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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 09 March 2023

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. Different faces of the Indian women’s movement

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. Why migrant workers’ issues recur: The absence of data and coordination between states

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Integrated medicine system to alter the future of disease management
  2. Tourism in the Himalayas is not uniform; its impacts though are detrimental

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Waste to wealth
  2. “Hallucinations”: Limitations and challenges of AI chatbots
  3. An Environment of Gender Equality

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Europe pushing for a lunar time zone
  2. National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)
  3. Govt brings crypto under money laundering law
  4. Janaushadhi Kendra
  5. Radio interference from satellites
  6. NISAR satellite
  7. H3N2 outbreak
  8. Scrub typhus
  9. Mapping

 


 

Different faces of the Indian women’s movement

GS Paper 1

Syllabus: Role of Women and Women’s Organisation, Social Empowerment

 

Source: TH

Context: The Indian women’s movement is well-known for its vibrancy, but there has been less attention on the movement’s gradual transformation.

 

A timeline of the Evolution of the Indian women’s movement:

  • Nationalist/political movements:
    • Examples: All India Women’s Conference (1927) → salt satyagraha (1930) → Quit India movement (1942).
    • Acceptance of women’s leadership in politics, setting the stage for grass-roots mobilisation, and increased participation in electoral politics.
  • Rights-based, civil society movements:
    • Examples: Chipko (the 1970s) – one of the earliest ecofeminist movements in the world → SEWA → Nirbhaya, Shaheen Bagh and Sabarimala protests.
    • Grassroots organising for legal and policy reforms, against persistent patriarchal institutions.
  • State-led movements for political/economic empowerment:
    • The greatest success of this mobilisation –
      • The 73rd Amendment to the Constitution was passed, reserving 1/3rd of seats in panchayats for women
      • 17th Lok Sabha inducted 78 women as MPs – the most in the country’s history.
    • invested heavily in Self Help Groups (SHGs), which function mainly as thrift and credit institutions.
      • Today, there are about 1.2 crore SHGs in India, most of which are all women.

 

Nature of these movements: Some aimed to alter political discourse while remaining outside of party politics, while some were clearly associated with political parties.

 

Impact of these movements:

  • Transformed Indian women: From abala (weak) → sabala (strong)
  • Feminist advocacy/women’s collectives –
    • Highlighted sex-selective abortion and discrimination in inheritance patterns leading to legal reforms.
    • Worked hard to reform and implement laws against sexual harassment in the workplace and in public spaces.

 

Initiatives for empowering women:

  • Mahila Samkhya (older programme replaced by SHGs): Explicitly designed to mobilise women and sensitise them about their rights → relative ineffectiveness in enhancing vocational skills and entrepreneurship.
  • National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM): The above deficiency was addressed by the current generation of the SHG movement + NRLM.
  • Participation in SHGs: Reliance on high-interest loans from moneylenders has declined. Overall socio-economic empowerment also facilitates SHGs to help meet national targets under
    • SDG 5 (gender equality),
    • SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and
    • SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals).
  • MGNREGA: SHGs under the NRLM have been able to use funds under MGNREGA to build income-earning assets for women, such as cattle sheds and poultry sheds.

 

Challenges:

  • The SHG movement’s potential for enhancing women’s incomes has been underutilised.
  • Most of the activities of SHGs are limited to micro-credit.
  • Limited evidence of increased incomes due to entrepreneurship or women’s empowerment within the household.
  • Sometimes SHGs have been used as a political weapon by ruling governments. For example, the use of SHG women in Kerala during the Sabarimala protests.

 

Way ahead – Developing synergies: Massive mobilisation of women must be supported with other complementary programmes that provide enhanced livelihood opportunities.

 

Some best practices of the SHG movement in India:

  • The rani mistris (women masons) of Jharkhand built toilets, providing women with opportunities to diversify their livelihoods for improved incomes and socio-economic growth.
  • Bank sakhis, pashu sakhis, poshan sakhis: The ES 2022-23 points to the empowerment of nearly 4 million SHG members through training programmes to transform them into community resource persons.

 

Conclusion: The key, however, is to not put all eggs in the single basket of state-led programmes and to ensure that other spaces for women’s activism are preserved.

 

Insta Links:

The importance of women-led digital solutions

 

Mains Links:

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

Why migrant workers’ issues recur: The absence of data and coordination between states

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections

 

Source: IE

Context: Rumours of migrant workers being assaulted in Tamil Nadu have triggered concern among manufacturers in the state.

 

Background: Article 19(1)(e) of the Constitution, guarantees all Indian citizens the right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India, subject to reasonable restrictions in the interest of the general public or protection of any scheduled tribe.

 

Issues related to migrant workers in India:

  • Lack of social security and health benefits
  • Lack of portability of state-provided benefits
  • Lack of access to affordable housing
  • Lack of data makes it difficult to track labourers during times of crisis
  • Inadequate coordination among states on a formal exchange of information
  • The nativist agenda of political parties in the states. For example, many state governments have reserved a certain percentage of employment for locals.

 

What is the legal framework for migrant welfare?

  • The Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979 mandates that the establishments which employ migrant workers be required to be registered with destination states.
    • Contractors will also have to obtain a licence from the concerned authority of the home as well as host states.
    • However, this Act has not been fully implemented in practice.
  • This Act has been subsumed into the four labour codes notified by the Centre:
    • The Code on Wages, 2019;
    • The Industrial Relations Code, 2020;
    • The Code on Social Security, 2020; and
    • The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020.
    • These have not been implemented yet.

 

Way ahead:

  • To put the four labour codes into effect as soon as possible, the central and state governments must collaborate.
  • The welfare measures for the community should include –
  • An exclusive wing can be formed to address the issues and problems migrants face.
  • Instituting a fresh and comprehensive study of migrant workers and helping in their integration with the local community.

 

Best practices adopted by some Indian states:

  • In 2012, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh (AP) signed an MoU to track labourers migrating from Odisha to work in brick kilns in the-united AP.
  • Kerala has set up facilitation centres (maintain data) for migrant workers whom the state refers to as “guest workers”.
  • Jharkhand has started the Safe and Responsible Migration Initiative (SRMI) in 2021 to generate data and then map the labourers who move out to several states for work.
  • The first Jharkhand Migrant Survey (JMS) was recently conducted across 24 districts of the state.

 

Conclusion:

  • There is a thin line separating nativism and chauvinism, which can be breached at any time.
  • Thus, only registering workers in a database will not help unless worker rights are ensured and violations of rights are strictly dealt with.

 

Insta Links:

Lessons from COVID: Jharkhant’s 1st survey of migrants

Integrated medicine system to alter the future of disease management

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Issues related to the development and management of the social sector related to health.

 

Source: The Hindu

Context: A new study highlighted that using yoga as an additional treatment can help patients suffering from migraine headaches and from syncope (sudden drop in heart rate and blood pressure leading to fainting.)

  • In a unique collaboration, 19 departments at AIIMS – are collectively working to identify areas of need where allopaths find modern medicines wanting and feel that the addition of traditional medicine could provide relief to patients.

In India, the traditional medicine system (“TMS”) mainly comprises Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (“AYUSH”).

 

About Traditional Medicine:

According to World Health Organization, ‘traditional medicine’ refers to the sum total of knowledge, skills and practices on basis of theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures used in the maintenance of health.

 

Benefits of Traditional Medicine System:

  • Holistic vision towards healthcare that focuses on the prevention of diseases and promotion of health.
  • low side effects of TMS
  • Can fill in the gaps in the allopathic medicine system

 

Challenges to integration into the mainstream healthcare system

  • Unorganized: TMS suffers from standardization issues.
  • Poor resources
  • Poor acceptance
  • Safety concerns: Dishonest/negligent practices, cosmeticisation of TMS products, adverse reactions to TMS drugs, lack of safety supervision systems, substandard courses, poorly regulated markets
  • Lack of scientific basis and almost no R&D in TMS
  • Intellectual property protection

 

Government Initiatives:

  • Creation of Ministry of AYUSH
  • Enactment of the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Act, 2020 and National Commission for Homeopathy Act, 2020
  • Recognition of the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (Gujarat) as an Institute of National Importance.
  • Developing standards in collaboration with the Bureau of Indian Standards to augment TMS products.

 

Conclusion:

  • Though yoga has been practised traditionally in India for centuries, the objective of the AIIMS initiative is to bring it under an official protocol to provide clinical services to treat various health conditions with an integrated medical system in place.
  • The scientific findings from the AIIMS research are expected to align with the Centre’s plan to roll out a “One Nation, One Health System” policy by 2030.

 

Insta Links:

Global Ayush Investment & Innovation Summit

 

Mains Link: UPSC 2019

How is the Government of India protecting traditional knowledge of medicine from patenting by pharmaceutical companies?

Tourism in the Himalayas is not uniform; its impacts though are detrimental

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment

 

Source: DTE

Context: Over the last year, the Union government has laid emphasis on promoting sustainable tourism in the Himalayan region.

Background:

  • The Indian Himalayan region, with its rich biodiversity, offers conditions suitable for several activities (recreation/adventure/religious pilgrimages) and attracts a large number of visitors from all over the world.
  • As tourism is an important source of income and livelihood for people living in this region, it must be ensured that these activities take place in a sustainable manner.

Recent efforts:

  • National Strategy for Sustainable Tourism and Responsible Traveller Campaign: Launched in 2022 by the Union Ministry of Tourism, it focuses on
    • Promotion of environmental, economic and socio-cultural sustainability;
    • Protection of biodiversity;
    • Capacity-building and governance;
    • Greater investment in green infrastructure with more efficient transport facilities reduced air pollution, and conservation of heritage sites and open spaces.
  • Swadesh Darshan 2.0: It is a centrally sponsored scheme for the development of theme-based tourist circuits in the country, including a vision to set up sustainable and responsible tourism in the Himalayan region.

Some challenges need greater focus:

  • Mass tourism: Seasons play a role as a major tourist activity is confined to just a few months in a year – during the peak summer season.
  • Greater anthropogenic pressure on existing infrastructure and local resources during the summer months.
  • More generation of solid waste, ambient air pollution, water pollution and deforestation.
  • Shift is seen in snowfall and melting patterns due to climate change-related impacts.

 

Way ahead:

  • Reduce mass tourism and inculcate a spirit of conservation among locals and tourists.
  • Promoting ecotourism (which involves responsible travel and safeguarding of local environment and ecosystems), alternative or green tourism.
  • Decentralisation of tourism activities based on the available resources in any place. Tourists would also be able to access the benefits of the largely untouched environment.
  • Developing tourist systems in northeastern states that have great potential for ecotourism activities.
  • Assessing the carrying capacity of municipal infrastructure prior to development works.

 

Combat pollution:

  • By practising microbial bio composting: the best way of natural disintegration and decomposition of waste under aerobic process.
  • To combat air pollution, planting locally available (like broad-leaved banj oak), introducing electric vehicles, using non-conventional energy sources like solar, etc.
  • Pine forests, which often witness fires, can be used to make bio-briquettes (used as a substitute for biofuel) and purify water resources.

 

Involve all stakeholders:

  • Any sustainable approach undertaken should involve the local communities, visitors, etc. Encourage skill and capacity-building programmes to spread awareness among different stakeholders.
  • Visitors should learn the rules and good practices to be adopted while travelling through these areas.

 

Insta Links:

Towards sustainable growth

 

Mains Links:

Define the concept of the carrying capacity of an ecosystem as relevant to an environment. Explain how understanding this concept is vital while planning for the sustainable development of a region. (UPSC 2019)

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)


Waste to wealth

 Source: PIB

Indian Prime Minister praised Bengaluru-based senior cardiologist, Dr Deepak Krishnamurthy and his son for their efforts in promoting recycling and the concept of ‘waste to wealth’. Dr Krishnamurthy had shared on social media that his son collects used sheets of paper from his notebooks and the doctor gets them bound for rough work and practice.

Usage: Such examples can be used in Ethics/Essays to show how small actions, such as reusing paper, can make a significant impact on waste reduction. It also symbolises that recycling and waste management are important concepts for sustainable living.

 

“Hallucinations”: Limitations and challenges of AI chatbots

Source: TH

  • Example 1: A business Insider journalist asked ChatGPT to rewrite an article about a Jeep factory idling production due to rising costs of electric vehicle production in the US, and ChatGPT produced a nearly perfect piece with fake quotes from the CEO that sounded authentic.
  • Example 2: Chatbot Microsoft introduced to its Bing search engine was disseminating a variety of false information about the Gap, Mexican nightlife, the musician, and Billie Eilis.
  • Example 3: Google introduced “Bard”. But its shares plummeted by more than $100 billion after Bard gave an “incorrect” answer in a demonstration.
  • Example 4: In 2016, Microsoft apologised after a Twitter chatbot, Tay, began generating racist and sexist messages
  • Example 5: Meta’s BlenderBot was telling journalists it had deleted its Facebook account after learning about the company’s privacy scandals.

Reasons for AI chatbots giving wrong information: AI models are based on vast amounts of digital text extracted from the internet, which can contain untruthful, biased, or outdated information.

Usage: The examples can be used to show the limitations of technology such as AI chatbots, which can resemble human writing without making any commitment to the truth, and frequently convey falsehoods as facts.

 

An Environment of Gender Equality

Source: TH

Supriya Sahu, the Additional Chief Secretary to the Government, Department of Environment, Climate Change, is leading Tamil Nadu’s fight against climate change.

Sahu chairs the Tamil Nadu Green Climate Company (TNGCC), which has three missions:

  • Increase forest and tree cover
  • Address climate change
  • Conserve wetlands

She believes that women bring a certain sensitivity and understanding to climate change issues and that climate actions must benefit women.

Tamil Nadu has launched several initiatives:

  • Promoting climate literacy by creating educational videos and social media posts on climate change in the Tamil language.
  • The Green Fellowship program and the Meendum Manjappai program are initiatives that aim to empower women and provide them with opportunities to work on environmental issues and earn a decent income
  • Encouraging the use of eco-friendly shopping bags

 


Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Europe pushing for a lunar time zone

Source: The Hindu

Context: With more lunar missions than ever on the horizon, the European Space Agency wants to give the moon its own time zone.

Need a time zone for the moon:

  • To streamline contact among the various countries and entities, public and private, that are coordinating trips to and around the moon.
  • While the space station doesn’t have its own time zone, it runs on Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC, which is meticulously based on atomic clocks.
  • Time on Earth is precisely tracked by atomic clocks, but synchronizing time on the moon is tricky because clocks run faster there, gaining around 56 microseconds, or millionths of a second, per day.

 

National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)

Source: IE

Context:  The chairperson of NAAC’s executive committee, resigned after repeatedly demanding an independent inquiry into the functioning of the council.

 

 

There have been calls for the NAAC to adopt an Outcome-based approach (rather than a self-assessment input-based approach): In an outcome-based, the emphasis would be given to finding out if students are equipped with relevant skills and academic abilities.

 

Initiatives taken:

  • ‘Paramarsh’ (2019; by UGC): Best-performing institutes serve as mentors to at least five institutes aspiring to get accredited.
  • NAAC (in 2022) also explored the possibility of issuing Provisional Accreditation for Colleges (PAC), under which one-year-old institutes could apply for accreditation that would be valid for two years.
  • Current accreditations: Out of the 1,113 universities and 43,796 colleges in the All India Survey on Higher Education Report 2020-21, only 418 universities and 9,062 colleges were NAAC-accredited as on January 31, 2023 (Highest in Maharastra).
  • The National Education Policy (2020) has set an ambitious target of getting all higher educational institutes to obtain the highest level of accreditation over the next 15 years.

About UGC:

University Grants Commission is a statutory body set up by the Department of Higher Education, in accordance with the UGC Act 1956 and is charged with the coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of higher education in India.

 

Govt brings crypto under money laundering law

Source: ET

Context: Ministry of Finance has brought crypto trading, safekeeping and related financial services under the ambit of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

  • Objective: It will give authorities greater power to monitor the transfer of virtual digital assets beyond the country’s borders
  • Reporting Entity: Entities dealing in VDAs will now be considered ‘reporting entities’ under PMLA and subsequently have to maintain KYC details of their clients and beneficial owners

 

Transactions included under PMLA:

  • Exchange between virtual digital assets and fiat currencies
  • Exchange between one or more forms of virtual digital assets
  • Transfer of virtual digital assets, safekeeping or administration of virtual digital assets

 

What are Virtual Digital Assets (VDA)?

The term ‘virtual asset’ refers to any digital representation of value that can be digitally traded, transferred or used for payment.

  • The notification says that the definition of ‘virtual assets’ would be the same as that in the Income-Tax Act, (it includes cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens as virtual assets)

Janaushadhi Kendra

Source: HT, PIB

Context: On the occasion of ‘the 5th Jan Aushadhi Diwas’, the government inaugurated ‘NaMo Day Care Centre’ and flagged off four NaMo Mobile Healthcare Units

  • The Department of Pharmaceuticals is celebrating Jan Aushadhi Diwas from March 1 to March 7, 2023, to create awareness about the Jan Aushadhi Scheme.
  • Objective: To generate awareness about the usage of generic medicines and the benefits of Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana and its salient features and achievements.

 

About Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP):

The scheme aims to open centres from where quality generic medicines, consumables and surgical items are available at affordable prices for all, so as to reduce the out-of-pocket expenditure of consumers/patients.

  • Ministry: Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers
  • Implementation Agency: Pharma & Medical Bureau of India (PMBI) (erstwhile Bureau of Pharma PSUs in India (BPPI)). It has also developed the Janaushadhi Sugam Application.
  • Launched: November 2008
  • Current status: As of January 31, 2023, the number of stores has increased to 9082.
  • Target: To increase the number of Kendras (PMBJKs) to 10,000 by the end of December 2023.

 

How price of medicine is determined in the PMBJKs?

A medicine is priced on the principle of a maximum of 50% of the average price of the top three brands of branded medicines. Thus, the prices of Jan Aushadhi Medicines are cheaper by at least 50% and in some cases, by 80% to 90% of the market price of the branded medicines.

  • Under the Scheme, medicines are procured from World Health Organization – Good Manufacturing Practices (WHO-GMP) certified suppliers for ensuring the quality of the products.

 

Radio interference from satellites

Source: DTE

Context: Radio telescopes are used by astronomers to study the universe, but the growing number of satellites and wireless technologies is causing interference that could hide important data from these telescopes.

  • g., satellite internet networks like Starlink and OneWeb have sent thousands of satellites which transmit radio waves to the surface

What is Radio Spectrum Pollution?

Radio Spectrum Pollution occurs when there is interference caused by multiple signals occupying the same frequency range.

  • Radio signals arriving on Earth from astronomical objects are extremely weak and easily masked by man-made interference.
  • This interference can disrupt the transmission and reception of signals, leading to poor or lost communication, and can interfere with astronomical observations. It can also potentially cause safety hazards in critical industries like aviation and emergency services.

 

Solutions: Develop radio quiet zone (Such radio quiet zones are present in the USA, Australia, South Africa and China).

 

 

Related News:

Recently National Science day (Feb 28th) was celebrated to commemorate the announcement of the discovery of the Raman effect (also known as Raman Scattering) by Nobel laureate physicist CV Raman in 1928.

  • Raman Effect is the change in wavelength of light that occurs when a light beam is deflected by molecules.
  • Uses of Raman Effect: It is used to identify and analyze the chemical composition of materials; It is used in quantum theory; In remote sensing and planetary exploration.
  • The theme of NSD-2023 is “Global Science for Global Wellbeing”

 

NISAR satellite

Source: Indian Express

Context: The US Air Force handed over NISAR, an earth observation satellite jointly developed by NASA and ISRO, to the Indian space agency. 

  • NISAR will be used by ISRO for a variety of purposes like volcanic eruptions, agricultural mapping, landslide-prone areas etc.

 

What is NISAR?

  • The 2,800 kilograms satellite consists of both L-band and S-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) instruments, which makes it a dual-frequency imaging radar satellite.
  • While NASA has provided the L-band radar, GPS, a high-capacity solid-state recorder to store data, and a payload data subsystem, ISRO has provided the S-band radar, the GSLV launch system and spacecraft.
  • Another important component of the satellite is its large 39-foot stationary antenna reflector. Made of a gold-plated wire mesh, the reflector will be used to focus “the radar signals emitted and received by the upward-facing feed on the instrument structure”

 

H3N2 outbreak

Source: DTE

Context: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) confirmed that the recent outbreak of a respiratory illness — with symptoms of cold, sore throat and fever accompanied by fatigue is caused by Influenza Sub-type H3N2.

  • There are four types of seasonal influenza viruses, types A, B, C and D. Influenza A and B viruses circulate and cause seasonal epidemics of disease,

 

WHAT IS H3N2 VIRUS?

  • H3N2 virus is a type of influenza virus called the influenza A virus. It is a respiratory viral infection that causes illnesses every year. This subtype of influenza A virus was discovered in 1968 in humans.
  • The virus derives from types of protein strains of the influenza A virus – hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA).
  • HA has over 18 different subtypes, each numbered H1 to H18 while NA has 11 different subtypes, each numbered N1 to N11. The H3N2 is a combination of the two protein strains of the influenza A virus.

SYMPTOMS OF H3N2 VIRUS:

  • The symptoms of the H3N2 virus include cough, runny nose or congested nose, sore throat, headaches, body aches, fever, chills, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting and breathlessness.

 

TREATMENT FOR H3N2 VIRUS:

  • Regular over-the-counter medications for fever, cough or headaches can be consumed to relieve the symptoms. Annual flu shots for the influenza virus should be administered and taken around this time.

 

Scrub typhus

Source: The Hindu

Context: A team of Indian scientists has identified a significantly more effective treatment for severe scrub typhus— a life-threatening bacterial infection that kills thousands of people every year.

  • Treating patients with a combination of intravenous antibiotics doxycycline and azithromycin is more effective than the current monotherapy of using either drug alone.

About Scrub typhus:

  • Scrub typhus — a life-threatening infection caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi bacteria — is a major public health threat in South and Southeast Asia.
  • As per estimates, nearly one million cases are reported from South and Southeast Asia with 10% mortality.
  • India is one of the hotspots with at least 25% of the disease burden.

 

Mapping:

 

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