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Current Affairs 18 January 2024

  1. Anganwadi Workers Strike in Andhra Pradesh: Invocation of ESMA by State Government
  2. Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2023
  3. Impact of PTSD on Brain Structure: Cerebellum Volume Reduction
  4. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji
  5. Light-Emitting Diodes
  6. Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival


Context:

Anganwadi workers in Andhra Pradesh are on strike, seeking improved wages and benefits. The State government has responded by invoking the Essential Services and Maintenance Act (ESMA), 1971, imposing a six-month ban on their strikes due to the perceived impact on Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) at Anganwadi Centres.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Anganwadi Services: Overview and Role of Workers
  2. Major Roles and Responsibilities of AWWs
  3. Challenges Faced by Anganwadi Workers (AWWs)

Anganwadi Services: Overview and Role of Workers

ICDS Scheme Evolution:

  • Launched on October 2, 1975, the ICDS scheme has transformed into Anganwadi Services, now integrated into Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0.

Centrally Sponsored Scheme:

  • Implemented by States/UTs, it focuses on early childhood care and development for beneficiaries aged 0-6 years, pregnant women, and lactating mothers.
  • Administered through a vast network of Anganwadi workers (AWW) and Helpers (AWH).

Services Offered:

  • Extends services to eligible beneficiaries through Anganwadi Centers nationwide.
  • Health-related services, including Immunization, Health Check-ups, and Referral Services, are provided through the National Rural Health Mission & Public Health Infrastructure.

Tracking Anganwadi Services:

  • Utilizes the ICT platform Poshan tracker for real-time data capture, monitoring, and implementation of Anganwadi Services.
  • Offers a comprehensive view of Anganwadi Centre activities, service deliveries by Anganwadi Workers (AWWs), and beneficiary management.

Major Roles and Responsibilities of AWWs:

  • Identifying and enrolling eligible pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children under six for ICDS services.
  • Promoting community participation, raising awareness about ICDS programs, and advocating healthy behaviors.
  • Ensuring center cleanliness, maintaining records, and creating teaching materials.
  • Conducting age-appropriate activities to prepare children for formal schooling.
  • Regularly measuring children’s height and weight, identifying developmental delays, and facilitating interventions.
  • Offering guidance on childcare practices, child nutrition, and healthy habits.
  • Providing hot meals, take-home rations, and nutritional supplements to address malnutrition.
  • Monitoring children’s health, conducting basic checkups, and referring for further interventions.
  • Guiding Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) under the National Rural Health Mission.
  • Assisting in organizing immunization drives and educating communities on health, hygiene, and sanitation.

Challenges Faced by Anganwadi Workers (AWWs)

Financial Recognition:

  • AWWs are not officially recognized as government employees, receiving monthly honorariums significantly below minimum wages, ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000.
  • Low compensation poses challenges in meeting basic needs, impacting their dedication to work.

Delayed Honorariums:

  • Common delays in receiving honorariums contribute to financial insecurity and hardships for AWWs.

Additional Unpaid Duties:

  • Assigned various tasks, AWWs often undertake additional responsibilities such as Covid-19 duties, Census duties, or implementing government schemes without extra financial benefits.
  • Extensive workloads lead to burnout, affecting the quality of services provided.

Training Gaps:

  • Initial training for AWWs falls short in adequately preparing them for the multifaceted challenges they encounter daily.

Lack of Resources:

  • Anganwadi centers often lack essential resources like proper infrastructure, teaching materials, and medicines, hindering effective functioning.

Societal Stigma and Recognition:

  • AWWs face societal stigma and lack recognition for their significant community contributions, impacting morale and motivation negatively.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

According to the ASER 2023, nearly 43% of children in the 14-18 age group cannot read sentences in English, while among their rural counterparts, 25% struggle to read a Class 2 level text in their respective regional language.

Relevance:

GS II: Education

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2023 Overview
  2. Key Findings
  3. Significance of the ASER 2023

Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2023 Overview:

Background:

  • ASERs, conducted by NGO Pratham since 2005, track trends in school enrollment, attendance, and academic abilities of children aged 6 to 14.
  • These reports are instrumental in shaping government policies.

Survey Details:

  • ASER 2023 covered 28 districts in 26 states, surveying 34,745 youths aged 14-18.
  • One rural district in each major state was surveyed, except Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, where two districts were included.

Survey Focus: Youths were assessed on:

  • Basic reading, math, and English abilities.
  • Application of basic skills to everyday calculations.
  • Reading and understanding written instructions.
  • Real-life financial calculations.
Key Findings

Reading Proficiency:

  • 26.5% couldn’t read a Class 2-level textbook in their regional language.
  • 42.7% couldn’t read sentences in English.
  • Of those reading sentences, 26.5% didn’t understand the meaning.

Mathematics:

  • 56.7% couldn’t solve a simple 3-digit by 1-digit division problem.
  • 45% demonstrated basic arithmetic proficiency.

Everyday Calculations:

  • 85% could measure length using a scale when starting from 0 cm.
  • Dropped to 39% when starting from a different point.
Academic Streams and Technology:
  • 55.7% enrolled in Arts/Humanities, 31.7% in STEM, and 9.4% in Commerce.
  • 89% had a household smartphone, and 92% knew how to use it.
  • Males were twice as likely to own smartphones and spent more time on them.
  • 90.5% used social media, with more males (93.4%) than females (87.8%).
  • Only about half of social media users were familiar with online safety settings.

Significance of ASER 2023:

Persistent Educational Challenges:

  • Over nearly two decades, ASER reports consistently highlighted deficiencies in foundational skills like reading and basic arithmetic among elementary school children.

Extension to Older Age Group:

  • ASER 2023’s focus on youths aged 14-18 reveals a similar gap in learning outcomes at higher education levels.
  • Even at Class 10 and higher secondary levels (Classes 11 and 12), teenagers struggle with basic reading and arithmetic skills.

Skill Deficit in Adolescents:

  • The report underscores a substantial skill deficit among adolescents, who are just a few years away from entering the job market.
  • This points to a concerning scenario where educational challenges persist and impact students into their teenage years.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

A recent study revealed that individuals diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) exhibit notable reductions in both gray and white matter volume in the cerebellum. This structural change in the brain’s cerebellum may have implications for various cognitive functions and emotional responses among individuals dealing with PTSD.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Study Findings on PTSD and Cerebellum Volume
  2. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Study Findings on PTSD and Cerebellum Volume:

  • The research establishes a clear association between PTSD and substantial reductions in both gray and white matter volumes within the cerebellum.
  • Noteworthy volume decreases were identified in specific cerebellar subregions, encompassing the posterior lobe, vermis, flocculonodular lobe, and corpus medullare.
  • Correlation analyses revealed that changes in cerebellar volume were linked to the severity of PTSD experiences, potentially serving as a biomarker for assessing the condition’s intensity.
  • The study challenges the conventional perception of PTSD primarily affecting the brain’s emotion-processing centers, highlighting the involvement of the cerebellum.
  • Implications suggest a more intricate disruption in the brain’s network related to PTSD, extending to regions responsible for integrating cognitive and emotional responses.
  • Pinpointing specific cerebellar regions affected by PTSD contributes to a deeper understanding of the disorder’s pathophysiology.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

  • PTSD is a mental health condition arising after an individual undergoes or witnesses a traumatic event, including experiences like war, violence, abuse, or natural disasters.
  • Common symptoms of PTSD encompass intrusive memories, nightmares, flashbacks, avoidance behavior, and negative mood, among others.
  • The manifestation of these symptoms can significantly disrupt daily functioning and diminish overall quality of life for individuals grappling with PTSD.
  • Treatment options for PTSD typically include psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both, aiming to alleviate symptoms and enhance mental well-being.
  • The impact of PTSD is substantial, generating profound distress and functional impairment for affected individuals, while also incurring substantial treatment costs at both individual and societal levels.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti, or the Prakash Parv of the tenth Sikh Guru, is celebrated on January 17 this year.

Relevance:

GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji
  2. About Guru Gobind Singh Ji Contributions

About Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji

  • Guru Gobind Singh, born Gobind Rai, was the tenth Sikh Guru, a spiritual master, warrior, poet and philosopher.
  • When his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, was executed by Aurangzeb, Guru Gobind Singh was formally installed as the leader of the Sikhs at the age of nine, becoming the tenth and final human Sikh Guru.
  • His notable contribution to Sikhism is the establishment of the Khalsa in 1699.
  • The only son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, Guru Gobind Singh was born in Patna in December 1666.
  • He was educated in reading, writing, and also martial arts, archery and horse riding.
  • Not only was he a brave warrior, but he was also a great poet and philosopher.
  • His literary contributions include the Jaap Sahib, Benti Chaupai, Amrit Savaiye, etc.
  • He took part in many battles, particularly against the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.
  • Guru Gobind Singh also wrote the Zafarnama which was a letter to the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb is believed to have agreed to a meeting with the Guru but died before that.
  • The Guru along with his troops was stationed in the Deccan when two Afghan assassins commissioned by Wazir Khan gained access to the camp.
  • One of the assassins stabbed the Guru at Nanded.
  • The assassin was killed by the Guru while his accomplice was killed by Sikh guards.
  • Guru Gobind Singh died of wounds a few days later on 7 October 1708 aged 42.
  • After the Guru’s death, there ensued a long and bitter war between the Sikhs and the Mughals.
About Guru Gobind Singh Ji Contributions
  • Guru Gobind Singh’s most significant contribution was the institutionalizing of the Khalsa, which was a warrior community. An initiation ceremony called Amrit Pehul was created and rules were formulated for the Khalsa.
  • A male Khalsa was given the title ‘Singh’ and a female was given the title ‘Kaur’.
  • This code solidified the martial spirit of the Sikh community.
  • Guru Gobind Singh started the tradition of the Five K’s for the Khalsa.
  • The Five K’s are kesh (uncut hair), kanga (wooden comb), kara (iron or steel bracelet), kirpan (dagger) and kacchera (short breeches).
  • These were the five articles of faith that a Khalsa must always adorn.
  • The Guru also laid down many other rules for the Khalsa warriors to follow like abstaining from tobacco, alcohol, halal meat, etc. The Khalsa warrior was also duty-bound to protect innocent people from persecution.
  • Everyone was treated equally and caste was abolished.
  • The Khalsa tradition was responsible for converting the Sikhs into a strong and disciplined fighting group.
  • This also paved the way for the establishment of the Sikh Empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1799.
  • Another significant contribution of Guru Gobind Singh was the enshrining the Sikh scripture Granth Sahib as the eternal Guru of Sikhism. Thus, after his death, there were no more Gurus in human form.

-Source: Indian Express



Context:

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) succeed the incandescent bulbs and fluorescent lamps of previous centuries as the world’s light-source of choice.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
  2. Advantages of LED
  3. Applications of LEDs

About Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs):

Diode Basics:

  • An electronic component with two terminals: anode and cathode.
  • Primary function is to allow current flow in one direction.

LED (Light-Emitting Diode):

  • A semiconductor device emitting light with electric current.
  • Produces primary colors: red, green, and blue; combining LEDs creates various colors.

Advantages of LED:

Energy Efficiency:

  • Uses 75-80% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
  • Requires far less electricity to produce equivalent light.

Durability:

  • Highly durable and resistant to shocks, vibrations, and temperature fluctuations.

Instant Illumination:

  • Provides immediate illumination without warm-up time, unlike incandescent bulbs.

Low Heat Generation:

  • Generates minimal heat, enhancing safety and energy efficiency.

Environmental Impact:

  • Lower environmental impact compared to incandescent bulbs.
  • Energy efficiency and longer lifespan contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and waste.

Applications of LEDs:

  • Smartphones and TVs: Used in smartphone displays and TV screens.
  • Household Lighting: Widely used for energy-efficient household lighting.
  • Signboards: Illuminates signboards for enhanced visibility.
  • Greenhouses: Feeds plants with light, supporting growth.
  • Barcode Scanners: Essential in barcode scanning technology.
  • Air Quality Monitoring: Utilized in devices for monitoring air quality.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

The 9th edition of the Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival (PPHF), a state festival of Arunachal Pradesh, will take place at Seijosa in the Pakke Kessang district from January 18-20, 2024.

Relevance:

GS I: Festivals

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival (PPHF)
  2. Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR)

Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival (PPHF):

Inaugural Event:

  • The inaugural PPHF took place in 2015, highlighting the significant role of the Nyishi tribal group in conserving hornbills within the Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR).

Objectives:

  • Conservation Recognition:
    • Recognize Nyishi tribe’s contribution to hornbill conservation in PTR.
  • Alternative Income:
    • Generate alternative sources of income for the region.
  • Awareness Creation:
    • Raise awareness about PTR and its wonders across India.

Theme (2024):

  • Domutoh Domutoh, Paga hum Domutoh
    • Translates to ‘Let Our Hornbills Remain’ in Nyishi language.
    • Emphasizes the critical need for hornbill preservation.

Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR):

Location:

  • East Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Surrounded by Tenga Reserve Forest (North), Doimara Reserve Forest (West), and Nameri National Park (South).

Ecological Significance:

  • Forms a transition zone between Indian and Malayan ecoregions.
  • High species diversity and endemicity.

Geographical Features:

  • North of the Brahmaputra River.
  • Transition zone between Assam plains and Arunachal Pradesh’s hilly forests.

Vegetation:

  • Tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forest.
  • Diverse flora, including bamboo species.

Fauna:

  • Rich wildlife, including Tiger, Elephant, Leopards, Clouded Leopards, and more.

-Source: Down To Earth


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