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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st October 2022

  • IASbaba
  • October 21, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Rustom-2

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

Context: According to defence sources the indigenous medium altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is expected to complete all user trials by August 2023.

About Rustom-2

  • It is an indigenous Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV.
  • It has been designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru, with the production partners being HAL and Bharat Electronics Ltd.
  • It is being developed to carry out surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles and is capable of carrying different combinations of advanced payload and capable of auto landing, among others.
  • In December 2021, Rustom-2 had crossed a milestone by reaching an altitude of 25,000 feet and an endurance of 10 hours.
  • In the past, Rustom-2 technologically matched the contemporary UAVs available and would also be cheaper than the imported ones while meeting the requirements of the three Services.

Significance:

  • High endurance UAVs are a priority requirement for the armed forces especially in the standoff with China in Eastern Ladakh.
  • The armed forces rely heavily on the Israeli Searcher and Heron drones and need more such UAVs.

Source:  The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), consider the following statements :

  1. IRNSS has three satellites in geostationary and four satellites in geosynchronous orbits.
  2. IRNSS covers entire India and about 5500 sq. km beyond its borders.
  3. India will have its own satellite navigation system with full global coverage by the middle of 2019.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?     (2018)

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. None

Vulture Conservation

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment and Ecology

Context: Recently the Tamil Nadu Government formed a State-level Committee to set up an institutional framework for the effective conservation of vultures.

  • Alarmed at the 96% decline in India’s vulture population between 1993 and 2003, the Central government put into place two action plans to protect the species at the national level: the first in 2006 and the second, ongoing plan for 2020-2025.
  • One of the important action points in this nationwide plan is the formation of State-level committees to save the critically endangered population of vultures.

Tamil Nadu is home to four types of Vulture species:

The Oriental white-backed vulture

  • It is the most common vulture species in the continent of Africa.
  • When it was first assessed in 1988 it was classified as a Least concern species owing to a large range and population.
  • It was reassessed from a Least Concern to Near Threatened species in the 2007 IUCN Red List.
  • In 2012 it was added to the list of Endangered species.
  • In 2015, it was further up listed to Critically Endangered because the decline had reached a magnitude that puts the vulture at an extreme risk of extinction.

The long-billed vulture

  • The Indian vulture/long billed vulture is native to India, Pakistan and Nepal.
  • It has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2002.
  • Indian vultures died of kidney failure caused by diclofenac poisoning. It breeds mainly on hilly crags in central and peninsular India.
  • The Indian vulture and the white-romped vulture have suffered a 99%–97% population decrease in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.
  • Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and when given to working animals it can reduce joint pain and so keep them working for longer.
  • The drug is believed to be swallowed by vultures with the flesh of dead cattle who were given diclofenac in their last days of life.

The red-headed vulture

  • The red-headed vulture also known as the Asian king vulture, Indian black vulture or Pondicherry vulture is mainly found in the Indian subcontinent, with small populations in some parts of Southeast Asia.
  • It has no subspecies.
  • Today the range of the red-headed vulture is localized primarily to northern India.
  • It was up listed to critically endangered in the 2007 IUCN Red List.

The Egyptian vulture

  • The Egyptian vulture also called the white scavenger vulture or pharaoh’s chicken, is only member of the genus Neophron.
  • It is widely distributed from the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa to India
  • IUCN Red List Status: Endangered.

Conservation Efforts in India:

  • Identification and removal of threats near the nesting and roosting sites, making food and water available to them is what needs to be done.
  • Understanding their habitat use and their behaviour.
  • Vulture Recovery Plan – banning the veterinary use of diclofenac, finding its substitute and set up conservation breeding centres for vultures.
  • Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025
  • PIL filed in Delhi High Court about not banning nimesulide, aceclofenac and ketoprofen which are toxic to the vultures.
  • The Centre has formed a committee made up of members from the BNHS and Indian Veterinary Research Institute to formulate a release policy for vultures being bred at the centres.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which of the following are detritivores?  (2021)

  1. Earthworms
  2. Jellyfish
  3. Millipedes
  4. Seahorses
  5. Woodlice

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1, 2 and 4 only
  2. 2, 3, 4 and 5 only
  3. 1, 3 and 5 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Swadeshi Darshan 2.0

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Art and Culture

In news: The government recently revamped the scheme as Swadesh Darshan 2.0 (SD2.0) to develop sustainable and responsible destinations with tourist and destination centric approach.

About SD 2.0:

  • Fifteen States are part of the first phase which include Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
  • Two destinations from each State have been identified.
  • Some of the prominent places identified are Jhansi and Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh, Gwalior, Chitrakoot and Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh and Ajanta and Ellora in Maharashtra.
  • India’s new domestic tourism policy moves away from theme-based tourist circuits and focuses on revving up destination tourism.
  • The Swadesh Darshan scheme is 100% centrally funded.
  • The scheme has been revamped with the mantra of “vocal for local” and seeks to provide financial support to strengthen tourist infrastructure.
  • Domestic tourist visits in 2021 were around 677 million and in 2022 is 572 million.

Significance of the scheme:

  • To enhance the contribution of tourism to local economies.
  • To create jobs including self-employment for local communities
  • To enhance the skills of local youth in tourism and hospitality
  • To increase private sector investment in tourism and hospitality
  • To preserve and enhance local cultural and natural resources
  • Destination division as adventure tourism, beach tourism, wellness tourism, cco-tourism and several other categories would help segregate the tourists as per their preference”.

About SD 1.0:

  • It was launched by the Centre in 2014-15 for the integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits.
  • Some of the prominent circuits launched under this were the Buddhist tourist circle, Ambedkar Tourist Circle and the North-East Tourist Circle.
  • Under the scheme, the Ministry of Tourism provides financial assistance to State governments for development of tourism infrastructure in the country.
  • The scheme was envisioned to synergise with other government schemes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill India, and Make in India.
  • Challenge: Part 1 of Swadesh Darshan I had faced some criticism mainly pertaining to resources being spread thin due to the many destinations being covered and too many stakeholders being involved.

          

Significance of tourism:

  • Contribution of tourism to the employment of the country: According to the third Tourism Satellite Account is 14.78%, 14.87 % and 15.34 % for 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20 respectively.
  • The total jobs generated by the by tourism are 72.69 million (2017-18), 75.85 million (2018-19) and 79.86 million (2019-20).
  • Local community would immensely benefit as It would help create jobs and skill development among the natives.
  • It shall directly boost the economy of the region.

Source: The Hindu


Pokkali Rice

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Agriculture

In News: Pokkali farmers met on the side-lines of a pokkali rice harvest festival organised on in Kochi with sustainability dominating sessions addressed by agricultural officers and farmers.

  • The cultivation of Pokkali rice, had been strained over recent years with a tendency among farmers to give it up entirely
  • The farmers were worried about impact of climate change with unseasonal rain flooding fields.

About Pokkali rice:

  • It is a salt water-resistant variety that grows tall.
  • It is cultivated in the coastal regions of Kerala.
  • Pokkali is an ancient farming practice where one season of rice farming is alternated with another season of prawn culture. Hence, pokkali rice is a part of the ‘one fish and one rice’ annual cycle.
  • The prawn seedlings feed on the leftovers of the harvested crop, while the rice crop, which gets no other fertiliser or manure, draws nutrients from the prawns’ excrement and other remnants.
  • Rice farming and prawn farming are mutually complementary.
  • They are useful in climate- resilient agriculture as they can withstands flooding.
  • A storehouse of nutrition, they are rich in fibre and protein content, antioxidants with benefits of vitamin E, and minerals such as iron, boron and sulphur
  • Pokkali rice has a geographical indication (GI) tag since 2007.

Source:  The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) System of Rice Intensification” of cultivation, in which alternate wetting and drying of rice fields is practised, results in : (2022)

  1. Reduced seed requirement
  2. Reduced methane production
  3. Reduced electricity consumption

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Air pollution

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In news: With winter around the corner, air pollution levels rise at an alarming rate.

Concerns:

  • Stubble burning, vehicular emissions, construction activities, fire crackers contribute to degrading air quality.
  • These can lead to breathing issues and aggravate diseases and health conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), respiratory infections and cardiovascular diseases.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared air pollution as a public health emergency and more than 90 per cent of the global pollution is enduring toxic, polluted outdoor air.
  • Smog is a mixture of smoke and air pollution, can damage lungs.
  • Smog can comprise airborne particulate matter, mostly PM 2.5 and PM 10, that can have adverse health effects.

About PM2.5:

  • It is a fine, inhalable particle, generally 2.5 micrometres of diameter or smaller.
  • PM 2.5 have small diameters but they can spread over large surface areas.
  • Due to its smaller size, the particulate matter can be drawn deep in the lungs and can be more harmful as compared to PM 10.
  • It can penetrate the lung deeply, irritate and corrode the epithelial walls and consequently impair lung function.
  • The combustion of gasoline, oil, diesel fuel or wood produces much of the PM 2.5.
  • They are capable of carrying various toxic stuff, passing through the filtration of nose hair, reaching the end of the respiratory tract with airflow and accumulating there by diffusion, damaging other parts of the body through air exchange in the lungs.
  • PM 2.5 was one of the causative factors of human non-accidental death, particularly in the elderly.

About PM10:

  • It is an inhalable particle, generally with 10 micrometres of diameter or smaller.
  • It includes dust from construction site, landfills, agriculture, waste burning and so on.
  • These particles settle and get deposited in the lungs.
  • The larger size of particulate matter means it gets trapped mostly in the nose, mouth or throat, causing irritation of mucous membranes.
  • The exposure of particulate PM 10 is associated with worsening of respiratory diseases like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

                           

Impacts of air pollution:

  • While it is a common notion that air pollution mostly affects lungs, other body organs too can be damaged due to continuous exposure to polluted air.
  • Air pollution can damage skin and cause premature ageing and problems like rashes, wrinkles, discoloration, pigmentation and so on.
  • Exposure to polluted outdoor air has been proven to be harmful to the human eye. Common eye problems caused by pollution are watery eyes, soreness, redness, itching sensation, dry eyes and allergy.
  • Other than this, air pollution can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular, nervous, digestive and urinary systems.
  • Due to air pollution, there have been increasing cases of heart diseases and cancer.

About Air Quality Index (AQI) levels:

  • It is a daily measure of the quality of air to calculate or measure how air pollution affects health and help people become more aware, especially those who suffer from serious or chronic illnesses caused by exposure to pollutants.

                

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Photochemical smog is a resultant of the reaction among (2013)

  1. NO2, O3 and peroxyacetyl nitrate in the presence of sunlight
  2. CO, O2 and peroxyacetyl nitrate in the presence of sunlight
  3. CO, CO2 and NO2 at low temperature
  4. High concentration of NO2, O3 and CO in the evening

Q.2) In the context of WHO Air Quality Guidelines, consider the following statements: (2022)

  1. The 24-hour mean of PM2.5 should not exceed 15 ug/m3 and annual mean of PM2.5 should not exceed 5 ug/m3.
  2. In a year, the highest levels of ozone pollution occur during the periods of inclement weather.
  3. PM10 can penetrate the lung barrier and enter the bloodstream.
  4. Excessive ozone in the air can trigger asthma.

Which of the statements given above are correct ?

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

Indus Waters Treaty

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography and International Relations
  • Mains – GS 1 (Geography) and GS 2 (International Relations)

Context: The World Bank has appointed a “neutral expert” and a chairman of the Court of Arbitration (CoA) regarding the Kishenganga and Rattle hydroelectric power plants.

  • The development came in view of disagreements and differences between India and Pakistan over the 1960 Indus Water Treaty.
  • The World Bank while announcing the appointments has expressed its confidence that the highly qualified experts will engage in fair and careful consideration of their jurisdictional mandate, as they are empowered to do by the Treaty.
  • Michel Lino as the Neutral Expert and Sean Murphy as the Chairman of CoA will carry out their duties in their individual capacity as subject matter experts.
  • Although there was no immediate reaction from India to the appointments.

Background of the Indus Water Dispute

  • The Indus River basin has six rivers- Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej
  • Most of these rivers originate from Tibet (SAR, China) and flow through the Himalayan ranges to enter Pakistan, ending in the Arabian Sea.
  • In 1947, the line of partition also cut the Indus River system into two parts
  • Both the sides were dependent on water from the Indus River basin to keep their irrigation infrastructure functional.
  • In May 1948, initially the Inter-dominion accord was adopted.
  • This accord decided that India would supply water to Pakistan in exchange for an annual payment made by Pakistan.
  • This agreement however, soon disintegrated as both the countries could not agree upon its common interpretations.
  • Due to the water-sharing dispute in 1951 both the countries applied to the World Bank for funding of their respective irrigation projects on the Indus and its tributaries.
  • At this point of time the World Bank offered to mediate the conflict.
  • Finally in 1960, after nearly a decade of fact-finding, negotiation, proposals by the World Bank and amendments to them, an agreement was reached between the two countries.
  • The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) was signed by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then President of Pakistan, Ayyub Khan.

Key provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty

Water Sharing Provisions

  • The treaty prescribed how water from the six rivers of the Indus River System would be shared between India and Pakistan.
  • The three western rivers—Indus, Chenab and Jhelum—were allotted to Pakistan for unrestricted use.
  • Barring certain non-consumptive, agricultural and domestic uses by India.
  • The three Eastern rivers—Ravi, Beas and Sutlej—were allocated to India for unrestricted usage.
  • Thus, by provisions of treaty 80% of the share of water or about 135 million Acre Feet (MAF) went to Pakistan while India left with the rest 33 MAF or 20% of water for its usage.

Administrative provisions

  • It required both the countries to establish a Permanent Indus Commission constituted by permanent commissioners on both sides.
  • The commission will serve as a forum for exchange of information on the rivers, for continued cooperation and as the first stop for the resolution of conflicts.

Operational provisions

  • Although Pakistan has rights over the waters of Jhelum, Chenab and Indus.
  • Annexure C of the treaty allows India certain agricultural uses.
  • Also, Annexure D allows India to build ‘run of the river‘ hydropower projects (projects not requiring live storage of water).
  • India needs to share information on the project design or alterations made to it with Pakistan who can raise objections or can reserve its concern within 3 months.
  • India is allowed to have a minimum storage level on the western rivers – meaning it can store up to 3.75 MAF of water for conservation and flood storage purposes.

Dispute resolution mechanism

  • The IWT provides a three-step dispute resolution mechanism, under which
  • First, “Questions” on both sides can be resolved at the Permanent Commission, or can also be taken up at the inter-government level.
  • Disputes/differences unresolved on the first level can be taken to the World Bank who appoints a Neutral Expert (NE) to come to a decision.
  • Eventually, if either party is not satisfied with the NE’s decision or in case of “disputes” in the interpretation and extent of the treaty, matters can be referred to a Court of Arbitration.

Annulment provisions

  • The treaty does not provide a unilateral exit provision to either country.
  • It is supposed to remain in force unless both the countries ratify another mutually agreed pact.

About Kishenganga Hydroelectric Project

  • The Kishanganga project is located 5 km north of Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir, India.
  • It is a run-of-the-river project that includes a 37 m tall concrete-face rock-fill dam.
  • It requires to divert water from the Kishanganga River through a tunnel to a power plant in the Jhelum River basin.
  • It will have an installed capacity of 330 MW(3units X 110 MW)
  • The construction of this hydroelectric project began in 2007.
  • Pakistan objected to the project arguing that it will affect the flow of the Kishanganga River (called the Neelum River in Pakistan).
  • In 2013, The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration (CoA) ruled that India could divert all the water with certain conditions.
  • It had to leave a minimum amount of water downstream of the dam on Kishanganga River for environmental flows.

Why is there a dispute over Kishenganga and Ratle HEPs?

  • The World Bank backed Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan sets a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers.
  • However, India and Pakistan disagree over whether the technical design features of Kishenganga and ratel hydroelectric power plants contravene the Treaty.
  • Pakistan asked the World Bank to facilitate the establishment of a Court of Arbitration to consider its concerns about the designs of the two hydroelectric power projects.
  • India has asked for the appointment of a Neutral Expert to consider similar concerns over the two projects.

Way forward:

  • In the last six decades the Indus Waters Treaty has been successful in keeping the water sharing disputes at bay which signifies its importance.
  • However, in the present times of climate crisis coupled with natural disasters the demands of water sharing of both the countries have changed.
  • Therefore, there is a need to renegotiate the treaty terms, update certain technical specifications and expand the scope of the agreement to address demands of the two countries amid the rising climate crisis.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following pairs:

Reservoirs                 :          States

  1. Ghataprabha :     Telangana
  2. Gandhi Sagar :    Madhya Pradesh
  3. Indira Sagar :      Andhra Pradesh
  4. Maithon :             Chhattisgarh

How many pairs given above are not correctly matched? (2022)

  1. Only one pair
  2. Only two pairs PAY
  3. Only three pairs
  4. All four pairs

Q.2) With reference to the Indus River system, of the following four rivers, three of them pour into one of the which joins the Indus direct. Among the following, which one is such river that joins the Indus direct?  (2021)

  1. Chenab
  2. Jhelum
  3. Ravi
  4. Sutlej

China blocks India’s bid to list LeT leader as global terrorist

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – International Relations
  • Mains – GS 2 (International Relations)

Context: Recently, China once again blocked proposals by India and the United States (US) to designate Pakistan-based terrorists on the UN Security Council’s 1267 list of terror entities.

  • India suggests a list of terrorists who are affiliated to the Al Qaeda and ISIS for listing under the United Nations Security Council’s.
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) top leaders including Talha Saeed, son of Hafiz Saeed and Shahid Mehmood, deputy chief of a LeT front were mentioned in 1267 list of terrorists affiliated to Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Blocking by China:

  • The hold marked the fourth and fifth time China had attempted to block a listing move by India and the U.S. in the past four months.
  • China needs some time to study these specific cases, but that doesn’t mean China has changed its position on counter-terrorism cooperation efforts.

UNSC Resolution 1267 Sanctions Committee

  • The 1267 committee was set up in 1999 (updated in 2011 and 2015).
  • It allows any UN member state to propose adding the name of a terrorist or terror group that has affiliations to Al Qaeda and ISIS.
  • India has successfully proposed the listing of several terror entities in the past two decades, including Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Rules:

  • Once a listing is proposed, it will be adopted into the list according to a “no-objections” procedure.
  • Placing a hold: If any member of the Committee, which comprises all members of the UN Security Council, places a hold on the listing or objects outright to it, the listing cannot be adopted.
  • As a permanent member of the UNSC, China can do this any number of times as its term doesn’t run out, and it carries a veto vote.
  • Resolution time: The Committee is technically bound to resolve this at the end of the six-month period, the “holding” country has to decide whether to accept the listing or place a permanent objection to it.
  • However, in practice, many of the listing proposals have had prolonged waits.
  • Under the resolution, which has been amended several times, especially after the 9/11 attacks in the US, those on the list.
  • Cannot be allowed to travel out of the jurisdiction they are found in and must be prosecuted effectively.
  • Must not be allowed to access their funds, and all terror-linked funds frozen.
  • Must not be allowed to access weapons.

China’s Actions:

  • Since 2001, China has placed holds on a number of listing proposals relating mainly to Pakistan-based groups and their leaders, given the close bilateral ties between the two countries.
  • Most notable was China’s objections to the listing of JeM founder Masood Azhar.
  • Azhar was released from prison by India in 1999 and handed over to terrorists in return for hostages onboard Indian Airlines flight IC-814, which should have left little doubt about Azhar’s own status as a terrorist.
  • While the JeM was listed at the UNSC in 2001, and Azhar was mentioned as the group’s founder, he wasn’t designated for several years.
  • After the Parliament attack and the Mumbai 26/11 attacks, China kept placing a hold on the UNSC terror listing proposals for him: in 2009, 2010, 2016-18, claiming it had “inadequate information” on Masood Azhar’s terror activities.
  • In May 2019, three months after the Pulwama attacks that were traced to the JeM, China finally withdrew its hold.

India’s Options and Efforts

  • India has tried a number of different ways to build international consensus on cross-border terrorism, and the UNSC terror listings have been one such route.
  • As a UN member state, Pakistan has an obligation under the sanctions to block access for all designated entities to funds, arms and travel outside its jurisdiction.
  • This is something India has also pursued with the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, where Pakistan was placed on a “grey list” due to its inability to curb terror financing and money laundering from 2012-2015 and 2018-2022.
  • While Pakistan is likely to be taken off that list this week, it has had to carry out several actions against terror entities on its soil, and will continue to be under scrutiny.
  • India and the U.S. have built their own separate lists of “most wanted” terrorists that document the cases against them, with a view to eventually receiving global cooperation on banning them.
  • At the UNSC meet in August, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ruchira Khamboj had called for an end to the practice of placing holds and blocks on listing requests “without giving any justification”.

Terrorism and Global Efforts:

  • An offence to intimidate a population or to compel a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act, which causes:
  • Death or serious bodily injury to any person.
  • Serious damage to public or private property, including a place of public use, a State or government facility, a public transportation system, an infrastructure facility or the environment.
  • Damage to property, places, facilities, or systems resulting in or likely to result in a major economic loss.
  • It encompasses a range of complex threats like organized terrorism in conflict zones, foreign terrorist fighters, radicalised ‘lone wolves’, etc.

Factors Responsible for Growth of Terrorism:

  • State-sponsorship and safe havens.
  • State-of-the-art communication systems.
  • Access to advanced technology.
  • Networking of terrorist groups with the criminal underworld.

Impacts:

  • It poses a major threat to international peace and security and undermines the core values of humanity, peace and growth.
  • In addition to the devastating human cost of terrorism, in terms of lives lost or permanently altered, terrorist acts destabilise governments and undermine economic and social development.
  • Terrorist acts often defy national borders.
  • Terrorist attacks using CBRNE materials (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives) have catastrophic consequences on communities and infrastructure.

Global Efforts:

  • Across the globe, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) leads and coordinates an all-of-UN approach to prevent and counter-terrorism and violent extremism.
  • UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) under UNOCT, promotes international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and supports the Member States in implementing the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
  • The Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) plays a significant role in international efforts.
  • It works to assist the Member States, upon request, with the ratification, legislative incorporation and implementation of the universal legal framework against terrorism.

Steps Taken by India to combat terrorism:

  • India has been at the forefront of global action against terrorism and has always played an active role in the global promotion and protection of human rights.
  • It is a crime against humanity and violates the most Fundamental Human Right, namely the Right to Life (Article 21).
  • India has taken steps for setting up Joint Working Groups (JWGs) on counter-terrorism/security matters with countries.
  • Bilateral treaties on Mutual Legal Assistance (MLATs) in Criminal matters to facilitate the investigation, collection of evidence, transfer of witnesses, location and action against proceeds of crime, etc. have been signed with other countries.
  • In 2018, India highlighted its demand for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
  • In 1996, with the objective of providing a comprehensible legal framework to counter-terrorism, India proposed to the UNGA the adoption of CCIT.
  • Addressing the UN High-Level Conference on Heads of Counter-Terrorism (2018), India extended a five-point formula.
  • In January 2021, at the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1373, India presented an eight-point action plan to deal with the scourge of terrorism.
  • Summoning the political will to unhesitatingly combat terrorism.
  • Decrying double standards in the fight against terrorism.
  • Reform of the working methods of the Committees dealing with Sanctions and Counter-Terrorism.
  • Firmly discouraging exclusivist thinking that divides the world and harms social fabric.
  • Enlisting and delisting individuals and entities under the UN sanctions regimes objectively not for political or religious considerations.
  • Fully recognising and addressing the link between terrorism and transnational organized crime.

Combating terrorist financing.

  • Immediate attention to adequate funding to UN Counter-Terrorism bodies from the UN regular budget.
  • Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System: It vastly improves the capability of Border Security Force (BSF) in detecting and controlling the cross border crimes like illegal infiltration, smuggling of contraband goods, human trafficking and cross border terrorism, etc.
  • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967: It enables more effective prevention of certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations and for dealing with terrorist activities, and other related matters.
  • National Investigation Agency: It is India’s counter-terrorist task force and is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.
  • Policy of Zero-Tolerance Against Terrorism: India calls for zero-tolerance against terrorism and focuses on developing a common strategy to curb it.

Various Counter-Terrorism Operations:

  • Operation Rakshak: Counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operation in Jammu and Kashmir in 1990.
  • Operation Sarp Vinash: Undertaken by Indian army to flush out terrorists in the areas of the Pir Panjal range in Jammu and Kashmir in 2003.
  • Operation All Out: Joint offensive launched by Indian security forces to flush out militants and terrorists in Kashmir in 2017.
  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, sets international standards that aim to prevent these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society.

Way Forward:

  • Placing holds is most regrettable that genuine and evidence-based listing proposals pertaining to some of the most notorious terrorists in the world are being placed on hold.
  • Double standards and continuing politicization have rendered the credibility of the sanction’s regime at an all-time low.
  • Strong and Reformed Institutions: Multilateral institutions and mechanisms need to be strengthened and reformed to be able to deal with these emerging challenges effectively.
  • Concerted Efforts: There should be a concerted effort from the countries affected by the scourge of terrorism to pressurise countries that engage in state-sponsored terrorism.
  • Timely and Appropriate Action: Intelligence gathering and sharing are not enough, timely and appropriate action is required on the intelligence received.
  • Intelligence agencies have to be empowered both monetarily and through modern infrastructure to be able to respond in time.
  • Filling and Addressing Gaps: Violation of and gaps in the implementation of human rights should be addressed in a fair and just manner, with objectivity, non-selectivity, transparency and with due respect to the principles of non-interference in internal affairs and national sovereignty.
  • United Approach and Efforts: The Covid-19 pandemic has complicated the situation in many geographies so there is a need for all to come together to overcome these challenges.

Source: The Hindu


National Credit Framework

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance
  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: Recently, the Government of India unveiled the draft National Credit Framework (NCrF) to enable the integration of academic and vocational domains.

About National Credit Framework:

  • National Credit Framework is a next generation, multidimensional instrument under National Education Policy (NEP).
  • Aim: To formulate a unified credit accumulation and transfer for general and vocational studies, and from school to higher education.
  • Formulated under: UGC (Establishment and Operation of Academic Bank Of Credits in Higher Education) Regulations, notified in July 2021.
  • Credits for School Students: While the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) follows a credit system, currently there is no established credit mechanism for regular school education in the country.
  • Integration of All Frameworks: Besides, frameworks for higher education and skill education are currently not integrated, and the proposal is to integrate all frameworks, including the one at school level, under one umbrella.
  • NCrF will seamlessly integrate the credits earned through school education, higher education and vocational and skill education by encompassing the National Higher Education Qualification Framework (NHEQF), National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) and National School Education Qualification Framework (NSEQF).
  • Aadhaar-enabled Student Registration: There are plans to conduct an “Aadhaar-enabled student registration” drive where student registration will take place.
  • Academic Bank of Credits (ABC): After student registration, an Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) account will be opened, where credits can be deposited. The deposit of degree and credits will take place in those accounts.
  • Knowledge Locker: There will be a knowledge locker along the lines of Digilocker.

Proposed Credit Regime under NCrF:

  • At the school level: The draft NCrF proposes that the credit regime be divided into five levels:
    • from pre-school to class II;
    • classes III to V;
    • classes VI to VIII;
    • classes IX to X; and
    • classes XI and XII – A student who clears class XII will be at credit level 4.
    • Under the draft framework, the credit points will be carried over to the graduation level, and further.
    • A student will have to earn at least 40 credits for completing each year of school, besides clearing the exams.
    • The annual “notional learning” duration to earn at least 40 credits has been fixed at 1,200 hours — these will be not just time spent in classrooms but also a range of extracurricular activities and sports.
    • It may include yoga, other physical activities, performing arts, music, social work, NCC, vocational education, as well as on-the-job training, internships or apprenticeships, among others.
  • At the higher education level:
    • The credit levels will range between 4.5 and 6 at four-year courses at undergraduate level, followed by the post-graduation level (between level 6 and 7).
    • The framework has provisions of credit levels going up to 8 for those who obtain doctorate degrees.

Need for NCrF:

  • To open numerous options for further progression of students.
  • To ensure inter-mingling of school and higher education with vocational education and experiential learning.
  • To prepare the educational system for gradual implementation of National Education Policy provisions such as the four-year undergraduate programmes, which comes with features such as multiple entry and exit.
  • To enable students who have dropped out of mainstream education to re-enter the education ecosystem.

Proposed Benefits for Various Stakeholder:

For Students

  • Ensuring Flexibility in the duration of study/ courses through provisions of multiple entries and exit/work options
  • Paving the path for creditisation of all learning hours, including academic, vocational and experiential learning.
  • Provision for lifelong learning – anytime anywhere learning
  • Establishing multidisciplinary and holistic education with flexible curricula
  • Removing the hard distinction between the education stream and making study choices respectful, allowing for more than one award in the same period
  • Removing the distinction between arts, science, social sciences, commerce, etc
  • Giving student credits for every academic/ skill/ experience
  • Enhancing the scope of core learning to include foundational and cognitive values.

Institutions

  • Unification of higher education institutions to promote multidisciplinary education, creating a diverse and rich students’ knowledge base
  • Promoting stronger collaboration between institutions
  • Making credit mechanism simpler and uniform
  • Increasing focus on research and innovation
  • Promoting digital learning, blended learning, and open distance learning
  • Leveraging the institutional infrastructure

Government

  • Assisting the government to increase the enrolment of students
  • Helping to fulfil the national vision of complementing the demographic dividend
  • Transforming India into the Skill Capital of the World
  • Making vocational education and training/ skilling aspirational
  • Highly educated and trained workforce for Aatmanirbhar Bharat

Industry

  • Allowing students to attain NSQF-approved foundational skills developed by industry and be more employable
  • Provision of micro-credentials to allow integration of quick educational upgradation/ up-skilling
  • Re-Skilling and up-skilling of existing employees/ engineers
  • Making students more employable by enabling a more holistic design of the study
  • Creating a multi/ cross-sectoral skilled pool of employable youth

Way Forward:

  • India is adopting technology at an unprecedented pace. There is a need to bring reforms to incentivise knowledge, skills & experience.
  • Credits for knowledge acquisition, hands-on training, and positive social outcomes will be a key step for achieving 100% literacy in the next 2-3 years.
  • All institutions, schools, ITIs, AICTE-affiliated engineering colleges, centrally-funded HEIs, state universities and regulatory authorities/bodies should host the public consultation for NCrF on their website for seeking suggestions from citizens.
  • It also supports educational acceleration for students with gifted learning abilities and Recognition of Prior Learning for the workforce that has acquired knowledge and skills informally through the traditional family inheritance, work experience or other methods.

Source:  The Hindu


Mitigating Climate Change

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 Environment

In News: For the first time since it began over 30 years ago, the UNDP’s Human Development Report has warned that global human development measures have declined across most countries in the past two years.

Context:

  • Our world today is in turmoil, facing multiple, mutually reinforcing crises.
  • Even as we mount a fragile recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, war fuels a devastating energy, food, and cost-of-living crisis.
  • This comes against the backdrop of the greatest existential threat of all — the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.
  • As greenhouse gas emissions blanket the Earth, they trap the sun’s heat. This leads to global warming and climate change.

Major concerns of climate change:

  • Climate change is a disruption multiplier in a disrupted world, rolling back progress across the global Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Global Warming:
  • The last decade, 2011-2020, is the warmest on record.
  • Nine of the warmest years on record have come in the past decade alone.
  • Record-breaking heat waves, floods, droughts, and other extreme forms of weather
  • Wildfires start more easily and spread more rapidly when conditions are hotter.
  • Temperatures in the Arctic have warmed at least twice as fast as the global average.
  • Increased drought
  • Climate change is changing water availability, making it scarcer in more regions.
  • Droughts can stir destructive sand and dust storms
  • Deserts are expanding, reducing land for growing food.
  • Ocean Warming:
  • The ocean soaks up most of the heat from global warming.
  • Melting ice sheets also cause sea levels to rise, threatening coastal and island communities.
  • More carbon dioxide makes the ocean more acidic, which endangers marine life and coral reefs.
  • Loss of species
  • One million species are at risk of becoming extinct within the next few decades.
  • Forest fires, extreme weather, and invasive pests and diseases are among many threats related to climate change.
  • Health risks
  • Air pollution, disease, extreme weather events, forced displacement, pressures on mental health, and increased hunger and poor nutrition.
  • Every year, environmental factors take the lives of around 13 million people.
  • Changing weather patterns are expanding diseases, and extreme weather events increase deaths and make it difficult for health care systems to keep up.

Major causes of climate change:

  • Power generation:
  • Generating electricity and heat by burning fossil fuels causes a large chunk of global emissions.
  • Fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Manufacturing goods:
  • Manufacturing and industry produce emissions, mostly from burning fossil fuels to produce energy for making things like cement, iron, steel, electronics, plastics, clothes, and other goods.
  • Deforestation:
  • Each year approximately 12 million hectares of forest are destroyed.
  • Since forests absorb carbon dioxide, destroying them also limits nature’s ability to keep emissions out of the atmosphere.
  • Food production:
  • Through deforestation and clearing of land for agriculture and grazing, digestion by cows and sheep, the production and use of fertilizers and manure for growing crops, and the use of energy to run farm equipment or fishing boats, usually with fossil fuels.
  • Powering buildings
  • Globally, residential and commercial buildings consume over half of all electricity.
  • Growing energy demand for heating and cooling, has contributed to a rise in energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions from buildings in recent years.

LIFE, a fresh perspective:

  • LIFE or Lifestyle for Environment mission was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26 in November 2021.
  • The global mission is being launched from the Statue of Unity by Mr. Modi together with UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
  • The Prime Minister and Secretary-General are calling on all consumers across the world to become “Pro Planet People” by 2027, adopting simple lifestyle changes that can collectively lead to transformational change.
  • Rather than framing climate change as a ‘larger than life’ challenge, LIFE recognises that small individual actions can tip the balance in the planet’s favour.
  • Mindful choices cultivated by LIFE animate the spirit of guiding framework, information sharing and initiation of a global movement
  • Actions such as saving energy at home; cycling and using public transport instead of driving; eating more plant-based foods and wasting less; and leveraging our position as customers and employees to demand climate-friendly choices.
  • Many of the goals of LIFE can be achieved by deploying ‘nudges’, gentle persuasion techniques to encourage positive behaviour.
  • The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) employs proven nudging techniques such as discouraging food waste by offering smaller plates in cafeterias; encouraging recycling by making bin lids eye-catching; and encouraging cycling by creating cycle paths.
  • According to the UNEP, more than two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to household consumption and lifestyles — the urgent cuts to global emissions we need can only be achieved through widespread adoption of greener consumption habits.
  • The LIFE mission also recognises that accountability is relative to contribution. Emissions across the poorest half of the world’s population combined still fall short of even 1% of the wealthiest.
  • Those who consume the least, often the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society, will not be asked to consume less, but rather supported to participate in the green economy. Each ‘Pro Planet’ stakeholder is nudged according to differentiated approaches.

India’s track record:

  • India has a proven track record translating the aspirations of national missions into whole-of-society efforts.
  • The success of the Swachh Bharat Mission, which mobilised individuals and communities across socio-economic strata to become drivers of collective good health and sanitation is an example.
  • The Panchamrit targets announced by Mr. Modi at COP26, to support for the International Solar Alliance, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and South-South cooperation platforms
  • With COP27 next month, and India set to assume the G20 Presidency weeks after, followed by the halfway mark to Agenda 2030 next year, we at Team UN India and our 26 entities are proud and committed partners in this mission to help give new lease of LIFE to climate action.

Onus on the developed world:

  • The Paris Agreement and the COP26 summit in Glasgow represent urgent, collective steps countries are taking to limit emissions.
  • Yet, the window for action is closing fast. Commitments we have now will not keep warming below the 1.5°C target that gives us the best chance of averting catastrophe.
  • With the narrative so focused on geo-politics, the scope for each of us to make a difference as individuals seems increasingly lost.
  • While governments and industry carry the lion’s share of responsibility for responding to the crisis, we as consumers play a large role in driving unsustainable production methods.
  • The average carbon footprint of a person in a high-income country is more than 80 times higher than that of a person in a least developed country.
  • It is common sense and only fair to call on the developed world to shoulder a proportionate share of this transition.
  • In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “the world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

Way forward:

  • Being the world’s fifth largest economy with vibrant businesses making enormous investments in renewables and electric mobility, to a world class public digital tech stack, India brings scale, expertise and legitimacy; a well-positioned founding UN Member State bridging the G20 and G77.
  • And while LIFE is a global vision, India is an excellent place to start. With over 1.3 billion people, if we achieve a true jan andolan here, the momentum generated will be enormous. As India leads, we see the world increasingly follow.

Source:  The Hindu


Baba’s Explainer – Perspectives on Russia-Ukraine War

Perspectives on Russia-Ukraine War

Syllabus

  • GS-2: Policies and politics of developed and developing countries.
  • GS-2: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

Context: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in Feb 2022 has been the turning point in History of post-cold war era. While many have condemned the militaristic interventions by Russia, the issue is not that simple. In the age where there are competing narratives on who is right and who is wrong in today’s complex geopolitics, we need to step back & analyse the contours of the history.

Read Complete Details on Perspectives on Russia-Ukraine War


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements regarding particulate matter(PM):

  1. PM10 is more harmful compared to PM2.5
  2. PM2.5 is generally 2.5 millimetres of diameter or smaller.
  3. PM 2.5 can cause human non-accidental death.

Which of the above are correct?

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

Q.2) With respect to Swadesh Darshan 2.0 (SD2.0), consider the following statements:

  1. It is a centrally sponsored scheme.
  2. Some of the prominent places identified are Jhansi and Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh, Gwalior, Chitrakoot and Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh and Ajanta and Ellora in Maharashtra.

Which of the above are correct?

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

Q.3) According to Indus River water treaty, which of the following tributaries of Indus River allocated to India for unrestricted usage?

  1. Chenab
  2. Ravi
  3. Jhelum
  4. Sutlej

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’21st October 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st


ANSWERS FOR 20th October – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) –  c

Q.2) – b

Q.3) – d

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