Daily Category (GS PAPER III)
India seeks to increase cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain, and in the light of increased defense cooperation with Australia, Malabar 2020 will see the participation of the Australian Navy.
- In 2017, Australia had requested observer status in the Malabar Exercise.
- China has repeatedly expressed strong opposition to any expansion of the Malabar Exercise, which it sees as a multilateral naval construct designed to “counter and contain” it.
- However, the recent India-China tensions over the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) may have brought more flexibility to India's decision-making process.
- Japan and the U.S.A also have been pressing India for Australia’s inclusion in Malabar Exercise.
- The Malabar series of naval exercises started in 1992 as a bilateral Indian Navy-US Navy exercise.
- Japan joined the naval exercise in 2015.
- The participants of Exercise Malabar 2020 are engaged to enhance safety and security in the maritime domain.
- The exercise has been planned on a ‘non-contact - at sea’ format and the exercise will strengthen the coordination between the Navies of the participating countries.
2020 Malabar Exercise:
- Objective: To enhance safety and security in the maritime domain.
- The 2020 Exercise is expected to be held in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. In 2019, the exercise was conducted off the coast of Japan.
- Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the exercise had been planned in a ‘non-contact - at sea’ format.
Source: The Hindu
An inflection point in Indo – China Relations
1. CONTEXT OF THE NEWS
The long drawn Sino-Indian border dispute reached its inflection point on Monday with the unfortunate death of 20 soldiers of the Indian Army. This is the first deadly clash in the border area between the two nations over the 45-year long dispute.
1.1 News in Detail
- The deadly clash took place in Galwan Valley in the disputed Eastern Ladakh Region.
- There is no official report on causalities on the Chinese side.
- China accused Indian troop of crossing the border twice, "provoking and attacking Chinese personnel".
- Later, Military officials from both the side met to diffuse the situation.
2. INDIA – CHINA BORDER DISPUTE
2.1 History of the dispute
- India – China cultural relations go back to ancient times. The traditional Silk Route and spread of Buddhism to South East Asia via China are testimony to it.
- Today, India and China share a 3,488 km long boundary, which it disputed in its entirety.
- The India – China border is demarcated by the McMahon line, after its author Sir Henry McMahon, a British negotiator. The line was agreed upon during a tripartite conference in Shimla between India, China and Tibet and led to delimitation of Indo-Tibetan boundary.
- Initially all the three parties agreed but later china refused to accept the boundary line calling it illegal.
- In 1950s china built a 1200 km road which ran through the Aksai Chin Region of Ladakh claimed by India. This coupled with other boundary skirmished led to the 1962 border war between the nations. The boundary established after the war is called as Line of Actual Control (LAC).
2.2 Boundary Skirmishes between the two nations
- After establishment of the LAC, the border peace between India and China has been hanging by a thread.The border line is marred by many skirmishes, most highlighted being:
- 1967 -Nathu La and Cho La clashes
- 1987 -Sino-Indian skirmish in Sumdorong Chu Valley
- 2017 -China–India border standoff in Doklam - In June 2017, the Chinese began constructing a road in the disputed area of Doklam, near the Doka La pass.
2.3 Attempts to resolve the India – China Border dispute.
- Harmony was established between India and China in 1976 and High Level border talks were initiated in 1981 to find a permanent solution. The talks proved unfruitful and broke after eight rounds in 1987.
- 1988 - Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visited China and consequently the Joint Working Group (JWG) was set up to resolve the dispute.
- 1993 - Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Indo – China Border areas was signed.
- 1996 - Agreement on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the Military Field along the LAC was signed.
- 2003 - One special representatives each from India and China were appointed to solve the border dispute politically but this too did not yield much
2.4 Bilateral treaties between India and China to address border disputes
- 1993: Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas
- 1996: Agreement on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the Military Field along the LAC
- 2005: Protocol on the Modalities for the Implementation of Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas
- 2012: Establishment of a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs
- 2013: Border Defence Cooperation Agreement between India and China
3. WHY ARE TENSIONS AT A ALL TIME HIGH
At the heart of it is competing and conflicting strategic goals of both the nations. Following developments shed more light on the underlying issue:
3.1 The Darbuk-Shyokh-Daulat Beg Oldie(DSDBO) Road
- The construction of the 255-km long Darbuk-Shyokh-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) all-weather road is probably the most important reason for the recent conflict between India and China.
- The DSDBO Road is at an elevation of 13,000 - 16,000 ft. It took almost 20 years for the India’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to build it.
- The road connects Leh to DBO, which is the northernmost part on Indian territory in Ladakh.
- DBO lies at base of Karakoram pass, which separates Xinjiang Autonomous Region from Ladakh.
- The Galwan River has traditionally been a peaceful location. Recently China revamped military infrastructure constructions along the Galwan River, posing a direct threat to DSDBO Road.
- The Global Times, a Chinese state-run media outlet held that the Galwan Valley region is a Chinese territory and according to the Chinese military, India has forced its way into the valley changing the status quo along the LAC.
3.2 The Union Territory of Ladakh
- Last year India ended the limited autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh became a Union Territory on 31st of October 2019.
- The federally administered area of Ladakh includes Aksai Chin, an area claimed by India but administered by China.
3.4 China – Pakistan Economic Corridor
The Karakoram Highway passes through the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, connecting Pakistan to its all-time ally China.
The highway connects China to the southern Pakistani port of Gwadar and provides China a foothold in the Arabian Sea.
China has invested $60 Billion in China Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC) under its Belt and Road Initiative. It has been pushing aggressively for its Belt and Road Initiative and the recent strategic and geo-political developments in India have marred the Chinese ambitions.
3.3 The 2020 Border Skirmish
- The first standoff in 2020 took place on 5 May which soldiers clashing at PangongTsowhich is a lake that extends from India to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, China. The LAC passes through the Pangong Tso.
- Later again in May, the soldiers clashed again in Sikkim.
- The third skirmish took place in Eastern Ladakh when Chinese troops had entered the Indian territory in the Galwan River valley objecting the construction of a road branching off from the Darbuk–Shyok–DBO Road into Galwan valley.
- There are reports of huge development in Chinese military infrastructure including military-style bunkers, military trucks, and road-building equipment.
- Diplomatic talks for de-escalation were underway when the 15 June incident took place in Galwan Valley leading to the killing of 20 India Soldiers.
4. ESCALATING CHINESE BORDER CONFLICTS WITH OTHER NATIONS
- Sun Tzu, the Chinese military general, strategist, writer and philosopher held that, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”.
- China seems to be using this dictum to act while leaders around the world are distraught and engaged in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Recently China intercepted and detained Vietnamese fishing boats near the Paracel archipelago
- Declared two new municipal districts to control the disputed islands.
- Published Chinese names of 80 geographic and underwater features in South China Sea.
- Imposed a fishing moratorium on other countries.
- Intruded into Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
- Crossed themedianlineintheTaiwan Strait.
- Harassed commercial vessels from the Philippines.
5. GOING FORWARD
5.1 Importance of the region for India
- Ladakh is strategically very important to India. It has the Siachen glacier where Kargil conflict took place. “Operation Meghdoot” was launched in 1984 to capture the Siachen Glacier and it has since, played a central role in India's security spectrum.
- West of the Glacier lies Pakistan-occupied Gilgit Baltistan, East of it lies China-occupied Aksai Chin.
- The Indian Army has maintained a strong presence in the Glacier to ensure peace in the region.
5.2 Pakistan and Chinese Ideology
- Pakistan constantly pursues the policy of “bleeding India by a thousand cuts”.
- China has been tactically nibbling away land, by taking recourse to the deceptive rubric of “perception of claimlines”.
- Mao Zedong had said that Tibet (Xizang) is China’s right-hand palm which is detached from its five fingers of Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and NEFA (Arunachal).
- The Chinese establishment aim to reclaim theso called “MiddleKingdom”, which according to the Chinese was taken away by the foreign powers when China was at its weakest in the 1950s.
5.3 The way forward for India
- India cannot propagate peace at the cost of its territorial integrity. Indian hospitality and call for peace under Wuhan spirit and Mahabalipuram meeting has not been reciprocated by China which continues with its old aggressive and expansionist ways.
- The government should call for an all party meet including the opposition to foster a unanimous stand on the current escalation and a united Indian response.
- The severed diplomatic ties with Nepal on Indo-Nepal border issue need to be amicably resolved.
- India should continue to form amicable relations with its neighbours and democracies around the world.
- The tragic deaths of our brave and courageous soldiers cannot and should not go invain. We the people of India should firmly resolve to maintain communal harmony in our societies and promote prosperity with equality and aid out bit in defence preparedness of the country.
- Determined and united we can protect the integrity of our country and its people and show the Chinese establishment that fear can only get you so far.
Ayushman Sahakar Scheme
Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare has launched AYUSHMAN SAHAKAR.
- Objective: To assist cooperatives to play an important role in the creation of healthcare infrastructure in the country.
- The scheme is formulated by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).
- The scheme covers establishment, modernization, expansion, repairs, renovation of hospital and healthcare and education infrastructure.
Features of the scheme:
- NCDC would extend term loans to prospective cooperatives to the tune of Rs.10,000 crore in the coming years.
- Any Cooperative Society with a suitable provision in its bylaws to undertake healthcare-related activities would be able to access the NCDC fund.
- NCDC assistance will flow either through the State Governments/ UT Administrations or directly to the eligible cooperatives.
- The scheme also provides working capital and margin money to meet operational requirements.
- The scheme also provides interest subvention of 1% to women majority cooperatives.
- The scheme mainly focuses on the National Health Policy, 2017, covering the health systems in all their dimensions- investments in health, organization of healthcare services, access to technologies, development of human resources etc.
- It is in line with the National Digital Health Mission and would bring transformation in rural areas.
- It has comprehensive approach-hospitals, healthcare, medical education, nursing education, paramedical education, health insurance, and holistic health systems such as AYUSH.
- There are about 52 hospitals across the country run by cooperatives. They have a cumulative bed strength of more than 5,000. The scheme would give a boost to the provision of healthcare services by cooperatives.
- Cooperatives have a strong presence in rural areas, thus, cooperatives utilizing the scheme would revolutionize the way healthcare delivery takes place in rural areas.
National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC):
- It was set up in 1963 under an Act of Parliament for the promotion and development of cooperatives.
- It functions under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
- Sahakar Cooptube NCDC Channel (Youth-focused), Sahakar Mitra (Internship Programme) are the other initiatives of NCDC.
- International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines cooperative as an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.
- Provisions of Indian Constitution:
- 97th Amendment of Indian constitution added Part IXB right after Part IXA (Municipals) regarding the cooperatives working in India.
- The word “cooperatives” was added after “unions and associations” in Article 19(1)(c) under Part III of the Constitution.
Framework for Regulatory Sandbox
The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) introduces Framework for Regulatory Sandbox to tap into innovative FinTech solutions.
Framework for Regulatory Sandbox:
- Facilities and flexibilities: The entities operating in the capital market, banking, insurance, and financial services space shall be granted certain facilities and flexibilities to experiment with innovative Fintech solutions.
- Participation: All entities (regulated as well as unregulated) operating in the capital market, banking, insurance, and pension sectors as well as individuals and startups from India and FATF compliant jurisdictions, shall be eligible for participation in the Regulatory Sandbox.
- The entities desirous of participating in the sandbox to showcase their innovative Fintech solutions, concepts, and business models shall apply to IFSCA.
- Regulatory relaxations: The IFSCA shall assess the applications and extend suitable regulatory relaxations to commence limited purpose testing in the Sandbox.
- Innovation Sandbox: The IFSCA has proposed the creation of an “Innovation Sandbox”, which will be a testing environment where Fintech firms can test their solutions in isolation from the live market.
- The Innovation Sandbox will be managed and facilitated by the Market Infrastructure Institutions (MIIs) operating within the IFSC.
- A regulatory sandbox is a framework set up by a financial sector regulator to allow small scale and live testing of innovations by private firms in a controlled environment.
- Objective: To promote competition and efficiencies in financial services markets through innovation.
- It introduces the potential to change the nature of the relationship between regulators and financial services providers toward a more open and active dialogue.
- The sandbox entities are subject to restrictions such as the maximum number of customers served.
- The regulatory sandboxes allow financial regulators to mitigate future risks by working with fintech innovators by having a ring-side view of the potential problems.
- According to SEBI’s guidelines, all entities registered under the SEBI Act 1992 are eligible for testing in their sandbox even if they use the services of a fintech firm.
- The IRDAI’s sandbox exclusively looks at products and services in the insurance sector and has set up a panel to review applications.
Municipal Solid Waste Processing Facility
The CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute developed the Municipal Solid Waste Processing Facility.
Features of Municipal Solid Waste Processing Facility:
- Bio-methanation Plant: CSIR-CMERI have started an innovative technology of producing the Biogas from grass and weeds and Vermi-composting of Slurry of the plant process.
- The Bio-Digestion process adopted has a minimum pollution factor.
- The MSW facility has special disinfection capabilities to help Break the COVID Chain through UV-C Lights and Hot-Air Convection methods.
- The Smokeless Stove has also been developed to utilize these briquettes.
- Such stoves have the benefits of Reduction in the import of LPG and reduction in pollution.
- Targeting a Zero landfill: The latest technology being used by Institute is the Pyrolysis process wherein the conversion of plastics into gas and fuel is done.
- Heavy oil, gas being used in pyrolysis helps in obtaining self-sustainability.
- Through Plasma Gasification Process also eco-friendly disposal of solid wastes is processed without the formation and reformation of toxic dioxins and furans.
- Solid Waste Disposal using Plasma Arc converts wastes into a plasma state for proper disposal.
- Wealth out of waste: The residues generated having good carbon content are used in agriculture as fertilizer and non-usable are utilized to make bricks for construction purposes.
- Solar energy technology, which can also feed the surplus Energy Supply onto a Mini-Grid.
- It can result in a drastic reduction of expenditure related to Transportation Logistics and can help reductions in CO2 emissions, by reducing fossil fuel usage.
- The processing facility has not only helped to achieve the Decentralised Decimation of Solid Wastes but has also helped create value-added end-products from waste.
- The changing ecological scenarios require special attention to address the issue of ‘Sustainable Processing of Municipal Solid Waste’.
- This CSIR-CMERI MSW Technology envisions a Zero-Landfill and a Zero Waste City in addition to developing Job-Creation opportunities.
First Seaplane Project
The Indian government has decided to launch the first of the five seaplane services in Gujarat, connecting the Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad to the Statue of Unity in Kevadia in Narmada district, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
First Seaplane Project:
- A seaplane is a fixed-winged airplane designed for taking off and landing on the water which offers the public the speed of an airplane with the utility of a boat.
- The two main types of seaplane are flying boats (often called hull seaplanes) and floatplanes.
- The bottom of a flying boat’s fuselage is its main landing gear which is usually supplemented with smaller floats near the wingtips, called wing or tip floats.
- The hull of a flying boat holds the crew, passengers, and cargo and it has many features in common with the hull of a ship or a boat.
- The first seaplane project of the country is part of a directive of the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation.
- Under the directive, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) requested state governments of Gujarat, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana and the administration of Andaman & Nicobar to propose potential locations for setting up water aerodromes to boost the tourism sector.
- The proposed Terminal will be spread over 0.51 acres in the premises of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd., located in the Panchmuli lake (Dyke 3) of the Sardar Sarovar Dam at Limdi village.
- The Ministry provided that the SpiceJet will operate a 19-seater plane, which will be able to accommodate 14 passengers.
- The water aerodrome is not a listed project/activity in the Schedule to the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, and its amendments.
- The Expert Appraisal Committee was of the opinion that the activities proposed under the water aerodrome project may have a similar type of impact as that of an airport.
- In Narmada, the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is located at an approximate aerial distance of 2.1 km from the proposed project site which serves local sensitive species of fauna.
- The bathymetric and hydrographic survey was conducted by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) before finalizing Dyke 3, which is a rock-filled pond and popularly called the ‘Magar Talav’ as it is infested with crocodiles.
- The seaplane operations will create turbulence in the water while takeoff and landing of seaplanes which will lead to more operation processes i.e. mixing of oxygen in the water.
- It will have a positive impact on the aquatic ecosystem near seaplane operations increasing oxygen content and decreasing carbon content in this system.
Operation of Seaplane Services:
- The seaplanes by multiple airline carriers are operational in countries like the Philippines, Canada, Australia, the United States, Finland, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, etc.
- In India, Jal Hans, a commercial seaplane service based in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was launched as a pilot project on 30 December 2010.
Source: The Indian Express
The Climate Curve
1. Context of the editorial
- In epidemiology (the branch of medicine which deals with the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases and other factors relating to health), the concept of slowing down the spread of a virus, so that fewer people need to seek treatment at any given time is known as "flattening the curve."
- Preventing infections through a series of measures, to reduce the number of cases at any given point of time is known as "flattening the curve”. It reduces the burden on the healthcare system and allows healthcare services to better manage the same volume of patients as the patients come over an extended period of time and do not create a clog in the healthcare system which will be the case when the number of patients reach peak values in a very short span of time.
2. Understanding the Climate Crisis
Contemporary Climate Crisis can be understood by two interrelated curves.
- The curve of Global Greenhouse (or Carbon dioxide) Emissions.
- The curve of Global average temperature.
Let us look at these curves one by one:
2.1 The curve of Global Greenhouse (or Carbon dioxide) Emissions.
- The phenomenon of Greenhouse Effect - The Sun warms up the Earth's surface during the day. During the night, the Earth cools and releases the heat back in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases (GHGs) present in the atmosphere trap some of this heat. This phenomenon is a necessity for sustaining life as it keeps the Earth warm at an average of 15 degree Celsius which otherwise would have been at very low levels, nonconductive to life. Gases contributing most to Earth’s Greenhouse Effect in decreasing order are water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4) and ozone (O3).
- The contribution of an individual Greenhouse Gas depends on two factors:
- The amount of heat the gas absorbs and radiates back which is called as Global Warming Potential or GWP.
- The amount of gas present in the atmosphere.
- This is important to understand because while the GWP of methane is 23 time of carbon dioxide and that of nitrous oxide is 296 times of CO2 yetCO2is most dangerous of all GHGs because of its sheer volume in the atmosphere comprising 81% of all GHG emissions.
Hence, Greenhouse Gases are often used interchangeably with CO2. Concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere is measured in parts per million (ppm) which is a commonly used unit of concentration for small values.1 ppm = 1 part of solute per 1 million parts solvent or (10-6).
2.2 Rising trend of CO2 Curve.
- 18,000 years agoCO2 concentration in the atmosphere was close to 200 parts per million (ppm) and the Earth was much cooler. The CO2 levels have been rising since.
- By 11,500 years ago, the CO2 levels reached 270 ppm and remained steady at around 280 ppm for the nest 10,000 years until the beginning of industrialisation 150 years ago.
- A point worth mentioning here is that CO2 levels rise and fall in cyclic fashion, but for the last million years, they never exceeded 280-300 ppm before falling back to 200 ppm.
- In the beginning of the mid-19th century, with the rise of in burning of coal and oil to fuel the industrial revolution and clearing forests to expand agriculture and settlements, CO2 levels began to rise sharply. While there was a mere 0.2 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions in 1850, annual emissions increased to 36 billion tonnes by 2018.
- These are life-threatening levels and human life would have been altered beyond recognition if all this emitted CO2 had accumulated in the atmosphere but for the regenerative capacity of the Earth. About half of CO2 emissions have been removed from the atmosphere by nature (growth of vegetation and absorption by the oceans).
- The CO2 levels in 2018 reached 407 ppm in 2018. It was three million years ago when Earth previously had this level of CO2concentration.
2.3 The curve of Average Global Temperature.
- The average global temperature began rising up 1850 onwards but there was nothing alarming about the rate. The curve began rising sharply 1975 onwards and by 2015 the Earth was whole 1 degree Celsius warmer than a century ago.
- With current trends of emissions, Climate Modellers unequivocally predict that Earth will be warmer by 4°C by the end of the century.
3.Impact of Climate Change.
- Apart from rising global temperature, Climate change also involves other component of weather including rainfall, humidity and wind speed. There are also indirect effects of Climate Change as rise in sea levels from melting glaciers.
- Extreme weather events such as hurricanes, heat waves and droughts, which have become a common global phenomenon in the recent times though, cannot be directly attributed to climate change but the collective trends are consistent with climate change predictions. Some devastating effects of climate change on human life seen recently are:
- The 2003 European heat killing over 70,000 people.
- 2015-19 have globally been the warmest years on record.
- The Amazon fire of 2019, the bush fires of 2019-20 in Australia were unprecedented in both scale and level of devastation.
- Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, a less underlined news was that March 2020 has been the second warmest March on record.
3.1 Impact of Climate Change on India:
- The Climate Impact Lab at the University of Chicago predicts an average rise of 4°C in average summer temperatures in most States in India at current trend of global CO2 emissions.
- A rise in extremely hot days (days above 35°C), to 15 days by 2050 and to 42 days by 2100 on average across all districts. There were only 5 extremely hot days in 2010.
4.Efforts to fight Climate Change:
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates a sustained annual investment of $2.4 trillion in more efficient energy systems is needed until 2035 in order to keep warming below the more ambitious 1.5°C relative to pre-industrial levels. This amount is about 2.5% of the global GDP.
- The wealthy nations are spending over $500 billion each year internally on projects aimed at reducing emissions.
4.1 Climate financing agreements in UN
- Therefore, at the UN Climate Conference in 2009, the richest nations had pledged to provide $100 billion in aid each year by 2020 to the poorer countries for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
4.2 Progress so far
- As per data available only $71 billion had been provided in 2017. Most of the money is going towards mitigation and less than 20% towards climate adaptation.
- Such numbers had been challenged prior to the 2015 Paris Summit by many countries, including India.
- It is unlikely that rich countries will deliver $100 billion in tangible climate finance during 2020.
5.COVID-19 and the curves:
- COVID-19 has unintentionally given humanity a brief respite from the climate change curve. Carbon emissions from fossil fuels have certainly reduced in recent weeks.
- However, how long this respite will last depends on the standstill created by the lockdowns.
- Experts are already talking about a paradigm shift in the structure and functioning of societies once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
- This is also a make-or-break moment for the climate trajectory, which has to be flattened within a few years if we are to avoid dangerous climate change.
- It needs to be realized that there is no substitute for reducing GHG emissions.
- Technologists, economists, and social scientists must plan for a sustainable planet based on the principles of equity and climate justice within and across nations.
- It is the responsibility of leaders to alter their mindset and act on the looming climate crisis with the same alacrity they have shown on COVID-19.
- Leaders all around the world have shown exemplary commitment and willingness to contribute, cooperate and immediately act over the COVID-19 pandemic’ in their own capacity. While this is praiseworthy action, the editorial comments on the desperate need for the world leaders to the show same level of commitment and alacrity towards the climate crisis.
The Naval version of the BrahMos
A naval version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully test-fired in the Arabian Sea.
- The missile was fired from an indigenously developed stealth destroyer, INS Chennai.
- BrahMos, as prime strike weapon, will ensure the warship’s invincibility by engaging naval surface targets at long ranges.
- The BrahMos Aerospace, an India-Russia joint venture, produces the supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or from land platforms.
- It is the third indigenously designed guided-missile destroyer in the Kolkata class.
- It is armed with supersonic surface-to-surface BrahMos missiles and Barak-8 long-range surface-to-air missiles.
- It is powered by a combined gas and gas (COGAG) propulsion system that includes four Zorya-Mashproekt DT-59 reversible gas turbines.
- Brahmos is named on the rivers Brahmaputra (India) and Moskva (Russia).
- It is a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organisation of India (DRDO) and the NPOM of Russia.
- It is the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile.
- It travels at a speed of Mach 2.8 (nearly three times the speed of sound).
- It is a multiplatform i.e it can be launched from land, air, and sea and multi capability missile with pinpoint accuracy that works in both day and night irrespective of the weather conditions.
- It is, therefore, used by all three forces, the Army, Navy, and the Air Force.
- The missile features an indigenous Booster and Airframe Section, along with many other indigenous sub-systems.
- It operates on the "Fire and Forget" principle i.e it does not require further guidance after launch.
- BrahMos is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft, with a weight of 2.5 tonnes.
- Its range has been recently enhanced from 300 Km to 450-600 Km,
- Increasing the missile’s range became possible after India’s induction into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016.
Source: The Hindu
The Eighth Edition of the annual Indian Navy and Sri Lanka Navy called SLINEX scheduled off in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.
- Objective: To enhance interoperability, improve mutual understanding, and exchange best practices and procedures for multi-faceted maritime operations between both navies.
- It is a bilateral maritime exercise SLINEX-20 between the Indian Navy and Sri Lanka Navy.
- The Sri Lanka Navy will be represented by SLN Ships Sayura (Offshore Patrol Vessel) and Gajabahu (Training Ship).
- The Indian Navy will be represented by ASW corvettes Kamorta and Kiltan.
- The Indian Navy Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and Chetak helicopter embarked onboard IN ships and Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft will also be participating.
- The exercise will showcase the capabilities of India's indigenously constructed naval ships and aircraft.
- SLINEX series of exercise exemplifies the deep engagement between India and Sri Lanka which has strengthened mutual cooperation in the maritime domain.
- The exercise is being conducted in a non-contact ‘at-sea-only’ format in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- It is the first of four anti-submarine Kamorta-class stealth corvettes which have been built for the Indian Navy.
- The Kamorta Class indigenous Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW) corvettes are being built by Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers (GRSE).
- The Kamorta Class succeeds in the Kora-Class guided-missile corvettes that are in service with the Indian Navy.
- The Kamorta Class corvettes will serve as the frontline warships for the Indian Navy.
- The primary task of the Kamorta Class will be ASW, while the vessels will also be deployed in anti-surface warfare (AsuW) and anti-air warfare (AAW).
- It is an indigenously-built anti-submarine warfare stealth corvette.
- It is the third of the four Kamorta-class corvettes being built under Project 28.
- It is designed by the Directorate of Naval Design and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata.
- It is India’s first major warship to have a superstructure of carbon fiber composite material resulting in improved stealth features, lower top weight and maintenance costs.
Science-Society-Setu for Aatmanirbhar Bharat (S34ANB)
The Ministry of Science & Technology has launched the Science-Society-Setu for Aatmanirbhar Bharat (S34ANB).
- It is a web-clinic series by Science for Equity Empowerment and Development SEED Division, Department of Science and Technology (DST).
- The initiative is being jointly organized by DST, in collaboration with the office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA), Vigyan Prasar, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Accelerating Growth of New India’s Innovations (AGNIi), World Wide Fund for Nature India (WWF-India), and Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization (HESCO).
- It aims to reach the unreached through ‘vocal for local approach’ to strengthen the social infrastructure and technology-driven pillars of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
- It aims to cover four broad sectors i.e. agriculture and allied sectors, MSME & economic sector, social infrastructure, and cross-sectoral areas.
- To bridge the systematic gaps in the S&T absorption capacity of the community;
- To enhance the knowledge capacity and livelihood systems for sustainable development at the local level by strengthening the S&T capacity of NGOs and communities.
- It intends to align Technology, Knowledge, Skills, and Resources at local levels to strengthen the pillars of ‘Social Infrastructure’ and ‘Technology Driven System’.
- It is being launched, implemented, and managed using the India Science, Technology, and Innovation (ISTI) Web Portal of Vigyan Prasar.
India Science, Technology and Innovation Web Portal:
- It is a one-stop window for information about developments in India on science, technology, and innovation.
- It focuses on bringing all stakeholders and Indian STI activities on a single online platform.
- The portal brings on the table the storehouse of technologies developed in India, the organizations that have developed these technologies, those that have funded them, and the status of the technologies.
Har Ghar Jal State
Goa has become the first 'Har Ghar Jal' State in the country. The state successfully provides 100% Functional Household Tap Connections in the rural areas covering 2.30 lakh rural households.
- Now, all rural homes in the State have a tap water supply.
- The state has utilized the benefits of the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) which aims to improve the quality of life and bring 'ease-of-living' to rural communities.
- The two districts of Goa I .e.North Goa and South Goa are fully saturated with assured piped water supply through tap connections.
- To strengthen the water testing facilities, the State is in process of getting 14 water quality testing laboratories NABL accredited.
- Jal Jeevan Mission mandates training 5 persons in the very village especially women to be trained in using Field Test Kits, so that water can be tested in the villages.
Goa's Annual Action Plan:
- Objective: To provide 100% Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) in rural areas by 2021.
- Accordingly, fund allocation from the Union to Goa in 2020-21 has been increased to Rs. 12.40 Crore for the plan.
- The convergence of Schemes: The State explored through the convergence of various programs like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen), 15th Finance Commission for rural local bodies, etc. for the strengthening of drinking water sources, water supply, greywater (any domestic wastewater excluding sewage) treatment & re-use and operation & maintenance.
Jal Jeevan Mission:
- It envisages the supply of 55 liters of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections by 2024.
- It aims to integrate demand and supply-side management of water at the local level.
- Funding Pattern: 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.
- The total allocation to the scheme is over ?3 lakh crore.
- Creation of local infrastructure for source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, like rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household wastewater for reuse, would be undertaken in convergence with other government programmes/schemes.
- The key components of the mission: A community approach to water, Education, and Communication, a Jan Andolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority.
Global Hunger Index 2020
According to the Global Hunger Index 2020, India has the highest prevalence of wasted children under five years in the world.
- India ranks 94 out of 107 countries in the Index, lower than her neighbors such as Bangladesh (75) and Pakistan (88).
- In the region of the south, east, and south-eastern Asia, the only countries which fare worse than India are Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, and North Korea.
- Child stunting: Although it is still in the poorest category, however, child stunting has actually improved significantly, from 54% in 2000 to less than 35% now.
- Child wasting: It has not improved in the last two decades, and is rather worse than it was a decade ago.
- Child mortality rates: India has improved in both child mortality rates, which are now at 3.7%, and in terms of undernourishment, with about 14% of the total population which gets an insufficient caloric intake.
The worldwide scenario of food security:
- Worldwide nearly 690 million people are undernourished which warns that the COVID-19 pandemic could have affected the progress made on reducing hunger and poverty.
SDG Goals progress:
- The 2020 Global Hunger Index report presents a multi-dimensional measure of national, regional, and global hunger by assigning a numerical score based on several aspects of hunger.
- It then ranks countries by GHI score and compares current scores with past results.
- The 2020 report considers a One Health approach to linking health and sustainable food systems in order to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030.
- The world is also not on track to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal — known as Zero Hunger for short — by 2030.
- At the current pace, nearly 37 countries will fail even to reach low hunger, as defined by the Global Hunger Index Severity Scale, by 2030.
The Global Hunger Index (GHI):
Calculation of GHI Scores:
Source: Indian Express
A quest for order amid cyber insecurity
1. CONTEXT OF THE NEWS
The present time is both, the best and worst for cyberspace.
Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have amassed over a trillion dollars in market value since the beginning of the year 2020.
However, on the other hand, cyber-attacks have grown as well.
2. INCREASING CYBER-INSECURITY
2.1 Increasing malwares
- A report puts the number of daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19 to over 18 million in a single week in April 2020 monitored by a single email provider.
- This was in addition to more than 240 million COVID-19-related daily spam messages.
- Twitter hackers and ransomware targets too are increasing by the day.
2.2 Cyber-attacks and States
- Concerns about role of states in cyber-attack are also surfacing as mentioned by Australia.
- There are also allegations on China regarding hacking health-care institutions in the U.S. doing research on COVID-19 treatment.
- The United Kingdom has warned Russian state backed hackers targeting pharmaceutical companies working on COVID-19 vaccine.
- India has recently banned specified Chinese Apps stating that they are “engaged in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India”.
- This act of the Indian Government adds another layer of complexity to the contestation in cyberspace.
- Therefore, clearly the cyber insecurity of individuals, organisations and states is expanding amidst the COVID-19 atmosphere.
2.3 Better understanding of Global Cyberspace
- The world is increasingly moving in the digital space. People are adapting to new ways of digital interaction and an increasing number of critical infrastructure is turning digital.
- However, despite the accelerated pace towards digital technologies, most of us do not understand the parameters of the transformation towards digital.
- Much like the global public health, cybersecurity too is considered a niche area and is left to the experts.
- The covid-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of the global public health infrastructure and the need to abide by agreed rules.
- On similar lines, a better understanding of the global cyberspace architecture is also imperative.
3. NO GLOBAL COMMONS
3.1 The global commons
- International law identifies four global commons viz. the High Seas, the Atmosphere, the Antarctica and the Outer Space.
- The borderless global cyberspace is also considered a part of the “global commons”, however experts are of the view that it does not exist.
3.2 Border control on cyberspace
- The view of cyberspace in terms of connectivity across national boundaries is an illusion.
- Since the internet is dependent on the physical infrastructure that is under national control, the internet too is subjected to border control.
- States control the national networks through laws in accordance with their international commitments.
3.3 Responsibility of States vis-a-vis cyberspace
- States are also responsible for the following:
- Ensuring cybersecurity,
- Enforcing laws related to cyberspace
- Protection of public good
- Apart from their own actions, States are also responsible for actions taken from within their sovereign territory.
- However, the implementation of the States' responsibilities towards cyberspace is difficult, since the infrastructure on which the Internet is dependent, falls within the jurisdictions of multiple states.
- These states have differing approaches towards the view of cyberspace and cybersecurity.
3.4 Multiple Stakeholders
- There are multiple stakeholders in the cyberspace including both states and non-state actors.
- The non-state actors play key roles with both benign and malignant intentions.
- Furthermore, some networks are private which have different objectives than the states have.
- At last, the cyber tools too have dual use, cheap and make attribution and verification of actions quite a task.
3.5 Developing cyber norms
- Despite the presence of both state and non-state actors, only the states have the right of oversight.
- There is no single authority for the global cyberspace like the World Health Organization, which can monitor, assess, advise and inform about fulfilment of state commitments, in however limited or unsatisfactory a manner.
- To put it simply we are still searching for the cyber "rules of the road".
- Presently we are in the developing stage of “cyber norms” that can provide a balance between the competing demands of national sovereignty and transnational connectivity.
4. GAPS IN CURRENT PROCESSES
4.1 UN and Cybersecurity
- In 1998, Russia raised the issue of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in international security on the UN agenda.
- Since then, six Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) with two-year terms and limited membership have been working on the issue.
- In addition to the GGE, last year, an Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) began working on the same issue with similar mandates. The group is open to all and many states have shown interest in the group.
- A report is expected by the next year.
4.2 Discussions in the group
- The discussions are focussed narrowly in line with the mandate.
- Issues that have been kept out are:
- Internet governance
- Digital privacy
- Issues like terrorism and crime are acknowledged as important but the discussions on these topics are not as thoroughly done as in other UN bodies.
4.3 Outcome of the UN Exercise
- The net outcome of the UN exercise on cyberspace is the acceptance that international law and the UN Charter applies to cyberspace as well.
- On these lines, a set of voluntary norms of responsible state behaviour was agreed to in 2015.
- However, the aspects are circumstances in which the international law will be applicable have still not been addressed and various reports on the matter call for action including the recent report by UN Secretary General AntónioGuterres’s entitled “Roadmap for Digital Cooperation”.
- However, given the present geopolitical circumstances there is very little hope of such processes being undertaken.
5. MORE ENGAGEMENT NEEDED
5.1 Expanding cyberspace in India
- Generally speaking, technologies move faster and are ahead of the development of associated norms and institutions, similar is the case with cyberspace.
- This provides India the opportunity with the time and space to develop our approach in tune with relevance of cyberspace to India's future economic, social and political objectives.
- Despite the digital divide, India’s cyber footprint is expanding at an accelerated rate and therefore the rate of conflicts and crimes will increase too.
- Under these circumstances, the Shared “rules of the road” become imperative.
5.2 India and Cybersecurity
- The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is a very active nodal agency for cybersecurity.
- Five of the six GGEs formed had representatives from India.
- India is also an active participant at the OEWG.
- India is also a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which has also shown support for a code of conduct.
- India also joined the Christchurch Call, which brought countries and corporations together on order for an increased effort in stopping the use of social media for promoting terrorism and violent extremism.
5.3 Need of active engagements
- The cyberspace is becoming an increasingly contested and fragmented domain.
- Going forward, the issue of cybersecurity will require better arrangements and more intense partnerships with additional safeguards.
5.4 India and Global Efforts
- India needs to turn attention immediately on the issue of cybersecurity.
- India needs to take both domestic and global efforts in this regard.
- India should be an active participant in shaping and defining cyber norms.
- India can also consider acceding to the Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe (Budapest Convention).
- There should be increasing participation and engagement in multi-stakeholder orientations as the Paris Call for trust and security in cyberspace.
5.5 India and domestic Efforts
- There should be more clarity on legislation on data protection.
- The private sector in India should be encouraged to participate increasingly in industry-focused processes such as the Microsoft-initiated Cybersecurity Tech Accord and the Siemens-led Charter of Trust.
Present there is a huge digital divide in India. However, the coming future is going to bridge this gap and India is expected to have a major portion of the next billion smartphones.
Therefore, it is imperative that cybersecurity is going to play a large role in the lives of Indians.
To prepare for the larger role of cyberspace in India, we need to work on a deeper public understanding of cyberspace, cybersecurity and its various dimensions.
Given the size and scope of cyberspace in India, it is too important to be left only to the experts.
Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In)
World Food Day
World Food Day is celebrated on 16 October every year by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
World Food Day:
- In 1979, the Food and Agriculture Organization designated 16 October as World Food Day in 1979.
- Initially, World Food Day was launched to commemorate the establishment of FAO in 1945.
- It promotes global awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure healthy diets for all.
- In the current on-going pandemic this year, the day is celebrated with the theme – ‘Grow, nourish, sustain. Together. Our actions are our future."
- World Food Day creates many programs and activities to highlight and take necessary actions for food security and good nutrition for all, with a special focus on poor and vulnerable communities around the world.
- Currently, more than 815 million people do not have enough to eat. Some 155 million children under the age of five (23 %) are chronically malnourished and stunted and may endure the effects of it for the rest of their lives.
- One in two infant deaths worldwide is caused by hunger.
- It calls for global solidarity to help all populations, and especially the most vulnerable, to recover from the crisis, and to make food systems more resilient and robust so they can withstand increasing volatility and climate shocks, deliver affordable and sustainable healthy diets for all, and decent livelihoods for food system workers.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
- It is a neutral intergovernmental organization established in 1945.
- It is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
- Its goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active healthy lives.
- Headquarter: Rome.
The Geneva Conventions
The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) requested to Indian and Chinese governments that they observe the Geneva Conventions to which both countries are signatories.
- The committee has requested after the Galwan clash in Ladakh in June 2020.
The Geneva Conventions (1949):
- It is an international treaty that contains the most important rules limiting the barbarity of war.
- It protects people who do not take part in the fighting (civilians, medics, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (wounded, sick and shipwrecked troops, prisoners of war).
- The first Geneva Convention: It protects wounded and sick soldiers on land during the war.
- The second Geneva Convention: It protects wounded, sick, and shipwrecked military personnel at sea during the war.
- The third Geneva Convention: It applies to prisoners of war.
- The fourth Geneva Convention: It affords protection to civilians, including in occupied territory.
Article 3 of Geneva Conventions:
- This article is common to the four Geneva Conventions.
- It covers situations of non-international armed conflicts.
- They include traditional civil wars, internal armed conflicts that spill over into other States, or internal conflicts in which a third State or a multinational force intervenes alongside the government.
Protocols of 1977:
- Additional to the four 1949 Geneva Conventions were adopted in 1977. They strengthen the protection of victims of international (Protocol I) and non-international (Protocol II) armed conflicts and place limits on the way wars are fought.
- In 2005, a third Additional Protocol was adopted creating an additional emblem, the Red Crystal, which has the same international status as the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems.
The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC):
- It is an international humanitarian organization established in 1863.
- It has the mandate to monitor that signatories follow the rules in situations of conflict.
- The ICRC operates worldwide, helping people affected by conflict and armed violence and promoting the laws that protect victims of war.
- Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
- The ICRC is funded mainly by voluntary donations from governments and from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Source: Indian Express
India will deliver submarine to Myanmar Navy as part of growing defence cooperation between the two neighbouring countries.
- The submarine will be an EKM or kilo class submarine INS Sindhuvir.
- The submarine was purchased from the Soviet Union in the 1980s and has undergone modernisation at the Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) in Vizag.
- It belongs to a class of diesel-electric attack submarines built by the Soviet Union during the Cold War years.
- This will be the first submarine of Myanmar.
Significance of the move:
- The submarine is likely to be used by Myanmar initially for training and orientation purposes for its Navy personnel.
- The move is in line with the overall Indian vision that aspires to guarantee security for all maritime partners as per its SAGAR doctrine.
- Last year, India supplied Myanmar ‘Shyena’ advanced light torpedoes as part of a defence deal.
- This initiative of India’s military outreach to Myanmar is considered to be important as it comes in the backdrop of the ongoing military tension along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh between India and China, a leading industrial and business partner of Myanmar.
Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) Doctrine:
- It was outlined by Indian Prime Minister in 2015 underlining the growing salience of the Indian Ocean and global maritime commons in India’s strategic calculus.
- The doctrine advocates for intensifying cooperation among navies and maritime agencies of the world to engineer virtuous cycles of cooperation.
- The initiative gives priority to the Indian Ocean region for ensuring peace, stability and prosperity of India in the Indian Ocean region.
- It approaches significant importance while India playing the role of a security provider for the entire Indian Region.
Source: The Hindu
Operation Greens (TOP to TOTAL) Scheme
The Union Minister of Food Processing Industries has stated that the subsidy under Operation Greens TOP to TOTAL is a big step towards Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
Operation Greens (TOP to TOTAL) Scheme:
- The Ministry of Food Processing Industries has extended the Operation Greens Scheme from Tomato, Onion, and Potato (TOP) to all fruits & vegetables (TOTAL) for a period of six months.
- Objective: To protect the growers of fruits and vegetables from making distress sale due to lockdown and reduce the post-harvest losses.
- Fruits: Mango, Banana, Guava, Kiwi, Litchi, Mousambi, Orange, Kinnow, Lime, Lemon, Papaya, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Jackfruit, Apple, Aonla, Passion fruit, and Pear;
- Vegetables: French beans, Bitter Gourd, Brinjal, Capsicum, Carrot, Cauliflower, Chillies (Green), Okra, Cucumber, Peas, Onion, Potato and Tomato.
- The Food Processors, FPO/FPC, Co-operative Societies, Individual farmers, Licensed Commission Agent, Exporters, State Marketing/Co- operative Federation, Retailers, etc. engaged in processing/ marketing of fruits and vegetables.
The pattern of Assistance:
- The Ministry will provide subsidy at 50 % of the cost of the following two components, subject to the cost norms:
- Transportation of eligible crops from surplus production cluster to consumption center; and/or
- The hiring of appropriate storage facilities for eligible crops (for a maximum period of 3 months).
- It was announced in the budget speech of 2018-19.
- It is a Central Sector Scheme on the line of “Operation Flood”.
- Objective: To stabilize the supply of Tomato, Onion, and Potato (TOP) crops and to ensure the availability of TOP crops throughout the country round the year without price volatility.
Source: All India Radio
Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna
Union Ministery for Health and Family Welfare has launched the second phase of “Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna” for the underprivileged Thalassemic patients.
- Objective: To provide a one-time cure opportunity for Haemoglobinopathies like Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell Disease for patients who have a matched family donor.
- Eligibility: Only those patients are eligible whose monthly family income is below Rs 20,000.
- The scheme has been extended to cover Aplastic Anaemia patients (lack of blood cell production in the body).
Hematopoietic Stem Cell:
- It is an immature cell that can develop into all types of blood cells, including white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Hematopoietic stem cells are found in the peripheral blood and the bone marrow.
- The outcome of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) for thalassemia major depends on several factors other than the type of donor.
- It was first explored in humans in the 1950s and was based on observational studies in mice models.
The Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) program:
- It mainly refers to the transplantation of stem cells from various sources (bone marrow, growth factor-stimulated peripheral blood, and umbilical cord blood) for the treatment of various diseases like autoimmune, and genetic diseases.
- The program was launched in 2017 and is funded by Coal India Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
- The program will be extended for the next two years from 2020.