Gross Fixed Capital Formation
Tag: GS Paper-3: Growth & Development;
GS Paper-2: Government Policies & Interventions.
Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) in the Indian economy increased from Rs. 32.78 lakh crore (constant 2011-12 prices) in 2014-15 to Rs. 54.35 lakh crore in 2022-23 (Provisional Estimates).
About India’s GFCF:
- GFCF consists of resident producers’ investments, deducting disposals, in fixed assets during a given period.
- It also includes certain additions to the value of non-produced assets realized by producers or institutional units.
- Fixed assets are tangible or intangible assets produced as outputs from production processes that are used repeatedly, or continuously, for more than one year.
- The Government and private sector together invest in the economy.
- This is indicated by Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) in the Indian economy which has increased from Rs. 32.78 lakh crore (constant 2011-12 prices) in 2014-15 to Rs. 54.35 lakh crore in 2022-23 (Provisional Estimates).
- The government is implementing
- Scheme for Special Assistance to States for Capital Expenditure (2020-21 & 2021-22), and
- Scheme for Special Assistance to States for Capital Investment (2022-23 & 2023-24).
- The government approved and released special assistance (loan) in the form of a 50-year interest-free loan for capital expenditure on capital projects including capital projects pertaining to sectors like health, and education. irrigation. power. etc for capital expenditure for different States.
Plastic Overshoot Day
Tag: GS Paper-3: Environmental Pollution & Degradation
On July 28, 2023, the Earth saw its first Plastic Overshoot Day.
About the report by Swiss-based research consultancy Earth Action (EA):
Plastic Overshoot Day.
It is the point at which the amount of plastics exceeds the global waste management capacity.
Plastic Overshoot Day is determined based on a country’s Mismanaged Waste Index (MWI).
The gap in waste management capacity and plastic consumption is called MWI.
Plastic Overshoot Day sheds light on a critical aspect of the world’s plastic consumption:
Short-life plastics, encompassing plastic packaging and single-use plastics, account for approximately 37 percent of the total plastic commercialized annually.
Of the 159 million tonnes of plastics (which can be used only for a short time) to be produced globally in 2023, 43 percent (68.5 million tonnes) will end up causing pollution.
When it comes to plastic consumption on a per-person basis, the world’s worst offender is Iceland, with annual consumption of 128.9 kg per person.
Three countries (followed by India) with the highest mismanaged waste are Mozambique (99.8 percent), Nigeria (99.44 percent) and Kenya (98.9 percent).
It is among the 12 countries which are responsible for 52 percent of the world’s mismanaged plastic waste.
India’s yearly consumption per person is 5.3 kg per person.
Overshoot Day for India was January 6, 2023.
India ranks fourth in the MWI, with 98.55 percent of generated waste being mismanaged.
Dilemma of Waste Sponges
Plastic pollution particularly impacts developing countries without mature waste management systems, including India.
These countries have been categorized as ‘waste sponges’.
However, 25 percent of these countries are trying to address the global waste crisis by absorbing waste from other countries but are struggling to manage their own waste.
Waste sponges have a low plastic consumption yet a high level of plastic pollution.
The UN Plastic Treaty represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spark global action against plastic pollution.
India has abstained from furnishing its written submission.
While 70 percent of the submissions spoke of restricting or phasing out unnecessary plastic products, a negligible 8 percent suggested a moratorium on plastic production.
According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) report, the Plastic Life Cycle, India recycles 12.3 percent of its plastic waste and incinerates 20 percent.
Climate change contributes to violence against children
Tags: GS – 1: Indian Society
Why in News:
In a recent study on the intersections of climate change, environmental degradation and violence against children found that climate change contributes to violence against children.
About the Study:
- It explored both direct violence — physical, sexual, and emotional — and structural violence; that is, rooted in inequitable and unjust systems and institutions.
- It identified five themes: hazards and disaster risk reduction; gender; climate-induced mobility or immobility; child labour; and health.
- Hazards and disaster risk reduction: Natural disasters create stressful environments, leading to higher risks of violence against children in relief shelters or at home. In post-disaster situations, children might be forced into labour for recovery efforts.
- Gender: The effects of climate change and environmental degradation are not gender-neutral. Climate change can exacerbate child marriage in certain regions due to drought-induced economic pressures, affecting girls disproportionately.
- Mobility and Immobility: Climate migrants face increased risks of violence, and separation from families or caregivers makes children vulnerable. Immobility, as in slum areas, can lead to child abuse and violence. Fear of violence in shelters can lead women to remain at home after natural hazards, increasing children’s risk of harm from the hazard or other forms of violence.
- Child Labour: Natural disasters and climate-change-related industries (agriculture, mining, etc.) contribute to child labour, which can expose children to exploitation and violence.
- Health: As temperatures rise, infants will bear the greatest burden of malnutrition and rising food prices. Children will suffer most from the rise in infectious diseases. Climate-related mental health issues can lead to increased perpetration of violence against children, as eco-anxiety and fear of consequences contribute to domestic violence.
- Understanding these interlinkages is essential for informing policies and interventions that can protect and support children, particularly those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and environmental shocks.
- Early warning systems should be installed for climate-related disasters that specifically consider children’s vulnerabilities.
- Provide Psychosocial support like counseling, therapy, and mental health services to help children cope with anxiety and stress.
- Focus on preventing child marriage, human trafficking, and gender-based violence exacerbated by climate change.
- Integrate climate change awareness and preparedness into school curricula to empower children with knowledge and skills to face climate-related challenges.
- Design and set up shelters that prioritize the safety and well-being of children during emergencies.
Tags: GS – 3: Science and Technology (Biotechnology)
Why in News:
Recently, researchers have developed a new blood testing technology called GEMINI which uses genome-wide sequencing of single molecules of DNA combined with machine learning.
GEMINI (Genome-wide Mutational Incidence for Non-Invasive Detection of Cancer):
- This technology has the potential to enable earlier detection of lung and other cancers.
- The test starts by collecting a blood sample from individuals at risk of cancer. From this sample, cell-free DNA (cfDNA) shed by tumours is sequenced using cost-efficient whole genome sequencing.
- Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) refers to small fragments of DNA that are released into the bloodstream or other bodily fluids when cells in the body die and break down. These fragments of DNA are not enclosed within cells, hence the term “cell-free.”
- Single molecules of DNA are analyzed for sequence alterations, providing mutation profiles across the genome.
- A machine learning model then identifies changes in cancer and non-cancer mutation frequencies, generating a score indicating the likelihood of having cancer.
- In laboratory tests, the GEMINI test, when combined with computerized tomography imaging, detected over 90% of lung cancers, including early-stage diseases.
- The test also identified altered mutation profiles in cfDNA from patients with other cancers, such as liver cancer, melanoma, and lymphoma, suggesting broader applications.
Mapping India’s chip design ecosystem
Tags: GS-III: Government Policies for Electronic
Union government deliberates on proposals to overhaul India’s Chip Design Ecosystem
- The government has recently considered a proposal to pick an equity stake in domestic chip design-making companies as part of the second phase of the design-linked incentive (DLI) scheme.
- The aim is to ensure a stable ecosystem for the semiconductor industry and foster “fabless companies” that design chips but outsource manufacturing.
- The domestic semiconductor industry benefits from a highly skilled talent pool of semiconductor design engineers, making up about 20% of the global workforce in the field.
- India designs approximately 2,000 integrated circuits and chips each year, with the presence of global players like Intel, Micron, and Qualcomm conducting research and development in the country.
- Key issues:
- Despite the strong manpower, India owns a relatively smaller portion of the intellectual property (IP) related to chip designs, with most IP retained by global companies.
- The semiconductor industry faces challenges due to its capital-intensive nature and long gestation periods for returns on investment.
- Research and development in chip designing become more complex as chipsets become smaller, and functional requirements evolve in a cyclic industry.
- While equity support can empower design companies, challenges lie in retaining intellectual property and linking investments to innovation and employment generation.
- In this regard, the government’s participation can provide regulatory support and foster a state-of-the-art design ecosystem serving both national interests and global markets.
- Overall, India’s chip ecosystem is a critical component of the country’s technology and electronics industry and needs nurturing of indigenous innovation and encouraging growth.
About DLI Scheme:
- The Design-Linked Incentive (DLI) scheme is a policy initiative introduced by the Indian government in 2021.
- It aims to bolster the domestic semiconductor industry, nurture indigenous innovation, and promote the growth of chip design companies in India.
- At present the scheme seeks to support at least 20 companies in India, targeting a turnover of more than ₹1,500 crore over the next five years.
Odisha Millets Mission (OMM)
Tags: General Studies –2 Government Policies & Interventions
Why in the news?
Recently, Odisha has emerged as one of the forerunners of millets, ensuring the participation of women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in the millet value chain where they are playing a leading role in processing, value addition, and marketing.
- The initiative is part of a joint effort led by the Odisha Millets Mission (OMM), a flagship program launched by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment and the Department of Mission Shakti, to mainstream millet-based food in rural and urban areas.
- The aim is to create sustainable livelihoods and improve nutritional security, involving women SHGs through millet-based enterprises.
- Under the OMM, Millet Shakti Cafés and Outlets have been established in various districts, showcasing a diverse range of millet-based food items.
- OMM has facilitated training in recipe formulation, packaging, quality control, marketing, and other skills, empowering women to participate effectively in the millet industry.
- OMM has demonstrated a unique approach to promoting upskilling and gender equity.
SDCs to Promote Tribal Culture
Tags: General Studies –2 Government Policies & Interventions
Why in the news?
Recently, The Odisha government has implemented the Special Development Councils (SDCs) initiative to preserve and promote tribal culture while ensuring economic development.
- The Odisha government launched the Special Development Councils (SDCs) initiative in 2017 for preserving, promoting, and popularising tribal culture.
- This is an active effort to preserve the culture and heritage of 62 tribes in the State under one umbrella.
- The scheme, which covered nine tribal-dominated districts has now been expanded to 23 districts covering more than 84 lakh tribal people.
- The SDCs focus on identifying and promoting important cultural markers of tribal identity, such as language, sacred groves, and tribal artisans.
- Over 21 tribal proficiency centers have been established to educate about tribal culture and dialect.
- More than 4,500 sacred groves are being conserved.
- Artisan ID cards have been issued to over 40,000 tribal artisans to preserve culture and create employment opportunities.
- Ensuring cultural context is considered in the development projects.
GI Tags of Tamil Nadu
Tags: General Studies –1 Art & Culture
Why in news?
Recently, Tamil Nadu’s Jaderi ‘namakatti’, chedibutta saree and Kanniyakumari Matti banana got GI tag.
- Geographical Indication or GI is a tag used on products, natural or man-made, associated with a particular region or geographical location in a country.
- GI tag can be given to a wide range of products – agricultural, handicraft, foodstuff, or manufactured goods.
- GI tag is an acknowledgment of the intellectual property of the product.
- Clay sticks with white colour, finger-like shape, and smooth texture.
- Made by Jaderi Tiruman (Namakatti) Producers Society in Jaderi, Tiruvannamalai district.
- Place/Origin: Village of Jaderi, Tamil Nadu
Kanniyakumari Matti banana:
- Traditional table banana with medicinal value, highly fragrant, sweet with a sub-acid flavour, and powdery nature.
- Place/Origin: Kanniyakumari district, Tamil Nadu.
- Handloom saree made from art silk and cotton mix fabric, featuring the iconic “plant and flower” motif on the border and pallu.
- Woven by skilled Sowrashtra weavers.
- Place/Origin: Veeravanallur town, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu
- In addition to these, seven other products from different regions of India (Agra leather footwear, Rajasthan’s Nathdwara Pichhwai Painting, Kashmir’s Mushqbudji rice, Bihar’s Marcha Rice, Jammu Kashmir’s Rajouri Chikri Wood Craft, Agsechi Vayingim (Agassaim Brinjal) of Goa, Sat Shiro Bheno (Sat Shirancho Bhendo) also known as Okra, is a vegetable crop of Goa) also received GI tags.
Tags: General Studies –2 Government Policies & Interventions
Why in the news?
Recently, The GOBARdhan initiative in India, aimed at converting waste to wealth through biogas and compressed biogas (CBG), has shown promising results and attracted significant investments.
- Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBARdhan) is a crucial umbrella initiative of the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India.
- In 2018, the government launched this scheme as a national priority project under the Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen-Phase II program.
- The government provides technical assistance and up to 50 lakhs of financial support per district for the safe disposal of cattle and organic waste.
- The initiative aims to manage organic waste scientifically while benefiting rural households and involves collaboration between the government, private players, and other stakeholders.
- Safely manage cattle and agricultural waste in villages and make the villages clean.
- Convert organic waste to biogas and organic manure for rural use
- Promote environmental sanitation and curb vector-borne diseases in rural areas
- Create rural employment and income generation opportunities by involving entrepreneurs, SHGs, and youth groups in setting up GOBARdhan units.
- The Unified Registration Portal for GOBARdhan has received requests for over 1200 biogas plants, including 320 CBG plants in just 60 days since its launch.
Tags: General Studies –3 Science & Technology
Why in the news?
Recently, the OpenAI CEO formally re-introduced a Worldcoin project of his that was eclipsed by the popularity of ChatGPT.
- Worldcoin is an initiative to create a digital network where individuals can claim a stake and join the digital economy.
- This venture runs on a simple model, allowing your eyes to be scanned in order to prove your human uniqueness and receive some crypto and an ID (called a World ID) in exchange.
- Using a device called “Orb,” Worldcoin volunteers known as ‘Orb operators’ scan a person’s iris pattern to collect their biometric data and help them get a World ID through the World app.
- In exchange, participants receive a cryptocurrency called Worldcoin [WLD]. The goal is to build the “world’s largest identity and financial public network” accessible globally.
- This process is called “proof of personhood” and makes sure that people do not sign themselves up multiple times in exchange for crypto.
- Worldcoin uses biometric data to ensure unique participation and avoid duplications. The company claims to use zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) to maintain users’ privacy and comply with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
- Worldcoin has been introduced in with Orb operators scanning people’s eyes at various locations in cities like Delhi, Noida, and Bangalore.
Tags: General Studies –3 Environment
Why in the news?
Recently, Scientists found and revived two frozen microscopic nematodes in Siberia five years ago.
- A recent study published in the journal PLOS Genetics reveals that these worms are 46,000 years old, frozen since the late Pleistocene era. Furthermore, one of them belongs to an entirely new species called Panagrolaimus kolymaensis.
- Cryptobiosis is a state in which an organism exhibits no visible signs of life, and its metabolic activity becomes nearly undetectable or temporarily stops.
- During this state, organisms can survive without water, or oxygen, or under extreme conditions.
- Cryptobiosis is a state of extreme inactivity in response to adverse environmental conditions.
In the cryptobiotic state:
- All metabolic procedures stop, preventing reproduction, development, and repair.
- Organisms can survive extreme conditions by entering a dormant state where they halt their life processes surviving between life and death.
- Cryptobiotic desiccation is the most common. For eg; nematodes, brine shrimp, yeast, tardigrades, etc.
- This discovery increases the longest documented cryptobiosis period in nematodes by tens of thousands of years.
- Understanding how these worms adapted to extreme conditions can provide insights into habitat change caused by climate change and how species can survive despite changing weather patterns.
South Asia, now open to business
Tag: GS Paper-2: India & its Neighbourhood; Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
South Asian regionalism; History of South Asian regionalism; New factors accelerating regional economic integration.
South Asia’s new economic openness, Delhi’s vigorous neighbourhood policies, and Western support for an India-centred regionalism in South Asia could transform the Subcontinent’s economic landscape.
Decoding the editorial: South Asian regionalism
The pessimistic discourse on South Asian regionalism is trapped in two old propositions:
- South Asia is the least integrated region and insufficiently connected to the world.
- The road to regional integration in the Subcontinent must necessarily run through the SAARC.
History of South Asian regionalism
- The post-colonial and partitioned sub-continent chose economic autarky.
- It devalued regional integration.
- Endless conflict reinforced the lack of political appetite for cross-border commercial engagement.
- The trans-regional connectivity inherited from the British Raj steadily withered as the newly independent countries focused on import substitution.
- The 1990s saw the liberalization and globalization of the South Asian economies.
- It saw the injection of the language of regionalism in the sub-continent and a new interest in trade and connectivity.
- Economic reform, however, was uneven across the region and tentative even in the capitals, with some support for change.
- And it was hard to mobilize support for cross-border connectivity projects amidst the region’s security challenges.
- The 21st century has seen considerable improvement within the Subcontinent.
- The share of intra-regional trade in the Subcontinent’s trade with the world has grown from about 2 percent in 1990 to about 6 percent today but is nowhere near the potential or the achievements of other parts of Asia.
- SAARC is moribund.
- Its last summit was held in 2014.
- Pakistan’s priority for the last three decades has been to wrest concessions from India on Kashmir.
- However, the rest of the region has moved forward through bilateral, sub-regional, and trans-regional mechanisms outside of SAARC. A successful SAARC is not a precondition for thriving economic regionalism.
New factors accelerating regional economic integration
- The renewed pressure to undertake economic reform.
- The recent economic crises in Sri Lanka and Pakistan are compelling the elites in Colombo and Rawalpindi to embark on serious and painful economic change.
- Nepal and Sri Lanka are today more open to trade, investment, and connectivity with India.
- Pakistan is turning to the Gulf to end its dependence on loans and bailouts.
- The region is looming larger in India’s economic calculus.
- As India’s relative economic weight in the world has grown, its commercial ties with neighbours have increased.
- Bangladesh, for example, is the fourth-largest destination for Indian exports, valued at about $16 billion in 2022.
- India’s exports to Sri Lanka at about $6 billion are comparable with India’s exports to Japan.
- Trans-border projects to promote rail, road, energy, power, financial, and digital connectivity have all gained new impetus in India’s engagement with its neighbours.
- Renewed rivalry between the US and China and deepening conflict between Delhi and Beijing, have altered the Subcontinent’s geo-economic template.
- In de-risking their commercial ties with China, the US and its allies now actively promote economic and technological engagement with India.
- They are also promoting economic integration between India and its smaller neighbours.
- The US, for example, helped Nepal’s energy and road connectivity with India with the $500 million Millennium Challenge Grant.
- Kathmandu approved it last year despite considerable opposition from China.
- Japan is now promoting sub-regional connectivity between India and Bangladesh that can potentially transform the economic map of the eastern subcontinent and the Bay of Bengal.
- Tokyo and Paris also joined hands with Delhi to help Colombo navigate its economic crisis.
- Macron’s visit to Sri Lanka, the first by a French President, is an attempt to integrate Colombo into Paris’s Indo-Pacific outreach.
- India, which was complacent about China’s growing economic presence in the region a few years ago, has offered a measure of competition in the Subcontinent with its own bouquet of regional infrastructure projects.
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