Daily Current Affairs – 09-08-2023

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    Indian Institutes of Management (Amendment) Bill, 2023

    Syllabus: GS2/ Governance, Education

    In News

    • The Parliament has passed the Indian Institutes of Management (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which aims to change the law governing the administration of Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

    Background & Need

    • The Bill seeks to amend the Indian Institutes of Management Act of 2017.
    • The Indian Institutes of Management Act of 2017, which hugely expanded the autonomy enjoyed by the IIMs, contains an important clause. It requires the Board of Governors (BoG) of the IIMs to commission an independent review of the institutes at least once every three years and place the report in the public domain. However, very few of the 21 IIMs have done so.
    • The dangerous governance vacuum has been created in the IIM system in the years since the government relinquished control over these institutes.
    • The IIM Act 0f 2017 created a situation where there were no meaningful checks and balances on the director of IIMs. 

    Key Provisions of the Bill 

    • President of India as a Visitor: It designates the President of India as a Visitor of every Institute covered by the Act.
    • Appointment of IIM Director: The Bill mandates the Board to obtain the prior approval of the Visitor before appointing an Institute Director. The procedure for selecting the Director will be prescribed by the central government.
      • Currently, the Director of an IIM is appointed by the Board of Governors, based on the recommendations of a Search-cum-Selection Committee. 
    • Constitution of Search Committee: At present, the Search Committee comprises the Chairperson of the Board, and three members from amongst eminent administrators, industrialists and educationists. 
      • The Bill reduces these three members to two and adds another member to be nominated by the Visitor.
    • Termination of Director: The Board will require prior approval of the Visitor before removing a Director. It also grants the Visitor the authority to terminate the services of the Director, as may be prescribed. The Bill also states the Chairperson of the Board will be nominated by the Visitor.
    • Inquiries against IIMs: The Bill proposes a new procedure for inquiries against IIMs. It confers the power of inquiry upon the Visitor. The Visitor may appoint persons to review the work of any Institute and hold inquiries into its affairs.
      • Based on the report of such inquiries, the Visitor may issue directions which will be binding on the Institute. 
    • Conditions for dissolving Board: The Bill provides that the central government may prescribe the conditions and procedure for dissolving or suspending an Institute’s Board. If a Board is suspended or dissolved, the central government will constitute an interim board for six months or until a new Board is constituted.
    • Coordination Forum: At present, the Act provides for a Coordination Forum for all the Institutes, the Chairperson of which is selected by a Search-cumSelection Committee. Under the provisions of the Bill, the Chairperson will be nominated by the Visitor.

    About IIMs

    • Indian Institutes of Management are the country’s premier institutions imparting best quality education in management on globally benchmarked processes of education and training in management. 
    • IIMs are recognized as world-class management Institutions and Centers of Excellence and have brought laurels to the country. All IIMs are separate autonomous bodies registered under the Societies Act.
    • Being societies, IIMs are not authorized to award degrees and, hence, they have been awarding Post Graduate Diploma and Fellow Programme in Management. 

    Source: TH

    CBI Academy joins Interpol Global Academy Network

    Syllabus: GS3/ Security Agencies 

    In News

    • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Academy recently joined the Interpol Global Academy Network.

    About

    • The network supports academic collaboration among law enforcement training institutions across the world.
    • The CBI Academy had become the 10th member of Interpol Global Academy Network.

    Benefits

    • The collaboration is highly beneficial to police personnel in India and also offers high quality capacity building, capability development and training opportunities to police personnel across the world.

    CBI Academy 

    • The CBI Academy is based in Ghaziabad, is a premier training institution in the fields of crime investigation, prosecution and vigilance functioning.
    • Foundation stone of the CBI Academy was laid by Smt Margaret Alva.
    • Over the years, CBI Academy has emerged as a major police institution of the country & South Asia. CBI Academy has imparted training to over 50,000 police officers since 2005 including around 1432 foreign nationals from SAARC Nations, Africa, South East Asia, Central Asia and West-Asia. 
    • The CBI  is a nodal body for all matters related to INTERPOL. 

    INTERPOL Global Academy network

    • INTERPOL Global Academy Network was launched in 2019 with the aim of supporting INTERPOL in leading a global approach to Law Enforcement Training. 
    • The Network has members in all regions and supports academic collaboration amongst Law Enforcement Training Institutions across the globe.

    International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL)

    • It is an intergovernmental organisation  having 195 members. 
    • It helps police in all of them to work together to make the world a safer place.
    • HQ: Lyon, France
    • In each country, an INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) provides the central point of contact for the General Secretariat and other NCBs.
    • The CBI is designated as the National Central Bureau of India.

     

    Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

    • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was established by a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, dated April 1, 1963.
    • The CBI is not a statutory body but derives its power to investigate from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
    • The CBI functions under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions of the central government, and is exempted from the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
    • The Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption recommended the establishment of the CBI.
    • In 1963, the CBI was established by the Government of India with a view to investigate serious crimes related to the defence of India, corruption in high places, serious fraud, cheating, and embezzlement and social crime, particularly hoarding, black marketing, and profiteering in essential commodities, having all-India and inter-state ramifications.
    • Section 6 of the DPSE Act authorises the central government to direct CBI to probe a case within the jurisdiction of any state on the recommendation of the concerned state government. 
    • CBI can suo-moto take up investigation of offences only in the Union Territories.

    Source: TH

    State of Elementary Education in Rural India Report

    Syllabus: GS 2/Education

    In News

    • Recently, the State of Elementary Education in Rural India report was released by the Union Education Minister. 

    About the report

    • It is based on a survey conducted by the Development Intelligence Unit (DIU), a collaboration between Transform Rural India and Sambodhi Research and Communications.
    • It covered  responses of 6,229 parents of schoolchildren aged six to 16 in rural communities across 21 States.
      • Of the 6,229 parents surveyed, 6,135 had school-going children, 56 had children who dropped out of school, and 38 had children who had never enrolled in school.

    Key Highlights 

    • Users Data : It revealed that more children used smartphones for entertainment rather than for studies.
      • 49.3% of students in rural India have access to smartphones.
      •  However, among parents whose children have access to gadgets, 76.7% said the latter primarily used mobile phones to play video games.
    • Learning environment at home: The survey revealed that 40 percent of parents have age-appropriate reading materials available at home, beyond school books.
      • Additionally, only 40 percent of parents engage in daily conversations with their children about their school learning, while 32 percent have such discussions a few days a week.
    • Parent participation: 84% of parents stated that they regularly attend parent-teacher meetings at school.
      • The top two reasons for parents not attending meetings were short notice and a lack of willingness.
    • Reasons for dropout and out-of-school children: Among the parents of 56 students who dropped out of school, 36.8 percent mentioned that their daughters’ dropout was due to the need to contribute to the family’s earnings.
      • For boys, the primary reason for dropping out was lack of interest in studies, cited by 71.8 percent of parents.

    Suggestions 

    • The report emphasizes on the importance of recognising and supporting these common and progressive aspirations of parents to foster an inclusive environment in education. 
    • Acknowledging and nurturing this positive trend can lead to sustainable opportunities for both boys and girls in rural India. 
    • There is a hope that policymakers, educational institutions, and other stakeholders will acknowledge these common aspirations to establish an inclusive environment that ensures growth and development for every child in rural India.

    Source: TH

    Impact of AI on the Environment

    Syllabus: GS3/Developments in the field of Science and Technology

    News

    • The ChatGPT has captured the public imagination with its ability to converse, write code, and compose poetry and essays in a surprisingly human way.

    More on News:

    • Investment in artificial intelligence is growing rapidly. The global AI market is currently valued at $142.3 billion, and is expected to grow to nearly $2 trillion by 2030.
    • AI systems are already a big part of our lives, helping governments, industries and people be more efficient and make data-driven decisions. 

    Impact on Environment

    • Despite having applications in various fields, there are some significant downsides to this technology, especially on the environment.
      • Big carbon footprint: AI models need to process mountains of data. An algorithm will need to churn through millions of pictures to learn to recognize an image of a car. This data crunching in data centres requires a lot of computing power and is energy-intensive. 
      • Global CO2 emissions: The entire data center infrastructure and data submission networks account for 2-4% of global CO2 emissions, on a par with aviation industry emissions, says NGO Algorithm Watch.
      • Training AI: In a 2019 paper, researchers in Massachusetts, found that training a common large AI model can emit up to 284,000 kilograms of CO2 equivalent — nearly five times the emissions of a car over its lifetime, including the manufacture.
      • Water scarcity: Use of huge amounts of water to prevent facilities from overheating has raised concerns in water-stressed regions of Santiago and Chile. Google’s data center there is aggravating a drought in the area and local communities are actually revolting against the data center.
      • Promotes Consumerism: AI algorithms are used for advertising that are deliberately designed to increase consumption, which comes with a very significant climate cost. 
      • Companies are using AI tools to expand their oil and gas operations, reduce costs, and in some cases boost production. Such use significantly undermines the climate commitments.

    So what needs to be done?

    • Environmental concerns need to be taken into account right from the start — in the algorithm design and training phases, energy consumption, emissions and also material toxicity and electronic waste.
    • Rather than building bigger and bigger AI models, as is the current trend, companies could scale them down, use smaller data sets and ensure the AI is trained on the most efficient hardware available.
    • Using data centers in regions that rely on renewable energy and don’t require huge amounts of water for cooling. Eg. Centres in the US or Australia using fossil fuels will produce more emissions than in Iceland, where geothermal power and lower temperatures make cooling servers easier.
    • There should be more focus on the way AI is being used to speed up activities that contribute to climate change.
    • Tech giants as torchbearers: Google says its carbon footprint is zero and aims to be operating exclusively on carbon-free energy by 2030. Microsoft has pledged to be carbon negative by 2030 and Meta plans to reach net-zero across its value chain by 2030.

    Way Ahead

    • The role of artificial intelligence is only likely to become more significant in the future. And keeping up with such rapidly advancing technology will be a challenge. 
    • Regulation is crucial to ensuring AI development is sustainable and doesn’t make emissions targets harder to reach.
    • In the EU, lawmakers have been working on the AI Act, which should feature environmental concerns.
    • To encourage innovation in the field and reap the benefits this new technology brings, while avoiding the potential dangers and protecting citizens is needed. 

    Source: IE

    Facts In News

    Fitch’s downgrade of U.S. Economy 

    Syllabus: GS3/Economic Developments

    In News

    • Rating agency Fitch, recently downgraded the United States of America’s (U.S.A.) rating to ‘AA+’ from ‘AAA’ — a rating that it had been holding at the agency since 1994. 

    About Rating Agencies

    • Rating agencies are institutions that assess the creditworthiness or financial capability of a region, country, its institutions or individual organisations. 
    • They assess its ability to meet future payment obligations — particularly important for those making investment decisions.
    • Fitch rates credit quality from ‘AAA’ (its highest rating) to ‘D’ (lowest rating). ‘AAA’ is assigned to entities with “exceptionally strong capacity for payment of financial commitments”. 

    What were Fitch’s concerns?

    • Fitch argued the downgrade cumulatively reflected the expected fiscal deterioration over the next three years, “high and growing” general government debt burden and the “erosion of governance” in comparison to similarly rated peers over the last two decades.
    • Fitch held that there has been a steady deterioration in standards of governance over the last 20 years, including on fiscal and debt matters. 
    • The second of the observations relates to lacking a medium-term fiscal framework, unlike most peers, and having a complex budgeting process. 

    Indicators to look for

    • Fitch expects the general government deficit to rise to 6.3% of the GDP in 2023 from 3.7% in 2022. This results from cyclically weaker federal revenues, new spending initiatives and a higher interest burden.
    • Moreover, it held that over the next decade, higher interest rates and rising debt would translate to an increased interest service burden (3.6% of the GDP by 2033). 
    • Additionally, Fitch stated, an ageing population and rising healthcare costs would require more spending on the elderly absent fiscal policy reforms.

    Source: TH

    ECOWAS

    Syllabus:GS2/ International Relation

    News

    • Recently there was apprehension of intervention by the ECOWAS( Economic Community of West African States) in Niger following a military coup in the country.

    Background

    • Soldiers in the West African nation of Niger have installed Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani as head of state after ousting President Mohamed Bazoum.
    • The regional bloc ECOWAS has given Niger coup leaders a one-week deadline to hand power back to Bazoum or face consequences.
    • ECOWAS has previously intervened in The Gambia to restore democracy.

    What is ECOWAS?

    • It is a regional group established in 1975 through the Lagos Treaty – with a mandate of promoting economic integration among its members. 
    • ECOWAS has 15 members: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’ Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo. 
    • Headquarters: Abuja, Nigeria.
    • Governance:In 2007, ECOWAS Secretariat was transformed into a Commission. The Commission headed by the President, assisted by a Vice President, thirteen Commissioners and the Auditor-General of ECOWAS Institutions.
    • ECOWAS aims to have a single common currency and create a single, large trading bloc in areas of industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, financial issues, and social and cultural matters. 
    • Vision:Creation of a “borderless region” that is well-integrated. “ECOWAS is meant to be a region governed in accordance with the principles of democracy, rule of law and good governance”.
    • Other roles:Beyond the goals of economic cooperation, ECOWAS has attempted to quell military conflicts in the region. ECOWAS also operated a regional peacekeeping operation in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the past.

    Source:IE

    Floating Solar Project at Omkareshwar (MP)

    Syllabus: GS3/Environment

    Context

    • The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has secured a bid for a floating solar capacity  project at Omkareshwar Reservoir, Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh.

    What are Floating Solar Projects?

    • The term “floating solar photovoltaic”,sometimes known as “floating solar plants”, refers to panel structures that are built on water bodies like lakes, basins, and reservoirs.
    • The main driver behind the growth of large-scale projects has been the fact that it doesn’t require any land, which might  be used for agriculture and construction.
    • Japan constructed the first floating photovoltaic system in 2007.
    • The biggest floating solar farm in the world right now is in Shandong, China. 

    Floating Solar Projects in India

    • Currently, less than 1% solar installations are floating.
    • A floating system costs 20–25% more than a system that is mounted to the ground.
    • According to a study done by TERI in association with the Energy Transmission Commission India programme, 7 MW capacity photovoltaic projects were in operation as of 2019, while over 1.7 GW were in various stages of development. The Government plans to establish a renewable energy capacity of 500 GW by 2030.

    Floating Solar Projects by NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation)

    • The NTPC reported that it has already put into operation 222 MW of floating solar projects and had another 40 MW under construction as part of its goal to produce 60 GW of capacity from renewable sources by 2032. 
    • It  has so far put in floating solar plants on reservoirs at Simhadri in Andhra Pradesh (25 MW) and Kayamkulam in Kerala (92 MW).
    • On the Omkareshwar dam in the Khandwa region of Madhya Pradesh, the largest floating 600 MW solar energy project in the world is now being built.
    • Additionally approved were projects at Getalsud in Jharkhand, the Rihand reservoir in UP, and Vaitarna in Maharashtra. 
    • The largest floating solar power installation in the country is located in Ramagundam, Telangana. 

    Functioning of Floating Solar Plants

    • Components:  It consists of a floating system , a buoyancy body that carries the PV modules, an anchoring system with mooring lines (to move freely and keep it near the shore), and a power converter with wires. The design of the system can vary.

     

     

    • How does it work?

    Benefits

    • Due to the cooling effect of the water, floating solar power generating systems often produce more electricity than ground-mount and rooftop systems. 
    • As the PV system is installed on a water surface, it avoids all the challenges of land acquisition and all the worries of land consumption.
    • Depending on the surface covered and the environment, these plants can reduce water loss due to evaporation. Water and its associated costs are saved since the cleaning water used in the floating PV system is returned to the water body. 
    • These systems can reduce the threat posed by climate change to water bodies.  It reduces wind speed and solar radiation by which a great cooling effect will be generated. Also, it prevents the growth of algae in the water, which improves its quality. 

    Challenges

    Because it’s a new technology, there are still a lot of things that need to be looked at in the long run.

    • Ecological effects on the aquatic ecosystem;
    • lack of testing, expertise, and knowledge; 
    • eventual damage brought on by saltwater and waves.

    Source: PIB

    Vaquita Porpoise

    Syllabus: GS-3/ Environment, Species in News

    Context

    • The International Whaling Commission (IWC) issued its first ‘extinction alert’ on the Vaquita Porpoise, a species of marine mammal.
      • Also, July 18 marks International Save the Vaquita Day.

    Vaquita Porpoise

    • Scientific Name: Phocoena sinus
    • Features: The vaquita porpoise is the world’s smallest cetacean .
      • It has a rounded head and black patches around its mouth and eyes.
      • It is frequently described as the “panda of the sea” because of its distinctive appearance.
    • Habitat: Only found in the northern-most part of the Gulf of California, Mexico.
    • IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
    • Role in Ecosystem: They play a crucial role as squid and small fish predators. Their existence aids in keeping the marine food webs in balance.
    • Threats: The vaquita population has been declining due to bycatch in gillnets set to catch shrimp and fish. 

    Image Courtesy: AFP

    International Whaling Commission (IWC)

    • About: The IWC was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which was signed in Washington DC on 2nd December 1946. 
    • It has a legally binding ‘Schedule.’
    • Aim: It provides conservation of whale stocks and also helps in the orderly development of the whaling industry.
      • To keep under review and revise as necessary the measures laid down in the Schedule to the Convention which governs the conduct of whaling throughout the world.
    • Membership:  88 member countries, Japan withdrew from the IWC citing domestic reasons. India is a member state of the IWC.
    • Sanctuaries registered by the IWC: They are: 
      • Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in Antarctica
      • Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary in Seychelles
    • Commercial whaling was banned by the IWC in 1986 after some species were almost driven to extinction.

    Source: DTE

    Transforming Lives, Building Futures: Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in North-East

    Syllabus: GS3/Economy

    News

    • Recently the skill initiative ‘’Transforming Lives, Building Futures: Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in the North-East’’ was launched.

    About

    • The initiative was launched with financial allocation of Rs360 crore to benefit the 2.5 lakh youth.
    • It will create a robust, skill-centric and industry ready ecosystem in the North-Eastern Region (NER).
    • The Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in North-East initiative lays emphasis on alignment of courses with National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) bolstered by a digital infrastructure to develop well-rounded professionals. 

    Key Features of the initiative

    • 2 Lakh skill training under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).
    • 30,000 Apprenticeship Engagement under National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS).
    • 20,000 to be skilled under Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS).
    • Quality enhancement of ITIs under skill strengthening for industrial value enhancement (STRIVE).
    • Strengthening of Polytechnics.
    • Special projects will be taken up for the special needs of the North-East region under SANKALP.
    • Skill India International Centre to be set up to promote overseas job opportunities.

    Source:PIB

    Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase(G6PD) Deficiency

    Syllabus :GS 2/Health 

    In News

    • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare stated that genetic conditions such as Sickle Cell Disease and G-6 PD deficiency were rising in tribal areas .

    About Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase deficiency(G6PD) 

    • It is a genetic disorder that affects red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body.
    •  In affected individuals, a defect in an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase causes red blood cells to break down prematurely. 
      • This destruction of red blood cells is called hemolysis.
    • The first classification of G6PD-deficient variants was made in 1966 and updated by a World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group in 1985.
      • This condition occurs most frequently in certain parts of Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.
    • Impacts:  The most common medical problem associated with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency is hemolytic anemia, which occurs when red blood cells are destroyed faster than the body can replace them.
      • This type of anemia leads to paleness, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice), dark urine, fatigue, shortness of breath, and a rapid heart rate. 
      • Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency is also a significant cause of mild to severe jaundice in newborns. 

    Source: TH