Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Feb 18, 2022

Current Affair 1:
National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)


National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) recently relaxed the eligibility criteria for accreditation of higher educational institutions.


The NATIONAL ASSESSMENT AND ACCREDITATION COUNCIL (NAAC) conducts assessment and accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) such as colleges, universities or other recognised institutions to derive an understanding of the ‘Quality Status’ of the institution.

NAAC evaluates the institutions for its conformance to the standards of quality in terms of its performance related to the educational processes and outcomes, curriculum coverage, teaching-learning processes, faculty, research, infrastructure, learning resources, organisation, governance, financial wellbeing and student services.

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), with a record of at least two batches of students graduated, or been in existence for six years, whichever is earlier, are eligible to apply for the process of Assessment and Accreditation (A&A) of NAAC.

NAAC has identified a set of seven criteria to serve as the basis of its assessment procedures. NAAC has categorized the Higher Educational Institutions into three major types (University, Autonomous College, and Affiliated/Constituent College) and assigned different weightages to these criteria under different key aspects based on the functioning and organizational focus of the three types of HEIs.

  1. Curricular Aspects
  2. Teaching-Learning and Evaluation
  3. Research, Innovations and Extension
  4. Infrastructure and Learning Resources
  5. Student Support and Progression
  6. Governance, Leadership and Management
  7. Institutional Values and Best Practices


Current Affair 2:
Open Access Movement


The Open Access movement aims to make scholarly literature freely accessible to all on the internet, without any expectation of payment, by author. This movement was founded and operates on the belief that knowledge is a public good and therefore, in order to facilitate further scholarship, learning, communication and discussion of ideas, the public should have unhindered access to it[2]. It is only through such a free flow of ideas and discussions that the full potential of knowledge domain could be exploited and benefitted by public at large.

Open Access Initiatives in India:

Open Access (OA) initiatives, although sparse, have been around in India since the early 2000s. Such efforts were first seen in the scientific community, through the development of open access repositories at the university level, to store theses, dissertations, preprints, post-prints, research articles etc.

For instance, Vidyanidhi Digital Library was one of the earliest Electronic Thesis Databases to be organized in India in 2002 by the sponsorship from the then National Information System for Science and Technology (NISSAT), Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.

Since then, a national repository of doctoral theses has been established called Shodhganga managed by the Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET). There has been a steady rise in the number of digital repositories set up by various institutions since the 2000s. Although the proliferation in the number of OA digital repositories is encouraging, they might not be representative of the entire reality on the ground. Recent studies have shown that while the number of OA digital repositories has steadily increased in India since the early 2000s, the number of items held by these repositories varies greatly, with some repositories standing completely empty.

Apart from institutional endeavours, efforts have also been made by the Government departments to ensure that scientific knowledge, data and scholarly resources be available to the Indian masses. For example, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) have formulated their own OA policies to make accessibility to scholarly literature a reality in India.

The Ministry of Education through its National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) has sponsored the National Digital Library of India (NDLI), which is a "digital repository of learning resources with searching and browsing facilities, along with other services for the learner community."

As of October 2021, the NDLI had 72, 962, 996 text resources.

Furthermore, the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy of 2020 draft document released a list of recommendations in 2020 with the aim of promoting "open science".

Notably, this policy document only focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Energy and Mathematics) sciences and doesn't cover within its ambit social sciences and humanities.

The most significant of the recommendations regarding access to scientific scholarly literature is the suggestion to adopt a 'one nation one subscription' formula for India, as per which a "centrally negotiated payment" will be made by the Government to journal publishers and all individuals in India will have access to journal articles. This has been suggested to replace the current system of individual institutional journal subscription. The policy report doesn't elaborate on the process through which such a momentous claim would be made reality. However, if this suggestion is successfully translated into practice, it would mean tremendous strides in the goal of open access to scholarly literature and knowledge in India.

Open Access publications have seen a steady rise in India since their inception. India has been ranked at the 13th place by Nature Index 2020 for its "high-quality scientific publications in an independently selected group of 68 high-quality scientific journals."

These initiatives show that the mission of open access has been undertaken by various actors in the Indian context, who wish to ensure that knowledge and information isn't barred behind access barriers, but is available to anyone who seeks it, in the true spirit of communication of the products of human intelligence.

While, the diversity and quantity of open access initiatives in India is encouraging, there is a need to bring these conversations out of the academic sphere and into the general parlance so that all and sundry are aware of it and thus can contribute through action and intention towards its success.


Current Affair 3:
Terms of the day: 


(1) Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ)

Quota means quantitative barriers generally in terms of imports

TRQ is a quota for imports that enter India at a specified tariff/import duty. After the quota is reached, a higher tariff applies on additional imports.

For example, in the India-UAE FTA, India has given UAE a TRQ of 200 tonnes on gold (imports) from UAE. This means that till 200 tonnes of gold import from UAE, India will impose a concessional tariff and after that, the tariff will be equal to what it is for the rest of the world.

(2) Safeguard Mechanism

Safeguard mechanism allows trade partners in an FTA to raise (import) tariffs temporarily to deal with import surges or price falls (to protect domestic producers). The additional duty raised/imposed is called 'Safeguard Duty'. India-UAE FTA provides safeguard mechanism.

Current Affair 4:
Why does the world need a library of underwater sounds?


An international team of scientists have proposed a global library to document underwater biological sounds (GLUBS).  The researchers discuss the benefits of the web-based platform in a study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

Of the roughly 250,000 known marine species, scientists think all 126 mammals, at least 100 invertebrates and 1,000 of the world’s 34,000 known fish species produce sounds.

Underwater creatures use sounds to communicate, make sense of their surroundings, find food and protect themselves, scientists think.


These sounds can help scientists study ocean life as most species are nocturnal or hard to find. It could help identify new species and monitor how human activities impact the known aquatic species.

Helping them listen to marine life is passive acoustic monitoring (PAM), a technology that uses hydrophones to record sounds underwater.

How could sound help identify new species?

In 2019, scientists described a new species, Johnius taiwanensis. Acoustic analysis showed that it produces a sound unique to the waters around coastal Taiwan.

There is also a particular interest in using sound to understand diversity in difficult to access locations like the deep sea, though implementation has been limited so far.

Biological sounds can be especially helpful in describing the distribution of underwater species that would be otherwise hard to find.

Sounds have been used to track invasive species, such as the lionfish (found in warm marine waters of the tropics) or freshwater drum (present in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States).

India has shown interest in exploring deep seabed mining, and there are concerns about it impacting marine life. Can the global library be used to document these effects?

The global library we propose will help support assessing human impacts on oceans. By listening to underwater sounds at proposed mining sites, we may tell whether complex communities exist in a particular area and recommend alternative locations.

In addition to destroying habitat, mining may create a lot of noise that could hurt marine animals directly or cause behavioural and physiological changes. This could be further studied with passive acoustics.

Are there any technical challenges in capturing biological sounds underwater?

Definitely! Compared to recording sounds on land, it can be much more challenging to identify what might be producing a particular sound underwater due to reduced visibility or limited access.

The ocean is also much larger than land and is more challenging to study in many respects because of size and accessibility. We know more about Mars, including what it sounds like (Mars playlist), than we do for many areas of our ocean.

Additionally, it will require much greater effort to document the sound production of roughly 34,000 species and invertebrates.

We hope that with more affordable technology and the creation of a global library, we will create opportunities for the public to contribute to research efforts through citizen science.


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