Current Affairs August 16

Bacteria in Canadian Arctic seawater can help clear up oil spills

  • Stimulating bacteria with nutrients in the cold seawaters of the Canadian Arctic can help decompose diesel and other petroleum oil after oil spills, confirmed a new study.
  • Oil trade through the sea route and potential production have made spills common off the Labrador coast in Canada.
  • Oil pollution poses health hazards for the indigenous population in Labrador coast who depend on seafood,
  • Bioremediation using bacteria such as Paraperlucidibaca, Cycloclasticus, Oleispira, Thalassolituus Zhongshania and some others helped remove several classes of contaminants.

Karez system of irrigation

  • Karez is an indigenous method of irrigation in which groundwater is tapped by a tunnel.
  • After running for some distance the tunnel comes out in the open and the water is conducted to the command area.
  • It is an old and stable irrigation system of Pakistan confined to the province of Balochistan.

India’s fate is ties to rest of the world


  • Today, the troubles may seem plenty leading with the raging COVID-19 pandemic and its adverse effects on economic growth prospects, especially when coupled with intensifying competition with China and turmoil in Afghanistan.
  • At the same time, India has greater means to tackle them:
  • it is by some measures the sixth largest economy in the world, boasts a well trained and professional military, and has a growing network of international strategic and economic partners
  • India’s early efforts were arguably successful in consolidating territorial gains, in accelerating economic growth, and in positioning itself in a leadership role in the post-colonial world. But all these efforts suffered following the 1962 war with China.
  • Despite that immense setback, the world came knocking at India’s door throughout the 1960s. Pakistani military adventurism picked up, resulting in the 1965 war
  • The 1970s and the 1980s presented India with a more contained canvas.
  • The Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation and the Bangladesh war altered India’s relations with both superpowers and shifted the dynamics of the rivalry with Pakistan.
  • This period saw security challenges come closer to home:
  • the peaceful nuclear explosion, the annexation of Sikkim, competition with Pakistan over Siachen, a stand-off with China, an intervention in Sri Lanka, and a countercoup in the Maldives.
  • Domestic security challenges also assumed an external angle, whether in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir,
  • The post-Cold War era, therefore, presented India with a range of challenges.
  • The 1991 Gulf war resulted in a balance of payments crisis and the liberalisation of the economy.
  • India then adopted a range of reforms to liberalise the economy, but it faced more than just economic turmoil.
  • The advent of the Look East Policy and relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations;
  • The establishment of diplomatic ties with Israel; the signing of a border peace and tranquility agreement with China;
  • Initial military contacts with the U.S., and preparations for nuclear tests.
  • Conducting a series of tests in 1998, negotiating a return to normal relations with most major powers within two years, and concluding an important set of agreements with China in 2003.
  • At the same time, efforts at normalising ties with Pakistan were frustrated by the Kargil war,
  • The hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 to Kandahar (Afghanistan), and the 2001 attack on India’s Parliament  
  • Beginning in 2013, a more assertive China began to test India on the border and undermine Indian interests in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region.
  • After the second such border crisis in late 2014, a more competitive India China relationship emerged. With further stand-offs at Doklam and Ladakh between 2017 and 2021, India opted to boycott China’s Belt and Road Initiative, raise barriers to Chinese investment, ban some Chinese technology, and consult more closely with other balancing powers in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Security relations and understandings with the U.S. and its allies ( Japan, France, Australia) accelerated after 2014. A greater emphasis on neighbourhood connectivity was adopted
  • India’s objectives have been broadly consistent: development, regional security, a balance of power, and the shaping of international consensus to be more amenable to Indian interests.
  • As India enters its 75th year of independence, there are plenty of reasons for cautious optimism about its place in the world.
  • Yet, the ravages of COVID-19 and growing international competition also underscore the difficulties that India will likely face as it attempts to transform into a prosperous middle-income country, a secure polity, and a proactive shaper of international norms




Cooperative and coercive federalism

  • Co-operative federalism encourages the Government at different levels to take advantage of a large national market, diverse and rich natural resources and the potential of human capabilities in all parts of the country and from all sections of the society for building a prosperous nation.
  • In Cooperative federalism the Centre and states share a horizontal relationship, where they “cooperate” in the larger public interest.
  • It is an important tool to enable states’ participation in the formulation and implementation of national policies.
  • Union and the states are constitutionally obliged to cooperate with each other on the matters specified in Schedule VII of the constitution.
  • Coercive federalism is characterized by substantial growth in the power of the federal government relative to the states and by the ability of the federal government to override state powers and impose policies on the states.

One Nation, One Everything. Approach

  • One has been an unprecedented increase of policy conditions attached to grants-in-aid, conditions that enable the federal government to achieve national objectives that lie beyond states constitutionally enumerated powers and also to extract more spending on federal objectives from state and local governments

Why earthquake in Haiti?

  • The Earth’s crust is made up of tectonic plates that move. And Haiti sits near the intersection of two of them — the North American plate and the Caribbean plate.
  • Multiple fault lines between those plates cut through or near the island of Hispaniola, which Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic
  • Haiti sits on the Gonave tectonic plate. It is sandwiched between the North American and Caribbean plates that shift against each other. Earthquakes take place along the fault lines that separate these plates.