The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has mandated the captioning for TV programs, in order to make it accessible to the deaf or hard of hearing population (also known as aurally challenged people).
- India’s phase-wise implementation plan requires all channels to start captioning, on at least one programme per week, starting from August 15, 2019.
- The target is to achieve 10% of all programming channels must have captions by 2020, which will grow by 10% every year.
- It is expected to finally cover up to 50% of all the programming by 2025.
- India has a billion TV viewers. According to the latest FICCI–EY Media & Entertainment report (of 2019), the average Indian watches TV for around 3 hours and 46 minutes every day.
- Films (24%) and general entertainment (53%) are the dominant genres.
- All of this content is now required to have Same Language Subtitling (SLS) in all the languages for improving quality education levels.
- India’s push into TV captioning is significant for two reasons:
- India is one of the first major countries (except Brazil) in the Global South to embrace captioning for media access.
- It is the first country where the importance of captioning or Same Language Subtitling has been established for mass reading literacy.
- The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 made subtitles on TV a right of an individual.
- Same Language Subtitling, if implemented in India, can make a massive contribution to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-4) on quality education, as quality education foundationally depends on good reading skills.
- Scientific evidence suggests that SLS on TV would serve three goals:
- It will inculcate the daily literacy reading practice in almost one billion viewers, including 500 million weak-readers who would benefit the most.
- It will facilitate Indian language improvement, and
- It will grant Media access to approximately 65 million aurally challenged people.
- The United States was the first country that implemented captioning for the aurally challenged people.
- All English channels in India have been implementing SLS for film and general entertainment content for over a decade.
- It is noteworthy that the English SLS experience establishes the fact that it is not difficult for the entertainment industry to implement SLS system-wide.
- Inspired by the Indian experience, there is an active campaign in the United Kingdom to Turn-On-The-Subtitles (TOTS), by default in children’s programming.
- India is in a unique position to scale up SLS on TV for both goals: media access and reading literacy. The major challenge for the Ministry is to ensure compliance by all channels both state and private-owned, as set in the time table.
- SLS causes inescapable reading engagement even among very weak readers who can barely decode a few letters.
- Hence, regular exposure to SLS can lead to measurable improvement in reading skills which in turn, can result in much higher rates of newspaper and other forms of reading.
- Also with frequent exposure to SLS for over three to five years (on content that people watch), most weak readers can become functional and even good readers.
- The cost of SLS is negligible for new content when incorporated in the production process itself. Therefore, to institutionalize SLS on TV, broadcast policy could simply mandate the same for all new content produced and telecasted after a particular date.
- The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting together with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology needs to mandate a policy of SLS in Indian languages on all digital Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms.
- Cost-effective and better implementation of the policy is required on the part of the entertainment industry.
Right of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016
- Article 41 of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) states that State shall make effective provision for securing right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness, and disablement, within the limits of its economic capacity and development.
- This act defines disability based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
- Under the act, the types of disabilities have been increased from 7 to 21. In addition, the Government has been authorized to notify any other category of specified disability.
- The act is implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
Over-The-Top (OTT) Platform
- Over the top refers to the film and television content provided via a high-speed Internet connection rather than over a cable or satellite provider.
- OTT does not mean free, as the term encompasses services such as Netflix, and Amazon Prime.
A new study suggests a link between Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and the Indian Ocean.
- For thousands of years, Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) has remained stable but in the last 15 years, signs show that AMOC may be slowing, which could have drastic consequences on the global climate.
- However, the rising temperatures in the Indian Ocean can help to boost the AMOC and delay slow down.
- Warming in the Indian Ocean generates additional precipitation, which, in turn, draws more air from other parts of the world, including the Atlantic.
- With so much precipitation in the Indian Ocean, there will be less precipitation in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Lesser precipitation leads to higher salinity in the waters of the tropical portion of the Atlantic — because there won’t be as much rainwater to dilute it.
- This saltier water in the Atlantic, as it comes north via AMOC, will get cold much quicker than usual and sink faster.
- The above process would act as a jump start for AMOC, intensifying the circulation.
- But if other tropical ocean’s warming, especially the Pacific's, catches up with the Indian Ocean, the advantage of intensification for AMOC may stop.
- Moreover, it isn't clear whether the slowdown of AMOC is caused by global warming alone or it is a short-term anomaly related to natural ocean variability.
- Slow down of AMOC had taken place 15,000 to 17,000 years ago which caused harsh winters in Europe, with more storms or a drier Sahel in Africa due to the downward shift of the tropical rain belt.
- Alternating oceanic system patterns like ENSO also affects rainfall distribution in the tropics and can have a strong influence on weather in other parts of the world.
Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)
- Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) — which is sometimes referred to as the “Atlantic conveyor belt” — is one of the Earth’s largest water circulation systems where ocean currents move warm, salty water from the tropics to regions further north, such as western Europe and sends colder water south.
- As warm water flows northwards in the Atlantic, it cools, while evaporation increases its salt content.
- Low temperature and high salt content increases the density of the water, causing it to sink deep into the ocean.
- The cold, dense water deep below slowly spreads southward.
- Eventually, it gets pulled back to the surface and warms again, and the circulation is complete.
- This continual mixing of the oceans and the distribution of heat and energy around the planet contributes to the global climate.
- Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current (AMOC) ensures the oceans are continually mixed, and heat and energy are distributed around Earth.
El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
- It involves temperature changes of 1°-3°C in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, over periods between three and seven years.
- El Niño refers to the warming of the ocean surface and La Niña to cooling, while “Neutral” is between these extremes.
On the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) raised alarms on major growing and future challenges facing children.
- UNICEF outlined the following eight growing challenges for the world’s children.
- One in four children live in countries affected by violent fighting or disaster.
- Children and young people’s education is disrupted by conflict and natural disaster.
- Solution: A digitally inclusive world that allows young people, no matter their situation, to get access to education.
Pollution and the Climate Crisis
- Climate change is becoming a key force behind the recent continued rise in global hunger, and as escalating droughts and flooding degrade food production, the next generation of children will bear the greatest burden of hunger and malnutrition.
- Air pollution, toxic waste and groundwater pollution is damaging children’s health.
- Governments and businesses need to work together to tackle the root causes by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.
- They also need to work hand in hand to reduce fossil fuel consumption, develop cleaner agricultural, industrial and transport systems and invest in scaling renewable energy sources.
A decline in mental health
- Mental illness among adolescents has been on the rise in the years since the adoption of the CRC.
- Depression is among the leading causes of disability in the young.
- Rehabilitation for children and young people affected by mental health issues need to be prioritized.
- The stigma and taboo surrounding mental illness needs to be challenged so that treatment can be sought and support is provided.
Mass Migration and Population Movements
- When migration is driven by desperation, children often take perilous journeys across deserts, oceans and armed borders, encountering violence, abuse and exploitation on the way.
- One of the greatest migrations the world has ever seen is happening within borders, with millions migrating internally from rural to urban areas.
- It is essential that child migrants have their rights upheld. Governments can protect child migrants by prioritizing the best interests of children in the application of immigration laws.
- Social policies and programmes designed to support child survival and development should pay greater attention to the poorest and most marginalized urban children.
- Problem: Every child has a right to a legal identity, to birth registration and a nationality. It is expected that, almost 1,00,000 babies born today, may never have an official birth certificate, reason being parents are stateless or from a persecuted or marginalized community.
- Solution: Registering children at birth is the first step in securing their recognition before the law, safeguarding their rights, and ensuring that any violation of these rights does not go unnoticed.
- The United Nations has set a goal that every human being on the planet will have a legal identity by 2030.
Future Skills for Future Work
- Problem: Too often, it is seen that young people lack access to an education that will prepare them for contemporary job and business opportunities i.e. giving them the skills and outlook they need for a twenty-first century economy.
- Solution: There is a need to prepare young people to become productive and engaged citizens.
Data Rights and Online Privacy
- Too often, children do not know what rights they have over their own data and do not understand the implications of their data use, and how vulnerable it can leave them.
- Privacy terms and conditions on social media platforms are often barely understood by highly educated adults, let alone children.
- Personal information created during childhood may be shared with third parties, traded for profit or used to exploit young people – particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized.
- Such design systems need to be developed that maximize the positive benefits of big data and artificial intelligence, while preserving privacy, providing protections from harm and empower people – including children – to exercise their rights.
- The Convention on the Rights of the Child makes it clear that children have a specific right to privacy and there is no reason this should not apply online.
- Equipping young people with the knowledge and skills to claim their digital rights is essential.
- Private sector internet service providers and social media must develop transparent, ethical standards and implement heightened scrutiny and protection for the full range of data concerning children.
- Problem: Studies indicate that many children and young people today have a hard time distinguishing fact from fiction online and as a consequence, the generation is finding it more difficult to know who and what to trust.
- A higher level of digital and media literacy can act as a protective filter.
- The society needs to work harder to prepare savvy young citizens to resist manipulation and retain a trusting connection to reliable and verifiable information and institutional knowledge.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
- It is a treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989.
- It recognises a child as every human being under 18 years old.
- It sets out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion or abilities.
- It includes rights such as Right to Education, Right to Rest and Leisure, Right to Protection from Mental or Physical Abuse including Rape and Sexual Exploitation.
- It is the world’s most widely ratified human rights treaty.
Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has launched a mobile application “Ganga Data Collector” under the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) of Union Ministry of Jal Shakti.
- The app will provide field researchers with a complete data entry solution to monitor the aquatic population in the river.
- Ganga Prahari volunteers and staff of the forest department in 11 states of the Ganga Basin will use this application to collect data related to the quality of water, the presence of different species of fishes, amphibians and reptiles, crocodiles and turtles, dolphins, birds, water level and weather.
- It will help to improve both data visualization and security.
- The Ganga basin covers 11 states including Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, and Delhi.
National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)
- National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is the implementation wing of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA).
- It is a registered society, originally formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on 12th August 2011 under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
- But now both NGRBA and NMCG have been allocated to the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
- The main pillars of the programme include sewerage treatment infrastructure, river-front development, river-surface cleaning, bio-diversity preservation, afforestation, public awareness industrial effluent monitoring, and Ganga gram.
- Ganga Praharis are self-motivated and trained volunteers from among the local communities working for biodiversity conservation and cleanliness of the Ganga River.
- They aim to
- Creating awareness about the benefits of a clean and vibrant Ganga and create a sense of belongingness among people towards the Ganga River.
- Linking local communities and their livelihoods with the overall efforts of various agencies working for a clean Ganga, and thereby, creating a convergence point at the grassroots level for such efforts.
- Linking local people’s livelihood and well-being with a clean and vibrant Ganga.
Wildlife Institute of India
- The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate change
- It was established in 1982.
- It is based in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
- It offers training programs, academic courses, and advisory in wildlife research and management.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is developing methane-powered rocket engines.
- Methane, which can be synthesised with water and carbon dioxide in space, is often described as the space fuel of the future.
- ISRO currently prefers to use a fuel called Unsymmetrical Di-Methyl Hydrazine, along with Nitrogen tetroxide for oxidiser, in its liquid fuel engines, which are used in the lower stages of its rockets, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
- This fuel, like all hydrazine-based fuels, is said to be highly toxic and cancer-causing.
- Globally, governments are keen on banning hydrazine.
- Advantages of Methane over Hydrazine:
- Apart from being non-toxic, it has a higher specific impulse (which means one kg of the gas can lift one kg of mass for a longer time).
- It is easy to store and does not leave a residue upon burning.
- It is less bulky and can be synthesised up in space.
- Disadvantage: Methane-fired engines need an igniter to start the fire whereas Hydrazine fuels are hypergolic, which means they start burning on their own upon coming in contact with oxygen.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy recently awarded grants to the awardees of the second round of PACEsetter fund programme.
- The PACEsetter fund was constituted by India and the USA in 2015 as a joint fund.
- The mission of the PACEsetter Fund is to accelerate the commercialization of innovative off-grid clean energy access solutions by providing early-stage grant funding that would allow businesses to develop and test innovative products, business models and systems.
- The Fund's main purpose is to improve the viability of off-grid renewable energy businesses that sell small scale (less than 1 megawatt) clean energy systems to individuals and communities without access to grid-connected power or with limited/intermittent access.