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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 6th April 2022

  • IASbaba
  • April 6, 2022
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Mullaperiyar dam supervisory committee

Part of: Prelims and GS II – Separation of powers 

Context: The Centre on Tuesday suggested to the Supreme Court to let the Mullaperiyar dam supervisory committee continue for a year, by which time the National Dam Safety Authority under the new Dam Safety Act will become fully functional.

Key takeaways 

  • The Dam Safety Act of 2021 has come as a panacea to end the prolonged and bitter legal battle over Mullaperiyar dam between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • The 2021 Act comprehensively provides for surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance to prevent disasters caused by dams.
  • Moreover, the Dam Safety Act mandates the setting up of two specialised bodies, National Committee on Dam Safety and the National Dam Safety Authority, to evolve policies.

Background

  • The SC constituted a permanent Supervisory Committee in 2014 to oversee all the issues concerning Mullaperiyar dam. The dam is a source of friction between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

What’s the issue?

  • Kerala said the water level should not go above 139 feet, the same as what the court had ordered on August 24, 2018, when the State was hit by floods. 
  • It is because the lives of 50 lakh people would be in danger if the water level in the dam is raised.
  • However, Tamil Nadu objected to this decision citing the Supreme Court judgments of 2006 and 2014, which fixed the maximum water level at 142 feet.

Mullaperiyar Dam

  • It is a masonry gravity dam built at the confluence of Mullayar and Periyar rivers.
  • Although the dam is located in Kerala, it is operated by Tamil Nadu following an 1886 lease indenture for 999 years (the Periyar Lake Lease Agreement) that was signed between the Maharaja of Travancore and the Secretary of State for India for the Periyar Irrigation works.
  • It was Constructed between 1887 and 1895.
  • It redirected the river to flow towards the Bay of Bengal, instead of the Arabian Sea and provide water to the arid rain region of Madurai in Madras Presidency.

National Dam Safety Authority

  • The Dam Safety Act, passed by Parliament on December 8 last year, states that a National Dam Safety Authority will cooperate with State-level dam safety organisations and owners of dams for standardising safety-related data and practices.
  • The Authority will be headed by a chairman and assisted by five members to lead its five wings:
    • policy and research
    • technical
    • regulation
    • disaster
    • resilience and administration and finance.
  • The Authority will have its headquarters in Delhi and will be supported by four regional offices.
  • The Centre also constituted a 22-member National Committee on Dam Safety which will be headed by the Chairman of the Central Water Commission.
  • A key function of the Authority is to resolve any issue between the State Dam Safety Organisations of States or between a State Dam Safety Organisation and any owner of a specified dam in that state, as per the notification.

News Source: TH


Indian Nursing Council

Part of: Prelims and GS II – Polity

Context: The Indian Nursing Council recently condemned “derogatory content” in the sociology textbook for second-year B.Sc. nursing students listing the “merits and advantages of the dowry system”.

Indian Nursing Council

  • Indian Nursing Council is a national regulatory body for nurses and nurse education in India. 
  • It is an autonomous body under the Government of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, constituted under Indian Nursing Council Act, 1947.
  • Functions:
    • Recognition of nursing qualifications in India
    • Granting any nursing qualification
    • Indian Nursing Council has the Power to require information as to courses of study and training and examinations
    • Inspect any institution recognized as a training institution
    • Withdrawal of recognition
    • Power to make regulations

News Source: TH


West Africa facing its worst food crisis

Part of: Prelims and GS II – International Relations

Context: Nearly a dozen international organisations said in a report that West Africa is facing its worst food crisis in a decade due to increasing conflicts, droughts, floods and the war in Ukraine.

Key highlights of the report

  • The number of West Africans needing emergency food assistance has nearly quadrupled from 7 million in 2015 to 27 million this year in nations including Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali and Nigeria, where thousands have also been displaced because of rising Islamic extremist violence.
  • The number could jump to 38 million by June if action isn’t taken soon to help people in the Sahel, the sweeping region south of the Sahara Desert.

News Source: TH


(News from PIB)


Launch of Awareness Mascot ‘Prakriti’ & Green Initiatives for Effective Plastic Waste Management

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III: Environment, Conservation

Context: ‘Prakriti’ is a mascotto to spread greater awareness among masses about small changes that can be sustainably adopt in our lifestyle for a better environment, and on the various green initiatives taken by Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to ensure effective Plastic Waste Management (PWM) in the country.

  • To tackle the challenge of plastic pollution, PM Modi announced India’s pledge to phase out Single Use Plastics (SUPs) by 2022. 
  • The recently released IPCC Working Group III talks about contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which focuses on mitigation measures to keep the world aligned to the Plastic Waste Management goals and what we can do to remain on the roadmap set by the Paris Agreement.
  • Representatives from 175 countries meeting at the resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) in Nairobi March 2, 2022, agreed to end plastic pollution and formulate an internationally binding treaty by 2024. 

Plastic Waste Management (PWM)

Plastic has become one of the most pressing environmental issues that we are facing today. India is generating about 3.5 Million Tonnes of plastic waste annually and the per capita plastic waste generation has almost doubled over the last five years. Plastic Pollution adversely affects our ecosystems and is also linked to air pollution.

  • Plastic waste is a risk to public health as it enters our food chain, creates congestion problems in drains, causing flooding, ends up in river beds and oceans, depleting ecosystems and marine biodiversity, and makes solid waste management more expensive as landfills and open incineration do not provide an acceptable solution for disposal.
  • The production process for plastic produces greenhouse gas, thus contributing to climate change.
  • At landfills, it disintegrates into small fragments and leaches carcinogenic metals into groundwater. Plastic is highly inflammable — a reason why landfills are frequently ablaze, releasing toxic gases into the environment. It floats on the sea surface and ends up clogging airways of marine animals.

Following green initiatives for plastic waste management were launched:

  • National Dashboard on Elimination of Single Use Plastic and Plastic Waste Management (MoEFCC) to bring all stakeholders including Central Ministries/ Departments, State/UT Governments at one place and track the progress made for elimination of single use plastic (SUP) and effective management of plastic waste.
  • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Portal for Plastic Packaging (CPCB) for improving accountability, traceability, transparency and facilitating ease of reporting compliance to EPR Obligations by Producers, Importers and Brand-owners
  • Mobile App for Single Use Plastics Grievance Redressal (CPCB) to empower citizens to check sale/usage/manufacturing of SUP in their area and tackle the plastic menace.
  • Monitoring module for SUP (CPCB), for local bodies, SPCBs/PCCs and CPCB, to inventorize details of SUP production/ sale & usage in commercial establishments at district level, and on-ground enforcement of ban on SUP.
  • Industrial production of Graphene from Waste Plastic (G B Pant NIHE & NRDC) to promote more industries to come forward to up cycle plastic waste

News Source: PIB


IPCC report on Mitigation of Climate Change

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III: Environment, Conservation

Context: The IPCC’s Working Group III report, Climate Change 2022 discusses numerous strategies to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in different sectors and presents realistic calculations to stop global mean temperature increase by 1.5°C and 2°C. The report is the third instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed this year. The Report is a major contribution of IPCC to the global fight against climate change.

  • Average annual global GHG emissions were at their highest levels in human history between 2010 and 2019. But the rate of growth of these emissions has slowed down.
  • Since 2010, there have been sustained decreases of up to 85 per cent in the costs of solar and wind energy and batteries. This, along with an increasing range of policies and laws, has enhanced energy efficiency, reduced rates of deforestation and accelerated the use of renewable energy.

Key Highlights

  • IPCC report on Mitigation of Climate Change scientifically establishes India’s position on the historical responsibility of developed countries for consuming the carbon budget
  • Report underlines the need for deep and urgent global emissions reduction and justifies India’s emphasis on equity at all scales in climate action and sustainable development. Equity remains a central element in the UN climate regime, notwithstanding shifts in differentiation between states over time and challenges in assessing fair shares. Equity is essential for
    • The social and economic transformation required for climate mitigation,
    • Manage the negative consequences of climate mitigation on vulnerable populations,
    • Enable just transition towards low-emissions development,
    • And ensure sustainable development.
  • Report endorses India’s position on the need for scale, scope and speed in climate finance
    • Tracked financial flows fall short of the levels needed to achieve mitigation goals across all sectors and regions. The challenge of closing gaps is largest in developing countries as a whole.
    • Public finance falls short of the Copenhagen (reiterated when the Paris Agreement was signed) goal of USD 100 billion per year by 2020.
    • Accelerated financial support for developing countries from developed countries and other sources is a critical enabler to enhance mitigation action and address inequities in access to finance, including its costs, terms and conditions and economic vulnerability to climate change for developing countries.
  • Four-fifths of the total carbon budget for 1.5 deg C temperature increase and two-thirds of the total carbon budget for 2 deg C warming has been already consumed
    • Both cumulative and per capita annual emissions rose during the pre-2020 period. Pre-2020 emissions reduction in developed countries has been insufficient in comparison to the developing world’s needs for sustainable development. 
    • Both historical cumulative emissions and per capita annual emissions show that India’s role (as part of South Asia) is minimal.
  • The Report endorses India’s view on the need for curbing unsustainable consumption.
    • Changes in lifestyle and behaviours have a significant role to play in mitigating climate change.
    • India was instrumental in ensuring the inclusion of “climate justice” and “sustainable lifestyles and sustainable patterns of consumption and production” in the preamble of the Paris Agreement.
    • India believes that utilization of resources must be based on ‘Mindful and Deliberate Utilization’ and NOT ‘Mindless and Destructive Consumption’. Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi gave a clarion call of L.I.F.E. – Lifestyles for Environment at COP26 at Glasgow.

Initiatives by India:

India has taken tremendous actions to address the threat of global climate change by taking several initiatives including, inter-alia,

What is Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)? 

  • It is an international body set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide policymakers with 
    • Regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change
    • Impacts and future risks associated with Climate Change
    • Options for adaptation and mitigation for Climate Change
  • Membership of the IPCC is open to all members of the WMO and the UNEP.
  • IPCC assessments provide a scientific basis for governments at all levels to develop climate-related policies and also underlie climate negotiation at International level.
  • The main objective of UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

MUST READ:

News Source: PIB


MISCELLANEOUS

Award for the Best Children’s Music Album at the Grammys: Falguni Shah

Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan( PM-AASHA)

Objective: To provide remunerative price to the farmers of notified pulses, oilseeds & copra

Consists of:

  • Price Support Scheme (PSS)
  • Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS) 
  • Pilot Private Procurement & Stockiest Scheme (PPSS)

Babu Jagjivan Ram

Babu Jagjivan Ram, who was affectionately known as Babuji, was born on the 5th of April, 1908. He was much more than a politician where he dedicated his life fighting for the freedom of the country and bringing the voices of the oppressed communities of the country. 

Crusader of Social Justice

  • Being a Dalit leader himself, his contributions as a social reformer were immense apart from his other influences. 
  • He was a member of the First Cabinet of Jawaharlal Nehru’s interim Government where he was the youngest Minister and a member of the Constituent Assembly of India. 
  • Babu Jagivan Ram was among the few who gave a very strong emphasis on the importance of the principles of social justice that was cherished in the Indian Constitution. 
  • Babu Jagjivan Ram as a crusader of social justice was instrumental in the establishment of the All Indian Depressed Classes League in the year 1935. This organization primarily sought to provide welfare and equality for the untouchables in the caste ridden societies. 

Political Career

  • He is also well known for the mass organization of movements that were dedicated for the welfare of the rural labour after he became a member of the Legislative Assembly of Bihar in the year 1937. 
  • Babu Jagjivan Ram went on to be a prominent member of the Indian National Congress where he worked whole heartedly for the party for over forty years in a wide range of port folios after which he also became the Deputy Prime Minister of India from 1977 to 1979.
  • He was the Defence Minister of India during the Indo-Pak war of 1971, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh. 
  • His contribution to the Green Revolution in India and modernising Indian agriculture, during his two tenures as Union Agriculture Minister are still remembered, especially during 1974 drought when he was asked to hold the additional portfolio to tide over the food crisis.
  • Babu Jagjivan Ram went to convince Mahatma Gandhi to join Constituent Assembly as his guidance was required. This was when Gandhi ji gave him what is popularly known as Gandhi ji’s Talisman.

(Mains Focus)


POLITY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: Federalism & its challenges

Punjab-Haryana Water Dispute

Context: The Haryana Vidhan Sabha has passed a resolution seeking completion of the Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal (SYL) Canal, bringing back into focus the contentious issue of sharing of river waters between Haryana and Punjab.

The river waters

  • The canal, once completed, will enable sharing of the waters of the rivers Ravi and Beas between the two states. 
  • The issue dates back to 1966 at the time of reorganisation of Punjab and formation of Haryana was formed. 
  • Punjab was opposed to sharing the waters of the two rivers with Haryana, citing riparian principles.

The shares

  • A decade before the formation of Haryana, the water flowing down Ravi and Beas was assessed at 15.85 million acre feet (MAF) per year. 
  • The Union government had organised a meeting in 1955 between the three stake-holders — Rajasthan, undivided Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir — and allotted 8 MAF per year to Rajasthan, 7.20 MAF to undivided Punjab and 0.65 MAF to J&K.
  • A decade after reorganisation, the Centre issued a notification allocating 3.5 MAF to Haryana out of the 7.2 MAF allotted to Punjab before reorganisation. 
  • In a reassessment in 1981, the water flowing down Beas and Ravi was estimated at 17.17 MAF, of which 4.22 MAF was allocated to Punjab, 3.5 MAF to Haryana, and 8.6 MAF to Rajasthan.

The canal

  • On April 8, 1982, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi launched the construction of the SYL Canal in Patiala district. 
  • A stretch of 214 km was to be constructed, out of which 122 km was to cross Punjab and 92 km in Haryana. 
  • But the Akalis launched an agitation in the form of Kapoori Morcha against the construction of the canal. Then in July 1985, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and then Akali Dal chief Sant Harchand Singh Longowal signed an accord agreeing for a new tribunal to assess the water.
  • The Eradi Tribunal headed by Supreme Court Judge V Balakrishna Eradi was set up to reassess availability and sharing of water. 
  • In 1987, the tribunal recommended an increase in the shares of Punjab and Haryana to 5 MAF and 3.83 MAF, respectively.

Canal and Militancy

  • On August 20, 1985, Longowal was killed by militants, less than a month for signing the accord. 
  • In 1990, a chief engineer M L Sekhri and a Superintending Engineer Avtar Singh Aulakh were killed by militants.
  • In other violence, labourers were shot dead in Majat village near Chunni and Bharatgarh near Ropar. The construction came to a halt. 
  • In the backdrop of these incidents, Punjab leaders has been cautioning the Centre not to rake up the issue again.

Punjab’s argument

  • As per a state government study, many areas in Punjab may go dry after 2029. 
  • The state has already over-exploited its groundwater for irrigation purposes. Out of 138 blocks, 109 blocks are “over-exploited”. 
  • In such a situation, the government says sharing water with any other state is impossible.

Haryana’s claim

  • Haryana has been staking claim to the Ravi-Beas waters through the SYL Canal on the plea that providing water for irrigation was a tough task for the state. 
  • In southern parts, where underground water had depleted up to 1700 feet, there was a problem of drinking water. 
  • Haryana has been citing its contribution to the central food pool and arguing that it is being denied its rightful share in the water as assessed by a tribunal.

Connecting the dots:


INTERNATIONAL/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: International Bodies and their mandates

WHO Suspension of COVAXIN

Context: World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that it has suspended the supply of Covaxin through UN procurement agencies.

  • It also recommended to countries that received the vaccine to take actions as “appropriate”.

Why has the WHO taken this step now?

  • Covaxin, India’s first indigenous vaccine for Covid-19, had got emergency use listing (EUL) from the WHO in November 2021. 
  • This meant it met the standards set by the WHO for protection against the coronavirus disease. 
  • The WHO’s EUL is also a prerequisite for a vaccine to be part of supply under COVAX initiative.
  • At the time the EUL for Covaxin was granted, however, the WHO had not done an inspection. 
  • The inspection of the Bharat Biotech facility was done between March 14 and 22, 2022 based on which the WHO has announced that suspension of supply of Covaxin through UN procurement agencies.

Has the WHO inspected other companies manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines?

  • Yes, WHO teams have inspected the manufacturing facilities of several companies that have received an EUL. 
  • In some cases, an inspection was conducted even before the EUL was granted. For some manufacturers, inspections have been conducted on multiple occasions.

What did the WHO inspection of COVAXIN facility find?

  • The WHO has said that the data available to it indicate that Covaxin is effective and there is no safety concern. 
  • It has, however, asked the company to address deficiencies in good manufacturing practice (GMP). 
  • In other words, the WHO has asked Bharat Biotech to upgrade and make specific changes in its manufacturing facilities for Covaxin.

What are these upgrades?

  • The facilities used to manufacture Covaxin were not specifically designed for a Covid-19 vaccine. 
  • When the company received emergency use authorisation from India’s drug regulator, it repurposed its existing facilities, some of which were used for producing a polio virus vaccine, some for a vaccine rabies and some for a Japanese encephalitis vaccine.
  • Sources said the WHO has asked the company to upgrade facilities specifically for manufacturing a Covid-19 vaccine, in this case Covaxin.

Why did the company not upgrade its facility specifically for Covaxin earlier?

  • Company said that when a facility needs to be upgraded for a specific vaccine, it has to completely shut down. As such, when the company is engaged in active production, it cannot undertake extensive maintenance and upgrade.
  • Second, during the peak of the pandemic, procurement and supply of new equipment required for an upgrade would have taken 15-18 months.
  • Manufacture of a batch of Covaxin takes 120 days from start to finish. Shutdown and upgrade of the facility could have resulted in the loss of almost 6 months. 
  • The company could not have shut down its facility only for upgrade because of the urgency to vaccinate the population. Therefore, the company, after weighing the risks, chose to start manufacturing Covaxin in a repurposed facility in a manner where the vaccine is safe, they said.

Can the company shut down and upgrade the facilities now?

  • Yes, that is what it will do. 
  • The company announced a temporary slowing down of production of Covaxin across its manufacturing facilities, having completed its supply obligations.
  • The decision was taken because the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines has come down.
  • The company will now begin maintenance and upgrade activities.
  • Once the upgrade is complete, the company has to receive fresh regulatory approval for commercial use of the facility.

How does the order impact the supply of Covaxin?

  • It does not impact the supply of Covaxin. 
  • In the first place, the company has not received any orders from UN agencies, including the GAVI-COVAX facility, to supply Covaxin.
  • Second, in some 25 countries, Covaxin has been given emergency use authorisation (EUA). In these countries, the company has already fulfilled its supply commitments. Also it has not received any fresh orders from these countries.
  • Again, the company has also stockpiled vaccines required for India’s inoculation drive. Based on that, the company in February took a call to slow down production of Covaxin. 
  • However, the company has already built an antigen bank. If the country needs vaccines, it can convert them into vials in a 30-40-day timeline and supply the product.

Connecting the dots:


(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Q.1 Where is Mullaperiyar Dam located?

  1. Kerala 
  2. Tamil Nadu
  3. Karnataka
  4. Both (a) and (b)

Q.2 Awareness Mascot ‘Prakriti’ launched recently is associated with which of the following?

  1. Early childhood education
  2. COVID Vaccination 
  3. Plastic Waste Management (PWM) 
  4. Online gaming addiction

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding Indian Nursing Council:

  1. Indian Nursing Council is a national regulatory body for nurses and nurse education in India. 
  2. It is an autonomous body under the Government of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

Which of the above is or are correct?

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

ANSWERS FOR 6th April 2022 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 C
3 C

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