28 Nov 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Oppn. wants change in Citizenship Bill
2. CWC gives nod for feasibility report on Mekedatu project
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Ukraine declares martial law
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. RBI Governor stresses the need for autonomy of central bank
2. NPAs on downhill path since March peak, says RBI
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. NASA’s InSight lands on Mars
2. ISRO’s imaging satellite HysIS is all set for Thursday launch
DISASTER MANAGEMENT
1. HC: ensure essentials for cyclone-hit people
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
HUMAN GEOGRAPHY
1. Lessons from a tragedy (The Sentinelese)
GEOGRAPHY
1. Trail of destruction (Cyclone Gaja)
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 AND GOVERNANCE

1. Oppn. wants change in Citizenship Bill

Context

  • The Opposition MPs proposed an amendment to remove specific countries and religions from the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, at a joint parliamentary committee meeting on Tuesday
  • The Bill proposes citizenship to six persecuted minorities — Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists — from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who came to India before 2014.
  • It deliberated on the amendment moved by Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy and Congress MP Sushmita Dev to make it religion and country neutral. “I have moved an amendment that no specific religion or country should be named. Instead of that the Bill should say that any person who leaves his country due to religious, linguistic and ethnic discrimination should be eligible for Indian citizenship as stipulated in the amended Bill,” Mr. Roy told The Hindu.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016

  • The Bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 15, 2016, seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to provide citizenship to illegal migrants, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who are of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian extraction.
  • However, the Act doesn’t have a provision for Muslim sects like Shias and Ahmediyas who also face persecution in Pakistan.
  • The Bill also seeks to reduce the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay in the country to six years to obtain citizenship by naturalisation.
  • According to the Citizenship Act, 1955, an illegal immigrant is one who enters India without a valid passport or with forged documents. Or, a person who stays beyond the visa permit.

2. CWC gives nod for feasibility report on Mekedatu project

Context

  • The Central Water Commission (CWC) has approved the feasibility report of the nearly ₹6,000-crore Mekedatu multipurpose project across the Cauvery that envisages supplying drinking water to and Ramanagaram districts, besides generation of power.
  • The CWC has asked the Karnataka government, in principle, to prepare and submit a detailed project report (DPR).
  • While it was conceived in 2013, the State Cabinet, had in February 2017, decided to implement the project that involves building of a balancing reservoir across the Cauvery near Kanakapura in Ramanagaram district.
  • The project, however, ran into a controversy after Tamil Nadu opposed it on the grounds that it violated the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award.

What is Mekedatu dispute?

  • Karnataka intends to build a reservoir across river Cauvery near Mekedatu in Kanakapura taluk. It was first proposed along with Shivanasamudra hydro power project at Shimsa in 2003 with an intention to use the water for a hydro power station and supply drinking water to Bengaluru city.
  • However, Tamil Nadu objected saying Karnataka had not sought prior permission for the project. Its argument was that the project would affect the flow of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

The Central Water Commission (CWC)

  • It is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources and is presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.
  • The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation of the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development.
  • Central Water Commission CWC is headed by a Chairman, with the status of Ex-Officio Secretary to the Government of India.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Ukraine declares martial law

Context

  • Ukraine on Monday imposed martial law for 30 days in parts of the country most vulnerable to an attack from Russia after president Petro Poroshenko warned of the ‘extremely serious’ threat of a land invasion.
  • The decision came a day after Russia fired at and captured three Ukrainian vessels, triggering a sharp escalation in tensions between the two countries.
  • The law – which could give the government extraordinary powers over civil society – will start on November 28 and will last 30 days.

What is martial law?

  • Martial law is a temporary rule by military authorities of a designated area in time of emergency when the civil authorities are deemed unable to function.
  • The legal effects of a declaration of martial law differ in various jurisdictions, but they generally involve a suspension of normal civil rights and the extension to the civilian population of summary military justice or of military law.
  • Ukrainian legislation on martial law allows for a slew of curbs, including restrictions on movement and peaceful assembly, curfews, and restricting the media, though Poroshenko insisted that the martial law decree does not include any measures restricting citizens’ rights and freedoms or introducing censorship.

Backgrounder

  • Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backed an insurgency in the eastern Donbass region that has killed more than 10,000 people despite a notional ceasefire.
  • The Republic of Crimea, officially part of Ukraine, lies on a peninsula stretching out from the south of Ukraine between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. It is separated from Russia to the east by the narrow Kerch Strait.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. RBI Governor stresses the need for autonomy of central bank

Context

  • Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel batted for autonomy of the institution in strong terms in his deposition before the Parliamentary Panel on Finance on Tuesday.

Key points

  • Patel made three key points at the meeting. First, he said, depositors’ interests were of primary importance for which autonomy was non-negotiable. Second, monetary policy should be the exclusive domain of the RBI.
  • He also asserted that maintaining the central bank’s reserves was extremely essential to maintaining the country’s AAA rating.
  • He said that it is only the experts and technocrats who should have a say in the country’s monetary policy. There would be a direct conflict of interest if any other committee is given say in the matter”.

Reserve Bank of India

  • In 1929, the world had been hit by an unprecedented economic crisis — the Great Depression.
  • A need was felt to regulate the issue of bank notes and the keeping of reserves with a view to securing monetary stability. No one was sure what kind of monetary system would be suitable for India.
  • Hence, it was decided to make a ‘temporary provision’ and that temporary provision was the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
  • The RBI’s main objectives in 1934 and now are the same – to issue bank notes and to keep the reserves.
  • The word ‘autonomous’ does not occur in the Act but, over the years, the principle of Central Bank autonomy has been raised to the level of an immutable law.
  • Under Section 7 of the Act, the Central government may give such directions to the RBI as it may consider necessary in the public interest, but the power has never been exercised in the 83 years of the Act.
  • Since November 8, 2016, the role of the RBI as the issuer of bank notes has come into prominence. The RBI has the sole right to issue bank notes (Section 22).
  • The RBI shall recommend the denominational values of the notes as well as the discontinuance of issue of notes (Section 24).
  • Further, it is on the recommendation of the RBI that the Central government may declare that any series of bank notes shall cease to be legal tender (Section 26).

2. NPAs on downhill path since March peak, says RBI

Context

  • Both gross and net non-performing assets (NPAs) of scheduled commercial banks have reduced in the two quarters ending September 30, 2018 since their peak in March 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said on Tuesday.
  • Public sector banks account for an overwhelming proportion of these gross NPAs but even their contribution had marginally come down since March 2018. Where public sector banks accounted for 86.6% of all gross NPAs of scheduled commercial banks, this fell to 85.9% by September 30, 2018.

What is NPA?

  • The assets of the banks which don’t perform (that is – don’t bring any return) are called Non Performing Assets (NPA) or bad loans. Bank’s assets are the loans and advances given to customers. If customers don’t pay either interest or part of principal or both, the loan turns into bad loan.
  • According to RBI, terms loans on which interest or installment of principal remain overdue for a period of more than 90 days from the end of a particular quarter is called a Non-performing Asset.
  • However, in terms of Agriculture / Farm Loans; the NPA is defined as – For short duration crop agriculture loans such as paddy, Jowar, Bajra etc. if the loan (installment / interest) is not paid for 2 crop seasons, it would be termed as a NPA. For Long Duration Crops, the above would be 1 Crop season from the due date.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. NASA’s InSight lands on Mars

Context

  • Cheers and applause erupted at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory late on Monday night as its Mars rover InSight touched down on the Red planet, capping a nearly seven-year journey from design to launch to landing.

NASA’s Insight Rover

  • NASA’s first-ever mission named as InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) dedicated to exploring the deep interior of Mars.
  • InSight is NASA’s Discovery Program mission that aims to place stationary lander equipped with seismometer and heat transfer probe on surface of Mars to study red planet’s early geological evolution.
  • It is terrestrial planet explorer that will address one of most fundamental issues of planetary and solar system science. It will help in understanding processes that shaped rocky planets of inner solar system (including Earth) more than four billion years ago.
  • The robotic lander will perform a radio science experiment to study internal structure of Mars by deploying seismometer and a burrowing heat probe. It will measure Mar’s vital signs such as pulse (seismology), temperature (heat flow probe) and reflexes (precision tracking). It will let scientists understand how different its crust, mantle and core are from Earth.
  • Mars Insight’s goal is to listen for quakes and tremors as a way to unveil the Red Planet’s inner mysteries, how it formed billions of years ago, and by extension, how other rocky planets like the earth took shape.
  • The unmanned spacecraft, launched nearly seven months ago, is NASA’s first to attempt to touch down on Mars since the Curiosity rover arrived in 2012.
  • More than half of 43 attempts to reach Mars with rovers, orbiters and probes by space agencies from around the world have failed.
  • NASA is the only space agency to have made it, and is invested in these missions as a way to prepare for the first Mars-bound human explorers in the 2030s. “We never take Mars for granted. Mars is hard,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for the science mission directorate.

2. ISRO’s imaging satellite HysIS is all set for Thursday launch

Context

  • HysIS, the country’s first hyperspectral imaging satellite for advanced earth observation, is slated for launch on Thursday from Sriharikota.
  • About 30 small satellites of foreign customers will be ferried on the PSLV launcher, numbered C-43, the Indian Space Research Organisation has announced. They will go into an orbit different from that of HysIS.

HysIS Details

  • A hyperspectral imaging camera in space can provide well-defined images that can help identify objects on earth far more clearly than regular optical or remote sensing cameras.
  • The technology will be an added advantage in watching over India from space across sectors including defence, agriculture, land use and mineral exploration.
  • The new ‘eye in the sky’ can be used to even mark out a suspect object or person on the ground and separate it from the background with applications in transborder infiltration etc.
  • The primary goal of HysIS is to study the Earth’s surface in visible, near-infrared and shortwave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • HysIS will be ISRO’s first full-scale working satellite with this capability. While the technology has been around, not many space agencies have working satellites with hyperspectral imaging cameras as yet.

Related Concept – Basics of PSLV and GSLV

  • The PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) are two rocket launch systems developed by the Indian Space Research Organization, or ISRO, to launch satellites into orbit.
  • The PSLV is the older of the two and the GSLV even inherits some of the technologies of the former in its design.
  • The main reason behind the advent of the GSLV is the capability to lift greater loads into space. While the PSLV can only lift slightly over a ton of payload to GTO (Geostationary Transfer Orbit), the GSLV is capable of lifting more than double that with a rated capacity of 2 to 2.5 tons.
  • One of the main reasons why the GSLV has such an increased load is its utilization of a cryogenic rocket engine for its last stage. The cryogenic rocket engine provides more thrust than conventional liquid rocket engines but the fuel and oxidizer needs to be super cooled in order to keep them in a liquid state.
  • There is also a difference between the PSLV and GSLV in terms of the rocket itself. The PSLV has 4 stages that alternate between solid and liquid fuels while the GSLV has three stages with the only the first stage having solid fuel.
  • Both rockets have been launched multiple times but the PSLV has had more because it is older. When you look at their track records, it is easy to see that the PSLV is more reliable.

Category: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

1. HC: ensure essentials for cyclone-hit people

Context

  • In order to restore basic facilities and provide immediate relief to the people affected by Cyclone Gaja, the Bench of the Madras High Court gave out directions to the State and the Centre on Tuesday.

Key points of the directions

  • Expressing concern over the non-availability of drinking water, the court directed the District Collectors to provide generators to the village panchayats to pump water and supply to the local people.
  • The services of anganwadi and noon-meal workers can be used for preparing food and sanitation work. Kerosene stoves and food grains must be provided to the affected. It cannot be denied for the lack of identity proof. Cleaning material like lime shall be provided free of cost, the court said.
  • In a bid to decentralise distribution of relief materials, the court directed the District Administration to open more relief centres, particularly in the rural areas, for which a nodal officer at taluk level in the rank of District Revenue Officer and an officer in the rank of tahsildar at the village panchayat level be appointed to coordinate with the District Administration.

Related Concepts

Cyclones in India

  • Cyclones are caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area distinguished by swift and often destructive air circulation.
  • Approximately 5700 km out of around 7516 kms of India’s coastline, its flat coastal terrain and high population density are extremely vulnerable to cyclones
  • Recurrent cyclones account for a large number of deaths, loss of livelihood opportunities, loss of public and private property, and severe damage to infrastructure.
  • Cyclones are associated with Strong Winds, Torrential rains and inland flooding and Storm Surge.
  • Indian coasts are highly vulnerable to tropical cyclones and the consequent recurrent loss of life and property.
  • Such weather events are a part of the climate system, and their impact in the form of economic losses could well be greater going forward, as development creates more assets in coastal cities.

Cyclone Disaster Management

  • Prepare communities to deal with disasters in a manner that people’s lives and properties are protected, and to ultimately become resilient
  • Public awareness generation will serve to empower people with knowledge about the role and responsibilities of the state
  • Targeting schools, colleges and all educational institutions is a very important part of awareness
  • It has to be sustained through constant updating, upgrading and mock drills.
  • Awareness will also help in induction of the constantly evolving knowledge of science and technology as well as research and development applications.
  • To overcome the power cut it is important to have rooftop solar and battery storage systems as supplementary power sources for households and corporates.
  • Planting trees with strong root systems and pruning the canopy ahead of cyclone season could reduce uprooting.
  • Government should restore infrastructure and provide priority relief to the families of those who lost their lives, and the worst-hit communities.
  • Efficient use of technology and implementation of the Sendai framework is the need to the hour
  • Collaboration with other countries in the region to strengthen the cooperation and efforts and to make a common fund for disaster management
  • Construction of multipurpose cyclone shelters, access roads, saline embankments and underground
  • By taking long and short term mitigation measures, the loss of life and property can be minimized.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: HUMAN GEOGRAPHY

1. Lessons from a tragedy (The Sentinelese)

Larger Background:

  • The Sentinelese are the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island.
    • The area is about 60 Sq. Kilometers.
  • They are probably the world’s only Paleolithic people surviving today without contact with any other group or community.
  • They are considered as an off-shoot to the Onge Jarawa tribes which have acquired a different identity due to their habitation in an isolated and have lost contact with the main tribes.
  • The Sentinelese are very hostile and never leave their Island. Very little is known about these hostile tribes.

A Closer Look:

  • The recent death of a young American, John Chau at the hands of the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has led to dangerous lines of debate.
  • Some have called for the Sentinelese to be convicted and punished and others have urged that they be integrated into modern society.
  • Experts suggest that both these demands are misguided, and can only result in the extinction of a people.
  • It is important to note that John Chau’s killing was a tragedy but his attempt to make contact with the Sentinelese, who he seemed to know something about, was dangerous, not only to himself but to them.
  • There is a reason why no one — whether missionary, scholar, adventurer, U.S. citizen or Indian — is allowed to venture near North Sentinel Island without permission, which is given only in the rarest of circumstances and with meticulous precautions in place to ensure that the Sentinelese are not disturbed.
  • The Sentinelese have lived in isolation in an island in the Bay of Bengal for thousands of years. The Sentinelese have no immunity or resistance to even the commonest of infections.
  • Various degrees of protection are in place for the indigenous people of A&N Islands, but it is complete in the case of the Sentinelese. The administration enforces “an ‘eyes-on and hands-off’ policy to ensure that no poachers enter the island”.
  • A protocol of circumnavigation of the island is in place, and the buffer maintained around the island is enforced under various laws.
  • The Sentinelese are perhaps the most reclusive community in the world today.
  • Their language is so far understood by no other group and they have traditionally guarded their island fiercely, attacking most intruders with spears and arrows. Arrows were fired even at a government aircraft that flew over the island after the 2004 Tsunami.
  • Chau knowingly broke the law, as did those who took him to the waters off North Sentinel Island.
  • As a matter of fact, seven persons, including five fishermen, have been arrested for facilitating this misadventure.
  • Further, to call for an investigation on the island, however, is to fail to see its historical and administrative uniqueness.
  • At the heart of the issue is the survival of the Sentinelese.
  • According to the 2011 Census, their population was just 15 — though anthropologists like T.N. Pandit, who made contact with them in the 1960s, put the figure at 80-90.
  • Finally, Chau’s death is a cautionary incident — for the danger of adventurism, and for the administration to step up oversight. But it is also an occasion for the country to embrace its human heritage in all its diversity, and to empathetically try to see the world from the eyes of its most vulnerable inhabitants.

Editorial Analysis:

  • Having said the above, much of the debates on the alleged killing of John Allen Chau by “hostile” islanders remains focused on the intent, circumstances and tragic upshot of his misadventure.
  • Other experts raise larger and more disturbing questions about the North Sentinel tribal community at large and the efficacy of the Indian government’s tribal welfare policies.

Differing Narratives: The Question of Isolation

    • Experts point out that what is of greater significance surrounding the issue is the commentary on the “hostility” of the Sentinel islanders and the many experiences of heroic “contact” by visiting anthropologists and government officials.
  • The broader media interest is in the peculiar and almost brutal hostility displayed by the Sentinel islanders towards the outsider.
  • Some observers see it as signs of a pathological “primitivity” and the result of “complete isolation” from “civilisation” while others interpret it as an effect of the historical memory of colonial brutality.
  • It has also been pointed out that given the fact that we do not know the language of the Sentinelese, nor have we had any opportunity to understand their varied gestures of hostility, it’s hard to come to any definitive answer.

Grounds for questioning their isolation:

    • Importantly, experts point out that it is the question of “isolation” that demands more critical attention. Currently, we are not entirely sure if it can be established that the Sentinelese, or the “Sentinel Jarawas” as they were classified in colonial records, were or are completely isolated.
    • Both colonial records and Census reports up to 1931 reveal that officials did set foot on the islands and were able to walk through it to collect information.
    • Further, the Government of India’s own official “contact” photographs from the 1970s onwards reveal interesting signs that question the “complete isolation” thesis.
    • If we carefully analyse this visual record, we can see how the shape of Sentinelese outrigger canoes has changed and how they continue to use large quantities of iron to make adze blades and arrowheads. We also notice small glass bead necklaces around their necks. Where are these glass beads, trinkets, large tarpaulin sheets and ready supplies of iron coming from?
  • Further, out of the Anthropological Survey of India’s recorded 26 visits to the islands, it is stated that seven were met with overt hostility.
    • Thus, stemming from this argument, the point put forward that the hostility of the Sentinelese is chronic or pathological needs to be seen in perspective.
  • Experts point out that the Sentinel Islanders decide on what kind of visitations pose a threat to their survival or dignity and what are “safe” or “useful”. Further, their hostility towards the outsider is then to be regarded as “strategic” and deliberate and therefore key to their survival.
  • Some experts have asked why the Indian state cannot devise a method by which the Sentinelese could be “pacified” and brought under the welfare net.

A Perspective on the Policies of Protection:

    • Experts point out that the Policies of “protection” demand strong surveillance infrastructures, empowered staff, coordination among police, forest and welfare agencies and, more importantly, investment in projects of sensitisation.
    • They further add that the settler population on the islands clearly remains conflicted. There is an understanding that the islands’ indigenous communities are sources of tourist interest and potential revenue churners, yet the fact that public monies are invested to sustain them in their habitats remain a source of discomfort.
    • Further, apart from a small segment of progressive citizens, there are clear marks of stress in settler-indigene relations on the islands. Experts point out that it is tensions like these that allow collusive breaches of the law and the undermining of the protective cover for the Sentinelese and other Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) like the Jarawas. Experts further add that what may aggravate such tensions are the skewed developmental priorities that mainland India may impose on these islands.
    • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have historically been treated as terra nullius, or empty space, wherein mainland governments could inscribe their authority and initiate projects of control.
    • The British initiated these projects treating the islands first as a strategic outpost and then a penal colony.
    • The Indian government gave it a free society but used it as a space to settle its “excess” population. Hence the refugee rehabilitation schemes in the post-Partition years.
    • It is this resettlement of the islands in independent India that demanded a renegotiation of its relations with the Islands’ indigenous communities. They had to be protected and cared for but moved out of their original forest habitats into newly designated “tribal reserves”.
  • Further, as a result of continuous settlement and often ill-conceived developmental projects on the islands over the past six decades, these reserves have become increasingly vulnerable to the intrusions of poachers, encroachers and tourists.

A Note on Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)

There are 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) notified as on date in the country.  The criteria followed for determination of PVTGs are as under:

  1.     A pre-agriculture level of technology;
  2.    A stagnant or declining population;

iii.   Extremely low literacy; and

  1.   A subsistence level of economy.
  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is implementing a scheme namely “Development of PVTGs” which covers the 75 identified PVTGs among Scheduled Tribes in 18 States/ UT of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.  
  • It is a flexible scheme and covers funding for activities like housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural development, animal husbandry, construction of link roads, installation of non-conventional sources of energy for lighting purpose, social security including Janshree Beema Yojana or any other innovative activity meant for the comprehensive socio-economic development of PVTGs.  
  • Priority is also assigned to PVTGs under the schemes of Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Tribal Sub-Scheme(TSS), Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution, Grants-in-aid to Voluntary Organisations working for the welfare of Schedule Tribes and Strengthening of Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts.

Concluding Remarks:

    • It goes to the credit of the Indian government that unlike its colonial predecessors it has completely abjured all kinds of coercion against the indigenous communities of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
    • Further, colonial punitive expeditions, kidnappings, forced confinements that devastated the Andamanese populations at large are a thing of the past. Tribal welfare policy in the islands remains committed to protection and clearly “pacification” via coercion is no option. The policy today is to ensure “protection” but also to accept their right to self-determination.
    • In conclusion, one hopes that we can draw a few lessons from the unfortunate death of John Allen Chau and question the ways in which mainland India views the islands from its distant perch in New Delhi.
  • One can only hope that the Prime Minister’s forthcoming visit to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the announcement of new projects for “holistic” development take a context-sensitive “island view” of development and recognise settlers and PVTGs as equal stakeholders in a common sustainable future.

Category: GEOGRAPHY

1. Trail of destruction (Cyclone Gaja)

Larger Background:

What is a Tropical Cyclone?

  • A tropical cyclone is  an intense low pressure area or a whirl in the atmosphere over tropical or sub-tropical waters, with organised convection (i.e. thunderstorm activity) and winds at low levels, circulating either anti-clockwise (in the northern hemisphere) or clockwise (in the southern hemisphere).  
  • From the centre of a cyclonic storm, pressure increases outwards.  
  • The amount of the pressure drop in the centre and the rate at which it increases outwards gives the intensity of the cyclones and the strength of winds.

How do  cyclones form?

Tropical cyclones require certain conditions for their formation.  
These are as follows:

  • A source of warm, moist air derived from tropical oceans with sea surface temperature normally near to or in excess of 27 °C
  • Winds near the ocean surface blowing from different directions converging and causing air to rise and storm clouds to form
  • Winds which do not vary greatly with height – known as low wind shear. This allows the storm clouds to rise vertically to high levels;
  • Coriolis force / spin induced by the rotation of the Earth. The formation mechanisms vary across the world, but once a cluster of storm clouds starts to rotate, it becomes a tropical depression. If it continues to develop it becomes a tropical storm, and later a cyclone/ super cyclone.

Editorial Analysis:

  • It is now becoming increasingly clear that Cyclone Gaja is a major disaster, and its economic impact in Tamil Nadu is comparable to that of the tsunami of 2004.
  • The devastation suffered by tens of thousands of people in several districts of the State has been severe, going well beyond the annual storm season losses.
  • In the initial days after November 16, 2018 when the cyclone struck, the State breathed a sigh of relief since the death toll was relatively low.

The Scale of Devastation:

    • However, it is now clear that the suffering, the loss, and the displacement in large parts of Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur and Pudukottai districts is of an enormous magnitude.
  • Further, communities in the affected areas are distraught as houses have collapsed, farms lie ruined, water sources are contaminated and electricity supply remains disrupted.
  • Also, many areas remain inaccessible because fallen trees have blocked roads.
  • In its report to the Centre, the Tamil Nadu government has estimated the number of people rendered homeless at 3.7 lakh, and houses destroyed at 3.4 lakh.
  • The cyclone has crippled agriculture and livelihoods in a fertile region, felling thousands of productive trees and killing livestock.
  • Further, between 60% and 80% of the coconut trees in the region have fallen, hobbling Tamil Nadu’s farmers, who contribute a quarter of India’s coconuts with the highest unit yield.
  • It is believed that unlike paddy or many other crops, bringing coconut plantations back to life will take years.

Concluding Remarks:

    • Experts point out that the top priority for the Tamil Nadu government should be to restore administrative systems and service delivery in the affected areas.
  • It is believed that only with physical access, electricity connections and public health facilities, can effective relief work be undertaken.
    • Solar power can get public facilities running overnight. It is equally important to assure the large number of stricken farmers that there will be a moratorium on any agricultural loans that they have taken, while a fair compensation scheme is prepared.
    • Many of them have invested in trees and livestock expecting long-term returns, but have been rendered paupers overnight.
    • Further, the Tamil Nadu government has given the Centre a memorandum seeking nearly Rs. 15,000 crore for restoration, rehabilitation and mitigation, besides Rs. 1,431 crore for immediate relief work.
    • It is important to note that the State’s requirements should be met in full.
  • It is also worth pointing out that farm insurance under the Centre’s Fasal Bima Yojana covers only food crops, oilseeds and annual horticultural crops, making extraordinary compensation for farmers important.
  • The average citizen is also keen on contributing money and material to the relief effort, as the experience with the Kerala floods shows.
  • In conclusion, officials should not wait for people to launch protests before coming up with a response. Cyclone Gaja has wrought terrible devastation, and the relief programme must match it in scale.

F. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Recently, “Operation All-Out” was in the news. It is related to?

  1. To counter the militant violent attacks in Kashmir
  2. To evacuate Indian citizens and other foreign nationals from South Sudan
  3. Rescue operations to evacuate civilians affected by Cyclone Ockhi
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 2. Tropical Storm "Mangkhut" is associated with which of the following regions?
  1. Gulf of Aden
  2. Central America
  3. Indo-china
  4. Northwest Australia

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements in respect of Trade Related Analysis of Fauna and 
Flora in Commerce (TRAFFIC):
  1. The mission of TRAFFIC is to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature.
  2. TRAFFIC’s 2020 goal is to help reduce the pressure of illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade on biodiversity.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

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

See

Answer

 

I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam

  1. While the government is focusing severely on toilet provision in tandem with Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, the focus on behavioural change towards sanitation and a moral change towards sanitation workers is what is lagging behind. Discuss. (12.5 Marks; 200 words)
  2. The landing of InSight on Mars is a significant development in the field of space technology. In this context, write a note on the InSight mission with emphasis on its objectives and its significance. (12.5 Marks; 200 words)
 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

“Proper Current Affairs preparation is the key to success in the UPSC- Civil Services Examination. We have now launched a comprehensive ‘Current Affairs Webinar’. Limited seats available. Click here to Know More.”

 

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