08 November, 2019
28 Min Read
|GS-I||Bru (Reang) tribe of Tripura||Indian Society|
|GS-II||India Justice Report (IJR) 2019|
|Maharashtra Assembly Election|
|Feni River Dispute||International Relations|
|GS-III||Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act, 2009|
|Sovereign Credit Ratings||Economic Issues|
Syllabus subtopic: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
News: Nearly 32,000 Brus living in Tripura camps since 1997 have been affected after the government decided to stop food supplies and cash dole.
Prelims focus: About Brus and issues associated.
Mains focus: Agreement in this regard and the recent demands for relaxation of the norms in the agreement.
The Brus, also referred to as the Reangs, are spread across the northeastern states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur, and Mizoram.
Source: Indian Express
Syllabus subtopic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
News: India Justice Report (IJR) 2019 has been released.
Prelims focus: Key findings of the report
Mains focus: Concerns expressed by the report and ways to address them.
Performance of various states:
Key Issues highlighted:
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus subtopic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
News: Term of current government in Maharashtra ends tomorrow.
Prelims focus: Role if governor in case of a hung assembly.
Mains focus: Implications and challenges involved.
While the existing Legislative Assembly will cease to exist post November 9, legal experts noted that there is no binding that the government should be in place by that day.
Governor’s role in such circumstances
The Governor would be expected to go as per an order of preference set out in the Sarkaria Commission recommendations, which have also been ratified by the Supreme Court. By the order of preference, the Governor can invite:
What after swearing in?
If no government can be formed, is President’s rule likely?
Article 356 of the Constitution provides for the imposition of President’s Rule in a state in “case of failure of the constitutional machinery in the state”.
As per the constitutional stipulation, it can be imposed in cases where the President, on receipt of report from the Governor of the state or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
In Maharashtra‘s case, if the Governor is satisfied that no party or alliance can form a stable government would he recommend imposition of President’s rule.
Source: Indian Express
Syllabus subtopic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.
News: The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bangladesh on the withdrawal of 1.82 cusecs (cubic feet per second) of water from the Feni river by India for a drinking water supply scheme for Sabroom town in Tripura.
Prelims focus: Feni river, origin and tributaries.
Mains focus: Significance and the need for MoU.
About Feni river:
About the dispute:
There has been no water-sharing agreement between the countries on the Feni previously.
The dispute over the sharing of the river water has been long-standing. It was taken up between India and Pakistan (before the independence of Bangladesh) in 1958 during a Secretary-level meeting in New Delhi.
Recent developments and significance of the MoU:
In August 2019, India and Bangladesh held a water secretary-level meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) in Dhaka, where it was agreed to collect data and prepare water-sharing agreements for seven rivers — Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla, Dudhkumar, and Feni.
The MoU stands to benefit Sabroom town on the southern tip of Tripura. The present supply of drinking water to Sabroom town is inadequate. The groundwater in this region has high iron content. Implementation of this scheme would benefit over 7000 population of Sabroom town.
Source: Indian Express
Syllabus subtopic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
News: The Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act, 2009 is being blamed for contributing to the air pollution over Delhi and surrounding areas.
Prelims focus: Key features and significance of the act.
Mains focus: Role in increasing air pollution in the capital and surrounding.
The law led to the sowing and transplantation of the summer paddy crop to be delayed by about a fortnight, and moved the harvesting season to end-October and early November — a time when the moist air and largely inactive wind systems cause particulate matter and gases from burning paddy stubble to hang in the atmosphere. This air is carried by northwesterly winds towards Delhi, which lies to the southeast of Punjab.
About The Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act, 2009
The law aimed at conserving groundwater by mandatorily delaying the transplanting of paddy to beyond June 10, when the most severe phase of evapotranspiration (transfer of water from land to the atmosphere through evaporation from the soil and plant transpiration) is over. Farmers were forbidden from sowing paddy before May 10, and transplanting it before June 10.
Why was the law enacted?
There has been serious concern over the drastic fall in the water table in Punjab and the cultivation of paddy leads to over-exploitation of underground aquifers, as a very large number of tubewells (more than 14 lakh in 2015-16) running on free power pump out virtually endless amounts of water.
It was believed that early transplanting of rice (before mid-June) resulted in unsustainable withdrawals of groundwater with the monsoon still far, temperatures very high, and the evapotranspiration rate (ETR) at its peak. And hence this law was put in place.
Law’s link with air pollution
Does the Act really help conserve groundwater?
A study has reported a robust effect of the 2009 Act on reducing groundwater depletion. Between 2008-09 and 2012-13, the average annual rate of decline of groundwater in Punjab was 0.7 metres, less than the 0.9 m during the period 2000-01 to 2008-09, the study found.
Punjab’s underground water situation currently
According to a report in May 2019 by the Central Ground Water Board under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, 105 out of 138 blocks are in the dark zone. At current rates of depletion, good quality water in the first aquifer up to a depth of 100 m shall be exhausted in 10 years, and the entire subsurface water resource could be finished in the next 22 years.
Source: Indian Express
Syllabus subtopic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
News: The Ministry of Environment and Forests announced that mills would not require separate environmental clearance to produce additional ethanol from B-heavy molasses
For Prelims focus: About ethanol and its benefits.
For Mains focus: Need for blending and the demand for increased production
Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is a liquid that has several uses. At 95% purity, it is called rectified spirit and is used as the intoxicating ingredient in alcoholic beverages. At 99%-plus purity, ethanol is used for blending with petrol.
The molasses go through three stages — A, B, and C, the last one being where the molasses are most un-crystallised and non-recoverable.
How more ethanol can be produced?
Mills can also produce only ethanol from sugarcane, without producing sugar at all. In this case, the entire 14% TFS in the cane is fermented. Here, a mill can make 84 litres of ethanol and zero kg of sugar.
Focusing on more ethanol
Mills currently have all-time-high stocks of sugar, and they have been at loggerheads with farmers over non-payment of dues.
Mill owners insist that the reason behind their woes is excess production of sugar and fall in its price.
Under the circumstances, ethanol is the only real saviour — both for mills and cane growers.
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
News: Global ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service has cut its outlook on the Government of India’s ratings to negative from stable, but affirmed the Baa2 foreign-currency and local-currency long-term issuer ratings.
Prelims focus: About sovereign ratings
Mains focus: What does the downgrade mean for India? Implications and what needs to be done?
Implications for India
Why did Moody’s cut India’s rating?
Indian government arguements:
Noting Moody’s concerns, the Finance Ministry said that India continues to be among the fastest growing major economies in the world, and India’s relative standing remains unaffected.
The Government said it has undertaken series of financial sector and other reforms to strengthen the economy as a whole.
It has also proactively taken policy decisions in response to the global slowdown. These measures would lead to a positive outlook on India and would attract capital flows and stimulate investments.
The fundamentals of the economy remain quite robust with inflation under check and bond yields low. India continues to offer strong prospects of growth in near and medium term.
About different general credit ratings?
AAA: Highest credit quality that denotes the lowest expectations of default risk.
AA+/AA/AA-: Very high credit quality. ‘AA’ ratings denote expectations of very low default risk. They indicate very strong capacity for payment of financial commitments.
A+/A/A-: High credit quality that denotes expectations of low default risk. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered strong, however, vulnerability to adverse business or economic conditions exists.
BBB+/BBB/BBB-: Good credit quality that indicates that expectations of default risk are currently low. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered adequate, but adverse business or economic conditions are more likely to impair this capacity.
BB+/BB/BB-: This rating indicates an elevated vulnerability to default risk, particularly in the event of adverse changes in business or economic conditions over time; however, business or financial flexibility exists that supports the servicing of financial commitments.
B+/B/B-: This rating indicates that material default risk is present, but a limited margin of safety remains. Financial commitments are currently being met; however, capacity for continued payment is vulnerable to deterioration in the business and economic environment.
CCC+/CCC/CCC-: Substantial credit risk exists in this rating, where the default is a real possibility.
CC: This rating shows a very high level of credit risk with a possibility of defaults.
C: This rating shows that a default or default-like process has begun, or the issuer is in a standstill.
DDD/RD/SD/DD/D: This indicates that the issuer has entered into bankruptcy filings, administration, receivership, liquidation or other formal winding-up procedure or has ceased business.
Source: Indian Express
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