Daily Current Affairs for 09th September 2022

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Rajpath, a symbol of slavery, erased

GS Paper 1: The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/ contributions from different parts of the country.
Important For:
Prelims Exam: Subhash Chandra Bose
Mains Exam: Bose’s contribution in freedom struggle

Why in News

Rajpath, which was a “symbol of slavery”, has been erased forever, the Prime Minister said while inaugurating the redeveloped two-kilometre stretch from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhavan that was renamed Kartavya Path.
Installing Neta Ji’s statue
The PM also unveiled a statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose under the canopy at India Gate that during British rule had a statue of King George V.

Neta Ji: Fact File

• Subhas Chandra Bose is a well-known name among Indians for his defiance of British authority in India and contributions for the independence.
• The honorific Netaji was first applied to Bose in Germany in early 1942—by the Indian soldiers of the Indische Legion and by the German and Indian officials in the Special Bureau for India in Berlin. It is now used throughout India.
• Bose went to Cambridge University to prepare for the Indian Civil Services (ICS) exam in 1920. But later, determined to join the struggle for India’s freedom, he abandoned the project and resigned from the ICS to join the national movement.

Bose and Gandhi

After resigning from the Civil services, he reached Bombay in 1921, he obtained an audience with Gandhi to get a better understanding of his plan of action. While he had great respect for the Mahatma, Bose left the meeting dissatisfied with the answers he received.
Bose had few ideological differences with Gandhi on:

• Independence: While Gandhi was willing to wait a long time for Independence, Bose wanted immediate action, if not immediate results.
• Modern technology: Gandhi was anti-materialistic and hostile to modern technology; Bose saw technology and mass production as essential to survival and dignity.
• Nature of the State: Gandhi wanted a decentralized society and disliked the modern state; Bose wanted a strong central government and saw the modern state as the only solution to India’s problems.
• Non-violence: Bose did not share Gandhi’s dedication to non-violence. He believed freedom cannot be earned by non-violence. His famous slogan was “Give me the blood and I’ll give you the freedom.

The rift within the Congress

• Over the next two decades, Bose devoted his life to the nationalist movement, gaining considerable political influence and becoming one of the most powerful leaders in the Congress party.
• In 1938, he was elected Congress president in the Haripura session, where he tried to push for swaraj as a “National Demand” and opposed the idea of an Indian federation under British rule.
• He stood for re-election in 1939 and defeated Dr Pattabhi Sitaramayya, the Gandhi-backed candidate.
o Sekhar Bandhopadhyay notes in his book ‘Plassey to Partition: A History of Modern India’ that Gandhi took this as a “personal defeat” and 12 of the 15 members of the Working Committee resigned from their roles. These included Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Rajendra Prasad.
• Bose tried to set up another working committee, but after being unable to do so, was forced to resign and was replaced by Prasad.
• Within a week, he proposed the creation of the “Forward Bloc” within the Congress Party, in order to bring the radical-left elements of the party together.
• Historian Sugata Bose writes in his book ‘His Majesty’s Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India’s Struggle Against Empire’, his political aim was to convert the majority of the Congress members towards his point of view and provide the Indian people with an alternative leadership that was based on an “uncompromising anti-imperialism in the current phase of Indian politics and undiluted socialism once freedom was achieved”.

The INA and World War II

• The Indian National Army was formed in 1942, consisting of thousands of Indian prisoners of war captured by the Japanese, and supported by Japanese troops.
• After his arrival in Singapore, Bose announced the formation of the provisional government of the Azad Hind in October 1943. The headquarters of the provisional government was moved to Rangoon in January 1944, and after fighting at the Arakan Front, the INA crossed the Indo-Burma border and marched towards Imphal and Kohima in March.
• The Chalo Delhi campaign ended at Imphal however, as the British and British Indian armies, along with American air support were able to defeat the Japanese forces and the INA and push them out of Kohima as well.
• In April-May 1945, Bose, along with the INA soldiers as well as women he had recruited for the Rani of Jhansi regiment was forced to retreat on foot to Thailand, while facing incessant enemy fire. After the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, the war came to an end.
After the Japanese surrendered on August 16, Bose left South East Asia on a Japanese plane and headed toward China. The plane, however, crashed, leaving Bose badly burned, but still alive (according to some historians).

India ranks 132 in HDI as country’s score drops

GS Paper 2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Important For:
Prelims Exam: HDI
Mains Exam: Use the data in your answer writing
Why in News
India’s rank on the Human Development Index has slipped from 130 in 2020 to 132 in 2021, in line with a global fall in HDI scores in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, shows the Human Development Report 2021-22 released recently.

Reasons for slipping down of countries

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
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.

Human Development Index

• United Nations Development Programme
• Measures average achievement in human development taking into account four indicators:

o life expectancy at birth (SDG 3)
o expected years of schooling (SDG 4.3)
 mean years of schooling (SDG 4.4)
o gross national income (GNI) per capita (2017 PPP$) (SDG 8.5).

• The index measures inequality in achievement between women and men in three dimensions — reproductive health, empowerment and the labor market.

India’s score

• 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 in 2021 can be attributed to falling life expectancy at birth — 70.7 years to 67.2 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).
• 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.

Floods in Pakistan and the pulls and pressures of India-Pak disaster diplomacy

GS Paper 2: International Relations
Important For:
Mains Exam: Disaster Diplomacy
Why in News
As a flood that has been described as one of Biblical proportions devastated Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and hoped “for an early restoration of normalcy”.

India-Pakistan ties after 2014

After 2014 elections, then PM Nawaz Sharif was invited for the swearing-in ceremony of the new Government. Sharif had come to India, along with the leaders of other SAARC nations.
The meeting between the two Prime Ministers had held the promise of a new beginning for the bilateral relationship that had suffered a severe setback after the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008.
However, a string of incidents further deteriorated the ties between two nations —
• India’s red line on the meeting between Pakistan’s diplomats and leaders of the separatist Hurriyat.
• The terrorist attacks in Pathankot and Uri — impacted the relationship negatively, and India made it clear that “talks and terror can’t go together”.
• Pulwama terror attack in February 2019
• The abrogation of Article 370, which revoked the special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
• The constitutional changes in J&K, and Pakistan’s response to them, took bilateral ties to a new low.

Pakistan’s stand on relations with India

• After the ouster of Imran Khan, and the coming to power of the new coalition government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, some positive noises have emanated from Pakistan.
• Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif also underlined that the peaceful and cooperative ties could be achieved through “meaningful dialogue”.
• In his maiden address to the National Assembly as Prime Minister, Shehbaz said: “We want good ties with India but durable peace is not possible until the Kashmir dispute is resolved.”

The case for help now

• The ruling dispensation in Pakistan is well disposed towards a possible gesture of humanitarian support from India was indicated by Prime Minister Sharif, who thanked Indian Prime Minister for his message.
• Pakistan’s Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has said that the government can consider importing vegetables and other edible items from India following the destruction of standing crops due to the floods.
• The two major partners in Pakistan’s ruling coalition, the PPP led by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, and the PML(N) led by the Sharifs, are waiting for further gestures from New Delhi.
Responses to disasters in the past
In the past, when natural disasters struck India and Pakistan, the two countries at times reached out to each other with offers of help.
• During Bhuj Earthquake: In January-February 2001, after the earthquake hit Bhuj in Gujarat, Pakistan had reached out with help, and had sent tents and blankets for the survivors.
o Then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had spoken to Pakistan’s military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, to formally thank him for sending aid.
o It was not a big consignment, senior diplomats recall, but the gesture was important.
• 2005 Earthquake: In 2005, when a powerful earthquake struck both India and Pakistan, India sent aircraft with relief supplies to Pakistan and pledged $ 25 million through the United Nations to support Pakistan’s relief efforts.
• 2010 Superfood: In 2010, when a “superflood” — the worst in recent decades until the deluge of 2022 — hit Pakistan, India offered $ 5 million in help, but Pakistan declined to accept it.
India: helping hands to its neighbors
• Though there has not been much follow-up activity, the Indian Prime Minister’s outreach by way of a message created a potential opening for “disaster diplomacy”.
• For the Indian government, the case for extending humanitarian help ties in well with its desire to project itself as the “first responder” in times of disaster and crisis in the neighborhood.
• Vaccine diplomacy and the efforts to brand India as the “pharmacy to the world” have been billed as major achievements of the government.
• In recent months and years, India has extended its hand of help and cooperation to the Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan.
How can India help Pakistan?
• The help from India can be at the micro and short-term level: food, fuel, tents, medicines, and emergency essential supplies.
• At the macro and medium-to-long-term, it could involve help in the reconstruction of damaged homes and properties, and the archaeological site of Mohenjo Daro, part of the cultural heritage of both countries.
• India’s expertise in healthcare can be of help in the post-floods scenario — dengue is already on the rise, and diseases such as typhoid are expected to spike sharply.

In sharp slide in global oil prices, hope for easing of inflation in India

GS Paper 3: Indian Economy
Important For:
Mains Exam: Disaster Diplomacy
Why in News
In a major relief to the Indian economy, the Brent crude prices have fallen sharply over the last ten days. While they were trading at around $110 per barrel in July end, the prices have declined to under $90 per barrel.

What led to this decline?

• While the prices have been softening over the last couple of months, the recent sharp decline is due to renewed fears of recession in Europe and decline in demand from China, which brought in new Covid lockdown measures amid weakening factory activity.
• There is a concern that these factors could dent the future demand of crude oil.

What does this mean for India?

• India imports nearly 85% of its crude requirement and in the year ended March 2022, the oil import bill doubled to $119 billion on account of rise in prices.
• The rise in import bill not only leads to inflation and rise in current account deficit and fiscal deficit, but also weakens the rupee against the dollar and hurts stock market sentiment.
• A rise in crude oil price also has an indirect impact on India as it leads to a rise in edible oil prices, coal prices and also that of fertiliser as they use gas as the feedstock. Gas accounts for 80% of all fertiliser production costs.
• So, if a rise in crude oil prices could lead to a much-enhanced import burden, it also leads to reduction in demand in the economy which hurts growth. It could also lead to higher fiscal deficit if the government chooses to bear the burden by way of subsidies.
• In that sense, a softening in crude oil prices is a big relief for all stakeholders – the government, the consumers and even the corporates.
• If oil continues to trade at lower levels, it will result in lower inflation levels, higher disposable incomes and thereby higher economic growth.

Cyborg cockroaches to help in urban search-rescue missions

GS Paper 3: Science & Technology
Important For:
Mains Exam: Can be mentioned in answers for disaster management etc
Why in News
An international team of researchers led by Japan’s scientific institution, RIKEN’s Cluster for Pioneering Research (CPR), have devised a system that can create cyborg cockroaches, that are part insect and part machine.
Significance of such development
• Researchers claim that these insects, whose movements are controlled by tiny integrated circuits, will be able to conduct surveillance in procedures like urban search and rescue, environmental monitoring and inspection of areas dangerous to humans.

Place in News: Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary

Bhitarkanika National Park is a large national park in northeast Kendrapara district of Odisha in eastern India. Bhitarkanika is the second-largest Mangrove ecosystem of India.
It is the breeding place for the endangered saltwater crocodiles, which are the prime attractions of the sanctuary.
Key Facts about the Bhitarkanika National Park
• The national park is home to a varied species of flora and fauna
• It was designated on September 16, 1998, and obtained the status of a Ramsar site on August 19, 2002
• This national park is surrounded by the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary
• It emerges out of a historical and cultural past as it was the hunting ground of the royal Raj Kanika family
Geographical Aspect:
• The National Park is carved out of the core area of the sanctuary and is the land for impeccable biodiversity.
• It lies in the estuarial region of Brahmani-Baitrani with the Bay of Bengal lying in the East.
• Gahirmatha Beach and Marine Sanctuary are to the east, separating swamp region and mangroves from the Bay of Bengal.
• It is a point for tourist attraction and a revenue-generating aspect for the state of Odisha
Flora and Fauna in Bhitarkanika
• The Gahirmatha Beach which forms the boundary of the wildlife sanctuary in the east is the largest colony of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles.
• It is a location encompassing rivers, streams, creeks, accumulated land, backwater and mudflats
• There are 215 bird species present in Bhitarkanika, including 8 varieties of kingfisher and the migratory birds from Europe and Central Asia.
• Venomous Cobras and Indian Pythons, the endangered water monitor lizards, Chitals, Jungle cat, Wild Pigs, Otter, Rhesus Monkeys, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar and the Fishing Cat, are a few of the many reptiles, mammals and vertebrates that can be seen in Bhitarkanika
• The Asian Open Bill, Cormorants, Darters, Black Ibis, Egrets, open billed storks, sandpipers, sea eagles, whistling teals, kites and seagulls are the frequently noticed avians of the sanctuary.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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