[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 1 August 2022

 

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Impact of social media on young India’s mental health

 

GS Paper 3:

2. New e-waste rules threaten jobs

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Uniform Civil Code in Goa

2. Electoral bonds

3. India’s ‘wheat waiver’ WTO demand is risk-fraught

4. Gujarat Semiconductor Policy 2022-27

5. INSTC

6. “Street view service” by Google Maps

7. War against Drug

8. Military Exercises: AL Najah and Vinbax 2022

 

Note: There were many articles on ‘SC judgement on PMLA’ in different Newspapers. We will combine the relevant points from all of them and release in our Editorial Section.


 

The impact of social media on young India’s mental health

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

 

Source: Indian Express

Context:  The growing dependency on social media is very worrying as its constant use leads to many problems like exposure to risky content, changes in behavioural patterns, inferiority complex, cyber-bullying etc.

The World Health Organization defines mental health as a state of well-being, where an individual realises their capabilities, can cope with the normal stressors of life, work productively, and is able to contribute to their community.

There can be many problems, which can be highlighted, but the most important of them are:

  1. Depression

According to UNICEF, 1 in 7 Indians aged 15 to 24 years feel depressed. Depression is linked to lack of self-esteem, poor concentration and other maladaptive symptoms, and can lead to difficulties in communication, failure to work or study productively, amplified risk of substance use and abuse, as well as suicidal thoughts. One of the key risk factors for these prevalent rates of depression is social media.

  1. Internet Persona

Body dysmorphia– It is common among young people and has increased over the past few years.

  1. Lack of socialization

Excessive social media use takes time away from doing other things that may benefit your mental health like connecting with others in person, spending time in nature and taking care of yourself.

 

The Suggestions/Solutions

  • We must take action on mental health seriously and monitor the incidence of psychiatric disorders (like, depression, anxiety) and identify the factors of risk and resilience.
  • There is a need to conduct a disaggregated situational assessment of the diverse young demographic in our country. Such an assessment should keep in mind the differences associated with class, gender and other social factors.
  • Need to focus on socialization in family schools and professional spaces along with physical exercises and meditation. Let us bring ourselves closer to nature and natural things.
  • Need of creating awareness and dialogue that would help in de-stigmatising the issue, in order to allow autonomy for the individual to share feelings in a safe space.
  • Pragmatic government policies based on empirical evidence, strong political will, social inclusion, mental health literacy, vibrant media and a responsive corporate sector coupled with innovative technologies and crowdsourcing could mitigate this apathy.

 

Government Initiatives

  • Constitutional Provision: Right to Health (including mental healthcare) is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • National Mental Health Program (NMHP) ( To address the huge burden of mental disorders and shortage of qualified professionals)
  • Mental HealthCare Act 2017 (Guarantees every affected person access to mental healthcare and treatment from services run or funded by the government)
  • Kiran Helpline (Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (2020) launched a 24/7 toll-free helpline)

 

Insta Links

Towards a stronger Mental Health Strategy

 

Mains Link

Q. Mental health is one of the most neglected social issues in India. Comment. (10M)

New e-waste rules threaten jobs

GS Pape 3

Syllabus: Environment Conservation

 

Source: The Hindu

Context: Government has proposed a new framework for regulating e-waste in India that may upset informal sectors.

Direction: This is an ongoing development, just go through it once. On E-waste keep a one-page note on it handy.

E-Waste refers to all items of electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) and its parts that have been discarded by their owner as waste without the intent of re-use. India is the third-largest e-waste generator in the world after China and the USA (Global E-waste Monitor 2020).

 Status of E-waste in India

  • One of the fastest-growing waste streams in the world
  • 95% of e-wastein India is recycled by the informal sector

What is the issue about?

Under E-Waste Management Rules 2016, it is mandatory for the organization to comply with the Extended producer responsibility of recycling e-waste. Complying with that, most firms outsourced recycling to organizations called Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) (CPCB has registered 74 PROs)

In May this year, Environment Ministry issued a draft notification that does away with PRO and dismantlers and vests all responsibility of recycling with authorized recyclers, only a handful of whom exist in India.

Now, Authorized Recyclers will source a quantity of waste, recycle them and generate electronic certificates. Companies can buy these certificates equivalent to their annual committed target and thus do not have to be involved with engaging PROs and dismantlers.

Benefits:

  • Streamline and standardize the system
  • Introduce an Electronic management system that would track the material that went in for recycling
  • Make recycling remunerative: Currently, the entire system isn’t remunerative for recyclers, who actually do the job of recycling.
  • Increase reliability: The current system managed by PRO isn’t always reliable as there have been several instances of double-counting (where the same articles recycled once for one company are credited into the account for multiple companies).

Objection against the move:

  • Job loss: Several PROs have mailed their objections to the Environment Ministry arguing that dismantling a fledgling system was detrimental to the future of e-waste management in India and job loss.
  • Loss of investment for established PROs
  • Loss of accountability: PROs provide check and balance against unauthorised recycling

Government Measures

E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2011: established Extended Producer Responsibility, but it did not set collection targets

·         E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016: A manufacturer, refurbisher, dealer, and Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) were brought under the ambit of these Rules.

o   PROs are professional organizations financed by producers with the responsibility for the collection and channelization of e-waste generated from their products to ensure environmentally sound management.

·         E-Waste (Management) Amendment Rules, 2018: to further formalize sectors by channelizing the e-waste generated towards authorized dismantlers and recyclers.

Policy measures to improve the recycling capacity of E-waste

·         Need for E-waste Legislation that incentivizes collection and disposal: India has Deposit Refund Scheme wherein the producer charges an additional amount as a deposit from consumers which will be returned to the consumer along with interest when the end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment is returned.

o   However, lack of awareness of consumers and non-strict enforcement of measures has led to DRS schemes not being successful. Here Swiss model of E-waste management can be used. (See case study)

·         Data collection of E-waste: Data on quantities and flows of e-waste can help in monitoring, controlling, and incentivizing the establishment of recycling units at the local level which will help kick start formal e-waste economy

o   value  of  raw  materials  in  the  global  e-waste  generated  in  2019  is  equal  to  approximately USD 57 billion

·         Public awareness on E-waste economy: apart from the environmental and health benefits of recycling, consumers can earn by using schemes like DRS. Need to take support of NGOs, community organizations, RWAs, etc.

o   MeitY, under digital India, from 2016, is creating awareness about safe disposal and hazards of informal recycling.

·         Realizing the potential of Circular economy: Improving end-of-life of e-waste through circular economy. Sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products can extend the life cycle of products.

o   Reduce virgin material usage

o   Build technologies around greater extraction and recycling capabilities

o   Process design to find an alternative to existing materials and to not extract rare earth resources

o   Right to Repair standards (EU): from 2021 firms will have to make appliances longer-lasting and will have to supply spare parts for machines for up to 10 years.

·         Integration of informal recycling with formal recycling: Setting up recycling units in each hotspot of e-waste and by including the informal collection system, comprising of Kabadiwalas and scrap dealers, with the formal recycling system through employing them, training them in proper e-waste collection, will go a long way in formalization of the w-waste economy

·         NGT’s Directions on E-waste:

o   Scientific enforcement of E-Waste Management Rules, 2016 as only 10% e-waste is collected currently

o   Compliance with Rule 16: which requires a reduction in the use of hazardous substances in the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment

o   Constant vigil and attention to hotspots where maximum accidents are happening due to unscientific handling of e-waste.

State pollution control boards need to identify the hotspots and to coordinate with the District Administration at local levels

Conclusion:

Recent government data shows that E-waste recycling has doubled in the country from a rate of 10% in 2017-18 has risen to 20% in 2018-19. What is needed is a sound market-based incentive that encourages both demand and supply-side factors to voluntarily adopt e-waste recycling. In this respect, the e-waste clinic at Bhopal is a pilot project wherein e-waste will be collected door-to-door or could be deposited directly at the clinic in exchange for a fee, which needs to be studied for its success.

 

Insta Links

E-Waste management

 

Mains Links

Q. The Electronic waste, or e-waste, is one of the fastest-growing waste streams worldwide. Discuss the measures that are needed for the safe disposal of e-waste in the country. (250 Words)

 

Prelims Link

Due to improper/indiscriminate disposal of old and used computers or their parts, which of the following are released into the environment as e-waste? (UPSC 2013)

    1. Beryllium
    2. Cadmium
    3. Chromium
    4. Heptachlor
    5. Mercury
    6. Lead
    7. Plutonium

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 only

(b) 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 only

(c) 2, 4, 5 and 7 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Answer: B

Heptachlor is an organochlorine compound that was used as an insecticide. Plutonium is a radioactive metallic element with the atomic number 94. It is not e-waste.

Facts for Prelims


Uniform Civil Code in Goa

Context: The Parliamentary Panel has highlighted some of the outdated provisions of Goa’s uniform civil code.

The Goa Civil Code, a set of civil laws that governs all residents of the coastal State irrespective of their religion and ethnicity, has come under focus amid a call for the implementation of a uniform civil code (UCC) across the country. Goa is the only state with UCC in India.

Objections: There were some peculiar clauses in the law related to matrimony and division of property, which were outdated and not based on the principle of equality.

  • g., The law also doesn’t recognize bigamy or polygamy, including for Muslims but grants an exception to a Hindu man to marry once again if his wife doesn’t conceive a child by the age of 21 or a male child by the age of 30.

What is UCC?

The UCC refers to a common set of laws governing personal matters such as marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance and succession, that will apply to all citizens irrespective of their religion, caste, and gender.

  • Article 44 of the Constitution, which is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy, also advocates a uniform civil code.
  • However, governments since Independence have allowed respective religion-based civil codes to respect the diversity of India.

 

Electoral bonds

Context: Donations to political parties through electoral bonds (EBs) have crossed the Rs 10,000-crore mark

What are electoral bonds?

  • Electoral Bond is a financial instrument for making donations to political parties.
  • Electoral bonds are purchased anonymously by donors and are valid for 15 days from the date of issue.
  • The bonds are issued in multiples of Rs. 1,000, Rs. 10,000, Rs. 1 lakh, Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 1 crore without any maximum limit.
  • State Bank of India is authorised to issue and encash these bonds, which are valid for fifteen days from the date of issuance.
  • These bonds are redeemable in the designated account of a registered political party.
  • The bonds are available for purchase by any person (who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India) for a period of ten days each in the months of January, April, July and October as may be specified by the Central Government.
  • A person being an individual can buy bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals.
  • Donor’s name is not mentioned on the bond.
  • Eligibility: only the political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and have secured not less than 1 per cent of the votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly, as the case may be, are eligible to receive electoral bonds.

 

India’s ‘wheat waiver’ WTO demand is risk-fraught

Context: Recently, India demanded World Trade Organization (WTO)  find a permanent solution to the issue of public stockholding (PSH) of food

Background:

  • India’s MSP policy for procurement of produce (for supporting farmers’ income as well as providing subsidized food for the poor) had fallen out of WTO rules. Under WTO law, such price support-based procurement from farmers is considered a trade-distorting subsidy.
  • Currently, India has temporary relief due to a ‘peace clause’ that bars countries from raising legal challenges against these subsidies.
    • WTO’s peace clause (inserted in Bali Ministerial, 2013)protects India’s food procurement programmes against action from WTO members in case the subsidy ceilings are breached.

Export of public stock holding food grains:

WTO law also prohibits countries from exporting foodgrain procured at subsidised prices. However, the recent food crisis due to Russia-Ukrain War has led to India insisting that it should also be allowed to export food, especially wheat, from the pool of foodgrain procured under the MSP.

Permanent solution for PSH:

India demands a permanent solution to the PSH policy. However, no mention of such a solution was made in the recently concluded Geneva declaration (2022)

 

Gujarat Semiconductor Policy 2022-27

Gujarat is the first state in India to release a dedicated semiconductor policy. Government has also proposed to develop a special ‘Semicon City’ as a part of the Dholera Special Investment region.

Under the Gujarat Semiconductor Policy 2022-27, Gujarat Government will provide heavy subsidies on power, water and land tariffs for entrepreneurs who are interested in investing in semiconductors or display fabrication manufacturing in Gujarat.

A semiconductor is a substance that has specific electrical properties that enable it to serve as a foundation for computers and other electronic devices. It is typically a solid chemical element or compound that conducts electricity under certain conditions but not others.

INSTC

Context: Recently, Containers from Russia’s Astrakhan port crossed the Caspian Sea and eventually reach Nhava Shiva port in Mumbai, signalling the launch of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

INSTC is a 7,200-km multi-modal transport corridor that combines road, rail and maritime routes connecting Russia and India via Central Asia and Iran. The corridor is expected to consolidate the emerging Eurasian Free Trade Area.

  • Legal Framework: The legal framework for the INSTC is provided by a trilateral agreement signed by India, Iran and Russia at the Euro-Asian Conference on Transport in 2000.

Significance of INSTC:

  • Reduce freight costs by 30% and the journey time by 40% in comparison with the conventional deep-sea route via the Suez Canal
  • Complement East-West axis: INSTC can shape a north-south transport corridor that can complement the east-west axis of the China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  • Bypass Pakistan to access Afghanistan, Central Asiaand beyond
  • Departure from non-alignment to multi-alignment: E.g., India’s working under QUAD, SCO and INSTC.
  • ‘Chabahar Day’ is observed to promote Chabahar – Ministry of Port, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) in association with India Ports Global observed ‘Chabahar Day’ to mark the Chabahar – Link to INSTC – Connecting Central Asian Markets.

 

“Street view service” by Google Maps

Context: Google in association with two local companies Genesys International and Tech Mahindra will launch Street view services in India for 1st time.

Google Street View provides panoramic 360-degree views from designated roads throughout its coverage area.

The 10 cities in which this service has been launched include; Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Nasik, Hyderabad, Vadodara, Amritsar and Ahmednagar.

Google has planned to expand the services to over 50 cities by end of 2022.

As a part of the Street View Services, Google Maps will showcase speed limits data, that will be shared by traffic authorities. This facility will start from Bengaluru.

In Bengaluru, Google will also partner with traffic police in a bid to deliver models that optimise traffic light timings in a better manner.

 

 

War against Drug

Context: Government was moving toward a “drug-free India”

Direction: Just go through once, no need to remember schemes

Data:

  • Higher seizer: Agencies have seized between 2014 and 2021 at 3.3 lakh kilograms; this number was 1.52 lakh kilograms between 2006 and 2013
  • Higher arrests: Registration of cases related to drugs has seen a 200% rise, while the percentage of arrests in drug cases has gone up to 260% during the same period.
  • Three-pronged formula to solve drug menace: Strengthening of the institutional structure, empowering and coordination of all narcotics agencies at the Centre and State, and awareness campaigns.

Initiative by the government against drugs:

  • NCORD and NIDAAN portals have been initiated.
  • Seizure Information Management System (SIMS)which will create a complete online database of drug offences and offenders (by Narcotics Control Bureau)
  • National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse
  • National Drug Abuse Surveyto measure trends of drug abuse in India (Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment)
  • ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat’, or Drug-Free India Campaign focuses on community outreach programs.
  • ‘Project Sunrise’ (2016) to tackle the rising HIV prevalence in north-eastern states in India.
  • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, (NDPS) 1985: Prohibits a person from producing, possessing, selling, purchasing, transporting, storing, and/or consuming any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.
  • State Government:
    • Himachal Pradesh: State government 2019 launched a toll-free drug prevention helpline number ‘1908’ with an aim to encourage the general public to share information about drug traffickers.
    • Mobile app ‘ Drug-Free Himachal’ on which the people could provide information to the police about drug trafficking, its sale and use.

 

Military Exercises: AL Najah and Vinbax 2022

Context: Upcoming military exercises this month

India and Oman conduct regular biennial bilateral exercises between all three services:

  • Army exercise: Al Najah
  • Air Force exercise: Eastern Bridge
  • Naval Exercise: Naseem Al Bahr

VINBAX (military exercise between armies of India and Vietnam): It is designed to enable and train officers from Vietnam in United Nations Peace Keeping Operations.


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