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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 at 12 noon (except Sundays). Don\’t miss the Daily Revision Quiz to reinforce your knowledge. Good luck!
Here are the topics covered for 27 & 28 August 2023: Women Scientist, Artificial Intelligence, Global Environment Facility, Digital Risk, Somatic Mutations, AMBER, The Grand Cross of the Order of Honour, Echolocation.
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 1:
- Women Scientist
GS Paper 3:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Global Environment Facility
- Digital Risk
- Somatic Mutations
Facts for Prelims:
- The Grand Cross of the Order of Honour
GS Paper 1
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the launch of the Chandrayaan3 mission in the Mann Ki Baat noting the involvement of women scientists and engineers in the country’s space programme.
Notable women scientists in India
- Anandi Gopal Joshi: She was India\’s first female physician, receiving her degree in medicine in the late 19th century. Her dedication to education and healthcare paved the way for future generations.
- Tessy Thomas: Known as the \”Missile Woman of India,\” Dr. Tessy Thomas is a scientist at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and played a key role in developing India’s ballistic missile defense system.
- Kamala Sohonie: She was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in a scientific discipline in India. Her research focused on enzyme chemistry and the nutritional value of Indian foods.
Overall state of women’s participation in the science sector
- Women in India face several challenges in moving up the academic and administrative ladder due to systemic barriers and structural factors. The challenges faced by them are several but most often the \”break in career\” arises out of motherhood and family responsibilities.
- The problem needs to be addressed at two levels – at the societal level which requires long-term effort and at the policy and institutional level, which can be started with immediate effect.
Recent Institutional and Government Efforts
- Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI): was launched by the Department of Science & Technology (DST). It will develop a comprehensive Charter and a framework for assessing Gender Equality in STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
- Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN) Scheme: Instituted to encourage women in the field of S&T.
- Vigyan Jyoti Scheme: Encourages girl students of Class 9 to 12 to pursue education and career in S&T.
GS Paper 3
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Business 20 (B20) summit has called for a global framework to ensure the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI).
- There is a need to deepen mutual trust and cooperation between countries and an integrated approach to dealing with issues related to cryptocurrencies.
- The world has to come together to solve the challenges of skilling and reskilling, and algorithmic bias and its impact on society.
- Global business communities and governments must ensure ethical AI expansion across different sectors.
- The disruption is beyond the thinking of humans hence there is a need to create a global framework.
- Cautioning against a “self-centric” approach, Modi said that it could result in a “new colonial model” if businesses and governments don\’t shoulder global responsibility.
- Treating countries just as a market will not work. Making everyone equal partners in progress is the way forward.
- Lack of transparency of AI tools: AI decisions are not always intelligible to humans.
- AI is not neutral: AI-based decisions are susceptible to inaccuracies, discriminatory outcomes, and embedded or inserted bias.
- Surveillance practices for data gathering and privacy of court users.
- New concerns for fairness and risk for Human Rights and other fundamental values.
Global Environment Facility
- The Seventh Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) recently initiated the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) to enhance worldwide biodiversity preservation.
Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF)
- The GBFF, launched at the Seventh Assembly of the GEF, is a collective effort to meet the 2030 goals of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
- It allows governments, NGOs, and businesses to contribute.
- Emphasizing Indigenous-led conservation, it allocates 20% of its funds for such initiatives.
- Furthermore, over a third of its resources will aid Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries.
- This is a novel approach to funding non-state actors like indigenous communities.
- To meet GBF\’s Target 19, $200 billion/year is required by 2030. Both Canada and the UK have already contributed to the fund.
Global Environment Facility
- It is established in 1991.
- It was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit of UNFCC.
- The GEF was initially established within the World Bank
- However, post the 1992 Rio Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which emphasized the environmental consequences of human activities, the GEF was restructured and became an independent entity.
- Since 1994, the World Bank has acted as the Trustee of the GEF Trust Fund.
- Rising cases of online fraud and scam exposes the vulnerability of adapting digital technology and solutions.
Digital Risk and its Type
- Digital risk is all about a threat to our assets, by an unknown entity that acts like us, accesses our assets, and even siphons them off. As our dependence on digital tools and platforms grows, so does our exposure to various types of digital risks.
Types of Digital Risk
- Online Fraud and Scams: This encompasses a wide range of deceptive schemes, such as fake online marketplaces, investment scams, lottery scams, and romance scams, designed to trick victims into providing money or valuable information.
- Phishing and Social Engineering: Phishing involves sending fraudulent emails or messages to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords and financial details. Social engineering techniques manipulate individuals into divulging confidential information or performing actions that compromise security.
- Digital Financial Fraud: This includes unauthorized transactions, online payment fraud, credit card fraud, and unauthorized access to online banking accounts.
Why Digital risk is on the rise
- With the advent of the Industrial Revolution 4.0, we will be having our currencies in digital forms.
- There will be more evolved digital wallets. Our documents and other important legal proof of ownership will be in digital forms.
- Capital market assets like equity shares, bonds, debentures, bullion assets such as gold, etc. are slowly converting into the digital medium.
Measures Taken by the Indian Government to Mitigate Digital Risk
- To protect ourselves from digital risk, the Reserve Bank of India keeps issuing warnings and also runs awareness campaigns. Even SEBI runs campaigns on cyber risk and ways to protect ourselves.
- Cyber Swachhta Kendra: The Cyber Swachhta Kendra is a project launched by the government to secure digital devices and networks by providing free tools and security solutions.
- DigiLocker: The DigiLocker program is a digital locker that enables Indian citizens to store and share their documents online. It provides a secure and convenient way to store and access important documents such as Aadhaar, PAN, and driver\’s licenses.
- National Cyber Security Policy, 2013: The National Cyber Security Policy provides a framework for the protection of critical information infrastructure and the prevention of cyber-attacks
What are DNA mutations?
- A mutation is a change to your DNA sequence, which is the information your cells receive to be able to perform properly.
- Changes to your DNA happen when your cells divide and replicate. Most changes to a person’s DNA don\’t affect their genetic makeup and won’t lead to any health problems, but some mutations cause genetic conditions that could affect your health.
- There are thousands of possible genetic mutations that could occur when your cells divide and replicate. Two types of genetic mutations include:
- Germline mutations.
- Somatic mutations.
What are germline mutations?
- Germline mutations occur in a parent’s reproductive cells (egg or sperm). These mutations change the genetic material that the child receives from their parent (hereditary). You can inherit germline mutations from either parent.
What are somatic mutations?
- Somatic mutations are a change to a person’s DNA that occurs after conception to any cell that isn’t a germ cell (egg or sperm cell). Somatic mutations don’t pass from parents to their children (not hereditary) and happen sporadically or randomly, without the mutation existing in a person’s family history.
How do such mutations affect the body?
- Most mutations don’t cause problems for us, but some mutations create symptoms of disease. Genetic conditions are disorders that are caused by changes to your genome. Your genome is made up of your DNA, genes and chromosomes.
Facts for Prelims
- The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship launched Project ‘AMBER’.
- Launched in 2023 by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, the initiative, a collaboration between NSDC, GIF, and AWS India, aims to train 30,000 youth under the SANKALP program.
- Focusing on women and the underprivileged, half of the participants will be women.
- The training includes AWS (re/Start) for cloud skills and career guidance.
The Grand Cross of the Order of Honour
- Prime Minister Modi received \’The Grand Cross of the Order of Honour\’ from the Greek government, becoming the first foreign Head of Government to get this award.
- Established in 1975, \’The Grand Cross of the Order of Honour\’ is conferred by the President of Greece, primarily to Prime Ministers and notable figures enhancing Greece\’s stature.
- The award features Athena\’s head with the inscription, “ONLY THE RIGHTEOUS SHOULD BE HONOURED”.
- Echolocation is a technique used by bats, dolphins and other animals to determine the location of objects using reflected sound.
- This allows the animals to move around in pitch darkness, so they can navigate, hunt, identify friends and enemies, and avoid obstacles.
- For dolphins and toothed whales, this technique enables them to see in muddy waters or dark ocean depths, and may even have evolved so that they can chase squid and other deep-diving species.
- Echolocation allows bats to fly at night as well as in dark caves.
- This is a skill they probably developed so they could locate night-flying insects that birds can’t find.