Many statements made headlines this week around the themes of Lumbini, NATO, Article 142, and many more. Consolidate your current affairs by using them smartly. Essential quotes, statements, remarks, etc. from the week help you to retain the current issues in your memory and can be used wisely in your UPSC- CSE preparation.
1. “Cryptos can lead to dollarization of the economy” – RBI officials to the parliamentary panel
Prelims-Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
Mains: GS III- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development, and employment.
Dollarisation can be defined as a form of currency substitution, where dollars are used in addition to or in place of the local currency of a particular country. Dollarization, according to the officials, can be against the sovereign interest of the country. Cryptocurrencies have the potential to be a medium of exchange. This will soon replace the rupee in financial transactions not only domestic but also cross-border.
According to the RBI Governor, dollarization of the economy can undermine RBI’s capacity to determine monetary policy and regulate the monetary system of the country.
Point to ponder: What is de-dollarization? How is cryptocurrency seen as a threat to the financial sector of the country and what negative impacts does it have on the banking system?
2. “INS Udaygiri and INS Surat are shining examples of India’s growing indigenous capability. The warships will be among the most technologically advanced missile carriers in the world, that will cater to the present as well as future requirements.”- Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister.
Prelims- Current events of national and international importance
Mains- GS III- Security Issues
Surat and Udaygiri are both frontline vessels. They are designed by the Directorate of Naval Design and built by Mumbai-based Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL).
Surat is a Visakhapatnam Class guided-missile destroyer, which has the capability to attack other ships. Surat is the fourth ship built in India under Project 15B. The class gets its name from the first vessel commissioned under the Project, named INS Visakhapatnam, which was delivered to the Navy in October 2021. The second ship, Mormugao, is undergoing sea trials and the third, Imphal, is in advanced stages of outfitting and trials of various auxiliary equipment. Vishakhapatnam Class destroyers draw their lineage from the P15 Delhi class destroyers. Three such warships were inducted between 1997 and 2001, and until then the largest naval ships were built within the country. The second series of vessels were P15A, Kolkata Class destroyers, under which three ships were inducted between 2014 and 2016.
Udaygiri is a Nilgiri Class frigate, which is usually faster and more maneuverable. Udaygiri is the second warship produced under Project 17A of the Nilgiri Class frigates. The first vessel under the project, INS Nilgiri, was launched in September 2019. The Nilgiri Class follows the production of three Shivalik Class frigates commissioned between 2010 and 2012, which are “multi-role frigates and are the first-of-its-kind warships built in India incorporating stealth features”.
Point to ponder: Why is the modernization of the navy important right now?
3. “India topped air pollution death toll in 2019”- The Lancet Planetary Health Report
Prelims: General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change
Mains: GS III- Environment
Air pollution was responsible for 16.7 lakh deaths in India in 2019, or 17.8% of all deaths in the country that year. This is the largest number of air pollution-related deaths in any country. Globally, air pollution alone contributes to 66.7 lakh deaths, according to the report, which updates a previous analysis from 2015.
Overall, pollution was responsible for an estimated 90 lakh deaths in 2019 (equivalent to one in six deaths worldwide), a number that has remained unchanged since the 2015 analysis. Ambient air pollution was responsible for 45 lakh deaths, and hazardous chemical pollutants for 17 lakh, with 9 lakh deaths attributable to lead pollution. The majority of the 16.7 lakh air pollution-related deaths in India – 9.8 lakh — were caused by PM2.5 pollution and another 6.1 lakh by household air pollution.
According to the report, air pollution is most severe in the Indo-Gangetic Plain. This area contains New Delhi and many of the most polluted cities. Burning of biomass in households was the single largest cause of air pollution deaths in India, followed by coal combustion and crop burning.
Point to ponder: What are some of the efforts by the government of India to reduce air pollution?
4. “The energy of the place where Buddha was born, gives a different feeling. I was happy to see that the Mahabodhi sapling I had gifted in 2014 for this place, is now growing into a tree.”- PM Modi in Lumbini.
Prelims: Current events of national and international importance, History of India.
Mains: GS I- Indian Culture – Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
GS II- India and its neighbourhood – International relations
PM Modi’s recent visit to Lumbini and laying the foundation of its monastery may provide India with a foothold along with a cultural space.
Significance of Lumbini: The Lord Buddha was said to be born in 623 BC in the sacred area of Lumbini located in the Terai plains of southern Nepal. Ashoka, the king from ancient India, had erected one of his commemorative pillars there. The site is now being developed as a Buddhist pilgrimage center. Here, the archaeological remains associated with the birth of the Lord Buddha form a central feature.
The complex structures include- the Shakya Tank, the remains within the Maya Devi Temple, the sandstone Ashoka pillar with its Pali inscription in Brahmi script, the excavated remains of Buddhist viharas (monasteries) of the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD, the remains of Buddhist stupas (memorial shrines) from the 3rd century BC to the 15th century AD.
Both Lumbini and the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The first foreign monastery in Lumbini was built by a Vietnamese monk, Thay Huyen Dieu. The largest monastery has been built by the Chinese who sponsor and support international conferences on Buddhism in Nepal as well as the massive celebrations of Buddhist festivals such as Vesak. India does not have a monastery in Lumbini.
Point to ponder: What is that Buddhist center whose foundation PM Modi laid in Lumbini? How will this visit strengthen the relationship between India and Nepal?
5. ” In exercise of our power under Article 142 of the Constitution, we direct that the Appellant is deemed to have served the sentence in connection with (the) crime.”-SC while letting Perarivalan walk free in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
Prelims: Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
Mains: GS II- Indian Constitution
The release of AG Perarivalan in the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case has brought Article 142 in news once again. Article 142 provides a unique power to the Supreme Court, to do “complete justice” between the parties, where at times law or statute may not provide a remedy. In those situations, the Court can extend itself to put a quietus to a dispute in a manner that would fit the facts of the case.
Article 142(1) states that “The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, and any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and, until provision in that behalf is so made, in such manner as the President may by order prescribe”.
Article 142 of the Constitution of India provides a special and extraordinary power to the Supreme Court to do complete justice to the litigants who have suffered traversed illegality or injustice in the proceedings.
The necessity for incorporating such an article into the Constitution was spelt out in the Constituent Assembly. The framers of the Constitution felt that this provision is of utmost significance to those people who have to suffer due to the delay in getting their necessary reliefs due to the disadvantaged position of the judicial system. According to Shri Thakur Das Bhargava, natural justice is above law, and the Supreme Court will also be above law, in the sense that, it shall have full right to pass any order that it considers just. This gives almost unlimited powers to the Supreme Court. Therefore, the Supreme Court shall exercise these powers and will not be deterred from doing justice by the provision of any rule or law, executive practice or executive circular or regulation etc.
(sources: constitutionofindia.net, legalserviceindia.com)
Point to ponder: What are the important instances where the court has invoked Article 142 in the past?
6. “Russia has no problems with Finland and Sweden, and… [NATO’s] expansion at the expense of these countries does not pose a direct threat to us. But the expansion of military infrastructure into this territory will certainly provoke our response.”- Putin in his first remark after Finland and Sweden officially announced their intention to join NATO.
Prelims: Current events of national and international importance.
Mains: GS II- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting the Indian interests.
Finland and Sweden have shown interest to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Finland has stayed out of such alliances because it always wanted to maintain cordial relations with its neighbor, Russia. For a long time, the idea of not joining NATO or getting too close to the West was a matter of survival for Finland. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed the perspective. But unlike Finland, whose policy stance was a matter of survival, Sweden has been opposed to joining the organisation for ideological reasons.
Reacting to this development, Russia threatened to take military measures if the membership goes through and warned Finland to be aware of the consequences of this move. European Nations and the United States have welcomed the announcement. Norway and Denmark have said they will push for NATO admission faster. Until the membership is formally accepted, the US stated it is prepared to provide any necessary defence support or address any concerns. Turkey opposes Finland and Sweden from joining NATO. The Turkish government claimed that it could use its membership in the Western alliance to veto moves to admit the two nations. Turkey blames Sweden and other Scandinavian countries for supporting Kurdish militants and other groups it considers terrorists.
Point to ponder: What is NATO? How will the membership of NATO benefit Sweden and Finland and vice-versa?