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Current Affairs 10 January 2022 for UPSC Exam | Legacy IAS

CONTEXT

  1. MEKEDATU PROJECT
  2. CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT 2019
  3. ASIAN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT BANK
  4. CHANG’E-5 PROBE
  5. ADI SANKARACHARYA

 


MEKEDATU PROJECT

Context:

Amid threat of COVID-19 spread and warning by the Karnataka government against violation of weekend curfew rules, the Congress its 11-day padayatra seeking early implementation of the Mekedatu drinking water project, drawing angry reactions from the government.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Intra-State Relations, Functions & responsibilities of the Union and the States, Issues and challenges of federal structure)

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. About the Cauvery River
  2. Mekedatu
  3. About the proposed Mekedatu Project
  4. Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA)
  5. Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC)

About the Cauvery River

  • The Cauvery River (Kaveri), designated as the ‘Dakshina Ganga’ or ‘the Ganga of the South’, flows in a southeasterly direction through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and descends the Eastern Ghats in a series of great falls.
  • Before emptying into the Bay of Bengal south of Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu the river breaks into a large number of distributaries forming a wide delta called the “Garden of Southern India”
  • The Cauvery basin extends over states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Union Territory of Puducherry draining an area of 81 thousand Sq.km.
  • It is bounded by the Western Ghats on the west, by the Eastern Ghats on the east and the south, and by the ridges separating it from the Krishna basin and Pennar basin on the north.
  • The Nilgiris, an offshore of Western ghats, extend Eastwards to the Eastern ghats and divide the basin into two natural and political regions i.e., Karnataka plateau in the North and the Tamil Nadu plateau in the South.
  • Physiographically, the basin can be divided into three parts – the Westen Ghats, the Plateau of Mysore, and the Delta.
  • The delta area is the most fertile tract in the basin. The principal soil types found in the basin are black soils, red soils, laterites, alluvial soils, forest soils, and mixed soils. Red soils occupy large areas in the basin. Alluvial soils are found in the delta areas.
  • It is almost a perennial river with comparatively fewer fluctuations in flow and is very useful for irrigation and hydroelectric power generation because its upper catchment area receives rainfall during summer by the south-west monsoon and the lower catchment area during the winter season by the retreating north-east monsoon.
  • Harangi, Hemavati, Shimsha, and Arkavati are the tributaries on the left bank (north) and Lakshmantirtha, Kabbani, Suvarnavati, Bhavani, Noyil, and Amaravati are the tributaries on the right bank (south).

Mekedatu

  • Mekedatu is a location along Kaveri in the border of Chamarajanagar and Ramanagara Districts. Sangama is the place where Arkavati merges with Kaveri.
  • At Mekedaatu, the Kaveri runs through a deep, narrow ravine of hard granite rock.
  • The water flows very fast through the gorge, gouging pits in the rocky riverbed.

About the proposed Mekedatu Project

  • Ontigondlu is the proposed reservoir site, situated at Ramanagara district in Karnataka about 100 km away from Bengaluru. It is the midst of the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The Rs. 9,000 crore project aims to store and supply water for drinking purposes for the Bengaluru city. Around 400 megawatts (MW) of power is also proposed to be generated through the project.
  • The project was first approved by the Karnataka state government in 2017.
  • It received approval from the erstwhile Ministry of Water Resources for the detailed project report and is awaiting approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • Tamil Nadu had approached the Supreme Court (SC) against the project even if Karnataka has held that it would not affect the flow of water to Tamil Nadu. In 2020, during the Cauvery Water Management Authority’s meeting, Tamil Nadu reiterated its opposition to the project.

Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA)

  • CWMA has been created as per the Cauvery Management Scheme framed by Centre and approved by Supreme Court.
  • The Cauvery Management Scheme deals with release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
  • It will be implemented by Cauvery Management Authority (CMA).
  • CMA will be sole body to implement CWDT award as modified by Supreme Court.
  • The Central Government will have no say in implementing of the scheme except for issuing administrative advisories to it.
  • The authority will comprise a chairman, a secretary and eight members.
  • Out of the eight members, two will be full time, while two will be part time members from centre’s side. Rest four will be part time members from states.
  • The main mandate of the CMA will be to secure implementation and compliance of the Supreme Court’s order in relation to “storage, apportionment, regulation and control of Cauvery waters”.
  • CMA will also advise the states to take suitable measures to improve water use efficiency.
  • It will do so by promoting use of micro-irrigation, change in cropping patterns, improved farm practices and development of command areas.
  • The CMA will also prepare an annual report covering its activities during the preceding year.

Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC)

  • The Central government constituted the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) as per the provisions in the Kaveri Management Scheme laid down by the Supreme Court.
  • While the CWMA is an umbrella body, the CWRC will monitor water management on a day-to-day basis, including the water level and inflow and outflow of reservoirs in all the basin states.

-Source: The Hindu


CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT 2019

Context:

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) did not notify the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 rules till 9 January 2022, the third extended deadline after the Act was passed.

  • It was the last day of an extension it sought from the two parliamentary committees in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha to frame the rules.
Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Citizenship)

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. What is the National Population Register (NPR)?
  2. Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA)
  3. Criticisms of the CAA

What is the National Population Register (NPR)?

  • The NPR is a database of usual residents in the country who have stayed in a local area for the past six months or more and who intend to remain in the same place for the next six months or more.
  • The NPR is individual and identity specific unlike the Census which only provides information on the status of the residents of India and population swings.
  • The NPR database was first created in 2010.
  • The data collection is done under the aegis of the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India.
  • The NPR is undertaken under the provisions of The Citizenship Act, 1955 and The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
  • The NPR was last updated, except in Assam and Meghalaya, in 2015-16.

Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA)

  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) was notified in December 2019 and came into force from January 2020, amending the Citizenship Act, 1955.
  • The Citizenship Act,1955 provides various ways in which citizenship may be acquired: providing for citizenship by birth, descent, registration, naturalisation and by incorporation of the territory into India.
  • The objective of the CAA is to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities — Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian — from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
  • Those from these communities who had come to India till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution in their respective countries, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
  • The Act provides that the central government may cancel the registration of OCIs on certain grounds.
  • The Act does not apply to tribal areas of Tripura, Mizoram, Assam and Meghalaya because of being included in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution.
  • Also, areas that fall under the Inner Limit notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, will also be outside the Act’s purview.

Criticisms of the CAA

  • It violates the basic tenets of the Constitution. Illegal immigrants are distinguished on the basis of religion.
  • It is perceived to be a demographic threat to indigenous communities.
  • It makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to equality.
  • It attempts to naturalise the citizenship of illegal immigrants in the region.
  • It allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences.

-Source: The Hindu


ASIAN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT BANK

Context

Former RBI Governor Urjit Patel appointed as Vice President of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (International Institutions), GS-II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. About Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank:
  2. Membership of AIIB
  3. Financial Capital of AIIB:
  4. India and AIIB (updates as of 2021)
  5. About Asian Development Bank (ADB)

About Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank:

  • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is an international financial institution proposed by China. The purpose of the multilateral development bank is to provide finance to infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • It is headquartered in Beijing.
  • It commenced operations in January 2016.
  • By investing in sustainable infrastructure and other productive sectors today, it aims to connect people, services and markets that over time will impact the lives of billions and build a better future.

Membership of AIIB

Membership in the AIIB is open to all members of the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank and is divided into regional and non-regional members.

  • Regional members are those located within areas classified as Asia and Oceania by the United Nations.
  • Unlike other MDBs (multilateral development bank), the AIIB allows for non-sovereign entities to apply for AIIB membership, assuming their home country is a member.
  • Thus, sovereign wealth funds (such as the China Investment Corporation) or state-owned enterprises of member countries could potentially join the Bank.
  • The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has officially approved 57 nations as prospective founding members, with Sweden, Israel, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Iceland, Portugal and Poland the latest to be included. 
  • Countries accepted as AIIB founding members include China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Myanmar, the Philippines, Pakistan, Britain, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany and Spain.
  • Founding members have priority over nations that sign up later because they will have the right to set the rules for the bank.
  • As of May, 2020, the bank currently has 78 members as well as 24 prospective members from around the world.

Financial Capital of AIIB:

  • The AIIB’s initial total capital is USD 100 billion divided into 1 million shares of 100 000 dollars each, with 20% paid-in and 80% callable.
  • Paid-Up Share Capital: It is the amount of money that has already been paid by investors in exchange for shares of stock.
  • Called-Up Share Capital: Some companies may issue shares to investors with the understanding they will be paid at a later date.
  • This allows for more flexible investment terms and may entice investors to contribute more share capital than if they had to provide funds up front.
  • China is the largest contributor to the Bank, contributing USD 50 billion, half of the initial subscribed capital.
  • India is the second-largest shareholder, contributing USD 8.4 billion.
  • Voting Rights:
  • China is the largest shareholder with 26.61 % voting shares in the bank followed by India (7.6%), Russia (6.01%) and Germany (4.2 %).
  • The regional members hold 75% of the total voting power in the Bank.

India and AIIB (updates as of 2021)

  • India was among the AIIB’s 57 founding members in 2016.
  • It is also its second-largest shareholder (with 7.62% voting shares) after China (26.06%).
  • It has received USD 4.35 billion from AIIB which is the highest of any country, with the bank so far approving loans of USD 19.6 billion to support 87 projects in 24 countries.
  • AIIB has approved financing projects in India in a host of sectors like energy, transport and water including the Bangalore metro rail project (USD 335 million), Gujarat rural roads project (USD 329 million) and Phase 3 of the Mumbai urban transport project (USD 500 million).
  • Based on the stance taken in the 6th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in 2021 by India – India is unlikely to alter its engagement with the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), despite a host of offensive measures announced recently to reduce its trade and investment links with China.

About Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966 to promote social and economic development in Asia.
  • It is headquartered in the city of Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines.
  • The ADB was modeled closely on the World Bank and an official United Nations Observer.
  • Japan holds the largest proportion of shares in ADB followed by the USA, and it has a weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions (just like the World Bank).
  • The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East or ECAFE) and non-regional developed countries.
  • ADB defines itself as a social development organization that is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.
  • ADB aids in reducing poverty through investments in the form of loans, grants and information sharing (in infrastructure, health care services, financial and public administration systems), helping nations prepare for the impact of climate change or better manage their natural resources, as well as other areas.
  • ADB is an official United Nations Observer.
  • India was a founding member of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 1966 and is now the bank’s fourth largest shareholder and top borrower.

-Source: Indian Express


CHANG’E-5 PROBE

Context:

China’s Chang’e 5 lunar probe finds first on-site evidence of water on moon’s surface

Relevance:

GS III- Science and Technology

About Chang’e-5 mission:

  • The probe is named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess.
  • The rocket is comprised of four parts: 
    • an orbiter,
    • a returner,
    • an ascender
    • a lander.
  • Objective: To bring back lunar rocks, the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from the moon in four decades.
  • If successful, China will be only the third country to have retrieved samples from the moon, following the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • This will help scientists learn about the moon’s origins, formation and volcanic activity on its surface.

The Change-5 mission is expected to realize four firsts in Chinas space history:

  • The first time for a probe to take off from the surface of the Moon.
  • The first time to automatically sample the lunar surface.
  • The first time to conduct unmanned rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit.
  • The first time to return to Earth with lunar soil samples in escape velocity.

-Source: Indian Express


ADI SANKARACHARYA

Context:

Adi Sankaracharya’s birthplace likely to be declared as national monument.

  • The National Monuments Authority chairman said that they shall prepare a detailed report on the significance of Adi Sankaracharya’s birthplace, which dates back to the early eighth century, and submit it to the ASI for due consideration.
Relevance:

GS I- Ancient History

About Adi Sankaracharya:

  • He was born in Kaladi, Kerala in 788 CE.
  • He propounded the Doctrine of Advaita (Monism).
  • He wrote many commentaries on the Vedic canon (Upanishads, Brahma Sutras and Bhagavad Gita) in Sanskrit.
  • His major work is Brahmasutrabhasya (Bhashya or commentary on the Brahma Sutra).
  • He travelled the length and breadth of India spreading Advaita Vedanta.
  • He was responsible for reviving Hinduism in India to a great extent when Buddhism was gaining popularity.
  • He was a devotee of Shiva.
  • He criticised the Mimamsa School of philosophy and explained a major point of deviance between Hinduism and Buddhism. While Buddhism asserts that there is ‘no Soul, no Self’; Hinduism, according to Adi Shankara, says that ‘Atman (Soul, Self) exists’.
  • Shankaracharya established four Mathas in the four corners of India and the tradition continues to this day.
  • He preached renunciation and adoption of the knowledge path to realise Brahman.
What is Advaita Vedanta?
  • Advaita Vedanta articulates a philosophical position of radical nondualism, a revisionary worldview which it derives from the ancient Upanishadic texts.
  • According to Advaita Vedantins, the Upanishads reveal a fundamental principle of nonduality termed ‘brahman’, which is the reality of all things.
  • The basic theme of Advaita is that the one unchanging entity (Brahman) alone is real while changing entities do not have absolute existence. The world is Maya or illusion and only the Self is real. A person who realises this attains moksha (liberation of the soul).
  • The doctrine says that there is no difference between the Atman and the Brahman. The individual soul is not different from Brahman. Hence, its name Advaita meaning non-duality.

-Source: Indian Express


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