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UPSC Online News Analysis

News – 1

Context: Worst air quality on Deepavali in four years – Western disturbance brings light rain and wind, helps in dispersal of pollutants.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Geography

Western disturbance & Its significance:

  • A western disturbance is an extratropical storm originating in the Mediterranean region that brings sudden winter rain to the north-western parts of the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is a non-monsoonal precipitation pattern driven by the westerlies.
  • The moisture in these storms usually originates over the Mediterranean Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.
  • The western disturbances are embedded in the mid-latitude subtropical westerly jet stream.
  • Western disturbances, specifically the ones in winter, bring moderate to heavy rain in low-lying areas and heavy snow to mountainous areas of the Indian Subcontinent.
  • They are the cause of most winter and pre-monsoon season rainfall across northwest India.
  • Precipitation during the winter season has great importance in agriculture, particularly for the rabi crops.
  • Over the Indo-Gangetic plains, they occasionally bring cold wave conditions and dense fog.
  • The southwest monsoon current generally progresses from east to west in the northern Himalayan region, unlike western disturbances which follow a west to east trend in north India with consequent rise in pressure carrying cold pool of air.
  • This helps in the activation of monsoon in certain parts of northwest India. It also causes pre monsoon rainfall especially in northern India.

News – 2

Context: Forest rights claims of 1,200 tribals rejected – NGOs in Karnataka alleged that review was done cursorily, fear that more applications may be rejected.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Environment acts

About Forest rights act, 2006 (FRA):

  • The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, is a key piece of forest legislation passed in India on 18 December 2006.
  • It has also been called the Forest Rights Act, the Tribal Rights Act, the Tribal Bill, and the Tribal Land Act.
  • The law concerns the rights of forest-dwelling communities to land and other resources, denied to them over decades as a result of the continuance of colonial forest laws in India.
  • FRA is also applicable in National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, and Tiger Reserves.

Criteria for forest rights for forest dwellers:

  • The person should be Primarily resided in forest or forests land for three generations (75 years) prior to 13-12-2005.
  • The person should be depending on the forest or forests land for bonafide livelihood needs.

Types of forest rights:

  • Right to hold and live in the forest land under the individual or common occupation for habitation or for self-cultivation for livelihood by a member or members of a forest dwelling Scheduled Tribe or other traditional forest dwellers;
  • Community rights such as nistar, by whatever name called, including those used in erstwhile Princely states, Zamindari or such intermediary regimes;
  • Right of ownership, access to collect, use, and dispose of minor forest produce (includes all non-timber forest produce of plant origin) which has been traditionally collected within or outside village boundaries;
  • Other community rights of uses of entitlements such as fish and other products of water bodies, grazing (both settled or transhumant) and traditional seasonal resource access of nomadic or pastoralist communities;
  • Rights including community tenures of habitat and habitation for primitive tribal groups and pre-agriculture communities;
  • Rights in or over disputed lands under any nomenclature in any State where claims are disputed;
  • Rights for conversion of Pattas or leases or grants issued by any local council or any State Govt. on forest lands to titles;
  • Rights of settlement and conversion of all forest villages, old habitation, unsurveyed villages and other villages in forest, whether recorded, notified or not into revenue villages;
  • Right to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource which they have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use;
  • Rights which are recognised under any State law or laws of any Autonomous Dist. Council or Autonomous Regional Council or which are accepted as rights of tribals under any traditional or customary law of the concerned tribes of any State;
  • Right of access to biodiversity and community right to intellectual property and traditional knowledge related to biodiversity and cultural diversity.

News – 3

Context: Arunachal Pradesh recorded the best sex ratio in the country, while Manipur recorded the worst.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Reports & Indices | Mains – Human Geography, Women issues (GS-1)

Name of the report: “Vital statistics of India based on the Civil Registration System”

Published by: Registrar ­General of India.

What is sex ratio?

  • Sex ratio at birth is the number of females born per 1,000 males.

What does report say?

  • Arunachal Pradesh recorded 1,084 females born per thousand males, followed by Nagaland (965) Mizoram (964), Kerala (963) and Karnataka (957).
  • The worst was reported in Manipur (757), Lakshadweep (839) and Daman & Diu (877), Punjab (896) and Gujarat (897).
  • Delhi recorded a sex ratio of 929, Haryana 914 and Jammu and Kashmir 952.

Reasons behind low sex ratio in India:

  • Literacy levels –  The low literacy levels in India especially in rural areas is a major factor responsible for low female sex-ratio.   
  • Lack of awareness –  The basic awareness that for any healthy society female population is equally essential as the male population is, lacks in our country and makes infant birth-rates unfavourable to females.    
  • Female infanticide/foeticide – Females are generally considered as burden on parents and so are many times killed either before birth (female foeticide) or after birth (female infanticide).  
  • Health conditions – Per capita calorie consumption for females is extremely low for all age groups. Many small and young girls suffer from malnutrition related diseases and die at an early age.

News – 4

Context: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he favours a permanent division of Cyprus into two States, during a visit to the breakaway Turkish held north decried as a “provocation” by the internationally recognised Greek-speaking south.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Geography locations

Cyprus location

News – 5

Context: With China significantly scaling up its troop contribution for United Nations Peace Keeping (UNPK) missions, India and the U.S. are looking to undertake training of military personnel for the missions from Southeast Asian countries on the lines of the ongoing initiative for African countries.

Topic in syllabus: Mains – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. (GS-2)

  • In 2016, India and the U.S. began a joint annual initiative “UN Peacekeeping Course for African Partners” to build and enhance the capacity of African troop and police contributing countries to participate in the U.N. and regional peacekeeping operations. (Use this example to write about India-US collaboration on security issues)

India’s contribution to United nations:

  • China contributes 12% of the UN regular general budget and 15% of the peacekeeping budget. India’s contribution to the regular budget is 0.83% and 0.16% of the peacekeeping budget.
  • India has so far participated in 51 of the 71 missions and contributed over 2 lakh personnel.
  • It has troop deployment in Lebanon, Golan Heights, Congo and South Sudan in addition to staff officers in other missions. India has also set up two field hospitals in South Sudan and one in Congo.
  • Since 2018, India has co-opted a contingent from Kazakhstan at the mission in Lebanon.

Important one liners

  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a mega trade bloc comprising 15 countries led by China, that came into existence said India would have to write expressing “intention” to join the organisation to restart negotiations for membership.
  • Former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi called for a ban on opinion polls and also suggested counting of votes from the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips instead of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
  • An accused, irrespective of the merits of the case against him, should be granted “default” or “compulsive” bail if the investigating agency does not complete the probe within a prescribed time limit, the Supreme Court has held in a judgment.
  • Around 25,000 Ethiopians fleeing conflict in the Tigray region have crossed into neighbouring Sudan, state news agency SUNA reported, as the UN said it was working to find them shelter.
  • Azerbaijan said it had agreed to extend a deadline for Armenia to withdraw from a disputed
    district as part of a peace accord that ended six weeks of fierce fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
  • Gilgit ­Baltistan Assembly poll concludes; counting begins – India had opposed Pak. plan to hold election in the region.

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