1. The gulf between rich and poor, men and women, globally

Relevant for GS Prelims & Mains Paper III; Economics

Oxfam, the international nonprofit focussed on the alleviation of global poverty, has published a report on economic inequality. The report, titled Time to Care: Unpaid and Underpaid Care Work and the Global Inequality Crisis, released ahead of the 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) beginning in Davos on Tuesday, also said that India’s richest 1% hold more than four times the wealth held by the 953 million who make up for the bottom 70% of the country’s population.

How wide is the gap between the richest and the rest?

* 2,153 individuals, the number of billionnaires in the world in 2019, have more wealth among them than 4.6 billion people.

* 22 of the world’s richest men have a combined wealth that is more than the wealth of all the women of Africa.

* The world’s richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people.

* If everyone sat on their wealth piled up in $ 100 notes, most people would be sitting on the floor; a middle-class person in a rich country would be at the height of a chair; and the world’s two richest men would be sitting in outer space.

* If you saved $ 10,000 (about Rs 7.1 lakh) every day since the building of the pyramids in Egypt (about 4,500 years ago) you would have one-fifth the average fortune of the 5 richest billionaires.

* An additional 0.5% tax on the wealth of the richest 1% over the next 10 years can create 117 million jobs in education, health and elderly care, etc.

* From 2011 to 2017, average wages in G7 countries grew 3%, while dividends to wealthy shareholders increased by 31%.

How badly off are girls and women as compared to men?

* Globally, extreme poverty rates are 4% higher for women than men; this gap rises to 22% during women’s peak productive and reproductive ages; that is, 122 women aged 25-34 for every 100 men of the same age group live in extremely poor households, largely due to childcare responsibilities.

* $10.8 trillion is the estimated minimum annual monetary value of the unpaid care work by women aged 15 and above globally — this is three times the size of the world’s tech industry.

* Women do 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work every day, equivalent to 1.5 billion people working 8 hours a day with no remuneration.

* Globally, 42% of working age women are outside the paid labour force, compared with 6% of men, due to unpaid care responsibilities.

* 80% of the estimated 67 million domestic workers worldwide are women. An estimated 90% of domestic workers have no access to social security such as maternity protection and benefits.

* Worldwide, girls aged 5-9 and 10-14 spend on average 30% and 50% more of their time respectively on unpaid care work than boys of similar ages.

Source: The Indian Express

2. MF lowers India growth estimate to 4.8% for 2019

Relevant for GS Prelims & Mains Paper III; Economics

Growth estimate for India

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered growth estimate for India to 4.8% for 2019, citing stress in the non-bank financial sector and weak rural income growth as the major factors for the downward revision. It expects growth to be 5.8% in 2020 and rise to 6.5% in 2021.

In India, the IMF said domestic demand has slowed more sharply than expected amid stress in the non-bank financial sector and a decline in credit growth.


China’s growth has been revised upward by 0.2% to 6% for 2020, reflecting the trade deal with the United States, India-born IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath added.

Source: The Hindu

3. Personal privacy vs public safety: How Apple vs FBI frames a big tech debate

US Attorney General William Barr last week asked Apple to provide access to two iPhones used by Saudi Air Force officer Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani who shot and killed three people at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida, in December. Barr accused Apple of providing no “substantive assistance” to investigators trying to break into the phones.

Apple says it has already handed over all the data in its possession to the FBI. But the FBI also wants data on the phone that might not be on the cloud.

This is the second time in four years that Apple is at the centre of a battle that pits personal privacy against public safety. In 2015, the FBI went to court to force Apple to help them unlock an iPhone 5c that belonged to Syed Rizwan Farook who, along with his wife Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people and injured 22 others in a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.

What does the FBI want this time?

FBI wants Apple’s help to unlock an iPhone 5 and an iPhone 7 that belonged to Alshamrani. It appears the phones were damaged, but the FBI got them working again — but is unable to unlock them due to Apple’s encryption and enhanced security tools. As in 2015, this would require a “backdoor entry” to the phones, bypassing encryption.

Apple insists it does not create back doors for anyone, including law enforcers and its own employees, because these can be exploited easily, and would compromise the security of all iPhone users. Apple argues that iPhones contain a lot of personal data on health and financial matters, etc. that need to be protected in case a device is stolen.

Can an iPhone be unlocked without Apple’s help?

As has been demonstrated earlier, it is not impossible to break the encryption. Alshamrani had models that were relatively old, and it is argued that they can be opened by specialised cyber-security firms that offer their services to law enforcement agencies. The FBI had ultimately got into the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5c with help from a third-party vendor that supplied the software, reportedly for $900,000.

It is being said that on this occasion too, the FBI might not need Apple’s help, especially if Alshamrani’s phones run an older (and therefore less secure) version of iOS. But the FBI has said in a statement that it has turned to Apple only after exhausting all options. Since the 2015 showdown, Apple has fixed security vulnerabilities or ‘bugs’ in its software, thus making it harder to ‘hack’ into a device.

However, software such as Cellebrite and GrayKey can break into iPhones. GraftShift, the company behind GrayKey, is focused exclusively on iPhones, and is believed to have been used by the FBI in the past.

How did Apple react on the earlier occasion (2015)?

After Apple refused the help that FBI wanted, the agency got an order from a judge who directed the company to provide “reasonable technical assistance” to the investigators. Apple was required to load a specific iOS recovery file onto the device so the FBI could recover the password.

Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote a letter to all customers during the crisis, which was posted on the company’s website. Cook underlined in the letter that the order would have an impact far beyond the case at hand — and pointed out that basically, engineers who had worked to secure the device were now being told to undo those same protections. This would be opening the Pandora’s box, Cook said, because it would put consumers’ data at risk from cyber criminals.

Apple did not have to ultimately comply, which it had seemed unlikely to anyway. The FBI managed to open the iPhone 5c, and the government moved to have the order vacated, arguing it was no longer needed.

Source: The Indian Express

Q. Elaborate the policy taken by the Government of India to meet the challenges of the food processing sector. (2019, 15 Marks, 250 Words)

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