This year’s New Year’s eve is unique, as we are bidding goodbye to a year along with a decade. We can definitely say that this decade was a rollercoaster ride for every other person. We faced two world’s largest-ever democratic elections and other assembly elections; a colossus leaps forward in our space programme, some unexpected reforms, landmark verdicts by Supreme Court and many more.
Let’s see some of the remarkable events that framed this decade.
BJP’s General election of 2014 and 2019:
The last decade was quite good for BJP. While the Congrees led UPA-2 government suffered back and back blows in the name of alleged corruption, scams–it paved the way for the BJP government led by Narendra Modi to come into power. The achievements of Modi during his three consecutive tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat, made BJP choose him for fighting the election with the tagline “Abki bar, Modi sarkar” (This time, Modi’s government) caught the attention. His promises to Indian citizens like “achhe din” or better days and “sabka saath, sabka vikas” (For everyone, and development for all) was a ray of hope for people.
His strong presence helped BJP sweep the election of 2014 with 272 seats, and BJP became the first parliamentary majority by a single party since 1984.
Five years passed away though not smoothly, as many of the reforms brought by Modi led BJP government had to face backlashes–demonetization, The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, Goods and Services Tax and others. Still, the “Modi wave” was something people got caught in and when 2019 election approached the only question people had was Modi vs who?
The 2019 election result was announced in May, and the “Modi wave” became a “tsunami”, or as some called it “TsuNaMo”. It’s already been six months of Modi 2.0; however, the Modi wave seems to start falling apart due to some of the recent decisions. Now India needs to wait and see how the next four-and-a-half years would tun out for them.
GST – A notable reform since independence:
On July 1, 2017, at the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world slept, India’s parliament launched the historic Goods and Services Tax or GST. It unified India as “one nation, one tax, one market”, dropping dozens of state taxes and duties and bringing goods and services with a standard tax slab across the nation. The main aim was to curb corruption and to make it easier for both domestic and foreign businesses. By launching the same Modi promised the country that in the long run, this reform would be beneficial.
Demonetization or Notes Ban:
On November 8, 2016, while addressing the nation, Narendra Modi announced that the 500 and 1,000-rupee currency notes were declared illegal tender, or in simpler words scrapped – of no value.
With the aim to “end-black money” government promised that they needn’t fear as all they had to do was to deposit whatever cash they had in their bank accounts by December 30, 2016. Till that date, people could only withdraw Rs 24,000 per week, including a maximum of Rs 2,500 from ATMs per day.
The government also announced that anyone who has undeclared wealth in the form of cash could pay the legit tax on it. While the government believes that demonetization is a huge success, many people and opposition think otherwise. However, if the election is an indicator for evaluating a government, then we are to believe that maybe opposition was wrong as the 2019 election Modi again came into power.
Indian Space Missions:
In September 2014 ISRO marked the history when India became the first country in the world to touch Mars in its first attempt. Not only was it a successful project, but it was also cost-effective, which made the whole world astounded.
With Mangalyaan in martian orbit, India was all ready for another world record a few years later – of launching over a hundred satellites on board a single rocket. In February 2017, the PSLV-C37 carrying 104 satellites was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
Chandrayaan 2, India’s third moon mission underwent a setback on September 7 when lander Vikram lost communication with the ground station of ISRO. However, 2020 await much more markable steps by ISRO.
On December 16 2012, a physiotherapy student from Delhi along with her friend was travelling by bus, when six men heinously raped her. She died 13 days after the incident, leaving millions in shock. Following a worldwide outrage over the incident, four of the culprits were sentenced to death. Out of the six one was found hanging in his cell while other a minor spend three years in a juvenile home before he was let free.
Supreme Court has assured about the death punishment, but when it is yet to know. Nirbhaya’s parents still wait as the decade draws to a close.
India won the World Cup:
India became the first home nation to win a World Cup when they defeated Sri Lanka in the final at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Cricket fans were going through a mix emotion as it was Sachin Tendulkar’s final appearance in cricket, while MS Dhoni with his rocket six made the nation proud by winning the cup.
Surgical Strikes, Balakot, Doklam – Indian Army showed the power:
India defence made it clear to the world that it won’t stay silent if aggression initiated from the other side. There has been an enormous shift in India’s national security and defence policy. Some of the recent attacks are quoted below:
1. Surgical Strikes Across The LoC:
Back in 2016, India operated a surgical strick against the terror launch pads across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. It was both a retaliation attack against the Pakistani terrorists on a military camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri 2016, as well as defence step taken based on intelligence report.
2. The Doklam Stand-off:
Between June and August 2017, India and China had a face-off for 73-day at Doklam near Sikkim border. In June, Chinese soldiers began constructing a new road illegally in the disputed tri-junction area between Bhutan, Sikkim and China which was stopped by Indian troops. Stand-off stopped only in August when both sides agreed to withdraw the army.
3. Balakot Airstrikes:
Balakot airstrike was carried out by India in the early morning hours of February 26, 2019. The Indian Air Force had attacked the Jaish-e-Mohammed’s Balakot training camp deep inside Pakistani territory, using Mirage 2000 fighters armed with SPICE 2000 satellite-guided bombs.
Landmark Judgements By The Supreme Court:
India witnessed some of the remarkable verdicts in the past decade. Some of them are:
1. Sabarimala Verdict:
Women of all ages must be allowed to enter in Kerala’s famous Sabarimala temple, the Supreme Court ordered in September 2018, ending a ban that barred women and girls between 10 and 50 years from entering the shrine that draws millions of pilgrims every year. “Restrictions can’t be treated as an essential religious practice,” the top court said in a majority four-one judgement, calling the custom “almost like untouchability”. A review petition was filed, in 2019 the apex court agreed to a hearing in which it said that a larger 7-judge bench would look into the matter.
2. Triple Talaq Verdict:
In August 2017, the country’s top court outlawed the controversial Islamic practise that enables men to leave their wives immediately by saying “talaq” (divorce) three times, calling the practice “unconstitutional”. It helped the Muslims women who were being suppressed for year a relief.
3. Verdict on Section 377:
Homosexuality is not a crime in India anymore, and it is not a mental disorder, five Supreme Court judges stated in September 2018 in an extraordinary leap for gay rights in the country and a rainbow moment in its history. The Supreme Court overruled it’s own 2013 ruling and partially struck down Section 377, a controversial British-era law that outlawed consensual gay sex. The ban is irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary, the judges said.
Ram Lalla disputed Land:
The Supreme Court came up with a historic verdict on the century-old legal dispute over the Ram Lalla – Babri Masjid Ayodhya dispute land. The Supreme Court on November 2019, declared that the disputed land belongs solely to the deity Ram Lalla or it is Ram Janam-Bhoomi. The judgement received a lot of appreciation from around the world, and it was marked as a historic verdict. In December, the top court dismissed all petitions seeking review of its ruling.
Jammu and Kashmir’s Article 370 Scrapped:
On August 5 the Central government came up with a revolutionary verdict to scrap out the special status (Article 370) of the state of J&K. The state was divided into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
As the year, as well as the decade, ends, India citizens are now in a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), nation-wide National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR). With a hope for better tomorrow as well as the year we step ahead into a new decade and year.
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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