Australia to host its first Malabar naval drill this August
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -2: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
- Australia will host the Malabar multilateral naval exercise, consisting of India, Australia, Japan and the U.S., for the first time this year.
- The exercise is likely to be held in Perth.
India-Australia Defence Cooperation
- The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement has been signed.
- There is a technical Agreement on White Shipping Information Exchange.
- Recently Australia and India conducted AUSINDEX, their largest bilateral naval exercise, and there are further developments on the anvil, including Australia’s permanent inclusion in the Malabar exercise with Japan.
- In 2018, Indian Air Force participated for the first time in Exercise Pitch Blackin
- The third edition of AUSTRAHIND (Special Forces of Army Exercise) was held in September 2018.
- A broader maritime cooperation agreement with a focus on Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) is also in the works and Australia has agreed to post a Liaison Officer at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) at Gurugram.
India and Australia co-operate in various multilateral forums:
- Australia supports India’s candidature in an expanded UN Security Council.
- Both India and Australia are members of the G-20, Commonwealth, IOR-ARC, ASEAN Regional Forum, and Asia Pacific Partnership on Climate and Clean Development, and have participated in the East Asia Summits.
- Both countries have also been cooperating as members of the Five Interested Parties (FIP) in the WTO context.
- Australia is an important player in APEC and supports India’s membership in the organization.
- In 2008, Australia became an Observer in SAARC.
|About Exercise Malabar:
● Malabar series of exercises began in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between the navies of India and the US and gained further prominence with the joining of the navies of Australia and Japan.
● The 26th edition of the multinational maritime exercise MALABAR 22 culminated in the seas off Japan on 15 November 2022.
● Australia participated in the MALABAR naval exercise in October 2020, joining India, the United States, and Japan.
● The exercise brought together four regional defence partners and democracies, demonstrating a collective resolve to support an open and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
The Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region in Gurugram is an Indian initiative to boost maritime security and response through the exchange of information related to the ships in the Indian Ocean Region.
- The shared values, interests, geography, and objectives are the foundation of deepening India-Australia relations.
- Both India and Australia share a vision of a free, open, inclusive, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.
- India and Australia believe in cooperative use of the seas by following international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
India, Singapore link payment services
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -2: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
- The linkage is set to ease financial transactions for the Indian diaspora.
- Singapore is the first country in which cross-border Person to Person (P2P) payment facilities have been launched.
- This will help the Indian diaspora in Singapore, especially migrant workers/students, and bring the benefits of digitalization and FINTECH to the common man through the instantaneous and low-cost transfer of money from Singapore to India and vice-versa.
Indian diaspora in Singapore:
- Ethnic Indians constitute about1 % or around 3.5 lakhs of the resident population of 3.9 million in Singapore.
- In addition, among the 1.6 million foreigners residing in Singapore, about 21 % or around 3.5 lakhs are Indian expatriates holding Indian passports, mostly serving in financial services, IT, students, construction, and marine sectors.
- Singapore has the highest concentration of IIT and IIM alumni in any one city outside India.
- There are about 1 lakh Indian migrant workers in Singapore. Singapore, however, does not feature in the ECR category.
- Tamil is one of the four official languages of Singapore.
- Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Bengali, and Punjabi are also taught in schools. Welfare and well-being of Indian nationals, including Indian workers, feature prominently in the consular responsibilities of the Mission.
|Person-to-Person (P2P) payment facilities
● Person-to-person payments serve as a method to transfer funds online from your bank account to another person via the internet or with a mobile device.
● These payments can be sent using the recipient’s email address or mobile phone number.
● You do not need the recipient’s account number.
Significance of Singapore for India
- India-Singapore has a wide-ranging relationship that is as strategic as well as economic.
- Singapore is an important investment source as well as a destination for Indians.
- Singapore was the first country with which India signed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, which is currently being upgraded. Singapore has established strong ties with Indian states such as West Bengal, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. As a result, economic cooperation is growing.
- Both countries are seeking to explore other areas such as tourism and skill development.
- Singapore is also an essential partner in many areas of India’s development priorities, including smart cities, urban solutions, the financial sector, skills development, ports, logistics, aviation, and industrial parks.
Children have a right to protect their genetic information from DNA tests: SC
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -1: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. General Studies paper -2: Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency and Accountability, E-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; Citizens Charters, Transparency & Accountability and institutional and other measures.
- The Supreme Court has held in a judgment that children cannot be mechanically subjected to DNA tests in each and every case between warring parents as a shortcut to establish proof of infidelity.
- A child should not be lost in its search for paternity said the court, directing family courts adjudicating between warring parents to order DNA tests only as a last resort.
- Children have the right not to have their legitimacy questioned frivolously before a court of law. This is an essential attribute of the right to privacy.
|Child Rights (constitutional)
● Article 21 A: The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6-14 years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.
● Article 23: Traffic in human beings and beggary and other forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with the law.
● Article 24: No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.
● The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act was notified on 13th December 2002, making free and compulsory education a Fundamental Right for all children in the age group of 6-14 years.
● Article 39(e) & (f) direct that the state policies are directed towards securing the tender age of children.
● Article 45 states that the state shall endeavor to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.
● Article 47: The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties
● Article 51A mentions that it shall be the fundamental duty of the parent and guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen.
● Article 243G read with Schedule 11 – provides for the institutionalization of child care by seeking to entrust programmes of Women and Child Development to Panchayat (Item 25 of Schedule 11), apart from education (item 17), family welfare (item 25), health and sanitation (item 23) and other items with a bearing on the welfare of children.
About the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights:
- The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007 under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, an Act of Parliament (December 2005).
- National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is a statutory body under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005 under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
- The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.
About the United Nations Convention on the Rights Of The Child:
- Human rights belong to all people, regardless of their age, including children. However, because of their special status whereby children need extra protection and guidance from adults children also have some special rights of their own.
- These are called children’s rights and they are laid out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
- Significant features of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- Applies equally to both girls and boys up to the age of 18, even if they are married or already have children of their own.
- The convention is guided by the principles of ‘Best Interest of the Child’ and ‘Non-discrimination’ and ‘Respect for the views of the child.’
- It emphasizes the importance of the family and the need to create an environment that is conducive to the healthy growth and development of children.
- It obligates the state to respect and ensure that children get a fair and equitable deal in society.
Gene is the biological unit that determines a lot of our physical traits and is passed onto us from our parents. It is a fragment of DNA that is present in the nucleus of the cell.
● DNA testing is essential for identifying and bringing justice in cases involving abandoned mothers and children.
● It is also a highly effective technique in civil disputes when the court needs to determine the issue of maintenance and identify the child’s parents.
Precedents Set by Supreme Court in previous cases
- Precedents set by the Supreme Court through the years show that judges cannot order genetic tests as a “roving enquiry” (Bhabani Prasad Jena, 2010).
- In the Banarsi Dass case, 2005, it held that the DNA test must balance the interests of the parties. DNA tests should also not be ordered if there was other material evidence at hand to prove the case.
- Before ordering a genetic test, courts should consider the “proportionality of the legitimate aims,” the court stated in its Ashok Kumar judgment 2021.
- The ruling of the Constitution Bench in the S. The Puttaswamy case (2017) affirming that the right to privacy is part of the rights to life (Article 21) has only strengthened the privacy argument.
Will India witness an el Nino forecast this year?
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -1: Important Geophysical Phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclones, etc., geographical features and their location changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
- India is experiencing a colder than normal winter thanks to the north-south winter flow set up by the weather phenomenon known as La Niña (pronounced “la ninya”).
- The La Niña itself is going on for a record-breaking third consecutive year.
- Now, forecasts for the 2023 fall and winter are predicting that its companion phenomenon – El Niño (“el ninyo”) – will occur with more than a 50% probability.
- In a normal year, a surface low pressure develops in the region of northern Australia and Indonesia, and a high-pressure system over the coast of Peru. As a result, the trade winds over the Pacific Ocean move strongly from east to west.
- The easterly flow of the trade winds carries warm surface waters westward, bringing convective storms (thunderstorms) to Indonesia and coastal Australia. Along the coast of Peru, cold bottom cold nutrient-rich water wells up to the surface to replace the warm water that is pulled to the west.
About EL Nino:
- The phrase “El Nino” refers to the Christ Child and was coined by fishermen along the coasts of Ecuador and Peru to describe the warming of the central and eastern pacific.
- El Nino is the name given to the occasional development of warm ocean surface waters along the coast of Ecuador and Peru.
- El Niño events occur irregularly at intervals of 2–7 years, although the average is about once every 3-4 years.
How El Nino impacts monsoon rainfall across the globe?
- El Nino impacts ocean temperatures, the speed and strength of ocean currents, the health of coastal fisheries, and local weather from Australia to South America and beyond.
- Rainfall increases drastically in South America, contributing to coastal flooding and erosion.
How El Nino impacts monsoon rainfall in India?
- El Nino and Indian monsoons are inversely related.
- The most prominent droughts in India – six of them – since 1871 have been El Nino droughts, including the recent ones in 2002 and 2009
- However, not all El Nino years led to a drought in India. For instance, 1997/98 was a strong El Nino year but there was no drought (Because of IOD).
- On the other hand, a moderate El Nino in 2002 resulted in one of the worst droughts.
- El Nino directly impacts India’s agrarian economy as it tends to lower the production of summer crops such as rice, sugarcane, cotton, and oilseeds.
About La Nina:
- After El Nino event weather conditions usually return back to normal.
- However, in some years the trade winds can become extremely strong and an abnormal accumulation of cold water can occur in the central and eastern Pacific. This event is called a La Niña.
- La Nina tends to lead to milder winters in Northern Europe and colder winters in southern/western Europe leading to snow in the Mediterranean region.
- It is continental North America where most of these conditions are felt.
- La Nina causes drought in the South American countries of Peru and Ecuador.
- It usually has a positive impact on the fishing industry of Western South America.
- In the western Pacific, La Nina increases the potential for landfall in those areas most vulnerable to their effects, and especially into continental Asia and China.
- It also leads to heavy floods in Australia and high temperatures in Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, off the Somalian coast, and comparatively better monsoon rains in India.
Impacts of Third Consecutive La Nina on India:
- The India Meteorological India (IMD) has predicted that some parts of India may witness heavy rains.
- The Western Ghats may receive average or below-average rain.
- Winter rainfall is less than normal in North India.
- Snowfall over Western Himalayas is less than normal.
- Winter temperatures in the plains are less than normal.
- Prolonged Winter Season over North India (extended winters).
- More rain during the second half of the Northeast Monsoon.
Turn off the tap of urban bias in rural development
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -3: Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it.
- The divide between the rural and the urban has grown due to an inherent urban bias among policymakers and institutions, including the government.
- The case of providing tap water connections in Tamil Nadu is an example of this bias.
- The Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), launched in August 2019, is one such project which aims to provide access to safe and adequate drinking water to all households in rural India by 2024.
Coverage Under Jal Jeevan Mission:
- As on 21stDecember 2022, under the Jal Jeevan Mission, more than 10.76 Crore (55.62 %) of rural households are being provided with tap water connection in adequate quantity, of prescribed quality on a regular basis.
- Four States namelyGoa, Telangana, Gujarat, and Haryana, and 3 Union Territories of Puducherry, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, reported as “Har Ghar Jal”, i.e. Every rural household has the provision of tap water supply.
- Goa becomes the First ‘Har Ghar Jal’ Certified State& Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu become the First ‘Har Ghar Jal’ Certified Union Territory (UT) in India in August 2022.
- Burhanpur District of Madhya Pradeshbecomes the first ‘Har Ghar Jal’ certified district in India in July 2022.
Other Government Schemes
- Swajaldhara (2002): It started to involve the community in the planning, implementation, and management of drinking water-related
- National Rural Drinking Water Programme (2009): It aimed to provide with the funds to build the infrastructure, such as piped connections, to deliver water to all rural habitations, government schools, and anganwadis.
- Swajal Scheme (2018): The aim of the scheme is to ensure that there is a steady supply of clean drinking water in rural areas. These remote rural areas usually receive contaminated and harsh water which, on consumption, has led to many illnesses.
ISRO announces opportunities to analyse AstroSat
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -3: Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has made an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) to allow scientists and researchers to analyze data from the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission, AstroSat.
- AstroSat is India’s first multi-wavelength space telescope, which has five telescopes seeing through different wavelengths simultaneously — visible, near UV, far UV, soft X-ray and hard X-ray.
- Onboard the AstroSat is a 38-cm wide UltraViolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT), which is capable of imaging in far and near-ultraviolet bands over a wide field of view.
- AstroSat was launched on 28 September 2015 by ISRO into a near-Earth equatorial orbit.
- It is a multi-institute collaborative project, involving IUCAA, ISRO, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Mumbai), Indian Institute of Astrophysics (Bengaluru), and Physical Research Laboratory (Ahmedabad), among others.
- It has been studying Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRB).
The scientific objectives of AstroSat mission are:
- To understand high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes;
- Estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars;
- Study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond our galaxy;
- Detect new briefly bright X-ray sources in the sky;
- Perform a limited deep-field survey of the Universe in the Ultraviolet region.
|Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRB)
● GRBs are immensely energetic explosions that have been observed in distant galaxies.
● They are the brightest and most energetic electromagnetic events known to occur in the universe.
● GRBs shine hundreds of times brighter than a typical supernova and about a million trillion times as bright as the Sun.
● When a GRB erupts, it is briefly the brightest source of cosmic gamma-ray photons in the observable Universe.
Vostro accounts and how they facilitate trade
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -3: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development, and Employment.
- Last week, government officials informed that 20 Russian banks, including Rosbank, Tinkoff Bank, Centro Credit Bank, and Credit Bank of Moscow have opened Special Rupee Vostro Accounts (SRVA) with partner banks in India.
- All major domestic banks have listed their nodal officers to sort out issues faced by exporters under the arrangement.
Special Rupee Vostro Accounts (SRVA)
- A vostro account is an account that domestic banks hold for foreign banks in the former’s domestic currency, in this case, the rupee.
- Domestic banks use it to provide international banking services to their clients who have global banking needs.
- It is an integral offshoot of correspondent banking that entails a bank (or an intermediary) to facilitate wire transfers, conduct business transactions, accept deposits, and gather documents on behalf of the other bank.
- It helps domestic banks gain wider access to foreign financial markets and serve international clients without having to be physically present abroad.
- The SRVA is an additional arrangement to the existing system that uses freely convertible currencies and works as a complimentary system.
- If a company exports or imports, transactions are always in a foreign currency (excluding countries like Nepal and Bhutan).
- So, in the case of imports, the Indian company has to pay in a foreign currency (mainly dollars and could also include currencies like pounds, Euro, yen,).
- The Indian company gets paid in foreign currency in case of exports and the company converts that foreign currency to rupee since it needs the rupee for its needs, in most cases.
Benefits of this Mechanism
- It will promote the growth of global trade and will support the increasing interest of the global trading community in INR.
- The move would also reduce the risk of forex fluctuation, especially looking at the Euro-Rupee parity.
- Amid ongoing rupee weakness, this mechanism aims at reducing demand for foreign exchange, by promoting rupee settlement of trade flows.
A Nostro account is an account held by a bank in another bank. It allows the customers to deposit money in the bank’s account in another bank. It is often used if a bank has no branches in a foreign country. Nostro is a Latin word that means “ours”.
City in News: Seattle
- First US city to ban Caste Discrimination
- Caste discrimination does not exist in the US by law. However, the tech sector in the country has been facing caste discrimination.
- A group of Dalit female engineering from tech big giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Google passed a resolution against caste discrimination in the country.
- Protests against the issue have increased in the US in recent times.
- The Dalits account for 1.5% of Indian immigrants. More than 67% of Indian Dalits are facing caste-based harassment at workplaces.
- To put an end to such discrimination, the City Council of Seattle recently introduced a Ban on caste discrimination.
- The Minister of Skill Development Shri Dharmendra Pradhan recently announced that India will soon set up Digital University.
- The main objective of establishing a Digital University is to reduce the cost of higher education.
- With Digital Universities, the youths can develop their skills at very fewer expenses.
- This will help India achieves the five pillars of Atma Nirbhar Bharat namely Economy, system, infrastructure, demand, and Vibrant Demography.
Khajuraho hosts the first G20 Culture Working Group meet
- The UNESCO World Heritage site KHAJURAHO located in the state of Madhya Pradesh is hosting the first Culture Working Group Meeting.
- More than 125 delegates from foreign countries will attend the meeting.
- Pdam Shri Nek Ram also attended the meeting. He is known as the “Millet man”.