Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Daily Current Affairs 16th September -2021

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 16th September -2021

 

Daily Current Affairs 16th September -2021

 

Topics

  • First in-person meeting of QUAD Nations
  • Groundswell report by World Bank Group
  • Land and Livestock Holdings of Households and Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households
  • Bill to Scrap NEET in Tamil Nadu
  • Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh

 

1) First in-person meeting of QUAD Nations

#GS2 #Bilateral, Regional & Global Groupings & Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India’s Interests #Important International Institutions

Context: United States under President Joe Biden will be hosting the first in person meeting of the Quad countries on September 24 in New York, US.

  • Heads of all 04 QUAD Nations are expected to attend the meeting.

Focus of the Meeting:

  • Meeting will focus on issues related to the Covid-19 crisis, climate change, cyberspace and security in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Reacting to the upcoming summit, China criticized the Quad and said the formation of “exclusive cliques (circles)” targeting other countries runs counter to the trend of the times and is “doomed to fail”.

What is Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) Grouping:

  • It is a strategic dialogue between the United States, Japan, Australia and India that is maintained by talks between member countries.
  • Following the Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004), India, Japan, Australia, and the US created an informal alliance to collaborate on disaster relief efforts.
  • The formal dialogue was started in 2007 by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
  • The dialogue was paralleled by joint military exercises of an unprecedented scale, titled Exercise Malabar.
  • The diplomatic and military arrangement was widely viewed as a response to increased Chinese economic and military power, and the Chinese government responded to the Quadrilateral dialogue by issuing formal diplomatic protests to its members.
  • The Quad was supposed to establish an ‘Asian Arc of Democracy’ but was hampered by a lack of cohesion amongst its members and accusations that the group was nothing more than an anti-China bloc. The early iteration of the Quad, largely based around maritime security, eventually dissipated.
  • The Quad ceased following the withdrawal of Australia in 2008, reflecting inconsistency in Australian policy over the mounting tension between the United States and China in the Asia-Pacific.
  • During the 2017 ASEAN Summits in Manila, all 04 former members agreed to revive the quadrilateral alliance in order to counter China militarily and diplomatically in the South China Sea.
  • Tensions between Quad members and China have led to fears of what was dubbed by some commentators as “a new Cold War” in the region.
  • In 2020, the trilateral India-US-Japan Malabar naval exercises expanded to include Australia, marking the first official grouping of the Quad since its resurgence in 2017.
    • Further, it was the first joint military exercises among the four countries in over a decade.
  • In March 2021, Quad leaders released a joint statement, “The Spirit of the Quad,”

 

“The Spirit of the Quad”

  • Through this statement, Quad members described “a shared vision for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” and a “rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas,” which Quad members state are needed to counter Chinese maritime claims.
  • The group’s primary purposes include maritime security, combating the Covid-19 crisis, especially vis-à-vis vaccine diplomacy, addressing the risks of climate change, creating an ecosystem for investment in the region and boosting technological innovation.
  • However, despite the Quad’s seeming commitment to a broad range of issues, its main focus area is still considered to be countering China.
  • It also held a first Quad Plus meeting that included representatives from New Zealand, South Korea and Vietnam to work on its response to Covid19.

Quad and China:

  • China position opposing Quad grouping has not changed since its formation.
    • After the Joint statement in March 2021, the Chinese foreign ministry accused the group of openly inciting discord among regional powers in Asia.
    • Beijing sees the existence of the Quad as part of a larger strategy to encircle China and has pressured countries like Bangladesh to avoid cooperating with the group.
  • Quad members are threatened by China’s actions in the South China Sea and its attempts to extend its influence through initiatives such as the One Belt One Road Project.
    • The US has long been concerned about the global race with China and have maintained that China aims to undermine the international rules-based order.
    • Japan and Australia are likewise both concerned about China’s expanding presence in the South and East China Seas.
      • Australia- China relations have deteriorated further after passing of foreign interference laws in 2018 by Australia for which China responded to by restricting trade to Canberra.
    • India has its own long pending border issues with China.

 Way Forward:

  • The Quad countries have the opportunity to ensure that past mistakes are not repeated and that they take a holistic economic, political and military approach to countering policies which undermine the existing rules-based order before their collective strategic options become even more unpalatable.
    • This will reassure the littoral States that the Quad will be work for regional benefit, and not some sort of military alliance as alleged by China.
    • The forthcoming Ministerial meetings can be an opportunity to define the idea and chart a future path.
  • India should pitch for countries like Indonesia, Singapore to be invited to join in the future.
    • India should develop a comprehensive vision on the Indo-Pacific which would envisage on the current and future maritime challenges, consolidate its military and non-military tools, engage its strategic partners.

 

2) Groundswell report by World Bank Group

 #GS2 #Important International Institutions #GS3 #Environmental Pollution & Degradation #Climate Change

 Context:World Bank recently released the updated ‘Groundswell report’.

  • It studied how the effects of slow-onset climate change, such as water scarcity, decreasing crop productivity and rising sea levels, could lead to millions of what it describes as “climate migrants” by 2050.

Background:

  • First report was published in 2018 which useda newmodelling approach to understand the scale, trajectory, and spatial patterns of future climate migration within countries.
    • First report focused on 03 regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.
  • Second report applies the same approach to 03 new regions: the Middle East and North Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
  • The findings of two reports collectively provide, a global picture of the potential scale of internal climate migration across the six World Bank regions.
  • It also clearly lays out a path for countries to address some of the key factors that are causing climate-driven migration.

 

Key findings of the report:

  1. Internal climate migration is set to accelerate to 2050 across six regions, hitting the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest and threatening development gains.
  2. The key factors that will drive migration due to the impact of climate change are water scarcity, lower crop production, and sea level rise and storm surges.
  3. The habitability of other regions will be reduced due to heat stress, extreme weather events, and land loss.
  4. The report considers three different scenarios with varying degrees of climate action and development. These include:
    1. Most pessimistic scenario: High level of emissions and unequal development:
      1. The report estimates up to 216 million people moving within their own countries across the six regions analyzed.
      2. Those regions are Latin America; North Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; Eastern Europe and Central Asia; South Asia; and East Asia and the Pacific.
    2. In the most climate-friendly scenario: low level of emissions and inclusive, sustainable development:
      1. The report calculates about 44 million people being forced to leave their homes.
    3. In the worst-case scenario:
      1. Sub-Saharan Africa — the most vulnerable region due to desertification, fragile coastlines and the population’s dependence on agriculture — would see the most migrants, with up to 86 million people moving within national borders.
      2. North Africa is projected to have the largest share of internal climate migrants relative to total population. Because of severe water scarcity, as well as the impacts of sea-level rise on densely populated coastal areas and in the Nile Delta.
    4. The scale of internal climate migration will be largest in the poorest and most climate-vulnerable regions, an indication that underlying gaps in the ability of livelihood, social, and economic systems to cope with climate change could undermine development gains.
    5. Hotspots of internal climate migration could emerge as early as 2030 and continue to spread and intensify by 2050.

 The report provides a series of policy recommendations that can help slow the factors driving climate migration and prepare for expected migration flows, including:

  • Cut global greenhouse gases now to reduce the climate pressures that drive internal climate migration.
  • Make every effort to meet the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • Embedding internal climate migration in far-sighted green, resilient, and inclusive development planning.
  • Preparing for each phase of migration, so that internal climate migration as an adaptation strategy can result in positive development outcomes.
  • Investing in better understanding of the drivers of internal climate migration to inform well-targeted policies.
  • Development planning needs to be proactive in preparing in-migration hotspots for inflows of migrants, to ensure they are prepared to fully integrate them, while out-migration hotspots need to plan for options to adapt in place and build resilience for the populations who remain.

 

3) Land and Livestock Holdings of Households and Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households

 #GS3 #Agriculture and allied activities #Process of Agricultural Marketing – Marketing Channels, Functionaries, Costs, etc.

Context: National Statistical Office (NSO) recently released its 77th round of survey, on “Land and Livestock Holdings of Households and Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households” in the rural areas of India.

  • It was conducted during the period 1st January 2019 to 31st December 2019.
  • Prior to 77th round, it was used to be conducted as separate surveys in separate sets of households.

Objective of the Survey:

  • The survey had an objective of generating different indicators like:
    • ownership and operational holdings of rural households
    • ownership of livestock
    • income, productive assets and indebtedness of agricultural households
    • farming practices of agricultural households
    • awareness and access to various technological developments in the field of agriculture
    • receipts and expenditure of the agricultural households’ farm and non-farm businesses and receipts from all other economic activities pursued by the members of the agricultural households.

What Constitutes an Agricultural Household?

  • An agricultural household in this survey was defined as a household receiving more than Rs. 4000/- as value of produce from agricultural activitiesand having at least one member self-employed in agriculture either in the principal status or in subsidiary status during last 365 days.

Key Findings:

  • Local market is preferred for selling: Farmers sold 55-93% of their producein local markets. In APMC markets, it ranged from 3-22%; while governmentprocurement accounted for 2-14%.
  • Share of crops sold to APMC markets and government agencies: Paddy, wheat and sugarcane had the highest share.
  • Satisfaction among farmers with return from their produce: Majority offarmers are ‘satisfied’
    • But for pulses satisfactory level is lower in comparison to other crops due to lowermarket price, delayed payments etc.
  • 2% Percentage of agricultural households are indebted with an average amount of rupees 74,121 outstanding loans per agricultural household.
  • Survey shows the average size of household ownership holdings and percentage of landless households during 2019.

Recent Steps taken to link the farmers with the markets:

  • The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 which allows farmers to sell outside of theirdesignated districts APMC, thereby advancing their interaction with the market directly.
  • The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, focuses on creatingavenues for farmers to engage in contract farming through verbal or written contracts.
  • Price Support Scheme (PSS) under ‘Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan’ (PM-AASHA).

 

4) Bill to Scrap NEET in Tamil Nadu

 #GS2 #Functions & Responsibilities of the Union and the States

#Issues & Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure

#Government Policies & Interventions for Development

 Context:Recently,The Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a Bill to do away with the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET) and allow admission to medical courses based on Class 12 marks to “ensure social justice”

  • Bill was introduced based on the recommendation of the high-level committee led by retired High Court judge AK Rajan, which submitted its report in July.
  • The National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), formerly the All-India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT), is the qualifying test for MBBS and BDS programmes in Indian medical and dental colleges. It is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA).

Provisions of ‘Permanent Exemption Bill for NEET in Tamil Nadu’:

  • Bill exempts medical aspirants in Tamil Nadu from taking NEET examination for admission to UG degree courses in Indian medicine, dentistry and homeopathy.
    • Instead, it seeks to provide admission to such courses on the basis of marks obtained in the qualifying examination, through “Normalisation methods”.
  • The Bill seeks to bring vulnerable student communities to the “mainstream of medical and dental education and in turn ensure a robust public health care across the state, particularly the rural areas”.
  • According to the bill, Admissions to medical courses are traceable to entry 25 of List III, 07th Schedule of the Constitution and therefore the state legislature is competent to regulate the same.

Arguments in favour of the Bill:

  • The state assembly says the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test is not a fair or equitable method of admission since it favoured the rich and elite sections of society who can afford coaching.
  • Social groups most affected were the students of Tamil medium, having a rural background of government schools, those having a parental income of less than Rs 2.5 lakh per annum.
  • High powered Committee concluded that if NEET continued for a few more years, the health care system of Tamil Nadu would be severely affected and there may not be enough doctors for Primary Health Centres or state-run hospitals and that the rural and urban poor may not be able to pursue medical courses.

Immediate trigger:

  • Last week, hours before he was to appear for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for a third time, a 19-year-old youth belonging to a village in Tamil Nadu died by suicide.
  • While the main opposition AIADMK blamed the DMK regime for his death, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister targeted the Centre for being “obstinate” on the matter and assured passing a Bill in the Assembly on September 13 to “permanently exempt” Tamil Nadu from the ambit of NEET.

Roadblocks for the passage of the bill:

  • Usually, when a state wants to amend a Central law made under one of the items in the concurrent list, it needs the clearance of the Centre.
  • When a state law contradicts a Central law on the same subject, the law passed by Parliament prevails.
  • Article 254 (2) of the Constitution empowers state governments to pass legislations which negate the Central acts in the matters enumerated under the Concurrent List.
    • A state legislation passed under Article 254 (2) requires the assent of the President of India.
    • Since this bill challenges a Union law, it cannot come into force until and unless approved by the President of India.

 

5) Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh

 #GS1 #Modern Indian History #Growth of Nationalism in India (1858-1905) #Important Personalities

Context: Recently, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh (1886-1979) State University in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh.

  • It will provide affiliation to 395 colleges of the Aligarh division.

About Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh:

  • Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh was born into the ruling Jat family of Mursan estate in Hathras in 1886.
  • He was a freedom fighter, social reformer and a figure representing the Jat community, predominant in Western Uttar Pradesh.

Important Events:

  • In 1911-12, he went off to fight in the Balkan War in Turkey, on the side of the Ottoman empire, along with fellow students from the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College (MAO)
  • In 1913 he took part in Gandhi’s campaign in South Africa.
  • He travelled around the world to create awareness about the situation in Afghanistan and India.
  • On December 1, 1915, during World war I, he proclaimed the first Provisional Government of India outside India at the historic Bagh-e-Babur in Kabul.
    • He declared himself president while waging a war against colonial rule, and his fiery fellow revolutionary Maulana Barkatullah of Bhopal, prime minister, of the Provisional Government.
    • He was primarily on an unofficial economic mission on behalf of Afghanistan, but he also wanted to expose the British brutalities in India. He called himself the “servant of the powerless and weak”.
  • Mahendra Pratap next travelled to several countries to gather support for the revolutionaries fighting for independence in India
  • He went to Germany, Japan, and Russia, and met the political leaders of those countries.
  • He is said to have met Vladimir Lenin in 1919, two years after the Bolshevik Revolution.
  • The British announced a bounty on his head and he fled to Japan to continue his movement.
  • In 1925 he went on a mission to Tibet and met the Dalai Lama.
  • In 1932, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • He formed the Executive Board of India in Japan in 1940 during the Second World War.

His Contributions in the field of education:

 On his return from a world tour, the Raja gave up his own residence in Mathura to be converted into a technical school named Prem Mahavidyalaya in 1909.

  • It is said to have been the country’s first polytechnic.
  • It offered various courses, including carpentry, pottery and textiles under one roof.
  • In 1929, Mahendra Pratap launched the World Federation in Berlin

Political career:

  • After almost 32 years of exile, Mahendra Pratap Singh finally returned to India in 1946.
  • He contested the Lok Sabha election from Mathura in 1957, and was elected Member of Parliament.
  • In free India, he diligently pursued his ideal of Panchayat raj.
  • His vision was that the Panchayat Raj was the only tool which can put real power in the hands of people and reduce corruption and bureaucratic hurdles.
  • He was the president of Indian Freedom Fighters’ Association and was also the president of All India Jat Mahasabha.

Daily Current Affairs 16th September -2021

 

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