Print Friendly, PDF & Email

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 23 April 2024

InstaLinks :  Insta Links 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 in 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. 50 Years of Chipko Movement

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Ross Ice Shelf
  2. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India
  3. Summit of the Future 2024
  4. Top-tier security partner
  5. National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO)-ID
  6. Genomic accordion
  7. Ethylene oxide in Indian Spices
  8. ‘Pink’ hydrogen
  9. Llama 3
  10. Andaman and Nicobar to establish wildlife sanctuaries

 

Mapping

  • Easter Island

 


 

50 Years of Chipko Movement

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Women/Environment Movement in Indian Society

 

Source: DTE

 Context: The Chipko movement, which originated in the 1970s in the Himalayan villages of Reni and Mandal, marked its 50th anniversary recently.

 

What was the Chipko movement?

The Chipko movement was a non-violent protest that began in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand (then Uttar Pradesh), India, in 1973. Led by environmental activists such as Sundarlal Bahuguna and Gaura Devi, among others, the movement aimed to prevent the felling of trees in the Himalayan region. The name “Chipko” comes from the Hindi word meaning “embrace,” as villagers hugged the trees to prevent their cutting.

 

The original Chipko movement dates back to 1730 when Amrita Devi Bishnoi and over 300 others from the Bishnoi sect sacrificed their lives protesting the felling of Khejarli trees in Rajasthan.)

 

Impact of Chipko Movement:

ImpactDescription
Environmental Awareness and ConservationRaised awareness about deforestation and the importance of conserving forests.
Push to Eco-FeminismEco-feminism is a philosophical and political movement exploring the links between ecological issues and women’s experiences.
It recognizes the importance of traditional knowledge, often held and transmitted by women, in promoting sustainable practices.
The Chipko movement exemplifies the collective involvement of women in forest conservation, reflecting the principles of Eco-feminism
Local EmpowermentEmpowered local communities, particularly women, in protecting natural resources.
Policy ChangesContributed to the formulation of policies for forest conservation and sustainable resource management.
Inspiration for Similar MovementsInspired similar movements globally, emphasizing nonviolent direct action and community involvement.
Global Environmental MovementBecame a symbol of the global environmental movement, highlighting grassroots activism.
Recognition of Women’s RoleChallenged traditional gender roles, recognizing women’s crucial role in conservation.
Economic and Cultural ImpactHelped preserve traditional livelihoods and cultural practices linked to the environment.
Education and ResearchSpurred interest in environmental science and sustainable development research.
Forest Protection and RegenerationProtected forests from destruction, aiding in regeneration and ecological benefits.

  

Other such movements include:

MovementYearPlaceLeadersAim
Save Silent Valley Movement1978Silent Valley, Palakkad district, KeralaKerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP), SughathakumariProtection of Silent Valley from a hydroelectric project
Jungle Bachao Andholan1982Singhbhum district, BiharTribals of SinghbhumAgainst replacing natural sal forest with Teak
Appiko movement1983Uttara Kannada and Shimoga districts, KarnatakaPandurang Hegde (facilitator)Opposition to felling and commercialization of natural forests and ancient livelihood
Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA)1985Narmada River, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, MaharashtraMedha Patker, Baba Amte, Adivasis, farmers, environmentalists, human rights activistsThe movement against the construction of large dams on the Narmada River
Tehri Dam Conflict1990sBhagirathi River, Tehri, UttarakhandSundarlal BahugunaProtest against displacement of town inhabitants and environmental consequences of weak ecosystem
Save Dehing-Patkai2020AssamAdil Hussain, Randeep Hooda, Joi Barua, Jadav Payeng, members of AASU, AAMYUOpposition to opencast mining in Dehing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary
Save the Sundarbans2020West BengalResponse to cyclone Amphan, aiming to protect the Sundarbans from further environmental degradation and provide support to affected communities

 

 

 

 Need of ‘New Chipko Movement’ at the time of environmental crisis.

  • “We will endure sticks and bullets but save our trees” these were the kind of slogans and spirit with which we had conducted the chipko movement in the 1970s and 1980s. A similar spirit needs to be displayed and all sections of society have to unite to prevent further degradation of the environment.
  • People should rise and demand from the government their right to live. Apart from saving trees, this time there is a need to fight for clean air, and pure water too.
  • There is a need to have a separate environmental vision document by the government, especially for Urban India. Given the recent events, political parties should expect the environment to become a focal campaign point, at least in cities.
  • There is also a need for an environmental roadmap from the administration and the executive.
  • It is important to study the steps taken by other countries. For instance, SO2 pollution declined by 75% in China over the last decade while in India it increased by 50%. In China, the SO2 controls were imposed on coal power plants while in the case of India, the measures are delayed until 2022 in some cases.

 

Conclusion

The Chipko Movement in the 1970s proved as a tipping point for environmental causes not just in India but the rest of the world as well. There is a need for a “Chipko 2.0”, this time led by the coordination of society and political class.

 

About Sunderlal Bahuguna (1927-2021): 

He spearheaded the Chipko movement in the 1970s to protect trees in the Himalayas, popularizing the slogan “ecology is permanent economy.” He advocated for the integration of ecology and economy, emphasizing their interconnectedness. Bahuguna protested against the Tehri Dam project, undertaking a 56-day fast. He also led a 4,800 km padayatra from Kashmir to Kohima to raise awareness about Himalayan issues. Bahuguna supported women-led movements against the liquor mafia and championed the Beej Bachao Andolan to preserve Himalayan biodiversity. He received the Padma Vibhushan in 2009 for his environmental activism.

 

 Mains Links:

‘Women’s movement in India has not addressed the issues of women of lower social strata.’ Substantiate your view. (UPSC 2018)

Ross Ice Shelf

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: NDTV

  

Context: Researchers have discovered that the massive Ross Ice Shelf makes sudden jumps twice a day.

  • These sudden shifts, akin to tremors along earthquake faults, could weaken the Ross Ice Shelf over time, potentially accelerating ice melt rates and contributing to sea level rise.
  • A sudden jump occurs when two sections of ice press against each other (rubbing creates tension), just as tectonic plates on Earth cause earthquakes.
  • The research team emphasises that icequakes and fractures are natural occurrences on ice shelves.

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: NHRC


Context:
During the recent Statutory Full Commission meeting organized by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India, chaired by Justice Shri Arun Mishra, the emphasis was placed on the need for collaborative strategies among all seven National Commissions to ensure the protection of human rights, particularly for vulnerable and marginalized sections of society.

 

AspectDetails
EstablishmentEstablished in 1993 as a statutory body under the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993, as amended by the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2006. Its establishment aligns with the Paris Principle, which sets out the international minimum standards for national human rights institutions.
CompositionConsists of a Chairperson, five full-time Members, and seven deemed Members. Deemed Members include Chairpersons of other key National Commissions such as the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, etc.
The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2019, provided that a Judge of the Supreme Court can be appointed as Chairperson in addition to the person who has been the Chief Justice of India.
TenureThe tenure for both the Chairperson and Members is three years or until the age of seventy years.
Powers and FunctionsHas all the powers of a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. Can inquire into any violation of human rights or negligence in the prevention of such violation by a public servant, either suo motu or on a petition. Can intervene in proceedings regarding allegations of human rights violations pending before a court.
Key InitiativesGuidelines to check the misuse of the power of arrest by the police. Elimination of manual scavenging.
ChallengesThe Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) deferred its re-accreditation mainly due to political interference in appointments, involving the police in probes into human rights violations, etc. Without accreditation, NHRC will be unable to represent India at the UN Human Rights Council

Summit of the Future 2024

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: HT

 Context: UN Secretary-General Guterres highlights Multilateral Development Banks (MDB) reform as a key theme at the upcoming Summit of the Future during UNGA, praising the Indian G20 presidency’s efforts.

 

About the Summit:The Summit of the Future 2024 is a flagship event organized during the annual high-level UN General Assembly meeting in September. It focuses on key global issues, with a particular emphasis on reforming multilateral development banks (MDBs) to address contemporary challenges like poverty and climate crisis.

 

Originating from the Our Common Agenda report, it emphasizes renewing trust and solidarity across nations and generations. Member States aim to create a Pact for the Future, reaffirming the UN Charter, reinvigorating multilateralism, and agreeing on solutions to current and future challenges.

 

What are MDBs?

MDBs are international financial institutions (e.g., World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank) aiding developing countries with financial and technical assistance to foster economic development and reduce poverty.

Recommendations by the independent expert group on MDB’s Reform (during India’s G20 presidency) include tripling annual lending levels by 2030, adopting a triple mandate for MDBs to eliminate extreme poverty, and modernizing funding models.

 

Top-tier security partner

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 

Context: Australia’s new National Defence Strategy (NDS) highlights India as a top-tier security partner, emphasizing the importance of its Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in contributing to stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

  • The strategy aims to deepen defence cooperation with India through practical initiatives and information sharing.
  • Australia plans to allocate $330 billion to its Integrated Investment Programme (IIP) over the next decade, indicating a commitment to enhancing defence capabilities.
  • This investment is expected to raise defence spending to around 2.4% of Gross Domestic Product by 2033-34.

India and Australia are also finalizing agreements for cooperation in hydrography and air-to-air refuelling, further enhancing their strategic partnership.

 

National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO)-ID

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

  

Context: The Union Health Ministry has mandated that all cases of organ transplants, whether from living or deceased donors, must be assigned a unique National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO)-ID for both the donor and the recipient.

  • This directive aims to curb commercial dealings in organs, particularly those involving foreign citizens.
  • Hospitals are required to generate the NOTTO-ID from the NOTTO website.

 

NOTTO is a national-level organization under MOHFW which undertakes activities of coordination and networking for the procurement and distribution of Organs and Tissues.

Genomic accordion

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 

Context: Mpox, a DNA virus, exhibits a unique evolutionary strategy known as the genomic accordion, involving expansions and contractions of its genome.

  • Researchers identified 4-kilobase sections of the genome, previously deemed unimportant, as critical for human-to-human transmissibility and evolutionary adaptability.
  • Variations in certain genes influence the virus’s evolution, with different clades exhibiting varying levels of virulence.
  • Genomic surveillance plays a crucial role in understanding and combating viral outbreaks, allowing for targeted interventions to mitigate health risks and prevent global spread.

 

Ethylene oxide in Indian Spices

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: NDTV

 

Context: Following red flags raised by food regulators in Hong Kong and Singapore regarding the presence of a cancer-causing ingredient in certain Indian spice products from some brands, the Indian government has ordered food commissioners to collect samples of spices from all manufacturing units in the country.

 

  • The harmful substance, ethylene oxide, has been classified as a ‘Group 1 carcinogen’ by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
  • Ethylene oxide is banned for use in food items in India.

 

Ethylene oxide, primarily used as a sterilizing agent and insecticide, poses health risks including irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs, as well as potential long-term effects on the central nervous system and carcinogenic properties.

‘Pink’ hydrogen

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Business Line

  

Context: India is considering amending the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, to allow private investments in the nuclear sector, aiming to boost nuclear capacity and promote clean energy initiatives, particularly hydrogen.

  • Currently, the Act restricts private ownership of nuclear plants, but proposed amendments would enable private companies to participate in certain activities, such as financing, project development, and equipment supply.
  • The production of ‘pink’ hydrogen, which is generated through electrolysis powered by nuclear energy.

 

Types of Hydrogen based on colour codes:

Llama 3

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

 Context: Meta has unveiled its most advanced Large Language Model (LLM) yet, the Meta Llama 3, which boasts significant improvements in performance and capabilities over its predecessors.

  • Available in two sizes, 8B and 70B parameters, Llama 3 is integrated into Meta’s proprietary virtual assistant, Meta AI.
  • The model surpasses previous benchmarks, outperforming competitors like Google’s Gemma 7B and Mistral’s Mistral 7B in various evaluations, including language understanding and question-answering tasks.
  • Meta emphasizes the responsible development of Llama 3, providing trust and safety tools like Llama Guard 2 and Code Shield.
  • Llama 3 is integrated into Meta AI and accessible for developers through platforms like Hugging Face and cloud providers such as Azure ML and Vertex AI.

 

Large language models (LLMs) are artificial intelligence (AI) programs that use deep learning to process large amounts of text data. LLMs can perform a variety of tasks, including:

Translation, Summarization, Object recognition, Content generation, Classification, and Predicting.

Easter Island

Mapping

 

Source: IE

 Context: Scientists recently discovered 160 species, with at least 50 potentially new to science, during an expedition across the Salas y Gómez Ridge to Easter Island. The findings include various marine life like squid, fish, corals, molluscs, and sea stars.

The ridge, home to over 110 seamounts, supports diverse ecosystems and is crucial for marine animal migration.

 

About Salas y Gómez:

It is an underwater mountain chain in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, oriented west-east from the East Pacific Rise to the Nazca Ridge. Isolated by geographic features like the Atacama Trench and the Humboldt Current System, its waters are mostly in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

 

About Easter Island 

It is a Chilean territory in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. Famous for its monumental statues called moai, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Chile annexed the island in 1888, granting citizenship to the Rapa Nui in 1966. It is one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands, with the nearest land over 2,000 kilometres away.

Andaman and Nicobar to establish wildlife sanctuaries

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 

Context: The Andaman and Nicobar administration’s plan to establish wildlife sanctuaries on islands traditionally managed and inhabited by the indigenous southern Nicobarese people ignores their rights and disregards the ecological and social impacts.

 

Proposed SanctuaryDescription
Coral Sanctuary on Meroë IslandThe government plans to establish a coral sanctuary
Megapode Sanctuary on Menchal IslandThe proposed sanctuary aims to protect endemic Megapode birds
Leatherback Turtle Sanctuary on Little Nicobar IslandThe administration seeks to create a sanctuary for leatherback turtles without consulting indigenous Nicobarese people, who traditionally use the island.

 

The Andaman Islands consist of 572 islands, with key ones including North Andaman, South Andaman, Little Andaman, and Middle Andaman. It boasts the highest number of wildlife sanctuaries in India, totalling 96, along with 9 national parks.

 

National Park/SanctuaryLocationFeaturesMajor Fauna
Campbell Bay & Galathea National ParksGreat NicobarPart of Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve – Separated by a 12-km wide forest buffer zone. Galathea National Park is India’s southernmostGiant robber crab, megapode, Nicobar pigeon, turtle species
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National ParkSouth AndamanProtects mangroves, corals, and nesting sea turtles. Mostly fringing reefsMangroves, corals, nesting sea turtles
Mount Harriett National Park (Mount Manipur National Park)South AndamanThe third-highest peak in the A&N archipelago. Renamed to honour Manipur’s freedom fightersAndaman wild pigs, saltwater crocodiles, turtles, robber crabs
Rani Jhansi Marine National ParkRitchie’s Archipelago, South AndamanLocated near Button Islands. Vegetation includes mangroves and evergreen forestsSpotted deer, water lizards, monitor lizards, fruit-eating bats, dugongs, dolphins, sea turtles, blue whales, corals
Saddle Peak National ParkAndaman and Nicobar IslandsThe highest point of the A&N Islands. Features varied fauna and floraAndaman wild pig, Andaman imperial pigeon, dolphins, whales, saltwater crocodile
Other National Park North Button Island NP, Middle Button Island NP, South Button Island NP

 

 

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