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27th September Current Affairs

India Inc. needs a neurodiverse workplace

(GS-II: Issues related to the development of the social sector, institutions and bodies for protection of vulnerable sections of society etc)

In News:

In the last few years, “inclusion” and “diversity” have assumed importance in most organizations.

Key studies on the inclusive workplace:

A 2019 McKinsey study: Companies with gender diversity were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability

India’s Best Workplaces in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 2021 report: It states that diverse teams perform better, boosts leadership integrity, heighten trust in the organization’s management and multiply revenue growth.

What is neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is a notion that every person interacts and experiences their surroundings differently.

It includes people with neurodivergent conditions such as:

  • Attention-deficit disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Asperger’s Syndrome

Status of neurological and developmental disorder:

Autistic: Nearly 2 million people in India suffer from this neurological and developmental disorder and are therefore identified as autistic.

Deloitte study: It estimates that nearly 20% of the world is neurodiverse.

Benefits of embracing neurodiversity:

Competitive edge: Organizations embracing neurodiversity enjoy a competitive edge in several areas such as efficiency, creativity, and culture.

JPMorgan Chase study: It shows that professionals in its ‘Autism at Work’ initiative made fewer errors and were 90% to 140% more productive than neurotypical employees.

Teams with both neurodivergent and neurotypical members: They are far more efficient than teams that comprise neurotypical employees alone.

Neurodivergent individuals: They possess excellent attention to detail and a better ability to focus on complex and repetitive tasks over a more extended period than their neurotypical peers.

University of Montreal study(test for completing a visual pattern): People on the autism spectrum( developmental disability caused by differences in the brain)could finish their task 40% faster than those who were not on the spectrum.

People with dyslexia: They can think about objects in three dimensions and analyze such objects even with limited information.

Way forward:

Cooperative workplace: Human resources and leadership teams must work together to ensure that the workplace is cooperative toward neurodiverse individuals.

Assistance to specially-abled individuals: The process of building an inclusive culture includes:

  • Customizing interviews
  • Ensuring day-to-day assistance for these specially-abled individuals
  • Providing proper infrastructure.

Conductive conditions: Organizations must not only remove barriers that obstruct the progress of such individuals but also create conducive conditions for them to achieve their true potential.

Mentorship programme and Professional training: On shared social and communication skills.

Creating the right environment: That requires openness and a will to change on the employer’s part.

A push for the semiconductor industry

(GS-III: Infrastructure/Manufacturing sector)

In News:

In a bid to make India’s $10 billion chip-making initiative more attractive to investors, the government approved changes to the scheme for the development of a semiconductor and display manufacturing ecosystem in the country.

What are semiconductors?

A semiconductor is a substance that has specific electrical properties that enable it to serve as a foundation for computers and other electronic devices.

Importance:

It is the building block of almost every modern electronic device from smartphones to connected devices in the Internet of Things (IoT).

The global semiconductor industry is currently valued at $500-$600 billion and caters to the global electronics industry currently valued at about $3 trillion.

What are Semiconductor Chips?

Semiconductors are materials which have a conductivity between conductors and insulators. They can be pure elements, silicon or germanium or compounds; gallium, arsenide or cadmium selenide.

Significance of Semiconductor Chips:

They are the basic building blocks that serve as the heart and brain of all modern electronics and information and communications technology products.

These chips are now an integral part of contemporary automobiles, household gadgets and essential medical devices such as ECG machines.

Components of semiconductor chip: The basic component of a semiconductor chip is a sliver of silicon, which is etched with billions of microscopic transistors to control the flow of current.

The most-advanced semiconductor technology nodes are available today are the 3 nanometre (nm) and the 5nm ones. Semiconductors having higher nanometre value are applied in automobiles, consumer electronics and so on, while those with lower values are used in devices such as smartphones and laptops.

Issues with the Semicconductor chipmaking industry:

Shortage of chips: Due to Pandemic induced closure of factories, US-China tension in Taiwan, the Russia-Ukraine war disrupting the Supply chain, and rising demand.

The chip-making industry is a highly-concentrated one: 90% of 5nm (nanometre) chips are mass-produced in Taiwan, by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

So, governments all over the world are trying to create their domestic chip-making industry.

Indian Government steps:

2021: 10 billion dollar production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to encourage semiconductor and display manufacturing in the country.

Fiscal support for a design-linked initiative (DLI) scheme to drive global and domestic investment related to design software, IP rights etc.

Modifications in “Programme for Development of Semiconductors and Display Manufacturing Ecosystem in India:The Union Cabinet has approved a uniform incentive of 50% of the project cost for setting up semiconductor, display and compound semiconductor fabrication units.

India Semiconductor Mission (ISM)”will be set up

Scheme for setting up of Compound Semiconductors facilities

Vedanta and Taiwanese chipmaker Foxconn will set up a ₹1,54,000 crore semiconductor plant in Gujarat.

Avalanche Monitoring Radar

In News:

The Indian Army and the Defence Geoinformatics and Research Establishment (DGRE) have jointly installed the Avalanche Monitoring Radar, the first of its kind in India, in north Sikkim

Details:

An avalanche is a rapid flow of snow down a slope, such as a hill or a mountain. Avalanches can be set off spontaneously, by such factors as increased precipitation or snowpack weakening, or by external means such as humans, animals, and earthquakes.

Benefits of Avalanche Monitoring Radar:

Detection of avalanches (within 3 seconds of the trigger) and landslides.

Assist in saving valuable life of troops and civilians as also vehicles in super high altitude areas

DGRE is the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s wing involved in forecasting and mitigating avalanche hazards faced by the Indian Army in the Himalayan region.

Government blocked 45 videos from 10 YouTube channels

In News:

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has blocked 45 videos from 10 YouTube channels as they allegedly contained hate speech against religious communities and spread communal disharmony.

Key Highlights:

The videos were blocked under the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021.

The content included:

Fake news and morphed videos.

False claims such as the government have taken away the religious rights of certain communities

Violent threats against religious communities

Declaration of civil war in India etc

Hate Speech:

It is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, and the like(267th Report of the Law Commission of India).

Section 69 (A) of the Information Technology Act:

It confers on the Central and State governments the power to issue directions “to intercept, monitor or decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource”.

The grounds on which these powers may be exercised are:

  • In the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Defence of India
  • The security of the state.
  • Friendly relations with foreign states
  • Public order
  • Preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to these.