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Editorial Today (English)

in this section, we are presenting our readers/aspirants compilation of selected editorials of national daily viz. The Hindu, The livemint,The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Economic Times, PIB etc. This section caters the requirement of Civil Services Mains (GS + Essay) , PCS, HAS Mains (GS + Essay) & others essay writing competition

1. Declare a cyber security emergency

An expert report that cited a cyberattack as cause for the massive grid failure and blackout that hit Mumbai and adjoining areas on October 12 has been countered by Union Power Minister R K Singh. GoI has attributed the blackout to ‘human error’, not a hacking attempt. Whatever be the cause of that specific outage, shoring up cybersecurity is of critical import. With rapid digitisation, our vital installations, dam sluice-gate operations or financial markets, and even government accounts, are all vulnerable to cyberattacks, which are mostly anonymous and difficult to attribute to specific actors, either State, non-State, or both. In cyberspace, Advance Persistent Threats (APT) executed by anonymous hackers can often go unnoticed for long periods. Hence the need for proactive policy to resolutely address rising cyberthreats.
The National Cyber Security Strategy 2020 does call for an index of cyber preparedness, and attendant monitoring of performance. A separate budget for cybersecurity is suggested, as also to synergise the role and functions of various agencies with the requisite domain knowledge. In tandem, we do need to better allocate resources for developing cybersecurity capability, technology and training infrastructure, by, for instance, setting up testing labs and duly participating in standards-setting protocols and performance norms. India is the second-fastest digital adopter among 17 of the most-digital economies globally, and rapid digitisation does require forward-looking measures to boost cybersecurity, which is, in fact, fundamental to our national security.

We need to envisage cyber deterrence on the lines of strategic deterrence to dissuade cyberattackers. Cyber defences must be duly raised to protect our networks, and we do need to acquire offensive capabilities for effective deterrence in cyberspace. A whole ecosystem of nurturing talent and expertise needs to be speedily designed and followed through. India’s startup ecosystem and its bubbling energy and bounteous talent must be tapped for cyber reinforcement, with the State acting as venture capitalist.

2.Most regretful, your lordship

The Supreme Court has not exactly covered itself in glory by asking a 23-year-old man accused of raping a minor girl whether he was willing to marry the complainant. It is appalling that the accused, a government servant, was told that he should have ‘thought over this before seducing and raping a young girl’. The notion that marriage by the rapist of the victim rids the culprit of criminality is absurd. Positing marriage as the ultimate remedy for rape amounts to devaluing the crime and denying the victim any agency in whom she wants as her life partner. Crime against women is mostly due to prejudiced social norms that legitimise male power and devalue women. That Supreme Court has reinforced those traits, instead of eroding them.

The Bombay High Court had set aside the trial court order granting anticipatory bail to the accused who also faces charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act. Rightly, it held that the approach of the trial court showed the ‘utter lack of sensitivity in such serious matters’. However, the SC bench gave interim protection to the petitioner from arrest. In another case, the SC asked if a man’s sexual conduct, however brutal, could attract rape charges in a live-in relationship. Patriarchy only shows up again.

India recorded an average of 87 rape cases daily in 2019, and overall 4,05,861 cases of crime against women during the year, a rise of over 7% from 2018, according to official data. But the very low conviction rate in rape cases enables many perpetrators to walk away scot-free. Given the stigma and bias that rape survivors face in India, the police and the judiciary need gender sensitivity training to deal with such cases in accordance with constitutional values.

 

3. Declare a cyber security emergency

An expert report that cited a cyberattack as cause for the massive grid failure and blackout that hit Mumbai and adjoining areas on October 12 has been countered by Union Power Minister R K Singh. GoI has attributed the blackout to ‘human error’, not a hacking attempt. Whatever be the cause of that specific outage, shoring up cybersecurity is of critical import. With rapid digitisation, our vital installations, dam sluice-gate operations or financial markets, and even government accounts, are all vulnerable to cyberattacks, which are mostly anonymous and difficult to attribute to specific actors, either State, non-State, or both. In cyberspace, Advance Persistent Threats (APT) executed by anonymous hackers can often go unnoticed for long periods. Hence the need for proactive policy to resolutely address rising cyberthreats.

The National Cyber Security Strategy 2020 does call for an index of cyber preparedness, and attendant monitoring of performance. A separate budget for cybersecurity is suggested, as also to synergise the role and functions of various agencies with the requisite domain knowledge. In tandem, we do need to better allocate resources for developing cybersecurity capability, technology and training infrastructure, by, for instance, setting up testing labs and duly participating in standards-setting protocols and performance norms. India is the second-fastest digital adopter among 17 of the most-digital economies globally, and rapid digitisation does require forward-looking measures to boost cybersecurity, which is, in fact, fundamental to our national security.

We need to envisage cyber deterrence on the lines of strategic deterrence to dissuade cyberattackers. Cyber defences must be duly raised to protect our networks, and we do need to acquire offensive capabilities for effective deterrence in cyberspace. A whole ecosystem of nurturing talent and expertise needs to be speedily designed and followed through. India’s startup ecosystem and its bubbling energy and bounteous talent must be tapped for cyber reinforcement, with the State acting as venture capitalist.

4. Most regretful, your lordship

The Supreme Court has not exactly covered itself in glory by asking a 23-year-old man accused of raping a minor girl whether he was willing to marry the complainant. It is appalling that the accused, a government servant, was told that he should have ‘thought over this before seducing and raping a young girl’. The notion that marriage by the rapist of the victim rids the culprit of criminality is absurd. Positing marriage as the ultimate remedy for rape amounts to devaluing the crime and denying the victim any agency in whom she wants as her life partner. Crime against women is mostly due to prejudiced social norms that legitimise male power and devalue women. That Supreme Court has reinforced those traits, instead of eroding them.

The Bombay High Court had set aside the trial court order granting anticipatory bail to the accused who also faces charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act. Rightly, it held that the approach of the trial court showed the ‘utter lack of sensitivity in such serious matters’. However, the SC bench gave interim protection to the petitioner from arrest. In another case, the SC asked if a man’s sexual conduct, however brutal, could attract rape charges in a live-in relationship. Patriarchy only shows up again.

India recorded an average of 87 rape cases daily in 2019, and overall 4,05,861 cases of crime against women during the year, a rise of over 7% from 2018, according to official data. But the very low conviction rate in rape cases enables many perpetrators to walk away scot-free. Given the stigma and bias that rape survivors face in India, the police and the judiciary need gender sensitivity training to deal with such cases in accordance with constitutional values.

5.Women’s right to autonomy, justice | HT Editorial

A Supreme Court (SC) bench, headed by the Chief Justice of India, in a case involving the bail plea of a rape accused, held that it might consider his petition if he were willing to marry the survivor, a minor at the time of the incident. This is unacceptable. As International Women’s Day approaches, it is a reminder of how little autonomy women have over their bodies and life choices. Such judicial observations give sanction to the violence a rape survivor faces and strip her of her rights.

In this case, the girl was stalked by the accused, threatened with violence, and her family harassed. While the Bench made it clear it was not forcing the issue, the attempt was aimed at arriving at a “solution”, which if agreeable to the accused, not the survivor, stood to exonerate him. The rights of the survivor are protected under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, and this is what must be upheld. The fact that the survivor challenged the pre-arrest bail to the accused in a lower court shows that she wants to pursue justice. One wonders what might have happened had the accused responded positively to the court’s question (he didn’t because he is already married).

 

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