- One nation, One Student ID initiative
- NMC Guidelines Restrict New Medical Colleges in High-Density States
- Interconnected Disaster Risks Report 2023
- DNA and Face Matching’ Systems in Police Stations
- Jamrani Dam Multipurpose Project
- Vajra mushti kalaga
Several state governments have made requests for schools to obtain parental consent regarding the introduction of a new student identity card. This new ID card, named the Automated Permanent Academic Account Registry (APAAR), is a component of the Union government’s ‘One nation, One Student ID’ initiative.
GS II: Government Policies and Interventions
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is APAAR ID?
- Rationale Behind APAAR
- Procedure for Creating APAAR ID
- Concerns Surrounding APAAR
What is APAAR ID?
APAAR ID is envisioned as a special identification system designed for all students across India, starting from their early years.
Purpose of APAAR ID:
- Under this initiative, every student would receive a lifelong APAAR ID, streamlining the process of tracking their educational journey, from pre-primary education to higher education.
- The APAAR ID also serves as a gateway to Digilocker, a digital platform where students can securely store essential documents and achievements, such as exam results and report cards, in a digital format for convenient access in the future.
Working of APAAR ID
- Each individual will be assigned a unique APAAR ID, which will be linked to the Academic Bank Credit (ABC).
- The Academic Bank Credit (ABC) serves as a digital repository containing information about the credits earned by students throughout their educational journey.
- With the APAAR ID, students have the ability to store all their certificates and credits, whether they are from formal educational institutions or informal learning experiences.
- When a student completes a course or attains an achievement, it is digitally certified and securely stored in their account by authorized educational institutions.
- In cases where a student changes schools, whether within the state or to a different state, all relevant data stored in the Academic Bank Credit (ABC) is seamlessly transferred to the new school, simply by sharing the APAAR ID.
Rationale Behind APAAR:
- The introduction of APAAR aims to simplify the education process and minimize the necessity for students to carry physical documents.
- This initiative is an integral part of the National Education Policy 2020, implemented by the Education Ministry, with the objective of bringing about positive changes. It enables state governments to monitor literacy rates, reduce dropout rates, and facilitate educational improvements.
- APAAR also addresses the issue of fraudulent and duplicated educational certificates by establishing a single, reliable reference for educational institutions. Only trusted sources that issue certificates will be permitted to deposit credits into the system, ensuring authenticity.
Procedure for Creating APAAR ID
- To register for an APAAR ID, students are required to provide basic information, including their name, age, date of birth, gender, and a photograph.
- This information is then verified using their Aadhar number, a unique identification number issued by the Indian government.
- Students are presented with a consent form, and they have the option to either agree or decline to share their Aadhar number and demographic information with the Ministry of Education for the purpose of creating the APAAR ID.
- In the case of minors, parents are required to sign the consent form, authorizing the Ministry to use the student’s Aadhar number for authentication with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
- It’s important to note that registration for the creation of an APAAR ID is voluntary and not mandatory, allowing students and their families the choice to participate.
Concerns Surrounding APAAR
Some parents and students express concerns about the potential leakage of their personal information to external entities.
- Government’s Assurance:
- The government asserts that the information shared by students will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed to any third party except for organizations involved in educational activities.
- These entities include the Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) database, scholarship programs, academic records maintenance, educational institutions, and recruitment agencies.
- UDISE+ Database:
- The UDISE+ database is the government’s repository containing data related to schools, teachers, and students.
- Control Over Data Sharing:
- Students have the option to cease sharing their information with the mentioned parties at any given time, and data processing will be stopped.
- However, any personal data that has already been processed will remain unaffected if consent is withdrawn.
- School authorities raise concerns about the additional administrative workload associated with pending Aadhaar verification of students, which is currently optional.
- The introduction of the APAAR registry may potentially increase the administrative responsibilities placed on teaching faculty.
-Source: Indian Express
Recently, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has issued guidelines putting a hold on new medical colleges and expansion of existing colleges in states with more than 100 medical education seats per million population.
GS II: Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- Medical College Distribution
- NMC’s Guideline Implementation
- About National Medical Commission (NMC)
Medical College Distribution
- Over 100 medical education seats per million population in at least 13 states and Union Territories in India.
- Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra have the highest number of medical college seats.
Severe Shortages in Some States:
- Meghalaya, Bihar, and Jharkhand face significant shortages, with deficits exceeding 75%.
- Meghalaya has only 50 medical college seats for a population of 33.5 lakh.
- Bihar and Jharkhand, with populations of 12.7 crore and 3.9 crore, have 2,565 and 980 medical college seats, respectively.
- Uttar Pradesh, despite being the most populous state, has a 61% deficit.
NMC’s Guideline Implementation
Regulations Issued in August 2023:
- NMC introduced guidelines based on population-to-seats ratios for medical colleges.
- States exceeding 100 medical education seats per million population are prohibited from expanding their medical education capacity.
- Aimed at reducing regional disparities and enhancing the quality of medical education.
Effective from 2024-25 Academic Session:
- NMC’s regulations will be in effect for new medical colleges and seat expansions starting from the 2024-25 academic session.
- No mandate for states with excess seats to close down colleges or reduce existing seats.
About National Medical Commission (NMC):
- The National Medical Commission (NMC) is a regulatory body responsible for overseeing medical education and profession in India.
- The NMC was established in 2019 under the National Medical Commission Act, replacing the erstwhile Medical Council of India (MCI).
- The NMC consists of a Chairperson, members, and ex-officio members appointed by the Central Government.
- The Chairperson and members include eminent medical professionals, academicians, and experts from various fields related to medical education and practice.
- The NMC comprises autonomous boards responsible for specific areas such as undergraduate education, postgraduate education, medical assessment and rating, ethics and medical registration, and continuing professional development.
Reforms and Objectives:
- The NMC was established to bring about significant reforms in the medical education sector, promote transparency, improve the quality of education, and ensure the availability of competent medical professionals.
- It aims to address challenges in medical education, bridge gaps, and align education with evolving healthcare needs.
Functions and Responsibilities:
- Regulating Medical Education: The NMC sets standards, guidelines, and regulations for undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in India.
- Assessing Medical Institutions: It conducts inspections and assessments of medical colleges and institutions to ensure compliance with prescribed standards.
- Granting Recognition: The NMC grants recognition to medical qualifications and degrees obtained from Indian and foreign institutions.
- Promoting Ethical Practices: It establishes and enforces ethical standards and guidelines for medical professionals.
- Conducting Common Entrance Examinations: The NMC conducts a common entrance examination called the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to undergraduate medical courses in India.
- Oversight and Quality Assurance: The NMC monitors the quality of medical education, training, and research to maintain high standards in the healthcare sector.
-Source: The Hindu
Recently, the release of the Interconnected Disaster Risks Report 2023 has thrust the world’s interdependence into the spotlight, warning of impending global tipping points and underlining the critical need for immediate action to prevent potential catastrophic consequences.
GS III: Disaster Management
Dimensions of the Article:
- Major Findings of the Interconnected Disaster Risks Report 2023
- Major Drivers of Increasing Disaster Risks
- Solutions to Mitigate Disaster Risk
Major Findings of the Interconnected Disaster Risks Report 2023
About the Report
- The UN Interconnected Disaster Risks Report is an annual publication by the United Nations University- Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS).
- First published in 2021, it examines the interconnections between various disasters and human actions.
Risk Tipping Points
- The report introduces the concept of “risk tipping points,” where socio-ecological systems can no longer buffer risks, leading to catastrophic impacts.
Environmental Tipping Points
- The world is nearing six environmental tipping points, including:
- Depletion of aquifers, which provide water for over 2 billion people, with 70% used for agriculture.
- Over-extraction in areas like Saudi Arabia, depleting over 80% of its aquifer and impacting food security.
- Groundwater depletion in the Indo-Gangetic basin in India, with the northwestern region facing limited availability by 2025.
- Accelerated species extinction due to human activities, leading to ecosystem collapses.
- Glacial melting at double the rate due to global warming, with a projected loss of 50% of glaciers by 2100.
- Risk to 90,000+ glaciers in the Himalayas, Karakoram, and Hindu Kush mountains, affecting 870 million people.
Space Debris Problem
- The growing number of satellites in space has led to a space debris problem.
- Only 25% of objects in orbit are active satellites, with about 130 million smaller, untrackable debris pieces.
- These debris pieces pose a collision risk to operational satellites, creating a hazardous orbital environment.
Deadly Heat Waves
- Climate change is causing more deadly heat waves, with high temperatures and humidity making it difficult for the body to cool down.
- Wet-bulb temperatures exceeding 35°C for over six hours can lead to organ failure and brain damage.
- Expected to affect over 70% of the global population by 2100.
Severe Weather and Economic Impact
- Frequent severe weather events have caused a sevenfold increase in damages since the 1970s, resulting in USD 313 billion in losses in 2022.
- Insurance costs are rising due to climate change, making coverage unaffordable for many.
- Some insurers are leaving high-risk areas, rendering regions “uninsurable,” as seen in Australia with increased flood risk.
Common Driver: Climate Change
- Climate change, driven by increased greenhouse gas emissions, acts as a common driver of tipping points, impacting glacier melting, extreme weather events, and changes in the insurance risk landscape.
- These interconnected environmental issues can trigger feedback loops, like rising sea levels from glacier melt, intensifying coastal flooding, and increasing the demand for disaster insurance.
- Ultimately, these tipping points have significant socioeconomic consequences.
Major Drivers of Increasing Disaster Risks
- Occurs without adequate planning and infrastructure development.
- As cities expand, more people and property are exposed to hazards like floods and earthquakes, increasing vulnerability to disasters.
- Deforestation, soil erosion, and pollution weaken natural ecosystems.
- Reduced ability of ecosystems to act as buffers against disasters amplifies the impacts of hazards.
- Inadequately built or maintained infrastructure, such as bridges, buildings, and roads, can crumble during disasters, resulting in significant economic and social losses.
Inadequate Land Use Planning
- Poor land use planning can lead to communities settling in high-risk areas, such as floodplains or wildfire-prone regions.
- This contributes to increased exposure to disasters.
Mismanagement of Water Resources
- Mismanagement can lead to droughts, water scarcity, and flooding.
- These issues have far-reaching consequences for food security, economies, and communities.
- As the world becomes more interconnected, disruptions in one area can have cascading effects globally.
- This interconnectedness can propagate the economic and social impact of disasters.
Solutions to Mitigate Disaster Risk
The UN Interconnected Disaster Risks Report 2023 provides a four-category framework for classifying and prioritizing solutions to address disaster risks:
- These actions aim to prevent disasters by slowing them down using current methods.
- Example: Implementing strict building codes and land-use regulations to prevent major damage from disasters.
- These actions focus on preventing disasters by making significant changes in how things are done.
- Example: Transitioning from fossil fuel-based energy production to renewable energy sources (like solar and wind) to avoid the risks associated with climate change.
- These actions prepare us to handle disasters by buying more time to respond effectively.
- Example: Developing advanced early warning systems for tsunamis to buy time for people to evacuate and prepare for the disaster.
- These actions involve making significant changes to how we do things to adapt to disasters.
- Example: Implementing coastal zoning policies and restoring natural barrier ecosystems (like mangroves) to adapt to rising sea levels and transform coastal protection strategies.
-Source: Hindustan Times
Recently, Dengue cases have surged significantly in some states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu.
GS II: Health
Dimensions of the Article:
- Dengue Vaccine
- Dengue is a self-limiting febrile illness characterized by a range of symptoms, from asymptomatic to severe.
- It is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus, which belongs to the Genus Flavivirus. The virus is primarily transmitted by several species of female mosquitoes within the Aedes genus, particularly Aedes aegypti. This mosquito species is also responsible for transmitting other diseases like chikungunya and Zika.
- Dengue is caused by four distinct but closely related serotypes of the virus: DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4.
Symptoms of Dengue:
- Dengue infection typically presents with symptoms such as sudden high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, and severe bone, joint, and muscle pain.
- The dengue vaccine known as CYD-TDV or Dengvaxia received approval from the US Food & Drug Administration in 2019, making it the first dengue vaccine to gain regulatory approval in the US.
- Dengvaxia is a live, attenuated dengue virus vaccine designed for administration to individuals aged 9 to 16 who have laboratory-confirmed previous dengue infection and live in endemic areas.
- Researchers in India, in collaboration with institutions in India, Africa, and the US, have developed India’s first and only DNA vaccine candidate for dengue fever. In preliminary trials on mice, this candidate demonstrated a robust immune response and improved survival rates after exposure to the disease.
Controlling Dengue Using Bacteria:
- Researchers from the World Mosquito Program have successfully controlled dengue by using mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria. This approach led to a 77% reduction in dengue incidence in Indonesia.
-Source: The Hindu
Over a year after Parliament passed the Criminal Procedure Identification Act (CrPI), 2022; the Centre is preparing to introduce ‘DNA and Face Matching’ systems in 1,300 police stations nationwide, despite the Act’s provisions not yet being fully implemented.
GS III: Science and Technology
Dimensions of the Article:
- Context of ‘DNA and Face Matching Systems’ Under CrPI Act, 2022
- Technology Behind ‘DNA and Face Matching Systems’
Context of ‘DNA and Face Matching Systems’ Under CrPI Act, 2022
Passage of CrPI Act, 2022
- In 2022, the Indian Parliament approved the Criminal Procedure Identification (CrPI) Act, granting police and central investigating agencies the authority to collect, store, and analyze a wide range of physical and biological samples, including retina and iris scans, from arrested individuals.
- The intent was to bolster law enforcement capabilities and usher in a new era in criminal identification and data management.
Implementation Responsibility with NCRB
- The responsibility for implementing the Act and developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the measurement collection process was entrusted to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a central organization.
- NCRB played a central role in guiding police officials on the proper protocol for recording these measurements.
Inclusion of DNA and Face Matching
- Although the Act and rules did not explicitly mention DNA sample collection and face matching procedures, the NCRB discussed plans to incorporate these measures in conversations with State police officials.
- Additionally, the Ministry of Home Affairs established a Domain Committee, consisting of State police and central law enforcement representatives, to record DNA data.
Criticism and Practical Challenges
- Critics voiced concerns about the legislation being “unconstitutional” and viewed it as an intrusion on privacy.
- Practical challenges emerged, including the need for training and resources in various states, with funding and operating costs being significant concerns.
- The NCRB emphasized the necessity for technologically, legally, and forensically sound tools and systems, accompanied by robust safeguards to prevent the misuse of collected data.
- This context highlights the complexity and importance of the Act and its associated rules in the realm of criminal identification and data management.
Technology Behind ‘DNA and Face Matching Systems’
Face Matching System:
- The Face Matching System is a technology driven by algorithms that constructs a digital representation of an individual’s face. This is achieved by identifying and mapping various facial features. The resulting digital map is then compared to a database with which the system has access.
- In the context of the Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS), a substantial database containing photos and videos of people’s faces is utilized for the purpose of matching and identifying individuals.
- When an image of an unidentified person, often obtained from CCTV footage, is introduced, the system uses Artificial Intelligence technology to analyze patterns and make comparisons with the existing database.
DNA Matching Systems:
- DNA Matching Systems, also referred to as DNA profiling or DNA fingerprinting, are techniques employed for the comparison and identification of individuals based on their distinct genetic characteristics.
- These systems focus on examining specific regions within an individual’s DNA that exhibit significant variability among different people. Through this analysis, a unique genetic profile is established for each individual.
- DNA matching is frequently employed in the realm of criminal investigations to establish connections between suspects and crime scenes or victims.
- For example, DNA evidence found at a crime scene, which might include substances like blood, hair, or bodily fluids, is compared with the DNA profiles of potential suspects to either confirm or rule out a connection.
-Source: The Hindu
Recently, the government of India approved the inclusion of the Jamrani Dam Multipurpose Project under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana-Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (PMKSY-AIBP).
GS II: Government policies and Interventions
Dimensions of the Article:
- Jamrani Dam Multipurpose Project
- Key Facts about Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)
Jamrani Dam Multipurpose Project:
- The Jamrani Dam Multipurpose Project involves the construction of a dam near Jamrani village, spanning the Gola River, which is a tributary of the Ram Ganga River. This project is situated in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand.
- Notably, a significant portion of the irrigation benefits generated by this project will extend to the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh.
- This project is the seventh one to be included in the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana – Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (PMKSY-AIBP) list.
Key Facts about Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY):
Launched in the fiscal year 2015-16, PMKSY is aimed at improving physical access to water resources on farms, expanding cultivable areas with assured irrigation, enhancing on-farm water use efficiency, and promoting sustainable water conservation practices.
PMKSY is overseen by the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.
Components of PMKSY:
- Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP): Focuses on expediting the completion of ongoing Major and Medium Irrigation projects, including National Projects.
- Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP): Comprises four sub-components, namely Command Area Development & Water Management (CAD&WM), Surface Minor Irrigation (SMI), Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies, and Ground Water (GW) Development.
Other Components of PMKSY:
- Per Drop More Crop (PDMC): Implemented by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
- Watershed Development Component (WDC): Implemented by the Department of Land Resources.
-Source: The Hindu
Vajra mushti kalaga, a martial art form, has gone extinct and takes place only during Dasara
Facts for Prelims
Vajra Mushti Kalaga: An Indian Martial Art
- Vajra Mushti Kalaga is a unique Indian martial art that combines various hand-to-hand combat techniques, including grappling, wrestling, and striking.
- The term “Vajra Mushti” translates to “Thunderbolt Fist” and is distinctive for its use of a knuckleduster, a small metal weapon.
- The knuckleduster, also known as Vajra Mushti, is typically crafted from animal horns and is worn on the fighter’s knuckles.
- The primary objective of this Indian martial art is to neutralize the opponent and counter their weapon.
- Unlike traditional grappling, Vajra Mushti Kalaga involves two fighters taking swings at each other’s heads using the knuckleduster.
- The winner is determined by whoever draws blood from the opponent’s head first.
- This form of wrestling gained popularity during the rule of the Vijayanagar dynasty, which reigned from the 14th to the 17th centuries.
- The fights are genuine, and the fighters strive to draw blood from their opponent’s head, with a referee intervening upon the first sign of blood.
- Medieval travelers from Portugal documented this form of wrestling during the Navaratri celebrations in the Vijayanagar empire and left detailed accounts of it.
-Source: The Hindu