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Current Affairs 12 July 2023

CONTENTS

  1. Global South
  2. Over-the-top (OTT) communication services
  3. Lambani Embroidery Patches
  4. Shelf Cloud
  5. eDAR Project

Global South


Context:

The reluctance of many nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to support NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in the Ukraine conflict has brought the term “Global South” into focus.

Relevance:

GS II: Inernational Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Global South
  2. Significance of the Global South Today
  3. Challenges to the Development of the Global South
  4. Initiatives of India for Global South:

About Global South:

  • The Global South refers to developing, less developed, or underdeveloped countries primarily located in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
  • These nations often face higher levels of poverty, income inequality, and challenging living conditions compared to the wealthier nations of the Global North.

Origins and Usage:

  • Coined in 1969 by political activist Carl Oglesby, the term gained prominence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, marking the end of the “Second World.”
  • The previous term used for developing nations was the “Third World,” coined by Alfred Sauvy in 1952, but it became associated with negative stereotypes and Western media bias.
  • The Global South emerged as a more neutral alternative to denote countries facing similar challenges and circumstances.

Geographical and Historical Context:

  • The Global South does not have a precise geographical boundary; it represents a grouping of nations based on political, geopolitical, and economic similarities.
  • Many countries in the Global South have a history of imperialism and colonial rule, particularly evident in African countries.
  • This historical context has shaped their perspectives on the relationship between the Global North (wealthier nations) and the Global South (developing nations) within the global political economy.

Significance of the Global South Today:

Shift in Economic Power:

  • The Global South has witnessed a significant shift in wealth and economic power in recent decades.
  • The Asia-Pacific region, in particular, has experienced substantial economic growth, challenging traditional notions of economic power distribution.
  • Projections indicate that by 2030, several Global South countries, such as China and India, will have some of the world’s largest economies.

Rise of the Global South:

  • The combined GDP of the BRICS nations already surpasses that of the G-7 nations, indicating the growing economic influence of the Global South.
  • Political actors from the Global South, including China, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil, are playing increasingly influential roles in global affairs.

Implications for Global Geopolitics:

  • The growing economic and political power of the Global South has significant implications for global geopolitics.
  • Asian nations, in particular, are expected to play a crucial role in what experts refer to as the “Asian Century.”
  • The increasing influence of the Global South challenges the historical dominance of the Global North, leading to discussions about a “post-Western world.”

Assertiveness and Influence:

  • The shifts in economic and political power signify the growing assertiveness and influence of the Global South on the world stage.
  • These developments highlight the need for greater representation and inclusion of Global South perspectives in global decision-making processes.

Challenges to the Development of the Global South:

Insufficient Funding for Green Energy:

  • Global North countries, despite contributing more to global emissions, are not adequately funding green energy initiatives, which disproportionately affects lesser developed countries in the Global South.

Impact of the Russia-Ukraine War:

  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict has had severe repercussions for the least developed countries (LDCs), particularly in terms of food, energy, and finance. This has threatened the development prospects of LDCs.

Concerns over China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI):

  • China’s BRI, aimed at developing infrastructure in the Global South, raises questions about whether it will truly benefit both parties or primarily serve China’s interests.

Dominance of the United States in International Affairs:

  • Despite a more multipolar world, the United States continues to dominate international affairs, possessing the largest economy, significant influence over global financial markets, and the use of the U.S. dollar as the dominant currency for international trade.

Persistent Global North-South Divergences:

  • Historical disparities between the Global North and South, including unequal access to resources, have hindered crucial developmental outcomes. Industrialization, for example, has favored advanced economies, and there has been limited evidence of global convergence in this regard.

Exacerbation of Divides by the COVID-19 Pandemic:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified existing divisions, with countries in the Global South facing greater challenges in dealing with the initial phases and enduring social and macroeconomic implications.
  • Vulnerability of domestic economies is more pronounced in many Global South countries.

Initiatives of India for Global South:

Global South Centre of Excellence:

  • India has established a center of excellence to research and develop solutions and best practices for the development of other developing countries.
  • The center aims to identify and implement effective strategies for sustainable development.

Global South Science and Technology Initiative:

  • India is sharing its expertise in space technology and nuclear energy with other developing countries through this initiative.
  • The goal is to promote scientific and technological advancements in the Global South.

Aarogya Maitri:

  • The Aarogya Maitri project focuses on providing essential medical supplies to developing countries affected by natural disasters or humanitarian crises.
  • India aims to support the healthcare systems of these countries and contribute to their recovery efforts.

Global South Young Diplomats Forum:

  • This initiative aims to connect young officers from foreign ministries in the Global South.
  • The forum provides a platform for networking, knowledge sharing, and collaboration among young diplomats.

Global South Scholarships:

  • India offers scholarships to students from developing countries in the Global South.
  • These scholarships provide opportunities for higher education in India, enabling students to acquire knowledge and skills to contribute to their countries’ development.

-Source: The Hindu


Over-the-top (OTT) communication services


Context:

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is revisiting its stance on regulating over-the-top (OTT) communication services, such as WhatsApp, Zoom, and Google Meet.

Relevance:

GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About OTT Services
  2. Current Regulatory Status of OTT Communication Services in India
  3. Importance of Regulation of OTT Communication Services
  4. About TRAI

About OTT Services:

  • OTT services are online content providers that offer standalone streaming media products.
  • They encompass various types of services, including video-on-demand platforms, audio streaming, messaging services, and internet-based voice calling solutions.

Popularity of OTT Services in India:

  • OTT services have gained significant popularity in India, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • These services have been widely used as people sought online entertainment and communication options.

Impact of Data Usage:

  • OTT services heavily rely on data usage to deliver their content.
  • In India, monthly wireless data usage has experienced a remarkable growth of approximately 156 times from 2014 to 2022.

Shift in Revenue Generation:

  • Traditional revenue sources such as voice calls and SMS have been superseded by data usage due to the rise of OTT services.
  • With the increasing reliance on OTT platforms, revenue generation has shifted towards data usage.

Importance of OTT Services:

  • OTT services have transformed the way people consume media and communicate by providing convenient and flexible options.
  • Users can access a wide range of content and personalize their viewing experiences across multiple devices.

Regulatory Considerations:

  • The rapid growth of OTT services has prompted discussions about regulations to address consumer protection, content censorship, and fair competition.
  • Governments and regulatory bodies are exploring frameworks to balance these concerns with the promotion of innovation and creativity in the OTT sector.

Current Regulatory Status of OTT Communication Services in India:

  • As of now, there is no specific regulatory framework for OTT communication services in India.
  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued consultation papers on this issue but has not made any final recommendations or regulations.
  • In September 2020, TRAI recommended against regulatory intervention, stating that it should be left to market forces.
  • However, it emphasized the need for monitoring and intervention at an appropriate time.
  • The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) suggested TRAI to establish a suitable regulatory mechanism and consider selective banning of OTT services.

Importance of Regulation of OTT Communication Services:

  • Leveling the playing field between Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) and OTT platforms is important.
  • TSPs are regulated by laws and regulations, pay fees, and adhere to quality standards to provide voice and SMS services.
  • In contrast, OTT platforms offer similar services without facing these requirements, giving them an advantage.
  • Regulation is necessary to ensure fair competition and protect the revenue and profitability of TSPs and the government’s revenue from the telecom sector.
  • Regulating OTT communication services is crucial for national security and public order.
  • Enforcing lawful interception and monitoring by security agencies helps prevent the spread of misinformation, incitement of violence, or facilitation of criminal activities.
  • Holding OTT platforms responsible for illegal content or activities on their platforms helps maintain a safe and secure online environment.

About TRAI:

  • In 1997, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, created the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has its headquarters in New Delhi.
  • Two full-time members, two part-time members, and the chairperson of the TRAI are all chosen by the Indian government.

Functions of TRAI:

  • The function of the TRAI is to make recommendations to the central government on matters related to service providers, Revocation of license for non-compliance , Measures to facilitate competition and promote efficiency in the operation of telecommunication services to facilitate their growth etc.
  • Laying down the standards of quality of service to be provided by the service providers.
  • Timely and officially notifying the rates at which the telecommunication services within India and outside India shall be provided under the TRAI Act, 1997.
  • The recommendations of the TRAI are not binding upon the Central Government.

Powers of TRAI:

  • It can call upon any service provider to furnish in writing the information or explanation relating to its affairs as the Authority may require.
  • The Authority may appoint one or more persons to make an inquiry in relation to the affairs of any service provider.
  • It is empowered to direct any of its officers or employees to inspect the books of accounts or other documents of any service provider.
  • The Authority shall have the power to issue such directions to service providers as it may consider necessary for proper functioning by service providers.

-Source: Indian Express


Lambani Embroidery Patches


Context:

Recently, as part of the third G20 culture working group (CWG) meeting in Hampi, a Guinness world record was created for the ‘largest display of Lambani items.

  • Over 450 women artisans and cultural practitioners from Lambani community inhabiting Karnataka came together to create embroidered patches with Sandur Lambani embroidery, creating 1,755 patchwork pieces.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Lambani Embroidery Patches:
  2. Lambani People

Lambani Embroidery Patches:

  • Lambani embroidery is a traditional textile embellishment known for its vibrant colors, mirror-work, and stitch patterns.
  • It is practiced in various villages in Karnataka, including Sandur, Keri Tanda, Mariyammanahalli, and Kadirampur.
  • The Lambani craft involves stitching together small pieces of discarded fabric to create beautiful embroidered fabrics.
  • This embroidery has received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag, recognizing its unique cultural significance.

Lambani People:

  • The Lambanis, also known as Banjaras, are a community found in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka states in South India.
  • They have abandoned their nomadic lifestyle and settled in communities called Tandas.
  • The Lambanis speak Gor Boli or Lambadi, a language belonging to the Indo-Aryan group. It does not have a script.
  • They celebrate the Teej festival during Shravanam (August), where young unmarried Banjara girls pray for a good groom.
  • Fire dance and Chari are traditional dance forms of the Lambani people.

-Source: Indian Express


Shelf Cloud


Context:

A terrifying shelf cloud recently appeared in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar.

Relevance:

GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Shelf Cloud
  2. Thunderstorm

Shelf Cloud:

  • A shelf cloud, also known as an Arcus cloud, forms along the leading edge of thunderstorms.
  • It is a low-lying, horizontal cloud formation with a distinct line of solid clouds.
  • Shelf clouds have a wedge-shaped appearance and can span across the sky, sometimes appearing to rotate horizontally.

Formation:

  • Shelf clouds are formed when cold and dense air is pushed into a warmer air mass by wind.
  • This occurs during a thunderstorm’s downdraft, where cold air rapidly descends towards the ground and spreads out, creating a gust front.
  • Prior to the arrival of a shelf cloud, a rush of dry and cold air precedes it, while rain typically follows after the shelf cloud passes overhead.

Thunderstorm:

  • A thunderstorm is a weather phenomenon characterized by the presence of lightning and thunder, often accompanied by rain, strong winds, and sometimes hail.

Formation:

  • Thunderstorms form when warm, moist air rises into cooler air.
  • As the warm air rises, it cools down, causing water vapor to condense and form small water droplets, which combine to create clouds.
  • The rising and falling of air within a convection cell leads to the development of a thunderstorm.
  • If there is a significant amount of warm air and moisture, a thunderstorm can form.

Components:

  • Lightning: The electrical discharge that occurs during a thunderstorm.
  • Thunder: The sound produced by the rapid expansion and contraction of air caused by lightning.
  • Rain: Precipitation in the form of liquid water droplets.
  • Strong Winds: Gusts of wind associated with the storm.
  • Hail: Ice pellets that are formed when raindrops are carried upward by strong updrafts and freeze.

Impact:

  • Thunderstorms can cause various hazards such as lightning strikes, strong winds, heavy rainfall, and flash floods.
  • They can also produce severe weather conditions such as tornadoes and large hail.
  • Thunderstorms play a vital role in the Earth’s water cycle, contributing to the distribution of precipitation.

-Source: Indian Express


eDAR Project


Context:

All states and UTs have started using electronic detailed accident report (eDAR) application for recording road crashes and over seven lakh accidents have been registered on this platform.

Relevance:

GS III: Infrastructure

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. eDAR Project
  2. Benefits

eDAR Project:

  • The eDAR (e-Detailed Accident Report) Project is an initiative of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) in India, funded by the World Bank.
  • Its objective is to develop an Integrated Road Accident Database (iRAD) by collecting detailed accident data from all parts of the country.

Process:

Mobile Application:

  • Police personnel use a mobile application to enter accident details, including photos and videos, creating a unique ID for each incident.

Alert and Site Examination:

  • An engineer from the Public Works Department or the local body receives an alert on their mobile device regarding the accident.
  • The engineer visits the accident site, examines it, and records relevant details, such as the road design.

Data Analysis:

  • The collected data is analyzed by a team at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M).
  • Data analytics techniques are employed to gain insights from the accident data collected across the country.

Recommendations:

  • Based on the analysis, the IIT-M team suggests corrective measures in road design if necessary.
  • These recommendations aim to improve road safety and reduce the occurrence of accidents.

Benefits:

  • The eDAR Project aims to enhance road safety by creating a comprehensive database of road accidents.
  • By analyzing the collected data, valuable insights can be gained, which can help in formulating targeted interventions and improving road infrastructure.
  • The project facilitates evidence-based decision-making and enables authorities to take appropriate measures to prevent accidents and ensure safer road conditions.

-Source: Times of India


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