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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 10 April 2024

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. India’s Declining Fertility Rate: Opportunities and Challenges Ahead

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Palestinian Membership Application Referred to UN Committee
  2. Credit-deposit ratio
  3. Air-breathing magnesium-copper / Cupric Oxide Fuel Cell
  4. Peter Higgs (Higgs theory)
  5. C-Dome defence system

 

Mapping

  1. Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (Ukraine)

 


 

India’s Declining Fertility Rate: Opportunities and Challenges Ahead

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Indian Society

 

Source: IE

Context: India’s declining fertility rate, recently projected by The Lancet, suggests a demographic transition with potential economic benefits.

 

Status of  total fertility rate (TFR):

TFR in India has drastically decreased from 6.2 in 1950 to below 2 in 2021. It is projected to further decline to 1.29 by 2050 and a concerning level of 1.04 by 2100. This decline is part of a global trend, with the global fertility rate dropping nearly 50% in the past 70 years. The United Nations predicts global population growth to reach 10.9 billion by 2100, with TFR converging to near replacement level.

 

The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 2.0 in India signifies stable long-term population trends, with two parents replaced by two children, indicating that the country may not experience population decline for 30-40 years due to a substantial youth population.

 

About TFR:

The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) represents the average number of children a woman would have in her lifetime given current fertility rates. A TFR of 2.1 signifies replacement-level fertility, where each generation replaces itself. TFR below 2.1 suggests a declining population over time as each generation produces fewer children than its predecessor.

 

Factors contributing to fertility decline include:

Aspect Progress/Initiative
Family Planning An increase in the use of modern contraceptive methods contributes to a rise in contraceptive prevalence rate.
Higher Age of  Marriage The introduction of a higher age of marriage, reversible spacing (gaps between children) methods, wage compensation systems to undergo sterilisation, and the promotion of small family norms also worked well over the years.
Women’s Empowerment Improved women’s empowerment indicators also correlate with reduced fertility rates.
Government Initiatives Sustained efforts by the Indian government, including national-level family planning programs, have driven progress.
Mission Parivar Vikas (2017): Launched to enhance access to contraceptives and family planning services in 146 high fertility districts.
National Family Planning Indemnity Scheme (NFPIS): Initiated in 2005, provides insurance coverage for sterilization-related complications.
Compensation Scheme for Sterilization Acceptors: Started in 2014, provides wage compensation to beneficiaries and service providers for sterilization procedures.
Prime Minister’s Appeal (2019): The PM emphasized population control as a patriotic duty during the Independence Day speech.

 

Negative Implications of Declining Fertility Rate in India:

  1. The decline in working-age population: In the next four years, both Tamil Nadu and Kerala will see the first absolute declines in their working-age populations in their histories.
  2. Skewed sex ratio: It remains a danger. NFHS: families with at least one son are less likely to want more children than families with just one daughter.
  3. Geographical divide: The stark differences between northern and southern States in terms of basic literacy as well as enrollment in higher education, including in technical fields.
  4. Economic Dependence of Elderly: The economic dependence of the female elderly is a significant concern; as fewer working-age people will need to support a growing elderly population.
    1. Need for pension schemes, long-term care facilities, and healthcare programs for age-related ailments
  5. High Gender disparities may get aggravated in the Indian workforce

 

Positive Implications of Declining Fertility Rate in India:

Aspect Description
Positive Economic Impact Changes in age structure with fewer children and more working-age adults. Surplus income from a larger working-age population can boost economic development.
Lower Dependency Ratio Declining TFR leads to a lower dependency ratio (dependents to working-age population), allowing for more economic productivity and resource allocation.
Labour Market Dynamics The larger working-age population may lead to an increased labour supply, potentially lowering wages in some sectors.
Industries with labour shortages may need to offer higher wages to attract workers
Social Welfare and Healthcare The ageing population due to declining fertility rates and increased life expectancy demands social welfare and healthcare services for the elderly.
Education and Human Capital Fewer children may decrease demand for primary and secondary educational infrastructure.
Investments in higher education and skill development become crucial to prepare a smaller cohort of young adults for a competitive workforce.
Capital Accumulation and Investment Declining fertility leads to increased household investment in education and fewer children’s well-being. Higher savings rates contribute to capital formation, driving economic growth through investments in infrastructure and human capital.
Regional Development and Urbanisation Declining fertility often accompanies urbanization and regional development. Urban centres become economic hubs, attracting investment, talent, and innovation, promoting infrastructure and enhancing competitiveness.

 

International Competitiveness Lower fertility rates result in a younger, more educated workforce, enhancing global competitiveness. A favourable demographic profile improves creditworthiness, investor confidence, and economic stability, attracting foreign investment.

 

Way forward

  1. Providing skills: There is a need for much focus on the betterment of the living standard of living by providing skills to the youth and bridging the gap between the workforce.
  2. Harnessing demographic dividend: The focus of one should be on the various dimensions of population like harnessing the potential of demographic dividend.
  3. Investing in health, and education and employing elderly people will help societies adapt to inverted population pyramids.
  4. Behaviour-Change Communication Strategy: The Government must adopt a targeted social and behaviour-change communication strategy to ensure smooth demographic transition

 

Conclusion

In navigating these demographic complexities, India has the opportunity to leverage its demographic dividend by investing in education, healthcare, and policies that support a balanced and sustainable population structure.

 

Insta Links

 

Mains Link:

Discuss the main objectives of Population Education and point out the measures to achieve them in India in detail. (UPSC 2021)

Palestinian Membership Application Referred to UN Committee

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Reuters

 Context: The United Nations Security Council president has referred the Palestinian Authority’s application for full UN membership to the committee on new member admissions.

  • The committee will assess the application’s compliance with U.N. membership requirements before potentially advancing it for a formal Security Council vote

 

To become a UN member: 

  • A state submits an application to the Secretary-General, accepting Charter commitments.
  • The application is reviewed by the UNSC, needing approval from 9 of 15 members and no vetoes from the 5 permanent members.
  • If approved, it goes to the General Assembly, requiring a two-thirds majority vote.
  • Membership becomes effective upon the adoption of a resolution.

Credit-deposit ratio

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Live Mint

 Context: Banks in India are facing challenges in attracting deposits during the financial year 2023-24.

  • According to data from the RBI, the credit-deposit ratio, indicating the proportion of a bank’s deposit base used for loans, has reached its highest level in at least 20 years due to increased loan uptake, particularly in categories like home loans and other consumption loans.
  • Currently standing at 80%, the credit-deposit ratio is at its highest since 2015.
  • Customers are opting for high-return, equity-linked products, reducing the funds available for deposits in banks.

In FY24, while deposits grew by 13.5% to ₹204.8 trillion, non-food credit grew by 20.2% to ₹164.1 trillion, outpacing deposit growth.

This contrasts with FY23, where deposits grew by 9.6% and credit by 15.4%.

 

 About Credit- deposit ratio:

 The credit-deposit ratio is a financial metric used to assess the relationship between a bank’s lending activities (credit) and its deposit base.

It is calculated by dividing the total loans extended by the bank by its total deposits.  The ratio indicates how much of a bank’s deposits are being used to provide loans.

A higher credit-deposit ratio suggests that a larger portion of the deposits is being lent out as credit, while a lower ratio indicates that more deposits are being held in reserve or invested in other assets.

It is an important measure of a bank’s liquidity and lending capacity.

Air-breathing magnesium-copper / Cupric Oxide Fuel Cell

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: New Indian Express

 

Context: Researchers at the University of Kerala have developed an eco-friendly fuel cell that primarily utilizes air and seawater to generate power.

  • The ‘Air-breathing Magnesium – Copper / Cupric Oxide Fuel Cell’ is highlighted in the ‘Journal of Engineering and Applied Science.’
  • The technology is anticipated to outperform lithium-ion batteries in power output.
  • Unlike traditional fuel cells that use hydrogen, this cell relies on magnesium and sodium chloride from seawater.
  • By employing cupric oxide over copper substrate, the cell becomes cost-effective compared to platinum-based alternatives

 

The Magnesium-Copper / Cupric Oxide Fuel Cell is an eco-friendly technology developed to generate power primarily using air and seawater.

This innovative fuel cell produces electricity and heat during operation while emitting water, making it environmentally clean.

It employs cupric oxide grown over a copper substrate in a magnesium-sodium chloride-based system.

Compared to traditional fuel cells, it offers cost-effectiveness by utilizing semiconductor material instead of platinum for air cathode systems.

Peter Higgs (Higgs theory)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: BBC

 Context: Peter Higgs, the physicist credited with theorizing the Higgs boson particle, has passed away at 94.

 

His contributions:

Contribution Description
Higgs Mechanism In the 1960s, Higgs proposed the Higgs mechanism, along with other physicists, to explain why elementary particles have mass. This theory predicts the existence of a new particle, the Higgs boson, which was later discovered at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in 2012. The Higgs mechanism is a crucial component of the Standard Model of particle physics, providing an explanation for the origin of mass for particles like the W and Z bosons.
Development of Higgs Field Theory Developed the concept of the Higgs field, which permeates space and gives mass to elementary subatomic particles that interact with it. This field theory proposed by Higgs helps explain how particles acquire mass shortly after the universe began.
Higgs Boson Authored papers on the Higgs boson. His papers contributed to the eventual discovery and understanding of the Higgs boson.
The Higgs boson is a subatomic particle that gives other particles mass. The strength of a particle’s interaction with the Higgs boson determines its mass.
Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013, shared with François Englert, for their theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, which was confirmed by the discovery of the Higgs boson.
Significant Awards and Honors Received numerous awards for his groundbreaking work, including the Hughes Medal, Rutherford Medal, Dirac Medal and Prize, Wolf Prize in Physics, J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics, and the Copley Medal. Honoured with a unique Higgs Medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Values:

Higgs demonstrated humility, integrity, and dedication throughout his life, embodying ethical values such as honesty, modesty, and a commitment to scientific advancement. Despite his fame, he remained modest, focusing on science rather than personal recognition. His legacy profoundly impacted our understanding of the universe.

 

C-Dome defence system

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: First Post

  

Context: The C-Dome is the naval version of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system.

  • It was deployed for the first time as a response to a “hostile aircraft” entering Israeli airspace near Eilat.
  • Similar to the Iron Dome, which intercepts rockets fired from Gaza, the C-Dome uses radar to detect incoming threats and destroys them with its own missiles.
  • Unlike the Iron Dome, the C-Dome is mounted on ships and integrated into the ship’s radar It provides full-circular protection against maritime and coastal threats.
  • The system was tested on Sa’ar 6-class corvettes, German-made warships used by the Israeli Navy, and was declared operational in November 2022.
  • The C-Dome employs TAMIR interceptors, a modular Vertical-Launch Unit (VLU), and a Command & Control (C2) component to detect and track threats at sea.

 

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (Ukraine)

Mapping

 

Source: CNN

Context: A drone attack damaged the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, with three hits on the main reactor containment.

The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed the damage but stated that nuclear safety remains intact.

Zaporizhzhia, the largest nuclear plant in Europe, is located in southeast Ukraine, on the banks of the Dnipro or Dnieper River (which drains into the Black Sea). It is currently under the control of the Russian forces.

The Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine faces several risks to its safety and operation. The plant has VVER-1000 reactors and incorporates safety enhancements implemented after the Chornobyl and Fukushima accidents.

 

Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the second-largest European country after Russia. It is also bordered by Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to the west; and by Romania and Moldova to the southwest; with a coastline along the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to the south and southeast

 

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