QUESTION: India needs to collaborate internationally in the field of cyber security to ensure a potentially safe internet to its citizens. Critically analyse.   



  • India and Global Cybersecurity norms


  • COVID-19 made us realise the role of the global public health infrastructure and need to abide by agreed rules. Similarly, a better understanding of the global cyberspace architecture is required as cyber Insecurity of individuals, organisations and states is expanding amidst COVID-19.


  • Cyber Security is protecting cyber space including critical information infrastructure from attack, damage, misuse and economic espionage.
  • Cyber Space: A global domain within the information environment consisting of the interdependent network of information technology infrastructures, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers.
  • Critical Information Infrastructure: According to Section 70(1) of the Information Technology Act, CII is defined as a “computer resource, the incapacitation or destruction of which, shall have debilitating impact on national security, economy, public health or safety”.
  • Cyber Attack: It is a malicious and deliberate attempt by an individual or organization to breach the information system of another individual or organization.


  • To seek commercial gain by hacking banks and financial institutions.
  • To attack critical assets of a nation.
  • To penetrate into both corporate and military data servers to obtain plans and intelligence.
  • To hack sites to virally communicate a message for some specific campaign related to politics and society.


  • Malware, short for malicious software refers to any kind of software that is designed to cause damage to a single computer, server, or computer network. Ransomware, Spy ware, Worms, viruses, and Trojans are all varieties of malware.
  • Phishing: It is the method of trying to gather personal information using deceptive e-mails and websites.
  • Denial of Service attacks: A Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack is an attack meant to shut down a machine or network, making it inaccessible to its intended users. DoS attacks accomplish this by flooding the target with traffic, or sending it information that triggers a crash.
  • Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks, also known as eavesdropping attacks, occur when attackers insert themselves into a two-party transaction. Once the attackers interrupt the traffic, they can filter and steal data.


  • Expanding digital market: Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have added more than a trillion dollars in market value, since the start of 2020.
  • Increasing cyberattacks: In one week in April 2020, reportedly, there were over 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19 monitored by a single email provider, in addition to more than 240 million COVID-19-related daily spam messages.
  • Attacks by a state actor: China has been accused of hacking health-care institutions in the United States working on novel coronavirus treatment.
  • The ban on specified Chinese Apps, on grounds that they are “engaged in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India” adds another layer of complexity to the contestation in cyberspace.


  • In 1998 Russia inscribed the issue of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in international security on the UN agenda.
  • Since then six Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) with two-year terms and limited membership have functioned.
  • The net result of the UN exercise has been an acceptance that international law and the UN Charter are applicable in cyberspace; a set of following voluntary norms of responsible state behaviour was agreed to in 2015.

 Good practices and positive duties:

  • States should cooperate to increase stability and security in the use of ICTs and to prevent harmful practices;
  • States should consider all relevant information in case of ICT incidents;
  • States should consider how best to cooperate to exchange information, to assist each other, and to prosecute terrorist and criminal use of ICTs;
  • States should take appropriate measures to protect their critical infrastructure;


  • Ignoring vital concerns: What aspects of international law and in what circumstances will be applicable remains to be addressed.
  • Issues such as Internet governance, development, espionage, and digital privacy are kept out. While terrorism and crime are acknowledged as important, discussion on these has not been focused on.

 Unawareness among the public:

  • While we are embracing new ways of digital interaction and more of our critical infrastructure is going digital, like global public health, cybersecurity is a niche area, left to experts.

 No global commons:

  • Borderless cyberspace, as a part of the “global commons” does not exist. The Internet depends on physical infrastructure that is under national control, and hence is subject to border controls too. Each state applies its laws to national networks, consistent with its international commitments.

 No international authority:

  • There is no equivalent of a World Health Organization which can monitor, assess, advise and inform about fulfilment of state commitments, in however limited or unsatisfactory a manner.
  • Non state actors: Cyberspace has multiple stakeholders, not all of which are states. Non-state actors play key roles — some benign, some malignant. Many networks are private, with objectives different from those of states.
  • Cybertools are dual use, cheap and make attribution and verification of actions quite a task.
  • Lack of strong cyber norms: Generally the growth of technology is way ahead of the development of associated norms and institutions. We are at an incipient stage of looking for “cyber norms” that can balance the competing demands of national sovereignty and transnational connectivity.


  • It provides countries such as ours some time and space to evolve our approach, in tune with the relevance of cyberspace to India’s future economic, social and political objectives.
  • Despite the digital divide, the next billion smartphone users will include a significant number from India. As India’s cyber footprint expands, so will space for conflicts and crimes (both of a private and inter-state nature).


 IT Act, 2000

  • The act regulates use of computers, computer systems, computer networks and also data and information in electronic format.
  • The act lists down among other things, following as offences:
  • Tampering with computer source documents.
  • Hacking with computer system
  • Act of cyber terrorism i.e. accessing a protected system with the intention of threatening the unity, integrity, sovereignty or security of country.
  • Cheating using computer resource etc.
  • Strategies under National Cyber Policy, 2013
  • Creating a secure cyber ecosystem.
  • Creating mechanisms for security threats and responses to the same through national systems and processes.
  • National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) functions as the nodal agency for coordination of all cyber security efforts, emergency responses, and crisis management.


 (i) Establishment of National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) for protection of critical information infrastructure in the country.

 (ii)  All organizations providing digital services have been mandated to report cyber security incidents to CERT-In expeditiously.

 (iii)  Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre) has been launched for providing detection of malicious programmes and free tools to remove such programmes.

 (iv) Issue of alerts and advisories regarding cyber threats and counter-measures by CERT-In.

 (v) Issue of guidelines for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) regarding their key roles and responsibilities for securing applications / infrastructure and compliance.

 (vi) Provision for audit of the government websites and applications prior to their hosting, and thereafter at regular intervals.

 (vii) Empanelment of security auditing organisations to support and audit implementation of Information Security Best Practices.

 (viii) Formulation of Crisis Management Plan for countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism.

(ix)  Conducting cyber security mock drills and exercises regularly to enable assessment of cyber security posture and preparedness of organizations in Government and critical sectors.

(x) Conducting regular training programmes for network / system administrators and Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) of Government and critical sector organisations regarding securing the IT infrastructure and mitigating cyber attacks.




  • Real-time intelligence is required for preventing and containing cyber attacks.
  • Periodical ‘Backup of Data’ is a solution to ransomware.
  • Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for predicting and accurately identifying attacks.
  • Domestically, we need the clarity that adoption of a data protection legislation will bring. Globally, we need to partake in shaping cyber norms.
  • According to the Budapest Convention, or Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe (CETS No.185), which started as a European initiative but has attracted others, is an option that we should examine.
  • We need to encourage our private sector to get involved more in industry-focused processes such as the Microsoft-initiated Cybersecurity Tech Accord and the Siemens-led Charter of Trust.


QUESTION : Discuss the major causes of loss of biodiversity in India and How is the Biological Diversity Act,2002 helpful in the conservation of flora and fauna?



  • Covid-19 and loss of biodiversity


  • Scientists believe that the loss of biodiversity, and wildlife trade, have strong linkages with the emergence of epidemics. The pandemic is an opportunity for the global community to explore the consequences of its unscientific actions on nature and prepare for behavioural change.


  • It refers to all the varieties of life that can be found on Earth (plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms) as well as to the communities that they form and the habitats in which they live.
  • The Convention on Biological Diversity, Article 2: Biological Diversity means the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.

 It can be understood at three levels:

  • Species diversity refers to the variety of different species (plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms) such as palm trees, elephants or bacteria.
  • Genetic diversity corresponds to the variety of genes contained in plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms. It occurs within a species as well as between species. For example, poodles, German shepherds and golden retrievers are all dogs, but they all look different.
  • Ecosystem diversity refers to all the different habitats – or places – that exist, like tropical or temperate forests, hot and cold deserts, wetlands, rivers, mountains, coral reefs, etc. Each ecosystem corresponds to a series of complex relationships between biotic (living) components such as plants and animals and abiotic (non-living) components which include sunlight, air, water, minerals and nutrients.



  • In April 2004, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) notified the Biological Diversity Rules 2004 under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
  • The Act provides measures for safeguarding traditional knowledge, preservation of threatened species and prevention of bio-piracy.


  • More than half a million species on land have insufficient habitat for long term survival and are likely to become extinct. An average of 25% of animals and plants are now threatened.
  • Global trends in insect population are not known but rapid decline in some locations have been documented.
  • Forests have been cleared at astonishing rates especially in tropical areas. Between 1980 and 2000, 100 million hectares of tropical forests were lost.
  • Urban areas have more than doubled since 1992.
  • Soils are being degraded as never before reducing the productivity of 23% of the land surface of the earth.
  • More than a third of the world’s land surface and nearly 75% of world’s freshwater resources are now devoted to crop or livestock production.
  • Plastic pollution has increased ten folds since 1980. Every year, the world dumps 300-400 million tonnes of heavy metals, solvents and other wastes into the water.


  • Dangerous infectious diseases (Ebola, Bird flu, MERS, SARS, Nipah, etc.) have been transferred from wild animals to humans.
  • In order to clear land for agriculture and development, forests and habitats have been destroyed.
  • In the process, we have lost several species.
  • Human-induced environmental changes reduce biodiversity resulting in new conditions that host vectors and/or pathogens.

 Trafficking in wild plants and animals:

  • By deliberately pursuing and hunting certain species or by establishing monocultures; habitats and ecosystems are being damaged, fragmented or destroyed.
  • Body parts of animals including pangolins, Asiatic black bears and rhinos are being traded illegally to countries such as China, Vietnam, and Laos. Another study has found that there was a significant increase in the poaching of wild animals in India even during the lockdown.
  • The IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services shows that people extensively encroach natural habitats; hence biodiversity is declining significantly.



  • We need to revisit our relationship with nature and rebuild an environmentally responsible world.
  • Nations should work towards realising the 2050 vision for biodiversity, ‘Living in Harmony with Nature’.
  • We must follow a ‘one health’ approach which considers the health of people, wild and domesticated animals, and the environment.
  • We need to strictly regulate high-risk wildlife markets, promote green jobs and work towards achieving carbon-neutral economies.
  • India should strictly enforce the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, which prohibits the trade of 1,800 species of wild animals/plants and their derivatives; the Biological Diversity Act of 2002; strategies and action plans including the National Biodiversity Targets; and the National Biodiversity Mission.
  • The mainstreaming of biodiversity is needed in our post-COVID-19 development programme.
  • Mass biodiversity literacy should be our mission.
  • Ecosystem integrity will regulate diseases.

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