CAO Daily Editorial analysis for UPSC IAS 31-October, 2017

Current Affairs Only Daily Editorial Analysis for Competitive Exams

31th October, 2017


Telecom towers affect our health? Busting this myth

{Health Issue}



This article talks about misconceptions around telecom towers being hazardous to health.

It is time, well-informed sections of society help in countering the myths about mobile tower radiation that are impeding India’s progress and prosperity.

Extent of misconceptionImage result for Telecom towers affect our health

  • The problem is not restricted to rural areas where one can blame lack of awareness, but even in high-end urban areas, the myth continues to pervade, making it difficult for telecom service providers to erect necessary infrastructure to provide communication services.
  • This also severely restricts access to critical sites in residential areas, near schools and hospitals, where population is most dense and coverage remains essential as networks getting congested can bring down the quality of service.
  • The misconception over EMF emissions has resulted in thousands of towers being dismantled or new ones prevented from being constructed.

World Health Organisation (WHO) report on this issue

WHO analysed as many as 25,000 articles published over the last 30 years before declaring that there are no consequences to health from the low level EMF (electromagnetic field) created by telecom towers and handsets.

EMF (electromagnetic field) radiation in India 

In 2008, the Indian government accepted the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) norms to limit levels of EMF radiation from mobile towers.

Moreover, based on the recommendations of an Inter-Ministerial Committee, in 2012 the government decided to adopt norms 10 times more stringent than many of the developed nations of the world.

This means the EMF emissions from telecom towers in India are limited to one-tenth of the world standards.

What is radiation?

Radiation is transmission of energy in the form of waves through space or a material medium. Radiation is of two kinds – ionising and non-ionising.

What kind of radiation is harmful?

Ionising radiation or high energy radiation like X-rays or gamma rays can alter DNA and be harmful. Non-ionising radiation is low energy as emitted by mobile phones or tower radios and tends to generate heat.

Is the radiation from mobile towers and handsets safe?

Radiation from both mobiles and towers are safe because they are low energy, non-ionising radiation that can induce only thermal effects.

Does the mobile handset emit more radiation or mobile towers?

Exposure to radio frequency fields emitted by mobile phones is generally 1,000 times higher than from mobile towers.

How does India’s safety standards compare with the rest of the world?

India’s safety factor is 10 times stiffer than in 90 per cent countries that follow standards set by the International Commission on Non-ionising Radiation Protection.

India has 425,000 towers to service 900 million subscribers against 1.3 million towers China has for 1.29 billion subscribers.

How can awareness created among majority

  • The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) should continue the extensive audit of the self-certificates being submitted by telecom service providers to ensure compliance to prescribed stricter norms of EMF radiation from BTS towers
  • The Department of Science and Technology and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) should conduct extensive India-specific scientific studies on prolonged use of mobile phones to conclusively determine possible health hazard of EMF radiation
  •  DoT should create national EMF web portal to provide public access to the status of compliance to prescribed EMF norms
  • There is a need to step up efforts to spread awareness on EMF and precautions to allay undue apprehensions regarding the possible health effects of radiation, largely caused due to misinformation being peddled by certain sections of the public

    Department of Telecommunications (DoT)

    Image result for Department of Telecommunications

    The telecom services have been recognized the world-over as an important tool for socio economic development for a nation and hence telecom infrastructure is treated as a crucial factor to realize the socio-economic objectives in India. Accordingly, the Department of Telecom has been formulating developmental policies for the accelerated growth of the telecommunication services.


    To provide secure, reliable affordable and high quality converged telecommunication services anytime, anywhere for an accelerated inclusive socio-economic development.

    MISSIONTo develop a robust and secure state-of-the-art telecommunication network providing seamless coverage with special focus on rural and remote areas for bridging the digital divide and thereby facilitate socio- economic development; create an inclusive knowledge society through proliferation of affordable and high quality broadband services across the nation; reposition the mobile device as an instrument of socio-economic empowerment of citizens; make India a global hub for telecom equipment manufacturing; promote development of new standards to meet national requirements; attract investment, both domestic and foreign and promote creation of jobs.

Hits and misses {Sustainable Development}

(The Hindu)


This article discusses the report on sustainable development and several countries presenting the agenda for 2030.

Why in news?

  • The meeting of the UN high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF) took place in New York from July 10-19 to discuss the progress made on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda.
  • Forty-three member nations presented their report cards in the form of voluntary national reviews (VNRs).
  •  Around 5,000 people participated — half of them from civil society and private entities.

 ReviewsImage result for Sustainable Development}

  • It show that countries have taken steps to incorporate SDGs in their national plans and policies and identified polices which already include some of the goals.
  • Governments have created new institutions, or have used existing institutions, to facilitate execution of the SDGs. On this count, the HLPF/VNR exercise has yielded results.

Image result for Sustainable Development}Sustainable development

Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

  • Sustainable development calls for concerted efforts towards building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for people and planet.
  • For sustainable development to be achieved, it is crucial to harmonize three core elements: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. These elements are interconnected and all are crucial for the well-being of individuals and societies.

While the modern concept of sustainable development is derived mostly from the 1987 Brundtland Report, it is also rooted in earlier ideas about sustainable forest management and twentieth century environmental concerns. As the concept developed, it has shifted to focus more on economic development, social development and environmental protection for future generations.

The Sustainable Development Agenda


Image result for Sustainable Development}


Raja Mandala: New equations in Indo-Pacific

{International Relation}

(Indian Express)


Japan’s plans to draw in UK, France into its alliance with India, Australia and the US will reinforce New Delhi’s partnerships in Europe.

In news

  • Japan’s latest plan to revive the Indo-Pacific quadrilateral dialogue is the move to associate the European powers with it.
  •  Taro Kano, said that early next month he would present a formal proposal to convene a high-level dialogue between the officials of Japan, India, Australia and the United States.
  • Exploratory talks on the Japanese initiative are likely to take place between the officials of the four countries on the margin of the East Asia Summit next month in The Philippines.

Why it is required?Image result for quad  India, Australia and the US

  • The growing power imbalance in Asia amidst the rapid rise of China can’t be addressed by America’s Asian alliance system alone.
  • Abe has consciously courted special relationships with India, Australia and other regional powers.
  • This can also benefit from the partnership with European powers.
  • China’s military modernisation, and the response from its neighbours, has heated up the Asian arms bazaar. There is a rush to build or modernise the submarine arm of most Asian navies, and the European powers are major contenders.


  •  Securing a rules-based global order,
  • liberal trading system
  •  freedom of navigation.

India’s role

India needs to intensify the exchange of maritime intelligence, negotiate agreements to share naval infrastructure facilities in the littoral and put in place logistical support arrangements with its European partners. Japan’s plans to bring France and Britain on board the quad can only reinforce India’s maritime partnerships with Europe.


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