Daily Prelims Notes 10 October 2023
- October 10, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
10 October 2023
Table Of Contents
- DG Shipping notifies a new order for grant of RoFR priority to IFSCA-owned ships
- Natural rubber producing nations urged to address common issues
- Business continuity plan for Israel’s Haifa port ready: APSEZ
- India needs to invest substantially on creating multimodal infrastructure
- Smart fence along Myanmar border in the pipeline: govt
- The climate blind spot in India’s river interlinking projects
- General Comment No. 26
- The State of India’s Scheduled Areas
- Israel, Hamas conflict casts shadow on ambitious economic initiatives
- Sri Lanka is going to hold chairmanship of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
- Kerala set to send 46 lakh women back to school
- CJI bench pauses transfer of Armed Forces Tribunal Judge
- China near ‘breakthroughs’ with nuclear-armed submarines
- Switzerland Shares Details of Indian Swiss Bank Accounts Under Automatic Exchange
- IRDAI’s ‘Bima Sugam’ Initiative: Transforming India’s Insurance Landscape
- Scientists untangle mystery of the earliest galaxies
- ICMR to conduct study to develop solutions to remedy childhood undernutrition
- What is multimodal artificial intelligence and why is it important?
Subject : Economy
- Directorate General of Shipping, which deals with implementation of shipping policy and legislation, has amended its own order on guidelines for exercise of Right of First Refusal (RoFR) – Grant of Licence to foreign flag vessels dated January 14, 2021.
- The amendment is being done to include priority to International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) owned ships also for chartering of ships through tender.
Right of First Refusal (RoFR):
- The RoFR is a contractual right giving its holder the option to transact with the other contracting party before others can. The ROFR assures the holder that they will not lose their rights to an asset if others express interest.
Reducing supply chain disruptions:
- The early order had only three priorities –
- Indian built,
- Indian flagged and Indian owned; foreign built, Indian flagged and
- Indian owned; Indian built, foreign flagged and foreign owned.
- The amended order dated October 5 has these priorities-
- Indian built, Indian flagged and Indian owned;
- Indian built, Indian flagged and India IFSCA owned;
- foreign built, Indian flagged and Indian owned;
- Indian build, Indian flagged and Indian IFSCA owned and
- Indian built, foreign flagged and foreign owned.
Significance of the amendment:
- It will provide priority access to vessels and mitigate supply chain disruptions by bringing certainty and consistency.
- Help in reduction of vessel turnaround time, and berthing and occupancy of the ships will be faster.
- Compliance will make the system efficient.
Directorate General of Shipping (DG-Shipping):
- The Directorate General of Shipping, India is an attached office under the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India, responsible for life, health, vessel and the environment for Indian registered ships and ships at Indian ports.
- The Directorate, is located in Mumbai and led by Director General of Shipping Dr Amitabh Kumar IRS and Additional Secretary to the Government of India.
- This Directorate deals with all matters concerning the Maritime Administration, Maritime Education and Training, development of Shipping Industry and other related subjects.
- The Director General of Shipping is vested with statutory powers under Section 7 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.
- The Directorate deals with implementation of shipping policy and legislation so as to ensure the safety of life and ships at sea, prevention of marine pollution, promotion of maritime education and training in coordination with the International Maritime Organisation, regulation of employment and welfare of seamen, development of coastal shipping, augmentation of shipping tonnage, examination and certification of Merchant Navy Officers, Supervision and Control of the allied departments and officer under its administrative jurisdiction.
- The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) was established on April 27, 2020 under the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019.
- It is headquartered at GIFT City, Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
- The IFSCA is a unified authority for the development and regulation of financial products, financial services and financial institutions in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in India.
- At present, the GIFT IFSC is the maiden international financial services centre in India. Prior to the establishment of IFSCA, the domestic financial regulators, namely, RBI, SEBI, PFRDA and IRDAI regulated the business in IFSC.
Source: Business Line
Subject : Economy
- Sawar Dhanania, Chairman of the Rubber Board has called upon the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) to prioritize addressing such issues common for all and formulate appropriate policies.
- Natural rubber is a versatile raw material used in about 40,000 products, with the automobile sector being the major consumer (70 percent) in the country.
- Mechanization in the rubber plantation sector, promotion of sustainable agricultural practices, strengthening of the supply chain, value addition for rubber wood etc would ensure the sustainable existence of rubber farmers everywhere.
Annual Rubber Conference:
- Held at: Guwahati, Assam
- Alongside the meeting of ANRPC was also held.
- ANRPC is an inter-governmental organisation established in 1970.
- The membership is open to the governments of countries producing natural rubber. Currently, 13 countries are members, including India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
- Chairman of ANRPC: Zaroissani Mohd Nor (Director–General, Malaysian Rubber Board).
- The mission of the association is to continuously improve the productivity of rubber holdings, reduce cost, increase value-addition in the downstream rubber sector, explore sources of ancillary income, capitalize on the eco-friendly credentials of natural rubber, and thereby improve the well-being of rubber farmers.
- The meeting also discussed the scope of carbon crediting.
- Low rubber prices, increased labor costs, labor shortages, diseases, climate change, environmental problems etc are the common challenges that all NR-producing countries face.
Project ‘INROAD’ (Indian Natural Rubber Organisation for Assisted Development):
- ‘INROAD’ is the biggest rubber planting project to expand rubber in two lakh hectares of land in northeastern states with the cooperation and financial support of ATMA (Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association).
- Launched by: Rubber Board of India in collaboration with the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA).
- The project aims at providing free planting materials and other benefits to enhance rubber-growing areas in the region. It targets to expand rubber-growing areas across the northeastern states – where Arunachal Pradesh is the largest shareholder – by two lakh hectares within five years (2021-2025).
- The regional office has set a target of distributing free rubber planting materials for over an area of 3,500 hectares for the current year.
Rubber Board of India:
- The Rubber Board is a statutory body constituted by the Government of India, under the Rubber Act 1947, for the overall development of the rubber industry in the country.
- Head Office is in Kottayam, Kerala
Source: Business Line
Section: Places in news
- Haifa port of Israel, which is run and managed by the Adani group, is in the news due to an attack by the Hamas group.
- The Haifa port, situated in the north, accounts for 3% of (Adani ports and SEZs) APSEZ’s total cargo volume.
Haifa port, Israel:
- The Port of Haifa is the largest of Israel’s three major international seaports, the others being the Port of Ashdod, and the Port of Eilat.
- It has a natural deep-water harbor, which operates all year long, and serves both passenger and merchant ships.
- It is one of the largest ports in the eastern Mediterranean in terms of freight volume and handles about 30 million tons of cargo per year (not including Israel Shipyards’ port).
- The port employs over 1,000 people, rising to 5,000 when cruise ships dock in Haifa. The Port of Haifa lies to the north of Haifa’s downtown quarter on the Mediterranean, and stretches to some three kilometers along the city’s central shore with activities ranging from military, industrial and commercial next to a nowadays-smaller passenger cruising facility.
- Haifa port is a part of recently proposed India-Middle East Corridor (IMEC).
Section: Places in news
- India needs good multimodal infrastructure to handle major transport modes — air, rail, road, and waterways.
- Multimodal infrastructure involves the end-to-end movement of international goods by more than one mode of transport, using a single document.
- It is the transportation of goods under a single contract, but performed with at least two different modes of transport; the carrier is liable (in a legal sense) for the entire carriage, even though it is performed by several different modes of transport (by rail, sea and road, for example).
- The carrier does not have to possess all the means of transport, and in practice usually does not; the carriage is often performed by sub-carriers (referred to in legal language as “actual carriers”). The carrier responsible for the entire carriage is referred to as a multimodal transport operator, or MTO.
- For example, the world’s pharma capital Basel in Switzerland.
- Basel is well connected to the Antwerp port via rail, road or barge.
- Seamless multimodal transport is possible due to exchange of messages and data among all the terminals.
- In India, Nhava Sheva or Panvel in Mumbai has the potential to become a major multimodal terminal with the region being a heavy cargo hub.
- The Chennai-Bengaluru corridor could be a multimodal hub.
UN Convention on Multimodal transportation:
- Article 1.1. of the United Nations Convention on International Multimodal Transport of Goods (Geneva, 24 May 1980) (which will only enter into force 12 months after 30 countries ratify; as of May 2019, only 6 countries have ratified the treaty) defines multimodal transport as follows: “‘International multimodal transport’ means the carriage of goods by at least two different modes of transport on the basis of a multimodal transport contract from a place in one country at which the goods are taken in charge by the multimodal transport operator to a place designated for delivery situated in a different country”.
Lack of options:
- In India, there is a lack of multimodal options.
- The size of the multimodal infrastructure in India is very small.
- India’s spending on multimodal infrastructure should increase multifold to achieve the country’s vision of being a $10-trillion economy by 2030.
Association of Multimodal Transport Operators of India (AMTOI):
- AMTOI is registered as a non-profit making body under the Indian Companies Act and its core managing committee consists of seven members. The managing Committee is supplemented by Special Invitees who are experts in the industry.
- HQ: Kurla, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Source: Business Line
Section: Places in news
- An advanced smart fencing system of 100 km along the Myanmar border is in the pipeline to strengthen the existing surveillance system, the 2022-23 annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said.
Details of the report:
- India shares a 1,643 km border with Myanmar.
- Out of 1,643 km, a demarcation of 1,472 km has been completed.
- The United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) and International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) warned that the region could become a significant transit point for illicit drugs.
- Unfenced border and unregulated migration from Myanmar have been attributed as some of the factors responsible for the ethnic violence in Manipur.
- In 2022, out of the 201 insurgency-related incidents registered in all the northeast States, as many as 137 incidents were registered in Manipur.
- Manipur is affected by the activities of Meitei, Naga, Kuki, Zomi, Hmar insurgent groups. A total of 23 UG [underground] outfits under two conglomerates [United Peoples’ Front [UPF] -8 and Kuki National Organisation [KNO] -15] are under Suspension of Operation [SoO] pact with the Government of India since August 2008.
Free Movement Regime (FMR) with Myanmar:
- A Free Movement Regime (FMR) exists between India and Myanmar.
- Under the FMR, every member of the hill tribes, who is either a citizen of India or a citizen of Myanmar and who is resident of any area within 16 km on either side of the Indo-Myanmar border can cross the border on production of a border pass (one year validity) issued by the competent authority and can stay up to two weeks per visit.
- The FMR was implemented in 2018 as part of the government’s Act East policy at a time when diplomatic relations between India and Mvanmar were on the upswing.
- The Manipur government has suspended the FMR since 2020, post COVID-19 pandemic.
- The India–Myanmar border is the international border between India and Myanmar (formerly Burma). The border is 1,643 kilometres (1,021 mi) in length and runs from the tripoint with China in the north to the tripoint with Bangladesh in the south.
- The precise location of the tripoint with China is unclear owing to the Sino-Indian border dispute – at present, the de facto tripoint is located just north of the Diphu Pass. From here the border proceeds to the south-west through the Mishmi Hills, except for an Indian protrusion at the Chaukan Pass, then continuing through the Patkai and Kassom Ranges. At the south-east corner of Manipur it turns sharply westwards along various rivers for a period over to the Tiau River. It then follows this river southwards for a long stretch down to the Chin Hills, before turning west and proceeding to the Bangladeshi tripoint via a series of irregular lines.
- Myanmar borders the Indian states of: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram.
Subject : Geography
Section: Physical geography
- The river interlinking project is a $168 billion project to transfer excess water from one river basin to the other. It is seen as a permanent solution to the drought situation.
- A new study published in Nature Communications, however, challenges these claims.
Details of the study:
- Logic behind inter-basin water transfers: excess water is routed from “donor river basins” to “recipient” dry regions; if a maximum of water is kept on land, and does not flow into the Arabian Sea or Bay of Bengal, India’s growing water demand could be met.
- Impact of interlinking projects includes:
- Surplus irrigation due to interlinking basins modifies the spatial patterns of summer monsoons, and was responsible for a 12% decrease in mean rainfall in September across dry arid regions that were already experiencing water stress.
- The river basins do not act as independent entities; they are connected to one another through feedback loops between the land and atmosphere, links that are formed when water evaporates from one basin or when winds transport water across basins.
- It can alter the moisture content of the air and patterns of wind. They impact summer monsoons and create a feedback loop, impacting water availability and climate patterns.
- Excess irrigation (using transferred water) caused soil moisture to dry up, which corresponded with a decline in rainfall and increased temperatures across the entire central Indian belt, more visible during the La Niña years.
- A 2017 paper warned that moving even slightly away from the natural flow regime (the recorded historical pattern of floods and droughts) can lead to a collapse in the structure of ecological networks.
Interlinking of basins:
- The Indian Rivers Inter-link is a proposed large-scale civil engineering project that aims to effectively manage water resources in India by linking Indian rivers by a network of reservoirs and canals to enhance irrigation and groundwater recharge, reduce persistent floods in some parts and water shortages in other parts of India.
- The National Perspective Plan (NPP) for inter-basin transfer has identified 16 links under the peninsular rivers component and 14 links under the Himalayan component, charged with transporting 174 billion cubic metres of water each year using some 15,000 km of canals and 3,000 reservoirs.
- As per the Plan, these could increase the irrigated areas across the country by 30 million hectares; benefits would also pour in the form of 34,000 MW of hydropower generation, employment generation, salinity control, and pollution abatement, among other aspects.
Water availability in India:
- India accounts for 18% of the world population and about 4% of the world’s water resources.
- The current per capita availability of water in India is around 1400 cubic meters, slated to reduce to about 1200 cubic meters by 2050, according to the Central Water Commission.
- The mean rainfall from the summer monsoon, which accounts for almost 80% of the annual showers, has steadily declined, while erratic rainfalls have dominated, worsening India’s floods, droughts and water stress.
Subject : IR
Section: International conventions
In the news:
- The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child calls on states to take action in first guidance on children’s rights and the environment, with a focus on climate change.
Children’s right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment:
- For the first time, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has explicitly affirmed the children’s right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, issuing a comprehensive interpretation of Member States’ obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Children are the least responsible for the climate crisis but suffer most from its consequences: every year 1.7 million children under the age of five lose their lives due to avoidable environmental damage. And yet, children and young people are under-represented in virtually all decision-making processes on environmental policy.
UN Convention on Rights of the Child:
- Created in 1989
- Ratified by 196 states.
- It outlines universal children’s rights such as the right to life, survival and development, and the right to health.
- A General Comment provides legal guidance on what these rights imply for a specific topic or area of legislation.
General Comment No.26:
- The now published “General Comment No. 26” on children’s rights and the environment with a special focus on climate change”, explicitly addresses the climate emergency, the collapse of biodiversity and pervasive pollution, outlining countermeasures to protect the lives and life perspectives of children.
- With its General Comment No. 26, the Committee on the Rights of the Child not only echoes and amplifies children’s voices, but also clearly defines the rights of children in relation to the environment that States Parties should respect, protect and fulfill, collectively and urgently.
- Key points of the General Comment No. 26:
- General Comment No. 26 specifies that States are responsible not only for protecting children’s rights from immediate harm, but also for foreseeable violations of their rights in the future due to States’ acts — or failure to act — today.
- It underlines that States can be held accountable not only for environmental harm occurring within their borders, but also for the harmful impacts of environmental damage and climate change beyond their borders.
- Particular attention is to be paid to disproportionate harm faced by children in disadvantaged situations.
- Children’s views must be considered in environmental decision-making and stresses the critical role of environmental education in preparing children to take action, advocate, and protect themselves from environmental harm.
What are Scheduled Areas:
- Scheduled Areas, covering 11.3% of India’s land area, are designated in 10 states.
- In 2015, Kerala proposed to include several habitations, gram panchayats, and wards in Scheduled Areas, but the Indian government’s approval is pending.
- However, many Adivasi organizations have persistently demanded the inclusion of villages in Scheduled Areas, and this has not been addressed in the 10 designated states or others with ST populations.
- Consequently, 59% of India’s Scheduled Tribes (STs) are excluded from Article 244’s benefits, denying them rights under laws applicable to Scheduled Areas.
- The Bhuria Committee recommended their inclusion in 1995, but this remains unimplemented.
- The absence of viable ST-majority administrative units is cited as a reason for not including these villages.
How are Scheduled Areas governed:
- The President of India designates India’s Scheduled Areas.
- States with Scheduled Areas must establish a Tribal Advisory Council with up to 20 Scheduled Tribe members to advise the Governor on ST welfare matters.
- The Governor submits an annual report to the President on the administration of Scheduled Areas.
- The central government can provide directives to the State concerning the administration of Scheduled Areas.
- The Governor has the authority to repeal or amend laws enacted by Parliament and the State Legislative Assembly within the Scheduled Area.
- The Governor can make regulations specific to Scheduled Areas, including controlling the transfer of tribal land among STs and regulating land allotment and money-lending to STs.
- Despite these powerful provisions and responsibilities vested with Governors, they have been rarely implemented, except briefly in Maharashtra from 2014 to 2020.
- The real activation of these provisions occurred when Parliament passed the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, or PESA, in 1996.
- PESA empowered gram sabhas, allowing them to exercise significant authority through direct democracy, emphasizing that higher-level structures should not assume the powers and authority of the gram sabha.
Who decides a Scheduled Area:
- The Fifth Schedule confers powers exclusively on the President to declare any area to be a Scheduled Area.
- In 2006, the Supreme Court held that the identification of Scheduled Areas is an executive function.
How are Scheduled Areas identified:
- Neither the Constitution nor any law provides any criteria to identify Scheduled Areas.
- But based on the 1961 Dhebar Commission Report, the guiding norms for their declaration are:
- preponderance of tribal population,
- compactness and reasonable size of the area,
- a viable administrative entity such as a district, block or taluk, and
- economic backwardness of the area relative to neighbouring areas.
- No law prescribes the minimum percentage of STs in such an area nor a cut-off date for its identification.
Constitutional provision regarding administration of Scheduled Areas:
- Article 244, pertaining to the administration of Scheduled and Tribal Areas, is the single most important constitutional provision for STs.
- Articles 244(1) provides for the application of Fifth Schedule provisions to Scheduled Areas notified in any State other than Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
- The Sixth Schedule applies to these states as per Article 244(2).
Which States are having Fifth Schedule Areas:
- The Fifth Schedule provides for the administration of tribal Areas in ten states in India, including Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Telangana.
Section: International Grouping
Context: Israel, Hamas conflict casts shadow on ambitious economic initiatives
More about the news:
- The recent escalation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas is expected to impact two major economic initiatives involving India, Israel, and other stakeholders.
- The I2U2 i.e India, Israel, US, and United Arab Emirates and IMEC i.e India Middle East EU Economic Corridor initiatives, aimed at creating new partnerships for India’s post-COVID economic plans, may suffer due to the conflict.
- I2U2 had plans for food parks in India and a hybrid renewable energy project in Gujarat.
- The IMEC agreement, launched during the G-20 summit, is also under evaluation.
- The conflict has the potential to jeopardize Israeli relations with Arab countries, impacting economic ties and investments, such as the Adani group’s ownership of the Haifa port.
What is India-Middle East–Europe Corridor (IMEC):
- India Middle East Europe Corridor is a network of transport corridors comprising railway lines and sea lanes to promote economic integration between Asia, the Arabian Gulf, and Europe.
- It was signed at the G20 Summit in New Delhi and holds significant geopolitical and economic implications for India.
- It has 8 signatories i.e India, the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, the EU, Italy, France, and Germany.
- The proposed IMEC will consist of Railroad, Ship-to-Rail networks and Road transport routes extending across two corridors, that is,
- The East Corridor – connecting India to the Arabian Gulf,
- The Northern Corridor – connecting the Gulf to Europe.
- Ports to be Connected:
- India: Mundra (Gujarat), Kandla (Gujarat), and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (Navi Mumbai).
- Middle East: Fujairah, Jebel Ali, and Abu Dhabi in the UAE as well as Dammam and Ras Al Khair ports in Saudi Arabia.
- Railway line will connect Fujairah port (UAE) to Haifa port (Israel) via: Saudi Arabia (Ghuwaifat and Haradh) and Jordan.
- Israel: Haifa port.
- Europe: Piraeus port in Greece, Messina in South Italy, and Marseille in France.
- It is part of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII) which is a collaborative effort by G7 nations to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations.
- PGII is the G7 bloc’s counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
- PGII is part of G7’s vision of Build-Back-Better framework.
Section: INTERNATIONAL GROUPING
Context: Sri Lanka is going to take over the chairmanship of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) during the 23rd Council of Ministers’ Meeting
More about the news:
- The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers‘ meeting is scheduled to take place in Colombo on October 11, 2023.
- Foreign Ministers from several countries, including India, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Iran, Malaysia, and South Africa, will participate.
- Sri Lanka, preparing to become the Chair of the regional grouping, will host the event.
- The Council of Ministers meeting will feature the participation of 16 ministers, along with ministerial and senior-level representatives from member countries and dialogue partners.
- Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Ali Sabry will chair the Council, succeeding Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister.
- This meeting coincides with potential Chinese research vessel visits to Sri Lanka, raising concerns from India and the US.
- Additionally, India and Sri Lanka plan to launch a long-awaited ferry service to enhance connectivity.
What is Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
- The Indian Ocean Rim Association is an inter-governmental organisation aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region.
- It was formed in 1997 by an initiative of India and South Africa.
- The IORA has 23 members and 11 dialogue partners.
- The members include Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South-Africa, SriLanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Maldives and Yemen.
- The eleven dialogue partners are China, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Turkey, the Republic of Korea, ,saudi Arabia ,the United Kingdom and the United States of America
- France was the last country to be accepted on the basis of its territory of Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.
- The Coordinating Secretariat of IORA is located at Ebene, Mauritius.
Subject : Schemes
Context: Kerala set to send 46 lakh women back to school under Kerala’s flagship poverty alleviation mission, Kudumbashree
More about the news:
- Kerala’s Kudumbashree mission is launching a “back to school” program for its 46 lakh enrolled women over the next two months.
- More than 2,000 schools will open on weekends to provide training on adapting to the digital age and enhancing income through entrepreneurship.
- The initiative aims to strengthen the mission’s three-tier system and empower neighborhood groups to undertake new projects.
- Classes, covering topics like organizational strength and livelihood ideas, began on October 1 and will run until December 10, allowing all women in Kudumbashree’s groups to participate.
What is Kudumbashree scheme:
- Kudumbashree is a poverty eradication and women empowerment program in Kerala, India, initiated by the State Poverty Eradication Mission (SPEM).
- The name “Kudumbashree” translates to “prosperity of the family” in Malayalam and encompasses both the Kudumbashree Community Network and the Kudumbashree Mission.
- The Scheme was established in 1997, and was a response to the devolution of powers to Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) in Kerala and the Peoples’ Plan Campaign.
- It expanded across the state in three phases from 2000 to 2002 and is open to all adult women, with one membership per family.
- In 2011, it was recognized as the State Rural Livelihoods Mission under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission by the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India.
What is the Operation mechanism of Kudumbashree:
- The mission operates through a Three-Tier structure consisting of,
- Neighbourhood Groups (NHGs) at the primary level
- Area Development Societies (ADS) at the ward level
- Community Development Societies (CDS) at the local government level.
- This structure forms a large network of Self-Help Groups.
Context : CJI bench pauses transfer of Armed Forces Tribunal Judge after Bar strike
More about the news:
- The Supreme Court has halted the transfer of a judge from the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) Chandigarh bench to Kolkata and requested a sealed report from the AFT chairperson explaining the reasons behind the transfer.
- The AFT Chandigarh Bar Association had initiated an indefinite strike in protest of the transfer, alleging it was an attack on judicial independence and that the judge, Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary, was being transferred because he resisted pressure from the Ministry of Defence.
- The Supreme Court ordered that Justice Chaudhary should not assume his duties in Kolkata for now, and certain pending cases in Chandigarh should not be disposed of without court permission.
- The court expressed concern about the circumstances surrounding the transfer, citing the Ministry of Defence’s role in the AFT’s administrative control and funding.
- The AFT chairperson is required to provide an explanation by October 13.
- The Bar Association also raised concerns about interference by the Ministry of Defence in AFT matters.
What is Armed force Tribunal:
- It is a military tribunal with the power of adjudication or trial of disputes and complaints related to commission, appointments, enrolments and conditions of service.
- It was established in August 2009 by the Armed Forces Tribunal Act 2007.
- Besides the Principal Bench in New Delhi, the Armed Force Tribunal has 10 Regional Benches i.e Regional Benches at Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, Kochi, Mumbai, Jabalpur, Srinagar and Jaipur
What is the composition of Armed Force Tribunal:
- The Tribunal is composed of Judicial Members as well as Administrative Members.
- The Judicial Members are retired High Court Judges.
- Administrative Members are retired Members of the Armed Forces who have held the rank of Major General/ equivalent or above for a period of three years or more or the Judge Advocate General who have experience in the post for at least one year.
- The person holding the office of chairperson of the Armed Force Tribunal must have been either a retired judge of the Supreme Court or a Retired chief justice of the high court.
What are the Power and Jurisdiction of theArmed Force Tribunal:
- The Tribunal is authorized to handle appeals concerning court-martial orders, decisions, findings, or sentences, as well as related matters.
- It possesses the authority to grant bail to individuals in military custody.
- The Tribunal can replace the court martial’s findings by:
- Remitting the entire or a portion of the sentence, with or without conditions.
- Lessening the awarded punishment.
- Substituting the punishment with a lesser one or increasing the sentence imposed by the court martial.
- The Armed Forces Tribunal has both Original and Appellate Jurisdiction.
- The Tribunal operates in accordance with the Armed Forces Tribunal (Procedure) Rules of 2008.
- All tribunal proceedings are conducted in the English language.
- Typically, the Tribunal follows the procedures observed in High Courts.
What is the exceptions with respect to Armed Forces Tribunal:
- Paramilitary forces including the Assam Rifles and Coast Guard are outside the tribunal’s purview.
- Armed Forces Tribunal is considered to be a criminal court with respect to Indian Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure.
- Appeals against the decision of the Armed Forces Tribunal can be taken in the High courts also after three-judge bench headed by justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul overruled the 2015 verdict (Union of India v Shri Kant Sharma) by a two-judge bench.
Subject :Science and Tech
Context: China near ‘breakthroughs’ with nuclear-armed submarines
More about the news:
- China is reportedly accelerating its development of the Type 096 ballistic missile submarine, which is expected to pose a significant challenge to US and allied efforts to track it.
- Analysts suggest that China’s new submarines will be operational before the end of the decade and will be exceptionally hard to detect due to their stealth and quietness, partly influenced by Russian technology.
- The Type 096’s capabilities in terms of stealth, sensors, and weapons are expected to rival state-of-the-art Russian submarines, potentially reshaping the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region.
- While there is speculation that China may have obtained some Russian technology in the past, the extent of their cooperation remains unclear.
- The Type 096 is a projected class of ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) for China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy Submarine Force.
Some facts about Nuclear class submarine:
- At present only 6 countries have nuclear powered submarines i.e the US, the UK, Russia, France ,India and China.
- India has two nuclear powered submarine i.e INS Arihant and INS Arighat of Arihant class
Some of Indian Navy Warships Projects
- Project 17 – Shivalik class Frigate.
- The Shivalik class or Project 17 class is a class of multi-role frigates in service with the Indian Navy.
- Project 15 – Delhi Class destroyers.
- Delhi-class destroyers are guided-missile destroyers of the Indian Navy
- Project 15A – Kolkata Class Destroyer
- The Kolkata class (Project 15A) are a class of stealth guided missile destroyers
- Project 15B – Visakhapatnam Class Destroyer
- The Visakhapatnam class (Project 15B) is a class of stealth guided missile destroyers currently being built for the Indian Navy.
- Project 17A
- The Project 17A-class frigate is a follow-on of the Project 17 Shivalik-class frigate for the Indian Navy.
- Project 75
- Project 75 (P75) involves the acquisition of six ships of the Kalvari-class diesel-electric attack submarines.
- Project 75I
- 6 Diesel submarines with Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP) technology for the Indian Navy.
Section: Fiscal Policy
Why in news?
- India has received its fifth set of Swiss bank account details through automatic information exchange.
- Switzerland shared information on nearly 36 lakh financial accounts with 104 countries, including India.
- The shared data includes details of hundreds of financial accounts, often associated with individuals, corporations, and trusts.
- Information shared includes names, addresses, tax identification numbers, account balances, and capital income.
- The exchange is part of the global standard on the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI).
- This year, Kazakhstan, the Maldives, and Oman were added to the list of countries participating in the exchange.
- The shared data will be used to investigate suspected tax evasion, money laundering, and terror funding.
- Switzerland will provide the next set of information in September 2024 as part of this annual exchange.
About Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI):
- The AEOI between Switzerland and India began on September 1, 2019.
- It involves India receiving financial account information held by Indian residents in Switzerland for the year 2018.
- India and Switzerland signed an information-sharing deal in 2016, effective from September 2019.
What AEOI Means for India:
- AEOI sheds light on wealth hidden in Swiss bank accounts, traditionally governed by strict secrecy rules.
What is AEOI?
- AEOI is the systematic transmission of bulk taxpayer data from the source country to the residence country.
- It operates under Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) and the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAC).
- AEOI aims to combat global tax evasion under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) of OECD.
- It facilitates information exchange between countries without the need for requests.
Need for AEOI:
- Cross-border taxpayers evade taxes by moving income to other countries.
- Tax evasion and avoidance have escalated with the ease of transferring income between countries.
- Offshore accounts hold untaxed money, leading to non-compliance with tax obligations.
- National efforts alone cannot combat this global issue, necessitating international tax cooperation and information exchange.
Significance and Benefits of AEOI:
- Identifies previously undetected tax evasion.
- Helps governments recover lost tax revenue from non-compliant taxpayers.
- Strengthens international transparency, cooperation, and accountability among financial institutions and tax administrations.
- Encourages voluntary disclosure of concealed assets and reporting of relevant financial information.
- Plays a crucial role in combating tax evasion and black money globally.
- OECD originated in 1948 as the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC).
- Renamed OECD in 1961 when the USA and Canada joined.
- Comprises 36 member nations.
- India is not an OECD member but has cooperated with OECD since 1997.
- OECD’s mission is to foster economic development, cooperation, and poverty reduction by promoting economic stability.
Section: Monetary Policy
India is the 10th largest insurance market in the world, and it’s poised to be 6th largest insurance market in the world by 2032, ahead of Germany, Canada, Italy and South Korea.
When we think of Indian market we think of its population and covering entire population requires a lot of efforts, use of technology, major initiative by the intermediaries and distributors and therefore from the current 1% of penetration the global average of over 3.9% appears to be a challenging task.
The recent initiative by IRDAI Bima Sugam is perceived to be a big game changer in the general insurance market development. It is a revolutionary step with ambitions of becoming the largest online market for insurance products and services which has not been practiced anywhere in the world.
- IRDAI’s Women-Centric Initiative: The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has introduced guidelines for Bima Vahaks, a dedicated distribution channel with a focus on women to enhance insurance inclusion, especially in rural areas.
- Part of ‘Insurance for All’ Goal: Bima Vahaks are a crucial component of IRDAI’s strategy to achieve its ‘Insurance for All’ objective. This initiative aims to make insurance more accessible and affordable, particularly for women in rural India.
- Bima Vistaar – Comprehensive Insurance Product: Bima Vahaks are expected to play a significant role in promoting ‘Bima Vistaar,’ a comprehensive insurance product envisioned by IRDAI. Bima Vistaar seeks to provide comprehensive coverage to a broad audience.
- Effective Date and Deployment Deadline: The guidelines will come into effect upon the launch of Bima Vistaar, with the exact launch date to be separately notified. IRDAI has set a deadline for deploying Bima Vahaks in all Gram Panchayats by December 2024.
- Roles and Responsibilities: Bima Vahaks will be equipped with handheld devices integrated with insurers’ electronic platforms. Their primary responsibilities include selling and servicing Bima Vistaar and other specified insurance products. They act as intermediaries connecting insurers with underserved communities.
- Training and Onboarding: The guidelines enable insurers to arrange for the onboarding and training of Bima Vahaks, ensuring they possess the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively serve their communities.
- Empowering Women in Insurance: Bima Vahaks represents an empowering initiative, encouraging women to actively participate in the insurance sector. By involving women as agents, IRDAI aims to bridge the insurance gap, especially in rural areas.
- Contributing to Greater Inclusion: IRDAI’s focus on Bima Vahaks and Bima Vistaar is a significant step towards achieving greater insurance inclusion. This initiative targets rural areas and underserved communities, making insurance more accessible to those who need it most.
IRDAI’s ‘Bima Trinity’ of policies comprises three elements:
- Bima Sugam: This online platform is a central component of IRDAI’s initiatives to modernize the insurance sector.
- Bima Vistaar: Bima Vistaar is a bundled risk cover product designed to offer defined benefits for various risks. Its aim is to expedite claim payouts without the need for surveyors.
- Bima Vaahaks: The third element involves deploying a women-centric workforce known as Bima Vaahaks in each Gram Sabha (village council). Their mission is to promote the advantages of insurance products, particularly in rural areas.
‘Bima Sugam’ online platform –
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) is in the process of establishing the ‘Bima Sugam’ online platform, a transformative development in the insurance sector often likened to a ‘UPI moment.’ This platform is set to revolutionize the insurance landscape in India, offering several key benefits:
- One-Stop Destination: Bima Sugam will serve as a comprehensive platform catering to various insurance-related needs. This includes policy purchase, portability, agent changes, and claims processing.
- Direct Policy Purchase: Buyers will have the convenience of directly purchasing life, motor, or health insurance policies through various channels, such as web aggregators, brokers, banks, and insurance agents. Insurance companies will be significant stakeholders in this platform, which will operate through an ‘e-insurance account’ (E-IA).
- Centralized Data: The platform aims to centralize insurance data, simplifying the process of policy porting and providing a wide array of policy options to consumers. It also seeks to reduce intermediary commissions and facilitate the introduction of new insurance products.
- Launch Date: Bima Sugam is scheduled for launch in June 2024.
- Ownership: Ownership of the platform will be divided among key stakeholders. Life insurance and general insurance companies will each hold a 47.5% stake, while brokers and agent bodies will own 2.5% each.
Additionally, IRDAI has outlined several other plans to advance the insurance sector:
- State-Level Insurance Committees: To achieve the goal of providing insurance coverage for all citizens by 2047, IRDAI intends to establish State-level insurance committees on the lines of State-level Banker’s Committee. These committees will involve State governments in crafting district-level insurance plans.
- Amendment to Insurance Laws: IRDAI is considering amendments to the Insurance Act of 1938. These changes aim to enable differentiated capital requirements for niche insurers, attract more investments, and allow the addition of value-added services to insurance policies.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) is a statutory body founded in 1999, headquartered in Hyderabad. It operates under the IRDAI Act of 1999 and is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance. IRDAI is responsible for regulating and licensing the insurance and reinsurance industries in India, ensuring the sector’s smooth functioning and protecting the interests of policyholders.
What is insurance penetration?
Insurance penetration is measured as a percentage of total premiums collected to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is one of the parameters used to assess the level of development of the insurance sector in a country. In 2021-22, insurance penetration in India stood at 4.2 percent (life insurance penetration at 3.2 percent and general insurance, including health, at 1 percent). This is quite low when compared to other developed economies such as the US and Canada (11.4 percent) and advanced Europe, Middle-east and African regions (8 percent).
Subject : Science and Tech
Section: Space technology
Since beginning operations last year, the James Webb Space Telescope has provided an astonishing glimpse of the early history of our universe, spotting a collection of galaxies dating to the enigmatic epoch called cosmic dawn.
What is the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)?
- It is a space telescope being jointly developed by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
- It has taken 30 years and $10bn to develop, and is being described as one of the grand scientific endeavors of the 21st Century.
Where is it placed?
The James Webb Space Telescope will not be in orbit around the Earth, like the Hubble Space Telescope is – it will actually orbit the Sun, 1.5 million kilometres (1 million miles) away from the Earth at what is called the second Lagrange point or L2.
Untangling mystery of earliest galaxy
- The researchers used computer simulations to model how the earliest galaxies evolved, concluding that star formation may have unfolded differently in these galaxies in the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang event 13.8 billion years ago than it does in large galaxies populating the cosmos today.
- Star formation in the early galaxies occurred in occasional big bursts, they found, rather than at a steady pace.
- So these galaxies may have been relatively small, as expected, but might glow just as brightly as genuinely massive galaxies do, giving a deceptive impression of great mass.
- Astronomers can securely measure how bright those early galaxies are because photons (particles of light) are directly detectable and countable, whereas it is much more difficult to tell whether those galaxies are really big or massive. They appear to be big because they are observed to be bright.
- In contrast to forming stars at a nearly constant rate, the star formation activity in those early galaxies went on and off, on and off, with some large fluctuations over time.
- This, in turn, drives large variations in their brightness because the light seen by telescopes like JWST was emitted by the young stars formed in those galaxies.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is constituting a team to start a multi centre research study to assess the effects of providing appropriate take home foods in combination with behavior change intervention to ensure good complementary feeding practice that is nutritionally optimum to meet young children’s nutrient needs.
What is Child Malnutrition?
Child malnutrition may be defined as a pathological state resulting from inadequate nutrition, including:
- Undernutrition (protein-energy malnutrition) due to insufficient intake of energy and other nutrients. There are several sub-forms of undernutrition: wasting, stunting, and underweight.
- Overnutrition (overweight and obesity) due to excessive consumption of energy and other nutrients.
- Hidden hunger i.e., Deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals – often referred to as micronutrients.
Major Factors Contributing to Child Malnutrition in India
- Insufficient Access to Healthy Food: Limited availability and access to nutritious food contribute to both undernutrition and overnutrition, increasing the risks of low birthweight, childhood stunting, and overweight or obesity.
- Feeding Habits and Lack of Nutritional Awareness: Inadequate knowledge about the nutritional value of food, misconceptions, inappropriate child rearing and feeding practices contribute to undernutrition within families.
- Poverty: Poverty restricts the purchasing power of individuals, making it difficult for them to afford an adequate quantity and quality of food for their families. This creates a vicious cycle of poverty, undernutrition, reduced work capacity, low income, and continued poverty.
- Infections: Diseases like malaria, measles, and recurring bouts of diarrhea can precipitate acute malnutrition and exacerbate existing nutritional deficiencies.
- Maternal Anemia: Undernourished mothers often give birth to undernourished babies, leading to a worsening rate of malnutrition. Difficulties in accessing proper nutrition benefits contribute to this issue.
- Migration: Families migrating to cities in search of better livelihoods often find themselves excluded from government schemes that are primarily delivered at the local level.
- Socio-cultural Factors:
- Inequitable Food Distribution within Families: In many poor households, women and young children, especially girls, receive less food compared to economically active male members.
- Large Families: Frequent pregnancies negatively impact the nutritional status of mothers, resulting in low birthweight babies. Additionally, large families often face limited per capita availability of food.
- Poor Quality of Housing, Sanitation, and Water Supply: Inadequate living conditions contribute to ill health, infections, and subsequent malnutrition.
Impacts of Child Malnutrition
- Impaired Physical Growth: Malnutrition, especially undernutrition, can result in stunted growth and delayed physical development.
- Cognitive and Intellectual Impairment: Malnourished children often suffer from cognitive and intellectual impairments, including difficulties with learning, memory, attention, and problem-solving. These effects can hinder educational attainment and limit future opportunities.
- Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases: Malnourished children are at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases later in life, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity.
- Economic impact: Undernutrition reduces economic advancement due to losses in productivity, poorer cognition, and poorer educational outcomes. Iron deficiency reduces children’s ability to learn.
- India loses up to 4% of its gross domestic product and 8% of its productivity due to child malnutrition.
Initiatives taken by Government
- Integrated Child Development Scheme and the Anganwadi system — to provide supplementary nutrition and ration to pregnant and lactating women, run mid-day meal scheme in schools and maternity benefit programme.
- The National Food Security Act 2013 assures food and nutrition security to the vulnerable and that access to food is a legal right.
- National Nutrition Strategy (NITI Aayog) aims to reduce all forms of malnutrition by 2030, with a focus on the most vulnerable and critical age groups.
- POSHAN Abhiyaan to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner.
- Mission POSHAN 2.0 seeks to address the challenges of malnutrition in children, adolescent girls, pregnant women, and lactating mothers.
- Nutrition Education and Awareness: Raising awareness about the importance of balanced diets, optimal infant and young child feeding practices, and the nutritional value of different foods.
- Better Food Systems: Improving children’s nutrition requires food systems to deliver nutritious, safe, affordable, and sustainable diets for all children.
- Diversifying food production: by moving away from mono cropping of major cereals to a system that integrates a variety of food items including small millets, pulses, fruits, and vegetables.
- Fortification of complementary foods and staple foods: with micronutrients can be a cost-effective intervention to combat hidden hunger in children.
- Strengthen Maternal and Child Health Services: Particularly during pregnancy, childbirth, and the early years of a child’s life. This includes providing adequate antenatal care, promoting breastfeeding, ensuring proper nutrition during pregnancy, and delivering essential micronutrients and supplements to mothers and children.
Subject: Science and Tech
Section: Awareness in IT
Context: Leading AI companies are entering a new race to embrace multimodal capabilities.
What is multimodal artificial intelligence?
- Multimodal AI is an innovative approach in the field of AI that aims to revolutionize the way AI systems process and interpret information by seamlessly integrating various sensory modalities.
- Unlike conventional AI models, which typically focus on a single data type, multimodal AI systems have the capability to simultaneously comprehend and utilize data from diverse sources, such as text, images, audio, and video.
- The hallmark of multimodal AI lies in its ability to harness the combined power of different sensory inputs, mimicking the way humans perceive and interact with the world.
The Working of Multimodality
- Multimodal AI Basics: Multimodal AI processes data from various sources simultaneously, such as text, images, and audio.
- DALL.E’s Foundation: DALL.E, a notable model, is built upon the CLIP model, both developed by OpenAI in 2021.
- Training Approach: Multimodal AI models link text and images during training, enabling them to recognize patterns that connect visuals with textual descriptions.
- Audio Multimodality: Similar principles apply to audio, as seen in models like Whisper, which translates speech in audio into plain text.
Applications of multimodal AI
- Image Caption Generation: Multimodal AI systems are used to automatically generate descriptive captions for images, making content more informative and accessible.
- Video Analysis: They are employed in video analysis, combining visual and auditory data to recognize actions and events in videos.
- Speech Recognition: Multimodal AI, like OpenAI’s Whisper, is utilized for speech recognition, translating spoken language in audio into plain text.
- Content Generation: These systems generate content, such as images or text, based on textual or visual prompts, enhancing content creation.
- Healthcare: Multimodal AI is applied in medical imaging to analyze complex datasets, such as CT scans, aiding in disease diagnosis and treatment planning.
- Autonomous Driving: Multimodal AI supports autonomous vehicles by processing data from various sensors and improving navigation and safety.
- Virtual Reality: It enhances virtual reality experiences by providing rich sensory feedback, including visuals, sounds, and potentially other sensory inputs like temperature.
- Cross-Modal Data Integration: Multimodal AI aims to integrate diverse sensory data, such as touch, smell, and brain signals, enabling advanced applications and immersive experiences.
Complex multimodal systems
- Meta introduced ImageBind, a multifaceted open-source AI multimodal system, in May this year. It incorporates text, visual data, audio, temperature, and movement readings.
- The vision is to add sensory data like touch, speech, smell, and brain fMRI signals, enabling AI systems to cross-reference these inputs much like they currently do with text.
- This futuristic approach could lead to immersive virtual reality experiences, incorporating not only visuals and sounds but also environmental elements like temperature and wind.
- The potential of multimodal AI extends to fields like autonomous driving, robotics, and medicine. Medical tasks, often involving complex image datasets, can benefit from AI systems that analyze these images and provide plain-language responses. Google Research’s Health AI section has explored the integration of multimodal AI in healthcare.
- Multimodal speech translation is another promising segment, with Google Translate and Meta’s SeamlessM4T model offering text-to-speech, speech-to-text, speech-to-speech, and text-to-text translations for numerous languages.
The future of AI lies in embracing multimodality, opening doors to innovation and practical applications across various domains.