CURRENT AFFAIRS 15-11-2021
- Climate Change & Locust Infestations
- The Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor project
- The Flood Plain Zoning Legislation
- The Norovirus- Kerala
- The Rezang La war memorial
1.Climate Change & Locust Infestations
#GS3- Environmental Pollution &Degradation, Disaster Management
- Experts at COP-26 recently indicated that the recent infestation of desert locusts, which has ravaged a broad swath of land from eastern Africa to India, is closely linked to climate change.
In depth information
- Panelists at the Global Landscapes Forum Climate hybrid conference said that plans to mitigate climate change must involve action against pests and illnesses.
- The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) is the largest knowledge-led platform on integrated land use in the world, dedicated to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.
- Farmers in various nations, including India, Pakistan, and Iran, have been plagued by locusts.
Locusts and Climate Change
- Grasshoppers are their relatives.
- These insects generate massive swarms that move across continents, eating crops and wreaking havoc on agriculture.
- Since the Pharaohs ruled ancient Egypt, locust plagues have wreaked havoc on societies, and they continue to do so now.
- Swarms of locusts are usually on the move and can travel great distances—some species can travel up to 81 miles per day.
- Desert locusts are a type of locust that lives in the desert.
- Desert locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) are a well-known insect.
- During a tranquil period, this species can be found across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, occupying a territory of around six million square miles, or 30 nations.
- Infestations of locusts can jeopardise livelihoods and jeopardise regional investments in food security.
- According to the World Bank, damages and losses from locusts in East Africa and Yemen alone might total $8.5 billion by 2020.
- If swarm expansion is not managed, the long-term reaction and recovery costs might exceed $1 billion, according to the World Food Program.
- The global impact of the locust attack
- Impact in Africa: The “curse of good rains” has hit several African and Asian regions, resulting in massive swarms of the desert locust, dubbed “plagues.”
- Over 70,000 hectares of crops in Kenya and around 30,000 hectares in Ethiopia have already been devastated by swarms as huge as 2,400 sq km, containing 200 billion insects.
- Pakistan declared a national emergency over locusts last month.
- Impact in India: Several districts in Gujarat and Rajasthan in India have been impacted.
- A compensation of Rs 13,500 per hectare has been offered for impacted farmers in Rajasthan.
- While locust swarms continue to afflict African countries, the outbreak in India appears to be winding down, with swarms returning to Sindh and Balochistan.
- Return of the locusts: It is expected that the locusts will return in June, by which time their numbers will have multiplied fivefold.
What is the response of the afflicted countries to the infestation?
- Pakistan declared a national emergency: The Pakistani provinces of Balochistan and Sindh were the first to be attacked over the Persian Gulf, and when Punjab was hit, the government declared a national emergency and asked China for help.
- What is India’s response? Several regions in Gujarat and Rajasthan were impacted across the border, and neighbouring states, including Uttar Pradesh, are also on high alert.
- Cooperation between India and Pakistan: In the second half of 2019, Indian and Pakistani locust control officials met approximately once a month to exchange information, if not coordinate control activities, despite political difficulties.
- India’s surveillance, readiness, and response have all been competent and effective thus far.
- The national Locust Warning Organization was founded in 1939 and is strongly connected to worldwide organisations that deal with locust threats.
- It sends out weekly updates and has a Twitter account.
- The location, extent, and tonnage of pesticide sprayed, as well as the danger of future infestation, are all listed in the bulletins.
- China’s preparedness: Geographic barriers protect China against locust plagues, but the Xinjiang region is particularly vulnerable.
- Similar events in the past: When faced with a similar predicament a few decades ago, the Chinese authorities dispatched hundreds of thousands of ducks to eat the locusts when a whistle was blown.
- According to Chinese media reports, Beijing intends to do the same this year.
Ahead of Schedule
- A robust early warning system and governance, as well as adequate money, are required.
- Experts can use historical records and weather trends to pinpoint places where swarms are likely to form and spray those regions with pesticides.
- TMG proposed a paradigm change that would include the following measures:
- An early warning system that is well-functioning
- True Cost Accounting is used to calculate the environmental and human costs.
- Creating a cost-effective governance model
- Accounting for True Costs:
- True Cost Accounting is used to calculate the environmental and human costs.
- True Cost Accounting is a novel style of accountancy that assesses the affects on environmental and social capital as well as the typical financial values within a firm.
2. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor project
#GS1-Modern Indian History
- The Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor is a major project with a budget of? 600 crores (approximately).
- The purchase of land and structures around the temple complex, as well as resettlement compensation, cost an estimated? 300 crores.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is described in detail.
- It is one of the most well-known Hindu temples in the world, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
- Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh is the location.
- The temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva temples, and is located on the western bank of the holy river Ganga.
Concerning the project
- At least 400 households were evicted from the region, and various encroachments around the mediaeval temple were demolished to make space for the project.
- A paved walkway connects the temple to the ghats as part of the project.
- A museum, a library, a pilgrim facilitation centre, and a salvation house will be included.
- The principal archakas of the 12 Jyotirlingas will be present at the inauguration, and water from all important rivers across the country will be brought in for the abhishek of the primary deity Baba Vishwanath (Lord Shiva).
- The main ‘archakas’ of the 12 ‘Jyotirlingas’ would be present at the function (of which Kashi is one),
- Water was brought in from all of the country’s major rivers for the ‘abhishek’ of the chief deity, Baba Vishwanath (Lord Shiva).
- The event will include a sound and laser performance about the temple’s history and successive reconstructions after devastation.
- The Ganga ghats will be illuminated in the tradition of ‘Dev Dipawali.’
What is the purpose of a corridor?
- Congestion should be reduced.
- The temple, which is located on the Ganga’s left bank, is bordered by tight and claustrophobic alleyways.
- As a result, it has difficulty dealing with large crowds in its packed lanes during holiday seasons, which occur throughout the year.
- Boost the tourism industry
- It would give facilities such as bigger and cleaner roads and lanes, greater lighting with bright street lights, and pure drinking water to pilgrims and travellers.
3. The Flood Plain Zoning Legislation
- A report on flood preparedness and response from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) was recently delivered in the Kerala assembly.
- The report was written in the aftermath of the 2018 Kerala floods, which were devastating.
- The state has yet to pass flood plain zoning law, despite the fact that the Union Government distributed a model draught bill for flood plain zoning legislation to all states 45 years ago.
Issues in Depth
- Floods occur frequently in major cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, Dhaka, Karachi, and Kathmandu, and are accompanied by heavy rainfall.
- Since the 1950s, the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report (AR6) has highlighted an increase in the frequency of heavy precipitation events, inferring that they are being driven by human-induced climate change.
Climate change is simply one half of the storey; land-centrism is the other.
- The Basic Concept of Flood Plain Zoning: The basic concept of flood plain zoning is to regulate land use in flood plains in order to limit flood damage.
- Identifying Developmental Activities: It seeks to identify the locations and extent of areas for developmental activities in such a way that damage is minimised.
- Adds Restrictions: It proposes imposing restrictions on the development of both unprotected and protected regions.
- To prevent indiscriminate growth in unprotected areas, borders of places where developmental activities would be prohibited will be defined.
- Only those development activities can be allowed in protected areas that will not cause significant damage if the protective measures fail.
- Utility: While zoning will not be able to fix existing problems, it will undoubtedly aid in reducing flood damage in new constructions.
- Flood plain zoning is important not just in the event of river flooding, but also in mitigating the damage caused by drainage congestion, especially in metropolitan areas.
- The fact that 40 million hectares of India’s 3290 lakh hectares are prone to flooding highlights the country’s significant risk and vulnerability.
- Floods harm 75 lakh hectares of land on average every year, killing 1600 people and causing Rs. 1805 crores in damage to crops, residences, and public utilities.
- In order to frame flood management programmes, an accurate estimate is required:
- In 1980, the National Flood Commission calculated that the overall flood-prone land was roughly 40 million hectares.
- The sum was then subtracted from the places where protection works failed. It is, however, a defective methodology, as the National Flood Commission admits.
- While the largest area inundated in any given year may show the severity of a state’s flood problem, it does not always represent the region prone to flooding because various areas may be flooded in successive years.
- There’s another issue. The very description of a flood-prone location does not represent the efficacy of flood-prevention efforts.
- The National Flood Commission study also acknowledged the importance of evaluating flood management initiatives on a timely basis.
- It delegated the job of adopting or rejecting them to state irrigation and flood control agencies, the CWC, the Ganga Flood Control Commission, and the Brahmaputra Board based on their performance. This, however, has not been the case.
- The findings are not believable even when flood management projects are assessed.
- Furthermore, the review is usually carried out by departments that are involved in flood-control initiatives. Inaction on evaluation report suggestions is a serious issue.
- For example, in 1978, RBA asked the erstwhile Planning Commission’s programme evaluation organisation to examine the Kosi embankments.
- The study, which was published in 1979, found that embankments had worsened the flood situation. However, the embankments were raised by two metres in 1987-88, and the flood problem in Bihar continues to be exacerbated.
Integrated flood management is needed:
- The primary concerns with flood control in India, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s (CAG) audit report on “Schemes for Flood Control and Flood Forecasting” 2017, are:
- The RashtriyaBarhAyog’s key suggestions, including as a scientific assessment of flood-prone areas and the implementation of the Flood Plain Zoning Act, have yet to be implemented.
- Inadequate flood forecasting: The CWC’s flood forecasting network is insufficient to effectively cover the country. Furthermore, the majority of the existing flood forecasting stations are inactive.
- Poor flood risk mapping: In 2006, the Central Water Commission (CWC) established a task force to finish flood risk mapping. In addition, India’s Vulnerability Atlas has halted flood zonation. Flood damage evaluations were not completed properly.
- Delays in the execution of projects under the flood management programmes are mostly due to a lack of assistance from the central government.
- Efforts to manage flooding are not carried out in a coordinated manner.
- The majority of India’s huge dams lack disaster management plans; only 7% of the country’s large dams have emergency action plans or disaster management plans.
- Because floods do significant harm to life and property every year, it is past time for the federal and state governments to develop a long-term flood-control strategy that goes beyond piecemeal efforts like embankment construction and dredging.
- An integrated basin management plan is required that includes all river-basin sharing countries as well as Indian states.
4. The Norovirus- Kerala
- An uncommon Norovirus infection was recently discovered in 13 students at a veterinary college in Kerala’s Wayanad district.
In-depth Information about Norovirus
- Norovirus is a disease spread by animals. It produces gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach and gut lining irritation, acute vomiting, and diarrhoea.
- Norovirus is easily spread by coming into close contact with someone who has been affected or touching contaminated surfaces. It can also be spread through eating food prepared or handled by someone who has a stomach bug.
- Diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, a high temperature, headache, and body aches are some of the symptoms. Acute vomiting and diarrhoea, on the other hand, might cause dehydration and other issues, according to specialists.
- Norovirus has no effect on healthy people, but it can be dangerous in small children, the elderly, and those with comorbidities.
- The infection does not have a specific therapy. The immune system’s health is usually a determining factor in recovery. The disease normally passes in a few days for the majority of patients.
- Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and water as a preventative measure. People should also avoid contaminated food and water, particularly meals that may have been cooked by a sick person.
5.The Rezang La war memorial
- The names of Army servicemen who died in the Galwan skirmish last year have been added to the Rezang La war memorial.
- The rebuilt war memorial at Rezang La in Eastern Ladakh will be inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Rezang La’s specifics
- It’s also known as Rechin La.
- It’s a mountain pass that runs along the Line of Actual Control between Indian-run Ladakh and the Chinese-run Spanggur Lake basin, which India also claims.
- The pass is situated on the eastern watershed ridge of the Chushul Valley, which China claims as its western border.
- It is located at the top of the RezangLungpa valley, which contains a stream that flows into Spanggur Lake.
- The memorial battle of Rezang La in 1962 – The 1962 Sino-Indian War saw a dramatic engagement at Rezang La, where a company of India’s 13 Kumaon battalion fought to the death to prevent Chinese PLA troops from crossing the mountain into the Chushul Valley.
- The Indian Army deployed troops along the Line of Actual Control south of the Pangong Tso, especially at Rezang La and Rechin La, during a border standoff in the summer of 2020.