Daily Current Affairs – 08-07-2023

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    Criminal Defamation

    Syllabus: GS2/ Indian Polity, Juiciary

    In News

    • The Gujarat High Court has dismissed Rahul Gandhi’s plea seeking a stay on his conviction in a criminal defamation case in which he has been sentenced to two years in prison.

    Background

    • On March 23, 2023, Surat court found Rahul guilty of criminal defamation of PM Modi under IPC Section 500, and gave him the maximum sentence allowed under that section, which is two years in jail. 
    • The court’s decision triggered Section 8(3) of The Representation of the People Act, 1951, which states: “A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release.”
    • In consequence, on March 24, the Lok Sabha Secretariat issued a notification saying that Rahul stood disqualified from the House with effect from March 23, the date of his conviction.

    What is Defamation?

    • It is an injury to the reputation of a person resulting from a statement that is false.
    • Anyone who feels he or she has been wrongly accused of something by someone in public, through words or gestures, spoken, written, or by inference can file a defamation suit in a court of law claiming that the accusation leveled deals a blow to his/her reputation.
    • IPC Section 499 lays down the definition of defamation and Section 500 lays down the punishment for criminal defamation.
    • Types of defamation:
    1. Civil defamation: Under this, a person who is defamed can move either High Court or subordinate courts and seek damages in the form of monetary compensation. There is no punishment in the form of a jail sentence.
    2. Criminal Defamation: Under this, the person against whom a defamation case is filed might be sentenced to two years’ imprisonment or fined or both.

    Concerns related to the defamation 

    • Freedom of speech and expression of media is important for a vibrant democracy and the threat of prosecution alone is enough to suppress the truth. 
    • Many times the influential people misuse this provision to suppress any voices against them.
    • The criminal provisions have often been used purely as a means of harassment.
    • The right to reputation cannot be extended to collectives such as the government, which has the resources to set right damage to their reputations.
    • It goes against the global trend of decriminalizing defamation, many countries, including neighbouring Sri Lanka, have decriminalized defamation. 
    • In 2011, the Human Rights Committee of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights called upon states to abolish criminal defamation, noting that it intimidates citizens and makes them shy away from exposing wrongdoing.

    Related Supreme Court Judgements

    • In August 2016, the Supreme court passed strictures on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa for misusing the criminal defamation law to “suffocate democracy” and, the court said, “public figures must face criticism”.
    • Shreya Singhal Vs. Union of India: It dealt with internet defamation. It held unconstitutional the Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 which punishes for sending offensive messages through communication services.
    • Right to Reputation  vs Right to Free Speech: The Supreme Court recently upheld the validity of the criminal defamation law and said the Reputation of an individual, constituent in Article 21 is an equally important right as free speech. The criminalization of defamation to protect individual dignity and reputation is a “reasonable restriction”.

    Way Ahead

    • The recent disturbing trend of weaponizing criminal defamation cases on various leaders of opposition creates a chilling effect on the society at large, thereby hampering democratic atmosphere required for a healthy public discourse– which is a basic feature and constitutional mandate for the survival of a vibrant and participatory democracy.
    • Hence, the colonial era law must be reformed so that it should not be used to restrict fundamental rights by the powerful. 

    Source: IE

    IT Amendments Rules, 2023

    Syllabus: G2/ Governance

    In News

    • The Bombay High Court ruled that words like, “fake, false and misleading” in the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023 were “vague and prone to misuse and thus problematic”.

    About 

    • The rules amended the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
    • The aim of these amendments is to enforce greater due diligence by online gaming and social media intermediaries in respect of online games & fake or false misleading information related to Government business.

    Amendments wrt Real Money Online Games

    • The amendment empowers the Union Government to regulate the online real money gaming industry, which comprises apps like fantasy sports sites, rummy and poker.
    • The amendment requires real money gaming services, where users deposit money in expectation of winnings, to get themselves certified as “permissible” by a Self-Regulatory Body (SRB) consisting of experts and industry members. “Permissible” real money games would likely be those where the outcome does not depend purely on chance. 
    • Games that are not declared “permissible” would fall under the “betting and gambling” category, opening them up to restrictions from States where such activities are prohibited.
    • The rules will become applicable once a sufficient number of self-regulatory bodies have been designated, so that the online gaming industry has adequate time to comply with its obligations.

    Comment

    • The real money gaming industry, which has battled States in court, has welcomed this amendment, and indicated that they will comply. As such, major fantasy sporting apps and card games that have obtained court orders recognising them as games of skill, may not be impacted. 
    • In December 2022, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) was allocated the matter related to online gaming rules under the Government of India (Allocation of Business Rules), 1961. 

    Amendments wrt Fake News

    • The fact check unit of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) will be notified as the official fact checker for misinformation and ‘fake news’ for the Union Government. 
    • If the posts have been flagged by the government as misinformation, then the social media intermediaries will have to take action act or risk losing their “safe harbour” protections under Section 79 of the IT Act, which allows intermediaries to avoid legal action for what third parties post on their websites.

    Comment

    • Express measures to curb misinformation, called “false news” and the somewhat inaccurate “fake news”, are a must. But this also raises the question whether the Union government or its divisions can be the regulating entity.
    • According to organisations like the Editors Guild of India and the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), the government being the arbiter on what constitutes ‘fake’ news and having the power to act upon platforms for publishing these will amount to draconian ‘censorship’.
    • Without a right to appeal or the allowance for judicial oversight, the power to decide whether any information is ‘fake’ or not can be misused by the government to prevent criticism, questioning or scrutiny by media organisations. 
    • Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000 elucidates the procedure to issue takedown orders, which these notified amendments could bypass. 
    • The amendments also run against the Shreya Singhal vs Union of India (2015), a verdict with clear guidelines for blocking content.
    • In India, freedom of the press is guaranteed through Article 19 of the Constitution. By threatening to remove a platform’s immunity for content that is flagged by a government unit, there is apprehension that the government might intend to create a “chilling effect” on the right to speech and expression on online platforms.

    Fake News?

    • Fake news are “news stories that have no factual basis but are presented as news.” It includes deliberate misinformation or hoaxes which are spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media. 
    • The three M elements to fake news are: Mistrust, Misinformation and Manipulation.

    Reasons for fake news

    • Political motive: Fake stories are created to either influence people’s views, push a political agenda or cause confusion.
    • Profit: Fake news can be a profitable business, generating large sums of advertising revenue for publishers who create and publish stories that go viral. 
    • Social media: Fake news is not new as it has been around for centuries being used by people to manipulate it for their own ends. What has changed is the scale and ability to circulate false and sensational information due to the emergence of the internet and social media with very little regulation or editorial standards. Anonymously-hosted fake news websites lacking known publishers make it difficult to prosecute sources of fake news.

    Source: TH

    Cluster Munition

    Syllabus :GS 3/Science and Technology 

    In News

    • The United States has decided to send cluster munitions to Ukraine to help its military push back Russian forces entrenched along the front lines.

    Cluster Munition

    • According to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, a cluster munition means a “conventional munition that is designed to disperse or release explosive submunitions each weighing less than 20 kilograms, and includes those explosive submunitions”.
    • In other words, it is a bomb that opens in the air and releases smaller “bomblets” across a wide area. 
      • The bomblets are designed to take out tanks and equipment, as well as troops, hitting multiple targets at the same time. 
    • Features 
      • Essentially, cluster munitions are non-precision weapons that are designed to injure or kill human beings indiscriminately over a large area, and to destroy vehicles and infrastructure such as runways, railway or power transmission lines. 
      • They can be dropped from an aircraft or launched in a projectile that spins in flight, scattering many bomblets as it travels.
    • Legality to use these weapons
    • Use of cluster bombs itself does not violate international law, but using them against civilians can be a violation. 
    • Countries that have ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions are prohibited from using cluster bombs. 
      • A convention banning the use of cluster bombs has been joined by more than 120 countries, which agreed not to use, produce, transfer or stockpile the weapons and to clear them after they’ve been used. The US, Russia and Ukraine haven’t signed on.
    • Amnesty International said international humanitarian law prohibits the use of inherently indiscriminate weapons such as cluster munitions, Reuters reported. 
      • Launching indiscriminate attacks that kill or injure civilians constitutes a war crime.
    • Instances of Usage: The bombs have been deployed in many recent conflicts, including by US forces
      • The US initially considered cluster bombs an integral part of its arsenal during the invasion of Afghanistan that began in 2001. 
      • Syrian government troops often used cluster munitions — supplied by Russia — against opposition strongholds during that country’s civil war, frequently hitting civilian targets and infrastructure. 
      • The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has been criticized for its use of cluster bombs in the war with the Iran-backed Houthi rebels that has ravaged the southern Arabian country. 
      • In the 1980s, the Russians made heavy use of cluster bombs during their 10-year invasion of Afghanistan. 
        • Russian forces have used cluster bombs in Ukraine on a number of occasions, according to Ukrainian government leaders, observers and humanitarian groups
    • Criticism : The recent US move will likely trigger outrage from some allies and humanitarian groups that have long opposed the use of cluster bombs. Proponents argue that Russia has already been using the controversial weapon in Ukraine and that the munitions the US will provide have a reduced dud rate, meaning there will be far fewer unexploded rounds that can result in unintended civilian deaths.

    The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM)

    • It was born out of a collective determination to address the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm to civilians caused by cluster munitions.
    • It was adopted in Dublin on 30 May 2008 and opened for signature in Oslo on 3 December the same year.
    • It prohibits all use, stockpiling, production and transfer of cluster munitions. Separate articles in the Convention concern destruction of stockpiles, clearance of contaminated areas, assistance to victims, submission of transparency reports, and adoption of domestic legislation.
    • States Parties are committed to the full universalization of the Convention and to promote its norms, as well as to fully implement it. 
    • Its implementation contributes to advancing the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the promotion of international peace and security, human rights and international humanitarian law.

    Source:IE

    Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Buses

    Syllabus: GS2/ Government policies & interventions, GS3/ Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Infrastructure

    In News

    • The first scientific test runs of hydrogen-powered buses will likely be under way in Delhi followed by other States. 

    More about the News

    • The hydrogen buses in this experiment are like an electric bus, in that hydrogen interacts with a ‘fuel cell’ battery producing electricity and no carbon emissions. 
    • The hydrogen fuel-cell buses to be deployed are “indigenously manufactured” in India but the actual fuel-cells are reportedly imported.
    • Also, in 2020, the Delhi government tested 50 hydrogen-powered CNG buses. The hydrogen-CNG buses do not use fuel cells and are buses with an internal combustion engine that uses a mix of hydrogen and CNG as fuel.
    • Recently, India’s first indigenously developed Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) Bus was launched in Pune.
    • Overall, the Union government has announced a major push towards evolving a ‘green hydrogen’ economy that envisages India as a major producer and exporter of green hydrogen, which is hydrogen from renewable energy sources.

    What is Hydrogen Fuel?

    • Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel burned with oxygen. 
    • It can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines. 
    • It can be manufactured by 
      • Electrolysis of water by using direct current.
      • Natural Gas Reforming/Gasification: Natural Gas on reaction with steam produces Synthesis gas. Synthetic gas is a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and a small amount of carbon dioxide.
      • Fermentation: Biomass is converted into sugar-rich feedstocks that can be fermented to produce hydrogen.

    Types of Hydrogen Fuel

    What are Hydrogen fuel cells?

    • Hydrogen fuel cells use hydrogen as a fuel in an electrochemical process that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electrical energy and water. 
    • Just like conventional cells, a fuel cell consists of an anode (negative electrode) and cathode (positive electrode) sandwiched around an electrolyte.
    • Hydrogen is fed to the anode and air is fed to the cathode. At the anode, a catalyst separates the hydrogen molecules into protons and electrons and both subatomic particles take different paths to the cathode. 
    • The electrons go through an external circuit, creating a flow of electricity that can be used to power electric motors. The protons, on the other hand, move to the cathode through the electrolyte. Once there, they unite with oxygen and electrons to produce water and heat.

    Advantages of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles

    • No tailpipe emissions: They provide an inherently clean source of energy, with no adverse environmental impact. They only emit water vapour and warm air. 
    • Efficiency and cost effectiveness: They are more efficient than internal combustion engine vehicles. High efficiency of fuel cell vehicles and the high energy density of hydrogen ensures that the operational costs in rupees per kilometre for fuel cell trucks and buses are lower than diesel-powered vehicles. This could also bring a freight revolution in India.
    • Less refueling time: Even with the fastest charging technologies, it could take hours to charge a battery-powered electric bus. Meanwhile, hydrogen can be refilled in a fuel cell vehicle in a matter of minutes, nearly as fast as an internal combustion engine can be refilled with fossil fuels.
    • Other benefits: Include increasing energy resiliency through diversity and strengthening the economy.
      • It is also effective for sectors that cannot be electrified like shipping and air travel.

    National Hydrogen Energy Mission

    • About:
      • It was proposed in the Union Budget 2021.
      • It is a clean-burning molecule, which can decarbonise a range of sectors including iron and steel, chemicals, and transportation.
    • Aim: 
      • To make India a global hub for the production and export of green hydrogen.
    • Potential:
      • This will help in meeting the target of production of 5 million tonnes of Green hydrogen by 2030 and the related development of renewable energy capacity.

    Significance for India in pursuing green hydrogen

    • Under the Paris Agreement of 2015, India is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 33-35% from the 2005 levels.
    • It is a legally binding international treaty on climate change with the goal of limiting global warming to below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels. 
    • At the 2021 Conference of Parties in Glasgow, India reiterated its commitment to move from a fossil and import-dependent economy to a net-zero economy by 2070. 
      • India’s average annual energy import bill is more than $100 billion.
    • The increased consumption of fossil fuel has made the country a high carbon dioxide (CO2) emitter, accounting for nearly 7% of the global CO2 burden
    • In order to become energy independent by 2047, the government stressed the need to introduce green hydrogen as an alternative fuel that can make India the global hub and a major exporter of hydrogen.
    • Hydrogen energy can provide impetus to India’s aim to decarbonise by 2050 and attain 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022.
    • Green hydrogen is an excellent clean energy vector that enables deep decarbonization of difficult-to-abate emissions from the heavy commercial transportation sector among others.

    Indian Initiatives for Promoting Clean Fuel Transition

    • India stands 4th globally in Renewable Energy Installed Capacity, 4th in Wind Power capacity & 4th in Solar Power capacity (as per REN21 Renewables 2022 Global Status Report).
    • The India-led International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a coalition of solar-rich countries aiming at promoting solar energy globally. India aims to reach net zero emissions by 2070 and to meet fifty percent of its electricity requirements from renewable energy sources by 2030.
    • Initiatives such as Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) India Scheme and Atal Jyoti Yojana promote the adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles and solar-powered lighting to rural areas, a move which reduces emission footprint.
    • The ‘National Policy on Biofuels’ notified by the Government in 2018 envisaged an indicative target of 20% ethanol blending in petrol by year 2030.
    • A “Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India 2020-25” which lays out a detailed pathway for achieving 20% ethanol blending.

    Source: TH

    Ethanol Blended Petrol

    Syllabus : GS 3 /Environmental Pollution & Degradation

    In News

    • The Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas has said that 20 percent ethanol blended petrol, E20, will be available across India by 2025. 

    About Ethanol

    •  Ethanol is one of the principal biofuels, which is naturally produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or via petrochemical processes such as ethylene hydration.
    •  It has medical applications as an antiseptic and disinfectant.
    •  It is used as a chemical solvent and in the synthesis of organic compounds, apart from being an alternative fuel source.
    • Ethanol blending : Ethanol, derived from sugarcane, can be blended with petrol, reducing the reliance on imported crude oil and contributing to a cleaner environment.

    Ethanol Blending Programme

    •  The Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in line with its energy security, climate change and rural economy enhancement goals, has initiated multi-pronged reforms to boost Ethanol usage in the country. 
    • The government has been promoting the use of ethanol as a blend stock with main automotive fuel like petrol in line with the National Policy on Biofuels – 2018 under the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme. 
      • Under this programme, an indicative target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol by 2030 was laid out. 
      • The government has advanced its target to achieve 20 per cent ethanol blending in petrol from 2030 to 2025-26.

    Need and Importance 

    • India has put forward the audacious goal of considerable cutting in carbon footprint.
    • Higher blending of ethanol with petrol will be beneficial for farmers, environment and the overall India’s economy. 
    • The ethanol sector has attracted huge investments and helped in creation of jobs.

    Recent Developments 

    • The first E20 special fuel outlet was opened in February 2022, following which the number has already crossed 600 and such stations will be available across the country by 2025.
    • In a significant move aimed at promoting renewable energy sources and reducing dependence on fossil fuels, Union minister Piyush Goyal launched a new Sugar-Ethanol portal  
      • aims to enhance the production and utilization of ethanol derived from sugarcane in India.

    Do you know ?

    • India has witnessed growth across every sector in the past nine years. 
    • A growth-energy correlation is manifestly visible as the country now stands as the world’s third largest energy consumer, third-largest oil consumer and third-largest LPG consumer. 
    • The country stands at the fourth largest LNG importer, fourth largest refiner, and the fourth largest automobile market in the world. 

    Source:News on air 

    Naegleria fowleri: Brain Eating Amoeba

    Syllabus: GS3/ Science & Technology

    In News

    • A 15-year-old boy in Kerala’s Alappuzha district has died due to a rare infection caused by Naegleria fowleri or “brain-eating amoeba”.

    What is Naegleria fowleri?

    • It is a single-cell organism found in a warm freshwater environment such as lakes, hot springs and even in poorly maintained swimming pools. 
    • Activities like diving or jumping into warm freshwater bodies can force water up the nose, providing an entry point for the amoeba. 
    • According to experts, Naegleria fowleri has existed for a long time in nature but cases of infection are extremely rare. Warm water temperatures, particularly during the summer months, create favourable conditions for the amoeba’s growth. And such conditions are not rare in India.
    • It survives on bacteria found in the sediment in lakes and rivers. However, it doesn’t survive in saline conditions and is hence not found in sea water. 
    • Only one species of Naegleria, Naegleria fowleri, infects people.
    • It does not spread from person to person, nor does it manifest symptoms when contracted in other forms. 

    How does it spread in the human body?

    • The amoeba enters the body through the nose and travels to the brain, leading to a severe and usually fatal brain infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). 
    • The symptoms usually appear within a week of infection and include severe headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, confusion, seizures and hallucinations. 
    • As the infection progresses, the patient can slip into coma and ultimately death. The amoeba’s ability to rapidly destroy brain tissue makes it a highly lethal infection. Prompt medical intervention is crucial but even with treatment, the survival rate is low.

    Treatment

    • The US-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends treatment with a combination of drugs, often including amphotericin B, azithromycin, fluconazole, rifampin, miltefosine, and dexamethasone
    • Miltefosine is the newest of these drugs. It has been shown to kill Naegleria fowleri in the laboratory and has been used to treat three survivors.

    Prevention measures 

    • Preventive measures such as avoiding warm freshwater bodies with inadequate chlorination, using nose clips during water-related activities, and using sterile water for nasal cleansing rituals can help reduce the risk of contracting Naegleria fowleri infection.

    Source: IE

     

    Facts In News

    PM Gati Shakti 

    Syllabus :GS 3/ Infrastructure 

    In News

    • The government is working out a mechanism to share data with industry and potential investors about multi-modal connectivity as well as other physical and social infrastructure captured on the PM Gati Shakti platform.

    Present status 

    • The Network Planning Group (NPG) under the platform which has multiple layers of geospatial data from across the country, has so far managed to evaluate and facilitate 85 large central infrastructure projects worth nearly ₹5.4 lakh crore so far

    About PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan (NMP)

    • It was launched in October 2021 with a vision to enable a mechanism for coordinated planning and to provide a bird’s eye view of planned development to all the Ministries for holistic and integrated development. 
    • There are no separate funds allocated under PM Gati Shakti NMP. The budget is allocated NH projects-wise, as per project requirements, within the sanctioned project costs. 

    • Features 
      • It envisages the creation of a system for inter-connected and multimodal transportation networks leading to integrated economic and infrastructure development, improved trade competitiveness, promotion of exports and employment generation. 
      • It envisages establishing integration and synergy amongst different infrastructure sector projects such as National Highways, Railways, Waterways, Telecom, etc., catering to development requirements/ logistic supports of different sectors and industries (e.g. Steel, Power, Fertilizers, Coal, etc.).
      • It provides the overall framework for planning, sanctioning and execution of projects. 

    Source:TH

     

    National Water Mission  

    Syllabus: GS2/ Governance, Government policies & interventions

    In News

    • Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Bureau of Water Use Efficiency (BWUE), National Water Mission (NWM) and Indian Plumbing Association (IPA) to improve water use efficiency.

    More on News

    • As per the MoU, NWM & IPA shall work together to impart and promote public education, awareness and outreach programmes and water stewardship. 
    • The focus will be on the circular economy of water including grey water use (5Rs: Reduce –Recycle- Reuse-Replenish-Respect).
    • The MoU further envisages that NWM & IPA shall work together for promoting and generating awareness towards rain water harvesting and recharge of aquifers. 
    • They will also work together to promote reclamation of used water primarily in the urban landscape.
    • The signing of MoU is an important step in accomplishing the Goal-4 of National Water Mission-increasing the water use efficiency by 20%.

    About National Water Mission

    • The Government of India has established the National Water Mission as one of the eight National Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change
    • The main objective of NWM is “conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within States through integrated water resources development and management”. 
    • NWM has identified five goals as under:

    • Important campaigns run by National Water Mission:
    1. Catch The Rain: National Water Mission’s (NWM) campaign “Catch The Rain” with the tagline “Catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls” is to nudge the states and stake-holders to create appropriate Rain Water Harvesting Structures (RWHS) suitable to the climatic conditions and subsoil strata before monsoon.
    2. Water Talk: 47 water talks have been undertaken till May 2023 to discuss various issues related to water use.
    3. Water Tech Talk:  20 water tech talks have been undertaken till May 2023 to discuss use of technology in water use.
    4. Sahi Fasal: ‘Sahi Fasal’ campaign was launched by National Water Mission on 14.11.2019 to nudge farmers in the water stressed areas to grow crops which are not water intensive, but use water very efficiently; and are economically remunerative; are healthy and nutritious; suited to the agro-climatic-hydro characteristics of the area; and are environmentally friendly. 

     Source: PIB

    Performance Grading Index 2.0

    Syllabus: GS2/Education

    In News 

    • The Ministry of Education has released the report on Performance Grading Index (PGI) 2.0 for states/UTs.

    About Performance Grading Index

    • The PGI for states/UTs was first released for the year 2017-18 and so far, it has been released up to the year 2020-21.
    • Objective: It assesses the performance of the school education system at the state/UT level by creating an index for comprehensive analysis.
    • PGI 2.0: To align with new initiatives of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, and to replace existing indicators that have achieved optimal targets, the PGI – State structure for 2021-22 has been revised and renamed as PGI 2.0.
      • The new PGI structure covers 73 indicators and it focuses more on qualitative assessment and even digital initiatives and teacher education.
      • To give emphasis to teacher education in school education, a separate category and domain on Teacher Education & Training (TET) is now added in PGI 2.0.
      • The PGI 2.0 can help states/UTs to pinpoint the gaps and prioritise areas for intervention to ensure that the school education system is robust.

    Methodology

    • The PGI 2.0 for 2021-22 classified states/UTs into ten grades, where the highest achievable grade is ‘Daksh’, which is for state/UT scoring more than 940 points out of a total of 1,000 points. The lowest grade is ‘Akanshi-3’, which is for a score up to 460.  

    Grades

    • None of the states/UTs has attained the highest grade, Daksh. 
    • Only two states/UTs, Punjab and Chandigarh have attained Grade Prachesta -2 (score 641-700); six states/UTs joined Grade Prachesta – 3 (score 581-640); 13 states/UTs joined Grade Akanshi -1 (score 521-580); 12 states/UTs attained Grade Akanshi – 2 (score 461-520); and three states got Grade Akanshi – 3 in PGI 2.0.

    Source: BS

    Development Projects in Varanasi and Raipur

    Syllabus: GS3/Infrastructure

    In News

    • The Prime Minister inaugurated and laid down the foundation stone of multiple development projects in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh and Raipur, Chhattisgarh.

    Projects in Varanasi

    • Launched the Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Junction-Son Nagar railway line of the Dedicated Freight Corridor. The new line will facilitate faster and more efficient movement of goods.
    • PM also laid the foundation stone of 192 rural drinking water schemes under the Jal Jeevan Mission. It will provide pure drinking water to 7 lakh people in 192 villages.
    • Inaugurated several other projects for Varanasi and adjoining districts.

    Projects in Raipur

    • Laid the foundation stone for 5 National Highway projects.
    • Doubling of 103 km long Raipur – Khariar Road Rail Line.
    • Bottling plant of the Indian Oil Corporation with a capacity of 60 thousand metric ton per annum at Korba.
    • 3 National Highway projects for the Chhattisgarh Section of the 6-lane Greenfield Raipur – Visakhapatnam corridor.
    • A key component is a 6-Lane tunnel of 2.8 km in length which comprises 27 animal passes and 17 monkey canopies for unrestricted wildlife movement in the Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary area. 
    • Significance: These projects will provide better connectivity to rice mills in Dhamtari and bauxite-rich areas in Kanker and also benefit the handicraft industry in Kondagaon. Overall, these projects will give a major thrust to the socio-economic development of the region.

    Source:PIB, PIB