Daily News Analysis 30 and 31 July 2023 (The Hindu)

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Here are the topics covered for 30 and 31 July 2023: Supreme Court\’s Inquiry on Cow Vigilante Violence, France\’s Finance Minister on \”Decoupling\” from China, Italy\’s Regret Over Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Hurdles to overcome before becoming ‘Digital India’, Exploring the Power of Cell-Free DNA (cfDNA) in Medicine, India\’s Semiconductor Strategy: Navigating Politics and Global Demands for Self-Reliance, Worldcoin re-introduced by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, India\’s Academic Ethics Challenges, Indian Military Aircraft Visit Cocos Islands, ISRO Successfully Launches PSLV-C56.

Table of Contents

GS Paper 2:

  1. Supreme Court\’s Inquiry on Cow Vigilante Violence
  2. France\’s Finance Minister on \”Decoupling\” from China
  3. Italy\’s Regret Over Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)


GS Paper 3:

  1. Hurdles to overcome before becoming ‘Digital India’
  2. Exploring the Power of Cell-Free DNA (cfDNA) in Medicine.
  3. India\’s Semiconductor Strategy: Navigating Politics and Global Demands for Self-Reliance
  4. Worldcoin re-introduced by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman


GS Paper 4:

  1. India\’s Academic Ethics Challenges


Prelims Related Facts

  1. Indian Military Aircraft Visit Cocos Islands
  2. ISRO Successfully Launches PSLV-C56

Supreme Court\’s Inquiry on Cow Vigilante Violence


  1. The Supreme Court has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs and six state governments(Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana) to respond to a petition on cow vigilante violence.
  2. The National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) seeks an explanation for the authorities\’ failure to act against such violence targeting Muslims in the past five years.


Supreme Court\’s Previous Judgment

  1. The court previously held that no right is higher in a secular, pluralistic, and multicultural society than the right to live with dignity and be treated with humaneness.
  2. Vigilantism, including cow vigilantism, cannot become the \”new normal.\”


Cases Highlighted in the Petition

  1. The NFIW petition highlighted incidents of lynching and mob violence against Muslims in various states, revealing alleged police apathy.
  2. The petition argues that these incidents violate constitutional guarantees of equality, religious non-discrimination, and the right to life.


Remedial Directions by the Supreme Court

  1. The court previously issued seven remedial directions to prevent prejudice-motivated crimes like mob violence and lynching.
  2. These directions include the appointment of a designated nodal officer, immediate lodging of FIR, personal monitoring of investigations, and compensation for victims.


Non-Compliance and Contempt Petition

  1. The Centre and States are facing a separate contempt petition for non-compliance with the Supreme Court\’s previous judgment.
  2. The court has directed the State governments to file a status report with data on lynching cases and measures taken to prevent such violence.

France\’s Finance Minister on \”Decoupling\” from China


– Bruno Le Maire\’s Visit: France\’s Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, visited Beijing and discussed the idea of \”decoupling\” from China.

– Reducing Economic Ties: Some Western countries are considering reducing their economic ties with China.

– Realistic Approach: Mr. Le Maire believes completely cutting off economic connections with China is not realistic.

– Focus on Specific Sectors: Instead, he emphasizes the importance of reducing dependence on specific sectors to achieve greater economic independence.

– Definition of Decoupling: \”Decoupling\” from China refers to reducing or severing economic ties with the country due to various factors like geopolitical tensions, intellectual property concerns, and human rights issues.

– Objective of Decoupling: Decoupling aims to limit reliance on China and diversify economic connections with other countries or regions.

– Challenges: Achieving decoupling is a complex task given the deep interconnectivity of global economies today.

While some countries are exploring the idea of decoupling from China to address specific concerns, achieving complete economic separation is challenging and may not be feasible. Instead, a more realistic approach involves diversifying economic partnerships and reducing dependency on critical sectors, allowing for greater economic independence while acknowledging the complexities of global economic interdependence.

Italy\’s Regret Over Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

  1. Italy joined China\’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) four years ago, but it did not help Italian exports to China.
  2. Defence Minister Guido Crosetto views the decision as \”improvised and atrocious.\”
  3. The government is considering how to withdraw from the BRI without harming relations with China.
  4. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni plans to decide on the BRI before December and will discuss it with the Chinese government and the Italian parliament.
  5. The current Italian government is considering how to withdraw from the agreement without damaging relations with China.


Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) Overview:

  1. China\’s ambitious project for connectivity and cooperation across Asia, Africa, and Europe.
  2. Involves building infrastructure like roads, railways, ports, and pipelines.
  3. Consists of two parts: Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.


Significance for China:

  1. Demonstrates China\’s economic and industrial might, aiming for global influence.
  2. Enables China to boost the competitiveness of its businesses globally.
  3. Strengthens China\’s presence in Eurasia and challenges western powers.


Criticism of BRI:

  1. Western critics see it as new colonialism and a debt trap policy.
  2. Concerns about infringing on the sovereignty of other countries.


India\’s Stance:

  1. India has not joined due to concerns about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and its implications on sovereignty and strategic interests.
  2. China\’s increasing presence in South Asia poses challenges to India\’s strategic hold.

Hurdles to overcome before becoming ‘Digital India’


The article discusses India\’s digital payments system, focusing on the United Payments Interface (UPI). It explains how UPI transactions have grown significantly since its introduction in 2016, especially during events like demonetisation and the COVID-19 lockdown. However, the article raises questions about whether digital transactions have truly promoted financial inclusion across the country. It points out that while India has made progress in increasing the number of people with bank accounts, a large proportion of these accounts remain inactive. Additionally, there is a gender gap in digital transactions, with fewer women engaging in digital payments compared to men.


UPI Growth and Impact:

  1. UPI transactions have grown rapidly, surpassing other payment modes like NEFT and IMPS.
  2. The increasing popularity of UPI might be impacting other payment methods, especially NEFT.


Financial Inclusion Concerns:

  1. India has improved in providing bank accounts to its citizens, but many accounts are inactive.
  2. Women have lower participation in digital transactions compared to men.
  3. India\’s digital transaction figures are lower than the world and developing country averages.


Gender and Rural-Urban Gap:

  1. India has a significant gender gap in digital transactions.
  2. Rural areas have lower digital transaction participation compared to urban areas, unlike countries like Bangladesh and Kenya.

Despite the growth of UPI and digital payments, India needs to address financial inclusion, gender disparity, and rural-urban gaps to achieve true digital transformation.

Exploring the Power of Cell-Free DNA (cfDNA) in Medicine


Scientists have found small fragments of DNA floating around in body fluids, which they call cell-free DNA (cfDNA). These fragments can come from different situations, including cell death and various diseases. Recently, researchers have been using cfDNA to do some useful things.

  1. cfDNA: Small DNA fragments found outside cells in body fluids
  2. Scientists discovered cfDNA in the 1940s, but its utility has increased with genome sequencing advancements in recent decades


Versatile Applications of cfDNA

  1. cfDNA can be generated and released in various scenarios, including cell death, normal development, and disease processes
  2. Its presence in body fluids makes it a valuable tool for medical research


Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing

  1. cfDNA used for screening foetuses for chromosomal abnormalities during pregnancy
  2. Safer and accurate alternative to invasive methods, with almost 99% accuracy for detecting Down\’s syndrome and other trisomies


Early Cancer Detection and Diagnosis

  1. cfDNA-based test \”GEMINI\” uses genome sequencing and machine learning to detect lung cancer
  2. Promising results in identifying early-stage lung cancer with over 90% accuracy


Potential Applications in Medicine

  1. Monitoring organ transplant acceptance using donor-derived cfDNA (dd-cfDNA)
  2. cfDNA as a biomarker for neurological disorders, Alzheimer\’s, stroke, brain injury, type-2 diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease


Future Prospects

  1. cfDNA genomics holds promise for more effective disease screening and early diagnosis
  2. Democratization of nucleic-acid sequencing may lead to further advancements in clinical settings.

India\’s Semiconductor Strategy: Navigating Politics and Global Demands for Self-Reliance


  1. S. Jaishankar presented India\’s semiconductor policy at the Semicon India Conference 2023.
  2. Emphasized the importance of politics and strategic partnerships in technology trade.


The \”Chip War\” and Global Significance

  1. The semiconductor industry is a focal point in the \”chip war\” between China and the United States.
  2. Semiconductors are vital chips driving the digital era and have geopolitical
  3. India\’s Ambitions and Global Semiconductor Demand
  4. India\’s semiconductor mission extends beyond domestic demand to meet global requirements.
  5. Seeking to establish a new supply chain of semiconductors to reduce dependence on Taiwan.
  6. Pursuing Self-Reliance in Semiconductor Production
  7. India aims for self-reliance to safeguard vital economic and strategic interests.
  8. Focusing on diversifying sources amid concerns over disruptions in the global semiconductor supply chain.
  9. Critical and Emerging Technologies (CET) as a Metric of Power
  10. CET\’s role in determining a country\’s technological power and influence.
  11. India prioritizing CET domain to enhance technological capabilities and global standing.
  12. Engagements with Quad Partners
  13. Ongoing semiconductor-related exchanges with the S.; MoU on \’Semiconductor Supply Chain\’ signed in March.
  14. Partnerships with American companies like Micron Technology, Lam Research, and Applied Materials.
  15. India\’s participation in the Minerals Security Partnership led by the U.S. to secure supply chains.
  16. India actively seeking alternative semiconductor supply chains with Quad partners.
  17. Aims to reduce reliance on a single source and build semiconductor capabilities for autonomy in the technology landscape.


About Semiconductors and India Semiconductor Mission (ISM)

  1. Crucial crystalline solids between conductors and insulators.
  2. Employed in electronic devices like diodes, transistors, and integrated circuits.


India Semiconductor Mission (ISM)

  1. Launched in 2021 with a financial outlay of Rs76,000 crore.
  2. Aims to develop a sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem.
  3. Schemes for setting up semiconductor and display fabs, compound semiconductors, and design incentives.
  4. Vision to make India a global hub for electronics manufacturing and design.


Importance of Promoting Semiconductor Industry

  1. Semiconductors essential for electronic gadgets and advanced medical equipment.
  2. Rising demand for e-vehicles fuels semiconductor industry growth.
  3. India\’s consumption projected to reach USD 80 billion by 2026 and USD 110 billion by 2030.


Initiatives for Semiconductor Development

  1. Modernization and commercialization of Semi-conductor Laboratory (SCL).
  2. Fiscal support for approved Compound Semiconductors units.
  3. Production Linked Incentives (PLI) for electronics manufacturing.


Building a Plurilateral Semiconductor Ecosystem

  1. Collaboration with global majors for semiconductor fab foundry.
  2. Focus on being a key player in a trusted, plurilateral semiconductor ecosystem.
  3. Favorable trade policies essential for ecosystem development.

India\’s Semiconductor Mission\’s recent move to provide subsidies to global small and medium-sized enterprises in the supply chain is vital for existing facilities like SCL. Coupled with defined incentives and targeted upgrades, it is crucial to avoid missing out on semiconductor opportunities. To achieve the vision in five years, a full-time director with relevant \”More than Moore\” foundry experience is needed for SCL.

Worldcoin re-introduced by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman

What is Worldcoin?

Worldcoin is a digital network that aims to create a global economy where everyone can participate. It uses iris scanning through a device called \”Orb\” to verify individual identity and issue a unique ID called \”World ID\” in exchange for cryptocurrency called Worldcoin [WLD]. The initiative faced criticism earlier, but its founder, Sam Altman, has reintroduced it after the success of OpenAI\’s ChatGPT.


How Worldcoin Works:

  1. \”Orb operators\” scan people\’s irises to create World IDs, allowing them to receive WLD cryptocurrency or use it for transactions.
  2. Users can also buy or sell WLD without scanning.
  3. Orb operators are rewarded with WLD for signing up more people to the network.


Iris Scanning and Privacy:

  1. Worldcoin justifies iris scanning as a way to ensure uniqueness and prevent duplication.
  2. The company claims to use zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) for privacy and complies with GDPR.
  3. User data is encrypted and not sold but may be shared when necessary.


Potential Risks and Criticism:

  1. WLD\’s price is volatile, and investing in lesser-known cryptocurrencies carries risks.
  2. Edward Snowden criticized the use of biometrics for anti-fraud and privacy concerns.
  3. Worldcoin\’s earlier scanning activities faced criticism in emerging economies.


Worldcoin in India:

  1. Worldcoin is operational in several locations in Delhi, Noida, and Bangalore, where Orb operators scan people\’s irises.
  2. The company distances itself from Orb operators, considering them not its employees.

India\’s Academic Ethics Challenges


India\’s reputation in global scientific research is marred by unethical academic practices that persist despite its significant contributions.


Lack of Ethical Code

  1. Many Indian academic institutions lack clear ethical codes and effective procedures to address misconduct.
  2. Calls for ethical training are often ignored, and principled actions have limited impact.


Data Manipulation and Plagiarism

  1. Rampant data manipulation and plagiarism undermine research integrity.
  2. Perpetrators evade responsibility and blame others.


Authoritarian Behavior

  1. Abuse of power by academic leaders is a concern.
  2. Bullying by guides and biased investigations are reported.


Academic Culture and Student Dishonesty

  1. Cheating in exams is common, and honest students fear reporting it.
  2. India\’s academic culture is perceived globally as dishonest.


Leadership and Ethical Responsibility

  1. Academic leaders prioritize power over ethical standards.
  2. Fear of exposure hinders addressing ethical issues.


Urgent Need for Change

  1. Institutions must prioritize ethics and provide clear communication and training.
  2. Ethical misconduct should not be tolerated, and leadership behavior must shift.


Impact on Research and Talent Attraction

  1. Ethical lapses compromise India\’s reputation as a research powerhouse.
  2. Talented researchers may prefer opportunities abroad with higher ethical standards.

Addressing India\’s academic ethics challenges is essential for maintaining its global standing in scientific research and intellectual pursuits. Prioritizing ethics, transparency, and integrity will foster a conducive environment for academic growth and talent retention.

Indian Military Aircraft Visit Cocos Islands


  1. Indian Navy and Air Force aircraft visit Australia\’s Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
  2. Aim to strengthen military cooperation and enhance surveillance in the Indian Ocean.


Significance of the Visit

  1. Cocos Islands could serve as a crucial base for the Indian military, aiding refueling and operational support.
  2. Marks a milestone in the bilateral relationship, granting access to each other\’s military facilities.


Growing Military Engagement

  1. India and Australia have been deepening their military ties through various engagements and exercises.
  2. Collaboration focuses on maritime domain awareness, anti-submarine warfare, and subsurface domain awareness.


The Importance of Cocos Islands

  1. Cocos Islands\’ upgraded runway can accommodate large aircraft, facilitating surveillance missions.
  2. Potential for enhancing on-station time for Indian Navy\’s P-8Is to monitor movements in the Indian Ocean.


India-Australia Defence Cooperation

  1. Fast-growing defence cooperation with exchanges, high-level visits, and exercises.
  2. Collaboration within the Quad group (India, Australia, Japan, and the U.S.) to address the expanding Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean.
  • Bilateral Exercises
Participating Countries Army/Navy/Air Force Exercise Name
India and Australia Army AUSTRA HIND



The Way forward

  1. The visit to Cocos Islands strengthens India-Australia defence ties and enhances regional security.
  2. Mutual logistics support agreement and navy-to-navy relationship document reflect the growing strategic partnership.

ISRO Successfully Launches PSLV-C56

  1. ISRO launched PSLV-C56 carrying seven satellites, including Singapore\’s DS-SAR satellite.
  2. Co-passengers included microsatellites and nanosatellites.
  3. The PS4 stage of the rocket was brought back to a lower orbit to reduce space debris.
  4. ISRO plans to launch four more missions this year.
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