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17th September Current Affairs

Abraham Accords have led to greater regional cooperation

(GS-II: International Relations)

In News:

It has been two years of the Abraham Accords. It has helped not only the member nations but has also provided various benefits to India as well. The editorial article highlights the importance of the Abraham Accords.

Details:

Mohammed Soliman, An Egyptian scholar, was the first to propound the idea of the “Indo-Abrahamic Accord” and its trans-regional implications to the west of India. The first meeting between the foreign ministers of India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States is being widely called as a new QUAD or QUAD of the Middle East on the lines of the Abraham Accord.

What is Abraham Accord:

Brokered by the USA, Abraham Accord is a normalization agreement between UAE and Israel to establish formal diplomatic relations, later joined by Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco and in exchange Israel would suspend its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, thereby becoming the first Gulf country to establish diplomatic and economic relations with Israel.

UAE becomes the third Arab nation to recognize Israel after Egypt (in 1979) and Jordan (1994)

Rising importance of the Middle East region for India:

Energy Security:

The Middle- East region plays a significant role in India’s economy, as it provides about two-thirds of India’s total oil imports.

Remittances:

Millions of Indian migrants have been moved to search for jobs in the Middle-Eastern Countries becoming a significant part of the total remittance received from out of the country.

Strategic Region :

The Persian Gulf is a very important zone for India’s maritime security, and the Strait of Hormuz is a strategic point.

Rising FDI from this region:

Saudi is planning investments in India worth $100 billion. Other countries have also shown interest in investment in India.

Countering Pakistan:

Pakistan is very active in Middle-east. Using the platform of OIC and making connections with particular Arab countries like Turkey Pakistan is trying to get support on the Kashmir issue and blocking India to get support in NSG. Thus, by conducting sophisticated balance-of-power diplomacy, India is trying to counter Pakistani influence in the Gulf region.

Defence Imports:

Israel has been very important to India due to its technical, intelligence, and military support. Israel has been one of the major military equipment providers in India and also an important trading partner.

Security Challenge :

Rising terrorism in this region has a direct and indirect impact on India.

Significance of Abraham Accord for India:

Economic Cooperation:

The discovery of new hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean, has renewed territorial disputes between Turkey and Greece, and the Turkish quest for regional dominance has drawn Greece and the UAE closer thereby paving way for India’s participation in the region.

Regional connectivity:Abraham Accords have improved the regional connectivity between the member countries. This regional connectivity has also helped Indians.

For example, the Indian diaspora in the Gulf can now fly directly from the UAE to Israel or from Israel to Bahrain.

Technology cooperation:Beyond trade, there is potential for India, UAE, and Israel to collaborate in many areas — from space to defence technology.

The only geopolitical entity in the region:The new “Quad” in the Middle East is likely to be India’s only new coalition in the region. The feasibility of a non-ideological engagement with the Middle East by bridging the Arab- Israeli rift.

‘Extended’ neighbourhood:This engagement will open the door for extending the collaboration with other regional partners like Egypt, having much more impact in the region.,

Peace and Stability in West Asia: Agreement opens the doors to the first big rapprochement between traditional adversaries in West Asia—Israel and the Arab This would open new doors for India’s engagement in the region.

Group formation:The Accords have helped in the formation of the I2U2 Group. This group is established by Israel, India, the UAE, and the United States.

Conclusion:

The opportunities for India to the west of the Subcontinent are as significant as those that have recently emerged in the east like QUAD, which has changed the way how India had transformed the way it thinks of “Indo-Pacific”, the notion of a “Greater Middle East” can provide myriad opportunities to India’s engagement with the extended neighbourhood to the west.

TN Breakfast Scheme

In News:

The Tamil Nadu government’s launch of the free breakfast scheme for schoolchildren is an instance of a policy initiative with far-reaching consequences for school education and public health.

Significance:

Multiple studies across the globe indicate that eating breakfast regularly confers positive outcomes on students, affecting their ability to focus, learn and retain information positively.

School performance improves, as do behaviour and cognition, but a regular breakfast also takes care of diet quality, micronutrient sufficiency, anaemia and height and weight issues in children, and is even believed to sculpt BMI scores for the future.

Features:

Aim: Encourage children to continue to come to school and help prevent dropouts at the primary level.

The government has targeted providing schoolchildren with an average of 293 calories and an average protein input of 9.85 gm (nine point eight five) per day.

Features: Under the scheme, children in government schools from Class I to Class V will get nutritious breakfast provided in their schools every morning.

About Tamil Nadu:

It has been the pioneer of the midday meal scheme as the first initiative to provide meals to children. This scheme was later emulated by the union government as a midday meal scheme.

Concerns: The government must avoid the errors of omission and commission — including pilferage, poor quality of food, delays in sanctioning funds, and caste-related disruptions — that have been hurdles in its path earlier.

E-Baal Nidan Portal

In News:

The portal for complaint management  for violation of child rights, E-Baal Nidan has been revamped by NCPCR (National Commission for protection of Child Rights)

Details:

Previously, NCPCR had launched a “CiSS application” under the Baal Swaraj portal to help in the rehabilitation process of Children in Street Situations. (CiSS)

About NCPCR:

Set up in March 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.

It works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.

Definition: The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.

The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

International Ozone Day

In News:

September 16 is celebrated as national ozone day.

Theme: Montreal Protocal@35 (as 2022 marks the 35th year of implementation of the Montreal Protocol).

Montreal Protocol:

Under the Vienna Convention (1985), Montreal Protocol (1987) was set up with the aim to cut down 99% of all ozone-depleting substances (ODS) by active collaboration between Governments, Scientists and Industry.

It remains the only treaty to be ratified by all 198 UN Member States. It achieved universal ratification on September 16, 2009. Hence, September 16 is now commonly known as World Ozone Day.

After Montreal Protocol, ODS Choloflourocarbon (CFCs) was replaced with Hydroflorurcarbons (HFCs).

Even though HFCs don’t harm ozone but are extremely potent to cause global warming and therefore under the Kigali amendment (2016), HFCs were replaced as well. India ratified the Kigali amendment in 2021.

Success of the Protocol:

Today, more than 99% of ozone-depleting substances have been phased out and the ozone layer is on a path to recovery

About Ozone:

Ozone (O3) is a highly reactive gas composed of three oxygen atoms. It is both a natural and a man-made product that occurs in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. (the stratosphere) and lower atmosphere (the troposphere).

It is a mere 3mm shield in the stratosphere.

While the entire UV-C and some of UV-B are absorbed by the ozone layer and the atmosphere, UV-A makes its way to our planet.

Humans require UV-B to generate Vitamin D but an excess of these radiations can cause serious illness and also result in a reduced crop yield.