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Sarat Chandra IAS Academy- UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 23rd December 2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 23-12-2021

                                                                                                  

Daily Current Affairs – Topics

  • Sri Aurobindo
  • Special Category Status
  • Winter Solstice
  • India-Sri Lanka Fishermen Issue
  • Albino Indian Flapshell Turtle

 

 

1. Sri Aurobindo

#GS1-National Movement, Important Personalities

Context

  • The Prime Minister recently appointed a 53-member committee to commemorate the 150th birthday of spiritual guru Sri Aurobindo on August 15, 2022.

In depth information

  • On August 15, 1872, Aurobindo Ghose was born in Calcutta. He was a yogi, seer, philosopher, poet, and Indian nationalist who preached a spiritual evolution-based philosophy of divine life on Earth.
  • He died in Pondicherry on December 5, 1950.

Education:

  • In Darjeeling, he began his schooling at a Christian convent school.
  • He enrolled in the University of Cambridge, where he learned two ancient languages and a number of modern European languages.
  • In 1892, he worked in Baroda (Vadodara) and Calcutta in various governmental capacities (Kolkata).
  • He began his yoga and Indian language studies, which included classical Sanskrit.

Revolutionary Movement in India:

  • He engaged in the campaign to free India from the British from 1902 to 1910. He was imprisoned in 1908 as a result of his political actions (Alipore Bomb case).
  • He fled British India two years later and sought shelter in the French colony of Pondichéry (Puducherry), where he spent the remainder of his life developing his “integral” yoga with the goal of living a meaningful and spiritually altered life on earth.

Spirituality:

  • In 1926, he established the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondichéry, a community of spiritual searchers.
  • He believed that the basic principles of matter, life, and mind would be supplanted by the principle of supermind as an intermediate power between the infinite and finite spheres through terrestrial evolution.

 

2. Special Category Status

#GS2 -Governance

Context

  • Andhra Pradesh has already received a special cash package in lieu of special category status, according to the Central government.

In depth information

  • On the state’s request, Andhra Pradesh was handed a special package in lieu of Special Category Status.
  • The Centre is in charge of keeping the promises stated in the AP Reorganization Act.
  • Is Andhra Pradesh eligible for special category status under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act of 2014?
  • There is no mention of this:
  • The Act that divided Andhra Pradesh in 2014 does not contain the term “special category,” but it does indicate that the Centre will assist Andhra Pradesh in bridging any resource gaps.
  • The Act states that “the Central Government may, having regard to the resources available to the Successor State of Andhra Pradesh, make appropriate grants and also ensure that adequate benefits and incentives in the form of special development packages are given to the backward areas of that State,” under the ‘Revenue Distribution’ section.

The Importance of Being in a Special Category

  • More cash: If the special category status provision had been preserved and awarded to AP, the state would have received financing for centrally sponsored programmes (CSC) in the 90:10 ratio, with the Centre providing 90% of the funds versus 60% for regular category states.
  • Financial benefits: to be offered as part of SCS as a special package under the Centrally-sponsored initiatives.

Problems and Obstacles

  • Except for the North-eastern and three hill states, the 14th Finance Commission recommended that states lose their “special category” designation.
  • The NDA administration, which took power at the Centre in 2014, has claimed that Andhra Pradesh is not entitled to such treatment under the 14th Finance Commission.
  • The panel appears to have been guided by the fact that the Constitution never classified some states as special, instead treating them all equally.
  • The NITI Aayog, which has replaced the Planning Commission, does not have the authority to allocate funding. As a result, the ruling party at the Centre no longer has the discretion to hand out special favours to states through the Plan panel.

Suggestions

  • Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised that Andhra Pradesh would receive special category status.
  • For a period of five years, the successor state of Andhra Pradesh will be granted Special Category Status.
  • Tax devolution: Each state’s resource shortfall can be covered by ‘tax devolution,’ which calls for the Centre to boost its share of tax income to the states from 32% to 42%.
  • The Commission stated that if devolution alone did not cover the financial shortfall for some states, the Centre might issue a revenue deficit grant to these governments.
  • Externally supported projects:
  • As a bonus, the Centre has promised to fund all externally aided projects in Andhra Pradesh at a 90:10 ratio.
  • Emotional and sentimental issue in the state:
  • The Centre has provided funds for various projects under the special assistance measure, including the construction of the capital city Amaravati and the Polavaram Project, making the bid for “special status” an emotional and sentimental issue in the state.
  • Raising funds through NABARD:
  • The Centre is also open to the state government’s offer of using NABARD to raise finances.

 

3.Winter Solstice

#GS1 -Geographical Features & their Location

Context

  • With today’s winter solstice (December 21), one of Kashmir’s coldest 40-day winter seasons, known as Chillai Kalan, has begun.

In depth information

Why aren’t the daylight hours the same every day?

  • The tilt of the Earth is the reason for this.
  • And it’s not just the Earth; every planet in the Solar System is tilted at varying angles in relation to its orbit.
  • The Earth’s rotating axis is slanted at a 23.5° inclination to its orbital plane.
  • This tilt, together with other factors like Earth’s spin and orbit, causes fluctuations in the amount of sunlight received by different parts of the planet on different days of the year.

The effect of the tilted axis

  • The Northern Hemisphere is tilted in the direction of the Sun for half of the year, receiving direct sunlight during lengthy summer days.
  • It tilts away from the Sun during the other half of the year, making the days shorter.
  • The North Pole is most tilted away from the Sun on the Winter Solstice, December 21.
  • The tilt is also responsible for the seasons we experience on Earth.
  • As the Earth continues to rotate on its axis, the side facing the Sun experiences day, which then transitions to night.

Regions that have not been impacted

  • Day and night are equal on the Equator. The variation becomes more extreme when one gets closer to the poles.
  • That pole is tilted towards the Sun throughout summer in either hemisphere, and the polar region experiences 24 hours of daylight for months.
  • Similarly, the region is completely dark for months throughout the winter.

The Winter Solstice is marked by a variety of celebrations.

  • Due to its astrological significance, this day has held a particular position in various societies for millennia and is commemorated in a variety of ways around the world.
  • The Winter Solstice, which marks the beginning of winter, is known among Jews as ‘Tekufat Tevet.’
  • During mid-winter, ancient Egyptians celebrated the birth of Horus, the son of Isis (divine mother goddess), for 12 days.
  • In China, family gather for a special lunch to commemorate the day.
  • It is known as Yalda or Shab-e-Yalda in the Persian region. The event commemorates the triumph of light over darkness on the last day of the Persian month of Azar.
  • Families eat ajeel nuts, pomegranates, and watermelon late into the night to commemorate Yalda, and read works by 14th century Sufi poet Hafiz Shirazi.

According to Vedic tradition,

  • The northern movement of the Earth on the celestial sphere is tacitly acknowledged in Vedic tradition in the Surya Siddhanta.
  • It gives an overview of the Uttarayana (the period between Makar Sankranti and Karka Sankranti). As a result, the first day of Uttarayana is the Winter Solstice.

What are Equinoxes, and what do they mean?

  • The Earth’s axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun only two times a year, resulting in “almost” equal amounts of daylight and darkness at all latitudes, and these occasions are known as Equinoxes.
  • The Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes are the two equinoxes.
  • Because the sun takes longer to rise and set at higher latitudes (those farthest from the equator), the days become a little longer.

 

4. India-Sri Lanka Fishermen Issue

#GS2- India & Its Neighborhood – Relations

Context

  • Indian fishermen have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly breaching the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).

In details

The Sri Lankan Navy and Indian fishermen are at odds (Issues for Sri Lanka)

  • Rich maritime resources: In the past, fisherman from Rameshwaram and the surrounding shores continued to sail to the Talaimannar and Katchatheevu coasts of Sri Lanka, which are known for their abundant maritime resources.
  • In the last three decades, the abundance of catch in this marine region has prompted a growth of fishing trawlers along the Tamil Nadu coast.
  • Sri Lankan civil war: There were several advantages for Indian fisherman during the Sri Lankan civil war, as access to Sri Lankan seas was simpler.
  • Due to the war, there were fewer poor Tamil fisherman in Sri Lanka, which favoured fishing by Indian trawlers.
  • Accusing Indian fishermen of trespass: The fishermen did not cross the maritime line, as Sri Lanka claims. The Sri Lankan Navy has made it a habit of accusing Indian fishermen of trespassing and arresting them with force.
  • The subject of fishermen in Tamil politics has been a contentious political issue in Tamil Nadu for the past decade. Tamil regional parties, particularly the AIADMK, have frequently chastised both the former UPA and the present NDA governments for their lack of interest in the problem.
  • Sri Lanka was focused with its war against the LTTE, hence maritime boundaries were never strictly enforced. As a result, Indian trawlers continued to regularly access Sri Lankan waterways for fishing, despite the fact that its Northern Province and marine borders were never closely patrolled as a result.

Concerns of Fishermen

  • Depletion of marine resources on the Indian side: As Indian fishermen continued to enter Sri Lankan waters due to depletion of marine resources on the Indian side, arrests and attacks intensified.
  • While the unpalatable fact about Tamil fishermen accessing Sri Lankan waters lies at the heart of the conflict, ownership of Katchatheevu Island, where Tamil fisherman have enjoyed traditional fishing rights for decades, remains unresolved.
  • The island was handed over to Sri Lanka in 1974 after Indira Gandhi signed an agreement between the two countries without consulting the Tamil Nadu government.
  • The deal provided Indian fisherman with “access to Katchatheevu for relaxation, nest drying, and the annual St Anthony’s festival,” but it did not guarantee traditional fishing rights.
  • Trawlers are automated boats with extremely exploitative fishing nets, in contrast to the majority of poor fishermen on the Sri Lankan coast who use traditional fishing methods.
  • In quest of a better catch, each trawler travels up to 18 kilometres to Talaimannar and Katchatheevu. And, in recent years, they have frequently returned with significant losses as a result of depleted supplies and restrictions in Sri Lankan seas.
  • In Tennessee politics, the issue of fishermen is a hot one.
  • In the last decade, it has become a contentious political issue in Tamil Nadu.
  • Late Chief Minister Jayalalitha had called on the people of Tamil Nadu to retrieve the Katchatheevu Island in a bold address in 1991.

Initiative of the Government

  • Providing all necessary assistance, including clothing, toiletries, snacks, dry goods, and masks, as well as making phone calls to families easier. They were also putting together a legal team.
  • Check on their welfare: In the case of one sick fisherman, an Indian consular officer paid him a visit in the hospital to see how he was doing.
  • Early release of fishermen and boats is a problem: The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka has raised the matter of the fishermen and boats being released sooner rather than later with the Sri Lankan government.

a path forward

  • Leasing: There are two options: (1) return the island of Katchatheevu on a “lease in perpetuity” basis, or (2) allow certified Indian fisherman to fish in Sri Lankan waters and vice versa.
  • The second strategy would be to persuade Colombo to allow licenced Indian fishermen to fish in Sri Lankan waters within five nautical miles of the IMBL.
  • Old agreements can be reconsidered: The 2003 idea for licenced fishing can be revisited.
  • Looping back to the fishermen: Organizing regular meetings between the fishing communities of both countries might be systematised to foster a friendlier mood while fishing at sea.

Conclusion

  • So that bilateral ties do not reach a crisis point, the underlying concerns of the fisheries dispute must be addressed.
  • Trawling should be phased out as soon as possible, and new fishing methods should be identified.

 

5. Albino Indian Flapshell Turtle

#GS3- Species in News

Context

  • In Telangana, a climber and an international forest forensic investigator happened upon a rare kind of Albino Indian Flapshell turtle.

In depth information

  • The Indian Flapshell Turtle is a type of turtle that lives in India.
  • Lissemys punctata is the scientific name for this plant.
  • In India, it is one of the most common softshell turtles.
  • The turtle’s unusual yellow colour could be owing to a deficiency of a pigment called tyrosine, which is abundant in reptiles.
  • Tyrosine deficiency is most likely caused by a genetic mutation or a congenital condition.
  • Indian flapshell turtles are usually just 9 to 14 inches long (22 to 35 centimetres).
  • The Indian flapshell turtle can be found in nations across South Asia, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
  • Its food consists of frogs, snails, and even some aquatic vegetation, and it is omnivorous.
  • Conservation : It is listed under Schedule (I) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 23rd December 2021

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