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- India-china border
- Heat wave in India in 2020
- Locusts Attack
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Source: The Indian Express
Syllabus: GS 1-Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
Context: PM Narendra Modi, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and others paid tributes to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, popularly known as Veer Savarkar, on his 137th birth anniversary on 28th May.
Savarkar’s Personality and contribution to Indian Freedom struggle:
- From a historical point of view:
- Proximity between Savarkar and B R Ambedkar: Though both represented the two opposite extremes of the Indian societal setup but there was proximity between some of their views.
- Savarkar was impressed with the insights and meticulous approach of Ambedkar and quoted him several times while advocating social reforms, harmony and the upliftment of the downtrodden.
- Vikram Sampath in his book, Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1883–1924, documents how Savarkar appealed that every Indian needs to resolve in his or her mind to absolve oneself of seven chains such as
- Vedoktabandi (exclusivity of access to Vedic literature)
- Vyavasayabandi(continuation of a profession by virtue of one’s birth)
- Sparshabandi (practices of untouchability)
- Samudrabandi(forbidding the crossing of the seas to go to foreign lands)
- Shuddhibandi(disallowing reconversions to Hinduism)
- Rotibandi (the practice of inter-caste dining)
- Betibandi (rigidity in abolishing inter-caste marriage).
- These reformist ideas subsequently became provisions under the Indian Constitution.
- Preferred scientific reasoning to religious customs:
- His thoughts on caste-based discriminations: In a letter to his brother Narayanraoin 1920, he told him about the need to rebel against caste discrimination and untouchability.
- First political leader to set independence as India’s goal in the 1900s
- Spreading anti-British and revolutionary ideas: He started spreading such ideas immediately after joining college through his efficient oratory and writing skills. The Congress accepted this goal much later in its Lahore session in 1929.
- Courageous and committed: He tried to escape to France by jumping off a British ship near the French coast in 1910. Savarkar caused the two colonial powers, Britain and France, to approach the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which shares space with the International Court of Justice at the Hague.
- Provided leadership:He provided leadership to several young bravehearts in London and across Europe to garner support for India’s freedom.
- Proponent of a united India:
- Believed in the idea of inclusivity:For mobilising the Indian masses. Many have termed him as the proponent of the two-nation theory but this is far from the truth.
- Savarkar used to spoke about how the Hindus and Muslims could bury their historical differences in a common state.
- Two nation Theory: It was Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, who propagated the two-nation theory, which was adopted by Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
- Openly embraced the “Era of Machines”: He warned the Indian leaders to learn from Europe’s mistakes. He believed in the innovative spirit of the human mind.
Overall, he was a multidimensional personality: A freedom fighter, social reformer, writer, poet, historian, political leader and philosopher. A Biased historiography has led to the building of a controversial narrative with a superficial understanding of Savarkar.
Savarkar’s ideas of modernity, social and religious reforms, cultivation of scientific temper and embracing technological tools continue to be relevant for building a new India in the post COVID-19 era.
Syllabus: GS 2- India and its neighbourhood– relations.
Context: India and China are engaged in a confrontation in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
- Hotspots: Two hotspots along the LAC (in Ladakh and Sikkim) threaten to turn into military flashpoints.
- Alert: Indian armed forces are said to be on alert and diplomacy is expected to dial down tensions. The US President has offered to “mediate or arbitrate” the dispute.
- Rise in defencebudget by China: China’s troop build-up and incursive attempts—in Ladakh’s Galwan areas seem threatening in the context of Chinese President asking his country’s army to raise its battle-readiness shortly after Beijing upped its defence budget by 6.6% this year to nearly $180 billion.
Issues in Chinese increase in defence expenditure:
1.How does the current increase compare with the budgetary increases of the past?
- Though not as high as last year, it does represent an important increase especially during the time of a pandemic when most countries are under fiscal distress.
- According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Chinese military spending in 2019 was 5.1% higher than in 2018 and rose by 85% between 2010 and 2019.
- From 1994 to 2019, the PRC has sustained year-on-year increases in spending.
2.The extent of motivations behind China’s accumulation of defencecapabilities: It will pose a threat to its immediate neighbours, including India.
- Compelled by: China is trying to keep key military industries afloat and ensuring the continued loyalty of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to the Xi Jingping-led Communist Party of China.
- Covid-19 Backlash against the China: This has affected Xi’s hold on power under stress. The pandemic has compelled him to keep select internal constituencies sufficiently placated and mollified.
- To press its claims against its immediate neighbours: There are potentially adverse continental and maritime consequences for China’s immediate neighbours. For example- the latest round of tensions between India and the PRC are an instructive revelation of the extent to which China is ready to push ahead with its territorial claims along its contested boundary with India.
- Issue linkages: It has gained currency in Beijing as it steps up its confrontation along the LAC in a quest to prevent New Delhi’s support for a global investigation of the origins of the coronavirus.
3.Despite experiencing negative growth for the first time since 1976, the PRC has hardly shown any doubt about its defencerequirements: It is evident in its latest increase in defence
- Nationalism: It has been the source of Chinese aggression and the continued budgetary increases for defence, despite its shrinking economy.
- China is picking fights with multiple actors because of what it sees as a nationalist imperative.
Reasons for China’s geopolitical actions:
- China bending towards Hegemony: China has been flexing muscle along the LAC and elsewhere too. Its defencepolicy envisions a high-tech ground military force to go with an enhanced capacity to project maritime force across the high seas of the Indo- Pacific.
- Diversionary tactic: It is seen as a diversionary tactic to relieve Xi of pressure over the regime’s handling of the global response to its role in the covidIIt could be a convenient way for the regime to rally nationalistic support back home.
- Accusing India of ulterior motives: In India’s recent moves to close the asymmetry in terms of border-area road access. For example, India opened the country’s highest altitude all-weather bridge in eastern Ladakh which is some 45km from Chinese territory.
- Trust deficit: China is being discussed around the world for its not so clear efforts to leverage its relatively quick corona recovery to exercise greater sway over world affairs. Beijing’s bad designs on Europe in terms of an aid provider appear to have weakened Sino-European ties.Way Forward
In a time of covid pandemic, it is clearly in the interests of both New Delhi and Beijing to avoid any confrontation along the 3,500-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC).
3.Heat wave in India in 2020
Source: Indian Express
Syllabus: GS-3- Disaster Management
Context: Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra have been experiencing severe to very severe heatwave conditions.
A heat wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures (more than the normal maximum temperature) that occurs during the summer season.
Criteria for declaration of a heatwave: Heat wave is considered if maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40°C or more for Plains, 37°C or more for coastal stations and at least 30°C or more for Hilly regions. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) follows the following criteria to declare heatwaves:
Based on Departure from Normal
- Heat Wave: Departure from normal is 4.5°C to 6.4°C
- Severe Heat Wave: Departure from normal is >6.4°C
Based on Actual Maximum Temperature (for plains only)
- Heat Wave: When actual maximum temperature ≥ 45°C
- Severe Heat Wave: When actual maximum temperature ≥47°C
Heatwave prone zones in India:
- Heatwaves are most common in Core Heatwave Zone (CHZ). This zone comprises of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, West Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Vidarbha in Maharashtra, parts of Gangetic West Bengal, Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
- The regions in the extreme north, northeast and southwestern India are lesser prone to heatwaves.
Reasons for unusual heatwave timing in 2020
Heatwaves occur over India between March and June. However, in 2020, heatwaves started only after May 21st. It was mainly because of the continuous inflow of Western Disturbances that influenced the weather in the north till early May. It had brought rainfall and thunderstorm over parts of Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, north Madhya Pradesh and Delhi until mid-May.
It is an extra-tropical storm which originates in the Mediterranean region. It is a low-pressure system that travels from the western to the eastern direction. It brings unseasonal winter rain to the north and north-western parts of the Indian subcontinent.
Impact of Cyclone Amphan on heat waves
Cyclone Amphan had dragged maximum moisture from over the Bay of Bengal, entire South Peninsula, parts of Central India and to some extent, from the Arabian Sea. This resulted in dry north-westerly winds to blow over Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra causing severe heatwave.
Source – The Hindu
Syllabus – GS 3 – Disaster and Disaster management
Desert Locusts – The desert locust is a species of locust, a swarming short-horned grasshopper. It is one of the most devastating migratory pests in the world and it is highly mobile and feeds on large quantities of any kind of green vegetation, including crops, pasture, and fodder.
Reasons for their emergence:
Figure 1 – Sequence of cyclones which fuelled the locust’s swarms
- Climate change and global warming– According to United Nations, Climate change has caused unprecedented breeding of locusts in 2019 and 2020.
Figure 2 – Link between climate change and locusts
- COVID 19– The spread of corona virus across continents by February 2020, diverted the resources needed to check and control their emergence.
Challenges caused by locusts’ swarms
a.Food Security and livelihood in danger– The swarms feed on green standing crops which have been destroyed in Eastern Africa as well as Pakistan. This has threatened the food security of these nations and farmer’s livelihood. Somalia and Pakistan, thus, have declared state of emergency in their nations.
Figure 3 – Vicious cycle of locust attack
b.Breed exponentially – In their lifecycle of 3 months, these locusts breed exponentially which give rise to new swarms in short period. The rise in their number creates havoc for farms across continents.
c.Locust plague and Covid 19 – The locust plague amid the corona crises has caused enormous distress in nations affected by it as mobilization of resources is already under strain.
- Policy overhauls– Covering locust and such attacks under PM Fasal Bima Yojana which currently is silent on such issues.
- Science and technology development– Need of better supercomputers which provides analytical tool to predict the variation in atmospheric variables causing warming and cooling of oceans.
- Enhancing partnerships – India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are all ravaged by locust attack. The trio can actively engage in dialogue for establishing mechanisms to deal with attack under groups such as SAARC. This needs skillful leadership to reshape the bitter ties for better future of all.
- Remote sensing and controlling breeding – Technological solutions like remote sensing, UAV’s needs to be deployed at larger scale to check the breeding of locusts and bring their population under control.
Way Forward – The climate change is creating ground for unforeseen situations which demands better response by all nations. Achieving Sustainable development goal at the earliest by cooperation and collaboration is the only way ahead to usher in a safer future.
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