Draft amendments to IT Rules, 2021
(GS-II: Government Policies and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has published a fresh draft of amendments to the Information Technology Rules, 2021.
What are IT Rules, 2021?
Significant social media firms have to appoint a chief compliance officer and have a nodal contact person who can be in touch with law enforcement agencies 24/7.
A grievance officer: Social media platforms will also have to name a grievance officer who shall register the grievance within 24 hours.
Removal of content: If there are complaints against the dignity of users, particularly women – about exposed private parts of individuals or nudity or sexual act or impersonation etc – social media platforms will be required to remove that within 24 hours after a complaint is made.
A monthly report: They also will have to publish a monthly report about the number of complaints received and the status of redressal.
What is a significant social media intermediary and benefits obtained under it?
Social media companies with more than 50 lakh registered users will be considered ‘significant social media intermediaries’, as per the new norms.
Appeal committees: Government-appointed appeal committees will be created that will be able to veto content-moderation decisions taken by social media intermediaries like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Composition of Appeal committees: Appellate Committees shall consist of a Chairperson and such other Members, as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.
Additional responsibilities will be placed on grievance officers appointed by social media companies. Grievance officers will now have to expeditiously dispose the complaints within 72 hours (Earlier, it was 15 days).
What it means for an user?
In case a user is not satisfied with the content moderation decision taken by a company’s grievance officer, they can appeal that decision before the proposed government-appointed appeals committee.
Need for the amendments:
So far, the only recourse a user had against companies’ content decisions is to approach the courts.
Also, there have been many instances that grievance officers of intermediaries either do not address the grievances satisfactorily and/or fairly.
The amendments will ensure that “Constitutional rights of Indian citizens are not contravened by any big tech platform by ensuring new accountability standards”.
The proposal to set up government-appointed committees has triggered concerns about the government overriding social media platforms’ content decisions.
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
(GS-II: Important International Institutions)
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar recently said that India looks forward to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) by overcoming political impediments.
The 48-member NSG is an elite club of countries that deals with the trade-in nuclear technology and fissile materials besides contributing to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Brought in 1974– in response to the Indian nuclear test (smiling Buddha).
It is a Group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.
The NSG first met in November 1975 in London, and is thus popularly referred to as the “London Club”.
Its guidelines are not binding.
Benefits associated with NSG membership- Once admitted, an NSG member state gets:
Opposition of NSG membership bid:
China, one of the five nuclear-weapon states, stridently opposes India’s NSG bid primarily on the grounds that New Delhi is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Its opposition has made India’s entry into the group difficult as the NSG works on the principle of consensus.
Besides, India’s capacity to project its military power beyond the Indian Ocean region is still to be tested. Further, India heavily relies on weaponry imports from US and Russia for its military requirements.
(GS-III: Conservation related issues)
The usage of the term ‘carbon bombs’ picked up after an investigative project of The Guardian this year.
The project reported the plans of countries and private companies all over the world to engage in 195 ‘carbon bomb’.
What are carbon bombs?
Definition by the Guardian: It is “an oil or gas project that will result in at least a billion tonnes of CO2 emissions over its lifetime.”
In total, around 195 such projects have been identified world over, including in the US, Russia, West Asia, Australia and India.
According to the report, they will collectively overshoot the limit of emissions that had been agreed to in the Paris Agreement of 2015.
What is the plan for ‘defusing’ carbon bombs?
The network working towards this goal is called Leave It In the Ground Initiative (LINGO).
Its mission is to “leave fossil fuels in the ground and learn to live without them.”
It believes the root of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels, and the 100% use of renewable energy sources is the solution.
LINGO aims to organise ground support for protesting such projects, challenge them through litigation, and conduct analysis and studies for the same.
National air sports policy
(GS-II: Government Policies and associated issues)
The Union ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) announced the country’s first national air sports policy (NASP 2022).
It has been launched to improve the state of aero sports in India, with a vision to make India a hub for air sports in the world by 2030.
It aims to provide a safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable air sports ecosystem in India.
Highlights of the Policy:
Four-tier governance structure: The air sports in India will be under a four-tier governance structure. This includes: 1) Air Sports Federation of India (ASFI) as the apex governing body, 2) National associations for individual air sports or a set of air sports, 3) Regional or state and union territory level units of the national air sports associations and 4) District-level air sports associations.
About ASFI: The ASFI will be an autonomous body under the Ministry of Civil Aviation and will represent India at the Lausanne-headquartered Fédération Aéronaautique Internationale (FAI) and other global platforms related to air sports. It will be chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Functions: It will provide governance over various aspects of air sports, including regulation, certification, competitions, awards and penalties, etc.
Rules and Functions of Each air sports association: Lay down its safety standards for equipment, infrastructure, personnel and training, and specify the disciplinary actions to be taken in case of non-compliance. Inability to do so may lead to penal action by the ASFI.
Coverage: It will cover 13 air sports activities like aerobatics, aeromodelling, amateur-built and experimental aircraft, ballooning, drones, gliding, hang gliding, paragliding, microlighting, paramotoring, skydiving, and vintage aircraft.
Significance of the Policy:
Besides the revenue from air sports activities, multiplier benefits in terms of growth in travel, tourism, infrastructure and local employment, especially in hilly areas of the country, are much greater.
Creating air sports hubs across the country will bring in air sports professionals and tourists from across the world.
The aerosports industry has expressed its displeasure that the government was not doing enough to encourage aero sports in the country despite the fact that there is a tremendous potential in the country keeping in view the diverse scenic locales.
Aerosports create significant opportunities for growth of tourism, employment generation and interest in aviation activities.
A growth-oriented NASP may help attract investments in latest aerosports technology, infrastructure and best practices.