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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

21 Sep, 2022

31 Min Read

National Assessment & Accreditation Council (NAAC)

GS-II : Governance Education

National Assessment & Accreditation Council (NAAC) & Higher Education

The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda's National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) ratings recently sparked controversy since the institution's grade increased from A to A+ as a result of improvements across all areas.

What is India's Accreditation Status for Institutions?

  • The All-India Survey on Higher Education's portal lists 42,343 colleges and 1,043 universities.
  • The NAAC has accredited 8,686 colleges and 406 institutions.
  • Maharashtra has the most accredited institutions among the states, with 1,869, and Karnataka has the second-most, with 914.
  • With 43 accredited universities, Tamil Nadu has the most.

Which Educational Institutions may Submit an Accreditation Application?

  • Only higher education institutions with a minimum of six years of operation or with at least two graduating classes may submit an application.
  • For five years, the accreditation is valid.
  • Additionally, aspirant institutions must have regular students enrolled in their full-time teaching and research programs and be recognized by the UGC.

What is the current state of higher education in India?

  • Next to China and the United States, India has the third-largest student body in the world's higher education system.
  • Since India's independence, the number of universities, college-level institutions, and other higher education institutions has significantly increased.
  • Only three Indian universitiesIIT-Bombay, IIT-Delhi, and IISc—are listed among the top 200 universities in the famous Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2023.

What Struggles Does India's Higher Education Sector Face?

  • Enrollment: In comparison to developed and other significant emerging nations, India's Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education is quite low at only 25.2%.
  • Equity: There is no equality in GER between the various societal groups. GER for SC (21.8%), ST (15.9%), males (26.3%), and females (25.4%).
  • Regional differences also exist. While some states have GER that is above average, some are significantly below average.
  • In comparison to the All India average of 28, the college density (number of colleges per lakh eligible population) varies from 7 in Bihar to 59 in Telangana.
  • The majority of elite colleges and universities are concentrated in large, urban areas, which contributes to regional disparities in access to higher education.
  • Quality: Because of the poor quality of instruction, higher education in India is beset with rot learning, a lack of employability, and a lack of skill development.
  • Infrastructure: India's higher education has additional obstacles due to poor infrastructure. Public sector universities in India lack the required infrastructure as a result of the budget deficit, corruption, and lobbying by special interest groups (Education Mafias). Even the private sector falls short of the required level by international standards.
  • Faculty: For a long time, a quality education has been challenged by faculty shortages and the state educational system's incapacity to recruit and retain teachers with the necessary qualifications. Even in the most prestigious universities, a lack of professors causes ad hoc expansion.
  • Although the pupil-to-teacher ratio in the nation (30:1) has been consistent, it must be increased to be on par with the USA (12.5:1), China (19.5:1), and Brazil (19:1).

What recent initiatives has the government made regarding higher education?

  • EQUIP: Education Quality Upgrading and Inclusion Program This is a vision plan for the next five years to raise the standard and accessibility of higher education (2019-2024).
  • Learning Outcome-Based Curriculum Framework (LOCF) of the UGC To define what graduates are anticipated to know, understand, and be able to do upon completion of their degree of study, the UGC released the LOCF guidelines in 2018. By doing this, teachers will be better able to facilitate learning for their students.
  • Universities and Colleges with Graded Autonomy: A three-tiered graded autonomy regulation structure has been launched, with the classification being based on accrediting results. Universities in categories I and II will have a lot of freedom to set up their own evaluation procedures, administer tests, and even publish the results.
  • Global Academic Initiative Network (GIAN): The initiative aims to attract eminent academicians, businesspeople, researchers, and specialists from top universities from around the globe to lecture in India's higher education institutions.
  • The AISHE, or All India Survey on Higher Education: The survey's primary goals are to locate and list all higher education institutions in the nation, as well as to gather information on various elements of higher education from all higher education institutions.

About the NAAC;

  • It is a self-governing organization that reports to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and grades higher education institutions (HEIs) as part of accreditation.
  • A higher education institution determines through a multi-layered procedure whether it satisfies the criteria for a quality set by the evaluator in terms of the curriculum, faculty, infrastructure, research, and other factors.
  • Institutional rankings range from A++ to C. An institution receives a D, which indicates that it is not accredited.

Mission:

  • To organise for periodic evaluation and accreditation of higher education institutions or units, as well as of particular academic projects or programmes;
  • To encourage higher education institutions' academic environments to support high standards of teaching, learning, and research;
  • To promote self-assessment, accountability, autonomy, and innovations in higher education; to conduct quality-related research studies, consultancy projects, and training programs; and to work together with other higher education stakeholders on quality evaluation, promotion, and maintenance.

Source: The Hindu

47th AIBD Annual Gathering

GS-II : International organisation Major International Organizations

47th AIBD Annual Gathering

  • The prestigious Asia-Pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development (AIBD) has extended India's presidency for an additional year.
  • At the two-day General Conference of the Institute held in New Delhi, the member nations of the AIBD unanimously decided this.

What is AIBD, or the Asia-Pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development?

  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was the umbrella organization when the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) was founded in 1977.
  • It is a distinctive regional intergovernmental organisation that provides support to nations that are members of the UN-ESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific).
  • The Malaysian government is the host of its secretariat, which is located in Kuala Lumpur.
  • The goal of the AIBD is to create a dynamic and unified electronic media environment in the Asia-Pacific region through the creation of policies and resources.
  • Founding Members: The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) are founding organisations of the Institute and are non-voting members of the General Conference.
  • Members: The organisation is made up of broadcasters from 26 nations in the Asia-Pacific area, including India.
  • The 20th AIBD General Conference and Associated Meetings was conducted in New Delhi during the 47th AIBD Annual Gathering.
  • It featured a variety of debates, talks, and idea-sharing sessions, with an emphasis on "Building a Stronger Future of Broadcasting in Post-Pandemic Era."
  • Additionally, a five-year strategy for exchange programmes and cooperative activities was completed.
  • The participating nations and member broadcasters made a joint commitment to work toward a sustainable broadcasting environment, cutting-edge technological expertise, and top-quality content.

What Role Has AIBD Played in the CoVID-19 Pandemic Era?

  • During the Covid-19 pandemic, the AIBD leadership kept member nations connected online and continued a steady conversation about how media may lessen the pandemic's effects.
  • Sharing information on the most recent medical advancements, inspiring tales of COVID fighters, and, most critically, fighting bogus news that was spreading as quickly as the virus, greatly benefited member nations.
  • Even amid lockdowns, AIBD continued its training and capacity-building programmes. 34 training sessions were held in 2021 alone, with an emphasis on both established topics and new ones including climate change, green technologies, sustainable development, quicker reporting, children's programming, etc.
  • The need for journalists to receive training in cyber security journalism has grown as the usage of the internet for broadcasting has increased.

Source: PIB

Ethereum Merger

GS-III : Economic Issues Digital currency

Ethereum Merger

The second-most valued cryptocurrency in the world, Ethereum, just underwent a substantial software upgrade.

About:

  • Ethereum redesign: This process is referred to as "The Merge."
  • It will do away with the requirement for cryptocurrency miners and massive mining farms, which previously powered the blockchain through a system known as "proof-of-work" (PoW).
  • In its place, a "proof-of-stake" (PoS) mechanism has been adopted, which randomly selects "validators" to approve transactions in exchange for a modest payment.

How it has operated thus far:

  • Since Ethereum is a decentralized cryptocurrency, its network does not have organizations like banks approving transactions.
  • Before, the PoW consensus mechanism—which was primarily carried out by miners—was used for approvals.
  • The first miner to complete a complicated mathematical puzzle would be chosen as the validator. Miners would compete to solve these riddles using a vast infrastructure of cutting-edge computer technology.
  • Crypto farms, which are enormous warehouses filled with rows of computers that would solve the problems, were essentially the only source of power for this method.
  • Problem: These energy-guzzler mining farms were a major environmental sustainability concern because they frequently consumed more electricity than entire nations. This was one of the main complaints of the cryptocurrency business.
  • The "Merge" and the switch to the PoS consensus process are two recent changes.
  • Although the new idea would eliminate the need for miners and mining farms, Ethereum would still be a decentralized platform.
  • Instead, a validator will be chosen at random by an algorithm from a group of individuals who have "staked" (basically, pledged at least 32 Ethereum tokens on the network) their money.
  • As a result, the Ethereum network would no longer require any miners.
  • Cardano, Binance Coin, and Solana are among the cryptocurrencies that employ proof of stake.

Importance of the Merge

  • Enhanced Security: It will significantly increase the security of transactions on the Ethereum network.
  • Supporting Network: Since the Ethereum network serves as the foundation for some of the most well-known cryptocurrency applications, like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralised finance (DeFi), the redesign may have long-term repercussions.
  • Reduced Energy Consumption: The switch to PoS will result in a nearly 99.95% reduction in the energy used by Ethereum.
  • Ecologically Beneficial: Since it promises to reduce its carbon impact almost totally, it is also being viewed as an environmentally responsible action.
  • Reduced Cost: It will assist in lowering the fee per transaction that miners and validators charge.
  • More Returns: By taking part in this new validation procedure, it will also make it possible for regular people to profit from ethereum (staking).

Ethereum

  • The second-most popular digital token after bitcoin is ether (ETH), the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network (BTC).
  • Everyone has unfettered access to digital currency and data-friendly services.
  • Ethereum can be programmed, which makes it ideal for many various types of digital assets, including Bitcoin.

Bitcoin

  • Satoshi Nakamoto, an unidentified hacker or hacker collective, created Bitcoin in 2009.
  • A "peer-to-peer electronic cash system" was used to describe it.
  • Due to the lack of servers and centralized power, the system was entirely decentralized.
  • The first cryptocurrency to gain widespread acceptance as Bitcoin. Later, more cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Namecoin, and PPcoin emerged.
  • In many ways, ether and bitcoin are comparable.
  • Both of them are digital currencies that can be bought and sold on online exchanges and kept in different kinds of cryptocurrency wallets.
  • Both of these tokens are decentralized, which means that no central bank or other institution issues or controls them.
  • Both make use of the blockchain, a distributed ledger technology.

Digital currency

  • It is a form of digital money that can be used in place of real money.
  • Cryptography is employed in cryptocurrencies to safeguard and verify transactions. Controlling the supply of cryptocurrency is another purpose for it.

Cryptocurrency characteristics:

  • Irreversible: A cryptocurrency transaction is irreversible and cannot be undone.
  • Intangible: There is no physical asset or guarantee backing cryptocurrencies.
  • Instantaneous and global: Because the network is global, the transaction can be completed instantly and without boundaries anywhere in the world.
  • Secure: It makes use of cryptography, which is nearly impossible to crack.
  • No central authority: Users are solely accountable for all transactions; there is no gatekeeper like there would be in a government or central bank.

Source: The Hindu

International Day of Peace 2022

GS-IV : Tolerance and Intolerance Tolerance and Intolerance

International Day of Peace 2022

  • On September 21, people all over the world mark International Day of Peace.
  • 2022's theme is "End Racism." Create peace.

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What is the International Day of Peace's main highlights?

  • The UN General Assembly has designated this day as one committed to advancing the values of peace through the observance of a 24-hour period of nonviolence and a cease-fire.
  • Background: The United Nations General Assembly established the International Day of Peace in 1981.
  • The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in 2001 to declare the Day to be a time of nonviolence and a cease-fire.

International Peace Day's emblem:

The Peace Bell was given as a gift by the Japan-United Nations Association in 1954. On the first day of spring, at the Vernal Equinox, and on September 21st, International Day of Peace, the bell is traditionally rung twice a year.

Day of Peace and Non-Violence

  • On October 2, which is Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, people around the world mark the International Day of Nonviolence.
  • To "disseminate the message of non-violence, particularly via education and public awareness," the UNGA founded it in 2007.

What are the Different Obstacles to World Peace?

  • Racism on the rise Black Americans make 25% less money than white Americans do.
  • Black Americans are twice as likely as white Americans to be unemployed.
  • At comparable levels of income and education, black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die during pregnancy.
  • Global Unrest: According to the World Population Review, militarised attacks and battles resulted in at least 1,000 deaths (mostly civilians) in each of 8 countries in 2019, including Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Turkey, Somalia, Iraq, Mexico, and Libya.
  • Russia-Ukraine Conflict: The conflict in Ukraine has caused a crisis in the cost of living. A total of 1.6 billion people are thought to be affected by the crisis's food, energy, and financial aspects.
  • Refugee Crisis: According to the UN Refugee Agency, at the end of 2019, there were 79.5 million refugees worldwide because of war, persecution, and other factors.
  • Global Powers' Role: As permanent members of the UN Security Council, the United States, Russia, and China are obligated to safeguard world peace and harmony. Instead, it has been discovered that they encourage instability in order to seize geopolitical control. Examples: The indiscriminate attacks by the U.S.-backed coalition of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, whose geopolitical purpose is to counterbalance Iran, are to blame for the tragedy in Yemen, which the UN has deemed the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
  • Due to the active engagement of mercenaries and weapons pushed in by Russia and the Gulf Arab monarchies that are allies of the United States in an effort to counter Turkey's influence, Libya has descended into chaos.
  • The likelihood of armed conflicts in Asia has considerably increased as a result of China's hegemonic expansionism against its neighbours and its 'new Cold War' with the United States.
  • New Power Tussle: Conflict and rivalry between major nations, such as the USA and China A second Cold War is roiling, endangering world peace.
  • Pandemic and Climate Crisis: The increase in extreme weather events around the world and the spread of pandemics like COVID-19 have raised a new concern that may have an impact on both the direct and indirect stability of the world's economies, public health, and education systems, as well as the displacement of people.

Way ahead

  • On the International Day of Peace, it is important to identify and oppose the unjust system that gives great powers preferential treatment and allows them to carry out their horrifying schemes. The struggle for a fair international order should be prioritised by intellectuals, social movements, and responsible states.

Source: Firstpost

Hedge Fund

GS-III : Economic Issues Terminology

Hedge Fund

  • A hedge fund is a limited partnership of private investors whose capital is managed by experienced fund managers. These managers employ a variety of tactics, such as borrowing money or trading in non-traditional assets, to generate returns on investments that are higher than average.
  • Investment in hedge funds is frequently viewed as a dangerous alternative investment option since it typically has a high minimum investment requirement or net worth requirement and frequently targets wealthy clientele.

Regulatory specifications

There is no requirement for hedge funds in India except register with the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

Several types of hedge funds in the market:

  • Domestic hedge funds: Only investors who must pay taxes to the nation of origin may invest in domestic hedge funds.
  • Hedge funds that operate outside of their home country—ideally in one with low taxes—are known as offshore funds.
  • Mutual funds that invest in other hedge mutual funds rather than the specific underlying equities are known as "funds of funds."

Hedge Funds v/s Mutual Funds

  • Hedge funds are distinct from mutual funds, and they are not subject to the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) the same level of tight regulation.
  • Mutual funds, which are accessible to the general public and average investor, are a practical and cost-effective solution to create a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or short-term investments.
  • Only accredited investors—those with an annual income above $200,000 or a net worth surpassing $1 million, minus their primary residence—can contribute money to hedge funds.
  • While mutual funds utilize stocks or bonds as their instruments for long-term investment plans, hedge funds can invest in real estate, stocks, derivatives, and currencies.

Source: The Financial Express

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