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Power Ministry urges states to fill up vacancies in regulatory commissions fast

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Concerned over several state electricity regulatory commissions (SERCs) functioning without Chairpersons and adequate strength of members, with posts lying vacant for long periods, the Union Power Ministry has asked state governments to fill up all vacancies in a time-bound manner.

Power Secretary Alok Kumar recently wrote to all Chief Secretaries, pointing out that posts lying vacant in these commissions hamper their smooth functioning, and therefore has directed them to expedite filling up of vacancies.

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The SERCs play an important role in ensuring reliable and quality power supply to consumers and therefore for their smooth functioning, vacancies to the posts of chairpersons and members should be filled up in a time-bound manner, he said in his letter.

For this, states need to make references to selection committees, six months in advance before superannuation or end of tenure of chairpersons or members, the ministry told the state governments.

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The directive from the Power Ministry to states for expediting filling up of vacancies of chairpersons and members in SERCs, has come in the light of the fact that there are many such commissions where there is hardly any strength.

A case in point is that of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), which is understaffed.

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A three-member commission, DERC comprises of a chairperson and two full time members.

With important G20 events lined up to be held in the national capital throughout the year, the DERC, apart from the newly appointed Chairman Rajeev Shrivastava (whose appointment was approved last month by Delhi government), just has one member, technical, A.K. Ambasht currently.

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The post of member, legal, is currently lying vacant.

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7th Pay Commission: Modi govt hikes Dearness Allowance by 4%, check details

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In a bonanza for 48 lakh Central government employees and 70 lakh pensioners, the government on Friday hiked dearness allowance (DA) and dearness relief (DR) by 4 per cent with retrospective effect from January 1, 2023.

The decision was taken in the Union Cabinet meeting on Friday evening.

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According to official sources, the additional instalment will represent an increase of 4 per cent over the existing rate of 38 per cent of the basic pay or pension, to compensate against price rise.

The cabinet gave its approval to release an additional instalment of DA to Central government employees and DRA to pensioners with effect from January 1, 2023, they added.

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The combined impact on the exchequer on account of both DA and DR would be Rs 12,815.60 crore per annum, the sources added.

This increase is in accordance with the accepted formula, which is based on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission.

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DA is calculated as per the latest consumer price index for industrial workers. It is revised periodically twice a year and was last revised in September 2022, and was effective retrospectively from July 1, 2022.

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Google searches for ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ skyrocketed 8,164% after Oscar win

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Online searches for “The Elephant Whisperers” on Google skyrocketed by a whopping 8,164 per cent worldwide after winning the award for the Best Documentary Short Film at the 95th Academy Awards, a report showed on Friday.

The finding by African media company Celeb Tattler revealed that the online searches for “Mudumalai National Park” soared by 246 per cent worldwide after the Oscar win of  ‘The Elephant Whisperers’.

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“After making history at this year’s Academy Awards, The Elephant Whisperers is receiving a huge boost in online searches. Not only being embraced by Hollywood – but also the world,” said a spokesperson for Celeb Tattler.

“The movie, released last year, and scored an unheard-of 100 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, was praised for its compelling narrative. Now, after winning the ‘Documentary Short Film’ award at this year’s Oscars ceremony, the movie’s profile is being boosted far beyond its initial release,” it added.

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Moreover, Guneet Monga, the producer of the film, also received a profile boost from the award-winning documentary, receiving almost 30,000 new followers since the award ceremony, said the report.

Kartiki Gonsalves also got deserved attention for her directorial role, as her Wikipedia page views exploded after the Oscars ceremony by over 1,25,000.

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In addition, her Instagram account gained over 25,000 followers, almost doubling her follower count overnight, the report mentioned.

Meanwhile, online searches for “Naatu Naatu” on Google skyrocketed by a whopping 1,105 per cent worldwide after the super-hit song from the Telugu blockbuster “RRR” won the Best Original Song at the 95th Academy Awards, according to a report.

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How to avoid falling victim to deep fake technology

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The rise of deep fake technology has become a growing concern for online security experts and individuals alike.

The ability to create fake videos and images that are the same as the real thing has created a new wave of potential dangers for users of social media and other online platforms.

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Here’s the concept of deep fake technology and the potential risks it poses to online security:

What is deep fake technology?

Deep fake technology is a technique that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to manipulate videos or images in a way that makes them appear to be real, even though they are entirely fabricated.

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This technology has become more advanced over the years, and it is now possible to create deep fakes that are almost impossible to make out from the real thing.

This has led to a range of potential dangers, including the spread of fake news, the manipulation of public opinion, and the creation of false identities online.

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Deep fake example:

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to be famous on the internet. She put up lots of pictures and videos on her public account.

One day, her friend told her that there was a video of her doing pornographic on the internet, but the girl said it wasn’t her because she didn’t have a relationship yet.

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However, her friend showed her the video and it did look like her, but she still said it wasn’t her. So, she files a complaint in the nearest cyber police station.

After further investigation, it comes out that it was actually not her video but a deep fake video. They took pictures of her face from all angles and put it on a pornographic video.

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This shows that fake videos can be dangerous and can hurt people. It’s important to be careful with your pictures and videos online and to learn more about how to stay safe.

How to avoid falling victim to deep fake technology:

Before sharing or reacting to any news, video or image, always verify the source of the content. If the source is not reliable or the content seems suspicious, it is better to avoid it.

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Deep fakes often have inconsistencies, such as strange movements or distorted features. Keep an eye out for anything that seems out of place or doesn’t match up with reality.

The more personal information you share online, the easier it is for someone to create a deep fake of you. Be careful about what you share on social media, and avoid sharing sensitive information.

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Make use of privacy settings on social media platforms to limit who can see your content. This can help prevent your photos and videos from being used for deep fakes.

Stay up to date on the latest news and trends in deep fake technology. The more you know about this issue, the better prepared you will be to protect yourself and others.

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