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Current Affairs 15 January 2024

  1. Global Risk Report 2024
  2. Rollover Plan for Republic Day Parade Tableaux Showcase
  3. World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2024 report
  4. Army Adopts Topa Pir as Model Village
  5. PM-eBus Sewa Scheme
  6. Lentil Production
  7. Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)


Context:

The World Economic Forum (WEF) presents a comprehensive Global Risk Report 2024, shedding light on imminent threats anticipated over the next decade. Amidst technological upheavals, economic fluctuations, climate concerns, and geopolitical tensions, the report underscores severe risks shaping our future.

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of the Global Risk Report 2024
  2. Recommendations
  3. Global Risk
  4. World Economic Forum (WEF)

Key Highlights of the Global Risk Report 2024

Global Events Impacting Outlook:

  • Events in 2023, like conflicts, extreme weather, and societal discontent, contribute to a predominantly negative global outlook.

Misinformation and Disinformation:

  • Rapid technological advances highlight misinformation and disinformation as severe risks.
  • Generative AI, including chatbots like ChatGPT, raises concerns about synthetic content manipulation.
  • AI-driven misinformation emerges as a risk during global elections in countries like the US, UK, Indonesia, India, Mexico, and Pakistan.

Structural Forces Shaping Risks:

  • Climate change, demographic shifts, technological acceleration, and geostrategic changes are identified as long-term forces shaping global risks.
  • Interactions among these forces contribute to uncertainty and volatility.

Dominance of Environmental Risks:

  • Extreme weather and environmental concerns dominate the risk landscape across time frames.
  • Climate change, biodiversity loss, and critical Earth system changes pose risks with potential irreversible consequences.

Economic Challenges for 2024:

  • Cost-of-living crisis, inflation, and economic downturn pose significant risks.
  • Economic uncertainty may disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries, leading to potential digital isolation and societal impacts.

Emergence of Interstate Armed Conflict:

  • Interstate armed conflict enters the top risk rankings for the next two years.
  • Technological advances, especially in artificial intelligence, enable non-state actors to access disruptive tools, increasing conflict and crime risks.

Global Power Dynamics and Governance Challenges:

  • Deeper divides between global powers, especially between the Global North and South, may challenge international governance.
  • Growing influence of Global South states, coupled with geopolitical tensions, could reshape security dynamics and impact global risks.

Recommendations:

  • Localized Strategies:
    • Utilize localized strategies through investment and regulation to reduce the impact of foreseeable risks.
    • Engage both the public and private sectors to extend benefits equitably.
  • Breakthrough Endeavors:
    • Prioritize the future through research and development efforts.
    • Support single breakthrough endeavors to enhance global safety.
  • Collective Actions:
    • Recognize the significance of collective actions by individuals, companies, and countries.
    • Even seemingly insignificant efforts, when amassed, can contribute significantly to global risk reduction.
  • Cross-Border Collaboration:
    • Emphasize the importance of cross-border collaboration at scale.
    • Address risks crucial for human security and prosperity through collaborative efforts.

Global Risk:

  • Definition:
    • Global risk is the potential occurrence of an event or condition that, if realized, would negatively impact a substantial portion of global GDP, population, or natural resources.
  • Global Risks Report:
    • An annual study published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) ahead of the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

World Economic Forum (WEF):

  • About:
    • WEF is a Swiss nonprofit foundation founded in 1971, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
    • Recognized by Swiss authorities as the international institution for public-private cooperation.
  • Mission:
    • Committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders from business, politics, academia, and society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.
  • Founder and Executive Chairman:
    • Klaus Schwab.
  • Major Reports:
    • Energy Transition Index.
    • Global Competitiveness Report.
    • Global IT Report (jointly with INSEAD and Cornell University).
    • Global Gender Gap Report.
    • Global Travel and Tourism Report.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

The Ministry of Defence introduces a rollover plan allowing States and Union Territories an opportunity to present their tableaux in the Republic Day Parade, addressing concerns raised by some states excluded from the 2024 event.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. States/Union Territories Selected for Republic Day Parade 2024
  2. Selection Process of Republic Day Parade Tableaux
  3. Republic Day in India

States/Union Territories Selected for Republic Day Parade 2024:

  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Arunachal Pradesh
  3. Chhattisgarh
  4. Gujarat
  5. Haryana
  6. Jharkhand
  7. Ladakh
  8. Madhya Pradesh
  9. Maharashtra
  10. Manipur
  11. Meghalaya
  12. Odisha
  13. Rajasthan
  14. Tamil Nadu
  15. Telangana
  16. Uttar Pradesh
Additional Information:
  • Participation Provision:
    • States and Union Territories not selected for the Republic Day parade can showcase their tableaux at Bharat Parv.
  • Bharat Parv Event:
    • A six-day mega event taking place from January 26-31 as part of Republic Day celebrations.
    • Hosted at the historic Red Fort.
  • Rotational Plan:
    • The government has devised a rotational plan for the Republic Day parade, ensuring fair opportunities for all States and Union Territories.
    • A three-year cycle (2024-2026) will be implemented to facilitate inclusive participation.
    • The rotational system has received agreement from 28 States, aiming to address accusations of political bias and promote inclusivity in the celebration.

Selection Process of Republic Day Parade Tableaux:

Responsibility:

  • The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is responsible for conducting the parade and coordinating arrangements with States and other agencies.

Collaboration:

  • The Ministry of Culture collaborates with the MoD, contributing to the selection process, especially in evaluating and promoting cultural displays.

Invitation and Submission:

  • Months ahead of the event, MoD invites States, Union Territories, and departments to submit sketches or designs for tableaux.
  • The theme for 2024 is ‘Viksit Bharat’ (Developed India) and ‘Bharat-Loktantra ki Matruka’ (India-Mother of Democracy).

Submission Criteria:

  • Sketches or designs must be simple, colourful, easy to comprehend, and avoid statistical data and unnecessary details.
  • Basic guidelines, including the use of eco-friendly material and technology, are shared.

Logo and Writing Restrictions:

  • Logos and writing, except for the name of the presenting State/UT, are not allowed on the tableaux.
  • State/UT names can be in Hindi (front), English (back), and the regional language on the sides.

Expert Committee:

  • MoD forms a committee of experts from arts, culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture, and choreography.
  • Experts are recommended by IGNCA and ICCR.

Screening Process:

  • The committee screens proposals through four rounds of meetings.
  • Basic evaluation in the first phase includes suggestions for modifications.

Three-Dimensional Models:

  • Approved designs undergo modifications, and participants present three-dimensional models to the panel.

Final Selection:

  • The expert committee examines models for final selection.
  • Shortlisted candidates are informed about the next round.

Committee Composition:

  • The committee consists of renowned artists recommended by IGNCA (Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts) and ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations), ensuring expertise in various cultural fields.

Republic Day in India:

  • Independence Day and Republic Day Distinction:
    • India gained independence on August 15, 1947, celebrated as Independence Day.
    • Republic Day marks the day when India adopted a written Constitution and became a sovereign republic.
    • The term ‘Republic’ signifies that India has an elected head, the President.
  • Adoption of Constitution:
    • The Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949, and came into effect on January 26, 1950.
  • Constitution Day:
    • November 26 is observed as Constitution Day.
  • Significance of January 26:
    • January 26 was chosen for Republic Day as, on this day in 1930, the Indian National Congress declared Purna Swaraj or complete independence from British rule.
  • Purna Swaraj Declaration:
    • During the INC’s Lahore session in December 1929, the Purna Swaraj resolution was passed, presided over by Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • Historical Background:
    • The declaration of independence on January 26, 1930, marked a significant step in the freedom movement against British colonial rule.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) presents the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2024 report, signaling a projected rise in the global unemployment rate in 2024. Growing inequalities and stagnant productivity emerge as significant concerns.

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of ILO’s Trends 2024 Report
  2. International Labour Organisation (ILO): Overview

Key Highlights of ILO’s Trends 2024 Report

Resilient Labor Markets:

  • Despite challenging economic conditions, global labor markets show resilience.
  • Improvements noted in both unemployment rate and jobs gap rate.

Global Unemployment Rate:

  • In 2023, the global unemployment rate is 5.1%, a slight improvement from 2022.
  • Projected increase in 2024, with an additional two million job seekers, pushing the rate to 5.2%.

Uneven Recovery:

  • Pandemic recovery varies, exposing new vulnerabilities and crises.
  • Disparities persist between higher and lower income countries in unemployment rates and jobs gap rates.

Income Inequality and Disposable Income:

  • Widening income inequality observed.
  • Decline in disposable incomes in the majority of G20 nations, impacting aggregate demand.

Working Poverty:

  • Despite a quick decline after 2020, workers in extreme poverty increased by about 1 million in 2023.
  • Working poverty, especially in informal work, remains a persistent challenge.

Informal Work and Labor Market Participation:

  • Informal work rates expected to remain stable, constituting around 58% of the global workforce in 2024.
  • Varied return to pre-pandemic labor market participation rates, with persistent gender gaps and high youth unemployment rates.

Labor Productivity:

  • After a brief post-pandemic boost, labor productivity returns to low pre-pandemic levels.
  • Slowing productivity growth despite technological advances and increased investment.

Structural Challenges:

  • Imbalances observed may be structural, posing threats to livelihoods and businesses.
  • Challenges include falling living standards, weak productivity, persistent inflation, and increased inequality.

Global Wage Trends:

  • Real wages in India and Turkey show positive trends relative to other G20 countries.
  • Other G20 nations experience declines, particularly pronounced in Brazil, Italy, and Indonesia.

International Labour Organisation (ILO): Overview

Establishment:

  • Founded in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles post-World War I.
  • Established to promote universal and lasting peace through social justice.

UN Specialized Agency:

  • Became a specialized agency of the United Nations in 1946.

Tripartite Structure:

  • Unique tripartite organization involving representatives of governments, employers, and workers in its executive bodies.

Membership:

  • India is a founding member, and the ILO has a total of 187 member states.

Leadership Role:

  • In 2020, India assumed the Chairmanship of the Governing Body of ILO.

Headquarters:

  • Located in Geneva, Switzerland.

Awards and Recognition:

  • Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969 for efforts in improving fraternity and peace among nations.
  • Recognized for pursuing decent work, justice for workers, and providing technical assistance to developing nations.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

The Army has adopted Topa Pir village in Poonch district as a model village under the Sadbhavana scheme.

Relevance:

GS III: Defence

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Background: Topa Pir Village
  2. About Operation Sadbhavana in Ladakh:

Background: Topa Pir Village

Incident Sparking Attention:

  • Video of alleged civilian torture in Topa Pir village went viral in December 2023.
  • Occurred after militants ambushed soldiers in Dera Ki Gali area, leading to four soldier casualties on December 21.

Civilian Casualties:

  • In the aftermath, three civilians, taken into Army custody for questioning, were found dead.
  • Their deaths resulted in significant public outrage and criticism.

Impact on Local Relations:

  • The incident damaged the goodwill among the Gujjars and Bakarwals, predominantly residing near the Line of Control (LoC) in the region.

Military Response:

  • Three Army officers, including the Brigadier in charge, were temporarily relieved of duty pending an inquiry into the incident.

Initiative Launch:

  • In response to the situation and to rebuild trust, the Indian Army has initiated a scheme to engage with the local population in the Pir Panjal valley.

About Operation Sadbhavana in Ladakh

  • In the financial year 2022-23, a total of Rs 8.82 crore has been allotted for various activities in the Union Territory of Ladakh under Operation SADBHAVANA.
  • These funds will be used for activities like human resource and skill development, sports, healthcare, national integration, infrastructure development, ecology, environment, and education.
Achieving Objectives:
  • National Integration, Women Empowerment, and Nation Building: Operation SADBHAVANA is fulfilling its objectives, which include national integration tours, women empowerment, employment generation, education, and development activities towards nation building.
  • Projects are selected after taking local aspirations into consideration and ensuring no duplicacy with projects of the civil administration.
Health and Sanitation Assistance:

Medical Camps and Medical Aid Centers:

  • The Indian Army is providing medical camps, veterinary camps, and medical equipment to various remote locations in Ladakh as part of Operation SADBHAVANA.
  • A total of 23 projects have been allotted in the financial year 2022-23 for health and sanitation.
Community Development Assistance:

Community Halls and Water Supply Schemes:

  • The Indian Army is providing assistance in the form of construction and upgradation of community halls, water supply schemes, and other community development projects in remote areas of Ladakh.
Infrastructure Development:

Computer Labs and Community Halls:

  • 17 infrastructure projects have been allotted and planned in all districts of the Union Territory of Ladakh in the financial year 2022-23, which include the establishment of computer labs and the construction of community halls.
Women Empowerment:

Training Programs and Tours:

  • Women in remote areas of Ladakh are being empowered through various training programs and tours funded through Operation SADBHAVANA.
  • This includes vocational training centers, women empowerment centers, and computer centers.

-Source: Indian Express



Context:

The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister recently said that the Ministry has floated tenders for procuring buses under the PM-eBus Sewa scheme.

Relevance:

GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. PM-eBus Sewa Scheme Overview

PM-eBus Sewa Scheme Overview:

Objective:

  • Deploy 10,000 e-buses in cities nationwide to accelerate the adoption of electric buses in public transportation.

Operation Model:

  • City bus operations managed through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
  • Bus services supported for 10 years, with states/cities responsible for operations and payments to operators.

Financial Support:

  • Central government allocates Rs 57,613 crore for the scheme.
  • Central contribution: Rs 20,000 crore, with states covering the remaining portion.

Coverage:

  • Targets cities with populations of 300,000 and above, encompassing capital cities of Union Territories, North Eastern Region, and Hill States.
Scheme Segments:

Augmenting City Bus Services and Associated Infrastructure:

  • Extends Central Assistance (CA) for 10,000 electric buses, bus depots, and behind-the-meter power infrastructure on a PPP model.

Green Urban Mobility Initiatives (GUMI):

  • Supports GUMI projects to complement bus services and demonstrate reduced Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in urban areas.
  • Includes backing for National Common Mobility Card (NCMC)-based Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS), bus priority infrastructure, etc.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

India is set to become the world’s largest producer of lentil (masoor) during the 2023-24 crop years on account of higher acreage.

Relevance:

GS III: Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Lentil Overview

Lentil Overview:

Consumption:
  • Valuable human food, commonly consumed as dry seeds.
  • In India, known as ‘Dal’ after removal of outer skin and cotyledon separation.
  • Also referred to as Masur and Malka (bold-seeded).
Climatic Conditions:
  • Requires cold climate.
  • Hardy, tolerating frost and severe winters.
  • Thrives in cold temperatures during vegetative growth and warmer temperatures at maturity.
  • Optimal growth temperature: 18-30°C.
  • Cultivated up to an altitude of 3,500 m in northwest hills.
Soil Requirements:
  • Best suited for well-drained, loam soils with neutral pH.
  • Unsuitable for acidic soils.
Cultivation Regions:
  • Cultivated widely in Europe, Asia, and North Africa.
  • Major growing states in India include Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, etc.
Characteristics:
  • Easy to cook, highly digestible, and boasts a high biological value.
  • Dry leaves, stems, empty, and broken pods used as valuable cattle feed.
Global Production:
  • Top global lentil growers in 2022: Canada, India, Australia, Turkey, and Russia (according to FAO).
Indian Import Scenario:
  • Despite being the second-largest producer, India traditionally imports from Australia, Canada, Russia, Singapore, and Turkey.
  • Recent imports also from UAE, USA, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

Recently, an official delegation from the Department of Science and Technology visited Mauna Kea to discuss “challenges” to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)
  2. Indian Contribution

Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT):

Objective:

  • A 30-meter diameter primary-mirror optical and infrared telescope for deep space observations.

Collaboration:

  • Joint effort involving institutions from the U.S., Japan, China, Canada, and India.

Capabilities:

  • World’s most advanced ground-based optical, near-infrared, and mid-infrared observatory.
  • Incorporates innovations in precision control, segmented mirror design, and adaptive optics.

Segmented Mirror:

  • Core component with 492 individual segments.
  • When aligned, forms a single reflective surface of 30m diameter.

Location:

  • Mauna Kea, an inactive volcano on the island of Hawai’i, USA.

Indian Contribution:

Expected Contribution:

  • India poised to be a major contributor.
  • Contribution includes hardware (segment support assemblies, actuators, edge sensors, segment polishing, and coating), instrumentation (first light instruments), and software (observatory software and telescope control systems).

Monetary Value:

  • Indian contribution valued at $200 million.

Consortium Leadership:

  • Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIAP) leads the consortium of Indian institutions involved in the TMT project.

Funding:

  • Joint funding by the Departments of Science and Technology and Atomic Energy in India.

-Source: Indian Express


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