Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- India – China LAC
- National Policy of rare diseases
- Model Tribal Village
- Section 6 A of Citizenship Act
- Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects
- Facts for Prelims
1 . India – China LAC
Context: Soldiers of the two sides clashed in an area called Yangtse, in the upper reaches of Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh. The entire state itself, and within it, Tawang, are areas of serious contestation between India and China. The clash in Tawang took place two and a half years after the deadly encounter between the two sides in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh in June 2020.
Tawang: Site of India-China clash
- Soldiers of the two sides clashed in an area called Yangtse, in the upper reaches of Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Tawang (and nearly all of Arunachal) is claimed by China.
- It is one of the more serious dispute points between India and China in the overall border question.
- Tawang is the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama and an important pilgrimage centre for Tibetan Buddhists.
- The 14th Dalai Lama took refuge in Tawang after he crossed over from Tibet to India in 1959, spending some days in the monastery there before proceeding further.
- Within Tawang, there are three “agreed areas” of differing Indian and Chinese perceptions of the LAC.
- Yangtse, which is about 25 km from Tawang town, north of the Lungroo grazing ground, is one of these areas.
- As a result, it has been the site of regular physical contact between the Indian Army and the PLA.
Context of new India-China crisis at Tawang
- In the recent conflict, the Indian troops had confronted the PLA, and a physical scuffle ensued, which had prevented the Chinese from transgressing into Indian territory and compelled them to return to their posts.
- PLA’s motivation appears to be to extend the points of confrontation and keep the issue of India China border alive at a time when the world is engaged in overcoming multiple crisis emanating from the War in Ukraine.
- After the PLA incursions into eastern Ladakh in April-May 2020, the two sides held 16 rounds of talks for disengagement at the so-called friction points.
- The disengagement has led to the withdrawal of both sides from eyeballing each other at such places, including Galwan, Pangong Lake, Gogra and Hot Springs, and the creation of “buffer areas” at these places.
- While this has reduced the chances of hair-trigger situations, the status quo that existed before the incursions has not been restored.
- Over the last two years, the deployment of troops in the forward areas of the LAC at Ladakh has become a permanent feature. The Chinese activation in the eastern sector is to be viewed against this backdrop of military tensions, and serves to divide the attention of India’s security planners as it deals with new situations.
- The Yangtse incident came days after China said that the joint India-US military exercise Operation Yudhabhyas had violated the terms of the 1993 and 1996 border agreements.
What is the origin of the border dispute with China?
- After the communists took power in China, they pulled China out of all international agreements and the so-called “unequal treaties” that had been imposed on it, and demanded a re-negotiation of all its borders.
- The border between China and India has never been delimited.
- In January 1960, the politburo of the Chinese Communist Party decided to open negotiations with India and reach an understanding through mutual understanding and mutual concessions.
- In April 190, China’s Premier Zhou Enlai and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru agreed on a detailed examination of the claims by officials.
- Over the next two years, both sides sought to preserve their claims by posting troops along the border.
- In the 1962 war, the PLA quickly overpowered the Indian troops.
What is the Line of Actual Control (LAC)?
- The LAC separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory.
- It is divided into three sectors: the Eastern Sector (Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim), Middle Sector (Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh) and Western Sector (Ladakh).
- India and China do not agree on the LAC.
- India considers the LAC to be 3,488 km long; the Chinese consider it to be only around 2,000 km.
- There is the least disagreement in the Middle Sector.
- In the Eastern Sector, the alignment of the LAC is along the McMahon Line, which takes its name from Sir Henry McMahon, foreign secretary of British India, who drew the 890-km line as the border between British India and Tibet at the 1914 Simla Convention Between Great Britain, China, and Tibet.
- The line, drawn primarily on the highest watershed principle, marked out previously unclaimed/ undefined borders between Britain and Tibet, and included Tawang in the British empire.
- China disputes the high watershed principle, and some of the positions on the ground that follow.
- Concept of LAC was discussed during Chinese Premier Li Peng’s 1991 visit to India, and India formally accepted the concept when Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao paid a return visit to Beijing in 1993.
- The two sides signed the Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control; however, the reference to the LAC was unqualified to make it clear that it was not referring to the LAC of 1959 or 1962 but to the LAC at the time when the agreement was signed.
China’s so-called claim on Arunachal Pradesh
- China claims some 90,000 sq km of Arunachal Pradesh — the entire state — 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.
- As part of this strategy, it has tried to give Chinese names to places in Arunachal Pradesh — it published a list of six such names in 2017, and another 15 names in 2021.
2 . National Policy of rare diseases
Context: Recently concerns over the benefits of the National Policy of Rare Diseases (NPRD) not reaching any patient with rare diseases, even after several months since its introduction, were raised in the Rajya Sabha.
About Rare Diseases
- WHO defines rare disease as often debilitating lifelong disease or disorder with a prevalence of 1 or less, per 1000 population. However, different countries have their own definitions to suit their specific requirements.
- According to the National Health Portal (Government of India), there may be ~7,000 rare diseases. ~70% of rare diseases are genetic in origin. Globally, there are 300 million people living with a rare disease.
- According to the National Policy for Rare Diseases document, India has close to 50-100 million people who are affected by rare diseases or disorders. Almost 80% of these rare condition patients are children.
- Example of rare disease include Inherited cancers, Autoimmune disorders, Congenital malformations, Hirschsprung’s disease, Gaucher disease, Cystic fibrosis, Muscular dystrophies and Lysosomal Storage Disorders (LSDs).
- The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare notified the NPRD in March 2021.
- The rare diseases have been identified and categorized into 3 groups namely Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3.
- Group 1: Disorders amenable to one-time curative treatment.
- Group-2: Diseases requiring long term/lifelong treatment having relatively lower cost of treatment and benefit has been documented in literature and annual or more frequent surveillance is required.
- Group 3:- Diseases for which definitive treatment is available but challenges are to make optimal patient selection for benefit, very high cost and lifelong therapy.
- Provision for financial support of up to Rs. 50 lakhs to the patients suffering from any category of the Rare Diseases and for treatment in any of the Centre of Excellence (CoE) mentioned in NPRD-2021, outside the Umbrella Scheme of Rashtriya Arogaya Nidhi.
- In order to receive financial assistance for treatment of rare disease, the patient of the nearby area may approach the nearest Centre of Excellence to get him assessed and avail the benefits.
- Eight (08) Centres of Excellence (CoEs) have been identified for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of rare diseases.
- Five Nidan Kendras have been set up for genetic testing and counselling services.
- The NPRD, 2021 also has provisions for promotion of research and development for diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases; promotion of local development and manufacture of drugs and creation of conducive environment for indigenous manufacturing of drugs for rare diseases at affordable prices.
- Department of Pharmaceuticals has initiated the implementation of Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Pharmaceuticals.
- The Scheme provides for financial incentives to manufacturers selected under the Scheme for domestic manufacturing of various product categories, which also include Orphan drugs.
Criticism in the Parliament
- Delay in implementation- there has been unending delay and lack of urgency on the part of the Centres of Excellence (CoE).
- this has claimed several young lives and endangered the survival prospects of 415 patients, largely children, diagnosed with rare diseases.
- An analysis of data from the national crowd-funding platform revealed that around 190 patients diagnosed with ultra-rare genetic conditions could be immediately put on life-saving therapy but have not been.
- Lack of financial support- many CoEs were yet to seek financial support as per the policy for treating the patients. This delays the treatment of patients.
3 . Model Tribal Village
Context: The Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs is now working to develop 36,428 villages with at least 50% tribal population and 500 STs across the country into ‘model tribal’ villages. These efforts were part of the existing Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Scheme (SCA to TSS), which has now been renamed to the Pradhan Mantri Adi Adarsh Gram Yojna (PMAAGY), for implementation from 2021-22 to 2025-26. It is meant to cover as many as 4.22 crore tribal people in the country, which comprises around 40% of the total ST population in India.
About Pradhan Mantri Adi Adarsh Gram Yojana
- It supplements the efforts of State Governments for development and welfare of tribal people by extending Special Central Assistance as an additive to the State Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP).
- The Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme with 100% grant from government of India.
- The main objective of this scheme is to achieve integrated socio-economic development of selected villages through convergence approach. It includes the following components-
- Preparing Village Development Plan based on the needs, potential, and aspirations;
- Maximizing the coverage of individual / family benefit schemes of the Central / State Governments;
- Improving the infrastructure in vital sectors like health, education, connectivity and livelihood;
- Scheme envisions to mitigate gaps in prominent 8 sectors of development viz. Road connectivity (Internal and Inter village /block), Telecom connectivity (Mobile /internet), School, Anganwadi Centres, Health Sub-Centre, Drinking water facility, Drainage and solid waste management.
- A sum of ₹20.38 lakh per village as ‘gap-filling’ has been provisioned for approved activities including administrative expenses under PMAAGY.
4 . Organization of Islamic cooperation
Context: India has strongly condemned the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) saying the outfit has lost its credibility. The comment from the Ministry of External Affairs came after the Secretary-General of the OIC Hissein Brahim Taha visited the Line of Control from the Pakistani side and was briefed by the situation by the Pakistan military.
- The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest inter-governmental organisation after the United Nations, with the membership of 57 states, covering four continents.
- India is not a Member of OIC.
- It was established at a 1969 summit in Rabat (Morocco) after what it describes as the ‘criminal arson’ of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
- The OIC is the collective voice of the Muslim world to ensure and safeguard their interest on economic socio and political areas.
- The OIC has Institutions which implement its programmes.
- Its Headquarters is in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- The Islamic Summit includes Kings, Heads of State and the Governments of Member States, and is the OIC’s supreme authority.
- It convenes once every three years to deliberate, take policy decisions, provide guidance on issues pertaining to the realization of objectives and consider other issues of concern to Member States.
- The Council of Foreign Ministers meets once a year and considers the means for the implementation of the OIC’s general policy.
- The General Secretariat is the OIC’s executive organ and is entrusted with implementing the decisions of the OIC decision- making bodies. It is led by the Secretary General.
- U. N. members with a Muslim majority can join the organisation.
- The membership is to be ratified with full consensus at the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers.
- The same provisions apply for acquiring an observer status.
- The OIC is financed by the member states proportionate to their national incomes.
- A member’s voting rights are suspended when their arrears equal or exceed the amount of contributions due from them for the preceding two years.
- The member is only allowed to vote if the Council of Foreign Ministers is satisfied that the failure is due to conditions beyond the member’s control.
5 . Section 6 A of Citizenship Act
Context: A Constitution Bench on Tuesday listed for January 10, 2023 a series of long-pending petitions challenging Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 which allows citizenship to illegal immigrants, mostly from neighbouring Bangladesh, who entered Assam before March 1971.
- Section 6A was a special provision inserted into the 1955 Act in furtherance of a Memorandum of Settlement called the ‘Assam Accord’ signed on August 15, 1985 by the then Rajiv Gandhi government with the leaders of the Assam Movement to preserve and protect the Assamese culture, heritage, linguistic and social identity.
- The Accord came at the end of a six-year-long agitation by the All Assam Students Union (AASU) to identify and deport illegal immigrants, mostly from neighbouring Bangladesh, from the State.
- Under Section 6A, foreigners who had entered Assam before January 1, 1966, and been “ordinarily resident” in the State, would have all the rights and obligations of Indian citizens.
- Those who had entered the State between January 1, 1966 and March 25, 1971 would have the same rights and obligations except that they would not be able to vote for 10 years.
- All those who came to Assam on or after 1 January, 1966, but before 25th March, 1971 must register themselves under section-18 for citizenship.
- Therefore, this act fixes March 25, 1971 as the cut-off date for granting citizenship to Bangladeshi migrants in Assam.
- Petitions were filed challenging the discriminatory nature of Section 6A in granting citizenship to immigrants, illegal ones at that.
- The petitioners, including Assam Public Works and others, argued that the special provision was in violation of Article 6 of the Constitution which fixed the cut-off date for granting citizenship to immigrants at July 19, 1948.
- One of the petitioners, Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha, had sought the updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam on the basis of the 1951 NRC and not on the electoral rolls of March 1971.
About Assam Accord
- The then Rajiv Gandhi government signed a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) with the leaders of the Assam movement on 15 August 1985 called Assam Accord.
- As per this accord-
- all those foreigners who had entered Assam between 1951 and 1961 were to be given full citizenship including the right to vote.
- Migrants those who had done so after 1971 were to be deported.
- Those who entered between 1961 and 1971 were to be denied voting rights for ten years but would enjoy all other rights of citizenship.
6 . Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects
Context: The Union government has so far sanctioned the development of solar projects with a capacity of nearly 39,000 MW but only a fourth have actually been commissioned so far, as per the Minister for New and Renewable Energy.
About the News
- Under the ‘Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects’, a total of 57 solar parks of aggregate capacity of 39,285 MW were sanctioned until November-end.
- However, only solar power projects of 10,027 MW have been commissioned in these parks.
Why the shortfall?
- Some solar parks had been cancelled due to their slow progress.
- The key challenges in this scheme included hurdles in acquisition of land with clear title; a mismatch in the time taken to set up a project and the infrastructure to route the power produced to the grid; environmental issues and the halt in economic activity due to COVID-19.
- Great Indian Bustard- In recent years, the habitat of the GIB — a critically endangered species numbering less than 200 in Rajasthan — has been encroached upon by solar power projects particularly by transmission lines that endanger the bird.
- The Supreme Court last April, had directed that power companies lay underground cables in solar parks in Rajasthan though few companies have actually complied.
- This direction further poses challenges.
About the schemes
- The scheme for “Development of Solar Parks and Ultra-Mega Solar Power Projects” was rolled out in December, 2014 by Ministry of New & Renewable Energy with an objective to facilitate the solar project developers to set up projects in a plug and play model.
- Period: Up to 2022-23
- It targets over 20,000 MW of solar power installed capacity within a span of 5 years starting from 2014-15.
- The capacity of the Scheme has been enhanced from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW vide this Ministry’s order dated 21-03-2017. These parks are proposed to be set up by 2021-22.
- The scheme envisages supporting the States/UTs in setting up solar parks at various locations in the country with a view to create required infrastructure for setting up of solar power projects.
- The solar parks provide suitable developed land with all clearances, transmission system, water access, road connectivity, communication network, etc.
- The scheme facilitates and speed up installation of grid connected solar power projects for electricity generation on a large scale.
- All the States and Union Territories are eligible for getting benefit under the scheme.
- The capacity of the solar parks shall be 500 MW and above. However, smaller parks are also considered where contiguous land may be difficult to acquire in view of difficult terrain and where there is acute shortage of non-agricultural land.
- The solar parks are developed in collaboration with the State Governments and their agencies, CPSUs, and private entrepreneurs.
- The implementing agency is termed as Solar Power Park Developer (SPPD).
- Under the scheme, the Ministry provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) of up to Rs. 25 lakh per solar park for preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR).
- Beside this, CFA of up to Rs. 20.00 lakh per MW or 30% of the project cost, including Grid-connectivity cost, whichever is lower, is also provided on achieving the milestones prescribed in the scheme.
7 . Facts for Prelims
Scheme for Providing Education to Madrasas/Minorities (SPEMM)-
- Department of School Education and Literacy is implementing an Umbrella Scheme for Providing Quality Education to Madrasas/Minorities (SPEMM) which comprises of two schemes-
- Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM) and Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutes (IDMI).
- Both the schemes are voluntary in nature.
- The scheme is being implemented at the national level.
- Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM)-
- To provide financial assistance to traditional institutions like Madrasas and Maktabs to encourage them to introduce Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, Hindi and English in their curriculum so that academic proficiency for classes I-XII is attainable for children studying in these institutions.
- To provide opportunities to students of these institutions to acquire education comparable to the National Education System especially for secondary and senior secondary levels.
- To strengthen State Madrasa Boards opting for assistance by enabling them to monitor the Madrasa modernization programme and enhance awareness about education among the Muslim community.
- To provide quality components in Madrasas such as remedial teaching, assessment and enhancement of learning outcomes, Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan etc.
- To provide in-service training of teachers appointed under the scheme for teaching modern subjects of Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, Hindi and English to improve their pedagogical skills and quality of teaching.
- Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutes (IDMI)
- To facilitate education of minorities by augmenting and strengthening school infrastructure in Minority Institutions (elementary/ secondary/senior secondary schools) in order to expand the facilities for formal education to children of minority communities.
- To encourage educational facilities for girls, children with special needs and those who are most deprived educationally amongst the minorities.
- Tramjatra (tram’s journey) is a moving tram carnival that was started back in 1996 jointly by enthusiasts from Melbourne and Kolkata.
- Kolkata is the only Indian city where the tram still runs.
- Tramjatra is essentially an international collaboration of trammies, artists, environmentalists, and tram-loving communities.
- Theme for 2022: Heritage, Clean Air and Green Mobility
- It seeks to educate people, particularly the younger generation, about climate change, air pollution, and sustainable development objectives with a focus on green mobility and Kolkata’s tram legacy.
- It will also call upon the West Bengal government to preserve the historic mode of transport.
- Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on 15 August 1872.
- At the age of seven he was taken to England for education. There he studied at St. Paul’s School, London, and at King’s College, Cambridge.
- Returning to India in 1893, he worked for the next thirteen years in the Princely State of Baroda in the service of the Maharaja and as a professor in Baroda College.
- During this period he also joined a revolutionary society and took a leading role in secret preparations for an uprising against the British Government in India.
- In 1906, soon after the Partition of Bengal, Sri Aurobindo quit his post in Baroda and went to Calcutta, where he soon became one of the leaders of the Nationalist movement.
- He was the first political leader in India to openly put forward, in his newspaper Bande Mataram, the idea of complete independence for the country.
- Prosecuted twice for sedition and once for conspiracy, he was released each time for lack of evidence.
- He was an original thinker, writer, poet, playwright, teacher and freedom fighter.
- In 1910 he withdrew from politics and went to Pondicherry in order to devote himself entirely to his inner spiritual life and work.
- During his forty years in Pondicherry he evolved a new method of spiritual practice, which he called the Integral Yoga.
- In 1926, with the help of his spiritual collaborator, the Mother, he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
- Among his many writings are The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga and Savitri.
- Aurobindo was also committed to taking forward the essence of the teachings of Krishna through his works, especially the Bhagavad Gita, amongst many others.
- Some of Aurobindo’s writings in Karmayogin, his weekly journal in English that he brought out after the Alipore Bomb Case, had Krishna and Arjuna in the Kurukshetra being pictorially represented on the cover.
- He advocated against caste discrimination. This is discernible in some of his writings, Caste and Democracy, Un-Hindu Spirit of Caste Rigidity and Caste and Representation. These were written in 1907 for Bande Mataram, an English newspaper he edited then.
- According to him, the British used caste as a political instrument.