Winter in northern India
- Winter in northern India will unlikely be harsh with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasting “normal to above normal” minimum temperatures for December-February.
- These elevated temperatures are likely to be prevalent not only in northwest India but also south and northeast India and parts of the Himalayan foothills.
- Warm winters, experts say, are a sign of global warming. India on an average is 0.5 degree Celsius warmer than 50 years ago.
- Cloud cover, was one of the key factors influencing minimum temperatures as they influenced how the ground heated up.
- “This doesn’t however mean there won’t be cold waves.
- Winter rains over south Peninsular India, particularly Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam, Rayalaseema, Kerala and Mahe and south interior Karnataka, are most likely to be above normal (more than 132% of the Long Period Average.
- Currently the Andaman Sea is seeing a cyclone precursor, called a low-pressure area.
- The IMD has forecast it to intensify into a cyclone, called Jawad, by December 3 that is likely to approach the Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast.
Decentralized model towards capital functioning
- The Andhra Pradesh Decentralization and Inclusive Development of All Regions Repeal Bill, 2021, aiming to repeal the earlier laws that stipulated a three-capital plan for the State, was passed by the Andhra Pradesh (A.P.) Assembly on November 22, 2021.
- The Union Ministry of Home Affairs constituted the K.C. Sivaramakrishnan Expert Committee to come up with a strategy for the new capital of A.P. After State-wide public consultations and studies, the committee recommended the trifurcation of primary capital functions.
- In doing so, it advocated a decentralized model of development as against the 19th century visions of concentrating wealth in select centers to create megacities like Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
- The State has three distinct regions with uneven socio-economic development.
- The Rayalaseema region in the south-west, comprising the Chittoor, Kadapa, Anantapur and Kurnool districts, has dismal development indices.
- Similarly, the culturally rich Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam to the north-east support vast forest tracts and tribal belts that are deprived of development. In both these areas, deficiency of basic services, inadequate social and physical infrastructure and low employment opportunities pose serious challenges.
- In contrast, coastal A.P., comprising nine districts, is a better developed region
- The suggested trifurcation provided an opportunity to correct the regional imbalance and redistribute wealth
- Decentralized development spatial and administrative has been advocated by many committees since the 1950s through the 1980s to be finally enacted as the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution.
- The distribution of the capital functions to several locations is one way of decontrolling development.
- Jammu and Srinagar have been performing the capital functions for the State (now Union Territory) of Jammu and Kashmir.
- While Uttar Pradesh functions from Prayagraj (Allahabad) and Lucknow,
- Uttarakhand has declared that Gairsen would be its summer capital.
- South Africa has three capitals: Pretoria (executive); Bloemfontein (judicial); and Cape Town (legislative).
- The suspension of 12 Opposition Members of Parliament from the Rajya Sabha for the entire winter session of Parliament, evidently an extreme step by Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu, has turned the spotlight on the use of disruption of proceedings as a parliamentary tactic.
- A guiding principle of parliamentary proceedings is that the majority, i.e. the Government, will have its way, and the minority, the Opposition, will have its say
- Parliament is the platform where the executive is held accountable to the representatives of the people.
- That is where people’s representatives raise matters of public concern and seek the Government’s attention.
- The trend of weakening that process in the name of efficiency is not merely undermining the spirit of democracy
- Parliamentary debates should not be viewed as a distraction or waste of time; they are a barometer of public mood and must be respected as such, by both the ruling side and the Opposition.
- Disruption as a brief, momentary reaction to a situation that demands debate is understandable, but as a sustained strategy, it is self-defeating.
EU migrant crisis
- Tensions have flared in Eastern Europe and on the Belarusian-Polish border with thousands of asylum seekers attempting to enter Poland, which constitutes the external border of the European Union (EU).
- Belarus is accused of permitting visa-free entry to refugees, in particular Kurds, from the war-torn West Asia and encouraging their passage to the EU border.
- Since the EU’s external border constitutes its only line of Defence against unwanted migrants, Poland used water cannon and tear gas to repel the asylum-seekers.
- For Belarus President Aleksander Lukashenko, under sanctions by the EU since last year’s election when he secured a sixth dubious term, this is brinkmanship with both the EU and Russia.
- Belarus has economic and military alliances with Russia, effectively making it the Russian last frontier against an encroaching North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
- While Belarus is entirely dependent on Russia
- President Lukashenko denies inviting migrants to Belarus, instead blaming the EU for closing its borders.
- Politicians in West and East Europe accuse Moscow as instigator of the crisis amid claims that Russia is about to invade Ukraine.
- It defies logic why Russia would stage a crisis with Germany, the destination of the asylum seekers, and invade Ukraine, when procedures are afoot to certify Nord Stream 2, a pipeline to deliver gas to the EU bypassing Ukraine and Belarus.
- The argument of instigating Russia into reckless action involving Belarus and Ukraine in order to derail Nord Stream 2 makes much more sense, particularly from an American viewpoint
- The crisis on the Belarus-Poland border is symptomatic of the wider refugee problem.
- In recent months the United States has turned away Haitians, Thailand Burmese, India Rohingyas and Afghans.
- More than 25,000 people arrived in Britain by sea this year,
- The migrant crisis is not confined to a few countries, has led to wars like the one between India and Pakistan 50 years ago, and requires corrective action at the transnational level.
- There are now an estimated 26 million refugees in the world and no country has a creditable record on this issue.