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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

19 Mar, 2021

79 Min Read

Interlinking of River Projects

GS-I : Indian Geography River water projects

Interlinking of River Projects

  • The project of inter-linking of rivers was first proposed in the 1970s.
  • The National Perspective Plan (NPP) was prepared by the then Ministry of Irrigation (now Ministry of Jal Shakti) in August 1980 for water resources development through inter basin transfer of water, for transferring water from water surplus basins to water-deficit basins.
  • Under the NPP, the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has identified 30 links (16 under the Peninsular Component and 14 under the Himalayan Component) for the preparation of Feasibility Reports (FRs).
  • The concept has been envisaged on the fact that Indo-Gangetic rivers are perennial and are fed from rain waters and other glacial sources of southwest monsoon.
  • On the other hand, peninsular rivers are rainfed and are heavily dependent on the southwest monsoon.
  • Hence, Indo-Gangetic plains witness devastating floods whereas peninsular states suffer from severe droughts.
  • If this excess water is transported to the peninsular rivers, the issues of floods and droughts can be resolved.
  • Therefore the interlinking of rivers will provide for equitable distribution of river waters.

What is the National River Linking Project?

  • The project proposes to transfer water from the ‘water surplus’ basin to the ‘water deficit’ basin by interlinking 37 rivers across the country through a network of nearly 3000 storage dams to form a gigantic South Asian Water Grid.
  • National Water Development Agency (NWDA) is responsible for the formulation of proposals for the linking of rivers.
  • The project has two components – 1) Himalayan Component & 2) Peninsular Component.

Himalayan Component:

  • Under this, 14 projects have been identified to link different rivers of the Himalayan Region.
  • It involves the construction of storage reservoirs on the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers as well as their tributaries.
  • In addition, the interlinking of Ganga and Yamuna has also been proposed.
  • It is expected to benefit the drought-prone areas of Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, etc.
  • Further, it will moderate floods in the Ganga Brahmaputra river system.
  • It has 2 sub-component linkages:
  1. Ganga and Brahmaputra basins to Mahanadi basin.
  2. Eastern Ganga tributaries and Chambal and Sabarmati river basins.

Below is the diagram of the proposed & completed links under the Himalayan component:

Peninsular Component:

  • Under this, 16 projects have been proposed to link the rivers of South India.
  • Surplus waters of Mahanadi and Godavari will be transferred to Krishna, Pennar, Cauvery, and Vaigai.
  • It has 4 sub-component linkages
  • Mahanadi and Godavari basins to Krishna, Cauvery, and Vaigai rivers
  • West-flowing rivers south of Tapi to the north of Bombay
  • Ken River to Betwa River and Parbati, Kalisindh rivers to Chambal rivers
  • Some West flowing rivers to the East flowing rivers.

Below is the diagram of the proposed & completed links under the Peninsular component:

Sr.

Name

Rivers Concerned

States Concerned

PENINSULAR COMPONENT

1

Mahanadi (Manibhadra) -Godavari (Dowlaiswaram) link

Mahanadi & Godavari

Odisha, Maharashtra, AP, MP, Telangana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh

2

Godavari (Inchampalli) - Krishna (Pulichintala) link

Godavari & Krishna

Odisha, Maharashtra, AP, MP, Telangana, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh& Maharashtra

3

Godavari (Inchampalli) - Krishna (Nagarjunasagar) link

Godavari & Krishna

Odisha, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka &Chhattisgarh

4

Godavari (Polavaram) - Krishna (Vijayawada) link

Godavari & Krishna

-do-

5

Krishna (Almatti) – Pennar link

Krishna &Pennar

Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka &Telangana

6

Krishna (Srisailam) – Pennar link

Krishna &Pennar

-do-

7

Krishna (Nagarjunasagar) - Pennar (Somasila ) link

Krishna &Pennar

-do-

8

Pennar (Somasila) - Cauvery (Grand Anicut) link

Pennar& Cauvery

Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala & Puducherry

9

Cauvery (Kattalai) - Vaigai -Gundar link

Cauvery,Vaigai &Gundar

Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala & Puducherry

10

Ken-Betwa link

Ken & Betwa

Uttar Pradesh & Madhya Pradesh

11 (i)

Parbati -Kalisindh- Chambal link

Parbati, Kalisindh& Chambal

Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan & Uttar Pradesh (UP requested to be consulted during consensus building)

(ii)

Parbati-Kuno-Sindh link

Parbati, Kuno and Sindh

MP and Rajasthan

12

Par-Tapi-Narmada link

Par, Tapi& Narmada

Maharashtra & Gujarat

13

Damanganga - Pinjal link

Damanganga&Pinjal

Maharashtra & Gujarat

14

Bedti - Varda link

Bedti&Varda

Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka

15

Netravati – Hemavati link

Netravati&

Hemavati

Karnataka, Tamil Nadu & Kerala

16

Pamba - Achankovil - Vaippar link

Pamba, Achankovil&

Vaippar

Kerala & Tamil Nadu,

HIMALAYAN COMPONENT

1.

Manas-Sankosh-Tista-Ganga (M-S-T-G) link

Manas, Sankosh, Tista and Ganga

Assam, West Bengal, Bihar& Bhutan

2.

Kosi-Ghaghra link

Kosi&Ghaghra

Bihar , Uttar Pradesh & Nepal

3.

Gandak-Ganga link

Gandak& Ganga

-do-

4.

Ghaghra-Yamuna link

Ghaghra& Yamuna

-do-

5.

Sarda-Yamuna link

Sarda & Yamuna

Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand & Nepal

6.

Yamuna-Rajasthan link

Yamuna &Sukri

Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana & Rajasthan

7.

Rajasthan-Sabarmati link

Sabarmati

-do-

8.

Chunar-Sone Barrage link

Ganga & Sone

Bihar & Uttar3 Pradesh

9.

Sone Dam – Southern Tributaries of Ganga link

Sone &Badua

Bihar & Jharkhand

10.

Ganga(Farakka)-Damodar-Subernarekha link

Ganga, Damodar&Subernarekha

West Bengal, Odisha & Jharkhand

11.

Subernarekha-Mahanadi link

Subernarekha& Mahanadi

West Bengal & Odisha

12.

Kosi-Mechi link

Kosi&Mechi

Bihar , West Bengal & Nepal

13.

Ganga (Farakka)-Sunderbans link

Ganga &Ichhamati

West Bengal

14.

Jogighopa-Tista-Farakka link

(Alternative to M-S-T-G)

Manas, Tista& Ganga

-do-

What are the significances of rivers interlinking?

  • Control floods and droughts: India receives the majority of its rainfall in only 3 months of a year i.e., from June to September. Most of such rainfall occurs in northern and eastern India whereas southern India remains in water deficit. Thus linking will provide a two-way advantage, that is, controlling floods as well as droughts.
  • Solve the water crisis: The project envisages the supply of clean drinking water and water for industrial use amounting to 90 and 64.8 billion cu.m respectively with a view to satisfying the demand by 2050.
  • Hydropower generation: The building of dams and reservoirs are key components of the interlinking project = About 34,000 MW of total power could be generated if the whole project is implemented. Thus river interlinking has the potential to resolve the electricity issues of the industrial, agricultural as well as rural households.
  • Dry Weather Flow Augmentation: Transfer of surplus water stored in reservoirs during monsoon and releasing it during the dry season will facilitate a minimum amount of dry weather flow in the rivers. This would help in pollution control, navigation, fisheries, growth of forests, protection of wildlife, etc.
  • Irrigation benefits: Indian agriculture is primarily dependent on monsoons which is not reliable = failure of crops due to water scarcity as we have witnessed in the Vidharba region of Maharashtra. The project claims to provide additional irrigation facilities for about 35 million hectares in the water deficit western and peninsular regions.
  • Commercial benefits: In the long run, the interlinking of rivers will have commercial benefits. Canals can be utilised as inland waterways which will help in faster movement of goods from one place to another. Moreover, rural areas will develop with diverse income sources such as fish farming, etc.
  • Defence: The Project is expected to strengthen the security of the country by an additional waterline of defence.

What are the concerns with the implementation of the project?

Feasibility of the project:

  • The total cost of the project is expected to be around 5,60,000 crore at the 2002 price level.
  • Besides, the total cost with respect to the usage is expected to be 1,35,000 crore for power generation and 4,25,000 crore for irrigation and water supply.
  • In addition to the huge costs involved, the project would require huge engineering structures which also need constant monitoring.
  • Furthermore, Interlinking of rivers will require more power to lift the water than what it is likely to produce (hydropower).

Environmental impacts:

  • The project will alter the entire ecosystem of the rivers = affect fisheries, flora and fauna, wetlands and other ecosystems.
  • In addition to this, forest reserves and national parks will also be affected due to the construction of various links. For example, the Ket-Betwa link is expected to put in danger 4000 hectares of the Panna National park which is also an important tiger reserve.
  • Seismic implications on the Himalayas due to the weight of millions of litres of water.
  • The concerns about sediment management, particularly in the Himalayan system have been rising.
  • When the idea is to transfer water from the ‘surplus’ Himalayan river systems to ‘deficit’ basins of the southern part of India, the differential sediment regime defining the flow regimes needs to be considered.
  • This will lead to changes in ecosystem structures in both parts.
  • More importantly, the project will lead to a decrease in the flow of freshwater into the sea = affecting marine life.

Societal impacts:

  • The building of dams and reservoirs will result in a displacement of a lot of people which cannot even be estimated currently.
  • For example, Tehri Dam in Uttarakhand resulted in the submergence of more than 40 villages along with the partial submergence of 72 villages = causing the displacement of around 1 lakh people.
  • Moreover, there is also a question arises – Where could we rehabilitate these displaced people when there is increased pressure on land due to the rising population?

Inter-state disputes

  • Water is a state subject in the Indian constitution.
  • Many states including Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, and Sikkim have already opposed ILR projects.
  • There has been a dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the sharing of water from the river Cauvery.

International disputes:

  • Interlinking of rivers will likely increase the number of conflicts not only at the state level but also at the international level.
  • Some of the inter-linking of rivers schemes have international implications, with a possible impact on countries such as Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh strongly opposes the move to transfer the Brahmaputra water to the Ganga.
  • Therefore, Water transfer in the Himalayan component needs to consider the effects on the neighbouring countries.

Cannot control floods:

  • It is doubtful whether interlinking projects can provide floodproofing. Theoretically, a large reservoir can help moderate floods in the downstream areas. However, in the case of India experiences have been different.
  • Big dams such as the Ranganadi dam, the Damodar dams, the Farakka and Bansagar dams, and the Hirakud dam have brought avoidable flood disasters to Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, and Odisha, respectively.

National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA)

The Central government is working on the establishment of an exclusive body to implement projects for linking rivers.

Background

  • The proposal for an apex body on river linking has been under discussion for the past 2 years.
  • As of now, no specific timeline has been determined for the constitution of the Authority. Also, the earlier idea of framing a Bill, envisaging the creation of the NIRA, is not being pursued now.

About the NIRA

  • To be called the National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA), the proposed body is expected to take up both inter-State and intra-State projects.
  • It will also make arrangements for generating funds, internally and externally.
  • The subject of the establishment of the Authority was discussed at the last meeting of the Special Committee on Inter-Linking of Rivers (ILR) in New Delhi. Headed by the Union Minister of Jal Shakti, the panel includes Irrigation or Water Resources Ministers and Secretaries of States. Since its formation, the Committee has held 17 meetings.
  • It is being assisted by a Task Force for ILR, which is a committee of experts essentially drawn from the Jal Shakti Ministry, Central Water Commission and the National Water Development Agency (NWDA).

Way Forward

  • Local solutions (like better irrigation practice) and watershed management, should be focused on.
  • The government should alternatively consider the National Waterways Project (NWP) which “eliminates” friction between states over the sharing of river waters since it uses only the excess flood water that goes into the sea unutilized
  • The necessity and feasibility of river interlinking should be seen on case to case basis, with adequate emphasis on easing out federal issues.

Source: PIB

Aadhar issues

GS-II : Governance Aadhaar

Aadhar issues

Supreme Court judgement on Aadhar

  • The Court’s judgment in 2018, upheld the Aadhaar programme as a reasonable restriction on individual privacy (Article 21) to fulfil welfare requirements and dignity.

Issues with Aadhar

  1. Inefficiencies in biometric authentication and updating, linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts, and the use of the Aadhaar payment bridge.
  2. Failures in authentication have led to delays in the disbursal of benefits.
  3. Denial of benefits due to cancellation of legitimate beneficiary names.
  4. Despite being designed to store finger and iris scans of most users, doubts about the success rates of authentication and the generation of “false negatives” have always persisted, more so for labourers and tribal people.
  5. Those engaged in manual and hard labour, for example, are susceptible to fingerprint changes over time.

Way forward

  • Given the scale of the problem, the central and State governments would do well to allow alternative identification so that genuine beneficiaries are not denied due subsidies.
  • The question of fraud can still be addressed by the use of other verification cards and by decentralised disbursal of services at the panchayat level.

Source: TH

Alaska meet (U.S-China summit)

GS-II : International Relations Indo Pacific Region

Alaska meet (U.S-China summit)

Introduction

  • This news talks about Alaska's meeting to be held between the USA and China, the areas of contention between them and its impact on the world economy.

Areas of contention between USA and China

  • The meeting comes on the back of tensions that spiralled during the Trump administration around trade tariffs, 5G telecommunication, tech espionage, Chinese maritime actions and U.S. sanctions on China, and further exacerbated over the pandemic, which Mr Trump called the “China virus”.
  • Biden administration officials have said that they will bring up China’s crackdown in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, Chinese aggression against U.S. allies and partners, in particular pressure on Australia over trade bans, aggression against Japan in the Senkaku islands and even the PLA’s incursions over the LAC, which China considers bilateral issues.
  • The recent summit-level Quad led to the establishment of a free Indo-Pacific region.

Demands of China

  • China is seeking a reversal of Trump-era policies, and structured dialogue to take forward ties from the point they have reached, arguably their lowest since the Nixon era.
  • In particular, China wants an end to the U.S.’s trade sanctions, restrictions on American firms manufacturing in China and visa bans, and a reopening of its consulate in Houston.

Significance of the Alaska meeting

  • The fact that the meeting is happening at all sends the signal that both sides are prepared to engage each other.
  • Mr Blinken’s formulation that the U.S. will be “competitive when it should be, collaborative when it can be and adversarial when it must be” with China, chalks up climate change, the COVID-19 challenge and global economic recovery as areas of possible discussion.
  • Research quoted by the World Economic Forum predicted that the U.S.-China tariff war itself could cost the world $600 billion.
  • Afghanistan is another area where the U.S. and China have held three meetings last year as part of the “Troika” with Russia, and a common peace strategy could be another helpful conversation.

For India

  • While New Delhi has a litany of its own grievances with Beijing, it too would benefit if a “Cold War” between the U.S. and China is averted, much like the rest of the world that has found itself akin to the proverbial grass when two elephants fight.

Source: TH

Vehicle Scrapping Policy

GS-III : Economic Issues Automobile policy

Vehicle Scrapping Policy

Background

  • It is also known as Voluntary Vehicle-Fleet Modernization Program. India has 51 lakh Light Motor Vehicles which are older than 20 years and 34 lakh Light Motor Vehicles which are older than 15 years.
  • Around 17 lakh Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicles are older than 15 years without valid fitness certificate.
  • Older vehicles pollute the environment 10 to 12 times more than fit vehicles and pose a risk to road safety.
  • The policy is aimed at creating an Eco-System for phasing out of Unfit and Polluting Vehicles.
  • The objectives of the policy are to reduce population of old and defective vehicles, achieve reduction in vehicular air pollutants to fulfil India’s climate commitments, improve road and vehicular safety, achieve better fuel efficiency, formalize the currently informal vehicle scrapping industry and boost availability of low-cost raw materials for automotive, steel and electronics industry.
  • The ecosystem is expected to attract additional investments of around Rs. 10,000 Crore and 35,000 job opportunities.
  • The criteria for a vehicle to be scrapped is primarily based on the fitness of vehicles through Automated Fitness Centres in case of commercial vehicles and Non-Renewal of Registration in case of private vehicles.
  • The criteria has been adapted from international best practices after a comparative study of standards from various countries like Germany, UK, USA and Japan.
  • A Vehicle failing the fitness test or failing to get a renewal of its registration certificate may be declared as End of Life Vehicle.
  • Criteria to determine vehicle fitness will be primarily emission tests, braking, safety equipment among many other tests which are as per the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.

Features of the Policy

  • It is proposed that commercial vehicles be de-registered after 15 years in case of failure to get the fitness certificate.
  • As a disincentive measure, increased fees for fitness certificate and fitness test may be applicable for commercial vehicles 15 year onwards from the date of initial registration.
  • It is proposed that Private Vehicles be de-registered after 20 years if found unfit or in case of a failure to renew registration certificate.
  • As a disincentive measure, increased re-registration fees will be applicable for private vehicles 15 year onwards from the date of initial registration.
  • It is being proposed that all vehicles of the Central Government, State Government, Municipal Corporation, Panchayats, State Transport Undertakings, Public Sector Undertakings and autonomous bodies with the Union and State Governments may be de-registered and scrapped after 15 years from the date of registration.
  • The scheme shall provide strong incentives to owners of old vehicles to scrap old and unfit vehicles through registered scrapping centres, which shall provide the owners with a scrapping certificate. Some of these incentives include:
    1. Scrap Value for the old vehicle given by the scrapping centre, which is approximately 4-6% of ex-showroom price of a new vehicle.
    2. The state governments may be advised to offer a road- tax rebate of up to 25% for personal vehicles and up to 15% for commercial vehicles.
    3. The vehicle manufacturers are also advised for providing a discount of 5% on purchase of new vehicle against the scrapping certificate.
    4. In addition, the registration fees may also be waived for the purchase of new vehicle against the scrapping certificate.
  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will promote the setting up of Registered Vehicle Scrapping Facility (RVSF) across India and will encourage public and private participation for opening up of such centres.
  • Efforts are also being made to set up Integrated Scrapping Facilities across India. Some of the identified places include Alang in Gujarat, where it is being planned to develop a highly specialized centre for scrapping among many other potential centres, where different scrapping technologies can be synergized together.
  • With a simplified registration process through single window, the scrapping facility shall have to comply with environmental and pollution norms and with all applicable acts of law.
  • It shall be ensured that the scrapping centres have adequate parking facility, de-pollution equipments for air, water and sound pollution and adequate facilities for hazardous waste management and disposal.
  • Similarly, the Ministry shall promote setting up of Automated Fitness Centres on a PPP model by the state government, private-sector, automobile companies etc
  • These centres may have adequate space for test-lane, IT servers, parking and free movement of vehicles.
  • To avoid conflict of interest, operators of fitness centres shall only provide testing facilities and shall not provide repair/sale of spare services.
  • Appointments for fitness centres may be booked online and test reports shall also be generated in an electronic mode.

Analysis

  • When the scrappage policy was on the drawing board last year, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari envisioned a reduction in automobile prices of 20% to 30%, driven by recovery of scrap steel, aluminium and plastic, all of which would be recycled.
  • Now that he has a better-scoped plan, the focus must be on building capacities in the organised sector to manage the task of efficient materials recovery.
  • Provisions will have to be built in to see that the sudden demand stimulus available to the auto industry does not disadvantage consumers, particularly those selling junk vehicles.
  • The vehicle registration database for all States also requires updating, to reflect true numbers of old vehicles on the road, eliminating those scrapped; a significant number, more than 15 years old, still runs. Such data will help target scrappage policy benefits better.
  • Moreover, many transport vehicles are operated by small entrepreneurs who lack the resources to transition to newer ones and need help as loans and grants.
  • India’s policy to eliminate polluting fuel guzzlers has had a long gestation, and States should see the value of operationalising it as planned.
  • New vehicles and cleaner fuels should help clear the toxic air in cities and towns and make roads safer

Source: PIB

Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX)

GS-III : Internal security Internal security

Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX)

The Government is working on the Second ‘Positive Indigenisation List’ as part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan on domestic procurements.

Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) framework was launched in April, 2018 with an aim to achieve self-reliance and to foster innovation and technology development in defence and aerospace by engaging industries including MSMEs, startups, individual innovators, R&D institutes and academia.

iDEX provides grants for prototype development and promotes innovation and entrepreneurship among Defence Start-ups.

Various initiatives being undertaken under iDEX are as follows:-

Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC): iDEX is emerging as a front runner & has gained substantial traction in the Defence Startup Community. Various MSMEs/Startups have been funded so far, to evolve services-related research towards challenges/Problem statements of Indian Forces. DISC IV was launched on 29 September 2020 by the Hon’ble RM.

iDEX Open Challenges: As part of the iDEX Open Challenges, the received proposals are reviewed for approval by the High Powered Selection Committee (HPSC).

iDEX 4 FAUJI: iDEX 4 FAUJI was launched, along with Defence India Startup Challenge IV to support innovations identified by grass root service personnel serving in the field conditions. This would incorporate the first-hand experience for improving and bringing operational and maintenance improvements in existing platforms, as also generate futuristic ideas for innovations in defence manufacturing. These would then be issued as challenges under iDEX with the shortlisted start-ups being assisted by the applicant servicemen.

As part of iDEX initiative, OFB has taken up in-house R&D projects for development of Armament, Ammunition & Equipment items of Land Systems pertaining to i.e. Artillery & Air Defence Gun Systems, Small Arms Weapons Systems, Armored Fighting Vehicles and futuristic smart ammunition systems.

DRDO through the Technology development scheme (TDF) scheme aims to fund private sector industry, especially MSMEs including startups. Total of 25 Projects have been awarded to various private industries including MSMEs and start-ups under the TDF scheme so for. The DRDO has also launched a pan India contest’ to bring innovators, entrepreneurs, individual and start-ups for innovative ideas in the field of Defence and Aerospace.

There are 11 projects of Indian Army as part of DISC and Open Challenges of iDEX which involves hand holding of 23 start-ups. Indian Navy has leveraged iDEX scheme and is presently engaging 21 start-ups in design and development for 09 projects. IAF, as part of these initiatives, is progressing 11 cases and is engaged with 17 start-ups/individual innovators/MSMEs for design and development of innovative equipment through iDEX.

Source: PIB

Stop TB Partnership Board

GS-II : Governance Health

Stop TB Partnership Board

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare appointed as the Chairman of the Stop TB Partnership Board. The Minister will serve a 3-year term/

About Stop TB Partnership:

  • Stop TB Partnership was established in the Year 2000.
  • Its aim is to eliminate tuberculosis as a public health problem.

Amsterdam Declaration:

  • In 2000, Stop TB Partnership gave a call for collaborative action from ministerial delegations of 20 countries with the highest burden of TB.
  • Secretariat: Geneva, Switzerland.

India’s Initiatives against Tuberculosis:

  • India has committed to eliminating TB in the country by 2025, 5 years ahead of the global deadline of 2030.
  • National Strategic Plan (NSP) for TB Elimination (2017-2025): It is a framework to provide guidance for the activities of various stakeholders to reduce the burden of TB mortality and morbidity.
  • It aims to work towards the elimination of TB in India by 2025.
  • Nikshay Poshan Yojana: It is a direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme to provide nutritional support to TB patients.
  • TB Harega Desh Jeetega’s Campaign: The campaign aims to improve and expand the reach of Tuberculosis care services across the country by 2022.

Source: PIB

Joint Rivers Commission framework

GS-II : International Relations Bangladesh

Joint Rivers Commission framework

India-Bangladesh Water Resources Secretary-level meeting held under the Joint Rivers Commission framework.

Key Takeaways:

  • India and Bangladesh share 54 common rivers.
  • Hence, both the countries agreed to expand cooperation on water resources-related issues.
  • For this, a Joint Technical Working Group will be set up to provide input on the cooperation.

About Joint Rivers Commission Framework

  • The Joint River Commission Framework was constituted under the Indo-Bangla Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Peace, signed in 1972.
  • It was established with a view of maintaining communication systems between 2 countries.
  • The commission is headed by Water Resources Ministers of both countries.

Teesta Water Dispute:

  • Teesta River is a tributary of the Brahmaputra (known as Jamuna in Bangladesh). It is flowing through India and Bangladesh.
  • The river rises in the eastern Himalayas.
  • It flows through the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal to Bangladesh and enters the Bay of Bengal.
  • However, the Teesta river water sharing agreement has not been signed due to opposition from West Bengal.
  • River is a State subject.

Source: TH

SERB-PRISM Portal

GS-II : Governance e-Governance

SERB-PRISM Portal

The Science and Engineering Board (SERB) launched a portal called “SERB – Project Information System & Management(SERB-PRISM Portal)

About the SERB-PRISM Portal:

  • The portal aims to provide information regarding all projects sanctioned by SERB from 2011 onwards.
  • It will help researchers in research trends, and learning about cutting-edge science.

About Science and Engineering Board(SERB):

  • SERB is a statutory body established in 2009.
  • It functions under the Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • It is chaired by the Secretary to the Government of India.
  • Further, it has other senior government officials and eminent scientists as members.
  • It was set up for promoting basic research in science and engineering.
  • The SERB also provides financial assistance to scientists, academic institutions, Research and Development laboratories, industrial concerns, and other agencies for such research.

Source: PIB

World Energy Transitions Outlook Report

GS-III : Economic Issues Energy

World Energy Transitions Outlook Report

  • The report was released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

  • It says that the Covid-19 crisis offers an unexpected opportunity for countries across the world to decouple their economies from fossil fuels.
  • IRENA estimates that by 2050, 90% of total electricity needs would be supplied by renewables, 6% from natural gas and the remaining from nuclear.

About IRENA:

  • It is an intergovernmental organisation mandated to facilitate cooperation, advance knowledge, and promote the adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy.
  • It is the first international organisation to focus exclusively on renewable energy, addressing needs in both industrialized and developing countries.
  • It was founded in 2009 & its statute entered into force on 8 July 2010 and is headquartered in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.
  • IRENA is an official United Nations observer.

Source: TH

NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar

GS-III : S&T Space mission

NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar

ISRO and NASA signed a partnership in 2014, to collaborate on and launch NISAR (NASA-ISRO SAR) by 2022.

About NISAR:

  • NASA is providing L-band SAR, a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, etc.,
  • ISRO is providing the S-band radar, and launch services.
  • NISAR is a Synthetic Aperture Radar that can produce extremely high-resolution images for a joint earth observation satellite mission.
  • It will be the first satellite mission to use 2 radar frequencies (L-band and S-band) to measure changes in Earth’s surface less than a centimetre across.
  • NISAR will observe Earth’s land and ice-covered surfaces, sampling Earth on average every 6 days for a baseline 3-year mission.
  • Radar penetrates clouds and darkness, enabling NISAR to collect data day and night in any weather.

Source: TH

Illegal Farming in Wenlock Downs

GS-I : Indian Geography Land use change

Illegal Farming in Wenlock Downs

Over 100 hectares of the total expanse of 1,500 hectares of the last remaining grasslands in the Wenlock Downs of Nilgiris is being slowly eroded by Todas and Kotas.

  • This is because many of the Todas and Kotas have leased the “forest lands” to non-tribals in exchange for a small fee.
  • There is also the question of the Forest Rights Act in this area, as to whether it would supersede the rights acknowledged under the Toda Patta lands, or whether it offers additional protection.

Wenlock Downs

  • Wenlock Downs Reserve Forest is a crucial wildlife corridor, as it allows wildlife from the Sigur plateau to make their way up to the upper Nilgiris.
  • The landscape is also one of the last remaining patches of Shola and grasslands in the entire Nilgiris other than Mukurthi National Park.

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Source: TH

Conservation of Ancient Folk Cultures

GS-I : Art and Culture Festivals

Conservation of Ancient Folk Cultures

To protect, preserve & promote various forms of folk art and ancient folk cultures throughout the country including Jharkhand, Bihar and Kerala, the Government of India has set up seven Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs) with headquarters at Patiala, Nagpur, Udaipur, Prayagraj, Kolkata, Dimapur and Thanjavur.

  • Ancient folk cultures being preserved in Jharkhand are
    • Faguwa Nritya, Turi Nritya, Paika Nritya,
    • Homoeopathy,
    • Tribal dance (Karam Nritya).
  • Ancient folk cultures being preserved in Bihar are Lok Gathas namely :
    • "Reshma Chuharmal" , "Bihula Bishari", "Naradi" ,
    • Bidesia Lok Natya ,
    • Godana Painting (Madhubani),
    • Lok Natya "Hirni-Birni" (Magadh region),
    • Panwaria, Domkach & Sohar Khilona folk dance, Jharni & Jhinjhia folk dance (Mithilanchal Area),
    • Drupad Dhamar, Godna Geet, Sikki Kala,
    • Tikuli Art and Madhubani Painting.
  • Ancient folk cultures being preserved in Kerala-
    • are Poorakali, Malayankettu & Kannerpattu (Kannur),
    • Daffumuttu (Malabar), Kanyarkali (Thrissur) and Arabanaumuttu (Kozhikode).

Source: PIB

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