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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 20 May 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 3:

  1. Why has the RBI withdrawn Rs 2,000 notes?
  2. India’s Women in Science
  3. Globalization and Climate Change

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Commander Abhilash Tomy
  2. Sachhi Saheli Mahila Agro Producer Company Limited
  3. Single-teacher schools (Jharkhand)

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Riverine-Based Religious Tourism Circuit
  2. Lakes
  3. Stars Programme
  4. Sanchar Saathi Portal Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS)
  5. Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) blend
  6. Defence production

 


 

Why has the RBI withdrawn Rs 2,000 notes?

GS Paper 3

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

 

Source: IE

Context: The RBI has decided to withdraw the Rs 2000 denomination banknotes from circulation.

 

When were the Rs 2000 banknotes introduced?

  • On November 8 2016, the PM of India announced demonetisation, withdrawing two banknotes (Rs 500 and Rs 1000) from circulation with immediate effect.
  • The Rs 2000 and the new Rs 500 note were introduced under (Section 26) of the RBI Act 1934, primarily with the objective of meeting the currency requirement of the economy expeditiously.

 

Demonetisation
MeaningIt is the process of eliminating the lawful acceptance status of a monetary unit → The existing types of currency are withdrawn through circulation and supplanted with new currency.
NeedWhile demonetization is exceptional, governments around the globe have used it to check – hyperinflation situations, counterfeit currency, terror and tax fraud, and to introduce a new monetary system in some circumstances.
AdvantagesControl criminal activities forbid tax avoidance and other financial crimes, contribute to a paperless financial system
DisadvantagesExpenses issuing new currency and coinage minting can be high, illegal activity will not be stopped entirely and may create chaos among individuals
Primary reasons for demonetisation in India in 2016To check fake currency notes and to break the grip of corruption and black money.
Effect on India
The SC’s (4:1) verdict on demonetisation

 

Why has the RBI withdrawn Rs 2000 notes?

  • With the fulfilment of the objective, the printing of Rs 2000 notes was stopped in 2018-19.
  • The RBI issued the majority of the Rs 2000 denomination notes prior to March 2017 – now at the end of their estimated lifespan of 4-5 years.
  • Therefore, in pursuance of the Clean Note Policy of the RBI, it has been decided to withdraw the Rs 2000 denomination banknotes from circulation.

 

What is the Clean Note Policy?

  • The policy was introduced in 1999 by the then RBI Governor: Bimal Jalan.
  • It seeks to give the public good-quality currency notes and coins with better security features, while soiled notes are withdrawn out of circulation.
  • Under the policy, the RBI had earlier decided to withdraw from circulation all banknotes issued prior to 2005 as they have fewer security features.

 

Will the Rs 2000 banknotes continue to be legal tender?

  • The public can continue to use Rs 2000 banknotes for their transactions and also receive them in payment.
  • However, they are encouraged to deposit/exchange these banknotes on or before September 30, 2023. The RBI has not clarified the status of these notes after September 30.

 

Could there be a repeat of the demonetisation chaos of 2016?

  • It is unlikely, as the printing of Rs 2000 notes was stopped in 2018-19, and they are no longer commonly seen with the public (constitute only 10.8% of notes in circulation).
  • Also, the decision to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes was announced suddenly, taking the public by surprise.

 

Insta Links:

Supreme Court upholds demonetisation: What was the challenge about?

India’s Women in Science

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology

 

Source: IE

 Context: Two books – Lilavati’s Daughters (2008) and Lab Hopping (2023) – highlight the complicated relationship between science and gender in India.

 

Some notable women scientists of India: Anandibai Joshi (India’s first woman physician), Iravati Karve (India’s first woman anthropologist),  Anna Mani (India’s first woman meteorologist), Dr N Kalaiselvi (currently, at the helm of CSIR), V R Lalithambika (leading the Gaganyaan mission)

 

Data on women in science in India: As per the latest “Research and Development Statistics 2019-20” of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), India has 16.6% of women researchers directly engaged in R&D activities.

 

The obstacles that hold women back include:

  • Lack of representation, deeply entrenched patriarchy
  • Institutional apathy
  • Poor working conditions, sexual harassment
  • Familial issues like marriage, family responsibility (twin burden of home and the workplace), relocation due to transferable job of the spouse, etc.

 

Impact: Dropout from higher studies, career break, overage for scientific jobs and prolonged absence from place of work or even resignation from the job.

 

The government has taken several corrective steps:

  • Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN) Scheme: Instituted to encourage women in the field of S&T.
    • Women Scientist Scheme (WOS) under KIRAN provides career opportunities, especially for those who had a break in their career.
    • The Mobility Scheme under KIRAN addresses relocation issues of working women scientists and provides support in project mode for 2-5 years.
  • Consolidation of University Research through Innovation and Excellence in Women Universities (CURIE) Programme.
  • Indo-US Fellowship for Women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Medicine) encourages Indian women scientists to undertake international collaborative research.
  • Vigyan Jyoti Scheme: Encourages girl students of Class 9 to 12 to pursue education and career in S&T.
  • Biotechnology Career Advancement and Re-orientation Programme (BioCARe) of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
  • National Award for woman scientist: To recognize the contribution of women scientists in the field of Earth System Sciences.
  • Multifaceted initiatives (like Women Entrepreneur’s Quest (WEQ) Programme) have been launched by DST to encourage women’s entrepreneurship under Start-up India-Stand up India.

 

Conclusion:

STEMM is the prime engines that have steered national growth and created a self-reliant India. Hence, equal participation of both men and women in STEMM will help India realise ‘Amrit Kaal’ in the true sense.

 

Insta Links:

Women in Science

Globalization and Climate Change

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Environment Conservation

 

Source: LM

 Context: McKinsey Global Institute studies and WTO are of the view that globalization is necessary for the path to sustainability and mitigating the impact of climate change.

 

What is Globalization in the context of the Environment?

Globalization, in terms of the environment, refers to the interconnectedness and interdependence of economies and societies worldwide, leading to the global exchange of goods, services, information, and ideas. It has both positive and negative environmental impacts.

 

Why is Globalization  Necessary for decarbonization?

AspectReasonsExample
Resource DistributionThe materials and resources are not evenly distributed globally. Globalization allows for the efficient sourcing and trading of resources from areas with abundant supply to areas with high demand.E.g., Lithium, is primarily sourced from Australia and Chile, and its global availability is essential for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles
Technological InnovationGlobalization promotes the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and technological advancements across borders.E.g., Sharing of R&D in renewable energy technologies like solar panels and wind turbines has accelerated their deployment and reduced costs globally.
Access to FinancingGlobalization allows for cross-border financial flows, making it easier for countries to access the necessary capital and investment for decarbonization projects.E.g., the global carbon credit trading mechanism
Scalability and Economies of ScaleGlobalization enables the establishment of global supply chains, allowing for large-scale manufacturing and distribution of renewable energy technologies.E.g., Tesla company’s Giga factory for the manufacture of EV batteries in China, Australia and the USA
Knowledge Sharing and Policy AlignmentGlobalization facilitates the sharing of best practices, expertise, and policy frameworks among countries.E.g.,  Paris Agreement, International Solar Alliance etc.,

 

How globalization leads to a negative impact on the environment:

Negative Impact Description
Carbon EmissionsGlobalized trade increases carbon emissions from shipping, air travel, and long-distance transportation of goods. E.g., importing goods from distant countries to meet consumer demands leads to increased emissions from transportation.
Deforestation and Habitat LossGlobal demand for commodities like timber, soy, and palm oil drives deforestation and habitat loss in regions with rich biodiversity. E.g., the expansion of palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia has led to extensive deforestation and the loss of critical ecosystems.
Pollution and WasteE.g.,  the export of electronic waste from developed to developing countries for recycling often leads to improper disposal and pollution.
Overconsumption of ResourcesGlobalization and increased trade have fueled a culture of consumerism, leading to higher resource consumption.
Loss of Cultural DiversityGlobalization can lead to the homogenization of cultures, eroding traditional practices and knowledge that are often environmentally sustainable.

 

Few major efforts for sustainable globalization: Corporate Sustainability Initiatives; Circular Economy Transition; Sustainable Trade Initiatives (WTO); and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  

Conclusion:

Balancing the benefits of globalization with environmental sustainability requires careful consideration and implementation of policies and practices that mitigate its negative effects while maximizing its positive contributions to decarbonization and environmental protection.

 

Insta Links: 

CLIMATE CHANGE AND ASSOCIATED ISSUES

 

Mains Links:

Critically analyse the potential of Globalization as a climate change mitigation strategy (250 Words)

Commander Abhilash Tomy

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

Source: TH

 Context: Commander Abhilash Tomy (Retd) made history as the first Indian to complete the Golden Globe Race, a solo non-stop circumnavigation of the globe without modern technological aids. Despite suffering a life-threatening injury during a previous attempt, Tomy returned to India triumphant after finishing the GGR 2022 in second place. He sailed for 236 gruelling days alone at sea, overcoming challenges such as a damaged boat and a broken auto-pilot.

 

Usage: The example can be used to highlight the values of Resilience, determination, resourcefulness, and perseverance

Sachhi Saheli Mahila Agro Producer Company Limited

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

Source: TH

A farmer-producer organization (FPO) in Lambi Ahir village, Rajasthan, has achieved significant success within a few months of its inception. Led by woman sarpanch Neeru Yadav, the FPO has generated revenue worth ₹50 lakh through the cultivation and sale of 80,000 kg of mustard. The FPO, named Sachhi Saheli Mahila Agro Producer Company Limited, is the 15th FPO established in collaboration with NABARD.

 

In a move towards gender equality, 150 women farmers have been included as equity holders alongside their male counterparts.

 

Usage: Such an example can be used in governance/ Women related/Leadership/ Agriculture questions to show the success of FPO in creating diverse market access avenues, increasing income, promoting empowerment, and building capacity among farmers.

Single-teacher schools (Jharkhand)

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

Source: TH

A single-teacher school refers to a school where there is only one teacher responsible for teaching all the students across different grade levels. A significant number of government schools in Jharkhand have only one teacher, despite the Right to Education Act mandating a minimum of two teachers for schools with up to 60 students.

 

Reasons: The lack of recruitment over the years and the government’s apathy towards education in marginalized communities are cited as reasons for the prevalence of single-teacher schools.

Impact: Teachers in single-teacher schools are faced with several challenges, such as heavy workloads, limited resources, and administrative tasks. Students struggle with learning and lack age-appropriate education. Marginalized communities are particularly affected. The schools also suffer from poor infrastructure and inadequate support systems.

 

Usage: Such an example can be used to highlight issues with the education sector in India.

Riverine-Based Religious Tourism Circuit

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: BS

 

Context: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed to develop a ‘Riverine Based Religious Tourism Circuit’ in Northeast India, connecting seven historic temples along the Brahmaputra River.

 

  • Aim: The initiative aims to boost riverine tourism and strengthen the tourism sector in Assam. It also intends to establish a modern ferry service operating on a ‘Hop-On Hop-Off’ mode, allowing passengers to conveniently explore these spiritual landmarks.
  • Timeline: To be completed within 12 months
  • Finance: Funding will be shared between the Sagarmala Development Corporation Limited (SDCL), Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), and Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC).

 

Significance of the site selected:

SiteSpiritual Significance
KamakhyaOne of the 51 Shakti Peethas; revered as a powerful goddess
PandunathAn ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati
AshwaklantaSacred site associated with Lord Vishnu and his incarnation
Doul GovindaDevoted to Lord Krishna; known for its Raas Leela celebrations
UmanandaDedicated to Lord Shiva; situated on Umananda Island
ChakreshwarHoly site with a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva
Auniti SatraProminent Vaishnavite monastery and spiritual centre

 

About Brahmaputra River:

 The Brahmaputra River (source: Chemayungdung glacier) originates in southwestern Tibet and shares its source area with the Indus and Satluj Rivers. It flows through a depression formed by the Indus-Tsangpo Structure Zone, cutting through the Himalayas and entering Arunachal Pradesh as the Dihang River. After merging with the Lohit and Dibang streams, it is known as the Brahmaputra. The river’s left bank is fed by the Dhansiri, Lohit, and Dibang Rivers, while the right bank receives the Subansiri, Kameng, Manas, and Sankosh Rivers.

Lakes

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: IE, DTE

 Context: As per a recent study published in the Journal of Science, more than half of the world’s large lakes are drying up.

 

Major Findings of the Study:

FindingsDetails
Indian lakesMore than 30 large lakes in India experienced a drying trend from 1992 to 2020. E.g., Mettur, Krishnarajasagar, Nagarjuna Sagar, and Idamalayar, showed a decline in lake levels and storage
Global lakesGlobal lakes contribute to 95% of the total lake water storage on Earth. 53% of the world’s largest lakes have been losing water, while 24% have seen an increase in water levels.
Global population affectedNearly 33% of the global population resides in a basin with a large, drying lake.
Role of climate changeClimate change, including temperature, precipitation, and runoff, was identified as one of the main drivers of water losses
Other factors contributing to lake declineHuman water consumption, potential evapotranspiration, and sedimentation were identified as additional factors contributing to the decline of lakes.
Measures neededIntegrated approaches to lake management are crucial to address the declining trends

 

About Lakes:

LakesDescriptionExamples
DefinitionA lake is a large body of water that is surrounded by land. It is generally localized in a basin or depression and is separate from rivers or other outlets that serve to feed or drain the lake.
Types of Lakes
Temporary LakesLakes formed temporarily after heavy showers with evaporation greater than precipitationSmall lakes of deserts
Permanent LakesLakes with deep water that carry more water than can be evaporated, with evaporation less than precipitationGreat Lakes of North America, East African Rift Lakes
Freshwater LakesLakes fed by rivers and without-flowing streamsGreat Lakes of North America
Saline LakesLakes with no natural outlet or rapid evaporation cause high salt content in the waterGreat Salt Lake, Aral Sea, Dead Sea
Tectonic LakesLakes formed due to the earth’s movements such as warping, subsidence, bending, and fracturing of the Earth’s crustLake Titicaca, Caspian Sea
Rift Valley LakesLakes formed along rift valleys, deep and narrow, with water collecting in troughs below sea levelLakes Tanganyika, Malawi, Rudolf, Albert, Dead Sea
Crater and Caldera LakesLakes formed in volcanic craters or calderas with no superficial outletLonar (Maharashtra, India), Krakatao (Indonesia)
Uses of LakesInland waterways for transportation; Economic and industrial development; Water storage; Hydroelectric power generation; Agricultural purposes etc.Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Waterways, Kolleru Lake, Hirakud Dam, Dead Sea, Lake Chilka
Lakes in IndiaLargest Freshwater: Wular Lake (J&K)

Largest Brackish water: Chilika (Odisha)

Largest Saltwater: Sambhar (RJ)

Largest Artificial: Gobind Ballabh Pant Sagar (UP)

Longest: Vembanad (Kerala)

High altitude: Cholamu (Sikkim)

Stars Programme

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: PIB

 

Context: The Ministry of Education and the World Bank organized a workshop on School-to-Work Transition under the STARS Program.

  

Aim: The workshop aimed to strengthen vocational education and discuss skill gap analysis in the six STARS states.

 

About STARS Programme:

DimensionDescription
The Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) Programme is a world bank aided initiative, to improve the quality and governance of school education in six Indian states of Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan through the Samagra Shiksha.

 

Type of SchemeIt would be implemented as a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education.

 

ObjectivesImprove learning assessment systems, strengthen classroom instruction and remediation, facilitate school-to-work transition, and strengthen governance and decentralized management.
Expected BeneficiariesAround 250 million students (between the age of 6 and 17) in 1.5 million schools and over 10 million teachers will benefit from this USD 500 million programme.
VisionThe program strengthens public school education and supports India’s goal of providing ‘Education for All’.
Components of the Project
Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC)This component enables the program to be responsive to any natural, man-made, and health disasters. It helps the government respond to situations leading to loss of learning such as school closures/infrastructure damage and inadequate facilities.
PARAKHPARAKH serves as a National Assessment Centre. It sets norms for student assessment and evaluation for all school boards across the country. It also guides standardized testing to monitor learning outcomes at the state and national levels.
Success Stories

 

India has successfully achieved gender parity in enrolment in primary education but that is not the case in secondary education. India has significantly improved access to education across the country.

Sanchar Saathi Portal

 

Source: PIB

Context: Ministry of Communications has launched the Sanchar Saathi portal, which aims to enhance the safety and security of mobile phone users in India.

 

The portal introduces three reforms:

  • CEIR for blocking stolen/lost mobiles
  • Know Your Mobile Connections for checking registered connections
  • ASTR (Artificial Intelligence and Facial Recognition powered Solution for Telecom SIM Subscriber Verification) for identifying fraudulent subscribers.

 

Aim: The initiative is designed to prevent frauds such as identity theft and banking fraud by misusing mobile phones.

 

Achievement of the Portal: Over 40 lakh fraudulent connections have been identified and 36 lakhs disconnected through the portal. Disconnected numbers have been shared with financial institutions and social media platforms for further action.

 

Sanchar Saathi initiative: It includes modules for IMEI registration, fraud detection, and facial recognition-based verification.

 

Portal developed by: Department of Telecom

Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 Context: Finance Ministry has announced that it will waive the 20% tax on overseas credit card spending for individuals up to ₹7 lakh per financial year, following criticism and concerns raised by taxpayers and businesses.

 

What is the issue?

The Reserve Bank of India had introduced a provision to capture overseas credit card spending under the LRS, which allows individuals to remit forex up to $2.5 lakhs annually.

 

However, the government’s plan to impose a 20% tax on such spending faced backlash, leading to its current decision to exempt spending up to ₹7 lakh and the continuation of beneficial treatment for education and health payments, under the LRS.

 

About the LRS Scheme:

Description
Definition of RemittanceIn the context of the Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS), remittance refers to the transfer of foreign exchange (forex) by resident individuals in India for various purposes.
About the scheme The LRS sets the limit on the amount of money that can be remitted by individuals without requiring specific approvals from regulatory authorities.

 

Under LRS (introduced in 2004), Indian individuals can send money outside up to a maximum of $250,000 in a year.

AimSimplify the process of remitting money outside India and encourage foreign investments by Indian individuals
Permissible TransactionsEducation, travel, medical treatment, gifting, investment in shares or property, etc.
Non-Permissible TransactionsTrading in foreign exchange or buying lottery tickets
Ineligible EntitiesCorporations, partnership firms, Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), Trusts, etc.
BenefitsDiversify investments and assets, finance foreign education or travel
IssuesOutward remittances may pressure Forex reserves
Repatriation DirectiveIn August 2022, RBI had directed that any money remitted overseas by Indian residents that remains unutilised for more than 180 days needs to be repatriated back into India.

 

/ 20 May 2023, Today's Article

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) blend

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: PIB

 Context: India successfully flew its first commercial passenger flight using an indigenously produced Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) blend.

 

What is Sustainable Aviation Fuel?

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is a type of aviation fuel that is produced from renewable sources, unlike traditional fossil-based jet fuels. It is considered sustainable because it has a significantly lower carbon footprint and reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional jet fuel.

 

Source of SAF: It can be derived from various feedstocks, such as plant oils, agricultural waste, forestry residues, and municipal solid waste.

 

Advantages: SAF can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional jet fuel. Also, it is designed to be a drop-in replacement for conventional jet fuel, meaning it can be used in existing aircraft engines without requiring modifications.

Significance for India: It is a significant milestone in India’s efforts towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2070. India has set a target of becoming energy self-reliant by 2047

Defence production

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: HT

Context: The value of defence production in India has exceeded ₹1 lakh crore (₹1 trillion) for the first time.

  • Over the past five years, the value of defence production by both state-run companies and the private sector has nearly doubled.

 

About Defence Indigenization:

About
Defence IndigenizationThe process of developing and manufacturing defence equipment within a country to reduce import dependency and achieve self-reliance.
India’s RankingIndia is ranked as the 2nd largest importer of arms for its armed forces in 2016-20, as per SIPRI report.
Measures taken by India for increasing domestic defence productionImport bans; Separate budgets for domestic procurement; Increased foreign direct investment (FDI); Integration of MSMEs and start-ups into the defence supply chain; Defence Industrial corridors; Increase in defence licenses issued; Corporatization of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB); Emphasis on defence exports (reaching ₹15,920 crores in FY 2022-23).
TargetIndia aims to achieve a turnover of ₹1,75,000 crore in defence manufacturing by 2024-25.
Export targetsIndia is currently exporting military hardware to around 85 countries, including missiles, artillery guns, rockets, vehicles, patrol vessels, protective gear, radars, surveillance systems, and ammunition. The goal is to achieve a defence export target of ₹35,000 crore by 2024-25.
Examples of Indigenous technologiesINS Vikrant (Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1); Tejas aircraft; Long-range artillery gun “Dhanush”; Arihant; AGNI V; Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher; Supersonic Cruise Missile BRAHMOS; Arjun Tank, etc.

 

Read the CA in PDF format here: 

 


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