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Prelim Bits 04-10-2023 | UPSC Daily Current Affairs

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October 04, 2023

UMMEED

Recently, the Union Ministry of Education (MoE) released the draft guidelines for schools to prevent suicide among students.

  • UMMEED - Understand, Motivate, Manage, Empathise, Empower, and Develop (UMMEED).
  • Released by – Department of School Education, Ministry of Education.
  • Objectives -
    • To prevent suicides among school students
    • To serve as directions to schools for enhancing sensitivity, understanding, and providing support in case of reported self-harm.
    • To de-stigmatise mental health concerns through storytelling, rallies, posters, exhibitions and other activities.
  • These guidelines align perfectly with the NEP’s (National Education Policy) vision of holistic education.
  • Plan of Action – Setting up of School Wellness Teams (SWT), orientations, and immediate response to vulnerable students.
  • Composition of SWT – School counsellors, students, teachers, supporting staff, a representative of the school management committee under the leadership of the school principal.
  • Functions of SWT – It implements school activities in creating awareness about mental well-being.

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References

  1. The Indian Express | UMMEED guidelines
  2. Hindustan Times| Draft norms to prevent suicides

 

World Bank Paper on Swachh Bharat Mission

Recently, a departmental working paper by the World Bank on the progress of the Swachh Bharat Mission - Gramin (SBM-G) was released.

The NARSS was conducted across rural India from 2017-18 to 2019-20 by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation with World Bank support.

Key findings of the report

  • It reported 4 main results after harmonizing definitions and measurements across all data sources.
  • Increased access – A substantial increase in access to own or shared improved toilets in rural India from 38% in 2012 to 90% in 2019-20 with the sharpest increase reported in the last 2 years.
  • Coverage in terms of sanitation infrastructure is nearly universal.
  • Increased toilet usage – There was significant increase especially for the poor and the socially disadvantaged groups, but far from universal.

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  • Wide spatial variation –It is seen in progress across and within states regarding toilet usage.
    • For Example: 6 states shows sustained decline, 7 states including Tamil Nadu shows uneven decline while 7 states shows steady performance.
  • While the performance of most low-income States were among the best, richer States had mixed performances.
    • For Example: In Tamil Nadu, the amount of progress was found to be smaller than poorer States.
  • Declining trend – The substantial gains in regular toilet use between 2014 and 2019 have slowed or are reversing in most states.
  • While decline is seen in all groups, it is the largest for SCs and STs.
  • ChallengesSustaining regular toilet use remains a critical challenge.

References

  1. The Hindu| World Bank Paper on SBM-G
  2. WB| Progress on Sanitation in Rural India

 

International Criminal Court (ICC)

Recently, Armenia's Parliament has voted to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

  • Establishment – In 1998 under the “Rome Statute”.
  • Headquarters – Hague in Netherlands.

India, USA, China, Russia and Ukraine are not the member of ICC whereas Britain, Japan, Afghanistan, and Germany are members of ICC.

  • Aim - To end impunity through international criminal justice.
  • Jurisdiction – It is limited to offences occurring after it came into effect on July 1, 2002 and act as a court of last resort.
  • Functions – It investigates and also tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community.

Organs of ICC

Crimes within the jurisdiction of ICC

  • Presidency
  • Judicial division
  • The office of the prosecutor
  • The Registry
  • Genocide
  • War crimes
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Crime of aggression
  • Complementarity - It is intended to complement, not to replace, national criminal systems.
  • It prosecutes cases only when States do not are unwilling or unable to do so genuinely.
  • Cooperation - It does not have its own police force or enforcement body and thus, it relies on cooperation with countries worldwide.
  • This is for making arrests, transferring arrested persons to the ICC detention centre in The Hague, freezing suspects’ assets, and enforcing sentences.
  • Relationship with UN – While it is not a United Nations organization, it has a cooperation agreement with UN.

Rome Statute

  • The treaty was adopted at the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries held in Rome, Italy in 1998 and it came into force only in 2002.
  • The Statute aims at establishing an international platform to deal with the worst possible crimes and ensure that justice prevails.
  • The states that have signed the Rome Statute are party to it, and thus, bound by it as well.
  • There are a total of 123 states that have signed the Rome Statute.
  • India is not a member of Rome statute.
  • The Rome Statute established three separate bodies namely
  1. Assembly of States Parties - Legislative body and regulates the management of ICC.
  2. International Criminal Court - Foremost adjudicating authority
  3. Trust Fund for Victims - It helps the victims in the restoration of their lives after being subjected to an atrocity.
  • To know more about ICC, click here
  • To know about Armenia Azerbaijan conflict, click here

References

  1. The Hindu| Armenia to join ICC
  2. ICC| International Criminal Court

 

Nobel Prize in Physics 2023

The 2023 Nobel Prize for Physics was shared by 3 scientists Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillie for their “experimental methods that generate attosecond pulses for the study of electron dynamics in matter.”

  • Contribution - They developed methods to produce ultra-short pulses of light called as attosecond pulse which enables to see directly into the super-fast world of electrons.

Attosecond is billionth of a billionth of a second which is 1×10−18 of a second.

  • Contribution of Anne L’Huillier – In 1987, overtones (waves of light) were produced by passing IR laser beam through a noble gas whose wavelength was an integer fraction of the beam.
  • When multiple overtones were created in the gas, they began to interact with each other.
  • When the peak of one overtone merges with the peak of other, it produces an overtone of greater intensity through constructive interference.
  • But when the peak of an overtone merges with the trough of another, they cancel each other out, in destructive interference.
  • This setup was fine-tuned which created intense pulses of light each a few attoseconds long (due to constructive interference) that doesn’t last longer (due to destructive interference).
  • Contribution of Pierre Agostini - In 2001, his research group produced a series of 250-attosecond light pulses, or a pulse train.
  • Contribution of Ferenc Krausz - At the same time, his team developed a technique to separate an individual 650-attosecond pulse from a pulse train.
  • Using that, the researchers were able to measure the energy of some electrons released by some krypton atoms.

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Challenges in imaging electrons

  • Electrons are the negatively charged sub atomic particles which zoom around the denser nucleus in an atom.
  • They are lighter and interact faster, in the attosecond realm.
  • Thus picturing of electrons was difficult through camera that doesn’t have lower exposure in the order of attosecond.

References

  1. The Hindu| Nobel Prize in Physics 2023
  2. The Indian Express | Discovery of Attosecond

 

Microplastics in Clouds

Researchers in Japan have confirmed the presence of microplastics in clouds.

  • Observations – They identified 9 different types of polymers and 1 type of rubber in the airborne microplastics ranging in size from 7.1 to 94.6 mm.
  • 1 litre of cloud water contains 6.7 to 13.9 pieces of plastics.
  • Hydrophilic (water-loving) polymers were abundant and thus play a significant role in rapid cloud formation and thus climate systems.

Microplastics are plastic particles under 5mm which come from industrial effluent, textiles, personal care products and much more.

  • Impacts – When they get exposed to UV radiation from sunlight, they degrade and contribute to greenhouse gasses.

Microplastics in Biosphere

  • They have been discovered inside fish in the deepest recesses of the ocean peppering Arctic sea ice.
  • They blanket the snows on the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain.
  • Emerging evidence has linked microplastics to a range of impacts in human health and in the environment.
    • It can affect human lung, heart and can even lead to cancer.

References

The Hindu| Microplastics in Clouds

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