Bills/Act/LawsDOMRExplainedGovt. SchemesHistorical Sites in NewsIOCRMains Onlyop-ed of the dayop-ed snapPIBPlaces in newsPrelims OnlyPriority 1SC JudgementsSpecies in NewsStates in News
September 2020
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

Non-War Military Tactics used by China

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : India-China Relations

An annual report from the U.S. Department of Defense describes Chinese leaders’ use of tactics short of armed conflict to further the country’s objectives, citing border conflicts with India and Bhutan among the examples.

Try this question:

Q. What are Non-War Military Activities (NWMA)? Discuss how China is using NWMA as a tool for its overtly ambitious expansionist policy.

Various non-war military tactics

The report describes Non-War Military Activities (NWMA) as one of two kinds of military operations (the other is war) used by the PLA. NWMA can be conducted internationally or domestically and encompass activities in multiple domains.

(1) Provoking armed conflict

  • China calibrates its coercive activities to fall below the threshold of provoking conflict with the United States, its allies and partners, or others in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • It can notably include operations in which the PLA uses coercive threats and/or violence below the level of armed conflict against states and other actors to safeguard its expansionism.
  • These tactics are particularly evident in China’s pursuit of its territorial and maritime claims in the South and East China Seas as well as along its border with India and Bhutan.

(2) Neo-imperialist tools

  • China also employs non-military tools coercively, including economic tools during periods of political tensions with countries that China accuses of harming its national interests.
  • The Belt and Road Initiative is leading to a greater overseas military presence for China in the guise to protect its economic interests.

(3) Multilateralism as a strategic messaging tool

  • The report says that China uses multilateral forums and international organisations to generate new opportunities to expand its influence, strengthen its political influence.
  • It promotes strategic messaging that portrays China as a responsible global actor, advances its development interests, and limit outside interference in and criticism of its initiatives.
  • The Brazil Russia India China South Africa (BRICS) grouping and Shanghai Cooperation Organization are among those cited as examples of this alleged phenomenon.

J&K – The issues around the state

New Official Languages in J&K

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Official languages

Mains level : Not Much

The Union Cabinet has approved a Bill to introduce Hindi, Kashmiri and Dogri as official languages in Jammu and Kashmir, in addition to Urdu and English. As of now, the official language is Urdu and Kashmiri is recognised as a regional language.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following languages:

  1. Gujarati
  2. Kannada
  3. Telugu

Which of the above has/have been declared as ‘Classical Language/ Languages’ by the Government?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Languages in J&K

  • In the undivided Jammu and Kashmir state, various ethnicities spoke Kashmiri, Pahari, Gojri, Ladakhi, Dogri, Balti and Punjabi as their mother tongues.
  • Urdu and Hindi had become a means for inter-community communication.
  • In 1889, Maharaja Pratap Singh, the third ruler of the Hindu Dogra dynasty, replaced Persian with Urdu as the court language.
  • It was an anomaly that the three languages — Dogri, Hindi and Kashmiri — which are spoken by nearly 70 per cent of the population of Jammu and Kashmir were not approved for use in official business.

Official languages in India

  • Article 343 of the Indian constitution stated that the official language of the Union is Hindi in Devanagari script instead of the extant English.
  • Later, a constitutional amendment, The Official Languages Act, 1963, allowed for the continuation of English alongside Hindi in the Indian government indefinitely until legislation decides to change it.
  • The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union is “the international form of Indian numerals”, which are referred to as Arabic numerals in most English-speaking countries.
  • Despite the misconceptions, Hindi is not the national language of India; the Constitution of India does not give any language the status of the national language.
  • The Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution lists 22 languages, which have been referred to as scheduled languages and given recognition, status and official encouragement.

Other classical languages

  • In addition, the Government of India has awarded the distinction of classical language to Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu.
  • Classical language status is given to languages which have a rich heritage and independent nature.

Gravitational Wave Observations

Black Holes Merger

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Black Holes

Mains level : Black holes merger

Billions of years ago, a collision between two black holes sent gravitational waves rippling through the universe. In 2019, signals from these waves were detected at the gravitational wave observatory LIGO (United States) and the detector Virgo (Italy).

Try this PYQ:

Q.Recently, scientists observed the merger of giant ‘blackholes’ billions of light-years away from the Earth. What is the significance of this observation?

(a) ‘Higgs boson particles’ were detected.

(b) ‘Gravitational waves’ were detected.

(c) Possibility of inter-galactic space travel through ‘wormhole’ was confirmed.

(d) It enabled the scientists to understand ‘singularity’.

Why in news?

  • The cause of curiosity is the mass of one of the parent black holes, which defies traditional knowledge of how black holes are formed.

What exactly was detected?

  • It was a signal from a gravitational wave, a relatively new field of discovery.
  • Gravitational waves are invisible ripples that form when a star explodes in a supernova; when two big stars orbit each other; and when two black holes merge.
  • Travelling at the speed of light, gravitational waves squeeze and stretch anything in their path.

Detecting gravitational waves

  • Gravitational waves were proposed by Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity over a century ago.
  • It was only in 2015, however, that the first gravitational wave was actually detected — by LIGO. Since then, there have been a number of subsequent detections of gravitational waves.
  • The signal detected at LIGO and Virgo, as described by the LIGO Collaboration, resembled “about four short wiggles” and lasted less than one-tenth of a second.

Where did it come from?

  • Subsequent analysis suggested that GW190521 had most likely been generated by a merger of two black holes. The signal likely represented the instance that the two merged.
  • It was calculated to have come from roughly 17 billion light-years away, and from a time when the universe was about half its age.

Some questions to verify

  • The findings led to further questions.
  • One of the two merging black holes falls in an “intermediate-mass” range — a misfit that cannot be explained by traditional knowledge of how black holes form.

Why is it unusual?

  • All the black holes observed so far belong to either of two categories.
  • One category ranges between a few solar masses (one solar mass is the mass of our Sun) and tens of solar masses. These are thought to form when massive stars die.
  • The other category is of supermassive black holes. This range from hundreds of thousands, to billions of times that of our sun.
  • According to traditional knowledge, stars that could give birth to black holes between 65 and 120 solar masses do not do so — stars in this range blow themselves apart when they die, without collapsing into a black hole.

Observing for the first time

  • In the merger leading to the GW190521 signal, the larger black hole was of 85 solar masses —well within this unexpected range, known as the pair-instability mass gap.
  • It is the first “intermediate-mass” black hole ever observed. (In fact, the smaller black hole to is borderline, at 66 solar masses.)
  • The two merged to create a new black hole of about 142 solar masses. Energy equivalent to eight solar masses was released in the form of gravitational waves, leading to the strongest ever wave detected by scientists so far.

Possible reasons for its formation

  • The researchers suggest that the 85-solar-mass black hole was not the product of a collapsing star, but was itself the result of a previous merger.
  • Formed by a collision between two black holes, it is likely that the new black hole then merged with the 66-solar-mass black hole — leading to gravitational waves and the signal received by LIGO and Virgo.

Interstate River Water Dispute

Kalasa-Banduri Dam Project

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kalasa-Banduri Dam Project

Mains level : Inter-state water disputes

India is on the brink of an acute water crisis, which has, to an extent, fabricated a looming threat of trans-boundary water conflicts. The conflict on the Mandovi / Mahadayi River— flowing through Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra— is one such example.

Try this PYQ:

What is common to the places known as Aliyar, Isapur and Kangsabati?

(a) Recently discovered uranium deposits

(b) Tropical rain forests

(c) Underground cave systems

(d) Water reservoirs

Kalasa-Banduri Project

  • The project undertaken by the Karnataka government proposes to divert Mandovi river water from Kalasa and Banduri canals into the Malaprabha river in the state.
  • The project received clearance from the Centre in 2002. It aims to construct a total of 11 dams on the river Mandovi.
  • The diversion of water from Kalasa and Banduri nullahs, however, has been the point of contention between Karnataka and Goa, with the latter claiming it would strip the state of its flora and fauna.

The conflict

  • The Mandovi originates from Karnataka’s Belgaum district.
  • The Mandovi river basin falls into the states of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
  • The river is 81 kilometres (km) in length; 35 km of which flows in Karnataka, 1 km in Maharashtra and 45 km in Goa.
  • The seeds of the conflict were sowed over 40 years ago: In 1985Karnataka initially explored a 350 megawatt-hydro-electric project to divert 50 per cent of the Mandovi river water in Karnataka for irrigation.
  • The plan was also to allow a steady flow of water from the power project’s storage dam after using the water for irrigation purposes in Karnataka.
  • This would have served to drinking water and irrigation purposes in Goa as well.

Start-up Ecosystem In India

[pib] NIDHI-EIR Programme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NIDHI EIR

Mains level : Not Much

A brochure featuring Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) under the National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) programme was launched by Dept. of Science and Technology (DST).

Try this MCQ:

Q.The NIDHI-EIR Programme sometimes seen in news functions under the:

a)Ministry of Science & Technology

b)Ministry of Commerce and Industry

c)Ministry of Finance

d)Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

About NIDHI-EIR

  • DST has announced a National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) is an umbrella programme for nurturing ideas and innovations into successful startups.
  • EIR programme is one of the programs introduced under NIDHI to inspire the best talents to be entrepreneurs, to minimise the risk involved in pursuing start-ups, and to partially set off their opportunity costs of high paying jobs.
  • It provides tremendous opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs to expand their networks and get critical feedback on their ventures in order to promote their entrepreneurial career goals and aspirations.

The opportunities under NIDHI-EIR program include:

  • Guidance from experienced, innovative and highly successful entrepreneurs on the business concept, strategy or venture and insight into specific industries or markets.
  • Best practices for starting a business and broaden the professional network.
  • Co-working spaces for developing the idea into a marketable product.

Innovation Ecosystem in India

[pib] Global Innovation Index 2020

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Global Innovation Index

Mains level : Innovation ecosystem in India

India has climbed 4 spots and has been ranked 48thby the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in the Global Innovation Index 2020 rankings.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2016:

Q.India’s ranking in the ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’ is sometimes seen in the news. Which of the following has declared that ranking?

a) Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

b) World Economic Forum

c) World Bank

d) World Trade Organization (WTO)

About the Global Innovation Index

  • The GII is an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for, and success in, innovation. It was started in 2007 by INSEAD and World Business a British magazine.
  • It is published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the WIPO, in partnership with other organisations and institutions.
  • It is based on both subjective and objective data derived from several sources, including the International Telecommunication Union, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.
  • The GII is commonly used by corporate and government officials to compare countries by their level of innovation.
  • The theme of the 2019 GII is Creating Healthy Lives – The Future of Medical Innovation, which aims to explore the role of medical innovation as it shapes the future of healthcare.

Components of GII

Five input pillars capture elements of the national economy that enable innovative activities under GII are:

  1. Institutions,
  2. Human capital and research,
  3. Infrastructure,
  4. Market sophistication, and
  5. Business sophistication.

Two output pillars capture actual evidence of innovation outputs:

  1. Knowledge and technology outputs and
  2. Creative outputs

India’s performance this year

  • In midst of the COVID -19 pandemic, it comes as uplifting news for India and is a testament of its robust R&D Ecosystem.
  • India was at the 52nd position in 2019 and was ranked 81st in the year 2015.
  • The WIPO had also accepted India as one of the leading innovation achievers of 2019 in the central and southern Asian region, as it has shown a consistent improvement in its innovation ranking for the last 5 years.