GS II Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management Adopted
The first International Agrobiodiversity Congress (IAC) held in New Delhi has adopted New Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management.
Key features of the declaration:
AGROBIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION: Nations must accord top priority to the agrobiodiversity conservation and their sustainable use towards achieving targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relating to poverty alleviation, food and nutritional security, good health, gender equity and partnership.
TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE: Recognises importance of traditional knowledge on agrobiodiversity of farm women and men, pastoralists and other tribal and rural communities and also their role in its conservation and use for a food and climate resilient world. It calls upon nations to develop the necessary funding, legal and institutional mechanism to ensure and facilitate their continued active participation.
CONSERVATION STRATEGIES: Urge policy-makers and researchers to initiate, strengthen, and promote complementary conservation strategies to conserve and use agrobiodiversity. It must include wild relatives of crop to ensure a continuum between in situ, ex situ and on farm conservation strategies to combat food and nutrition insecurity as well as adverse effects of land degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss.
MODERN TECHNOLOGIES: Researchers must employ modern technologies including, but not limited to, space, genomic, computational and nano-technologies for characterization, evaluation and trait discovery using genetic resources. Their aim should be to achieve equality, efficiency, economy and environmental security in agricultural production systems and landscapes.
GLOBAL EXCHANGE: It reemphasizes the necessity of global exchange of plant, animal, aquatic, microbial and insect genetic resources for food and agriculture to meet the ever-growing food and nutritional needs of each country. Countries need to harmonise their multiple legal systems and prioritize the improvement of their phytosanitary capacities to facilitate safe transfer of genetic resources using latest technologies and trans-boundary partnerships.
AGROBIODIVERSITY INDEX: It suggests developing and implementing an agrobiodiversity index to help monitor conservation and use of agrobiodiversity.
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS to actively invest in and incentivize the utilization of agrobiodiversity to address malnutrition, increase the resilience and productivity of farms, and enhance ecosystem services leading to equitable benefits and opportunities with particular emphasis on women and youth.
The UN is also urged to consider declaring soon a ‘Year of Agrobiodiversity’ to draw worldwide attention and to catalyze urgent action.
GS II Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Competition Commission of India (CCI) to host ICN 2018 Annual Conference
International Competition Network (ICN) has accepted the proposal and decided that Competition Commission of India would host the 2018 ICN Annual Conference. This will be held at Delhi in March –April 2018. By virtue of this event, CCI has also been inducted as an ex-officio member of the steering group member of the ICN for a period of 3 years.
ICN provides competition authorities with a specialised yet informal platform for addressing practical competition concerns, sharing experiences and adopting international best practices.
Its members are national competition authorities and NGA (Non-governmental Advisers) which include reputed law firms, eminent persons, and think tanks of international repute.
The ICN holds an Annual Conference which is hosted by a member competition agency. The last such Conference was hosted by Competition Commission of Singapore in April 2016 and Portuguese Competition Authority is hosting the next conference in May 2017.
Competition Commission of India is a body responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an adverse effect on competition in India. It was established on 14 October 2003. It became fully functional in May 2009.
CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
The duty of the Commission is to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
GS II 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Union Government launches Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana for entrepreneurs
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has announced launch of Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana to scale up an ecosystem of entrepreneurship for youngsters.
The scheme spans over five years (2016-17 to 2020-21)
It will provide entrepreneurship education and training to over 7 lakh students in 5 years through 3,050 institutes.
It will also include easy access to information and mentor network, credit, incubator and accelerator and advocacy to create a pathway for the youth.
The institutes under the PM’s Yuva Yojana include 2,200 institutes of higher learning (colleges, universities, and premier institutes), 300 schools, 500 ITIs and 50 entrepreneurship development centres through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
MSDE has plans to provide assistance to states to help align them with the Centre’s skill development agenda.
GS II Topic- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Union Government launches Smart India Hackathon
The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has launched Smart India Hackathon 2017. It is the world’s largest digital national building initiative. It is joint initiative of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), University Grants Commission (UGC), MyGov, NASSCOM, i4c, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhiniand Persistent Systems
Through this initiative, HRD Ministry is keen to reach out to all technology institutions in the country and challenge students to offer innovative solutions to some of the daunting problems faced by our nation.
The Hackathon aims to find digital solutions by harnessing creativity and technical expertise of over 30 lakh students from technology institutes in remotest parts of India.
Besides, it seeks to spark several institute-level hackathons countrywide and help build a funnel for ‘Startup India, Standup India’ campaign.
It will find digital solutions to problems in the areas of education, health, water, power, agriculture, finance, urban & rural development, energy, aviation & shipping, transport, sanitation, law & justice, sports, skill development & entrepreneurship, textiles, tourism, defence etc.
The initiative will help to institutionalize a model for harnessing the creativity and skills of youth for nation-building.
The Hackathon will have nearly 500 problem statements in all and will be published on innovate.mygov.in. In the first set of 250 problem statements were unveiled.
Focus Prelims- 2017
World Science Day for Peace and Development
The World Science Day for Peace and Development is observed on 10 November 2016 across the world to raise awareness of benefits of science in our daily life.
2016 Theme: “Celebrating Science Centres and Science Museums”.
It highlights the importance of science centres and museums for capacity building and to send strong messages about the importance of science for sustainable development.
To mark the day, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had organised special campaigns, visits to science museums for school children, etc.
World Science Day was started in 2001 by UNESCO as a follow-up to the first World Conference on Science in 1999.
The conference was jointly organised by UNESCO and International Council for Science in Budapest (Hungary).
Union Government launches Healthy India Initiative magazine and No More Tension mobile App
It was launched by Union Health Minister J P Nadda for promotion of health and to strengthen the health communications programmes.
Healthy India Magazine: It will be a quarterly magazine. It will cater to health related information and raise awareness about healthy living. The magazine will cover different aspect of health including women and child health, elderly health, daily nutritional needs, seasonal ailments, safe medication practices and home remedies for healthy living. The magazine will be made available at all the government facilities up to the sub-centre and will be available free of cost.
No More Tension App: It will help users to manage stress and will also provide information regarding stress, symptoms and its management. The application will allow user to measure their stress level and learn various techniques like yoga and meditation to reduce stress from their lives.
Darknet, also known as dark web or darknet market, refers to the part of the internet that is not indexed or accessible through traditional search engines. It is a network of private and encrypted websites that cannot be accessed through regular web browsers and requires special software and configuration to access.
The darknet is often associated with illegal activities such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services, although not all sites on the darknet are illegal.
Examples of darknet markets include Silk Road, AlphaBay, and Dream Market, which were all shut down by law enforcement agencies in recent years.
These marketplaces operate similarly to e-commerce websites, with vendors selling various illegal goods and services, such as drugs, counterfeit documents, and hacking tools, and buyers paying with cryptocurrency for their purchases.
Anonymity: Darknet allows users to communicate and transact with each other anonymously. Users can maintain their privacy and avoid being tracked by law enforcement agencies or other entities.
Access to Information: The darknet provides access to information and resources that may be otherwise unavailable or censored on the regular internet. This can include political or sensitive information that is not allowed to be disseminated through other channels.
Freedom of Speech: The darknet can be a platform for free speech, as users are able to express their opinions and ideas without fear of censorship or retribution.
Secure Communication: Darknet sites are encrypted, which means that communication between users is secure and cannot be intercepted by third parties.
Illegal Activities: Many darknet sites are associated with illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services. Such activities can attract criminals and expose users to serious legal risks.
Scams: The darknet is a hotbed for scams, with many fake vendors and websites that aim to steal users’ personal information and cryptocurrency. The lack of regulation and oversight on the darknet means that users must be cautious when conducting transactions.
Security Risks: The use of the darknet can expose users to malware and other security risks, as many sites are not properly secured or monitored. Users may also be vulnerable to hacking or phishing attacks.
Stigma: The association of the darknet with illegal activities has created a stigma that may deter some users from using it for legitimate purposes.
AI, or artificial intelligence, refers to the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence, such as recognizing speech, making decisions, and understanding natural language.
Virtual assistants: Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are examples of virtual assistants that use natural language processing to understand and respond to users’ queries.
Recommendation systems: Companies like Netflix and Amazon use AI to recommend movies and products to their users based on their browsing and purchase history.
Efficiency: AI systems can work continuously without getting tired or making errors, which can save time and resources.
Personalization: AI can help provide personalized recommendations and experiences for users.
Automation: AI can automate repetitive and tedious tasks, freeing up time for humans to focus on more complex tasks.
Job loss: AI has the potential to automate jobs previously performed by humans, leading to job loss and economic disruption.
Bias: AI systems can be biased due to the data they are trained on, leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes.
Safety and privacy concerns: AI systems can pose safety risks if they malfunction or are used maliciously, and can also raise privacy concerns if they collect and use personal data without consent.