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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Daily Current Affairs, 27th September 2022



1)  World Tourism Day 2022 celebrates on 27th September

•World Tourism Day 2022 is observed on 27 September globally. This day is celebrated every year to focus on promoting tourism in various parts of the world. It was initiated by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). It is celebrated to promote tourism and understand its importance. World Tourism Day aims to make people understand the joy of exploring the world. It is an extremely important event.

World Tourism Day 2022: Theme

•The theme of World Tourism Day 2022 is ‘Rethinking Tourism’. Everyone will focus on understanding the growth of the tourism sector and reviewing and redeveloping tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic.

2)  Amit Shah to Inaugurate Dairy Cooperative Conclave in Gangtok

•Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah is likely to inaugurate a daylong dairy cooperative conclave of the eastern and northeastern zones in Sikkim on October 7. The conclave is being organised by the National Cooperative Dairy Federation of India (NCDFI). NCDFI Chairman Mangal Jit Rai said Shah’s office has confirmed his participation at the conclave to be held in Gangtok. Sikkim Chief Minister P S Tamang will be the guest of honour at the function.

3)  Indian Railways installed RTIS system developed by ISRO

•Indian Railways is installing a Real-Time Train Information System (RTIS), developed in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), on locomotives “for automatic acquisition of train movement timing at the stations, including that of arrival and departure or run-through”. With this, Train Control will now be able to track the location & speed of RTIS-enabled locomotives /trains more closely, without any manual intervention.

4)  Indian government introduces “Sign Learn” smartphone app

•“Sign Learn” smartphone app: The Center released the “Sign Learn” smartphone app, a 10,000-word lexicon for Indian Sign Language (ISL). Pratima Bhoumik, minister of state for social justice and empowerment, introduced the app. The 10,000-word Indian Sign Language Research And Training Centre (ISLRTC) lexicon serves as the foundation for Sign Learn. All the terms in the ISL dictionary can be searched using Hindi or English on the app, which is accessible in Android and iOS versions.

5)  A Far Right Party Set To Form Govt In Italy Since WWII

•Italy has elected a hard-right coalition led by a party that descended from Benito Mussolini’s fascist party in the aftermath of World War II. The party’s leader, Giorgia Meloni, is set to be Italy’s first female prime minister and one that’s already rattling the European Union, of which Italy is a founding member. Her victory comes at a time when parties with fascist roots are making gains across Europe.

6)  Union Minister G Kishan Reddy launched Virtual Conference ‘SymphoNE’ to boost Tourism Sector

•Union Minister for DoNER, Tourism & Culture, G. Kishan Reddy has launched the two-day virtual conference ‘SymphoNE’. The Virtual Conference ‘SymphoNE’ is being organized on 24th & 27th of September 2022 by the Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Region on the occasion of World Tourism Day. North East India is blessed with amazing food, culture, stunning landscapes, heritage and architecture and ranks among the most beautiful places on the earth. But, there are grand opportunities that can be filled to boost Tourism Sector in the Region.

•This two-day conference will aim to create a roadmap to showcase the unexplored beauty of North East India & boost the tourism Sector in the North Eastern Region. It would ideate, discuss & formulate ideas & suggestions by Thought Leaders, Policy Thinkers, Social Media Influencers, Travel & Tour Operators And The Senior Officials of the Ministry of DoNER and State Departments.

7)  S&P retains FY23 growth forecast at 7.3% & OECD at 6.9%

•Amid slowing external demand for Indian goods and services, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and S&P  kept their growth forecasts for India unchanged at 6.9 per cent and 7.3 per cent, respectively, for FY23 while highlighting growing downside risks. S&P in its latest outlook for Asia-Pacific said it saw a strong rebound in India as services consumption continued to recover and investment grew robustly.

8)  Rupee Slips To Record Low AT 81.67, Markets Destabilize

•The rupee plunged 58 paise to close at an all-time low of 81.67 against the US dollar as the strengthening of the American currency overseas and risk-averse sentiment among investors weighed on the local unit. Moreover, escalation of geopolitical risks due to conflict in Ukraine, a negative trend in domestic equities and significant foreign fund outflows sapped investor appetite, forex traders said.

9)  President gives the National Service Scheme Awards 2020-21

•National Service Scheme Awards 2020-21: On September 24, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, President Droupadi Murmu presented the National Service Scheme NSS Awards for the 2020–21 academic year, according to a release from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. 42 prizes in total were given out. The recipients of the honours were two institutions, ten NSS units, their programme officers, and thirty NSS volunteers.

10)  Asha Parekh to be bestowed with 52nd Dadasaheb Phalke award

•Veteran actress Asha Parekh has been declared the recipient of the 2020 Dadasaheb Phalke award, making her the 52nd awardee of the honour. Union Minister for Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur announced her name. She worked in more than 95 films and was the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification from 1998-2001. She is also a recipient of the Padma Shri, awarded to her by the Government of India in 1992 for services to cinema.

•Notably: Southern film superstar Rajinikanth was the recipient of the last Dadasaheb Phalke award.

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The HINDU Notes – 27th September 2022



๐Ÿ“ฐ Govt. to ‘restrict’ awards given for scientific research

•The Centre has decided to reduce the number of awards given to scientists and medical researchers on the grounds that they are restricted to only “really deserving candidates”, says the record of a meeting chaired by Ajay Bhalla, Home Secretary.

•The meeting, held on September 16, was attended by Secretaries and senior officials of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Earth Sciences, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Department of Atomic Energy and representatives from the Department of Health Research – Indian Council for Medical Research and the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India. The Hindu has viewed the minutes of the meeting made available on September 23.

•Several Ministries made presentations on the awards given by their respective departments. The DST gave 207 awards, of which four were National Awards, 97 were private endowment awards, 54 were lecture, scholarship or fellowship based awards and 56 were ‘internal awards’. The participants then agreed to retain only the national awards and do away with the rest. The department could start a new scheme for scholarship/fellowship with “suitable honorarium and full justification and detailed guidelines”, the minutes said.

•The Atomic Energy Department currently gave 25 “performance-based awards” given by public sector units affiliated to the department and 13 non-core domain awards. The quorum decided to do away with all awards and instead institute a new one “of very high stature”.

•The Indian Space Research Organisation said it did not confer awards, save three internal ones. These too ought to be done away with and replaced with a National level award of “very high stature”, the meeting concluded. The CSIR gave seven awards, including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards, that is given annually to accomplished scientists under 45 departments and announced every year on September 26. By norm, the awards this year were to be announced on Monday but was not done this year, several scientists told The Hindu. It couldn’t be confirmed if this was linked to the meeting.

๐Ÿ“ฐ Home and abroad

If India is to unite polarised nations, it must bring divisive forces under control 

•Delivering India’s statement at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this year, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar spoke of several challenges in India’s past, present and future, with a special emphasis on the immediate “shocks” arising from the war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and terrorism. In stark contrast to the Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who made pejorative remarks about India, Mr. Jaishankar made no direct comment on Pakistan. Nor did he directly mention India’s challenges at the Line of Actual Control, although he criticised China’s habit of politicising and blocking UN Security Council terrorist designations. His comments on Ukraine were watched, as they came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was lauded by western countries for telling Russian President Vladimir Putin that the “era of war is over”. Mr. Jaishankar expanded on Mr. Modi’s theme without seeming to either criticise Russia or condone its actions: instead, he said, India stands on the side of peace, of respect for the UN charter, dialogue and diplomacy, and with all those now grappling with the “escalating costs of food, of fuel and fertilizers”. His words were even-handed, and require global stakeholders to consider both the risks from the conflict in Ukraine, and from U.S.-EU led sanctions that could exacerbate global economic fragmentation and inflationary trends. The prognosis seems even bleaker, given that just prior to the UNGA, Mr. Putin delivered a speech committing to Russia’s ability to use “all weapons”, indicating nuclear options, while the Ukrainian President said no dialogue could bring an end to the war, calling instead for more weaponry and a global effort to “punish” Russia.

•Above all, Mr. Jaishankar hailed what he called the “New India” under Mr. Modi, spelling out five pledges made at the 75th Independence day anniversary, which includes making India a developed nation by 2047. He added that India is ready to take on enhanced responsibility at the global body, and called for a reformed UN with an expanded Security Council, as a means at righting the “injustice” done to the global south. The year ahead, where India will host the G-20 summit, will, no doubt, test the will and the ability of the Modi government to play the role of global uniter, and what Mr. Jaishankar called a “bridge” between nations polarised by bitter divides. It is a goal which will only be achievable if New Delhi is able to play a similarly uniting role in its own neighbourhood, and bring polarising and divisive forces within India under control.

๐Ÿ“ฐ Samarkand: a miniature of an emerging world

•That the world is in a state of flux — with all its complexities, hopes, aspirations and fears, but unable to embrace new realities — was in evidence in the historic city of Samarkand during the summit (September 15-16) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) when key world leaders groped in the dark for an ideal world order.

•The realities they faced were mind-boggling even without their traditional rivals breathing down their necks. Russia was clearly in the dock for its invasion of Ukraine, but the former Soviet Republics were not in a position to call a spade a spade. China was vulnerable because of the deal it had struck with Russia on Taiwan in return for a pledge to support Russia in its war with Ukraine. China appears to have made up its mind that its future lies with Russia as it does not see itself becoming a partner of the U.S. The U.S. seems to have chosen to be with democratic countries in its eventual return to centre stage. The emergence of a Red Quad may well be a possibility to counter democratic forces in the Indo-Pacific. The U.S.’s decision to modernise the Pakistani air force may be to preempt Pakistan from becoming a closer ally of China.

India’s message to Russia

•India had both its biggest adversaries on the table but was not on talking terms with them on account of a conspiracy of circumstances. Ironically, India, with its special historic bonds with Russia, was the only country to demand a cessation of hostilities and want diplomacy and democracy. India bluntly told Russia that this was not the time for war and that the war must stop because of the immense challenges it had posed to the world. India spoke about the oil crisis and the looming food scarcity, the disruption of supply chains and transit trade access. The war had to stop to avert a disaster.

•Russian President Vladimir Putin got away by saying that he understood India’s concerns over the war in Ukraine, promising to try and end the conflict, but blaming the Ukrainian government for prolonging the crisis. He indicated that he was in no hurry to end the war. India has the best of relations with Russia, but the exchange pointed to the future when Russia would be an adversary of India together with China. India appeared to be the spokesperson of the conscience of mankind, which wanted the war to end.

•India’s real business should have been with China, which had violated every bilateral agreement and occupied territories across the Line of Actual Control. Chinese President Xi Jinping was there dictating to the world what kind of new world order must be shaped, and India was silent. The latest disengagement in Ladakh was supposed to have facilitated a thaw in the situation, making it possible for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the SCO, but each side was perhaps waiting for the other to blink.

•India had much to say about Pakistan too when a new Pakistani leader was there, and with no sign of regret over the perpetration of terrorism. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif claimed that he had discussed Kashmir with the Chinese President and received an assurance of support, though China made no such statement on Kashmir. The only point that Mr. Modi made was that Pakistan should give India transit trade access by land to Afghanistan and Central Asia. China and Russia had good words to say about India when they welcomed India’s Chairmanship of the SCO and extended their support, which was nothing but a formality. It is impossible to predict the state of the SCO if the war persists and the world reaches an economic crisis.

•India’s position at the summit turned out to be one of questioning Russia on the continuation of the war, which may have positioned India on the right side of history in a world order divided between democracies and autocracies. Clearly, India cannot be with China or Russia in the new dispensation. India made this clear at the SCO summit.

A dress rehearsal

•The Samarkand summit presented, in miniature, the world that may emerge in the future and demonstrated to us where we should stand right now. The Quad may well be the forum that will enable India to protect its interests in the Indo-Pacific, and the SCO may have been a dress rehearsal for what may eventually emerge. As Chairman of SCO, India cannot transform it from within, because a China-Russia-Iran-Pakistan axis will dominate it. India should concentrate on cultivating bilateral relations with democratic nations to build a pole for itself in the new world order.

•The ripples of the events in Samarkand became evident in the United Nations General Assembly at its present session when both the U.S. and Russia declared for the first time that they would favour an expansion of the UNSC to make it more effective. U.S. President Joe Biden indicated his readiness to accept an expansion while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov specifically supported India being a permanent member. An effort is on to move with the times and meet the aspirations of developing countries and thus help shape a new world order.

๐Ÿ“ฐ Centre defers new foreign trade policy

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Vajiram & Ravi Ancient History Material Class Notes 2023 PDF


Vajiram & Ravi Ancient History Material Class Notes 2023 PDF

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Monday, September 26, 2022

Daily Current Affairs, 26th September 2022



1)  International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons 2022

•The United Nations observes 26 September every year as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The aim of the day is to enhance public awareness about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination. It provides an opportunity to educate the public and their leaders about the real benefits of eliminating such weapons, and the social and economic costs of perpetuating them.

2)  World Contraception Day 2022 observed on 26th September

•World Contraception Day is marked on September 26 with a focus on creating awareness about contraceptive knowledge and family planning. To educate the younger generation about contraceptive measures. In this program, people are told about the prevention of conception. It is a global campaign held annually to shed light on birth control methods by asserting the importance of reproductive health. World Contraception Day has become an important event to highlight the need for population control. The day underlines the need for better family planning which can indirectly also help families to lift themselves out of poverty.

3)  India’s first avalanche-monitoring radar installed in Sikkim

•The Indian Army and the Defence Geoinformatics and Research Establishment (DGRE) have jointly installed the Avalanche Monitoring Radar, the first of its kind in India, in north Sikkim. Besides being used for the detection of avalanches, this radar can also be employed to detect landslides. The avalanche radar was made operational by the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s wing DGRE, which is involved in forecasting and mitigating of avalanche hazards faced by the Indian Army in the Himalayan region.

4)  Government’s Flagship Programme ‘Make in India’ Completes 8 years

•Make in India, the flagship program of the Government of India that aspires to facilitate investment, foster innovation, enhance skill development, and build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure, completes 8 years of path-breaking reforms on 25th September 2022.  Launched in 2014 under the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, ‘Make in India’ is transforming the country into a leading global manufacturing and investment destination. The initiative is an open invitation to potential investors and partners across the globe to participate in the growth story of ‘New India’. Make In India has substantial accomplishments across 27 sectors. These include strategic sectors of manufacturing and services as well.

5)  Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel launched ‘Hamar Beti Hamar Maan’ campaign

•Chhattisgarh government has decided to launch a campaign on women’s safety titled ‘Hamar Beti Hamar Maan’ (our daughter, our honour). The focus of the campaign is creating awareness on safety measures among school- and college-going girls and prioritising registration and investigation of women-related crimes. The launch of the campaign was announced by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.

6)  Centre to Rank 131 Cities Based on Actions to Improve Air Quality

•The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) will launch the ‘Swachh Vayu Sarvekshan’ programme under National Clean Air Programme 2019 (NCAP) to rank cities based on their actions to improve air quality. The ranking will be based only on the actions taken by the cities to improve the air quality in different domains and not on the measurement of the air quality parameters to rank the cities.

7)  India to Invest $30 billion for 4G, 5G Connectivity to Every Village

•IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the government is investing nearly $30 billion to ensure last-mile network accessibility for 4G and 5G in every village across the country and build a robust digital infrastructure in the rural areas. Speaking at the ‘Global Fintech Fest 2022‘, Vaishnaw said the government has reached out to over 1.5 lakh gram panchayats to date.

8)  Dr. Rajiv Bahl named as Director General of ICMR

•Dr Rajiv Bahl has been appointed as the new director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-cum-secretary of the department of health Research for a period of three years. Bahl currently heads the research on maternal, newborn child and adolescent health cum-newborn unit on maternal, Department of Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health and Ageing, at the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva.

•His predecessor, Dr Balram Bhargava’s extended tenure as director general of ICMR and secretary of the Department of Health Research ended in July. Bhargava was appointed to the post on April 16, 2018, for four years. The Appointment Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Dr Rajiv Bahl.

9)  Appointment of Sanjai Kumar as new Chairman & MD of Railtel

•As the new Chairman and Managing Director of RailTel, Sanjai Kumar is in charge. Sanjai Kumar previously held the position of Director (Network Planning & Marketing/NPM) at RailTel, along with the added responsibility of Director (Project, Operations & Maintenance/POM). The University of Allahabad awarded Kumar a Bachelor of Technology in Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering, while the Management Development Institute in Gurugram awarded him a Post Graduate Diploma in Management.

10)  Dr. M Srinivas named as new Director of AIIMS Delhi

•The dean of Employees’ State Insurance Company (ESIC) Hospital and Medical College, Hyderabad, Dr M Srinivas has been appointed the director of New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), nearly six months after the tenure of the previous director, Dr Randeep Guleria, formally ended. The appointment is for a period of five years with effect from the date of assumption of charge of the post, or till attaining the age of 65 years, or until further orders, whichever is the earliest, according to the order.

•Srinivas was on deputation at the ESIC Hospital and continues to be a professor of pediatric surgery at AIIMS. Including Guleria, AIIMS has had 15 directors so far since its foundation in 1956. All former directors have been employees at the institute at the time of their appointment.

11)  Jagdeep Dhankhar released a book titled “Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay – Jeevan Darshan Aur Samsamyikta”

•The Vice President, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar has released the book titled “Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay – Jeevan Darshan Aur Samsamyikta” (five volumes) in New Delhi and on this occasion highlighted the importance of Pt Deendayal’s thoughts in contemporary times. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, former Union Minister Dr Murli Manohar Joshi and other dignitaries were among those attending the event.

•The Vice President appreciated the efforts of the Chief Editor of the book, Dr Bajrang Lal Gupta and his team for coming out with these well-researched five volumes on one of the foremost leaders of modern India. He also thanked Shri Rajnath Singh and Dr Murli Manohar Joshi for their insightful speeches on the life and work of Pt Deendayal Upadhyay on the occasion.

12)  Breakthrough Prize 2023 in Mathematics awarded to Daniel Spielman

•The 2023 winners of the Breakthrough Prizes, dubbed the “Oscars of Science,” were announced and will split a total of more than $15 million. 2023 Breakthrough Prize laureates, recognized for their game-changing discoveries in Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences and Mathematics, along with early-career scientists who have made significant contributions to their fields. Daniel A. Spielman has been honoured with the 2023 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics for multiple discoveries in theoretical computer science and mathematics.

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The HINDU Notes – 26th September 2022



๐Ÿ“ฐ When are the new ICC rules coming into play?

Will ‘mankading’ no longer be considered unfair? What about the use of saliva to polish a ball? What are some other key changes? Can hybrid pitches be used for all matches now?

•The International Cricket Council (ICC) has come up with a host of changes in the rules on playing conditions of cricket. The changes will come into effect on October 1. The ICC Chief Executives’ Committee has ratified the recommendations from the Men’s Cricket Committee, led by former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly.

•The practice of ‘mankading’— a batter being run out by the bowler while backing up too far from the non-striking end — has been destigmatised. It has been moved from the section on Unfair Play to the one on Run Out.

•Hybrid pitches which are made of natural grass (predominantly) and artificial fibre could now be used for ODIs and T20Is, for both men and women if both the rival teams agree.

The story so far:

•The International Cricket Council (ICC) has come up with a host of changes in the rules on playing conditions of cricket. The changes will come into effect on October 1. The men’s T20 World Cup, to be held in Australia from October 16 to November 13, will be played in accordance with the new rules. The ICC Chief Executives’ Committee has ratified the recommendations from the Men’s Cricket Committee, led by former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly. The changes were approved by the Women’s Cricket Committee too.

What are the significant changes?

•The practice known as ‘mankading’— a batter being run out by the bowler while backing up too far from the non-striking end — has been destigmatised. It has been moved from the section on Unfair Play to the one on Run Out. ‘Mankading’ became a topic of discussion after R. Ashwin ran Jos Buttler out in such a manner during an IPL match at Jaipur three years ago. It has been considered against the spirit of cricket, a game which has traditionally valued ethics highly, sometimes at the cost of losing a considerable advantage or even a match. West Indies fast bowler Courtney Walsh had famously refused to run Pakistan’s Saleem Jaffar out by ‘mankading’ in a match at the 1987 World Cup in Lahore. The host had needed two off the last ball when Walsh stopped and warned Jaffar. ‘Mankading’ is once again dividing opinions after India’s Deepti Sharma ran England’s Charlie Dean out in the third Womens One Day Internationals (ODI) at Lord’s on Saturday.

•Other changes include the banning of the use of saliva to polish the ball. The ban had already been in place, as a temporary measure, following the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, some part of the batter or the bat has to remain within pitch. If the batter goes beyond the pitch, the umpire could call it a dead ball. Conversely, if a ball forces the batter to leave the pitch, it will be a no-ball.

•Also from now on the new batter, coming in at the fall of a wicket, should be ready to face the music from ball one: it doesn’t matter if the batters have swapped ends before the catch is taken. Earlier, if the batters had crossed, the new batter would have walked up to the non-striking end. In precarious situations, the previous rule would have made life a little easier, especially for a tail-end batter. The new batter will also have a little less time to reach the middle. The time to take strike has been reduced, for Tests and ODIs, to two minutes, from three. The 90-second deadline stands for T20 Internationals, though. A penalty of five runs will be awarded to the batting side for an unfair and deliberate movement while the bowler is running in to bowl. Besides, that ball will be called a ‘dead ball’. The ball can now also be deemed dead when a bowler attempts to run down the striking batter who comes down the wicket before the former enters the delivery stride.

What about the use of hybrid pitches?

•The hybrid pitches could now be used for ODIs and T20Is, for men and women if both the rival teams agree. At present it is used only in women’s matches. The hybrid pitches are made of natural grass (predominantly) and artificial fibre.

What about penalising a team for poor over-rate?

•The penalty already in force in T20Is since January this year will be adopted in the ODIs as well, but only after the completion of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League (2020-2023), which is part of the qualification process of the 2023 World Cup (ODI). If a team fails to bowl its overs in the given time, an additional fielder will have to be placed inside the 30-yard circle, for the remaining overs. That could make saving runs tougher for the fielding side.

๐Ÿ“ฐ Shifting monsoon patterns

Why are certain regions of the country experiencing higher rainfall than normal? How is the triple dip El Nina effect contributing to this change? Do these changes affect the sowing of the summer crop?

•The IMD counts the rainfall between June 1 and September 30 as monsoon rainfall. This doesn’t mean that the monsoon system ceases from October 1. In fact, monsoon-related rain can continue well into the first fortnight of October and only really retreats from India by late October. It is then replaced by the retreating, or northeast monsoon in November.

•Central India and the southern peninsula were expected to get 6% more than their historical average but what we’ve seen are rains far in excess of this. These heavy rains are premised on a La Nina, characterised by cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific. La Ninas indicate surplus rainfall. India is seeing an extended spell of the La Nina, called a ‘triple dip’ La Nina which is a phenomenon lasting across three winter seasons in the northern hemisphere.

•On the other hand, large parts of U. P., Bihar and Odisha have seen large deficits. The east and northeast of India have reported a 17% shortfall and the northwest 2%. This has impacted sowing of the kharif, or summer crop.

The story so far:

•The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that the monsoon has begun to retreat from Rajasthan.

What is the monsoon withdrawal?

•The monsoon is a sea-breeze that has consistently landed in the Indian sub-continent for thousands of years. It enters mainland India between the last week of May and the first week of June — though June 1 is its official onset date over Kerala. The IMD only counts the rainfall between June 1 and September 30 as monsoon rainfall. This doesn’t mean that the monsoon system ceases to pour rain over India from October 1. In fact, monsoon-related rain can continue well into the first fortnight of October and only really retreats from India by late October. It is then replaced by the retreating, or northeast monsoon in November which is the key source of rainfall for several parts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and north interior Karnataka.

When does the monsoon withdraw?

•The monsoon begins its withdrawal from the last State it reaches, which is Rajasthan. Around September 15, cyclonic systems from the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal that fuel the monsoon from June-September are replaced by an ‘anti-cyclone’ circulation which means dry, windless conditions start to prevail over western and northern India. More technically, withdrawal is a cessation of rainfall activity over northwest India for five straight days, an anticyclone establishing itself in the lower troposphere and a marked reduction in moisture content. A day after the IMD announced the withdrawal, torrential rains began in several parts of north India.

How has the monsoon been this year?

•Monsoon rainfall in India has been surplus by around 7% this year though with extreme inequity. Central and southern India saw a sharp surge in rainfall. Rains in Central India were surplus by 20% and in southern India by 25%, with the last month seeing several instances of flooding in Kerala, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. On the other hand, large parts of U. P., Bihar, Odisha have seen large deficits. The east and northeast of India have reported a 17% shortfall and the northwest 2%. This has impacted sowing of the kharif, or summer crop. Paddy planting has been impacted with sown area 5.51% lower than last year, according to the Agriculture Ministry. The Centre is expecting a minimum of six-million tonne shortfall in rice production and this is likely to elevate inflation.

What led to excessive rains in southern and central India?

•In April, the IMD had forecast ‘normal’ rains over India but by May-end indicated it to be above normal. Central India and the southern peninsula were expected to get 6% more than their historical average but what we have seen are rains far in excess of this. These heavy rains are premised on a La Nina, the converse phenomenon of the El Nino and characterised by cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific.

•While, El Ninos are linked to reduced rains over India, La Ninas indicate surplus rainfall. India is seeing an extended spell of the La Nina, called a ‘triple dip’ La Nina which is a phenomenon lasting across three winter seasons in the northern hemisphere. This is only the third time since 1950 that a triple dip La Nina has been observed. This, in part, is why for the third year in a row, India is seeing surplus rain in September, a month that usually marks the retreat of the monsoon.

Are monsoon patterns changing?

•Since 2019, monsoon in India has returned surpluses, barring a slight dip last year. The June-September rainfall in 2019 was 10% more than the 88 cm that India usually gets. Though June saw deficit rain, the months of July and August returned extra rain, with September registering 52% more rain than normal. In 2020, India saw 9% more rain with August registering 27% more rain and September 4% more than its usual quota. The rainfall over the country as a whole, in 2021, was 1% less than normal though rainfall in September was a remarkable 35% above what is usual. This year the monsoon is already in surplus by about 6% and a vigorous September is likely to see India post yet another year of surplus rain. Three years of above normal rain in a block of four years is unprecedented in more than a century of IMD’s record keeping, data suggests.

๐Ÿ“ฐ Soft power, the new race every country wants to win

•“Soft power”, as American political scientist Joseph Nye Jr. said in the late 1980s, is a “power of attraction through culture, political ideas, and policies rather than coercion” that military hard power exhibits. This is now being reflected in increased interest, especially by smaller nations in the world, in investing more and doing well in elite sports as it is thought that success in international sporting events boosts a nation’s chances of attaining soft power.

•So, it can be said that the golden period of Indian sports may have begun — the Tokyo Olympics and then the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) are examples of a good performance. Neeraj Chopra who won an Olympic gold medal in men’s javelin throw is now a household name. At the CWG 2022, Indian athletes won 61 medals, including 22 golds. These medals not only provide pride to every Indian citizen but also demonstrate the country’s soft power on the global stage and encourage working towards the status of a great “geopolitical actor”.

A survey

•Until recently there has been no empirical evidence whether performance in the Olympics or other world championships improved soft power or not.

•When Dongfeng Liu (International Professor of Sport Management for the Shanghai campus of the Sport Business School) surveyed French citizens in 2020 (he was also International Professor, Sport Business School, France) on China’s performance in the Olympics and their impressions about China based on its rising medal count, he found that a country’s Olympic achievement has a positive effect on its national soft power.

•He issued a caveat: as China is a communist country, there tends to be a prejudiced view of its human rights record and the standing of its minorities, which does not result in a positive perception of China, or for that matter, even Russia or North Korea. It is very difficult for these countries to build “branding” for themselves. As India is a democratic country it may not have to worry about such factors. Even so, it might yet learn lessons from China’s case.

•China uses its superiority in elite sports to build “people-to-people” relations with other countries. For example, athletes from African countries such as Madagascar are trained in swimming, badminton, table tennis, etc. in China, which helps Beijing create a positive impact on a wider population and result in better formal relations as well. There is also China’s memorandum of understanding with countries such as Kenya so that Chinese runners can train with Kenyan athletes, as they are among the best in the world when it comes to long-distance running.

India’s tortoise-like walk

•India’s medal tally in the Tokyo Olympics Games — seven — was its most decorated Olympic Games in Indian history. But there is no hiding the fact that India has one of the world’s poorest population-to-medal ratios when it comes to the Olympics. An article, “Indian Olympic medal winners: A comprehensive list” shows that India has won 35 medals at the Olympics since the 1900 edition. With a population of 1.3 billion-plus people, there are various reasons for India’s disappointing performance. Professional engagement in sports is hampered by the relatively low and scant exposure of Indians to sports at the elementary school level.

•In September 2014, the Ministry of Sports launched the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) to improve India’s performance at the Olympics and Paralympics — there is extra monetary assistance and training from the best national and international coaches. India’s gradual success in sporting events is being attributed to these “policies.”

•In 2016, a NITI Aayog report came up with a 20-point plan to improve India’s Olympics performance. The report said India still lacks a favourable atmosphere for sports to polish the skills of early-stage athletes. It recommended efforts to be made at the family, community to school, regional academies, State and national levels to improve things. Ensuring competent coaches, and having adequate funding and more sports academics still remain major issues even decades later. A reply in Parliament (2018) said that India spends only three paise per day per capita on sports. In contrast, China spends ₹6.1 per day per capita.

•Mega sporting events generate viewership in their billions. So they provide a platform for countries to showcase their culture, values and tradition.

•The International Olympic Committee (IOC) claimed that the Tokyo Olympic Games was watched by over 3.05 billion people, ‘a 74 per cent increase in digital viewers from Rio 2016’. This proves that there is a great opportunity for India to use such events as a platform to enhance its soft power that relies on its cultural heritage.

•The Government must also move quickly to separate politics from sports. Former players, rather than politicians, should be chosen to lead sports organisations.

Marching forward

•Here are some recommendations for the Indian government to increase the country’s sporting performance and soft power.

•First, India should concentrate on forging MoUs with nations that excel in specific sports. The aim should be to train Indian players overseas. For example, Australia and the United Kingdom can assist us in swimming given their standing here. When it comes to running, negotiating collaborative training agreements with African countries such as Kenya would be ideal. There should be no politics in seeking or even offering assistance. Take this example too: China has requested Indian assistance in improving cricket development in China (Chongqing city).

•Second, TOPS — China too also had a similar scheme — has demonstrated that focusing on a few sports is beneficial for a country such as India, which is striving to enhance its sporting abilities and standing. India needs to boost the number of athletes under TOPS — at least 500 athletes should train under the scheme to foster a competitive climate, in turn aiding performance.

•Third, private investment needs to be harnessed to develop infrastructure. The better a country performs in sporting events the greater a sports person’s interest in their sports atmosphere. This also creates a huge market for private players to invest in. For example, leading corporate houses in India have already shown how their active participation and investment can improve sporting performance as a result of unique corporate sports programmes. The Government should also work on a public-private partnership (PPP) model to create basic sporting infrastructure, as recommended by NITI Aayog, at the district level so that talent can be captured at an early stage. Soft power is not an end but a means to an end.

๐Ÿ“ฐ A ground plan for India’s reformed multilateralism

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