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27 February 2024 Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Specific Question


Based on the information provided about the Raisina Dialogue, how many of the following statements are correct:

  1. The first edition of the Raisina Dialogue was held in 2016 and has since become India's premier forum for discussing global issues.

  2. Who conducts the Raisina Dialogue: The Ministry of External Affairs of India, in collaboration with an independent think tank.

  3. The 2023 edition of the Dialogue lacked representation from South America, Southeast Asia, and the Nordic and Baltic countries (NB8), leading to a limited scope of viewpoints.

(Choose the most appropriate option) a) Only 1 statement is correct. b) Only 2 statements are correct. c)All 3 statements are correct. d) None of the statements are correct.


Based on the information provided about Hungary ratifying Sweden's NATO membership, answer how many of the following statements are correct:

  1. Hungary's approval marks the final step for Sweden to join NATO, increasing the alliance's total membership to 32 countries.

  2. Hungary originally objected to Sweden's membership due to its close ties with Russia, but ultimately approved it after the EU lifted sanctions on Hungary.

  3. Prime Minister Orbán, a close ally of President Putin, has consistently opposed Sweden's membership, citing concerns about its democratic practices.

(Choose the most appropriate option) A) Only 1 statement is correct. B) Only 2 statements are correct. C) All 3 statements are correct. D) None of the statements are correct.




1. Summary of Hungary Ratifying Sweden's NATO Membership:

Key Point: Hungary approved Sweden's bid to join NATO, removing the last hurdle and paving the way for its official membership.

Background:

  • Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO in May 2022, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

  • Finland's membership was approved in April 2023, but Sweden's was delayed due to objections from Turkey (since resolved) and Hungary.

Hungary's Delay:

  • Prime Minister Orbán, a nationalist figure with ties to Russia, initially opposed Sweden's bid, citing criticism of Hungary's democracy by Sweden as a reason.

  • He emphasized Hungary's sovereignty and resistance to external pressure in its decision-making.

Outcome and Implications:

  • Hungary's parliament ultimately voted to approve Sweden's membership.

  • This paves the way for Sweden's formal entry into NATO, increasing the total number of member states to 32.

  • Mr. Orbán's sudden support reflects a potential shift in strategic calculations, despite his previous stance.

  • Sweden's membership, alongside Finland's, expands NATO's border with Russia, potentially contradicting Putin's initial goal of hindering the alliance's growth.

Additional details:

  • Formation of NATO: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established on April 4, 1949, with the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty, also known as the Washington Treaty.

  • Current situation: With Sweden's soon-to-be finalized membership, all NATO members need to officially approve, followed by a formal invitation and a short process before Sweden becomes the 32nd member of the alliance.


Sweden MAp


2. AI Model for Gestational Age Estimation in India:

Problem: Existing models for estimating gestational age (GA) in late pregnancy are based on Western populations and may not be accurate for the Indian population due to growth variations.

Solution: Researchers from IIT Madras and THSTI developed an AI model called Garbhini-GA2 specifically for the Indian population.


THSTI stands for Translational Health Science and Technology Institute. It's an autonomous institute under the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.

Benefits:

  • Improved Accuracy: Garbhini-GA2 reduces errors in GA estimation by nearly three times compared to existing models.

  • Better Care: Accurate GA estimation allows for better care during pregnancy and determination of precise due dates, potentially reducing maternal and infant mortality rates.

  • Data-Driven Approach: The model uses data from the Indian population, leading to more reliable results.

Key Points:

  • GARB-Ini is a flagship program of the Department of Biotechnology supporting this research.

  • The study involved collaboration with various hospitals across India.

  • The project emphasizes the importance of combining data science expertise with clinical knowledge for effective healthcare solutions.


3. Treasury Bills: -

  • T-Bills are money market instruments.

  • These are short term debt instrumentsissued by the Government of India.

  • Tenure: These are presently issued in three tenors, namely, 91 day, 182 day and 364 day.

  • These are zero coupon securities and pay no interest. Instead, they are issued at a discount and redeemed at the face value at maturity.


For long term borrowing there is G-Sec or Government Securities which are traded through OMO or Open Market Operations.


4. Bitcoin Halving


Think of Bitcoin like gold...

  • Limited supply: Just like there's a limited amount of gold on Earth, there'll only ever be 21 million Bitcoins.

  • Mining for treasure: People mine for gold, and people "mine" for Bitcoin by using powerful computers to solve complex math puzzles.

  • Reward for miners: When a miner solves a puzzle, they get a reward of new Bitcoins.


The Halving: The Catch

  • Slowing down the treasure: Bitcoin halving is like cutting the reward for miners in half. It happens roughly every four years.


  • Why cut the reward? It's all about keeping Bitcoin valuable. If new Bitcoins were created super quickly, they wouldn't be as special or worth as much.



What does it mean for you?

  • Scarcity = Potential increase in price:When something becomes more scarce, its value often goes up. So, after a halving, the price of Bitcoin might rise (but it's not guaranteed).


Example:

  1. Before halving: A miner gets 12 new Bitcoins for solving a puzzle.

  2. After halving: Now the miner only gets 6 new Bitcoins for the same work.


Editorial Explanation


Summary of Raisina Dialogue 2023:

India's aspirations:

  • Bridging power: Aims to find common ground through multi-vector diplomacy and be a "friend of the world."

  • Global leadership: Seeks a rightful seat at the table and wants to be "a player, rather than a playing field."

  • The Nordic-Baltic countries did participate in the Raisina Dialogue 2023. In fact, there was a dedicated meeting on the sidelines called the "India-Nordic-Baltic 8 meeting," indicating active engagement between India and these countries [source: Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India].

Key themes:

  • Global governance reform: Discussed the need for reforms in institutions like the UN Security Council.

  • Focus on Europe: Large participation from Central and Eastern Europe, aiming for new trade and investment ties.

  • Global conflicts: Discussions centered on the Ukraine war and China, but lacked the presence of involved parties for a balanced view.

  • Limited diversity: Minimal representation from other regions and lack of civil society participation led to a narrower perspective.\

Overall:

  • The Dialogue aims to be a global platform for discussions, but the 2023 edition lacked inclusivity on certain issues.

  • Despite this, the conference showcases India's growing influence and ambition on the world stage.


Editorial - 02


Drop the ‘garland model’ to let science in India blossom

Scientific meetings are crucial for researchers to share and discuss their work. Traditionally, these meetings follow a hierarchical structure with invited speakers, paid attendance, and bureaucratic procedures.

However, this approach in India faces criticism:

  • Outdated practices: Bureaucracy, hierarchical organization, and religious symbolism dominate the meetings.

  • Lack of inclusivity: Gender and social diversity are often neglected, with all-male panels and sessions focusing solely on "women in science."


  • The passage criticizes the traditional practice of giving bouquets and shawls to speakers at scientific conferences in India.

  • These gift-giving rituals are seen as symbols of hierarchy and unnecessary formality.

  • The "No Garland Neuroscience" (NGN) meeting specifically mentions "no garland"in its name, likely signifying its rejection of these practices.


The need for change:

  • Examples exist: Meetings like "No Garland Neuroscience" and "Young Investigators' Meeting" promote informality, inclusivity, and focus on science.

  • Impact of change: Revamping meetings can promote inclusivity, address challenges like gender equity, and improve India's standing in the global scientific community.

Overall, the passage emphasizes the need to modernize scientific meetings in India to embrace contemporary values of inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility.


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27 February 2024 Daily Current Affairs

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