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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 27 February 2023

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 ina 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. IMD is already sensing heat waves. What are they and why do they happen? 

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. Supreme Court intrigued by the lack of ‘protection officers’ for domestic violence cases
  2. Towards transparency in OTT regulation

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Unemployment rate dips to 4.1% in 21-22
  2. Debating the road to policy consensus on crypto assets under G20 India Presidency

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Kutirs: Huts of knowledge
  2. Strawberry Farming

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Unying Festival
  2. Banjara Dharmaguru Santh Sevalal Maharaj Jayanti
  3. Solar geoengineering
  4. World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) Concludes
  5. Regulation of Pharma Drugs
  6. India’s first municipal bond index
  7. Clean Plant Program
  8. International IP Index
  9. Bisphenol A
  10. Bor Thekera

 

IMD is already sensing heat waves. What are they and why do they happen?

GS Paper 1

Syllabus: Disaster Management

 

Source: The Hindu

 

Direction: This article is in continuation of our previous article on heat waves in northern India.

  

Context: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned that the maximum temperatures over northwest, west, and central India would be 3-5° C higher than the long-term average.

  

What is heat wave?

  • According to the IMD, a region has a heat wave if its ambient temperature deviates by at least 4.5-6.4° C from the long-term average. There is also a heat wave if the maximum temperature crosses 45° C (or 37° C at a hill-station).

  

Origin of Heat Wave in India:

A study published in Nature Geoscience offers some clues as to how different processes contribute to the formation of a heat wave.

  • In spring, India typically has air flowing in from the west-northwest. The Middle East is warming faster than other regions in latitudes similarly close to the equator, and serves as a source of the warm air that blows into India.
  • Air flowing in from the northwest rolls in over the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, so some of the compression also happens on the leeward side of these mountains, entering India with a bristling warmth.
  • The air flowing in over the oceans is expected to bring cooler air, but the Arabian Sea is warming faster than most other ocean regions.
  • The strong upper atmospheric westerly winds that come in from the Atlantic Ocean over to India during spring control the near-surface winds. The energy to run past the earth near the surface, against the surface friction, can only come from above. This descending air compresses and warms up to generate some heat waves.
  • Global warming tends to warm the upper atmosphere faster than the air near the surface. This in turn means that the sinking air is warmer due to global warming, and thus produces heat waves as it sinks and compresses.

 

/ 27 Feb 2023, Today's Article

Supreme Court intrigued by the lack of ‘protection officers’ for domestic violence cases

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation

 

Source: TH

 

Context: The SC has sought more information about Mission Shakti because it is concerned about a persistent lack of protection officers to handle domestic violence cases.

 

Background:

  • Appointment of protection officers (ideally women) is mandated under Section 8 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
  • These officers have a pivotal role:
    • Help victims file complaints,
    • Give Information to the police,
    • Provide immediate protection and support,
    • Inform victims about their legal rights and
    • Support them through the court proceedings.
  • With 4.4 lakh cases pending in 801 districts, a protection officer in each of these districts would be saddled with over 500 cases.
  • Even though Mission Shakti provided for the “one-stop centers” in most of these districts to receive victims, it is unclear how many of them employ protection officers.
  • The government has also been asked about whether Mission Shakti will serve as an umbrella scheme for implementing the Domestic Violence Act.

 

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005:

  • The law, which is overseen by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), provides a definition of “domestic violence” for the first time.
  • Domestic violence includes not only physical violence, but also emotional, verbal, sexual and psychological abuse.
  • It is a civil law meant primarily for protection orders, rather than criminal enforcement.

 

Mission Shakti:

  • It is an integrated-umbrella scheme of MWCD aimed at strengthening interventions for women safety, security and empowerment during the 15th Finance Commission period 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • It has two sub-schemes –

  • Under Samarthya, a new component of Gap Funding for Economic Empowerment has also been added.

 

Insta Links:

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005

 

Mains Links:

“Though women in post-Independent India have excelled in various fields, the social attitude towards women and the feminist movement has been patriarchal.” Apart from women education and women empowerment schemes, what interventions can help change this milieu? (UPSC 2021)

 

Towards transparency in OTT regulation

GS Paper 2

  

Source: The Hindu

 

Context: Even after two years of issuing the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules there has not been much improvement in the regulation of OTT platforms.

  • India’s approach can be termed as a light-touch ‘co-regulation’ model where there is ‘self-regulation’ at the industry level and final ‘oversight mechanism’ at the Ministry level. 

 

Issues plaguing OTT regulation:

  • Lack of awareness: The Rules mandate the display of contact details relating to grievance redressal mechanisms and grievance officers on OTT websites/interface. However, compliance is very low. 
  • While the Rules require disclosure of grievance details by publishers and self-regulating bodies, the reporting formats only capture the number of complaints received and decided
  • Ambiguity around content regulation
  • Jurisdictional issues: Many OTT platforms are based outside India, which makes it difficult to enforce regulations and hold them accountable.
  • Freedom of expression concerns.

 

Solutions:

  • The OTT industry associations could be mandated to run periodic campaigns in print and electronic media about the grievance redressal mechanism
  • The interpretation of age rating (UA 13+, for example) and the content descriptors ( ‘violence’, for instance) could be in the respective languages of the video (apart from English).
  • An independent body may undertake a periodic audit.
  • The Ministry could consider facilitating a dedicated umbrella website wherein the details of applicable Rules, content codes, advisories, contact details for complaints/appeals, etc. are published.

 

Examples from other countries:

Singapore

  • The Infocomm Media Development Authority is the common regulator for different media. Apart from instituting a statutory framework and promoting industry self-regulation, its approach to media regulation emphasizes on promoting media literacy through public education.

  

Insta Links:

Unemployment rate dips to 4.1% in 21-22

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment

 

Source: BS

 Context: According to the latest annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), India’s unemployment rate dropped to a five-year low in July-June 2021-22 to 4.1%

PLFS
About Key indicators
Launched by the NSO in 2017, to estimate the key employment and unemployment indicators –

●        For example, the Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR), etc., in the short time interval of three months for the urban areas only in the Current Weekly Status (CWS).

●        In both usual status and CWS in both rural and urban areas annually.

 

 

NSO is the Statistics Wing of the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, which includes the Central Statistical Office (CSO), the Computer Center and the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).

 

 

Prior to the PLFS, the NSSO (now known as NSO) used to bring out data based on household socio-economic surveys once in five years.

●        LFPR: Percentage of persons in the labour force (working or seeking work) in the population.

●        Worker Population Ratio (WPR): Percentage of employed persons in the population.

●        Unemployment Rate (UR): Percentage of persons unemployed among the persons in the labour force.

●        Activity Status:

○        Usual Status: Determined on the basis of the reference period of the last 365 days preceding the date of the survey.

○        CWS: Determined on the basis of a reference period of the last 7 days preceding the date of the survey.

 

Findings of the latest PLFS:

 

 

Annual survey (“usual status”):

  • UR declined for the 4th consecutive year since it was launched in April 2017.
  • The UR for rural women (2.1%) was lower than for rural men (3.8%) in 2021-22, whereas in urban areas, the rate was high for females (7.9%) as compared to males (5.8%).
  • The LFPR had increased significantly in the last five years from 37.5% in 2018-19 to 55.2% in 2021-22.
  • The rural LFPR in the survey stood at 57.5% (up from 57.4% in 2020-21), whereas its urban equivalent saw an increase to 49.7% (from 49.1%).

 

Quarterly survey (CWS):

  • For urban India, UR stagnated (after declining for five consecutive quarters till July-September FY23,) at 7.2% in the December quarter.
  • The LFPR increased marginally to 48.2% from 47.9% in the September quarter.
  • Youth unemployment (for the 15-29 age group) marginally increased to 18.6% in the December quarter, primarily driven by a rise in the female youth UR.

 

Insta Links:

Unemployment has decreased, says Labour Survey

 

Mains Links:

How globalization has led to the reduction of employment in the formal sector of the Indian economy? Is increased informalization detrimental to the development of the country? (UPSC 2016)

 

Prelims Links: (UPSC 2020)

With reference to the Indian economy after the 1991 economic liberalization, consider the following statements:

  1. Worker productivity (Rs per worker at 2004-05 prices) increased in urban areas while it decreased in rural areas.
  2. The percentage share of rural areas in the workforce steadily increased.
  3. In rural areas, the growth in the non-farm economy increased.
  4. The growth rate in rural employment decreased.

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

 

Ans: 2

“Policy Perspective: Debating the road to policy consensus on crypto assets” under G20 India Presidency

GS Paper 3

 

Syllabus: Indian Economy and related issues

 Source: PIB

 

Context: Digital technology is playing an important role in achieving India’s G20 Presidency goal (“Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “One Earth, One Family, One Future”).

 

Background:

  • The Indian Presidency’s priority is to make the digital financial system more efficient, secure, and stable.
  • For this to happen, financial sector regulatory reforms are essential.
  • However, there is no comprehensive global policy framework for crypto assets, despite the rapid evolution of the crypto universe.
  • The global standard-setting bodies (such as the FATF, Financial Stability Board (FSB), Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), etc) have been coordinating the regulatory agenda.

 

Probable benefits of crypto assets:

  • Cheaper and faster cross-border payments
  • More integrated financial markets
  • Increased financial inclusion

 

Challenges:

  • Greater interconnectedness between crypto assets and the traditional financial sector
  • Complexity and volatility around crypto assets
  • Critical digital infrastructure/platforms
  • Global information gaps pertaining to the crypto asset

 

Status of Crypto regulation in India:

  • RBI has announced Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), a sort of official cryptocurrency, for retail as well as wholesale users in 2022 on a pilot basis.

 

How can the Indian G20 Presidency shape Global Policy Dialogue on Crypto Assets?

  • Broaden the discussion on crypto assets: Beyond financial integrity concerns and capture the macroeconomic implications and widespread crypto adoption in the economy.
  • Inform policymakers: On the broader macroeconomic and financial stability implications of crypto assets.
  • Highlight the consequences of crypto adoption: On the internal and external stability of a country’s economy as well as on the structure of its financial system.

 

Way Forward:  IMF’s 9 points crypto asset action plan

  • Safeguard monetary sovereignty and stability by strengthening monetary policy frameworks and do not grant crypto assets legal tender status.
  • Guard against excessive capital flow volatility and maintain the effectiveness of capital flow management measures.
  • Analyse and disclose fiscal risks and adopt unambiguous tax treatment of crypto assets.
  • Establish legal certainty of crypto assets and address legal risks.
  • Develop oversight requirements for all crypto market actors.
  • Establish a joint monitoring framework across different domestic agencies and authorities.
  • Establish international collaborative arrangements.
  • Monitor the impact of crypto assets on the stability of the international monetary system.
  • Strengthen global cooperation to develop digital infrastructures.

 

Insta Links:

Digital rupee pilot project launching: what is it and how will it work?

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)


Kutirs: Huts of knowledge

Source: DTE

The tribal villages in Nayagarh district, Odisha have set up kutirs or small huts at the edge of the forested areas where women of the villages meet once a month to:

  • Share their knowledge on how their families have benefited from the forest resources
  • Discuss how to best protect the forest
  • Educate the residents, particularly youth, on how to sustainably manage herbs, shrubs, and fuelwood.

 

Impact: The five villages that set up kutirs applied for community rights and community forest resource rights and three of them received both titles in November 2021.

 

Usage: It can be used as an example in Governance/Tribal/ Environment questions as Community-led initiatives, Women can be effective leaders in natural resource management and conservation, Traditional knowledge and practices

 

Strawberry Farming

Source: TH

Farmers belonging to the Chuktia Bhunjia tribe (a PVTG) in Sunabeda, Odisha (in the tropical deciduous forest of the Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary) have successfully cultivated strawberries as part of a government-sponsored program.

Thanks to a climate similar to that of Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra, where 80% of India’s strawberries are produced, farmers in Sunabeda have been able to cultivate strawberries that bear fruit continuously.

 

Usage: The case study/example can be used to show successful government intervention for creating sustainable farming and income for PVTGs, empowering women (as women are heavily involved in the cultivation process), and the importance of SHGs in creating income-generating assets.

Related news:

 TRIFED is marketing tribal products in the Aadi Mahotsav through its outlet TRIBES India. Aadi Mahotsav is a national tribal festival promoted by TRIFED (under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs)

 


Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Unying Festival

Source: PIB

Context: Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush attended the colourful Siang Unying Festival – which is an important festival of the Adi community at Boleng , Arunachal Pradesh.

  • Unying is a spring festival marking the beginning of the spring season and the new year of the Adi community

 

Adi community:

  • Origin: Southern china in the 16th century.
  • Inhabitation: lower part of the Lower Dibang Valley district, especially the Roing and Dambuk areas of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Occupation: Dependent on agriculture – wet rice cultivation and shifting cultivation.
    • Experts in making cane and bamboo items.
  • Other Festivals: Solung(a harvesting festival where animal sacrifices and rituals are performed) and Aran ( a hunting festival where all the male members of the family go hunting) are two major festivals of the Adi tribes.

 

Banjara Dharmaguru Santh Sevalal Maharaj Jayanti

 Source: The Hindu

 Context: For the first time ever, theyear-long commemoration of the birth anniversary of  Santh Sevalal Maharaj, the Spiritual & Religious Leader of the Banjara Community is being celebrated by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

 

About Santh Sevalal Maharaj:

  • Santh Sevalal Maharaj was born in the Shivamogga district of Karnataka.
  • He is considered a social reformer and spiritual teacher of the Banjara community. He travelled across the country with his Ladeniya Troup to serve especially the forest dwellers and nomadic tribes.
  • Due to his extraordinary knowledge, excellent skills and spiritual background in Ayurveda and Naturopathy, he was able to dispel and eradicate myths and superstitions prevalent in the tribal communities and brought about reforms in their way of life.

 

Banjara Community

  • Banjara is a nomadic tribe of Indiaand was the vital supply chain for villages.
  • In 1871, the Banjaras and several other tribes were brought under the Criminal Tribes Act.
  • The community was denotified in the 1950s but was listed under the Habitual Offenders Act, 1952.
  • With roots in Rajasthan, Banjaras now live in several states and are known by different names like Lambada or Lambadi in Andhra Pradesh, Lambani in Karnataka; Gwar or Gwaraiya in Rajasthan.
  • They are listed in various States as Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Other Backward Class (OBC) and Vimukta Jati/denotified tribes.

 

Solar geoengineering

 Source: The Hindu

Solar geoengineering, also called solar radiation modification, involves cooling the earth by radiating absorbed sunlight back into space.

 Types of solar geoengineering   

  • Stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI)
    • SAI includes spraying large quantities of tiny particles (e.g. of Sulphur Dioxides) into the earth’s stratosphere to reflect sunlight The concept of SAI is derived from sulphur clouds released during volcanic eruptions.
  • Marine cloud brightening
    • Marine cloud brightening proposes spraying sea salt into low-lying clouds to increase their brightness and the ability to reflect sunlight.

 Why is it controversial?

  • SAI is particularly controversial because the reflective effect of aerosols wears off after some time, leading to a net heating effect.
  • According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, solar geoengineering can be a “moral hazard” and slow efforts towards emission reduction as it does not address the root cause of climate change.

 

World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) Concludes

 Source: TERI, TH

 

 Key takeaways from the Summit:

  • Government’s approach:
    • Focus on the collective approach to environment conservation
    • 10-point Act4Earth Manifesto: It encapsulated the key messages emerging from the deliberations
    • Need for a paradigm shift from a country-centric approach to a people-centric approach to climate action at the global level.
  • Issues discussed:
    • Climate finance
    • Equitable access to sustainable development
    • Need for a balance between reducing fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable energy
    • Green Development Pact
    • Equity and climate justice
    • Driving and financing sustainable development
    • Inclusive green growth
    • Energy transitions

 Origin of WS: 2001 (previously known as Delhi Sustainable Development Summit)

TERI established the Sustainable Development Leadership Award (in 2005): 2022 award was given to Michael Rubens Bloomberg (American Philanthropist)

 

Related news:

 Source: TH

India is falling behind in achieving more than 50% of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as per the study published in the Lancet journal.

  • Over 75% of Indian districts are off target for eight crucial indicators including poverty, anaemia, child marriage, etc.
  • India is faring well on bank accounts for women, birth registration, internet use, electricity access, full vaccination, birth registration, and lowering of child marriage.

 

Regulation of Pharma Drugs

 Source: TH

 Context:  Amid cases of toxic Indian drugs, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will create a centralised system of drug registration under the Central Drugs Control Standard Organisation (CDSCO) to regulate drug quality.

  • The ministry will also repurpose CDSCO’s online portal Sugam which maintains quality checks on new drugs.

About CDSCO

CDSCO ( under MoHFW) is India’s national regulatory body for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. It regulates the quality, safety, and efficacy of drugs including vaccines under the New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules 2019, and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

 

  • CDSCO is headed by the Drug controller general of India (DCGI). DCGI acts as an appellate authority if there is any dispute with respect to drug quality.

 

India’s first municipal bond index

 Source: ET

 Context: National Stock Exchange (NSE) launched India’s first municipal bond index- IBMX

  • It will track the performance of bonds issued by municipal corporations.
  • It has investment-grade credit ratings (AA category)
  • The index includes municipal bonds issued as per the Securities Exchange Board of India Issue and Listing of Municipal Debt Securities Regulations, 2015

About Municipal Bond:

A municipal bond is a type of bond issued by a local government or municipality, such as a city, county, or state.

When these entities need to raise money to fund projects like building schools, roads, or other public infrastructure, they can issue bonds as a way to borrow money from investors.

  • The municipal bond market has seen a three-fold rise in fundraising since 2017 (to about 6000 crores in 2022)
  • The first municipal bond in India was issued by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in 1998
  • Indore issued India’s first-ever municipal green bond recently

 

Clean plant program

 Source: IE 

Context: With the demand for foreign planting materials of fruits like apples, avocados and blueberries rising over the years, the Central government plans to set up 10 ‘Clean Plant Centres’ 

  • Objective: To boost domestic production of the selected fruit crops
  • Services offered: disease diagnostic, therapeutics, multiplying of plants and generation of mother plants
  • Need for ‘Clean plant program’: Currently, it is difficult to get disease-free and genuine planting materials for horticultural crops in India.
    • Also, the process of importing plants is very cumbersome, as the imported plants must be kept in quarantine for two years.
    • After the establishment of the Clean Plant Centres, this period will be reduced to six months
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare
  • Implementing agency: National Horticulture Board (NHB)
  • Funding: 100% be Central government
  • It will be set up under the ‘Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Program’ (announced in Budget 2023-24)

 

India is the 2nd largest producer of fruit in the world (after China)

 

International IP Index

 Source: TH

 Context: India ranks 42nd among 55 leading global economies on the International IP Index released by the U.S. Chambers of Commerce.

  • Top: USA

 

Key findings:

Positive:

  • India is ripe to become a leader for emerging markets seeking to transform their economy through IP-driven innovation.
  • India has maintained continued strong efforts in copyright piracy through the issuing of “dynamic” injunction orders (banning all mirror sites with the same banned content)
  • India has generous R&D and IP-based tax incentives
  • India has a strong awareness-raising effort regarding the negative impact of piracy and counterfeiting
  • India is a global leader in targeted administrative incentives for the creation and use of IP assets for SMEs,

 

Concerns:

  • Dissolution of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (in 2021)
  • Under-resourced and overstretched judiciary
  • Limited framework for the protection of biopharmaceutical IP rights

What is IP? 

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; symbols, names and images used in commerce.

 

Bisphenol A

 Source: DTE

 Context: Bisphenol A (BPA) can significantly shorten the breeding time of southern house mosquitoes (Culex quinquefasciatus) and thereby aid in its quick multiplication

  • Culex quinquefasciatus is a major carrier of the West Nile virus, Rift Valley fever virus and avian pox in tropical and subtropical countries,

What is BPA?

Bisphenol A is a chemical compound primarily used in the manufacturing of various plastics, (softening plastics), paints and other products

Other impacts of BPA:

 On humans: It disrupts the endocrine system by interfering with the hormones and affects the brain and prostate gland of foetuses, infants and children.

  • The chemical can cause high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in adults
  • It can indirectly aid in the spread of vector-borne diseases in humans and animals.

Related News:

 A deadly malaria vector from Asia (Anopheles stephensi) has recently been detected in Kenya which is likely to stifle Kenya’s massive progress in the fight against malaria. The species is reported to spread faster in different climatic conditions.

 

Bor Thekera (Garcinia pedunculata)

 Source: TOI 

Context: Medicinal plant commonly called Borthekera in Assamese found to protect from heart diseases.

 

About the plant:

  • It is an evergreen tree endemic to South Eastern Asia.
  • Traditionally it is forbidden for raw consumption. Sun-dried slices of ripe fruit are used for preparing delicacies like “tenga diya masor jol” (sour fish curry)
  • It has therapeutic properties like anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antidiabetic, hypolipidemic, nephroprotective, and even neuroprotective activity.
  • It is also a rich source of antioxidants

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