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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 4 October 2023

 

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions ina your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 3:

  1. 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics (Seeing electrons in brief flashes of light)

 

GS Paper 4:

  1. Examples of Ethics (Discriminatory order of Patan DC, Use of spyware by governments, Lal Bahadur Shastri)

 

Content for Mains Enrichment

  1. Gandhi’s relationship with music
  2. ‘Yashasvini’: Women Bike Expedition

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Hate speech
  2. Swachh Bharat Mission
  3. Central Tribal University
  4. Green war room
  5. Operation “Kachchhap”
  6. Fish that can change colour – Badis limaakumi
  7. Hirakund Wetland

 

Mapping

  1. Maldives

 


 

2023 Nobel Prize in Physics (Seeing electrons in brief flashes of light)

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Science and Technology

 

Context:  The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz, and Anne L’Huillier for their groundbreaking experiments that have allowed scientists to generate attosecond pulses of light.

What are Electrons?

The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electric charge. Electrons rapid movement made them challenging to study directly. Scientists had to rely on averaging their properties.

 

Why are Electrons hard to capture?

Exposure Time Analogy: To understand why electrons were hard to capture, think of taking a picture of a race car. Longer exposure times result in blurry images, while shorter exposure times yield sharper pictures. If a normal camera is used to capture a race car, the image will be blurred. But a high shutter-speed camera can freeze motion and capture a clear image of the car.

Electrons move so quickly that capturing them requires extremely short pulses of light such as attosecond.

 

What is the Attosecond Timescale?

Electron dynamics occur on the attosecond timescale, which is a billionth of a billionth of a second (1×10−18 of a second), much faster than femtoseconds (a millionth of a billionth of a second) associated with atomic movements.

 

What were the Previous Limitations in generating attosecond pulses of light?

Until the 1980s, scientists could produce femtosecond pulses, but technology limitations prevented shorter pulses. However, studying electrons required even shorter pulses.

 

Contribution of Various scientists:

Scientist’s Contribution Description
Anne L’Huillier’s Discovery In 1987, Anne L’Huillier and her colleagues passed an infrared laser beam through a noble gas, resulting in the production of ultraviolet light overtones. These overtones were found to be intense enough to be of practical use.
Overtone Interactions: Scientists discovered that the overtones created by the interaction of light in the noble gas could interact with each other. This interaction led to constructive and destructive interference, a crucial phenomenon that enabled the production of intense attosecond pulses

Pierre Agostini’s Contribution In 2001, Pierre Agostini and his research group successfully generated and examined a series of 250-attosecond light pulses. This achievement marked a significant breakthrough, allowing for the execution of rapid experiments in the field of attosecond physics.
Ferenc Krausz’s Technique Ferenc Krausz and his team in Austria developed a pioneering technique that enabled the separation of individual 650-attosecond pulses from a pulse train. This breakthrough made it possible to perform precise measurements of the energy of electrons in various experiments.
These ultra-short pulses of light enable researchers to directly study the incredibly fast dynamics of electrons in matter.

 

Who are the scientists? 

  • Anne L’Huillier: Born in 1958 in Paris, France. She earned her PhD in 1986 from the University of Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris. Currently, she holds the position of Professor at Lund University, Sweden.
  • Pierre Agostini: Received his PhD in 1968 from Aix-Marseille University, France. He is a Professor at The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA.
  • Ferenc Krausz: Born in 1962 in Mór, Hungary. He serves as the Director at Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching, and is also a Professor at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany.
  • Last year, The Nobel Prize in Physicswas awarded to Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger for their work on quantum mechanics

Applications of Attosecond pulses:

Application Description Examples
Atomic and Molecular Imaging Attosecond pulses enable the capture of ultrafast processes within atoms and molecules, providing insights into their dynamics. Studying electron movement within molecules.
Materials Science Attosecond spectroscopy aids in understanding and manipulating materials at the quantum level, essential for advanced materials. Investigating properties of nanoscale materials.
Electronics Attosecond pulses can be used to develop faster electronic devices by examining electron behaviour on extremely short timescales. Enhancing the speed of microprocessors.
Catalysis Studying ultrafast chemical reactions with attosecond precision contributes to improving catalytic processes in chemistry. Investigating catalysts for cleaner energy production.
Medical Diagnostics Attosecond pulses can identify molecules based on their fleeting signatures, potentially advancing medical diagnostic techniques. Detecting specific biomolecules in medical tests.
Telecommunications Attosecond technology can lead to better telecommunications systems, enhancing data transfer rates and network efficiency. Improving data transmission in fibre optic networks.
Spectroscopy Attosecond spectroscopy allows for detailed examination of molecular spectra, aiding in the study of complex molecules. Analyzing the electronic structure of organic compounds.

 

Insta links:

2020 Nobel Prize in physics

 

Prelims Links:

The efforts to detect the existence of Higgs boson particle have become frequent news in the recent past. What is/are the importance/importances of discovering this particle? (UPSC 2013)

  1. It will enable us to understand as to why elementary particles have mass.
  2. It will enable us in the near future to develop the technology of transferring matter from one point to another without traversing the physical space between them.
  3. It will enable us to create better fuels for nuclear fission.

 

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Ans: (a)

 

Recently, scientists observed the merger of giant ‘blackholes’ billions of light-years away from the Earth. What is the significance of this observation? (UPSC 2019)

(a) ‘Higgs boson particles’ were detected.
(b) ‘Gravitational waves’ were detected.
(c) Possibility of inter-galactic space travel through ‘wormhole’ was confirmed.
(d) It enabled the scientists to understand ‘singularity’.

 

Ans: (b)

Examples of Ethics (Discriminatory order of Patan DC, Use of spyware by governments, Lal Bahadur Shastri)

GS Paper 4

 Syllabus: Applications of Ethics

 

Source: DTE

 Example 1: Discriminatory order of Patan DC

The Patan District Collector in Gujarat, India, has faced criticism from activists for ordering the transfer of all ration cards from a fair price shop (FPS) run by a Dalit dealer in Kanosan village to a nearby village.

 

Ethical Issues concerning the case:

Ethical Issues Description
Caste-Based Discrimination The alleged social boycott and discrimination against the Dalit ration dealer based on their caste raises ethical concerns about equality, fairness, and social justice
Violation of Laws and Rights The transfer of ration cards may violate laws designed to protect the rights of marginalized communities, including those outlined in the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Impact on Livelihood and Well-being The actions taken against the Dalit dealer, including the boycott and subsequent revocation of their license, have had severe consequences for their livelihood and well-being.
Mental and Physical Harm The reported suicide attempt and injury suffered by the Dalit dealer due to the circumstances raise concerns about the mental and physical harm caused by this situation.
Democratic Empowerment The transfer of ration cards to another village contradicts the principle of empowering marginalized communities, as advocated by the National Food Security Act
Duty of Public Officials The conduct of the district collector and the failure to address caste-based discrimination highlight concerns about the ethical responsibilities of public officials in upholding justice and equity.

 

Example 2: Use of commercial spyware by government agencies to target political opponents and dissidents

Recently, former Egyptian MP Ahmed Eltantawy was targeted with Cytrox’s Predator spyware (from an Israeli-founded, Greece-based company) via SMS and WhatsApp links. This incident is not isolated, as spyware has been used extensively in various countries to surveil individuals.

Spyware is malicious software that infiltrates devices, gathers sensitive data, and transmits it to third parties without user consent. The Pegasus Project in 2021 exposed the widespread use of spyware, with victims in multiple countries, including India.

 

Ethical issues with the use of Spyware by governments:

Ethical Issues Description
Privacy Invasion Commercial spyware allows governments to intrude into individuals’ devices without their consent, violating their privacy and personal data security.
Surveillance of Dissidents The use of spyware to monitor political opponents and dissidents raises ethical concerns regarding freedom of expression, political dissent, and human rights
Lack of Accountability Governments often deny or remain non-committal about their use of spyware, creating a lack of accountability for potential abuses and violations of individuals’ rights.
Authoritarian Use of Spyware Autocratic regimes employ spyware for surveillance, silencing dissent, and targeting journalists, which contravenes democratic principles and human rights norms.
Tech Company Responsibility Tech companies face ethical dilemmas regarding their products’ vulnerabilities, and their response to software exploitation can impact users’ security and privacy.

 

Example 3: Lal Bahadur Shastri

Lal Bahadur Shastri, India’s second Prime Minister, is remembered for his humble origins, moral integrity, and dedication to public service.

 

Ethical lessons from his life:

Ethical Value Example
Integrity Resigning twice over train accidents, owning moral responsibility for the mishaps.
Social Consciousness Rejecting his birthname ‘Varma’ due to opposition to caste differences.
Moral Responsibility Accepting blame for train accidents as Union Minister and resigning from government.
Commitment to Ideals Advocating the slogan “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” to promote self-reliance in food production.
Hard Work He dedicated efforts in his roles, particularly during the 1965 India-Pakistan war
Commitment to Democracy Assuring the continuation of English as an official language alongside Hindi to address language concerns.
Listening and Consultation Displaying the capacity to listen patiently and act decisively in democratic leadership.

Gandhi’s relationship with music

Content for Mains Enrichment

 

Source: IE

 Context: Gandhi strategically used music to convey his messages and foster unity, spirituality, peace, and nationalism among the Indian population during the struggle for freedom.

 

Aspect How Gandhi Used Music Examples
Convey Messages Gandhi used music to convey messages of spirituality, peace, and nationalism by selecting hymns and bhajans that promoted these values. He chose bhajans like “Vaishnava Jana toh” and “Ishwar Allah tero naam” to emphasize unity and spirituality
He used music to soothe agitated minds and promote peace during communal tensions.
Communication Music served as a means of communication during the freedom struggle, rallying people together and summoning them to the call of duty. Music played a significant role in the Dandi Yatra and prabhat pheris (musical processions) to convey patriotic sentiments
Unity Music was instrumental in fostering unity among people from different communities, creating a sense of community and consonance. Hymns and bhajans were sung collectively during prayer services in ashrams, promoting a sense of oneness
Nationalism Gandhi believed that music could instil nationalism and pride in people, making them feel connected to the freedom movement. Patriotic songs and prayers sung during prabhat pheris became symbols of resistance against British rule
Selection of Music Gandhi preferred simple, devotional music that could be easily hummed and sung by the common man. Classical music was not his preference; he valued the message over the artistry.
Notable Musician Gandhi was impressed by vocalists like MS Subbulakshmi, who sang with such depth and devotion that it deeply moved him. Subbulakshmi’s rendition of the Ramdhun and other bhajans was seen as a source of inspiration and fundraising for the Kasturba Memorial Fund.

 

Usage: The examples can be used in Essay/ Ethics/ Indian history to show how Gandhi used music to spread social and nationalistic messages

‘Yashasvini’: Women Bike Expedition

Content for Mains Enrichment

 Source: PIB

The Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, flagged off the CRPF Women Bike Expedition named ‘Yashasvini’ from Lal Chowk, Srinagar.

This rally is organized by the CRPF in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development to celebrate women’s empowerment. It involves 150 women CRPF officers riding 75 Royal Enfield motorbikes across 10,000 kilometres, passing through 15 states and 2 Union Territories, with the destination being Ekta Nagar, Gujarat, on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary.

Significance: The expedition symbolizes the resilience and strength of women (Nari Shakti) and aims to promote the “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao program of the Women and Child Development Ministry. It also highlights the courage and determination of the Veeranganas of CRPF who protect the nation’s integrity and sovereignty.

Usage: The example can be used in Internal security Questions to show how armed forces are also creating awareness of social issues.

Hate speech

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: IE

 Context: According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a total of 107 Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) in India have hate speech cases against them.

  • The analysis was based on self-sworn affidavits submitted by lawmakers and candidates in the last five years.

 

Key Findings:

  • These cases are distributed across various states, with Uttar Pradesh having the highest number of MPs with such cases, followed by Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Karnataka, and Telangana, among others.
  • The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has the highest number of MPs with hate speech cases, with 22 of its members being mentioned. Other political parties, such as the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), AIMIM, DMK, and others, also have lawmakers with hate speech cases against them.

 

Hate speech is any form of expression that intends to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group or individual based on inherent characteristics. Hate speech can include Public speech, Writing, and Nonverbal communication.

Swachh Bharat Mission

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: A World Bank paper has highlighted a concerning trend of declining regular toilet use in rural India since 2018-19, despite significant improvements in toilet access due to the Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin (SBM-G) launched in 2014-15.

  • While the program led to substantial increases in toilet access in rural areas, the paper indicates that the annual improvements in toilet use have not been linear and that there have been negative trends over the last two years.
  • The decline in regular toilet use is most pronounced among Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe socio-economic groups.
  • States like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Himachal Pradesh have witnessed a sustained decline in toilet use since 2018, while seven other states have seen uneven declines.

Central Tribal University

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: IE

Context: The Prime Minister has announced the establishment of a Central Tribal University in Telangana’s Mulugu district, with a project cost of Rs 900 crore.

  • The university will be named after tribal goddesses Samakka and Sarakka. This initiative is aimed at benefiting the youth, particularly those from tribal communities.
  • Additionally, the Prime Minister has conferred the title of “Institution of Eminence” on the Central University of Hyderabad and provided it with a special fund.

Green war room

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DTE

 

Context: The Delhi government has launched a ‘green war room’ to combat air pollution in the city by implementing the Winter Action Plan and monitoring pollution 24×7.

  • Delhi faces severe air pollution, particularly during the winter months, due to various sources such as vehicles, industry, construction activities, and stubble burning in neighbouring states like Punjab and Haryana.

 

Features:

  • The war room will be connected to a mobile application called the Green Delhi app, emphasizing the importance of public participation in addressing the issue.
  • The Delhi government will also launch an anti-dust campaign, to address sources of pollution within the city.
  • The Green Delhi app allows citizens to report pollution-related complaints, which will be monitored by the green war room.

 

According to a report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), internal sources within Delhi contribute to 31% of the pollution, while external sources from surrounding states contribute 69%.

Operation “Kachchhap”

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 Context: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) conducted a successful operation called “Kachchhap,”.

  • This operation resulted in the recovery of the 955 live baby turtles, including species like the Indian Tent Turtle, Indian Flapshell Turtle, Crown River Turtle, Black Spotted/Pond Turtle, and Brown Roofed Turtle.
  • The DRI had received intelligence about a syndicate engaged in the illegal trafficking and trading of these turtles, some of which are considered vulnerable or near-threatened species according to the IUCN Red List and are protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

 

This operation is part of the DRI’s ongoing efforts to protect the environment and combat illegal wildlife trafficking.

Fish that can change colour – Badis limaakumi

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DTE

 

Context: Scientists have discovered a new fish species called Badis limaakumi in the Milak River in Nagaland, India.

  • This species, named after Limaakum, an assistant professor and head of the zoology department at Fazl Ali College, Nagaland, is unique in that it can change its colour similar to a chameleon.

 

About Badis limaakumi:

  • Badis limaakumi belongs to the Badidae family and is a freshwater fish commonly found in streams with slow or moderate water flow.
  • It is also found in ditches and stagnant water bodies in various countries, including India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, and Myanmar.
  • The new species differs from other members of its family due to distinctive features, such as a dark opercular blotch at the base of its opercular spine and the absence of spots on its sides and cleithrum.
  • Fish from the Badis family are known as chameleon fish because of their remarkable ability to change colour, which helps them blend with their surroundings when under stress.

Hirakund Wetland

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DTE

Context: A study has revealed high levels of cancer-causing heavy metals, including lead and chromium, in eight wetlands in Odisha, with Hirakud being one of them.

These heavy metals, which result from human activities such as urbanization, industrialization, and agriculture, can enter crops through the soil and subsequently be consumed by humans.

The study also noted that the surrounding community indirectly consumes water from these wetlands by consuming foods like fish, rice, vegetables, and spinach grown in them.

 

Hirakud Reservoir (Ramsar Site)

It is the largest earthen dam in Odisha and started operating in 1957. Out of the known 54 species of fish from the reservoir, one has been classed as being endangered, six near threatened and 21 fish species of economic importance. It also provides important hydrological services by moderating floods in the Mahanadi Delta, the ecological and socio-economic hub of the east coast of India.

Maldives

Mapping

Source: TH

 The Maldives recently elected a new leader, Mohamed Muizzu, replacing President Ibu Solih. Muizzu. President Solih’s loss was attributed to anti-incumbency sentiment, economic concerns post-COVID-19, internal party divisions, and sovereignty issues fueled by the India out” campaign.

This election was seen as a contest between India and China’s influence in the Maldives.

 

About Maldives:

It is a South Asian archipelagic country situated in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka and India. It consists of 26 atolls that stretch across the equator. It is the smallest country in Asia, both in terms of land area and population, with around 521,021 people. It is also the world’s lowest-lying country. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1965 and established a presidential republic in 1968.

/ 04 October 2023, Today's Article

 

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