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Prelims Booster

5th September – Prelims Booster

SCO, CSTO and CIS

Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh has emphasised that, “Peaceful, stable and secure region of SCO member states – which is home to over 40 per cent of global population, demands a climate of trust and cooperation, non-aggression, respect for international rules and norms, sensitivity to each other’s interest and peaceful resolution of differences.”

He was addressing the Combined Meeting of Defence Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Member States in Moscow.

What is SCO?

  • SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation.
  • It is a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation aiming to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.
  • It was created in 2001. The HQ is located in Beijing, China.
  • Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five (1996).
  • Following the accession of Uzbekistan to the organisation in 2001, the Shanghai Five was renamed the SCO.
  • The SCO Charter was signed in 2002, and entered into force in 2003.
  • The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.
  • India and Pakistan became members in 2017.

What is CSTO?

  • The Collective Security Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance that was signed in 1992. The treaty came into force in 1994.
  • It was signed by six countries: Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Subsequently, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Belarus joined it.
  • The CST was set to last for a 5-year period unless extended. In 1999, only six members of the CST signed a protocol renewing the treaty for another five-year period: Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan refused to sign and withdrew from the treaty.
  • It was decided to transform the CST into a full international organisation, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) at the Moscow session of the Collective Security Treaty in 2002.
  • The Serbia and Afghanistan have been accorded observer status in the CSTO.
  • Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Belarus are the current full member countries of CSTO.

What is CIS?

  • Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was created in December 1991. In the adopted Declaration the participants of the Commonwealth declared their interaction on the basis of sovereign equality.
  • At present the CIS unites: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
  • In September 1993 the Heads of the CIS States signed an Agreement on the creation of Economic Union to form common economic space grounded on free movement of goods, services, labour force, capital; to elaborate coordinated monetary, tax, price, customs, external economic policy; to bring together methods of regulating economic activity and create favourable conditions for the development of direct production relations.
  • In order to facilitate further integration the Agreement on deepening of integration in economic and humanitarian field of four countries (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia) and Agreement on creation of Commonwealth of Sovereign Republics (Belarus and Russia) with creation of corresponding coordinating bodies were signed in 1995.
  • In February 1999 by the decision of the Interstate Council of four countries (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia) the Republic of Tajikistan was recognised as participant of the customs union enjoying full rights.
  • In October 2000 the Heads of five countries (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan) signed an Agreement on creation of Eurasian Economic Community. At present Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine have the status of the observer under EAEC. In October 2005 Uzbekistan made the statement to join this organisation.
  • In September 2003 four countries – Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine signed an Agreement on Formation of CES (Common Economic Space).
  • Integration of the countries in the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States is executed through its coordinating institutions (charter bodies, executive bodies and the bodies of branch cooperation of the CIS).
  • The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have never been a part of CIS, even if they were a part of Former Soviet Union.

Solar powered battery based sprayers

CSIR-CMERI developed two variants of battery operated spray systems one for “marginal famers” and other for “small farmers”.

Details –

  • Back Pack Sprayer, having capacity of 5 litres, is made for “marginal farmers”, while the Compact Trolley Sprayer having capacity of 10 litres, is made for “small farmers”.
  • These sprayers are equipped with two separate tanks, flow control and pressure regulator to handle different water requirements of the crops, target/site specific irrigation, maintaining appropriate dilution of pesticide/fungicide to control the pest (on foliage, under the leaves, at root zone etc.), creating water based micro-roughness of leaf surface, maintaining soil moisture levels in a narrow range, and weed control.
  • The systems functions on Solar-Powered batteries, thus enabling its usage even in energy and power deprived agricultural regions of the Nation, thus reducing dependence on price volatile fossil fuels.
  • The sprayers are simple to develop, easy to learn and implement, therefore will help to overcome water crisis faced by Indian farmers.

About CSIR-CMERI –

  • The Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) is the apex R&D institute for mechanical engineering under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
  • Being the only national level research institute in this field, CMERI’s mandate is to serve industry and develop mechanical engineering technology so that India’s dependence on foreign collaboration is substantially reduced in strategic and economy sectors.
  • Besides, the institute is facilitating innovations and inventions for establishing the claims of Indian talent in international fields where Indian products shall ultimately compete.
  • In the new millennium, CMERI is poised to expand its horizon of research activities so as to steer the country forward in cutting-edge and sunrise fields.

Merger of two black holes

Billions of years ago, a collision between two black holes sent gravitational waves rippling through the universe. In 2019, signals from these waves were detected at the gravitational wave observatory LIGO (United States) and the detector Virgo (Italy).

What has excited scientists, however, is the mass of one of the parent black holes, which defies traditional knowledge of how black holes are formed.

What exactly was detected?

  • It was a signal from a gravitational wave, a relatively new field of discovery. Gravitational waves are invisible ripples that form when a star explodes in a supernova; when two big stars orbit each other; and when two black holes merge. Travelling at the speed of light, gravitational waves squeeze and stretch anything in their path.
  • Gravitational waves were proposed by Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity over a century ago. It was only in 2015, however, that the first gravitational wave was actually detected — by LIGO. Since then, there have been a number of subsequent detections of gravitational waves.
  • The signal detected at LIGO and Virgo, as described by the LIGO Collaboration, resembled “about four short wiggles” and lasted less than one-tenth of a second.

What is a ‘black hole’?

  • A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying. Because no light can get out, people can’t see black holes. They are invisible.
  • Black holes can be big or small. Scientists think the smallest black holes are as small as just one atom. These black holes are very tiny but have the mass of a large mountain. Mass is the amount of matter, or “stuff,” in an object.
  • Another kind of black hole is called “stellar.” Its mass can be up to 20 times more than the mass of the sun. There may be many, many stellar mass black holes in Earth’s galaxy. Earth’s galaxy is called the Milky Way.
  • The largest black holes are called “supermassive.” These black holes have masses that are more than 1 million suns together. Scientists have found proof that every large galaxy contains a supermassive black hole at its centre. The supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy is called Sagittarius A. It has a mass equal to about 4 million suns and would fit inside a very large ball that could hold a few million Earths.

NCRB data on suicides and accidental deaths

The number of suicide cases and accidental deaths registered an increase across the country last year from the 2018 figures, according to the annual National Crime Records Bureau report.

What does the data about suicides say?

  • The most cases of mass/family suicides were reported from Tamil Nadu (16), followed by Andhra Pradesh (14), Kerala (11) and Punjab (9) and Rajasthan (7).
  • Suicides in the country went up slightly from 1,34,516 to 1,39,123. Of the 97,613 male suicides, the most were of daily wage earners (29,092), followed by self-employed persons (14,319) and the unemployed (11,599). Of the 41,493 female, over half were housewives.
  • The most suicides by unemployed persons were in Kerala at 14% (1,963), followed by 10.8% in Maharashtra, 9.8% in Tamil Nadu, 9.2% in Karnataka and 6.1% in Odisha. Most suicides by those in business activities were in Maharashtra (14.2%), Tamil Nadu (11.7%), Karnataka (9.7%), West Bengal (8.2%) and Madhya Pradesh (7.8%).
  • The suicide rate in cities (13.9%) was higher compared to the all-India average.
  • In the Central Armed Police Forces, a total of 36 personnel died by suicide, 38.9% were due to “family problems”. Five such suicides were reported in Rajasthan, followed by four in Tamil Nadu. In all, 104 personnel died in various accidents.

What does the data about ‘accidental deaths’ say?

  • Accidental deaths in the country increased by 2.3%. Compared with 4,11,824 in 2018, the figure stood at 4,21,104 last year.
  • The rate (per lakh population) increased from 31.1 to 31.5. The most casualties of 30.9% were reported in the 30-45 age group, followed by 26% in the 18-30 age group.
  • Maharashtra reported the highest deaths (70,329), amounting to nearly one-sixth of the total figure.
  • Uttar Pradesh, the most populous State, accounted for 9.6% cases, followed by Madhya Pradesh (10.1%).
  • A total of 8,145 deaths was due to the causes attributable to forces of nature, including 35.3% due to lightning, 15.6% by heat/sun stroke and 11.6% deaths in floods. The most deaths (400) due to lightning was reported each from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, followed by Jharkhand (334) and Uttar Pradesh (321).
  • The major causes were ‘traffic accidents’ (43.9%), ‘sudden deaths’ (11.5%), ‘drowning’ (7.9%), ‘poisoning’ (5.1%), ‘falls’ (5.1%) and ‘accidental fire’ (2.6%). A majority (57.2%) of deaths was in the age groups of 1845 years.

About National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) –

  • NCRB was set-up in 1986 to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals so as to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators, based on the recommendations of the National Police Commission (1977-1981) and the MHA’s Task force (1985).
    NCRB developed Integrated Investigation Forms (IIF) in 1989-93 and implemented the Crime and Criminal Information System (CCIS) during the years 1995-2004.
  • NCRB was entrusted with the responsibility for monitoring, co-ordinating and implementing the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) project in the year 2009.
  • The project connects 15000+ police stations and 6000 higher offices of police in the country.

QUAD

India wants the Quad to become a system to “ensure freedom of navigation (FoN) and freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS)” in the Indian Ocean and around, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat has said while highlighting the threat of a combined challenge from Pakistan and China on two fronts, and cautioning Pakistan against taking any advantage of the tensions with China.

What is QUAD?

  • Australia, Japan, India and the United States collectively launched ad hoc operations to provide relief following the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.
  • In Manila in 2007, the PMs of India, Japan, and Australia met with the then U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum, marking the first Quadrilateral summit.
  • Later in 2007, the four countries along with Singapore held a large multilateral naval exercise, the Exercise Malabar, in the Bay of Bengal. China, which saw the exercises as part of a containment strategy, registered diplomatic protests with all four capitals.
  • Late in 2012, in an influential article outlining his vision for ‘Asia’s Democratic Security Diamond‘, PM Shinzo Abe argued that peace, stability and freedom of navigation in the Pacific are inseparable from peace, stability and freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean, and called for the four powers to work together. 

About the term ‘Indo-Pacific’ –

  • In a speech delivered in August 2007 by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Indian Parliament, he alluded to a book by the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh in describing the “dynamic coupling” of the Indian and Pacific oceans as the “confluence of the two seas.”
  • The term ‘Indo-Pacific’ implies that the Indian and Pacific Oceans are a single, shared strategic space. What happens in one, has implications in the other. Thus the militarisation of the South China Sea directly affects India, just as developments in the Indian Ocean have immediate consequences for Japan or the US.

Way forward for India –

To be more effective in the vast littoral, India needs to intensify the exchange of maritime intelligence, negotiate agreements to share naval infrastructure facilities in the littoral and put in place logistical support arrangements with its European partners. Japan’s plans to bring France and Britain on board the QUAD can only reinforce India’s maritime partnerships with Europe.

Daily MCQs

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