20 Apr 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 20th April 2021:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
C. GS 3 Related
SECURITY
1. ‘About 52% adults not clear on defences against cybercrime’
2. Tripura begins shifting of Mizoram Bru refugees
ECONOMY
1. RBI sets up committee to review working of ARCs
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. NASA Mars helicopter makes first flight on another planet
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. The ordinance route is bad, repromulgation worse
SECURITY
1. Protecting children in the age of AI
ENVIRONMENT
1. A huge, costly mistake
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
1. National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC)
2. EU Council approves conclusions on Indo-Pacific strategy
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. Tripura begins shifting of Mizoram Bru refugees

Context:

Shifting of Mizoram Bru refugees for permanent settlement at various places in Tripura has begun.

Details:

  • The process of settlement of some 35,000 Brus is taking place to respect a quadripartite accord signed in New Delhi in January 2020.
  • The Tripura government selected 16 places in four districts for the settlement. The government also formed four committees to oversee arrangements.
  • The refugees, who have been residing in makeshift camps in Kanchanpur in north Tripura since 1997, constantly refused to return home, citing threats to life and repression. They fled Mizoram amid ethnic tension and Mizo hardline groups always opposed their repatriation attempts.

Bru-Reang Refugee Crisis:

  • Around 5,000 families consisting of around 30,000 Bru-Reang tribals were forced to flee Mizoram and seek shelter in Tripura following ethnic tension.
  • These people were housed in temporary camps in North Tripura.

Read more about Bru-Reang Refugee Crisis covered in 17th January 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.
Category: ECONOMY

1. RBI sets up committee to review working of ARCs

Context:

The RBI has set up a committee to review the working of Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARC).

Details:

  • The six-member committee will be headed by Sudarshan Sen, former executive director, Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • It has been set up to undertake a comprehensive review of the working of ARCs in the financial sector ecosystem and recommend suitable measures for enabling them to meet the growing requirements.

Terms of Reference of the Committee:

  • The panel will review the existing legal and regulatory framework applicable to ARCs.
  • It will recommend measures to improve the efficacy of ARCs.
  • It will also review the role of ARCs in the resolution of stressed assets, including under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), and give suggestions for improving liquidity and trading of security receipts.
  • It will also review the business models of ARCs.
Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARC):
  • An ARC is a specialized financial institution that buys the Non-Performing Assets or bad assets from banks and financial institutions so that the latter can clean up their balance sheets.
  • In a nutshell, ARCs are in the business of buying bad loans from banks.
  • Banks can sell the bad assets to the ARCs at a mutually agreed value and concentrate on normal banking activities.
  • The Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002 provides the legal basis for setting up ARCs in India.

Read more on ARCs.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. NASA Mars helicopter makes first flight on another planet

Context:

NASA successfully flew its tiny helicopter Ingenuity on Mars.

Details:

  • Ingenuity’s flight is the first powered flight on another planet.
  • Ingenuity travelled to Mars attached to the underside of Perseverance, which touched down on Mars on February 18, 2021.
    • Perseverance is on a mission to search for signs of extra-terrestrial life.
  • Ingenuity’s goal, by contrast, is to demonstrate its technology works, and it won’t contribute to Perseverance’s science goals.
  • It has a wireless communication system, and is equipped with computers, navigation sensors, and two cameras.
  • It is solar-powered, able to charge on its own.

Read more on “Ingenuity helicopter” covered in 5th April 2021 Comprehensive News Analysis.

Note:
  • The first powered flight on Earth was achieved by the Wright brothers in 1903 in North Carolina.
  • A piece of fabric from that plane has been tucked inside Ingenuity in honour of that feat.

Category: SECURITY

1. Protecting children in the age of AI

The article talks about the need for protecting the rights, privacy, and well-being of children in a world increasingly powered by virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI).

Details:

  • AI is shaping behaviours, preferences, perceptions of the world and much more.
  • This has led to double imperatives of getting all children online and creating child-safe digital spaces.

Significance of AI:

  • AI can offer playful and creative opportunities for children, that promote enhanced literacy, social skills and language development.
  • In the field of education, AI can and is being used to tailor learning materials and pedagogical approaches to the child’s needs.
    • Intelligent tutoring systems, tailored curriculum plans, and imaginative virtual reality instruction offer rich and engaging interactive learning experiences that can improve educational outcomes.

Concerns:

Bridging the digital divide:

  • Not everyone can tap into the opportunities offered by this transformation.
    • According to UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as many as two-thirds of the world’s children do not have access to the Internet at home.

Unsafe virtual playgrounds:

  • While video gaming and chat forums offer an online space for children to socialise with their friends, multiple reports identify such virtual playgrounds as honeypots for child predators.

Digital addiction:

  • As an ancillary consequence of the underlying business model, AI systems driving many video games and social networks are designed to keep children hooked through algorithms and gimmicks.
  • Children, from a tender age through adolescence, are becoming digitally addicted.

Post Truth discourse:

  • Right when children and youth are forming their initial views of the world, they are being sucked into virtual deep space, including the universe of fake news, conspiracy theories, hype, hubris, online bullying, hate speech and the likes.

Classification through AI:

  • While it is important for children to understand and appreciate different perspectives, preferences, beliefs and customs, to build bridges of understanding and empathy and goodwill, AI is sorting them into tribes, and feeding them customised information.
  • Unless the educational and performance data on children is kept confidential and anonymous, it can inadvertently typecast or brand children, harming their future opportunities.

How to balance the tremendous good AI can do for children, while mitigating inadvertent harm and misuse?

Way Forward:

  • Most countries do not yet have the legal framework in place. There is a need to encourage and support the tremendous good AI can do for children’s growth and development, while simultaneously mitigating the harm.
  • The next phase of the fourth Industrial Revolution must include an overwhelming push to extend Internet access to all children.
  • There is a need for norms and standards to protect children online, similar to the evolved norms and standards to protect children in the physical world.
  • There is a need for a multi-pronged action plan with legal and technological safeguards, greater awareness of how AI works behind the scenes.
  • Children and young people must be equipped with the knowledge, tools and awareness to protect themselves, considering their unique vulnerabilities.
    • Tools like trustworthy certification and rating systems are needed to enable sound choices on safe AI apps.
    • Anonymous accounts must be banned.
    • Enforceable ethical principles of non-discrimination and fairness embedded in the policy and design of AI systems are needed.

Conclusion:

In short, a safe online space for children, without algorithmic manipulation and with restricted profiling and data collection is the need of the hour. Online tools that help prevent addiction, promote attention-building skills, expands children’s horizons, understanding and appreciation for diverse perspectives, and help build their social-emotional learning capabilities are important.
Category: ENVIRONMENT

1. A huge, costly mistake

Context:

The governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have signed an agreement that nudges forward a long-stalled multi-crore, controversial project to link the Ken and the Betwa rivers.

Read more on this topic covered in 23rd March 2021 Comprehensive News Analysis. Also read about the Ken-Betwa River Linking Project here.

F. Prelims Facts

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Tidbits

1. National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC)

  • In August 2020, the Centre constituted the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC).
  • It was established to provide guidance on all aspects of COVID-19 vaccination, such as prioritisation of population groups, procurement, inventory management, vaccine selection, vaccine delivery and tracking mechanism.
  • NEGVAC comprising of technical experts, senior officials of Central Ministries concerned and Zonal representatives of States has been entrusted with the responsibility of leading the vaccine administration campaign.

2. EU Council approves conclusions on Indo-Pacific strategy

What’s in News?

The Council of the European Union has approved conclusions on a European Union strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

  • The renewed EU commitment to the Indo-Pacific will have a long-term focus and will be based on upholding democracy, human rights, the rule of law and respect for international law.
  • The strategy looks at reinforcing the EU’s strategic focus, presence and actions with the aim to contribute to regional stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development, at a time of rising challenges and tensions in the region.

EU’s Concerns:

  • Current dynamics in the Indo-Pacific have given rise to intense geopolitical competition adding to increasing tensions on trade and supply chains as well as in technological, political and security areas.
  • Human rights are also being challenged.
  • These developments increasingly threaten the stability and security of the region and beyond, directly impacting the EU’s interests.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Ingenuity helicopter:
  1. It made the first powered flight on a planet other than Earth.
  2. It is a solar-powered helicopter.
  3. Its objective is to assist Perseverance in its mission to search for signs of extra-terrestrial life.

Which of the given statement is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Ingenuity’s flight is the first powered flight on another planet.
  • Ingenuity travelled to Mars attached to the underside of NASA’s Perseverance.
  • Perseverance is on a mission to search for signs of extra-terrestrial life. However, the helicopter’s mission is experimental in nature and completely independent of the rover’s science mission.
  • Ingenuity’s goal is to demonstrate its technology works, and it won’t contribute to Perseverance’s science goals.
  • Ingenuity is solar-powered, able to charge on its own.
Q2. In which of the following states are Bru (Reangs) recognised as a Particularly Vulnerable
Tribal Group?
  1. Assam
  2. Tripura
  3. Manipur
  4. Mizoram

Choose the correct option:

  1. 2 and 3 only
  2. 1 and 4 only
  3. 2 only
  4. None of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • The Brus also known as the Reangs, are spread across Tripura, Assam, Manipur, and Mizoram.
  • They are recognised as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group in Tripura.
Q3. Consider the following statements with respect to Khajuraho Group of Monuments:
  1. It is a group of Hindu and Jain temples and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  2. They are known for their nagara-style architectural symbolism.
  3. All the temples are made of sandstone.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1, 2 and 3
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 2 only
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Khajuraho Group of Monuments are a group of Hindu and Jain Temples in Madhya Pradesh patronised by Chandela Kings.
  • The Khajuraho Group of Monuments are famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism and their erotic sculptures.
  • The temples at Khajuraho are all made of Sandstone.
  • It is a UNESCO World heritage Site.
Q4. Consider the following statements with respect to Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARC):
  1. SARFAESI Act provides the legal basis for setting up ARCs in India.
  2. There is no specific limit on the extent of debt an ARC can take over from banks.
  3. The ARC can take over only secured debts which have been classified as a non-performing asset.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. 1 only
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, provides the legal basis for setting up ARCs in India.
  • There are no specific ceilings or flooring limits on the extent of debt an ARC can take over from banks.
  • The ARC can take over only secured debts which have been classified as a non-performing asset (NPA).

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. The world increasingly powered by Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence has given rise to the double imperatives of closing the digital divide and creating child-safe digital spaces. Discuss. (GS 3 Security) (15 Marks, 250 Words).
  2.  Re-promulgation of ordinances is a fraud on the Constitution and a subversion of democratic legislative processes. Elucidate. (GS 2 Polity and Governance) (10 Marks, 150 Words).

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 20th April 2021:- Download PDF Here

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