UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 14th January 2022
UPSC prelims and mains coaching centre in Hyderabad
- Saraswati River
- Assam-Meghalaya: Boundary dispute
- The NATO and Russia’s high-level talks
- ISRO- New Chairman
- Henley Passport Index 2022
1. Saraswati River
- During the opening day of the 25th National Youth Festival 2022, the importance of the Saraswati River for Indian Civilization was underlined.
In depth information
- The National Youth Festival aims to mould India’s youth into a “unified force for nation-building.”
- It is one of the most significant exercises in social cohesion, intellectual integration, and cultural integration ever undertaken. Its goal is to unite India’s varied cultures under the banner of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat,’ or “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat,” or “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat,” or “Ek Bharat, Shre
- Swami Vivekananda’s birthday is commemorated on this day.
- The river began in the Himalayas west of Kailash, in Kapal Tirith, and flowed southward to Mansarovar before turning westward.
- The river ran through Haryana, Rajasthan, and Gujarat’s northwestern region.
- It was almost 4,000 kilometres long and flowed across Pakistan before meeting the Western Sea through the Rann of Kutch.
- There were two branches to the river: western and eastern.
- The western branch of the old river was represented by the Himalayan-born Satluj “of the PAST,” which flowed through the channels of today’s Ghaggar-Patialiwali rivulets.
- Markanda and Sarsuti, on the other hand, represented the Tons-Yamuna branch of the Saraswati.
- The branches met near Shatrana, some 25 kilometres south of Patiala. And then it flows across the desert (Rann of Kutch) and into the western sea’s Gulf.
The Saraswati River has a long history.
- According to a study conducted by Kurukshetra University’s Centre of Excellence for Research on the Saraswati River (CERSR), all major archaeological sites in Haryana – Siswal, Rakhigarhi, Banawali, Bhirrana, Kunal, Balu, and Thana – are within 500 metres of the Saraswati or Drishadwati rivers’ paleochannels.
- A paleochannel is a sedimentary deposit that covers the route of an old river.
- The research was carried out to determine why only the Saraswati river, which was sandwiched between the Yamuna and Sutlej rivers, vanished, while all other rivers described in the Rig Veda remain.
- The new evidence disproves the theory that the Saraswati River was a paleochannel of the former Sutlej River.
- The Saraswati River is thought to be only 10,000 years old, according to popular opinion. The Ghaggar-Hakra (GH) system, which is a continuation of the Saraswati river system, was discovered to be more than 86,000 years old, according to research.
- Harappan towns sprang up along the river’s fertile channel bars and interfluves in Haryana and Rajasthan, and flourished.
- The existence of substantial clay beds shows that there was a decrease of the monsoon and drought conditions around 14,000, 6,000, and 4,000 years ago, resulting in near-absence of flow in the channels.
- The Saraswati river paleochannels produced a dense system of interconnected channels that ran for nearly 2,984 kilometres in Haryana.
- There are two major paleochannels in the Saraswati river system. Before reaching Hanumangarh in Rajasthan, one passes through Yamunanagar, Ambala, Kurukshetra, Pehowa, Kaithal, Jind, Fatehabad, and Sirsa. The other, which represented the Drishadwati River, a Vedic period tributary of the Saraswati, ran through the districts of Yamunanagar, Karnal, Panipat, Sonepat, Jind, and Hisar until ending at Rawatsar, Rajasthan.
- According to the study, the Saraswati river flowed in Haryana until 1402 AD, when it abruptly stopped.
- This abrupt change appears to be the result of abrupt modification or diversion of contributing channels for the construction of five canals (western Yamuna canal) beginning in Yamunanagar’s foothills, where there was significant anthropogenic rerouting of streams to make water available in Fatehabad and Hisar.
- The Drishadvati River’s and Chautang Stream’s channels have both been extensively used to route this canal.
- Natural factors such as weakened summer monsoons, shrinking glacial cover and melt waters, channel avulsion and channel capture, climate change, and tectonic disruption of the input channels in the lesser Himalayan terrain all contributed to the mega river system’s gradual decay and eventual extinction.
2.Assam-Meghalaya: Boundary dispute
#GS2- Federalism, #GS3- Internal security issues.
- Before Meghalaya’s 50th Statehood Day celebration on January 21, the Union Home Minister is likely to sign the final accord to terminate the dispute in six regions of the Assam-Meghalaya border.
In depth information
What exactly is the point of contention?
- The boundary between Assam and Meghalaya is 885 kilometres long. The Assam ReorganisationAct, 1971, was used to cut Meghalaya out of Assam, a statute that it opposed, resulting in disagreements.
- There are currently 12 points of contention along their borders. Upper Tarabari, Gazang reserve forest, Hahim, Langpih, Borduar, Boklapara, Nongwah, Matamur, Khanapara-Pilangkata, Deshdemoreah Block I and Block II, Khanduli, and Retacherra are among those affected.
- The district of Langpih in the West Garo Hills, which borders the Assam district of Kamrup, is a major bone of contention between Assam and Meghalaya.
- During the British colonial period, Langpih was part of the Kamrup district, but after independence, it became part of the Garo Hills and Meghalaya.
- Assam believes it to be a part of Assam’s Mikir Hills. Meghalaya has raised concerns over Blocks I and II of the Mikir Hills, which are now part of the Karbi Anglong region of Assam. According to Meghalaya, they were once part of the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts.
Efforts to resolve the conflict:
- Border dispute settlement panels have been established in both Assam and Meghalaya.
- HimantaBiswaSarma, the Chief Minister of Assam, and Conrad Sangma, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, have agreed to form two regional committees to resolve the border conflicts in stages.
- Sarma has stated that there are five elements to consider when addressing the border dispute. Historical facts, ethnicity, administrative convenience, the mood and sentiments of the individuals affected, and the land’s proximity are all factors to consider.
Border concerns in Assam:
- The Northeastern states were created mostly from Assam, which has border issues with numerous other states. The Supreme Court is now hearing Assam’s boundary disputes with Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
- The boundary conflicts between Assam and Meghalaya and Mizoram are currently being resolved through negotiations.
- The recent escalation of the border issue with Mizoram prompted the Centre to intervene.
In the north-east, there are a number of other boundary issues.
- The Northeastern states were created mostly from Assam, which has border issues with numerous other states.
- Assam includes present-day Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya, as well as Mizoram, which became a separate state one by one during British control. Assam currently has boundary issues with each of them.
- Assam shares a 500-kilometer border with Nagaland.
- At least 100 people were killed in two big violent incidents in 1979 and 1985. The Supreme Court is now hearing the boundary issue.
- According to the same study article, confrontations on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border (about 800 km) were first reported in 1992.
- Since then, both sides have made claims of illegal expansion, and there have been sporadic skirmishes. The Supreme Court is now hearing this boundary dispute.
- The 884-kilometer Assam-Meghalaya border is also prone to flare-ups. According to Meghalaya government declarations, there are now 12 areas of contention between the two states.
3.The NATO and Russia’s high-level talks
#GS2- India & Foreign Relations
- High-level discussions between NATO and Russia are taking place in Brussels as tensions in Ukraine continue to rise.
In depth information
- The talks take place during a week of high-stakes diplomacy and a US-led push to block Russian preparations for a possible invasion of Ukraine, according to the US.
- The NATO-Russia Council was established two decades ago, but full sessions were halted in 2014 when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
- It has only convened on a periodic basis since then, the most recent meeting being in 2019.
The Present Situation
- Russia denies that a strike is in the works: Nonetheless, NATO is concerned about its military actions in Ukraine and Georgia.
- With over 100,000 combat-ready Russian troops massed just beyond Ukraine’s eastern border, supported by tanks, artillery, and heavy equipment.
- To support such an agreement, NATO would have to reject a major provision of its founding treaty: The organisation can invite any willing European country that can contribute to North Atlantic security and fulfil the obligations of membership under Article 10 of the 1949 Washington Treaty.
- No new members: NATO must not admit any new members to the US-led military alliance, and no new military sites should be built in ex-Soviet countries, according to the group.
- NATO would have to agree to cease all aspirations for membership, not only with Ukraine, and reduce its presence in countries like Estonia, which are near to Russia’s borders.
- The draught accords’ disclosure, an extraordinary step in international diplomacy, comes at a sensitive time in Russia’s relations with the West.
- Legal guarantees: Russia blames NATO for the escalation of tensions and demands “legal guarantees” that the alliance would not expand eastward.
- Limits on missile deployment: It advocated for missile deployment limits and for NATO members to “promise themselves to desist from further enlargement” of the organisation.
- Binding security guarantee: Russia wants NATO to provide it with a binding security guarantee and to withdraw its forces to locations they held prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The stance of the West
- The West has accused Russia of preparing an invasion, alleging that tens of thousands of troops have been positioned along Ukraine’s borders.
- Negotiation: The US rebuffed Russia’s overtures, saying it would not negotiate without the input of Europe.
The Roots of the Russian-Ukraine Conflict
History in common:
- Ukraine and Russia have shared cultural, linguistic, and familial ties for hundreds of years.
- Ukraine was the Soviet Union’s second-most powerful republic after Russia, and it played a critical geopolitical, economic, and cultural role.
- People’s Emotional Exploitation: For many people in Russia and ethnically Russian portions of Ukraine, the countries’ common heritage is an emotional problem that has been exploited for electoral and military goals.
- Balance of Power:
- Since Ukraine’s breakup from the Soviet Union, Russia and the West have competed for increased influence in the country in order to maintain the region’s power balance.
- Acts as a stopgap:
- Ukraine serves as a vital buffer between Russia and the West for the United States and the European Union.
- As tensions with Russia escalate, the United States and the European Union are becoming more determined to keep Ukraine out of Russian hands.
- India reaffirmed its support for traditional partner Russia on the Ukraine crisis during a UNSC meeting in 2021.
- India has pushed for political and diplomatic solutions that protect all countries in the region’s legitimate interests while also ensuring long-term peace and stability in Europe and beyond.
- Only peaceful discourse can lead to a long-term solution that is agreeable to all parties involved.
- In the United Nations, India voted against a resolution sponsored by Ukraine that condemned alleged human rights breaches in Crimea, so siding with longtime ally Russia on the subject.
Ahead of Schedule
- Russia and the alliance should work together to “avoid incidents” in the Baltic and Black Sea regions.
- For “emergency contacts,” a telephone hotline should be established.
- To resolve the ever-increasing confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, international cooperation is required.
- Refrain from making a mistake: Both countries should avoid making a mistake that escalates tensions.
4.ISRO- New Chairman
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently announced the nomination of Dr S Somanath, a renowned rocket scientist, as its new chairman and Space Secretary.
In depth information
- Somanath is taking over the helm of ISRO at a pivotal point in the agency’s history, with significant reforms and critical missions on the horizon.
- He was a key contributor to the PSLV and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-development. III’s (GSLV Mk-III).
- He began working on the GSLV Mk-III project in 2003, and from 2010 to 2014, he served as Project Director.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
- It was established in 1969 with the goal of establishing an independent Indian space programme. Bangalore is where the company’s headquarters are located (Bengaluru).
- The chairman of ISRO is also the chairman of the Indian government’s Space Commission and secretary of the Department of Space.
- Mission: To design and build launch vehicles and related technologies that will allow people to travel to space.
- Satellites and related technologies for earth observation, communication, navigation, meteorology, and space science are designed and developed.
- Applications for societal progress based on space.
- Space science and planetary exploration research and development.
A significant milestone has been reached:
- The Soviet Union launched ISRO’s first satellite, Aryabhata, on April 19, 1975.
- On July 18, 1980, Rohini, the first satellite launched by an Indian-built launch vehicle (the Satellite Launch Vehicle 3), was propelled into orbit.
- The Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system for telecommunication, television transmission, meteorology, and disaster warning, as well as the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites for resource monitoring and management, have all been launched by ISRO.
- ISRO went on to develop three more rockets: the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for polar orbiting satellites, the Geostationary Space Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for geostationary orbiting satellites, and a heavy-lift version of the GSLV called the GSLV Mark III or LVM for geostationary orbiting satellites.
- These rockets launched communications and Earth-observation satellites, as well as lunar (Chandrayaan-1, 2008; Chandrayaan-2, 2019) and Mars missions (Mars Orbiter Mission, 2013).
- The Indian Space Association (ISpA) was formed to support the Centre’s commercial space exploration and space-based communication operations.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Bharti Airtel, One Web, Tata Group’s Nelco, L&T, and MapMyIndia are among the stakeholders in the Indian space sphere.
- ISRO successfully tested free-space quantum communication over a 300-meter distance.
- At the Space Applications Centre (SAC) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, free-space communication using QKD (Quantum Key Distribution) was tested.
- Multiple enterprises have joined the Indian Space Research Organisation’s tailored space-themed products programme in collaboration with industry.
- Scale models, T-shirts, mugs, space-themed educational games, science toys, and other official products related to ISRO’s missions and work will be available for purchase.
5.Henley Passport Index 2022
- In the most powerful passport survey, the ‘Henley Passport Index 2022,’ India was rated 83rd.
- India’s passport power has risen seven positions from 90th place last year in this quarter compared to 2021.
- For the first quarter of 2022, the current rankings are in effect.
In depth information
- The Henley Passport Index is the first ranking of all passports in the world based on the number of countries to which their holders can travel without a visa.
- The rating is based on unique data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information. It was originally designed by Dr. Christian H. Kaelin (chairman of Henley & Partners).
- It was first issued in 2006 and now has a total of 199 distinct passports.
- It is updated in real time as visa policy changes take effect throughout the year.
- The index is topped by Japan and Singapore.
- In the latest ranking, Germany and South Korea tied for second place, while Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain shared third place.
- Afghanistan and Iraq remain on the list of “worst passports to have.”
- India was ranked 84th in 2020, while it was ranked 85th in 2016, along with Mali and Uzbekistan.
- In Central Africa, India (83rd in 2022) is tied with Sao Tome and Principe for third place, after Rwanda and Uganda.
- With the inclusion of Oman and Armenia, India now has visa-free access to 60 countries around the world. Since 2006, India has added 35 new destinations.
UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 14th January 2022
Watch Our Videos on YouTube