(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Centenary Celebrations of ‘Chauri Chaura’ Incident
Part of: GS Prelims and GS- I – Modern History
- Indian Prime Minister will inaugurate the Chauri Chaura Centenary Celebrations at Chauri Chaura, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, on 4th February 2021.
- The day marks 100 years of the ‘Chauri Chaura’ incident, a landmark event in India’s fight for independence.
Important value additions
- The Chauri Chaura incident took place on 4 February 1922 at Chauri Chaura in the Gorakhpur district of the United Province (modern Uttar Pradesh) in British India.
- In this, a large group of protesters participating in the Non-cooperation movement, clashed with police who opened fire.
- In retaliation the demonstrators attacked and set fire to a police station, killing all of its occupants.
- The incident led to the death of three civilians and 22 policemen.
- Mahatma Gandhi, who was strictly against violence, halted the non-co-operation movement on the national level on 12 February 1922, as a direct result of this incident.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS- II – Policies and Interventions
- Union Minister of Agriculture recently informed Lok Sabha about Agri India Hackathon.
Important value additions
- The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has started organising KRITAGYA- a National level hackathon in August 2020 to promote innovation in agriculture and allied sectors in the country.
- The advantages of organising Agri-Hackathon are to allow the students along with faculties, innovators for showcasing their innovative approaches & technologies in agriculture and allied sectors.
- ICAR has also put in place an Institutional mechanism through Research Institutes, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), and Agriculture Universities (AUs) to address the problems being faced by the farming sector.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS- II – Health
- The National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Ministry of AYUSH, under its Central Sector Scheme on ‘Conservation, Development and Sustainable Management of Medicinal Plants’ is supporting research & development projects on various aspects of medicinal plants to government as well as private universities/research institutions/organizations across the country.
- Researches undertaken at the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) under the Ministry of AYUSH have developed 24 new drugs.
- Also, the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed herbal formulations through their supported researches at CSIR-CIMAP, CSIR-NBRI, and CSIR-CDRI.
- Technology has been transferred to industry for its commercialization.
- ICAR- DMAPR is also focusing on researches and plant genetic resources/quality planting material.
- Institutes that are engaged in developing new medicines can take the advantage of such quality planting material.
- Ministry of AYUSH under its Central Sector Scheme for Promotion of International Cooperation, (IC Scheme), undertakes various measures to promote & propagate AYUSH systems of medicine including Ayurveda across the globe.
- Also, the CCRAS, has signed various Agreements/MoU for promotion of Ayurveda/Ayurvedic Medicines Internationally.
Important value additions
The National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB)
- It has been established by Government of India to coordinate with all matters relating to Medicinal Plants and Support Policies and Programs for growth of trade, export, conservation and cultivation.
- The board is working under Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha & Homeopathy (AYUSH).
- NMPB Consortia For Medicinal Plants: Click here
6 New Circles of Archaeological Survey of India created
Part of: GS Prelims and GS- I – Culture
- Archaeological Survey of India, an attached office of Ministry of Culture, Government of India has established Six new Circles by bifurcation of its existing Circles as per details given below:-
- Rajkot Circle, Gujarat – by bifurcation of Vadodara Circle.
- Jabalpur Circle, Madhya Pradesh – by bifurcation of Bhopal Circle.
- Tiruchirappalli (Trichy) Circle, Tamil Nadu – by bifurcation of Chennai & Thrissur Circle.
- Meerut Circle, Uttar Pradesh – by bifurcation of Agra circle
- Jhansi Circle, Uttar Pradesh – by bifurcation of Lucknow Circle.
- Raiganj Circle, West Bengal – by bifurcation of Kolkata Circle.
- In addition, Hampi Mini-Circle has been upgraded as a full-fledged Circle and Delhi Mini-Circle merged with Delhi Circle.
Implementation of ONORC scheme
Part of: GS Prelims and GS- II – Policies and Interventions
- The Department under Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution in association with State/UT Governments is implementing the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ (ONORC) plan for nation-wide portability of ration cards under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).
- So far, the facility has been enabled in 32 States/UTs covering almost 86% of the NFSA population of the country.
Important value additions
One Nation One Ration Card’ (ONORC) plan
- Under ONORC, the beneficiaries can lift their entitled foodgrains from any ePoS (electronic Point of Sale device) enabled Fair Price Shop (FPS) of their choice by using their same/existing ration cards with biometric authentication on the ePoS device at the time of lifting the foodgrains through portability.
- No direction has been given to States/UTs for the issuance of new ration cards to beneficiaries under ONORC.
- However, for the sake of uniformity under ONORC operations, States/UTs have been advised to adopt a standard bi-lingual format for ration cards whenever they decide to issue/print new ration cards under NFSA in the future.
- The Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) under NFSA is operated under the joint responsibilities of the Central and State/UT Governments.
- Responsibility of State/UT Governments: Identification of eligible beneficiaries under NFSA, issuance of ration cards to them, lifting of foodgrains from the designated depots, distribution to ration cardholders as per their entitlements through FPSs, etc.
- Directions under Section-38 of the NFSA have been issued to all States/UTs to cover all eligible disabled persons under the NFSA.
Salient Features of NFSA
- Public Distribution System (PDS) is now governed by provisions of the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).
- Coverage under PDS is de-linked from the erstwhile ‘poverty estimates’.
- The Act provides coverage for nearly 2/3rd of the country’s total population, basis Census 2011 population estimates.
- 75% of Rural and 50% of Urban population is entitled to receive highly subsidised foodgrains under two categories of beneficiaries – Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households and Priority Households (PHH).
- State/UT-wise coverage is determined by the erstwhile Planning Commission (now NITI Ayog) on the basis of 2011-12 Household Consumption Expenditure survey of NSSO.
- The Act entitles 35 kg of foodgrains per AAY Household per month, whereas 5 Kg of foodgrain per PHH Person per month.
- Identification of beneficiaries/households under NFSA is done by respective State/UT Government, which is required to frame its own criteria.
- Highly subsidised Central Issue Prices of Re.1, Rs.2 and Rs.3 for Coarse-grains, Wheat and Rice respectively, kept unchanged till June 2019.
- No reduction in foodgrains allocation to any State/UT under NFSA. Allocation gaps if any, are covered with Tide-Over allocation
- Eldest woman of the beneficiary household (18 years or above) is considered as ‘Head of Family’ for the purpose of issuing ration cards.
- Grievance redressal mechanism at different levels is provisioned for Women Empowerment.
- Provisions for disclosure of records relating to PDS operations for enhanced transparency
- Assistance to States/UTs for meeting expenditure on intra-State transportation & handling of foodgrains and FPS Dealers’ margin
- Inclusion of the Disabled in National Food Security Act, 2013: Click here
- GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
- GS-2: Government Budgeting
Military coup in Myanmar
Context: The Myanmar military (known as tatmadaw) grabbed power in a coup on February 1 morning, ahead of a scheduled meeting of the country’s newly elected Parliament.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who led the National League for Democracy (NLD) to a landslide win in the 2020 elections has been detained. In a broadcast, the military declared a one-year state of emergency in Myanmar.
About Aung San Suu Kyi
- Ms Suu Kyi is the daughter of Myanmar’s independence hero, General Aung San. He was assassinated when she was only two years old, just before Myanmar gained independence from British colonial rule in 1948.
- After her return from abroad, Suu Kyi rose to prominence in 1988 uprising against military rule and advocated for peaceful Democratic transition. Her NLD party won the 1990 election which was nullified by Military. She was then detained and house arrested for nearly two decades until 2010 when she was released.
- Her personal struggle to bring democracy to then military-ruled Myanmar (also known as Burma) – made her an international symbol of peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.
- Despite her landslide victory in 2015, the Myanmar constitution forbade her from becoming president because she has children who are foreign nationals. But Ms Suu Kyi, now 75, was widely seen as de facto leader.
- Her official title was state counsellor.
What triggered the 2021 coup?
- NLD Sweeping elections: Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi and her ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) clinched a second consecutive landslide win in 2020 national elections with the party gaining 396 of the 498 contested seats in the bicameral parliament.
- People Voting for Democracy: The 2020 victory gave NLD nine more seats than it won in 2015 when it had swept to power in Myanmar’s first democratic elections after decades of military rule.
- Allegation by Military over election results: The military has alleged that the general elections held in November 2020 were full of “irregularities” and that therefore, the results — a sweep for NLD — are not valid. Military questioned the veracity of some 9 million votes cast in the election.
- Demands of Military rejected: The military had demanded that the United Elections Commission (UEC) of Myanmar which oversees elections, or the government, or outgoing parliamentarians prove at a special session before the new parliament convenes on February 1, that the elections were free and fair. The demand had been rejected.
- Free and Fair elections were conducted: The UEC has said it had found no evidence of any voting malpractice or fraud. It has said that each vote was “counted transparently and witnessed by election candidates, election staff, the media, observers and others civil society organisation.
Democratic transition halted
- 2008 Constitution: It was the military that drafted the 2008 Constitution, and put it to a questionable referendum in April that year. The Constitution was the military’s “roadmap to democracy”, which it had been forced to adopt under increasing pressure from the west.
- Military’s role was safeguarded: But the military made sure to safeguard in the Constitution its own role and supremacy in national affairs. Under its provisions, the military reserves for itself 25% of seats in both Houses of Parliament, to which it appoints serving military officials. Also, a political party which is a proxy for the military contests elections.
- Constitutional Reform: Myanmar’s democratic transition had been a work in progress. The results of the 2020 election, held during the pandemic, were being seen by the NLD as a mandate for its plan of constitutional reform, through which it aimed to do away with the military’s role in politics and governance. But this was never going to be easy, given the tight constitutional restrictions for amendments.
- Military wanted to retain Power: Underneath its allegations of “irregularities” in the 2020 election, it appears that the military felt threatened by Suu Kyi’s undiminished, even increasing popularity despite five years of incumbency. Also, despite the iron-clad clauses in the Constitution protecting the military’s role, the generals seemed to have sensed that Suu Kyi would use her fresh mandate to restore civilian supremacy in national affairs. This fear ultimately lead to coup.
- International Criticism against Coup: diplomatic missions of several countries like Australia, Canada, EU, USA, UK issued a joint statement that said “We urge the military, and all other parties in the country, to adhere to democratic norms, and we oppose any attempt to alter the outcome of the elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition.”
How was relation between Government and Military in the first term?
- Cordial Relations: Suu Kyi had gone easy on the military in the first term. At one point, she referred to the generals as reminding her of “sweet uncles”.
- Stood behind Military in Rohingya Crackdown: Suu Kyi appeared to back the Army in its brutal crackdown against the Rohingya, which forced nearly a million to escape to Bangladesh. Suu Kyi later appeared at the International Court of Justice to defend the Army in a case against Myanmar for war crimes against the Rohingya.
- Focus during first term was uniting minorities: From 2015 until last year, Suu Kyi was focused on her other project — building peace with more than two dozen minority militias that were at war with the Myanmar state, so that all minorities could come together.
- Realization that Military needs to be pushed back: The conciliation efforts between minority militias was called the “21st century Panglong Conference”, after a similar effort by her father in the 1940s. But a ceasefire agreement in 2015 was only partially successful, and a series of meetings yielded no positive outcome, giving rise to the conviction that peace would return when the military was pushed back.
India and Myanmar over the years and the impact of Coup
- Initial Support for Pro-Democracy movement: After joining the campaign for Suu Kyi’s release in the 1990s, New Delhi recalibrated its position to begin a full engagement with the junta although this upset Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement and the NLD in particular.
- Engagement with Military for securing North-East: In return for India’s engagement with them, the Myanmar military cracked down on the ULFA and other militant groups of India’s Northeast in safe havens in Myanmar. Senior generals visited India regularly, stopping in Bodh Gaya on the way to or back from Delhi.
- Suu Kyi moving closer to China: Since 2015, India’s supportive stand on the Army crackdown on Rohingya has ensured the friendship continued, although Suu Kyi herself did not particularly warm to the NDA government. In recent years, as she was shunned by the West, Suu Kyi had increasingly turned to Beijing, and President Xi Jinping had rolled out the red carpet for her.
- Impact of Military Coup on bilateral relation: India is unlikely to draw back from its engagement with the military, although it has expressed concern at the sudden developments in Myanmar. The competition with China for influence in the region extends to Myanmar, vital to India’s strategic and economic interests from West Bengal and the Northeast to Southeast Asia.
- Ironically, it could be China that may end up exerting most pressure on the Myanmar military to release Suu Kyi and step back.
- Although Myanmar’s generals resent China’s outsize influence in their country, they would still fall in line for Beijing.
- The US has threatened sanctions but this may no longer be seen as the best way forward, as they tend to hurt ordinary people more than they do the leaders they are aimed at. Engagement is now seen as key to such situations.
Connecting the dots :
- Chief of Defence Staff in India
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
- Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.
- Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.
Q.1 Consider the following statements regarding National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA):
- Eldest man of the beneficiary household is considered as ‘Head of Family’ for the purpose of issuing ration cards.
- The Act entitles 35 kg of foodgrains per Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) Household per month, whereas 5 Kg of foodgrain per (Priority Households) PHH Person per month.
Which of the above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.2 Chauri Chaura incident occurred during which of the following movement?
- Dandi March
- Quit India movement
Q.3 Kritagya hackathon is launched by which of the following?
- NITI Aayog
- Indian Council of Agricultural Research
- Ministry of Education
ANSWERS FOR 2nd February 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
On shunning fiscal orthodoxy:
About India-US relations:
About Union Budget 2021: