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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 25 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. Suicides in India

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. Parliamentary panel on MEME system in NEP 2020

 

GS Paper 4:

  1. Examples of Ethics (Boycott of Journalists, Rupert Murdoch and trust deficit in media)

 

Content for Mains Enrichment

  1. Immunization Wheel
  2. Abdul Ahad Khan

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Excavation in Keeladi
  2. Mewar school of painting
  3. India’s First Lighthouse Festival
  4. Norman E. Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application
  5. Five Eyes Alliance
  6. JP Morgan global bond index
  7. Perovskite 
  8. Artificial Reef (AR) 
  9. Vibrio vulnificus
  10. Pterygotrigla intermedica – New Fish Species

 

Mapping

  1. Argentina

 

Note:

 To view the relevance of our test series Questions with UPSC 2023 Question:

GS1: Click here

GS2: Click here

GS3: Click here

 This is NOT TO CLAIM questions– But to build confidence in the amount of time you invest daily on our Mains test series

 


 

Suicides in India

GS1/GS2 Paper 

 Syllabus: Indian Society

 

Source: TOI

 Context: The article discusses the alarming increase in student suicides in Kota, India, describing it as a “suicide cluster” that demands a public health approach.

  

What are Suicides?

Suicide refers to intentional acts where individuals cause their own death. A suicide cluster occurs when suicides, attempts, or self-harm events happen closer in time and space than expected, forming a pattern.

 

Example: In Kota, India, a suicide cluster mainly affects students preparing for exams in residential coaching centres. These clusters can lead to contagion, where one person’s suicide can trigger suicidal thoughts or attempts in others who are already vulnerable.

 

Reasons for Rising Student Suicide:

  • Social Stigma: not enough discussion about depression and suicides
  • Academic Pressure
  • Relationship breakdown.
  • Lack of adequate support: the ‘Log Kya Kahenge’ attitude (‘What will people say’) in Indian society is a permanent feature in the lives of competitive exam aspirants.
  • High expectations from Students.
  • Mental Issues:Anxiety disorder, depression, personality disorder.

 

Suicides among women in India

Women in India account for over one-third of global female suicide deaths. According to NCRB data, in the year 2021, over 45 thousand women died by suicide.

 

Several complex and interconnected factors contribute to this concerning issue of increasing female suicides

Factors Contributing to Female SuicidesDescription
Mental Health StigmaThe stigma around mental health can deter young women from seeking professional help.
Marital PressuresEarly and forced marriages, dysfunctional marriages, domestic abuse, and dowry harassment increase suicide risk.
HousewivesOver 50% of female suicides in India are among housewives (NCRB data).
Societal ContradictionsThe conflict between increasing female education and empowerment and persistent gender disparities.
Gender DiscriminationDisparities in access to education, employment, and decision-making lead to hopelessness and frustration.
Social Media and Peer PressureExposure to cyberbullying, revenge pornography, and peer pressure affects self-esteem and body image.
Educational StressHigh expectations from parents and society cause stress, anxiety, and depression.
Economic FactorsFinancial struggles, unemployment, and financial dependence, such as single mothers facing challenges.

Government steps taken:

InitiativeDescription
National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS)Aims to reduce suicides by 10% by 2030.
Suicide Surveillance SystemsTargeted at establishing effective suicide surveillance systems within the next three years.
Mental Health Outpatient ClinicsA goal under NSPS is to set up mental health outpatient clinics providing suicide prevention services within five years.
Helplines in Various StatesSeveral states (e.g., Telangana, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu) have launched suicide prevention helplines.
MANAS program in Maharashtra, strict law enforcement against dowry, child marriage, and forced marriages, and efforts by NGOs like Snehi and Vandrevala Foundation contribute to suicide prevention efforts.

For: “Student Cell”: For suicide prevention: Click Here

 

What more should be done?

ActionDescription
Implement a Response PlanDevelop and enforce a Suicide Cluster Response Plan involving surveillance, consistent information sharing between agencies, and support for those bereaved by suicide.
Media ResponsibilityEncourage media to report responsibly on suicides to prevent contagion.
Regular Monitoring and ReviewContinuously assess the effectiveness of the response and adapt strategies based on lessons learned.
Adopt Successful ModelsConsider adopting successful approaches like the Tomorrow Project in Nottingham, UK, which halted suicide contagion through community information, meetings, and clinical support.

Ethical Perspective of Suicide:

Ethical PerspectivesDescription
MoralistsSuicide prevention is a moral obligation. Philosophers like Kant argue that humanity should be considered an end in itself, and using oneself as a means to an end (suicide) is unacceptable.
Plato emphasizes obligations to society, making suicide inconsistent with the greater good.
Evident in countries like Singapore and India, where attempted suicide is punishable.
LibertariansSuicide can be a rational, carefully contemplated choice to avoid pain or suffering.
Value freedom of choice, considering the decision to die by suicide a right.
Reflected in countries where suicidal behaviour is decriminalized or euthanasia is legalized
RelativistsThe acceptability of suicide varies based on a cost-benefit analysis of situational, cultural, and contemporary variables.
The decision is influenced by individual, family, and societal needs at that moment
The analysis aims to maximize social utility, considering whether suicide benefits or harms society.

 

Conclusion

Indian society needs more comprehensive efforts to create a supportive environment for all irrespective of age, background and economic conditions in order to mitigate these preventable deaths by suicides.

 

Insta Links:

Preventing Student Suicides

  

Mains Links: 

Explain why suicide among young women is increasing in Indian Society (UPSC 2023)

Parliamentary panel on MEME system in NEP 2020

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus:  Government Policies and Interventions

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education has advised the Indian government to hold discussions with stakeholders regarding the multiple entry and multiple exit (MEME) system proposed in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

 

What is a multiple entry and multiple exit (MEME) system?

The Multiple Entry and Multiple Exit (MEME) system is an educational approach that allows students in higher education to enter and exit their academic programs at various points, not necessarily following a traditional linear progression.

 

Benefits:

  • It offers students greater flexibility by permitting them to leave with certificates or diplomas at different stages rather than completing a full degree program, which can suit their individual needs and circumstances.
  • This system is intended to provide diverse educational pathways and enhance access to higher education.

 

However, the parliamentary panel has criticised the MEME system due to:

  • Uncertainty in Student Numbers: The panel expressed concerns that the high student population in India makes it difficult for institutions to predict how many students will exit or join midway, leading to uncertainty in managing resources and maintaining pupil-teacher ratios.
  • Geographical Challenges: Uneven distribution of higher educational institutions across the country, particularly in rural areas, poses challenges in implementing MEME effectively.
  • Lack of Clear Framework: The panel noted that there is a need for comprehensive guidelines and a well-defined framework for MEME options, including specific eligibility criteria and credit transfer mechanisms.
    • Without these, the implementation of MEME could be problematic.
  • Potential for Devalued Degrees: Some critics, including students and teachers, fear that the MEME system could devalue degrees by allowing students to exit with lower-level qualifications, potentially leading to a perception of producing cheap labour for the job market.
  • State-Level Opposition: Some states, like Kerala, have decided not to implement MEME in their colleges and universities, highlighting a lack of uniformity in its acceptance across regions.
  • Dropout Concerns: Experts and critics have expressed concerns that the MEME system could increase dropout rates, as students may opt for early exits without completing full-degree programs.

 

Other Recommendations by the Panel:

  • Introduction of the “Design Your Degree” programme (adopted in Jammu University) in Higher Education Institutions for Personalized, Interdisciplinary Learning.
  • Develop and distribute educational content tailored to local needs and languages.
  • Research and innovation in the field of education for marginalized communities.

 

Provisions of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 for higher education:

ProvisionsDescription
Increase GER to 50% by 2035NEP 2020 aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education, including vocational education, from about 26% (2018) to 50% by 2035
Holistic Multidisciplinary EducationThe policy envisions broad-based, multi-disciplinary, holistic undergraduate (UG) education with flexible curricula.
It promotes creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education, and introduces multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification.
UG education can be 3 or 4 years with various exit options and certifications at different stages.
By 2025, at least 50% of learners through school and higher education systems shall have exposure to vocational education
RegulationThe Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be established as a single overarching umbrella body for the entire higher education system, excluding medical and legal education.
HECI will consist of four independent verticals:

 

National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation
General Education Council (GEC) for standard setting
Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding
National Accreditation Council (NAC) for accreditation
Both public and private HEIs will adhere to the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation, and academic standards.
Rationalised Institutional ArchitectureThe definition of a university will be expanded to include a spectrum of institutions, ranging from Research-intensive Universities to Teaching-intensive Universities and Autonomous degree-granting Colleges
Model public universities for holistic and multidisciplinary education, at par with IITs, IIMs, etc., called MERUs (Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities) will be set up

 

Major initiatives under NEP 2020 (for all types of education) are:

InitiativeDescription
PM-SHRIHigh-quality education in schools with a focus on equity and inclusivity
NIPUN BharatUniversal acquisition of foundational literacy and numeracy by Grade 3, by 2026-27
PM e-VIDYAPromoting online education and digital learning through various platforms and resources.
NCF FS and Jadui PitaraNational Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage and play-based learning for ages 3-8
NISHTHACapacity-building program for teachers and school principals.
NDEARBlueprint for digital technology-based education applications.
Academic FrameworksIntroduction of National Credit Framework (NCrF) and National Higher Education Qualification Framework (NHEQF).
Increased Investment in EducationAdvocating for 6% of GDP allocation to education.
Educational Innovation in GIFT CityAllowing foreign universities in Gujarat’s GIFT City to offer specialized courses.
World-Class Institutions SchemeCreating top-notch academic and research facilities and designating “Institutions of Eminence” (IoEs).
GIAN and SPARCTapping expertise for academic resources and fostering research collaborations.

 

Insta Links:

Key highlights of the NEP

 

Mains Links:

National Education Policy 2020 is in conformity with the Sustainable Development Goal-4 (2030). It intends to restructure and reorient the education system in India. Critically examine the statement. (UPSC 2020)

 

Prelims links

Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2018)

 

  1. As per the Right to Education (RTE) Act, to be eligible for appointment as a teacher in a State, a person would be required to possess the minimum qualification laid down by the concerned State Council of Teacher Education.
  2. As per the RTE Act, for teaching primary classes, a candidate is required to pass a Teacher Eligibility Test conducted in accordance with the National Council of Teacher Education guidelines.
  3. In India, more than 90% of teacher education institutions are directly under the State Government.

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3

(d) 3 only

 

Answer: B

Examples of Ethics (Boycott of Journalists, Rupert Murdoch and trust deficit in media)

GS Paper 4

 Syllabus: Application of Ethics: Media

 

Source: The Print,

 Example 1: Boycott of Journalists

India’s Opposition parties have decided to boycott 14 prominent news anchors accused of “partisanship and hate-mongering.”

 

Ethical issues concerned with such a boycott:

Ethical IssueDescription
Targeting IndividualsNaming and boycotting specific news anchors can be seen as a form of personal targeting rather than addressing broader systemic issues in journalism (such as quality and credibility of journalism)
Lack of Due ProcessBoycotting anchors without a transparent and fair due process raises questions about fairness, justice, and the right to defend oneself against allegations.
Freedom of ExpressionLimiting access to news anchors may be perceived as a restriction on freedom of expression, both for the anchors themselves and for those who wish to hear their perspectives.
Impact on Media LandscapeOver-personalization of journalism and targeting specific anchors
Transparency and AccountabilityThe process of determining which anchors to boycott, and the criteria used, should be transparent and accountable to avoid favouritism or bias.

 

Suggestion: Instead of targeting specific anchors, the focus should be on addressing hate and bias in journalism through public and political debate.

 

Example 2: Rupert Murdoch and trust deficit in media

Context: Rupert Murdoch, creator of Fox News, steps down as head of News Corp. and Fox Corp

Rupert Murdoch led to a trust deficit in media primarily revolving around his media empire’s practices and their impact on journalism and public perception.

 

Key issues are:

  • Phone-Hacking Scandal: Journalists at Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid had illegally hacked into the phones of various individuals, including celebrities and crime victims, to gather stories.
    • This unethical and invasive practice not only violated privacy but also undermined trust in the media as a whole.
  • Ethical Breaches: Murdoch’s media outlets faced allegations of ethical breaches, such as biased reporting and sensationalism.
    • Ethical issues of prioritizing profit and sensationalism over responsible journalism, erode the public’s trust in the credibility of news reporting.
  • Influence on Editorial Independence: There were allegations that editors and journalists working for Murdoch’s companies were pressured to align their reporting with his political and business interests.
  • Monopoly Concerns: Murdoch’s media holdings included a vast array of newspapers, television networks, and other media platforms. Some argued that this media monopoly allowed him to control a significant portion of the news landscape, limiting diversity of perspectives and potentially skewing public discourse.

 

Mains Links:

Today we find that in spite of various measures like prescribing codes of conduct, setting up vigilance cells/commissions, RTI, active media, and strengthening legal mechanisms, corrupt practices are not coming under control. (UPSC 2015)

(a) Evaluate the effectiveness of these measures with justifications.

(b) Suggest more effective strategies to tackle this menace.

Immunization Wheel

Content for Mains Enrichment

 

Source: TH

 Context: In Uttar Pradesh, the introduction of an immunization wheel has significantly improved the efficiency of accredited social health activist (ASHA) workers, contributing to a high rate of vaccine coverage for newborns.

 

What is the Immunization Wheel?

The Immunization Wheel is a simple tool consisting of two discs, one with vaccine details and the other with a calendar. Health workers use it to calculate vaccination dates for newborns, making the process more efficient and accurate.

 

Funded by the Clinton Foundation, the Immunization Wheel simplifies vaccination date calculations. ASHA workers use it to link a child’s birthdate to vaccines, automatically providing dates for the remaining dates for the first year of life.

Success: This tool has boosted vaccine coverage to 95% in the first year and improved parent communication, enhancing immunization success in Uttar Pradesh.

 

Usage: The example can used as a way forward in Health related questions.

Abdul Ahad Khan

Content for Mains Enrichment

 

Source: DTE

He is residing in Kashmir’s Nagri village and has dedicated the past decade to saving the majestic chinar trees. He starts his day early, tending to chinar saplings in the Band Wader forest area. Khan has nurtured around 1,500 chinar saplings into tall, healthy trees.

Chinar trees are significant in Kashmir for their beauty, shade, habitat provision, and environmental benefits. Khan’s mission began in 2010 when he noticed deforestation in an elevated area. He decided to protect nature by planting chinar trees.

Usage: The example can be used to show the values of Environmental Stewardship; Selflessness (He selflessly invests his time, effort, and personal resources); Education and Awareness (Khan’s actions raise awareness about the importance of chinar trees and environmental conservation)

 

About Chinar Tree:

Chinar trees are large deciduous trees known for their longevity and vibrant foliage. In autumn, its green leaves transform into shades of red, amber, and yellow.

The chinar holds cultural significance in Kashmir. Muslim Kashmiris believe it was brought by Islamic preachers from Iran, while Hindu Kashmiris associate it with Hindu goddess Bhavani. It is the State tree of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir

Excavation in Keeladi

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: Excavations in Keeladi have uncovered two carnelian beads, reaffirming the historical trade connections between Tamil Nadu and the western regions of India, specifically Maharashtra and Gujarat.

  • These carnelian beads, normally found in Gujarat and Maharashtra, were discovered within an urn at a burial site in Konthagai during the excavation.
  • Last year, 74 carnelian beads were also unearthed in the same area, further highlighting the trade links between Tamil Nadu and western India.

 

Carnelian beads are small decorative objects made from carnelian gemstones. Carnelian is a reddish-brown to orange variety of chalcedony, a type of microcrystalline quartz. These beads are prized for their vibrant colours and have been used for jewellery and ornamental purposes for centuries.

India’s First Lighthouse Festival

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 

Context: India’s First Lighthouse Festival is set to begin in Goa.

  • The festival will take place with the aim of transforming historic lighthouses into tourist destinations.
  • This festival is a part of the ‘Lighthouse Heritage Tourism’ campaign, which aims to revamp 75 historic lighthouses across India and promote them as tourist spots.
  • The initiative aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to transform these lighthouses into captivating tourism sites, showcasing their cultural significance and economic potential.

Norman E. Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Press Trust of India

  

Context: Indian scientist Dr. Swati Nayak, working at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), has been awarded the 2023 Norman E. Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application by the World Food Prize Foundation.

  • Nayak is recognized for her innovative work in engaging smallholder farmers in demand-driven rice seed systems, focusing on climate-resilient and nutritious rice varieties. This award is given to exceptional scientists under 40 who contribute to food and nutrition security and hunger eradication, in memory of Nobel laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, known as the chief architect of the Green Revolution.

 

Five Eyes Alliance

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

 Context: The recent India-Canada standoff regarding allegations of Indian government involvement in the killing of a separatist leader in Canada has brought attention to the role of the Five Eyes Alliance.

  

About Five Eyes Alliance:

  • Five Eyes Alliance: The Five Eyes Alliance refers to an intelligence-sharing partnership among five countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
  • These nations collaborate closely on intelligence matters, sharing information to protect their shared national interests.
  • Origins of the Alliance: The alliance traces its origins back to World War II when the UK and the US decided to share intelligence after successfully breaking German and Japanese codes.
    • It began as the Britain-USA (BRUSA) agreement, later evolving into the UK-USA (UKUSA) agreement, with Canada joining in 1949 and New Zealand and Australia in 1956.

JP Morgan global bond index

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

  

Context: JP Morgan Chase & Co. has announced the inclusion of Indian government bonds into its emerging markets bond index, effective from June 2024.

  • This move is expected to attract approximately $25 billion in foreign investment into India’s domestic government securities market.

 

Significance:

  • India will reach a maximum weight of 10 per cent in the GBI-EM Global Diversified Index (GBI-EM GD) as part of the inclusion.
  • Analysts estimate that the inclusion could result in nearly $26 billion in passive inflows, with the potential for additional active flows of around $10 billion, bringing the total inflows to approximately $40 billion over the next one and a half years.

Perovskite

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Independent

 Context: Scientists have made a significant breakthrough in solar panel technology using a nanoscale “ink” coating.

  • This innovation could potentially accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources. The researchers found that this coating can enhance the stability of perovskite solar cells, making them suitable for mass production.

  

About Perovskite:

  • Perovskite solar cells are cheaper, lighter, and more efficient than traditional silicon-based cells.
  • However, they face challenges related to a drop in efficiency and energy output during the manufacturing process. The researchers identified an aluminium oxide that minimizes this efficiency drop during the conditioning of perovskite solar cells.
  • Perovskite has been recognized as a “miracle material” with the potential to revolutionize various industries, including renewable energy.
  • Recent advancements have enabled the creation of self-healing solar panels and improved efficiency when combined with silicon in tandem cells.

Vibrio vulnificus

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DTE

 Context: Vibrio vulnificus, a marine bacterium, could pose a major threat to coastal populations due to ideal conditions created by climate change.

  • This bacterium can cause life-threatening infections and has a high mortality rate, particularly among those with weakened immune systems or comorbidities.

  

Issues:

  • Underreported Cases: Researchers suggest that cases of Vibrio vulnificus infections are likely underreported in India.
  • Climate Change Impact: As climate change leads to more frequent cyclones, heavy rainfall, and flooding, coastal communities may face an increased risk of exposure to Vibrio vulnificus.
  • India’s sea surface temperatures are conducive to the growth of Vibrio vulnificus.
  • Mortality Rate: Vibrio vulnificus has a high mortality rate, particularly when it enters the bloodstream.
  • Preventive Measures: Researchers are developing tools to predict the abundance of Vibrio vulnificus based on sea surface temperature and phytoplankton levels

Pterygotrigla intermedica – New Fish Species

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DTE

 Context: Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered a new species of deep-sea marine fish in Digha Mohana, West Bengal, named Pterygotrigla intermedica, commonly known as gurnards or sea-robins.

  • This fish belongs to the Triglidae family and is characterized by its vibrant orange color. It is the fourth species of the Pterygotrigla genus reported in India and adds to the 178 species of the Triglidae family found worldwide.

Argentina

Mapping

 

Source: BL

India is on the verge of finalizing agreements for the acquisition of five lithium blocks in Argentina through the State-owned joint venture, KABIL.

Argentina, as part of the “Lithium Triangle” along with Chile and Bolivia, is a significant producer of lithium, holding the world’s third-largest lithium reserve.

KABIL is a joint venture, involving NALCO, MECL, and HCL, and is focused on identifying and acquiring strategic minerals overseas for India’s use. It is also exploring opportunities for lithium partnerships and acquisitions in other Latin American nations like Chile and Brazil, as well as in Australia for lithium and cobalt exploration.

Argentina is a country in the southern half of South America. Argentina is the second-largest country in South America after Brazil. The Andes Mountains, which run through both Argentina and Chile, are known for hosting lithium-rich brine deposits. The region’s unique geological conditions make it conducive to the formation and concentration of lithium resources.

argentina

 

Read the CA in PDF format here: 

 


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