GS Paper II-Governance, Constitution, Polity and International Relations.

After Tension In Sikkim Sector, All Eyes Now On Modi-Xi Meet In Germany.

Background

  • Amid heightened tension at the India-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction, China and India continue their longest border standoff since the 1962 war. While New Delhi has maintained a stoic silence and attempted to handle the issue in a reserved manner — apparently to protect tiny Bhutan from undue Chinese pressure — Beijing has aired its displeasure in a series of harshly worded editorials carried in its state-run media.
  • While on one hand, rubbing salt into wound, China’s military chief urged India to “learn historical lessons” reminding New Delhi of its bitter defeat in the 1962 war, another strongly worded news editorial in state-run Global Times warned India that Beijing will resolutely protect its sovereignty. A few other commentaries even mentioned a war-like situation.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The standoff between the Armies of India and China completed 20 days on Monday, 5rd July, 2017, even as military sources speculated that a diplomatic solution could be in sight.
  • All eyes are now on the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany later this week.
  • Sources said they were hopeful of a peaceful end to the confrontation before the two leaders meet. As of now, India continues to push for a flag meeting between local commanders.
  • Both sides had deployed additional troops after the initial face-off at the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet trijunction, on which all three countries have claims. However there is no further troop addition.
  • “Normally, in a standoff no further reinforcements are sent after the initial push. We have standard procedures for that,” one officer stated.
  • Modi and Mr. Jinping will be at Hamburg in Germany for the 12th G20 summit on July 7 and 8, 2017, during which they are expected to meet. The standoff is expected to figure in their conversation given the intensity it has generated on both sides.
  • News broke out early last week on the standoff between the two countries at the trijunction which began on June 16, 2017, after Chinese troops tried to construct a road in the Bhutanese territory at Doko La over the Zom Cheri ridge. Indian Army personnel present there intervened and stopped the Chinese team from advancing.
  • China reacted sharply to this and charged that “Indian troops trespassed the recognised and delineated boundary” between the two countries.
  • Breaking silence on the issue, the Centre said last Friday that it was “deeply concerned” at the recent Chinese actions as such construction would represent a significant change of status quo with “serious security implications” for India.
  • India also reiterated its commitment to finding a “peaceful resolution through dialogue” with China.

Sources– The Hindu, Firstpost.

GS Paper III- Bio-Diversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management.

Change in India’s Geographical Dynamics due to Climatic Mishaps

Aerosols Eating Away India’s Monsoon.

Background-

  • India has for long been suffering from shortages in rainfall. For the last few years, monsoon is producing “lower than expected” rain which has serious implications for an agrarian economy like India.
  • This situation has pushed the angst among the agriculture based section of society as increasing number of farmer protests are witnessed demanding various compensations in the wake of such malice.

Crux Of The Matter –

  • While greenhouse gases, or GHGs, are causing concern about the long-term fate of the Indian monsoon, researchers now think aerosols from vehicular exhaust, half-burnt crop residue, dust and chemical effluents may be weakening the life-giving rainy season even more than GHGs.
  • An Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, team led by climatologist R. Krishnan studying the likely monsoon impact of GHGs over the next century has come to this conclusion.
  • In 2015, Mr. Krishnan reported in the journal Climate Dynamics that a mix of GHGs, aerosols and changes in forest and agricultural cover was affecting the strength of the monsoon, which was known to be weakening over the last 50 years. This result was based on mathematical modelling and computer simulation. The relative contribution of the individual factors, however, was not clear then. “New simulations suggest that aerosols may be a far more important factor than GHGs,” said Mr. Krishnan, who spoke at a meeting of the Indian Academy of Sciences in Bengaluru. He said aerosols were “the major cause of weakening of the monsoon.”
  • The Scientists are thinking about the invention of a “New modelling”.
  • The scientist and his team used an upgraded forecasting model that was used this year (2017) by the India Meteorological Department for forecasts. The model will help prepare India’s first home-grown forecast of climate change from global warming, and be part of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.
  • Dust clouds shield the earth from the sun’s rays, depressing land and sea temperatures. The monsoon, which is produced by the difference in temperature between the two, is thus weakened.

Sources– The Hindu.

GS Paper IV- Ethics, Integrity.

Questions On The Election Commission’s Imperfect “Hackathon” Also Challenges Its Integrity.

Background

  • On the 20th of May 2017 the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced that it would offer its electronic voting machines to political parties for them to try and prove that EVMs can be tampered with. The challenge began on June 3, 2017.
  • The ECI had put forth some conditions for the supposed hackathon. Here are the most important points:
  • The challenge was open to up to three members nominated by national and state parties which contested assembly polls in five states.
  • Each participating group was given four hours to hack the machine.
  • Foreign experts had been barred from participating in the challenge.
  • Participants could use a combination of keys on EVMs or communication devices such as cell phones and Bluetooth to tamper with the machines to change the results.
  • Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi had said the issue of “tamperability of machines” should be closed with the end of the challenge. No tampering took place at the challenge. “The parties only wanted to understand the functionality of EVMs and discuss and understand the technical aspects of the machines”, he had added.

Key Points Of This Development-

  • Neither of the two parties that had volunteered to hack electronic voting machines or EVMs attempted their mission on June 3, 2017. Instead, they chose to watch a nearly four-hour long demo by the Election Commission. “NCP, CPM did not participate in EVM challenge,” said Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi. Declaring the Election Commission’s EVM challenge a flop show, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), appeared to revise its own programme. The party declared that what was widely reported as its “counter-hackathon” today was only the launch.
  • The CPM team that was made up of IT experts returned satisfied. The NCP’s interest in the Election Commission’s voting machines stemmed from its impression that the same machines were used to conduct this year’s (2017) civic body polls in Maharashtra that it believes were rigged.
  • The election body clarified to them this wasn’t the case. The NCP was, however, unhappy that they would be given access to only one of the 14 randomly selected machines and on their way out, called the exercise an “eye wash”.
  • The Election Commission has written to the NCP to respond to its points. It turned out that the commission wasn’t going to let parties check four machines, but only one. The others were on standby. Mr Zaidi said he left the door open for the NCP to come back to examine the vote machines on a later date, “either as an academic exercise or a challenge”.
  • The Nationalist Congress Party and the CPM – the only parties to apply for the challenge – were given a demo of the EVMs and the VVPAT or voter-verifiable paper audit trail-equipped machines, which produce a paper receipt of the voter’s choice for proof. The Election Commission has vowed to only use EVMs with this paper trail for all future elections.
  • Mr Zaidi said the controversy around tamperability of EVM after 3rd June’s challenge and 100 % introduction of VVPAT is a “closed” chapter.
  • AAP, which has been most aggressive in alleging EVM tampering, chose not to participate in the Election Commission’s challenge, calling it a fake exercise in which participants were not allowed to access the machine.

Sources– Huffingtonpost, NDTV.