From the end of November till date in many parts of India, citizens are on the road protesting–first, it was for Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). It shifted to CAA along with National Register of Citizens (NRC) later on. Now, the focus is upon CAA plus NRC along with the National Population Register (NPR).
Betwixt all this, the Union Cabinet announced that it has allocated around Rs 3,500 crores for updating NPR. It was stated that the process shall begin from April 2020 and will be completed by September. This only made the situation worse as people fear to lose their citizenship and eventually leave their homeland due to all these Acts and Laws.
NPR was first conducted in 2010 and was later updated in 2015 when it was linked with the Aadhar. Confusion about National Population Register with Census, which is also due is prevailing as well.
Today let’s know more about NPR, Aadhar link and protest associated with all this.
What is NPR?
The National Population Register (NPR) is a register of the usual residents of the country. It contains information gathered at the local (village/sub-town), subdistrict, district, state and national level under provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
Who is a Usual Resident of India?
A “usual resident” here means–a person who has resided in a local area for the last six months or more or a person who intends to live in that area for the next six months or more.
The law compulsorily seeks to register all citizen of India and issue a national identity card.
Who will conduct NPR and what information will be collected?
The process of updating the National Population Register will be carried out under the observation of the Registrar General and ex-Officio Census Commissioner, India.
Objectives and Use
The objective of the NPR is to create a complete identity database of every usual resident in the country. In the words of officials, NPR data would help to identify the demographics of actual residents who would be direct beneficiaries of any schemes launched in the area. It would also help the government in the design and adapt schemes like Ayushman Bharat, Jandhan Yojna or other various programmes and plans. The database would contain demographic details such as:
- Relationship to head of household
- Father’s name
- Mother’s name
- Spouse’s name (if married)
- Date of birth
- Marital status
- Place of birth
- Nationality (as declared)
- Present address of usual residence
- Duration of stay at current address
- Permanent residential address
- Educational qualification
These are some of the details which were collected in the previous NPR.
What all documents will be required for NPR?
During the process of NPR, a respondent will not be asked to produce any document. According to the statement given by Home Minister Amit Shah, the information collected for NPR will be self-attested, that is, whatever information is provided by the respondent will be assumed correct, and no documents or biometric would be needed.
When and where will NPR be Conducted?
The process of gathering information for the National Population Register is expected to start from April 2020 and assumed to be completed by September. NPR will be conducted pan-India, except Assam as the state has already gone through the NRC. The central government had published gazette notification for the forthcoming NPR in August.
What is the story of Aadhar?
During the ruling of UPA government led by Manmohan Singh, National Population Register and Aadhaar were considered as rival projects. When the National Population Register process began, P Chidambaram was the Union home minister, who pushed the population register project aggressively.
Aadhaar was taking shape with equal determination from then Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee (who later became the President of India — a development were Chidamabaram moving to the finance ministry and marked an end to NPR-Aadhaar rivalry).
Both the NPR and Aadhaar projects were undertaken concurrently, collecting demographic and biometric data. Initially, the objectives of both the projects were to have better, targeted delivery of benefits and services to people. However, the process of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the home ministry were viewed as duplication and wastage of resources.
The conflict ended in a settlement among the home ministry and the UIDAI where it was concluded that NPR and Aadhaar databases would be used for different purposes. Aadhaar will deliver welfare services, and NPR will be used for other purposes of governance.
Additionally, it was decided that those already enrolled for Aadhaar need not provide their biometric details during the NPR process. The NPR data were to be matched with Aadhaar data for de-duplication. However, the final formula gave NPR an upper hand, and it was agreed that in case of discrepancy between Aadhaar and NPR data, NPR would prevail.
So if you see, the National Population Register conducted under the Citizenship Amendment Act 2003 will form an essential data set for both Aadhaar and NRIC.
Protest in Bengal and other parts
As per government officials, the data for the National Population Register was first collected in 2010, and West Bengal was one of the five states that used the necessary information for planning various beneficiary schemes.
Keeping the previous experience in mind, many civil rights activists, mainly from Bengal, alleged that NPR is the first step towards NRC. The West Bengal government led by Mamata Banerjee opposed NRC, which was processed by BJP and put a halt on the NPR process as well. It is alleged that Bengal has over one crore infiltrators who have crossing over from Bangladesh over the decades.
After the BJP government led by Narendra Modi decided to update the NPR initially created after the Census 2011, the protest has gone a level up. By looking at the context of the Citizenship Amendment Act of 2003, the NPR may lead to an NRIC.
Here, the CAA 2019 act as a fuel to the blazing fire as critics alleged that the latest amendment would shield non-Muslim illegal immigrants while forcing a large number of Muslims stateless people with an ambiguous future.
The result of all these will be seen in by the end of 2020, as violent and silent protest prevails across India, we have to now see how the NDA government will implement the proposed laws and Acts.
All You Need To Know About National Institute Of Food Technology Entrepreneurship And Management Bill 2021
On July 26, 2021, Lok Sabha passed a bill under the ministry of Food Processing Industry. The bill is titled as National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021. The main motive of this bill is to address issues with the Food Processing Industry, Entrepreneurship and one Institution for National Importance. With the passing of this bill, the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) and National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) is now merged as Institutions of National Importance, and it aims at providing various research and advancement in learning about the Food Industry and its associated branches. The bill was first introduced in the house in February 2019 but was pending due to protest by the opposition.
Significance of Institutions of National Importance (INI)
With the passing of this bill, the institutions enjoy greater autonomy through which they can carry out various courses, research attracting skilled faculties and students from all over the country and overseas. Good standards in education will be adopted to improve the present and future of education in this branch and sector, overcoming the technological gap in the country. This law aims to improve and introduce new changes in food, bio-nanotechnology, cold chain technology etc. The desired efforts will be taken in terms of human resources and infrastructure developments, labs for research etc. Liberty to open centres anywhere in India is also granted to INI and include courses regarding food technology certification and improving the workforce of the country.
Some other important features of this act are the Institution has been authorized with the Board of Government, Senate and other acting Authorities. The Council of Board will include 16 members from different branches from the same field. The Head will be Chairperson, who will be a skilled person from the Food Industry, the Director, Dean and Registrar. Members appointed from Centre and State Governments, Members from FSSAI and Council of Agriculture Research, as mentioned in the bill. The 16 members of the board will carry out work of taking administrative decisions, creating annual budgets and paths for institution progress as an organization, establishing departments, their appointment terms of services, faculties etc. The Board of Council also holds power to grant Honorary Degrees and Diplomas. The Senate shall be the principal academic body of the Institute, consisting of the people such as Director as the Chairperson; Registrar; Full-time skilled level Professor; and Three academically skilled Individuals nominated by the board from the field.
The Union Minister of Food Processing Industry, Mr Pashupati Kumar Paras, expressed his gratitude to PM Modi for this landmark step in this industry from his Twitter handle, indicating new opportunities in Food Technology Industries. Therefore, this Act looks promising on paper with new opportunities and in Educational Development. Amidst the Pegasus Spyware and repeal of the farm laws, this looks positive from the Modi Government.
लोकसभा में आज, राष्ट्रीय खाद्य प्रौद्योगिकी, उद्यमिता और प्रबंध संस्थान विधेयक, 2021 (निफ्टेम विधेयक, 2021) को पारित किया गया।
इस विधेयक के पारित होने पर इससे जुड़े हर व्यक्ति को बधाई देता हूँ और साथ ही खाद्य प्रसंस्करण से जुड़े छात्रों को भी बधाई देता हूँ। @MOFPI_GOI
— Pashupati Kumar Paras (@PashupatiParas) July 26, 2021
Fake News: Accountability Of News Organisations
Fake news is false news stories or hoaxes, which are deliberately released to misinform and to create chaos in society or among readers. Fake news is one of the main reasons behind the disruption of peace in society and it becomes more dangerous in volatile places. Fake news is generally shared with propaganda to mislead the audience by hiding or twisting the truth. However fake news isn’t new to the web, it recently became an enormous problem in today’s digital world. Fake news mostly comes from sites that are bogus or have sensationalized stories.
Most of the users do not check the facts before sharing the information on their social media, which can be a reason for widespread fake news. So, it is important to differentiate between fake news and authentic news to maintain harmony in society and to avoid false news and its repercussions.
Fake News Stories
- On 2nd April, a team of doctors, health workers, and revenue officials were attacked by the family members of a 65-year-old man who died of COVID-19 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh because of the fake video which claimed that healthy Muslims were being injected with the virus, reiterating the risks and physical manifestations of misinformation.
- On March 22, 2020, Mr. Modi’s new term ‘Janta curfew’ has sparked a buzz on the Internet. Social media users started interpreting PM Modi’s concept of ‘Janta curfew’ in their own ways. Social media was flooded with a certain ‘scientific explanation’ behind the curfew as to how it will break the chain of transmissions of the deadly coronavirus infection. The claim was found out to be misleading. PM Modi, while announcing the curfew, didn’t mention this particular ‘scientific’ logic behind it.
- Rumours were circulated on WhatsApp groups about a kidnapping gang operating in India’s western state of Maharashtra in 2018. The rumors eventually cause a mob lynching, that killed five migrant workers because they were suspected of being kidnappers.
- On November 13, 2016, when the government of India has demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and planned to replace them with new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes, rumors were spreading about Rs 2000 notes. Rumors claimed the new higher denomination currency comes with a Nano-GPS chip which acts as a reflector, giving precise location coordinates of the currency to permit every note to be tracked. However, the RBI officials had dismissed these as false and said the new Rs 2000 note does not have a Nano-GPS chip as is being claimed on social media, WhatsApp.
- In the pandemic situation, where vaccination has become crucial, in a series of viral videos it was seen that people are claiming that magnet was attracted to the arms of alleged COVID-19 vaccinated recipients. This kind of fake news can create misconceptions about vaccines and people may not take their jab of vaccines. The Centre has declined the claims that Covid-19 vaccines can make people ‘magnetic’. It has also dismissed theories about microchips in coronavirus vaccines.
Need of Accountability
False information on social media can cause huge problems. It is often done to influence political processes. Need for Accountability increases in such situations because the false information provided by certain news organizations can create a ruckus in society. Before publishing the news, it is necessary to check the facts.
If the news organizations, shared misinformation unintentionally they must remove the content right away and they should apologize to the readers. If fake news is spread with propaganda to create chaos in society, then the news organization should be punished under the law. The information must be checked before sharing it with other people.
Curious Case Of Pegasus: Explained
Pegasus is a spyware that can hack the victims’ mobile phones and read their SMS messages and emails. The Pegasus spyware is owned by an Israeli software company named NSO Group. According to the various reports, this company has targeted more than 50,000 phone numbers at the Global level, of which 300 are in India for surveillance.
The news broke out after the 17 media partners investigated. This investigation brought into the picture information about a leaked database of mobile telephone numbers of Indian Ministers, Opposition leaders, journalists, the legal community, business people, government officials, scientists, activists and many influential personalities of the nation.
Pegasus Spyware and India
According to the report by the agency, the Israeli company which sells Pegasus around the world says that its clients are confined to ‘vetted governments”, believed to number 36. The NSO Group also says that ‘the target list in India is not ours, never was.’ Their refusal of the leaked database has created a loophole in understanding this case.
This whole case has violated the integrity of democratic institutions. According to the report by the agencies, after the mobile phones of the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi and various other leaders were hacked under the Pegasus spyware surveillance. Multiple tweets were made against the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) government in India. This whole case has become one of the major threats in the political arena and the Indian Democracy.
Though at the start, it was used for national security purposes. The explosive expansion of surveillance technology vendors has become a vast human rights and a global security issue. If such surveillance technologies increase, it might cause a lot of problems to countries around the globe. Hence, as a precaution, all these countries need to work on regulating this technology.
According to the reports by the agency, one of the targeted phones by the Pegasus spyware was of the former election commissioner of India, Ashok Lavasa. Various such people and such opposition leaders were somehow against the BJP government having their phones hacked with the NSO-owned spyware. All these instances and the names in the leaked list have pointed figures towards the Modi Government.
The Modi government’s stand on this case was put forward in Lok Sabha by two serving ministers, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel. These two leaders were also featured in the leaked database. The recent Information Technology Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw defended the BJP government in the parliament by saying, “the expose was an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.” She even said, ‘any form of illegal surveillance is not possible with the checks and balances in our laws and robust institutions.’
This case has adjourned the parliament proceedings due to the protests inside and outside the house of parliament by the opposition party.
Pegasus Spyware and World.
In the statement given to the agency, Access Now, an organisation defending the digital rights of global users, said it was outraged that products sold by NSO were allegedly “used to hack and invade the private communications” of thousands of people across the globe.
At a global level, France’s Emmanuel Macron was targeted in the Pegasus spyware case. As the phone of French President Emmanuel Macron was hacked, the investigation was carried out and later on was published which was directed by the Paris-based non-profit journalism group Forbidden. After this case came in front of the whole world, the Pegasus spyware surveillance came into the picture.
If this continues for some more time, it will ruin India’s Democratic values at a global level. As well as this might become a huge technological threat between the different nations around the globe.
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