World Humanitarian Day 2023: Date, Theme, Significance and History
Every year on August 19, the world comes together to honor the remarkable efforts of humanitarians who tirelessly work to improve the lives of crisis-affected populations. World Humanitarian Day stands as a testament to the unyielding spirit of individuals who, despite the challenges and risks, extend their unwavering support to those in need. The United Nations General Assembly spearheads this global initiative, uniting partners from around the world to champion survival, well-being, and dignity in the face of adversity.
World Humanitarian Day 2023: Theme: “No Matter What”
The theme for World Humanitarian Day 2023, “No Matter What,” encapsulates the steadfast dedication of humanitarians worldwide. United by a common goal—to rescue and protect lives—they exemplify unwavering commitment to humanitarian principles. This theme underscores the unbreakable bond between humanitarians and their unflinching resolve to make sound judgments that prioritize the welfare of the people they serve. Despite the inherent challenges and risks, their resolute spirit shines through, as they navigate obstacles and deliver life-saving aid to those in dire circumstances.
Significance of World Humanitarian Day: Honoring Selfless Contributions
In every corner of the globe, men and women selflessly put their lives on the line to serve humanitarian causes. Their actions are driven purely by altruism, devoid of hidden motives or agendas. They courageously extend their assistance to those in need, even in areas plagued by social violence. World Humanitarian Day stands as a tribute to these unsung heroes and their selfless contributions. As the years pass, the scale and complexity of their service continue to evolve, presenting even greater challenges. Amid escalating geopolitical tensions, blatant disregard for international humanitarian law, deliberate attacks, and misinformation campaigns, these humanitarians remain resolute in their pursuit of making the world a better place.
History: Commemorating Sacrifice and Service
The roots of World Humanitarian Day trace back to August 19, 2003, when a devastating bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq claimed the lives of 22 humanitarian aid workers, including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN Special Representative for Iraq. In remembrance of this tragic event, the United Nations General Assembly declared August 19 as World Humanitarian Day five years later. Each year, the occasion centers around a specific theme, fostering collaboration among humanitarian partners to advocate for the survival, well-being, and dignity of crisis-affected individuals, as well as the safety and security of aid workers.
World Humanitarian Day 2023: Amplifying Impact
This year’s World Humanitarian Day serves as a platform to illuminate the importance, effectiveness, and positive impact of humanitarian work. It highlights the tireless efforts of humanitarians who rise above challenges to alleviate suffering, exemplifying the resilience of the human spirit. In a world marred by uncertainties and conflicts, their dedication and selflessness stand as a beacon of hope, inspiring us all to contribute to a more compassionate and equitable global community.
Conclusion: Embracing a Future of Compassion
World Humanitarian Day underscores the power of unity, compassion, and resilience in the face of adversity. It celebrates the unwavering commitment of humanitarians, who, “No Matter What,” continue to extend a helping hand to those in need. As we commemorate their selfless contributions on this day, let us also pledge to uphold their legacy by fostering a world where empathy, solidarity, and humanitarian principles guide our actions. Together, we can build a future defined by compassion and cooperation, ensuring that the light of hope continues to shine even in the darkest of times.
DGCA forms panel to suggest ways to ensure gender equality
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India has taken a proactive step towards promoting gender equality within the nation’s aviation sector. On August 10, 2023, the DGCA established a four-member committee composed of senior officers to devise strategies and recommendations aimed at achieving gender parity in the industry. The committee’s objective is to propose actionable measures that the DGCA can implement to foster gender equality in the aviation sector.
The committee is composed of seasoned professionals who hold key positions within the DGCA:
Survita Saxena, Director (Operations)
R P Kashyap, Director (Training)
Pavan Malviya, Deputy Director (Administration)
Kavita Singh, Deputy Director (Aircraft Engineering Directorate)
Formulating Norms for Gender Equality:
The committee is tasked with formulating norms and guidelines that will facilitate gender equality within the aviation sector. These norms will subsequently be shared with aviation stakeholders, encouraging them to adopt and integrate these practices into their operations. The intention is to create a more inclusive and balanced work environment.
Timeline and Deliverables:
The committee’s mandate includes submitting a comprehensive report containing recommendations within six months from the date of its formation. This demonstrates a sense of urgency in addressing gender equality issues within the aviation industry.
The initiative aligns with the commitment of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which aims to promote the active participation of women and strive for a gender ratio of 50-50 (women-men) by the year 2030 across all professional and higher roles in the global aviation domain.
Acknowledging Existing Progress:
While acknowledging the strides made in the Indian aviation sector, particularly in terms of female pilots, there’s recognition of the need to further encourage and equip women to join and excel in various roles within the industry.
Radha Bhatia’s Perspective:
Radha Bhatia, Chairperson of Bird Group and leader of the non-profit organization Women in Aviation India Chapter (WAI), emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the inclusion of women in aviation. She highlights the need for collaborative efforts among various stakeholders, including airlines, airports, ground handlers, maintenance services, and regulatory bodies.
The consulting and research firm CAPA – Centre for Aviation underscores the significance of gender diversity in its report, indicating that India lags behind other nations in terms of women’s participation in the labor force. The report advocates addressing both the supply side and legal frameworks to ensure meaningful progress towards gender equality.
Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) In News
The Ministry of Education has introduced the Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA), a central scheme aimed at enhancing access, equity, and excellence in higher education across States and Union Territories.
However, the requirement for implementing the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and adopting certain academic criteria to avail funds has sparked controversy, making the scheme seem exclusivist.
PM-USHA Scheme and NEP 2020 Integration
The PM-USHA scheme aims to provide financial support to States for improving their higher education systems.
As per the guidelines released in June, States and Union Territories must sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Department of Higher Education, committing to implement NEP 2020 and adopt guidelines for the National Credit Framework and Choice Based Credit System for Four Year Undergraduate Programme.
These conditions serve as prerequisites for accessing the ₹12,926.10 crore allocated between 2023-24 and 2025-26, despite the requirement for 40% funding contribution from State governments.
Limited Participation and Dissent
Out of the total States and Union Territories, only 22 have joined the PM-USHA, with notable exceptions like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, which have declined participation.
These States have shown resistance to NEP 2020 at both draft and implementation stages, some even drafting their own State Education Policies. Demands have arisen to shift ‘education’ from the Concurrent List back to the State List, highlighting the contentious nature of the policy.
Against this backdrop, the conditions of the PM-USHA scheme seemingly serve as a means to indirectly enforce NEP 2020.
Challenges and Concerns
One of the significant challenges lies in the requirement for adopting multiple entry and exit options in degree programs and adhering to National Higher Education Qualifications Framework guidelines.
Critics argue that these measures might lead to increased dropout rates from higher education institutions. Furthermore, the emphasis on a four-year undergraduate program has raised concerns about affordability and accessibility for economically disadvantaged students.
Even States that are supportive of NEP 2020, such as Meghalaya, have raised concerns about funding criteria and eligibility, especially for institutions in their early operational stages.
Cooperative Federalism and Negotiations
The imposition of conditions for accessing funds under the PM-USHA scheme has raised questions about cooperative federalism, as States feel pressured to conform to NEP 2020 without adequate negotiation.
To preserve the spirit of cooperative federalism and ensure a more inclusive approach, it would be advisable for the Ministry of Education to engage in meaningful dialogue and negotiate better terms with dissenting States.
This would allow for a more balanced and cooperative implementation of the NEP 2020 while respecting the autonomy of States.
Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA): Nurturing Quality Higher Education and Innovation
In the context of the National Education Policy, the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) Scheme has been introduced as the “Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA)” in June 2023.
Its objectives include enhancing the quality of existing state higher education institutions by ensuring compliance with prescribed norms and standards, embracing accreditation as a quality assurance framework.
The scheme aims to bring about governance, academic, and examination reforms in these institutions, while also establishing connections with both school education and the job market to foster self-reliance and contribute to the concept of Atma-Nirbhar Bharat.
Furthermore, PM-USHA seeks to create a conducive environment within higher education institutions to encourage research and innovation.
‘Pibot,’ the humanoid robot that can safely pilot an airplane
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) is making groundbreaking advancements in aviation with the development of “Pibot,” a humanoid robot designed to fly aircraft using its own dexterity and advanced AI capabilities. Pibot’s ability to manipulate flight instruments, understand complex manuals, and react quickly to emergency situations showcases its potential to transform aviation and other industries.
The Vision of Pibot
Transforming the Aviation Industry: Pibot represents a groundbreaking innovation with the objective of enabling autonomous flight in existing aircraft without requiring any cockpit modifications. Through emulating human pilot actions and choices, Pibot envisions a revolutionary phase of automated aviation.
Unparalleled Precision in Control: Pibot boasts state-of-the-art robotic arms and fingers integrated with cutting-edge high-precision control mechanisms. This enables Pibot to adeptly handle flight instruments and oversee cockpit switches, even when faced with challenging conditions such as intense vibrations.
Mastery of Cockpit Operations: Pibot harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to comprehend and retain intricate flight manuals presented in everyday language. It surpasses human pilots by effortlessly memorizing extensive sets of Jeppesen aeronautical navigation charts, an accomplishment beyond human capabilities.
Versatility and User-Friendly Nature: Pibot’s remarkable memory and adaptability empower it to navigate diverse aircraft models without the need for emulating human pilot behaviors. Its impressive flexibility allows it to seamlessly transition between various aircraft configurations.
PM Vishwakarma Scheme: Benefits and Eligibility
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent announcement of the Vishwakarma Yojana in his Independence Day address has paved the way for a new scheme aimed at bolstering the livelihood prospects of traditional artisans and craftspeople. Following this announcement, the Union Cabinet swiftly approved the scheme, demonstrating its commitment to promoting and preserving traditional skills and crafts.
Scheme Overview: Nurturing Traditional Artistry
Introducing Vishwakarma Yojana: Empowering Traditional Artisans with Financial Support
The Vishwakarma Yojana is a visionary initiative by the Indian government designed to extend financial assistance to individuals engaged in traditional crafts and skills. This scheme seeks to provide a strong support system to artisans, enabling them to flourish in their crafts while also contributing to the preservation of India’s rich cultural heritage.
Financial Assistance for Artisans
Under the umbrella of the Vishwakarma Yojana, a dedicated allocation of Rs 13,000 crore has been earmarked to empower artisans across the country. The scheme offers subsidized loans of up to Rs 2 lakh to craftsmen, aiming to alleviate financial constraints that might impede their artistic pursuits.
Phased Loan Disbursement with Favorable Interest Rates
In its initial phase, the PM Vishwakarma scheme will extend loans of up to Rs 1 lakh to artisans at an incredibly low interest rate of 5%. This interest rate is significantly lower than prevailing market rates, enabling artisans to access credit without the burden of exorbitant interest charges. In the subsequent phase, the scheme will further provide credit support of up to Rs 2 lakh, continuing to maintain the favorable 5% interest rate.
Comprehensive Skill Enhancement
Recognizing the importance of skill development in today’s rapidly evolving world, the Vishwakarma Yojana goes beyond financial aid. It places a strong emphasis on enhancing artisans’ skills through advanced training programs. This initiative aims to ensure that traditional artistry is not only preserved but also updated to meet contemporary standards.
Incentives for Skill Training and Tool Procurement
The scheme incorporates a thoughtful approach by offering stipends for skill training. Artisans will receive a stipend of Rs 500, enabling them to pursue skill enhancement without financial worries. Additionally, a sum of Rs 1500 will be provided to facilitate the purchase of modern tools, empowering artisans to work with greater efficiency and precision.
Holistic Support System
The Vishwakarma Yojana aspires to create a comprehensive ecosystem of support for traditional artisans. It encompasses various components, including:
Liberal Loan Terms: Ensuring easy access to loans for artisans.
Skill Upgradation: Equipping artisans with advanced techniques and knowledge.
Toolkit Incentive: Providing financial assistance for procuring modern tools.
Digital Transaction Incentives: Encouraging artisans to embrace digital transactions.
Marketing Support: Assisting artisans in marketing their crafts effectively.
Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw estimates that approximately 30 lakh families stand to benefit from the Vishwakarma Yojana. This far-reaching scheme is poised to uplift traditional artisans, enhancing their socio-economic status and contributing to the preservation of India’s rich cultural tapestry.
Seamless Registration Process
To facilitate easy enrollment, the government has designated common services centers in villages as registration points for the scheme. This user-friendly approach aims to ensure that artisans from diverse corners of the country can seamlessly become a part of this transformative initiative.
Central Government Funding with State Collaboration
The entire financial backing for the Vishwakarma Yojana comes from the central government. While the scheme’s foundation is built on central support, the collaboration of state governments will be crucial in its effective implementation.
IAF To Hold Multi-National Exercise ‘Tarang Shakti’ Next Year
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is gearing up to host a colossal multilateral military exercise, ‘Tarang Shakti‘, which was originally slated for October but has been rescheduled to the middle of 2024. The decision to push the exercise to next year comes as several participating air forces expressed their inability to join the wargame if held in the current year.
A Diverse Array of Participants
‘Tarang Shakti’ is set to draw the involvement of some prominent air forces, including those of France, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, and Japan.
These nations will contribute their aerial assets such as fighter jets, military transport aircraft, and mid-air refuelers to the exercise.
Additionally, six other countries have been invited to participate as observers, further emphasizing the exercise’s significance on the global stage.
Tarang Shakti: India’s Ambitious Multilateral Air Exercise Set to Elevate International Military Cooperation
The upcoming exercise is anticipated to serve as an impressive showcase of international teamwork and military capabilities, with the involvement of around 12 air forces.
The main goal of ‘Tarang Shakti’ is to reinforce military coordination and amplify the seamless interaction between the participating countries.
Remarkably, this exercise is on track to become India’s most extensive aerial drill to date, highlighting the nation’s escalating role in the sphere of global military collaboration.
Recent International Air Force Exercises Conducted by the Indian Air Force
In April, the Indian Air Force dispatched four Rafale jets, two C-17 aircraft, and two IL-78 mid-air refuelers to participate in a nearly three-week-long multinational air exercise at France’s Mont-de-Marsan military base.
Another notable event saw four Rafale fighter aircraft executing a “strategic” mission over the Indian Ocean region for over six hours. This mission underscored the extensive combat capabilities of these advanced aircraft and marked a significant milestone in showcasing India’s air power projection capabilities.
Furthermore, in April, the Indian and US Air Forces conducted Exercise Cope India in locations such as Kalaikunda, Panagarh, and Agra. The exercise witnessed the deployment of US assets, including B1 Bomber jets and F-15 fighter aircraft, showcasing the depth of collaboration between the two nations.
India gets first-ever night street racing circuit in Chennai
The Tamil Nadu government and Racing Promotions Private Limited (RRPL) have launched a new street circuit in Chennai. The 3.5km track will be located around the Island Grounds and will be the first-ever street circuit in India and South Asia to host a night race.
The track will have elevation changes and 19 corners, including multiple chicanes. It will also offer stunning views of the Marina Beach Road and the Bay of Bengal.
The event is scheduled to be held on December 9-10 and will feature the F4 Indian Championship and the Indian Racing League. The SDAT will be investing Rs 42 crore to host the event.
The launch of the new street circuit is a major boost for motorsport in India. It will help to raise the profile of the sport and attract more fans and sponsors. It is also expected to boost tourism in Chennai.
The event is expected to be a major success and will be a landmark moment for motorsport in India.
Here are some additional details about the new circuit:
The track will be located around the Island Grounds, a 100-acre area in the heart of Chennai.
The track will have elevation changes of up to 10 meters.
The track will have 19 corners, including multiple chicanes.
The track will offer stunning views of the Marina Beach Road and the Bay of Bengal.
The event is scheduled to be held on December 9-10, 2023.
The SDAT will be investing Rs 42 crore to host the event.