Insights Daily Current Affairs, 14 November 2016
Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Ken-Betwa project hangs on forest nod
The Forest Advisory Committee has withheld its nod to the Ken-Betwa river-interlinking project. The committee tasked with giving the project forest clearance has deferred it at least until January.
The Rs. 9,000-crore Ken-Betwa river-interlinking project will partly submerge the Panna tiger reserve. The Forest Advisory Committee’s clearance is required for this diversion of forest land. The project requires separate wildlife, forest and environment clearances.
About the project:
The Ken and Betwa rivers in the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh (MP) are to be linked under an historic agreement that marks the first such project in India’s ambitious and controversial national river-linking project.
- The project envisages construction of a dam across river Ken in Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh to irrigate 6.35 lakh hectare area of land, drinking water purposes and generation of 78 MW hydropower.
- The project comprises two powerhouse of 2×30 MW and 3×6 MW each, two tunnels of 1.9 km long upper level, 1.1 km long tunnel lower level and a 221 km long Ken-Betwa link canal, proposed on the left bank of the river.
- The project will provide irrigation facilities for 6,35,661 hectares of land in Panna, Chhattarpur, Tikamgarh districts in Madhya Pradesh, and Banda, Mahoba and Jhansi districts in Uttar Pradesh.
- The project was first mooted in the early 1980s but was actively taken up by the NDA government under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It was then challenged in the Supreme Court, which finally gave the nod in 2013.
Why is it being opposed?
Proponents of the project say that the proposed Daudhan dam and the 2.5 km canal — the key structures of the project — that will transfer surplus water from the Uttar Pradesh section of the Ken to the Betwa in Madhya Pradesh are critical to irrigate nearly 7,00,000 hectares in drought-ravaged Bundelkhand.
But, opponents also say such a dam will submerge at least 4,000 hectares of Madhya Pradesh’s Panna tiger reserve, whose tigers were almost lost to poaching in 2009 and have only recently been partially replenished. They also allege that most districts in Madhya Pradesh will not actually get the promised water. There are vultures in the region, whose nests will be threatened by the height of the dam.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
India still losing fight against child pneumonia, diarrhoea epidemics
World Pneumonia Day 2016 was observed on November 12. 2016 Theme: “Keep the Promise, Stop Pneumonia Now”.
Report on Pneumonia:
On this day, the Pneumonia and Diarrhoea Progress Report was published by the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC.)
Highlights of the report:
- The report puts India at the top of the list of 15 nations, as it did last year, and the years before. India had a total of 2,96,279 deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea.
- The report also notes that India is among the 12 nations that have improved their Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) score this year.
- Nearly 15 years after the introduction of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccines in 2000, five countries among those with the highest pneumonia burden — India, Indonesia, Chad, China and Somalia — are still not using the vaccine in their routine immunisation programmes, the report noted.
- In addition to thinking of vaccines, the report points out other simple proven interventions in order to prevent these deaths, including antibiotics, exclusive breastfeeding, and access to treatment and care.
- Also urging nations to go beyond business as usual, the report chronicles innovations that help speed up the process and better chase the goal of cutting down the number of preventable child deaths.
What has India been doing in this regard?
India recently announced a partial introduction of the vaccine in five states (Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh) from 2017. India introduced rotavirus vaccines in four States in 2015.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
SC sets up panel on night shelters
The Supreme Court has asked the government to respond on the lackadaisical attitude shown by authorities in providing sufficient number of night shelters to the poor and homeless in the towns and cities of northern States despite the availability of funds.
Committee to verify the availability:
The court has also directed that a committee headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice Kailash Gambhir be constituted to verify the availability of night shelters, including if they are in compliance with the operational guidelines under the NULM and to inquire into the reasons for slow progress in setting up shelter homes by the States/Union Territories. The committee has been given four months to submit its report.
Terms of reference:
- The committee shall inquire about non-utilisation and/or diversion/misutilisation of funds allocated for the scheme for providing shelters to the urban homeless.
- The committee shall issue suitable recommendations to the States to ensure that at least temporary shelters are provided for the homeless in urban areas to protect them during winter season. The State governments shall ensure compliance with the recommendations along the time frame indicated by the committee.
Destitute in urban areas continue to suffer without shelters. In spite of the availability of funds and a clear mechanism through which to disburse them, there is unsatisfactory state of affairs on the ground. Poor continue to shiver in the winter cold as welfare measures like the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) scheme continue to remain a distant dream.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
PM inaugurates International Conference and Exhibition on Sugarcane Value Chain Vision 2025 Sugar – at Pune
PM Modi recently inaugurated the International Conference and Exhibition on Sugarcane Value Chain Vision 2025 Sugar – at Pune.
- Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) has organized the conference.
- There was an exhibition showcasing various technological developments in sugar industry and live demonstrations of sugarcane crop showing various advance technologies and practices in cultivation.
- Eminent international and national speakers delivered lectures on significantly different important aspects of sugarcane value chain.
- The conference was attended by around 1500 delegates.
VSI is an autonomous body established in 1975 by cane growers of co-operative sugar mills in Maharashtra with support of State and Central government.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
In Hyderabad, a coup in a coop
In what is the first evidence of multidrug resistance in poultry sold in Indian markets, researchers in Hyderabad have isolated a bacterium in chicken that may well be the source of transmission of the drug-resistant pathogen to humans. This is the first data on prevalence and isolation of H. pullorum in India.
- The pathogen, called Helicobacter pullorum, was found in broiler and free-range chickens, which — besides being untreatable — could also be cancer-causing.
- pullorum is commonly found in the liver and gut of poultry birds and is believed to co-evolve with its natural host.
- Infected chicken, when consumed, are known to cause gastrointestinal infections in humans.
The greatest concern of news of resistance is H. pullorum’s ability to cause cancer. It is known to produce a cancer-causing agent called cytolethal distending toxin, which is the main concern. This toxin damages the DNA and interferes with the cell cycle. Since this bacterium also infects the liver, it increases the risk of cancer in the organ.
Cooking the Indian way — at temperatures higher than 60° Celsius — kills H. pullorum. However, eating uncooked or undercooked dishes like pickled chicken carries risk of infection.
Sources: the hindu.