One in three adolescents face online abuse, finds study by NGO

GS Paper III

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT

Prelims: Cyber bullying

What’s the News?

One in every three adolescents exposed to the Internet are victims of cyberbullying and other forms of online abuse and nearly half of the users display some level of addiction, revealed a study on school students.

Cyber bullying:

  • It is the harassment or bullying executed through digital devices like computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
  • The platforms where cyber bullying can occur include social media, chat rooms, and gaming platforms where people can view and participate in the sharing of content.
  • The different types of cyber bullying involve causing humiliation through hateful comments on online platforms/apps, or through SMS or messaging.
  • It comprises posting, sending or sharing negative, nasty or false information about another individual for causing humiliation and character assassination.

Study shows: Pattern of internet use

  • An NGO — Child Rights and You (CRY) — conducted a survey in collaboration with Forum for Learning and Action with Innovation and Rigour (FLAIR).
  • The adolescents had easy access to the Internet with 93% of them using it in their homes.
  • There was a clear gender disparity in access to personal devices with 60% boys and 40% girls owning a device.
  • 10% of adolescents experienced cyberbullying, 10% had either their profile misused or account hacked and 23% had seen a morphed image or video online.

However it was not able to record instances of sexual abuse in cyberspace as it was conducted in a controlled environment.

Internet Addiction:

  • Nearly 48% of students were found to be either mildly or moderately addicted to the Internet, while 1% were found to be severely addicted.
  • Access to the Internet is not all harmful as 40% of the respondents said they used it to take help in their studies such as through online search for words or information, tutorials and access to their school’s online education programme.
  • The same ratio of children also used the Internet for extra-curricular activities such as for music, painting or sports.
  • As many as 50% of students used the Internet for both studies as well as extra-curricular activities.

Legal remedies:

  • Cyber bullying or cyber defamation of any kind is considered as a cyber crime and the laws covering them come under the Information Technology Act.
  • However, it is shocking that there are no special Anti-Cyber Bullying Laws in India yet. Following are some cyber laws though those cover some of the acts classified as cyber bullying in India.

Sec.66A – Sending offensive messages through communication service, etc.

Sec.66C – Identity Theft

Sec.66D – Cheating by personation by using the computer resource

Sec.66E – Violation of privacy

Sec.67B – Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in any sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form

Sec.72 – Breach of confidentiality and privacy

Steps needed:

  • Support law enforcement and child protection efforts. The private sectors, and particularly technology firms, have a vital role to play in sharing digital tools, knowledge and expertise with law enforcement agencies to protect children online.
  • Adopt and implement the WePROTECT Global Alliance strategic framework. Designed to combat sexual exploitation online, the WePROTECT Global Alliance framework has already been adopted by 77 countries. The model sets out a coordinated response, with recommendations for action across a range of areas.
  • Tailor protections to reflect children’s evolving capacities. Strategies to promote children’s safety online should take account of a child’s age and maturity. Younger children are likely to need a great deal of support and guidance from parents, teachers

Conclusion:

  • Familiarity with Internet safety rules and the skill to use them for reporting needs to be built into the school curriculum as well as the need to modify the Central government’s child protection scheme to build infrastructure to deal with cybercrimes against children.
  • It also presses for schools to recognise an increase in online crimes against children and develop strategies on prevention, reporting and redressal.

 


Can’t setup water front management authority

GS Paper III

Topic: Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.

Prelims: Waterfront

Mains: Cleaning Yamuna River

What’s the News?

The green panel had sought responses from the DDA after the YMC suggested the setting up of a Water Front Management Authority to ensure cleaning of the river Yamuna.

Waterfront: A waterfront is a piece of land which is next to an area of water.

The National Green Tribunal:

  • NGT had earlier rapped the Delhi Jal Board over cleaning of the Yamuna and had said there has been no “meaningful progress” on the ground in the last three years.
  • It had said pollution in the Yamuna was of serious concern as it was highly contaminated with industrial effluents and sewage.

Water Front Management Authority: Special Purpose Vehicle

  • The SPV will not restrict itself to cleaning the river but will also develop the river bank.
  • Currently, the administration of the 22-km stretch of the Yamuna and its adjoining area is shared by the Delhi Development Authority, the municipal corporations of Delhi, Department of Irrigation and Flood Control, Forest Department and Delhi government.
  • According to Delhi government, there is no dedicated body to look after the river and setting up such an SPV will end all complications created by multiple agencies looking after the river, its floodplain and catchment.
  • The multiplicity of agencies caused confusion and the authorities did not know whose responsibility it was to clean the debris.

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) response:

DDA informed the National Green Tribunal that the setting up of a Water Front Management Authority, as directed by the green tribunal earlier, was not possible as it required legislative provisions which was not under the purview of the urban body.

Issues:

  • Yamuna Monitoring Committee, the DDA or the INTACH would require assistance from the municipal corporations or the police as they did not have regulatory powers.
  • DDA is already an authority constituted through a separate Act. Therefore, constituting another authority under the aegis of the DDA may not be possible legally as the constitution of the authority may again require legislative provision.
  • Land in Delhi is with the government of India and the DDA is the agency authorised to manage land parcels in Delhi. Therefore, the landowner by the DDA along the riverfront cannot be transferred to any other agency.

Problem of encroachment:

  • Encroachment of the Yamuna flood plain decreases the effective width of the floodplain and increases the speed of water during monsoon floods.
  • This in turn taxes crossing structures, embankments, dredges the river bottom and erodes riverbanks, accentuating the Yamuna’s destruction.
  • The consequences of steady flood plain encroachment are severe.
  • The embankments will fail during a 100-year flood event, wiping out structures built in low lying areas of the floodplain and inundating East Delhi with water.

Lessons from Sabarmati riverfront development project:

  • The Sabarmati is a lifeline for the city of Ahmedabad. But it was neglected and became a receptacle for solid waste and sewage.
  • The municipal corporation decided to bring back a clean river and accordingly, work on riverfront development started in 1997.
  • The project revolves around reclamation of floodplains and commercialisation of reclaimed land only.
  • The project faced criticism from local activists as there was poor rehabilitation of the evicted slum population and the Sabarmati was neither cleaned nor rejuvenated.
  • The project has only carried the sewage load from Ahmedabad and the surrounding peri-urban and industrial areas to the downstream areas. The water from Narmada canal was brought into the city to fill the dry river.

Seechewal Model:

Punjab’s ‘Seechewal model’ of river cleaning, that involves eco-friendly and natural processes to treat wastewater and sewage, will be implemented by the Delhi government to infuse life into the Yamuna River.

  • The water from the village sewerage system is collected in a pond.
  • A filter-mash is used to remove objects floating on the surface of water.
  • Then the polluted water is taken into three separate wells. In the first well the silt from the sewerage is removed. In the second, fats, oil and ghee are taken away.
  • The third well conveys the thus cleaned water in to the main pond.
  • The water collected in the pond is cleaned with sun rays.
  • On the banks of the pond, on opposite side of the three wells, a motor pump is installed to lift the treated water to send it to fields for irrigation.
  • Plantation around treatment plant.

Way forward:

  • Provide water in the river for dilution of waste: We must understand that rivers need water to assimilate our waste. Today, Delhi takes water from the river, upstream of Wazirabad, and returns only sewage to it. Even if we were to treat every drop of waste before it reaches the river, it will not help.
  • Maximise the utilisation of the existing STPs: There should be ways for bringing waste to the plants, by lifting it from open drains and treating it. We must not wait to build new STPs (sewage treatment plants) or more drains. The hardware approach needs to go.
  • Treat but do not discharge into the drains: The treated effluent must not be put back into the same open drain, which carries mainly untreated waste.
  • Recycle and reuse the treated waste: Treated sewage water must be reused in gardens or in industry. STPs must be built only when there are plans for reuse.
  • Treat sewage directly in open drains: Instead of waiting for every open “storm water” drain to go underground and disappear, treating sewage directly will ensure that all waste is treated and cleaned as it flows through the city. This would mean using innovative technologies for bioremediation (“green” plants) and oxidation to decompose and degrade sewage.
  • Treat remaining waste in drain near river: We should build STPs close to the banks of the river to treat whatever waste remains in the drains. This would mean using technologies which need less land to treat sewage. The design should ensure that only treated effluents are discharged in the Yamuna.

MAINS QUESTION:

‘’Today, almost all rivers in India are polluted due to the Industrial and domestic wastage being thrown into them.’’ In the light of this statement analyse the idea of setting up Water Front Management Authority as a Special Purpose Vehicle to clean Yamuna River.