News & Editorial Analysis 7 February 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Earthquakes:
GS I Topic Geography related issues
Three earthquakes measuring 7.8, 7.6, and 6.0 on the Richter scale devastated Turkey and Syria, while also having an impact on Cyprus (456 km), Lebanon (874 km), Israel (1,381 km), and Egypt (1,411 km). The first earthquake occurred on February 6 at around 4 a.m., with its epicentre not far from the city of Gaziantep in south-central Turkey, which has a population of over two million people. This group also includes a large number of Syrian refugees who fled their country’s raging civil war after 2011. At least 40 aftershocks, some of which had magnitudes as high as 6.7, according to Turkish authorities. Nine hours later, two further earthquakes of magnitudes 7.6 and 6.0 struck the region. The greatest earthquake to strike the region in more than a century has killed at least 3,800 people in Turkey and Syria, according to authorities.
An earthquake is simply the ground shaking. Natural events lead to it. When energy is released, it produces waves that travel in all directions.
Seismographs are instruments that capture seismic waves, which are vibrations that earthquakes cause and spread across the Earth.
The hypocenter, or starting point of the earthquake below the surface, is the location on the earth’s surface that is immediately above the epicentre.
The various forms of earthquakes include tectonic earthquakes, volcanic earthquakes, earthquakes caused by humans, and fault zones.
How earthquake events are graded depends on the size or intensity of the shock. The magnitude scale is known as the Richter scale. The magnitude of an earthquake tells us how much energy was released. The magnitude is expressed as absolute values between 0 and 10.
The Italian seismologist Mercalli is commemorated on the intensity scale. The intensity scale takes into account the event’s visual harm. The scale of intensity is from 1 to 12.
Where earthquakes occur:
Pacific Ocean Seismic Belt: The circum-Pacific seismic belt is the world’s greatest earthquake fault zone and is the source of over 81% of the planet’s strongest earthquakes. “Ring of Fire” is the name given to it.
Where oceanic crusted plates are subducting beneath other plates, the belt is seen close to the tectonic plate boundaries. In these subduction zones, earthquakes are primarily caused by plate slipping and plate rupture.
The Alpine-Himalayan belt, often referred to as the mid-Continental belt, runs across the Himalayas, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic Ocean on its way from Europe to Sumatra.
This region is home to roughly 17% of the largest earthquakes on record, including some of the most devastating.
The mid-Atlantic Ridge is followed by the third separate belt. The ridge shows that two tectonic plates have separated (a divergent plate boundary).
The mid-Atlantic Ridge is mostly underwater and far from any populated regions.
What precisely is the seismic hazard map for India?
India is one of the countries most vulnerable to earthquakes since the Himalaya are young fold mountains that are technically active.
India has been divided into four seismic zones based on scientific data on seismicity, past earthquakes, and the local geological structure (II, III, IV, and V).
By integrating the first two seismic zones, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) divided the country into four seismic zones. According to the magnitude of the quakes, earthquake zones were previously separated into five zones.
BIS is the recognised agency for publishing seismic hazard maps and codes.
2 – Hate Crime:
GS II Topic Social Issues
The state and society cannot ignore hate crime because it can one day come knocking at their doors, the Supreme Court said on Monday.
A Bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph cautioned against ignoring hate crimes, using what may have been a portion of Martin Niemöller’s remark “then they came for me,” in order to prevent the loss of innocent lives.
Hate crimes are characterised as offences perpetrated out of animosity towards an individual or a social group because of differences, most notably in their religious beliefs and practises.
Today, in addition to lynching, discrimination, and insulting remarks, its scope has been broadened to encompass language that is contemptuous, derogatory, or that advocates for violence.
In general, a hate crime is more serious than many other criminal offences since it violates the victim’s constitutional rights and has a greater impact on society as a whole.
Racial, ethnic, religious, or social class prejudices are the most frequent motivations for hate speech.
India’s definition of a hate crime focuses more stress on the harm done to the community as a whole than on a person’s right to freedom of expression or the damage done by hate speech.
In India, it is against the law to use hate speech that is motivated by someone’s race, religion, ethnicity, or culture.
Hate speech is neither explicitly defined under Indian law nor reduced to a conventional definition due to the variety of forms it may take.
Hate crimes in India:
Muslims were the group targeted by hate crimes in India the most frequently between September 2015 and December 2019, followed by Dalits.
There were 902 documented incidents that were allegedly motivated by hatred, ranging from caste and religious discrimination to honour killings and love jihad.
What are the main reasons that hate crimes are so common?
Prejudice or bias statement: One need not harbour animosity against the victim in order to commit a “hate crime”; rather, the manifestation of prejudice or bias on the part of the offender towards the victim’s (presumed) membership in the victim’s group is what more accurately distinguishes such crimes.
Instead of just one particular type of prejudice or hatred, the perpetrators of hate crimes may be motivated by a range of prejudices.
Social environment effects Hate crimes may also be influenced by our social settings.
Hate crimes are more likely to occur in societies where some identifying characteristics are favoured over others (for example, white, male, heterosexual).
Systematic discrimination can foster an environment where offenders feel free to target specific members of minority groups because it is frequently institutionalised in policies, rules, or laws.
how perception affects
Research in social psychology has demonstrated that perpetrators may be influenced by their perception of a threat from a particular group.
Realistic risks, such perceived rivalry for employment, housing, and other resources, as well as bodily injury to themselves or others, can be contrasted from symbolic risks, which are more concerned with the threat to people’s morals and cultural norms.
Various factors can drive someone to conduct hate crimes.
There are four “types” of offenders, according to some research, including:
Retaliators are those who act in retaliation for what they perceive to be an attack against their own group; thrill-seekers are those who are driven by excitement; defensive are those who are led by a desire to defend their territory; Mission: Those who dedicate their lives to eradicating “different.”
How may hate crimes affect society?
Psychiatric Uncomfort: Greater psychological discomfort is more likely to affect victims of violent hate crimes than victims of other violent crimes.
In particular, victims of bias-motivated crimes are more likely than victims of bias-unmotivated crimes to experience post-traumatic stress disorder, safety concerns, depression, anxiety, and wrath.
Because they convey to members of the victim’s group that they are not accepted and safe in the community, hate crimes harm the entire group and diminish feelings of safety and security.
Furthermore, witnessing bias against one’s own group may lead to psychological distress and a drop in self-esteem.
What are the laws in India against hate crimes?
Despite the fact that the phrase is not even mentioned in a single statute, it is recognised in all of the laws in its many forms.
Any spoken or written comments that promote animosity, hatred, or insults based on race, caste, ethnicity, culture, language, area, or other considerations are forbidden and punishable under the IPC’s Sections 153A, 153B, 295A, 298, 505(1), and 505(2).
53A: It penalises inciting animosity between diverse communities.
153B: It punishes assertions that are detrimental to national integration.
505: It punishes false information and rumours that incite animosity within the community.
Section 295A prohibits disparaging someone’s religious beliefs by using language with malice or intent in order to combat hate speech.
The following laws also deal with hate speech and the repression of it:
Representation of the People Act of 1951: Hate speech is included in the list of crimes that are divided into two categories: electoral offences and corrupt practises. Hate speech is covered by the RPA’s Sections 8, 8A, 123(3), 123(3A), and 125.
What measures should society take to put an end to hate crimes?
There is an urgent need for specialised legislation to curtail the spread of hate speech on the Internet, particularly social media.
In order to implement precise and long-lasting legislative provisions that combat hate speech, especially that which is transmitted online and through social media, it is imperative that the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Information Technology Act be updated.
This would only be possible until hate speech is recognised as a legitimate restraint on free expression, in the end.
Sensitization: The Indian community has to be made more conscious of the threat that hate crimes pose to other people’s rights and the need for social cohesiveness.
Community policing: By creating community partnerships, a society can assist communities and law enforcement in working together to stop and address hate crimes.
Community involvement can prevent a hate-related problem from turning into a serious crime. All community members must participate in the solution. It’s important to include a variety of groups whose members may face hostility.
Awareness of the Community Is Required:
In order to solve the problem of hate-motivated crimes, it is essential to comprehend the ramifications of the incident. Knowing the subject better enables the community to appreciate its significance and the pressing need to address its issues. Running a community-wide public awareness campaign that educates individuals about hate crimes and provides them with resources is essential.
Counseling and participation of youth:
Youth are typically more susceptible to physical assaults, bullying, and other forms of harassment.
In order to combat this, teachers and school officials should educate their students and staff about the nature of hate crimes and occurrences as well as how to stop them.
Police should teach new hires as well as current officers and deputies on hate crimes and other pertinent issues to ensure that responding officers and deputies are ready to investigate and report the hate crimes or occurrences.
3 – New Tax Regime:
GS III Topic Indian Economy
Sanjay Malhotra, the Revenue Secretary, said in a Monday interview with The Hindu that leave encashment benefits received at retirement by the salaried class—whose maximum amount was increased from 3 lakh to 25 lakh in the Budget—will be tax-free in their hands under the new income tax system, even if they switch to it in the year of retirement.
What Modifications Are Proposed?
Due to the increase in the maximum tax rebate from five lakhs to seven lakhs, those with earnings under seven lakhs are no longer need to make any investments in order to be eligible for exemptions; instead, their whole income is now tax-free, regardless of the number of investments they make.
The middle-class income group will therefore have more purchasing power because they can spend all of their income without having to worry too much about making investments to benefit from tax cuts.
Changes to income tax slabs: The number of income categories should be reduced from six to five in the new tax system, and the tax exemption threshold should be increased to three lakh rupees.
The former system will still be available for tax assessors to use.
Paid workers and retired people: For taxable income above Rs15.5 lakhs, the standard deduction under the new scheme is 52,500.
For retirees: The standard deduction would be kept under the new tax code, according to the finance minister.
Every salaried person earning at least 15.5 lakh rupees will receive 52,500 rupees in benefits.
Maximum Tax Plus Surcharge: It was suggested that the highest surcharge rate in the new tax system be reduced from 37% to 25%. As a result, the top tax rate would be reduced to 39%.
The highest tax rate in India is 42.74%. one of the highest measurements ever taken.
Under the new tax structure, the top marginal tax rate was reduced from 42.74% to 39%.
Finance Bill for 2023
The Finance Bill, 2023 was also made public, and it contained a proposal to amend Section 56(2) VII B of the Income Tax Act.
Any equity investment received by an unlisted entity, such as a start-up, for the issuance of shares at a price above face value is required to be treated as income for the start-up and subject to income tax under the heading “Income from Other Sources,” under the clause.
The purpose of enacting the “angel tax,” or Section 56(2) VII B of the Income Tax Act, was to stop the production and use of illegitimate funds through the acquisition of shares of closely held companies at a price over their fair market value. This was done in 2012.
It was also suggested to include foreign investors, which would make any funds received by a start-up from a foreign investor now deemed income and taxable.
Why are start-ups concerned?
The proposed adjustments may have an effect on the amount of capital invested as foreign investors are a significant source of cash for businesses and have contributed to increase their valuations.
According to a report from PwC India, funding for startups in India decreased by 33% to $24 billion in 2022.
If the tax on angel investors is reinstated, startups may leave India because foreign investors would not want to pay additional taxes on their involvement in the company.
4 – Grammy Awards:
Prelims Specific Topic
Ricky Kej, a composer based in Bengaluru who has received three Grammy nominations and whose most recent album Divine Tides features rock legend Stewart Copeland, is the only Indian to do so (The Police).
In the Best New Age Album category, Ricky has previously won two Grammys for his albums “Winds of Samsara” from 2015 and “Divine Tides” from 2022.
The term “Grammy Award” refers to a variety of distinctions presented annually in the United States by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences or the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.
Each year, entries are submitted for evaluation by record labels and academy members. There are five nominees for each award, and each NARAS voting member can only cast one vote in that category.
28 awards were presented in 1959 in Los Angeles during the first Grammy Awards ceremony.
They seek to recognise exceptional achievements to the music industry.
Grammy is a tribute to the gramophone and its revolutionary effects on the music business.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
Empowerment Through Higher Education
The All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2020-21 uncovers a number of fascinating trends in the growth of the tertiary sector during the previous few years.
The All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE)
The Union Ministry of Education (MoE) has been conducting an annual online survey called AISHE to gauge the quality of higher education across the country since 2010–11. These are useful for carrying out research and forming informed political judgements for the expansion of the educational sector.
A wide range of information is being gathered, including information on teachers, student enrollment, programmes, exam results, educational funding, and infrastructure.
Indicators of educational development such Institution Density, Gross Enrolment Ratio, Pupil-Teacher Ratio, Gender Parity Index, and Per Student Expenditure will also be calculated using the data obtained by AISHE.
The AISHE 2021 Report’s findings:
At the macro level, the increase in higher education enrollment increased by a factor of 7.3%, more than doubling, bringing the total number of students to 4.1 crore. There are 2.1 crore male students, barely more than the 2 crore female students. As a result, there are currently 48.7% more female students overall than there were previously.
However, it is still far from ideal that students from disadvantaged social groups are included in the classroom. According to trends over the past five years, the increase in the percentage of Scheduled Tribe (ST) students to 5.8% was even less than the increase in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) share of the total number of students.
Even worse, at this time the percentage of Muslims students declined marginally to 4.7% while the percentage of students from Scheduled Castes (SC) stayed constant at 14.3%. This growing divide across social groups is a major issue that has to be resolved right immediately.
Surprisingly, female students outperform male students in higher education among the major disadvantaged groups. The statistics shows that more women than men are currently enrolled in higher education, with ST students having a proportion of 50.6% and Muslim students having an astonishing 50.2%. The percentage of female SC and OBC students is 49.2%, which is higher than the national average.
Despite these advances on the gender front across nearly all key social groupings, the disparities in overall attendance rates across social categories still grow. Only 23.1% of SC students were enrolled in higher education in 2020–21, despite the national attendance rate being 27.2%. ST enrolment was still less than average, at 18.9%.
Even in this dire circumstance, two positive traits stand out:
The enrollment rates for women were higher than those for males in each of these categories. More notably, across all social groups, the rates of female enrolment are currently increasing more swiftly than those of male enrollment, usually at a rate twice as fast as that of the latter.
The gender parity index (GPI), which has been hovering around 100 for the past four years, has been maintained, which is the most spectacular accomplishment on the higher education front.
The number of large states that have achieved gender parity climbed from 11 to 17 during the past five years, demonstrating the importance of these gender-related accomplishments. In addition, from twelve to six states still have not reached gender parity over that period.
The ease with which men and women can obtain education is often compared using a socioeconomic indicator known as the Gender Parity Index (GPI).
In its simplest form, it is calculated by dividing the number of female students enrolled in a specific educational stage by the number of male students (primary, secondary, etc.). The closer a nation’s GPI is to one, the closer it is to ensuring equal access for men and women.
GPI = 1 indicates equality for men and women.
Men are favoured in terms of gender parity, according to GPI 1.
GPI values greater than 1 indicate favourable gender parity for women.
Gross enrollment rate, or GER:
Despite the remarkable progress made towards achieving gender parity in higher education, the industry’s development is still incredibly unbalanced, with the gross enrolment rate (GER) ranging greatly amongst the states. The GER in the states with the best performance was four times higher than that in the states with the lowest performance, per the data for 2016–17. By 2020–2021, the gap had almost tripled, yet it is still far too large to be acceptable.
Another troubling element was the dramatic disparity in the rate of GER improvement. Between 2016–17 and 2020–21, the GER climbed by more than 10 percentage points in the states of Uttarakhand and Kerala, but only by 5–10 percentage points in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
From Doles To Development
The finance minister’s recently released Union budget 2023–24 was praised for its brave decision to redirect funding for agriculture, food production, and rural areas away from handouts and towards development.
Despite this, there are nine state assembly elections scheduled for this year, and the Lok Sabha elections will occur in about a year. The FM has, however, avoided the need to advertise freebies. To enhance infrastructure and increase jobs, she has proposed a budget that is growth-oriented, asset-creating, and inclusive.
Converting spending from revenue-based to capital-based:
When compared to the RE for 2022–2023, the budget requested a considerable drop in MGNREGA spending as well as food and fertiliser subsidies in 2023–2024. The sum of these cuts comes to about Rs 1.7 lakh crore.
The money saved from these doles has been invested in more productive projects like Jal Shakti, rural housing, roads, and railroads, all of which will have positive benefits on rural India.
Spending on capital infrastructure growing:
The revised estimate for 2022–2023 has been increased from Rs. 1.62 lakh crore to Rs. 2.41 lakh crore, a 48.6% increase.
In comparison to 2022–2023, the cost of roads and highways will increase to Rs 2.70 lakh crore in 2023–2024. (RE).
This demonstrates the government’s focus on Gati Shakti to reduce logistical costs.
The cost of logistics and the supply chain accounts for around 12% of India’s GDP, which is more than the 8% global average.
With enhanced rail, road, air, and water connectivity, Indian goods, particularly agricultural products, will unquestionably become more competitive. This will also help to keep inflation under control.
The country will gain a lot from this well-thought-out plan in the years to come.
The PM Awas Yojana (Grain) has been given spending money:
The PM Awas Yojana is yet another crucial asset-creating initiative (Gramin). The total expenditure has increased to Rs 54,487 crore, a net increase of 172.4%, from the 20,000 crore that was allotted for the PM Awas Yojana in the 2022–23 budget.
However, when compared to the RE of 2022–23 (Rs 48,422 crore), which was already much higher than the BE of 2022–23, the rise in 2023–24 looks to be only 12.5%. (Rs 20,000 crore).
The programme was launched in 2016 with the intention of giving everyone access to housing. It also provides living dignity, expands employment prospects, and ensures permanent asset development for rural households in India. This is a considerable improvement in the way subsidies are now allocated to help fund the development of rural infrastructure.
Jal Jeevan Mission has expanded:
From Rs 55,000 crore in RE of 2022–2023 to Rs 70,000 crore for 2023–2024, the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) has seen an increase of 27.3%.
This is mostly done to supply clean drinking water at faucets in rural areas. This will save women who must go considerable distances to get water time and energy, in addition to preventing water-borne infections.
Compared to the previous year, the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (4.0) has increased by 85%:
It plans to increase the “Amrit Peedhi’s” influence and provide skill-training to tens of thousands of young people over the next three years.
There are other things that are envisioned, including on-the-job training, business relationships, and curriculum modifications.
The amount spent for this purpose has increased by 85%, from Rs 1,902 crore (RE) in 2022-2023 to Rs 3,517 crore (BE) in 2023-2024.
Additionally, the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana seeks to include contemporary industrial subjects like mechatronics, robotics, AI, and 3D printing. In order to equip young people for opportunities overseas, the FM has also announced that 30 Skill India International Centers will be constructed across several states. This is a heroic deed.
Advances in technology are needed in the agricultural sector:
FM has established an Agri-Focused Accelerator Fund. She also proposed creating a digital public infrastructure for agriculture that is open-source, open-standard, and interoperable.
This would enable inclusive and farmer-centric solutions by providing information services for crop planning and health and improving access to agricultural inputs, loans, and insurance. Farmers will have access to market data and more precise crop estimates. Although these are constructive actions, we must wait to see how much funding will be given to these programmes.
High-value horticulture crops are being promoted thanks to the Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Programme, which aims to expand the accessibility of high-quality, disease-free planting material. A budget of Rs 2,200 crore has been allocated for the programme.
Building storage facilities and value chain infrastructure in remote areas is still challenging.
Investment in agricultural research needs to be quadrupled if India is to improve it, make it more competitive, and make it more climatically robust.
The government has made a long-term strategic decision to invest more in capital projects and less in operations that generate revenue.
The long-term benefits of capital investment over economic growth, employment creation, and inflation control.
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