Thursday, 22nd June 2023
1 Daily Current Affairs
Forced Displacement in 2022
Battle against Child Labour
UN adopt High Sea Treaty
ISRO to set up satellite terminals on fishing boats in 13 coastal states
Thol Pavai Koothu Puppetry
Tuber-based “Rainbow Diet” Campaign
Alligator gar fish
2 Daily Editorial Analysis
Forced Displacement in 2022
In News: The number of people who were uprooted from their hometowns due to social and climate crises in 2022 was 21 percent higher than in 2021 — the largest increase ever, according to a new report.
According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) statistics on forced displacement, the number of people who were forced to flee their homes due to persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations, and events seriously disturbing public order reached a record.
Key Findings of the Report
1. Unprecedented Increase in Forced Displacement:
- In 2022, the number of forcibly displaced individuals experienced the sharpest rise. As per the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 19.1 million more people were pushed out of their homes last year over 2021.
- The surge in forced displacements surpassed previous years, indicating a concerning trend. As per the report more than 108.4 million people were forcibly displaced by the end of 2022, 30 per cent of them are children.
2. Factors Driving Forced Displacement:
- Violence: Widespread conflicts and escalating violence played a major role in driving people from their homes. Example Russia Ukraine war
- Climate Crises: The adverse effects of climate change emerged as a significant driver, leading to large-scale displacements. Climate disasters caused 32.6 million internal displacements throughout 2022 and 8.7 million of the people did not manage to return home by the end of the year.
3. Impact of Climate Crises on Displacement:
- Rising Sea Levels: Coastal regions faced substantial threats from rising sea levels, resulting in the displacement of vulnerable communities.
- Extreme Weather Events: Frequent and severe storms, floods, and wildfires displaced populations residing in affected areas.
- Deteriorating Habitats: Degradation of ecosystems and loss of livelihoods forced people to flee their homes.
4. Regional Displacement Hotspots:
- Geographical Variation: Forced displacement was not uniformly distributed globally, with specific regions experiencing higher rates.
- Developing Countries: Many developing nations, particularly in Africa and Asia, witnessed significant displacement due to violence and climate crises. 90 percent of the displaced population come from low- and middle-income countries.
5. Humanitarian Challenges and Implications:
- Strain on Resources: The surge in displaced populations strained available resources and humanitarian aid efforts. Low-income countries, which have limited resources to adapt to the situation and account for only 0.5 percent of the global gross domestic product, hosted 16 percent of the refugees. Examples are Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda.
- Health and Well-being: Displaced individuals faced numerous challenges related to healthcare, sanitation, and access to basic necessities.
- Social and Economic Disruption: Forced displacement disrupted communities, livelihoods, and economic stability, exacerbating social inequalities.
- Statelessness: Stateless people are those who are not recognized as citizens by any government. As refugees, these people find it all the more difficult to avail the basic amenities like health, education, and employment in the countries they have sought asylum in because they lack nationality documents. 4.4 million people worldwide were stateless or of undetermined nationality — 2 percent more than at the end of 2021.
Battle against Child Labour
In News: According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), a staggering 10.1 million children in India find themselves ensnared in various forms of labour.
About Child Labour:
- According to ILO, Child Labour is defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.
- Child Labour refers to work that:
- Is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and/or
- Interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
- The worst forms of child labour involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities, often at a very early age. Example- all forms of slavery, prostitution, pornography, illicit activities etc.
About the Prevalence of Child Labour in India:
- The National Sample Survey reveals alarming rates of child labour in numerous states.
- Uttar Pradesh has an estimated 1 million child labourers.
- Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are other states where significant numbers of children are involved in exploitative labour practices.
- Together, these states constitute nearly 55% of the total working children in India.
- Sectors of employment: Agriculture sector accounts for 70% (112 million) of child labour,
- Services industry like hospitality, household labour etc. follow with 20% (31.4 million)
- Industries employ 10% (16.5 million) of child labourers.
- Education: Nearly 28% of children aged 5-11 years and 35% of children aged 12-14 years involved in child labour are out of school.
- Gender Composition: Child labour is more prevalent among boys than girls at every age. The prevalence of child labour in rural areas (14%) is around three times of urban areas (5%).
Impacts of Child Labour:
- Vicious cycle of poverty, ruthlessly denying children their fundamental rights. Poverty and child labour intertwines, crushing their aspirations and trapping them in a perpetual struggle for survival.
- Physical wellbeing: Engaging in hazardous work exposes these children to injuries, health complications and long-term developmental issues.
- Emotional Trauma: The emotional scars run deep, leaving these young souls grappling with anxiety, trauma and a pervasive sense of hopelessness.
Measures to Curb Child Labour:
- Constitutional Provisions:
- Article 21(A) and Article 45 ensure Right to Education.
- Article 24 prohibits employment of children below the age of 14 in mines, factories or hazardous workplaces.
- Article 39(f) directs the state to protect children's youth and childhood against moral and material abandonment and exploitation.
- Legislations: Government has implemented legislation such as the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016, which aims to strengthen the protection of children from exploitation and Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000.
- Role of ILO: ILO has been at the forefront of the global fight against child labour, providing technical assistance and promoting international standards to eradicate this issue.
- ILO plays a crucial role in setting international labour standards and their implementation.
- ILO facilitates dialogue and cooperation to address labour challenges through its tripartite structure, bringing together representatives of workers, employers & government.
- Raising Awareness: Civil society organisations and grassroots movements have also played a vital role in raising awareness, rescuing child labourers and advocating for their rights.
- Addressing root causes of child labour such as poverty, lack of education and weak enforcement of labour laws, can create an environment where children are protected, educated and given the opportunity to thrive.
UN adopt High Sea Treaty
In News: United Nations(UN) adopts an international treaty on Protecting High Seas
About UN adoption of High Sea Treaty:
- The United Nations (UN) has recently adopted the ground-breaking High Seas Treaty which establishes a framework for governing activities in international waters.
- The High Seas Treaty is the first-ever international attempt to govern activities in international waters, which make up around two-thirds of the world's oceans.
- The treaty addresses the pressing issue of overfishing, mining, and oil extraction in the high seas, which have been causing significant damage to oceanic ecosystems.
- Nearly 200 nations have signed the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty, which represents a major step forward in protecting marine life and biodiversity.
- The main objective of the treaty is to prevent species extinctions and safeguard the health of the oceans by implementing measures to regulate harmful activities.
- Important features:
- The High Seas Treaty establishes marine protected areas in international waters, extending beyond the coastal areas protected by individual countries.
- The agreement includes guidelines for assessing the environmental impacts of activities such as fishing and mining in the high seas, ensuring greater transparency and accountability.
- A new body called the Conference of Parties to be established to enforce compliance with the treaty and overseeing the implementation of its terms.
- Previously, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was adopted in 1982 to extend governance into the ocean, focusing on waters within 12 nautical miles of coastlines.
- The treaty still needs to be ratified by at least 60 member states to come into effect, including approval from the US Senate, as the US is not part of the Law of the Sea.
- Overall, the adoption of the High Seas Treaty will help address the issue of regulation and protection of the high seas for a more sustainable and responsible approach to activities in international waters.
In News: India moves ahead with plan to create new Theatre Commands for Integrated War-Fighting
About Theatre Command
- A theatre command is a strategic military concept that aims to integrate the operations of multiple branches of the armed forces within a specific geographical region.
- Their establishment is driven by the need to enhance coordination, efficiency, and effectiveness in military operations.
- These commands bring together the Army, Navy, and Air Force under a unified command structure.
- It helps facilitating joint planning, decision-making, and execution of military missions.
- It allows for the seamless integration of resources, intelligence, logistics, and firepower across different military branches.
- It helps eliminate inter-service rivalries and promoting collaboration among different forces.
- It is particularly relevant in modern warfare scenarios that involve complex, multidimensional threats and operations.
- Implementation of theatre commands requires careful planning, coordination, and organizational restructuring within the armed forces.
- There is need to address issues including institutional resistance,effective coordination, and addressing concerns of each branch of the armed forces.
- Successful implementation of theatre commands requires a strong command and control structure, advanced communication systems, and streamlined decision-making processes.
- At present, several countries including the United States, China have the theatre command concept to modernize their military capabilities.
- Overall, with ever evolving nature of modern war fares, theatre commands will become increasingly vital to enhance their military capabilities and respond effectively to complex security challenges.
Theatre Command of India
- India has recently proposed a plan for creation of three integrated theatre
- The proposed command will be each led by a senior three-star generale., Lieutenant General, Air Marshal, or Vice Admiral.
- These commands will be responsible for managing specific regions:
- Northern borders with China
- Western front with Pakistan
- Maritime command in peninsular India.
ISRO to set up satellite terminals on fishing boats in 13 coastal states
In News: ISRO to set up Satellite Terminals on fishing boats along Coastal States
About Satellite terminals on fishing boats:
- ISRO's commercial arm, NewSpace India Ltd, plans to establish mobile satellite service (MSS) terminals on motorized and fishing boats in 13 coastal states.
- The initiative aims to improve communication with vessels at sea and enhance monitoring of Indian waters.
- Important Features:
- Private vendors will be selected to supply, install, and commission MSS terminals on at least one lakh boats.
- The system will establish a vessel communication and support system for monitoring, control, and surveillance.
- A dedicated MSS satcom network will be established, including ground stations, hub baseband systems, and satellite terminals.
- Xponders (transponders) will be installed in coastal states, enabling two-way communication with fishermen.
- Authorities will have periodic location access, issue emergency weather alerts, and detect international water border violations.
- The project will be powered by India's own navigation satellite system, NavIC, ensuring accurate navigation alerts.
- Overall, the system will provide better security to fishermen and enhance coastal security through monitoring and surveillance in Indian waters and will help support national security efforts.
Thol Pavai Koothu Puppetry
Why in news? Recently, Muthuchandra Rao, a renowned puppet artist from the Kanniyakumari district in Tamil Nadu, has been invited by the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) and Sacramento Tamil Mandram to perform at the Fetna 36th Convention in the United States.
- Tholpavaikoothu is a form of Shadow puppetry made of three Tamil terms, thol, meaning leather, pavai, meaning doll, and koothu, meaning the play or drama.
- Though the origin of this ritualistic art form is not known exactly, some believe it to be as old as 1200 years.
- It used to be performed in the Bhadrakali temples of Palakkad, telling tales from the Ramayana.
- The narrative used for the performance is a mixture of prose and poetry called
- This form of art is especially popular in the Madurai, Kanyakumar (TN), Palakkad Thrissur and Malappuram districts of Kerala.
- It is also known as Nizhalkkoothu and Olakkoothu.
- It is a fine example of the integration of Aryan and Dravidian cultures.
- It is performed using the mythological figures along with the use of fire and lighting of lamps behind the screen.
- The chief puppeteer is known as ‘Pulavan’.
- Musical Instruments Used: Ezhupara, Chenda and Maddalam etc.
Tuber-based “Rainbow Diet” Campaign
Why in news? The ICAR-Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI) is gearing up to extend its tuber crop-based ‘rainbow diet’ campaign to more areas in the country with sizeable tribal populations.
About the Campaign:
- The initiative was aimed at popularising biofortified tubers and value-added products made from them among the tribal communities for tackling malnutrition and ensuring a balanced diet.
- The CTCRI would launch the campaign in Odisha in the current fiscal, and, by the end of 2024-25, planned to cover nine districts in that State.
- Nine districts are Mayurbhanj, Sundergarh, Kandhamal, Keonjhar, Gajapati, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur and Rayagada.
- Two or three districts will be taken up in the first phase in 2023-24, after which it will be scaled up.
- Tuber crops are plants that produce edible underground storage structures called tubers.
- These tubers serve as a source of nutrients and energy for the plant.
- Examples of tuber crops include potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and cassava.
- The CTCRI is popularising the orange-fleshed sweet potato (rich in beta-carotene), the purple-fleshed sweet potato, and purple-fleshed yam (rich in anthocyanin).
- The CTCRI has previously introduced biofortified sweet potato varieties in Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura.
- Biofortified tubers were low-cost, natural solutions for promoting health, and wellness in tribal communities.
- A typical ‘rainbow diet’ is a meal plan comprising different-coloured fresh fruits and vegetables.
- The colours in these natural foods are caused by specific phytonutrients.
ICAR-Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI):
- CTCRI is a constituent institute under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is the only research organization in the world dedicated solely to the research on tropical tuber crops.
- The Institute established in 1963 with its headquarters at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
Alligator gar fish
Why in news? Recently, a non-native alligator gar fish, known for its crocodile-like head and razor-sharp teeth, was found in one of Kashmir’s idyllic lakes, raising apprehensions about its impact on the native fish species.
- Alligator Gar Fish is a ray-finned euryhaline fish and is one of the biggest freshwater fish in North America and the largest species in the ‘gar’ family.
- The alligator gar is a close relative of the bowfin species.
- It was also found in some parts of India like Bhopal, Kerala and from waterbodies of Maharashtra and Kolkata.
- They grow rapidly and have a life span of 20-30 years.
- Protection Status: IUCN- Least Concern.
- Concerns: During winter, gar fish can even sustain themselves in the cold waters of Dal because the temperature they mostly live in is 11-23 degrees Celsius. They can be dangerous for indigenous fish species.
Why in news? Scientists in Chile have uncovered the remains of a previously unknown species of herbivorous dinosaur, challenging existing beliefs about the range of duck-billed dinosaurs.
- It is a species of herbivorous dinosaur previously unknown in the southern hemisphere.
- The newly discovered dinosaur, named Gonkoken nanoi, lived 72 million years ago in what is now Chilean Patagonia.
- Measuring up to four meters in length and weighing a ton, these slender dinosaurs were capable of both bipedal and quadrupedal postures to access vegetation at different heights.
- This type of duck-billed dinosaur was common in North America, Asia and Europe during the Cretaceous period.
- The Cretaceous began 145.0 million years ago and ended 66 million years ago.
- The Cretaceous Period, in geologic time, is the last of the three periods of the Mesozoic Era.
- It followed the Jurassic Period and was succeeded by the Paleogene Period.
Why in news? Recently, The Indian Navy and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully carried out the transfer of command-and-control capabilities of the TAPAS Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
- Tapas Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is known as Tapas-BH 201(Tactical Airborne Platform for Aerial Surveillance-Beyond Horizon 201), formerly referred to as Rustom-II.
- It is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle.
- TAPAS 201, a multi-mission UAV is being developed to carry out the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance roles for the three-Armed Forces with an endurance of 24 to 30 hours.
- It can carry a variety of payloads up to a maximum of 350 kgs.
- It is being developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).
- It is capable of operating at altitudes of up to 28,000 feet with an endurance of over 18 hours.
- The drone has a 20.6-meter wingspan and a maximum speed of 225 kmph.
- It can be controlled remotely and also has the ability to execute pre-programmed flight plans autonomously with precision and flexibility.
Why in news? A new curated collection, DAKSHTA (Development of Attitude, Knowledge, Skill for Holistic Transformation in Administration) For Young Professionals, is now Live on the iGOT Karmayogi Platform.
- This collection consists of 18 courses designed to enhance functional, domain, and behavioral competencies necessary for effective duty discharge such as data-driven decision-making, code of conduct, communication skills, public policy, stress management, and more.
- The iGOT Karmayogi Platform (https://igotkarmayogi.gov.in/) is a comprehensive online portal to guide government officials in their capacity-building journey.
- The portal combines 6 functional hubs for online learning, competency management, career management, discussions, events and networking.
- The platform is managed by Karmayogi Bharat, a government-owned not-for-profit organization under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions.
- Currently, 40 Young Professionals and Consultants in NITI Aayog are undergoing phase-wise induction training through this curated collection of courses on the iGOT Karmayogi Platform.
Exam View: Changing ties between the US and Russia; India’s perspective; The USA’s perspective.
Context: The message from the White House talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Joe Biden this week will be a simple one that the train of India-US strategic partnership is now leaving the station to more productive destinations.
Decoding the editorial: Changing ties between the US and Russia
- Until recently, the political focus of the bilateral relationship was on removing the multiple obstacles to cooperation, many of which stemmed from political resistance rooted in ideological suspicion and the recalcitrance of the administrative state that refused to build on the natural synergies between the two nations.
- The ambition of Modi and Biden now is to look ahead and construct one of the most consequential bilateral relationships in the world to transcend the question of alliance and seek pragmatic common ground in the pursuit of shared interests.
- In the past, the ideological fear of being “aligned” with the US often prevented India from engaging with the US.
- The Indian argument of “strategic autonomy”, was only deployed in its engagement with the United States. It was never part of the discourse in India’s ties with Russia even though Delhi signed a formal security treaty with Moscow in 1971.
- The nuclear debate of 2005-08
- A fundamentally beneficial deal was debated with ferocity as a threat to India’s strategic autonomy and independent foreign policy.
- It compelled the then government to seek a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha.
- In the chaos that ensued, Delhi shot itself in the foot by establishing a liability law that has prevented Indian and foreign capital from participating in the construction of new nuclear plants.
- If the 2005 India-US civil nuclear initiative was about reviving India’s nuclear programme, the 2010 liability law has made it moribund.
- Delhi’s self-doubt and hesitation prevented progress on India-US defence cooperation.
- It has allowed a massive and unhealthy reliance on Russian weapons to develop over the decades.
- The UPA government held back from signing the so-called foundational agreements with the US in the name of strategic autonomy and stalled the possibilities for defence industrial collaboration.
- That the current PM of India had a substantial majority in the Lok Sabha, a decisive sway over his party, and a strong command over the bureaucracy made it possible for Modi to close that gap.
- The cure was in demanding a focus on India’s concrete interests on any question instead of starting with a metaphysical discourse on non-alignment.
- The Modi government signed various foundational agreements, articulated an Indo-Pacific framework, and joined hands with the US to revive the Quadrilateral forum with Australia and Japan.
The US's perspective
- Washington’s problem was a mirror image of Delhi’s. It saw all relationships through the prism of alliances.
- The Obama and Trump Administrations had sought to circumvent this constraint on strategic cooperation with India. But the Biden Administration has now taken the bull by the horns. Its initiative on critical and emerging technologies (iCET) is about creating a new framework for strategic cooperation with India by lifting many of the regulatory barriers.
- In a recent interview, the US National Security Adviser dismissed the notion that the India-US partnership today is about a “geopolitical bargain”; he insists that the relationship today is being “built on the foundation of goodwill that permeates public sentiment, private sector engagement, ties between our universities and researchers”.
Their success is a reminder that committed political leaders can easily deconstruct the impenetrable mental barriers that strategic communities often construct.
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