Draft India Data Accessibility & Use Policy, 2022


Recently, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY)  released a policy proposal titled as, Draft India Data Accessibility & Use Policy, 2022.


GS II- Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. Draft India Data Accessibility & Use Policy, 2022
  2. How does the Draft Data Accessibility Policy aim to achieve its goals?
  3. Issues with the policy

Draft India Data Accessibility & Use Policy, 2022

  • The policy aims to, radically transform Indias ability to harness public sector data”.
  • The proposals of the Draft Data Accessibility Policy has been in the spotlight for permitting the licensing and sale of public data by the Government to the private sector.
  • Data is a valuable economic and social resource offering enormous opportunities for citizens, businesses, and governments.
  • With increasing digitization and engagement, the volume of data is also increasing exponentially, providing opportunities for better governance, service  delivery and innovation in sectors critical for societal transformation.
  • India’s ambitions of becoming a $5trillion-dollar digital economy depends on its ability to harness the value of data.
  • Considering this, the India Data Accessibility and Use Policy aims to enhance access, quality, and use of data,  in line with the current and emerging technology needs of the decade.
  • Maximizing access to and use of quality public sector data
  • Improving policymaking, evaluation, and monitoring
  • Enhancing the efficiency of service delivery
  • Facilitating the creation of public digital platforms
  • Protecting the privacy and security of all citizens
  • Streamlining inter-government data sharing
  • Promoting transparency, accountability, and ownership in data sharing & release
  • Building digital & data capacity, knowledge & competency of government officials
  • Promoting data interoperability & integration to enhance data quality and usability
  • Ensuring greater citizen awareness, participation, and engagement with open data
  • Enabling secure pathways to share detailed data sets for research & development
  • Increasing the availability of high-value data sets of national importance
  • Improving overall compliance to data sharing policies and standards

How does the Draft Data Accessibility Policy aim to achieve its goals?

  • The policy will be applicable to all data and information created, generated, collected and/or archived by the Central Government.
  • It would also allow State governments to adopt its provisions.
  • Its operationalisation will be achieved through the establishment of a India Data Office (IDO) under MEITY for overall management, with each government entity designating a Chief Data Officer.
  • In addition to it, a India Data Council will be formed as a consultative body for tasks that include finalisation of standards.
  • It is not indicated whether the India Data Council will have non-governmental participation from industry, civil society or technologists.
  • The policy strategy is to make Government data open by default and then maintain a negative list of datasets which cannot be shared.
  •  Definition of more sensitive categories which should have restricted access is left to the independent government ministries.
  • In addition to this, existing data sets will be enriched or processed to attain greater value and termed as high-value datasets.
  • Government datasets including high-value datasets will be shared freely within government departments and also licensed to the private sector.
  • As a measure of privacy protection, there is a recommendation for anonymisation and privacy preservation.

Issues with the policy

Three main issues:

  • While adopting the language of open data it strays from its core principle of providing transparency of the Government towards its citizens. There is only one mention of transparency and little to no mention of how such data sharing will help ensure demands for accountability and redress.
  • The policy bypasses parliament as it contemplates large scale data sharing and enrichment that will be borne from public funds. Further, the constitution of offices, prescription of standards that may be applicable not only to the Central government, but even State governments and schemes administered by them require legislative deliberation.
  • This brings us to the third and final issue of federalism. The policy, even though it notes that State governments will be, “free to adopt portions of the policy,” does not specify how such freedom will be achieved. There is also the absence of any comment on whether data gathered from States may be sold by the Central government and whether the proceeds from it will be shared with the States.
Privacy issues with the Draft Data Accessibility Policy
  • India does not have a data protection law that can provide accountability and remedy for privacy violations such as coercive and excessive data collection or data breaches.
  • Here, inter-departmental data sharing poses concerns related to privacy since the open government data portal which contains data from all departments may result in the creation of 360 degree profiles and enable state-sponsored mass surveillance.
  • Even though the policy considers anonymisation as a desired goal there is a lack of legal accountability and independent regulatory oversight.
  • There is also a failure to consider scientific analysis and the availability of automated tools for the re-identification of anonymous data.
  •  Here the commercial value of the data increases with greater amounts of personal data.
  • The absence of an anchoring legislation further leads to the policy not being able to fulfill the threshold of legality for state intervention into privacy which was put in place by the Supreme Court of India in its landmark right to privacy decision.

NASA’s Plan to Decommission the International Space Station


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced plans to retire and decommission the International Space Station (ISS) by 2031.


GS-III Science and Technology: (Space Technology, Developments in Space technology)

Dimension of the Article:
  1. What is a Space Station?
  2. International Space Station (ISS)
  3. Why is NASA planning to decommission the ISS?

What is a Space Station?

  • A Space station is an artificial structure placed in orbit, having the pressurized enclosure, power, supplies, and environmental systems necessary to support human habitation for extended periods.
  • In simple words: a space station, also called an orbital station, is a large spacecraft or man-made station in space which can act as a home where astronauts live and/or receive several spacecrafts from the Earth and/or act as a kind of science lab, etc.
  • Depending on its configuration, a space station can serve as a base for a variety of activities.
    • These include observations of the Sun and other astronomical objects, study of Earth’s resources and environment, military reconnaissance, and long-term investigations of the behaviour of materials and biological systems—including human physiology and biochemistry—in a state of weightlessness, or microgravity.
How are space stations set up and how do they work?

Small space stations are launched fully assembled, but larger stations are sent up in modules and assembled in orbit. To make the most efficient use of its carrier vehicle’s capacity, a space station is launched vacant, and its crew members—and sometimes additional equipment—follow in separate vehicles. A space station’s operation, therefore, requires a transportation system to ferry crews and hardware and to replenish the propellant, air, water, food, and such other items as are consumed during routine operations. Space stations use large panels of solar cells and banks of storage batteries as their source of electrical power. They also employ geostationary relay satellites for continuous communication with mission controllers on the ground and satellite-based positioning systems for navigation.

How many Space Stations have we launched?
  • Since 1971, more than 10 space stations have been launched into a low orbit around Earth and have been occupied for varying lengths of time.
  • Important Space stations in chronological order are Salyut 1, Skylab, Salyuts 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, Mir, the International Space Station, and Tiangong 1 and 2.

International Space Station (ISS)

  • The International Space Station (ISS) is a modular space station (habitable artificial satellite) in low Earth orbit.
  • The ISS program is a multi-national collaborative project between five participating space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).
  • The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements.
  • The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which scientific experiments are conducted in astrobiology, astronomy, meteorology, physics, and other fields.
  • It is the largest artificial object in space and the largest satellite in low Earth orbit, regularly visible to the naked eye from Earth’s surface.
  • The ISS is the ninth space station to be inhabited by crews, following the Soviet and later Russian Salyut, Almaz, and Mir stations as well as Skylab from the US.

Why is NASA planning to decommission the ISS?

  • The ISS was originally built to operate for 15 years.
  • The space station has already surpassed that checkpoint by being active for 21 years, with plans to continue operations till 2030.
  •  The ISS goes through 16 rotations of the earth per day, causing extreme temperature changes on the exterior. The side facing the sun can get heated up to 121°C while the temperature on the opposite, darker side can fall to –157°C, causing intense expansion and contraction of the building material.
  • This orbital thermal cycling, coupled with dynamic loading, affects the longevity of the primary structure of the space station.
  • The technical lifetime is also limited by parts like radiators, modules and truss structures that tend to degrade over time.
  • NASA is planning to transition operations in low-earth orbit to private players and focus energies on its missions to explore the moon and Mars.
  • NASA plans to remove the ISS from its orbit around the earth and eventually plunge it into the ocean at a point farthest from human civilisation.
  • NASA claims that the debris of the ISS that survives the re-entry will settle on the ocean floor and not cause any substantial long-term impact.

Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)


Nawab Malik, Maharashtra’s Minister of Minority Development and Skill Development and Nationalist Congress Party leader, was remanded in Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody for seven days in a money laundering case connected to fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim and his associates.


GS-III: Internal Security Challenges (Money Laundering), GS II: Governance

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002
  2. Enforcement Directorate
  3. Functions of Enforcement Directorate

Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002

  • According to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002, Money laundering is concealing or disguising the identity of illegally obtained proceeds so that they appear to have originated from legitimate sources.
    •  It is frequently a component of other, much more serious, crimes such as drug trafficking, robbery or extortion.
  • Money laundering is punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 7 years and Fine under the PMLA.
  • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is responsible for investigating offences under the PMLA.
  • The Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND) is the national agency that receives, processes, analyses and disseminates information related to suspect financial transactions.
  • After hearing the application, a special court (designated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act PMLA, 2002) may declare an individual as a fugitive economic offender and also confiscate properties which are proceeds of crime, Benami properties and any other property, in India or abroad.
  • The authorities under the PMLA, 2002 will exercise powers given to them under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.
    • These powers will be similar to those of a civil court, including the search of persons in possession of records or proceeds of crime, the search of premises on the belief that a person is an FEO and seizure of documents.

Enforcement Directorate

  • The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) is a law enforcement agency and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India.
  • It is part of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government Of India.
  • It is composed of officers from the Indian Revenue Service, Indian Corporate Law Service, Indian Police Service and the Indian Administrative Service.
  • The origin of this Directorate goes back to 1 May 1956, when an ‘Enforcement Unit’ was formed, in Department of Economic Affairs, for handling Exchange Control Laws violations under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947.
  • In the year 1957, this Unit was renamed as ‘Enforcement Directorate’.

Functions of Enforcement Directorate

  • The prime objective of the Enforcement Directorate is the enforcement of two key Acts of the Government of India namely, the
    • Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 (FEMA)
    • the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA).
  • The ED’s (Enforcement Directorate) official website enlists its other objectives which are primarily linked to checking money laundering in India.
  • In fact this is an investigation agency so providing the complete details on public domain is against the rules of GOI.
  • ED; investigates suspected violations of the provisions of the FEMA.
    • Suspected violations includes; non-realization of export proceeds, “hawala transactions”, purchase of assets abroad, possession of foreign currency in huge amount, non-repatriation of foreign exchange, foreign exchange violations and other forms of violations under FEMA.
  • ED collects, develops and disseminates intelligence information related to violations of FEMA, 1999. The ED receives the intelligence inputs from Central and State Intelligence agencies, complaints etc.
  • ED has the power to attach the asset of the culprits found guilty of violation of FEMA.
    • “Attachment of the assets” means prohibition of transfer, conversion, disposition or movement of property by an order issued under Chapter III of the Money Laundering Act [Section 2(1) (d)].
  • To undertake, search, seizure, arrest, prosecution action and survey etc. against offender of PMLA offence.
  • To provide and seek mutual legal assistance to/from respective states in respect of attachment/confiscation of proceeds of crime and handed over the transfer of accused persons under Money Laundering Act.
  • To settle cases of violations of the erstwhile FERA, 1973 and FEMA, 1999 and to decide penalties imposed on conclusion of settlement proceedings.

Insurgency Threat in Manipur


Defence Minister, while addressing an election rally in Imphal West, called upon insurgency groups operating in Manipur to shun violence and come to the negotiating table. He said the Centre is ready to hold dialogue with them to bring lasting peace to the region.


GS II- Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the article:
  1. Rise of insurgency in Manipur
  2. Ceasefire agreement

Rise of insurgency in Manipur

  • The emergence of insurgency in Manipur dates back to 1964 with the formation of the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), which still remains one of the formidable militant outfits.
  • The rise of separatist insurgency in Manipur mainly attributed to perceived discontent over alleged “forced” merger of Manipur with the Union of India and the subsequent delay in granting it full-fledged statehood.
    • While the erstwhile Kingdom of Manipur was merged with India on October 15, 1949, it became a state only in 1972.
  • The later years saw a slew of militant outfits being formed, including the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), among others.
    • These valley-based outfits have been demanding an independent Manipur.
  • The Naga movement in neighbouring Nagaland spilled over into Manipur’s hill districts with the NSCN-IM controlling most of it while pressing for “Nagalim” (Greater Nagaland), which is perceived in the valley as a “threat” to Manipur’s “territorial integrity”.
    • In subsequent years, Manipur had been caught in a spiral of violence as various militant outfits carried out deadly attacks on security forces or engaged in factional clashes.
  • While the hills account for nine-tenths of Manipur’s geographical area, they are sparsely populated, with most of the state’s population concentrated in the valley. The Meitei community forms a majority in Imphal valley, while the surrounding hill districts are inhabited by Nagas and Kukis.
  • In 1980, the Centre declared the entire Manipur as a “disturbed area” and imposed the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to suppress the insurgency movement, which remains in force till date.
  • In the early 1990s, the ethnic clashes between Nagas and Kukis led to the formation of several Kuki insurgent groups, which have now scaled down their demand from a separate Kuki state to a Territorial Council.
  • The further continuance of insurgency led to the formation of smaller outfits like the Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF), People’s United Liberation Front (PULF) and other splinter groups.

Ceasefire agreement

  • The NSCN-IM entered a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India (GoI) in 1997, even as peace talks between them have still been continuing.
  • Similarly, the Kuki outfits under two umbrella groups, the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United People’s Front (UPF), also signed the tripartite Suspension of Operation (SoO) pacts with the GoI and Manipur on August 22, 2008.
    • Of the total 25 armed Kuki groups operating in the state, 17 are under the KNO and 8 under the United Peoples’ Front (UPF).
  • However, major valley-based militant outfits (Meitei groups) such as the UNLF, PLA, KYKL etc. are yet to come to the negotiating table.
  • Many of their smaller outfits have however entered the SoO agreement with the state government, which has launched rehabilitation programmes for such groups.

Similipal Biosphere Reserve


Recently the Forest Administration and SHGs (Self Help Groups) have started an awareness Campaign to manage fires in Similipal Biosphere Reserve this year.


GS III- Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the article:
  1. About Similipal Biosphere Reserve
  2. Other Major Protected Areas in Odisha
About Similipal Biosphere Reserve
  • The Similipal Biosphere Reserve was formally designated a tiger reserve in 1956, and later on in 1994- it was declared as a biosphere reserve by the Government.
  • It has been part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserve since 2009.
  • It is situated in the northern part of Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district. Geographically, it lies in the eastern end of the eastern ghat.
  • Vegetation of the Similipal Biosphere Reserve includes tropical semi-evergreen forests, tropical moist deciduous forests, dry deciduous hill forests, high level sal forests and sprawling meadows.
  • Similipal is home to a wide range of wild animals including tigers and elephants, besides more than 300 species of birds, more than 100 species of flowering plants.
  • It is part of the Similipal-Kuldiha-Hadgarh Elephant Reserve popularly known as Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve, which includes 3 protected areas i.e., Similipal Tiger Reserve, Hadagarh Wildlife sanctuary and Kuldiha wildlife sanctuary.
  • Two tribes, the Erenga Kharias and the Mankirdias, inhabit the reserve’s forests and practise traditional agricultural activities (the collection of seeds and timber).
  • Natural causes such as lighting or even soaring temperatures can sometimes result in forest fires here.
  • Instances of poaching and hunting wherein the poachers set a small patch of forest on fire to divert the wild animals, can lead to forest fires.

Other Major Protected Areas in Odisha

  • Bhitarkanika National Park
  • Badrama WLS
  • Chilika (Nalaban island) WLS
  • Hadgarh WLS
  • Baisipalli WLS
  • Kotagarh WLS
  • Nandankanan WLS
  • Lakhari Valley WLS
  • Gahirmatha (Marine) WLS


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