Daily PT Capsule Jan 20

Daily PT Capsule UPSC Civil Services
Daily PT Capsule UPSC Civil Services

Oxfam study on Inequality

The richest 1 per cent of the world’s population now own more than the rest of us combined, aid group Oxfam said on Monday, on the eve of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

“Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population – a figure that has fallen from 388 just five years ago,” the anti-poverty agency said in its reported published ahead of the annual gathering of the world’s financial and political elites in Davos.

The report, entitled “An Economy for the 1%”, states that women are disproportionately affected by the global inequality.

“One of the other key trends behind rising inequality set out in Oxfam International’s report is the falling share of national income going to workers in almost all developed and most developing countries… The majority of low paid workers around the world are women.”

Although world leaders have increasingly talked about the need to tackle inequality “the gap between the richest and the rest has widened dramatically in the past 12 months”, Oxfam said.

Analysis: Inequality and its Impact

Measuring Inequality – The Gini coefficient (also known as the Gini index or Gini ratio) is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income distribution of a nation’s residents, and is the most commonly used measure of inequality.

There are many adverse effects of inequality especially in a developing economy like India.

1) Long Term Economic Growth – A degree of inequality can act as a positive influence on economic growth in the short term. However, some economists find empirical evidence of a negative correlation of about 0.5-0.8 percentage points between long-term growth rates and sustained economic inequality.

2) Inequality Increases Crime – Studies establish a positive relationship between income inequality and crime. According to a survey of research conducted between 1968 and 2000, most researchers point to evidence economically unequal societies have higher crime rates.

3) Inequality Decreases Health – The impoverished members of society are subject to disproportionate occurrence rates of certain kinds of illnesses. Access to quality health care and healthy food is sometimes limited or unavailable for poor individuals. The result of a substantial poor population, a defining feature of economic inequality, is a less effective lower-income work force, higher disease and mortality rates, higher health care costs, and progressively deepening poverty for afflicted groups.

4) Economic Inequality Increases Political Inequality –  When wealth distribution becomes concentrated in a small number of hands, political power tends to become skewed in favor of that small wealthy group. High-income groups are able and incentivized to manipulate government in their favor through both legal processes and through corrupt practices. Impoverished or working class groups are simultaneously less able to become educated or participate in the political process as economic means become increasingly scarce.

5) Inequality Decreases Education – Substantial empirical research reveal link education and poverty. Nations with a high degree of economic equality and a relatively small low-income population tend to have a substantially higher level of education. A one-point increase in the Gini coefficient (a measurement of income inequality) translates into a 10% decrease in high school graduation rates and a 40% increase in college graduation.

Source: Seven Pillars Institute


Countering Hate Speech

Facebook has started a new initiative to counter extremist posts on the social networking website in Europe.  According to Facebook, it will invest €1 million in European non-governmental organisations that are fighting online extremism.

London-based think tank, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, will lead this partnership between Facebook, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence. Facebook has faced complaints in the past that it has not done enough to take down racist and xenophobic hate speech.

Analysis: Hate Speech Online

Internet offers us the possibility to create, publish, distribute and consume media content fostering therefore a space of full participation, engagement and self-expression. With the development of social networks we all can participate in cyberspace in a variety of ways ranging from keeping in touch with your friends and developing new contacts to sharing content and exploring your self-expression. This online space gives us new opportunities: engaging with others for causes that we care for. But we may equally be victim and agent of abuse and human rights violations, among them, hate speech in various forms and cyberbullying.

“Hate speech, as defined by the Council of Europe, covers all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin.”

The friction between free speech and hate speech has become newly intense because of social media.

The UP police booked a person for spreading inflammatory rumours about cow-smugglers killing a police officer following Dadri incident. Their comrades immediately alleged censorship, and various profiles with pictures of weapon-brandishing deities rallied under hashtags of support. Taslima Nasreen summed up their grievance, claiming that “free speech allows hate tweets”.

There are, of course reasonable restrictions to free speech when it looks likely to spiral into violence, what a 1989 Supreme Court judgment called a “spark in a powder keg” situation. The IPC has Section 153A, 153B, 295 and 505 and more, which curb speech that promotes enmity between groups on the basis of religion, race, place, birth or language, defiles places of worship, insults religious sentiments, creates public mischief and so on. But social media presents an almost daily dilemma, and makes it clear that it is time for more discriminating decisions on what kinds of extreme speech can be gagged. As the SC judgment knocking down the over-broad Section 66A of the IT Act noted, discussion and advocacy , however, hateful or prejudiced, are not incitement.

Source: Times Of India


PSLV-C31 rocket launched successfully

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today launched PSLV-C31 rocket successfully. Launched from Sriharikota space centre, near Chennai, the rocket is carrying the fifth satellite of Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), the IRNSS-1E.

This was the first rocket launch of the year. The fifth navigation satellite in the IRNSS space system, a constellation of seven satellites, would be at par with US-based GPS once the full complement of spacecraft is launched. The satellite’s lifespan is 12 years.

Analysis: About IRNSS

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System or IRNSS is an indigenously developed Navigation Satellite System that is used to provide accurate real-time positioning and timing services over India and region extending to 1500 km around India.

The fully deployed IRNSS system consists of 3 satellites in GEO orbit and 4 satellites in GSO orbit, approximately 36,000 km altitude above earth surface. The requirement of such a navigation system is driven because access to foreign government-controlled global navigation satellite systems is not guaranteed in hostile situations, as happened to the Indian military depending on American GPS during the Kargil War. The IRNSS would provide two services, with the Standard Positioning Service open for civilian use, and the Restricted Service (an encrypted one) for authorised users (including the military).
The United States NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS are global operational Global Navigation Satellite Systems(GNSSs). China is in the process of expanding its regional Beidou navigation system into the global Compass navigation system by 2020. The European Union’s Galileo positioning system is a GNSS in initial deployment phase, scheduled to be fully operational by 2020 at the earliest. France (DORIS), India, and Japan are in the process of developing regional navigation systems.