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Current Affairs 23 June 2023

CONTENTS

  1. Artemis Accords
  2. Anxiety disorders
  3. Greenwashing
  4. Global Gender Gap Index, 2022
  5. Ambubachi Mela
  6. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
  7. Pink Bollworm

Artemis Accords


Context:

As per White House announcement, India has decided to join the Artemis Accords, which brings like-minded countries together on civil space exploration. Also, NASA and ISRO have agreed to a joint mission to the International Space Station in 2024.

Relevance:

GS II: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Artemis Accords
  2. Principles of Artemis Accords
  3. Significance

Artemis Accords:

  • The Artemis Accords were established in 2020 as a set of guidelines and principles for international cooperation in space exploration to the Moon and Mars.
  • They were initiated by the United States in collaboration with other nations and international partners.
  • The primary objective of the Accords is to create a framework for peaceful and transparent space exploration, focusing on lunar activities associated with NASA’s Artemis program.
Artemis Program:
  • The Artemis program is NASA’s initiative to send humans back to the Moon.
  • It aims to achieve significant milestones, including landing the first woman and the first person of color on the lunar surface.
Legal Nature:
  • The Artemis Accords do not possess the status of a legally binding treaty.
  • Instead, they serve as a framework to foster cooperative efforts among participating nations involved in lunar exploration.
Signatories:
  • As of May 2023, the Artemis Accords have been signed by 25 countries.
  • The signatory nations include the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Bahrain, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Israel, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Nigeria, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Principles of Artemis Accords:

  • Peaceful Purposes: All participating countries commit to conducting space activities exclusively for peaceful purposes, in accordance with relevant international laws.
  • Transparency: Signatories are expected to be transparent about their national space policies and exploration plans.
  • Common Infrastructure and Standards: Emphasis is placed on the development of common exploration infrastructure and standards. This includes areas such as fuel storage, landing structures, communications systems, and power systems.
  • Assistance in Outer Space: Countries agree to provide assistance to astronauts and personnel in distress in outer space.
  • Registration and Coordination: The Accords recognize the importance of registering relevant space objects according to the Registration Convention, enabling better coordination and information sharing.
  • Preservation of Historic Sites: Nations are encouraged to preserve historically significant landing sites, artifacts, and other relevant cultural heritage.
  • Space Resource Utilization: The Accords affirm the extraction and utilization of space resources, such as those from the Moon, Mars, comets, or asteroids, in accordance with the Outer Space Treaty. Ownership claims over extracted objects are not allowed.
  • Safety Zones: Countries conducting Moon exploration are urged to establish safety zones to prevent harmful interference with the activities of other nations.
  • Spacecraft Disposal and Debris Reduction: Signatories commit to the safe and timely disposal of spacecraft at the end of their missions. Efforts are made to reduce the generation of long-lived or harmful debris.

Significance

Enhanced Cooperation:

  • India’s participation in the Artemis Accords signifies an increased level of cooperation between India and the United States in space exploration.
  • It goes beyond the existing knowledge-sharing collaboration and establishes a framework for resource sharing and joint exploration efforts.

Lunar Mission Alignment:

  • India’s plan to launch the Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon aligns with the objectives of the Artemis program.
  • Joining the Accords allows India to align its lunar exploration efforts with the broader international community and leverage the benefits of shared knowledge and resources.

Human Spaceflight Collaboration:

  • The accord provides a platform for India to collaborate with NASA and other signatory countries on human spaceflight.
  • As India trains its first batch of astronauts for the Gaganyaan mission, the Accords can facilitate the exchange of information and expertise, strengthening India’s capabilities in this domain.

Access to Information:

  • Signing the agreement positions India as a major recipient of information from NASA’s Artemis missions.
  • As NASA plans to send astronauts to the lunar surface, India’s participation ensures access to valuable data, research findings, and technological advancements.

Balance of Power in Space:

  • With China emerging as a significant player in space exploration, India’s participation in the Artemis Accords helps maintain a balance of power in this domain.
  • It allows India to actively engage in international space initiatives and collaborate with like-minded nations, including the United States, to shape the future of space exploration.

-Source: Indian express


Anxiety disorders


Context:

Recently, there has been a growing recognition of the impact of anxiety disorders on individuals’ daily lives and overall well-being. These common mental health conditions affect a significant portion of the population and can lead to persistent distress and impairment.

Relevance:

GS III: Science

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Anxiety disorder
  2. Types of Anxiety Disorders
  3. Causes For Anxiety Disorders
  4. Treating Anxiety Disorders

About Anxiety disorder

Anxiety disorder is a mental health condition characterized by excessive and irrational fear and worry about various aspects of life. Here are some key points about anxiety disorders:

Prevalence and Demographics:

  • Anxiety disorders can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, culture, or background. In India, the prevalence of neurosis and stress-related disorders, including anxiety disorders, is approximately 3.5%.
  • These disorders are more commonly observed in women and may be overlooked or misdiagnosed in primary care settings.

Historical Classification:

  • Anxiety disorders were historically classified within mood disorders until the late 19th century.
  • Sigmund Freud introduced the concept of “anxiety neurosis” to distinguish anxiety symptoms from depression.
  • Freud’s original anxiety neurosis included individuals with phobias and panic attacks.

Symptoms:

  • Common symptoms of anxiety disorders include persistent and excessive worry, restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, sleep disturbances, and physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, and shortness of breath.

Risk Factors and Onset:

  • Anxiety disorders can develop at any stage of life, but childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood are considered high-risk periods for their onset.
  • Genetic factors, environmental stressors, traumatic experiences, and imbalances in brain chemistry are believed to contribute to the development of anxiety disorders.

Impact on Daily Life:

  • Anxiety disorders can significantly impair a person’s daily functioning, relationships, and overall quality of life.
  • They may interfere with work or school performance, social interactions, and personal well-being.

Types of Anxiety Disorders:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):
  • Excessive worrying that persists for at least six months.
  • The worry is not limited to specific circumstances and can be related to various aspects of life.
  • Physical symptoms such as restlessness, muscle tension, fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and sleep disturbances often accompany the excessive worry.
  • The worrying causes significant distress and interferes with daily functioning.
Panic Disorder:
  • Recurrent and unexpected panic attacks characterized by sudden and intense surges of fear or discomfort.
  • Panic attacks involve symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, dizziness, and fear of losing control or dying.
  • There is an ongoing concern about future panic attacks or their consequences, leading to behavioral changes to avoid triggering panic attacks.
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia):
  • Intense fear of negative evaluation or scrutiny by others in social or performance situations.
  • Fear of embarrassment or humiliation leads to avoidance of social interactions or performance situations.
  • The fear and avoidance cause significant distress and can interfere with work, school, or social relationships.
Separation Anxiety Disorder:
  • Excessive and developmentally inappropriate fear or distress related to separation from attachment figures (such as parents or loved ones).
  • Excessive worry about potential harm or loss of attachment figures.
  • Reluctance or refusal to be away from attachment figures and significant distress when separation occurs.
  • These symptoms are beyond what is considered developmentally normal for the individual’s age.
Specific Phobias:
  • Irrational and intense fear of specific objects, animals, or situations (e.g., heights, spiders, flying).
  • The fear is excessive and leads to avoidance of the feared stimulus or enduring it with intense distress.
  • The phobia causes significant impairment in daily functioning and distress.

Causes For Anxiety Disorders:

The causes of anxiety disorders can be multifactorial and can vary from person to person. Here are some common factors that may contribute to the development of anxiety disorders:

  • Genetics: Family history of anxiety disorders or other mental health conditions may increase the likelihood of developing an anxiety disorder. Certain genetic factors can make individuals more susceptible to anxiety.
  • Neurochemical Imbalances: Imbalances in neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which play a role in regulating mood and emotions, may contribute to the development of anxiety disorders.
  • Personality Traits: Certain personality traits, such as being highly sensitive, having a tendency towards perfectionism, or being prone to excessive worrying or stress, can increase the risk of developing an anxiety disorder.
  • Environmental Factors: Traumatic or stressful experiences, such as physical or emotional abuse, violence, neglect, the loss of a loved one, or significant life changes, can trigger or exacerbate anxiety disorders. Even positive life events, such as getting married or starting a new job, can cause anxiety in some individuals.
  • Co-occurring Medical Conditions: Underlying physical health issues, such as chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disorders, hormonal imbalances (e.g., thyroid problems), or chronic illnesses, can contribute to the onset or manifestation of anxiety symptoms.
  • Substance Abuse: Substance abuse or withdrawal from certain substances, such as alcohol, drugs, or medications, can induce or worsen anxiety symptoms.

Treating Anxiety Disorders:

Psychotherapy:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a commonly used and effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders.
  • It helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to anxiety.
  • Other types of therapy, such as exposure therapy, may be used to gradually confront and reduce anxiety-related fears and phobias.

Medication:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as sertraline, escitalopram, or fluoxetine, are often prescribed as first-line medication treatments for anxiety disorders.
  • These medications help regulate serotonin levels in the brain and can alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
  • Other types of medications, such as benzodiazepines, may be prescribed for short-term relief of severe anxiety symptoms, but they are generally used with caution due to the risk of dependence.

Relaxation Techniques:

  • Techniques like deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness meditation, and yoga can help individuals manage and reduce anxiety symptoms.

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle can have a positive impact on anxiety.
  • Regular exercise, adequate sleep, a balanced diet, minimizing caffeine and alcohol consumption, and engaging in activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction can contribute to overall well-being and reduce anxiety symptoms.

Support Network:

  • Building a strong support network of friends, family, or support groups can provide emotional support and understanding, which can be beneficial in managing anxiety.

Stress Management:

  • Learning effective stress management techniques, such as time management, setting boundaries, and practicing self-care, can help individuals cope with stressors that contribute to anxiety.

Co-occurring Conditions:

  • If an individual with an anxiety disorder also has co-occurring depression or other mental health conditions, it is important to address and treat each condition separately with appropriate interventions.

-Source: The Hindu


Greenwashing


Context:

A lawsuit has been filed against Delta Air Lines in the US, accusing the company of engaging in Greenwashing by making false and misleading claims about its Sustainability Efforts and being a “Green” and carbon-neutral airline.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What Is Greenwashing?
  2. Effects of greenwashing

What Is Greenwashing?

  • Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or misleading information about how a company’s products are environmentally sound.
  • Greenwashing involves making an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly or have a greater positive environmental impact than is true.
  • In addition, greenwashing may occur when a company attempts to emphasize sustainable aspects of a product to overshadow the company’s involvement in environmentally damaging practices.
  • Performed through the use of environmental imagery, misleading labels, and hiding tradeoffs, greenwashing is a play on the term “whitewashing,” which means using false information to intentionally hide wrongdoing, error, or an unpleasant situation in an attempt to make it seem less bad than it is.
Examples of Greenwashing
  • A classic example of greenwashing is when Volkswagen admitted to cheating emissions tests by fitting various vehicles with a “defect” device, with software that could detect when it was undergoing an emissions test and altering the performance to reduce the emissions level.
  • A plastic package containing a new shower curtain is labeled “recyclable.” It is not clear whether the package or the shower curtain is recyclable. In either case, the label is deceptive if any part of the package or its contents, other than minor components, cannot be recycled.
  • A trash bag is labeled “recyclable.” Trash bags are not ordinarily separated from other trash at the landfill or incinerator, so they are highly unlikely to be used again for any purpose. The claim is deceptive because it asserts an environmental benefit where no meaningful benefit exists.

Effects of greenwashing

  • There is a growing body of evidence that shows consumer sentiment is slanted toward being green and environmentally sustainable.
    • When a company, product or service is caught or discovered to be greenwashing, there is a general sense of distrust that occurs. Consumers will no longer trust the brand or product in question, and might also begin to question other claims.
  • Companies engaged in greenwashing – consumers will likely choose other organizations that are more ethical.
    • Greenwashing can degrade customer satisfaction, erode brand loyalty and potentially affect repeat purchases.
  • On Planet – Ultimately, the biggest effect of greenwashing is existential.
    • Each act that an organization or individual doesn’t take with real green initiatives has a potential negative effect on the planet.
    • With the effects of climate change continuing to manifest on humanity, there is no time to waste in taking steps to help improve sustainability such that humanity and Earth itself will continue to survive.

-Source: The Hindu


Global Gender Gap Index, 2022


Context:

India was ranked at 127 out of 146 countries in terms of gender parity — an improvement of eight places from last year, according to the recently published annual Gender Gap Report, 2023.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice (Women Empowerment, Governance and Government Policies, Issues Arising Out of Design & Implementation of Policies), GS-II: International Relations (Important International Institutions and their Reports) GS-I: Indian Society (Issues related to Women, Gender Inequality)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Global Gender Gap Report
  2. About World Economic Forum (WEF)
  3. Highlights of the Global Gender Gap report 2023

About the Global Gender Gap Report

  • The Global Gender Gap Report is published by the World Economic Forum and The Global Gender Gap Index is an index designed to measure gender equality.
  • The index is designed to “measure gender-based gaps in access to resources and opportunities in countries rather than the actual levels of the available resources and opportunities in those countries.” Therefore, it is not necessarily true that highly developed countries should have higher scores.
  • The methodology used to determine index scores is designed in such a way as to count situations in which men are disadvantaged relative to women as “equal”. (Gender imbalances to the advantage of women do not affect the score.). Over the Index, the highest possible score is 1 (equality) and the lowest possible score is 0 (inequality) – To put it more simply: women could be better off in all areas and still the index would deem that country perfectly equal.

The report’s Gender Gap Index ranks countries according to calculated gender gap between women and men in four key areas to gauge the state of gender equality in a country:

  • Economic participation and opportunity,
  • Educational attainment,
  • Health and survival,
  • Political empowerment.  

About World Economic Forum (WEF)

  • The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.
  • It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests.
  • The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance.

Major reports published by WEF:

  • Energy Transition Index.
  • Global Competitiveness Report.
  • Global IT Report (WEF along with INSEAD, and Cornell University)
  • Global Gender Gap Report.
  • Global Risk Report.
  • Global Travel and Tourism Report.

Highlights of Global Gender Gap Report 2023:

  • India’s Rank: India was ranked 127 out of 146 countries, showing an improvement of eight places from the previous year.
  • Education: India achieved parity in enrolment across all levels of education, indicating progress in educational opportunities for both genders.
  • Overall Gender Gap: India closed 64.3% of the overall gender gap, demonstrating advancements in gender equality. However, there is still work to be done to achieve full parity.
  • Economic Participation and Opportunity: India achieved only 36.7% parity in economic participation and opportunity, indicating a significant gender gap in the workforce and economic sphere.
  • Political Empowerment: India registered 25.3% parity in political empowerment, with women representing 15.1% of parliamentarians. This is the highest representation for India since the inaugural report in 2006.
  • Regional Comparisons: Among India’s neighboring countries, Pakistan ranked 142, Bangladesh ranked 59, China ranked 107, Nepal ranked 116, Sri Lanka ranked 115, and Bhutan ranked 103.
  • Leading Country: Iceland maintained its position as the most gender-equal country for the 14th consecutive year, having closed over 90% of its gender gap.
  • Southern Asian Region: The Southern Asian region achieved 63.4% gender parity, which is the second-lowest among the eight regions analyzed.

-Source: Indian express, The Hindu


Ambubachi Mela


Context:

Three temporary camps with adequate security arrangements were recently set up for devotees and tourists coming to the Kamakhya temple for the Ambubachi Mela.

Relevance:

GS I: Culture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Ambubachi Mela
  2. Kamakhya Temple

Ambubachi Mela:

Ambubachi Mela is an annual Hindu fair held at the Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati, Assam. Here are some details about Ambubachi Mela and the Kamakhya Temple:

  • Location: It takes place at the Kamakhya Temple, situated on Nilachal Hill in Guwahati, Assam, India.
  • Timing: The fair is celebrated during the monsoon season, specifically in the Assamese month of Ahaar, which falls around the middle of June.
  • Occasion: Ambubachi Mela is the celebration of the yearly menstruation course of goddess Maa Kamakhya. It is believed that during this time, the goddess undergoes her menstrual cycle, and the temple remains closed for three days.
  • Other names: The fair is also known as Ameti or Tantric fertility festival, as it is closely associated with the Tantric Shakti cult prevalent in eastern parts of India.

Kamakhya Temple:

  • Location: The temple is located on Nilachal Hill, near the southern bank of the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati, Assam.
  • Significance: It is considered one of the most revered centres of Tantric practices and is one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Peethas (sacred sites dedicated to the goddess Shakti) in India.
  • Architecture: The Kamakhya Temple exhibits a unique blend of two architectural styles: the traditional nagara or North Indian style and the Saracenic or Mughal style. This combination is known as the Nilachala Style of Architecture.
  • Temple Layout: The temple has five chambers: garbhagriha or sanctuary, antarala or vestibule, Jagan Mohan or principal chamber, bhogmandir or ritual chamber, and natmandir or opera hall. Each chamber has distinct architectural features, including different types of domes and roof designs.
  • Cultural Significance: The natmandir of the temple is used for traditional dance and music performances associated with sukti temples. It serves as a platform for cultural activities during festivals like Ambubachi Mela.

-Source: Indian express


National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission


Context:

Recently, a West Delhi-based hospital that mishandled an in vitro fertilisation procedure has been fined ₹1.5 crore for negligence and resorting to unethical practices by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
  2. What is in-vitro fertilization (IVF)?

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission:

  • Establishment: The commission was established in 1988 under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986.
  • Head office: Its headquarters is located in New Delhi.
  • Head: The commission is headed by a sitting or retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India or a sitting or retired Chief Justice of the High Court.
  • Consumer Protection Councils: The Act requires the establishment of Consumer Protection Councils at the Centre, State, and District levels to promote consumer awareness.
  • Central Council: The Central Council is headed by the Minister In-charge of the Department of Consumer Affairs in the Central Government.
  • State Councils: The State Councils are headed by the Minister In-charge of Consumer Affairs in the State Governments.
  • 3-tier structure: The commission follows a 3-tier structure consisting of the National Commission, State Commissions, and District Commissions to ensure the prompt resolution of consumer disputes.

What is in-vitro fertilization (IVF)?

  • In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) in which fertilization of an egg and sperm takes place outside the human body.
  • This complex procedure involves the retrieval of eggs from the ovaries and their manual combination with sperm in a laboratory to achieve fertilization.
  • Following fertilization, the resulting embryo is then transferred to the uterus, where implantation into the uterine wall can lead to pregnancy.

-Source: The Hindu


Pink Bollworm


Focus: GS III: Agriculture

Why in News?

Pink bollworm – responsible for damaging nearly 4 lakh acres of cotton in 2021 – has been recently observed in certain fields within the Bathinda and Mansa districts of Punjab.

About Pink Bollworm:

  • Destructive Pest: Pink bollworm is a highly destructive pest that primarily affects cotton crops.
  • Scientific Name: Its scientific name is Pectinophora gossypiella.
  • Distribution: Originally native to India, it is now found in almost all cotton-growing countries worldwide.
  • Description: The adults are small moths, measuring about 3/8 inch in length, with dark brown coloration and markings on the forewing. The larvae, which are the destructive stage, have distinctive pink bands and can grow up to ½ inch in length before pupating.
Ecological Threat:
  • Pink bollworms pose a significant threat to cotton plants. Female moths lay over 200 eggs during their two-week lifespan.
  • Once hatched, the larvae feed on the cotton seeds and damage the fibers, resulting in reduced crop yield and quality.
  • Mature larvae cut out the boll and drop to the ground, where they cocoon near the soil surface.
  • In addition to cotton, pink bollworms have been observed to attack hibiscus, okra, and hollyhock plants.

-Source: Indian express


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