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28 December 2022 – Current Affairs

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National AVGC-Extended Reality Mission

GS Paper-3

Context:The Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comic (AVGC) Task Force has announced the launch of a National AVGC-XR Mission.
More information about the report’s recommendations
  • The report of the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics (AVGC) Promotion Task Force has been presented to the government for review.
  • The Task Force has also proposed draught national and state policies to promote the industry.
  • The report proposes creating a budgeted allocation for integrated development and growth of the AVGC industry.
  • Campaign “Create in India”: Among the Task Force’s suggestions is a “Create in India” campaign.
The following will be the exclusive focus of the campaign:
  • Content creation; a worldwide AVGC platform aimed at attracting foreign direct investment; co-production treaties and partnership with international equivalents; national and regional skill development centres; and
  • Using National Education Policy to foster innovative thinking at the classroom level.
  • The Ministry of Education may urge NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) to write publications on AVGC-related topics.
  • There is a need to expand skilling efforts and increase industry engagement for training and job possibilities.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) might be created between India and other developed global AVGC markets – the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Germany — to provide internships (six months to a year) to Indian AVGC experts.
The report has also recommended: 
  • In academic institutions, AVGC accelerators and innovation centres will be established.
  • Democratizing AVGC technologies through subscription-based pricing models for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Start-ups, and Institutions; Indigenous technology development through incentive schemes and Intellectual Property creation; and Establishing a dedicated production fund for domestic content creation from across India to promote the country’s culture and heritage globally.
Inclusive growth & chid rights: 
  • According to the report, there should be particular incentives for female entrepreneurs in the area, as well as development of local children’s channels to raise awareness of India’s rich culture and history among children and youth.
  • It also proposed the creation of a framework to ensure the protection of children’s rights in the digital realm.
  • About the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comic (AVGC) Sector: India’s media and entertainment industry has long sought legitimacy for gaming and associated businesses.
  • Development: Over the last seven years, the AVGC sectors, particularly the gaming business, have had robust growth.
  • It is thought that with the right motivation, might soon become a world leader.
  • Talents: The content development aspect of gaming requires advanced skills, which the government wished to emphasise through the task force.
  • In the industry, India might become the world’s content creation factory.
  • Economic potential: According to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), India has the potential to acquire 5% ($40 billion) of global market share by 2025, with annual growth of 25-30% and the creation of over 1,60,000 new employment.
  • Employment: According to industry analysts, the Indian market, which presently employs around 1.85 lakh AVGC professionals, will increase by 14-16% over the next decade.
Significance of National AVGC-Extended Reality Mission
  • The mission is expected to complete the following tasks:
  • Increasing job possibilities; assisting in marketing and market development operations to extend Indian industry’s worldwide reach; increasing exports and recommending incentives to attract foreign direct investment in the sector.
Creating opportunities for future employment:
  • Esports/Video Games is a versatile industry with a huge scope for professional gamers as well as other jobs like casters, commentators, and other support staff appointed by esports tournaments like producers, editors, analysts, product managers, game testers, referees, production crew members, event managers, social media managers, and so on.
Need of Regulations:
  • A progressive tax system, a stable regulatory environment, and supporting financial policies will enable the industry to compete on a global scale.
  • Skill development and rural potential: There is a need to introduce children to sector-related skills at a young age in schools.
  • Rural India is a breeding place for talent in this industry.
  • 5G’s Role: 5G can help the country’s newest breakthroughs and broad adoption of technologies such as cloud gaming.
Way Ahead

With a renewed emphasis on the AVGC sector, blended finance for deep tech and IT, hardware and electronics manufacturing, and implementation of 5G and cheap internet in underserved areas, it is evident that the government is dedicated to advancing the Indian startup ecosystem.

Source: The Hindu

National Retail Trade Policy

GS Paper-3

Context:The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) recently solicited feedback from 16 departments and ministries on its proposed national retail trade policy.It aims to promote the general growth of all sector forms.
About National Retail Trade Policy
  • According to data, India is the world’s fifth-largest shopping destination.
  • DPIIT has envisioned the strategy to design the national retail policy to encourage the growth of domestic commerce.
  • Aim: Through focused efforts, it focuses on developing strategies to ensure a globally competitive and sustainable environment for the overall development of retail commerce.
The objectives of the policy includes:
  • Providing easy and rapid access to financing.
  • Promoting current technology and better infrastructure assistance to aid in the modernisation and digitalization of retail commerce.
  • Physical infrastructure development across the distribution system.
  • Promoting skill development and increasing labour productivity.
  • Providing the industry with an efficient consultation and grievance redressal process.
Major Challenges in this sector:
  • Unorganized market: India’s retail trade market is primarily unorganised.
  • High levels of complication:
  • A plethora of legislation, along with state-level variances in execution, generate enormous complication for merchants, particularly those having a pan-Indian presence.
  • This makes it critical for retailers to have a comprehensive pan-India approach.
  • Long procedures: If we wish to open a store in organised retail, we will most likely require permission from 40 different agencies.
  • A single window clearance is possible.
  • States such as Telangana have implemented it, but it must be implemented throughout the country.
Significance of the policy:
  • Enhance ease of doing business: This policy will simplify the retail trade sector and promote ease of doing business.
  • It will encourage e-commerce throughout the country.
  • Job creation: It will use retail commerce as a strategy for the country’s socioeconomic growth.
  • A unified national retail policy might help create 30 lakh new employment by 2024.
  • It will foster skill development and increase job possibilities for all segments of society involved in retail commerce.
  • It will identify and resolve current infrastructural gaps impacting the retail trade industry.
  • Investments: It will increase investment in the country’s undeveloped regions.
  • The retail business is expected to increase at a 10% yearly rate, reaching around USD 2 trillion by 2032.
Benefits for all sellers:
  • It will level the playing field for small merchants by providing them with finance, while also assisting major, organised stores with faster approvals.
  • Women’s empowerment: The retail business is one of India’s major employers of women, accounting for around 25-30% of the entire workforce.
Way Forward:

DPIIT is also developing a national e-commerce policy to support the growth of the country’s online retail sector.

A new industrial strategy is also in the works, the third industrial policy following the first in 1956 and the second in 1991.

A unified retail policy based on simplicity, standardisation, and digitization would pave the path for major development and speed the short-term economic recovery.

Source: The Hindu

Madan Mohan Malviya

GS Paper-1

Context:On his Jayanti, the Prime Minister paid respect to Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya.
Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya
  • He was born in Allahabad and had his early education via the ‘pathshala’ system, where he learned Sanskrit.
  • He graduated from Muir Central College (now Allahabad University) in 1879 and began working as a teacher at a local high school.
  • In 1886, he joined the Indian National Congress in Calcutta.
  • He ascended through the ranks and was elected president four times: in 1909 (Lahore), 1918 (Delhi), 1930 (Delhi), and 1932 (Delhi) (Calcutta).
  • Malaviya served in the Congress for over 50 years.
  • Malaviya was an early leader of the Hindu Mahasabha, helping to create it in 1906.
  • Rabindranath Tagore bestowed the title of ‘Mahamana’ on him, and Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, India’s second President, bestowed the title of ‘Karmayogi’ on him.
  • He was a scholar and thinker who advocated for the nationalisation of railways and the dissemination of knowledge among individuals.
  • In 1906, he helped found the Hindu Mahasabha (“Great Society of Hindus”), which brought together many local Hindu nationalist parties.
  • He is well known for creating the Banaras Hindu University in 1916 and for being a torchbearer of the liberation struggle, functioning as a link between the Congress’s moderates and extremists.
  • Malaviya stood in the middle of the independence war, between the Liberals and the Nationalists, the Moderates and the Extremists.
  • When Mahatma Gandhi initiated the Salt Satyagraha and the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930, he joined and risked arrest.
  • Awards received: He was posthumously given the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, in 2014.
·        In his honour, the Indian Railways launched the Varanasi-New Delhi Mahamana Express in 2016.

Source: The Hindu


Veer BalDiwas

GS Paper-1

Context:The Prime Minister recently addressed the inaugural ‘Veer Baal Diwas’ memorial to honour the heroism of the Sahibzades, four sons of Guru Gobind Singh, the last Sikh guru.
  • The Prime Minister declared this Veer Baal Diwason the occasion of Sri Guru Gobind Singh’s Prakash Parv on January 9, 2022.
  • Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa society and was the tenth Guru of the Sikhs.
  • It commemorates the day when SahibzadaZorawar Singh and SahibzadaFateh Singh were slain for the country at the ages of 6 and 9, respectively.
  • What is the legend of Sahibzades?
  • The name “Sahibzada” means “son” in Punjabi and refers to the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru.
  • The Sacrificial Week is observed from December 21 to 27, in honour of the four Sahibzadas who made sacrifices for the protection of Sikhism and Hinduism.SahibzadaAjit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh, and Fateh Singh were martyred while defending their religious beliefs against forced conversion.
A backgrounder story
·        Guru Gobind Singh and his family left the fort of Sri Anandpur Sahib on the 20th and 21st of December 1704 to battle the Aurangzeb invasion.
·        The eldest boys, Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh, remained with Guru ji, while the younger ones, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh, stayed with Mata Gujriji.
·        Subedar Wazir Khan of Sirhind afterwards seized the two Sahibzades and enticed them into religious conversion.
·        Finally, it was revealed that they would be elected in the living walls.
·        The remaining two sahibzadeswere killed at the battle of Chamkaur (1705).
·        When Guruji learned of this, he sent Aurangzeb a zafarnama (victory letter) in which he warned him that the KhalsaPanth was ready to overthrow his kingdom.
·        Baba Banda Singh Bahadur exacted vengeance on Guruji’sSahibzadas.
·        He punished Wazir Khan for his actions in Sirhind and established Sikh rule over the region.
·        As a result of this sacrifice, a great Sikh kingdom rose to prominence under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
A watershed moment in Indian History
·        This incident is significant in Indian history, and the anniversary of their martyrdom is recalled and honoured with both enthusiasm and sadness.
·        The names of the Sahibzades are solemnly kept and remembered each time an Ardas (prayer of supplication) is offered in a congregation or privately.

Source: Indian Express


Pralay: India’s first tactical quasi-ballistic missile

GS Paper-3

The Defence Ministry has chosen to station surface-to-surface ‘Pralay’ ballistic missiles developed in-house along India’s borders with China and Pakistan.

What exactly are Tactical Missiles?

  • Short-range missiles are classified as tactical, whereas long-range missiles are classified as strategic.
  • A tactical missile is one that is used to destroy tactical enemy targets like as bunkers, mortar positions, artillery positions, and so on.
  • Battlefield missiles are tactical, but long-range missiles aimed against larger targets such as cities are strategic.
These missiles have the following characteristics:

1. Versatile range: Tactical missiles bridge the gap between long-range rockets and short-range ballistic missiles, with a typical range of 100 to 200 kilometres.

2. Extreme precision and accuracy: These missiles are extremely precise and can kill tiny stable and moving targets with pinpoint accuracy.

About ‘Pralay’ Missile
  • Pralay is a Hindi term that signifies “apocalypse” or “huge devastation” or “harm”.
  • The Pralay missile project, which was approved in 2015, is a development of the Prahaar missile programme, which was first tested in 2011.
  • The DRDO-developed ‘Pralay’ ballistic missile is a tactical, surface-to-surface, and short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) for combat usage.
  • It can attack targets from 150 to 500 kilometres away and is exceedingly tough to intercept by hostile defence missiles.
  • Pralay is a high explosive prefabricated fragmentation warhead that weighs between 350 and 700 kg and is fueled by a solid fuel rocket engine.
  • It also accounts for its PCB and RDP (Runaway Denial Penetration Submunitions) (RDPS).
Unique features of Pralay
  • Targeting precision: The missile is meant to destroy enemy radar, communication systems, command centres, and airfields.
  • Quasi Ballistic Trajectory: When an item is fired, it follows a low curved path.
  • Pralay has the capacity to avoid anti-ballistic missile (ABM) interceptors by making mid-air manoeuvres using a manoeuvrable re-entry vehicle.
  • Destruction capability: When a high-explosive warhead, such as the one carried by the Pralay missile, bursts, its components are hurled at high speeds, doing tremendous damage.
What makes Pralay lethal?
  • The Indian missile is similar to China’s Dong Feng 12 and Russia’s Iskander missile, both of which have been employed in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.
  • The US Army is working to extend the range of a comparable short-range ballistic missile known as the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM).
  • Pralay is lethal because it is a quasi-ballistic weapon, which means that, while it has a low trajectory and is mostly ballistic, it may manoeuvre in flight.
  • Short-range ballistic missiles, as opposed to intercontinental ballistic missiles, remain within the Earth’s atmosphere.
What lies ahead?
  • Pralay, together with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, will form the core of India’s proposed Rocket Force, a concept envisioned by the late General BipinRawat, former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
  • Only conventional missiles would be subject to the projected Rocket Force when it is complete, while nuclear weapons would remain under the control of the Strategic Forces Command.

Source: Indian Express

Expedite categorization of DNTs: House panel

GS Paper-2

Context:A parliamentary committee has chastised the Centre for the “extremely sluggish” process of classifying over 260 Denotified, nomadic, and semi-nomadic tribes (DNTs) under the SC/ST/OBC lists.

  • Government officials also cited a “delay” in the approval of benefits under the SEED (Initiative for Economic Empowerment of DNTs) scheme, which was started in February of this year.
  • There is a system in existence with sufficient fiscal expenditure, but there are no designated beneficiaries. Consider how ironic this is.
What exactly are the DNTs?
  • The phrase “De-notified Tribes” refers to all groups that were formerly notified under the Criminal Tribes Acts, which were enacted by the British Raj between l87l and I947.
  • These Acts were revoked following Independence in l952, and these localities were “De-Notified”.
·        The DNTs (the majority of whom are mediaeval Banjaras) are the most overlooked, stigmatised, and economically and socially impoverished communities.
·        Most of them have been living in poverty for generations and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
·        Over ten crore Indians from over 1,400 groups are denotified, nomadic, or semi-nomadic.
About SEED Scheme
·        It has been designed for families with an annual income of Rs.2.50 lakh or less who are not receiving equivalent benefits from the Centre Government or the State Government.
·        The Scheme will be carried out via a site created by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment.
·        Following verification, monies will be paid straight to the recipients’ accounts.
·        The Ministry of Rural Development, the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), and the National Health Authority are the other implementing authorities (NHA).
Components of the scheme
  • The Scheme will consist of four components:
  • Free Coaching: A component of DNT’s free Coaching. Students have been envisioned for these communities’ educational empowerment. It aims to prepare them to take competitive tests and get admission to professional courses such as medicine, engineering, and MBA in order to find a suitable position in the public or private sector.
  • Members of these groups are likely to have little or no access to medical facilities and other advantages provided by mainstream health policy.
  • This will provide a health insurance cover of Rs.5 lakhs per family per year, in accordance with the “Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana” guidelines.
  • Livelihood Initiatives: The collapse of DNT/NT/SNT communities’ traditional vocations has aggravated their poverty. A emphasis on generating income for these areas was essential.
  • Financial assistance for housing: Given the scarcity of housing for DNTs, it has been recommended to designate a distinct outlay for PMAY to support the critical need of providing housing solely to DNTs residing in rural regions.
Why was such a plan implemented?
·        DNTs are underserved communities: they missed the focus of our developmental framework and consequently lack assistance, in contrast to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
·        Historically, these groups did not have access to private property or homeownership.
·        Ecological contribution: These tribes relied on woods and grazing fields for a living and had “strong ecological linkages.
Status of DNT’s identification
  • AnSI study: So far, AnSI has produced reports on the classification of 48 DNT villages. Furthermore, the AnSI is completing research on 161 localities and expects to complete investigations on the remaining communities (about 70) by the end of 2022.
  • Idate Commission: It had classified 1,262 localities as SC/ST/OBC, while 267 remained unclassified.

What is the cause of the delay?

  • States’ slow response: Officials cannot begin processing SEED programme applications until the State and district-level evaluations are completed.
  • Community duplication: There is erroneous categorization/duplication of communities, which causes hitches in the approval process. 

Source: Indian Express

Facts For Prelims
  1. Losar Festival

The Prime Minister of India recently expressed his wishes on the occasion of Losar.

The Losar Festival

  • One of the most important festivals on the Tibetan calendar.
  • It starts on the first day of the first month on the Tibetan calendar, which is the day of a new moon.
  • Losar is celebrated for 15 days, with the primary festivities taking place on the first three days.Meaning:
  • In Tibetan, the phrase ‘Losar’ refers to the New Year. ‘Lo’ stands for year, while ‘Sar’ stands for new.
  • Losar predates the introduction of Buddhism in Tibet and has its origins in the Bon religion’s winter incense-burning tradition.
  • Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, and India have all observed the holiday.
  • Ladakh, Kinnaur, Spiti, and Sikkim are among the Indian states.
  • Ratnagiri Rock Carvings
  • Experts and conservationists are concerned that the proposed location for a massive oil refinery at Barsu village in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district could harm prehistoric geoglyphs/Petroglyphs discovered in Maharashtra’s Konkan area.
Fundamental definitions:
  • Petroglyphs are created by scraping, rubbing, or chipping at the surface of rocks.
  • Pictographs are rock surfaces that have been painted.
  • Geoglyphs are bigger ground marks created by trenching or removing away rocks and the top layer of soil to create patterns or lines that contrast with the natural surface.
  • Geoglyphs are prehistoric rock art that were carved on the surface of laterite plateaus (Sada in Marathi).
  • ‘PRASAD’ project – Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh
  • DroupadiMurmu, President of India, launched the ‘PRASAD’ project at the tourism facilitation centre in the pilgrim town of Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh.
  • Srisailam temple is a Hindu temple devoted to the god Shiva and the goddess Parvathi.
  • It is one of Lord Shiva’s twelve Jyotirlingas and one of the Goddess Parvati’s 18 Maha Shakti Peethas.
  • Parvati is worshipped as “Mallika,” and Shiva as “Arjuna,” as symbolised by the lingam.
  • There is inscriptional evidence from the Satavahana dynasty that dates the temple to the 2nd century.
  • The majority of contemporary embellishments were made during the reign of Vijayanagara Empire ruler Harihara I.
  • The presiding deity of the location is BrahmarambaMallikarjunaSwamy in natural stone formations in the shape of Lingam PRASAD plan is ‘Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual Augmentation Drive’.
  • This programme focuses on creating and identifying pilgrimage sites around India in order to enhance the religious tourist experience. It strives to select, develop, and sustainably integrate pilgrimage places in order to create a comprehensive religious tourism experience. Domestic tourism growth is heavily reliant on pilgrimage tourism.
  • Malnutrition, NCPCR, JJ Act
  • The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) directed non-governmental organisations (NGOs) not to use representative images of vulnerable children in fundraising events.
  • Save the Children’s 2013 campaign, ‘Khushi,’ showed a 20-month-old infant sleeping on a hospital bed inside a malnutrition treatment centre in Tonk, Rajasthan.
  • Previously, NCPCR requested that such depiction be avoided since it violated the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act of 2015.
  • Such images, according to the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD), are deceptive because the issue of malnutrition is being aggressively tackled through its SakshamAnganwadi and Poshan 2.0 schemes.

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