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Daily Category  (GS PAPER II)

Malabar Exercise

Context:

India seeks to increase cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain, and in the light of increased defense cooperation with Australia, Malabar 2020 will see the participation of the Australian Navy.

Background:

  • In 2017, Australia had requested observer status in the Malabar Exercise.
  • China has repeatedly expressed strong opposition to any expansion of the Malabar Exercise, which it sees as a multilateral naval construct designed to “counter and contain” it.
    • However, the recent India-China tensions over the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) may have brought more flexibility to India's decision-making process.
  • Japan and the U.S.A also have been pressing India for Australia’s inclusion in Malabar Exercise.

Malabar Exercise:

  • The Malabar series of naval exercises started in 1992 as a bilateral Indian Navy-US Navy exercise.
  • Japan joined the naval exercise in 2015.
  • The participants of Exercise Malabar 2020 are engaged to enhance safety and security in the maritime domain.
  • The exercise has been planned on a ‘non-contact - at sea’ format and the exercise will strengthen the coordination between the Navies of the participating countries.

2020 Malabar Exercise:

  • Objective: To enhance safety and security in the maritime domain.
  • The 2020 Exercise is expected to be held in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. In 2019, the exercise was conducted off the coast of Japan.
  • Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the exercise had been planned in a ‘non-contact - at sea’ format.

Source: The Hindu

Ayushman Sahakar Scheme

Context:

Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare has launched AYUSHMAN SAHAKAR.

  • Objective: To assist cooperatives to play an important role in the creation of healthcare infrastructure in the country.
  • The scheme is formulated by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).
  • The scheme covers establishment, modernization, expansion, repairs, renovation of hospital and healthcare and education infrastructure.

Features of the scheme:

  • NCDC would extend term loans to prospective cooperatives to the tune of Rs.10,000 crore in the coming years.
  • Any Cooperative Society with a suitable provision in its bylaws to undertake healthcare-related activities would be able to access the NCDC fund.
  • NCDC assistance will flow either through the State Governments/ UT Administrations or directly to the eligible cooperatives.
  • The scheme also provides working capital and margin money to meet operational requirements.
  • The scheme also provides interest subvention of 1% to women majority cooperatives.

Significance:

  • The scheme mainly focuses on the National Health Policy, 2017, covering the health systems in all their dimensions- investments in health, organization of healthcare services, access to technologies, development of human resources etc.
  • It is in line with the National Digital Health Mission and would bring transformation in rural areas.
  • It has comprehensive approach-hospitals, healthcare, medical education, nursing education, paramedical education, health insurance, and holistic health systems such as AYUSH.
  • There are about 52 hospitals across the country run by cooperatives. They have a cumulative bed strength of more than 5,000. The scheme would give a boost to the provision of healthcare services by cooperatives.
  • Cooperatives have a strong presence in rural areas, thus, cooperatives utilizing the scheme would revolutionize the way healthcare delivery takes place in rural areas.

National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC):

  • It was set up in 1963 under an Act of Parliament for the promotion and development of cooperatives.
  • It functions under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • Sahakar Cooptube NCDC Channel (Youth-focused), Sahakar Mitra (Internship Programme) are the other initiatives of NCDC.

Cooperatives:

  • International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines cooperative as an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.
  • Provisions of Indian Constitution:
    • 97th Amendment of Indian constitution added Part IXB right after Part IXA (Municipals) regarding the cooperatives working in India.
    • The word “cooperatives” was added after “unions and associations” in Article 19(1)(c) under Part III of the Constitution.

Source: PIB

Global Tuberculosis Report

Context:

According to the Global Tuberculosis Report 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with impacts on care-seeking behavior, threatens to reverse the recent progress in reducing the global burden of tuberculosis (TB) disease.

Tuberculosis:

  • It is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that mainly affect the lungs.
  • It spread from person to person when people with TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air.
  • Tuberculosis is treated with a standard 6-month course of 4 antimicrobial drugs that are provided with information, supervision, and support to the patient by a health worker or trained volunteer.

Key foundings:

  • The evidence from several high TB burden countries of large reductions in the monthly number of people with TB being detected and officially reported in 2020 is available.
  • India accounts for 26% of TB cases in the world and the TB notifications during the period January-June 2020 in India fell by 25% compared to the same period in 2019.
  • The TB notifications in India in February 2020 increased compared with January but then reduced sharply in April to reach less than 40% of the January figure before increasing to reach about 75% of the January figure in the month of June.
  • The dip in TB notifications has not been very sharp in India and the recovery after the dip has been more in India than Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Africa.
  • In India, notifications of people newly diagnosed with TB increased by 74% from 1.2 million to 2.2 million between 2013 and 2019.
  • In the case of India, there is a gap in the number of people newly diagnosed and reported due to a combination of underreporting of people diagnosed with TB and under-diagnosis.

Global Tuberculosis Report:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a global TB report every year since 1997.
  • The purpose of the report is to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the status of the TB epidemic.
  • The report is based primarily on data gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO) in annual rounds of data collection.

Govt initiatives:

  • The Nikshay Ecosystem: It is the National TB information system which is a one-stop solution to manage information of patients and monitor program activity and performance throughout the country.
  • Nikshay Poshan Yojana (NPY): It aimed at providing financial support to TB patients for their nutrition.
  • The Saksham Project: It is a project of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) that has been providing psycho-social counseling to DR-TB patients.

Source: The Hindu

SLINEX 2020

Context:

The Eighth Edition of the annual Indian Navy and Sri Lanka Navy called SLINEX scheduled off in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.

  • Objective: To enhance interoperability, improve mutual understanding, and exchange best practices and procedures for multi-faceted maritime operations between both navies.

About SLINEX:

  • It is a bilateral maritime exercise SLINEX-20 between the Indian Navy and Sri Lanka Navy.
  • The Sri Lanka Navy will be represented by SLN Ships Sayura (Offshore Patrol Vessel) and Gajabahu (Training Ship).
  • The Indian Navy will be represented by ASW corvettes Kamorta and Kiltan.
  • The Indian Navy Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and Chetak helicopter embarked onboard IN ships and Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft will also be participating.

Significance:

  • The exercise will showcase the capabilities of India's indigenously constructed naval ships and aircraft.
  • SLINEX series of exercise exemplifies the deep engagement between India and Sri Lanka which has strengthened mutual cooperation in the maritime domain.
  • The exercise is being conducted in a non-contact ‘at-sea-only’ format in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

INS Kamorta:

  • It is the first of four anti-submarine Kamorta-class stealth corvettes which have been built for the Indian Navy.
  • The Kamorta Class indigenous Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW) corvettes are being built by Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers (GRSE).
  • The Kamorta Class succeeds in the Kora-Class guided-missile corvettes that are in service with the Indian Navy.
  • The Kamorta Class corvettes will serve as the frontline warships for the Indian Navy.
  • The primary task of the Kamorta Class will be ASW, while the vessels will also be deployed in anti-surface warfare (AsuW) and anti-air warfare (AAW).

INS Kiltan:

  • It is an indigenously-built anti-submarine warfare stealth corvette.
  • It is the third of the four Kamorta-class corvettes being built under Project 28.
  • It is designed by the Directorate of Naval Design and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata.
  • It is India’s first major warship to have a superstructure of carbon fiber composite material resulting in improved stealth features, lower top weight and maintenance costs.

Source: PIB

ASEAN Ph.D. Fellowship Programme (APFP)

Context:

Union Education Minister virtually addressed the students from ASEAN member states who have been selected for the prestigious ASEAN Ph.D. Fellowship Programme (APFP).

ASEAN Ph.D. Fellowship Programme (APFP):

  • It was announced on 25th January 2018, the eve of India’s Republic Day, by the Prime Minister of India in the presence of leaders of all the ten ASEAN member states. 
  • Under the APFP, 1000 fellowships will be provided exclusively to the ASEAN citizens in IITs. 
  • APFP is the largest capacity development program undertaken by the Government of India for foreign beneficiaries.
  • The ASEAN Ph.D. fellows will be recognized as the alumni of the respective IITs from where they will be completing their PhDs.  
  • It is funded by the Government of India.

Significance:

  • The academic and research ties among India and ASEAN member states will be mutually beneficial for both the regions. 
  • It will strengthen India’s ties with ASEAN members in culture, commerce, and connectivity. 
  • APFP will open many doors to synergies in the field of technology and research for the academicians, researchers, and scientists from India and ASEAN. 
  • The researches and inventions by them will be used for the betterment of humankind across the globe.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN):

  • It is a regional organization that was established to promote political and social stability amid rising tensions among the Asia-Pacific’s post-colonial states.
  • Motto: “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.
  • 8th August is observed as ASEAN Day.
  • ASEAN Secretariat: Indonesia, Jakarta.
  • Founding members: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
  • It, now, also includes Vietnam, Brunei, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, and Laos, totaling to 10 members.
  • ASEAN’s six FTA partners are India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

Source: PIB

Summit of Ministers of Justice of SCO

Context:

India Hosts Virtual Summit of Ministers of Justice of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Details:

  • It was the Seventh Meeting of Ministers of Justice of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member State.
  • Minister of justice of 8 countries- India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan participated in the summit. 
  • The summit deliberated on areas of cooperation; emphasized the high relevance of mutual exchange of legal information on counteraction to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and acknowledged the need for cooperation in the ADR mechanism area, among others.

Key outcomes:

  • To strengthen the work on the implementation of the Agreement on Cooperation between the Ministries of Justice of the SCO Member States.
  • To continue the work on the implementation of the Action Plans of the working groups of experts on forensic activities and legal services for 2018-2020, as well as to develop Action Plans for 2021-2023.
  • Consider organizing exchange programs for representatives of the ministries (law and justice of the SCO member-states) to study the best practices in alternative dispute resolution.
  • To continue discussing the parties' positions on the issues of mutual legal assistance and development of legal services in accordance with national legislation.
  • Actively develop cooperation with the ministries of justice of the SCO observer and dialogue partner states.
  • Continue efforts to develop an online platform for the exchange of legal information, taking into account national laws.  

India’s initiatives in the field of Justice:

  • Pro Bono Legal Services to provide free legal aid to marginalized sections of the society.
  • 3.44 Lakh free legal consultations have been given to poor people through video conferencing under Tele-Law services.
  • e-Courts projects with Video-Conferencing facility and Virtual Courts as part of Government’s successful transformative change in process automation from the conventional brick and mortar court architecture.
  • Over 25 Lakh hearing through video conference, during the COVID19 pandemic, have taken place at various courts of India, out of which 9,000 virtual hearings have taken place at the Supreme Court alone.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):

  • It is a permanent intergovernmental international organization established in 2001.
  • It was formed in Shanghai (China) by Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter was signed during the St. Petersburg SCO Heads of State meeting in 2002 and came into force in 2003.
  • In 2017 Astana, the status of a full member of the Organization was granted to India and Pakistan.
  • The organization has two permanent bodies i.e. the SCO Secretariat based in Beijing and the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent.
  • Members:  India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • Observer states are Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia.

Goals:

  • Strengthening mutual trust and neighborliness among the member states;
  • Promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology, and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas;
  • Making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security, and stability in the region
  • Moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair, and rational new international political and economic order.

Source: PIB

The National Education Policy 2020

Context:

  • The National Education Policy 2020 has been approved by the union cabinet. The new policy replaces the National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986.
  • This is the first education policy of the 21st century and replaces the thirty-four year old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986.
  • In 2018, a committee headed by K. Kasturirangan submitted its report on the new education policy.
  • Objective: To transform India into a vibrant knowledge society and global knowledge superpower by making both school and college education more holistic, flexible, multidisciplinary, suited to the 21st century. The policy also aimed at bringing out the unique capabilities of each student.
  • Adult Education: Policy aims to achieve 100% youth and adult literacy.
  • Financing Education: The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.
  • Education is in the concurrent list of schedule 7 of the Indian constitution, also most states have their own school boards.

                        

Policies related to School Education

Universal Access at all levels of school education

  • NEP 2020 emphasizes on ensuring universal access to school education at all levels- pre school to secondary.
  • About 2 crore out of school children will be brought back into main stream under NEP 2020.

Following steps will be taken:

  • Innovative education centers to bring back dropouts into the mainstream,
  • Tracking of students and their learning levels,
  • Facilitating multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education modes,
  • An association of counselors or well-trained social workers with schools,
  • Open learning for class 3,5 and 8 through NIOS and State Open Schools,
  • Secondary education programs equivalent to Grades 10 and 12, vocational courses,

Early Childhood Care &Education with new Curricular and Pedagogical Structure

  • With emphasis on Early Childhood Care and Education, the 10+2 structure of school curricula is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14- 18 years respectively.
  • This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child.
  • The new system will have 12 years of schooling with 3 years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling.

National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood

Care and Education (NCPFECCE):

  • Developed by NCERT for children up to the age of 8. 
  • institutions including Anganwadis and preschools will have teachers and Anganwadi workers trained in the ECCE pedagogy and curriculum.
  • The planning and implementation of ECCE will be carried out jointly by the Ministries of HRD, Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare (HFW), and Tribal Affairs

Attaining Foundational Literacy and Numeracy

  • National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by MHRD.
  • States will prepare an implementation plan for attaining universal foundational literacy and numeracy in all primary schools for all learners by grade 3 by 2025.
  • A National Book Promotion Policy is to be formulated.

Reforms in school curricula and pedagogy

  • Holistic development of learners by equipping them with the key 21st-century skills, reduction in curricular content to enhance essential learning and critical thinking, and a greater focus on experiential learning.
  • Students will have increased flexibility and choice of subjects.
  • There will be no rigid separations between
    • Arts and sciences,  
    • Curricular and extra-curricular activities,  
    • Vocational and academic streams.
  • Vocational education will also start in schools from the 6th grade and will include internships.
  • NCERT will develop a new and comprehensive National Curricular Framework for School Education, NCFSE 2020-21.

Multilingualism and the power of language

  • The policy has emphasized mother tongue/local language/regional language as the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond.
  • Sanskrit to be offered at all levels of school and higher education as an option for students, including in the three-language formula.
  • Other classical languages and literatures of India also to be available as options.
  • No language will be imposed on any student. 
  • Several foreign languages will also be offered at the secondary level.
  • Indian Sign Language (ISL) will be standardized across the country, and National and State curriculum materials developed, for use by students with hearing impairment.

Assessment Reforms

  •  Shift from summative assessment to regular and formative assessment, which is more competency-based, promotes learning and development, and tests higher-order skills, such as analysis, critical thinking, and conceptual clarity.
  • All students will take school examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8 which will be conducted by the appropriate authority.
  • Board exams for Grades 10 and 12 will be continued, but redesigned with holistic development.
  • National Assessment Centre, PARAKH:  Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development, will be set up as a standard-setting body.

Equitable and Inclusive Education

  • Special emphasis will be given on Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs) which include gender, socio-cultural, and geographical identities, and disabilities. 
  • Gender Inclusion Fund: The policy also includes setting up of a Gender Inclusion Fund and also Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups.
  • Children with disabilities will be enabled to fully participate in the regular schooling process.
  • Every state/district will be encouraged to establish “Bal Bhavans” as a special daytime boarding school, to participate in art-related, career-related, and play-related activities.
  • Free school infrastructure can be used as Samajik Chetna Kendras.

Robust Teacher Recruitment and Career Path

  • Teachers will be recruited through robust, transparent processes.
  • A common National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed by the National Council for Teacher Education by 2022, in consultation with NCERT, SCERTs, teachers and expert organizations from across levels and regions.

School Governance

  • Schools can be organized into complexes or clusters which will be the basic unit of governance and ensure availability of all resources including
    • Infrastructure,
    • Academic libraries and
    • Strong professional teacher community.

Standard-setting and Accreditation for School Education

  • NEP 2020 envisages clear, separate systems for policy making, regulation, operations and academic matters.
  • States/UTs will set up independent State School Standards Authority
  • (SSSA).
  • The SCERT will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAAF) through consultations with all stakeholders.

Classical languages:

  • Sanskrit will be offered as an option at all levels of school and higher education.
  • Other classical languages will also be available, possibly as online modules, while foreign languages will be offered at the secondary level.
  • Mother tongue: Wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language/ mother-tongue/ local language/ regional language. This will be followed by both public and private schools.

Policies related to Higher Education

Increase GER to 50 % by 2035

  • NEP 2020 aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035.
  • 3.5 Crore new seats will be added to Higher education institutions

Holistic Multidisciplinary Education

  • Broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Under Graduate education with
    • Flexible curricula,
    • Creative combinations of subjects,
    • Integration of vocational education and
    • Multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification.
  • UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.
  • Academic Bank of Credit is to be established for digitally storing academic credits earned from different HEIs so that these can be transferred and counted towards final degree earned.
  • Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs
  • The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.

Regulation

  • Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body the for entire higher education, excluding
    • Medical and
    • Legal education.

HECI to have four independent verticals –

  1. National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation,
  2. General Education Council (GEC ) for standard setting,
  3. Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding, and
  4. National Accreditation Council( NAC) for accreditation.
  • Powers to penalise: HECI will function through faceless intervention through technology, &will have powers to penalise HEIs not conforming to norms and standards.
  • Same regulation for Public and private higher education institutions: Both will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.

Motivated, Energized, and Capable Faculty

  • NEP makes recommendations for motivating, energizing, and building capacity of faculty thorugh
    • Clearly defined,
    • Independent,
    • Transparent recruitment ,
    • Freedom to design curricula/pedagogy,
    • Incentivising excellence,
    • Movement into institutional leadership.
  • Faculty not delivering on basic norms will be held accountable

Teacher Education

  • A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT.
  • By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree

Mentoring Mission

  • A National Mission for Mentoring will be established, with a large pool of outstanding senior/retired faculty
  • willing to provide short and long-term mentoring/professional support to university/college teachers.

Financial support for students

  • To incentivize the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs.
  • The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships.
  • Private HEIs will be encouraged to offer larger numbers of free ships and scholarships to their students.

Open and Distance Learning

  • Significant role in increasing GER.
  • Online courses and digital repositories, funding for research, improved student services, credit-based Recognition of moocs, etc., will be taken to ensure it is at par with the highest quality in-class Programmes.

Online Education and Digital Education:

  • For promoting online education
  • to ensure preparedness with alternative modes of quality education whenever and wherever traditional and in-person modes of education are not possible
  • A dedicated unit for the purpose of orchestrating the building of digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building will be created in the MHRD

Technology in education

An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.

Promotion of Indian languages

 To ensure the preservation, growth, and vibrancy of all Indian languages, NEP recommends:

  • Setting an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI)
  • National Institute (or Institutes) for Pali, Persian and Prakrit
  • Strengthening of Sanskrit 
  • All language departments in HEIs
  • Use mother tongue/local language as a medium of instruction in more HEI programmes .

Professional Education

  • All professional education will be an integral part of the higher education system.
  • Stand-alone technical universities, health science universities, legal and agricultural universities etc will aim to become multi-disciplinary institutions.

Internationalization of education

Internationalization of education will be facilitated through

  • institutional collaborations
  • Student and faculty mobility
  • Allowing entry of top world ranked universities to open Campuses in our country

THE GOOD AND BAD ANALYSIS OF NEW EDUCATION POLICY

Introduction:

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aims to revamp all aspects of India's education system that was in place over three decades and bring it closer to the best global standards of education. The cabinet under the guidance of Prime minister Narendra Modi has now given a nod to this new education policy for the 21st century. The new education policy is applauded by many authorities and is regarded as a promising model of education reforms that have been brought in India

Good of New Education Policy:

  • Higher education material in regional language: The policy calls for an “effort” to create high quality bilingual textbooks so students can understand concepts in both English and their regional languages.
  • Remove Rote Learning’: The bad part of Indian Education system was and is in its ‘Rote Learning’. NEP focuses on removal of rote learning and emphasizes on concepts, creativity and extra curricular work.
  • Foreign players: Participation of foreign universities in India is currently limited to them entering into collaborative twinning programmes, sharing faculty with partnering institutions and offering distance education. NEP allows foreign institutions to set up their branch in India. It will increase the education quality in India and further will improve our QS World university ranking.
  • Holy trinity of Science, Commerce or Humanities-the holy trinity of subject streams in Class 11 & 12, with one stream always deemed more divine than the others, have been done away.
  • Multi-disciplinarity: One of the buzz words in the document is multi-disciplinarity — an apparently attractive and flexible proposition, allowing learners to experiment with a variety of options.
  • Technology in Education: The new NEP has a new section on digital education to ensure “equitable use of technology”.
    • A dedicated unit to coordinate digital infrastructure, content and capacity building will be created within the Education Ministry to look after the online learning needs of both school and higher education. 
  • National Testing Agency:  It will serve as a premier, expert, autonomous testing organisation to conduct entrance examinations… in higher educational institutions.” This is expected to be a means of “drastically reducing the burden on students, universities and colleges, and the entire education system.”
    • It would attempt to create space for context-specific and diverse modes of evaluation for different fields of learning is a possibility that remains unexplored.
  • De-bureaucratisation: the NEP 2020 tries to de-bureaucratise the education system by giving governance powers to academicians. The policy recommends including more academicians in decision-making bodies. It recommends preparing a category of educational administrators among the teachers — the idea behind this move is to minimise the dependence on the administrative services and reduce hierarchy.
  • Financial support for students: Efforts will be made to incentivise the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs. The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships. Private HEIs will be encouraged to offer larger numbers of free ships and scholarships to their students.
  • No More Dropouts: Under the NEP, undergraduate degree will be of either 3 or 4-year duration with multiple exit options within this period. College will be mandated to give certificate after completing 1 year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, a diploma after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor's degree after a 3-year programme.

The Bad of New Education Policy:

  • English on backseat: In a bid to promote regional and local languages, English will take a back seat if this is implemented. While English is the language that was imposed on us for centuries and is the language of our colonizer, it does give us a great comparative global advantage because it is the language that the world talks in.
  • Underfunding of education: The move is also questionable because the education sector in our country is extremely underfunded. The condition of the government schools is deplorable, and the lack of competence is starkly evident.
  • Fiscal Burden: Though all acknowledge this fact that education is such a crucial sector that needs huge investment by the government. This policy promises 6 % of GDP expenditure into education. It will further increase the fiscal burden of the government
  • The incumbent government has set a target of 2040 to implement the entire policy. Sufficient funding is also crucial; the 1968 NEP was hamstrung by a shortage of funds.
  • Poor Quality of education: Another reason for the poor quality of education is the poor quality of teachers in government schools. The level of education that government schools are not as expected and they do not possess an honest image among people. NEP does not talk how it will improve the quality
  • Focus on multiple disciplines will dilute the character of single-stream institutions, such as IITs.
  • Examinations only in Classes 3, 5, and 8: Examinations are not just for checking a student’s potential, but a touchstone — a check and a preparation for education and life. If the foundation is laid thus, the future is definitely under question. Eliminating annual examinations from junior classes is not the solution. A more sensitive approach needs to brought about in parents and teachers to instill this life skill in children.
  • Political and bureaucratic resistance: The national education policies of 1968 and 1986 were also excellent and visionary, but could not be implemented due to political and bureaucratic resistance. The government is very much dependent on its bureaucrats for the implementation of its policies. Education, too, is a field where bureaucratic interests are involved, both at the Centre and state level, and accommodates them even after their retirement. So, it is not easy to curtail bureaucratic interest.

Way forward:

  • It is possible to promote regional and English language, both  at once, but introducing learning in English directly in Class 6 will prove to be very hard on children who come from backgrounds that aren’t as privileged as those from rich and upper-caste families
  • It took 34 years for a change in the education system. So, the rechristened education ministry needs to overhaul at least 34 years, if not more, of the science-stream raga that parents have been dutifully chanting.
  • There ought to be more emphasis given on adult education as it is necessary to teach the parents and guardians first in order that they become keen towards there ward’s education.
  • The condition of the government colleges and institutions ought to be raised to a reasonable level.
  • The NEP only provides a broad direction and is not mandatory to follow. Since education is a concurrent subject (both the Centre and the state governments can make laws on it), the reforms proposed can only be implemented collaboratively by the Centre and the states.
  • It is to be hoped that beyond the immediate excitement that the announcement of the implementation of the NEP has generated, there will be opportunities to examine its long-term implications, and, if necessary, revisit it, before it is actually implemented.
  • To make India a vibrant educational hub, one needs to take steps forward and not backward. We need to compare our education boards with international boards. People lagging need to be brought forward.

Chapter Proceedings

Context:

The Mumbai police have begun “chapter proceedings” against Republic Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.

Chapter proceedings:

  • Chapter proceedings are preventive actions taken by the police if they fear that a particular person is likely to create trouble and disrupt the peace in society.
  • These proceedings are unlike punitive action taken in case of an FIR with an intention to punish.
  • In chapter proceedings, the police can issue notices under sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure that the person is aware that creating nuisance could result in action against him. 
  • Chapter proceeding is not a legal term. All the sections related to preventing of crime fall under a single chapter, it was colloquially called “chapter proceedings” and has since been used to refer to actions of this nature.

Sections:

  • A notice is issued to a person under section 111 of the CrPC whereby he is asked to present himself before the Executive Magistrate.
  • The person has to explain why he should not be made to sign a bond of good behaviour.
  • If the Executive Magistrate is not satisfied with the answer, the person is asked to sign a bond of good behaviour and produce sureties vouching for his/her good behaviour.
  • A fine amount is also decided in accordance with the crime and the person’s financial capability which the person would have to pay if he violates the conditions set in the bond.
  • The section states that any person who disseminates information that could lead to ill will among communities and castes should be served this notice.

Options to appeal against the notice:

  • On receiving the notice under section 111, a person can appeal the notice before the courts.
  • In 2017, the Bombay High Court mentioned that “chapter proceedings cannot be initiated on the basis of an incident of trivial nature”.
  • In 2018 the Mumbai sessions court also mentioned that chapter proceedings cannot be used with the purpose of punishing a past offence.

Use of chapter proceedings:

  • When an ACP receives information that any person is likely to commit a breach of the peace or disturb public tranquillity or do any wrongful act that may probably occasion a breach of the peace or disturb the public tranquillity he may in the manner hereinafter provided, require such person to show cause why he should not be ordered to execute a bond.
  • There is no need for even an FIR against a person for issuing a notice under section 107 of the CrPC.

Source: Indian Express

World Food Day

Context:

World Food Day is celebrated on 16 October every year by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

World Food Day:

  • In 1979, the Food and Agriculture Organization designated 16 October as World Food Day in 1979. 
    • Initially, World Food Day was launched to commemorate the establishment of FAO in 1945.
  • It promotes global awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure healthy diets for all.
  • In the current on-going pandemic this year, the day is celebrated with the theme – ‘Grow, nourish, sustain. Together. Our actions are our future."

Significance:

  • World Food Day creates many programs and activities to highlight and take necessary actions for food security and good nutrition for all, with a special focus on poor and vulnerable communities around the world.
  • Currently, more than 815 million people do not have enough to eat. Some 155 million children under the age of five (23 %) are chronically malnourished and stunted and may endure the effects of it for the rest of their lives. 
  • One in two infant deaths worldwide is caused by hunger.
  • It calls for global solidarity to help all populations, and especially the most vulnerable, to recover from the crisis, and to make food systems more resilient and robust so they can withstand increasing volatility and climate shocks, deliver affordable and sustainable healthy diets for all, and decent livelihoods for food system workers.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):

  • It is a neutral intergovernmental organization established in 1945.
  • It is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
  • Its goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active healthy lives.
  • Headquarter: Rome.

Source: PIB

INS Sindhuvir

Context:

India will deliver submarine to Myanmar Navy as part of growing defence cooperation between the two neighbouring countries. 

  • The submarine will be an EKM or kilo class submarine INS Sindhuvir.

INS Sindhuvir:

  • The submarine was purchased from the Soviet Union in the 1980s and has undergone modernisation at the Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) in Vizag.
  • It belongs to a class of diesel-electric attack submarines built by the Soviet Union during the Cold War years.
  • This will be the first submarine of Myanmar.

Significance of the move:

  • The submarine is likely to be used by Myanmar initially for training and orientation purposes for its Navy personnel.
  • The move is in line with the overall Indian vision that aspires to guarantee security for all maritime partners as per its SAGAR doctrine. 
    • Last year, India supplied Myanmar ‘Shyena’ advanced light torpedoes as part of a defence deal. 
  • This initiative of India’s military outreach to Myanmar is considered to be important as it comes in the backdrop of the ongoing military tension along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh between India and China, a leading industrial and business partner of Myanmar.

Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) Doctrine:

  • It was outlined by Indian Prime Minister in 2015 underlining the growing salience of the Indian Ocean and global maritime commons in India’s strategic calculus.
  • The doctrine advocates for intensifying cooperation among navies and maritime agencies of the world to engineer virtuous cycles of cooperation.
  • The initiative gives priority to the Indian Ocean region for ensuring peace, stability and prosperity of India in the Indian Ocean region.
  • It approaches significant importance while India playing the role of a security provider for the entire Indian Region.

Source: The Hindu

Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna

Context:

Union Ministery for Health and Family Welfare has launched the second phase of “Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna” for the underprivileged Thalassemic patients.

  • Objective: To provide a one-time cure opportunity for Haemoglobinopathies like Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell Disease for patients who have a matched family donor.
  • Eligibility: Only those patients are eligible whose monthly family income is below Rs 20,000.
  • The scheme has been extended to cover Aplastic Anaemia patients (lack of blood cell production in the body).

Hematopoietic Stem Cell:

  • It is an immature cell that can develop into all types of blood cells, including white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Hematopoietic stem cells are found in the peripheral blood and the bone marrow. 
  • The outcome of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) for thalassemia major depends on several factors other than the type of donor.
  • It was first explored in humans in the 1950s and was based on observational studies in mice models.

The Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) program:

  • It mainly refers to the transplantation of stem cells from various sources (bone marrow, growth factor-stimulated peripheral blood, and umbilical cord blood) for the treatment of various diseases like autoimmune, and genetic diseases.
  • The program was launched in 2017 and is funded by Coal India Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
  • The program will be extended for the next two years from 2020.

Thalassemia: