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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 07 November 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. How is India planning to end child marriage

 

GS Paper 3:

1. FAO’S State of Food and Agriculture report 2022

2. New hope for malaria vaccine

 

Content for Mains Enrichment

1. Tribal culture preservation and Integration

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Raja Rammohun Roy

2. Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas

3. EWS quota Constitutional

4. Deemed to be Universities

5. MGNREGA

6. National SC-ST Hub Scheme

7. Excellence in Urban Transport

8. UN Resident Coordinator

9. India-UK Free Trade Agreement

10. Niveshak Didi

11. Black Honeybee

12. Snow leopard

13. Falcon Heavy rocket

14. Mapping


How is India planning to end child marriage

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Indian Society; Social Justice; Issues related to women; Governance

 

Source: The Hindu 

Direction: The article is almost a complete note on “Issues of Child Marriage”. You may note down relevant points.

 

Context: This is the Hindu explained article. UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage team is on a visit to India to witness state interventions which have helped reduce the prevalence of child marriage.

 

Child marriage in India is defined as the marriage solemnized between two people where the female is below the age of 18 years or the male is below the age of 21 years.

 

Status of child marriage in India

As per the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), India is home to the largest number of child brides in the world – accounting for a third of the global total.

  • While there has been a decline in the incidence of child marriage nationally (from 54% in 1992-93 to about 23% (2020-21)) and in nearly all states, the pace of change remains slow, especially for girls in the age group 15-18 years.
  • Pandemic has increased the instances of Child Marriage.
  • Child marriage is more prevalent in rural areas (48 per cent) than in urban areas (29 per cent).
  • Eight States have a higher prevalence of child marriage than the national average — West Bengal, Bihar and Tripura performing worse.
  • States with a large population of tribal poor have a higher prevalence of child marriage.

 

Reasons for the prevalence of child marriage in India

  • Lack of education:- A big determinant of the age of marriage is education. Around 45% of women with no education and 40% with primary education married before the age of 18, according to NFHS-4.
  • Patriarchal attitudes: Child marriage is often seen as a defence against premarital sex, and the duty to protect the girl from sexual violence and harassment is transferred from father to husband.
  • Declining sex ratio: – In rural parts of northern India, particularly in Rajasthan, the declining sex ratio has led to the growth of a practice known as Atta Sata where a daughter is exchanged for a daughter-in-law, irrespective of her age
  • Ineffective implementation of the law: Lack of proper age documentation and overall lack of protection for the human rights of children along with the ineffective implementation of laws like PCMA, 2006 is also a major hurdle in eliminating child marriages.
  • Economics of marriage – Girls are often seen as a liability with a limited economic role. In poor communities, marrying off a daughter means one less mouth.
  • Cultural practices -The practice of child marriage in northern India is closely associated with pious occasions such as Akha Teej in Rajasthan when mass child wedding takes place in many districts however administration fails to stop these weddings due to social pressure.

  

Other determinants of Child Marriage:

 

Consequences of child marriage:

  • It violates children’s rights
  • Results in more infant and maternal deaths
  • Stunted growth (NFHS-5: prevalence of child stunting is 35.5% in 2019-21)

 

Fig: Vicious cycle of Child Marriage and Poverty

 

Laws and policy interventions:

  • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
  • Centralised schemes like the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
  • West Bengal’s Kanyashree scheme offers financial aid to girls wanting to pursue higher studies
  • Bihar and other States have been implementing a cycle scheme to ensure girls reach safely to school, and U.P. has the scheme to encourage girls to go back to school.

 

Raising the legal age of marriage as a tool to curb child marriage: Recently the cabinet has approved increasing the marriage age of women from 18 to 21. If implemented, it will bring the age of marriage for both men and women to par.

 

How the raising the age will help to curb Child marriage

  • Increasing marriage will delay the women’s responsibility which is attached to marriage – In many traditional societies, women’s age at marriage acts simultaneously as a gateway to new family roles and the likelihood of producing offspring. Thus increasing the marriage age will delay this responsibility and give a chance to women for self-development.
  • Ensures gender equality in the marriage age – Increasing the minimum age of marriage for females to 21 years, ensures gender equality, as the legal marriage age for males is already 21 years, different ages of marriage promote the Stereotype that wives must be younger than their husbands.
  • Outlaw child marriages and prevent the abuse of minors: The law prescribes a minimum age of marriage to essentially outlaw child marriages and prevent the abuse of minors.
  • Enormous benefits on social and economic fronts include lowering the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR), improvement of nutrition levels and more opportunities for women to pursue higher education and careers, according to a research note by SBI Ecowrap.

 

Limitation of the measure to curb the child marriage

  • Limited success of the legal measures in the past
    • According to NFHS-5 (2019-21), the prevalence of underage marriages remains high, with 23% of women between 20 and 24 years of age married before the age of 18.
    • At the same time, the detection of such marriages remains low, with only 785 cases registered under the law in 2020.
  • Laws cannot be the shortcut towards social reforms – Social reforms should be brought through improving social indicators like health, education and awareness of the ill effects of child marriage. At the same time incentivises the girl child as well as parents towards the late marriage.
    • For example – It is found that the decline in child marriages was not a result of the law penalising it as much as more women getting educated and employed.
  • Laws without wide societal support often fail to deliver even when their statement of objects and reasons aims for the larger public good. In a traditional society introducing modern reforms does not always deliver positive results rather it results in the rampant prevalence of the actions illegally.
  • Possible increase of sex-selective abortions – Increasing the legal marriage age without changing patriarchal social norms can result in parents feeling even more ‘burdened’ by what they view as an additional responsibility of the girl child, which in turn could lead to an increase in sex-selective practices.

 

Way forward

  • Investing in girls’ education- According to the NFHS-4, the median age of marriage increases from 17.2 years for women with no schooling to 22.7 years for women with 12 or more years of schooling.
  • Economic and social empowerment of girls– Financial empowerment often gives individuals a greater say in their households and their own future. It can give girls the ability to say no to early marriage, and the family won’t see them as a liability.
  • Targeted social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) campaigns- Social norms that exclude girls and boys from marriage-related decision-making need to change.
  • Ensuring registration of marriages- The governments must develop a mechanism to ensure that all marriages (including civil, religious, and customary unions), births, and deaths are mandatorily registered through a system, as a means to track marriages and the age of marriage.
  • Raising social awareness on health, nutrition, regressive social norms and inequalities
  • Child Marriage Free Villages like Odisha which now has over 12,000 such villages
  • Shivraj Patil Committee report in 2011: Ensuring that Child Protection Committees and Child Marriage Prohibition officers are doing the job and activating community support groups

 

Case study: Karnataka: Percentage of child marriages in Karnataka (from 42% in 2005-06 to 21.3% in 2019-20). Several thousand child marriage prohibition officers have been notified in Karnataka and 90,000 local gram panchayat members have been oriented to spread awareness of child marriage.

 

Conclusion

One should not address a problem immediately by legislation. One needs to understand the core societal issue. Girls need to get equal opportunities in terms of health, education, and living. Bringing in more women to the workforce like in South Korea and Japan can also help to improve gender imbalance and solve issues of early marriages

 

Insta Links:

 Mains Links:

Q. Bring out the reasons for the prevalence of child marriages in India. Will the raising of the legal age of marriage for girls help mitigate the issue? Discuss. (15M)

FAO’S State of Food and Agriculture report 2022

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: e-Technology in the aid of farmers

 

Source: DTE

Context: According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), agricultural automation might exacerbate inequality if technology is inaccessible to small-scale producers and other marginalised groups.

Agriculture automation covers all the practices that help with planting and harvesting with the aid of machines and other devices.

Background: The recently released FAO’S State of Food and Agriculture report 2022 looked at how agricultural automation (which includes anything from tractors to artificial intelligence) in our agri-food systems can contribute to achieving sustainable development goals.

 

Highlights of the report:

  • Agricultural automation plays an important role in making food production more efficient and environmentally friendly.
  • However, it can also deepen inequalities if it remains inaccessible to small-scale producers and other marginalised groups.
  • Agricultural automation can lead to unemployment in places where rural labour is abundant and wages are low.
  • There are wide disparities in the spread of automation between and within countries, with adoption being particularly limited in sub-Saharan Africa. For example, Japan had more than 400 tractors per 1,000 hectares of arable land, compared with just 0.4 in Ghana in 2005.

 

Recommendations given in the report on how to minimise risks:

  • Sustainable rental mechanisms are key for aiding mechanisation in regions with poor agri-automation.
  • Policymakers should avoid subsidising automation in labour-abundant regions. They should focus on creating an enabling environment for adopting automation.
  • Social protection should be provided to the least skilled workers, who are more likely to lose their jobs during the transition.

 

Case Study – TROTRO Tractor in Ghana: It is a platform that connects farmers and tractor operators and through thousands of tractor owners can provide tractor-hire services to farmers.

 

Way ahead:

  • Without technological progress and increased productivity, there is no possibility of lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.
  • Hence, it is the need of the hour to ensure that automation takes place in a way that is inclusive and promotes sustainability.

 

Insta Links:

e-Technology in the aid of farmers

New hope for malaria vaccine

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life

 

Source: Indian Express

Context: The World Health Organization’s (WHO) recently approved RTS, S/AS01 (Mosquirix) developed by GlaxoSmithKline for immunising children against malaria was a big milestone after decades of gradual progress.

 

About Malaria disease:

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. It is caused by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito if the mosquito itself is infected with a malarial parasite.

There are five kinds of malarial parasites out of which Plasmodium falciparum (parasite is responsible for 70% of cases in India), and Plasmodium vivax (globally, the commonest ones).

 

Need to develop vaccine:

  • According to the WHO’s World Malaria Report 2021
    • Globally, there were an estimated 241 million malaria cases in 2020 in 85 malaria-endemic countries.
    • India contributed 1.7% of malaria cases and 1.2% of deaths globally.
    • Most of this increase came from countries in the WHO Africa Region, which accounted for 95% of cases.
    • Malaria deaths increased by 12% globally in 2020 compared with 2019, the majority of whom are children under the age of five.
  • Given the parasite’s very complex life cycle that correlates with protective immunity has been difficult.

 

About the RTS,S/AS01 (Mosquirix) vaccine:

 Decoding the name of the vaccine:

  • It is named RTS because it was engineered using genes (repeat (‘R’) and T-cell) of the protein of the Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite together with a viral surface antigen (‘S’) of the hepatitis B virus (HBsAg).
  • This protein was then mixed with additional HBsAg to improve purification, hence the extra “S”.
  • To boost immune responses, all protein-based recombinant vaccines rely heavily on a strong adjuvant (help vaccines work better). RTS, S is formulated with an adjuvant called AS01 developed at GSK.

 

Case of India – Why hasn’t India been more successful in developing such vaccines?

  • Though basic malaria research has been robust in India, there is a significant gap in the establishment of safe and scientifically robust control human infection models for diseases such as malaria or influenza.

 

What is required:

  • With a highly successful and devoted vaccine-producing biopharma industry, India should be able to lead the world in vaccine development and production.
  • To aid scientists in the development of novel vaccines against infectious diseases, long-term continuous funding, and regulatory and logistic processes must be better coordinated.

 

Note:

  • The WHO’s own benchmark for malaria vaccine efficacy is 75%.
  • Another malaria vaccine, R21/Matrix M, developed by the University of Oxford in the UK, demonstrated an efficacy of 77% in phase 1 and 2 trials among 450 children in Burkina Faso.

 

Insta Links:

RSTV: IN-DEPTH- MALARIA VACCINE

 

Mains Link:

What is Mosquirix, the first malaria vaccine to get the WHO’s backing?

Content for Mains Enrichment

Tribal culture preservation and Integration

Source: The Hindu

Context: The Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) has recreated the huts of several communities at its different regional centres, especially those of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

 These huts are made using authentic design, and traditional materials, and are often with participation from tribal communities.

  • Building these huts is also an attempt to revive such traditional craftsmanship and maintain the cultural heritage of the tribe.
    • For instance, the traditional Jarawa hut, called a chadda, has traditional baskets, bows and arrows, and other artefacts used by the community. The Shompen hut contains a store of a paste made using the pandamus fruit which members of the tribe eat when there is a shortage of food.

The zonal anthropological museums of AnSI are important tourist destinations and the construction of these tribal huts within the museum premises will help to increase the interest of visitors and bring out the essence of indigenous traditional tribal culture.

Facts for Prelims

Raja Rammohun Roy

 Source: PIB

Context: The Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation of the Ministry of Culture recently organised a dance drama program titled ‘Yugpurush Raja Rammohun Roy’ based on the theme ‘Nari Samman.’

 

Background:

  • The program, based on the life of Raja Rammohun Roy, was organised at Kartavya Path and India Gate (Central Vista).
  • A one-year-long celebration was launched by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India on May 22, 2022, on the occasion of the 250th birth anniversary of Raja Rammohun Roy, as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

 

In collaboration with David Hare and Alexander Duff, who of the following established Hindu College at Calcutta? (2009)

(a) Henry Louis Vivian Derozio
(b) Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
(c) Keshab Chandra Sen
(d) Raja Rammohan Roy

Ans: (d)

Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas

Source: PIB

Context: To commemorate the contribution of the tribal freedom fighters,  the Ministry of Education is celebrating the ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Divas’.

 

The government had declared 15th November as ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Divas’ dedicated to the memory of brave tribal freedom fighters.

15th November is the birth anniversary of Birsa Munda who is revered as Bhagwan by tribal communities across the country.

 

About Birsa Munda:

  • Birsa Munda was an iconic freedom fighter, social reformer, and revered tribal leader of the country, who fought bravely against the exploitative system of the British colonial government, and became a legendary figure in his lifetime, often referred to as ‘Bhagwan’.
  • He organized and led the tribal movement, giving a call for “Ulgulan” (Revolt, 1899-1900) to the tribals. He encouraged tribals to understand their cultural roots and observe unity.

EWS quota Constitutional

Source: The Hindu, Indian Express

 Direction: We will give a descriptive analysis of the judgement in the coming days.

 

Context: The Supreme Court upheld the validity of reservation to economically weaker sections (EWS) of society among the general category by a majority judgment of 3:2.

 

Arguments by Judges:

Favours: The state can make special provisions and the exclusion of SEBCs, STs, SCs, and OBCs does not violate the equality code. Reservation should have a deadline to usher in an egalitarian society. Efforts should be made to eliminate the causes of backwardness.

Against the quota: Reservation on the basis of economic criterion is per se valid, but excluding others who are backward (SC/ST/OBC/SEBC) is a violation of the basic structure. All the poorest, regardless of caste or class, are discriminatory. Strikes at the essentials of non-discriminatory rule.

 Government’s View: The government maintained that the 10% quota was not an addition to the 50% ceiling on the reservation. It said the EWS quota was an “independent compartment”. The government has said it will increase seats by 25% in its institutions to accommodate the EWS quota.

Background: The 10% EWS quota was introduced under the 103rd Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2019 by amending Articles 15 and 16. It inserted Article 15 (6) and Article 16 (6). Economic reservation in jobs and admissions in educational institutes for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) among forward communities.

Deemed to be Universities

Source: Hindustan Times

 Context:  UGC has come up with new UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2022 thus replacing the previous 2019 guidelines. The new regulation is in line with New Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

Deemed-to-be-university is an accreditation granted to higher educational institutions in India by the Department of Higher Education, which imparts the academic status and privileges of a university. There are over 150 such institutions currently.

 

Now institutions need not be in existence for a minimum of 20 years before they can apply for the tag of “Deemed to be Universities”.

The basic criteria for institutions to have this tag is having multi-disciplinary programmes and courses (more than 5); accreditation of over 3.1 CGPA by NAAC three years in a row etc.

MGNREGA

Source: The Hindu

Context: Union Rural Development Ministry has removed the existing cap of 20 simultaneous works per gram panchayat and increased it to up to 50, on account of the large size of the gram panchayat.

 

Other contentious issues: Centre is alleged to owe ₹19 crores for social audit in MGNREGA, but it has given only ₹2.69 crores till now; the Government has reduced person days under MGNREGA, thus impacting the job security of the poor in the states.

 

Previously, the Centre had accepted various recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

 

About MGNREGS:

It guarantees “the right to work”, by legally providing at least 100 days of wage employment in rural India.

  • Implementation: The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) in association with state governments. It is a centrally-sponsored scheme.
  • Within 15 days of submitting the application or from the day work is demanded (demand-driven scheme), wage employment will be provided to the applicant, and allowances in case employment are not provided.
  • Social Audit of MGNREGA works is mandatory
  • Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayat approve the shelf of works under MGNREGA and fix their priority.

National SC-ST Hub Scheme

Source: PIB

Context: Recently a review meeting for the scheme was conducted by the Union Minister of MSME

The scheme aims to support SC/ST entrepreneurs by mandating 4% procurement by the CPSE from them, providing credit-linked capital subsidy, Special marketing assistance etc. It is being implemented by National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC), under the Ministry of MSME.

Excellence in Urban Transport

Source: The Hindu

Context: Navi Mumbai (best public transport system for its city bus service), Ahmedabad (most sustainable transport system for its BRTS), Lucknow, and Delhi bag awards for excellence in urban transport; Chennai awarded for Best Intelligent Transport System (ITS) in the 15th Urban Mobility India (UMI) Conference and Expo

  • Kolkata was adjudged the city with the best non-motorised transport system for its cycling infrastructure in the new town Kolkata project
  • Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd: best passenger services and satisfaction in Metro rail

 

The conference was organised by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in collaboration with the Government of Kerala on the theme– ‘Azadi@75–Sustainable Aatma Nirbhar Urban Mobility’.

UN Resident Coordinator

 Source: The Hindu

 

Context: Siddharth Chatterjee, who rose to become the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator for China, is currently leading the UN and its 26 agencies in China.

 

Background:

  • In 2020, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed senior UN official Siddharth Chatterjee of India as the UN Resident Coordinator in China.
  • A National Defence Academy (NDA) graduate and former 10 Para special forces officer, Siddharth Chatterjee fought for the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka and battled insurgencies in Nagaland.

 

About the UN Resident Coordinator (RC):

  • S/he is the highest-ranking representative of the UN Development System at the country level.
  • RCs lead UN Country Teams and coordinate UN support to countries in implementing the 2030 SDG Agenda.
  • The Resident Coordinator is the designated representative of and reports to the UN Secretary-General.

India-UK Free Trade Agreement

Source: Live Mint

Context: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has warned that the proposal on intellectual property (IP) rights in the draft India-UK FTA may hurt the global supply of generic medicines.

 

India-UK FTA started in 2007 and has been stuck on several contentious issues including migration, patent laws and tariffs.

 

A generic drug is a pharmaceutical drug that contains the same chemical substance as a drug that was originally protected by chemical patents.

 

MSF or Doctors Without Borders is an international humanitarian medical non-governmental organisation  (HQ: Paris, France) best known for its projects in conflict zones and in countries affected by endemic diseases.

India-UK Free Trade Agreement

Source: Live Mint

Context: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has warned that the proposal on intellectual property (IP) rights in the draft India-UK FTA may hurt the global supply of generic medicines.

 

India-UK FTA started in 2007 and has been stuck on several contentious issues including migration, patent laws and tariffs.

 

A generic drug is a pharmaceutical drug that contains the same chemical substance as a drug that was originally protected by chemical patents.

 

MSF or Doctors Without Borders is an international humanitarian medical non-governmental organisation  (HQ: Paris, France) best known for its projects in conflict zones and in countries affected by endemic diseases.

‘Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontiercs)’, often in the news, is (2016)

a) A division of the World Health Organization

b) A non-governmental international organization

c) An inter-government agency sponsored by European Union

d) A specialized agency of the United Nations

Answer: B

Niveshak Didi

Source: PIB

Context: India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), conducted India’s First Floating Financial Literacy Camp with an initiative called ‘Niveshak Didi’ to promote Financial Literacy.

‘Niveshak Didi’ initiative is based on the ideology of women for women as rural area women feel more comfortable sharing their queries with a female itself.

The Floating Financial Literacy Camp was conducted among the local residents around the world-famous Dal Lake of Srinagar, J&K. 

Black Honeybee

 Source: The Hindu

Context: A new species of endemic honeybee named Apis karinjodian or Indian black honeybee, has been discovered in the Western Ghats, taking the species of honeybees in the world to 11.

 

About the new species:

  • Classified as near threatened (NT) in the IUCN Red List, the distribution of Apis karinjodian ranges from the States of Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu.

The research has given the country’s apiculture a new direction as it is home to three species of cavity-nesting honey bees: Apis indica, Apis cerana and Apis karinjodian.

Snow leopard

 Source: The Hindu

Context: The first-ever snow leopard recording from the Baltal-Zojila region has renewed hope for the elusive predator in higher altitudes of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

 

Background:

So far, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have completed the Snow Leopard Population Assessment of India (SPAI).

  • Camera trapping exercises conducted by experts from the Nature Conservation Foundation (India) have also raised expectations for other rare species such as the Asiatic ibex, brown bear and Kashmir musk deer in India’s far north.

 

About the Snow leopard:

  • The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is a felidae (a family of mammals in the order Carnivora) in the genus Panthera.
  • It is native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia, ranging from eastern Afghanistan, the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau to southern Siberia, Mongolia and western China.
  • It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

It is a good indicator species (whose presence, absence or abundance reflects a specific environmental condition) as it quickly reacts to habitat disturbances.

Falcon Heavy rocket

 Source: The Hindu

Context: Recently, Elon Musk-owned SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy rocket into a geosynchronous Earth orbit from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, U.S.

 

The Falcon Heavy rocket:

  • About:
    • It is a rocket system of SpaceX that debuted in 2018, with other two Falcon Heavy missions launched in 2019.
    • SpaceX claims Falcon Heavy to be the most powerful rocket in the world, with a lifting capacity of around 64 metric tonnes into orbit, which is twice the payload of the Delta IV Heavy.

Current mission: This is the fourth launch of the giant rocket system, carrying satellites to space for the U.S. military in a mission named U.S. Space Force (USSF)-44.

Mapping


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