- In 1876, Emile Boirac, a French philosopher and researcher, coined the term, which means “already seen.”
- But intellectuals have tried to explain the phenomenon as far back as Plato, who saw it as evidence of past lives
- More recently, Sigmund Freud described this as a “recollection of unconscious fantasy coupled with a desire to improve the present situation.”
- Carl Jung thought it was related to the collective unconscious, while modern Hollywood describes it as a ‘glitch in the matrix’
- Deja vu is literally a person’s subjective experience of repeating a particular set of events, activities, thoughts and feelings, even though that has never in reality occurred before
- Around 90 percent of the population has experienced deja vu and the frequency of it decreases as we age
- Our brain basically works like a time and space machine, It takes everything in our present and relates it to something similar or dissimilar in our past
- This way, it will be able to essentially plan the future. But there’s a possibility that these signals could get mixed up
- The phenomenon could have to do with an area in the middle of the brain called the thalamus
- All information such as hearing, taste, touch etc. must pass through the thalamus to the brain’s cerebral cortex (the outermost layer) for further interpretation and processing
- And if the speed of those interactions is a bit different, it then feels to us as if we’re experiencing the present, as though we remember it
- So what our brain has done is literally confused the present with the pas
- It’s also difficult for researchers to reach a conclusion, as deja vu is a difficult phenomenon to reproduce in a laboratory setting
- Over the decades, scientists have come up with various theories about why and how it happens
- One popular theory from a neurological perspective is dual processing – in which information is stored and retrieved through different processes in the brain
- For example, you are sitting in your living room reading this article. The smell of your mom’s cooking is in the air, your pet is cuddled up on the sofa, you hear the notification sound on your mobile, and feel the sunlight touching your skin. All these sensations add up during processing and are interpreted as a single event
- According to the dual processing theory, when there is a slight delay in the brain while processing one of these inputs, it interprets the experience as two separate events, giving you the feeling of familiarity
- There are also studies linking deja vu with a parallel universe. Theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku believes that deja vu is a form of memory glitch that happens when “fragments of memories stored in the brain… are elicited by moving into an environment that resembles something we’ve already experienced.”
STRAY DOGS AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
- The carrying capacity the ability of a city to support a species is determined by the availability of food and shelter.
- In the absence of these facilities, free-ranging dogs are scavengers that forage around for food, eventually gravitating towards exposed garbage dumping sites.
- Dogs thus congregate around urban dumps, such as landfills, due to feeding opportunities.
- A population boom in Indian cities has contributed to a staggering rise in solid waste.
- Indian cities generate more than 1, 50, 000 metric tonnes of urban solid waste every day.
- According to a United Nations Environment Program 2021 report, an estimated 931 million tonnes of food available to consumers ended up in households, restaurants, vendors and other food service retailers' bins in 2019.
- Indian homes on average generated 50 kg of food waste per person, the report said. This waste often serves as a source of food for hunger-stricken, free-roaming dogs that move towards densely populated areas in cities, such as urban slums which are usually located next to garbage dumping sites and landfills.
- Urban dogs are believed to have a distinct set of traits as compared to rural dogs, as they have "learnt to develop survival techniques in fast-paced, often hostile motorised urban environments", a 2014 study argues.
- Dogs do not usually pose a threat to human well-being and proper management of refuse and a tolerant if not friendly attitude towards dogs can ensure their peaceful coexistence with us.
3. Role of urbanisation
- Cities have witnessed a sharp increase in the stray dog population, which, per the official 2019 livestock census, stood at 1.5 crores.
- However, independent estimates peg the number to be around 6.2 crores.
- The number of dog bites has simultaneously doubled between 2012 and 2020.
- India also shoulders the highest rabies burden in the world, accounting for a third of global deaths caused due to the disease.
- In 2015, a study conducted in 10 Indian metro cities found a strong link between the human population the amount of municipal and food waste generated and the number of stray dogs in the cities.
- It argued, in effect, the present mode of urbanisation and paradigm of development innately promotes urban sprawls, slums, and disparity.
- With the development of cities, managing solid waste has become a daunting challenge and the unconfined and unmanaged leftovers end up aiding the proliferation of stray dogs.
- While there is no evidence to show that a rising population and municipal waste directly led to an increase in dog bites, experts agree there may be a correlation between urbanisation and solid waste production, made visible due to the mismanagement of waste disposal.
- Tepid animal birth control programmes and insufficient rescue centres, in conjunction with poor waste management, result in the proliferation of street animals in India.
- Additionally, most landfills and dumping sites are located on the peripheries of cities, next to slums and settlement colonies.
- Thus, the disproportionate burden of dog bites may also fall on people in urban slums.
- In 2021, 300 people living in Pune's Shivneri Nagar slum.
- In 2020, 17 people, including young children, who lived in Ramabai Nagar, a Slum spread over an area of 120 acres in Ghatkopar East, were bitten by stray dogs.
- A study published in 2016 found that the prevalence of dog bites was higher in urban slums usually located near dumping sites than in rural slums.
- The proximity of residential areas to dumping sites and the rise in dog attacks speak to core issues of unplanned and unregulated urban development, the lack of serviced affordable urban housing for all, the lack of safe livelihood options and improper solid waste management.
4. India Management on the Issue
- India's response to the stray dog menace has relied upon the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme, through which municipal bodies trap, sterilise and release dogs to slow down the dog population.
- The Second anchor was rabies control measures, including vaccination drives.
- But implementation suffers from low awareness around the health implications of dog bites, irregular supply of vaccines, delay in seeking treatments and a lack of national policy.
For Prelims: Stray Dogs, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, Urbanisation, Solid Waste Management,
1. Is there a connection between an increasing urban stray dog population and how waste is generated, collected and managed? What role can equitable housing and sanitation policies play? How is India managing the stray dog problem? (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions
1. Ward off the dog
2. Abuse and fight with your neighbour
3. Apprise the neighbour of the law, request him not to feed in front of your house and if required put a police complaint
4. Kill the dog
The following items are based on passages in English to test the comprehension of the English language and therefore these items do not have a Hindi version. Read each passage and answer the items that follow. In front of us was walking a bare-headed old man in tattered clothes. He was driving his beasts. They were all laden with heavy loads of clay from the hills and looked tired. The man carried a long whip which perhaps he himself had made. As he walked down the road he stopped now and then to eat the wild berries that grew on bushes along the uneven road. When he threw away the seeds, the bold birds would fly to peck at them. Sometimes a stray dog watched the procession philosophically and then began to bark. When this happened, my two little sons would stand still holding my hands firmly. A dog can sometimes be dangerous indeed.
The expression "a stray dog watched the procession philosophically" means that
1. the dog was restless and ferocious.
2. the dog stood aloof, looking at the procession with seriousness.
3. the dog looked at the procession with big, wondering eyes.
4. the dog stood there with his eyes closed.
2. Avian Influenza
- Avian Influenza, also known as Avian or Bird Flu, is a form of influenza caused by a virus found in birds.
- Avian Flu is similar to variants found in animals and humans – caused strains of influenza that have adapted to specific hosts.
3. Avian Influenza Type A viruses
- Type A viruses are classified based on two proteins on their surfaces – Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA). There are about 18 HA subtypes and 11 NA subtypes.
- Several combinations of these two proteins are possible e.g., H5N1, H7N2, H9N6, H17N10, H18N11, etc.
- All known subtypes of influenza A viruses can infect birds, except subtypes H17N10 and H18N11, which have only been found in bats.
4. Effect on Birds
- Although avian influenza has different subtypes, H5N1 is a highly pathogenic subtype that causes mortality in birds.
- Since 2022, the virus has infected over 100 million birds across the globe, resulting in the deaths of over 50 million and the culling of millions of poultry.
- Unlike previous outbreaks of highly pathogenic subtypes of avian influenza, H5N1 is heavily impacting wild bird species, including many which were on the verge of extinction.
- While it is difficult to ascertain how many wild birds have been affected by the virus, a significant impact has been seen in eagles, pelicans, geese, waterfowl, gulls, falcons, and shorebirds, in addition to the highest possible impact on poultry seen till date, at least in the U.S.
- The impact of H5N1 on wild bird populations has varied depending on several factors, such as the level of exposure, geographical locations, and migratory patterns of the affected species.
- High mortality in wild birds due to the virus could lead to significant ecological consequences, including the vulnerability of predators and alterations in species composition in affected ecosystems, and therefore a possible impact on biodiversity not just limited to avian species.
- It has raised concerns regarding the spread of the virus among critically endangered avian populations.
5. Spreading to animals
- The highly contagious H5N1 virus can also occasionally spill over from birds to animals through direct or indirect contact with infected birds or their droppings.
- Worryingly, there have been several reports on the spillover of H5N1 to mammals during the current outbreak from different countries, infecting species such as sea lions, minks, foxes, wild bears, and skunks, apart from domestic animals such as dogs and cats.
- In 2023 alone, H5N1 caused the deaths of over 3,000 sea lions in Peru. In a recent yet to be peer reviewed study, scientists found that the virus could efficiently spread between ferrets in the laboratory.
- The only known cases of the virus spreading between mammals were reported in minks that were raised in close confinement on a farm in Spain.
- The transmission of H5N1 from birds to mammals is rare, but when it does occur, it can be a cause for concern, as the virus could accumulate mutations and acquire the ability to potentially initiate human outbreaks.
- H5N1 has a high mortality rate of over 60% in humans and is primarily transmitted to humans through close contact with infected birds or animals, either through handling infected poultry or exposure to contaminated environments.
6. Enhanced Measures
- As the current H5N1 outbreak continues unabated with devastating impact on the avian population globally, and with significant ecological and economic consequences, the time has never been better to initiate efforts for preparedness towards building better, more efficient vaccines for avians and humans.
- Genomic surveillance should be done to map the continued evolution of the virus.
- Moreover, enhanced biosecurity measures are required to protect both animal and public health.
For Prelims: Avian influenza H5N1, Bird Flu, Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA), influenza A viruses, Genomic surveillance, Pathogens, and Viruses.
Previous year Questions
1. H1N1 virus is sometimes mentioned in the news with reference to which one of the following diseases? (UPSC 2015)
2. Consider the following statements : (UPSC 2010)
1. Every individual in the population is an equally susceptible host for Swine Flu.
2. Antibiotics have no role in the primary treatment of Swine Flu.
3. To prevent the future spread of Swine Flu in the epidemic area, the swine (pigs) must all be culled.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 and 2 only
B. 2 only
C. 2 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3
3. Which of the following statements is/are correct? (UPSC 2013)
1. Viruses lack enzymes necessary for the generation of energy.
2. Viruses can be cultured in any synthetic medium.
3. Viruses are transmitted from one organism to another by biological vectors only.
Select the correct answer using the codes given below.
A. 1 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3
VALUES PROMOTE BETTER THAN ORGANISATION VALUES
He was the Director General of the Railway force. But one morning, DG was feeling uneasy as he had read terrible news of child trafficking. He was worried about the pain these children underwent but could also understand the pain of their parents. What bothered him the most was the possibility of exploitation of those kids. As a leader, he felt that everyone in his department should have a moral understanding of this issue and empathise with it. He called his IG immediately and proposed an intervention on ethics and values for the Railway force. But the IG believed that if the system is robust, human trafficking can be checked through railways or any other means of transportation. IG was not convinced about such training on Ethics and Values. IG was in a hurry that day. He said, “Sir, today I was discussing the same thing with my parents, and there was a spark in my father’s eyes. The first time he accepted my profile as a police officer, as till now he felt I am not doing good things.” DG smiled and so did IG.
In one of the review meetings, the department awarded a railway constable for returning a mobile phone to an elderly couple by contacting them. It was a great gesture. The constable even shared that the couple blessed and hugged him. While he was leaving the conference hall, the DG said, “Tell me, jawan. Suppose you found a missing child on the train and later you would have been successful in returning to their parents, how would you feel? Whether your happiness and satisfaction with your duty would have been the same as returning that mobile phone?” The constable was looking at him with awe. He was not finding any answer from his side. But his body language was certainly preparing him for the higher sense of sensitivity and larger consciousness in society. He returned quietly.
That was the last day of DG in the office. He was surrounded by his officers. When he was returning with farewell garlands and getting ready to board his personal car, he saw someone. That person was that constable. He was looking emotional and in tears. “Sir, I found a few kids a day before yesterday. I took them to their home and it was a highly satisfying effort, sir. Please let me touch your feet. You will never retire for all of us. You are the epitome of values. Hope the training in values and ethics will be refining us day by day, ” he said. Listening to this, the DG hugged him and put those garlands around the constable’s shoulders.
Later, he asked, “Why have you not informed the department? You would have been appreciated and awarded.” The constable replied, “My happiness was more to see that reunion. And trust me, sir, it was like becoming an inspector when I saw the happiness of their parents. Values promote us better than other processes of the organisation.”
Questions Based on the above Case Study
1. What was the point of difference in the attitude of DG and IG with reference to the issue?
2. From the frame of the constable, what difference did you find in his attitude in the two incidents discussed?
3. What does the caselet tell us about the personality of DG? Do you think he was fit to lead the department and why?
4. Between the lines, can you locate the ideas of western philosophical principles, that you studied last time as the concept, in this caselet?
5. “Values promote us better than other processes of the organisation.” Discuss. Do you agree with the statement?
HISTORY AND SIGNIFICANCE OF MAY DAY
- May Day, also called Workers’ Day or International Workers’ Day, day commemorating the historic struggles and gains made by workers and the labour movement, observed in many countries on May 1. In the United States and Canada a similar observance, known as Labor Day, occurs on the first Monday of September
- In 1889 an international federation of socialist groups and trade unions designated May 1 as a day in support of workers, in commemoration of the Haymarket Riot in Chicago (1886)
- Five years later, U.S. Pres. Grover Cleveland, uneasy with the socialist origins of Workers’ Day, signed legislation to make Labor Day already held in some states on the first Monday of September the official U.S. holiday in honour of workers
- In Europe May 1 was historically associated with rural pagan festivals , but the original meaning of the day was gradually replaced by the modern association with the labour movement
- In the Soviet Union, leaders embraced the new holiday, believing it would encourage workers in Europe and the United States to unite against capitalism
- The day became a significant holiday in the Soviet Union and in the Eastern-bloc countries, with high-profile parades, including one in Moscow’s Red Square presided over by top government and Communist Party functionaries, celebrating the worker and showcasing Soviet military might
- In Germany Labour Day became an official holiday in 1933 after the rise of the Nazi Party. Ironically, Germany abolished free unions the day after establishing the holiday, virtually destroying the German labour movement
- May Day celebrates the contribution and sacrifice of workers to and for society. The day's importance dates back to the times when workers in the United States started protesting against draconian labour laws, workers' rights violations, poor working conditions, and dreadful work hours. May Day is synonymous with workers' struggles and the subsequent empowerment in the late 19th century.
- It was on this day when a police contingent opened fire and killed at least two of the striking workers demanding an 8-hour work day instead of a gruelling 16-hour work day.
- Following the infamous murder of peaceful protestors, more workers joined the protests, and it was only in 1916 that the US began to recognise the eight-hour work timings
- However, in India, people started observing the day on 1 May 1923 after the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan was initiated and Comrade Singaravelar helmed the celebrations
- A resolution stating the government should allow everybody a national holiday on Labour Day. Since then, May Day has been observed annually
- Speeches given by workers' union leaders and cultural events are common on this day. Schools, colleges, and offices are usually closed on this day
2. About Water Body
- The Water Bodies: First Census Report considers "all natural or man-made units bounded on all sides with some or no masonry work used for storing water for irrigation or other purposes (e.g. industrial, pisciculture, domestic/drinking, recreation, religious, groundwater recharge etc.)" as water bodies.
- The Water bodies are usually of various types known by different names like tanks, reservoirs, ponds etc.
- According to the report," A structure where water from ice-melt, streams, springs, rain or drainage of water from residential or other areas is accumulated or water is stored by diversion from a stream, Nala or river will also be treated as a water body".
- As per the report, West Bengal's South 24 Pargana has been ranked as the district having the highest (3.55 lakh) number of water bodies across the country.
- The district is followed by Andhra Pradesh's Ananthapur (50, 537) and West Bengal's Howrah (37, 301).
3. The excluded water bodies for the Census
- Oceans and lagoons
- Rivers, streams, springs, waterfalls, canals, etc. which are free-flowing, without any bounded storage of water
- Swimming pools
- Covered water tanks created for a specific purpose by a family or household for their consumption
- A water tank constructed by a factory owner for the consumption of water as raw material or consumable
- Temporary water bodies created by digging for mining, brick kilns and construction activities, which may get filled during the rainy season and
- Pucca open water tanks were created only for cattle to drink water.
4. The need for water bodies census
- The Centre earlier maintained a database of water bodies that were getting central assistance under the Scheme of Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of water bodies.
- In 2016, a Standing Committee of Parliament pointed to the need to carry out a separate census of water bodies.
- The government then commissioned the first census of water bodies in 2018-19 along with the sixth Minor Irrigation (MI) Census.
- The objective was to collect information on all important aspects of the subject including their size, condition, status of encroachments, use, storage capacity, status of filling up of storage etc.
5. The Methodology of Data Collection
- The Traditional methodology, i.e., paper-based schedules, was canvassed both for rural and urban areas.
- A village schedule, urban schedule and water body schedule were canvassed and a smartphone was used to capture latitude, longitude and photo of water bodies.
6. The encroachment of water bodies
- The census found that 1.6 per cent of enumerated water bodies 38, 496 out of 24, 24, 540 had been encroached upon.
- More than 95 per cent of these were in rural areas which is logical because more than 97 per cent of the water bodies covered by the census were in rural areas.
- In almost 63 per cent of encroached water bodies, less than a quarter of the area was under encroachment; in about 12 per cent of water bodies, more than three-quarters of the area was under encroachment.
- Uttar Pradesh accounted for almost 40 per cent (15, 301) of water bodies under encroachment, followed by Tamil Nadu (8, 366) and Andhra Pradesh (3, 920).
- No encroachment was reported from West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.
|For Prelims: Census for water bodies, Ministry of Jal Shakti,
1. Discuss the need for a water bodies census and Explain the environmental implications of the reclamation of water bodies in India. (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions
1. With reference to the water on the planet Earth, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2021)
1. The amount of water in the rivers and lakes is more than the amount of groundwater.
2. The amount of water in polar ice caps and glaciers is more than the amount of groundwater. Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only B. 2 only C. Both 1 and 2 D. Neither 1 nor 2
NATIONAL PANCHAYATI RAJ DAY
2. What was the context of Gandhi's Quote?
- “Independence must mean that of the people of India, not of those who are today ruling over them… Independence must begin at the bottom. Thus, every village will be a republic or Panchayat having full powers. It follows, therefore, that every village has to be self-sustained and capable of managing its affairs even to the extent of defending itself against the whole world.”
- In his various experiments against colonial forces and creating an alternative to their model of governance, Gandhi put forth values like ahimsa (non-violence) and Satya (truth).
- But apart from ideology, he also gave practical steps for achieving true self-rule or swaraj. He said India must have panchayats, a set up where the adults of the village elect a council of five people and head among them, as local representatives.
- Although, Gandhi clarifies this does not mean not taking any help from the outside world, but simply that each person must be so capable as to take care of their own basic needs in life in harmony with nature and those around them.
- This would mean contributing labor for public work like sanitation, growing food locally, creating a rotational force for guarding the village, ensuring education for all, wearing hand-spun khadi to promote local artisans, shunning intoxicants, etc.
3. Gandhi's values and ideologies with respect to Village
- Gandhi put forth values like ahimsa (non-violence) and Satya (truth).
- But apart from ideology, he also gave practical steps for achieving true self-rule or swaraj.
- He said India must have panchayats, a set up where the adults of the village elect a council of five people and a head among them, as local representatives.
- This does not mean not taking any help from the outside world, but simply that each person must be so capable as to take care of their own basic needs in life in harmony with nature and those around them.
- This would mean contributing labor for public work like sanitation, growing food locally, creating a rotational force for guarding the village, ensuring education for all, wearing hand-spun khadi to promote local artisans, shunning intoxicants, etc.
- Gandhi pressed for democratic decentralization. The idea also reflects his larger inclination towards preserving Indian traditions and resisting external forces.
4. Importance of Democratic Decentralisation
- Gandhi's concept of democratic decentralization bears the stamp of his passionate belief in non-violence, truth, and individual freedom.
- He calls it Panchayati Raj or village Swaraj. He wants to see each village a little republic, self-sufficient in its vital wants, organically and non-hierarchically linked with the larger spatial bodies, and enjoying the maximum freedom of deciding the affairs of the locality.
- Gandhi wanted political power to be distributed among the villages in India. Gandhi preferred the 'Swaraj' to describe what he called true democracy.
- This democracy is based upon freedom. Individual freedom in Gandhi's view, could be maintained only in autonomous, self-reliant communities that offer opportunities to the people for fullest participation.
5. Village Panchayats
- The vehicle that was most ideal to initiate both political and economic democracy at the grassroots level was the Panchayat Raj system.
- Mahatma Gandhi's tours all across the country reinforced his convictions that India would benefit if the villages were governed by Village Panchayats based on the principle of "simple living and high thinking".
- These were village republics that were self-contained and self-reliant and had all that people want.
- These were the institutions where a minimum standard of living could be accorded to all human beings.
- An individual had maximum freedom and opportunity to develop his personality to the greatest extent. In these republics, there would be a diminution of the state and the roots of democracy deepened.
- According to him, centralization cannot be sustained as a system without adequate force. The affairs are to be managed by Panchayats consisting of five persons elected annually.
- Gandhi aimed the individual at the center of the local administration.
- People are expected to take a personal interest and turn up in large numbers at the meeting to deliberate problems of common interest such as village industries, agricultural production, obligation, and planning.
6. What was the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act of 1992?
- Before the act, India’s Constitution only mentioned a two-tier form of government and local institutions found a mention only in Directive Principles of State Policy which is not enforceable by courts or bound to be followed, only meant as a guiding document for governments.
- With a lack of focus here, absence of regular elections, insufficient representation of marginalized sections like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and women, inadequate devolution of powers (transfer from a higher level of government to the lower levels) and lack of financial resources from the state and the Centre were some issues plaguing village-level governance.
- Several committees were constituted for studying these issues, such as the Balwant Rai Mehta Committee and the Ashok Mehta Committee, which gave important recommendations.
- In the late 1980s, then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi Prioritised the issue and after cross-party support, the measure was finally passed.
- Being enshrined in law and an amendment to the Constitution meant these provisions could no longer be easily ignored.
- The 74th Amendment Act passed in the same year, sought to look at local governance in urban areas and constituting municipal bodies.
7. What did the Act Change?
the mandatory third tier of governance, it transformed the dynamics of rural development by giving a say to a large section of the people significantly, women in the administration of their localities.
- It said the state government may develop powers for such bodies to implement schemes for economic development and social Justice, authorize a Panchayat to levy, collect, and appropriate taxes, duties, and tolls, and provide for making such grants-in-aid to the Panchayats from the Consolidated Fund of the State a major move to help fund them.
- It mandated women's representation in one-third of the seats. Women now constitute more than 45 percent of the nearly three million panchayat and gram sabha representatives in the country, standing in contrast to their representation in the current Lok Sabha, at 14 percent. Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes groups were also mandated to be assigned seats in proportion to their presence in the population.
- A five-year term was fixed for representatives, with a procedure given for conducting timely elections.
- It also noted that the Governor of a state would constitute a Finance Commission to review the financial position of the Panchayats and then recommend to her what their requirements are, how they can be met, etc.
8. Evaluation of the Act
- The act has been instrumental in involving more and more people in the democratic processes at a grassroots level.
- Decentralization generally results in more transparency between the government and the people, better grievance redressal, and better information flow.
- Civil servants can gain timely news about developing health concerns or outbreaks in rural areas, for example, to suggest in