2023 Nobel Peace Prize
Syllabus: GS1/ Literature, Awards
- The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi the 2023 Nobel Prize for Peace.
- She has been awarded “For her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all”.
- The Committee also referred to last year’s protests in Iran against the killing of a young woman named Mahsa Amini while she was in the custody of Iran’s morality police.
Nobel Peace Prize
- The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the original five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine and Literature. It was first awarded in 1901.
- The Peace Prize is the only Nobel Prize not presented in Stockholm (in Sweeden). The recipient is selected by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, a five-member committee appointed by the Parliament of Norway. Since, 2020 the prize will be awarded in the University of Oslo.
- Mother Teresa (1979): She was a Catholic nun and the founder of the Missionaries of Charity. She was born in Skopje (in North Macedonia) and later to India, where she lived most of her life.
- Kailash Satyarthi (2014): He is a social reformer who campaigned against child labor in India and advocated the universal right to education. He is the founder of multiple social activist organizations, including Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
Child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on Social Media
Syllabus: GS2/Vulnerable Sections: Children
- YouTube, Telegram and X (Twitter) have been told to proactively filter child sexual abuse material (CSAM) out “on the Indian Internet” by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology recently.
More about the News
- The notices to the platforms says, they would lose intermediary liability protections if they didn’t take action, meaning that the companies would themselves be open to legal action alongside users who posted CSAM.
Child sexual abuse material (CSAM):
- Child sexual abuse material (child pornography ) refers to any content that depicts sexually explicit activities involving a child.
- Due to rapid technological changes, online child sexual exploitation offenses are increasing in scale and complexity.
- Modern smartphones are the ideal child exploitation tool for offenders, as they can be used to photograph, record, or watch live child sexual abuse; store or access CSAM stored remotely; connect with victims and other offenders; and distribute and receive CSAM.
- The market for CSAM among individuals with a sexual interest in children drives the demand for new and more egregious images and videos.
- The production of CSAM creates a permanent record of the child’s victimization.
Effects of child sexual abuse materials:
Children shown in CSAM are victimized twice: first by the person committing the sexual abuse, and again by those who view it. It affects differently for different childrens.
- Guilt, shame, and blame: Survivors might feel guilty about not having been able to stop the abuse, or even blame themselves if they experienced physical pleasure.
- Intimacy and relationships: It’s possible that first experiences with sex came as a result of sexual abuse. As an adult, intimacy might be a struggle at times. Some survivors experience flashbacks or painful memories while engaging in sexual activity.
- Self-esteem: Survivors may struggle with low self-esteem, which can be a result of the negative messages received from abusers, and from having personal safety violated or ignored.
- Low self-esteem can affect many different areas of a survivor’s life such as in relationships, in careers, and even in a survivor’s overall health.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: It’s normal for survivors of sexual violence to experience feelings of anxiety, stress, or fear. If these feelings become severe, it might be a condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Substance and alcohol abuse: It’s possible for survivors to grow up and rely on alcohol and substances to cope and it can begin in early adolescent years and can last throughout adulthood.
Keeping children safe on the internet:
- Protect identity. Avoid sharing personally-identifying information about oneself and loved ones through social networks. Doing so can lead to unwanted attention and harassment.
- Report inappropriate images. If you receive or view inappropriate or sexual images through text message or online, report it to police or Use a secure Internet connection.
- Be mindful of privacy settings. Check privacy settings, such as location services and contact information, when using social media. Be aware that making data publicly available means anyone can see it.
- Be watchful of physical, behavioral, and emotional signs: To keep an eye on sudden changes in behavior. If a child tells you that someone makes them uncomfortable, even if they can’t say anything specific, listen to them carefully.
- Talk with kids. Help children set up social media accounts. Laying the groundwork for open communication can encourage your child to share about any unusual online conversations or activities down the road.
Elderly population: Challenges & Initiatives
Syllabus: GS1/ Society, GS2/Government Policies & Interventions
- October is the month that hosts both World Elders Day (1st) and Mental Health Day (10th).
Data on elderly population
- Worldwide: There are more older people on the globe now than ever before in the history of humanity.
- In 2022, the number above 60 was 1.1 billion, comprising 13.9 % of the population. By 2050, the number of older people is expected to increase to 2.1 billion, constituting 22%.
- In India: India is not far behind.
- It had 149 million older adults (10.5%) in 2022, this figure will grow to 347 million (20.8%) by 2050 according to projections.
Challenges faced by elderly population
- Dependencies & vulnerabilities: Increased dependency, social isolation, poverty, ageism, pessimism, and nihilism are significant social challenges our elders face.
- They are vulnerable to emotional, physical, sexual, and financial abuse by others. Often, the perpetrators are known to them, commonly a family member.
- Many towns and cities in India are not “elder-friendly“: Many public buildings are inaccessible without ramps or handrails, pavements are non-existent, uneven, or used for parking, and public transport is limited.
- These make access to health care services difficult .
- Many interventions, such as psychosocial treatments, day centres, and particular medicines, are available only to a limited extent in cities.
- Psychological issues: Roughly 15% of elders (22 million in India) have serious mental illness.
- Common mental health problems elders face are depression, anxiety, dementia, and substance use disorders.
- Many elders struggle to accept the changes accompanying ageing.
- Many elderly men especially feel lost and become unproductive after retirement.
- Lack of awareness: Often, elders with mental illness do not seek treatment and the “treatment gap“ is a staggering 90% in India.
- A lack of awareness among the public and healthcare professionals is the main reason for this vast gap.
- Stigmas: Elders with mental illness face the double whammy of stigma associated with ageing and mental illness.
Government initiatives for the protection of Elderly population in India
- The National Policy on Older Persons, 1999: The policy envisages State support to ensure financial and food security, health care, shelter, protection and other needs of older persons to improve quality of their lives.
- The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act: It was enacted in 2007 to ensure need based maintenance of parents and senior citizens and their welfare including shelter, healthcare, protection of life and property, against abandonment etc.
- “National Programme for the Health Care of Elderly”: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is implementing the “National Programme for the Health Care of Elderly”.
- Atal VayoAbhyudayYojana (AVYAY): The Department of Social Justice and Empowerment is implementing AVYAY for senior citizens.
- It has following components for providing different services to senior citizens:
- RashtriyaVayoshriYojana (RVY): For bringing near normalcy in the bodily functions of those BPL senior citizens who suffer from age related disabilities/ infirmities, by providing them with free of cost assisted living devices.
- Special items like wheelchairs with commode, silicon foam cushion etc. are also provided under the Scheme, besides generic items like walking sticks, elbow crutches, hearing aid etc.
- Able Citizens for Re-Employment in Dignity (SACRED) Portal: Many senior citizens have experience, time and energy which can be used by the business enterprises looking for stable employees with experience.
- The Human resources cells of many private enterprises seek experienced but stable persons in certain positions.
- The portal allows bringing these people together by virtual matching of preferences.
- Promoting Silver Economy: To encourage the entrepreneurs to think about the problems of the elderly and come out with innovative solutions, by providing uptoRs. 1 crore as financial assistance in the form of maximum 49% equity participation, through an open invitation on a portal namely Seniorcare Ageing Growth Engine (SAGE).
- The government must frame policies for elders with mental illness, allocate resources, and implement services. We must remember that caring for our elders is everyone’s responsibility.
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
Syllabus: GS2/ International Treaties
- Russia might revoke its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
What is the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)?
- It is a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, whether for military or peaceful purposes; and the improvement of existing nuclear weapon designs.
- Its negotiation started in the 1990s and it opened for signatures in 1996.
- It will enter into force after all 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty have ratified it.
- Once it enters into force, it will be legally binding against nuclear testing.
- CTBT does not explicitly define nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive devices.
- India, China, the USA, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Israel, and Egypt have not ratified CTBT.
How did CTBT come into being?
- According to the United Nations, between 1945 and 1996, more than 2,000 nuclear tests were carried out — 1,032 of them by the United States and 715 of them by the Soviet Union.
- Britain carried out 45 tests, France 210, and China 45.
- The radioactive fallout from those tests drew criticism from around the globe. The international community’s concern about the effects on health and the environment continued to grow.
- In 1963 Limited Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (LTBT) was one of the first such attempts.
- It prohibited nuclear testing in the atmosphere, outer space, and underwater, but underground tests were still permitted.
- A major breakthrough only came after the Cold War ended around 1990 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
- As the geopolitical tensions simmered down, the UN took advantage of the situation and adopted the CTBT, which put a blanket ban on the explosive testing of nuclear weapons.
Did the CTBT stop nuclear testing?
- Since CTBT, 10 nuclear tests have taken place.
- According to the United Nations, India conducted two in 1998, Pakistan also conducted two in 1998, and North Korea conducted tests in 2006, 2009, 2013, and 2016 (twice).
- The United States last tested in 1992, China and France in 1996 and the Soviet Union in 1990.
- Russia, which inherited most of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, has never conducted a nuclear test.
Why has India refused to sign CTBT?
- India believes that it creates a distinction between nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states.
- The treaty allows the five original nuclear weapons states (US, Russia, UK, France, and China) to possess nuclear weapons while prohibiting other countries from acquiring them.
- India sees this as unfair and argues that nuclear disarmament should be with all states being treated equally.
- India’s decision to not sign the CTBT is primarily based on national security considerations. It views nuclear weapons as a deterrent against potential security threats from neighboring countries, especially Pakistan and China.
- India also feels that it would undermine its national security and strategic autonomy, as it would constrain its ability to conduct nuclear tests.
- India maintains that it will only sign the CTBT if it will not adversely impact its national security interests.
Invasive Plant Species
Syllabus: GS3/Conservation of Environment
- About 66 per cent of the country’s natural systems are threatened with invasive species, according to the report.
- The study offered the first account indicating distribution status of high-concern invasive plants spread across the country.
- It noted that 158,000 plots in 358,000 square kilometres of wild area are invaded by alien species.
- The 11 high-concern invasive plant species that showed presence in 20 states of the country included Lantana camara, Prosopis juliflora and Chromolaena odorata.
- The sampling effectively covered 31 percent of savannas, 51 percent of dry deciduous forests, 40 percent of moist deciduous forests, 29 percent of semi-evergreen forests, 44 percent of evergreen forests and 33 percent of moist grassland savannas, the report said.
- The findings from the core tiger populated regions become significant, as the survival of apex predators like tigers depends on abundance of herbivores, which in turn depend on habitats free from the negative impacts of plant invasions.
- The study estimated that loss due to biological invasions would cost the Indian economy up to $182.6 billion.
- High concern invasive plants were recorded in 22 percent natural areas and predicted to potentially threaten 66 percent of natural areas.
- The data indicated that invasive cover increases with temperatures up to a threshold and declines with increasing rainfall, seasonal vegetation opening and human modification index.
- Human modification index is based on 13 anthropogenic sensors that provide a cumulative measure on impact of the human modification of terrestrial lands across the globe.
- The study pointed out that Lantana camara had the largest expanse spread across 574,186 square kilometres, covering 50 percent of natural areas occurring across all natural systems.
- Mikania micrantha had comparatively least expanse stretching over an area of 148,286 square km, covering 13 percent of the natural area.
- Most species depicted the eco-climatic affinity of these plants.
- 94 percent invasion of Prosopis juliflora coincided with dry grassland savannas and dry deciduous forests.
- Species like Senna tora, Xanthium strumarium and Mesosphaerum suaveolens were predominant in dry savannas and deciduous forests, whereas Mikania micrantha and Ageratina adenophora were distributed in moist grasslands and evergreen forests.
- Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in Western Ghats was one of the largest impacted hotspot areas due to invasion dominated by Lantana camara, Prosopis juliflora and Chromolaena odorata.
- Besides, Southern Eastern Ghats were found to host the most densely invaded landscapes with maximum vegetation of Prosopis juliflora and Lantana camara.
- Fragmented forests of Central Indian Highlands were also largely and densely invaded forest systems.
- The scientist said that human modifications, shifting soil moisture regime, historical propagation of invasive plants and altered cycles of natural disturbances are the main driving factors behind the invasions.
- The increasing work population densities and proportional increase of demand for food, infrastructure, energy and socio-ecological drivers further threaten to intensify and possibly escalate the accelerating invasion.
- Increase in invasive species means loss in ecosystem services from forests.
- Further, increased propagules from invasive plants can give rise to a new plant into agricultural areas, and will result in economic losses.
- An increase in the invasive plants which are unpalatable will translate into lack of food and result in reduced carrying capacity for herbivores, eventually causing decline and shortage of food for the apex predators.
- The scientists said that all hope is not lost and strategic high-priority restoration can help manage invasions.
- Managing invasive species demands more than mere removal. It necessitates context-sensitive restoration, stakeholder participation, and adaptive holistic policies that can enable positive changes.
Facts In News
Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD)
Syllabus: GS2/ Important International Institutions
- India has been elected as President of Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) for a Third Successive Term. India had already served two terms as President of AIBD General Conference (GC) from 2018 – 2021 and 2021 – 2023.
- Background: The AIBD was established in 1977 under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
- Founders: The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and UNESCO are the founding organisations of the Institute and they are non-voting members of the General Conference.
- Mandate: It services the countries of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) to achieve a cohesive electronic media environment through policy and resource development.
- Secretariat: It is hosted by the Government of Malaysia and is located in Kuala Lumpur.
- Membership: AIBD currently has 92 member organisations from across 44 countries. India is one of the founding members of AIBD and Prasar Bharati, India’s public service broadcaster is the representative body of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Govt. of India at AIBD.
- The 21st General Conference & Associated Meetings 2023 (GC 2023) of AIBD was held in October, 2023 in Port Louis, Mauritius.
Syllabus: GS3/ Economy
- REC Limited has launched a mobile application named ‘SUGAM REC’.
- This mobile app has been launched exclusively for current and future investors in REC’s 54EC Capital Gain Tax Exemption Bonds. It will offer investors complete details of their investment in REC 54EC Bonds.
- Investors will be able to download their e-bond certificates, apply for fresh investment, download important forms related to updating of KYC, and also connect with REC’s Investor Cell via call / email / WhatsApp.
Section 54EC Bonds
- Section 54EC Bonds are a type of fixed income financial instruments which provide tax exemption under capital gains to investors, under Section 54EC of the Income Tax Act.
- Capital gain is the profit one earns on the sale of an asset like stocks, bonds or real estate. It results in capital gain when the selling price of an asset exceeds its purchase price. It is the difference between the selling price (higher) and cost price (lower) of the asset. Capital loss arises when the cost price is higher than the selling price.
- Governance: REC Limited (formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited) is a ‘Maharatna’ company under the administrative control of the Ministry of Power, Government of India.
- HQ: New Delhi.
- Type of Company: It is registered with RBI as a non-banking finance company (NBFC), Public Financial Institution (PFI) and Infrastructure Financing Company (IFC).
- Background: REC was incorporated in 1969 in the backdrop of severe drought and famine in the country, to energise agricultural pump-sets for irrigation purposes, thereby reducing the dependency of agriculture on monsoons.
- Mandate: REC provides long term loans and other financing products to State, Centre and Private Companies for creation of Power and Non-power infrastructure assets in the country.
- Schemes Managed:
- In the past, REC has been associated as nodal agency for Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGAYA), Deen Dayal Upadhaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and National Electricity Fund (NEF) Scheme.
- REC has also been made the nodal agency for certain states for the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS).
- Bodies under it:
- RECPDCL, (REC Power Development and Consultancy Limited) the wholly owned subsidiary of REC, provides a range of value added consultancy services in the power sector.
- REC Institute of Power Management & Training (RECIPMT) is a Training Institute established at Hyderabad in 1979.
Syllabus: GS3/ Science & Technology, Space
- Amazon has recently launched the first test satellites for its planned internet service under its Project Kuiper.
More about the news
- Amazon has deployed the first pair of prototype satellites for its global internet service into space.
- It was launched along with the United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket.
- This marks the big tech company’s first step before launching thousands of such satellites into space to enable Project Kuiper — the rival to SpaceX’s Starlink.
- Project Kuiper is a planned broadband internet service from low-Earth orbiting satellites.
- It is a subsidiary of Amazon that was established in 2019.
- If Amazon’s test satellites perform as expected, it will deploy 3,236 more satellites in the next few years and offer broadband internet globally.
- In comparison, Starlink already has some 5,000 Starlink satellites in orbit.
- Atlas V is an expendable launch system and the fifth major version in the Atlas launch vehicle family.
- It is being operated by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
- Atlas V is also a major NASA launch vehicle.
- Starlink is a satellite constellation that comprises thousands of small satellites in low-Earth orbit.
- SpaceX first began sending them into space in 2019.
- Currently, there are around 5,000 of these satellites that send internet signals to designated ground receivers.
- According to a report published by DW, SpaceX plans to “expand the network to up to 12,000 satellites, with a possible extension to 42,000”.
- Required infrastructure: Unlike traditional internet providers, Starlink doesn’t require any ground infrastructure.
- One just needs to have a small satellite dish or a receiver device to access high-speed internet, much like satellite TV.
- Accessibility: The company also has a mobile application for Android and iOS that uses augmented reality to help customers choose the ideal location and position for their receivers.
Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL)
Syllabus: GS3/ Economy
- The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has ruled that the Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) belongs to Telangana.
- This brings to an end the stalemate prevailing over the division of assets pertaining to the public sector mining company between the two Telugu States Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as part of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.
- The Home Ministry ruled that only one coal block Naini, which is situated in Odisha has been allocated to SCCL under the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015. No other coal blocks of SCCL are found in any other state.
Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL)
- Ownership: It is a Government coal mining company jointly owned by the Government of Telangana and Government of India on a 51:49 equity basis.
- Nomenclature: It is named after the village Singareni in khammam district, Telangana where the coal mines are first noticed. Colleries means a coal mine and all the infrastructure that is part of it.
- Area covered: The Singareni coal reserves stretch across 350 Km of the Pranahita – Godavari Valley of Telangana.
- The Pranahita River is the largest tributary of the Godavari River.
- The River begins at the confluence of two rivers (the Wardha and the Wainganga) on the border between the states of Maharashtra and Telangana.
Creation of New districts
Syllabus: GS2/ Polity & Governance
- Rajasthan Chief Minister announced the formation of three new districts – Malpura, Sujangarh and Kuchaman – taking the total number of districts to 53.
- While Malpura will be carved out of the existing Tonk district, Sujangarh will be created from Churu and Kuchaman from Nagaur.
Process of creating new districts:
- The power to create new districts or alter or abolish existing districts rests with the State governments.
- Process: This can either be done through an executive order or by passing a law in the State Assembly. Many States prefer the executive route by simply issuing a notification in the official gazette.
- Reason: States argue that smaller districts lead to better administration and governance.
Role of Central government:
- The Centre has no role to play in the alteration of districts or creation of new ones. States are free to decide.
- The Home Ministry only comes into the picture when a State wants to change the name of a district or a railway station.
- The State government’s request is sent to other departments and agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau, Department of Posts, Geographical Survey of India Sciences and the Railway Ministry seeking clearance. A no-objection certificate may be issued after examining their replies.
How Many Districts in India?
- Past Trends: The number of districts in the country has been going up steadily over the years. The 2001 Census recorded 593 districts, which went up to 640 in 2011. India currently has more than 775 districts.
- Highest Number of Districts: Uttar Pradesh has the most districts (75) in the country, followed by Madhya Pradesh (52).
- Lowest Number of Districts: Among states, Goa has only 2 districts. Among union Territories, Ladakh has 2 districts and Chandigarh and Lakshadweep have one each.