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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th October 2022

  • IASbaba
  • October 28, 2022
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Oslo Accords

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – International News

Context: Spanish fast-fashion giant Zara has been facing calls for boycott in Israel, after a franchise owner hosted far-right politician for a campaign event. Many Arab Israelis took to Twitter, where they posted videos of themselves setting the company’s clothes on fire with the hashtag #boycottZara.

About Oslo Accords:

  • The Oslo Accords are a series of agreements that launched the Oslo Process, aimed at achieving a comprehensive peace treaty between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
  • The Oslo Process was unveiled with the signing of the Declaration of Principles (DOP) by PLO Chairman and Israeli Prime Minister in 1993.
  • It was the first peace agreement signed by Israelis and Palestinians.
  • The agreement did not directly address the key “permanent status” issues of water, refugees, Jerusalem, settlements and borders, but set up a structure for them to be negotiated at a later stage of the process, once trust was built.
  • It also led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as part of the 1995 Oslo Interim Agreement.
  • After the failure of the Camp David (II) Summit in 2000 and the subsequent outbreak of the Second Intifada, the Oslo Process collapsed.

Source:  Indian Express


World Health Organization(WHO) releases first-ever list of health-threatening fungi

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

Context: WHO recently published a report highlighting the first-ever list of fungal “priority pathogens” – a catalogue of the 19 fungi that represent the greatest threat to public health.

Highlights of the report:

  • Fungal pathogens are a major threat to public health as they are becoming increasingly common and resistant to treatment with only four classes of antifungal medicines currently available, and few candidates in the clinical pipeline.
    • Most fungal pathogens lack rapid and sensitive diagnostics and those that exist are not widely available or affordable globally.
  • The WHO fungal priority pathogens list (FPPL) is the first global effort to systematically prioritize fungal pathogens, considering the unmet research and development (R&D) needs and the perceived public health importance.
  • The list’s publication is opportune as fungi are becoming an increasingly common threat to public health. Global warming and increasing international travel and trade are fuelling this rise.
    • The COVID-19 pandemic saw an increase in mucormycosis or black fungus infections among those hospitalised.
  • Black Fungus, White Fungus, Yellow Fungus, and Green Fungus have been attributed to COVID-19 and led to prolonged morbidity and mortality in COVID-19 patients.
  • A three-layered approach emerged in the strategies suggested by policymakers, governments and public health professionals.
  • The strategy includes:
    • Strengthening laboratory capacity and surveillance.
    • Sustaining investments in research, development and innovation
    • Enhancing public health interventions for prevention and control.

Types of fungal infections:

Green Fungus: Green Fungus or Aspergillosis is the latest addition to COVID-triggered fungal infection that has been reported in Indore.

Symptoms: High fever, Chest pain, Cough, Nose bleeding, Shortness of breath, Weightless, Weakness or Fatigue.

Who are at risk of getting infected with Green Fungus?

  • People with a history of allergy.
  • People with frail immunity
  • People suffering from lung disease

Yellow Fungus:

  • Yellow Fungus, another COVID-triggered fungal infection has been reported in Ghaziabad.

Symptoms: Cough, Fever, Diarrhea, Dark spots on lungs, Reduced oxygen level.

Note: The symptoms of the White Fungus are similar to that of the COVID-19 infection.

Who are at risk of getting infected with White Fungus?

  • People with comorbidities such as diabetes.
  • People who are on steroids for long.
  • COVID-19 patients who are on oxygen support.

White Fungus

White Fungus or Aspergillosis was detected in four patients at Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) in Bihar.

Symptoms: Cough, Fever, Diarrhea, Dark spots on lungs and Reduced oxygen level.

Risk of getting infected with White Fungus:

  • People with comorbidities such as diabetes.
  • People who are on steroids for long.
  • COVID-19 patients who are on oxygen support.

Black Fungus: Increased cases of Black Fungus or Mucormycosis have been observed in COVID-19 patients in the national capital.

The symptoms of Black Fungus infection are:

For Brain Mucormycosis: One-sided facial swelling, Headache, Nasal or sinus congestion, Black lesions on nasal bridge or upper inside of the mouth, Fever.

For Pulmonary Mucormycosis: Fever, Cough, Chest pain, Shortness of breath

For Gastrointestinal Mucormycosis: Abdominal pain, Nausea and vomiting, Gastrointestinal bleeding.

  • Risks of getting infected with Black Fungus: Diabetes, Cancer, Organ transplant, Stem cell transplant, Neutropenia, Long-term corticosteroid use, Hemochromatosis (excess of iron), Skin injury due to surgery, burns, or wounds etc.

Source:  DOWNTOEARTH

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements in respect of probiotics:

  1. Probiotics are made of both bacteria and yeast.
  2. The organisms in probiotics are found in foods we ingest but they do not naturally occur in our gut.
  3. Probiotics help in the digestion of milk sugars.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?  (2022)

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 2 and 3

Q.2) Consider the following:

  1. Bacteria
  2. Fungi
  3. Virus

Which of the above can be cultured in artificial/synthetic medium?  (2021)

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

UNICEF report on climate change

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In news: United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) recently released a report. The title of this report is “The coldest year of the rest of their lives

  • It calls for “Protecting children from the escalating impacts of heatwaves”

Findings:

  • Around 559 million children are exposed to high heatwave frequency and around 624 million children are exposed to one of three other high heat measures – high heatwave duration, high heatwave severity or extreme high temperatures.
  • By 2050, virtually every child on earth – over 2 billion children – is forecast to face more frequent heatwaves, regardless of whether the world achieves a ‘low greenhouse gas emission scenario’ with an estimated 1.7 degrees of warming in 2050 or a ‘very high greenhouse gas emission scenario’ with an estimated 2.4 degrees of warming in 2050.
  • These heat waves will make it difficult for young people to regulate their body temperature. Therefore, resulting in vulnerability to health issues like chronic respiratory conditions, asthma, and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Children in northern regions will face the most dramatic increases in high heatwave severity while by 2050, nearly half of all children in Africa and Asia will face sustained exposure to extreme high temperatures.
  • Extreme atmospheric heat can result in drought, which will cause hurdles in accessing clean drinking water and healthy food.
  • The report highlights that the heatwaves will result in the stunted development of children and force families to migrate.
  • These findings underscore the urgent need to adapt the services children rely on as unavoidable impacts of global heating unfold. It also makes a case for more substantial emissions reduction, to prevent the worst impacts of the other high heat measures.

Suggestions:

  • Protecting children from climate devastation by adapting social services.
  • Preparing children to live in a climate-changed world.
  • Prioritizing children and young people in climate finance and resources.
  • Preventing a climate catastrophe by drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and keep 1.5 degrees Celsius alive.

Effect of climate change on children:

  • A study has been conducted, based on data from the Inter-sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP). This is a community-driven climate-impacts modelling initiative that assess the differential impacts of climate change. The ISIMIP data were used alongside country-scale, life-expectancy data, population data and temperature trajectories from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  • During his or her lifetime, a child born in 2021 is likely to experience on average twice as many wildfires, two to three times more droughts, almost three times more river floods and crop failures and about seven times more heat waves compared to a person who is, say, 60 years old today, the researchers have found.
  • Under a scenario of current “insufficient” climate policies, dangerous extreme heatwave events, which affect about 15% of the global land area today, could treble to 46% by the end of this century.
  • However, if countries are able to follow through with their climate policies as decided under the Paris Climate Agreement, this effect could be limited to 22%, which is just seven percentage points more than the global land area that is affected today.
  • A 1.5-degree target will reduce young people’s potential exposure to extreme events on average by 24% globally. For North America it’s minus 26%, for Europe and Central Asia minus 28%, and in the Middle East and North Africa even minus 39%.

Source: Indian Express


Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In news: Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar visited Sri Darbar Sahib in Amritsar.

The Golden Temple:

  • Sri Harmandir Sahib is also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple.
  • The Golden Temple was founded in 1574 by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das and was completed in 1604.
  • Guru Arjan Sahib, the Fifth Nanak, conceived the idea of creating a central place of worship for the Sikhs and he himself designed the architecture of Sri Harmandir Sahib.
  • The temple is built on the lower level and unlike Hindu Temples having only one gate for the entrance and exit, it is open from all four sides.
  • It opens on to the causeway or bridge that leads to the main building. The bridge is connected with the 13 feet wide ‘Pardakshna’ (circumambulatory path).
  • The ceiling of the temple is made with gold and precious stones.
  • On the top of this room stands the low fluted ‘Gumbaz’ (dome) having lotus petal motif in relief at the base inverted lotus at the top which supports the “Kalash” having a beautiful “Chhatri” at the end.
  • The Temple organises the largest ‘langar sewa’ (or community kitchen) in the world.

Operation Bluestar:

  • Operation Blue Star was the codename of a military operation which was carried out by Indian security forces in 1984 in order to remove Damdami Taksal leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his followers from the buildings of the Golden Temple, Amritsar.
  • The decision to launch the operation rested with the Prime Minister of India, then Indira Gandhi.
  • Operation Blue Star was planned on the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev, the founder of the Harmandir Sahib.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Building ‘Kalyaana Mandapas’ was a notable feature in the temple construction in the kingdom of (2019)

  1. Chalukya
  2.  Chandela
  3. Rashtrakuta
  4. Vijayanagara

Blue Flag certification

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In News: Two beaches in Lakshadweep, have been accorded the ‘Blue Flag’ tag.

  • India now has 12 “blue beaches”.

About:

  • The Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label or certification that is given to coastal locations around the world as a badge of environmental honour.
  • The Blue Flag programme started in 1987, initially in Europe and the certification is awarded annually.
  • It is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary awards for beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators.
  • The Blue Flag programme is run by the Copenhagen, Denmark-headquartered Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a non-profit which, through its work, contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.
  • The certification is given by an international jury comprising members of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), besides FEE.
  • Aim: connecting the public with their surroundings and encouraging them to learn more about their environment.
  • In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.
  • A marina is a small harbour where mainly pleasure boats and yachts dock.

Beaches in India:

  • The two new beaches to have been awarded the eco-label are Minicoy Thundi beach and Kadmat beach, both in Lakshadweep.
  • The other 10 Indian beaches on the list are Shivrajpur in Gujarat’s Devbhumi Dwarka district; Ghogla beach in Diu; Kasarkod (Uttara Kannada) and Padubidri (Udupi) in Karnataka; Kappad (Kozhikode) in Kerala; Eden beach in Puducherry; Kovalam (Chennai) in Tamil Nadu; Rushikonda (Visakhapatnam) in Andhra Pradesh; Golden beach in Puri, Odisha; and Radhanagar Swarajdeep in Andaman and Nicobar.
  • Kovalam and Eden got the Blue Flag last year. The other eight beaches received the certification in 2020, and were re-certified last year.

Dos and Don’ts:

  • In 2020, an Extraordinary Gazette Notification gave a list of permissible activities and facilities in the CRZ of the beaches, including islands, subject to maintaining a minimum distance of 10 metres from the High Tide Line (HTL), for the purposes of Blue Flag certification.
  • These included portable toilet blocks, change rooms and shower panels; solid waste management plant; solar power plant; purified drinking water facility; beach access pathways; landscaping lighting; seating benches and sit-out umbrellas; cloak room facility; safety watch towers and beach safety equipment; information boards and other signages; fencing; and parking facilities.
  • These activities and facilities would be exempt from prior clearance under the provisions of CRZ Notification, Island Protection Zone Notification and Island Coastal Regulation Zone Notifications.

Source: Indian Express


Chhath Puja 2022

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News:

 About:

  • Chhath Puja is also known as Pratihar, Dala Chhath, Chhathi and Surya Shashthi.
  • It is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival, is dedicated to solar deity Surya and Shashthi Devi.
  • It is primarily observed in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh and even in Nepal for thanking the gods for bestowing life on earth.
  • The worshipping of the Sun God spans four days.
  • First day of Chhath is known as Nahay Khay. The holy dip in a water body, especially in the river Ganga, is taken on this day.  Women folks who observe Chhath take only a single meal on this day.
  • Second day of Chhath is known as Kharna where dry fasting, without water, is observed from sunrise to sunset. The fast is broken just after sunset after making a food offering to the Sun God.
  • Third day fasting begins after having Prasad on the second day. The third day is the main day of Chhath Puja where Arghya is offered to the setting sun. It is the only time of the year when Arghya is given to the setting Sun. On the third day, fasting continues throughout the night.
  • Parana is done on the next day after sunrise.
  • The festival does not involve idolatry. Devotees believe that the main sources of the sun’s powers are his wives, Usha and Pratyusha.
  • The festival finds a mention in both epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. In Ramayana, it is said that Sita performed Surya Shashthi or Chhath Puja on the day Ramrajya was established, whereas in Mahabharata, the puja was performed by Kunti (mother of the Pandavas) after they escaped from Lakshagrih, on the banks on Ganga.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following pairs: (2018)

Tradition                                    State

  1. Chapchar Kut Festival — Mizoram
  2. Khongjom Parba ballad — Manipur
  3. Thang-Ta Dance — Sikkim

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2

(c) 3 only

(d) 2 and 3


Industry can Contribute more to Employment Generation

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: A favourable policy environment for businesses to start and grow with ease, and a bigger footprint in international markets will help.

About present employment Situation in India:

  • Data from Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) show that 19 lakh people had lost their jobs in August 2021 alone; of this, 10 lakh were from the industrial sector. In July, eight lakh people in this sector lost their jobs.
  • India’s industrialisation has been different from that of the rest of the world. The World Bank has calculated that the industrial sector, which contributed 18 per cent to India’s GDP in 1995, is now contributing only 13 per cent.
    • In other countries, there has been no such reversal in contribution. For example, China moved the largest number of workers from farms to factories and became a manufacturing hub of the world.
  • In India, CMIE statistics reveal that employment in agriculture, which accounted for 35 per cent of total employment in 2017-18, increased to 39.5 per cent in 2020-21.
  • Due to Covid, many industrial units have closed down and pressure on agriculture has increased. As a result, incomes in villages are falling and the purchasing power is weakening.

Government Initiatives for Employment Generation in India:

Aatmanirbhar Bharat package:

  • The Government of India has announced Aatmanirbhar Bharat package to provide stimulus to business and to mitigate the adverse impact of Covid 19.
  • Under this package, the Government is providing fiscal stimulus of more than Rs. 27 lakh crore.
  • This package comprises various long term schemes/ programmes/ policies for making the country self-reliant and to create employment opportunities.

Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan:

  • The Government launched the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan (GKRA) of 125 days on 20th June, 2020 to boost employment and livelihood opportunities for returnee migrant workers and similarly affected persons including youth in rural areas.

Mudra Yojana:

  • Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) is being implemented by the Government for facilitating self-employment.
  • Under PMMY, collateral free loans upto Rs. 10 lakh, are extended to micro/small business enterprises and to individuals to enable them to set up or expand their business activities.

Gati Shakti:

  • PM Gati Shakti is a transformative approach for economic growth and sustainable development. The approach is driven by seven engines, namely, Roads, Railways, Airports, Ports, Mass Transport, Waterways and Logistics Infrastructure.
  • This approach is powered by Clean Energy and Sabka Prayas leading to huge job and entrepreneurial opportunities for all.

The Government of India is encouraging various projects involving substantial investment and public expenditure on schemes like Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) of the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) of the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs etc. for employment generation.

Besides these initiatives, various flagship programmes of the Government such as Make in India, Digital India, Smart City Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, Housing for All, Infrastructure Development and Industrial Corridors are also oriented towards generating employment opportunities.

Measures needed to increase employment:

Favourable business environment

  • Reforms should be introduced to shift workers from low income agriculture to the high paying industrial sector.
  • To achieve double-digit growth in the industrial sector, the Centre rolled out the ‘Make in India’ scheme. Along with this, a favourable environment should be created for domestic business to start and grow with ease.

Investments:

  • Doors should be opened for new investments. Physical and social infrastructure should be expanded. Only when the Central and State governments do so, the industrial sector will witness smooth growth.

Employment gap:

  • The industrial sector should plug the employment gap. By providing quality products, the sector should grow to a level where it can gain a large share of the international market and provide employment to lakhs of people.
  • The government should identify the problem areas preventing such growth and remove them quickly. For the industrial sector to boom, favourable policy measures should be taken.

Quality centres:

  • Quality products are always in demand in the international market. Chinese industries have ramped up the quality of their products, boosting, in the process, exports to American and European markets. India should establish quality centres across the country soon.

Skill training

  • Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) should be supported in these hubs by providing adequate investment and skill training.

Way Forward:

  • The Central and State governments provide various subsidies to encourage setting up of industries. Henceforth, the more jobs the industries create, the more subsidies should be given.
  • These subsidies should be given on the basis of production achieved in a given period and the quality of goods manufactured.
    • Similar subsidies can be provided to service sector units that are closely linked and coordinated with the industrial sector.
  • With these incentives, the industrial sector can be transformed into a major employment generator.
    • India cannot achieve balanced and well-rounded development without propping up the industrial sector.

Source: The Hindu


Self-Reliant India

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: Recently, the Prime Minister emphasised the importance of promoting indigenous products and self-reliance.

What is Self-reliance?

  • Self-reliance is the social and economic ability of an individual, a household or a community to meet essential needs (including protection, food, water, shelter, personal safety, health and education) in a sustainable manner and with dignity.

India’s potential towards self-reliance:

Labour force:

  • Self-reliance depends on improving the income and productivity of a majority of the labour force.

There are two ways to do this.

  • First, incentivise the farming community to shift from grain-based farming to cash crops, horticulture and livestock products.
  • Second, shift the labour force from agriculture to manufacturing.
  • India can only become self-reliant if it uses its best endowment — 900 million people in the working-age population with an average age of 27 — and appropriates its demographic dividend as China did.

Global position:

  • India is in a unique position at a time when all other manufacturing giants are ageing sequentially — Japan, EU, the US, and even South Korea and China.
  • Most of these countries have moved out of low-end labour-intensive manufacturing, and that space is being taken by countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam, Mexico, etc.

Research & development:

  • State-funded R&D, including in basic research, by PSUs and research institutions and universities needs to be scaled-up significantly, well above the dismal 1% of GDP currently.

Education:

  • Finally, India’s meagre public expenditure on education needs to be substantially ramped up (as against current trends of privatisation which would only shrink access), including in skill development.
  • No country has achieved self-reliance without mass quality public education.

Government’s initiatives towards self-reliance:

Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan:

Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan or Self-reliant India campaign is the vision of new India.

Aim: The aim is to make the country and its citizens independent and self-reliant in all senses.

There are five pillars of Atama Nirbhar Bharat –

  • Economy,
  • Infrastructure,
  • System,
  • Vibrant Demography and
  • Demand

Finance Minister has announced Government Reforms and Enablers across Seven Sectors under Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan.

The government took several bold reforms such as Supply Chain Reforms for Agriculture, Rational Tax Systems, Simple & Clear Laws, Capable Human Resource and Strong Financial System in this regard.

Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana:

Aim: It aims to boost employment generation and minimise the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Features: Under ABRY, Government of India is crediting for a period of two years both the employees’ share (12% of wages) and employers share’ (12% of wages) of contribution payable or only the employees’ share, depending on employment strength of the EPFO registered establishments.

Aatmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana

Aim: To strengthen India’s critical healthcare network in both urban and rural areas.

  • Establish an IT-enabled disease surveillance system through a network of laboratories at block, district, regional and national levels.
  • Labs will be connected through the Integrated Health Information Portal.

Features:

  • To provide support to 17,788 rural Health and Wellness Centres in 10 ‘high focus’ states and establish 11,024 urban Health and Wellness Centres.
  • It is in addition to the National Health Mission.
  • Exclusive Critical Care Hospital Blocks with over five lakh population.

Make in India

  • Ministry of Commerce & Industry said that the program, which is aimed at self-sufficiency or being ‘aatmanirbhar’, has substantial accomplishments across 27 sectors, including strategic sectors such as manufacturing and services.
  • Make in India, the flagship program of the Government of India that aspires to
    • Facilitate investment,
    • Foster innovation,
    • Enhance skill development,
    • Build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure,
    • Protect the intellectual property,
    • Make India digital,
    • Create healthy relationships with various countries,
    • Provide employment opportunities.

“Make in India” had three stated objectives:

  • To increase the manufacturing sector’s growth rate to 12-14% per annum;
  • To create 100 million additional manufacturing jobs in the economy by 2022;
  • To ensure that the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP is increased to 25% by 2022 (later revised to 2025).

Startup India:

  • Startup India was introduced in 2016 as a call to innovators, entrepreneurs, and thinkers of the nation to lead from the front in driving India’s sustainable growth and create large scale employment opportunities.
  • The entrepreneurial portal had more than 65,000 startups registered.
  • Of which, 40 attained the ‘unicorn’ status recently, bringing the total as of date to 90.

Thus, the significance of promoting indigenous products and self-reliance is for prosperity and by adopting them one can keep India’s traditional art, culture and civilisation alive.

Additional Information:

Jain saint Vijay Vallabh Surishwar:

  • The PM was addressing a gathering to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Jain saint Vijay Vallabh Surishwar.
  • The event was organised by the Union Culture Ministry.
  • As part of the occasion, a commemorative postage stamp and coin dedicated to Acharya Surishwar was also released.

Historical significance:

  • PM said Acharya Surishwar’s insistence on peace and harmony was clearly visible even during the horrors of Partition.
  • He noted that during the freedom movement Mahatma Gandhi had adopted the path of “aparigraha”, or renunciation, as laid down by the Jain gurus.

About Aparigraha:

  • Aparigraha or Non-possession is a philosophy that holds that no one or anything possesses anything.
  • in Jainism, aparigraha is the virtue of non-possessiveness, non-grasping or non-greediness.
  • Aparigraha is not only renunciation but also controlling all kinds of attachments.
  • This particular iteration of aparigraha is distinct because it is a component of Gandhiji’s active non-violent resistance to social problems permeating India.

Source: Indian Express


The climate crisis and the urgent need for global cooperation

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Syllabus

  •    Mains – GS 3 (Environment)

Context: There is significant turmoil in global scenario as after a devastating pandemic, the world is now grappling with a global energy crisis, triggered by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the weaponizing of energy supplies.

  • Against this background, the climate crisis is getting worse by the day, as we face catastrophic extreme weather events. Global warming is fast approaching the 1.5 degrees level we have pledged to avoid. This is a tipping point that threatens lives and livelihoods across our entire planet.

Major Areas of Concern:

Environment degradation and climate change are major areas of concern:

  • The disruptive and increasingly lethal effects of unsustainable production and consumption patterns are from degraded ecosystems, disappearing forests, collapsing glaciers to receding shorelines, heatwaves and floods.
  • If we want our children to inherit a habitable world, we have to change the paradigm of our economic models.
  • The changes we face are inescapable. No individual can stop climate change. Try as you may, you cannot negotiate a settlement with planet Earth.
  • Yet, rather than fuelling despair, apathy or resignation, we must create hope and show determination to act for the climate.
    • The solutions and technologies are well within reach but we must plan, invest decisively, and most importantly, act now, leaving no one behind. Time is not on our side.

Global Efforts to combat climate change in a sustainable manner:

  • At the COP27 climate conference in November 2022, the international community and each country individually must set out what it has done and intends to do to limit the increase of global temperature to 1.5 degrees.
  • In the EU, our commitments are fixed by law: We will cut emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030 and reach climate neutrality by 2050.
  • India has also set very ambitious targets, including massive investments in renewables.
  • The governments of different nations have a responsibility to ensure reliable and affordable energy services for their populations and economies
  • The fastest way to deliver this while creating jobs and lowering the long-term cost of energy is to massively increase investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and in the resilience and flexibility of our energy systems.

Major Challenges related to green sustainable economy:

  • The European nations are acting on Green Deal. At the same time, there is need to take exceptional measures to cope with the energy crisis provoked because of Russia-Ukraine war.
  • The EU had to postpone some of the decommissioning of coal-fired power plants as a temporary emergency measure for the coming winter. However, commitments for 2030 and 2050 are not endangered.
  • National coal phase out dates remain unchanged; EU nations are implementing much stricter energy efficiency targets and we will move much more swiftly to adopt renewable energy, using less gas than initially expected.

Impact of climate change:

  • It is clear that the climate crisis disproportionately impacts those who have the least, in the Global South but also in Europe.
  • As climate change progresses, millions are at risk of losing their homes, water supply, livelihoods and even their lives, as witnessed also this year with extreme weather events in South Asia, Europe and elsewhere
  • In order to counter it, there is need to put our forces together, accelerate mitigation measures to tackle the problem at the source while ensuring a just transition for all.
    • In parallel, we need to do more to support adaptation to climate change, and to avert and address loss and damage. Mitigation and adaptation must progress hand in hand.
  • There is need for climate fund , EU continues to be the world’s biggest donor of climate finance — providing almost $28 billion in 2020 and of humanitarian support
  • European countries will intensify their efforts, but this crisis can be addressed only through a cohesive and consistent response of the international community as a whole, in a spirit of cooperation and solidarity.

EU-India collaboration in countering climate change:

  • India is a key partner in the fight against climate change. As ambitious targets were announced by Indian Prime minister in Glasgow summit,  helped to keep the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement within reach.
  • The EU is keen to step up its collaboration with India on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and on ensuring a more resilient and diversified supply chain for the energy sector
  • The EU and its Member States already work together with India on energy efficiency, renewable energy, smart grids and storage, green hydrogen, e-mobility, just energy transition and decarbonisation of hard-to-abate sectors.
  • The EU has also strengthened its engagement with the India-based International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. Climate action has become a central feature of the strategic partnership between the EU and India, for a green and a resilient future.

Way Forward:

  • It is time to join hands and to show even more ambition. There is need to demonstrate success through actual and effective implementation, influencing our peers, and persuading actors at all levels from the UN to the individual level.
  • Future generations will judge us on what we do. So, let us do it right and let us do it now, together.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to the ‘’New York Declaration on Forests’’, which of the following statements are correct?       (2021)

  1. It was first endorsed at the United Nations Climate Summit in 2014
  2. It endorses a global timeline to end the loss of forests
  3. It is a legally binding international declaration
  4. It is endorsed by governments, big companies and indigenous communities.
  5. India was one of the signatories at its inception

Select the correct answer using the code given below

  1. 1, 2 and 4
  2. 1, 3 and 5
  3. 3 and 4
  4. 2 and 5

Q.2) With reference to the ‘Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture’ (GACSA) which of the following statements is/are correct?  (2018)

  1. GACSA is an outcome of the climate summit held in Paris in 2015
  2. Membership of GACSA does not create any binding obligations
  3. India was instrumental in the creation of GACSA

Select the correct answer using the code given below

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Russia-Ukraine War

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS2 International Relations

Context:

  • In October 1962, the Cuban Missile crisis brought the world to the edge of nuclear Armageddon, as the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation.
  • The lessons of the Cuban Missile crisis remain valid 60 years later in the context of Russia-Ukraine War.
  • Russia’s short ‘special military operation’ to ‘de-Nazify and de-militarise’ Ukraine is already a nine-month-war, and likely to extend into 2023.
  • The trans-Atlantic North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) unity under U.S. leadership despite visible internal differences has not collapsed.
  • Mr. Zelensky’s emergence as a wartime leader is surprising; and, poor Russian military planning and performance, a shock.
  • Russia is too strong to lose and Ukraine, despite NATO support, too weak to win; so, the war grinds on with no ceasefire in sight.

Concerns:

  • There is one outcome from the current war that must be prevented — a breakdown of nuclear deterrence.
  • Nuclear weapons have not been used since 1945 and a global conscience has sustained the nuclear taboo for over 75 years.
  • The Ukraine war is testing the old lessons of nuclear deterrence.
  • Russia has engaged in repeated nuclear signalling — from being personally present at large-scale exercises involving ‘strategic forces’, to placing nuclear forces on ‘special combat alert’.
  • Russia sees itself at war, not with non-nuclear Ukraine, but with a nuclear armed NATO.
  • Russia also ordered a ‘partial mobilisation’, announced referendums in the four regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, accused the West of engaging in nuclear blackmail and warned that Russia has ‘more modern weapons’ and ‘will certainly make use of all weapon systems available; this is not a bluff’.
  • He cited U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 as a precedent.

Cuban Missile crisis:

  • On October 16, 1962, U.S. President John F. Kennedy was informed that that the U.S.S.R. was preparing to deploy medium and intermediate range nuclear missiles in Cuba.
  • He declared a naval ‘quarantine’ of Cuba and he authorised to open a back-channel with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin.
  • The crisis defused on October 28; based on assurances conveyed through the back-channel, Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev announced that Soviet nuclear missiles and aircraft would be withdrawn in view of U.S. assurances to respect Cuba’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
  • Reciprocally, the U.S. also agreed to withdraw the Jupiter nuclear missiles from Turkey.
  • On October 27, a U.S. surveillance flight strayed over Cuban airspace and was targeted by Soviet air defence forces, despite Kennedy having counselled desisting from provocative surveillance and Khrushchev not having authorised the engagement.
  • Both sides kept the news under wraps till the crisis defused.
  • A day earlier, a Soviet nuclear armed submarine B-59 found itself trapped by U.S. depth charges, off Cuban waters. The U.S. was unaware that the submarine was nuclear armed and Captain Valentin Savitsky did not know that a quarantine was in operation. He decided to go down fighting but his decision to launch a nuclear bomb was vetoed by Capt. Vasily Arkhipov. The Soviets followed a two-person-authorisation-rule and unknown to Kennedy and Khrushchev, a potential Armageddon was averted.
  • The most shocking revelation emerged decades later when the U.S. learnt that unbeknownst to them, over 150 warheads for the FKR-1 Meteor missile, short range FROG missile, and gravity bombs were already present in in Cuba. These were intended for defence in case the U.S. launched a repeat of the 1961 failed Bay of Pigs invasion.
  • Despite Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s opposition, Premier Khrushchev insisted on withdrawing these too, conscious that these could provide the spark for a future escalation.

Key lessons:

  • The key lesson learnt was that the two nuclear superpowers should steer clear of any direct confrontation even as their rivalry played out in other regions, thereby keeping it below the nuclear threshold. Deterrence theorists called it ‘the stability-instability-paradox’.
  • With their assured-second-strike-capability guaranteeing mutually-assured-destruction, both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R were obliged to limit the instability to proxy wars.
  • Nuclear war games over decades remained unable to address the challenge of keeping a nuclear war limited once a nuclear weapon was introduced in battle.

Indian Context:

  • Sino-India war of 1962 marked the same year of Cuban Missile Criris.
  • China’s People’s Liberation Army invaded India in Ladakh, and across the McMahon Line in the then North-East Frontier Agency.
  • Till the start of the war, the Indian side was confident that war would not be started and made little preparations.
  • India’s stance on the Cold War was highlighted through The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
  • It emerged in the context of the wave of decolonization that followed World War II.
  • It called for abstention from the use of arrangements of collective defence to serve the interests of any of the big powers.
  • The states of the NAM cannot be part of a multilateral military alliance (such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO]) or have signed a bilateral military agreement with one of the “big powers” if it was “deliberately concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts.”

Concerns for Russia:

  • Russian nuclear use makes little operational sense. In 1945, Japan was on the verge of surrender and only the U.S. possessed nuclear weapons.
  • Use of a tactical nuclear weapon will only strengthen Ukrainian national resolve; NATO response is unlikely to be nuclear but will be sharp.
  • International political backlash would be significant and Mr. Putin may find himself increasingly isolated.
  • Many countries in East and Central Asia could reconsider nuclear weapons as a security necessity.

Role for global diplomacy:

  • During the next few weeks, the fighting in Ukraine will intensify, before winter sets in and the weather freezes military operations till spring. This raises the risks for escalation and miscalculations.
  • The United Nations appears paralysed given the involvement of permanent members of the Security Council. Therefore, it is for other global leaders who have access and influence, to convince Mr. Putin that nuclear escalation would be a disastrous move.
  • Indonesia is the G20 chair and President Joko Widodo will be hosting the summit meeting next month. India is the incoming chair; Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the summit.
  • Both Indonesia and India have refrained from condemning Russia, keeping communication channels open. In a bilateral meeting with Mr. Putin in Samarkand last month, Mr. Modi emphasised that “now is not the era of war”.

Way forward:

  • There is a need to emphasise the deterrent role of nuclear weapons and not expanding it; to reiterating Russia’s official declaratory position that restricts nuclear use for “an existential threat”.
  • Such a statement would help reduce growing fears of escalation and may also provide a channel for communication and open the door for a dialogue that can lead to a ceasefire.

Source:  The Hindu                


Baba’s Explainer – Dhanalaxmi Bank: Need for closer monitoring

Dhanalaxmi Bank: Need for closer monitoring

Syllabus

  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development
  • GS-3: Monetary Policy 

Context: On October 20, Kerala-based Dhanlaxmi Bank informed  the stock exchanges that some shareholders have requested to hold an Extra-ordinary General Meeting (EGM) with two key items on agenda.

  • First, to curb the powers of CEO as a section of shareholders are unhappy with his performace. Once the powers to use capital is suspended, the CEO of a bank is an inconsequential role.
    • In other words, the indirect message for the bank chief is to quit the position. But, in this case, the CEO—Shivan JK, a former State Bank officer—is unlikely to quit.
    • This situation opens up room for an open confrontation between a section of influential shareholders and the top executive at the bank. That doesn’t augur well for the well-running of the bank.
  • Second, to empower one of the key shareholders to negotiate a settlement with some warring former directors.

Read Complete Details on Dhanalaxmi Bank: Need for closer monitoring


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements regarding Oslo Accords:

  1. The Oslo Accords are a series of agreements aimed at achieving a comprehensive peace treaty between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
  2. The agreement directly addresses the key “permanent status” issues of water, refugees, Jerusalem, settlements and borders.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) With reference to Blue Flag certification, consider the following statement(s):

  1. It is given by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  2. India has 15 blue flag beaches.
  3. Eden beach of Puducherry received the certification in 2022.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

  1. 2 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 1 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.3) ‘ The coldest year of the rest of their lives Report’ is prepared by the

  1. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  2. United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
  3. Save the Children foundation
  4. World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’28th October 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st


ANSWERS FOR 27th October – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – d

Q.2) – b

Q.3) – a

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