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01 March 2024 Daily Current Affairs

1. More children turning into victims of cyberbullying

The article highlights the increasing problem of cyberbullying among children in Bangalore, India.

Key Points:

  • Increased curiosity and screen time due to COVID-19 have led to a rise in cyberbullying cases.

  • Children can experience various forms of cyberbullying, leading to mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and even suicidal tendencies.

  • Two types of children are involved: those susceptible to being bullied and those who bully impulsively.

  • Parents should be more involved in their children's online activity and open to discussing cyberbullying issues.

  • Underreporting is a major concern, with parents and children hesitant to seek help or file complaints.

  • Schools play a crucial role in educating children about cyber safety and providing safe spaces to report bullying.

  • The government is working on creating awareness programs to combat cyberbullying and make online spaces safer.


The article defines cyberbullying among children as similar to what adults experience. It involves using technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target someone. Here are some specific examples mentioned in the article:

  • Insults: Sending offensive messages or comments online.

  • Harassment: Repeatedly sending unwanted messages or threats.

  • Denigration: Spreading rumors or lies about someone online.

  • Hoaxing: Creating and spreading false information about someone online.

  • Cyber pursuit: Stalking someone online or through their devices.

  • Impersonation: Pretending to be someone else online to deceive or embarrass them.

It's important to note that cyberbullying can be even more harmful than traditional bullying because it can reach a wider audience and follow the victim everywhere they go online. Additionally, the article mentions the lasting impact of cyberbullying, highlighting how online content can be permanent and the psychological and physical consequences it can have on victims.


2. Windfall taxes

Why in news: - Centre hikes windfall tax on petroleum crude

A windfall tax is a one-off tax imposed by a government on specific industries or companies that have experienced unexpected and significantly above-average profits. These profits are often attributed to external economic factors rather than any specific actions taken by the businesses themselves.

Here are some key points about windfall taxes:

  • Purpose: The government imposes a windfall tax to:

  • Capture a share of these unexpected profits to generate additional revenue. This can be used for various purposes, such as funding social programs or reducing budget deficits.

  • Discourage excessive profiteering from situations outside of the normal market conditions.

  • Targets: Windfall taxes are typically targeted towards industries that have benefited significantly from specific events, such as:

  • Energy companies experiencing high oil prices due to global conflicts or supply disruptions.

  • Commodity producers seeing increased demand and prices due to unexpected shortages or market conditions.

  • Controversy: Windfall taxes are often controversial because:

  • Businesses argue that they disincentivize investment and innovation.

  • They can be seen as unfair punishment for companies experiencing positive economic conditions.


3. The economic case for investing in India’s children


**The article argues for a paradigm shift in India's approach to early childhood care and education (ECCE) by highlighting its economic benefits and the need for evidence-based policy.

Key Points:

  • Neglected Investment: Although education is a national focus, ECCE has been under-invested and often undervalued, seen as "child's play" or solely a domestic concern.

  • Shifting Focus: This is changing, with initiatives like NIPUN Bharat and Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi targeting children under 6, and increased budget allocation for Anganwadis.

  • Evidence of Impact: Research shows positive outcomes from Anganwadi attendance, including improved cognitive and motor skills, especially for disadvantaged groups.

  • Economic Justification: The article calls for estimating the potential GDP gains from improved health, education, and social well-being due to ECCE investment.

  • International Context: Studies from other countries suggest a high return on investment for early childhood programs, but Indian-specific research is needed to understand the full economic impact.

  • Addressing Concerns: The article acknowledges the need to determine how resources should be allocated (infrastructure, materials, staffing) to maximize the impact.

  • Long-term Vision: Investing in ECCE today will contribute to a developed India by 2047 by fostering a healthy, educated, and productive workforce.

  • Beyond Economic Benefits: Early childhood investment goes beyond economics. It empowers women to participate in the workforce, promotes children's development across various aspects, and fosters a peaceful and stable society.

**Overall, the article urges a strategic and data-driven approach to ECCE in India. It emphasizes the economic and societal returns of investing in young children, urging a move from "child's play" to a well-considered national priority.


4.E-evidence, new criminal law, its implementation

Three new criminal laws, including the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA), will come into effect on July 1st, 2024. This article discusses the changes related to electronic evidence (e-evidence) in the BSA.

Key points:

  • Clarity on Electronic Records: The BSA defines "document" to include electronic records like emails, server logs, and messages (Section 2(1)(k)).

  • Primary Electronic Evidence: Videos stored electronically are considered primary evidence, even if the original is destroyed (Section 57, Explanation 1).

  • Admissibility of E-evidence: The BSA maintains the existing requirement for a certificate from the device owner and an expert for e-evidence admissibility (Section 63(4)). The certificate format is prescribed in the Schedule.

  • The expert verifies the certificate by stating a specific hash algorithm was used (Schedule, Form 2).

  • Acceptable hash algorithms include SHA256, considered more secure (Schedule, Form 2).

  • Challenges and Concerns:

  • Increased workload for cyber labs due to mandatory expert certification for all e-evidence (Section 63(4)).

  • Lack of infrastructure and manpower in some cyber labs to handle the increased demand.

  • Potential for delays in trials due to the certificate requirements.

Recommendations:

  • Consider requiring expert certification only when e-evidence integrity is disputed in court (Section 63(4) could be amended).

  • Invest in strengthening cyber labs and their capacity.

  • Increase awareness about encryption methods for agencies using electronic devices.

Overall, the article highlights the upcoming changes in e-evidence handling and potential challenges in implementation. It suggests measures to address these concerns and ensure smooth adoption of the new law.


5.Explained | The Katchatheevu controversy


Summary:

This article details the history and ongoing dispute surrounding Katchatheevu, an islet claimed by both India and Sri Lanka.

Key Points:

  • Recent Developments: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K

  • . Stalin revived the debate by calling for Katchatheevu's retrieval from Sri Lanka to address fishermen's issues.

  • Historical Background:

  • 1974: India and Sri Lanka signed an agreement demarcating the maritime boundary, placing Katchatheevu under Sri Lanka's control.

  • Traditionally, fishermen from both countries have used the islet for fishing, but the agreement restricts fishing without permission.

  • Significance of Katchatheevu:

  • An annual festival at the islet's St. Anthony's Church draws devotees from both sides.

  • The islet was historically claimed by both the Raja of Ramnad and Sri Lanka based on historical possession.

  • Opposition to the 1974 Agreement:

  • The agreement faced criticism in India, with opposition parties and leaders like M. Karunanidhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee arguing it was unfair.

  • Revival of the Issue:

  • The demand for Katchatheevu's retrieval resurfaced in 1991 and has been raised by various Tamil Nadu leaders.

  • Indian Government's Stance:

  • The government maintains that no Indian territory was ceded, as the island was disputed and the agreement settled the boundary issue.

  • They acknowledge the Supreme Court's ongoing deliberation on the matter.

Overall, the article highlights the complex history and ongoing controversy surrounding Katchatheevu, with no easy resolution in sight.


6. PM-Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana - Unveiling the murk around "free" electricity

The Indian government's ambitious ₹75,021 crore "PM-Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana" (Free Electricity Scheme) aims to incentivize rooftop solar installations in one crore Indian households, promising 300 units of "free" electricity per month. However, the scheme's details raise questions about the feasibility and clarity of achieving this goal.

Unveiled Discrepancies:

  • Subsidy vs. Free Electricity: The scheme offers a subsidy of 60% or 40% for installation costs, depending on the system size. This leaves a significant financial burden on households for the remaining cost. While the government claims low-interest loans are available, this contradicts the Power Minister's statement about PSU taking loans and recovering them through electricity bills exceeding the 300 units. This discrepancy creates confusion about the actual "free" aspect of the scheme.

Unanswered Questions:

  • Mechanism of "Free" Electricity: The program lacks clarity on how the 300 units of "free" electricity will be delivered. Will it be a direct subsidy on electricity bills, or will it be generated through the installed system, with households needing to manage the remaining electricity usage?

  • Loan Repayment and Cost Sharing: If the Minister's statement is true, and PSUs take loans to cover the unsubsidized cost, who will ultimately bear the burden of repayment? Will it be the households through higher electricity bills, or will the government subsidize the loan repayments as well?

Beyond the Confusion:

  • Boosting Domestic Manufacturing: The scheme promotes the use of domestically manufactured solar panels, potentially benefiting the Indian solar industry.

  • Encouraging Rural Adoption: Initiatives like "Model Solar Villages" aim to increase rooftop solar adoption in rural areas, fostering energy independence and potentially lowering electricity costs in the long run.

  • Encouraging Innovation: The scheme includes a fund for innovative projects in rooftop solar, potentially driving technological advancements in the field.

Overall, while the PM-Surya Ghar Yojana aims to increase rooftop solar adoption and potentially benefit the environment and domestic manufacturing, the lack of clarity regarding the "free" electricity aspect and potential cost burdens raise concerns about its actual impact on household finances. Addressing these discrepancies and providing a transparent roadmap for implementation is crucial for building trust and ensuring the program's success.


Additional Details of the scheme: -

The major highlights of the scheme include:

Central Financial Assistance (CFA) for Residential Rooftop Solar

  1. The scheme provides a CFA of 60% of system cost for 2 kW systems and 40% of additional system cost for systems between 2 to 3 kW capacity. The CFA will be capped at 3 kW. At current benchmark prices, this will mean Rs 30,000 subsidy for 1 kW system, Rs 60,000 for 2 kW systems and Rs 78,000 for 3 kW systems or higher.

  2. The households will apply for subsidy through the National Portal and will be able to select a suitable vendor for installing rooftop solar. The National Portal will assist the households in their decision-making process by providing relevant information such as appropriate system sizes, benefits calculator, vendor rating etc.

  3. Households will be able to access collateral-free low-interest loan products of around 7% at present for installation of residential RTS systems up to 3 kW.

Other Features of the Scheme

  1. A Model Solar Village will be developed in each district of the country to act as a role model for adoption of rooftop solar in rural areas,

  2. Urban Local Bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions shall also benefit from incentives for promoting RTS installations in their areas.     

  3. The scheme provides a component for payment security for renewable energy service company (RESCO) based models as well as a fund for innovative projects in RTS.


7. Cabinet approves establishment of International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA)

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the establishment of International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) with headquarters in India with a one-time budgetary support of Rs.150 crore for a period of five years from 2023-24 to 2027-28.


Historical Background: - Prime Minister of India during his speech on the occasion of Global Tiger Day, 2019 called for an Alliance of Global Leaders to curb poaching in Asia. He reiterated this on the occasion of Commemorating 50 years of India's Project Tiger on April 9, 2023 and formally announced launch of an International Big Cat Alliance aiming at securing the future of big cats and landscapes they thrive.


Seven big cats include Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Puma, Jaguar and the Cheetah out of these five big cats viz. Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Cheetah are found in India.




01 March 2024 Daily Current Affairs

01 March 2024 Daily Current Affairs


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