Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 17th November – 2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 17-11-2021

                                                                                                  

 

Topics

  • The National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA)
  • Rise of Cryptocurrencies- Regulation of Cryptocurrencies in India
  • The importance of BRCA gene testing
  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission
  • Birsa Munda museum

 

 

1. The National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA)

#GS2- Government Policies & Interventions

Context

  • The Centre has recently started the process of establishing the National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA).
  • On October 22, the Task Force for River Interlinking (TFILR) had a meeting to discuss the proposal for the formation of the NIRA.

In depth information

  • River Interlinking Authority of the United States
  • The planned body, to be known as the NIRA, is likely to take on both inter-state and intra-state projects.
  • It will also make plans to raise funding both internally and internationally.
  • The body, which is chaired by Union Minister of Jal Shakti, consists of Irrigation or Water Resources Ministers and State Secretaries.
  • It is aided by an ILR Task Force, which is a group of professionals recruited mostly from the Jal Shakti Ministry, the Central Water Commission, and the NWDA.

About National River Linking Project (NRLP)

  • Through inter-basin water transfer projects, the NRLP, formally known as the National Perspective Plan, envisions the transfer of water from water’surplus’ basins where there is flooding to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity.
  • It is intended to alleviate water shortages in western and southern India while also reducing the effects of repeated floods in the Ganga basin’s eastern regions.
  • Sir Arthur Cotton proposed the interconnection of rivers more than 125 years ago, mostly to enhance trade, but it was never realised.
  • The proposed NRLP, which presently includes 29 canals totaling 9,600 kilometres, will transfer 245 trillion litres of water.
  • It will be one of the world’s largest inter-basin water transfer projects if and when it is implemented.

Background:

  • The concept of connecting rivers in the Indian subcontinent dates back at least 150 years.
  • Sir Arthur Cotton, a British general and irrigation engineer, proposed joining the Ganga and the Cauvery for navigational purposes under the British Raj in India.
  • In the 1970s, the then-Union Irrigation Minister advocated moving extra water from a river to a water-scarce area (earlier the Jal Shakti Ministry was known as the Ministry of Irrigation).
  • National Perspective Plan (NNP) Development:
  • It was created in August 1980 by the then Ministry of Irrigation (now Ministry of Jal Shakti) for the development of water resources by inter-basin water transfer from water surplus basins to water-deficit basins.

The NPP was made up of two parts:

  • Construction of storage reservoirs on the main Ganga and Brahmaputra Rivers, as well as their major tributaries in India and Nepal, is planned to conserve monsoon flows for agriculture and hydropower generation, as well as flood management. The Kosi, Gandak, and Ghagra rivers’ surplus waters will be diverted to the west via these links.
  • The Brahmaputra-Ganga Link will improve the Ganga’s dry-weather flow.
  • It is planned that surplus flows generated by the interconnection of the Ganga and the Yamuna be sent to drought-prone districts of Haryana, Rajasthan, and Gujarat.
  • Peninsular Rivers Development: The “Southern Water Grid,” which is intended to connect the Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Pennar, and Cauvery rivers, is the key component of Peninsular Rivers Development.
  • The Peninsular component is divided into four parts: Mahanadi and Godavari surplus flows are diverted to Krishna, Pennar, Cauvery, and Vaigai. Kerala and Karnataka’s west-flowing rivers are diverted to the east.
  • The National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has selected 30 linkages for the creation of Feasibility Reports under the NPP (16 under the Peninsular Component and 14 under the Himalayan Component) (FRs).
  • The Ken-Betwa Link Project is the first river interlinking project under the National Perspective Plan (NPP).
  • The project entails transferring excess water from the Ken river in Madhya Pradesh’s Panna district to the Betwa river in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Both rivers are tributaries of the Yamuna River.

The Advantages of River Interlinking

  • Balancing uneven water availability:
  • The majority of the country is monsoon-dependent, and the amount of rain falls differently in different parts of the country.
  • As a result, interlinking will aid in balancing the uneven availability of water.
  • Address the logistic deficit: By connecting river projects, India can improve connectivity by establishing additional inland waterways, hence addressing the logistic deficit.
  • It would ensure that water scarcity does not become a barrier to the country’s progress.
  • Droughts and floods are addressed.
  • The Indian Rivers Inter-link project proposes to connect India’s rivers to a network of reservoirs and canals, reducing floods in some areas and water shortages in others.
  • Navigation all year, employment generation, and hydropower generating

Concerns and Issues

Concerns about the environment

  • One of the big concerns is that rivers change course every 70–100 years, which means that once they are joined, further changes in course could cause enormous logistical issues for the project.

Life in the water

  • A number of prominent environmentalists believe the project will be a disaster for the environment. There would be a drop in downstream flows, resulting in a fall in freshwater inflows into the seas, putting aquatic life at jeopardy.

Deforestation

  • Canal construction would necessitate enormous amounts of land, resulting in widespread deforestation in some locations.

Submergence of areas

  • The possibility of new dams comes with the risk of significant areas of land that would otherwise be inhabited or reserved being flooded by water or surface water. Coastal erosion is predicted to jeopardise the land and livelihoods of local economies that support 160 million people, putting fertile deltas in jeopardy.

People being displaced

  • Because big swaths of land may need to be converted to canals, a significant population residing in these areas may need to be relocated.

Clean water is being contaminated.

  • Rivers with unclean water will join to rivers with clean water as they interconnect, contaminating the clean water.

Ecological flow disruption

  • They claim that if implemented, water discharge in 23 of 29 rivers will be significantly reduced. The flow of the Ganga will be reduced by 24%. Its tributaries Gandak (-68%) and Ghaghara (-55%) would be the most severely impacted. While the Brahmaputra will only lose 6% of its flow, its tributaries will face substantial reductions: Manas (-73%), Sankosh (-72%), and Raidhak (-72%). (-53 percent ). Changes in water flow and silt trapping in reservoirs will result in a decrease in the amount of sediment deposited by rivers.

Next Steps

  • River interlinking’s necessity and practicality should be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with a strong emphasis on resolving federal issues.
  • In the water industry, create public-private partnerships and modify water charges to cover at least operation and maintenance costs.
  • A participatory method to groundwater management that encourages behavioural changes and community involvement.
  • People and animals may be displaced on a big scale as a result of river interconnection.
  • As a result, the government should implement suitable rehabilitative measures.
  • As a result, the government should implement suitable rehabilitative measures.
  • In the event of a project of this magnitude, a thorough scientific study of the project and its impact on the environment is required, particularly in terms of biodiversity.

 

2. Rise of Cryptocurrencies- Regulation of Cryptocurrencies in India

#GS3- Mobilization of Resources Science & Technology

Context

  • Recently, the PM chaired a meeting on cryptocurrency where the need for its regulation was discussed.
  • Earlier, RBI cautioned investors about digital currency over its non-transparent advertising.

In details Cryptocurrencies

  • Rise of Cryptocurrencies: The pioneer cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was traded at just $0.0008 in 2010 and commanded a market price of about $65,000 in April 2021.
  • Many newer coins have also been introduced since Bitcoin’s launch and their cumulative market value touched $2.5 trillion by May 2021.

Significance of Cryptocurrencies:

  • Corruption Check:
  • As blocks run on a peer-to-peer network, it helps keep corruption in check by tracking the flow of funds and transactions.
  • Time Effective:
  • Cryptocurrencies can help save money and substantial time for the remitter and the receiver, as it is conducted entirely on the Internet, runs on a mechanism that involves very less transaction fees and is almost instantaneous.
  • Cost Effective:
  • Intermediaries such as banks, credit card and payment gateways draw almost 3% from the total global economic output of over $100 trillion, as fees for their services.
  • Integrating blockchain into these sectors could result in hundreds of billions of dollars in savings.
  • Cryptocurrencies in India:
  • In 2018, The RBI issued a circular preventing all banks from dealing in cryptocurrencies. This circular was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in May 2020.
  • Recently, the government has announced to introduce a bill; Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, to create a sovereign digital currency and simultaneously ban all private cryptocurrencies.
  • In India, the funds that have gone into the Indian blockchain start-ups account for less than 0.2% of the amount raised by the sector globally.
  • Because of the present stance on cryptocurrencies, it is nearly hard for blockchain entrepreneurs and investors to make a profit.
  • Some of the technology’s real-world applications in relation to cryptocurrencies
  • Use in voting:
  • Voters can vote for the deserving leader while remaining anonymous.
  • Use in fund distribution: A large sum of money is distributed to state leaders, but due to corrupt minds, the money vanishes and is scattered. Cryptocurrency will undoubtedly assist the country in overcoming it.

The Reserve Bank of India and Digital Currency

  • The Reserve Bank of India is looking on a Central Bank Digital Currency based on DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology).
  • Details are recorded in numerous places at the same time under DLT.
  • Blockchain, for example, is a sort of distributed ledger.
  • CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency): It will be recognised as legal tender.
  • Can be converted/exchanged at the same rate as cash in the same denomination.

Concerns/Challenges

  • Cyberattacks on wallets and exchange mechanisms are both security risks (Cryptojacking).
  • Used in Illicit Trading, Criminal Activities, and Organized Crime as a Shield.
  • The Indian rupee faces a threat if a substantial number of investors choose to invest in digital currencies rather than rupee-based savings such as provident funds.
  • Outside of regular financial systems, there is a lack of liquidity and lower acceptability.
  • Price Volatility: Price swings are common, and computer power is wasted.
  • Consumer protection is lacking due to the lack of Dispute Resolution Mechanisms and the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s oversight (SEBI).

Next Steps

  • Take a page from the developed world and implement safeguards, measures, and a regulatory framework.
  • The Cryptocurrency Regulation Bill must be passed quickly.

 

3. The importance of BRCA gene testing

#GS3- Science & Technology

Context

  • The importance of BRCA gene testing for decreasing cancer risk in women has recently been highlighted.

In depth information

What are BRCA (Breast Cancer) genes and how do you know if you have them?

  • These are proteins found in breast tissues that have been shown to help prevent breast cancer. They either aid in the repair of damaged DNA or aid in the destruction of cells if the damaged DNA cannot be repaired. The BRCA genes are known as tumour suppressor or caretaker genes as a result of this.
  • These tumour suppression genes, however, do not function effectively in some persons. When a gene is tampered with or disrupted, it ceases to operate properly. This is referred to as a gene mutation. As a result, when BRCA is mutated, it loses its ability to repair DNA.

What are the dangers of having a BRCA mutation?

  • Breast and ovarian cancer are the most common cancers linked to BRCA mutations. However, they have been connected to other tumours in some cases, particularly in the abdominal and thoracic cavities.
  • By the age of 90, women with faulty BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes have an 80% chance of having breast cancer. Ovarian cancer is more likely in women who have BRCA 1 mutations, with a risk of up to 55%. Affected women are also at a significant risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

What are the BRCA mutation prevention techniques that women should use?

  • After contacting their gynaecologists, women with a strong matrilineal family history of breast/ovarian cancer should get tested for BRCA mutations.
  • Breast cancer screenings on a regular basis: If a BRCA mutation is found to cause breast cancer, the steps below should be taken.
  • Regular breast self-examination should begin at the age of eighteen.
  • From the age of 25, a clinical checkup and risk assessment must be performed every six months to one year. Mammography should be done at least once a year.
  • Women with the BRCA mutation must have an annual breast MRI starting at the age of 30.
  • Women with SOS should seek risk reduction with tamofixen (oestrogen, not chemo) or risk-reducing surgery (mastectomy).
  • To reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, women should utilise oral contraceptives on a regular basis.
  • On the basis of a family history of the condition, women should consider transvaginal ultrasound and CA-125 blood tests till they are 30 years old.
  • Women between the ages of 35 and 40 can choose to reduce their risk by having a salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries and fallopian tube) on an SOS basis.
  • This piece is based on a storey published in the Indian Express on November 16, 2021 titled “Why BRCA gene testing is vital for decreasing cancer risk in women.”

 

4. Rashtriya Gokul Mission

#GS3-Economics of animal rearing.

Context:

  • A recent evaluation meeting of the Rashtriya Gokul Mission’s performance was held.

In depth information

What is the Rashtriya Gokul Mission, and what does it entail?

  • The National Program for Bovine Breeding and the National Mission for Bovine Productivity are two components of the Rashtriya Gokul Mission.

The Mission’s underlying goals are as follows:

  • Focused and scientific development and conservation of indigenous breeds.
  • Implement a breed improvement programme for indigenous cattle breeds in order to improve genetic makeup and stock.
  • Boost milk output and efficiency.
  • For natural service, provide disease-free high genetic quality bulls.

Implementation

  • The “State Implementing Agency’ Livestock Development Boards,” or SIAs (LDBs), are in charge of implementing it.
  • State GausevaAyogs are responsible for sponsoring proposals to SIAs (LDBs) and overseeing their implementation.
  • The “Participating Agencies” have the best germplasm, such as CFSPTI, CCBFs, ICAR, Universities, Colleges, NGO’s, Cooperative Societies, and Gaushalas.

What are Gokul Grams, and what do they mean?

  • The Rashtriya Gokul Mission calls for the creation of ‘Gokul Grams,’ or integrated cattle development centres, to promote indigenous breeds, including up to 40% nondescript varieties.

Gokul Grams will be established in the following locations:

  • The urban cattle are housed in native breeding tracts and near metropolitan centres.

Objectives:

  • Promote the scientific rearing and conservation of indigenous cattle.
  • Propagate indigenous breed bulls with high genetic value.
  • Modern Farm Management procedures should be optimised, and CRM should be promoted.
  • Animal waste, such as cow dung and urine, can be used in a cost-effective manner.

Key features of Gokul Grams

  • They will be self-sufficient, generating income through the sale of A2 milk organic manure, vermi-composting, urine distillates, and the production of electricity from bio gas for in-house usage and the sale of animal products.
  • They will also serve as a cutting-edge in-field training facility for farmers, breeders, and MAITRIs.
  • Gokul Grams serve as breeding centres for indigenous breeds and a reliable source of high-quality breeding stock for farmers in the breeding tract.
  • The Gokul Gram will have a capacity of roughly 1000 animals and will sustain milch and unproductive animals in a 60:40 ratio.
  • The animals’ nutritional needs will be met in the Gokul Gram by in-house fodder production.

Why is indigenous breed conservation so important now?

  • Indigenous bovines are tough and adaptable, and they’re well-suited to the climate and habitat of their different breeding areas, thus their productivity is less likely to be harmed by the effects of climate change.
  • The fat and SNF content of indigenous animals’ milk is high (The substances in milk other than butterfat and water in the form of casein, lactose, vitamins, and minerals which contribute significantly to the nutritive value of milk).

 

5. Birsa Munda museum

#GS 1- History

Context

  • In Ranchi, the Birsa Munda museum was just opened.
  • Nine more tribal museums will open soon in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Manipur, Mizoram, and Goa, with one each in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Manipur, Mizoram, and Goa.

In details

  • The birth anniversary of Bhagwan Birsa Munda will be commemorated as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas, according to the Indian government.
  • To commemorate the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used video conferencing to open the Bhagwan Birsa Munda Memorial Udyan Freedom Fighter Museum – Bhagwan Birsa Munda Memorial Garden Freedom Fighter Museum in Ranchi.

Birsa Munda’s Background

  • Birsa Munda (also known as DhartiAaba (Father of Earth)) was a Munda tribal liberation fighter, religious leader, and folk hero.
  • He was the leader of a tribal religious millenarian movement that formed in the Bengal Presidency (now Jharkhand) in the late nineteenth century, during the British Raj, making him a significant figure in Indian independence history.
  • The Munda belt of Khunti, Tamar, Sarwada, and Bandgaon was the epicentre of the insurrection.
  • Birsait
  • Birsa founded the ‘Birsait’ creed after becoming aware of the British colonial authority and missionaries’ efforts to convert tribals to Christianity.
  • TheBirsait cult drew members from the Munda and Oraon communities, posing a challenge to British conversion efforts.
  • He also advised the Mundas to quit consuming alcohol, tidy their community, and abandon their beliefs in witchcraft and sorcery.

Munda Uprising

  • The Munda Rebellion, led by Birsa Munda in Ranchi’s south in 1899-1900, was one of the most major tribal movements of the time.
  • The movement known as the ‘Ulgulan’ or the ‘Great Tumult’ attempted to create Munda Raj by driving out the British.
  • The organisation identified the following reasons as the root of the Mundas’ misery: British land regulations, which destroyed their ancient land system, Hindu landlords and moneylenders who took over their land, and Missionaries who criticised their traditional culture.
  • Birsa Munda was caught by British police on March 3, 1900, while sleeping with his tribal guerilla army in Chakradharpur’sJamkopai jungle (Jharkhand).
  • The Munda Rebellion caused the colonial government to enact regulations that made it difficult for dikus to take over tribal property (Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908).
  • It demonstrated that tribal peoples have the ability to oppose injustice and express their discontent with colonial power.

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