Print Friendly, PDF & Email

[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 6 October 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. 2023 Nobel Prize for Literature: Jon Olav Fosse

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Solar Geo-Engineering

 

GS Paper 4:

  1. Examples of Ethics (Moungi Bawendi, Nanded hospital deaths, Katalin Kariko)

 

Content for Mains Enrichment

  1. Why Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by Norway?

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Andhra Pradesh: New Guaranteed Pension Scheme (GPS)
  2. Global Internet freedom
  3. India-Japan Fund (IJF)
  4. Nanozyme can degrade pollutants in wastewater 
  5. Carbon accounting framework
  6. Dandeli forest
  7. Amphibian crisis

 


 

2023 Nobel Prize for Literature: Jon Olav Fosse

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Arts and Culture: Literature, Prizes, Awards

  

Source: IE

Context: Norwegian author Jon Olav Fosse has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2023 for his innovative plays and prose that ‘give voice to the unsayable aspects of the human experience’

 

Features of his work:

His work is characterized by a radical reduction of language and dramatic action, which expresses powerful human emotions like anxiety and powerlessness in simple terms. Fosse writes in Norwegian Nynorsk, the less common version of the Norwegian language.

 

Jon Fosse’s work (may be useful for English Literature Optional):

Genre Notable Works Example
Novels “Red Black” (1983) “Red Black” is one of Fosse’s early novels that explores themes of identity and personal journey.
“Melancholy I” (1995) This novel delves into the life and death of 19th-century Norwegian landscape artist Lars Hertervig.
Plays “Someone Is Going to Come” A play characterized by minimal dialogue and exploration of human relationships.
“And Never Shall We Part” Addresses themes of love and loss in a minimalist and impactful manner.
“The Name” Known for its modernist concerns and ability to delve into the unspoken aspects of human interaction.
Poetry Collections Jon Fosse has contributed significantly to Norwegian poetry, but specific collections may vary.
Essays While Fosse has written essays, specific titles and themes can vary.
Children’s Books Fosse’s contributions to children’s literature have been part of his diverse body of work.
Translations Jon Fosse’s translations may include works from other languages into Norwegian Nynorsk.
His famous quotes “Can you be happy when you are unhappy?”
“To compose poetry is about listening. Language listens to itself.”

 

The 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to French author Annie Ernaux for her fearless exploration of personal memory, delving into its origins, estrangements, and collective constraints with clinical precision and courage.

 

About the Nobel Prize

It encompasses several categories, including Peace, Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Economic Sciences. The Nobel Foundation, a private institution established in 1900, oversees the administration of the prizes and ensures the independence of the prize-awarding institutions.

 

About the Nobel Prize in Literature

The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded every year to honour authors whose works focus on idealism. The prestigious international award was conferred for the first time in 1901 to Sully Prudhomme, in recognition of his poetic works. Till 2023, it has been conferred 116 times to 120 Nobel Prize Laureates.

 

Indian individuals and their Nobel Prize-winning work:

Individual Nobel Prize Category Awarded For
Rabindranath Tagore (1913) Literature Poetic and Artistic Contributions
C V Raman (1930) Physics Discovery of the Raman Effect
Hargobind Khorana (1968) Medicine Interpretation of the Genetic Code
Mother Teresa (1979) Peace Humanitarian Work and Services to the Poor
Subramanian Chandrashekhar (1983) Physics Stellar Structure and Evolution
The Dalai Lama (1989) Peace Advocacy for Peace and Human Rights
Amartya Sen (1998) Economics Welfare Economics and Poverty Alleviation
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (2009) Chemistry Ribosome Structure and Function
Kailash Satyarthi (2014) Peace Child Rights and Anti-Child Labor Activism

Solar Geo-Engineering

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Science and Technology

 

Source: LM

 Context: The article discusses solar geoengineering as a potential solution to combat the adverse effects of climate change.

 

What is Solar geoengineering?

Solar geoengineering, also referred to as solar radiation management (SRM) describes a set of proposed approaches to reflect sunlight (back to space) to rapidly cool the Earth.

Within solar geoengineering, researchers are considering two main approaches.

 

Different SRM methods:

 

  • Stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI):It involves injecting tiny reflecting particles, known as aerosols, into the upper atmosphere to cool the planet.
  • Marine cloud brightening (MCB):It would use sea salt to stimulate cloud formation over the ocean, which would also help reflect sunlight in the region.

 

Why is solar geoengineering being considered?

The Paris Agreement’s target requires limiting global temperature increase well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

For this, nations need to bring net global CO2 emissions to zero by no later than mid-century.

 

Potential of Solar Geo-Engineering:

  • The process is cost-effective, with an estimated cost of $18 billion a year for each degree of cooling achieved.
  • Whereas, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to achieve similar cooling effects will require much more money.

 

Implications of Solar Geo-Engineering:

Implications Description
1. Polar Warming and Ice Melt Solar geo-engineering may cool tropical zones but could lead to temperature increases around the poles, accelerating permafrost and sea ice melting.
2. Impact on Monsoon Patterns Geo-engineering might affect monsoon patterns in different regions, potentially disrupting crucial rainfall and weather systems.
3. Moral hazard The danger is that the technology will become an excuse to slow emissions reductions and stop moving toward a low-carbon economy
4. Little is known about its impacts Research to scope the risks and potential of solar geoengineering has mostly been conducted through computer-based modelling and natural observations (volcanic eruption).
5. Uncoordinated Efforts The ease of implementing solar geo-engineering poses a risk of uncoordinated efforts by countries or private entities, which could have unforeseen consequences on global weather patterns.
E.g., Private companies like “Make Sunsets” conduct unregulated experiments by releasing sulphur dioxide gas into the atmosphere.

 

The USA’s plan:

  • The USA stated that public or private actors could carry out activities such as injecting aerosols and MCB to reflect more sunlight into space.
  • It called for research to enable better-informed decisionsabout the potential risks and benefits of the tool as part of its climate policy, in addition to mitigation and adaptation.

 

Way ahead:

Because solar geoengineering has global implications, its consideration as a climate response requires –

  • Effective international governance/ Mechanisms for oversight.
  • Outdoor experimentation and funding for experiments should come only from governments.
  • Ways to involve the public in decision-making.

 

Conclusion:

Given the ethical and environmental risks these activities can present, atmospheric experiments to assess these technologies deserve timely public scrutiny and debate.

Even as researchers assess the potential feasibility and effectiveness of geoengineering approaches, mitigation and adaptation must remain our first-line solutions.

 

Insta Links:

Cooling the Earth down

 

Mains Links: 

What is solar Geoengineering? Discuss the benefits and shortcomings linked with this technology.

Examples of Ethics (Moungi Bawendi, Nanded hospital deaths, Katalin Kariko)

GS Paper 4

 Syllabus: Applications of Ethics

 

Example 1: Moungi Bawendi

 

Source: Moneycontrol 

Moungi Bawendi, a 2023 Nobel chemistry prize winner and MIT professor, achieved great success in the field of quantum dots. However, his journey had a rocky start.

During his undergraduate years at Harvard University in the late 1970s, he failed his very first chemistry exam, scoring just 20 out of 100, the lowest grade in his class. This experience initially shook him, but instead of giving up, Bawendi persevered.

He realized that he needed to learn how to study effectively, and he went on to excel in his exams, scoring 100s on most of them.

Bawendi’s message to young people is to persevere and not let setbacks destroy their ambitions. “You have a setback, but you can persevere and overcome this and learn from your experience, which obviously I did,” he said. “I learned how to become successful as a student,”.

Usage: This example can be used to show ethical values of Perseverance, Determination, Resilience etc.

 

Example 2: Nanded hospital deaths

Recent deaths in a Nanded hospital of 31 people within 3 days (16 being Children) have highlighted the ongoing issues within India’s healthcare sector, particularly the challenge of medicine shortages.

 

Ethical Issues concerned in the case:

Ethical Issues Description
Patient Safety Shortage of essential medicines and staff can compromise patient safety and result in harm.
Accountability Governments have an ethical duty to provide healthcare; failure to address shortages raises concerns.
Equitable Access Unequal access to healthcare services raises ethical questions about fairness and justice.
Government Responsibility The ethical obligation of the government is to efficiently manage healthcare systems and allocate resources.
Transparency Ethical transparency is essential to inform the public about resource allocation and healthcare quality.
Public Trust Failures in the healthcare system can erode public trust, raising ethical concerns.
Sanitation and Hygiene Filthy conditions in hospitals violate ethical standards of cleanliness and patient dignity.

 

Example 3: Katalin Kariko

She is a Hungarian-born scientist who has been awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Her work on mRNA paved the way for mRNA vaccines like Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

 

Ethical Values from her life:

Life Lesson Example
Perseverance Despite demotion and grant rejections by the University of Pennsylvania, Katalin Kariko continued her research on mRNA. She chose to persist as a lower-rung researcher, determined to make a difference in her field.
Belief in One’s Ideas In the 1980s, Kariko believed in the potential of mRNA to treat diseases, even when it was considered a dead-end by others (others preferred to work on DNA)
Innovation Kariko’s collaboration with Drew Weissman led to innovative solutions for using synthetic mRNA in vaccines, demonstrating the power of creative problem-solving.
Resilience Despite being underestimated as a foreign-born woman in a male-dominated field, Kariko remained resilient and achieved remarkable success in her career.

Why Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by Norway?

Content for Mains Enrichment

 

Source: Nobel prize

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Norway, while the other Nobel Prizes are awarded in Sweden. This tradition dates back to 1901 when the Nobel Peace Prize was established and has continued ever since.

 

Why Norway?

The reasons for this distinction are somewhat speculative, but it is believed that Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prize, may have had reasons such as admiration for Norwegian figures or concerns about political influence.

Some historians also suggest that Sweden’s history of militarism may have played a role in this decision. Additionally, Sweden and Norway were once in a union, with Norway joining reluctantly after Sweden’s invasion in 1814.

Andhra Pradesh: New Guaranteed Pension Scheme (GPS)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: HBL 

Context: The Andhra Pradesh Guaranteed Pension System Bill, 2023 was passed recently.

  • Through this, the Andhra Pradesh government started introducing the New Guaranteed Pension Scheme (GPS) against the criticism of the New Pension Scheme (NPS) and the negative fiscal impact Old Pension Scheme (OPS)

 

OPS vs. NPS vs. GPS explained using numbers:

Old Pension Scheme (OPS), New Pension Scheme (NPS), and Andhra Pradesh’s Guaranteed Pension Scheme (GPS):

Aspect Old Pension Scheme (OPS) New Pension Scheme (NPS) Guaranteed Pension Scheme (GPS)
Pension Guarantee Provides fixed pensions Does not guarantee fixed pensions, and offers returns based on market condition Guarantees a fixed pension component
Contribution Funded through the budget Contributions from employees and employers are invested Employees contribute 10% of their basic salary, matched by the state government
Pension Amount Fixed, based on salary and length of service Variable, dependent on corpus returns Fixed at 50% of the last drawn basic salary
Fiscal Impact on States Unsustainable growth in pension liabilities leading to high fiscal deficit Fiscally sustainable Any shortfall in the returns from NPS is funded by the government

Several states, including Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Delhi, have been contemplating a return to OPS. However, a hybrid model like the GPS adopted by Andhra Pradesh could serve as a potential model for other states in the future.

Global Internet freedom

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 Source: TH

 Context: A new report by Freedom House reveals that global Internet freedom has been on the decline for the 13th consecutive year.

  • This decline is seen in 29 countries, while only 20 countries have registered improvements in Internet freedom.
  • The report, titled ‘Freedom on the Net 2023: The Repressive Power of Artificial Intelligence,’ highlights the growing use of artificial intelligence by governments for censorship and the spread of disinformation.

 

Some key findings include:

  • Iran witnessed a sharp increase in digital repression.
  • China ranked as the world’s worst environment for Internet freedom for the ninth consecutive year, followed by Myanmar.
  • A record 55 countries this year imposed legal consequences for online expression.
  • Elections were identified as a trigger for digital repression.

  

Regarding India, the report noted:

  • The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules require large social media platforms to use AI-based moderation tools for various types of content.
  • The report expressed concerns about the impact of India’s expanding censorship regime on democracy.
  • India was evaluated on various censorship methods, including Internet connectivity restrictions, blocks on social media platforms, website blocking, and the forced removal of content.

 India scored 50 on a scale of 1 to 100, with higher scores representing greater digital freedom, while Iceland received the highest score of 94, indicating the best climate of Internet freedom.

India-Japan Fund (IJF)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 Context: The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) has partnered with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to establish a $600 million India-Japan Fund (IJF), with the Government of India (GoI) and JBIC as primary investors.

  • This collaboration reflects a significant joint effort between India and Japan in the field of climate and environmental sustainability.
  • The IJF is NIIF’s first bilateral fund, with the GoI contributing 49% of the total fund, while JBIC contributes the remaining 51%.

 

The primary focus of the India-Japan Fund is on investments in environmental sustainability and low-carbon emission strategies. Its objective is to become a preferred partner for encouraging increased Japanese investments in India.

  

About National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) (formed in 2015; Office: New Delhi)

It is a government-backed Category-II Alternate Investment Fund, created to offer long-term financial support to India’s infrastructure sector. The Indian government holds a 49% stake in NIIF, while the remaining shares are owned by both foreign and domestic investors. Due to the substantial government ownership, NIIF is often regarded as India’s quasi-sovereign wealth fund.

Nanozyme can degrade pollutants in wastewater

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 Context: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a novel enzyme mimic called NanoPtA, with significant potential applications in wastewater treatment and healthcare.

  • In this study, the IISc team synthesized NanoPtA, a platinum-containing nanozyme that can be converted into a powder for industrial use.
  • NanoPtA exhibits the ability to degrade toxic chemicals in industrial wastewater effectively when exposed to sunlight.
  • When NanoPtA comes into contact with wastewater, it forms tape-like structures through non-covalent interactions between benzene rings and long alkyl chains in the molecules. These structures emit light, which enables them to oxidize pollutants in the presence of sunlight, reducing wastewater toxicity.

 

The researchers found that NanoPtA could rapidly degrade common pollutants like phenols and dyes, even at low concentrations, within ten minutes under sunlight.

Beyond wastewater treatment, scientists believe that NanoPtA has potential applications in healthcare. It could serve as a valuable diagnostic tool for neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, showcasing its versatility and significance in multiple fields.

 

About Nanozymes:

They are nanomaterials that possess enzyme-like properties. Unlike natural enzymes, which are typically proteins, nanozymes are typically made of inorganic materials such as nanoparticles. These nanostructures can catalyze chemical reactions in a manner similar to enzymes

Carbon accounting framework

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 Context: There is a rising need for a comprehensive carbon accounting system to address the interconnected and multifaceted challenges of climate change, referred to as the climate “polycrisis.”

  • Instead of addressing climate issues sector by sector, they propose a profound transformation, akin to building a “carbon infrastructure.”
  • This carbon infrastructure would involve accounting for carbon flows at every level, from households and local communities to districts, states, and the entire country.

  

Suggestions:

  • Creating a carbon accounting system similar to financial balance sheets, capable of tracking carbon emissions from individuals to the entire nation.
  • This would allow for the internalization of carbon reduction goals and the potential implementation of carbon taxes alongside income taxes.
  • The need for tracking carbon inflows and outflows at a granular level, making carbon visible and enabling progressive carbon taxes.

A national carbon accounting system would require businesses and individuals to report their carbon activities, making the circulation of carbon transparent. This transparency would enable the financing of goods and services using carbon surpluses and setting targets for emission reductions.

Dandeli forest

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DTE

 Context: The Dandeli forest in Karnataka, India, renowned for its unique grasses, bird species, and cattle herders, is facing a climate crisis due to rising temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns.

 

Concerns:

Issue Description
Loss of Grasses Decline in the abundance of the 100 different types of grasses in the forest, affecting herbivores’ food source.
Eupatorium Weed The invasion of eupatorium weed, which is not consumed by herbivores and is prone to fires, replaces native grasses.
Changing Forest Character The transition from semi-evergreen to moist deciduous forests over time is influenced by historical factors and human interventions.
Uncontrolled Forest Fires The ban on controlled fires during British rule has led to an increase in uncontrolled forest fires, posing risks to the ecosystem.
Decline in Herbivore Pop. Reduction in herbivore populations due to the loss of grasses, impacting the prey base for big cats such as leopards and tigers.
Impact on Villagers Local cattle herders have seen a decrease in the number of cattle per household due to predation by big cats and the loss of grasslands.
Changes in Fruit Availability Altered flowering and fruiting patterns of fig trees affect bird populations like the Malabar pied hornbill, which rely on fig fruits.
Decline in Honey Collection Reduction in honey collection as ficus trees, a source of honey, are not flowering properly.

 

About Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary:

 It lies within the Kali Tiger Reserve (KTR) (Uttara Kannada District of Karnataka) along with Anshi National Park.

KTR is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and global biodiversity hotspot. The reserve derives its name from the Kali River, which flows through the region. The ecoregions found here, namely the North Western Ghats montane rainforests and North Western Ghats moist deciduous forests.

Amphibian crisis

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: Reuters

 Context: A global assessment conducted by conservationists reveals that Earth’s amphibian species are facing a critical threat of extinction.

  • Of the 8,011 amphibian species assessed, 41% are now considered threatened with extinction due to various factors, including habitat destruction, disease, and climate change.
  • This situation represents a worsening trend since the first assessment in 2004, which found 39% of amphibian species threatened.
  • Amphibians are experiencing a more severe crisis compared to other vertebrate groups, with 27% of mammals, 21% of reptiles, and 13% of birds also facing extinction threats in separate assessments.
  • Salamanders and newts are the most threatened amphibian order, with 60% of species facing extinction, followed by frogs and toads (39%) and caecilians (16%).

 

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