Daily Current Affairs – 29-08-2023

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    Centrally Sponsored Schemes

    Syllabus: GS 2/Governance 

    In News

    • The Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) received 3801 project proposals to study the impact of various Centrally sponsored schemes and 514 among them — from collaborative and individual categories — were selected for the award.
      • Nearly 40% of the awardees are women scholars or researchers. 

     Centrally Sponsored Schemes(CSSs)

    • Origin : CSSs have been implemented via Article 282 of the Indian Constitution
      • Article 282 enables the Union (as well as the states) to make discretionary grants, even beyond their respective legislative competences, for any ‘public purpose’. 
      • Since the Constitution came into force, CSSs routed via Article 282 have proliferated, with many CSSs dominating subjects within states’ legislative competence.
    • Meaning :    Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) ordinarily covers such subjects which are enumerated in State/concurrent list and are crucial for realising national development goals. While the schemes are implemented by the State Governments, their guidelines are framed by the concerned Central Ministries after stakeholder consultation including consultation with States.
    • Purpose :  The CSSs are implemented to achieve social objectives like poverty reduction, improving health services, raising food production etc. 

    What is the difference between a central sector scheme and centrally sponsored scheme?

    • The central welfare schemes at the state level fall into two broad categories. The first category is centrally sponsored schemes, and the second is the central sector schemes. 
      • While the Union government fully funds the central sector schemes, centrally sponsored schemes are jointly funded by the Centre and states.

    Issues and Concerns 

    • The 15th Finance Commission proposed to review all the centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) in the wake of growing concern of States that these schemes were eating into their resources
      • The diversion of a State’s own funds to centrally sponsored schemes, thereby depleting resources for its own schemes. 
    • Many State Governments have raised the issue of looking into the guidelines of the CSS. 
    • Their key concern is about providing requisite flexibility to States to meet their requirements. 
      • Many states have pointed out that because of lack of flexibility, it is difficult to spend allocations in many of these schemes.
    • There are too many Centrally Sponsored Schemes. There can be no quarrel over the fact that this makes public expenditure inefficient and impossible to monitor

    Suggestions 

    • It is important to gradually reduce the funding for those CSS and their subcomponents which have either outlived their utility or have insignificant budgetary outlays not commensurate to a national programme. 
    • There should also be a minimum threshold funding size for the approval of a CSS. 
    • There are two pre-conditions for carrying out this task. 
      • The first is to fix a threshold amount of annual appropriation below which the funding for a CSS-s may be stopped. Below the stipulated threshold, the administration department should justify the need for the continuity of the scheme.

    Source:TH

    Care protocol for babies in India

    Syllabus:GS2/Health and Governance

    News

    • Former British nurse Lucy Letby was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty in the worst child serial killer case in the U.K.This has raised concerns for neonatal safety in India.

    Patient safety provisions in India

    • According to the Union Health Ministry document titled, ‘National Patient Safety Implementation Framework (2018-2025)’,patient safety is a fundamental element of public healthcare and is defined as the freedom for a patient from unnecessary harm or potential harm associated with provision of healthcare.
    • In India patients are protected under multiple layers of law that are largely fragmented. The first idea of patient safety is enshrined in the Hippocratic Oath.
    • The Consumer Protection Act deals with medical negligence and deficiency of services and the legal rights of the patients are set out in the Clinical Establishment Act, 2010.
    • The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority and The Drugs Controller General of India has mechanisms to see that patients rights in terms of medication and devices are protected, and that they are not overcharged, among other things.

    Issues faced by neonates 

    • The current infant mortality rate for India in 2023 is 26.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, a 3.89% decline from 2022. The infant mortality rate for India in 2022 was 27.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, a 3.74% decline from 2021. 
    • Children who die within the first 28 days of birth suffer from conditions and diseases associated with lack of quality care at birth or skilled care and treatment immediately after birth and in the first days of life.
    • Preterm birth, intrapartum-related complications (birth asphyxia or lack of breathing at birth), infections and birth defects cause most neonatal deaths.

    How is neonatal safety maintained?

    • In India there are no exclusive rules for neonatal care and safety, or protection against external harm in Indian hospitals.However there are a set of comprehensive provisions for the safety and wellbeing of neonates or newborn babies to minimize potential risks.
    • The healthcare staff is trained to counsel parents and provide emotional support, contributing to the safety and development of neonates.
    • Adequate staffing ensures that trained healthcare providers can closely monitor each baby’s condition and respond swiftly to any concerns.
    • Proper equipment for respiratory support, temperature regulation, and monitoring vital signs should be readily available. Neonates are typically kept in controlled environments to avoid exposure to external infections and temperature fluctuations. 
    • Midwife-led continuity of care (MLCC): Women who receive midwife-led continuity of care provided by professional midwives, educated and regulated to international standards, are 16% less likely to lose their baby and 24% less likely to experience preterm birth.
    • Families are also required to register the birth and bring the baby for timely vaccination, according to national schedules. Some newborns require additional attention and care during hospitalization and at home to minimize their health risks.

    Source:TH

    Loanable Funds Theory

    Syllabus: GS3/Economy

    In News

    • The loanable funds theory is a fundamental concept in economics that explains how the supply and demand for loanable funds affect interest rates in an economy.
    • Knut Wicksell, a Swedish economist, is credited for the origin of the theory.

    How Interest Rates are Determined?

    • It is also known as the neo-classical theory of interest.
    • The theory argues that the interest rates on loans are determined by the supply of and demand for loans in the market for loanable funds.
      • This means that there are many buyers and sellers in the market, and no single entity has the power to influence the market price.
    • Supply: A rise in the supply of loanable funds from savers such as households is believed to cause the market interest rate to drop while a drop in the supply of loanable funds is seen as causing a rise in market interest rates
    • Demand: A rise in the demand for funds from borrowers such as businesses and governments is supposed to cause a rise in interest rates while a drop in their demand for funds is expected to cause a fall in interest rates.

    Equilibrium Interest Rate

    • Loanable funds theorists argue that the interest paid on loans offers an incentive for savers to lend their money. In other words, interest is seen as fair compensation paid to savers for waiting.
    • On the other hand, the rate that borrowers are willing to pay on loans is said to be determined by the return that these borrowers expect to earn by investing the borrowed funds.
    • Finally, the market interest rate is seen as the equilibrium price that equals the supply of savings with the demand for loans in the market and which is mutually beneficial to savers and borrowers.
    • It is an interest rate for which

    Demand for Loanable Funds = Supply of Loanable Funds.

    • The equilibrium interest rate (r0) is shown below in the graph of the loanable funds market showing the interaction between the demand and supply curves.

    Limitations of the Loanable Funds Theory

    • Liquidity Preference: The theory does not take into account the fact that investors may prefer to hold liquid assets, such as cash or short-term securities, instead of investing in long-term projects.
    • Imperfect information: The theory assumes that borrowers and lenders have perfect information about the market and each other. In reality, however, there is always some degree of information asymmetry, which can affect the lending and borrowing decisions.
    • Behavioral Factors: The theory does not take into account the role of behavioral factors, such as emotions, social norms, and cognitive biases, which can influence the lending and borrowing decisions.
    • Government Intervention: The theory assumes that there is no government intervention in the financial markets. In reality, however, governments often regulate and influence the financial markets through policies such as taxes, subsidies, and interest rate controls.
    • International Capital Flows: The theory focuses on the domestic market for loanable funds and does not take into account the role of international capital inflows, which can affect the interest rates and allocation of credit in an economy.
    • Money Supply: This theory ignores the total money supply in the economy and considers only the supply of loanable funds.

    Conclusion

    • The loanable funds theory is a crucial concept in economics that explains how the supply and demand for funds affect interest rates and the allocation of credit in an economy. 
    • By understanding the key components of this theory, we can better understand how economic agents interact and how monetary policy and the working of the central bank can influence the overall health of an economy.

    Source: TH

    9 Year of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)

    Syllabus: GS2/ Welfare  Schemes, GS3/ Economy, Financial Inclusion

    In News

    • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), National Mission for Financial Inclusion, completes nine years of successful implementation.

    About

    • The PMJDY was announced by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in his Independence Day address on 15th August 2014. 
    • PMJDY is aimed at covering all households with at least one bank account per household across the country.

    Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)

    • About: 
      • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is National Mission for Financial Inclusion to ensure access to financial services, namely, Banking/ Savings & Deposit Accounts, Remittance, Credit, Insurance, Pension in an affordable manner.
    • Objectives:
      • Ensure access of financial products & services at an affordable cost
      • Use of technology to lower cost & widen reach
    • Basic Tenets of the Scheme:
      • Banking the unbanked: Opening of basic savings bank deposit (BSBD) account with minimal paperwork, relaxed KYC, e-KYC, account opening in camp mode, zero balance & zero charges
      • Securing the unsecured: Issuance of Indigenous Debit cards for cash withdrawals & payments at merchant locations, with free accident insurance coverage of Rs. 2 lakhs
      • Funding the unfunded: Other financial products like micro-insurance, overdraft for consumption, micro-pension & micro-credit.
    • Features:
      • Basic savings bank accounts with overdraft facility of Rs. 10,000/- to every eligible adult.
      • Creation of Credit Guarantee Fund.
      • After 28.8.2018, Free accidental insurance cover on RuPay cards increased from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 2 lakhs.
      • OD limit doubled from Rs 5,000/- to Rs 10,000/-; OD upto Rs 2,000/- (without conditions) with Increase in upper age limit for OD from 60 to 65 years.
    • Status:
      • More than 50 crore people have been brought into the formal banking system through the opening of Jan Dhan Accounts. Among these accounts, approximately 55.5% belong to women, and 67% have been opened in Rural / Semi-Urban areas. 
      • The cumulative deposits in these accounts surpass ₹2 lakh crore.  Furthermore, about 34 crore RuPay cards have been issued to these accounts without charge, which also provides for a ₹2 lakh accident insurance cover.

    Impact of PMJDY

    • PMJDY has been the foundation stone for people-centric economic initiatives. Whether it is direct benefit transfers, COVID-19 financial assistance, PM-KISAN, increased wages under MGNREGA, life and health insurance cover, the first step of all these initiatives is to provide every adult with a bank account, which PMJDY has nearly completed.
    • One in 2 accounts opened between March 2014 to March 2020 was a PMJDY account. Within 10 days of nationwide lockdown more than about 20 crore women PMJDY accounts were credited with financial assistance of Rs 500 per month for three months through DBT in each women PMJDY account.
    • PMJDY has brought the unbanked into the banking system, expanded the financial architecture of India and brought financial inclusion to almost every adult.

    Achievements under PMJDY- As on 16th August 23

    Major Concerns

    • Bank account penetration is growing but in rural areas physical connectivity to the banking system remains limited, and BCS and mobile money providers have not yet solved this last mile problem.
    • The insufficient income for banking correspondents and a deficiency in training, supervision and infrastructure for these last mile delivery agents have impeded the reach of the Government flagship scheme.
    • Progress in reducing dormant accounts has been slow. Duplicate accounts are also one reason why several accounts are inactive.
    • Lack of Awareness & dependency on cash transactions.

    What is Financial Inclusion?

    • Financial inclusion is broadly defined as the process of ensuring easy and reliable access to the financial services and flow of timely and adequate credit for vulnerable groups such as weaker sections and low income groups at an affordable cost.

    Benefits of Financial Inclusion

    • Financial Inclusion brings savings of the poor into the formal financial system and provides an avenue to remit money to their families in villages besides taking them out of the clutches of the usurious money lenders.
    • It inculcates the habit to save, thus increasing capital formation in the country and giving it an economic boost.
    • Access to financial services opens doors for families, allowing them to smooth out consumption and invest in their futures through education and health. 

    Other Initiatives to increase Financial Inclusion

    • Expansion of the operations of Small Finance Banks, Payment Banks, NBFC-MFIs, other NBFCs and microfinance institutions.
    • Unified Payments Interface and the BHIM app
    • Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)
    • Aadhaar based payment infrastructure
    • Financial Literacy Programme

    Suggestions to increase Financial Inclusion

    • Creating Awareness: Awareness of mobile banking is significantly low and there is reluctance, especially amongst rural people, probably because of low technological and financial literacy.
    • Local bodies’ role: The Panchayati Raj Institutions, municipalities and city councils can help in identifying & encouraging the unbanked to start operating in formal banking channels. 
    • Offer diverse products to suit different sections: India being a diverse country with unique regional and occupational characteristics, and following different cropping patterns and income streams, it is necessary to have diverse products for its unbanked population.
    • Promotion of digital payments: Including RuPay debit card usage amongst PMJDY account holders through creation of acceptance infrastructure across India

    Source: PIB

    Moody’s Report on Demographic Dividend

    Syllabus: GS2/Social Issues; GS3/Infrastructure

    Context:

    • Alongwith the population growth, strong education and quality infrastructure are key to reap economic gains in India: Moody

    About:

    • Moody’s Investor Service has cautioned that fast-growing populations in South and Southeast Asia offer scope for economic gains but other conditions such as strong education and quality infrastructure are also important.
    • In a report titled ‘Population growth alone will not drive credit benefits for emerging economies’, the rating major said it expects continued population growth in the region to support economic expansion as working-age populations will remain large compared with younger and older citizens.
    • India ranks a four out of five on Moody’s Social Issuer Profile Scores (S-IPS), under Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Framework, exposing to a range of social risks of India.

    Findings of the Report:

    On Population:

    • Six large developing Asian countries — Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam — will account for about one-third of the global population increase over the next 20 years, as well as 40% of the rise in the working-age population.
    • India’s labour force availability alone won’t be enough to make the economy stronger or improve fiscal outcomes, due to the quality of education and status of infrastructure in the country.

    On Education:

    • Moody’s bracketed India’s current education outcome levels with that of Pakistan and Bangladesh.
    • Better educational outcomes help countries like India from potential job losses from digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence in the long run.
    • There remains a considerable gap in the quality of education between Pakistan, Bangladesh and India compared with China and other peers in South East Asia, which contributes to labour force participation imbalances.
    • The quality of human capital is correlated with quality education.
      • Shifting from agriculture and resource-based activities, as well as informal and unskilled services, to higher-value-added manufacturing and services.

    On Infrastructure:

    • The policy emphasis on infrastructure development has been most evident in India and the Philippines.
      • Rankings for infrastructure quality in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index rose tangibly between 2014 and 2023.
    • The Union Government of India allocated more than 20 percent of GDP for the first time for capital expenditure in April 2023.
      • It was as low as around 12 percent in fiscal 2020.

    Conclusion:

    • The ability of countries to address the challenges of population, education and infrastructure will determine the extent to which their large populations can take advantage of opportunities to enhance long-term economic growth.

    TH

    Rozgar Mela

    Syllabus:GS3/Economy

    News

    • Prime Minister Modi distributed more than 51,000 appointment letters to newly inducted recruits under Rojgar Mela (Employment Fair).

    Rojgar Mela 

    • Rozgar Mela is an employment strategy to fast-track the meeting of job seekers and employers.It is an event where a number of employers and job seekers come together for the purpose of applying and interviewing for jobs.
    • The Rozgar Mela is expected to act as a catalyst in further employment generation and provide meaningful opportunities to the youth for their empowerment and participation in national development.

    Unemployment in India

    • Unemployment rate is defined as the percentage of unemployed persons among the labor force.
    • Labor force refers to the part of the population which supplies or offers to supply labor for pursuing economic activities for the production of goods and services and, therefore, includes both employed and unemployed persons.
    • According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey  2017-18, 6.1% of India’s labor force and 17.8% young people aged between 15-29 years are unemployed.

    Reasons of unemployment

    • Growth of job creation is not in sync with the GDP growth: It is entirely possible for a country’s GDP to rise either with very little new job creation or even with actual job losses.In other words, while GDP growth is a necessary condition for job creation, it is not the sufficient one.
    • Slower growth in manufacturing sector: India’s growth model is dependent on the service sector, which typically isn’t as labor-intensive as manufacturing. The phase of manufacturing growth has generated relatively limited opportunities for well-paid employment or good jobs for those at the bottom of the education and skill ladder.

    Way Ahead

    • New jobs are required at such a large scale that it is not possible for any government to provide direct employment. Moreover, it is not the job of the government to give jobs; its job is to create the enabling environment so that the economy itself creates more jobs.
    • Growth of manufacturing sector:The focus should be on sectoral composition of GDP growth. India needs to boost its manufacturing sector growth. The government needs to focus on labor-intensive manufacturing as well as small and medium enterprises.
    • Change in India’s industrial policy framework, which has typically laid greater emphasis on capital-intensive industries.Hence efforts must be towards a  comprehensive cluster development policy which allows small and medium sized firms to enjoy collective efficiency 
    • Investment in human capital: It needs to recognise that labor is not a mere factor of production whose factor cost has to be pushed down, but human capital in which there is a need to be invested.

    Source:IE

    News Media versus OpenAI’s ChatGPT

    Syllabus: GS4/Ethical Governance

    Context

    • Several media outlets have blocked a tool from OpenAI, limiting OpenAI’s ability to continue accessing their content.

    About

    • Online content found across the Internet, such as social media posts, news articles, Wikipedia, e-books, form a significant part of the dataset used to train ChatGPT. This data is put together by scraping it off the Internet.
    • The ‘crawlers’ are used to scan web pages, hoover up content and put it together in a dataset that can be used to train their Large Language Models (LLMs).
    • This is what news outlets took a stand by blocking a web crawler known as GPT bot, through which OpenAI used to scrape data, and argued OpenAI can no longer use their published material and their journalism to train their chat bots.

    What does OpenAI do?

    • OpenAI created ‘ChatGPT’, an AI-powered large language model (LLMs), which is capable of generating human-like text based on context and past conversations.
    • It requires vast amounts of information to train their systems and allow them to answer queries from users in ways that resemble human language patterns.

    GPTBot:

    • OpenAI’s web crawler was being used to collect massive amounts of data from the internet to train ChatGPT that can improve future artificial intelligence models like GPT-4 and the future GPT-5.
    • Allowing GPTBot to access the site can help AI models become more accurate and improve their general capabilities and safety.
      • OpenAI calls it ‘web crawlers’ because crawling is the term for automatically accessing a website and obtaining data using software.
    • OpenAI also provided instructions on disabling the GPTBot from accessing a website – either partially or fully. 

    Why are media companies upset?

    • Search engines like Google or Bing also use web crawlers to index websites and present relevant results when users search for topics. The only difference is that search engines represent a mutually beneficial relationship.
    • OpenAI, on the other hand, provides no benefit, monetary or otherwise, to news companies. It simply collects publicly available data and uses it for the company’s own purposes.
      • Scraping data without permission would break the publishers’ terms of service.
    • There are issues like copyrights and financial feasibility, if the data was used to train ChatGPT without permission or compensation, the whole endeavour financially unfeasible.

    Other incident

    • News organisations aren’t the first companies to raise questions about whether their content is being used without authorisation by artificial intelligence systems.
      • Earlier, GitHub, Microsoft Corp. and OpenAI were sued in a case that alleged a tool called GitHub Copilot was essentially plagiarising human developers in violation of their licences.

    Way Forward

    • The legal battles between media companies and OpenAI ahead will have implications for journalism, intellectual property and the future of artificial intelligence.
    • However, OpenAI does believe some data is worth paying for, and it signed a licensing arrangement with The Associated Press to use the archival content as a training dataset.

    TH

    LK-99

    Syllabus: GS3/Science and Technology

    In News

    • Independent scientists have found that LK-99 is not a superconductor.

    What is a Superconductor?

    • A superconductor is a material that can conduct electricity or transport electrons from one atom to another with no resistance.
    • Most materials must be in an extremely low energy state (very cold) in order to become superconductive. 
      • In theory this allows electrical energy to be transferred between two points with perfect efficiency, losing nothing to heat.
    • Research is underway to develop compounds that become superconductive at higher temperatures. 
      • Currently, an excessive amount of energy must be used in the cooling process making superconductors inefficient and uneconomical.

    Need for Superconductors

    • Most electrical conductors resist the flow of electric current, converting some of the electrical energy into heat.
    • A substantial amount of electricity generated is lost while being transmitted between power plants and our factories and households as heat.
    • More than a century ago, scientists discovered that many metals become superconducting – i.e. allow current to flow with zero resistance – if cooled to below -250º C.

    LK-99

    • The South Koreans had made lead sulphate react with copper phosphide to produce polycrystalline LK-99
      • Small crystallites are randomly arranged in space, unlike in a single crystal, where the atoms are arranged regularly over very large distances and some by-products. 
      • They claimed that LK-99 is a superconductor at normal pressure, and at temperatures up to at least 127 ºC. All previously confirmed superconductors function only at very low temperatures and extreme pressures.
    • The current evidence suggests that LK-99 is not a superconductor.
    • The LK-99 story provides a view of science in action, even as the narrative remains that we are yet to find an ambient-condition superconductor.

    Source: TH

    Facts In News

    Review of PLI-Auto Scheme

    Syllabus: GS-3/Economy, Industries

    Context

    • Recently, the Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI) has organised a conference on review of the Production Linked Incentive(PLI)-Auto scheme.
      • MHI is committed to support the industry to fulfil the vision “Excellence through Aatmanirbharta”.

     PLI Scheme for Automobile & Auto Components

    • It aims to overcome the cost barriers that the Automobile sector faces in producing products utilizing advanced automotive technology in India.
    • The program is being implemented over a period of five years beginning in the fiscal year 2022–2023.
    • Components: This scheme has two components:
      • Champion OEM Incentive Program: This “sales value linked” program is available for all segments of battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
      • Component Champion Incentive Program: This program, which is “sales value linked,” is applicable to all cars’ pre-approved Advanced Automotive Technology (AAT) Products.

    Source: PIB

    Article 35A

    Syllabus :GS 2/Polity and Governance 

    In News

    • Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud said Article 35A denied fundamental rights to others.
    •  The CJI made the comments during the hearing of petition challenging the  abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status

    About Article 35A

    •  It empowered the Jammu and Kashmir Legislature to define “permanent residents” of the State and provide them special privileges.
    • It was introduced through the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 which was issued by the President under Article 370.
      • Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by an order of the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet.
    • It demarcated permanent residents with exclusive right to purchase land, seek State government employment and other benefits in education and health care
      • Permanent residents’ included people who were hereditary State subjects as in 1927, when Jammu and Kashmir was a princely State prior to its accession to the Indian Dominion in 1947. 
    • Non-permanent residents of the state, even if Indian citizens, were not entitled to these ‘privileges’. 

    Source: TH

    Kashi Culture Pathway

    Syllabus: GS2/ International Relations

    News

    • The Outcome Document of G-20 Culture Ministers meeting in Varanasi, titled ‘Kashi Culture Pathway’ was agreed by all G-20 members.

    Key points:‘Kashi Culture Pathway’ 

    • Protection of cultural heritage: The Outcome Document said the nations were united against destruction of cultural heritage “whether intentional or collateral, notably in situations of conflict”.
    • Restitution of cultural property:It sought an inclusive dialogue on the return and restitution of cultural property observing that people have the right to access and enjoy their cultural heritage.
    • Data and information exchange:The document sought cooperation among nations and strengthening of appropriate tools to increase the effectiveness of law enforcement collaboration and investigations through voluntary data and information exchange for better support to investigations and prosecution on cultural crimes.
    • Strengthen institutional and policy frameworks:The G-20 nations also reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen institutional and policy frameworks to harness living heritage for sustainable development.
    • Against misuse of living cultural heritage:The countries recognised the misuse and misappropriation of living cultural heritage, practices and cultural expressions, particularly of local communities as well as of indigenous peoples, specially for commercial use.
    • Regulation of illicit trafficking of cultural property:They called for a strengthened and effective global coalition to bolster the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property.
      • It sought enhanced research, documentation, awareness-raising and capacity-building of specialized cultural professionals, judiciary and law enforcement authorities, and other relevant stakeholders to the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property.
      • The document also sought preventive action and regulation of illicitly exported cultural property specially in online trade. 

    Source:TH

    Exercise BRIGHT STAR-23 

    Syllabus: GS3/Defence

    News

    • An Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent departed to participate in Exercise BRIGHT STAR-23 in Cairo (West) Air Base, Egypt.

    Background

    • Exercise BRIGHT STAR-23 is a biennial multilateral tri-service exercise.
    • The exercise was initially conceptualized as a bilateral biennial training exercise between the US and Egypt during the Camp David Accord of 1977.
    • The first edition of the Exercise was conducted in the year 1980 in Egypt. From 1995 onwards the Exercise was expanded for participation by other nations.

    Exercise BRIGHT STAR-23

    • Participants: 34 countries will participate in Exercise BRIGHT STAR- 23 including the United States of America, India,Saudi Arabia, Greece and Qatar.
    • The Exercise will consist of a large number of training activities focused on combating emerging unconventional threats and enhancing regional partnerships amongst participating nations aimed at maintaining world peace.
    • Indian Participation: This is for the first time that IAF is participating in this exercise.The Indian Air Force contingent will consist of five MiG-29, two IL-78, two C-130 and two C-17 aircraft.
      • The Indian Army is being represented by a contingent from 23 JAT Battalion.

    Source:PIB

    India – Bangladesh Defence Relations

    Syllabus: GS2/International Relations

    Context:

    • India & Bangladesh hold the fifth Annual Defence Dialogue in Dhaka

    About:

    • India and Bangladesh held the fifth Annual Defence Dialogue on 28 August 2023 in Dhaka, chaired by Defence Secretary of India and co-chaired the meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart Principal Staff Officer, Armed Forces Division.
    • The Annual Defence Dialogue between India and Bangladesh is the highest institutionalised interactive mechanism between both the countries, highlighting the future course of the relations between the two Armed Forces.
    • During the meeting, the ongoing defence cooperation activities between the two countries were reviewed and both sides expressed satisfaction at the increasing defence cooperation engagements.

    India-Bangladesh Relation:

    PIB

    IBSA World Games

    Syllabus: Miscellaneous

    In News

    • Indian women’s blind cricket team has won the Gold at the IBSA World Games.

    About

    • This is the first time when blind cricket has been a part of the IBSA World Games. 
    • India has created history by clinching the gold in the first ever edition of Women’s Blind Cricket at the IBSA World Games.

    The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Games

    • IBSA world games started in  1998 in Madrid, Spain and is the world’s biggest sport event for athletes with visual impairments.
      • IBSA is in charge of a wide range of sports for athletes who are blind or partially sighted.
      • IBSA’s status as a legal entity was formalised in 1985 with the adoption of its first constitution during the General Assembly held in Norway.
    • With various names over the years including the ‘World Blind Sports Championships’ and ‘IBSA World Championships and Games’, the multi-sport competition is held every four years.
    • The World Games are a chance for new and established athletes to compete against a strong field of their peers in both Paralympic and non-Paralympic sports.
      • 2023 games hosted three paralympic and seven non-paralympic sports; Archery, Chess, Cricket, Men’s Blind Football, Partially Sighted Football, Women’s Blind Football, Goalball (Male/Female), Judo, Powerlifting, Showdown, Ten Pin, Bowling and Tennis.

    Source: PIB

    NASA’s Crew-7 Mission

    Syllabus: GS-3/Science and Technology, Space

    Context

    • Recently, NASA and SpaceX have launched Crew-7 Mission. 
      • The name of the spacecraft responsible for carrying astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

    About Crew 7 Mission:

    • The mission includes four astronauts from the USA, Denmark, Russia and Japan.
    • Crew-7 is the seventh routine mission to the International Space Station for Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The first mission happened back in 2020.
    • The crew will spend six months aboard the orbital platform, and will carry out science experiments.

    International Space Station (ISS)

    • It is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in Low Earth Orbit (approximately 250 miles above Earth).
    • It was the brainchild of former US President Ronald Reagan, who in 1984 proposed building a permanently inhabited spacecraft in cooperation with a few other countries.
    • The first piece of the International Space Station was launched in 1998 into space onboard a Russian rocket.
      • NASA and its partners around the world finished the space station in 2011.
    • The ISS is one of the most ambitious international collaborations in human history.
    • Nations involved: The ISS programme is a joint project between five participating space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).
    • The ownership and use of the space station are established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements.

    Significance

    • They are helpful for gathering accurate scientific information, particularly for biological research.
    • They support several scientific investigations into the various facets of space.
    • Studying the effect of prolonged space travel on the human body. 

    Source: IE

    Wrestling Federation of India (WFI)

    Syllabus: GS2/India and its Neighbourhood Relations

    News

    • United World Wrestling (UWW) has provisionally suspended the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) primarily for not conducting its elections on time.

    About

    • The absence of an elected president and a board of WFI did not comply with UWW regulations and its conditions for membership.
    • Hence, UWW sent a letter to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) appointed ad-hoc committee, which is running the WFI in the absence of an elected body.
      • It said, “wrestlers and their support personnel remain authorised to participate in all UWW sanctioned events, however they shall do so under the UWW flag.”
    • This means that Indian wrestlers cannot compete under the national flag in UWW events, including the World championships in Belgrade in September. 
    • No national anthem will be played if an Indian wrestler wins a gold medal.

    Wrestling Federation of India (WFI)

    • It is a society registered under the Societies Registration Act of 1960.
    • Registered office: Delhi.
    • The objectives of the Society are:
      • To encourage, promote and control amateur wrestling activities.
      • To affiliate Wrestling Associations of States and Centrally administered areas, Services, Sports Control Board, Railway Sports Promotion Board and other all India Institutional Boards.
      • To affiliate with the Indian Olympic Association.
      • To affiliate with the United World Wrestling [UWW] and to enforce rules and regulations of UWW, etc.

    United World Wrestling (UWW)

    • It is the international governing body for the sport of amateur wrestling.
    • UWW was created during the IOC Olympic Congress in Lausanne in 1912.
    • It oversees wrestling at the World Championships and Olympics and presides over various international competitions related to wrestling, including Greco-Roman, Freestyle, Grappling, as well as others.
    • Headquarters: Corsier-sur-Vevey, Lausanne,Switzerland.

    Source: IE

    Amitabh Kant Committee

    Syllabus: GS2/India and its Neighbourhood Relations

    News

    • The 14-member committee chaired by former NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, submitted its report to Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri recently.

    About:

    • The Amitabh Kant committee was tasked by the Government with suggesting ways to revive stalled real estate projects.
    • The report by the committee acknowledged the financial stress of real estate developers but recommended no direct support.
    • The report has essentially suggested that all stakeholders — developers, financiers and land authorities — take “haircuts” to make the stalled projects financially viable.

    What does haircut mean in finance?

    • A haircut is the lower-than-market value placed on an asset when it is being used as collateral for a loan. 
    • The size of the haircut is largely based on the risk of the underlying asset. Riskier assets receive larger haircuts.
    • It is centred on safeguarding the interests of homebuyers. Giving homebuyers a clear path to possession of their homes will boost consumer confidence in the real estate sector. 
    • The panel has proposed measures to improve the Internal Rate of Return of projects and attract funding. 
    • The panel has also recommended allowing co-developers to come in to help, which will distribute the financial burden of the stalled projects.
    • While the report addresses the overall financial viability of projects, it does not provide specific mechanisms or direct financial support to address developers’ immediate liquidity challenges, which could be a significant concern. 
    • While the report proposes several measures, the success of these recommendations depends on their timely implementation and effective execution.

    Source: IE