Gujarat Flood News

Extreme weather events to rise manifold in India due to climate change: IIT-G study
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

The frequency of extreme weather events such as floods and heatwaves is projected to rise manifold in India in the future due to climate change, according to a study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar.The research team studied the period from 1951 to 2020 to quantify India’s risk of sequential extremes — heatwaves in the summer and extreme rainfall in the following summer monsoon season over the same regions.One of the examples of sequential extremes is the heatwave and flood in Pakistan this year that affected millions of people.Similar extremes occur in India with large implications for agricultural production, public health, and infrastructure, the researchers said.The study, published in the One Earth journal on Friday, found that the risk will increase significantly under the warming climate and variability in the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) — a recurring climate pattern involving changes in the temperature of waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.“The frequency of sequential extremes is projected to rise manifold in the future due to climate change,” Vimal Mishra, Professor, Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences, IIT Gandhinagar in Gujarat, told PTI.“The fraction of the total population and urban area exposed to sequential extremes will increase rapidly if the global mean temperature rises above 1.5 degrees Celsius from the pre-industrial level,” Mishra said.The researchers noted that climate mitigation and reduction in vulnerability could help in reducing the risk.The study highlighted that mega-heatwaves occurred during the summer of 1995 and 1998, with 20 per cent and 8 per cent of the country being affected by sequential extremes.The area affected by the sequential extremes is significantly higher during the positive phase (El Nino) than the negative phase, the researchers said.Going forward, the study found that the fraction of the total population and urban area exposed to sequential extremes will increase rapidly if the global mean temperature rises above 1.5 degrees Celsius from the pre-industrial level.The heatwave duration is projected to increase from, on average, 3 days in the current climate (1981–2010) to 11 days by the end of the 21st century (2071–2100) under lowest emission scenario, the researchers said.However, the duration of heatwaves is projected to rise to 33 days by the end of the century under the highest emission scenario, they said.The study found that the fraction of the population of India exposed to sequential extremes will rise considerably with an increase in global mean temperature above the pre-industrial level.For instance, median population exposure increases from 27 per cent at 1.5 degrees Celsius to 36 per cent and 45 per cent at 3 and 4 degrees Celsius global warming levels, respectively, it said.The researchers noted that a considerable reduction in vulnerability by improving socioeconomic livelihood and infrastructure will be needed to maintain the same risk (at 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming level) at higher global warming levels.“Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Karnataka have higher projected risk of sequential extremes than the other states,” Mishra said.“The risk of sequential extremes can rise up to 10 times for a few states if global mean temperature rises by 3 degrees Celsius,” he added.The researchers noted that India’s large population experiences adaptation challenges due to severe heat waves in the summer and extreme rainfall during the monsoon season.Heatwaves cause mortality and pose challenges for public health infrastructure, while prolonged extreme rainfall results in floods, which damage agriculture and infrastructure and cause human migration and loss of lives, they said.“India will need a significant reduction in vulnerability and climate change mitigation to reduce the risk of extremes,” the researchers added.

Extreme weather events to rise manifold in India due to climate change: IIT-G study
UN Chief Visits India's First Solar-Powered Village In Gujarat
Ndtv | 1 month ago | |
Ndtv
1 month ago | |

Villagers told him that they were saving on energy billsModhera: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday said the people of Modhera, India's first solar-powered village, are setting an example of "reconciliation between humankind and planet".While the village in Gujarat's Mehsana district has a centuries-old Sun temple, a new kind of Sun temple has come up there now, he said.Guterres, on a three-day visit to India since Wednesday, visited the village, its 11th century Sun temple, and interacted with some of its 1,300-odd families who have set up solar electricity generation panels in their houses.Villagers told him that they were saving on energy bills and were happy to use clean energy that benefits the environment.The residents of Modhera were "the soldiers of the first line" in the battle to save the earth, the UN chief said."What is amazing and (for) what we must thank in a very emotional way these people of this village and also the government of Gujarat and government of India is that here is reconciliation between humankind and the planet," he said."Here where the temple of Sun was built a thousand of years ago, a new temple of Sun is based on solar energy," Guterres said.Solar energy is transforming the lives of the local people, making them more healthy, giving them more prosperity and at the same time contributing to the "rescue of our planet from climate change that is still driving without control," he said.The ancestors of these villagers recognised that the Sun was the source of all energy, the UN chief said.But a thousand years later, we live in a world where we use energy from coal, gas and oil, and the burning of coal makes the Sun "angry" which makes the planet warmer and causes floods, he said."When I was a boy, there used to be rain for a given number of months. Now in many parts of the world there is no longer rain, there is drought and then storms and floods...no normal rain," said 73-year-old Guterres who was born in Portugal.Referring to a woman from the village who switched from coal to solar power, Guterres said she is "making peace with the Sun, and peace with nature." India is moving ahead fast in solar power generation but "some people don't like it, they are using huge amounts of money from oil and gas," he said."But we need to go on doing what you did. One thousand years ago people recognised that the Sun was the origin of our energies, one thousand years later you are making the Sun again the origin of all energies," he said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

UN Chief Visits India's First Solar-Powered Village In Gujarat
How Surat rose in cleanliness ranking and then held its ground
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

From a pneumonic plague in 1994 that killed nearly 1,200 people to becoming India’s second cleanest city, Surat’s meteoric rise is a chronicle of the determination of its residents, migrants and an army of municipal workers to make sanitation and cleanliness an inextricable part of their daily life.Considered among the top ten fastest growing cities in the world, Surat was ranked the second cleanest city for the third consecutive year in the Swachh Survekshan survey 2022 by the Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs.“Surat is the only city which collects garbage from door to door and even offers incentives to residential societies for waste disposal. It’s also the only city in the country where night cleaning of roads is done,” Banchhanidhi Pani, the outgoing Surat Municipal Commissioner, told The Indian Express.But cleanliness and sanitation were not the bywords for Surat until the former port city, which has six kilometers of coastline and the river Tapi flowing through it, was jolted by a plague in 1994 that killed hundreds of people and led to a mass migration.The cause of the disease was traced to overflowing sewers during floods that threw up dead rats on the streets. The city suffered floods again in 2006, which, according to reports by NGOs, was caused due to “faulty urban planning”.Lessons gleaned from these incidents led to Surat establishing standard operating procedures for public hygiene and cleanliness. The Surat Municipal Corporation, the nodal agency for the city’s governance, put in place the practice of night cleaning of streets, which was a first in Gujarat.“The floods witnessed by the residents taught them to keep their surroundings clean to prevent any viral infection. Migrants from other states and parts of Gujarat also adopted the same methods, and the municipal corporation too encouraged residents to actively participate in keeping their locality garbage-free,” Pani added.With an estimated population of over 65 lakh, Surat’s diamond and textile industry has drawn migrants from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha, including a few southern states.The city also has a huge presence of people hailing from North Gujarat and Saurashtra, who migrated several years ago due to water scarcity and settled in Surat by finding work in the diamond cutting and polishing units, shifting later to the textile and real estate sector. The original inhabitants of the city mostly work in the powerloom sector and gold brocade (jari) units.While visiting the city last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called Surat “mini Hindustan,” saying the city had come a long way from the time when it was looked down upon for pandemics and floods.Surat was ranked sixth in the first year of the Swachh Survekshan survey in 2016. It rose to the 4th position in 2017, fell to 14th in 2018 and 2019, and climbed again to the second spot in 2020, where it has stayed put for the third consecutive year.This year the city scored well in two out of three categories in the survey, but its overall score fell from 92.7 percent to 92.3 percent, Pani said.“Our score fell from 93 percent to 90.1 percent in the Service Level Progress category. In the certification category, we scored 91.1 percent against 88.9 percent in 2021, while in the Citizen Voice segment we secured 96.5 percent compared to 95.6 percent last year,” Pani said.Pani, who has been posted in all major cities of Gujarat, said he finds Surat ‘unique’ because its residents are actively involved in development and sanitation of the city.“Citizens not only participate in different projects but also contribute funds for them. The best example is the well-developed CCTV project that involved installing surveillance cameras across the city connected to a control and command centre. People donated money for it. Even the industries came forward and supported the cause,” he added.Pani said that Surat has a well established network of collection, treatment and disposal of solid and liquid waste, which is not found in any other city with a population of over 40 lakh.“Another unique feature of Surat is its tertiary treatment plants where 125 MLD (million litres per day) wastewater is treated and then supplied to the textile dyeing and printing units in Pandesara and Sachin industrial estates in the city. Apart from this, the municipal corporation is also working to provide treated water to multinational companies established in Hazira (an industrial hub and a suburb),” he added.Paresh Patel, the Standing Committee Chairman of Surat Municipal Corporation, said: “The main reason why Surat achieved the second position in Swachh Survekshan survey again is because of the integrity and dedication of the civic body’s staff.”“Even after midnight, you will see municipal teams cleaning the roads. We use the latest machinery for cleaning. The public toilets are also regularly maintained and carts selling street food are regulated and organised,” Patel added.Though Dharmesh Bhanderi, the opposition leader in the Surat Municipal Corporation and an Aam Aadmi Party councillor, said that the ground reality is different.“There are some places where waste and garbage are still dumped. A drive should be carried out by the ruling party leaders to create awareness among people. Even the banks of the creeks are dirty and smell bad. The BJP leaders have done nothing to fix it,” Bhanderi said, adding that campaigns against the use of plastic should also be started.How Surat and Indore fared in Swachh Survekshan survey 2022

How Surat rose in cleanliness ranking and then held its ground
UPSC Essentials: One word a day – NDMA, the statutory body
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Take a look at the essential concepts, terms, and phenomena from the static and current parts of the UPSC-CSE. The Post Read Q&A will help you to self-evaluate your retention memory after reading the article.Word: NDMASubject: Disaster Management (DM)Relevance: Very important as disasters have become very common. Also, this body was in news due to its foundation day. We go deep in understanding the theme of the foundation day through a government scheme and an inspiring example or a case study that an aspirant can quote and enrich the answer in Essay, GS III and Ethics. ‘Volunteerism’ is the underlined term.Why in news?— The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) celebrated its 18th Formation Day on September 28, 2022, in New Delhi.— The theme for this year’s Foundation Day was “Volunteerism in Disaster Management”.What is NDMA?— The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is India’s apex statutory body for disaster management.— The NDMA was formally constituted on 27th September 2006, by the Disaster Management Act, 2005.— The Prime Minister is its chairperson and it has nine other members. One of the nine members is designated as Vice-Chairperson.— Disaster Management Act also envisaged the creation of State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Chief Ministers and the District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA) headed by the District Collectors/ District Magistrate and co-chaired by Chairpersons of the local bodies.— The primary responsibility for the management of disaster rests with the State Government concerned. However, the National Policy on Disaster Management puts in place an enabling environment for all i.e., the Centre, state and district.— India is also a signatory to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) that sets targets for disaster management.How has NDMA evolved?— NDMA has also gone through the same stages. The Government of India (GOI), in recognition of the importance of Disaster Management as a national priority, set up a High-Powered Committee (HPC) in August 1999 and a National Committee after the Gujarat earthquake, for making recommendations on the preparation of Disaster Management plans and suggesting effective mitigation mechanisms.— The tenth Five-Year Plan document also had, for the first time, a detailed chapter on Disaster Management. The Twelfth Finance Commission was also mandated to review the financial arrangements for Disaster Management.— On December 23, 2005, the Government of India enacted the Disaster Management Act, which envisaged the creation of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by the Prime Minister, and State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Chief Ministers, to spearhead and implement a holistic and integrated approach to Disaster Management in India.What is the vision of NDMA?— “To build a safer and disaster resilient India by a holistic, pro-active, technology driven and sustainable development strategy that involves all stakeholders and fosters a culture of prevention, preparedness and mitigation.”— According to NDMA website, India envisions the development of an ethos of Prevention, Mitigation and Preparedness. The Indian government strives to promote a national resolve to mitigate the damage and destruction caused by natural and man-made disasters, through sustained and collective efforts of all Government agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations and People’s participation. This is planned to be accomplished by adopting a Technology-Driven, Pro-Active, Multi-Hazard and Multi-Sectoral strategy for building a Safer, Disaster Resilient and Dynamic India.What are the functions and responsibilities of NDMA?— NDMA, as the apex body, is mandated to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for Disaster Management to ensure a timely and effective response to disasters. Towards this, it has the following responsibilities: – ALSO READ |UPSC Essentials: One word a day – A-G, the constitutional post“Volunteerism in Disaster Management”: Apda Mitra scheme— The National Disaster Management Authority of India (NDMA), started a scheme to train community volunteers in disaster response in selected flood-prone districts of India.— Stated by the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Nityanand Rai in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha in March 2022“The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has implemented a Scheme of Aapda Mitra on a pilot basis to train 6000 community volunteers (200 per district) in 30 flood-prone districts of 25 States/UTs in disaster response   with  a  focus   on   flood,  so  that   they  can   respond   to  the community’s immediate needs in the aftermath of a disaster. More than 5500 volunteers have been trained under the pilot scheme.Based on the success of the pilot scheme, and request from the States/UTs, Government of India has approved the Up-Scaling of Aapda Mitra Scheme, covering 350 districts prone to flood, landslide, cyclone and earthquake to train 1,00,000 community volunteers in disaster response.Apart from this, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) conducts community awareness programmes for the capacity building of community in disaster management. In the year 2021, NDRF has trained 1380 community volunteers in disaster management.NDRF is also conducting School Safety Programme (SSP) and imparting basic training to school children as well as teachers to evacuate themselves during an earthquake. During 2021, NDRF has conducted 81 SSPs covering 18,057 beneficiaries.To inform, educate and to make the people aware, NDMA runs awareness generation campaigns through electronic and print media, including social media, on various disasters, from time to time. These campaigns include Do’s & Don’ts, Audio-Visual films, messages containing preparedness before, during and after disaster events.”Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Nityanand Rai on the occasion of the foundation day of NDMA, 2022 said “Sewa, Samarpan & Paropkar” is the identity of Aapda Mitras.Why such a scheme?— When a disaster happens, volunteers from the affected community are normally the first to act.— In any disaster, however quick the government machinery may be, external help takes time to reach the affected people and this time lag is very crucial in saving lives and livelihood.The impact of volunteers in disaster response can be tremendous, as the extent of damage – in terms of economic and human loss – is greatly influenced by the initial response to a disaster. Therefore, there lies a critical need to train these volunteers in certain basic skills in disaster management so that they are able to respond in an informed and prompt manner as well as assist the concerned agencies in rescue and relief operations.“Volunteerism in Disaster Managements”: Inspiring example or a Case studyKerala Floods in 2018:— A team of 30 volunteers, comprising journalists, lawyers and IT workers, managed several operations besides supplying food to over 30,000 people following distress calls they received on the 1077 helpline number. They took control of the Rescue Operation Centre at Ernakulam of the district disaster management authority.— They managed these operations with the help of hundreds of fishermen and also coordinated with several choppers through personal contacts in Air Force and NDRF.— The 30-member team eventually split into multiple teams as the volume of distress calls went up. “It was something we never anticipated,” said one of the volunteers.— Harish Vasudevan, a Kerala High Court lawyer, said the team was split to handle the huge number of distress calls. “One group of nine attended calls and noted down details. Another team of nine engaged in data entry, while the others made calls and used social media to coordinate rescue efforts In several cases, we reached out to personal contacts,” he said. As Aluva, Chalakkudi and Paravur areas witnessed massive flooding, the 30-member team connected to several WhatsApp groups with over 1200 volunteers in all, including celebrity radio jockeys to IT employees to lawyers to fishermen.Point to ponder: How we can have disaster-free floods?MCQ:Which of the following statement is not true with respect to NDMA?a) It is a statutory body.b) Prime Minister of India is the Chairperson of the NDMA.c) Nine other members of the NDMA are nominated by the chairperson.d) the Minister of State for Home Affairs acts as the Vice-Chairperson of NDMA.Answer to previous MCQ: One word a day – A-G  (d)Post Read Q&ACan you recall what you read?

UPSC Essentials: One word a day – NDMA, the statutory body
Gujarat: Aji dam starts overflowing, water level at Sardar Sarovar nears FRL
The Indian Express | 2 months ago | |
The Indian Express
2 months ago | |

Aji Dam, the second largest local source of drinking water for Rajkot city, started overflowing on Wednesday morning following rain in its catchment area and the state irrigation department pumping Narmada waters into it via SAUNI Yojana pipeline canals.Meanwhile, the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam is barely 20 centimetres short of its Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of 138.68 on Wednesday.“Aji dam started overflowing at 7 am today. The overflow was 190 cusecs (cubic feet per second) at 11 am Wednesday,” an officer of the flood control-room of Rajkot irrigation circle said.Having designed gross storage capacity of 917 mcft (million cubic feet), Aji dam is the second largest source of drinking water after Nyari dam which has capacity to store 1,248 mcft water.However, half of the water stored in Aji presently is Narmada water pumped by the state irrigation department through Link-III pipeline canal of SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation) Yojana.“As Narmada dam started overflowing, the irrigation department started operating Link-III of SAUNI project from August 12 onwards and had pumped 536 mcft Narmada water by September 12,” Kishor Dethariya, city engineer of Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) said.Aji getting filled to its capacity is treated as a big event by local politicians and residents of Rajkot.Minister of State for Transport, Arvind Raiyani, who is an MLA from Rajkot (East) constituency and office-bearers of the BJP-ruled RMC were to go to Aji dam site at 11:45 AM to celebrate the overflow of the damThe water level at the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam is at 136.46 metres on Wednesday evening as heavy inflow from Madhya Pradesh continues into the basin of the dam.Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel will perform a puja at the Narmada Dam on Thursday morning.According to the officials of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL), which is expecting the dam to touch the FRL by Wednesday late night, the inflow into the basin of the dam is currently 2.24 lakh cusecs, with the dam increasing close to one centimeter per hour.The SSNNL, in order to ensure a safe filling up of the dam to the FRL, has currently opened 10 of the 30 radial gates of the dam to release close to 1 lakh cusecs of water, in addition to the 42,519 cusecs of water being discharged downstream from the six operational turbines of the Riverbed Powerhouse (RBPH).The Canal Head Powerhouse (CHPH) is releasing 17,273 cusecs of water into the main canal.SSNNL plans to open 23 gates at a height of 0.82 metres on Wednesday night to release a total of 1.5 lakh cusecs of water downstream for flood mitigation.“We can open the gates upto a maximum of 10 metres in height. At any given point, the total release from the 30 radial gates can be 30 lakh cusecs, if the situation arises. So far, we have released about 12-13 lakh cusecs of water at one time in recent years… The main problem of flood arises in Bharuch, where there has been much encroachment into the river over the years,” Chief Engineer, SSNNL, RG Kanungo said.

Gujarat: Aji dam starts overflowing, water level at Sardar Sarovar nears FRL
  • Gujarat: Sardar Sarovar Dam close to full reservoir level of 138.68 metres
  • Times of India

    RAJPIPLA: Aided by bountiful rains in its catchment areas, the water level of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat's Narmada district reached 138.46 metres on Wednesday evening, just shy of 22 cms from achieving its full reservoir level (FRL) of 138.68 metres, officials said. This is for the first time this monsoon season that the water level of the dam, located near the iconic Statue of Unity at Kevadia, has reached so close to the FRL. The dam's catchment areas also fall in the adjoining Madhya Pradesh. Chief minister Bhupendra Patel is scheduled to visit the dam site on Thursday morning when the water level is likely to reach the FRL of 138.68 metres (455 feet), the officials of the state information department said. As per an update released by the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL), the dam had been receiving an inflow of 2.23 lakh cusec of water, while 1 lakh cusec of water was being released through its ten gates. SSNNL is a Gujarat government PSU that administers this giant hydropower and irrigation project. Out of two powerhouses built on the dam for production of electricity, 42,519 cusec water was being released in riverbed and 17,273 cusec in canal-head powerhouses, said the update. With all three combined, a total 1.59 lakh cusec water was flowing out of the Narmada river on which the dam has been built. SSNNL said from 10 am on Thursday, the amount of water to flow out of the dam will be increased to 1.95 lakh cusec. When the dam, the second biggest in the world, reaches its FRL, it will be the third time the facility will be achieving that mark since Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the mega water resources project to the nation on September 17, 2017, after its height was raised to 138.68 metres. The Narmada Control Authority (NCA) had given its final approval to the Gujarat government to raise the height of the dam by about 17 metres to 138.68 metres from the then-existing 121.92 metres in 2014 soon after Modi became the Prime Minister. The radial gates on the dam were ready in 2017, and all the gates were opened for the first time in 2019. The dam reached its first FRL on September 15, 2019, and then again on September 17, 2020. The project coveres four major states - Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

  • Gujarat: Aji Dam, a source of drinking water for Rajkot, starts overflowing
  • The Indian Express

    Aji Dam, the second largest local source of drinking water for Gujarat’s Rajkot city, started overflowing on Wednesday morning following rain in its catchment area and after the state irrigation department pumped Narmada waters into it via SAUNI Yojana pipeline canals.“Aji dam started overflowing at 7 am today. The overflow was 190 cusecs (cubic feet per second) at 11 am Wednesday,” an officer at the flood control room of Rajkot Irrigation Circle said.Having a gross storage capacity of 917 mcft (million cubic feet), Aji Dam is the second largest source of drinking water for Rajkot, after Nyari Dam, which has the capacity to store 1,248 mcft water. However, half the water stored in Aji Dam presently is water from the Narmada river that was pumped by the state irrigation department through Link-III pipeline canal of the SAUNI or Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation Yojana.“As Narmada dam started overflowing, the irrigation department started operating Link-III of SAUNI project from August 12 onwards and had pumped 536 mcft Narmada water by September 12,” Kishor Dethariya, city engineer of Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC), said.Aji Dam getting filled to capacity is treated as a big event by local politicians and Rajkot residents. State Transport Minister Arvind Raiyani, who is an MLA from Rajkot (East) constituency and an office-bearer of the BJP-ruled RMC, was scheduled to visit Aji Dam site on Wednesday to celebrate the overflow.

Floods in Pakistan and the pulls and pressures of India-Pak disaster diplomacy
The Indian Express | 2 months ago | |
The Indian Express
2 months ago | |

As a flood that has been described as one of Biblical proportions devastated Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and hoped “for an early restoration of normalcy”. “Saddened to see the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the injured and all those affected by this natural calamity and hope for an early restoration of normalcy,” Modi said in a tweet on August 29.This is the only statement that the Prime Minister has made on the floods that continue to wreak havoc across Pakistan. A total 1,355 people have been killed since June 14, and 33 million out of the country’s population of 220 million have been hit, according to official figures of Thursday. More than 3,500 people have been injured, and there are massive shortages of wheat and fuel. Preliminary estimates suggest a third of the country’s cultivated land — 7 million hectares out of the total 22 million — have been inundated, and about 2 million homes will have to be rebuilt from scratch.Deterioration of tiesThe statement by the Prime Minister last month came as a surprise to many, given the steady deterioration of India’s relationship with Pakistan over the last eight years since Modi came to power.Modi had famously begun his tenure with an invitation to Pakistan’s then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the swearing-in ceremony in May 2014. Sharif had come to India, along with the leaders of other SAARC nations.Modi’s gesture, and the meeting between the two Prime Ministers had held the promise of a new beginning for the bilateral relationship that had suffered a severe setback after the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008.However, a string of incidents that followed — India’s red line on the meeting between Pakistan’s diplomats and leaders of the separatist Hurriyat, the terrorist attacks in Pathankot and Uri — impacted the relationship negatively, and New Delhi made it clear that “talks and terror can’t go together”.Ties have been hit further over the last few years, especially after the Pulwama terror attack in February 2019, and the abrogation of Article 370, which revoked the special status to Jammu and Kashmir, in August that year. That led to the downsizing of the High Commissions in both capitals; there are no full-time High Commissioners in either country now. The constitutional changes in J&K, and Pakistan’s response to them, took bilateral ties to a new low — and the subsequent controversy involving diplomats of both countries in 2020 have not helped the ties.Change of PM in PakAfter the ouster of Imran Khan, and the coming to power of the new coalition government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, some positive noises have emanated from Islamabad.In April this year, hours after Prime Minister Sharif asked Modi to come forward to address the Kashmir issue so that the two countries could concentrate on tackling poverty and unemployment, the Indian Prime Minister congratulated the new leader of Pakistan, and said that India desired peace and stability in a region free of terrorism.In a letter written to Modi, Sharif said Pakistan remained committed to “regional peace and security”, and sought “peaceful and cooperative” ties with India. Prime Minister Sharif, who is the younger brother of the three-time Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, also underlined in his letter that these peaceful and cooperative ties could be achieved through “meaningful dialogue”.In his maiden address to the National Assembly as Prime Minister, Shehbaz, who was Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province when his brother, then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, visited India at Modi’s invitation in 2014, said: “We want good ties with India but durable peace is not possible until the Kashmir dispute is resolved.” He attacked his predecessor, Imran Khan, for not making “serious and diplomatic efforts” when India abrogated Article 370 in August 2019.In New Delhi, officials read Sharif’s statement, and the exchange of greetings and missives within days of the swearing-in of the new Pakistan PM, as “positive”.Responses to disastersIn the past, when natural disasters struck India and Pakistan, the two countries at times reached out to each other with offers of help.For example, in January-February 2001, after the earthquake hit Bhuj in Gujarat, Pakistan had reached out with help, and had sent tents and blankets for the survivors. Then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had spoken to Pakistan’s military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, to formally thank him for sending aid. It was not a big consignment, senior diplomats recall, but the gesture was important. Vajpayee and Musharraf had a brief conversation, the first since the general had seized power in a coup 15 months previously.In 2005, when a powerful earthquake struck both India and Pakistan, India sent aircraft with relief supplies to Pakistan and pledged $ 25 million through the United Nations to support Pakistan’s relief efforts.In 2010, when a “superflood” — the worst in recent decades until the deluge of 2022 — hit Pakistan, India offered $ 5 million in help, but Islamabad declined to accept it.The case for help nowThough there has not been much follow-up activity, the Indian Prime Minister’s outreach by way of a message created a potential opening for “disaster diplomacy”.That the ruling dispensation in Pakistan is well disposed towards a possible gesture of humanitarian support from India was indicated by Prime Minister Sharif, who tweeted: “I thank Indian PM Narendra Modi @narendramodi for condolences over the human & material losses caused by floods. With their characteristic resilience the people of Pakistan shall, InshaAllah, overcome the adverse effects of this natural calamity & rebuild their lives and communities.”Pakistan’s Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has said that the government can consider importing vegetables and other edible items from India following the destruction of standing crops due to the floods. Prices of vegetables and fruit have gone through the roof as supplies from Balochistan, Sindh, and south Punjab especially, have been badly affected.The two major partners in Pakistan’s ruling coalition, the PPP led by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, and the PML(N) led by the Sharifs, are waiting for further gestures from New Delhi. On the Pakistani side, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has earlier spoken in favour of improving ties. But the PTI under Imran Khan has been opposing reconciliatory moves, pushing the other political actors into a corner.For the Indian government, the case for extending humanitarian help ties in well with its desire to project itself as the “first responder” in times of disaster and crisis in the neighbourhood. Vaccine diplomacy and the efforts to brand India as the “pharmacy to the world” have been billed as major achievements of the government. In recent months and years, India has extended its hand of help and cooperation to the Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. Trucks filled with Indian grain have travelled to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan via Pakistan.Pakistan’s establishment has discussed the possibility of getting food grains through international organisations, who want to send relief material from India. The help from India can be at the micro and short-term level: food, fuel, tents, medicines, and emergency essential supplies. At the macro and medium-to-long-term, it could involve help in the reconstruction of damaged homes and properties, and the archaeological site of Mohenjo Daro, part of the cultural heritage of both countries. India’s expertise in healthcare can be of help in the post-floods scenario — dengue is already on the rise, and diseases such as typhoid are expected to spike sharply.However, some in the Indian establishment believe that the government’s stated policy of “talks and terror can’t go together”, and the extending of help to Pakistan are at odds with each other. For New Delhi, the decision is as much about projecting power as a global responder as with managing the ruling party’s domestic political base.

Floods in Pakistan and the pulls and pressures of India-Pak disaster diplomacy
  • Pak floods and Indian response
  • The Indian Express

    As a flood that has been described as one of Biblical proportions devastated Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and hoped “for an early restoration of normalcy”.“Saddened to see the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the injured and all those affected by this natural calamity and hope for an early restoration of normalcy,” Modi said in a tweet on August 29.This is the only statement that the Prime Minister has made on the floods that continue to wreak havoc across Pakistan. A total 1,355 people have been killed since June 14, and 33 million out of the country’s population of 220 million have been hit, according to official figures of Thursday. More than 3,500 people have been injured, and there are massive shortages of wheat and fuel. Preliminary estimates suggest a third of the country’s cultivated land — 7 million hectares out of the total 22 million — have been inundated, and about 2 million homes will have to be rebuilt from scratch.Deterioration of tiesThe statement by the Prime Minister last month came as a surprise to many, given the steady deterioration of India’s relationship with Pakistan over the last eight years since Modi came to power.Modi had famously begun his tenure with an invitation to Pakistan’s then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the swearing-in ceremony in May 2014. Sharif had come to India, along with the leaders of other SAARC nations.Modi’s gesture, and the meeting between the two Prime Ministers had held the promise of a new beginning for the bilateral relationship that had suffered a severe setback after the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008.However, a string of incidents that followed — India’s red line on the meeting between Pakistan’s diplomats and leaders of the separatist Hurriyat, the terrorist attacks in Pathankot and Uri — impacted the relationship negatively, and New Delhi made it clear that “talks and terror can’t go together”.Ties have been hit further over the last few years, especially after the Pulwama terror attack in February 2019, and the abrogation of Article 370, which revoked the special status to Jammu and Kashmir, in August that year. That led to the downsizing of the High Commissions in both capitals; there are no full-time High Commissioners in either country now. The constitutional changes in J&K, and Pakistan’s response to them, took bilateral ties to a new low — and the subsequent controversy involving diplomats of both countries in 2020 have not helped the ties.Change of PM in PakAfter the ouster of Imran Khan, and the coming to power of the new coalition government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, some positive noises have emanated from Islamabad.In April this year, hours after Prime Minister Sharif asked Modi to come forward to address the Kashmir issue so that the two countries could concentrate on tackling poverty and unemployment, the Indian Prime Minister congratulated the new leader of Pakistan, and said that India desired peace and stability in a region free of terrorism.In a letter written to Modi, Sharif said Pakistan remained committed to “regional peace and security”, and sought “peaceful and cooperative” ties with India. Prime Minister Sharif, who is the younger brother of the three-time Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, also underlined in his letter that these peaceful and cooperative ties could be achieved through “meaningful dialogue”.In his maiden address to the National Assembly as Prime Minister, Shehbaz, who was Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province when his brother, then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, visited India at Modi’s invitation in 2014, said: “We want good ties with India but durable peace is not possible until the Kashmir dispute is resolved.” He attacked his predecessor, Imran Khan, for not making “serious and diplomatic efforts” when India abrogated Article 370 in August 2019.In New Delhi, officials read Sharif’s statement, and the exchange of greetings and missives within days of the swearing-in of the new Pakistan PM, as “positive”.Responses to disastersIn the past, when natural disasters struck India and Pakistan, the two countries at times reached out to each other with offers of help.For example, in January-February 2001, after the earthquake hit Bhuj in Gujarat, Pakistan had reached out with help, and had sent tents and blankets for the survivors. Then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had spoken to Pakistan’s military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, to formally thank him for sending aid. It was not a big consignment, senior diplomats recall, but the gesture was important. Vajpayee and Musharraf had a brief conversation, the first since the general had seized power in a coup 15 months previously.In 2005, when a powerful earthquake struck both India and Pakistan, India sent aircraft with relief supplies to Pakistan and pledged $ 25 million through the United Nations to support Pakistan’s relief efforts.In 2010, when a “superflood” — the worst in recent decades until the deluge of 2022 — hit Pakistan, India offered $ 5 million in help, but Islamabad declined to accept it.The case for help nowThough there has not been much follow-up activity, the Indian Prime Minister’s outreach by way of a message created a potential opening for “disaster diplomacy”.That the ruling dispensation in Pakistan is well disposed towards a possible gesture of humanitarian support from India was indicated by Prime Minister Sharif, who tweeted: “I thank Indian PM Narendra Modi @narendramodi for condolences over the human & material losses caused by floods. With their characteristic resilience the people of Pakistan shall, InshaAllah, overcome the adverse effects of this natural calamity & rebuild their lives and communities.”Pakistan’s Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has said that the government can consider importing vegetables and other edible items from India following the destruction of standing crops due to the floods. Prices of vegetables and fruit have gone through the roof as supplies from Balochistan, Sindh, and south Punjab especially, have been badly affected.The two major partners in Pakistan’s ruling coalition, the PPP led by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, and the PML(N) led by the Sharifs, are waiting for further gestures from New Delhi. On the Pakistani side, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has earlier spoken in favour of improving ties. But the PTI under Imran Khan has been opposing reconciliatory moves, pushing the other political actors into a corner.For the Indian government, the case for extending humanitarian help ties in well with its desire to project itself as the “first responder” in times of disaster and crisis in the neighbourhood. Vaccine diplomacy and the efforts to brand India as the “pharmacy to the world” have been billed as major achievements of the government. In recent months and years, India has extended its hand of help and cooperation to the Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. Trucks filled with Indian grain have travelled to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan via Pakistan.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxPakistan’s establishment has discussed the possibility of getting food grains through international organisations, who want to send relief material from India. The help from India can be at the micro and short-term level: food, fuel, tents, medicines, and emergency essential supplies. At the macro and medium-to-long-term, it could involve help in the reconstruction of damaged homes and properties, and the archaeological site of Mohenjo Daro, part of the cultural heritage of both countries. India’s expertise in healthcare can be of help in the post-floods scenario — dengue is already on the rise, and diseases such as typhoid are expected to spike sharply.However, some in the Indian establishment believe that the government’s stated policy of “talks and terror can’t go together”, and the extending of help to Pakistan are at odds with each other. For New Delhi, the decision is as much about projecting power as a global responder as with managing the ruling party’s domestic political base.

The floods in Pakistan highlight the imminent need for friendlier relations with our neighbour
The Indian Express | 2 months ago | |
The Indian Express
2 months ago | |

We’re in it together. “We”, as in India and Pakistan. Our weather systems like our history are joined at the hip.I remember reading in my Social Studies textbook how monsoon rains, originating in the Bay of Bengal, enter Pakistan through the foothills of the Himalaya. Today, as Pakistan experiences the worst floods (adjectives like cataclysmic and catastrophic have fallen flat given the scale of destruction) in its 75-year-old history, climate experts tell us that this time the monsoon has changed its centuries-old pattern. This year, it entered the Southern part of Pakistan — Sindh and Balochistan — directly from Rajasthan and Gujarat. Joined at the hip, anyone?Once inside the geographical bounds of Pakistan, the monsoon currents wreaked havoc of unimaginable proportions. As one third of the country remains submerged, weather pundits predict more rains. While the government and people try to make sense of the disaster, experts are convinced that the floods are linked intrinsically to climate change. Pakistan, one of the lowest emitters of carbon dioxide per capita (less than one per cent), ranks eighth among the countries affected by climate change. India stands at a close seventh. (Would it even be fair to call these floods a natural disaster?)Since June, more than 1,200 people have lost their lives, one-third of them children, and thousands are injured. Thirty-three million people are said to have been displaced, and over 70 out of 160 districts have been declared calamity-hit. About 8,00,000 livestock – people’s sole source of livelihood, especially in Balochistan — have been lost in these districts. More than one million houses, mostly made out of mud, have been destroyed. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) estimates that 5,000 km of road and scores of bridges are damaged.Collective data of this kind has a problem — it gives a broad scale of loss, but just that. The details that keep coming are even more harrowing. For instance, floods have impacted two million acres of agricultural land in a country that was already reeling under high food prices. We know nothing yet about the school buildings and health facilities claimed by the floods; the attention is focused more on the likely outbreak of diseases, malnutrition and food insecurity. There are thousands of pregnant women among the displaced population who need to deliver and raise their babies under proper medical care, in hygienic conditions. A major part of Balochistan, the largest province, is cut off from the rest of the country through road, rail and air links.One could go on and on about the losses incurred but just one figure given out by the Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal may suffice: Pakistan needs $10 billion to rebuild and reconstruct lives, livelihoods and infrastructure.Governments and other authorities, both at the federal and provincial levels, have remained indifferent to the disastrous floods that have struck different regions in Pakistan — flash floods, urban flooding or floods caused by torrential rain or glacial and cloud outbursts — for a long time. But the current floods are an unusual phenomenon for a country that is used to riverine floods — the super floods of 2010, for instance.The destruction began in Balochistan which is not on the media’s radar anyway. It only got attention when an army helicopter on a flood relief and rescue mission, with high-profile personnel on board, crashed on August 2. The province also got the media’s attention once the death toll crossed 100.The government’s indifference was understandable, though unjustified. Politics in this country has been unstable and divisive for quite some time now but more so since the beginning of this year. Political point scoring, dragging opponents into courts for legal battles and electioneering were priorities for all political actors till the disaster became too big to be ignored. In fact, one Opposition party led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan is still more focused on election rallies than on the flood disaster. The federal government has had its hands full in trying to avert an economic meltdown since it took charge in April.In the aftermath of floods, the absence of climate change as a political agenda is being conspicuously felt as is the state’s mistrust of civil society organisations (in the last five years or so, many international NGOs involved in service delivery were forced to pack and leave). To be fair, no amount of preparedness could have addressed a disaster of this scale, but the response of NDMA and provincial disaster management authorities (PDMAs) was considered slow and lacking in preparedness.The government seems to have a better grip on the situation at the moment and is in coordination with the provincial tiers, the international community, and especially the United Nations. One is not sure how much international support Pakistan would eventually get, given the donor fatigue, the economic slowdown and the global attention on the Ukraine war. However, the situation merits a claim in terms of climate financing from the developed world rather than aid and disaster relief. The situation also merits better relations with its immediate neighbours with whom Pakistan shares geography, including India, Collective regional-level solutions should, therefore, be sought and implemented.Zia has worked as a journalist and magazine editor for 25 years. She is currently director, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

The floods in Pakistan highlight the imminent need for friendlier relations with our neighbour
Explained: How Pakistan floods have imperilled Mohenjo-daro’s world heritage tag
The Indian Express | 2 months ago | |
The Indian Express
2 months ago | |

The recent spell of heavy rains and floods that ravaged large parts of Pakistan’s Sindh province has also taken a heavy toll on the archaeological site of Mohenjo-daro.In fact, the calamity has pushed the archeological site – situated on the bank of the Indus river – to the “brink of extinction”.Pakistan’s Department of Archaeology has said that Mohenjo-daro might be removed from the world heritage list, if urgent attention towards its conservation and restoration is not given. Consequently, the administration has banned the entry of tourists to the place.Importance of Mohenjo-daroMohenjo-daro, a group of mounds and ruins, is a 5000-year-old archaeological site located about 80-km off the city of Sukkur. It comprises the remnants of one of two main centres of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, the other one being Harappa, located 640 km to the northwest, in Punjab province. Mohenjo-daro, which means ‘mound of the dead’, was one of the oldest cities of the world.Known to be a model planned city of the ancient civilisation, the houses here had bathrooms, toilets and drainage system. The sheer size of the city, and its provision of public buildings and facilities, suggests a high level of social organisation. Though in ruins, the walls and brick pavements in the streets are still in a preserved condition.The ruins of the city remained undocumented for around 3,700 years, until 1920, when archaeologist RD Banerji visited the site. Its excavation started in 1921 and continued in phases till 1964-65. The site went to Pakistan during Partition.Other Indus Valley sitesThe Indus Valley Civilisation spanned much of what is now Pakistan and the northern states of India (Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan), even extending towards the Iranian border. Its major urban centres included Harappa and Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan, and Lothal, Kalibangan, Dholavira and Rakhigarhi in India.Mohenjo-daro is considered the most advanced city of its time, with sophisticated civil engineering and urban planning. When the Indus Valley Civilisation went into sudden decline around 19th century BC, Mohenjo-Daro was abandoned.What next for the siteAccording to media reports, many streets and sewerage drains of the historical ruins have been badly damaged due to the floods. However, the work of removing the sediments deposited due the flooding is still underway. But if this kind of flooding happens again, the heritage site may once again get buried under the ground, archaeologists say. It is expected that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will visit the site during his visit to Pakistan on September 11. The visit might provide some clarity on if the site has lost some of its attributes that are necessary for it to retain its prestigious world heritage tag.Losing world heritage tagThere are around 1,100 UNESCO listed sites across its 167 member countries. Last year, the World Heritage Committee, holding its 44th session in China, decided to delete the property ‘Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City’ (UK) from the World Heritage List, due to “the irreversible loss of attributes conveying the outstanding universal value of the property,” a UNESCO statement said.Liverpool was added to the World Heritage List in 2004 in recognition of its role as one of the world’s major trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries – and its pioneering dock technology, transport systems and port management.Before that, the first venue to be delisted by the UNESCO panel was the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman, in 2007, after concerns over poaching and habitat degradation. Another site to be removed from the World Heritage list in 2009 was Elbe Valley in Dresden, Germany, after the construction of the Waldschloesschen road bridge across the Elbe river.

Explained: How Pakistan floods have imperilled Mohenjo-daro’s world heritage tag
UPSC Essentials: Weekly news express with MCQs— World’s fifth biggest economy to UN High Seas Treaty
The Indian Express | 2 months ago | |
The Indian Express
2 months ago | |

The Indian Express’ UPSC weekly news express covers some of the most important topics of current affairs news from this week to help you prepare for UPSC-CSE. Try out the MCQs and check your answers provided towards the end of the article.India soars ahead of UK to become world’s fifth biggest economySyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies III- Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.Why in news?— India has become the world’s fifth-largest economy after it overtook the United Kingdom in end-March 2022, according to the latest calculations by Bloomberg.Key takeaways— India leaped past the UK in the final three months of 2021 to become the fifth-biggest economy. The calculation is based in US dollars, and India extended its lead in the first quarter, according to GDP figures from the International Monetary Fund.— The news comes close on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging countrymen to resolve to become a “developed” country by 2047 — the centenary of India’s Independence. As such, moving past one of the biggest economies in the world, especially one that ruled over the Indian sub-continent for two centuries, is a major milestone.— The Indian economy is forecast to grow more than 7% this year. A world-beating rebound in Indian stocks this quarter has just seen their weighting rise to the second spot in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, trailing only China’s.— On an adjusted basis and using the dollar exchange rate on the last day of the relevant quarter, the size of the Indian economy in “nominal” cash terms in the quarter through March was $854.7 billion. On the same basis, UK was $816 billion.— UK GDP grew just 1% in cash terms in the second quarter and, after adjusting for inflation, shrank 0.1%. Sterling has also underperformed the dollar relative to the rupee, with the pound falling 8% against the Indian currency this year.— The IMF’s own forecasts show India overtaking the UK in dollar terms on an annual basis this year, putting the Asian powerhouse behind just the US, China, Japan and Germany. A decade ago, India ranked 11th among the largest economies, while the UK was 5th.Comparing India and UK— Population size is one of the most fundamental differences between the two countries. As of 2022, India has a population of 1.41 billion while the UK’s population is 68.5 million. In other words, India’s population is 20 times that of the UK’s.— There is such a stark difference between the population of the two countries, GDP per capita provides a more realistic comparison of income levels because it divides a country’s GDP by the population of that country. It is not surprising to note that the income of an average Indian is far lower.— Low per capita incomes often point to high levels of poverty. It is noteworthy that at the start of the 19th century, the UK’s share in extreme poverty was considerably higher than India’s. However, as things stand today, the relative positions have reversed even though India has made giant strides in curbing poverty.— Arguably, the end goal of higher GDP and faster economic growth is to have better human development parameters. The Human Development Index is a composite of health, education and standard of living parameters. Despite its secular improvement, India might still take a decade to be where the UK was in 1980.— A crucial element of becoming richer as a country is the quality of life available to citizens. The Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Index is measured on a scale from 0 (worst) to 100 (best) based on the average coverage of essential services including reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases and service capacity and access. While faster economic growth and the government’s policy focus on healthcare schemes since 2005 have made a distinct improvement for India, there is still a long way to go.Point to ponder: As such, while India should own the tag of the world’s fastest-growing economy, it is important to understand that being so is just the necessary condition for India’s prosperity, not the sufficient one. Comment.1. MCQ:Economic growth in country X will necessarily have to occur if (UPSC-CSE 2013)(a) there is technical progress in the world economy(b) there is population growth in X(c) there is capital formation in X(d) the volume of trade grows in the world economyFloods in PakistanSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies I: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.Why in news?— While Europe, China and some other regions of the world are experiencing a severe drought, Pakistan is facing one of the worst floods in its recent history. Reports say about 110 of the 150 districts in the country are affected by the flooding. Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Sunday that over 1,000 people were confirmed dead in the floods so far.Key takeaways— The current flood is a direct result of an extremely wet monsoon season this year. The same southwest monsoon that brings the bulk of India’s annual rainfall causes rain in Pakistan as well.— The monsoon season in Pakistan, however, is a little shorter than in India. That is because the rain-bearing monsoon winds take time to travel northward from India into Pakistan. The official monsoon season in Pakistan begins on July 1 and extends until September, although most of the rainfall happens during the months of July and August. The active rainfall season is only one and a half months.— The normal rainfall for Pakistan as a whole during this three-month monsoon season is 140 mm. But because the season is quite short, there is a wide variation in the monsoon rainfall every year.— The rainfall situation in Pakistan has been quite different from that of India so far, though incidents of extreme rainfall and flooding have occured here as well.— In August, India has received rainfall that is barely 6 per cent more than the normal. For the entire season so far, the country has received 7 per cent more than normal rainfall.— However, because India is such a huge country, the overall numbers hide marked variations at the regional and local levels. Just last week, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand experienced torrential rainfall, triggering landslides and flashfloods that killed over 30 people.— In August, central India, comprising mainly Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, has received 26 percent excess rainfall.Point to ponder: Since floods in Pakistan bear similarities to those in India, it’s time for a collaborative mechanism to deal with extreme weather events. Discuss.MCQ:Consider the following statements and answer the question below1. Extreme floods often lead to extreme drought.2. When the river basin floods, much of the water flows to the ocean rather than seeping into the soil, paradoxically causing water scarcity. Which of the following statement is/are correct?a) Both 1 and 2 b) only 1c) only 2d) Neither 1 nor 2UN High Seas TreatySyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.Why in news?— Negotiations involving 168 countries, including the European Union, to agree on a UN treaty for protecting oceans failed Saturday (August 27).— When the latest round of talks began two weeks ago in New York, it was hoped that an agreement would be arrived at for the conserving marine life at the ‘high seas’ which lie outside the exclusive jurisdiction of different countries.— In June, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had declared an “ocean emergency” at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, citing threats to the world’s oceans.Key takeaways— Also referred to as the ‘Paris Agreement for the Ocean’, the treaty to deal with Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction has been under discussion for several years.— The proposed treaty concerns the ocean existing beyond the Exclusive Economic Zones that lie from the coast of a country to about 200 nautical miles or 370 km into the sea, till where it has special rights for exploration. Waters beyond that are known as open seas or high seas.— The treaty was to be negotiated under the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982 which governs the rights of countries regarding marine resources. As there is no treaty for conserving the health of vast swathes of the earth’s oceans, a UN resolution in 2017 had decided to rectify this while setting 2022 as the deadline.— The pandemic resulted in many delays, and later, a High Ambition Coalition, which now has more than 100 countries including India, the US, and the UK, came about and put the focus on ‘30×30’ goals – protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030. After the latest deadlock, talks will only resume next year, unless a special session is called.— Some aspects of negotiations included establishing marine protected areas to put limits on certain activities, environmental impact assessments or clearances for sustainability of works, financial support to countries and sharing other scientific knowledge. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has said binding agreements are needed for this treaty to be effective.How are the world’s oceans regulated as of now?— Some treaties, along with the UNCLOS, regulate the conduct of actors on the high seas. The UNCLOS led to the establishment of territorial sea boundaries 22 km offshore, deciding the region up to which countries could claim full sovereign territorial rights, as well as the 200 nautical miles EEZ limit. It also created the International Seabed Authority and other conflict-resolution mechanisms.— But a treaty dedicated to protecting ocean health does not exist as of now. Conversely, every country has the right to access open seas, resulting in large-scale drilling and trawling operations for catching fish and other animals for commercial purposes.What are the risks of countries failing to reach an agreement?— Ninety percent of global warming is occurring in the ocean, according to the NASA website.— “The effects of ocean warming include sea level rise due to thermal expansion, coral bleaching, accelerated melting of Earth’s major ice sheets, intensified hurricanes, and changes in ocean health and biochemistry,” it says. Excessive fishing has increased manifold over the years, and a third of species such as sharks and rays are at the risk of extinction, according to the World Wildlife Fund.— Despite acknowledging these threats, members failed to agree on how to deal with these threats.— There has been talk of resistance from countries that engage in deep sea mining of minerals or are heavily invested in fishing. “Although we did make excellent progress, we still do need a little bit more time to progress towards the finish line,” UN Oceans Ambassador Rena Lee said, the AFP reported.— Some countries in the Caribbean alleged that richer countries of the Global North did not actively participate until the last few days of the talks.Point to ponder: India needs to strengthen its maritime laws and regulatory mechanisms. Discuss.MCQ:With reference to UNCLOS, which of the following is not correct?a) It not only zones coastal states’ offshore areas but provides specific guidance for states’ rights and responsibilities in the five concentric zones.b)It is the only international convention which stipulates a framework for state jurisdiction in maritime spaces. c) Each coastal State may claim an EEZ beyond and adjacent to its territorial sea that extends seaward up to 200 nm from its baselines.d) The ocean surface and the water column beyond the EEZ are referred to as the Contiguous Zone.Jio’s ‘standalone’ 5G architecture, and how it will workSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importanceMain Examination: General Studies III: Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth and Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.Why in news?—India’s largest telecom company Reliance Jio on Monday announced the launch of its 5G services in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai by Diwali this year, with an aim to expand and cover the entire country by December 2023.—The company said it will launch its 5G services on a “standalone” 5G architecture, against the “non-standalone” approach that other operators are betting on.—The disagreement between service providers on the network modes they are taking to roll out the next generation of mobile telephony also spotlights questions over the readiness of Indian consumers to move to 5G.Key takeaways—5G networks are deployed mainly on two modes: standalone and non-standalone. Both architectures have their advantages and disadvantages, and the path chosen by operators primarily reflects their view of the market for the new technology, and the consequent rollout strategy.—In the standalone mode, which Jio has chosen, the 5G network operates with dedicated equipment, and runs parallel to the existing 4G network, while in the non-standalone mode, the 5G network is supported by the 4G core infrastructure.—Given that the non-standalone networks are built on existing infrastructure, the initial cost and the time taken to roll out services through this track is significantly less than standalone networks. Jio has committed an investment of Rs 2 lakh crore for its standalone 5G network.—The standalone mode provides access to full 5G capabilities and new network functionalities such as slicing that provides greater flexibility to operators to efficiently use their spectrum holdings.—Non-standalone networks are generally considered to be a stepping stone, and global precedent suggests operators that have launched non-standalone 5G networks eventually transition to standalone networks. The non-standalone mode, however, lets operators maximise the utilisation of their existing network infrastructure with relatively lower investment.—The biggest difference in the two architectures is the compatibility with existing device ecosystems. Most smartphones today have capability to connect to non-standalone 5G networks — which are essentially 5G airwaves transmitted through 4G networks — and will require software updates by their OEMs to be able to connect to standalone networks.—5G could have benefits for consumers owing to the superior Internet speed and low latency it promises over 4G. At its peak, Internet speeds on 5G could touch 10 Gbps, compared to the 100 Mbps peak of 4G. Similarly, latency under 4G is between 10-100 ms (millisecond) whereas on 5G it is expected to be under 1 ms. Latency is the time it takes for a device to send packets of data and get a response. Shorter the latency, quicker the response.—According to a May 2019 report by Ericsson, a key player in the 5G equipment market, while it is a common belief that 5G might not deliver any near-term benefits for consumers, they expect 5G to offer a step change in network performance, relief from urban network congestion, and more home broadband choices as near-term benefits.—Further, it pointed out that while there were reservations back in 2010 during the onset of 4G about the technology’s actual benefits for consumers, today, a number of online activities — from streaming ultra high definition content to making video calls, especially propelled by the pandemic — that are possible on 4G, would have been near impossible on 3G speeds.—For most industrial use cases such as manufacturing, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, the speeds and latency levels offered by 5G telephony are the key selling propositions. These low latencies and high Internet speeds can only be made available through the standalone architecture.—Also, given the high investments that would have typically gone into standalone modes, operators would look at designing high-margin offerings for business customers on these networks. Comparatively, the early rollout timelines and low infrastructure costs would make non-standalone networks more attractive for smartphone users.Point to ponder: 1G to 5G and further: What changes with each ‘G’?MCQ:Which of the following statements is not correct?a) Launched in the late 1970s in China, 1G was the first generation of mobile telecommunication technology that offered voice calls only. b) The analog signals of 1G became completely digital in the second generation.c) The non-standalone mode of 5G network lets operators maximise the utilisation of their existing network infrastructure with relatively lower investment.d) With increase in cellular bandwidth, blazing speed and low latency, 5G promises to boost the ‘Internet of Things’.Destination Moon, and beyondSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies III: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.Why in news?—The launch of a keenly awaited space mission that is being seen as the start of a new age in space exploration had to be put off on Monday evening after engineers were unable to resolve a problem involving inadequate flow of liquid hydrogen to one of the rocket’s four engines.Key takeaways—It has been 50 years since the six Apollo human moon landings between 1969 and 1972. There has been huge progress in space exploration since then. Spacecraft have now gone beyond the solar system, exploratory missions have probed Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, more than 500 astronauts have travelled to space and back, and permanent space laboratories like the International Space Station (ISS) have been set up.—However, the promise of transporting human beings to new worlds, the possibility of landing, and living, on other planets, or travelling deep into space, probably even encountering aliens, has remained stagnant since the last of the 12 astronauts to set foot on the Moon returned in 1972.—This is why Artemis 1 is being seen as ushering in a new space age. It is the first in a series of ambitious missions that are planned to take human beings back to the Moon, explore possibilities of extended stay there, and investigate the potential to use it as a launch pad for deep space explorations.—On the face of it, Artemis 1 has extremely humble mission objectives. It is technically only a lunar Orbiter mission. It is not carrying any astronauts. It does not even have a lander or rover component. The mission’s spacecraft, called Orion, will get into a lunar orbit that would be about 97 km from the Moon’s surface at its closest. But unlike most other Orbiter missions, Orion has a return-to-Earth target after it has orbited the Moon for about a month.—Although the objective is to ensure the return of human beings to the Moon, the Artemis missions are going to be qualitatively very different from the Apollo missions. In many ways, the Moon landings of the 1960s and 1970s came a little too early in the space age. Man had reached the Moon just 12 years after the first-ever satellite, Sputnik, had been launched.—The Apollo missions were guided by geo-political considerations, and the desire of the United States to go one up on the Soviet Union which had taken a considerable lead in space technology, having sent the first satellite in space, the first spacecraft to crash on to the lunar surface, and the first astronaut in space.—President John F Kennedy had made a public announcement in 1961 that the US would put a man on the Moon before the decade was out. That deadline was met, thanks to a massive mobilisation of resources towards that end. But the technology ecosystem that could have maximised the benefits of such a major scientific breakthrough was still to be built. Therefore, astronauts landing on the moon could do little than bring back samples back to Earth for investigations.—The Artemis missions are in a position to exploit the major advancements in space technologies over the years. These technologies now make it possible to start extracting the resources found on the Moon, build from the materials available there, harness hydrogen or helium as energy source. Not all of that would happen with the first mission itself, but these things are distinctly possible now, making human landings on the Moon much more meaningful than earlier.—Artemis 1 is all about laying the foundations for more complex and ambitious missions. It is carrying several payloads in the form of small satellites called CubeSats, each of which is equipped with instruments meant for specific investigations and experiments. The focus of these investigations is clearly to explore long-term stays of human beings in space, and on the Moon.—One CubeSat will search for water in all its forms, another will map the availability of hydrogen that can be utilised as a source of energy. Then there are biology experiments, investigating the behaviour of small organisms like fungi and algae in outer space, and the effect of radiation, especially the reaction on their genes.—The Orion spacecraft, which is specifically designed to carry astronauts into deep space on future missions, will have three dummy ‘passengers’ — mannequins made of material that mimic human bones, skin, and soft tissue. These would be equipped with a host of sensors to record the various impacts of deep space atmosphere on the human body.—The rocket that is being used for the Artemis missions, called Space Launch System, or SLS, is the most powerful ever built, more powerful than the Saturn V rockets that had taken the Apollo missions to the Moon. The giant, 98-metre-tall rocket, weighing 2,500 tonnes, can help the Orion spacecraft achieve speeds of over 36,000 km per hour, and take it directly to the Moon, which is 1,000 times farther than the International Space Station that sees a regular traffic of astronauts.—The excitement around the mission will, however, have to be held back for the time being. There was a two-hour window on Monday to launch the mission, between 8.33 am and 10:33 am Eastern Daylight Time (about 6 pm to 8 pm in India). The launch was called off shortly after 8.33 am (6 pm India time) since the engineers who had been working on the problem for over two hours had been unable to resolve the issue.—The problem had been detected a few hours ahead of the launch. The flow of liquid hydrogen to one of the four engines of the rocket was not found to be optimal, which could have resulted in over-heating.Point to ponder: What is the significance of NASA’s Artemis mission, the beginning of a new age of human exploration of the Moon?MCQ:Consider the following statements with respect to Artemis 1 and answer the question below.1. Artemis 1 is carrying several payloads in the form of small satellites called CubeSats.2. The Orion spacecraft, which is specifically designed to carry astronauts into deep space on future missions, will have three dummy ‘passengers’.3. Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight test that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration.Which of the following statements are true?a) 1 and 3b) 2 and 3c) 1 and 2d) All of the aboveAnswer to the MCQs- 1 (c), 2(a), 3(d), 4(a), 5(d)

UPSC Essentials: Weekly news express with MCQs— World’s fifth biggest economy to UN High Seas Treaty
Floods in Pakistan bear similarities to those in India. It’s time for a collaborative mechanism to deal with extreme weather events
The Indian Express | 2 months ago | |
The Indian Express
2 months ago | |

There are indications that India will join the growing number of countries and international bodies that have responded to Pakistan’s appeal for help to deal with the ravages of the worst floods to hit the country in more than a decade. According to a report in this newspaper, discussions are underway at the highest levels on extending assistance to the beleaguered nation. In the past, too, the humanitarian impulse to reach out to a neighbour in crisis has moved Delhi and Islamabad to keep their geopolitical rivalry in abeyance. Pakistan provided assistance after the Gujarat earthquake of 2001. India did likewise when large swathes of Pakistan were flooded in 2010. The cooperation between the two countries during the Kashmir earthquake of 2005 even precipitated conversations about a collaborative disaster relief mechanism. Unfortunately, however, there has been little headway on that count, though the two countries did put down the cudgels again during the Kashmir floods of 2014.Pakistan has experienced an unusually wet monsoon this year. The season began in June, a month earlier than usual, after a nearly two-month-long drought. In August, the country received more than three times the normal rainfall. Though scientists can’t yet affirm the extent to which the catastrophe has been aggravated because of climate change, there is near unanimity that the deluge bears the imprint of a global-warming-induced extreme weather event. Swollen rivers cause more havoc because drainage systems in cities have not received adequate attention from the country’s planners. In several parts of Pakistan, embankments that have not been repaired for years have been swept away.The similarities between the calamity confronting Pakistan today and India’s recent experiences with weather vagaries are striking. This shouldn’t be surprising. The two countries have shared colonial legacies in urban planning and flood management. The same southwest monsoon that brings the bulk of India’s annual rainfall causes rain in Pakistan as well. The melting glaciers in the Himalayas do not respect borders. The ecological continuities in the Subcontinent make the case for regional cooperation on climate-related matters compelling. India and Pakistan do come together during negotiations at the UNFCCC fora — they are a part of an informal coalition that often asks for more financial action from developed countries to check climate change. But the outlook of South Asian governments towards forces of nature seems to be frozen in an era when the place of river and mountain systems in diplomacy is determined by economic and political considerations. The Subcontinent could learn from ASEAN’s initiative to draft a State of Climate Report on the eve of COP-26 last year — it outlines opportunities for cooperation and collaboration in the region for combating climate challenges. Data sharing mechanisms on river flows, flood alert systems, even a common renewable energy-dominated electricity grid, could substantially reduce the climate vulnerability of people in South Asia.

Floods in Pakistan bear similarities to those in India. It’s time for a collaborative mechanism to deal with extreme weather events
The same calamity
The Indian Express | 2 months ago | |
The Indian Express
2 months ago | |

There are indications that India will join the growing number of countries and international bodies that have responded to Pakistan’s appeal for help to deal with the ravages of the worst floods to hit the country in more than a decade. According to a report in this newspaper, discussions are underway at the highest levels on extending assistance to the beleaguered nation. In the past, too, the humanitarian impulse to reach out to a neighbour in crisis has moved Delhi and Islamabad to keep their geopolitical rivalry in abeyance. Pakistan provided assistance after the Gujarat earthquake of 2001. India did likewise when large swathes of Pakistan were flooded in 2010. The cooperation between the two countries during the Kashmir earthquake of 2005 even precipitated conversations about a collaborative disaster relief mechanism. Unfortunately, however, there has been little headway on that count, though the two countries did put down the cudgels again during the Kashmir floods of 2014.Pakistan has experienced an unusually wet monsoon this year. The season began in June, a month earlier than usual, after a nearly two-month-long drought. In August, the country received more than three times the normal rainfall. Though scientists can’t yet affirm the extent to which the catastrophe has been aggravated because of climate change, there is near unanimity that the deluge bears the imprint of a global-warming-induced extreme weather event. Swollen rivers cause more havoc because drainage systems in cities have not received adequate attention from the country’s planners. In several parts of Pakistan, embankments that have not been repaired for years have been swept away.The similarities between the calamity confronting Pakistan today and India’s recent experiences with weather vagaries are striking. This shouldn’t be surprising. The two countries have shared colonial legacies in urban planning and flood management. The same southwest monsoon that brings the bulk of India’s annual rainfall causes rain in Pakistan as well. The melting glaciers in the Himalayas do not respect borders. The ecological continuities in the Subcontinent make the case for regional cooperation on climate-related matters compelling. India and Pakistan do come together during negotiations at the UNFCCC fora — they are a part of an informal coalition that often asks for more financial action from developed countries to check climate change. But the outlook of South Asian governments towards forces of nature seems to be frozen in an era when the place of river and mountain systems in diplomacy is determined by economic and political considerations. The Subcontinent could learn from ASEAN’s initiative to draft a State of Climate Report on the eve of COP-26 last year — it outlines opportunities for cooperation and collaboration in the region for combating climate challenges. Data sharing mechanisms on river flows, flood alert systems, even a common renewable energy-dominated electricity grid, could substantially reduce the climate vulnerability of people in South Asia.

The same calamity
UPSC Key-August 30, 2022: Why you should read ‘Cybercrimes against Women’ or ‘Minorities in India’ or ‘zombie Ice’ for UPSC CSE
The Indian Express | 2 months ago | |
The Indian Express
2 months ago | |

Important topics and their relevance in UPSC CSE exam for August 30, 2022. If you missed the August 29, 2022 UPSC key from the Indian Express, read it hereFRONT PAGEFirst time, daily-wager suicides cross quarter of national totalSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story– Marking a steady increase since 2014, the share of daily wagers among those who die by suicide in the country has crossed the quarter mark for the first time, according to the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) — one in four of the recorded 1,64,033 suicide victims during 2021 was a daily wage earner.• For Your Information-The report, “Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India” — shows that daily wage earners remained the largest profession-wise group among suicide victims in 2021, accounting for 42,004 suicides (25.6 per cent).• What is the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)?• “Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India” by National Crime Records Bureau-What are the key takeaways?• According to the report, what is the definition of farmer/cultivator and agricultural labourer?• According to the report, what are the factors which together accounted for 56.6 per cent of total suicides in the country in 2021?• According to the report, the maximum suicides were recorded in which State?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍NCRB data | Crime against kids: a third still under POCSO📍Gujarat records highest number of custodial deaths for second yearPak floods: Modi reaches out, talks on to extend aidSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies I: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-  In his first statement on the floods in Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said he was “saddened” to see the devastation and “hoped for an early restoration of normalcy”. The discussions are underway at the highest levels on the possibility of extending humanitarian assistance to Pakistan.• What is a superflood?• Why the floods in Pakistan has been described as a ‘superflood’?• Map Work-Sindh, Baluchistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan• “The current flood is a direct result of an extremely wet monsoon season this year”-Elaborate further• Southwest monsoon in Pakistan-Know in detail• According to the Scientists, the “superflood” was made more likely by global heating, which drove fiercer rains-establish the link between global heating, southwest monsoon and floods in Pakistan• “The greater meandering of the jet stream led to both the prolonged rain in Pakistan and an extreme heatwave in Russia that year”-Know the role of jet stream in Monsoon• How the flash flooding and the destruction of river embankments are two critical factors in the high death toll in Pakistan?• What is ‘Global Climate Risk Index’?• What is the rank of India and other south Asian countries in Global Climate Risk Index 2022?• Who publishes ‘Global Climate Risk Index’?• How India can help Pakistan in this crisis situation?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍‘Monster monsoon’: why the floods in Pakistan are so devastating📍Explained: What caused Pakistan’s monster monsoon?THE CITYSharp rise in crimes against women; chargesheet rate low: NCRB dataSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social DevelopmentMains Examination: • General Studies I: Salient features of Indian Society, Role of women and women’s organization• General Studies IV: Ethics and Human Interface, Attitude and Case StudiesKey Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-An over 40% uptick in crimes against women and children; just 31% of IPC cases being charge sheeted; a 111% jump in cases of cybercrimes — these are some of the key takeaways from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for 2021 specific to the national capital.• What National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, 2021 says about crimes against women and children-Know the data’s and statistics• Why most women from the age of 18 to 30 are ‘vulnerable’?• What are the cybercrimes against women?• What includes in cybercrime with socially targets women?• Know these terms-Cyber Stalking, Cyber Defamation, Cyber Pornography, Cyber bullying and Cyber grooming• Women’s Rights Issues and Social Media-connect the dots• Women’s Safety on Social Media-know the laws Against Cyber Crime• What Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals says?• Youth, attitude towards women in Indian Society and violent extremism on social mediaOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Crime against women up 15.3%: NCRB📍Youth and violent extremism on social media📍Bulli Bai is latest example of harassment women face online📍An Express Series: What makes cyber criminals thriveGOVT & POLITICSCentre urges SC to defer hearing, says states need time for consultationsSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian PolityMains Examination: General Studies II: Indian Constitution, Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementationKey Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-The Supreme Court Tuesday allowed Central Government’s request for more time to hold consultations with states on the demand to grant minority status to Hindus in states where their numbers have gone below others. The court is hearing a clutch of petitions which have challenged the provisions of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 that gives the Centre the power to notify minorities.• What is the petition all about?• What is the definition of minority under Indian laws?• Who are the minorities in India?• What does the Constitution say about minorities?• What is Article 29 and Article 30 of the Constitution?• Section 2(c) of the National Minorities Commission Act, 1992?• Which are the minorities notified by the Government of India?• Religious and linguistic minority-Know the difference• When can states in India declare Hindus as minority?• Minority status with the principle laid down by the Supreme Court in 2002 TMA Pai Foundation and 2005 Bal Patil Case Ruling-Know in detailOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Explained: Who is a ‘minority’ in India? What the Constitution says, how Supreme Court has ruledEXPRESS NETWORKSC seeks reply Of UP govt on Kappan bail pleaSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementationKey Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government on a plea by Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan seeking bail.• Who is Siddique Kappan?• What is the law on bail?• “Bail is the rule and jail is the exception”-Decode the quote• What is triple test in bail?• The Supreme Court order acknowledged that the ever-greening of custody of an accused through multiple cases in different jurisdictions across states deprives him of his personal liberty-Elaborate further• Bail and Article 21 of the Constitution-connect the dots• Article 22 grants protection to persons who are arrested or detained-know them in detail• Detention is of two types, namely, punitive and preventive-Know them in detail• Punitive Detention and Preventive Detention-Compare and Contrast• Article 22 confers certain rights on a person who is arrested or detained under an ordinary law-What are they?• Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)-Key Highlights• Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Human Rights-Connect the dots• Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Article 22 of the Constitution-Connect the DotOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Siddique Kappan’s bail plea: Supreme Court seeks UP govt’s response📍A case for bailDeaths in road accidents up by 17%Syllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies III: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-Deaths by accidents on roads increased by almost 17 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020, indicating an increase in the rate of deaths per 1,000 vehicles in India, according to the latest NCRB report. Total road accidents reported was 4.03 lakh in 2021, up from 3.54 lakh the year before. But the 2021 accident numbers were significantly lower than those in 2019, when 4.37 lakh mishaps had been recorded, killing 1.54 lakh people.• Which state in India has highest road accidents 2021?• Road Accidents in India-Know Broad Profile of Road Accidents 2021 vis-a-vis 2020• Why Road Safety is must in India?• What position does India have in terms of Road safety?• What are the Initiatives Related to Road Safety?• What actions are being taken by the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Road Safety?• For your Information-Road network in India, of about 63.71 lakh km in March 2019, is one of the largest in the world. The country’s road network consists of National Highways, State Highways, Districts roads, Rural and Village Roads.• What are the Initiatives Related to Road Safety at national as well at international level?• What is ‘Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety’?• Know in detail about Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019• Do you Know-India’s road density at 1890.75 per 1000 sq.km of area in 2017-18 was higher than that of many developed countries though surfaced/paved road constituting 64.6 vehicles per kilometre of road length has increased from 28 vehicles in 2010 to 46 in 2020. This is indicative of the growing road traffic congestion in the country.• What is the Significance of Road Safety in India?• Which Ministry has notified the compensation to victims of hit and run Motor accidents Scheme 2022?• What is the advanced technique in traffic management?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Over 3.66 lakh road accidents caused about 1.32 lakh deaths in 2020: GovtEXPLAINEDJio’s ‘standalone’ 5G architecture, and how it will workSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importanceMain Examination: General Studies III: Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth and Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-India’s largest telecom company Reliance Jio on Monday announced the launch of its 5G services in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai by Diwali this year, with an aim to expand and cover the entire country by December 2023. The company said it will launch its 5G services on a “standalone” 5G architecture, against the “non-standalone” approach that other operators are betting on.• Fifth generation wireless technology (5G)-what do you understand by this?• Difference between 4G and 5G• 5G Technology – Key Features• What are the two different modes of 5G networks?• What are the key differentiators between standalone and non-standalone 5G networks?• How is the 5G smartphone ecosystem in India shaped?• What are the broad benefits of 5G for consumers?• Does the nature of the 5G network also determine use cases?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Jio 5G in 4 metros within 2 months: Ambani at AGMDestination Moon, and beyondSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies III: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-The launch of a keenly awaited space mission that is being seen as the start of a new age in space exploration had to be put off on Monday evening after engineers were unable to resolve a problem involving inadequate flow of liquid hydrogen to one of the rocket’s four engines.• What is NASA’s Artemis 1 mission?• What is the goal of NASA’s Artemis mission?• Where Did The Name Artemis Come From?• What will the Artemis program’s upcoming missions be?• Know the Moon Exploration History in detail• Do You Know-NASA’s Artemis 1 mission is aimed at exploring the Moon with the specific objective of getting human beings back on the lunar surface and possibly beyond — to Mars and elsewhere. With Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and first person of colour on the Moon, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before.• But why does NASA want to go back to the Moon, where it has been several times, and last went 50 years ago?• What does this new Moon mission hope to achieve?• What new things have scientists discovered about the Moon in recent decades?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Explained: The significance of NASA’s Artemis mission, the beginning of a new age of human exploration of the MoonUnited Nations High Seas TreatySyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing storyNegotiations involving 168 countries, including the European Union, to agree on a UN treaty for protecting oceans failed Saturday (August 27). In June, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had declared an “ocean emergency” at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, citing threats to the world’s oceans.• What is the proposed UN High Seas treaty?• How are the world’s oceans regulated as of now?• What are the risks of countries failing to reach an agreement?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Actor Javier Bardem urges UN delegates to protect oceansWhy California’s decision to phase out petroleum-powered vehicles mattersSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.Mains Examination: General Studies III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-California has approved a ban on the sale of new petroleum-powered vehicles by 2035 — a landmark policy intervention that could have an impact throughout most other American states, and in countries outside of the US.• How does this work?• Why is this important?• Are there challenges?• What is India’s stance?• Is California first state to ban sale of gas-powered vehicles?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍California to ban the sale of new gasoline carsTHE IDEAS PAGEThe return of nuclear weaponsSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Main Examination: General Studies II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.• What’s the ongoing story-C. Raja Mohan writes: After 1998, India premised its strategy on building ‘credible minimum deterrence’. The time has come to reflect on what is ‘credible’ and redefine what ‘minimum’ might be.• What is Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?• Vertical Proliferation and Horizontal Proliferation-Compare and Contrast• Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)-Key Provisions• Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)-Key Provisions• India and NPT, CTBT-Issues and India’s Apprehension• “There was a time when Delhi used to be hypersensitive to what was said at NPT conferences”-Analyse the statement• The historic India-US civil nuclear initiative of July 2005-Know in detail• “India’s independent foreign policy appears to be thriving. Ironically, as India’s atomic isolation eased after 2008, India’s nuclear debate lost much of its urgency”-Why India’s nuclear debate lost much of its urgency?• “The failure of the Tenth Review Conference, however, does reveal many of the new challenges facing the globalnuclear order today and their implications for India”-What are the implications especially for India?• What kind of implications does the unfolding global nuclear discourse present for India?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Five world powers issue pledge to prevent nuclear war📍Why UNSC joint statement on nuclear weapons is importantTHE WORLD‘Zombie ice’ from Greenland to up sea level 10 inchesSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies I: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- The melting of the Greenland ice sheet will unavoidably raise the global sea levels by at least 10.6 inches or 27 centimetres, no matter what climate action the world decides to take right now. This is because of ‘zombie ice’, which is certain to melt away from the ice cap and blend into the ocean. The calculation comes from a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change where scientists for the first time calculated minimum ice loss in Greenland, and the corresponding rise in global sea level.• What is ‘zombie ice’?• What has led to this?• What happens next, and by when?• What does a 10-inch rise in sea-level mean?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Explained: What is ‘zombie ice’, how it threatens to raise global sea levels by over 10 inches?📍Greenland ice sheet climate disequilibrium and committed sea-level rise  For any queries and feedback, contact priya.shukla@indianexpress.comThe UPSC KEY Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Updates. 

UPSC Key-August 30, 2022: Why you should read ‘Cybercrimes against Women’ or ‘Minorities in India’ or ‘zombie Ice’ for UPSC CSE
Daily Briefing: Noida’s Supertech twin towers demolished in 12 seconds; Congress likely to get new chief on Oct 19
The Indian Express | 2 months ago | |
The Indian Express
2 months ago | |

Good morning, The Big StoryOn October 19, the Congress will likely get a new party chief after elections are being held for the post for the first time in 21 years. At least by October 8 we will know who will be contesting as it is the last date for withdrawing of nominations and the election, if there is more than one candidate, will take place on October 17. However, at the Congress Working Committee meeting held to discuss the election schedule, a senior leader questioned the sanctity of the process of electing 9,000-odd delegates who will vote in the party chief election.    Only in The ExpressIn this edition of The Indian Express’s Idea Exchange, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Thakur spoke about AAP and its contentious excise policy, consolidation of corporate power in the media, and dynasty politics.From the front pageGone in 12 seconds. That was all it took for the Supertech twin towers in Noida to turn into a huge pile of rubble. A cloud of dust engulfed the area for several minutes after nearly 3,700 kg of explosives were used to bring down the towers. What next? Clearing 80,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste. “Hardik Pandya is the world’s best allrounder at the moment,” Wasim Akram raved on the night Hardik beat Pakistan with a stunning performance with the bat and the ball. All the usual Hardik signposts were visible: With the ball, the confidence to use the bouncer liberally, the hard lengths he is most comfortable with. With the bat, the careful deliberate positioning of the body and the areas he accesses and the eerie calmness, right till the end.Must ReadIn the cross-border cattle smuggling case that has major political implications in West Bengal, the findings detailed by the CBI in its third supplementary chargesheet include TMC leader Anubrata Mondal’s alleged links to the racket’s “kingpin” through a personal security guard, a handwritten diary that provided key leads, “backdated fake bills” — and a partner gone missing.The Woodburn Block in the SSKM Hospital in Kolkata is the first stop for “ailing” politicians, particularly those one step away from detention. With its rooms furnished with refrigerators and LED TVs, this VVIP wing is far-removed from the rest of the multi-speciality institute, with long queues of patients waiting to be attended and harried staff struggling to keep up. In the past few years, almost all members of the ruling Trinamool Congress facing cases have landed up here.Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvallur district, located to the north of the capital city of Chennai, has long been notorious for the prevalence of bonded labour. Now, around a hundred emancipated labourers and their families are shaping their own future — by co-owning and operating a brick kiln, launched three months ago by the district administration.The Supreme Court on August 25 issued a notice in a petition challenging the remission of the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case. Indira Jaising raises the question of whether the communal violence that took place in Gujarat in 2002 was “spontaneous” or if it was waiting to happen through the systemic degradation of the ecosystem due to the long-term build-up of hate speech against the minority community.Pakistan is facing one of the worst floods in its recent history. Reports say about 110 of the 150 districts in the country are affected by the flooding. Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Sunday that over 1,000 people were confirmed dead in the floods so far. In today’s explained, we talk about the impact of the deluge that is worse than the superflood of 2010 and the extreme rainfall in India.And FinallyOn the eve of Naseem Shah’s departure from Pakistan for the Asia Cup, his mentor and son of Abdul Qadir Sulieman Qadir told him, “Ab aapki zindagi ki udaan shuru hue hain. (The time has come now for you to fly high in your life!)” Not just mentors from home rave about him but one of the brainiest pacer of them all Andy Roberts too has been keeping a close eye on him.Delhi Confidential: Like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also used to pen down poems – but he prefers to call himself an “admirer of words” not a poet. An English translation of his “innermost thoughts”, which he had jotted in his diary during his travels before he became the Prime Minister, has just been published. “Letters to Self” is translated from Gujarati by Bhawana Somaaya. The poems should not be equated to his position, but “reflects” his “feelings experienced” from his “little window of life”.In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we talk about the war of words between Beijing and New Delhi after Qi Zhenhong, the Chinese ambassador wrote an article for a Sri Lankan newspaper alleging “thorough interference” into Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.Until next time,Leela Prasad and Srishti Kapoor

Daily Briefing: Noida’s Supertech twin towers demolished in 12 seconds; Congress likely to get new chief on Oct 19
Explained: Pakistan’s monster monsoon
The Indian Express | 2 months ago | |
The Indian Express
2 months ago | |

While Europe, China and some other regions of the world are experiencing a severe drought, Pakistan is facing one of the worst floods in its recent history. Reports say about 110 of the 150 districts in the country are affected by the flooding. Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Sunday that over 1,000 people were confirmed dead in the floods so far.The flooding, the result of an unusually wet monsoon season in Pakistan this year, started in July, but has worsened over the last couple of weeks. The regions of Sindh and Balochistan, comprising the western half of Pakistan, have been badly hit, although Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa too have been affected.Worse than superflood of 2010Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman on Sunday shared data from Pakistan’s NDMA that said nearly 33 million people, about 15% of the country’s population, had been affected by the floods. That makes this a more widespread flooding event than the one in 2010, described as a ‘superflood’ in which about 20 million people were affected, according to most assessments. More than 2,000 people are supposed to have been killed in the 2010 event.Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported on Sunday that “more than half of Pakistan” was currently under water, and that millions had been rendered homeless. At least half a million people had been evacuated and shifted to safer places, news reports said, citing Pakistan’s NDMA. News television has been running eyewitness accounts about people, especially children, getting swept by raging rivers. Several people are reported to have died in house collapses triggered by flash floods and landslides in the hilly areas.Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has said that most of the country was likely to remain dry — “hot and humid” — over the next two days, but some rain was expected in the upper catchments of the major rivers. That means the flow in the rivers is unlikely to subside for the next few days.The Flood Forecasting Division of the PMD in its bulletin on Sunday warned that the Kabul river, which originates in Afghanistan and flows through the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province before joining a tributary of the Indus river not very far from Islamabad, was in a “very high flood level” near Nowshera city, and that this situation was likely to continue for at least one more day. The Indus was flowing at “high flood level” near Chashma town in Punjab and Sukkur in Sindh province, it said.An extremely wet monsoonThe current flood is a direct result of an extremely wet monsoon season this year. The same southwest monsoon that brings the bulk of India’s annual rainfall causes rain in Pakistan as well. The monsoon season in Pakistan, however, is a little shorter than in India. That is because the rain-bearing monsoon winds take time to travel northward from India into Pakistan. The official monsoon season in Pakistan begins on July 1 and extends until September, although most of the rainfall happens during the months of July and August. The active rainfall season is only one and a half months.The normal rainfall for Pakistan as a whole during this three-month monsoon season is 140 mm, according to PMD. But because the season is quite short, there is a wide variation in the monsoon rainfall every year.This year, the country saw plenty of rain from late June itself. But August has been exceptionally wet. Minister Rehman shared PMD data that showed until Friday, August had produced two and a half times its normal rainfall — 176.8 mm against the expected 50.4 mm. In Sindh, it has rained almost eight times the normal amount during this period; Balochistan has received over five times more.“Pakistan has never seen an unbroken cycle of monsoon like this. Eight weeks of non-stop torrents have left huge swathes of the country under water. This is no normal season. This is a deluge from all sides, impacting 33 million plus people which is the size of a small country,” Rehman said on Twitter.Thus far in this season, Pakistan has already received 354.3 mm of rain, more than three times the normal of 113.7 mm until this time. Rehman said Pakistan is currently witnessing the eighth spell of rain in this season. Normally, there are about four to five spells in the entire season.Meanwhile, the PMD director general said that the flood situation could have been even worse but for the timely forecast. The predictions for very heavy rainfall were made in April and May, which gave some time for the government agencies to prepare.Different situation in IndiaThe rainfall situation in Pakistan has been quite different from that of India so far, though incidents of extreme rainfall and flooding have happened here as well.In August, India has received rainfall that is barely 6 per cent more than the normal. For the entire season so far, the country has received 7 per cent more than normal rainfall.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxHowever, because India is such a huge country, the overall numbers hide marked variations at the regional and local levels. Just last week, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand experienced torrential rainfall, triggering landslides and flashfloods that killed over 30 people.In August, central India, comprising mainly Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, has received 26% excess rainfall.

Explained: Pakistan’s monster monsoon
Villages put on flood alert as dams begin to release water
The Indian Express | 3 months ago | |
The Indian Express
3 months ago | |

Several villages in Vadodara, Anand, Narmada, and Bharuch districts were put on flood alert as several dams in Central Gujarat, including the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Narmada, have begun to release water, following heavy rainfall.The Sardar Sarovar Dam recorded a water level of 135.68 metres — three meters short of its Full Reservoir Level — Tuesday evening even as the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd. (SSNNL) released 5 lakh cusecs of water from 23 gates of the dam.Kadana Dam located on the Mahisagar river in Mahisagar district issued warning of releasing 4 lakh cusecs of water as the dam level inches towards 238 feet.

Villages put on flood alert as dams begin to release water
  • Gujarat: Flood alert for villages on banks of Narmada after increase in outflow from Sardar Sarovar dam
  • The Indian Express

    A flood alert has been issued for several villages on the banks of the Narmada river in Gujarat after 2.94 lakh cusecs of water began to be released from the Sardar Sarovar dam, an official release stated in Ahmedabad Monday.Heavy rain in the catchment areas of the river in Madhya Pradesh forced the administration to release 2.5 lakh cusecs of water by opening 15 gates of the dam for about 2.35 metres. Earlier, only 10 gates were open and one lakh cusecs water was being released downstream.Water is also being released through River Bed Power House taking the total outflow from the dam to 2.94 lakh cusecs, the release added. With this outflow, the river is expected to flow bank to bank in the Narmada and Bharuch districts of the state.The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) first opened the gates of the dam on August 12. Currently, the dam is 91 per cent full. In other words, the water level in the 138.66-metre dam is 136 metres. It currently sees an inflow of close to two lakh cusecs from the catchment areas.

Congress to conduct survey of flood-hit areas
The Indian Express | 4 months ago | |
The Indian Express
4 months ago | |

As heavy rains continue to batter parts of Gujarat, the Congress announced that it will conduct a survey of the affected population.The party also accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of having failed to make advance arrangements to provide relief to those affected by the floods. Instead, the BJP and local administrations were busy in party propaganda, said Congress’s chief whip CJ Chavda.“The state government has once again failed to make advance arrangements for the monsoon season which began from June 15 this year. Repairing of roads and adequate health and fooding facilities are aspects on which the state government should have worked in advance; however, they had other priorities. There is an existing manual to help flood-affected people in Gujarat; however, they exist only on paper and there are no policies for its implementation,” said Chavda at a press conference held at Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan in Paldi of Ahmedabad.He said Congress leaders have been visiting the flood-hit areas where there has been massive loss to people, including loss of homes. “The state government makes announcements but it doesn’t conduct surveys to find an estimate of loss. It issues circulars but there is no implementation. The administration has been unable to reach flood-hit areas where maximum assistance is required; instead, it is busy in propaganda of the state government,” Chavda said.Announcing a survey of the flood-affected regions, Chavda said, “We have released four types of forms which can be filled by people both offline and online. The forms are for those whose vehicles and homes have been submerged due to rains, for small businesses that have been affected by rains, for dairy and animal husbandry owners and farmers who have been most affected by the rains. We will demand compensation for the people affected by rains after the survey is completed.”The Congress also accused the state government of fudging data on vaccination of animals in the backdrop of the lumpy skin disease—a viral infection—that has spread among cattle and water buffaloes in 14 districts of the state. “We believe the state government is fudging data regarding lumpy infection among cattle like it did during Covid times. The vaccination of animals is only on paper,” said Pal Ambalia, head of Gujarat Congress Kisan Cell.

Congress to conduct survey of flood-hit areas
Shift in monsoon trough this week, respite likely for Maharashtra
The Indian Express | 4 months ago | |
The Indian Express
4 months ago | |

The Southwest monsoon is all set to enter the season’s first break-phase starting July 27. There will be respite for states such as Maharashtra and Gujarat which have suffered due to floods, said IMD. During this phase, rainfall activity will largely be concentrated along the Himalayan foothills.This would mean that the upcoming rainfall spell could help reduce the prevailing rainfall deficiency since June 1 over Uttar Pradesh (- 55 per cent), Jharkhand (-51 per cent), Bihar (-44 per cent) and West Bengal (-28 per cent). Existing deficiencies in Manipur (-39 per cent) and Tripura (-32 per cent), too, could improve starting July-end, the Met officials said.“After a good rainfall during the first fortnight of July, there will now be some much needed respite for Gujarat and Maharashtra which were hit by floods. As there are no synoptic systems that are likely to develop during the next one week, rainfall will be associated with westerly or southwesterly winds,” Medha Khole, senior forecaster at IMD, Pune, said.During the monsoon break phase, rainfall over central, north peninsular and western India regions remains subdued. This as the monsoon trough remains to the north of its normal position and moves to the foothills of the Himalayas. It is normal to witness monsoon-active or monsoon-break phases during the four-month long Southwest monsoon season. Extreme southern India and eastern India, too, benefit from the monsoon break period.The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the monsoon trough on Sunday passed through southwest Rajasthan, Jaisalmer, Kota, Guna, Satna, Ambikapur and Balasore, dipping into east-central Bay of Bengal.“The monsoon trough is very likely to shift northwards to its normal position from July 27 and in the subsequent three to four days,” the weather bulletin issued by the agency stated.Meanwhile, the next three days will see extreme heavy rainfall (over 204mm in 24 hours) over Gujarat and southeast Madhya Pradesh. It will be under the influence of a low pressure system prevailing over southwest Rajasthan and its associated cyclonic circulation. There is another cyclonic circulation brewing over southeast Madhya Pradesh.“Widespread rainfall with isolated heavy rainfall, thunder and lightning is very likely over Gujarat, Rajasthan, west Madhya Pradesh on July 25 and 26,” the IMD warned.So far this monsoon, Gujarat has seen a deluge in July. As on July 24, Gujarat has received 490.2mm of rain against a normal of 303.9mm, making it 64 per cent above normal. Likewise, Rajasthan, too has recorded 51 per cent more rainfall than its average of 174mm till date.Over the next ten days, the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) — the eastward propagating tropical pulses positively affecting Indian monsoon — will enter the Indian Ocean and keep the rainfall active over the country.

Shift in monsoon trough this week, respite likely for Maharashtra
Army’s Southern Command launches Operation Varsha for flood relief in various states
The Indian Express | 4 months ago | |
The Indian Express
4 months ago | |

The Pune-headquartered Southern Command of the Indian Army has launched a flood relief effort, Operation Varsha-22, to undertake evacuation, rescue and medical response in various states affected by flooding. Respective local formations have over the last few days responded to flood situations that arose in Telangana and Maharashtra. At other places in the area of responsibility of the Southern Command, relief teams comprising engineering and medical columns are on standby, officials said. Operation Varsha is part of Southern Command’s Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) effort. On Wednesday, columns of Maharashtra Gujarat and Goa (MG&G) Area of Southern Command, comprising troops from Guards Regimental Centre and 269 Engineer Regiment, carried out flood relief operations in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra and 113 civilians were evacuated to safety. Secunderabad-headquartered 54th Infantry Division of the Army, also known as the Bison Division, responded to the flood situation in Telangana’s Bhadradri Kothagudem district earlier this week. “Flood Relief Teams of #BisonDivision launched in Sarapaka Town of Bhadradri Kothagudem District. Fifteen families evacuated to safer places.” said a tweet from the Southern Command. The teams from Bison Division conducted a medical camp at Sarapaka, where 65 people, including children and the elderly, were screened and provided with medical aid.In Gujarat, Ahmedabad-headquartered 11th Infantry Division or Golden Katar Division organised a medical camp for flood-hit villages of the Amreli district. In 2018, the troops from Southern Command had undertaken extensive disaster relief efforts in Kerala in coordination with the local administration. During the 2019 floods in Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts of Maharashtra, Southern Command undertook ‘Operation Madad’ for rescue and relief efforts.

Army’s Southern Command launches Operation Varsha for flood relief in various states
Karnataka govt to oppose Centre’s draft notification on ESA in Western Ghats
The Indian Express | 4 months ago | |
The Indian Express
4 months ago | |

The Karnataka government has decided to oppose the draft notification issued by the Centre on Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA) in the Western Ghats. The decision was taken at a meeting convened by state Minister for Home Affairs Araga Jnanendra on Monday and attended by ministers and legislators from Malnad and coastal districts.The home minister said a delegation of legislators and MPs from the affected regions would meet the Union Minister for Environment and Forests. “MLAs cutting across party lines have unanimously expressed their opposition to the notification by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. A delegation of Lok Sabha members and MLAs from the state, headed by the Chief Minister, will meet the Union Minister for Environment,” Jnanendra said.“If this draft notification by the MoEF&CC (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) is accepted as it is, it will affect the lives of the people in rural areas and because of that, there will be strong opposition by the local people. We have also decided to go to court against the Centre’s move if necessary. Awareness activities will also be taken up to apprise people of the impact of the notification on them,” the minister added. He also told the reporters that no scientific survey was undertaken to decide the extent of the ESA in the Western Ghats before issuing the notification.Commenting on the opposition of political parties to the draft notification, wildlife conservationist Joseph Hoover said, “Instead of saving our forests and all its goodness, they flock together like vultures and devour what precious little is left of our fragile ecosystem. The ESZ has been notified for the good of us and future generations. It has been emphasised that those in the green zone would not be disturbed or displaced. They can continue with their chores on and off the field. The interest of our farmers should never be compromised. Only resorts, mining, hydro projects… are restricted in the orange and red zones. Justifiably so. Without reading or understanding the notification, our elected representatives are misinforming people living in the Western Ghats region about them losing their land and livelihood.”He added that even being in the midst of a climate crisis with extreme climate events battering the people daily has not opened the eyes of the leaders. “Barely a fortnight ago, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai told foresters that he would support them wholeheartedly to increase forest cover in Karnataka. Now, our chief minister is set to take all these clueless leaders to Delhi to challenge the July 6 notification issued by the MoEF&CC,” Hoover said.“If they are keen to uplift the life of local people, they should provide well-equipped health care centres, schools, colleges, libraries, transport facilities and good public amenities. As most are aware, some of these leaders have huge land holdings in eco-sensitive areas. Some control quarries. Some have resorts. Some are constructing resorts and entertainment hubs. They have made huge investments. In their desire to protect their interests, they are mischievously stoking the passion of local communities to stall the ESZ notification. If floods and landslides continue to devastate people, these MLAs and MLCs should be held responsible for their sufferings,” Hoover pointed out.Dr TV Ramachandra, professor at the Centre for Ecological Sciences department at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), said that the government should consider implementing the draft notification. “Considering the changes in climate (evident from recurring floods, droughts, landslides, increasing temperature, etc), which would affect the livelihood of all people and hurt the nation’s economy, it is prudent to conserve the fragile ecosystems. This would cost less compared to being prone to calamities and spending money and resources for restoration,” Dr Ramachandra said.On Monday, Minister for State in the MoEF&CC Ashwini Kumar Choubey told the Lok Sabha that with a view to issue a final notification to declare ESA in the Western Ghats – on the basis of the Kasturirangan Panel Report – the Union environment ministry had issued a draft notification dated February 10, 2014 on an eco-sensitive area of 56,825 sq km spreading over six states of Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.“With persisting demand from the states to reduce/alter the ESA area from the recommendation of the Kasturirangan Panel (High-Level Working Group) Report, the final notification for Western Ghat Eco-Sensitive Area could not be issued so far. While consistent efforts to bring the six states on board have been underway, the ministry has subsequently republished the draft notification four times dated 04.09.2015; 27.02.2017; 03.10.2018 and 06.07.2022,” Choubey said.“In order to follow a coherent and consistent approach in notifying the ESA of Western Ghats, this ministry has been interacting with all the states of the Western Ghats region at various levels. Efforts are being made to finalise the notification, taking into consideration the environmental concerns of the region and the suggestions and/or recommendations of the concerned state governments, including the governments of Kerala and Karnataka in a holistic manner, keeping in view the conservation aspects of the disaster-prone pristine ecosystem, and the rights, privileges, needs and developmental aspirations of the region. To address the issues raised by the state governments, the MoEFCC has already constituted a committee to examine the concerns/suggestions of the six state governments,” he said.The Union environment ministry last week issued a draft notification demarcating 46,832 sq km in five states (Gujrat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa and Tamil Nadu) as ESA, of which 20,668 sq km is in Karnataka.

Karnataka govt to oppose Centre’s draft notification on ESA in Western Ghats
In a first, eight women in team of NDRF’s rescuers
Times of India | 4 months ago | |
Times of India
4 months ago | |

Vadodara: If a pregnant woman gets stuck in any flooded area in the state and is unable to reach the hospital for delivery, now women in uniform will come for their rescue. In a first, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has included women in its battalion in Gujarat. These women personnel are also trained in prenatal care and midwifery too in case of pregnancy-related emergencies. “During floods, hundreds get marooned in remote areas and one of the worst affected in such situations are pregnant women. If their delivery is due, it becomes difficult as well as risky to make them wade through the floods to reach a hospital,” explained Anupam, deputy commandant, NDRF 6 battalion.“Our team of women is trained in delivering babies safely in case of emergencies and the women too would feel comfortable to have women rescuers around in case of medical emergencies,” Anupam told TOI. Three of these women were recently deployed in the flood-hit Rajpipla taluka in Narmada district. These women, who are from the central reserve police force (CRPF), were enrolled one year ago in the NDRF. In the 19-week basic training session, these women underwent all basic training along with their male counterparts including aquatic disaster response, chemical and radiological disaster response, animal management, rope rescue besides special training on pregnancy-related response. The NDRF 6 battalion has 600 men apart from the eight women. “The deployment in NDRF will give us new exposure and community training. We will be directly contributing to the community around us. At NDRF, we will be more into life-saving,” said one of the women deployed in the battalion.

In a first, eight women in team of NDRF’s rescuers
Major dams above 50% capacity: As rain reduces, govt announces support measures for worst-hit
The Indian Express | 4 months ago | |
The Indian Express
4 months ago | |

With the intensity of rain reducing Saturday, the state government has reached out to the flood-affected with cash and dry fodder for their cattle. The government has decided to give four kilograms of dry grass per cattle.A total of 132 teams have started a survey in Navsari, among the worst-affected. The teams are also distributing cash dole to the flood-affected families.There are still 9,306 persons living in rescue centres set up by the state government. So far, the government has evacuated 57,407 persons, of which 47,102, have returned to their respective homes. In July, about 56 persons and 747 animals perished in the rains.Meanwhile, four national highways continued to remain closed to traffic. In addition, nine state highways and 171 panchayat roads also remained closed to traffic.Currently, 140 bus routes are closed and of the 126 villages that lost electricity supply, the authorities have restored power to 103 villages.At the same time, the heavy rainfall over the past few days has ensured that the water storage in 207 major water projects, including the Sardar Sarovar dam, has crossed the halfway mark, the state government stated Saturday.There are 27 reservoirs that are 100 per cent full, while an additional 41 reservoirs have 70-100 per cent water. There are only 62 reservoirs that have 25 per cent water, an official release stated.In its weather warning for Sunday, the India Meteorological department (IMD) has warned of heavy rains at isolated places in Valsad, Junagadh and Porbandar. Surat is also expected to get heavy rainfall. Other parts of the state, including Ahmedabad, will receive light to moderate rain or thundershowers.On Saturday, very heavy rainfall occurred in Valsad and the Union Territory of Daman. Heavy rainfall also occurred in isolated areas of Mehsana, Dangs, Navsari and Gir Somnath. On Friday, Finance Minister Kanu Desai visited the flood-affected areas in Valsad. He also met the local businessmen.

Major dams above 50% capacity: As rain reduces, govt announces support measures for worst-hit