City Buzz: Class 12 state board exams | Privacy concerns with Clubhouse | Pollution remains high in Delhi…and more

From privacy concerns with Clubhouse to rising air pollution across cities, we bring you the key urban highlights from this week.

Cannot scrap class 12th state board examinations, says the apex court

The Supreme Court has refused to pass any order to scrap examinations for state boards’ class 12th. The court said state boards are autonomous and different making it difficult to have a uniform assessment policy. The court has directed state boards to come up with their individual assessment policy along with timelines within the next 10 days. The apex court also directed the boards to declare the internal examination results by July 31st.

States argued that conducting physical examinations is not possible due to the pandemic and instead talked about adopting a uniform assessment policy, which the Supreme Court did not accept. Each board will have their own policy and scheme for assessment, the SC ruled.

In another development, CBSE has issued helpline numbers and emails for schools, teachers and principals in case they encounter any problem while preparing the results as per the decided scheme.

Source: The Indian Express | India TV

Pollution remains high in Delhi, Lucknow even after the lockdown: Study

As per a research study by Climate Trends, pollution levels in Delhi and Lucknow continue to be high despite the lockdown. Researchers compared the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data on air quality in Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata and Mumbai. The data was compared for two time periods: March, April and May in 2019 and 2020. Except Mumbai, the other three cities showed high pollution levels despite a decrease in average PM 2.5 levels during the three months in 2020 when there was lockdown.

As per CPCB, the permissible limit of PM 2.5 is 40 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3).

Cities/Time periodMarch-May 2019March-May 2020March-May 2021
Mumbai21.6 ug/m331.3 ug/m40.3 ug/m3
Delhi95.6 ug/m369 ug/m395 ug/m3
Lucknow103 ug/m392 ug/m379.6 ug/m3
Kolkata41.8 ug/m327.9 ug/m337.3 ug/m3

Earlier, a report by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) also showed high levels of air pollution in Lucknow, the mean value of PM 2.5 being 64.5 μg/m3 during April-May 2021.

Source: The Indian Express

Delhi Jal Board to address water issues in the national capital

After receiving complaints of shortage and poor quality of water, Delhi Jal Board has asked the chief engineers to visit the respective areas along with MLAs to check and address the issue. The board has constituted an emergency task force comprising officers and MLAs to prepare an action plan for the city’s critical areas. The board also undertook an in-depth review of all constituencies over the last three months on key parameters such as groundwater contamination, leakage in water pipelines, low pressure, water wastage and other factors. The Board’s Vice President Raghav Chadha has also directed officials to improve the grievance redressal mechanism.

Source: The Indian Express

Clubhouse undermines principles of user privacy, says advocacy group

The new social media sensation Clubhouse has been under the scanner for storing excessive user data and other privacy concerns. Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), a digital rights advocacy group, has raised several concerns with respect to data usage by Clubhouse which has almost 2.6 million users in India. The advocacy group said the practices of Clubhouse are against the established principle of data minimisation and informed consent. IFF says that the platform collects excessive data posing a serious threat to user’s privacy. Clubhouse collects name, address, contact details, phone numbers, IP address, device name, OS, the people a user interacts with, and time, frequency and duration of use. IFF also said the app shares user data with third-parties and the government without having any policy that prevents the platform from monetising this data.

The advocacy group has asked the app to provide a human rights policy and volunteer for a civil rights audit to ensure that is respects users’ digital rights and is safe for users.

Privacy issues have been raised by Internet Freedom Foundation. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Source: The Hindu

56% people surveyed showed presence of antibodies in Delhi

As per a report in The Hindu, 56% of 12,000 to 13,000 people tested in Delhi in April have reported the presence of antibodies. The government is yet to officially announce the study results. The study had planned for a larger sample but could not do so due to the sudden surge of cases during the second wave. The study finally undertook the study in 141 wards of the city. The Delhi government is planning to conduct another sero survey in the last week of June or early July which is expected to bring different numbers with respect to sero prevalence.

The first sero survey was in June-July 2020 which showed presence of antibodies in 24% of people surveyed. The second survey in August 2020 showed positive results for 29% people surveyed. The figure for September-October 2020 was 25%. 

Source: The Hindu 

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Compiled by Rishabh Shrivastava

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