PRELIM SNIPPETS – February 05th 2022
1. Artificial Intelligence Technologies have a Climate Cost
Why in News?
- While there is an allure to national dreams of economic prosperity and global competitiveness, underwritten by AI, there is an environmental cost.
Issues with AI:
- Unfair race for dominance in AI: A few developed economies possess certain material advantages right from the start, they also set the rules.
- They have an advantage in research and development, and possess a skilled workforce as well as wealth to invest in AI.
- Inequality in terms of governance: We can also look at the state of inequity in AI in terms of governance: How “tech fluent” are policymakers in developing and underdeveloped countries?
What barriers do they face in Crafting Regulations and Industrial Policy?
- At the same time, there is an emerging challenge at the nexus of AI and climate change that could deepen this inequity.
Climate Impact of AI:
- The climate impact of AI comes in a few forms: The energy use of training and operating large AI models is one.
- In 2020, digital technologies accounted for between 1.8 per cent and 6.3 per cent of global Emissions.
- In November 2021, UNESCO adopted the In November 2021, UNESCO adopted the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, calling on actors to “reduce the environmental impact of AI systems, including but not limited to its carbon footprint.” , calling on actors to “reduce the environmental impact of AI systems, including but not limited to its carbon footprint.”
Inequitable Access to Resources
- Both global AI governance and climate change policy (historically) are contentious, being rooted in inequitable access to resources.
Developing and Underdeveloped Countries face a Challenge on Two Fronts:
- 1. AI’s social and economic benefits are accruing to a few countries.
- 2. Most of the current efforts and narratives on the relationship between AI and climate impact are being driven by the developed West.
- Assess technology-led Priorities: Governments of developing countries, India included, should also assess their technology-led growth priorities in the context of AI’s climate costs.
- It is argued that as Developing nations are not plagued by legacy infrastructure it would be easier for them to “build up better”.
2. Godavari Estuary in Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS)
Why in News?
- Godavari Estuary in Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) is facing due ignorance despite meeting all nine criteria of Ramsar Convention.
- The estuary, including 235.70 sq. km Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS), is one of the rarest eco-regions on the earth.
- It is also home to India’s second-largest mangrove cover after the Sundarbans.
- The CWS is inhabited by 115 endangered fishing cats (Prionailurus viverrinus), Olive Ridley turtles, Indian smooth-coated otter, and saltwater crocodiles.
- What are the nine criteria laid out by Ramsar Convention?
- Criterion 1: “it contains a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographic region.”
- Criterion 2: “it supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.”
- Criterion 3: “it supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region.”
- Criterion 4: “it supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provides refuge during adverse conditions.”
- Criterion 5: “it regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds.”
- Criterion 6: “it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.”
- Criterion 7: “it supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies, species or families, life-history stages, species interactions and/or populations that are representative of wetland benefits and/or values and thereby contributes to global biological diversity.”
- Criterion 8: “it is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend.”
- Criterion 9: “it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of wetland-dependent non-avian animal species.
- The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (better known as the Ramsar Convention) is an international agreement promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
- It is the only global treaty to focus on a single ecosystem.
- The convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975.
- Traditionally viewed as a wasteland or breeding ground of disease, wetlands actually provide fresh water and food and serve as nature’s shock absorber.
- Wetlands, critical for biodiversity, are disappearing rapidly, with recent estimates showing that 64% or more of the world’s wetlands have vanished since 1900.
- Major changes in land use for agriculture and grazing, water diversion for dams and canals, and infrastructure development are considered to be some of the main causes of loss and degradation of wetlands.
3. Statue of Equality
Why in News?
- The Prime Minister will inaugurate the Statue of Equalityon the outskirts of Hyderabad, Telangana. India is celebrating his 1,000th birth anniversary as the ‘Festival of Equality’, upholding the view that the world is one family, ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’,”
- It is a 216-feet tall statue, which is made of ‘panchaloha’, a combination of five metals: gold, silver, copper, brass, and zync.
- It is among one of the tallest metallic statues in sitting position in the world.
- The statue is mounted on a 54-feet high base building named ‘Bhadra Vedi’. It has floors devoted for a vedic digital library and research center, ancient Indian texts, a theater, an educational gallery detailing many works of Sri Ramanujacharya.
- Ramanujacharya is born in 1017 in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu, Ramanujacharya is revered as a Vedic philosopher and social reformer.
- He was named Lakshmana at the time of his birth. He was also referred to as Ilaya Perumal which means the radiant one.
- He traveled across India, advocating equality and social justice.
- He revived the Bhakti movement, and his preachings inspired other Bhakti schools of thought. He is considered to be the inspiration for poets like Annamacharya, Bhakta Ramdas, Thyagaraja, Kabir, and Meerabai.
- He is famous as the chief proponent of Vishishtadvaita subschool of Vedānta.
- VishishtAdvaita (literally “Advaita with uniqueness; qualifications”) is a non-dualistic school of Vedanta philosophy.
- It is non-dualism of the qualified whole, in which Brahman alone is seen as the Supreme Reality, but is characterized by multiplicity.
- He went on to write nine scriptures known as the navaratnas, and composed numerous commentaries on Vedic scriptures.
- Ramanuja’s most important writings include his commentary on the Vedanta Sutras (the Sri Bhasya, or “True Commentary”), and his commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita (the Gitabhasya, or “Commentary on the Gita”).
- His other writings include the Vedartha Samgraha (“Summary of the Meaning of the Veda”), the Vedantasara (“Essence of Vedanta”), and Vedantadipa (“Lamp of Vedanta”).
- He has also stressed the need of being in tune with nature and not to over-exploit.
- Ramanuja was an advocate of social equality among all sections of people centuries ago, and encouraged temples to open their doors to everyone irrespective of caste or position in society at a time when people of many castes were forbidden from entering them.
- He took education to those who were deprived of it. His greatest contribution is the propagation of the concept of “vasudhaiva kutumbakam”, which translates as “all the universe is one family”.
- He traveled across India for several decades, propagating his ideas of social equality and universal brotherhood from temple podiums.
- He embraced the socially marginalized and condemned, and asked royal courts to treat them as equals.
- He spoke of universal salvation through devotion to God, compassion, humility, equality, and mutual respect, which is known as Sri Vaishnavam Sampradaya.
- Ramanujacharya liberated millions from social, cultural, gender, educational, and economic discrimination with the foundational conviction that every human is equal regardless of nationality, gender, race, caste, or creed.
4. Motion of thanks
Why in News?
- Amendments to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address were recently proposed (However, not passed). The amendment proposal mentioned the government’s alleged use of Pegasus spyware and its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Article 87 provides for the special address by the President.
- The article provides that at the commencement of the first session after each general election to the House of the People and at the commencement of the first session of each year, the President shall address both Houses of Parliament assembled together and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons.
- Such an Address is called ‘special address’, and it is also an annual feature.
- This Address has to be to both Houses of Parliament assembled together.
- The President’s Address is the statement of policy of the Government and, as such, is drafted by the Government.
- The Address contains a review of various activities and achievements of the Government during the previous year and sets out the policies, projects and programmes which the Government of the day wishes to pursue with regard to the important national and international issues.
- The Address also indicates, in broad terms, items of legislative business which are proposed to be brought during the sessions to be held in that year.
- The address of the president, which corresponds to the ‘speech from the Throne in Britain’, is discussed in both the Houses of Parliament on a motion called the ‘Motion of Thanks’.
- If any of the amendments are put forward and accepted then the Motion of Thanks is adopted in the amended form.
- Amendments may refer to matters contained in the Address as well as to matters which, in the opinion of the member, the Address has failed to mention.
- At the end of the discussion, the motion is put to vote.
- The Motion of Thanks must be passed in the House. Otherwise, it amounts to the defeat of the government. It is one of the ways through which the Lok Sabha can also express a lack of confidence in the government. The other ways are:
- Rejection of a money bill. Passing a censure motion or an adjournment motion. The defeat of the government on a vital issue. Passing a cut motion.
5. Drone Rule, 2021
Why in News?
- Recently, on 31 December 2021, nine remote pilot training organisations have been set up by entities under Government or private ownership.
- As per Drone Rules, 2021, any person who intends to obtain the authorisation to establish a Remote Pilot Training Organisation (RPTO) shall submit an application to the Director General of Civil Aviation in Form D5 on the Digital Sky Platform, along with the specified fees.
- The Union government had on September 15 approved a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for drones and drone components with an allocation of Rs 120 crore spread over Three Financial Years.
- The ministry had on August 25 notified the Drone Rules, 2021 that eased the regulation of drone operations in India by reducing the number of forms that need to be filled to operate them from 25 to five and decreasing the types of fees charged from the operator from 72 to four.
- Digital sky platform shall be developed as a business-friendly single-window online system.
- No flight permission required upto 400 feet in green zones and upto 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.
- No pilot licence required for micro drones (for non-commercial use), nano drones and for R&D organisations.
- No restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India.
- Import of drones and drone components to be regulated by DGFT.
- No security clearance required before any registration or licence issuance.
- No requirement of certificate of airworthiness, unique identification number, prior permission and remote pilot licence for R&D entities.
- Coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 increased from 300 kg to 500 kg. This will cover drone taxis also.Issuance of Certificate of Airworthiness delegated to Quality Council of India and certification entities authorised by it.
- Manufacturer may generate their drone’s unique identification number on the digital sky platform through the self-certification route.
- Maximum penalty under Drone Rules, 2021 reduced to INR 1 lakh. This shall, however, not apply to penalties in respect of violation of other laws.
- Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries.
- Drone promotion council to be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime.
- Use of drones in commercial, safety, law and order, disaster management and surveillance operations reduce manpower requirement and costs.
- Drones offer low-cost, safe and quick aerial surveys for data collection and are useful for industries such as power, mining, realty and oil and Gas Exploration.
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