Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 28 February 2023

‘Right to be Forgotten’ in India

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The Delhi High Court is all set to hear a doctor’s plea for enforcement of his ‘Right to be Forgotten’, which includes the removal of news articles and other incriminating content related to his “wrongful arrest” in response to a “fabricated FIR against him” which he claims is causing detriment to his life and personal liberty.

What is the Right to be forgotten?

  1. The “Right to be Forgotten” is the right to remove or erase content so that it’s not accessible to the public at large.
  2. It empowers an individual to have information in the form of news, video, or photographs deleted from internet records so it doesn’t show up through search engines, like Google in the present case.

What is the law on the Right to be Forgotten?

  1. Section 43A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 says that organizations that possess sensitive personal data and fail to maintain appropriate security to safeguard such data, resulting in wrongful loss or wrongful gain to anyone, may be obligated to pay damages to the affected person.
  2. While, the IT Rules, 2021 do not include this right, they do however, lay down the procedure for filing complaints with the designated Grievance Officer so as to have content exposing personal information about a complainant removed from the internet.

What have the courts said so far?

  1. While the right is not recognized by a law or a statute in India expressly, the courts have repeatedly held it to be endemic to an individual’s Right to Privacy under Article 21 since the Apex Court’s 2017 ruling in “K.S.Puttaswamy vs Union of India”.
  2. In this case, a nine-judge bench, including CJI Chandrachud, referred to the European Union Regulation of 2016 which recognized “the right to be forgotten” an individual’s right to remove personal information from the system when “he is no longer desirous of his personal data to be processed or stored” or when “its no longer necessary, relevant, or is incorrect and serves no legitimate interest”.
  3. However, the court also recognized that such a right can be restricted by the right to freedom of expression and information or “for compliance with legal obligations”, or for the performance of tasks in the public interest or on “grounds of public interest in the area of public health” or “scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes, or for the establishment” and “exercise or defense of legal claims”.

What is this case?

  1. In “Dr. Ishwarprasad Gilda vs. Union of India & Others”, a practicing doctor who is a “world-renowned figure in the fight against HIV-AIDS” was accused of offenses under the Indian Penal Code, including causing death by negligence (Section 304A)cheating (Section 417) and personating a public servant (Section 170).
  2. The doctor was accused of illegally procuring medicines from abroad and administering them to HIV patients in India, who he was also accused of “mishandling”.
  3. When one of the patients, Girdhar Verma, passed away, the petitioner contends he was wrongfully arrested on 23 April 1999, and was subsequently given bail on 11 May 1999.
  4. Thereafter, relying on a trial court order from 4 August 2009, exonerating him, he reiterated that there was no evidence of him having engaged in any illegality.
  5. Thus, the doctor approached the Delhi High Court seeking directions to the respondents like Google, the Press Information Bureau, and the Press Council of India to remove all “irrelevant” news content causing “grave injury” to his reputation and dignity or to pass any other order or direction to safeguard his dignity, including availing his “Right to be Forgotten.”

What are the origins of this Right?

  1. The Right to be Forgotten originates from the 2014 European Court of Justice ruling in the case of “Google Spain SLGoogle Inc v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Mario Costeja González”, where it was codified for the first time following a Spanish man’s quest to make the world forget a 1998 advertisement saying “his home was being repossessed to pay off debts.”
  2. Thereafter, it was included in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in addition to the right to erasureArticle 17 of the GDPR provides for the right to erasure and lays down certain conditions when such a right can be restricted.

 

Marburg virus and the recent outbreak

GS Paper -3 (Disease)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) convened an urgent meeting after central African nation Equatorial Guinea confirmed its first outbreak of the highly infectious Marburg virus disease, or MVD. Preliminary tests turned out to be positive for the deadly disease, which is similar to Ebola, the United Nations health body said.

About Marburg virus disease:

  1. It is a severe illness that causes viral haemorrhagic fever in humans (it was formerly known as Marburg haemorrhagic fever).
  2. The virus was first identified after simultaneous outbreaks in Frankfurt and Marburg, Germany from where it derives its name and Belgrade, Serbia in 1967.
  3. Those first infected were exposed to Ugandan imported African green monkeys or their tissues while conducting research, as per the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 30 fell ill, and seven deaths were reported.
  4. Cases have been reported in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda. In a 2004 outbreak in Angola, MVD killed 90% of the 252 infected.

Transmission of the disease

  1. Like Ebola, the Marburg virus is transmitted to primates from bats which are considered natural hosts of the virus. Fruit bats infected with the virus do not show obvious signs of illness, but it can cause serious illness or death in humans.
  2. It spreads among humans via direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats, or surfaces contaminated with fluids, like bed-sheets and clothes.
  3. The disease can also spread during burial ceremonies if there is direct contact with the body of the deceased. 
  4. Both the Marburg and Ebola viruses belong to the Filoviridae family and the diseases caused by the two present clinical similarities.

Severity of the infection:

  1. The virus takes between two and 21 days to incubate. As per WHO, the disease has an average fatality rate of 50%, which has varied from 24% to 88% in past outbreaks.
  2. As per the CDC, a person infected with the virus experiences sudden illness with symptoms like high fever, severe headache and discomfort. Many develop severe hemorrhagic signs within seven days.
  3. Symptoms include muscle aches, pains, severe watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain; cramping, nausea and vomiting can begin on the third day.
  4. The appearance of patients at this phase has been described as showing “ghost-like” drawn features, deep-set eyes, expressionless faces, and extreme lethargy.

 India’s defence exports target

GS Paper -3 (Defence Technology)

The defence ministry’s target to raise India’s annual defence exports to $5 billion by 2024-25, from the $1.5 billion currently, was reiterated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the recently concluded Aero India 2023 in Bengaluru.

More about the news:

  1. In the past few years, there has been a strong government push towards achieving self-reliance in defence, which is subsequently expected to increase India’s defence exports as well.
  2. The defence ministry has brought in several new policies, such as earmarking 75 per cent of its defence capital budget for 2023-24 towards procurements from domestic sources.
  3. Three positive indigenisation lists of 3,738 items, for which there would be an embargo on import beyond timelines specified against them.
  4. Two defence industrial corridors are being set up in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and there is an on-going simplification of processes for ease of doing business aimed at boosting defence exports.
  5. India is in talks with several countries to export several of its indigenous big-ticket platformssuch as the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas and the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile made by BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between India and Russia.

Current status of export

  1. As per government data, India’s defence export value till December 2022 had reached Rs 6,058crore and grown by 334 per cent in the past five years. They touched nearly Rs 13,000 crore in 2021-22.
  2. This includes munitions list items under category 6 of Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET), for which the Department of Defence Production (DDP) under the Ministry of Defence issues an authorisation.

Which defence equipment does India export?

  1. The major defence items being exported are Personal Protective items, Offshore Patrol Vessels, ALH Helicopter, SU Avionics, Bharati Radio, Coastal Surveillance Systems, Kavach MoD II Launcher and FCS, among others.
  2. In December last year, the government told Parliament that major items exported by India in the last three years include lightweight torpedoes, weapon locating radar, and fast patrol vessels.

What are the major defence platforms India is looking to export?

  1. India is in talks with Argentina and Egypt, among other countries, to export its indigenous LCA Tejas.
  2. The aircraft had in the past few years participated in several air shows, including at Singapore last year, as well as in Malaysia, Bahrain and Dubai, so it could be showcased to other countries.
  3. The LCA Mk 2 has seen interest from nearly 16 countries and efforts are on to identify private production agencies to ramp up manufacturing of the jet.
  4. India is looking to export the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter to several countries—and has signed a contract with Mauritius for the export of one Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH Mk III) for Mauritius Police Force.
  5. India is in talks with Guyana to export the Dornier 228 and fast patrol vessels and will aim at exporting the latest HTT-40, Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) and Light Combat Helicopter (LCH).
  6. Last year, India signed a $375 million contract with the Philippines to export the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. Defence officials had recently said that India is looking to export the weapon system and its lighter next generation version (BrahMos NG) to over 10 countries, including South Africa, Egypt, UAE, and Saudi Arabia.

 India, U.K agrees to make progress on trade pact

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

India and the U.K. have agreed to make further progress on the on-going negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) and also to swiftly organise the next bilateral Economic and Financial Dialogue soon.

More about the news:

  1. At the conclusion of the U.K. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's India visit for the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, the U.K.’s Treasury department said the Finance Minister held talks with Indian counterpart with a focus on deepening bilateral economic and financial ties.
  2. Both sides agreed to make further progress on the U.K.-India Free Trade Agreement and deepen bilateral economic and financial ties.
  3. U.K. Chancellor, also met with business leaders in Bengaluru and visited the offices of tech multinational Wipro which employs over 4,000 people in the U.K.
  4. Both sides look forward to further collaboration between India and the U.K. as they continue to trade and create jobs – delivering on the government’s plan to grow the economy.

On low-middle income countries:

  1. According to the U.K. government, it also underscored the need for bilateral official creditors and private sector to urgently help address low and middle-income country debt vulnerabilities in developing countries.
  2. The Minister emphasised the importance of multilateral development banks boosting lending from their existing balance sheets and called on the G20 to fulfil its pledge to channel $100 billion of IMF Special Drawing Rights in support of developing countries.
  3. The Indian Presidency issued a Chair’s statement which highlighted the continued need to fight inflation, and the importance of supply-side policies, especially those that increase labour supply, boost growth and alleviate price pressures.

Flashback:

  1. Due to the establishment of the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) in 2005 which can tackle trade and investment barriers on both sides and promote business linkage, both sides agreed to remove trade barriers as part of a roadmap to a Free Trade Agreement.
  2. Total trade between India and UK amounted to around USD 13.11 Billion in 2021.
  3. India has invested in many projects in the UK, which is their second-largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) behind the United States of America.

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