PRELIM SNIPPETS – January 22nd 2022
1. Amar Jawan Jyoti and its Relocation
Why in News?
- The iconic Amar Jawan Jyoti (AJJ) at India Gate was extinguished as a part of its merger with the flame at the National War Memorial (NWM). This has sparked a political controversy.
What is the Amar Jawan Jyoti?
- The eternal flame at the AJJ underneath India Gate in central Delhi was an iconic symbol of the nation’s tributes to the soldiers who have died for the country in various wars and Conflicts since Independence.
- Established in 1972, it was to mark India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 War, which Rresulted in the creation of Bangladesh.
- The then PM Indira Gandhi had inaugurated it on Republic Day 1972, after India defeated Pakistan in December 1971.
Description of the Bust:
- The key elements of the Amar Jawan Jyoti included a black marble plinth, a cenotaph, which acted as a tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
- The plinth had an inverted L1A1 self-loading rifle with a bayonet, on top of which was a soldier’s war helmet.
How the Eternal Flame was Kept Burning?
- For 50 years the eternal flame had been burning underneath India Gate, without being extinguished.
- But on Friday, the flame was finally put off, as it was merged with another eternal flame at the National War Memorial.
- Since 1972, when it was inaugurated, it used to be kept alive with the help of cylinders of liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG.
- One cylinder could keep one burner alive for a day and a half.
- In 2006 that was changed. Though a project that cost around Rs 6 lakh the fuel for the flames was changed from LPG to piped natural gas, or PNG.
- It is through this piped gas that the flame marking the tribute to Indian soldiers had been kept alive Eternally.
Why was it Placed at India Gate?
- The India Gate, All India War Memorial, as it was known earlier, was built by the British in 1931.
- It was erected as a memorial to around 90,000 Indian soldiers of the British Indian Army, who had died in several wars and campaigns till then.
- Names of more than 13,000 dead soldiers are mentioned on the memorial commemorating them.
- As it was a memorial for the Indian soldiers killed in wars, the Amar Jawan Jyoti was established underneath it by the government in 1972.
Reasons for its Relocation:
- The correct perspective is that the flame will not be extinguished, but just moved to be merged with the one at the National War Memorial.
- The flame which paid homage to the soldiers killed in the 1971 War, does not even mention their name, and the India Gate is a “symbol of our colonial past”.
- The names of all Indian martyrs from all the wars, including 1971 and wars before and After it are housed at the National War Memorial.
- Hence it is a true tribute to have the flame paying tribute to martyrs there.
- Further, it can also be seen as part of the government’s redevelopment of the entire Central Vista, of which India Gate, the AJJ and the National War Memorial are parts of.
What else is planned with the extinguish?
- The canopy next to the India Gate will get a statue of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
- The new statue will be 28 feet high.
- Till the statue is completed, a hologram statue of Bose will be placed under the canopy, which he will unveil on January 23.
- The canopy used to have a statue of Kind George V, which was removed in 1968.
- January 23 this year marks his 125th birth anniversary.
- From this year onwards, Republic Day celebrations will start on January 23, as opposed to the usual practice of starting it on January 24, to mark the birth anniversary of Bose.
- It will end on January 30, the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.
- The Government had earlier announced that Bose’s birth anniversary would be celebrated as Parakram Divas.
What is the National War Memorial and when was it made?
- The National War Memorial, which is around 400 meters from India Gate was Inaugurated in February 2019, in an area of around 40 acres.
- It was built to commemorate all the soldiers who have laid down their lives in the various battles, wars, operations and conflicts of Independent India.
- There are many independent memorials for such soldiers, but no memorial existed commemorating them all at the national level.
- Discussions to build such a memorial had been ongoing since 1961, but it did not come up.
- The architecture of the memorial is based on four concentric circles.
- Largest is the Raksha Chakra or the Circle of Protection which is marked by a row of trees, each of which represent soldiers, who protect the country.
- The Tyag Chakra, the Circle of Sacrifice, has circular concentric walls of honour based on the Chakravyuh.
- The walls have independent granite tablets for each of the soldiers who have died for the Country since Independence.
- As of today, there are 26,466 names of such soldiers on these granite tablets etched in Golden Letters.
- A tablet is added every time a soldier is killed in the line of duty.
- The final is the Amar Chakra, the Circle of Immortality, which has an obelisk, and the Eternal Flame.
- Busts of the 21 soldiers who have been conferred with the highest gallantry award of the country, Param Vir Chakra, are also installed at the memorial.
2. Declaration on Forests and Land Use
Why in News?
- At COP-26 in Glasgow, countries got together to sign the Declaration on Forests and Land Use (or the Deforestation Declaration). However, India was among the few countries that did not sign the Declaration.
What is this Deforestation Declaration?
- It was signed by 142 countries, which represented over 90 percent of forests across the world.
- The declaration commits to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural Transformation.
- The signatories committed $19 billion in private and public funds to this end.
Why did India abstain from joining?
- India had concerns about the linkage the declaration makes between deforestation, Infrastructure development and trade.
- Any commitment to the environment and climate change should not involve any reference to trade, cited India.
- Analysts in India have linked the decision to a proposed amendment to the Forest Conservation Act 1980 that would ease the clearances presently required for acquiring forest land for new infrastructure projects.
- India abstained from many things
- A look at India’s positions on some other recent critical pledges and decisions related to climate change reveals a clear pattern of objections or absence.
- At CoP26, India was not part of the dialogue on Forests, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT).
- FACT, which is supported by 28 countries seeks to encourage “sustainable development and trade of agricultural commodities while protecting and managing sustainably forests and other critical ecosystems”.
- India also voted against a recent draft resolution to allow for discussions related to Climate change and its impact on international peace and security to be taken up at the UNSC.
Why should India join this Declaration?
- Broadly speaking, all of India’s objections are based on procedural issues at multilateral fora.
- Although justifiable on paper, these objections seem blind to the diverse ways in which climate change is linked to Global Trade, Deforestation, Agriculture, and International Peace, among Other Issues.
- For context, consider India’s palm oil trade. India is the largest importer of crude palm oil in the world.
- Palm oil cultivation, covering roughly 16 million acres of land in Indonesia and Malaysia, has been the biggest driver of deforestation in the two countries.
3. Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (GRAM) report
Why in News?
- The Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (GRAM) report, 1.27 million people died in 2019 as a direct result of AMR (AntiMicrobial Resistance).
- The death due to AMR Is now a leading cause of death worldwide, higher than HIV/AIDS or malaria.
- Most of the deaths from AMR were caused by lower respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, and bloodstream infections, which can lead to sepsis.
- MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) was particularly deadly, while E. coli, and several other bacteria, were also linked to high levels of drug resistance.
- Antimicrobial resistance is the resistance acquired by any microorganism (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasite, etc.) against antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics) that are used to treat infections.
- As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.
- Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified AMR as one of the top ten threats to global health.
- India, with its combination of large population, rising incomes that facilitate purchase of antibiotics, high burden of infectious diseases and easy over-the-counter access to antibiotics, is an important locus for the generation of resistance genes (such genes help bacteria in surviving on being exposed to antibiotics).
- The multi-drug resistance determinant, New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1 (NDM-1), emerged from this region to Spread Globally.
- Africa, Europe and other parts of Asia have also been affected by multi-drug resistant typhoid originating from South Asia.
- In India, over 56,000 newborn deaths each year due to sepsis are caused by organisms that are resistant to first line antibiotics.
- A study reported by ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) from 10 hospitals showed that when Covid patients acquire drug-resistant infections in hospitals, the mortality is almost 50-60%.
4. Electoral Bonds
Why in News?
- The 19ṭh tranche of electoral bonds, which have been pitched as an alternative to cash donations, were on sale, ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections in five States.
- These bonds are issued in multiples of Rs. 1,000, Rs. 10,000, Rs. 1 lakh, Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 1 crore without any maximum limit.
- State Bank of India is authorised to issue and encash these bonds, which are valid for fifteen days from the date of issuance.
- These bonds are only redeemable in the designated account of a registered political party.
- The bonds are available for purchase by any citizen of India for a period of ten days each in the months of January, April, July and October as may be specified by the Central Government.
- A person being an individual can buy bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals.
- The donor’s name Is not mentioned on the bond.
- Through an amendment to the Finance Act 2017, the Union government has exempted political parties from disclosing donations received through electoral bonds.
- This means the voters will not know which individual, company, or organization has funded which party, and to what extent.
- However, in a representative democracy, citizens cast their votes for the people who will represent them in Parliament.
- The Indian Supreme Court has long held that the “right to know”, especially in the context of elections, is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression (Article 19) under the Indian Constitution.
While Electoral Bonds provide no Details to the Citizens
- The said anonymity does not apply to the government of the day, which can always access the donor details by demanding the data from the State Bank of India (SBI).
- This implies that the government in power can leverage this information and disrupt free and fair elections.
- The electoral bonds scheme removes all pre-existing limits on political donations and effectively allows well-resourced corporations to fund elections subsequently paving the way for Crony Capitalism.
5. Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT)
Why in News?
- Recently, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) wrote to the States that the Union government proposes to amend Rule 6 (deputation of cadre officers) of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules 1954.
- In normal practice, the Centre asks every year for an “offer list” of officers of the All India Services willing to go on central deputation, after which it selects officers from that list.
- Officers have to get a no-objection clearance from the State government for Central deputation.
- States have to depute the All India Services (AIS) officers, to the Central government offices and at any point, it cannot be more than 40% of the total cadre strength.
- If the State government delays posting a State cadre officer to the Centre and does not give effect to the Central government’s decision within the specified time, the officer shall stand relieved from cadre from the date as may be specified by the Central government.
- The Centre will decide the actual number of officers to be deputed to the Central government in consultation with the State and the latter should make eligible the names of such officers.
- In case of any disagreement between the Centre and the State, the matter shall be decided by the Central government and the State shall give effect to the decision of the Centre.
- In specific situations where services of cadre officers are required by the Central Government in “public interest,” the State shall give effect to its decisions within a specified Time.
- The DoPT said that it is taking this decision in the wake of a shortage of All India Services (AIS) officers in Union Ministries.
- According to the DoPT, states are not sponsoring an adequate number of officers for Central deputation, and the number of Officers is not sufficient to meet the requirement at the Centre.
- It Is against the spirit of Cooperative Federalism.
- The proposed amendment would weaken the State’s political control over the bureaucracy.
- It would hobble effective governance and create avoidable legal and administrative disputes.
- The Centre could weaponise the Bureaucracy against an elected State government.