Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS | 18th August 2021

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1. The script of the new endgame in Afghanistan

UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper II- India’s international relation
Sub Theme: India-Afghanistan  | UPSC

Context:  The author has highlights the concern of Kabul falling in the hands of Taliban even before the predictions provided by the US intelligence agencies. Further with US withdrawal and the current president escaping to safe haven, there no effective resistance to Taliban now. In this line he highlights the gravity of situation in Afghanistan by comparing the Soviet withdrawal with that of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. This takeover will pave the way for further terror and old threats of the AL Qaeda and ISIS with again resurface. He has concluded by saying that overall the stakes are very high for Iran and India which are the two important players which were kept out of the Afghan peace talks.

US withdrawal vs the Soviet withdrawal

  • The situation on ground is very different from what the Taliban had projected at the Doha talks.
  • When USSR withdrew from Afghanistan it still had a titular head(Mohammad Najibullah ) which was opposed to Taliban. Present situation is different.
  • Further USSR withdrew at a time when it was contending its position with another superpower.
  • However the US withdrawal has been at the hands of the Taliban.
  • Further back in 1990s Afghanistan’s neighboring countries as well as the super powers wanted to prevent it from becoming an unstable territory. At that time Taliban was considered as an outlaw.
  • However presently Taliban is recognised  by powers such as the U.S., Russia and China.
  • In an era where the countries want a regulated world order, the rise of a nation ruled by a terrorist organisation is certainly a defeat.

Other Parallels

  • Comparison has also been made between the situation prevailing in Syria and Afghanistan.
  • However the in Syria even during  crisis it had a strong President, Which is not the case in Afghanistan.
  • Further the Afghan border are very porous as compared to that of Syria.
  • In Afghanistan the Taliban wants to rule with gaining legitimacy from China, Russia and Pakistan. And all these want to keep India and the US out.
  • Further in when US withdrew from Vietnam, Under the leadership of the Communist Party, Vietnam was able to emerge as a vibrant nation with a thriving economy.
  • Under the Taliban regime, Afghanistan cannot hope for any such outcome.

Future fault lines in Afghanistan

  • With Taliban takeover and the legitimacy provided by the previous government to the private militias will further explode the situation.
  • It will create fault lines between Pashtuns, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Hazaras and other clans that populate Afghanistan.
  • With  resistance against Taliban waning, other terror groups might also be encouraged.
  • The US presence for last 20 years has not lead to the end of any terror group in the region.
  • There has again been a resurgence of Al Qaeda and the ISIS and other lesser known terror outfits.

Concerns for India and Iran

  • Among Afghanistan’s neighbours, India and Iran are two countries that would find accommodation with a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan very difficult.
  • For India, the virtual retreat of the U.S. from this part of Asia.
  • The growing China-Russia-Pakistan nexus across the region.
  • All work to its disadvantage.
  • A great deal of hard thinking is needed as to how to retrieve a situation that for the present seems heavily tilted against India.

2. More feed, better productivity

UPSC Syllabus:  Mains – GS III: Indian economy
Theme:  Livestock sector | UPSC

 Livestock Farming
Significance of Livestock farming:

  • Nutritional security: Livestock provide Milk, meat and eggs which are important for addressing malnutrition problem in the country
  • Income source: Livestock provide alternative income to the small & Marginal farmers (achieving the goal of doubling the farmers income) and addresses the seasonal unemployment of landless labour. Also acts as insurance to the farmers in case of crop failure
  • Valuable products: livestock also provides fibre(wool) and skin (leather) which are used as Raw materials in other Industries. Dung provides manure and feed stock for Bio gas.
  • Emergency resources: Livestock are considered as ‘moving banks’ because of their potentiality to dispose off during emergencies. They serve as an asset and in case of emergencies and they serve as guarantee for availing loans from the local sources such as money lenders in the villages

 

Though India is the owner of Highest livestock in the world, the average Milk yield of Indian cattle is much lesser (20% to 60%) than India.

Reasons:

 

  • Scarcity of quality fodder: lack of affordable good quality fodder is one of the reasons for low productivity of Indian cattle. Scarcity of grass lands is one of the major reasons for inadequate availability of quality fodder
  • Low genetic potential of Indigenous cattle
  • Livestock farming is highly neglected as an Industry in India. It is always treated as a subsidiary activity to crop production
  • Diseases – Prevalence of diseases like FMD (foot and Mouth disease) and Brucellosis etc.
  • Limitations of Artificial Insemination: To improve the productivity of Indigenous cattle, Germplasm of exotic breeds was extensively used for crossing with Indigenous breeds, which led to the decrease in the population of Indigenous breeds. Though cross breeding with exotic breeds might improve the productivity temporarily, the offspring
    • Cannot Adjust to the adverse climatic conditions of India

 

  • They are also not resistant to the diseases peculiar to the region in which they evolved
  • Lack of cold storage facilities and forward-backward linkages

Government steps taken:

 

  • National livestock mission
  • Sub-mission on livestock development: The sub-mission on Livestock Development includes activities to address the concerns for overall development of livestock species
  • Sub-mission on feed and fodder development: Designed to address the problems of scarcity of animal feed and fodder resources, to give a push to the livestock sector making it a competitive enterprise for India, and also to harness its export potential. The sub- mission will especially focus on increasing both production and productivity of fodder and feed through adoption of improved and appropriate technologies best suited to specific agro –climatic region in both arable and non –arable areas
  • Sub – Mission on Pig Development in North-Eastern Region:

It will strive to forge synergies of research and development organizations through appropriate interventions, required for holistic development of pigs in the North Eastern Region including genetic improvement, health cover and post-harvest operations

  • Sub -Mission on Skill Development, Technology Transfer and Extension: It will provide a platform to develop, adopt or adapt the technologies including frontline field demonstrations in collaboration with farmers, researchers and extension workers, etc.

 

  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission:
  • Objective is to conserve Indigenous breeds, develop to improve their genetic makeup, enhancing milk productivity and distribute disease free high genetic merit bulls for natural service
  • Establishment of Gokul Gram:
  • They will act as centres for development of Indigenous breeds
  • It will be self-sustaining from sale of A2 milk, Organic Manure and production of electricity from Biogas

 

3. A report that is at odds with access to knowledge

UPSC Syllabus: Mains GS III: Copyrights
Sub Theme:  intellectual property | UPSC

                                             Copyrights

What is a Copyright?

Copyright is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture, and films to advertisements and computer programmes.

Purpose:

Copyright ensures certain minimum safeguards of the rights of authors over their creations, thereby protecting and rewarding creativity. Economic and social development of a society is dependent on creativity. The protection provided by copyright to the efforts of writers, artists, designers, architects and computer software, creates an atmosphere conducive to creativity.

Copyrights act 1957

In India Copyrights are protected under Copyrights act 1957.

  • It protects original literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works, cinematograph films and sound recordings from unauthorized uses. Unlike the case with patents, copyright protects the expressions and not the ideas. There is no copyright in an idea
  • The creator of a work can prohibit or authorise anyone to:
  • reproduce the work in any form, such as print, sound, video, etc.;
  • use the work for a public performance, such as a play or a musical work;
  • make copies/recordings of the work, such as via compact discs, cassettes, etc.;
  • broadcast it in various forms;
  • translate the same to other languages
  • Duration/Term of Copyright- In the case of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, the duration of copyright is the lifetime of the author or artist, and 60 years counted from the year following the death of the author. In the case of cinematograph films and sound recordings the duration of copyrights is for a period of 60 years

Balancing Copyrights and Interests of the society

If copyright protection is applied rigidly, it can hamper progress of the society. To strike an appropriate balance between the rights of the copyright owners and the interests of the society as a whole, there are exceptions in the law.

Section 52(1) of the act gave exceptions to the infringement of copyrighted materials where there is a reproduction of any literary, dramatic, musical or of any artistic work

  • for any fair dealing for the purpose of research and private study
  • By any teacher or pupil in the course of instruction,
  • As part of the question to be answered in an examination

In DU photocopy case (University of oxford vs Rameshwari photocopy services), Delhi High court reiterated these exceptions available to the students and educational institutions. The court held that copyright was always about maintaining a balance between competing ideas of private and public interests.

Parliamentary standing committee on Commerce recommendations on Copyrights regime in India:

Observations:

  • The committee observed that Conflict arising between copyright holders and educational institutions due to exceptions contained in Section 52(1) does not bode well for the overall literary culture and image of the country
  • Protecting copyrights of publishers and authors encourages enrichment of quality books which should be counterbalanced with public accessibility of such works at an affordable rate.

Recommendations

 

  • So, the committee recommended necessary changes in Section 52 of the Copyrights Act to permit Government-owned educational institutions to reproduce and store it in libraries for their easy access to students as well as stipulating limitations to unrestricted commercial grants to copy books and literary works and storage of copied works in digital formats.
  • The committee further recommended government to promote the establishment of Community libraries for easy access of to works of foreign publishers that are exorbitantly priced and difficult for the students to academicians to access
  • National mission on Libraries to be implemented effectively
  • The committee also recommended the govt to redesign the Copyrights act 1957 on the lines of Bernie Convention to balance the interests of both Copyright holders and public

 

(The Berne Convention, adopted in 1886, deals with the protection of works and the rights of their authors. It provides creators such as authors, musicians, poets, painters etc. with the means to control how their works are used, by whom, and on what terms. India is a member of this Convention

However, these recommendations can have a potential consequence on Right to education, which is fundamental and superior than the rights of the copyright holders because it is guaranteed by the constitution. Also the novel Corona virus pandemic has exposed the difficulties of access to copyright content. So in this backdrop it is necessary to give more primacy to the interests of the public.

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