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Xi, Modi unlikely to meet at G20 due to border row



Narendra Modi-Xi Jinping

Beijing, July 6 : Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are unlikely to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit, with Beijing saying on Thursday that “the atmosphere is not right” due to their border stand-off.

The two leaders were expected to meet at the Hamburg summit in a bid to resolve the simmering border dispute in the mountainous Sikkim sector.

“The atmosphere is not right for a bilateral meeting between President Xi and Prime Minister Modi,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry official said.

The Foreign Ministry made it more evident by saying that the “trespass” by Indian troops into Chinese territory “had damaged the political foundations of bilateral relations between China and India.

“As for the arrangement of the bilateral meeting (at G20) between President Xi and Prime Minister Modi, I have to point out that recently Indian troops trespassed into China and obstructed normal activities of Chinese troops in Doklam region,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang.

“This endangers China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and damaged the political foundations of bilateral relations between China and India.

“Regarding the bilateral meeting of President Xi and PM Modi, we will release it in a timely manner,” Geng added.

“We hope India can immediately withdraw the border troops to the Indian side of the boundary and uphold peace and tranquillity of the China-India border areas.

“I think this is the pre-condition for any meaningful peace talks between the two sides.”

At the same time, Geng warned that India would have face “serious consequences” if it did not withdraw troops from Doklam.

The official said Doklam was well within the Chinese territory but India’s action had changed the status quo. “Only when India pulls back troops, the status quo will be restored.

“Under the pretext of protecting Bhutan, India has illegally entered China’s territory hindering negotiation process between China and Bhutan,” the official added.

Thursday’s development came a day after calls by the state-run Chinese media for a war with India.

In its sharpest comment since the Indian and Chinese troops scuffled in Doklam, the Global Times said on Wednesday that China must teach India “a bitter lesson”.

The newspaper said in an editorial that China would inflict greater losses on India than it did in the 1962 war if New Delhi incited a military conflict.

It also said that the Indians would be “kicked out” of Doklam by the Chinese military.

Beijing has also hinted that the development could derail the boundary talks between India and China.

China also said that India had “trampled upon” the Panchsheel pact by illegally entering into Chinese territory.

Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a stand-off in Doklam on the Sikkim sector since the middle of June.

India has said Beijing’s action to “unilaterally determine tri-junction points” violated a 2012 India-China pact which says the boundary would be decided by consulting all the concerned parties.

The two countries, which fought a brief but bitter war in 1962, share a little over 200 km of border in the Sikkim sector.



Union Cabinet approves new telecom policy



telecom sector

New Delhi, Sep 26: Union Communications Minister Manoj Sinha on Wednesday announced that the central government has approved a new telecom policy — National Digital Communications Policy 2018– aimed to provide “broadband to all”. 

Meanwhile, the Telecom Commission has been also renamed as Digital Communication Commission.

The policy is designed to provide universal availability of 50 mega bits per second (Mbps).

It will be attracting investments worth $100 billion which was approved by the Telecom Commission in July after the Centre came out with a draft policy in May.

Besides this, the policy also aims to provide 1 Gbps (giga-bits per second) connectivity to all “Gram Panchayats” by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022.

Addressing media, after the cabinet meeting, Sinha said that among other targets the policy aims to “provide broadband to all and create 40 lakh jobs”. It also aims at providing a “ubiquitous, resilient, secure and affordable” digital communication services.


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Mammoth task to audit, erase Aadhaar data with private firms: Experts




New Delhi, Sep 26: Terming the Supreme Court verdict on Aadhaar a breath of fresh air for Indian citizens, experts on Wednesday said a completely new regime has to be put in place to protect the Aadhaar data that is lying with private companies.

Stating that private entities or individuals cannot avail Aadhaar data to provide consumer services, the apex court struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act which allowed sharing of data with private entities.

It means that telecom companies, e-commerce firms and private banks cannot ask for biometric and other data from consumers to provide their services.

“The Aadhaar verdict is a huge sigh of relief for citizens. The humongous task now is to ensure that the data that is already with private companies is not misused or sold,” Pavan Duggal, the nation’s leading cyber law expert, told IANS.

“The data now needs to be dismantled but the onus is to make sure companies do not make copies of the data and use it to monetise their operations. The big question is which agency will audit this humongous task,” added Duggal, also a leading Supreme Court lawyer.

The apex court also said that Aadhaar data can’t be shared with security agencies in the name of upholding national security and individuals too can complain about theft of their Aadhaar data.

“Private companies played a big gamble of integrating Aaddhar data with their systems wherein they spent a lot of money. The whole exercise is now futile and the country now needs a fresh Aadhaar ecosystem,” Duggal noted.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), said Duggal, had already lodged more than 50 FIRs against private companies for Aadhaar data breach.

“Today’s judgment as read out in court signals massive changes in the Aadhaar project and the Act. The legitimacy of its stated purposes is destroyed. Even the majority signals significant concern by reading down portions,” tweeted New Delhi-based lawyer Apar Gupta.

Although experts are yet to read the verdict in fine print, they said the Supreme Court’s directive to Centre to bring a robust data protection law is the need of the hour.

“The Aadhaar data is saved in data centres outside the boundaries and law of our country. There is an urgent need for addressing newly emerging legal and cyber security challenges concerning Aadhaar ecosystem on an urgent basis,” Duggal said.

The Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment last year, declared privacy a fundamental right. This set the government in motion to take steps to bring a new data protection legislation for the country.

The Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee submitted the Personal Data Protection Bill 2018 in July, suggesting amendments to the Aadhaar Act to provide for imposition of penalties on data fiduciaries and compensations to data principals for violations of the data protection law.

The 213-page report suggested amendments to the Aadhaar Act from a data protection perspective.

According to Duggal, “not just cosmetic changes, there is an urgent need for addressing newly emerging legal and cyber security challenges concerning Aadhaar ecosystem on an urgent basis”.

Supratim Chakraborty, Associate Partner at law firm Khaitan & Co, said the verdict that private parties cannot have access to individuals’ data was a double-edged thing.

“From a socialistic perspective and individualistic perspective, you need to have proper safeguards as to how your information is being used by a private party.

“However, from a business perspective, it could increase their expenses if they need to collect too much information one by one from an individual. It compels us to ponder whether there is a correct way to do business while protecting the privacy of users,” Chakraborty told IANS.

In Europe, as part of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into force from May 25, EU citizens at any point may object to an organisation’s handling of their personal data.

The regulation specifically names “direct marketing and profiling” as personal data uses to which individuals may object.

According to Duggal, India should not cut-paste any other country’s law and must strive for data localisation.

“There is a need for more comprehensive legal frameworks to protect and preserve data and privacy of individual Aadhaar account holders in specific and the Aadhaar ecosystem stakeholders in general,” Duggal noted.


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Thank you Supreme Court for supporting Congress vision: Rahul Gandhi on Aadhaar Verdict



New Delhi, Sep 26: Congress President Rahul Gandhi today described the Supreme Court judgement on Aadhaar as support to the Congress’ vision.

Reacting to the verdict, Gandhi also said that Aadhaar was a tool BJP intended to use to oppress citizens.

“For Congress, Aadhaar was an instrument of empowerment. For the BJP, Aadhaar is a tool of oppression and surveillance. Thank you Supreme Court for supporting the Congress vision and protecting”, he tweeted.

The apex court in its landmark verdict upheld the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar document but with modifications by 4:1 majority.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra ruled that Aadhaar will not be required for opening bank accounts, admissions in schools or for getting mobile phone connections.

While Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said the Aadhaar Act cannot be treated as a money bill and passing it as one will be a fraud on the Constitution.

“Aadhaar cannot be treated as a money bill and passing a bill as money bill which is not a money bill is a fraud on the Constitution,” he observed in a separate minority dissenting judgement.


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