Wednesday, 15th May 2024

Table of contents

1   Daily Current Affairs

●  

Child Labor Allegations in Trade Talks with Australia

●  

Charting India's Journey Towards Sustainability

●  

Smart Cities Mission

●  

Xenotransplantation

●  

India International Bullion Exchange

●  

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

●  

Chabahar Port Project

●  

Mahi River

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GPT-4o

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General Provident Fund (GPF) Scheme

2   Daily Editorial Analysis

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Deepfakes in elections shake trust in our judgment

.... Show less Show more
Daily Current Affairs

Child Labor Allegations in Trade Talks with Australia


In News: The recent report by Australia's Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth alleging child labor has been strongly denied by the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Allegations Made by the Australian Panel:

  • The Australian committee's report, based on claims by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) and the State Public Services Federation (SPSF Group), expressed concerns about child and forced labor practices in India.
  • The report recommended that the Australian Government incorporate human rights, labor, and environmental chapters in its trade agreements, aligning with conventions and declarations signed by Australia.

Facts Supporting Australia’s Claim:

  • According to the 2023 Global Slavery Index estimates by Walk Free, an international human rights group, there were 11 million people living in modern slavery in India in 2021, the highest globally.
  • Census 2011 data indicates that out of the total child population (5-14 years) of 259.6 million in India, 10.1 million (3.9%) are engaged in work, while over 42.7 million children are out of school.

India’s Response:

  • Child Labour Prohibition: The Indian government refuted the allegations, emphasizing that existing regulations prohibit child and bonded labor.
  • Constitutional Protections: India's Constitution safeguards labor rights and authorizes both central and state governments to enact laws such as the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, to protect workers' rights.
  • Strict Licensing and Compliance: All businesses in India must adhere to labor welfare laws prescribed by both union and state governments and are licensed by local governing bodies.
  • Comprehensive Records: Processing units maintain detailed records regarding processing, quality checks, employee training, and compliance with regulations.

India’s Legal Framework on Child Labour and Forced Labour: 

  • Constitutional Rights:
    • Article 23 prohibits trafficking in human beings and forced labor, ensuring protection against exploitation and degrading work conditions.
    • Article 24 prohibits the employment of children under 14 in factories, mines, or hazardous occupations, aiming to safeguard children's health, development, and access to education.
    • Article 39 outlines principles for ensuring equal livelihood rights, protection of workers' health, and children's well-being.
  • Legislations Against Child Labour:
    • Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, bans employing children under 14 in all work, with exceptions for family businesses and non-hazardous work.
    • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, considers working children as "in need of care and protection."
  • Legislations Against Forced Labour:
    • Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, criminalizes bonded labor and provides for the release and rehabilitation of bonded laborers.
    • Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer, 2021, offers financial assistance for the rehabilitation of freed bonded laborers.

UPSC Previous Year Questions

Prelims (2018)

Q. International Labour Organization’s Conventions 138 and 182 are related to

(a) Child Labour
(b) Adaptation of agricultural practices to global climate change
(c) Regulation of food prices and food security
(d) Gender parity at the workplace

Ans: (a)

Q. Consider the following countries:

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. China
  4. India
  5. Japan
  6. USA

Which of the above are among the ‘free-trade partners’ of ASEAN?

(a) 1, 2, 4 and 5
(b) 3, 4, 5 and 6
(c) 1, 3, 4 and 5
(d) 2, 3, 4 and 6

Ans: (c)

Mains (2016)

Q. Examine the main provisions of the National Child Policy and throw light on the status of its implementation. 

Source: IE

Keywords: GS -2 GS – 1 Issues Related to Children, social empowerment, Welfare Schemes, Government Policies & Interventions
Daily Current Affairs

Charting India's Journey Towards Sustainability


In News: PwC India, a professional services network, has recently released a report titled 'Navigating India's Shift towards Sustainability'.

Key Findings of the Report on Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR):

  • Analysis Scope: The report evaluates how companies are adapting to the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) disclosures mandated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), focusing on the BRSR reports of the top 100 companies for the financial year ending on 31st March 2023.
  • Significance of Business Sector: The business sector is recognized as a crucial facilitator in achieving India's net zero vision by 2070, also known as carbon neutrality, aiming to attain an overall balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and those removed from the atmosphere.
  • Key Findings:
    • Disclosure Rate: Despite BRSR being a voluntary disclosure, 51% of India’s top 100 listed companies by market capitalization disclosed their data for FY23.
    • Emission Reduction Efforts: 34% of companies reduced their Scope 1 emissions, and 29% reduced their Scope 2 emissions.
    • Life-cycle Assessment: 44% of top listed companies conducted life-cycle assessments of their products or services.
    • Renewable Energy Usage: 49% of companies increased their energy consumption from renewable sources, while 31% disclosed net-zero targets.
  • Emission Reduction Initiatives: Key initiatives leading to emission reduction include transitioning to energy-efficient technologies such as LEDs, adopting efficient air-conditioning, ventilation, and heating systems, shifting to renewable energy sources, purchasing carbon offsets, and entering into off-site power purchase agreements.

Significance of the Report for India:

  • Sustainability Journey: The report illuminates India’s progress towards sustainability, underlining Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations.
  • Accountability Encouragement: It encourages companies to be accountable for their sustainability efforts, aligning with the BRSR framework introduced by SEBI.
  • Investor Confidence: Transparent disclosure enhances investor confidence, showcasing India's commitment to sustainability and positioning it favorably on the global stage.
  • Policy Insights: Policymakers can derive insights from the report to formulate regulations and policies promoting sustainable practices.
  • Balanced Growth: Emphasizing the need to balance economic development with environmental and social well-being, the report underscores responsible growth.

Initiatives to Ensure ESG Compliance in India:

  • National Voluntary Guidelines (NVGs): In 2011, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) released NVGs, setting early standards for ESG disclosure.
  • Business Responsibility Reports (BRR): SEBI introduced BRR in 2012 for the top 100 listed entities, later extending it to the top 500 entities in 2015.
  • Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR): In 2021, SEBI replaced BRR with BRSR, seeking disclosures on performance against the National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct.
  • Reporting Frameworks: Companies can utilize various reporting frameworks like Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) to demonstrate their commitment to ESG practices.

UPSC Previous Year Questions

Prelims (2019)

Q. Which of the following is issued by registered foreign portfolio investors to overseas investors who want to be part of the Indian stock market without registering themselves directly?

(a) Certificate of Deposit
(b) Commercial Paper
(c) Promissory Note
(d) Participatory Note

Ans: (d)

Mains (2016)

Q. Economic growth in the recent past has been led by an increase in labour activity.” Explain this statement. Suggest the growth pattern that will lead to creation of more jobs without compromising labour productivity.

Source: PWC

Keywords: GS – 3 Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Industrial Policy
Daily Current Affairs

Smart Cities Mission


In News: The flagship program of the NDA-1 government, the Smart Cities Mission (SCM), has been overshadowed in this year's list of electoral pledges and achievements.

Understanding the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) 

Overview of the Smart Cities Mission: 

  • The Smart Cities Mission (SCM) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme initiated by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) on 25 June 2015.
  • Its primary goal is to enhance cities by implementing 'smart solutions' to ensure a decent quality of life for citizens, drive economic growth, and promote sustainable and inclusive development.
  • The mission selected 100 cities over five years without a precise definition of a smart city, with the aim of completing the mission by 2020, extended twice until June 2024. 

Financial Support and Funding: 

  • The Central Government allocated Rs. 48,000 crores over five years, averaging Rs. 100 crore per city per year, with an equal contribution required from State/Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). 

Main Components of SCM: 

  • The SCM comprises two main aspects: area-based development and pan-city solutions.
  • Area-based development includes redevelopment, retrofitting, and greenfield projects, while pan-city solutions focus on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) initiatives.
  • Components further encompass e-governance, waste management, water management, energy management, urban mobility, and skill development. 

Achievements of SCM: 

  • Approximately Rs. 2 lakh crore was allocated for the mission, with Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) playing a significant role.
  • An innovative governance model was adopted, with Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) led by bureaucrats or representatives from Multinational Corporations (MNCs).
  • Despite challenges, the SCM achieved an impressive completion rate of 83%, utilizing Rs. 72,571 crore across 21 sectors.
  • Integrated Command and Control Centers (ICCCs) were established in participating cities, facilitating disaster response and urban function management. 

Success Stories of SCM: 

  • Davanagere implemented a successful stormwater drainage system, reducing flooding instances.
  • Jabalpur enhanced water supply to households, demonstrating the mission's focus on improving essential services.
  • However, challenges persist in retrofitting existing infrastructure with new technologies. 

Criticisms of SCM: 

  • The selection and implementation process of SCM was flawed, lacking adaptability to India's dynamic urbanization.
  • SCM projects saw a decrease in total outlay, falling short of the projected capital flow.
  • The SPV model deviated from the 74th Constitutional Amendment, resulting in a top-down governance structure.
  • Displacement of marginalized communities, such as street vendors, occurred under the guise of executing smart city projects.
  • Urban flooding increased due to infrastructure projects disrupting water channels in some towns. 

Source: TH

Keywords: GS-2 Governance
Daily Current Affairs

Xenotransplantation


In News: The individual who received the pioneering xenotransplantation surgery with a modified pig kidney recently passed away, with no connection to the transplant identified as the cause of death.

Understanding Xenotransplantation 

  • Definition:
    • Xenotransplantation, as defined by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), involves transplanting, implanting, or infusing live cells, tissues, or organs from nonhuman animal sources into human recipients, or using human body fluids, cells, tissues, or organs that have been in contact with live nonhuman animal cells, tissues, or organs ex vivo. 
  • Purpose:
    • The primary objective of xenotransplantation is to address the shortage of human donor organs, particularly in cases such as kidney transplants, where the demand far exceeds the available supply, leading to significant waiting lists and fatalities. 
  • Historical Context:
    • The practice of xenotransplantation dates back to the 1980s, with initial attempts focusing on organs like the heart.
    • Since then, advancements have been made in genetic modification and compatibility enhancement techniques. 
  • Procedure:
    • In xenotransplantation, animals, particularly pigs, are selected as organ donors.
    • These organs undergo genetic modifications using technologies like CRISPR-Cas9 to make them more compatible with the human immune system.
    • This may involve removing pig genes that produce antibodies recognized by the human immune system and incorporating human genes to improve compatibility. 

Complications in Xenotransplantation: 

  • Organ Rejection:
    • One of the major challenges in xenotransplantation is preventing the human body from rejecting the transplanted pig organs.
    • Techniques such as embedding the pig's thymus gland with the organ can help reduce immune responses. 
  • Infection Risks:
    • There are concerns about potential infections from both known and unknown infectious agents present in the animal organs.
    • These infections could spread to recipients and potentially to the broader population. 
  • Retroviruses:
    • Cross-species transmission of retroviruses poses a significant risk in xenotransplantation.
    • These viruses may remain latent and cause diseases years after infection. 
  • Xenotransplantation in India:
    • Xenotransplantation procedures have been attempted in India as well.
    • In 1997, a surgeon in Assam performed a xenotransplantation procedure by transplanting a pig's heart into a human patient.
    • However, the patient passed away shortly afterward, leading to legal repercussions. 

Why Pigs Are Preferred for Xenotransplantation: 

  • Historical Use:
    • Pig heart valves have been utilized in human surgeries for over five decades, establishing a precedent for the use of pig organs in transplantation. 
  • Similarity to Humans:
    • Pigs possess anatomical and physiological similarities to humans, making them suitable candidates for xenotransplantation.
    • Additionally, their widespread farming makes them a cost-effective and accessible source of organs.
  • Size Matching:
    • Pigs come in various breeds, offering a range of organ sizes that can be matched to the specific requirements of human recipients, improving the likelihood of successful transplantation. 

UPSC Previous Year Questions

Prelims (2017)

Q. With reference to agriculture in India, how can the technique of ‘genome sequencing’, often seen in the news, be used in the immediate future?

  1. Genome sequencing can be used to identify genetic markers for disease resistance and drought tolerance in various crop plants.
  2. This technique helps in reducing the time required to develop new varieties of crop plants.
  3. It can be used to decipher the host-pathogen relationships in crops.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (d)

Prelims (2022)

Q2. Consider the following statements:

DNA Barcoding can be a tool to:

  1. assess the age of a plant or animal.
  2. distinguish among species that look alike.
  3. identify undesirable animal or plant materials in processed foods.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 2
(d) 2 and 3

Ans: (d)

Souce - IE

Keywords: GS-3 Science and Tech.
Daily Current Affairs

India International Bullion Exchange


In News: SBI has declared its status as the inaugural trading-cum-clearing member of the India International Bullion Exchange (IIBX).

Introduction to India International Bullion Exchange (IIBX) and IFSCA 

About India International Bullion Exchange (IIBX):

  • Positioned as India's inaugural International Bullion Exchange, the IIBX operates from GIFT City (Gujarat International Finance Tech City) IFSC in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
  • Its vision is to serve as a conduit for importing bullion into India and fostering a world-class bullion exchange ecosystem, promoting trading, investment in bullion financial products, and offering vaulting facilities within IFSCs.
  • Aims to facilitate Transparent Price Discovery, Responsible sourcing, and supply chain integrity, alongside Quality Assurance and Standardization.
  • Regulated by the International Financial Services Centers Authority (IFSCA), which is responsible for developing and regulating financial products, services, and institutions within IFSCs.
  • Offers diversified products and technology at competitive costs compared to Indian exchanges and global counterparts in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, London, and New York. 

What is Bullion?

  • Bullion denotes physical gold and silver of high purity, typically stored in the form of bars, ingots, or coins.
  • Often recognized as legal tender and held as reserves by central banks or institutional investors. 

Key Facts about International Financial Services Centers Authority (IFSCA):

  • Established as a statutory authority under the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019 (“IFSCA Act”).
  • Mandated to develop and regulate financial products, services, and institutions within International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs).
  • Aims to foster global connections, address Indian economy needs, and serve as an international financial platform for the region.
  • Predecessors to IFSCA included domestic financial regulators such as RBI, SEBI, PFRDA, and IRDAI, which regulated IFSC businesses.
  • GIFT-IFSC stands as India's premier IFSC, marking the inception of IFSCA's regulatory authority. 

Source: TOI

Keywords: GS-2 IR GS-3
Daily Current Affairs

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)


In News: The 2024 World Wildlife Crime Report by UNODC revealed that the rhinoceros and cedar were the animal and plant species most impacted by illegal wildlife trade globally between 2015 and 2021.

Functions and Overview of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 

  • Overview of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):
    • The UNODC is globally recognized for its efforts in combating illicit drugs, international crime, and terrorism, with origins dating back to 1997 when it was formed through the amalgamation of the United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention. 
  • Functions of UNODC:
    • Education on Drug Abuse: UNODC plays a crucial role in raising awareness worldwide about the dangers associated with drug abuse.
    • Strengthening Action Against Illicit Drugs: It works to enhance international efforts to combat the production, trafficking, and crime related to illicit drugs.
    • Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Reform: UNODC focuses on improving crime prevention strategies and supporting reforms in criminal justice systems to bolster the rule of law, foster stable criminal justice structures, and counter the escalating threats posed by transnational organized crime and corruption.
    • Terrorism Prevention: With an expanded mandate since 2002, the Terrorism Prevention Branch of UNODC assists member states in ratifying and implementing eighteen universal legal instruments against terrorism, upon request.
    • Funding Mechanism: The UNODC primarily relies on voluntary contributions, predominantly from governments, to carry out its diverse range of activities. 
  • World Wildlife Crime Report:
    • The World Wildlife Crime Report, now in its third edition published in 2024, investigates patterns in the illegal trafficking of protected wildlife species.
    • It conducts systematic analyses of the harms and impacts of wildlife crime, identifies the driving factors behind wildlife trafficking trends, and assesses the effectiveness of various intervention methods employed to address this issue. 

Source: DTE

Keywords: GS-2 IR GS-3
Daily Current Affairs

Chabahar Port Project


In News: India and Iran have recently inked a significant 10-year agreement aimed at the development and management of the Chabahar port. This milestone represents a crucial advancement in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Overview of Chabahar Port Project

  • Chabahar Port is situated in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province, positioned at the Gulf of Oman's mouth within the Strait of Hormuz.
  • It serves as Iran's sole port directly connected to the Indian Ocean and comprises two sections known as Shahid Beheshti and Shahid Kalantari.
  • Geographically proximate to nations like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, the port stands as a pivotal transit center on the emerging International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
  • The INSTC is a multimodal route linking the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea through Iran, further extending to northern Europe via Saint Petersburg, Russia.
  • Chabahar Port's strategic location positions it to evolve into a significant commercial center in the region.
  • Distances from Chabahar to Kandla port in Gujarat stand at 550 Nautical Miles, while the distance to Mumbai is 786 Nautical Miles.
  • In May 2016, India entered a trilateral agreement with Iran and Afghanistan to develop the Shahid Beheshti Terminal at Chabahar, marking India's inaugural foreign port venture.
  • The agreement aims to establish an international transport and transit corridor centered around Chabahar.
  • Key components of the project include the construction of Chabahar Port and a rail line extending from the port to Zahedan.
  • The project's vision is to provide India with a route bypassing Pakistan to access Afghanistan and, ultimately, Central Asia.
  • Additionally, the port is envisioned to facilitate transit trade between India, Iran, and Afghanistan, offering an alternative route to the traditional Silk Road through China.

Source: IT

Keywords: GS-2 IR
Daily Current Affairs

Mahi River


In News: Recently, two young individuals lost their lives due to drowning in the Mahi River, near Kotna village situated on the outskirts of Vadodara city.

Overview of Mahi River 

  • Significance and Flow
    • The Mahi River is recognized as one of the prominent west-flowing interstate rivers in India.
    • It traverses through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujarat, covering a substantial drainage area of 34,842 square kilometers. 
  • Course
    • Originating from the northern slopes of the Vindhyas near Bhopawar village in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, the river commences its journey at an altitude of 500 meters.
    • Initially flowing southwards, it courses through Madhya Pradesh for approximately 120 kilometers.
    • Subsequently, it enters the Vagad region in the southeastern part of Rajasthan, traversing through the Banswara district before its entry into Gujarat.
    • Prior to reaching Gujarat, the river forms a distinctive 'U'-shaped loop within the terrain of Rajasthan. 
  • Outflow and Length
    • The Mahi River culminates its journey by draining into the Arabian Sea via the Gulf of Khambhat.
    • With a total length of 583 kilometers, it serves as a vital waterway for the regions it traverses. 
  • Geographical Boundaries
    • The river is flanked by natural features such as the Aravalli Hills to the north and northwest, the Malwa Plateau to the east, the Vindhyas to the south, and the Gulf of Khambhat to the west. 
  • Tributaries
    • Several tributaries contribute to the flow of the Mahi River, including Eru, Nori, Chap, Som, Jakham, Moran, Anas, Panam, and Bhadar. 
  • Infrastructure
    • Notably, the Mahi River hosts the Mahi Bajaj Sagar Dam, which serves as a critical source of water supply and electricity generation for the entirety of Gujarat.

Source: IE

Keywords: GS-1 Physical Geography
Daily Current Affairs

GPT-4o


In News: OpenAI has harnessed the capabilities of GPT-4 in its latest model, dubbed GPT-4o, within ChatGPT.

Introducing GPT-4o: Enhancing Human-Machine Interaction 

  • GPT-4o, denoted by "o" for "omni," elevates the intelligence level of GPT-4 while significantly boosting speed and expanding capabilities in text, vision, and audio domains. 

Key Features: 

  • Enhanced Natural Interaction: GPT-4o fosters more natural and seamless human-to-machine interaction. 
  • Efficient Voice Mode: The voice mode in GPT-4o efficiently recognizes the voice of the speaker or multiple speakers, enhancing user experience. 
  • Unified Voice, Text, and Vision Reasoning: Unlike previous voice modes that required multiple models for transcription, intelligence, and text-to-speech, GPT-4o seamlessly integrates these functions, minimizing latency. It reasons across voice, text, and vision modalities. 
  • Vision Capabilities: GPT-4o incorporates vision features, enabling users to upload photos and documents, initiating conversations based on visual content. 
  • Memory Feature: Users can utilize the Memory feature to search for real-time information during conversations, enhancing context and relevance. 
  • Multilingual Support: OpenAI has enhanced the quality and speed of GPT-4o in 50 different languages, catering to a diverse user base. 
  • Emotion Recognition: GPT-4o can detect user emotions and adapt conversation styles accordingly, enriching interaction dynamics. 
  • Real-time Facial Emotion Analysis: Leveraging real-time facial analysis, GPT-4o can discern and respond to user feelings based on facial expressions. 

Source: TH

Keywords: GS-3
Daily Current Affairs

General Provident Fund (GPF) Scheme


In News: Recently, a single judge bench of the Madras High Court ruled that employees do not inherently qualify for pension benefits solely based on deductions made through the General Provident Fund (GPF) scheme.

Exploring the General Provident Fund (GPF) Scheme for Government Employees 

  • Overview:
    • The General Provident Fund (GPF) functions as a specialized form of the Public Provident Fund (PPF), exclusively available for government employees across India.
    • It allows government employees to designate a portion of their salaries to their individual GPF accounts, accumulating funds over their service tenure for retirement benefits. 
  • Eligibility:
    • Government employees eligible for GPF subscription include all permanent government servants, re-employed pensioners (excluding those eligible for the contributory provident fund), and temporary government servants with at least one year of continuous service. 
  • Contribution:
    • Participation in the GPF scheme is mandatory for government employees, necessitating a predetermined percentage deduction from their monthly salaries.
    • Contributions are subject to interest accrual at a fixed rate, offering employees the option to increase their deductions voluntarily. 
  • Withdrawal and Benefits:
    • Upon retirement or resignation, employees can withdraw their GPF savings, reflecting their cumulative contributions and accrued interest.
    • Flexibility in withdrawals permits employees to access funds for various purposes, including marriage, education, and medical emergencies.
    • Loan facilities against GPF accounts are available under specific conditions.
    • Transferring or withdrawing GPF balances upon changing government departments or leaving service is permissible.
    • In the event of the employee's demise, the GPF sum is disbursed to their nominee. 
  • Interest Rate and Administration:
    • The GPF scheme offers a competitive interest rate, subject to quarterly revisions.
    • Administered by the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions, it provides several advantages to government employees, including tax benefits, low-risk investments, and assured returns.

 Source: LL

Keywords: GS-3 Economy
Daily Editorial Analysis

Deepfakes in elections shake trust in our judgment


In News: A recent article explores the emergence of deep fakes within our current election cycle and their potential to undermine the integrity of the electoral process. It delves into the difficulties posed by deep fakes in authenticating information and exercising personal discernment.

Understanding Deepfakes: Origins, Creation, and Impact on Elections

  • Definition and Origins:
    • Deepfakes are synthetic media generated using AI technology, aiming to deceive individuals by manipulating visual and audio content.
    • The term "deepfake" was coined in 2017 by an anonymous Reddit user known as "Deepfakes," who utilized Google's deep-learning technology for creating and sharing pornographic videos.
  • Creation Process:
    • Deepfakes are created using generative adversarial networks (GANs), consisting of a generator and a discriminator neural network.
    • The generator produces fake images or videos closely resembling reality, while the discriminator differentiates between authentic and fake content.
  • Data Synthesis:
    • The creation of deepfakes requires large datasets, often sourced from the internet or social media without consent, including photos or videos of both source and target individuals.
  • Deep Synthesis:
    • Deepfakes are part of Deep Synthesis, utilizing technologies like deep learning and augmented reality to generate text, images, audio, and video, constructing virtual scenarios.

Advantages of Deepfakes in Elections:

  • Segmentation and Targeting:
    • Deep learning algorithms enable political parties to analyze extensive voter data, including demographics and social media engagement, for personalized targeting.
    • Natural language processing (NLP) algorithms interpret textual data from social media posts, news articles, etc., aiding in targeting voters effectively.
  • Real-time Monitoring and Adaptation:
    • AI-powered predictive analytics forecast election outcomes by analyzing diverse factors like polling data and social media sentiment analysis.
    • AI algorithms continuously monitor data sources to gauge public sentiment and identify emerging trends.
  • Enhanced Communication Strategies:
    • AI chatbots and virtual assistants engage voters on social media platforms, disseminating information about candidates and policies.
  • Security and Integrity:
    • AI-driven tools detect and prevent electoral fraud, ensuring the integrity of elections.
  • Regulation and Oversight:
    • AI technologies monitor political advertising, ensuring compliance with electoral regulations.

Challenges related to Deepfakes in Elections:

  • Electoral Behavior Manipulation:
  • Deepfake content can manipulate voters by spreading personalized propaganda.
  • Spreading Misinformation:
  • Generative AI models can spread disinformation, influencing voter perceptions.
  • Inaccuracies and Unreliability:
  • Deepfake AI models are susceptible to inaccuracies, posing risks to reliability.
  • Ethical Concerns:
  • Deepfake usage raises ethical questions regarding privacy, transparency, and fairness.
  • Regulatory Challenges:
  • Regulating deepfakes in electoral campaigns is challenging due to rapid technological advancements.

Combatting the Misuse of Deepfakes in Elections:

  • Regulatory Measures:
    • Implement strict laws criminalizing the creation and dissemination of deepfake content during elections.
  • Election Commission Guidelines:
    • Issue guidelines requiring transparency in AI algorithms used for political purposes.
  • Technology-Based Solutions:
    • Develop AI algorithms to detect and authenticate deepfake content in real-time.
  • Awareness and Education Campaigns:
    • Launch public awareness campaigns to educate voters about deepfake technology.
  • Enhanced Fact-Checking:
    • Establish rapid response teams to address the dissemination of fake news and deepfakes.
  • Collaborative Efforts:
    • Foster collaboration among governments, tech companies, and civil society organizations to combat deepfake threats.
  • Learning from International Practices:
    • Draw insights from international approaches to deepfake regulation and prevention.
  • Promoting Ethical AI:
    • Advance AI technologies with ethical principles, prioritizing objectives like mitigating bias and safeguarding privacy.

UPSC Previous Year Questions

Prelims (2020)

Q. With the present state of development, Artificial Intelligence can effectively do which of the following? 

  1. Bring down electricity consumption in industrial units
  2. Create meaningful short stories and songs
  3. Disease diagnosis
  4. Text-to-Speech Conversion
  5. Wireless transmission of electrical energy

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2, 3 and 5 only
(b) 1, 3 and 4 only
(c) 2, 4 and 5 only
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Ans: (b)

Mains (2021)

Q. What are the main socio-economic implications arising out of the development of IT industries in major cities of India? 

Source: IE

Keywords: GS-2 GS-3
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  • Social media: Follow Edukemy’s official social media accounts or pages that provide UPSC Daily Current Affairs updates, including Facebook, Twitter, or Telegram channels.

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