Daily Current Affairs 23-05-2023

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    India Yellow

    Syllabus: GS-1/Culture 

    • Van Gogh 360° exhibition is going on in Delhi showcasing the paintings by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. His one of the most famous painting is the Starry Night.

    About 

    • The Starry Night, painted in 1889 by Vincent van Gogh, is one of the most recognised paintings in the world, depicting the dreamy star-filled night sky that appeared before van Gogh from the window of his asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
    • Interestingly, the yellow that Van Gogh used to paint the radiant moon in The Starry Night had travelled all the way from India. 
    • The Starry Night is considered to be among the last masterpieces to have used it, before its production was outlawed in India.

    Production of Indian Yellow

    • The colour came from the urine of cows that were given a special diet of mango leaves and water, occasionally mixed with turmeric, to get a bright yellow urine. 
    • The urine would be collected in earthen pots and placed over fire nightlong to attain a more condensed liquid, which was then strained and hand-pressed into sediment balls that were further dried in the heat. The piuris reached Europe through merchants sailing from Kolkata.

    Usage

    • Indian Yellow was popular across Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. 
    • The colour was widely used in India since the 15th century and is seen in traditional Mithila paintings of Bihar as well as Pahari and Mughal miniatures in the 16th to 19th centuries. 
    • A yellow pigment called gorocana, also believed to have been made from cow’s urine, was also used for several rituals in India and also applied as tilak.

    Banning the colour

    • Animal cruelty during the process of procuring the colour eventually led to a ban on its production in the early 1900s.
    • Mango leaves are known to contain the toxin urushiol, which would also take a toll on the bovine animal’s health.

    Source: IE

    Pacific Island Nations

    Syllabus:GS2/International Relations

    In News

    • The Prime Minister attended the Forum for India Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) summit in Papua New Guinea. 

    Highlights of the Recent Summit

    • As part of India’s Act East Policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 12-point development plan for the Pacific Island nations.
    • The 12-point development plan focuses on a range of areas including healthcare, renewable energy and cyber-security.
    • A major part of India’s engagement with Pacific Island nations is through development assistance under South-South Cooperation that is mainly in the form of capacity building and community development projects.

    Pacific Island Nations

    • The Pacific Islands is an area geographic region of the Pacific Ocean comprising three ethnogeographic groupings: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. 
    • The region is made up of independent states, associated states, and parts of non-Pacific countries. The Pacific Islands do not include Australia, the Aleutian Chain islands, or the Indonesian, Philippine, and Japanese archipelagoes.
    • The Pacific Islands create a triangle, starting at New Guinea, stretching to Hawaii, and then down to New Zealand. New Zealand and Papua New Guinea make up about 90% of the Pacific Islands’ total square mileage.
    • Papua New Guinea is the largest by landmass and population and Nauru is the smallest nation.
    • There are 15 independent Pacific Island nations in addition to tens of thousands of islands, islets, and atolls. The independent nations are: Northern Mariana Islands, Federate States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.
    • Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are classified as least-developed countries. New Zealand is a developed country. The remaining countries and areas are classified as developing countries. 

     

    India Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) 

    • The Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) was launched during Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi’s visit to Fiji in November 2014.
    • FIPIC includes India and 14 of the island countries – Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
    • The FIPIC initiative marks a serious effort to expand India’s engagement in the Pacific region.
    • Objectives
      • Provide necessary information and facilitation regarding prospects of Trade and Investment.
      • Facilitate meetings between the concerned businessmen from both sides.
      • Exchange of business delegations between India and Pacific Islands Countries.
      • Online & Offline Matchmaking Services.
      • Organising Events / Trade Fairs.

    Significance of Pacific Island Nations for India

    • In recent years, India’s approach towards the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) has been on a gradual positive shift. 
    • This change can be attributed to various geopolitical, economic and strategic factors. Geopolitically, the PICs are a part of the larger Indo-Pacific region. 
    • The current globalised world thrives largely on international trade, 90 percent of which is transported via sea routes. 
    • The sea-lanes of the Indo-Pacific region are critical to international commerce and the Pacific Islands lie right at the centre of it. Therefore, the rising significance of the Indo-Pacific, regionally and internationally, has brought the PICs to the centre of the global attention. 
    • The wider Pacific region with its strategic and economic significance has attracted the attention of countries like the US, Russia, China, Japan, Australia, and Indonesia. 
    • In recent years New Delhi has reached out to these small island states, highlighting the government’s willingness for greater engagement. 

    Source: TH

    G7’s Strategy against China

    Syllabus: GS2/ Agreements Involving India &/or Affecting India’s Interests

    In News:

    • In a recent meeting, the word “de-risking” has been used in the statement to describe the G7 countries’ stance towards China on economic matters.
      • The United States President has previously stated that G7 is not looking to decouple from China, but looking to de-risk and diversify their relationship with China.”

    What does “de-risking” mean?

    • About:
      • The US State Department describes de-risking as “the phenomenon of financial institutions terminating or restricting business relationships with clients or categories of clients to avoid, rather than manage, risk”. 
      • Simply put, de-risking is to move business away from areas that are considered risky in terms of the returns they could generate.
    • Previous instances of “de-risking”:
      • In 2016, the World Bank said that global financial institutions were increasingly terminating or restricting business relationships with smaller local banks in some regions in order to “de-risk”, as it is often perceived that such banks would not be able to pay back loans.
    • Context of China:
      • In the context of China, de-risking can be interpreted as a reduction of the reliance on China in the economic sphere — for the supply of materials or as a market for finished goods — so that potential risks to trade and disruption of supply chains are reduced.

    G7’s strategy for China

    • In the G7 statement, the countries said, “Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China nor do we seek to thwart China’s economic progress and development. A growing China that plays by international rules would be of global interest.”
      • The statement clarified, “We are not decoupling or turning inwards. At the same time, we recognize that economic resilience requires de-risking and diversifying. We will take steps, individually and collectively, to invest in our own economic vibrancy. We will reduce excessive dependencies in our critical supply chains.”
    • ‘Decoupling’:
      • ‘Decoupling’ is used here as an alternative to an economic boycott
        • In 2018, the US administration raised tariffs on China’s aluminium and steel exports to improve the balance of trade with China, which resulted in a trade war after China retaliated by imposing tariffs worth hundreds of billions of dollars on US products.

    Group of Seven (G7)

    • About:
      • It is an intergovernmental organisation of seven countries that are the world’s most industrialized and developed economies.
    • Present Members: 
      • France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, United States of America, Canada and Japan.
        • Japan holds the presidency of the G7 in 2023.
    • Origin:
      • It traces its origin to an informal meeting of the Finance Ministers of France, West Germany, the US, Great Britain and Japan (Group of Five) in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis.
      • Canada joined the group in 1976 and the European Union (EU) began attending the meetings from 1977.
      • It was called the G8 after the original seven were joined by Russia in 1997 and it returned to being called G7 when Russia was expelled as a member in 2014 following the latter’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.
    • Principles:
      • The group regards itself as “a community of values”, with freedom and human rights, democracy, the rule of law, prosperity and sustainable development as its key principles.
      • It prides itself as a group of nations that steadfastly promote liberal democracy and enjoy economic prosperity, which they seek to institutionalise through multilateral cooperation.
    • Annual meets:
      • It meets annually to discuss issues of common interest like international security, energy policy and global economic governance.
        • Representatives of the European Union are always present at the annual meeting of the heads of state and government of the G7. 
      • It does not have a formal constitution or a fixed headquarters and the decisions taken by leaders during annual summits are non-binding.
      • G7’s Hiroshima summit 2023
        • The Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) recently met in Hiroshima for the annual Summit.
        • India is a special invitee to the summit.
    • Issues with G7:
      • The G7 is still plagued by ideological divisions and lacking dominant leadership.
      • Another problem for the G7 is managing the dual threat of Russia and China while maintaining cohesion.
      • The recent complex and urgent issues require greater inclusive diplomacy, coordination and follow-through, but the G7 forum has struggled to achieve these things.
      • The G7 has inadequate focus on environmental security and climate finance to help developing countries commit to green energy.
      • The G7 has been criticised for being outdated and ineffective in recent decades due to its exclusion of two of the world’s largest economies in India and China

    Way ahead for India & G7

    • India has become a regular invitee at G7. The fact that China is not an invitee is another selling point for India.  
    • India can play an important role as a link between the industrialized countries and the developing world.
    • India needs to be a part of any and every sustained effort to find solutions to solve global challenges.

    Source: IE

    PARAKH 

    Syllabus: GS2/ Education

    In News

    • A workshop organised by the Ministry of Education aims to bring together the 60 school examination boards operating in various Indian states and Union territories under one umbrella.
      • PARAKH, under the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is the main component of this plan, envisioned as the National Assessment Centre.

    Need & Significance

    • To establish a coherent framework to ensure smooth transitions for students moving between boards or regions.
    • This will involve harmonising curriculum, grading, and evaluation procedures to enhance the reliability and credibility of certificates and grades obtained.
    • Unification also aims to address the prevailing rote examination culture and promote holistic assessments that encompass various dimensions of a student’s abilities and potential.

    About PARAKH

    • The PARAKH stands for The Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development.
    • PARAKH has been launched as part of the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP)-2020 that envisaged a standard-setting body to advise school boards regarding new assessment patterns and latest research, and promote collaborations between them.
    • It will be tasked with holding periodic learning outcomes tests like the National Achievement Survey (NAS) and State Achievement Surveys.

    Source: TH

     

    Hindi Awards

    Syllabus: GS2/Awards/Miscellaneous

    In News

    • The Union Education Ministry has discontinued the ‘Shiksha Puraskar’ and ‘Hinditar Bhashi Hindi Lekhak Puraskar’ to rationalise various awards instituted by the Centre.

    About

    • ‘Shiksha Puraskar’ was launched by the Centre in 1992 for encouraging original writings in Hindi in various fields of education. Under it, five awards worth ?1 lakh each is given every year.
    • ‘Hinditar Bhashi Hindi Lekhak Puraskar’, an award given to promote writings in Hindi by writers from non-Hindi speaking areas; cash prize of ?50,000.

    Source: TH

    INS Sindhuratna

    Syllabus: GS3/Internal Security/Defence

    In News

    • The Indian Navy’s Kilo-class submarine INS Sindhuratna underwent a major upgrade in Russia and has sailed back to India.

    About

    • The submarine underwent a Medium Refit Life Certification (MRLC) process in Russia which extended its life. 
    • The submarine with its modernised weapon and sensor suite will enhance the force level in the Western Seaboard, opening a new & exciting chapter in submarine operations in the Indian Ocean Region.

    Indian Navy Submarines

    • The Navy has 16 conventional submarines in service. These are seven Russian Kilo-class submarines, four German-origin HDW submarines and five French Scorpene-class submarines.
    • India’s submarine fleet is based at two locations: Visakhapatnam on the east coast and Mumbai on the west coast.
    • Kalvari Class: INS Kalvari is the first of the six Scorpene class submarines built under Project 75. The Submarine was commissioned in 2017.
    • Sindhughosh Class: Sindhughosh class submarines are the Kilo class diesel-electric submarines. They are designated 877EKM, and were built under a contract between Rosvooruzhenie and the Ministry of Defence (India).
      • The submarines have a displacement of 3,000 tonnes, a maximum diving depth of 300 meters, top speed of 18 knots, and are able to operate solo for 45 days with a crew of 53.
    • Shishumar Class: The Shishumar class vessels (Type 1500) are diesel-electric submarines. These submarines are developed by the German yard Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW).
      • The ships were commissioned between 1986 and 1994. These submarines have a displacement of 1660 tons when surfaced, a speed of 22 knots (41 km/h), and a complement of 40 including eight officers. 

    Source: TH

     

    Gains 2023

    Syllabus: GS-3/Economy

    In News 

    • Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd has launched GAINS 2023.

    GAINS 2023

    • GAINS 2023 (GRSE Accelerated Innovation Nurturing Scheme – 2023) is a startup challenge to identify and encourage the development of innovative solutions towards technological advances in shipbuilding by Startups.

    Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE)

    • Status: It is a Category 1 Mini Ratna public sector undertaking and is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence.
    • Mandate: GRSE is one of India’s leading shipyards. It builds and repairs commercial and naval vessels. GRSE also builds export ships. 
    • Achievements: It is the first Indian shipyard to build 100 warships and the 1st Defence Shipyard to get listed with Stock Exchanges.
    • History: It was founded in 1884 on the eastern bank of River Hooghly.
    • HQ: It is located in Kolkata.

    Source: BL

     

    Panch Karma Sankalp

    Syllabus: GS2/ Miscellaneous 

    In News

    • Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways (MoPSW) announced ‘Panch Karma Sankalp’ during the ministry’s second Chintan Shibir held in Munnar, Kerala.

    The ‘Panch Karma Sankalp’ includes 5 major announcements which are –

    1. To provide 30% financial support for the promotion of Green Shipping; 
    2. Under the Green Tug Transition Programme Jawaharlal Nehru Port (Navi Mumbai), VO Chidambaranar Port (Tuticorin, TN), Paradip Port (Odisha) and Deendayal Port, Kandla (Gujarat) will procure two tugs each; 
    3. Deendayal Port and VO Chidambaranar Port to be developed as Green Hydrogen Hub; 
    4. Jawaharlal Nehru Port and VO Chidambaranar Port, Tuticorin to become smart ports by next year.
    5. Single Window Portal to monitor river and sea cruises;

    ‘Harit Sagar’ Guidelines

    • To meet the larger vision of achieving the Zero Carbon Emission Goal, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways has launched ‘Harit Sagar’ the Green Port Guidelines in May 2023.
    • Harit Sagar Guidelines – 2023 envisages ecosystem dynamics in port development, operation and maintenance while aligning with ’Working with Nature’ concept and minimizing impact on biotic components of harbor ecosystem. 
    • It lays emphasis on use of Clean / Green energy in Port operation, developing Port capabilities for storage, handling and bunkering Greener Fuels viz. Green Hydrogen, Green Ammonia, Green Methanol / Ethanol etc.

    Source: PIB