Daily PT Capsule May 31

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

Here is the digest of important newspaper articles and quiz!

Smartphone rules for officials

The government has come up with a smartphone policy for officials dealing with sensitive information. The rules would apply to armed forces, intelligence officials and personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

The government has put curbs on officials connecting their phones to office computers. They will not be allowed to even to charge the phone battery. Further, every such device will have to be approved by seniors.

These steps have been taken in the light of statement of Minister of State (Home) Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhury had informed the Lok Sabha that “Pakistan Intelligence Agencies were spying on Indian Security Forces by sending malwares in mobile apps such as Top Gun (Game App), mpjunkie (music App), vdjunky (video app), talking frog (entertainment App).


What is cyber theft? – Cybertheft refers to the act of using an internet to steal financial and/or personal information through the use of computers for making its fraudulent or other illegal use.

What is cyber terrorism? – Cyberterrorism is any premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which results in violence against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.

What is cyber warfare? – Cyberwarfare has been defined as actions by a nation-state to penetrate another nation’s computers or networks for the purposes of causing damage or disruption.

India can be susceptible to any of the three mentioned forms of cyber security breach.

Source: TheHindu


Tribals to fight Athirapally project in Kerala

The vulnerable tribal group of Kadar are opposing the state government plan to go ahead with the 163-megawatt Athirappally hydel power project across the Chalakudy river. The tribe believe it will wipe out their livelihood.

The project has brought into highlight the age old debate of development vs displacement. It is all the more relevant in this case as the displaced group is a tribe without alternate source of sustenance apart from their own natural habitat.


Where is the Kadar tribe located? – Kadar, small tribe of southern India residing along the hilly border between Cochin in the state of Kerala and Coimbatore in the state of Tamil Nādu.

They have long served as specialized collectors of honey, wax, sago, cardamom, ginger, and umbrella sticks for trade with merchants from the plains. Many Kadar men work as labourers.

The Kadar population was estimated at approximately 2,000 individuals in the early 21st century. They speak the Dravidian languages of Tamil and Kannaḍa. They worship jungle spirits and their own kindly creator couple as well as local forms of the Hindu deities. Marriage with cross-cousins is permitted.

Source: TheHindu, Britannica


CSIR wants farmers to consider alternatives

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is looking at alternate mechanisms to get farmers to diversify from traditional food and cash crops.

Presently rice, wheat, cotton are among the 25 crops that qualify for government mandated Minimum Support Price(MSP). The CSIR is framing a proposal to push for mentha (the plant that gives menthol), lavender, lemongrass, artemisia annua (the source of the antimalarial compound artemisinin), geranium, lavender and rose oil to be included in such a category.

CSIR’s hope is that assured prices will lead to farmers committing more land to aromatic and medicinal plants. In the next three years, the CSIR plans to cultivate 5,000-6,000 hectares in the country. They will begin this year with drought-ravaged Vidarbha, Maharashtra, and move on to Bhuj in Gujarat and the Bundelkhand region of U.P. and Madhya Pradesh.

India was an importer of mentha 40 years ago. Today it is the world’s leading producer. This is because mentha varieties were specifically bred to exude greater quantities of menthol mint oil.


What is crop diversification? – Crop diversification is intended to give a wider choice in the production of a variety of crops in a given area so as to expand production related activities on various crops and also to lessen risk.

Crop diversification in India is generally viewed as a shift from traditionally grown less remunerative crops to more remunerative crops. The crop shift (diversification) also takes place due to governmental policies and thrust on some crops over a given time, for example creation of the Technology Mission on Oilseeds (TMO) to give thrust on oilseeds production as a national need for the country’s requirement for less dependency on imports.

Source: TheHindu, FAO


US-India Homeland Security Dialogue in July

India and the USA are planning a Homeland Security dialogue which will also the signing of two important agreements. Agreements on the Global Entry programme and the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-6 (HSPD-6) are expected to be signed.

The Global Entry programme is a US Customs and Border Protection programme that permits speedy clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travellers upon arrival in America.

India’s inclusion would mean that important dignitaries like former Presidents, former PMs, former Union ministers, film stars, top industrialists and prominent frequent flyers could visit America without immigration hassles.

HSPD-6 is a model text agreement mooted by the US for exchange of information between the US Terrorist Screening Centre (TSC) and the Intelligence Bureau.

India hopes that if it signs the HSPD-6 agreement, it will also be provided ready access to information on Internet content hosted on US-based servers that could give leads in counter-terror operations. Initially, the IB had expressed reservations about entering such an agreement as it was believed that it primarily protected US interests.


What will be the benefit of greater intelligence sharing? – Directive on Integration and Use of Screening Information to Protect against Terrorism(HSPD-6) was released in 2003. This directive concerns the use of information about individuals known or suspected to engage in terrorist activities. U.S. policy is to develop, integrate, and maintain thorough, accurate, and current information about individuals known or appropriately suspected to be or have been engaged in conduct related to terrorism. Such information shall be used to support federal, state, local, territorial, tribal, foreign-government, and private-sector screening processes, and diplomatic, military, intelligence, law enforcement, immigration, visa, and protective processes.

Although many officials in the Intelligence Bureau have been sceptical about the agreement, but being part of an information security architecture could help in increased responsiveness of Indian intelligence agencies. It would also act as a knowledge sharing platform where India could adopt some best practices and in turn share its expertise with the US. The pact has to be seen in the light of greater security and defence co-operation between India and the US.

Source: TheIndianExpress


P-Notes investment at 20 month low

Investments into India’s capital markets through participatory notes (P-Notes) declined to a 20-month low of Rs.2.11 lakh crore at the end of April with SEBI keeping a strict vigil on funds coming through this route.

Market experts opine that stricter set of norms will make it costlier to invest in India through P-Notes, as one of the major attractions of such instrument is cost-effectiveness and easier access.

The share of P-Notes has been falling over the years on SEBI tightening disclosure norms and other related regulations. It used to be much higher at 25-40 per cent in 2008 while the reading was as high as 55 per cent at the peak of stock market bull run in 2007.

What are P-notes? – Participatory Notes commonly known as P-Notes or PNs are instruments issued by registered foreign institutional investors (FII) to overseas investors, who wish to invest in the Indian stock markets without registering themselves with the market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India – SEBI.

P-Notes provide for ease of trading, anonymity, tax saving. Therefore they are used for money laundering purposes.

What are the tighter norms for P-notes? – Acting on the recommendation of Special Investigation Team(SIT) on black money SEBI has tightened Pnotes norms recently in May 2016.

To set a better handle on the ultimate beneficiary of P-note, Sebi has said Indian know your customer (KYC) or anti-money laundering rules (AML) will be applicable to P-note holders. Earlier, a P-note holder had to adhere to KYC or AML norms of just their home jurisdiction. Sebi has also issued curbs on transferability of P-notes between two foreign investors. It has also increased the frequency of reporting by P-note issuers.

Source: TheHindu, BusinessStandard

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