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:
- Corbusier’s vision for Chandigarh: The genius & the flaws
GS Paper 2:
- The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) drafted guidelines for assessing minors
GS Paper 3:
- How rising inflation could help Govt balance its fiscal maths
- Generative AI
Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay/ Governance)
- The Open Access movement
- Swami Vivekanand: National Youth Day (12th January)
Facts for Prelims
- Digital India Awards
- ‘Naatu Naatu’ Wins Best Original Song at 2023 Golden Globe Awards
- Sovereign Green Bonds
- Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)
- New Reactor powered by Sun
- Corrosion-resistant nickel alloy coating
- SPRINT Scheme
Note: We will be covering the rest of the relevant articles for the rest of this week.
Corbusier’s vision for Chandigarh: The genius & the flaws
GS Paper 1
Indian Culture – Salient aspects of Architecture from ancient to modern times
Direction: The article discusses the design and planning of Chandigarh in the backdrop of a recent SC order to take a number of actions to preserve Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh.
- The SC directed the Centre and the UT administration to take a number of steps to preserve Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh.
- It prohibited fragmentation/ division/ bifurcation/ apartmentalisation of a residential unit in Phase I of Chandigarh.
- The case dealt with The Chandigarh Apartment Rules, 2001, as per which it was permitted to subdivide single residential units into more than one apartment.
- Though repealed in 2007, the same was reintroduced in the Draft Chandigarh Master Plan-2031.
The SC’s observations:
- It is necessary to strike a proper balance between sustainable development and environmental protection.
- Directed the Legislature, the Executive and the Policy Makers at the Centre and at the State levels to take note of the damage to the environment on account of haphazard developments.
The architectural history of the city of Chandigarh:
- The city of Chandigarh was created to hold the potent promise of creativity and potential.
- Its scale and site were decided at the national level, not at the local administrative level.
- In 1949, then PM Jawaharlal Nehru brought in American architect-planner Albert Mayer and Polish architect Matthew Nowicki to plan a modern city.
- They envisioned superblocks with green spaces that were sensitive to the land’s natural gradient and allowed for drainage and water.
- However, after Nowicki’s death, Swiss-French architect-planner Le Corbusier was commissioned for the project.
Feature of Corbusier’s architectural plan:
- The theme of his planning: ‘Care for the body and spirit’. This would fulfil four functions – living, working, movement and recreation.
- A rectangular grid that would privilege the automobile.
- This encouraged self-sufficient units, dividing the city into different sectors.
- The residences fell into 13 categories based on the rank and income of the government officials who would inhabit them.
- Garden City, where high-rise buildings were unacceptable in commercial areas.
- His plan would have a heart, a head and hands.
- The “head” would contain the Capital Complex, the “heart” the commercial area and the “hands” would host recreational spaces and academic institutions.
Criticism of Corbusier’s planning:
- Eviction of locals and refugees: The city, is to be built in two phases, with Phase I containing Sectors 1 to 30 for 150,000 people, and Phase II containing Sectors 31-47 for a denser population of over 500,000.
- To accomplish this, roughly 28,000 people were required to leave the land under the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, with the inhabitants remaining as tenants.
- Segregating housing based on income: As a result, wage earners’ placement outside of city borders made it difficult for them to access jobs.
Conclusion: Due to the exclusion of the poor, the city of Chandigarh is known as a well-designed city rather than a well-planned city.
Q. How will you explain the medieval Indian temple sculptures that represent the social life of those days? (UPSC 2022)
Prelims Links: (UPSC 2013)
With reference to the history of Indian rock-cut architecture, consider the following statements:
- The caves at Badami are the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India
- The Barabar rock-cut caves were originally made for Ajivikas by Emperor Chandra Gupta Maurya
- At Ellora, caves were made for different faiths
Which of the given statements is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
How rising inflation could help Govt balance its fiscal maths
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment
Direction: The article discusses how high inflation can benefit the government’s fiscal calculations.
Context: Even though the high inflation rate of above 6% for most of this fiscal year forced the RBI and the government to take action to bring it under control, this may soon become a blessing in disguise.
The FY 2022-23 fiscal maths has benefited from:
- Strong nominal GDP (which takes into account inflation) growth of around 16% vs budgeted 11%;
- Above target tax collections due to better growth, reopening boost, formalisation, and tighter compliance;
- Pick up in nominal GST collections, which have helped to offset lower RBI dividends, fuel excise cuts, higher subsidies, and divestment miss.
How can this be a blessing for the government?
- The fiscal deficit is expected to be higher in absolute terms by at least Rs 1 lakh crore, but the gains from a rise in nominal GDP (which takes into account inflation) will help in meeting the budget target (4% of GDP).
What will be the effect on Budget 2023-24 maths?
- The disadvantage of this gain would be visible in the next fiscal year when a likely slower growth rate and sluggish tax revenues would harm the government’s budget maths.
- Slower real and nominal GDP growth would occur amid weakening demand conditions, a slowing global economy, and the normalisation of base effects from the pandemic.
|Some important economic concepts|
|Gross Domestic Product (GDP)||Nominal vs Real GDP||Fiscal deficit|
|● GDP is defined as the total monetary or market value of all finished goods and services produced within the borders of a country during a given time period.
● Sub-components of GDP (GDP = Consumption + Investment + Government final consumption expenditure + Net exports)
● Thus, GDP tracks total demand to determine the value of the entire output in the economy.
|● The actual observable variable is nominal GDP, which is estimated using current market prices.
● However, Real GDP is a derived indicator that is determined using constant 2011-12 prices after adjusting for inflation.
● Real GDP = Nominal GDP – Inflation Rate.
● It is vital to examine what has occurred to nominal GDP from a budgetary standpoint.
|● A fiscal deficit is a difference between a government’s income and its spending.
● It is essentially a measure of the health of the government’s finances, tracking the amount of money a government must borrow from the market to cover its expenses.
Prelims: (UPSC 2013)
Which one of the following is likely to be one of the most inflationary in its effects?
- Repayment of public debt
- Borrowing from the public to finance a budget deficit
- Borrowing from the banks to finance a budget deficit
- Creation of new money to finance a budget deficit
Syllabus: Ethics/Society/ Science and Technology
Context: In the wake of newly released models such as Stable Diffusion and ChatGPT, generative AI has become a ‘hot topic’ for technologists, investors, policymakers and society at large.
What is Generative AI?
Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that involves creating new, original content or data using machine learning algorithms.
- It can be used to generate text, images, music, or other types of media.
What is GPT?
A Generative Pretrained Transformer (GPT) is a type of large language model (LLM) that uses deep learning to generate human-like text.
- “generative” because they can generate new text based on the input they receive
- “pretrained” because they are trained on a large corpus of text data before being fine-tuned for specific tasks
- “transformers” because they use a transformer-based neural network architecture to process input text and generate output text
Potential of Generative AI:
Uses of Generative AI:
- Create realistic images and animations
- Text-to-image programs such as Midjourney, DALL-E and Stable Diffusion have the potential to change how art, animation, gaming, movies and architecture, among others, are being rendered
- Generative AI can be used to compose music and create art
- Create brand logo: E.g. many startups are exploring services like DALL.E2, Bing Image Create, Stable Diffusion, and MidJourney to create their brand logo
- Generate text messagesg. ChatGPT to generate news articles, poetry, and even code.
- AI-assisted drug discovery
- Generative AI can be used to design and control robotic systems
- Automate things e.g. Microsoft-owned GitHub Copilot, which is based on OpenAI’s Codex model, suggests code and assists developers in autocompleting their programming tasks.
Issues Associated with Generative AI:
- Governance: Companies such as OpenAI are self-governing the space through limited release strategies, and monitored use of models, however, self-governance leaves chances for manipulation
- Fear of Job losses:g. automation of tasks that were previously done by humans, such as writing news articles or composing music.
- Reduced need for human cognition:g. young children who will see AI as their friend to do their homework.
- Fear of Societal Bias being replicated by AI
- Issues surrounding intellectual property and copyright: The datasets behind generative AI models are generally scraped from the internet without seeking consent from living artists or work still under copyright
- Fear of Misinformation and Mistrust by manipulation of information, creating fake text, speech, images or video
- Fear of Concentration of Power in the hand of a few companies
- Risks for national security using automated troll bots, with advanced capabilities
- Need to make generative AI modelsmore transparent, so that the public can understand how and why the model is making certain decisions
- Use of diverse training data, as well as techniques like fairness constraints or adversarial training to mitigate bias.
- Privacy: Ensuring the privacy of people
- Accountable governance esp. of BigTech companies using a designated “AI ethicist” or “AI ombudsman”
- Designing a system wherein humans make the final decision and AI can be used as a support system
- Collaboration with civil society and policymakers: To mitigate the impact of Generative AI on -the disruption of labour markets, legitimacy of scraped data, licensing, copyright and potential for biased or otherwise harmful content, misinformation, and so on.
While generative AI is a game-changer in numerous areas and tasks, there is a strong need to govern the diffusion of these models, and their impact on society and the economy more carefully.
Source: Indian Express
A court case next month will be taken up by the “world’s first robot lawyer”. The AI-enabled legal assistant will help get a defendant out of a speeding ticket in court by telling them what to say throughout the case via an earpiece.
Behind the robot, lawyer is San Franciso-based startup DoNotPay, which will cover any potential fines in case things do not work out.
Ethics Case Study:
We’ll probably look back on 2022 as the year generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) exploded into public attention, as image-generating systems from OpenAI and Stability AI were released, prompting a flood of fantastical images on social media. Last week, researchers at Meta announced an AI system that can negotiate with humans and generate dialogue in a strategy game called Diplomacy. Venture capital investment in the field grew to $1.3 billion this year, according to Pitchbook, even as it contracted for other areas in tech.
The digital artist Beeple was shocked in August when several Twitter users generated their own versions of one of his paintings with AI-powered tools. Similar software can create music and videos. The broad term for all this is ‘generative AI’ and as we lurch to the digital future, familiar tech industry challenges like copyright and social harm are re-emerging.
Earlier this month, Meta unveiled Galactica, a language system specializing in science that could write research papers and Wikipedia articles. Within three days, Meta shut it down. Early testers found it was generating nonsense that sounded dangerously realistic, including instructions on how to make napalm in a bathtub and Wikipedia entries on the benefits of being Caucasian or how bears live in space. The eerie effect was facts mixed in so finely with hogwash that it was hard to tell the difference between the two. Political and health-related misinformation is hard enough to track when it’s written by humans.
- What are the ethical issues in the above case?
- Can we have ‘ethical AI’?
- Suggest measures that must be taken to prevent moral damage that can from AI.
Content for Mains Enrichment
The Open Access movement
Swami Vivekanand: National Youth Day (12th January)
Facts for Prelims
Thullal- a Satirical Art Form
Context: Ottan Thullal is a recite-and-dance art form of Kerala, India. It was introduced in the eighteenth century by Kunchan Nambiar, one of the Prachina Kavithrayam
- Seen at temple festivals and cultural programmes, these performances use elaborate expressions and stories recited in verses to bring important mythological tales and stories to life.
- It is epitomized by humour, satire and social criticism
- The costume and makeup of the performer are similar to that of a Kathakali artist
- The thullal performer is supported by a singer who repeats the verses and is accompanied by an orchestra of mridangam or thoppimaddalam (percussions) and cymbals.
- It has spawned into three separate versions which include- Ottanthullal, Seethankan thullal and Parayan thullal.
‘Naatu Naatu’ Wins Best Original Song at 2023 Golden Globe Awards
Source: Indian Express
Context: SS Rajamouli’s RRR wins Best Original Song for Naatu Naatu
Composer MM Keeravani, along with singers Kaala Bhairava and Rahul Sipligunj, has won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song, for the track “Naatu Naatu,” which became an anthem of sorts for fans of director SS Rajamouli’s RRR.
- The historical epic has also been nominated in the Best Non-English Language Film category at the 80th Golden Globes.
About Golden Globe Awards:
It was started in 1944 and is given by Hollywood Foreign Press Association (87 members) annually for American and International film and Television. The award is considered an important precursor to the Oscars
Pic: Composer MM Keeravani
Digital India Awards
Source: Indian Express
Context: President Droupadi Murmu, recently conferred the Digital India Award 2022 – Gold to CBSE in the Data Sharing and Use for Socio-Economic Development category.
- CBSE’s pioneering IT initiative “Digital Academic Repository – Parinam Manjusha was selected for the Gold category.
- Platinum: E-NAM: for creating a unified national market for agriculture
- Platinum Award: E-Vivechna App (MP): To help in Crime investigation in the State Crime Records Bureau of Madhya Pradesh
- Mine Mitra (UP) for online approval of mining plan
- Duare Sarkar (West Bengal) for doorstep delivery of services.
- DIA aims to encourage and honour innovative digital solutions and initiatives by various government entities and startups (included in 2022 awards)
- Nodal Agency: Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology
- Implementation Agency: National Portal of India
Sovereign Green Bonds
Source: Indian Express
Context: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced recently that it will, for the first time, issue Sovereign Green Bonds (SgrBs) in the current financial year.
- The bond will be for a 5-year and a 10-year tenure of Rs 4,000 crore each.
What is a bond?
A bond represents a promise by a borrower to pay a lender their principal and usually interest on a loan.
- Bonds are issued by governments, municipalities, and corporations
- The interest rate (coupon rate), principal amount, and maturities will vary from one bond to the next in order to meet the goals of the bond issuer (borrower) and the bond buyer (lender)
What does green bond mean?
They’re a debt instrument public and private entities issue to finance eco-friendly projects. Sustainable finance has become crucial to initiatives on reducing the devastating effects of the climate crisis.
How does green bond work?
Borrowers issue green bonds (debt securities) to secure financing for projects that will have a positive environmental impact, such as ecosystem restoration or reducing pollution. Investors who purchase these bonds can expect to make a profit as the bond matures.
- In addition, there are often tax benefits for investing in green bonds.
Features of the current Green bond:
- SGrBs were 1st announced in Union Budget 2022-23
- Issued through a uniform price auction
- 5% reserved for the retail investor
- Can be traded in the Secondary market
- Non-residents can also invest
Other such initiatives:
Wildlife Conservation Bond (also called Rhino bond) is a five-year bond to protect and increase black rhino populations in protected areas in South Africa. It has been launched by World Bank with Global Environment Facility (GEF) to channelise private capital.
SEBI has allowed futures contracts on corporate bond indices rated AA+ and above so as to add more liquidity to the bond market.
A future contract is a legal agreement to buy or sell a particular commodity asset, or security at a predetermined price at a specified time in the future.
Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)
Source: The Hindu, Business Standard
Context: Ceiling fans have come under the ambit of mandatory star labelling from January 1, as per the revised Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) norms.
- As high energy-efficient five-star rated fans will require new imported motors and electronic components, they would get costlier by 8% to 20%
What is Star-labelling?
Star labelling denotes energy savings of a minimum of 30% for one-star rated fans to over 50% for five-star rated fans.
- Under the new mandate, manufacturers would have to display the star ratings on their fans. The star rating is dependent on service value (air delivery in cubic metres per minute divided by energy consumption in wattage in the case of fans).
Star rating was introduced under the Standards and Labelling Program ( in 2006) for the visual representation of an appliance’s efficiency.
- Standards and Labelling Program comes under Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
- It is mandatory for many appliances to have star ratings such as Frost Free and Direct Cool Refrigerators, LED lamps, Rooms AC, Color TV, Refrigerators, TFL etc.
The Bureau of Indian Standards is the National Standards Body of India under the Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Government of India. It is established by the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016 which came into effect on 12 October 2017.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has announced terms for USB Type C receptacles, plugs and cables as the country moves to have a common charging port for smartphones and other electronic devices by March 2025
- The standards match international ones and provide requirements for USB Type-C ports, plugs and cables used in smartphones, laptops, notebooks and other devices.
- India mandated device manufacturers to ensure that their products have a USB Type-C charging port by March 2025.
New Reactor powered by Sun
Context: Researchers from the University of Cambridge (UK) have developed a system that can transform plastic waste(PET) and greenhouse gases into sustainable fuels and other valuable products – using just the energy from the sun.
- The researchers developed an integrated reactor with two separate compartments: One for plastic and one for greenhouse gases. The reactor uses a light absorber based on perovskite — a promising alternative to silicon for next-generation solar cells.
“Generally, CO2 conversion requires a lot of energy, but with this system, basically you just shine a light at it, and it starts converting harmful products into something useful and sustainable”.
About Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic:
It is a thermoplastic which is malleable under heat. It is known to leach trioxide and phthalates with antimony (a health threat).
Corrosion-resistant nickel alloy coating
Context: A new method of deposition of Nickel alloy coatings on high-performance materials in engineering applications can replace environmentally toxic chrome coatings.
- The coatings obtained are also highly corrosion-resistant and useful for the plastic ware
What is Chrome plating?
Chrome plating (less commonly chromium plating) is a technique of electroplating a thin layer of chromium onto a metal object.
- The chromed layer can be decorative, provide corrosion resistance, ease of cleaning, or increase surface hardness.
Issues with Chrome plating?
Chromium contains Hexavalent chromium, which is a known carcinogen. The plating process uses lead, which can be absorbed through the skin and can cause liver, organ and brain damage. Cyanide is very toxic.
Source: The Hindu
Context: Recently, Indian Navy has signed an agreement with Sagar Defence Engineering Pvt. Ltd for armed autonomous boat swarms under ‘SPRINT’ (Supporting Pole-vaulting In R&D), an initiative to promote the development of niche defence technologies by domestic companies.
This is the 50th contract under ‘SPRINT’, which aims at the development of 75 indigenous technologies by the industry for the Navy by August 15, 2023, as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav
What is Swarming in Defence?
The main intent of the swarm would be to force the enemy to be confronted with multiple new threats from constantly changing directions. The swarm would aim at the psychological dislocation of the enemy more than his physical destruction.
Pic: Swarm attack
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