News & Editorial Analysis 01 JUNE 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Deep Ocean Currents in Antarctica:
Geography related issues
The deep ocean currents (called ‘Overturning Circulations’) in Antarctica, which play a crucial role in redistributing heat, carbon, and nutrients around the globe, are slowing down earlier than predicted (as per the new research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change).
Overturning circulation has slowed by almost a third (30%) and deep ocean oxygen levels are declining.
These changes were expected by 2050, but are already happening.
What are the Overturning Circulations?
Overturning Circulations refers to the global network of ocean currents that redistribute heat, carbon, and nutrients. They play a crucial role in regulating Earth’s climate, maintaining oxygen levels, and shaping ocean currents.
Why are the Overturning Circulations slowing?
The Overturning Circulations are slowing due to melting Antarctic ice, which freshens surface waters and reduces their density, hindering the sinking process and disrupting the circulation pattern.
Impact of ‘the Slowing’:
It can lead to reduced oxygen levels in the deep ocean, affecting marine organisms.
Disrupts the base of the food chain:As the Southern Ocean supports about three-quarters of global phytoplankton production → impacts the marine ecosystem.
It can also intensify global warming by reducing the ocean’s capacity to store carbon dioxide and heat.
It can contribute to rising sea levels due to the thermal expansion of warmer waters.
About Deep Water Circulations (DWC):
Deep Water Circulation (DWC):
DWC refers to the movement of water in the deep ocean, driven by density differences caused by temperature and salinity variations.
In polar regions, sea ice formation causes surrounding seawater to become saltier and denser, leading to sinking. The process repeats as surface water is pulled in to replace sinking water. This circulation pattern is known as thermohaline circulation.
Heat Distribution; Carbon Dioxide Control; Shapes ocean currents and circulation patterns globally.
Affects sea level by redistributing heat and influencing thermal expansion.
Deep-Water Circulations in the Indian Ocean:
The Indian Ocean does not produce its own deep water; it receives it from other sources like the North Atlantic and the Antarctic.
Source à The Hindu
2 – Hunger Hotspots:
Poverty related issues
According to a new UN report – Hunger Hotspots – FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity – India’s neighbours (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Myanmar) are among the hunger hotspots in the world.
Highlights of the report:
Many hotspots [Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Yemen, Haiti, and the Sahel (Burkina Faso and Mali)] are facing growing hunger crises.
Conflict, climate extremes and economic shocks continue to drive more and more communities into crisis.
The spillover from the crisis in Sudan is driving massive population displacement and hunger among people in search of refuge.
Deepening economic shocks and a likely El Nino climatic phenomenon is raising fears of climate extremes in vulnerable countries around the globe.
Acute food insecurity can potentially increase in magnitude and severity.
Support the upcoming cultivation with harvesting packages.
Sustain humanitarian assistance, including food assistance and agricultural inputs.
Establish a local nutrition surveillance system to monitor the deterioration of the nutrition situation, especially in high-risk areas.
Supporting the establishment of green corridors between rural and urban centres to encourage safe spaces to sell produce.
Nutrition-related and agricultural livelihoods programmes.
Build the capacity of national and provincial disaster-management authorities on the inclusion of forecast-based financing and risk insurance.
Implement cash-for-work activities by supporting harvesting activities, to provide income sources for farmers.
Maintain prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition activities integrated with the food security, health, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) package of services.
Advocate for the return of female staff to work across the countries to reach populations in need.
Case of India:
The Global Hunger Index 2022 ranks India 107 (out of 121 countries), and the level of hunger and undernutrition in the country is now at “serious” levels.
India’s rank on this index has been worsening since 2020 – 94 in 2020 and 101 in 2021.
With 19.3%, India has the highest rate of child wasting (among under 5 children) in the world.
About 16.3% of Indians are undernourished, and about one in every three children is stunted.
India is the largest producer of milk, pulses, bananas, and the 2nd-largest producer of wheat, rice, and vegetables in the world.
Therefore, poor hunger indices can be attributed mainly to food losses and wastage in India.
Crops lost between post-harvest and the retailer (due to poor storage, handling, and transportation) are referred to as losses. Food wastage is the loss of food at the consumer’s end.
Anywhere between 1% (in the case of milk) to 16% (guava) of the agricultural produce is lost by the time it reaches the retailer.
Way ahead for India:
By providing farmers with a mechanism to access real-time prices, processing to absorb ‘excess’ production and scientific storages like silos and logistical support.
Innovations and investments, both public and private, are key to addressing the food loss and waste challenges. For example,
GreenPod Labs is innovating in the packaging and storing of produce to augment their shelf life.
Dehaat provides an online marketplace to farmers and buyers that reduces the number of hands the food trades in.
Source à The Hindu
3 – Food Fortification:
Government Policies and Interventions
According to a UN report, India’s pilot studies on rice fortification showed a significant drop in the prevalence of anaemia among schoolchildren.
It is defined as the practice of adding vitamins and minerals to commonly consumed foods during processing to increase their nutritional value.
Food fortification has been identified as the strategy by the WHO and FAO for decreasing the incidence of nutrient deficiencies at the global level.
The scenario in India:
The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2022 placed India at 107th position (out of 121 nations) and the undernourished population is one of the primary reasons for this poor performance of India.
In 2016, the FSSAI established standards for the fortification of rice, wheat flour, edible oil, double-fortified salt (DFS) and milk. It developed the ‘+F’ logo and helped build capacity for food producers.
The pilot – public food fortification programme, was launched in 2019 by the FSSAI in partnership with external non-profits, who are also associated with the nutraceutical industry.
Fortified foods are now being included in public food schemes like PDS, ICDS, and Mid-Day Meal Scheme/Poshan, helping to address the challenge of malnutrition.
Fortification may contribute to the prevention, reduction and control of micronutrient deficiencies through mass fortification or targeted fortification.
Major issues with food fortification:
The one-sided portrayal of fortification as a ‘cure-all’: Without any significant scientific perspective and evidence on fortification.
No independent risk analysis: FSSAI’s statutory regulations caution against consuming iron-fortified food by patients with thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia.
Conflict of interest: The studies which FSSAI relies on to promote fortification are sponsored by private food companies.
Evaluation studies are still not publicly available.
Case of treating iron deficiency anaemia in India:
Iron is an essential mineral required for many bodily functions, including the formation of haemoglobin, but can be harmful when taken in excess (tolerable upper limit – 40 mg/day).
One of the methods suggested for the treatment of iron deficiency is fortification of food with iron.
As men cannot ‘excrete’ iron from the body (unlike women), they are particularly vulnerable to excess iron intake.
Studies have shown that unabsorbed iron can lead to constipation, and diarrhoea and has been closely linked to many chronic comorbidities like diabetes, and liver fibrosis/cirrhosis.
It can impair the absorption of other minerals such as zinc and copper, which are also essential for the body and lead to other deficiencies.
Fortification should be pushed in a transparent manner.
To treat undernutrition in India, all three – dietary diversity, higher protein consumption and fortification, are essential.
It is imperative to develop individualised strategies and ensure thorough monitoring to detect any adverse events at the earliest.
Source à The Hindu
4 – Gongadi Shawls:
A group of alumni from the National Institute of Design has repurposed Telangana’s woollen gongadi shawls into all-weather shoes for farmers.
About Gongadi Shawls:
Gongadi is a traditional woollen blanket woven by the indigenous Kuruma and Kuruba pastoralist communities.
It is made using the coarse wool of the Deccani sheep, known locally as Nalla gorrae. It is produced organically without using any dyes.
Gongadi shawls are famous for their durability and versatility.
They are known for their ability to withstand all weather conditions and remain intact for a long time.
The shawls do not fade but grow darker in colour over time.
Source à The Hindu
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
USING BUDDHISM AS A TOOL OF SOFT POWER:
India’s historical and cultural ties to Buddhism can support its soft power diplomacy with Southeast Asian nations as well as its neighbours Nepal, Bhutan, and China.
Diplomacy using soft power:
The capacity to influence others without using force or money is known as soft power. Soft power diplomacy, as opposed to depending primarily on military or economic coercion, refers to the use of cultural, social, and economic tools to influence the attitudes and actions of other countries.
Joseph Nye first used the term “soft power” in the 1990s.
Cultural exchanges, educational initiatives, humanitarian aid, and public diplomacy campaigns are a few examples of soft power diplomacy.
Hinduism in India:
During the establishment of the Republic, a time of intense violence and conflict between the nation’s two main religions, Hinduism and Islam, Buddhism gave India a sense of serenity and tranquilly.
Whether it’s the Ashoka Pillar or the wheel in the flag, using Buddhist symbolism has been a way to get through difficult times. The inscriptions on the structure built by King Ashoka also provide proof of the Buddha’s life and teachings.
India likes to claim Buddhism as their own due to such usage and supporting documentation. In order to irritate China, it organised the Global Buddhist Summit in April and promoted Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama.
The International Buddhist Confederation, an Indian-based Buddhist organisation, served as the summit’s host.
In Lumbini, Nepal, the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage will soon open. In May 2022, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the cornerstone. Little has been accomplished in the construction of this centre in the past year.
By limiting conversations with the keepers of tradition and the greater Buddhist community, India is asserting its dominance over Buddhism, which will only irritate China.
India’s Buddhist soft power diplomacy:
Restoration and international worth: Buddhism’s potential value in foreign policy derives in great part from how the faith was restored in the years following World War II.
Pan-Asian presence: The Asian continent is now home to 97% of all Buddhists in the world. Buddhism lends itself nicely to soft-power diplomacy since it places a strong focus on peaceful coexistence and has a significant pan-Asian following.
Diplomacy: India’s Prime Minister has made a concerted effort to highlight shared Buddhist roots in remarks given during official overseas visits to places like Sri Lanka and China, among others.
Seven of the eight most important Buddhist sites in the world are currently located in India. A variety of cross-border tourist routes are being promoted by the tourism ministry.
Buddhist Circuit refers to the sacred locations where Lord Buddha was born, educated, preached, and obtained “Enlightenment” and “Nirvana.”
International conferences have been hosted, and councils have been established to enable communication between members across sectarian and national lines.
Buddha was the first peace diplomat, so Indian diplomacy on the international scale can be led by his teachings of harmony and collaboration. India can improve its reputation as a responsible global power committed to international peace and stability by promoting Buddhism, which will help develop links with the Buddhist community worldwide.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
A CONTESTED DIASPORA:
Both the opposition leader and the prime minister recently announced trips to the US to engage with Indian diaspora.
Indian diaspora’s global status:
There were 4.7 crore Indians living abroad as of December 31, 2021.
According to the World Migration Report, 2022, China, Mexico, Russia, and India are the top four origin countries internationally, with India having the greatest population of emigrants in 2020.
India was the biggest recipient of remittances in 2020, receiving $83 billion, according to the World Migration Report 2022.
UN World Migration Report (2020): With little more than 17.5 million Indians living abroad, the Indian diaspora is the largest in the world.
The largest yearly migration rate in the world, 2.5 million (25 lakh) Indians go abroad each year.
The largest overseas diaspora in the world is made up of overseas Indians, who make up 32 million NRIs and PIOs (including OCIs) who live outside of India, according to a 2018 study from the Ministry of External Affairs.
These include both individuals of Indian descent who have made their home in other countries as well as Indian citizens who study, live, and work overseas.
The total comprises students, NRIs, PIOs, and OCIs. 3.22 crore, including 1.87 crore PIOs and 1.35 crore NRIs, are the total people in the country without counting students.
United States of America (44 lakh), United Kingdom (17.6 lakh), United Arab Emirates (34 lakh), Sri Lanka (16 lakh), South Africa (15.6 lakh), Saudi Arabia (26 lakh), Myanmar (20 lakh), Malaysia (29.8 lakh), Kuwait (10.2 lakh), and Canada (16.8 lakh) are among the nations with more than a million (10 lakh) overseas Indians.
Indian Americans, the largest group from South Asia and the highest-earning ethnic community in the country with a population of more than 4.5 million, make up roughly 1.35% of the total population of the United States.
The third-largest bilateral migration corridor in the world, the nearly 3 million migrants from India to the United Arab Emirates are primarily work migrants.
Indian Diaspora’s Contribution to India:
They serve as “bridge-builders” between their adoptive country and their original country.
Rich and Powerful Class: Indian diaspora is wealthier and supports the Indian economy in many ways, including through hard currency remittances, the air travel sector, consumer spending on Indian goods, and entertainment.
For instance, Diaspora Diplomacy convinced the lawmakers who were on the fence to support the India-U.S. nuclear accord.
In addition, the Indian diaspora is now a completely transferrable political vote pool.
Additionally, a large number of individuals with Indian ancestry hold prominent political posts in many nations, which strengthens India’s political influence at multilateral organisations like the United Nations. Consider the re-appointment of Justice Dalveer Bhandari to the International Court of Justice in November 2017, when it received two-thirds of the UN’s votes, or the appointment of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, US Vice President Kamala Harris, or both.
In the British House of Commons in 2019, there were 15 lawmakers with Indian ancestry.
Contribution to the economy: Remittances boost India’s Balance of Payments (BOP) and close a larger trade deficit.
Unskilled and semi-skilled labour migration, particularly to West Asia, has contributed to a decline in India’s unemployment rate.
Additionally, the migrant labourers aided in the introduction of technologies, economic and commercial ideas, and knowledge into India.
Highly Skilled Professionals: Demand for Indian professionals would increase as more nations look for top talent to lead their high-tech sectors.
Recent “Migration and Mobility” agreements will make it easier for Indian scientists, engineers, doctors, accountants, managers, and bankers to travel overseas in more substantial ways.
India’s worldwide influence will therefore continue to grow in the coming years.
Domestic Influence: Diaspora involvement in Indian politics has increased as well. The Indian diaspora has moved beyond the passive position of offering support to assumed collective Indian aims or personal commitments to community development at home over the last few decades.
The leaders of the diaspora today actively participate in discussions on current events in India.
To voice their actual and perceived grievances against Delhi, they mobilise their local political leaders and bureaucrats.
For instance, members of the Indian-American community who contributed significantly to the financing of electronic campaigns and elections in 2014 and 2019.
Rise of Conservatism: More concerning has been the revival of religious, ethnic, and caste solidarity that trumps the Subcontinent’s extensive common past.
Promotion of the Indian Diaspora:
A separate Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) Card, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2003, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, Overseas Citizen of India Card, NRI funds, and voting rights for Indian nationals overseas have all been introduced by the Indian government since 2000.
In 2015, PIO and OCI cardholders were combined into OCI.
The e-migrate system, which was introduced in 2015 by the Ministry of External Affairs, requires all foreign employers to register in the database.
The 2016 “Know India Programme” (KIP) for diaspora engagement introduces Indian-origin youngsters (18 to 30 years old) to their Indian culture.
One step in the right direction is the VAJRA (Visiting Advanced Joint Research Faculty) initiative, which aims to formalise a rotation programme wherein top NRI scientists, engineers, doctors, managers, and professionals serve Indian public sector organisations for a short while, offering their knowledge.
Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PKVY): To formalise the process of emigrant Indian workers’ skill development.
100 scholarships for undergraduate study are given to PIO and NRI students each year through the Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children (SPDC).
UK and India recently made the decision to begin a Young Professionals Exchange in 2023.
The UK will provide up to two years of employment to 3000 Indians with degrees who are in the 18 to 30 age range.
The UMANG International App will make it easier for all Indian NRIs, international students, and visitors to use government services whenever they desire.
Steps to Take:
India must act as a catalyst to encourage the powerful Indian diaspora to advance national objectives without endangering their standing in the host countries. India’s “brand ambassadors” are Indians who reside overseas. Indians living abroad have the power to effectively and credibly present the reality of India to the globe while combating the “propaganda” that adversarial nations like Pakistan and China spread.
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