Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- India – Europe Middle East Economic corridor
- Gresham’s law
- International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
- Climate change and Food Security
- Facts for Prelims
1 . India – Europe Middle East Economic corridor
Context: Two days after the launch of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, Prime Minister described Saudi Arabia as “one of the most important strategic partners of India”.
About India – Europe Middle East Economic corridor
- The India – Europe Middle East Economic corridor , which includes India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the European Union, France, Italy, Germany and the US, will aim to enable greater trade among the involved countries, including energy products.
- The rail and shipping corridor under the project is part of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII) — a collaborative effort by G7 nations to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations. PGII is considered to be the bloc’s counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
- The corridor will include a rail link as well as an electricity cable, a hydrogen pipeline and a high-speed data cable.
- Project is also seen as a green and digital bridge across continents and civilizations.
Why is the project being proposed?
- It would increase prosperity among the countries involved through an increased flow of energy and digital communications.
- It would help deal with the lack of infrastructure needed for growth in lower- and middle-income nations.
- It could help “turn the temperature down” on “turbulence and insecurity” coming out of the Middle East.
Significance of the project:
- India and the United States might work together in the Indo-Pacific but had little in common in the Middle East. The India-Arabia-Europa corridor could turn out to break this myth.
- It breaks Pakistan’s veto over India’s overland connectivity to the West.
- Corridor will deepen India’s strategic engagement with the Arabian peninsula. India, which had rapidly elevated political and strategic links with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in the last few years, now has an opportunity to build enduring connectivity between India and Arabia.
- It will restore India’s role as a driver in shaping regional connectivity. The mega connectivity project could help “bring down’ the political temperature in the Arabian peninsula by promoting intra-regional connectivity.
- New corridor is being presented as an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which a number of countries in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa have embraced.
- It also marks the mobilisation of Europe into the infrastructure development in the region. The European Union had earmarked 300 million Euros for infrastructure spending worldwide during 2021-27. Support for the new corridor will make the EU a major stakeholder in integrating India, Middle East and Europa.
2 . Gresham’s law
Context: The law, named after English financier Thomas Gresham, came into play most recently during the economic crisis in Sri Lanka last year , during which the Central Bank of Sri Lanka fixed the exchange rate between the Sri Lankan rupee and the U.S. dollar.
About the law
- Gresham’s law refers to the dictum that “bad money drives out good.” Gresham’s law comes into play when the exchange rate between two moneys or currencies is fixed by the government at a certain ratio that is different from the market exchange rate.
- Such price fixing causes the undervalued currency — that is, the currency whose price is fixed at a level below the market rate — to go out of circulation. The overvalued currency, on the other hand, remains in circulation but it does not find enough buyers.
- Market exchange rate is essentially an equilibrium price at which the supply of a currency is equal to the demand for the currency. Also, the supply of a currency in the market rises as its price rises and falls as its price falls; while, on the other hand, the demand for a currency falls as its price rises and rises as its price falls.
- So, when the price of a currency is fixed by the government at a level below the market exchange rate, the currency’s supply drops while demand for the currency rises. Thus, a price cap can lead to a currency shortage with demand for the currency outpacing supply.
- Gresham’s law, however, holds true only when the exchange rate between currencies is fixed under law by the government and the law is implemented effectively by authorities.
Origins of the term
- Gresham’s law is named after English financier Thomas Gresham who advised the English monarchy on financial matters.
- It applies not just to paper currencies but also to commodity currencies and other goods. In fact, whenever the price of any commodity — whether it is used as money or not — is fixed arbitrarily such that it becomes undervalued when compared to the market exchange rate, this causes the commodity to disappear from the formal market
- The only way to get hold of an undervalued commodity in such cases would be through the black market.
- Sometimes, countries can even witness the outflow of certain goods through their borders when they are forcibly undervalued by governments.
- Gresham’s law can be seen at play whenever a government fixes the exchange rate (or price) of a commodity money (such as gold and silver coins) far below than the market price of the commodity backing them.
- In such cases, people who hold the commodity money would stop offering the money at the price fixed by the government. They may even melt such commodity money to derive pure gold and silver that they can sell at the market price, which is higher than the rate fixed by the government.
3 . Nipah
Context: Nipah breaks out again in Kerala, claims two lives.
What is Nipah?
- Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans) and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly between people.
- The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family and Pteropous genus, widely found in South and South East Asia.
- Nipah virus belongs to the genus Henipavirus along with the Hendra virus, which has also caused disease outbreaks.
- Although Nipah virus has caused only a few known outbreaks in Asia, it infects a wide range of animals and causes severe disease and death in people, making it a public health concern.
- Nipah virus was first identified during an outbreak in Malaysia in 1998-1999, primarily affecting pigs and pig farmers. The virus is named after the village of Sungai Nipah in Malaysia, where the outbreak occurred.
- Nipah virus can be transmitted to humans through direct contact with infected animals, particularly pigs and fruit bats (also known as flying foxes), or through consumption of contaminated food or beverages.
- Human-to-human transmission can also occur, especially in close-contact healthcare settings.
- Nipah virus infection can cause a range of symptoms, including fever, headache, dizziness, nausea, respiratory issues, and in severe cases, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), which can lead to coma and death. The incubation period can vary but is generally between 4 to 14 days.
- While Nipah virus outbreaks are relatively rare, they have occurred in several countries in South and Southeast Asia, including India and Bangladesh. These outbreaks often lead to serious health concerns due to the high mortality rate associated with the virus.
- During the first recognized outbreak in Malaysia, which also affected Singapore, most human infections resulted from direct contact with sick pigs or their contaminated tissues. Transmission is thought to have occurred via unprotected exposure to secretions from the pigs, or unprotected contact with the tissue of a sick animal.
- In subsequent outbreaks in Bangladesh and India, consumption of fruits or fruit products (such as raw date palm juice) contaminated with urine or saliva from infected fruit bats was the most likely source of infection.
How fast does the Nipah virus spread?
- The Nipah virus is known to spread far more slowly than SARS-CoV-2. However, it is its ability to kill that is the biggest concern.
- During the first outbreak in Bengal’s Siliguri in 2001, 45 of the 66 people confirmed to have been infected died. That is a mortality rate of 68%. In the next outbreak, in Nadia district of West Bengal, in 2007, all the five infected people died.
- During the 2018 outbreak in Kerala in 2018, 17 of the 18 patients confirmed to have been infected died.
- In the Malaysian outbreak in 1999, a total of 265 people had been found infected, of whom 105 had died.
- So far, all outbreaks of the Nipah virus have been localised and contained relatively quickly. One of the main reasons for a relatively quick end to an outbreak is the fact that Nipah virus is not very infectious and human-to-human transmission is not very easy.
- the reproductive number (R0) in the previous outbreaks of Nipah virus was about 0.48. The R-value is a measure of how quickly the virus spreads in the population. A value less than one means less than one person is being infected by an already infected person. In such a scenario, the outbreak is expected to diminish relatively quickly.
About Fruit Bats
- Fruit bats, as opposed to insectivorous bats, survive largely on a diet of fruit, which they locate with their sense of smell
- Insectivorous bats locate their prey through echolocation, or by locating the source of the echoes of their own sound.
- Fruit bats belong to the Pteropodidae family; those in the Pteropus genus within this family are natural hosts for the Nipah virus. Such bats are widely found in South and South East Asia, and are also known as flying foxes.
4 . Quad
Context: South Korea keen on joining Quad, says envoy Chang Jae-bok.
About the news
- South Korea is keen on joining the Quad and the ball is now in the grouping’s court to decide on expansion.
- On the bilateral front, India and South Korea were negotiating expansion of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and had so far held 10 rounds of discussions, but there were lots of unresolved issues.
- after the bilateral meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, there was some momentum.
What is QUAD?
- The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) also known as Quad, is an informal strategic forum between Australia, India, Japan and the United States that is maintained by talks between member countries.
- It comprises of 4 countries– India, the United States, Japan and Australia. The member countries of the Quad organise summits, exchanges information and military drills.
- In 2007, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe proposed the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. It was paralleled by joint military exercises of an unprecedented scale with the name Exercise Malabar.
- It seeks to promote a free, open, inclusive, and rules-based Indo-Pacific. It aims to enhance cooperation on a wide range of issues, including regional security, economic development, infrastructure, technology, climate change, and disaster relief.
Formation of QUAD
- Since its establishment in 2007, the representatives for the four-member nations have met periodically.
- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the first to pitch the idea for the formation of Quad in 2007.
- In fact, its origins can be traced back to the evolution of Exercise Malabar and the 2004 Tsunami when India conducted relief and rescue operations for itself and neighbouring countries and was later joined by the US, Japan and Australia.
- Therefore, China issued formal diplomatic protests to the members of the Quad.
- However, Australia withdrew from the forum due to the political pressure from the Chinese government and in the wake of the growing conflict between the US and China in the Asia-Pacific region.
- In 2010, enhanced military cooperation between the US and Australia was resumed, leading to Australia’s comeback to the Quad’s naval exercises.
- In 2012, the Japanese PM emphasised the idea of Asia’s ‘Democratic Security Diamond’ comprising the US, Japan, India and Australia.
- It was in 2017 when the first official talks under the Quad took place in the Philippines.
Principles of Quad
- The motive behind the Quad is to keep the strategic sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any military or political influence. It is basically seen as a strategic grouping to reduce Chinese domination.
- The core objective of the Quad is to secure a rules-based global order, freedom of navigation and a liberal trading system. The coalition also aims to offer alternative debt financing for nations in the Indo-Pacific region.
- The Quad leaders exchange views on contemporary global issues such as critical and emerging technologies, connectivity and infrastructure, cyber security, maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, climate change, pandemic and education.
Significance for India:
- Enhanced Security: The Quad provides India with a platform for enhanced security cooperation with like-minded democracies such as the United States, Japan, and Australia. This cooperation can help address shared security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, including maritime security, counterterrorism efforts, and disaster response.
- Counterbalancing China: India, like other Quad members, is concerned about China’s increasing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific. The Quad allows India to be part of a collective effort to balance China’s influence in the region without taking confrontational measures. It aligns with India’s “Act East” policy and helps safeguard its interests in the Indian Ocean and beyond.
- Economic Opportunities: Beyond security, the Quad emphasizes economic cooperation and infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific. For India, this can translate into increased investment, technology collaboration, and trade opportunities in the region, which are vital for its economic growth and connectivity goals.
- Support for Rules-Based Order: India values the commitment of Quad members to a free, open, inclusive, and rules-based Indo-Pacific. This aligns with India’s foreign policy goals and its belief in a multipolar world order where international laws and norms are respected.
- Access to Technology and Resources: The Quad can facilitate access to advanced technologies and resources that are crucial for India’s development and modernization efforts. This includes collaborations in areas like defense technology, cybersecurity, and critical minerals.
- Strengthening Regional Partnerships: The Quad provides India with opportunities to strengthen its partnerships with key regional players like Japan and Australia, which share India’s vision of a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific. These partnerships can contribute to regional stability and economic development.
- Global Influence: Active participation in the Quad enhances India’s standing on the global stage. It positions India as a key player in regional and global security and economic affairs, allowing it to have a greater say in shaping international policies and norms.
- Disaster Response and Humanitarian Aid: The Quad’s cooperative approach extends to disaster response and humanitarian aid. India, with its experience in disaster management, can contribute significantly to the Quad’s efforts in disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.
- China’s Concerns: One of the primary challenges is China’s perception that the Quad is an attempt to contain or encircle it. China views the Quad with suspicion and has criticized it as a form of Cold War mentality. This perception can lead to diplomatic tensions and hinder cooperation on common issues.
- Differing Priorities: Quad members have differing priorities and interests. For example, while they share concerns about China’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific, they may have varying degrees of commitment to addressing these concerns, potentially leading to differences in approaches and expectations.
- Inclusivity: The Quad has faced criticism for its lack of inclusivity. Some argue that it should involve a wider range of countries in the Indo-Pacific region to ensure a more comprehensive approach to addressing regional challenges.
- India’s Aversion of Alliance System: The fact that India is the only member that is averse to a treaty alliance system, has slowed down the progress of building a stronger Quadrilateral engagement.
5 . International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture:
Context: President Droupadi Murmu called for concrete steps to conserve traditional seed varieties and eco-friendly farming practices. She was inaugurating a global seminar organised by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organisation on farmers’ rights. Ms. Murmu said farmers were ‘anna daatas’ (providers of food) and they needed to be saluted. She said it was the duty of everyone to protect farmers’ rights and future.
What is the treaty?
- The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was adopted by the Thirty-First Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on 3 November 2001.
The Treaty aims at:
- recognizing the enormous contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world;
- establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials;
- ensuring that recipients share benefits they derive from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they have been originated.
Main Provisions :
- Multilateral system: The Treaty’s truly innovative solution to access and benefit sharing, the Multilateral System, puts 64 of our most important crops – crops that together account for 80 percent of the food we derive from plants – into an easily accessible global pool of genetic resources that is freely available to potential users in the Treaty’s ratifying nations for some uses.
- Access and benefit sharing: The Treaty facilitates access to the genetic materials of the 64 crops in the Multilateral System for research, breeding and training for food and agriculture. Those who access the materials must be from the Treaty’s ratifying nations and they must agree to use the materials totally for research, breeding and training for food and agriculture. The Treaty prevents the recipients of genetic resources from claiming intellectual property rights over those resources in the form in which they received them, and ensures that access to genetic resources already protected by international property rights is consistent with international and national laws.
- Those who access genetic materials through the Multilateral System agree to share any benefits from their use through four benefit-sharing mechanisms established by the Treaty.
- Farmers’ rights: The Treaty recognizes the enormous contribution farmers have made to the ongoing development of the world’s wealth of plant genetic resources. It calls for protecting the traditional knowledge of these farmers, increasing their participation in national decision-making processes and ensuring that they share in the benefits from the use of these resources
- Sustainable use: Most of the world’s food comes from four main crops – rice, wheat, maize and potatoes. However, local crops, not among the main four, are a major food source for hundreds of millions of people and have potential to provide nutrition to countless others. The Treaty helps maximize the use and breeding of all crops and promotes development and maintenance of diverse farming systems.
6 . Climate Change and Food Security
Context: There has been a series of disruptive weather and climate phenomena in India this year, demonstrating the complexity of our precipitation system. There was the Western disturbance, which usually brings much-needed moisture from European seas to the western Himalaya and parts of northern India in the winter and spring. But this year, the Western disturbance lived up to its name and remained active late into the summer, snapping at the heels of the southwest monsoon.
An El Niño phase
- Climate-linked warming is likely to weaken winter precipitation from the Western disturbance and shift it to more intense rain events. If this happens later into the summer, its consequences will be of great concern.
- Moreover, then came evidence that an El Niño phase of the quasi-periodic El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) — a phenomenon in the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean — was intensifying and likely to affect the southwest monsoon.
- Not all El Niño events have adverse effects on the southwest monsoon because the latter is driven by many ocean-atmosphere-land processes.
- But the relationship between the two entities has been changing over time. When an El Niño affects the southwest monsoon, another ocean-atmosphere phenomenon in the Indian Ocean — called the positive-phase Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) — could balance the consequences.
- Dynamic regression models have suggested that 65% of the inter-annual variability of the southwest monsoon, over many decades, can be attributed to the combined effects of ENSO and the IOD.
El Niño and food security
- Agriculture depends on two types of water — green water which is rain-fed soil moisture tapped by food and cash crops, eventually transpiring into the atmosphere and blue water which is the water in rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and groundwater. The latter is the basis for irrigation in agriculture, apart from drinking and industry use supply, and maintains ecological flows in rivers.
- The El Niño and other climate phenomena affect rainfed agriculture in many ways, from delaying the start of rains, and affecting sowing, to hot temperatures that may negatively influence plant growth and soil moisture.
- Despite investments in dams, reservoirs, and irrigation systems, around half of the cultivated area in India depends on green water, not blue water. Our daily diet in India — from cooking oil to diverse foods — also requires 3,268 litres of water per person per day on average, subject to regional variability. Some 75% of this footprint is green water, demonstrating the importance of rainfed agriculture to our food and nutritional security.
- Even in irrigated areas, many dominant crops require green water for different extents. For example, inkharif season, rice paddy under irrigation uses green water to the tune of 35%. Many staple crops like tur dal, soybean, groundnut, and maize also rely considerably on green water at this time. In the 2015-2016 El Niño year, soybean production in India declined by 28% from the 2013-2022 average.
- As we have just emerged from one of the warmest and driest Augusts in many decades, one can hope that the IOD or other phenomena will help reduce the impact of the El Niño on India’s agriculture, farmers, food security, food inflation, and conflicts over water-sharing between States.
El Niño and the northeast monsoon
- At the end of the southwest monsoon, the blue water stock in our reservoirs and groundwater will partially determine the fate of the rabi crops sown in winter and the overall water security.
- Contributions of green water from the northeast monsoon in southeast India and the Western disturbance in the north will play significant roles as well. The rabi crops of 2024 are going to bank heavily on blue water or irrigation during the summer months.
- Additionally, studies have found that 43% of heavy rainfall events in the northeast monsoon (including the 2015 Chennai floods that caused widespread devastation) coincided with an El Niño.
- Central India’s highlands, encompassing 36 districts in the States of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra, which are emerging as climate change hotspots critical for our water, food and ecological security. It includes 17 urban centres with populations over a lakh and the headwaters for five of India’s 10 major river basins. The basin precipitation ranges from 699 mm in the west to 1,380 mm in the east, with an average of 987 mm per annum.
- This region experiences significant and perennial water stress, driven largely by rabi irrigation with blue water. As a result, some 70-78% of the landscape experiences water stress for four or more months in a year. Of the 17 urban centres, 11 face water stress for six to eight months, with Nagpur enduring water stress for the longest duration.
- The amount of monsoon precipitation has been declining since the 1950s, attributed by some climate scientists to the reduction in land-sea thermal gradient due to warming of the seas.
- However, indications of increased frequency of intense rain events and greater heat and moisture stress for people and ecosystems align with predictions of warming’s impact on the atmosphere’s water-holding capacity and acceleration of the hydrological cycle.
- These events increasingly interact with hydrologically incompatible land-use and infrastructure, resulting in high exposure and vulnerability to disasters.
- Global climate models and their regional equivalents have failed to simulate these observed trends in precipitation, increasing the uncertainty in future projections. However, climate modellers are trying hard to improve these models.
- Given the persistent uncertainties, we should base our adaptation plans on the idea that current trends will continue — more-frequent intense rain, summer heat and moisture stress, and declining monsoon precipitation in some parts of the country.
- It is possible that as warming continues, total rainfall in parts of India may increase but the share of extreme rain events may go up. When this tipping point will transpire is uncertain.
- Attributing specific extreme rain events to climate change or natural dynamics in our complex climate systems, or both, is challenging for climate scientists. But mounting evidence suggests that a warming atmosphere is amplifying many natural dynamics within our complex climate systems.
How we respond:
- In terms of agriculture and food security, there is now an emphasis on reducing dependence on water-intensive crops, with millets being the crops of choice.
- Shifting to less water-intensive crops may reduce vulnerability of our food systems to phenomena like El Niño.
- One estimate suggests that more than 30% of blue water can be saved with such shifts in crops, with some gains in protein and micronutrients but a slight reduction in calories. However, water saved in this manner may not necessarily help recharge our depleted aquifers or restore ecological flows in our rivers: new demands for the saved water quickly emerge unless appropriate policies are in place.
- There are several adaptations and alternative crop strategies available now, thanks to the work of our farmers and agricultural scientists.
- They include shifting to millets and alternative varieties of dominant cereals and advisories to farmers to switch to crops with shorter growing cycles. The government, both at the Centre and in the States, along with farmers, benefit from forecasts of phenomena like El Niño and their impact on the monsoon, and improvements in short-term weather forecasts and early warning systems for both intense rain and dry spells.
- Based on decades of experience, it is clear that alternative short-term and long-term management of dams and reservoirs is required to reduce the risk of dam-based flood disasters and ecological damage to aquatic ecosystems.
7 . Facts for Prelims
- Black hole is a heavy star that is extremely compact. It is generally formed during supernova explosions and has extremely high density: typically a cubic centimetre of its matter will weigh a trillion trillion tonnes.
- As a result it will have such a strong gravitational force that even photons (light particles), travelling at a speed of about three lakh kilometres per second, cannot escape from it.
- The boundary of black hole is called the event horizon which acts as a one way towards the black hole and allows nothing to get out of it.
- A black hole is identified by the gravitational force it exerts on nearby stars. Astronomers have found systems in which a visible star orbits around an unseen companion. One cannot conclude that the companion is a black hole always; it might merely be a star that is too faint. If the unseen companion happens to be a black hole, then because of its high gravity it will start pulling matter off the surface of the visible star. This matter starts falling towards the black hole in a characteristic spiral path. In the process it also emits X-rays which can be detected from the Earth.
- From the observed orbit of the visible star one can determine the lowest possible mass of the black hole.
- Astronomers have identified such an X-ray source in the constellation Cygnus (also called as Northern Cross and Swan) and have named it as Cygnus Xl. The unseen object is estimated to be about six times the mass of the sun, which is too big for the star to be a dwarf star or a neutron star. Therefore they have concluded that it must be a black hole.
Ayushman Bhav health scheme
- The ‘Ayushman Bhav’ campaign, initiated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, is a comprehensive nationwide healthcare initiative that aims to provide saturation coverage of healthcare services, reaching every village and town in the country. This groundbreaking initiative builds upon the success of the Ayushman Bharat program and signifies a paradigm shift in healthcare services.
- The campaign, which will be implemented during the ‘Seva Pakhwada’ from September 17th to October 2nd, 2023, embodies a whole-of-nation and whole-of-society approach. It unites government sectors, civil society organizations and communities under a common mission to ensure that every individual receives essential health services without any disparity or exclusion.
- The Ayushman Bhav campaign is a collaborative effort spearheaded by Gram Panchayats in coordination with the Department of Health, other government departments, and local elected bodies in the rural and urban areas. Its core objective is to extend comprehensive healthcare coverage to every village and town, transcending geographical barriers and ensuring that no one is left behind.
- The Ayushman Bhav campaign is aligned with the vision of creating ‘Healthy Villages’ and ‘Healthy Gram Panchayats,’ laying the foundation for achieving Universal Health Coverage in the country. Panchayats that successfully saturate the health schemes will earn the prestigious title of ‘Ayushman Gram Panchayat’ or ‘Ayushman Urban Ward,’ symbolizing their dedication to equitable healthcare provision.
- The G7 is an informal bloc of industrialized democracies—the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom (UK)—that meets annually to discuss issues such as global economic governance, international security, and energy policy.
- Russia belonged to the forum from 1998 through 2014, when the bloc was known as the Group of Eight (G8), but it was suspended following its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.
- The European Union (EU) has participated fully in the G7 since 1981 as a “nonenumerated” member. It is represented by the presidents of the European Council, which comprises EU member states’ leaders, and of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body. There is no formal criteria for membership, but all participants are wealthy democracies.
Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards:
- The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology (SSB) is a science award in India given annually by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for notable and outstanding research, applied or fundamental, in biology, chemistry, environmental science, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and physics.
- The prize recognizes outstanding Indian work (according to the view of CSIR awarding committee) in science and technology. It is the most coveted award in multidisciplinary science in India.
- The award is named after the founder Director of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar. It was first awarded in 1958.
- Any citizen of India engaged in research in any field of science and technology up to the age of 45 years is eligible for the prize.
- The prize is awarded on the basis of contributions made through work done in India only during the five years preceding the year of the prize.
United Nations Human Rights Council:
- The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a United Nations body whose mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world.
- The Council has 47 members elected for staggered three-year terms on a regional group basis.
- The headquarters of the Council are at the United Nations Office at Geneva in Switzerland.
- The Council was established by the United Nations General Assembly on 15 March 2006 to replace the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. (CHR)
- The members of the General Assembly elect the members who occupy 47 seats of the Human Rights Council.
- The term of each seat is three years, and no member may occupy a seat for more than two consecutive terms.
- The previous CHR had a membership of 53 elected by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) through a majority of those present and voting.