Daily Current Affairs : 18th January 2022

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. World Economic Forum
  2. Guru Ravidas
  3. Kalapani issue
  4. Inequality Kills report
  5. Facts For Prelims

1 . World Economic Forum


Context : Delivering a special address to the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda 2022 summit, PM said Indian doctors and health professionals are winning the confidence of the world with their excellence.

Background

  • Professor Klaus Schwab founded what was originally called the European Management Forum, as a non-profit foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland. It drew business leaders from Europe, and beyond, to Davos for an Annual Meeting each January.
  • Initially, Professor Schwab focused the meetings on how European firms could catch up with US management practices. He also developed and promoted the ‘stakeholder’ management approach, which based corporate success on managers taking account of all interests: not merely shareholders, clients and customers, but employees and the communities within which they operate, including government.
  • Professor Schwab’s vision for what would become the World Economic Forum grew steadilly as a result of achieving ‘milestones’. Events in 1973, namely the collapse of the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate mechanism and the Arab-Israeli War, saw the Annual Meeting expand its focus from management to economic and social issues.
  • Political leaders were invited for the first time to Davos in January 1974. Two years later, the organization introduced a system of membership for ‘the 1,000 leading companies of the world
  • In 1987, the European Management Forum became the World Economic Forum and sought to broaden its vision to include providing a platform for dialogue.
  • In 2015, the Forum was formally recognised as an international organization.

About World Economic Forum

  • The WEF is chaired by Founder and Executive Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab and is guided by a Board of Trustees that is made up of leaders from business, politics, academia and civil society.
  • The Managing Board is chaired by the WEF’s President and acts as the executive body of the World Economic Forum.
  • A new centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution was announced by the WEF on October 10, 2016, which will provide a platform for interaction, insight and impact on the scientific and technological changes that will soon change the way we live, work and relate to one another.
  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) is also funded by 1,000 member companies that are global enterprises having more than five billion dollars in turnover. These enterprises have a leading role to play and rank among the top companies within their industry and/or country. 

Annual Meetings

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos is a leading forum where participants come together to address the most pressing issues on the global agenda in an exceptional atmosphere featuring inter-disciplinary, informal and direct interactions among peers.

The Forum holds four major annual meetings:

  • The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, held in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, shapes global, regional and industry agendas at the beginning of the calendar year.
  • The Annual Meeting of the New Champions, the Forum’s annual meeting on innovation, science and technology, is held in the People’s Republic of China.
  • The Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils, held in the United Arab Emirates, brings together the world’s leading knowledge community to share insights on the major challenges facing the world today.
  • The Industry Strategy Meeting brings together Industry Strategy Officers to shape industry agendas and explore how industries can shift from managing change to pioneering change.
  • In addition, regional meetings and national strategy days provide focused engagement on the issues dominating regional and local agendas

2 . Guru Ravidas


Context : The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday postponed polling for the Punjab Assembly election from February 14 to 20 after the State government and political parties raised concern that many devotees would be in Varanasi to celebrate Guru Ravidas’s birth anniversary on February 16 and miss out on voting.

About Guru Ravidas

  • Guru Ravidas was a North Indian mystic poet-sant of the bhakti movement during the 14th to 16th century CE. He was a poet-saint, social reformer and a spiritual figure.
  • He belonged to an untouchable caste and suffered a lot of atrocities as a result however , the saint chose to focus on spiritual pursuits and also penned several devotional songs which made a huge impact in the Bhakti movement during the 14th to 16th century CE.
  • He is considered as the founder of 21st-century Ravidassia religion, by a group who previously were associated with Sikhism
  • Ravidas’ devotional songs were included in the Sikh Scriptures, Guru Granth Sahib
  • Guru Ravidas Jayanti is celebrated on Magh Purnima, which is the full moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Magha.

Guru Ravidas Teachings

  • Guru Ravidas spoke against the caste divisions and spoke of removing them to promote unity.
  • The Adi Granth of Sikhs, in addition to the Panchvani are the two of the oldest documented sources of the literary works of Guru Ravidas.
  • His teachings resonated with the people, leading to a religion being born called the Ravidassia religion, or Ravidassia Dharam based on his teachings.
  • He taught about the omnipresence of God and said that a human soul is a particle of God and hence Ravidas rejected the idea that people considered lower caste cannot meet God. he said in his teachings that the only way to meet God was to free the mind from the duality.

3 . Kalapani Issue


Context : The history of the long-standing territorial issue surrounding Kalapani, a patch of land near the India-Nepal border, close to the Lipulekh Pass on the India-China border, which is one of the approved points for border trade and the route for the Kailash-Mansarovar yatra in Tibet, shows the complex relationship between the two countries.

Recent issues

  • The Survey of India issued a new political map (the ninth edition) on November 8, 2019. While the delineation between the two nations remained identical the name of the Kali river had been deleted. Predictably, this led to strong protests, with Nepal invoking Foreign Secretary-level talks to resolve issues.
  • Nepal in retaliation, on May 22, 2020, tabled a constitutional amendment proposal to add a new area of 335 sq km to Nepali territory. This territory has never been reflected in a Nepali map for 170 years.
  • India has allowed strong anti-India sentiments to rise in the Nepali public’s mind which has spawned distortions in Nepali history textbooks and led to long-term negative consequences for the relationship between the two

Background

  • The bone of contention is the Kalapani-Limpiadhura-Lipulekh trijunction between Nepal-India and China (Tibet).
  • Located on the banks of the river Kali at an altitude of 3600m, the Kalapani territory lies at the eastern border of Uttarakhand in India and Nepal’s Sudurpashchim Pradesh in the West.
  • India claims the area is part of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district, while Nepal believes it to be part of its Dharchula district. Matters came to a boil earlier last year, when India opened an 80-km road linking Uttarakhand with Lipulekh, across the disputed piece of land.

Historical Background of the issue

  • The issue in itself goes back to the early 19th century, when the British ruled India and Nepal was a conglomeration of small kingdoms under the reign of King Prithvi Narayan Shah.
  • Shah is believed to be the most ambitious ruler among the Gorkhas, under whose rule in the late 18th century, Nepal was unified, its domains stretching out as far as Sikkim in the East and the Garhwal and Kumaon region of Uttarakhand in the West.

East India Company

  • By the second decade of the 18th century, the English East India Company (EIC) too had acquired a formidable presence in the subcontinent, and had strengthened its main bases in Madras, Calcutta and Bombay.
  • By the early 19th century, as the EIC began expanding its territories northwards in Awadh, it came into close proximity with Palpa, an independent town within the Nepalese heartlands. Soon after, a border dispute arose between the two powers.
  • The Nepalese were also proving to be a hindrance in allowing the British to realise their trade ambitions with Tibet.
  • On November 1, 1814, the British declared war on Nepal. The war went on for the next two years, involving a series of campaigns.
  • In 1815, the British general, Sir David Ochterlony, managed to evict the Nepalese from Garhwal and Kumaon. A year later, the war came to an end with the signing of the Sugauli treaty.

Sugauli Treaty

  • The treaty delimited the boundaries of Nepal, as it stands today.
  • Treaty “required Nepal to give up all territories west and east of its present-day borders, to surrender the entire Tarai and to accept a permanent British representative (or ‘resident’) in Kathmandu”.
  • The fifth article of the treaty stated: “The Rajah of Nepal renounces for himself, his heirs, and successors all claim to or connection with the countries lying to the west of the river Kali and engages never to have any concern with those countries or inhabitants thereof. Consequently, the river Kali marked the western border of Nepal.
  • However, there is no clear consensus on what is the precise location of the river Kali, giving rise to the dispute over whether the land consisting Kalapani-Limpiadhura-Lipulekh is part of present day India or Nepal.
  • While some scholars suggest that the lack of consensus is due to the shift in the course of the river over time, there are others who say that the British cartographers in the consequent years kept shifting the line demarcating the river eastwards for strategic reasons.

Nepal’s Argument

  • According to Nepal “since no map attached with the Sugauli Treaty counter signed by both the agreeing parties has come to light, the only way to ascertain the correct location of Kali is to examine the existing maps of the period.”
  • According to them, up until the year 1857, all maps produced by British cartographers suggest that the origins of the Kali river lies in the Limpiadhura pass.
  • “But in the period between 1857 and 1881, a subtle but deliberate attempt to misname the river Kali got under way
  • Nepal Geographers maintain that the cartographic move on the part of the British was ‘unauthorised’, ‘unilateral’, and ‘without any agreement with the government of Nepal’.
  • Hence Nepal’s case is that the river originates from a stream at Limpiyadhura, north-west of Lipu Lekh. Thus Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura, and Lipu Lekh, fall to the east of the river and are part of Nepal’s Far West province in the district of Dharchula.
  • The dispute over the location of the river, and consequently that of the territoriality of Kalapani, was first raised by the Nepalese government only in 1998.
  • Even when Indian military units occupied the Kalapani area during the Sino-Indian war of 1962, Nepal did not raise an objection. Nepal virtually ignored the Kalapani issue from 1961 to 1997
  • Accordingly, the Nepalese government contended that the western border of the country be shifted 5.5 km westward to coincide with the borders as decided in the treaty of Sugauli.

India’s Arguments

  • Officials in India claim that revenue records dating back to the 1830s show that Kalapani area has traditionally been administered as part of the Pithoragarh district.
  • British India conducted the first regular surveys of the upper reaches of the river Kali, in the 1870s.” Accordingly, a vintage map of the 1879 shows Kalapani as part of India.
  • The Indian government has held that the 1879 map is what should be considered in deciding the borders between the two countries rather than the maps before the period which are held up by Nepal.
  • These differences amount in reality to differences in the maps that each country possesses, which is further exacerbated by the shifting course of the Mahakali river in the area that was earlier accepted as the boundary
  • In the course of the last several decades, the border issue has come up on several occasions, and despite repeated negotiations, the two countries have failed to reach a consensus.
  • Hence New Delhi’s position is that the Kali originates in springs well below the pass, and that while the Treaty does not demarcate the area north of these springs, administrative and revenue records going back to the nineteenth century show that Kalapani was on the Indian side, and counted as part of Pithoragarh district, now in Uttarakhand.

4 . Inequality Kills Report


Context : The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened economic inequalities across the world. Not only has the pandemic led to the deaths of millions of people globally, but it has also exposed the weakness of public health systems and social and income protections for people worldwide. In short, the coronavirus pandemic has brought into relief that peoples’ life chances are directly linked to their access to wealth and healthcare, their positions of power in society, their racial and caste identities, and their geographic locations.

What is the “Inequality Kills” report?

  • “Inequality Kills: The unparalleled action needed to combat unprecedented inequality in the wake of COVID-19” is a report released in January 2022 by Oxfam, a U.K.-based consortium of 21 charitable organisations that have a global presence.
  • The report argues for sustained and immediate action to end the pandemic, address global inequality and initiate concerted measures to tackle the climate emergency.
  • The central argument of the report is that inequality is a death sentence for people that are marginalised by social and economic structures and removed from political decision making.
  • The report points out a startling statistic: 160 million people were rendered poor during the pandemic, while the ten richest people doubled their fortunes since the start of the pandemic.
  • Holding governments to account the report identifies “vaccine apartheid” (unequal access to vaccines between countries) and the lack of universal vaccination programs in many countries as a cause of the emergence of multiple new strains of the coronavirus that has led to the continuation of the pandemic.
  • It also demonstrates how emergency government expenditure (estimated at $16 trillion) that was meant to keep economies afloat during this crisis, inflated stock prices. This resulted in billionaires’ collective wealth increasing by $5 trillion during the pandemic. Identifying this process as “the billionaire variant”, the report says that this vertical aggregation of global wealth into the hands of a few is “profoundly dangerous for our world”.

Why does the report say that inequality kills?

  • For the writers of the report inequality is not an abstract theory, they see it as institutionalised violence against poorer people.
  • The report categorically states, “Extreme inequality is a form of ‘economic violence’—where structural and systemic policy and political choices that are skewed in favor of the richest and most powerful people result in direct harm to the vast majority of ordinary people worldwide.”
  • The report identifies higher inequality with more crime and violence and less social trust.
  • The brunt of inequality and the violence it begets is borne, for instance, by women across the world, Dalits in India, Black, Native American and Latinx persons in the United States and indigenous groups in many countries.
  • Pointing to the example of women, the report demonstrates how lockdowns led to an increase in violence against women worldwide. However, the report says that the problem runs a lot deeper as 13 million women have not returned to the workforce and 20 million girls are at risk of losing access to education. This means that the goal of gender equality has suffered a huge set back which will take at least 135 years to correct.
  • To summarise, women who were already unequal before the pandemic are now more unequal because of increased economic inequality.
  • The report also argues that the climate crisis is undergirded by inequality between countries. Extreme neoliberal models of economic growth have led to a skewed system of carbon-intensive production, that favours richer countries while shifting the risk onto poorer countries. The report points out that the “wealthiest 1% of humanity are responsible for twice as many emissions as the poorest 50%”. Finally, the report shows how poverty, caused by rising inequality, also leads to hunger and deaths due to hunger. For instance, 369 million children have reportedly lost access to school meals during the pandemic. For millions of these children this was their most nutritious meal of the day.

How does the report propose to rectify global inequality?

  • The “Inequality Kills” report proposes far-reaching changes to structures of government, economy and policy-making to fight inequality. It urgently asks for “vaccine recipes” to be made open-source so that every qualified vaccine manufacturer can manufacture them. In doing so the report asks for monopolies over vaccines held by pharmaceutical giants and anchored in place through the World Trade Organisation, to end.
  • The report then asks for governments to “claw” back the wealth from billionaires by administering solidarity taxes higher than 90% especially on the billionaires that have profited during and because of the pandemic.
  • In addition to this, the report asks for permanent cancellation of tax havens, progressive taxation on corporations and an end to tax dodging by corporations.
  • The report then suggests that all of this regained wealth be redirected towards building income safety nets, universalising healthcare for everyone, investing in green technologies and democratising them, and, investing in protecting women from violence.
  • Finally, the report advocates for redistributing power along with wealth by strengthening workers’ unions, boosting political representation of marginalised groups, and asserting human rights.

5 . Facts for Prelims


Kathak

  • The word Kathak has been derived from the word Katha which means a story. Kathakars or story-tellers, are people who narrate stories largely based on episodes from the epics, myths and legends. It probably started as an oral tradition. Mime and gestures were perhaps added later on to make the recitation more effective. Thus evolved a simple form of expressional dance, providing the origins of what later developed into Kathak as we see it today.
  • The Vaishnavite cult which swept North India in the 15th century. and the resultant bhakti movement contributed to a whole new range of lyrics and musical forms. The Radha-Krishna theme proved immensely popular alongwith the works of Mirabai, Surdas, Nandadas and Krishnadas.
  • With the coming of the Mughals, this dance form received a new impetus. A transition from the temple courtyard to the palace durbar took place which necessitated changes in presentation
  • The nineteenth century saw the golden age of Kathak under the patronage of Wajid Ali Shah, the last Nawab of Oudh. He established the Lucknow gharana with its strong accent on bhava, the expression of moods and emotions. The Jaipur gharana known for its layakari or rhythmic virtuosity and the Benaras gharana are other prominent schools of Kathak dance.
  • Distinct dance form :
    • Being the only classical dance of India having links with Muslim culture, it represents a unique synthesis of Hindu and Muslim genius in art.
    • Kathak is the only form of classical dance wedded to Hindustani or the North Indian music.
  • Pandit Birju Maharaj was an Indian dancer, composer, singer and exponent of the Lucknow “Kalka-Bindadin” Gharana of Kathak dance in India

Yemen

  • Yemen historically known as South Arabia is a country in Western Asia, on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula.
  • It borders Saudi Arabia to the north and Oman to the northeast and shares maritime borders with Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia.
  • It is the second-largest Arab sovereign state in the peninsula
  • Yemen’s constitutionally stated capital, and largest city, is the city of Sana’a.
  • Since 2011, Yemen has been in a state of political crisis starting with street protests against poverty, unemployment, corruption, and president Saleh’s plan to amend Yemen’s constitution and eliminate the presidential term limit.
  • President Saleh stepped down and the powers of the presidency were transferred to Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Since then, the country has been in a civil war (alongside the Saudi Arabian-led military intervention aimed at restoring Hadi’s government) with several proto-state entities claiming to govern Yemen: the Cabinet of Yemen, Supreme Political Council, and the Southern Transitional Council.
error: DMCA Protected © iassquad.in