25 September 2023 CNA
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS 1 Related B. GS 2 Related C. GS 3 Related ENVIRONMENT AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT 1. Fukushima N-wastewater controversy D. GS 4 Related E. Editorials INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. China’s challenge in Arunachal Pradesh POLITY 1. Delimitation of electoral constituencies F. Prelims Facts 1. Osiris-Rex mission to Bennu asteroid 2. MEME in NEP G. Tidbits 1. Five Eyes Alliance 2. Buddhavanam project H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS 1 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
B. GS 2 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
C. GS 3 Related
Syllabus: Environment Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation and Environmental impact assessment. Disaster Management (Laws, Acts etc.)
Mains: Environmental impact assessment, nuclear policy and safety
Prelims: Fukushima nuclear accident
Japan’s plan to release Fukushima nuclear plant wastewater into the sea faces backlash over safety concerns, impacting regional politics and public perception.
- In April 2021, Japan announced plans to release contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.
- The wastewater, a byproduct of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, poses a dilemma due to limited storage space and safety concerns.
Treatment of Contaminated Water
- Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) manages the treatment of water.
- Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) removes 62 types of radioactive materials but not tritium.
- Tritium concentration is claimed to meet international standards, and its radiation is considered weak.
- Public, both domestic and foreign, express health concerns, particularly in countries heavily reliant on seafood.
- Protests in Seoul, South Korea, and a ban on Japanese seafood by China highlight public opposition.
- Exposure to low-level radiation, including tritium, can harm humans and the environment.
- Tritium can pass through the placenta, potentially causing developmental issues in babies.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is criticised for potentially downplaying risks.
Rationale for Release
- Limited storage space and risk of potential leakages leave Japan with no alternative.
- Releasing wastewater is cost-effective compared to storing it across the country.
- Sustaining openness regarding the potential dangers and the actions being implemented has bolstered Japan’s position both domestically and in terms of its international relations especially with South Korea.
- Geopolitical considerations, especially regarding China and North Korea, influence leaders’ actions.
- China’s response is viewed within a broader geopolitical context.
- China aims to exploit tensions between South Korea and Japan but may not succeed in further dividing them.
- Japan plans a 30-year release of treated wastewater.
- Continual monitoring of seawater radiation is planned.
- Compensation for affected fishers and a revival of the nuclear power industry are part of Japan’s strategy.
- The Fukushima N-wastewater controversy is a complex issue involving safety concerns, regional politics, and the challenge of balancing scientific evidence with public perception.
- Japan’s efforts to address the issue include transparency and compensation measures.
Nut Graf: Amidst growing opposition, Japan’s decision to discharge Fukushima’s treated radioactive water highlights the delicate balance between scientific safety claims and public fears, with implications for regional relations.
D. GS 4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
Syllabus: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests
Mains: India-China dispute over Arunachal Pradesh
Context: China denied entry to three Indian athletes from Arunachal Pradesh at the ongoing Asian Games in Hangzhou. It had instead offered stapled visas, which had been rejected by India. Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur cancelled his visit to China as a mark of protest.
Issue of Stapled Visas
- China has in the past issued stapled visas to Indians from Arunachal Pradesh.
- In July, three wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh, due to take part in the World University Games in Chengdu, were issued stapled visas.
- The stapled visas for Jammu and Kashmir residents appear to have started around 2008-09, media reports have noted. In 2013, The New York Times published an account of a Kashmiri man who claimed he had been issued a stapled visa by the Chinese embassy in New Delhi and had been stopped at the airport in September 2009.
- In 2010, the Chinese refused a visa to Northern Army Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal to attend an official meeting on the ground that he serves in “sensitive” Jammu and Kashmir.
- In 2011, ahead of a scheduled meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and China’s President Hu Jintao, media reports quoted Chinese foreign ministry official Hong Lie as saying China was “ready to work with India to have friendly consultation and properly handle” issues such as the one related to the stapled visas.
- Also in 2011, the junior External Affairs Minister E Ahamed told Rajya Sabha that the Indian government was “aware” that “despite strong protest by the Indian Government, the Chinese Embassy in India has again issued stapled visas to the people of Jammu and Kashmir”, and that “one officer of Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) along with a noted weightlifter were not allowed to board the flight to Beijing because of the stapled visas issued by the Chinese Embassy in the capital”.
- In 2011, a 45-member Indian karate team was to travel to Quangzhou for an Asian Championship. Most of them got their visas days in advance except five members – three players and two officials – from Arunachal, who were stopped at the IGI Airport in New Delhi after the Chinese Embassy issued them stapled visas.
- That same year, a weightlifting federation official and lifter from the same state, bound for a grand prix, missed out after being given stapled visas.
What is a stapled visa?
- A stapled visa is simply an unstamped piece of paper that is attached by a pin or staples to a page of the passport and can be torn off or detached at will. This is different from a regular visa that is affixed to the passport by the issuing authority and stamped.
- China has made it a practice to issue stapled visas to Indian nationals from Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. It says the visas are valid documents, but the Government of India has consistently refused to accept this position.
India-China Dispute over Arunachal Pradesh
- China claims Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh in latest map
- In the 2023 edition of the Standard Map of China published on Monday, China claimed part of Ladakh called Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh as its own.
- China claims some 90,000 sq km of Arunachal Pradesh as its territory. It calls the area “Zangnan” in the Chinese language and makes repeated references to “South Tibet”. Chinese maps show Arunachal Pradesh as part of China, and sometimes parenthetically refer to it as “so-called Arunachal Pradesh”.
- China makes periodic efforts to underline this unilateral claim to Indian territory, and to undermine the sovereignty of India over parts of Indian territory. As part of these efforts, it issues lists of Chinese names for places in Arunachal Pradesh — it has issued three such lists in 2017, 2021, and in April this year — and takes steps such as issuing stapled visas.
Also read McMahon Line.
- Not the first instance of Beijing using sporting events that should have no place for politics to score geopolitical points.
- In February last year, Beijing ill-advisedly selected the PLA’s commander involved in the Galwan Valley clash as one of the torchbearers for the Winter Olympics.
- The latest Chinese action serves as a reminder of the current distrust in bilateral relations, as well as of the absence of adequate channels of communication to deal with long-persisting thorny issues, including visas.
- New Delhi has correctly made clear that restoring normalcy in relations will not be possible without completing the disengagement process along the Line of Actual Control and restoring peace in border areas.
Also read Sansad TV Perspective: India-China Border.
Nut Graf: Until Beijing reviews its stance on the border, the current state of affairs, which suits neither India nor China, is likely to endure.
Syllabus: Indian Constitution, Elections
Mains: Process of Delimitation in India and issues associated
Context: The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023 to provide 33% reservation to women in Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies. This sheds the spotlight on anothercrucial aspect of representative democracy: the delimitation of electoral constituencies.
What does the Bill say about women’s reservation?
- Article 334A of the Women’s Reservation Bill says “provisions of the Constitution relating to the reservation of seats for women in the House of the People, the Legislative Assembly of a State and the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi shall come into effect after an exercise of delimitation is undertaken for this purpose after the relevant figures for the first census taken after commencement of the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Amendment) Act, 2023 have been published”
What is Delimitation?
- Delimitation literally means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province having a legislative body.
- The job of delimitation is assigned to a high power body. Such a body is known as Delimitation Commission or a Boundary Commission.
- In India, such Delimitation Commissions have been constituted 4 times – in 1952 under the Delimitation Commission Act, 1952, in 1963 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1962, in 1973 under Delimitation Act, 1972 and in 2002 under Delimitation Act, 2002.
- The Delimitation Commission in India is a high power body whose orders have the force of law and cannot be called in question before any court.
- These orders come into force on a date to be specified by the President of India on this behalf.
- The copies of its orders are laid before the House of the People and the State Legislative Assembly concerned, but no modifications are permissible therein by them.
Women’s Reservation Bill & Delimitation:
- The effectiveness of the Women’s Reservation Bill is dependent on two processes – the delimitation exercise and the Census.
- The delimitation exercise would be carried out on the basis of the Census. The Bill comes into effect when both these processes are carried out.
- Now that the Lok Sabha election 2024 is only months away, the Women’s Reservation Bill can potentially only be enacted before the 2029 general elections, depending on the completion of a delimitation process aligned with the Census report.
- The 42nd Amendment froze the delimitation exercise until the results of the first Census after 2000 was published. In 2001, this was further extended for 25 years. And now, delimitation would happen after the results of the first Census after 2026 is published.
- In normal course, this would have meant that delimitation would happen only after the 2031 Census results were published. But now that the 2021 Census has been delayed, ostensibly because of the Covid-19 pandemic, this timeline could be altered.
- As things stand, the earliest that the Census 2021 exercise can now be expected to happen is 2025 – the houselisting exercise in 2024, followed by the actual Census in 2025. Thereafter, the publication of the Census numbers could take one or two years.
- If the results of the 2021 Census are published after 2026, this could become the basis of delimitation of constituencies.
Delimitation as of now
- Article 81 of the Constitution says that each State gets seats in the Lok Sabha in proportion to its population.
- The freeze on delimitation affected in 1976 was to allay the concerns of States which took a lead in population control and which were faced with the prospect of reduction of their number of seats in the Lok Sabha.
- The practical consequences, however, of the 1976 freeze is that the allocation done on the basis of the 1971 Census continues to hold good for the present population figures. India’s population has, of course, increased significantly since then.
- Using figures from 1971 to represent today’s population runs contrary to the grain of the Constitution besides obviously distorting what representative democracy stands for.
- The exercise of delimitation also implicates the constitutional values of federalism and representation of States as consolidated units.
- In the preceding decades, the population of the north has increased at a faster pace as compared with the south.
- In practical terms, this means that MPs in States in north India represent more voters than MPs in the south. Given this context, the question of delimitation necessarily has serious implications for both the individual voter as well as the States.
- The southern States run the risk of losing some of their seats in Parliament once the delimitation exercise is completed based on current population figures.
How are the seats that are reserved for SCs and STs decided currently?
- The Delimitation Act, 2002 lays down broad principles for reserving seats.
- The Delimitation Commission appointed under the Act is responsible for deciding the number of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies to be reserved based on the population.
- “Constituencies in which seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes shall be distributed in different parts of the State and located, as far as practicable, in those areas where the proportion of their population to the total is comparatively large,” Section 9 (1)(c) of the Act says.
Nut Graf: Delimitation process will face concerns around how altering the boundaries of certain districts and renaming certain constituencies can have a potentially acute impact on the representation of specific communities. Hence it is time to start a robust conversation around delimitation sooner than later, so that lifting of the freeze on allocation of Lok Sabha seats does not have to be pushed ahead further.
F. Prelims Facts
Syllabus: GS 3- Science and Technology
Prelims: NASA’s Osiris-Rex mission
- NASA’s Osiris-Rex mission successfully returned with asteroid samples after a seven-year journey.
- The capsule parachuted into the Utah desert after releasing from the spacecraft during a flyby of Earth.
The Sample Collection
- Osiris-Rex released the sample capsule from a distance of one lakh kilometres (about 62,000 miles) from Earth.
- The small capsule landed on remote military land approximately four hours later.
- The mothership continued its mission to another asteroid.
- Flight Control announced the successful touchdown of the capsule, which arrived a few minutes earlier than expected.
- Scientists approximate that the capsule holds a minimum of one cup’s worth of substance from the carbon-rich asteroid known as Bennu.
- The exact contents will be determined once the container is opened.
Challenges During Collection
- During the collection process three years ago, excess material led to spillage and drifting, resulting in the container’s lid getting stuck due to jammed rocks.
- Japan is the only other nation to have effectively brought back asteroid samples, having gathered approximately a teaspoon’s worth through two missions.
Significance of Samples
- The pebbles and dust retrieved represent the largest haul from beyond the moon.
- These preserved building blocks from 4.5 billion years ago will aid scientists in understanding the formation of Earth and life in our solar system.
2. MEME in NEP
Syllabus: GS 2- Governance
Prelims: National Education Policy
- Objections raised by student and teacher organisations regarding Multiple Entry and Multiple Exit (MEME) in the National Education Policy (NEP).
- The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education calls for discussions with stakeholders.
Challenges with MEME Implementation
- High annual student intake in Indian higher education institutions poses difficulties.
- MEME could disrupt pupil-teacher ratios, as institutions can’t predict student exits and entries.
- Uneven geographical distribution of institutions, especially in rural areas, adds complexity.
Benefits of MEME
- MEME offers flexibility and choice in educational pathways for students.
- Calls for comprehensive guidelines, eligibility criteria, credit transfer mechanisms, and a clear framework.
- Suggests a standardised Credit Accumulation and Transfer (CAT) system to ease transitions between educational levels.
- Calls for wider consultations between the Union Education Ministry, universities, regulatory bodies, and stakeholders.
- Seeks solutions to address the challenges faced in MEME implementation.
- The Kerala government decided not to implement MEME in state colleges and universities.
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations against the Indian government regarding the assassination of a Sikh Canadian were based on information shared within the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance.
- The ‘Five Eyes’ alliance consists of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S., collaborating on intelligence sharing.
- U.S. Ambassador David Cohen confirmed the use of shared intelligence by Canada in making these allegations.
- A Canadian official had previously mentioned that the allegations were supported by surveillance of Indian diplomats in Canada and intelligence from a major ally, without specifying the ally.
- A team from Telangana’s Buddhavanam project visited the third-century BC Buddhist rock-cut caves in Mathale, Sri Lanka.
- The caves hold historical significance as the teachings of Lord Buddha were first written on palm leaves here.
- Buddhavanam is a Buddhist heritage theme park developed by the Telangana government at Nagarjunasagar.
- The project aims to preserve and promote Buddhist heritage.
- Previously, Buddha’s teachings known as Tripitaka (Sutr, Vinaya, and Abhidhamma pitakas) were transmitted orally.
- Sri Lankan king Devanampiya Tissa oversaw the writing of these teachings on palm leaves, marking the birth of Buddhist literature in India.
Read more on Buddhism.
Connection with Acharya Buddhaghosha
- Acharya Buddhaghosha, a renowned Theravada Buddhist philosopher, resided in these caves and authored Visuddhimagga.
- The Mathale Buddha Vihara continues to operate a school in his name, honouring his scholarly contributions.
- The rock-cut caves, nearby monastery, and discovered artefacts indicate the historical Buddhist connections between the Telugu States and Sri Lanka.
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
Q1. With reference to the Buddhavanam project in India, which of the following statements is correct?
- Buddhavanam is a massive Buddhist heritage theme park developed at Nagarjunasagar.
- Buddhavanam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Buddhavanam is a wildlife sanctuary in India.
- Buddhavanam is a botanical garden in Hyderabad.
Explanation: Buddhavanam is a massive Buddhist heritage theme park developed by the Telangana government at Nagarjunasagar.
Q2. Consider the following statements, with reference to the Pacific Islands Forum:
- It is the premier political and economic organization in the region, founded in 1971.
- It includes 18 member countries.
- The Forum’s vision is for a region of peace, harmony, and prosperity.
How many of the statements given above are correct?
- Only one
- Only two
- All three
Explanation: The Pacific Islands Forum, founded in 1971, comprises 18 member countries and envisions a region of peace and prosperity for Pacific people.
Q3. Which of the following countries is in dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region?
- Iran and Kazakhstan
- Iran and Turkmenistan
- Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
- Azerbaijan and Armenia
Explanation: The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is an ethnic and territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, inhabited mostly by ethnic Armenians.
Q4. With reference to the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing alliance, which of the following statements is/are incorrect?
- The Five Eyes alliance includes the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, and New Zealand.
- These partner countries share a broad range of intelligence with one another.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: The Five Eyes alliance comprises the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, sharing intelligence extensively.
Q5. With reference to NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission, which of the following statements is correct?
- OSIRIS-REx collected a sample from asteroid Bennu.
- The sample collected by OSIRIS-REx is primarily composed of lunar rocks from the Earth moon.
- The mission aimed to study the present geological activity on the planet Venus.
- OSIRIS-REx is the first mission to collect samples from Mars.
Explanation: OSIRIS-REx collected a sample from asteroid Bennu, providing insights into the early solar system.
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
- Discuss the border dispute between India and China over Arunachal Pradesh. (250 words, 15 marks) [GS-2; International Relations]
- Examine the role of delimitation in implementing the women’s reservation bill. (250 words, 15 marks)[GS-2; Polity]
Read previous CNA articles here.