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UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 9 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 4:

  1. Mulya Pravah 2.0: Values and Ethics in Higher Education

 

Content for Mains Enrichment:

  1. National Cancer Grid

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP) 

  1. Inland Waterways Development Council 
  2. Prasadam
  3. Bio-Imaging Bank
  4. ‘Clean & Green Villages’ Programme
  5. Tricholime
  6. E-fuels
  7. Plasma waves in the Martian Atmosphere

 

Mapping:

  1. Mauritius

 


 

Mulya Pravah 2.0: Values and Ethics in Higher Education

GS Paper 4

 

Syllabus: Ethics in Education/ Ethica in Personal and professional lives

 

Source: Th

Context The University Grants Commission (UGC) is pushing for values and ethics in higher education through guidelines like Mulya Pravah 2.0.

 

What is Mulya Pravah 2.0?

It is a guideline issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in India, aiming to instil human values and professional ethics in higher education institutions. It is a modified version of the 2019 Mulya Pravah guideline.

 

Features of the guidelines:

FeaturesDetails
AimInculcating human values and professional ethics in higher education institutions to build value-based institutions and promote constitutional values.
Guideline ObjectivesInstil deep respect for fundamental duties and constitutional values. Develop a culture of integrity, accountability, transparency, and inclusiveness in higher education institutions.
Emphasis on TransparencyDecision-making should be guided solely by institutional and public interest, devoid of biases. Abolishment of discriminatory privileges; emphasis on punishing the corrupt.
Core Values Institutions are urged to ensure integrity, trusteeship, harmony, accountability, inclusiveness, commitment, respectfulness, belongingness, sustainability, constitutional values, and global citizenship.
Administrative AccountabilityAdministration should prioritize transparency, fairness, honesty, and the highest ethical standards. Refrain from misappropriation and reject gifts that may compromise impartial duties.
Confidentiality and Right to InformationThe guideline emphasizes maintaining confidentiality and conflicting with the right to information. It mandates institutions to voluntarily disclose critical information for public scrutiny.
Teacher’s Role Teaching is a noble profession; teachers are expected to act as role models.
Stakeholder Unions and AssociationsThe expectation for staff and student unions to support the administration in development activities.’

 

Potential Issues with Guidelines

  1. Lack of definition for ‘dignified manner’ may lead to suppressing dissent.
  2. Associations and unions have faced bans, suspensions, and legal battles.
  3. Guideline’s effectiveness hinges on sincere implementation efforts
  4. Conflicts, such as the emphasis on confidentiality conflicting with the right to information
  5. Reservations about unions’ limited role in protecting members’ rights.
  6. The guideline may face challenges in practical application.

 

For: Ethical concerns regarding Indian educational institutions: Click Here

 For: Reasons for Prevalence of Unethical Practices: Click Here

 For: The implications of the prevalence of unethical practices: Click Here

 

Thinker view on values in Education:

ScholarPerspective
Swami VivekanandaEmphasized character-building and moral education for a strong and prosperous nation. Education should focus on physical, intellectual, and spiritual development.
Mahatma GandhiStressed that education without values is incomplete. Advocated for values like truth, non-violence, and compassion to create a just and peaceful society. Character development is vital in education.
Rabindranath TagoreAdvocated for holistic development, emphasizing the significance of value education. Education should harmonize individuals with nature and society, fostering a sense of responsibility.

 

Best practices in the world on education:

CountryApproach
Japan“Moral education” focuses on cultivating moral responsibility and social conscience. Emphasizes values like honesty, kindness, and respect.
FinlandHolistic education includes value education as a crucial part. Emphasis on character education and ethical development is reflected in high global rankings.
AustraliaThe “Values Education” program aims at developing social and emotional intelligence. Promotes values like respect, responsibility, fairness, and compassion.
SingaporeThe “National Education” program aims at developing national identity, social responsibility, and civic consciousness. Emphasizes values like loyalty, resilience, and social harmony.
CanadaEmphasis on developing moral reasoning and ethical decision-making skills. The curriculum promotes values like empathy, justice, and inclusivity.

 

Conclusion:

The ultimate goal of education should be to enhance the quality and integrity of the education system while protecting individual rights and promoting a culture of accountability and transparency.

 

Insta Links:

 Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

 

Mains Links:

Can ethics and morals be taught in educational institutions? If yes, make a case for introducing a course on ethics right from school. (250 Words)

National Cancer Grid

Content for Mains Enrichment:

 

Source: BBC

Cachar Cancer Centre in Assam, are reducing cancer drug costs through the National Cancer Grid. This collaborative effort involves bulk buying drugs, cutting costs by over 85%, and making cancer treatments more affordable for patients, especially in smaller towns and rural areas.

 

The initiative is led by Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, covering a range of generic drugs. The success has attracted interest nationwide, with plans to expand to over 100 drugs and consider broader cancer care purchases.

 

R Ravi Kannan (Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2023), leading the hospital’s operations, credits the initiative to cut cancer drug prices for enabling the purchase of quality medicines and providing free treatment to more patients.

 Usage: The innovative example can be used to showcase how to address the financial burden on families and the challenge of accessing treatment in remote areas.

 

About National Cancer Grid

National Cancer Grid (NCG) is a network of major cancer centres, research institutes, patient groups and charitable institutions across India with the mandate of establishing uniform standards of patient care for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, providing specialized training and education in oncology and facilitating collaborative basic, translational and clinical research in cancer. It was formed in August 2012. It has been established by: the Department of Atomic Energy and with the grant support of Tata Memorial Centre.

Inland Waterways Development Council

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 

Context: The first Inland Waterways Development Council (IWDC) in Kolkata, was recently launched for the development of river cruise tourism in India.

  • The IWDC also launched the ‘Harit Nauka’ guidelines and the ‘River Cruise Tourism Roadmap, 2047.’
  • The roadmap aims to enable capacity in 26 additional waterways, increase the number of cruise circuits, and enhance infrastructure, with the goal of significantly boosting cruise tourism traffic and local cruise tourism on National Waterways.
  • The IWDC was organized by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI).
  • The government has undertaken various measures, including the Jal Marg Vikas Project, to enhance the role of inland waterways and increase the modal share of Inland Water Transportation (IWT) from 2% to 5%.

Prasadam

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Economic Times

  

Context: India’s first healthy and hygienic food street, ‘Prasadam,’ was inaugurated by the Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare.

  • Prasadam aims to connect citizens across the country with pure and safe local and traditional food, promoting healthy eating habits.
  • The food street includes facilities such as a kids’ play area, drinking water, CCTV surveillance, parking, public conveniences, and seating spaces.
  • The event also featured the launch of ‘The DART Book’ by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), providing consumers with simple tests to check common food adulterations at home.
  • Additionally, a mobile food testing van called Food Safety on Wheels (FSW) was introduced to conduct training and awareness activities in remote areas, addressing adulteration issues.

Bio-Imaging Bank

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

 

Context: Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), India’s largest cancer treatment facility, is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to address the increasing challenge of cancer cases.

  • TMH has established a ‘Bio-Imaging Bank’ using deep learning to create a cancer-specific algorithm for early-stage cancer detection.
  • The project involves a comprehensive repository of radiology and pathology images, linked with clinical information, for training and testing AI algorithms.
  • The initiative, funded by the Department of Biotechnology in collaboration with other institutions, has already reduced radiation exposure for pediatric patients by 40% using AI.
  • The hospital envisions AI playing a transformative role in cancer treatment, enhancing precision, and enabling timely diagnoses, particularly in rural India.

 

‘Clean & Green Villages’ Programme

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: HBL

 Context: The Panchayati Raj Ministry is prioritizing ‘Clean & Green Villages’ for the expansion of solar power capacities on a commercial basis.

 

What is the Clean and Green Villages programme?

Tricholime

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 Context: The Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR) in Kozhikode has successfully developed a new granular lime-based Trichoderma formulation called ‘Tricholime.’

 

What is Trichoderma?

Trichoderma is a fungal biocontrol agent effective against soil-borne pathogens in crop production.

 

What is Tricholime?

It is a lime-based formulation, developed by integrating Trichoderma and Lime into a single product. Lime helps in controlling soil acidity.

Benefits: Tricholime neutralizes soil acidity, promotes plant growth, protects against pathogens, and simplifies application for farmers. It serves as a bio-pesticide and bio-fertilizer, benefiting soil health and supporting sustainable organic farming.

E-fuels

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Economic Times

 Context: The International Energy Agency (IEA) report on “The Role of E-fuels in Decarbonising Transport” anticipates that biofuels will constitute 6% of road transport energy demand by 2030.

 

Key Highlights of the report:

  • In 2022, road transport accounted for nearly all liquid biofuel use, but this is projected to marginally decrease to 98% by 2030.
  • Biofuels represented 5% of road transport demand in 2022, amounting to 2.2 million b/d of oil demand.
  • Global biodiesel demand is expected to exceed.
  • While biofuels will play a crucial role in the future of transport, the report acknowledges the contributions of electric vehicles (EVs) in displacing oil demand.

 

About E-fuels: 

E-fuels, also known as electrofuels, are a type of synthetic fuel that can be used to power vehicles, ships, and aeroplanes. They are a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels and can be used in existing infrastructure

 

E-fuels are made from captured carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide, and hydrogen obtained from water split by sustainable electricity sources. The process uses hydrogen to bind with the CO2 under high pressure using a catalyst

E-fuels are climate-neutral and can be used to reduce CO2 emissions in the transport and heating market. 

Mauritius

Mapping:

 

Source: PIB

 Context: The Union Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the ISRO and the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC) for the development of a Joint Small Satellite.

 

About Mauritius:

Mauritius is an island country in the Indian Ocean. It comprises the main island, Rodrigues, Agaléga, and St. Brandon, forming part of the Mascarene Islands. The capital is Port Louis. Explored by Arabs in 975, Portuguese and Dutch sailors visited later. Mauritius is ethnically diverse, with Hinduism being the predominant religion. It follows a Westminster parliamentary system, boasts high economic and political freedom, and is classified as a high-income economy. Known for its biodiversity, Mauritius is home to endemic species and, historically, the dodo. It is consistently ranked as the most peaceful African country.

 

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