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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 17 September 2022

 

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. The consequences of declining fertility are many

 

GS Paper2:

1. Abraham Accords have led to greater regional cooperation

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)

1. Sources of the Quotes asked in UPSC Mains Essay Paper 2022

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. SCO tourist and cultural capital

2. Eklavya School

3. TN Breakfast Scheme

4. Online Gaming

5. Fast-Track Courts/Special Courts (FTCs and FTSCs)

6. E-Baal Nidan Portal

7. Urban Wastewater Scenario in India

8. International Ozone Day

9. BEEP

10. Green Fins Hub

11. Conciliation with eight armed groups in northeast

12. Mapping

 

Best Wishes to those giving Mains this time.

Note: You can download the compilation of Content for Mains Enrichment (CME) from June till September 10th here. This is a short 20 pages compilation and can be highly used for those giving Mains this time.


 

The consequences of declining fertility are many

GS Paper 1

Syllabus: Indian Society/Social Justice/ Geography

 

Source: The Hindu

 Direction: Go through once. See the trend and a few solutions.

 Context: The author of the editorial argues that a below replacement level fertility rate would mean a smaller dividend window than expected

Status:

      • Global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030
      • Average global fertility has been consistently declining over the past 70 years.
      • The average number of children per woman in the reproductive age group has declined from an average of five children per woman in 1951 to 2.4 children in 2020 (World Population Prospects 2022)
      • Most advanced economies have their fertility rate below the replacement rate of 2.1, with South Korea reporting the lowest at 1.05 children per woman.

 

India:

      • In India, the current fertility rate for India in 2022 is 2.159 births per woman
      • As reported by the NFHS 2021, only five States have a fertility rate above the replacement rate: Bihar (3), Meghalaya (2.9), Uttar Pradesh (2.4), Jharkhand (2.3), and Manipur (2.2).

 Reasons for a steady dip in fertility rates in India:

      • Increased use of contraception, more years of average schooling, better health care, and an increase in the mean marriage age of women.

 Lower fertility rates can be viewed as both a cause and consequence of economic development:

      • Lower fertility impacts women’s education positively, which in turn lowers the fertility of the next generations.
      • With better infrastructure development, better health care, and education, fertility drops and income rises.
      • The spiral of lower fertility leads to a window of time when the ratio of the working-age population is higher than that of the dependent age groups.
      • This high proportion of people in the workforce boosts income and investment, given the higher level of saving due to lower dependence.

 

Negative implications of falling fertility rate:

      • A fall in fertility rate beyond replacement level would have a negative effect on the proportion of the working population, which in turn will affect output in an economy.
        • Japan was the first country to experience the implications of falling fertility rates. The increasing dependency ratio has led to near zero GDP growth since the 1990s.
      • Some experts believe that falling fertility could diminish the creative capacity of humankind.
      • An ageing population will also affect global interest rates negatively as the share of people over 50 years will form almost 40% of the population by 2100.

 

Solutions for dealing with fertility decline

      • Reforms in the labour market to induce more flexibility in the labour market would encourage working women to have more children and non-working mothers to enter the labour market.
      • Policies to boost fertility:
        • Germany allows more parental leave and benefits.
        • Denmark offers state-funded IVF for women below 40 years
        • Hungary recently nationalised IVF clinics.
        • Poland gives out monthly cash payments to parents having more than two children
        • Russia makes a one-time payment to parents when their second child is born

Conclusion:

Though the benefits of demographic dividends are being reaped, the below replacement level fertility rate would mean a smaller dividend window than expected for India. Liberal labour reforms, encouraging higher female labour force participation rate, and a higher focus on nutrition and health would ensure sustained labour supply and output despite lower fertility.

 

Insta Links

Fertility rate below replacement level

Mains links

Q. Evaluate the trends in the declining Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in India. Why are lower fertility rate and higher education rate among women not translating into paid jobs for women? (250 words)

 

Abraham Accords have led to greater regional cooperation

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: International Relations

 

Direction: The article is a long one. Many extra points have been added which was not covered in the article. Go through it once. Note down only if you find the points to be unique.

 Source: Indian Express

 Context: It has been two years of the Abraham Accords. It has helped not only the member nations but has also provided various benefits to India as well. The editorial article highlights the importance of the Abraham Accords.

 Mohammed Soliman, An Egyptian scholar, was the first to propound the idea of the “Indo-Abrahamic Accord” and its trans-regional implications to the west of India. The first meeting between the foreign ministers of India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States is being widely called as a new QUAD or QUAD of the Middle East on the lines of the Abraham Accord.

Fig: Mohammed Soliman- the grand strategist behind the West -Asia Quad concept

 

What is Abraham Accord:

      • Brokered by the USA, Abraham Accord is a normalization agreement between UAE and Israel to establish formal diplomatic relations, later joined by Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco and in exchange Israel would suspend its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, thereby becoming the first Gulf country to establish diplomatic and economic relations with Israel.
      • UAE becomes the third Arab nation to recognize Israel after Egypt (in 1979) and Jordan (1994)

 

Rising importance of the Middle East region for India:

      • Energy Security:
        • The Middle- East region plays a significant role in India’s economy, as it provides about two-thirds of India’s total oil imports.
      • Remittances:
        • Millions of Indian migrants have been moved to search for jobs in the Middle-Eastern Countries becoming a significant part of the total remittance received from out of the country.
      • Strategic Region :
        • The Persian Gulf is a very important zone for India’s maritime security, and the Strait of Hormuz is a strategic point.
      • Rising FDI from this region:
        • Saudi is planning investments in India worth $100 billion. Other countries have also shown interest in investment in India.
      • Countering Pakistan:
        • Pakistan is very active in Middle-east. Using the platform of OIC and making connections with particular Arab countries like Turkey Pakistan is trying to get support on the Kashmir issue and blocking India to get support in NSG. Thus, by conducting sophisticated balance-of-power diplomacy, India is trying to counter Pakistani influence in the Gulf region.
      • Defence Imports:
        • Israel has been very important to India due to its technical, intelligence, and military support. Israel has been one of the major military equipment providers in India and also an important trading partner.
      • Security Challenge :
        • Rising terrorism in this region has a direct and indirect impact on India.

 

Significance of Abraham Accord for India: 

      • Economic Cooperation:
        • The discovery of new hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean, has renewed territorial disputes between Turkey and Greece, and the Turkish quest for regional dominance has drawn Greece and the UAE closer thereby paving way for India’s participation in the region.
      • Regional connectivity:Abraham Accords have improved the regional connectivity between the member countries. This regional connectivity has also helped Indians.
        • For example, the Indian diaspora in the Gulf can now fly directly from the UAE to Israel or from Israel to Bahrain.
      • Technology cooperation:Beyond trade, there is potential for India, UAE, and Israel to collaborate in many areas — from space to defence technology.
      • The only geopolitical entity in the region:The new “Quad” in the Middle East is likely to be India’s only new coalition in the region. The feasibility of a non-ideological engagement with the Middle East by bridging the Arab- Israeli rift.
      • ‘Extended’ neighbourhood:This engagement will open the door for extending the collaboration with other regional partners like Egypt, having much more impact in the region.,
      • Peace and Stability in West Asia: Agreement opens the doors to the first big rapprochement between traditional adversaries in West Asia—Israel and the Arab This would open new doors for India’s engagement in the region.
      • Group formation:The Accords have helped in the formation of the I2U2 Group. This group is established by Israel, India, the UAE, and the United States.

 

Conclusion:

The opportunities for India to the west of the Subcontinent are as significant as those that have recently emerged in the east like QUAD, which has changed the way how India had transformed the way it thinks of “Indo-Pacific”, the notion of a “Greater Middle East” can provide myriad opportunities to India’s engagement with the extended neighbourhood to the west.

 

Insta Links

I2U2 Summit

Mains Links

Q. The opportunities that are coming India’s way to the west of the Subcontinent are as consequential as those that have recently emerged in the east. Discuss the statement in the context of the Abraham Accord and its significance for India. (15M)

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)


Sources of the Quotes asked in UPSC Mains Essay Paper 2022 

The Essay Paper of UPSC CSE 2022 followed the previous trend of philosophical and abstract topics but was lucid in language and simpler to understand than the previous years’ topics. Challenge remained in selecting the right topic and building content.

 

Section A

Q1. Forests are the best-case studies for economic excellence

      • Quote by Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr, CEO of Mayflower-Plymouth

Q2. Poets are acknowledged legislators of the world

      • This topic is a direct lift up from ‘The Defence of Poetry’ 1821 by Shelley.
      • As per him, a poet’s enhanced poetic language can re-institute order in human society.

Q3. History is a series of victories won by the scientific man over the romantic man

      • History is considered the mother of all subjects. You could have started with What is History? Series of what? civilisation, culture, modern nation-state. Are we romantic? What is romantic thought? emotions, Eg of romance – Buddha’s thoughts, Ashoka’s Dhamma, Scientific – Military strength, Brutal power, Chola’s. Historical interpretations, Salman Rushdie, Indian mythology, Vedas etc.

 

 

Q4. A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what is a ship for

      • The quote that is mostly credited to John A. Shedd
      • This phrase means, that getting out of your comfort zone is key to experiencing new things and broadening your horizons.

 

Section B

 

Q5. The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining

      • Credited to John F. Kennedy (1962), the quote is a reminder to fix what is broken as soon as possible.
      • Also, do the right things at the right time.

Q6. You cannot step twice in the same river

      • Credited to Heraclitus, a philosopher. The quote continues as, “For it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

Q7. A smile is the chosen vehicle for all ambiguities

      • Identified as a quote by Herman Melville, an American novelist, it simply means that in situations of doubts, dilemma and unclarity, the smile is the way out.

Q8. Just because you have a choice, it does not mean any of them has to be right

      • Picked from The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

For a detailed discussion, see Vinay Sir’s discussion of the Essay paper on Monday.

 


Facts for Prelims


SCO tourist and cultural capital

Source: Business Standard

The city of Varanasi has been nominated as the first-ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital during the period 2022-2023 at the 22nd Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

The nomination of Varanasi as the first ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital will promote tourism, and cultural and humanitarian exchanges between India and the SCO member Countries. It also underlines India’s ancient civilizational links with the Member States of SCO, especially the Central Asian Republics.

 About Varanasi:

      • Varanasi is a city on the Ganges river in northern India that has a central place in pilgrimage, death, and mourning in the Hindu world. It is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities.
      • The city has long been an educational and musical centre: many prominent Indian philosophers, poets, writers, and musicians live or have lived in the city, and it was the place where the Benares Gharana form of Hindustani classical music was developed. In the 20th century the Hindi-Urdu writer Premchandand the shehnai player Bismillah Khan were associated with the city.
      • India’s oldest Sanskrit college, the Benares Sanskrit College, was founded during East India Company rule.

 

Eklavya School

Source: The Hindu

Context: Despite sanctioning record numbers of Eklavya model residential schools for tribal students and setting up the National Education Society for Tribal Students (NESTS) to manage these schools in 2018, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs has so far been unable to fix the teacher shortage faced across 378 of such schools that are currently functional.

Eklavya Model Residential School (EMRS) 

      • EMRS isa scheme for making model residential schools for Indian tribals (ST- Scheduled Tribes) across India. It started in the year 1997-98.
      • As per the budget 2018-19,every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an Eklavya Model Residential School by the year 2022.

 

TN Breakfast Scheme

Source: The Hindu

Direction: This is taken from the editorial on the scheme.

Context:  The Tamil Nadu government’s launch of the free breakfast scheme for schoolchildren is an instance of a policy initiative with far-reaching consequences for school education and public health.

Significance:

      • Multiple studies across the globe indicate that eating breakfast regularly confers positive outcomes on students, affecting their ability to focus, learn and retain information positively.
      • School performance improves, as do behaviour and cognition, but a regular breakfast also takes care of diet quality, micronutrient sufficiency, anaemia and height and weight issues in children, and is even believed to sculpt BMI scores for the future.

Features:

      • Aim:Encourage children to continue to come to school and help prevent dropouts at the primary level.
      • The government has targeted providing schoolchildren with an average of 293 calories and an average protein input of 9.85 gm (nine point eight five) per day.
      • Features:Under the scheme, children in government schools from Class I to Class V will get nutritious breakfast provided in their schools every morning.

About Tamil Nadu:

      • It has been the pioneer of the midday meal scheme as the first initiative to provide meals to children. This scheme was later emulated by the union government as a midday meal scheme.

Concerns: The government must avoid the errors of omission and commission — including pilferage, poor quality of food, delays in sanctioning funds, and caste-related disruptions — that have been hurdles in its path earlier.

 

Online Gaming

Source: Outlook India

Context: Central panel calls for the regulatory body, new law for online gaming

Online gaming describes any video game that offers online interactions with other players. Online gaming is not prohibited and games involving money are allowed in most states of the country.

      • Betting and Gambling comes under the State list and is banned in most states.

Issues Highlighted by the Panel:

      • Ambiguous nature of the difference between games requiring skills and games dependent on luck or chance.
      • Online gaming is becoming a big addiction and causing increasing debt
      • Tamil Nadu has had 17 reported cases of death by suicide in three years because of financial losses incurred due to online gambling addiction
      • No way of monitoring them
      • Different State laws: While Sikkim (1st state) has legalized it, Telangana became 1st state to ban it.
      • Different interpretations: many High Court has said that it forms a legitimate business activity under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India, while one HC has called it akin to gambling.

Opportunities:

      • India’s online gaming industry is one of the fastest growing industries, garnering high investments and employment opportunities.
      • Bringing a uniform tax on online gaming will help realize more revenue.

Steps taken:

Online Gaming (Regulation) Bill, 2022: sought to create an online gaming commission.

Conclusion:

India needs a regulatory body that would categorise online games based on chance and skill, take a stricter view on gambling websites, and have rules enabling the blocking of prohibited formats.

Related news on Article 19(1) (g): to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business

SC has stated that the right to establish an educational institution is a fundamental right on which states can impose reasonable restrictions “only by a law” i.e. using legislative power and not by executive power.

Fast-Track Courts/Special Courts (FTCs and FTSCs)

Source: The Hindu

Context:  Law Minister has asked for fast setting up of FTCs and FTSCs

 About FTCs and FTSCs

Initially recommended by the 11th and 14th Finance commission to deal with cases of serious nature pending for more than 5 years.

FTSCs are set up under POSCO by the centrally-sponsored scheme for hearing cases related to children.

Setting up and its functioning comes under States (in consultation with High courts)

Success:

      • FTCs: 896/1800 are functional (nearly 50%)
      • FTSCs: 731/1023 are operational ( over 70%)
      • They have helped speed up justice and created deterrent for sexual offenders

Related news: SC has directed HC to allow convicts who have completed 10 years of their life sentences to consider to release on Bail and those who completed 14 years for ‘remission’.

In the case of a life sentence, 14 years is the minimum term to apply for remission.

The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) provides for remission of prison sentences, which means the whole or a part of the sentence may be cancelled. Bail is the temporary release of a prisoner in exchange for security.

 

E-Baal Nidan Portal

Source: PIB

Context: The portal for complaint management  for violation of child rights, E-Baal Nidan has been revamped by NCPCR (National Commission for protection of Child Rights)

      • Previously, NCPCR had launched a “CiSS application” under the Baal Swaraj portal to help in the rehabilitation process of Children in Street Situations. (CiSS)

About NCPCR:

      • Set up in March 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.
      • It works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.

Definition: The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.

      • The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

 

Urban Wastewater Scenario in India

Source: Live Mint 

Context: India and Demark have launched a whitepaper which aims to holistically capture the current status of wastewater treatment in India and potential pathways for future treatment structures, co-creation, and collaborations.

      • It comes under Green Strategic Partnership (2020) which aimed at active collaboration between two countries on – Green Hydrogen, Renewable Energy and Wastewater management.
      • Also, Atal Innovation Mission- ICDK Water Innovation Challenge in India was implemented under it. 

Steps taken by government:

      • Formed an integrated ministry in the name of Jal Shakti in 2019
      • Government have committed investments of more than $140 billion by 2024 in the water sector.
      • At least 10% of the funds are contributed by the community in every program ensuring community ownership and participation.

International Ozone Day

Source: Financial Express

Direction: Do have basic knowledge about Ozone, it is important for all the competitive exams.

Context: September 16 is celebrated as national ozone day.

Theme: Montreal Protocal@35 (as 2022 marks the 35th year of implementation of the Montreal Protocol)

Montreal Protocol

      • Under the Vienna Convention (1985), Montreal Protocol (1987) was set up with the aim to cut down 99% of all ozone-depleting substances (ODS) by active collaboration between Governments, Scientists and Industry.
      • It remains the only treaty to be ratified by all 198 UN Member States. It achieved universal ratification on September 16, 2009. Hence, September 16 is now commonly known as World Ozone Day.
      • After Montreal Protocol, ODS Choloflourocarbon (CFCs) was replaced with Hydroflorurcarbons (HFCs).
        • Even though HFCs don’t harm ozone but are extremely potent to cause global warming and therefore under the Kigali amendment (2016), HFCs were replaced as well. India ratified the Kigali amendment in 2021.

Success of the Protocol:

      • Today, more than 99% of ozone-depleting substances have been phased out and the ozone layer is on a path to recovery

About Ozone:

      • Ozone (O3) is a highly reactive gas composed of three oxygen atoms. It is both a natural and a man-made product that occurs in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. (the stratosphere) and lower atmosphere (the troposphere).
      • It is a mere 3mm shield in the stratosphere
      • While the entire UV-C and some of UV-B are absorbed by the ozone layer and the atmosphere, UV-A makes its way to our planet.
        • Humans require UV-B to generate Vitamin D but an excess of these radiations can cause serious illness and also result in a reduced crop yield.

 

BEEP

Context: A conference has been organized under BEEP (Indo-Swiss Building Energy Efficiency Project) for helping India mainstream energy-efficient and thermally comfortable Building design for both commercial and residential buildings.

      • The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) will implement it.

Green Fins Hub

Source: D2E

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), along with UK-based charity Reef-World Foundation, recently launched the Green Fins Hub, a global digital platform they said would give sustainable marine tourism a ‘major boost’.

The platform will help diving and snorkelling operators worldwide to make simple, cost-efficient changes to their daily practices by utilising tried and tested solutions.

It would also help them keep track of their annual improvements and communicate with their communities and customers.

 

Conciliation with eight armed groups in northeast

 Direction: This is in Continuation of yesterday’s article (in Facts for Prelims)

Context: Centre has signed the tripartite agreement with 8 armed tribal and the Assam government to restore peace and rehabilitation of armed groups.

Recent Agreements are:

      • Bru-Reang agreement to solve the Refugee crisis (the permanent settlement of 6959 Bru families in Tripura with a financial package)
      • Bodo Accord (The Bodo accordof 2020 is an attempt to amplify the administrative, legislative and financial powers given to the Bodo Territorial Region (BTR) )
      • Karbi Anglong Agreement (more than 1,000 members of armed outfits came forward to surrender and give up the path of violence)
      • Assam-Meghalaya Inter-State Boundary Agreement
      • AFSPA has partially or completely been withdrawn from many districts/states.

 


Mapping



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