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Sarat Chandra IAS Academy – UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 10th January 2022

CURRENT AFFAIRS 10-01-2022

Daily Current Affairs – Topics

Topics        

  • The Maya Civilisation
  • Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA)
  • First Advance Estimates of economic output
  • Exercise Sea Dragon 22
  • Election Expenditure Revised

1. The Maya Civilisation

#GS1- History

Context 

  • According to the new study, the Maya civilisation had access to approximately 500 food plants, many of which were drought resistant.

In depth information

Civilization of the Mayas

  • The Yucatan Peninsula was the birthplace of the Maya civilization.
  • The Yucatán Peninsula, located between the Gulf of Mexico to the west and north and the Caribbean Sea to the east, is a northeastern projection of Central America.
  • Between 600 and 800 AD, it flourished.

Features:

  • It is known for its towering architecture and advanced mathematical and astronomical knowledge.
  • They also devised a hieroglyphic writing system as well as complex calendrical and astronomical systems.
  • They mostly practised slash-and-burn farming, although they also used innovative irrigation and terracing techniques.
  • The Maya had established villages and created an agriculture centred on corn (maize), beans, and squash as early as 1500 BCE; by 600 CE, cassava (sweet manioc) was also farmed.
  • They worked with gold and copper and built massive stone structures and pyramid temples.
  • They began to construct ceremonial centres, which by 200 CE had grown into towns with temples, pyramids, palaces, ball courts, and plazas.

Collapse

  • The collapse of the Classic Maya civilisations occurred between 800 and 950 AD.
  • The following are the reasons for the collapse:
  • Evidence from the past: The Maya people faced famine due to their reliance on drought-resistant crops like corn, beans, and squash.
  • Recent research looked at the drought endurance of 497 traditional Maya lowland food plants in three scenarios: short-duration, medium-duration, and intense drought.
  • Paleoethnobotany, a field of research concerned with the behavioural and ecological connections between previous humans and plants, was also used to identify these species.
  • Researchers discovered that in high drought conditions, stems like palm hearts and cactus pads would last for several years.
  • The Maya people could have gotten their carbohydrates and protein from chaya and cassava.
  • Chaya, a plant with high protein, iron, potassium, and calcium content in its leaves, could have also been available.
  • Social and economic upheaval, they believe, played an impact.

Climate Change’s Role

  • The current study’s principal authors were not convinced. As a result, they probed further to see if the droughts were severe enough at the time to stymie food production.
  • The study emphasises the importance of utilising varied plants to withstand drought and climate change.
  • Food security is already being harmed by climate change.
  • Due to deforestation and drought, the central Yucatan lowland, which was home to most of the great Mayan cities, was abandoned.

 

2.Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA)

#GS2- International Organisations, Agreements Involving India

Context

  • The Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) indicates that the Indo-middle Pacific’s countries are willing to take a more active role.

Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA)

  • The RAA is a bilateral defence and security agreement between the Australian and Japanese governments that allows for joint military training and operations.
  • It develops streamlined procedures to assist the deployment of defence forces in a more timely and administratively efficient manner.
  • The contract was struck in response to worries that China’s Communist Party was increasing its belligerence, particularly in the South China Sea, including the militarization of disputed regions and the risky coercive use of coast guard vessels.
  • The RAA was formally signed by the Japanese Prime Minister and the Australian Prime Minister on January 6, 2022, at a virtual summit.
  • Apart from its strategic significance for Asia and the Indo-Pacific, the Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) is a defensive treaty between Australia and Japan.

What is the relevance of the RAA that was just signed?

  • It represents a shift away from a US-centric perspective and toward a stronger emphasis on bilateral and regional ties.
  • It also shows Japan’s willingness to take a more active role in the area. Tokyo is also attempting to reach RAA-like accords with the United Kingdom and France.
  • It allows middle powers such as Japan, Australia, and India to strengthen their collaboration and build on the Quad’s momentum.
  • It elicited a predicted unfavourable response from China.
  • The agreement solidifies the tendencies that are part of the region’s shifting security architecture.

India’s Importance

  • Countering Chinese Influence: Recent standoffs on the Indo-China Border, as well as Russia’s reluctance to intervene and exert pressure, have forced India to seek alternatives.
  • Diplomacy after COVID: The global disruption and China’s opaque systems present a chance for India to take the lead and become the world’s manufacturing hub.
  • India can boost its soft power by leveraging its expertise in the vaccination and pharmaceutical industries.
  • In addition, Japan and the United States seek to move their manufacturing operations out of China in order to rein in the country’s imperialistic behaviour.
  • India intends to become a net security provider in the Indian Ocean as part of the SAGAR programme.
  • Multipolar World: India has backed a rule-based multipolar world, and Asian countries taking similar steps might help it achieve its goal of becoming a regional superpower.

Conclusion

  • The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or Quad, involving India, Japan, Australia, and the United States), the AUKUS, and now the RAA between Japan and Australia, two US treaty partners, all point to a more powerful and dedicated regional strategic network.
  • For its part, India has worked hard to deepen bilateral, trilateral, and regional security cooperation, holding “2+2” ministerial discussions with both Tokyo and Canberra.
  • India needs to scale up its engagement and reach out to other regional players.

 

3. First Advance Estimates of economic output

#GS3- Indian Economy

Context

  • The First Advance Estimates (FAE) for the current fiscal year were just announced by the National Statistical Office (NSO) (2021-22 or FY22).

In depth information

  • GDP Growth: Following a 7.3 percent loss in the previous fiscal year, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) is predicted to expand by 9.2 percent in the current fiscal year.
  • It is bolstered by an increase in farm, mining, and manufacturing outputs.
  • Mining and quarrying (14.3 percent), as well as trade, hotels, transportation, communication, and broadcasting services, all seeing significant expansion (11.9 percent ).
  • Manufacturing is expected to grow by 12.5 percent this year, after falling by 7.2 percent the previous year.
  • In FY22, the agriculture industry is expected to grow at a rate of 3.9 percent, up from 3.6 percent the previous year.
  • Low Private Consumer: private consumption demand is likely to stay low, while economic investments and government spending are expected to improve.
  • Typically, private consumption expenditures account for more than 55% of total GDP.
  • Its level is predicted to remain largely unchanged in 2019-20. It will be difficult to maintain economic growth in the months and years ahead with such low levels of private demand.

 

4.Exercise Sea Dragon 22

#GS3- Defence

Context

  • In the Pacific Ocean, India and five other countries will commence the anti-submarine drill Sea Dragon 22.
  • It is being hosted at the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, in the Western Pacific, with contingents from India, the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, and South Korea participating.
  • India, Japan, Australia, and the United States are all members of the Quad and take part in the Malabar exercise.

In depth information

Concerning the exercise

  • Sea Dragon is an annual international exercise led by the United States that aims to rehearse and discuss anti-submarine warfare tactics in order to respond to classic and non-traditional maritime security concerns in the Indo-Pacific.
  • It will entail over 270 hours of in-flight training and operations ranging from simulated target tracking to tracking a US Navy submarine.
  • Each event will be rated, with the winning nation receiving the prestigious Dragon Belt award, which the Royal Canadian Air Force won in 2021.

Significance

  • The participating naval and air forces will increase their collaboration and mutual understanding.
  • They’ll be able to hone their tactical abilities.
  • Almost all of the participating countries have tense relations with China, thus the exercise is significant.
  • China’s Look West Policy is allowing it to strengthen its position in the Indo-Pacific.

 

5. Election Expenditure Revised

#GS2- Governance

Context

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) has upped the expenditure restrictions for candidates running in Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly elections in five states ahead of the elections.

In depth information

  • The amount a candidate is legally authorised to spend on election campaigning, including public meetings, rallies, advertisements, posters and banners, and vehicles, is referred to as the expenditure limit.
  • Within 30 days following the conclusion of an election, all candidates must submit their expenditure statement to the EC.
  • In fact, there is no limit to how much a political party can spend on elections, but they must file a summary of their expenditure to the EC within 90 days after the election’s conclusion.
  • The most recent substantial adjustment was in 2014, when the election expenditure limit for candidates was increased by 10%, and it was increased again by 10% in 2020.
  • According to Section 77 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951, every candidate must keep a record of all expenditures incurred from the time they are nominated until the time the results are announced.
  • According to Section 10A of the Act, an erroneous account or expenditure in excess of the cap can result in a candidate’s disqualification for up to three years.

Modifications made

  • The Indian Election Commission has increased the spending limit for candidates running for office.

The following modifications were made:

  • The spending limit for candidates running for Lok Sabha seats has been raised from Rs 54 lakh to Rs 70 lakh (depending on state) to Rs 70 lakh to Rs 95 lakh.
  • Assembly constituency expenditure limits have been raised from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 28 lakh to Rs 28 lakh to Rs 40 lakh (depending on states).
  • In Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Punjab, the additional amount of Rs 40 lakh would apply, while Goa and Manipur would receive Rs 28 lakh.

Expenditure Limit for Elections:

  • According to Section 77 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951, each candidate must keep a separate and accurate account of all expenses incurred between the time they were nominated and the time the results were announced.
  • Within 30 days of the election’s conclusion, all candidates must submit their expense statement to the ECI.
  • Under Section 10A of the RPA, 1951, an erroneous account or expenditure in excess of the cap might result in the candidate’s disqualification by the ECI for up to three years.

What was the purpose of this change?

  • The increase in the cost inflation index, as well as the size of the voters, led to a revision in the spending, according to the Election Commission of India.
  • Growth in electors: After considering “demand from political parties” and the “increase of electors” from 834 million in 2014 to 936 million in 2021, the Harish Kumar committee suggested raising the ceiling.
  • Digital campaigning: The committee also considered political parties’ complaints about the additional cost of digital campaigning as a result of Covid.

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