Call Us Now

+91 9606900005 / 04

For Enquiry

legacyiasacademy@gmail.com

Current Affairs 24 May 2024

Contents:

  1. CCI launches market study on competition concerns in the AI industry
  2. Cheetah reintroduction
  3. Outbreak of Avian flu in Kerala
  4. Cyclone Remal
  5. Naxals killed in encounter in Chhattisgarh
  6. Government seeks feedback on Agnipath scheme

CCI Launches Market Study on Competition Concerns in the AI industry


Context:

Recently, the Competition Commission of India announced that it would be conducting a market study on competition concerns in the artificial intelligence (AI) industry.

Relevance:

GS Paper 3: S&T developments and everyday applications & effects; Awareness in fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nanotech, Biotech, IPR issues.

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the Artificial intelligence?
  2. Significance of Artificial Intelligence
  3. Issues related to Artificial Intelligence
  4. Measures taken by the government
  5. Way forward

What is the Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is wide-ranging branch of computer science concerned with building smart machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. AI is an interdisciplinary science with multiple approaches, but advancements in machine learning and deep learning are creating a paradigm shift in virtually every sector of the tech industry. Moreover

  • It is simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computers.
  • It refers to the ability of machines to perform cognitive tasks like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem solving and decision making and execute tasks in real time situations without constant supervision.
  • Particular applications of AI includes expert systems, speech recognition and machine vision.

Significance of Artificial Intelligence:

  • NITI Aayog’s national strategy for AI envisages ‘AI for all’ for inclusive growth, and identifies healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities and infrastructure, and smart mobility and transportation as focus areas for AI-led solutions for social impact.
  • Data and AI services are expected to help boost India’s economic growth in a big way. NASSCOM believes that data and AI will contribute $450 billion-$500 billion to India’s GDP by 2025, which is around 10% of the government’s aspiration of a $5 trillion economy.
  • It has the potential to overcome the physical limitations of capital and labour and open up new sources of value and growth.
  • The growing AI economy is estimated to create over 20 million technical roles alone.
  • AI can create not just niche solutions to specific problems that banks and other service providers are deploying, such as speeding up loan application processing or improving customer service;
  • it can also provide solutions for better governance and social impact. For example, during the lockdown, the Telangana police used AI-enabled automated number plate recognition software to catch violations.
  • It has the potential to drive growth by enabling
  • Intelligent automation i.e. ability to automate complex physical world tasks. o Innovation diffusion i.e. propelling innovations through the economy.
  • Role in social development and inclusive growth: access to quality health facilities, addressing location barriers, providing real-time advisory to farmers and help in increasing productivity, building smart and efficient cities etc.
  • The exponential growth of data is constantly feeding AI improvements.
  • AI has varied applications in fields like Healthcare, Education, Smart Cities, Environment, Agriculture, smart Mobility etc.

Issues related to Artificial Intelligence:

  • Ethical concerns- With popularization of a new technology, its virtues are not guaranteed. For instance, the internet made it possible to connect with anyone and get information from anywhere, but also easier for misinformation to spread.
  • Data Management- as there is lack of clarity on data flow and data ownership which might result into data colonialism (data generated by developing countries yet not benefitting them).
  • Biasedness: The algorithms used in artificial intelligence are discrete and, in most cases, trade secrets. They can be biased, for example, in the process of self-learning, they can absorb and adopt the stereotypes that exist in society or which are transferred to them by developers and make decisions based on them.
  • Accountability: If an AI system fails at its assigned task, someone should be made responsible for it. e.g. an anti-terrorism facial recognition program revoked the driver’s license of an innocent man when it confused him for another driver.

Measures taken by the government:

  • National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence- NITI Aayog has identified five areas where AI can be useful. It has noted the lack of regulation around AI as a major weakness for India.
  • Center of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence by National Informatics Centre (NIC) which is a platform for innovative new solutions in AI space, a gateway to test and develop solutions for projects undertaken by NIC at central and state level.
  • Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI): Recently, India joined GPAI as a founding member. GPAI is multi-stakeholder international partnership to promote responsible and human centric development and use of AI, grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation, and economic growth.

Way Forward

The stakes are high for India. We need to speed up our readiness to seize the opportunities that the future presents. Three areas need our attention.

  • The first is talent development. No meaningful conversation on AI preparedness can take place unless we are able to meet the rising demand with the right talent. In 2019, we nearly doubled our AI workforce to 72,000 from 40,000 the year before.
  • The second area is policies around data usage, governance and security. Without data, there cannot be AI. However, we need a balanced approach in the way we harness and utilise data. We need a robust legal framework that governs data and serves as the base for the ethical use of AI.
  • Third, though the use of digital technologies has gone up, the level of digitisation continues to be low. This poses a big challenge for organisations in finding the right amount of training data to run AI/ML algorithms, which in turn affects the accuracy of the results. Then there is the problem of availability of clean datasets. Organisations need to invest in data management frameworks that will clean their data before they are analysed, thus vastly improving the outcomes of AI models.

The future for AI looks promising but to convert the potential into reality, India will need better strategies around talent development, stronger policies for data usage and governance, and more investments in creating a technology infrastructure that can truly leverage AI.

-Source; The Hindu, The Indian Express, Livemint 


Cheetah Reintroduction


Context:

Kenyan delegation recently visited the Gandhisagar sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh to take stock of preparations for cheetah reintroduction in the area.

  • In 2022, eight Namibian cheetahs were released into the enclosures at Kuno National Park (KNP) and in 2023, another 12 cheetahs were brought to the park from South Africa. There are at present 27 cheetahs in KNP, including 14 cubs that were born on Indian soil.

Relevance:

GS III- Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What was the distribution of cheetahs in India?
  2. What caused the extinction of cheetahs in India?
  3. About Cheetah

What was the distribution of cheetahs in India?

  • Historically, Asiatic cheetahs had a very wide distribution in India.
  • There are authentic reports of their occurrence from as far north as Punjab to Tirunelveli district in southern Tamil Nadu, from Gujarat and Rajasthan in the west to Bengal in the east.
  • Most of the records are from a belt extending from Gujarat passing through Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.
  • There is also a cluster of reports from southern Maharashtra extending to parts of Karnataka, Telangana, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • The distribution range of the cheetah was wide and spread all over the subcontinent.
  • They occurred in substantial numbers.
  • Habitats:
    • Scrub forests
    • Dry grasslands
    • Savannas
    • Other arid and semi-arid open habitats
  • Some of the last reports of cheetahs in India prior to their local extinction are from edge habitats of sal forests in east-central India, not necessarily their preferred habitat.
  • In Iran, the last surviving population of wild Asiatic cheetahs are found in hilly terrain, foothills and rocky valleys within a desert ecosystem

What caused the extinction of cheetahs in India?

  • The cheetah in India has been recorded in history from before the Common Era. It was taken from the wild for coursing blackbuck for centuries, which is a major contributor to the depletion of its numbers through the ages.
  • However, the final phase of its extinction coincided with British colonial rule. The British added to the woes of the species by declaring a bounty for killing it in 1871.
  • Major reasons for the extinction of the Asiatic cheetah in India.
    • The consistent and widespread capture of cheetahs from the wild (both male and female) over centuries
    • Its reduced levels of genetic heterogeneity due to a historical genetic bottleneck resulting in reduced fecundity and high infant mortality in the wild.
    • Its inability to breed in captivity.
    • Sport hunting.
    • Bounty killings.
  • It is reported that the Mughal Emperor Akbar had kept 1,000 cheetahs in his menagerie and collected as many as 9,000 cats during his half century reign from 1556 to 1605.
  • As late as 1799, Tipu Sultan of Mysore is reported to have had 16 cheetahs as part of his menagerie.
  • It is recorded that the last cheetahs were shot in India in 1947, but there are credible reports of sightings of the cat till about 1967.

Issues with Re introduction

  • Experts are divided on whether the reserve would provide a favourable climate for African cheetahs in terms of prey abundance.
  • Cheetah habitat was required to sustain a genetically viable population.

About Cheetah:

  • The cheetah is one of the oldest of the big cat species, with ancestors that can be traced back more than five million years to the Miocene era.
  • The cheetah is also the world’s fastest land mammal that lives in Africa and Asia.

African Cheetah

  • IUCN status – Vulnerable
  • CITES status – Appendix-I of the List. This List comprises of migratory species that have been assessed as being in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range.
  • Habitat – Around 6,500-7,000 African cheetahs present in the wild.
  • Physical Characteristics – Bigger in size as compared to Asiatic Cheetah.

Asian Cheetah

  • IUCN Status – Critically Endangered.
  • CITES – Appendix 1 of the list
  • Habitat – 40-50 found only in Iran.
  • Physical Characteristics – Smaller and paler than the African cheetah. Has more fur, a smaller head and a longer neck. Usually have red eyes and they have a more cat-like appearance.

-Source; the Hindu, The Indian Express       


Outbreak of Avian flu in Kerala


Context:

The state of Kerala witnessed an outbreak of avian flu (H5N1) at the government-run regional poultry farm in Kottayam district recently.

The state has imposed a ban on the sale and import of poultry products of chicken, duck, quails and other birds in Kottayam district of the state.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Bird Flu (Avian Influenza)
  2. Status of Bird Flu in India
  3. Influenza Virus Types

Bird Flu (Avian Influenza)

  • Bird flu, also known as Avian influenza, is a disease caused by infection with avian influenza Type A viruses.
  • It primarily affects birds but can occasionally infect mammals through spillover.
  • The most common type of bird flu virus is H5N1, which emerged in 1996/1997 and has caused significant outbreaks since then.

Bird Flu Outbreaks

  • Since 2020, H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks have been reported in numerous countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas
  • These outbreaks have resulted in the death or culling of over 131 million domestic poultry in affected farms and villages. In 2023, additional outbreaks have been reported in 14 countries.

Spillover to Mammals

  • In recent years, cases of avian flu in mammals have been observed in approximately 10 countries.
  • Mammals affected include farmed mink, seals, sea lions, and cats.
  • There is concern that infected mammals could serve as hosts for the mixing of influenza viruses, potentially leading to the emergence of new, more harmful viruses.

Risk to Humans

  • While bird flu primarily affects birds and mammals, there have been only a few mild cases reported in humans who had close contact with infected birds.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) closely monitors these cases to assess the risk to human health.

Status of Bird Flu in India

  • On September 3, 2019, the World Organization for Animal Health declared India free from Avian Influenza (H5N1).
  • However, outbreaks of avian influenza H5N1 and H5N8 were reported in poultry in 15 states in India in December 2020 and early 2021.

Measures to Control Spread

To address the risks associated with bird flu outbreaks, international agencies such as FAO, WHO, and WOAH recommended the following measures:

  • Sharing Genetic Data: Countries were urged to share genetic data of viruses from humans and animals in publicly accessible databases.
  • Enhancing Biosecurity and Hygiene: Implementation of biosecurity measures and good hygiene practices in farms and poultry value chains.
  • Rapid Detection and Response: Ensuring prompt detection, reporting, and response to animal outbreaks to prevent further spread.
  • Strengthening Surveillance: Enhancing influenza surveillance in both animals and humans to monitor and track the disease.
  • Thorough Investigations: Conducting comprehensive epidemiological and virological investigations around animal outbreaks and human infections.
  • Collaboration: Promoting collaboration and coordination between the animal and human health sectors to effectively manage the disease.

Influenza Virus Types

  • The influenza virus can be classified into four types, namely influenza A, B, C, and D.
  • Influenza A and B are the two types that cause epidemic seasonal infections every year.
  • Influenza C primarily occurs in humans, but it has also been reported in dogs and pigs.
  • Influenza D is mainly found in cattle and is not known to cause illness in humans.

Avian Influenza Type A Viruses

  • The type A influenza viruses are classified based on two proteins on their surface, namely Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA).
  • There are around 18 subtypes of HA and 11 subtypes of NA.
  • Several combinations of these two proteins are possible, such as H5N1, H7N2, H9N6, H17N10, H18N11, etc.
  • All subtypes of influenza A viruses can infect birds, except subtypes H17N10 and H18N11, which have only been found in bats.

-Source: The Hindu


Cyclone Remal


Context:

The Cyclone Remal, a low-pressure system that developed over the Bay of Bengal is set to intensify as severe cyclonic storm.

  • The cyclone could reach a wind speed of 102 kilometres per hour and the IMD has warned of very heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of West Bengal, north Odisha, Mizoram, Tripura and south Manipur on May 26-27.
  • Scientists warned that cyclones could  intensifying rapidly and retain their potency for longer periods due to warmer sea surface temperatures.
  • This is mainly because oceans absorbs most of the excess heat from greenhouse gas emissions.

Relevance:

GS-I: Geography (Physical geography – Climatology, Important Geophysical phenomena), GS-III: Disaster Management

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are Tropical Cyclones?
  2. Conditions for cyclone formation:
  3. How are Tropical Cyclones Formed?
  4. Why tropical cyclones don’t form in the eastern tropical oceans?
  5. Names of Tropical Cyclones
  6. Structure of the tropical cyclone
  7. Landfall, what happens when a Cyclone reaches land from the ocean?
  8. Cyclone Management in India

What are Tropical Cyclones?

  • The Tropical Cyclones are violent storms that originate over oceans in tropical areas and move over to coastal areas bringing about large-scale destruction caused by violent winds, very heavy rainfall and storm surges.
  • These are low pressure weather systems in which winds equal or exceed speeds of 62kmph.
  • Winds circulate around in anti-clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and in clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • “Tropical” refers to the geographical origin of these systems, which form almost exclusively over tropical seas.
  • “Cyclone” refers to their winds moving in a circle, whirling round their central clear eye, with their winds blowing counter clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • The opposite direction of circulation is due to the Coriolis effect.

Tropical Cyclones in India

  • Tropical cyclones striking India generally originate in the eastern side of India.
  • Bay of Bengal is more prone to cyclone than Arabian Sea because it gets high sea surface temperature, low vertical shear winds and has enough moisture in middle layers of its atmosphere.
  • The frequency of cyclones in this region is bi-modal, i.e., Cyclones occur in the months of May–June and October–November.

Conditions for cyclone formation:

  • A warm sea surface (temperature in excess of 26o –27o C) and associated warming extending up to a depth of 60m with abundant water vapour.
  • High relative humidity in the atmosphere up to a height of about 5,000 metres.
  • Atmospheric instability that encourages the formation of cumulus clouds.
  • Low vertical wind between the lower and higher levels of the atmosphere that do not allow the heat generated and released by the clouds to get transported from the area.
  • The presence of cyclonic vorticity (rate of rotation of air) that initiates and favours rotation of the air cyclonically.
  • Location over the ocean, at least 4–5 o latitude away from the equator.

How are Tropical Cyclones Formed?

  • Tropical cyclones typically form over large bodies of relatively warm water. Warm water > Evaporation > Rising up of air > Low Pressure area.
  • They derive their energy through the evaporation of water from the ocean surface, which ultimately re-condenses into clouds and rain when moist air rises and cools to saturation.
  • Water takes up heat from the atmosphere to change into vapour.
  • When water vapour changes back to liquid form as raindrops, this heat is released to the atmosphere.
  • The heat released to the atmosphere warms the air around.
  • The air tends to rise and causes a drop in the pressure.
  • More air rushes to the centre of the storm.
  • This cycle is repeated.

Why tropical cyclones don’t form in the eastern tropical oceans?

  • The depth of warm water (26-27°C) should extend for 60-70 m from surface of the ocean/sea, so that deep convection currents within the water do not churn and mix the cooler water below with the warmer water near the surface.
  • The above condition occurs only in western tropical oceans because of warm ocean currents (easterly trade winds pushes ocean waters towards west) that flow from east towards west forming a thick layer of water with temperatures greater than 27°C. This supplies enough moisture to the storm.
  • The cold currents lower the surface temperatures of the eastern parts of the tropical oceans making them unfit for the breeding of cyclonic storms.
  • ONE EXCEPTION: During strong El Nino years, strong hurricanes occur in the eastern Pacific. This is due to the accumulation of warm waters in the eastern Pacific due to weak Walker Cell.

Names of Tropical Cyclones

Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names:

  1. Cyclones in the Indian Ocean
  2. Hurricanes in the Atlantic
  3. Typhoons in the Western Pacific and the South China Sea
  4. Willy-willies in Western Australia

Structure of the tropical cyclone

Tropical cyclones are compact, circular storms, generally some 320 km (200 miles) in diameter, whose winds swirl around a central region of low atmospheric pressure. The winds are driven by this low-pressure core and by the rotation of Earth, which deflects the path of the wind through a phenomenon known as the Coriolis force. As a result, tropical cyclones rotate in a counter clockwise (or cyclonic) direction in the Northern Hemisphere and in a clockwise (or anticyclonic) direction in the Southern Hemisphere.

  1. The Eye: A characteristic feature of tropical cyclones is the eye, a central region of clear skies, warm temperatures, and low atmospheric pressure. Typically, atmospheric pressure at the surface of Earth is about 1,000 millibars.
  2. The Eyewall: The most dangerous and destructive part of a tropical cyclone is the eyewall. Here winds are strongest, rainfall is heaviest, and deep convective clouds rise from close to Earth’s surface to a height of 15,000 metres.
  3. Rainbands: These bands, commonly called rainbands, spiral into the centre of the storm. In some cases the rainbands are stationary relative to the centre of the moving storm, and in other cases they seem to rotate around the centre.

Landfall, what happens when a Cyclone reaches land from the ocean?

  • Tropical cyclones dissipate when they can no longer extract sufficient energy from warm ocean water.
  • A storm that moves over land will abruptly lose its fuel source and quickly lose intensity.
  • A tropical cyclone can contribute to its own demise by stirring up deeper, cooler ocean waters. tropical cyclone can contribute to its own demise by stirring up deeper, cooler ocean waters.

Cyclone Management in India

India is highly vulnerable to natural disasters especially cyclones, earthquakes, floods, landslides, and drought. Natural disasters cause a loss of 2% of GDP every year in India. According to the Home ministry, 8% of total area in India is prone to cyclones. India has a coastline of 7,516 km, of which 5,700 km are prone to cyclones of various degrees.

  • Loss due to cyclones: Loss of lives, livelihood opportunities, damage to public and private property and severe damage to infrastructure are the resultant consequences, which can disrupt the process of development
  • Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is the nodal agency for early warning of cyclones and floods.
  • Natural Disaster Management Authority is mandated to deal with the disaster management in India. It has prepared National Guidelines on Management of Cyclone.
  • National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP) was launched by Home ministry to upgrade the forecasting, tracking and warning about cyclones in states.
  • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has done a commendable performance in rescuing and managing relief work.
  • National Disaster Response Reserve (NDRR)– a fund of 250 crores operated by NDRF for maintaining inventory for an emergency situation.
  • In 2016, a blueprint of National Disaster Management Plan was unveiled to tackle disaster. It provides a framework to deal with prevention, mitigation, response and recovery during a disaster. According to the plan, Ministry of earth science will be responsible for disaster management of cyclone. By this plan, India joined the list of countries which follow the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
  • Due to increased awareness and tracking of Cyclone, the death toll has been reduced substantially. For example, Very severe cyclone Hudhud and Phailin claimed lives of around 138 and 45 people respectively, which might have been more. It was reduced due to the early warning and relocation of the population from the cyclone-hit areas. Very severe cyclone Ockhi claimed many lives of people in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. This was due to the unprecedented change in the direction of the cyclone.
  • But the destruction of infrastructure due to cyclonic hit is not been reduced which leads to increase in poverty due to the economic weakening of the affected population.

-Source: The Hindu


Naxals killed in encounter in Chhattisgarh


Context:

In a recent encounter in the border areas of Narayanpur and Bijapur districts in Chhattisgarh, security forces conducted intense search operations, resulting in the killing of at least seven Naxalites.at least seven Naxalities.

Relevance:

GS III: Security Challenges

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Understanding Naxalism
  2. Causes of Naxalism
  3. Government Initiatives to Combat Left-Wing Extremism (LWE)

Understanding Naxalism

Origin and Name

  • Derives its name from Naxalbari village in West Bengal, where it originated as a rebellion against local landlords over a land dispute.

Spread and Characteristics

  • Spread across Eastern India, particularly in less developed areas of states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Left-wing extremists (LWE), also known as Maoists globally and Naxalites in India, lead the movement.

Ideology and Objectives

  • Advocate for armed revolution to overthrow the Indian government and establish a communist state based on Maoist principles.
  • View the state as oppressive and exploitative, seeking to address socio-economic grievances through armed struggle and people’s war.

Activities and Strategies

  • Engage in guerrilla warfare, attacks on security forces, extortion, intimidation, and propaganda.
  • Aim to capture state power through armed insurgency, mass mobilization, and strategic alliances.
  • Target government institutions, infrastructure, economic interests, collaborators, and informants.
  • Operate parallel governance structures in certain controlled areas, providing basic services and dispensing justice.

Status of LWE in India

  • Trends in Violence
    • 2022 witnessed the lowest number of violent incidents and deaths in Naxal-hit areas in the last four decades.
    • Violent incidents reduced by 77% in 2022 compared to the peak in 2010.
    • Number of affected districts dropped from 90 to 45.
    • Deaths of security forces and civilians in LWE violence decreased by 90% in 2022 compared to 2010.

States Affected by LWE

  • Affected States
    • Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Kerala.
  • Red Corridor
    • Central, eastern, and southern regions of India experiencing severe Naxalism-Maoist insurgency.

Causes of Naxalism

Economic Factors

  • Thrives in underdeveloped regions with high poverty rates.
  • Adivasi and Dalit communities face social exclusion and lack access to basic necessities, fostering resentment and receptiveness to Naxalite ideology.
  • Displacement of Adivasis from traditional lands due to mining and development projects creates anger and a sense of injustice, exploited by Naxalites.

Exploitation and Marginalization

  • Tribal communities vulnerable to exploitation by landlords, moneylenders, and mining companies, positioning Naxalites as protectors against such exploitation.
  • Dalits, facing social and economic marginalization, may find Naxalism appealing as it challenges the existing caste hierarchy.

Weak Governance

  • Flourishes in areas with weak government presence and poor infrastructure, allowing Naxalites to operate with less interference.
  • State governments often neglect addressing Naxalism, considering it a central government issue, leading to a lack of initiatives to combat it.

Perceived Failure of Democratic System

  • Naxalites believe the democratic system has failed to address their needs and grievances, offering a violent alternative path to change.

Impact of Globalization

  • Discontent with the impact of globalization, particularly displacement due to land acquisition for corporations, can contribute to Naxalite support.

Operational Challenges

  • LWE groups operate in remote and inaccessible areas with dense forests and hilly terrains, making it challenging for security forces to track them down.

Government Initiatives to Combat Left-Wing Extremism (LWE):

Operation Octopus:

  • The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has undertaken a significant operation known as ‘Octopus’ in the heavily mined ‘Burha Pahar’ hilly range within the Garhwa district, bordering Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
  • This operation marks a substantial success, marking the first instance where the force successfully eliminated Naxal influence from the area.
  • Operation Double Bull: Launched in the dense jungles of the Bulbul area in Lohardaga and neighboring districts of Jharkhand.
  • Greyhounds: Established in 1989 as an elite anti-Naxal force.
  • Operation Green Hunt: Commenced in 2009-10, entailing a massive deployment of security forces in Naxal-affected regions.
  • Aspirational Districts Programme: Introduced in 2018, with the objective of swiftly transforming districts that have exhibited comparatively slower progress in key social indicators.
  • SAMADHAN doctrine: A comprehensive strategy for addressing the LWE issue, encompassing short-term and long-term policies formulated at various levels. SAMADHAN stands for:
    • S – Smart Leadership,
    • A – Aggressive Strategy,
    • M – Motivation and Training,
    • A – Actionable Intelligence,
    • D – Dashboard Based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas),
    • H – Harnessing Technology,
    • A – Action plan for each Theatre,
    • N – No access to Financing.

ROSHNI:

  • A special initiative under the Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (formerly Ajeevika Skills), launched in June 2013.
  • ROSHNI focuses on providing training and placement opportunities for rural youth from 27 LWE-affected districts across nine states.
  • Additionally, the government has undertaken measures such as intelligence sharing, and the establishment of separate units like the 66 Indian Reserved Battalion (IRBs), as well as specialized CRPF battalions including the COBRA battalion and Bastariya battalion, aimed at curbing the activities of LWE organizations.
  • Efforts by civil society and peace activists to broker ceasefires and facilitate dialogue between the Maoists and security forces, advocating for the pursuit of tribal causes through democratic channels, have been met with resistance from the insurgents.

-Source: The Hindu


Government seeks feedback on Agnipath scheme


Context:

Recently, the Military Affairs Department seeks feedback from three services on Agnipath scheme.

Relevance:

GS II- Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the Agnipath scheme?
  2. What is the eligibility criteria?
  3. What happens after selection?
  4. When will the recruitment actually begin?
  5. How will the scheme benefit the armed forces and the recruits?

What is the Agnipath scheme?

  • Under the new scheme, around 45,000 to 50,000 soldiers will be recruited annually, and most will leave the service in just four years.
  • Of the total annual recruits, only 25 per cent will be allowed to continue for another 15 years under permanent commission.
  • The move will make the permanent force levels much leaner for the over 13-lakh strong armed forces in the country.
  • This will, in turn, considerably reduce the defence pension bill, which has been a major concern for governments for many years.

What is the eligibility criteria?

  • The new system is only for personnel below officer ranks (those who do not join the forces as commissioned officers).
  • Under the Agnipath scheme, aspirants between the ages of 17.5 years and 23 years will be eligible to apply.
  • The recruitment standards will remain the same, and recruitment will be done twice a year through rallies.

What happens after selection?

  • Once selected, the aspirants will go through training for six months and then will be deployed for three and a half years.
  • During this period, they will get a starting salary of Rs 30,000, along with additional benefits which will go up to Rs 40,000 by the end of the four-year service.
  • Importantly, during this period, 30 per cent of their salary will be set aside under a Seva Nidhi programme, and the government will contribute an equal amount every month, and it will also accrue interest.
  • At the end of the four-year period, each soldier will get Rs 11.71 lakh as a lump sum amount, which will be tax-free.
  • They will also get a Rs 48 lakh life insurance cover for the four years.
  • In case of death, the payout will be over Rs 1 crore, including pay for the unserved tenure.
  • However, after four years, only 25 per cent of the batch will be recruited back into their respective services, for a period of 15 years.
  • For those who are re-selected, the initial four-year period will not be considered for retirement benefits.

When will the recruitment actually begin?

  • Recruitment will begin within 90 days under the scheme which will bring “all India, all class” recruitment to the services.
  • This is especially significant for the Army, where the regiment system has region and caste bases, and with time that will be eliminated to allow anybody from any caste, region, class or religious background to become part of existing regiments.

How will the scheme benefit the armed forces and the recruits?

  • The average age in the forces is 32 years today, which will go down to 26 in six to seven years, the scheme envisions.
  • It will create “future-ready” soldiers.
  •  A youthful armed forces will allow them to be easily trained for new technologies.
  • It will increase employment opportunities and because of the skills and experience acquired during the four-year service such soldiers will get employment in various fields.
  • This will also lead to availability of a higher-skilled workforce to the economy which will be helpful in productivity gain and overall GDP growth.
  • The government will help rehabilitate soldiers who leave the services after four years. They will be provided with skill certificates and bridge courses. The impetus will be to create entrepreneurs.

-Source: The Hindu


June 2024
MTWTFSS
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
Categories