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UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 18 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 3:

  1. Scientific Communicaiton in India

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Veerabhadra temple in Lepakshi
  2. Chittorgarh Fort
  3. Kashmir without Snow
  4. Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR)
  5. States’ Startup Ranking for 2022

 

Mapping:

  1. Taiwan

 


 

Scientific Communication in India

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Science and Technology

  

Source: TH

 Context: The article discusses the importance of effective science communication in India, citing examples like the Chandrayaan-3 mission and COVID-19 information dissemination.

 

What is Scientific communication?

Science communication involves conveying scientific information to diverse audiences in an understandable and engaging manner. It encompasses various forms, including journalism, public talks, social media, and educational outreach. The goal is to bridge the gap between scientists and the public, promoting understanding of scientific concepts and their relevance.

 

Example: The communication of Chandrayaan-3, India’s lunar exploration mission, serves as an example of effective science communication. Through live broadcasts and updates, people across India were informed and engaged in the progress and scientific findings of the mission, contributing to widespread understanding and discourse.

 

Role of Science Communication for Society in India

RoleExample
Increasing Scientific Awareness:Publicizing achievements like India’s Mars Orbiter Mission to enhance understanding of space exploration.
Addressing Public Health Issues:Disseminating accurate information during the COVID-19 pandemic to combat misinformation and promote vaccination.
Fostering Environmental Consciousness:Campaigns explaining the importance of conservation and sustainable living for a cleaner environment.
Bridging the Gap with Researchers: Organizing public lectures, workshops, or online forums where scientists interact with the community.
Promoting Scientific Temper:Educational programs, science festivals, and initiatives promoting scientific inquiry among students.
Government Policies and Decision-Making:Advocacy for policies based on scientific research in areas like healthcare, environment, and technology.
Encouraging Innovation and Research:Publicizing breakthroughs in research to garner support and funding for further scientific exploration.
Building Trust in Scientific Institutions:Regularly sharing updates, findings, and insights from scientific institutions to build credibility.
Empowering Decision-Making:Initiatives explaining the science behind everyday choices, from healthcare to technology use.
Crisis Management and Risk Communication:Timely and accurate communication during natural disasters or health emergencies to guide the public on safety measures.

 

Government efforts:

Government-Led EffortsDetails
Publications & Information Directorate (PID)Established in 1951 under CSIR. Published national science magazines, including Vigyan Pragati (Hindi), Science Reporter (English), and Science Ki Duniya (Urdu), for disseminating scientific knowledge.
Birla Industrial and Technological Museum (1959)Established in 1959 with a focus on defining India’s scientific heritage and promoting science education.
42nd Amendment to the Constitution (1976)Introduced Article 51 A (h) in 1976, emphasizing the duty of every citizen to develop a scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of enquiry and reform.
National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC)Formed during the sixth Five Year Plan (1980-1985) with a focus on the popularization of science.
Vigyan Prasar (1989)An autonomous organization set up in 1989 by the Department of Science and Technology to popularize science.
CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research (CSIR-NIScPR, 2021)Established in 2021, merging two previous institutions, to continue the promotion of science communication.
Active Engagement by National Science Funding Agencies and Research OrganizationsOngoing efforts by agencies and organizations to actively engage in science communication through press releases, social media campaigns, exhibitions, and lectures.

 

Other initiatives:

ProjectDescription
Indian Sign Language AstroLabEquipped with 65 pieces of equipment, including a large telescope and audiovisual aids, the AstroLab provides virtual access to educational videos in Indian sign language, promoting inclusivity and accessibility.
CSIR-NPL (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – National Physical Laboratory)Conducts multidisciplinary R&D for quantum standards, and technology development, and provides training under “Make in India” and “Skill India” programs.
One Week – One Lab CampaignA program by CSIR-NPL to create awareness about technologies and services, provide solutions to societal problems and develop scientific temperament among students. Over 180 schools in Delhi-NCR have been exposed to NPL labs, and more schools will be included in future interactions.
Science and Heritage Research Initiative (SHRI)This initiative can potentially increase demand for the traditional art of Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.
National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI)An end-to-end plan for start-ups aimed at doubling the number of incubators and start-ups in five years.
National Start-up AwardsRecognizes and rewards outstanding start-ups and ecosystem enablers contributing to economic dynamism by stimulating innovation and competition.

 

To enhance science communication in India, key measures include:

  1. Formal Education and Training: Introduce master’s and doctoral programs in science communication to cultivate skilled communicators attuned to India’s diverse contexts.
  2. Integration with Scientific Process: Encourage scientists to actively participate in science communication, incorporating it into research and rewarding their efforts.
  3. Large-Scale Strategy: Establish a professional organization collaborating with government departments, stakeholders, and experts to create comprehensive science communication frameworks spanning various disciplines, media formats, and demographic groups.

 

Conclusion:

Science communication is crucial for advancing scientific literacy, public engagement, and informed decision-making in India. Addressing current gaps and adopting a forward-looking approach can build a robust science communication ecosystem, bridging the gap between science and society and propelling scientific progress.

 

Insta links:

 

Mains Links:

 What is India’s plan to have its own space station and how will it benefit our space programme? (UPSC 2019)

 

Prelims Links:

Q Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2016)

 The Mangalyaan launched by ISRO

  1. is also called the Mars Orbiter Mission
  2. made India the second country to have a spacecraft orbit the Mars after USA
  3. made India the only country to be successful in making its spacecraft orbit Mars in its very first attempt

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

 

Ans: C

Veerabhadra temple in Lepakshi

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: India Today

 Context: The Prime Minister visited the Veerabhadra temple in Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh, during his 11-day special ritual for the consecration of Lord Ram’s idol at the Ayodhya Ram temple.

  • Lepakshi holds significance in the Ramayana, and its name, meaning ‘Rise, oh bird’ in Telugu, is a tribute to Jatayu, the mythical bird who fought Ravan.
  • According to the Ramayana, Jatayu fell wounded in Lepakshi after battling Ravan, and it is here that he informed Lord Ram about Sita’s kidnapping.
  • The temple is believed to have preserved the footprints of Goddess Sita.

 

 

About Lepakshi Temple:

The Veerabhadra Temple, also known as the Lepakshi Temple, is located in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

The temple was built in 1533 by the Vijayanagara rulers. It is known for its architecture, which includes hanging pillars and cave chambers.

 The temple is dedicated to Virabhadra, a fierce incarnation of Lord Shiva. The temple’s architectural features are in the Vijayanagara style, with carvings and paintings on almost every exposed surface.

The main shrine is of Lord Shiva, and there are also shrines to Ganesha and Durga.

Chittorgarh Fort

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Deccan Herald

 Context: The Supreme Court of India has banned the mining of limestone by blasting or using explosives within a five-kilometre radius of the compound wall of Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan.

  • It emphasized the threat to the fort’s existence due to unscientific mineral exploitation and directed a multidisciplinary study of environmental pollution and its impact on structures.

 

About Chittorgarh Fort:

Chittorgarh Fort, also known as Chittod Fort, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s located in the city of Chittorgarh, Rajasthan.

 The fort was built in the 7th century by various Maurya rulers and is the largest fort in India.

Kashmir without Snow

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

 

Context: This winter, Kashmir and Ladakh, including the popular tourist destination Gulmarg, have experienced a lack of snowfall, impacting winter tourism, ski resorts, and overall local livelihoods.

 

 Reasons for Dry Winter in J&K:

ReasonsDetails
Decreasing Trend of SnowfallAttributed to a decline in western disturbance events and a gradual rise in temperatures, indicating the role of climate change.
El Nino EventThe prevailing El Nino event in the eastern Pacific Ocean is considered an additional factor affecting snowfall in the region this year.
El Nino ImpactPersistent El Nino event influencing global atmospheric circulation.
Rising TemperaturesTemperature increase observed, with a higher rate in upper elevation areas compared to plains.
Srinagar temperatures are sometimes comparable to or higher than Delhi, contributing to the decline in snowfall.
What are Western Disturbances?Large eastward-moving rain-bearing wind systems originating beyond Afghanistan and Iran (near the Mediterranean Sea)
The primary source of winter precipitation in the Himalayan region.
Pick up moisture from the Mediterranean Sea and even the Atlantic Ocean.
About four to six western disturbance events typically occur every month during winter.
The recent decline in the frequency of western disturbance events affects overall winter precipitation in northern regions.
Impact of Dry Winter: Long-term Implications
Generation of less hydroelectricity.
Increase in the rate of glacier melting.
Adverse impact on drinking water supply due to scanty snowfall leading to minimal groundwater recharge.
Impact of Dry Winter: Short-term ImplicationsIncreased risk of forest fires and agricultural drought.
Drop in crop production.
Possibility of an early spring leading to early flowering, potentially reducing crop yield.
Winter snow is crucial for providing steady moisture to the soil, and vital for winter crops, especially in horticulture.
Adverse effects on yields of key crops like apples and saffron, impacting the local economy.
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Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: Telangana has signed an agreement with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to establish the Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) in the state capital, Hyderabad.

 

What is C4IR?

C4IR stands for the Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is an initiative by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to establish centres that focus on harnessing the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies and driving collaboration between governments, businesses, and academia to address global challenges and opportunities.

The collaboration aims to leverage technology for advancements in the life sciences and healthcare sector, with a focus on reaching healthcare targets for the state’s population. Telangana envisions becoming a health tech hub and a global destination for healthcare services.

 

About 4IR:

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), also known as the Digital Revolution, is characterized by the integration of technologies that blend the physical, digital, and biological realms. Coined by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the WEF, 4IR includes technologies such as IoT, robotics, VR, AI, quantum computing, and 3D printing. It brings about advancements in technology, boosts productivity and efficiency, contributes to economic growth, and facilitates good governance.

 

About WEF:

The World Economic Forum is an international non-governmental organization for public–private sector collaboration based in Cologny, Canton of Geneva, Switzerland. It was founded on 24 January 1971 by German engineer Klaus Schwab.

States’ Startup Ranking for 2022

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Deccan Herald

 Context: Karnataka, Gujarat, and Kerala have been recognized as the best-performing states in developing start-up ecosystems, according to the start-up rankings for 2022 released by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

 

Key Findings:

  • Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh are also highlighted as best performers, while Maharashtra, Odisha, and Telangana are categorized as top performers.

 

The rankings are based on the state’s initiatives to foster a conducive environment for start-ups, with a total of 33 states and Union territories participating in the assessment under five categories – best performers, top performers, leaders, aspiring leaders, and emerging start-up ecosystems.

 

The States’ Start-up Ranking is a yearly capacity-building exercise created and released by DPIIT that evaluates all of India’s states and Union Territories on their efforts to build an ecosystem conducive to start-up growth.

States’ Start-up Ranking was launched in February 2018 to achieve the vision of building a robust startup ecosystem in the country

Taiwan

Mapping:

 

Source: BS

 Context: Lai Ching-te, from Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), won the presidential election, marking the DPP’s third consecutive victory with a pro-independence stance.

Major powers’ reactions include China asserting Taiwan as part of China, the USA welcoming the democratic process but not supporting independence, and Japan congratulating Taiwan.

Taiwan’s global geopolitical importance lies in its economic weight, being the 16th largest economy, a major source of semiconductors, and a critical point on maritime trade routes. Taiwan produces 92% of the world’s most advanced logic chips and 70% of smartphone chipsets, among other critical components.

 

India’s evolving stance toward Taiwan involves expanding economic relations, direct criticism of China’s actions in the Taiwan Strait in 2022, and a departure from reaffirming the one-China principle, aligning more with its QUAD partners.

 

Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is a country in East Asia. It is located at the junction of the East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the People’s Republic of China to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south.

/ 18 January 2024, Taiwan, Today's Article

 

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