Friday, 8th September 2023
1 Editorial of the day
India’s role in democratising space
2 Daily Current Affairs
Measuring Hunger Across States
Malaviya Mission – Teachers Training Programme
UPI QR Code-Central Bank Digital Currency interoperability
India’s role in democratising space
Exam View: Is Outer Space a “Global common”?; Space Race; India’s role.
Context: With the success of Chandrayaan 3, India must pursue contributing towards the framing of an international space resource-management framework that balances competing objectives in pursuit of the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.
Decoding the editorial: Is Outer Space a “Global common”?
- “Global commons” is a concept built upon the legacy of Grotius’s idea of mare liberum (free sea), an idea that aimed to preserve the freedom of access and benefit of all.
- The term is used typically to describe supra-national and global resource domains in which common-pool resources are found.
- The UN identifies four “global commons”, namely
- the high seas,
- the atmosphere,
- Antarctica and
- outer space.
- When rooted in geopolitical or military relevance, “global common” is generally viewed as an enabling concept.
- Security establishments across the world recognise domains beyond the national jurisdictions as vital connecting channels for the international order.
- Others recognise outer space as a vital operational domain for keeping their nation safe while upholding international law.
- If outer space as a “global common” were rejected, high seas would not continue to be regarded as one.
- A collective regional security initiative like the QUAD would be unable to continue its call for the freedom of navigation.
- When rooted in economic and commercial implications of shared resources, “global common” is generally seen as a constraining concept.
- “Commons” is seen as constraining because it is associated with notions of shared ownership, public governance or limitations on use.
- “Commons” is sometimes also associated with the “common heritage of mankind” (CHM) concept.
- It has been expressed in the Moon Agreement, 1979.
- CHM was a new concept that created a territorial status in which the Moon and celestial bodies are themselves not subject to national appropriation, but the fruits and resources of which are also deemed to be the property of mankind at large.
- CHM is not limited to outer space.
- The 1970 UN General Assembly passed a non-binding resolution that “the seabed and ocean floor, and the subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, as well as the resources of the area are the common heritage of mankind.”
- After the Moon Agreement, this principle was codified as Article 136 of the United Convention on Law of the Seas, 1982.
- In 1957, after Sputnik was launched, geopolitical expediency led the only space-faring superpowers, the US and the USSR to ensure the adoption of UN General Assembly Resolutions 1721 A&B (XVI).
- All space-faring nations have continued to conform and adhere to that settled precedent.
- Over decades of consistent state practice, the principles of the Outer Space Treaty, 1967, have transformed into rules of customary international law.
- Today, outer space is a democratised domain.
- Over 80 countries access outer space, deriving benefits from space-based satellite services for every aspect of their national life, even though there are only 11 space-faring nations (including ESA).
- India’s successes in 2023
- India is now a signatory to the US Artemis Accords.
- The deepening of US-India engagements, particularly iCET.
- The establishment of the US-India Civil Space and Commercial Space Working Groups has met with excitement and expectations.
- The Chandrayaan 3 landing.
- India can play a significant part in determining the content and contours of a future international framework for the management of space resources.
- It must necessarily involve a close examination of the Moon Agreement 1979 (MA) which came into force in 1984.
- It will require a comprehensive understanding of the range of directly and indirectly applicable international law and other frameworks.
- It will also require the participation of all government institutions.
India has had and continues to have robust international cooperation space programmes, including multilateral and bilateral engagements with advanced space powers, and with those looking forward to advancing theirs.
Measuring Hunger Across States
In News: An India-specific hunger index at the level of States and Union Territories helps evaluate the extent of undernourishment at a more localised scale.
Hunger is an uncomfortable or painful physical sensation caused by insufficient consumption of dietary energy. It becomes chronic when the person does not consume a sufficient amount of calories (dietary energy) on a regular basis to lead a normal, active and healthy life.
FAO has used the Prevalence of Undernourishment indicator to estimate the extent of hunger in the world, thus “hunger” may also be referred to as undernourishment.
Status of India on Hunger:
- Despite being a major food producer with extensive food security initiatives, India grapples with significant challenges related to food insecurity, hunger, and child malnutrition.
- According to the 2022 Global Hunger Index (GHI), India ranked 107th among 121 countries, trailing behind Nigeria and Pakistan.
- The GHI is a comprehensive assessment that measures various aspects of undernourishment and hunger at the national level, encompassing factors such as calorie deficiency, child malnutrition, and under-five mortality.
- Over the past five years, India's GHI score has worsened, primarily attributed to the increasing prevalence of calorie undernourishment.
- Child malnutrition is a pressing issue in India, characterized by high rates of stunted growth, underweight children, and wasting.
- The 2022 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report highlighted that India has over 224 million undernourished individuals, which equates to more than 22 crore people, with significant disparities observed among different states.
Performance of states in Hunger Index:
- Alarming Hunger: Bihar, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh scored 35 on the State Hunger Index (SHI), placing them in the 'alarming' category.
- States Above National Average: Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra, and West Bengal all scored above the national average, which is 29. These states' performance is akin to that of some African nations like Haiti, Niger, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
- Moderate Hunger: Chandigarh scored 12, while Sikkim, Puducherry, and Kerala all scored below 16. These states, along with Manipur, Mizoram, Punjab, Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Tamil Nadu, are categorized under 'moderate hunger.'
- Serious Hunger: All other states that scored below the national average but above 20 are dealing with 'serious hunger' issues.
- Low Hunger: There are no states in the 'low hunger' category.
Issues Related to the Hunger Index
- Data and Methodology Concerns: The Indian government disputes the GHI findings and raises concerns about the data and methodology used in its calculation. This dispute highlights the need for transparency and consensus in measuring hunger and undernourishment.
- Lack of National Sample Survey (NSS) Data: The absence of recent National Sample Survey data on nutritional intake since 2011-12 is a critical issue. Reliable and up-to-date data is essential for accurately assessing the nutritional status of the population and addressing hunger effectively.
- Climate Change and Food Insecurity: India is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events, which pose significant threats to the country's food system and poverty alleviation efforts. These shocks can potentially reverse the gains made in poverty reduction and exacerbate food insecurity.
- Non-Communicable Diseases: India is experiencing a rising burden of non-communicable diseases, particularly among the middle class. These diseases are strongly linked to diet and nutrition. Addressing nutrition and dietary patterns is crucial in mitigating the health risks associated with non-communicable diseases and improving overall well-being.
Missing green growth
Malaviya Mission – Teachers Training Programme
In News: Recently, the Union Minister for Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship launched the Malaviya Mission - Teachers Training Programme by the University Grants Commission.
The Malaviya Mission is an initiative aimed at enhancing the quality of education in India, particularly focusing on the training and development of teachers in higher educational institutions (HEIs).
About Malaviya Mission:
- Teacher Training Programs: The mission is designed to provide customized training programs for teachers, with a specific focus on capacity building within higher educational institutions.
- Capacity Building: Its primary objective is to enhance the professional development of faculty members in HEIs. This initiative seeks to empower and build the capacities of approximately 15 lakh (1.5 million) teachers in higher education across India.
- Nationwide Presence: The Malaviya Mission is planned to operate through 111 centers across the country, ensuring broad coverage and a time-bound approach to teacher capacity building.
- Alignment with NEP: The mission aligns with the goals of the National Education Policy (NEP) and aims to improve the quality of teacher training, foster leadership skills among educators, and contribute to the realization of NEP objectives.
- Career Progression: It intends to map capacity-building activities under the Mission to a credit framework, enabling career progression pathways for educators, thereby recognizing and rewarding their professional development efforts.
- Incorporation of Indian Knowledge System: The program modules include aspects of the Indian Knowledge System, emphasizing the importance of indigenous knowledge in education.
About Madan Mohan Malaviya
He was a prominent Indian educationist, freedom fighter, and moderate political leader. Some key facts about him include:
- Presidency of Indian National Congress: He was elected as the president of the Indian National Congress four times during his political career.
- Round Table Conference: Malaviya attended the Round Table Conference in 1931, representing India's interests and discussing constitutional reforms.
- Founding Hindu Mahasabha: He played a significant role in founding the Hindu Mahasabha in 1906, a socio-political organization.
- Banaras Hindu University (BHU): Malaviya is most renowned for founding Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi in 1916. BHU was established under the B.H.U. Act, 1915, and it has since become a prominent educational institution in India.
- Vice Chancellor of BHU: He served as the Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University from 1919 to 1938, contributing significantly to its development and growth.
UPI QR Code-Central Bank Digital Currency interoperability
In News: Recently, RBI launched the UPI QR Code-Central Bank Digital Currency interoperability
- The interoperability of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) with the digital rupee means that all UPI Quick Response (QR) codes are now compatible with Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)
- During the pilot phase of the retail digital rupee, users of the e₹-R (retail digital rupee) had to scan a specific QR code to perform transactions related to the digital rupee.
However, with the introduction of interoperability between UPI and the digital rupee, payments can now be made using a single QR code.
How does this interoperability work?
- Digital Rupee Wallet: The e₹ is stored in a digital wallet, which is linked to a customer's existing savings bank account. This digital wallet holds the digital rupee, allowing users to make transactions and payments seamlessly.
- UPI Integration: UPI is a widely used payment system in India, directly linked to a customer's bank account. With the interoperability of UPI and the digital rupee, users can now use their existing UPI-enabled apps to make payments related to the digital rupee.
- Single QR Code: Instead of needing a separate QR code for digital rupee transactions, users can now use a single QR code. This QR code can be scanned using CBDC apps or UPI-enabled apps, making the process more user-friendly and efficient.
In News: Recently, the French government announced that the practice of wearing an abaya would be banned in state-run schools
Laïcité, the principle of secularism in France, represents the complete separation of religious values from the public sphere, with a strong emphasis on promoting secular values such as liberty, equality, and fraternity.
Its primary objective is to encourage tolerance and assimilation while relegating religion to the private sphere. The French state plays a pivotal role in enforcing and upholding Laïcité principles.
History of French laïcité
- Emergence Post-French Revolution: Laïcité began to take shape after the French Revolution in 1789 when the revolutionary government aimed to establish a clear separation between the Church and the state. During this period, there were efforts to diminish the influence of the Catholic Church in public affairs.
- The Law of 1905: Laïcité became more concrete and institutionalized with the passage of the Law of 1905 during the Third Republic. This law officially separated religious institutions from the state and established state-run secular schools. It also ensured that the state would not fund religious organizations.
- 20th Century: Laïcité was not a prominent issue for much of the 20th century when France was relatively homogeneous in terms of religious and cultural identity. During this time, the French state upheld secularism as a core value.
- Demographic Changes in the 1950s and 1960s: Demographic shifts resulting from decolonization in the 1950s and 1960s brought significant numbers of immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries to France. This led to tensions and debates about the application of Laïcité principles in a more diverse and multicultural society.
In News: The World Health Organization (WHO) has unveiled the “Gujarat Declaration,” the outcome document of the first WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit 2023.
- Gujarat declaration outlines measures to integrate traditional, complementary, and integrative medicine (TCIM) into national health systems, promote standardized documentation, and establish a global network of TCIM reference clinical centers.
- It also highlights the role of digital health technologies and emphasizes the importance of biodiversity conservation and the rights of indigenous peoples in TCIM.
- The declaration calls for evidence-based TCIM interventions to support universal health coverage and sustainable development goals. It emphasizes standardized documentation and the establishment of TCIM reference clinical centers.
Significance of Gujarat Declaration
- The declaration reaffirms global commitments to indigenous knowledge, biodiversity, and traditional, complementary, and integrative medicine (TCIM).
- It emphasizes the need for rigorous scientific methods to understand, assess, and apply holistic and context-specific approaches to health and well-being.
- It highlights India’s role in advancing these commitments as the host of the WHO Global Traditional Medicine Centre.
- A coordinate system serves as a numerical framework for precisely locating a point within a given space.
- One of the most renowned coordinate systems is the Cartesian coordinates, which employ sets of three numbers to define a point's position relative to three mutually perpendicular planes.
- Cartesian coordinates utilize pairs of numbers (x and y) for two-dimensional spaces and triples of numbers (x, y, and z) for three-dimensional spaces to pinpoint a point's location.
- This innovative system was devised by the 17th-century French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes, effectively bridging the gap between algebra and geometry and giving birth to the field of analytic geometry.
- Cartesian coordinates find extensive applications in various domains such as astronomy, engineering, and computer graphics. They enable the precise representation of spatial data and facilitate the creation of geometric designs.
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