Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 12th October -2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 12-10-2021

                                                                                                  

 

Topics                                                                                                                                                   

  • Study on Increase in Heatwave Occurrences in India
  • India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership
  • Nepal and India Rail Link
  • Market Based Economic Despatch (MBED) -The Ministry of Power
  • Lukha River

 

1. Study on Increase in Heat wave Occurrences in India

#GS1- Important Geophysical Phenomena

 Context

  • The Mahamana Centre of Excellence in Climate Change Research (MCECCR) at Banaras Hindu University (BHU), in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Earth Sciences, has discovered a spatial shift of heatwaves in India, with this weather event now occurring in new regions across the country, according to a recent study.
  • The MCECCR study examined temperature data from the India Meteorological Department for the pre-monsoon (March-May) and early summer monsoon (June-July) seasons, spanning 65 years from 1951 to 2016, to assess monthly, seasonal, decadal, and long-term trends in heatwaves in the country.

Study’s main points

  • It discovered a warming pattern in northwestern and southern India, as well as a progressive cooling phase in the country’s northeastern and southwest regions.
  • From March through July, the northwestern, northern, central, and eastern coastal regions received the most heat wave days, with an average of eight heatwave days and 1-3 severe heatwave days every season between 1961 and 2010.
  • Heatwaves will have a significant impact on the eastern and western shores, which are currently unaffected.
  • The study discovered a “Spatio-temporal shift” in the occurrence of heatwave events, with a considerably growing tendency in three important heatwave-prone regions — northwestern, central, and south-central India — with the maximum number of events occurring in west Madhya Pradesh (0.80 per year).
  • Heat waves, particularly severe heat waves, are becoming more common, and they are occurring in new places, notably in the last two decades.
  • Heatwaves were observed in southern Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, where they were not expected.
  • The study also discovered a considerable reduction in heat waves in the eastern region, specifically Gangetic West Bengal (0.13% of incidents per year).
  • Increased evening temperatures, which prevent heat release at night, and increased humidity levels are two factors that exacerbate heatwave situations.
  • Impacts : The study also discovered an increase in heat-related deaths, from 5,330 deaths between 1978 and 1999 to 3,054 and 2,248 deaths in 2003 and 2015, respectively.
  • The study has revealed a “Spatio-temporal shift” in the occurrence of heatwave events, with a significantly increasing trend in three prominent heatwave prone regions — northwestern, central, and south-central India, with the highest being in west Madhya Pradesh (0.80 events/year).

Heat Waves

  • Heatwaves are characterised as extended periods of extremely high temperatures in any location.
  • Aside from temperature, humidity is a crucial factor to consider when determining whether or not someone is experiencing heat-related stress.
  • A Heat Wave is a period of extremely high temperatures, over the typical maximum temperature, that occurs in the North-Western areas of India during the summer season, from March to June.
  • Factors: Shifting jet streams, El Nino and La Nina, and human factors such as heat islands are all probable causes of heat waves.

If the maximum temperature of a station reaches:

  • at least 40 degrees C or more for Plains, at least 30 degrees C for Mountains, a heatwave is declared.
  • at least 30 degrees C or more for Hilly regions.

Conditions that are conducive to a Heat Wave

  • Prevalence of hot dry air over a region / Transportation (There should be a region of warm dry air and an appropriate flow pattern for transporting hot air over the region).
  • In the upper atmosphere, there is no moisture (As the presence of moisture restricts the temperature rise).
  • There should be no clouds in the sky (To allow maximum insulation over the region).
  • Anticyclonic flow with a large amplitude throughout the area.
  • Heatwaves usually start in Northwest India and move eastwards and southwards, but not westwards (since the prevailing winds during the season are westerly to north westerly).
  • But on some occasions, heat waves may also develop over any region in situ under the favourable conditions.

Heat Waves’ Effects:

  • Heat Strokes: Extremely hot or humid temperatures increase the risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
  • As the body’s ability to regulate heat deteriorates with age, older persons and people with chronic illnesses including heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes are more prone to heatstroke.

  Increased Healthcare Costs:

  • Extreme heat is linked to an increase in hospitalizations and emergency department visits, as well as increased fatalities from cardio-respiratory and other diseases, mental health concerns, and poor pregnancy and birth outcomes, among other things.

Worker Productivity Is Reduced:

  • Extreme heat reduces worker productivity, particularly among the more than 1 billion workers who are exposed to extreme heat on a regular basis. Due to heat stress, these workers frequently report lower work output.

Wildfire Risk:

  • The heat domes provide as a fuel source for wildfires, which ravage large areas of land every year in countries like the United States.

Cloud Formation Is Prevented:

  • The condition also prevents clouds from forming, allowing more sunlight to reach the earth.

Effect on Vegetation:

  • Heat trapping can harm crops, cause vegetation to dry up, and cause droughts.

Increased Energy Demands:

  • The scorching heat causes an increase in energy demand, particularly for electricity, which leads to rate hikes.

Issues Concerning Power:

  • Heat waves are frequently high-mortality events.
  • Heat-related disasters can be avoided if the electrical system is resilient, which can collapse if demand for electricity due to air conditioning use exceeds supply.
  • As a result, there is a double danger of infrastructure failure as well as negative health consequences.

The Best Ways To Deal With Heat Waves

  • For the forecast of heatwaves and the delivery of alerts, an Early Warning System and Inter-Agency Coordination will be established.
  • Increase public awareness of how to safeguard against excessive heat through various means through public awareness and community outreach.
  • Building capacity and training for health care workers at all levels to recognise and respond to heat-related disorders.
  • Collaboration with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society to provide assistance to people in need.
  • Encourage people to use traditional means of dealing with heat waves, such as wearing cotton clothing.
  • Examining labour laws and other restrictions in light of changing climate circumstances.
  • Improving infrastructure such as shaded windows, insulated houses, and so on.

Conclusion

  • According to the study, global warming should be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius in the future to avoid significant heat-related mortality. This is in line with the Paris Agreement. Reduced health effects of high heat are a top concern, and quick adjustments to infrastructure, the urban environment, and individual behaviour are needed to reduce heat-related mortality.

 

2.India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership

#GS2 and GS3 -Environmental Pollution & Degradation

 Context

  • India and Denmark have agreed on a five-year action plan to put their ambitious “green strategic relationship” into effect.

In depth information

  • This was the first summit-level visit to India since the COVID pandemic, as well as the first State visit by a Danish leader after a decade-long hiatus on bilateral relations.
  • Two agreements on climate change research were inked by India and Denmark, while Reliance Industries and Danish business Stiesdal Fuel Technologies signed another MoU on the establishment of a “green hydrogen” electrolyser facility.

Strategic Partnership for the Environment

Background:

The climate agendas of India and Denmark are both ambitious.

Stats:

  • India is the world’s third-largest CO2 producer, with carbon emissions anticipated to have doubled by 2030.
  • The Danish government wants to cut CO2 emissions by 70% by 2030 and take global leadership on SDG 7 on affordable and renewable energy.

On the 28th of September 2020:

  • Following a warm exchange of views on bilateral relations, the Covid-19 pandemic, and global issues such as climate change and green transition, the two Prime Ministers agreed to upgrade Indo-Danish relations to a Green Strategic Partnership.

Overall:

  • The two countries finalised a five-year action plan to implement their ambitious “green strategic partnership,” as well as four agreements to expand green technology collaboration.

Aim:

  • The green alliance intends to establish a framework for greater cooperation in renewable energy, the environment, the economy, climate change, and research and technology.

Period of time:

  • For the implementation of the “green strategic partnership” that was finalised last year, a five-year joint action plan from 2021 to 2026 has been developed.

On the basis of:

  • The Green Strategic Partnership builds on and consolidates the existing agreement between India and Denmark to establish a Joint Commission for Cooperation.
  • The partnership is a win-win agreement aimed at advancing political cooperation, expanding economic relations and green growth, creating jobs, and strengthening cooperation on global challenges and opportunities, with a focus on a bold implementation of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Low-carbon development:

  • “The five-year action plan focuses on measures to supplement and solidify green and low-carbon growth.”
  • Water, environment, renewable energy and grid integration, climate action, resource efficiency and circular economy, sustainable and smart cities, business, trade, and investments are among the sectors covered.

Relationship between India and Denmark:

  • In February 2009, India and Denmark signed a Joint Commission for Cooperation in the areas of politics, economics and trade, science and technology, energy, the environment, and education.
  • Shipping, Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries, Environment, Biotechnology, New and Renewable Energy, and Labor Mobility all have collaborative working groups.
  • More than 140 Danish companies are currently involved in the Make in India project.
  • However, the non-extradition of the main offender in the Purulia arms drop case (Kim Davy) to India by Danish officials harmed relations.

Purulia arms drop case, 1995:

  • In the Purulia area of West Bengal, India, unauthorised arms were dropped from an aeroplane.
  • Both sides agreed at a recent Green Strategic Partnership meeting that concerned officials will endeavour to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
  • India has also invited Denmark to join a supply chain resilience project suggested by Japan and Australia to diversify supply networks and reduce reliance on a single country.

Significance

  • Make in India Gets a Boost:
  • More than 140 Danish companies are currently involved in the Make in India project.
  • Defending the Environment:
  • Danish enterprises with specialised technologies and knowledge have offered to assist India in attaining its air pollution reduction goals, particularly in the important area of agricultural stubble burning.

 Growth in the green:

  • The Green Strategic Partnership is a mutually beneficial agreement aimed at advancing political cooperation, expanding economic relations and green growth, creating jobs, and strengthening cooperation on global challenges and opportunities, with a focus on an ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Promote a multilateral system based on rules:

  • This includes strong multilateral cooperation to address the pressing need to ramp up global efforts to address energy and climate change concerns, as well as a shared commitment to the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency, and the International Solar Alliance.

Sharing healthy tips and tricks:

  • Expanding dialogue and sharing best practises on health policy challenges, such as epidemics and vaccines, particularly in the fight against Covid-19 and future pandemics. They committed to work together to increase commercial prospects for firms by improving the environment for the life sciences sector, including research collaborations.

Ahead of Schedule

  • Continue to broaden the scope of the collaboration by adding new facets.
  • Initiate new health-related collaborations.
  • India and Denmark will show the world that achieving ambitious climate and sustainable energy targets is attainable by collaborating.

 

3.Nepal and India Rail Link

#GS2-India and its Neighbourhood, Regional Groupings

 Context

  • Nepal’s first-ever broad gauge passenger service is set to restart on the first stretch of rail link between the two countries (Jainagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas railway project).

In depth information

 Background:

  • Since the early twentieth century, the rail link between Nepal and India has been popular.
  • The British built a narrow gauge railroad from Nepal to India in 1937 to transport freight, primarily logs.
  • However, it grew in popularity as a passenger service before being discontinued in 2014 for conversion to broad gauge.

Project Revisions:

  • The first stretch is a 34-kilometer stretch between Jainagar, Bihar, and Kurtha, Nepal, with the Hindu pilgrimage city of Janakpur Dham (in Nepal) in the middle.
  • Second Stretch:
  • A 17-kilometer railway line between Kurtha and Bijalpura is also nearing completion.
  • Land is being handed up to IRCON International Limited for the remaining stretch up to Bardibas (a Government of India Undertaking).
  • The entire stretch will cost India Rs 784 crore in construction costs, which will be paid to Nepal in the form of a grant.
  • Managing Body:
  • The Konkan Railway Corporation Limited has been awarded the contract for line operations and maintenance, and will train and develop Nepalese employees as part of the bilateral agreement.

Track for electric trains:

  • The India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement (RSA) 2004 has a Letter of Exchange (LoE) signed by India and Nepal.
  • It will allow all authorised cargo train operators to use the Indian railway network to transport Nepalese containers and other freight, both bilaterally between India and Nepal and from Indian ports to Nepal.

Significance:

  • The line is seen as a modest piece of a broader effort to strengthen India’s links with Nepal via railways, bypassing the influence of other neighbouring countries in this strategically important region.

 

4.Market Based Economic Despatch (MBED) -The Ministry of Power

#GS2-Government Policies &Interventions Issues Relating to Development

 Context

  • The Ministry of Power recently issued the Framework for Implementation of Market Based Economic Despatch (MBED) Phase 1 in order to lower consumers’ power purchase expenses by 5%.
  • It’s a significant step toward modernising electricity market operations and achieving the “One Nation, One Grid, One Frequency, One Price” goal. It is anticipated that implementation will begin on April 1, 2022.
  • The government had already established cybersecurity recommendations for the electricity industry.

In depth information

About:

  • All states’ power demands are planned to be supplied by a central pool allocating power at the best price.
  • Currently, power distribution firms (discoms) have started sourcing power from within the states, which has resulted in increasing energy costs.
  • MBED will ensure that the least expensive generating resources are dispatched across the country to fulfil overall system demand.
  • As a result, it will be a win-win situation for both distribution firms (discoms) and generators, resulting in large annual savings for power customers.
  • MBED aspires to create a national merit order by establishing a standard pricing system that promotes the cheapest and most efficient generators while penalising the most expensive ones.
  • This is in line with the draught National Electricity Policy (NEP) 2021, which seeks to increase short-term power market participation by more than double by 2023–2024.

One Nation, One Grid, One Frequency:

  • India’s complex linked power system has extensive inter-regional power transmission capacity, requiring careful coordination between grid operators and power project generators across coal, gas, hydro, nuclear, and green energy sources operated by the Centre, states, and the private sector.
  • With considerable investments over the previous decade, India’s power infrastructure has increased inter-regional electricity transfers and removed most bottlenecks, allowing it to realise its goal of “One Nation, One Grid, One Frequency.”
  • The National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC), Regional Load Despatch Centres (RLDCs), and State Load DespatchCentres are all managed by the state-owned Power System Operation Corp. Ltd (Posoco) (SLDCs).
  • There are 33 SLDCs, five RLDCs (for the national grid’s five regional grids), and one NLDC in the country.
  • Despite this, the country’s existing power scheduling and dispatch processes are compartmentalised, and day-ahead procedures result in inefficient use of the country’s generating capacity.

 

5.Lukha River

#GS3- Conservation Environmental Pollution & Degradation

 Context

  • Recently, the detoxing pilot project of the Meghalaya state has brought a Lukha river back from the dead.
  • The Lukha river was contaminated by acid mine drainage and run-off from coal mines.

In depth information

  • To detoxify the river, algae were used to remove main hazardous components from the water using the phytoremediation process.
  • The pilot project was funded by the District Mineral Fund in response to reports of low pH levels in the river affecting aquatic life.
  • The pH of water is a measurement of how acidic or basic it is. The range is 0 to 14, with 7 being the neutral value. Acidity is indicated by a pH less than 7, while a pH greater than 7 indicates a base.
  • The pH of water is an extremely essential indicator of water quality.

River Lukha

  • It is situated in the southern part of Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills.
  • While flowing down, it gets water from the Lunar river (Wah Lunar) and minor streams emptying from the Narpuh Reserve Forest and the area’s undulating hills.
  • The river is mostly supplied by monsoon rain and travels in a southwesterly direction before joining the Lunar river at Khaddum hamlet and taking a southern path.
  • The river flows through Sonapur village, then into the Surma valley, and finally into Bangladesh’s floodplains.

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