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Current Affairs – 11 August 2021

Current Affairs (11th August 2021)

79th anniversary of ‘Quit India Movement’

Context:

  • Union Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) inaugurated an exhibition to mark the 79th anniversary of the ‘Quit India Movement’ at the National Archives of India in New Delhi recently.

About:

  • The exhibition on ‘Quit India Movement’ has been put up at the National Archives of India as part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ being celebrated to commemorate 75 years of Independence.
  • An attempt has been made in this exhibition to depict the importance of the Quit India Movement in India’s freedom struggle through public records, private letters, maps, photographs and other relevant material.
  • Quit India Movement, 1942 is significant especially because it brought home to the British that it would not be possible to continue to govern India and forced them to think of ways they could exit the country.
    • The Movement was accompanied by a mass protest on non-violent lines by which Mahatma Gandhi called for “an orderly British withdrawal; from India.”
    • Through his speeches, Gandhi moved people by proclaiming that every Indian who desires freedom and strives for it must be his own guide.
    • Launching the movement on 8th August 1942 Gandhiji declared in his immortal “Do or Die” speech, “Let every Indian consider himself to be a free man”.

 

Envisioning a Secure Indian Ocean

Context:

  • India convenes an open debate of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on enhancing maritime security.
  • In this regard, here is a look at the challenges and priorities for India with respect to the security of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Challenges:

  • The Indian Ocean region transports 75% of the world’s maritime trade and 50% of daily global oil consumption.
  • With a coastline of over 7,500 km, India has a natural interest in enhancing maritime security.
  • Dealing with climate-related events and piracy threats necessitates solid international mechanisms.
  • The Indian Navy participated as part of a UNSC mandated 60-country Contact Group on Piracy off the coast of Somalia.

 SAGAR policy:

  • India’s Security and Growth for All (SAGAR) policy, unveiled in 2015, proposes an integrated regional framework to meet the security objectives in the Indian Ocean.
  • The five pillars of the SAGAR policy are:
    1. India’s role as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region (IOR).
    2. Active engagement with friendly countries in the IOR; enhancing the maritime security capacities and economic resilience of these countries.
    3. Developing a network to take effective collective action for advancing peace and security in the region.
    4. More integrated and cooperative focus on the future of the IOR; enhance the prospects for the sustainable development of the IOR countries
    5. The primary responsibility for peace, stability and prosperity in the IOR would be on those “who live in this region”.

Significance of the UNSC debate:

  • The decision to convene the debate reflects India’s international evolution as a maritime nation.
  • It will help India respond holistically to natural and manmade threats to maritime security.
  • The open debate will focus on the application and operational effectiveness of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • It will revive focus on the enforcement of UNCLOS’s provisions on freedom of navigation, sustainable exploitation of maritime resources, and peaceful resolution of disputes.
  • It will bring to the fore new challenges to peace and security including from non-state actors such as terrorists, pirates and criminal gangs engaged in drug trafficking.

Key priorities in enhancing maritime security:

  • An effective legal policy framework must underpin a rule-of-law based approach to securing the maritime domain.
  1. Securing the sea lanes of communication (SLOCs)
    • The debate must focus on ensuring equal and unrestricted access to SLOCs by states, while resolving differences through peaceful means.
    • In the Indian Ocean, three major SLOCS that play a crucial role in the energy security and economic prosperity of states include –
      • the SLOC connecting the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean through the Bab al-Mandab (transports the bulk of Asia’s international trade with its major trading partners in Europe and America)
      • the SLOC connecting the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean through the Strait of Hormuz(transporting the bulk of energy exports to major import destinations like India, ASEAN, and East Asia)
      • the SLOC connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans through the Straits of Malacca(integral to the smooth flow of trade with ASEAN, East Asia, Russia’s Far East and the US)
  1. Sharing data on threats to commercial shipping
    • In this regard, India took the initiative to establish an International Fusion Centre (IFC) for the IOR in Gurugram in 2018.
    • It is jointly administered by the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard, and works for generating Maritime Domain Awareness on safety and security issues.
    • It is projected that 40 international liaison officers from partner countries will eventually be located at the IFC.
  2. Increasing role of the private sector
    • The private sector role should be acknowledged, be it for shipping or sustainable development through the Blue Economy.
    • Another area is using the maritime domain to provide the critical submarine fibre-optic cables supporting the Digital Economy.
    • The UNSC should endorse a multiple stakeholder approach, which would set a paradigm for upholding “multi-dimensional” security in the 21st century.

 

Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021

Context:

  • Parliament has passed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021 with the Lok Sabha clearing it. The Rajya Sabha has already approved it.

About:

  • The Bill amends the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950. The Constitution empowers the President to specify the Scheduled Tribes (STs) in various states and union territories.Further, it permits Parliament to modify this list of notified STs.
  • The Bill removes the Abor tribe from the list of identified STs in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Further, it replaces certain STs with other tribes in the list:
    1. Khampti is replaced with Tai Khamti,
    2. Mishmi, Idu, and Taroan are replaced with Mishmi-Kaman (Miju Mishmi), Idu (Mishmi), and Taraon (Digaru Mishmi),
    3. Momba is replaced with Monpa, Memba, Sartang, and Sajolang (Miji)
    4. Any Naga Tribes is replaced with Nocte, Tangsa, Tutsa, and Wancho.

 

Olympian Bat

Context:

  • A bat dubbed the “Olympian bat” by scientists is peaking the interest of climate scientists after she broke British records by flying a distance of more than 2,000 km from London to the Pskov region in northwestern Russia.

About:

  • The female Nathusius’ pipistrelle bat was only as big as a human thumb and its wing was marked with a “London Zoo” ring.
  • Bats belonging to the Nathusius’ pipistrelle species typically weigh less than 10 grams are known to migrate from summer breeding grounds in northeastern Europe to warmer areas of the continent where they hibernate in trees in buildings.
  • Bat Conservation Trust UK says that the Nathusius’ pipstrelle’s range expansion is linked to climate change and future changes in climate will further impact this species. With more information scientists will be better equipped to fully understand these effects.
  • There have been more than 2,600 Nathusius’ pipistrelles recorded in the UK since the National Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Project launched in 2014 to shed light on their breeding, distribution and migration behaviours.

 

Edible oil production

Context:

  • The Centre will spend ₹11,000 crores on a new mission to ensure self-sufficiency in edible oil production.
  • The rationale behind the decision:
    • India’s dependence on expensive imports has driven retail oil prices to new highs.
    • The share of imported palm oil is more than 55%.

About the Financial Assistance:

  • According to the Agriculture Ministry, this financial outlay for the National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) will be over a five-year period.
  • The National Mission on Edible Oil (NEMO) proposal would aim to:
    • Reduce import dependence from 60% to 45% by 2024-25, by increasing domestic edible oil production from 10.5 million tonnes to 18 million tonnes, a 70% growth target.
    • It projected a 55% growth in oilseed production, to 47.8 million tonnes. 
      • It is not clear whether these targets have changed under the final version of the mission.
  • The NMEO-OP’s predecessor was the National Mission on Oil Seeds and Oil Palm, which was later merged with the National Food Security Mission.
    • Laying out its achievements in May 2020, the Agriculture Ministry said oilseed production had grown 35% from 27.5 million tonnes in 2014-15 to 37.3 million tonnes by 2020-21. 
    • Although oilseed acreage rose only 8.6% over that six-year period, yields rose more than 20%.

 

World Biofuel Day

Context:

  • World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th August.

About 

  • The day was first observed in 2015 by the Ministry of Petroleum and Gas.
  •  Its aim is to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels and to highlight the various efforts made by the Government in the Biofuel sector.
  • This day also honours the research experiments by Sir Rudolf Diesel who ran an engine with peanut oil in the year 1893.

Biofuels:

  • Any hydrocarbon fuel that is derived and produced from an organic matter, is called a biofuel and it can be solid, liquid or gaseous.
  • It can be used to replace or can be used in addition to diesel, petrol or other fossil fuels for transport, stationary, portable and other applications.
  • Sources: Crops used to make biofuels are generally either high in sugar (such as sugarcane, sugarbeet, and sweet sorghum), starch (such as maize and tapioca) or oils (such as soybean, rapeseed, coconut, sunflower).

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