- Virtual Summit: “Voice of the Global South” – Gathering Input for Regional Priorities
- Santiniketan, West Bengal, Joins UNESCO’s World Heritage List
- World Suicide Prevention Day Highlights Female Suicide Crisis in India
- Coronal Mass Ejection
- Vishwakarma Scheme
- Pralay ballistic missiles
Virtual Summit: “Voice of the Global South” – Gathering Input for Regional Priorities
In 2023, the Prime Minister of India hosted a virtual summit titled “Voice of the Global South,” which gathered around 125 countries. The summit aimed to gather input and perspectives from countries in the Global South to identify regional priorities.
GS II: International Relations
Dimensions of the Article:
- Historical Background of the Global South
- Factors Leading to the Revival of the Global South
- Critiques of the Term “Global South”
- Demands of the Global South
- Signs of the Global South’s Influence in Global Politics
- Evidence of Increasing Global South Influence
Historical Background of the Global South
Context and Significance:
- The term “Global South” is commonly used to emphasize the historical impact of colonialism and the economic disparities between formerly colonized nations and developed Western countries.
- It highlights the enduring challenges these nations face in achieving economic progress and development.
Formation of the G-77:
- In 1964, during the first session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva, the Group of 77 (G-77) countries was established.
- The G-77 emerged as the largest intergovernmental organization of developing nations at the time.
- Its primary objectives included promoting the economic interests of developing countries and enhancing their negotiation capabilities on international economic matters within the UN framework.
- Over time, the G-77 has grown to encompass 134 countries across Asia, Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and Oceania.
- Notably, China, while a major player in the Global South, is not technically a part of the group. Consequently, it is often referred to as “G-77+China” in multilateral forums.
Role of UNOSSC:
- The UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) was established in 1974 to facilitate cooperation among Global South countries and promote collaboration between these nations and developed countries and multilateral organizations.
- UNOSSC works closely with the G-77 to strengthen South-South cooperation and address common developmental challenges.
Factors Leading to the Revival of the Global South
Initial Decline in Interest:
- In the early 21st century, there was a discernible waning of interest and focus on the Global South.
- Countries such as India and Indonesia, once considered part of the ‘Third World,’ were shifting their identity by undergoing economic reforms and expanding their global roles.
Resurgence of Global South:
- Recent developments have propelled the Global South back into the spotlight, reaffirming its importance in shaping the emerging global order.
Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic:
- The pandemic inflicted significant health and economic challenges on many Global South countries.
- It redirected international attention toward the vulnerabilities and requirements of these nations.
Economic Downturn and Disproportionate Impact:
- The pandemic-induced economic downturn disproportionately affected Global South countries.
- This highlighted the imperative for international cooperation and assistance to address their specific needs.
Global Economic Impact of Russia-Ukraine Conflict:
- The Russia-Ukraine conflict had far-reaching economic consequences globally.
- It had ripple effects on the developing world, further underscoring the interconnectedness of global affairs and the pivotal role of the Global South in international diplomacy.
Recognition of Interconnectedness:
- The resurgence of the Global South underlines the growing recognition of how interconnected global events and challenges require collective engagement and cooperation, transcending geographic boundaries.
Critiques of the Term “Global South”
Inaccuracy and Geographical Inconsistencies:
- Critics argue that the term “Global South” is inherently inaccurate in describing the countries it intends to encompass.
- Some countries conventionally regarded as part of the Global South, like India, are geographically located in the Northern Hemisphere.
- Conversely, nations like Australia, situated in the Southern Hemisphere, are often categorized as part of the Global North.
- This geographical inconsistency has raised questions about the term’s precision and applicability.
The Emergence of the “Brandt Line”:
- In response to these inaccuracies, the “Brandt Line” was introduced in the 1980s.
- This curved division more accurately classifies the world into the economic North and South, considering factors such as economic development and wealth distribution, rather than solely relying on geographical location.
Demands of the Global South
- The Global South, encompassing countries with substantial populations, acknowledges their significant stake in shaping the world’s future.
- With around three-fourths of the global population residing within these nations, they assert the need for a proportionate and meaningful voice in global decision-making processes.
Equitable Representation in Global Governance:
- There is a demand for an equitable representation of the Global South in global governance structures.
- The current model of global governance is seen as potentially inadequate in reflecting the demographic and economic realities of the world.
- Calls for reform are made to ensure that the voices and interests of the Global South are acknowledged and incorporated into global decision-making mechanisms.
Signs of the Global South’s Influence in Global Politics
G20 Priorities Reflecting Global South Concerns:
- India’s leadership of the G20 emphasized priorities that are particularly relevant to the Global South.
- This highlights the growing awareness of addressing issues and concerns specific to developing countries in the Global South within global decision-making forums.
Global South Countries Hosting G20 Summits:
- Developing nations like Indonesia, India, Brazil, and South Africa consecutively hosting the G20 summit signifies a desire for increased leadership and influence from the Global South.
- These countries represent substantial portions of the world’s population and economies.
“Voice of the Global South” Summit:
- The organization of the “Voice of the Global South” summit showcases a commitment to inclusivity and consultation with a diverse range of Global South nations.
- This signals a shift away from traditional power structures dominated by Western countries and emphasizes the Global South’s priorities.
Commitment to Multilateralism:
- The emphasis on the Global South’s priorities and the involvement of these countries in shaping the G20 agenda reflects a commitment to multilateralism.
- Multilateral decisions are made collectively by a diverse group of nations, demonstrating a more inclusive approach.
Participation in International Organizations:
- Countries from the Global South actively participate in various international organizations and forums, seeking greater involvement in global decision-making processes.
- Organizations such as G20, BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Quad, Indo-Pacific Economic Forum, and others engage with countries in the Global South, showcasing their increasing role.
Evidence of Increasing Global South Influence
Loss and Damage Fund at COP27:
- The establishment of the ‘Loss and Damage fund’ at the COP27 Climate Change conference was celebrated as a significant achievement for the Global South.
- It acknowledges the disproportionate burden faced by Global South countries in climate-related challenges.
Global South Leadership at COP28:
- At the upcoming UNFCCC COP 28 in the UAE, Global South countries are expected to play a leading role in discussions on mitigating climate change, highlighting their growing influence in addressing global issues.
Inclusive Dialogue at G7 Summit:
- Japan’s effort to involve developing countries from the Global South in discussions during its G7 summit demonstrates a desire for more inclusive dialogue among the world’s wealthiest nations.
BRICS Summit Expansion:
- The expansion of the BRICS summit from five to 11 members signifies a concerted effort to engage and include more Global South countries in the grouping, underlining their increasing importance.
G-77 Summit in Cuba:
- The recent G-77 summit held in Havana, Cuba, brought together a substantial number of developing countries, highlighting the Global South’s significance on the global stage.
African Union in G20:
- The inclusion of the 55-nation African Union into the G20 reflects growing recognition of African nations in global affairs and the importance of incorporating their perspectives and contributions into the emerging global order.
-Source: The Hindu
Santiniketan, West Bengal, Joins UNESCO’s World Heritage List
Recently, Santiniketan, which is a town located in Birbhum district of West Bengal, was included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The pursuit of UNESCO World Heritage Site status for Santiniketan began in 2010. Santiniketan’s inclusion marks it as India’s 41st World Heritage Site, celebrating its cultural and historical importance.
GS I: History
Dimensions of the Article:
- Santiniketan: A Place of Significance
- Rabindranath Tagore
- What are UNESCO World Heritage Sites?
Santiniketan: A Place of Significance
Historical Origin and Renaming:
- In 1862, Debendranath Tagore, father of Rabindranath Tagore, discovered a picturesque landscape and established an ashram there.
- He named the house “Santiniketan,” which translates to “abode of peace,” reflecting its tranquil environment.
Founding of a School:
- In 1901, Rabindranath Tagore selected a substantial portion of land in Santiniketan and founded a school inspired by the Brahmachary Ashram model.
- This educational institution later evolved into the renowned Visva Bharati University.
UNESCO World Heritage Status:
- The Ministry of Culture proposed Santiniketan for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Its nomination highlights its significance in areas such as human values, architecture, arts, town planning, and landscape design.
Preservation of Heritage:
- The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been actively involved in restoring numerous structures in Santiniketan, preserving its rich historical and cultural heritage.
- Born on May 7, 1861, in Calcutta, India, into a prominent Bengali family.
- Youngest of thirteen children, he hailed from a respected background.
Polymath and Renaissance Figure:
- Tagore’s talents transcended boundaries; he was a poet, philosopher, musician, playwright, painter, educator, and social reformer.
- In 1913, he achieved a historic milestone as the first Asian to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.
- Awarded for his collection of poems titled “Gitanjali” (Song Offerings).
Knighthood and Renunciation:
- Tagore was honored with Knighthood for Services to Literature by King George V in 1915.
- However, he renounced this title in protest after the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.
- He composed the national anthems of two nations: “Jana Gana Mana” (Indian national anthem) and “Amar Shonar Bangla” (Bangladesh national anthem).
- Tagore’s literary repertoire encompassed poems, short stories, novels, essays, and plays.
- Notable works include “The Home and the World,” “Gora,” “Gitanjali,” “Ghare-Baire,” “Manasi,” “Balaka,” “Sonar Tori,” and “Kabuliwala.”
- Advocate for social reform, he championed unity, harmony, and tolerance.
- Criticized British colonial rule and supported the cause of Indian independence.
Philosophy of Humanism:
- Emphasized humanism, spirituality, and the interconnectedness of nature and humanity.
- His writing style was characterized by lyrical and philosophical qualities, exploring themes such as love, nature, and spirituality.
- Passed away on August 7, 1941, leaving behind a profound literary legacy and an enduring influence on Indian and global culture.
What are UNESCO World Heritage Sites?
- UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of distinctive cultural or physical importance which is considered of outstanding value to humanity.
- It may be a building, a city, a complex, a desert, a forest, an island, a lake, a monument, or a mountain.
- They have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy as they have a special cultural or physical significance and outstanding universal value to the humanity.
- Italy is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites.
- At present, India has 38 World Heritage Properties. All the sites under the Ministry are conserved as per ASI’s Conservation Policy and are in good shape.
More about selection and protection of World Heritage Sites
- The sites are judged to be important for the collective and preservative interests of humanity.
- To be selected, a WHS must be an already-classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area).
- It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.
- The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence.
- The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 “states parties” that are elected by their General Assembly.
UNESCO World Heritage Committee
- The World Heritage Committee selects the sites to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger.
- It monitors the state of conservation of the World Heritage properties, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties.
- It is composed of 21 states parties that are elected by the General Assembly of States Parties for a four-year term.
- India is NOT a member of this Committee.
-Source: The Hindu
World Suicide Prevention Day Highlights Female Suicide Crisis in India
World Suicide Prevention Day has brought attention to the ongoing crisis of female suicide in India, particularly among housewives.
GS I: Society
Dimensions of the Article:
- Observing World Suicide Prevention Day
- Challenges Faced by Housewives in India
- Other Factors Contributing to the Problem of Suicide in India
Observing World Suicide Prevention Day
- World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) takes place annually on September 10th. Established in 2003, it is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in collaboration with the WHO.
- Purpose: WSPD serves as a platform to draw attention to suicide-related issues, reduce stigma, and enhance awareness among governments, organizations, and the general public. The key message is that suicide is preventable.
- 2021-2023 Theme: The triennial theme for WSPD during this period is “Creating hope through action.” This theme encourages the belief in alternatives to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and positivity.
Challenges Faced by Housewives in India
High Suicide Rates: According to the National Crime Records Bureau, housewives constituted 51.5% of female suicides in 2021, with states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Karnataka reporting high numbers. Housewives also account for approximately 15% of all suicides in India.
Challenging Circumstances: Housewives in India often face significant challenges:
- Restricted Mobility: Many women, especially in rural areas, experience limited mobility due to societal norms and safety concerns. This isolation can lead to feelings of helplessness.
- Economic Dependence: Reliance on their spouses or families for financial support makes women vulnerable to abuse. Their lack of financial independence restricts their choices and escape options.
- Gender Roles: Traditional gender roles and patriarchal norms can diminish women’s control over their lives, particularly within marriage. This can lead to feelings of powerlessness.
- Domestic Violence: India grapples with domestic violence, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Stigma, fear, and a lack of support systems often compel women to endure such abuse in silence.
- Mental Health Stigma: Societal stigma surrounding mental health issues and help-seeking behavior is pervasive in India. This stigma prevents many women from seeking external assistance or confiding in others about their mental health struggles, resulting in limited access to mental health support.
Other Factors Contributing to the Problem of Suicide in India
- Agrarian Challenges: India’s agrarian economy is confronted with various issues such as unpredictable weather patterns, land degradation, and high input costs. These challenges have resulted in a notable number of farmer suicides, often driven by debt burdens and crop failures.
- Access to Lethal Means: In rural areas of India, access to lethal means like pesticides is relatively easy. This accessibility contributes to a higher rate of impulsive suicides.
- Educational Pressure: India’s competitive education system exerts immense pressure on students to excel academically. The fear of failure and the high expectations of parents can lead to mental health issues and suicides, as students may feel trapped without viable alternatives.
- Limited Mental Healthcare: Despite recent efforts to enhance mental health services, there remains a shortage of mental health professionals and limited access to affordable mental healthcare, especially in rural areas. This scarcity exacerbates the mental health crisis in India and is closely linked to the rising suicide rates.
- LGBTQIA+ Discrimination: Many LGBTQIA+ individuals in India experience severe discrimination and rejection from their families, leading to feelings of isolation and depression. Lack of acceptance and familial support is a significant contributing factor to suicides within this community.
- Cyberbullying: With the proliferation of technology and social media, cyberbullying has become a pressing issue, particularly among young people. Online harassment and bullying can have severe consequences on mental health and may contribute to suicides.
-Source: The Hindu
Coronal Mass Ejection
Recently, Earth was hit by a strong Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).
GS III: Science and Technology
Dimensions of the Article:
- Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs)
- What is a Solar flare?
- What is a Geomagnetic storm?
Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs):
- CMEs are massive eruptions of plasma and magnetic fields from the Sun’s corona that travel outward into space.
- During a CME, the Sun releases a vast amount of material, including electrons, protons, heavier ions, and magnetic fields. This material moves at high speeds into interplanetary space.
- Trigger: CMEs are typically initiated by the destabilization of the Sun’s magnetic fields. The exact mechanisms are intricate but often involve the reconfiguration or disruption of magnetic loops on the Sun’s surface.
- Distinction from Solar Flares: CMEs are separate phenomena from solar flares, although they can occur simultaneously. Solar flares are sudden, intense bursts of energy and radiation, whereas CMEs involve the expulsion of solar material.
Impact on Earth:
- Geomagnetic Storms: Interaction between the magnetic fields of CMEs and Earth’s magnetosphere can lead to geomagnetic storms. These storms can disrupt satellite communications, navigation systems, and even power grids.
- Auroras: CMEs can result in spectacular displays of the Northern and Southern Lights, also known as auroras, by energizing particles in Earth’s atmosphere.
- Radiation Hazards: Astronauts in space and passengers on high-altitude flights can be exposed to elevated levels of radiation during a CME event.
What is a Solar flare?
- A solar flare is a sudden flash of increased brightness on the Sun, usually observed near its surface and in close proximity to a sunspot group.
- Powerful flares are often, but not always, accompanied by a coronal mass ejection.
- Even the most powerful flares are barely detectable in the total solar irradiance (the “solar constant”).
- Flares are closely associated with the ejection of plasmas and particles through the Sun’s corona into interplanetary space. Solar flares also copiously emit radio waves.
- It usually takes days for the solar plasma ejecta to reach Earth.
- Flares also occur on other stars, where the term stellar flare applies.
- Flares occur in active regions around sunspots, where intense magnetic fields penetrate the photosphere to link the corona to the solar interior.
- The frequency of occurrence of solar flares varies following the 11-year solar cycle.
- If the ejection is in the direction of the Earth, particles associated with this disturbance can penetrate into the upper atmosphere (the ionosphere) and cause bright auroras, and may even disrupt long-range radio communication.
What is a Geomagnetic storm?
- A geomagnetic storm (commonly referred to as a solar storm) is a temporary disturbance of the Earth’s magnetosphere caused by a solar wind shock wave and/or cloud of magnetic field that interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field.
- The disturbance that drives the magnetic storm may be a solar coronal mass ejection (CME) or (much less severely) a co-rotating interaction region (CIR), a high-speed stream of solar wind originating from a coronal hole.
- The frequency of geomagnetic storms increases and decreases with the sunspot cycle. During solar maximum, geomagnetic storms occur more often, with the majority driven by CMEs.
-Source: The Hindu
Prime Minister launched the PM Vishwakarma scheme in New Delhi on the occasion of Vishwakarma Jayanti.
- Vishwakarma, in Hindu mythology, is seen as the architect of the gods and was the divine carpenter and master craftsman.
GS II: Government policies and Inerventions
Dimensions of the Article:
- PM Vishwakarma Scheme
- Benefits Offered by PM Vishwakarma Scheme
- Rationale Behind PM Vishwakarma Scheme
PM Vishwakarma Scheme
- Background: PM Vishwakarma Scheme was initially announced by Prime Minister Modi in his Independence Day address.
- Targeted Beneficiaries: The scheme is aimed at reaching economically marginalized and socially backward communities, particularly the Other Backward Classes (OBC) groups.
- Financial Allocation: The scheme has a total outlay of Rs 13,000 crore and is entirely funded by the Central government.
- Objective: PM Vishwakarma Scheme intends to provide subsidized loans, with a cap of Rs 2 lakh, to traditional artisans and craftsmen. This includes various professions like weavers, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, laundry workers, and barbers.
- Enhancing Product Quality: A key goal is to enhance the quality and market reach of products and services offered by artisans and craftsmen.
- Integration in Value Chains: The scheme aims to integrate Vishwakarmas (artisans) into both domestic and global value chains.
- Nodal Ministry: The Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise (MSME) serves as the nodal ministry for the implementation of this scheme.
- Support from Tribal Affairs: The Ministry of Tribal Affairs will actively support the scheme’s execution to ensure the well-being of Vishwakarmas.
Eligibility and Coverage
- Beneficiary Scope: PM Vishwakarma Scheme caters to both rural and urban artisans and craftsmen across India.
- Detailed Beneficiary List: A comprehensive list has been formulated to define the specific beneficiaries under the scheme. This list encompasses 18 traditional crafts, including Boat Makers, Armourers, Blacksmiths, Hammer and Tool Kit Makers, among others.
- Coverage: In the inaugural year, the scheme aims to benefit five lakh families, with the goal of extending its impact to 30 lakh families over the course of five years.
Benefits Offered by PM Vishwakarma Scheme
Registration and Recognition
- Artisans will be registered for free using the biometric-based PM Vishwakarma portal, facilitated by Common Services Centres (CSC).
- Recognition will be granted through the issuance of a PM Vishwakarma certificate and ID card.
- Beneficiaries will receive skill upgradation through both basic and advanced training.
- Artisans will be provided with a toolkit incentive amounting to ₹15,000.
Collateral-Free Credit Support
- Financial support in the form of collateral-free credit will be offered.
- The first tranche of credit support will be up to ₹1 lakh, and the second tranche will go up to ₹2 lakh.
- Interest rates on these loans will be concessional, set at 5%.
Incentives for Digital Transactions and Marketing
- Additional incentives will be given for conducting digital transactions and marketing support to promote the artisans’ products.
Toolkit Booklet and Training
- A toolkit booklet has been created in 12 Indian languages, accompanied by video materials.
- This educational resource will enhance artisans’ knowledge of new technologies in their respective fields.
- The skilling program includes both basic and advanced training phases.
- Participants will receive a stipend of ₹500 per day while undergoing training.
Rationale Behind PM Vishwakarma Scheme
Addressing Historical Challenges
- Traditional artisans, who have been practicing their crafts for generations, often lack formal professional training, access to modern tools, proximity to relevant markets, and the necessary capital for investment.
Overcoming Training and Resource Gaps
- The scheme aims to bridge these gaps by offering structured training, providing essential toolkits, and offering financial support to empower artisans to enhance their skills, access markets, and improve their livelihoods.
-Source: Indian Express
Pralay Ballistic Missiles
Recently, the Defence Ministry has cleared the proposal of buying a regiment of Pralay tactical ballistic missiles for the Indian Army.
GS III: Science and Technology
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Pralay Ballistic Missiles
- Key Facts about Ballistic Missiles
About Pralay Ballistic Missiles
- Type: Pralay is a quasi-ballistic surface-to-surface missile.
- Range: It is capable of hitting targets within a range of 150-500 kilometers.
- Payload Capacity: The missile is designed to carry a payload of 350-700 kilograms of high-grade explosives.
- Development: Pralay is developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India.
- Propulsion: It is powered by a solid propellant rocket motor, utilizing advanced technologies.
- Guidance System: The missile’s guidance system incorporates state-of-the-art navigation and integrated avionics.
- Mid-Air Path Adjustment: Pralay has the capability to change its trajectory or path after covering a certain range while in mid-air.
Key Facts about Ballistic Missiles
- Launch: Ballistic missiles are launched directly into the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere.
- Travel: They travel outside the atmosphere, where the warhead separates from the missile and descends toward a predetermined target.
- Propulsion: These missiles are rocket-propelled and self-guided, capable of carrying conventional or nuclear munitions.
- Launch Platforms: Ballistic missiles can be launched from various platforms, including aircraft, ships, submarines, and land-based launchers.
-Source: The Hindu
Prime Minister recently inaugurated the first phase of the India International Convention and Expo Centre (IICC), named Yashobhoomi, in New Delhi’s Dwarka.
Facts for Prelims
About Yashobhoomi (India International Convention and Expo Centre – IICC)
- Location: Yashobhoomi, also known as the India International Convention and Expo Centre (IICC), is a modern convention center situated in Dwarka, New Delhi.
- MICE Destination: It is recognized as one of the world’s largest MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) destinations.
- Facilities: Yashobhoomi offers a range of facilities, including a magnificent Convention Centre, multiple Exhibition halls, and various other amenities.
- Project Area: The project covers a vast area, spanning over 8.9 lakh square meters, with a total built-up area exceeding 1.8 lakh square meters.
- Cost: The development of this project comes at an estimated cost of Rs 5400 crores.
- Convention Center: The Convention Center within Yashobhoomi occupies an area of more than 73 thousand square meters and features 15 convention rooms, including the Main Auditorium, the Grand Ballroom, and 13 meeting rooms. It can accommodate up to 11,000 delegates.
- LED Media Facade: Yashobhoomi boasts the largest LED media facade in the country.
- Plenary Hall: The Convention Center includes a plenary hall with a seating capacity of approximately 6,000 guests.
- Exhibition Halls: The venue encompasses exhibition halls spanning over 1.07 lakh square meters, making it suitable for hosting exhibitions, trade fairs, and business events.
- Sustainability: Yashobhoomi features a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment system with 100% wastewater reuse and provisions for rainwater harvesting.
-Source: Times of India