UPSC Prelims News of 3 October 2022
Professor of Practice
Context: The University Grants Commission has drafted guidelines for Professor of Practice positions in universities and colleges.
- Eligibility: Experts with remarkable contributions in their professions from various fields, with proven expertise in their specific profession with at least 15 years’ experience at a senior level are eligible to be Professor of Practice
- Qualification: A professor of practice can be anyone with a background in a diverse range of areas from technology, science, social sciences, media, literature, armed forces, law, fine arts, etc.
- Formal academic qualification is not essential.
- Currently, a PhD is required for recruitment as a regular professor or associate professor.
- Tenure: They can have a maximum tenure of four years,
- Number of such professors in an institution may not exceed 10% of the sanctioned posts at any point in time.
- Role and Function: Such faculty may be involved in developing and designing courses and curriculum; deliver lectures; mentor students; improve industry-academia collaboration; conduct with regular faculty members workshops, seminars and training programmes besides research projects.
- Introducing real world practices and experiences into classrooms which are producing graduates “who fall short of the required skills.
- It will benefit both the industry and the higher educational institutions.
- Addressing concerns about the quality of graduates being produced by Indian colleges and universities.
- Reducing Vacancy: It will help “augment faculty resources” in universities and colleges.
- According to data shared by the government in Lok Sabha in July, the central universities have as many as 6,549 vacant faculty positions.
Telecom Technology Development Fund (TTDF)
Context: Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), a body under the Department of Telecommunications, has launched the Telecom Technology Development Fund (TTDF) Scheme.
About Telecom Technology Development Fund (TTDF) Scheme
- Objective: It aims to build state-of-the-art telecom technologies and enable the proliferation of affordable broadband and mobile services in rural and remote areas.
- Salient features:
- The scheme aims to promote research and development in the field of Telecommunications, Technologies and Solutions in line with the Prime Minister’s call of “Jai Anusandhan”.
- The scheme covers wide areas of technologies and solutions.
- The scheme also intends creation of Intellectual Property Rights.
- The intent for R&D funding through grants to Indian entities is to encourage and induct indigenous technologies tailor-made to meet our unique needs and enable creation of a telecom product ecosystem in India
- Funding: Apart from the existing R&D funding mechanisms, an allocation of 5% of annual collections from USOF will be available for funding R&D in the Telecom sector, starting with the funds collected in the financial year 2021-22.
About the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
- USOF is the pool of funds generated through a 5 per cent Universal Service Levy on the Adjusted Gross Revenue of telecom companies.
- It has been used largely to aid rural connectivity.
- The USOF comes under the Indian Telegraph Act 1885. The act was amended in 2003 to give statutory status to the fund.
Aravalli Safari Park
Context: The Haryana government will develop the world’s largest jungle safari park in the Aravalli range.
More on the News
- The safari park will cover 10,000-acre area within Gurugram and Nuh districts of Haryana. It will be a joint project of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Haryana government.
- Presently, Sharjah is home to the largest curated safari park outside Africa. It covers an area of about 2,000 acres.
- The safari park will include herpetarium (for reptiles and amphibians), aviary/bird park, four zones for big cats, a large area for herbivores, an area for exotic animal birds, an underwater world, botanical gardens, nature trails, equatorial, tropical, coastal, desert etc.
- The proposed Jungle safari park will not only boost tourism but also provide employment opportunities to local residents.
- In addition, it will help preserve the Aravalli mountain range.
Aravalli Mountain Range:
- Aravallis are one of the oldest fold mountain ranges of the world. They stretch for a distance of 692 km from Gujarat to Delhi through Rajasthan and Haryana.
- The Aravallis separate the Indus river basin from Ganges river basin.
- The Sambhar-Sirohi ranges: They are taller and include Guru Shikhar on Mount Abu, the highest peak in the Aravalli Range.
- The Sambhar-Khetri ranges: They consist of three ridges that are discontinuous.
- Mineral source: The Aravalli Ranges are rich in natural resources (including many important minerals).
- Prevent desert expansion: The Mountains serve as a check to the growth of the western desert. They act as barrier against desert storms.
- Origination of rivers: The ranges give rise to several rivers, including the Banas, Luni, Sakhi, and Sabarmati.
- Ground-water recharge: The Aravallis function as a groundwater recharge zone for the water-deficient regions of Delhi-NCR.
Context: China’s draft resolution against AUKUS alliance at the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was withdrawn.
About the Resolution
- India worked closely with many IAEA member states to ensure that the draft resolution did not receive majority support.
- China had argued that the AUKUS initiative violated the responsibilities of Australia, the UK and the US under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
- The AUKUS is a strategic alliance consisting of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The alliance seeks to provide Australia with eight nuclear-powered submarines (but armed with conventional weapons).
- The AUKUS will also include cooperation across emerging technologies (applied AI, quantum technologies and undersea capabilities).
- Nuclear technology: Under the deal, the US has agreed to share its capability of building nuclear-powered submarines with another country, only for the second time in history.
- Chinese threat: The alliance is seen as a response by the three alliance countries to the increasingly aggressive and assertive behaviour of China across the Indo-Pacific.
- Greater role in Indo-pacific: Nuclear submarines provide Australia the strategic capability to conduct operations in the larger Pacific region, including the South China Sea.
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT):
- The NPT was conceived with an objective to limit the escalation of a nuclear arms race and the technology related to it.
- The Non-Proliferation Treaty is unequal, as it forces non-nuclear states to forgo development of nuclear weapons while allowing the established nuclear powers to keep theirs.
- India, Israel and Pakistan have not signed the treaty. North Korea had signed but later withdrew from the treaty.
Context: A new tool has been developed to reduce ‘dark data’ in organizations.
What is dark data?
- Data that is collected, processed and stored for single-use purposes, without being re-used, is termed as ‘dark data’.
- Ex: Identical images stored on Google Photos or iCloud, a business’s outdated spreadsheets, data from internet IoT sensors that have no purpose.
- Reasons for dark data:
- Absence of tools to capture and use dark data.
- Lack of proper analytical tool to utilize data.
- Unstructured form of data.
- Incomplete data that cannot be properly used
Concerns due to dark data
- Increase cost: Despite having no use in future, dark data takes up space on servers. These servers use lots of electricity.
- This constitutes a significant energy cost for an organization, which is usually hidden and not realized.
- Carbon footprint: Digital processing has a major role in carbon footprint of the world due to the electricity that is consumed. In 2020, it generated 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Data centres (2.5% of all human-induced carbon dioxide) have a larger carbon footprint than the aviation industry (2.1%).
- Security risk: Unused data may not be properly secured. This increases the risk of stealing of this data for malicious purpose.
Reducing dark data:
- Modify digital practices: New strategies have to be followed by organisations to reuse digital data and also while collecting, processing and storing new digital data.
- User discretion: A user has to decide what data need to be stored on servers for future use. Unwanted data should be deleted.