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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 19 April 2024

InstaLinks :  Insta Links 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 in 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 Arctic Expedition: Exploring New Frontiers

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Kusum Jain

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Rivers in News
  2. FDI in the space sector
  3. Sugar in baby food
  4. GPS spoofing 
  5. ‘Sleeping giant’ black hole
  6. Nigeria introduced Men5CV vaccine
  7. Submersible Platform for Acoustic Characterisation and Evaluation (SPACE)
  8. Vasuki Indicus

 

Mapping

  1. Nagorno-Karabakh Region

 


 

India’s Arctic Expedition: Exploring New Frontiers

GS1/ GS2 Paper 

 Syllabus: Economic Geography/ Multilateral Treaties

 

Source:

 Context: India recently concluded its first winter expedition to the Arctic in March 2024, marking a significant milestone in its Arctic exploration endeavours.

 

What is an expedition?

An expedition is a journey undertaken for a specific purpose, often involving exploration, scientific research, or achieving a particular goal. It typically involves travel to remote or unfamiliar areas, often with a team of individuals equipped for the challenges of the journey. Expeditions can vary widely in scope, ranging from scientific expeditions to mountaineering expeditions to polar explorations.

The expedition, undertaken by four Indian climate scientists, involved rigorous acclimatization and living in extremely cold conditions, including the challenging period of polar nights with no sunlight.

 

India’s engagement in the Arctic:

  1. India’s engagement with the Arctic began when it signed the Svalbard Treatyin February 1920 in Paris between Norway, the US, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Ireland, and the British overseas Dominions and Sweden concerning Spitsbergen. Ever since then, India has been closely monitoring all the developments in the Arctic region.
  2. India initiated its Arctic research program in 2007 with a focus on climate change in the region.
  3. The objectives included studying teleconnections between the Arctic climate and the Indian monsoon, to characterize sea ice in the Arctic using satellite data, and to estimate the effect on global warming.
  4. India has set up a research station Himadri at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, in 2008
  5. In May 2013, India became an observer state of the Arctic Councilalong with five others including China.
  6. India launched its inaugural multi-sensor moored observatoryand northernmost atmospheric laboratory in 2014 and 2016 respectively
  7. Till last year, thirteen expeditions to the Arctic were successfully conducted.

 

 

Significance of the Arctic region significant to India:

Key Reasons Significance of the Arctic Region for India
Climate Impact Though none of India’s territory directly falls in the Arctic region, it is a crucial area as the Arctic influences atmospheric, oceanographic and biogeochemical cycles of the earth’s ecosystem.
Establishing research bases and observing Arctic ice systems and glaciers are crucial components of India’s research on Monsoon
Natural Resources The region holds vast unexplored hydrocarbon reserves and valuable minerals, contributing to India’s resource needs.
Economic Development India aims to utilize Arctic Sea routes, particularly the Northern Sea Route, to facilitate Indian trade.
Historical Engagement India’s connection dates back to the Svalbard Treaty in 1920, with ongoing scientific studies and Arctic Council participation.
Global Influence By engaging in Arctic affairs, India can assert its global presence and contribute to discussions on climate change and resource management.
China’s investments in the Arctic and Russia’s collaboration with China in granting access to the Northern Sea Route have raised concerns in India

 

Challenges posed by Arctic Region:

  1. Arctic Amplification: Rapid warming in the Arctic, known as Arctic amplification, surpasses global warming rates. Thawing permafrost releases greenhouse gases like carbon and methane, accelerating ice melt and further warming.
  2. Rising Sea Level Concern: Melting Arctic ice contributes to rising sea levels, exacerbating coastal erosion and storm surges. India, with its extensive coastline and port cities, faces significant risks from sea level rise, which exceeds the global average rate along its shores.
  3. Emerging geopolitical Race: The opening of Arctic shipping routes has intensified geopolitical competition among major powers like the US, China, and Russia.
  4. Threat to Biodiversity: Arctic warming threatens biodiversity, impacting animal life, plants, and birds dependent on sea ice. Polar bears, in particular, face habitat loss, while shifting fish populations disrupt the Arctic food web. Environmental changes, including storms and wildfires, further endanger Arctic ecosystems, such as tundra habitats.

 

Last Year, India released its Arctic Policy, with the aim of enhancing the country’s cooperation with the resource-rich and rapidly transforming region.

 

Suggestions for India:

  1. Collaborate with Norway for Arctic research, to enhance research capabilities and knowledge sharing in the Arctic region
  2. Align with Arctic nations on green initiatives: Foster cooperation with Arctic countries, particularly Denmark and Finland, to promote green energy, sustainable industries, and environmental conservation efforts.
  3. Promote sustainable resource extraction: Advocate for responsible and sustainable practices in resource extraction in the Arctic.
  4. Ensure policy coherence with the Arctic Council: Ensure that India’s Arctic policy aligns with the objectives and principles of the Arctic Council.
  5. Establish a dedicated nodal body: Create a specialized agency or department within the Indian government to oversee Arctic research, development, and coordination.
  6. Expand beyond scientific focus: Broaden India’s approach to the Arctic beyond scientific research. Advocate for the rights of Arctic indigenous communities and integrate their perspectives into policymaking processes.
  7. Advocate for a global ocean treaty: Support international efforts to establish a comprehensive global ocean governance framework, with a focus on addressing the unique challenges posed by the Arctic region.

 

Insta Link:

 

Mains Link:

How do the melting of the Arctic ice and glaciers of the Antarctic differently affect the weather patterns and human activities on the Earth? Explain. (2021)

What are the economic significances of the discovery of oil in the Arctic Sea and its possible environmental consequences? (2015)

 

Prelims Link:

The term ‘IndARC’, sometimes seen in the news, is the name of (USPC 2015)

 

(a) an indigenously developed radar system inducted into the Indian Defence

(b) India’s satellite to provide services to the countries of the Indian Ocean Rim

(c) a scientific establishment set up by India in the Antarctic region

(d) India’s underwater observatory to scientifically study the Arctic region

 

Ans: D

 

Kusum Jain

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

 

Source: IE

 

Context: Kusum Jain, a champion for children’s rights, founded the Parents Forum for Meaningful Education (PFME) to address injustices faced by school children. She fought against corporal punishment and challenged exam secrecy laws, aiming to ensure transparency and dignity for students. Despite facing challenges and personal injury, she remained steadfast in her advocacy, leaving behind a legacy of tireless dedication to the cause.

 

Ethical Values Shown by Her:

  1. Advocacy: Kusum Jain demonstrated a commitment to advocating for children’s rights and well-being.
  2. Courage: She showed bravery in challenging entrenched systems and fighting for meaningful change.
  3. Persistence: Despite facing obstacles and setbacks, Kusum Jain remained steadfast in her pursuit of justice for children.
  4. Compassion: She exhibited care and concern for the welfare of children affected by injustices in the education system.
  5. Integrity: Kusum Jain maintained a strong sense of moral principles and honesty in her advocacy efforts.

 

Rivers in News

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

River Name Jiadhal River Noyyal River
Issues Disruption of flow due to climate change Pollution and choking by plastics and sewage
Origin Lower Himalayan ranges in Arunachal Pradesh Velliangiri Hills (South-Kailash) in Tamil Nadu
Tributary of Brahmaputra (northern tributary) Joins the Cauvery River
Flows Through Assam, meets Brahmaputra near Majuli Island Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Karur, Erode districts
Characteristics Flashy river, prone to sudden floods with high sediment load and debris, frequently changes course during flash floods The Central Government provides financial assistance from the National River Restoration Fund, managed by the Ministry of Jal Shakti
 

 

 

FDI in the space sector

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Economic Times

  

Context: The Ministry of Finance has notified Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regulations in the space sector under the Foreign Exchange Management Rules, allowing Indian space start-ups to access global capital.

  • 74% FDI for satellite manufacturing, up to 49% for launch vehicles, and up to 100% for component and system manufacturing.
  • Investment beyond 49% for spaceports requires government approval.

 

A foreign direct investment is a substantial, lasting investment made by a company or government into a foreign concern.

FDI investors typically take controlling positions in domestic firms or joint ventures and are actively involved in their management.

Sugar in baby food

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

 

Source: IE

 Context: Nestlé’s baby food products in Asia, Africa, and Latin America were found to contain added sugars, while those sold in Europe did not.

  • Added sugars in baby food pose health risks, including obesity and non-communicable diseases like diabetes.
  • Excessive sugar intake can lead to unhealthy diets and increase the risk of diseases later in life.

 

WHO advises against introducing added sugars before the age of 2, emphasizing the importance of a diverse diet for babies.

 

GPS spoofing

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Business Standard

 

 Context: Israel reportedly used GPS jamming to confuse Iran’s missile targeting teams ahead of Iran’s direct attack on Israel.

  • This technique, similar to what the US allegedly did during India’s Kargil war in 1999, can hinder military operations by degrading GPS signals.
  • The US initially employed “selective availability” to degrade GPS accuracy for India during the Kargil war, prompting India to develop its own navigation system called NavIC.
  • In the recent incident, Israeli locals found their GPS showing them in Cairo or Beirut, causing confusion about throwing off Iran’s missiles.

 

About GPS Spoofing: 

GPS spoofing, also known as GPS simulation, involves manipulating or tricking a GPS receiver by broadcasting false GPS signals.

This leads the receiver to believe it is located somewhere it is not, resulting in inaccurate location data.

This cyberattack undermines the reliability of GPS data, critical for navigation, time synchronization, and more.

While initially a theoretical threat, GPS spoofing has become a practical concern due to affordable software and hardware capable of transmitting fake signals.

This evolution poses risks and security challenges for industries, governments, and individuals.

‘Sleeping giant’ black hole

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: CNN

 

 Context: Astronomers have discovered the most massive known stellar black hole nicknamed “ Sleeping Giant” in the Milky Way galaxy, named Gaia BH3, located 1,926 light-years away in the Aquila constellation.

  • Its mass is nearly 33 times that of the sun, making it the second-closest black hole on Earth.
  • This discovery was made through observations from the Gaia space telescope, detecting a wobble in space caused by the gravitational influence of Gaia BH3 on its companion star.
  • The study offers insights into the formation of such massive black holes and their connection to metal-poor stars.

 

Nigeria introduced Men5CV vaccine

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: HT

  

Context: Nigeria has introduced the world’s first vaccine against all strains of meningitis (Men5CV vaccine), aiming to alleviate the disease burden in Africa’s meningitis belt.

The Men5CV vaccine, approved by the WHO, safeguards against five strains of meningococcus bacteria in one shot, surpassing earlier vaccines. Its introduction coincides with WHO’s aim to eradicate meningitis by 2030, vital amid rising cases in the region.

 

What is Meningitis?

It is a severe infection affecting the brain and spinal cord’s protective membranes. While various pathogens like bacteria, fungi, or viruses can cause it, bacterial meningitis poses the greatest global threat. Common bacteria responsible include Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Neisseria meningitidis.

 

Submersible Platform for Acoustic Characterisation and Evaluation (SPACE)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 

Context: DRDO inaugurated a Submersible Platform for Acoustic Characterisation and Evaluation (SPACE) at the Underwater Acoustic Research Facility in Kerala.

  • Designed by the Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory, SPACE is a premier testing and evaluation hub for sonar systems for the Indian Navy.
  • It consists of two platformsone floating on the water surface and the other submersible up to 100 meters using winch systems.
  • SPACE facilitates the evaluation of complete sonar systems and scientific packages, supporting survey, sampling, and data collection of various parameters.

 

Equipped with modern instrumentation, it enhances Anti-Submarine Warfare research capabilities for the Indian Navy.

 

Vasuki Indicus

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: NDTV

  

Context: A fossil vertebrae discovered in Gujarat has been confirmed as belonging to the largest snake to have ever lived, named ‘Vasuki Indicus.’

  • Unearthed in 2005 by scientists from IIT-Roorkee, the snake is estimated to have been 11-15 meters (about 50 feet) in length and weighed around 1 tonne.
  • Vasuki likely lived as an ambush predator in marshy swamps during a time of higher global temperatures.

 

The fossil’s size rivals that of Titanoboa, a snake from Colombia measuring about 43 feet long and weighing over one tonne.

 

Nagorno-Karabakh Region

Mapping

 

Source: TH

 Context: Russian peacekeepers have commenced withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh following Azerbaijan’s recapture of the disputed territory last year.

The withdrawal comes after Azerbaijan’s lightning one-day offensive last September, triggering a refugee crisis and altering the area’s demographic landscape. The move also reflects ruptured ties between traditional allies Russia and Armenia, with Armenia suspending its participation in the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and joining the International Criminal Court (ICC).

  

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is an ethnic and territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It centres on the Nagorno-Karabakh region, predominantly Armenian-populated but within Azerbaijan’s borders. A ceasefire mediated by Russia in 1994 left the region under Armenian control, though it’s still recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The area is now governed by separatist Armenians and called the “Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast.”

/ 19 April 2024, Today's Article

 

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