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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 27 January 2023

Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 27 January 2023


  1. Methods for Keeping Children’s Information Safe  
  2. Dire Straits: A Worsening Crisis in the Horn of Africa

Methods for Keeping Children’s Information Safe


  • The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, is a draught law that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has developed after considering various facets of digital personal data and its protection.
  • While there are some provisions for the data protection of minors, these provisions leave out some crucial details that must be addressed if India is to realise its digital aspirations.


GS Paper-2: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation; Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022

Mains Question

Highlights critical issues concerning minor data protection in the draught digital personal data protection bill,2022. Also, propose solutions to these problems. (250 Words)

Key Points

The draught Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill, 2022 currently mandates parental consent for all data processing activities by children, defined as anyone under the age of 18; India has one of the youngest youth populations in the world and is among the most active online.

Issues pertaining to Minor in the Draft Bill

  • Ineffective approach for Parental Consent
    • The Bill relies on parents to give consent on behalf of the child in all circumstances rather than encouraging online platforms to proactively build safer and better services for minors.
  • This is an ineffective strategy to protect children online in a nation with low levels of digital literacy, where parents frequently ask their kids (who are digital natives) for help navigating the Internet.
  • Missing the “best interests of the child” standard
    • India is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, which established the “best interests of the child” standard. The draught bill does not take this standard into account.
    • Laws like the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, and the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, uphold this standard. The topic of data protection has not, however, seen its application.
  • The Use of Internet Platforms Is Not Clearly Defined
    • The Bill does not take into account how important the Internet is to today’s adolescents’ lives or how they use it for self-expression and personal growth.
  • Use of Personal Data
    • Each platform will be required to obtain “verifiable parental consent” in the case of minors, according to the current draught of the DPDP Bill.
    • If this clause is strictly followed, it could alter the nature of the Internet as we know it.
  • Platforms will need to confirm each user’s age because it is impossible to determine if they are a minor without knowing their age.
  • Later on, the government will specify whether verifiability will be determined by an ID’s proof, facial recognition, reference-based verification, or some other method.
    • Regardless of the form that verifiability takes, platforms will now need to manage a lot more personal data than they did previously, putting users at risk of harms like data breaches, identity theft, etc.

2022 draft of the “Digital Personal Data Protection Bill”

  • About o The draught Bill’s goal is to establish rules for processing digital personal data in a way that recognises both individuals’ rights to privacy protection and the necessity of processing personal data for legitimate purposes.
    • Key Details
  • The Bill will be applicable to the processing of digital personal data that is processed within India, whether the data is collected online or offline and then converted to digital form.
  • If the processing is being done to profile individuals or offer goods or services in India, it will also be subject to this law.
    • Consent: Personal data may only be processed with an individual’s consent for legitimate purposes.
  • Before requesting consent, notice is required to be given.
  • The ability to withdraw consent at any time.
  • A person’s legal guardian must give consent on behalf of anyone under the age of 18 years old.
    • Data Principal Rights and Responsibilities: A person whose data is being processed (the data principal) has the right to I request information about processing, (ii) request correction and erasure of personal data, (iii) designate a different person to exercise rights in the event of death or incapacity, and (iv) file a grievance.
  • Data principals will have specific responsibilities. They may not: I file a fictitious or baseless complaint; (ii) provide any false information; (iii) withhold information; or (iv) impersonate another person in certain circumstances.
  • Obligations of data fiduciaries: The organisation deciding the purpose and method of processing, known as a data fiduciary, must: I take reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy and completeness of data; (ii) create reasonable security safeguards to prevent a data breach; and (iii) notify the Data Protection Board of India and affected individuals in the event of a breach (storage limitation).
  • The central government will notify nations where a data fiduciary may transfer personal data. o Personal data transfer outside of India.
  • Exemptions: In certain circumstances, such as the prevention and investigation of crimes and the enforcement of legal rights or claims, the rights of the data principal and the duties of data fiduciaries (aside from data security) will not apply.
  • The central government has the authority to exclude specific activities from the Bill’s provisions by notification.
  • These consist of: I processing by government organisations for the sake of national security and law and order; and (ii) research, archiving, or statistical needs.
    • Data Protection Board of India: The Data Protection Board of India will be established by the national government.
  • The Board’s main duties include I enforcing penalties for noncompliance, (ii) directing data fiduciaries to take appropriate action in the event of a data breach, and (iii) listening to grievances brought forth by impacted parties.
  • The following will be outlined by the central government: I the makeup of the Board; (ii) the selection process; (iii) the terms and conditions of appointment and service; and (iv) the procedure for removal.

A New Approach to Protecting Minors’ Data

  • Before this Bill is introduced to Parliament, we need to change our approach to protecting children’s data in order to avoid the foolishness of treating all people equally and denying teenagers access to the Internet.
    • The author suggests the next actions:
    • Use a risk-based strategy.
  • Instead of outright prohibiting tracking, monitoring, etc., we ought to take a risk-based approach to platform obligations.
  • Platforms should be required to conduct a risk assessment for minors and to design services with default settings and features that protect children from harm, in addition to performing age-verification-related corresponding obligations.
  • This strategy will introduce a component of co-regulation by providing platforms with incentives to develop better products for kids.
    • A reduction in the minimum age for parental consent
  • Additionally, in order to be consistent with numerous other jurisdictions around the world, we must lower the age at which parental consent is required for all services to 13 years old.
  • We will reduce data collection by loosening consent requirements, which is one of the tenets on which the Bill is based.
  • With the age of consent being lowered and the risk-reduction strategy described above, children will be protected online while still having access.


A policy needs to strike a balance between children’s online safety and agency. It should be the responsibility of the entire society to protect our children.

Dire Straits: A Worsening Crisis in the Horn of Africa


  • The drought in the Horn of Africa is at its worst in more than 40 years. Five consecutive failed rainy seasons have occurred in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Eritrea, respectively.
  • The shocking reality of the developing food and health crisis in the Horn of Africa (HOA) is still being ignored at a time when the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the US-China great power competition are taking up most of the attention in the mainstream media.


GS Paper-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Mains Question

What is the Horn of Africa’s geopolitical significance to India? What are the region’s main challenges? (250 words)

Key Points

  • The UN estimates that over 37 million people in the Horn are suffering from severe hunger.
  • In the area, there are almost 7 million undernourished children.
  • According to the Global Hunger Index, it is difficult to get food for about 52 million, 3.5 million, and 1.8 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, respectively. Therefore, it is not surprising that African nations are working to increase food security and nutritional resilience across the continent. For this reason, the African Union proclaimed 2022 to be the Year of Nutrition (AU).
  • With numerous outbreaks threatening the lives of already vulnerable populations, the health situation is indeed concerning.

Key Challenges

  • The HOA region has a history of food insecurity, which is one of the major challenges. The area experienced two food crises in the last ten years, in 2011 and again in 2017–18.
  • 2. Livestock losses
    • In the region, more than 9.5 million animals that pastoralist communities depend on for food and a living have perished.
  • Since it may take years for pastoralist families to rebuild their herds after such protracted droughts, this poses an existential threat to such communities.
  • 3. Having access to water Diseases like cholera and measles are on the rise, further stressing already fragile and overworked health systems. Many water points are drying up or are getting worse, increasing the risks of water-borne diseases and infections.
  • 4. The continent’s recovery from the pandemic is being hampered by rising fuel and food prices, inflation, financial instability, and weakening currencies in relation to the dollar.
  • 5. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine o It is no secret that many African nations rely on imported food.
    • Products like wheat, sunflower oil, barley, and soybeans are among the commodities that Russia and Ukraine export in large quantities to several African nations, including Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa.
  • 6. Disruption in trade and supply chains o Wheat prices skyrocketed as a result of the disruption in trade and supply chains brought on by Russia’s decision to block grain exports through the Black Sea ports.

A regional response to the food crisis

  • As the drought persisted from 2020 to 2022, humanitarian actors in the Horn of Africa’s most affected nations reacted to the crisis somewhat quickly.
  • As a result, many lives were ultimately saved. Nearly 500 humanitarian organisations, the majority of which are locally run and community-based, are currently working to respond to the drought throughout Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.
  • In July 2022, the Ethiopian government implemented a drought response plan that requested US$1.66 billion in funding to address the food crisis.
  • Consolidated appeals at the national level have been one of the main strategies for energising and mobilising funds to address the crisis.
  • A “Flash Appeal” has been in use in Kenya since 2011. The current version of this appeal requests US$290 million.

International community’s response

  • Calls for action o Several aid organisations have released calls for action for the HOA region.
    • These organisations include the World Health Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the UN Refugee Agency.
    • Plans for humanitarian assistance
      • The US has contributed to the humanitarian response plans for Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.
      • The United Nations and the United States Agency for International Development have handled the majority of these funding transfers (USAID).
    • Mediation efforts in conflicts China has started mediating conflicts in the Horn. In June 2022, in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, it sponsored the Africa Peace, Good Governance, and Development Conference.
    • Humanitarian Aid o In order to take a more active role on the continent, the United Kingdom allocated US$156 million for humanitarian aid in East Africa.
    • India’s role
      • The initiative to designate 2023 as the International Year of Millets was led by India.
      • Millions of people in Africa consume millets, a traditional food that requires less water and agricultural inputs than other staples.
    • Emphasis on population at risk
      • As a result of the worsening health crisis, WHO is concentrating on ensuring that disadvantaged groups, particularly children, have access to crucial medical services.
      • Using vaccination campaigns to protect populations from disease
      • Among other things, spotting outbreaks, responding to them, and treating severe acute malnutrition.


  • Regardless of what it has been thus far, the global response has largely fallen short.
  • When compared to the funding that the Ukraine appeal has received, there is a glaring funding gap for the HOA region.
  • This suggests a wider disparity in how aid is distributed globally, much like the “Vaccine Apartheid” that African nations experienced.
  • Over time, climate change’s effects will worsen and occur more frequently.
  • As a result, if the Horn of Africa is to avoid a famine in 2023, the international community must make sure that funds, social and humanitarian safety networks, and early anticipatory appeals are in place.

February 2024