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Daily PIB Summaries

PIB Summaries 13 June 2024

CONTENTS Bhagwan Birsa MundaSoftware Technology Parks of India Bhagwan Birsa Munda Context: The Jharkhand Governor and Chief Minister recently paid tribute to tribal icon Birsa Munda on his death anniversary. Relevance: GS I- History About Birsa Munda Birsa Munda (also known as Dharti Aaba (Father of Earth)) was an Indian tribal freedom fighter, religious leader, and folk hero who belonged to the Munda tribe.He spearheaded a tribal religious millenarian movement that arose in the Bengal Presidency (now Jharkhand) in the late 19th century, during the British Raj, thereby making him an important figure in the history of the Indian independence movement.The revolt mainly concentrated in the Munda belt of Khunti, Tamar, Sarwada and Bandgaon. Birsait Having gained awareness of the British colonial ruler and the efforts of the missionaries to convert tribals to Christianity, Birsa started the faith of ‘Birsait’.Members of the Munda and Oraon community joined the Birsait sect and it turned into a challenge to British conversion activities.Further, he urged the Mundas to give up drinking liquor, clean their village, and stop believing in witchcraft and sorcery. Munda Rebellion Munda Rebellion is one of the most important tribal movements led by Birsa Munda in the south of Ranchi in 1899-1900.The ‘Ulgulan’ or the ‘Great Tumult’ as the movement came to be called, aimed at establishing Munda Raj by driving out the British.The movement identified following forces as the cause of the misery the Mundas were suffering like The British Land policies destroying their traditional land system, Hindu Landlords and Moneylenders taking over their land, and Missionaries criticizing their traditional culture.On 3rd March, 1900, Birsa Munda was arrested by the British police while he was sleeping with his tribal guerilla army at Jamkopai forest in Chakradharpur (Jharkhand).The Munda Rebellion forced the colonial government to introduce laws so that the land of the tribals could not be easily taken over by dikus (Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908).It showed that the tribal people had the capacity to protest against injustice and express their anger against colonial rule. Software Technology Parks of India Context: Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) recently celebrated its 33rd Foundation Day. Relevance: Facts for Prelims Software Technology Parks of India (STPI): Establishment: STPI was established and registered as an autonomous society under the Societies Registration Act 1860, in 1991, under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.Objective: To implement Software Technology Park (STP) and Electronics Hardware Technology Park (EHTP) schemes, and to set up and manage infrastructure facilities. Initiatives and Functions: Ecosystem Nurturing:Nurturing the pan India start-up ecosystem through initiatives like Centres of Entrepreneurship (CoEs) and the Next Generation Incubation Scheme (NGIS).Platforms:Launched a networking and resource discovery platform called SayujNet.Introduced the STPI Workspace portal (STPI-Workspace).Ananta:Announced “Ananta,” a hyperscale cloud made by Indians for Indians.Provides conventional Compute Infrastructure Services (IAAS) along with PAAS (platform as a service), SaaS (software as a service), and graphics processing unit (GPU) based services. Reports: DeepTech Knowledge Report:Released the report ‘Cutting-Edge Tech Forging India as a Software Product Nation’ to provide strategic insights into the current state of cutting-edge technologies in India.

Daily Current Affairs

Current Affairs 13 June 2024

CONTENTS RBI’s Aspirational Goals for India’s Fast-Growing EconomyAgnipath Scheme Faces OppositionNational Litigation Policy Approved by Union Ministry of Law and JusticeAuthorised Economic Operator (AEO) ProgrammeNotified DisastersEnterobacter BugandensisNational Testing Agency RBI’s Aspirational Goals for India’s Fast-Growing Economy Context: Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has outlined several aspirational goals in preparation for India’s fast-growing economy, aiming to be “future-ready” by the time it reaches its centenary year, RBI@100. Relevance: GS III: Indian Economy Dimensions of the Article: What are the Aspirational Goals of RBI?What are the Challenges in Achieving the Aspirational Goals of RBI?Steps to Reach the Aspirational Goals of RBI What are the Aspirational Goals of RBI? Capital Account Convertibility: Aim to achieve full capital account convertibility, allowing unrestricted conversion between the rupee and foreign currencies for capital transactions. Non-Resident Transactions: Facilitate non-residents in using the rupee for cross-border transactions, improving rupee account accessibility for those outside India.Approach interest-bearing deposits for non-residents cautiously.Support Indian multinational corporations in making overseas investments. Digital Payment Systems: Extend the use of India’s digital payment systems (UPI, RTGS, NEFT) both domestically and globally, and link them with other countries’ systems.Begin by integrating Indian payment systems with international ones.Implement the Central Bank Digital Currency (e-Rupee) gradually. Banking Sector Alignment: Align the growth of the banking sector with national economic development.Strive to position 3-5 Indian banks among the top 100 global banks in terms of size and operations, establishing the Reserve Bank as a leading central bank for the global south.Assist the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) in making GIFT City a premier international financial hub. Monetary Policy and Economic Stability: Balance price stability with economic growth from the perspective of an Emerging Market Economy.Improve monetary policy communication and address debt overhang issues in key economies.Provide guidance for stress testing asset portfolios, enhance payment systems against climate risks, and propose disclosure norms and a government taxonomy for climate risks. Trade and Investment Standardization: Standardize bilateral and multilateral trade invoicing, settlement, and payment in rupee and local currencies.Foster a global rupee market and recalibrate the foreign portfolio investor regime.Review taxes on rupee masala bonds.Include Indian Government Bonds in global bond indices. What are the Challenges in Achieving the Aspirational Goals of RBI? Conflict of Roles:Balancing the conflict between domestic monetary policy goals and the role as an international reserve currency issuer.The Triffin dilemma, which might present a challenge in maintaining stability in India’s domestic economy while meeting global demand for the rupee.Exchange Rate Volatility:Opening the currency to international markets can increase volatility in the exchange rate, especially initially. Fluctuations can impact trade and investments, affecting economic stability.The rupee’s internationalization will lead to increased demand for the currency in global markets, potentially making Indian exports more expensive.Market Share:The daily average share of the rupee in the global forex market is only about 1.6%, while India’s share of global goods trade is around 2%. The challenge lies in increasing the share of Indian products in the competitive global market.Convertibility:The lack of full convertibility of INR for capital transactions will limit its extensive use in international trade and finance.Cybersecurity:Digital payment systems are susceptible to cyberattacks, which can lead to fraud and financial loss. Robust security measures are essential to protect user data and ensure transaction safety.Banking Sector Health:Indian banks, especially public sector ones, struggle with a high percentage of non-performing assets (loans unlikely to be repaid), making them less resilient in absorbing shocks during a global financial crisis. Steps to Reach the Aspirational Goals of RBI Full Capital Account Convertibility: According to the Tarapore committee, the objective is to achieve full convertibility by 2060, allowing free movement of financial investments between India and abroad.This would enable foreign investors to buy and sell the rupee more easily, increasing its liquidity and attractiveness. The RBI could use a Tobin Tax as a safeguard against currency speculation. Preconditions for Capital Account Liberalisation: The committee listed several prerequisites including fiscal consolidation, inflation control, low levels of non-performing assets, a low current account deficit, and strengthening of financial markets.Specifically, fiscal deficits should be reduced below 3.5%, gross inflation rates should be lowered to 3%-5%, and gross banking non-performing assets should be brought down to less than 5%. Personal Remittances and Investment Options: Introduce a more liberal scheme for personal remittances to facilitate easier foreign exchange transactions.Enable foreign investors and Indian trade partners to have more investment options in rupees, promoting its international use and developing the corporate bond market in India. Trade Settlement Formalities: Optimise trade settlement processes for rupee import/export transactions, such as establishing rupee swap agreements with various countries and paying for Russian oil in Indian rupees. Domestic Banking Expansion: Encourage the expansion of domestic banking through licensing reforms and incentivising branch network growth. Support Indian banks in enhancing their global presence through strategic partnerships and acquisitions.Provide support similar to that given to Khanij Bidesh India Ltd for banks involved in acquisitions, mergers, and collaborations with foreign banking institutions. Monetary Policy Framework: Conduct a comprehensive review of the monetary policy framework to ensure alignment with the goals of price stability and economic growth.Enhance transparency and clarity in monetary policy communication to effectively manage market expectations, such as releasing meeting minutes. Climate Risks and Resilience Measures: Issue guidelines for stress testing asset portfolios to assess climate change risks. Collaborate with financial institutions to develop resilience measures against climate-related risks in payment systems.Propose disclosure norms for climate risk reporting and contribute to the development of a standardised government taxonomy. -Source: Indian Express Agnipath Scheme Faces Opposition Context: The ruling-party government’s ambitious Agnipath scheme, announced in June 2022, has been facing opposition from various political parties and Armed Forces veterans. Ongoing concerns highlight the scheme’s impact on military recruitment and the welfare of soldiers. Relevance: GS II- Government policies and Interventions Dimensions of the Article: What is the Agnipath Scheme?Issues Associated with the Agnipath Scheme What is the Agnipath Scheme? Definition of Agniveer: The term “Agniveer” translates to “Fire-Warriors” and signifies a new military rank.Purpose: The scheme aims to recruit army personnel below officer ranks, such as soldiers, airmen, and sailors who are not commissioned officers, into the Indian Armed Forces.Duration of Service: Recruits, called Agniveers, serve for 4 years. After this period, up to 25% can join on a permanent commission (another 15 years), subject to merit and organizational requirements.Eligibility: All sailors, airmen, and soldiers, except the medical branch’s technical cadre, are eligible for recruitment under this scheme.Age Criteria: Candidates aged 17.5 to 23 years can apply. The upper age limit was increased from 21.Gender Inclusion: Girls within the given age limit are eligible, although there is no specific reservation for women under this scheme.Benefits in Case of Death: Families receive a combined sum of ₹1 crore, including the Seva Nidhi package and the soldier’s unserved salary.Disability Compensation: Agniveers can get up to ₹44 lakh based on the disability’s severity, provided it results from or worsens due to military service.Pension: Agniveers do not receive a regular pension after their 4-year service, unlike traditional soldiers. Only the 25% selected for permanent commission are eligible for a pension.Objective: The scheme aims to keep the armed forces young and reduce the number of permanent soldiers, thus lowering the government’s pension expenses on defense forces. Issues Associated with the Agnipath Scheme Compensation: The scheme offers a one-time payment of ₹11.71 lakh after 4 years but no gratuity or pension.Discontent: This has led to widespread dissatisfaction among aspirants seeking job security and pension benefits.Inadequate Term: The 4-year term is seen as too short, potentially resulting in recruits lacking the same motivation and training as permanent soldiers.Training Concerns: The brief duration may be insufficient to adequately train and skill soldiers, possibly leading to a deficit in experience and skills within the armed forces.Age Limit: The upper age limit of 23 years has excluded many youths who missed recruitment opportunities during the pandemic.Limited Absorption: With only 25% getting permanent absorption, the scheme may worsen the already high youth unemployment rate.Economic Challenges: This issue is compounded by wider economic difficulties, including rising inflation and inequalities.Lack of Consultation: Critics argue that the scheme was rushed without adequate consultation, possibly as a political move before elections. The absence of endorsement from defense forces raises further concerns.Cost-Cutting Measure: The scheme is viewed as a governmental effort to reduce defense pension expenditures, prioritizing financial savings over long-term force building. -Source: The Hindu National Litigation Policy Approved by Union Ministry of Law and Justice Context: With an aim to reduce the burden of pending court cases in which the government is a party, the Union Ministry of Law and Justice approved the National Litigation Policy, which will now be sent to the Cabinet for approval. Relevance: GS II: Polity and Governance Dimensions of the Article: Background of the National Litigation PolicyAbout the National Litigation PolicySignificance of the National Litigation Policy Background of the National Litigation Policy: Current Scenario: Approximately 50 million legal cases are pending at various levels of the judiciary across India, making the government the country’s leading litigator.For instance, the government accounts for 73% of all cases admitted by the Supreme Court.Policy History:Launched in 2010 to make the government a more “responsible litigant,” but was not implemented.Revived by the NDA government in 2015. In 2021, the then-Law Minister mentioned in a reply to the Lok Sabha that the policy was under consideration.Recently, the policy was approved by the Union Law Minister as part of the BJP’s 2024 Lok Sabha election manifesto. About the National Litigation Policy: Core Recognition: The government and its various agencies are the predominant litigants in Indian courts and tribunals.Objective: Transform the government into an efficient and responsible litigant.Efficient Litigant:Represented by competent and sensitive legal professionals.Focus on core issues and address them directly.Manage and conduct litigation cohesively, in a coordinated and time-bound manner.Ensure good cases are pursued and unnecessary cases are avoided.Responsible Litigant:Avoid false pleas and technical points.Ensure correct facts and all relevant documents are presented to the court.No attempt to mislead any court or tribunal.Prioritize litigation with emphasis on welfare legislation, social reform, and support for weaker sections.Policy Suggestions:Review pending cases involving the government on a priority basis for quick disposal.Implement a monitoring and review mechanism to sensitize the government on important cases and avoid delays. Significance of the National Litigation Policy: Primary Purpose: Reduce government litigation in courts, allowing valuable court time to be used for resolving other pending cases.Judicial Efficiency: Aid in achieving the goal of the National Mission for Justice Delivery & Legal Reforms to reduce the average pendency time from 15 years to 3 years.Government Responsibility:Protect citizens’ rights and respect fundamental rights.Ensure those handling government litigation adhere to the principle of transparency and accountability. -Source: Indian Express Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Programme Context: Recently, the gem and jewellery sector has been granted Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status by the Ministry of Finance, easing export-import processes with shorter cargo release times and reduced bank guarantees. Relevance: GS III: Indian Economy Dimensions of the Article: About Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) ProgrammeAbout World Customs Organization About Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Programme An AEO is a business entity engaged in international goods movement, requiring compliance with national customs law standards.Approval is granted by or on behalf of the national administration, adhering to the World Customs Organization (WCO) guidelines.The WCO adopted the SAFE Framework of Standards (WCO SAFE FoS) in June 2005 to enhance international supply chain security, with AEO being one of its foundational pillars.AEO fosters closer collaboration between customs departments and the trade industry.The Indian AEO programme is based on the WCO SAFE FoS. Overview of the AEO Programme Introduced in India by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in 2011, the AEO programme is voluntary and administered by CBIC.Aims to provide benefits such as simplified customs procedures and expedited customs clearances to business entities offering high security guarantees in the supply chain.Entities with AEO status are considered reliable and secure trading partners, allowing customs resources to focus on higher-risk businesses. Benefits of AEO Status Direct port delivery and port entry for imports and exports respectively.Special focus on small and medium-scale entities; entities handling up to 25 import and export documents annually are eligible.Expedited drawback amount disbursal, refunds, and adjudications.Paperless declaration without supporting documents.Site inspection or examination upon request.Recognition by partner government agencies and stakeholders. Eligibility for AEO Status Business entities engaged in customs-related activities in India can apply for AEO status regardless of size.Eligible entities include importers, exporters, Custom House Agents (CHA), Custodians or Terminal Operators, among others. About World Customs Organization The World Customs Organization is an inter-governmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.WPO is noted for its work in areas covering international conferences, equipment, and equipment development, commodity classification, evaluation, collection of rules of origin, customs revenue, and other topics.The WTO takes account of the naming of International Relevant System (HS) goods, the technical aspects of the Trade Organisation (WTO), customs assessment, and rules of origin.The WCO’s primary objective is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of member customs administrations, thereby assisting them to contribute successfully to national development goals, particularly revenue collection, national security, trade facilitation, community protection, and collection of trade statistics. -Source: The Hindu Notified Disasters Context: The ongoing spell of extreme heat in many parts of the country has once again reopened discussions on the inclusion of heatwaves as one of the notified disasters under the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005. Relevance: GS III: Disaster Management Dimensions of the Article: About Notified DisastersNational Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)Disaster Management Act, 2005 About Notified Disasters: Definition: The Disaster Management Act, 2005, in India defines a disaster as a “catastrophe, mishap, calamity, or grave occurrence” arising from natural or man-made causes that result in substantial loss of life, destruction of property, or damage to the environment.Categories: The Act identifies 12 categories of notified disasters:CycloneDroughtEarthquakeFireFloodTsunamiHailstormLandslideAvalancheCloudburstPest attackFrost and cold wavesRelief Assistance:These disasters qualify for relief assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).SDRF: Primarily used for immediate relief to victims of notified disasters.NDRF: Supplements the SDRF in severe disaster cases where funds are insufficient.Heatwaves:Currently, heatwaves are not included as a notified disaster under the Act, despite being a significant concern in India, especially in certain regions.The Finance Commission has not yet expanded the list of notified disasters to include heatwaves.State Provisions:States are allowed to use up to 10% of their SDRF allocation for local disasters, which can include heatwaves. Some states have already taken advantage of this provision. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) National Disaster Management Authority, abbreviated as NDMA, is an apex Body of Government of India, with a mandate to lay down policies for disaster management.NDMA was established through the Disaster Management Act enacted by the Government of India in 2005. Hence, NDMA is a Statutory body.The vision of NDMA is “To build a safe and disaster resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive, multi-disaster oriented and technology - driven strategy through a culture of prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response”.NDMA is responsible for framing policies, laying down guidelines and best-practices for coordinating with the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) to ensure a holistic and distributed approach to disaster management.It is headed by the Prime Minister of India and can have up to nine other members. Since 2014, there have been four other members.The tenure of the members of the NDMA shall be five years.The phrase disaster management is to be understood to mean ‘a continuous and integrated process of planning, organising, coordinating and implementing measures, which are necessary or expedient for prevention of danger or threat of any disaster, mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or severity of its consequences, capacity building, preparedness to deal with any disaster, prompt response, assessing the severity or magnitude of effects of any disaster, evacuation, rescue, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction’. Disaster Management Act, 2005 The Disaster Management Act, 2005, (23 December 2005) received the assent of The President of India on 9 January 2006.The Act extends to the whole of India.The Act provides for “the effective management of disasters and for matters connected there with or incidental thereto.”The Act calls for the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).The Act enjoins the Central Government to Constitute a National Executive Committee (NEC).All State Governments are mandated under the act to establish a State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).The Chairperson of District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will be the Collector or District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner of the district.The Act provides for constituting a National Disaster Response Force “for the purpose of specialist response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster” under a Director General to be appointed by the Central Government.Definition of a “disaster” in the DM Act states that a disaster means a “catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or man-made causes.The objective of the Act is to manage disasters, including preparation of mitigation strategies, capacity-building and more.The Act contains the provisions for financial mechanisms such as the creation of funds for emergency response, National Disaster Response Fund and similar funds at the state and district levels.The Act also devotes several sections various civil and criminal liabilities resulting from violation of provisions of the act. -Source: Indian Express Enterobacter Bugandensis Context: Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have carried out a collaborative study of the behaviour of multi-drug resistant pathogens aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Relevance: Facts for Prelims About Enterobacter Bugandensis: Introduction: Enterobacter bugandensis is a relatively new species within the Enterobacter genus. It was first identified in 2013, isolated from bloodstream infection cases in Uganda. Key Characteristics: It is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium.Similar to other Enterobacter species, E. bugandensis is typically found in diverse environments, including soil, water, and the gastrointestinal tracts of animals and humans.This bacterium can cause various infections, mainly in immunocompromised individuals. The infections include bloodstream, respiratory, urinary tract, and wound infections.E. bugandensis has shown resistance to multiple antibiotics, complicating treatment efforts.The resistance mechanisms may involve beta-lactamase production, efflux pumps, and mutations that reduce drug uptake. What is the Multi-Drug-Resistant Pathogen? Definition: A multi-drug-resistant (MDR) pathogen is a microorganism that has developed resistance to multiple antimicrobial agents, typically three or more categories of antimicrobials.Scope: This resistance is observed in various microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites.The most concerning forms of MDR for public health are MDR bacteria that resist multiple antibiotics. -Source: Down To Earth National Testing Agency Context: Recently, The Supreme Court refused to stay the counselling for admissions of students to medical colleges over alleged paper leak and irregularities in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) undergraduate (UG) examination 2024. Relevance: Facts for Prelims About National Testing Agency (NTA): Establishment: The NTA was established in 2017 by the Ministry of Education. It serves as a premier, specialist, autonomous, and self-sustained testing organization.Purpose: To conduct entrance examinations for admission or fellowship in higher educational institutions. Functions: Conducting Exams: Administering entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.Creating Question Banks: Developing a question bank using modern techniques.Research and Development: Establishing a strong research and development culture.Collaborations: Working with international organizations like ETS (Educational Testing Services).Other Exams: Undertaking any other examination entrusted by the Ministries or Departments of Government of India/State Governments. NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test): Purpose: NEET is an entrance examination for students aspiring to pursue undergraduate medical courses (MBBS/BDS) and postgraduate courses (MD/MS) in government or private medical colleges.Objective: To standardize the admission process for medical and dental courses across India, ensuring a uniform evaluation of candidates’ eligibility.Conducted by: The NTA conducts NEET on behalf of the Ministry of Education. -Source: Indian Express

Daily PIB Summaries

PIB Summaries 11 June 2024

CONTENTS NHA Achieves Milestone in OPD RegistrationsPradhan Mantri Awas Yojana NHA Achieves Milestone in OPD Registrations Context: Recently, the National Health Authority (NHA) has achieved a milestone of generating over 3 crore tokens for Out-Patient Department (OPD) registrations through the ABHA-based Scan and Share service. Relevance: Facts for Prelims Dimensions of the Article: National Health Authority’s (NHA) Recent Milestone in OPD RegistrationsNational Health Authority (NHA) National Health Authority’s (NHA) Recent Milestone in OPD Registrations ###b: The NHA has successfully generated over 3 crore tokens for Out-Patient Department (OPD) registrations using the ABHA-based Scan and Share service.Convenience: This service allows patients to effortlessly register for OPD appointments by scanning a QR code displayed at the OPD registration counter.Benefits: It has eliminated the need for patients to wait in long queues for appointments, especially aiding vulnerable groups such as the elderly, pregnant women, and those with mobility challenges.Regional Success: Uttar Pradesh has generated the maximum number of tokens, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Jammu and Kashmir.Launch: This service was introduced under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) in 2022.ABHA: ABHA is a unique 14-digit number designed to link all health records of an individual, aiming to create a comprehensive digital health ecosystem and promote the digitisation of healthcare. National Health Authority (NHA): Responsibilities:Apex body implementing Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).Tasked with designing strategy, building technological infrastructure, and implementing the “National Digital Health Mission” to create a National Digital Health Eco-system.Evolution and Autonomy:Successor of the National Health Agency, reconstituted as the National Health Authority in January 2019.Originally functioned as a registered society and transitioned to full functional autonomy.Structure and Governance:Attached office of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.Governed by a Governing Board chaired by the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare.Headed by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), holding the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.CEO serves as the Ex-Officio Member Secretary of the Governing Board.State-Level Implementation:Implementation at the State level involves the establishment of State Health Agencies (SHAs) as societies/trusts.SHAs are set up by respective States to execute the scheme locally. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Context: Government to provide assistance to construct 3 crore rural and urban houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) Relevance: GS-II: Social Justice (Welfare Schemes, Government Policies and Interventions) Dimensions of the Article: Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY- U: Housing for All – Urban)Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana- Gramin (PMAY-G) Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY- U: Housing for All – Urban) The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) Programme launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA), in Mission mode envisions provision of Housing for All by 2022, when the Nation completes 75 years of its Independence.The Mission seeks to address the housing requirement of urban poor including slum dwellers through following programme verticals:Slum rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resourcePromotion of Affordable Housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidyAffordable Housing in Partnership with Public & Private sectorsSubsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction /enhancement.The mission seeks to address the housing requirement of urban poor including slum dwellers. A slum is defined as a compact area of at least 300 people or about 60 – 70 households of poorly built congested tenements in unhygienic environment usually with inadequate infrastructure and lacking in proper sanitary and drinking water facilities.Mission will be implemented as Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) except for the component of credit linked subsidy which will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme.“Housing for All” Mission for urban area is being implemented during 2015-2022 and this Mission will provide central assistance to implementing agencies through States and UTs for providing houses to all eligible families/beneficiaries by 2022. Coverage area The Mission covers the entire urban area consisting of: Statutory TownsNotified Planning AreasDevelopment AuthoritiesSpecial Area Development AuthoritiesIndustrial Development Authorities orAny such authority under State legislation which is entrusted with the functions of urban planning & regulations Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana- Gramin (PMAY-G) The Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana- Gramin (PMAY-G) was launched to achieve the objective of “Housing for All” by 2022. The erstwhile rural housing scheme Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) was restructured to Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G).Ministry of Rural development is involved in the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana- Gramin (PMAY-G).PMAY-G aims to provide a pucca house with basic amenities to all rural families, who are homeless or living in kutcha or dilapidated houses by the end of March 2022 and also to help rural people Below the Poverty Line (BPL) in construction of dwelling units and upgradation of existing unserviceable kutcha houses by providing assistance in the form of a full grant.People belonging to SCs/STs, freed bonded labourers and non-SC/ST categories, widows or next-of-kin of defence personnel killed in action, ex-servicemen and retired members of the paramilitary forces, disabled persons and minorities will be the target beneficiaries of the PMAY-G.The cost of unit assistance is shared between Central and State Governments in the ratio 60:40 in plain areas and 90:10 for North Eastern and hilly states. -Source: The Hindu

Daily Current Affairs

Current Affairs 11 June 2024

CONTENTS Household Consumption Expenditure SurveyFirst Past The Post vs. Proportional RepresentationDelhi High Court’s Ruling on CIC’s Jurisdiction Over MPLADS FundsDuty Drawback SchemeOperation BluestarBiopharmaceutical Alliance Household Consumption Expenditure Survey Context: Recently, the detailed report of Household Consumption Expenditure Survey (HCES) 2022-23 was released by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI). Relevance: GS III: Indian Economy Dimensions of the Article: What is the Household Consumption Expenditure Survey?Highlights of the Recent Household Consumption Expenditure SurveyNational Statistical Office (NSO) What is the Household Consumption Expenditure Survey? Conducted by:The Household Consumption Expenditure Survey (HCES) is carried out by the National Statistical Office (NSO) every five years.Purpose:It aims to collect data on household consumption of goods and services.Usage:The collected data helps derive various macroeconomic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), poverty rates, and Consumer Price Index (CPI).Calculation:The average Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (MPCE) is calculated at 2011-12 prices.Coverage:The survey includes the entire Indian Union, excluding some inaccessible villages in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.Previous Survey:The last HCES conducted in 2017-18 was not released due to concerns over data quality.Information Provided:It provides insights into typical household spending on goods (food and non-food items) and services.It also assists in calculating MPCE and analyzing the distribution of households and individuals across different MPCE categories. Highlights of the Recent Household Consumption Expenditure Survey Food and Beverages:Beverages, Refreshments, and Processed Food are major parts of food expenditure, especially in Tamil Nadu, with the highest spending percentages in both rural (28.4%) and urban (33.7%) areas.Milk and Milk Products:High expenditure in states like Haryana (rural 41.7%, urban 33.1%) and Rajasthan (urban 33.2%).Egg, Fish, and Meat:Kerala has the highest spending in this category, in both rural (23.5%) and urban (19.8%) areas.Food Expenditure:Food accounts for about 46% of total household consumption expenditure in rural areas and 39% in urban areas.Non-Food Expenditure:Significant shift towards higher spending on non-food items, rising from 40.6% in 1999 to 53.62% in 2022-23 for rural areas and from 51.94% to 60.83% for urban areas during the same period.Top Non-Food Expenditures:Conveyance: Highest in Kerala for both rural and urban settings.Medical Expenses: High in Kerala, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh for rural areas; and West Bengal, Kerala, and Punjab for urban areas.Durable Goods: Highest spending noted in Kerala in both rural and urban settings.Fuel and Light: Significant spending observed in West Bengal and Odisha.State-wise Variations:Spending preferences vary across states, reflecting cultural and regional economic differences.Increase in Consumption Expenditure:There has been a significant increase in consumption expenditure over the past decade.Rural monthly consumption per person increased by 164% from 2011-12 to 2022-23, while urban monthly consumption per person grew by 146%.The rural MPCE has grown faster compared to the urban sector.The gap between urban and rural MPCE has decreased from 90% in 2009-10 to 75% in 2022-23. National Statistical Office (NSO): Formation:Established in 2019 by merging the Central Statistical Office (CSO) and the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).Origins:Proposed by the C. Rangarajan Committee as the central body for core statistical activities.Administrative Placement:Operates under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).Functions:Collects, compiles, and disseminates accurate, unbiased, and pertinent statistical data. -Source: Indian Express First Past The Post vs. Proportional Representation Context: The results of the Lok Sabha elections were declared last week. The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has won 293 seats with a 43.3% vote share while the Opposition bloc INDIA (including Trinamool Congress) has secured 234 seats with a 41.6% vote share. Other regional parties and independents polled around 15% but ended up with only 16 seats in total. Relevance: GS II: Polity and Governance Dimensions of the Article: What is the First Past the Post System?What is Proportional Representation?Way Forward What is the First Past the Post System? Definition: The First Past the Post (FPTP) system is used for elections to the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies in India. In this system, the candidate who receives more votes than any other candidate in a constituency wins the election.Adoption in Democracies: This system is commonly used in countries like the U.S., the U.K., and Canada.Advantages:Simplicity: It is straightforward and easy to implement, especially in a large country like India.Stability: FPTP tends to provide greater stability to the executive branch in a parliamentary democracy, as it allows the ruling party or coalition to hold a majority in the Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly without needing more than 50% of the votes across all constituencies.Issues:Representation: FPTP can lead to over or under-representation of political parties relative to their share of the vote. For instance, after India’s independence, the Congress party won nearly 75% of seats in the Lok Sabha with only 45-47% of the vote share, as shown in past elections. What is Proportional Representation? Definition: The Proportional Representation (PR) system allocates seats to political parties based on their share of the vote. The most common form is ‘party list PR,’ where voters vote for parties rather than individual candidates. Parties then receive seats in proportion to their vote share.Eligibility: Typically, a party must secure a minimum of 3-5% of the vote to be eligible for seats.Application in India:Federal Implementation: Ideally, PR should be applied at each State/Union Territory (UT) level in India.Election Results Example: Applying PR to the 2024 election results would have led to different seat distributions across states. For example, in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, the NDA would have secured 23 seats instead of 64, reflecting their 62%, 60%, and 53% vote shares, respectively. Similarly, the INDIA bloc would have had representation in Tamil Nadu with a 47% vote share, unlike the current FPTP system where they secured all 39 seats.Criticisms:Instability: PR could lead to instability, as no single party or coalition may secure a majority to form the government.Proliferation of Parties: It may result in the formation of numerous political parties based on regional, caste, religious, and linguistic lines, potentially promoting divisive voting patterns. However, the current FPTP system has also not prevented such formations. Balancing Stability and Representation Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMPR): This system combines elements of FPTP and PR. Under MMPR, one candidate is elected through the FPTP system from each territorial constituency, with additional seats filled based on the parties’ percentage of votes. This approach aims to balance the need for stable governance with fair representation. International Practices Presidential Democracies: Countries like Brazil and Argentina use the party list PR system for elections.Parliamentary Democracies: Nations such as South Africa, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain also employ the party list PR system.Germany: Utilizes the Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMPR) system. In the Bundestag (equivalent to Lok Sabha), 50% of the 598 seats are filled from constituencies under the FPTP system, while the remaining 50% are allocated to parties that secure at least 5% of the vote, based on their vote share.New Zealand: Out of 120 seats in the House of Representatives, 60% are filled through the FPTP system from territorial constituencies. The remaining 40% are allocated to parties with at least 5% of the vote. Benefits: This system aims to balance stability in a parliamentary democracy with proportional representation, ensuring that all parties are represented according to their vote share. Way Forward Law Commission’s Recommendation: In its 170th report (1999), the Law Commission recommended experimenting with the MMPR system. It suggested that 25% of seats could be filled through a PR system by increasing the strength of the Lok Sabha.Federal Consideration: The report recommended implementing the PR system at each State/Union Territory (UT) level, considering India’s federal structure.Delimitation Exercise: The next delimitation exercise for increasing the number of seats is due after the first Census conducted post-2026. The population growth over the past five decades has been uneven across regions, making proportional seat allocation based solely on population potentially problematic and against federal principles.Proposed Approach: In the event of increasing seats during the delimitation exercise, the MMPR system could be used for incremental seats or at least 25% of total seats filled from each State/UT. This approach could address concerns of southern, northeastern, and smaller states in the northern region, mitigating the dominance of larger states that would otherwise gain more seats through the FPTP system alone. -Source: The Hindu Delhi High Court’s Ruling on CIC’s Jurisdiction Over MPLADS Funds Context: Recently, the Delhi High Court has ruled that the Central Information Commission (CIC) has no jurisdiction to comment on the utilisation of funds under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS). Relevance: GS II: Government Policies and Interventions Dimensions of the Article: Background of the Court’s RulingMPLAD Scheme Background of the Court’s Ruling 2018 CIC Order: The Central Information Commission (CIC) raised concerns about Members of Parliament (MPs) strategically saving their MPLADS funds until the final year of their term. The CIC suspected this tactic was used to gain an unfair advantage during elections.MoSPI Suggestion: The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) was advised by the CIC to prevent this “abuse” by implementing guidelines to ensure the funds were distributed equally over each year of the five-year term.Legal Challenge: The MoSPI filed a legal challenge in the Delhi High Court against the CIC’s ruling related to a Right to Information (RTI) application. Court’s Ruling No Jurisdiction: The Delhi High Court ruled that the CIC does not have jurisdiction to comment on the utilization of funds by MPs under the MPLADS.RTI Act Scope: The court noted that the RTI Act is limited to providing access to information under the control of public authorities.Section 18 of RTI Act: According to Section 18 of the RTI Act, the CIC can only deal with issues related to the information sought under the RTI Act or any issue leading to the dissipation of such information.Publication of Details: The Court upheld the CIC’s instruction for public authorities to publish details of the funds, MP-wise, Constituency-wise, and work-wise under the RTI Act. MPLAD Scheme: MPLADS is an ongoing Central Sector Scheme which was launched in 1993-94.  The Scheme enables the Members of Parliament to recommend works for creation of durable community assets based on locally felt needs to be taken up in their constituencies in the area of national priorities namely drinking water, education, public health, sanitation, roads etc. Nodal Ministry: The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has been responsible for the policy formulation, release of funds and prescribing monitoring mechanism for implementation of the Scheme. Features The annual MPLADS fund entitlement per MP constituency is Rs. 5 crore.MPs are to recommend every year, works costing at least 15 per cent of the MPLADS entitlement for the year for areas inhabited by Scheduled Caste population and 7.5 per cent for areas inhabited by S.T. population.In order to encourage trusts and societies for the betterment of tribal people, a ceiling of Rs. 75 lakh is stipulated for building assets by trusts and societies subject to conditions prescribed in the scheme guidelines.Lok Sabha Members can recommend works within their Constituencies and Elected Members of Rajya Sabha can recommend works within the State of Election (with select exceptions).Nominated Members of both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the country.All works to meet locally felt infrastructure and development needs, with an emphasis on creation of durable assets in the constituency are permissible under MPLADS as prescribed in the scheme guidelines.Expenditure on specified items of non durable nature are also permitted as listed in the guidelines. Release of Funds: Funds are released in the form of grants in-aid directly to the district authorities.The funds released under the scheme are non-lapsable.The liability of funds not released in a particular year is carried forward to the subsequent years, subject to eligibility. Execution of works: The MPs have a recommendatory role under the scheme. They recommend their choice of works to the concerned district authorities who implement these works by following the established procedures of the concerned state government.The district authority is empowered to examine the eligibility of works sanction funds and select the implementing agencies, prioritise works, supervise overall execution, and monitor the scheme at the ground level. -Source: Indian Express Duty Drawback Scheme Context: The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) recently started automatic electronic payment of duty drawback amounts directly into exporters’ bank accounts. Relevance: GS III: Indian Economy Dimensions of the Article: About Duty Drawback SchemeKey Facts about Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) About Duty Drawback Scheme Administration:Managed by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) to support exports.Function:Rebates Customs and Central Excise duties on imported and excisable materials used as inputs for export goods.Legal Framework:Governed under the Customs Act, 1962.WTO Compliance:Ensures exports are zero-rated, avoiding the burden of specified taxes.Purpose:Assists exporters in offsetting costs incurred during the export process, especially within the supply or value chain.Eligible Goods:To export goods imported into IndiaTo export goods imported into India after having been taken for useTo export goods manufactured/produced out of imported materialTo export goods manufactured/produced out of indigenous materialTo export goods manufactured /produced out of imported or indigenous materials.Claim Criteria:Claimant must be the legal owner of the goods at the time of export.Customs duty on imported goods must have been paid.Applicable to most goods where customs duty was paid upon importation and subsequently exported. Key Facts about Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) Affiliation:A part of the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.Responsibilities:Oversees all indirect tax-related matters in India.Formulates policy for the levy and collection of Customs duties, Central Excise duties, Central Goods & Services Tax (CGST), and Integrated Goods & Services Tax (IGST).Manages the prevention of smuggling and the administration of Customs, Central Excise, CGST, IGST, and narcotics.Structure:Acts as the administrative authority for its subordinate organizations, including Custom Houses, Central Excise and Central GST Commissionerates, and the Central Revenues Control Laboratory.Compliance and Collection:Ensures that taxes on foreign and inland travel are administered in accordance with the law.Guarantees that the collection agencies deposit collected taxes to the public exchequer promptly. -Source: The Hindu Operation Bluestar Context: Slogans favouring Khalistan (sovereign state for Sikhs) were raised recently in the premises of the Golden Temple complex in Punjab’s Amritsar during the 40th anniversary of ‘Operation Bluestar’. Relevance: Facts for Prelims About Operation Bluestar Overview: Operation Bluestar was a military action initiated by the Indian government in June 1984 under the direction of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Its primary objective was to expel militant Sikh separatists who had taken control of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, a site of immense religious significance to Sikhs.Key Figure: The operation targeted a group led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a prominent Sikh fundamentalist and the former head of the Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal. Bhindranwale was a central figure in the rising Khalistan separatist movement.Operation Goals: The mission aimed to reclaim control of the Golden Temple complex while attempting to minimize civilian casualties. Timeline of the Operation: June 1-3, 1984: The Indian Army began deploying troops around the Golden Temple. Bhindranwale and his followers put up fierce resistance, resulting in intense gunfights.June 3-6, 1984: The Army escalated its assault using heavy artillery, tanks, and helicopters, causing significant damage to the Akal Takht, the supreme temporal seat of Sikh authority, and other parts of the Golden Temple.June 6, 1984: The operation concluded with the Indian Army gaining control over the Golden Temple complex. Aftermath: Reactions: Despite the army’s success in achieving its immediate goals, the operation sparked outrage among many Sikhs, who viewed it as a direct attack on their faith.Casualties: Official reports state that around 400 people were killed during the operation, including 87 soldiers.Assassination of Indira Gandhi: In retaliation for the operation, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards five months later. -Source: The Hindu Biopharmaceutical Alliance Context: The Biopharmaceutical Alliance was recently inaugurated in San Diego during the Bio International Convention 2024, the world’s largest biopharmaceutical exhibition. Relevance: Facts for Prelims About Biopharmaceutical Alliance: Formation: An alliance of India, South Korea, Japan, the US, and the European Union aimed at developing a resilient supply chain in the biopharmaceutical sector.Purpose: Emphasis on the need for a reliable and sustainable supply chain; agreement to coordinate biopolicies, regulations, and R&D; support measures.Production Acknowledgement: Recognition that essential raw materials and ingredients are concentrated in a few countries; commitment to collaboratively create a comprehensive pharmaceutical supply chain map.Response to Crisis: Established in response to drug supply shortages experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic.Inauguration: Launched during the Bio International Convention 2024 in San Diego.Convention Details: The Bio International Convention is a premier event in the biotechnology industry, attracting over 20,000 global leaders.Representation: Encompasses the entire biotech ecosystem, including public pharmaceutical companies, biotech startups, academia, non-profits, and government agencies. -Source: The Hindu

Daily PIB Summaries

PIB Summaries 10 June 2024

CONTENTS NHAI Invites Expressions of Interest for GNSS-based Toll Collection NHAI Invites Expressions of Interest for GNSS-based Toll Collection Context: NHAI has invited expressions of interest (EoIs) from around the world for the implementation of GNSS-based (satellite-based) electronic toll collection to provide a seamless and barrier-free tolling experience for National Highways users. Relevance: Facts for Prelims About GNSS-based Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) System: Definition:The GNSS-based Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system is a barrier-free electronic toll collection method that leverages Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology to monitor vehicles and compute tolls based on the distance traveled on tolled highways.Working Mechanism:Satellite Tracking:The system uses satellites or satellite constellations to track vehicle movements and calculate tolls according to the distance covered on tolled highways.OBU Technology:Vehicles equipped with GNSS-enabled On-Board Units (OBUs) are charged based on the distance they travel on tolled stretches.Implementation Plans:The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) aims to integrate the GNSS-based ETC system with the existing FASTag ecosystem. Initially, a hybrid model will be used where both RFID-based ETC and GNSS-based ETC will function simultaneously. Significance: Efficiency:Facilitates smooth vehicle movement on National Highways by eliminating physical barriers at toll booths.User Experience:Offers a barrier-less, free-flow tolling experience, making travel hassle-free.Cost-Effective:Implements distance-based tolling, ensuring users are charged only for the distance they travel.Enhanced Collection:Improves toll collection efficiency by minimizing leakages and reducing toll evasion.

Daily Current Affairs

Current Affairs 09 June 2024

CONTENTS Launch of National Health Claim Exchange (NHCX)Public Sector Banks Issue Look-out CircularsHighest NOTA Votes Recorded in Indore ConstituencyRegional Rapid Transit System (RRTS)Adoption of Large Action Models (LAMs) by EnterprisesPump and Dump SchemeChild Nutrition Report 2024 Launch of National Health Claim Exchange (NHCX) Context: The Health Ministry and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) are collaborating to launch the National Health Claim Exchange (NHCX). This digital platform aims to enable patients to access quality healthcare quickly and reduce out-of-pocket expenses. NHCX will connect insurance companies, healthcare service providers, and government insurance scheme administrators to streamline healthcare access and claims. Relevance: GS II: Health Dimensions of the Article: What is the National Health Claim Exchange (NHCX)?Current Claim ProcessingBenefits of National Health Claim Exchange (NHCX)Challenges in the Implementation of NHCX What is the National Health Claim Exchange (NHCX)? Overview: The Health Claim Exchange Specification is a communication protocol designed to facilitate the exchange of health claim information between payers, providers, beneficiaries, and other entities.It is built to be interoperable, machine-readable, auditable, and verifiable, ensuring accurate and reliable information exchange.It is based on open standards for communication.It aligns with IRDAI’s objective of ‘Insurance for All by 2047’ and aims to support streamlined, paperless, and secure interactions between hospitals and insurers. Functionality: The NHCX will serve as a gateway for sharing claims-related information among healthcare and health insurance stakeholders.It aims to achieve seamless interoperability in health claims processing, improving efficiency and transparency for policyholders and patients.It will centralize health claims, reducing administrative burdens on hospitals that currently navigate multiple portals.Twelve insurance companies and one TPA have already integrated with the NHCX. Implementation: A new timeline requires that all cashless insurance claims must be processed within three hours of receiving discharge authorization from the hospital.The insurance regulator has set a deadline of July 31 for providers to implement the necessary systems and processes.The launch of both the National Health Claim Exchange (NHCX) and the time-bound insurance clearance is anticipated soon. Digital Health Incentive Scheme (DHIS): To promote digital health transactions and the digitization of patient health records, the National Health Authority introduced the Digital Health Incentive Scheme (DHIS) in January 2023.According to the Health Ministry, under the DHIS, hospitals receive financial incentives of ₹500 per insurance claim transaction through the NHCX or 10% of the claim amount, whichever is lower. Current Claim Processing Process Overview: At present, patients provide their insurance policy information or a card issued by a Third-Party Administrator (TPA) or insurance company when they visit a hospital.For those under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), the card is issued by the State Health Agency (SHA).Hospitals utilize specific claim processing portals to upload required documents for preauthorization or claim approval.The State Health Agency, insurance company, or TPA verifies and digitizes the form through their internal portal, and the claims are processed by the relevant team.In India, this process is largely manual, unlike in many developed markets where over 90% of claims are auto-adjudicated. Challenges: The current claims exchange process lacks standardization across the ecosystem.Most data exchange occurs through PDF/manual methods.There are no established health standards.Processes differ significantly among insurers, TPAs, and providers. Benefits of National Health Claim Exchange (NHCX) Standardization and Seamless Exchange:NHCX will facilitate standardized and seamless exchange of health claim data, documents, and images among payers (insurance companies, TPAs, government scheme administrators) and providers (hospitals, labs, polyclinics).Efficiency and Transparency:The platform is expected to enable transparent and efficient claims processing, significantly reducing operational costs.Industry experts highlight that NHCX will provide uniform data presentation and centralized validation of claims, leading to a standardized approach to healthcare pricing.This will enhance efficiency, predictability, and transparency in healthcare costs.Cost Reduction:Digitization and centralization through NHCX are anticipated to significantly lower the cost of processing claims. Challenges in the Implementation of NHCX Health Insurance Market:Health insurance contributes to approximately 29% of the total general insurance premium income in India.Inter-Organizational Relationships:A major challenge is improving the relationship between hospitals and insurance companies, which requires efforts in digitization, IT system upgrades, and workforce training.Operational Issues:Problems such as discharge delays and miscommunication add complexity to the process.Trust Building:Building trust among policyholders is crucial and relies on efficient service delivery. -Source: The Hindu Public Sector Banks Issue Look-out Circulars Context: Since 2018, six Public Sector Banks (PSBs) have issued 1,071 Look-out Circulars (LOCs) to prevent wilful defaulters from absconding to other countries. Relevance: GS III: Indian Economy Dimensions of the Article: What is a Look-Out Circular (LOC)?About Wilful Defaulter What is a Look-Out Circular (LOC)? Definition:A Look-Out Circular (LOC) is a notice issued to prevent an individual wanted by the police, investigating agencies, or even banks from exiting or entering the country through specified land, air, and sea ports.Authority:The Bureau of Immigration, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, is responsible for enforcing LOCs to restrict the movement of such individuals.Scope:India has 112 immigration check posts where LOCs are enforced.Various agencies have the authority to issue LOCs, including:Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)Enforcement Directorate (ED)Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)Income Tax Department Issuance and Validity Issuing Authority:LOCs must be issued by officers not below the rank of district magistrate or superintendent of police, or a deputy secretary in the Union Government.Modification and Renewal:LOCs can only be modified, deleted, or withdrawn at the request of the originating agency.They are valid for a maximum of 12 months and will not be automatically renewed unless a new request is made by the issuing agency. Maintenance and Action Responsibilities:The Bureau of Immigration maintains records of LOCs and takes action against individuals at Immigration Check Posts (ICPs) as per the directives of the originating agency. Power of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) Historical Context:Since 2018, banks were also empowered to issue LOCs against individuals who posed economic risks to the country.Recent Legal Ruling:The Bombay High Court recently ruled that PSBs cannot issue LOCs against alleged loan defaulters without a specific law or statute, citing it as a violation of fundamental rights.This decision nullified the 2018 Government Office Memorandums that had authorized banks to issue LOCs. About Wilful Defaulter: Wilful defaulters are entities that have the ability to repay money but intentionally fail to do so.The concept of ‘Wilful Defaulter’ was introduced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) through its Master Circular, which defined the term and provided guidelines for banks and financial institutions to determine instances of wilful default. Criteria for Wilful Default: According to the RBI, a wilful default is deemed to have occurred in the following circumstances: When there is a default in repayment obligations by a unit (company/individual) despite having the capacity to repay, indicating a deliberate intention not to repay the loan.When funds obtained for a specific purpose are diverted for other uses.When funds have been siphoned off and not utilized for the intended purpose, without any justifiable assets to account for the usage.When assets purchased with lenders’ funds are sold off without the knowledge of the bank/lender.In cases where group companies of wilfully defaulting units fail to honor guarantees or letters of comfort provided to lenders when invoked, such group companies are also considered wilful defaulters. Consequences of being a Wilful Defaulter: Banks and institutions are required to submit the list of suit-filed accounts of wilful defaulters to Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd (CIBIL) on a quarterly basis.Banks report the names of current and former directors associated with the defaulter at the time of classification, which serves as a warning to other financial entities.A wilful defaulter is prohibited from starting a new business for a period of five years from the date of being declared as such.Lenders are expected to initiate legal action, including criminal proceedings if necessary, against the defaulting borrowers/guarantors, expediting the recovery process.Banks and institutions have the authority to change the management of a wilfully defaulting company.While there is no specific law for legal action against wilful defaulters, banks can initiate action under existing laws such as the SARFAESI Act, Companies Act, 2013, Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, etc.Overall, the designation of wilful defaulter carries significant consequences for the entities involved, aiming to discourage deliberate non-repayment and promote accountability in the financial system. -Source: Indian Express Highest NOTA Votes Recorded in Indore Constituency Context: Recently, the Lok Sabha elections in Indore, Madhya Pradesh saw a remarkable outcome, with the NOTA (None of the Above) option receiving over 2 lakh votes, making it the highest ever for NOTA in any constituency. Relevance: GS II: Polity and Governance Dimensions of the Article: What is NOTA in Indian Elections?Election Commission’s ClarificationArguments in Favor of NOTA OptionArguments Against the NOTA Option What is NOTA in Indian Elections? Definition: NOTA stands for “None of the Above”. It is an option on the ballots and Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) that allows voters to reject all the contesting candidates without selecting any of them.Purpose: NOTA enables voters to express their dissatisfaction with the candidates and indicates their negative opinions and lack of support for any contenders.Secrecy: It allows voters to reject all candidates while maintaining the secrecy of their decision. Historical Background Law Commission’s 170th Report (1999): The commission explored the idea of negative voting along with a 50%+1 voting system. However, practical challenges prevented final recommendations on the matter.Supreme Court Directive (2013): The Supreme Court instructed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to introduce the NOTA option to protect the secrecy of voters’ choices.PUCL’s Petition (2004): The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) approached the Supreme Court, advocating for the protection of voters’ right to secrecy. Implementation and Use First Use: NOTA was first used in the 2013 Assembly elections in five states: Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Delhi, and Madhya Pradesh, and later in the 2014 General Elections.Legal Directive: It was included in the electoral process following the 2013 Supreme Court directive in the PUCL vs Union of India case. Election Commission’s Clarification Vote Count: Votes cast as NOTA are counted but considered as ‘invalid votes’.Election Outcome: If NOTA receives the highest number of votes, the candidate with the next highest votes is declared the winner. Thus, NOTA votes do not alter the election result.Supreme Court Petition: The court is considering a petition for guidelines where NOTA gets the majority, potentially nullifying the election and calling for fresh polls.Fictional Electoral Candidate: Some regions like Maharashtra, Haryana, and Puducherry have declared NOTA as a “Fictional Electoral Candidate”, leading to fresh elections if NOTA secures the majority of votes. Arguments in Favor of NOTA Option Empowerment and Expression: NOTA gives voters the power to reject all candidates on the ballot, allowing them to express their dissatisfaction with the available choices.Promoting Accountability: The presence of NOTA encourages political parties and candidates to present better, more capable, and ethical representatives, as they risk losing votes if voters are unhappy.Valuable Feedback: NOTA votes can provide important feedback to the Election Commission and political parties regarding voter dissatisfaction, which can then be addressed appropriately. Arguments Against the NOTA Option Symbolic Nature: NOTA votes are largely symbolic and do not impact the election results. Even if NOTA receives a majority, the candidate with the next highest vote count still wins.Potential for Misuse: There is concern that voters might use the NOTA option to express general protest votes against the system rather than genuinely rejecting the available candidates.Bias in Reserved Constituencies: In some instances, high NOTA votes in reserved constituencies may indicate a bias against candidates from specific castes, potentially undermining the intent of NOTA.Democratic Principles: The NOTA option can weaken the principles of representative democracy, as it does not offer a clear mandate for the winning candidate. -Source: Indian Express Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) Context: Currently, the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) is developing 900 rainwater harvesting (RWH) pits along the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridor in a move to ensure environmental sustainability. Relevance: GS III: Infrastructure Dimensions of the Article: Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) RRTS is an integrated, mass transit network with semi-high-speed rail connectivity at its core.Its purpose is to promote balanced and sustainable urban development by improving connectivity and accessibility across the National Capital Region (NCR). Origin: The concept of RRTS emerged from an Indian Railways study conducted in 1998-99.This study highlighted the potential for an RRTS network connecting various NCR locations through rapid commuter trains.In 2006, the proposal gained traction as Delhi Metro lines expanded to NCR towns like Gurgaon, Noida, and Ghaziabad.The National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) adopted the concept as it developed the Functional Plan on Transport for NCR-2032.NCRPB identified and recommended eight RRTS corridors to connect NCR towns through high-speed rail-based commuter transit services. Objectives: The RRTS aims to unleash the NCR’s full potential and enhance multi-modal connectivity at transportation hubs.It encourages public transportation use to reduce road and metro/rail congestion.The project aims to stimulate employment generation and create new commercial hubs in the NCR.Shorter travel times are expected to boost the region’s economic productivity. Features: RRTS trains are faster than metro trains, with speeds of 160 km/hour (up to 180 km/hour).The RRTS model is based on systems like Paris’ RER, Germany and Austria’s Regional-Express trains, and the U.S.’ SEPTA Regional Rail, among others. Differences from Existing Systems: RRTS is faster than metros.Compared to Indian Railways, RRTS covers shorter distances but offers higher frequency and more comfort. -Source: Times of India Adoption of Large Action Models (LAMs) by Enterprises Context: Enterprises globally are adopting Large Action Models (LAMs) that understand complex goals communicated with natural language, and they follow up with autonomous actions to achieve them. Relevance: GS III: Science and Technology Dimensions of the Article: About Large Action Models (LAMs)What are Large Language Models (LLMs)? About Large Action Models (LAMs): Advanced AI Models:LAMs represent sophisticated Artificial Intelligence models.Complex Task Execution:These models are crafted to understand and execute intricate tasks based on user requirements.Combination of Language and Logic:Unlike Large Language Models (LLMs), LAMs integrate language comprehension with logical reasoning to carry out various tasks.Learning from Data:LAMs utilize extensive datasets of user action information, leveraging this data for strategic planning and proactive real-time actions.Advanced Machine Learning Techniques:These models employ cutting-edge machine learning methods, including deep learning and reinforcement learning, enabling them to learn from vast datasets and enhance their decision-making abilities over time.Predictive Analysis:By examining past and present actions, LAMs can make informed predictions about future outcomes, aiding in planning, strategy, and real-time decision-making in complex environments.Wide Application:LAMs have applications across diverse fields such as personal assistants, autonomous vehicles, robotics, healthcare, and financial modeling. What are Large Language Models (LLMs)? AI Programs:LLMs are a type of AI program that can recognize and generate text, among other functions.Extensive Training:They are trained on enormous datasets, which is why they are termed “large.”Deep Learning:LLMs utilize deep learning, a machine learning technique, to understand how characters, words, and sentences work together.Contextual Understanding:These models can infer context, generate coherent and relevant responses, translate into multiple languages, summarize text, answer questions, and assist in creative writing or code generation tasks. -Source: Indian Express Pump and Dump Scheme Context: The Securities Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) recently slapped a fine of Rs 7.75 crore on 11 individuals for allegedly operating a ‘pump and dump’ scheme. Relevance: GS III: Indian Economy About Pump and Dump Scheme: Manipulative Market Activity:A pump and dump scheme involves artificially inflating a stock’s price using false or misleading information to sell it at the inflated price, leaving investors with significant losses.Prevalence:This scheme is especially common in the micro-cap and small-cap sectors, where companies often have limited public information and lower trading volumes. How Pump and Dump Schemes Work: Stock Acquisition:Initially, a large quantity of stock in a small or thinly traded company is acquired. These are often referred to as ‘penny stocks’ due to their low prices and susceptibility to manipulation from low trading volumes.Aggressive Promotion:The stock is then aggressively promoted to generate excitement and attract investors. This can include mass emails, newsletters with exaggerated claims, and misleading social media posts to create buzz and interest in the stock.Increasing Demand:As the promotion gains traction, more investors buy the stock, driving up its price due to increased demand. Sometimes, fraudsters engage in coordinated buying to further boost the price. This phase often sees rapid and significant price increases, giving the illusion of a high-potential investment.Sell-Off:Once the stock price is sufficiently inflated, the sell-off begins. The selling pressure causes the stock price to crash, often leaving unsuspecting investors with significant losses as the stock returns to its actual value or even lower. Impact: Investor Losses:Those who bought into the hype and purchased the stock at inflated prices usually face substantial losses when the stock price collapses.Market Confidence:Such schemes undermine confidence in the financial markets, making legitimate investors wary of potential fraud. *Under the SEBI guidelines, pump and dump schemes are entirely prohibited. -Source: Business Standards Child Nutrition Report 2024 Context: One in four children under age 5 around the world is experiencing severe food poverty, according to the recently released Child Nutrition Report 2024. Relevance: GS III: Health Dimensions of the Article: About Child Nutrition Report 2024Highlights of the 2024 Report About Child Nutrition Report 2024: Released By:The report was published by UNICEF.Scope:It assesses the status, trends, inequalities, and causes of child food poverty in early childhood, including the effects of global and local food and nutrition crises.Focus:The report emphasizes low- and middle-income countries where most children suffering from food poverty live, examining the consequences of child food poverty on malnutrition and developmental issues.Definition:UNICEF defines child food poverty as the inability of children to access and consume a nutritious and varied diet during early childhood (the first five years of life). Highlights of the 2024 Report: Global Statistics:One in four children under the age of 5 worldwide (about 27% or 181 million children) experiences severe food poverty and is at risk of life-threatening malnutrition.Regional Data:Over two-thirds of the 181 million young children facing severe food poverty reside in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, with 20 countries accounting for 65% of these children.Affected Countries:The countries include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Yemen.Economic Impact:The report found that children in both poor and non-poor households are affected by severe food poverty.Approximately half (97 million) of the children living in severe food poverty are from middle- and upper-income households. -Source: UNICEF

Daily PIB Summaries

PIB Summaries 08 June 2024

CONTENTS GSAP SKILLS PlatformNational Crisis Management Committee GSAP SKILLS Platform Context: Recently, the GSAP SKILLS Platform was launched at the Fourth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation, Convention on Biological Diversity. Relevance: GS II: Government Policies and Interventions About GSAP SKILLS Platform Overview GSAP SKILLS Platform: The Global Species Action Plan (GSAP) utilizes the Species Conservation Knowledge, Information, Learning, Leverage, and Sharing (SKILLS) platform to make GSAP content accessible online, allowing real-time updates of technical tools and resources.Aim: Facilitates global collaboration and partnership, connecting decision-makers, species conservation practitioners, and experts at all levels. Features: Real-time Updates: Provides up-to-date technical tools and resources.Global Biodiversity Framework: Each target is accompanied by a summary, rationale, and detailed actions, facilitating implementation efforts.Management: Managed proactively by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to meet the needs of governments and stakeholders for species conservation actions.Support: Developed with principal support from the Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea, and additional resources from the Tech4Nature Initiative by IUCN and Huawei in 2020. What is the Global Species Action Plan? Implementation Support: Developed to support the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).Addressing Biodiversity Loss: Aims to tackle increasing biodiversity loss worldwide. Strategic Interventions Conservation Actions: Outlines strategic interventions and actions to conserve and sustainably manage species.Equitable Benefits: Ensures actions provide equitable benefits to all stakeholders involved in biodiversity conservation. National Crisis Management Committee Context: Union Cabinet Secretary chaired a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) to review preparedness to deal with heat waves and forest fires. Relevance: Facts for Prelims About NCMC Overview: At the national level, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) are key entities in high-level decision-making related to Disaster Management (DM).The NCMC addresses significant crises with serious or national implications. Key Functions: The NCMC is pivotal in managing natural disasters, reviewing preparedness measures, coordinating relief efforts, and providing logistic and financial support to state governments.It ensures that all necessary preventive and precautionary measures are implemented to minimize damage and loss of life. Composition: The NCMC is chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and includes Secretaries of Ministries/Departments and agencies responsible for specific disaster management roles.

Daily Current Affairs

Current Affairs 08 June 2024

CONTENTS RBI’s Strategic Move: Repatriation of GoldOpen Network for Digital CommerceQS World University Rankings 2025Jailed Leaders Win Lok Sabha ElectionsWorld Wealth Report 2024SEBI Introduces Framework to Mitigate Impact of Market Rumours  RBI’s Strategic Move: Repatriation of Gold Context: Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has undertaken a significant strategic move by bringing back over 100 tonnes of gold from the UK to its domestic vaults. This has marked the largest such repatriation since the early 1990s and signifies the RBI’s evolving approach to managing its gold reserves. Relevance: GS III: Indian Economy Dimensions of the Article: Gold Reserves in IndiaReasons for RBI Moving Gold Back to IndiaImportance of Gold in the Economy Gold Reserves in India Current Status: Total Reserves: As per the National Mineral Inventory, India has total gold ore reserves of 501.83 million tonnes as of 2015.Major Locations: The largest gold ore resources are in Bihar (44%), followed by Rajasthan (25%), Karnataka (21%), West Bengal (3%), Andhra Pradesh (3%), and Jharkhand (2%).Karnataka’s Contribution: Karnataka contributes around 80% of India’s total gold output. The Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) in the Kolar district are among the world’s oldest and deepest gold mines. Major Gold Buyers Global Trends: China: According to the World Gold Council (WGC) report from April 2024, China was the top buyer of gold among central banks in the first quarter of 2024.Turkey: As of April 2024, Turkey’s Central Bank had purchased the most gold (8 tonnes) year-to-date, bringing its total holdings to 578 tonnes.Emerging Economies: The WGC report consistently shows that central banks from emerging economies are leading the trend in gold buying. Gold Holdings of RBI Legal Framework: Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934: This act provides the legal framework for managing reserves in different foreign currency assets and gold. Current Holdings: Total Gold Held (March 2024): The RBI held 822.10 tonnes of gold, with 408.31 tonnes stored domestically. The remaining 413.79 tonnes are held in custody with foreign institutions like the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).Forex Reserves: As of April 2024, gold constitutes USD 54.4 billion of India’s total forex reserves of USD 648.562 billion. Recent Purchases: Top Five Central Banks: The RBI is among the top five central banks buying gold, according to the World Gold Council.Global Financial Crisis: The RBI purchased 200 tonnes of gold during the global financial crisis in 2009.Recent Acquisitions: The RBI bought 65.11 tonnes of gold in FY 2022, 34.22 tonnes in FY 2023, and 19 tonnes in FY 2024. Reasons for RBI Moving Gold Back to India Inflation Protection: Value Stability: Gold tends to retain its value during periods of high inflation. Unlike currencies that may depreciate due to inflation, gold’s historical trends show it can even increase in value during such times.Potential Gains: This offers the RBI an opportunity for favorable returns, even in difficult economic scenarios. Geopolitical Factors: Sanctions and Asset Security: The geopolitical landscape, including events like the Russia-Ukraine conflict, has resulted in sanctions on Russia by Western nations, leading to the freezing of Russian assets held abroad. This situation may have prompted the RBI to secure its assets by bringing them back to India.Safe Investment: Gold is viewed as a secure investment during periods of geopolitical and economic uncertainty. Diversification and Liquidity: Foreign Exchange Portfolio: Adding gold to its reserves allows the RBI to diversify its foreign exchange holdings.Secure and Liquid Asset: Gold is a secure and liquid asset, easily tradable on the international market at transparent prices.Reserve Management: This provides the RBI with greater flexibility and more options for managing its reserves. Economic Confidence: Economic Growth Indicator: Repatriating gold demonstrates India’s strong economic growth and the ability to safeguard financial assets, instilling confidence in the stability of the Indian economy.Contrast to 1991 Crisis: This move is a contrast to the 1991 economic crisis when India had to pledge gold reserves for foreign currency. Cost Savings: Eliminating Storage Costs: Moving the gold back to India eliminates storage fees previously paid to the Bank of England. Importance of Gold in the Economy Finite Supply and Intrinsic Value: Geological Constraints: Gold has a limited supply due to geological factors.Intrinsic Value: This scarcity, combined with unique physical properties and historical importance, gives gold its intrinsic value. Performance During Inflation: Positive Correlation: Gold has historically maintained its value well during inflation. A 2023 study by the World Gold Council found a positive correlation between gold prices and US inflation over the past 50 years, making gold an effective hedge against inflation. Diversification and Stability: Foreign Reserves: Gold diversifies a country’s foreign reserves, reducing reliance on a single currency and providing stability during economic challenges.Investor Confidence: Holding gold reserves can signal confidence in a country’s economy to international investors. Cultural Significance: Jewelry Demand: The demand for gold in jewelry remains high globally, particularly in regions like India and China.Cultural Importance: Gold holds significant cultural value in many societies, further influencing its demand and value. -Source: Economic Times Open Network for Digital Commerce Context: Recently, Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) recorded an all-time high of 8.9 million transactions across retail and ride-hailing segments in May 2024, representing a 23% month-on-month increase in total transaction volume. Relevance: GS III- Indian Economy Dimensions of the Article: What is ONDC?What led to formation of ONDC?What are the likely benefits of ONDC? What is ONDC? It is a not-for-profit organisation that will offer a network to enable local digital commerce stores across industries to be discovered and engaged by any network-enabled applications.It is neither an aggregator application nor a hosting platform, and all existing digital commerce applications and platforms can voluntarily choose to adopt and be a part of the ONDC network.The ONDC model is trying to replicate the success of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in the field of digital payments.UPI allows people to send or receive money irrespective of the payment platforms they are registered on.The open network concept also extends beyond the retail sector, to any digital commerce domains including wholesale, mobility, food delivery, logistics, travel, urban services, etc. The main aims of ONDC are to: Promote open-source methodology, using open specifications andPromote open network protocols independent of any specific platformDigitise value chains,Promote inclusion of suppliers,Standardize operations,Derive efficiencies in logisticsEnhance value for consumers. Example: Currently, a buyer needs to go to Amazon, for example, to buy a product from a seller on Amazon.Under ONDC, it is envisaged that a buyer registered on one participating e-commerce site (for example, Amazon) may purchase goods from a seller on another participating e-commerce site (for example, Flipkart). What led to formation of ONDC? The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), under Ministry of Commerce and Industries, conducted an outreach during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to understand its impact on small sellers and hyperlocal supply chain functioning.Post which, it found that there is a huge disconnect between the scale of online demand and the ability of the local retail ecosystem to participate.Following this, consultations were held with multiple ministries and industry experts and “ONDC was envisioned to revolutionise digital commerce in India,” as per the strategy paper. What are the likely benefits of ONDC? The ONDC will standardise operations like cataloguing, inventory management, order management and order fulfilment, hence making it simpler and easier for small businesses to be discoverable over network and conduct business.However, experts have pointed out some likely potential issues such as getting enough number of e-commerce platforms to sign up, along with issues related to customer service and payment integration. -Source: Indian Express QS World University Rankings 2025 Context: Recently, the latest QS World University Rankings for 2025 were released revealing significant improvements for Indian universities and notable global standings. Relevance: GS II: Education Dimensions of the Article: QS World University RankingsKey Highlights of the 2025 QS World University Rankings QS World University Rankings: The QS World University Rankings are annual rankings released by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).These rankings aim to evaluate and compare the performance and quality of universities worldwide.The methodology used by QS takes into account various indicators, including academic reputation, faculty-student ratio, employer reputation, sustainability, employment outcomes, international research network, citations per faculty, international faculty ratio, and international student ratio.In addition to the overall rankings, QS also provides rankings by subject, region, student city, business school, and sustainability, catering to specific areas of interest and focus. Key Highlights of the 2025 QS World University Rankings Compilation and Data: Scope of Analysis: The 2025 QS World University Rankings evaluated 17 million research papers, 176 million citations, and data from 5,600 institutions worldwide. Input was gathered from 175,798 academics and 105,476 employers. Top Global Institutes: MIT: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology maintained its top position as the best institute globally for the 13th year in a row.Imperial College London: Rose from sixth place to second.Harvard and Oxford: Harvard University and the University of Oxford jointly held the third spot. Regional Highlights: Continental Europe: ETH Zurich continues to be the leading institution in Continental Europe for the 17th consecutive year.Asia: The National University of Singapore (NUS) retained its prominent position, staying in eighth place. India’s Position: Representation: India, with 46 universities ranked, is the seventh most represented country globally and third in Asia, following Japan (49 universities) and China (71 universities).Ranking Improvements: 61% of Indian universities saw an improvement in their rankings, with IIT Bombay achieving the highest position among Indian institutions.Ranking Stability: 61% of Indian universities moved up in rank, while 24% maintained their previous positions. Research and Collaboration: Citations per Faculty: India performs well in this indicator, with a score of 37.8, surpassing the global average of 23.5. This score is the second highest in Asia among countries with over 10 ranked universities.International Collaboration: India needs to improve in the International Faculty Ratio and International Student Ratio indicators, indicating a need for enhanced international collaboration and exchange. Top Indian Institutes: IIT Bombay: Leading among Indian institutions, IIT Bombay advanced from 149th in 2024 to 118th in 2025.IIT Delhi: Secured the second spot among Indian institutions, moving up 47 places from 197th to 150th.IIT Indore: The only Indian institution to experience a decline, falling from 454th to 477th.New Entrants: Symbiosis International (Deemed University) entered the top 20, ranked between 641-650 globally. -Source: Indian Express Jailed Leaders Win Lok Sabha Elections Context: Jailed leaders Amritpal Singh and Engineer Rashid, who ran as independent candidates in the Lok Sabha elections, have won the election. Both leaders are currently in prison on serious charges being investigated by the National Investigation Agency. According to Indian laws, they were eligible to contest the election unless convicted. However, like other accused persons in Indian prisons, they were barred from voting in the recently held elections. Relevance: GS II: Polity and Governance Dimensions of the Article: What happens next? How will they take oath as MPs?Duties as a Lawmaker What happens next? How will they take oath as MPs? Serious Charges Amritpal Singh: Detained in Dibrugarh, Assam under the National Security Act (NSA) since March 2023. The NSA allows preventive detention for up to 12 months without formal charges.Rashid: Currently held in Delhi’s Tihar jail under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) on alleged terror-funding charges. He contested the election on a Awami Ittehad Party ticket. Taking Oath Despite being in prison, their election victories provide them with a constitutional mandate to serve as parliamentarians.The first step is taking the oath, which is crucial for them to begin their parliamentary roles. Although not explicitly stated in the Constitution, there have been precedents where jailed lawmakers are granted temporary parole to take the oath.Sanjay Singh (AAP): In March, while in Tihar jail on money laundering charges, he was permitted by a court to take the oath as Rajya Sabha MP for a second term.Akhil Gogoi: In 2021, after winning in Sibsagar, Assam, he was allowed to leave prison temporarily to take the oath as a member of the Assam Legislative Assembly.George Fernandes: In 1977, elected from Muzaffarpur while in jail during the Emergency, he was released before the oath ceremony. Duties as a Lawmaker Taking the oath is not the same as being granted bail. It is akin to a special parole for a day.After taking the oath, the lawmaker must inform the Speaker about their inability to attend proceedings due to imprisonment.Article 101(4) of the Constitution states that an MP’s seat can be declared vacant if they are absent for over 60 days without permission.To attend a Parliament session or vote, the lawmaker must seek court permission.Only a conviction and a sentence of two or more years will lead to disqualification from Parliament. -Source: Indian Express World Wealth Report 2024 Context: The number of high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) in India increased by 12.2% in 2023 compared to 2022 as per the Capgemini Research Institute’s World Wealth Report 2024. Relevance: Facts for Prelims Summary of the World Wealth Report 2024 Release and Coverage: Publisher: Capgemini Research Institute.Scope: Covers 71 countries, representing over 98% of global gross national income and 99% of the world’s stock market capitalization. Highlights: Global HNWI Wealth and Population: The wealth of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) worldwide grew by 4.7% in 2023, reaching $86.8 trillion.The global HNWI population rose by 5.1% to 22.8 million. Definitions and Segmentation: HNWIs: Individuals with investable assets of $1 million or more, excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables, and consumer durables.Categories: HNWIs are divided into:Ultra-HNWIs (wealth of $30 million or more)Mid-Tier Millionaires ($5 million to $30 million)Millionaires Next Door ($1 million to $5 million) Regional Highlights: APAC Region Performers: India and Australia: Notable for their performance, with India and Australia seeing HNWI wealth growth of 12.4% and 7.9%, and HNWI population growth of 12.2% and 7.8%, respectively.Economic resilience and strong equity markets contributed to this growth. India-Specific Highlights: HNWI Growth: The number of HNWIs in India increased by 12.2% in 2023, reaching a total of 3.589 million.Financial wealth of India’s HNWIs rose by 12.4% to $1,445.7 billion, up from $1,286.7 billion in 2022. Economic Indicators: The unemployment rate in India dropped to 3.1% in 2023, down from 7% in 2022.Market capitalization surged by 29.0% in 2023, following a 6% rise in 2022.National savings as a percentage of GDP increased to 33.4% in 2023, up from 29.9% in 2022. -Source: Economic Times SEBI Introduces Framework to Mitigate Impact of Market Rumours Context: To tackle any impact on the price of a scrip because of a market rumour, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) introduced a framework centred around its ‘unaffected price.’ Relevance: Facts for Prelims About the New SEBI Framework The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has launched a framework focusing on the “unaffected price” concept to address the impact of market rumours on stock prices. Purpose: The framework aims to ensure a fair price for a security, free from the influence of unverified rumours, thereby safeguarding the interests of both companies and investors. Implementation Phases: Phase 1 (June 1): Targets the top 100 listed entities.Phase 2 (December 1): Expands to include the top 250 listed entities. Mechanism of “Unaffected Price”: The “unaffected price” refers to the stock price before any specific rumour became public. This concept supports a fair price discovery process and protects market participants’ interests. Benefits: Enhancing Market Integrity: By promoting transparency and ensuring quicker responses from listed companies.Boosting Investor Confidence: Helps maintain trust in the market.Reducing Speculation: Aims to curb speculative activities based on rumours.Level Playing Field: Ensures fairness in buybacks, mergers, acquisitions, and other transactions. Timeframe: The “unaffected price” must be established within 24 hours of any significant price movement, excluding the rumour. -Source: The Hindu

Daily PIB Summaries

PIB Summaries 07 June 2024

CONTENTS IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum Context: India participates in the inaugural Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Clean Economy Investor Forum. Relevance: Facts for Prelims About IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum Initiative: One of the initiatives under the International Partnership for Economic Cooperation (IPEF), launched in May 2022. Objective: To mobilise investments into sustainable infrastructure, climate technology, and renewable energy projects. Key Features: Provides a platform for climate tech entrepreneurs and companies in India.Recognises top climate tech companies and start-ups among member countries.Presents them to global investors. IPEF Pillars of Cooperation: TradeSupply ChainClean EconomyFair Economy Member Countries: Comprises 14 country partners:AustraliaBrunei DarussalamFijiIndiaIndonesiaJapanRepublic of KoreaMalaysiaNew ZealandPhilippinesSingaporeThailandUnited StatesVietnam

Daily Current Affairs

Current Affairs 07 June 2024

CONTENTS Special Category StatusIndia Seeks WTO Arbitration Against AustraliaSpecial Marriage Act (SMA), 1954Cassini Mission and Milgromian DynamicsImpact of Colour on Contemporary Human LifePraVaHa SoftwareUNESCO State of Ocean Report Special Category Status Context: With the General Elections throwing up a fractured mandate, Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party are set to play a key role in government formation at the Centre. Consequently, their past demands for special category status (SCS) for Bihar and Andhra Pradesh, respectively, are back in focus. This development highlights the intricacies of coalition politics and the potential influence of regional parties on national policy-making. Relevance: GS II: Polity and Governance Dimensions of the Article: What is Special Category Status (SCS)?Why Bihar and Andhra Pradesh (AP) Are Demanding SCS and Its Feasibility? What is Special Category Status (SCS)? Criteria for Eligibility: States must meet specific conditions based on the Gadgil formula:Possession of hilly and challenging terrain.Low population density and/or a significant proportion of tribal population.Strategic location along borders with neighboring countries.Economic and infrastructural backwardness.Non-viable state finances. Historical Context: Introduced in 1969 following the recommendations of the Fifth Finance Commission, chaired by Mahavir Tyagi, to support backward states.Initially granted to Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, and Nagaland.Formalized in April 1969 with the approval of the Gadgil formula by the National Development Council (NDC).Subsequently, more states received SCS upon attaining statehood, including:Himachal Pradesh (1970-71), Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura (1971-72), Sikkim (1975-76), Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram (1986-87), Uttarakhand (2001-02).Currently, 11 states hold SCS, including Assam, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, and Telangana.Telangana, India’s newest state, received SCS due to financial impacts from its separation from Andhra Pradesh.States like Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, along with Odisha, are also demanding SCS. Benefits of SCS: Central assistance of up to 90% in grants and 10% in loans for centrally sponsored schemes.For non-SCS, Central Assistance is 30% grant and 70% loan.Special Plan Assistance for projects of special importance to the state.Unspent funds do not lapse at the end of the financial year.Tax concessions, although many tax benefits are now integrated into the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. Why Bihar and Andhra Pradesh (AP) Are Demanding SCS and Its Feasibility? Bihar’s Demand: Bihar has sought SCS since the mineral-rich region of Jharkhand was separated from it in 2000.According to the Centre’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report, Bihar is recognized as the poorest state in India.Nearly 52% of Bihar’s population lacks adequate access to essential health, education, and living standards.Although Bihar meets most of the SCS criteria, it does not satisfy the conditions of having hilly terrain and geographically challenging areas. Andhra Pradesh’s Demand: Following the state’s bifurcation in 2014, the UPA government at the Centre had pledged to grant SCS to AP to offset the loss of revenue and the development hub of Hyderabad.Presently, AP is predominantly an agrarian state with low economic buoyancy, leading to significant revenue challenges.SCS would result in increased grants-in-aid from the Centre. For example, per capita grants to SCS states amount to Rs 5,573 crore per year, whereas AP receives only Rs 3,428 crore. Feasibility and Financial Considerations: The 14th Finance Commission observed that granting SCS was a strain on the Centre’s resources, a reason cited by the central government for not extending SCS to more states.To address the resource gap without granting SCS, tax devolution to states was increased to 42% as recommended by the 14th Finance Commission, and maintained at 41% by the 15th Finance Commission.With the 16th Finance Commission now in place and working on tax devolution formulas for the five-year period beginning April 1, 2026, providing special category status to Bihar and AP could become a more manageable task. -Source: Indian Express India Seeks WTO Arbitration Against Australia Context: India has sought arbitration proceedings under the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules against Australia to resolve an issue concerning the services sector, as it could impact India’s trade in services. Relevance: GS III: International Relations Dimensions of the Article: Concerns Raised by India Against AustraliaWTO Dispute Settlement Process OverviewThe Appellate Body Concerns Raised by India Against Australia Joint Statement Initiatives (JSIs): In February 2024, over 70 WTO countries met in Abu Dhabi and agreed to adopt additional obligations under Joint Statement Initiatives (JSIs) as part of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). This aims to facilitate non-goods trade among themselves while offering similar concessions to other WTO members.The GATS agreement, effective since 1995, includes India as a long-standing member.These new obligations are designed to reduce unintended trade barriers related to licensing, qualification requirements, and technical standards.Indian professional companies are expected to benefit from equal access to markets in these 70 countries, provided they meet the required standards.This initiative is projected to reduce services trade costs by 10% for lower-middle-income economies and by 14% for upper-middle-income economies, resulting in total savings of USD 127 billion. Opposition to Joint Statement Initiatives (JSIs): The Abu Dhabi agreement is a plurilateral deal, involving only 72 out of 164 WTO members.India, South Africa, and several other WTO members have not agreed to this deal. India, along with other developing nations, opposes various JSIs as they are not negotiated by all WTO members.Experts caution that integrating JSIs into the WTO could weaken the organization and lead to the adoption of many more such initiatives in areas like investments, MSMEs, gender issues, and e-commerce.Australia’s commitment to its obligations under a JSI is a significant issue in the dispute. The Australia Case: In 2023, Australia informed the WTO of its intention to modify its specific commitments under the GATS to include additional regulations related to services.India, as an “affected member,” has expressed that Australia’s proposed modifications do not meet certain conditions.Despite negotiations between India and Australia, no agreement was reached. WTO Dispute Settlement Process Overview: Initiation of Disputes: Disputes commence with a mandatory dialogue between the complaining and defending parties, aimed at resolving issues amicably.These discussions are time-bound, with the goal of achieving a mutually satisfactory resolution. Formation of Dispute Panels: Should discussions fail, the complainant may escalate the issue by requesting the formation of a dispute settlement panel overseen by the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB).The DSB, functioning under the General Council, is empowered to:Establish panels,Direct disputes to arbitration,Formalize panel and arbitration outcomes,Ensure compliance with recommendations,Enforce suspensions of concessions for non-compliance. Panel Process: Panels, comprising neutral experts in trade law, assess the dispute, evaluate both sides’ arguments, and generate a detailed report.This report, outlining facts, legal interpretations, and suggested resolutions, is shared with all WTO members for feedback.Unless unanimously rejected within 60 days, the report is ratified as the DSB’s decision. The Appellate Body: Establishment and Function: Formed in 1995 under DSU Article 17, this permanent body comprises seven members with four-year terms, based in Geneva.It reviews, amends, or overturns panel findings as needed.Its decisions, once ratified by the DSB, are binding on all dispute parties. Implementation and Enforcement: Compliance: Members found in violation are expected to align their practices with WTO standards.Failure to comply allows the aggrieved party to request punitive actions like suspension of concessions. Challenges with the Dispute Mechanism: Operational Hurdles: The U.S. has consistently obstructed the appointment of new members to the Appellate Body, significantly hampering its functionality.In response, developing nations advocate for a revival of the mechanism to its full capacity to ensure effective checks and balances.Options for these countries include participating in the EU-led Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement (MPIA), adopting a compromised appellate framework, or reinstating the original appellate structure with a selective opt-out feature. -Source: Economic Times Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954 Context: The Madhya Pradesh High Court’s recent decision regarding the marriage of a Muslim man and a Hindu woman, registered under the Special Marriage Act (SMA), has attracted significant attention. The court dismissed the couple’s petition for protection and assistance in registering their marriage, citing incompatibility with personal laws. A ‘registered marriage’ under the SMA is a civil marriage, solemnized in a registrar’s office without religious rituals. Relevance: GS-II: Polity and Governance Dimensions of the Article: What is the Recent Judgement of the MP High Court?About Special Marriage Act, 1954Applicability of the ActThe Section of SMA which is being contested What is the Recent Judgement of the MP High Court? The petitioners contended that they intended to marry under the Special Marriage Act, making the Islamic Nikah ceremony redundant, and wished to retain their respective religions without the Hindu petitioner converting to Islam.However, the High Court noted that according to Mahomedan law, the marriage between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman is invalid. Even if such a marriage is registered under the Special Marriage Act, it remains considered irregular.The court emphasized that personal laws take precedence over the Special Marriage Act in this matter and thus dismissed the couple’s petition. About Special Marriage Act, 1954 The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to provide a special form of marriage for the people of India and all Indian nationals in foreign countries, irrespective of the religion or faith followed by either party.Marriages solemnized under Special Marriage Act are not governed by personal laws. The Act has 3 major objectives: to provide a special form of marriage in certain cases,to provide for registration of certain marriages and,to provide for divorce. Applicability of the Act Any person, irrespective of religion.Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, or Jews can also perform marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.Inter-religion marriages are performed under this Act.This Act is applicable to the entire territory of India and extends to intending spouses who are both Indian nationals living abroad.Indian national living abroad. Succession to the property Succession to the property of person married under this Act or customary marriage registered under this Act and that of their children, are governed by Indian Succession Act.However, if the parties to the marriage are Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jain religion, the succession to their property will be governed by Hindu succession Act.The Hindu Marriage Act is pertinent to Hindus, though the Special Marriage Act is appropriate to all residents of India regardless of their religion applicable at Court marriage. The Section of SMA which is being contested Under Sections 5 and 6 of the SMA, the parties wishing to marry are supposed to give a notice for their marriage to the Marriage Officer in an area where one of the spouses has been living for the last 30 days. Then, the marriage officer publishes the notice of marriage in his office.Anyone having any objection to the marriage can file against it within a period of 30 days. If any such objection against the marriage is sustained by the marriage officer, the marriage can be rejected. Differentiation from Personal Laws: Personal laws, such as the Muslim Marriage Act and the Hindu Marriage Act, require religious conversion of either spouse before marriage.The Special Marriage Act allows inter-faith or inter-caste marriages without conversion.However, individuals married under the SMA lose certain rights, such as inheritance rights. Issues Related to SMA: Couples can face objections and harassment in the process of getting married under the SMA.In January 2021, the Allahabad HC ruled that couples can choose not to publish the mandatory 30-day notice of their intention to marry to avoid delays and harassment.The requirement for publication of notices can be a violation of privacy as it discloses personal information about the couple.Inter-caste or inter-religious marriages are still stigmatized in many parts of India, and couples who marry under the SMA may face discrimination from their families and communities. -Source: Indian Express Cassini Mission and Milgromian Dynamics Context: The findings of the Cassini mission, which orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017, provided an opportunity to test Milgromian dynamics (MOND) – an alternative theory to dark matter. Relevance: GS III: Science and Technology Dimensions of the Article: What is Dark Matter?MOND Theory: An Alternative to Dark MatterCurrent PerspectiveCassini Spacecraft Overview What is Dark Matter? Dark matter, similar to ordinary matter, occupies space and possesses mass. However, it does not reflect, absorb, or emit light to a degree that we can detect yet.Scientists have estimated that dark matter constitutes about 27% of the universe, but its exact nature remains a mystery.Researchers hypothesize that dark matter forms a vast, web-like structure throughout the cosmos.This structure acts as a gravitational scaffold, attracting most of the ordinary matter in the universe.It is established that dark matter is not made up of known particles, and the quest to identify its components continues. MOND Theory: An Alternative to Dark Matter Background and Proposition: One of the significant puzzles in astrophysics is why galaxies rotate faster than Newton’s laws of gravity predict based on their visible matter.The concept of dark matter was introduced to explain this discrepancy.Despite being a widely accepted theory, dark matter has not been directly observed and does not align perfectly with the Standard Model of particle physics.To address this issue, Israeli physicist Mordehai Milgrom proposed an alternative theory called Milgromian Dynamics (MOND) in 1982. Key Concepts of MOND Theory: MOND suggests that Newton’s laws fail under very weak gravitational fields, such as those at the edges of galaxies.The theory has shown some success in predicting galaxy rotation without invoking dark matter, although many of these successes can also be attributed to dark matter while preserving Newton’s laws.MOND affects gravity at low accelerations rather than specific distances.Consequently, MOND’s effects, typically observed several thousand light years from a galaxy, could also be significant at much shorter distances, like in the outer Solar System. Testing and Evidence Against MOND: The Cassini mission, which orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017, provided a chance to test MOND.MOND predicts subtle deviations in Saturn’s orbit due to the galaxy’s gravity, given Saturn’s 10 AU orbit around the Sun.Cassini’s measurements of the Earth-Saturn distance using radio pulses showed no anomalies expected by MOND.Newton’s laws remain valid for Saturn, challenging MOND’s credibility. Additional Challenges to MOND: More evidence against MOND comes from wide binary stars.A study demonstrated that MOND’s prediction of faster orbits was highly improbable, akin to flipping heads 190 times consecutively.MOND also fails to explain the specific energy distribution and orbital inclinations of comets in the outer Solar System.Newtonian gravity is more accurate than MOND for distances below a light year.MOND is less effective at larger scales, like galaxy clusters, where it predicts too little central gravity and too much at the outskirts. Newtonian gravity with dark matter aligns better with observed data. Current Perspective: Despite some issues with the standard dark matter model, such as the universe’s expansion rate and cosmic structures, MOND is not considered a viable alternative.Dark matter remains the leading explanation, although its true nature may differ from current models, or gravity might exhibit stronger effects on very large scales. Cassini Spacecraft Overview Mission Background: Cassini-Huygens was a collaborative space mission involving NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) with the goal of exploring Saturn. Launch Date: Launched on October 15, 1997, the Cassini-Huygens mission aimed to provide comprehensive insights into Saturn and its moons. Components: The mission comprised NASA’s Cassini orbiter, marking the first space probe to orbit Saturn, and the ESA’s Huygens probe, which successfully landed on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Spacecraft Details: Cassini-Huygens was one of the largest interplanetary spacecraft.The Cassini orbiter, weighing 2,125 kg (4,685 pounds), measured 6.7 meters (22 feet) in length and 4 meters (13 feet) in width.Instruments onboard Cassini included radar for mapping Titan’s cloud-covered surface and a magnetometer for studying Saturn’s magnetic field.The disk-shaped Huygens probe, mounted on Cassini, weighed 349 kg (769 pounds), was 2.7 meters (8.9 feet) across, and carried six instruments for studying Titan’s atmosphere and surface. Mission Highlights: Orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017, completing 294 orbits around the planet.Provided extensive knowledge about Saturn, including the structure of its atmosphere and rings, and their interactions with the planet’s moons.Discovered six named moons and identified Enceladus and Titan as promising locations to search for extraterrestrial life.Cassini played a pivotal role in advancing our understanding of the Saturnian system and contributed significantly to planetary exploration. -Source: Indian Express Impact of Colour on Contemporary Human Life Context: Colour profoundly shapes contemporary human life by enriching the aesthetic and symbolic aspects of our surroundings, embracing cultural diversity in its interpretation, and deepening our comprehension of the world and our role within it. Relevance: Facts for Prelims Dimensions of the Article: Understanding ColourWhat are LEDs? Understanding Colour What is Colour? Colour is a form of information that our eyes interpret based on electromagnetic radiation. Objects themselves don’t inherently possess colour; instead, they appear coloured because they absorb, reflect, and/or scatter certain frequencies of visible light, which our brains then perceive as specific colours. How Do Humans Perceive Colours? The human eye contains rod and cone cells that receive light information.Rod cells are responsible for detecting brightness.Cone cells are responsible for detecting wavelengths, which the brain interprets as colour.Humans have three types of cone cells, each sensitive to different wavelengths of light, allowing for trichromatic vision.The presence of three types of cone cells is why humans are referred to as trichromats.Birds and reptiles often have four types of cone cells, making them tetrachromats.Human vision is limited to wavelengths from 400 nm to 700 nm (visible light), while some insects, like honeybees and mosquitoes, can perceive ultraviolet and infrared light, respectively. Science of Colours: Traditional Colour Theory: Until the late 19th century, this theory focused on how dyes, pigments, and inks could be mixed to create other colours using three primary colours (red, yellow, and blue).Modern Colour Theory: Modern science rejects the notion of three fixed primary colours. Instead, it focuses on the gamut of colours that can be produced by combining any three colours in different ways. Each combination creates a specific colour space, but no colour space can encompass the full range of colours visible to the human eye. Rendering of Colours: Additive Colouring: This method involves mixing light of different wavelengths to create various colours. The RGB colour space (red, green, blue) is a common example, where these three colours are combined in varying intensities to produce other colours.Subtractive Colouring: This method creates colours by subtracting certain wavelengths from white light using dyes, pigments, or inks. For example, when a cloth is dyed, the dye absorbs specific wavelengths of light, leaving the remaining wavelengths to render the perceived colour. Properties of Colour: Hue: Defined as the degree to which a colour can be described as similar to or different from standard colours like red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Complementary colours combine to produce a grayscale colour.Brightness: Related to an object’s luminance, which is the power emitted per unit area weighted by wavelength. The perceived brightness is how the eye interprets this power.Lightness: Refers to how light or dark a colour appears compared to a well-lit white object.Chromaticity: The quality of a colour regardless of its brightness, focusing on its purity and intensity. What are LEDs? A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor device that emits light when an electric current passes through it. Light is produced when electrons and holes combine within the semiconductor material. What are Blue LEDs? Blue LED light is emitted within the visible light spectrum at wavelengths between 400 to 500 nm, situated between violet and green on the spectrum.Blue LEDs have an active region with InGaN quantum wells sandwiched between GaN cladding layers. Adjusting the In/Ga ratio in the quantum wells can theoretically change the light emission from violet to amber. -Source: The Hindu PraVaHa Software Context: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently developed Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software named PraVaHa. Relevance: Facts for Prelims Dimensions of the Article: Overview of PraVaHa SoftwareCFD’s Role in Aerospace Overview of PraVaHa Software What is PraVaHa Software? Full Name: Parallel RANS Solver for Aerospace Vehicle Aero-thermo-dynamic Analysis (PraVaHa).Developed By: ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).Type: Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software.Capabilities: Simulates external and internal flows on launch vehicles, including both winged and non-winged re-entry vehicles. Key Features and Applications: Extensive Use: Utilized in the Gaganyaan program for aerodynamic analysis of human-rated launch vehicles, such as HLVM3, Crew Escape System (CES), and Crew Module (CM).Collaboration: Secure and flexible for collaborative development with academic institutions and government labs.Operational Status: Currently operational for simulating airflow under Perfect Gas and Real Gas conditions.Future Enhancements: Undergoing validations to simulate chemical reactions during air dissociation upon ‘earth re-entry’ and ‘combustion’ in scramjet vehicles.Replacement Potential: Expected to replace most CFD simulations for aero characterisation currently done using commercial software.Educational and Research Utility: Aids academia and other institutions in designing missiles, aircraft, and rockets to solve complex aerodynamic problems. Importance of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD): Design Studies: Initial aerodynamic design studies for launch vehicles require evaluating numerous configurations.Aerodynamic and Aerothermal Loads: Aerospace vehicles during launch or re-entry face severe aerodynamic and aerothermal loads in terms of external pressure and heat flux.Airflow Understanding: Essential to understand airflow around aircraft, rocket bodies, or Crew Modules (CM) during earth re-entry to design the necessary shape, structure, and Thermal Protection System (TPS).Unsteady Aerodynamics: Contributes to significant flow issues around rocket bodies, generating substantial acoustic noise during missions.Predictive Tool: CFD predicts aerodynamic and aerothermal loads by numerically solving the equations of conservation of mass, momentum, and energy, along with the equation of state. Importance and Benefits PraVaHa’s Impact: Advanced Simulations: Enables advanced and accurate simulations crucial for the design and analysis of modern aerospace vehicles.Collaborative Development: Its secure and flexible nature supports collaborative projects between academic and governmental research institutions.Cost-Effective: Potentially reduces dependency on expensive commercial CFD software by providing an in-house alternative. CFD’s Role in Aerospace: Design Optimization: Critical in optimizing the design and safety of aerospace vehicles.Performance Prediction: Helps in predicting vehicle performance under various atmospheric conditions, ensuring mission success.Research and Innovation: Facilitates research and innovation in aerodynamics, contributing to advancements in aerospace technology. -Source: The Hindu UNESCO State of Ocean Report Context: UNESCO’s ‘State of Ocean Report, 2024’ provides crucial insights into the current state of global oceans, emphasising the challenges posed by climate change and human activities. Relevance: Facts for Prelims UNESCO State of Ocean Report Overview Introduction: Initiation: The UNESCO ‘State of the Ocean Report’ was initiated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) at the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference.Purpose: Provides an accessible overview of the current state of the oceans. Support and Objectives: UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030): The report supports this initiative and encourages actions for a sustainable ocean future.Inaugural Edition (2022): Featured insights from over 100 marine science experts on topics like ocean acidification, pollution, and tsunami warning.Annual Editions: Released on World Oceans Day (June 8), aligning with the seven outcomes of the UN Ocean Decade. Key Findings: Ocean Warming: The upper 2,000 meters of the oceans have significantly warmed, with the rate increasing from 0.32 ± 0.03 watt per square meter (W/m²) between 1960 and 2023 to 0.66 ± 0.10 W/m² in the past two decades.Energy Absorption: Oceans are absorbing about 90% of the Earth’s excess energy, leading to increased deoxygenation, which threatens marine ecosystems and human economies.Ocean Acidification: Globally on the rise, particularly in the open ocean, with a noted pH decline since the late 1980s. More comprehensive data from coastal areas is necessary.Rising Sea Levels: Sea levels have consistently risen since 1993, highlighting the need for improved monitoring systems at all scales. Emerging Interests: Marine Carbon Dioxide Removal (mCDR) Technologies: There is growing interest in mCDR technologies, although their ecological impacts and effectiveness are still uncertain. -Source: Down To Earth