Monday, 27th November 2023

Table of contents

1   Daily Current Affairs

a  

Ozone Hole in Antarctica

b  

Child Pornography

c  

Special Category Status

d  

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)

e  

NExT Exam (National Exit Exam)

f  

Ayushman Bharat

g  

All India Judicial Service

h  

World Climate Action Summit

i  

Myanmar

j  

Guru Nanak Dev Ji

2   Daily Editorial Analysis

a  

Electrifying fleets as a solution to combat urban pollution.

.... Show less Show more
Daily Current Affairs

Ozone Hole in Antarctica


In News: As per a recent publication in Nature Communications, it was reported that the size of the Antarctic Ozone Hole has been substantial over the past four years. 

Key Findings of the Study 

  • Ozone Depletion Trends 
    • The Antarctic ozone hole has consistently shown significant enlargement in recent years, deviating from the anticipated recovery trend observed since the 2000s.  
    • The central concentration of ozone within the hole has experienced notable reduction, indicating substantial thinning of the ozone layer. 
  • Ozone Concentration Decline 
    • The ozone concentration at the heart of the ozone hole has witnessed a 26% decrease from 2004 to 2022, despite efforts outlined in the Montreal Protocol to curb human-generated chemicals that contribute to ozone layer depletion. 
  • Influence of Polar Vortex 
    • The Antarctic ozone hole is situated within the polar vortex, a circular stratospheric wind pattern that forms during winter and persists until late spring.  
    • This vortex facilitates the intrusion of Antarctic air from the mesosphere, carrying natural chemicals like nitrogen dioxide, impacting ozone chemistry in October. 
  • Factors Impacting Ozone Depletion 
    • Various meteorological conditions, including temperature, wind patterns, aerosols from wildfires and volcanic eruptions, and fluctuations in the solar cycle, have played a role in influencing the size and behavior of the Antarctic ozone hole. 
  • Recommendations for Further Research 
    • Further research is imperative to comprehend the descent of air from the mesosphere and its specific impacts on ozone chemistry. 
    • Investigating these mechanisms holds the potential to provide insights into the future behavior of the Antarctic ozone hole. 

Understanding the Ozone Hole 

  • Definition 
    • An Ozone Hole signifies a significant depletion of the ozone layer, a section in Earth's stratosphere with a higher concentration of ozone molecules (O3).  
    • These molecules are crucial for shielding the Earth from harmful Ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the sun. 
  • Depletion and Location 
    • Ozone layer depletion results in a region with notably reduced ozone concentrations, often observed over Antarctica.  
    • This phenomenon predominantly occurs during the Southern Hemisphere's spring months (August to October), influenced by both local and global factors. 
  • Causes of Ozone Hole 
    • The primary cause of ozone hole formation is the release of human-generated chemicals, collectively known as ozone-depleting substances (ODS).  
    • These substances include Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform.  
    • Once released into the atmosphere, they ascend to the stratosphere, where solar ultraviolet radiation breaks them down, releasing chlorine and bromine atoms that, in turn, destroy ozone molecules. 
  • Antarctic Ozone Hole 
    • The Antarctic ozone hole serves as the most notable and severe example of this phenomenon.  
    • It is characterized by a drastic reduction in ozone levels, allowing increased amounts of harmful UV radiation to reach the Earth's surface. 
  • Impact on Health and Environment 
    • The heightened UV radiation poses health risks to humans, leading to increased rates of skin cancers, cataracts, and compromised immune systems.  
    • Beyond human health, UV radiation can harm various organisms and ecosystems.  
    • Additionally, ozone depletion can indirectly influence climate change by impacting atmospheric circulation patterns, potentially affecting weather and climate in specific regions. 

UPSC Previous Year Questions 

Prelims (2015) 

Q. Which one of the following is associated with the issue of control and phasing out of the use of ozone depleting substances? 

(a) Bretton Woods Conference 
(b) Montreal Protocol 
(c) Kyoto Protocol 
(d) Nagoya Protocol 

Ans: (b) 

Exp: 

  • The Bretton Woods Conference, officially known as the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference was a gathering of delegates from 44 nations that met in 1944 in Bretton Woods (USA) to agree upon a series of new rules for the post-World War-II international monetary system. 
  • The two major accomplishments of the conference were the creation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). 
  • The Montreal Protocol is an international environmental agreement to protect the earth’s ozone layer by eliminating the use of ozone depleting substances. Adopted on 15th September 1987, the protocol is to date the only UN treaty that ever has been ratified by every country on Earth – all 197 UN member states. 
  • The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the UNFCCC, which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding GHGs (Greenhouse Gases) emission reduction targets. 
  • The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan on 11th December 1997 and entered into force on 16th February 2005. 
  • The detailed rules for the implementation of the protocol were adopted as CoP7 in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2001 and referred as the Marrakesh Accord. 
  • India has ratified the second commitment period (20082012) of the Kyoto protocol, that commits countries to contain emissions of greenhouse gases, reaffirming its stand on climate action. 
  • The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, to promote sustainable use of biological diversity. India signed the protocol in 2011. 
  • Therefore, option (b) is the correct answer. 

Source: DTE 

Keywords: GS-3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs

Child Pornography


In News: EU lawmakers have recently reached a consensus to create regulations mandating that online services identify and eliminate online child pornography. 

Unraveling the Complexities of Child Pornography: Legal Framework and Societal Impact 

About Child Pornography 

  • Child pornography involves the creation, distribution, or possession of sexually explicit material featuring minors, constituting a grave offense with severe global implications, perpetuating the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.  
  • In the digital realm, online child pornography specifically refers to the production, distribution, or possession of explicit material involving minors through digital platforms. 
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, 2019, defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child, encompassing photographs, videos, or digitally generated images indistinguishable from an actual child. 

Child Pornography in India 

The surge in child pornography cases in India paints a distressing picture of online child sexual abuse. According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) in 2021, reported cases increased from 738 in 2020 to 969 in 2021. 

Impact and Ramifications 

  • Psychological Ramifications 
    • Child pornography has a profound psychological impact on children, associated with feelings of depression, anger, and anxiety, leading to mental distress and affecting their day-to-day functioning. 
  • Impact on Sexuality 
    • Regular exposure to pornography creates a sense of sexual gratification and obsession, influencing real-life behavior and choices. 
  • Sexual Addiction 
    • Some experts liken pornography to addiction, suggesting it produces similar effects on the brain as regular consumption of drugs or alcohol. 
  • Behavioral Impact 
    • Adolescent pornography use is linked to stronger beliefs in gender stereotypes, particularly among males, and may contribute to viewing women as sex objects.  
    • It may also reinforce attitudes supportive of sexual violence and violence against women. 

Challenges in Addressing Pornography Issues 

  • Socioeconomic Disparities 
    • The impact of pornography varies between children of different socioeconomic backgrounds.  
    • Strategies need to be nuanced, considering the diverse challenges faced by children from lower and higher economic classes. 
  • Cultural Perceptions of Sex 
    • In India, there exists a cultural perspective where sex is often viewed negatively, something that should be concealed.  
    • The lack of healthy family discussions on sex prompts children to seek information from external sources, potentially leading to pornography addiction. 
  • Limited Sex Education 
    • The absence of comprehensive and age-appropriate sex education contributes to the reliance on external sources for information, increasing vulnerability to the negative effects of pornography. 
  • Detection and Monitoring Challenges 
    • Agencies face substantial difficulties in detecting and effectively monitoring activities related to child pornography.  
    • The covert nature of these activities poses a significant obstacle to law enforcement efforts. 
  • Content Differentiation 
    • The presence of explicit content on mainstream websites and OTT platforms, such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hotstar, complicates efforts to differentiate between non-vulgar and vulgar content.  
    • This challenges the regulation of age-appropriate content consumption. 
  • Lack of Open Dialogue 
    • The absence of open and healthy dialogue within families regarding sexuality contributes to the reliance on external sources for information, making children more susceptible to the negative impacts of pornography. 

Indian Measures Against Child Pornography and Abuse 

  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act, 2012 
    • The POCSO Act, amended in 2019, includes stringent measures, including the death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children.  
      • The 2019 amendment introduced provisions specifically targeting child pornography. 
    • According to the amended act, individuals using children for pornographic purposes face imprisonment for a minimum of five years, with the possibility of fines.  
      • Repeat convictions can lead to imprisonment for at least seven years and fines. 
  • Other Legal Initiatives 
    • Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000. 
    • Child Abuse Prevention and Investigation Unit. 
    • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao 
    • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 
    • Child Marriage Prohibition Act (2006). 
    • Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, 2016 
  • Special Courts 
    • POCSO Courts under Special Fast Track Courts 

Moving Forward: A Comprehensive Approach to Addressing Pornography Issues 

  • Differentiating Content 
    • Distinguishing between child pornography, which involves explicit content featuring minors and sexual violence, and other forms of pornography that may be regulated rather than outright banned. 
  • Immediate Ban on Harmful Content 
    • Swiftly banning child pornography and any explicit material depicting sexual violence to protect children from exploitation. 
  • Regulation for Non-Explicit Content 
    • Implementing regulatory measures for non-explicit adult content, ensuring a balanced approach that respects individual freedoms while safeguarding against potential harm. 
  • Technological Solutions 
    • Investing in technological solutions to prevent accidental exposure of explicit content to children, especially during online activities such as browsing or while engaging with digital advertisements. 
  • Comprehensive Sex Education 
    • Making sex education mandatory in schools to equip children with the knowledge and awareness to navigate the complexities of sexuality responsibly. 
  • Parental and Teacher Training 
    • Providing training for parents and teachers to effectively engage with children in the modern era, addressing issues related to technology and sexuality.  
    • This includes guidance on supervising online activities and fostering open communication channels with children. 
  • Awareness Campaigns 
    • Launching nationwide awareness campaigns to educate parents, teachers, and communities about the risks and impact of pornography on children. P 
    • Promoting responsible media consumption and healthy discussions around sexuality is essential. 
  • Collaboration with Technology Companies 
    • Collaborating with technology companies to develop and implement effective age verification mechanisms, content filters, and parental control tools to create a safer online environment for children. 

Source: IE 

Keywords: GS – 2 Bilateral Groupings & Agreements, Groupings & Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India's Interests
Daily Current Affairs

Special Category Status


In News: Recently, the Cabinet led by the Chief Minister passed a resolution requesting the special category status for Bihar 

Understanding Special Category Status (SCS) 

Definition 

  • Special Category Status (SCS) is a classification granted by the Central government to aid in the development of states facing geographical and socio-economic disadvantages. 
  • It is not explicitly provided for in the Constitution but was introduced based on recommendations from the Fifth Finance Commission in 1969. 

Historical Context 

  • Initially conferred in 1969, the first states to receive SCS were Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, and Nagaland. 
  • SCS for plan assistance was historically granted by the National Development Council of the erstwhile Planning Commission. 

States with Special Category Status 

  • Eleven states, including Assam, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, and Telangana, have been accorded SCS. 
  • Telangana, the newest state, received this status upon its formation from Andhra Pradesh. 

Changes by the 14th Finance Commission 

  • The 14th Finance Commission eliminated the 'special category status' for states, except for the Northeastern and three hill states. 
  • It proposed addressing the resource gap through increased tax devolution from 32% to 42%. 

Distinguishing SCS from Special Status 

  • While Special Category Status deals with economic and financial aspects, special status grants enhanced legislative and political rights. For instance, Jammu and Kashmir had special status until Article 370 was repealed. 
  • Parameters for Classification (Based on Gadgil Formula) 
    1. Hilly Terrain
    2. Low Population Density and/or Sizeable Share of Tribal Population
    3. Strategic Location along Borders with Neighbouring Countries
    4. Economic and Infrastructure Backwardness
    5. Nonviable Nature of State Finances

Advantages of Special Category Status 

  • Higher Central Funding 
    • Special Category Status states receive a more substantial share of funds in centrally-sponsored schemes, with the Centre contributing 90% of the required funds. In contrast, other states typically receive 60% to 75%. 
  • Fund Carry-Forward 
    • Unutilized funds in a financial year do not lapse for states with Special Category Status; instead, they are carried forward. This flexibility allows for more effective long-term planning and implementation of developmental projects. 
  • Concessions in Duties and Taxes 
    • States with Special Category Status enjoy significant concessions in excise and customs duties, as well as income tax and corporate tax. These concessions aim to foster economic growth and development in these regions. 
  • Higher Allocation of Central Budget 
    • Approximately 30% of the Centre’s Gross Budget is allocated to Special Category states. This ensures a dedicated and substantial financial commitment from the Central government to support the economic and developmental needs of these states. 

Concerns Regarding Special Category Status 

  • Strain on Central Finances 
    • Granting Special Category Status to certain states can lead to an increased financial burden on the Central government.  
    • The higher share of funds allocated to these states in centrally-sponsored schemes, along with other concessions, may strain the overall financial resources of the Central government. 
  • Demands from Other States 
    • The conferment of Special Category Status on specific states often triggers similar demands from other regions.  
    • This creates a challenge for the government in managing the expectations and requests for special considerations from various states.  
    • Notable examples include demands from states like Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Bihar seeking similar status. 

Way Forward 

As recommended by both the 14th and 15th Finance Commissions, there has been an elevation in tax devolution to states. The 14th Finance Commission increased it to 42%, and the subsequent 15th Finance Commission has maintained a substantial allocation at 41%. This adjustment aims to address the resource gap faced by states without necessitating the extension of Special Category Status. 

Source: TH 

Keywords: GS-2 Federalism and Federal Relations
Daily Current Affairs

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)


In News: Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) signify a revolutionary advancement where blockchain technology intersects with governance. 

About DAOs 

  • A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), sometimes referred to as a decentralized autonomous corporation (DAC), operates through a decentralized computer program, utilizing blockchain technology for voting and financial processes.  
  • In essence, DAOs are communities owned by members, lacking centralized leadership.  
  • The legal standing of this form of business organization remains uncertain. 
  • An infamous example designed for venture capital funding was The DAO, which garnered 3.6 million ether (ETH), Ethereum's mining reward, valued at over US$70 million in May 2016.  
    • However, it fell victim to a hack and lost US$50 million in cryptocurrency a few weeks later.  
    • The hack was remedied through a hard fork of the Ethereum blockchain, with most Ethereum miners and clients adopting the new fork, while the original chain persisted as Ethereum Classic. 
  • Controversy surrounds the governance of DAOs, particularly in the distribution of tokens conferring voting rights.  
  • The potential concentration of power resulting from the allocation of these tokens is a point of contention. 

DAO and Governance 

  • DAO governance relies on tokens or NFTs that confer voting powers.  
  • Access to a DAO is restricted to individuals who can verify ownership of these governance tokens in a cryptocurrency wallet, and membership is transferable.  
  • Decision-making occurs through a sequence of proposals that members vote on using the blockchain, with more governance tokens equating to increased voting influence.  
  • Contributions by members toward the organizational objectives of a DAO may be monitored, and internal compensation can be provided.  
  • Inactive holders of governance tokens can pose a significant challenge to DAO governance,prompting the development of mechanisms enabling the delegation of voting power to other entities. 

Source: TH 

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

NExT Exam (National Exit Exam)


In News: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister expressed that the government was compelled to oppose NExT, similar to NEET. 

About NExT Exam  

  • The National Exit Test (NExT) is a proposed examination for all MBBS students in India, mandatory for passing the final year and obtaining a license to practice medicine. 
  • Postgraduate course admissions will be determined by a candidate's merit in the NExT, as outlined in the National Medical Commission Bill 2019.  
  • This examination will also serve as the Screening Test for Foreign Medical Graduates, replacing the current requirement of qualifying the Medical Council of India Screening Test (FMGE) for admission into postgraduate medical courses.  

NExT is designed to achieve three primary objectives 

  • It will function as a qualifying test for the final MBBS examination. 
  • It will serve as a mandatory examination for obtaining a license to practice contemporary medicine in India, applicable to both Indian and foreign medical graduates. 
  • Additionally, it will act as a competitive exam determining candidates for postgraduate (PG) broad-speciality programs at Indian medical institutions, replacing exams like FMGE and NEET PG. 

NExT will consist of two distinct tests known as "Steps." 

  • Step 1 
    • Administered on a computer following NMC standards. 
    • In the third year of the MBBS final year, Step 1 covers six papers, including medical and related fields, surgery and related fields, pregnancy and gynaecology, paediatrics, otorhinolaryngology, ophthalmology, and applied aspects of subjects covered under I MBBS, II MBBS, and III MBBS/Final MBBS Part I. 
  • Step 2 
    • Comprises practical and viva voce tests. 
    • Addresses seven clinical topics, including medical and related fields, surgery and related fields, pregnancy and gynaecology, paediatrics, otorhinolaryngology, ophthalmology, and PMR (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) and orthopaedics. 

Administration 

  • A centralized common exam will be administered by a body established by The National Medical Commission. 
  • The proposed "Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences" under the National Medical Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2022, will oversee the NExT exam once established as a self-governing board. 

Conclusion 

The introduction of the National Exit Test (NExT) is a significant stride towards creating a standardized evaluation system for medical professionals, irrespective of their training origin, addressing concerns related to foreign medical graduates and fostering mutual recognition. 

Source: TH 

Keywords: GS-2 Governance
Daily Current Affairs

Ayushman Bharat


In News: The government at the Union level has chosen to rebrand the current Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs) as 'Ayushman Arogya Mandir'.  

About Ayushman Bharat 

Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) is a comprehensive health insurance scheme covering over 12 crore families, primarily targeting the bottom 40% of the population. Key aspects of the scheme include: 

  • Health Coverage 
    • Offers a health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. 
  • Packages 
    • Covers a broad range of medical and surgical procedures (1,949 packages) for various health conditions, including cancer care, cardiac care, neurosurgery, orthopedics, burns management, and mental disorders. 
  • Funding 
    • Centrally sponsored scheme with funding ratios of 60:40 for most states, 90:10 for northeastern and Himalayan states, and 100:0 for union territories without a legislature. 
  • IT Platform 
    • Utilizes a robust IT platform for seamless service delivery and prevention of fraud, featuring beneficiary identification, hospital empanelment, transaction management, claim processing, and grievance redressal. 
  • Hospital Network 
    • Boasts a network of over 27,000 empanelled hospitals, including a significant presence of private hospitals. 
  • Encourages public-private partnership models for effective implementation. 
  • Portability 
    • Offers interstate portability, allowing beneficiaries to access services in any state with an AB-PMJAY program. 
  • Arogya Mitras 
    • Employs Pradhan Mantri Arogya Mitras to guide beneficiaries through the scheme, handling verification, registration, pre-authorization, and claim submission. 

UPSC Previous Year Questions 

Mains (2018) 

Q. Professor Amartya Sen has advocated important reforms in the realms of primary education and primary health care. What are your suggestions to improve their status and performance?

Source: TH 

Keywords: GS-2 Health
Daily Current Affairs

All India Judicial Service


In News: Recently, the President expressed support for establishing an All-India Judicial Service (AIJS) to select judges from diverse backgrounds through a standardized process. 

Historical Context 

  • The concept of AIJS was initially proposed by the Law Commission in 1958. 
  • The 42nd Constitutional Amendment in 1976 empowered Parliament to create All-India Services, including AIJS, without the need for a constitutional amendment. 

Establishment Procedure 

  • Under Article 312, Rajya Sabha needs a two-thirds majority to pass a resolution, followed by the enactment of a law by Parliament to create AIJS. 
  • No constitutional amendment is required for AIJS establishment, as confirmed by the Supreme Court. 

Advantages of AIJS 

  • Addressing Judges to Population Ratio 
    • Aims to bridge the gap in judicial vacancies, with the goal of achieving a higher judge-to-population ratio. 
  • Representation of Marginalized Sections 
    • Intended to ensure equal representation of marginalized and deprived sections of society within the judiciary. 
  • Attracting Talent Pool 
    • Envisions creating a talented pool of individuals who can contribute to the higher judiciary. 
  • Bottoms-Up Approach 
    • Aims to improve recruitment practices, addressing issues like corruption and nepotism in the lower judiciary. 

Associated Challenges 

  • Dichotomy Between Articles 233 and 312 
    • Conflict with Article 233, which grants states the authority over subordinate judiciary recruitment, raising federalism concerns. 
  • Constitutional Limitation 
    • Clause 3 of Article 312 restricts AIJS from including a post inferior to that of a district judge. 
  • Dilution of High Court Control 
    • Creation of AIJS may erode High Courts' control over the subordinate judiciary, potentially impacting judicial independence. 

Source: HT 

Keywords: GS-3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs

World Climate Action Summit


In News: The World Climate Action Summit (WCAS) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), will be attended by the Prime Minister during the 28th Conference of Parties (CoP-28) 

About World Climate Action Summit 

  • The World Climate Action Summit (WCAS) is a high-level event that brings together heads of state and government, leaders from civil society, businesses, youth representatives, Indigenous Peoples' organizations, frontline communities, scientists, and other sectors to deliberate on actionable plans for scaling up climate action.  
  • It is a platform for major announcements and is intended to provide crucial momentum and guidance throughout COP28. 

When and where is the WCAS? 

The WCAS will be held on December 1-2, 2023, in Dubai, UAE, alongside COP28. 

Who is attending the WCAS? 

The WCAS is expected to be attended by a wide range of participants, including heads of state and government, ministers, business leaders, scientists, and representatives from civil society. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be among the attendees. 

What are the goals of the WCAS? 

  • Mobilize action and accelerate progress on climate change 
  • Secure concrete commitments from governments, businesses, and other stakeholders 
  • Showcase innovative solutions and best practices for climate action 
  • Raise awareness of the urgency of climate action and build public support 

What are the expected outcomes of the WCAS? 

  • New commitments from governments, businesses, and other stakeholders to reduce emissions and build climate resilience 
  • Increased investment in climate action 
  • Enhanced cooperation and collaboration on climate change 

What is the significance of the WCAS? 

  • The WCAS is a significant event because it provides a platform for world leaders to come together and take action on climate change.  
  • It is also an opportunity to showcase the progress that has been made on climate action and to raise awareness of the urgency of the issue. 

Source: TH 

Keywords: GS-3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs

Myanmar


In News: An armed group belonging to an ethnic minority in Myanmar has taken over control of a profitable border crossing to China from the ruling junta in the country. 

About Myanmar 

  • Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a country located in Southeast Asia. 
  • It is bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos and Thailand to its east and southeast, and the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal to its south and southwest. 
  • The capital of Myanmar is Naypyidaw, but the largest city is Yangon (formerly Rangoon). 
  •  Myanmar has a population of about 55 million people. The official language of Myanmar is Burmese, but there are also many other languages spoken in the country.  
  • Myanmar is a diverse country with a rich history and culture. The country is home to a number of different ethnic groups, including the Burmans, Karens, Shans, and Kachins.  
    • Myanmar is also a Theravada Buddhist country, and Buddhism is the main religion of the country.  
  • However, Myanmar is also a country that has faced a number of challenges in recent years.  
    • The country has been under military rule for much of its history, and there has been ongoing conflict between the government and ethnic minority groups.  
    • Myanmar has also been hit by a number of natural disasters, including cyclones and earthquakes. 
  • Some of the most interesting facts about Myanmar: 
    • Myanmar is the largest country in Southeast Asia. 
    • Myanmar is home to over 135 different ethnic groups. 
    • Myanmar is the world's leading producer of rubies. 
    • Myanmar is home to the world's longest teak bridge, the U Bein Bridge. 
    • Myanmar is home to the world's largest reclining Buddha statue, the Win Sein Taw Ya Buddha. 

Source: TH 

Keywords: GS-2 IR
Daily Current Affairs

Guru Nanak Dev Ji


In News: On November 27, 2023, Sikhs will observe Guru Nanak Jayanti, commemorating the 554th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev J

i, the esteemed founder of Sikhism. 

About Guru Nanak Dev Ji 

Guru Nanak Dev Ji, born on April 15, 1469, in Talwandi (now Nankana Sahib, Pakistan), was the founder of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. His teachings and principles laid the foundation for Sikh philosophy and practices, shaping the essence of Sikhism as a distinct and inclusive religion. 

Key aspects of Guru Nanak Dev Ji's life and teachings include: 

  • Early Life 
    • Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born into a Hindu family, and from a young age, he showed a deep spiritual inclination. 
    • Legend has it that even as a child, he displayed signs of divine wisdom. 
  • Spiritual Awakening 
    • At the age of 30, Guru Nanak Dev Ji had a transformative experience during a meditation, leading to his divine calling. 
    • He embarked on a series of journeys, known as Udasis, spreading his message of oneness, equality, and devotion to the one formless God. 
  • Oneness of God 
    • Guru Nanak emphasized the concept of Ek Onkar, emphasizing the oneness of God and the equality of all human beings, regardless of caste, creed, or gender. 
  • Teachings and Philosophy 
    • Guru Nanak's teachings are compiled in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism. 
    • He advocated for selfless service, humility, equality, and devotion to God. 
  • Community Service 
    • Guru Nanak Dev Ji established the langar system, a community kitchen providing free meals to people of all backgrounds, symbolizing equality and humility. 
  • Creation of Sikhism 
    • Guru Nanak's spiritual journey laid the foundation for Sikhism as a distinct religion, and subsequent Gurus further developed its tenets. 
  • Universal Message 
    • Guru Nanak's teachings extend beyond religious boundaries, emphasizing love, compassion, and service to humanity. 
  • Legacy 
    • Guru Nanak Dev Ji's legacy is celebrated annually during Guru Nanak Jayanti, a significant Sikh festival marking his birth anniversary. 

Source: HT 

Keywords: GS-1 Art and Culture
Daily Editorial Analysis

Electrifying fleets as a solution to combat urban pollution.


In News: The air quality index (AQI) in numerous Indian cities has consistently reached the red zone on multiple occasions this year, underscoring the importance of improved pollution mitigation strategies. 

Advantages of Electrifying fleets 

  • Environmental Advantages of Electric Vehicles 
    • Electric Vehicles (EVs) play a pivotal role in curbing climate change by minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.  
    • Unlike traditional fossil fuel vehicles, EVs generate zero tailpipe emissions, reducing air pollution and contributing to a healthier environment.  
    • They mitigate the release of harmful pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, resulting in improved public health. 
  • Energy Diversity and Security Enhancement 
    • EVs contribute to energy diversity by diminishing reliance on oil imports.  
    • With the flexibility to draw power from a variety of sources, including renewable energy like solar and wind, EVs offer a pathway to cleaner and more sustainable transportation.  
    • This diversification reduces vulnerability to oil price fluctuations and enhances energy security by reducing dependence on fossil fuel imports. 
  • Technological Advancements and Employment Opportunities 
    • The adoption of EVs stimulates advancements in battery technology, electric drivetrains, and charging infrastructure. 
    • Beyond benefiting the automotive sector, these technological strides have broader applications, such as energy storage for renewables and grid stability.  
    • The shift towards electric mobility fosters job creation and innovation, particularly in battery manufacturing, renewable energy, and charging infrastructure. 
  • Urban Decongestion through Electric Mobility 
    • Electric vehicles contribute to the decongestion of urban areas through the promotion of shared mobility and compact vehicle design.  
    • Shared mobility services reduce the overall number of vehicles on the road, minimizing the demand for parking spaces.  
    • Compact EV designs, suited for urban environments, offer a solution to congestion and emissions, providing a more efficient and sustainable urban transport option. 

Challenges  

  • Economic Barrier: High Initial Investment in Electric Vehicles 
    • The initial purchase cost of electric vehicles (EVs) remains considerably higher compared to traditional vehicles, mainly due to the expensive battery technology utilized 
    • This elevated upfront expense presents a financial challenge for many potential buyers, impeding broader adoption. 
  • Infrastructure Hurdle: Limited Charging Facilities 
    • Charging infrastructure in India is still in its infancy, primarily concentrated in major urban centers 
    • This limited and uneven distribution poses challenges for EV owners, particularly those residing in apartments or lacking dedicated parking spaces.  
    • The inadequate charging network hampers the convenience of EV usage. 
  • Range Concerns: Overcoming Range Anxiety 
    • The fear of running out of battery charge, commonly known as range anxiety, remains a significant hurdle for EV adoption.  
    • Despite improvements in driving ranges, there persists a perception that EVs may not offer sufficient mileage for long-distance travel, a concern exacerbated in a country like India with vast distances.  
    • Battery degradation over time also contributes to this challenge. 

Facilitating EV Adoption in India: A Strategic Roadmap 

  • Financial Incentives for Affordability 
    • Implement subsidies, tax incentives, and financing schemes for both consumers and manufacturers to mitigate the high initial costs associated with electric vehicles (EVs). 
    • Encourage financial institutions to offer favorable loan terms for EV purchases. 
  • Diverse EV Models and Collaboration 
    • Promote innovation and competition among Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and start-ups to increase the variety of available EV models. 
    • Foster collaborative efforts among stakeholders to advance research and development in the EV sector. 
  • Boosting Domestic Manufacturing 
    • Provide incentives and formulate supportive policies to stimulate domestic manufacturing of EVs and related components. 
    • Facilitate the creation of a robust supply chain for EV production within the country. 
  • Public Awareness Campaigns 
    • Launch comprehensive campaigns, portals, and platforms to educate the public about the benefits and incentives associated with EV adoption. 
    • Highlight the positive environmental impact, reduced operating costs, and long-term savings. 
  • Revamping Energy Infrastructure 
    • Invest in renewable energy sources to improve the sustainability of the electricity grid. 
    • Implement smart grid technologies and energy storage systems to enhance energy distribution and supply for EV charging.  

UPSC Previous Year Questions 

Prelims (2016) 

Q. In the cities of our country, which among the following atmospheric gases are normally considered in calculating the value of Air Quality Index? 

  1. Carbon dioxide 
  2. Carbon monoxide 
  3. Nitrogen dioxide 
  4. Sulfur dioxide 
  5. Methane 

Select the correct answer using the code given below: 

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

Ans: (b) 

Exp: 

  • National Air Quality Index (AQI) is a tool for effective communication of air quality status to people in terms which are easy to understand. It transforms complex air quality data of various pollutants into a single number (index value), nomenclature and colour. 
  • There are six AQI categories, namely Good, Satisfactory, Moderately Polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe. 
  • It considers eight pollutants namely: 
    • Carbon Monoxide (CO), hence, 2 is correct. 
    • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), hence, 3 is correct. 
    • Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), hence, 4 is correct. 
    • Ozone (O3), 
    • PM 2.5, 
    • PM 10, 
    • Ammonia (NH3), 
    • Lead (Pb). 
  • Therefore, option b is the correct answer. 

Prelims (2016) 

Q. With reference to the Agreement at the UNFCCC Meeting in Paris in 2015, which of the following statements is/are correct? 

  1. The Agreement was signed by all the member countries of the UN and it will go into effect in 2017. 
  2. The Agreement aims to limit the greenhouse gas emissions so that the rise in average global temperature by the end of this century does not exceed 2ºC or even 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. 
  3. Developed countries acknowledged their historical responsibility in global warming and committed to donate $ 1000 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries to cope with climate change. 

Select the correct answer using the code given below: 

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

Ans: (b) 

Mains (2021) 

Q. Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference? 

Source: TH 

Keywords: GS-3 Environment & Ecology - Pollution
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