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Daily Current Affairs

10-October-2023

1. Claudia Goldin wins 2023 Economics Nobel Prize for research on workplace gender gap.

Topic: GS3 – International awards

Context:

  • Professor Claudia Goldin has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for her research on the gender gap in the labor market.
  • She is only the third woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics out of 93 laureates.

About Claudia Goldin’s research:

  • Goldin’s research spans 200 years of women’s participation in the workplace and reveals that despite economic growth, the gender pay gap persists, even though women now attain higher levels of education than men.
  • She highlights the need to address the intersection of family responsibilities and employment to bridge the gender gap.
  • While Goldin’s research doesn’t provide solutions, it offers insights for policymakers to tackle the issue effectively.
  • Economist Randi Hjalmarsson, a member of the Nobel committee, emphasizes the importance of understanding the root causes of the gender gap to formulate effective policies.
  • Goldin emphasizes that women’s roles at home and in the workplace are interconnected, and addressing issues of work-family balance is crucial for gender equality.
  • Individual decisions, influenced by family dynamics and previous generations’ experiences, play a significant role in shaping women’s career choices and the gender pay gap.

2. HC to start live-streaming cases from tomorrow

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity

Context:

  • Delhi High Court is set to begin live-streaming its proceedings starting Wednesday.
  • Initially, live-streaming will be limited to the Chief Justice’s court and on a “case-to-case basis” per the High Court’s direction.
  • The move follows a landmark Supreme Court judgment from five years ago, emphasizing the importance of live-streaming court proceedings as an extension of the principles of “open justice” and “open courts.”

Live streaming of cases in Supreme Court of India:

  • Live streaming of cases in the Supreme Court of India is a recent development, having started in 2022.
  • The Supreme Court has been reluctant to allow live streaming of its proceedings in the past, citing concerns about privacy and the impact on the administration of justice. However, the Court has gradually changed its position in recent years.
  • Potential advantages: The live streaming of Supreme Court cases is a positive development, as it makes the Court more accessible to the public and allows for greater transparency in the judicial process. Live streaming also has the potential to educate the public about the law and the judicial process, and to promote civic engagement.
  • Challenges: One challenge is that it could lead to increased media scrutiny of the Court and its decisions. This could put pressure on the Court and make it more difficult for the Court to exercise its independence. Another challenge is that live streaming could be used to harass or intimidate witnesses and parties to a case.

Question:  Critically examine the benefits and challenges of live streaming Supreme Court cases in India. Suggest measures to mitigate the challenges and maximize the benefits of live streaming.

3. The state of India’s Scheduled Areas

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity

What are Scheduled Areas?:

  • Scheduled Areas cover 11.3% of India’s land area, and have been notified in 10 States: Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Himachal Pradesh.
  • However, despite persistent demands by Adivasi organisations, villages have been left out in the 10 States with Scheduled Areas and in other States with ST populations. As a result, 59% of Indias STs remain outside the purview of Article 244.

How are Scheduled Areas governed?

  • The President of India notifies India’s Scheduled Areas.
  • States with Scheduled Areas need to constitute a Tribal Advisory Council with up to 20 ST members. They will advise the Governor on matters referred to them regarding ST welfare.
  • The Governor will then submit a report every year to the President regarding the administration of Scheduled Areas.
  • The national government can give directions to the State regarding the administration of Scheduled Areas.
  • The Governor can repeal or amend any law enacted by Parliament and the State Legislative Assembly in its application to the Scheduled Area of that State.

Who decides a Scheduled Area?

  • The Fifth Schedule confers powers exclusively on the President to declare any area to be a Scheduled Area.

How are Scheduled Areas identified?

  • Neither the Constitution nor any law provides any criteria to identify Scheduled Areas. However, based on the 1961 Dhebar Commission Report, the guiding norms for declaring an area as a Scheduled area are —
    1. preponderance of tribal population;
    2. compactness and reasonable size of the area;
    3. a viable administrative entity such as a district, block or taluk;
    4. and economic backwardness of the area relative to neighbouring areas.

Future Steps for better administration of schedule areas:

  • All habitations with ST majorities should be notified as Scheduled Areas, regardless of contiguity.
  • The geographical limits of villages should extend to ‘community forest resource’ areas and customary boundaries within revenue lands through suitable amendments.
  • The geographical boundaries of revenue villages, panchayats, talukas, and districts should be redrawn to make them fully Scheduled Areas.

Question: What are the challenges associated with the identification and administration of Scheduled Areas in India?

4. What is multimodal artificial intelligence and why is it important?

Topic: GS3 – Science and technology

What is multimodal artificial intelligence:

  • Multimodal AI systems are the next frontier in AI development, enabling interactions with AI through various modalities such as text, images, sounds, videos, and speech.
  • OpenAI recently announced that its GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 models can now analyze images and engage in full-fledged conversations via speech synthesis in mobile apps.
  • Google is also working on a multimodal large language model called Gemini, giving it an advantage with its vast image and video database.
  • Multimodal AI models combine text and image data during training to generate images based on text prompts, and they can recognize speech in audio and translate it into text.
  • Applications of multimodal AI include automatic image caption generation, detecting hateful content on social media, predicting dialogue in videos, and addressing complex tasks in fields like medicine, autonomous driving, and robotics.
  • Future multimodal AI systems may incorporate additional sensory data like touch, smell, and brain signals, opening up possibilities for immersive experiences and simulations.

5. Smart fence along Myanmar border in the pipeline: govt.

Topic: GS3 – border security

Context:

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in India plans to establish an advanced smart fencing system along the 100 km-long Myanmar border.
  • This initiative aims to strengthen the existing surveillance system and address issues related to an unfenced border and unregulated migration from Myanmar.

Issues along India Myanmar border:

  • Unfenced border: The India-Myanmar border has sections that are not fenced, leading to unregulated cross-border movement.
  • Ethnic violence: Unregulated migration from Myanmar has been associated with ethnic violence in the Indian state of Manipur.
  • Insurgency incidents: Manipur has experienced a significant number of insurgency-related incidents, with 137 out of 201 such incidents recorded in the northeastern states in 2022.
  • Multiple insurgent groups: Manipur is affected by various insurgent groups, including Meitei, Naga, Kuki, Zomi, and Hmar groups.
  • Free Movement Regime (FMR): FMR allows residents of areas within 16 km on both sides of the Indo-Myanmar border to cross with border passes. However this has been mis-used for foul purposes multiple times.

Way forward:

  • Strengthening Border Security: Enhance border infrastructure and deploy advanced surveillance systems to curb illegal activities and insurgency.
  • Diplomatic Engagement: Collaborate with the Myanmar government to regulate migration, promote peace, and combat cross-border insurgent groups.
  • Regional Cooperation: Engage with neighboring countries to foster regional stability and address common security concerns.
  • Socio-economic Development: Invest in the socio-economic development of border regions to improve living conditions and reduce vulnerability to insurgency.
  • Review of Free Movement Regime: Reevaluate the Free Movement Regime, considering its implications on border security and public health, especially in the post-pandemic era.

Question: Discuss the security and socio-political challenges posed by the India-Myanmar border. Suggest measures to address these challenges effectively.”

6. Gaza strife raises worries for inflation, fiscal math, rupee

Topic: GS3 – global economy

Implications of Gaza strife on global economy:

  • Oil prices: The Israel-Palestine conflict could lead to higher oil prices, as Israel is located near important oil shipping routes. This could have a negative impact on the global economy, as it would lead to higher transportation costs and inflation.
  • Food prices:The conflict could also lead to higher food prices, as Israel is a major exporter of agricultural products. This could have a particularly negative impact on developing countries, which are already struggling with high food prices.
  • Tourism:The conflict could lead to a decline in tourism to Israel and the Palestinian territories. This could have a negative impact on the economies of these regions, as tourism is a major source of revenue.
  • Foreign investment: The conflict could also lead to a decline in foreign investment in Israel and the Palestinian territories. This could have a negative impact on the economic development of these regions.
  • Global trade:The conflict could also disrupt global trade, as it could lead to increased tensions and instability in the region. This could have a negative impact on the global economy, as it would make it more difficult for businesses to operate and trade.

Implications for India:

  • A prolonged Israel-Hamas conflict could lead to a surge in oil prices.
  • This increase in oil prices could impact India’s fuel prices and the rupee.
  • Higher wholesale oil prices may force the government to raise retail fuel prices.
  • The rise in import costs for oil could put pressure on India’s trade balance.
  • The conflict’s impact on oil prices is a significant concern for India, given its reliance on oil imports for energy needs and the potential economic consequences if prices continue to rise.

7. Sri Lanka to take over as Chair of Indian Ocean Rim Association

Topic: GS3 – international relations

Context:

  • Foreign Ministers from various countries will participate in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers meeting in Colombo on October 11, 2023.
  • The meeting includes Foreign Ministers from India, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Iran, Malaysia, and South Africa, among others.
  • Sri Lanka will take over as the Chair of the IORA from Bangladesh for the next two years.

About Indian Ocean Rim Association:

  • IORA is a regional inter-governmental organization established in 1997 to promote cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region.
  • It has 23 Member States and 9 Dialogue Partners.
  • IORA’s vision is to promote a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable Indian Ocean region.
  • Its mission is to facilitate trade and investment, promote marine cooperation, and encourage cultural and tourism exchanges.
  • IORA’s areas of cooperation include:
    1. Maritime security
    2. Trade and investment facilitation
    3. Fisheries management
    4. Disaster risk reduction
    5. Academic and scientific cooperation
    6. Tourism promotion and cultural exchanges
  • Promotion of Blue Economy: IORA places a particular emphasis on the development of the Blue Economy, which involves sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, job creation, and environmental protection.

8. Unemployment rate drops to 6.6% in urban areas in Q1

Topic: Economy

Context:

  • Urban Unemployment rate in April-June, the first quarter of fiscal 2023-24, slid to 6.6 per cent, according to the quarterly bulletin of Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

Details:

  • Even though the unemployment rate for urban areas, which was at the lowest level since the launch of the PLFS bulletin in 2018, nearly 14 states recorded a higher urban unemployment rate than the national average.
  • For males, the urban unemployment rate, based on current weekly status for persons above 15 years, declined to 5.9 percent in Q1 from 6 percent in the previous quarter and 7.1 per cent in the year-ago period.
  • For females as well, the unemployment rate eased to 9.1 per cent in the April-June period from 9.2 per cent in the previous quarter and 9.5 per cent in the year-ago period.
  • Employment of both males and females, however, increased in self-employed categories, such as own account worker, and helper in household enterprise.
  • In the urban areas, states/UTs, which recorded higher than national average unemployment rate, included Himachal Pradesh (13.8 percent), Rajasthan (11.7 per cent), Chhattisgarh (11.2 percent), Jammu and Kashmir (10.9 per cent) and Kerala (10 per cent).
  • States/UTs which posted a lower than-national average unemployment rate were Delhi (2.7 per cent), Gujarat (2.8percent), West Bengal (4.4percent), Bihar (6.1 per cent), Maharashtra and Haryana (6.5percent each).

9) EU suspends hundreds of millions in aid for Palestinian authorities.

Topic: World events              

Context:

  • The European Union announced that it was “immediately” suspending hundreds of millions of euros in aid for Palestinian authorities because of what an EU commissioner called the “scale of terror and brutality” during attacks on Israel by Hamas.
  • Germany and Austria also announced similar measures.

Details:

  • The EU has halted development aid payments to the Palestinians and is placing 691 million euros ($728 million) of support “under review” after the Hamas assault on Israel.
  • The EU announced in February that it was contributing 296 million euros for the 2022 budget year to help the Palestinian Authority pay civil servant salaries, pensions, medical services and fund infrastructure projects.
  • The bloc said it would provide “up to 1.177 billion euros in financial support from 2021 to 2024”.

About European Union:

  • The European Union was established in 1993 and is a global entity made up of European nations.
  • After 28 nations ratified the Maastricht Treaty, it became operative.
  • The Treaty of the European Union (TEU) is another name for the Maastricht Agreement.
  • 27 countries make up the EU. The UK left the EU on January 31, 2020.
  • There are 24 official languages in the EU.
  • 19 of the 27 member countries of the EU use the euro as their official currency.

The goals of creating the European Union are as follows:

  • to foster more political collaboration
  • to improve economic cooperation by establishing the EURO as a single currency.
  • unified foreign and security policy
  • ordinary citizens Rights
  • increased collaboration in the legal, immigration, and asylum fields.
  • In 2012, the European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize.

10. With nuclear-armed submarines, China near ‘breakthroughs’: Report

Topic: Defence Technology

Context:

  • A Submarine arms race is intensifying as China embarks on production of a new generation of nuclear-armed submarines that for the first time are expected to pose a challenge to growing US and allied efforts to track them.

Details:

  • Analysts and regional defence attaches say evidence is mounting that China is on track to have its Type 096 ballistic missile submarine operational before the end of the decade, with break throughs in its quietness aided in part by Russian technology.
  • Research discussed at a conference in May at the US Naval War College and published in August by the college’s China Maritime Studies Institute predicts the new vessels will be harder to keep tabs on.

About Type 096:

  • They are going to be very hard to detect.
  • The discreet effort to track China’s nuclear-powered and armed ballistic missile submarines, known as SSBNs, is one of the core drivers of increased deployments and contingency planning by US Navy and other militaries across Indo-Pacific region.
  • That drive is expected to intensify when Type 096s enter service.
  • The Type 096 submarine will compare to state-of-the-art Russian submarines in terms of stealth, sensors and weapons.
  • It said that jump in capabilities would have “profound” implications for US and Indo-Pacific allies

About Type 094s:

  • Type 094s, which carry China’s most advanced submarine-launched JL-3 missile, are considered noisy a major handicap for military submarines.

12. KERALA’S POVERTY ALLEVIATION MISSION

Topic: GS2-Govt schemes, Prelims

Context:

  • Over the next two months, more than 2,000 schools will open their doors on weekends for the 46 lakh women enrolled in Kerala’s flagship poverty alleviation mission, Kudumbashree.
  • Back in school, the women will attend classes on adapting to the digital age, as the mission seeks to reorient itself.

Details:

  • Kudumbashree will undergo a transformation in its content and functioning.
  • The women will get training in financial transactions and entrepreneurship.
  • The programme would empower members of Kudumbashree’s neighbourhood groups to take up new projects “in tune with emerging opportunities, apart from strengthening the three-tier system of the mission”.
  • The classes will be taught by 15,000 trained resource persons.
  • Five topics for the classes are:
    • organisational strength–lessons from experience,
    • vibrancy of NHG,
    • community–life security,
    • livelihood ideas
    • digital age.

5) What is Intifada?

Topic: Prelims

Context:

  • INTIFADA IS an Arabic word that means to “shake off”.
  • It came into popular usage in December 1987, with Palestinians using it to describe their uprising against the Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza.

Details:

  • The First Intifada lasted from 1987 to 1993,
  • The Second Intifada from 2000- 05.
  • These were popular uprisings spearheaded by Palestinian youth against powerful Israeli settlers on Palestinian land.
  • Many have for years predicted a Third Intifada, especially amidst the rise of the ultranationalist far right in Israel with its extreme position on Palestine.

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