6th February 2021

Privacy concerns over Haryana’s ID scheme

  • Haryana government unique identity card scheme — Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP) asks the district education officer to collect required information to avail benefits of the social security schemes of the state government.
  • It further says that it is mandatory for all families to register themselves on the PPP portal.
  • the objectives of this massive data collection exercise and what the government intends to do with this and whether the PPP was going to be accepted as an official identification document in the future in the State.

RENEWED PUSH

  • PPP scheme was formally launched in July 2019 to achieve Haryana government’s vision for “paperless” and “faceless” delivery of schemes, services and benefits offered by the government.
  • It is trying to make it mandatory for all those who are likely to avail benefits of government schemes such as below poverty line families, social security benefit recipients etc.
  • The efforts of government to train district officials and residents are being made aware of the scheme through print and audio visual campaigns and face-to-face interactions.
  • The group discussions are being held with key stakeholders such as members of residents’ welfare associations in the urban areas and other local representatives in urban as well as rural areas.

FAMILIES ENROLLED

  • The estimated 65 lakh only residential families of Haryana, and around 48 lakh have voluntarily  can enrolled for PPP and provided the data on ‘self-declaration mode’.
  • The family ID or PPP, an eight-digit alpha numeric ID, is provided to those who are residents of Haryana.
  • The required period for residency has been reduced to five years from 15 years as of January 2021.

SERVICES DELIVERED

  • As of now, over 110 services and schemes being delivered to citizens via the Saral platform have been linked to the PPP scheme.
  • These services and schemes such as social security pensions ration cards and birth, death, caste and income certificates etc. And the government has plans to gradually extend the PPP to all government schemes, services, benefits and subsidies.
  • The PPP may also be linked with land records to property records in the government database of lands and properties to prevent fraudulent transactions and clarify ownership.  
  • As a first step, it has been announced that from April 1, “anywhere” registration of property transactions is being attempted the first in the country.

BREACH OF PRIVACY

  • A lot of data is being sought, well above and beyond what is required to deliver education and related services.
  • The demand for Aadhaar numbers evidently, virtually mandatory is in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines especially if no State benefits or subsidies are being sought by the residents.
  • He also expressed concern over reports of plans to cross-link this database with other databases, saying that if the PPP becomes a precondition to getting birth or death certificates, etc. then there is no choice in the matter and it was an offer you can’t refuse.
  • In the absence of privacy laws in India, or any indication of data protection Standard Operating Procedures being followed for this exercise, there will be potential abuse of this data.

COUNTER POINT

  • The office of PS, CRID, however, said that the data in PPP would be used only for planning purposes and for delivery of government schemes, subsidies, benefits and services and not for any private purpose.
  • Only data that is legitimately sought for implementation of government schemes, subsidies, benefits or services is put together and not any other private data.
  • It also dismissed apprehensions that the State government might profile people on the basis of this data and use it for election campaigns and strategy as “baseless”.
  • Section 5 of the draft data protection bill deals with purpose limitation and states that the “personal data shall be processed only for purposes that are clear, specific and lawful.
  • Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 and if the purpose for which Aadhaar authentication is intended to be used is either backed by law made by parliament or is in the State interest.

 

Whopping 900% rise in rejection of crop insurance claims

  • The number of farmers’ crop insurance claims that were rejected by insurance companies under the Centre’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) multiplied 10 times in just two years.
  • In 2017-18, the number of rejected claims was 92,869. In the next year, 2018-19, the figure more than doubled to 2.04 lakh. By 2019-20, it was 9.28 lakh, a whopping 900% increase.

Note

  • Under the PMFBY, there was actually no need to file crop loss claims in case of widespread natural calamities such as drought or flood, as claims were calculated on the basis of shortfall in yield of the whole unit.
  • At the end of the season, prevented sowing and midseason adversity claims were settled on the basis of an area approach for which yield data and crop damage reports were provided by the State governments concerned.
  •  When it came to risks impacting like risks of hailstorms, landslips, inundation, cloud burst, or natural fire. Such losses were calculated on the basis of crop loss assessment at individual insured farm levels.
  • If the Farmers claims informed to the insurance company and the State government, their claims were assessed by a joint committee with representatives from the State government and the insurance company.
  • The farmer claims can reject by the companies on various grounds.

 

‘Aero components sector to double to ?60,000 cr. by 2024’

  • The aero components sector in the country is set to double from ?30,000 crore today to ?60,000 crore by 2024.
  • Government is endeavouring to bring down defence imports by at least $2 billion by 2022.

AEROSPACE SECTOR

  • GOI have signed 128 Memorandums of Understanding (MoU), 19 Transfer of Technology (ToT), four handing overs, 18 product launches and 32 major announcements, totalling a grand figure of 201 feats.
  • Further, of the 45 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) participating in Aero India, 21 have bagged orders worth ?203 crore. This is a major achievement.
  • Between 2016 and 2019, 138 proposals worth over $37 billion for domestic manufacturing had been approved by the government in order to boost domestic defence manufacturing.
  • The India has a great potential to emerge as a global and regional Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) hub, given the cost competitiveness of its manpower resources, the availability of abundant, specialist capabilities and geographical advantages.
  • The aerospace sector has an important role to play, if India has to reach the targets of domestic defence production of $25 billion and exports of $5 billion by 2025.

 

Retail investors to be able to buy G-Secs directly: RBI

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it would allow retail investors to open gilt accounts with the central bank to invest in government securities directly and without the help of intermediaries.
  • “It is proposed to provide retail investors with online access to the government securities market both primary and secondary directly through the Reserve Bank (Retail Direct),” RBI said ,

GOVERNMENT SECURITIES, OR G-SECS

  • It is debt instruments issued by the government to borrow money from open market.
  • The two key categories are treasury bills – short-term instruments which mature in 91 days, 182 days, or 364 days, and dated securities – long-term instruments, with fixed interest rate which mature anywhere between 5 years and 40 years.

BROADENING THE INVESTOR BASE

  • This will broaden the investor base and provide retail investors with enhanced access to participate in the government securities market.
  • This measure together with HTM [hold to maturity] relaxation, will facilitate smooth completion of the government borrowing programme in 2021-22.
  • The RBI will soon come out with modalities for opening of such accounts. The provision would not in any way hinder flow of investors’ funds into mutual fund schemes and bank deposits.
  • The Allowing retail participation in the G-Sec market is a bold step towards the financialisation of a vast pool of domestic savings and could be a game-changer.

 

Veil of privacy can be lifted for legitimate state interest: Centre response in Delhi HC

  • Government told the Delhi High Court that though the right to privacy has been held to be a “sacred fundamental right” and is being “respected” by the government, the “veil of privacy” can be lifted for certain “legitimate state interest”.
  • The government said lawful interception, monitoring or decryption of any messages or information stored in any computer resources is done by authorised agencies after due approval in each case by the competent authority.
  • The government was responding to a petition seeking permanent halting of the Centre’s surveillance projects, Centralized Monitoring System (CMS), Network Traffic Analysis (NETRA) and National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID).
  • The petitioners have contended that these enable government authorities to intercept, store, analyses and retain telephone and internet communications data in bulk in violation of the fundamental right to privacy.

OVERSIGHT AUTHORITY

  • It seeks oversight authority for authorising and reviewing interception and monitoring orders or warrants issued under the Telegraph Act, 1885 and the IT Act, 2000.
  • PIL has argued that the three systems allow the government a 360 degree surveillance of all citizens, including judges.

GOVERNMENT STAND

  • The government recently said the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of the country, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states or public order fall under “legitimate state interest”.
  • The grave threats to the country from terrorism, radicalization, cross-border terrorism, cybercrime, organized crime, drug cartels cannot be understated or ignored and a strong and robust mechanism for timely and speedy collection of actionable intelligence including digital intelligence is imperative to counter threats to the national security. This is undeniably legitimate State interest.
  • The government said there is no blanket permission to any agency for interception or monitoring or decryption, because its violate Article 21 of constitution.
  • Every proposal received from authorized law enforcement agencies for interception and monitoring, are scrutinized by the dedicated unit of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It said existing safeguards of oversight by the high level committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary at Central level and by the Chief Secretary at the state level are adequate.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email