UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 01st March 2022
Topics for the day:
- Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership
- International Space station
- Mekedatu dam and issues
- Cauvery water management authority and Cauvery water regulation committee
- RT-PCR test
- Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB)
Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership
- Finland and Sweden have dismissed Russia’s warnings that their potential NATO membership would have “serious military-political consequences” for the two countries.
- Russia has voiced concern about what it described as efforts by the United States and some of its allies to “drag” Finland and Sweden into NATO and warned that Moscow would be forced to take retaliatory measures if they join the alliance.
What Russia wants ?
- Tensions between Russia and the West have been building ever since Russia started proxy war in eastern Ukraine and annexed Crimea.
- In response, NATO sent reinforcements to countries seen as vulnerable to Russian aggression.
- In December 2021, Moscow set out its security demands in two documents:
- a proposed treaty with the US, and an agreement with NATO.
- Essentially, Russia now wants guarantees that NATO will halt its eastward expansion
- Wants NATO to rule out membership for Ukraine and other former Soviet countries, and roll back its military deployments in Central and Eastern Europe.
- Russian leaders have long been wary of the eastward expansion of NATO, particularly as the alliance opened its doors to former Warsaw Pact states and ex-Soviet republics in the late 1990s (the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland) and early 2000s (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia).
International Space station
- Russian space agency chief Dimitry Rogozin said that Russia could respond to the US sanctions by letting the ISS fall from space.
What is the status of the International space station(ISS) ?
- The ISS is governed by the International Space Station Intergovernmental Agreement.It was signed on 29 January 1998 by the fifteen governments involved in the Space Station project.
- The Intergovernmental Agreement allows the Space Station Partners States to extend their national jurisdiction in outer space, so the elements they provide (e.g. laboratories) are assimilated to the territories of the Partners States.
- The basic rule is that ‘each partner shall retain jurisdiction and control over the elements it registers and over personnel in or on the Space Station who are its nationals’ (Article 5)
- This means that the owners of the Space Station – the United States, Russia, the European Partner, Japan and Canada are legally responsible for the respective elements they provide.
- Liability in case something goes wrong : as defined under the liability convention(1972)
- The Intergovernmental Agreement establish a ‘cross-waiver of liability’ which prohibits any of the five Partners or their related entities (contractor, sub-contractor, user, customer) to claim against another Partner for damage sustained as a result of International Space Station activities (Article 16).
More about the ISS :
- The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit.
- Its first component launched into orbit in 1998, and the ISS is now the largest human-made body in low Earth orbit.
- It circles the Earth in roughly 92 minutes and completes 15.5 orbits per day.
- The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields.
Other international Space Law Treaties and Principles :
- The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space is the forum for the development of international space law.
- The Committee has concluded five international treaties and five sets of principles on space-related activities :
- The Outer Space Treaty
- The Rescue Agreement
- The Liability Convention
- The Registration Convention
- The Moon Agreement
Mekedatu dam and issues
- Protests are going on for the construction of the Mekedatu project on the River Kaveri
- Earlier, the National Green Tribunal closed the suo moto proceedings for spot inspection to find out whether Karnataka has made preparations to build a reservoir at Mekedatu, without getting environmental clearance.
- The Rs. 9,000 crore Mekedatu project aims to store and supply water for drinking purposes for the Bengaluru city.
- Around 400 megawatts (MW) of power is also proposed to be generated through the project.
- It was first approved by the Karnataka state government in 2017 and it received approval from the erstwhile Ministry of Water Resources for the detailed project report and is awaiting approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
- The approval from MoEFCC is crucial because 63% of the forest area of the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary will be submerged.
- However In 2018, Tamil Nadu approached the Supreme Court (SC) against the project
Tamil Nadu’s stand :
- The project is against the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) in which the SC held that no state can claim exclusive ownership or assert rights to deprive other states of the waters of inter-state rivers(as given under Helsinki rules on uses of water)
- It has also held that the reservoir is not just for drinking water alone, but to increase the extent of irrigation, which is in clear violation of the Cauvery Water Disputes Award.
- Acc to TN, Karnataka has no right to construct any reservoir on an inter-state river without the consent of the lower riparian state
Cauvery Dispute so far :
- From 1974, Karnataka started diverting water into its four newly made reservoirs, without the consent of Tamil Nadu resulting in a dispute.
- To resolve the matter, the CWDT was established in 1990 which took 17 years to arrive at the final order (2007) on how Cauvery water should be shared between the 4 riparian states in normal rainfall conditions.
- In distress years, a pro-rata basis shall be used, it instructed. The government again took 6 year and notified the order in 2013.
- The verdict of the CDWT was challenged through a special leave petition in the SC.
- The final verdict of the SC came in 2018 where it declared the Cauvery a national asset and largely upheld the water-sharing arrangements finalised by the CWDT and also reduced the allocation of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu.
- As per the SC,
- Karnataka would get 284.75 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft)
- Tamil Nadu 404.25 tmcft
- Kerala 30 tmcft
- Puducherry 7 tmcft.
- It also directed the Centre to notify the Cauvery Management Scheme. The centre did so in June 2018, constituting the ‘Cauvery Water Management Authority’ and the ‘Cauvery Water Regulation Committee’.
Cauvery water management authority and Cauvery water regulation committee
- With the agitation on Mekedatu project going on,the focus has shifted back onto the cauvery water dispute.
What is cauvery water management authority(CWMA):
- The centre notified the cauvery management scheme under the section 6A of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, for smooth implementation of the Cauvery Tribunal Award
- The authority would comprise a chairman, eight members besides a secretary.
- Out of eight members, two each will be full-time and part-time members from centre, while the rest four would be part-time members from states.
- The chairman of the authority should either be a “senior and eminent engineer” with an experience of water resource management and handling of inter-state water dispute or an IAS officer with an experience in water resources management
- He will have the tenure of five years or until he reaches the age of 65, whichever is earlier
- The authority will exercise power and discharge such duty for expediently securing compliance and implementation of the Supreme Court order
- If the authority finds that any government of the party states, namely Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Union territory of Puducherry do not cooperate in implementing the decision or direction of the tribunal, it can seek the help of the central government for implementation of the award.
- if any delay or shortfall is caused in release of water on account of default of any party state, the authority will take appropriate action
What is Cauvery water regulation committee?
- The CWMA will also supervise operation of reservoirs and with regulation of water releases with the assistance of regulation committee
- Its members are :
- One whole time member Chairman
- One representative from each state namely – Karnataka,Kerala,Tamil Nadu,Puducherry not below the rank of chief engineer
- One representative from Central water commission,India meteorological Department
- Also a representative from the ministry of agriculture
- Along with a member secretary for the committee
RT-PCR Test :
- Flying to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has almost returned to pre-pandemic days for passengers, with the mandatory RT-PCR removed from the list of tests for fully vaccinated passengers
What is the full form ?
- Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test
What is the RT-PCR test ?
- Under this, copies of a segment of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) are created using an enzyme called Polymerase.
- The ‘chain reaction’ signifies how the DNA fragments are copied, exponentially – one is copied into two, the two are copied into four, and so on.
- A fluorescent DNA binding dye called the “probe” is added to DNA, which shows the presence of the virus on a fluorometer.
- However, coronavirus is made of RNA (ribonucleic acid).
- Therefore to detect coronavirus, RNA is converted into DNA using a technique called reverse transcription.
- A ‘reverse transcriptase’ enzyme converts the RNA into DNA. Copies of the DNA are then made and amplified.
Rapid Antigen Test(RAT) :
- It is a test on swabbed nasal samples that detects antigens (foreign substances that induce an immune response in the body) that are found on or within the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
- It is a point-of-care test, performed outside the conventional laboratory setting, and is used to quickly obtain a diagnostic result.
- Like RT-PCR, the rapid antigen detection test too seeks to detect the virus rather than the antibodies produced by the body.
Difference between the RAT and RT-PCR:
- While the mechanism is different, the most significant difference between the two is time.
- The RT-PCR test takes a minimum of 2-5 hours including the time taken for sample transportation
- In a reliable rapid antigen detection test, the maximum duration for interpreting a positive or negative test is 30 minutes.
Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) :
- The Union Power Ministry has made an amendment to the rules governing the appointment of Member Power and Member Irrigation on Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) from Punjab and Haryana, respectively, thereby removing the stipulation that these two appointments need to be filled from the two states only.
- Posts of Member Power and Member Irrigation have so far been occupied by officials from Punjab & Haryana, respectively.
- Under the new rules notified by the Ministry of Power, officials from other states are now eligible. The two members are appointed by the central government after selection from a panel of engineers forwarded to the Ministry of Power by the respective states.
What is the Bhakra Beas management board(BBMB) ?
- The Bhakra Beas Management Board is dedicated to the service of the nation and is engaged in regulation of the supply of Water & Power from Bhakra Nangal and Beas Projects to the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Chandigarh.
- Following the reorganisation of Punjab in 1966, Punjab and Haryana were allocated a share of 58:42 in power projects related to BBMB. Later, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh were also given a share.
- It is a statutory body under the Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966
What are its functions ?
- The regulation of supply of water from Satluj, Ravi and Beas to the States of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
- The regulation and supply of power generated from Bhakra-Nangal and Beas Projects.
- Construction of new Hydro Projects within and outside BBMB System.
Features of the Bhakra dam:
- The Bhakra dam is built on Sutlej River.
- It is Asia’s second tallest dam with a height of around 207.26 meters after the Tehri dam, which has a height of around 261 meters.
- The Gobind Sagar reservoir of the dam has a capacity to store water up to 9.34 billion cubic meters.
UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 1st March 2022
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