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[Newsbits] 21+22+23.12.2023: UPI Lite X, Paat-Mitro App, Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSCs) & More

newsbits mindmap notes
/ Banking
UPI Lite X mind map
Recent News
Launched
During Global Fintech Fest 2023
Why
For offline transactions
In areas with poor network coverage
What
Enables money transfers
Without internet connectivity
Uses Near Field Communication (NFC)
Compatible Devices
Must support NFC
Simplifies low-value transactions
Security
Requires NFC authorization
Transaction Limits
Below Rs 500
No UPI PIN required
Maximum daily transfer
Rs 4,000
Upper limit per transaction
Rs 500
Total wallet balance limit
Rs 2,000 at any time
Account Requirement
No bank account needed
Transaction Methods
QR codes
UPI ID
Other UPI Products
UPI Tap & Pay
Credit Line on UPI
Hello! UPI
Bhashini program
BillPay Connect
Where
India
NPCI introduced
Who
Reserve Bank of India
Launched UPI Lite X
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)
Developed UPI Lite X
How
NFC for Transactions
Between on-device wallets
Connectivity
No internet required
Proximity Requirement
Sender and receiver must be close
Pros/Significance
Faster transactions
Broadens demographic access
Suitable for low-value transactions
Cons and/or Challenges
Limit on transaction amounts
Could restrict usage for larger payments
Way Forward
Potential Expansion
As per NPCI's discretion

UPI Lite X is a revolutionary payment system launched by the Reserve Bank of India at the Global Fintech Fest 2023. It’s designed to facilitate offline money transactions in areas with poor network coverage. This system, which operates using Near Field Communication (NFC), allows users to transfer money without an internet connection and a bank account. UPI Lite X stands out by enabling faster, low-value transactions (below Rs 500 without UPI PIN, with a daily limit of Rs 4,000 and a wallet balance limit of Rs 2,000) and broadens financial access to a larger demographic. It’s a part of a suite of new UPI-related products aimed at enhancing digital payments in India.

/ Geography
Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSCs) mind map
Formation
Location and Conditions
In winter polar stratosphere
Altitudes of 15,000–25,000 meters
Extremely cold temperatures
Below −78 °C (−108 °F)
In Antarctic, below −88 °C (−126 °F)
Observability
During civil twilight
Best in winter
Factors Influencing Formation
Stratosphere's dryness
Earth's curvature
Reflects sunlight from below horizon
Generation by lee waves in Northern hemisphere
Types
Type I Clouds
Appearance
Stratiform, like cirrostratus or haze
Composition
Water
Nitric acid
Sulfuric acid
Subtypes
Type Ia
Nitric acid trihydrate (NAT)
Type Ib
Supercooled ternary solution (STS)
Type Ic
Metastable water-rich nitric acid
Role in Ozone Depletion
Supports chlorine activation
Removes gaseous nitric acid
Type II Clouds
Appearance
Cirriform and lenticular
Composition
Water ice only
Rarer in Arctic
Impact on Climate
Effect on Polar Warming
Traps heat, similar to greenhouse gases
Can explain missing warming in climate models
Role in Climate Models
Often missing in simulations
Important for accurate polar climate representation
Historical Context
Elevated methane in Eocene increased PSC formation
Impacted surface warming by up to 7°C
Impact on Ozone Layer
Ozone Destruction
Type I clouds catalyze ozone depletion
Convert benign chlorine forms into reactive radicals
Clouds remove nitrogen compounds moderating chlorine impact
Resulting in decreased ozone levels
Environmental Implications
Influence on Weather and Climate Patterns
Impact on temperature, atmospheric dynamics
Future Projections
Likely less increase in future due to different continental arrangement
Historical Importance
Linked to past climates with high greenhouse gas concentrations

Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSCs) are unique atmospheric phenomena occurring at high altitudes in the polar stratosphere, particularly during the extreme cold of polar winters. These clouds, observable during civil twilight, are classified into two main types: Type I, composed of water, nitric acid, and sulfuric acid, and Type II, consisting only of water ice. Type I PSCs play a crucial role in ozone depletion by facilitating the conversion of benign forms of chlorine into reactive, ozone-destroying radicals and removing nitrogen compounds that would otherwise moderate this destructive effect. PSCs also influence climate, particularly polar warming, by trapping heat similarly to greenhouse gases. Their formation and behavior have significant implications for climate modeling, offering insights into past climate conditions and future projections. Their impact highlights the intricate connections between atmospheric phenomena, climate change, and environmental health.

/ Diseases
R21/Matrix-M Malaria Vaccine mind map
Recent News
WHO Prequalification
Eligible for UN procurement
Recommended by WHO
Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE)
Malaria Policy Advisory Group (MPAG)
In October 2023
Why
High burden of malaria
Especially on African children
What
Developed by
University of Oxford
Serum Institute of India
Leveraging Novavax technology
Efficacy
High in children
Reduces symptomatic malaria
Clinical Trials
Phase III
In 4 countries
Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Tanzania
Manufacturing Capacity
Serum Institute of India
100 million doses per annum
Doubling in next two years
Licensing
Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso
Support
European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership
Wellcome Trust
European Investment Bank
Where
Global rollout
Who
Developers
Jenner Institute, Oxford
Serum Institute of India
Key Individuals
Adrian Hill
Director, Jenner Institute
Adar Poonawalla
CEO, Serum Institute of India
Recipients
Children in malaria-endemic regions
How
Mass production
Affordable cost
Global distribution
Pros
High efficacy
Reducing malaria cases
Affordable
Cost-effective intervention
Safety
Well-tolerated in trials
Impact
Public health improvement
Challenges
Supply and demand challenges
Comparing with RTS,S/AS01 vaccine
Way Forward
Scaling up production
Expanding reach

The R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine, a collaborative effort between the University of Oxford and the Serum Institute of India, represents a major advancement in malaria prevention. Recently receiving WHO prequalification, it is now one step closer to being widely deployed, particularly in regions with high malaria transmission. The vaccine has shown high efficacy in preventing malaria in children and is expected to play a crucial role in reducing the global burden of the disease. The Serum Institute of India’s commitment to produce 100 million doses annually, with plans to double this figure, underscores the vaccine’s potential for widespread impact. While specific challenges and concerns related to the vaccine are not fully detailed here, the overall significance of R21/Matrix-M in the fight against malaria is clear, with its affordability and efficacy positioning it as a vital tool in global health.

/ Banking
Draft Omnibus Framework for recognizing SROs mind map
Reserve Bank of India
Introduction
RBI's role
Regulating currency and credit system
Maintaining financial system stability
Need for the framework
Growth of REs
Increased use of innovative technologies
Enhanced customer outreach
Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs)
Definition
Organizations regulating professions or industries
Non-governmental organizations
Create rules for order in businesses
Role and Effectiveness
Enhancing regulations' effectiveness
Providing technical expertise
Aiding in policy framing
Complementing regulatory frameworks
Characteristics of an SRO
Credibility, objectivity, responsibility
Authority from membership agreements
Governance standards enforcement
Surveillance methods for monitoring
Objectives of the SRO
Overarching objectives
Enhancing sector professionalism
Compliance, innovation, ethical conduct
Development of self-regulatory principles
Specific objectives
Promoting compliance culture
Representing members' collective voice
Sharing sectoral information with RBI
Encouraging research and innovation
Responsibilities of the SRO
Towards Members
Promoting best business practices
Establishing minimum benchmarks
Protecting stakeholder interests
Disseminating sector-specific information
Promoting statutory/regulatory knowledge
Towards the Regulator (RBI)
Informing RBI of sector developments
Assisting RBI in compliance and development
Acting as a bridge between REs and RBI
Eligibility Criteria for SROs
Requirements
Not-for-profit company
Adequate net-worth and infrastructure
Professional competence and integrity
Representing the sector
Fit and proper status for recognition
Governance Framework
Professional management
Transparent practices
‘Fit and proper’ criteria for Directors
Adequate human and technical resources
Application for Recognition
Process and Documents
Memorandum and Articles of Association
Constitution of Board and Directors
Membership criteria roadmap
Authorizations and powers of office bearers
Conditions for Recognition
True and non-misleading information
Adherence to prescribed requirements
Periodic review by RBI
Right of RBI to revoke recognition
Recent News
Announcement date
October 06, 2023
Feedback submission deadline
January 25, 2024
RBI's call for comments
Inviting public and stakeholder feedback
Indian Context
Impact on Indian financial sector
Enhanced self-regulation standards
Addressing challenges of expanding REs
Promoting transparency and innovation
Ensuring compliance and consumer protection

In simple terms, the Draft Omnibus Framework released by the RBI aims to establish improved standards for self-regulation in the financial sector by recognizing and regulating Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs). These SROs are non-governmental bodies that will create rules to ensure order and ethical practices among businesses and organizations in various sectors. The framework outlines the roles, responsibilities, eligibility criteria, and governance standards for these SROs. It is part of RBI’s effort to enhance regulatory efficiency, foster innovation, and protect stakeholder interests in an increasingly complex and technologically advanced financial landscape.

/ Industries/Sectors
Paat-Mitro App mind map
Recent News
Launched in December 2023
Why
Support Jute Farmers
Empowering with Information
Facilitating MSP and Agronomy
What
Developed by
Jute Corporation of India Limited (JCI)
Launched During
Jute Symposium
Key Features
Provides MSP Information
Latest Agronomic Practices
Jute Gradation Parameters
Farmer-centric Schemes
Jute-ICARE
Weather Forecasts
Locations of JCI’s Purchase Centers
Procurement Policies
Payment Tracking
For Raw Jute Sold to JCI
Chatbot Feature
For Real-time Queries
Available in 6 Languages
Downloadable
From Google Play Store
Free of Cost
Who
Ministry of Textiles
Secretary Rachna Shah
Jute Farmers
Targeting 40 Lakh Families
How
Mobile Application
Easy Accessibility
Multilingual Support
Pros/Significance
Empowering Jute Farmers
With Crucial Information
and Tools
Enhancing Livelihoods
of Jute Farmer Families
Ensuring Transparency
in Payment Processes
Real-time Assistance
Via Chatbot
Increasing Awareness
About Jute Cultivation
Way Forward
Continuous Support
to Jute Farmers
Expansion of Services
and Features

To summarize, the “Paat-Mitro” app is a significant step towards enhancing the livelihoods of jute farmers in India. Developed by JCI and launched by the Ministry of Textiles, it offers a one-stop solution for these farmers, providing essential information about Minimum Support Prices (MSP), agronomic practices, jute gradation parameters, and more. The app also features a chatbot for real-time assistance and allows farmers to track the status of their payments, promoting transparency and ease of access. Available in six languages and free of cost, this app is tailored to meet the needs of India’s vast jute farming community.

/ Industries/Sectors
CCI's Draft Regulations on Turnover Determination mind map
Recent News
Unveiled Draft Regulations
When
Following Competition Amendment Act 2023
Why
Determining Turnover for Penalties
What
Global Turnover Basis
Shift from Previous Norms
Exclusions in Computation
Indirect Taxes
Intra-Group Sales
Discounts
Stakeholder Feedback
Window Open Till January 12
Concerns Raised
Implications for Multinational Companies
Risk of Double Jeopardy
Penalty Provisions
Up to 10% of Average Sales or Income
For Three Preceding Years
Applicable to Anti-Competitive Agreements or Abuse of Dominance
Guidelines on Penalties
Anticipated Future Issuance
Calculation Methods
Based on Audited Consolidated Financial Statements
Certified Amount by Statutory Auditor or Chartered Accountant
Who
Competition Commission of India
Pros
Enhancing CCI's Authority
As Deterrent Against Violations
Strengthening Regulatory Framework
Cons 
Potential Financial Ramifications
Especially for Foreign Enterprises
Unintended Consequences
Disproportionate Penalties
Counterproductive to Objectives
Impact on Ease of Doing Business
Increased Compliance Costs
Way Forward
Refinement Based on Feedback
Balancing Deterrence and Fairness

To summarize, the CCI’s draft regulations on turnover determination are pivotal in shaping the penalty framework for anti-competitive practices. By shifting to a ‘global turnover’ basis for penalties, the CCI aims to strengthen its deterrent capabilities. However, this approach has raised concerns about disproportionate financial implications, especially for multinational companies and enterprises with a global presence. The CCI is currently soliciting public feedback to refine these regulations, indicating an effort to balance effective deterrence with fairness and practicality in enforcement.

/ Children
Ambiguity in Definition of Child mind map
When
Various Acts Over Years
Why
Different Objectives
of Each Law
What
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Definition
Below 18 Years
Unless Majority Attained Earlier
Indian Laws
Child Labour (Protection and Regulation) Act, 1986
Below 14 Years
Plantations Labour Act, 1951
Below 15 Years
Below 12 Years for Plantation Work
Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961
Below 15 Years
Beedi and Cigar Workers Act, 1966
Below 14 Years
Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
Below 21 Years for Males
Below 18 Years for Females
Juvenile Justice Act, 2015
Below 18 Years
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
Below 18 Years
Child and Adolescent Labour Act, 1986 (Amended 2016)
Age Group 14-18 Years
Right to Education Act, 2009
Age 6-14 Years
Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (Amended 1986)
Below 14 Years
Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakram
Adolescents Aged 10-19 Years
How
Legislation Enacted
for Child Welfare
and Protection
Significance of proper definition
Addressing Specific Needs
of Different Age Groups
Protection in Various Contexts
Work, Education, Marriage
Impacts
Implementation Difficulties
Due to Varying Definitions
Ambiguity in Protection Measures
Inconsistent Application
Across Different Laws
Prone to Abuse and Exploitation
Child Labour Issues
Sexual Violence Cases
Way Forward
Need for Uniform Definition
Across All Laws

To summarize, the definition of a ‘child’ in Indian laws varies across different acts, each tailored to its specific context and objectives. This variance ranges from under 14 years in labor-related laws to under 18 years in juvenile justice and sexual offenses laws, with special provisions in laws concerning education and marriage. While these diverse definitions aim to cater to the unique needs of different age groups, they also create challenges in implementing child protection uniformly, leading to potential loopholes and inconsistencies in safeguarding children’s rights. The way forward suggests a harmonized definition of ‘child’ across all legislations to ensure coherent and effective child protection measures.

UK Supreme Court Ruling on AI and Patent Rights mind map
Recent News
Supreme Court Ruling
Date
December 2023
Case Name
Thaler v Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks [2023]
When
Initial Filings
Year
2018
High Court and Court of Appeal Dismissal
Year
2021
Why
Legal Interpretation
Inventor Definition
Must Be a Natural Person
AI as Inventor
Not Recognized
What
Patents Act 1977
Inventor Requirement
Natural Person
Case Details
Appellant
Dr. Stephen Thaler
AI System
DABUS
Claims
AI Devised Inventions
IPO Refusal
Based on Legal Grounds
Court's Decision
Rejected AI as Inventor
Dismissed Doctrine of Accession
Broader Context
EU AI Act
Trustworthy AI Framework
AI Safety Summit
Held in the UK
Where
United Kingdom
Supreme Court Jurisdiction
Who
Dr. Stephen Thaler
Filed Patent Applications
UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO)
Refused Patents
UK Supreme Court
Unanimous Decision
How
Legal Process
High Court
Court of Appeal
Supreme Court
Legal Analysis
Case Law Authorities
Interpretation of "Inventor"
Pros/Significance
Legal Clarity
On AI and Patent Rights
Impact on AI Landscape
Significant Development
Challenges
Not Addressed
Future of AI in Patent Law
Way Forward
Monitoring AI Regulations
By UK Government
AI Act Developments
EU's Regulatory Framework

The UK Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in December 2023, in the case of “Thaler v Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks [2023],” established that under the Patents Act 1977, an “inventor” must be a natural person, not artificial intelligence (AI). Dr. Stephen Thaler’s attempt to register patents for inventions claimed to be created by his AI system, DABUS, was rejected. The Court maintained that the legal definition of an inventor could not extend to machines or AI. This ruling aligns with similar decisions in other jurisdictions and marks a significant development in the AI landscape, particularly considering the evolving AI regulations in the EU and the AI Safety Summit. The case underscores the current legal framework’s limitations in accommodating the growing role of AI in innovation.

/ Banking
Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) Scheme mind map
Recent News
Extension Announced
Until December 31, 2025
When
Operationalised
Since January 01, 2021
Modified
From June 09, 2022
Why
Promote Digital Transactions
Financial Inclusion
What
Subsidises Deployment
Points of Sale Infrastructure
Physical and Digital Modes
Coverage
Tier 3 to Tier 6 Centres
North-Eastern States
J&K and Ladakh
PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi
In Tier 1 and Tier 2 Centres
Contributions
Reserve Bank of India
Authorised Card Networks
Card Issuing Banks
Sponsor Banks
Total Corpus
₹788.20 Crore
As of December 31, 2022
Payment Acceptance Devices Deployed
Details of Physical and Digital Devices
Enhanced Subsidy Amount
Simplified Subsidy Claim Process
Where
India
Focused on Underserved Regions
Who
Reserve Bank of India
Governing Body
Stakeholders
Card Networks, Banks
How
Financial Assistance
For Deploying Payment Acceptance Devices
Advisory Council
Oversees Scheme
Pros/Significance
Enhanced Digital Payment Infrastructure
Increased Penetration in Underserved Areas
Supports Various Sectors
Including Artisans, Craftspeople
Encourages Emerging Payment Modes
Soundbox Devices
Aadhaar-Enabled Biometric Devices
Industry Support and Appreciation
Way Forward
Continued Focus on Digital Infrastructure
Expansion to Include New Beneficiaries
PM Vishwakarma Scheme
Increase Availability
Of Payment Acceptance Devices
Promote Financial Inclusion
Transition to Cashless Economy

The Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) Scheme, operational since January 2021 and extended until December 31, 2025, aims to subsidize the deployment of Points of Sale (PoS) infrastructure across India, particularly in underserved areas like tier-3 to tier-6 centres and the northeastern states. It has been expanded to include beneficiaries of the PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi in tier-1 and tier-2 centres, with the Reserve Bank of India, card networks, and banks contributing to its corpus. The scheme’s modification in 2022 to enhance subsidy amounts and simplify the subsidy claim process reflects its commitment to boosting digital transaction facilities and financial inclusion, especially at the grassroots level.

/ Elections & Democracy
Election Commission Guidelines for PwDs mind map
Recent News
Guidelines Issued
Date
December 2023
Aim
Respectful Discourse for PwDs
Why
Foundation of Democracy
Representation of All Communities
Accessible and Inclusive Elections
Non-Negotiable Premise
What
Guidelines Overview
Avoid Derogatory Language
Examples
Dumb, Retarded, Blind, Deaf, Lame
Political Parties' Responsibilities
No Insulting References
Disability Sensitive Language
Internal Review Process
Declaration on Website
Rights-Based Terminologies
Public Speeches Accessibility
Digital Accessibility
Training Modules on Disability
Appoint Nodal Authority
Include More PwDs
Legal Provisions
Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016
Section 92
Punishment for Offenses
Where
India
Election Commission Jurisdiction
Who
Election Commission of India
Governing Body
Political Parties
Representatives and Candidates
Persons with Disabilities
Affected Community
How
Implementation Measures
Review Process
Training Modules
Accessibility Enhancements
Pros/Significance
Enhances Respect
For PwDs in Politics
Promotes Inclusivity
In Political Discourse
Legal Protection
Against Discrimination
Cons and/or Challenges
Implementation Challenges
Accessing Polling Units
Availability of Assistive Devices
Priority Voting
Mixed Experiences
Experience Sharing
Challenges Faced
By PwDs in Voting
Good Practices
Seamless Voting
Priority Access
Sign Language Interpreters
Observer Group Feedback
Campaign for Equal Voting Access
Recorded Mixed Practices
Call for Review
Of Assistive Device Deployment

The Election Commission of India’s guidelines for ensuring the equal participation of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in the electoral process focus on promoting respectful and inclusive political discourse. These guidelines mandate political parties to avoid derogatory language, ensure disability-sensitive communication, and provide accessible campaign materials. The guidelines are part of the Commission’s effort to uphold the democratic principle of representation for all communities. While they signify progress in inclusivity, implementation challenges persist, such as difficulty accessing polling units and a lack of necessary assistive devices. Despite these challenges, some positive experiences highlight the potential for successful inclusive practices in elections.

/ Space
Rotating Detonation Rocket Engine (RDRE) mind map
Recent News
NASA's Success
3D-printed RDRE Tested
Duration
251 Seconds
Thrust
Over 5,800 Pounds
Purpose
Emulate Lander Touchdown
Deep-space Burns
Significance
Design Efficiency Leap
Lightweight Propulsion Systems
Deep Space Missions
Moon to Mars Vision
Partners
In Space LLC
Purdue University
GE Aerospace and GE Research
Hypersonic Dual-Mode Ramjet
With RDE
Announcement
Spin-off Hypersonic Sector
Plan
Full-scale DMRJ with RDE in 2024
Acquisition
Innoveering in 2022
JAXA's Achievement
First RDE Test in Space
Date
July 26, 2021
Vehicle
S-520-31 Sounding Rocket
Thrust Class
500 N
Why
Enhanced Combustor Efficiency
Improved Aerospace Performance
What
Technology Overview
Pressure Gain Combustion
Supersonic Flame Front
Efficiency Gain
Up to 25%
Design
Circular Channel
Fuel and Oxidizer Injection
Self-sustaining Detonations
Combustion Products Expansion
Where
Global Developments
NASA in USA
JAXA in Japan
GE Aerospace
How
Optical Diagnostic Techniques
Advanced Research
Laser Diagnostics
Planar Laser-induced Fluorescence
University of Michigan Study
State-to-State RDE Model
Machine Learning Algorithms
Combustor Geometry Analysis
Nagoya University and JAXA
Laboratory-scale Ethanol-Nitrous Oxide RDE
Plans for Sounding Rocket Launch
Pros/Significance
Increased Efficiency
Fuel Savings
Enhanced Performance
Aerospace Sector Benefits
Reduced Weight and Volume
Space Propulsion Advancements
Ethanol-Nitrous Oxide RDE
Scalability for Various Missions
Way Forward
Further Research and Development
Across Academic and Commercial Institutions
Scaling for Higher Performance
Collaboration with Venus Aerospace
NASA's Glenn Research Center

The Rotating Detonation Rocket Engine (RDRE) represents a significant advancement in rocket propulsion technology. It utilizes pressure gain combustion, where detonations continuously travel around an annular channel, achieving supersonic flame front expansion. This method is theoretically more efficient than traditional deflagrative combustion, potentially offering up to 25% efficiency gains. In 2023, NASA successfully tested a novel, 3D-printed RDRE, producing over 5,800 pounds of thrust, demonstrating the potential for lightweight propulsion systems for deep space missions. GE Aerospace and GE Research have also shown interest in RDE technology, planning to demonstrate a full-scale hypersonic dual-mode ramjet with RDE in 2024. Furthermore, JAXA achieved a milestone by testing an RDE in space for the first time. This ongoing research and development across various institutions aim to enhance combustor efficiency and performance, significantly benefiting the aerospace sector.

France's Controversial Immigration Bill mind map
Recent News
Passed by French Parliament
On December 19, 2023
When
Final approval given recently
Why
Tighten immigration rules
Political implications
What
Stricter Immigration Controls
Spearheaded by Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin
Passed with Macron's coalition and conservative votes
Contentious Aspects
Pressure from far-right National Rally
Support from Marine Le Pen
Left-wing opposition and ministerial resignation
Amendments and Compromises
Weakened residency permit measures
Extended duration for migrants' welfare eligibility
Delayed housing benefits for non-EU migrants
Migration quotas introduced
Difficulties for immigrants' children to become French
Easier residency for migrants in labor-deficient sectors
Easier expulsion of illegal migrants
Constitutional Review
Submitted to Constitutional Council
Examines law's alignment with French constitution
Decision expected within 30 days
Where
France
Who
President Emmanuel Macron
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin
Opposition from Marine Le Pen, National Rally
Opposition within Macron's party
How
Legislation process
Parliamentary vote
Significance
Addresses immigration concerns
Political maneuvering
Challenges
Ideological divisions
Controversy over concessions to right-wing
Constitutional concerns
Way Forward
Awaiting Constitutional Council's decision
Potential amendments based on review

France’s controversial immigration bill, which passed in December 2023, aims to introduce stricter controls on migration. Spearheaded by Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and backed by President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist coalition and conservative lawmakers, the bill has been subject to significant political maneuvering and ideological division. The support from Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally, and the opposition within Macron’s own party, including the resignation of a minister, highlight the contentious nature of the legislation.

The bill has undergone various amendments to make it more agreeable to the right, including weakening measures for residency permits and extending the eligibility duration for migrants to access welfare benefits. It also introduces measures such as delaying housing benefits for non-EU migrants, implementing migration quotas, and making it more difficult for immigrants’ children to become French. At the same time, the bill facilitates residency for migrants working in sectors with labor shortages and makes it easier to expel illegal migrants.

Given the controversy and constitutional concerns, the bill has been submitted to the Constitutional Council for review. This body will examine whether the law aligns with the French constitution and decide whether it can be enforced in its current form or requires amendment. The decision is expected within 30 days, marking the next step in the ongoing debate and implementation of this significant piece of legislation in France.

/ Awards & Honors, Space
Leif Erikson Lunar Prize mind map
Recent News
2023 Award
ISRO awarded
For Chandrayaan-3 mission
First soft landing near Lunar South Pole
When
Announced on November 26, 2023
Why
Honoring trailblazers in exploration
Recognizing significant achievements in space science
What
Leif Erikson Awards
Named after Norse explorer Leif Erikson
First European in North America
Established Norse settlement at Vinland
Annual awards since 2015
Hosted by Exploration Museum, Husavik, Iceland
Award Categories
Leif Erikson Award
Young Explorer Award
Exploration History Award
Lunar Prize
2023 Winners
Astronaut Bill Anders
Leif Erikson Award
For “Earthrise” photograph, Apollo 8 mission
Kellie Gerardi
Young Explorer Award
Bioastronautics research, spacesuit evaluation
Libby Jackson
Exploration History Award
Preserving history of female astronauts
ISRO
Lunar Prize
Chandrayaan-3 mission success
Where
Ceremony in Husavik, Iceland
Who
Recipients
Various explorers and organizations
ISRO for 2023 Lunar Prize
Organizers
Exploration Museum, Husavik
Icelandic Presidents involved in presentation
How
Selection Process
Winners voted by Scientific Committee
Committee appointed annually
Chairperson is previous year's Exploration History Award winner
Significance
Recognizes and celebrates exploration achievements
Encourages future explorations
Highlights important contributions in space science
Way Forward
Continuing to inspire and acknowledge future explorations
Promoting understanding of space and its exploration

The Leif Erikson Lunar Prize is an annual award presented by the Exploration Museum in Húsavík, Iceland, as part of the Leif Erikson Awards. Named after the Norse explorer Leif Erikson, the awards recognize achievements in exploration and work in the field of exploration history. The Leif Erikson Lunar Prize specifically honors significant accomplishments in lunar exploration. In 2023, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) received this prize for the successful Chandrayaan-3 mission, which achieved a soft landing near the Moon’s South Pole. The award ceremony, part of the Húsavík Explorers Festival, also includes other categories such as the Leif Erikson Award, the Young Explorer Award, and the Exploration History Award, acknowledging various explorers and organizations for their contributions to space science and exploration history. The winners are selected by the Scientific Committee of the Exploration Museum, emphasizing the global recognition of trailblazing achievements in the realm of space exploration.

Local Resident of Jharkhand Bill mind map
Recent News
Passed by Jharkhand Assembly
On December 15, 2023
When
First proposed in 2022
Why
Define local residents
Reserve jobs for locals
What
Definition of Local Resident
Based on 1932 land records
Includes landless individuals
Identified by Gram Sabhas
Reservation for Locals
100% reservation in Class-III and Class-IV jobs
Under Jharkhand state government
Legal Controversies
Bill returned twice by Governor
Concerns of constitutional violations
Sought opinion of Attorney General of India
Governor's concerns about Article 14 and 16(A)
Aimed to be placed in Ninth Schedule to avoid judicial review
Opposition Views
Leader of Opposition's concerns
Potential legal hurdles
Historical Background
Similar policy in 2002
Struck down by courts
Reservation Amendment Bill
Reservation raised from 60% to 77%
Includes SC, OBC, ST, EWS categories
Addresses socio-economic dynamics
Who
Proposed by Hemant Soren, Chief Minister
Opposition by Amar Bauri
Governor CP Radhakrishnan
Finance Minister Dr Rameshwar Oraon
How
Ratified by voice vote in Assembly
Significance
Addresses demands of tribals, indigenous people
Aims to protect local interests
Challenges
Legal and constitutional challenges
Potential conflicts with national policies
Way Forward
Seeking presidential approval
Awaiting judicial response

The Local Resident of Jharkhand Bill, passed by the Jharkhand Assembly in December 2023, aims to define ‘local resident’ based on land records from 1932 or earlier, including provisions for landless individuals identified by Gram Sabhas. This bill paves the way for 100% reservation for locals in Class-III and Class-IV state government jobs. The bill faced opposition and was returned twice for reconsideration due to constitutional concerns raised by Governor CP Radhakrishnan, particularly regarding potential violations of Articles 14 and 16(A) of the Indian Constitution. Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s government aims to place the bill in the Ninth Schedule to avoid judicial review, despite its controversial nature and similarity to a policy introduced in 2002, which was struck down by the courts. Additionally, the Jharkhand Assembly ratified an amendment bill increasing reservations from 60% to 77%, covering various social categories. The bill now awaits presidential approval and a judicial response to the legal challenges it faces.

EU New Pact on Migration and Asylum mind map
Recent News
Major breakthrough in EU migration management
Agreements reached on five key files
When
Pact implementation starts from 2024
Full effect in two years
Why
Manage migration humanely, dignifiedly
Shift from ad-hoc to long-term solutions
What
New Solidarity Mechanism
Share asylum applications among EU countries
Based on GDP, population, irregular border crossings
Countries unwilling to host can offer financial support
Expedited Border Procedure
For those unlikely to win asylum
Maximum 12-week process
Return within 12 weeks if rejected
Applies to dangerous, uncooperative individuals
Or from countries with low asylum recognition rates
Gathering Accurate Data
Detect unauthorized movements
Improve security in Schengen area
Uniform Identification Rules
For non-EU nationals
Increasing security
Crisis Preparedness
Future crisis situations
Opposition from Rights Groups
Concerns over overcrowded camps
Risk of detaining minors
Focus on keeping people away
Where
Across the European Union
Who
European Commission
Member States of EU
How
Formal adoption by European Parliament and Council
Legislative acts to be adopted
Commission to assist Member States
Significance
Fair, orderly migration management
Long-term, sustainable solutions
Challenges
Rights groups' criticisms
Potential for overcrowded camps
Protracted detention concerns
Way Forward
Implementation of proposals
Adoption of specific legislative acts
Assisting Member States in national legislation

The EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum, agreed upon in 2023, marks a significant advancement in the European Union’s approach to managing migration. The pact encompasses several key provisions aimed at establishing a more humane, dignified, and effective system. These include a new solidarity mechanism for sharing asylum applications among EU countries based on various criteria, an expedited border procedure for processing and potentially returning individuals unlikely to win asylum, measures for gathering more accurate data to detect unauthorized movements, the creation of uniform rules for the identification of non-EU nationals to enhance security within the Schengen area, and preparedness for future crisis situations.

Despite these measures, the pact has faced criticism from rights groups concerned about the potential for overcrowded migration camps and the protracted detention of minors. The implementation of the pact, starting from 2024 and expected to take full effect within two years, will involve the formal adoption of these proposals by the European Parliament and Council, followed by the adoption of specific legislative acts. The European Commission will assist member states in implementing the new rules in their national legislation, moving towards long-term and sustainable solutions for migration management in the EU.

UNODC Global Study on Homicide Report 2023 mind map
Recent News
Released on December 8, 2023
Vienna, Austria
When
Data from 2019 to 2021
Why
Comprehensive examination of homicide trends
Analysis of homicide dynamics
What/Full Provisions
Average of 52 victims per hour globally in 2021
Homicide vs Conflict/Terrorism
440,000 annual average deaths from homicide (2019-2021)
458,000 deaths in 2021
Homicides double the burden of conflict deaths
Organized Crime
22% of global intentional homicides
50% in the Americas
Linked to increased violence
Regional Homicide Rates
Americas: highest rate (15 per 100,000)
Africa: highest absolute number (176,000)
Asia, Europe, Oceania: below global average
Gender and Homicide
Men: 81% victims, 90% suspects
Women: higher risk at home
Children: 15% of victims (71,600 in 2021)
Targeted Groups
Human rights defenders, journalists, etc.
9% of global homicides
Future Predictions
Demographic, economic, technological, climatic impacts
Africa: most vulnerable region
Indian Context
Land/Water Disputes
16.8% of murders (2019-2021)
300 murders linked to water (2019-2021)
Water disputes as interpersonal homicide driver
Exacerbated by population growth, economic expansion, climate change
International impact of resource scarcity
Other Motives in India
Honor killings, love affairs, personal vendettas, etc.
2021: Exceptionally lethal year
NCRB Report 2020
232 deaths in water conflicts (2017-2019)
Doubling of water-related crimes (2018 vs 2017)
Where
Global scope
Special focus on India
Who
UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)
Ghada Waly, Executive Director
How
Analysis of intentional homicide trends
Examination of complex dynamics
Study of regional/subregional trends
Pros/Significance
Inform evidence-based preventive policies
Address root causes of violence
Cons and/or Challenges
Rising violence in land/water disputes
Increase in homicides despite stable global counts
Way Forward
Mitigation strategies for resource conflicts

The UNODC’s Global Study on Homicide Report 2023 provides a comprehensive analysis of global homicide trends, highlighting the prevalence and patterns of intentional homicides. The report, released in December 2023, shows an average of 52 homicide victims per hour worldwide in 2021, with homicide accounting for more deaths than armed conflict and terrorism combined. It emphasizes the significant role of organized crime in these homicides, particularly in the Americas, and the varied homicide rates across regions, with the Americas and Africa having the highest rates. The study also sheds light on gender disparities in homicide victims and perpetrators, the risks faced by certain groups like human rights defenders, and the future impact of demographic and environmental changes on homicide rates. Significantly, the report includes a special focus on India, noting the rise in homicides related to land and water disputes, exacerbated by factors like population growth and climate change. The study aims to inform evidence-based preventive policies and address the root causes of violence.

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