Ken-Betwa Link Project
- The Third Meeting of the Steering Committee of the Ken-Betwa Link Project (SC-KBLP) was held.
About Ken-Betwa Link Project
- Background: On 22nd March 2021, a historic agreement was signed between the Union Minister of Jal Shakti and the Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to implement the first major centrally driven river interlinking project in the country.
- Overview: The National Perspective Plan’s initial project for connecting rivers is the Ken-Betwa Link Project.
- It aims to transfer surplus water from the Ken river in Madhya Pradesh to Betwa in Uttar Pradesh to irrigate the drought-prone Bundelkhand region.
- The Yamuna receives water from both the Ken and the Betwa.
- The project will provide annual irrigation of 10.62 lakh ha, drinking water supply to a population of about 62 lakhs, and also generate 103 MW of hydropower and 27 MW of solar power.
- Benefits: The Project will be of immense benefit to the water-starved Bundelkhand region, spread across the states of MP and UP.
- It is expected to boost socio-economic prosperity in the backward Bundelkhand region on account of increased agricultural activities and employment generation.
- It would also help in arresting distress migration from this region.
- Concerns: The construction of large dams for the interlinking of rivers to solve the irrigation and drinking water problems has created potential threats to faunal as well as floral diversity.
EAM Visits to Maldives
- Recently the Indian Foreign minister visited Maldives in a bid to strengthen ties.
• The relationship has become tense in recent years as a result of the Maldives’ desire for tighter connections with China and India’s worries over Chinese influence in the region.
• As External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar visited the Maldives to meet with the top officials there, India and the Maldives inked a number of agreements, including development projects.
- An agreement between the two nations commits them to providing 100 million Rufiyaa (the Maldivian currency) in aid for the High Impact Community Development Project (HICDP) programme.
- With the help of this cash, a number of socioeconomic development projects will be carried out nationwide to improve necessities.
- The construction of a sports complex in Gahdhoo and academic cooperation between Cochin University of Science and Technology and the Maldives National University.
- India will give the Maldives’ Ministry of Defense two sea ambulances for use in emergencies and humanitarian crises.
- To be delivered in 260 schools in the Maldives, India will contribute 10,000 textbooks.
India & Maldives
- The historical and cultural connections between India and the Maldives go back many centuries.
- Following the Maldives’ declaration of independence in 1965, India was one of the first nations to recognise the nation and establish diplomatic ties with it.
- One of the Maldives’ closest allies and partners historically has been India.
- India has helped the Maldives militarily, technically, and economically.
- India has offered the Maldives a financial aid package worth $1.4 billion for socioeconomic development.
- India has also agreed to grant the Maldives a credit line worth $800 million for the construction of infrastructure.
- India and the Maldives have been working together in the defence and security sectors, exchanging high-level visits on a regular basis and participating in joint exercises like Exercise EKUVERIN
- With a present proportion of roughly 14.4% of the global tourism market, India has also been a significant source of tourists for the Maldives.
• India should make an effort to assert its leadership in the Indian Ocean region, but not at the expense of the Maldives siding with Chinese interests.
• India’s role in regional politics has to be reviewed in light of the expansion of its economy and sphere of diplomatic influence.
Annual Statuse Of Education Report
- ASER, a nationwide citizen-led household survey that provides a snapshot of children’s schooling and learning in rural India has been released.
- • For ten years, the ASER was conducted annually beginning in 2005.
- Coverage: Urban areas are not included in the ASER because it is a rural study. ASER 2022 provided estimates of children’s enrollment status and basic skills at the district, state, and national levels for almost 700,000 kids in over 19,000 villages across 616 districts in India.
- Methodology: ASER is a household-based survey rather than a school-based one, in contrast to the majority of other comprehensive learning assessments. All children can be included in this design, whether they have never attended school or have dropped out, or whether they attend public, private, religious, or other institutions.
- All children in the age range of 3 to 16 who reside in sampled households have their educational status recorded.
- Basic reading and basic arithmetic skills are evaluated on children between the ages of 5 and 16.
- Who conducts the survey? ASER tools and procedures are designed by ASER Centre, the research and assessment arm of Pratham, which is one of the largest non-governmental organizations in the country created to improve the quality of education in India.
- Significance: ASER has had a major influence in bringing the issue of learning to the centre of the stage in discussions and debates on education in India.
- ASER data has been used in many reports such as NITI Aayog’s 3-Year Action Agenda for 2017-18 to 2019-20, Economic Survey of India 2021-22, and World Bank’s World Development Report 2018.
Findings – Enrolment and attendance
- Overall enrolment: For the past 15 years, the enrollment rate for students aged 6 to 14 has been greater than 95%. Despite the pandemic-related closure of some schools, overall enrollment climbed from 97.2% in 2018 to 98.4% in 2022.
- Government school enrolment: The proportion of children (aged 6 to 14) enrolled in government schools increased sharply from 65.6% in 2018 to 72.9% in 2022.
- The proportion of girls who are not currently enrolled: The percentage of girls aged 11 to 14 who are not enrolled in school nationwide in 2022 is 2%. Only in Uttar Pradesh does this number hover around 4%; in all other states, it is lower.
- The proportion of 15-16-year-old girls not enrolled has continued to drop, standing at 7.9% in 2022. Only 3 states have more than 10% of girls in this age group out of school: Madhya Pradesh (17%), Uttar Pradesh (15%), and Chhattisgarh (11.2%).
Enrolment in the pre-primary age group: The percentage of 3-year-olds in rural India who are engaged in some type of early childhood education is expected to reach 78.3% in 2022, an increase of 7.1 percentage points from levels in 2018.
Findings – Paid private tuition classes
• From 26.4% in 2018 to 30.5% in 2022, more children in Standard I through VIII nationwide enrolled in paid private tuition programmes.
Findings- Learning levels: Foundational skills in reading and arithmetic
• Across the country, children’s basic reading skills have reverted to their pre-2012 levels, undoing the gradual advancement made in the years between. In the majority of states, drops can be seen in both public and private schools, and for both boys and girls.
• For the majority of grades across the country, children’s basic math skills have fallen below levels from 2018. But compared to basic reading, the decreases are less abrupt and the picture is more complex.
• At the national level, children’s proficiency in reading basic English phrases has remained roughly constant for students in Standard V (from 24.7% in 2016 to 24.5% in 2022). For kids in Standard VIII, there have been slight improvements (from 45.3% in 2016 to 46.7% in 2022).
Findings – School observations
Small schools and multigrade classrooms
• Over the past ten years, there have been more government schools with fewer than 60 students enrolled each year.
• Himachal Pradesh (81.4%) and Uttarakhand (74%), states with the largest percentage of small schools, will have the most of them in 2022.
• However, several states, such Kerala (down from 17% in 2018 to 13.4% in 2022) and Uttar Pradesh (down from 62.2% in 2018 to 57.7% in 2022), show a decline in the proportion of small schools.
Teacher and student attendance
- At the All-India level, no major change is seen in students’ and teachers’ attendance. Average teacher attendance increased slightly, from 85.4% in 2018 to 87.1% in 2022. Average student attendance continues to hover at around 72% for the past several years.
- The fraction of schools with useable girls’ toilets increased from 66.4% in 2018 to 68.4% in 2022.
- The proportion of schools with drinking water available increased from 74.8% to 76%, and the proportion of schools with books other than textbooks being used by students increased from 36.9% to 44% over the same period.
- Most sports-related indicators also remain close to the levels observed in 2018. In 2022, 68.9% of schools have a playground, up slightly from 66.5% in 2018.
|Initiatives by the Government of India for Promoting Elementary Education
Reshuffling in Chine’s Foreing Policy
• China started a personnel reorganisation on the foreign policy front in recent weeks.
- Change in China’s Foreign Administration:
- o A previous spokeswoman for the foreign ministry was moved to the department of boundary and ocean affairs, and China selected the former Chinese ambassador to the US as its new foreign minister.
- In some foreign policy circles, the new foreign minister is viewed as a wolf warrior who is considerably more diplomatic.
- Expected Implications:
- According to some political observers, these shifts could indicate that China is shifting away from the “wolf-warrior diplomacy” that has dominated its foreign policy over the past few years.
- China is bolstering itself in preparation for the ongoing conflict with the United States and its allies while buying time to calm the situation at home.
- China is attempting to rebalance the previous age of wolf warrior diplomacy with this appointment.
- According to some experts, China’s diplomatic strategy won’t necessarily change as a result of the personnel changes.
- Predictability for Western Countries:
- The new appointment will provide greater stability and predictability in China’s diplomacy going forward
- For western countries, that will probably be a good thing, since China’s wolf warrior diplomats have been rather unpredictable over the last few years.
- China- US Rivalry:
- Despite the optimism, there is still a lot of tension between China and the US..
- Isolation of China:
- Over the last three years, China has largely isolated itself from the rest of the world, as its top officials, including the President, were consistently absent from major international events.
- Enhanced Military Activities:
- Since the former US House Speaker’s visit to Taiwan last year, China has increased its military activities around the island.
- The US, meanwhile, is also seeking to strengthen security and military ties with countries like Japan and the Philippines.
China’s Focus in Future
- Strengthening Economy:
- China needs to grow economically in order to overcome the relative isolation that its zero-COVID policies have caused.
- Focus on Western Europe:
- As China tries to recalibrate its foreign policy approach under Xi’s third term, experts think the personnel reshuffling seems to suggest that western European countries, Australia and Canada are going to be the major focus of China’s foreign policy efforts in the coming years.
- China will make Western Europe and by extension, some western countries the major focus of their diplomatic engagement in the coming years.
- No Change in Stance:
- Even though China and the US are trying to restart bilateral dialogue, China and the US are not going to make any fundamental changes to their positions on key foreign policy issues.
- On the issues of the international system, the rules-based order and the position of Taiwan, there is not much of a shift on either side.
Current Chinese Discourse on India
- Not Underestimating India:
- China should not underestimate India’s capacity for rapid economic growth in the years to come, according to Chinese commentators, and should brace itself for a scenario in which India overtakes China as the region’s dominant economy and poses a threat to China’s national security.
- Development Competition:
- It is interesting to note that the Chinese side appears to believe that the actual battle between China and India is not at the LAC but in the development rivalry, notably in India’s determination to catch up with China, at a time when all eyes in India are set on the tense border.
- Challenging India’s Manufacturing Industry:
- China is acting on the risks and challenges arising from the rise of India’s manufacturing industry and in turn taking effective measures to safeguard China’s critical economic and geopolitical interests.
- United States (US) Disturbing China-India Game:
- China does not like India adding the US power to the China-India game” to neutralize China’s existing economic and military superiority vis-à-vis India.
• China-US ties shouldn’t be a zero-sum game, and there is enough room in the world for both countries to grow and prosper.
• Major European nations should maintain or even increase their dependence on China in order to reduce their likelihood of supporting the US in the event of a confrontation.
US TO REVOKE Pakistan’s designation as a Major Non-NATO Ally
- A US Congressman has recently moved a Bill in the House of Representatives to revoke Pakistan’s designation as a Major Non-NATO Ally.
Details of the Bill
- • According to the bill, Pakistan should lose its status as a key non-NATO ally unless the US President can certify that it has complied with specific requirements.
- The The specified conditions are:
- Pakistan is still engaging in military operations that have a substantial negative impact on the Haqqani network’s safe haven and freedom of movement.
- Network in Pakistan;
- Pakistan has demonstrated its resolve to stop the Haqqani Network from exploiting any of its territory as a safe haven by taking action;
- The Afghan and Pakistani governments aggressively coordinate to limit insurgent movement along the Afghan-Pakistani border, including that of the Haqqani Network; and
- Pakistan has made headway in apprehending and prosecuting key leaders and mid-level members of the Haqqani Network.
About the Haqqani network:
- The Haqqani network is a terrorist organisation with its leadership based in Pakistan, despite the fact that it primarily operates in Afghanistan.
- The network was established in the 1980s, when the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan, and was armed and financed by Pakistan and the US to oppose the Russians.
- Issues of US against Haqqani network:
- After 9/11, Haqqani turned against the US.
- US officials have long considered the Haqqani leadership to be among the closest proxies for Pakistan’s ISI.
Major Non-NATO Ally status
• Having the designation of Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) entitles a nation to certain military and economic benefits.
• Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status is a legal classification that accords foreign partners with specific advantages in the fields of military trade and security cooperation, according to the US Department of State website.
• MNNA status does not carry any security obligations to the designated country, but it does grant military and economic perks.
• The Bill must be approved by both the House and the Senate before the President can sign it into law.
It has currently been forwarded to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Fourth Industrial Revolution
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has chosen Hyderabad for establishing its Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution focused on healthcare and life sciences.
- C4IR Telangana will be the 18th center to join WEF’s Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) network that spans four continents.
|Do you Know?
About the Fourth industrial revolution
- The Fourth is building on the third revolution and has data at its core.
- The term 4IR was coined by Klaus Schwab, executive chairperson of the World Economic Forum (WEF), in 2016
- The term “fourth industrial revolution” refers to technical advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, 5G technology, the internet of things, robotics, biotechnology, quantum computing, and so on.
- these technologies have opened up new possibilities for organisations, allowing them to dream large and expand into previously unthinkable regions.
• It has the ability to increase income levels globally and elevate people’s standards of living.
• It will also result in a supply-side miracle, increasing productivity and efficiency over the long run.
• The cost of commerce will decline, logistics and global supply chains will become more efficient, and transportation and communication costs will decrease, all of which will create new markets and stimulate economic growth.
• Based on ubiquitous monitoring systems and the ability to manage digital infrastructure, governments will acquire new technological abilities to expand their control over populations.
• New forms of protection or more accurate targeting, for example, are only two examples of how technological advancements could potentially lessen the scope or impact of violence.
- Job loss is the main concern right now, especially in the unorganised sector.
- It might result in more inequality, especially if labour markets are disrupted.
- In addition to unemployment, there are a number of important questions that need to be addressed regarding safety, morality, and the immediate and long-term socioeconomic effects.
- The lack of a data framework and infrastructure in developing and least developed nations will further skew the adoption of 4IR technologies.
- There is growing concern that, in the aftermath of 4IR, human follies may only become more pronounced.
- There are several studies that show how facial recognition technologies have a higher chance of misidentifying African and Asian people compared to their Western counterparts.
- It will also profoundly impact the nature of national and international security, affecting both the probability and the nature of the conflict.
- New phobias will result from this.
- One of the greatest individual challenges posed by new information technologies is privacy.
- US scientists presented a pacemaker in 2022 that disappears in the body once it serves its purpose.
- The pacemaker is a near-perfect example of the ongoing fourth industrial revolution (4IR), which, simply put, is the use of different technologies to blur the boundaries between the digital, physical and biological worlds.
- Germany is giving incentives to companies that are embracing 4IR technologies in production.
- Kenya is leveraging blockchain to validate real estate transactions and records.
- The UN’s Industrial Development Organization has adopted the same stance.
- There is strong evidence from recent Australian studies that automation typically eliminates the work you don’t want to do, and Australian workers have gained more than two hours per week over the last 15 years, a significant amount of time spent on interpersonal work, creative work, and information synthesis work, all of which are highly correlated with increased job satisfaction.
- Status in India
- India and most countries are investing in 4IR technologies
- India is moving towards becoming a hub of global manufacturing… 3D printing, machine learning, data analytics, and IoT are key to promoting industrial growth,
- The Modern Coach Factory (MCF) in Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh, will begin rolling out smart railway coaches in November 2020 that are equipped with a battery of sensors to give passengers a comfortable ride.
- The Smart Advanced Manufacturing and Rapid Transformation Hub (SAMARTH) programme, which brings together manufacturers, vendors, and customers to increase their awareness of 4IR technologies, was introduced by the Union Ministry of Heavy Industries in May 2020.
- The Union finance minister unveiled a spate of new 4IR-driven projects, including Drone Shakti, to support start-ups that will make the usage of drone services easier, in the budget address for 2022.
- India even has a 4IR centre run by WEF in Mumbai, which closely collaborates with a number of state governments.
- The Center recently developed the Fourth Industrial Revolution for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Cancer Care model, which aims to improve cancer patients’ access to healthcare by utilising 4IR technologies.
- The government introduced the Genesys International pan-India 3D maps programme for the 100 smart cities in February 2022.
- The company plans to map an entire city in intricate detail so that many 4IR revolution technology-based projects, such as driverless cars, will become easier to implement.
Conclusion and Way Forward
- • The Fourth Industrial Revolution is an opportunity to assist everyone, including decision-makers, leaders, and individuals from all walks of life, and it’s about more than just technological development.
- income groups and nations, to harness converging technologies in order to create an inclusive, human-centered future.
- The real opportunity is to look beyond technology and find ways to give the greatest number of people the ability to positively impact their families, organisations, and communities.
- We should grasp the opportunity and power we have to shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution and direct it toward a future that reflects our common objectives and values.
- To do this, we must develop a comprehensive and globally shared view of how technology is affecting our lives and reshaping our economic, social, cultural, and human environments.
- the Fourth Industrial Revolution can also lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny.
- Technologies need to be more inclusive and acceptable to all and They also need to make political, social and not just economic sense.
- The rapidly changing technology landscape offers India a good opportunity to industrialise.
- To secure India’s active involvement in the fourth industrial revolution, it will be necessary to restructure some vital domestic industries and strengthen institutional capability.
Etalin hydroelectric project
• Despite strong opposition to its construction, the Forest Advisory Committee rejected the Etalin hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh in its current configuration.
• Due to non-compliance with FAC requirements and the massive opposition to the project in the area, the Forest Advisory Committee has requested that the Arunachal Pradesh government submit a new plan for forest diversion and the building of the Etalin hydroelectric project (EHEP).
the Etalin project
- The project was being executed through the Etalin Hydro Electric Power Company Limited, a JV company of Jindal Power Limited and Hydro Power Development Corporation of Arunachal Pradesh Limited (A Govt of Arunachal Pradesh Undertaking).
- The installed capacity of the project is 3097 MW as per the detailed project report.
- It is envisaged as a run-of-the-river scheme on rivers Dri and Tangon in the Dibang Valley District of Arunachal Pradesh.
- Controversy: It ran into several controversies since its inception in 2008 over concerns of ecological damage, forest invasion, and tribal displacement.
|Do you Know ?
Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope
- Astronomers have discovered a radio signal coming from atomic hydrogen in a very far-off galaxy using data from the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune.
- o The fundamental fuel needed for star formation in a galaxy is atomic hydrogen.
• This is the first verified discovery of strong lensing of a galaxy’s 21 cm emission.
• This signal has been detected over the greatest astronomical distance to yet.
• The Indian Institute of Science and McGill University in Canada provided funding for the study (IISc).
Image Courtesy: TH
Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT)
- It is a collection of thirty 45-meter-diameter fully steerable parabolic radio telescopes.
- It functions at the meter wavelength part of the radio spectrum because man-made radio interference is considerably lower in this part of the spectrum in India and there are many outstanding astrophysics problems which are best studied at meter wavelengths.
- Indigenous Project:
- Its design is based on the Stretch Mesh Attached to Rope Trusses (SMART) concept.
- Built and operated by:
- National Centre for Radio Astrophysics – Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, (NCRA-TIFR), Pune
• It is a phenomenon in which the light from the source is deflected by the presence of another huge body, such as an early type elliptical galaxy, between the target galaxy and the observer, leading to the signal being effectively magnified.
• It allows for investigations of the far reaches of the cosmos and investigates the distribution of matter in galaxies and clusters of galaxies.
• It enables scientists to examine the specifics of ancient galaxies that are too far away to be viewed with current equipment and telescopes.
Spot Bellied Esgle Owl
• The “Spot Bellied Eagle Owl” (Bubo Nipalensis) was recently spotted by a wildlife team for the first time in the Seshachalam forest and for the third time in Andhra Pradesh.
About Spot Bellied Eagle Owl
- The bird is a harsh, grayish-brown colour throughout, with coarse, dark brown colouring on the back and upper wings. The woodland eagle-owl is another name for this huge raptor.
- It is a highly strong and courageous predatory owl.
- The bird is so named because it emits a weird scream that sounds like a human. ‘Ghost of the Forest’ in India and ‘Devil Bird’.
- Mostly found in dense, evergreen forests or moist deciduous forests
- They are found throughout the Indian subcontinent and peninsular Southeast Asia.
- It is distributed through the Lower Himalayas from Kumaon east to Myanmar, central Laos, and central Vietnam.
- Conservation Status:
- IUCN Status: Least Concern
- CITES status: Appendix II