Daily Current Affairs 04-03-2024

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    Syllabus: GS3/Economy/Agriculture

    • The government’s latest Household Consumption Expenditure Survey (HCES) for 2022-23 shows milk emerging as India’s top food spend item.
    • The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) under Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has been conducting household surveys on consumption/consumer expenditure at regular intervals as part of its rounds, normally of one-year duration.
    • Since 1972, NSSO has been conducting the Consumer Expenditure Survey.
    • It  is designed to collect information on consumption of goods and services by the households. 
    • The income levels of both the Urban and Rural households have risen since the last survey, with Rural households showing a sharper growth in spending.
    • Of the total expenditure, 46% was spent on food items in Rural households and 39% in Urban homes in 2022-23.
    • The monthly value of milk and dairy products consumed by an average person in rural India, at Rs 314, was ahead of vegetables, cereals, egg, fish & meat, fruits, edible oil, spices and pulses.
    • For urban India also Milk (Rs 466) emerged as top item followed by fruits, vegetables, cereals, egg, fish & meat, edible oil, spices and pulses.
    Milk Production in India

    – India is the largest producer of milk in the world, contributing 24% of global milk production in 2021-22.
    The top 5 milk-producing states are: Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh,  Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh together contribute 53% of total milk production in the country.
    • Inflation: The price of milk has gone up from Rs 42 to Rs 60 per litre in the last five years, according to the department of consumer affairs.
    • Rising Input Cost: The cost of fodder, feed and raw materials/ingredients have increased significantly.
      • Dairies have had to hike procurement prices paid to farmers and, in turn, pass-through the same to consumers.
    • Purchasing Limit of Consumer: There’s a limit to how much more the consumer can pay for milk without it causing demand destruction.
    • If farmer incomes are to be raised without shrinking domestic demand and eroding the global competitiveness of the Indian dairy industry, the only solution is to reduce the cost of milk production.
    White Revolution

    – The White Revolution in India, also known as Operation Flood, was a significant dairy development program implemented to enhance milk production and address the country’s milk scarcity issues. 
    – It was launched in 1970 by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) under the leadership of Dr. Verghese Kurien, often referred to as the “Father of the White Revolution.”
    • Improved Breeding and Genetics: Investing in high-yield dairy cattle breeds can increase milk production efficiency.
      • Cross-breeding programs aimed at developing more resilient and higher-yielding breeds suitable for Indian conditions can be beneficial.
    • Nutrition Management: Providing balanced and cost-effective feed and nutrition to dairy animals can enhance milk yield while reducing input costs. 
    • Modals for Reducing the cost of Fodder: Amul is putting up a 30-tonnes-per-day Total Mixed Ration (TMR) plant at Sarsa in Anand.
      • TMR will contain dry and green fodder, along with concentrates, vitamins and mineral mixtures, in a ready-to-eat mashed form for animals. 
      • It would save farmers the cost of purchasing and storing fodder separately, and administering it in addition to cattle feed.
    • Healthcare and Disease Management: Ensuring proper healthcare and disease control measures for dairy animals can prevent losses due to diseases and improve overall productivity. 
    • Cooperative Farming and Collective Bargaining: Encouraging small-scale dairy farmers to form cooperatives can help them access resources, infrastructure, and markets more effectively. 
    • Government Support and Policy Reforms: Government policies that provide subsidies for essential inputs like feed, veterinary care, and equipment can significantly reduce production costs for dairy farmers.
    • Research and Development: Investing in research and development aimed at developing innovative and cost-effective solutions for dairy farming challenges can lead to long-term improvements in productivity and cost reduction.
    • Rashtriya Gokul Mission: It was launched in 2014, to conserve and develop indigenous cattle breeds.
      • Aim: To enhance the productivity and genetic improvement of indigenous cattle.
    • National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD): NPDD has been in place since 2014 and aims to build or strengthen infrastructure for the production of high-quality milk as well as for the procurement, processing, and marketing of milk and milk products through the State Implementing Agency or State Cooperative Dairy Federation. 
    • Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (DEDS):  DEDS is being implemented by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fisheries to create self-employment opportunities in the dairy industry.
      • It provides financial assistance to individuals for setting up small to medium-scale dairy ventures.
      • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development is carrying out the programme.
    • National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP): It is a flagship scheme launched in 2019 for control of Foot & Mouth Disease and Brucellosis by vaccinating 100% cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population.
    • National Livestock Mission (NLM): The NLM, launched by the Ministry of Agriculture, aims to ensure sustainable development of the livestock sector, including dairy farming.
      • It focuses on increasing the productivity of livestock, improving their health, and providing support for fodder and feed resources.
    • Faster vaccination drives to overcome situations like Lumpy skin disease death. 
    • Robust and effective value chain to overcome the supply chain disruption to maintain the demand for milk and milk products. 
    • By implementing strategies in a coordinated manner, it’s possible to reduce the cost of milk production in India while improving the livelihoods of dairy farmers and ensuring a sustainable and thriving dairy industry.

    Source: IE

    Syllabus: GS2/Governance

    • The State Legislative Assembly passed the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2024.
    • The  Bill proposes to collect 5% from temples whose gross income is between ₹10 lakh and less than ₹one crore and  10% of the funds for temples whose annual income is above ₹1 crore.
    • These funds will be put into a Common Pool Fund, administered by ‘Rajya Dharmika Parishath’.
    • The Common Pool Fund is proposed to be used for the welfare of archakas/priests (like insurance cover, death relief fund, and scholarship to children from families of priests and other employees) and the upkeep of ‘C’ category temples (state-controlled) whose annual income is less than ₹5 lakh.
    • In Telangana, religious institutions making more than ₹50,000 annually are required to pay 1.5% of their annual income to the state government.
    • In Kerala, temples are managed by state-run Devaswom (temple) Boards.
    • In Uttarakhand, 51 temples and shrines including Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri were freed from the state government’s control in 2021.
    • In 1927 the Justice Party enacted the Madras Hindu Religious Endowments Act, 1927. 
    • In 1950, the Law Commission of India suggested that law should be passed to check the misuse of funds and properties of temples. 
    • The Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (TNHR&CE) Act, was enacted, but its constitutional validity was challenged before the Supreme Court.
      • In the landmark Shirur Mutt case, the Court upheld the overall law, though it struck down some provisions. A revised TNHR&CE Act was legislated in 1959 and holds the field today.
    • In 1960, the Government of India constituted the Hindu Religious Endowments Commission chaired by Dr. C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar
      • The objective was to inquire into matters connected with Hindu Public Religious Endowments. 
    • The Commission declared that government control over temples was essential to prevent maladministration and observed that the absence of enactments regulating administration of Hindu temples in some States led to “general apathy and consequent neglect of the institutions”. 

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS2/Governance

    • A tripartite agreement was signed between the Centre, the State government of Tripura and the Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (Tipra Motha) and other stakeholders, to amicably resolve all issues of indigenous people of Tripura.
    • The Tipra Motha’s demands include a “Greater Tipraland”,  a separate state for Tripura’s tribals which seeks to include those living outside the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) area as well. 
    • The party has also sought more powers for the TTAADC  including;
      • Direct funding from the Centre, its own police force, 
      • Share of revenue from gas exploration in the state,
      • Roman script to be declared as the official script for the indigenous Kokborok language.
    • Tripura was a kingdom ruled by the Manikya dynasty from the late 13th century until the signing of the Instrument of Accession with the Indian government in 1949.
    • The demand mainly stems from the anxiety of the indigenous communities who have become a minority in the state.
      • From 63.77 per cent in 1881, the population of the tribals in Tripura was down to 31.80 per cent by 2011.
    • Also the indigenous people have also been dislodged from land reserved for them by the penultimate king of the Manikya dynasty Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman.
    • TTAADC was formed under the sixth schedule of the Constitution in 1985 to ensure development and secure the rights and cultural heritage of the tribal communities.
    • The TTAADC has legislative and executive powers and covers nearly two-third of the state’s geographical area. 
    • Regional extent: It includes the region under Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous district Council (TTAADC) and 36 villages out of it, within the Tripura State boundaries.
    • Demand of Tipra Motha: It is demanding that this area should be carved out as a State or a Union Territory for the 19 indigenous tribes of Tripura under Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution.
    • Applicable to the idea doesn’t restrict to simply the Tripura tribal council areas but seeks to include ‘Tiprasa’ of Tripuris spread across different states of India like Assam, Mizoram etc. as well, even those living in Bandarban, Chittagong, Khagrachari and other bordering areas of neighboring Bangladesh.
    Constitutional Provisions for the formation of new States

    – As per Article 2 “Parliament may, from time to time, by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit”.
    – The procedure for the formation of new States laid down in Article 3 provides that a State has no say over the formation of new States beyond communicating its views to Parliament.
    – Parliament may create new states in a number of ways, namely by;
    a. Separating territory from any State
    b. Uniting two or more States
    c. Uniting parts of States
    d. Uniting any territory to a part of any State.

    – Parliament’s power under Article 3 extends to increasing or diminishing the area of any State and altering the boundaries or name of any State.
    – A Bill calling for the formation of new States may be introduced in either House of Parliament only on the recommendation of the President.
    – Such a bill must be referred by the President to the concerned State Legislature for expressing its views to Parliament if it contains provisions that affect the areas, boundaries or name of that State.

    Source: IE

    Syllabus: GS2/Issues Related to Education

    • Many countries including China, Japan, and Russia have committed substantial resources to elevate the statuses of their universities to “world class”
    • Some universities worldwide have pulled out of being ranked, over concerns about the incentives the systems set up and their compatibility with the universities’ own aspirations. 
    • At present, the Times Higher Education (THE), the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), the Academic Ranking of World Universities and the U.S. News & World Report are the most popular rankings schemes worldwide.
    • They hold significant weight and influence in shaping educational policies and priorities in the higher education sector in many countries.
    • A ranking system orders the higher education institutes in a place (country, region, etc.) by their accomplishments on various fronts — including teaching, research, reputation, industry-focused research, and collaborative efforts. 
    • Unidimensional: In 2021, Elizabeth Gadd, a research officer at Loughborough University in the U.K., published a critique in which she reported that universities’ quests for higher ranking mirrors the flawed pursuit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the sole measure of a country’s prosperity.
      • According to Dr. Gadd, university rankings, like GDP, distill complex roles that universities play in society into a single, unidimensional score.
    • Over-represented: Experts have noticed that the highest ranked universities in various ranking systems are old, large, wealthy, research-intensive, science-focused, English-speaking, and in the Global North.
    • Arbitrary measures: Studies have also shown that higher scores in research excellence in rankings are influenced to a great degree by two factors: citations and reputation.
      • For example Bielefeld University leaped from 250th to 166th in the 2020 THE rankings. The jump has been attributed to a single scholar’s work, who published 10 papers, co-authored with hundreds of other researchers. These citations are not spurious but over-represented.
    • Manipulation: Citations can dramatically alter an entire university’s performance in the rankings.
      • For example, in 2023, Science reported the case of Saveetha Dental College in Chennai rocketing up the ranking ladder allegedly by manipulating citations.
    • Favoritism: In 2016, Richard Holmes, an expert in ranking systems, wrote that THE’s regional rankings appeared to favour universities that hosted an important THE summit. 
    • Conflicts of interest: Most entities that compile and publish rankings are private enterprises, and there have been instances of these entities consulting with universities to help the latter achieve better ranks in their own systems.
    • Data security: By participating in ranking exercises, universities and institutes provide ranking agencies free reign over their data, compromising their data security.
    • As the UN University’s statement on ‘Global University Rankings’ reads: “While rankings may have incentivised some improvement in the quality of some universities, there is growing recognition that they also incentivise a number of perverse and harmful behaviours and produce systemic long-term negative effects.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS3/Science and Technology

    • Scientists have identified the genetic mechanism behind the tailless evolution in humans and apes about 25 million years ago.
    • Gene TBXT: The gene TBXT is involved with tail length in certain animals. The gene was missing in humans, not because of mutation, but by another genetic code “snippet” known as AluY.
    • Snippet AluY: It was randomly inserted into early humans and non-tailed apes during prehistoric times. The new gene was shown to affect tail lengths. 
      • AluY snippets are also called “jumping genes” or “mobile elements” because they can move around and insert themselves repeatedly and randomly in human code.
    • TBXT + AluY Snippet: When paired with TBXT, it formed two types of ribonucleic acid – critical to cellular structure – that produced tail loss in people and apes.
    • For many vertebrates, a tail has helped with functions like locomotion. 
    • They help creatures of all kinds maintain balance as they move across different environments. 
    • Tails also act as a communication tool, allowing animals to send signals to each other during social interactions. 
    • In some species, tails are even essential for regulating body temperature or defending themselves against threats. 
    • They include humans, the great apes – chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans – and the lesser apes – gibbons. 
    • The earliest-known hominoid, called Proconsul, was tailless.
    • Traces of a tail remain in humans: A bone at the base of the spinal column called the coccyx, or tailbone, is formed from fused remnants of tail vertebrae.
    • Freed from the constraints of a tail, humans developed enhanced balance and mobility, crucial for bipedalism.
    • This adaptation facilitated a more upright posture, allowing for the use of hands in tool-making, foraging, and social communication.
    • The evolutionary success of humans and apes without tails underscores the advantages of this trait in navigating the terrestrial and arboreal environments they inhabited.
    • Significance: The loss of the tail is not just a matter of physical appearance but signifies a deeper evolutionary strategy, adapting to new environments and ways of moving.
      • This research sheds light on how evolution affects both our body features and risk of certain health problems.
      • This new way of thinking opens doors for further research into the genes and evolutionary history of diseases. 

    Source: IE

    Syllabus: GS1/Geography

    Context

    • Schmidt Ocean Institute has discovered Four new Seamount while traveling from Costa Rica to Chile.

    About

    • The mountains  discovered range in size from around 1,591 meters high to around 2,681 meters.

    What is a seamount?

    • A seamount is an underwater mountain with steep sides rising from the seafloor.
    • When volcanoes form on the seafloor, they build up over time as they erupt volcanic lava that cools to become basalt.
    • If a volcano grows in height and volume enough to reach the ocean’s surface, it becomes a volcanic island.
      • Example: Islands of Hawaii

    Guyot

    • When a seamount breaches the sea surface, waves and other sub-aerial processes (wind, rainfall, weathering) will cause erosion of the volcano. 
    • Over time, these processes will erode the flanks and top of the seamount/island, eventually forming a flat shelf to form a guyot.

    Significance of Seamounts

    • The seamounts provide a hard substrate for marine organisms such as deep-sea corals and sponges to attach. 
    • It also provides vital habitat for marine invertebrates like brittle stars and squat lobsters to live on and act as nurseries for deep-sea fish.
    • The seamounts also influence the flow of deeper waters, which results in the upwelling of nutrient-rich waters towards the sea surface. 

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS1/Modern Indian History

    Context

    • It is observed that the Pakistan National Day, the day the Lahore Resolution was adopted by the Muslim League to be celebrated in New Delhi.

    About the Lahore Resolution (aka the Pakistan Resolution)

    • It is a landmark document in the history of Pakistan, and was a formal political statement adopted by the All-India Muslim League during its three-day general session in Lahore from March 22 to March 24, 1940.
    • It was written and prepared by Muhammad Zafarullah Khan.
      • He sounded for an independent state for India’s Muslims.
    • It declared that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to Muslims unless it is designed on the following basic principle:
      • “Geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North-Western and Eastern Zones of India, should be grouped to constitute “Independent States” in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign.”
    • The resolution does not include the word ‘Pakistan’ anywhere, and some have even debated if its text calls for one separate nation or two.

    Aftermath and Legacy

    • The Lahore Resolution marked a significant shift in the political landscape of the Indian subcontinent.
    • It was the moment when Muhammad Ali Jinnah, once a proponent of Hindu-Muslim unity, irrevocably transformed himself for the cause of a separate Muslim homeland called Pakistan.
    • In 1956, on the same day, the country officially adopted its first Constitution, which transformed the Dominion of Pakistan to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
      • Between 1960 and 1968, the Minar-e-Pakistan was built at the site where the resolution was adopted.

    Source: Indian Express

    Syllabus: GS2/Governance

    Context

    • Recently, the Supreme Court of India issued the contempt notice and passed an interim order imposing a ban on advertisements of Patanjali Ayurved’s medicines.
      • Earlier, the Central Consumer Protection Authority has also issued guidelines to curb misleading advertising in the coaching field.

    About

    • The Allegations: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) had accused Patanjali of carrying out a smear campaign against modern medicine and vaccination.
      • The company was also alleged to have continued issuing advertisements about the efficacy of its medicines, which is prohibited under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act of 1954 and the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
    • Impacts:
      • It serves as a reminder that misleading claims about medicinal products are not only unethical but also illegal.
      • It highlights the role of regulatory bodies and the judiciary in ensuring that companies adhere to advertising laws and regulations.

    Consumer Protection Act, 2019 

    • This Act replaced The Consumer Protection Act, 1986, and seeks to widen its scope in addressing consumer concerns.
    • The new Act recognises offences such as providing false information regarding the quality or quantity of a good or service, and misleading advertisements.
    • The Act came into force in July 2020 and it will empower consumers and help them in protecting their rights through its various notified rules and provisions.

    Central Consumer Protection Authority 

    • Section 10 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019  establishes the Central Consumer Protection Authority which seeks to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers as a class.
    • Powers & Functions of CCPA: It is empowered to:
      • conduct investigations into violation of consumer rights and institute complaints / prosecution
      • order recall of unsafe goods and services
      • order discontinuation of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements
      • impose penalties on manufacturers/endorsers/publishers of misleading advertisements.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS3/Defence

    In Context

    • In the 2024 Raisina Dialogue, India’s Chief of Defence Staff mentioned that grey zone warfare is the latest informal warfare.

    About

    • Grey zone warfare generally means a middle, unclear space that exists between direct conflict and peace in international relations.
    • It includes criminal economic activities, influence operations, and cyberattacks to mercenary operations, assassinations, disinformation campaigns, debt traps and economic sanctions.
    • Reasons for engaging in such tactics include the projection of strength, and to normalise disputed territorial claims by repeatedly marking a presence in those regions.
    • Some Examples of Grey Zone Warfare are:
      • The Chinese military’s presence in the South China Sea.
      • Taiwan has complained for four years of stepped-up Chinese military action, such as fighters regularly flying over the strait as part of a ‘grey zone’ strategy to wear down Taiwan with activities that stop short of a full-blown conflict.
      • The US has also engaged in similar tactics. These include its economic sanctions against China and imposition of duties on Chinese imports to the US.

    Source: IE

    Syllabus: Environment and Conservation

    In Context

    • Union Minister of MoPSW & AYUSH inaugurated the 60T bollard pull tug named ‘Ocean Grace’ and the Medical Mobile Unit (MMU).

    About

    • The Ocean Grace is the first make in India ASTDS (Approved Standardised Tug Design and Specification) Tug developed by the Cochin Shipyard Limited under MoPSW. 
    • The Medical Mobile Unit (MMU) is part of port’s commitment to corporate social responsibility. 

    Green Tug Transition Programme (GTTP)

    • The goal of the GTTP is to convert at least 50% of all tugs into Green Tugs by 2030 and to have Green Tugs operating at all major ports.
    • It will convert all tugboats working in the country into ‘Green Hybrid Tugs’, running on non-fossil fuel like Methanol, Ammonia, Hydrogen.
    • By implementing measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, domestic/short sea shipping ferries, port vessels (tugs/crafts/dredgers) India aims to achieve a remarkable reduction of 50% by 2030 to 70% by 2047.

    Source: PIB

    Syllabus: GS3/Environment

    Context

    • Every year on 3rd of March, the entire world celebrates World Wildlife Day to spread awareness regarding sustainable practices for conserving biodiversity.

    History

    • The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in December 2013 and designated March 3 as World Wildlife Day in 2014. 
    • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), was signed on this day in 1973.
    • CITES is a global agreement to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

    World Wildlife Day 2024

    • The WWF Environmental Information and Assessment Center Program (EIACP PC-RP), operating under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, marked the day at the Okhla Bird Sanctuary.
    • Theme: “Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation”.
    Okhla Bird Sanctuary

    – The bird Sanctuary is at the Okhla barrage over Yamuna River. 
    – It is situated in Noida, Gautam Buddh Nagar district, on Delhi-Uttar Pradesh state border.

    Source: PIB

    Syllabus: GS2/India and its Neighbourhood Relations

    In News

    • Shehbaz Sharif was elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan by the country’s National Assembly. 

    About

    • Sharif’s election follows contentious parliamentary elections that took place on February 8th. The electoral process was marred by allegations of manipulation and the prolonged announcement of results.
    • The newly formed coalition government has substantial challenges, primarily in addressing the ailing economy. 
    • Pakistan is at risk of debt default due to escalating inflation, diminishing foreign reserves, and a worsening currency crisis. 

    Source: TH