TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS1 Related B. GS2 Related GOVERNANCE 1. Summer of discontent: water crisis looms in Gujarat INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. India, China plan FTA breakthrough 2. With Pakistan firms red-listed, will China change stance on India’s NSG entry? POLITY 1. SC to examine polygamy in Muslim marriage HEALTH ISSUES 1. Researchers worried sick over India topping list of antibiotic consumers C. GS3 Related DEFENCE 1. U.S., India hold naval training ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY 1. India-based Neutrino Observatory receives nod from environmental ministry 2. Supreme Court asks Centre to consider BS-VI fuel in 13 metros from April 2019 D. GS4 Related E. Editorials EDUCATION 1. Eureka Moment For Universities DISASTER MANAGEMENT 1. Fighting forest fires F. Prelims Fact G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS1 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
B. GS2 Related
- Summer has just set in but Gujarat is already facing a water shortage. And it will only worsen in the next two months as the State’s main water sources like the Narmada dam, and dozens of other dams and reservoirs, are going dry. Ironically, Gujarat is faced with the crisis despite copious rains last monsoon.
- The government has assured that there will be no shortage of drinking water in any corner of the State. Narmada water was stopped for irrigation from March 15. Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Parbat Patel recently told the Assembly that the State has made adequate arrangements to ensure drinking water is available in every part of the State. But the picture is far from that. A crisis is already evident in villages, where water is now supplied once or twice a week.
- Despite the State’s claimed preparations, approximately 4,238 out of 18,000 villages in Gujarat are facing a severe crisis as their sources have either gone dry or are about to go dry. “More than 50% of the hand pumps in tribal pockets are not functional. Small tribal villages from north to central Gujarat are the worst hit,” said Congress spokesman Manish Doshi.
- Currently, the water level in the State’s main water body, the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada, is at about 105 metres, roughly less than 50% of the dam’s normal average level. Moreover, the spread of water in the reservoir, which was across 214 km during the monsoon, has now shrunk to less than 90 km, and will shrink further in the summer. Now, the State is forced to use the dead stock of water from the dam.
- The Narmada is the main source of water for over 10,000 villages and 165 towns and cities in over a dozen districts in the State, notably in the water-starved and drought-prone Saurashtra, Kutch and north Gujarat regions.
- Moreover, in all other 203 dams and reservoirs across the State, the water level is less than 40%, and will dry up rapidly as summer peaks. A look at the region-wise figures of water storage available in the State’s dams: 15 dams in north Gujarat have 714.95 mcm (million cubic metres) storage, which is 37.15%. In 138 dams and water bodies in Saurashtra, only 656.97 mcm water is stored, which is just 25.93 %.
- On January 22, the State government announced that water in the Narmada dam had reached its lowest level in the last 13 years. So, from mid-March, Narmada water will not be supplied for irrigation. The State has now deployed State Reserved Police (SRP) personnel along the canals to stop farmers from taking water illegally from the Narmada canals.
- After stopping water for irrigation, the outflow of water has come down from around 9,000 cusecs early this week to around 4,900 cusecs now, with 4,300 cusecs for drinking purposes.
- Authorities have started rationalised supply to cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara in order to supply more water to smaller towns and villages. South Gujarat has 27% less water compared to last year so there is an urgent need to rationalise use of water in Surat, which gets the highest water supply per capita, he added.
- The crisis seems to have its genesis upstream. According to State government officials, due to a weak monsoon in the Narmada catchment areas in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat could only get 4.71 million acre feet (maft) of water, which is just 45% of the sanctioned supply of 9 maft is awarded by the Narmada Tribunal to the State.
- Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu and his Chinese counterpart, Zhong Shan, met here on Monday for the first high-level contact between both sides that decided to “reset” their ties this year in the run-up to a Xi-Modi summit meeting in China.
- In 2017, the bilateral trade reached $84.4 billion, registering a growth of 20.3% from the year before and a record high.
- In particular, China’s import from India soared by 40%, helping ease the bilateral trade imbalance. China remained India’s largest trading partner. India had become one of the most important overseas investment destinations for Chinese companies.
- China welcomed the participation of Indian businesses in the agricultural, pharmaceutical and IT sectors, and the participation of producers of manufactured goods. China would provide Indian participants with preferential arrangements.
- Third, the two sides agreed to set up a special working group to draw a road map for developing two-way trade .The two sides supported the multilateral trading system and safeguard the interests of developing members. Both sides would demonstrate flexibility to reach at an early date a modern, comprehensive and mutually beneficial RCEP agreement of high standards.
- The two sides are also considering positively launching in due course negotiations on a regional trade arrangement or free trade agreement between China and India.
- In 2017, the bilateral trade reached 84.4 billion US dollars, registering a growth of 20.3% from the year before and a record high. In particular, China’s import from India soared by 40%, helping to ease the bilateral trade imbalance.
- China remains India’s largest trading partner.By the end of 2017, China made a cumulative investment of over 8 billion US dollars in India and made considerable progress in infrastructure cooperation.
- An increasing number of Chinese companies have responded to “Make in India”, “Digital India” and other strategic initiatives proposed by India and actively expanded cooperation in the Indian market. India has become one of the most important overseas investment destinations for Chinese companies.
- With the care and support of the Chinese and Indian leaders, the geographical advantages as neighbors and the huge markets of over 2.6 billion people of both countries, China and India have vast room for cooperation in trade, investment, infrastructure, IT, the Internet, culture, tourism, medical and healthcare.
- China and India account for 35% of the world’s population and 20 % of the global GDP, while their bilateral trade only accounts for 0.5% of the global total, leaving huge room for development.
- In a blow to Islamabad’s hopes of getting membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the US on March 22 put seven Pakistani companies and one in Singapore, believed to be front for a Pakistani firm, on its “Entity List” for suspected nuclear trafficking.
- A total of 23 entities were added to the list published in the US Federal Register last week. Apart from the eight firms linked to Pakistan, the list includes 15 entities from South Sudan.
- According to the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), these companies had been “determined by the US government to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.”
- While three of them are listed for their involvement in the proliferation of unsafeguarded nuclear activities, two others procure supplies for nuclear-related entities already on the list, and the remaining three, including the one in Singapore, act as fronts for listed entities.
- The 48-nation NSG checks nuclear arms proliferation by controlling the export and transfer of materials that could assist nuclear weapons development. China, which has been repeatedly blocking India’s attempts to become a NSG member unless Pakistan too was allowed to become one, will now find it difficult to justify that position.
- However, “while the listing of these firms will make it harder for China to insist that Pakistan too should join the NSG if India does, it remains to be seen whether Beijing will actually withdraw its objection to India’s membership,” he said.
- Inclusion in the US list of entities for sanctions is considered to be the “highest level of red-flag” in the US export control regime. While the assets of companies placed on the entity list are not frozen, US and foreign companies doing business with them will need special licenses to operate in the United States. It’s unclear whether these sanctions are part of US President Donald Trump’s increasingly hard stance on Pakistan.
- BIS first published the Entity List in February 1997 as part of its efforts to inform the public of entities who have engaged in activities that could result in an increased risk of the diversion of exported, re-exported and transferred (in-country) items to weapons of mass destruction programs.
- Since its initial publication, grounds for inclusion on the Entity List have expanded to activities sanctioned by the State Department and activities contrary to US national security and/or foreign policy interests.
- Seven months after it declared instant triple talaq unconstitutional, the Supreme Court on Monday decided to look into the constitutional validity of the prevalent practices of polygamy, ‘nikah halala’, ‘nikah mutah’ and ‘nikah misyar’ in the Muslim community.
- A Bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, issued notices to the Centre and the Law Ministry on a bunch of petitions that have challenged the practices claiming they degrade women to a position inferior to that of men.
- The Bench, also comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, agreed to set up a five-judge Constitution Bench that will decide whether certain sections of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act go against the Constitution.
- In its landmark verdict of August last, which had struck down instant triple talaq, the court had kept open the issue of polygamy, ‘nikah halala’, ‘nikah mutah’ and ‘nikah misyar.’
- The petition said the Muslim Personal Law allows a man to marry up to four wives, which it said “treats women as men’s chattel, and reduces their status to an object of desire to be possessed by men.”
- Contending that the practice “offends the core ideal of equality of status,” the petition filed by Hyderabad-based social activist Moullim Mohsin Bin Hussain Bin Abdad Al Kathiri sought to quash polygamy. Another plea was made by a Delhi woman against the Muslim Personal Law.
- It has contended that the prevalent Muslim Personal Law rendered Section 494 of IPC (which prescribes punishment for marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife) as inapplicable. Her plea also claimed that the Muslim wife does not have avenue to complain against her husband for the offence of bigamy.
- A study by health researchers from India, US, Germany and Belgium says that India has emerged as the leading consumer of antibiotics worldwide in humans by total volume between 2000 and 2015.
- Also worryingly, use of last-resort antibiotic drug cephalosporins has increased dramatically in India and the per capita use of this class of drug is higher than most High Income Countries (HICs), the study which has been published in the National Academy of Sciences says.
- Consumption of linezolid, another class of strong antibiotics has also increased dramatically in India, and since 2012 it has been the greatest consumer of this drug.
- The study, which analysed human antibiotic consumption in 76 countries, is the most comprehensive assessment of global trends to date.
- Researchers from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, Princeton University, Germany and the University of Antwerp conducted the study, which found that antibiotic consumption rates increased worldwide from 11.3 to 15.7 Defined Daily Doses (DDD) per 1,000 inhabitants per day between 2000 and 2015.
- DDD is a statistical and standardised measure of drug consumption and represents the assumed average maintenance dose per day for a drug used for its main indication in adults.
- Despite the threat of a global health crisis in antibiotic resistance, worldwide use of antibiotics in humans soared 39 per cent between 2000 and 2015, fuelled by dramatic increases in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs).
- Amongst LMICs, India, saw the highest increase of 103 per cent in antibiotic use, followed by China and Pakistan, between 2005-2015. In the same period, India’s antibiotic consumption rate increased from 8 to 13.6 DDDs per 1,000 inhabitants per day compared to only a marginal increase in HICs including US, France and Italy.
- Total global use of antibiotics in humans was estimated to be 35 billion DDDs in 2015, a 65 percent increase from 2000, while the consumption rate increased 39 percent, from 11.3 to 15.7 DDDs per 1,000 inhabitants per day.
C. GS3 Related
- In what would bring cheers among hundreds of scientists who have been eagerly waiting for implementation of the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project for the past one decade, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) formally granted environmental clearance.
- This comes within a month after the expert appraisal committee (EAC) recommended the grant of environment clearance.
- In a letter addressed to INO project director VM Datar, the director of MoEF&CC Kushal Vashist said that as per the EAC recommendations, the ministry hereby accords environmental clearance to the neutrino project at Pottipuram village in Uthamapalayam taluk in Theni district promoted by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, under the provisions of the EIA Notification, 2006 and amendments/circulars issued thereon.
- While listing out 40-odd specific conditions including obtaining mandatory consent to establish/operate from the TNPCB and clearance from the National Board for Wildlife, among others, the ministry has asked the project proponent to widely advertise in at least two local newspapers in the region informing that the project has been accorded environmental clearance.
- The advertisement shall be made within seven days from the date of receipt of the clearance letter and a copy of the same shall be forwarded to the regional office of the Ministry at Chennai.
- The ministry also said it reserved the right to add additional safeguard measures subsequently, if found necessary and to take action including revoking of the environmental clearance under the provisions of the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986, to ensure effective implementation of the suggested safeguard measures in a time-bound and satisfactory manner.
- And, in case of any changes in the scope of the project, the project would require a fresh appraisal by the ministry. The TNPCB, the District Industries Centre, the Collector and tahsildar office were asked to display a copy of the clearance for 30 days, besides uploading it on the website.
- The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to look into the possibility of rolling out the BS-VI fuel in 13 metro cities by April 2019, besides introducing it in the national capital from the beginning of the next month.
- The Centre had earlier informed the top court it had advanced by two years the deadline for supply of the Euro-VI petrol and diesel and would start it in Delhi from April 1, considering the “serious pollution levels” in the national capital and adjoining areas.
- A bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta also directed the Centre to look in to the aspect of differential pricing of diesel for heavy vehicles and small and mid-segment passenger vehicles.
- The counsel appearing for the Centre said that increasing the price of diesel would impact the movement of heavy vehicles which in turn result in increasing the price of vegetables and other essential items.
- The bench said that differential pricing can be introduced in a way which ensures that price of diesel does not act as a stimulus for the purchase of commercial and passenger vehicles and also does not impact the running of heavy vehicles.
- On February 21, the Centre had informed the apex court that it will introduce Euro-VI fuel in Delhi by April 1.
- The top court had earlier directed the Centre to clear its stand on the availability of Bharat Stage (BS)-VI emission standard compliant fuel in Delhi.
- BS-VI emission standard was scheduled to come into force from April 1, 2020, across the country.
- “In view of the confirmation given by the oil marketing companies (OMCs) and taking into account the serious pollution levels in Delhi and adjoining areas and as per the decision taken by the ministry in consultation with OMCs, it is respectfully submitted that BS-VI auto fuels will be supplied in all the retail outlets of NCT of Delhi from April 1, 2018,” the Centre’s affidavit had said.
- It had said that “after considering the environmental benefits of early introduction of BS-VI fuels, it was decided to advance the supply of BS-VI in NCT of Delhi from April 1 itself and necessary directions were issued to the OMCs vide a letter dated November 15, 2017.
- The affidavit added that the oil marketing companies having retail outlets in NCT of Delhi were asked to supply BS-VI auto fuels in NCT of Delhi from April 1.
- “In response to the above, all the OMCs having retail outlets in NCT of Delhi, i.e., Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Reliance Industries Ltd and Essar Oil Ltd have confirmed that BS-VI auto fuels will be supplied in their retail outlets in NCT of Delhi with effect from April 1,” it had said.
- Environmentalists have said Euro-VI fuel could substantially reduce vehicular pollution levels in the national capital.
- The court had on February 5 described as”very serious” and a “critical problem” the issue of vehicular pollution and observed it would have an impact not only on the current generation but also on children yet to be born.
- The apex court had said the government could not take the issue lightly and directed the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) to file an affidavit, indicating the position as regards the availability of Bharat Stage (BS)-VI emission standard compliant fuel in Delhi.
- The apex court had, in March last year, banned the sale and registration of vehicles, which were not BS-IV compliant, in India from April 1, 2017, when the new emission norms came into force.
- It had observed that the health of the people was “far, far more important than the commercial interests” of the manufacturers.
D. GS4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
The new controls on giving evaluated self-rule to establishments of advanced education can change the advanced education area and fortify the establishments of an information economy
To get that going, colleges, instructors, and understudies need to make numerous more gatherings for collaboration
These cooperation’s would prompt age of workable thoughts and workable courses that can produce riches
Generally, advancement occurs in additions and expands on what has gone previously and development should be tried against reality
Setting up brooding focuses is only one stage. We require significantly more: Internships for understudies, deal with genuine issues and building databases of information that could be helpful for manmade brainpower
These communications would give great guide maps to what understudies ought to be instructed and the exploration that is required
Today educating in colleges is to a great extent guided by tradition and to some degree by what is instructed on outside shores
Two variables are in charge of this:
One, the need to continually look to the UGC for direction and two, the absence of talk with nearby groups about their needs
The new controls have expelled the principal hindrance. We should now guide our consideration regarding the second
There are numerous individuals who are as of now doing awesome work. We simply require a greater amount of them.
Colleges need to set up structures to support such individuals willing and ready to dedicate their opportunity to certifiable issues and to enhancing efficiency
For colleges to have the capacity to create riches, they have to support and store a wide range of thoughts
One conceivable approach to do this gives more noteworthy incentive to extend work
The greater part of the above thoughts require an interest in human capital, to be specific personnel
The administration can encourage this whole procedure by financing capacity working of instructors
We have to put much more in our educators than we do. Given the size of the errand, and past disregard, we have to move quick.
- The recent wildfire disaster in Theni in Tamil Nadu, in which 20 trekkers lost their lives, by and by brings into center woodland fires in India
- This disaster raises a few different issues of methodologies in battling flames and methods for alleviating harm
- At the point when a fire experiences anyplace on the planet, it is identified by NASA’s MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) and VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) satellites.
- The Forest Survey of India (FSI) investigations the information by overlaying the digitized limits of backwoods territories to pinpoint the area to the correct woodland compartment.
- The FSI transfers news of the fire to the concerned State with the goal that the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) accountable for the backwoods where the fire is seething is educated
Ways to tackle forest fires
There are four approaches to fighting forest fires
- In this approach, helicopters or ground-based personnel splash fire retardant chemicals or direct water to battle the blast
- These are costly techniques and bode well when one is securing a human group, however, are typically not polished in India
- Natural containment
- This approach tries to contain the fire in compartments flanked by characteristic obstructions, for example, streams, streets, edges, and fire lines along slopes or crosswise over fields
- A fire line is a line through a woods, which has been cleared of all vegetation
- Once the blast has worn out all combustibles in the influenced compartment, it falls out and the neighboring compartments are spared
- Set a counterfire
- At the point when a fire is unapproachable for people, a line is cleared of combustibles and kept an eye on
- One holds up until the point that the out of control fire is sufficiently close to sucking oxygen towards it and after that every one of the general population keeping an eye on the line set fire to the line at the same time
- The counterfire surges towards the rapidly spreading fire, leaving an extent of consumed ground
- When the two flames meet, the blast is doused
- Beat the fire out
- This approach utilizes enough individuals with verdant green branches to beat the fire out
- It is the most useful and most broadly utilized
- This is polished in mix with flame lines and counter flames
How to mitigate the damage?
- We need to vastly increase the number of firefighters
- They need to be equipped with drinking water bottles, backup supplies of food and water, proper shoes or boots, rakes, spades and other implements, light, rechargeable torches
- Seasonal labor could be contracted during the fire season
- Indian citizens require permission to enter reserve forests for recreational purposes
- The rules preventing entry to the public were intended to stop the removal of resources so that the forests concerned would be held in reserve against contingencies like war when large quantities of both timber and firewood were required
- Now there is no valid reason for people to obtain permission to climb a publicly owned hill in India
- The Forest Act of 1927 is urgently in need of revision
- Also, there is no need for paved paths or tourist ‘facilities’ within reserve forests as these are not tourist attractions.
F. Prelims Fact
Nothing here for today!!!
G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Question 1. Consider the following statements:
- Indian Neutrino observatory is promoted by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
- INO is planned to be located in Theni District of Kerala.
Which of the statements are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- None of the above
Question 2. Consider the following statements:
- Cephalosporins and linezolid are classes of antibiotic drugs.
- India’s antibiotic consumption rate is one of the highest in the World.
Which of the statements are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- None of the above
Question 3. Consider the following statements:
- INS Tarkash is the fifth Talwar-class frigate.
- These ships use stealth technologies and a special hull design to ensure a reduced radar cross section.
Which of the statements are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- None of the above
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
General Studies II
- Some tenets of Muslim personal law like polygamy, ‘nikah halala’ are against Women and subjugates them to whims and fancies of Men. Discuss its implications.
- What is Enemy Property Act? Explain the various concerns raised and also the features of the act in detail.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis