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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 18 August 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. Increased rain and reduced snowfall in the Himalayan region

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. Analysis of Recent Reforms in Indian Criminal Law
  2. SHGs: ‘Lakhpati Didi’ scheme
  3. Issues with the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY)

 

Content for Mains Enrichment

  1. Milasha Joseph
  2. Pibot

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Madan Lal Dhingra
  2. Sanchar Saathi Portal
  3. ‘FloodWatch’ app
  4. Sixth Anniversary of Minamata Convention
  5. New salamander species
  6. New snake species
  7. INS ‘Vindhyagiri’

 

Mapping

  1. Lake Titicaca

 


 

Increased rain and reduced snowfall in the Himalayan region

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Indian Geography

 

Source: BBC

 

Context: A new study has found that mountains across the globe, including the Himalayas, are now seeing more rainfall at elevations where it has mostly snowed in the past.

 

Status of Rainfall and Snowfall in the Himalayan Region:

  • IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (2019): The IPCC reported that snowfall had decreased in mountain regions, including the Himalayas, due to higher temperatures, particularly at lower elevations.
  • Changing Precipitation Patterns: Scientific studies have indicated shifts in precipitation patterns in the Himalayan region, with more instances of extreme precipitation occurring as rainfall rather than snowfall, even at higher altitudes.

 

Why Himalayan region is having Increased rain and reduced snowfall?

  • Changing Weather Patterns: Alterations in atmospheric circulation, jet streams, and other weather systems can result in shifts in precipitation patterns.
  • Global Warming and Temperature Rise: As global temperatures increase, the atmosphere can hold more moisture, leading to increased evaporation and subsequent precipitation.
  • Elevated Freezing Levels: The freezing level, also known as the zero-degree isotherm, is the altitude at which falling precipitation transitions from snow to rain.
    • Rising temperatures associated with global warming have caused the freezing level to rise, leading to more rain at higher altitudes that used to receive snowfall.
  • Snowfall Reduction: Warmer temperatures cause more precipitation to fall as rain rather than snow
  • Feedback Loops: Less snow cover means there is less reflective surface to bounce sunlight back into space (albedo effect), causing further warming and contributing to the shift from snow to rain.
  • Warming-Induced Atmospheric Changes: This can lead to a greater intensity of storms, causing heavy rainfall events in areas where snowfall was historically dominant.

 

Impact of increased rain and reduced snowfall in the Himalayan region:

ImpactDescriptionExamples
Increasing disastersShifts from snowfall to rainfall at higher elevations, affect water availability and hazards.More instances of heavy rainfall cause flash floods.
Water Resource ChangesAltered snowmelt and rain patterns affect river flow, water availability, and ecosystem dynamics.Changes in river flow and hydrological patterns.
Increased Flood and Landslide RiskRainwater saturates the soil, leading to landslides, debris flows, and flash floods.Uttarakhand’s 2013 flash floods due to excessive rainfall.
Impact on Ecosystems and BiodiversityAltered precipitation affects vegetation, wildlife, and fragile mountain ecosystems.Changes in alpine flora and fauna due to shifting climate.
Socioeconomic ConsequencesReduced snowfall impacts winter tourism, agriculture, and water-dependent livelihoods.Ski resorts face challenges due to shorter snow seasons.
Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs)Faster glacial melt leads to unstable glacial lakes and potential GLOFs, posing flood risks downstream.Imja Lake in Nepal is at risk of GLOF due to glacial melt.
Infrastructure VulnerabilityChanges in rainfall patterns challenge infrastructure resilience and lead to increased disaster risks.Damage to roads, bridges, and hydropower plants.

 

Insta Links:

Sansad TV: Perspective- Monsoon: Changing Patterns

 

Mains Links:

Discuss how climate change will affect the rainfall pattern in India. Also, analyze the risks that it poses to food security in India

Analysis of Recent Reforms in Indian Criminal Law

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Governance: Indian Criminal Justice System

 

Source: LM

 Context: We have already discussed the need and provisions of the bill. Here in this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of the proposed bill.

 

Major Provisions of the Bills:

 

 

Objective of the Bills:  These bills aim to modernize the criminal justice system by updating laws, incorporating digital interfaces, expediting legal processes, and introducing community service as a form of punishment for minor offences.

 

The positive aspects of the proposed criminal law reforms:

  • Modernization of Criminal Justice System: E.g., using e-FIR, Zero FIR, new cyber offences, and modernize evidence collection.
  • Update of Outdated Laws
  • Stringent Provisions for Women and Children: The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) has dedicated a separate chapter to these matters and introduced new forms of offence.
  • Innovations: Innovations such as trial in absentia and the introduction of community service as a penalty for minor offences are noteworthy.
  • Gender Inclusivity: The proposed reforms have reviewed language for gender neutrality and replaced outdated terms such as ‘insanity’ with ‘mental illness.’
  • Specific Definitions and Offenses: The bills define and address offences like terrorism, organized crime, mob lynching, and negligent acts, adding new dimensions to criminal law.
  • Protection for Victims:g., protection and rights of victims, including provisions related to victims’ participation, and rights.
  • Expedited Justice: E.g., Requirement for judgments to be given within 30 days after the trial concludes and limitations on adjournments.

 

Issues with the Proposed Bills:

IssuesExplanation and Concerns
Gender-Biased Language and AssumptionsThe Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) bill reflects gender bias by treating women as needing protection rather than equals. Marital rape is criminalized only if the wife is under 18, perpetuating the idea of spousal ownership and control.
Regressive Terminology and AssumptionsSections like “outraging modesty” (BNS Section 73) employ regressive terminology, reflecting outdated ideas about women’s behaviour and morality.
Incomplete Protections for Men and Non-Binary IndividualsThe bills do not provide sufficient remedies for men or non-binary individuals who face similar violations.

 

The bills focus on sexual offences against women and do not adequately address sexual offences perpetrated by men against other men or women against other women

Ambiguities in Certain ClausesThe inclusion of “deceitful means” for marriage (exact provisions not specified) creates ambiguity in judging guilt and determining.
Discretionary Powers and Potential for MisuseThe bills grant discretionary powers to law enforcement agencies, such as the “right to handcuff,”.
Weakened Protections Against State Abuse and ViolenceThe new bills seemingly endorse practices like detention without charges for extended periods (90 days in certain cases), raising concerns about the potential erosion of individual liberties and rights.
Ambiguity in the Definition of OffensesThe definition of offences like “subversive activities” and “provocation and intimidation of the government” (exact provisions not specified) is vague and broad, potentially leading to overreach and misuse.

 

Insta Links:

India’s Criminal Justice System

 

Mains Links:

Comprehensive reforms are needed in the criminal justice system to ensure effective enforcement of the law, uphold accountability, have a well-trained workforce and speedy disposal of the cases. Comment. (250 words)

SHGs: ‘Lakhpati Didi’ scheme

GS Paper  2

 Syllabus: Social Justice/ Governance: SHG

 

Source: ET

Context: The Indian government is initiating the ‘Lakhpati Didi’ scheme, aiming to provide skill development training to two crore women to encourage them to establish micro-enterprises through Self-Help Groups (SHGs)

 

About the Scheme: 

The ‘Lakhpati Didi’ scheme is an initiative to empower women in rural areas by encouraging them to start micro-enterprises and become economically self-sufficient.

 

Features:

  • Aim: The goal of the scheme is to create two crore women millionaires (“lakhpati didis“) in villages using SHGs
    • Fostering women-led development and promoting their active participation in the workforce and economic growth.
  • Providing skill development training to women through Self Help Groups (SHGs)
  • Enabling them to earn at least Rs 1 lakh annually
  • Skills covered: plumbing, LED bulb making, and operating and repairing drones, among others.

 

What are SHGs? 

SHGs, or self-help groups, are community-based organizations formed by a group of individuals, primarily women, who come together to address their common economic, social, or developmental needs. Women SHGs play a significant role in the Indian administrative ecosystem by empowering women, promoting socio-economic development, and contributing to grassroots governance.

  

How do Women’s self-help groups (SHG) complement government welfare schemes?

  • Partnership with Government Agencies: SHGs collaborate with government agencies at different levels, including the local, district, and state administrations.
  • Execution of Government Programs: SHGs serve as implementing units for various government programs, such as the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM), and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
  • Financial Inclusion and Microfinance: SHGs are linked to formal banking institutions via NABARD’s SHG-Bank Linking Program, and they play a crucial role in promoting financial inclusion by accessing credit, savings, and insurance services.
    • According to the NABARD, SHGs have saved over Rs. 30,000 crores collectively.
  • Last Mile Delivery: SHGs act as intermediaries between government agencies and the community, ensuring the last-mile delivery of services and programs.
    • According to a study by the NABARD, SHGs have played a significant role in poverty reduction in India, lifting millions of women out of poverty.
  • Grassroots Participation: SHGs provide a platform for women to actively participate in decision-making processes and contribute to local governance.
    • An example is the success of the Mission Shakti program in Odisha, where over 7 lakh women have been organized into SHGs, leading to their empowerment and active participation.
  • Capacity Building: They provide training, knowledge sharing, and awareness programs on various subjects such as financial management, entrepreneurship, health, and hygiene.

 

Case Study: Kudumbashree in Kerala (completed 25 years this year (2023))

  • Partnership with Government: Kudumbashree operates under the guidance and support of the State Poverty Eradication Mission, which works closely with various government departments, including the local self-government institutions.
  • Execution of Programs: Kudumbashree operates through neighbourhood groups (NHGs), which are small SHGs at the grassroots level. For example, Kudumbashree NHGs play a significant role in the implementation of the NRLM in Kerala
  • Financial Inclusion and Microfinance: Kudumbashree NHGs are linked to the banking sector through the formation of Community Development Societies (CDS).
  • Social Welfare and Development Initiatives: They are involved in activities like healthcare awareness campaigns, sanitation drives, educational programs, and skill training for women.
  • Grassroots Participation: Kudumbashree NHGs also collaborate with local self-government institutions to implement various development projects in their respective areas.

 Other notable case studies: Mission Shakti in Odisha, Swa-Shakti Project in Rajasthan, and Baba Jaleswar SHG.

  

Conclusion:

As per Economic Survey 2022-23, India boasts of some 12 million SHGs, of which 88 per cent are all-women-member ones. They are an integral part of the government’s efforts and its lower-tier governance set up to promote women’s empowerment, poverty reduction, and inclusive development.

 

Insta Links:

Role of SHGs in development of Rural India

 

Mains Links: 

Self-Help Groups (SHGs) empower women and make them self-reliant by inculcating the habit of savings and proper use of financial resources. Analyse. (250 Words)

Issues with the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY)

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Government policies and intervention

 

Source: ET

Context: According to the latest government data, the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) scheme has fallen short of its employment generation targets.

 

About ABRY:

AspectAatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY)
Launch DateDecember 2020 (under the Ministry of Labour & Employment)
ObjectiveBoost formal employment generation post-COVID-19 disruptions
Target AudienceNew employees earning less than ₹15,000 per month in EPFO-registered companies
Implementation AgencyEmployees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)
Contribution ExemptionEligible employees do not need to contribute to PF and pension for 2 years
ReimbursementThe government reimburses either both employee and employer contributions (24% of wages) or only employee contributions (12% of wages)
Eligibility CriteriaEmployees hired until March 2022, and those who lost jobs between March 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020, earning less than ₹15,000 per month
Enrolment DataAs of July 22, 2023: over 6 million  (6 lakhs) enrolments
Top 10 States in Employment GenerationMaharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Telangana, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh

 

Issues and challenges associated with the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY):

  • Shortfalls in Enrollment and Job Creation: Enrollment figures indicate that fewer eligible employees have participated in the scheme than anticipated.
  • Disbursement Delays: The disbursements under the scheme have lagged behind the set targets, with only about 42% of the initial targeted expenditure utilized so far.
  • Limited Impact on Employment Generation: The scheme’s outcomes suggest that it has not been as effective in generating employment as envisioned.
  • Complexity and Eligibility Criteria: The complexity of eligibility criteria is creating confusion among eligible employees, employers, and implementing agencies.
  • Geographical Disparities: The concentration of beneficiaries in certain states indicates geographical disparities in employment generation.
  • Lack of Adequate Promotion: The limited awareness and promotion of the scheme might be contributing to the lower enrollment figures.

 

Conclusion:

While the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) has encountered certain challenges in meeting its initial targets for job creation and disbursements, it has nonetheless contributed to formal employment generation during a challenging economic period post-COVID-19.

 

Insta links:

Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY)

 

Mains Links:

Discuss the need for and benefits of such Programmes.

Milasha Joseph

Content for Mains Enrichment

 

Source: TH

Milasha Joseph, a young woman from Mararikulam in Alappuzha, is on a mission to conquer the Seven Volcanic Summits, the highest volcanoes on seven continents. Over the past 21 months, she has successfully scaled three mountains: Kilimanjaro, Damavand, and Elbrus.

Her drive to overcome challenges, including her chronic asthma, motivated her to venture into mountaineering as a way to break societal constraints and empower women.

She has four more volcanic mountains to climb — Ojos del Salado on Argentina–Chile border, Pico de Orizaba in Mexico, Mount Giluwe in Papua New Guinea and Mount Sidley in Antarctica

Usage: The example can be used for illustrating the values of determination, perseverance, empowerment, courage, and pushing beyond limitations.

Pibot

 

Source: EuroNews

A team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) is developing a humanoid robot called ‘Pibot’ that can fly aircraft without cockpit modifications.

Pibot is the world’s first humanoid pilot, using AI and robotics to manipulate cockpit controls, even during turbulence. It incorporates cameras for monitoring, the memory of flight charts for navigation, and the ability to communicate with air traffic controllers and humans through voice synthesis (using ChatGPT’s language synthesis model). Pibot’s innovation lies in its capability to pilot aircraft like a human, revolutionizing aviation technology.

Usage: The example can be used as an application of AI in S&T paper.

/ 18 August 2023, Pibot, Today's Article

Madan Lal Dhingra

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: IE

 ContextMadan Lal Dhingra was an Indian revolutionary executed at the age of 24, for assassinating British official Curzon Wyllie. On his 114th death anniversary, a massive memorial is being inaugurated in Amritsar, where he hailed from.

  • Despite being born into a family with pro-British views, Dhingra’s exposure to nationalist sentiments in Lahore and London ignited his patriotism. He protested against British policies, was expelled from college, and engaged in revolutionary activities.
  • In London, he joined Vinayak Savarkar’s Abhinav Bharat Mandal and participated in discussions at India House, a hub for Indian nationalists.
  • On July 1, 1909, Dhingra shot and killed Wyllie during an event. During his trial, Dhingra defended his actions as justifiable in the context of fighting against British oppression.

He was found guilty and executed on August 17, 1909, in London. Dhingra’s remains returned to India in 1976, and a memorial was erected in Amritsar’s Golbagh area to honour his sacrifice.

Sanchar Saathi Portal

 

Source: TH

 Context: Previously in May this year, DoT introduced the Sanchar Saathi portal and fraud detection mechanisms to identify individuals with more than nine mobile connections.

 

Indian Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has taken steps to combat cyber fraud involving SIM cards

  • The DoT now requires registration and strong verification of SIM card dealers to reduce fraudulent mobile connections.
  • Around 67,000 SIM dealers have been blacklisted due to their involvement in cyber fraud schemes.
  • Those found complicit in such activities could face fines of ₹10 lakh
  • Bulk SIM card provision to companies is being discontinued, replaced by a business system requiring KYC procedures.

Read about the Sanchar Saathi portal here

‘FloodWatch’ app

 

Source: ET

 Context: The Central Water Commission of India has introduced the ‘FloodWatch’ app, designed to forecast floods one day in advance and provide a seven-day advisory for flood risk at various measurement stations across the country.

 

The app features a map of India with colour-coded circles representing flood risk levels:

  • Green for normal
  • Yellow for above normal
  • Orange for severe
  • Red for extreme

The app also provides State-wise/basin-wide flood forecasts for up to 24 hours or flood advisories, up to seven days, that can be accessed by selecting specific stations.

Clicking on a circle provides information about the current water level, the historical highest level, the danger level, and warnings in both written and audio formats. The app utilizes satellite data analysis, mathematical modelling, and real-time monitoring to deliver accurate and timely flood forecasts.

Sixth Anniversary of Minamata Convention

 

Source: UNEP

 Context: The Minamata Convention on Mercury, which marks its sixth anniversary, is a significant global agreement aimed at safeguarding people and the environment from the harmful impacts of mercury exposure.

  

About Mercury:

  • Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil.
  • It may have toxic effects on the nervous system, thyroid, kidneys, lungs, immune system, eyes, gums and skin.

 

About the Minamata Convention:

  • The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury and its compounds.
  • It was agreed at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland 2013. It entered into force in 2017.
  • Controlling the anthropogenic releases of mercury throughout its lifecycle is one of the key obligations under the Convention.
  • The Convention also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues.
  • India has ratified the Convention.

New salamander species in the mountain lakes of Manipur

 

Source: HT

 Context: Indian and Russian scientists have identified a new species of salamander called Tylototriton zaimeng in Manipur’s mountain lakes.

  • Previously mistaken for similar species, the new discovery was made by merging molecular and morphological evidence.

This salamander’s characteristics were revealed to be distinct from its close relatives, featuring a wide head, well-developed sagittal ridge, and unique colouration.

DNA tests confirmed its uniqueness and revealed its genetic relationship. The species is confined to Manipur’s Khongtheng mountain range and due to its limited distribution, scientists recommend its inclusion as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List, highlighting the need for conservation efforts.

 

What is a salamander?

 Salamanders are small amphibians that belong to the order Caudata. They have long bodies, short legs, and smooth, moist skin. Salamanders are known for their ability to regenerate lost limbs, which is a unique trait among vertebrates.

 

New snake species

 

Source: IE

 

Context: A newly discovered snake species has been named Tachymenoides harrisonfordi in honour of the actor Harrison Ford.

  • This recognition is due to Ford’s environmental advocacy.
  • The snake, measuring 16 inches in length, is yellowish-brown with black blotches, a black belly, and a vertical streak over its copper-coloured eye.

 

Harrison Ford, famous for his role as Indiana Jones, humorously remarked that scientists often name critters after him, jokingly noting that they always seem to pick creatures that terrify children.

He expressed his humility and thanked the researchers, emphasizing the importance of understanding and preserving our planet’s biodiversity.

  

What are Snakes?

A snake is a long, legless reptile belonging to the suborder Serpentes. Snakes are characterized by their elongated, cylindrical bodies covered in scales and their lack of limbs.

Most snakes are carnivorous, feeding on a diet of small animals such as rodents, birds, insects, and other reptiles.

INS ‘Vindhyagiri’

 

Source: PIB

 

Context: The President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu, attended the launch ceremony of the Vindhyagiri, the sixth ship of Project 17A of the Indian Navy at Garden Reach Shipbuilders Engineers Limited in Kolkata.

  • The President highlighted that this launch signifies progress in boosting India’s maritime capabilities and contributes to the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) through domestic shipbuilding.
  • Project 17A showcases India’s commitment to self-sufficiency and technological advancement, showcasing indigenous innovation in cutting-edge technology.

 

In terms of security, the President highlighted the multifaceted nature of security challenges in the Indian Ocean Region and the wider Indo-Pacific. She stressed the need for the Navy to proactively address these security threats to maintain stability and safety in these regions.

 

Lake Titicaca

Mapping

Source: TOI

 Context: Lake Titicaca, situated in the Andes on the border between Bolivia and Peru, is facing historic low water levels, only 10 inches away from its all-time low recorded in 1996.

Climate change is identified as the primary cause of this decline, resulting in less rainfall and a diminishing shoreline.

Lake Titicaca is one of South America’s largest and most ancient lakes and the world’s highest navigable lake. It is the birthplace of the Incas. Its waters are famously still and brightly reflective. Around it is Titicaca National Reserve, sheltering rare aquatic wildlife such as giant frogs.

 

 

 

Read the CA in PDF format here: 

 


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