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Current Affairs 17 March 2023


  1. McMahon Line
  2. NIPUN Bharat Programme
  3. GPT-4
  4. Wild Ass Sanctuary

 McMahon Line


A recent bipartisan Senate resolution in the United States recognizes the McMahon Line as the international boundary between China and Arunachal Pradesh.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About McMahon Line
  2. What is LAC?

About McMahon Line:

  • British India annexed Assam in northeastern India in 1826, by Treaty of Yandabo at the conclusion of the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826). After subsequent Anglo-Burmese Wars, the whole of Burma was annexed giving the British a border with China’s Yunan province.
  • In 1913–14, representatives of Britain, China, and Tibet attended a conference in Simla, India and drew up an agreement concerning Tibet’s status and borders. The McMahon Line, a proposed boundary between Tibet and India for the eastern sector, was drawn by British negotiator Henry McMahon on a map attached to the agreement.
  • All three representatives initialled the agreement, but Beijing soon objected to the proposed Sino-Tibet boundary and repudiated the agreement, refusing to sign the final map on the ground that Tibet was subordinate to China and had not the power to make treaties.
  • Chinese have maintained this position to the present day and also have claimed that Chinese territory extends southward to the base of the Himalayan foothills.
  • This frontier controversy with independent India led to the Sino-Indian hostilities of October–November 1962. In that conflict the Chinese forces occupied Indian territory south of the McMahon Line but subsequently withdrew after a cease-fire had been achieved.
India’s stand on McMahon Line
  • India believes that when the McMahon Line was established in 1914, Tibet was a weak but independent country, so it has every right to negotiate a border agreement with any country.
  • According to India, when the McMahon Line was drawn, Tibet was not ruled by China. Therefore, the McMahon Line is the clear and legal boundary line between India and China.
  • Even after the Chinese occupancy over Tibet in 1950, the Tawang region remained an integral part of India.
Current status on the McMahon Line
  • India recognizes the McMahon Line and considers it to be the ‘Actual Line of Control (LAC)’ between India and China, while China does not recognize the McMahon Line. China says that the area of the disputed area is 2,000 kilometers while India claims it is 4,000 kilometers.
  • This land dispute between India and China is in Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh), which China considers as the Southern part of Tibet. Whereas according to the Shimla Agreement it is a part of the Indian state Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It is a geographical border between Northeast India and Tibet
  • Though India considers the McMahon Line as the legal national border, China rejects it, contending that Tibet was not a sovereign state and therefore did not have the power to conclude treaties. 

What is LAC?

The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is a significant demarcation line that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory. Here are some key points to understand about LAC:

  • Length: India considers the LAC to be 3,488 km long, while the Chinese consider it to be only around 2,000 km.
  • De-facto border: Currently, the LAC is the de-facto border between India and China.
  • Divided into sectors: The LAC is divided into three sectors – Western, Middle, and Eastern.
    • Western sector: The Western sector includes Ladakh and Kashmir.
    • Middle sector: The Middle sector includes Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
    • Eastern sector: The Eastern sector includes Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, where the alignment of the LAC is along the McMahon Line.

Source: The Hindu

NIPUN Bharat Programme


Recently, Women and Child Development Minister introduced about NIPUN BHARAT in Rajysabha.


GS II- Education

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About NIPUN Bharat Programme:
  2. Anticipated Outcomes of NIPUN Bharat Mission Implementation:
  3. Samagra Shiksha

About NIPUN Bharat Programme:

Nodal:  The Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education.

  • It has been launched as a National Mission called “National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN Bharat)” in 2021.
  • This Mission was launched under the aegis of the centrally sponsored scheme of Samagra Shiksha.
  • It will focus on providing access and retaining children in foundational years of schooling; teacher capacity building; development of high quality and diversified Student and Teacher Resources/Learning Materials; and tracking the progress of each child in achieving learning outcomes.
  • It aims to cover the learning needs of children in the age group of 3 to 9 years.
  • It emphasizes to focus on every child for developing basic language; literacy and numeracy skills which will help them develop into better readers and writers.
  • It envisages making the experience of learning at the foundational stage Holistic, Integrated, Inclusive, Enjoyable, and Engaging.
  • The unique feature is that the goals of the Mission are set in the form of Lakshya Soochi or Targets for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.
  • The success of NIPUN Bharat will primarily depend on teachers, so, there will be a special emphasis on capacity building of teachers. 
  • A special package for foundational literacy and Numeracy under NISHTHA is being developed by NCERT and around 25 lakh teachers teaching at pre-primary to primary grade will be trained this year.

Anticipated Outcomes of NIPUN Bharat Mission Implementation:

The following are some of the expected outcomes of the successful implementation of the goals and objectives of the mission:

  • Reduced dropouts and improved transition rate: Foundational skills training will enable children to stay in class and improve their transition rate from primary to upper primary and secondary stages.
  • Improved quality of education: Activity-based learning and a conducive learning environment will enhance the quality of education.
  • Innovative pedagogies: Classroom transactions will incorporate innovative pedagogies such as toy-based and experiential learning, making learning a joyful and engaging activity.
  • Capacity building of teachers: Intensive capacity building of teachers will empower them to choose pedagogies and provide greater autonomy.
  • Holistic child development: The focus on different domains of development, such as physical and motor development, socio-emotional development, literacy and numeracy development, cognitive development, and life skills, will result in holistic development, reflected in a Holistic Progress Card.
  • Improved learning trajectory: Children will achieve a steeper learning trajectory, which may have positive impacts on later life outcomes and employment.
  • Equitable and inclusive education: The focus on early grades will benefit socio-economically disadvantaged groups, ensuring access to equitable and inclusive quality education for all children.

Samagra Shiksha:

Samagra Shiksha is a comprehensive program for the school education sector in India, covering pre-school to class 12. The primary aim of the program is to enhance school effectiveness, measured in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and equitable learning outcomes. Here are some key points to understand about Samagra Shiksha:

  • Integration of three schemes: Samagra Shiksha subsumes three previous schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  • Sector-wide development: This program aims to harmonize implementation mechanisms and transaction costs at all levels, from state to sub-district. It also envisages one comprehensive strategic plan for the development of school education at the district level.
  • Shift in focus: The focus is on improving system-level performance and schooling outcomes, rather than just project objectives. The scheme also incentivizes states to improve the quality of education.

Source: The Hindu



AI powerhouse OpenAI announced GPT-4, the next big update to the technology that powers ChatGPT and Microsoft Bing, the search engine using the tech, on Tuesday.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About GPT-4
  2. How is GPT-4 different from GPT-3?

About GPT-4

OpenAI has announced the launch of GPT-4, a new and improved language model that surpasses its predecessor, ChatGPT (powered by GPT-3.5), in terms of speed, accuracy, and capabilities. Here’s what you need to know about GPT-4:

  • GPT-4 is a large multimodal model that can process more than just text inputs. It also accepts images as input, allowing for image captioning and analysis.
  • OpenAI claims that GPT-4 exhibits human-level performance on various professional and academic benchmarks. It can even pass the Uniform Bar Exam for aspiring lawyers in the US, with a score around the top 10% of test takers.
  • GPT-4 has a broader general knowledge and problem-solving abilities than its predecessor, allowing it to handle difficult tasks like answering tax-related questions, scheduling meetings, and learning a user’s creative writing style.
  • With the ability to handle over 25,000 words of text, GPT-4 opens up a greater number of use cases that include long-form content creation, document search and analysis, and extended conversations.

How is GPT-4 different from GPT-3?

GPT-4 can ‘see’ images now: 
  • The most noticeable change to GPT-4 is that it’s multimodal, allowing it to understand more than one modality of information.
  • GPT-3 and ChatGPT’s GPT-3.5 were limited to textual input and output, meaning they could only read and write. However, GPT-4 can be fed images and asked to output information accordingly.
  • If this reminds you of Google Lens, then that’s understandable. But Lens only searches for information related to an image.
  • GPT-4 is a lot more advanced in that it understands an image and analyses it.
  • An example provided by OpenAI showed the language model explaining the joke in an image of an absurdly large iPhone connector. The only catch is that image inputs are still a research preview and are not publicly available.
GPT-4 is harder to trick: 
  • One of the biggest drawbacks of generative models like ChatGPT and Bing is their propensity to occasionally go off the rails, generating prompts that raise eyebrows, or worse, downright alarm people.
  • They can also get facts mixed up and produce misinformation.
  • OpenAI says that it spent 6 months training GPT-4 using lessons from its “adversarial testing program” as well as ChatGPT, resulting in the company’s “best-ever results on factuality, steerability, and refusing to go outside of guardrails.”
GPT-4 can process a lot more information at a time:
  •  Large Language Models (LLMs) may have been trained on billions of parameters, which means countless amounts of data, but there are limits to how much information they can process in a conversation.
  • ChatGPT’s GPT-3.5 model could handle 4,096 tokens or around 8,000 words but GPT-4 pumps those numbers up to 32,768 tokens or around 64,000 words.
  • This increase means that where ChatGPT could process 8,000 words at a time before it started to lose track of things, GPT-4 can maintain its integrity over way lengthier conversations.
  • It can also process lengthy documents and generate long-form content – something that was a lot more limited on GPT-3.5.
GPT-4 has an improved accuracy: 
  • OpenAI admits that GPT-4 has similar limitations as previous versions – it’s still not fully reliable and makes reasoning errors.
  • However, “GPT-4 significantly reduces hallucinations relative to previous models” and scores 40 per cent higher than GPT-3.5 on factuality evaluations.
  • It will be a lot harder to trick GPT-4 into producing undesirable outputs such as hate speech and misinformation.
GPT-4 is better at understanding languages that are not English: 
  • Machine learning data is mostly in English, as is most of the information on the internet today, so training LLMs in other languages can be challenging.
  • But GPT-4 is more multilingual and OpenAI has demonstrated that it outperforms GPT-3.5 and other LLMs by accurately answering thousands of multiple-choice across 26 languages.
  • It obviously handles English best with an 85.5 per cent accuracy, but Indian languages like Telugu aren’t too far behind either, at 71.4 per cent.
  • What this means is that users will be able to use chatbots based on GPT-4 to produce outputs with greater clarity and higher accuracy in their native languages.

Can you try GPT-4 right now?

  • GPT-4 has already been integrated into products like Duolingo, Stripe, and Khan Academy for varying purposes.
  • While it’s yet to be made available for all for free, a $20 per month ChatGPT Plus subscription can fetch you immediate access. The free tier of ChatGPT, meanwhile, continues to be based on GPT-3.5.
  • However, if you don’t wish to pay, then there’s an ‘unofficial’ way to begin using GPT-4 immediately. 
  • Microsoft has confirmed that the new Bing search experience now runs on GPT-4 and you can access it from right now.

Source: Indian Express

Wild Ass Sanctuary


Gujarat High Court recently sought a report from the state government on the licenses and permissions it has granted for mining activities within Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann of Kutch.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Wild Ass Sanctuary in Gujarat, India
  2. About Indian Wild Ass:

About Wild Ass Sanctuary in Gujarat, India

  • The sanctuary is located in the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, India.
  • It is the only place where the Indian wild ass, known as Khacchar locally, can be found.
  • The sanctuary is also home to a sizeable population of Rabari and Bharwad tribes.
  • The sanctuary can be considered a large ecotone, a transitional area between marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
  • It is a continuum of a dry area of dark silt with salt encrustation.
  • It is dotted with about 74 elevated plateaus or islands, locally called ‘bets’.
  • During the monsoon, large parts are flooded to depths of up to 2 meters.
  • The sanctuary is full of dry thorny scrub, and there are no large trees except on the fringes and bets.
  • Some of the plants and trees found in this sanctuary are Morad, Unt morad, Theg, Dolari, Khijdo, Kerdo, Mithi jar, Kheri pilu, Akado, etc.
  • Besides Indian Wild Ass, the other mammals found here include Blackbuck, Nilgai, Bluebull, Hare, Wolf, Foxes, Desert Cat, Indian fox, Jackal, Hyena, Wild boar, etc.
  • There is rich birdlife, including the Houbara bustard, Sandgrouse, Pale harrier, Black-shouldered kite, Pelican, etc.

About Indian Wild Ass:

Distribution and Habitat:
  • The Indian Wild Ass, a sub-species of the Asian Wild Ass, is found only in the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, India.
  • Its habitat includes desert and grassland ecosystems.
  • The Indian Wild Ass is characterized by distinctive white markings on the anterior part of the rump and on the posterior part of the shoulder and a stripe down the back that is bordered by white.
  • Scientific name: Equus hemionus khur.
Conservation Status:
  • The Indian Wild Ass is listed as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • It is listed under Appendix II of CITES.
  • In India, the Indian Wild Ass is protected under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).

Source: Indian Express

June 2024