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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 20th December 2022

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  • December 20, 2022
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Orans

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment and Ecology

Context: Residents from around 40 villages of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan have walked 225 kilometres to protect community-conserved sacred spaces known as ‘orans’. Currently, the biodiversity hotspots are classified as wastelands.

About orans:

  • Orans’ are community forests that act as a store of biodiversity, enable effective water management and serve as a community based regeneration system, which also ensure sustainable extraction of Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFPs) by villagers, in the world’s oldest Aravali Mountain Range and in the Great Indian Desert of Rajasthan.
  • Sacred groves have been live manifestations of historical, cultural and emotional attachment of human beings with forests.
  • They unify rural communities religiously, culturally and socially. In due course, degradation and depletion of forests and forest resources have occurred due to several reasons—both natural and anthropogenic.(India).
  • There are about 25000 orans in Rajasthan that cover more than 600,000 hectares and provide a much-needed lifeline and safeguard to their respective communities.
  • Until two decades ago, orans have suffered widespread degradation due to neglect and misguided priorities, opposition from hostile actors such as profit-seeking corporations, the introduction of foreign flora and fauna that compromise biodiversity and from a changing climate, all of which led to a marked decline in the condition of orans.
  • Founded to address the above challenges, KRAPAVIS, an organization of local people, has been working for 21 years to revive orans, both physically and conceptually, in the desert and Aravali regions.
  • These orans are hotspots of biodiversity with trees and flowers like rohida, bordi, kumbhat, and desi babool in large numbers.
  • There are different varieties of grasses like sevan and murath as well, making these grasslands home to more than 250 species of birds and animals, including the great Indian bustard, McQueen bustard, chinkara, Indian desert cat, desert fox, etc

About KRAPAVIS:

  • Krishi Avam Paristhitiki Vikas Sansthan (KRAPAVIS), literally means “organization for the development of ecology and agriculture/livestock”, works with a clear mission: the betterment of ecological, agricultural and livestock practices with a view to ensuring sustainable livelihoods for rural pastoral communities in Rajasthan.

Source:  DownToEarth

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following pairs:

Wetland/Lake:                                                  Location

  1. Hokera Wetland                                       Punjab
  2. Renuka Wetland                               Himachal Pradesh
  3. Rudrasagar Lake                                      Tripura
  4. Sasthamkotta                                          Tamil Nadu

How many pairs given above are correctly matched? (2022)

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

Q.2) With references to India, Didwana, Kuchaman, Sargol and khatu are the names of (2021)

  1. Glaciers
  2. Mangrove areas
  3. Ramsar sites
  4. Saline lakes

Goa Liberation Day

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – History

Context: President Droupadi Murmu tweeted her greetings to the nation on December 19, marking Goa Liberation Day, which is celebrated annually to mark the success of ‘Operation Vijay’ undertaken by the Indian armed forces to defeat Portuguese colonial forces and liberate Goa in 1961.

About Goa Liberation Day:

  • The Indian government finally declared that Goa should join India “either with full peace or with full use of force”.
  • December 18 and 19, 1961 saw a full-fledged military operation termed ‘Operation Vijay’, which was carried out with little resistance and an instrument of surrender was signed, leading to Goa’s annexation by India.

History of Goa:

  • The Portuguese colonial presence in Goa began in 1510, when Alfonso de Albuquerque defeated the ruling Bijapur king with the help of a local ally, Timayya, and subsequently established a permanent settlement in Velha Goa (or Old Goa).
  • During the Napoleonic Wars, Goa was briefly occupied by the British between 1812 and 1815.
  • In 1843, the capital was moved to Panjim from Velha Goa.
  • Portuguese colonial rule also saw the advent and growth of Christianity in Goa.

Goa’s Independence:

  • By the turn of the twentieth century, Goa had started to witness an upsurge of nationalist sentiment opposed to Portugal’s colonial rule.
  • Leaders such Tristão de Bragança Cunha, celebrated as the father of Goan nationalism, founded the Goa National Congress at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress in 1928.
  • In 1946, the socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia led a historic rally in Goa that gave a call for civil liberties and freedom, and eventual integration with India, which became a watershed moment in Goa’s freedom struggle.
  • Post-1947, Portugal refused to negotiate with independent India on the transfer of sovereignty of their Indian enclaves.
  • After Portugal became part of the US-led Western military alliance NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) in 1949, Goa too became part of the anti-Soviet alliance by extension.
  • Fearing a collective Western response to a possible attack on Goa, the Indian government continued to lay stress on diplomacy.
  • As India aggressively championed the Non-Aligned Movement, decolonisation, and anti-imperialism as pillars of its policy, the continuation of colonial rule in Portugal became increasingly unsustainable.

Source:  Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to Indian history, consider the following statements:

  1. The Dutch established their factories/warehouses on the east coast on lands granted to them by Gajapati rulers.
  2. Alfonso de Albuquerque captured Goa from the Bijapur Sultanate.
  3. The English East India. Company established a factory at Madras on a plot of land leased from a representative of the Vijayanagara empire.

Which of the statements given above are correct? (2022)

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

Panini’s ‘Ashtadhyayi

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – History and Art and Culture

Context: Recently Cambridge scholar claims to have solved Sanskrit’s biggest puzzle—a grammar problem found in the ‘Ashtadhyayi’, an ancient text written by the scholar Panini towards the end of the 4th century BC.

About Panini, the ‘father of linguistics’:

  • Panini probably lived in the 4th century BC, the age of the conquests of Alexander and the founding of the Mauryan Empire.
  • He has also been dated to the 6th century BC, the age of The Buddha and Mahavira.
  • He likely lived in Salatura (Gandhara), which today would lie in north-west Pakistan.
  • Panini was probably associated with the great university at Taksasila, which also produced Kautilya and Charaka, the ancient Indian masters of statecraft and medicine respectively.

About Ashtadhyayi

  • ‘Ashtadhyayi’, or ‘Eight Chapters’ – Panini’s great grammar
  • It is a linguistics text that set the standard for how Sanskrit was meant to be written and spoken.
  • The Ashtadhyayi laid down more than 4,000 grammatical rules, couched in a sort of shorthand, which employs single letters or syllables for the names of the cases, moods, persons, tenses, etc. in which linguistic phenomena are classified.

Significance of Asthadhyayi:

  • By the time it was composed, Sanskrit had virtually reached its classical form — and developed little thereafter, except in its vocabulary.
  • Panini’s grammar, which built on the work of many earlier grammarians, effectively stabilized the Sanskrit language.
  • Panini’s grammar is one of the greatest intellectual achievements of any ancient civilization, and the most detailed and scientific grammar composed before the 19th century in any part of the world.
  • The earlier works had recognised the root as the basic element of a word, and had classified some 2,000 monosyllabic roots which, with the addition of prefixes, suffixes and inflexions, were thought to provide all the words of the language.
  • Commentaries on Panini includes Mahabhasya of Patanjali (2nd century BC) and the Kashika Vritti of Jayaditya and Vamana (7th century AD).

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) According to Kautilya’s Arthashastra, which of the following are correct?

  1. A person could be a slave as a result of a judicial punishment.
  2. If a female slave bore her master a son, she was legally free.
  3. If a son born to a female slave was fathered by her master, the son was entitled to the legal status of the master’s son.

Which of the statements given above are correct? (2022)

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

Zonal Councils

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity

In News: Union Home and Cooperation Minister Shri Amit Shah presided over the 25th Eastern Zonal Council meeting .

Aim of Zonal councils:

  • To solve inter-State problems and foster balanced socio-economic development of the respective zones.
  • To develop the habit of cooperative working among these States

Zonal Councils:

  • The idea of creation of Zonal Councils was mooted by the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1956
  • Five Zonal Councils were set up vide Part-III of the States Re-organisation Act, 1956 – north, south, east, west and central.
  • The North Eastern States i.e. (i) Assam (ii) Arunachal Pradesh (iii) Manipur (iv) Tripura (v) Mizoram (vi) Meghalaya and (vii) Nagaland are not included in the Zonal Councils
  • Their special problems are looked after by the North Eastern Council, set up under the North Eastern Council Act, 1972.
  • The State of Sikkim has also been included in North Eastern Council vide North Eastern Council (Amendment) Act, 2002.

Organisational structure:

  • Chairman – The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of each of these Councils.
  • Vice Chairman – The Chief Ministers of the States included in each zone act as Vice-Chairman of the Zonal Council for that zone by rotation, each holding office for a period of one year at a time.
  • Members- Chief Minister and two other Ministers as nominated by the Governor from each of the States and two members from Union Territories included in the zone.
  • AdvisersOne person nominated by the Planning Commission for each of the Zonal Councils, Chief Secretaries and another officer/Development Commissioner nominated by each of the States included in the Zone
  • Each Zonal Council has set up a Standing Committee consisting of Chief Secretaries of the member States of their respective Zonal Councils.
  • Union Ministers are also invited to participate in the meetings of Zonal Councils depending upon necessity.
  • Each Zonal Council shall meet at such time as the Chairman of the Council may appoint in this behalf.
  • Since their inception in 1957, the Zonal Councils have met 106 times.

Role & Objective:

  • Bringing out national integration
  • Arresting the growth of acute State consciousness, regionalism, linguism and particularistic tendencies;
  • Enabling the Centre and the States to co-operate and exchange ideas and experiences;
  • Establishing a climate of co-operation amongst the States for successful and speedy execution of development projects.

Functions:

  • Each Zonal Council is an advisory body and may discuss any matter in which States have a common interest and advise the Government.
  • In particular, a Zonal Council may discuss, and make recommendations with regard to:
  • any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning;
  • any matter concerning border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-State transport;
  • any matter connected with or arising out of, the re-organization of the States under the State’s Reorganisation Act.

Source: PIB

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Which of the following bodies does not/do not find mention in the Constitution? (2013)

  1. National Development Council
  2. Planning Commission
  3. Zonal Councils

Select the correct answer using the codes given below

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

Tal Chhapar sanctuary

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In News: The Tal Chhapar blackbuck sanctuary in Rajasthan has received a protective cover against a proposed move of the State government to reduce the size of its eco-sensitive zone.

  • The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) has taken up a major project for the conservation of raptors in the sanctuary, spread in an area measuring 7.19 sq. km.
  • The court recently ordered a “complete prohibition” on any action to reduce the wildlife sanctuary’s area.

Tal Chhapar blackbuck sanctuary:

  • District: Churu, Rajasthan
  • Nokha-Sikar highway passes through the sanctuary
  • Jaswantgarh forest block in Nagaur district is situated at a short distance from Tal Chhapar.

Biodiversity:

  • About 4,000 blackbucks, over 40 species of raptors and more than 300 species of resident and migratory birds.
  • The raptors, which include predators and scavengers, are on top of the food chain and control the populations of small mammals, birds and reptiles as well as insects.
  • The sanctuary earlier had a large population of desert foxes and similar burrowing animals, while the large colonies of the only herbivorous lizard, the spiny-tailed lizard, exist as the prey base for raptors.
  • Migratory birds arrive here for their winter sojourn.

Threats:

  • Increase in human population around the sanctuary, and unplanned and rampant construction activities.
  • Hyper-aridity, grazing pressure, the invasive weed Prosopis juliflora, and salt mines in the vicinity.
  • The sanctuary’s area is insufficient for its large blackbuck population.

Initiatives:

  • WWF-India’s Raptor Conservation Programme – recording the numbers of birds of prey and their population trends, behaviour and feeding habits would give an insight on how they were thriving or declining.

Black buck:

  • The blackbuck also known as the Indian antelope, is an antelope found in India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
  • The blackbuck is the sole extant member of the genus Antilope.
  • In India, hunting of blackbuck is prohibited under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
  • The blackbuck is listed as least concern on the IUCN Red List.
  • Blackbuck is believed to be the second-fastest animal after Cheetah.
  • Punjab’s State animal: Blackbuck
  • Blackbucks have religious significance in Hindu mythology and the Bishnoi tribe of Rajasthan is famous for its conservation efforts for Blackbuck.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Questions

Q1.) With reference to India’s Desert National Park, which of the following statements are correct? (2020)

  1. It is spread over two districts.
  2. There is no human habitation inside the Park.
  3. It is one of the natural habitats of Great Indian Bustard.

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

Global Biodiversity Framework

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In News: Over 190 nations adopt landmark biodiversity pact to restore natural ecosystems

Aim:

  • To restore natural ecosystems.
  • countries agreed to protect 30 percent of the planet by 2030.
  • Reducing pesticides use by half
  • Raising annual international financial flows from developed to developing countries to at least 20 billion dollars by 2025, and to at least 30 billion dollars by 2030.
  • To reduce harmful government subsidies worth 500 billion dollars annually, while vowing to identify subsidies that are harmful to biodiversity by 2025.

About Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF):

  • Established at the UN Biodiversity Conference, COP15 in Montreal
  • GBF is considered equivalent to the Paris Agreement on climate change in terms of its significance for protecting biodiversity.
  • The countries pledged to achieve 23 targets to reverse ecosystem degradation under four overarching goals for the survival of the natural world.

Significance for India:

  • The biodiversity plan gives India legroom on continuing farm subsidies and pesticide use.
  • This has been a priority for India, which has been voluntarily pitching for natural farming in a big way

Source: Newsonair


Deepfakes

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science & Technology

In News: The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s cyberspace watchdog, is rolling out new regulations to restrict the use of deep synthesis technology and curb disinformation.

Deep synthesis:

  • It is defined as the use of technologies, including deep learning and augmented reality, to generate text, images, audio and video to create virtual scenes.
  • One of the most notorious applications of the technology is deepfakes, where synthetic media is used to swap the face or voice of one person for another.

Deepfakes:

  • Deepfakes are a compilation of artificial images and audio put together with machine-learning algorithms to spread misinformation and replace a real person’s appearance, voice, or both with similar artificial likenesses or voices.
  • It can create people who do not exist and it can fake real people saying and doing things they did not say or do.
  • The term deepfake originated in 2017, when an anonymous Reddit user called himself “Deepfakes.” – the user manipulated Google’s open-source, deep-learning technology to create and post pornographic videos.
  • The videos were doctored with a technique known as face-swapping – replaced real faces with celebrity faces.
  • Deepfakes are getting harder to detect with the advancement of technology.
  • Deepfake technology is now being used for nefarious purposes like scams and hoaxes, celebrity pornography, election manipulation, social engineering, automated disinformation attacks, identity theft and financial fraud.
  • Deepfake technology has been used to impersonate notable personalities like former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and Hollywood celebrity Tom Cruise.

China’s new policy to curb deepfakes:

  • The policy requires deep synthesis service providers and users to ensure that any doctored content using the technology is explicitly labelled and can be traced back to its source.
  • The regulation also mandates people using the technology to edit someone’s image or voice, to notify and take the consent of the person in question
  • When reposting news made by the technology, the source can only be from the government-approved list of news outlets.
  • Deep synthesis service providers must also abide by local laws, respect ethics, and maintain the “correct political direction and correct public opinion orientation.
  • Due to concerns about unchecked development and use of deep synthesis could lead to its use in criminal activities like online scams or defamation and  to curb risks that might arise from activities provided by platforms which use deep learning or virtual reality to alter any online content.

India:

  • There are no legal rules against using deepfake technology.
  • However, specific laws can be addressed for misusing the tech, which include Copyright Violation, Defamation and cyber felonies.

The European Union’s Code of Practice

  • Introduced in 2018, the Code of Practice on Disinformation brought together for the first time worldwide industry players to commit to counter disinformation.
  • The Code of Practice was signed by online platforms Facebook, Google, Twitter and Mozilla, as well as by advertisers and other players in the advertising industry. Microsoft joined in May 2019, while TikTok signed the Code in June 2020.
  • If found non-compliant, these companies can face fines as much as 6% of their annual global turnover.

U.S’s bipartisan Deepfake Task Force Act 2021

  • To assist the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to counter deepfake technology.
  • The measure directs the DHS to conduct an annual study of deepfakes — assess the technology used, track its uses by foreign and domestic entities, and come up with available countermeasures to tackle the same.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Which one of the following statements best describes the role of B cells and T cells in the human body ? (2022)

  1. They protect the body from environmental allergens.
  2. They alleviate the body’s pain and inflammation.
  3. They act as immunosuppressants in the body.
  4. They protect the body from the diseases caused by pathogens.

Integration of North-Eastern India and its Significance

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: Recently, in  the North East Council (NEC) meeting, the Prime Minister of India has said that red cards have been shown to challenges in the Northeast region, including corruption, political nepotism and unrest in the region.

About North – Eastern India:

  • Northeast Region or The ‘seven sisters’ of Northeast India comprise Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura.
  • Sikkim is also a part of the Northeast but is not included in the Seven Sisters because while the other seven states are contiguous, Sikkim is sort of a neighbour, divided by the Siliguri Corridor.
  • Sikkim is also referred to as the ‘Brother’ of the Seven Sisters.

Significance of North – Eastern India:

  • Strategic Location: North Eastern Region of India is a landlocked region, with no access to seas. This is complicated by the presence of the Siliguri Corridor, called chicken’s neck for India.
    • Siliguri Corridor is a mere 21 km wide corridor that connects India with its North Eastern Region.
    • In the event of a war, India would need to safeguard the corridor, so that any potential advances by the Chinese in the Northern part of the North-East region can be suitably repelled by the Indian armed forces.
  • Act East Policy: The North Eastern Region is geographically contiguous to Myanmar, which is a part of South-East Asia. Therefore, it has the potential to act as the Indian ‘Gateway to South East Asia’.
    • This is important in the context of the Indian relationship with countries like Thailand and Singapore, with which we share a good rapport. They are high-income countries and can help India in the alleviation of poverty in the region.
  • Energy Resources: Due to the presence of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries, the North-Eastern region has immense potential as far as hydroelectric energy is concerned.
    • Similarly, it has been a source of crude oil and natural gas in the form of Digboi oil fields. Potential oil and natural gas reserves have been found at the Arakan Basin.
  • Carbon Sink: India has vowed to create an additional 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon sink per year under its Nationally Determined Contributions as a part of the Paris Summit.
    • North-Eastern India with its dense forest cover can play a huge role in such endeavour. Mizoram is the best state in India in terms of forest cover.
  • Agricultural Resources: The North Eastern region is blessed with natural resources which are important for the economic growth of the country.
    • For e.g. the tea plantations of Assam earn a significant value of foreign exchange for the country.
    • Similarly, Bamboo is useful in the cane and furniture industry. Bird’s Eye Chilli from Mizoram has the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
  • Ecotourism and Environment: The North Eastern region can be a hub for tourist activity due to its lush green landscape, unique tribal culture, fresh air, comfortable climate and distinct topography.
    • It can be harnessed as a source of eco-tourism and rural tourism.
    • The North Eastern Region is ideal for both passive and adventure forms of Ecotourism with wildlife sanctuary/parks, good scenic beauty, waterfalls, forests etc.

Challenges to the development of the North Eastern Region (NER):

  • Difficult Terrain: North Eastern Region is majorly a mountainous region, except the state of Assam, which has plains as a major part of its area.
    • This makes it difficult for the government schemes to be implemented in the area, because of the problem of access to the remote areas.
  • Limited Connectivity: The North Eastern Region is a landlocked region. Therefore, it has limited access to the sea.
    • Similarly, it has a difficult terrain that renders expressways and wider roads infeasible.
  • Lack of Physical and Social Infrastructure: NER has complained of step motherly treatment from the mainland, especially in the context of development projects in the region.
    • This is complicated by the absence of railway infrastructure in the region.
  • Insurgency: One of the major regions for the lack of development in the region is the lack of political and social stability in the country.
    • The region is still caught in the vicious circle of violence due to political reasons and the diversion of youth towards the insurgent groups, which leads to a lack of skill enhancement and consequent lack of opportunity.
  • Backward Areas: Unlike the mainland, people of the North East Region are still content with a simple lifestyle and lack of technology in their day-to-day lives.
    • The standard of living continues to be low, due to the absence of high-income generation opportunities.
    • For e.g., the farmers practice primitive methods of agriculture, with the tribals still practising Shifting agriculture in the country.

Government of India Initiatives for the sustainable development of NER:

  • North Eastern Council (NEC): It is a statutory body constituted under the North Eastern Council Act 1971.
    • It is chaired by the Union Home Minister, while its Vice-chairman is the Minister of Development of the North Eastern Region.
    • All the Governors and Chief Ministers of the states are its members.
  • Peace Efforts: The government of India has tried its best to accommodate the demands of the tribal groups and other inhabitants in the region, within the framework of the Indian Constitution.
    • The outcomes are visible in the form of the Nagaland Peace Accord and Bodo Peace Accord, which have decreased the prevalence of violence and insurgency in the region, bringing the focus back to the development of the region.
    • Earlier initiatives like Mizo insurgency, Bru or Reang resettlement are good efforts in this regard.

Connectivity Projects: To create alternate routes to the region and decrease its dependence on the Chicken’s Neck, the Indian government has planned additional routes through South East Asia:

  • Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Project: It is a massive connectivity project to connect the Haldia port to Mizoram through Myanmar. The route envisages a marine journey from Haldia to Sittwe port in Myanmar. Sittwe would be connected to Lawngthai in Mizoram, through a combination of inland water transport and highway.

  • Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Corridor: The project has been envisaged to enhance economic connectivity between China and India while benefiting Myanmar and Bangladesh, which lie on the route.
    • India is less enthusiastic for the projects like Kolkata to Kunming Bullet Train (K2K Project), which China has mooted as a part of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
    • However, India has kept the BCIM corridor alive, claiming that the idea predated the BRI project.

Mission Organic Value Chain Development (MOVCD-NER):

  • The program has been implemented in the North-Eastern states since 2017.
  • Aim to promote organic farming in the region.
  • It seeks to replace traditional subsistence farming with a cluster-based approach.

Sub Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP):

  • Aim to increase the availability of seeds of the High Yielding Varieties of crops.
  • The overall objective is to double farmers’ income by 2022, as envisioned by the Government.
  • The scheme is run alongside other support programs like Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), integrated farming systems

North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS):

  • Aim to enhance the physical infrastructure related to power, connectivity and water supply, and social infrastructure in the form of health infrastructure.
  • It is a Central Sector Scheme.

National Bamboo Mission:

  • Aim to increase the area under bamboo cultivation and marketing.
  • The Mission envisages promoting holistic growth of the bamboo sector by adopting an area-based, regionally differentiated strategy.

Way Forward:

Thus the government at the Centre must be vigilant about the developments in the region and take steps towards integrating North East India into the mainstream. Various stakeholders, the political parties, the citizens’ organizations, student groups, civil society etc. must work synergistically towards nation building activities.

There needs to be a comprehensive stock-taking of the internal challenges and an identification of regions and sectors where there is potential. Development of socio economic infrastructure, maximum utilization of natural resources, development of entrepreneurial culture and above all extending transnational ties will determine the future of Northeast in the near future is need of the hour.

Source:  Indian Express

Q.1) In which one of the following states is Pakhui wildlife sanctuary located? (2018)

  1. Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Manipur
  3. Meghalaya
  4. Nagaland

Private Member’s Bill for Women’s Reservation

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: In the recently concluded Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assemblies’ election the  number of women elected was too is low. In fact Gujarat elected just 8 percent of women legislators in its 182-member assembly and Himachal Pradesh, where every second voter is a female, has elected 67 men and only one woman.

Key highlights from the article:

  • The national average of women in all state assemblies remains around 8 per cent.
  • India ranks 144 out of 193 countries in the representation of women in parliament according to Inter-Parliamentary Union’s latest report.
  • There is only 9 per cent women elected to the Lok Sabha. Among India’s immediate neighbours, India falls behind Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal.

About Private members bill:

  • A bill introduced by a member other than a minister is termed a private member’s bill.
  • Drafting of the bill is the sole responsibility of the concerned Member of Parliament.
  • Usually introduced and discussed on Fridays and requires one month’s prior notice.
  • Admissibility of the bill is decided by the Chairman in the case of Rajya Sabha and the Speaker in the case of Lok Sabha.

History of Private Member’s Bills in India:

  • As of now 14 private member’s bills have become an Act since 1950.
  • Important legislations among them include the 26th amendment (abolition of privy purses) and the 61st amendment (voting age from 21 to 18).
  • Although, no private member’s bill has become an Act since 1970.
  • The last one was the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Bill, 1968.

History of Women’s Reservation Bill:

  • The Women’s Reservation Bill was first introduced in 1996 by the Deve Gowda government. It was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee which presented its report in December 1996. However, the Bill lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
  • PM Vajpayee’s NDA government reintroduced the Bill in the 12th Lok Sabha in 1998. Yet again, it failed to get support and lapsed.
  • In 1999, the NDA government reintroduced it in the 13th Lok Sabha. Subsequently, the Bill was introduced twice in Parliament in 2003.
  • In 2004, the UPA government included it in the Common Minimum Programme that said: “The UPA government will take the lead to introduce legislation for one-third reservations for women in Vidhan Sabhas and in the Lok Sabha.”
  • In 2008, the government tabled the Bill in the Rajya Sabha so that it does not lapse again. On March 9, 2010, the Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha with 186-1 votes after immense debate. History was created.
    • The Bill, then, reached the Lok Sabha where it never saw the light of day. When the House was dissolved in 2014, it lapsed again.

Highlights of Women’s Reservation Bill:

  • The Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008 seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies. The allocation of reserved seats shall be determined by such authority as prescribed by Parliament.
  • One third of the total number of seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be reserved for women of those groups in the Lok Sabha and the legislative assemblies.
  • Reserved seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in the state or union territory.
  • Reservation of seats for women shall cease to exist 15 years after the commencement of this Amendment Act.

Reasons for women’s reservation bill:

  • Lower Women’s participation: It is reported that the participation of women in the lower house of parliament, that is, the Lok Sabha and all other state assemblies, is meagre compared to men.
    • To promote women as ministers, the bill was laid before the parliament.
  • Gender discrimination: In some parts of India, the area is dominated by men. In those areas, women cannot even think of fighting elections.
    • The scheme will help promote empowerment.
  • Political discrimination: When a man is given more opportunities than a woman, this is called “discrimination” in politics. Currently, the number of men in politics is greater than that of women.
    • If women enter politics, they will have a voice regarding other women, children, and the topics with which they are associated.
  • Fewer opportunities at a higher level: It is experienced that women working in the positions of Panchayati Raj have worked effectively. Due to high competition, they cannot fight in the election with men. Reserving seats will allow women to stand with men in the elections or get nominated.

Way Forward:

The Women’s Reservation Bill is an essential short-term solution that needs to be implemented in India as the Indian economy and society are under the influence of male chauvinism since centuries.

So far only two regional political parties in India – Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and West Bengal’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) have reserved seats for women for election candidatures. Without a gender quota, women’s representation will remain marginal causing a massive deficit in our democracy.

Source: Indian Express


Biodiversity conservation

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Syllabus

  • Mains  – GS 3 Environment

In News: A month after the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Egypt, diplomatic retinue went into a contentious huddle again to save the planet — in Montreal, Canada, this time, and as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

What is Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD):

  • It traces its origins to the Rio summit of 1992
  • It is a multilateral treaty ratified by 196 countries for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources.”
  • Its overarching goal is to encourage actions that will lead to a more sustainable future.
  • It includes – Cartagena Protocol and Nagoya Protocol

Importance of biodiversity:

  • Economic stability – Biodiversity is source of income for many people. It provides raw material such as fibre, oil, dyes, etc., for industries. For the food producing industry, crops are the raw materials, which are biodiversity.
  • Aesthetic importance – Biodiversity is also the source of refreshment and enhance recreational activity such as bird watching, trekking, fishing, etc.
  • Source of food – Humans derive almost 80% of food supply from 20 kinds of the plants.
  • Human health – it provides Ecosystem services which are necessary for the survival of the human beings
  • Research and medicine – Study of wildlife, their anatomy, physiology and functioning leads to better understanding and development of the human medicine.
  • Infectious disease – Microorganisms that cause the disease or the vectors that transmits them both are the part of the biodiversity. Patterns of the infectious disease hugely depends upon the interactions of biodiversity
  • Climate change- Climate is an integral part of ecosystem functioning, human health is directly and indirectly affected by interaction between biodiversity. Longer term changes in climate affect the viability and health of ecosystems, influencing shifts in the distribution of plants, pathogens, animals, and even human settlements.

India’s scenario:

  • India covers 2.4% of the world’s geographical area and accommodates 11.4% of the planet’s plants (about 48,000 species) and 7.5% of its animal population (about 96,000 species), as per government data from 2011.
  • India has lost about one-third of its natural wetlands–that are home to migratory birds and large numbers of plants and fish species–to urbanisation, agriculture and pollution over the past four decades.
  • A crowdsourced data study by the Centre for Social and Environmental Innovation (CSEI) at ATREE, India Spend reported in March 2022, found that Bengaluru has lost at least 208 of its over 1,350 lakes.

Challenges to biodiversity:

  • Unlike cyclones and melting glaciers that have become visual aids to bring home the climate crisis wrought by invisible gases, biodiversity loss continues to be largely invisible despite its victims being extremely visible.
  • Extinction of species: UN reckons, an estimated 34,000 plant and 5,200 animal species, including one in eight of the world’s bird species, face extinction.
  • About 30% of breeds of main farm animal species are currently at high risk of extinction.
  • Almost 50% of the world’s birds are undergoing population decline.
  • At least 97 mammals, 94 bird species and 482 plant species in India are threatened with extinction, as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list of plant and animal species that have been endangered.
  • Forest degradation: Forests are home to much of the known terrestrial biodiversity, but about 45% of the earth’s original forests are gone, cleared mostly during the past century.
  • Lack of accounting: Because much of this extinction is not finely accounted for as the rise in per capita carbon emissions or temperature swings, it fails to evoke the urgency it deserves.
  • The ‘Living Planet Report 2020’ by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) identified land and sea use change and overexploitation of resources as the key drivers of biodiversity loss across the globe, along with other causes including invasive species, pollution and climate change.
  • Freshwater biodiversity loss – According to a 2020 WWF factsheet, it is declining faster than that in oceans or forests around the world.
  • Limited budgetary allocations – In India, the total funds for conservation of natural resources and ecosystems, including aquatic ecosystems, was decreased to Rs 58.50 crore from Rs 62 crore in 2021-22.
  • The budget for biodiversity conservation was slashed from Rs 12 crore to Rs 8.5 crore.
  • Population growth and increasing demands – Higher the population, more would be the exploitation of the biodiversity
  • Climate change – It brings extremities in nature, some of which are irreversible.

Suggestions:

  • Like climate conferences, establishment of differing levels of responsibility towards biodiversity conservation. This may require richer nations to be more generous funders of global conservation efforts.
  • Measurable targets: “What cannot be measured, as the adage goes, cannot be understood or addressed” such as countries have agreed on preparing concrete road maps by 2024 and the richer ones, committing $30 billion an annum by 2030.
  • Area-based conservation is essential to safeguard nature’s diversity.
  • It comprises protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.
  • In-situ monitoring techniques, remote sensing and open data infrastructures can fill data and information gaps for protected area planning and management.
  • Adaptive management is an auspicious concept in the framework of systematic conservation planning to ensure the enduring effectiveness of protected areas despite unpredictable future developments.
  • Habitat conservation such as wetlands, afforestation, national park, wildlife reserves and many more.
  • Captive breeding and the seed bank, Avoidance of invasive species and creation of buffer zones
  • Education and Awareness among the local people regarding the importance of the biodiversity is very important.

Way forward:

  • MoU between India and Nepal in the field of biodiversity conservation to enhance coordination and cooperation in the field of forests, wildlife, environment, biodiversity conservation and climate change
  • Countries must also engage in restoration of corridors and interlinking areas and share knowledge and best practices.

Source: The Hindu


Baba’s Explainer – Deepfake technology & China

Deepfake technology & China

Syllabus

  • GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
  • GS-3: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics
  • GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. 

Context: The Cyberspace Administration of Chins is rolling out new regulations, to be effective from January 10, to restrict the use of deep synthesis technology and curb disinformation.

  • Deep synthesis is defined as the use of technologies, including deep learning and augmented reality, to generate text, images, audio and video to create virtual scenes.
  • One of the most notorious applications of the technology is deepfakes, where synthetic media is used to swap the face or voice of one person for another.
  • Deepfakes are getting harder to detect with the advancement of technology. It is used to generate celebrity porn videos, produce fake news, and commit financial fraud among other wrongdoings

Read Complete Details on Deepfake technology & China


Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) There is some concern regarding the deepfake and deep synthesis technology. Why?

  1. They can be used in criminal activities like scams and pornography.
  2. They can create people that do not exist.
  3. They can alter any online content.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements:

  1. The Zonal Councils are established under the State’s Reorganization Act 1956
  2. The state of Sikkim is included in Zonal councils.
  3. All the Zonal Councils are headed by the Union Home Minister.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.3) Consider the following statements regarding Panini’s Asthadhyayi:

  1. It is a linguistics text that set the standard for how Pali was meant to be written and spoken.
  2. Mahabhasya of Patanjali (2nd century BC) and the Kashika Vritti of Jayaditya and Vamana are associated with Panini.

Which of the statements given is/are correct?

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’ 20th December 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st


ANSWERS FOR 19th December – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – d

Q.2) – a

Q.3) – d

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