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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 17th October 2022

  • IASbaba
  • October 17, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Parole

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity

In News: Gurmeet Ram Rahim, the head of Dera Sacha Sauda, was released from Sunaria jail in Rohtak on a 40-day parole.

  • Ram Rahim is serving a 20-year jail term after he was convicted in 2017 for raping two disciples in his ashram in Sirsa.

What is parole?

  • Parole is a system of releasing a prisoner with suspension of the sentence.
  • The release is conditional, usually subject to behaviour, and requires periodic reporting to the authorities for a set period of time.

Furlough

  • A broadly similar concept is furlough, which is given in case of long-term imprisonment.

Difference between parole and furlough

  • While furlough is seen as a matter of right, to be granted periodically irrespective of any reason and merely to enable the prisoner to retain family and social ties, parole is not a matter of right and may be denied to a prisoner even when he makes out a sufficient case.

Why is parole given?

  • The Supreme Court in ‘Asfaq vs State of Rajasthan and Others’ in 2017 said the main purpose of parole and furlough — a conditional temporary release, but with a benefit that such a period of release is considered part of the total sentence — is to afford a convict the opportunity to solve their personal and family problems and enable them to maintain their links with society.

Who is entitled to it?

  • Each state has its own parole policy, which is slightly different from each other.
  • Certain types of prisoners, non-Indian citizens, etc. who are convicted of crimes against the state or threaten national security are not eligible for parole.
  • Persons convicted of murder, child rape, multiple murders, and other crimes are also exempt unless the issuing authorities make a specific decision.

Eligibility

  • A convict must have served at least one year in jail, excluding any time spent in remission.
  • The prisoner’s behavior had to be uniformly good.
  • The criminal should not have committed any crimes during the period of parole if it was granted previously.
  • The convict should not have broken any of the terms and restrictions of his or her previous release.

What is the process involved?

  • Temporary release under provisions for parole or furlough is given by the state, but its decision can be challenged before a court of law.
  • The Rules framed under the 1988 Act in 2007 state that a prisoner can seek temporary release by submitting an application before the Jail Superintendent who in turn will forward the application and a report of his to the District Magistrate.
  • The District Magistrate will then forward the case with his recommendations to the Director General of Prisons for grant of parole or otherwise.
  • In certain types of cases, the Divisional Commissioners or District Magistrates can take decisions at their own level as per a notification issued by the government in 2017.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to India, consider the following statements: (2021)

  1. When a prisoner makes out a sufficient case, parole cannot be denied to such prisoner because it becomes a matter of his/her right.
  2. State Governments have their own Prisoners Release on Parole Rules.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 Only
  2. 2 Only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Digital banking units (DBUs)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy

In news: Prime Minister dedicated 75 digital banking units to the nation, taking forward an announcement that was made in the 2022-23 Union Budget.

About DBUs:

  • A digital banking unit is a specialised fixed point business unit or hub, housing a certain minimum digital infrastructure for delivering digital banking products and services as well as servicing existing financial products and services digitally in self-service mode at any time.
  • Commercial banks (other than regional rural banks, payment banks and local area banks) with past digital banking experience are permitted to open DBUs in tier 1 to tier 6 centres, unless otherwise specifically restricted, without having the need to take permission from the RBI in each case.

Services offered:

  • Each DBU must offer certain minimum digital banking products and services such as saving bank accounts, current accounts, fixed deposit, mobile banking, Internet banking, debit cards, credit cards, and mass transit system cards, digital kits for merchants, UPI QR codes, BHIM Aadhaar and point of sale (PoS).
  • Other services include Digitally value-added services to conventional products, making applications for and onboarding customers for identified retail, MSME or schematic loans, end-to-end digital processing of such loans.
  • Such products should be on both liabilities and assets side of the balance sheet of the digital banking segment.

Significance of DBUs:

  • Further financial inclusion
  • Significantly improve banking experience for the citizens

What are Neobanks:

  • Neobanks offer digital banking services but they do so in partnership with non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) such as Jupiter, Fi Money, Niyo, Razorpay X
  • Neobanks or digital banks excel at product innovation and offer far better digital solutions.
  • Given their arrangement with NBFCs or scheduled banks, they are pegged as “glorified digital distribution companies”.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to digital payments, consider the following statements: (2018)

  1. BHIM app allows the user to transfer money to anyone with a UPI-enabled bank account.
  2. While a chip-pin debit card has four factors of authentication, BHIM app has only two factors of authentication.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

SLBM launch by INS Arihant

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In News: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that the indigenous Strategic Strike Nuclear Submarine INS Arihant had successfully launched a nuclear capable Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) in the Bay of Bengal with “very high accuracy”.

About INS Arihant:

  • It is India’s first indigenous nuclear powered ballistic missile capable submarine.
  • Launched in 2009 and Commissioned in 2016, it is built under the secretive Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project.
  • INS Arihant and its class of submarines are classified as ‘SSBN’, which is the hull classification symbol for nuclear powered ballistic missile carrying submarines.
  • INS Arihant can carry a dozen K-15 missiles on board.
  • While the Navy operates the vessel, the operations of the SLBMs from the SSBN are under the purview of India’s Strategic Forces Command, which is part of India’s Nuclear Command Authority.
  • In November 2019, after INS Arihant completed its first deterrence patrol, the government announced the establishment of India’s “survivable nuclear triad” — the capability of launching nuclear strikes from land, air and sea platforms.
  • The second submarine in the Arihant class is SSBN Arighat which was launched in 2017.
  • In addition, India operates 15 conventional diesel electric submarines (classified as SSK), and some more are on the way.

About SLBM:

  • The Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), sometimes called the ‘K’ family of missiles, have been indigenously developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The family is codenamed after Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the centre figure in India’s missile and space programmes who also served as the 11th President of India.
  • Because these missiles are to be launched from submarines, they are lighter, more compact and stealthier than their land-based counterparts, the Agni series of missiles which are medium and intercontinental range nuclear capable ballistic assets.
  • Part of the K family is the SLBM K-15, which is also called B-05 or Sagarika. It has a range of 750 km.
  • India has also developed and successfully tested K-4 missiles from the family, which have a range of 3,500 km.
  • The tests conducted were a key step towards ultimately deploying K-4s on the INS Arihant.
  • It is also reported that more members of K-family — reportedly carrying the code names K-5 and K-6, with a range of 5,000 km and 6,000 km respectively — are under development.

The Strategic Significance:

  • The successful user training launch of the SLBM by INS Arihant is significant to prove crew competency and validate the SSBN programme.
  • A robust, survivable and assured retaliatory capability is in keeping with India’s ‘no first use’ commitment.
  • These submarines can not only survive a first strike by the adversary, but can also launch a strike in retaliation, thus achieving ‘Credible Nuclear Deterrence’.
  • The development of these capabilities is important in the light of India’s relations with China and Pakistan.
  • China: The PLA Navy currently operates 6 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) and 46 diesel-powered attack submarines (SSs).
  • Pakistan: It Navy operates 5 diesel-electric submarines and 3 mini submarines of under 150 tonne displacement.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which one of the following is the best description of ‘INS Astradharini’, that was in the news recently?(2016)

  1. Amphibious warfare ship
  2. Nuclear-powered submarine
  3. Torpedo launch and recovery vessel
  4. Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Culture track

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Art and Culture

In News: Hampi, Khajuraho on list for G20 culture track.

  • As part of India’s G20 Presidency between December 2022 and November 2023, the Government is planning to host five key meetings focusing on the “culture track” at Khajuraho, Bhubaneswar, Hampi and Agra.
  • These cities have been chosen mainly for well-known monuments and UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Taj Mahal and Agra Fort (UP), the Hindu and Jain temples of Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh), the Konark Sun Temple around 65 km from Bhubaneswar (Odisha), and the sites at Hampi (Karnataka).
  • For the culture track, a G20 Secretariat has been set up in the Ministry of Culture, which will hire a professional agency “for research, documentation and coordination work for the G20 work-stream of culture”.

This presidency also provides a fantastic opportunity for India to shape the global agenda on culture across multiple work streams and engagement areas. These include:

  1. protection and restitution of cultural property;
  2. advancement of traditional cultural practices for sustainable living;
  3. promotion of cultural and creative industries for livelihood generation; and
  4. preservation and dissemination of culture by leveraging technology.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • A World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by UNESCO for its special cultural or physical significance.
  • The list of World Heritage Sites is maintained by the international ‘World Heritage Programme’, administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
  • There are 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
  • Dholavira and Ramappa Temple are the latest addition to the list under the ‘Cultural’ category. There are two more categories — Natural and Mixed.

Agra Fort (declared in 1983)

  • 16th-century Mughal monument
  • Fortress of red sandstone
  • It comprises the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas

Taj Mahal

  • The Taj Mahal (Agra) is a mausoleum of white marble built by the Mughal emperor, Shahjahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It stands on the banks of the river Yamuna.
  • The Taj Mahal was declared a centrally protected monument of national importance in December 1920.
  • Considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it was inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites in 1983.
  • It is famous for its unique layout, perfection in symmetry and inlay work.

Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986)

  • This site was the last capital of the kingdom of Vijaynagara Kingdom.
  • These Dravidian temples and palaces were built by rulers of Vijaynagara between the 14th and 16th centuries.
  • In 1565, the city was captured by Deccan Muslim Confederacy and pillaged for a period of 6 months, before being abandoned.

Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986)

  • These temples were built during the Chandella dynasty, which reached at its pinnacle between 950 and 1050.
  • Only 20 temples remain, belonging to two different religions namely-Hinduism and Jainism, including the famous Temple of Kandariya decorated with intricately and beautifully carved sculptures.

Konark Sun Temple in Odisha (1984)

  • Built in the 13th century, the Konark temple was conceived as a gigantic chariot of the Sun God, with 12 pairs of exquisitely ornamented wheels pulled by seven horses.
  • It was built by King Narasimhadeva I, the great ruler of Ganga dynasty.
  • The temple is perfect blend of Kalinga architecture, heritage, exotic beach and salient natural beauty.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which of the following is/are famous for Sun temples? (2017)

  1. Arasavalli
  2. Amarakantak
  3. Omkareshwar

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

International Monetary and Financial Committee

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy

In News: Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs attended the Plenary Meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) at the International Monetary Fund Headquarters during the Annual Meetings 2022 in Washington DC.

Outcomes:

  • Indian economy will stay on course and is projected to grow at 7% in FY 2022-23
  • This is an outcome of the conducive domestic policy environment and Government’s focus on key structural reforms to boost growth.
  • India is leading the world in terms of digital payments innovations with our transaction cost being the lowest in the world.
  • Suggestion to IMF: IMF needs to increase resources available for emerging and low-income countries to safeguard the global financial system and increase the voting rights of emerging market economies (EMES) in line with their relative positions in the world economy.
  • Global Risks: A key downside risk to global recovery is the exacerbated debt distress in many low-income countries. It is, therefore, important that the Fund provides them necessary support to deal with balance of payments related vulnerabilities.
  • Climate change: the importance of the multilateral approach with the principles of equity; and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.
  • India has set out an ambitious climate action path through our updated Nationally Determined Contributions which demonstrate India’s commitment at the highest level for decoupling of economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Transfer of climate finance and low-cost climate technologies from developed to the developing countries has assumed critical significance.
  • There is a need for coordinated responses of the global community to help address the strategic challenges the world faces today.

Source: PIB


Securing India’s Cyberspace

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology
  • Mains – GS 3 Science and Technology

Context:

  • Quantum computers have the potential to wreak havoc on the data, systems, devices, and networks we rely on daily.
  • With traditional encryption models at risk and increasing military applications of quantum technology, the deployment of “quantum-resistant” systems has become the need of the hour.

Quantum Computing:

  • Quantum computing aims to apply the principles of quantum physics — a body of science that seeks to describe the world at the level of atoms and subatomic particles — to computers.
  • Whereas today’s computers use ones and zeroes to store information, a quantum computer relies on quantum bits, or qubits, which can consist of a combination of ones and zeroes simultaneously, something that’s known in the field as superposition.
  • These qubits can also be linked together through a phenomenon called entanglement.
  • Quantum computers are far more powerful than today’s machines and are able to solve complex calculations much faster.
  • This could pose a problem for modern encryption standards.

               

What is Encryption:

  • Encryption is the process of sending a scrambled message that only the intended recipient’s device can decode—allows private and public sectors alike to safeguard information.
  • Quantum computers’ exponential leaps in processing power will render classical cyphers obsolete, potentially exposing troves of sensitive data across commercial entities, healthcare providers, government institutions, and billions of individual users.
  • Experts are working to devise cryptographic schemes that can run on today’s computers, but that can also be used in ciphers to protect data against quantum attackers.
  • RSA (Rivest–Shamir–Adleman) is a public-key cryptosystem that is widely used for secure data transmission.
  • The day a quantum computer breaks an encryption for an attack is known as harvesting.

Concerns:

  • Current protocols like the RSA will quickly become outdated. A quantum computer will be able to do break an RSA encryption – considered the gold standard for Public Key Encryption (PKE) in 10 seconds!
  • This means that quantum cyberattacks can potentially breach any hardened target, opening a significant vulnerability for existing digital infrastructure. Hack proofing these systems will require considerable investments.
  • Quantum computing can be exploited by military groups or criminal gangs, attacks on satellites, their systems, and base stations on Earth are seeing a steady uptick. Recent signal jamming of SpaceX Starlink satellites above conflict areas in the Ukraine forced him to announce a reallocation of resources toward cyber defense.
  • In the hands of the enemy, a quantum computer capable of destroying RSA- encrypted data would have devastating effects on critical infrastructure and economy.

China specific concerns:

  • China’s quantum advances expand the spectre of quantum cyberattacks against India’s digital infrastructure, which already faces a barrage of attacks from Chinese state-sponsored hackers.
  • Cyber risks arising from quantum computing are accentuated by the lead taken by some nations in this sector. For example, the US National Quantum Initiative Act has already allocated $1.2 billion for research in defence-related quantum technology.
  • Particularly worrying for India is the fact that China now hosts two of the world’s fastest quantum computers.
  • India’s dependence on foreign, particularly Chinese hardware, is an additional vulnerability.

Indian Initiatives:

  • Indian Army is developing cryptographic techniques to make its networks resistant to attacks by systems with quantum capabilities. The Army has collaborated with industry and academia to build secure communications and cryptography applications.
  • This step builds on last year’s initiative to establish a quantum computing laboratory at the military engineering institute in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh.
  • A joint team of the DRDO and IIT-Delhi successfully demonstrated a QKD link between two cities in UP — Prayagraj and Vindhyachal — located 100 kilometres apart.
  • In 2019, the Centre declared quantum technology a “mission of national importance”. The Union Budget 2020-21 had proposed to spend Rs 8,000 crore on the newly launched National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications.

Suggestions:

  • India must consider procuring the United States National Security Agency’s (NSA) Suite B Cryptography Quantum-Resistant Suite as its official encryption mechanism.
  • The NSA is developing new algorithms for their cypher suite that are resistant to quantum cyberattacks. This can then facilitate India’s official transition to quantum-resistant algorithms.
  • The Indian defence establishment can consider emulating the cryptographic standards set by the US’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) which has developed a series of encryption tools to handle quantum computer attacks. It has developed a series of four algorithms to frame a post-quantum cryptographic standard.
  • After adopting these technical steps, India must start its national initiatives to develop quantum-resistant systems. For this, the government can fund and encourage existing open-source projects related to post-quantum cryptography along with active participation in the Open Quantum Safe project — a global initiative started in 2016 for prototyping and integrating quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms.
  • The country should start implementing and developing capabilities in quantum-resistant communications, specifically for critical strategic sectors.
  • QKDs over long distances, especially connecting military outposts for sensitive communications, can be prioritised to ensure secure communications whilst protecting key intelligence from potential quantum cyberattacks.
  • Eventually, this can help establish a nationwide communication network integrated with quantum cryptographic systems, thereby protecting cyberspace from any cross-border quantum cyber offensive.
  • Finally, diplomatic partnerships with other “techno-democracies” — countries with top technology sectors, advanced economies, and a commitment to liberal democracy — can help India pool resources and mitigate emerging quantum cyber threats.

Way forward:

  • As the Information Age gives way to the Quantum Age of computing it will require the largest global cryptographic transition in the history of computing. NATO, the U.S. government, the EU and other global institutions and governments around the world are preparing now for quantum attacks or Y2Q – the day a quantum computer breaks encryption.
  • The world is moving towards an era in which the applications of quantum physics in strategic domains will soon become a reality, increasing cybersecurity risks. India needs a holistic approach to tackle these challenges. At the heart of this approach should be the focus on post-quantum cybersecurity.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Questions:

Q.1) Which one of the following-is the context in which the term “qubit” is mentioned ? (2022)

  1. Cloud Services
  2. Quantum Computing
  3. Visible Light Communication Technologies
  4. Wireless Communication Technologies

Food security

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 Food security

Context:

  • Globally, food and nutrition security continue to be undermined by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, spiralling food inflation, conflict, and inequality.
  • Today, around 828 million people worldwide do not have enough to eat and over 50 million people are facing severe hunger.
  • The Hunger Hotspots Outlook (2022-23) — a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) — forebodes escalating hunger, as over 205 million people across 45 countries will need emergency food assistance to survive.
  • This year’s World Food Day is a reminder to ‘Leave No One Behind’ — and is an opportunity, perhaps the most urgent one in recent history, for nations to strengthen food security nets, provide access to essential nutrition for millions and promote livelihood for vulnerable communities.

Global Hunger Index (GHI):

Challenges to Food Security:

  • Global warming: More than 1,000 global and regional studies predict that a temperature rise of 1 to 2 degrees Celsius will translate into loss in yield of several crop varieties in tropical and temperate regions. An increase of 3 to 4 degrees will have very severe consequences for global food security and supply
  • Higher temperatures, water scarcity, droughts, floods, extreme weather events and greater CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will drastically affect staple crops around the world. It will also impact fishing and livestock farming.
  • Indian agriculture is vulnerable to climate change because 65% of India’s cropped area is dependent on the monsoons.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that a 0.5°C rise in winter temperature is likely to reduce wheat yield by 0.45 tonnes per hectare in India.
  • The impact of climate change on water availability – 54 per cent of India faces high to extremely high, water stress.
  • Groundwater levels are going down alarmingly in over 50 per cent groundwater wells in the country. This this will directly impact food production. While upping wheat production by 25 per cent and rice by 65 per cent to meet the demand in 2050 may not seem difficult it could prove to be a herculean task unless global warming is contained.

Better production:

  • During 2021-22, the country recorded $49.6 billion in total agriculture exports — a 20% increase from 2020-21.
  • India’s agriculture sector primarily exports agriculture and allied products, marine products, plantations, and textile and allied products. Rice, sugar, and spices were some of the main exports.
  • India is also a provider of humanitarian food aid, notably to Afghanistan, and to many other countries when the world faces food supply shortages and disruptions, such as during the current crisis in Ukraine.
  • By 2030, India’s population is expected to rise to 1.5 billion. Agri-food systems will need to provide for and sustainably support an increasing population. In the current times, there is an increased recognition to move away from conventional input-intensive agriculture towards more inclusive, effective, and sustainable agri-food systems that would facilitate better production.
  • Given climate shocks and extreme weather phenomena, it is important to place a greater focus on climate adaptation and resilience building.

Better nutrition:

  • Food safety nets and inclusion are linked with public procurement and buffer stock policy.
  • This was visible during the global food crisis of 2008-12 and more recently during the COVID-19 pandemic fallout, whereby vulnerable and marginalised families in India continued to be buffered by the TPDS which became a lifeline with a robust stock of food grains.
  • For instance, the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) scheme introduced in 2020 provided relief to 800 million beneficiaries covered under the NFSA from COVID-19-induced economic hardships.
  • An International Monetary Fund paper titled ‘Pandemic, Poverty, and Inequality: Evidence from India’ asserted that ‘extreme poverty was maintained below 1% in 2020 due to PMGKAY.

Better environment through Millets:

  • Nutrition and agricultural production are not only impacted by climate change but also linked to environmental sustainability.
  • The degradation of soil by the excessive use of chemicals, non-judicious water use, and declining nutritional value of food products needs urgent attention.

Millets — which fell out of fashion a few decades ago — have received renewed attention as crops that are good for nutrition, health, and the planet.

  • Millets are climate-smart crops that are drought-resistant, growing in areas with low rain and infertile soil. They are hardier than other cereals, more resilient to changes in climate, and require less water to cultivate (as much as 70% less than rice), and less energy to process (around 40% less than wheat).
  • Since they need fewer inputs, they are less extractive for the soil and can revive soil health. Additionally, their genetic diversity ensures that agrobiodiversity is preserved.
  • India has led the global conversation on reviving millet production for better lives, nutrition, and the environment, including at the United Nations General Assembly, where it appealed to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
  • It is the world’s leading producer of millets, producing around 41% of total production in 2020.
  • To enhance the area, production, and productivity of millets the national government is implementing a Sub-Mission on Nutri-Cereals (Millets) as part of the National Food Security Mission.
  • State-level missions in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh are an opportunity to guarantee food and nutrition security to millions while protecting the earth.
  • Millet conservation and promotion contribute to addressing food security, improved nutrition, and sustainable agriculture, which aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals agenda.
  • Millet production has been proven to enhance biodiversity and increase yields for smallholder farmers, including rural women.
  • For example, the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD’s) Tejaswini programme with the Government of Madhya Pradesh showed that growing millets meant a nearly 10 times increase in income from ₹1,800 per month in 2013-14 to ₹16,277 in 2020-21, with better food security because millet crops were not impacted by excessive rainfall.
  • Women were key to villages adopting millets, as they were able to demonstrate that millets were easier to grow and led to better outcomes.

Better life:

  • It is clear that the path to a better life resides in transforming food systems.
  • This can be achieved by making them more resilient and sustainable with a focus on equity, including by incentivising the protection of the commons.
  • Enhancing food and nutrition security and social protection networks, including by providing non-distortionary income support; promoting production and consumption of nutritious native foods such as millets.
  • Investing in consumer sensitisation and in making the global and regional supply chain robust and responsive by strengthening transparency in the agricultural system through systems that promote labelling, traceability, etc.
  • Increasing cooperation for leveraging solutions and innovations.

Government initiatives:

  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, which promotes organic farming;
  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, which focuses on more crops per drop for improved water use
  • Soil Health Management which fosters Integrated Nutrient Management under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture.
  • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), the Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman Yojana (PM POSHAN Scheme), and take-home rations – for improving food access, especially for vulnerable populations
  • National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013 anchors the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), the PM POSHAN scheme (earlier known as the Mid-Day Meals scheme), and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).

Way forward

  • Without food and nutrition security for all, there can be no peace and no prosperity. Only through collective and transformational action to strengthen agri-food systems, through better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, can we meet our promise to end hunger by 2030.
  • India can lead the global discourse on food and nutrition security by showcasing home-grown solutions and best practices, and championing the principle of leaving no one behind — working continuously to make its food system more equitable, empowering, and inclusive.
  • The upcoming G20 presidency for India provides an opportunity to bring food and nutrition security to the very centre of a resilient and equitable future and sharing its journey with the rest of the world.

Must Read: Food Security in India

Source: The Hindu


Understanding the Global Hunger Index

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

The story so far: For the second time in two years, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has rejected the Global Hunger Index (GHI) that ranked India 107 among 121 countries.

  • India was accorded a score of 29.1 out of 100 (with 0 representing no hunger), placing it behind Sri Lanka (66), Myanmar (71), Nepal (81) and Bangladesh (84).
  • It referred to the index as “an erroneous measure of hunger”.
  • It also wrongly claimed that the Index relied on an opinion poll.

What allegations are we looking at?

As per the Ministry for Women and Child Development, the report –

  • Lowers India’s rank based on the estimates of the Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) population.
  • It elaborates that the U.S. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimate is based on the ‘Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)’ survey module conducted using the Gallup World Poll, that bears a sample size of 3,000 respondents being asked eight questions. It stated that the data represented a miniscule proportion for a country of India’s size.
  • It countered the assertions in the report pointing to India’s per capita dietary energy supply increasing year-on-year due to enhanced production of major agricultural commodities in the country over the years.

Clarifications by the GHI website

  • Explains that while FAO uses a suite of indicators on food security, including two important indicators — prevalence of undernourishment and prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity based on FIES — the GHI only uses the PoU obtained through food balance sheets based on data reported by member countries, including India.
    • A food balance sheet provides a comprehensive picture, of the pattern of a country’s food supply, during a specified reference period.
    • Lists down the source of the supply and its utilisation specific to each food category.
  • On why the GHI uses three child-specific indicators out of the four to calculate hunger for a country’s population:
    • By combining the proportion of undernourished in the population (1/3 of the GHI score) with the indicators relating to children under age five (2/3 of the GHI score), the GHI ensures that both the food supply situation of the population as a whole and the effects of inadequate nutrition within a particularly vulnerable subset of the population are captured.
    • All four indicators used in the calculation of the global hunger are recognised by the international community, including India, and used for measuring progress towards the UN SDGs.

Why the Rejection by India?

According to the Ministry, the report is not only disconnected from ground reality but also chooses to deliberately ignore the food security efforts of the Central government especially during the pandemic.

  • The Union Cabinet through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojna (PM-GKAY), provisioned an additional five kg ration per person each month in addition to their normal quota of foodgrains as per the National Food Security Act.
    • It was recently extended to December 2022.
    • However, given the unemployment, prices of food increasing and stagnant wage-levels, people are not eating what they should eat. The pandemic-induced distress only added to an existing dimension and made it worse.
  • The wasting data cited by GHI in their 2022 report are consistent with official GoI data from the National Family Health Survey. The problem seems to be that the GHI’s prior report (2014) used incorrect, artificially low-wasting estimates for India. The result is that the GHI is reporting a rise in wasting since 2014, when in fact the actual data show a modest decline in wasting.
  • The thresholds on which the Indian and GFI hunger data are based do not necessarily represent actual hunger – they represented the weight of Indian children compared to a reference survey of children around the world.
    • The fact that many Indian children are lighter than other children of the same height do not necessarily mean that they are less well-nourished. It may even simply reflect the higher prevalence of vegetarianism in India than in other countries
  • It is important to note that the ranking cannot be used for any year-on-year comparison because countries of differing economic conditions are added for assessment each year. Thus, it is imperative to take note of the position and the indicator analysis than the comparative year-on-year rank.

Initiatives taken by the government

  • National Food Security Act, 2013: It legally entitled up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme: Launched on 2nd October, 1975, the ICDS Scheme offers a package of six services (Supplementary Nutrition, Pre-school non-formal education, Nutrition & health education, Immunization, Health check-up and Referral services) to children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana: A centrally sponsored scheme executed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, is a maternity benefit programme being implemented in all districts of the country with effect from 1st January, 2017.
  • POSHAN Abhiyan: Launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2018, it targets to reduce stunting, undernutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls).
  • Food Fortification: Food Fortification or Food Enrichment is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content.

Must Read: Global Hunger Index

Must Read: Malnutrition

Source: The Hindu


Baba’s Explainer – Hijab Verdict

Hijab Verdict

Syllabus

  • GS-1: Indian Society – Diversity
  • GS-2: Fundamental Rights
  • GS-2: Judiciary and its working

Context: Recently, the Supreme Court has delivered a split verdict in the Karnataka Hijab ban case.

Read Complete Details on Hijab Verdict


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements about:

  1. Digital Banking Units (DBUs) includes rural banks, payment banks and local area banks
  2. Neobanks offer digital banking services in partnership with NBFCs.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) With reference to ‘Quantum Computing’, which of the following is/are correct?

  1. It uses ones and zeroes to store information.
  2. It is based on entanglement and superposition.
  3. It can be used to send sensitive information through encryption.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

  1. 2 and 3 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.3) The terms ‘Jupiter, Fi Money, Niyo,’ sometimes mentioned in the news recently are related to

  1. Digital Banking Units
  2. Cryptocurrency
  3. Cyber attacks
  4. Neobanks

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’17th October 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 15th October – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) –  b

Q.2) – d

Q.3) – a

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