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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 25 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 2:

  1. Expansion of BRICS
  2. Pakistan Army Act

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. India’s protectionist Industrial Policy
  2. Significance of Chandrayaan-3 Mission and ISRO’s future mission

 

Content for Mains Enrichment

  1. SeamlessM4T

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. R. Rao
  2. First ABDM Microsite
  3. Rail-Sea-Rail (RSR) Initiative
  4. Why rural India shifted to sugars and processed foods
  5. Hubble Space Telescope captures ‘ghostly’ glow of distant galaxy
  6. Deficiency in micronutrients in soil linked to the health of children and women
  7. Indigenous ASTRA Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile

 

Sports

  1. FIDE Chess World Cup
  2. FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023
  3. Khelo India initiative

 

Mapping

  1.  Panama Canal

 

 


 

Expansion of BRICS

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Multilateral Organizations

 

Source: IE

 

Context: The alliance of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa invited six more countries (Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, and Ethiopia) to join, starting in January 2024.

 

India’s stance on expansion:

  • India welcomed the consensus-based expansion of the BRICS grouping during the 15th BRICS summit in Johannesburg.
  • The move strengthens BRICS as a representative of developing countries
  • India has proposed creating a BRICS space consortium, investing in skill mapping, technology, and education, and emphasising cooperation for conservation efforts.
  • The expansion is aimed at making BRICS future-ready by enhancing cooperation, digital solutions, and development initiatives.

 

Significance for India:

The addition of new members to BRICS holds significance for India in terms of expanding partnerships and geopolitical influence, while also raising concerns about potential pro-China dominance within the alliance.

Concerns: Concerns exist that the expansion could lead to increased pro-China influence within BRICS, possibly side-lining other member voices.

 

Conclusion: 

While it strengthens BRICS’ position as a platform for developing countries, there’s a need for India to ensure its voice and interests aren’t overshadowed by the growing influence of China and other new members.

 

Pakistan Army Act

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: International Relations

 

Source: TH

Context: The Pakistan Senate passed a Bill on July 27, 2023, to amend the Pakistan Army Act, 1952.

 

What is the ongoing issue with Pakistan?

The ongoing political crisis in Pakistan has escalated with the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. The conflict centres around Khan’s confrontation with the military establishment, marking a power struggle between the popular politician and the powerful institution. Khan’s arrest led to widespread protests and violence, causing damage to military installations. The military responded forcefully, indicating a strong stance against dissent. The arrest was deemed unlawful by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, further highlighting the power struggle.

 

Khan’s popularity had previously acted as a buffer against the military’s assertiveness, but the recent events have intensified the conflict. The Present coalition government has also confronted the judiciary, adding to the chaos. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s economy is in dire straits, with looming default and high inflation. General elections are due, but the Military appears to want Khan sidelined.

 

Against this backdrop, Pakisatan’s army has endorsed the amendment to The Army Act.

 

Key Features of Amendments:

Controversies and Concerns
Expands Act to include civilians in army-affiliated entities.
It criminalizes unauthorized disclosure, raising concerns about freedom of information. It bars political activity for two years after retirement.
It restricts engagement with conflicting entities, raising concerns about post-retirement opportunities. It outlines punishments for undermining the Armed Forces, which could curb freedom of expression.
Rushed Passage of the Bill: Passed quickly without proper notice, raising questions about transparency and the legislative process.
Intimidation of Veterans: Seen as targeting retired personnel supporting Imran Khan, which could stifle dissent.

 

Concerns: The amendments to the Pakistan Army Act signal a power struggle between Imran Khan and the military establishment, impacting Pakistan’s domestic stability. This situation has implications for India’s neighbour, with potential repercussions on regional dynamics and security.

India’s protectionist Industrial Policy

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Industrial Policies Since Independence

  

Source: BS

 Context: The author discusses India’s protectionist policies in manufacturing and electronics, contrasting them with targeted approaches in the US and EU.

  

What meaning of Protectionist measures?

It refers to economic policies and actions taken by a country to protect its domestic industries, businesses, and workers from foreign competition.

  • These measures can include tariffs, quotas, subsidies, and other barriers that make imported goods more expensive or difficult to access, thereby promoting domestic production and consumption.
  • The goal is to shield domestic industries from foreign competition and support local economic growth.

  

Issues with India’s Protectionist Measures:

IssuesDescription
High TariffsImport restrictions and high tariffs on electronic goods like laptops and tablets, make tariffs the highest among competing economies.
Broad ProtectionismProtective measures spanning 14 sectors, some lacking a clear strategic basis (e.g., textiles, food processing).
Challenges in the Electronics SectorRapid technological changes in the electronics sector make domestic manufacturing keeping pace with global advancements a challenge.
Lack of Targeted StrategiesIndia’s industrial policy lacks targeted sector-specific strategies, unlike the US and EU’s approaches.
Missed Opportunity Failure to fully integrate with global value chains can hinder competitiveness and growth in certain sectors.
Trade Barriers for InnovationExcessive protectionism can hinder exposure to global competition and restrict innovation and efficiency.
Limited Focus on Technological AdvancementIndia’s policy may not prioritize technological advancement, putting it at a disadvantage in rapidly evolving industries.

 

How other countries are applying protectionist measures?

  • US: The US has introduced the CHIPS and Science Act to boost domestic research and manufacturing in semiconductors and electric vehicles. This initiative aims to reduce reliance on countries like China and Russia and enhance “strategic autonomy.” The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) also promotes regional economic integration.
  • EU: The EU’s Green Deal Industrial Plan aims for carbon neutrality by 2050. The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) taxes imports from high carbon-output sectors, affecting major exporters like China and Russia. The EU’s approach focuses on environmental sustainability.

 

Both the US and EU use selective protectionist measures. The US emphasizes technological advancement and reducing geopolitical risks, while the EU targets environmental sustainability. Their strategies have specific goals, unlike India’s broader approach.

 

 

What should India do? 

  • Embrace Open Trade in Electronics: Rapid technological changes in the electronics sector make import substitution difficult. Given global value chains and the success of top exporters as importers, India should adopt open trade policies for smoother cross-border transactions.
  • Learn from Asian Economies: China and Vietnam’s success in the electronics sector stems from open trade policies. China’s dual trade regime, allowing duty-free entry for components, boosted exports. India could benefit by adopting similar strategies.
  • Combine Incentives with Trade Liberalization: Following countries like South Korea, India should merge financial incentives with trade liberalization. Shifting from import substitution to export expansion can enhance competition, efficiency, and innovation.

 

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, is working on a new industrial policy. This will be the third industrial policy (after 1956 and 1991), which is likely to replace the 1991 policy, which was prepared against the backdrop of the balance of payment crisis.

 

For Broad Objectives of New Industrial Policy: Click Here 

 

Insta Links:

Why an industrial policy is crucial

 

Mains Links:

“Industrial growth rate has lagged behind in the overall growth of Gross-Domestic-Product (GDP) in the post-reform period” Give reasons. How far are the recent changes in Industrial Policy capable of increasing the industrial growth rate? (UPSC 2017)

 

Prelims Links: (UPSC 2018)

Increase in absolute and per capita, real GNP do not connote a higher level of economic development, if

 

(a) industrial output fails to keep pace with agricultural output.

(b) agricultural output fails to keep pace with industrial output.

(c) poverty and unemployment increase.

(d) Imports grow faster than exports.

 

Ans: C

Significance of Chandrayaan-3 Mission and ISRO’s future mission

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Science and Technology: Space

 

Source: IE, IE

 Context: The article is in continuation of yesterday’s post on the Chandrayaan-3 Mission.

 

Significance of Chandrayaan-3 for India:

AspectsSignificance of Chandrayaan-3
Planetary ExplorationEstablishes India’s credentials as a serious player in planetary exploration
Space policiesGrants India the ability to contribute to and influence future space policies
Diplomatic OutreachEnhances India’s diplomatic relations and support in the international community
Technological AdvancementDemonstrates India’s advanced space technology capabilities
National InfluenceElevates India’s position in global space discussions and collaborations
Future CollaborationsPaves the way for partnerships with other space agencies and nations
Confidence and CapabilityBoosts India’s confidence to undertake complex space missions
Transition Reflects India’s progress from a developing country to a developed one

 

Other upcoming Planetary missions of ISRO:

  • Lunar Polar Exploration Mission (LUPEX): Aims to explore the Moon’s polar regions and shaded areas; Investigate water distribution and study lunar surface conditions.
  • XPoSat (X-ray Polarimeter Satellite): India’s first polarimetry mission; Studies dynamics of astronomical X-ray sources.
  • Aditya-L1: India’s first space-based solar observatory; Studies the Sun, including solar corona, emissions, winds, and flares.
  • NISAR (NASA ISRO SAR Mission): Joint mission by NASA and ISRO; Utilizes synthetic aperture radar (SAR) to map the entire globe in 12 days.

 

 

About LUPEX Mission:

AspectDetails
Mission LUPEX (Lunar Polar Exploration) is a collaborative mission between ISRO and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) scheduled for 2024-25.
Target AreaPolar regions of the Moon, including permanently shaded regions
ObjectivesExplore lunar polar regions, investigate water abundance, study lunar surface

conditions, and potential for establishing long-term stations

Power SourceOnboard battery for landing in permanently shaded areas
ComponentsLaunch vehicle and rover (contributed by JAXA)
Lander (provided by ISRO)
ImportanceAims to study regions of the Moon not well-illuminated by the Sun
Focuses on understanding water distribution and potential for future exploration
Investigate conditions for potential lunar habitats
Contributes to India’s lunar exploration capabilities

SeamlessM4T

Content for Mains Enrichment

 

Source: IE

Meta has introduced an advanced AI model called SeamlessM4T that can translate and transcribe nearly 100 languages across text and speech. This model aims to break language barriers and facilitate communication across diverse languages.

It has the ability to recognize when a speaker is code-switching or when someone moves between two or more languages in one sentence. It also recognizes gender bias in languages.

Unlike separate models, SeamlessM4T’s integrated approach reduces errors and delays, enhancing translation efficiency and quality. The model covers various translation scenarios, including speech-to-text, speech-to-speech, and text translation.

Usage: The example can be used to showcase how S&T can be used to preserve and communicate traditional language and break language barriers.

 

C.R. Rao

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: Renowned statistician Calyampudi Radhakrishnan Rao, known as C.R. Rao, has passed away at the age of 102. He was among the world’s most eminent statisticians and spent a significant part of his career in India.

Rao was instrumental in pioneering fundamental statistical concepts like the Cramer–Rao inequality and Rao–Blackwellization, which are widely taught in statistics and econometrics.

He played a key role in developing statistical education and research in India, serving on various government committees and contributing to the field’s growth. He received numerous awards, including India’s Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan.

He served as chairman of the Committee on Statistics and Demographic and Communication for Population Control.

 

His famous book is “Statistics and Truth: Putting Chance to Work”

Ethical values: C.R. Rao’s life embodied ethical values such as dedication to education, professionalism, pioneering statistical concepts, and contributing to society through his work in statistics

 

First ABDM Microsite

 

Source: PIB

 Context: The National Health Authority (NHA) introduced the ABDM Microsite project to accelerate the adoption of digital health services across India.

  • Mizoram is the first state to operationalize an ABDM Microsite, ensuring that healthcare facilities, including private clinics, small hospitals, and labs, become ABDM-enabled and offer digital health services to patients.
  • The CEO of NHA highlighted the importance of the project, emphasizing its role in digitizing healthcare services across the country.

  

Mizoram’s efforts have made Aizawl the first ABDM Microsite in India, setting an example for other states.

  

About ABDM Microsites:

  • ABDM Microsites are specific geographical areas where efforts are concentrated to onboard small and medium-sized private healthcare providers. These Microsites are primarily managed by State Mission Directors of ABDM, with NHA providing financial resources and guidance.
  • Patients can link their health records generated at these facilities with their Ayushman Bharat Health Accounts and access and share these records through ABDM-enabled Personal Health Record applications.

Apart from Mizoram, states like Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh have also made progress in implementing ABDM Microsites.

Rail-Sea-Rail (RSR) Initiative

 

Source: ET

 Context: The Ministry of Coal is driving a transformative initiative known as Rail-Sea-Rail (RSR) to revolutionize coal transportation in India.

  • This strategy integrates rail and sea transportation to create an efficient movement of domestic coal, connecting mining sites, ports, and end-users.
  • The goal is to enhance logistical efficiency, reduce transportation costs, and reshape the coal transportation landscape.

 

Stats regarding Coal:

  • Major coal-producing states like Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and parts of Madhya Pradesh contributed around 75% of domestic raw coal dispatch in FY’23.
  • The Ministry envisions doubling India’s coal production by FY’30, with a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of approximately 7.7%.
  • Currently, railways handle about 55% of coal evacuation, with a target of increasing it to 75% by FY’30. The committee is promoting RSR coal evacuation with the aim of reaching 112 million tons by 2030, a significant increase from the current 40 million tons. This approach aims to reduce congestion, explore export opportunities, and minimize the carbon footprint.

 

Benefits of RSR Initiative:

  • The Rail-Sea-Rail initiative aims to transform logistics through an eco-friendly coastal shipping mode.
  • Opting for RSR could result in substantial cost savings for end-users in Southern India, potentially cutting logistics costs.
  • Over the past four years, Rail-Sea-Rail coal transportation has seen impressive growth of around 125%.

The Ministry of Coal is committed to refining its Rail-Sea-Rail Coal Evacuation strategy to meet the nation’s growing energy needs and establish a robust energy supply system.

Why rural India shifted to sugars and processed foods

 

Source: DTE

 Context: A research study conducted by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has revealed that rural families in India are increasingly relying on carbohydrates and sugary processed foods instead of protein and micronutrient-rich options.

  

Key Findings:

  • The shift from traditional diets is attributed to factors like limited access to such nutrient-rich foods and the ease of sourcing cheaper alternatives.
  • This transition is exacerbated by the decreasing availability of wild foods from forests, which used to be part of their diet.
  • The research also points out that rural-to-urban migration leads to changes in dietary habits as people are exposed to packaged foods heavily promoted in cities.
  • Sugary processed foods become popular due to their convenience and longer shelf life compared to fresh fruits and vegetables.

  

Solutions:

  • The study calls for policy interventions to strengthen nutrition-sensitive food supply chains.
  • ICRISAT suggests solutions that include raising awareness about nutrition and educating people about healthy eating habits and the significance of locally grown foods.
  • The study underscores the importance of traditional farming practices and local markets in ensuring access to nutritious food in rural areas.

Hubble Space Telescope captures ‘ghostly’ glow of distant galaxy

 

Source: Space.com

  

Context: The Hubble Space Telescope has captured an image of a distant galaxy named ESO 300-16, situated approximately 28.7 million light-years away in the Eridanus constellation.

  • ESO 300-16 is categorized as an irregular galaxy due to its vague shape and absence of features like spiral arms or a nuclear bulge.
  • It resembles a cloud formation, formed by clusters of small stars. The galaxy’s core is surrounded by soft, diffuse light, and a bubble of bright blue gas is visible at its centre.

  

About Hubble Space Telescope:

  • NASA launched Hubble in 1990. 
  • Expanding the frontiers of the visible Universe, the Hubble Space Telescope looks deep into space with cameras that can see across the entire optical spectrum from infrared to ultraviolet. 
  • The Hubble Space Telescope makes one orbit around Earth every 95 minutes.

Deficiency in micronutrients in soil linked to the health of children and women

 

Source: DTE

 Context: A new study titled “Soil micronutrients linked to human health in India,” has revealed a significant connection between soil micronutrients and the nutritional well-being of individuals, particularly children and adult women.

  

Key Findings:

  • The study found that districts with a higher proportion of soil zinc samples showed notably lower rates of child stunting and underweight.
  • Soil zinc availability was linked to increased height in women.
  • The research also highlighted a strong correlation between soil iron availability and health outcomes, including anaemia among women and haemoglobin levels among both children and women.

  

Relevance to India:

  • Around 35% of the country’s soil is estimated to be deficient in zinc, and about 11% is estimated to lack iron.
  • India accounts for about one-third of the global population affected by micronutrient deficiencies, as indicated by the Global Nutrition Report 2018.

The study suggests that leveraging soil mineral availability could potentially help mitigate the prevalence of anaemia across a large portion of the population.

Indigenous ASTRA Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile

 

Source: PIB

 Context: The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) LSP-7, known as “Tejas,” successfully launched the indigenous Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile called ASTRA.

  • The missile was fired from the aircraft at an altitude of approximately 20,000 feet and achieved all test objectives flawlessly.

The test was closely supervised by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DG-AQA).

  

About ASTRA:

  • ASTRA is an advanced BVR air-to-air missile developed by various DRDO laboratories, including the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI).
  • It’s designed to engage and destroy agile supersonic aerial targets.

  

To read about LCA Tejas: Click here

FIDE Chess World Cup

Sports

 

Source: TH

In the FIDE World Cup finals, Magnus Carlsen secured his first-ever title, defeating Indian chess prodigy R. Praggnanandhaa in Baku, Azerbaijan. Praggnanandhaa has become the second Indian after Viswanathan Anand to reach a World Cup final.

Praggnanandhaa’s spirited performance earned him a spot in the prestigious Candidates Tournament, despite his loss.

 

About FIDE World Cup:

The FIDE World Cup, established in 2000 by the International Chess Federation (FIDE), encompasses various iterations. Since 2005, it’s been a 128-player single-elimination chess tournament, a vital part of the World Chess Championship qualification. The format includes 7 rounds of “mini-matches” with 2 games each, followed by rapid and blitz tiebreaks if needed. The final consists of 4 games before tiebreaks.

 

About the Candidates Tournament:

It has been organized by FIDE since 1950 and determines the challenger for the World Chess Championship. The winner faces the reigning World Champion. Historically held triennially until 1992, since 2013, it follows a 2-year cycle.

About the World Chess Championship

It determines the world champion in chess. Ding Liren (China) won the 2023 championship, defeating Ian Nepomniachtchi, while Magnus Carlsen opted not to defend his title.

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023

 

Source: Olympics

The ninth FIFA Women’s World Cup was co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, marking the first time it was held in the Southern Hemisphere. Spain won the event by defeating England in the final. The USA has won the Women’s World Cup title four times.

 

About the FIFA Women’s World Cup

It is a professional football tournament for senior women’s national teams, organized by FIFA. It occurs every four years, following the men’s World Cup, and began in 1991. The 2023 edition, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, featured 32 teams in a month-long event

Khelo India initiative

 

Source: BS

This initiative was introduced by the Indian government in 2017 and serves as a dynamic platform to nurture sports talent and revive the sporting culture of India. It encompasses the:

  • Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) (commenced 2018): Annual national competition for youngsters representing states
  • Khelo India University Games (KIUG) (commenced 2020): Showcases university students’ talent in sports
  • Khelo India Winter Games (Commenced 2020): Promotes winter sports in India

 

Part of the Khelo India State Centres of Excellence (KISCE) scheme: It aims to enhance sports infrastructure by supporting existing training facilities. It provides financial aid, staff, equipment, and resources at the grassroots level.

Panama Canal

Mapping

 

Source: WEF

A severe drought in Panama is causing extensive delays for cargo ships transiting the Panama Canal, a vital route connecting almost 2,000 ports across 170 countries.

 

About the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is an 82 km artificial waterway in Panama, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and dividing North and South America. It allows ships to avoid the lengthy and dangerous voyage around Cape Horn. Panama itself forms an isthmus (a narrow land strip connecting two larger landmasses) between North and South America.

This differs from straits, which are narrow waterways joining larger bodies of water, like the Strait of Gibraltar.

The canal lifts ships through locks to Gatun Lake and then lowers them. Originally under French control in the late 1800s, the United States completed the project in 1914 and managed it until 1999 when Panama took over. It’s now operated by the Panama Canal Authority.

 

 

Read the CA in PDF format here: 

 


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