Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Vaccine confidence project
- Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)
- UN Report on World Glaciers
- Assam Arunachal Border Dispute
- Facts for Prelims – Exercise INIOCHOS-23
1 . Vaccine Confidence Project
Context: Only China, India, and Mexico, that is three out of the 55 countries studied for popular perception of the importance of vaccines for children, showed improvement as per data collected by The Vaccine Confidence Project (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and published by UNICEF.
Key Highlights of the report
- UNICEF India released the agency’s global flagship report ‘The State of the World’s Children 2023: For Every Child, Vaccination,’ highlighting the significance of childhood immunization
- According to Cynthia McCaffrey, UNICEF India Representative, World’s Children 2023 report highlights India as one of the countries with the highest vaccine confidence in the world.
- This is a recognition of the Government of India’s political and social commitment and demonstrates that the largest vaccines drive during the pandemic has paid off in building confidence and strengthening systems for routine immunization to vaccinate every child.
- Based on new data collected by The Vaccine Confidence Project (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and published by UNICEF, the report reveals that popular perception of the importance of vaccines for children held firm or improved only in China, India and Mexico out of 55 countries studied.
- While vaccine confidence marks a decline in over a third of the studied countries, e.g., in the Republic of Korea, Papua New Guinea, Ghana, Senegal and Japan after the start of the pandemic.
Reason for declining Vaccine Confidence
- The decline in vaccine confidence globally comes amid the largest sustained backslide in childhood immunization in 30 years, fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The pandemic interrupted childhood vaccination almost everywhere, especially due to intense demands on health systems, the diversion of immunization resources to COVID-19 vaccination, health worker shortages and stay-at-home measures.
- The report warns of the growing threat of vaccine hesitancy due to factors such as access to misleading information and declining trust in vaccine efficacy.
- The report has also mentioned that a total of 67 million children missed out on vaccinations between 2019 and 2021.
- It found unvaccinated children often live in hard-to-reach communities such as rural areas or urban slums. They often have mothers who have been unable to attend school and are given little say in family decisions.
- These challenges are most significant in low- and middle-income countries, where about 1 in 10 children in urban areas are zero doses and 1 in 6 in rural areas. In upper-middle-income countries, there is almost no gap between urban and rural children
- India’s achievement- Despite an increase in the number of zero-dose (unreached or missed out) children to three million – between 2020 and 2021 – during the pandemic, India was able to arrest the backslide and bring down the number to 2.7 million, which represents a smaller proportion of the India’s under -5 child population given its size and the world’s largest birth cohort.
- This achievement can be attributed to sustained evidence-based catch-up campaigns initiated by the government, including the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI), continued provision of comprehensive Primary Health Care services, a strong Routine Immunization programme and dedicated health workers. Continued progress is being made to reach the last mile and the last child
- Mission Indradhanush (MI) was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) on 25th December 2014 with the aim of expanding immunization coverage to all children across India.
- Children across socio-economic, cultural and geographical spectrums in India, are being immunized under this program.
Objectives of the Mission
- The Mission Indradhanush aims to cover all those children who are either unvaccinated or are partially vaccinated against vaccine preventable diseases.
- It aims to provide vaccines for children up to two years of age and pregnant women.
- India’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) provide free vaccines against 12 life threatening diseases, to 26 million children annually.
- The Universal Immunization Programme provides life-saving vaccines to all children across the country free of cost to protect them against Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis B, Pneumonia and Meningitis due to Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib), Measles, Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Rotavirus diarrhoea. (Rubella, JE and Rotavirus vaccine in select states and districts).
Intensified Mission Indradhanush
- To further intensify the immunisation programme, PM Narendra Modi launched the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) on 8 October 2017.
- Through this the Government aims to reach each and every child up to two years of age and all those pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunisation programme/UIP.
- The focus of special drive was to improve immunisation coverage in select districts and cities to ensure full immunisation to more than 90% by December 2018 instead of 2020
2 . Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)
Context: Union Home Minister Amit Shah has called on the nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to adopt a collective approach to disaster resilience by pooling resources and expertise and avoiding the duplication of efforts.
What is Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure?
- The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) is a partnership of national governments, UN agencies and programmes, multilateral development banks and financing mechanisms, the private sector, and knowledge institutions that aims to promote the resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks in support of sustainable development.
- Its objective is to promote research and knowledge sharing in the fields of infrastructure risk management, standards, financing, and recovery mechanisms.
- It was launched by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019.
- CDRI’s initial focus is on developing disaster-resilience in ecological, social, and economic infrastructure. It aims to achieve substantial changes in member countries’ policy frameworks and future infrastructure investments, along with a major decrease in the economic losses suffered due to disasters.
- The following are CDRI’s strategic priorities:
- Technical Support and Capacity-building: This includes disaster response and recovery support; innovation, institutional and community capacity-building assistance; and standards and certification.
- Research and Knowledge Management: This includes collaborative research; global flagship reports; and a global database of infrastructure and sector resilience.
- Advocacy and Partnerships: This includes global events and initiatives; marketplace of knowledge financing and implementation agencies; and dissemination of knowledge products.
- Background- CDRI was first proposed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 2016 Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
- It was later conceptualised in the first and second edition of the International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (IWDRI) in 2018–19, which were organized by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of India, in partnership with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the UN Development Programme, the World Bank, and the Global Commission on Adaptation.
- Significance – The CDRI supports countries to upgrade their systems to ensure disaster and climate resilience of existing and future infrastructure, in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the Sendai Framework. Membership in the CDRI is open to all entities, subject to the approval of the governing council.
- It is the second major global initiative launched by the Government of India and is a demonstration of India’s leadership role in climate change and disaster resilience matters, globally.
3 . UN’s WMO Report on world Glaciers
Context: The world’s glaciers melted at dramatic speed last year and saving them is effectively a lost cause, the United Nations reported, as climate change indicators once again hit record highs.
Key highlights of the report
- Global mean temperature in 2022 was 1.15 [1.02 to 1.28] °C above the 1850-1900 average. 2022 was the 5th or 6th warmest year. Record global mean temperatures over the past eight years came despite the cooling impact of a drawn-out La Nina weather phenomenon that stretched over nearly half that period.
- Concentrations of the three main greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide – reached record observed highs in 2021. The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached 415.7 parts per million globally, or 149% of the pre-industrial (1750) level, while methane reached 262% and nitrous oxide hit 124%. Data indicate they continued to increase in 2022.
- Reference glaciers for which we have long-term observations experienced an average thickness change of over −1.3 metres between October 2021 and October 2022. This loss is much larger than the average of the last decade. In Europe, the Alps smashed records for glacier melt due to a combination of little winter snow, an intrusion of Saharan dust in March 2022 and heatwaves between May and early September.
- Sea ice in Antarctica dropped to 1.92 million km2 on February 25, 2022, the lowest level on record and almost 1 million km2 below the long-term (1991-2020) mean. For the rest of the year, it was continuously below average, with record lows in June and July. Arctic sea ice in September at the end of the summer melt tied for the 11th lowest monthly minimum ice extent in the satellite record.
- Ocean heat content reached a new observed record high in 2022. Around 90% of the energy trapped in the climate system by greenhouse gases goes into the ocean, somewhat ameliorating even higher temperature increases but posing risks to marine ecosystems. Ocean warming rates have been particularly high in the past two decades. Despite continuing La Niña conditions, 58% of the ocean surface experienced at least one marine heatwave during 2022.
- Global mean sea level (GMSL) continued to rise in 2022, reaching a new record high for the satellite altimeter record (1993-2022). The rate of global mean sea level rise has doubled between the first decade of the satellite record (1993-2002, 2.27 mm∙yr–) and the last (2013-2022, 4.62 mm∙yr).
- For the period 2005-2019, total land ice loss from glaciers, Greenland, and Antarctica contributed 36% to the GMSL rise, and ocean warming (through thermal expansion) contributed 55%. Variations in land water storage contributed less than 10%.
- Ocean acidification: CO2 reacts with seawater resulting in a decrease of pH referred to as ‘ocean acidification’. Ocean acidification threatens organisms and ecosystem services.
Socio-economic and environmental impacts
- Drought gripped East Africa. Rainfall has been below-average in five consecutive wet seasons, the longest such sequence in 40 years.
- Record breaking rain in July and August led to extensive flooding in Pakistan.
- Record breaking heatwaves affected Europe during the summer. In some areas, extreme heat was coupled with exceptionally dry conditions.
- Food insecurity: As of 2021, 2.3 billion people faced food insecurity, of which 924 million people faced severe food insecurity.
- Displacement: In Somalia, almost 1.2 million people became internally displaced by the catastrophic impacts of drought on pastoral and farming livelihoods and hunger during the year.
- Environment: Climate change has important consequences for ecosystems and the environment. For example, a recent assessment focusing on the unique high-elevation area around the Tibetan Plateau, the largest storehouse of snow and ice outside the Arctic and Antarctic, found that global warming is causing the temperate zone to expand.
- Climate change is also affecting recurring events in nature, such as when trees blossom, or birds migrate
What are the Optimistic outcome?
- The report said the means to battle climate change were becoming more affordable, with green energy becoming cheaper than fossil fuels, while the world is developing better mitigation methods.
- The planet is no longer heading towards 3-5 C warming, as forecast in 2014, but was now on track for 2.5-3 C warming.
- 32 countries had reduced their emissions and their economies still grew. There is no more automatic link between economic growth and emissions growth.
- The collaboration amongst UN agencies has proven to be very effective in addressing humanitarian impacts induced by extreme weather and climate events, especially in reducing associated mortality and economic losses.
- The UN Early Warnings for All Initiative aims to fill the existing capacity gap to ensure that every person on earth is covered by early warning services.
- At the moment about one hundred countries do not have adequate weather services in place. Achieving this ambitious task requires improvement of observation networks, investments in early warning, hydrological and climate service capacities.
About The State of Global Climate Report
- The State of Global climate Report is the annual report released by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
- The State of the Global Climate 2022 shows the planetary-scale changes on land, in the ocean and in the atmosphere caused by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases
- The new WMO report is accompanied by a story map, which provides information for policy makers on how the climate change indicators are playing out, and which also shows how improved technology makes the transition to renewable energy cheaper and more accessible than ever. In addition to climate indicators, the report focuses on impacts.
- The report also puts a spotlight on ecosystems and the environment and shows how climate change is affecting recurring events in nature, such as when trees blossom, or birds migrate.
- The WMO State of the Global Climate report was released ahead of Earth Day 2023. Its key findings echo the message of UN Secretary-General António Guterres for Earth Day.
About World Meteorological Organization
- The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation on atmospheric science, climatology, hydrology and geophysics.
- The WMO originated from the International Meteorological Organization, a nongovernmental organization founded in 1873 as a forum for exchanging weather data and research.
- Proposals to reform the status and structure of the IMO culminated in the World Meteorological Convention of 1947, which formally established the World Meteorological Organization.
- The Convention entered into force on 23 March 1950, and the following year the WMO began operations as an intergovernmental organization within the UN system.
- The WMO is made up of 193 countries and territories and facilitates the “free and unrestricted” exchange of data, information, and research between the respective meteorological and hydrological institutions of its members.
- It also collaborates with nongovernmental partners and other international organizations on matters related to environmental protection, climate change, resource management, and socioeconomic development.
4 . Assam Arunachal Border Dispute
Context: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) over the long-standing border dispute between the two states, a development Home Minister Amit Shah described as a “historic occasion”.
How old is the border dispute between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh?
- Before North- East Frontier Agency or NEFA (former name of what is now Arunachal Pradesh) was carved out of Assam in 1954, a sub-committee headed by then Assam Chief Minister Gopinath Bordoloi had made a set of recommendations in relation to the administration of NEFA and submitted a report in 1951.
- In line with the recommendations of this report, around 3,648 kilometres of the “plain” area of Balipara and Sadiya foothills were transferred from NEFA to Assam’s then Darrang and Lakhimpur districts.
- When Arunachal was made a Union Territory in 1972, it contended that several forested tracts in the plains that had traditionally belonged to hill tribal chiefs and communities were unilaterally transferred to Assam.
What were past efforts to resolve this issue?
- In April 1979, a high-powered tripartite committee was constituted to delineate the boundary on the basis of Survey of India maps, as well as discussions with both sides.
- While around 489 km of the 800 km were demarcated by 1983-84, further demarcation could not take place because Arunachal did not accept the recommendations and claimed several kilometres of the 3,648 sq km, which was transferred to Assam in line with the 1951 report.
- Assam objected to this and filed a case in the Supreme Court in 1989, highlighting an “encroachment” made by Arunachal Pradesh.
- To resolve the dispute between the states, the apex court appointed a local boundary commission in 2006, headed by a retired SC judge.
- In September 2014, the local commission submitted its report. Several recommendations were made (some of which suggested Arunachal Pradesh get back some of the territory which was transferred in 1951), and it was suggested that both states should arrive at a consensus through discussions. However, nothing came of it
What was the process leading up to this MoU?
- Assam CM Sarma and Arunachal CM Khandu commenced CM-level talks over this border issue on January 24, 2022. In their second meeting on April 20, 2022, they made some key decisions.
- The first was that the border issues between both the states would be confined to a list of 123 villages which Arunachal Pradesh had claimed before the Local Commission in 2007.
- The second was that a boundary line delineated by the high-powered tripartite committee in 1980 would be taken as the notified boundary and all realignment would be done in relation to it.
- The third decision laid down how this resolution would take place. It was decided that both states would set up 12 regional committees covering the 12 districts of Arunachal Pradesh and the 8 counterpart districts of Assam for joint verification of the 123 villages.
- The committees were to make recommendations keeping in view “historical perspective, administrative convenience, contiguity and people’s will”.
To what extent has the issue been resolved?
- The dispute over 37 of these 123 villages had been resolved on July 15, 2022, itself with the signing of the Namsai Declaration
- Through the MoU, the dispute over another 34 villages has been “amicably resolved”.
- Of the 71 villages over which an understanding has been reached, the following has been decided:
- One village in Arunachal Pradesh as per the notified boundary will be included in Assam
- 10 villages in Assam as per the notified boundary will remain with the assam
- 60 villages in Assam as per the notified boundary will be included in Arunachal Pradesh
- The village boundaries of 49 of the remaining villages are unresolved, and the MoU states that in these the Regional Committees will finalize the boundaries within a period of six months “through continuous dialogue”.
- Another three villages are located partially within the Indian Air Force’s bombing area in Dullong.
- The MoU states that the matter regarding these three villages will be taken up by Arunachal Pradesh with the Government of India and the Indian Air Force.
- According to the MoU, both the state governments agree that no new claim area or village will be added in the future beyond these 123 villages.
- It also states that both the state governments “agree to effectively prevent any new encroachment in the border areas” and that they agree that the MoU is “full and final” in respect to the 123 villages.
5 . Facts for Prelims
X Ray Baggage inspection system based on Computed Tomography
- CT scanners are used in airports for security screening purposes to create detailed images of the contents of luggage, which can be used to identify any potential threats such as explosives or other prohibited items.
- The CT technology involves sophisticated algorithms for the probe of explosives and other threats by creating a 3-D image that can be examined and rotated 360 degrees for a thorough investigation, states the US’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
- CT scanners for security screening at airports work in a similar way to medical CT scanners, but are typically larger and more powerful, designed to be able to scan larger objects such as luggage, quickly and efficiently.
- Working of CT scanners in airports- The luggage is placed on a conveyor belt and moved into the CT scanner. Then x-ray tube rotates around the luggage, producing a series of x-ray images from different angles. X-ray detectors in the machine detect the x-rays as they pass through the luggage and convert them into electrical signals.
- Advantage– Establishment of such scanners is also supposed to help in speeding up the security check-in procedure at airports.
Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration for Changlang district’s innovative New Age Learning Centre (NALC)
- Changlang district has been selected for the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration-2022 for its initiative, New Age Learning Centre (NALC), in the category of ‘innovation-district’.
- New Age Learning Centre– The NALC, which is the first of its kind in Arunachal Pradesh, is a state-of-the-art, futuristic and leisure learning space enabling people of all age groups to learn and improve every aspect of their personality.
- The NALC was established by Sunny K Singh, the current DC of Changlang, during his tenure as Additional Deputy Commissioner of Miao.
- The sub-divisional library was transformed into the NALC with modern and modular designs.
- The NALC now acts as a central library for all the nearby schools falling within a range of 500 meters, and library periods of these schools are held at the NALC.
- The NALC is open to children and members every day, including late nights during exam periods. To operate the facility, the local NGO SEED has been engaged voluntarily.
- The SEED members are responsible for conducting all activity-based learning on a voluntary basis. This mentor NGO model enables the NALC to operate independently of changes in government officers.
- “The community has been involved from the beginning to ensure that the whole initiative is owned by the community.”
- The NALC provides dedicated study rooms with round-the-clock power supply. Online study materials are also available for them.
- Hobby training classes such as photography, reading, music, video editing, quizzing, public speaking, painting, sketching, storytelling, poetry, etc, are also regularly conducted.”
- “Motivational movies and other informative documentaries are also screened. Most importantly, children get to read books of their choices at the NALC
- These classes are aimed at preparing students for competitive exams such as JEE and NEET.
- Additionally, the DC noted that Oil India Limited has pledged to conduct Super 30 residential classes at the NALC under their corporate social responsibility program.
The Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration
- The government of India a scheme in 2006 namely, “The Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration” – to acknowledge, recognize and reward the extraordinary and innovative work done by Districts/ Organizations of the Central and State Governments.
- The Scheme was restructured in 2014 for recognizing the performance of District Collectors in Priority Programs, Innovations and Aspirational Districts.
- The Scheme was restructured again in 2020, to recognize the performance of District Collectors towards economic development of the District.
- The Scheme has been revamped with a new approach in 2021 with the objective to encourage Constructive Competition, Innovation, Replication and Institutionalisation of Best Practices.
- Under this approach emphasis would be on good governance, qualitative achievement and last mile connectivity, rather than only on achievement of quantitative targets.
Misinformation Combat Alliance
- The Misinformation Combat Alliance is a cross-industry alliance bringing companies, organizations, institutions, industry associations and government entities together to combat misinformation and fake news and create an enlightened and informed society.
- The MCA is an alliance of media companies set up in March 2022 to combat misinformation and build tools to aid fact-checking.
Scope of activities of the Misinformation combat alliance
- The activities of the MCA will fall into the following broad categories :-
- Undertake media literacy, social media literacy, digital safety and other awareness activities through members and partners at scale, aiming to reach as many internet users as possible.
- Partner with organizations to execute projects related to the information ecosystem.
- Data collection in order to undertake research, analyze trends and publish papers/reports.
- Development of technologies, tools, and processes to aid in fact checking and verification, therefore curbing the spread of misinformation in furtherance of our mission.
- Launch fellowship programs for pre-determined activities.
- Collectively formulate viewpoints on matters of policy, pertaining to the information ecosystem and make representations to the relevant stakeholders.
- Ignite conversations around the information ecosystem, state of fact checking, media, trust, and society, etc. to initiate public debate through online and offline events.
- Create key events for engagement between members of the organization.
- Ensure compliance with relevant laws
- Raise funds to support projects from individuals and organizations that can aid the MCA in its mission.
- Exercise INIOCHOS-23 is a multi-national air exercise hosted by the Hellenic Air Force.
- The exercise will be conducted at the Andravida Air Base in Greece
- The Indian Air Force will be participating with four Su-30 MKI and two C-17 aircraft.
- The objective of the exercise is to enhance international cooperation, synergy and interoperability amongst the participating Air Forces.
- The exercise will be conducted in a realistic combat scenario involving multiple types of air and surface assets.
- It will also enable the participating contingents to engage in professional interactions, providing valuable insight into each other’s best practices.