Daily Current Affairs 07-03-2024

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    Syllabus: GS1/Art and Culture, GS3/ Economy

    • The Narasapur crochet lace craft, Majuli masks and Majuli Manuscript Paintings has got the Geographical Indications (GI) tag.
    • Region: The craft is geographically limited to 19 mandals in West Godavari in the Godavari region of Andhra Pradesh.
    • Background: The women of the farming community of this region started creating highly attractive artefacts from colourful lace, about 150 years ago.
      • In 2004, the first of its kind lace park in India was established here where thousands of crochet lace makers can market their products.
    • Artwork: The lace work is done using thin threads and these are again woven with thin crochet needles of varying sizes.
      • The products are available in vibrant colors like orange, green, blue, whitered, and beige. 
      • The crochet lace products are also exported to countries like the UK, USA, France, etc.

    • Region: Both Majuli Mask of Assam & Assam Majuli Manuscript Painting find its root in the river island district of Majuli of the state.
      • Majuli is the largest river island in the world and the seat of Assam’s neo-Vaishnavite tradition.
    • Art work: These are handmade masks and are traditionally used to depict characters in bhaonas, or theatrical performances with devotional messages under the neo-Vaishnavite tradition.
      • The masks can depict gods, goddesses, demons, animals and birds.
      • The masks are made of bamboo, clay, dung, cloth, cotton, and wood.
    • Background: It was introduced by the 15th-16th century reformer saint Srimanta Sankardeva. 

    • Majuli has 22 sattras, and the mask-making tradition is by and large concentrated in four of them — Samaguri Sattra, Natun Samaguri Sattra, Bihimpur Sattra and Alengi Narasimha Sattra.
      • Sattras are monastic institutions established by Srimanta Sankardev and his disciples as centres of religious, social and cultural reform. 
    • It is a form of painting — also originating in the 16th century — done on sanchi pat, or manuscripts made of the bark of the sanchi or agar tree, using homemade ink.
    • The uniqueness lies in manuscript writing styles—Gargayan script, Kaithall, and Bamunia.
    • These Paintings depict Hindu epic tales, particularly Lord Krishna’s Bhagavata Purana narratives, showcasing cultural heritage and artistic finesse. 
    • The earliest example of an illustrated manuscript is said to be a rendering of the Adya Dasama of the Bhagwat Purana in Assamese by Srimanta Sankardev. 
    • This art was patronised by the Ahom kings. It continues to be practised in every sattra in Majuli.

    • A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. 
    • Geographical Indications are part of the intellectual property rights that come under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
    • In India, Geographical Indications registration is administered by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999.
    • Geographical indications are typically used for agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine and spirit drinks, handicrafts, and industrial products.
    • The registration of a geographical indication is valid for a period of 10 years, it can be renewed from time to time for a further period of 10 years each.
    • It confers legal protection to Geographical Indications in India which in turn boost exports.
    • Prevents unauthorised use of a Registered Geographical Indication by others.
    • It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS3/Science and Technology

    • The IT Ministry sent an advisory to generative AI companies like Google and OpenAI ahead of Lok Sabha Elections.
    • Content Regulation: Intermediaries and platforms are mandated to ensure that the use of Artificial Intelligence models does not allow users to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update, or share any unlawful content, as outlined in IT Act.
    • Electoral Process Integrity: Intermediaries and platforms must ensure that their computer resources do not allow any bias, discrimination, or threats to the integrity of the electoral process.
    • Explicit Permission for Under-Testing AI: The deployment of under-testing or unreliable Artificial Intelligence models on the Indian Internet requires explicit permission from the Government of India.
      • Such models must be labeled to inform users about their potential fallibility or unreliability.
    • User Awareness: Users must be clearly informed, through terms of services and user agreements, about the consequences of engaging with unlawful information on the platform.
    • Labeling for Deepfakes and Misinformation: The companies must also label the AI-generated responses with a permanent unique identifier so that the creator or the first originator of any misinformation or a deepfake could be identified.
    • It is AI algorithms and models designed to generate new content, such as images, text, audio, or even videos, that mimic or resemble human-created content. 
    • These models rely on deep learning architecture and to identify patterns and structures in existing data to create new and original content.
    • Art and Design: It can create unique pieces of art, designs, and even music compositions.
    • Content Creation: It can be used to generate text, including articles, stories, and poetry.
    • Media Production: It can assist in creating realistic images, videos, and special effects for movies and games.
    • Data Augmentation: It can improve data quality by artificially enriching datasets with additional information similar to the original dataset but not previously seen.
    • Generative AI can transform multiple industries applications such as Logistics and Transportation, Travel Industry, Supply Chain, Marketing etc.
    • Lack of transparency of AI tools: AI and deep learning models can be difficult to understand, even for those that work directly with the technology. 
    • AI is not neutral: AI-based decisions are susceptible to inaccuracies, discriminatory outcomes, embedded or inserted bias.
    • Manipulation through Algorithm: Online media and news have become even murkier in light of AI-generated images and videos, AI voice changers as well as deep fakes infiltrating political and social spheres. 
    • Deep Fakes: They incorporate hyper-realistic digital falsification, they can potentially be used to damage reputations, fabricate evidence, and undermine trust in democratic institutions. 
    • Lack of Data Privacy: AI systems often collect personal data to customize user experiences or to help train the AI models.
    • Uncontrollable Self AI: There also comes a worry that AI will progress in intelligence so rapidly that it will act beyond humans’ control — possibly in a malicious manner. 
    • India lacks specific laws to address deepfakes and AI-related crimes, but provisions under the IT Act offer both civil and criminal relief.
    • Section 66E of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) is applicable in cases of deepfake crimes that involve the capture, publication, or transmission of a person’s images in mass media thereby violating their privacy.
      • Such an offence is punishable with up to three years of imprisonment or a fine of ₹2 lakh.
    • Section 66D of the IT Act punishes individuals who use communication devices or computer resources with malicious intent, leading to impersonation or cheating.
      • It carries a penalty of up to three years imprisonment and/or a fine of ₹1 lakh.
    • Sections 67, 67A, and 67B of the IT Act can be used to prosecute individuals for publishing or transmitting deep fakes that are obscene or contain any sexually explicit acts. 
    • As deep fakes and other allied technology become harder to detect, more resources are now accessible to equip individuals against their misuse.
    • AI governance in India cannot be restricted to just a law and reforms have to be centered around establishing standards of safety, increasing awareness, and institution building. 

    Source: IE

    Syllabus: GS2/Governance

    Context

    • In the backdrop of protests across Ladakh, the Centre is mulling granting Article 371-like protection to the Union Territory.

    Background

    • In 2019, the former State of Jammu & Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories — Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh, the latter without a Legislative Assembly.
    • After its special status was removed, several political groups in Ladakh have been demanding that land, employment, and the cultural identity of Ladakh, should be protected under the Sixth Schedule.
    • In 2019, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes recommended the inclusion of Ladakh under the Sixth Schedule. 

    Sixth Schedule

    • The Sixth Schedule under Article 244 provides for the formation of autonomous administrative divisions — Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) — that have some legislative, judicial, and administrative autonomy within a state.
    • This Schedule contains provisions regarding the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
    • The Schedule also gives ARCs and ADCs the power to collect land revenue, impose taxes, regulate money lending and trading, collect royalties from licenses or leases for the extraction of minerals in their areas, and establish public facilities such as schools, markets, and roads.

    Protections offered under Article 371

    • Articles 371 and 371-A through J provide “special provisions” for specific states, often to give representation to certain religious and social groups and to allow these groups to exercise autonomy over their affairs without interference from the state and central governments.
    • Special provisions under Article 371 would allow protections to be extended to the local population of Ladakh.

    Centre’s Opinion

    • Union Home Ministry opines that the main objective of the inclusion of tribal populations under the said schedule is to ensure their overall socio-economic development, which the Union Territory’s administration “has already been taking care of since its creation”.
    • It added that the Ladakh administration had recently increased the reservation for Scheduled Tribes in direct recruitment from 10% to 45%, which would help the tribal population significantly in its development.

    Way Ahead

    • Notably, no region outside the Northeast has been included in the Sixth Schedule. Manipur, which has predominantly tribal populations in some places, the autonomous councils are not included in the Sixth Schedule. 
    • According to the Home ministry, for tribal areas in the rest of the country, there is the Fifth Schedule. So, Ladakh’s inclusion in the Sixth Schedule would be difficult.
    Fifth Schedule of the Indian Constitution

    – In the Article 244(1) of the Constitution: Expression Scheduled Areas means such areas as the President may by order declare to be Scheduled Areas.

    – The President may at any time by order:
    1. Direct that the whole or any specified part of a Scheduled Area shall cease to be a Scheduled Area or a part of such an area.
    2. Increase the area of any Scheduled Area in a State after consultation with the Governor of that State.
    3. On any alteration of the boundaries of a State on the admission into the Union or the establishment of a new State, declare any territory not previously included in any State to be, or to form part of, a Scheduled Area.
    4. Rescind, in relation to any State of States, any order or orders made under these provisions and in consultation with the Governor of the State concerned, make fresh orders redefining the areas which are to be Scheduled Areas.

    Criteria for Declaring Schedule Areas: 
    1. Preponderance of tribal population;
    2. Compactness and reasonable size of the area;
    3. Under-developed nature of the area; and
    4. Marked disparity in economic standard of the people.

    States having Fifth Schedule Areas: At present, 10 States namely Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana have Fifth Schedule Areas.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS3/ Environment

    • The Supreme Court banned tiger safari in the core areas of the Jim Corbett National Park.
    • Tiger safaris will be limited to the peripheral and buffer zones surrounding the national park, offering opportunities for wildlife conservationists while minimizing disruptions to the core habitats.
    • The core forms the Jim Corbett National Park while the buffer zone contains reserve forests as well as Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary.
    • India is currently home to 75 percent of the world’s wild tigers, according to the Status of Tigers 2022 report, and has 54 tiger reserves. 
    • Among Tiger Reserves, Uttarakhand’s Jim Corbett National Park has the highest number of tigers at 260 within the reserve, while 319 tigers utilize the tiger reserve.
    Core Zone & Buffer Zone of Biosphere Reserves

    – It is a large area of land or water that is recognised and protected by UNESCO.

    – The main objective of a biosphere reserve is to promote sustainable development through the conservation of biodiversity, cultural heritage, and sustainable use of natural resources. 

    – The biosphere reserve typically includes three zones:
    1. Core zone: a strictly protected area where human activities are not allowed.
    2. Buffer zone: an area where limited human activities are allowed, including research and eco-tourism.
    3. Transition zone: an area where sustainable development is encouraged, such as farming, forestry, and other human activities.

    – Some examples are Nanda Devi in Uttarakhand, Nokrek in Meghalaya, and Nilgiri spread across Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. 

    – A biosphere reserve may cover multiple national parks and sanctuaries.
    • Unregulated tourism leads to habitat destruction and fragmentation, particularly in ecologically sensitive areas.
      • Tourism infrastructure is blocking tiger and elephant corridors that connect Corbett with adjoining forests. 
    • The disturbance created by tourism disrupts natural behaviors, leads to stress, and negatively impacts reproductive success of wildlife.
    • Tourism contributes to pollution through activities such as vehicle emissions, and improper waste disposal. Pollution can degrade habitats, harm wildlife, and threaten water quality.
    Corbett National Park

    – The Park is located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. 

    – It was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park.  Later it was renamed Corbett National Park after the hunter and naturalist Jim Corbett.

    The rivers that pass through it are Ramganga, Kosi & Sonanadi.

    – The Corbett National Park has been divided into six major different tourism zones: Bijrani Safari Zone, Jhirna Safari Zone, Dhela Safari Zone, Dhikala Zone, Durga Devi Zone, Sitabani Buffer Zone.

    – It is also being honored as the place where Project Tiger was first launched in 1973

    – The park is home to the Royal Bengal Tigers, Himalayan black bears, Indian elephants, crested serpent eagle, blossom-headed parakeet etc.
    • The court highlighted the detrimental impact of establishing a safari in the core area. However, it permitted establishing tiger safaris in the peripheral and buffer zones of the reserved forest Jim Corbett subject to conditions.
    • The Supreme Court’s decision has been taken to ensure a delicate balance between promoting tourism and preserving sensitive ecosystems within the Jim Corbett National Park.

    Source: TOI

    Syllabus: GS3/ Defence

    • The Defence Minister inaugurated the infrastructure projects at the Indian Navy’s Karwar base under Project ‘Seabird.’
    • The Project includes two major piers and seven residential towers. The expansion of the naval base is crucial for accommodating a growing fleet and enhancing operational capabilities.
    • The first phase of Project Seabird, concluded in 2011, was designed to accommodate 10 ships.
    • The Phase-IIA of the project includes berthing facilities for 32 ships and submarines, along with 23 yardcraft.
    • It is a naval infrastructure project which entails the creation of a naval base at Karwar (Karnataka) on the west coast of India.
    • It was approved in 1999 following the Pokhran-II by the then Union Defence Minister George Fernandes.
    • Post-Indo-Pak War of 1971, there felt a need for an additional naval base since Mumbai Harbour faced congestion, which led to security issues for its Western Fleet. 

    Source: ET

    Syllabus: GS3/ S&T

    • Recently, customers at a Gurgaon restaurant were hospitalized after consuming dry ice mistaken as mouth freshener.
    • It is solid carbon dioxide (CO2) at a temperature of approximately -78.5°C (-109.3°F).
    • It is formed by compressing and cooling gaseous carbon dioxide until it reaches its solid state without passing through the liquid phase (Sublimation process).
    • It is commonly used as a cooling agent in various applications, such as preserving perishable items.
    • Direct contact with dry ice can cause frostbite or burns due to its extremely low temperature.

    Source: TOI

    Syllabus: GS4/ Ethics

    • Abhijit Gangopadhyay resigned as the Calcutta High Court judge and joined the Political Party to contest election.
    • This raises the concerns about judicial propriety and impartiality. As, he had presided over several cases involving corruption in the recruitment of State-run schools, directed CBI investigations and other cases.
    • He criticized the ruling TMC about the corruption that was rampant in the state. He also said that he was not able to reach out to the common people from the courtroom.
    • With the former judge joining active politics, the Trinamool Congress leadership has raised questions of political bias behind the orders delivered by Mr. Gangopadhyay.
    • In general, his entry into politics compromises the integrity of his judicial legacy.
    • According to experts, such actions not only damage the credibility of the judiciary but also violate the Constitutional principles, especially Article 50, which stipulates the separation of the judiciary from the executive. 
    • There is apprehension that the prospects post-retirement might impact judgments made before retirement, and the constitution does not provide guidance on post-retirement rehabilitation.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS2/ Governance

    • SC upholds Rajasthan rule barring those with more than 2 kids from police force.
    • Rule 24(4) of the Rajasthan Police Subordinate Service Rules, 1989, which stipulates a maximum limit of two children per candidate, is non-discriminatory and constitutional.
      • Rajasthan has a law which bars persons over two children on or after June 1, 2002 or male candidates with more than one living wife to be appointed in the Subordinate Police Services.
    • “Population control and family planning” is a subject on the concurrent list, which contains matters both the Centre and the states can legislate on. Thus, several states have made laws to push for the family planning to opt two child policy. 
    • In Javed vs. the State of Haryana, SC upheld the Haryana Municipal (Second Amendment) Act, 1994, and consequently affirmed the two child-policy for holding the offices of sarpanch or up-sarpanch in the state.
    • The Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Act 1994 disqualifies those with over two children from contesting elections as a panch or a member.
    • The Odisha Zilla Parishad Act, 1991, bars those with more than two children from contesting.
    • The Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Act, 1962, disqualifies those with more than two children from contesting elections for bodies of local self-governance, like panchayats, municipalities, and municipal corporations.

    Source: IE

    Syllabus: GS3/ Science and Technology

    • Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation stone of the second rocket launchport of ISRO at Kulasekarapattinam, in Tamil Nadu.
    • The trajectory followed by all launches from Satish Dhawan Space Centre are longer as they follow a path which requires the vehicle to skirt eastwards around Sri Lanka before taking the actual southward flight. This consumes additional fuel.
    • However, the same would not be required for future launches from Kulasekarapattinam, which is geographically located several kilometers to the west of Colombo, thereby allowing a straight southward flight and simultaneously saving the fuel available onboard SSLV.
    • The new launchport will provide a natural advantage to ISRO’s future launches pertaining to the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).

    • SSLV is the small satellite launch vehicle developed by ISRO to cater for the launch of small satellites weighing between 10 to 500kg into the Low Earth Orbit.
    • It has a three-stage launch vehicle, having a lift-off weight of about 120 tonnes and is 34 meters in length and 2 meters in diameter. 
    • They are low on cost and intended satellite insertion into orbits takes a shorter flight time.

    Source: IE

    Syllabus: GS3/Economy, Agriculture

    • The Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has launched the ‘e-Kisan Upaj Nidhi’.
    • It aims to prevent distress sale by farmers.
    • e-Kisan Upaj Nidhi’ initiative will ease the farmers’ warehousing logistics with the help of technology and aid the farmers in receiving fair prices for their produce. 
    • Its simplified digital process can ease the procedure of farmers’ storage at any registered Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) warehouse for a period of 6 months at 7% interest per annum. 
    • It was constituted in 2010 under the Warehousing (Development and Regulation) Act, 2007.
    • It is a Statutory Authority under the Department of Food and Public Distribution.
    • The mission of WDRA is to establish a negotiable warehouse receipt system in the country.

    Source: PIB

    Syllabus: GS3/ Infrastructure

    • Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s first under-river metro tunnel in Kolkata.
    • The metro tunnel is part of the East-West Metro corridor and passes under the Hooghly River, between Howrah Maidan and Esplanade.
    • The stretch also has the deepest metro station in the country — the Howrah metro station at around 32 metres below the ground.
    • The first underground metro operation in India was started in Kolkata in 1984.
    • The metro network in India is currently the third biggest in the world after the USA and China.
    • It is the western distributary of the Ganges and the vast majority of the water that flows into the Hooghly River is provided by the man-made Farakka Feeder Canal.
    • The upper riparian zone of the river is called the Bhagirathi while the lower riparian zone is called the Hooghly.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS1/History and Culture

    • Tamil Nadu Governor recent remarks about the 19th-century social reformer Ayya Vaikundar have evoked sharp reactions in the state.
    • He was born in 1809 and is the founder of the Ayyavazhi sect, primarily in southern Tamil Nadu. 
    • His teachings focused on equality, fraternity, and the eradication of caste-based discrimination, challenging the established religious and social hierarchies of the time.
    • He organized Samapanthi-bhojana or community eateries for people from all backgrounds. He would send his disciples to the homes of lower castes to eat with them.
    • When lower castes were not allowed to fetch water from wells used by upper caste Hindus, Vaikundar initiated the digging of common wells, called Muthirikinarus.
    • Vaikundar also encouraged all devotees to wear turbans and dhotis, promoting equality. 
    • He pioneered education for the lower castes and opposed discriminatory taxes. One of his significant interventions was the introduction of simplified, inclusive marriage customs without a Brahmin priest or Sanskrit mantras.
    • He established Nizhal Thangals as community worship spaces, which did not have any idol or deity, and only Tamil was used for worship.
      • These community worship centers also had community kitchens and even basic schools.

    Source: IE

    • Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports organised the inaugural of the finals of the National Youth Parliament Festival, 2024
    • Yatin Bhaskar Duggal from Haryana won the first prize in the National Youth Parliament Festival, 2024.
    • First National Youth Parliament Festival was organized in 2019.
    • The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports through the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and National Service Scheme (NSS) has been organizing the Youth Parliament. 
    • Aim: These Youth Parliaments are aimed at strengthening the roots of democracy; inculcate healthy habits of discipline, tolerance of the view of others and to enable youths to know about practices and procedures of the Parliament. 

    Source: AIR