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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 13 September 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. Reasons behind Morocco’s earthquake

 

GS Paper 2:

  1.  G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. National Strategy for Robotics (NSR)

 

Content for Mains Enrichment

  1. “Student Cell”: For suicide prevention

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. CBI does not require permission to probe pre-2014 cases too: SC
  2. Criminalisation of politics
  3. Strategic Partnership Council
  4. ILO and OECD to measure and monitor the global skills gap
  5. Gresham’s Law
  6. Dolly the sheep
  7. A novel approach to detect and kill cancer cells

 

Mapping

  1. Libya

 


 

Reasons behind Morocco’s earthquake

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Geography: Geomorphology

 

Source: TH, IE

 Context: A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 struck Morocco, causing extensive damage and a death toll exceeding 2,400 people. The earthquake’s epicentre was in the Atlas Mountains near Marrakech.

 

Reason for the Earthquake:

The earthquake in Morocco resulted from a geological phenomenon known as a “reverse fault.” 

  • Tectonic Plate Interaction: Morocco is situated in an area where the Eurasian and African tectonic plates converge.
  • Plate Boundary Activity: The Atlas Mountains, where the earthquake occurred, are actively rising due to the convergence of these two large tectonic plates
  • Seismic Stress Accumulation: Although the region had not experienced major recorded earthquakes before, stress had been accumulating underground for an extended period due to the slow movement of tectonic plates.
  • Oblique-Reverse Fault: This type of faulting is common in areas of compression along the convergent plate boundaries. The stress along these fault lines can induce earthquakes as rocks abruptly shift to release accumulated stress.

 

More about Oblique-Reverse Fault: 

An oblique-reverse fault is a geological fault characterized by both horizontal and vertical movements along the fault plane. In this type of fault, rocks on one side of the fault plane move vertically upward while also sliding horizontally in a lateral direction. This movement occurs due to the compression of tectonic plates, where one plate is converging into another.

 

 

Various types of faults:

Type of FaultDescription
Dip-Slip Faults

Movement along the direction of the dip plane.
Vertical movement either up (reverse dip-slip) or down (normal dip-slip) along the fault plane.
Common in regions experiencing crustal compression or extension.
Examples: Reverse faults (upthrown block above the fault plane) and Normal faults (downthrown block above the fault plane).
Strike-Slip Faults

Horizontal movement along the fault plane.
Movement is parallel to the strike of the fault.
Common in transform plate boundaries where tectonic plates slide past each other horizontally.
Oblique-Slip Faults

Show characteristics of both dip-slip and strike-slip faults.
Movement occurs in two directions: horizontal (strike-slip) and vertical (dip-slip) along the fault plane.

 

Why the earthquake in Morocco has caused so much damage?

FactorExplanation
Epicentre LocationThe earthquake’s epicentre was in the High Atlas Mountains (close to the city of Marrakesh), causing it to affect populated areas and infrastructure.
DepthThe depth of the earthquake, estimated between 8km and 26km, was relatively shallow, making it more dangerous as shallow earthquakes transmit more energy to the surface.
Previous Earthquake ActivityThe region had not experienced major recorded earthquakes before, suggesting that stress had been accumulating underground for an extended period before being released in this earthquake.
Lack of PreparednessEarthquakes are relatively rare in North Africa, so Morocco was not well-prepared for such a calamity. Many buildings, especially in rural areas and older cities, were not constructed to withstand strong tremors.

 

Earthquake Prone areas in India:

The Western Himalayas in India are considered one of the most dangerous seismic zones globally, and the entire Himalayan region, spanning from the Hindu Kush mountains to Arunachal Pradesh, is at risk of a major earthquake with a magnitude exceeding 8 on the Richter scale. This heightened risk is attributed to the substantial energy accumulation along faultlines due to the ongoing interaction of various tectonic plates.

 

However, earthquakes cannot be accurately predicted because there is currently no equipment or method to detect precursory signals within the Earth that would indicate an impending major earthquake. Such signals would need to be specific to significant seismic events and not indicative of minor movements in the Earth’s crust.

  

Insta Links:

60% of India prone to earthquake

  

Mains Links: 

Why are the world’s fold mountain systems located along the margins of continents? Bring out the association between the global distribution of Fold Mountains and the earthquakes and volcanoes. (UPSC 2014)

G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Multilateral Institutions

 

Source: G20

 Context: The 18th G20 Summit was hosted by India in New Delhi on September 9-10, 2023. The theme, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” highlighted global unity.

The G20 Leaders’ New Delhi Declaration achieved unanimous consensus, addressing issues like Russia-Ukraine tensions, sustainable development, and food security.

 

Key highlights of the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration:

Key AreasHighlights
Ukraine WarAll states must act in line with the UN Charter. Refrain from threats or use of force.
Grain/Food/Energy SecurityCall for unimpeded deliveries of grain, food, and fertilizers/inputs from Russia and Ukraine.
Gender EqualityCreation of a working group on women’s empowerment to prioritize gender equality, women empowerment, and leadership.
Food SecurityG20 leaders aim to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, address rising commodity prices, and promote transparent and fair trade in agriculture.
Economies & MarketsCommit to protecting the vulnerable through equitable growth. A Financial Inclusion Action Plan aimed at advancing financial inclusion for individuals and MSMEs.
Global Value Chains: A generic framework for mapping global value chains to identify risks and build resilience.
Reaffirmation of commitment to the twin pillars of the international tax package, including profit allocation and nexus and global minimum taxation.
A roadmap for implementing the recommendations of the G20 Independent Review of MDBs’ Capital Adequacy Frameworks.
Technology Crypto-Assets: A joint roadmap to support a coordinated policy and regulatory framework for crypto-assets.
Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI): Establishment of a Global DPI Repository to share best practices and experiences in DPI development and deployment.
Climate ChangeAccelerate efforts to phase down unabated coal power
Aim to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030
Call for ambitious, transparent, and trackable climate finance goals from 2024
Recognition of the need for about USD 6 trillion in the pre-2030 period for developing countries to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for climate action.
Global Debt VulnerabilitiesCommit to addressing debt vulnerabilities in developing countries. Call for swift conclusion of debt treatment for Ethiopia.
HealthCommit to strengthening global health architecture.
 Emphasis on building a climate-resilient healthcare systems, integrating traditional medicine, and adopting a one-health approach.
Agricultural TransparencyStrengthening Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) and Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM) to enhance transparency and avoid food price volatility.
 AMIS, launched in 2011, enhances food market transparency and policy responses for food security, while GEOGLAM, with roots in the French G20 Presidency in 2011, offers global agricultural information for market transparency and food security.
Biofuels InitiativesThe Global Biofuels Alliance (GBA) is an India-led initiative promoting biofuels’ adoption globally. It will support India’s existing biofuels programs, including PM-JIVAN Yojna, SATAT, and GOBAR-Dhan scheme.
UNSC ReformsAgreement on UNGA 75/1 (UNSC reforms) for the first time in G20.

 

Other major outcomes of the G20 Summit:

OutcomeDescription
Admittance of the African Union (G20 now G21)The African Union became a permanent member of the G20, increasing the representation of developing countries.
Global Biofuels Alliance (GBA)India-led initiative promoting biofuels globally, contributing to India’s existing biofuels programs.
India – Middle East – Europe Economic Corridor (IMEE-EC)A significant infrastructure project connecting India, the Middle East, and Europe, aiming to provide an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
India-Mercosur Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)Collaboration to expand economic ties through the India-Mercosur PTA.
Handover of G20 chairmanship from India to Brazil.

 

India’s Cultural Highlights: 

Cultural HighlightsDescription
Bharat MandapamAn exhibition or showcase inspired by Anubhav Mandapam, a cultural platform in India.
Bronze statue of Lord NatarajaA bronze sculpture of Lord Nataraja in the Chola artistic style, representing Lord Shiva’s cosmic dance.
Konark Chakra and Image of Nalanda UniversityDisplays of the Konark Chakra, a significant symbol from Odisha’s Sun Temple, and images related to Nalanda University.
Thanjavur Paintings and Dhokra artExhibition of traditional Thanjavur paintings, known for intricate details and rich colours, and Dhokra art, a form of tribal metal casting.
A brass statue of Lord Buddha sitting under Bodhi treeA brass sculpture of Lord Buddha in a meditative posture beneath the Bodhi tree, symbolises his enlightenment.

 

Insta Links:

 

Mains Links:

India’s Presidency of the G20, SCO and UNSC is a historic opportunity for reinventing the United Nations. Discuss.

 

Prelims Links:

Consider the following statements:

  1. G20 is a major international grouping with its members accounting for more than 80% of global GDP.
  2. Till now India has never hosted the G20 Leaders’ Summit.
  3. India was not a member of the G20 during its inception but joined later.

 

 

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1, 3
  2. b) 1, 2
  3. c) 1 only
  4. d) 1, 2, 3

 

Solution: b

National Strategy for Robotics (NSR)

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Science and Technology

 

Source: BS

 Context: The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in India has released a draft “National Strategy for Robotics” (NSR) aimed at strengthening the innovation cycle of robotic technology and fostering India’s leadership in robotics by 2030.

 

What is Robotics?

Robotics deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots coupled with computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing.

 

Status:

According to the World Robotics Report for the year 2022, India ranks 10th globally in terms of annual industrial installations of robots.

 

Potential of Robotics in India:

  • India’s Strengths in Future of Work: India’s strengths in Future of Work (Tech Economy 0) include robotics, AI, IoT, cloud computing, supply chain 4.0, 3D printing, big data, digital payments, etc
  • Applications in Agriculture: Robotics in agriculture: Autonomous precision seeding, Micro-spraying robots, Weed removal robots, Drones, Robot-assisted precision irrigation.
  • Human-Automation Balance: Balancing human interface and automation, e.g., collaborative robots (Cobots) working alongside skilled workers.
    • Upskilling of migrant workers for greater efficiency.
  • Employment Scope: Leading sectors: manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, packaging, FMCG, and inspection

 

Some key components of the draft NSR include:

ComponentDescription
Policy FrameworkA framework for implementing robotics in sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, and national security, aligning with the Make in India 2.0 Framework
Nodal AgencyThe Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) will serve as the nodal agency for robotics, overseeing the NSR through the ‘National Robotics Mission’ (NRM).
ClassificationIndustrial, Service and Medical Robots
Core Areas identified by NSRManufacturing: Logistics and Warehousing automation, Process Optimization etc.
Healthcare: Surgical Robots, telemedicine area, etc.
Agriculture: Crop scouting, spot Spraying, etc
National Security: Combat robots, Mine Detection etc.
InterventionsFiscal and non-fiscal interventions by the NRM to support innovation in robotics, including funding mechanisms for start-ups and export promotion.
Regulatory FrameworkEstablishment of a regulatory framework led by the Robotics Innovation Unit (RIU) for proper governance and regulation of robotics technology.
Ensuring Regulatory Sandboxes and development of robotics industrial zones.
Centres of ExcellenceCreation of Centres of Excellence (CoEs) in Robotics for foundational and applied research, with private sector involvement in application-based research.
Advisory SupportPlans for providing advisory support to start-ups, utilizing research potential in higher education institutions, and developing robotics industrial zones.
Public Procurement PolicyA proposed policy where the central government acts as a demand aggregator for domestically manufactured robotic systems, incentivizing domestic production.

 

Challenges in Adoption of Robotics in India:

ChallengesDescription
Cost of AdoptionHigh cost due to imported hardware components and training expenses.
Skilled TalentAcquiring and retaining quality talent in the multidisciplinary field of robotics.
Procurement of Hardware ComponentsDependence on countries like China, the USA, and Europe for necessary components.
Academic ChallengesLack of multidisciplinary knowledge in most students; Limited teaching of robotics in engineering institutes; Shortage of faculty.
Investment in IPR and R&DIndia’s investment in intellectual property rights (IPR) and research and development (R&D) lags behind developed countries.
Ethical considerationsE.g., such as privacy, absence of dedicated legislation for robotics, etc

 

For the application of Robotics: Click Here

 

Way forward:

 

Insta links:

 

Mains Links:

What have been the challenges in the adoption of Robotics in India? Despite these challenges, how Robotics is shaping India’s future in various fields? (15M)

“Student Cell”: For suicide prevention

Content for Mains Enrichment

 

Source: Telegraph

The Kota Police in India has established a “Student Cell” to address stress and suicides among coaching students. This initiative comes in response to a rising number of student suicides in Kota, a city where about 3lakh students annually prepare for competitive exams like JEE and NEET.

The “Student Cell” comprises police personnel who interact with students, provide counselling, and detect signs of stress or depression. Their efforts include visiting hostels, sharing a dedicated helpline, and offering support.

This move aims to address the challenges faced by students in this highly competitive environment, where academic pressure and parental expectations often lead to stress and mental health issues.

The year 2023 has witnessed a spike in student suicides in Kota, emphasizing the need for such interventions.

Usage: The initiative can be used as an example in Governance/ Social Justice/ Indian Society Questions on Mental health

CBI does not require permission to probe pre-2014 cases too: SC

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Supreme Court of India has ruled that a 2014 judgment declaring a legal provision requiring prior permission for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate corruption cases against senior government officials is retrospective.

  • This means that the provision, Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, has been considered void from the day of its insertion on September 11, 2003.
    • CBI powers are derived from the DSPE Act
  • The Court stated that Section 6A violated fundamental rights and that once a law is declared unconstitutional, it is void from its inception.

Consequently, senior government officials involved in corruption cases before the 2014 judgment can no longer seek protection through prior approval for investigations.

 Note: Article 20(1) has no bearing in the context of the declaration of Section 6A as unconstitutional as Article 20 (1) doesn’t bar retrospective application of procedural changes in criminal trial.

Criminalisation of politics

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: A study conducted by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) reveals that approximately 40% of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) in India have criminal cases registered against them, with 25% facing serious criminal charges such as murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, and crimes against women.

  • The analysis is based on self-sworn affidavits of 763 sitting MPs from both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
  • The study also highlights variations in the prevalence of criminal cases and average assets among different states and political parties, with Telangana having the highest average assets per MP and Lakshadweep having the lowest.

Strategic Partnership Council

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE 

Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) recently chaired the first meeting of the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council (SPC).

  

About Strategic Partnership Council:

  • This council, established in 2019, aims to enhance the relationship between the two countries and has two main pillars: the Committee on Political, Security, Social, and Cultural Cooperation and the Committee on Economy and Investments.
  • These committees have four levels of engagement, including summit-level meetings, ministerial-level discussions, senior officials’ meetings, and joint working groups.

During their recent meeting, India and Saudi Arabia agreed to expedite the $50-billion West Coast refinery project and identified areas such as energy, defence, semiconductor, and space for intensified cooperation.

 West Coast Refinery Project aims to set up Asia’s largest refinery in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. It is a trilateral project between ARAMCO (Saudi), ADNOC (UAE) and Indian companies.

ILO and OECD to measure and monitor the global skills gap

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: ET

 Context: Under India’s Union Education and Skills Development Minister’s leadership, the G20 nations have adopted indicators from the ILO and OECD to track the global skills gap.

 

What is a Skills Gap?

A skills gap refers to the mismatch between the skills and qualifications that job seekers possess and those that employers require for available positions. It means that there are often unfilled job openings because potential employees lack the necessary skills and knowledge for these roles.

  • Types of skill mismatches include skill shortages, qualification mismatch, skill gaps, skill obsolescence, and over/under skilling.

 

India’s Skill Gap:

  • Only 49% of Indian youth is employable, points out the India Skills Report
  • According to the National Employability Report for Engineering, 80% of Indian engineers don’t possess the required skills.

 

Key points of ILO and OECD indicators:

Key PointsDetails
Agreement on Global Skill Gap IndicatorsG20 countries have agreed to use 12 basic and 14 extended indicators proposed by the ILO and OECD to monitor and measure the global skills gap.
ImplementationILO and OECD will be responsible for implementing the intervention to monitor
Migration PathwaysG20 leaders have pledged to establish well-managed, regular, and skills-based migration pathways that benefit both origin and destination countries.
Global Skills TaxonomyDevelop a global skills taxonomy broad enough to be applied across different countries.
International Reference ClassificationPlans to create an International Reference Classification of occupations based on skill and qualification requirements for better cross-country comparability and mutual recognition of qualifications.
Educational PrioritiesEmphasis on investing in human capital development to transform education systems, enhance enrollments and student retention, and ensure all learners acquire foundational skills by 2030.
Global CollaborationsExploring university-level collaborations with countries like Australia, UAE, Taiwan, UK, and others in critical areas, with active research collaborations with several countries.

For ILO Monitor on “world of work”: Click here

 

Gresham’s Law

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  

Source: TH

 Gresham’s Law, named after Thomas Gresham, states that “bad money drives out good” when the government fixes the exchange rate between two currencies at a level different from the market rate.

Impact:

  • This leads to the undervalued currency going out of circulation, while the overvalued currency remains but lacks buyers.
  • The law can result in a currency shortage when demand exceeds supply due to the fixed price.

Gresham’s law applies not only to paper currencies but also to commodities. It can cause goods to disappear from the formal market when their prices are forcibly undervalued by governments.

 

Explanation using example:

Imagine a country where both gold coins and copper coins are used as currency. The government sets an exchange rate, saying that 10 copper coins are equal in value to 1 gold coin, even though the market values them differently.

In this scenario, people will start hoarding and using gold coins because they are more valuable. They will spend copper coins, which are considered “bad money,” in everyday transactions, keeping the “good money” (gold coins) for themselves.

Eventually, the circulation of copper coins increases, while gold coins become scarce in daily transactions. This demonstrates Gresham’s Law in action, where the undervalued (copper) currency pushes out the more valuable (gold) currency from everyday use.

 

The alternative:

Thiers’ law, on the other hand, states that “good money drives out bad” when people have the freedom to choose between currencies, and they prefer higher-quality currencies.

Dolly the sheep

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

Context: Ian Wilmut, the British embryologist renowned for leading the team that created Dolly the Sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal from an adult cell, has passed away recently.

 

About Dolly:

  • Dolly the Sheep, born in 1996, marked a significant scientific breakthrough in the 20th century. Wilmut, along with his team, accomplished the unprecedented feat of making an adult cell behave like a cell from a newly fertilized embryo, resulting in the creation of an animal genetically identical to the donor.
  • They achieved this by taking a cell from the mammary gland of a deceased adult sheep, stimulating it with electricity and chemicals to transform its DNA into an embryo, and then implanting it into an empty sheep’s egg, which was later placed into a surrogate sheep.
  • Dolly’s birth raised ethical debates about cloning research, and it prompted then-U.S. President Bill Clinton to announce a ban on human cloning experiments about a year later.
  • Dolly’s life was tragically short-lived, as she developed an incurable lung tumour and was euthanized by scientists about six years after her birth.

 

Following the success of the Dolly experiment, Wilmut shifted his focus to using cloning technology to create stem cells for potential use in regenerative medicine. His research played a crucial role in advancing treatments for genetic and degenerative diseases by aiding in tissue repair within the human body.

A novel approach to detect and kill cancer cells

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH 

Context: Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a novel approach to detect and potentially kill cancer cells, especially those forming solid tumour masses.

  • They created hybrid nanoparticles consisting of gold and copper sulphide, which can both kill cancer cells using heat and facilitate their detection using sound waves.
  • These hybrid nanoparticles possess photothermal, oxidative stress, and photoacoustic properties. When exposed to light, they absorb it and generate heat, which can be lethal to cancer cells.
  • Additionally, these nanoparticles produce singlet oxygen atoms that are toxic to cells, providing a dual mechanism for cell destruction.
  • Moreover, these nanoparticles have the potential to aid in cancer diagnosis. Their photoacoustic property allows them to absorb light and generate ultrasound waves, which can be used to detect cancer cells with high contrast once the particles reach them.
  • The small size of these hybrid nanoparticles (less than 8 nm) makes them suitable for travelling within tissues and reaching tumours.

Libya

Mapping

 

Source: TOI

Devastating floods in Derna, eastern Libya, have resulted in over 5,000 feared dead and thousands missing due to breached dams and flash floods caused by the Mediterranean storm named Daniel.

What is a Mediterranean storm? 

A Mediterranean storm, also known as a Mediterranean cyclone or a Mediterranean low, is a type of weather system that forms over the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean storms can vary in intensity and impact, but they often lead to heavy precipitation, which can result in flooding, landslides, and other weather-related hazards.

Libya is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, and Tunisia to the northwest.

/ 13 September 2023, Today's Article

 

Read the CA in PDF format here: 

 


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