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Current Affairs 18th January 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Wolf Warrior Diplomacy

Defining Wolf Warrior Diplomacy

  • Wolf Warrior diplomacy is a term used to describe a style of assertive, aggressive, and even nationalistic foreign policy adopted by some countries (such as China), often in response to perceived criticism or hostility from other nations.
  • This term is derived from a popular Chinese action movie, “Wolf Warrior,” which embodies nationalistic and combative themes.

Key Characteristics

  • Combative and insensitive language: Using harsh rhetoric and insults to defend national interests and counter criticism.
    • Example: The social media campaign advocating for boycotting the Maldives is cited as an example of using combative language towards another country.
  • Nationalistic fervour:Demonstrating strong national pride and emphasising a country’s rightful place in the international order.
    • Example: Chinese President Xi Jinping, during his recent visit to the Maldives, stated that China “respects and supports the Maldives in exploring a development path suited to its national conditions.” This statement can be seen as an attempt to assert China’s influence and position itself as a viable alternative to India in the region.
  • Authoritarian rhetoric: Framing the country’s political system as efficient and capable, often in contrast to other systems.
    • Example: Recent online campaign against the Maldives and China’s Wolf Warrior diplomacy, noting that both involve “authoritarian rhetoric” and a tendency to defend the country’s interests against perceived hostility from abroad.
  • Defence against perceived hostility: Responding aggressively to any perceived attacks or challenges from other countries.
    • Example: The Maldivian officials’ critical remarks about India were likely motivated by their perception of India’s growing influence in the Maldives and their desire to assert Maldivian autonomy. However, their comments were met with strong reactions from India, including the aforementioned social media campaign and calls for the removal of Indian troops stationed in the Maldives.
  • Utilising social media and public opinion: Mobilising domestic support through nationalistic campaigns and online platforms.
    • Example: Both the Indian social media campaign against the Maldives and China’s Wolf Warrior diplomacy demonstrate how countries can leverage social media and public opinion to shape narratives and rally support for their foreign policy decisions.

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Understanding the Tenth Schedule

Context: The Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly declined to disqualify 40 MLAs from the Eknath Shinde faction, having acknowledged it as the legitimate Shiv Sena. Furthermore, the Speaker did not disqualify 14 MLAs from the Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray (UBT) faction, citing technical grounds under the Tenth Schedule.

Why was the Tenth Schedule Made?

  • Background: The Tenth Schedule was introduced to address the issue of political instability caused by frequent defections of legislators during the 1960s and 70s.
  • Purpose: Its primary aim is to ensure the stability of elected governments by discouraging defections.
  • Provisions: It disqualifies members of Parliament or State legislatures who voluntarily give up their party membership or defy the party’s directive in a House. The directive is usually issued by the party’s whip.
  • Exceptions: Originally provided for two exceptions
    • One-third members of the ‘legislature party’ split to form a separate group (para 3).
    • Merger of their ‘political party’ with another party that is approved by two-third members of its ‘legislature party’ (para 4). However, considering the need to strengthen the ‘anti-defection’ law, para 3 was omitted in 2003.

What are the Issues Involved?

  • Misuse of Exceptions: Despite the removal of the splitting exception, there have been instances where legislators use the merger exception to defect without facing disqualification.
  • Speaker’s Role and Bias: The Speaker of the House, tasked with deciding disqualifications, is often accused of bias towards the ruling party.
  • Judicial Recommendations: The Supreme Court suggested amending the Constitution to assign the disqualification power to an independent tribunal.

What Happened in Maharashtra?

  • Factional Split in Shiv Sena: In 2022, a faction led by Eknath Shinde claimed to be the real Shiv Sena, leading to a dispute over who held the legitimate leadership.
  • Speaker’s Decision: The Speaker recognized the Shinde faction as the legitimate Shiv Sena and validated the appointment of their whip.

What are the Reforms Needed?

  • Supreme Court’s Three-Test Formula: It involves assessing the aims and objects of the party, its internal democracy, and the majority in legislative and organisational wings to determine the legitimate party faction.
  • Election Commission’s Role: The Election Commission recognized the Shinde faction as the real Shiv Sena based on the support of legislators in the 2019 elections.
  • Proposed Reforms: Establishing an independent tribunal for disqualification decisions and institutionalising internal democracy in political parties are suggested reforms to reduce ambiguities and ensure fair practices in the application of the Tenth Schedule.

CCI Ruling on PVR

Context: Having found “no discernible competition concern,” the Competition Commission of India (CCI) rejected a complaint alleging that multiplex chain PVR had abused its dominant market position.

What was the Allegation?

Yogesh Pratap Singh, a film director, had accused the multiplex chain of giving preferential treatment to films from large production houses over those by independent filmmakers.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

Context: In October 2014, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, while awarding the Nobel Prize in Physics, proclaimed that LEDs would be the predominant light source of the 21st century.

What Are LEDs?

  • LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are a type of diode that produces light when an electric current passes through it.
  • Unlike traditional incandescent bulbs, which produce light by heating a filament, LEDs emit light through a process called electroluminescence.

How do they work?

  • Inside an LED, there are two layers of semiconductor material: a positively charged p-type layer and a negatively charged n-type layer.
  • When a voltage is applied, electrons from the n-type layer flow across the junction to the p-type layer, where they combine with holes (the absence of electrons).
  • This recombination releases energy in the form of light.

What are the advantages of LEDs?

  • Energy efficiency: LEDs are much more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. They can produce up to 200 lumens per watt of electricity, compared to only 15 lumens per watt for incandescent bulbs.
  • Long lifespan: LEDs have a lifespan of 25,000 to 50,000 hours, which is much longer than incandescent bulbs (1,000 hours) and even fluorescent bulbs (10,000 hours).
  • Durability: LEDs are much more durable than traditional bulbs. They are not as fragile and are less likely to break when dropped or bumped.
  • Versatility: LEDs come in a wide variety of colours and can be used in a variety of applications, from lighting homes and businesses to creating displays and traffic signals.

Applications of LEDs

  • General lighting: LEDs are increasingly being used in homes and businesses for general lighting. They are a good choice for areas where light is needed for long periods of time, such as kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Electronics: LEDs are used in a variety of electronic devices, such as televisions, computers, and smartphones. They are used as indicator lights and backlights for displays.
  • Automotive: LEDs are used in car headlights, taillights, and turn signals. They are brighter and more durable than traditional bulbs.
  • Traffic signals: LEDs are used in traffic signals because they are very bright and can be seen from a long distance. They are also energy-efficient and have a long lifespan.

Comparison of LEDs and LCDs

Feature LED LCD
Technology Light-emitting diodes Liquid crystal display
Backlight None (self-emitting) Fluorescent or LED backlight
Energy efficiency Higher Lower
Lifespan Longer Shorter
Durability More durable Less durable
Viewing angle Wider Narrower
Colour accuracy Better Worse
Cost Higher Lower

Home Ministry cancels FCRA registration of CPR

Context: The Union Home Ministry has cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a leading public policy research institution in New Delhi.

More In The News

  • The Ministry had suspended the registration, which enabled the CPR to receive foreign donations, on February 27, 2023.
  • The suspension on grounds of violation was initially for a period of 180 days, but was extended subsequently.
  • In 2023, the Income Tax Department had cancelled the tax exemption status of CPR.

Multi- Alignment

  • The keyword “multi-alignment” refers to India’s foreign policy strategy of engaging with various global powers that may have conflicting interests or ideologies, without aligning exclusively with any particular bloc or nation.
  • This approach allows India to maintain strategic autonomy and foster relationships based on mutual interests across a diverse range of partners.

Current geopolitical landscape

  • In the current geopolitical landscape marked by renewed great power rivalries, such as those between Russia and the Western bloc or between the US and China, India is navigating its foreign relations by emphasising cooperation and dialogue with different countries on bilateral and multilateral levels.
    • For instance, India continues to pursue a strong relationship with Russia, as evidenced by the Modi-Putin meeting, while also engaging with Iran through External Affairs Minister Jaishankar’s visit, despite the tensions between Iran and Western allies.

Why Kashmir is without snow

Context: The article titled “Why Kashmir is without snow” discusses the various factors contributing to the lack of snowfall in Kashmir, which is a significant change in the region’s winter climate.

Observation Related to Kashmir’s Declining Winter Snowfall Crisis

  • India Meteorological Department (IMD) reports indicate that Jammu and Kashmir have seen a substantial decrease in expected precipitation, with an 80% shortfall in December rainfall and a complete absence of rain in January so far.
    • Normally, the area starts to see snow early in December, with the snowfall continuing for much of January.
  • A drop in snow events originating from the west and an increase in temperature suggest climate change influences.
  • Experts suggest that the current El Niño phenomenon in the eastern Pacific could be a contributing factor to the weather patterns seen this year.

Western Disturbances and its Impact on India

  • Originating beyond Afghanistan and Iran, these wind systems traverse eastward, bearing rain.
  • They absorb moisture from as far as the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
  • They are the Himalayan region’s main source of winter rain and snow.
  • In the post-monsoon and winter periods, they are pivotal in delivering rainfall to northern and northwestern India.
  • Together with the southwest (June-September) and northeast monsoons (Tamil Nadu-focused), they are key to India’s yearly precipitation.

El Nino and its impact on India

  • Characterised by occasional warming in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean’s surface temperatures.
  • This event, recurring every 2 to 7 years, influences global weather patterns.
  • El Niño constitutes one phase of the broader El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate cycle, which alternates with La Niña.

Impact Of Kashmir’s Declining Winter Snowfall Crisis

  • Tourism Setback: The lack of snowfall in popular destinations like Gulmarg is likely to lead to a decrease in tourism, affecting businesses and the local economy that rely on winter sports and activities.
  • Agricultural Concerns: Snowfall contributes to the replenishment of rivers and groundwater. Reduced snowfall can lead to water scarcity affecting agriculture and drinking water supplies.
  • Ecological Disruption: Snow cover is crucial for maintaining the ecological balance. Its absence can disturb the habitats of local flora and fauna, leading to long-term ecological consequences.
  • Energy Deficiency: In regions where hydroelectric power is significant, lower snowfall can result in reduced water availability for power generation, leading to energy shortages.
  • Cultural Impact: Snowfall is part of the cultural identity of the region. Its absence can affect local festivals, traditions, and the cultural practices associated with winter.
  • Health Effects: Changes in winter conditions may also affect public health, potentially altering the prevalence of certain winter-related illnesses and conditions.
  • Infrastructure Strain: Preparation for snow involves significant infrastructure management. An unpredictable snowfall pattern can lead to challenges in planning and resource allocation

Prior approval under PCA, 1988

Context: The Supreme Court delivered a split verdict in former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s plea to quash an FIR in the alleged skill development scam case.

About Prior Approval Requirement

  • 2003 Amendment to DSPE Act: The Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, which oversees bodies like the CBI, was amended to include Section 6A, mandating central government approval for probing alleged corruption by high-ranking officials above joint secretary level under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • Supreme Court Intervention in 2014: This requirement for government approval was nullified by the Supreme Court, ensuring independent investigations into high-level corruption without prior consent from the government.
  • 2018 Amendment to PCA: The Prevention of Corruption Act was revised to introduce Section 17A, reinstating a similar protocol that necessitates obtaining permission from the central or state government or an appropriate authority before initiating inquiries or investigations into public servants for actions related to their official duties.

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