Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 6th November -2020

 

General Studies-2:

Bilateral, Regional and global groupings and agreements involving India

  1. Global Investors Roundtable

Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections

  1. Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989

General Studies-1

Post-Independence consolidation and reorganisation within the country

  1. China Occupied Kashmir

General Studies-3

Environment, Biodiversity and Conservation

  1. TARDIGRADES
  2. Amur Falcon
  3. Ammonia

 

1) Global Investors Roundtable:

Why in news?

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs the Virtual Global Investor Roundtable on November 5, 2020.

Discussions at the meet

  • It would focus on discussions around India’s economic and investment outlook, structural reforms and the government’s vision for the path to a $5 trillion economy
  • The roundtable would be attended by the world’s 20 largest pension and sovereign wealth funds, who have around $6 trillion assets under their management.
  • These global institutional investors represent key regions including the United States of America (USA), Europe, Canada, Korea, Japan, the Middle East, Australia, and Singapore.
  • Some of them are looking at India as an investment destination for the first time.
  • Indian economy was showing strong signs of recovery as this was the opportune moment for the government to engage with global investors, who are looking for an alternative market to China.
  • In September, Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing was highest in a decade at 56.8.
  • Mr. Modi said the government is finalising a “pioneering multi-modal connectivity infrastructure masterplan” under the National Infrastructure Pipeline, which envisages investments of $1.5 trillion.

National master plan

  • National master plan for providing multi-modal connectivity to various economic zones. The prime minister described it as an important endeavour that will boost productivity, infrastructure, economic progress and opportunities for youngsters. We are building millions of affordable houses for the neo-middle class.
  • We want investment not just in big cities but smaller cities and towns too, citing the GIFT City in Gujarat as one such city being developed.
  • “Today, each sector in India is looking up — manufacturing, infrastructure, technology, agriculture, finance, and even social sectors like health and education…
  • India is the place to be if you want returns with reliability, demand with democracy, stability with sustainability, and growth with a green approach.
  • It is a survey-based measure that asks the respondents about changes in their perception about key business variables as compared with the previous month.

Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)

  • It is calculated separately for the manufacturing and services sectors
    The PMI is a number from 0 to 100.
  • PMI above 50 represents an expansion when compared to the previous month;
  • PMI under 50 represents a contraction, and
  • A reading at 50 indicates no change.
  • If PMI of the previous month is higher than the PMI of the current month (as is the case mentioned above), it represents that the economy is contracting.
  • The PMI is usually released at the start of every month. It is, therefore, considered a good leading indicator of economic activity.

 

2) China-Occupied Kashmir:

Introduction

  • Following the abrogation of Article 370 and reorganisation of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), a China-Pakistan tandem has emerged to internationalise the issue, including in the UN Security Council.
  • Pakistan has feigned solidarity with the people of Kashmir and continues to train and fund separatists and terrorists.
  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global watchdog that monitors terror financing, has retained Pakistan on its ‘Grey List’ for a good reason.
  • China’s support for Pakistan is motivated by a desire to perpetuate its own territorial grab in the trans-Karakoram Shaksgam Tract of Kashmir.

China’s biased role

  • China treats the J&K issue as a “bilateral dispute left over from history” to be resolved between India and Pakistan.
  • It has turned a blind eye to the constitutional shenanigans by which Pakistan’s so-called federal Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan has acquired complete sway over Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • It ignores Pakistan’s agenda of integrating Gilgit-Baltistan as its fifth province.
  • Yet, China has the confidence to question the establishment of the Union Territory of Ladakh and to term it a ‘unilateral’ attempt to change “the status quo in the Kashmir region”.
  • China has no right to comment on India’s internal affairs since the erstwhile princely State of J&K acceded to India through the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947.

The Shaksgam valley

  • The Shaksgam valley in the trans-Karakoram tract, part of PoK, was handed over on a platter by a Pakistan to China through an illegal border agreement on March 2, 1963.
  • China occupies 5,180 square kilometres in the Shaksgam Valley in addition to approximately 38,000 square kilometres in Aksai Chin.
  • China and Pakistan have colluded to remain unclear these facts, even as they brazenly promote the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which runs through parts of Indian territory under their respective occupation.

The Pakistan connection

  • It is this border that was blatantly compromised by Pakistan in its so-called agreement with China on March 2, 1963.
  • By giving in to China’s expansionist designs and spurious claims to a boundary along the Karakoram range, Pakistan not only compromised India’s traditional frontier along the Kun Lun range to the north-west of the Karakoram Pass, but also enabled China to extrapolate a claim line eastwards along the Karakoram range in Ladakh.
  • This collusion allowed China to claim the whole of Aksai Chin in which it had no historical presence.
  • After the Partition of the Indian subcontinent, from 1953, Chinese troops actively started transgressing the frontier in eastern Hunza.
  • Pakistan deliberately chose to downgrade the historical claims of the Mir of Hunza and eventually signed away the Shaksgam valley to China in 1963.

Conclusion

  • The provisional nature of the territorial settlement between China and Pakistan is evident in Article 6 of the 1963 agreement, which clearly states that “the two Parties have agreed that after the settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, the sovereign authority concerned will reopen negotiations with the Government of the People’s Republic of China, on the boundary as described in Article Two of the present Agreement, so as to sign a formal Boundary Treaty to replace the present agreement”.
  • In effect, this agreement has established China as a party to the dispute. It has a vested interest in legitimising its illegitimate gains in the trans-Karakoram tract.

The anniversary of the Instrument of Accession, on October 26, is a reminder of China’s illegal territorial occupation.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

About CPEC:

  • The CPEC is the flagship project of the multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, aimed at enhancing Beijing’s influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects.
  • The 3,000 km-long China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) consists of highways, railways, and pipelines.
  • CPEC eventually aims at linking the city of Gwadar in South Western Pakistan to China’s North Western region Xinjiang through a vast network of highways and railways.
  • The proposed project will be financed by heavily-subsidised loans that will be disbursed to the Government of Pakistan by Chinese banks.

But, why is India concerned?

  • It passes through PoK.
  • CPEC rests on a Chinese plan to secure and shorten its supply lines through Gwadar with an enhanced presence in the Indian Ocean.

 

3) Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989:

Why in news?

  • Not every offending remark against a member of the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe will amount to an offence under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 “unless there is an intention to humiliate…for the reason that the victim belongs to such caste”, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.
  • A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi said that to constitute an offence under the Act, the words spoken must be “in any place within public view”, and not within the four walls of a house and in the absence of any member of the public.

About the case?

  • The court said this while hearing an appeal by Uttarakhand resident Hitesh Verma, challenging the state High Court order rejecting his plea to quash the charge sheet and summoning orders.
  • Quashing the offences under SC/ST Act, the top court said Verma will continue to face trial in respect of the other offences mentioned in the FIR.
  • The court added that “offence under the Act is not established merely on the fact that the informant is a member of Scheduled Caste unless there is an intention to humiliate a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe for the reason that the victim belongs to such caste.
  • In the present case, the parties are litigating over possession of land.
  • The allegation of hurling of abuses is against a person who claims title over the property.
  • If such person happens to be a Scheduled Caste, the offence under Section 3(1)(r) of the Act is not made out”.
  • Also as per the FIR, the alleged incident took place within the four walls of the woman’s house and there was no other member of the public, the court said.
  • Therefore “the basic ingredient that the words were uttered “in any place within public view” is not made out.
  • In the FIR, registered in December 2019, the woman, who is a member of the SC community, had accused Verma of using caste remarks against her.
  • Verma’s counsel said the two sides had a property dispute pending before the civil court and that the present FIR has been filed on false grounds to harass his client.
  • He also contended that the allegations levelled in the FIR, and the subsequent report submitted by the police after investigation, do not disclose any offence under the Act.
  • The counsel for the state submitted that during investigation, certain people had supported the version of the informant.

The bench said that the SC/ST Act is intended to punish the acts of upper caste against the vulnerable sections of the society for the reason that they belong to a particular community, and that the basic ingredients of the offence under Section 3(1) (r) of the Act can be classified as

  • Intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe
  • In any place within public view”.

In the present case, it said, if either party has invoked the jurisdiction of the civil court, they “are availing their remedies in accordance with the procedure established by law.

 

4) China bars travellers from India, U.K:

  • China on Thursday effectively barred travellers from India, the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Philippines by temporarily suspending valid visas.
  • With measures targeting other countries also expected as Beijing moves to tighten international travel restrictions citing a rising number of imported COVID-19 cases.

 

5) Amur Falcons:

Why in news?

  • As the winter has onset, migratory birds including the Amur falcons are being observed around the lakes and water bodies in massive numbers.
  • But, despite several restrictions, many birds are poached yearly.
  • In that line, the State of Tripura has issued warning against the hunting of Amur Falcons.

Highlights

  • Amur falcons are lined below the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • The order was issued in the light of hunting of the number of Amur falcons in the Mon district.
  • Nagaland had also notified the order against the wasting of the birds.
  • It stated hunting, trapping, killing and promoting of the hen might result in three years of imprisonment and a high-quality of 25,000.

Amur falcons

  • Amur falcons are the longest travelling raptors of the World.
  • They start travelling as the winter’s onset.
  • The raptors breed in southeastern Siberia and northern China and fly 1000’s of miles to India and then over the Indian Ocean to southern Africa before making their return journey to Mongolia and Siberia.
  • In total, the birds travel a distance of 22,000-kilometres which is one of the longest amongst all avian species.
  • The birds have got their name from the Amur River.
  • The Amur River forms the border between Russia and China.

Sites in India

  • These migratory birds stopover the Doyang Lake in Nagaland during their annual migration.
  • Thus, Nagaland is also called as the Falcon Capital of the World.

IUCN status

  • The birds have been given the “least concern” status under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

The species has been protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the Convention on Migratory Species.

 

6) TARDIGRADES:

  • Tardigrades are colloquially known as water bears or moss piglets

What are they?

  • They are Phylum of water dwelling eight legged segmented micro animals

Distribution

  • They have been found everywhere, from Mountain tops to the deep sea and mudvolcanoes, from tropic rainforest to the Antarctic
  • Tardigrades are among the most resilient animals known with individual species able to survive extreme conditions.
  • Tardigrades have survived exposure to outer space.

 

7) Ammonia in Water:

Why in news?

Water supply was affected in parts of Delhi after a spike in Ammonia levels in the river Yamuna lead to a temporary closure of two water treatment plants.

About ammonia (NH3)

  • It is colourless gas and is used as an Industrial chemical in the production of fertilizers, plastic, synthetic fibres, dyes and other products.

Source

  • It occurs naturally in the environment from the breakdown of organic waste matter and may also find its way to ground and surface water Sources through Industrial effluents, contamination by sewage or through agricultural runoff
    Acceptable limit
  • The acceptable maximum limit of ammonia in drinking water as per the Bureau of Indian Standards is 0.5 PPM

Effects

  • If the concentration of ammonia in the water is above 1 PPM it is toxic to fishes
  • Inhumans, long-term injection of water having ammonia level of 1 PPM or above may cause Damage to internal organs.

Treatment

  • Stringent implementation of guidelines against dumping harmful waste into the river
  • Making sure untreated sewage does not enter the water
  • Maintaining a sustainable minimum flow, called the ecological flow

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