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Amigos Daily Current Affairs [20-09-23]

                      AMIGOS IAS Daily Current Affairs [20th Sept 2023]

1.1     Women’s Reservation Bill

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, the Indian government introduced The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023, aiming to provide 33% reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies.
  • The Bill, referred to as the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, was introduced by Law Minister in the Lok Sabha.

More about the news

  • The new bill proposes to introduce new articles (330A and 332A) in the Constitution for Lok Sabha and Assemblies, respectively.
    • It includes a sunset clause, making the reservation valid for 15 years from the bill’s commencement.
  • The implementation of the women’s quota is contingent on a delimitation exercise using data from the latest census, scheduled for 2026.
    • Consequently, the earliest implementation of the women’s reservation in the Lok Sabha is expected in the 2029 general election, not in the 2024 polls.
  • The bill does not specify how the reserved seats will be identified, but a separate law is expected to address this.
  • Within the women’s quota, one-third of the seats will be reserved for women from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, but there’s no separate quota for women from other backward classes.
  • Currently, seats reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) are decided based on the Delimitation Act, 2002, considering population proportions.
  • To operationalize women’s reservation, amendments to Articles 82 and 170(3) of the Constitution are required for delimitation.
  • Reservation for women in Panchayati Raj institutions is already in place, with at least 18 states having more than 50% women elected representatives.
    • Article 243D of the Constitution mandates reservation for SCs, STs, and women in Panchayats, with not less than one-third of seats reserved for women.
    • The highest proportion of women representatives in Panchayati Raj institutions was in Uttarakhand (56.02%), and the lowest was in Uttar Pradesh (33.34%), with an overall average of 45.61% women representatives in the country as of September 8, 2021.
  • Women’s representation in the Lok Sabha is currently at 15%, and in many State Assemblies, it’s around 10%.
  • Currently, India’s lower house, Lok Sabha, has 78 elected women MPs out of the total 543 seats — 14.36% of the total number of MPs are women.
Delimitation Delimitation means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province having a legislative body.

1.2     India rejects Trudeau’s allegations on Nijjar’s killing

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, India rejected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations of Indian government involvement in the killing of a prominent Khalistani separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, on Canadian soil.

More about the news

  • India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated that such allegations divert attention from Khalistani operatives living in Canada who threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • India expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in response to the expulsion of an Indian diplomat from the Indian High Commission in Ottawa.
  • Nijjar, the chief of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force, was killed recently with Trudeau alleging Indian government involvement, while India rejected the charges as “motivated” and “absurd.”

1.3 WHO Report on Global impact of high BP

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its first-ever report on the global impact of high blood pressure (hypertension).

More about the news

  • The report reveals that approximately four out of every five people with hypertension are not adequately treated.
  • Scaling up coverage of hypertension treatment could potentially avert 76 million deaths between 2023 and 2050.
  • Globally, hypertension affects one in three adults and can lead to severe health problems such as stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney damage.
  • The number of people living with hypertension doubled from 650 million in 1990 to 1.3 billion in 2019.
  • Nearly half of people with hypertension worldwide are unaware of their condition, and the majority live in low- and middle-income countries.
  • The WHO recommends lifestyle changes, such as a healthier diet, tobacco cessation, and increased physical activity, to lower blood pressure.
  • Some individuals may require medication to control hypertension and prevent related complications.
  • Prevention, early detection, and effective management of hypertension are cost-effective interventions in healthcare.
  • Strengthening hypertension control programs is essential for achieving universal health coverage and building resilient health systems based on primary healthcare.
  • India:
    • WHO report reveals that 4.6 million lives in India can be saved by 2040 if half of the hypertensive population controls their blood pressure.
    • Currently, 31% of India’s population, or 188.3 million people, have hypertension.
    • Only 37% of Indians with hypertension are diagnosed, and just 30% receive treatment. Only 15% have their blood pressure under control.
    • Over half (52%) of all deaths in India due to cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, can be attributed to elevated blood pressure.
    • Young people in India are at risk of future health issues if hypertension is undetected or uncontrolled.
    • Key triggers for hypertension in India include high salt intake, tobacco use, obesity, alcohol consumption, and lack of physical exercise.
    • The report highlights the India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI), a government program that screens and treats people with hypertension.
      • Adequate and uninterrupted availability of drugs is essential for the success of such programs.
World Health Organization (WHO): It is the United Nations’ specialized agency for Health, founded in 1948.It is an inter-governmental organization and works in collaboration with its member states usually through the Ministries of Health.The WHO provides leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

1.4     Green nudges

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, a study conducted in collaboration with Alibaba’s online food delivery platform, Eleme, in China found that implementing “no disposable cutlery” as the default choice for orders and rewarding customers with “green points” led to a significant increase in the share of no-cutlery orders, with a 648% overall increase.
  • Zomato, a prominent online food delivery platform in India, introduced similar nudges, changing the default option to “no-cutlery” in August 2021, resulting in a significant reduction in cutlery waste.

More about the news

  • Green nudges are gentle persuasions to influence environmentally friendly behaviour in people, often used in behavioural economics to guide decision-making without restricting choices.
  • The study employed a statistical technique called the difference-in-differences model to compare the effects of green nudges on food-ordering behaviour in experimental cities versus control cities.
  • Green nudges introduced on Alibaba’s platform made “no cutlery” the default choice, requiring customers to actively select an alternative option, and rewarded users with “green points” for no-cutlery orders, which could be redeemed for planting trees in China’s deserts.
  • The green nudges were implemented in response to Chinese regulations prohibiting the inclusion of single-use cutlery (SUC) in food orders unless explicitly requested.
  • Findings revealed a significant increase in the share of no-cutlery orders in cities with green nudges, driven by the default setting change on the app.
  • The study also examined user characteristics and found that women and middle-aged or elderly individuals showed a more positive response to green nudges.
  • Affluence appeared to play a role, with users of more expensive phones and those ordering pricier meals responding more to green nudges.
  • Over 18 months in Shanghai, eight months in Beijing, and one month in Tianjin, the number of SUCs reduced by over 225.33 million sets, potentially preventing 4,506.52 metric tonnes of waste and saving 56,333 trees.

1.5     UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, the Hoysala temples located in Belur, Halebid, and Somanathapur in Karnataka, India, were officially designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites making it India’s 42nd World Heritage Site along with the inclusion of Santiniketan as India’s 41st World Heritage Site.

More about the news

  • The Chennakeshava temple in Belur and Hoysaleshwara temple in Halebid, both situated in Hassan district, had been on UNESCO’s tentative list since 2014.
  • The Keshava temple in Somanathapur, located in Mysuru district, was added to the tentative list, and all three temples were nominated by the Indian government for the 2022-23 cycle in February 2022.
  • An expert from the International Commission on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) conducted site visits to all three temples in September of the previous year.
  • The official inscription as UNESCO World Heritage Sites took place during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • These temples are collectively referred to as ‘The Sacred Ensembles of Hoysalas’ and are under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
  • Hoysala temples are renowned for their distinctive architectural style characterized by intricate carvings and follow a stellate plan, often constructed using soft, carvable chloritic schist (soapstone).
    • The Chennakeshava temple in Belur was initiated during King Vishnuvardhana’s reign in 1117 CE and took 103 years to complete, while the Hoysaleshwara temple in Halebid was commissioned in 1121 CE. The Keshava temple in Somanathapur was commissioned by Somanatha Dandanayaka during the rule of Narasimha III in 1268 CE.
  • The inscription of these three sites as UNESCO World Heritage Sites is expected to bring global recognition to these monuments, known for their exquisite sculptures and carvings, and is anticipated to boost tourism in the region.

(Keshava temple at Somanathapur in Mysuru district)

(Hoysaleshwara temple at Halebid in Hassan district)

(Chennakeshava temple at Belur in Hassan district of in Karnataka)

Hoysala architecture
  • Hoysala architecture developed in the Karnataka region near Mysore between 1050 and 1300 A.D.
  • Prominent temple seats include Belur, Halebid, and Sringeri.
  • Salient features of Hoysala Architecture:
    • Multiple shrines dedicated to different deities built around a central pillared hall.
    • Stellate plan: Temples intricately designed in the shape of a star.
    • Main building material is soft soapstone.
    • Extensive emphasis on temple decoration through intricate sculptures.
    • Elaborate carvings on both interior and exterior walls, as well as deity jewelry.
    • Temples constructed on an elevated platform called Jagati.
    • Walls and stairs of the temple follow a zigzag pattern.
  • Hoysala temples are considered hybrid or vesara, as their style is a blend of both Dravida and Nagara, falling somewhere in between.
  • Unlike Nagara and Dravidian architecture, which often follows a panchayatan style (principal temple and four subsidiary shrines), Hoysala architecture is based on a stellate plan with a star-shaped layout of the temple.

1.6     U.S. Federal Reserve

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, the U.S. Treasury Secretary believes that the U.S. economy is on track for a “soft-landing” scenario despite various near-term risks.
    • These risks include a United Auto Workers (UAW) strike, a potential government shutdown, the resumption of student loan payments, and spillovers from China’s economic challenges.
  • According to U.S. Treasury Secretary, there is evidence that the U.S. economy is making substantial progress in reducing inflation while maintaining a strong labour market and healthy consumer spending.
Soft-landing The process of monetary tightening that the US Federal Reserve does involves not just reducing the money supply but also increasing the cost of money (that is, the interest rate).The US’ Federal Reserve does this to contain soaring inflation.When a central bank is successful in slowing down the economy without bringing about a recession, it is called a soft-landing — that is, no one gets hurt.But, when the actions of the central bank bring about a recession, it is called a hard-landing.

1.7     France and Germany push for EU enlargement

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, the France and Germany have proposed a policy paper for EU enlargement and reform, prepared by a group of 12 experts commissioned by the Europe ministers of both countries.
    • The proposals for EU enlargement come in response to calls for expansion, partly due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

More about the news

  • The paper suggests a flexible approach to EU enlargement and reform, acknowledging that the EU is not currently institutionally or policy-wise ready to introduce new members.
  • It highlights frontrunner countries for membership, including Ukraine, the Western Balkans, and Moldova, along with ten countries in the process of aligning their laws with EU standards.
  • The report explores ways to make the EU function more effectively with over 30 members, including capping the number of EU legislators, changing voting mechanisms, and enhancing the EU’s budget.
  • In the absence of unanimous support for changing the EU Treaty, the paper proposes a supplementary treaty among willing member states to allow for differentiation within the EU.
    • Differentiation could result in four tiers of membership: an inner circle with Eurozone and Schengen Area membership, the EU itself, Associate Members participating in the single market, and the European Political Community cooperating with the EU but not bound by its laws.
  • These proposals are expected to be formally discussed at an upcoming meeting of EU heads of state in Spain.
European Union (EU)
  • The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states primarily located in Europe.
  • The EU was established through the Maastricht Treaty, which came into effect on November 1, 1993.
  • The primary objective of the EU is to foster cooperation and integration among its member states to promote economic and political stability in Europe.
  • The EU has its own currency, the Euro, which is utilized by 19 of its member states.
  • It operates a single market, allowing for the free movement of goods, services, and capital among member states.
  • The EU has various institutions and bodies, including the European Commission, European Parliament, and Council of the European Union, responsible for making decisions and policies.
  • The EU’s policies cover a wide range of areas, including trade, competition, agriculture, environment, and more.
  • It plays a significant role in international diplomacy and negotiations, representing its member states in various international forums.
  • The EU has a common foreign and security policy and cooperates on issues like climate change, migration, and security.
  • The EU is committed to the principles of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

1.8     The ‘mantras’ that powered success at the G-20 summit

Why is it in the news?

  • The G-20 summit in India, particularly the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration (NDLD), highlighted the continued importance of multilateralism despite challenges.
  • India’s G-20 presidency achieved consensus on key issues, including Ukraine, by emphasizing multilateralism, multipolarity, and the “middle way.”

More about the news

  • A growing support for a multipolar world was evident, with India advocating for a multipolar global order.
  • The desire to support multilateralism led to concessions made by Western bloc countries, resulting in the removal of direct references to Russia in operative paragraphs related to Ukraine.
  • The fear of the G-20 fragmenting without consensus played a significant role in achieving the joint declaration.
  • India’s efforts to bridge divides between the Global South and North, East and West, contributed to its success at the G-20 summit.
  • Regional organizations like ASEAN and CELAC may seek G-20 membership in the future.
  • India’s tradition of following a “middle path” and avoiding alliances helped it strike a balance in a time of global polarization, fostering cooperation between different groups and regions.

Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)

  • The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is a regional bloc of Latin American and Caribbean states thought out in February, 2010, at the Rio Group–Caribbean Community Unity Summit and created on December 3, 2011, in Caracas, Venezuela, with the signature of The Declaration of Caracas.
  • It consists of 32 sovereign countries in the Americas.

1.9 Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, the Indian government has instituted the Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar (RVP) to replace multiple science and technology awards given annually.

More about the news

  • RVP comprises 56 prizes recognizing scientists, technologists, and innovators, similar to the prestigious Padma awards, but without a cash component.
  • The awards include three Vigyan Ratna awards, 25 Vigyan Shri awards, 25 Vigyan Yuva-Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar awards, and three Vigyan Team awards.
    • They cover various fields, including physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, computer science, medicine, engineering, agriculture, environment, technology, atomic energy, space science, and more.
  • The awards aim for adequate representation of women and are open to Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) in limited numbers.
  • Categories include lifetime contributions, distinguished contributions, exceptional contributions by young scientists, and exceptional contributions by research teams.
  • The awards will be announced annually on May 11 and presented on August 23, starting in 2024.
  • A committee, comprising officials from science ministries, academies, and distinguished scientists, will oversee the awards process.
  • The RVP awards significantly reduce the number of science awards previously given by various ministries, eliminating most internal awards.
PIO Means a foreign citizen (except a national of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iran, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal).A foreign citizen whose one of the parents/grandparents/great grandparents was born and a permanent resident of India.Who is a spouse of a citizen of India or a PIO.

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