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15-March-2024-Daily-Current-Affairs

March 15 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm

PRASAR BHARATI LAUNCHES NEWS SHARING PLATFORM PB-SHABD

TOPIC: (GS2) POLITY AND GOVERNANCE– SOURCE: LIVEMINT

Prasar Bharati, India’s public broadcaster, has launched PB-SHABD (Prasar Bharati-Shared Audio Visuals for Broadcast and Dissemination), a new service aimed at facilitating the dissemination of free content across various media platforms ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Accessibility and Scope: Free Service for News Organizations:

  • PB-SHABD provides a free service to registered news organizations for one year, including newspapers, periodicals, TV channels, and social media news channels recognized by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • It offers diverse formats such as newsfeed, videos, audio, text, and images, accessible through DD News and Akashvani News websites, as well as the updated News on Air mobile app. However, the content won’t be directly available to end users.

Objective and Significance:

  • Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, emphasized Prasar Bharati’s robust network for news gathering and delivery, aiming to share accurate and meaningful content with the broader print and electronic media industry.
  • This initiative is anticipated to aid smaller news organizations by providing clean feed without the obligation to display the Doordarshan logo, thus facilitating their operations.

Implementation and Outreach:

  • PB-SHABD will be offered free of cost for the first year, covering news stories across various Indian languages and 50 categories.
  • Prasar Bharati CEO, Gaurav Dwivedi, outlined plans to engage with media organizations and share audio, video, photo, and text-based information collected through its extensive network.

About Prasar Bharati:

  • Prasar Bharati serves as India’s Public Service Broadcaster, established in 1997 under the Prasar Bharati Act.
  • Its objective is to conduct public broadcasting services for informing and entertaining the public.
  • Comprising Doordarshan Television Network and All India Radio, it was formerly part of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, with its headquarters in New Delhi.

EUSCORPIOPS KRACHAN

TOPIC: (GS3) ENVIRONMENT – SOURCE: DOWNTOEARTH

A new species of scorpion, scientifically named Euscorpiops Krachan, was recently discovered.

About Euscorpiops Krachan:

  • It belongs to the subgenus Euscopiops and is named after the Krachan National Park in Thailand, where it was found.
  • Scorpions in this genus are known for their limited distribution ranges and high endemism.
  • They primarily inhabit mountainous areas, particularly where there are many rock crevices.
  • Features of Euscorpiops Krachan include small size, measuring just over 1 inch in length, and a brownish color, with females being darker than males.
  • They possess eight eyes and eight legs, typical of scorpions.
  • Similar to other scorpions in the Scorpiops genus, it is believed that Euscorpiops Krachan employs ambush or sit-and-wait strategies while hunting.

HAS POVERTY REALLY DROPPED TO 5% IN INDIA?

TOPIC: (GS3) ECONOMY – SOURCE: LIVEMINT

The poverty line in India, determined by consumption expenditure, particularly the Tendulkar poverty line, is subject to scrutiny and debate. While some argue that poverty levels have significantly decreased over the years, others critique the poverty line’s adequacy and question data reliability. This necessitates a nuanced understanding of poverty measurement, data quality, and its implications.

Critiques on Poverty Line and Data Quality:

  • Critics highlight conceptual flaws in the current poverty line and the absence of an officially declared income poverty line, leading to ambiguity.
  • Concerns about data reliability arise due to instances of data suppression and politicization, undermining trust in government data.

Discrepancy between Consumption and Income Growth:

  • Claims of increased consumption expenditure are countered by minimal real wage growth and increased unpaid labor participation, particularly among women.

Distributional Issues and Consumption Patterns:

  • Skewed consumption growth favoring certain segments of the population raises concerns, with stagnant demand for mass consumption goods despite GDP growth.

Data Reliability and Politicization:

  • Quality concerns extend to labor force participation rates, and there are allegations of data politicization, further eroding trust.

Nutritional Considerations and Poverty Assessment:

  • Nutrition’s importance in poverty assessment is highlighted, emphasizing the inability of the majority to afford a minimum nutritious diet.

Conclusion:

  • Ongoing debates underscore the complexity of poverty measurement, emphasizing challenges related to the poverty line’s adequacy, data reliability, and distributional concerns.
  • Addressing these challenges requires transparent data collection methods, nuanced poverty assessment frameworks, and a commitment to improving data quality.

Lack of Reliability of Government Data:

Impact:

  • Misinformed policies may lead to ineffective or counterproductive outcomes.
  • Public mistrust in government institutions can increase, undermining their legitimacy.
  • Economic repercussions include instability due to inaccurate planning and investment decisions.
  • Flawed data can worsen social inequalities by misrepresenting marginalized communities’ needs.

Way Forward:

  • Governments should prioritize transparency in data collection methods and sources to enhance accountability.
  • Rigorous quality assurance measures must be implemented to ensure data accuracy.
  • Regular audits by independent agencies can verify the accuracy of government data.
  • Investment in capacity building for data collection and analysis is essential.
  • Collaboration with various stakeholders can improve data collection and analysis processes.
  • Citizen engagement in data collection processes can enhance accuracy and relevance.
  • Technology adoption, such as AI and machine learning, can validate and analyze data effectively.
  • Clear legal frameworks for data collection, storage, and dissemination are necessary to protect privacy rights and ensure data integrity.

GLOBAL METHANE TRACKER

TOPIC: (GS3) ENVIROMENT – SOURCE: LIVEMINT

The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its annual report called the Global Methane Tracker.

  • The report provides data on methane emissions from the energy sector, incorporating scientific studies, measurement campaigns, and satellite information.
  • Methane emissions from fuel use in 2023 reached nearly the highest levels ever recorded, totaling 120 million tonnes (Mt), with a slight increase compared to 2022.
  • Bioenergy, a renewable energy source derived from plant and animal waste, contributed an additional 10 million tons of emissions.
  • Around 80 million tons of methane emissions came from just 10 countries, with the United States leading in emissions from oil and gas operations, followed closely by Russia, and China leading in emissions from coal operations.
  • Despite some regions showing a decline in emissions, overall levels remain too high to meet climate goals.
  • To limit warming to 1.5°C as per the Paris Agreement, methane emissions from fossil fuels must be reduced by 75 percent by 2030, requiring an estimated $170 billion in spending, a fraction of the income generated by the fossil fuel industry.

PRIME MINISTER SPEARHEADS NATIONAL MISSION TO ATTAIN EDIBLE OIL SELF-SUFFICIENCY

TOPIC: (GS3) ECONOMY – SOURCE: PIB

India’s heavy reliance on edible oil imports poses significant economic challenges, impacting the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

Edible Oil Import of India:

Deficiency: India faces a notable deficiency in edible oil production due to limited land availability, low productivity, and unfavorable agro-climatic conditions, necessitating substantial imports to meet domestic demand.

Impact: Heavy reliance on edible oil imports adversely affects the Indian economy in several ways:

  • Vulnerability to international price fluctuations leading to increased import bills.
  • Pressure on the current account deficit.
  • Dependence on foreign suppliers, impacting food security and sovereignty.

Government Steps:

  • Implementation of policies like the National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP) to enhance productivity and promote domestic oilseed cultivation.
  • Imposition of import duties and tariffs to regulate imports and support domestic producers.
  • Promotion of technological advancements and research in oilseed cultivation.
  • Encouragement of contract farming and public-private partnerships to boost production.

Way Forward:

  • Diversification of oilseed cultivation by introducing high-yielding varieties and alternative crops.
  • Investment in infrastructure for storage, processing, and distribution to reduce post-harvest losses.
  • Promotion of sustainable practices and efficient water management techniques.
  • Enhancement of farmer education and extension services to disseminate best practices and latest technologies.
  • Continued government support through subsidies, incentives, and market interventions to incentivize domestic production.

National Mission for Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP):

  • Objectives: NMEO-OP aims to elevate Crude Palm Oil production significantly by 2025-26 through various measures such as establishing nurseries, seed gardens, and providing end-to-end support to farmers.
  • Initiatives: The mission offers farmers special assistance for planting material, harvesting tools, and establishing custom hiring centers. Processing companies are establishing One-Stop Centres to provide inputs, advisory services, and collect produce.
  • Impact: The mission reflects the government’s commitment to economic growth, farmer empowerment, and self-sufficiency in edible oil production, aligning with the broader goal of reducing India’s dependence on edible oil imports.

ELECTORAL BONDS: NO GOING BACK TO SQUARE ONE

TOPIC: (GS3) ECONOMY – SOURCE: INDIAN EXPRESS

The recent Supreme Court verdict on the electoral bonds scheme and the subsequent directive to the State Bank of India (SBI) to disclose data to the Election Commission has sparked widespread anticipation.

Challenges with Donor-Recipient Matching:

  • Despite the SBI’s disclosure of figures, uncertainties persist regarding matching donors and recipients.
  • The SBI’s request for an extension highlights the significance of this information, crucial for uncovering potential quid pro quos between corporations and the government.

Significance of Political Financing:

  • Transparent political funding is essential for maintaining democratic integrity and ensuring free and fair elections.
  • The Supreme Court’s intervention underscores the critical need for sustained efforts to address transparent political financing.

Assessment of Post-Ruling Scenario:

  • The court’s decision nullifies the unconstitutional electoral bonds scheme and associated amendments.
  • While pre-2018 political funding was opaque, the introduction of electoral bonds exacerbated secrecy, raising concerns about potential corruption.

Proposed Solutions for Transparency:

  • Suggestions include partial public funding based on internal democracy and electoral performance, alongside state funding.
  • A National Election Fund financed by private entities could ensure transparency while mitigating corporate concerns.

Comparison with Global Practices:

  • Insights from global practices support the feasibility of state funding based on electoral performance.
  • Operational details, including funding for new parties, require discussion but shouldn’t hinder exploration of this approach.

Conclusion:

  • As the fallout from the electoral bonds scheme unfolds, the focus should be on implementing transparent mechanisms for political financing.
  • Recommendations from various committees and commissions advocate for state funding and public scrutiny of political party accounts, essential for upholding democratic principles.

Recommendations on Funding of Political Parties:

  • Indrajit Gupta Committee (1998) endorsed state funding of elections, with limitations on fund allocation to recognised parties.
  • Election Commission (2004) stressed the publication of audited political party accounts for public scrutiny.
  • Law Commission (1999) proposed total state funding of elections under strict regulations, with penalties for non-compliance.

LYME DISEASE

TOPIC: (GS3) ENVIRONMENT – SOURCE: DOWNTOEARTH

A case of Lyme disease was recently reported in the Ernakulam district of Kerala.

About Lyme disease:

  • Lyme disease is a vector-borne infectious disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.
  • It is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks.
  • Lyme disease cannot spread between humans, from pets to humans, or through air, food, or water. Other common insects like lice, mosquitoes, fleas, and flies do not transmit it.
  • It is prevalent in wooded and grassy areas worldwide, especially during warmer months, and is commonly reported in North America, Europe, and some parts of Asia.
  • Early symptoms of Lyme disease typically appear between 3 to 30 days after an infected tick bite and may include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic “bull’s-eye” red rash called erythema migrans (EM).
  • Erythema migrans serves as a hallmark sign for early diagnosis and management.
  • If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to more severe complications affecting the joints, heart, and nervous system.
  • Treatment usually involves antibiotics such as doxycycline or amoxicillin, especially in the early stages, while intravenous antibiotics may be required in later stages.

WORLD MONUMENTS FUND WATCH 2025 PROGRAM

The Eri (tank) network in the Kazhuveli watershed region in Tamil Nadu is proposed for nomination to the World Monuments Fund Watch 2025 program.

  • The World Monuments Watch is a nomination-based program that raises global awareness and action for local heritage preservation.
  • The World Monuments Fund (WMF) is a leading independent organization headquartered in New York, with an office in India.
  • WMF is dedicated to safeguarding the world’s most treasured places and has preserved over 700 sites in 112 countries.

Details

Date:
March 15
Time:
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category: