03 December 2023 CNA
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS 1 Related B. GS 2 Related INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. India-Maldives Ties C. GS 3 Related ENVIRONMENT 1. Bhopal disaster & groundwater contamination 2. India not among 118 nations that pledged to push green energy 3. COP-28 & Health D. GS 4 Related E. Editorials F. Prelims Facts 1. Cyclone Michaung 2. Harissa 3. Theyyam 4. BASIC Grouping 5. Malaria in India 6. GIAN scheme 7. AUKUS G. Tidbits H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS 1 Related
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B. GS 2 Related
Syllabus: Regional and global groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Mains: India-Maldives Ties
Context: India and the Maldives, during the sidelines of COP-28, have agreed to establish a core group aimed at intensifying their partnership. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu engaged in a “productive” meeting, addressing diverse sectors of cooperation.
- Historical Relations: The meeting marks the first interaction between Prime Minister Modi and President Muizzu, setting the stage for renewed diplomatic engagements.
- Diverse Sectors: The leaders deliberated on ways to enhance friendship across various sectors, indicating a comprehensive approach to bilateral ties.
- Economic Relations: Focus on bolstering economic relations signifies an intent to strengthen trade and investment ties between the two nations.
- Development Cooperation: Discussions include strategies to enhance development cooperation, likely encompassing infrastructure projects and shared developmental goals.
- People-to-People Ties: Recognition of the importance of people-to-people ties suggests a commitment to fostering cultural, educational, and social exchanges.
- Establishment of Core Group: The decision to form a core group demonstrates a strategic commitment to deepening and institutionalizing the partnership.
- Diplomatic Collaboration: The meeting on the sidelines of COP-28 indicates a shared interest in addressing global challenges, reinforcing diplomatic collaboration.
- Mutual Cooperation: Acknowledgment of the need to work together implies a mutual understanding of shared interests and regional stability.
- First Interaction: The meeting being the first between Modi and Muizzu adds significance, signifying a new phase in bilateral relations.
- Enhanced Cooperation: The commitment to deepen cooperation indicates a willingness to explore new avenues for collaboration, paving the way for joint initiatives.
- Strategic Partnership: The establishment of a core group lays the groundwork for a more structured and strategic partnership, facilitating focused efforts.
- Multi-Sectoral Approach: Addressing diverse sectors highlights the intention to create a multi-faceted relationship, fostering growth and stability.
- Regular Consultations: The core group can serve as a platform for regular consultations, ensuring continuous dialogue and proactive problem-solving.
Nut Graf: The meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Muizzu on the sidelines of COP-28 signifies a commitment to strengthening the ties between India and the Maldives.
C. GS 3 Related
Syllabus: Environmental pollution and degradation
Mains: Groundwater contamination
Context: The aftermath of the Bhopal gas leak disaster of 1984 continues to haunt the residents, especially those residing near the Union Carbide India Ltd. (UCIL) factory premises.
- Legacy of Tragedy: The 1984 methyl isocyanate leakage from the UCIL plant resulted in the death of thousands and left a lasting impact on the health of survivors. Groundwater in residential areas surrounding the factory is found to be contaminated with heavy metals and toxic substances, posing severe health risks.
- Uncleared Toxic Waste: Despite court orders, authorities have not cleared hundreds of tonnes of toxic waste dumped by UCIL within its premises from 1969 to 1984. Additionally, 11 lakh tonnes of contaminated soil, including significant amounts of mercury, remain uncleared, contributing to the ongoing contamination threat.
- Insufficient Government Action: The government’s allocation of funds only for the disposal of a fraction of the waste, despite the magnitude of the problem, reflects a lack of commitment to fully address the environmental hazards posed by the toxic remnants.
- Inadequate Drinking Water Supply: The supply of safe drinking water to affected areas remains inadequate, with residents resorting to borewell water for various purposes due to irregular and limited piped water availability.
- Comprehensive Cleanup: Urgent measures are needed to clear the remaining toxic waste within the UCIL premises and the surrounding areas. This includes the disposal of mercury-laden soil and other hazardous materials, adhering to established environmental guidelines.
- Enhanced Water Supply: The government must invest in improving and expanding the water supply infrastructure to ensure a consistent and safe drinking water source for the affected population. Piped water availability needs to be increased, especially during peak demand periods.
- Medical Support and Rehabilitation: Given the health challenges faced by the survivors, there should be a comprehensive healthcare program in place. Specialized medical support, regular health check-ups, and rehabilitation services should be provided to address the long-term health effects of exposure to toxic substances.
Nut Graf: The Bhopal gas leak tragedy of 1984 continues to cast a shadow over the lives of survivors, with the threat of contaminated groundwater compounding their challenges. Swift and comprehensive action is imperative to address the environmental and health hazards posed by the uncleared toxic waste.
Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation
Prelims: Global Renewables & Energy Efficiency Pledge
Mains: Significance of Global Renewables & Energy Efficiency Pledge
Context: The COP-28 climate summit witnessed the commitment of 118 countries to triple installed renewable energy capacity by 2030, as outlined in the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge. However, India’s notable absence from the list has raised concerns and sparked discussions.
- This move comes despite India’s existing commitment to install 500 GW of electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030, with around 170 GW already in place as of March 2023.
- Non-participation of India and China: India, along with China, has chosen not to sign the pledge despite being major players in the global renewable energy landscape. China, possessing the world’s largest installed renewable energy capacity, also refrained from joining the commitment.
- Existence of problematic language: Reports suggest that some language in the pledge text is deemed “problematic.” However, specific details regarding India’s concerns remain undisclosed.
- Disagreement on large dams: The global community faces a disagreement on whether large dams, considered renewable energy sources by India, should be included in the commitment. This adds a layer of complexity to India’s decision, especially as tripling the current installed capacity would surpass India’s 500 GW commitment.
- Legal sanctity of the pledge: The commitment made by the 118 nations lacks legal sanctity and has not been formally incorporated into the primary negotiating texts for COP-28. This raises questions about the enforceability and accountability of the pledge.
- India’s existing commitments: India has already set ambitious targets as part of its nationally determined contributions (NDCs), aiming to install 500 GW of non-fossil fuel electricity by 2030. The absence of India’s endorsement may be influenced by the belief that the current targets are sufficiently ambitious.
- Clarification of concerns: It is crucial for the international community to address the concerns and reservations expressed by India regarding the language and specific provisions of the pledge. Open dialogue can help resolve issues and encourage broader participation.
- Incorporating large dams: Resolving the global disagreement on the classification of large dams as renewable sources is essential. Clearly defining and including these sources in the commitment could pave the way for India’s participation.
Nut Graf: The absence of India, a significant renewable energy player, from the list of countries committing to tripling installed renewable energy capacity raises questions about the inclusivity and global consensus on such pledges.
Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation
Mains: COP-28 & Health
Context: The United Nations Conference of Parties (COP-28) summit, scheduled in the UAE, is set to mark a historic moment by placing a strong emphasis on the intersection of climate change and public health.
- The summit, after 28 years of climate negotiations, acknowledges the pressing need to address health concerns arising from unabated greenhouse gas emissions, extreme weather events, and environmental changes.
- Climate-Health Nexus: Greenhouse gas emissions contribute to extreme weather events, air pollution, food insecurity, water scarcity, and population displacement, impacting public health.
- Global Disparities: Regions like Africa, Asia, South and Central America, and small island states, which have contributed the least to climate change, bear the brunt of its adverse health effects.
- Vector-Borne Diseases: Altered weather patterns affect the prevalence and distribution of diseases like dengue and malaria, disproportionately impacting marginalized communities.
- Declaration on Climate and Health: Endorsed by 123 governments, the COP-28 Declaration highlights the crucial connection between climate change and health.
- Inclusion of Health Day: The inaugural ‘Health Day’ at COP-28 signifies a shift in focus, prompting discussions on how public health can adapt to climate change and the financing required for this transformation.
- Ministerial Engagement: Health inter-ministerial meetings involve ministers of health, environment, finance, and other relevant departments.
- Mitigating Emissions: The COP-28 Declaration addresses the need for mitigating emissions, emphasizing the importance of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
- Adaptation in Health Sector: Discussions include strategies for the health sector to adapt to climate change, preventing and managing health crises triggered by environmental shifts.
- Climate Financing: The financial aspect is crucial, with calls for contributions from private financial institutions to the Green Climate Fund. However, concerns exist regarding the source and nature of these funds.
- Lack of Focus in G-20 Countries: Wealthy nations, major contributors to historical greenhouse gas emissions, are criticized for insufficient attention to health in their climate action plans.
- Weather-Induced Health Crises: Predictions indicate significant financial tolls and increased poverty due to direct health impacts, necessitating robust climate-health funding mechanisms.
- Financial Considerations: The Declaration endorses funding from various sources, including domestic budgets and private sector actors, raising concerns about the adequacy and nature of financial contributions.
Nut Graf: The COP-28 summit marks a critical juncture where the intersection of climate change and public health takes center stage. The significance of this focus lies not only in acknowledging the challenges but in crafting viable solutions that address the health impacts of climate change.
D. GS 4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
Nothing here for today!!!
F. Prelims Facts
Context: A deep depression over the Bay of Bengal is intensifying, posing a significant threat to the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh (A.P.) and Tamil Nadu (T.N.).
- Anticipated to evolve into Cyclone Michaung by Sunday morning, meteorological authorities predict its landfall on 5th december between Nellore and Machilipatnam. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) warns of winds with sustained speeds of 80-90 kmph, gusting up to 100 kmph.
- Intensification and Movement: The deep depression, currently situated about 420 km southeast of Chennai, is expected to transform into a cyclonic storm and approach the southern A.P. and northern T.N. coasts by 4th december morning.
- Impact on Coastal Regions: The cyclone brings the potential for heavy to very heavy rainfall, with extremely heavy rain in isolated areas of coastal Andhra and Yanam. T.N. faces the prospect of heavy rainfall.
- Disruption of Normalcy: The impending cyclone has led to the cancellation of 144 trains, grounding fishermen, and necessitating the establishment of relief camps in A.P. In T.N., disaster relief preparations are underway, with evacuation plans in place.
- Imminent Threat: With winds reaching 80-90 kmph, the cyclone poses a serious threat to life, property, and infrastructure in the affected regions.
- Economic Impact: The cancellation of trains and grounding of fishing activities may have significant economic repercussions for the coastal communities.
- Preventive Measures: The preparations for rescue, relief, and evacuation underscore the importance of proactive measures to mitigate the impact of natural disasters.
- Evacuation and Relief Camps: Coastal regions are being evacuated, and relief camps are being set up in A.P. to ensure the safety of residents.
- Communication and Awareness: Dissemination of timely and accurate information to the public is crucial to facilitate preparedness and response efforts.
- Deployment of Response Teams: The National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force are strategically positioned to respond swiftly to affected areas.
Context: In the heart of Srinagar’s old city, a silent revolution is underway as women defy centuries-old norms to enjoy Harissa, a traditional meat delicacy once exclusively reserved for men. This winter, women from the Kashmir Women’s Collective are venturing into Harissa shops, challenging societal norms and redefining gender roles.
- Historical Gender Divide: Harissa, a slow-cooked meat-and-grain delicacy, has been a male-exclusive breakfast tradition in Kashmir for centuries. Women venturing out for it was uncommon.
- Cultural Perception: The act of women leaving home at dawn to indulge in Harissa challenges deeply ingrained cultural perceptions and stereotypes regarding women’s roles and public spaces.
- Mental Blocks: Overcoming mental barriers is a struggle for some women, as they fear judgment or disapproval from family members for participating in traditionally male-dominated activities.
- Symbol of Progress: Women participating in Harissa consumption symbolizes a shift towards progressive thought in Kashmir, challenging traditional gender norms.
- Community Integration: The acceptance of women in Harissa shops reflects a changing societal attitude and the gradual breakdown of gender-based barriers in public spaces.
- Camaraderie and Enjoyment: Women emphasize the unique experience of having Harissa in the shop, citing the different atmosphere and camaraderie compared to home.
- Promoting Inclusivity: Initiatives like the Kashmir Women’s Collective play a crucial role in promoting inclusivity and challenging gender-based restrictions.
- Education and Awareness: Promoting awareness about breaking stereotypes and encouraging open-mindedness is essential for societal transformation.
- Creating Safe Spaces: Establishing safe and welcoming environments in public spaces, like Harissa shops, encourages women to participate without fear of judgment
Context: North Kerala, with its rich cultural tapestry, boasts a legacy of heroes celebrated through Vadakkan Pattukal (Ballads of the North). Among these revered figures is Rayarappan Nambiar, not a conventional warrior, but a legendary tiger hunter.
- His story transcends the boundaries of time, echoed not only through ballads but also manifested in a temple and the vibrant ritual performance of ‘Theyyam.’
Tiger Hunting Legacy
- Rayarappan Nambiar, a skilled tiger hunter, left an indelible mark on the history of Thalassery, Kannur. In an era when tiger hunting was a lucrative profession, Nambiar emerged as a young but accomplished hunter, credited with saving the region from numerous wildlife attacks.
- Legend has it that the British ruler of 19th Century Thalassery sought Nambiar’s expertise to address the persistent wildlife threat. Nambiar, hailing from Kattodi, Kozhikode, demanded 41 gunmen for assistance.
- However, during a critical encounter, they abandoned him, leaving Nambiar alone to face the tiger. Despite sustaining injuries, he triumphed, presenting the ruler with the tiger’s tail and tongue. In recognition, Nambiar’s family received land and government jobs. Tragically, Nambiar passed away en route to his home in Nadapuram.
Hero Worship: ‘Nambiar Theyyam’
- The ‘Nambiar Theyyam,’ performed annually at Kattodi Meethal Temple, post-Sivaratri, emerged posthumously. According to folklore, Nambiar appeared in his brother’s dream, urging the performance of his ‘Thira’ (Theyyam). The Theyyam narrates the battle between Nambiar (Asuraputhran) and the tiger (Pulichamundi or Vishnumoorthi).
Sanskritisation of Folklore
- Over time, the Nambiar and ‘Pulichamundi Theyyams’ underwent sanskritisation, blending historical figures with mythical characters. This transformation primarily impacted costumes and names, with ‘Asuraputhran’ and ‘Vishnumoorthi’ being notable examples. However, the core narrative remains unaltered.
Kattodi Meethal Temple
- Founded by Nambiar’s successors, Kattodi Meethal Temple stands as a testament to his legacy. The temple is integral to the annual Theyyam performance, and the Nambiar family continues to oversee its operations.
- During the Theyyam ritual, elder members of the Nambiar family actively participate, wielding spear, sword, and a golden dagger. Their involvement adds a tangible connection to the historical and cultural significance of the performance.
Context: The BASIC grouping, comprising Brazil, India, South Africa, and China, has asserted that the Global Stocktake (GST) should encompass an evaluation of failures and achievements of developed nations.
- The Global Stocktake is a crucial aspect of the Paris Agreement, designed to monitor and assess collective progress towards agreed climate goals. As discussions unfold at COP-28, the BASIC nations are emphasizing the need for a comprehensive assessment within the GST framework.
Significance of Global Stocktake
- The Global Stocktake serves as a vital mechanism within the Paris Agreement, facilitating the evaluation of global efforts to combat climate change. Its role in monitoring implementation and gauging progress is pivotal for ensuring accountability and fostering international cooperation.
BASIC Grouping’s Critique
- During preliminary negotiations, the BASIC grouping expressed dissatisfaction with the fragmented multilateralism of developed nations. The grouping emphasized the importance of the Global Stocktake not only recognizing achievements but also scrutinizing failures, particularly on the part of developed countries.
- Delegates from the Pacific Islands, India, and Kenya confirmed that the BASIC nations put forth demands for the Global Stocktake to encompass both successes and shortcomings. The Indian delegation highlighted that these demands were articulated in the initial stages of negotiations, indicating a proactive stance from the BASIC countries.
Condemnation of Unilateralism and Trade Protectionism
- In addition to their stance on the Global Stocktake, the BASIC grouping condemned unilateralism and trade protectionism. This reflects a broader concern about the need for collaborative and inclusive approaches to address climate challenges
Context: The World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Malaria Report, 2023, reveals that in 2022, India accounted for a significant 66% of malaria cases in the Southeast Asia Region. The report underscores the prevalence of Plasmodium vivax, a protozoan parasite, as a major contributor to malaria cases in the region.
- Despite progress in preventive measures, the report indicates an alarming increase in malaria incidence, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive approach to address emerging challenges.
India’s Dominance in Malaria Cases
- In 2022, India constituted 66% of malaria cases in the WHO Southeast Asia Region.
- Plasmodium vivax, responsible for nearly 46% of cases, emerges as a predominant protozoan parasite causing recurring malaria.
- The World Malaria Report highlights the specific burden on India, signaling the importance of targeted interventions.
Global Malaria Trends
- Globally, there were 249 million malaria cases in 2022, surpassing the pre-pandemic level of 233 million in 2019.
- Despite a 76% decline in malaria cases in the WHO Southeast Asia Region since 2000, the global scenario shows an overall increase.
- The report attributes this rise to disruptions caused by COVID-19, drug and insecticide resistance, humanitarian crises, resource constraints, and climate change impacts.
Climate Change and Malaria
- The report delves into the link between climate change and malaria, emphasizing the substantial risk it poses to malaria eradication efforts.
- Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, highlights the need for a significant pivot in the fight against malaria, considering the impact of climate change.
Emerging Threats to Malaria Response
- The global malaria response faces challenges such as drug and insecticide resistance, resource constraints, delays in program implementation, and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The report underscores the necessity for increased resourcing, strengthened political commitment, data-driven strategies, and innovative tools to counter these threats.
- The report highlights the urgency of addressing malaria in India and globally, emphasizing the need for innovative and adaptive strategies.
- The link between climate change and malaria underscores the interconnectedness of health and environmental challenges.
6. GIAN scheme
Context: The Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN), envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring distinguished scholars from around the world to Indian universities, is set to resume its fourth phase after a temporary hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. With an investment of ₹126 crore, the initiative aims to enhance the academic landscape by facilitating foreign faculty to conduct courses in Indian institutions.
Financial Investment and Foreign Faculty Payments
- The Union government has allocated ₹126 crore to support foreign faculty’s travel and honorarium under GIAN.
- Each foreign faculty member receives $8000 (₹7 lakh) for a week of teaching and $12,000 (₹12 lakh) for a two-week course.
Evaluation and Recommendations
- The National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) recommended the continuation of GIAN after evaluating the scheme’s impact.
- Data reveals that out of 2,101 approved courses, 193 were withdrawn, and 1,772 were successfully delivered till October 2023.
Course Delivery Statistics
- IITs hosted 39% of the courses, while NITs accounted for 24.6%, and State universities for 10.8%.
- State universities and smaller colleges need increased efforts to attract renowned faculty, as GIAN’s impact has been more pronounced in well-funded institutions.
Geographic Distribution of Foreign Faculty
- U.S. academics constituted 41.4% (668) of the foreign faculty, followed by the U.K., Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Nordic countries, China, Japan, Taiwan, ASEAN countries, and others.
- Approximately 72,000 Indian students directly benefited from the expertise of foreign faculty.
Emphasis on Online Learning
- In the fourth phase, the Ministry emphasizes the importance of video recording and optional webcasting of lectures.
- The repository of GIAN lectures is planned to be accessible nationwide through an online consortium, enhancing learning opportunities for students and teachers.
Context: The defense chiefs of the United States, Australia, and Britain recently convened in California to strengthen their collaboration on cutting-edge technologies under the AUKUS partnership.
- This alliance, formed in September 2021, focuses on leveraging advancements in deep space radar, artificial intelligence (AI), and quantum computing to enhance the military capabilities of the member nations in response to global threats, particularly from China.
- AUKUS, comprising Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, was established in September 2021 as a strategic alliance to address evolving geopolitical challenges.
- The recent meeting in Silicon Valley aimed to deepen cooperation and explore opportunities in high-tech domains.
Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability
- The defense chiefs emphasized the significance of the “Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability” program, a collaborative effort that aims to deploy radar detection sites in all three countries by the end of the decade.
- This program’s key feature is the capability to peer 35,000 km into space, enhancing surveillance and monitoring capabilities in the vastness of deep space.
Quantum Technologies Coordination
- The alliance also focuses on coordinating efforts in quantum technologies, specifically for navigation and weapons direction.
- Quantum technologies offer advanced capabilities that can significantly enhance precision and accuracy in military applications.
Resilient Artificial Intelligence
- AUKUS aims to develop resilient artificial intelligence, a critical component for precision targeting in military operations.
- The focus is on creating AI systems that can withstand adversarial attempts to disrupt or compromise their functionality.
Nothing here for today!!!
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Cyclone Michaung:
- Cyclone Michaung is the first tropical cyclone of the year over the Bay of Bengal.
- The cyclone was named by Myanmar.
Which of these statements is/are incorrect?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: Cyclone Michaung is the fourth tropical cyclone of the year over the Bay of Bengal.
Q2. BASIC grouping comprises which of these countries?
- Bangladesh, South Africa, India and China
- Brazil, South Africa, India and China.
- Brazil, Singapore, India and China
- Belarus, Saudi Arabia, India and China
BASIC is a grouping of four newly industrialized countries namely, Brazil, South Africa, India and China.
Q3. Consider the following statements with respect to the Global Initiative of
Academic Networks (GIAN) scheme:
- It is a program of the Ministry of Human Resource and Development.
- It was launched in 2015
- It aims at tapping the global talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs to engage with the institutes of higher education in India
How many of the statements given above are correct?
- Only one
- Only two
- All three
All three statements are correct.
Q4. Theyyam is a popular ritual form of dance worship practiced in
- Kerala and Karnataka
- Telangana and Andhra Pradesh
- Odisha and Telangana
- Kerala and Tamil Nadu
Explanation: Theyyam is a Hindu religious ritual practiced in northern Kerala and some parts of Karnataka.
Q5. Arrange the following countries in the descending order of their installed renewable energy capacity:
- China – U.S.A – Brazil – India
- India – Brazil – U.S.A – China
- U.S.A – China – Brazil – India
- Brazil – U.S.A – China – India
Explanation: China, U.S. and Brazil have the first, second and third largest installed renewable energy capacity followed by India.
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions