Daily Current Affairs : 14th June 2023

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Hiroshima AI Process
  2. Lightning
  3. Govt Power to remove content from Social Media Platforms
  4. UNSC Reforms
  5. Facts for Prelims

          1 . Hiroshima AI Process 

          Context: The annual Group of Seven (G-7) Summit, hosted by Japan, took place in Hiroshima. Among other matters, the G-7 Hiroshima Leaders’ Communiqué initiated the Hiroshima AI Process (HAP) — an effort by this bloc to determine a way forward to regulate Artificial Intelligence (AI).   

          What is the Hiroshima AI process? 

          • Hiroshima AI Process is a ministerial forum created by G7 leaders which will discuss issues regarding generative AI tools like ChatGPT, such as intellectual property rights and disinformation. It is scheduled to be formed by the end of this year. 
          • Policymakers in the EU, US, and elsewhere are considering legislation or regulation affecting artificial intelligence. Amid this rising global attention toward AI and its implications for policy and society, and the Hiroshima AI Process represents a significant effort to ensure that these efforts are interoperable with one another.    
          • Hiroshima AI Process helps to ensure coordinated approaches to AI governance, especially generative AI.   
          • The Hiroshima AI Process is a commendable step toward ensuring the world’s largest economies develop interoperable rules for AI. 

          What is the significance of this Process? 

          • While the communiqué doesn’t indicate the expected outcomes from the HAP, there is enough in there to indicate what values and norms will guide it and from where it will derive its guiding principles, based on which it will govern AI.
          • The communiqué as well as the ministerial declaration also mentioned that AI development and implementation must be aligned with values such as freedom, democracy, and human rights. 
          • Hiroshima AI Process also stresses fairness, accountability, transparency, and safety. It spoke of “the importance of procedures that advance transparency, openness, and fair processes” for developing responsible AI.   

          What does the process entail? 

          • An emphasis on freedom, democracy, and human rights, and mentions of “multi-stakeholder international organisations” and “multi-stakeholder processes” indicate that the HAP isn’t expected to address AI regulation from a state-centric perspective. Instead, it exists to account for the importance of involving multiple stakeholders in various processes and to ensure the latter are fair and transparent 
          • It can help these countries develop a common understanding on some key regulatory issues while ensuring that any disagreement doesn’t result in complete discord. 

          What are the ways in which HAP move forward? 

          There are three ways in which the HAP can move forward —  

          1. It can enable the G-7 countries to move towards a divergent regulation based on shared norms, principles and guiding values;  
          2. It can become overwhelmed by the divergent views among the G-7 countries and fail to deliver any meaningful solution;  
          3. It can deliver a mixed outcome with some convergence on certain issues and at the same time a lack of common ground on many others. 

              Example of how the process can help- 

              • The matter of intellectual property rights (IPR) offers an example of how the HAP can help. While IPR in the context of AI finds mention in the communiqué, the relationship between AI and IPR and in different jurisdictions is not clear. The HAP can help the G-7 countries move towards a consensus on this issue by specifying guiding rules and principles related to AI and IPR. 
              • HAP can develop a common guideline for G-7 countries that permits the use of copyrighted materials in datasets for machine-learning as ‘fair use’, subject to some conditions. 
              • It can also differentiate use for machine-learning per se from other AI-related uses of copyrighted materials. This in turn could affect the global discourse and practice on this issue. 

              What is the vision? 

              • The G7 communiqué states that “the common vision and goal of trustworthy AI may vary across G7 members.” 
              • HAP will help to promote international discussions on AI governance and interoperability between AI governance frameworks. 
              • Hiroshima AI process along with the OECD and GPAI could discuss about the topics such as governance, safeguard of intellectual property rights including copyrights, promotion of transparency, response to foreign information manipulation, including disinformation, and responsible utilisation of these technologies. 
              • The emphasis on working with others, including OECD countries and on developing an interoperable AI governance framework, suggests that while the HAP is a process established by the G-7, it still has to respond to the concerns of other country-groups as well as the people and bodies involved in developing international technical standards in AI. 
              • It is also possible that countries that aren’t part of the G-7 would want to influence the global governance of AI, and may launch a process of their own like the HAP. 

              2 . Lightning 

              Context: New York City’s air quality was recently among the worst in the world due to smoke drifting from the wildfires in Canada. 

              What’s causing the wildfires? 

              • Most of wildfires in Canada’s British Columbia and Alberta province were caused by lightning. 

              What is Lightning? 

              • Lightning is a natural phenomenon formed by the occurrence of lightning bolts, which are electrostatic discharges through the atmosphere between two electrically charged regions, either both in the atmosphere or with one in the atmosphere and on the ground, temporarily neutralizing these in an almost instantaneous release of an average of one gigajoule of energy. This discharge may produce a wide range of electromagnetic radiation, from heat created by the rapid movement of electrons to brilliant flashes of visible light in the form of black-body radiation. 

              Types of Lightning 

              • Cloud to Ground Lightning –In CG lightning, a channel of negative charge, called a stepped leader, will zigzag downward in a ‘forked’ pattern – hence it is sometimes called forked lightning. This stepped leader is invisible to the human eye and travels to the ground in a millisecond. As it nears the ground, the negatively charged stepped leader is attracted to a channel of positive charge reaching up, a streamer, usually through something tall, such as a tree, house, or telephone pole. When the oppositely-charged leader and streamer connect, a powerful electrical current begins flowing (hence why it is ill-advised to stand under a tall object during a thunderstorm!). 
              • Cloud to Air Lightning : This refers to a discharge that jumps from a cloud into clear air and terminates abruptly – indeed, CG lightning contains CA lightning via the branches that extend from the main channel into the mid-air. However, the most dramatic examples occur when long, bright lightning channels extend from the sides of cumulonimbus clouds.
              • Ground-to-Cloud (GC) Lightning : An upward-moving leader initiates a discharge between cloud and ground from an object on the ground. Ground-to-Cloud lightning strikes – sometimes called upward-moving lightning –  are common on tall towers and skyscrapers. GC lightning can also be either positive or negative in polarity. Lightning that demonstrates upward branching indicates a ground-to-cloud flash, though some upward-moving lightning is branchless below the cloud base.
              •  Intracloud (IC) Lightning  : This is the most common type of discharge and refers to lightning embedded within a single storm cloud, which jumps between different charge regions in the cloud.  Sheet Lightning is a term used to describe clouds illuminated by a lightning discharge where the actual lightning channel is either inside the clouds or below the horizon (i.e. not visible to the observer). Although often associated with IC lightning, it is any lightning hidden by clouds or terrain aside from the flash of light it produces. A related term, heat lightning, is any lightning or lightning-induced illumination too far away for thunder to be heard. Heat lightning got its name because it is often seen on hot summer nights when thunderstorms are common. 
              •  Cloud-to-Cloud (CC) Lightning (or intercloud lightning) : Although rare, lightning can also travel from one cloud to another (or more!). Spider lightning refers to long, horizontal moving flashes often seen on the underside of stratiform clouds. (Not to be confused with intracloud lightning within a single cloud).

              How does lightning work? 

              • Lightning is a rapid and massive discharge of electricity in the atmosphere some of which is directed towards earth.
              • The discharges are generated in giant moisture-bearing clouds that are 10-12 km tall. The base of these clouds typically lie within 1-2 km of the Earth’s surface, while the top is 12-13 km away. Temperatures in the top of these clouds are in the range of –35° to –45°C.
              • As water vapour moves upward in the cloud, the falling temperature causes it to condense. As they move to temperatures below 0°C, the water droplets change into small ice crystals. They continue to move up, gathering mass until they are so heavy that they start to fall to Earth. This leads to a system in which, simultaneously, smaller ice crystals are moving up and bigger crystals are coming down.
              • Collisions follow and trigger the release of electrons, a process that is very similar to the generation of sparks of electricity. As the moving free electrons cause more collisions and more electrons, a chain reaction ensues.
              • This process results in a situation in which the top layer of the cloud gets positively charged, while the middle layer is negatively charged. The electrical potential difference between the two layers is huge, of the order of a billion to 10 billion volts. In very little time, a massive current, of the order of 100,000 to a million amperes, starts to flow between the layers.
              • While the Earth is a good conductor of electricity, it is electrically neutral. However, in comparison to the middle layer of the cloud, it becomes positively charged. As a result, about 15%-20% of the current gets directed towards the Earth as well. It is this flow of current that results in damage to life and property on Earth.
              • Direct lightning strikes are rare but even indirect strikes are fatal given the immense amount of charge involved.

              How lightning creates wildfire

              • After a long, dry summer, it only takes one spark to start a fire. Humid air aloft feeds thunderstorms, while the dry air below causes the rain to evaporate in a phenomenon known as virga. Lightning from these storms can spark wildfires.

              Is lightning a climate indicator? 

              • Long-term changes in lightning patterns reflect, at least in part, changes wrought by the climate crisis. The World Meteorological Organisation recognises lightning to be an essential climate variable that contributes critically to the way the earth’s climate is characterised. 
              • It needs to be emphasised that lightning-climate relationship based on data for short periods, and different regions, in the present climate cannot always be used as a proxy for future global warming. Because is because surface temperature is also affected by a host of other factors. 
              • Lightning also produces nitrogen oxides, which react with oxygen in the air to form ozone, which is a strong greenhouse gas. 

              Key findings of the study published in Nature 

              • According to a study published in Nature on February 10, 2023, lightning is the main precursor of natural wildfires.   
              • Laboratory experiments and field observations have together revealed that lightning electric currents that flow for more than some tens of milliseconds, the so-called long-continuing currents (LCC), are likely to produce fires. 
              • The study indicated an increase in the total global lightning activity and global LCCs by the 2090s. In one climate projection, the simulated globally averaged surface temperature increased by about 4 degrees C. Here, the amount of total lightning activity was found to increase by 11% per K. 
              • The same study also found that LCC lightning activity increased by around 47% over land, implying a higher risk of lightning-ignited wildfires in the future. The simulated relative increase in the global total lightning flash rate of 43% is also similar to the relative increase in the global LCC lightning flash rate (41%). 
              • The trends face the other way in some other regions, including the western parts of North America, northern and southern South America, parts of Central Asia, and in the Scandinavian peninsula. Simulations have found that in these parts of the world, the total lightning activity could decrease but the amount of LCC lightning activity could increase, leading to an increase in wildfires. 

              Lightning strikes in India 

              • Of late, lightning strikes have been the deadliest natural disaster in India. There were 18.5 million lightning strikes in the country between April 2020 and March 2021 – 34% higher than the previous year – according to the Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council. The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, has also reported a sharp uptick in strikes in the decade since 1995. 
              • Per a report of the Lightning Resilient India Campaign, 90,632 people died by lightning between 1972 and 2019. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, India had 2,875 deaths due to lightning in 2019, rising marginally by 2021. 
              • However, the Campaign report also said strikes had dropped by 60% in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Nagaland in 2021-2022. It also said that most such deaths in India happen because people living in villages seek shelter from lightning under tall trees, which are more likely to be struck. 

              Lighting Atlas

              • A recently released annual report on lightning by the Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council (CROPC), which works closely with government agencies like the India Meteorological Department, includes a lightning atlas which maps vulnerability at the district level.
              • According to the report, Madhya Pradesh has reported the largest number of cloud to ground lighting strikes, followed by Chhatisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal. Other states with high strike rate include Bihar, UP, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu.

              Mitigation Measures

              • Lightning is not classified as a natural disaster in India. But recent efforts have resulted in the setting up of an early warning system, that is already saving many lives. More than 96% of lightning deaths happen in rural areas. As such, most of the mitigation and public awareness programmes need to focus on these communities.
              • Lightning protection devices are fairly unsophisticated and low-cost. Yet, their deployment in the rural areas, as of now, is extremely low.
              • States are being encouraged to prepare and implement lightning action plans, on the lines of heat action plans. An international centre for excellence on lightning research to boost detection and early warning systems is also in the process of being set up.

                3 . Powers of Govt to remove content from Social Media Platforms  

              Context: Former Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey said that the Indian government had threatened to shut down the social media network in the country. India had demanded twitter about the “contact information” tied to certain accounts in addition to shutting them down. 

              Section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act

              • Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, was introduced by an amendment to the Act in 2008. It gives the Central government the power to block public access to any information online — whether on websites or mobile apps.
              • Under Section 69A, if a website threatens India’s defence, its sovereignty and integrity, friendly relations with foreign countries and public order, the government can ban it, after following due procedure.
              • The detailed procedures to do so are listed under the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009. Apart from this, a court may also issue directions for blocking information online. The Department of Telecommunications, too, can issue blocking orders to internet service providers, to enforce licensing conditions.

              Blocking Procedure

              • In terms of process, there are two options available to the government under Section 69A of the IT Act to issue ban orders — normal and emergency.
              • Section 69A mandates that every ministry in central, state and Union Territory governments must have a nodal officer, to receive complaints about websites that host ‘offensive’ content. Once the nodal officer sees merit in the complaint, he/she then forwards it to a designated officer, who chairs a committee to examine the grievance.
              • This committee includes representatives from the Ministries of Law and Justice, Home Affairs, Information and Broadcasting and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), and give the intermediary a hearing.
              • In the normal course, an order to block content requires: (a) a decision to be made by a government committee (b) relevant intermediaries to be given an opportunity to be heard by this committee. These processes are not required when emergency provisions are used.
              • The emergency route allows content to be blocked on the directions of the Secretary, Department of IT, who must consider the impugned content and record his reasons for doing so.
              • However, in the case of emergencies, the order of the Secretary, Department of IT, must be placed before the government committee within 48 hours. Based on the recommendations of this committee, the order can then be finalised or vacated.

              The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 

              • The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 gives power to the central government to remove content from social media platform.  
              • The information technology rules gives powers to central government to override decisions of top social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and other internet firms to suspend, block or remove accounts of users over various violations. 

              Social media grievance appellate panels 

              • Under the IT rules, a three-member Grievance Appellate Committee(s) will be set up within three months from the date of commencement of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2022 
              • Each grievance appellate committee will consist of a chairperson and two whole-time members appointed by the Central government, of which one will be a member ex-officio and two shall be independent members. 
              • As per the rules, if a person’s social media account faces action from a company and he or she fails to get any satisfactory redressal from its grievance officer, the user can file an appeal with GAC within 30 days. The GAC will deal with the appeals “expeditiously and attempt to resolve it within 30 calendar days 

              Government can ask internet giants to remove content on users’ complaint  

              • The Centre has also given itself powers to direct social media platforms to take down or moderate certain contentious content on user complaints 
              • As per the rules, a person could now file an appeal with the government’s appellate panels, if they have grievances against decisions of social media platforms on hosting contentious content.  
              • The government has, in the rules, added objectionable religious content (with intent to incite violence) alongside pornography, trademark infringements, fake information and something that could be a threat to sovereignty of the nation that users can flag to social media platforms.  
              • The amendments provide for social media platforms to acknowledge user complaints within 24 hours, and resolve them within 15 days thereafter and take down certain contentious content within 72 hours of reporting.  
              • The complaints could range from child sexual abuse material to nudity to trademark and patent infringements, misinformation, impersonation of another person, content threatening the unity and integrity of the country as well as “obectionable” content that promotes “enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion or caste with the intent to incite violence”. 

              4 . United Nation Security Council 

              Context: Commenting on the fact that India is yet to find a place as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the time had come for the UN and its bodies to be “more democratic and representative of the current realities of our age” 

              What is UNSC? 

              • The United Nations Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with ensuring international peace and security, recommending the admission of new UN members to the General Assembly, and approving any changes to the UN Charter 
              • It has 15 Members, and each Member has one vote. Under the Charter of the United Nations, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions. 
              • UNSC has five permanent members- China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (P5)  that enjoy veto power.

              Power and Functions of the UNSC 

              • to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations; 
              • to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction; 
              • to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement; 
              • to formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments; 
              • to determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken; 
              • to call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression; 
              • to take military action against an aggressor; 
              • to recommend the admission of new Members; 
              • to exercise the trusteeship functions of the United Nations in “strategic areas”; 
              • to recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and, together with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court of Justice. 

              Background on Security Council Reform

              • The UN General Assembly began debating Security Council reform in 1993 where several models were put forward as viable options and several countries have put themselves forward as candidates for permanent membership.

              Need for UNSC reforms

              • The Security Council is not representative of the geopolitical realities of the modern world.
              • Both Africa and Latin America lack a permanent seat on the Council, while Europe  is overrepresented and Asia is underrepresented.
              • The Need to Ensure the Effectiveness of the Security Council- As the roles of the Security Council become diversified, including non-proliferation and peacebuilding, it has become essential and urgent that the Council is transformed into a body which can ensure the universal implementation of its decisions. 
              • Increase in the Number of Member States- When the UN was established in 1945, there were 51 Member States. Now, there are 193 Member States, nearly four times the original number. In comparison, the size of the Security Council membership increased once in 1965, from 11 to 15 members, through an increase in the number of non-permanent seats. 
              • Misuse of Veto Power:- Furthermore, the veto powers enjoyed by the P5 members have been criticized for stalling the governing capacity of the UNSC. Oftentimes, the permanent members have been accused of misusing their veto to suit their national agendas at the detriment of global security.  For instance, Russia vetoed many resolutions condemning its actions in Ukraine, USA has used it nearly 20 times over Israel-Palestine issue, China has deployed it as a diplomatic weapon against India to ‘safeguard’ terrorists, and the like

              Proposed UNSC reform by G4

              • The G4 (Brazil, India, Japan and Germany) has proposed expanding UNSC membership from 15 to 25 by adding six permanent members and four non-permanent members, with the objective of the G4 obtaining permanent membership. 
              • The G-4 countries have agreed to forego their right to the veto for at least 15 years.
              • The G4 countries agreed to work with other reform-minded countries and groups to start text-based negotiations (TBN) without delay and seek concrete outcomes during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.
              • G4 nations have called for representation of Africa in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership of a reformed and expanded Security Council to correct the historical injustice against this continent with regard to its under-representation in the Security Council.
              • G4 Ministers reiterated support for each other’s membership to the UNSC given the capacity and willingness to take on major responsibilities with regard to the maintenance of international peace and security.

              India’s stand on UNSC reforms

              • India has been spearheading decades-long efforts to reform the Security Council. 
              • India has always maintained that the UNSC was set up in 1945and now it does not reflect contemporary realities of the 21st century and is ill-equipped to handle current challenges.
              • India has widespread support for its permanent membership, including by four of the five permanent members of the Security Council – the US, the UK, France and Russia.

              Benefits for India

              • If the UNSC reforms and India gets a permanent seat then it will have the veto power and greater say in matters that are of consequential importance.
              • India can protect its interests and force Pakistan to stop supporting terror elements and let non-state actors use its soil for terrorist actions.
              • With increase n regional representation India will be in a better position to stop western forces from promoting their vested interests

              On what basis is India demanding a permanent seat? 

              • First and foremost, India enjoys a long standing and deep historical relation with the UNSC as it was one of the founding members of the organization. The association, besides being long, has also been a meaningful one, wherein India has sent more than 2.5 lakh soldiers to the UN Peacekeeping forces. As of early 2022, Indian soldiers have served in 49 of the 71 global peacekeeping missions since 1948.  
              • Secondly, India is home to nearly one-sixth of the global population and is all set to become the most populous nation. A country representing 1.4 billion people undisputedly deserves a spot at the top decision making table. 
              • Third, India has demonstrated its skills as a responsible world leader, and holds the distinction of being a Nuclear Weapon State, just like the P5 members. Its adherence to the ‘No First Use policy’ and deterrence against non-nuclear states has exhibited India’s hard power. Against this backdrop, India has also emerged as an undisputed leader of the developing world.  
              • India’s stance of a strategic neutrality during the cold war, as evident in its lead to the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) as well as its ability to follow the Panchsheel principles of peace and tranquility, non interference, and non-aggression in foreign policy align closely with the values enshrined in the UN Charter.  
              • Further, India is among the world’s fastest growing economies and is the third largest globally in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. Besides, India is also a repository of immense soft power which gives it a moral high ground, in holding the distinction of being the world’s largest democracy. 
              • It is in this regard, that four of the five permanent members too have, time and again, voiced their support for India’s permanent membership at the UNSC.  

              What is blocking India’s permanent membership? 

              • Expansion of the UNSC is a difficult feat to achieve owing to the watertight rules of the UN Charter. Any amendment requires approval from two-thirds of all members and has to dodge the veto by any of the five permanent members.  
              • In this light, China has been at the forefront of vetoing against India’s attempt at acquiring a permanent seat.  
              • Some nations have vociferously opposed India’s bid and questioned the basis on which it has laid claim for a permanent seat. It is argued that despite being a nuclear state, India has refused to sign the Non-proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. 
              • Further, it is contested that India is still heavily reliant on military imports from the US and Russia and is yet to display its military might beyond the Indo-Pacific. Moreover, as per a 2022 assessment by the UN’s Committee on Contributions, India’s fund contributions to the organization stand at $29.9 million, which is significantly lower of the contributions made by the P5 or even Germany, which contributed $175 million.  
              • India’s soft power influence has also been scrutinized. It has been pointed out that despite economic growth, India continues to perform poorly on human development indicators and is even behind its immediate neighbors, which are smaller economies, in the Human Development Index. Its poor performance on socio-economic and other relevant indicators including press freedom, happiness index etc. have raised doubts.  
              • In fact, a group of 12 countries in 1995 formed the Uniting for Consensus, dubbed as the Coffee Club, to jointly oppose the expansion, which they contend will dilute the power. These include Italy, Spain, Malta, San Marino, Pakistan, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica & Turkey.  

              So has there been any international progress on UNSC expansion? 

              • In 1997, then UN General Assembly President Ismail Razali proposed a plan to enlarge the UNSC from the present 15 (5 permanent and 10 non permanent) seats to 24 (5 more permanent and 4 more non permanent seats). However, this plan proposed to have 5 new permanent memberships without the veto powers.  
              • This plan proved divisive, wherein on the one hand, it garnered strong support from primarily the global south, including India, but also faced stiff opposition from others. It later formed the basis of the 2005 Kofi Annan plan under the aegis of the General Assembly Task Force on Security Council Reform, but failed to fructify.  
              • Over the years, several multilateral groupings of concerned nations have emerged that seek a reform of the global body. The L69 group of nations, which includes 42 member countries from across Asia, Africa and Latin America is one such grouping.  
              • India also joined Brazil, Japan, and Germany to form the G4 group of countries, who collectively stake claim for a permanent seat and even support each other’s quest for one.  
              • Most recently in 2016, India hopped on board the newly founded group of Friends on UN Security Council Reform, created to accelerate the negotiating process for reforms. 
              • Against this backdrop, in 2015, the 193 member-United Nations adopted a “historic” consensus resolution in its 69th General Assembly on September 14 to constitute a Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) to a Text-Based Negotiations (TBN) process for reforming the UNSC. 

              Opposition to Reforms

              • The P5 generally opposes any expansion of membership of the Council that would diminish their power though they occasionally support some countries bids. As negotiations are currently stalled over membership expansion, P5 countries have supported bids for membership by some countries. Most recently, the US gave its support to India. France has backed Africa for a permanent seat.
              • Uniting for Consensus (UFC) is a movement, nicknamed the Coffee Club, that developed in the 1990s in opposition to the possible expansion of permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council. Under the leadership of Italy, it aims to counter the bids for permanent seats proposed by G4 nations (Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan) and is calling for a consensus before any decision is reached on the form and size of the Security Council.
              • India is demanding a permanent seat in the UNSC and its case is being supported by four of the five permanent members of the Security Council – USA, UK, France and Russia. India is facing opposition only from China. Pakistan’s is also opposing India’s stand.
              • Italy and Spain are opposed to Germany’s bid for UNSC’s permanent membership
              • Argentina is against Brazil’s bid
              • Australia is opposing Japan.

              5 . Facts for Prelims 

              Second Schedule of the RTI Act 

              • Second schedule of the RTI Act contains the details of the Intelligence and security organisation established by the Central Government that are exempted under Section 24 of the RTI Act. 
              • Section 24 of the RTI Act exempts certain intelligence and security organisations from the ambit of the transparency law except for information “pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations”. 

              Organisations exempted under the Section 24  

              • 1. Intelligence Bureau.  
              • 2. Research and Analysis Wing including its technical wing namely, the Aviation Research Centre of the Cabinet Secretariat 
              •  3. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.  
              • 4. Central Economic Intelligence Bureau.  
              • 5. Directorate of Enforcement.  
              • 6. Narcotics Control Bureau.  
              • 7. Special Frontier Force. 
              • 8. Border Security Force.  
              • 9. Central Reserve Police Force.  
              • 10. Indo-Tibetan Border Police.  
              • 11. Central Industrial Security Force.  
              • 12. National Security Guards.  
              • 13. Assam Rifles.  
              • 14. Sashtra Seema Bal 
              • 15 Directorate General of Income-tax (Investigation). 
              • 16. National Technical Research Organisation. 
              • 17. Financial Intelligence Unit, India. 
              • 18.  Special Protection Group.  
              • 19. Defence Research and Development Organisation.  
              • 20. Border Road Development Board.  
              • 21. National Security Council Secretariat. 
              • 22.  Central Bureau of Investigation.  
              • 23. National investigation Agency. 
              • 24.  National Intelligence Grid. 
              • 25 Strategic Forces Command. 

              Anjadip and Sanshodhak 


              • Anjadip, an anti-submarine warfare shallow watercraft vessel built by Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), for the Navy was launched at the Larsen and Toubro, Kattupalli Port  
              • Anjadip, is the third of the eight ships of the contract that was signed between Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata and Ministry of Defence in April 2019. 
              • The vessel was named after the island of Anjadip located off Karwar Port, Karnataka signifying its strategic maritime importance 
              • The ‘Arnala’ class of ships built by GRSE would replace the current ‘Abhay’ class of Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvettes of the Navy and are designed to undertake anti-submarine operations in coastal waters, low intensity maritime operations, subsurface surveillance among others. 
              • The ships would have 80 per cent indigenisation. Each ship measuring about 77 metre long, would have a displacement of 900 tons with a maximum speed of 25 knots and an endurance of 1,800 nautical miles. 


              • Sanshodhak’, the fourth of four ships of Survey Vessels (Large) (SVL) Project, being built by L&T/ GRSE for Indian Navy was launched at Kattupalli, Chennai. 
              • The ship named ‘Sanshodhak’, meaning ‘Researcher’, signifies the primary role of the ship as a Survey Vessel. 
              • SVL ships will replace the existing Sandhayak Class survey ships, with new generation hydrographic equipment, to collect oceanographic data.  
              • The Survey Vessel (Large) ships are 110 m long, 16 m wide with a displacement of 3,400 tons. The hull of these ships is made from indigenously developed DMR 249-A steel manufactured by Steel Authority of India Limited. 
              • With a capability to carry four Survey Motor Boats and an integral helicopter, the primary role of the ships would be to undertake full scale coastal and deep-water hydrographic surveys of Ports and navigational channels.  
              • The ships would also be deployed for collecting oceanographic and geophysical data for defence as well as civil applications. 
              • In their secondary role, the ships are capable of providing limited defense, HADR, and can serve as Hospital ships during emergencies. 
              • The Survey Vessels Large will have over 80% indigenous content by cost, ensuring defence production by Indian manufacturing units with a spin off in employment generation and warship building capability in the country.   

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