Adopt a Heritage project and Monument Mitras
GS Paper I
Context: Companies will be referred to as Monument Mitras if they engage into arrangements with ASI to adopt sites. Concerns are raised by the tenfold rise in the number of sites being included in the contentious “Adopt a Heritage” plan of 2017. The nation’s priceless pluralistic history is on the verge of extinction unless the “revamped” system is stopped.
About Adopt a Heritage project:
The Indian government introduced the “Adopt a Heritage” programme in September 2017 under the direction of the Ministries of Tourism, Culture, and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The scheme’s primary goal is to provide top-notch tourist amenities at the different natural and cultural heritage sites, monuments, and other tourist destinations around the nation in order to make them tourist-friendly, increase their tourism potential, and highlight their cultural significance.
The project’s main goals are to provide both fundamental amenities like sanitation, public conveniences, drinking water, ease of access for tourists, signs, etc., as well as more modern amenities like Television, a souvenir shop, a cafeteria, and other such facilities.
Tourist facilities will be built at historic places by the government, the commercial sector, and people. They would effectively adopt the sites as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities and change their name to “Monument Mitra”.
What are the concerns?
The current design ignores the ASI mission and abandons The Sarnath Initiative, a set of rules developed by the ASI, the Getty Trust, the United States, the British Museum, and the National Cultural Fund to save unearthed artefacts and show them to tourists in an interesting way.
undermineneighbourhood connections between historical places and local communities: The livelihoods of locals who have lived close to the site and made a career by regaling tourists with tales of its colourful past may be in risk if guided tours are conducted by staff of huge corporations that have been granted permission to adopt a monument.
Extraordinary deterioration: It’s concerning that large corporations may pay for a monument’s lights. Hospitals and rural homesteads will also lose electricity due to nighttime tourism.
It might change the historical character of sites outside the ASI: Several of the monuments chosen for the programme are not ASI-protected and are located in states without archaeology directors. One worries that organisations who sign contracts with the Union Ministry of Culture to adopt these monuments will have little trouble changing their historical significance.
What might Corporate India instead do to look after the nation’s-built heritage?
Companies may contribute to the public’s understanding of the value of monuments by using CSR funding for grants to support the development of high-quality textbooks and innovative teaching strategies.
Careful preservation: By taking a closer look at themselves, industrial homes may aid in the meaningful preservation of historic structures. Their CSR funds can be used to buy new machinery that emits fewer toxic gases that darken and corrode marble structures and discharges fewer effluents into rivers, decreasing the likelihood that these water bodies will serve as a breeding ground for microbes that collect on the walls of old buildings erected on riverbanks and lead to their decay.
Collaboration: The ASI and State Archaeology Directorates may be able to safeguard monuments against dams, mining projects, defacement, and looting with the assistance of the business sector’s resources and knowledge.
Climate change: Significant threat to India’s historical monuments
In Madhya Pradesh, the Buddhist temple of SanchiStupa, built in the third century BC, is under danger due to rising humidity and rainfall. The loss of carvings and sculptures is being caused by the stone’s deterioration as a result of weather pattern changes.
Sea-level rise and erosion pose a threat to the 7th-century rock-cut structures at Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. The waves are battering the monuments since they are near to the water, causing the destruction of carvings and sculptures.
Rising heat and humidity are posing a threat to the Khondalite stone Sun Temple in Konark, which dates back to the 13th century. The shifting temperatures cause the stone to expand and shrink, which causes erosion and fissures.
The 14th-century Hampi Monuments in Karnataka are at danger due to floods and excessive rain. Rainwater is eroding the granite monuments, which is resulting in the destruction of carvings and sculptures.
Murals in Shekhawati, Rajasthan: Shekhawati is renowned for its exquisitely painted havelis with detailed murals. The paintings of Shekhawati are being peeled away by greater temperature changes.
Stucco homes in Ladakh are falling apart as a result of increased rainfall. Climate change is threatening Ladakh’s traditional housing construction method since it reduces the strength of the buildings.
The 17th-century TajMahal is under danger because to increasing pollution and shifting weather patterns. Air pollution is causing the white marble to become yellow.
Maharashtra’s sea forts: As sea levels rise, water is seeping into the forts along the state’s coastline. Their foundations are being eroded by salinity.
India’s development in several disciplines is currently being highlighted at G-20 gatherings all throughout the country. Businesses, government organisations, and civil society organisations may highlight India’s real accomplishments in this field by adopting forward-thinking historical preservation practises. Perhaps the impact of their efforts will encourage more people to contribute to the urgent mission of preserving India’s varied history.
Source: The Hindu
Climate Change: Role of International Courts
GS Paper I
Context: In the United Nations, a group of 16 nations has begun a valiant campaign to combat the issue of climate change, which poses an existential threat to human civilisation (UN). The coalition, led by the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, asks the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an advisory opinion on the subject of climate change.
What is International Court of Justice (ICJ)?
The main court of the UN is the International Court of Justice (ICJ) (UN). It is situated in The Hague, Netherlands, and was founded in 1945.
It has the power to resolve legal disputes between nations and to offer advisory views on legal issues that the UN General Assembly, Security Council, and other recognised UN entities have delegated to it.
The UN General Assembly and Security Council elect the 15 judges that make up the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for nine-year terms.
The court’s function is to resolve legal issues in conformity with international law, and its judgements are binding and final.
ICJ has two types of jurisdictions: Contentious and Advisory
Contentious jurisdiction: The power of the ICJ to settle legal disputes between parties who have given their assent. Judgment rendered in a litigious jurisdiction are conclusive.
Advisory: Under the jurisdiction known as advisory, the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Security Council (SC), and other specialisedorganisations of the organisation may ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for its judgement on a legal issue.
The advisory judgements of the ICJ have no legal force. Yet, they have a strong normative impact and help to define pertinent international legal principles.
The advisory opinion of the ICJ on climate change may be helpful in national climate-related litigation.
Emergence of Vanuatu’s initiative:
Lack of tangible climate change answers: Despite the UNFCC, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement all existing as international legal instruments on the subject, the international community has not succeeded in providing actual climate change solutions.
COP-27 Fails to Conciliate Disagreements Countries failed to resolve their disagreements during the recently finished 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP-27), where important concerns including lowering greenhouse gas emissions were at stake. Countries were unable to agree on concrete measures.
Vulnerability of Small Island Developing (SID) states:
Island nations like Vanuatu are particularly susceptible to climate change and sea level rise.
In order to explain the legal responsibilities of all nations to avoid and mitigate the negative consequences of climate change, Vanuatu announced a proposal through the UNGA in September 2021.
Since then, the movement has gained pace, receiving support from more than 100 nations. The draught resolution being led by Vanuatu specifically asks the ICJ to respond to the following queries.
Confusion over loss and damage fund:
Minimal information is available on funding: During COP-27, it was decided to create a loss and damage fund to financially support developing nations who are susceptible. On the other hand, it’s unclear which nations will be contributing to the financing.
Undetermined historical responsibility Furthermore, it is yet unknown how finance and the historical responsibility of industrialised nations for emissions relate to one another.
Role of International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS):
The advisory opinion of the Hamburg-based ITLOS has also been requested by the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law, which includes nations like Antigua & Barbuda and Tuvalu.
Regarding marine pollution, which is connected to ocean warming, sea level rise, and acidification, ITLOS has been urged to evaluate countries’ duties under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
One should embrace the function of international courts as part of a multifaceted strategy to save our world. These admirable endeavours of the SID states should get assistance from developed nations and organisations like the G-20. Sustainability of the climate and the environment are key G-20 concerns. Given its constant emphasis on LiFE (creating environment-friendly living), India should take the lead as the G-20 presidency.
Source: The Hindu
Proton Beam Therapy
GS Paper III
Context: Proton beam treatment devices are now in short supply in India, which puts many cancer patients in a challenging scenario.
What is Proton Beam Therapy?
- Radiation therapy, which utilises high-energy beams to treat cancers, includes proton beam therapy.
- Cancer and noncancerous (benign) tumours have long been treated with radiation treatment utilising X-rays.
- Instead of using x-rays to cure cancer, it employs protons. Protons have the power to kill cancer cells at high energies.
- Moreover, it may be used in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy, and/or immunotherapy.
- Proton treatment is an example of an external-beam radiation therapy, much like x-ray radiation.
How it works?
- Essentially, atoms serve as the building blocks of molecules, which make up all tissue cells.
- The nucleus is located in the middle of each atom. Negatively charged electrons are positioned in orbit around the atom’s nucleus.
- Electrons in orbit are pulled out of their orbits when energetic protons pass close by. This is because the protons’ positive charge attracts the electrons’ negative charge. We refer to this as ionisation.
- It modifies the atom’s properties, which in turn alters the nature of the molecule the atom is a part of.
- Ionization causes the radiation to harm cellular components, particularly DNA.
- Certain cell activities, including the capacity to divide or proliferate, are destroyed when the DNA is damaged.
- Although both healthy and malignant cells go through this repair process, the capacity of a cancer cell to repair molecular damage is typically less effective.
- Because of this, cancer cells experience greater long-term harm and subsequent cell death than does the rest of the cell population.
- Enormous demand: Since more and more people are being diagnosed with cancer and are looking for the most recent and efficient therapies available, there is an increase in the demand for PBT devices.
- High cost: As PBT machines are complicated and need a substantial investment, putting them up is one of the biggest hurdles.
- Personnel shortage: The machines’ availability is further constrained by a lack of skilled workers who can operate and maintain them.
- More money has to be spent on installing and maintaining the equipment by the public and commercial sectors. Providing tax breaks and financial aid to private healthcare providers who purchase PBT equipment is one example of this.
- educating and preparing the workforce to run and maintain the machinery
- Adding more public hospitals that provide proton beam therapy would assist to increase patient access to and affordability of the treatment.
Source: The Hindu
G20: Multilateralism and India’s Diplomacy
GS Paper II
Context: The G20 finance ministers’ failure to reach consensus on an unified statement last week highlights a crucial multilateralism fact. Multilateralism has a decent chance of succeeding when major nations are at peace with one another, but it becomes more difficult when they are at odds.
What is multilateralism?
- Multilateralism is a strategy in which several nations or parties join forces to discuss and find solutions to shared issues via dialogue and collaboration while upholding each other’s sovereignty and interests.
- Multilateralism in international relations can take many various shapes, including multilateral institutions, treaties, and agreements.
- A prime example of a multilateral organisation is the United Nations (UN), which unites nearly all nations to further cooperation, peace, and development.
Multilateralism and Major Powers:
The Cold War and Multilateralism:
- Cooperation was lacking throughout the Cold War, with the exception of a few sectors like nuclear armaments control
- the establishment of the UN following World War II with the hope of collaboration amongst superpowers.
- A severe separation of the world into rival economic and military blocs and the transformation of allies into rivals.
Post-Cold War Multilateralism:
- Once the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991, multilateralism entered a period of expansion.
- Collaboration between great powers in the UN and the founding of the WTO.
- The global economy was stabilised by the financial crisis of 2008 and the cooperation of the top 20 economies.
Current State of Multilateralism:
- There is no longer a world of leading states with common interests.
- There is a simmering political struggle between the West and Russia, and there is a chance that the US and China may go to war.
- The G20 is now unable to reach agreement on important topics.
- Increasing geopolitical tension is reflected in the economy.
- US and Chinese efforts to lessen their enormous economic exposure to one another.
- Emerging technologies are engulfed in economic conflict, particularly in the digital space.
India’s Multilateral Diplomacy amidst the Great Power Conflict:
- G20 and multilateralism: As the G20’s current chair in 2023, India would be responsible for leading the organisation amidst a resurgence of rivalry amongst the main countries. A diplomatic victory for India would be to lessen the effect of the political disputes on the G20.
- Delhi and Beijing’s Difficult Relationship: India and China are competing major powers. Deep disagreements on multilateral problems are also a major factor in the war, in addition to military aggression.
- China must be balanced since India is the G20’s representative for the Global South and cannot remain neutral in the fight between major powers. India must strike a balance between cooperating with China and competing with it in different global platforms.
- India’s Involvement in Many Multilateral Institutions: India’s multilateralism strategy has changed from an emphasis on the UN and NAM to participation in a variety of institutions, such as the Quad and the G7. Also, it is attempting to fortify its alliance with the Global South.
India’s multilateralism reflects the structural requirements of world politics through its variety. Delhi must engage in conflict with rivals and cooperation with nations that share its views in order to solve regional and international problems. The balance between contestation and cooperation depends on the problem and circumstance.
Source: Indian Express
ISRO successful in key test for Chandrayaan-3 Mission
GS Paper III
Context: An important test for the planned Chandrayaan-3 mission was successfully completed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
What was the test?
- The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft’s high-thrust cryogenic engine, which will power the rocket, was put through its paces during the test.
- The engine’s endurance and performance under various circumstances were evaluated.
About Chandrayaan-3 Mission:
- The Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-3 project is the third lunar exploration mission.
- The successful Chandrayaan-1 and Chandrayaan-2 missions, which were launched in 2008 and 2019, respectively, are followed by this mission.
- The Chandrayaan-3 mission’s objectives include furthering exploration of the Moon’s South Pole area and carrying out a number of scientific investigations, such as investigating the lunar surface’s minerals and whether or not water is there.
Significance of the recent test:
Following the high-thrust cryogenic engine’s successful test, ISRO has moved one step closer to launching the Chandrayaan-3 mission.
The project will advance our knowledge of the Moon and its potential for further study and utilisation, and it is anticipated to be a significant step forward in India’s space exploration endeavours.
Chandrayaan-2: A quick recap
- An orbiter, a lander, and a rover made up Chandrayaan-2, and they were all outfitted with tools for studying the moon.
- Although the Lander and Rover modules were to be separated to make a gentle landing on the moon’s surface, the Orbiter would observe the moon from a 100-km orbit.
- The Lander module was given the name Vikram by ISRO in honour of India’s first space pioneer, Vikram Sarabhai, while the Rover module was given the name Pragyaan since it crashed-landed.
Inception of Chandrayaan 3:
The Vikram lander’s subsequent failure prompted the development of a different mission to show off the landing skills required for the 2024 lunar polar exploration mission that is being planned in collaboration with Japan.
- Just four of the lander’s engines will be able to be throttled during Chandrayaan-3.
- As opposed to Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram, which had five 800N engines, one of which was centrally located and had a set thrust.
- In addition, a Laser Doppler Velocimeter will be installed aboard the Chandrayaan-3 Lander (LDV).
Source: Indian Express
Facts for Prelims
Exercise Cobra Warrior:
- a detachment from the Indian Air Force will take part in Exercise Cobra Warrior at the Royal Air Force’s Waddington Air Force Base in the United Kingdom.
- An international military exercise called Cobra Warrior is held yearly in the United Kingdom.
- It is intended to increase the Royal Air Force’s and ally air forces’ preparedness and interoperability for combined combat operations.
- Military troops from several nations, including NATO allies and partnership countries, participate in the exercise to hone their air combat skills.
- Air to air combat, air to ground strikes, and other mission types are all realistically simulated by the participating air forces throughout the exercise.
- In order to better prepare pilots and ground personnel for warfare in the real world, the goal is to provide them realistic training experiences.
RBI’s new pilot project on Coin Vending Machines:
- The RBI is getting ready to start a pilot experiment with banks to evaluate how well a coin-dispensing machine using QR codes works.
- Instead of physically presenting banknotes, the vending machines would dispense coins with the necessary amount being deducted from the customer’s account through the United Payments Interface (UPI).
- Consumers would have the choice to withdraw coins in the necessary numbers and denominations.
- Here, making currencies more accessible is the main goal.
- The machines are designed to be deployed in public locations like train stations, malls, and markets with an emphasis on convenience and accessibility.
- The quantity of coins is unusually large, which creates an odd scenario. Despite their being a huge demand, it is taking up a lot of storage space and is not being dispersed correctly.
- It was noticed that the money being put into the machines (for exchanging coins) was frequently fraudulent and couldn’t be examined at the time.
- Little coins up to 50 paise are referred to as such, whereas rupee coins are those that are one rupee and beyond.
- According to the most recent RBI bulletin, as of December 30 of last year, there were 28,857 crore rupee coins in circulation worldwide. The amount is up 7.2% from the same time last year.
- The number of tiny coins in circulation, at 743 crore, remained constant.
- The aforementioned sums might be contrasted with the amount of digital payments up until December 2022, which was estimated by the Digidhan Dashboard to be at 9,557.4 crore.
- The number includes NEFT, IMPS, BHIM-UPI, mobile banking, and internet banking, among other things.
- So, it is especially notable because the distribution of coins relies on UPI.
- A pilot programme for the Central Bank Digital Currency is now underway at RBI (CBDC).
- To be clear, my idea is not a “zero-sum contest of digital vs cash.”
- By recirculating current coinage throughout the economy, the two may effortlessly complement one another.
- The “AnmolJeevanAbhiyan” (Precious Life Campaign), a recent project in Barmer, Rajasthan, has inspired rural panchayats and homeowners to upgrade tanka construction by adding hand pumps and locking lids.
- The “AnmolJeevanAbhiyan” (Precious Life Campaign) has urged local panchayats and home owners to build hand pumps and locking lids to tankas as structural additions.
- The lightweight hand pumps made of fibre have two uses: they take water from the tank and avoid accidents and suicides.
- The district government, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Action Aid launched the campaign together.
- As many as 64 of the 171 suicide incidents recorded last year included women, and the bulk involved people who leapt into water tanks.
- Even while the campaign has had an influence over the previous three to four months, it is now unable to be quantified due to its continuity, even though the number of suicide reports has steadily decreased.
- It is also insured that no cattleheads or other animals fall into the tanks by permanently locking the metal covers on the tankas.