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Current Affairs – 27 October 2021

China’s New Land Border Law

Indian Express

GS 2: International Relations

Context:

  • Recently, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s ceremonial but top legislative body, passed a new land law for the “protection and exploitation of the country’s land border areas” which will come into effect from January 1.

About:

  • The law is not meant specifically for the border with India; however, the 3,488-km boundary remains disputed.
  • Law states that “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of…China are sacred and inviolable”, and asks the state to “take measures to safeguard territorial integrity and land boundaries and guard against and combat any act that undermines [these]”.
  • The state can take measures “to strengthen border defence, support economic and social development as well as opening-up in border areas, improve public services and infrastructure in such areas, encourage and support people’s life and work there, and promote coordination between border defence and social, economic development in border areas”.
  • In effect, this suggests a push to settle civilians in the border areas. However, the law also asks the state to follow the principles of “equality, mutual trust, and friendly consultation, handle land border related-affairs with neighbouring countries through negotiations to properly resolve disputes and longstanding border issues.
  • China shares its 22,457-km land boundary with 14 countries including India, the third longest after the borders with Mongolia and Russia.
  • Unlike the Indian border, however, China’s borders with these two countries are not disputed. The only other country with which China has disputed land borders is Bhutan (477 km).
  • The announcement of a law that makes China’s borders “sacred and inviolable” at a time of prolonged ongoing discussions to resolve the standoff in eastern Ladakh signals that Beijing is likely to dig in its heels at the current positions.

 

AY.4.2 Lineage of the Coronavirus

Indian Express

Prelims Fact

Context:

  • 4.2 is termed a “lineage”. These are labels given to branches of the COVID evolutionary tree to illustrate their relatedness.

About:

  • Variants are distinguished by the different mutations they have in their genetic material.
  • AY forms of the virus aren’t vastly different from what’s come before, even though their labelling is different. They are all sub-lineages of delta.
  • There are now 75 AY lineages identified, each with different additional defining mutations in their genome.
  • 4.2 is a descendant of the Delta variant of COVID-19. The Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, was first identified in India in October 2020. The AY.4.2 sub-lineage contains 2 mutations in its spike protein — A222V and Y145H.
  • It has also been reported in the US, Israel, and Russia.

 

Philanthropy of Chola King’s Maid

The Hindu

GS 1: History

Context:

  • A lengthy inscription of Rajaraja Chola I period has been copied from Sri Maatrurai Varadeeswarar Temple at Thiruvasi near Tiruchi by Arignar Anna Government Arts College, and Seethalakshimi Ramasami College.

About:

  • The 293 lines Tamil inscription was found on the western face of the second gopura of the temple.
  • Inscription revealed interesting details on temple activities and staff of different categories.
  • A maid attached to Periya Velam (bigger quarters) of the palace of Rajaraja I, Nakkan Karpagavalli, gifted 201 kalanju of gold to the temple treasury along with certain measure of fertile land that would provide 16 kalam of paddy every year to support the five endowments that were arranged by her at the temple.
  • The gold was shared by 28 workers of two temples among which 23 belonged to Thiruvasi temple and the remaining five to Amalisvaram, another temple of the same village.
  • It was done with an understanding that one kalam of paddy was to be measured as interest for every kalanju of gold per year to the temple. The arrangement provided 201 kalam of paddy every year.
  • The most interesting aspect of the inscription was that it provided a list of names of several artists and artisans attached to the temples of Thiruvasi and Amalisvaram during that period.
  • The list included thalaikkoli (dance experts), gandharvas (instrumentalists and singers), drummers, devaradiyars, paricharakas, gem specialists, torch bearers, carpenter and astrologer.
  • All of them shared the gifted gold among themselves and measured paddy as per the share to the temple treasury every year.
  • The meal endowments of Karpagavalli took care of temple servants such as cooks, paddy cleaners, grain pounders, fire wood collectors and those involved in other temple services.

 

Mullaperiyar Dam Issue

The Hindu

GS 2: Government Policies and Interventions

Context:

  • Recently, the Supreme Court directed the Supervisory Committee to take an immediate and firm decision on the maximum water level that can be maintained at Mullaperiyar dam amidst torrential rains in Kerala.

Background:

  • The SC was hearing a petition that raised concern over the water level in Mullaperiyar Dam.
    • In the past, the control and safety of the dam, and the validity and fairness of the lease agreement of the Mullaperiyar Dam have led to disputes between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Origin of Issue: 

  • In 1979, a row erupted over the safety of the dam.
  • Consequently, in November 1979, a tripartite meeting chaired by the then head of the Central Water Commission, K.C. Thomas decided that water level had to be brought down from the full reservoir level of 152 ft to 136 ft, in order to enable Tamil Nadu to carry out dam strengthening works.
  • By mid-1990, Tamil Nadu started demanding restoration of the water level in the Mullaperiyar as it had completed the task assigned to it.
  • When no consensus was reached through negotiations, the Supreme Court was approached.
  • In two separate judgements, in2006 and 2014, the apex court held that the water level is raised to 142 ft.

Supreme Court Ruling:

  • The court directed the Supervisory Committee to get to work as there was “an immediate need to specify the maximum water level in the dam” because of the rains.
  • It directed all the authorities concerned to interact immediately on an urgent basis on the issue saying it has something to do with lives.

Mullaperiyar Dam:

  • It was built in 1895 on the Periyar River in the Idukki district of Kerala.
  • It is situated high up in the Western Ghats, adjacent to Kerala’s famed Periyar wildlife sanctuary.
  • Mullaperiyar is listed among the world’s big dams that need to be decommissioned in a report by the UN University – Institute for Water, Environment and Health.
    • It has been stated that the Mullaperiyar dam, situated in a seismically active area, faces the risk of failure.
    • The ageing of large dams is an emerging global development issue as they pose threats to human safety and the environment.
  • Decommissioning Mullaperiyar is strongly opposed by Tamil Nadu state, which inherited a lease agreement between the former princely state of Travancore (now Kerala) and the British government.
    • The matter is still subjudice in the Supreme Court.

 

 

NIPUN Bharat Mission

PIB

GS 2: Government Policies and Interventions

Context:

  • Recently, the National Steering Committee (NSC) for implementation of the NIPUN Bharat Mission has been constituted under the chairmanship of the Union Education Minister.

About:

  • To oversee the progress of the National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy and provide guidance on policy issues.
  • To arrive at the target to be achieved nationally in 2026-27.
  • To disseminate tools for the measurement of yearly progress in the form of guidelines.
  • To prepare and approve a National Action Plan (based on the State’s Action Plans) with KRAs for every State/UT vis-à-vis factors attributable for the gaps (i.e., lack of Fund, Vacancies, Teachers, Demography, Local issues, Need of Training for teachers, Curriculum & pedagogy related).

 

Rubber Production

Economic Times

GS 3: Economy

Context:

  • Heavy rains in Kerala has disrupted rubber production.

Impact on India:

  • Supplies are constrained by a labour shortage and heavy rainfall has made tapping difficult which may force India to increase imports.

Production in India:

  • Kerala is the largest producer of natural rubber.

Rubber Board:

  • It is a statutory body constituted by the  Government of  India,  under the Rubber Act 1947, for the overall development of the rubber industry in the country.
  • It shall be the duty of the Board:
  • To advise the Central Government on all matters relating to the development of the rubber industry, including the import and export of rubber.
  • To advise the Central Government with regard to participation in any international conference or scheme relating to rubber.

 

Dadasaheb Phalke Award

Times of India

Prelims Fact

Context:

  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu presented the Dadasaheb Phalke Award to film actor Rajinikanth.

About:

  • The Dadasaheb Phalke Awards is the highest award in cinema.
  • It is annually presented at the National Film Awards ceremony by the Directorate of Film Festivals.
  • The award is named after Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke.
  • Dadasaheb Phalke is regarded as the ‘father of Indian cinema’.

 

Operation Red Rose

The Hindu

Prelims Fact

Context:

  • In 2020, Punjab’s Excise Department launched Operation Red Rose to curb illicit liquor trading and nail excise-related crimes.

About:

  • A year-and-a-half later, with the use of precise tracking and monitoring systems to check illicit distillation and smuggling of liquor, the results in terms of the number of suspects booked for crimes, convictions and rise in revenues are encouraging.
  • The department has used several technologies — flow meters in bottling plants, QR code-based passes, GPS-enabled transport vehicles, and e-transit passes — to curb different modules of excise theft, which include direct supply of liquor from the manufacturing unit without paying excise duty; liquor smuggling from neighbouring States etc.
  • The entire manufacturing process of liquor in the State is now online, which is monitored in real-time.