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Current Affairs October 15-16, 2023: Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Global Water Resources 2022, State Reorganization

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Table of contents

{GS1 – Geo – PG – Climatology} State of Global Water Resources 2022

  • Context (DTE): According to the State of Global Water Resources 2022 report by the World Metrological Organisation, climate change has significantly impacted the water cycle.
  • The erratic water cycles unleashed widespread disruption, burdening livelihoods and economies.

Water Cycle

For more info: Water cycle PMFIAS Physical Geography

Distribution of water on, in, and above the Earth

Where is Earth's Water

Key Finding of The Reports

  • Nearly 4 billion people are experiencing severe water scarcity for at least a month every year.
  • A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, leading to heavier precipitation episodes, flooding, evaporation, dry soils, and intense droughts.
  • The Snow Cover in the Alps remained well below the 30-year average during the 2023 spring despite late snowfalls in May, feeding the four major riversRhine, Rhone, Danube and Po.
  • The number, total area and volume of glacier lakes have increased rapidly, pushing the lake’s water by approximately 16 Percent of the total volume.

Impact on Asian Water Tower

  • The Asian Water Tower (AWT), the world’s largest reservoir of ice and snow after the Arctic and Antarctic regions, saw significant glacial melting in 2022.
  • The AWT is a term that refers to the extensive network of high mountain regions across Asia, particularly in countries like India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, and parts of Central Asia.
  • These high mountain regions are the source of many major rivers in Asia, such as the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Mekong, Indus, and Amu Darya.
  • Glaciers from these mountains supply freshwater to downstream regions, but rising temperatures disrupt this balance, leading to increased precipitation, floods, and severe droughts.
  • From 2000-2018, the total glacier mass in the AWT decreased by 4.3 per cent.
  • The risks of such glacial events were evident in India as well. North Sikkim witnessed devastating glacial lake outburst floods after the South Lhonak Lake burst in October 2023.

Governing the 'Water Tower of Asia': The Case for a System of Integrated Knowledge for the Hindu Kush Himalaya | ORF

{GS1 – Geo – PG – Geomorphology} Earthquake

  • Context (TH): An earthquake near the terminus of the Hindu Kush Mountain range in Afghanistan triggered another earthquake.

Cause of the First Earthquake

  • Earthquakes are common in Afghanistan due to active interactions between three tectonic plates, i.e., Arabian, Eurasian, and Indian plates.
  • Due to the interaction of these tectonic plates, there are many faultlines in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Earthquake

  • A faultline is a line on a rock surface or the ground that traces a geological fault.
  • A fault is a fracture in the Earth’s crust where two blocks of rock move relative to each other.
  • If the rock blocks move rapidly, it releases energy, which causes earthquakes.
  • The first earthquake was caused by thrust faulting or reverse faulting.
  • The term ‘reverse fault’ refers to a situation where the upper block, above the fault plane (hanging wall), moves up and over the lower block, below the fault plane (foot wall).
  • Compressional forces cause this reverse fault and cause crust shortening.

Normal and Reverse Fault

How the First Earthquake Triggered the Second Earthquake

  • A first quake of 6.3 magnitude was followed by another of the same magnitude.
  • This can happen when a fault at one place ruptures resulting in an earthquake that releases stress.
  • The release of stress in one fault results in the loading of stress at another fault.
  • The loading of stress can trigger another earthquake of same or higher magnitude.

Why it is called the Second Earthquake and Not an Aftershock?

  • Aftershocks of relatively lesser magnitude generally follow earthquakes.
  • A subsequent seismic event can be called an aftershock when:
    1. It is smaller in magnitude than the mainshock earthquake.
    2. It occurs in the same fault zone as the mainshock earthquake
  • A subsequent seismic event cannot be called an aftershock when:
    1. It occurs in a different tectonic plate than the mainshock earthquake.
    2. It is larger in magnitude than the mainshock earthquake.
    3. It occurs in a different fault zone than the mainshock earthquake.

Time Limit for Aftershocks

  • Aftershocks can occur in a few minutes to years after the mainshock.
  • There is no specific time limit for aftershocks, as their timing varies depending on the magnitude of the mainshock earthquake, the geology of the region, and the specific fault.

Characteristic

Aftershock

Foreshock

Similarities

Timing Both occurs after the mainshock earthquake
Magnitude Both are smaller than the mainshock earthquake
Location Both occurs within the fault zone

Differences

Duration Last for days, weeks, months, or even years Typically lasts for a few hours or days
Frequency More common than foreshocks Less common than aftershocks
Causation A direct response to the stress release caused by the mainshock An early indication of the stress buildup that ultimately leads to the mainshock

 {GS1 – MIH – Reorganization} State Reorganization

  • Context (TH): The DMK will protest to press its demand for statehood for the Puducherry (UT).
  • Under Article 3 of IC, the Parliament can make law:
    • To form a new State by:
      • Separation of territory from any State or
      • Uniting two or more States or parts of States
    • To increase the area of any State
    • To decrease the area of any State
    • To change the boundaries of any State
    • To change the name of any State

States During British Rule

  • During colonial rule, the state boundaries were drawn:
    • On administrative convenience, or
    • To coincide with the territories annexed by the British government, or
    • To coincide with the territories ruled by the princely powers.
  • Our national movement rejected artificial divisions and promised linguistic states.
  • The Nagpur session of Congress (1920) recognised the linguistic principle as the basis of the reorganization.
  • Many Provincial Congress Committees were created by linguistic zones, which did not follow the administrative divisions of British India.

States After Independence

  • Things changed after Independence and Partition.
    • The fate of the Princely States had not been decided.
    • The memory of the partition was still fresh.
  • Our leaders felt that carving out states based on language:
    • May lead to disruption and disintegration.
    • May foster separatism and endanger the unity of the country.
  • Hence, they decided to postpone matters of state reorganisation.
  • The local leaders and the people challenged this decision of the national leadership. Protests began in different parts of the country for separate states based on language.

Dhar Commission

  • In June 1948, the Dhar Commission was appointed on the recommendation of the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly.
  • The Commission reported to the Constituent Assembly in December 1948.
  • The Dhar Commission report:
    • Opposed any reorganization at that time.
    • Advised not to create provinces primarily on linguistic grounds.
    • The focus should be on administrative convenience when forming provinces.
    • Language homogeneity should only be considered as a matter of administrative convenience.
    • History, geography, economy, and culture, among other factors, should be considered while making new states.
    • Listed specific criteria for creating a province, including:
      • Geographical contiguity
      • Financial self-sufficiency
      • Administrative convenience
      • Capacity for future development
      • Substantial agreement among the people within its borders regarding its formation.

JVP Committee

  • At the Jaipur session in December 1948, INC formed a J.V.P. Committee to look into the matter of linguistic provinces.
  • The committee included Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya.
  • The committee advised against following the linguistic principle.
  • It recommended that:
    • The foremost priority should be India’s security, unity, and economic prosperity.
    • The policy of creating linguistic provinces should be applied with caution to avoid conflicts that endanger the country’s stability.

Creation of Andhra State

  • The Vishalandhra movement (movement for a separate Andhra) demanded that the Telugu-speaking areas be separated from the Madras province and made into a separate Andhra province.
  • Potti Sriramulu, a Congress leader and a veteran Gandhian, went on an indefinite fast, leading to his death after 56 days. This caused great unrest and resulted in violent outbursts in the Andhra region.
  • Finally, PM Nehru announced the formation of a separate Andhra state in December 1952.

State Reorganisation Act

  • The creation of Andhra Pradesh based on language inspired similar movements in other parts to form states along linguistic lines.
  • These struggles increased the pressure on the Central Government to accept their demands.
  • The GoI appointed a States Reorganisation Commission (Fazl Ali Commission) in 1953 to look into redrawing the boundaries of states.
  • The Commission, in its report (1955), accepted that the state’s boundaries should reflect the boundaries of different languages.
  • Based on its report, the States Reorganisation Act was passed in 1956. This led to the creation of fourteen states and six UTs.

States

Union Territories

  1. Madras
  2. Andhra Pradesh
  3. Kerala
  4. Mysore
  5. Bombay
  6. Jammu and Kashmir
  7. Punjab
  8. Rajasthan
  9. West Bengal
  10. Assam
  11. Orissa
  12. Bihar
  13. Madhya Pradesh
  14. Uttar Pradesh
  1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  2. Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands
  3. Delhi
  4. Himachal Pradesh
  5. Manipur
  6. Tripura

Reorganisation after 1956

  • In 1960, Bombay State was divided into Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • In 1966, the state of Punjab was divided into three — Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh (HP).
    1. The mostly Hindi-speaking part became the present-day Indian state of Haryana.
    2. The mostly Punjabi-speaking part became the present-day Punjab.
    3. A new union territory (Chandigarh) was also created to serve as the capital of both states.
    4. Some parts of the former territory of Patiala and East Punjab States Union, including Solan and Nalagarh, were transferred to Himachal Pradesh (HP).
  • In 2000:
    1. Chhattisgarh was created out of eastern Madhya Pradesh.
    2. Jharkhand was carved out of the southern Bihar.
    3. Uttaranchal (Uttarakhand) was created out of northwest Uttar Pradesh.
  • In 2014, a separate state of Telangana was formed after separating from Andhra Pradesh.

Goa

  • India gained independence from British rule in 1947 and requested the transfer of Portuguese territories on the Indian subcontinent.
  • The Indian Army invaded on 19 December 1961 with Operation Vijay, leading to the annexation of Goa and Daman and Diu into the Indian Union.
  • Goa, along with Daman and Diu, was initially a centrally administered union territory of India.
  • On 30 May 1987, the union territory was divided, and Goa became India’s twenty-fifth state, while Daman and Diu continued as a union territory.

Reorganisation in North-Eastern India

  • Nagaland (separating from Assam) became a state in 1963.
  • The North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act of 1971 led to the following changes in 1972:
    1. Establishment of the states of Manipur and Tripura (earlier, both were UTs).
    2. Establishment of the state of Meghalaya (Earlier, it was an autonomous part of Assam).
    3. Establishment of the Union Territories of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
      • Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram came into being in 1987.

{GS2 – IR – Groupings} Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

  • Context (TH): Four years after India walked out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, neighbours Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are now considering their chances of membership in the 15-nation trading bloc.
  • The RCEP is a free trade agreement (FTA) among the Asia-Pacific nations that accounts for about 30% of the world’s population and 30% of global GDP, making it the most significant trade bloc.
  • RCEP is the first free FTA among the largest economies in Asia-Pacific countries.
  • A FTA is a legally binding pact between two or more countries to promote and facilitate trade and economic cooperation by reducing or eliminating trade barriers and restrictions.
  • These agreements aim to create a more open and competitive international trading environment.
  • The RCEP was conceived at the 2011 ASEAN Summit in Bali, Indonesia, while negotiations were formally launched during the 2012 ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
  • The treaty was signed in 2020 at the virtual ASEAN Summit hosted by Vietnam.
  • For the first ten ratifying countries, the trade pact took effect on 1 January 2022.
  • Any country or separate customs territory in the region can accede to the pact from 1 July 2023 onward.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

India and RCEP

  • India, which took part in the initial negotiations but later decided to opt out, was invited to join the bloc at any time.

Why India Didn’t Join The RCEP In 2019

  • Trade Deficit: India’s trade deficit with RCEP countries exceeds $100 billion, with China alone contributing to a $54 billion deficit.
  • Data Localisation: India advocated for the right of all RCEP countries to protect data and restrict cross-border data flow in the national interest.
  • Dairy Industry: India, a major producer of liquid dairy products, feared an influx of cheap solid dairy products from New Zealand, potentially impacting Indian farmers and dairy entrepreneurs.
  • Agriculture: Southern Indian plantation farmers were apprehensive about cheaper imports of tea, coffee, rubber, cardamom and pepper from Malaysia, Indonesia & other RCEP nations.
  • Concerns about China: The threat of cheap Chinese goods raised concerns, therefore, India proposed separate customs duty levels for Chinese imports.
  • Automatic Trigger Safeguard Mechanism (ATSM): To protect against import surges, India wanted an ATSM that would allow for conditional increases in customs duty on imported products.
  • Ratchet Obligation: The RCEP agreement stipulates that commitments cannot be undone. India sought certain exemptions to this rule.

Why should India consider joining RCEP?

  • Market Access (2.3 billion people)
  • Counterbalancing China and Strategic Alliances
  • Attracting Investment
  • Technology and Knowledge Transfer

Way forward

  • In a world where economic power is shifting toward Asia, India cannot afford to remain on the sidelines. Joining RCEP is the path to harnessing our potential and shaping our destiny.

{GS2 – IR – India-Tanzania} India and Tanzania

  • Context (TH): India and Tanzania:
    • Announced elevating their ties to a strategic partnership.
    • Agreed to expand defence cooperation significantly.

Economic Cooperation

  • As per Tanzanian statistics, India is the 3rd largest trade partner after China and UAE.
  • In July 2023, India and Tanzania started trade settlements in local currencies, Indian rupees (INR) and Tanzanian shillings.
  • The RBI allowed the authorised banks in India to open Special Rupee Vostro Accounts (SRVA) of correspondent banks of Tanzania.

Vostro account

  • It is an account that domestic banks hold for foreign banks in the former’s domestic currency.
  • For instance, if Russian banks open their account in SBI in rupees, then it is a Vostro account for the Russian banks.
  • Domestic banks use it to provide international banking services to their clients who have global banking needs.
  • The Economic Survey (2022-23) argued that the Special Rupee Vostro Accounts (SRVA) could:
    • Reduce the “net demand for foreign exchange, the U.S. dollar in particular, for the settlement of current account related trade flows”.
    • Reduce the need for holding foreign exchange reserves.
    • Reduce dependence on foreign currencies.
    • Make the country less vulnerable to external shocks.
    • Promote INR as an international currency once the rupee settlement mechanism gains traction.

Other Significant Developments

  1. The first International Gandhi Peace Prize in 1995 was awarded to Dr. Julius Nyerere (former President of Tanzania).
  2. In July 2023, India signed a MoU with Tanzania to establish a branch of IIT Madras in Tanzania. It will be the first IIT branch abroad.
  3. The government of Tanzania also announced that it would be joining the International Big Cat Alliance and the Global Biofuel Alliance.
  • The International Gandhi Peace Prize is awarded annually by the GoI.
  • It was launched in 1995 on the 125th birth anniversary of M.K. Gandhi.

H.E. Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan

  • She is the 1st woman President of Tanzania (Current President).
  • She is conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Alliance vs strategic partnership

  • An alliance is an arrangement between two or more states to work together on mutual security issues.
  • In an alliance, states usually are treaty-bound to assist each other in case of a threat or attack against any member.
  • The essence of the strategic partnership lies in cooperation between the states that share common objectives. These are less formal than alliances.
  • Though security issues are central to strategic partnerships, the ambit of such partnerships can be quite broad, including trade, economy, technology, and so on.
  • India has signed more than 30 strategic partnerships with various countries.

{GS2 – Polity – IC – Reservation} Cap on Caste-based Reservation

  • Context (TH): SC/ST communities currently have a 22.5% reservation, while OBCs have a 27% reservation. The Economically Weaker Section (EWS) has a 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.
  • In the original constitution, no express provision for reserving seats in educational institutions existed.
  • Governments used Article 46 (DPSP) to formulate reservation policies for educational institutions.
  • The government has provided reservations for SCs and STs in educational institutions and jobs by amending Articles 15 and 16.

Article 15(4) of IC

  • The state can make special provisions for the welfare and advancement of socially and educationally backward classes, SCs, and STs.
  • These provisions are not considered violative of Articles 15(1) and 29(2).

Article 46 of IC

  • The State shall promote the educational and economic interests of the society’s weaker sections, particularly the SCs and STS.
  • The Mandal Commission report of 1980:
    • Estimated OBCs as 52% of India’s population, excluding SCs/STs.
    • Recommended 27% reservation for OBCs to keep the overall reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs together below the 50% ceiling set by the SC.
  • In Indira Sawhney vs Union of India (1992), the SC:
    • Upheld the 50% ceiling on reservations.
    • Established factors such as caste, social status, and income to ascertain backwardness.
    • Introduced the concept of the ‘creamy layer’ to exclude more wealthy individuals from seeking the benefit of reservations.
  • According to a 2017 order issued by the Centre, creamy layer individuals are those who have an annual income of Rs 8 lakhs or more.
  • They are excluded from benefits under the OBC quota.
  • The SC, in the EWS quota verdict, said that:
    • The 50% ceiling for reservation applies to only SC/ST and OBC (caste-based reservation).
    • The 50% ceiling is flexible.

Debate on 50% ceiling on caste-based reservation

  • Recently, the Bihar government released the data of its caste survey.
  • The data showed that the SCs, STs, and OBCs account for about 84% of the population.
  • This has reopened the debate on whether the 50% ceiling on caste-based reservation should be removed.

Arguments in favour of removing the 50% Ceiling

  • Many view the 50% ceiling as arbitrary because the judiciary did not have numbers to back that cap.
  • Indra Sawhney’s judgment capped reservation at 50%, but it allowed to relax the limit in case of extraordinary or exceptional circumstances.
  • The EWS ruling argued that the 50% cap wasn’t rigid.
  • The court’s ruling cannot remain constant and irreplaceable. Today, some OBCs are not eligible to enjoy the fruits of the reservation because of the 50% limit.
  • Since Indra Sawhney’s judgement, parliament has made several constitutional changes to nullify the effect of the 1992 verdict. Hence, Parliament should consider revising the 50% cap.
  • If the 50% ceiling is not removed, many social affirmative actions initiated to eradicate unemployment, discrimination, and other disparities might not be implemented.

Argumenst against removing the 50% Cap

  • Permitting the breach of the 50% rule would result in compartmentalisation of classes.
  • Removing the 50% limit on reservations will affect the right to equality under Article 14 of IC.
  • The rule of equality would be reduced to the right of reservation.
  • Affirmative actions are not limited to reservations; hence, a 50% cap won’t limit the state’s power to uplift the backward classes.
  • According to Dr Ambedkar, the reservations should be seen as temporary and exceptional, or they could violate the rule of equality.

Article 335 of IC

  • When appointing people to government jobs, the needs of SCs and STs should be considered, but without compromising the efficiency of the administration.
  • This article will not prevent the state from making provisions in favour of the SCs and STs, including:
    • Relaxation in qualifying marks
    • Lowering the standards of evaluation
    • Reservation in matters or promotion to any class or post

{GS3 – Envi – CC Impact} Arctic Ecosystem Impacts Gray Whale Population

  • Context (TH | PHYS): Mass mortality of eastern North Pacific gray whales are occurring due to changing prey biomass and ice cover in the Arctic.

Gray Whales (Eschrichtius robustus)

  • Also known as gray-back whale or Pacific gray whale, Korean gray whale, or California gray whale, it is a baleen whale (filters food out of the water using baleen plates).
  • Its life expectancy is between 55 and 70 years.
  • It was called devil fish because of their fighting behaviour when hunted.
  • It is the only whale species that has two blowholes on top of their heads.
  • It has a thick layer of blubber that helps them to stay warm in cold water.
  • Distribution: It is found in the North Pacific Ocean.
  • Habitat: As bottom feeders, gray whales prefer shallow waters near the coast.
  • Migration: Grey whales make one of the longest annual migrations of any mammal.
    • Eastern Pacific gray whales migrate from the Arctic (feeding ground) to Baja, California, Mexico (breeding ground) in winter.
    • Western Pacific gray whales migrate from the Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea (feeding ground) to the coasts of Sakhalin Island (Russia) and China (breeding ground) in winter.
  • Conservation Status:
  • Threats: Fishing, pollution, and climate change.

Gray Whales (Eschrichtius robustus)

Eastern North Pacific Gray Whales: A Conservation Success

  • The gray whales were near extinction by 1950 due to commercial hunting.
  • Then, they received international & national protection. E.g., Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972).
  • As a result, the population eastern North Pacific gray whales recovered and is now least concern species under the IUCN Red List.

Ecological Significance of Gray Whales (GS1, Geo, BG)

  • Nutrient Transport: Gray whales consume benthic organisms and excrete nutrients in warmer waters.
  • Food Chain: Gray whales feed on small crustaceans and other plankton populations. And gray whales are preyed upon by other large predators.
  • Benthic Disturbance: While foraging, gray whales disturb the seafloor. This disturbance can lead to increased biodiversity and habitat for various organisms.
  • Tourism: Gray whales support eco-tourism and research, contributing to local economies.

Warming of Arctic and Gray Whales

  • Altered Feeding Patterns: Warm waters support less benthic amphipods, gray whale’s primary prey.
  • Longer Migration: Diminishing sea ice in the Arctic may prompt gray whales to extend their migration routes. This potentially leads to increased energy expenditure and greater mortality risks.
  • Shipping Traffic: Melting sea ice increases shipping traffic in the Arctic.
  • Health Issues: Warmer waters may expose gray whales to novel pathogens or toxins.

{GS3 – Envi – Degradation} Thar Desert Dusts Impacting Tibetan Glaciers

  • Context (NDTV): Tibetan glaciers are greatly affected by dust from the Thar Desert by reducing albedo of the glaciers.
  • Consequence: Due to reduced albedo the glacier absorbs more heat, which causes it to melt faster.

North India

Reasons Why Dusts from Thar Desert Reaches Tibet

  • Westerly Wind: The prevailing winds in the region blow from west to east, carrying dust from the Thar Desert over the Tibetan Plateau.
  • Atmospheric pressure: The Thar Desert is at a lower elevation than the Tibetan Plateau, so the atmospheric pressure there is lower. This creates a pressure gradient that drives the winds eastward.

Albedo

  • Albedo refers to the surface’s ability to reflect light.
  • It is represented as a value between 0 and 1, with 0 indicating a surface with no reflection and 1 indicating a surface with complete reflection.

Albedo

Albedo

Determinants of Albedo

  • Surface Colour: Lighter-colored surfaces have higher albedo as they reflect more light.
  • Surface Type and Composition: Fresh snow and ice have high albedo due to their high reflectivity.
  • Surface Roughness: Rough surfaces with irregularities can scatter light in multiple directions, leading to lower albedo.
  • Sun’s Incidence Angle: Surfaces that receive sunlight at a higher angle (like during midday) have lower albedo as more light is absorbed.
  • Surfaces receiving sunlight at a lower angle (like sunrise or sunset) tend to have higher albedo as more light is reflected.
  • Surface Condition: Clean, fresh snow has a higher albedo than dirty or compacted snow due to reduced light reflection caused by impurities or ice crystals.

{GS3 – S&T – AI} Lack of Safety Guardrails in AI-Language Models

  • Context (TH): French AI firm Mistral’s language model is criticised for its lack of safety guardrails that ChatGPT, Bard and Llama have.

AI Language Model

  • It is an artificial intelligence (AI) designed to process and generate natural language text.
  • It is a statistical model trained to predict a text’s next word or words based on the preceding words.
  • It uses machine learning and deep learning to do so.

Machine Learning

  • Machine learning, a subfield of AI, uses algorithms to learn from data and make predictions or decisions without explicitly programmed to do so.
  • It entails training a model on an extensive dataset to enable pattern recognition.

Deep Learning

  • Deep learning is a subfield of machine learning that is inspired by the structure (neutral networks) and function of the human brain.
  • It involves training artificial neural networks on a large dataset so that the network can learn and make intelligent decisions on its own.

Uses of AI Language Models

  • Natural Language Processing: To understand and analyse human language (e.g., Siri on iPhones).
  • Text generation: To generate texts that resemble human writing (e.g., auto text suggestions on Gmail).
  • Language translation: To translate text from one language to another (e.g., Google translator).
  • Text classification: To classify text data into different categories. E.g., classifying spam/non-spam emails.
  • Dialogue systems: To build chatbots or virtual assistants to engage in user conversations.
  • Information retrieval: To search through large volumes of text data and retrieve relevant information.
  • Sentiment analysis: To analyse the sentiment of text data. E.g., determining whether a customer review is positive or negative.

Concerns With AI-Language Models Without Safety Guardrails

  • Biasness: AI language models can inherit and even exacerbate biases present in their training data, leading to biased or unfair outputs.
  • Harmful content: It can be used to generate harmful content, such as hate speech, misinformation, and propaganda.
  • Privacy violation: It can generate or process sensitive and private information without users’ consent.
  • Manipulation and Deepfakes: It can generate highly convincing text and can be used for malicious purposes, such as creating convincing deepfake text, social engineering, or impersonation attacks.
  • Security Risks: It can be exploited for malicious purposes, such as generating phishing emails, spam, or other cyberattacks.
  • Inappropriate and restricted content: It can generate inappropriate, offensive, or harmful content. E.g., explanations on how to make explosives.
  • AI hallucinations: AI hallucinations refer to a phenomenon where AI systems, particularly LLMs, generate creative and imaginative outputs that are false, nonsensical, or contradictory.

Lobotomy of AI Language Models

  • In medicine and neuroscience, a lobotomy is a surgical procedure that involves cutting or disconnecting certain parts of the brain to treat mental disorders.
  • Lobotomy of AI language models is a metaphor for the process of restricting or controlling AI language models to prevent them from generating unwanted outputs.

Concerns with Lobotomy of AI-Language Models

  • Censorship: Lobotomy can be used to censor AI language models and silence dissent or to suppress unpopular opinions.
  • Reduced creativity: Lobotomy can reduce the creativity of AI language models.
  • Biasness: It can introduce bias into AI language models.
  • Unintended consequences: It can have unintended consequences that are difficult to predict. E.g., filtering social media posts to remove hate speech can also remove legitimate criticism.

Way Forward

  • Transparency and accountability: It is important to be transparent about how AI language models are developed and deployed and to be accountable for their outputs.
  • Multistakeholder engagement: Safety guardrails for AI language should be developed and implemented with input from a variety of stakeholders, including researchers, developers, users, etc.
  • Continuous improvement: As AI language models evolve, it is important to monitor and update safety guardrails continuously.

{GS3 – S&T – Defence} Israel Missile System

  • Context (WION I NYP): An Israeli legislator’s calls for using a “doomsday” weapon against Hamas and Palestine have spotlighted nuclear weapons in West Asia, particularly the Jericho missile system.

Jericho Missile System

  • The Jericho Missile System is Israel’s inaugural ballistic missile programme launched in the 1960s.

Jericho-1

  • It had a range of 500 kilometres and could carry a payload of 1,000 kilograms.
  • However, it only had a 50% probability of landing within a 1,000-metre radius of its intended target.
  • This model was decommissioned in the 1990s.

Jericho-2

  • This model was developed towards the end of the 1980s, ranging from 1,500 to 3,500 km.

Jericho-3

  • This model is Israel’s first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).
  • It underwent its first test in 2008 and was officially put into service in 2011.
  • It is estimated to weigh around 29,000 kg at launch, can carry a payload ranging from 1,000 to 1,300 kg, and has a nuclear warhead weighing around 750 kg.
  • It ranges between 4,800 and 6,500 km, using inertial guidance and a radar-guided warhead.

Missiles of Israel

  • Israel has one of the Middle East’s most technologically advanced missile arsenals.
  • Israel possesses nuclear weapons but is neither a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty nor a Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) member.
  • It has, however, stated a unilateral commitment to abide by MTCR’s restrictions on missile exports.

Missiles of Israel Why Would Israel Reportedly Have Missiles That Reach Beyond Iran - Israel News

Missile Name Class Range (km)
Gabriel Anti-Ship Cruise Missile 35-400
Popeye Air-Launched Cruise Missile 75-100
Harpoon Anti-Ship Cruise Missile 90-240
EXTRA Artillery Rocket 150
Delilah Land-Attack Cruise Missile 250-300
LORA Short-Range Ballistic Missile 280
Jericho 1 (obsolete) Short-Range Ballistic Missile 500
Jericho 2 Medium-Range Ballistic Missile 1,500-3,500
Jericho 3 Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile 4,800-6,500

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

  • The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is an international agreement designed to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology.
  • Negotiated between 1965 and 1968 by the Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament, UN-sponsored organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, the treaty entered into force in 1970.
  • The NPT boasts more member countries than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement.
  • However, Four UN Member states have never joined the NPT, including India, Israel, Pakistan, and South Sudan.

Treaty Structure (Three pillars)

  • Non-proliferation: It commits not to transfer nuclear weapons or technology.
  • Disarmament: All parties pledge to engage in negotiations for nuclear arms control, disarmament, and general disarmament.
  • Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy: This allows transferring nuclear technology and materials to NPT Parties for civilian nuclear energy programs, subject to IAEA safeguards to ensure these programs are non-military.

Missile Technology Control Regime

  • The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is a multilateral export control regime.
  • The regime was formed in 1987 by the G-7 industrialised countries.
  • The MTCR is not a treaty and does not impose any legally binding obligations on members.
  • Instead, it is an informal political understanding among states that seeks to limit the proliferation of missiles and missile technology.
  • In this context, the MTCR focuses on rockets and unmanned aerial vehicles (other than manned aircraft) capable of delivering a payload of at least 500 kilograms to a range of at least 300 kilometres and on equipment, software, and technology for such systems.
  • India became a MTCR member in 2016.
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