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Weekly Current Affairs (22nd to 29th February 2024) Part - 1 | Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC PDF Download

Government Securities

Context: The government has successfully completed its borrowing for Government Securities (G-Secs) in the fiscal year 2023-24. It anticipates receiving a dividend from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in the Financial Year 2025, akin to the previous fiscal year.

  • The government's borrowing strategy remains cautious, emphasizing prudent fiscal management and aligning borrowing with actual needs. The completion of G-Sec borrowing, along with expectations of a dividend from the RBI, underscores efforts to maintain fiscal stability and meet expenditure targets.

What are the Rules Under Which RBI Transfers its Surplus to the Government?

  • The rules for the RBI's transfer of surplus to the government are outlined in Section 47 (Allocation of Surplus Profits) of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. A technical committee, chaired by Y H Malegam in 2013, reviewed the adequacy of reserves and recommended a higher transfer to the government.
  • As per this section, the RBI transfers its surplus to the government after setting aside provisions for reserves and retained earnings. The transferred amount is determined based on various factors such as the RBI's income from sources like interest on domestic and foreign securities, fees and commissions from services, profits from foreign exchange transactions, and returns from subsidiaries and associates.
  • On the expenditure side, the RBI incurs costs like currency note printing, interest payments on deposits and borrowings, staff salaries and pensions, operational expenses of offices and branches, as well as provisions for contingencies and depreciation.

What are Government Securities (G-Sec)?

About:

  • A G-Sec is a tradable instrument issued by the Central Government or the State Governments.
  • A G-Sec is a type of debt instrument issued by the government to borrow money from the public to finance its Fiscal Deficit.
  • A debt instrument is a financial instrument that represents a contractual obligation by the issuer to pay the holder a fixed amount of money, known as principal or face value, on a specified date.
  • It acknowledges the Government’s debt obligation.
  • Such securities are short-term (usually called treasury bills, with original maturities of less than one year- presently issued in three tenors, namely, 91-day, 182 days and 364 days) or long-term (usually called Government bonds or dated securities with original maturity of one year or more).
  • In India, the Central Government issues both, treasury bills and bonds or dated securities while the State Governments issue only bonds or dated securities, which are called the State Development Loans (SDLs).
  • G-Secs carry practically no risk of default and, hence, are called risk-free gilt-edged instruments.
  • Gilt-edged securities are high-grade investment bonds offered by governments and large corporations as a means of borrowing funds.

Types of G-Sec:

Treasury Bills (T-bills):

  • Treasury bills are zero coupon securities and pay no interest. Instead, they are issued at a discount and redeemed at the face value at maturity.

Cash Management Bills (CMBs):

  • In 2010, the Government of India, in consultation with RBI introduced a new short-term instrument, known as CMBs, to meet the temporary mismatches in the cash flow of the Government of India.
  • The CMBs have the generic character of T-bills but are issued for maturities of less than 91 days.

Dated G-Secs:

  • Dated G-Secs are securities that carry a fixed or floating coupon rate (interest rate) which is paid on the face value, on a half-yearly basis. Generally, the tenor of dated securities ranges from 5 years to 40 years.

State Development Loans (SDLs):

  • State Governments also raise loans from the market which are called SDLs. SDLs are dated securities issued through normal auctions similar to the auctions conducted for dated securities issued by the Central Government.

Issue Mechanism:

  • The RBI conducts Open Market Operations (OMOs) for sale or purchase of G-secs to adjust money supply conditions.
  • The RBI sells g-secs to remove liquidity from the market and buys back g-secs to infuse liquidity into the market.
  • These operations are often conducted on a day-to-day basis in a manner that balances inflation while helping banks continue to lend.
  • RBI carries out the OMO through commercial banks and does not directly deal with the public.
  • The RBI uses OMO along with other monetary policy tools such as repo rate, cash reserve ratio and statutory liquidity ratio to adjust the quantum and price of money in the system.

Retail Sale and Purchase of T Bills

  • Method of Purchase: Retail investors can open an online Retail Direct Gilt (RDG) Account with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to directly purchase T-bills. Additionally, they can place bids via select banks and registered primary agents.
  • Portal for Purchase: The Retail Direct Gilt (RDG) platform provided by RBI facilitates the purchase of T-bills for retail investors.
  • Rules Regarding Purchase and Sale: Retail investors must adhere to certain rules and regulations when buying and selling T-bills. This includes meeting the minimum investment amount requirement (INR 10,000 per lot for various durations) and ensuring compliance with RBI guidelines.
  • Participation in Primary Market: Retail investors can participate in the primary market by placing bids for T-bills through the designated channels mentioned earlier. This allows them to directly purchase newly issued T-bills from the RBI on behalf of the Government of India.
  • Participation in Secondary Market: Retail investors can also participate in the secondary market for T-bills through their demat accounts. In the secondary market, investors can buy and sell T-bills before their maturity dates, providing liquidity and opportunities for trading.

Question for Weekly Current Affairs (22nd to 29th February 2024) Part - 1
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What are Government Securities (G-Sec)?
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Google DeepMind’s Genie

Context: Recently, Google DeepMind has unveiled Genie AI (Artificial Intelligence), a novel model capable of generating interactive video games from mere text or image prompts.

  • Google DeepMind is a British-American AI research laboratory, a subsidiary of Google, headquartered in London, with research centers in Canada, France, Germany, and the US.

What is Genie?

  • Genie is a foundational world model trained on videos sourced from the Internet. It can generate a diverse range of playable (action-controllable) environments from synthetic images, photographs, and even sketches. It is the first generative interactive environment trained in an unsupervised manner from unlabelled internet videos.
  • Genie's significance lies in its ability to generate a wide variety of interactive and controllable environments despite being trained solely on video data. It not only identifies controllable parts of an observation but also deduces diverse latent actions consistent across generated environments. Genie is groundbreaking as it creates playable environments from a single image prompt, even from images it has never seen before. This includes real-world photographs and sketches, allowing people to interact with their imagined virtual worlds. This opens up numerous possibilities, especially new ways to create and immerse oneself in virtual worlds.
  • The model's capability to learn and develop new world models is a significant step towards general AI agents, which are independent programs or entities interacting with their environments by perceiving their surroundings via sensors.

What is Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI)?

About:

  • GAI is a rapidly growing branch of AI that focuses on generating new content (such as images, audio, text, etc.) based on patterns and rules learned from data.
  • The rise of GAI can be attributed to the development of advanced generative models, such as Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) and Variational Autoencoders (VAEs).
  • These models are trained on large amounts of data and are able to generate new outputs that are similar to the training data. For example, a GAN trained on images of faces can generate new, synthetic images of faces that look realistic.
  • While GAI is often associated with ChatGPT and deep fakes, the technology was initially used to automate the repetitive processes used in digital image correction and digital audio correction.
  • Arguably, because machine learning and deep learning are inherently focused on generative processes, they can be considered types of GAI, too.

Applications:

  • Art and Creativity: It can be used to generate new works of art that are unique and innovative, helping artists and creatives explore new ideas and push the boundaries of traditional art forms.
  • DeepDream Generator - An open-source platform that uses deep learning algorithms to create surrealistic, dream-like images.
  • DALL·E2 - This AI model from OpenAI generates new images from text descriptions.
  • Music: It can help musicians and music producers explore new sounds and styles, leading to more diverse and interesting music.
  • Amper Music - creates musical tracks from pre-recorded samples.
  • AIVA - uses AI algorithms to compose original music in various genres and styles.
  • Computer Graphics: It can generate new 3D models, animations, and special effects, helping movie studios and game developers create more realistic and engaging experiences.
  • Healthcare: By generating new medical images and simulations, improving the accuracy and efficiency of medical diagnoses and treatments.
  • Manufacturing and Robotics: It can help optimise manufacturing processes, improving the efficiency and quality of these processes.
  • Significance for India:
  • As per NASSCOM data, the overall AI employment in India is estimated at about 416,000 professionals.
  • The growth rate for the sector is estimated at about 20-25%. Further, AI is expected to contribute an additional USD 957 billion to India’s economy, by 2035.

What are the Concerns Related to GAI?

  • Accuracy: One of the biggest challenges is ensuring that the outputs generated by GAI are of high quality and accurate.
    • This requires the development of advanced generative models that can accurately capture the patterns and rules learned from data.
  • Partisan GAI Models: GAI models are trained on large amounts of data, and if that data is biassed, the outputs generated by GAI may also be biassed.
    • This can lead to discrimination and reinforce existing societal biases.
  • Privacy: Training GAI models requires access to large amounts of data, which could include personal and sensitive information.
    • There is a risk that this data could be used for unethical purposes, such as for targeted advertising or for political manipulation.
  • Accountability for Misinformation: Since GAI models can generate new content, such as images, audio, or text it may be used to generate fake news or other malicious content, without knowing who is responsible for the output.
    • This could lead to ethical dilemmas over responsibility.
  • Automation and Lowering Job: GAI has the potential to automate many processes, which could lead to job displacement for people who are skilled in those areas.
    • This raises questions about the ethics of using AI for job displacement and the potential impact on workers and society.

What Initiatives is India Taking in Generative AI?

  • Generative AI Report: INDIAai, the National AI Portal of the Government of India, conducted extensive studies and organized three roundtable discussions with leading figures in Generative AI, AI Policy, AI Governance and Ethics, and academia. The aim was to explore the impact, ethical and regulatory questions, and opportunities that Generative AI presents to India.
  • Co-Founding Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI): In 2020, India joined hands with 15 other countries to establish the GPAI. The purpose of this coalition is to develop frameworks for the responsible use of emerging technologies.
  • Nurturing an AI Ecosystem: The Indian government is committed to nurturing an AI ecosystem in the country by investing in R&D, supporting startups and innovation hubs, formulating AI policies and strategies, and promoting AI education and training.
  • National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence: The Government has released the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence to foster an ecosystem for AI research and adoption.
  • National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems: Under this initiative, Technology Innovation Hubs (TIH) have been set up on AI & ML at IIT - Kharagpur, aiming to provide cutting-edge training and capacity building for the next generation of scientists, engineers, technicians, and technocrats in the field of Artificial Intelligence.
  • Artificial Intelligence Research, Analytics and Knowledge Assimilation Platform: This Cloud computing platform is designed to position India as a leader among emerging economies in AI and transform sectors like education, health, agriculture, urbanization, and mobility.

Conclusion

  • Generative AI is a potent and promising technology with numerous potential benefits. However, it also presents several challenges and risks that must be addressed through effective and responsible regulation.
  • India should adopt a proactive and balanced approach to the implementation of Generative AI, ensuring its safety, security, and ethical use.

Context: Recent protests by Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers in Bengaluru have highlighted ongoing concerns regarding their working conditions and remuneration, bringing to attention the challenges within India's rural healthcare system.

Who are ASHA Workers and What are their Responsibilities?

  • Background: In 2002, Chhattisgarh initiated a groundbreaking approach to community healthcare by appointing women as Mitanins, or community health workers.
  • Mitanins acted as advocates for disadvantaged communities, bridging the gap between distant health systems and local needs.
  • Inspired by the success of Mitanins, the central government launched the ASHA program in 2005-06 under the National Rural Health Mission, later expanding it to urban areas with the National Urban Health Mission in 2013.
  • About: Selected from the village itself and accountable to it, ASHA workers are trained to serve as a link between the community and the public health system.
  • They are primarily women residents of villages, aged between 25 to 45 years, preferably literate up to 10th grade.
  • Typically, there is one ASHA for every 1000 people. However, in tribal, hilly, and desert regions, this ratio may be adjusted to one ASHA per habitation based on workload.

Major Responsibilities:

  • They act as the primary point of contact for health-related needs, particularly for women and children.
  • They receive performance-based incentives for promoting immunization, reproductive & child health services, and the construction of household toilets.
  • They provide counseling on birth preparedness, safe delivery, breastfeeding, immunization, contraception, and the prevention of common infections.
  • They facilitate community access to health services available at Anganwadi/sub-centre/primary health centers.
  • They serve as depot holders for essential provisions such as ORS, IFA tablets, contraceptives, etc.

What are the Challenges Faced by ASHA Workers?

  • Heavy Workload: ASHAs are often burdened with multiple responsibilities, it sometimes becomes overwhelming, especially considering the vast scope of their duties.
    • Also, they themselves remain at risk of anaemia, malnutrition and non-communicable diseases.
  • Inadequate Compensation: ASHAs, primarily relying on meager honorariums, face economic challenges aggravated by delayed payments and out-of-pocket expenses.
    • They lack basic support like social security benefits like leave, provident fund, gratuity, pension, medical assistance, life insurance and maternity benefits.
  • Lack of Adequate Recognition: ASHAs' contributions are not always recognized or valued, leading to feelings of underappreciation and frustration.
  • Lack of Supportive Infrastructure: ASHAs face challenges related to inadequate infrastructure, including limited access to transportation, communication facilities, and medical supplies. This hinders their ability to effectively carry out their duties.
  • Gender and Caste Discrimination: ASHAs, who are predominantly women from marginalised communities, face discrimination based on gender and caste within the healthcare system.

Way Forward

  • Formalise Employment Status: There is a need to transition ASHA workers from voluntary positions to formalized employment status within the healthcare system.
  • This would provide them with job security, regular salaries, and access to benefits such as health insurance and paid leave.
  • Strengthen Infrastructure and Logistics: Investing in improving infrastructure, logistics, and supply chain management to ensure ASHA workers have access to essential equipment, supplies, and transportation is also important.
  • Recognition and Rewards: instituting formal recognition and rewards programs to acknowledge the contributions and achievements of ASHA workers, such as certificates of appreciation, public recognition ceremonies, or performance-based bonuses.
  • They also need to be provided with opportunities for career advancement within the existing healthcare system, leading to positions such as Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs).

Question for Weekly Current Affairs (22nd to 29th February 2024) Part - 1
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What is the role of ASHA workers in India's healthcare system?
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IGNCA’s Language Atlas

Context: The Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture, is embarking on a nationwide linguistic survey. The goal is to compile a comprehensive 'Language Atlas' that illustrates the rich linguistic tapestry of India.

How Linguistically Diverse is India?

Historical Census Records:

  • The first and most exhaustive Linguistic Survey of India (LSI) was conducted by Sir George Abraham Grierson and was published in 1928.
  • The 1961 Census of India documented 1,554 languages spoken in the country.
  • The 1961 Census was particularly detailed in terms of linguistic data, even including languages spoken by just one individual.
  • Since 1971, languages spoken by fewer than 10,000 individuals have been excluded from the Indian Census, resulting in the omission of the native tongues of 1.2 million people.
  • This exclusion disproportionately affects tribal communities, whose languages often do not appear in official records.
  • India now officially recognizes 22 languages listed in Schedule 8 of the Indian Constitution.
  • 2011 Census data indicates that 97% of the population speaks one of these officially recognized languages.
  • Additionally, there are 99 non-scheduled languages, according to the 2011 Census, and around 37.8 million people identify one of these languages as their mother tongue.
  • There are 121 languages spoken by 10,000 or more people in India.

Multilingualism in India:

  • India is one of the most linguistically diverse countries globally, offering a unique opportunity for Indians to be multilingual, meaning they can communicate in more than one language.
  • According to the 2011 Census of India, over 25% of the population speaks two languages, while about 7% speak three languages.
  • Studies suggest that young Indians are more multilingual than their older counterparts, with approximately half of the urban population aged 15 to 49 years speaking two languages.

What are the Key Highlights of the Proposed Linguistic Survey?

  • The survey will focus on enumerating the number of languages and dialects in India, including those that are extinct or on the verge of extinction.
  • It aims to collect data at both the state and regional levels, with plans to digitally archive audio recordings of all languages spoken.
  • It also proposes to digitally archive the audio recordings of all the languages spoken.
  • Stakeholders in the survey include Ministries of Culture, Education, Tribal Affairs, and others, along with various language communities.

What is the Importance of a Linguistic Survey?

  • Preservation of Cultural Heritage: Linguistic surveys help in identifying and documenting languages, dialects, and scripts, thereby preserving cultural heritage and linguistic diversity.
  • Policy Formulation: Data from linguistic surveys informs policymakers about the linguistic needs of different communities, facilitating the formulation of language-related policies in education, governance, and cultural affairs.
  • Education Planning: Knowledge about the languages spoken in different regions helps in designing educational programs that cater to diverse linguistic backgrounds, promoting inclusive education.
  • Community Empowerment: Linguistic surveys empower linguistic minorities and marginalised communities by recognizing and validating their languages, contributing to their socio-economic and cultural well-being.
  • Research and Documentation: Linguistic surveys serve as valuable resources for researchers, linguists, and anthropologists studying language evolution, dialectology, and language contact phenomena.
  • Promotion of Multilingualism: By raising awareness about the richness of linguistic diversity, linguistic surveys promote multilingualism and foster a sense of pride in one's language and cultural identity.

What are the Constitutional Provisions Related to Language?

Eighth Schedule:

  • The Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution lists the official languages of India, comprising 22 languages.
  • These include Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili, and Dogri.
  • The Eighth Schedule also recognizes six classical languages: Tamil (declared in 2004), Sanskrit (2005), Kannada (2008), Telugu (2008), Malayalam (2013), and Odia (2014).
  • Part XVII of the Indian Constitution, Articles 343 to 351, deals with the official languages of India.

Language of The Union:

  • Article 120 stipulates the language to be used in Parliament.
  • Article 210 has a similar provision but applies to the State Legislature.
  • Article 343 declares Hindi in Devnagari script as the official language of the Union.
  • Article 344 establishes a Commission and a Committee of Parliament on official language.

Regional Languages:

  • Article 345 allows the state legislature to adopt any official language for the state.
  • Article 346 specifies the official language for communication between states and between states and the Union.
  • Article 347 empowers the President to recognize any language spoken by a section of the population of a state if demanded.

Special Directives:

  • Article 29 safeguards the interests of minorities, ensuring that no citizen can be denied admission to any educational institution funded by the State solely based on factors such as religion, race, caste, or language.
  • Article 350 ensures that every person has the right to submit a representation for the redress of any grievance in any language used in the Union or the State.
  • Article 350A directs States to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups.
  • Article 350B establishes a Special Officer for linguistic minorities appointed by the President, tasked with investigating matters relating to safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.

What are the Major Challenges to Linguistic Diversity in India?

Linguistic Hegemony:

  • The dominance of certain languages over others, both politically and socially, threatens linguistic diversity. Languages with greater political and economic power may overshadow minority languages, leading to their decline and endangerment.
  • One of the significant challenges to linguistic diversity in India is the perception of Hindi as a dominant language, leading to its imposition in non-Hindi speaking regions.

Identity Politics and Tensions:

  • Linguistic diversity can sometimes fuel identity politics and tensions, leading to conflicts between linguistic groups over language policies and rights.
  • Attempts to impose or privilege certain languages may provoke resistance and unrest among linguistic minorities, resulting in social discord.

Lack of Preservation Efforts:

  • Many indigenous and tribal languages face the risk of extinction due to a lack of preservation efforts and support from governments and institutions.
  • Without adequate documentation and revitalization efforts, these languages may disappear, resulting in the loss of cultural heritage and identity.

Inadequate Language Education Policies:

  • Insufficient emphasis on promoting and preserving regional languages in education policies can lead to a decline in proficiency and usage among younger generations.
  • The focus on a limited number of languages in educational institutions may neglect the linguistic diversity present in the country.

Urbanization and Globalization:

  • Rapid urbanization, globalization, and the influence of dominant cultures can contribute to the erosion of indigenous languages and cultures.
  • As younger generations shift towards dominant languages and cultures, there is a risk of losing traditional knowledge, customs, and cultural practices associated with regional languages.

Limited Access to Resources in Minority Languages:

  • Minority languages often lack resources such as literature, media, and technology in their respective languages.
  • This limited access to resources hampers the development and preservation of minority languages, making them vulnerable to extinction.

Way Forward

  • Implement policies that promote education in regional languages alongside Hindi and English. Encourage multilingual education to ensure students are proficient in their native language and a widely spoken language.
  • Review and revise educational policies to ensure support for multilingualism and the preservation of regional languages.
  • Establish standards for regional languages and support efforts to document and preserve endangered languages through oral history preservation, linguistic research, and digital archives.
  • Empower linguistic communities to take ownership of their languages through community-driven language revitalization projects.

Maharashtra Exempts Private Schools from RTE Quota Admissions

Context: Recent news reports Maharashtra's school education department issuing a gazette notification that exempts private unaided schools from the compulsory 25% admission quota for disadvantaged groups and weaker sections under certain conditions.

  • According to The Right Of Children To Free And Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act) (section 12.1(C)), unaided schools are required to ensure that 25% of Class 1 students admitted come from the “weaker section and disadvantaged group in the neighbourhood”.

Note

  • This move aligns Maharashtra with Karnataka and Kerala in exempting private schools from RTE admissions, following Karnataka's 2018 rule and Kerala's 2011 rules which allow fee concession only if no government or aided schools are within walking distance, set at 1 km for Class 1 students.

What Does the New Rule Entail?

  • The new rule prevents local authorities from designating private unaided schools for 25% admission of disadvantaged groups and weaker sections under the Maharashtra Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2013, if government or aided schools (which receive money from the government) are within one kilometre radius of that school.
  • Such private schools are no longer obligated to meet the 25% requirement; instead, students in these areas will be given priority for admission to government or aided schools.
  • The notification stipulates that if there are no aided schools in the area, private schools will be chosen for RTE admissions and reimbursed for fees, with a new list of obligated schools to be prepared accordingly.

Why have States Introduced Such Exemptions?

  • Karnataka's state law minister stated in 2018 that the RTE's main aim is to offer education to all students, noting that the state's previous policy of permitting parents to enrol children in private schools near government schools had drastically reduced government school enrollments.
  • The Karnataka government's 2018 gazette notification is currently under judicial scrutiny.
  • Private schools and teachers’ organisations have noted that state governments frequently fail to reimburse fees for students admitted under this quota, as mandated by Section 12(2) of the RTE Act, which requires state governments to reimburse schools per-child expenses or the fee amount, whichever is lower.

What are the Likely Implications of this Exemption?

Arguments Against:

  • Experts have raised questions regarding the state's authority to amend central law, stating that the notification contradicts the RTE and should be avoided.
  • The Maharashtra government's amendment has been criticised on the ground that it is unjustified and emphasising the importance of Section 12(1)(C) in combating education inequality.

Arguments in Favour:

  • Maharashtra govt has highlighted that states are empowered by Section 38 of the RTE Act to formulate rules for its implementation, clarifying that the changes made were to the rules drafted in 2011 and 2013, not the original law.
  • The action does not contravene the RTE Act, noting that section 6 recommends government schools in unserved areas, making section 12.1(C) a temporary measure until such schools are established.
  • The private unaided schools have welcomed the new rules arguing that the move will increase the number of students in government schools.

What are the Key Provisions of the RTE Act?

Right to Free and Compulsory Elementary Education:

  • Children aged 6-14 years are entitled to free, compulsory education in local schools, with enrollment in an age-appropriate class for those above 6 not in school.
  • Aided schools must also offer education for free, proportionate to their funding, but not less than 25%.
  • Elementary education is free until completion, and no child can be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board exam before finishing elementary education.

Curriculum and Recognition:

  • An academic authority designated by the central or state government must develop the curriculum and evaluation procedure for elementary education.
  • All schools required to adhere to pupil-teacher ratio norms and meet prescribed standards before establishment or recognition.
  • Teacher qualification to be ensured by the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) conducted by the appropriate government.

Responsibilities of Schools and Teachers:

  • Teachers are forbidden from giving private tuition or performing non-teaching tasks, except for census, disaster relief, and election duties.
  • Schools must establish School Management Committees (SMCs) consisting of local authority representatives, parents, guardians, and teachers to oversee the school's use of government funds and create a school development plan.

Grievance Redressal:

  • The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights reviews safeguards and investigates complaints, with powers akin to a civil court; the state government may also establish a State Commission for similar functions.

Conclusion

While the Maharashtra government's decision may ease some financial pressures on private schools and potentially boost enrollments in government schools, it raises concerns about equity and access to quality education for children from marginalized backgrounds. Balancing support for private schools and ensuring inclusive education for all remains a challenging issue.


The document Weekly Current Affairs (22nd to 29th February 2024) Part - 1 | Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly.
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FAQs on Weekly Current Affairs (22nd to 29th February 2024) Part - 1 - Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

1. What are government securities and how do they work?
Ans. Government securities are bonds issued by a government to raise money for public projects or to cover budget deficits. Investors purchase these bonds and receive periodic interest payments until the bond matures, at which point they are repaid the principal amount.
2. What is Google DeepMind's Genie and how does it work?
Ans. Google DeepMind's Genie is a virtual assistant powered by artificial intelligence that helps users with various tasks such as scheduling appointments, setting reminders, and providing information. It uses natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to understand and respond to user queries.
3. What are ASHA workers and what challenges do they face?
Ans. ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers are community health workers in India who play a crucial role in providing healthcare services at the grassroots level. Some challenges they face include lack of proper training, inadequate compensation, and heavy workload.
4. What is IGNCA's Language Atlas and how is it useful?
Ans. IGNCA's Language Atlas is a comprehensive resource that maps the linguistic diversity of India by documenting various languages spoken in different regions of the country. It is useful for researchers, linguists, and policymakers to understand and preserve India's rich linguistic heritage.
5. Why did Maharashtra exempt private schools from RTE quota admissions?
Ans. Maharashtra exempted private schools from RTE (Right to Education) quota admissions to ease the financial burden on these schools, which were struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision was taken to ensure the sustainability of private educational institutions in the state.
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