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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 13 July 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:

  • Anthropocene epoch: What it means, significance

 

GS Paper 2:

  • Tenure extension system: SC asks ED chief to quit

 

GS Paper 4:

  • Moral atonement

 

Content for Mains Enrichment

  • Musk calls Zuck a ‘cuck’
  • Human-Stray Dog conflict

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  • Kui language
  • Sangam literature
  • Shelf cloud
  • Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB)
  • Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY)
  • UPI QR codes for CBDC transactions
  • Change in colour of world’s Ocean
  • Brucellosis
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Dudhwa Tiger Reserve

 

Mapping

  • Ecuador

 


 

Anthropocene epoch: What it means, significance

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Geomorphology

 

Source: IE

 Context: According to the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG), sediments at Crawford Lake in Canada’s Ontario have provided evidence of the beginning of the Anthropocene epoch.

 

AWG:

  • It is an interdisciplinary research group dedicated to the study of the Anthropocene as a geological time unit.
  • It was established in 2009 as part of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (SQS), a constituent body of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS).

 

Earth’s geological timeline:

  • The geologic time scale is the calendar for events in Earth’s history.
  • It subdivides all time into units of abstract time called (in descending order of duration) – eons (about a billion years), eras, periods, epochs, and ages.
  • Each of these categories is further divided into sub-categories. For instance, Earth’s history is characterised by four eons, including –
    • Hadeon (oldest),
    • Archean,
    • Proterozoic, and
    • Phanerozoic (youngest).
  • The enumeration of these geologic time units is based on stratigraphy, which is the correlation and classification of rock strata – which contains different kinds of fossils characterising different intervals of time.
  • Officially, we’re in the Phanerozoic eon, Cenozoic era, Quaternary period, Holocene epoch and the Meghalayan age.

 

The Holocene epoch:

  • The Holocene is the current geological epoch, which began approximately 11,700 years ago.
  • It follows the Last Glacial Period and the Holocene along with the preceding Pleistocene forms the Quaternary period.
  • The Holocene, which has been identified with the current warm period, corresponds with the rapid proliferation, growth and impacts of the human species worldwide.

 

What is the Anthropocene epoch?

The term was first coined by Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen and biology professor Eugene Stoermer in 2000
Denotes The present geological time interval, in which the Earth’s ecosystem has gone through radical changes due to human impact, especially since the onset of the Industrial Revolution.
Phenomena associated with this epoch Such as global warming, sea-level rise, ocean acidification, mass-scale soil erosion, the advent of deadly heat waves, deterioration of the biosphere and other detrimental changes in the environment.
Impact Many of these changes will persist for millennia or longer and are altering the trajectory of the Earth System, some with permanent effects.
What have the geologists found? In a major development that could change the Earth’s official geological timeline, distinct and multiple signals show the start of the Anthropocene epoch around 1950, when human activity started to have a significant impact on the Earth.
Evidence The presence of plutonium (due to the detonation of nuclear weapons) gives us a stark indicator of when humanity became such a dominant force that it could leave a unique global ‘fingerprint’ on planet Earth. But these findings don’t mean that they have proved the advent of the Anthropocene epoch.

Insta Links:

Geological time scale

 

Mains Links:

The scale of geologic time is vast, currently estimated at nearly 4.6 billion years. During that time, life evolved into the familiar forms we see today. Elaborate upon the importance of studying geologic time scale (GTS).

Tenure extension system: SC asks ED chief to quit

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Statutory, Regulatory and various Quasi-judicial Bodies

 

Source: TH

 Context: The SC asked the ED Director to quit (4 months before his third extension ends) even as it upheld statutory amendments which facilitate the tenures of Directors of the CBI and the ED to be stretched.

 

The timeline which leads to the recent verdict:

  • The current Enforcement Directorate (ED) Director (Mr SK Mishra) was appointed for a two-year term in 2018.
    • In 2020, the original appointment was retrospectively amended to make it a three-year tenure.
  • In 2021, the SC directed the government to stop giving extensions to the ED Director.
  • In order to tweak the above verdict, amendments were enacted in 2021 to the Central Vigilance Commission Act, the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
    • This allows a maximum of 3 annual extensions (taking a total term of 5 years) to the Directors of CBI and ED on the recommendation of High-Level Committees.
    • Earlier, CBI and ED chiefs have fixed tenures of two years.
  • He was given two annual extensions in 2021 and 2022, despite crossing the age of superannuation.

 

The High-Level Committees:

  • A five-member panel composed of the Central Vigilance Commissioner and Vigilance Commissioners had to recommend if an ED Director was worthy of an extension in service.
  • In the case of the CBI Director, a High-Level Committee of the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and the Chief Justice of India had to recommend.
  • These committees were required to record reasons in writing in support of their recommendations.

 

The recent verdict:

 

  • The back-to-back service extensions given to the ED Director in 2021 and 2022 were illegal, as they were not as per the recommendations of the High-Level Committees.
  • By upholding the 2021 amendments, the court disagreed with the argument that the Centre could use the service extensions as a ‘carrot and stick’ policy – against the principle of insulating these agencies from government pressure.

 

Takeaways from the SC’s verdict:

  • A setback to the cause of protecting institutional independence.
    • While the part of the judgement quashing the extensions given to the ED Director, may be welcomed, the rest of it is a free pass to the government to undermine the autonomy of these agencies.
  • Even though Parliament can remove the basis for any judgement through legislation, it cannot nullify a court direction.
    • The Court’s earlier observation that such extension should be given to those who have attained superannuation only in “rare and exceptional cases”, was ignored by the government.

 

Conclusion:

At a time when there is a cloud of suspicion over the misuse of government agencies against political opponents, the Court’s endorsement of a tenure extension system designed to undermine their independence is not conducive to the rule of law.

 

Insta Links:

Parliamentary panel recommends new law to define power, functions of CBI

 

Mains Links:

What is a quasi-judicial body? Explain with the help of concrete examples. (UPSC 2016)

Moral atonement

GS Paper   4

 Syllabus: Ethics

 

Source: TH, IE

 Context: In the editorial article, Shashi Tharoor discusses the issue of colonial-era artefacts and the need for moral atonement alongside financial reparations.

 

What is Moral atonement?

It refers to the act of acknowledging and taking responsibility for one’s moral wrongdoings or harmful actions and seeking to make amends or seek forgiveness. It involves a sincere effort to make things right on a moral level.

 

Recent Example: Netherlands will return hundreds of colonial-era artefacts — including a bejewelled, ceremonial cannon—to Sri Lanka. Also, British and German museums returned the so-called Benin Bronzes stolen from Nigeria during a large-scale 1897 British military expedition.

 

Other examples:

  • Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2016 apologised on behalf of Canada for denying permission for the Indian immigrants on the Komagata Maru to land in Vancouver (in 1914), thereby sending most of them to their deaths.
  • Willy Brandt (Chancellor of Germany) sank to his knees at the Warsaw Ghetto in 1970 to apologise to Polish Jews for the Holocaust.

 

Example from daily life:

Imagine you accidentally break your friend’s favourite mug while visiting their house. You feel guilty and understand that you have caused them distress.

 

To make moral atonement, you would take the following steps:

  • Acknowledge your mistake: Admit that you broke your friend’s mug and understand that it was your fault.
  • Apologize: Express sincere remorse for your actions and apologize to your friend for the damage caused.
  • Take responsibility: Offer to replace the mug or compensate your friend for its value as a way of taking responsibility for your actions.
  • Learn from the experience: Reflect on what happened and learn from your mistake. Promise to be more careful and considerate in the future.

 

Other ethical words involved: 

Restitution refers to the act of returning or restoring something that was taken, stolen, or lost to its rightful owner. It involves making amends or compensating for past injustices or wrongdoings.

  • For example, returning cultural artefacts or artworks to their country of origin, which were acquired through colonialism or looting, can be seen as a form of restitution.

 

Reparation refers to the act of making amends or providing compensation for harm or injustice caused. It involves acknowledging and addressing past wrongs to achieve justice.

  • For example, providing financial compensation or support to individuals or communities who were victims of slavery or other forms of historical oppression can be considered reparations.

 

Insta Links:

Essence Determinants and Consequences of Ethics

Musk calls Zuck a ‘cuck’

Content for Mains Enrichment

Source: IE

The launch of Meta’s social media platform Threads led to heightened tensions between Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. Musk called Zuckerberg a “cuck” in a tweet, following a screenshot of a conversation between Zuckerberg and Wendy’s.

 Ethical Issues: The ethical issues involved in Musk calling Zuckerberg a “cuck” include the use of derogatory language, perpetuating misogyny, and engaging in online harassment. This behaviour promotes a toxic online environment and undermines respectful communication.

 Usage: The example can be used to show how leaders/Celebrities should not behave in public spaces.

Human-Stray Dog conflict

 

Source: TH

Context:  The Supreme Court of India has agreed to hear different perspectives to find a humane and long-lasting solution to conflicts between humans and stray dogs, particularly in the state of Kerala.

  • The court was responding to a plea by the Kannur district panchayat to euthanize stray dogs deemed to be “suspected rabid” and “extremely dangerous.”

 

Two views:

  • View 1: Advocates representing the district panchayat highlighted the case of an 11-year-old boy who was fatally attacked by stray dogs. Several such cases of dog attacks have come across throughout India.
  • View 2: Animal rights activists emphasized that local authorities should strictly implement animal birth control rules and prevent cruelty towards stray dogs. Instances of hanging, poisoning, and drowning of stray dogs have been reported, and activists are advocating for their protection

The ethical issues involved in the human-stray dog conflict include the treatment of animals, the balance between human safety and animal rights, and the implementation of effective and humane solutions.

 

Use: The issue can be taken as a case study from the ethical point of view and dilemmas involved in finding a humane solution.

Kui language

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TNIE

 Context: The state cabinet of Odisha has approved the recommendation to include the Kui language in the eighth schedule of the Constitution of India.

  

Kui Language

  • Kui language is a vernacular tribal language of Odisha.
  • It is also referred to as Kandh, Khondi, Kanda, Kodu, Kuinga.
  • It is a South-Eastern Dravidian language mainly spoken by the Kandhas or Kondhs.
  • It is written in the Odia script.

 

According to information available on the UNESCO site, the Koi language status situation is potentially vulnerable.

  

Significance of inclusion in the 8th schedule

  • The inclusion of the Kui language in the 8th schedule will help in the preservation, promotion and propagation of this language and associated culture.

Sangam literature

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Tamil Nadu Text Book and Education Services Corporation has published a collection of ten idylls called Patthuppattu, one of the earliest Sangam poetry collections.

  • The publication pays tribute to Ve. Swaminatha Iyer, dedicated himself to finding ancient palm leaf manuscripts containing Tamil literary works.

  

About Sangam Period:

  • The Sangam period or age, particularly referring to the third Sangam period, is the period of the history of ancient Tamil Nadu, Kerala and parts of Sri Lanka (then known as Tamilakam), spanning from 6th century BCE to c. 3rd century CE.
  • Historians and Ideologists regard the Sangam period as the ‘classical age’ of the Tamils analogous to the age of the classics in Greece and Rome and to that of the Renaissance of later period in Europe.
  • The term ‘Sangam’ literally means ‘confluence’

Shelf cloud

 

Source: LM

 Context: A viral video on social media shows the formation of spectacular clouds known as shelf clouds or Arcus clouds during heavy monsoon rains in Haridwar, India.

  • The video, shared on Twitter, depicts a towering wall of clouds with a horizontal rotation. The authenticity of the video has not been independently confirmed.

 

About Shelf Clouds:

Shelf clouds are wedge-shaped formations that appear on the leading edge of storms. They occur when cold and dense air is forcefully driven into a warmer air mass during the downdraft of a thunderstorm.

 

How it is formed?

Shelf clouds form when warm, moist air is lifted rapidly by an advancing thunderstorm or cold front. As the warm air rises, it cools and condenses, forming a cloud. The rising air creates a boundary between the cool, downdraft air from the storm and the warm, updraft air ahead of it. The shelf cloud is usually dark and ominous-looking due to the condensation and the presence of rain or hail within the storm.

Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB)

 

 Source: PIB

 Context: Chief Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar led a delegation from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to attend the 11th meeting of the Executive Board of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) in Cartagena, Colombia.

 

About The Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) (founded 2012; HQ: Seoul, South Korea):

  • It is the largest association of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) worldwide and aims to foster efficiency and effectiveness in conducting free, fair, transparent and participative elections worldwide.
  • Composition: Membership currently consists of 118 EMBs as members and 20 Regional associations as associate members.

 

India has been closely associated with A-WEB since its inception and has actively participated in capacity-building programs and knowledge-sharing initiatives. The India A-WEB Centre has been established in New Delhi to document and research best practices and provide training and capacity building for A-WEB members.

Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY)

 

Source: PIB

 

Context: The Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY) is a scheme launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in India to empower senior citizens and ensure their well-being and social inclusion.

 

About AVYAY:

Aspect Details
Scheme Name Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana
Scheme Type Central Sector Scheme
Former Name National Action Plan for Senior Citizens
Aim The scheme aims to address the financial, healthcare, and social needs of elderly citizens, recognizing their valuable contributions to society.
Vision To create a society where senior citizens, live a healthy, happy, and empowered life
Components 1. Integrated Program for Senior Citizens (IPSrC) 2. State Action Plan for Senior Citizens (SAPSrC)
1. IPSrC ·        Establishing homes for improving the quality of life of senior citizens, especially indigent ones

·        Providing basic amenities and entertainment opportunities – Encouraging productive and active ageing

2. SAPSrC Each state/union territory is expected to formulate its own action plan for the welfare of senior citizens
Grant-in-Aid Provided to NGOs/Voluntary Organizations (VOs) for running and maintaining old age homes and Continuous Care Homes
Five Schemes under the Umbrella Scheme 1. Poshan Abhiyan for the elderly

2. Livelihood and skilling initiatives for senior citizens

3. Scheme on promoting the silver economy

4. Awareness generation and capacity building for the welfare of senior citizens

5. Channelizing CSR funds for elderly care

Nodal Agency Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
Other components: The scheme also includes the Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY), which provides assisted living devices to senior citizens suffering from age-related disabilities.

 

A national helpline called Elderline offers free information, guidance, emotional support, and intervention in cases of abuse or rescue for senior citizens

UPI QR codes for CBDC transactions

 

Source: LM

 Context: RBI announced that customers will soon be able to use QR codes of the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) network for transactions using digital currency.

 

Advantages: The interoperability of QR codes will facilitate more transactions using central bank digital currency (CBDC). Previously, merchants had to go through a separate onboarding process and have a specific QR code for CBDC, causing delays.

 

In 2022, RBI launched CBDC, known as the Digital Rupee. It is a digital form of currency issued and regulated by RBI, representing a digitized version of India’s official currency. It is based on blockchain technology. It is being issued in the same denominations as paper currency and coins.

/ 13 July 2023, CBDC, Today's Article

Change in colour of world’s Ocean

 

Source: DTE

 Context: A new study published in Nature reveals that climate change has caused a change in the colour of 56 per cent of the world’s oceans.

  • The study found that waters in the tropics, particularly the southern Indian Ocean, have turned green. Green-coloured water indicates an increase in phytoplankton, microscopic plant-like organisms that are crucial for marine life and carbon dioxide absorption.

Phytoplankton, which are microscopic plant-like organisms that live in the ocean. Phytoplankton contains chlorophyll, a pigment that gives them a green colour. The change in ocean colour is an indicator of alterations in the phytoplankton communities.

The researchers analysed data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite, which has been monitoring ocean colour for two decades. They observed long-term trends and used models to simulate scenarios with and without greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Brucellosis

 

Source: TNIE

 Context: A seven-year-old student from Kollam, India, has tested positive for Brucellosis, a bacterial infection that can spread from animals to humans.

  • The girl was admitted to the hospital with symptoms including severe fever, increased platelet count, and a swollen face.

 

About Brucellosis:

Brucellosis is commonly found in cattle, and humans can contract the infection through close contact with animals or animal products. If not treated promptly, the infection can be life-threatening.

Guillain-Barre syndrome

 

Source: LM

 Context: Peru has declared a state of national emergency due to a surge in cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological disorder that can lead to paralysis.

  • The country has witnessed an “unusual increase” in cases, prompting concerns about the strain on health services.

The health minister expressed concerns about a potential shortage of immunoglobulin, a standard treatment for Guillain-Barré syndrome.

  

About Guillain-Barré syndrome:

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks the peripheral nervous system. It can range from mild weakness to severe paralysis. The causes are still unknown. Also, there is no known cure. However, treatments can help alleviate symptoms and complications.

Dudhwa Tiger Reserve

 

Source: DTE

 

Context: Four tigers died within two months in the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve in Uttar Pradesh, India.

Dudhwa Tiger Reserve:

  • The Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is a protected area in Uttar Pradesh located on the India-Nepal border.
  • It stretches mainly across the Lakhimpur Kheri and Bahraich districts.
  • It is the only place in Uttar Pradesh where both Tigers and Rhinos can be spotted together.
  • It is one of the finest examples of exceedingly diverse and productive Terai ecosystems.

 

Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) is composed of 14 Indian and Nepalese trans-border protected ecosystems of the Terai and nearby foothills of the Himalayas and encompasses 14 protected areas of Nepal and India.

 

 

Read the CA in PDF format here: 

 


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