11 December 2023 CNA
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS 1 Related B. GS 2 Related C. GS 3 Related SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 1. Can ChatGPT replace human therapists? D. GS 4 Related E. Editorials ECONOMY 1. Strategy for India’s future growth ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY 1. Air Pollution in India F. Prelims Facts 1. European Free Trade Association G. Tidbits 1. Cauvery basin losing green cover 2. Pinna nobilis seashell 3. Operation Storm Makers II H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS 1 Related
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B. GS 2 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
C. GS 3 Related
Syllabus: Recent developments and their applications and effects in everyday life, General awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nanotechnology, bio-technology.
Mains: Role of technology in providing mental health support, Ethical considerations in the use of AI, particularly in the healthcare sector, Challenges and potential of AI in bridging healthcare disparities.
OpenAI’s Lilian Weng faced criticism for likening ChatGPT to therapy. Despite ethical concerns, users turn to ChatGPT for mental health support, highlighting challenges and biases in AI-generated health information.
- In September, OpenAI officer Lilian Weng faced criticism on social media for likening her conversation with ChatGPT to therapy despite lacking experience in therapy.
- Weng, working on AI safety at OpenAI, shared her emotional interaction with ChatGPT following the introduction of voice and image capabilities to the chatbot.
- The incident sparked discussions about the ethical implications of portraying ChatGPT as a tool for therapy, leading to accusations of the “ELIZA effect.”
The ELIZA Effect
- The ELIZA effect refers to the tendency of people to attribute human-like emotions or functions to computer programs based on their responses to user input.
- Named after a 1960s computer program, ELIZA, created by MIT professor Joseph Weizenbaum, this effect suggests users may perceive meaningful interactions with ChatGPT, believing it to simulate human conversation.
Users Seeking Mental Health Support from ChatGPT
- Despite criticisms, users have turned to ChatGPT for mental health support, considering it a convenient and accessible option.
- These users acknowledge the limitations of ChatGPT but find it helpful for obtaining quick responses to anxiety-inducing situations when professional therapy may not be readily available.
Web-based Health Information Seeking
- Individuals often seek health information privately online to maintain anonymity and avoid stigma.
- While AI chatbots like ChatGPT offer a sense of privacy, concerns about their ability to bridge doctor-patient divides and generate inclusive results have been raised.
- Researchers highlight potential biases in AI-generated health information, favouring privileged castes and economic classes and producing false results about physiological differences among racial groups.
Challenges and Ethical Considerations
- Critics argue that AI-generated health understandings may perpetuate Eurocentric perspectives and fail to recognize cultural specificity.
- Users acknowledge ChatGPT’s limitations, emphasising the importance of human therapists in offering deeper insights, recognizing triggers, and establishing free-flowing, insightful conversations.
ChatGPT as a Stop-gap Arrangement
- Users see ChatGPT as a stop-gap arrangement, providing immediate but limited assistance in specific situations.
- While ChatGPT offers convenience, the complex and culturally specific nature of mental health requires a nuanced and human-centred approach, urging caution in relying solely on AI for therapeutic support.
NutGraf: In September, OpenAI’s Lilian Weng sparked debate by comparing ChatGPT to therapy. Users, acknowledging limitations, turn to the chatbot for mental health support, raising concerns about biases in AI-generated health insights.
Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment
Mains: Growth strategy needed in the uncertain global and domestic environment
Context: India’s growth faces diverse projections amid global changes like deglobalization, supply disruptions, and geopolitical tensions, necessitating a shift in strategy.
Different Projections for India’s Growth:
- RBI projects India’s growth at 7%, while IMF and World Bank estimate it at 6.3% for 2023-24.
- India’s recent growth rates in the first two quarters support the RBI’s projection.
- Global conditions, including deglobalization and geopolitical conflicts, impact India’s growth strategy.
Improving Investment Rate in the Medium Term:
- India needs to shift from an export-led growth strategy due to changing global dynamics.
- Domestic growth drivers become crucial, requiring a focus on domestic savings.
- Concerns arise from a fall in household savings, impacting resources available for government and corporate investment.
- The nominal investment rate is estimated at 29.2% in 2022-23, but the real investment rate needs enhancement for sustainable 7% growth.
Addressing Employment Challenges:
- India faces a unique situation with a large employable population and increasing labour-saving technologies.
- United Nations projections show the working-age population peaking at 68.9% in 2030.
- Increased allocation for training and skilling required to meet employment demands.
- Non-agricultural growth must absorb labour released from agriculture and counter the impact of new technologies.
- Facilitating the absorption of productivity-enhancing technologies, including AI, is essential.
Tackling Climate Concerns and Technological Changes:
- India commits to reducing carbon emissions with initiatives like the Green Grids Initiative and emphasis on electric vehicles.
- Climate-friendly service sector growth can minimize adverse impacts on the potential growth rate.
- Balancing growth with environmental sustainability and adopting technologies that support employment is crucial.
Fiscal Responsibility for Sustained Growth:
- Adherence to fiscal responsibility targets is critical for sustaining growth.
- Recent slippage in achieving fiscal responsibility targets raises concerns.
- Aim to bring down combined fiscal deficit and debt-to-GDP ratios to 6% and 60%, respectively.
- Achieving a balance or surplus on the revenue account is essential to reduce government dissavings.
The Way Forward:
- The projected growth of 6.5% in the next two years with a focus on recovery.
- Medium-term challenges require attention to raising savings and investment rates.
- Skill enhancement for the workforce, adopting employment-friendly technologies, and achieving environmental sustainability are key priorities.
- Maintaining fiscal responsibility is crucial for sustained and balanced economic growth.
- The overall strategy aims at achieving a growth rate of 7% to 7.5% over the medium term.
Nut Graf: India’s growth outlook varies among RBI, IMF, and World Bank. With changing global dynamics like deglobalization and conflicts disrupting supply chains, India must pivot from export reliance. Focus on domestic savings, skill enhancement for employment, balancing technological advancements with job creation, and fiscal responsibility are pivotal for achieving sustained 7% to 7.5% growth amidst evolving challenges.
Syllabus: Environmental Pollution and Degradation
Mains: Causes and consequences of Air pollution and remedies for it
Context: Despite considerable government efforts, pollution remains a pressing issue in India. Despite initiatives and policies, the severity of air pollution persists, highlighting the ongoing challenges in effectively addressing this critical environmental concern.
Status of Pollution in India
- Manifesto Promises vs. Reality:
- In their manifestos of 2014 and 2019, the ruling party pledged significant actions against air pollution, promising pollution audits, clean air plans for cities, and reducing pollution levels substantially.
- Despite these promises, the ground reality paints a bleak picture. India, particularly its major cities, remains severely polluted.
- Pollution Statistics and Health Impact:
- Reports from IQAir and Lancet highlight India’s grim air quality status, with numerous cities listed among the most polluted globally.
- Air pollution is cited as a major contributor to diseases like COPD, asthma, cancer, and strokes, leading to a significant death toll and reduced life expectancy, especially in urban areas.
- Economic Toll and Negligence:
- The economic toll of air pollution on India stands at a staggering ₹7.91 lakh crore annually, as reported by the World Economic Forum.
- Despite launching the National Clean Air Programme in 2019 for 131 polluted cities, government negligence has hindered its effectiveness, leaving citizens vulnerable to the pollution crisis.
Promises but Lack of Delivery
- Government Commitments vs. Reality:
- The current ruling party commitments towards pollution control have remained largely unfulfilled, despite repeated assurances in their election manifestos.
- The National Clean Air Programme, meant to alleviate pollution in cities, has failed to produce tangible results due to governmental neglect.
- Environmental Legislation Amendments:
- Amendments made by the government in environmental laws seem to prioritize destruction over protection, exemplified by the impact on forest cover and biodiversity, notably seen in projects like the Great Nicobar Development Plan.
- Central Vista Project and Disregard for Environment:
- The Central Vista project has led to substantial environmental damage, including the loss of trees in Delhi, and the government’s actions have disregarded building laws for its execution.
Role of Greed in Pollution
- Capital-Centric Development:
- The government’s development policies seem guided by corporate interests and profit motives, often at the expense of environmental conservation and public health.
- Pollution discussions are often steered toward blaming farmers for stubble burning rather than addressing broader issues like industrial emissions and urban planning.
- Market-Driven Development vs. People’s Welfare:
- Karl Marx’s observation about bourgeois governments managing capitalist affairs resonates today, emphasizing the government’s focus on profit-driven policies over public welfare.
- Urgent Need for Action: The government must prioritize public health over crony profits and urgently address the severe crisis caused by air pollution.
- Exploring Effective Practices: Emulating successful initiatives like “wind path forests” in other countries and India’s concept of “Social Forestry” could provide models for combating air pollution effectively.
- Call for Governmental Action: A call for an all-party meeting by the Prime Minister to strategize and initiate proactive measures in the winter session of Parliament is crucial for safeguarding the environment and public health.
Nut Graf: Despite promising robust measures in their manifestos, India’s air pollution crisis persists, starkly contrasting with ruling party commitments. Reports show alarming pollution levels, impacting health and reducing life expectancy. Governmental neglect, environmental legislation amendments favouring destruction, and capital-centric development strategies reveal a dire need for urgent action prioritizing public well-being over profit-driven agendas.
F. Prelims Facts
Syllabus: GS 2- International Relations
Prelims: About European Free Trade Association
- Trade Ministers from Switzerland and Norway are visiting Delhi, raising hopes for progress in the India-European Free Trade Association (EFTA) negotiations.
- Ongoing talks for the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) and Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between India and EFTA countries, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, have faced challenges over the past 15 years.
Key Points of Concern
- Despite multiple rounds of negotiations, key issues remain unresolved.
- Trade barriers, especially high tariffs on EFTA countries’ exports to India, are a major point of contention.
- Unresolved issues include trade in goods, mobility of services, and market access, with a focus on reducing barriers for high-value-added products.
Challenges Faced by Indian Negotiators
- India’s small pool of skilled trade negotiators faces challenges, managing multiple negotiations simultaneously, including those with the U.K., the EU, and Australia.
- India-U.K. FTA talks are still ongoing, India-EU comprehensive Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) progress is slow, and the India-Australia Comprehensive Economic and Commercial Agreement (CECA) remains unsigned.
- A paper published by scientists and researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, revealed that natural vegetation on almost 12,850 sq. km of land in the Cauvery basin was lost from 1965 to 2016.
- Karnataka accounted for three-fourths of the lost cover, while Tamil Nadu’s share was around one-fifth.
- The study highlighted a 46% reduction in natural vegetation cover during the 50-year period, with a 35% decrease in dense vegetation and a 63% decrease in degraded vegetation.
- Adverse changes in forest cover were observed in areas such as the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandipur National Park, Nagarhole National Park, and the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.
- The Bannerghatta National Park experienced a decline in moist deciduous forest area from 50% in 1973 to 28.5% in 2015 due to anthropogenic pressure.
- The noble pen shell clam, or pinna nobilis, which was on the verge of extinction due to a deadly pathogen spreading in parts of the Mediterranean around 2016, has made a comeback in waters off Croatia.
- The clam, once thought to be almost extinct in the Croatian waters, has seen a surge in numbers, with a diver spotting a group of 20 near the shore in the north of the Istria peninsula last year.
- About 100 young specimens were collected this year, indicating that the clams are still reproducing themselves.
- The noble pen shell clam plays an important ecological role by filtering sea water and supporting the flourishing of other organisms.
- Scientists are still investigating the cause of the comeback, and the Croatian government is funding further research.
- Interpol’s “Operation Storm Makers II,” the first operation against fraud schemes fueled by victims of human trafficking, has uncovered evidence that the trend is expanding beyond southeast Asia.
- The operation resulted in the arrest of many individuals in various countries, focusing on charges such as human trafficking, passport forgery, corruption, telecommunications fraud, and sexual exploitation.
- A case registered by the Telangana police highlighted one of the first instances in India of human trafficking committed to force victims into cyber fraud schemes.
- The scams ranged from romance investment scams and crypto fraud to illegal gambling, and victims faced serious violations and abuses, including threats to safety and security, torture, cruel treatment, arbitrary detention, sexual violence, and forced labor.
- The scam syndicates generated billions of dollars in annual revenues, with tens of thousands of people involved in countries like Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, the Philippines, and Thailand.
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
Q1. Consider the following statements:
- The World Air Quality Report is released by the United Nations Environment Programme.
- The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) targets to achieve 20% to 30% reduction in concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 by the year 2024.
- Non-attainment cities (NAC) are cities that didn’t meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for PM 10 or N02 over 5 years consistently.
How many of the statements given above are correct?
- Only one
- Only two
- All three
The World Air Quality Report was released by IQAir
Q2. Consider the following statements:
- The Eliza effect occurs when someone overestimates the actual ability of Artificial intelligence.
- The Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), is an international initiative to promote responsible AI use that respects human rights and democratic values.
Which of the statements given above is/are incorrect?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: Both Statements are correct
Q3. Operation Storm Makers II which targeted the phenomenon of human trafficking-fuelled fraud, was conducted by which of the following organisations?
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
- International Centre for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC)
- International Human Rights & Crime Control Council (IHRCCC)
- International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)
Explanation: Operation Storm Makers II is the first INTERPOL operation specifically targeting the phenomenon of human trafficking-fuelled fraud.
Q4. Consider the following statements:
- Pinna Nobilis are classified as critically endangered species by the IUCN
- Pinna Nobilis are endemic to the Mediterranean Sea and play an important ecological role by filtering seawater.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only.
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: Both statements are correct
Q5. Consider the following statements about PM Vishwakarma Scheme:
- PM Vishwakarma Scheme is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) that aims to empower rural artisans and blend tradition and modernity.
- The scheme Recognises artisans and craftspeople through a PM Vishwakarma certificate and ID card.
Which of the statements given above is/are incorrect?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: PM VISHWAKARMA YOJANA is a central sector scheme that aims to empower rural artisans and blend tradition and modernity
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
- Amidst a depressing global economic climate Indias growth story stands out as a beacon of hope. In this regard describe how can India craft its future growth strategy (250 words, 15 marks) (GS III – Economy)
- Illustrate strategies for India to combat air pollution and why is it important to discuss the issue in the Parliament? (250 words, 15 marks) (GS III – E&E)