Srinagar creative city
- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has picked Srinagar among 49 cities as part of the creative city network under the Crafts and Folk Arts category.
- This is the recognition of the historical crafts and arts of the city
- The inclusion is likely to pave way for the city to represent its handicrafts on the global stage through UNESCO.
- Only Jaipur (Crafts and Folk Arts) in 2015, Varanasi and Chennai (Creative city of Music) in 2015 and 2017 respectively have so far been recognized as members of the UCCN for creative cities.
Metaverse and related challenges
- ‘Metaverse’ is a broad term encompassing interconnected 3D virtual worlds made possible through advancements in technologies such as augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and block chains, originating from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 speculative science fiction novel, Snow Crash.
- Web 3.0 is the name given to the next generation of Internet architecture that will supposedly be free from the centralization that is a part of today’s Web 2.0 Internet systems, which are largely controlled by tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon.
- Web 3.0 proponents advocate the use of technologies such as block chains and tokens to create a decentralized Internet for online interaction and online payments, and a hypothetical metaverse run on these platforms could be a good example of what an ideal future digital environment could look like; hence the push for an ‘Open Metaverse’ by some organizations.
- the aim is likely to get to the next level of commodification of human interaction, where every single action, down to the tiniest levels, is tracked and surveilled for profits, and designed in a way to maximize data collection and keep the user coming back for more.
- The metaverse in the hands of one corporation would surely be detrimental to the entire Web 3.0 decentralization movement. Competitors are likely to pop up with their own versions of the technology, leading to a number of ‘Closed’ metaverse, which would basically be the Web 2.0 system all over again.
- Oligopolies or monopolies in something as revolutionary as the metaverse space is a cause for concern and competition law regulators might have to look into them someday
- Interoperability, or the ability to seamlessly transfer data between different virtual worlds is being promised, which allows for rich social and economic possibilities.
- One phrase that has been regularly coming up is the ‘creator economy’ that will become a reality in the metaverse thanks to the popularity of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) over the past year.
- NFTs will allow proof of ownership of digital assets, for example, virtual goods, paintings and memorabilia.
- A non-fungible token is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a digital ledger. NFTs can be used to represent easily-reproducible items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files as unique items, and use block chain technology to establish a verified and public proof of ownership
- A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a digital ledger (block chain)
- However, the most common criticism of NFTs is that they are an attempt to create value and scarcity where there should not be that they are nothing more than another new avenue for capitalist expansion.
- The arguments are that nothing in the virtual world is actually scarce, and any scarcity is actually by design. Artificially created scarcity helps drive profits and moneymaking. The debate continues.
- Metaverse have great potential to revolutionize fields such as education and health care, but as long as they are run purely from a profit motive, the benefits would likely be lesser
- metaverse ‘avatars’ will be the new version of showing off glamorous social media profiles both masking who the person really is behind-the-scenes, perpetuating narcissism, mental health issues and insecurities.
- Privacy and security are, of course, significant concerns, and indeed, Facebook/Meta has acknowledged this, declaring its commitment to creating secure platforms.
- Facebook’s role in promoting violent and hateful content to drive user engagement has been well documented.
- The corporation cannot be trusted to moderate its platforms properly if it goes against their economic incentives,
- Finally, metaverse will bring up challenging questions of jurisdiction and governance. In the distant future, virtual worlds could even someday grow into alternatives to the nation state itself, as the rise of block chain-based DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) seems to suggest.
- Big Tech firms already have GDPs higher than several small countries if they all get to operate full virtual worlds of their own, it could necessitate large-scale rethinking of the very foundations of technology law.
- Project Sampoorna which was conceptualized and successfully implemented in Bongaigaon district of Assam.
- The project has resulted in the reduction of malnutrition in children using near zero economic investment.
SBI Research report
- India is now ahead of China in financial inclusion metrics, with mobile and Internet banking transactions rising to 13,615 per 1,000 adults in 2020 from 183 in 2015 and the number of bank branches inching up to 14.7 per 1 lakh adults in 2020 from 13.6 in 2015, which is higher than in Germany, China and South Africa, as per a report.
- States with higher financial inclusion / more bank accounts have also seen a perceptible decline in crime along with a meaningful drop in consumption of alcohol and tobaccos.
- The Hindu
- International law and national security
- Today, international law covers a wide array of security issues ranging from terrorism to maritime security. Article 1(1) of the UN Charter recognizes the maintenance of “international peace and security” as a principal objective of the UN.
- Notwithstanding the central role that international law plays in security matters, India has failed to fully appreciate the usage of international law to advance its national security interest
- First, India struck the terror camps in Pakistan in February 2019, days after a dastardly act of terrorism in Pulwama was carried out by a Pakistan-based terror outfit.
- In justifying the use of force, India did not invoke the right to self-defenses since Pakistan was unable or unwilling to act against the terrorist groups operating from its soil
- Second, after the Pulwama attack, India decided to suspend the most favoured nation (MFN) status of Pakistan.
- Under international law contained in the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade, countries can deviate from their MFN obligations on grounds of national security
- To put pressure on the Taliban regime to serve India’s interest, India has rarely used international law.
- For instance, India could have made a case for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) using its implied powers under international law to temporarily suspend Afghanistan from SAARC’s membership.