26 Sep 2023: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

26 September 2023 CNA
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A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
1. What are the findings of the Parliament panel on NEP?
1. Why the Northeast cannot be treated as a ‘single homogenous’ territory
C. GS 3 Related
1. Newly minted NRF has a chance to bridge India’s science, society gap
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
1. G­20 diplomacy and a shifting world order
1. Children, a key yet missed demographic in AI regulation
F. Prelims Facts
1. Philippines removes China’s barrier in disputed shoal
G. Tidbits
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

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1. Why the Northeast cannot be treated as a ‘single homogenous’ territory

Syllabus: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector, Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and the States.

Mains: Issues related to the development and management of social sectors particularly in the context of marginalised communities in the Northeast.


The article discusses the diverse and marginalised Northeast region of India, emphasising the need to understand its heterogeneity, social issues, and the challenges faced by migrants.


  • The Northeast region consists of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.
  • The region is home to various ethnic communities with Indo-Chinese Mongoloid racial backgrounds.
  • The idea of a homogenous Northeast is problematic, given its linguistic, cultural, and ethnic diversity.

Historical Perspective: Colonial Influence

  • British colonial rule governed the Northeast as a single entity, influencing its perception.
  • This historical construct continues to affect the region’s governance by the Indian state.

Diverse and Heterogeneous

  • Northeast India is as diverse as the entire country in terms of language, culture, and ethnicity.
  • A seminar on ‘Identity and Marginality in Northeast India’ in 2017 highlighted the need to recognize heterogeneity. There is a need to highlight the elements of heterogeneity of the different groups and their experiences, contestations and conflicts.

Key Issues in Northeast India

  • Indigeneity: Indigenous rights and recognition are significant concerns, with implications for land ownership and cultural preservation.
  • Policy and Economy: Economic development policies need to address the region’s specific needs and challenges.
  • Migration: Northeastern migrants face marginalisation and discrimination in other parts of India.
    • Racial discrimination against Northeastern migrants in Delhi is a classic example of this issue.
    • The Bezbaruah Committee, established in 2014 to address the concerns of northeastern citizens residing across the nation, proposed the use of social media as a means to connect with people from the Northeast. Consequently, a dedicated helpline (1093) was integrated with the existing emergency helpline (100).
  • Land Rights: Land is a critical livelihood factor, and disputes over land ownership are common.
  • Insurgency: Ongoing insurgent movements in some states contribute to instability.
  • Militarization: The presence of military forces affects daily life and security in certain areas.
  • State Violence: Instances of state violence raise human rights concerns.
  • Laws like AFSPA: The Armed Forces Special Powers Act has implications for civil liberties and security.
  • Reservation: The debate over reservation policies for marginalised communities in the region.
  • Discrimination: Discrimination against outsiders living in Northeast India also exists.

Impact of Conflict on Women

  • In conflict-prone areas like Manipur, Nagaland, and Assam, ethnic violence has displaced communities.
  • Women often become primary breadwinners due to displacement or the loss of male family members.
  • Displacement also results in health challenges, including malnutrition, post-traumatic stress, and increased risk of communicable diseases.
  • Land disputes during conflicts affect women’s economic security.

Complexities Within Marginalised Groups

  • Even within marginalised communities, there are complexities in addressing issues.
  • For example, some Naga tribal bodies oppose women’s reservation, citing the protection of customary laws.
  • In matrilineal societies like Khasi, power dynamics can still be patriarchal.


  • Understanding the complexities of Northeast India, including its diversity, identity, and key issues, is vital for promoting unity and addressing marginalisation effectively in the region.

Nut Graf: Northeast India, a region rich in diversity, faces issues of marginalisation and discrimination. This article delves into its complexity, from historical roots to contemporary challenges.


1. Children, a key yet missed demographic in AI regulation

Syllabus: Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections.

Prelims: Artificial Intelligence, Digital India Act, UNICEF

Mains: Impact of AI on Children, Ethical Framework for Global expansion of AI


  • India is set to host the first-ever global summit on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in October.
  • AI is also expected to contribute $500 billion to India’s economy by 2025
  • In this context, the Prime Minister has called for a global framework for the ethical expansion of AI.

Protecting Children’s Interests in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

  • The impact of AI on children’s privacy, security, and well-being raises concerns. 
  • Without proper regulation, AI-based digital services may use opaque algorithms and dark patterns to exploit vulnerable youth. 
  • This can result in tech-based distortions of ideal physical appearances, leading to body image issues, as well as other negative effects like misinformation, radicalization, cyberbullying, sexual grooming etc.
  • Children and adolescents must be equipped with tools to manage the unintended consequences of their online presence, including AI-powered deep fake capabilities that can be used to create and distribute morphed sexually explicit content.
  • Intersectional identities, including gender, caste, tribal identity, religion, and linguistic heritage, must be considered in AI regulation to prevent biases and discrimination against marginalized communities.
  • India’s current data protection framework for children is insufficient, placing too much responsibility on parents to protect their children’s interests and failing to facilitate safe platform operations and design.
  • The upcoming Digital India Act (DIA) should better protect children’s interests when interacting with AI by improving upon these existing approaches.
  • India has the opportunity to pioneer efforts in mitigating the effects of artificial intelligence (AI) on young people, as many state-of-the-art AI applications, while not intentionally created for children, remain readily available to them via digital platforms.
  • Regulation of AI must ensure that incentives are aligned to address issues such as addiction, mental health, and safety. 

The Role of Parents and Guardians

  • Parents and guardians play a vital role in safeguarding their children’s online experiences. They are responsible for educating them about online safety, and making informed decisions about the apps and platforms their children use. 
  • However, this approach places an unfair burden on parents, who may lack the technical expertise or resources to effectively manage their children’s online activities. 
  • Moreover, it fails to recognize the reality that children often assist their parents in navigating complex digital interfaces and user experiences.

UNICEF’s Guidance for Policymakers

  • To address these concerns, UNICEF has developed guidelines for policymakers on AI and children. 
  • These guidelines focus on creating a child-centred approach that promotes well-being, inclusion, fairness, non-discrimination, safety, transparency, explainability, and accountability. 
  • The guidelines advocate for an enabling environment that encourages the development of AI systems that cater to children’s diverse needs and promote their best interests.

Age-Appropriate Design Code

  • One effective strategy for ensuring child-friendly AI is the implementation of an Age-Appropriate Design Code.
  • California’s Age-Appropriate Design Code Act serves as a useful model. 
  • The code requires digital services to configure default privacy settings that prioritize children’s privacy, assess algorithms and data collection methods for potential harm to children, and utilize clear, age-appropriate language for user-facing information. 
  • Similarly, India should develop an Age-Appropriate Design Code for AI that caters to the unique needs of its children.

Institutionalizing Dialogue with Children

  • In addition to regulatory measures, it is essential to establish institutions that foster regular dialogue with children. 
  • Mechanisms such as Australia’s Online Safety Youth Advisory Council, which includes members between the ages of 13 and 24, can provide valuable insights into the threats and benefits that young people encounter when interacting with AI systems. 
  • Such institutions will enable regulations to respond more effectively to emerging challenges and preserve the benefits that children derive from digital services.


  • As India moves forward with its plans to introduce a new law to regulate harms on the internet, it is imperative that the interests of children remain at the forefront. 
  • By embracing standards, strong institutions, and best practices that promote openness, trust, and accountability, we can ensure that AI development and deployment benefit both children and society as a whole

Nut Graf: A comprehensive legal framework to regulate the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on children’s privacy, security, and well-being is the need of the hour. The upcoming Digital India Act (DIA) should improve upon existing approaches to protect children’s interests. By embracing standards, strong institutions, and best practices that promote openness, trust, and accountability, we can ensure that AI development and deployment benefit both children and society as a whole.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Philippines removes China’s barrier in disputed shoal

Syllabus: GS 2 – International Relations

Prelims: Scarborough Shoal

  • The Philippine coast guard has removed a floating barrier placed by China’s coast guard in the South China Sea.
  • Chinese coast guard ships erected a 300-metre-long obstruction, supported by buoys and nets when Philippine fishing vessels approached the area.
  • The barrier was set up in order to stop Filipino fishing boats from accessing a contested lagoon located at Scarborough Shoal.
  • Officials from the Philippines view this barrier as a breach of both international law and their nation’s sovereignty.
  • The Philippine Coast Guard successfully removed the barrier in a “special operation” following the order of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
  • Philippine officials insist their actions align with international law and protect their territorial rights.
  • China claims the shoal and its adjacent waters as its own territory and says the Philippine vessel trespassed without permission.
  • This dispute adds to long-standing territorial conflicts in the resource-rich South China Sea, involving multiple nations, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan, and China.

G. Tidbits

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H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements, with reference to the National Research 
Foundation (NRF):
  1. NRF has a budget of ₹50,000 crore over five years to boost research and innovation in India.
  2. NRF funds are used for research in natural sciences, humanities, social sciences, and art.
  3. The Union Minister of Science & Technology is the ex-officio President of the NRF Governing Board.

How many of the statements given above are incorrect?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Answer: a

Explanation: The Prime Minister serves as the Board’s ex-officio President due to NRF’s broad impact across ministries, with Union Ministers of S&T and Education as ex-officio Vice-Presidents.

Q2. The 'Scarborough Shoal' recently in the news, is situated in which of the 
following areas?
  1. Atlantic Ocean
  2. Indian Ocean
  3. Arabian Sea
  4. South China Sea

Answer: d

Explanation: It’s a disputed territory claimed by the Philippines, China, and Taiwan in the South China Sea.

Q3. With reference to the Bezbaruah Committee, which of the following statements 
is correct?
  1. The Bezbaruah Committee focuses on environmental conservation in the northeastern region.
  2. The Bezbaruah Committee is responsible for formulating economic policies for northeastern States.
  3. The Bezbaruah Committee was established to address the concerns of citizens from northeastern States living in various parts of the country.
  4. The Bezbaruah Committee was formed to investigate corruption in the northeastern States.

Answer: c

Explanation: The Bezbaruah Committee was set up in 2014 to address the concerns of citizens from northeastern States living in various parts of the country.

Q4. Consider the following statements, with reference to the National Education 
Policy 2020 (NEP):
  1. The NEP for schools categorizes the curricular structure and teaching style into four stages: foundational, preparatory, middle, and secondary.
  2. The Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will serve as the umbrella regulator for legal and medical education.
  3. It aims for the universalization of education by 2030, targeting 100% Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) from pre-primary to secondary.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Answer: b

Explanation: Statement 2 is incorrect as HECI will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. 

Q5. Consider the following statements, with reference to the Convention on the Rights 
of the Child:
  1. It was adopted in 1989, to protect and fulfil the rights of children worldwide.
  2. It is an international agreement that is legally binding on the members.
  3. India is not a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Answer: b

Explanation: Statement 3 is incorrect as India is indeed a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


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  1. Challenges faced by the India’s higher education institutes:
    1. Lack of funding for research and development.
    2. Devoid of visionary regarding introducing new subjects addresses the current industrial and technological demand.
    3. Rigid credit sysytem prescribed by UGC and non-introduction of Multiple Entry and Multiple Exit Credit system.
    4. Lack of autonomy for educational faculties to teach in innovative way.
    5. Opaquenees in academic appraisal of students.
    Solutions to these issues:
    1. Government financial support to bring out the best innovative practises from indian faculties regarding paper publication and research.
    2. Introduction of new courses to match up with the industrial demand.
    3. Development of labaratory environment with modern equipment to do effective research.
    4. Increase in incentives to faculties who excel in productive research and further funding of research work.
    5. Overall Infrastructural development in the higher educational institutions will pave the way for stand at par and quality with global academia.