Daily Current Affairs : 9th September 2022

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Human Development Index
  2. India – China Pullback
  3. Nagaland Flag and Constitution
  4. Facts for Prelims

1 . Human Development Index


Context: India ranks 132 out of 191 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) 2021, after registering a decline in its score over two consecutive years for the first time in three decades.

 Key highlights of the report

  • The drop is in line with the global trend since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic during which 90% of the countries have fallen backward in human development.
  • The world over, nine out of 10 countries have slipped in their human development performance due to multiple crises such as COVID-19, the war in Ukraine and environmental challenges, indicating that human development globally has stalled for the first time in 32 years.
  • The ranking of countries over different years is not comparable. A large contributor to the HDI’s recent decline is a global drop in life expectancy, down from 72.8 years in 2019 to 71.4 years in 2021.
  • The report notes that the uncertainty due to multiple global crises has fueled support for polarization in many parts of the world which is detrimental for democratic freedom and human rights.

About Human Development Report

  • Report was first launched in 1990 by the Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and Indian Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.
  • Its goal was to place people at the center of the development process in terms of economic debate, policy and advocacy. Development was characterized by the provision of choices and freedoms resulting in widespread outcomes.
  • The Human Development Report is an independent report, commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and is the product of a selected team of leading scholars, development practitioners and members of the Human Development Report Office of UNDP. It is a report independent of the Administrator of the UNDP, as suggested by ul Haq.
  • Several new indices have been introduced over the years in different reports, including the Human Development Index, the Gender-related Development Index, the Gender Empowerment Measure, the Human Poverty Index. The Gender-related Development Index, the Gender Empowerment Measure and the Human Poverty Index were removed in 2010.
  • The 2010 Human Development Report introduced three new indices the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, the Gender Inequality Index, and the Multidimensional Poverty Index. 

About the Index

  • The Index is part of the Human Development Report 2021-2022 released by the United Nations Development Programme on Thursday.
  • The HDI measures the average achievement of a country in three basic dimensions of human development
    • A long and healthy life
    • Education and
    • A decent standard of living.
  • It is calculated using four indicators
    • Life expectancy at birth,
    • Mean years of schooling
    • Expected years of schooling, and
    • The Gross National Income (GNI) per capita.
  • The index measures inequality in achievement between women and men in three dimensions
    • Reproductive health
    • Empowerment and
    • The labor markets.

India’s performance

  • India’s HDI score of 0.633 places it in the medium human development category, lower than its value of 0.645 in 2018, indicating a reversal in progress.
  • Like global trends, in India’s case, the drop in HDI from 0.645 in 2018 to 0.633 in 2021 can be attributed to falling life expectancy at birth — 70.7 years to 67.2 years.
  • India’s expected years of schooling stand at 11.9 years, and the mean years of schooling are at 6.7 years. The GNI per capita level is $6,590.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated gender inequality, which increased 6.7% globally.
    • India has, however, shown a slight improvement in its Gender Inequality Index value in the latest report as compared to the 2020 index (0.490 vs 0.493), after gender inequality worsened between 2019 and 2020 (0.486 vs 0.493).


2 . India – China Pullback of Troops


Context: India and China announced that their Armies have begun to disengage

 Recent developments

  • India and China announced that their Armies have begun to disengage from Patrolling Point-15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area of eastern Ladakh, marking a step forward towards ending the stand-off ongoing since May 2020.
  • The move comes ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan next week, in which the Indian Prime Minister and Chinese President are expected to participate.
  • However, neither side has, so far, confirmed if the two leaders would hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the summit.
  • According to the consensus reached in the 16th round of India China Corps Commander Level Meeting, the Indian and Chinese troops in the area of Gogra-Hotsprings (PP-15) have begun to disengage in a coordinated and planned way, which is conducive to the peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
  • The consensus was reached at the Corps Commander level and the ground commanders on both sides had worked out the modalities which were now being implemented, a defence official said.
  • The 16th round of talks was held on July 17 at the Chushul border personnel meeting point on the Indian side.
  • As per the understanding reached earlier on disengagement, a buffer zone is to be created at the friction points once troops are withdrawn by both sides and new patrolling norms are to be worked out after complete disengagement and de-escalation.
  • India will continue to press for complete disengagement and de-escalation from all the friction areas and the Corps Commander-level talks would continue, officials stated.

Background

  • The term LAC was first coined by former Chinese premier Zhou Enlai in his 1959 letter to Jawaharlal Nehru, was accepted by India as late as 1991, followed by the agreement of Peace and Tranquility signed in 1993.
  •  The current day LAC is quite close to the Chinese-claimed borders, which is a huge disadvantage to India.
  • India has insisted that China must revert to physical locations held as of September 8, 1962, and that it should be held as the basis for delineation of the LAC, while negotiations can continue for the final settlement of the border.
  •  The delineation of the LAC has also not been done based on the accepted norms of control as mentioned in the 1993 agreement.
  • This has resulted in the existence of several areas of differing perceptions across the LAC, which is the primary cause of conflict.
  •  Not only this, but China has also been altering its claim lines multiple times and trying to push them more towards India, thus clearly manifesting its salami slicing on the lines it did in the maritime domain.
    • It has even changed its documented stance and has been looking for justifications for the conflict escalation.

What is the source of tension?

  • The root cause is an ill-defined, 3,440km (2,100-mile)-long disputed border.
  • Rivers, lakes and snowcaps along the frontier mean the line can shift, bringing soldiers face to face at many points, sparking a confrontation.
  • The two nations are also competing to build infrastructure along the border, which is also known as the Line of Actual Control.
  • India’s construction of a new road to a high-altitude air base is seen as one of the main triggers for a clash with Chinese troops in June that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.


3 . Nagaland Flag and Constitution


Context: The Government of India is ready to incorporate the Yehzabo, the Naga Constitution, into the Indian Constitution and has agreed for a civil and cultural flag for the Nagas, a senior government official said.

 Key highlights

  • The Yehzabo will be incorporated into the Indian Constitution by presenting a Bill in Parliament.
  • The flag will only be used for civil and cultural functions, but not in any government function.
  • The Centre is clear that there cannot be two Constitutions and two flags in the country.
    • The NSCN-IM is stuck on the demand for a separate flag and constitution.

Background

  • The Centre is engaged in discussions with the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) and seven Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) to find a solution to the Naga political issue.
  • The Isak-Muivah faction, the key player in the Naga peace talks, has been demanding a separate Constitution and a separate flag for the Nagas.
  • The NSCN-IM also demands creation of ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim by integrating Naga-dominated areas in neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and uniting 1.2 million Nagas.
  • More than a hundred rounds of talks spanning over two decades have taken place so far.
  • On August 3, 2015, the NSCN(I-M) group signed a framework agreement in the presence of the Prime Minister.

The Naga issue – how it started

  • The British annexed Assam in 1826, and in 1881, the Naga Hills too became part of British India.
  • The first sign of Naga resistance was seen in the formation of the Naga Club in 1918, which told the Simon Commission in 1929 “to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times”.
  • In 1946, Naga National Council (NNC) under the leadership of Angami Zapu Phizo, declared Nagaland an independent state on August 14, 1947.
  • The NNC resolved to establish a “sovereign Naga state” and conducted a “referendum” in 1951, in which “99 per cent” supported an “independent” Nagaland.

The armed movement

  • On March 22, 1952, Phizo formed the underground Naga Federal Government (NFG) and the Naga Federal Army (NFA).
  • The Government of India sent in the Army to crush the insurgency and, in 1958, enacted the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

The peace efforts

  • Almost simultaneously with the resistance the peace efforts started.
  • On June 29, 1947, Assam Governor Sir Akbar Hyderi signed a 9-point agreement with moderates T Sakhrie and Aliba Imti, which was almost immediately rejected by Phizo.
  • The Naga Hills, a district of Assam, was upgraded to a state in 1963, by also adding the Tuensang Tract that was then part of NEFA.
  • In April the next year, Jai Prakash Narain, Assam Chief Minister Bimala Prasad Chaliha and Rev. Michael Scott formed a Peace Mission and got the government and NNC to sign an agreement to suspend operations that September.
  • But the NNC/NFG/NFA continued to indulge in violence, and after six rounds of talks, the Peace Mission was abandoned in 1967, and a massive counter-insurgency operation launched.

When did the NSCN come into being?

  • On November 11, 1975, the government got a section of NNC leaders to sign the Shillong Accord, under which this section of NNC and NFG agreed to give up arms.
  • A group of about 140 members led by Thuingaleng Muivah, who were at that time in China, refused to accept the Shillong Accord, and formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland in 1980.
  • Muivah also had Isak Chisi Swu and S S Khaplang with him.
  • In 1988, the NSCN split into NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) after a violent clash.
  • While the NNC began to fade away, and Phizo died in London in 1991, the NSCN (IM) came to be seen as the “mother of all insurgencies” in the region.

Demands of insurgent groups

  • A “Greater Nagalim” comprising “all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas”, along with Nagaland.
    • That included several districts of Assam, Arunachal and Manipur, as also a large tract of Myanmar.
  • The map of “Greater Nagalim” has about 1,20,000 sq km, while the state of Nagaland consists of 16,527 sq km.
  • The claims have always kept Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh wary of a peace settlement that might affect their territories.
  • The Nagaland Assembly has endorsed the ‘Greater Nagalim’ demand — “Integration of all Naga-inhabited contiguous areas under one administrative umbrella” many times.

What has happened since?

  • There have been nearly 100 rounds of talks. In August 2015, the group signed a framework agreement with the Indian government for the Naga Peace Accord.
    • Ravi was appointed interlocutor to take the talks to their conclusion.
  •  But while both the government and Naga groups said the talks successfully concluded on the government’s deadline of October 31, 2019, no accord was signed.
  • Relations between Ravi and the NSCN(IM) unraveled after the talks concluded.
  • In January 2020, the government had IB special director Akshay Mishra step in and continue the engagement.

Way ahead

  • It is important to bring the insurgent groups together and slowly bring them to accept what India can give.
  • Delicately close the gap between the IM and NNPGs.


4 . Facts for Prelims


Queen Elizabeth 2

Context: Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, has passed away after reigning for 70 years.

About the Queen

  • She was the first British monarch to accede to the throne after India’s Independence from colonial rule in 1952 and cherished the “warmth and hospitality” she received during her three State Visits to the country over the course of her reign — in 1961, 1983 and 1997.
  • They were Guests of Honour at the Republic Day Parade on the invitation of the then President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
  • In 1983, her visit was in time for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and she famously presented Mother Teresa with an honorary Order of Merit.
  • Her final visit to India was to mark the 50th anniversary celebrations of India’s Independence and for the first time she made a reference to “difficult episodes” of colonial history.
  • Britain’s new king will be formally known as Charles III, his Clarence House residence confirmed, after suggestions that Queen Elizabeth II’s heir might have taken a different regnal name.

Micro Forest

Context: With micro forests, a district in Punjab has expanded its green cover.

About Micro- Forest

  • Micro forests are grown using the basic principles of the Miyawaki method of afforestation, that prioritizes the natural development of forests using native species.
  •  The Miyawaki Method was developed in the 1970s by Akira Miyawaki, a Japanese botanist and specialist in the restoration of natural vegetation on degraded land.
  • The abiding principle of the Miyawaki method is using species of trees that would occur naturally in that area and that can work together to create a diverse multi-layered forest community.
  • This method of afforestation allows trees to be densely planted at between 3-4 per m2, and, with the correct ground preparation, grow up to 10 times faster per annum than a conventionally grown tree, with a 97% success rate.

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