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Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – March 19, 2024

{GS2 – Vulnerable Sections – Women} Gender Inequality Index, 2022

  • Context (ANI): The Gender Inequality Index (GII) for the year 2022 has been released within the Human Development Report 2022.
  • India made significant progress, leaping 14 ranks in the Gender Inequality Index 2022. It now stands at 108th place out of 193 countries, with a GII value of 0.437.

What is the GII?

  • Published by: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • India’s Rank: 108 (2022) out of 193 countries (Earlier 122 with a score of 0.490(2021)).
  • Top ranking country: Denmark
  • The Gender Inequality Index (GII) is a composite metric that measures gender inequality across 3 dimensions:
    • Reproductive Health: The GII considers maternal mortality rates and adolescent fertility rates.
      • Higher maternal mortality rates and early pregnancies contribute to a higher GII value, indicating greater gender inequality in reproductive health.
    • Empowerment: It evaluates women’s participation in political decision-making and their educational attainment.
      • It includes indicators such as the percentage of parliamentary seats held by women and the proportion of women with at least secondary education.
    • Labour Market: The GII examines labour force participation rates for both men and women.
      • Disparities in employment opportunities, wage gaps, and the share of women in professional and technical roles impact this dimension.
  • It reflects the loss in potential human development due to gender-based inequality.
  • Interpretation: Each dimension is assigned a value between 0 and 1, where 0 represents perfect gender equality, and 1 signifies maximum inequality.
  • Calculation: The GII combines the 3-dimension scores using a geometric mean.

Gender Inequality Index

  • Comparison with neighbouring countries: Bangladesh fares better, standing at 59th place on the index.
    • Bhutan (103), China (107), Sri Lanka (115), Nepal (116).
    • Pakistan ranks 142nd on the GII, indicating higher gender inequality.
  • Impressions:
    • Maternal mortality ratio (deaths per 100,000 live births) – 103 (remains the same from 2020).
    • Adolescent birth rate (births per 1,000 women ages 15–19) – 16.3 (17.23 (2021))
    • Share of seats in parliament (% held by women) – 14.6 (13.4 (2021))
    • Population with at least some secondary education (% ages 25 and older)- Female-41.0(40.51 (2021)) Male- 58.66(58.71(2021))
    • Labour force participation rate (% ages 15 and older)- Female- 28.3(27.04(2021)), Male- 76.1(75.1(2021))
  • The GII serves as a vital tool for policymakers and organizations to track progress and identify areas where interventions are needed to achieve gender equity.
  • Long-Term Improvement: Over the years, India’s GII rank has consistently improved, reflecting the nation’s commitment to advancing gender equality. (From 127 in 2014 to 108th rank).

{GS3 – Envi – CC Impact} Missing Spring in India

  • Context (TH): Indian states have been experiencing a gradual withdrawal from spring.
  • Spring, characterized by weather between the winter of January and the scorching summers of April, is showing signs of disappearing.
  • The analysis of meteorological records spanning 50 years reveals that every region in India has witnessed a net warming during winter.
  • This warming trend during the winter months is impacting traditional seasons and potentially leading to the disappearance of spring.
  • Human-caused climate change is a significant factor behind the dramatic warmer temperatures observed in February.
  • Global mean temperatures have risen by more than 1.3 degrees Celsius since 1850, setting a new record in 2023.
  • This warming trend affects the timing and characteristics of seasons, including spring.

What are the effects of missing spring?

  • Ecological Disruptions: The missing spring disrupts the natural cycles of plants, animals, and insects.
    • Flowering Plants: Many flowering plants rely on spring for pollination and seed production. The absence of spring affects their reproductive success.
    • Bird Migration: Spring is when migratory birds return to their breeding grounds. The missing spring can impact their arrival timing and availability of food.
    • Insects and Pollinators: Insects, including bees and butterflies, depend on spring for their life cycles. Delayed or absent spring affects their survival.
  • Agricultural Challenges:
    • Crop Timing: Spring is crucial for planting crops. Delayed spring affects sowing schedules, leading to yield losses.
    • Pests and Diseases: Spring warmth helps control pests and diseases. Without it, farmers face increased challenges in pest management.
  • Human Health Implications:
    • Allergies: Spring is associated with pollen release. Missing spring may alter pollen patterns, affecting allergy sufferers.
  • Cultural and Social Impact:
    • Festivals and Traditions: Spring festivals celebrate renewal, growth, and new beginnings. Their absence affects cultural practices.

How does this affect global climate change?

  • Feedback Loops: The disruption of spring affects natural feedback loops. For example:
    • Snow and Ice Albedo: Delayed spring leads to prolonged snow cover. Reduced albedo (reflectivity) due to snow and ice amplifies warming by absorbing more sunlight.
    • Vegetation Changes: Altered spring timing affects vegetation growth and carbon sequestration. Delayed greening can impact the global carbon cycle.
  • Regional Climate Patterns:
    • Indian Monsoon: Spring influences the onset of the Indian monsoon. Changes in spring dynamics can alter monsoon patterns, affecting agriculture and water availability.
    • Temperature Extremes: The absence of spring contributes to more extreme temperature shifts, impacting weather events globally.
  • Ocean Circulation and Heat Transport:
    • Thermohaline Circulation: Spring affects ocean currents. Disrupted spring patterns may impact the thermohaline circulation, which plays a crucial role in heat transport worldwide.
  • Shifts in Phenology and Biodiversity:
    • Mismatched Timing: Spring cues various biological events (flowering, migration, breeding). Disruptions can lead to mismatches (e.g., flowers blooming before pollinators arrive).
    • Species Vulnerability: Some species may struggle to adapt to altered spring conditions, affecting biodiversity.
  • Permafrost Thaw and Methane Release:
    • Warmer Winters: Prolonged winter warmth accelerates permafrost thaw. Thawed permafrost releases stored methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

{GS3 – S&T – BioTech} Genetic Modification of Fruit Fly

  • Context (TH): Scientists have genetically modified a sexually reproducing fruit-fly species, Drosophila melanogaster, to reproduce asexually.
  • Parthenogenesis was induced in the fruit fly species Drosophila melanogaster.
  • The researchers identified genes responsible for parthenogenesis in another fruit fly species, Drosophila mercatorum, and modified the D. melanogaster genome to express these genes.
  • This genetic manipulation resulted in 1.4% of the fruit fly eggs being parthenogenetic, with offspring surviving to adulthood.
  • In regular fertilization, polar bodies, which are by-products of chromosome transmission, are discarded.
  • Altering protein levels of specific genes likely affected polar body disposal, allowing them to substitute for the missing male pronucleus and initiate embryonic development in unfertilized eggs.
  • Parthenogenesis refers to reproduction without fertilization by males, resulting in offspring from unfertilized eggs.
  • Some fruit fly species exhibit facultative parthenogenesis, where virgin females can produce offspring without mating under specific conditions.


  • The findings have implications for controlling insect pests by releasing sterilized males or males with edited genomes to disrupt progeny development.
  • This approach may inadvertently select facultatively parthenogenetic individuals, limiting its long-term effectiveness.

Asexual and Sexual Reproduction

  • Asexual reproduction involves offspring production from a single parent without gamete fusion, offering efficiency and energy conservation.
  • Sexual reproduction involves genetic recombination through gamete fusion, promoting genetic diversity and evolutionary flexibility.
Comparative Analysis
  • Sexual reproduction generates genetically diverse offspring, enhancing adaptability, while asexual reproduction offers efficiency but limits genetic diversity.
  • The prevalence of sexual reproduction in complex organisms suggests its evolutionary advantages outweigh the immediate benefits of asexual reproduction.

{Prelims – In News} Shillekyata Tribe

  • Context (TH): The Shillekyata fishers, a tribal community, are asserting their fishing rights in Kundapura taluk.
  • The Shillekyatha community migrated from Maharashtra to Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, particularly during the era of Shivaji.
  • Also addressed as the Killekyata community, they are nomadic in nature.
  • They commonly find shelter in various places such as temples, bus stands, railway stations, schools, college fields, and charity chathras.
  • Language: Marathi is spoken at home, but Kannada is used for interaction with other communities. The script used for writing is Kannada.
  • Artisanal Traditions: Known for their craftsmanship in leatherwork, including making dolls, puppets, and whistles.
    • The tradition of leatherwork is traced back to ancient times and is found in various regions like China, Thailand, and Java.
  • Religion: Hinduism.
  • Food: Their diet consists of rice, chapati, roti, fish, chicken, mutton, and other items.
  • They prepare their remedies using Ayurvedic plants for various ailments, including snake and scorpion bites. They also provide medicines for animals.
  • Economic Activities: In addition to their nomadic lifestyle, they are involved in hunting and fishing activities, which supplement their livelihoods.
  • Traditional Occupation: The primary traditional occupation of the Killekyatas is “Togalubombeyata,” a form of puppetry and storytelling.

{Prelims – S&T – Defence} 25T Bollard Pull (BP) Tug ‘Baljeet’

  • Context (PIB): The 25T Bollard Pull (BP) Tug, Baljeet, was launched at M/s Shoft Shipyard Pvt Ltd in Gujarat.
  • These Tugs are being built under the classification rules of the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS).
  • The availability of these Tugs will provide impetus to the Indian Navy’s operational commitments by assisting naval ships and submarines during berthing, un-berthing, turning, and manoeuvring in confined waters.
  • The Tugs will be capable of conducting limited Search and Rescue Operations and providing afloat firefighting assistance to ships alongside and at anchorage.
  • The Bollard Pull of a tugboat is a critical parameter that determines its ability to perform essential functions such as towing and manoeuvring other ships or objects.
  • The contract for constructing and delivering three 25T BP Tugs was awarded to M/s Shoft Shipyard Pvt Ltd (M/s SSPL), an MSME, aligning with the “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” initiative.
  • The first 25T Bollard Pull (BP) Tug, Mahabali, was delivered to the Indian Navy in February 2024.

Indian Register of Shipping

  • It is an internationally recognized, independent ship classification society.
  • It is a not-for-profit entity was founded in 1975.
  • It operates as a public limited company incorporated under the Indian Companies Act 1956 (now the Indian Companies Act 2013).
  • It is a member of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), which represents classification societies worldwide.
  • IRClass provides ship classification and certification services, conducting technical inspections and environmental and quality standards encompassing structural integrity, safety equipment, and environmental protection measures.

{Prelims – S&T – Defence} Exercise Tiger Triumph

  • Context (PIB): A bilateral tri-service Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Exercise Tiger Triumph– 24 between India and the USA is scheduled for the Eastern Seaboard.
  • The exercise aims to enhance coordination and interoperability between the armed forces of both countries for conducting HADR operations.
  • By refining Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), they intend to enable rapid and smooth coordination during disaster relief efforts.
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