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UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 6 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 2:

  1. Global Nuclear Order (GNO) is under strain

 

Content for Mains Enrichment:

  1. Henry Ford

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP) 

  1. GI tag products
  2. Supreme Court Legal Services Committee (SCLSC)
  3. Registered Unrecognised Political Parties (RUPPs)
  4. Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS)
  5. Wetland City Accreditation (WCA)

  

Mapping:

  1. Rejupave Technology at Indo-China border

 


 

Global Nuclear Order (GNO) is under strain

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Geopolitics, Multilateralism

 

Source: TH

 Context: The global nuclear order (GNO), established during the Cold War, faces significant challenges.

 

What is the global nuclear order (GNO)?

The global nuclear order (GNO) refers to the established framework, rules, and agreements governing the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons on a global scale.

E.g., the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and promote disarmament.

 

Key Components of the Global Nuclear Order:

Key ComponentsDescription
Non-ProliferationEfforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states.
DisarmamentInitiatives aimed at reducing and ultimately eliminating nuclear arsenals globally.
Nuclear Material SecurityMeasures to safeguard nuclear materials, facilities, and technologies from theft, sabotage, or unauthorized access.
Peaceful Use of Nuclear EnergyPromotion of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes such as electricity generation, medicine, agriculture, and industry.
International Agreements and TreatiesFrameworks like the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and others establish norms, regulations, and obligations related to nuclear activities.
International Organizations and AgenciesBodies like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) oversee nuclear activities, and inspections, and promote nuclear safety and security worldwide.

 

Out of these, three important treaties for GNO are:

 

Global Nuclear Order (GNO) Significance:

  1. Preventing Proliferation: Preventing widespread possession.
  2. Ensuring Stability: Arms control negotiations achieved strategic parity, fostering stability in the arms race and crisis management since 1945

 

Current status of GNO: 

As per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

  1. Nine nuclear-armed states, including prominent players like the United States, Russia, and China, are actively engaged in the modernization and expansion of their nuclear arsenals.
  2. Total global inventory: It is approximately 12,512 warheads, with a significant portion, around 9,576, held in military stockpiles for potential use.
  3. Dominance in nuclear capabilities: It remains concentrated in Russia and the United States, which collectively possess nearly 90% of all nuclear weapons

 

Issues/concerns with Current GNO:

ConcernsDescription
Shift from Bipolarity to MultipolarityThe rise of China introduces a new dynamic in nuclear relations, shifting from the previous bipolar order.
Changes in the U.S.-Russia TreatiesWithdrawals from key treaties like ABM and INF, along with uncertainties surrounding the New START Treaty.
New Nuclear Peer RivalsThe U.S. facing two nuclear peer rivals (Russia and China), with added uncertainties arising from the Ukraine war.
Shifts in TechnologyEvolving nuclear technology and instances of biased dealings, such as the AUKUS deal with Australia, raise concerns in the NPT community.
Changing PerspectiveShifts in the nuclear perspectives of nations like South Korea and Japan, with considerations for national nuclear deterrents.
Arms ControlChallenges in implementing existing agreements like NPT and lack of progress in disarmament efforts.
Modernization and TechnologyOngoing modernization of nuclear arsenals, including advanced and potentially destabilizing technologies.
Emerging Threats and ActorsRisks associated with non-state actors or rogue states acquiring nuclear materials or technology.

 

India’s Position on the Global Nuclear Order: 

  1. Nuclear Disarmament: India supports complete disarmament within a specified timeframe
  2. The doctrine of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) of nuclear weapons: The doctrine was formally adopted in January 2003, and says that nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere
    1. Last year, the Indian Defence Minister said that the ‘no first use nuclear policy’ of India may change in the future.
  3. Advocate for Global Disarmament: India advocates for global nuclear disarmament while seeking recognition as a responsible nuclear power.
  4. Non-Signatory to NPT and CTBT: India distinguishes itself by not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and CTBT, as it deems them discriminatory
    1. India’s non-signatory status to the NPT creates complexities in its relationship with the global nuclear order, having developed its nuclear program independently.
  5. Nuclear Arsenal Expansion: India’s ongoing expansion and modernization of its nuclear arsenal raise concerns about regional stability, especially given tensions with Pakistan and the strategic rivalry with China.
  6. Relations with Pakistan: The nuclear dynamics between India and Pakistan pose challenges
  7. China Factor: India’s nuclear policy is influenced by its relations with China, and as China modernizes its nuclear capabilities, India might feel compelled to bolster its arsenal

 

Way forward:

Creating a just, safe, and improved Global Nuclear Order requires a comprehensive approach integrating diplomacy, technology, governance, and international cooperation. Key steps include:

  1. Encouraging disarmament through significant and verifiable reductions in nuclear arsenals
  2. Strengthening non-proliferation efforts
  3. Fostering inclusive dialogue among all stakeholders
  4. Monitoring emerging technologies for potential risks
  5. Supporting new treaties like the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) while engaging nuclear-armed states in discussions for a nuclear-free world.
  6. India: India must focus on maintaining stability in its region, engaging in dialogue with Pakistan and China, and ensuring the safe and responsible management of its nuclear arsenal.

 

Conclusion:

The legitimacy of any global nuclear order hinges on two vital conditions: achieving convergence among major powers and effectively portraying the outcomes as a global public good for the rest of the world. These conditions underscore the necessity for collaboration, transparency, and shared responsibility in shaping a stable and just global nuclear order.

 

Insta links:

 

Prelims Links:

Consider the following countries: (UPSC 2015)

  1. China
  2. France
  3. India
  4. Israel
  5. Pakistan

 

Which among the above are Nuclear Weapons States as recognized by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)? 

 

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1, 3, 4 and 5 only

(c) 2, 4 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

 

Ans: (a)

Henry Ford

Content for Mains Enrichment:

 

Source: IE

In 1914, Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motors, made a ground-breaking decision to more than double the minimum daily wage of his workers from $2.34 to $5. This move attracted widespread attention and varied reactions, with Ford being both praised as an “inspired millionaire” and accused of socialist tendencies. The motivation behind this wage increase was rooted in Ford’s introduction of the moving assembly line in 1913, revolutionizing car production and reducing the time to build a Ford Model T from 12 hours to just ninety minutes.

 

Despite concerns about costs, the wage hike proved beneficial for Ford. Total costs decreased, and the company experienced a surge in productivity, doubling profits within two years. This strategic move to improve worker retention and increase efficiency through higher wages was considered by Ford as one of his best cost-cutting decisions.

 

Usage: The example can be used to showcase the values of Productivity with Purpose, Equity and Inclusion, Social Responsibility, Employee Welfare and Fair Compensation

GI tag products

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: Seventeen products have been awarded the Geographical Indications (GI) tag

State/UTShort Description
OdishaLanjia Saura paintings: Wall mural art with spiritual importance.
Dongaria Kondh shawl: Unique and ancient knitted shawls reflecting culture and beliefs.
Khajuri Guda: Natural sweetener made from date palm juice.
Dhenkanal Magji: Milk product.
Similipal Kai Chutney: Chutney is made from indigenous Kai fruit.
Nayagarh Kanteimundi Brinjal: Vegetable crop with prickly thorns.
Koraput Kalajeera Rice: Rice variety from Koraput.
Arunachal PradeshHandmade Carpets: Artisan-crafted carpets.
Wancho Wooden Craft: Ethnic art practiced by Wancho tribes.
Adi Kekir (Ginger): Ginger variety.
West BengalTangail Saree, Garad Saree, Korial Saree: Traditional sarees.
Kalonunia Rice: Rice variety.
Sundarban Honey: Honey from the Sundarbans
J&KAnardana: Pomegranate product from Ramban.
GujaratKachchhi Kharek: Local product from Gujarat.

 

About GI Tags: 

A Geographical Indication (GI) is a designation used on products with a specific geographical origin, indicating qualities or reputation linked to that origin. Internationally recognized under the Paris Convention, GI is part of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), covered by the WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, Madrid Agreement, and Lisbon Agreement.

 

In India, GI registration is governed by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999. Administered by the Registrar of Geographical Indications (RGI), it identifies agricultural, natural, or manufactured goods, providing legal protection for 10 years, renewable. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, oversees GI registration, offering protection against unauthorized use, promoting exports, and ensuring quality and distinctiveness.

Supreme Court Legal Services Committee (SCLSC)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

 Context: Supreme Court judge Justice BR Gavai has been nominated as the Chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee (SCLSC), succeeding Justice Sanjiv Khanna.

What is SCLSC?

The Supreme Court Legal Services Committee (SCLSC) was established under Section 3A of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, to provide “free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of society.”

The committee is composed of Chairperson BR Gavai and nine members nominated by the Chief Justice of India (CJI). It has the authority to appoint officers and employees as prescribed by the Centre, in consultation with the CJI.

 

Constitutional provisions

  • Free Legal Aid: Article 39A emphasizes the need for accessible justice, ensuring free legal aid for the poor and weaker sections of society
  • Articles 14 and 22(1): Promoting equality and informed rights for all under

About the Act: 

Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 gives a statutory base to legal aid programs, ensuring free and competent legal services for various eligible groups. NALSA, constituted in 1995, monitors and evaluates the implementation of legal aid programs nationwide. State Legal Services Authorities and District Legal Services Authorities are established to execute NALSA’s policies and provide legal services at the state and district levels.

Registered Unrecognised Political Parties (RUPPs)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Election Commission of India has introduced new rules for the allocation of symbols to Registered Unrecognised Political Parties (RUPPs).

 

What are RUPPs?

RUPPs, or Registered Unrecognised Political Parties, include newly registered parties, those not meeting the vote percentage for state party status, or those never contesting elections post-registration.

Only 30% of RUPPs participated in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.  They are governed by the Representation of the People Act (RPA) of 1951Common symbols are provided to RUPPs based upon an undertaking that they would put up “at least 5% of total candidates with regard to said Legislative Assembly election of a State”.

 

What are the new rules?

Under new rules effective from January 11, 2024, Registered Unrecognised Political Parties (RUPPs) must provide audited accounts of the last three financial years, expenditure statements of the last two elections, and the authorized office-bearer’s signature for symbol allocation. Once these details are furnished, RUPPs become eligible for the concession of common symbol allotment, allocated as per the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order, 1968.

Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: In 2023, Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS) frauds accounted for 11% of cyber financial scams originating in India, according to an analysis by the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C).

Most of these frauds occurred in Bihar and Jharkhand. The central government’s portal and the 1930 helpline received over 13 lakh complaints related to cyber-enabled financial frauds. AePS fraud included instances of biometric cloning.

 

What is AePS?

It is a payment service that allows users to access their Aadhaar-enabled bank accounts for transactions. The analysis also highlighted other categories of cyber financial frauds, both locally and internationally, including sextortion, investment scams, illegal loan apps, and romance scams. Social media-related cybercrimes totaled 1,41,056 reported cases in 2023.

Details
What is AePS?The AePS is a bank-led model facilitating online interoperable financial transactions through Aadhaar authentication.
It is managed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), a joint initiative of the RBI and IBA.
Aimed at providing secure access to banking services, especially for rural and marginalized communities.
Working Eliminates the need for OTPs, bank details, and other financial information.
Transactions require only the bank name, Aadhaar number, and captured fingerprint during Aadhaar enrollment.
Benefits:Facilitates cash transfers for government schemes directly into beneficiaries’ accounts; Allows access to bank accounts through any Banking Correspondent or micro-ATM of any bank
How is AePS Exploited?Leaked Biometric Details: Cybercriminals use stolen biometric information for unauthorized transactions.
Silicone Thumbs: Scammers use silicone thumbs to deceive biometric devices and perform fraudulent transactions.
Lack of Transaction Notifications: Victims may not receive immediate alerts for unauthorized transactions.
Systemic Issues: Biometric mismatches, poor connectivity, and weaker systems affect performance and reliability.
Preventive MeasuresAmendments to Aadhar Regulations 2016: Proposed changes restrict the sharing of Aadhaar details without redaction.
Aadhaar Lock: Users are advised to lock and unlock the Aadhaar as needed to prevent unauthorized biometric use.
About I4CIndian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) deals with all types of cybercrimes in India. It will be set up under the newly created Cyber and Information Security (CIS) division of the MHA.
The I4C aims to centralize cyber security investigations, develop response tools, and foster collaboration among private companies to combat cybercrime.

Wetland City Accreditation (WCA)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 Context: The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has nominated Indore, Bhopal, and Udaipur for Wetland City Accreditation (WCA) under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. It is the first nomination of its kind by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

 

  • Ramsar Site in Indore: Sirpur Wetland, Yashwant Sagar (Ramsar site closer to Indore)
  • Ramsar Site in Bhopal: Bhoj Wetland
  • Ramsar Site in and around Udaipur: Five major wetlands — Pichola, Fateh Sagar, Rang Sagar, Swaroop Sagar, and Doodh Talai

 

About WCA and Ramsar sites:

About Wetland City Accreditation (WCA)It is a voluntary accreditation system to recognize the importance of wetlands in urban and peri-urban environments.
Origin: Outcome of Ramsar Convention during COP12 in 2015.
Objective: Promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands, as well as sustainable socio-economic benefits for local populations
Significance: Provides international recognition and branding for wetland conservation efforts. It will also help in the implementation of the Amrit Dharohar Initiative (to conserve Ramsar Sites in India)
 Validity: Once granted it is valid for 6 years.
What are Wetlands?Definition: Areas of marsh, fen, peatland, or water, natural or artificial, static or flowing, with fresh, brackish, or saltwater.
Ramsar ConventionIt is an Intergovernmental treaty in 1971 at Ramsar (Iran). It provides the framework for conservation and wise use of wetlands and resources.
172 contracting parties to the Ramsar Convention as of January 2024, with India having declared 75 wetland sites.
Montreux Record: Register of Ramsar Sites needing urgent attention, launched in 1990.
India’s Largest Ramsar Site:Sundarbans in West Bengal, covering around 11,000 square kilometres, are vital habitat for Bengal tigers.
The state with the highest numberTamil Nadu has the highest number of Ramsar Sites in India with 14 Ramsar Sites.

Rejupave Technology at Indo-China border

Mapping:

 

Source: TOI

 Context: The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) plans to enhance the operational capacity of the defence forces along the Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh by using an indigenous technology called “Rejupave.

 

What is Rejupave?

Developed by CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CSIR-CRRI), Rejupave is a bio-oil-based asphalt modifier that reduces the heating requirement of bituminous mixes and preserves their temperature during transit. This technology addresses the challenges of constructing and maintaining bituminous roads in high-altitude areas during low and sub-zero temperatures.

The BRO has successfully applied Rejupave at the world’s highest Sela road tunnel and LDY Road section near the China border in Arunachal Pradesh. The technology is developed using a Bio-based eco-friendly product with 100% biooil.

 

About Sela Road Tunnel: 

The Sela Tunnel has been excavated below the Sela Pass; a high-altitude mountain pass situated at an elevation of 4,200 meters (13,800 feet) above sea level. This tunnel aims to provide “all-weather” connectivity to Tawang, a remote and strategically significant district in the region. It will be the world’s longest bi-lane tunnel at an altitude above 13,000 feet.

 

Indo-China Border:

India shares a total boundary of around 3,488 km with China (the second largest after Bangladesh). The Sino-Indian border is generally divided into three sectors namely: Western sector, Middle sector, and Eastern sector. 5 states viz. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh share a border with China.

sticking_points 

 

/ 06 January 2024, Today's Article

 

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