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Mar 4, 2024 Daily PIB Summaries

CONTENTS NITI Aayog GROW Report and PortalOrganization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries NITI Aayog GROW Report and Portal Context: Recently, the Greening and Restoration of Wasteland with Agroforestry (GROW) report and portal was launched by NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India). Relevance: GS II: Government policies and Interventions Dimensions of the Article: Key Highlights of the GROW Report: Facilitating Land Restoration and AgroforestryGROW Portal: Enhancing Access to Agroforestry DataAgroforestry: A Holistic Land Use ApproachImpacts of Agroforestry: Nurturing Prosperity and Sustainability Key Highlights of the GROW Report: Facilitating Land Restoration and Agroforestry The GROW report is designed to support restoration initiatives, aligning with national goals of Land Degradation Neutrality and the restoration of 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. National Commitments: Aims to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. Wasteland Assessment: India has approximately 55.76 million hectares of wastelands, constituting 16.96% of the total geographical area.Degraded lands have experienced reduced productivity and biodiversity due to natural and human-induced factors. Agroforestry Solutions: Proposes greening and restoring wastelands through agroforestry. Current Agroforestry Status: Agroforestry covers 8.65% of India’s total geographical area, equivalent to about 28.42 million hectares.Approximately 6.18% and 4.91% of India’s land are highly and moderately suitable for agroforestry, respectively. State-wise Suitability: Top large-sized states for agroforestry suitability: Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana.Top medium-sized states: Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, and Nagaland (as per ISRO). Policy and Institutional Support: Identifies the need for policy and institutional backing to scale up agroforestry interventions in wastelands. Alignment with Policies: Emphasizes India’s National Agroforestry Policy of 2014, aligning with global commitments such as the Paris Agreement, Bonn Challenge, UN Sustainable Development Goals, UNCCD, Green India Mission, and more. GROW Portal: Enhancing Access to Agroforestry Data Platform Hosting:The GROW portal is seamlessly integrated into the Bhuvan platform, ensuring universal accessibility.Data Accessibility:Provides access to state and district-level data concerning agroforestry suitability across India.Technological Foundation:Leverages remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies to derive thematic datasets.Offers in-depth information on various factors influencing agroforestry suitability.Agroforestry Suitability Index (ASI):Introduces the ASI, a standardized index aiding in the prioritization of agroforestry interventions nationally.Key Insights:Delivers comprehensive insights into the existing extent of agroforestry in India.Highlights geographical distribution and overall coverage of agroforestry practices.User-Friendly Interface:Users can explore detailed maps and assessments through the portal, facilitating informed decision-making.Promoting Informed Interventions:The GROW portal acts as a valuable resource for individuals and organizations involved in agroforestry planning and implementation. Agroforestry: A Holistic Land Use Approach Definition: Agroforestry is a sustainable land-use management system that integrates trees and shrubs with agricultural crops and livestock. Traditional Significance in India: An integral part of Indian agriculture meeting diverse needs like wood, fuelwood, fodder, and subsistence requirements.Practiced across varied farming scales, from small and marginal farmers in rainfed conditions to large farmers under irrigated settings. Evolution of Policies: The All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Agroforestry in 1983 marked formal integration into research agendas.Key policy initiatives, including the National Forest Policy 1988, National Agriculture Policy 2000, National Bamboo Mission 2002, National Policy on Farmers 2007, and Green India Mission 2010, emphasized agroforestry.Momentum increased with the adoption of the National Agroforestry Policy (NAP) in 2014.India became the world’s first country to embrace a comprehensive agroforestry policy. National Agroforestry Policy (NAP) 2014: A policy framework enhancing agricultural livelihoods by integrating trees, crops, and livestock on the same land plot.Launched in February 2014 during the World Congress on Agroforestry in Delhi. Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF): Launched in 2016-17 under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).Aims to encourage and expand tree plantation on farmland with the motto “Har Medh Par Ped,” in conjunction with crops and cropping systems. Impacts of Agroforestry: Nurturing Prosperity and Sustainability Positive Yield Growth: Agroforestry systems yield positive growth for fruits, timber, and crops, elevating overall agricultural productivity.Economic Viability: Economically sustainable, agroforestry introduces additional income streams through diverse sources like timber, fuelwood, and fodder.Nutritional and Health Benefits: Systems focusing on fruit crops contribute to improved nutrition and health, positively impacting community well-being.Gender Dynamics and Women’s Empowerment: Despite significant women’s participation, further research is essential to understand agroforestry’s impact on gender dynamics and women’s empowerment.Enhanced Soil Health: Agroforestry enhances soil fertility, nutrient cycling, and soil organic carbon, fostering sustainable land management practices.Water-Use Efficiency and Conservation: Improves water-use efficiency, mitigates soil erosion, and actively contributes to watershed management and conservation endeavors.Climate Change Mitigation: Serves as a vital biomass energy source and carbon sequestration contributor, aiding in climate change mitigation efforts.Biodiversity Conservation: Promotes biodiversity conservation by providing habitats, supporting species movement, and mitigating deforestation rates. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Context: OPEC+ members led by Saudi Arabia and Russia recently agreed to extend voluntary oil output cuts first announced in 2023 as part of an agreement among oil producers to boost prices following economic uncertainty. Relevance: GS II- International Relations Dimensions of the Article: About Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)What is OPEC+? About Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is an intergovernmental organization of 14 nations, founded in 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela), and headquartered since 1965 in Vienna, Austria.As of 2018, the 14 member countries accounted for an estimated 44 percent of global oil production and almost 82% of the world’s “proven” oil reserves, giving OPEC a major influence on global oil prices that were previously determined by the so-called “Seven Sisters” grouping of multinational oil companies.The stated mission of the organization is to “coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers, and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.” What is OPEC+? OPEC + countries are non-OPEC countries that export crude oil alongside the 14 OPEC countries.Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, South Sudan, and Sudan are among the OPEC plus countries. What are their goals? The OPEC and non OPEC producers first formed the alliance at a historic meeting in Algiers in 2016.The aim was to undertake production restrictions to help resuscitate a flailing market.

Mar 4, 2024 Daily Current Affairs

CONTENTS Supreme Court Directs Compensation: Wrongful Release of Military Nursing Service OfficerIndia’s First Indigenous Hydrogen Fuel Cell Ferry Boat LaunchLokpalGenerative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI)National Urban Cooperative Finance and Development Corporation Limited (NUCFDC)Melanochlamys droupadiGrey Zone WarfareYars Missile Supreme Court Directs Compensation: Wrongful Release of Military Nursing Service Officer Context: Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) has directed the Ministry of Defence to pay Rs 60 lakh in compensation to a former permanent commissioned officer in the Military Nursing Service (MNS). It is ruled that the officer was “wrongly” released from service in 1988 on grounds of her marriage. Relevance: GS II: Polity and Governance Dimensions of the Article: Key Facts of the Case: Challenging Wrongful ReleasePolicy Framework for Recruiting Women Military OfficersSupreme Court’s Support for Women Officers in Armed ForcesSignificance of Increasing Women’s Representation in the Armed Forces Key Facts of the Case: Challenging Wrongful Release Background: Former permanent commissioned officer in the Military Nursing Service (MNS) faced release in 1988 based on marriage grounds, in accordance with Army Instruction No. 61 of 1977. This instruction governed MNS terms and conditions but was later withdrawn in 1995. Termination Grounds: Clause 11 of the instruction outlined grounds for termination, including marriage, misconduct, breach of contract, or unsatisfactory service. Legal Recourse: In 2016, seeking justice, she approached the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), which deemed her termination illegal and directed her reinstatement with back wages. Central Government’s Challenge: The Central government contested the AFT ruling, leading to the case ‘Union of India & Others vs. Ex. Lt. Selina John’ in the Supreme Court. Supreme Court’s Observations: The SC declared her release as “wrong and illegal,” rejecting the Centre’s argument based on the rule in force at the time.The court criticized the rule as manifestly arbitrary, highlighting that terminating employment due to marriage represents a clear case of gender discrimination and inequality. Policy Framework for Recruiting Women Military Officers Introduction of Women Special Entry Scheme (WSES) – 1992:Women officers were first inducted into the Indian Army through WSES in 1992.WSES Service Terms:Under WSES, women officers served for five-year periods.They served in specific streams, including the Army Education Corps and the Corps of Engineers.Restrictions on Roles:Despite entry, restrictions were imposed on certain roles, such as infantry and armored corps.Transition to Short Service Commission (SSC) – 2006:In 2006, WSES was replaced by the Short Service Commission scheme.SSC Option for Women Officers:The new scheme allowed women officers the option to switch from WSES to SSC.SSC Terms for Men:Men under SSC were commissioned for ten years initially, with the option to extend up to fourteen years.Men in SSC had the choice to opt for a Permanent Commission (PC). Supreme Court’s Support for Women Officers in Armed Forces Union of India v. Lt Cdr Annie Nagaraja Case, 2015: In 2015, seventeen women officers filed writ petitions before the Delhi High Court.These officers, who served as Short Service Commissioned (SSC) officers in various cadres, completed fourteen years of service but were not considered for Permanent Commissions (PCs).In 2020, the SC ruled that women SSC Officers in the Indian Navy were entitled to PC at par with their male counterparts. Secretary, Ministry of Defence vs. Babita Puniya Case, 2020: In February 2020, the SC upheld the demands of women in the SSC, justifying their pursuit of PC or a full-length career.Before this ruling, only male officers on SSC could opt for PC after 10 years, leaving women without government pension eligibility.The decision brought women officers in 10 Army streams at par with men. Government’s Arguments: The Centre argued that the issue was a matter of policy, citing Article 33 of the Constitution, allowing restrictions on fundamental rights for the armed forces.Arguments included the perceived dangers of army service, including privacy issues, maternity concerns, and childcare challenges.The case was first filed in 2003, and Permanent Commissions for women officers in all branches were awarded by the Delhi HC in 2010. Post-2020 Ruling: The Army constituted the Number 5 Selection Board post-2020, instructing the induction of all eligible female officers as PC officers.Effective from September 2020, the board, led by a senior general officer, includes a woman officer of the rank of brigadier.Women officers meeting screening criteria will be granted PC status, contingent on an acceptable medical category. Permanent Commission for Women in Indian Coast Guard: In Priyanka Tyagi v. Union of India Case, 2024, the SC emphasized the need for the Central government to ensure eligible women officers receive permanent commissions in the Indian Coast Guard.The Attorney General cited operational challenges, but the Court dismissed these arguments in 2024.The SC urged the Centre to develop a gender-neutral policy, highlighting the ongoing struggle for gender equality and the need for proactive measures in all societal spheres, including the armed forces. Significance of Increasing Women’s Representation in the Armed Forces Gender Neutrality in Qualifications: Qualification, not gender, should determine suitability for military roles.In the modern battlefield, technical expertise and decision-making skills surpass physical strength. Strengthening Military Force: Increasing gender diversity addresses falling retention and recruitment rates.A mixed-gender force contributes to a stronger military. Optimal Personnel Selection: Blanket restrictions limit commanders’ ability to choose the most capable person for a role.Allowing women in combat roles ensures optimal personnel selection. Training for Integration: Training is essential for seamless integration of women into combat units.Cultural shifts over time, including the evolution of the masculine subculture. Global Trends: The US allowed women in combat positions in 2013, signaling progress towards gender equality.In 2018, the UK military lifted a ban on women serving in close combat ground roles, expanding opportunities, including elite special forces service. -Source: Indian Express India’s First Indigenous Hydrogen Fuel Cell Ferry Boat Launch Context: Prime Minister of India virtually flags off the hydrogen cell-powered ferry boat, a milestone under the Harit Nauka initiative. Relevance: GS III: Science and Technology Dimensions of the Article: Other Notable Features of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell FerryHarit Nauka Initiative: Unveiling Sustainable Inland Waterway GuidelinesUnderstanding Hydrogen Fuel Cells Other Notable Features of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Ferry The ferry’s inauguration was part of a broader initiative, involving the commencement of a ₹17,300-crore project, encompassing the development of the outer harbor at the V.O. Chidambaranar Port.The Cochin Shipyard is the construction site for the vessel. Significance:The ferry is a catalyst for streamlined urban mobility along inland water routes, marking a pivotal move towards adopting eco-friendly energy solutions and supporting the country’s net-zero aspirations. Harit Nauka Initiative: Unveiling Sustainable Inland Waterway Guidelines The Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways introduced the Harit Nauka guidelines for inland vessels in January 2024. Guidelines:States are mandated, under the guidelines, to strive for the use of eco-friendly fuels in 50% of their inland waterways-oriented passenger fleets within the next decade, reaching 100% by 2045.This initiative aligns with the Maritime Amrit Kaal Vision 2047, aiming to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.On a global scale, the maritime industry is increasingly embracing green fuels, driven by environmental regulations, sustainability objectives, and advancements in green fuel technologies.Hydrogen and its derivatives are emerging as key players in the pursuit of zero-emission fuels for the shipping industry. Understanding Hydrogen Fuel Cells Hydrogen fuel cells stand out as a clean, dependable, silent, and efficient source of high-quality electric power.Operating on hydrogen fuel, these cells facilitate an electrochemical process, generating electricity while producing only water and heat as by-products.Hydrogen, abundantly available on Earth, serves as a cleaner alternative fuel. Significance:Among the top Zero Emission solutions, hydrogen fuel cells are entirely environmentally friendly, emitting only water as a by-product.The minimal noise produced by fuel cells allows their application in challenging environments, such as within hospital buildings.The Union Budget for 2021-22 has introduced the National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHM), outlining a strategic plan for utilizing hydrogen as a prominent energy source. -Source: The Hindu Lokpal Context: Recently, the former Supreme Court Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar was appointed as the chairperson of Lokpal. This came nearly two years after the post was vacant. Relevance: GS-II: Polity and Governance (Constitutional and Non-Constitutional Bodies, Policies and Interventions on Transparency and Accountability in governance) Dimensions of the Article: About LokpalOther Important Points regarding the LokpalException for Prime Minister About Lokpal The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 establishes Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States (Statutory Bodies) to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries.Composition: Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members, of which 50% shall be judicial members and 50% shall be from SC/ST/OBCs, minorities and women.Appointment process: It is a two-stage process.A search committee which recommends a panel of names to the high-power selection committee.The selection committee comprises the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief Justice of India (or his nominee) and an eminent jurist (nominated by President based on the recommendation of other members of the panel).President will appoint the recommended names.The jurisdiction of Lokpal extends to:Anyone who is or has been Prime Minister, or a Minister in the Union government, or a Member of Parliament, as well as officials of the Union government under Groups A, B, C and D.The chairpersons, members, officers and directors of any board, corporation, society, trust or autonomous body either established by an Act of Parliament or wholly or partly funded by the Centre.Any society or trust or body that receives foreign contribution above Rs. 10 lakhs. Other Important Points regarding the Lokpal Salaries, allowances and service conditions: Salaries, allowances and other perks of the Lokpal chairperson will be the same as those for the Chief Justice of India; those for other members will be the same as those for a judge of the Supreme Court.Inquiry wing and prosecution wing: Inquiry Wing for conducting preliminary inquiry and Prosecution Wing for the purpose of prosecution of public servants in relation to any complaint by the Lokpal under this Act.Power with respect to CBI: Power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by Lokpal. Transfer of officers of CBI investigating cases referred by Lokpal would need approval of Lokpal.Timelines for enquiry, investigation: Act specifies a time limit of 60 days for completion of inquiry and 6 months for completion of investigation by the CBI. This period of 6 months can be extended by the Lokpal on a written request from CBI.Suspension, removal of Chairperson and member of Lokpal: The Chairperson or any Member shall be removed from his office by order of the President on grounds of misbehaviour after the Supreme Court report. For that a petition has to be signed by at least one hundred Members of Parliament. Special Court shall be setup to hear and decide the cases referred by the Lokpal. Exception for Prime Minister The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 does not allow a Lokpal inquiry if the allegation against the PM relates to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy and space.Complaints against the PM are not to be probed unless the full Lokpal bench considers the initiation of inquiry and at least 2/3rds of the members approve it.Such an inquiry against the PM (if conducted) is to be held in camera and if the Lokpal comes to the conclusion that the complaint deserves to be dismissed, the records of the inquiry are not to be published or made available to anyone. -Source: The Hindu Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) Context: The Central government issued an advisory to all intermediaries and generative AI platforms using artificial intelligence (AI) models, software or algorithms. Relevance: GS III: Science and Technology Dimensions of the Article: Government of India Introduces Unprecedented Regulations on AI Models: A Global FirstUnderstanding Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI)Impact of Generative AI on 2024 Elections: Navigating Challenges and Opportunities Government of India Introduces Unprecedented Regulations on AI Models: A Global First The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) issues an advisory mandating explicit government permission for the deployment of AI models, large-language models (LLMs), and generative AI on the Indian internet.Aimed at preventing bias, discrimination, and safeguarding electoral integrity, the advisory instructs platforms to ensure responsible use of algorithms.Prompted by recent concerns, notably a user claiming bias in Google’s AI model Gemini, accusing it of being “malicious” in responses related to political figures.Google responds by acknowledging the issues, pledging to address them, and temporarily halting Gemini’s image generation. Understanding Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) Definition: Generative AI refers to advanced deep-learning models capable of autonomously producing statistically probable outputs when given raw data.Foundation Models: Powered by large AI models, known as foundation models, which exhibit multitasking capabilities, handling tasks like summarization, Q&A;, and classification.Adaptability: Foundation models require minimal training and can be customized for specific use cases with minimal example data. How Generative AI Operates Learning Patterns: Utilizes Machine Learning to understand patterns and relationships within a dataset of human-generated content.Content Generation: Applies learned patterns to create new content resembling the human-generated dataset.Training Approach: Commonly employs supervised learning, receiving a set of human-created content with corresponding labels to generate similar labeled content. Applications of Generative AI Enhanced Customer Interactions: Improves chat and search experiences, providing insightful responses.Data Exploration: Processes vast unstructured data through conversational interfaces and summarizations.Task Automation: Assists in repetitive tasks such as proposal replies, multilingual marketing content localization, and contract compliance checks. Impact of Generative AI on 2024 Elections: Navigating Challenges and Opportunities Global Landscape of High-Stakes Elections Scope: Over 50 countries, including India, the US, the UK, Indonesia, Russia, Taiwan, and South Africa, face crucial elections in 2024.Persistent Challenge: Prevailing issue of fake news amplifies as AI advancements facilitate its creation and dissemination. AI-Related Risks According to World Economic Forum (WEF) Top 10 Risks: AI-derived misinformation and its potential for societal polarization recognized as a significant risk in the WEF 2024 Global Risk Report.Amplified Disinformation: Generative AI tools empower individuals with limited technical expertise to spread fake content across diverse languages and digital platforms. Challenges Posed by AI in Elections Deep-Fake Generation: AI’s capability to create deep-fakes and generate voice-cloned audio poses substantial challenges for governments and organizations.Intimate Persuasion: AI, proficient in language mastery, can establish intimate connections to personalize messages, influencing individuals’ worldviews. Political Use of AI in India Rural Outreach: Politicians in India leverage AI tools, like real-time translation, to connect with rural populations.Example: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech translated from Hindi to Tamil using AI during a December 2023 event in Uttar Pradesh. Ethical Dilemmas Surrounding AI Dual Perceptions: AI’s potential is viewed with both alarm and optimism, sparking debates on its responsible use and potential misuse in elections and beyond. -Source: The Hindu National Urban Cooperative Finance and Development Corporation Limited (NUCFDC) Context: The Union Cooperation Minister inaugurated an umbrella organisation for urban cooperative banks (UCB) – the National Urban Cooperative Finance and Development Corporation Limited (NUCFDC). Relevance: GS-III: Indian Economy (Banking) Dimensions of the Article: National Urban Cooperative Finance and Development Corporation (NUCFDC): Empowering Urban Cooperative BanksWhat are Cooperative Banks?Structure of co-operative banks in IndiaImportance of Cooperative BanksConcerns Associated with Urban Co-operative Bank National Urban Cooperative Finance and Development Corporation (NUCFDC): Empowering Urban Cooperative Banks Operational Status Regulatory Approval: Certified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as a Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC), NUCFDC operates as the umbrella organization for the urban cooperative banking sector.Additional Role: Granted the status of a Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO) for the sector, highlighting its regulatory responsibilities. Financial Objectives Capital Raising: Aims to accumulate a capital base of Rs.300 crores to support and uplift Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs).Utilization: Capital to be utilized for assisting UCBs, fostering a shared technology platform, enhancing services, and reducing operational costs. Enhancing UCB Services Technology Platform: NUCFDC plans to establish a shared technology platform benefiting UCBs, enabling expanded service offerings and cost reduction.Comprehensive Support: Offers liquidity, capital support, fund management, consultancy services, and facilitates dialogue between banks and regulators. Significance Inclusive Economic Development: Aligns with the vision of inclusive and comprehensive economic development, fostering the establishment of UCBs in every city.National Goals: Contributes to ‘Sahakar se Samriddhi’ and ‘Aatma Nirbhar’ Bharat, modernizing and strengthening UCBs in India.Depositor Confidence: Acts as a security shield for small banks, bolstering the confidence of depositors and ensuring financial stability. What are Cooperative Banks? Co-operative banks are financial entities established on a co-operative basis and belonging to their members. This means that the customers of a co-operative bank are also its owners.Cooperative Banks continue to be important and the ideal organisations even in the changing economic environment, as participation and inclusion are central to poverty reduction. Important Details with respect to Urban Cooperative Banks Co-operative banks in India are registered under the State’s Cooperative Societies Act.The Co-operative banks are also regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and governed by the Banking Regulations Act 1949 and Banking Laws (Co-operative Societies) Act, 1955.The Registrar of Cooperative Societies (RCS) is in control of management elections and many administrative issues as well as auditing, and the RBI brought them under the Banking Regulation Act as applicable to cooperative societies.Urban cooperative banks have been under the radar of the RBI, but because of dual regulation either of them did not have as much control over these banks in terms of supersession of boards or removal of directors. Structure of co-operative banks in India Broadly, co-operative banks in India are divided into two categories – urban and rural.Rural cooperative credit institutions could either be short-term or long-term in nature.Short-term cooperative credit institutions are further sub-divided into State Co-operative Banks, District Central Co-operative Banks, Primary Agricultural Credit Societies.Long-term institutions are either State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks (SCARDBs) or Primary Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks (PCARDBs). Importance of Cooperative Banks The cooperative banking system has to play a critical role in promoting rural finance and is especially suited to Indian conditions. Various advantages of cooperative credit institutions are given below: Alternative Credit Source:  The main objective of the cooperative credit movement is to provide an effective alternative to the traditional defective credit system of the village moneylender.Cheap Rural Credit: Cooperative credit system has cheapened the rural credit by charging comparatively low-interest rates, and has broken the money lender’s monopoly.Productive Borrowing:  The cultivators used to borrow for consumption and other unproductive purposes. But, now, they mostly borrow for productive purposes.Encouragement to Saving and Investment: Instead of hoarding money the rural people tend to deposit their savings in cooperative or other banking institutions.Improvement in Farming Methods: Cooperative credit is available for purchasing improved seeds, chemical fertilizers, modern implements, etc.Financial Inclusion: They have played a significant role in the financial inclusion of unbanked rural masses. They provide cheap credit to the masses in rural areas. Concerns Associated with Urban Co-operative Bank The uncovering of large-scale financial irregularities has taken urban cooperative banks off guard.Low capital basis, weak corporate governance, inability to detect fraud, delayed adoption of new technologies, and insufficient system of checks and balances are difficulties confronting urban cooperative banks (UCBs).The latest Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act 2020 empowers the RBI with all powers, including those formerly reserved for the registrar of cooperative organizations.The RBI’s control was limited, and it shared it with the registrar of cooperative societies of states, resulting in the much-discussed dual control and the issues it posed to the central bank.The cooperative sector has two challenges:first, increased competition from not just Scheduled Commercial Banks, but also from minor financing banks and payments banks;second, vulnerability caused by internal shortcomings, such as the inability to detect and prevent fraud. -Source: The Hindu Melanochlamys droupadi Context: The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has identified a novel marine species of head-shield sea slug. Relevance: GS III: Species in News Dimensions of the Article: Discovery of Melanochlamys droupadi: A New Marine Species Discovery of Melanochlamys droupadi: A New Marine Species The species, named Melanochlamys droupadi, was discovered along the coasts of West Bengal and Odisha. Morphological Characteristics of Melanochlamys Species: Genus Melanochlamys exhibits distinctive features, including a short, blunt, and cylindrical body.The dorsal surface features two shields, namely the anterior cephalic and posterior shield. Unique Attributes of Melanochlamys droupadi: The species is small, brownish-black, with a distinct ruby red spot at the hind end.It is classified as a hermaphrodite.Reproduction occurs in the period between November and January. Defensive Mechanism: Melanochlamys droupadi secretes transparent mucus, serving as a shield against sand grains while navigating beneath smooth sand.This defensive mechanism renders its body seldom visible. Geographic Distribution: While species within this group are typically found in temperate regions of the Indo-Pacific Oceanic realm, Melanochlamys droupadi is among the three truly tropical species.Other tropical counterparts include Melanochlamys papillata from the Gulf of Thailand and Melanochlamys bengalensis from the coasts of West Bengal and Odisha. -Source: The Hindu Grey Zone Warfare Context: In commentaries on China and Taiwan, ‘grey zone warfare’ crops up in descriptions of Chinese actions around the island that it claims as its own. Relevance: GS II: International Relations Understanding Grey Zone Warfare: Navigating the Ambiguous Realm Definition Middle Ground: Grey zone warfare occupies the space between peace and direct conflict in international relations.Coercive Actions: Involves exploiting operational space through actions below the threshold that would trigger a conventional military response. Activities and Methods Diverse Tactics: Spans from proxy use and territorial coercion to cyberattacks, economic pressure, disinformation, election meddling, and weaponization of migrants. Typical Aspects: Threshold Management: Operates below the threshold warranting military response, often using non-military tools.Gradual Unfolding: Progresses incrementally over time rather than through bold, immediate actions.Attributability Challenges: Often involves actions with plausible deniability, making attribution challenging.Legal and Political Justification: Open actions justified using legal and political arguments, sometimes garnering support from other nations.Targeted Vulnerabilities: Focuses on exploiting specific vulnerabilities in targeted countries. Characteristics Incremental Approach: Gradual unfolding and progression over time distinguish grey zone activities.Attribution Complexity: Aggressors aim for plausible deniability or use extensive legal and political arguments when attribution is clear.International Influence: Recruits support from other nations to bolster their perspective.Targeted Vulnerabilities: Exploits specific weaknesses within targeted countries. -Source: Indian Express Yars Missile Context: Russia’s defence ministry recently announced a successful test fire of Yars intercontinental ballistic nuclear missile. Relevance: GS III: Science and Technology Yars Missile: Russia’s Advanced ICBM Name: Yars (RS-24 or SS-29)Type: Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM)Warhead Capability: Multiple Independently Targetable Warheads (MIRVs) Features Propellant: Three-stage, solid propellant system.Origin: Modified version of the Topol-M missile system.Launch Options: Can be launched from silos or mobile launchers.Dimensions: 23 meters in length; Launch weight of 49,600 kg.Range: Capable of reaching distances up to 10,500 km.MIRVs: Can be armed with up to 10 MIRVs, each carrying a 300-kiloton thermonuclear warhead.Manoeuvrability: Possesses the ability to manoeuvre during flight and deploy both active and passive decoys, enhancing its defense evasion capabilities. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Definition: Guided missile designed for delivering nuclear warheads, but versatile for other payloads.Range: Minimum of 5,500 km, with maximum ranges varying from 7,000 to 16,000 km.Speed and Range: ICBMs surpass other ballistic missiles in terms of speed and range.Example: Agni-V, an Indian ICBM, boasts a range exceeding 5,000 km. -Source: Hindustan Times

Mar 2, 2024 Daily PIB Summaries

CONTENTS Exercise MILAN 2024Exercise Samudra Laksamana Exercise MILAN 2024 Context: Exercise MILAN 2024 recently concluded with the closing ceremony held aboard the INS Vikrant, marking the end of the Sea Phase off Visakhapatnam. Relevance: GS III: Security Challenges MILAN 2024: 12th Edition of Multilateral Naval Exercise Introduction: MILAN 2024 marks the 12th edition of the biennial Multilateral Naval Exercise held in Visakhapatnam, under the Eastern Naval Command’s supervision. Objective: The primary goal of MILAN is to enhance professional interaction among friendly navies and to gain experience in multilateral large-force operations at sea. Historical Background: MILAN had its inception in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1995, with the participation of navies from Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Participating Nations: The 2024 edition saw the involvement of various nations, fostering collaboration and synergy among friendly navies. Two-Phase Structure: Harbour Phase:Features activities such as the International Maritime Seminar, city parades, tech exhibitions, expert exchanges, youth officer gatherings, and sports events.The International Maritime Seminar was themed ‘Partners across Oceans: Collaboration, Synergy, Growth.’Sea Phase:Involves the active participation of ships and aircraft from friendly nations, including units from the Indian Navy, such as carriers and other naval assets. Exercise Samudra Laksamana Context: The third edition of Exercise Samudra Laksamana is currently underway from February 28 to March 2, 2024, at/off the coast of Visakhapatnam. Relevance: GS III: Security Challenges Exercise Samudra Laksamana 2024: Fostering Naval Collaboration Participating Naval Ships:Indian Naval Ship Kiltan and Royal Malaysian Ship KD Lekir are actively engaged in this joint exercise. Phases of Exercise: Harbour Phase:Crews from both ships partake in diverse professional interactions, including Subject Matter Expert Exchanges, sports fixtures, and other engagements, fostering mutual understanding and cooperation.Operational Phase at Sea:The sea phase involves joint operations, where units from both navies collaborate to enhance their skills and execute various maritime operations. Objectives: Knowledge Enhancement:Harbour interactions aim to broaden the knowledge base through professional exchanges and the sharing of best practices.Cooperation on Maritime Aspects:The exercise serves as a platform for sharing expertise and insights, further strengthening cooperation on crucial maritime aspects. Interoperability and Bonds: Enhancing Interoperability:The exercise is designed to improve interoperability between the Indian and Royal Malaysian Navy, fostering seamless collaboration in naval operations.Strengthening Bonds:By jointly honing skills and conducting operations at sea, the participating navies aim to build stronger bonds and camaraderie.