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Current Affairs 08 April 2023

CONTENTS

  1. National Curriculum Framework 2023 Draft
  2. Coastal aquaculture Bill 2023
  3. Tropospheric Emissions Monitoring of Pollution

National Curriculum Framework 2023 Draft


Context:

Recently, the Ministry of Education released the pre-draft of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for school education for public feedback on the recommendations which will be finalised after further rounds of discussions involving the national steering committee led by former ISRO chairperson K Kasturirangan that developed it.

Relevance:

GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is NCF?
  2. Proposed Changes in Design of Subjects and Exams at Secondary Stage
  3. Changes in Teaching-Learning for Younger Students if Recommendations are Implemented:
  4. Proposed Changes in Specific Subjects:

What is NCF?

  • The NCF, which was last revised in 2005 under the Congress-led UPA government, is a key document based on which textbooks are prepared.
  • So the current set of NCERT textbooks, barring the deletions, are all based on the NCF 2005.
  • Before 2005, the NCF was revised thrice, including once under the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • Under the latest round of revision, which is underway since September 2021, draft frameworks on early childhood care and education and school education have already been prepared, while work on teacher and adult education is underway.
  • Apart from textbooks, the NCF, after its adoption by the CBSE and other state boards, will also restructure various other aspects of the classroom, including choice of subjects, pattern of teaching, and assessment.

Proposed Changes in Design of Subjects and Exams at Secondary Stage

Recommendations in the Draft NCF on School Education:
  • 16 courses categorized under 8 curricular areas to be studied in classes IX and X
  • Curricular areas include Humanities (including languages), Mathematics & Computing, Vocational Education, Physical Education, Arts, Social Science, Science, and Inter-disciplinary Areas
  • 8 board exams to be cleared to obtain final certification, based on performances in exams held over 2 years
  • Class XI and XII to have more changes, including the introduction of a semester system in class XII
Changes in Choice of Subjects:
  • Students to pick 16 courses from 8 curricular areas
  • No hard separation among arts, humanities, and sciences
  • Modular Board Examinations to be offered instead of a single examination at the end of the year
  • Final certification to be based on cumulative result of each of the examinations
Impact on Current System:
  • Currently, students across most boards have to pass at least 5 subjects to clear class X
  • CBSE students in Class 12 appear for the board exam in at least 5 subjects and a maximum of 6 with little scope for multidisciplinary education

Changes in Teaching-Learning for Younger Students if Recommendations are Implemented:

Foundational Level (Ages 3-8, Preschool to Class II):
  • Pedagogical approach suggested is play-based
  • Textbooks to be used from Grade 1
  • Concrete materials such as toys, puzzles, and manipulatives to be used for most of the content
  • Learning experience organized through physical exploration of the classroom and outdoor space
Preparatory Stage (Grades III, IV, V):
  • Children to be introduced to textbooks on languages and mathematics
  • Activity and discovery-based approach to be retained
Middle Stage (Class VI, VII, VIII):
  • Natural and social sciences to be introduced
  • Textbooks to play a central role in mediating the content
  • Well-designed textbooks with clear expectations and specific learning goals to support students in entering abstract ideas and unfamiliar contexts in a structured and systematic manner

Proposed Changes in Specific Subjects:

Social Science:
  • Observations and suggestions for social science textbooks
  • Stressing on a lone piece of evidence instead of exposing children to multiple contrasting pieces of evidence throws up a lopsided or inadequate picture of a topic
Mathematics:
  • Many students have developed a real fear of the subject in the current system
  • Methods of assessment in maths have encouraged rote learning and promoted the perception of maths as mechanical computation
  • The solution is a shift towards play, activity, discovery, and discussion-based learning

-Source: Indian Express


Coastal Aquaculture Bill 2023


Context:

Recently, The Government introduced the Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, through its Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying.

Relevance:

GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  • About the Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023
  • Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act 2005
  • Penalties and Punishment

About the Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023

The Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023 seeks to amend certain provisions of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act, 2005 to promote ease of doing business and fine-tune the operational procedures of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority.

Key Points:
  • Decriminalisation of offences under the Act to promote ease of doing business and fine-tune operational procedures of Coastal Aquaculture Authority
  • Clarification that coastal aquaculture and activities connected therewith shall continue to be regulated only by the Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act, 2005
  • Broadening the definition of “coastal aquaculture” to include rearing and cultivation of any life stages of fish, including crustacean, mollusc, finfish, seaweed or any other aquatic life under controlled conditions
  • Promotion of newer forms of environment-friendly coastal aquaculture such as cage culture, seaweed culture, bi-valve culture, marine ornamental fish culture and pearl oyster culture
  • Encouragement of establishment of facilities in areas having direct access to seawater to produce genetically improved and disease-free broodstocks and seeds for use in coastal aquaculture
  • Prevention of the use of antibiotics and “pharmacologically active substances” that are harmful to human health in coastal aquaculture.

Provisions for “biosecurity”

  • The Bill also includes new provisions for “biosecurity”, which refers to measures and strategies for analysing, managing, and preventing the risk of introducing or spreading harmful organisms like viruses and bacteria within the coastal aquaculture unit, which could lead to infectious diseases.
  • It provides for the introduction of a “Brood Stock Multiplication Centre” which receives “post-larvae or juvenile which are specific pathogen free” or tolerant or resistant to such pathogens or other post-larvae or juveniles from a “Nucleus Breeding Centre”, to be reared under strict biosecurity and disease surveillance.
  • Many of these biosecurity measures also find a mention in the 2015 “Guidelines for Regulating Establishment and Operation of SPF Shrimp Broodstock Multiplication Centres”, published by the National Fisheries Development Board, which is part of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fisheries, which used to be a part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • Formed in 1991, the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fisheries (DAHDF) was earlier responsible for overseeing matters related to animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries. It advised states and UTs on the formulation of policies and programmes.
  • However, in 2019, under the Modi government, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying was subsumed under the newly created Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying.

Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act 2005

  • Introduction of the Act: The Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act was enacted by Parliament on June 23, 2005, and it came into force on December 22, 2005.
  • Purpose of the Act: The Act was introduced for the establishment of a “Coastal Aquaculture Authority” for regulating activities connected with coastal aquaculture in the coastal areas.
  • Definition of “coastal area”: Under Section 2 (1) (d) of the Act, “coastal area” meant the area declared as the Coastal Regulation Zone, for the time being, in the government notification dated February 19, 1991, “to regulate activities in the coastal area under section 3 of India’s Environment Protection Act, 1986.”
  • Management of coastal zones: The 1991 notification or “subordinate legislation” was the only source of managing coastal zones of India for the last three decades, intended to balance developmental needs with the protection of natural resources.
  • Establishment of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority: Section 4 of the 2005 Act allowed the Centre to establish an authority called the Coastal Aquaculture Authority for regulating coastal aquaculture activities in coastal areas.
  • Composition of the Authority: The Coastal Aquaculture Authority would consist of a chairperson who is a current or former HC judge, a coastal aquaculture expert and members nominated by the Central Department of Ocean Development, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Commerce along with four members representing coastal States on a rotation basis and one member secretary.

Penalties and Punishment

Registration for coastal aquaculture:
  • Section 13 of the 2005 Act states that no person shall carry on, or cause to be carried on, coastal aquaculture in coastal area or traditional coastal aquaculture in the traditional coastal aquaculture farm which lies within the Coastal Regulation Zone, except in the manner provided under the Act.
Penal provision:
  • Section 14 of the 2005 Act is the only penal provision which punishes coastal aquaculture or traditional coastal aquaculture in contravention of Section 13.
  • The offender can face imprisonment of up to 3 years or a maximum fine of Rs 1 lakh or both. However, no court can take cognizance of an offence under section 14 without a written complaint filed by an officer of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority authorized by the Authority.

Amendments to the Act: The Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill 2023 seeks to bring about the following changes:

  • Introduction of Section 13A: The CAA can authorize any officer of the Authority or the State Government or the Central Government, not below the rank of Assistant Director of Fisheries in a District, to function as authorized officer to exercise such powers, to discharge such duties and perform such functions, as may be specified in that order.
  • Introduction of Adjudicating officer: The Centre can authorize an officer not below the rank of government Under Secretary to function as an adjudicating officer imposing penalties under the Act.
  • Introduction of Appellate Authority: The Centre can authorize any officer of the Authority or the State Government or the Central Government, not below the rank of Deputy Secretary, to function as the Appellate Authority.
  • Systematic method for punishments and penalties: Where any person carries on coastal aquaculture in contravention of any of the provisions of this Act, an officer authorized under section 13A can suspend or stop the activity for a prescribed time or impose penalties as per the Table given in the Bill.
  • Penalty for non-registered people: For those who are not registered and carry on activities in Hatchery, Brood Stock Multiplication Centre, Nucleus Breeding Centre, or any other coastal aquaculture unit, the penalties range from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh for a first-time offence and third time & its subsequent offenses respectively.
  • Penalty for registered people: For those who have registered and obtained a certificate, the penalty varies from Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh for the same offence.

-Source: Indian Express


Tropospheric Emissions Monitoring of Pollution


Context:

The Tropospheric Emissions Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument will allow scientists to monitor air pollutants and their emission sources from space more comprehensively than ever before, down to the neighborhood level.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What makes TEMPO unique?
  2. What is geostationary orbit?
  3. Why is the mission important?

What makes TEMPO unique?

  • TEMPO mission aims to improve life on Earth by monitoring the effects of pollution from various sources
  • TEMPO is a chemistry laboratory in space about the size of a washing machine
  • Unlike existing pollution-monitoring satellites in low Earth orbit, TEMPO will be hosted on an Intelsat communications satellite in geostationary orbit
  • This allows TEMPO to measure atmospheric pollution down to a spatial resolution of 4 square miles (10 square kilometers), or neighborhood level
  • TEMPO’s data will be used by various agencies, including the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to improve air quality across North America and protect the planet.

What is geostationary orbit?

  • Geostationary orbit is a common orbit for weather and communication satellites.
  • An air quality instrument measuring gases has never been placed in a geostationary orbit before.
  • TEMPO will be placed in a geostationary orbit at a height of 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers) above the equator.
  • In this orbit, TEMPO will match the rotation of the Earth and stay over the same location (North America) at all times.
  • TEMPO will provide hourly measurements over North America, enabling researchers to see what’s happening over a whole day as long as the sun is up.
  • TEMPO will have multiple applications, such as measuring levels of various pollutants, providing air quality forecasts, and helping to develop emission-control strategies.

Why is the mission important?

  • More than 40 per cent of the US population, 137 million people, live in places with unhealthy levels of particle pollution or ozone, according to the American Lung Association. Air pollution is blamed for some 60,000 premature deaths a year.
  • Among the pollutants tracked by TEMPO will be nitrogen dioxide, produced from the combustion of fossil fuels, formaldehyde and ozone.
  • The data will be made available online for members of the public to monitor air quality information in their local area.
  • Daugherty said TEMPO will power up at the end of May or in early June and begin producing data in October, although it will not be made available to the public until April of next year.

-Source: Indian Express


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