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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 20th November 2018

  • IASbaba
  • November 21, 2018
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains

Focus)- 20th November 2018

Archives


(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Witness protection scheme to be a reality soon

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Polity and Governance; Government policies and schemes

In news:

  • The Supreme Court recently said that it would direct all the states to implement the draft witness protection scheme framed by the Centre in consultation with the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
  • The issue of witness protection scheme had cropped up earlier when the top court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking protection for witnesses in rape cases involving self-styled preacher Asaram Bapu.
  • The scheme aims to promote law enforcement by facilitating the protection of persons who are involved directly or indirectly in providing assistance to criminal law enforcement agencies and overall administration of Justice.

Need for such scheme

  • Jeremy Bentham has said that “Witnesses are the eyes and ears of justice.”
  • In a society governed by a Rule of Law, it is imperative to ensure that investigation, prosecution and trial of criminal offences is not prejudiced because of threats or intimidation to witnesses.
  • In cases involving influential people, witnesses turn hostile because of threat to life and property. Witnesses find that there is no legal obligation by the state for extending any security.

As such witnesses should be entitled to the following rights:

  1. Right to give evidence anonymously
  2. Right to protection from intimidation and harm
  3. Right to be treated with dignity and compassion and respect of privacy
  4. Right to information of the status of the investigation and prosecution of the crime
  5. Right to secure waiting place while at Court proceedings
  6. Right to transportation and lodging arrangements

Do you know?

  • A witness is a person who possesses with him some secret information to criminal proceedings about which he or she has given or is about to give testimony.
  • In Neelam Katara vs. Union of India case, SC observed that the edifice of administration of justice is based upon witnesses coming forward and deposing without fear or favour, without intimidation or allurements in the court of law. If witnesses are intimidated or allured, the foundation of the administration of justice gets weakened and even obliterated.
  • Similarly, in Himanshu Singh Sabharwal vs State of Madhya Pradesh and Ors 2008 case, the court observed that witnesses are the eyes and ears of the justice system and when a witness is threatened or killed or harassed, it is not only the witness who is threatened but also the fundamental right of a citizen to a free and fair trial is vindicated.

Make elephant corridors eco-sensitive zones: NGT

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Ecology; Protected areas – Eco-Sensitive Zones

In news:

  • National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to consider declaring all elephant corridors in India as eco-sensitive zones.

About Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) 

Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs)  are areas notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India around Protected Areas , National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.

  • The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas.
  • They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.
  • The new ESZ guidelines include a broad list of activities that could be allowed, promoted, regulated or promoted.
  • The guidelines said activities, including commercial mining, setting of saw mills and industries causing pollution, commercial use of firewood and major hydro-power projects, are prohibited in such areas.
  • It also prohibits tourism activities like flying over protected areas in an aircraft or hot air balloon, and discharge of effluents and solid waste in natural water bodies or terrestrial areas.
  • Felling of trees, drastic change in agriculture systems and commercial use of natural water resources, including groundwater harvesting and setting up of hotels and resorts, are the activities regulated in the areas.
  • Activities permitted in the areas include ongoing agriculture and horticulture practices by local communities, rainwater harvesting, organic farming, adoption of green technology and use of renewable energy sources.
  • The width of the ESZ and type of regulation may vary from protected area to area. However, as a general principle, the width of the ESZ could go up to 10 kms around the protected area.

Do you know?

  • The rules for the ESZ or the Eco-Fragile Zones are based on the Environment Protection Act, 1986. However, the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”.
  • The Act says that Central Government can restrict areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards.

Role of non-state actors and women’s movement against the felling of trees in Jhinkargadi forest

Part of: GS Mains III – Environment and Ecology concerns; Deforestation; Role of Non-State Actors

In news:

  • Odisha Chief Minister cancelled the setting up of a brewery plant in Dhenkanal district where hundreds of trees were felled despite strong protests by the villagers.
  • The government took the decision following a massive public outcry against the felling of trees and maintaining the ecological balance.
  • The brewery plant (₹102-crore project, which was to be set up by P&A Bottlers Private Limited) was to come up on 12 acres of forestland in Jhinkargadi.

Do you know?

  • The movement is in same lines of Chipko movement, a non-violent agitation in 1973 that was aimed at protection and conservation of trees.


UNESCO global education monitoring report 2019

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Social issue; Education or Literacy; Human Economy

In news:

UNESCO report says that –

  • Literacy levels in rural households of India dip with seasonal migration.
  • 80% of seasonal migrant children in seven cities lacked access to education and 40% were likely to end up in work.
  • Construction sector absorbs the majority of short-term migrants.
  • Inter-State migration rates have doubled between 2001 and 2011.
  • It also warns of the negative impact on education for children who are left behind as their parents migrate: “Test scores were lower among left-behind children aged 5 to 8.”

What steps India has taken to address the issue?

  • Right to Education Act in 2009 made it mandatory for local authorities to admit migrant children.
  • National-level guidelines are issued to allow for flexible admission of children; to provide transport and volunteers to support with mobile education; create seasonal hostels and aiming to improve coordination between sending and receiving districts and states.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2018/11/20/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_07/f8427371_2537999_101_mr.jpg


Solar Bubble Dryer

Part of: GS Mains III – Role of Technology in Agriculture sector

In news:

  • Innovative crop drying technology – Solar Bubble Dryer – was demonstrated for the first time in Odisha.
  • Solar Bubble Dryer – developed jointly by International Rice Research Institute, Philippines; Grainpro, a leading post-harvest solution providing company; and University of Hohenheim, Germany.
  • The SBD is a low-cost drying technology that aims to provide a simple and flexible alternative to sun-drying, while protecting from spillage, animals, weather and vehicles running over the grains.
  • The quantitative loss in traditional sun-drying method is estimated to be in the range of 15 to 30% between harvesting and milling. Due to quality loss, farmer do not get proper price of their produce.

Pic: http://www.knowledgebank.irri.org/images/stories/grainpro-solar-bubble-dryer.jpg


(MAINS FOCUS)


ENVIRONMENT

TOPIC:General studies 3

  • Environmental degradation and Environment Impact assessment 

Further stressed by thermal power: Water stress in India

Introduction

  • In pursuit of cooperative and competitive federalism, NITI Aayog has been laying emphasis on developing indicators on various social sectors.
  • As a step further in direction and keeping in view the criticality of water for life, NITI Aayog has prepared a report on Composite Water Management Index (CWMI).
  • Since India is one of the most vulnerable countries to water scarsity, it is important to discuss factors involved in aggravating the stress situation.

Do you know?

Water Stress

  • Water stress occurs when the demand for water exceeds the available amount during a certain period or when poor quality restricts its use.
  • Water stress causes deterioration of fresh water resources in terms of quantity (aquifer over-exploitation, dry rivers, etc.) and quality (eutrophication, organic matter pollution, saline intrusion, etc.)

The Composite Water Management Index (CWMI)

  • CWMI has been developed by NITI Aayog and published in association with the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • It is comprised of 9 broad sectors with 28 different indicators covering various aspects of ground water, restoration of water bodies, irrigation, farm practices, drinking water, policy and governance.
  • For the purposes of analysis, the reporting states were divided into two special groups – ‘North Eastern and Himalayan states’ and ‘Other States’, to account for the different hydrological conditions across these groups.
  • Purpose of the CWMI: The NITI Aayog alludes to this while describing the CWMI: “This Index is expected to establish a public, national platform providing information on key water indicators across states. This platform will help in monitoring performance, improving transparency, and encouraging competition, thereby boosting the country’s water achievements by fostering the spirit of ‘competitive and cooperative federalism’ among the states.

Findings of the report:

  • The Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) by the NITI Aayog, which was released in June 2018, shows that 600 million people face high to extreme water stress in India.
  • It 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 vast gulf 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.

Impact of Energy sector on water stress levels in India

  • As per the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), March 2018, thermal electricity accounts for more than 86% of India’s total power generation.
  • About 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.
  • The share of water consumed by power sector was 0.62% in 2010, which is pegged to rise upto 1.37% in 2030 and 8.98% in 2050.
  • 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.

Issues related to data

  • The CWMI raised 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.

Way forward

  • Issue of data 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.
  • Information about water stress, power plant siting (location) and so on must be shared seamlessly across departments — a service that the CWMI could perform.
  • The mounting rise in water demand is starkly evident in the energy sector, which is key to India’s ambitious developmental plan.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Conclusion

  • The CWMI is an important tool to assess and improve the performance of States/ Union Territories in efficient management of water resources.
  • The water-scarce States such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana are leaders in the CWMI Index.
  • This is likely driven by necessity in the face of looming water shortages.
  • Factoring in the water-energy nexus linkages will only help make the Index better and the States better prepared to manage their water and power resources.

Connecting the dots:

  • Explain briefly, the water stress in India. Examine the major contributors to this stress.

DISASTER 

TOPIC:General studies 3

  • Disaster management 

Cyclone Gaja: Being prepared against extreme events

Introduction

  • Tamil Nadu was more prepared than before to deal with Cyclone Gaja, but it still took a toll of at least 45 lives.
  • The severe cyclonic storm damaged infrastructure, property and agriculture.

Role played by the government machineries before, during and after Gaja Cyclone

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

What needs to be done urgently?

  • There is need to secure without delay the financial relief of ₹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.

Preparedness

  • 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.

Concerns remains

  • 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.

Conclusion

  • 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.
  • Therefore Coastal States must focus on reducing the hazard through policies that expand resilient housing, build better storm shelters and create financial mechanisms for insurance and compensation.

Connecting the dots:

  • 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. Analyse the causes of such destruction, and suggest some measures to mitigate them.
  • Coastal districts must continue to strengthen resilience against extreme weather events. Elucidate.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)

Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Consider the following statements

  1. As per 2011 census, the literacy rate among Indians is 74%
  2. During 2001-2011, more number of women obtained education than males

 Which of the above statements is/are correct?

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements regarding the census of India 2011

  1. Lakshadweep has the highest literacy rate among the Union Territories
  2. Bihar has the lowest literacy rates among the states

 Which of the above statements is/are correct?

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

Q.3) Which of the following is considered while measuring ‘Literacy rate’ in India?

  1. Age
  2. Ability to do arithmetic calculations
  3. Ability to read and write

Choose the appropriate option from code given below

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

Q.4) Neelam Katara vs. Union of India case and Himanshu Singh Sabharwal vs. State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors. 2008 case are two famous cases associated with which of the following?

  1. India’s Acceptance of “third gender”
  2. Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act
  3. Witness Protection Law in India
  4. Provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act

Q.5) Consider the following statements Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs)

  1. Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) are declared under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972
  2. The government can prohibit industrial operations such as mining, sand quarrying and building thermal power plants in these areas

Select the correct statements

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

Q.6) Which of the following statements are correct regarding Eco – Sensitive Zones in India?

  1. Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) are notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  2. They act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.
  3. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”.

Select the code from following:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. All of the above

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