of rice? How successful have these measures been? (15 Marks, 250 Words).

Rice Production in India- Statistics:

  • In the 2022-2023 period, India witnessed a rice production of 135 million tonnes, marking an increase of 62.84 lakh tonnes compared to the preceding year. However, diverse estimates are emerging for the year 2023-2024.
  • The southern states, major consumers of rice, are reported to have experienced a decline in paddy production due to insufficient rainfall.
  • Traders and farmers suggest that Tamil Nadu might see a nearly 30% drop, and Karnataka could witness a roughly 25% decline.
  • Contrastingly, in the northern regions, sources in the trading industry report a 15% increase in rice production, encompassing both basmati and non-basmati varieties.
  • The Union government asserts that the Food Corporation of India possesses substantial stocks, and the Kharif crop is promising. As of February 2, the area under paddy for the Rabi crop stands at 39.29 lakh hectares, slightly less than the 40.37 lakh hectares recorded last year.

Pricing of Rice:

  • Over the past year, the retail cost of rice has risen by 14.51%. Although Basmati rice prices are reported to have decreased by 15% in the last month, paddy prices have increased in the southern states.
  • The prices of certain varieties have surged by more than ₹10 per kilogram from November 2022 to November 2023.
  • Among the almost 430 rice varieties produced in the country, inflation is notably high in the ones that are widely preferred by consumers. In states like Tamil Nadu, farmers with the capacity to retain stocks and sell to private traders anticipate better prices this year.

Measures Taken So Far:

  • The government has directed traders, wholesalers, retailers, chain retailers, and millers to submit online reports on stocks, categorizing them into broken rice, non-basmati white rice, par-boiled rice, basmati rice, and paddy.
  • Additionally, the retail sale of ‘Bharat Rice’ has been initiated for general consumers at ₹29 per kg.
  • In September 2022, the export of broken rice was prohibited, and a 20% duty was imposed on par-boiled rice. From July 2023, exports of non-basmati white rice were also placed in the prohibited category.
  • To address the situation, the government has procured 600 lakh tonnes of paddy during the ongoing Kharif marketing season, starting from October 1, 2023.
  • This has resulted in the central pool having 525 lakh tonnes of rice, exceeding the annual requirement of approximately 400 lakh tonnes for welfare schemes. Until the end of January this year, the government has sold 1.66 lakh tonnes of rice in the open market.

Reasons Behind the Rise in Prices:

  • Traders and millers attribute the increase in retail rice prices to various factors. The Minimum Support Price for rice has witnessed an uptrend over the past five years, and there is a simultaneous escalation in costs related to transportation, storage, and other factors.
  • In states where rice is predominantly consumed, there has been a decline in the production of varieties consumed in large quantities this year.
  • Despite government initiatives, the export of non-basmati rice has surged significantly over the last three years compared to previous periods.
  • Non-basmati rice exports were 5.1 million tonnes in 2019-2020, rising to 13.1 million tonnes in 2020-2021, 17.3 million tonnes in 2021-2022, and 16.1 million tonnes in 2022-2023.
  • In the initial months of April-May 2023-2024, it reached 2.8 million tonnes, compared to 2.7 million tonnes during the same period the previous year.
  • Traders note that the export duty imposed by the government is offset by the high international prices.
  • Additionally, the rice available in the retail market is from the previous season’s stock, and with a shortfall in arrivals, prices may further increase in the coming months.

Conclusion:

Millers in the northern states highlight that there is a need for rice for various purposes such as consumption, ethanol production, and cattle feed. They suggest that the government should prioritize sales for consumption. The data collected by the government on stocks is anticipated to provide insights into stock levels, and it is recommended to include data on the most consumed varieties before determining the next steps.


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