Ojaank IAS Academy




23 December 2022 – Current Affairs

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SrinivasaRamanujan& National Mathematics Day


Context:Every year on December 22nd, National Mathematics Day commemorates the birth anniversary of great mathematician SrinivasaRamanujan.
More information on National Mathematics Day:
  • Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced December 22 National Mathematics Day in 2012. 2012 was also designated as the National Mathematics Year.
  • Aim: The day is commemorated to raise awareness of the importance of mathematics and the advances and innovations achieved in the area.
About SrinivasaRamanujan:
  • SrinivasaRamanujan was born in Erode, Tamil Nadu in 1887 to a poor Iyengar Brahmin family.
  • Early life: He acquired an interest in mathematics at an early age, learning trigonometry by the age of 12.
  • In 1903, he was qualified for a scholarship to the Government Arts College in Kumbakonam.
  • However, due to his disdain for non-mathematical topics, he failed those examinations.
  • Madras Port Trust:Ramanujan began working as a clerk at the Madras Port Trust in 1912.
  • Some of his colleagues recognised his mathematical brilliance, and one of them sent him to Professor GH Hardy of Trinity College, Cambridge University.
Beginning of career in Mathematics:
  • SrinivasaRamanujan’s path to becoming a genius began with a letter to Professor GH Hardy in which he cited around 120 mathematical theorems.
Bachelor of Science degree:
  • He enrolled at Trinity College a few months before World War I began. Ramanujan was received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1916.
  • Elected to the London Mathematical Society: In 1917, he was elected to the London Mathematical Society.
  • Fellow of the Royal Society in London: On May 2, 1918, he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society in London, making him one of the youngest persons to earn such an honour.
Elected as a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge:
  • In the same year (1918), he became the first Indian to be chosen as a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
Contribution to Mathematics:
  • Ramanujan was a self-taught mathematician who is regarded as one of the finest Indian mathematicians of all time.
  • During his brief but significant life, Ramanujan worked on seemingly impossible theorems.
  • He is well-known for his contributions to the fields of continued fractions, Riemann series, elliptic integrals, hypergeometric series, and functional equations of the zeta function.
Return to India & death:
  • Ramanujan returned to India in 1919.
  • A year later, on April 26th, 1920, he died at Kumbakonam, Madras, of worsening health.
  • He was only 32 years old at the time.
Man who knew infinity:
  • SrinivasaRamanujanis also regarded as the ‘man who knew infinity’. Ramanujan, who received no formal education in mathematics, made numerous significant contributions to the area.
  • Robert Kanigel’s book ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ portrays his life and rise to stardom.
  • In 2015, the film of the same name was released.
Stamp & Math Park in India:
  • SrinivasaRamanujanwas also featured on the 2012 India stamp.
  • On National Mathematics Day 2017, the Ramanujan Math Park at Kuppam, Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, was inaugurated.
Ramayana Yatra:
  • In 1920, VigyanPrasar organised “RamanujanYatra” events, which comprised a monthly series of speeches on Ramanujan’s work.
The Ramanujan Machine of Israel:
  • In early 2021, an Israeli team of scientists released The Ramanujan Machine, a software tool.
  • It generates mathematical conjectures, which are unproven equations.
  • Mathematicians then verify or refute these hypotheses, resulting in the establishment of theorems.
Ramanujan’s Conjectures:
  • Mathematical hypotheses throw light on additional horizons that might otherwise lie in tenebrous nooks.
  • SrinivasaRamanujan was well-known for his wild speculations.
  • Ramanujan documented around 3,000 equations from 1904 until his death in 1920, most of which were conjectures since he could not provide evidence.

Source: The Hindu

Maharashtra-Karnataka Border Dispute


Context:Tensions have recently risen at the Maharashtra-Karnataka border when vehicles from both states were assaulted and vandalised.

Beginning with state reorganisation:
  • The Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary issue stems from the 1956 State Reorganisation Act, which reorganised states along linguistic lines.
  • Maharashtra EkikaranSamiti (MES): The Maharashtra EkikaranSamiti (MES) was founded in 1948.
  • Its main purpose was to campaign for the incorporation of Belgaum with Maharashtra during the state reorganisation.
Maharashtra’s demand:
  • Maharashtra has claimed that 865 villages, including Belagavi (formerly Belgaum), Carvar, and Nipani, should be integrated into the state since its inception on May 1, 1960.
Importance of the demand:
  • The pro-Marathi parties believe that Belagavi is primarily a Marathi-speaking region, with several portions speaking just Marathi.
  • It contends that the region should be included in Maharashtra rather than Karnataka, which is a Kannada-speaking state.
Karnataka’s stand:
  • Karnataka, on the other hand, has refused to cede its land.
Attempts by the Union Government to Resolve:
The Mahajan Commission:
  • At the request of Maharashtra, the Centre established the Mahajan Commission, which was led by then-Supreme Court Chief Justice Meher Chand Mahajan.
Recommendations of the commission:
  • While rejecting Maharashtra’s claim to Belagavi (formerly Belgaum), the panel suggested that 247 villages/places be added to Karnataka, including Jatt, Akkalkote, and Solapur.
  • It also proclaimed 264 villages/places, including Nippani, Khanapur, and Nandagad, as Maharashtra.
  • Maharashtra has categorically rejected the commission’s report.
  • While successive Maharashtra administrations argued that the commission had not satisfactorily addressed their complaints, Karnataka saw the panel rule in its favour.
  • Several attempts to settle the dispute were made after then, but all were futile.
Current status of the dispute:
Petition in the Supreme Court:
  • The Maharashtra government filed a plea in the Supreme Court in 2004, claiming ownership of Marathi-speaking villages in Karnataka, which challenged the claim.
  • Taking advantage of public mood, Karnataka renamed Belgaum Belagavi and designated it the state’s second capital.
Need of legal solution:
  • Both Karnataka and Maharashtra believe that the complicated problem will not be handled politically and that a judicial solution is required.
Issue of political benefits:
  • During elections, both Maharashtra and Karnataka have utilised the boundary conflict to inflame regional passions.
  • The border dispute is part of every political party’s electoral platform in Maharashtra.
  • It is even mentioned in the governor’s yearly speech to the state legislative assembly and council.
  • Putting aside ideological differences, Maharashtra’s political parties have found a common cause in the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute.

Way Forward:

  • In India, it is hard to carve up governmental entities that precisely match to numerous language groups.
  • As a result, practically every state has linguistic minority with unique privileges.
  • It is prudent to submit to the Court’s ruling in any dispute, but peace can only be reached by accepting and supporting a political culture that respects variety that cannot be cleanly delimited.

Source: The Hindu

Rise in Organ Donations


Context:According to data submitted by the administration in Parliament, organ donation numbers rebounded again in 2021 after falling during the first year of the Covid-19 epidemic.

The data’s major highlights:
  • Highest in the previous five years: According to the data, the number of donations in 2021 will be similar to the greatest in the recent five years (12,746, in 2019).
  • Organ donations from families of individuals who died of brain or heart death have remained lower than donations from alive people.
  • Organs such as kidneys and livers donated by living family members are more common.
  • In addition, there is a regional bias in dead gifts.
  • More than 85% of all dead donations come from Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Karnataka.
  • The geographical skew might be explained by the concentration of organ transplant and harvesting centres in these areas.
What is the need to increase deceased donations?
  • There is a demand-supply mismatch between the quantity of organs required and the number of transplants performed in the nation.
  • In terms of absolute numbers, India has the third greatest number of transplants in the world.
  • Despite this, only around 8,000 of the estimated 1.5-2 lakh people who require a kidney transplant each year receive one.
  • Only 1,800 of the 80,000 people who need a liver transplant receive one.
  • Only 200 of the 10,000 people in need of a heart transplant receive one.
Increased demand:
  • Demand is growing as the prevalence of lifestyle illnesses rises.
  • Organs such as the heart and lungs may only be obtained from dead donors.
Waste of resources:
  • Without the donations of the departed, a valuable resource is squandered.
  • Every year, almost 1.5 lakh people die in road traffic incidents in India, many of whom may potentially donate organs.
  • Although organ donation is feasible after the heart stops beating, practically all organs are now collected from brain dead people.
  • Globally, India has an organ donation rate of roughly 0.52 per million people. In comparison, the rate of organ donation in Spain is 49.6 per million people, the highest in the world.
  • In India, a person must register to be an organ donor, and their family must consent to it after death. In Spain, an individual is believed to be a donor unless otherwise indicated.
Way Forward:
  • Transplant coordinators are employed by major hospitals in India that are capable of collecting organs to educate and help families through the process. However, just 2.6 organs from a deceased donor are transplanted nowadays, compared to eight organs.
  • Harvesting organs from persons who have died of cardiac arrest rather than brain death may also enhance the number of transplants.
  • However, because the circulation of blood supplying oxygen to organs ends following cardiac death, the organs must be taken as soon as possible.
  • However, in India, it is too late by the time family members are told of the death and travel from different areas of the city.
  • It is critical to raise public knowledge regarding organ transplantation in order for individuals to register as donors.
  • To raise awareness, regular activities should be organised. We can also reach out to students in schools for this purpose.
  • It is necessary to have trust that the given organs are benefiting others.
  • Organ donation can be increased by improving transportation networks between cities and states. The government is attempting to strengthen cooperation between the Road, Railway, and Aviation Ministries in order to encourage the development of green corridors for speedier organ transportation.

Source: The Hindu

India’s Path to Prosperity through Formal Employment


Context:It is difficult to achieve widespread wealth for large populations. India’s enormous remittances from a tiny population abroad, as well as the employability of the IT industry, underline that our mass prosperity approach should focus on human capital and formal jobs.

Why is human capital building such a powerful weapon for widespread prosperity?
  • Our software employment makes a solid argument for human capital-driven productivity: 0.8% of workers create 8% of GDP.
  • Remittances from our foreign community, which accounts for less than 2% of our resident population, exceeded $100 billion last year.
  • According to a World Bank research, there has been a considerable movement in the last five years from low-skilled, informal employment in Gulf nations (down from 54% to 28%) to high-skilled formal occupations in high-income countries (up from 26% to 36%).
  • Our abundant forex remittance harvest, which is around 25% more than FDI but 25% less than software exports, is fruit from the tree of human capital and formal jobs.
Limitations of Fiscal and Monetary Policy:
  • Monetary policy is, at best, a placebo, painkiller, or steroid, especially in India, where credit availability is more of a concern than credit cost.
  • Global experience indicates that where governments spend money (pensions, interest, wages, education, healthcare, roads, etc.) and how this expenditure is paid (taxes or debt) is more important than how much is spent (about Rs 80 lakh crore in India this year).
  • Covid demanded massive fiscal and monetary policy changes, but the larger the binge, the worse the hangover. Western central banks are failing to decrease their balance sheets because they utilised “unelected power” to pursue aims beyond their mandate, dispense medicine with unknown adverse effects, and rush along motorways with no known return pathways, according to Harvard’s Paul Tucker.
  • Borrowing rates in rich countries have soared by more than 300 percent, and inflation disproportionately affects the poor. These fiscal and monetary policy excesses were avoided by India. This caution is now being combined with prior structural reforms (GST, IBC, MPC, UPI, DBT, NEP, and so on) and a “tone from the top” reform to create a rich environment for productive citizens and enterprises.
What should the employment generating plan be for the following fiscal year?
  • The Finance Bill must prioritise productivity and continuity by enacting previously recommended human capital and formal job changes.
  • It should shorten the 15-year implementation glide path for the formidable National Education Policy 2020 to five years.
  • It should eliminate the need for separate licencing for online degrees and allow all of our 1,000-plus recognised colleges to easily establish online learning.
  • It should help us go from 0.5 million to 10 million apprentices faster by allowing all institutions to start degree apprentice programmes under tripartite contracts with companies under the Apprentices Act.
What more initiatives may be done during the next budget?
  • It should inform all central-list industries about the four labour codes and appoint a tripartite committee to merge them into a single labour code before the next budget.
  • It should continue EODB reforms by designating the PAN number of each firm as its Universal Enterprise Number.
  • It should look into manufacturing jobs by repealing the Factories Act, which accounts for 8,000 of the 26,000+ criminal provisions in employer compliance, and requiring all employers to comply with each state’s Shops and Establishment Act (like Infosys, TCS, and IBM India do).
  • It should establish a non-profit business (similar to NPCI in payments) to run an API-driven National Employer Compliance Grid, allowing central ministries and state governments to rationalise, digitise, and decriminalise their employer compliances.
  • Making employee provident fund contributions voluntary while increasing company PF payments from 12% to 13%. It should advise employees of a prior budget declaration in order to provide them the option of contributing to health insurance (ESIC or insurance firms) and pensions (EPFO or NPS).
  • Most crucially, it should tie all employer subsidies and tax breaks to the development of high-wage jobs (a difficult-to-fudge and easy-to-measure effectiveness metric for this public spending is employer provident fund payment).
  • Experience and facts now strongly suggest that anchoring our approach in human capital and formal jobs rather than fiscal or monetary policy raises the probability of widespread prosperity in the world’s most populated nation from possible to likely.

Source: Livemint



Context:Genetically modified (GM) Herbicide Tolerant (HT) crops should be outlawed in India, according to the Supreme Court’s Technical Expert Committee and two unanimous findings of multi-party parliamentary standing committees.

Why is transgenic technology concerning?
  • Transgenic technology, unlike other technologies, is unpredictable and irreversible once released into the environment.
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) reproduce and multiply as Living Modified Organisms (LMOs), as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety refers to them.
  • This procedure is irreversible. As a result, any purposeful environmental discharge must be preceded by a rigorous, independent, peer-reviewed evaluation of long-term consequences.
  • Because of the unpredictability and time lag of harmful effects emerging in highly complex biological systems, as well as their irreversibility, the precautionary principle is a cornerstone. To use an analogy, not a single one of India’s 330 invasive species (such as lantana and parthenium) has been eradicated, despite an estimated Rs 8.3 trillion in harm caused by only ten of them.
Reality check on GM crops:
  • GM crops are still produced in only 29 of the world’s 172 nations, more than 25 years after their debut. Furthermore, 91% of GM agricultural acreage is still concentrated in only five nations (USA, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, India).
  • Most European and Japanese nations, as well as Israel, Russia, and Malaysia, do not produce GM crops. Bt cotton acreage has been dropping in China, an early user, while non-GM hybrid technology is employed for rapeseed/mustard.
  • Only two features are seen in more than 85% of GM crops grown: herbicide tolerance (HT, when agricultural plants are designed to survive massive doses of hazardous weed-killing herbicides) and/or insect resistance (pesticidal toxin, usually Bt, is produced inside the plant).
Negative impact of HT crops:
  • Not only can HT crops harm the environment, but they also have an influence on consumer health. Once pronounced safe, the consequences, like cigarettes, take time to appear.
  • According to beekeepers, HT mustard will have an impact on honey production, and tainted honey would harm exports.
  • Concerning human health, independent research on GM crops and related herbicides, which were originally touted to be “safe” by inventors and regulators, has found potential carcinogenicity, neurotoxicity, reproductive health concerns, organ damage, and so on.
  • Over 100 distinguished Indian physicians, like hundreds of doctors in other nations, have expressed their concerns and demanded that no HT food crops be released and that the planted GM mustard be pulled before flowering.
What is the issues with DMH-11 Mustard crop?
  • It is stated that DMH-11 is not an HT crop since the use of the Bar gene, which gives a herbicide tolerance trait, is primarily for pollination control technology in hybridization, and glufosinate herbicide will be used solely during seed production.
  • Because the Bar gene is present in both parental lines, and hence in all of their hybrid offspring, this GM mustard can tolerate the application of a deadly weedkiller, glufosinate, including in farmers’ fields. As a result, it should have been evaluated as an HT crop.
  • What “regulatory process” will now prevent farmers in search of low-cost weeding options from spraying glufosinate on herbicide tolerant mustard if governments have been aware of illegal planting of herbicide tolerant cotton and rampant illegal use of glyphosate on such HT cotton for over ten years and have been unable or unwilling to stop this.
What are the observations of the Supreme Court and the Parliamentary Committee?
  • The current Supreme Court cases are about significant flaws in our regulatory structure. Minutes of GEAC meetings and the “guidelines and procedures” section of the regulator’s website show a lack of regulatory processes for HT crops.
  • Despite this, an HT-tainted crop is being discharged into the environment! The SC-appointed technical expert committee (TEC) and the consensus multi-party findings of two parliamentary standing committees have shown major flaws and deficiencies in bio-safety testing.
  • They all recommended that herbicide-tolerant crops, such as GM Mustard, not be introduced in Indian circumstances.
  • Even the TEC’s government-appointed experts advocated for a ban on HT crops. The government cannot possibly term them unscientific.
  • The crop developer developed test methods for testing GM mustard, and the applicant performed the majority of the experiments. The committees that investigated the safety of GM mustard included no independent health experts.
  • Biosafety data for GM mustard has yet to be uploaded on the regulator’s website for independent review.
  • GM crop transgenic technology is fraught with complications. The government must establish a balance between ecological concerns and farmer wellbeing. Without trustworthy facts and inspection, an outright ban or approval must be avoided.

Source: Indian Express



Context:While speaking at the World Ayurveda Congress 2022 (WAC) earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the recent expansion of traditional medicine (TM), particularly Ayurveda. Noting the gap in evidence despite substantial research, he offered a clarion plea “to gather together medical data, research, and journals and validate claims (benefit) using current science norms”.

The World Ayurvedic Congress (WAC):
  • The World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) is a forum developed by the World Ayurveda Foundation to spread Ayurveda in its genuine sense internationally.
  • The World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) is a forum for Ayurvedic practitioners, medication producers, enthusiasts, and academics to network.
  • The World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) and Arogya Expo track progress, launch missions, and collect feedback.
World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) 2022:
  • The 9th World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) &Arogya Expo was held at PANJIM, GOA.
  • Organized by the Ministry of AYSUSH on the basis of the whole-government approach (WGA): The WAC on the ‘Whole Government Approach’ (WGA) organised by the Ministry of AYUSH to nurture and improve the research environment for AYUSH systems.
  • The WGA notion is consistent with the “Whole System Approach” (WSA). WSA entails the integrated and network engagement of several stakeholders (including patients and the community) in order to get better solutions (treatment results) in a difficult and complicated scenario. In the current environment, IM is a key component of WSA.
  • More than 40 nations and all Indian states actively participated in the event.
  • To reform the country’s healthcare system and create a healthy society, it is necessary to think holistically and merge the Traditional medicine (TM) and contemporary medical systems (MM).
World Ayurveda Foundation (WAF):
  • WAF is a 2011 effort launched by VijnanaBharati aiming at the global spread of Ayurveda.
  • The main concepts of WAF’s aims are worldwide scope, promotion, and encouragement of all scientific and Ayurvedic activity.
  • The wide ranges of concentration at WAF include research support, health-care programmes through camps, clinics, and sanatoriums, documentation, organising of study groups, seminars, exhibits, and educational campaigns to spread Ayurveda in the distant corners of the world.
What is Traditional Medicine?
  • The WHO defined traditional medicine as the complete sum of the “knowledge, skills and techniques indigenous and various cultures have utilised over time to preserve health and prevent, diagnose and cure physical and mental illness”.
  • Its scope includes both traditional and modern treatments such as acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine, and herbal mixes.
  • According to WHO estimates, traditional medicine is used by 80% of the world’s population.
Traditional medicine in India:
  • It is sometimes characterised as embracing practises and therapies like as Yoga, Ayurveda, and Siddha that have traditionally been part of Indian culture, as well as others such as homoeopathy that have been part of Indian tradition throughout time.
  • Ayurveda and yoga are extensively practised throughout the nation.
  • The Siddha system is mostly practised in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • The Sowa-Rigpa System is mostly used in Leh-Ladakh and other Himalayan regions like as Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling, Lahaul, and Spiti.
How can TM modalities (such as Ayurveda or homoeopathy) scientifically match with MM to produce better results?
  • With a team of Ayurvedic and MM specialists and a well planned and controlled IM approach, a newly founded Department of IM at NIMHANS has continued to demonstrate exceptional success in treating complex neurological illnesses.
  • The Centre for Rheumatic Diseases (CRD) paradigm of modern rheumatology combines essential parts of TM and Ayurveda, which have demonstrated clear proof in CRD research programmes.
  • Several controlled protocols-based trials of standardised Ayurvedic medications and other TM modalities (such as food, exercise, yoga, and counselling) in arthritic patients were undertaken, typically in combination with MM.
  • RA is a devastating lifelong autoimmune disorder that is predominantly prevalent in women and is well recognised as difficult to cure. Over several years, supervised and monitored IM intervention (including Ayurvedic medications) demonstrated consistently superior and durable clinical improvement in individuals with active RA.
  • Relationship between AYUSH and Modern Medicine Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Unani, Siddha, and other TM are examples of AYUSH systems.
  • AYUSH systems and MM seem to vary dramatically in various areas.
  • Modern scientific research in Ayurveda frequently contradicts ancient Ayurveda.
  • Unlike MM, TM is based on a personalised approach. MM is mostly a reductionist.
  • AYUSH’s ambitious futuristic TM and IM programme is well-intended and headed in the right way.
  • TM and Ayurveda must adapt to the current world order, which has lately evolved dramatically. It is reasonable to expect that MM and TM will continue to be used to treat a variety of medical illnesses and altered health states in their current form. However, evidence-based medicine will be the new slogan. Furthermore, knowledgeable and empowered patients and individuals will continue to make sound decisions.

Source: Indian Express

Facts for Prelims

Dokra Metalcraft

  • Lalbazar has becoming a centre for the well-known dokra metalcraft.
  • In West Bengal, two sites are well-known for their dokra work: Bikna in Bankura and Dariyapur in Bardhaman.
Dokra’s background:
  • Dokra is a 5,000-year-old custom with a recorded history.
  • Dhokra (sometimes spelledDokra) is a non-ferrous metal casting process that employs lost-wax casting. This type of metal casting has been used in India for for 4,000 years.
  • Because of its basic simplicity, fascinating folk themes, and strong shape, dhokra artists’ work is in high demand in both local and international markets.
  • Dhokra horses, elephants, peacocks, owls, religious figures, measuring bowls, lamp caskets, and other similar items are highly valued.

SIDBI to support micro-lending

  • SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) offers financial assistance to microfinance firms, which subsequently make microloans to other groups/institutions/individuals.
  • SIDBI contributes monies to the fund
  • It offers direct and indirect financing;
  • It emphasises the “Credit Plus Approach” for aiding technology modernization and upgradation; and so on.
  • Ministry of Finance is the nodal ministry.
  • It is one of four financial institutions that the RBI regulates and supervises.

New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC)

  • The NDIAC has been chaired by Justice Hemant Gupta, who was nominated by the Centre.
  • NDIAC is a seven-member body established under the NDIAC Act 2019.
  • One Chairman + Two Eminent Persons + Three Ex-Officio Members (CEO and Finance Ministry Nominee) + Part-Time Member ( from trade body)
  • NDIAC has been designated as a national institution.

The most recent NDIAC Act 2019 amendment:

  • NDIAC has been renamed India International Arbitration Centre and will undertake international and local arbitration as well as any other types of alternative dispute resolution.

Freeing up EEZ

  • To strengthen energy security in the country, the Defense and Space departments allow 99% of EEZ (exclusive economic zones) regions for Oil Exploration and Production (E&P).
Importance of the action:
  • Will allow for the exploration of over 40% of previously forbidden regions.
  • Will help enhance oil output and reduce import dependency.
Exclusive Economic Zone:
  • The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is a region that stretches from the edge of territorial waters to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) off the coast. In all, India’s EEZ covers around 36 million square kilometres, with 1 million square kilometres, or approximately 42%, designated as a no-go zone.

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