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Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 8th December – 2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 08-12-2021

Daily Current Affairs – Topics

 

  • The 65th Mahaparinirvan Diwas
  • The 21st India-Russia Summit
  • Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA):
  • Highly Invasive Snail Species Reported in Kerala
  • Exercise Ekuverin

1. The 65th MahaparinirvanDiwas

#GS1-Personalities

Context

  • On MahaparinirvanDiwas, the Prime Minister of India paid respect to Babasaheb Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar.

In depth information

  • MahaparinirvanDiwas is a Hindu festival that commemorates the birth of Mahaparinirvan.
  • Parinirvana is a Sanskrit term that meaning liberation or freedom after death and is considered one of Buddhism’s major doctrines and aspirations.
  • The original Mahaparinirvana, according to the Buddhist literature Mahaparinibbana Sutta, occurred when Lord Buddha died at the age of 80.
  • Bhimrao Ambedkar’s immeasurable contribution to society and accomplishments are commemorated on December 6th. Ambedkar’s death anniversary is known as MahaparinirvanaDiwas because of his standing as a Buddhist leader.

BR Ambedkar’s Biography

  • On the 14th of April 1891, in a little village called Mhow Cantt in the erstwhile Central Provinces, he was born into a Dalit (Hindu Mahar) family (now Madhya Pradesh).
  • Because of his significant influence in India to abolish the social plague of untouchability, he was considered as a Buddhist teacher.
  • He worked in the realms of culture, religion, and spirituality as an educator, economist, jurist, politician, journalist, sociologist, and social reformer.
  • He is referred to be the “Father of the Indian Constitution” by many people.
  • He saw the Right to Constitutional Remedy (Article 32) as the constitution’s soul.

Important contributions include:

  • 1918: His essay, ‘Small Holdings in India and Their Remedies,’ offered industrialisation as a solution to India’s agricultural dilemma, and it is still pertinent in today’s arguments.
  • 1920: With the help of Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur, he founded the ‘Mooknayak’ (Dumb Hero), a fortnightly newspaper.
  • 1924: The BahishkritHitakarini Sabha, commonly known as the Outcastes Welfare Association, was founded with the goal of educating and enlightening the Dalits.
  • 1927: Led the Mahad Satyagraha in Maharashtra to protest Hinduism’s regressive norms.
  • 1929: Decided to work with the British Simon Commission, despite Congress’s strong opposition.
  • 1930: In Nashik, he founded the Kalaram Satyagraha, a temple admission movement for untouchables.
  • 1932: He signed the Poona Pact with Mahatma Gandhi, who was representing Congress, on behalf of the untouchables.
  • Instead of a separate electorate, the treaty provided for reserved seats for the poor in regional legislative assemblies and the Central Council of States.
  • He spoke out for the untouchables and the depressed class at all three Round Table Conferences in 1930, 1931, and 1932.
  • 1936: The Independent Labor Party, subsequently known as the Scheduled Castes Federation, was founded.
  • From Bombay, he ran for the Central Legislative Assembly in 1937.
  • He introduced a bill to abolish the Khoti system of land tenure in Konkan during the Bombay Assembly’s Poona session in 1937.
  • He opposed the enactment of the Industrial Disputes Bill, 1937, as a member of the Bombay Assembly, because it took away employees’ freedom to strike.
  • 1939: During World War II, he urged Indians to enlist in huge numbers in the Army in order to resist Nazism, which he saw to be a kind of fascism.
  • From 1942 to 1946, he served in the Viceroy’s Executive Council as Minister of Labour.
  • 1947: In Jawahar Lal Nehru’s government, he served as India’s first Law Minister and was also named Chairman of the Constitutional Drafting Committee.
  • The BharatiyaBauddha Mahasabha was founded in 1955.
  • 1956: In a public ceremony in Nagpur, he and many of his supporters embraced Buddhism.

 Literary Works:

  • The Untouchables: Who Were they and why they Became Untouchables?
  • On the 6th of December 1956, he died in New Delhi.

Ideology:

  • He was an outspoken supporter of women’s equality.
  • Lord Buddha’s life and politics were based on his message of compassion and harmony.

 

2. The 21st India-Russia Summit

#GS2-India &Internantional Relations

Context

  • The 21st India-Russia Annual Summit was conducted between India’s Prime Minister and Russian President to discuss the full range of bilateral relations, including regional and global challenges.

In depth information

The Summit between India and Russia’s Highlights

  • The initial 2+2 ministerial dialogue took place between India and Russia.
  • With four of its key strategic partners, including Russia, India now has a 2+2 format conversation mechanism on strategic and security concerns. Australia, the United States, and Japan are the other three ‘Quad’ partners.
  • Military-technical cooperation accord: The two countries’ military-technical cooperation pact was also renewed for another ten years.
  • RELOS (Reciprocal Exchange of Logistical Assistance): India and Russia were also in the final stages of negotiating a logistical support pact but were unable to reach an agreement.
  • The agreement would have allowed the forces of the two countries to use each other’s sites for maintenance and supply replenishment, as well as aiding the expansion of overall defence cooperation.
  • They reviewed the growing situation in Afghanistan, particularly the security situation and its regional consequences, the current political environment, and concerns like as terrorism, radicalization, and drug trafficking, among other things.
  • Terrorist organisations such as ISIS, Al Qaeda, and LeT should not be allowed to use Afghanistan’s territory for sheltering, training, planning, or financing.
  • The S-400 agreement is not only symbolic, but it is also a highly practical and meaningful increase to India’s defence strength.
  • Indo-Pacific plan: The two sides also talked about the Indo-Pacific strategy, and India expressed its worries about regional security.
  • AUKUS: When it comes to AUKUS, both the Russian and Indian sides have labelled these new formats as non-inclusive and in violation of international standards.
  • Terrorism: India expressed concern in the joint declaration about terror networks such as Pakistan-based terror organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) developing a foothold in Afghanistan.
  • Other agreements: Other agreements in the sectors of space, culture, science and technology, defence, and others are scheduled to be inked following the negotiations.

What is Russia’s significance to India?

  • Despite India’s efforts to diversify its defence trading partners, Russia currently controls over 70% of the Indian defence inventory.
  • Russia is still the sole partner prepared to hand over crucial technologies to India, such as a nuclear submarine.
  • The developing strategic alliance between Russia and China has significant security implications for India.
  • Russia also confirmed its “unwavering support” for India’s bid for a permanent membership on the UN Security Council, which would be extended.
  • India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group has been endorsed by Russia.
  • Both countries benefit from supporting organisations such as the SCO, BRICS, G-20, and ASEAN in the fight against terrorism, Afghanistan, and climate change.

Importance of the Summit

  • The government has approved a plan to produce over five lakh AK-203 assault rifles at Korwa, Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, in an effort to improve India’s defence manufacturing self-reliance.
  • Enhance operational effectiveness: They will improve the Indian Army’s operational effectiveness in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations.
  • Designed in India: This agreement comes at a time when India is promoting ‘Make in India’ vigorously, particularly in the defence industrial sector.
  • Business prospects for a variety of MSMEs: This project will most likely provide business opportunities for a variety of MSMEs and other defence sectors in terms of raw materials and component supply.
  • Geopolitical equations: There are numerous geopolitical equations. Among all of these changes, however, the friendship between India and Russia has remained steady.

Ahead of Schedule

  • In this context, an action like Russia’s secret diplomatic effort last year to bring India and China to the table during their border skirmishes is crucial for developing confidence and far more effective than a public airing of disputes.
  • To leverage the capabilities of the two countries, a forward-looking economic agenda should include collaboration in the hi-tech sector, biotechnology, nanotechnology, AI, space, start-up and innovation, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare, among other areas.
  • Free and open debates: Neither India-China nor US-Russia relations are projected to improve in the near future. As a result, it may be desirable to intensify “open and honest” discussions on all matters in order to retain neutrality on issues of mutual concern while taking steps to develop the bilateral relationship.
  • Cooperation in the Far East and the Arctic: India would benefit from increased bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the Russian Far East and the Arctic.
  • Talks on Afghanistan Peace: It could be helpful to discuss restoring India’s, Iran’s, and Russia’s cooperation on Afghanistan.

 

3. Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA):

#GS3-Internal security , Cyber security; money-laundering

Context

  • The Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio, has urged that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act be repealed in light of the recent killings of 14 people in the state.
  • Rio criticized the Union Government for renewing Nagaland’s “disturbed area” designation every year.
  • He reminded the Centre of the international condemnation India had received for the “draconian Act.”

In depth information

What exactly is the problem?

  • A group of daily wage labourers were slain by the 21 Para Commando unit when they returned to their hamlet, purportedly after receiving information that several NSCN(K) militants were passing through the area.

Background

  • The demand for repeal of the 1958 Act is a reaffirmation of successive state governments’ positions over the last few decades, with the state recommending repeal multiple times in light of the 1997 truce.
  • The demand for repeal of the 1958 Act is a reaffirmation of successive state governments’ positions over the last few decades, with the state recommending repeal multiple times in light of the 1997 truce.
  • In 1958, it was passed by Parliament and signed by the President.
  • It gives members of the Armed Forces (military forces, air forces operating on the ground as land forces, and any other armed forces of the Union (CRPF, BSF, ITBP, and so on) some exceptional capabilities to conduct proactive operations against insurgents in a hostile environment.
  • They have the authority to prevent a group of five or more people from congregating in a particular place.
  • The AFSPA also applies to all of Nagaland, several districts of Arunachal Pradesh, and most of Manipur, with the exception of the Imphal municipal areas.

Significance

  • Armed Forces are used in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations when all other state forces have failed to bring the situation under control.
  • Armed forces operating in such a setting require particular authority and protection, which can be obtained through an enabling law.
  • As a result, AFSPA is critical for combating insurgency and securing the country’s borders.

What does it mean to be in a “disturbed area,” and who has the authority to proclaim one?

  • A disturbed area is one that has been declared by notification under the AFSPA’s Section 3. Differences or arguments between members of different religious, racial, language, or regional groups, castes, or communities can cause havoc in an area.
  • The Central Government, the Governor of the State, or the Administrator of the Union Territory can declare a disturbed area in whole or part of the State or Union Territory.

Criticism

  • It gives security personnel full power without requiring them to answer for it.
  • As a result, security agencies commit different crimes and human rights violations.
  • Critics claim that the undemocratic act has failed to suppress terrorism and restore normalcy in troubled areas, claiming that the number of armed organisations has increased since it was enacted.
  • Many people believe it is to blame for the rising levels of violence in the places where it is in effect.
  • In 2005, the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee was formed to look into Afspa and give suggestions.
  • To combat militancy, it proposed that Afspa be repealed and the Unlawful Activities Protection Act be reinforced.
  • It’s been a contentious issue, with human rights organisations condemning it as being too forceful.
  • IromChanu Sharmila of Manipur, a famous human rights activist, had worked for the abolition of the AFSPA for 16 years, till mid-2016.

The Naga assassinations highlight AFSPA’s flaws:

  • The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) gives the military the authority to kill. And when they conduct out such heinous operations without informing the local police, as they have for a long time, it sends the impression that the Centre is unconcerned about the peace process.

The Supreme Court’s 1997 decision in Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights versus Union of India established rules for the implementation of AFSPA:

  • The right to use deadly force under Section 4(a) of the AFSPA should only be used in “limited circumstances,” according to a 1997 Constitution Bench decision.
  • “The authority to cause death is related to maintaining public order in a disturbed region and is to be exercised under certain circumstances,” the court said.
  • A declaration by a high-level authority that an area is “disturbed” is one of these prerequisites.
  • The officer in question decides to use fatal force because he believes it is “necessary” to keep the peace. However, he must first provide “proper notice.”
  • The individuals targeted by the armed forces should have been “engaging in violation of any law or order in force in the disturbed area at the time of the operation.”

 

4. Highly Invasive Snail Species Reported in Kerala

#GS3- Biodiversity and Environment

Context

  • A tiny snail with a beautiful, pellucid golden-yellow shell discovered in Kochi’s Edappally canal has been identified as an invasive species that threatens native ecosystems.

About

  • This is the first time this snail has been discovered in Kerala.
  • Characteristics of the newly identified species include: Its discovery is concerning because it is home to worms that can cause food-borne illnesses and skin rashes in humans.
  • Furthermore, the Physella acuta’s high development rate, capacity to breathe air, and tolerance to pollution make it a potential rival to native wildlife.
  • Using a scoop net, the crew recovered 23 live specimens from the Edappally canal’s Eroor section during a biodiversity impact assessment for Kochi’s Integrated Urban Regeneration and Water Transport System (IURWTS).
  • The gastropods were discovered clinging to invasive freshwater plants like Ceratophyllumdemersum and other gastropod species includingIndoplanorbisexustus and Racesinaluteola.
  • In aquariums, Ceratophyllumdemersum is utilised as a decorative plant.

Physella acuta

  • Physella acuta is considered a native of North America and was first described by J.P.R. Draparnaud in 1805. It is now widespread on all continents except Antarctica.
  • In the early 1990s, the snail was initially discovered in India.
  • It is thought to have made its way to Kerala via the aquarium trade, which is a key vector for invasive species.
  • The snail had built its home in the Edappally canal, which was heavily polluted by excessive sedimentation, untreated sewage, commercial effluents, construction wastes, and a dense growth of invasive aquatic weeds.
  • The snail can grow to a height of 16 mm and a width of 9 mm, making it a little creature. The shells of the deceased, unoccupied individuals are brownish-yellow, whilst those of the living are translucent golden-yellow with a mottled look.

What are invasive species, and how do you recognise them?

  • Invasive species, often known as invasive exotics, are non-native or non-indigenous plants and animals that have an economic, environmental, and ecological impact on the habitats and bioregions they invade.

Issues

  • The study also highlights the threat posed by invasive species to global biodiversity, emphasising how their ability to quickly dominate new settings endangers native species and even results in significant economic loss.
  • Dominating a territory: By dominating a region and upsetting the natural balance, they cause havoc.
  • Invasive species pose a huge threat to the genetic pool by altering it.

Invasive exotics have a number of characteristics in common.

  • The ability to reproduce both asexually and sexually
  • Fast growth
  • Rapid reproduction
  • High dispersal ability
  • Tolerance of a wide range of environmental conditions
  • Ability to live off of a wide range of food types

 

5. Exercise Ekuverin

#GS3-Joint Military Exercise

Context

  • The 11th Edition of the Joint Military Exercise EKUVERIN between India and the Maldives began recently on Kadhdhoo Island in the Maldives.
  • The Maldives hosted the 15th edition of the biennial trilateral Coast Guard Exercise ‘Dosti,’ which included India, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka.

In details

Points to Remember

  • Since 2009, India and the Maldives have been conducting Exercise Ekuverin, which means “friends” in Maldivian.
  • The 14-day Joint Exercise alternates between India and the Maldives.
  • It focuses on improving interoperability between the two forces in order to carry out counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in a semi-urban setting as part of the UN mission.
  • To improve defence cooperation and bilateral relations, this year’s exercise will also feature cultural and sporting events. In the face of developing security dynamics in the Indian Ocean region, the exercise will go a long way toward bolstering India’s relations with the Maldives.

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