Daily Current Affairs 11 March 2024- Top News Of The Day

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Daily Current Affairs 11 March 2024- Top News Of The Day

1. Discussing Tiger Safaris: Finding a Balance Between Tourism and Conservation in India’s Wildlife Reserves

Topic: GS3 – Environment – Conservations
This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains as the analysis sheds light on the evolution of wildlife conservation policies and the role of government agencies such as the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in implementing conservation measures.

– The concept of tiger safaris and their implications for wildlife conservation have been the subject of discussions following the Supreme Court’s recent decision to approve the establishment of the Tiger Safari at Pakhrau in the Corbett Tiger Reserve buffer area.
– This analysis explores the different aspects of tiger safaris and how they affect India’s efforts to conserve wildlife.

More about the news:Meaning and Legal Context of Tiger Safaris:

  • The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 does not specifically define tiger safaris, but guidelines published by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) do envision them.
  • These regulations permit the construction of safari parks in tiger reserve buffer zones in order to lessen the negative effects of tourism on the animals.

Evolution of Tiger Safari Guidelines:

  • The NTCA first suggested tiger safaris for tigers that were hurt, in conflict, or left orphaned; tigers from zoos were not included.
  • Subsequent amendments, however, made it possible for zoo animals to be kept in safari parks, which raised questions regarding the welfare of wildlife and the spread of disease.

Rationale for Tiger Safaris:

  • Supporters contend that by generating income from tourism, safari parks support local livelihoods, give a natural habitat for animals in need, and lessen the strain that tourism places on tiger reserves.

Critique and Counterarguments:

  • Critics draw attention to how safari parks deviate from conventional wildlife conservation methods, worsen the impact on wildlife habitats, and increase tourist congestion.
  • They contend that keeping captive animals in their natural habitats can damage those habitats and endanger the welfare of those species.

Ground Reality and Local Context:

  • Pakhrau Safari Park’s planned location in Corbett Tiger Reserve has sparked worries about possible conflicts with nearby wildlife and disturbance of the ecosystem.
  • Although supporters highlight the financial advantages for nearby communities, previous experiences in other reserves warn against rushing into implementation without a careful evaluation.

Challenges and Lessons Learned:

  • Prior attempts to build safari parks in wildlife reserves, like Ranthambhore, have encountered practical difficulties and fallen short of their planned goals.
  • The need of thorough planning and site-specific solutions in wildlife conservation initiatives is highlighted by the lessons learned from these experiences.

Future Prospects and Policy Recommendations:

  • The opportunity to create thorough and contextually-sensitive policies is presented by the Supreme Court’s directive to create guidelines for tiger safaris.
  • Local governments need to embrace sustainable tourism development strategies and give conservation of wildlife precedence over private interests.


  • The argument over tiger safaris illustrates the intricate relationship that exists in wildlife management between stakeholder perspectives, economic interests, and conservation goals.
  • A cautious and scientifically informed approach is necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of tiger reserves and the protection of endangered species, as India strives to strike a balance between biodiversity conservation and tourism promotion.

About Jim Corbett National Park
– It is situated in Uttarakhand’s Nainital district.
– In 1973, Corbett National Park—the first national park in India—which is a part of Corbett Tiger Reserve, saw the start of Project Tiger.
– In order to save the Bengal tiger, which is critically endangered, Hailey National Park was founded in 1936.
– It bears Jim Corbett’s name, who was instrumental in its founding.
– The Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and reserve forests can be found in the buffer between the core and the Corbett National Park.
– The reserve’s entire region is mountainous and is located in the geological provinces of the Shivalik and Outer Himalaya.
– The principal rivers that flow through the Reserve are the Kosi, Palain, Mandal, Sonanadi, and Ramganga.
– With 230 tigers living there and the highest tiger density in the world (14 tigers per 100 square kilometres), CTR, which covers more than 500 square kilometres, is home to 230 tigers.
– The NTCA, or National Tiger Conservation Authority
– Within the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change is the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), a legally mandated organisation.
– It was founded in 2005 in accordance with the Tiger Task Force’s recommendations.
– It was established in accordance with the mandated powers and duties of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, to strengthen the conservation of tigers.

PYQ: Consider the following pairs: (2013) National Park – River flowing through Park 
1) Corbett National Park: Ganga
2) Kaziranga National Park: Manas
3) Silent Valley National Park: Kaveri 

Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched? 
(a) 1 and 2
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 3
(d) None 

Ans: (d)
Practice Question: Talk about the idea of tiger safaris and their importance for India’s ecotourism and preservation of wildlife. Examine the opportunities and difficulties related to the creation of tiger safari parks. (10 m / 150 words)

2. Gujarat’s Innovative BioCNG Station: Converting Cowdung into Sustainable Energy

Topic: GS3 – Environment 
Understanding the details of the initiative, which shows creative ways to solve environmental issues by turning organic waste into renewable energy sources, makes this topic pertinent for both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– Located in the Banaskantha district of Gujarat on the Deesa-Tharad highway, the BioCNG outlet is a unique initiative that is the first and only gas-filling station in India that uses cattle and buffalo dung.
– From a distance, it looks like a regular CNG outlet, but up close, it represents a major change towards sustainable energy production.

More about the news:Operational Details and Output:

  • The BioCNG outlet in Dama village, run by the Banaskantha District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union, serves 90–100 vehicles every day and sells about 550–600 kg of petrol produced from 40 tonnes of dung processed at a nearby four-acre plant.
  • This project shows how organic waste can be used to create creative energy solutions.

Understanding the Significance of Dung:

  • Examining the characteristics of manure shows that it can be used to produce biogas.
  • Methane is created during the fermentation process in the rumen and is found in fresh manure from cows.
  • Local farmers assist in gathering and delivering manure in fresh form to biogas plants in order to maximise its fuel value.

Biogas Production Process:

  • In a sealed vessel reactor, anaerobic digestion occurs in multiple stages, namely hydrolysis, acidogenesis, acetogenesis, and methanogenesis.
  • This procedure breaks down the complex organic matter in dung to create biogas, which is subsequently purified to get rid of moisture, CO2, and H2S to create compressed biogas (CBG), which is ready to be used as fuel.

Additional Benefits and Revenue Streams:

  • Anaerobic digestion residue is used to produce biofertilizer in addition to fuel.
  • The Union generates additional revenue streams by processing and decomposing this by-product to create compost or phosphate-rich organic manure (PROM).
  • Interestingly, sales of bio-fertilizer frequently generate more revenue than sales of bio-CNG.

Scalability and Replicability:

  • In addition to being scalable, the BioCNG model is replicable, and other district-level milk unions in India may choose to implement it.
  • The model offers a chance to increase farmers’ revenue streams and advance the production of sustainable energy since it can rely on a consistent supply of manure from nearby dairy farmers.

Alternative Decentralized Model:

  • Dairy farmers have another viable option in the form of decentralised biogas plants, in addition to centralised BioCNG plants.
  • Farmers in Anand district villages such as Mujkuva can produce biogas for domestic cooking and earn extra revenue by selling slurry, thanks to the installation of Flexi Biogas plants.


  • An important step in India’s transition to sustainable energy solutions has been taken with the opening of the nation’s first BioCNG outlet.
  • These programmes, which use the organic waste from cattle and buffaloes, not only help lower greenhouse gas emissions but also give dairy farmers new sources of revenue.
  • Such creative models have the potential to address India’s problems with energy and agricultural sustainability as they develop and grow.

What is BioCNG?
– A clean-burning, renewable transportation fuel made by upgrading biogas to natural gas quality is called bioCNG, or biomethane. It is basically biogas that has been refined, produced from organic waste products such as:
– Farm waste includes manure, straw, and crop leftovers.
– Food waste: spoiled food and scraps left over
– Solid waste from wastewater treatment facilities is called sewage sludge.

What are the Benefits of BioCNG?
– High Calorific Value: Compared to other fuels, BioCNG can produce more energy per unit volume due to its high calorific value. This increases its economy and efficiency for a range of uses, including cooking, heating, power generation, and vehicle fuel.
– Additionally, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which is more expensive and has a lower calorific value, can be substituted with bioCNG.
– Clean Fuel: Because it reduces air pollution, bioCNG is a clean fuel. Compared to petrol or diesel, it produces fewer carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter emissions.
– Because they contribute to smog, acid rain, respiratory issues, and climate change, these pollutants are bad for both the environment and human health.
– No Smoke or Residue: BioCNG is a non-polluting fuel because it produces no smoke or residue. It doesn’t produce any carbon, tar, or ash deposits, which could harm the engine and lower its efficiency.
– Thus, compared to other conventional fuels, bioCNG is a safer and cleaner fuel.
– Economical: Since bioCNG can be produced locally from waste materials, it is inexpensive.
– In addition to lowering storage and transportation expenses, this can generate income and jobs locally.
– Given that roughly 85% of India’s crude oil needs are imported, bioCNG can also lower the cost of energy imports.
– Because it’s less expensive and cleaner than LPG, bioCNG can also be used as a cooking fuel in commercial and residential kitchens.
– Bio-Fertilizers: The production of bio-fertilizers using bioCNG can enhance crop yield and soil quality. Bio-fertilizers are organic fertilisers that have added beneficial microorganisms, like fungi, bacteria, and algae, to improve the availability and absorption of nutrients by plants.
– After BioCNG is produced, the slurry or digestate left over can be used to make bio-fertilizers.

PYQ: Consider the following: (2019) 
1) Carbon monoxide
2) Methane
3) Ozone
4) Sulphur dioxide 

Which of the above are released into the atmosphere due to the burning of crop/biomass residue? 
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4 

Ans: (d)
Practice Question: Talk about the role that the decentralised biogas model and the BioCNG outlet play in India’s sustainable development plan. Examine the social, environmental, and economic ramifications of such programmes and assess how well they might contribute to resolving important issues that rural communities face. (15 m/250 words)

3. DeflectionAI Unveils Pi 2.5: Real-Time Web Search Capabilities Added to an Empathetic Chatbot

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology – Developing new technology
Given the information about the creation of sophisticated AI models like Inflection2.5, which raises concerns about the effects of technology on society, this topic is pertinent for both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– InflectionAI upgraded its chatbot personal assistant Pi with its most recent Large Language Model (LLM), Inflection2.5.
– Mustafa Suleyman, Reid Hoffman, and Karen Simonyan founded Inflection AI in 2022 with the goal of offering compassionate and practical AI-driven solutions. Since its May 2023 launch, Pi has undergone enhancements. Its most recent version, Inflection 2.5, asserts that it can compete with industry-leading LLMs like GPT-4 and Gemini.

More about the news:Features of Inflection 2.5:

  • Positioned as an improved internal model, Inflection 2.5 boasts competitiveness with premium LLMs while retaining its characteristically sympathetic nature.
  • Even with its improved performance, Inflection2.5 only needs 40% of OpenAI’s GPT-4’s processing power to train.
  • Notably, Pi now has real-time web search features to guarantee that users can quickly access up-to-date, reliable information.

Distinguishing Characteristics of Pi:

  • Pi is meant to be more than just a tool; unlike ChatGPT and Gemini, which are more utilitarian in their responses, Pi is meant to be a companion to its users.
  • This computer programme is referred to as “kind and helpful” and provides six different voices for the user to choose from.
  • Due to its extensive training on publicly available data, Pi is capable of conducting dialogues and responding to a broad variety of questions.

Evolution from Inflection-1 to Inflection-2.5:

  • Pi was originally powered by Inflection-1, which outperformed rivals like GPT-3.5, LLaMA, and PaLM-540B in a number of benchmarks. However, Inflection-2.5 is now the standard on Pi.
  • By improving Pi’s emotional intelligence, the new model preserves high security standards and the distinctive personality of the Pi chatbot while facilitating discussions on a wide range of subjects, such as current affairs, test-taking strategies, business planning, and leisure activities.


  • Pi, the chatbot personal assistant from Inflection AI, has significantly more capabilities now that it is at version 5.
  • Pi keeps setting itself apart from other AI-powered personal assistants with its increased emotional quotient, real-time web search capabilities, and improved performance.
  • The shift from Inflection-1 to Inflection-2.5 highlights the company’s dedication to offering helpful and sympathetic AI solutions designed for human interaction.

PYQ: With the present state of development, Artificial Intelligence can effectively do which of the following? (2020) 
1) Bring down electricity consumption in industrial units
2) Create meaningful short stories and songs
3) Disease diagnosis
4) Text-to-Speech Conversion
5) Wireless transmission of electrical energy

Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1, 2, 3 and 5 only
(b) 1, 3 and 4 only
(c) 2, 4 and 5 only
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 

Ans: (b)
Practice Question: Talk about the importance of AI-powered chatbot personal assistants like Pi and Inflection2.5 in relation to technology developments and how they affect society. What distinguishes these chatbots from more conventional AI models such as ChatGPT and Gemini? (15 m/250 words)

4. Pioneering Indigenous Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft Development, India’s AMCA Project Reachs Rs. 15 Crore Milestone

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology – Achievements of Indian S&T; Indigenization of technology
The AMCA analysis offers insights into India’s defence readiness, technological advancements, and strategic capabilities, making this topic pertinent for both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– An important step forward in India’s defence capabilities has been taken with the government’s recent approval of a Rs 15,000 crore project for the development of the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).
– The AMCA project intends to design and develop India’s fifth-generation fighter jet. It is being led by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) serving as the manufacturer.

More about the news:Features of AMCA:

  • Stealth: With its advanced stealth features, the 25-ton AMCA will be challenging for enemy radar systems to detect. It is powered by twin engines. According to experts at ADA, the AMCA might even be able to outperform the world’s current fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft.
  • Weapons and Fuel: The AMCA is notable for having an internal weapons bay that can hold a variety of armaments, including indigenous weapons, and a hidden 6.5-ton fuel tank. By keeping a stealthy profile, these features improve the aircraft’s operational capabilities.
  • Engine: The AMCA’s more sophisticated Mk2 version will have a more potent engine created by DRDO’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment in association with a foreign defence major, while the Mk1 variant will initially be powered by the US-built GE414 engine.

Significance of AMCA:

  • The AMCA is a symbol of India’s progress towards domestic defence technology development.
  • The Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) programme was started in 2007 with talks about a joint development with Russia. India’s withdrawal from the FGFA project in 2018 made it possible for the AMCA to be developed domestically.
  • The AMCA presents India as a developer of fifth-generation fighter aircraft, which are mainly identifiable by their stealth qualities, in contrast to the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, which is classified as a 4.5-generation aircraft.

Stealth Features and Advanced Technology:

  • The AMCA’s low electromagnetic signature makes it difficult for enemy radar to detect it thanks to its stealth features, which include an internal weapons bay and a larger internal fuel tank.
  • These attributes are consistent with the traits of fifth-generation aircraft and set them apart from earlier models.
  • The AMCA’s combat effectiveness is further increased by cutting-edge sensors and weaponry, which help it identify and neutralise enemy threats.

Development Timeline and Integration:

  • The American Medical Association (ADA) hopes to launch the AMCA in four to five years, and it will likely take ten years to complete development.
  • Before HAL starts mass production, five prototypes must be built as part of the development process.
  • Anticipated private industry involvement in manufacturing underscores the cooperative endeavours in India’s defence domain.

Comparison with Other Fifth-Generation Fighters:

  • The F-22 Raptor, J-20 Mighty Dragon, and Sukhoi Su-57 are examples of fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft developed by the US, China, and Russia, respectively. India’s AMCA joins this elite group of aircraft, demonstrating its technological prowess in defence aviation.

Challenges and Requirements:

  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) is facing difficulties as a result of its dwindling squadron strength, even in spite of advances in domestic defence production.
  • India’s air defence capabilities are greatly enhanced by the introduction of new aircraft such as the AMCA, as the country currently has only about 30 fighter squadrons out of a sanctioned strength of 42.
  • Nonetheless, obtaining the authorised squadron strength in less than ten years will be difficult to accomplish in light of other scheduled inductions and the IAF’s demands for seven AMCA squadrons.


  • An important turning point in India’s defence capabilities has been reached with the development of the AMCA, which places the country among the few that have indigenous fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
  • The AMCA is a symbol of India’s dedication to technological advancement in defence aviation and self-reliance, with its cutting-edge stealth features, inventive technology, and strict development schedule.
  • However, in order to guarantee a strong national defence in the upcoming years, it is still necessary to address issues like squadron strength.

– In the 1990s, the concept of aircraft generations—which refers exclusively to jet fighter aircraft, not propeller-driven fighters—appears, an attempt to explain the jet fighter aircraft’s performance leap-frogging improvements brought about by significant advancements in weapon systems, avionics, and aircraft design.
– A generational shift in jet fighter aircraft happens when a technological innovation cannot be retrofitted or upgraded into an existing aircraft, though the exact definition of a generational shift is up for debate.

First generation subsonic jet fighters (mid 1940s to mid 1950s)
– The earliest jet fighters, like the F-86, MiG-15, and MiG-17, were equipped with machine guns or cannons, unguided bombs, and rockets, and had simple avionic systems devoid of radars or self-defense countermeasures.
– This generation of fighters shared the trait of operating in the subsonic regime and lacking afterburners on their jet engines. 

Second generation jet fighters (mid-1950s to early 1960s)
– Air-to-air radar, infrared and semi-active guided missiles, and radar warning receivers were added to aircraft like the F-104, F-5, MiG-19, and MiG-21 during the second generation of fighters.
– The fighters of this generation were also able to reach and maintain supersonic speeds in level flight thanks to advancements in engine design and aerodynamics.
– During this time, radar-guided missiles began to increase the engagement range, even though air-to-air combat remained within visual range.

Third generation jet fighters (early 1960s to 1970)
– This generation saw notable advancements in weapon systems and avionic suites, as well as improvements in manoeuvrability. Additionally, they were the first wave of multirole fighters, including the F-4, Mirage III, and MiG-23.
– Aerial engagements progressed beyond visual range thanks to semi-active guided radio frequency missiles such as the AA-7 Apex and AIM-7 Sparrow, as well as off-bore-sight targeting enabled by Doppler radar and “lookdown/shoot-down” capability.
– The primary innovation of this generation of aircraft was the elimination of the need to visually locate adversaries in order to neutralise them and take control of the air.

Fourth generation jet fighters (1970 to late 1980s)
– The development of “fly by wire” fighters like the MiG-29, Su-27, F/A-18, F-15, F-16, and Mirage-2000 followed a trend of avionics advancements through the 1970s and 1980s, including head-up displays and optimised aerodynamic design.
– Unlike the previous generation of role-dedicated aircraft, the majority of this generation of fighters could swing and switch between air-to-ground and air-to-air roles. Thus, it became more difficult to distinguish between strike missions and air control. 

Four and half generation jet fighters (late 1980s and into the 90s)
– The forced cutbacks in military spending led to a limitation on aircraft development, which gave rise to the idea of a half generation increment.
– Instead of creating brand-new aircraft, it became more economical to add “stealth,” radar-absorbing materials, thrust vector controlled engines, more weapons carriage capacity, and range extension to fourth-generation fighters like the Hornet, Eagle, and Flanker. One example of a 4.5 generation fighter that developed from a fourth generation aircraft is the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. 
– The redesigned fighters are rated as a generation 4.5 because the addition of an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar was a combat capability that changed the game so much that it warranted a generation of its own. Some manufacturers created new platforms that integrate many of the advanced features of generation 4.5, such as the Dassault Rafale, Saab JAS 39 Gripen, and Eurofighter Typhoon.
– The integration of 4.5 generation fighters into a network-centric battlespace, where fighter aircraft have much more scope to conduct multi-role missions, was made possible by advancements in computer technology and data links. For instance, fighter aircraft can carry out a restricted Airborne Early Warning and Control mission thanks to the AESA radar.

Fifth generation jet fighters (2005 to date)
– Presented in 2005, the F-22 Raptor is regarded as the fighter aircraft of the future generation. Aircraft designs such as the F35-Joint Strike Fighter, the Sukhoi PAK FA (and the upcoming joint Russian/Indian variant), and the Chinese Chengdu J-20, which is thought to mirror characteristics of this generation of fighter, are soon to come.
– The fifth generation of fighters embodies the qualities that have been required to achieve generational change: a quantum improvement in the fighter’s lethality and survivability. 
– The nose-to-tail low observable or stealth technologies integrated into the aircraft’s design make it nearly impossible for even other generation five fighters to detect them. Additionally, the aircraft’s improved situational awareness stems from multi-spectral sensors positioned throughout its airframe, allowing the pilot to “look” through the aircraft without having to manoeuvre the fighter to obtain a 360-degree view. This, in turn, improves the aircraft’s ability to use its suite of weapons to engage and neutralise an adversary without the adversary even realising the threat.
– Additionally, because these aircraft are “born” networks, they can gather, exchange, and store data to improve the overall picture of the battlespace. The software of fifth generation fighters plays a major role in defining their capabilities, and it is the continuous improvement of this software that will guarantee their advantage over constantly changing threats.
– With seven million lines of code inside the aircraft and an additional seven million lines of code in the ground systems that support it, the F-35 has more software than any other air combat aircraft.
– The F-35 software employs roughly 100 times as many parameters to define a potential threat as a fourth generation fighter, demonstrating the software’s intricacy and sophistication.
– In the end, a fifth generation aircraft preserves the pilot’s advantage over an opponent in decision-making. This increases the likelihood of survival, which, when paired with efficient lethality, guarantees battlespace supremacy.

Practice Question: Talk about the importance of India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project in terms of domestic defence manufacturing and security at large. Analyse the difficulties the Indian Air Force (IAF) has had updating its fleet as well as the contribution native defence programmes like the AMCA have made to solving these difficulties. (15 m/250 words)

5. Goel probably left because of “differences” with CEC.

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Constitutional Bodies 
Concerns about governance, electoral integrity, and transparency have been brought up by Election Commissioner Arun Goel’s abrupt resignation. These issues are pertinent to UPSC candidates.

– Opposition parties are alarmed by Election Commissioner Arun Goel’s abrupt resignation, which was purportedly brought on by disagreements with Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar while in West Bengal.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Many were surprised when Arun Goel, the Election Commissioner, abruptly resigned one week prior to the announcement of the Lok Sabha election.
  • Reports state that during Goel’s visit to West Bengal to supervise election preparations, he and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar had disagreements.
  • Goel is said to have left West Bengal after declining to go to a press conference in Kolkata.
  • In a press briefing, CEC Rajiv Kumar cited Goel’s “health concerns,” but insiders contend that he left because of significant disagreements.
  • Parties in opposition wonder if Goel left to run for office, resolve issues with the CEC, or for personal reasons.
  • Goel reportedly skipped a crucial meeting on March 8 and submitted his resignation to the President without telling the CEC, despite having attended meetings in Delhi on March 7.
  • Though the government made an effort to patch things up, Goel was adamant about leaving, and on March 9 his resignation was accepted.

Concerns over Tussle Between Election Commissioners and Chief Election Commissioner
– Decision-making has not always been unanimous due to instances in which Election Commissioners have differed from the Chief Election Commissioner.
– Power Imbalance: There may be disputes over decision-making authority as a result of the Chief Election Commissioner’s allegedly stronger position.
– Collegial Decision-Making Is Necessary: The Election Commission is a collegial body, and disagreements make it difficult for it to do its job well.

Way Forward:
– Clearly defined Procedures: Creating well-defined protocols and guidelines for decision-making within the Election Commission can aid in averting disputes and offering a methodical approach.
– Improved Communication: To prevent miscommunications and disputes, Election Commissioners must communicate openly and on a regular basis.
For the Election Commission to operate more smoothly, it can be helpful to strengthen the institutional framework by outlining each member’s specific roles and responsibilities.
– Legal Reforms: To resolve any ambiguities in the current provisions regarding the operation of the Election Commission and the settlement of internal disputes, legal reforms should be taken into consideration.

PYQ: Discuss the role of the Election Commission of India in the light of the evolution of the Model Code of Conduct. (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2022) (250 Words /15 marks)
Practice Question:  Discuss the challenges arising from conflicts between Election Commissioners and the Chief Election Commissioner in India. Suggest measures for institutional strengthening and reforms to ensure effective functioning of the Election Commission.(150 Words /10 marks)

6. Lack of social security and regulations affects gig workers: study

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Issues related to development and employment
The gig economy is a topical and current area of study, with UPSC evaluating candidates on socioeconomic issues, labour laws, and policy implications.

– Alarming working conditions are revealed in a study of over 10,000 Indian gig workers and app-based cab drivers; a third of them put in more than 14 hours a day, which exacerbates social injustices and financial difficulties.

 Additional information on this news:

  • The working conditions of over 10,000 Indian gig workers and app-based taxi drivers are alarming.
  • Approximately one-third of taxi drivers put in more than 14 hours a day, with 83% putting in more than 10 and 60% more than 12.
  • Working hours are impacted by social disparities; 60% of drivers from Scheduled Castes and Tribes put in more than 14 hours at work, compared to 16% from the unreserved category.
  • The authors suggest more robust social security for labourers and governmental control over the equity of platform algorithms.
  • The fact that more than 43% of participants make less than ₹500 per day exacerbates social injustices and prolongs cycles of poverty.
  • The study, which includes 5,302 taxi drivers and 5,028 delivery people across 8 cities, highlights the health risks and financial difficulties that employees face.

Gig economy in India
The term “gig economy” describes a labour market in which people work on a project or task basis as opposed to traditional full-time jobs; it is characterised by short-term, flexible, and freelance employment.

Challenges Faced by Gig Workers:
– Work Insecurity: Gig workers frequently worry about their next assignment and lack job stability.
– Absence of Social Security: Independent contractors frequently do not receive health insurance, provident funds, or other social security benefits.
– Income Variability: Because earnings are erratic, gig workers may find it difficult to maintain a steady source of income.
– Limited Legal Protections: The lack of well-defined legal frameworks and protections may make it difficult for gig workers to assert their rights.
– Limited Opportunities for Skill Development: Compared to traditional employment, gig workers may face barriers to ongoing professional development and skill enhancement.

Way Forward:
– Regulatory Framework: Enact and improve labour laws to give gig workers greater rights and protection.
– Social Security Measures: Enact laws to give gig workers access to social security benefits, such as health and retirement benefits.
– Programmes for the Development of Skills: Create initiatives that will help gig workers become more skilled and adaptive.
– Digital Platforms: Encourage fair and ethical business practices among gig economy platforms to guarantee worker ethics and transparency.
– Enable gig workers to collectively bargain for improved working conditions and rights by facilitating the formation of associations or unions.

Addressing these challenges and implementing supportive policies can contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive gig economy in India.

PYQ: Examine the role of ‘Gig Economy’ in the process of empowerment of women in India. (150 words) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2021)
Practice Question:  Examine the socio-economic challenges faced by Indian app-based cab drivers and gig workers. Discuss policy measures to ensure their welfare. (150 Words /10 marks)

7. Report turns spotlight on India’s ‘zero-food children’

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Vulnerable sections
GS2 – Social Justice – Health
vital to UPSC’s efforts to combat severe child malnutrition in Uttar Pradesh, with a focus on the obstacles of awareness, society, and the economy.

– Uttar Pradesh, India, has an alarming 28.4% of “zero-food children” between the ages of 6 and 23 months, according to a recent study. This finding highlights severe malnutrition that is made worse by family dynamics, urbanisation, and poverty.

Additional information on this news:Child Nutrition Crisis in Uttar Pradesh:

  • The prevalence of “zero-food children” among Indian children aged 6 to 23 months is 19.3%, according to recent studies.
  • With over six million children living in extreme poverty, India is ranked third globally, behind only Guinea (21.8%) and Mali (20.5%).
  • The startling statistic for Uttar Pradesh is that 28.4% of India’s undernourished children live in the state alone.

Factors Contributing to the Crisis:

  • Economic challenges include poverty and marginalisation, which are made worse by nuclear families and fast urbanisation.
  • Limited Knowledge: Misconceptions that are widely held and ignorance of the dietary requirements of children.
  • Time Restrictions: Moms who work and come from low-income families find it difficult to find time for supplemental feeding.
  • Social Dynamics: Industrialization and nuclear families leave little money for the mother to feed her children.
  • Personal Struggles: Sunita Gautam’s story highlights the difficulties mothers encounter, such as a husband’s alcoholism impeding childcare efforts.
  • Call for Intervention: To address this pressing issue in Uttar Pradesh, public health experts stress the immediate need for awareness-raising, assistance, and interventions.

Child malnutrition in India
What are zero-food children?
– Infants between the ages of 6 and 23 months who haven’t eaten any significant calorie-containing food in a full day—including solids, semi-solids, or infant formula—are referred to as “zero-food children.”

– Prevalence: High in rural areas, especially in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand.
– Urban Disparities: The prevalence of malnutrition in urban slums draws attention to socioeconomic differences.

– Growth retardation, compromised immune systems, and increased vulnerability to illnesses are the health consequences.
– Cognitive Development: Deficit in brain development that impacts the capacity to learn.
– Intergenerational Cycle: Undernourished children are more likely to grow up to be undernourished adults, which feeds the cycle forward. 

Way Forward:
– Programmes for Nutrition: ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services), among other government initiatives, should be strengthened and expanded.
– Education and Awareness: Raise community and parental awareness of nutrition.
– Agricultural Interventions: Improve farming methods to increase the variety and accessibility of food.
– Infrastructure for Healthcare: Upgrade medical facilities, especially those in remote areas.
– Public-Private Partnerships: Work together to mobilise resources and come up with creative solutions with the private sector. 

In order to break the cycle of malnutrition in children and enhance the general well-being of the populace, a comprehensive strategy incorporating health, education, and socioeconomic development is necessary.

PYQ: Examine the main provisions of the National Child Policy and throw light on the status of its implementation. (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2016)
Practice Question:  In the context of child malnutrition in India, critically analyze the effectiveness of current government interventions and propose innovative strategies for breaking the inter-generational cycle of malnutrition. Discuss the role of public-private partnerships in addressing this issue. (150 Words /10 marks)

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