Welcome to TARUN IAS – Your Daily News Analysis for UPSC/IAS Exam Preparation!
Stay informed with relevant current affairs from trusted sources like The Hindu, Indian Express, PIB, and more. Our daily news analysis includes Prelims Facts and Important Editorials presented in a concise and bulletised format. Get free daily updates up to 4 P.M. (except Sundays). Don’t miss the Daily Revision Quiz to reinforce your knowledge. Good luck!
Here are the topics covered for 20th November 2023:
GS-2: SC on provisions of the IBC
GS-3: Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar, Nitrogen-9 isotope, AI’s Impact on Employment
Facts for Prelims: Swadesh Darshan Scheme, NATO
SC on provisions of the IBC
- The recent decision by the Supreme Court to uphold crucial provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) has significant implications for the Indian economy and the resolution of insolvency cases.
- The ruling addresses concerns raised on constitutional grounds and has potential repercussions on creditor confidence, clarity within the insolvency framework, and the behaviour of promoters providing personal guarantees.
- The IBC was introduced in 2016, It aims to tackle Non-Performing Assets (NPA) and address insolvency issues across individuals, companies, LLPs, and partnership firms.
- The IBC was implemented to consolidate laws related to insolvency and bankruptcy.
- Adjudicating authorities include the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for companies and LLPs, and the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) for individuals and partnership firms.
- The Code has been praised for its effectiveness in streamlining the insolvency process and recovering debts from defaulting borrowers.
About recent judgment:
- The Supreme Court recently upheld key provisions of the IBC, responding to constitutional challenges.
- The decision focused on concerns related to the right to equality and fair principles in insolvency proceedings.
Concerns Raised by Petitions:
- Petitioners argued that personal guarantors were not given an opportunity to present their case in the insolvency resolution process.
- They contended that challenged parts of the IBC violated fundamental rights, including the right to livelihood, trade, and equality.
- The Court affirmed the constitutionality of IBC provisions allowing insolvency proceedings against personal guarantors. It ruled that lack of retroactivity doesn’t render these sections unconstitutional.
- The Court rejected the need for judicial intervention before appointing RPs, emphasizing their role as facilitators, not decision-makers.
- The Court supported the legislature’s decisions on the application of moratorium, differentiating between individual debtors and corporate debtors.
- Creditor Confidence: The decision may enhance creditor confidence, encouraging more assertive approaches in recovering debts from personal guarantors.
- Clarity and Predictability: The ruling provides clarity, potentially leading to more efficient resolution processes and reducing uncertainties for creditors.
- Promoter Caution: Promoters and individuals providing personal guarantees may exercise caution due to highlighted risks, impacting their approach to extending guarantees.
- The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold key IBC provisions is a crucial development that provides legal clarity and reinforces the resolution framework.
- It is expected to impact creditor behaviour, instil confidence, and contribute to the effectiveness of insolvency proceedings in the country.
Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar
- The Ministry of Science and Technology’s recent announcement of the ‘Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar’ (RVP) has garnered attention, positioning it on par with esteemed national awards like the Padma.
- This move reflects a significant development in recognizing and celebrating contributions in the field of science and technology in India.
About Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar (RVP):
- The RVP introduces several categories of awards, including the Vigyan Ratna Awards for lifetime achievements, the Vigyan Shri Awards for distinguished contributions, the Vigyan Team Awards for exceptional teamwork, and the Vigyan Yuva-Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (VY-SSB) Awards, the highest multidisciplinary science awards for young scientists (maximum 45 years).
- The awards bear the name of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, a distinguished chemist and visionary who founded the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR).
- The RVP stands out for its inclusive approach, acknowledging and encouraging participation not only from within the country but also from Persons of Indian Origin abroad.
- It recognizes the global influence of Indian scientific talent and opens the doors to a broader group, including scientists, technologists, and innovators working in various sectors.
- The awards also demonstrate adaptability by eliminating age restrictions, except for the Vigyan Yuva-SSB category, addressing concerns related to ageism and gender biases.
- The expanded eligibility criteria, encompassing technology-led innovations and collaborative efforts, signify a forward-looking perspective in acknowledging the evolving nature of scientific research.
To further enhance the inclusivity and effectiveness of the RVP the following suggestions are proposed:
- Establishing clear criteria for exceptional contributions: The RVP descriptions should clearly distinguish between exceptional contributions and incremental work or job requirements.
- Recognizing diverse scientific engagement: Awards should include categories or consider contributions in teaching, mentoring, science communication, and leadership.
- Reevaluating age limits and gender parity: The age limit for the VY-SSB award should be reconsidered to ensure fairness and avoid hindering women with family responsibilities.
- Implementing transparent selection procedures: The selection process should adhere to predetermined timelines, provide a public list of shortlisted applicants, and involve gender-balanced and diverse selection committees.
- Embracing diversity and socioeconomic representation: The RVP should consciously strive for socioeconomic and demographic diversity among awardees and consider contributions made despite systemic challenges.
- Conducting continuous evaluation for improvement: Ongoing assessment of the RVP’s impact on scientific progress, diversity, and the country’s scientific culture is essential for informed decisions.
- The introduction of the Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar represents a positive step toward recognizing and celebrating scientific excellence.
- By incorporating the suggested measures, the RVP can further enhance inclusivity, overcome past limitations, and contribute significantly to fostering a thriving scientific community in India.
- Continuous evaluation and adaptation will be key to ensuring the awards’ relevance and impact on the country’s scientific landscape.
- A recent study, as reported in Physical Review Letters, has presented “strong evidence” for the existence of the unusual nitrogen-9 isotope.
- This discovery challenges previous understandings of nuclear physics and opens up new possibilities in the study of isotopes at the limits of existence.
About the Study:
- The study focused on nitrogen-9, an isotope characterized by seven protons and two neutrons, presenting an unusually high proton-to-neutron ratio.
- The isotope’s stability and characteristics were explored to determine if it truly exists. The researchers utilized a sophisticated experimental setup involving an energized beam of oxygen-13 atoms directed at a beryllium-9 target.
- As the oxygen smashed into the beryllium, charged particles were produced. The team studied these particles using a high-resolution array comprising 14 detectors arranged to cover specific scattering angles.
- High Proton-to-Neutron Ratio: Nitrogen-9’s unique stability challenges conventional thresholds due to its high proton content, positioning it beyond typical stability limits.
- Drip Lines: The study utilized the concept of drip lines, specifically proton and neutron drip lines, to understand stability limits. Nitrogen-9 adds a new point to the nuclide chart, challenging previous interpretations and expanding possibilities.
- Resonant States: The study identified two distinct peaks in nitrogen-9 resonant states, indicating stable energy configurations. The angular momentum and symmetry of ½+ and ½- resonant states were crucial in understanding the isotope’s behaviour.
- Gamow Shell Model: Theoretical insights from the Gamow shell model aligned with experimental findings, providing a robust framework to comprehend nitrogen-9’s resonant states and their existence near the drip lines.
- Further Exploration: Encourage additional studies to validate and expand on the findings regarding nitrogen-9. The exploration of other isotopes near drip lines could lead to the discovery of more exotic nuclides.
- Advanced Experimental Techniques: Invest in advanced experimental techniques and technologies to explore isotopes at the limits of existence. This includes refining methods for studying resonant states and emissions from nuclear reactions.
- Astrophysical Implications: Explore the astrophysical implications of exotic isotopes, such as nitrogen-9, in processes like stellar synthesis of elements. Understanding these isotopes can contribute to improved models of astrophysical phenomena.
- Collaborative Research: Foster international collaboration in nuclear physics research to pool resources, expertise, and experimental capabilities. This collaborative effort can accelerate discoveries and deepen our understanding of subatomic structures.
- Educational Outreach: Engage in educational outreach to communicate the significance of these discoveries to the public and inspire interest in nuclear physics. This can contribute to building a stronger foundation for scientific literacy.
- The identification of nitrogen-9 challenges pre-existing notions in nuclear physics, breathing life into what was once considered a “dead zone.”
- The study’s findings, supported by experimental and theoretical approaches, pave the way for a more nuanced understanding of isotopes at the boundaries of stability. This breakthrough not only contributes to fundamental physics but also holds potential implications for astrophysical processes and the synthesis of elements in stars.
AI’s Impact on Employment
- The recent envisioning of a world without work by Elon Musk during the Bletchley Park AI Summit has ignited debates on the desirability and feasibility of Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing human labour. Examining major theories on work, arguments for and against AI replacing human labour, and the potential implications of AI across different domains provides a comprehensive understanding of the ongoing discourse.
Major Theories on Work:
- John Maynard Keynes: Advocated for reducing work hours under capitalism, foreseeing increased welfare through technological advancements.
- Karl Marx: Viewed work as the essence of humanity, envisioning AI enhancing human work rather than replacing it.
Arguments in Favor of AI Replacing Human Labor:
- Efficiency and Cost Reduction: AI offers unparalleled efficiency, reducing operational costs for businesses.
- Improved Accuracy and Consistency: AI excels in precise calculations and data analysis.
- 24/7 Availability and Speed: AI operates non-stop, ensuring continuous work without fatigue.
- Safety in Hazardous Environments: AI-driven automation ensures safety in dangerous environments.
Arguments Against AI Replacing Human Labor:
- Complex Decision-making and Creativity: AI struggles with nuanced decision-making and creativity where human cognition excels.
- Ethical and Moral Decision-Making: AI lacks ethical judgment, making it unsuitable for roles involving moral dilemmas.
- Human Interaction and Empathy: Jobs requiring empathy and emotional connection are challenging for AI to replicate authentically.
- Regulatory and Trust Concerns: Concerns about AI’s reliability, bias, and accountability impact its widespread adoption.
Potential Implications of AI:
- Increased Efficiency and Productivity: AI streamlines processes and optimizes resource allocation.
- Innovation and New Job Creation: AI fosters innovation and generates jobs in AI development and maintenance.
- Improved Decision-Making: AI’s data-driven insights enhance decision-making for businesses and policymakers.
- Enhanced Customer Experience: AI-driven personalization improves customer satisfaction.
- Healthcare and Research Advancements: AI aids in medical diagnostics and accelerates scientific research.
- Job Displacement and Skills Gap: Automation and AI can replace certain job roles, leading to a skills gap.
- Privacy and Ethical Concerns: AI’s reliance on data raises privacy and ethical concerns.
- Economic Inequality: AI benefits may not be equally distributed, widening economic disparities.
- Dependency and Vulnerability: Over-reliance on AI without human oversight can lead to vulnerabilities.
Social Impact and Job Quality:
- Changes in Work Patterns: Jobs created by AI might lack the same quality and stability as traditional roles.
- Mental Health Impact: Changes in work patterns might affect mental health and societal well-being.
- Balancing AI’s capabilities while preserving the value of human labour is crucial for a future where technology optimizes societal welfare.
- The ongoing discourse emphasizes the importance of continuous learning, adaptable skill sets, and a balanced integration of human expertise and technological innovation. Striving for a harmonious coexistence between AI and human contributions ensures a future where meaningful work and technological advancements complement each other.
Fact for Prelims:
Swadesh Darshan Scheme
- The Swadesh Darshan Scheme is a flagship program of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, launched in 2014-15, aims at the comprehensive enhancement of theme-based tourist circuits.
- This program involves the provision of financial aid by the Ministry of Tourism to state governments to facilitate the development of tourism infrastructure nationwide.
- In 2023, the second phase of the scheme was introduced, focusing on key circuits to boost tourism, such as the Buddhist circuit, Ramayana circuit, and Spiritual Circuit.
- Objectives of the Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
- Position tourism as a major engine of economic growth and job creation
- Enhance the contribution of tourism to local economies
- Create jobs including self-employment for local communities
- Enhance the skills of local youth in tourism and hospitality
- Increase private sector investment in tourism and hospitality
- Preserve and enhance local cultural and natural resources
- The North Atlantic Treaty, also known as the Washington Treaty, established NATO on 4th April, 1949 it is a political and military alliance comprised of 31 member countries. Its primary objective is to foster mutual defence and collective security among its member nations.
- The Alliance initially consisted of 12 founding members in 1949, including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
- Over time, an additional 19 countries have joined NATO, with Finland being the most recent addition in 2023. The expansion of the Alliance occurred through various stages, with countries like Germany, Spain, and others joining at different points in history.
Principles of NATO:
- Collective defence: An attack against one NATO member is considered an attack against all members. This principle is enshrined in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.
- Democratic values: NATO is committed to upholding the values of democracy, individual liberty, human rights, and the rule of law.
- Peaceful resolution of disputes: NATO members strive to resolve disputes peacefully and refrain from the threat or use of force in their international relations.
- Cooperation: NATO members cooperate on a wide range of security issues, including defence, counterterrorism, and crisis management.