Madhya Pradesh CM unveils Adi Shankaracharya statue at Omkareshwar: Its story, significance
What is the News?
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister has unveiled the 108-foot-tall ‘Statue of Oneness’ of Adi Shankaracharya at Omkareshwar, Madhya Pradesh.
The statue depicts Shankaracharya as a 12-year-old child when he is said to have visited Omkareshwar.
Note: The Government of Madhya Pradesh has invested a lot to develop the Omkareshwar town located on the Mandhata island which will form an important tourism circuit, along with Ujjain, Maheshwar and Mandu religious towns.
Who was Adi Shankaracharya?
Adi Shankara is believed to have lived between 788 and 820 AD.He was born in Kerela’s Kaladi, situated on the bank of the Periyar River.
He became a sanyasin at an early age and went to Omkareshwar.He then studied under his guru Govinda Bhagavatpada.
Philosophy and works of Adi Shankaracharya:
Non-Dualism (Advaita Vedanta): Shankaracharya’s central philosophy revolved around the concept of “Brahman,” the ultimate reality or cosmic consciousness, being the only true and unchanging reality.He argued that the individual self (Atman) is ultimately identical with Brahman and that the perceived duality of the world is an illusion (maya). This non-dualistic perspective is a cornerstone of Advaita Vedanta.
Writings: Shankaracharya is known for his extensive writings and commentaries on various Hindu scriptures, particularly the Vedas, Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita.
– His commentaries helped to clarify and systematize the teachings of Advaita Vedanta. Some of his most famous works include the “Brahma Sutra Bhashya,” the “Vivekachudamani,” and the “Atma Bodha”.
Travel: He is said to have visited all the important spiritual centres of the time — from Kanchi (Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu) to Kamrup (Assam), and Kashmir and the Kedar and Badri dhams, as well as Sringeri, Ujjain, Kashi, Puri, and Joshimath.
Why is Mandhata island considered an important religious destination?
The Mandhata island on the Narmada River is an important religious destination because it houses two of the 12 Jyotirlingas, which are considered sacred manifestations of Lord Shiva.
One of these Jyotirlingas is called Omkareshwara and the other is Amareshwara.The island is also close to the Mahakaleshwara Jyotirlinga in Ujjain.
The island is adorned with Shaivite, Vaishnavite, and Jain temples dating back to the 14th and 18th centuries.
The name ‘Omkareshwar’ is derived from the shape of the island, which resembles the sacred syllable ‘Om’, and its name means ‘the Lord of Omkara’.
India’s First Lighthouse Festival begins in Goa from Tomorrow
Source: The post is based on the article “India’s First Lighthouse Festival begins in Goa from Tomorrow” published in PIB on 23rd September 2023
What is the News?
The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways is going to inaugurate India’s First Lighthouse Festival from the Fort Aguada Lighthouse in Panjim, Goa.
What is a Lighthouse?
A Lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of physical structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses and to serve as a beacon for navigational aid, for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways.
What is India’s first ever Lighthouse Festival?
To be held at: Fort Aguada in Goa
Purpose: It would be a three day event in carnival style with local artists, dance troupes, food and culinary stalls, music concerts and similar activities to attract common people to Lighthouses.
What is the Lighthouse Heritage Tourism campaign?
The Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways is planning to develop lighthouses into tourist hubs across the country under the ‘Lighthouse Heritage Tourism’ campaign.
The campaign will be undertaken under the Public–Private Partnership(PPP) model.
As part of the campaign, old lighthouses will be given a new life and 75 lighthouses across the country will be developed into tourist hubs and developed on the lines of those in Europe and America.
Indian naval ship Sahyadri participates in the maiden India-Indonesia-Australia Trilateral Maritime Exercise
What is the News?
Indian Navy’s indigenously built warship INS Sahyadri has participated in the maiden trilateral Maritime Partnership Exercise with the ships and aircraft from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and Indonesian Navy.
What is the purpose of this Trilateral exercise?
The trilateral exercise aimed to bolster the partnership between India, Australia, and Indonesia, fostering a collective effort to enhance stability, peace, and security in the Indo-Pacific region.
It also offered an invaluable opportunity for the participating navies to share their knowledge and expertise.
What is INS Sahyadri?
INS Sahyadri is the third ship of the indigenously designed and built Project-17 class multi-role stealth frigates.
It was built at Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mumbai.
What are the other exercises between India and Indonesia?
Exercise Samudra Shakti: It is a bilateral maritime exercise between India and Indonesia.It aims to strengthen the bilateral relationship, enhance mutual understanding and interoperability in maritime operations between the two navies.
Exercise Garuda Shakti: It is an annual military exercise between the Indian and Indonesian Army. It is conducted on a reciprocal basis and its first edition was conducted in the year 2012 in India.
IND-INDO CORPAT: It is a bi-annual coordinated naval patrol exercise conducted along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) by the Indian and Indonesian Navy.
What are the other exercises between India and Australia?
Exercise AUSTRA HIND: It is a bilateral training exercise between the Indian Army and the Australian Army.
Exercise Pitch Black: It is a biennial multilateral air combat exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force(RAAF) since 1981.The Indian Air Force had taken part in the exercise for the first time in 2018.
AUSINDEX: It is a biennial bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and Royal Australian Navy(RAN). The first edition of the exercise took place in 2015.
Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-Rex) mission
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission is set to drop a capsule containing samples from the asteroid Bennu to Earth.
- Aim – It is a spacecraft that traveled to an asteroid named Bennu and collected a sample of rocks and dust from the surface.
- It is the first U.S. mission to collect a sample from an asteroid – Asteroid Bennu.
- The spacecraft is on its way back to Earth to deliver the sample.
- When it arrives, the spacecraft will release the capsule containing pieces of Bennu over Earth’s atmosphere.
- This mission will help to investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve the understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.
- Named after an Egyptian deity, Bennu is located about 200 million miles away from the Earth.
- It was discovered by a NASA-funded Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research team in 1999.
- It is a B-type asteroid, implying that it contains significant amounts of carbon and various other minerals.
The European Union (EU) finalised a new draft rule banning advertisements that mislead customers with false sustainability promises.
- Greenwashing refers to a range of activities that companies or even countries indulge in to present misleading or dubious claims about their climate action.
- Also known as, green sheen, greenwashing is an attempt to capitalize on the growing demand for environmentally sound products.
- Greenwashing helps in boosting the image of the entity and help them garner benefits for things they do nothing against climate change.
- Prevalence of greenwashing – Greenwashing in the context of net-zero targets is being pursued by many corporations and sub-national governments.
- Governments – Developed countries are often accused of greenwashing their normal business investments in developing countries.
- They also greenwash their bilateral aid by highlighting climate co-benefits of the financial flows.
- Companies – The Volkswagen scandal, in which the German car company was found to have been cheating in emissions testing of its supposedly green diesel vehicles, was a case of greenwashing.
- Several other multinational corporations, including oil giants like Shell and BP, and Coca Cola have faced accusations of greenwashing.
Five Eyes Alliance
The U.S. has threatened to cut off intelligence sharing between the so-called Five Eyes unless its members ban 5G equipment from Huawei, fearing it could be a vehicle for Chinese spy operations.
- Name: The Five Eyes name refers to the security classification of intelligence documents: “SECRET – AUS/CAN/N.Z./U.K./U.S. EYES ONLY” or “FVEY.”
- What is it? It is an anglophone intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- History: It began in 1946 when the United States and the United Kingdom agreed to an open exchange of intelligence on the communications of foreign nations. It was expanded when Canada joined the alliance in 1948, followed by Australia and New Zealand in 1956.
- Functioning: Five Eyes allowed the national agencies to share monitoring infrastructure, and to track nuclear-armed Soviet submarines during the Cold War. The surveillance partnership strengthened following the 9/11 attacks on the United States, and monitoring of internet communications has since expanded exponentially
What are the reasons for rise in global debt?
Global debt refers to the borrowings of governments as well as private businesses and individuals. Governments borrow to meet various expenditures that they are unable to meet through tax and other revenues. Governments may also borrow to pay interest on the money that they have already borrowed to fund past expenditures. The private sector borrows predominantly to make investments.
Draft patent amendment rules undermine pre-grant opposition
- Current pre-grant opposition provisions in the Patents Act allow anyone to file objections against patent grants before they are finalized.
- Proposed changes in draft patent amendment rules, 2023 aim to alter the process and criteria for pre-grant opposition.
Proposed Changes and Concerns
- Draft rules introduce variable fees for opposition.
- Grant controller gains the power to decide opposition maintainability.
- Weakened safeguards against patent evergreening, and higher drug prices.
- Lack of clear guidelines for maintainability decisions.
- Proposed fees pose financial challenges for smaller groups.
Champions Against Evergreening
- Nandita Venkatesh (India), Phumeza Tisile (South Africa) thwarted Johnson & Johnson’s Bedaquiline patent extension.
- Both individuals, TB survivors themselves, filed the pre-grant opposition along with the Network of Maharashtra people living with HIV (NMP+), with support from Médecins Sans Frontières.
Unique Provision and Its Importance
- Pre-grant opposition is distinct in the Indian Patent Act.
- Section 25(1) of the Indian Patent Act allows any person to file a pre-grant opposition against a patent application before it is granted.
- Prevents unjust patent protection extensions.
- Vital for affordable generic drug access.
Failed Evergreening Attempts Stopped by Opposition
- Patents for Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), Boehringer Ingelheim’s pediatric form of the anti-AIDS drug Nevirapine, Glivec (imatinib mesylate), Zidovudine/Lamivudine (first-line HIV medicines), and Lopinavir/Ritonavir (second-line HIV medicines).
Indian Patents Act, 1970
- Primary legislation governing patents in India.
- Novelty and Non-Obviousness: Patents require new and non-obvious ideas.
- Industrial Application: Inventions must be usable in industry.
- Exclusions: Some inventions, like those related to atomic energy, are not patentable.
- Term of Patent: Patents last for 20 years from the filing date.
- Opposition: Third parties can oppose a patent within a set time frame.
- Compulsory Licensing: Under specific conditions, third parties can use a patented invention.
- Patent: A patent is a government-issued exclusive right that provides inventors or assignees with the sole authority to utilize, make, sell, or license their invention for a limited period. This exclusivity is granted in return for disclosing the details of the invention to the public.
- Patent Evergreening: The practice of making minor changes to an existing patented drug to extend its patent protection.
- Evergreening is the practice of companies filing for an extension of a patent with minor process or product modifications just before the original patent expires at the end of 20 years.
- Patents offer their owners market exclusivity for a limited period of time–For medicines, this exclusivity should last as long as the primary patent — which relates to the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) of the medicine is in effect, typically 20 years.
- The end of patent exclusivity will reduce the drug prices drastically.
- The threat of this steep fall in profits urges pharmaceutical companies to find new ways to postpone their exclusivity.
- Companies use a process known as secondary patenting or evergreening to keep generic companies out of the market
- Secondary patenting or evergreening is achieved by seeking extra patents on modifications of the original drug: new forms of release, new dosages, new combinations or new forms.
Indian Patent Act and evergreening:
- The basic principle of the Patent Law in our country is that a patent is granted only for an invention which must be new and useful.
- Section 3(d) of India’s patent law forbids patenting of incremental innovations—or evergreening.
- Section 3(d) of The Patents Act, 1970 –“the mere discovery of a new form of a known substance or the discovery of any new property or new use for a known substance or of the use of a known process, machine or apparatus unless such known process results in a new product or employs at least one new reactant is not patentable”.
- This clause was also upheld by the Supreme Court in 2013 when it turned down Swiss drugmaker Novartis’ plea for patenting its cancer drug Glivec.
- Section 3(d) necessitates a demonstration of improvement in its therapeutic efficacy. The provision also bars patents for new uses and new properties of known substances.
- In the case of Novartis, Glivec was just a new form of a known substance, imatinib, and therefore the patent for Glivec was rejected under section 3(d) of the Patents Act.
- Section 2(1)(ja) -the product in question must feature a technical advance over what came before that’s not obvious to a skilled person.
- Section 3(e) ensures that patents for combinations of known substances are allowed only if there is synergistic effect.
- Section 3(i) ensures that no exclusivity can be claimed over methods of treatment.
- This clause was also upheld by the Supreme Court in 2013 when it turned down Swiss drugmaker Novartis’ plea for patenting its cancer drug Glivec.
Recently, the Tamil Nadu government launched an initiative for the conservation of the Nilgiri Tahr at Rs 25 crore.
- Under The Nilgiri Tahr project, the Tamil Nadu government plans to
- Develop a better understanding of the Nilgiri Tahr population through surveys and radio telemetry studies
- Reintroduce the Tahrs to their historical habitat
- Address proximate threats
- Increase public awareness of the species
- The project is to be implemented for 5 year period from 2022 to 2027.
What is Nilgiri Tahr?
- Nilgiri Tahr is the only Caprinae species found in the tropical mountains of southern
- Habitat: They are endemic to the Western Ghats and used to inhabit a large part of the Western Ghats between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- Conservation Status
- IUCN – Endangered
- Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972 – Schedule I
In the news:
- The high-altitude passes of the Gurez valley in north Kashmir are all set to connect with the Mushkoh valley, in Kargil’s Drass Sector, Ladakh, the site of the war in 1999.
- The 130-km road has been opened up for tourists. Kaobal Gali, the highest pass at a height of 4,166.9 metres in Gurez, connects the two valleys.
- Located in the Kashmir valley.
- The valley lies near the Line of Control, which separates it from the Astore and Neelum districts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Being situated very close to the Burzil Pass, which leads into Astore, the inhabitants are ethnic Dards/Shins. They speak the Shina language and have the same styles of dress and culture as their kinsmen in Pakistani-administered Gilgit-Baltistan.
- Zumba yak (smaller than other yaks) is found in the Buduaab village, Gurez valley.
- Gurez valley was one of the sites of the Kargil war.
- The Gurez valley is close to the Line of Control (LoC) with the Kishanganga river demarcating the line in several parts.
- The Gurez valley is one of few habitations in Kashmir where villages with only log houses exist, with no intervention of urban concrete materials.
- It has diverse fauna and wildlife including the Himalayan brown bear and the snow leopard. It is also home to ibex, musk deer and marmots.
- The Gurez valley, with about 38,000 residents, is already setting a record by hosting 50,000 tourists this year so far.
- Situated in Dras (Ladakh) and Also known as the valley of wild tulips.
- The Mushkoh valley, dotted with meadows of flowers, was in the news when Tiger Hill witnessed a bloody battle between India and Pakistan, leaving hundreds of soldiers dead on both sides.
- The meadows of Mushkoh offer boisterous wild tulip flowers. The valley is also home to the endangered Himalayan yew.
Philippine officials have vowed to remove a floating barrier placed by China’s coast guard from entering a disputed lagoon at Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.
- About – Scarborough is the largest atoll in the South China Sea.
An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef, island, or series of islets. An atoll surrounds a body of water called a lagoon.
- Location – It is situated approximately 120 nautical miles west of the Philippine island of Luzon.
- The standoff – The shoal is located inside the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines.
An exclusive economic zone is an area of the ocean, generally extending 200 nautical miles beyond a nation’s territorial sea, within which a coastal nation has jurisdiction over both living and nonliving resources.
- It was seized by China in 2012 as Huangyan Island and forced Filipino fishermen to travel farther for smaller catches.
- According to 2016 arbitration decision set up under the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea Philippines have exclusive rights to fish and other resources.
- China refused to participate in the arbitration sought by the Philippines in 2013, a year after a tense standoff between Chinese and Philippine ships at Scarborough.
- China refused to recognize the 2016 arbitration ruling and continues to defy it.
- Recently, the Chinese barrier denied Filipinos access to the rich fishing lagoon surrounded by underwater coral outcrops.
- The Philippines said it was weighing legal options over what it called China’s destruction of coral in its EEZ, which could be another arbitration case.
Green Hydrogen Bus
Union Minister flags-off 1st green hydrogen fuel cell bus from New Delhi recently.
- About – It is the world’s first BS 6 (Stage II) Electrified Flex Fuel vehicle.
- The electrified flex fuel vehicle prototype includes both flex fuel engine and an electric powertrain.
- It offers higher use of ethanol combined with better fuel efficiencies.
- Unveiled by – IndianOil.
- Fuel – The fuel cell utilizes Hydrogen and air to generate electricity to power the bus and the only by-product from the bus is water.
Green hydrogen is produced using renewable energy sources, and is regarded as a low-carbon fuel and an alternative to imported energy.
- Advantages – It is the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation as compared to conventional buses that run on diesel and petrol.
- The energy density is 3 times higher and the absence of harmful emissions, hydrogen shines as a cleaner, more efficient choice to meet the energy requirements.
Green Hydrogen Mission
- Aim – To make India a global hub for production, usage and export of Green Hydrogen and its derivatives.
- The expected outcomes by 2030, are as follows:
- India’s Green Hydrogen production capacity is likely to reach 5 MMT per annum, contributing to reduction in dependence on import of fossil fuels.
- Achievement of Mission targets is expected to reduce a cumulative Rs. 1 lakh crore worth of fossil fuel imports by 2030.
- Nearly 50 MMT per annum of CO2 emissions are expected to be averted through production and use of the targeted quantum of Green Hydrogen.
CO2 on Jupiter’s moon Europa
Scientists have revealed that carbon dioxide is being detected on Jupiter’s moon Europa using the James Webb Space Telescope.
Jupiter’s moon Europa
- Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system.
- Moons of Jupiter – Jupiter has around 80 to 95 moons.
- Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto are 4 of Jupiter’s moon which are relatively large, spherical complex worlds.
- Europa – Europa is about 90% the size of Earth’s Moon.
- Europa’s surface is made of water ice and so it reflects 5.5 times the sunlight than our Moon does.
- Europa orbits Jupiter at about 417,000 miles from the planet, which itself orbits the Sun at a distance of roughly 500 million miles or 5.2 astronomical units (AU).
One AU is the distance from Earth to the Sun.
- It is a mission by NASA to investigate Jupiter’s moon.
- NASA is also planning to launch a robotic spacecraft named Europa Clipper to the Jovian moons in October 2024.
- Europa Clipper would arrive at Jupiter in 2030.
- It aims to study its Europa moon and will make dozens of close flybys of Europa.
Only 2 other spacecraft have ever examined Jupiter – Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.
- There is a huge ocean of saltwater, kilometres below Europa’s ice-covered surface, making the moon a prime candidate for hosting extra-terrestrial life in our solar system.
- The most CO2 was in a 1,800 kilometre-wide area called Tara Region.
World Coffee Conference (WCC 2023)
The fifth edition of the World Coffee Conference to be held in Bengaluru.
- WCC is a property of the London-based International Coffee Organization (ICO), a body set up in 1963 under the auspices of the United Nations to boost the economic importance of coffee globally.
- The earlier editions of WCC were held in London (2001), Brazil (2005), Guatemala (2010), and Ethiopia (2016).
- It is the first time India is hosting the conference.
- Aim – To significantly increase India’s access and acceptance in the global coffee markets.
- Organized by – The Coffee Board, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and International Coffee Organization.
- Theme of the Conference – Sustainability through circular economy and regenerative agriculture.
- Brand ambassador – Coffee Board inducted tennis player, Arjuna awardee, and coffee planter Rohan Bopanna.
- The event will feature engaging sessions, coffee tastings, competitions, panel discussions, and an exhibition showcasing cutting-edge coffee products and services.
- Significance of Bengaluru – It is the coffee capital of India State, solely accounting for over 70% of the country’s total coffee production.
India, the 7th largest producer of coffee, is the 5th largest exporter with its main destinations being European countries such as Italy and Germany and also Russia.
The Coffee Board of India
- It is an organisation managed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India to promote coffee production in India.
- Headquarters – Bengaluru.
International Coffee Organization (IOC)
- ICO is the main intergovernmental organization for coffee, bringing together exporting and importing Governments to tackle the challenges in the coffee sector.
- Aim – To strengthen the global coffee sector and promote its sustainable expansion in a market-based environment for the betterment of all participants in the coffee sector.
- Members – Its Member Governments represent 98% of world coffee production and 67% of world consumption and India is one among them.
Kole wetlands of Kerala face threat of alien plants recently.
- It is an internationally important Ramsar site of high value biodiversity situated in Kerala.
- The wetland gets its name from its high productivity Kole literally translates to bumper crop in Malayalam.
- It contributes to 40% of rice production in the state.
- It is one of the largest brackish, humid tropical wetland ecosystem on the southwest coast of India.
- The wetlands are fed by 10 rivers and is a typical large estuarine systems on the western coast.
- One of the specialties of this wetland cultivation is its dewatering scheme.
Dewatering is the process of removing groundwater and superficial water from a construction site.
- Each year, before the season starts, all farming clusters, known as padasekharams, have to follow dewater their land before sowing.
- This collaborative ritual or kootaima reeti is what protects Kole as a wetland.
- Cabomba furcuta is a species of aquatic plant in the water and is popularly called as Pink Bloom.
- Family – Cabombaceae.
- Habitat – It dominantly belongs to Central and South America.
- The submerged perennial aquatic plant grows in stagnant to slow-flowing freshwater.
- Threats – Due its massive flowering, has been a new threat to the kole fields, in addition to water hyacinth and Salvinia molesta.
- It is a visual treat and a potential outspread in water bodies by active stem propagation, hindering penetration of light into the water.
- Cabomba, which requires a large quantity of oxygen for its growth will choke water bodies and drainage canals.
- It causes decline in diversity of native aquatic plants and causes economic losses by affecting yield of freshwater fishes.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) proposed that lenders should classify a borrower as a wilful defaulter within 6 months of their account being declared a non-performing asset (NPA).
- Wilful Defaulter – A willful defaulter is an entity or a person that has not paid the loan back despite the ability to repay it.
- A fraudster is one who intentionally cheats the bank with false documents/information and misappropriates the money.
- As per the RBI regulations, willful default covers several broad areas:
- Deliberate non-payment of the dues despite adequate cash flow and good net worth,
- Tapping off of funds to the detriment of the defaulting unit,
- Assets and proceeds have been misutilised;
- Misrepresentation / falsification of records;
- Disposal / removal of securities without bank’s knowledge;
- Fraudulent transactions by the borrower.
- The amount of wilful default must be of at least Rs. 25 lakhs as per the Central Vigilance Commission.
- Restrictions for wilful defaulters –
- Barred from participating in the capital market.
- Barred from availing of banking facilities for 5 years to start a new venture.
- Lenders are free to initiate the process of recovery with full ferocity and ay initiate criminal proceedings.
- Lending institutions do not allow any wilful defaulter to become a board member of any company.
- Barred from making an open offer.
The recent changes of RBI
- Applicable to – RBI expands the scope for regulated entities which can classify borrowers as wilful defaulters and broadens the definition of wilful default.
- These include, banks, Non-banking financial companies and all-India financial institutions and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.
- Time Limit – RBI said lenders need to complete classifying and declaring a borrower as a wilful defaulter within 6 months of the loan being classified as non-performing.
- NPA – Banks classify loans as bad or non-performing when repayments are delayed for over 90 days.
- Committee – The evidence of wilful default needs to be examined by an Identification Committee, to be set up by lenders.
- Limitations – The RBI also proposed that no additional credit facility be granted to a wilful defaulter or any entity by any lender with which a wilful defaulter is associated.
- The additional credit facility should be barred up to a year after the name of wilful defaulter has been removed from the List of Wilful Defaulters (LWD) by the lender.
- Settlement – The borrower has to settle the full amount if the lender has entered into a compromise settlement and the account included in LWD will be removed from the list.
- The lender should complete the investigation from a wilful default angle in every case before transferring the credit facility to other lenders or asset reconstruction companies (ARCs).
Fourth Gender Samvaad was co-organized by Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission ((DAY-NRLM) and Institute for What Works to Advance Gender Equality (IWWAGE)
Source: The post is based on the article “Fourth Gender Samvaad was co-organized by Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission ((DAY-NRLM) and Institute for What Works to Advance Gender Equality (IWWAGE)” published in PIB on 25th September 2023
What is the News?
The fourth Gender Samvaad was co-organized by Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development and Institute for What Works to Advance Gender Equality (IWWAGE).
What is Gender Samwaad?
Gender Samvaad is co-organized by Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) and Institute for What Works to Advance Gender Equality (IWWAGE).
Aim: To establish a shared platform to generate awareness on DAY-NRLM’s gender interventions across the country with a focus on hearing voices from the states and of SHG members.
What is Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM)?
Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) was launched in 2011 by the Ministry of Rural Development.
It aims at mobilizing about 9-10 crore rural poor households into Self Help Groups (SHGs) in a phased manner and provide them long-term support such that they diversify their livelihoods, improve their incomes and quality of life.
National Education Policy 2020 | Multiple entry, exit option in higher studies may not suit India: House panel
Source: The post is based on the article “National Education Policy 2020 | Multiple entry, exit option in higher studies may not suit India: House panel” published in The Hindu on 25th September 2023
What is the News?
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education has released a report titled ‘Implementation of the National Education Policy, 2020 in Higher Education’.
The committee has advised the Union government to hold discussions with stakeholders before implementing the option of multiple entry and multiple exit (MEME) under the national education policy(NEP).
What is Multiple entry and multiple exit (MEME)?
Source: The Hindu
National education policy(NEP) proposes Multiple entry and multiple exit (MEME).
The system allows students to drop their course and resume it at a later stage as and when they desire or deem it worth pursuing.
This arrangement will prove to be helpful for those students who cannot continue their studies due to financial, social or any other reason and desire to resume their studies when the conditions become favourable in due course of time.
What are the challenges in implementing MEME according to the Parliamentary Standing Committee?
Predicting Student Flow: MEME looks like a flexible system which is being operated by western educational institutions effectively.But it might not work well in the country.
– This is because in India, with its high population, it is challenging for institutions to predict how many students may exit or join midway.This uncertainty could disrupt the pupil-teacher ratio.
Uneven Distribution of Institutions: The uneven geographical distribution of higher educational institutions, especially in rural areas could create obstacles in implementing MEME effectively.
What are the recommendations given by the committee to implement MEME effectively?
Develop comprehensive guidelines and a well-defined framework for MEME options, including specific eligibility criteria, credit transfer mechanisms providing a clear road map for students pursuing different exit points.
Conduct wider consultations with universities, institutions, regulatory bodies, and stakeholders to address the challenges and difficulties associated with MEME implementation.
How is the Kerala Government implementing MEME?
The Kerala government has decided not to implement MEME in colleges and universities in the State.
The curriculum document of the State had said that the government would allow multiple entry, but exit will be allowed either after three years with a degree or after four years with honours degree.
Source: The post is based on the article “India and UN launch global capacity building initiative” published in The Hindu on 25th September 2023
What is the News?
India and the United Nations have jointly launched ‘India-UN Capacity Building Initiative’.
What is India-UN Capacity Building Initiative?
Aim: To build the capacity of countries in the Global South by sharing India’s development experiences, best practices, and expertise through capacity-building and training programs.
Under the initiative, the UN-India team and the Gates Foundation will collaborate, utilizing India’s technical and economic cooperation platform to share India’s development experiences and best practices worldwide.
– The initiative will also put into action the development goals established during India’s G20 Presidency, including the G20 Action Plan for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and enhancing technology and digital infrastructure.
Significance: The initiative represents a significant step in accelerating progress toward the SDGs through South-South Cooperation, demonstrating India’s commitment to strengthening its development partnership with the Global South.
What is Global South?
The Global South broadly comprises countries in the regions of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia (excluding Israel, Japan, and South Korea), and Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand), which are generally characterized by relatively low levels of economic and industrial development.
Arogya Manthan 2023 to mark 5 years of Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY and 2 years of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission
Source: The post is based on the article “Arogya Manthan 2023 to mark 5 years of Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY and 2 years of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission” published in PIB on 25th September 2023
What is the News?
The National Health Authority (NHA), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) is organizing ‘Arogya Manthan’ to celebrate five years of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) and two years of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM).
What is Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY)?
AB-PMJAY was launched in 2018.It is the world’s largest Government funded health assurance scheme.
It provides health assurance of up to Rs.5 Lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary healthcare hospitalizations.
It is a completely cashless and paperless scheme.The benefits under AB-PMJAY are portable across the country.
There is no cap on family size, or age or gender.The beneficiary families under the scheme have been identified from the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) of 2011 on the basis of select deprivation and occupational criteria across rural and urban areas.
What is Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission(ABDM)?
ABDM was launched in 2021.It aims at creating a secure online platform based on open, interoperable digital standards.
This will enable access and exchange of health records of citizens with their consent through services such as the issuance of Health ID, Healthcare Professionals Registry, Health Facility Registry and Health Records.
This will boost the adoption of digital technologies in healthcare, thereby making quality healthcare more accessible and affordable
Source: The post is based on the article “Mali, Niger, Burkina sign mutual defence pact” published in The Hindu on 24th September 2023
What is the News?
Military leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have signed a mutual defense pact called Liptako-Gourma Charter.
What is Liptako-Gourma Charter?
Liptako-Gourma Charter was signed between military leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.
The charter establishes the Alliance of Sahel States (AES).The charter aims to establish an architecture of collective defence and mutual assistance for the benefit of the population.
This alliance will be a combination of military and economic efforts between the three countries.
Under this alliance, any attack on one or more signatory states will be considered an attack on all signatories.
Note: Liptako-Gourma region is where the Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger borders meet.The region has been ravaged by armed rebellion in recent years.
Why has this Liptako-Gourma Charter been signed?
The Sahel region has been the site of an ongoing jihadist insurgency since 2011, which has led to many conflicts in the region, such as the Mali War and the Boko Haram insurgency.All three countries states have also experienced military coups in recent years.
- Prelims – Art and Culture
Context: Recently A 61-year-old French tourist died inside the Fatehpur Sikri fort after she fell from a nine-feet-high platform following the collapse of a wooden railing.
About Fatehpur Sikri:
- Location: It is a city predominantly in red sandstone, situated at a distance of 37 km from Agra, Uttar Pradesh.
- Founder: Mughal emperor Akbar in 1569.
- Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986.
- The structures has combined elements of Persian, Indian, and Central Asian styles.
- It served as the Mughal Empire’s capital from 1571 to 1585.
- When Akbar returned from his Gujarat campaign victorious in 1573, the city was renamed Fatehpur Sikri, or the City of Victory, to commemorate the victory.
The Fatehpur Sikri complex include:
- Jama Masjid: It is home to the Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India.
- It is known for its imposing structure, graceful arches, and intricately designed prayer hall.
- Buland Darwaza: This colossal gateway, also known as the “Gate of Magnificence,” is an iconic monument of Fatehpur Sikri.
- It was built to commemorate Akbar’s victorious campaign in Gujarat and is a grand example of Mughal architecture.
- Diwan-i-Khas and Diwan-i-Aam: These are two prominent buildings within the complex.
- The Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) was where Akbar held private meetings, while the Diwan-i-Aam (Hall of Public Audience) was for conducting public affairs.
- Panch Mahal: This five-storied palace is a unique structure with open pavilions on each level.
- It served as a place for relaxation and entertainment.
Dudhwa Tiger Reserve
- Prelims – Environment and Ecology
Context: The endangered Indian Skimmer was recently spotted near Zalim Nagar Bridge along the Ghaghra River at Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, Uttar Pradesh (UP).
About the Indian Skimmer:
- It is an unusual-looking bird with a striking red, orange beak where the lower bill is longer than the upper bill.
- Distribution: Globally found in the coastal estuaries of western and eastern India, and Bangladesh.
- Food: fish, larvae, insects, and shrimps.
- Habitat: It favours slow-moving rivers with sandbar habitats formed seasonally during summers, around lakes and adjacent marshes, estuaries, and coasts.
- Breeding: Between February to June and raise one to three chicks per clutch.
- Conservation Status:
- IUCN: Endangered (EN)
- Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 : Schedule I
About Dudhwa Tiger Reserve:
- Location: Spread across the Lakhimpur Kheri and Bahraich districts of Uttar Pradesh.
- Rivers: The Sharda River flows by the Kishanpur WL Sanctuary, the Geruwa River flows through the Katerniaghat WL Sanctuary and the Suheli and Mohana streams flow in the Dudhwa National Park, all of which are tributaries of the mighty Ghagra River.
- It was considered as a tiger reserve in 1987.
- Vegetation: The vegetation is of the North Indian Moist Deciduous type, containing some of the finest examples of Sal forests (Shorea robusta) in India.
- Flora: The flora is predominantly Sal forest along with its associate tree species like Terminalia alata (Asna), Lagerstroemia parviflora (Asidha), Adina cordifolia (Haldu), Mitragyna parviflora (Faldu), Gmelina arborea (Gahmhar), Holoptelea intgrifolia (Kanju) etc.
- Fauna: Guldar, Tiger, Fishing cat, Monkey, Langur, Mongoose, Small Indian Mongoose, small Indian civet, Jackal etc.
- Birds include Dabchick, spotbilled pelican, Large cornorant, Little cormorant, Grey Heron, White stork, Black storck, White Ibis etc.
- Reptiles include Mugger, Ghariyal, Python, Sandboa, Banded krait, Russel’s viper, Rat snake etc.
International Day of Sign Languages
- Prelims – Governance
Context: Every year Sign Language Day is being celebrated by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC) on 23rd September.
About International Day of Sign Languages:
- The UN General Assembly proclaimed 23 September as the International Day of Sign Languages.
- The choice commemorates the date that the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) was established in 1951.
- WFD is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization of deaf associations from 133 countries.
- Established: 23 September,1951
- HQ: Helsinki, Finland
- Objective: It promotes the human rights of deaf people in accordance with the principles and objectives of the United Nations Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and other Human Rights Treaties.
- Theme for 2023: A World where Deaf People Everywhere can Sign Anywhere!
Climate finance must get beyond greenwishing and greenwashing
- Mains – GS 3 (Environment)
Context: As we move from UN Climate Week to CoP-28, we need to stop ‘greenwishing’ and ‘greenwashing’ and start thinking about the instruments that will enable the private sector to channel more capital toward climate resilience and sustainable development.
About “The Three Greens”: Greenwashing, Greenwishing, and Greenhushing
- Greenwashing: Greenwashing refers to the deceptive practice of making false or exaggerated claims about the environmental friendliness of a company’s products, services, or practices.
- Example: Starbucks introduces straw-less lid citing it will help reduce environmental footprint.
- However, it contained more plastic than the old lid and straw combined together.
- Greenwishing: It refers to organisations expressing a desire to be more environmentally responsible without taking concrete actions to achieve those goals.
- It’s like making a wish for sustainability without any tangible actions directed in the required direction.
- Greenhushing: It implies a situation where an organisation intentionally downplays their positive environmental achievements.
- It might involve not publicising sustainable practices for various reasons, such as modesty, fear of criticism, or reducing external communication.
About Climate Finance and its significance:
- Climate finance refers to local, national or transnational financing—drawn from public, private and alternative sources of financing—that seeks to support mitigation and adaptation actions that will address climate change.
- The Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement call for financial assistance from Parties with more financial resources to those that are less endowed and more vulnerable.
- It is critical to addressing climate change because large-scale investments are required to significantly reduce emissions, notably in sectors that emit large quantities of greenhouse gases.
Need for practical and accessible investment solutions to fight climate change:
- Climate change affects all living beings: It is impacting both poor and rich countries, creating an urgent need for broad-based resilience and adaptation strategies.
- Potential of private sector resources: Scalable solutions require substantial commitments from the private sector, with many current climate-centric investments being illiquid and tightly wound up in private-equity funds.
- Inclusion of ordinary investors: Many current climate investments are inaccessible to ordinary investors and savers who are the most exposed to climate-driven food, water, and energy insecurity.
- Requirement of diversified solutions: Diversified, liquid, and profitable investment solutions like ETFs in climate-resilient sectors can mobilize capital effectively and are essential for inclusivity, including the unbanked global population.
Challenges associated with the climate finance:
- Unachieved goals: The UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) released a report on the progress made by developed countries towards achieving the goal of mobilising $100 billion per year.
- According to the report, it is widely accepted that:
- The $100 billion goal has not been achieved in 2020, and an earlier effort to mobilise private finance by the developed countries has met with comprehensive failure.
- Demands of developing countries: Developing countries have for a long time insisted that a significant portion of climate finance should come from public funds as private finance will not address their needs and priorities especially related to adaptation.
- Climate finance already remains skewed towards mitigation and flows towards bankable projects with clear revenue streams.
- Private climate finance: The OECD 2020 data shows that the mobilisation of private climate finance has underperformed against the expectations of developed countries.
- Many investors associate climate-centric investments with ‘social impact’ and reduced profitability.
- Contradictory claims: Many developed countries and multilateral development banks have emphasised the importance of private finance mobilised in their climate finance strategies, including by de-risking and creating enabling environments.
- According to the reports, these efforts have not yielded results at the scale required to tap into the significant potential for investments by the private sector and deliver on developed countries’ climate ambition.
- According to the report, it is widely accepted that:
Way Forward: Suggestive measures
- Need of significant private-sector resources: While the public sector has an important role to play in climate financing, scalable solutions require significant commitments of private-sector resources.
- CoP-28 offers an opportunity to rethink how we deliver such market solutions, and how we can harness digital innovation to scale up promising models.
- Mobilising capital: The solution is to create climate investments that are profitable, liquid and accessible to all.
- To mobilize capital at scale, we must draw on the global savings of individual investors as well as institutions such as pension funds, insurers, and sovereign funds.
- Seeking for reliable returns: Carefully selected Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and exposure to greenfield developments through ETFs are two ways to secure reliable returns from climate-adaptation efforts.
- Green commodities: An orderly transition to a more resilient future requires massive investments not only in energy, food and water assets, but also in the metals and critical minerals used in renewable energy and electric vehicles (EVs).
- These include commodities such as soy, wheat, copper, rare-earth elements, cobalt, lithium, and so forth.
- Climate-aligned portfolio: A climate-aligned portfolio should include assets that provide a hedge against inflation and geo-economic risks, such as short-term and inflation-indexed sovereign bonds and gold.
- Greater investments in inflation-proof sovereign assets will allow governments to do more to finance the green transition.