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Daily Current Affairs – 11th March 2021

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Daily Current Affairs

Given below are the daily current affairs for 11th March 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.

POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

Kerala HC restrains Centre on IT rules

Context:

  • Online legal news portal challenges the new IT regulations.

Background:

  • The government recently notified the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 regulating digital news media, curated content (OTT platforms), and social media intermediaries.

Details:

  • The Kerala High Court has restrained the Centre from taking coercive action against Live Law Media Private Ltd., which owns a legal news portal, for not complying with the new IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

Petitioner’s stand:

Excessive regulation:

  • The petition claims that Part III of the rules imposing a three-tier complaint and adjudication structure on publishers would make it virtually impossible for small or medium-sized publishers to function.
  • The petition also claims that the creation of a grievance redressal mechanism, through a governmental oversight body amounted to excessive regulation.

Against constitutional rights:

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  • Rule 4(2), which makes it mandatory for every social media intermediary to enable tracing of originators of information on its platform violates Article 19(1)(a) (freedom of speech and expression).
  • The rules obligating messaging intermediaries to alter their infrastructure to “fingerprint” each message on a mass scale for every user to trace the first originator were violative of the fundamental right to privacy of Internet users.

Cabinet clears fund for health care

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN).
    • The new fund collected from the proceeds of Health and Education Cess would function as a single non-lapsable reserve fund for health.
      • In the 2018 Budget, the Central government announced the replacement of the existing 3% Education Cess by 4% Health and Education Cess.
    • The administration and maintenance of the PMSSN is entrusted to the Health Ministry.
  • The major benefits of PMSSN will be the enhanced access to universal and affordable health care through the availability of earmarked resources while ensuring that the amount does not lapse at the end of the financial year.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Indo-Pacific is key priority: White House

Context:

  • The first-ever Quad leaders’ summit-level meeting under the Biden administration.

Details:

  • The planned meeting would be a virtual meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan.
  • A range of issues is likely to be discussed, including COVID-19, economic cooperation and the climate crisis.

Significance:

Reiterating U.S.’s commitment to Indo-pacific and the Quad:

  • This would be one of President Biden’s earliest multilateral engagements. The early scheduling of the Quad summit signifies the group’s importance for the Biden administration and also the importance the administration places on the Indo-Pacific.
  • It signals the U.S.’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific. It portrays the U.S intent to deepen its engagement with the Quad nations.

Scope for cooperation and collaboration:

  • The Quad carries the potential for the member nations to pool their capabilities and build habits of cooperation to address some of the common interests, with maritime security being the foremost.

The China angle:

  • Despite labelling China as its biggest competitor, the Biden administration has been careful to not portray the Quad as being China focussed. However, the Quad provides a unique platform to counter the increasing assertiveness of the Chinese in the Indo-Pacific.

What does Biden’s peace plan mean for Afghanistan?

Context:

  • The Joe Biden administration has proposed a new peace plan to the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Background:

U.S.-Taliban deal:

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  • According to the agreement signed between the U.S. and the Taliban in February 2020, American troops are set to leave Afghanistan by May 1.
  • The Taliban and the Afghan government started peace talks in Doha in September last year but reached no breakthrough. Violence has continued unabated.
    • The talks are aimed at reaching a consensus on Afghanistan’s future constitutional and governing arrangements with the formation of a new “inclusive government” and “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire” being the top agenda.

Details:

American proposal:

  • The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has proposed a UN-led conference of representatives of Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India and the U.S. to discuss a unified approach to support peace in Afghanistan. Mr. Blinken has also proposed a senior-level meeting of the Afghan government and the Taliban in Turkey.
  • The U.S. would try to accelerate the ongoing talks between the Afghan leadership and the Taliban by sharing written proposals through the U.S.’s special envoy for Afghanistan.
  • The U.S. administration has made a renewed push for an interim unity government.
    • As per the Biden administration’s own assessment, the Taliban are on the ascent. The new administration believes that the best way to prevent a complete Taliban takeover is a regional peace process and an interim unity government.

The Afghanistan government’s stand:

  • The Afghanistan administration has consistently been critical of the U.S.’s direct outreach to the Taliban and making concessions to the Taliban.
  • It has been vocal about the right of the elected representatives as being the only legitimate representatives of the Afghan people in making decisions related to Afghanistan. The administration has reiterated its opposition to any transfer of power except through elections.

Concerns:

Worsen security situation:

  • If American troops are pulled out of Afghanistan, it is very likely that the security situation will worsen and that the Taliban could make rapid territorial gains.

Ascent of the Taliban:

  • Despite the Afghan government’s opposition to sharing power with the Taliban, it seems to have very less options.
  • If the Afghan government rejects the American offer, the war will continue. The withdrawal of the U.S. troops will place the Afghan government in a tough spot. If the government accepts the proposal, it will have to share power with the Taliban and discuss amendments to the Constitution and the future governance framework. Either way, the Taliban are set to make gains.

U.S. Defense Secretary to visit India

  • American Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will be soon visiting India as part of his maiden visit abroad. The Secretary will also visit Japan and South Korea and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii. The planned visit would help reinforce the U.S.’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific.
  • Cooperation, regional security challenges are expected to be discussed. Issues surrounding the deepening of the U.S.-India Major Defence Partnership and advancing cooperation between the countries for a free, prosperous and open Indo-Pacific and Western Indian Ocean Region are high on the agenda.
    • India and the U.S. have witnessed a deepening of their security partnership. Growing Chinese assertiveness has also brought them closer in terms of security cooperation.

MISCELLANEOUS

Navy inducts third Scorpene submarine

  • The Navy inducted the third Scorpene class conventional diesel-electric submarine, INS Karanj, into service.
    • The Scorpene-class submarines are a class of diesel-electric attack submarines. It features diesel propulsion and an additional air-independent propulsion (AIP).
INS Karanj

CISF celebrates its 52nd Raising Day in Ghaziabad

  • The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) celebrated its 52nd Raising Day at Ghaziabad.
  • The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is a Central Armed Police Force in India and is governed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It was set up under an Act of the Parliament of India.
  • The CISF provides security cover to industrial units, government infrastructure projects and facilities and establishments located all over India. Industrial sectors like atomic power plants, space installations, mines, oil fields and refineries, major ports, heavy engineering, steel plants, barrages, fertiliser units, airports and hydroelectric/thermal power plants owned and controlled by Central Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), and currency note presses producing Indian currency are protected by CISF.

Country’s biggest floating solar power plant

The country’s biggest floating solar power plant till date, by generation capacity, is being developed by the NTPC in the reservoir of its thermal plant at Ramagundam in Peddapalli district, Telangana.

It is set to be commissioned by May-June next.

Generation Capacity:  100 megawatts.


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