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PIB Summary for UPSC

12-February -2024

1. Birth anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati

Topic: GS1 – Modern Indian History – Personalities
Swami Dayanand Saraswati’s reforms, Arya Samaj, and influence on Indian independence, contribution to socio-religious dynamics – Crucial for UPSC
Context
  • The Prime Minister delivered a video conference speech commemorating Swami Dayanand Saraswati’s birth anniversary, emphasizing his teachings and contributions.
 More About Swami Dayanand Saraswati :
  • Founder of Arya Samaj: Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883) was a prominent Hindu scholar and reformer, best known for founding the Arya Samaj in 1875.
  • Vedic Scholar: He advocated a return to the Vedas as the basis for true Hinduism and rejected idol worship, caste system, and rituals that he believed had deviated from Vedic teachings.
  • Social Reformer: Dayanand Saraswati worked towards social equality, condemning practices like untouchability and promoting education for all, irrespective of caste or gender.
  • Publication of Satyarth Prakash: Authored the influential book “Satyarth Prakash” (The Light of Truth), where he presented his views on Vedic principles and social issues.
  • Educational Contributions: Established the Gurukul system of education to impart Vedic knowledge, emphasizing character development alongside academics.
  • Impact on Indian Independence Movement: His teachings influenced leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai and Swami Vivekananda, contributing to the socio-religious reforms during the Indian independence movement.

2. ‘SWATI’ (Science for Women-A Technology & Innovation) Portal launched to create a single online portal representing Indian Women and Girls in STEM

Topic: GS2 – Important aspects of Governance – E-governance
Relevant for UPSC as it addresses gender equality in STEM fields, aligning with societal development and innovation goals.
Context
  • Launch of “SWATI” Portal on International Day of Women and Girls in Science, fostering gender equality in STEM fields.
 Additional information on this news:
  • “Science for Women-A Technology & Innovation (SWATI)” Portal launched on International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
  • Developed and maintained by National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), New Delhi.
  • Aims to address gender gap in STEM fields; dynamic and growing database for policy-making.
  • Subhra Chakraborty, Director of NIPGR, emphasizes the portal’s interactive nature.
  • Quarraisha Abdool Karim highlighted the ongoing need for gender parity in the 21st century.
  • Portal includes data on women scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs, and professionals in various sectors.
  • Objectives: Scale up efforts, promote inclusivity; enable long-term research on equality and diversity.
  • Distinguished scientists and experts participate; focus on “Science for Women & Women in Science.”
  • IAP aims to encourage and unite women scientists, researchers, and start-ups for the advancement of science.
  • Emphasis on empowering women in decision-making, promoting science education for socio-economic development.
Women in STEM in India
Prospects:
  • Growing participation: More women are enrolling in STEM education, with over 43% being STEM graduates.
  • Government initiatives: Policies like Science Technology and Innovation Policy aim to increase women’s participation by 30% by 2030.
  • Diverse opportunities: Career options have expanded beyond academia to research, technology transfer, communication, and entrepreneurship.
Challenges:
  • Societal biases: Gender stereotypes and expectations can discourage girls from pursuing STEM.
  • Unequal access: Unequal access to quality education, mentorship, and resources persists.
  • Work environment: Workplace discrimination, harassment, and lack of flexibility hinder career advancement.
  • Leaking pipeline: Many women leave STEM careers due to family responsibilities, lack of support, and inadequate infrastructure.
Way forward:
  • Promote STEM education for girls: Encourage early exposure, role models, and access to quality resources.
  • Challenge gender stereotypes: Advocate for gender equality and address unconscious bias.
  • Create supportive work environments: Implement flexible work arrangements, mentorship programs, and anti-discrimination policies.
  • Invest in infrastructure: Provide childcare facilities, affordable housing, and transportation options for working women.
  • Celebrate women in STEM: Showcase successful women as role models to inspire future generations.
PYQ: “Though women in post-Independent India have excelled in various fields, the social attitude towards women and feminist movement has been patriarchal.” Apart from women education and women empowerment schemes, what interventions can help change this milieu? (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2021)
Practice Question:  Analyze the challenges hindering women’s participation in STEM fields in India, suggesting measures to overcome them. (150 words/10 m)

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