Here is the digest of important newspaper articles and quiz!
Social media details not compulsory for elections
In a move that could ensure greater transparency Election Commission of India has instructed candidates contesting elections to both Houses of Parliament and State Assemblies to furnish information about their social media accounts.
Although failure to disclose the details, would not be a ground for rejection. Non-furnishing of information about social media account in Form 26 shall not be treated as a ground for considering the affidavit in Form 26 as incomplete or to reject the nomination paper.
What is importance of technology in Elections? – Technology can be leveraged for transparent and credible elections. Information Communication and Technology (ICT) initiatives have been launched such as the single window National Voter Services Portal launched in 2015, which provides multiple voter centric services, development of safe and appropriate technology for providing electronic Postal Ballot facility to Overseas Indian Voters and the gradually increasing use of Voters Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).
When applied appropriately, technology can provide accuracy, speed and efficiency in the election process but it should not be vendor-driven or introduced as a show- piece. Introduction of technology should go hand in hand with building trust and confidence of voters and in continuous consultation with all stakeholders in the electoral process.
Source: TheHindu, PIB
India eases Chinese conference visa norms
India has removed conference visas for Chinese participants from the prior referral category(PRC) .China has on several occasions, pressed India for lifting restrictions on conference and research visas. With the Nuclear Supplier Group meet in Vienna coming up India has been trying to mollify China.
Not all categories of visas for Chinese have been removed from the restricted category. The relaxation is only for conference visas as it was a major hindrance for the Chinese to come here and share technological advancements and strategies.
China continues to be under the prior referral category of countries for research, business, student and employment visas.
Iran was removed from the PRC Â category in August 2015.
What is Prior Referral Category? – Prior Referral category means that visas are issued by the respective Indian missions and consulates after running a thorough background check.
France launches smartphone app for terror updates
The French government launched a new smartphone app Â to alert users of possible terror attacks Â was launched in time for the start of Euro 2016. The application, which is free to download in both French and English, will send users a warning in case of a suspected attack
It will also alert users – who must agree to be geolocated – about â€œunexpected eventsâ€ such as the breaching of flood defences.
Alerts will appear on the app less than 15 minutes after the incident has been confirmed by authorities, and will be customised according to the userâ€™s exact location.
India – US Joint Statement
India and US have issued a joint statement during PM Modiâ€™s visit. Â Â The statement has the following salient features.
1) US calls for support to Indiaâ€™s NSG bid – Recalling their shared commitment to preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, the leaders looked forward to â€œIndiaâ€™s imminent entryâ€ into MTCR. Obama welcomed Indiaâ€™s application to join NSG, and re-affirmed that India was ready for membership.
2) India and US resolve to be â€œpriority partnersâ€ – The leaders applauded the completion of the roadmap for cooperation under the 2015 US-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, which will serve as a guide for collaboration in the years to come.
3) US support for â€˜Make In Indiaâ€™ – Noting that US-India defence relationship can be an anchor of stability, and given the increasingly strength of the defence cooperation, the US recognised India as a â€œMajor Defence Partnerâ€ – it will continue to work toward facilitating technology sharing to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.
4) Commitment to open, secure Internet – The leaders emphasised that cyberspace enables economic growth and development, and reaffirmed their commitment to an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet, underpinned by the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. They committed to deepen cooperation on cybersecurity and welcomed the understanding reached to finalise the framework for the US-India Cyber Relationship in the near term.
5) Cooperation against Terrorism – The leaders committed to strengthen cooperation against al-Qaeda, Daesh, Jaish, Lashkar, D-Company, and directed officials to identify specific new areas of collaboration at the next meeting of the Counterterrorism Joint Working Group. They also asked Pakistan to bring perpetrators of the 26/11 and 2016 Pathankot attacks to justice.
6) Civil Nuclear Co-operation – The leaders welcomed the start of on-site preparatory work for 6 AP 1000 reactors to be built by Westinghouse, and noted the intention of India and the US Export-Import Bank to work together for competitive financing.
7) Global entry scheme procedure in 3 months – The leaders resolved to facilitate greater movement of professionals, investors and business travelers, students, and exchange visitors, and welcomed the signing of an MoU for Development of an International Expedited Traveler Initiative (or Global Entry Programmes) and resolved to complete within 3 months procedures for Indiaâ€™s entry into the programme.
8) Yoga – The 2016 Joint Statement noted the urgent need to promote healthy lifestyles, control sugar and salt intake, promote physical activity especially among children and youth, and strengthen efforts to curb tobacco use. The leaders reiterated the importance of holistic approaches to health and wellness, and of promoting the potential benefits of synergising modern and traditional systems of medicine, including yoga.
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