Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 31 December 2022

EC outlined remote voting for migrant workers

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The Election Commission (EC) announced that it is ready to pilot remote voting for domestic migrants, so they don’t have to travel back to their home states to vote. This comes on the back of EC’s acknowledgement of migration-based disenfranchisement.

Migration-based disenfranchisement

  1. As per the 2011 census (the numbers will have risen since then), there are nearly 45.36 crore migrants in India (both intra and interstate) – amounting to approximately 37 per cent of the country’s population.
  2. Migration can be driven by a variety of different reasons from marriage to natural disaster to employment.
  3. According to EC’s concept note for Remote Electronic Voting Machine (RVM), “voters who are absent from their home locations on the day of polling, even if they wish to vote, are unable to travel to vote due to various reasons.
  4. This means that there is a large chunk of the population which is denied its franchise due to exigencies of work or lack of resources to travel. This goes directly against the EC’s “No voter left behind” goal.

The proposed solution

  1. The EC had formed a “Committee of Officers on Domestic Migrants”, which submitted a report in late 2016 after considering various possible solutions such as internet votingproxy votingearly voting and postal ballots for migrant workers.
  2. However, all of these ideas were rejected due to reasons such as the lack of secrecy of the vote, the lack of sanctity of one person one vote principle, issues of accessibility for unlettered voters, etc.
  3. Thus, a technological solution was proposed which relies on the creation of a robust electoral roll and identification mechanisms (to stop duplicate voting), and allow voters to vote remotely, in a safe and controlled environment.
  4. The RVM was developed with the assistance of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL). It is based on the currently used EVM system.

More about RVMs

  1. The RVMs are “stand alonenon-networked systems,” effectively providing the voter the same experience as currently used EVMs.
  2. They will be set up in remote locations outside the state under similar conditions as current polling booths.
  3. The unique feature of RVMs is that a single Remote Ballot Unit (RBU) will be able to cater to multiple constituencies (as many as 72) by using a “dynamic ballot display board” instead of the usual printed paper ballot sheet on EVMs.
  4. The Ballot Unit Overlay Display (BUOD) will show the requisite candidates based on the constituency number read on the voter’s Constituency card. A barcode scanning system will be used to read these cards.

 

First 3D-printed dwelling unit for soldiers

GS Paper - 3 (Science and Technology)

The Army has inaugurated its first 3D-printed dwelling unit for soldiers at Ahmedabad Cantonment, the defence ministry said. 3D printing technology uses complex software and a robotic unit that helps in creating a structure through multiple stages from a digital model.

More about the unit

  1. The Indian Army inaugurated its first 3D-printed house dwelling unit (with ground-plus one configuration) for soldiers at Ahmedabad Cantonment on 28 December 2022, the ministry said in a statement.
  2. The dwelling unit has been constructed by the Military Engineering Services (MES) in collaboration with MiCoB Pvt Ltd incorporating the latest 3D rapid construction technology.
  3. Construction work of the dwelling unit measuring 71 sqm with garage space was completed in just 12 weeks by utilising the 3D-printed foundation, walls and slabs.
  4. The disaster-resilient structures comply with zone-3 earthquake specifications and green building norms.
  5. The 3-D printed houses are symbolic of the modern-day rapid construction efforts to cater for growing accommodation requirements of the armed forces personnel.
  6. This structure also stands testament to the commitment of the Indian Army in fostering the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan'.
  7. The technique utilises a concrete 3D printer that accepts a computerised three-dimensional design and fabricates a 3D structure in a layer-by-layer manner by extruding a specialised type of concrete specifically designed for the purpose.

Flashback

  1. Indian Army units have already dovetailed 3D printing technology in the construction of pre-casted permanent defences and overhead protection meant for operations.
  2. These structures are currently being validated over a period of one year and can be seen being incorporated in all terrains, the recent being in the UT of Ladakh.

 

Leveraging voice technology to combat cyber-fraud

GS Paper -3 (Technology)

According to data by the Reserve Bank of India, frauds have cost the country an estimated 100 crore a day over the last seven years. The frauds reported in 2021-22 were 23.69% higher than in the previous year (9,103 cases reported compared to 7,359 in 2020-21.

 

More about the news:

  1. The main reasons for the rise in fraud include greater use of digital payments, telephone banking, and online banking services.
  2. Growing fraud also means rising losses for financial institutions and increasing cases for law enforcement to solve.

An emerging technology:

  1. One way to reduce losses is by adopting Voice Technology (VT), which encompasses voice biometrics or voice/speech recognition technology.
  2. The global adoption of smartphones has led to a dramatic increase in biometrics for security; these methods are cumbersome, not entirely secure, and vulnerable to deep fakes.
  3. With banks and establishments looking for ways to reduce fraud and identity theft risks, one of the best ways to do this is through the use of voice biometrics.
  4. An emerging technology, it uses the unique characteristics of a person’s voice as identification. The technology creates a digital voiceprint and compares it to a caller’s voice.

Its advantages:

  1. Compared to other biometrics, voice use is the cheapest technology, and does not require a reader or special device. It is also non-invasive, portable and affords remote identification.
  2. Unlike a password, a customer’s voice is impossible to spoof or copy, and is far more challenging to hack.
  3. VT verifies a caller swiftly in seconds by analysing the caller’s voice and flags suspicious calls. VT allows privacy because it does not require users to reveal personal information.
  4. Voice biometrics can help financial institutions to ensure higher levels of protection for customers and employees. In February 2019, HSBC became the first bank to take the revolutionary leap in introducing voice recognition for mobile banking customers, telephone banking fraud cases fell by over 50%.
  5. The voice biometrics industry is growing exponentially now. Experts expect the market to reach a market size of $3.9 billion by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 22.8%.

 

National Archives of India

GS Paper -2 (Statutory Body)

The National Archives of India (NAI) does not have records of 1962, 1965, and 1971 wars, or even of the Green Revolution, as told by its Director-General. The admission shocked historians, with many calling this a ploy by successive governments to control the narrative, and saying that the country is losing its history.

NAI, the record-keeper:

  1. The NAI, which functions under the Ministry of Culture, is the repository of all non-current government records, holding them for the use of administrators and scholars.
  2. It was originally established as the Imperial Record Department in 1891 in Calcutta, the NAI is now located in Delhi.
  3. It keeps and conserves records of the government and its organisations only, and does not receive classified documents.
  4. The holdings in NAI are in a regular series starting from the year 1748, and the languages of the records include English, Arabic, Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit and Urdu.
  5. NAI has also made efforts to make available all the records digitally on the newly created Abhilekh Patal portal.

How does it receive documents?

  1. As per the Public Records Act, 1993, various central ministries and departments are supposed to transfer records more than 25 years old to the NAI, unless they pertain to classified information.
  2. It is up to the respective ministries and departments to ascertain what classified information is, and that is where subjective opinions may kick in.

What it holds, and what’s amiss

  1. There are in all 151 ministries and departments, and the NAI has only records of 64 agencies, including 36 ministries and departments.
  2. Several Union ministries and departments have not shared their records with NAI.
  3. It does not have any records of the Green Revolution, which we hail all the time, or the 1962 war, the 1965 war, and the 1971 war – the great victory.

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