07 December, 2020 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu
- Culture & Peace - Editorial (International Relations)
- Growing Closeness of Pakistan-Russia
- A mirage sold as panacea for the unorganised sector (Economy)
- Meghalaya village turns an oasis in coal mine desert (Environment)
- Hampi Chariot can't be touched (History & Culture)
UPSC Current Affairs: Culture & peace | Page 6
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: International Relations | Mains – GS Paper II–International Relations
Sub Theme:| UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) on the ‘Culture of Peace’| UPSC
Context: In a strong statement at the UN General Assembly discussing resolutions of the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) on the ‘Culture of Peace’, India criticised the world body for what it called “selectivity” in seeking to protect Abrahamic religions — Islam, Christianity and Judaism — over others including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhist & Jains.
- UNAOC is the premier global platform for intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation among member states.
- The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)was established in 2005, as the political initiative of Mr. Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General and co-sponsored by the Governments of Spain and Turkey.
- AHigh-Level Group of experts was formed by Mr. Annan to
- explore the roots of polarization between societies and cultures and
- to recommend a practical programme of action to address the issue.
- The Report of the High-Level Group provides analysis and put forward practical recommendations that form the basis for the implementation plan of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
- The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations High Representativeand Secretariat are based and operating from New York.
- The Alliance maintains a global network of partners including states, international and regional organizations, civil society groups, foundations, and the private sector to improve cross-cultural relations between diverse nations and communities.
- On 7 January 2019, E. Mr. Miguel ÁngelMoratinosassumed the position of High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
- In its 2006 report, the High-Level Group identified four priority areas for action: Education, Youth, Migration, Media.
- In 2019, Mr. Moratinos announced that he intends to propose adding “Women as peace mediators”as an additional pillar of UNAOC.
Backdrop to the event
- UN General Assembly (UNGA) approved a Pakistan-led resolution on “Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace”.
- Adoption of the resolution by the UNGA “is part of Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts inter alia for raising awareness about Islamophobia and countering the defamation of sacred religious personalities and symbols.
- Islamophobia can be referred as an exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from social, political, and civic life
- Pakistan’s Islamophobia resolution comes in the wake of a recent statement – A Call for Mutual Respect – given by the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Miguel ÁngelMoratinos.
- The UN resolution, which was co-sponsored by Pakistan and the Philippines, was adopted because among the P5 Nations, France, US & UK abstained from voting whereas Russia and China voted in favour of the resolution.
Press Statement bySpokesperson for the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations on the sectarian violence in New Delhi, India
- The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Mr. Miguel Moratinos expresses his grave concern over the violent sectarian clashes that took place between Hindus and Muslims throughout the week in the capital New Delhi.
- The deadly violence resulted in the death of approximately 40 people and injuring 300 mostly Muslims as well as setting fire on shops and mosques. At the center of these confrontations is the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which passed last December triggering many protests by the Muslim community in India who are nearly 170 million.
- The High Representative for UNAOC calls for calm and refraining from resorting to such acts of violence. He notes that India is the world’s largest democracy enriched by its multi-ethnic, multi-religious society. He reiterates that inclusive societies where equal citizenship rights prevail are essential to building peaceful societies.
What did India highlight?
- India’s Ambassador to the UN called on the UN not to take sides when it comes to religion. We call on countries not to divide the member states by bringing in a one-sided discourse or resolutions on religion, thereby politicising it.
- According to Indian officials, Pakistan’s agenda to badger India over the issue of Kashmir by using such resolutions that tacitly support Islamophobia. India is also concerned that this will weaken the country’s counterterrorism efforts and cross-border terrorism.
- Addressing the UNGA session on ‘Culture of Peace’, First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN said, “The United Nations is not a body which should take sides when it comes to religion. If we are indeed selective, we will only end up proving Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations”.
- India has said that as a multilateral body, the UN needs to “recognise all religions equally”according to contemporary times, or else the focus on attacks to religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism will get diminished by the international community.
- India particularly pointed out that UN did not condemn attacks on other religious groups including Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists, who have suffered terror strikes and seen their shrines destroyed in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- India also highlighted that UNGA statement welcomed the Kartarpur Gurudwara corridor agreement between India and Pakistan, but failed to note that Pakistan’s government has taken over the management of the Sikh shrine, which it called a contravention of the agreement and a violation of Sikh beliefs.
- India’s delegate also accused Pakistan of a “culture of hatred” against “religions in India” and fostering cross-border terrorism and said a culture of peace cannot exist until that is changed.
- In the wake of statement made by High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) on Delhi Riots, India is keen to push back on the UNAOC and other UN arms, like the UN Human Rights Council, that have criticised the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
India’s Response & Link to Citizenship Amendment Act
- India’s response to UNAOC is appreciable but there are chances that the world body may see it in the backdrop of passing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 by India amid huge protest especially by Muslims in India.
- CAA has been criticised for offering fast-track citizenship to only a select group of religions, leaving out Muslims.
- Many states in India are planning to pas anti-conversion law which can be said to be violative right to privacy and right to freedom of religion and conscience as highlighted in Article 25 of the Indian Constitution.
- So, in an effort to reach out to the world body not being selective, India must ensure that its domestic laws does not isolate India when it comes to taking important strategic decisions in United Nation in the backdrop of India-China border stand-off.
Russia - Pak
- Russia started collaborating with Pakistan in the wake of announcement of US forces withdrawal from Afghanistan.
- Russia is particularly interested in Afghanistan due to its impact on security in the broader Central Asian region and also concerned about the threat of terrorism and drugs flowing into its borders via Central Asia.
- Russia sees Pakistan as an important player in dealing with the evolving situation in Afghanistan
- 2016 saw China, Pakistan and Russia come together to discuss Afghanistan.
- The inclusion of Pakistan into SCO and the finalisation of the roadmap for the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group gives the two countries another venue for cooperation on the issue.
- Pakistan, which has seen military assistance from US frozen during the Trump administration and a worsening of overall ties, has been eager to embrace Moscow.
- Military drills between both the countries has become an annual feature since 2016.
- India started objecting to such military drills when it was held in the Gilgit Baltistan region in 2016
- A naval cooperation agreement has also been signed in 2018. The Russia-Pakistan Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism and other Challenges to International Security that had since its establishment in 2002 only held four rounds of meetings till 2009, was revived in 2014
Concerns for India
- The Indo-Russia relationship far surpasses the newer relationship with Pakistan but concerns in New Delhi remain.
- The willingness of Russia to engage with Pakistan despite the concerns of its special and strategic partner reflect not just its immediate interests in Afghanistan and Central Asia but is also a way for it to signal its displeasure to India regarding its increasingly close ties to the US.
- Besides an enhanced cooperation with US, the enunciation of the Indo-Pacific policy and Moscow’s increased closeness to China has also complicated the dynamics.
- Russia is aware of the growing asymmetry of its ties with China and the weakness of its position in the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific.
- In this situation, if India senses any formation of Russia-China-Pakistan axis, it would be deeply detrimental to Moscow’s interests.
- Not only is India a time-tested strategic partner, it is also a significantly larger market than Pakistan, the relationship with whom forms a critical part of the multi-vector policy Russia aims to follow.
- Also, Russia would not consider a win for itself if its actions push India to move further closer to the US. India, with its growing economic and strategic influence, is important for Russia’s pivot to Asia to succeed.
UPSC Current Affairs:A mirage sold as a panacea for the unorganised sector| Page 06
UPSC Syllabus: | Mains – GS Paper III – Economy
Sub Theme:|Labour Reforms | UPSC
in order to reduce the complexity of the labour laws and reduce their compliance burden, the Parliament has recently passed the 4 labour Codes- Code on Wages, Industrial Relations Code bill, Code on Social Security, Occupational health, safety and working conditions.
However, there has been growing opposition to these labour Codes by various Trade Unions wherein it has been highlighted that these reform measures would go against the Interests of the Workers.
All the aspects related to Labour Reforms have been covered in our DNS dated 22-Sep-2020. (Link: THE HINDU Analysis, 22 September 2020 (Daily News Analysis for UPSC) – DNS)
In this video, we had covered the following aspects:
- Labour Laws in India- Problems and Challenges
- Critical Analysis of the 4 Labour Codes- Benefits and Challenges.
This article analyses the reasons for the opposition of the newly introduced Labour Codes. All of these aspects have been covered in our DNS Video.
Provisions under Code of Wages 2020: The central government will fix a National floor Level Minimum wage, taking into account living standards of workers. Further, it may set different floor wages for different geographical areas. The minimum wages decided by the central or state governments must be higher than the floor wage. In case the existing minimum wages fixed by the central or state governments are higher than the floor wage, they cannot reduce the minimum wages.
Concerns raised in the article:
The article highlights that recently, the Government has decided to fixNational floor Level Minimum wage at Rs 202 per day, which is quite lower. An expert committee appointed by the Ministry of Labour had recommended the National floor Level Minimum wage at Rs 375 per day. Further, the floor wage is lower than the poverty line family expenditure estimated by the Rangarajan Committee in 2011. Hence, there is a need to increase the National floor Level Minimum wages.
UPSC Current Affairs: Meghalaya village turns an oasis in coal mine desert
UPSC Syllabus:| Mains – GS Paper III – Environment
Sub Theme:|Mining | | UPSC
- Rat-hole coal mining had sucked the life out of Moolamylliang less than a decade ago. The village in the East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya has now risen like the proverbial phoenix to become a clean, green dot in a vast black blot.
- Despite a ban, rat-hole mining remains a prevalent practice for coal mining in Meghalaya, where a mine has recently collapsed.
What is Rat-Hole Mining?
- Rat hole mining involves digging of very small tunnels, usually only 3-4 feet high, which workers (often children) enter and extract coal.
- The National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned it in 2014, on grounds of it being unscientific and unsafe for workers. The state (Meghalayan) government has challenged the NGT ban in the Supreme Court.
Why is Rat Hole mining so prevalent in Meghalaya?
- According to available government data, Meghalaya has a total coal reserve of 640 million tonnes, most of which is mined unscientifically by individuals and communities.
- Since the coal seam is extremely thin in Meghalaya, no other method would be economically viable. Removal of rocks from the hilly terrain and putting up pillars inside the mine to prevent collapse would be costlier. In Meghalaya this is the locally developed technique and the most commonly used one.
Impact of Rat Hole Mining
- The water sources of many rivers, especially in Jaintia Hills district, have turned acidic.
- The water also has high concentration of sulphates, iron and toxic heavy metals, low dissolved oxygen (DO) and high BOD, showing its degraded quality.
- The roadside dumping of coal is a major source of air, water and soil pollution.
- Off road movement of trucks and other vehicles in the area for coal transportation also adds to the ecological and environmental damage of the area.
- The mines branch into networks of horizontal channels, which are at constant risk of caving in or flooding.
UPSC Current Affairs: Hampi chariot can’t be touched| Page - 08
UPSC Syllabus:Prelims: Art & Culture |
Sub Theme:Hampi| UPSC
Group of Monuments at Hampi
- The site of Hampi comprises mainly the remnants of the capital city of the Vijayanagara Empire (14th-16th century CE), the last great Hindu Kingdom.
- It is located in the Tungabhadra basin in Central Karnataka, Bellary District.
- In 1986, Hampi was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
- Hampi’s spectacular setting is dominated by river Tungabhadra, craggy hill ranges and open plains, with widespread physical remains.
- Hampi’s spectacular setting is dominated by river Tungabhadra, craggy hill ranges and open plains, with widespread physical remains.
- There are more than 1600 surviving remains that include forts, riverside features, royal and sacred complexes, temples, shrines, pillared halls, Mandapas, memorial structures, gateways, defence check posts, stables, water structures, etc.
- Dravidian architecture flourished under the Vijayanagar Empire and its ultimate form is characterised by their massive dimensions, cloistered enclosures, and lofty towers over the entrances encased by decorated pillars.
- The Vitthla temple is the most exquisitely ornate structure on the site and represents the culmination of Vijayanagar temple architecture.
- It is a fully developed temple with associated buildings like Kalyana Mandapa and Utsava Mandapa within a cloistered enclosure pierced with three entrance Gopurams.
- Kalyaana Mandapas were halls used for marriage or other ceremonies
- Utsava Mandapa were the festivals hall
- In addition to the typical spaces present in contemporary temples, it boasts of a Garuda shrine fashioned as a granite ratha and a grand bazaar street.
- This complex also has a large Pushkarani (stepped tank) with a Vasantotsava mandapa (ceremonial pavilion at the centre), wells and a network of water channels.
- Construction materials
- Most of the structures at Hampi are constructed from local granite, burnt bricks and lime mortar.
- The massive fortification walls have irregular cut size stones with paper joints by filling the core with rubble masonry without any binding material.
- The gopuras over the entrances and the sanctum proper have been constructed with stone and brick.
- The roofs have been laid with the heavy thick granite slabs covered with a water proof course of brick jelly and lime mortar.
- Vijayanagara architecture is also known for its adoption of elements of Indo Islamic Architecture in secular buildings like the Queen’s Bath and the Elephant Stables, representing a highly evolved multi-religious and multi-ethnic society.