Uighurs | CHINA
UNESCO | Great Barrier Reef
Direct Tax Collection
- Tiger Reserves in India
- Uighurs | CHINA
#GS2 #International relations #Humanrights
Context: Canada has led more than 40 countries in expressing serious concerns over Beijing’s repressive actions in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet at UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
What were the demands?
- Canada urged China to allow UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet and other independent observers “immediate, meaningful and unfettered access” to Xinjiang, and end the “arbitrary detention” of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.
What’s the issue?
- Credible reports indicate that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang and that there is widespread surveillance disproportionately targeting Uighurs and members of other minorities and restrictions on fundamental freedoms and Uighur culture.
- The joint statement – backed by Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and the US – cited reports of torture or cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment, forced sterilization, sexual and gender-based violence, and forced separation of children from their parents.
- China denies all allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, claiming its system of “re-education” camps are there to combat separatism and Islamist militancy in the region.
- China pre-empted the statement by attacking Canada’s colonial past – a move that reflected growing frustration over scrutiny of its Xinjiang policies, and its increasingly tense relationship with Canada.
Who are Uighurs?
- The Uighurs are a predominantly Muslim minority Turkic ethnic group, whose origins can be traced to Central and East Asia.
- The Uighurs speak their own language, similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.
- China recognises the community only as a regional minority and rejects that they are an indigenous group.
- There are about 12 million Uyghurs, mostly Muslim, living in Xinjiang, which is officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
- Many Uyghur communities also live in countries neighbouring China, such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. An estimated 3,000 Uyghurs live in Australia.
- Uighur Muslims for decades, under the false accusation by the Chinese government of terrorism and separatism, have suffered from abuses including persecution, forced detention, intense scrutiny, surveillance and even slavery.
- In recent years, the Chinese government has installed sophisticated surveillance technology across the region, and there has been a surge in police numbers.
History of discrimination:
- The People’s Republic of China annexed Xinjiang in 1949. At this time, it was estimated the Uyghur numbered around 76% of the region’s population. Han Chinese – the country’s majority ethnic group – accounted for just 6.2%, with other minority groups making up the remaining total.
- Since 1949, Han migration to the region has diluted the ethnic ratio. Official statistics show the population is now made up of 42% Uyghurs and 40% Han.
- Beijing does not recognise the region as a colony. But the 1949 annexation represents colonisation to Xinjiang’s Muslim minorities and segments of the population have resisted Beijing’s rule. Many refuse to speak Mandarin, while others campaign for independence.
- Beijing has long considered Xinjiang and the Muslim minorities such as the Uyghurs to be “backward”. During the Communist Party’s Great Leap Forward (1958-1962), ethnicity and religion were singled out as both “obstacles to progress” and “backwards custom”.
- Brutal crackdowns in the 1980s and 90s led to significant numbers of Uyghurs fleeing China to seek asylum.
- Repeated attempts at rapid and forced assimilation, discriminatory and oppressive policies, and a cycle of what commentators have labelled “repression-violence-repression” have led to periodic protests across Xinjiang.
- In extreme cases, acts of terrorism – such as the Kunming train station attack – have been carried out both inside Xinjiang and in other parts of China.
- In recent decades, Beijing has recast the Uyghur ethnic group as a terrorist collective. This has allowed Beijing to justify its transformation of Xinjiang into a surveillance state. There has also been a marked rise of Islamophobia across China.
- Beijing claims the detention centres across Xinjiang are for “vocational training”, but a US Congressional hearing on the camps and subsequent report characterised them as “political re-education” centres.
- Recent reports have identified more than 100 Uyghur intellectuals including writers, poets, journalists and university professors are now among those detained.
- In 2014, Beijing arrested Ilham Tohti, an economics professor who rejected separatism and promoted reconciliation in Xinjiang. He is currently serving a life sentence after being falsely accused of being a separatist.
- Xinjiang is geographically important to China’s Belt and Road initiative – a development strategy involving infrastructure and investments in Europe, Asia and Africa.
- This could provide an avenue for the international community to apply diplomatic pressure in the way of sanctions. Another option is suspension of, or withdrawal from, existing Belt and Road agreements.
- Outside countries have a duty to intervene and force Beijing to comply with international human rights.
- UNESCO | Great Barrier Reef
#GS3 #Conservation #Environment
Context: Recently, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee has recommended that the Australia’s Great Barrier Reef should be added to a list of “in danger” World Heritage Sites.
- However, Australia has opposed this move, which is part of an ongoing dispute between UNESCO and the Australian government over the status of the iconic site.
Reason behind this Move:
- It was recommended to add to the list because of the impact of climate change which led to dramatic coral decline.
- After UNESCO first debated its “in danger” status in 2017, Canberra committed more than A$3 billion (£1.bn; $2.2bn) to improving the reef’s health.
- However, several bleaching events on the reef in the past five years have caused widespread loss of coral.
- When corals face stress by changes in conditions such as temperature, light, or nutrients, they expel the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae living in their tissues, causing them to turn completely white. This phenomenon is called coral bleaching.
- Marine heatwave is an event of anomalous warm sea surface temperatures (SST?) from several days to years.
Australia’s carbon emissions:
- Australia’s reliance on coal-fired power makes it one of the world’s largest carbon emitters per capita, but its conservative government has steadfastly backed the country’s fossil fuel industries, arguing tougher action on emissions would cost jobs.
- It has not updated its climate goals since 2015.
- It prompted environmental groups to take aim at the Australian government’s reluctance to take stronger climate action.
About Great Barrier Reef:
- The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands.
- It is stretched for over 2,300 kilometres over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres.
- The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
- It can be seen from outer space and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms.
- This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps.
- They are made up of genetically identical organisms called polyps, which are tiny, soft-bodied organisms. At their base is a hard, protective limestone skeleton called a calicle, which forms the structure of coral reefs.
- These polyps have microscopic algae called zooxanthellae living within their tissues. The corals and algae have a mutualistic (symbiotic) relationship.
- It was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.
Initiatives to Protect Corals:
- A number of global initiatives are being taken to address the issues, like:
- International Coral Reef Initiative
- Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN)
- Global Coral Reef Alliance (GCRA)
- The Global Coral Reef R&D Accelerator Platform
What are “in danger” World Heritage Sites?
- The List of World Heritage in danger is maintained in accordance with Article 11 (4) of the 1972 World Heritage Convention.
- The list is designed to inform the international community of conditions which threaten the very characteristics for which a property was inscribed on the World Heritage List, and to encourage corrective action.
- A World Heritage property can be inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger by the World Heritage Committee when it finds that the condition of the property corresponds to at least one of the criteria listed.
- Inscribing a site on the List of World Heritage in Danger allows the World Heritage Committee to allocate immediate assistance from the World Heritage Fund to the endangered property.
- It alerts the international community to these situations in the hope that it can join efforts to save these endangered sites.
- It also requires the World Heritage Committee to develop and adopt, in consultation with the State Party concerned, a programme for corrective measures, and subsequently to monitor the situation of the site.
Example: Iranian city of Bam: The ancient Citadel and surrounding cultural landscape of the Iranian city of Bam, where 26,000 people lost their lives in the earthquake of December 2003, was simultaneously inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2004. Important international efforts are mobilized to salvage the cultural heritage of this devastated city.
- Direct Tax Collection
#GS3 #Economics #Taxation #Resource mobilisation
Context: Direct tax collections in Quarter 1 Financial Year 21-22 jumps 66% from that of FY 19-20.
- India’s direct tax collections in the first two and a half months (April – June) of 2021-22 stand at nearly Rs. 1.86 lakh crore, which is double the collections over the same period of last year that was affected by the national lockdown.
- The collection this year is also 85 per cent higher than the year ago figure of Rs 91,160 crore but the numbers are not comparable because India had imposed the world’s strictest lockdown in April and May 2020.
- As on June 14, the tax department has achieved about 15 per cent of the total budget estimates of Rs 11.08 lakh crore this financial year.
- Surge in direct tax collections includes Corporation Tax collections of Rs. 74,356 crore and Personal Income Tax inflows, which include the Security Transaction Tax of Rs. 1.11 lakh crore.
- The jump in the direct tax collections reflects healthy exports and a continuation of various industrial and construction activities.
- It is expected that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) will record a double-digit expansion in Quarter 1 of 2021-22.
What are Direct Taxes?
- A type of tax where the impact and the incidence fall under the same category can be defined as a Direct Tax.
- The tax is paid directly by the organization or an individual to the entity that has imposed the payment.
- The tax must be paid directly to the government and cannot be paid to anyone else.
Advantages of Direct Taxes:
- Economic and Social balance: The Government of India has launched well-balanced tax slabs depending on an individual’s earnings and age. The tax slabs are also determined based on the economic situation of the country. Exemptions are also put in place so that all income inequalities are balanced out.
- Productivity: As there is a growth in the number of people who work and community, the returns from direct taxes also increases. Therefore, direct taxes are considered to be very productive.
- Inflation is curbed: Tax is increased by the government during inflation. The increase in taxes reduces the necessity for goods and services, which leads to inflation to compress.
Advance Tax Collections:
- Advance tax is paid by those who have tax liability of Rs. 10,000 or more in a financial year. It is paid by both salaried and businesses, thus including collections from corporate tax and personal income tax.
- Advance tax is paid as and when the money is earned in four instalments rather than at the end of the fiscal year.
- It is considered an indication of economic sentiment.
- The first instalment or 15% of the annual tax is to be paid by 15th June, the second by 15th September (30%), the third by 15th December (30%), and the rest by 15th March.
- Ebola Virus:
#GS3 #Science #GS1 #Health
Context: Guinea declares end to latest Ebola outbreak that was started in February 2021.
- The latest outbreak was the first to emerge in Guinea since a deadly outbreak from 2014 to 2016 killed more than 11,300 people in West Africa.
- Guinea’s latest outbreak was declared February 14 after three cases were detected in Gouecke, a rural community in the southern N’zerekore prefecture.
- There were 16 confirmed and seven probable cases.
About Ebola Virus:
- Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
- Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
- Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts.
- Animal to Human Transmission: Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope or porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.
- Human-to-Human Transmission: Ebola spreads via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with:
- Blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola.
- Objects that have been contaminated with such body fluids (like blood, feces, vomit).
- The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
- Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service and social mobilisation.
- Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralise the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.
- An experimental Ebola vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV proved highly protective against EVD in a major trial in Guinea in 2015.
- The rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine is being used in the ongoing 2018-2019 Ebola outbreak in DRC. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should have access to the vaccine under the same conditions as for the general population.
- The public mistrust and militia attacks have prevented health workers from reaching some hard-hit areas for administering the vaccines.
History Of Outbreaks:
5.Tiger Reserves in India:
#GS3 #Wildlife Conservation
Context: Recently, the Ramgarh Vishdhari wildlife sanctuary got the nod to become the 4th Tiger reserve of Rajasthan.
About Ramgarh Vishdhari wildlife sanctuary:
- It was notified in the Year 1982 and is spread over an area of 252.79 Sq. Km.
- The total area of 1,017 sq. km has been identified as the reserve area comprising two forest blocks of Bhilwara, territorial forest block of Bundi and Indargarh, which falls under the buffer zone of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve (RTR).
- Its flora consists of Dhok, Khair, Salar, Khirni trees with some Mango and Ber trees.
- The Fauna consists of birds and animals like Leopard, Sambhar, Wild boar, Chinkara, Sloth bear, Indian Wolf, Hyena, Jackal, Fox, deer and Crocodile.
- Rajasthan has three tiger reserves with over 90 Tigers at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve (RTR) in Sawai Madhopur, Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR) in Alwar, and Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve (MHTR) in Kota.
- Tigers from Ranthambore can now be translocated to the sanctuary as population of big cats at the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is increasing and they need more space
Other Protected Areas in Rajasthan:
- Desert National Park, Jaisalmer
- Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur
- Sajjangarh wildlife sanctuary, Udaipur
- National Chambal Sanctuary (on tri-junction of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh).
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