27 May 2024 CNA
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A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
1. An overview of Europe’s AI convention
C. GS 3 Related
1. What is the current status with respect to spice exports?
Disaster Management
1. This century, heatwaves are moving slower and lasting longer
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
1. The spectre of nuclear conflict, once again
1. A door to a housing scheme, tribals find hard to open
F. Prelims Facts
1. Astronomical transients: burning bright in the blink of an eye
G. Tidbits
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

Syllabus: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation


Mains: EU model of AI convention




  • Europe’s AI convention aims to ensure that activities within the AI lifecycle align with human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.
  • It covers AI systems’ activities that have the potential to impact human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.


Applicability to Public and Private Actors:


  • Parties are required to apply the convention to activities within the AI lifecycle conducted by both public authorities and private actors acting on their behalf.
  • Risks and impacts from AI systems’ activities by private actors must be addressed in line with the convention’s objectives.


Exemptions and National Security Concerns:


  • The convention includes broad exemptions related to national security interests, research, development, testing, and national defense.
  • Military applications of AI are not covered by the convention due to the lack of consensus on regulating such applications.
  • While exemptions exist, the convention’s applicability to national security and testing is not entirely ruled out.


General Obligations:


  • The convention imposes general obligations related to the protection of human rights, integrity of democratic processes, and respect for the rule of law.
  • Parties are expected to take measures against issues like disinformation and deep fakes under these obligations.
  • Parties have the flexibility to exceed the specified commitments and obligations outlined in the convention.

Nut Graf: The Framework Convention on AI and Human Rights ensures AI activities align with human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. It applies to both public and private actors, with exemptions for national security concerns.

Syllabus: Transport and Marketing of Agricultural Produce and Issues and Related Constraints 


Mains: Quality checking concern in Agriculture export 


Spice Export Trends and Recent Concerns:


  • Indian spice exports remain robust, with a significant global market share. In 2023-2024, exports amounted to $4.4 billion, marking a 12.3% increase from the previous fiscal year.
  • Recent concerns arose when Hong Kong and Singapore recalled certain spice mix products from MDH and Everest Group due to elevated levels of Ethylene Oxide (ETO), a sterilizing agent.


Reasons for Ethylene Oxide Usage and Contamination Sources:


  • Ethylene Oxide (ETO) is primarily used as a sterilizing agent to reduce microbial load in finished spice goods, not as a pesticide.
  • Contamination typically occurs during the process of storage and transportation, particularly in mandies (auction yards), where spices are susceptible to human, bird, reptile, and insect contact.


Impact of Recall and Industry Response:


  • While the recall led to disruptions in exports, particularly to Singapore and Hong Kong, it did not result in bans. Exports have since resumed to these countries.
  • Indian spice stakeholders are advocating for discussions with the European Union to relax stringent ETO and Maximum Residue Level (MRL) norms, aiming to boost exports to the EU market.


Measures Taken by Spices Board:


  • In response to the recall, the Spices Board issued a detailed protocol to manufacturing exporters to prevent ETO contamination.
  • Additionally, mandatory testing of spice consignments bound for Singapore and Hong Kong for ETO contamination has been initiated by the Board.
  • Efforts are underway to address the variation in ETO usage limits across different importing countries through engagement with international food standards bodies.

Nut Graf: Recent spice recalls due to Ethylene Oxide contamination prompted Indian authorities to implement measures ensuring compliance with global food safety standards. Despite disruptions, stakeholders seek to address norms and resume exports

Category:Disaster Management

1. This century, heatwaves are moving slower and lasting longer

Syllabus: Disaster and Disaster Management


Mains: Changing nature and frequency of heatwaves




  • Heatwaves in the 21st century are becoming slower and lasting longer, causing significant impacts globally.
  • Scientists attribute this trend to changes in upper atmosphere air circulation patterns, particularly the weakening of the jet stream.


Impact of Heatwaves:


  • Heatwaves have severe consequences including increased risk of wildfires, crop damage, and health issues for humans and animals.
  • An analysis spanning 1979 to 2020 revealed that heatwaves have slowed down by nearly 8 km/day per decade and have increased in frequency and duration, with notable effects in North America and Eurasia.


Understanding Heatwave Dynamics:


  • Previous studies mainly focused on heatwave frequency and intensity, overlooking their movement.
  • Researchers classified heatwaves based on temperature and duration, then tracked their movement over space and time.
  • By studying how heatwaves propagate, scientists bridged the gap between thermodynamic and dynamic aspects of heatwaves.


Factors Contributing to Slower Heatwaves:


  • A weakening jet stream in the upper atmosphere has been identified as a key factor.
  • The jet stream guides atmospheric waves, and its weakening leads to slower-moving weather events, including heatwaves.
  • Human activities and greenhouse gas emissions have played a dominant role in altering heatwave dynamics, according to simulations.


Future Research and Mitigation Strategies:


  • Further research aims to understand regional differences in heatwaves and their relationship with atmospheric circulation patterns.
  • Climate adaptation strategies, such as planting trees and increasing green infrastructure, are proposed to mitigate the impacts of heatwaves.
  • Education and community engagement efforts, such as teaching climate adaptation science and collaborating with NGOs, are crucial for addressing the challenges posed by climate change-induced heatwaves.

Nut Graf: In the 21st century, heatwaves are becoming slower and longer globally, with significant impacts. Scientists attribute this trend to a weakened jet stream, influenced by human activities. Mitigation strategies include planting trees and education on climate adaptation.

E. Editorials


1. The spectre of nuclear conflict, once again

Syllabus: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests


Mains: Current Global Nuclear Order


Historical Context and Current Concerns:


  • Post-war reflections often question whether leaders failed to anticipate major conflicts.
  • Current global tensions involve threats of war and nuclear weapons.
  • Nations need to analyse the rhetoric of leaders to understand underlying threats.


Statements from France and Russia:


  • French President Emmanuel Macron’s ‘apocalyptic vision’ and warnings of nuclear annihilation are gaining attention.
  • Macron highlights the changed Russian stance due to the Ukraine war and Putin’s nuclear threats.
  • France’s significant nuclear arsenal adds weight to Macron’s concerns.
  • Macron plans to discuss these issues at the European Political Community meeting in July.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasised nuclear readiness during the Victory Day Parade.
  • Putin stated Russia would prevent global conflict but remain alert to threats.
  • In November 2023, Russia revoked its ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), citing a need to balance with the U.S.


Global Response and Chinese Developments:


  • The international community has reacted negatively to Russia’s CTBT revocation.
  • China’s nuclear advancements continue, including sea trials for a new supercarrier.


Academic Insights from the Hoover Institution:


  • U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Deal
      • Discussions at the Hoover Institution highlighted the significance of the U.S.-India nuclear deal (2005-08).
      • The deal transformed nuclear and overall relations between the two countries.
      • India and the U.S. made significant concessions to achieve this agreement.
  • Impact of the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal:
      • The deal resolved many issues preventing India’s integration into the global nuclear regime.
      • It involved India’s separation of civilian and military nuclear programs and the U.S. amending domestic laws.
      • The deal led to legislative changes and eased nuclear restrictions on India through the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
  • Broader Implications:
    • The discussions emphasized that overcoming psychological divides is crucial for improving international relations.
    • The U.S.-India nuclear deal illustrates how such transformations can lead to significant bilateral advancements.
    • The deal demonstrates the potential of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and economic benefits.


Nut Graf: Global tensions are escalating with nuclear threats from Russia and warnings from France, emphasizing the need for international vigilance. Concurrently, discussions at the Hoover Institution highlight the transformative impact of the U.S.-India nuclear deal on bilateral and global relations.


1. A door to a housing scheme, tribals find hard to open

Syllabus: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation


Mains: Issues in the implementation of PM-JANMAN 




  • Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs): India is home to numerous Adivasi groups, with 75 identified as PVTGs.
  • Demographics: Comprising around 14.6 lakh households, PVTGs reside in scattered, remote, and often inaccessible areas.
  • Characteristics: They rely on pre-agricultural methods and tools, have low literacy rates, economic backwardness, and stagnant populations.


Government Initiatives:


  • Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission (2023-24): Announced to improve the socio-economic conditions of PVTGs.
  • Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN): Launched in November 2023 with a budget of ₹24,000 crore.
    • Objective: To provide essential services including safe housing, clean drinking water, and sanitation through 11 critical interventions.
    • Target: To reach 4.90 lakh PVTG households by 2026, ensuring secure and habitable housing with a DBT scheme providing ₹2.39 lakh per household in three instalments.


Challenges in Registration:


  • Data Mismatch Issues:
      • DBT Challenges: Instances of wrongful deletions in schemes like MGNREGA and PM KISAN due to registration and Aadhaar detail mismatches.
      • Survey Findings: Inclusivity and accessibility issues for PVTGs and frontline officials in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Odisha.
  • App Use and Confusion:
    • Awaas+ Mobile App: Used for registering PVTG households, capturing geographical location, household profiles, and bank details.
    • Jobcard Requirement: Mandatory for registration, but widespread deletion of MGNREGA jobcards has led to ineligibility for many PVTGs.
    • Village Discrepancies: Mismatched village lists between the app and MGNREGA MIS, causing confusion.
    • Name and Aadhaar Issues: Lack of guidance for non-Aadhaar names and default ‘ST’ option leading to non-PVTG registrations.
    • Bank Selection Complexity: Over 300 options for banks and 500 for branches, creating unnecessary complexity.


Missing Banking Options and Recommendations:


    • Exclusion of India Post Payments Bank (IPPB): Despite its role in financial inclusion, the IPPB is not listed in the app’s bank options.
  • Recommendations:
    • Streamline Registration: Update the app and include IPPB.
    • Reinstate Jobcards: Take proactive measures to reinstate deleted jobcards.
    • Community Engagement: Involve gram sabhas to improve scheme effectiveness.
    • Certifications and Network Issues: Address certification issues and geo-tagging problems due to network issues.




  • Ongoing Struggles: Despite initiatives, the narrative of PVTGs reflects ongoing struggles and broken promises.
  • Potential for Change: The PM JANMAN presents an opportunity to transform the lives of PVTGs, helping them benefit from India’s growth.


Nut Graf: The Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN) aims to uplift Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) through housing schemes. However, challenges in registration, including data mismatches and app complexities, hinder effective implementation.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Astronomical transients: burning bright in the blink of an eye



  • Astronomical transients are celestial objects whose brightness changes rapidly over short periods of time.
  • They are characterized by violent phenomena and are studied by astronomers to understand their origins and implications for non-transient events.


Types of Astronomical Transients:




  • Supernovae occur when the outer layers of massive stars explode while their cores collapse due to the depletion of fusion fuel.
  • These events can result in an immense increase in brightness, sometimes surpassing the combined luminosity of the entire host galaxy.


Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN):


  • AGN are found at the centres of massive galaxies and contain supermassive black holes.
  • In AGN, black holes actively consume surrounding matter, leading to varying brightness as the matter emits energy due to interactions with the black hole.


Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs):


  • FRBs were first discovered in 2007 and remain a mysterious transient phenomenon.
  • Despite being challenging to detect, hundreds of FRBs have been observed, emitting energy equivalent to over ten times that of the Sun in mere milliseconds.
  • The cause of FRBs is still unknown to astronomers, prompting further research into their origins and mechanisms.

G. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT):
  1. Its purpose is to prevent all forms of nuclear explosions for both civilian or military purposes.
  2. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1996.
  3. India is not a signatory to CTBT. 
    How many of these statements is/are incorrect? (a) One only(b) ⁠Two only (c) All three (d) ⁠None of the above

Answer: d

Explanation: All three statements are correct.

Q2.PM-JANMAN Scheme often seen in news is aimed at:

(a) Impart knowledge and build capacities among scheduled tribes.

(b) ⁠Uplifting Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). 

(c) Providing affordable loans to street vendors.

(d) ⁠Providing loans at subsidized rates to women self help groups.


Answer: b

Explanation: Pradhan Mantri-Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN) Scheme. Aimed at uplifting Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

Q3.Consider the following statements with respect to Council of Europe (CoE):
  1. It is an intergovernmental organization with 46 members.
  2. The treaty of London brought it into existence in 1949.
  3. All the members of the European Union are members of the Council of Europe.How many of these statements is/are correct? (a) One only(b) ⁠Two only (c) All three (d) ⁠None of the above

Answer: c

Explanation:All three statements are correct.

Q4. They are located at the centre of massive galaxies.
They feature supermassive black holes actively consuming nearby matter,
causing energy interactions that result in fluctuating brightness​​.
They are among the brightest and most energetic objects in the universe.

The paragraph describes:

(a) Active Galactic Nuclei

(b) ⁠Fast Radio Bursts

(c) Supernovae

(d) ⁠None of the above


Answer: a

Explanation:Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) are located at the centers of massive galaxies, these feature supermassive black holes actively consuming nearby matter, causing energy interactions that result in fluctuating brightness​​.

Q5.Consider the following statements with respect to Ethylene Oxide (ETO):
  1. It is a flammable gas. 
  2. ETO is used as a sterilizing agent to reduce microbial load in finished spice goods.
  3. It is used in hospitals to sterilize medical equipment

How many of these statements is/are correct? 

(a) One only

(b) ⁠Two only 

(c) All three 

(d) ⁠None of the above


Answer: c

Explanation:All three statements are correct. 


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