Print Friendly, PDF & Email

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 4 January 2024

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. Role of Slums in Indian Society

 

Content for Mains Enrichment:

  1. Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP) 

  1. Maharishi Valmiki International Airport
  2. Bab el-Mandeb Strait
  3. Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS) for hit-and-run cases
  4. Reverse flip
  5. 20-30% health tax on food high in sugar
  6. Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project
  7. DESERT CYCLONE

 

 Mapping:

  1. Kalpakkam Atomic Power Station (Tamil Nadu)

 


 

Role of Slums in Indian Society

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Indian Society/ Urbanization/ Governance

 

Source: TH

Context: The article explores the evolving narratives and definitions of slums in the context of Indian parliamentary debates.

 

Evolution of the discourse on slums:

EraConceptualisationSteps
First era (1950s-1960s)Slums are viewed as a result of partition and population influx into cramped areas. Considered an epidemic to be eradicated. Connected to spatial constraints and health issues, ignoring socio-economic factors.The introduction of the Slum Areas Act of 1956 made government intervention possible. Slums became a legal entity.
Second era (Early 1970s-Mid-1980s)Shifted to viewing slums as something to be developed. The narrative included providing basic amenities instead of destruction.Town planning emerged as a governance tool, pushing slums to peripheries.
Third era (Mid-1980s-Late 1990s)Cities and slums are seen as assets for economic growth.  Economic reasoning replaced social concerns.Broader housing policies were introduced, addressing land, finance, and infrastructure. The National Slum Development Programme was launched in 1996.
Fourth era (2000s-2014)Understanding based on data from the 2001 Census. The causes of slum formation are linked to urban planning, population growth, urbanization, land pressure, and price rise. Upliftment associated with property rights.Urban housing deficit became the focus of housing policies. Definitions broadened with the Census, leading to targeted schemes.
Overall TransformationEvolution from viewing slums as a socio-political issue to a technical, economic object. Increasing reliance on technological solutions for urban problems.Continual transformation of slum definitions, adapting to data-driven and technocratic approaches.

  

What are Slums?

 Slums have been defined as those areas where buildings are unfit for human habitation, or are by dilapidation, overcrowding, design of buildings, narrowness of streets, lack of ventilation, light or sanitary facilities or any combination of these factors, are detrimental to safety, health or moral (Slum Area Improvement and Clearance Act 1956).

 

Status:

An all-India average where the cities with 10 lakh and above population have over 29% population living in slums. The percentage of slum population in the four mega cities is – Bombay (over 34%, Calcutta 32%, Madras 32% and Delhi 31%). As much as 65% of Indian cities have adjoining slums where people live in small houses adjacent to each other.

 

The role played by Slums in Indian cities

  • Economically: Slums are often vibrant centres of economic activity as slum workers provide essential services to the city.
    • Informal economy: Slums are home to a large number of people who work in the informal sector, such as rickshaw drivers, street vendors, and construction workers.
    • Contribution to Urban Workforce: Many slum residents form an integral part of the urban workforce, providing essential services in construction, domestic work, transportation, and other sectors. Their contributions are critical to the functioning of the city.
  • Socially: Slums are also home to a diverse range of people. This diversity can lead to a vibrant community life, with people from different cultures coming together to support each other.
    • Social Networks and Solidarity: These communities develop strong social networks and a sense of solidarity. Residents support each other through mutual assistance, shared resources, and collective problem-solving.
    • These informal support systems are vital in the absence of formal social services, creating a sense of belonging and resilience within the community.
  • Culturally: Slums are characterized by their diverse population with people from different regions, religions, and cultural backgrounds. This diversity fosters cultural exchange, tolerance, and understanding among residents. Slums can be dynamic spaces where diverse traditions, languages, and cuisines coexist, enriching the social fabric of the city.

 

Common problems faced by Slum dwellers

 

 

Government Initiatives for Slum Dwellers/Urban Poor:

  

Recommendations for Improving Conditions of Slum Dwellers in India

  • Efforts should focus on addressing the underlying issues, such as poverty, housing, and infrastructure, while also recognizing the strengths and resilience of slum communities.
  • By implementing inclusive urban policies and improving living conditions, it is possible to harness the positive aspects of slums while ensuring better opportunities and quality of life for all residents.
    • For e.g. Dharavi Redevelopment Project is the makeover of Mumbai’s slum cluster, Dharavi. It entails resettling 68,000 people, including slum dwellers and those with commercial establishments.
  • Local authorities need to be empowered with financial and human resources to deliver services and infrastructure to the slum dwellers in India.
  • State governments have to develop strategies to prevent the formation of new slums.
    • These should include access to affordable land, reasonably priced materials, employment opportunities, and basic infrastructure and social services.
  • Public investments must focus on providing access to basic services and infrastructure. The cities need to invest in housing, water, sanitation, energy, and urban services, such as garbage disposal.
    • These services and infrastructure must reach the poor living in informal settlements.
  • Building codes and regulations should be realistic and enforceable and reflect the local community’s lifestyle and needs.

 

 Conclusion

By addressing the challenges faced by slum dwellers, the Govt’s can help to improve the lives of millions of people and make India a more inclusive society. Human well-being is broadly considered to include the consumption of goods and services and the access to basic necessities for a productive and socially meaningful life to all sections of the population, especially the deprived slum dwellers in India.

 

Insta Links:

 

Mains Links:

 Why slums are considered as ‘problems’ in urban regions? 

Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus

Content for Mains Enrichment:

 

Source: IE

 Context: Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus was sentenced to six months in jail by a Bangladesh court for violating labour laws.

 

Why is Yunus facing judicial cases?

Yunus faces charges, including corruption and fund embezzlement. The court found his company, Grameen Telecom, guilty of labour law violations.

However, supporters claim the case is politically motivated due to his strained relationship with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who accused him of exploiting the poor. In August last year, over 160 personalities like Barack Obama and ex-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, signed a joint letter denouncing the “continuous judicial harassment” of Yunus.

 

Contributions of Yunus: 

Muhammad Yunus, through his innovative microfinance model, particularly with the establishment of Grameen Bank, has made significant contributions to alleviating poverty. His approach of providing small, collateral-free loans to the poor, especially women, has empowered millions of entrepreneurs who wouldn’t qualify for traditional bank loans. For his work, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006

 

Other famous personalities facing issues in their own country:

NameDetails
Alexei NavalnyRussian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist; faced imprisonment and legal challenges in Russia.
Aung San Suu KyiFormer Myanmar leader and Nobel laureate; detained and faced charges following a military coup in Myanmar in 2021
Liu XiaoboChinese human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate; imprisoned for advocating political reform.
Raif BadawiSaudi Arabian blogger and activist; jailed for promoting free speech and political reform in Saudi Arabia.
Mahsa AminiShe was a women’s rights activist. Following her death in the Police Custody, civil unrest and protests began against the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran but were suppressed by September of 2023.

Maharishi Valmiki International Airport

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 Context: The Prime Minister inaugurated the newly constructed Ayodhya Airport, naming it Maharishi Valmiki International Airport.

 

Maharishi Valmiki is a legendary poet and the traditional author of the epic Ramayana. He is known as the Adikavi, or “First Poet” because he is credited with discovering the first śloka, or verse, which defined the form of Sanskrit poetry. 

Maharishi Valmiki is highly respected in Hindu culture for his contribution to literature and his role in preserving the story of Lord Rama. The Valmiki Ramayana is one of the foundational texts of Hindu philosophy, morality, and spirituality, and it continues to be a source of inspiration for millions of people.

Bab el-Mandeb Strait

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: Explosions were reported near a cargo ship in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait on January 2, according to the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO). The ship was travelling between the coasts of Eritrea and Yemen.

 

What is a Strait?

A strait is a narrow, naturally formed waterway that connects two larger bodies of water, typically seas or oceans. They can be formed by a variety of geological processes, such as tectonic activity, erosion, or the submersion of land.

 

The Strait of Bab el-Mandeb is a crucial maritime chokepoint, connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

 

Important Straits of the World are:

StraitConnecting Water Bodies
Strait of GibraltarMediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean
Bosporus StraitBlack Sea and Sea of Marmara
Strait of HormuzPersian Gulf and Gulf of Oman
Malacca StraitThe Andaman Sea and South China Sea
Bab el-Mandeb StraitRed Sea and Gulf of Aden
English ChannelNorth Sea and English Channel
Taiwan StraitEast China Sea and South China Sea
Cook StraitTasman Sea and Pacific Ocean
Torres StraitCoral Sea and Arafura Sea
Davis StraitBaffin Bay and Labrador Sea
Palk StraitBay of Bengal and Gulf of Mannar

Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS) for hit-and-run cases

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE, TH

 Context: Truck, bus, and tanker drivers across India are protesting against the newly implemented Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS) for hit-and-run cases.

 

What is a Hit and Run Case?

A hit-and-run case refers to a situation where a person involved in a road accident leaves the scene without stopping to identify themselves or render assistance to the injured parties.

 

What are Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS) provisions for hit-and-run cases?

 BNS has replaced the colonial-era Indian Penal Code and imposes stringent regulations, including up to 10 years of imprisonment or a fine of Rs 7 lakh (under Section 106 of the act) for drivers causing serious accidents who fail to inform the authorities.

The increase in sentence duration to 10 years is based on the Supreme Court’s recommendations for stricter actions against reckless drivers who flee accident scenes.

 

Why are truck Unions Protesting?

Truck drivers fear additional criminal liability under Section 106, leading to a call for a strike.

 

Solution:

The government held talks with the All-India Motor Transport Congress, and plans to implement BNS only after consulting.

The issue questions whether the law should increase jail terms for accidents and emphasizes the need for a comprehensive accident prevention policy covering imprisonment, compensation, and safety.

Reverse flip

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Economic Times

 Context: Several well-funded startups, including Pine Labs and Udaan, are considering relocating their holding companies to India, a trend known as “reverse flipping” ahead of potential IPOs.

  • This shift is attributed to a tightening regulatory environment, potential IPO plans, and the desire to operate from the home market.

Reverse Flipping is a term used to describe the trend of overseas start-ups shifting their domicile to India and listing on Indian stock exchanges. Reverse flipping can be done through share swaps and inbound mergers

 

Some reasons for reverse flipping include:

  • Access to venture capital
  • Favourable tax regimes
  • Better intellectual property protection
  • Favourable government policies

20-30% health tax on food high in sugar

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH 

Context: A study commissioned by Niti Aayog recommends imposing a health tax of 20-30% in addition to GST on foods high in sugar, salt, and fat, as well as sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).

  • The study, funded by UNICEF, aims to influence policies that promote healthy eating practices.
  • The research suggests that such taxes could lead to a 13-18% decrease in demand for sugar in bulk purchases.
  • India, being the largest consumer of sugar globally, faces health challenges, and the study suggests that taxing unhealthy foods may help reduce obesity and related health issues.

 

The study draws parallels with other countries that have successfully implemented health taxes on similar products, such as Mexico, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, and South Africa.

Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DH

 Context: Union Cabinet has approved the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, the world’s largest radio telescope, involving international collaboration, including India’s participation with a financial commitment.

 

Major aspects of the Project:

Nature of ProjectDevelopment of the world’s largest radio telescope. Giant Metre wave Radio Telescope (GMRT) is playing a role in SKAO
Participating CountriesAustralia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands, UK (hosting headquarters)
India’s RoleIndia joined SKAO in 2012 as an Associate Member and has actively participated in the pre-construction phase of the SKA telescopes
Project ObjectiveStudy galaxies in the universe, map visible galaxies with unprecedented detail, provide data on the evolution of our galaxy, and search for signs of extra-terrestrial life, Detect Gravitational Waves
Observatory StructureSquare Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) – an intergovernmental organization headquartered in the UK. SKAO will consist of one global observatory, operating two telescopes, across three sites. Two SKA telescopes will be at radio-quiet sites in South Africa and Australia. They will operate as one large unit.
Construction PhasesTwo phases – SKA1 construction started in December 2022, with operations expected to begin by 2029
Key ActivitiesRapid scanning of the skies, detailed mapping of visible galaxies, collection of survey data for insights into the early evolution of our galaxy, and the search for extraterrestrial life

DESERT CYCLONE

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 Context: The India-UAE Joint Military Exercise, named ‘DESERT CYCLONE,’ has commenced in Mahajan, Rajasthan, and is scheduled from 2nd to 15th January 2024.

 

India has also been a regular participant at the biennial International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi.

 

Exercise NameObjectives
DESERT CYCLONEEnhance interoperability in Sub-conventional Operations
DESERT FLAGJoint air exercises and training
Zayed TalwarThe bilateral naval exercise ‘Zayed Talwar’ aims to enhance the interoperability and synergy between the Indian Navy and UAE Navy.
INDE-UAE BILATERAL EXERCISEFocus on counter-terrorism and strategic cooperation

Kalpakkam Atomic Power Station (Tamil Nadu)

Mapping:

 

Source: PIB

 Context: PM dedicated to the nation’s indigenously developed Demonstration Fast Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant (DFRP) at IGCAR, Kalpakkam

 The plant will reprocess spent fuel from the Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) at the Kalpakkam Atomic power station.

What is FBR?

A Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) is a type of nuclear reactor that uses fast neutrons to cause the fission of uranium-238 (unlike conventional nuclear reactors that use slow neutrons). The term “breeder” refers to the ability of these reactors to produce more fissile material than they consume.

 

FBR is the key to India’s three-stage nuclear power programme. It is the only of its kind in the world and is capable of reprocessing both carbide and oxide fuels discharged from the fast reactors.

 

Download the Daily Current Affairs in PDF Format here

 


Follow us on our Official TELEGRAM Channel HERE

Subscribe to Our Official YouTube Channel HERE

Please subscribe to Our podcast channel HERE

Official Facebook Page HERE

Follow our Twitter Account HERE

Follow our Instagram Account HERE

Follow us on LinkedIn: HERE