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Twitter’s Tussle With Indian Government

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Twitter and Government II News Aur Chai

With the announcement of the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 in February by the Government of India, Twitter is caught in a legal tussle with the Indian government. The government gave intermediaries like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram three months to comply with the rules. Failure to abide by the authorities led to Twitter losing its tag as an intermediary. The platform is now considered a digital news platform and is now liable for misinformation spread using it.

The New IT Rules

The government announced new IT rules that now govern the social media platforms in India on February 25 2021. It gave the companies a stipulated time of three months to comply with the rules.

The rules were brought in to regulate the content on social media platforms. The end objective was to curb the spread of fake news, child pornography, paedophilia, the circulation of obscene pictures, and plagiarism.

These acts abetted and aided perpetrators to commit acts of cybercrime, violence and vitiate communal harmony.

The new rules required the social media platforms to do due diligence, which required the companies to set up a grievance redressal mechanism. The Section 79 of the Constitution under Information Technology Act, 2000 governed these regulations. It led to the creation of three new posts at the local offices of the intermediaries – a Chief Compliance Officer, a Nodal contact person and a Resident Grievance Officer.

The Chief Compliance offer is responsible for ensuring the company followed the rules and the laws. The officer is liable in proceedings related to relevant third-party information. The officer appointed should be a senior employee.

The Nodal contact person is required to stay in touch with the law enforcement agencies. He is held responsible for complying with orders and requisitions made by them.

The Resident Grievance Officer is mandated to publish compliance reports every month. The report contains details of complaints received, and due action is taken against the complaints are recorded in it. The other information contained in the notification is the number of specific links removed or disabled in compliance with the laws.

All the officers appointed to these positions must be citizens of India.

Non-Compliance of Rules by Twitter

The controversy started a few days before the new IT rules came into effect.

On May 18 2021, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Sambit Patra tweeted, “Friends look at the Congress Toolkit in extending help to the needy during the pandemic! More of a PR exercise with ‘Friendly journalists’ and ‘Influencers’ than a soulful endeavor.” He posted a set of documents that showed how Congress carried out an organized misinformation campaign.

The tweet was retweeted by BJP leader and former Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh and IT Cell head Amit Malviya. Many social media influencers associated with the political ideology did the same. Twitter tagged the tweet as manipulated media.

This led to a political controversy between the BJP and Congress. Congress filed a complaint with Delhi police as the tweet was tagged as manipulated media. During the investigation, Delhi Police officials served Twitter a notice to join the study.

The government asked Twitter to remove the manipulated tag. It said the matter was pending before a law enforcement agency. It was not proper for the social media platform to pass judgement as the issue was being investigated.

The incident brought the practices of Twitter into question. The question asked of Twitter was on what basis did it tag the tweet as manipulated.

Second Round of Confrontation

The second round of the confrontation started when Twitter failed to comply with the new rules. Twitter, in its justification for non-compliance, said it was protecting the freedom of expression. In response, the Ministry of Electronics and IT issued a strongly-worded statement.

The government stated, “Twitter representatives in India routinely claim that they have no authority and that they and the people of India need to escalate everything to the Twitter headquarters in USA. The purported commitment of Twitter, to its Indian user base, thus not only sounds hollow but completely self-serving.”

The government reminded Twitter that it is a US-based private company. In its communique, as a response, it sought ‘constructive dialogue’ and ‘collaborative approach from the government of a sovereign democratic republic‘ to safeguard the interests of the public. The government advised Twitter to clarify its grandiosity and comply with the laws of India.

Several instances were cited by the government where Twitter failed to safeguard the interests of the public.

Twitter showed the location of the Union Territory of Ladakh as a part of China. Unfortunately, it happened when the countries were negotiating a peaceful resolution to the border dispute. It took repeated reminders and several days for Twitter to correct its mistake.

  • Twitter took suo-moto action against the considered perpetrators of violence at Capitol Hill in the USA. However, the social media platform refused to act on the lawful request of the Government of India to block content in the aftermath of the unlawful incident at Red Fort.

  • The government questioned the commitment of Twitter to the people of India as it let the rampant proliferation of harmful content against India and Indians. Furthermore, it challenged the role of Twitter in promoting vaccine hesitancy in India.

  • The government questioned the discriminatory practices followed by Twitter against Indians. It disputed the tagging of B.1.617 mutant as the ‘Indian variant’, which went against WHO guidelines.

Loss of Status as Intermediary

The series of events that led to the loss of status started on the Loni border in Uttar Pradesh when a video of a 72-year-old Abdul Samad Shafi being assaulted by a group of young men emerged on Twitter. According to the video, the youth forced him to chant the slogan ‘Jai Shri Ram’, and they forcibly cut his beard. The narrative painted an angle of communal violence.

The video supposedly shot on June 5 went viral a few days ago. Officers investigating the incident said the incident was one of ‘personal dispute’ and not communal. They said at least one of the arrested men is a Muslim.

Iraj Raja, Superintendent of Police (Rural), said Samad was beaten up by the suspects over the amulets he sold. The police also said he was not made to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ as alleged by him earlier.

As there is no element of communal violence, the Uttar Pradesh Police filed an FIR. The police filed the FIR based on the complaint of a local policeman. He alleged the video was shared with the interest to provoke communal violence.

“There is no communal angle to the incident in Loni where a man was thrashed, and his beard chopped off. The following entities – The Wire, Rana Ayyub, Mohammad Zubair, Dr Shama Mohammed, Saba Naqvi, Maskoor Usmani, Salman Nizami – without checking the fact, started giving communal colour to the incident”, the Ghaziabad police noted in the FIR.

As Twitter let the misinformation spread, the police added Twitter India and Twitter Inc to the FIR. The government declared that Twitter lost its intermediary status after the filing of the FIR.

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tweeted, “The simple fact of the matter is that Twitter failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from May 26.” He added that Twitter deliberately chose the path of non-compliance.

Continuing his Twitter thread, he added, “It is astounding that Twitter which portrays itself as a flag bearer of free speech, chooses the path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the Intermediary Guidelines.”

What Does It Mean For Twitter?

Twitter has lost the legal shield it enjoyed from prosecution for content posted by third parties.

With the legal shield removed, Twitter now functions like any other digital news platform in India. Any misinformation, fake news or objection spread on Twitter will see the company as an accused if a case is filed.

Currently, the company faces two cases in India. With its brazen defiance stating it follows its internal policy to the Parliament Panel of Information Technology, the feud will only get bigger. Twitter might probably follow the footsteps of TikTok if delays with compliance any longer.

An aspiring journalist bit by the bug of Indology. Love to ponder upon moments of life philosophizing about them. I am an avid cricket buff and look forward to new and exciting adventures through reading and travel. I like writing about political events, climate, and personal thoughts on life and literature.

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India

Ram Mandir Opening For “Darshan” In 2023

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Ram Mandir Opening 2023 | News Aur Chai

The Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is expected to allow visitors by December 2023, with the completion of construction only in 2025.

Sources in the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra have revealed that the colossal project of building the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, will be opening for devotees towards the end of 2023. In contrast, the project’s entire construction completion is expected towards the end of 2025. The sanctum sanctorum (Garbha Griha), along with the mandir’s first floor, will be ready by December 2023. Devotees will be allowed to visit the long-awaited mandir soon after the construction is completed.

An ANI report said, “The grand Ram Mandir being constructed in Ayodhya will be opened for devotees from December 2023. Sources told ANI that Garbhagriha, all five mandaps and the first floor will be ready by December 2023 and the mandir will be opened for devotees”.

The sanctum sanctorum will be as high as 161 feet and built using Rajasthani marble and stones. Engineers and architects are taking all measures to ensure the longevity of this enormous project. The second stage of construction is expected to begin in December this year. Currently, the structure is at a standstill as a result of monsoons. Another reason for the delay is the coronavirus pandemic that depleted the force with which the mandir’s construction was expected to go on.

The announcement of the mandir being opened to visitors in 2023 has brought up questions about the political agenda. It is believed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) aims to use the mandir to catapult themselves into a position of advantage during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Opening the mandir to devotees in December 2023 will give the BJP an easy 6-month gap to the general elections in 2024.

The opening of the long-awaited Ram Mandir in Ayodhya could be the factor that diverts the public, at least the Hindu’s in favour of BJP. Thus, securing them a vote bank based on religious sentiments upheld by the party in their previous tenure as the ruling party.

The Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir will be 360 feet long, 235 feet wide, and 20 feet high mandir will be completely ready by the end of 2025. The project will include amenities and structures like museums, archives, research centre, Sant Niwas, gau and Yagya shala, Etc. The main attraction is the Ram Mandir.

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Business

How SEBI’s New Margin Rule Is Affecting Retail Traders?

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SEBI Margin Rule | News Aur Chai

Securities and Exchange Board of India has introduced new margin rules for traders. Traders and Brokers are not happy with the new regulations because they will have to invest a large amount of cash in fulfilling margin requirements for trade.

SEBI had introduced the new margin rule in the year 2020 for intraday traders. It is being implemented in a phased manner. Traders were supposed to maintain 25 per cent of the peak margin in the first phase; the margin was raised by 50 per cent in the second phase. In the third phase, as per the new margin rule, intraday traders will have to pay a 100 per cent upfront margin. According to new norms, the margin requirements will be calculated four times during every trading session because the money margin must be greater than the need.

As per the new rule, brokers must collect margin from investors for any purchase or sale, and if they fail to do so, they will have to pay the penalty. Thus, brokers will not receive power of attorney. Brokers cannot use power of attorney for pledging anymore.

Those investors who want to make use of margin will have to create margin pledges separately. As per the new rule, investors will have to pay at least a 30 per cent margin upfront to avail a margin loan. Shares brought today cannot be sold tomorrow. Funds from shares sold today cannot be used for new trades on the same day.

The market experts said that there must be proper adjustments for implementing new rules, or it may create chaos, trouble and disturbance to the market participants. The CEO and founder of Zerodha broking firm, Nithin Kamath tweeted that, “the day when the new rules came into effect was the dreaded day for brokers, exchanges, intraday traders”.

Traders Are Not Happy:

Changes in rules have evoked strong reactions from traders because they will have to invest a large amount of cash in fulfilling margin requirements for trades as per new margin rules. Even the trading in futures and options will become more expensive. Traders are disappointed because they will have to pay up more money to bet in stock markets. As per new margin rules, Traders are also liable for the penalty if the rules are not followed during the trading session. If a trader wants to buy Nifty worth Rs 10 lakh, he will have to pay a 20 per cent margin of around 2 lakh. If the margin of the trader does not meet the need, he will be penalized. Traders will have to pay the minimum amount for opening the Multilateral Trading facility account, and they have to maintain a minor balance at all times.

Why Gas SEBI Introduced A New Margin Rule?

SEBI has introduced new rules to protect retail investors from purchasing difficulty. The intended goal of SEBI behind new margin rules is to bring down the difficult market situation and avoid huge fluctuation in stock markets during extreme stress. The new margin rules are likely to bring transparency to the market; it is expected to strengthen the market’s safety.

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World

Escalation Of COVID-19 Cases Across The Globe

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COVID Case Spike 2021 | News Aur Chai

The United States, India, and Brazil have the most confirmed cases, followed by France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Turkey. There are very few locations that have remained undisturbed.

Since the middle of last year, confirmed cases have been increasing. Although the actual scope of the first outbreaks in 2020 is unknown because testing was not generally available at the time. The 100 million COVID-19 cases were discovered at the end of January, over a year after it was first diagnosed. As of 6:30 p.m. CEST on July 30, 2021, WHO has received reports of 196,553,009 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 4,200,412 fatalities. A total of 3,839,816,037 vaccination doses has been delivered as of July 28, 2021.

After reaching a record high of over 0.9 million cases on April 28, 2021, new daily instances of the coronavirus continued to decline, reaching a low point on June 21, when over 0.3 million cases were reported. Since then yet, there has been a global increase in cases. On July 15, 0.53 million daily cases were reported, and over three million new cases were reported in the second week of the month. As of July 15, 188.9 million patients have been recorded worldwide. The transmissive Delta form accounting for most infections in 111 countries. Most instances were recorded in Brazil, India, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, and Colombia in the last week. With the steepest increases in Zimbabwe (72%), Indonesia (44%), the United States (38%), Bangladesh (35%), and the United Kingdom (30%). Many Asian nations, including Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan, have reported many daily cases. However, the spread was under control.

The number of new cases in Indonesia has been on the rise, with each day seeing a significant increase over the previous day. Indonesia is now the new Asian epicentre, with 56,757 cases recorded on July 15; India reported 39,000 patients on the same day. COVID-19 fatalities are high, according to WHO. After decreasing for nine weeks, with the highest increases in Africa and Southeast Asia. COVID-19 fatalities worldwide surpassed four million on July 7. The last million deaths occurred in under 90 days, the lowest time interval for every one million deaths ever recorded.

High vaccination coverage has been shown in the United States and much of Europe to lower fatalities and even hospitalizations. For example, United Kingdom rises in incidence. There has been fewer hospitalizations and deaths over 87% of the adult population, as they are vaccinated with one dose and over 67% with two doses. In the United States, the increase in cases is concentrated in states with low vaccination coverage, with unvaccinated people accounting for most deaths. Over 55% of Americans have received one dosage, and 48% are completely immunized. It shifts the focus back to improving vaccination coverage and achieving global vaccine equality to avoid fatalities and the spread of dangerous strains. Some nations debate a booster dosage. Even though many African countries’ healthcare professionals have not been completely vaccinated, booster injections have begun to be given to patients with weakened immune systems in Israel.

In comparison, booster shots have been ruled out in the United States for the time being. With vaccine shortages reported in many Indian states. Even among the vaccinated, rigorous adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour is the only option to postpone and mitigate the consequences of a third wave.

This spring, India and Latin America have seen a significant drop in new cases in the hardest-hit areas of the world. But the global numbers continue to grow. The Delta variety leads them to well-vaccinated regions such as Western Europe and the United States, low but rising infections. This spring, India and Latin America have seen a significant drop in new cases in the hardest-hit areas of the world. Vaccine doses have been given to over 4 billion individuals globally (52 for every 100 people), yet the discrepancy is striking. More than 80% of the population had at least one shot in some wealthy nations. In contrast, the proportion is as low as 1% in many of the poorest.

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