Print Friendly, PDF & Email

[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 31 May 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. Global Slavery Index 2023

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Direct-seeding method gains currency in India’s paddy-growing regions
  2. GM food and sustainable food production
  3. Insurgency in Manipur

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Richard Feynman: Think on your own
  2. Utilizing pine needles
  3. Use of animals for espionage

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Article 299 of the Constitution
  2. Evergreening of loans
  3. ‘Lightweight’ payments system
  4. China sends its 1st Civilian to space
  5. Gangetic dolphins
  6. Babool
  7. NAFIS

 

Global Slavery Index 2023

GS Paper 1/2

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

 

Source: TH

Context: According to the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index 2023, 50 million people are living in conditions of modern slavery – a 25% rise over the last five years.

 

Modern slavery:

  • It refers to situations of exploitation in that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, or deception.
  • It manifests as forced labour, child labour, forced marriage, debt bondage, commercial sexual exploitation, human trafficking, etc.

 

The Global Slavery Index:

  • It is an assessment of modern slavery conditions in 160 countries.
  • It uses data released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), etc.
  • The Index provides rankings across 3 dimensions: Size of the problem (prevalence), Government response and Vulnerability (political instability, inequality).
  • The 2023 index is significant as India holds the G20 presidency this year, with a focus on sustainable development and climate change mitigation.

 

Highlights of the Global Slavery Index 2023:

  • 50 million people were living in conditions of modern slavery on any given day in 2021.
  • The practice has become more prevalent over the last five years (a 25%/10 million rise), due to climate change, armed conflict, weak governance and COVID-19.
  • G20 nations account for more than half of all people living in modern slavery because their trade operations and global supply chains allow for human rights abuses.

 

The situation within G20 nations: India tops the list with 11 million people working as forced labourers, followed by China, Russia, Indonesia, Turkey and the U.S.

 

Challenges:

  • SDG 8.7 [ending forced labour and modern slavery]: High prevalence of modern slavery and stagnating government action highlight the difficulty in achieving this goal by 2030.
  • Sectors of the economy promote modern slavery: Like the textile industry promotes conditions of forced and unpaid work, lack of benefits (maternity leave), etc.
  • Poor govt policies: For example, the “Sumangali” scheme in Tamil Nadu traps women and girls from marginalised locations to work in exploitative conditions in spinning mills.

 

Way ahead:

  • South-south cooperation to bring more transparency in value chains, social security for workers at all stages, and holding corporations accountable in multilateral and bilateral free trade agreements.
  • Implementing stronger measures and legislations that prevent governments and businesses from sourcing goods and services linked to modern slavery.
  • Embedding anti-slavery measures in climate change sustainability plans.
  • Providing primary and secondary education to children and tightening regulations around forced and child marriage.
Case of India
Vulnerable population Indigenous communities and those engaged in fishing and agriculture in States like Odisha and West Bengal have become victims of debt bondage, human trafficking and mass displacement.
India’s Stance on modern slavery The Bonded Labour Abolition Act 1976.

A Central Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour.

According to the SC, non-payment of minimum wages amounts to “forced labour” under Article 23 of the Constitution.

Challenges Poor implementation of laws due to corruption, apathy, legal loopholes and lack of political will.

India’s new Labour Codes (which are yet to be implemented) may give “legal sanction” to forced labour by extending work hours and diluting the social security of people working in the organised and unorganised sectors.

No data on people stuck in modern slavery: India’s last national survey of bonded labour was done in the mid-90s.

Best practice States like Tamil Nadu have initiated plans to conduct a survey;

Conclusion:

  • Strong legislation and accountability of G20 nations must be ensured to empower vulnerable communities.
  • The road to preventing forced labour goes through the right of access to public goods, global commons and decent work.

 

Insta Links:

‘Modern slavery’

Direct-seeding method gains currency in India’s paddy-growing regions

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Agriculture

 

Source: Hindu Business Line

 Context: There is a growing trend of farmers in rice-growing states of India adopting the direct-seeding method for paddy cultivation.

 

Reasons: With delays in rainfall and labour shortages, this method allows farmers to sow seeds without waiting for rain or spending time in nurseries.

 

What is Direct Seeded Rice (DSR)?

DSR, also known as the ‘broadcasting seed technique,’ is a method in which seeds are directly drilled into the fields. There is no nursery preparation or transplantation involved in this method.

 

Technique:

In this technique, farmers level the land, provide one pre-sowing irrigation, and then sow the rice seeds directly into the field instead of transplanting seedlings.

 

Advantages of DSR over Traditional Agriculture:

Advantages Direct Seeding Method (DSR) Traditional Agriculture
Water Conservation Direct-seeding method reduces water requirement by about 15%. Relies heavily on flood irrigation, leading to water wastage
Labour Efficiency Requires fewer labourers for nursery preparation and transplantation Requires a significant workforce for nursery and transplanting
Time Savings Eliminates the need for nursery preparation and transplanting time Requires time for nursery preparation and transplanting
Yield Potential Can result in higher yields due to improved crop management Yield may vary based on crop management and environmental factors
Soil Health Helps prevent the development of hard crust beneath the plough layer Puddling can lead to soil compaction and reduced soil health
Crop Residue Management Allows for better management of crop residue Crop residue management can be challenging in traditional methods

 

Limitations of DSR: 

  • Weed Management Challenges: DSR often requires multiple sprays of weedicides to control weed growth. In comparison, flood irrigation in the traditional method acts as a natural weedicide.
  • Vulnerability to Climate Extremes: DSR may be more susceptible to extreme weather conditions, such as high temperatures and deficient rainfall.
  • Crop Residue Management: Unlike traditional agriculture, where rice straw is removed after harvest, DSR leaves the crop residue in the field.
  • Variability in Yield: The success of DSR can vary depending on factors like farmer expertise, soil type, and environmental conditions.
  • Initial Learning Curve: Transitioning from traditional agriculture to DSR may require farmers to acquire new knowledge and skills.
  • The seed requirement for DSR is also higher than transplanting.
  •  Land levelling is compulsory in DSR, therefore, increasing the cost.

 

Insta Links:

Direct seeding of rice

 

Mains Link: 

Discuss the significance of Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) (250 Words)

 

Prelims Links:

What is/are the advantage/advantages of zero tillage in agriculture? ( UPSC 2020)

  1. Sowing of wheat is possible without burning the residue of the previous crops.
  2. Without the need for a nursery of rice saplings, direct planting of paddy seeds in the wet soil is possible.
  3. Carbon sequestration in the soil is possible.

 

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

 

Ans: D

GM food and sustainable food production

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Awareness in the fields of Biotechnology

 

Source: IE

 Context: Genetically modified (GM) food is viewed as a controversial as well as a science-based solution for a sustainable global food system.

 

Challenges the world is facing – Conflict between food security and environmental protection:

  • Agriculture is responsible for a quarter of the carbon emissions and the vast majority of the world’s biodiversity losses.
  • However, there is the need to increase food production (by 50%), as the world’s population keeps growing [will reach 10 billion in 2057 (as per UN estimates)].

 

Approaches to achieving food security and mitigating climate crisis:

  • Dietary changes to make consumption more sustainable.
  • Better technologies to create more environmentally friendly methods of agriculture. Gene technologies are a crucial part of the strategy for a sustainable food system.

 

What is GM food?

  • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms that have altered DNA to change their properties.
  • Foods produced from or using GMOs are often referred to as GM foods/crops.
  • GMOs were first introduced in the US in 1994, to prolong the shelf life of tomato plants.
  • Since then, GM soybeans, wheat and rice have been approved for agricultural use.
  • Currently, GM crop production uses ~10% of the land as compared to non-GM crops.

 

Advantages:

  • Can improve yield, delay ripening to prolong their shelf life, builds resistance to disease/pests, frost, or drought, or adds nutrients.
  • Can be modified to reduce carbon emissions and boost the sustainability of food production.

 

GM controversy:

  • Uncertainty (over-regulation) and concerns about safety (long-term impact on human-animal health and biodiversity).
  • The monopoly of big corporations (like Monsanto) → expensive GM seeds.

 

GM crops in India:

  • Indian farmers started cultivating Bt cotton – a pest-resistant, GM version of cotton, in 2002-03.
    • By 2014, around 96% of the area under cotton cultivation in India was Bt cotton, making India the 4th-largest cultivator of GM crops by acreage and the 2nd largest producer of cotton.
  • The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) cleared the environmental release of mustard hybrid Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH-11) for its seed production and testing
  • Indian scientists have also developed strains of Sub-1 rice, which are much more resistant to flooding.
  • Golden rice is a GM strain modified to contain vitamin A, to combat the shortage of dietary vitamin A in parts of Asia and Africa.

 

Way ahead:

  • The focus of GM products must be on the social and public enterprise.
  • The industry must look at more local solutions that help smallholder farmers in developing countries.
  • Easy availability of open-source seeds and GM technologies.
  • Creating a licensing landscape that empowers local farmers to adapt to the demands of sustainable agriculture, to meet rising populations and climate change.

  

Insta Links:

Genetic Modification in Crops

 

Prelims Links: (UPSC 2018)

With reference to the Genetically Modified mustard (GM mustard) developed in India, consider the following statements:

  1. GM mustard has the genes of a soil bacterium that give the plant the property of pest resistance to a wide variety of pests.
  2. GM mustard has the genes that allow plant cross-pollination and hybridization.
  3. GM mustard has been developed jointly by the IARI and Punjab Agricultural University.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

 

Ans: 2

Tags: GM crops, GS 3, Today’s article, 31 May CA

/ 31 May 2023, Today's Article

Insurgency in Manipur

 GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Linkages between Development and Spread of Extremism

 

Source: IE

 Context: Amid fresh violence in Manipur, the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) has countered the claims of the Manipur CM that 40 insurgents had been killed by security forces.

 

 

How did violent clashes start?

  • Violence erupted in the Kuki-dominated Churachandpur district, where members of the Kuki tribe were protesting against the Meitei community’s demands to be designated as a “Scheduled Tribe”.
  • The tribes believe granting ST status to the Meiteis would be an infringement of their rights as they claim to be the marginalised part of the population.

 

History of conflict in Manipur: Manipur has been in the cross-currents of India’s oldest insurgent movement – The Naga national movement in the 1950s.

 

The Valley insurgent groups:

  • In 1964, the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) was formed, demanding secession from India.
  • Subsequently, numerous Meitei insurgent groups (PREPAK, PLA) came into being, which received arms and training from China.
  • These groups operated with a dual purpose – independence from India, and warding off Naga insurgent groups.

 

The Kuki-Zomi insurgent groups:

  • It started as a defence against aggression by other groups, but quickly turned to a call for Kukiland – an imagined country spreading across the Kuki-Zomi inhabited areas of India, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
  • Over time, this was diluted to simply a call for a separate state.

 

Government reaction:

  • The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958 was enacted and extended to the entire state.
  • In the 1980s, Manipur was declared a disturbed area.
  • A tripartite Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement between the Centre, the state and the Kuki-Zomi groups was signed in 2008.
  • As the law-and-order situation gradually improved, AFSPA has been repealed in several areas.
  • However, the Valley insurgent groups (like the UNLF, which is considered the mother of all Meitei insurgent groups) have never entered an agreement with the Centre.

 

Insurgent groups in society and politics:

  • The insurgent groups are intricately woven into daily life in Manipur.
    • They conduct strikes, and impose moral codes such as a ban on Hindi movies and music, etc.
    • The groups also levy ‘taxes’ on the public.
  • The groups are most visible today in the political life of the state. Candidates, cutting across party lines, stand for elections with insurgent backing, and the groups dictate to the voters who should win.

 

Note: Please read about Insurgency in North East India

 

Insta Links:

What is the SoO agreement with tribal insurgent groups that the Manipur govt withdrew from?

 

Mains Links:

The north-eastern region of India has been infested with insurgency for a very long time. Analyze the major reasons for the survival of armed insurgency in this region. (UPSC 2017)

Richard Feynman: Think on your own

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

 

Source: TH

Physicists once doubted the existence of gravitational waves until Richard Feynman (an American theoretical physicist) settled the debate with a thought experiment.

Albert Einstein had discovered the theory of general relativity in 1915, including the existence of gravitational waves, but he was sceptical. The debate continued for decades until Feynman (in 1957) proposed a simple thought experiment that demonstrated how gravitational waves could transfer energy, resolving the confusion. Feynman’s argument convinced many physicists, inspiring further research on gravitational waves. In 2016, scientists finally announced the first direct detection of gravitational waves, a significant achievement made possible in part by Feynman’s influential contribution.

 

Usage: The story can be used in an Essay to illustrate the importance of Independent thinking, Simplicity, Persistence and inspiration etc.

Utilizing pine needles

 

Source: DTE

A group of women (under Jyoti Self-Help Group (SHG)) in Himachal Pradesh’s Solan district have found self-sufficiency by utilizing pine needles and leaves abundantly available in their surroundings. The women have been collecting and weaving these materials into various items for the past five years, including cutlery, containers, serving trays, home decor pieces, and jewellery.

Usage: The example can be used in Environment/Disaster Management paper as a way to mitigate the hazards related to forest fires in the Himalayas and at the same time generate income for the local community.

Use of animals for espionage

 

Source: IE 

Hvaldimir, the beluga whale spotted off the Swedish coast, gained attention due to the harness attached to its head, leading to speculations of it being a Russian spy.

 

Examples of animals being used for espionage: During World War I, pigeons were equipped with cameras and used to capture images over enemy territory;  Dolphins and sea lions, have been trained for military purposes, such as detecting submarines and retrieving materials; the CIA even attempted to use cats as listening devices in the Acoustic Kitty project, although with limited success.

 

Ethical issues concerned: Animal cruelty, lack of respect for animal rights, and the potential for unintended consequences and harm to innocent animals.

 

Usage: Such examples can be quoted in International Ethics / War ethics-related questions / Essays.

  

About Beluga whale

The beluga whale is an Arctic and sub-Arctic cetacean. It is 6 m long, related to dolphins, and known for its chirps, clicks, whistles, and squeals. Distribution: Arctic and subarctic coastal waters; It sheds its skin every year, turning from grey to white as it ages. IUCN Red List Status: Near Threatened

Article 299 of the Constitution

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

 Context: The recent ruling by the Supreme Court states that when the government enters into a contract under the President’s name, it cannot claim immunity from the legal provisions of that contract under Article 299 of the Constitution.

About the case: 

The case involved Glock Asia-Pacific Limited, a pistol manufacturing company, and the Centre (government). Glock had a contract with the Ministry of Home Affairs to supply pistols, but a dispute arose when the government invoked a performance bank guarantee. Glock invoked arbitration, but the government challenged the appointment of the arbitrator based on a tender condition.

The Supreme Court decided in favour of Glock, stating that the arbitration clause allowing a government officer as an arbitrator conflicted with the law. The court appointed a retired Supreme Court judge as the arbitrator to resolve the dispute.

Article 299 of the Constitution:

Article 299 specifies the manner in which government contracts should be concluded and executed. The objective of this article is to ensure that contracts made by agents acting on the government’s behalf adhere to a defined procedure to prevent unauthorized or illegitimate contracts that may deplete public funds.

Provision Explanation
Contracts must be expressed to be made by President/Governor All contracts made in the exercise of executive power must be clearly stated to be made by the President of India or the Governor of a State.
Execution of contracts Contracts and assurances of property made in the exercise of executive power shall be executed on behalf of the President or Governor by persons authorized by them.
Personal liability exemption Neither the President nor the Governor shall be personally liable for any contract or assurance made or executed in accordance with Article 299.
Exemption for persons executing contracts Individuals executing contracts on behalf of the President or Governor shall also not be personally liable for those contracts.
Compliance with statutory law Article 299 does not grant the government immunity from the application of statutory laws when entering into contracts. The government is still bound by applicable laws.

Evergreening of loans

 

Source: Indian Express

 Context: Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor raised red flags over banks adopting innovative methods for evergreening of loans – covering up the real status of stressed loans of corporates.

  

About Evergreening of loans:

  • Evergreening of loans refers to a practice where banks or lenders provide additional funds or take other measures to artificially sustain a loan that is not being repaid as scheduled.
  • It is a temporary solution used by banks to avoid classifying the loan as a non-performing asset (NPA) because such classification would require them to set aside more money for potential losses, which could affect their profitability.

 

Methods used by banks for Evergreening of loans:

  • Bringing two lenders together to evergreen each other’s loans.
  • Good borrowers are being persuaded to enter into structured deals with stressed borrowers.

‘Lightweight’ payments system

Facts For Prelims:

Source: Indian Express

 

Context: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has conceptualised a lightweight payment and settlements system, which can be operated from anywhere by a bare minimum staff in exigencies such as natural calamities or war.

  • The infrastructure for this system will be independent of the technologies that underlie the existing systems of payments such as UPI, NEFT, and RTGS.

  

Difference between UPI and lightweight system:

  • The key difference lies in the resilience and availability of the two systems.
  • UPI and other conventional systems prioritize handling large transaction volumes and require a stable and robust infrastructure.
  • On the other hand, the lightweight system is designed to operate even in volatile and extreme conditions when regular payment systems may not be accessible.

  

Benefits:

  • Such a system could ensure near-zero downtime of the payment and settlement system in the country and keep the liquidity pipeline of the economy alive and intact by facilitating the uninterrupted functioning of essential payments.
  • By implementing a lightweight system as a backup, the RBI aims to ensure that individuals and institutions can continue to make payments during emergencies or disruptions to the conventional payment infrastructure.
  • It serves as a precautionary measure to be prepared for extreme situations and maintain the continuity of financial transactions.

China sends its 1st Civilian to space

 

Source: IE

 Context: China’s Shenzhou-16 spacecraft has been launched with three astronauts, including the first Chinese civilian, to the Tiangong space station.

Aim of the mission: To replace the crew of Shenzhou-15 and conduct tests and experiments over the next five months.

 

About Tiangong Space Station:

Tiangong Space Station
Description It is a Chinese space station being built in low Earth orbit as a part of the China Manned Space Program.
Altitude Between 340 and 450 kilometres above the Earth
Long-term operation Operational for at least ten years
Module Launch Tianhe” (Harmony of the Heavens) module in 2021
China Manned Space Programme Human space program with a “three-step” approach

1.      Launch manned spaceships for basic human space technologies

2.      Launch Space Labs for R&D and long-term utilization

3.      Construct China’s Space Station for large-scale utilization

Importance for China China is the third country to send astronauts and build a space station, after US and Russia.
India’s Space Station Program India plans to launch its own space station by 2030, of about 20 tonnes (smaller than ISS) to conduct microgravity experiments. It will accommodate astronauts for up to 20 days in space (an extension of the Gaganyaan mission)

 

 

 

 

Tags: China sends its 1st Civilian to space, Tiangong Space Station

/ 31 May 2023, Today's Article

Babool

Facts For Prelims:

 

Source: DTE

 Context: Studies have shown that arid plant babool has many benefits.

Babool Name: babool or gum Arabic (Acacia nilotica)

 About Babul

 It is a perennial, evergreen tree which is indigenous to Indian Sub-continent as well as in Tropical Africa, Burma, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and West and East Sudan. It occurs in tropical and subtropical regions of India.

Nutritional Value of Seeds Protein, fibre, fat, carbohydrates, Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Manganese
Antibacterial Activity of Pods Effective against gram-positive bacteria like Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus
Natural Food Preservative Pod extracts can replace synthetic food preservatives and inhibit microbial spoilage
Environment-Friendly Pest Control Babool seed oil can be an alternative to chemicals for controlling major farm pests
Medicinal Properties Young leaves improve digestion; Woody stems keep teeth clean and gums healthy; Bark treats burns, skin diseases, and infected wounds; The resin helps with various health issues
Animal Feed Leaves and pods are used as feed for animals, providing comparable nutrition to cottonseed meal
Nitrogen-Fixing and Reclamation Babool helps in the reclamation of degraded areas by fixing nitrogen and acting as a windbreak
Biodiversity and Climate Resilience Planting babool trees benefits biodiversity and helps combat desertification

Tags: GS3, Environment, Species, babool

/ 31 May 2023, Today's Article

NAFIS

 

Source: HT

Context: The Ministry of Home Affairs in India has directed central law enforcement agencies, including the CBI, NIA and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), to access and share their records with the national fingerprints database, NAFIS (National Automated Fingerprint Identification System).

  

About NAFIS

This database, known as NAFIS, is a web-based application that serves as a central repository of criminal fingerprint data collected from various states and Union territories.

Description
About National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) is a web-based application that serves as a central repository of criminal fingerprint data collected from various states and Union territory’s police records
Aim The aim is to enhance the ability of these agencies to identify criminals and expedite investigations by leveraging the comprehensive fingerprint data available in the database.
Conceptualized National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in 2022
Managed by Central Fingerprint Bureau (CFPB) at NCRB
Unique Identifier Assigns a unique 10-digit National Fingerprint Number (NFN) to each person arrested for a crime
Lifetime Usage The NFN is used for the person’s lifetime, and different crimes registered under different FIRs are linked to the same NFN in the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) database
Fingerprinting History First began automating fingerprint database in 1992 with FACTS 1.0, recommended by the National Police Commission. FACTS 5.0 was upgraded in 2007 and later replaced by NAFIS in 2022
Historical Significance Fingerprinting identification system emerged in colonial India and spread to Europe. William Herschel introduced fingerprinting to reduce fraud and forgeries. Bengal Police established the world’s first Fingerprint Bureau in Calcutta.
Advantages Provides a secure and non-transferable identification method, simplifies record keeping, and enhances security.
Disadvantages System failures, implementation and maintenance costs, and limitations for certain populations, such as those with worn prints or missing fingers

 

About NCRB

 The National Crime Records Bureau (founded 1986; HQ: Delhi) is an Indian government agency responsible for collecting and analyzing, crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code and Special and Local Laws. It comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

 

Read the CA 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