News & Editorial Analysis 20 May 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – RPwD Act 2016:
Topic à Government Policies and Interventions
The Indian government has implemented the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act 2016 to establish accessibility rules for individuals with disabilities.
What standards apply to accessibility for those who are disabled?
Disability accessibility standards deal with laws and regulations aimed at guaranteeing that individuals with disabilities have equal access to and participation in a variety of locations and services. These accessibility requirements apply to the built environment, transportation, information and communication, technology, and public facilities.
The Situation of People with Disabilities in India:
There are 2.68 crore (2.21% of the population) people with disabilities in India, according to the 2011 census.
Regarding the requirements for accessibility for those with disabilities:
Give disabled persons access to medical care that is preventive, curative, and rehabilitative.
Poor healthcare services, limited access to high-quality education, and low employment rates.
Important components of accessibility standards:
Examples include accessible parking spaces and walkways, ramps and entrances, and elevators and lifts for vertical accessibility.
Accessible buses, trains, and stations; wheelchair lifts and ramps; visible and audible announcements.
Information and CommunicationAccessible print publications, captioned and described audio and video, accessible websites, and digital platforms.
accessibility for keyboard users, screen reader compatibility, and image alternative text.
India started the action:
India has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Both the Asia-Pacific Declaration on the Full Participation and Equality of Persons with Disabilities and the Biwako Millennium Framework have been ratified by India.
The Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific.
According to Article 41 of the DPSP, the state must make appropriate provisions where there are disabilities present.
7th schedule: The Constitution’s Seventh Schedule’s State List outlines the issue of “relief of the disabled and unemployable.”
The number of disabilities rose from 7 to 21 as a result of the Accessible India Campaign and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act of 2016.
Change in MentalityThe emphasis on disabilities has switched from the person to society, from a medical model of disability to a social or human rights model of disability.
Both the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre and the National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation have been established.
A special tool for identifying disabilities is the BIS standard IS 17802, which focuses on ICT product and service accessibility requirements.
What must be done:
Strengthen health prevention programmes including universal infant and toddler screening, as demonstrated by Kerala’s successful Comprehensive Newborn Screening (CNS) programme.
Adopt a community-based rehabilitation (CBR) plan to aid the full potential of those with disabilities.
The general population will learn more about and have a better understanding of disability if social initiatives are made to eliminate stigma and stereotypes about it.
Inclusion will be facilitated by moving persons from special schools to mainstream settings while encouraging a variety of influences and interactions.
Source à The Hindu
2 – Israel Palestine Issue:
Topic à Government Policies and Interventions
The UN remembered the Nakba, or the mass departure of Palestinians, for the first time in its history.
What is a nakba:
It makes reference to the widespread uprooting and emigration of Palestinians that occurred in 1948, the year Israel was established. Due to this, over 700,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their homes and become refugees.
Palestinians left their houses for what reason?
The primary reason for the eviction of Palestinians was the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The move happened after Israel declared its independence, during the Arab-Israeli war.
A brief timeline of the Israel-Palestine conflict is provided below:
In the early 20th century, both Jews and Arabs claimed to have ancestors who had lived in Palestine.
1917: The Balfour Declaration expresses support for a Jewish national home in Palestine.
1947: As part of a partition plan, the United Nations suggests dividing Palestine into Jewish and Arab governments.
In 1948, Israel formally declares its independence, starting the Arab-Israeli War.
Israel conquers the Golan Heights, Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, and East Jerusalem in 1967 as a result of the Six-Day War.
1993 saw the signing of the Oslo Accords, which provided a framework for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The West Bank and East Jerusalem are currently under Israeli control, and Israeli settlement activity and the construction of separation walls have an impact on Palestinian areas.
Palestine’s Palestinian refugees:
Palestinian refugees continue to face many challenges. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) estimates that there are more than 6 million officially recognised Palestinian refugees. Many of them are still living in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
Opinions from the global community:
The international community is in favour of the two-state solution, which would see Israel and a future independent Palestine coexist. A binding agreement has not yet been reached despite numerous attempts and peace conferences, such as the Annapolis Conference in 2007 and the Camp David Summit in 2000. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain both agreed that their relations with Israel would be normalised in 2020.
Views on India:
India’s views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have evolved over time. India has long supported Palestinian rights and recognised the PLO as the only legitimate voice of the Palestinian people. India has recently changed its approach to one that is more objective and has stressed its support for a two-state solution. India supports the establishment of a Palestinian state that coexists peacefully with Israel and is autonomous, viable, and sovereign.
The UN acknowledges past injustice, promotes Palestinian rights, calls for a peaceful conclusion, and expresses compassion with the Palestinian people in remembrance of the 700,000 Palestinians who were displaced 75 years ago.
Source à The Hindu
3 – Cross Border Insolvency:
Topic à Internal Security:
The Indian government has decided to drop its plans to create a framework for cross-border insolvency, which would have allowed foreign lenders to file for bankruptcy on behalf of defaulting Indian businesses in local courts.
In relation to Global Insolvency:
Cross-border bankruptcy frequently occurs when a debtor has operations or creditors in numerous countries, and for there to be coordination and collaboration among different courts and parties for an efficient and equitable resolution.
A frequently utilised legal framework for handling cross-border insolvency issues is the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency from 1997.
Why did India change course with its plan?
Only more than 50 nations, many of which have strict restrictions in place, have adopted the UN model of cross-border insolvency. India stopped implementing cross-border insolvency as a result.
Instead, the government’s primary priority right now are:
adding larger firms to the informal debt relief programme
creating a new mechanism to handle group company insolvency and a special system for the real estate sector.
Fill any voids in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code’s application. speed up the process of accepting cases and approving rescue plans
Avoid unethical business practises by letting corporate management down.
In relation to insolvency:
failure to repay debts that are outstanding.
court’s declaration of insolvency, coupled with the necessary actions to remedy it and protect creditors’ interests.
Code on Bankruptcy and Insolvency:
It integrates regulations relating to business firm insolvency resolution and was passed in 2016.
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Amendment Bill, 2021:
exposes MSMEs with defaults up to Rs 1 million to the Pre-packaged Insolvency Resolution Process (PIRP).
Problems with the IBC:
High haircuts (debt foregone by creditors); significant delays in resolution; insufficient settlement, with more than 50% of cases ending in liquidation; There isn’t enough digitisation.
addressing non-performing assets (NPAs) and bringing India’s insolvency regime back to life; enhanced credit control and India’s performance in dealing with insolvency.
International Insolvency Provision:
IBC, 2016 sections 235 (adjudicating agencies submitting letters of request to foreign courts) and 234 (permits the central government to enter into bilateral agreements) now establish a fundamental framework for cross-border insolvency.
The formation of a cross-border insolvency regime will be taken into consideration once the institutional competence and overall bankruptcy resolution ecosystem are better developed.
Source à The Hindu
4 – Pension Adalat:
Topic à Government Policies and Interventions
The Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare will shortly begin an all-India pension adalat with the intention of settling ongoing pension issues.
Seven all-India pension adalats have been held since the initiative’s launch in 2017; this one is the eighth.
Benefits: The adalat brings all parties involved in a dispute together on one platform to assist rapid resolution and timely pension processing.
ANUBHAV, CPENGRAMS, and CGHS are only a few of the sites that will be connected with the recently created “iIntegrated pensioners’ portal” (ipension.nic.in).
Bhavishya portal (to access a pension slip, receive Form-16, and check the status of a life certificate submission).
The purpose of SANKALP is to undertake substantial social interventions using the knowledge, expertise, and time that Central Government Pensioners have available to them.
Source à The Hindu
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
EDITORIAL ANALYSIS à 20 MAY 2023 à THE HINDU
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has issued its annual update on its projections that the annual mean global near-surface temperature for each year between 2023 and 2027 is likely to be 1.1°-1.8°C higher than the average from 1850-1900.
Major Highlights of the Report:
Increase in Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emissions: Global GHGs emissions continued to increase in 2022. Carbon dioxide is at 149% of pre-industrial levels, Methane is at 262% of pre-industrial levels, Nitrous oxide is at 124% of pre-industrial levels.
High Global Mean Temperature: In 2022, the planet was 1.15 ± 0.13 °C warmer than the pre-industrial (1850-1900) average, making the last 8 years the warmest on record. Despite cooling La Niña conditions , 2022 was the 5th or 6th warmest year.
Above Normal Precipitation: In 2022, large areas with above normal precipitation included large parts of Asia and the south-west Pacific, areas of northern South America and the Caribbean, the eastern Sahel region, parts of southern Africa, Sudan, and eastern Europe.
Ocean Heat Content: As GHGs accumulate in the atmosphere, temperatures warm on land and in the ocean. It is expected that the ocean will continue to warm well into the future – a change which is irreversible on centennial to millennial time scales.
Rise in Sea Level: In 2022, global mean sea level continued to rise. The sea has risen approximately 3.4 ± 0.3 mm per year over the past 30 years .
Ocean Acidification: Global mean ocean pH has been steadily declining at rates not seen for at least the past 26,000 years.
Sea Ice Extent: Arctic sea-ice extent was below the long-term average for most of the year. Antarctic sea-ice extent dropped to the lowest level and almost 1 million km 2 below the long-term (1991-2020) mean.
Glacier Mass Balance: The glaciers have been losing mass nearly every year.
Exceptional Melt in Swiss Alps: In Switzerland 6% of the glacier ice volume was lost between 2021 and 2022.
Extreme Events: Rising global temperatures have contributed to more frequent and severe extreme weather events around the world, including cold and heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires and storms.
Suggestions as per the Report:
Early Warning Systems allow people to know hazardous weather is on its way, and informs how governments, communities and individuals can act to minimize the impending impacts.
However, even if adaptation is improved, the climate will continue to change unless the underlying drivers are addressed.
Without immediate and deep greenhouse gases emissions reductions across all sectors and regions, it will be impossible to keep warming below 1.5° C.
It is urgent to mitigate, or reduce, greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels wherever possible.
Transitioning to renewable energy sources is a critically important part of reducing emissions.
The WMO update does not have specific inputs for India. However, the overall trend in indicators suggests that India, dependent as it is on rain-fed agriculture and with its long coastline, will be severely tested due to changes in the global climate. India’s abilities at forecasting cyclones and weather anomalies have improved but developing resilience is far more challenging. Greater investments in bolstering disaster-related infrastructure are the need of the hour.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
EDITORIAL ANALYSIS à 20 MAY 2023 à THE INDIAN EXPRESS
QUANTUM COMPUTING TECHNOLOGY IN INDIA:
Recently, government approved the National Quantum Mission (NQM) at a total cost of Rs.6003.65 crore from 2023-24 to 2030-31, aiming to seed, nurture and scale up scientific and industrial R&D and create a vibrant & innovative ecosystem in Quantum Technology (QT).
Status and Potential of Quantum Computing:
2023 Quantum Technology Monitor by McKinsey shows that the four industries likely to see the earliest economic impact from quantum computing—automotive, chemicals, financial services, and life sciences —stand to potentially gain up to $1.3 trillion in value by 2035.
McKinsey report says Quantum technology can generate approximately 350,000 jobs per year worldwide.
India estimates that the percentage of businesses using quantum technology will increase from less than one percent in 2022 to between 35 and 45% by 2030.
Nasscom’s study indicates that quantum technology across industries could contribute $280-310 billion to the Indian economy by 2030.
Indian Achievements in Quantum domain:
In 2021, ISRO announced that it has successfully demonstrated free-space Quantum Communication over a distance of 300 m, making India as part of handful of nations including the US, the UK, China, Canada and Japan.
In 2021, India’s first-ever Quantum Computer Simulator (QSim) Toolkit has been launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India.
The QSim project is being executed collaboratively by IISC Bangalore, C-DAC, and IIT Roorkee with the support of MeitY.
This indigenous toolkit will serve as an important educational and research tool through allowing writing and debugging Quantum Code to develop Quantum Algorithms.
In 2021, Quantum Communication Lab was inaugurated in Delhi at Centre for the Development of Telematics (C-DOT), the premier Telecom R&D centre of the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, Government of India.
The indigenously developed Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) can support a 100 km distance on standard optical fiber, enabling Quantum Secure telecom products & solutions for strategic and defence sector.
In 2021, Indian Army, with support from the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) has recently established the Quantum Lab to spearhead research and training in this key developing field.
It will help develop next-generation communication through Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC).
Key thrust areas are quantum key distribution, quantum communication, post-quantum cryptography and quantum computing.
In 2022, a joint team of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and IIT-Delhi successfully demonstrated a Quantum Key Distribution link between two cities in UP — Prayagraj and Vindhyachal — located 100 km apart.
A quantum computer is a computer that exploits quantum mechanical phenomena.
At small scales, physical matter exhibits properties of both particles and waves, and quantum computing leverages this behavior using specialized hardware.
Classical physics cannot explain the operation of these quantum devices, and a scalable quantum computer could perform some calculations exponentially faster than any modern “classical” computer.
In particular, a large-scale quantum computer could break widely used encryption schemes and aid physicists in performing physical simulations; however, the current state of the art is largely experimental.
The basic unit of information in quantum computing is the qubit, similar to the bit in traditional digital electronics.
Unlike a classical bit, a qubit can exist in a superposition of its two “basis” states, which loosely means that it is in both states simultaneously.
When measuring a qubit, the result is a probabilistic output of a classical bit.
If a quantum computer manipulates the qubit in a particular way, wave interference effects can amplify the desired measurement results.
The design of quantum algorithms involves creating procedures that allow a quantum computer to perform calculations efficiently.
Potential Applications of Quantum Technology:
It can help in developing cyber secure products and solutions apart from strategic and defence solutions for next generation warfare.
Research and Development:
It can aid fundamental research in Quantum Physics and chemistry.
It can explore problems in chemistry, life sciences and pharma related to protein folding and drug design.
Disaster management and Climate Change:
It can help address climate change through new computing methods in areas like computational chemistry for new materials and energy solutions.
It can help in currency arbitrage, credit scoring and portfolio optimisation apart finance and logistics, for a client in the financial services domain can be explored.
Industrial revolution 4.0:
Quantum computing can help leveraging other new technologies like the Internet-of-Things, machine learning, robotics, and artificial intelligence.
Supercomputers: Quantum computers are machines that use the properties of quantum physics to store data and perform computations.
This can be extremely advantageous for certain tasks where they could vastly outperform even our best supercomputers.
Issues and Challenges in Quantum domain:
High precision: Controlling quantum superposition in a highly controlled manner. The qubits tend to be very fragile and lose their “quantumness” if not controlled properly.
Expensive hardware: The quantum infrastructure like superconductors, non-linear optical crystals, ultra fast transistors, etc are very expensive
Still in the Budding Stage: On the theoretical front lies the challenge of creating the algorithms and applications for quantum computers.
These projects will also place new demands on classical control hardware as well as software platforms.
Further, Information technology-based security infrastructure would never be the same once quantum systems become a reality, given the ultra fast speed of computing power.
New Warfare and conflict strategies:
Need to develop integrated war-theatre strategies factoring in quantum technologies.
Lack of adequate skilled manpower:
Steps taken by the Government:
In 2018, the government initiated serious discussions in quantum technologies and kick-started research projects across 51 organisations under QUEST – Quantum Enabled Science and Technology.
Government of India declared quantum tech as a “mission of national importance” in 2019.
About 100 government-funded projects on quantum and allied technologies have expanded various stages.
In 2021, Department of Science and Technology and around 13 research groups from IISER Pune have established the I-HUB Quantum Technology Foundation (I-HUB QTF).
In 2021, a Quantum Computing Applications Lab was launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in collaboration with Amazon Web Services.
In 2023, National Quantum Mission was launched with a plan of 8 years to develop key infrastructure and capabilities in the Quantum domain.
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