8th March, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘International Women’s Day 2018’
(Facts that can be asked in prelims)
International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year. It commemorates the movement for women’s rights.
While the first observance of a Women’s Day was held on February 28, 1909 in New York, March 8 was suggested by the 1910 International Woman’s Conference to become an “International Woman’s Day.” After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2018 was chosen as – ‘Time is now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives’.
International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
It is also an opportunity to consider how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and number 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.
Some key targets of the 2030 Agenda:
By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.
By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
Status of women in Indian Society
Gender inequality in India refers to health, education, economic and political inequalities between men and women in India. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has published Gender Inequality Index and ranked India at 132 out of 148 countries.
Various groups have ranked gender inequalities around the world. For example, the World Economic Forum publishes a Global Gender Gap Index score for each nation every year. The index focuses not on empowerment of women, but on the relative gap between men and women in four fundamental categories – economic participation, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. According to the Global Gender Gap Report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2011, India was ranked 113 on the Gender Gap Index (GGI) among 135 countries polled.
Some of the problems faced by women in India are:
Selective abortion and female infanticide
Dowry and Bride burning
Disparity in education
Domestic violence and status in the family
Status of widows
Equal pay for equal work
Some of the important programmes whose objective is to ensure empowerment of Women in India are:
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme
- One Stop Centre Scheme
- Women Helpline Scheme
- UJJAWALA : A Comprehensive Scheme for Prevention of trafficking and Rescue, Rehabilitation and Re-integration of Victims of Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation
- Working Women Hostel
- Ministry approves new projects under Ujjawala Scheme and continues existing projects
- SWADHAR Greh (A Scheme for Women in Difficult Circumstances)
- Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP)
- NARI SHAKTI PURASKAR
- Awardees of Stree Shakti Puruskar, 2014 & Awardees of Nari Shakti Puruskar
- Awardees of Rajya Mahila Samman & Zila Mahila Samman
- Mahila police Volunteers
- Mahila E-Haat
- Mahila Shakti Kendras (MSK)
Apart from a dedicated ministry to ensure women empowerment in India, we also have an organization that protects the rights of women in the form of ‘National Commission for Women’.
About ‘National Commission for Women’
The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 (Act No. 20 of 1990 of Govt. of India) to :
- review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women ;
- recommend remedial legislative measures ;
- facilitate redressal of grievances and
- Advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.
In keeping with its mandate, the Commission initiated various steps to improve the status of women and worked for their economic empowerment during the year under report. The Commission completed its visits to all the States / UTs except Lakshdweep and prepared Gender Profiles to assess the status of women and their empowerment. It received a large number of complaints and acted suo-moto in several cases to provide speedy justice. It took up the issue of child marriage, sponsored legal awareness programmes, Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats and reviewed laws such as Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, PNDT Act 1994, Indian Penal Code 1860 and the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 to make them more stringent and effective. It organized workshops / consultations, constituted expert committees on economic empowerment of women, conducted workshops / seminars for gender awareness and took up publicity campaign against female foeticide, violence against women etc. in order to generate awareness in the society against these social evils.
‘We, at Jnanagangothri Institute, wish our women readers and women all over the world, A Happy Women’s Day’.
‘Internet of Things (IoT)’
Issue: According to Cisco, 50 billion connected “things” will be used globally in 2020. It is predicted that the worldwide IoT market will grow to $7.1 trillion by 2020, compared to $1.9 trillion in 2013. By 2020, it’s estimated that 90% of cars will be connected to the Internet, compared to 10% in 2012.
What is IoT?
The Internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and connectivity which enable these objects to connect and exchange data. Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to inter-operate within the existing Internet infrastructure.
The IoT allows objects to be sensed or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit in addition to reduced human intervention. When IoT is augmented with sensors and actuators, the technology becomes an instance of the more general class of cyber-physical systems, which also encompasses technologies such as smart grids, virtual power plants, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart cities.
“Things”, in the IoT sense, can refer to a wide variety of devices such as heart monitoring implants, biochip transponders on farm animals, cameras streaming live feeds of wild animals in coastal waters, automobiles with built-in sensors, DNA analysis devices for environmental/food/pathogen monitoring, or field operation devices that assist firefighters in search and rescue operations.
These devices collect useful data with the help of various existing technologies and then autonomously flow the data between other devices.
Challenges associated with IoT
Security is an essential pillar of the Internet and one that ISOC perceives to be equally essential and ‘the’ most significant challenge for the IoT.
Increasing the number of connected devices increases the opportunity to exploit security vulnerabilities, as do poorly designed devices, which can expose user data to theft by leaving data streams inadequately protected and in some cases people’s health and safety (implanted, Internet-enabled medical devices and hackable cars) can be put at risk.
The IoT creates unique challenges to privacy, many that go beyond the data privacy issues that currently exist. Much of this stems from integrating devices into our environments without us consciously using them.
Lack of standards and documented best practices have a greater impact than just limiting the potential of IoT devices.
Like privacy, there are a wide range of regulatory and legal questions surrounding the IoT, which need thoughtful consideration. Legal issues with IoT devices include cross-border data flow; conflict between law enforcement surveillance and civil rights; data retention and destruction policies; and legal liability for unintended uses, security breaches or privacy lapses. Further, technology is advancing much more rapidly than the associated policy and regulatory environments.
The broad scope of IoT challenges will not be unique to industrialized countries. In fact, the IoT holds significant promise for delivering social and economic benefits to emerging and developing economies. By 2025, McKinsey Global Institute projects that as much as 38% of annual economic impact of the IoT applications will derive from less developed regions. Like current challenges in this area, less-developed regions will need to address policy requirements, market readiness and technical skill requirements to take advantage of the IoT potential.
(GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: According to Population Census 2011 there are nearly 104 million elderly persons (aged 60 years or above) in India; 53 million females and 51 million males. Delirium studies have indicated that age is a risk factor for onset of this condition. Unfortunately, not much awareness exists in the public domain to address this issue
What is delirium?
Delirium, also known as acute confusional state, is an organically caused decline from a previously baseline level of mental function. It often varies in severity over a short period of time, and includes attentional deficits, and disorganization of behavior. It typically involves other cognitive deficits, changes in arousal (hyperactive, hypoactive, or mixed), perceptual deficits, altered sleep-wake cycle, and psychotic features such as hallucinations and delusions. Delirium itself is not a disease, but rather a set of symptoms.
Common causes of delirium
Common causes include urinary tract (UTI) or chest infections, which can be detected and treated early. Delirium could be linked to abnormally low levels of sodium, which may stem from various medical conditions or medications taken for high blood pressure or antidepressants, or excessive water intake.
Cardio- or neuro-vascular events occur due to clots or blockages in the blood vessels, leading to strokes or heart attacks. Chronic alcohol abusers may face withdrawal symptoms upon sudden discontinuation of the substance, and this can lead to a condition called delirium tremens, with the risk of fits and mental confusion.
There is also a theory that believes the elderly are sensitive to immune mediating chemicals, which means when the body is trying to repair from the sick state, the chemicals that are released during the process contribute to the delirium. This effect of immune modulators may go unnoticed in adults, but the higher sensitivity of the brains of the elderly to these chemicals could cause the condition.
Management of delirium
It can be done by avoiding bright light or darkness, noise, excessive stimulation, ensuring adequate food and fluid intake, ensuring regular bowel and bladder habits and the sleep-wake cycle. Repeated reorientation is needed, making the caregiver’s role important.
(GS2: Effect of policies and politics of developed countries on India’s interests)
Issue: The United States announced last week that it will impose tariffs on the import of aluminum and steel. These tariffs are arbitrary and also restrictive; policies such as this would force other countries to fight back in the same manner. Such policies are short-sighted and it might as well push back both the global and a nation’s economy into recession. The WTO has also warned that policies such as announced by USA could start off a recession also
What is a trade war?
A negative side effect of protectionism that occurs when Country A raises tariffs on Country B’s imports in retaliation for Country B raising tarrifs on Country A’s imports. Trade wars may be instigated when one country perceives another country’s trading practices to be unfair or when domestic trade unions pressure politicians to make imported goods less attractive to consumers. Trade wars are also a result of a misunderstanding of the widespread benefits of free trade.
Disadvantages of policies like trade war
In the long term, trade protectionism weakens the industry. Without competition, companies within the industry have no need to innovate. Eventually, the domestic product will decline in quality. It will be of lower quality and more expensive than what foreign competitors produce.
‘Foreign Direct Investment in Defense sector in past four year’
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The country has attracted just Rs 1.17 crore as foreign direct investment in the defence production sector under the “Make in India” framework in the last four years despite the NDA government liberalizing the FDI policy
About ‘Make in India’ Programme:
The Make in India initiative was launched by Prime Minister in September 2014 as part of a wider set of nation-building initiatives. Devised to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub
Make in India needed a different kind of campaign: instead of the typical statistics-laden newspaper advertisements, this exercise required messaging that was informative, well-packaged and most importantly, credible. It had to (a) inspire confidence in India’s capabilities amongst potential partners abroad, the Indian business community and citizens at large; (b) provide a framework for a vast amount of technical information on 25 industry sectors; and (c) reach out to a vast local and global audience via social media and constantly keep them updated about opportunities, reforms, etc.
The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) worked with a group of highly specialised agencies to build brand new infrastructure, including a dedicated help desk and a mobile-first website that packed a wide array of information into a simple, sleek menu. Designed primarily for mobile screens, the site’s architecture ensured that exhaustive levels of detail are neatly tucked away so as not to overwhelm the user. 25 sector brochures were also developed: Contents included key facts and figures, policies and initiatives and sector-specific contact details, all of which was made available in print and on site.
Make in India focuses on 25 sectors of the Indian Company
Reasons for not attracting FDI in defense sector:
- Several global arms majors say they would need “more management control” of the joint ventures to step up investments and provide top-notch military technologies to India.
- Most countries like the US have strict export control laws in sensitive military technologies.
- due to lack of requisite political push and follow-through
- bureaucratic bottlenecks and longwinded procedures
- commercial and technical squabbles
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved relaxing the cap on spectrum holding by telcos, a move that is expected to aid mergers and acquisitions in the sector.
The cap on overall spectrum that can be held by an operator in a circle has been raised to 35% from the current 25%. In line with earlier recommendations of TRAI, the current cap of 50% on intra-band spectrum holding has also been removed.
The entry of private service providers brought with it the inevitable need for independent regulation. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was, thus, established with effect from 20th February 1997 by an Act of Parliament, called the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, to regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services which were earlier vested in the Central Government.
TRAI’s mission is to create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in the country in a manner and at a pace which will enable India to play a leading role in emerging global information society.
One of the main objectives of TRAI is to provide a fair and transparent policy environment which promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition.
In pursuance of above objective TRAI has issued from time to time a large number of regulations, orders and directives to deal with issues coming before it and provided the required direction to the evolution of Indian telecom market from a Government owned monopoly to a multi operator multi service open competitive market.
The directions, orders and regulations issued cover a wide range of subjects including tariff, interconnection and quality of service as well as governance of the Authority.
The TRAI Act was amended by an ordinance, effective from 24 January 2000, establishing a Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to take over the adjudicatory and disputes functions from TRAI. TDSAT was set up to adjudicate any dispute between a licensor and a licensee, between two or more service providers, between a service provider and a group of consumers, and to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction, decision or order of TRAI.
(GS3: Achievements of Indians)
Issue: Nonagenarian architect and reputed urban planner Balkrishna Doshi has been named this year’s winner of architecture’s highest honor — the Pritzker Prize, becoming the first Indian to do so.
His works include:
His designs include the IIM-Bangalore; Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad; cultural spaces in Ahmedabad such as Tagore Memorial Hall, the Institute of Indology, and Premabhai Hall; and private residence Kamala House (Ahmedabad), among many others.
The architect also designed Aranya Low Cost Housing (Indore, 1989), which currently accommodates over 80,000 individuals through a system of houses, courtyards and a labyrinth of internal pathways.
About Pritzker prize
The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually “to honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.” Founded in 1979 by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy, the award is funded by the Pritzker family and sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation. It is considered to be one of the world’s premier architecture prizes, and is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture
‘Parker Solar probe’
Issue: NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names online to be placed on a microchip aboard its historic solar probe launching this summer.
About the solar probe
Parker Solar Probe will swoop to within 4 million miles of the sun’s surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it. Launching in 2018, Parker Solar Probe will provide new data on solar activity and make critical contributions to our ability to forecast major space-weather events that impact life on Earth.
Parker Solar Probe is an extraordinary and historic mission exploring arguably the last and most important region of the solar system to be visited by a spacecraft to finally answer top-priority science goals for over five decades.
Issue: Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) & Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in particular is engaged in extensive research on use of radiation processing for extending shelf life of food products through irradiation
Irradiation is very effective in treating agricultural produce to enhance its shelf life. Shelf life extension of agriculture produces is very much dependent on the produce, variety and storage conditions. Irradiation and proper storage substantially increases shelf life of fresh agricultural produce. Unique advantages of radiation processing of products (including fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, spices, sea foods and meat products) are:
- Cold (no temperature increase) and clean process (no chemical residue)
- Effective elimination of harmful bacteria and insects/pests
- Treatment after final packaging to avoid recontamination
- Significant increase in shelf life.
(GS3: Security challenges)
Issue: A Committee of Experts (CoE) was constituted by Ministry of Defence under the Chairmanship of Lt. Gen. (Retd) DB Shekatkar to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces.
Some Recommendations taken up for implementation include:
- Optimization of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
- Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include Base Workshops, Advance Base Workshops and Static / Station Workshops in the field Army.
- Redeployment of Ordnance echelons to include Vehicle Depots, Ordnance Depots and Central Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
- Better utilization of Supply and Transportation echelons and Animal Transport Units.
- Closure of Military Farms and Army Postal Establishments in peace locations.
- Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.
- Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.
Note: Remembering all the recommendations of this committee is not necessary. However, the names of the committee and knowing the mandate of this committee is important both from a prelims and mains perspective
Swach Shakthi 2018
(Facts that could be asked in prelims)
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, in association with the Government of Uttar Pradesh, is organizing a Women’s Convention – called Swachh Shakti 2018 on International Women’s Day, at Lucknow. 8000 women sarpanches, 3000 women Swachhagrahis, 2000 mahila samakhyas from Uttar Pradesh and women sarpanches from across the country have been invited to recognize their outstanding contribution towards making Swachh Bharat a reality in rural India.
(Facts that could be asked in prelims)
Neiphiu Rio, Nationalist Democratic People’s Party chief, took oath as the Chief Minister of Nagaland at its capital Kohima. Neiphiu Rio is the only Chief Minister of Nagaland to has served three consecutive terms between 2003 and 2014. This will be Mr Rio’s fourth term as Nagaland Chief Minister.
Issue: Data from Nasa’s Juno spacecraft, orbiting the solar system’s largest planet since 2016, is providing researchers with what they called unprecedented insight into Jupiter’s internal dynamics and structure. Until now, scientists have had scant information about what lies below Jupiter’s thick red, brown, yellow and white clouds.
Some of the observations made:
The interior of Jupiter is just as intriguing as the planet’s dazzling surface, with a swirling mixture of liquid hydrogen and helium at its center, vast atmospheric jet streams and exotic gravitational properties
Jupiter is a type of planet called a gas giant, as opposed to rocky planets like Earth and Mars, and its composition is 99 percent hydrogen and helium. Juno’s data showed that as you go deeper under the surface, Jupiter’s gas becomes ionized and eventually turns into a hot, dense metallic liquid.
Some similarities between Earth and Jupiter
- Magnetism: The magnetic fields of Jupiter and Earth are similar. Just as on Earth, radio waves inside Jupiter accelerate electrons, causing magnetic fluctuations. However, the Jovian magnetic field is four times stronger than that of Earth’s, extending a distance of 100 times Jupiter’s radius.
- Auroras: Both Jupiter and Earth have auroras. Of course, those on Jupiter are many times stronger than those of Earth
- Currents: The Marine Science Department at The University of South Florida may have linked the Earth’s ocean currents with the cloud bands that circle Jupiter.
Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. It is approximately 143,000 kilometers (about 89,000 miles) wide at its equator. Jupiter is so large that all of the other planets in the solar system could fit inside it. More than 1,300 Earths would fit inside Jupiter.
Jupiter is called a gas giant planet. Its atmosphere is made up of mostly hydrogen gas and helium gas, like the sun. The planet is covered in thick red, brown, yellow and white clouds. The clouds make the planet look like it has stripes.
One of Jupiter’s most famous features is the Great Red Spot. It is a giant spinning storm, resembling a hurricane. At its widest point, the storm is about 3 1/2 times the diameter of Earth. Jupiter is very windy. Winds range from 192 mph to more than 400 mph.
Jupiter has three thin rings that are difficult to see. NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft discovered the rings in 1979. Jupiter’s rings are made up mostly of tiny dust particles.
Jupiter rotates, or spins, faster than any other planet. One rotation equals one day. Jupiter’s day is only about 10 hours long. Jupiter’s orbit around the sun is elliptical, or oval-shaped. Jupiter takes 12 Earth years to make one revolution around the sun, so one year on Jupiter is equal to 12 years on Earth.
The temperature in the clouds of Jupiter is about minus 145 degrees Celsius (minus 234 degrees Fahrenheit). The temperature near the planet’s center is much, much hotter. The core temperature may be about 24,000 degrees Celsius (43,000 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s hotter than the surface of the sun!
If a person could stand on the clouds at the top of Jupiter’s atmosphere, the force of gravity he or she would feel would be about 2.4 times the force of gravity on the surface of Earth. A person who weighs 100 pounds on Earth would weigh about 240 pounds on Jupiter.
Jupiter has an extremely powerful magnetic field, like a giant magnet. Deep under Jupiter’s clouds is a huge ocean of liquid metallic hydrogen. On Earth, hydrogen is usually gas. But on Jupiter, the pressure is so great inside its atmosphere that the gas becomes liquid. As Jupiter spins, the swirling, liquid metal ocean creates the strongest magnetic field in the solar system. At the tops of the clouds (tens of thousands of kilometers above where the field is created), Jupiter’s magnetic field is 20 times stronger than the magnetic field on Earth.
Jupiter has 53 named moons. The largest of Jupiter’s moons is Ganymede. It is the largest moon in the solar system. Ganymede is larger than the planet Mercury and three-fourths the size of Mars. Ganymede is the only moon in the solar system known to have its own magnetic field. Ganymede and Callisto have many craters and appear to be made of ice and rocky material.
‘National Rare Disease policy’
(GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: Rare diseases, which are often referred to as orphan diseases, are estimated to have impacted 72-96 million people in India. The Indian government has now put a National Rare Disease Policy in place and Rs 100 crore funds have been allocated towards genetic disorders.
Working of the policy:
Under the policy, the Central government will contribute 60 percent towards spending on treatment, while state governments will have to bear the remaining 40 percent of the cost. The government’s effort to improve diagnosis and bring better treatment and care to patients is already in progress, building on existing capabilities.
About rare disorder:
Approximately 7,000 rare diseases have been identified so far, with about 80 percent of these are genetic in origin and predominantly affect children. Even though these diseases are rare, collectively they contribute to a significant burden and affect 06-08 percent of the population. Rare diseases impose a significant societal, medical and economic burden on patients, communities and healthcare systems.
The symptoms of the rare disease vary based on the disorder. For example, in Thalassemia there is chronic anemia. Rare disorders also affect the central nervous system and some have multi-systemic involvement.