Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. World’s largest cave fish discovered in Meghalaya.
2. Yongle Blue Hole (YBH).
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Key features and significance of the scheme.
Context: A high-level meeting to review progress of Institutions of Eminence (IoE) Scheme was held recently.
About the scheme:
Launched in order to empower the Higher Educational Institutions and to help them become world-class teaching and research institutions.
- Excellence and Innovation: To provide for higher education leading to excellence and innovations in such branches of knowledge as may be deemed fit at post-graduate, graduate and research degree levels.
- Specialization: To engage in areas of specialization to make distinctive contributions to the objectives of the university education system.
- Global Rating: To aim to be rated internationally for its teaching and research as a top hundred Institution in the world over time.
- Quality teaching and Research: To provide for high quality teaching and research and for the advancement of knowledge and its dissemination.
Incentives of the scheme:
- Institutes with IOE tag will be given greater autonomy and freedom to decide fees, course durations and governance structures.
- The public institutions under IOE tag will receive a government grant of ₹1,000 crore, while the private institutions will not get any funding under the scheme.
Why is it important?
Academic institutions that can impart highest quality education, generate cutting edge research, and attract the best and the brightest from across the globe can have multiplier beneficial effects for the country. So the idea of elevating the best in a sector to an eminent status by granting autonomy is a good one. But to maintain credibility, the process and the selection of these institutions should be above reproach.
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key features of the Law, key changes.
For Mains: Need for this, significance and relevance of the changes.
Context: Amendments in Arms Act, 1959 and Arms Rules, 2016 notified.
Overview– key changes:
- As per the new rules, now International medallists/renowned shooters are allowed to keep additional weapons up to a total of twelve under the exempted category, which earlier was seven.
- If a shooter is renowned in one event, he/she can keep maximum eight (previously it was four), if a shooter is renowned in two events he/she can keep maximum ten (previously it was seven) and if a shooter is renowned in more than two events, he/she can keep maximum twelve (previously it was seven) firearms under the exempted category.
- Junior target shooters/aspiring shooters are now allowed to possess two weapons (previously one) of any category in which the person is engaged.
- Apart from the above exemptions, shooters are entitled to possess two firearms as normal citizens under provisions of the Arms Act, 1959.
- Similarly, by amending the provision under Rule 40 of the Arms Rules, 2016 the quantity of ammunition that can be purchased by the shooters during the year for the practice has also been increased considerably.
- Through these amendments, it has also been clarified that no licence is required for Indian citizens for acquisitions, possession of small arms falling under the category of curio.
- However, appropriate licence as prescribed would be required for use or to carry or transport such small arms.
- Without the endorsement of such firearms in the prescribed licence of the owner, no ammunition shall be sold for their use.
About the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019:
- It seeks to enhance the punishment for existing offences like illegal manufacture, sale, transfer, etc.; illegal acquiring, possessing or carrying prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition; and illegal manufacture, sale, transfer, conversion, import, export, etc., of firearms.
- It also proposes to define new offences and prescribes punishment for them, such as taking away firearms from police or armed forces, involvement in organized crime syndicate, illicit trafficking including smuggled firearms of foreign make or prohibited arms and prohibited ammunition, use of firearms in rash and negligent manner in celebratory gunfire endangering human life, etc.
- It seeks to enhance the period of arms license from three years to five years and also to issue arms license in its electronic form to prevent forgery.
Topics Covered: Issues related to health.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key findings of the survey- performance of India and other countries.
For Mains: Concerns expressed, challenges ahead and measures suggested.
Context: ‘A Future for the World’s Children’ report was recently released by the WHO, UNICEF and the Lancet medical journal. The report calculates the Flourishing Index and Sustainability Index of 180 countries.
How are the countries ranked?
- Flourishing Index:
Flourishing is the geometric mean of Surviving and Thriving.
- The parameter of Surviving considers maternal survival, survival in children younger than 5 years old, suicide, access to maternal and child health services, basic hygiene, sanitation, and lack of extreme poverty.
- The parameter of Thriving considers educational achievement, growth and nutrition, reproductive freedom, and protection from violence.
- Sustainability Index:
The Sustainability Index ranks countries on the basis of excess carbon emissions compared with the 2030 target.
Performance of India:
- India stands 77th (sustainability index) and is at 131st on a ranking that measures the best chance at survival and well-being for children.
- India has improved in health and sanitation but has to increase its spending on health.
- Children in Norway, the Republic of Korea and the Netherlands have the best chance at survival and well-being.
- Children in the Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia, Niger and Mali face the worst odds.
- World-wide the number of obese children and adolescents has increased from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016 — an 11-fold increase, with dire individual and societal costs.
- The only countries on track to beat the CO2 emission per capita targets by 2030, while also performing fairly (within the top 70) on child flourishing measures are: Albania, Armenia, Grenada, Jordan, Moldova, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uruguay and Vietnam.
No single country is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and their futures.
Threats: Health and future of every child and adolescent worldwide is under immediate threat from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices that push heavily processed fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children.
Progress reversing: Despite improvements in child and adolescent health over the past 20 years, progress has stalled, and is set to reverse. It has been estimated that around 250 million children under five years old in low- and middle-income countries are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential, based on proxy measures of stunting and poverty.
Need of hour:
- Overhaul approach to child and adolescent health, to ensure that we not only look after our children today but protect the world they will inherit in the future.
- Stop CO2 emissions with the utmost urgency, to ensure children have a future on this planet.
- Place children and adolescents at the centre of our efforts to achieve sustainable development.
- New policies and investment in all sectors to work towards child health and rights.
- Incorporate children’s voices into policy decisions.
- Tighten national regulation of harmful commercial marketing, supported by a new Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key features of the web form.
For Mains: need for and it’s significance.
Context: As part of the Government of India’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) initiatives, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has notified a new Web Form christened ‘SPICe+’ (pronounced ‘SPICe Plus’) replacing the existing SPICe form.
What is it?
SPICe+ would be an integrated Web Form.
- It would offer 10 services by 3 Central Government Ministries & Departments (Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Labour & Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance) and One State Government (Maharashtra).
- It aims to save as many procedures, time and cost for Starting a Business in India and would be applicable for all new company incorporations.
- The new web form would facilitate onscreen filing and real-time data validation for the seamless incorporation of companies.
Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
What to study?
For Prelims: G20- objectives and significance.
For Mains: Significance, membership, issues present and the need for reforms.
Context: G20 meeting was held recently in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia).
- Saudi Arabia is the first Arab nation to hold the G20 presidency.
- Theme: “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All”.
- Action plan to shield the world economy from the impact of Coronavirus Epidemic.
- Discuss ways to achieve a fairer global taxation system for the digital era.
- Discuss global economic outlook and possible policy responses to support growth and safeguard against downside risks.
What is G20?
An informal group of 19 countries and the European Union along with representatives of the IMF and the World Bank.
Represents about two-thirds of the world’s population, 85% of global gross domestic product, 80% of global investment and over 75% of global trade.
Genesis: Amid 2008 Financial Crisis the world saw the need for a new consensus-building at the highest political level. It was decided that the G20 leaders would begin meeting once annually.
The members of the G20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Awareness in space.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key features and objectives of Artemis.
For Mains: Significance and relevance of the mission for future space programmes.
Context: United States space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that it will begin to accept applications for astronauts under its Artemis programme from March 2 to March 31, 2020.
- The space agency has listed several requirements in order to qualify for training under the Artemis programme: one must be a US citizen and have a master’s degree in a STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field from an accredited institution.
- Candidates must also have completed at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircrafts or have two years of related experience.
- Another mandatory requirement is to pass NASA’s long-duration spaceflight physical test.
What is Artemis?
Artemis– Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of Moon’s Interaction with the Sun.
It is NASA’s next mission to the Moon.
Objective: To measure what happens when the Sun’s radiation hits our rocky moon, where there is no magnetic field to protect it.
Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology.
Significance of the mission:
With the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024.
NASA’s powerful new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), will send astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft nearly a quarter million miles from Earth to lunar orbit.
- Astronauts will dock Orion at the Gateway and transfer to a human landing system for expeditions to the surface of the Moon.
- They will return to the orbital outpost to board Orion again before returning safely to Earth.
Artemis 1, 2 and 3:
The agency will fly two missions around the Moon to test its deep space exploration systems.
NASA is working toward launching Artemis I, an uncrewed flight to test the SLS and Orion spacecraft together, followed by the Artemis II mission, the first SLS and Orion test flight with crew. NASA will land astronauts on the Moon by 2024 on the Artemis III mission and about once a year thereafter.
- Find and use water and other critical resources needed for long-term exploration.
- Investigate the Moon’s mysteries and learn more about our home planet and the universe.
- Learn how to live and operate on the surface of another celestial body where astronauts are just three days from home.
- Prove the technologies we need before sending astronauts on missions to Mars, which can take up to three years roundtrip.
Sources: Down to Earth.
Facts for Prelims
World’s largest cave fish discovered in Meghalaya:
- World’s largest species of cave fish has been discovered in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills.
- The cave fish is around one and a half feet in length and has no eyes and is white due to a lack of melanin pigmentation.
Yongle Blue Hole (YBH):
Why in News?
Carbon more than 8,000 years old lies deep inside a yawning sinkhole in the South China Sea.
- It is the deepest known marine cavern.
- Located in the Xisha Islands of the South China Sea (SCS).
- It measures roughly 300 metres from top to bottom.
- Its waters are mostly isolated from the surrounding ocean and receive little fresh water from rainfall, making it a rare spot to study the chemistry of oxygen-deprived marine ecosystems.