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15th March 2024 (11 Topics)

15th March 2024

QUIZ - 15th March 2024

5 Questions

5 Minutes

Context

Britain unveiled a new definition of extremism in response to an eruption of hate crimes against Jews and Muslims.

The new definition of ‘Extremism’

  • Extremism is the promotion or advancement of an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance that aims to:
    1. negate or destroy the fundamental rights and freedoms of others; or
    2. undermine, overturn or replace the UK’s system of liberal parliamentary democracy and democratic rights; or
    3. intentionally create a permissive environment for others to achieve the results in (1) or (2)
  • The types of behaviour below are indicative of the kind of promotion or advancement which may be relevant to the definition, and are an important guide to its application. The further context below is also an essential part of the definition.

1: Dimension- Drivers of Extremism

  • Religious/communal tension
  • Revenge and retaliation against perceived or real
  • discrimination/dis-affection/rights violations
  • Unemployment and economic despair and poor governance
  • Breakdown of social networks/social marginalisation

2: Dimension- Threats from extremism

  • The threat from extremism has been steadily growing for many years. 
  • Extremism can lead to the radicalisation of individuals, deny people their full rights and opportunities, suppress freedom of expression, incite hatred, erode our democratic institutions, social capital and cohesion, and can lead to acts of terrorism. 

Labelling a group extremist will make the public and other bodies shun them. The initiative is not about banning groups but making clear who the government should not engage with.

Context

India is “seriously considering” starting talks for a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), as per the Foreign Minister of Belarus.

1: Dimension-The Scope of EAEU

  • The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is an economic union of five post-Soviet states — Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia — with an integrated single market.
  • Coming into force in 2015, the EEU currently consists of 183 million people and a gross domestic product of over USD 2.4 trillion.

2: Dimension- Impact of India-EAEU FTA

  • The agreement is expected to boost New Delhi’s exports to the region, particularly in areas such as engineering goods, electronics and agriculture, making trade more balanced.
  • The FTA will help the two partners will help them to collaborate in key areas such as oil and gas, gold and diamond, timber, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, aviation, railways and logistics.
  • If the trade agreement is concluded, it will further strengthen relations between India and Russia.

Fact Box: Trade Turnover

  • India's trade turnover with the EAEU in the 2022-23 full year amounted to $50.3 billion.
  • Meanwhile, trade turnover with Russia was $49.3 billion, with Kazakhstan $641 million, with Armenia $135.3 million, with Belarus $111.8 million and with Kyrgyzstan $56.6 million.
  • Supplies of crude oil from Russia were the main cause for the growth of trade with Russia.

Context

The Ram Nath Kovind-led panel submitted its report on the feasibility of implementing 'one nation, one poll'. In its report, the committee recommends that elections of the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies take place simultaneously.

1: Dimension-Focus of the Report & recommendation

The key focus of the report is the establishment of a unified electoral roll for conducting elections at various levels of governance, including the Lok Sabha, state assemblies, municipalities, and panchayats.  

  • The committee recommends that the Government develop a legally tenable mechanism to restore the cycle of simultaneous elections. It further recommends-
    • In the first step, simultaneous elections to the House of the People and the State Legislative Assemblies be held.
    • In the second step, the elections to Municipalities and Panchayats will be synchronised with the House of the People (Lok Sabha) and State Legislative Assemblies in such a way that elections to Municipalities and Panchayats are held within a hundred days of the holding of elections of the House of the People and the State Legislative Assemblies.
  • Introduce Article 324A for simultaneous elections in local bodies, amend Article 325 for a single electoral roll and identity card.
  • There are also points in regard to actions that should be taken in cases such as a hung house, no-confidence motion, etc.
  • The committee also clarified in its report that the states do not need to ratify the constitutional amendment to hold simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

2: Dimension- Benefits of Synchronised elections

Pros

  • Economic gains: Synchronised elections will lead to “higher economic growth, lower inflation, higher investments, and improved quality of expenditure”.
  • Eased burden: It would also ease the burden on administrative and security forces, who otherwise are engaged multiple times in election duties.
  • Increased turn out: Simultaneous elections will increase voter turnout because it will be more easy for people to cast many ballots at once.
  • Better governance: Also, the government can focus more on governance rather than being in an  election mode, which often hampers policy implementation.

Cons

  • Synching issue: The biggest challenge is to sync the terms of the various state legislative assemblies with those of Lok Sabha.
  • Increased complexity: There is also no clarity on dealing with situations like midterm polls or the President's rule in case any party fails to get the majority.
  • Regional political parties argue that having the two elections simultaneously would hamper their prospects because they won't be able to highlight local issues prominently.

3: Dimension- Downside of Recurring elections

  • Loss of governance: Recurring elections not just imply more monetary cost but also the loss of governance time as politicians focus their time on campaigning and bureaucrats remain occupied with election work as opposed to implementing policies and public projects.
  • Cost on state: The deployment of security forces away from their primary objective for electoral purposes also imposes further costs on the state.
  • Affected policy-making: Lastly, the model code of conduct, it is claimed, affects public policy-making.

Fact Box: Global Practice

  • Many countries across the world hold elections for multiple levels of the government on the same day.
  • Examples include the United States, Brazil, Sweden, South Africa, Indonesia, among others. 

Context

India’s Human Development Index (HDI) value in 2022 has increased to 0.644 from 0.633 in 2021, placing it 134th out of 193 countries, according to United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP’s) latest report on human development.

1: Dimension- Issues highlighted in the Report

Report Title: ‘Breaking the Gridlock: Reimagining Cooperation in a Polarized World’. ”It builds on the 2021–2022 Human Development Report findings that saw the global HDI value fall for the first time — two years in a row.

  • The report showed that the global HDI value fell for the first time in two years in a row.
  • This report also revealed that while rich countries achieved record human development, half of the poorest remain below their pre-crisis level of progress.
  • While HDI is projected to reach record highs in 2023 after declines in 2020 and 2021, there is a stark contrast in development levels between rich and poor nations.
  • The report points out that global inequalities have been compounded by substantial economic concentration – almost 40% of global trade in goods is concentrated in three or fewer countries.
  • The latest HDI assessment, however, presents a miserable picture of a world that, while recovering from the pandemic’s shocks, is deeply divided and eclipsed by war.

2: Dimension- India’s Position & Room for Improvement

  • Important ranking: Categorised as ‘Very High’, ‘High’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Low Human Development’, China and Sri Lanka, ranked at 75 and 78, respectively, in the High Human Development category compared to India, which stands at 134. India also ranks below Bhutan (125) and Bangladesh (129), despite all three being categorised under ‘Medium Human Development’.
  • Life expectancy: In India, life expectancy rose from 67.2 to 67.7 years, expected years of schooling reached 12.6, which means that years of schooling increased to 6.57, and GNI per capita saw an increase from USD 6,542 to USD 6,951.
  • India’s Gender Inequality Index (GII): However, India also has one of the largest gender gaps in the labour force participation rate—a 47.8 percentage points difference between women (28.3%) and men (76.1%).
  • The HDI value places India in the medium human development category.

India’s improvement on the HDI is a positive development. However, it underscores the need for higher investment in social infrastructure rather than a preoccupation with headline GDP numbers.

Fact Box: About Human Development Index

  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI) report is an annual publication that assesses the development status of countries worldwide based on key indicators such as
    • life expectancy
    • education
    • income
  • The HDI is an index that provides a summary measure of a country's average achievements in these three dimensions of human development.

Context

The Government of India, in line with its commitment to reduce fatalities due to road accidents and the legal mandate under section 162 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, is launching a pilot program to provide cashless treatment to the victims of road accidents caused by the use of motor vehicles.

About

About the Program

  • Developed by: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
  • Implementing Agency: National Health Authority (NHA)
  • The pilot program is aimed at establishing an ecosystem for providing timely medical care to the victims of road accidents, including during the golden hour.
  • The broad contours of the pilot program are as follows:
    • Victims entitled to cashless treatment upto a maximum of Rs. 1.5 lakhs per accident per person for a maximum period of 7 days from date of accident.
    • Applicable to all road accidents caused by use of motor vehicle on any category of road.
    • AB PM-JAY packages for trauma and polytrauma cases being co-opted.
    • Claims raised by hospitals for providing treatment to be reimbursed from the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund.
  • Implementing Platform: IT platform combining the functionalities of eDAR application of MoRTH and Transaction Management System (TMS) of NHA.
  • Based on the outcome of the pilot program, expansion of the cashless treatment facility to the entire country will be considered.

Context

With an aim to prioritize safety and security, Travel Safe, (T-Safe) a ride-monitoring service for women introduced by Telangana police was launched recently.

What is T-Safe?

  • T Safe is the first of its kind ride-monitoring service in India, which aims at making Travel safer for Women, Children and other vulnerable groups in the State.
  • It is not required for individuals to own a smartphone or download an app to avail the service. Hence, even if the woman has a basic phone, she can avail of the T-Safe service.

Context

Maharashtra is set to become the first Indian state to buy land in union territory Jammu and Kashmir in order to construct a tourist facility for the state's people.

The legal framework

  • Before the abrogation of Article 370, only the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir could buy land in the erstwhile state. However, at that, the government could lease lands for up to 99 years to industries and people from outside.
  • This legal framework legal framework underwent significant changes following the abrogation, leading to new opportunities for land acquisition and development projects in the Union Territory.

S.No.

Term

About

1.        

Extremism

It is a belief in and support for ideas that are very far from what most people consider correct or reasonable.

2.        

Gross national income (GNI)

  • GNI is the total income earned by a country's people and businesses, no matter where it was earned.
  • GNI is an alternative to gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of wealth. It calculates income instead of output.
  • GNI can be calculated by adding income from foreign sources to the country's gross domestic product.

3.        

Human development

Human development refers to the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development of humans throughout the lifespan.

4.        

Labour force participation rate

The labour force participation rates is calculated as the labour force divided by the total working-age population.

5.        

Trade imbalances

Trade imbalances occur when some countries run persistent surpluses on their trade accounts (with the value of exports exceeding the value of imports), whereas others experience persistent and often large external deficits.

Context:

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) recently issued an advisory concerning the regulation of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) in India. This advisory elicited criticism due to its ambiguous legal basis and vague directives, raising questions about the government's regulatory authority in this domain.

Legal Ambiguity and Enforcement Concerns:

  • Legal Standing: The primary issue surrounding MEITY's AI advisory stems from the ambiguity of its legal standing and enforcement mechanisms.
  • Regulatory Authority: Unlike regulatory bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), MEITY lacks clear residual powers under existing legislation, leading to uncertainty regarding the enforceability of its directives.
  • Term Ambiguity: The term "advisory" used by MEITY lacks a defined definition under the principal legislation empowering the ministry, further complicating the regulatory landscape and compliance expectations.

Escalation and Uncertainty in AI Regulation:

  • Regulatory Escalation: MEITY's advisory on AI represents an escalation in regulatory efforts, introducing a governance model that mandates licensing for AI models.
  • Undefined Terms: However, the terms and requirements outlined in the advisory, such as "bias prevention" and "unreliable AI," remain undefined under existing legislation, contributing to confusion among stakeholders.
  • Ministerial Response: Ministerial responses on social media platforms further exacerbate uncertainty, with vague clarifications and exemptions issued without formal documentation or legal grounding, highlighting the challenges in navigating India's evolving regulatory environment.
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Context:

Introduction of Open Book Examination (OBE) in Indian Education.

Revival of Experiential Learning:

  • Return to Roots: OBE signifies a return to ancient Indian pedagogical methods focused on experiential learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving, in contrast to colonial-era rote memorization.
  • Integration of Ancient Wisdom and Modern Practices: Embracing OBE involves marrying traditional wisdom with contemporary pedagogical approaches to prepare Indian youth for global leadership roles.
  • Balanced Educational Ecosystem: Successful implementation of OBE requires maintaining a balanced educational ecosystem that fosters creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills while respecting valuable aspects of the traditional system.

Transition from Memorization to Critical Thinking:

  • Challenging the Status Quo: OBE challenges the conventional emphasis on rote memorization by prioritizing critical thinking, analysis, and application of knowledge.
  • Response to Technological Advancements: In the era of emerging technologies like AI, OBE aims to counter the "moronisation of masses" by evaluating students' abilities to think critically, creatively apply knowledge, and solve complex problems.
  • Preparation for the Future: OBE is essential in preparing students for the demands of a rapidly evolving professional world dominated by AI and digital technologies, necessitating examination questions that go beyond factual recall.

Collective Effort and Inclusivity:

  • Collaborative Implementation: Implementing OBE requires collective engagement from educators, policymakers, parents, and students to overhaul teaching methodologies, assessment strategies, and educational infrastructure.
  • Flexibility and Inclusivity: OBE's flexibility accommodates diverse learning preferences and abilities, offering equal opportunities for students with different learning styles to excel.
  • Promoting Lifelong Learning: OBE transforms educators into facilitators of inquiry, champions of inclusivity, and advocates for lifelong learning, fostering a culture of innovation and social responsibility.
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Context:

Recommendations of the High Level Committee on Simultaneous Elections

Unanimous Recommendation with Government Alignment:

  • Committee Composition: The High Level Committee, headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind, has unanimously recommended simultaneous elections to various tiers of government.
  • Presumption of National Interest: The committee's terms of reference presumed that simultaneous elections are in the "national interest," raising questions about the impartiality of its conclusions and whether it merely rubber-stamped the government's proposal without thorough deliberation.
  • Engagement with Stakeholders: While the committee claims to have invited suggestions and comments from various stakeholders, the substance of the report does not reflect in-depth research, participatory processes, or addressing dissenting views.

Concerns Over Federalism and Political Diversity:

  • Artificial Unitary Character: Simultaneous elections risk imposing an artificial unitary character on India's federal system, which comprises diverse regions and local issues.
  • Dismissal of Apprehensions: Despite objections and concerns raised by individuals, the report dismisses these apprehensions as "misplaced," focusing primarily on efficiency and resource-saving arguments.
  • Impact on Political Diversity: The proposal to synchronize elections overlooks the rich political diversity and regional challenges across India, potentially disadvantaging state-level parties and hindering political accountability, as noted by dissenting voices that the committee fails to adequately address.

Need for Further Deliberation and Respectful Engagement:

  • Continued Dialogue: The committee's report should not be the final word on such a significant proposal, as it carries far-reaching consequences beyond political-ideological lines, necessitating continued dialogue and respectful engagement with dissenting voices.
  • Legitimate Concerns: It is imperative to heed the legitimate concerns raised by stakeholders and dissenters, including the fear of diminishing regional voices, the impact on political accountability, and the potential disadvantage to state-level parties in competing with national parties.
  • Call for Caution: Given the complexities of India's political landscape and federal structure, caution is warranted in moving forward with simultaneous elections, ensuring that the proposal balances efficiency with preserving political diversity and accountability.
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