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Daily Current Affairs

22-September-2023

Daily Current Affairs For UPSC ,Daily Current affairs of The hIndu and Indian Express.

1. Visa service paused amid Canada tussle.

Topic: GS2 – International relations.

Context:

  • Indian missions in Canada are currently facing “security threats,” affecting their normal functioning.
  • As a result of these security concerns, Indian diplomats in Canada are temporarily unable to process visa applications.

More about the news:

  • India has called for “parity” in the posting of diplomats between the two countries, suggesting a reduction in the number of Canadian diplomats in India.
  • The Indian government has not received any evidence from Canada regarding allegations of Indian involvement in the killing of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
  • India has urged Canada to uphold the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and ensure the safety of Indian diplomats posted in Canada.

Reasons for it he said India – Canada tussle:

  • Allegations of Indian involvement in the killing of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada:In June 2023, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the leader of the Khalistan Tiger Force, was shot and killed in Surrey, Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that there is credible evidence that Indian agents may have been involved in the killing. India has denied any involvement.
  • India’s concerns about Sikh separatism in Canada: India has long been concerned about the activities of Sikh separatist groups in Canada. India has accused Canada of not doing enough to crack down on these groups.
  • Canada’s criticism of India’s human rights record:Canada has been critical of India’s human rights record, particularly its treatment of minorities such as Muslims and Sikhs. India has accused Canada of interfering in its internal affairs.

2. CM Chouhan unveils ‘Statue of Oneness’ in Omkareshwar

Topic: GS1 – Indian history

Context:

  • Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan unveiled a 108-feet-tall statue of Adi Guru Shankaracharya on the Mandhata hillock in Khandwa district.
  • The statue, named “Ekatmata ki Murti” (Statue of Oneness), represents the 8th-century Indian philosopher and theologian known for consolidating the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta.

Who was Adi Guru Shankaracharya:

Adi Guru Shankaracharya, also known as Adi Shankara, was an influential Indian philosopher and theologian who lived in the 8th century CE. He is renowned for his role in the revival and propagation of Advaita Vedanta, one of the major philosophical schools of Hinduism.

  • Advaita Vedanta: Adi Shankara’s most significant contribution was in the field of Advaita Vedanta, a non-dualistic school of thought within Hindu philosophy. He argued that the ultimate reality, known as Brahman, is unchanging and indivisible, and the apparent diversity in the world is an illusion. He emphasized the unity of the individual soul (Atman) with Brahman.
  • Commentaries: Adi Shankara wrote extensive commentaries on the foundational texts of Hinduism, including the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Brahma Sutras. These commentaries, known as “bhashyas,” provided interpretations of these texts from an Advaita Vedanta perspective.
  • Travel and Debate: He is said to have traveled across India, engaging in philosophical debates and discussions with scholars representing various philosophical schools. His debates, known as “shastrartha,” were instrumental in promoting Advaita Vedanta.
  • Mathas: Adi Shankara established several monastic centers or “mathas” in different parts of India, each associated with one of the four Vedas. These mathas served as centers for the preservation and propagation of Advaita Vedanta teachings.
  • Stotras: He composed devotional hymns and philosophical verses, some of which are still widely recited and revered in Hindu religious practices.

3. Tracking India’s growth trajectory

Topic: GS1 – Indian economy

Introduction:

  • Conventional economic assessment relies on quarterly and annual GDP growth rates.
  • India’s economic figures provide a nuanced story beyond simple growth rates.

Complexity in GDP Calculation:

  • GDP growth calculation involves complex statistical choices and methods.
  • NSO uses the income approach instead of the expenditure approach, leading to different results.
  • Adjusting for inflation using the price deflator can impact real growth figures.
  • Base effect from the COVID-19 degrowth period continues to affect growth comparisons.

Inflation and Depreciating Rupee:

  • The cooling inflation rate may be challenged by rupee depreciation due to capital outflows.
  • Rising crude petroleum prices and rupee depreciation impact India’s economic activity.

Tax Revenue Patterns:

  • Government’s tax revenue from direct taxes weakens, while indirect tax revenue remains strong.
  • A K-shaped pattern emerges, suggesting disparities in tax collections.
  • Muted growth in direct taxes raises questions about the growth narrative.

Government Expenditure and Fiscal Constraints:

  • Narrowing revenue streams indicate possible austerity measures.
  • Government’s goal to control the budget deficit could impact growth.
  • Growth stemming from government expenditure may not be as robust as expected.

Conclusion:

  • India’s Q1 FY24 economic performance may be more nuanced than initially portrayed.
  • Discrepancies in growth figures, inflation adjustments, and tax revenue patterns warrant a cautious assessment.
  • The agriculture sector’s outlook and fiscal constraints suggest a restrained economic trajectory.
  • A more critical and nuanced approach is needed to assess India’s economic future.

4. China, U.S. and India absent at U.N.’s Climate Ambition Summit

Topic: GS2 – International relations

Climate Ambition Summit (CAS) at UN General Assembly: Absence of Major Emitters

  • CAS took place as part of the UN General Assembly, aiming to showcase leaders with credible climate actions to achieve the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees Celsius goal.
  • Major emitters China, the U.S., and India, responsible for 42% of global greenhouse gas emissions, were absent.
  • 34 states and seven institutions participated, with India’s neighbors, South Africa, Brazil, the European Union, Germany, France, and Canada among the speakers.
  • Criteria for participation included updated climate commitments, energy transition plans, fossil fuel phase-out plans, Green Climate Fund pledges, and adaptation and resilience plans.
  • All G-20 governments were asked to commit to presenting more ambitious economy-wide emissions cuts by 2025.

India’s Climate Pledges:

  • India last updated its climate pledges in 2022, aiming to reduce emissions intensity by 45% from 2005 levels by 2030.
  • It committed to meeting 50% of electric power needs from non-fossil fuel sources and creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through forest cover by 2030.

5. US revives Cold War submarine spy project to counter China

Topic: GS2-IR, GS3-Defence technology

Context:

  • The revival of the multibillion-dollar effort, known as the Integrated Under sea Surveillance System (IUSS), comes as China has ramped up military exercises around Taiwan, heightening concerns about a potential conflict over the democratically ruled territory, which Beijing wants brought under its control.

About IUSS

  • The Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS) comprises of fixed, mobile, and deployable acoustic arrays that provide vital tactical cueing to Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) forces.
  • With the advent of submarine warfare and it’s impact on Allied forces and supply lines in WWII, the need for timely detection of undersea threats was made a high priority in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW).
  • As technology of the time progressed, it was recognized that shore-based monitoring stations were the answer to the problem since they could be made basically impervious to destruction, foul weather, and ambient self-generated noise.
  • Since the early 1950s the Atlantic and Pacific oceans have been under the vigilence of the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS), with long acoustic sensors (hydrophones) installed across the ocean bottom at key locations.
  • The IUSS revamp project has not previously been reported. It involves modernizing America’s existing network of underwater acoustic spy cables and retrofitting a fleet of surveillance ships with cutting-edge sensors and subsea microphones.
  • This move is aimed at boosting the military’s ability to spy on its foes.
  • The United States has agreed to sell Australia similar technology to help bolster allied defenses in the Pacific region.

6. Meri Maati Mera Desh Campaign

Topic: Prelims

Context:

  • The Centre had announced a series of events across the country under the banner of the ‘Meri Maati Mera Desh’ campaign to mark the anniversary of India’s independence in August.
  • The campaign aims to celebrate the diversity and unity of the nation, as well as to honour the sacrifices and contributions of freedom fighters and martyrs.
  • Under this, plants of more than 53 species have been planted at ‘Bharat Kunj’ Bambusetum spread across 12,000 square metres of land on the Yamuna floodplain.

Details:

  • The ‘Meri Maati Mera Desh’ campaign is a part of the larger ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ initiative launched by the Centre earlier this year to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence.
  • The initiative aims to showcase India’s progress and potential in various fields, as well as to inspire and empower the youth to contribute towards nation-building.
  • The Centre has invited people from all walks of life to participate in the campaign by sending soil samples from their native places or places of historical significance to the Ministry of Culture. The soil samples will be collected at various centres and then transported to Delhi for the creation of the garden.
  • The events will focus on spreading awareness and appreciation of India’s rich heritage, culture, history and achievements.

7. CAUVERY WATER DISPUTE

Topic: Polity

Context:

  • The Supreme Court refused to interfere with the Cauvery Water Management Authority’s (CWMA) direction to Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs of water per day for 15 days to neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

About Cauvery water sharing issue:

  • The Cauvery water-sharing issue is a longstanding and complex dispute between the Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the sharing of water from the Cauvery River. The river originates in Karnataka and flows through both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.
  • The dispute revolves around the allocation of water for irrigation, drinking water, and other uses between the two states.

Background

  • The origins of the Cauvery water dispute can be traced back to the 19th century when agreements were signed between the princely state of Mysore (now Karnataka) and the British Madras Presidency (now Tamil Nadu).
  • These agreements were revised over time, with the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) being established in 1990 to resolve the conflicting demands of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry (union territory) regarding water sharing.

Impact

Agricultural Distress: Farmers in the Cauvery Basin heavily depend on the river’s water for irrigating their crops, particularly during the crucial sowing and growing stages. Fluctuations in water availability due to the dispute have resulted in the following consequences:

  • Crop Failures: Inconsistent water supply has led to crop failures, reducing farmers’ incomes and pushing them into debt.
  • Unpredictable Planning: Farmers find it challenging to plan their agricultural activities effectively due to uncertainty about water availability, affecting crop choices and cultivation practices.
  • Economic Losses: Crop losses translate to economic losses for farmers, affecting their livelihoods and contributing to the cycle of poverty.

Water Scarcity: Water scarcity is a significant outcome of the dispute, impacting various aspects of daily life and the environment:

  • Drinking Water Shortages: Reduced water allocation affects the availability of clean and safe drinking water for both urban and rural populations.
  • Hygiene and Health Issues: Water scarcity can lead to inadequate sanitation and hygiene practices, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases.
  • Ecological Impact: Insufficient water flow in the river affects aquatic ecosystems, biodiversity, and the overall health of the river.
  • Urbanization Challenges: Rapid urbanization in both states has increased water demand for domestic and industrial purposes, exacerbating water scarcity issues.

Political Tensions: The Cauvery water dispute has had significant political implications and has often been a source of tension between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu:

  • Interstate Relations: The dispute strains relations between the two states, affecting collaboration in other areas and hindering overall development.
  • Public Outcry: The public often demands strong action from political leaders, putting pressure on them to adopt aggressive stances on the issue.
  • Protests and Violence: The dispute has led to protests, rallies, and even violent incidents, which disrupt normal life and can lead to law and order problems.
  • Legal Battles: The protracted legal battles over water sharing consume time, resources, and energy that could be otherwise invested in more productive pursuits.

Way Forward:

  • The Cauvery water-sharing issue is a complex challenge that requires a multi-faceted approach involving negotiation, technology, sustainable practices, and effective governance.
  • With continued efforts from all stakeholders, it is possible to find a balanced and equitable solution that ensures the sustainable use of the Cauvery River’s water resources while addressing the needs of the riparian states.

8) India and Pakistan attend crucial meet in Vienna to discuss Indus water row.

Topic: GS2-IR

Context:

  • India attended a two-day meeting of the Neutral Expert proceedings in Vienna aimed at the resolution of a dispute between New Delhi and Islamabad on the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir.

About the treaty:

  • The Indus Water Treaty (IWT) is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, arranged and negotiated by the World Bank, to use the water available in the Indus River and its tributaries.
  • It was signed in Karachi on 19 September 1960 between Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistani President Ayub Khan.
  • Under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of the eastern rivers – Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi amounting to around 33 million-acre feet (MAF) annually is allocated to India for unrestricted use.
  • The waters of western rivers – Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab amounting to around 135 MAF annually have been assigned largely to Pakistan.
  • India is permitted to construct the run of the river plants on western rivers with limited storage as per criteria specified in the treaty.
  • Under the provisions of Article VIII (5) of the Indus Waters Treaty, the Permanent Indus Commission is required to meet at least once a year, alternately in India and Pakistan

9. 108 feet statue of Adi Shankaracharya unveiled in Omkareshwar

Topic: GS1-Culture and Heritage

Context:

  • Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan unveiled a108-foot-tall statue of the 8th-century spiritual leader Adi Shankaracharya in Omkareshwar town.
  • The ‘Statue of Oneness’, conceptualized around six years ago, depicts Shankaracharya as a 12- year-old child when he is said to have visited Omkareshwar, which has one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines which is said to be the most sacred abodes of Shiva.

About Shankaracharya (788 – 820 AD)

  • Shankaracharya consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. He is credited with unifying and establishing the main currents of thought in Hinduism.
  • Advaita Vedanta refers to the non-dualistic school of Hindu philosophy, which is derived mostly from the Upanishads. Dvaita means duality, and Advaita means nonduality.
  • Advaita school believes that Brahman is the one and only reality and everything else is a mere appearance, projection, formation or illusion.
  • His works in Sanskrit discuss the unity of the Ātman and Nirguna Brahman “brahman without attributes”.
  • His works elaborate on ideas found in the Upanishads.
  • Shankara’s publications criticised the ritually-oriented Mīmāṃsā school of Hinduism.
  • He also explained the key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism, stating that Hinduism asserts “Ātman (Soul, Self) exists”, while Buddhism asserts that there is “no Soul, no Self”.
  • Shankara travelled across the Indian subcontinent to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers.
  • He established the importance of monastic life as sanctioned in the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra, in a time when the Mīmāṃsā school established strict ritualism and ridiculed monasticism.

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