Addressing Electricity Shortages and Coal Procurement

Electricity Shortages Amid Rising Demand:

• Increasingly unpredictable weather patterns and a growing economy have led to higher electricity demand in         India.

• Poor logistics, especially in moving domestic thermal coal to power plants, contribute to electricity shortages,         exacerbated by factors like poor monsoons.

Challenges in Coal Procurement:

• While domestic coal availability is not the primary issue, logistical challenges hinder its timely delivery to power     plants.

• Alternative sources of coal, including imports, are considered, but the narrative around imports needs scrutiny      as it may not be the only solution.

Clarification on Coal Imports:

• Recent Ministry of Power advisories regarding coal imports are interpreted as mandates, leading to potential        cost burdens on consumers.

• The advisory suggesting up to 6% coal imports is not a mandate but an advisory, and the necessity of imports       should be evaluated case by case.

Need for Efficient Coal Procurement:

• Regulatory bodies and distribution utilities should ensure a prudent approach to coal procurement, considering     factors like plant location and blending alternatives.

• Addressing logistics bottlenecks and identifying cost-effective coal procurement strategies are essential to             mitigate electricity shortages without unnecessarily burdening consumers.

Grim Outlook for Youth Employment in India

Current Status of Youth Employment:

• The ‘India Employment Report 2024’ highlights a grim outlook for youth employment in India.

• Nearly 83% of India’s unemployed workforce comprises young people, with around 7-8 million being added to      the labor force annually.

• Shockingly, the proportion of educated unemployed youth has almost doubled since 2000, reaching 65.7% in      2022.

Challenges Faced by Educated Youth:

• Despite having secondary level education or higher qualifications, many young people struggle to find suitable     employment.

• Graduates face a significantly higher unemployment rate compared to those with lower education levels,               indicating shortcomings in job  opportunities and education quality.

Wider Socio-Economic Implications:

• India’s demographic dividend, once touted as a potential boon, is at risk as the share of young people in the         population is forecasted to decline.

• Gender imbalance in labor force participation and the prevalence of informal jobs further highlight systemic          challenges in the job market.

Policy Imperatives:

• The government must prioritize job creation and focus on improving the quality of education and training to          address the unemployment crisis.

• Political leaders need to prioritize these issues in their campaigns and subsequent policy formulation to harness  India’s demographic potential and achieve wider socio-economic gains.

European Commission Initiates Non-Compliance Investigations Against Tech Giants

Initiation of Investigations:

• The European Commission has launched non-compliance investigations against tech giants Apple, Meta (formerly Facebook), Google’s parent company Alphabet, and Amazon.

• These investigations are aimed at ensuring compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) to promote fair and competitive digital markets.

Key Concerns and Focus Areas

• Alphabet and Apple are being investigated for allegedly directing customers to their inhouse services over competitors, while Meta faces scrutiny for its “pay or consent model.”

• The investigations focus on steering rules, self-preferencing, and user choice in app stores, search results, and     social media platforms.

• Concerns include limitations on app developers and the potential lack of choice for users within the digital            ecosystems of these companies.

Implications and Penalties:

• Non-compliant companies could face fines of up to 10% of their global turnover, or 20% for repeated                    infringements, along with possible divestments or bans on acquiring additional services.

• The investigations align with the DMA’s objective to regulate gatekeepers and ensure fair competition and             consumer access in the digital market space.

Industry Response and Concerns:

• Stakeholders are concerned about potential overlapping prerogatives and the impact on the digital ecosystem.

• The investigations signal a broader push for regulatory oversight of tech giants to promote fairer digital markets    in the EU.

India Leads in Internet Shutdowns, Faces Rights Concerns

Frequency of Internet Shutdowns:

• India has consistently topped the global list for internet shutdowns, with about 60% of all blackouts worldwide      between 2016 and 2022 occurring in the country.

• Over the past decade, the Indian government imposed 780 shutdowns, citing reasons such as national security     threats and public order concerns.

Legal and Rights Issues:

• Shutdowns in India have faced criticism for violating fundamental rights to freedom of expression, as upheld by     the Supreme Court in the Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India case.

• The lack of clarity in defining emergencies and safety issues, along with poor compliance with court directives       to make shutdown orders public, adds to the legal and rights concerns.

Regional Trends:

• Jammu and Kashmir witnessed the highest number of shutdowns, followed by the longest blackout in Manipur    in 2023 amid ethnic clashes.

• Recent shutdowns in Haryana amid farmers’ protests highlight ongoing regional

Legal Framework and International Standards:

• India’s use of a British-era law to suspend mobile internet in Punjab raises questions about adherence to              international standards regarding necessity and proportionality.

• The ‘three-part test’ for imposing blackouts, as per international law, includes legality, legitimate aim, and               necessity/proportionality, which India often fails to meet.

Content Censorship:

• More than 55,000 websites and 30,000 social media URLs were blocked between 2015 and 2022, with                cybercrime threats often cited as a reason.

• Recent instances, like ordering news outlet The Caravan to remove a story on alleged military abuse, raise          concerns about freedom of the press.

Global Trends:

Globally, internet freedom has declined for the 13th consecutive year, with India’s ranking declining as well, indicating a broader trend of deteriorating human rights online.

Extension of AFSPA in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh

Extension Details:

• The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in parts of             Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh for another six months.

• In Nagaland, AFSPA will be effective in eight districts and 21 police stations across five other districts, starting      from April 1, unless withdrawn earlier.

• Similarly, in Arunachal Pradesh, AFSPA will be extended in three districts and areas under the jurisdiction of        three police stations in Namsai district.

Affected Areas in Nagaland:

• AFSPA extension covers specific districts and police stations in Nagaland, including Dimapur, Mon, Kiphire, Peren, Kohima, Mokokchung, Longleng, Wokha, and Zunheboto.

• Police stations in various districts like Mangkolemba, Bhandari, Ghatashi, and others are also included.

Affected Areas in Arunachal Pradesh:

In Arunachal Pradesh, AFSPA extension applies to Tirap, Changlang, and Longding districts, along with areas under the jurisdiction of specific police stations in Namsai district.

Duration and Legal Framework:

• The extension is made under Section 3 of the AFSPA for a period of six months, with effect from April 1, unless     withdrawn earlier.

• AFSPA grants special powers to the armed forces in designated areas to maintain public order and address          security concerns.


The extension aims to provide the necessary legal framework and authority to the armed forces to maintain peace and security in the specified regions, which may be experiencing unrest or security challenges.

Explanation of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)


Originally enacted during British rule to suppress protests, the AFSPA was introduced as four ordinances in 1947 and later consolidated into an Act in 1948. The current version applicable to the Northeast was presented in Parliament in 1958 by then Home Minister G.B. Pant. Initially named the Armed Forces (Assam and Manipur) Special Powers Act, 1958, it was extended to newly formed states like Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya,
Mizoram, and Nagaland.


The AFSPA grants extensive powers to the armed forces and Central armed police forces deployed in “disturbed areas,” allowing them to use lethal force, conduct searches and arrests without warrants, and provides legal immunity. Originally enforced in 1958 to address unrest in the Naga Hills, the Act was amended in
1972, empowering both the Central and State governments to declare an area “disturbed.” Tripura revoked the Act in 2015, and Meghalaya, under AFSPA for 27 years, had it lifted in April 2018. Currently, AFSPA is in effect in certain parts of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh.


Human rights concerns arise from the Act’s provisions, allowing security forces to use force, including lethal, for maintaining public order, leading to allegations of fake encounters and rights violations.
The Jeevan Reddy Committee, appointed in 2004, recommended AFSPA’s repeal,
proposing amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and
establishing grievance cells in deployed areas. The Second Administrative Reforms Commission and Supreme Court have also recommended AFSPA’s repeal or modification, yet these suggestions remain

Supreme Court Rulings:

In a 1998 case (Naga People’s Movement of Human Rights v. Union of India), the Supreme Court upheld AFSPA’s constitutionality but stressed limited and reviewed deployment, consultation with state governments, and minimal force usage.

Way Forward:

Due to numerous rights violations, the current application of AFSPA is untenable. The government should adopt a case-specific approach, limiting its use to specific districts and adhering to Supreme Court and committee guidelines to address concerns and reassure affected communities.

Key Points from the Food Waste Index Report 2024

• Magnitude of Food Waste: In 2022, households globally wasted over one billion meals daily, amounting to 1.05 billion tonnes of food waste, or 132 kilograms per capita, representing nearly one-fifth of all food available.

• Distribution of Waste: Sixty percent of food waste occurred at the household level, with food services                    responsible for 28%, and retail for 12%.

• Data Infrastructure Needs: The report emphasized the need to strengthen data infrastructure for tracking and monitoring food waste, particularly in low- and middleincome countries, to meet Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 of halving food waste by 2030.

• Global Perspective: Food waste is not solely a problem of affluent nations, with household waste levels showing minimal differences across income levels. Hotter climates tend to generate more waste due to higher consumption of fresh foods and a lack of robust cold chains.

• Impact on Climate Change: Food loss and waste contribute 8%-10% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, surpassing those of the aviation sector, and lead to significant biodiversity loss, occupying nearly a third of the world’s agricultural land, costing the global economy $1 trillion.

• Rural vs. Urban Trends: Rural areas generally waste less food than urban ones due to greater diversion of          food  scraps to pets, livestock, and home composting.

• Policy Recommendations: Governments are urged to integrate food loss and waste reduction into their climate    action plans, such as Nationally Determined Contributions, to raise climate ambition.

The report underscores the urgent need for concerted global efforts to address food waste, given its significant environmental, economic, and social impacts.

Key Points from Cisco’s 2023 Cybersecurity Readiness Index:

Low Readiness Levels:

Only 4% of firms in India are deemed to have a “mature” level of readiness to combat modern cybersecurity risks, according to Cisco’s index.

Persistent Threat Landscape:

Enterprises face a range of cybersecurity threats including phishing, ransomware, supply chain, and social   engineering attacks.

Complex Security Postures:

Despite efforts to bolster defenses, organizations struggle to effectively defend against cyber threats, hindered by overly complex security postures dominated by multiple-point solutions.

Impact of Cybersecurity Incidents:

A majority (82%) of respondents believe that a cybersecurity incident is likely to disrupt their business within the next 12 to 24 months.

Preparedness and Budgets:

Nearly all (99%) of the companies surveyed are preparing to address new cyber challenges, with plans to increase cybersecurity budgets in the next 12 months.

Survey Scope:

The findings are based on a survey conducted among over 8,000 private sector security and business leaders across 30 global markets, including India.

Call for Action:

Cisco emphasizes the need for organizations to not only invest more in cybersecurity but also adopt an integrated platform approach to protect key pillars and reduce the security readiness gap.

The report underscores the pressing need for organizations to enhance their cybersecurity readiness to mitigate the growing threats posed by cyber attacks in an increasingly digitized world.