21 November, 2020
- Prelims Test Series Course announcement
- Australia to temporarily host ISRO satellite tracking facilities
- Children pen manifesto for political parties in Assam
- In a first, govt. approves study on status of radicalisation - (Ancient History)
- The Time Use Survey as an opportunity lost - (International Relation)
- India no to RCEP could still be a no - (Polity & Governance)
- Question for the day (International Relation)
UPSC Current Affairs: Australia to temporarily host ISRO satellite tracking facilities | Page 10
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: General Science | Mains – GS Paper III – Science & Technology
Sub Theme: India-Australia Space Collaboration | Cooperation in civil space activities | UPSC
Australia to temporarily host ISRO satellite tracking facilities
As part of steps to deepen cooperation in civil space activities, the space agencies of India and Australia were working together to position temporarily Indian tracking facilities in Australia
Cooperation in civil space activities will include earth observation and data analytics, robotics, and space life sciences.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has embarked on an ambitious plan to put an Indian in space by 2022 under Gaganyaan mission. This mission will see India become just the fourth nation to send a crew into space.
Why Australia has been chosen as a space partner?
Australia has many unique advantages in space –
- Geographical position in the southern hemisphere and in line with the longitude of Asia
- It has well positioned ground stations across a 4,000 km baseline able to observe a large number of satellites, space debris and weather.
- Its location also gives access to a large number of satellites for Earth Observations from Space
- Wide-open spaces, low noise and relatively low light pollution. Australia becomes a suitable locations for ground station calibration and validation with clear skies, low noise and low light interference.
- Expertise in satellite data applications. Australia has a strong education system with a good research and development base in space technologies.
These have made Australia an ideal partner for space debris tracking and space traffic management activities, world-leading earth observation services, efficient rocket technology and launch services, and remote asset management.
India-Australia space collaboration
- India, Australia space cooperation is underpinned by a formal Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries in 2012.
- Both nations have been collaborating since 1987 to “support data calibration and laser raging for Indian satellites, launching Australian satellites, and conducting joint research”.
- Recently in June both countries elevated the bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, and put in place practical agreements on cybersecurity, emerging technology and critical minerals.
- Australia has announced $15 million for extending the Australia-India strategic research fund for another four years to facilitate collaboration between researchers on strategically focused, leading-edge science and technology projects.
UPSC Current Affairs:Children pen manifesto for political parties in Assam | Page 04
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Social Issues | Mains – GS Paper II – Social Justice
Sub Theme: | 10-point children’s manifesto to develop Assam for Children| ‘Reimagine’ campaign |UPSC
More than 4,000 children from 17 districts of Assam have put forward their issues and recommendations for political parties to include in their manifestos ahead of the 2021 Assembly polls.
They presented a 10-point children’s manifesto to develop an Assam that will be better for children.
The demands include –
- Protection from violence in all forms
- access to nutritious food and to quality and affordable healthcare and education
- sustainable development and
- an end to discrimination based on class, caste, gender, religion or any other ground.
The manifesto was an initiative of a Delhi-based NGO in association with the UNICEF, which had launched the ‘Reimagine’ campaign for building a better post-pandemic world.
As part of the process, 40 organisations from across Assam were sensitised through a series of online workshops between June and September to issues such as child rights, climate change and sustainable development goals.
Relevant questions of UPSC Mains
Young people with ethical conduct are not willing to come forward to join active politics. Suggest steps to motivate them to come forward.[UPSC Mains 2017]
Examine the main provisions of the National Child Policy and throw light on the status of its implementation. [UPSC Mains 2016]
The news article is also important for the topic of GS paper – 2 – “Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders”.
Child rights and sustainable development goals- sustainable development is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. So children are the most important stakeholder in the policy formulation of Sustainable development.
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
India is a signatory to UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
THE RIGHT TO AN IDENTITY
THE RIGHT TO HEALTH
THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION
THE RIGHT TO A FAMILY LIFE
THE RIGHT TO BE PROTECTED FROM VIOLENCE
THE RIGHT TO AN OPINION
THE RIGHT TO BE PROTECTED FROM ARMED CONFLICT
THE RIGHT TO BE PROTECTED FROM EXPLOITATION
Kids Right Index
India stood 117th out of 181 countries in the Kids Right Index, released by Erasmus University, Rotterdam. It is an annual global index which ranks how countries adhere to and are equipped to improve child rights.
Countries are judged on five indicators –
right to life
right to education
- right to health
- right to protection and
- nabling environment for child rights.
We must take care of our children, as William Wordsworth as, "The child is the father of the man".
UPSC Current Affairs: In a first, govt. approves study on ‘status of radicalisation’| Page - 09
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper I – Indian Society | GS Paper III - Linkages between development and spread of extremism
Sub Theme: Research approved by MHA |“Status of radicalisation in India” | UPSC
- The Union Home Ministry has, for the first time, approved a research study on “Status of radicalisation in India”. The study will attempt to legally define “radicalisation” and suggest amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
- Also, The United Nations’ 26th report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team concerning the ISIS, Al-Qaeda and associated individuals and entities had pointed out “significant numbers” of IS and Al-Qaeda members in Kerala and Karnataka.
- The report said, “One member State reported that the ISIL Indian affiliate (Hind Wilayah), which was announced on May 10, 2019, has between 180 and 200 members”. On September 16, Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy informed the Lok Sabha that the
Relevant Question from UPSC Mains
· Religious indoctrination via social media has resulted in Indian youth joining the ISIS. What is ISIS and its mission? How can ISIS be dangerous to the internal security of our country.
· ‘Communalism arises either due to power struggle or relative deprivation. Argue by giving suitable illustrations. [UPSC Mains, GS-Paper 1, 2018]
Relevant Section of Syllabus
· GS Paper III – Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
· GS Paper I – Indian Society – Communalism; Regionalism; Secularism.
In this regard, let us understand basics about Radicalization and its causes.
What is radicalization?
- The word “radical” refers to change in the fundamental nature of something, thus Radicalism is set of beliefs or actions of people who advocate complete political or social change.
- Radicalisation refers to the process of an individual’s transformation from a moderate, law-abiding citizen into an active, anti-state, violent extremist.
Forms of Radicalism in India
- Politico-Religious Radicalism: It is associated with a political interpretation of religion and the defence, by violent means, of a religious identity perceived to be under attack.
- Right-Wing Radicalism: It is a form of radicalization associated with fascism, racism and ultra-nationalism.
- Left Wing Radicalism: anti-capitalist demands and calls for the transformation of political systems considered responsible for producing social inequalities, and that may ultimately employ violent means.
It should be emphasised that becoming radicalised does not automatically mean that a person is engaging, or will engage, in violent or dangerous behaviour. While someone with radical beliefs may seek to substantially transform the nature of society and government. Some movements advocate and attempt to implement positive, non-violent attitudes and actions to change politics and society.
- For example, the suffragettes who struggled to get the right to vote for women in the early twentieth-century can be seen as a radical movement and those involved would have gone through a process of radicalisation to come to these beliefs.
Radicalisation and Violent Extremism
- Violent extremism occurs when “a person or group decides that fear, terror and violence are justified to achieve ideological, political or social change, and acts accordingly”.
- Violent extremism is an extension of radicalisation from a relatively benign expression of a viewpoint to the use of violence to achieve a particular goal.
- In short, radical individuals may hold hateful or anti-social ideas that many others might find offensive or disturbing. Nevertheless, if their ideas do not extend to using violence or advocating the use of violence, they should not be considered violent extremists.
Radicalization in itself is not problematic until individuals decide to act on it. When they do, it leads to following issues:
- A deliberate targeting—with the objective of inflicting harm–of civilians, both individuals and communities, based on their identity;
- A lack of tolerance for multiple narratives that challenge their fundamentalist belief system;
- A related and violent disregard for civic discourse, culture, scientific or rational thought, human rights, due process, and for the traditional and modern embodiments of law and authority;
- A reference to symbols, whether religious (Sharia law, the Bible) or other (e.g. the Swastika).
- In some cases, a rejection of the nation - state or at least of the existing boundaries;
Cause of Radicalisation in India
Internet Radicalization: Internet is used by terrorist as an effective tool for radicalisation and terror financing. Terror groups use the internet to advocate the use of violence to further a religious, ideological or political cause.
Radical ideology, limited understanding
- the presence of a strict and literal understanding of a given ideological belief is a key factor in a person resorting to violent extremism.
- Personal relationships and socialisation influence
- Identity and social exclusion
- A number of studies have found that personal identity issues and wider problems of marginalisation, racism and social exclusion can act as a catalyst for radicalisation and, potentially, violent extremism.
- Perceived injustice for a person’s community
- ‘Communalism arises either due to power struggle or relative deprivation. Argue by giving suitable illustrations.[UPSC Mains, GS-Paper 1, 2018]
Steps needed to deal Radicalism in India:
A consistent counter radical strategy is required to tackle radicalism.
Central agencies like RAW,IB to play important role in covert operations to know the extremist propaganda.
Intelligence Agencies, Law Enforcement Agencies and Judicial Courts need to act in unison on this matter.
Once government identifies any radicalist organization, it needs to take hold of their physical and financial resources.
Holistic action plan
As per the secretary of the Committee on Criminal Reforms, radicalisation is not merely a policing issue. Aggressive policing measures could be counter-productive as the youth who were radicalised were “misguided” and not the culprits. In India, people are sensitive about religion, we need correct interpretation of holy books such as the Quran, Gita or Bible.
If hate can be taught, then love and social responsibilities toward people and the nation can also be taught. This is necessary to de-radicalize people.
Right thinking people in the community will have to be mobilised
Enough number of job opportunities should be provided to people to decrease their chances of joining any radicalist organization.
The corner stone for radicalization is poverty, deprivation and isolation and lack of employment and standard education opportunities, these to be addressed.
It needs to be ensured that people who been de-radicalized feel safe and secure in the country.
Social media to be regulated when such info of such activities to be held and to draw a legalized guide lines to regulate in due means without contradicting the privacy of an individual.
Radicalization offers critical challenges at the national, regional and global levels, rendering inadequate many of the traditional tools of violence prevention, peace building and democratic governance. It requires policy makers and practitioners to appreciate the unique nature of these ideologies, many of them seeking the wholesale destruction of civic order as opposed to its reform or even restructuring.
UPSC Current Affairs: The ‘Time Use Survey’ as an opportunity lost| Page - 06
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Economy | Mains – GS Paper III – Economy | GS Paper III – Social Issues
Sub Theme: Time Use Survey by NSO | measure participation of men and women in paid and unpaid activities | SDG 5.4 | UPSC
- The National Statistical Office (NSO) has recently conducted the first Time Use Survey for the period January to December 2019. In this regard, this article discusses various problems in the methodology adopted by the NSO.
- From the perspective of the examination, the flaws in the Time Use Survey are not important. But, the concept of Time Use Survey, its significance and important highlights become important from the exam perspective.
Details about Time Use Survey
- The National Statistical Office (NSO) has recently conducted the first Time Use Survey for the period January to December 2019.
- The primary objective of Time Use Survey (TUS) is to measure participation of men and women in paid and unpaid activities.
- TUS is an important source of information on the time spent in unpaid care giving activities, volunteer work, unpaid domestic service producing activities of the household members. It also provides information on time spent on learning, socializing, leisure activities, self-care activities, etc., by the household members
Importance of Conducting Time Use Survey
- The Time Use Survey helps us in identification of extent of burden on the women and girls in a country. If the women spend substantial amount of their time on household chores and unpaid services, it will prevent them from engaging in other activities such as employment, leisure etc. leading to gender inequality.
- Hence, through the time use survey, we would get to know the percentage of time spent by men and women on different activities and accordingly enable us to come out with policies to promote empowerment of women.
- Take for instance, SDG 5.4 focuses on Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family.
Highlights of the Report
Higher Burden of Household work and domestic chores on women: An average Indian woman spends 243 minutes on household work and domestic chores which is almost ten times the 25 minutes the average man does.
Engagement in unpaid domestic work: An average Indian woman spends 19.5% of her time engaged in either unpaid domestic work or unpaid care-giving services. On the other hand, men spend only 2.5% of their day on these activities.
Participation of women in different activities: Rural women participate more on paid or unpaid work, whereas urban women participate more in learning, socializing or leisure activities.
UPSC Current Affairs: India’s no to RCEP could still be a NO |Page 06
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Economy | Mains – GS Paper III - Economy
Sub Theme: Issues in RCEP | ISDS Mechanism | UPSC
There have always been doubts whether the TPP was promoting “free trade” or a highly discriminatory “managed trade”. This was because the TPP included several regulatory issues including –
- the controversial labour and environmental standards
- issues such as “anti-corruption”
The could raise regulatory barriers and severely impede trade flows.
RCEP includes traditional market access issues, following the template provided by the World Trade Organization.
However, it also includes issues that are currently being discussed by several groups of WTO members as a part of their agenda to “reform the multilateral trading system” including –
- electronic commerce
- investment facilitation
- and creating an enabling environment for the participation of small and medium enterprises in global trade.
While India has been opposed to the inclusion of all these issues in the WTO, the formation of RCEP could provide serious momentum to the discussions in Geneva
In case of trade in goods, RCEP members have taken big strides towards lowering their tariffs
- China has agreed to cut its average tariffs from 9.4% in 2014 (adopted as the “base year” for tariff cuts”) to 1.2% for Australia and all ASEAN members, by the 10th year of implementation of RCEP.
- Vietnam does not have an exclusion list.
- Malaysia has had the lowest levels of protection and this will be reduced as it implements its commitments under RCEP.
Commitments made by RCEP members for services trade liberalisation do look shallow in terms of the coverage of the sectors –
- Movement of natural persons, an area in which India had had considerable interest, is considerably restricted. RCEP members have allowed relatively limited market access only to individuals in managerial positions or those having high levels of skills.
- The areas of investment and electronic commerce, in both of which India had expressed its reservations on the template adopted during RCEP negotiations, the outcomes are varied. The text on investment rules shows that it is a work-in-progress.
- The rules on dispute settlement procedures are yet to be written in, and, therefore, it will be interesting to see whether the controversial investor-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS) mechanism is included.
In the months following India’s disengagement from RCEP negotiations, several RCEP participating countries had expressed their strong desire to get India re-engaged. Prior to the signing of the deal, RCEP Ministers adopted a Declaration on India’s Participation in the agreement through which the door has been left open to India to join RCEP Agreement as an original signatory. Further, India has been invited to participate in RCEP meetings as an observer and in economic cooperation activities undertaken by RCEP members. And, finally, RCEP members have agreed to commence negotiations with India once India submits a request in writing of its intention to accede to the agreement The question is, have the circumstances under which India had distanced itself from the RCEP negotiations become any better for it to join the agreement in the near future?
The answer seems to be unambiguously in the negative on two counts. The first is that during the RCEP negotiations, India had raised a number of concerns, two of which, namely, the levels of market access it was expected to provide, especially the deep cuts in tariffs on imports from China, and provisions relating to the investment chapter, have become even more significant over the past several months. Since the border clashes, India has imposed a number of import restrictions on Chinese products and has also subjected investment flows from its northern neighbour to greater scrutiny. Both these measures would have been infructuous if India were a party to the RCEP.
Second, India’s initiative for its economic turnaround, the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, is primarily focused on strengthening domestic value chains, while RCEP, like any other FTA is solely focused on promoting regional value chains.