DAILY HINDU CURRENT AFFAIRS 12TH FEBRUARY 2020

Q.1 Direct Action” call by Muslim League aimed at
A. Achieving Independence from British before August 15th, 1947.
B. To secure the interests of Muslim by ensuring more representation in the Parliament.
C. To achieve state of Pakistan out of India.
D. None of the above

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding ‘Potti Sriramulu’
1. He was a social activist worked for emancipation of dalits
2. Participated in individual satyagraha including salt satyagraha
3. His struggle led to the formation of Andhra Pradesh with its capital Kurnool
Select the correct answer using the code given below
A. 1 only
B. 1 and 3 only
C. 1, 2 and 3
D. 1 and 2 only

Q.3 Consider the following events
1. Operation Meghadoot
2. Operation Pawan

Operation Cactus
4. Operation Polo
Which of the following is the correct chronological sequence of the above events?
A. 4 — 2 — 1 — 3
B. 3 — 2 — 1 — 4
C. 4 — 2 — 1 — 3
D. 4 — 1 — 2 — 3

ANSWERS: C,C,D

DELHI ELECTION RESULT

NEWS: 

Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were voted back to power with a massive mandate in the Delhi Assembly election as the party won 62 seats in the 70-member House.

The party dropped just five seats and less than a percentage point in vote share from its stellar 2015 showing.

On the other hand, former AAP Minister Kapil Mishra, who left the party and fought on a BJP ticket, was defeated. Anil Bajpai, also a former AAP legislator, however, retained his Gandhi Nagar seat.

US PRESIDENT’S VISIT TO INDIA

NEWS:

U.S. President Donald Trump will visit India on February 24 and 25, as per an official announcement from the White House on Monday.

Mr. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will visit New Delhi and Ahmedabad.

The White House said Ahmedabad was chosen for the visit as Gujarat was home to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and played an “important role” in Mahatma Gandhi’s life.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s maiden visit to India will start on February 24 at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and the inauguration of the new Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, the largest cricket stadium in the world.

Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold the “Kem chho Trump” (Howdy Trump) event at the stadium with approximately 1.25 lakh people witnessing the special programme aimed at showcasing the Modi-Trump bonhomie.

Since Mr. Modi became Prime Minister in 2014, Ahmedabad has emerged as the preferred venue to host foreign dignitaries, including President Xi Jinping of China, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

The Indian and U.S. sides are trying to put together a limited trade deal which Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump will sign during the visit. The two leaders could not sign on the dotted line when they met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September, and talks had continued since then.

CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT

NEWS: 

After Deoband, the protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens has spread to Gangoh town of Saharanpur. Addressing hundreds of protesters, Maulana Mahmood Madani, secretary, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, said the government had let the Constitution down by making a law that differentiated among religions.

WHAT DOES THE ACT CONTAINS?

The ACT seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 by seeking to grant citizenship to undocumented non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.

The ACT says the six non-Muslim communities “shall not be treated as illegal migrant” for violating provisions under Passport Act, 1920 or the Foreigners Act, 1946 that pertains to foreigners entering and staying in India illegally.

The ACT shall not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the sixth schedule of the Constitution and States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram , Manipur and Nagaland protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP).

ACT has reduce the time period required for naturalization from 11 years to 5 years for members of these communities.

RIGHT TO WATER BILL

NEWS:

Water conservationist Rajendra Singh on Tuesday said unless society took it upon itself to conserve water and take ownership of resources, revival of rivers and streams was not possible.

Speaking at the National Water Right Convention to discuss the draft of the Right to Water Bill in Madhya Pradesh, he said, “Until now, activists been working alone. But with the government’s support, on the one hand waterbodies could be protected, and on the other water use could be made judicious.”

Mr. Singh, known as the ‘Waterman of India’, who is advising the government on the proposed law, said, “Ownership of water bodies among masses has led to the revival of several rivers in a parched State like Rajasthan. With such laws, the model could be replicated across the country.”

Pointing to the waning water resources in the State, Chief Minister Kamal Nath said, “Eleven of the Municipal Corporations and Councils get water once in four days, 50 get once in three days and 117 get once in two days. It’s a big challenge.”

NEW CLIMATE FORECAST SYSTEM

NEWS:

The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is planning a ‘decadal forecast’ system along the lines of the United Kingdom’s Met Office to ensure better predictability in the climate time scale, said Dr. M. Rajeevan, Secretary, MoES recently.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 6th International Conference on Climate Services being held at the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Dr. Rajeevan said the system, based on a coupled climate model, would first be taking shape in the form of a research programme and would be operational only after its merits had been evaluated.

Refusing to elaborate on the operational aspects of the programme, Dr. Rajeevan said the system would be explored as a research programme to be taken up by IITM along with collaboration from the India Meteorological Department and other entities.

“The operational part will be discussed later. First, we will have to conduct significant research and determine the system’s effectiveness,” he said.

The World Meteorological Organization has set up global producing centres, coordinated by the U.K. Met Office, for annual to decadal projections that are already providing global-scale information.

Once the system was established, it would initially function for long-range forecasting at the national level and the model, if successful, would later be downscaled to the state or even district-level, he said.

ABOUT WORLD METEROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION

It is an intergovernmental organisation and has 191 members

Established in 1950

It originated from International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873.

WMO is the specialised agency of the UN for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences

HQ : Geneva, Switzerland

 India is a member of WMO

Its mandate covers weather, climate and water resources.

It is dedicated to international cooperation and coordination on state and behaviour of Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with land and oceans, the weather and climate and distribution of water resources.

HAMPI 

NEWS: 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed the Karnataka government authorities’ decision to demolish restaurants, hotels, guest houses and other buildings constructed in Virupapura Gaddi, an oval islet formed by Tungabhadra river and located west of the Hampi World Heritage site.

Agreeing with the Karnataka High Court decision that the Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority was empowered to order the demolition of the illegal buildings, the court ordered the authorities to proceed with their demolition work within a month of this judgment.

Group of Monuments at Hampi

Hampi, the 14th century capital of one of the greatest empires of medieval India called the Vijayanagar Empire, lies in the Deccan heartland, in the state of Karnataka. The 14th Century ruins of Hampi lie scattered in about 26 sq. km areas, amidst giant boulders and vegetation.

Protected by the tempestuous river Tungabhadra in the north and rocky granite ridges on the other three sides, the ruins silently narrate the story of grandeur, splendour and fabulous wealth. The splendid remains of palaces and gateways of the broken city tells a tale of man’s infinite talent and power of creativity together with his capacity for senseless destruction.

The monuments of Vijayanagar city, also known as Vidyasagar in honour of the sage Vidyaranya was built between 1336-1570 A.D., from the times of Harihara-I to Sadasiva Raya. A large number of royal buildings were raised by Krishnadeva Raya (A.D. 1509-30), the greatest ruler of the dynasty.

The period witnessed resurgence of Hindu religion art, architecture in an unprecedented scale. Temples of Hampi are noted for their large dimensions, florid ornamentation, bold and delicate carvings, stately pillars, magnificent pavilions and a great wealth of iconographic and traditional depictions, which include subjects from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

The Vitthala temple in Hampi is an excellent example of Vijayanagar style. The monolithic statues of Lakshmi, Narasimha and Ganesha are noted for their massiveness and grace. The Krishna temple, Pattabhirama temple, Hazara Ramachandra and Chandrasekhara temple as also the Jain temples, are other examples. Majority of these temples in Hampi were provided with widespread bazaars flanked on either side by storied Mandapas.

Among secular edifices, mention may be made of the Zenana enclosure wherein a massive stone basement of the Queen’s palace and ornate pavilion called ‘Lotus-Mahal’ are the only remnants of a luxurious ‘Antahpura’. The corner towers of arresting elevation, the Dhananayaka’s enclosure (treasury), the Mahanavami Dibba carrying beautifully sculptured panels, a variety of ponds and tanks, Mandapas, the elephant’s stables and the row of pillared Mandapas are some of the important architectural remains of Hampi.

Recent excavations at the Hampi have brought to light a large number of palatial complexes and basements of several platforms. Interesting finds include a large number of stone images, beautiful terra cotta objects and stucco figures that once embellished the palaces at Hampi.

In addition, many gold and copper coins, household utensils, a square stepped-tank (Sarovar) at the south-west of Mahanavami Dibba, and a large number of ceramics, including the important variety of porcelain and inscribed Buddhist sculptures of 2nd-3rd century A.D. have also been unearthed.

FIRST EDITORIAL: VICTORY OF AAP IN DELHI ELECTIONS

AAP has won 62 out of the 70 seats in Delhi Legislative Assembly.

Having been in power for the last five years, AAP’s second consecutive victory is not an electoral enchantment of a start-up, but an endorsement of its track record.

AAP’s victory has shown that religious polarisation alone cannot win you elections.

On a strong footing on the administrative front, Mr. Kejriwal deployed his characteristic dexterity to sidestep the BJP’s landmines with their aim of communal polarisation. In the process, he narrowed politics to an efficient delivery of public services and either skirted around all contemporary issues of wider import, or tacitly sided with the majoritarian sentiments on them.

Devoid of a governance story, the BJP dragged electioneering to a new low to marginally improve from its 2015 tally. To that extent, the Delhi outcome exposes the limits of divisive politics and incentivises sensitive governance.

LESSONS FOR BJP

Nevertheless, the lesson that the BJP is likely to learn from Delhi is that hyperventilating on nationalist causes is not a sufficient condition for victory, particularly in State elections, and governance does count.

HOW TO DEFEAT BJP?

The lesson is that any effective opposition to the BJP will have to develop an alternative politics that centrestages people’s everyday concerns, and their hopes and expectations about life and livelihood.

 

LEAD ARTICLE: WHAT DOES DELHI ELECTION RESULT SIGNIFY?

The elections to the Delhi State Assembly have underlined as never before the vast gulf between the national power centre and the regional State.

HOW MAJOR PLAYERS FOUGHT THE ELECTION?

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) contested the Delhi election as though it was an extension of the 2019 Lok Sabha campaign.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) fought the election as though it was about municipal matters such as water and electricity and nothing else.

The Indian National Congress (INC) pretended that it was not pretending to fight the election.

RESULTS OF DELHI ELECTION

AAP won 62 of 70 Assembly seats, with the BJP bagging 8, while the INC experienced an even more emphatic whitewash than in 2015.

Does a second successive defeat in its Lok Sabha stronghold — where it won all seven seats in the past two general elections — mean that the BJP’s politics of hate has finally failed? And does a repeat rout in a State that it ruled for 15 years imply that the INC must now be issued a political death certificate?

DOES THIS WIN MEANS END OF HINDUTVA POLITICS?

The defeat of the BJP in Delhi does not necessarily mean that these tactics have backfired, or even that they have failed. It only means that they did not succeed in this place at this time. The big bonus for the BJP is that its strongest opponent did not oppose these tactics. In fact, AAP often seemed as if it was playing a different kind of dog whistle politics that was saying, in effect, “Don’t worry, we have no problem with communal politics, but please don’t ask us to say it openly.”

CONCLUSION

If they want to remain relevant in the India of tomorrow, all the non-BJP parties have to remind themselves that politics has to be about more than winning the next election, however important that may be as an immediate goal. Formulas that win elections may not ensure long-term relevance. After all, fascists can also make trains run on time and provide regular supplies of water and power. So, as we celebrate the well-deserved victory of the AAP, we must remind ourselves that the other Delhi is still far away.

SECOND EDITORIAL: INDIA SRI LANKA RELATIONS

WHY IN NEWS?

Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaskhe recently visited India.

Earlier Presdient Gotabaya Rajapakshe has visited India in November making it first tour abroad.

Contrary to their last stint which ended in 2015, when Mahinda Rajapaksa was President, and his younger brother Gotabaya was Defence Secretary, and ties underwent a strain for several reasons, New Delhi too has indicated that it would like to make a fresh start, working on development projects, including a joint India-Japan proposal for the East Container Terminal at Colombo.

Mahinda Rajapaksa has also discussed extending the $400-million Line of Credit and India’s further assistance for nationwide housing.

On security, Mr. Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed intelligence sharing, training and the utilisation of a special $50-million Line of Credit extended by India after last year’s Easter Sunday bombings.

India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives are expected to revive their trilateral on security, including joint maritime security talks and anti-terror cooperation.

Finally, Mr. Rajapaksa reaffirmed his belief that among Sri Lanka’s friendships, India is seen as a “relative”, given their history and culture.

POINT OF CONTENTION

India wants progress on 13th amendment but Mr. Rajapaksa has given no commitment on this and said, in an interview to The Hindu, that he favoured the 13A but not solutions that were “unacceptable to the majority [Sinhala] community”.

India’s case for the special status for the North and East also comes across as contrary to the Modi government’s strong stand about removal of the special status for Jammu and Kashmir. Mr. Rajapaksa has ruled out taking forward the MoU signed by his predecessor Ranil Wickremesinghe allowing Indian participation in energy and infrastructure projects in Trincomalee; an Indian stake in “Mattala airport” is not on the cards either.

However, of note is his appeal for India to help Sri Lanka deal with its debt crisis — nearly $60-billion outstanding in foreign and domestic, and about $5-billion a year in repayments. New Delhi must consider his request for a three-year moratorium and be upfront about its response, in contrast to the past when New Delhi did not take up an offer to develop Hambantota port, and ceded space to China. Ignoring or rebuffing the new request could damage bilateral ties far more.

OP-ED PAGE

FIRST ARTICLE: DELHI MODEL OF EDUCATION

Mahatma Gandhi secured the participation of thousands of households in the freedom struggle when he launched the civil disobedience movement. For every household today, rich or poor, education has the same relevance as salt did in 1930.

In the last five years, the Delhi model of education has caught the attention of people in Delhi and beyond. For too long, there have been two kinds of education models in the country: one for the classes and another for the masses. The AAP government in Delhi sought to bridge this gap. Its approach stems from the belief that quality education is a necessity, not a luxury. Hence, it built a model which essentially has five major components and is supported by nearly 25% of the State Budget. The validation of this model now creates a pathway for the next set of reforms.

 

Key components of the model

The first component of the education model is the transformation of school infrastructure. Dilapidated school buildings that lack basic facilities not only indicate the apathy of the government, but also significantly lower the motivation of teachers and the enthusiasm of students. The AAP government sought to change this by building new, aesthetically designed classrooms equipped with furniture, smart boards, staff rooms, auditoriums, laboratories, libraries, sports facilities and so on.

The second component is the training of teachers and principals. Apart from the fact that a forum was created to encourage peer learning among them, several opportunities were given to teachers for their professional growth. They visited Cambridge University; the National Institute of Education, Singapore; IIM Ahmedabad; and other models of excellence in India. The exposure to new pedagogy and leadership training enabled Delhi to gradually move away from a uniform training model for all to learning from the best practices in India and abroad.

The third component involved engaging with the community by reconstituting school management committees (SMC). The annual budget of each SMC is ₹5-7 lakh. The SMCs can spend this money on any material or activity, such as even hiring teachers on a short-term basis. Regular dialogue between teachers and parents was initiated through mega parent-teacher meetings. Guidelines are provided on how to engage with parents. Invitations for meetings are sent through FM radio, newspaper advertisements, etc.

Four, there have been major curricular reforms in teaching learning. In 2016, the AAP government noted that there was a nearly 50% failure rate in Class 9 and admitted that the poor foundational skills of children could be the reason for it. Special initiatives to ensure that all children learn to read, write and do basic mathematics was launched and made part of regular teaching learning activities in schools.

Fifth, there was no fee increase in private schools. While the first four components impacted nearly 34% of children in Delhi’s government schools, arbitrary fee hikes earlier impacted about 40% children who go to private schools.

Fifth, there was no fee increase in private schools. While the first four components impacted nearly 34% of children in Delhi’s government schools, arbitrary fee hikes earlier impacted about 40% children who go to private schools.

WAY FORWARD

First, the syllabus of Classes 1 to 8 will be reviewed to emphasise foundational learning skills, the ‘happiness curriculum’ and the ‘deshbhakti’ curriculum. Thus, apart from ensuring that all children can fluently read, write and do mathematics, the focus will be to build emotional resilience in children and ensure that they internalise our core constitutional values by the time they complete eight years of schooling.

Second, a Delhi Education Board will be set up to promote learning that encourages critical thinking, problem solving and application of knowledge among children. This will prepare them to tackle the challenges of the 21st century with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Third, specialised schools will be created in each of the 29 zones of Delhi to nurture the aptitude and talent of children in the areas of science and technology, literature and language, visual and performing arts, and sports.

 

SECOND ARTICLE: NON FUNCTIONAL LOK PAL

The massive public campaign in 2011 demanding an independent anti-corruption ombudsman resulted in the passage of the Lokpal law.

More than six years after the Lokpal law received the President’s assent, the institution of the Lokpal is yet to play any significant role in tackling corruption in the country.

DELAY IN APPOINTMENTS

For more than five years, the chairperson and members of the Lokpal were not appointed. The government claimed that since no one could be recognised as the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) after the 2014 general election, the committee responsible for selecting members of the Lokpal could not be constituted. This malady could have been easily remedied by either recognising the leader of the single largest party in Opposition in the Lok Sabha as the LoP, or by amending the Lokpal law to allow the leader of the largest Opposition party to be a member of the committee in the absence of a recognised LoP (this was done for the selection committee of the CBI Director). However, neither recourse was taken.

RULES NOT FRAMED YET

More than 10 months later, however, evidence suggests that the Lokpal is a non-starter. Till date, the government has not made rules prescribing the form for filing complaints to the Lokpal. The Central government has also failed to formulate rules regarding asset disclosure by public servants.

NO INQUIRY AND PROSECUTION WINGS

In order to ensure independent and credible action on allegations of corruption, the Lokpal was empowered under the law to set up its own inquiry wing headed by a Director of Inquiry and its own prosecution wing headed by a Director of Prosecution. However, information accessed under the Right to Information Act has confirmed that the inquiry and prosecution wings of the anti-corruption ombudsman are yet to be set up.

CONCLUSION

The failure to operationalise the Lokpal in an effective manner lays bare the lack of political will of the BJP government. It took nearly half a century for the Lokpal law to be enacted from the time the need for the oversight institution was first articulated. It is anybody’s guess how much longer it will take before India has an effective, independent and empowered Lokpal.

 

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