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Biden-Harris’s Bittersweet Take On Indian Policies Is Alarming

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Bidean Kamla India Relation

The victory of Joe Biden and Kamal Harris in the United States Election comes the next most prime question as far as India is concerned, as “How this duo would have an impact on India?” Ms Harris becomes the first Indian American Vice President of the US, a position that has the immense potential to change the Indian perspective towards US and vice versa. The relationship between the countries is also exceptionally crucial for India, where the economy shrank by 23.9 per cent in the first quarter of the 2020-2021, the largest drop recorded over the years and the greatest setback a major economy has experienced from the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to congratulate both Mr Biden and Ms Harris. “As the [Vice President], your contribution to strengthening Indo-US relations was critical and invaluable,” he wrote in a tweet addressed to Mr Biden. “I look forward to working closely together once again to take India-US relations to greater heights.”

To Ms Harris, PM Modi addressed and said that her success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride for all Indian-Americans. He expressed his confidence in Ms Harris over strengthening the vibrant India-US ties her support and leadership.

Biden-Harris’s take on India’s Policy

Since PM Modi was re-elected in 2019, he brought a series of policies seen by many in the country as unduly targeted at India’s Muslim minority. The revocation of Muslim-majority Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status also known as scraping of Article 370, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) where it is easier for adherents of most large faiths practised in South Asia, except Islam, to claim citizenship in India. This was well criticized by Indians in the country, outside the country and many other countries opposed it too.

Mr Biden and Ms Harris have been quite vocal about issues about India. Ms Harris could be more indulged towards takes on India’s policies and actions as she is an Indian origin herself hailing from the state of Tamil Nadu.

In his Agenda for Muslim-American Communities, Mr Biden condemned the PM Modi government’s new citizenship act and a separate effort to build a population register (CAA/NRC) that could provide future justification to expel or intern foreigners. He called these actions were “inconsistent with the country’s long tradition of secularism and with sustaining a multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy.”

Mr Biden has also taken in charge of strengthening the US-India relationship. “The US and India will stand together against terrorism in all its forms and work together to promote a region of peace and stability where neither China nor any other country threatens its neighbours,” he wrote in an Indian-American newspaper.

The big question remains, how strongly it will push back against the Indian government’s policies. “The US would not go in and intervene in domestic matters in India beyond a certain point,” says Surupa Gupta, a professor at University of Mary Washington’s Department of Political Science and International Affairs.

The Kashmir’s conflict is an age-long one. Still, India has firmly maintained that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which both India and Pakistan claim as their own, is a domestic issue, and don’t require external powers to resolve it.

It was seen in the public statements; both by Mr Biden and Ms Harris have affirmed that their Administration would look into the matters more than Donald Trump to hold India account over its actions in Jammu and Kashmir.

“In Kashmir, the Indian government should take all necessary steps to restore rights for all the people of Kashmir,” says Mr Biden’s Agenda for Muslim Americans, published on the campaign’s website.

“Restrictions on dissent, such as preventing peaceful protests or shutting or slowing down the Internet, weaken democracy.”

Ms Harris said openly, “We have to remind Kashmiris that they are not alone in the world,” she said in October 2019, when she was a candidate in the Democratic primaries. “There is a need to intervene if the situation demands,” said added.

Limiting these claims to gaining the confidence of voters is opposite to taking such drastic steps towards an ally. It will change the demographics of the two country’s relationship as a diplomatic relationship requires a 360-degree viewpoint of pros and cons.

Effect of their Compassion

Indians and the diaspora feel a connection with Ms Harris as she has been looked upon as one of our own. Every community and individuals find her approachable and have expectations that they will be heard in times of crisis.

Greater expectations will also bring spotlight, both in India and in the diaspora.

“A lot more people and groups will be reaching out to (Harris) directly, that she should be speaking out or taking a position on certain Indian issues because she knows that part of the world and because that is part of her identity,” says Sangay Mishra, assistant professor at Drew University and author of Desis Divided: The Political Lives of South Asian Americans.

The essence of this has already begun: It was in October, Indian Americans launched an email campaign asking Ms Harris to take action on the rape of 19-year-old Dalit girl in Uttar Pradesh.

These actions if taken by Mr Biden and Ms Harris, might lead to disrupted bilateral relations between the US and India which is seen to be on good lines for a long time.

The issues of India and that of Indians shouldn’t necessarily hinder its international affairs. The Democrats in Washington can’t be the reason behind changing demographics of Asia’s largest democracy.

After a heavy GDP downfall due to the pandemic, it would be wise for countries to look after themselves and grow out from the chaos created by the pandemic.

The Modi-Trump friendship did help the relations of their countries. Trade was strengthened, and the two became an ally to face China and its tactics. Internal affairs of a country are theirs to deal with unless the matter is entirely out of hand, which in this scenario seems controlled.

A lot might change with the commencement of this new phase in the West, but it is essential to know that external interference can harm the global stand that India has created over the years. Criticizing the government is a necessary pillar of democracy; the ones directly affected by the actions attacking it makes it a sensible choice.

A girl with aspirations and desires skyrocketing yet likes to keep it lowkey—also a political enthusiast with the zest of bringing a change. I always like to be indulged in good conversations with a hot cup of coffee. I am an avid reader with a habit of binge-watching movies and shows.

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All You Need To Know About National Institute Of Food Technology Entrepreneurship And Management Bill 2021

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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.

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Fake News: Accountability Of News Organisations

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Fake News II News Aur Chai

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.

 

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Curious Case Of Pegasus: Explained

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Pegasus II News Aur Chai

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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