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10th October Current Affairs

Rules regarding online gaming

(GS-II: Governance)

In News:

A task force set up by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has prepared a final report of its recommendations to regulate the online gaming industry in India.

What is online gaming?

An online game is a video game that is either partially or primarily played through the Internet or any other computer network available.

What are the types of online gaming?

e-sports (well-organized electronic sports which include professional players),

Fantasy sports

Casual games: these can be either skill-based (mental skill) or chance based (based on a random activity like a roll of a dice) online games.

How big is the online gaming market in India?

Revenue generated: The revenue is estimated to reach $5 billion in 2025.

Growth: CAGR of 38% between 2017-2020, as opposed to 8% in China and 10% in the US.

Law on online gaming in India

State subject: Online gaming so far has been a state subject, but state governments are finding it extremely difficult to enforce certain rules like geo-blocking certain apps or websites within the territory of their state.

Applicability issue: there is a concern that rules passed in one state are not applicable in another, which has caused inconsistency in regulation.

Lack enough power: State governments also do not have enough blocking powers like the Centre to issue blocking orders for offshore betting sites.

Societal concerns that can emerge with the proliferation of online gaming—

Increased suicidal incidents: people are losing large sums of money on online games, leading to suicides in various parts of the country.

Uncertainty: For online gaming businesses, inconsistency has led to uncertainty.

Other concerns: there is currently no regulatory framework to govern various aspects of online gaming companies such as having a grievance redressal mechanism, implementing player protection measures, protecting data and intellectual property rights, and prohibiting misleading advertisements.

What are the recommendations of the task force?

Central-level law for online gaming should apply

Casual games with no real money element in the form of stakes may be kept outside the scope of such rules.

Creating a regulatory body for the online gaming industry

A three-tier dispute resolution mechanism, similar to that prescribed under the Information Technology Rules, 2021 for online streaming services.

Any online gaming platform – domestic or foreign– need to be a legal entity incorporated under Indian law.

Regulating Body: MeitY may act as a nodal ministry to regulate online gaming, except for the e-sports category on which the Department of Sports can take the lead.

Information and Broadcasting Ministry can regulate advertisements, code of ethics relating to content classifications, etc.

Consumer Affairs Ministry can regulate the sector for unfair trade practices.

What did the task force say about offshore betting apps?

On the aspect of prohibiting games of chance, gambling websites, or apps being played online, the proposed Digital India Act can include it in the list of prohibited user harms that will not be permitted.

How China reduced poverty; lessons for India

(GS-III: Indian Economy)

In News:

Last week, the World Bank released its latest report on global poverty. That stated that covid pandemic and war in Ukraine have caused an outright reversal of poverty reduction.

What is extreme poverty? How is it defined?

The World Bank (WB):  Anyone living on less than $2.15 a day is considered to be living in extreme poverty. About 648 million people globally were in this situation in 2019.

The very first international poverty line — a dollar a day — was constructed in 1990 using the 1985 prices. It was then raised to $1.08 a day in 1993, $1.25 a day in 2005 and $1.90 a day in 2011. The $2.15 one is based on 2017 prices.

What has the World Bank stated about India’s poverty levels?— According to the WB, India is the country with the highest number of poor people (over 5 crores in 2020).

What did China achieve?

The World Bank found that between 1978 and 2019,  China lifted 765 million (76.5 crores) people from extreme poverty in the last 4 decades.

In 2021, China declared that it has eradicated extreme poverty.

Life expectancy at birth went from 66 years in 1978 to 77 years by 2019

The infant mortality rate dropped from 52 in 1978 to 6.8 per thousand infants in 2019.

Learning for India from China’s approach to eradicate poverty:

Effective governance, involving decentralized implementation arrangements, with significant scope for local experimentation.

Promoting a high degree of competition among local governments to achieve coherence.

Investment in Education and Healthcare.

Social protection policies for poor households and included specific programs in social assistance, social insurance, social welfare, and other targeted social policies

Area-based approach, targeting poor regions and villages as a whole, to a set of interventions targeted at poor households.

Creating economic opportunities as a means to escape poverty.

Why has the Election Commission frozen the Shiv Sena’s symbol?

In News:

Recently The Election Commission barred the Shiv Sena factions led by former CM Uddhav Thackeray and current Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde from using the party name and its election symbol.

How are symbols allotted to political parties?

As per the guidelines, to get a symbol allotted:

A party/candidate has to provide a list of three symbols from the EC’s free symbols list at the time of filing nomination papers.

Among them, one symbol is allotted to the party/candidate on a first-come-first-serve basis.

How does the ECI decide who gets the symbol?

Whenever parties split, there are chances of a dispute arising over claims to its election symbol.

The ECI adjudicates the matter, using Para 15 of the Symbols Order, 1968. This decision is binding on them. This applies to disputes in recognized national and state parties.

For splits in registered but unrecognized parties, the ECI usually advises the warring factions to resolve their differences internally or to approach the court.

Smart Contracts

In News:

Smart contracts let you execute automated actions on blockchains and are the backbone of the crypto industry.

What are smart contracts?

The crypto ecosystem sits on top of distributed ledgers, which are broadly called blockchains. Apart from recording and verifying transactions, some crypto blockchains like Ethereum let users launch agreements or special actions that execute on their own.

These are known as smart contracts and to create them effectively, programming languages are a must.

Who relies on Smart contracts?

Crypto exchanges, decentralized apps (dApps), the automated buying or selling of orders, and even NFT-based games often rely on smart contracts to run smoothly.

What if it fails

A smart contract failure can cause platform outages, and exploitation of the codes could devalue the entire ecosystem.

Important languages of programming for cryptos

C++, Java, Solidity, Rusk, Python Rholang, PHP, and Haskell.

2,000-year-old Rosetta Stone

In News:

According to a Reuters report, the UK is being asked to return the Rosetta Stone.

What is the Rosetta stone?

The Rosetta Stone is a large stone slab with inscriptions on it and is believed to be a piece of a bigger rock. It has inscriptions in three scripts, all of which convey a decree or public message.

This is similar to how in Ancient India, King Ashoka ordered stambhas or edicts that had messages of Buddha’s teachings and news about victory in a war inscribed.

Significance of Rosseta stone:

It holds the key to understanding Egyptian hieroglyphs

Archeological significance: stone’s age is at well over 2,000 years.