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25TH MAY CURRENT AFFAIRS

Contents

  1. Reverse migration puts focus on ARYA scheme
  2. U.S. pushing relations to the brink of a new Cold War: China
  3. India’s crude steel output declines 65 per cent
  4. India looks ready for long stand-off with China, may not stop border infra work

Reverse migration puts focus on ARYA scheme

Why in news?

The massive reverse migration of people from urban areas to villages ever since lockdown was imposed due to COVID-19 has put focus on the Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture (ARYA) scheme of the Centre with several experts suggesting that time is now ideal to go for full-fledged implementation of the ambitious scheme.

Details:

  • ARYA scheme is presently being implemented in 100 districts in the country on an experimental basis. 
  • Such a scheme had been taken up particularly in the wake of a majority of rural youth shunning agriculture and migrating to cities in search of menial jobs.
  • The main intention of the scheme was to turn agriculture and allied sectors into attractive and profit-making proposition for the rural youth.
  • The benefits of the scheme are not confined to rural youth alone as the country’s food and nutritional security would be taken care of if vibrancy of farming sector is ensured by attracting youth and pressure on urban areas is reduced by checking migration.
  • The scheme is being implemented through Krishi Vigyan Kendras, which will in turn involve several scientific institutions as technology partners.

About ARYA Scheme:

Implemented by : ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare

Objective:

The objectives of ARYA Scheme are

  1. To increase the profitability of Agriculture.
  2. To improve the quality of life in Rural Areas.
  3. To transform Youths especially Rural into Agricultural Entrepreneurs.
  4. To implement scientific methods of farming in Agriculture.
  5. To increase production in Agriculture allied activities.

Arya is to be implemented by Krishi Vigyan Kendras which each would train around 200-300 youths. These youths will be trained in Farming, Bee Keeping, Dairy & Poultry Farming, Cattle rearing etc. and will be helped in getting Loans from Banks.

Negative impacts of the Scheme:

It will train youth for Agriculture while the Manufacturing sector requires more young workers.

It’s prime focus is on Rural youths. Giving vocational training to them may result in a dropout in Higher Education by them.

The Attraction and Retention of Youth in Agriculture is though launched with good intention, It may result in keeping the Rural youth backward and away from the Mainstream. Therefore, an equal emphasis should be given on training the Urban Youths who, with their deep pockets and better learning abilities can not only increase the land holding size but can also increase the share of agriculture in the overall GDP.


U.S. pushing relations to the brink of a new Cold War: China

Why in news?

The United States is pushing relations with China to “the brink of a new Cold War,” China’s Foreign Minister said , rejecting Washington’s “lies” over the coronavirus while saying Beijing was open to an international effort to find its source.

Details:

Long-standing friction between the two powers over trade, human rights and a range of other issues have been pushed to new heights since the virus outbreak.

Most scientists believe the virus jumped from animals to humans after emerging in China, possibly from a market in the central city of Wuhan where exotic animals were sold for meat.

Governments including the U.S. and Australia have called in recent weeks for an investigation into the exact origins of the virus.

China has proposed instead that the “global response” to COVID-19 should only be assessed when the pandemic is over. 

The introduction at China’s legislature of a proposal to impose a security law in Hong Kong to suppress the semi-autonomous city’s pro-democracy movement also has drawn U.S. and world condemnation.

The Precarious Triangle: China, Taiwan, and United States

Taiwan continues to be used as a ploy in the political games between the world’s two superpowers, with both sides turning up the heat in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen’s inauguration coincides with U.S. lobbying efforts to help Taiwan secure observer status at the World Health Organization (WHO)’s 73rd World Health Assembly, as well as increased pressure from Beijing to have more say in the self-ruling island’s status

Taiwan’s actions of transparency and willingness to help and share information in the advent of the virus stand in stark contrast to claims from Beijing that its model for combating COVID-19 is superior. It remains to be seen if Beijing’s attempts to keep Taiwan out of the international spotlight and recognition will succeed

These developments are all the more relevant when viewed against the backdrop of U.S.-China competition plunging into an abyss.

Are the U.S. and China entering a new Cold War?

  • The US President has recently threatened to “cut off the whole relationship” with China over the COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in Wuhan.
  • Earlier this month, the U.S. imposed visa restrictions on the Chinese journalists working in the country, limiting their work period to 90 days.
  • Last week, Trump extended for one more year a ban on U.S. companies from using telecom equipment made by “companies positing national security risks” (Huawei and ZTE row).

Record high temperatures have been recorded in Sino-U.S. relations in recent years and the pandemic is no exception to this. Competition rules the relationship, and flexibility and mature handling are in short supply on both sides. Uncertainty prevails, whether it on the question of resolving trade problems, or on the maritime front in the East and South China Seas, on technology, or on mutual mud-slinging on COVID-19-related issues

‘Novikov telegram’

  • In early April, China’s Ministry of State Security sent an internal report to the country’s top leaders, stating that hostility in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak could tip relations with the U.S. into a confrontation.
  • Intelligence community sees the report as China’s version of the ‘Novikov Telegram’, referring to a report Nikolai Novikov, the Soviet Ambassador in Washington, sent to Moscow in September 1946.
  • Laying out his analysis of the U.S. conduct, the report, sent to Russia said that the U.S. is determined on world domination and suggested the Soviet Union create a buffer in Eastern Europe.
  • Novikov telegram was a response to the “Long Telegram”, the 8,000-word report sent by George Kennan, an official at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, to Washington.
  • It said that the Soviet Union was heavily armed and determined to spread communism, and peaceful coexistence was impossible.
  • Historians often trace the origins of the Cold War to these telegrams.

Nationalist overdrive

  • The current crisis in relations clearly shows that tensions will not go away. This situation is unlikely to ease until the U.S. Presidential election.
  • Post-election, temperatures could decrease, but a deep-rooted antipathy towards China has gripped the popular and political imagination in the U.S.
  • In China, the leadership and public opinion are both on a nationalist overdrive and the Trump administration is seen as the prime antagonist.

Relevance with the Cold War

  • There are similarities between the current crisis and the Cold War.
  • The political elites of both China and the U.S., like the Soviet Union and the U.S. back then, see each other as their main rivals.
  • We can also see this antagonism moving from the political elite to the popular perception — the targeting of ethnic Chinese professionals and others in the U.S. and of American individuals or entities in China is a case in point.

Way forward:

  • We don’t see the kind of proxy conflicts between the U.S. and China which we did during the Cold War.
  • The world is also not bipolar any more. There are third parties such as the EU, Russia, India and Japan.
  • These parties increasingly have a choice whether or not to align with either power as they see fit and on a case by case basis.
  • This leads to a very different kind of international order than during the Cold War.

Challenges ahead:

  • The Cold War was out and out ideological between the communist and capitalist blocs.
  • For China, a country ruled by a communist party where the primary goal of all state apparatus is preserving the regime in power, it’s always been ideological.
  • The U.S. has started realizing this angle about China now. The Republican Party has ideological worldviews, too.
  • If Trump gets re-elected, the ideological underpinnings of the U.S.-China rivalry could get further solidified.

Background:

What is Cold war?

  • The Cold War was a period (1945-1991) of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and its satellite states (the Eastern European countries), and the United States with its allies (the Western European countries) after World War II.
  • Post World War II, the world got divided into two power blocs dominated by two superpowers viz. the Soviet Union and the US.
  • The two superpowers were primarily engaged in an ideological war between the capitalist USA and the communist Soviet Union.
  • The term “Cold” is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides.

In 1991, Soviet Union collapsed due to multiple factors which marked the end of the Cold War, as one of the superpowers was weakened.

The end of the Cold War marked the victory of the US and the bipolar world order turned into a unipolar.

However, over the last decade, the position of the US as the world’s most powerful state has appeared increasingly unstable. The US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, non-traditional security threats, global economic instability, the apparent spread of religious fundamentalism, together with the rise of emerging economic powers (like Japan, Australia, India, China etc.) have made the world look more multipolar and has led many to predict the decline of the west and the rise of the rest.


India’s crude steel output declines 65 per cent

Why in news?

On May 24, 2020, the World Steel Association released the World Steel Report. According to the report, the crude steel report of India declined by 65%.

Details:

The country had produced 9.02 MT of crude steel during the same month a year ago, the World Steel Association (world steel) said in a report.

India had posted a 14 per cent decline in steel.

Global steel output also declined 13 per cent.
 

China, which had for the first time in many months reported a 1.7 per cent fall in its output.

Background of the World steel Association:

World steel Association is a non-profit organisation with headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. A second office in Beijing, China, opened in April 2006.

The World Steel Association (world steel) was founded as the International Iron and Steel Institute on 10 July 1967. It changed its name to the World Steel Association on 6 October 2008.

World steel Association represents over 160 steel producers (including 9 of the world’s 10 largest steel companies), national and regional steel industry associations, and steel research institutes. World steel members represent around 85% of world steel production.

Objectives of World steel:

  • To act as the focal point for the steel industry providing global leadership on all major strategic issues impacting the industry, particularly focusing on economic, environmental and social sustainability.
  • Deliver benchmarking analysis and drive global improvement initiatives in the areas of environmental protection, technology, safety and people development.
  • Promote global market development opportunities for steel and promote steel to the world at large.
  • Provide on a timely basis world-class economic data and analysis on the global steel industry and its value chain, as well as assessments on life cycle aspects of steel.
  • Increase awareness, understanding and support for the steel industry amongst all external stakeholders and key target audiences worldwide.
  • Promote market competition that is free of government interventions preventing fair trade.

India looks ready for long stand-off with China, may not stop border infra work

Why in news?

As Indian and Chinese troops remain locked in stand-off positions in several points in Ladakh, at the senior levels of government there is a determination that India will not stop its border development activities.

Details:

While reinforcements in men and material are being rushed to the forward positions where soldiers from both sides have pitched tents and dug in, it appears that India is also prepared for a long stand-off.

India- China face off on Ladakh- Legacy IAS

On the ground, the stand-off at Galwan is connected to Indian construction activities, which includes building a road from Dharchuk via Shyok to Daulat Beg Oldie which is now a revamped advance landing ground (ALG), literally the highest airstrip in the world, where India can land C-130 J aircraft, giving a huge boost to its strategic airlift capability.

It is this road which gives India access to the Karakoram Highway, is what the Chinese are objecting to. The road was completed in 2019.

Why can we witness more such stand-off with China in future?

Indian security sources say India should be prepared for more turbulence with China on the border.

This is because, as a “second mover” India is playing catch-up to China’s own impressive border development works.

In the past four years, India has stepped on the gas on border roads and landing strips, all along the LAC. That is bringing Indian troops straight up to the LAC faster and easier than before, enabling India to more frequently challenge Chinese aggressive border patrolling.

Mirroring their deployment and behaviour, there has, on occasion, been Indian aggressiveness in response. This is inevitably leading to more face-offs.

Way forward:

  • Delhi needs to remind Beijing that a fundamental principle in all previous agreements is recognising the right to mutual and equal security of the two sides.
  • The immediate priority now is for both sides to use existing channels and step back.
  • Flag meetings between brigade commanders have so far been unable to break the stalemate.
  • The incidents have underlined how the new LAC situation is placing existing mechanisms under renewed stress.
  • So, India and China should grasp the current situation as an opportunity to revive the stalled process of clarifying the LAC.
  • China has resisted this as a distraction to the boundary negotiations.
  • But rather than agree on a line, both can instead simply seek to better understand the claims of the other.
  • They can reach a common understanding to regulate activity in these areas.
  • Clarifying the LAC may even provide a fresh impetus to the stalled boundary talks between the Special Representatives.
  • A final settlement will ultimately have to use the LAC as a basis, with only minor adjustments.
  • In the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic, it is time both the countries push for a settlement.
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