Centre wants objectionable contents removed from social media sites
The Union government has asked social media platforms to emulate
the practices they follow in the U.K. in using tools based on Artificial
Intelligence to identify and take down content that incites people to commit
violence, a senior Home Ministry official said on Friday.
On a request was made by a law enforcement agency, the Ministry
has reduced the time limit to take down such posts and videos to about four
hours from about 36 hours at present.
The official said that after the government held several meetings
with representatives from Google, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and others,
the compliance rates in honouring requests by law enforcement agencies have
gone up from 60% to 80%.
The Ministry had asked Twitter to produce telephone numbers and
other identifiable sources that could help track suspicious accounts,
whenever asked for by law enforcement agencies.
The Centre has stepped up its interactions with social media
platforms to arrest the spread of rumours, and messages inciting unrest,
cybercrimes and other activities that could be detrimental to national
security. In May and June, over 20 people have been lynched based on fake
posts or rumours floating on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has been asked to keep the complete trail of forwarding
of unlawful content and share “meta data” with law enforcement agencies to
identify the user who “originated the content.”
MS Swaminathan sees GM crops as a failure
A research paper co-authored by leading agriculture scientist M.S.
Swaminathan, which describes Bt cotton as a ‘failure,’ was criticised by
India’s Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA), K .VijayRaghavan as ‘deeply
The article is a review of crop development in India and
transgenic crops — particularly Bt cotton, the stalled Btbrinjal as well as
DMH-11, a transgenic mustard hybrid. The latter two have been cleared by
scientific regulators but not by the Centre.
“There is no doubt that GE (genetically engineered) Bt cotton has
failed in India. It has failed as a sustainable agriculture technology and
has therefore also failed to provide livelihood security for cotton farmers
who are mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers,” according to the
“The precautionary principle (PP) has been done away with and no
science-based and rigorous biosafety protocols and evaluation of GM crops
are in place.”
The piece also raises questions on the genetic engineering
technology itself on the grounds that it raises the cost of sowing, and the
insertion of foreign genes (in the plant) could lead to ‘molecular and
cellular events not precisely understood.’
Mr. Swaminathan, credited with leading India’s Green Revolution,
has in recent years advocated ‘sustainable agriculture’ and said the
government should only use genetic engineering as a last resort.
“Swaminathanemphasised that genetic engineering technology is supplementary
and must be needbased. Only in very rare circumstance (less than 1%) may
there arise a need for the use of this technology,” according to the paper.
SEBI chief says liquidity issue of NBFC’s severe
The liquidity stress affecting non-banking finance companies and
housing finance companies since September 2018 has abated significantly, and
the Indian markets have performed better than several developed markets
despite high global volatility this year, the chief of India’s stock market
regulator Ajay Tyagi said on Friday.
The Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairman said that
the role of capital markets in facilitating fund raising to sustain the
country’s economic growth momentum ‘becomes even more important given the
stress in the banking sector.’
The volatility in global markets, caused by factors such as
uncertainty in oil prices, change in monetary policy stance of central banks
like the U.S. Federal Reserves and U.S.-China trade tensions, is likely to
persist, Mr. Tyagi said at a financial markets summit.
Despite the high volatility in the Indian markets compared with
‘previous years when markets were just rising and people almost thought they
provide assured returns, the performance of Indian capital markets has been
comparable, not much worse than the comparable jurisdictions,’ Mr. Tyagi
The SEBI chief said that the regulator has moved ‘in a timely
manner’ ‘by government standards’ on implementing reforms in the corporate
governance framework proposed by a committee headed by UdayKotak.
Steps are afoot to enhance the focus on independent directors,
prescribe the separation of CEO, MD and chairperson roles, enhance the role
of audit, nomination and remuneration and risk management committees as well
as strengthening disclosures of related-party transactions, he said.
FAO council approves India’s proposal to observe international year of
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare ShriRadha Mohan
Singh has said that the 160th session of the Food and Agriculture
Organisation (FAO) Council, currently underway in Rome, approved India’s
proposal to observe an International Year of Millets in 2023. On behalf of
all countrymen the minister conveyed his gratitude to the countries who
voiced their support.
He added that this will enhance global awareness to bring back
these nutri-cereals to the plate, for food and nutrition security and hence
increase production for resilience to challenges posed globally by climate
The Minister said that in the Modi regime, India’s prowess in
agriculture diplomacy has grown. This international endorsement comes in the
backdrop of India celebrating 2018 as the National Year of Millets for
promoting cultivation and consumption of these nutri-cereals.
This is further supported by increase in Minimum Support Prices (MSP)
of millets. Millets consists of Jowar, Bajra, Ragi and minor millets
together termed as nutri-cereals.
Through the Department of Food and Public Distribution, State
Governments are allowed to procure jowar, bajra, maize and ragi from farmers
In addition, the FAO Council also approved India’s membership to
the Executive Board of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) for 2020
and 2021 for which the Minister expressed his deepest gratitude to other
member countries for their support.
A U.S. resolution championed by Ambassador Nikki Haley to condemn
the Palestinian Hamas movement at the United Nations for firing rockets at
Israel failed to win enough votes for adoption on Thursday.
The proposed measure won 87 votes in the General Assembly, falling
short of a two-thirds majority. Fifty-eight countries opposed the measure
and 32 abstained.
Ms. Haley, who steps down from her post at the end of the year,
has repeatedly accused the United Nations of having an anti-Israel bias and
has defended Israel in its latest confrontation with Hamas, the Islamist
militant group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
It was the first proposed resolution condemning Hamas to be
presented to the 193-nation assembly, which has been meeting since 1946.
Speaking ahead of the vote, Ms. Haley said the measure “would
right a historic wrong” and “put the General Assembly on the side of truth
and balance in the effort to achieve peace in the Middle East.”
“The question before us now is whether the UN thinks terrorism is
acceptable if, and only if, it is directed against Israel,” she told the
Hamas praised the outcome of the vote, describing it as a “slap”
to President Donald Trump's administration, which has taken a firm
pro-Israeli stance in addressing the Middle East peace process.
China hopeful in sorting out US-North Korea concerns
Chinese President Xi Jinping told North Korea's Foreign Minister
on Friday that he hoped Pyongyang and Washington will address each other's
concerns so that peace talks on the Korean peninsula “continue to make
Mr. Xi met with Ri Yong Ho in Beijing as denuclearisation talks
have made little progress since a historic June summit between President
Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“The international and regional situation as well as the situation
on the Korean peninsula remains in flux, so timely exchanges and the
coordination of positions between China and North Korea are still extremely
essential,” said Mr. Xi.
Talks on nuclear disarmament on the Korean peninsula between the
U.S. and North Korea have stalled, with Washington pushing to maintain
sanctions until its “final, fully verified denuclearisation” and Pyongyang
condemning U.S. demands as “gangster-like.”
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
NITI Aayog launches global hackathon on AI
With the vision to further expand the idea of‘Artificial
Intelligence, AI for All’ articulated in the National AI Strategy, NITI
Aayogorganiseshackathons to source sustainable, innovative and
technologically-enabled solutions to address various challenges in the
Taking the initiative forward, NITI Aayog is now partnering with
Perlin – a Singapore-based AI start up - to launch the ‘AI 4 All Global
Hackathon’, and is inviting developers, students, start-ups and companies to
develop AI applications to make significant positive social and economic
impact for India.
The challenge question seeks to develop solutions inDistributed
Computing and Privacy Preserving techniques, such as multi-party
computation, in AI. The objective of this hackathon is to promote awareness
and subsequently develop solutions that deliver the twin benefit of
efficient computing to address the infrastructure challenges, while also not
compromising on privacy of data for training AI algorithms.
NITI Aayog organized its first hackathon, ‘MoveHack’ in August, on
the sidelines of the Global Mobility Summit 2018, with the aim of garnering
cutting-edge mobility applications. Over 2,000 submissions were received out
of which the Top 10 teams were awarded at the summit.
National Champion Siddharth wins Gondwana cup 2018
National champion SiddharthVishwakarma beat JayeshPungliya 6-4,
7-6(5) in the final of the Gondwana Cup Rs. 10,00,000 AITA ranking men’s
tennis tournament at the VIP Club on Friday.
It was the best fight that Siddharth had in the whole tournament,
as he had dropped a total of only 16 games in winning the earlier four
The doubles title was bagged by SahilGaware and MohitMayur who
beat ParikshitSomani and YashYadav 10-7 in the super tie-break.