Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

12 APRIL 2021


Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name



Why the Personal Data Protection Bill matters

The Hindu


Should gap between Covid-19 vaccine doses be raised?

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

TReDS can be a lifeline for small businesses

Syllabus–GS 3: Indian Economy

Analysis: –

  • TReDS (Trade Receivables Discounting System) a key platform to revive the economy by providing financing to small businesses.
  • Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are vital towards building a $5 trillion economy.
  • The pandemic saw many MSMEs face a massive liquidity crunch, and this makes TReDS (Trade Receivables Discounting System) a key platform to revive the economy by providing financing to small businesses.
  • Central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) are mandated by the government to procure at least 25 per cent of their purchases from MSMEs and to register on TReDS.

In COVID: Visually challenged struggle with e-textbooks

Syllabus– GS 2: Health

Analysis: –

  • For Class VII pupil Tejasvi Raj, doing his each day homework comes with the double problem of being a visually impaired pupil within the COVID-19 period of digital education. His display studying software program can’t entry the PowerPoint presentation that his lecturers had ready for on-line college. E-textbooks offered on the federal government’s digital platform DIKSHA, which it has promoted as a transformative useful resource for digital schooling, usually are not absolutely accessible both.
  • “The PowerPoints [presentations] for Zoom lessons are despatched to college students in PDF format, so they aren’t readable for him. The NCERT (Nationwide Council of Academic Analysis and Coaching) e-textbooks are solely partly readable. Any time they’ve photos or diagrams, it’s clean for him. Hindi and Sanskrit books usually are not readable in any respect,” mentioned his mom Manorama Yadav, including that COVID-19 had made all the things tougher for the scholar of Delhi Public Faculty, R.Ok. Puram.

RBI not in favour of supervising NUEs

Syllabus– GS 3: Indian economy
Analysis: –

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is not in favour of having direct and supervisory control over the New Umbrella Entities (NUE) and instead wants agencies such as the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) or a newly formed body to take over the role, senior government officials in know of the development said.
  • One of the major reasons for the central bank being in favour of letting either the NPCI or a newly formed entity take over the supervisory role is the high cost of setting up a new division at the RBI, the officials said. “In our initial discussions, it (high cost) was flagged more than once. Since the operations of NUEs will have financial aspects, the relevant permissions from RBI will still be needed. But the day-to-day supervision and control could be left to any other agency,” an official said.
  • the RBI’s reluctance to have direct control over NUEs could also signal a soft touch approach by the government, allowing the sector to rapidly. The control, if given in the hands of NPCI, could raise some protests from newer payment platforms which are already at loggerheads with the agency.

Banerjee slams theory of limited govt intervention to uplift the poor

Syllabus– GS 2: Governance, GS 3: Indian Economy, Employment

Analysis: –

  • Renowned economist and Nobel laureate Abjijit Vinayak Banerjee has trashed the ideology that calls for lesser or limited government interventions towards uplifting the poor arguing that such freebies make the poor lazy, saying there is no evidence whatsoever proving so.
  • He said his own research on the subject across diverse economies in Asia, Africa and Latin America in the past decade and more does not support this ideology, rather it proves that those who have benefited from public and non-governmental interventions wherein they were given free assets did in fact became more productive and creative.
  • Addressing the 20th foundation day of Bandhan Bank, the non-profit-turned-MFI-turned-small finance bank, on Sunday, Banerjee said there is no data and no empirical evidence anywhere to establish the ideology that getting freebies or getting free assets make the poor people lazy.

Mains Analysis

Why the Personal Data Protection Bill matters?

Why in News: –

The pandemic has forced more people to participate in the digital economy.The recent alleged data breach at MobiKwik could stand to be India’s biggest breach with the data of 9.9 crore users at risk.

Syllabus: -GS 3- Cyber Security

  • Data is a powerful tool. In the wrong hands, it has the potential to even turn elections. This is why we need a strong legal system around data use and how authorities can regulate it.
  • In 2017, a nine-judge Supreme Court bench in KS Puttaswamy vs Union of India (or the right to privacy case) affirmed privacy as a fundamental right.
  • Over eighty countries including India have also recognised the growing importance of data protection and have pushed for legislations.
  • In the Budget Session of Parliament next month, a Joint Parliamentary Committee is expected to table its report on the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, 2019.
  • Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 or “Privacy Bill”, inspired from a previous draft version prepared by a committee headed by retired Justice B N Srikrishna, now under scrutiny by a Joint Parliamentary Committee, could play a big role in providing robust protections to users and their personal data.
  • The need for more robust data protection legislation came to the fore in 2017 post the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) v. Union of India that established the right to privacy as a fundamental right.

What is personal data: –

  • India’s proposed legislation defines “personal data” as “data about or relating to a natural person who is directly or indirectly identifiable, having regard to any characteristic, trait, attribute or any other feature of the identity of such natural person, whether online or offline, or any combination of such features with any other information, and shall include any inference drawn from such data for the purpose of profiling…”
  • It tries to protect individual rights by regulating the collection, movement, and processing of data that is personal, or which can identify the individual.
  • The Bill gives the government powers to authorize the transfer of certain types of personal data overseas and has given exceptions allowing government agencies to collect personal data of citizens.

The Bill divides the data into three categories:

  • Personal Data: Data from which an individual can be identified like name, address, etc.
  • Sensitive Personal Data: Some types of personal data like financial, health-related, sexual orientation, biometric, genetic, transgender status, caste, religious belief, and more.
  • It needs to be stored only in India and can be processed abroad only under certain conditions including approval of the Data Protection Agency (DPA).
  • Critical Personal Data: Anything that the government at any time can deem critical, such as military or national security data.
  • It must be stored and processed in India only.
  • The bill removes the requirement of data mirroring (in case of personal data). Only individual consent for data transfer abroad is required.
  • Data mirroring is the act of copying data from one location to a storage device in real-time.

Issues: –

  • Personal data in India is mainly governed by the Information Technology Act, 2000, and various other sectoral regulations.
  • However, this data protection regime falls short of providing effective protection to users and their personal data.
  • For instance, entities could override the protections in the regime by taking users’ consent to processing personal data under broad terms and conditions.
  • This is problematic given that users might not understand the terms and conditions or the implications of giving consent.
  • Further, the frameworks emphasize data security but do not place enough emphasis on data privacy.
  • The data protection provisions under the IT Act also do not apply to government agencies. This creates a large vacuum for data protection when governments are collecting and processing large amounts of personal data.
  • Finally, the regime seems to have become antiquated and inadequate in addressing risks emerging from new developments in data processing technology.

The upcoming Challenges: –

  • The proposed regime under the Bill seeks to be different from the existing regime in some prominent ways.
  • First, the Bill seeks to apply the data protection regime to both government and private entities across all sectors.
  • Second, the Bill seeks to emphasize data security and data privacy.
  • While entities will have to maintain security safeguards to protect personal data, they will also have to fulfill a set of data protection obligations and transparency and accountability measures that govern how entities can process personal data to uphold users’ privacy and interests.
  • Third, the Bill seeks to give users a set of rights over their personal data and means to exercise those rights.
  • Fourth, the Bill seeks to create an independent and powerful regulator known as the Data Protection Authority (DPA).
  • The DPA will monitor and regulate data processing activities to ensure their compliance with the regime.
  • More importantly, the DPA will give users a channel to seek redress when entities do not comply with their obligations under the regime.

Concerns over the Bill:

  • For instance, under clause 35, the Central government can exempt any government agency from complying with the Bill.
  • Government agencies will then be able to process personal data without following any safeguard under the Bill. This could create severe privacy risks for users.
  • Similarly, users could find it difficult to enforce various user protection safeguards (such as rights and remedies) in the Bill.
  • For instance, the Bill threatens legal consequences for users who withdraw their consent for a data processing activity.
  • In practice, this could discourage users from withdrawing consent for processing activities they want to opt out of.
  • Additional concerns also emerge for the DPA as an independent effective regulator that can uphold users’ interests.

Value-Addition: –

  • The High Court of Kerala, in Balu Gopalakrishnan v. State of Kerala passed an interim order regarding the export of COVID-19-related data from the government of Kerala to a US-based entity, Sprinklr, for data analytics. The High Court held that the government must anonymise this data, obtain the consent of citizens and ensure their data returns.

The way forward

  • The time is ripe for India to have a robust data protection regime.
  • The Joint Parliamentary Committee that is scrutinizing the Bill has proposed 86 amendments and one new clause to the Bill – although the exact changes are not in the public domain.
  • The Committee is expected to submit its final report in the Monsoon Session of Parliament in 2021.
  • Taking this time to make some changes in the Bill targeted towards addressing various concerns in it could make a stronger and more effective data protection regime.

Question: –

How should a legal framework for data protection balance the imperatives of protecting privacy and ensuring innovation and productivity growth?

Should gap between Covid-19 vaccine doses be raised?

Why in News: –

In any case, refugee flows to India are unlikely to end any time soon given the geopolitical, economic, ethnic and religious contexts of the region.

Syllabus: – GS 2: International Relation

How do you decide the right time to give a vaccine?

  • A lot also depends on whether you’ve had prior exposure — whether there are pre-existing antibodies.
  • For example, when you give a live vaccine and you’ve had prior exposure or if it’s a child and the mother’s antibodies have been passed through the placenta, then you’ll have an immune response that’s not very good.

How do you decide the best interval between doses?

  • For vaccines requiring multiple doses, the dose usually induces an immune response about three weeks later, but it can take up to eight weeks or longer for the antibodies to mature and become fully functional.
  • If you look at the basic principles of vaccination, there is no maximum interval defined for vaccines.
  • You have recommended intervals, but you can give a second dose at any time.

What are the benefits of a longer interval during a pandemic?

  • If increasing the interval gives a greater degree of protection, it’s worthwhile.
  • The other (benefit) is if you’re in a situation of constrained supply and you know that a single dose of the vaccine gives you reasonably good protection.
  • This way, you can protect more people quickly while waiting for production to catch up and then disburse the second dose.

Are there any drawbacks?

  • If the vaccines rely entirely on two doses to give you protection, and if incomplete protection allows for the virus to replicate and therefore mutate, that is a drawback.
  • However, the virus is mutating in people with normal immune systems who have received only a single dose.
  • It’s not that hard to induce mutations in the lab and it becomes quite difficult to be able to relate back exactly to human beings, who are way more complicated than experimental systems.

Are governments adjusting the gap between doses?

  • Lots of governments have been doing so. For instance, Canada has done this for all of their vaccines.
  • In fact, they’ve decided to go with a four-month interval.
  • Many countries have decided that there is enough evidence to show that, for the AstraZeneca vaccine (Covishield in India), increasing the gap between doses definitely gives better value.
  • If you look at the effectiveness data in the single-dose studies from the UK, you can see quite clearly that one dose is working very well and that it’s perfectly fine to lose the second dose for at least 12 weeks.
  • More people in the UK are getting their second doses of vaccines only now, but you’ve already started to see a decline in deaths as an effect of the first dose.
  • For other vaccines as well, many countries have increased the gap between doses, but some countries that don’t have a shortage of supply have not.

Value- Addition: –

  • The ‘Tika Utsav’ is a four-day exercise, starting April 11, which is the birth anniversary of social activist Jyotiba Phule and ending April 14, which marks the birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, aimed at inoculating as many people as possible against the Covid-19 disease.
  • Before the launch of the drive on Sunday, the PM took to Twitter to make four requests to the citizens.
  • The requests were listed as “Each One-Vaccinate One, Each One-Treat One, Each One-Save One, and creation of micro-containment zones”.

Way Forward: –

  • The point is the WHO has recommended it as well. The government is making the argument that the AstraZeneca studies are very poorly done, that there isn’t enough data, these are all bad clinical trials, etc.
  • But, if you’ve got data that shows that it is not unsafe, and that it may increase benefit, then, to me, it makes sense to use that data, especially if it can maximise coverage in your population.
  • Now, we also have data from the AstraZeneca trial in the US and South America that shows that you get 76% efficacy with a four-week interval.
  • It’s a more marginal benefit than we saw with the UK study, but it would still have some benefit.
  • We should also be doing a vaccine effectiveness study to look at the real-world impact of different dosing schedules.

Question: –

Critically evaluate the Vaccination drive in India in the context of Tika Utsav.

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