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6th January Current Affairs

What are the regulations govt has released to regulate online gaming in India?

(GS-II: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation)

In News:

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has released draft amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, in relation to online gaming.

Background:

An inter-ministerial task force established by the MeitY to propose the contours of national-level legislation to regulate online gaming had previously made several recommendations.

The draft of the proposed amendments has been released based on these.

What changes are being proposed?

Defines an ‘online game’: A game that is offered on the internet and is accessible by a user through a computer resource if s/he makes a deposit with the expectation of earning winnings.

Companies offering such online games will be handled similarly to social media companies in terms of regulatory compliances and obligations.

A self-regulatory body: Online games would be required to register with a self-regulatory body, and only games approved by the authority will be permitted to function lawfully in India. MeitY can recognise and derecognise all self-regulated bodies.

Mandatory KYC norms: Online gaming companies would be compelled to follow the same rules as entities regulated by the RBI.

Banning bets on the outcome: Online gaming companies will not be permitted to accept bets on game outcomes.

Chief Compliance Officer: The platforms are expected to appoint a senior employee, who would coordinate with law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance with their orders.

Nodal Contact Person: To facilitate the necessary coordination at any point of the day. Grievance redressal: The platforms must have in place an appropriate mechanism for the receipt and resolution of grievances.

Significance of the proposed changes:

Safeguard the interests of users (especially women and children).

Addresses the discourse in the sector about the definitions of a ‘game of skill’ (used in the Public Gambling Act (1867) but had not been defined) and a ‘game of chance’. The term ‘game of skill’ had been.

Endeavours to provide for greater transparency. For example,

Operators would have to inform the user about the policy related to the withdrawal or refund of their deposit.

Addiction is to be combated using repeated warning messages while playing a certain game.

These rules will help curb the menace of anti-national and illegal offshore gambling platforms.

What are some of the concerns?

The rules group all gaming intermediaries together, regardless of size or risk.

They all require similar compliances, including the requirement for executives to be based in India.

This might place an undue burden on young start-ups and make it difficult for global players to launch services in India.

Global practices:

China has placed strict limits on the time young people may spend playing online games and an online game must obtain approval before its launch.

In the U.S., Internet casino gaming remains illegal in every state that doesn’t explicitly legalise the games.

Germany’s “Youth Protection” laws aimed at regulating violent games require developers to replace realistic red blood with a green version.

Australia has sought to ban games for including depictions of everything from assault to marijuana use.

Conclusion:

On the one hand, the proposed rules seek to expand the online gaming market and stimulate innovation, while on the other, they seek to regulate the online gaming market in India in order to protect users’ interests.

Facebook fined €390 mn for breaching EU privacy law: Why is the ruling significant?

(GS-II: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors)

In News:

Meta has been slapped with fines totalling €390 million by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) for breaching General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Details:

Meta’s profit forecasts for 2023 have dropped nearly 50%, indicating that both users and advertisers are abandoning the platforms (exception – of Instagram Reels and WhatsApp).

Background:

The company’s advertising and data handling practices have been accused of breaching the EU’s overarching privacy law – GDPR.

The legal permission that Meta sought from users to collect their data for personalised advertising, essentially forced them to accept personalised ads, in violation of the GDPR.

As per the GDPR, cross-border cases are handled by the data protection authority in the country where the company is based.

Significance of the ruling:

Strengthens the GDPR’s overarching theme – the individual’s right over her data and the need for a person to give explicit consent before their data can be processed.

The decision could imply that Meta would have to tweak its apps to ensure that they do not leverage personal data for advertising.

Impact of the ruling:

The likely ripple effect: With a focus on privacy and requiring individuals to give explicit consent, the GDPR has substantially influenced legislation in nearly 160 countries.

Broadening individual’s right over her data: A pair of sub-legislation of GDPR –

The Digital Services Act (DSA) focuses on issues such as regulating hate speech, etc.

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) defines a new category of “dominant gatekeeper” platforms and is focused on non-competitive practices and the abuse of dominance/monopoly by these players.

The possible impact of the ruling on India:

The Government of India is currently working on a policy framework for the tech sector, which includes –

  • The new Personal Data Protection bill
  • A comprehensive Digital India Act that would eventually replace the existing IT Act, and
  • The new Telecom Bill

Hence, the ruling could have resonance in India too.

Biodiversity of the bee population critical for ecosystems

(GS-III: Food processing and related industries in India)

In News:

A report highlighted, that the biodiversity of the bee population is essential to preserving the ecosystem function of crop pollination, which is crucial to the availability of food for humans.

About Bee Cultivation/Apiculture:

Apiculture is the science and culture of honeybees and their management.

As per the FAO, India ranked eighth in 2017-18 in the world in terms of honey production.

National Beekeeping and Honey mission was launched to achieve the goal of Sweet Revolution.

Opportunities in the Beekeeping sector:

Low investment and highly skilled enterprise model.

The demand for good-quality honey has grown

Role in pollination

Scaling up beekeeping will double farmers’ income.

Challenges faced by the Beekeeping sector:

Indigenous method of beekeeping: This is the primitive and unplanned method of apiculture.

Using the Correct Species for Beekeeping

Lack of Technical Knowledge for Efficient Management of Colonies for High Honey Yields

Lack of Infrastructure at the Grass Roots and National Level for Beekeeping

Poor Quality Control for the Production of Honey: contaminated not only by the use of sugar syrup in processing but also through pesticide and antibiotics use.

Availability of Genetically Superior Queens for Increased Honey Production

Lack of sufficient financial help from government and lending institutions for the development of beekeeping.

No Control on the Use of Pesticides by Farmers Leading to Death of Bee Colonies in Field Locations.

Recommendations made by Beekeeping Development Committee under Bibek Debroy:

  • Plantation of bee-friendly flora at appropriate places and engaging women SHG in managing such plantations.
  • Institutionalizing the National Bee Board and rechristening it as the Honey and Pollinators Board of India under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
  • Recognition of apiculture as a subject for advanced research under the aegis of ICAR.
  • Training and development of beekeepers by state governments.
  • Development of national and regional infrastructure
  • Simplifying procedures and specifying clear standards for ease of exporting honey Hi-tech apiaries for commercial bee-farming
  • Research in the fields of beekeeping, bee-behaviour