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[Newsbits] 23.01.2024: Malathion Pesticide, Khanjar Exercise & more

newsbits mindmap notes
Design-Linked Incentive (DLI) Scheme mind map
Recent News
January 2024
Shortfall in Target
Approved 7 startups
Target was 100 over 5 years
When
Launched in 2021
Why
Boost Semiconductor Industry
Reduce import dependence
What
Financial Incentives
Product Design Linked
Up to 50% of eligible expenditure
Ceiling of ₹15 Crore
Deployment Linked
6% to 4% on net sales turnover
Ceiling of ₹30 Crore
Design Infrastructure Support
C-DAC's India Chip Centre
Where
India
Who
Government of India
Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
Centre for Development of Advanced Computing
How
Approving startups
Providing financial and infrastructural support
Significance
Reduce import reliance
Attract investments
Create high-skilled jobs
Challenges
Limited foreign investment
Modest incentives
Long-term R&D costs
Funding landscape challenges
Way Forward
Enhance financial outlay
Revise nodal agency
Focus on broader objectives

The Design-Linked Incentive (DLI) scheme, initiated by the Indian government, is a strategic move to bolster the domestic semiconductor design industry. Its primary objectives include reducing dependence on semiconductor imports, especially from China, and fostering growth in this high-tech sector. Despite its promising goals, the scheme has experienced setbacks, notably in reaching its startup support targets. Key challenges involve limited foreign investment, modest financial incentives, and the substantial costs associated with long-term semiconductor research and development. A concerted effort to reevaluate and enhance the scheme’s financial and structural aspects could pave the way for India to emerge as a significant player in the global semiconductor industry.

NATO Mega Ammunition Deal mind map
Recent News
January 2024
Ukrainian Conflict
When
Deal Signed
Date
January 23, 2024
Why
Support Ukraine
Against Russian Aggression
What
$1.2 Billion Deal
220,000 Artillery Shells
155mm Ammunition
Delivery
24 to 36 Months
Possibly until 2027
Where
NATO Headquarters
Brussels
Ukraine
Battlefield
Who
Involved Parties
NATO
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Ukraine
Recipient
Russia
Aggressor
Key Figures
Jens Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary General
Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President
How
Bulk Purchase
Reduced Prices
Collaboration
Belgium, Lithuania, Spain
Manufacturers
Nexter (France)
Junghans (Germany)
Significance
Support Ukraine's Defense
Balance Power
Replenish NATO Stockpiles
Challenges
Delivery Delays
Long Production Time
Immediate Need
Ukraine's Urgency
Way Forward
Increase Ammunition Production
NATO Factories
Accelerate Supply
To Ukraine

The NATO Mega Ammunition Deal, signed on January 23, 2024, involves a $1.2 billion agreement for the purchase of 220,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition. This deal is a strategic move by NATO to support Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia, aiming to replenish depleted stockpiles and bolster Ukraine’s defense capabilities. The contract indicates a delivery timeline of 24 to 36 months, potentially extending until 2027. Key players in this agreement include NATO, with Jens Stoltenberg as the Secretary-General, and Ukraine, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The deal highlights the challenges faced by Ukraine in terms of immediate ammunition needs and the anticipated delays in delivery, emphasizing the necessity for NATO to increase its ammunition production and expedite the supply process to Ukraine.

/ Awards & Honors
Karpoori Thakur mind map
Recent News 
Bharat Ratna Awarded
Posthumously
January 2024
Honouring Contributions
When
Born 1924
Chief Minister Tenure
December 1970 to June 1971
December 1977 to April 1979
Passed Away February 17, 1988
Why
Champion for Marginalised
Stalwart of Equality
Significant Political Contributions
What
Prohibition of Alcohol
Enforced 1970
Education Initiatives
Established Schools, Colleges
Mandal Commission Recommendations
Implemented Later
Mungeri Lal Commission Report
Reclassifying Backward Classes
Implemented 1978
Where
Bihar, India
Who
Socialist Leader
Non-Congress Chief Minister
Education Minister
Removed English Requirement
Legacy
Influence on Bihar Politics
How
Upliftment of Backward Classes
Reforms in Education, Employment
Significance
Pioneering Social Reforms
Foundation for Affirmative Action
Influence on Regional Politics
Way Forward
Continued Inspiration
For Social Justice
Equity and Empowerment

Karpoori Thakur, a revered figure in Indian politics, is best known for his contributions towards the upliftment of backward classes and marginalized communities. Born into a marginal farmer’s family in 1924, Thakur rose to prominence as a socialist leader and served as the Chief Minister of Bihar. His tenure is notable for several key initiatives, including the total prohibition of alcohol and the establishment of educational institutions in underdeveloped regions. Thakur was instrumental in advocating for the rights of the Other Backward Classes (OBC), laying the groundwork for future affirmative action policies in India. His efforts led to the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations and the reclassification of backward classes. In January 2024, Thakur was posthumously honored with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, recognizing his enduring efforts for social justice and equality.

/ Diseases
Cameroon Malaria Vaccine Program mind map
Recent News
January 2024 Launch
When
Launched January 2024
Why
Combat Malaria
What
RTS,S Vaccine
Developed by GSK
Targets P. falciparum
Four Doses
From 5 Months Age
Where
Across Cameroon
Who
Cameroon Government
Supported by
WHO
Gavi
UNICEF
How
Free of Charge
Integrated with Other Vaccinations
20 African Countries Involved
Significance
First of Its Kind
Reduces Severe Malaria Risk
Alleviates Healthcare Burden
Challenges
Moderate Effectiveness
Logistical Challenges
Requires Multiple Doses
Way Forward
Broader African Rollout
Introduction of Second Vaccine
R21 by Oxford University

In January 2024, Cameroon launched the world’s first malaria vaccine program for children, marking a significant milestone in public health. The program utilizes the RTS,S vaccine, developed by GSK, to target the deadliest strain of malaria, P. falciparum. This vaccine, which requires four doses starting from around 5 months of age, will be offered free of charge and integrated with other routine child immunizations. While the vaccine’s effectiveness is moderate, it represents a critical step towards reducing the malaria burden in Africa, where the disease has a profound impact. Challenges such as logistical distribution and ensuring complete immunization remain, but the program’s launch is seen as a major achievement in the fight against malaria.

Madiga Community mind map
Recent News:
January 2024:
Committee Formation:
Purpose: Address SC sub-categorization
Goal: Equitable benefits distribution
Context:
Historical demand: Raised in 1994
Legal possibilities: Explored in 2005
National Commissions: Opposed amendment
Constitutional Articles: 341, 342 allow sub-categorization
Current Scenario: No substantive hearings on sub-classification
When:
Historical Demand: 1994
Legal Exploration: 2005
Modi's Commitment: 2013
Recent Committee: January 2024
Why:
Equitable distribution:
Within SC quota
Among sub-castes
Historical disparities:
Between Madigas, Malas, Adi Andhras, Rellis
What
Madiga Dandora Movement:
Founders: Manda Krishna Madiga, Dandu Veeraiah Madiga
Aim: Categorization of SC reservation quota
Activities: Dharnas, rallies, rail rokos
Report by Justice Raju: 1997
Recommended Classification:
Group D: 1% Rellis
Group C: 7% Madigas
Group B: 6% Malas
Group A: 1% Adi Andhra
Where:
Predominant States:
Andhra Pradesh
Telangana
Karnataka
Who:
Madiga Community:
Traditional Occupations:
Tannery
Leatherwork
Handicrafts
Agricultural laborers
Village drummers
Street sweepers
Manda Krishna Madiga:
Role: Activist, Politician
Contribution: Founder of MRPS
How:
Political Involvement:
Initial: Dalit Maha Sabha
BSP Influence: In 1990s
Modi's Promise: Amend Constitution
Legal Efforts:
Sub-classification:
Referred to 7-Judge Bench
No hearings since referral
Significance:
Fair distribution:
Of reservations
Of government benefits
Challenges:
Internal differentiation:
Within SCs
Among OBCs
Reservation vs. Merit debate
Way Forward:
Need for:
Workable solution
Substantive hearings
Constitutional clarity

The Madiga community, primarily found in the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka, is historically associated with occupations like tannery, leatherwork, and handicrafts. In recent news, a committee was formed in January 2024 to address the sub-categorization of Scheduled Castes (SCs) for equitable benefits distribution. This move follows historical demands dating back to 1994, seeking better representation and fair distribution of reservations and government benefits among various SC sub-castes. The Madiga community, through movements like the Madiga Dandora movement, has played a significant role in advocating for these changes. The community’s struggles and demands highlight the ongoing debates around caste-based reservations, internal differentiation within SCs, and the challenges in achieving equitable distribution of resources. The way forward includes finding a workable solution, conducting substantive hearings, and gaining constitutional clarity on these issues.

India Surpasses Hong Kong as 4th biggest stock market mind map
Recent News:
January 2024:
India becomes world's:
Fourth biggest stock market
When:
Achievement date:
January 2024
Why:
Contributing factors:
Strong growth prospects
Policy reforms
Investor confidence
What
Market capitalization:
India:
$4.33 trillion
Hong Kong:
$4.29 trillion
Where:
Global ranking:
Top five stock markets:
United States:
$50.86 trillion
China:
$8.44 trillion
Japan:
$6.36 trillion
India:
$4.33 trillion
Hong Kong:
$4.29 trillion
Who:
Key performers:
Sensex and Nifty indexes
BSE MidCap and SmallCap
Notable companies:
Tata Motors
Bajaj Auto
NTPC
L&T
Coal India
How:
Investment trends:
Overseas funds:
$21 billion into Indian shares in 2023
S&P BSE Sensex Index:
Eighth consecutive year of gains
Significance:
Positive impact:
Global investor attraction
Domestic market growth
Strong economic indicators
Challenges:
Comparisons:
China and Hong Kong:
Economic challenges
Declining market trends
Way Forward:
Future prospects:
Anticipated global rate cuts in 2024
Upcoming budget announcement
Central government elections

India’s recent milestone of surpassing Hong Kong to become the world’s fourth-largest stock market in January 2024 is significant. This achievement was driven by strong growth prospects, policy reforms, and high investor confidence. With a market capitalization of $4.33 trillion, India now ranks behind the United States, China, and Japan. Key performers in this growth include the Sensex and Nifty indexes, and companies like Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto, and NTPC. Overseas investment has played a major role, with more than $21 billion poured into Indian shares in 2023. This growth stands in contrast to the economic challenges faced by China and Hong Kong. Looking forward, India’s stock market remains optimistic with potential global rate cuts in 2024 and key political and economic events on the horizon.

/ Canada

In January 2024, the Canadian government implemented a cap of approximately 360,000 on new international student visas for a two-year period to address challenges like housing shortages and to improve the overall quality of education and student support resources. This initiative includes changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program and introduces new requirements like the attestation letter for study permit applications. The changes also affect open work permit eligibility for spouses of international students. These measures are part of Canada’s effort to ensure a balanced and sustainable approach to international education, focusing on both the well-being of students and the needs of the Canadian education system.

/ Afghanistan
Malathion Pesticide mind map
Recent News
India supports Afghanistan
Date
January 2024
Details
40,000 liters supplied
Combats locust threat
Through Chabahar port
Delivered to
Taliban-controlled Ministry
Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock
FAO of UN
Gratitude expressed
Importance
Effective in arid regions
Minimal water usage
Impact
Prevents locust spread
Protects Central Asian countries
Tajikistan
Uzbekistan
Turkmenistan
When
January 2024
Why
Combat locust threat
What
40,000 liters Malathion
Where
Afghanistan
Who
India
Taliban-controlled Afghanistan government
FAO of UN
How
Via Chabahar port
In two trucks
Significance
Effective in arid regions
Minimizes water usage
Prevents locust spread

In summary, Malathion is a powerful pesticide that India recently supplied to Afghanistan to combat a severe locust threat. This aid not only addresses the immediate issue within Afghanistan but also plays a critical role in preventing the spread of locusts to neighboring Central Asian countries, thereby protecting regional food security and agricultural stability.

Khanjar Exercise mind map
Recent News:
11th Edition:
Commenced: 22nd January 2024
Ends: 3rd February 2024
Location: Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh
When:
Started: 22nd January 2024
Ends: 3rd February 2024
Why:
Counter Terrorism
Special Forces Operations
Under UN Charter Chapter VII
What
India-Kyrgyzstan:
Joint Exercise
Annual Event
Alternates Locations
2024 Edition:
Location: India
Previous: Kyrgyzstan
Where:
Bakloh:
Himachal Pradesh
India
Who:
Indian Army:
20 Personnel
Parachute Regiment
Kyrgyzstan:
20 Personnel
Scorpion Brigade
How:
Exchange:
Experiences
Best Practices
Focus:
Mountainous Terrain
Built-up Areas
Techniques:
Special Forces Skills
Advanced Insertion
Extraction
Significance:
Strengthening Defence Ties
Addressing Terrorism
Showcasing Indigenous Equipment
Bilateral Relations

The Khanjar exercise is the 11th edition of a joint special forces exercise between India and Kyrgyzstan. It commenced on 22nd January 2024 and is scheduled to conclude on 3rd February 2024. The exercise is taking place in Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh, India. This annual event alternates locations between the two countries. The exercise includes 20 personnel from the Indian Army’s Parachute Regiment and 20 from Kyrgyzstan’s Scorpion Brigade. Its aim is to share experiences and best practices in counter-terrorism and special forces operations, particularly in mountainous terrains and urban areas. The exercise is part of the cooperation under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and focuses on developing special forces skills and advanced techniques in insertion and extraction. It plays a significant role in strengthening defense ties, addressing international terrorism, showcasing state-of-the-art indigenous defense equipment, and boosting bilateral relations between India and Kyrgyzstan.

The Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana is a new initiative announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, targeting the installation of rooftop solar panels on one crore houses. This scheme is designed to reduce electricity bills for the poor and middle class and promote India’s self-reliance in the energy sector. It also offers the potential for additional income through surplus electricity generation. The plan was launched on January 22, 2024, and involves a nationwide campaign to encourage the adoption of rooftop solar among residential consumers. The significant benefits of the scheme include lower electricity costs for households and the promotion of energy self-reliance.

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