13 September, 2021 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu

  • Haryana govt. says uncultivable land outside Old Gurugram not Aravalis - Environment & Ecology
  • A global war on terror with no tangible results International Relation
  • What the Q1 GDP numbers say Indian Economy
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    UPSC Current Affairs: Haryana govt. says uncultivable land outside Old Gurugram not Aravalis | Page – 03 

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper I, III: Indian Geography, ecology and environment.  Sub Theme: Environmental issues | UPSC  

    The Aravalli Range is a mountain range in Northern-Western India, running approximately 670 km in a south-west direction, starting near Delhi, passing through southern Haryana and Rajasthan, and ending in Gujarat. 

    The peaks reach their maximum height in the south-western segment. The highest peak is Guru Shikhar at 1,722 metres, near Mount Abu and hills around Udaipur. By the time the Aravallis reach Delhi, they get inundated under a swathe of young alluvium, only rising occasionally as hillocks like the Raisina Hill, upon which rest the powerful government offices, the North and South Block. The north-eastern part of the Aravallis upon which Delhi sits has an average elevation of 400-600 m. But the range does not end there. It travels beyond, but this time under the ground right up to Haridwar after which it disappears. The hidden limb of the Aravallis that extends from Delhi to Haridwar creates a divide between the drainage of rivers of the Ganga and the Indus The Aravalli Range is considered to be the oldest fold mountain system in the world, having its origin in the Proterozoic Era. 

    These are fold mountains of which rocks are formed primarily of folded crust, when two convergent plates move towards each other by the process called orogenic movement. 

    The Aravallis date back to millions of years when a pre-Indian sub-continent collided with the mainland Eurasian Plate. 

    The natural history of the Aravalli Range dates back to times when the Indian Plate was separated from the Eurasian Plate by an ocean. It is part of the Indian Shield that was formed from a series of cratonic collisions. In ancient times, Aravalli were extremely high but since have worn down almost completely by millions of years of weathering, whereas the Himalayas being young fold mountains are still continuously rising. Aravalli, being the old fold mountains, have stopped growing higher due to the cessation of upward thrust caused by the stopping of movement of the tectonic plates in the Earth's crust below them. The Aravalli Range joins two of the ancient earth's crust  segments that make up the greater Indian craton, the Aravalli Craton which is the Marwar segment of earth's  crust to the northwest of the Aravalli Range, and the Bundelkand Craton segment of earth's crust to  the southeast of the Aravalli Range. Cratons, generally found in the interiors of tectonic plates, are old and stable parts of the continental lithosphere that has remained relatively undeformed during the cycles of merging and rifting of continents. 

    Mining of copper and other metals in the Aravalli range dates back to at least the 5th century BCE, based on carbon dating. Recent research indicates that copper was already mined here during the Sothi-Siswal period going back to c. 4000 BCE. Ancient Kalibangan and Kunal, Haryana settlements obtained copper here. 

    Three major rivers and their tributaries flow from the Aravalli, namely Banas and Sahibi rivers which are tributaries of Yamuna, as well as Luni River which flows into the Rann of Kutch. 

     North-to-south flowing rivers originate from the western slopes of the Aravalli range in Rajasthan, pass through the southeastern portion of the Thar Desert, and end into Gujarat. 

    o Luni River, originates in the Pushkar valley near Ajmer, ends in the marshy lands of Rann of Kutch. It used to be one of the channel of the Saraswati River, as a result its banks have several Indus Valley Civilisation sites including Lothal. 

    o Sakhi River, ends in the marshy lands of Rann of Kutch. 

    o Sabarmati River, originates on the western slopes of Aravalli range of the Udaipur District, end into the Gulf of Cambay of the Arabian Sea. 

    West to north-east flowing rivers, originating from the eastern slopes of Aravalli range in Rajasthan, flow northwards to Yamuna. 

     Chambal River, a southern-side tributary of Yamuna River. 

    o Banas River, a northern-side tributary of Chambal River. 

    SIGNIFICANCE OF ARAVALLI 

    The Aravallis have had a profound global effect and continue to influence the subcontinent’s climate. Some 750 million years ago, for example, a massive Malani volcanic eruption created the mesa upon which Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh fort stands today. At that time, our planet was covered from pole to pole by ice, a condition which palaeontologists christened Snowball Earth. The copious lava flow  from the Malani event was, perhaps, the first trigger to liberate Earth from the grip of ice and eventually led to the explosion of multicellular life on the planet. 

    Aravallis were also an impediment that prevented the spread of sediments brought down by fast flowing rivers that emerged from the young Himalayan ranges. Soil scientists believe that the alluvium that lies east of Delhi is the Varanasi or “older” alluvium deposited between 32 million and about half a million years ago. To the west of the Delhi Ridge lies the Ambala or “younger” alluvium (aged only 26,000 to 12,000 years old) which overlies the “older” alluvium. 

    The Aravallis also act as a water divide between the Indus basin in the north-west and Ganga basin in the east, covering extensive areas of the plains of north India. 

    In modern times too, the Aravallis continue to have an impact upon the climate of northwest India and beyond. During monsoons, the mountain range gently guides the attenuated monsoon clouds eastwards towards Shimla and Nainital, thus helping nurture the sub-Himalayan rivers and feeding the north Indian plains. In the winter months, it protects the fertile alluvial river valleys (the para Indus and Gangetic) from the assault of cold westerly winds from Central Asia. The Aravallis also impact the ground-water along the areas they pass through. The seemingly impervious granitegneiss and quartzite rocks bear small crack and fractures, and the somewhat porous sandstones and marble on top help regulate the flow of water. Hydrologists are now beginning to appreciate that the quartzite and granitic networks under the deep alluvium form complex groundwater aquifers which hold immense quantities of water and act to release it slowly. A Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) report in June 2017 said aquifers in Aravallis are interconnected and any alternation in the pattern can disturb the groundwater condition of Haryana and Delhi. 

    Aravallis range of mountains, the last barrier between the expanding desert and the north Indian The occurrence of normal rainfall in north-west India depends much on the preservation of lush green forest cover and the resultant normal evapo-transpiration process over the Aravalli hills. Aravalli hills are rich in minerals like Granite, Marble and sandstone. 

    The Aravalli is rich in biodiversity and provides habitat to 300 native plant species, 120 bird species and many exclusive animals like the jackal and mongoose. 

    Wildlife and ecological significance 

    o The Sariska-Delhi leopard wildlife corridor or the Northern Aravalli leopard wildlife corridor is a 200 km long important biodiversity and wildlife corridor which runs from the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan to Delhi Ridge.

    o Southern Aravalli leopard wildlife corridor runs from Sariska and Ranthmbor to Rann of Kutch National Park and Gir National Park in Gujarat. 

    o Sultanpur National Park 

    o Sariska Tiger Reserve 

    o Ranthambore National Park 

    o National Chambal Sanctuary 

     

    UPSC Current Affairs: What the Q1 GDP numbers say I Page- 07 

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS III: Indian economy 

    Theme: GDP trends | UPSC  

    Recently the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) released  the GDP data for the first quarter of the current financial year (2021-22). Each year, the MoSPI releases four quarterly GDP data updates and these help  observers assess the current health of the Indian economy. 

    What data do these updates contain? 

    Each such release provides data for two variables — one tracks the total demand in the  economy and the other the total supply. 

    The first is GDP, which is the total monetary value of final goods and services — that  is, those that are bought by the final user — produced in a country in a given period of time (in this case a quarter).  In other words, it measures the value of total output in the economy by tracking the total demand. The other is Gross Value Added or GVA. It looks at how much value was added (in  money terms) in different productive sectors of the economy. As such, it tracks the total output in the economy by  looking at the total supply. 

    On the face of it, the total output should be the same but every economy has a  government, which imposes taxes and also provides subsidies. 

    As such, GDP is “derived” by taking the GVA data and adding the taxes on different  products and then subtracting all the subsidies on products. In other words, GDP = (GVA) + (Taxes earned by the government) — (Subsidies provided by the  government) As explained, the difference between these two absolute values will provide a sense of  the role the government played. As a thumb rule, if the government earned more from taxes than what it spent  on subsidies, GDP will be higher than GVA. If, on the other hand, the government provided subsidies in excess of  its tax revenues, the absolute level of GVA would be higher than the absolute level of GDP. And what do the latest data show? 

    The data showed that in Q1 of 2021-22, India’s GDP grew by 20.1% while the GVA grew by 18.8%. These are year on-year comparisons; in other words, the total output (as measured by GDP) of the  Indian economy in the first three months of the current financial year (April, May and June) was 20.1% more than  the total output created by the economy in the same months last year. The total output, as measured by GVA, grew  by 18.1% YoY. 

    It is important to remember that GDP and GVA had contracted by 24.4% and 22.4%,  respectively, in Q1 of the last financial year. 

    Has India registered a V-shaped recovery? 

    No. There is a difference between an economy benefiting from a “low base effect” and  one registering a V shaped recovery. A V-shaped recovery requires the absolute GDP of an economy  getting back to the level before the crisis. 

    The total GDP and the total GVA are shown in the tables. India’s total output in Q1,  whether measured through GDP or GVA, is nowhere near what it was in Q1 of 2019-20 (the year before the  pandemic struck). In fact, both variables suggest India’s output levels are closer to 2017-18 levels. In other words,  India produced the same amount of goods and services in Q1 this year as it produced in Q1 four years ago. The lofty increases in GDP and GVA are in percentage terms, and while they look good  and should not be scoffed at, they are for the most part a statistical illusion created by the very low base set by the  complete nationwide lockdown in Q1 of last year. 

    It is for this reason that Aditi Nayar, Chief Economist, ICRA (a rating agency), states,  “the sharp YoY expansion in Q1 FY2022 is analytically misleading with a sequential slowdown of 16.9% over Q4  FY2021 and a shortfall of 9.2% relative to the pre-Covid level of Q1 FY2020”. Here’s another way to understand what is happening. Imagine that the GDP in Q1 of  2019-20 was Rs 100. Then it fell by 24% in Q1 of 2020-21 to be Rs 76. Then in Q1 of current financial year the GDP  rose by 20% to become Rs As such, even though the GDP has risen 20% in percentage terms, the actual output  is Rs 9 lower than it was two years ago. Add to that the loss of two full years of growth that would have  happened were it not for the pandemic. If we compare quarter-on-quarter growth — Q1 FY22 to Q4 FY21 — then the GDP  contracted by almost 17%. It is for these reasons that in times of massive crises, it is always better to look at the  absolute levels of output to correcting assess the state of an economy’s health. Percentage changes work well in  normal times. 

    What do the sub-components of GDP tell us about the state of the economy? The GDP data show what is happening to the four engines of economic growth in any  economy. In India’s context, the biggest engine is consumption (C) demand from private individuals. This demand  typically accounts for 56% of all GDP; technically called “Private Final Consumption Expenditure” or PFCE. The  second-biggest engine is the investment (I) demand generated by private sector businesses. This accounts for 32% of  all GDP in India; technically called Gross Fixed Capital Formation or GFCF. The third engine is the  demand for goods and services generated by the government (G). This demand accounts for 11% of India’s GDP, and  is called “Government Final Consumption Expenditure (GFCE)”. The fourth engine is the demand created by “Net  Exports” (NX). This is arrived at by subtracting the demand Indians have for foreign goods (that is, India’s imports)  from the demand that foreigners have for Indian goods and services (that is, India’s exports). Since India  typically imports more than it exports, it is the smallest engine of GDP growth; it is often negative. So, GDP = C + I + G + NX As the Table on GDP data shows, private demand, the biggest engine of growth, in Q1  of the current year was down to almost exactly the level where it was in 2017-18. 

    This is the most important variable and the most worrisome one as well. That’s because  unless demand from private individuals increases, business will not be enthused to invest more. It is no  surprise to find that the second biggest engine — investments or GFCF — is languishing at 2018-19 levels.

    The government’s strategy has been to revive growth by stimulating private sector  investments. To this end, the government has given tax breaks and other incentives to existing companies owners and  new entrepreneurs. But unless private consumption demand rises, this strategy is unlikely to bear fruit. It is also noteworthy that government expenditures (GFCE) have actually fallen below  last year’s levels. This could be a drag on future growth. At a time when all other sectors are struggling to create  demand, the government is expected to resort to what is called a “counter-cyclical” fiscal policy and spend more  than usual. 

    What do the GVA data say about the economy? 

    They tell us which specific sectors are doing well and which are struggling to add  value. The first check is whether the GVA of a sector in Q1 was more than in 2019-20. As  things stand, only two sectors — Agriculture etc. and Electricity and other utilities — have managed to grow more  than they did in 2019-20. 

    But the most worrisome bit is that the GVA of ‘Trade, Hotels, Transport,  Communication & Services related to Broadcasting’ and ‘Construction’ is less than what it was even in 2017-18. These are  two sectors that created lots of jobs for both unskilled and skilled workers in the past, and their weakness implies  weak higher unemployment levels. The former in particular is the sector that has most of the contact services. From  a policy perspective, a recovery here requires fuller levels of vaccination and improved public confidence. 

     

    UPSC Current Affairs: A global war on terror with no tangible results I Page-06 UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS II: International relations 

    Theme: Terrorism | UPSC  

    The War on Terror (WoT), also known as the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and the United  States War on Terror, is the name given to the US government's ongoing international military operation  initiated in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. The campaign's primary targets are extremist  groups across the Muslim world, with Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and their many franchise groups  being the most prominent. The campaign's name is based on a war metaphor to allude to a wide range  of acts that do not constitute a traditional war. 

    Criticism of the War on Terrorism addresses the issues, morals, ethics, efficiency, and other  questions surrounding the War on Terrorism. Arguments are also made against the phrase itself, calling  it a misnomer.

    The concept of a "war" on "terrorism" has sparked debate, with some claiming that  It has been used by participating governments to further long-standing policy goals, curtail  civil freedoms, and violate human rights.  

    • Some argue that the term "war" is inappropriate in this context (as in the "War on Drugs")  since they feel there is no real opponent and that international terrorism is unlikely to be  eradicated through military methods.  
    • while others argue that "terrorism" is a technique rather than an opponent, and that calling  it a "war on terror" obscures the distinctions between wars. Anti-occupation insurgents and  international jihadists, for example. 

    Criticism of Methods 

    • Against International Law 

    o According to Ira Chernus, a professor at the University of Colorado, the war on  terrorism's philosophy ultimately leads to a state of continuous war.  

    o It fails to meet one of the prerequisites of a fair war, and that by fighting a pre-emptive  war, the US has undermined international law and the UN's authority, notably the UN  Security Council.  

    o On this basis, it has been argued that the US violated international law, including the UN  Charter and the Nuremberg standards, by attacking a country that does not constitute an  immediate threat and without UN support. 

    Violation of State sovereignty. 

    Afghanistan was primarily invaded due to the fact that people who the US considered to be  terrorists linked to the 9/11 attacks and living in Afghanistan at the time were not handed  over to the US.  

    But it seems dialogue and diplomacy could have been pursued in order to reach an  agreement, rather than rushing to the conclusion that an invasion was the only means for the  US to achieve its objectives. This is because international law states that other means to  resolve disputes should be looked to before considering the act of war.  

    This is affirmed by Article 2(4) of the UN charter which states that ‘all Members shall  refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the  territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner  inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations. 

    In the aftermath of 9/11, the United Nations Security Council drafted two resolutions in  response to the attacks, which contained information as to what would constitute an  appropriate response. The two resolutions adopted were resolution 1368 and resolution 1373,  both of which dealt with ‘threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts’.  Neither of these two resolutions allowed for military action on the ground in  Afghanistan as a result of the attacks, nor did either contain any aggressive language that  could be used to justify military action.

    • Terrorism is a criminal act 

    Date: 13-September-21 DNS Notes – Revision

    o Many individuals believe that waging a "war" on terrorism is clearly immoral because  terrorist attacks are criminal crimes, similar to murder, and should be investigated by  the police, with the culprits brought to justice and given a fair trial in a court of law.  Military action frequently intensifies violence by murdering civilians and maybe  producing more terrorists from devastated persons seeking vengeance. 

    • Human right violations  

    o Many people feel that interrogation methods used by US soldiers in places like  Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Abu Ghraib, Iraq, violate international Geneva  Conventions.  

    o They feel that if US forces behave immorally or unethically, they are no better than the  militants they are attempting to apprehend. 

    o Enemy combatant designation 

    Enemy combatant is a person who, either lawfully or unlawfully, engages in  hostilities for the other side in an armed conflict.  

    After the September 11 attacks, the term "enemy combatant" was used by the  George W. Bush administration to include an alleged member of al-Qaeda or the  Taliban being held in detention by the U.S. government. In this sense, "enemy  combatant" actually refers to persons the United States regards as unlawful  combatants, a category of persons who do not qualify for prisoner-of-war status  under the Geneva Conventions. 

    o Extraordinary rendition:  

    Practice of kidnapping or capturing people and sending them to countries where  they face a high risk of torture or abuse in interrogations. 

    o Secret Jails:  

    America has a network of secret jails for terror suspects , Abu Ghraib is but one  example. Many of the countries those jails are in would consider the existence of  secret torture jails in their territory without their knowledge as an act of war if a  lesser nation would have done it. 

    • Civil liberties are curtailed to fight terror 

    o Some Libertarians argue that waging a "war" on terrorism is bad because it elevates  national security to the point that any sacrifice of human liberty and freedom, no matter  how modest, is judged necessary. 

    o They argue that this leads to not just an unjustified erosion of liberty, but also to a  widespread climate of fear, making individuals reluctant to use their civil liberties. They  warn of the dangers of mass monitoring enslaving the people, as everyone will eventually  be suspected of being a potential terrorist. 

    • War on Terror as a pretext to meet American Objectives: 

    o Some have argued that part of the "War on Terrorism" has little to do with its stated  purpose. They point out that Iraq had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks and  that the invasion of a largely secular country was carried out on the basis of faulty  intelligence.  

    • Failed to meet the long term stated objectives:  

    o Afghanistan has again fallen into the hands of Taliban with greater and deeper control  of the country.  

    o USA interventions in Syria, Iraq and Lybia have given rise to IS which is now a threat  to the global community.  

    • Civilian deaths 

    o Civilian deaths caused by United States and Coalition military action have been  criticized.

    Date: 13-September-21 DNS Notes – Revision

    o Within Iraq, these estimates are between 50,000 to 100,000, with 100 deaths per day. The  United States Department of Defense does not record the deaths of non-Coalition persons, a  so-called " body count."  

    On this basis, it has been argued that the US violated international law, including the UN Charter and  the Nuremberg standards, by attacking a country that does not constitute an immediate threat and  without UN support. 

    Another criticism that has been raised is that the United States has set a precedent, under the premise of  which any nation could justify the invasion of other states. 

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