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26 February 2024 Daily Current Affairs

When SC upheld central role of ‘little man’ in participatory democracy


Contradictions in India:

  • Despite celebrating 75 years of independence, deep contradictions exist: poverty, rich-poor divide, rule of law issues, and governance challenges.

  • Religious and caste polarization fuel distrust and animosity.

  • The ruling party is accused of stifling opposition through verbal attacks, political destabilization, and misuse of central agencies.

Weakened Institutions:

  • Constitutional safeguards are weakened, and the judiciary has been slow to act against these attacks.

  • The author calls for judicial innovation to protect democracy.

Vision of the Framers:

  • The article contrasts the current situation with the framers' vision of a democratic India where individuals come before the state.

  • Historical examples are cited to emphasize the importance of unity and safeguards for minorities.

Constitutional Morality and the Opposition:

  • The article emphasizes the need for "constitutional morality" and respect for the Constitution's spirit.

  • It highlights the importance of a strong and healthy opposition to prevent the degeneration of democracy.

Current State of Democracy:

  • The author criticizes both the ruling party and the opposition for their actions and lack of unity.

  • They urge citizens to become aware of their duty to defend the Constitution.

Conclusion:

  • The article calls for the ruling party and the opposition to fulfill their responsibilities towards the Constitution and the people of India.


2. India's Proposed Language Survey


Key Points:

  • Goal: Determine the actual number of active languages in India.

  • Background:

  • India officially recognizes 22 languages, with 97% of the population speaking them.

  • 99 non-scheduled languages exist, spoken by 37.8 million people.

  • 1.2 million speak unrecorded languages, mainly from tribal communities.

  • Most comprehensive linguistic data comes from the 1961 Census, including languages with single speakers.

  • Proposed Survey:

  • Conducted by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), an autonomous cultural body under the Ministry of Culture.

  • The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) was launched on November 19th, 1985 by the then Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi. It was constituted and registered on March 24th, 1987 in New Delhi.

  • Will create a "Language Atlas of India" and inform future language policies.

  • Stakeholders include various ministries and language communities.

  • The IGNCA has identified the Central Institute of Indian Languages, the National Museum, Centres for Endangered Languages, and the Linguistic Departments of various universities as potential partners and collaborators in carrying out the survey.

Additional Notes:

  • The survey aims to address the gap in information about India's diverse languages.

  • It will be crucial for language education, preservation, and policy decisions.

  • The IGNCA plays a key role in promoting and documenting India's cultural heritage, including languages.


3. Blanets: The Mysterious Planets Orbiting Black Holes


What are Blanets?

  • Blanets are a type of exoplanet, meaning they exist outside our solar system.

  • Unlike traditional planets orbiting stars, blanets are theorized to directly orbit supermassive black holes.

  • They are similar to traditional planets in size and composition, lacking the mass to become stars themselves.


Existence and Evidence

  • Currently, there is no direct evidenceconfirming the existence of blanets.

  • However, researchers believe certain conditions around black holes could allow for their formation.


Key Features

  • Black Hole Orbit: Blanets would not orbit a star but rather a massive black hole at its center.

  • Planet-like Characteristics: They would be rounded by their own gravity and lack the mass for fusion.

  • Hypothetical Nature: Their existence remains unproven and theoretical.

  • Formation Conditions: A safe zone away from the black hole's intense forces and the presence of dust and gas are necessary.

Blanets

4. Moon-landing Boom: New Players, New Definitions of Success


Key Points:

  • Moon landings are back, with more players and diverse goals.

  • India's Chandrayaan-3 success validates their approach.

  • Russia's Luna 25 failure offers valuable lessons for improvement.

  • US private company IM's soft landing marks a milestone for NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program.

  • CLPS demonstrates the potential of private space involvement with limited NASA control.

  • IM's success highlights the importance of a diverse private space sector.

  • India's recent policy opens the door for similar growth in its space program.

  • Collaboration between nations and within them is crucial for space exploration.

Additional Notes:

  • The article emphasizes the changing landscape of lunar exploration, with multiple countries and private companies involved.

  • Success is no longer solely defined by manned missions, with scientific discoveries and technological advancements holding equal importance.

  • International collaboration and fostering private sector growth are key to future space exploration endeavors.

Possible discussion questions:

  • What are the potential benefits and risks of increased private involvement in space exploration?

  • How can international collaboration be strengthened to achieve shared goals in space?

  • What are the next steps for lunar exploration, and what other celestial bodies should be targeted?


Editorial Analysis


A disservice to the education sector


Key Points:

  • Reduced Funding: The Interim Budget significantly cuts funding for higher education(60% cut for UGC), raising questions about alignment with India's education goals.

  • HEFA vs. UGC: The shift in funding from UGC to the loan-based HEFA model raises concerns about affordability and corporate influence in education.

Here's how HEFA functions as a loan-based model:

1. Loan Provision: HEFA doesn't directly grant funds to institutions but offers loans for infrastructure development and improvement. These loans come with interest rates, adding a financial burden to institutions.

2. Loan Repayment: Repayment of HEFA loans falls on the institutions themselves, primarily through internally generated funds. This could lead to:

  • Increased fees for students: Universities might raise tuition fees to generate funds for loan repayment, making education less affordable, especially for marginalized groups.

  • Focus on profit generation: Institutions may prioritize revenue-generating courses over academic excellence to meet financial obligations.

  • Financial instability: If institutions struggle to repay loans, their overall financial health and capacity to provide quality education could be compromised.


Now lets come back to article and discuss further what cut in funds means for higher education ->


  • Widening Inequality: Cuts disproportionately impact marginalized groups with low Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education.

  • Amrit Kaal vs. Global Average: India's GER lags behind global standards, and budgetary cuts hinder progress towards inclusive and equitable education.

  • School Education Concerns: While school education budget increases, a substantial portion is allocated to specific flagship programs, potentially neglecting existing schools.

  • NEP Implementation: Increased funding for PM-SHRI schools adhering to NEP 2020 might pressure other states to adopt the policy despite concerns about its inclusivity.



Overall:

The article critiques the Interim Budget's cuts to higher education funding, highlighting concerns about affordability, accessibility, and potential exacerbation of existing inequalities. It calls for increased investment and questions the shift towards loan-based models and selective program funding.



Small Topic: - Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome (MRKH)


What is MRKH?

  • A rare congenital disorder affecting the female reproductive system.

  • Characterized by the underdevelopment or absence of the uterus and vagina, while external genitalia appear normal.

  • Affects approximately 1 in 4,500 females.

What are the causes?

  • Exact cause unknown, but believed to be related to abnormal development during fetal life.







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