Ojaank IAS Academy




24 JANUARY 2023 – Current Affairs

Share with

13th Amendment: A promise of devolution

GS Paper- II

Context- President Ranil Wickremesinghe has stated that the Sri Lankan government will “completely execute” the 13th Amendment.
Concerning the Thirteenth Amendment
  • It is the result of the July 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord, signed by then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President J.R. Jayawardene in an attempt to resolve Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict, which had erupted into a full-fledged civil war, between the armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which led the struggle for Tamil self-determination and sought a separate state.
  • It became law in 1987.
  • It established provincial administrations around the nation — there are nine provincial councils — and proclaimed Tamil an official language, as well as English a link language.
  • It also aimed to address the Tamils’ right to self-determination, which had become a blazing political issue by the 1980s.
  • The Sri Lankan government agreed to a power-sharing framework under which all nine provinces in the nation, including Sinhala majority districts, would have the ability to self-govern.
  • In addition to ensuring some decentralisation, it is seen as one of the few substantial accomplishments made during the 1980s in the face of expanding Sinhala-Buddhist majoritarianism since Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948.
  • When completely implemented, provincial councils will have the authority to govern themselves in areas like as education, health, agriculture, housing, land, and police.
  • It will promote unity among all groups on the island country, allowing them to live as one.
Why is it a point of contention?
  • The 13th Amendment bears a lot of baggage from the country’s civil war.
  • Both Sinhala nationalist groups and the LTTE were vehemently opposed.
  • The former believed it was too much power to share, while the Tigers thought it was insufficient.
  • A major segment of the Sinhala polity, especially the leftist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), which led a violent insurgency against it, considered the Accord and subsequent laws as evidence of Indian meddling.
  • Despite being signed by the powerful President Jayawardene, it was largely viewed as an imposition by a neighbour with hegemonic authority.
  • The Tamil polity, particularly its strong nationalist element, does not consider the 13th Amendment to be sufficiently broad or substantive.
  • However, some, particularly the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which mostly represented Tamils from the north and east in Parliament until its defeat in the recent elections, regard it as a vital beginning point, something to build on.
India’s Position –
  • India has consistently backed the island nation’s political and economic stability.
  • India urged Sri Lanka to take the necessary steps to address the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil community, including continuing the reconciliation process and implementing the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, to ensure that the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all its citizens are fully protected.
  • India regards full implementation of the 13th Amendment in Sri Lanka as “essential” for reaching peace with the minority Tamil people.
Conclusion and Way Forward
  • The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) recently met with President Wickremesinghe and suggested five steps to fully implement the Amendment, including repealing key legislation that curtailed provincial autonomy.
  • They regard it as a starting point for discussions about increased power sharing and an ultimate political solution.
Source – The Hindu

AI-Generated Art: Paradox of capturing humanity

GS Paper- III

Context– Around the end of last year, Lensa-generated photographs of internet users were popular on social media. Lensa, a membership service, creates graphic portraits known as “Magic Avatar” pictures from photographs supplied by its users. As AI has a firm footing in the world of art, do we have systems in place to determine what is acceptable and wrong in this domain in the first place?

The Lensa app case
  • Lensa, a membership software, creates graphic portraits known as Magic Avatar pictures from photographs supplied by its users.
  • Celebrities from around the world joined in to demonstrate how they looked so great in their Lensa avatars.
  • However, a few days later, hundreds of female netizens throughout the world began reporting problems with their avatars. They emphasised how their avatar photographs showed their waists grabbed and sexy positions.
  • Lensa created hypersexualized, semi-pornographic images even after these ladies uploaded different photographs.
How does Artificial Intelligence produce art?
  • AI art refers to any type of art created with Artificial Intelligence. As the first phase, it employs algorithms that learn a specific aesthetic based on verbal prompts and then sift through massive amounts of data in the form of accessible photos.
  • The programme then attempts to produce new images that correspond to the aesthetics that it has learned.
  • The artist takes on the role of a curator, inputting the appropriate prompt to create an aesthetically pleasing product. While artists employ brush strokes in other digital platforms such as Adobe Photoshop, keystrokes are all that is required with programmes such as Dall-E and Midjourney.
  • In the digital era, for example, the creation of a piece of art such as Starry Night. While it would have taken Van Gogh days to conceptualise and achieve the appropriate strokes and paint, in the AI art age, it is only a matter of the right textual cues.
Is it genuinely capable of capturing the essence of humanity?
  • Art is one of the few activities that adds significance to one’s life. It remains to be seen if AI-generated art will alienate the public from the art experience.
  • Artificial intelligence-generated art dehumanises artworks. Making an artwork is maybe the most enjoyable component of creating it.
  • It is also questionable if AI art will be able to portray the most nuanced of human emotions. How much humour is considered “humorous” for AI? Can AI articulate loss and anguish in the profound ways that our poets have described? Can artificial intelligence capture Mona Lisa’s enigmatic grin, which gives the impression that she is veiled in mystery?
Have you heard about Midjourney?
  • Midjourney is an AI-based art generator designed to explore new idea mediums.
  • It is a chatbot that utilises machine learning (ML) to generate visuals from words. This AI system employs the concepts and attempts to translate them into visual reality.
  • It’s quite similar to other technologies like DALL-E 2.
Arguments in favor of such art
  • Last year, when an entry named “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” developed via Midjourney (an artificial intelligence programme) by Jason M Allen received the Blue Ribbon at the Colorado State Fair, the subject of whether AI art is creating “a death of creativity” was raised.
  • AI artists such as Allen believe that finding appropriate triggers to make an artwork constitutes creativity and classifies AI art as real or authentic.
  • Some artists feel that AI art has the potential to democratise the art industry by removing gatekeepers.
Concerns over the biases in data
  • There is bias in the data available for AI inputs due to a lack of representation of women, people of colour, and other marginalised groups in less affluent places.
  • The majority of training data for AI art is now generated in the Global North and is frequently tainted by ableism, racism, and sexist preconceptions.
  • Historically, art has had a political purpose by serving as a forum for disagreement. Can AI art overcome data’s inherent biases to foster meaningful political engagement?

AI-generated art can provide new ideas and possibilities to the art world, but it is crucial to consider how it may alter people’s perceptions of art and if it eliminates the human touch. It is also worth considering if AI can properly convey the feelings that make art so wonderful. It’s best to approach AI-generated art with an open mind and examine both the positive and negative aspects.

Source – The Hindu

State of the Economy Report and the Macroeconomic Stability

GS Paper- III

Context- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) just published its State of the Economy report. According to the study, whereas controlling inflation was a major worry in 2022, the bank may now be more concerned with preventing a recession in 2023. The question of whether the recession would be brief and moderate or protracted and severe is still being debated.
What exactly is the State of the Economy report?
  • A State of the Economy report is a study published by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that provides an overview of the country’s economy.
  • The report discusses how much the economy is growing, how many people are employed, and the bank’s money management strategy.
  • The report is used by the RBI to make judgements regarding interest rates and other economic policies, and it also helps economists, investors, and ordinary individuals understand the economy and make sound decisions.
What does the Reserve Bank of India’s State of the Economy report say?
  • In December, retail inflation fell to 5.72 percent. In November, the inflation rate was 5.88%. The government has directed the central bank to manage inflation at 4% with a 2% margin of error.
  • According to the study, the country’s macroeconomic stability is improving as inflation is brought into the tolerance zone. Consumer price inflation has remained under the RBI’s maximum tolerance ceiling of 6% in the previous two months.
  • It is even hopeful that fiscal consolidation is begun at the federal and sub-national levels, and that the external current account deficit will continue to shrink throughout 2022 and 2023. In a study, the RBI stated that they seek to maintain prices stable at a specific level and reduce them to 4% by 2024.
  • Lead signs indicate that the current account deficit will continue to shrink during 2022 and 2023.
  • On the basis of macroeconomic fundamentals and retail involvement, the country’s stock markets stood out in 2022 and continue to outperform rivals.
Who prepares the report and what the authors says?
  • The study was written by Michael Patra, the RBI’s deputy governor, and other RBI officials. According to the study, the views stated in the report are those of the authors and not those of the institution.
  • According to the authors, the likelihood of India as a bright light amid the encircling darkness in 2023 is bolstered by recent history and present events. By international standards, the country’s economy has shown resilience in the face of a trio of shocks: war; monetary policy tightening; and repeated pandemic waves until 2022.
  • According to the authors, under current pricing and currency rates, India would be the world’s fifth largest economy in 2023, worth $3.7 trillion, surpassing the United Kingdom.
What are the concerns and prognosis over the report?
  • The report’s publication is crucial since it coincides with the introduction of the Union Budget for 2023-24. However, the report’s forecasts may be too optimistic.
  • Globally and locally, the balance of risks is now skewed toward growth rather than inflation.
  • It is reasonable for the RBI to moderate or halt the pace of monetary tightening. Because monetary policy takes time to take effect, the impact of these increases may take many quarters to become apparent.
  • The RBI can afford to take a wait-and-see attitude, allowing the full impact of previous policies to be felt. This is not to say that inflation should be ignored; reducing it down below 4% is still critical.

Without a question, the world views India favourably as an investment destination, owing to its vast domestic market as well as the desire to de-risk from China in the current geopolitical context. The government’s emphasis on strengthening the country’s physical and digital infrastructure is increasing investor confidence. Macroeconomic stability and policy credibility might be the frosting on the cake in bringing the world to India.

Source – The Hindu

Key takeaways form the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting

GS Paper- II

Context- The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2023, held in the Swiss town of Davos, ended Friday a conference that started in a world possibly fundamentally altered, but whose processes and outcomes remained pretty much business as usual.

The theme this year was ‘Cooperation in a Fragmented World’.

World Economic Forum (WEF)
  • Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, WEF is an international not-for-profit organization, focused on bringing the public and private sectors together to address the global political, social, and economic issues.
  • It was founded in 1971 by Swiss-German economist and Professor Klaus Schwab in a bid to promote the global cooperation on these most pressing problems.
  • The World Economic Forum’s inaugural conference was held more than five decades ago in Davos, which has remained the site of the annual gathering practically since its inception, and has also become a shorthand for the event.
significant economic lessons from the World Economic Forum
  • Most business executives were optimistic about the economy, with the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) appearing to be past the risk of a recession. China’s decision to lift its zero-covid limits and reopen its doors contributed to the upbeat outlook.
  • The major central banks warned that concerns persisted and that they would maintain interest rates high to keep inflation under control. Stay the course, for example, is the European Central Bank President’s slogan. The US Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard was reported as warning investors that “inflation is high, and policy will need to be adequately restrictive for some time.
  • Many others also pointed out that China’s opening up might result in increased energy use, driving up energy costs.
  • Concerns have been made that as richer nations go home, defending their own employees, energy sufficiency, supply lines, and so on, emerging economies would suffer.
  • Discussions of climate change and renewable energy at the World Economic Forum
  • Everyone agreed on the importance of green energy and the necessity for increased funding to combat climate change.
  • According to the WEF’s website, the World Economic Forum launched the Giving to Amplify Earth Action (GAEA), a global initiative to fund and grow new and existing public, private, and philanthropic partnerships (PPPPs) to help unlock the $3 trillion in financing required each year to achieve net zero, reverse nature loss, and restore biodiversity by 2050.
  • The EU expressed alarm over a US green energy regulation that advantages American-made items such as electric automobiles.
  • According to the Press Trust of India (PTI), more than 50 high-impact projects were announced at the event. 1.The Maharashtra Institution for Transformation (MITRA) joined forces with the Forum on Urban Transformation to provide strategic and technical guidance to the state government. 2. Telangana will establish a healthcare and life sciences theme centre. 3. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI) seeks to create new pandemic vaccinations.
Ukraine demands more military and financial aid
  • Ukraine maintained its call for greater military help to combat Russia’s war and more financial aid to rebuild after the conflict, saying rebuilding fund pledges should begin immediately rather than after the battle ends.
  • While Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a video message. In his speech, Zelenskyy indirectly criticised the United States and Germany for delaying the deployment of tanks to his country.
Criticism and defence of the Davos Event
  • The jarring image of the Davos gathering, in which the ultra-rich and powerful come in on private planes to discuss poverty alleviation and climate action, has been criticised once more.
  • Others, however, pointed out that, warts and all, the conference provides a chance for numerous decision-makers to meet and connect with one another.
  • While the conversations in Davos may be described as “highly-caffeinated speed dating,” as Economist editor-in-chief Zanny Minton Beddoes put it, more touch and communication is preferable to less contact and communication.

The World Economic Forum emphasised the critical need for renewable energy and climate change finance. Despite the fact that the event remained focused on business as usual, we can see that the WEF provided a chance for decision-makers to connect and interact, and over 50 high-impact projects were launched during the event.

Source – Indian Express

PM calls for Prison Reforms and Repeal of Obsolete Laws

GS Paper- II

Context- At the national annual police meeting, the Prime Minister proposed prison changes to better jail administration and the elimination of antiquated criminal statutes.
India’s Prison Problems
  • 149 prisons in the country are overcrowded by more than 100%, with 8 being overloaded by 500%. Overcrowding strains already-strained prison resources and makes separating different classes of convicts impossible.
  • More than 65% of India’s jail population is awaiting trial. By worldwide standards, the proportion of the jail population awaiting trial or punishment in India is extraordinarily high; for example, it is 11% in the United Kingdom, 20% in the United States, and 29% in France.
  • Legal assistance lawyers are underpaid and sometimes overburdened with cases. Furthermore, most jurisdictions lack a monitoring system to assess the quality of legal aid counsel.
  • In India, prison complexes are in disrepair. Furthermore, in Indian jails, living conditions are horrible due to a lack of room, bad ventilation, poor sanitation, and poor hygiene.
  • The ratio of jail personnel to prison population is roughly 1:7. Overcrowding in prisons leads to rampant violence and other criminal activity inside the jails in the lack of competent prison staff.
  • Inhumane psychological and physical torture is inflicted on prisoners. Sexual assault of detainees is also part of a larger system of torture in detention.
  • In 2015, 1,584 convicts died in prisons. A substantial majority of deaths in detention occurred as a result of natural and easily treatable causes exacerbated by terrible jail circumstances. Furthermore, there have been claims of torture-related fatalities in detention.
Prisoners’ labour is exploited without compensation.
  • According to Human Rights Watch, there is a “strict” class structure in Indian jails. Prisoners from low-income families, on the other hand, are denied fundamental human dignity.
  • Poor security and prison administration frequently result in prisoner aggression, resulting in injury and, in extreme cases, death.
  • Overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, a lack of physical and mental activity, and a lack of adequate health treatment all raise the chance of health issues in jail. Furthermore, mental health treatment receives less attention in Indian jails.
  • The Indian prison system’s lack of a reformative strategy has resulted not only in inefficient integration with society, but also in a failure to create useful engagement possibilities for convicts following their release.
SC Decisions in this regard
  • Through a series of decisions such as Maneka Gandhi vs. State of Karnataka (on jail circumstances) and Prem Sankar Shukla vs. Delhi Administration (on the right to life and personal dignity) (no handcuffing).
  • The Supreme Court has recognised three basic principles concerning incarceration and detention.
  • A person in prison does not become a non-person;
  • A person in prison is entitled to all human rights within the limitations of imprisonment
  • There is no justification for aggravating the suffering already inherent in the process of incarceration.
Major legislations for prison reforms
  • The Prisons Act, 1894:It contains various provisions relating to health, employment, duties of jail officers, medical examination of prisoners, prison offenses etc.
  • Transfer of Prisoners Act, 1950– The Act deals with the transfer of a prisoner from state to another state
  • The Repatriation of Convicts Act of 2003 allows foreign prisoners to be returned to their home country to complete the remainder of their sentence. It also allows inmates of Indian descent who have been convicted by a foreign court to serve their sentences in India.
2016 Model Prison Manual:
  • It strives to provide fundamental consistency in the laws, rules, and regulations regulating jail administration and prisoner management throughout all Indian states and union territories.
1987 Legal Services Authority Act:
  • A person in detention is entitled to free legal representation under the law.
Committees and Recommendations
  • The State Governments and the Government of India have established various committees and commissions to research and provide recommendations for improving jail conditions and management.
1983 Mulla Committee
The committee’s primary recommendations included:
  • The establishment of a National Prison Commission to supervise the upgrading of India’s jails.
  • Putting a stop to the practise of mixing juvenile offenders with hardened criminals in jail and establishing comprehensive and protective legislation for the security and welfare of delinquent youngsters
  • Segregation of mentally ill prisoners to a mental asylum
  • Prison circumstances should be addressed by establishing proper provisions for food, clothes, cleanliness, and ventilation, among other things.
  • The number of people on trial in jails should be restricted to a minimal minimum, and they should be kept away from the guilty.
1987 Krishna Iyer Committee
  • The committee was tasked with researching the conditions of women prisoners throughout the country.
  • It advocated for the recruitment of more women into the police force due to their unique role in dealing with women and children criminals.
  • The 2007 National Policy on Prison Reform and Correctional Administration
  • The Government of India formed a high-powered group in 2005, chaired by the Director General of the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D).
  • This committee used the Justice Mulla Committee Report and the Justice Krishna Iyer Committee Report to make various new and additional recommendations.
2018 Justice Amitava Roy Committee
  • The Supreme Court established the Amitava Roy Committee in 2018 to investigate jail reforms across the country and give suggestions on a variety of issues, including prison overpopulation.
  • It suggested that special fast-track courts be established to deal solely with small offences that had been outstanding for more than 5 years.
  • Furthermore, accused people charged with minor offences and granted bail but unable to provide surety should be released on a Personal Recognizance (PR) Bond.
Steps taken
  • The prison renovation project was initiated in 2002-03 with the goal of improving the conditions of prisons, inmates, and prison employees. Various components included the construction of new prisons, the repair and refurbishment of existing jails, sanitation and water supply improvements, and so on.
  • The E-Prisons Project attempts to improve jail management efficiency through technology.
  • Open Jails: In 1980, the All-India Committee on Jail Reform advised that the government establish and improve open prisons in each state and UT, akin to the Sanganer open camp in Rajasthan.
Way Forward
  • Overcrowding in Indian jails is a critical issue that must be addressed. Furthermore, genuine efforts should be made to enhance living circumstances, including improved sanitation and cleanliness, as well as enough food and clothes.
  • Addressing health concerns and guaranteeing access to medical treatment for inmates should be prioritised. Women’s health issues, including emotional, physical, sexual, and reproductive health, need special care.
  • Efforts should be made to rehabilitate criminals at all levels of society by providing them with proper correctional treatment.
  • Initiatives should be launched to provide convicts with vocational training and to guarantee effective rehabilitation and social integration upon their release.
  • The government must take action to alleviate the conditions of under-trial detainees, which may be accomplished by expediting the trial process, simplifying the bail system, and providing adequate legal assistance.
  • The Supreme Court emphasised open jail as an efficient facility for offender rehabilitation as recently as 1979 in the Dharambeer v State of Uttar Pradesh decision. As correctional institutions, open prisons should be promoted.
Source – Indian Express

Fatcs for Prelims

Swami Sahajanand Saraswati

Context: The Union Home Minister will attend a festival celebrating the birth anniversary of farmer activist Swami Sahajanand Saraswati in Patna, Bihar.
Swami Sahajanand Saraswati (Swami Sahajanand Saraswati):
  • He (actual name Navrang Rai) was an Indian ascetic, patriot, and peasant leader.
  • Despite being born in modern-day Uttar Pradesh, his social and political activities began in Bihar and later expanded to the rest of India.
  • Saraswati created the Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha (BPKS) in 1929 to address peasants’ complaints over zamindari attacks on their occupancy rights, and it served as the cornerstone for India’s farmers’ movements.
  • The All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) was founded in April 1936 during the Indian National Congress session in Lucknow, with Saraswati elected as its first President.
  • In protest of his incarceration by the British Raj during the Quit India Movement, Subhash Chandra Bose and the All India Forward Bloc declared April 28 All-India Swami Sahajanand Day.

Exercise Cyclone-I

Context: The All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) was founded in April 1936 during the Indian National Congress session in Lucknow, with Saraswati elected as its first President.
  • In protest of his incarceration by the British Raj during the Quit India Movement, Subhash Chandra Bose and the All India Forward Bloc declared April 28 All-India Swami Sahajanand Day.


Context- Despite the budget’s major focus on macroeconomic stability, the Centre may boost the income assistance granted to farmers under the PM-KISAN plan from Rs 6,000 to 8,000 rupees per year in the forthcoming Budget.

In an effort to stimulate consumption and rural demand, the idea would cost the government roughly Rs. 22,000 crores each year.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN):
  • The number of beneficiaries has surpassed 110 million, up from 31 million at the start of the plan, and more than Rs 2 trillion in cash aid has been supplied to poor farmers in less than three years.
  • During the Covid epidemic, the initiative addressed farmers’ money difficulties for purchasing agricultural inputs, everyday consumption, education, health, and other incidental costs.
  • A member of Niti Aayog proposes transforming the PM-KISAN programme into a Universal Basic Income (UBI) programme that includes other disadvantaged populations such as agricultural labourers, etc.

Share with

Leave a Comment

हिंदी में देखें




error: Content is protected !!