UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis Nov19

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. J&K all set for President’s rule
2. Maharashtra Government Agrees to Quotas for Marathas Under New Category
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India steps up agro-diplomacy with China
2. Rohingya relocation plan pushed to 2019
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. SECTION 7 of RBI
ENVIRONMENT
1. Sri Lankan Frogmouth
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Kerala plans to enforce cut in trans fatty acids in food
2. New space industry emerges
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. The RBI Controversy
GOVERNANCE
1. Water Crisis and Composite Water Management Index (CWMI)
DISASTER MANAGEMENT
1. Disaster Management in Coastal districts
F. Tidbits
G. Prelims Fact
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. J&K all set for President’s rule

Context: Jammu and Kashmir  Governor  Satya  Pal  Malik  said  on Sunday that the State was all set for President’s rule in January as there were no plans to dissolve the Assembly yet. Governor’s rule expires in the State on January 19.

President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir

 Since  J&K has a separate Constitution, Governor’s rule is imposed under Section 92  for six months after an approval by the President.

In case,  the Assembly is not dissolved within six months, President’s rule under Article 356 is extended to the State.

Article 356

  • President’s Rule refers to the imposing of Article 356 of the Indian Constitution on a state where ‘constitutional machinery’ has failed. Whenever the government of a state cannot function in accordance with the constitution, the state will come under the direct control of the central government or the Government of India.
  • That is, the state is under the ‘President’s Rule’. In this scenario, the central government exercises executive authority through the Governor who is appointed by the GOI.
  • The governor has the right to appoint retired civil servants or other persons to assist him/her in the state’s administration.
  • This is in contrast to the regular functioning of the state when the governor is merely a nominal head of the state government and the real executive power rests with the chief minister and his council of ministers.
  • Article 356 is one of the articles under the constitution’s emergency provisions. It is in Part XVIII.

2. Maharashtra Government Agrees to Quotas for Marathas Under New Category

Context:

  • The Maharashtra government on Sunday (November 18) cleared the way for reservations for the Maratha community in jobs and educational institutions, under a new category –Socially and Educationally Backward Class.
  • The state government’s decision came days after the State Backward Class Commission submitted its report stating that Marathas are socially, economically and educationally backward. The commission had recommended the creation of the SEBC category.
  • The politically dominant Maratha community constitutes over 30% of the state’s population.
  • The quantum of reservation is yet to be decided.

Background

  • The Maratha community has been demanding reservations for a long time, and its agitation took a violent turn in July and August this year.
  • According to government sources, the commission’s report has said that Marathas are a “socially and educationally backward class of citizens” with minuscule representation in government and semi-government services.

Problems

  • The proposed reservation for Marathas will cross the 50% ceiling set by the Supreme Court, the commission has described the condition of the Maratha community as “extraordinary and exceptional”.
  • Even though the case of Tamil Nadu, where reservation has crossed the 50% mark, is pending in the apex court, it has not been struck down.
  • The total reservation in Maharashtra at the moment is 52% which exceeds the prescribed quota of 50%.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. India steps up agro-diplomacy with China

Context: As the trade war with the United States continues to bite — with only a slim chance that the world’s two biggest economies can go past a possible truce — China appears to be opening up to non-U.S. imports.

New Opportunity for India

Sensing that China would look first at its food security by diversifying imports in view of the trade war India finds an opportunity to export more to China.

The focus so far has been on pushing agri-products into the Chinese market. Indian food and beverage producers have been conducting seminars and road shows in the Chinese capital over the past two months.

Agri-imports likely to grow from India to Chinese Market

Soya bean

  • After China imposed a 25% levy on U.S. imports,Indian soya bean exports are apparently a priority.
  • Success in the huge Chinese soya bean market is yet to materialize, though some progress may have registered during talks.

Tea

  • Recently an Indian Company signed a $1-million black tea export contract with Chinese state-owned COFCO.
  • China has been traditionally a green tea market. Assam tea, in particular, has good prospects in China as it blends well with milk-based tea drinks.

Sugar

  • India’s efforts to export sugar to China, which began in earnest in June, also appear to have paid dividends.
  • The Indian Sugar Mills Association had signed its first sugar export contract of 50,000 tonnes with COFCO.
  • India’s proven capacity to meet China’s sugar needs over the long haul was recently briefed to The Chinese Sugar Association.

Rice

  • China is a lucrative $1.5-$2 billion market for Indian rice.
  • China has opened up imports of non-Basmati rice from India in June on the sidelines of the Qingdao summit of the SCO.

Trade Imbalance with China

  1. Despite signs of incremental progress, India’s $63-billion trade imbalance with China is alarming.
  2. India had raised the red flag about its adverse trade balance during China’s trade policy review at the WTO.
  3. It specifically cited hindrances that Indian exporters of rice, meat, pharmaceuticals and IT products were encountering to access the Chinese market.

2. Rohingya relocation plan pushed to 2019

Context:

  • Bangladesh’s plans to tackle the Rohingya refugee crisis have been stalled until the new year with repatriation and relocation programmes only likely to be revisited following the year-end general election.
  • In late October, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to begin to repatriate refugees, but the plan has been opposed by the refugees in Bangladesh and the UN refugee agency and aid groups, who fear for the safety of Rohingya in Myanmar. The repatriation of the first batch of 2,200 refugees was to begin officially on November 15, but it stalled amid protests at the camps.
  • Myanmar has agreed to take the Rohingya back and said they would need to accept the National Verification Card, which it says would allow Rohingya to apply for citizenship. The Rohingya reject the card, saying it brands them foreigners.

About Rohingya crisis

Background
In August 2017, violence erupted in Rakhine State in Myanmar, targeting the Rohingya people, a stateless Muslim minority. More than half a million people fled to Bangladesh, triggering one of the fastest growing humanitarian crises in the world.

Rohingya Crisis

  • The Rohingya people are a Muslim minority group residing in the Rakhine state (in southwestern Myanmar), formerly known as Arakan and are considered to be a variation of the Sunni religion.
  • The 1982 Citizenship Law denies the Rohingya Muslims citizenship despite the people living there for generations. They are considered “stateless entities”.
  • They are regarded as mere refugees from Bangladesh, face strong hostility in the country.
  • United Nations classifies them as one of the most persecuted refugee groups in the world.
  • To escape the dire situation in Myanmar, the Rohingya try to illegally enter Southeast Asian states like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, begging for humanitarian support from potential host countries
  • As per the United Nations refugee agency from August almost 400,000 Rohingya have crossed Naf river over to Bangladesh from the northern Rakhine state in Myanmar, putting Bangladesh under immense strain
  • The dominant group, the Rakhine, rejects the label “Rohingya” and has started to persecute the Rohingya.
  • The latest surge follows attacks on police posts by an extremist Rohingya group, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army(ARSA).
  • People from all over the world started calling this crisis and bloodshed “campaign of ethnic cleansing.”

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. SECTION 7 of RBI

Context: Central board of RBI will discuss contentious issue such as economic capital, governance issue of central bank, boost for MSME and prompt corrective action framework for banks.

A Brief Note on Section 7:

The RBI is an entity independent of the government as it takes its own decisions. However, in certain instances, it has to listen to the government. This provision in the RBI Act is contained in its Section 7 which says:

(1) The Central Government may from time to time give such directions to the Bank as it may, after consultation with the Governor of the Bank, consider necessary in the public interest.

(2) Subject to any such directions, the general superintendence and direction of the affairs and business of the Bank shall be entrusted to a Central Board of Directors which may exercise all powers and do all acts and things which may be exercised or done by the Bank.

(3) Save as otherwise provided in regulations made by the Central Board, the Governor and in his absence the Deputy Governor nominated by him in this behalf, shall also have powers of general superintendence and direction of the affairs and the business of the Bank, and may exercise all powers and do all acts and things which may be exercised or done by the Bank.

Thus, it is clear from the above that this section empowers the government to issue directions in public interest to the central bank, which otherwise does not take orders from the government.

Why is it that Section 7 is seen as an extreme measure?

  • It is important to note that Section 7 has never been used till now.
  • It was not used even when the country was close to default in the dark days of 1991, nor in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.
  • Importantly, it is not clear how this Section operates since it has never been used.
  • Some sections believe that this aggressive move could scandalise a section of academia and experts, while raising questions about the government’s intentions and the impact on the RBI’s autonomy.
  • A speech made last week by Viral Acharya, the deputy governor of the RBI, which brought the tensions between the RBI and the government to the fore, might have been provoked by the government’s invocation of Section 7.

Category: ENVIRONMENT

1. Sri Lankan Frogmouth

Context:

The  sighting  of  a  rare  bird species  in  the  Chinnar  Wildlife Sanctuary has sparked much interest among ornithologists,  since  its  presence was  noticed  on  the  eastern side of the Western Ghats for

the first time.

About:

  • The Sri  Lankan  Frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, which was sighted at the sanctuary is usually confined to its habitation in the western side of the western ghats forests.
  • It is a relative of Nightjar,  a  crepuscular and nocturnal bird breeding in  Europe and temperate Asia.
  • Its preferred habitat is a dry and open area with some small trees or bushes.
  • The Sri  Lankan  Frogmouth, like the Nightjar, eats insects and mainly seeks prey during night time.
  • The main feature is that it lays only one egg a year after the mating season in April -May.
  • The nest is made using moss or leaves of soft plants and the bark of The male bird destroys the nest and flies away with newborn bird.
  • It is also found in  Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra.
  • It was believed that the species had gone extinct in the State after its presence was not noticed for a long period. An Ornithologist had found it at Thattekad in The  Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is on a project to study its habitat and make a favourable environment for it.
  • The Sri Lankan Frogmouth usually rests on small tree branches during daytime. Because of its silent presence,  it  is  hardly noticed.

IUCN status: Least Concern

Population size: unknown

Population trend: Stable

Extent of occurrence (breeding/resident): 319,000 km2 

Country endemic: No

Attributes
Realm – Indomalayan
IUCN Ecosystem — Terrestrial biome

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Kerala plans to enforce cut in trans fatty acids in food

Context:

  • The Kerala Health Department and the Food Safety wing are  joining  hands  to enforce dietary guidelines, involving the reduction of trans  fatty  acids  (TFAs), salt and sugar in commercially
  • available foods in the State.
  • The initiative, with technical support  from  the World Bank, WHO and the Food Safety and Standards
  • Authority of India (FSSAI), is being launched as an unhealthy diet is pushing up metabolic syndrome and premature deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Metabolic abnormalities

  • Metabolic Syndrome  (MS) is a cluster of metabolic abnormalities  —increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, abdominal obesity, abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels —  that occur together, increasing one’s risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
  • WHO recommends that trans fat intake be limited to less than 1% of total energy intake and has called for the total elimination of TFAs in global food supply by 2023.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs)

  • Non-infectious are non-communicable diseases and caused by a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons for the non-infectious disease are genetics, nutritional deficiency, age and sex of the individual and so on. Examples include cancer, diabetes, and hypertension.
  • There are various disease-causing agents ranging from bacteria and viruses to protozoa and worms. These are collectively known as pathogens. These agents enter the body directly or through some vector/agents like mosquitoes. They cause infectious chronic disease. Then, there are prions, these are basically proteins that are folded the wrong way and tend to cause some very serious illness. These are not infectious in the usual way, but can be spread by consumption of meat tainted by these proteins. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is such a disease caused by prions and is almost always fatal.
  • Some diseases are transmitted through some sources like contaminated food, water, and air. The chronic disease like AIDS is transmitted through blood transfusions, sexual intercourse, by sharing injection needles, even from mother to child by breastfeeding. Based on transmitting agents, a disease can either be air-borne or water-borne or food-borne.
  • Whether the disease is acute or chronic, contagious or non-contagious, viral or bacterial in nature. They always induce an uncomfortable feeling in the body. And our daily routine gets disturbed as well. Hence, it is said that- “Prevention is better than cure”. 

2. New space industry emerges

 Context: In recent years new aerospace companies have been founded to try servicing and expanding the lifespan of satellites.

Why expansion needed?

When satellites run out of fuel, they can no longer maintain their precise orbit, rendering them useless even if their hardware is still intact.

New developments:

  • In 2021, Space Infrastructure and Civil Space at SSL will launch a vehicle that is capable of servicing two to three dozen satellites in a distant geostationary orbit, some 36,000 km from the earth.
  • This unmanned spacecraft will be able to latch onto a satellite to inspect it, refuel it, and possibly even repair it or change components, and put it back in the correct orbit.
  • Mission Extensiom, the spacecraft will attach itself to a broken down satellite, and reposition it in its correct orbit.
  • The Mission Extension Vehicle will stay attached and use its own engine to stay in orbit.
  • On-orbit servicing could also help cut down on the perplexing problem of mounting space debris.
  • Of the 23,000 space objects counted by the U.S. military, just 1,900 are active satellites.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: ECONOMY

1. The RBI Controversy

Context

The Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) meeting today, November 19, will set a crucial precedent in the economic history of India, and one can only hope that it will be the right one.

Brief history of RBI

  • The Reserve Bank of India is the central bank of the country.
  • The Reserve Bank of India was set up on the basis of the recommendations of the Hilton Young Commission. The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (II of 1934) provides the statutory basis of the functioning of the Bank, which commenced operations on April 1, 1935.
  • The Bank was constituted to:
    1. Regulate the issue of banknotes
    2. Maintain reserves with a view to securing monetary stability and
    3. To operate the credit and currency system of the country to its advantage.

Working of RBI

  • The general superintendence and direction of the RBI is entrusted with the 21-member central board of directors:
  1. the governor;
  2. four deputy governors;
  3. two finance ministry representatives (usually the Economic Affairs Secretary and the Financial Services Secretary);
  4. ten government-nominated directors to represent important elements of India’s economy;
  5. and four directors to represent local boards headquartered at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and the capital New Delhi.

Relationship of Board with respect to Governor

  1. Is the relationship similar to a corporate setup?
  • The relationship between the board and the Governor is not comparable to a corporate set-up where the managing director (the corporate equivalent of the Governor) reports to the board and draws his powers from it.
  • While a managing director is an agent of the board in a company, in the RBI, the Governor is not.
  • He draws his powers from the RBI Act and not from the Board of Directors.
  • He is appointed by the Prime Minister in consultation with the Finance Minister.
  • The RBI Board has no say whatsoever in his appointment.
  • In a company, the board of directors chooses one of its own to be appointed as the managing director.
  • In the RBI, the Governor secures board membership only after he is appointed to the post.
  • It is, thus, wrong to compare a corporate board to the RBI’s and suggest that the Governor is subservient to it.

What is the present conflict?

  • The role of the Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and its powers vis-à-visthe RBI Governor have come into focus in the ongoing tussle between the Centre and the central bank.
  • The Centre has hinted that it is examining the option of using the powers of the RBI Board to override the Governor.
  • This is an unprecedented attempt by the Centre to use powers under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.

Constitution of the board

  • As per the RBI Act, the board is made up of the following members: the Governor and four Deputy Governors, four directors (one each from the four regional boards of the RBI), 10 directors to be nominated by the Centre, and one government official who is also to be nominated by the Centre.
  • The present board is made up of 18 members, which is the Governor and four Deputy Governors, four regional board members and nine nominees from the Centre who include two officials, the Economic Affairs Secretary and the Secretary, Department of Financial Services.

Where does the balance of power lie between the Governor and the board? : Section 7 of RBI Act

  • Section 7 (1) of The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, became a contentious issue after the tension between the central bank and government turned into a public spat over the last few days.
  • No government has so far invoked this section in the central bank’s 83-year history.
  • According to the RBI Act’s Section 7 (1), “the central government may from time to time give such directions to the Bank as it may, after consultation with the Governor of the Bank, consider necessary in the public interest”.

The sections in the RBI Act are vaguely worded.

  • The Governor draws his powers from Section 7(3) of the Act. He can exercise all powers and do all things that may be exercised and done by the RBI.
  • This is subject to a caveat though. The board, under Section 58, can make regulations that will give it the powers to override those of the Governor’s.
  • But this is subject to two important conditions.
  1. First, the regulations have to be consistent with the provisions of the RBI Act, which essentially means that the board has to act within the framework of the Act.
  2. Second, these regulations have to go through an elaborate approval process before they become law (Section 58(4)).
  • The board has to forward the regulations to the Centre, which will have to table them in both Houses of Parliament.
  • Members have a period of 30 days within which they can either suggest modifications to the regulations or annul them.

Convention:What has been the convention till now?

  • The RBI Board has always functioned in an advisory role with the understanding that the Governor would consider its advice while making policy decisions.
  • In other words, there was mutual respect between the board and the Governor, with both operating in a spirit of accommodation.
  • The fact is that neither Section 7(1) nor Section 7(3) has been unleashed in the 83-year existence of the RBI. Not even when the RBI was privately owned between 1935 and 1949.
  • There have been disagreements between RBI Governors and governments before this.

Way forward

  1. The answer is lies in a spirit of accommodation, which flows out of mutual respect and understanding of each other’s compulsions between the RBI and the Centre.

Should Centre override Governor?

  • It may not be very difficult for the Centre to have its way by using the board’s powers to frame regulations overriding the Governor but this will necessarily come with a price.
  • Such a move will not only set a bad precedent but also lead to several ticklish situations.

Conflict of interest in RBI board

  • The RBI Board has several representatives from industry.There will be a conflict of interest if industrialists are members of committees that run the affairs of the monetary authority of the.
  1. Second, there is a good reason why the RBI has been kept at arm’s length from the Centre and bestowed with a certain independence.
  • That is because the Centre is the spender and the RBI is the creator of money, and there has to be a natural separation between the two.
  • The Centre arming itself with powers to run the RBI runs afoul of this precept.
  • Such a move by the Centre would be ill-advised and will take its relations with the monetary authority into uncharted territory. There will be no winners in this dangerous game.
  • Enough dirty linen has been washed in public in the past month and it is time for the Centre and the RBI to behave like the mature entities that they are, uphold time-tested conventions, and act with mutual respect and a spirit of accommodation.

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. Water Crisis and Composite Water Management Index (CWMI)

How serious is the water crisis in India?

  • India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat. Currently, 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about two lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water.
  • By 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual ~6% loss in the country’s GDP.
  • As per the report of National Commission for Integrated Water Resource Development of MoWR, the water requirement by 2050 in high use scenario is likely to be a milder 1,180 BCM, whereas the present-day availability is 695 BCM.
  • The total availability of water possible in country is still lower than this projected demand, at 1,137 BCM.
  • Thus, there is an imminent need to deepen our understanding of our water resources and usage and put in place interventions that make our water use efficient and sustainable.

What is Composite Water Management Index?

  • The National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has developed the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) to enable effective water management in Indian states in the face of this growing crisis.
  • The CWMI is envisioned to bring about much-required improvements in water resource management and conservation in India in a coherent and collaborative manner.
  • The Index will be a public platform that provides an annual snapshot of the water sector status and the water management performance of the different states and UTs in India.
  • The Index will measure both the overall progress made by states in water management and the incremental improvement in performance across time.
  • The results of the entire exercise will be used to propel action in the states to improve water outcomes, besides improving data collection and performance monitoring mechanisms.
  • The Index is expected to promote the spirit of ‘competitive and cooperative federalism’ in the country, and ensure sustainable and effective management of water resources.
  • The data included in the Index will be made publicly available to researchers and entrepreneurs to drive innovation in the sector.
  • The collection and compilation of this strategic dataset is a big step towards addressing the country’s projected water risk and shortfall.
  • The CWMI is envisioned to bring about much-required improvements in water resource management and conservation in India in a coherent and collaborative manner.
  • Scope and structure of the Index
    Themes and indicators

    The Index comprises nine themes (each having an attached weight) with 28 different indicators covering groundwater and surface water restoration, major and medium irrigation, watershed development, participatory irrigation management, on-farm water use, rural and urban water supply, and policy and governance.

What is India’s position in the index?

  • The report, which was published in association with the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and the Ministry of Rural Development, places India at a dismal 120 among 122 countries in the water quality index.
  • It predicts that a persistent water crisis will lead to an eventual 6% loss in the country’s Gross Domestic Product by 2030.
  • A significant key to this stress is the vast gulf — of about 1498 billion cubic metres (BCM) versus 744 BCM — that has been predicted between the demand and supply of fresh water, by 2030.
  • In the projections that the Central Water Commission (CWC) released in 2015, the sector-wise requirement of water (that is, for drinking and domestic use, industry and energy) will rise steeply between 2030 and 2050.
  • This mounting rise in demand is starkly evident in the energy sector, which is key to India’s ambitious developmental plan.
  • The share of water consumed by this sector was 0.62% in 2010, which is pegged to rise up to 1.37% in 2030 and 8.98% in 2050.
  • The CWMI report covers these broad themes — ground water and surface-water restoration; major and medium irrigation; watershed development; participatory irrigation management; on-farm water use; rural and urban water supply; and policy and governance.

The projected water demand of the energy sector makes it an important point for the NITI Aayog to consider while bringing out future iterations of the CWMI.

What is the position of various states in India?

  1. Ranking of states according to Composite Water Index Scores (FY 16-17)
    1. Overall, there is large inter-state variation in Water Index scores, but most states have achieved a score below 50 (out of 100) and need to significantly improve their water resource management practices.
    2. The Water Index scores for FY 16-17 vary from ~76 (Gujarat) to ~ 26 (Meghalaya) , with the median score being ~49 for Non-Himalayan states and ~31 for North-Eastern and Himalayan states.
    3. Gujarat is the highest performer, closely followed by other high performers such as Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
    4. Most other states are clustered around the 40-60 band. Seven states have scores between ~ 50-65 (including two North-Eastern and Himalayan states) and have been classified as Medium performers.
    5. However, ~60% of states (14 out of 24) have achieved scores below 50 and have been classified as Low performers.
    6. Assam, Nagaland, Uttarakhand, and Meghalaya have the lowest Index scores (in FY 16-17) out of all states, ranging from ~ 26 to 31.
    7. This low performance involves low scores across almost all indicator themes, with several states scoring zeroes or not submitting data for as many as seven indicators (out of 28).
    8. This is possibly due to a combination of high water availability, which reduces the imminence for water management and policy action, and the limited availability of monetary resources for investment – heavy programmes such as micro-irrigation.
    9. On the other hand, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh have high scores, with both performing well in supply-side management (irrigation and watershed development) and water-supply provision (rural and urban).
    10. Encouragingly, several water-scarce states are the leaders in Index performance.
    11. Several of the high and medium performers — Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana — are states that have suffered from severe droughts in recent years.
    12. The action taken by these states, and their subsequent good performance on the Index, are likely driven by necessity in the face of looming water shortages.
    13. This correlation shows, positively, that corrective action is starting in at least some of the areas that need it the most.
    14. More worryingly, the low performers on the Water Index are home to ~50% of the country’s population, thereby highlighting the significant water risk faced by the country.
    15. The low performers are, worryingly, comprised of the populous northern states of UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana, and others, and are home to over 600 million people.
    16. The poor performance of these states on the Index highlights a significant water management risk for the country going forward.
    17. Further, these states also account for 20 – 30% of India’s agricultural output.
  2. Impact of Water Scarcity on Food Security
    1. Given the combination of rapidly declining groundwater levels and limited policy action (as indicated by the low Index score), this is also likely to be a significant food security risk for the country going forward.
  3. Comparison with previous years
    1. Promisingly, about 60% (15 out of 24) of the states included in the Index have improved their scores in FY 16-17.
    2. The average change in scores from FY 15-16 to FY 16-17, however, has been a modest gain of ~1.8 points.
    3. Eight states achieved impressive gains of five points or more in a single year — despite the slow-moving nature of several indicators (such as irrigation potential utilized and area under rain – fed agriculture).
    4. Most gains have been led by improvements in restoration of surface water bodies, watershed development activities, and rural water supply provision.
    5. Rajasthan (among the Non-Himalayan states) and Meghalaya, Tripura, and Sikkim (among the North-Eastern and Himalayan states) have improved the most, increasing their scores by more than 7.5 points.
    6. In terms of state rankings, there have been only a few major shifts from the base year (FY 15-16) to FY 16-17, with most states staying roughly within the same performance classification.
    7. Rajasthan and Tripura are some of the gainers, with Rajasthan moving up by three places, and Tripura going up to the top of the North-Eastern and Himalayan states.
    8. Tripura’s rise has been driven by an increase in the quality of rural water supply and improved geo-tagging of watershed conservation structures under the Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP).
    9. Rajasthan has improved scores across the indicator theme s of participatory irrigation and source restoration, as discussed above.
    10. On the other hand, Odisha has exhibited the largest drop, losing four places in a single year, due to limited improvement in quality of rural water supply and non-achievement of canal lining targets.
    11. Uttarakhand has also dropped by two places, due to a decline in the reach and quality of urban and rural water supply provision (vis-à-vis the performance of other states).

Water Consumption by the Power Sector

  • As per the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), March 2018, thermal electricity accounts for more than 86% of India’s total power generation.
  • Analysis shows that 77% of India’s total electricity comes from thermal power plants that are dependent on freshwater sources.
  • Of all the freshwater-cooled thermal plants, 38.9% of generation capacity is installed in areas with high or extremely high water-stress.
  • By 2030, more than 70% of India’s existing thermal power utilities are likely to experience an increased level of water competition from agricultural, urban, and other industrial demands.

As the power sector consumes more water, competition between power and the other thirsty players is only likely to increase — a factor that future editions of the CWMI will have to consider.

Challenges of measuring water consumption by Power sector

  • The CWMI also raises three main issues related to data: limited coverage, unreliable data and limited coordination and sharing. Measuring water consumption by power plants has been a challenge for long.
  • However, it can easily be tackled by using the existing CEA reporting mechanism for daily generation. To do so, daily water withdrawal and consumption reporting should be mandated. These can be measured with existing technology and added into this reporting framework.
  • Such information will also help in implementation of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Notification (dated December 7, 2015), which mandates specific water consumption norms for existing and new thermal power plants.
  • In addition, information about water stress, power plant siting (location) and so on must be shared seamlessly across departments — a service that the CWMI could perform.
  • Factoring in the water-energy nexus linkages, especially the metrics around power plant water withdrawal and consumption, will only help make the Index better and the States better prepared to manage their water and power resources.

Category: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

1. Disaster Management in Coastal districts

Impact of Cyclone Gaja

  • Tamil Nadu was more prepared than before to deal with Cyclone Gaja when it made landfall between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam on November 16, but it still took a toll of at least 45 lives.
  • The severe cyclonic storm damaged infrastructure, property and agriculture. In its destructive exit path, the cyclone has affected some southern districts, felling tens of thousands of trees and also 30,000 electricity poles along the coast. It also hit residents in some central Kerala districts.

 

Background: National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP)

  • The Government of India has initiated the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP) with a view to address cyclone risks in the country.
  • The overall objective of the Project is to undertake suitable structural and non-structural measures to mitigate the effects of cyclones in the coastal states and UT’s of India.
  • National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) will implement the Project in coordination with participating State Governments and the National Institute for Disaster Management (NIDM).
  • The Project has identified 13 cyclone prone States and Union Territories (UTs), with varying levels of vulnerability.
  • These States/UT have further been classified into two categories,based on the frequency of occurrence of cyclone, size of population and the existing institutional mechanism for disaster management. These categories are:
    • Category I: Higher vulnerability States i.e. Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
    • Category II: Lower vulnerabilityStates i.e. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Goa, Pondicherry, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Project Objectives :

The Project development objective of the NCRMP is to reduce vulnerability of coastal communities to cyclone and other hydro meteorological hazards through

(i) improved early warning dissemination systems

(ii)enhanced capacity of local communities to respond to disasters

(iii)improved access to emergency shelter, evacuation, and protection against wind 

 

 

Assessing Disaster Management in India

  • The effort to professionalise disaster management through a dedicated national and State organisation initiated more than 15 years ago appears to be paying off, with bureaucracies acquiring higher efficiency in providing early warning and in mitigating the impact of cyclones.
  • The National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project started by the Ministry of Home Affairs has been working to reduce the impact of such catastrophic events on Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, classified as States with higher vulnerability; most western coastal States are in the next category.
  • However, there is a lot to be done to upgrade infrastructure and housing in coastal districts to meet higher standards of resilience in an era of extreme weather events.
  • The lead taken by the State Disaster Management Authority in issuing a stream of alerts ahead of Gaja helped coastal residents move to camps and adopt safety measures.
  • The active measures taken by the State after the cyclone, notably to clear roads, remove fallen trees and repair power infrastructure and communications, helped restore some stability.
  • Tamil Nadu’s political parties have acted in a mature manner and kept partisan criticism from getting in the way of relief and rehabilitation after Gaja.
  • This is in contrast to some earlier instances, such as the Chennai flood of 2015, when the distribution of relief became politicised.
  • Today, if any pressure on the government machinery is necessary, it is to secure without delay the financial relief of Rs. 10 lakh that has been promised for families of the dead, compensation for lost crops, trees and livestock, provision of emergency health intervention and rehabilitation assistance to rebuild lives.

Way Forward

  • The larger question, of course, is whether the coastal States have equipped themselves for an even bigger event, such as the super cyclone that hit Odisha in 1999 that killed about 10,000 people.
  • Even with far fewer casualties, Cyclone Phailin in 2013 required reconstruction estimated at $1.5 billion.
  • India’s coastline experiences a lower frequency of tropical cyclones compared to many other regions, but the loss of life and destruction is much higher.
  • Coastal States must, therefore, focus on reducing the hazard through policies that expand resilient housing, build better storm shelters and create financial mechanisms for insurance and compensation.

F. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements:
  1. Recently sighted in Chinnar wildlife sanctuary.

  2. IUCN status is least concerned.

  3. Preferred habitat is a dry and open area and mostly found in Sri Lanka.

  4. Relative of Nightjar, crepuscular and nocturnal bird.

  Which of these is/are incorrect about the Sri Lankan Frogmouth?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1, 2, 3 and 4
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 2. Which agri-imports likely to grow from India to Chinese market?
  1. Soya Bean
  2. Tea
  3. Rice
  4. Oilseeds

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 1, 2 and 3 only
  3. 2 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements:
  1. Article 356, commonly known as President’s rule deals with “Failure of constitutional machinery in the State”.
  2. It empowers the Central government to deal with such a situation.
  3. It is also sometimes called State Emergency or Constitutional Emergency even though the constitution doesn’t call it by any of that name.

Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 1, 2 and 3
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 4. Consider the following statements:
  1. Section 7 of RBI Act empowers the government to issue directions to the central bank.
  2. It has been invoked earlier.

Which of the above statement(s) is/are incorrect?

  1. 1 Only
  2. 2 Only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer
Question 5. Which of these are Non-Communicable Diseases?
  1. Diabetes
  2. Rubella
  3. Hepatitis
  4. Diphtheria

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 1, 2, 3 and 4
  4. 1, 3 and 4 only

See

Answer

I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam

  1. Discuss in the present context how section 7 of RBI act empowers central government to intervene in matters of Central bank of India? (250 words)
  2. Emerging space industry is filled with opportunities as well as challenges. Examine critically. (250 words)
 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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