Reconstructing past Deep-Water Circulations of Indian Ocean
GS Paper- III
Context- According to research, tectonic changes in ocean gateways, such as the closure of the Central American Seaway, a body of water that originally divided North America and South America, have had a profound influence on Indian Ocean circulation since the late Miocene epoch.
What is the definition of global overturning circulation (GOC)?
- It is the movement of cold, deep waters equatorward and warm, near-surface waters poleward.
- It regulates ocean heat dispersion and atmospheric CO2 levels, and hence plays an important role in world climate.
Concept: Panama Closure Hypothesis
- This article focuses on the Panama Closure Hypothesis.
- According to the Panama Hypothesis, the progressive closing of the Panama Seaway between 13 million years ago (13 Ma) and 2.6 Ma resulted in less mixing of Atlantic and Pacific water masses.
- As a result, the North Atlantic Deep water circulation formed.
- It boosted the Atlantic thermohaline circulation, increased North Atlantic temperatures and evaporation, and enhanced precipitation in Northern Hemisphere high latitudes.
Impact of Panama closure
- Tectonic processes are likely to have resulted in the creation of two distinct water bodies: northern component water in the North Atlantic and Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) in the Southern Ocean.
- As a result, it is also hypothesised that large-scale alterations in Deep Water Circulation (DWC) in the world’s oceans would have occurred.
The impact on the Indian Ocean gyre
- The Indian Ocean lacks substantial deep-water formations of its own.
- It solely serves as a host for NCW and AABW.
- Furthermore, the northern Indian Ocean is positioned at one of the GOC’s terminal ends, distant from deep-water formation zones and oceanic seaways.
What has the new research found?
- The researchers created an authigenic neodymium isotope record from the Arabian Sea and rebuilt the Indian Ocean’s DWC record from 11.3 million years ago (Miocene era) to 1.98 million years ago (Pleistocene era).
- The record demonstrates a distinct change from a Pacific water-dominated deep circulation system to the emergence of a modern-like deep water circulation system in the Indian Ocean around nine million years ago.
- During the Miocene-Pliocene transition, it was composed of Antarctic bottom water and northern component water (about six million years ago).
- This shows that the late Miocene Central American Seaway closure had a widespread influence on the evolution of ocean deep water circulation and verifies the so-called Panama Closure Hypothesis.
Source – The Hindu
EIA must before allowing urban development projects: SC
GS Paper- III
Context– The Supreme Court has encouraged lawmakers and policy experts to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) assessments before approving urban development projects in India’s cities.
What’s the latest?
- The Supreme Court heard how unplanned urban expansion has damaged Bengaluru’s ‘Garden City,’ as shown after a severe rainstorm in September 2022.
- According to the court, the city battled for drinking water when it was inundated during the downpour.
What is Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?
- EIA is a management technique used to reduce the environmental consequences of development projects and promote sustainable development by timely, appropriate, corrective, and protective mitigation actions.
- The MoEFCC employs EIA Notification 2006 as a key instrument for mitigating the environmental consequences of fast industrialization and correcting tendencies that may contribute to climate change in the long term.
- The Environmental (Protection) Act of 1986 currently makes EIA required for 29 kinds of developmental initiatives requiring investments of Rs. 50 crores or more.
- Screening: This stage determines whether a project will receive a full or partial assessment need study.
- Scoping: This stage determines which implications must be examined. This is done in accordance with legal standards, international norms, professional knowledge, and public participation. This stage also seeks alternative alternatives that prevent or at least mitigate the project’s negative consequences.
- Impact assessment and evaluation, as well as alternative development: This stage anticipates and identifies the environmental implications of the proposed project, as well as elaborates on the alternatives.
- EIA Report: An environmental management plan (EMP) and a non-technical overview of the project’s effect are created for the general public during this reporting stage. This document is also known as the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
- Decision making: The decision on whether or not to provide permission to the project, and if so, under what terms.
- Monitoring, compliance, enforcement, and environmental auditing: This step ensures that the expected impacts and mitigation activities are carried out in accordance with the EMP.
- EIA methods include include risk assessment, inventory analysis, and hazard probability and index.
Issues with EIA in India
- There is a route for ex-post-facto clearance.
- It pertains to current or finished projects for which an EIA clearance was never sought or given, and the project was built anyhow, in violation of the regulations.
- Finding a happy medium: The court stated that a healthy balance between sustainable growth and environmental preservation is required.
- Realizing the ramifications: EIA should be an analytical method or technique that carefully examines the potential environmental impacts of a specific activity (project).
- Implication study: It should guarantee that the environmental consequences of actions connected to a certain activity are considered before decisions are made.
Source – The Hindu
Child Marriages and Personal Laws
GS Paper- II
Context– The Supreme Court has agreed to investigate whether females as young as 15 years old can marry under custom or personal law although such weddings are illegal under statutory law.
Why are we debating this?
- The minimum age for marriage is 21 years for a man and 18 years for a woman under the Indian Christian Marriage Act of 1872, the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936, the Special Marriage Act of 1954, and the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955.
- However, under Muslim personal law in India, which remains uncodified and unconsolidated, those who have reached puberty, i.e. the age of 15 years, are entitled to marry.
- The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 attempted to alter the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, by raising the minimum marriage age for women from 18 to 21 years.
What exactly is child marriage?
- Any legal or informal partnership between a kid under the age of 18 and an adult and another child is referred to as child marriage.
- The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, sets the marriageable age for women at 21 years.
Reasons for its prevalence
- A considerable number of child weddings occur due to poverty and the burden of the high dowry payments associated with delayed marriages.
- Parents begin planning for a girl’s marriage as she reaches puberty due to societal standards in many locations and cultures.
- Conflict exacerbates the inequities that put girls at risk of underage marriage and its repercussions. Families may arrange weddings for their daughters, believing that marriage will protect them from harm.
- Child marriage is just one-sixth as common among males as it is among girls worldwide.
- Child marriage deprives girls of their youth while also endangering their lives and health.
- The practise may also alienate girls from their families and friends, as well as prevent them from engaging in their communities, wreaking havoc on their physical and psychological well-being.
- Girls who marry before the age of 18 are more likely to endure domestic abuse and are less likely to continue their education.
- Life-threatening situations: Child brides frequently become pregnant during adolescence, when the risk of death for themselves and their children is highest.
- Girls are driven into adulthood before they are physically and emotionally ready. This is the primary cause of worldwide malnutrition prevalence.
- Child marriage has a detrimental impact on the Indian economy and has the potential to create an intergenerational cycle of poverty.
- It abruptly removes the youngsters engaged from the workforce before they reach adulthood.
- Girls and boys who marry as youngsters are more likely to lack the skills, knowledge, and work opportunities required to raise their families out of poverty and contribute to the social and economic prosperity of their country.
What is the situation in the world?
- According to UNICEF figures, the overall number of females married as children is 12 million every year.
- It aims to put an end to the practise by 2030, the deadline set by the Sustainable Development Goals.
What is India’s position?
- GOOD: A downward trend
- The general prevalence of child marriage is decreasing, which is a positive trend.
- Child marriage in India fell from 47.4% in 2005-06 to 26.8% in 2015-16, a 21% point decrease over the decade.
- According to the most recent National Family Health Survey-5 data, it has decreased by 3.5% points in the previous five years, reaching 23.3% in 2020-21.
BAD: State-wise disparity is very higher
- However, 3% is still a concerningly high amount in a country with a population of 141.2 million people.
- Some states have a greater frequency than the national average; for example, West Bengal, Bihar, and Tripura have more over 40% of women aged 20-24 married before the age of 18. (NFHS).
- Women in Kerala who married before the age of 18 fell to 6.3% in 2019-20, down from 7.6% in 2015-16.
India’s laws and policy initiatives
- There are important regulations in place to protect children against violations of their human and other rights, such as the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act of 2012.
- Raising the marriage age: A parliamentary standing committee is considering the benefits and drawbacks of raising the marriage age for women to 21, as approved by the Union Cabinet.
- Scheme of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao: It seeks to solve the problem of the diminishing child sex ratio picture (CSR).
- Kanyashreeprogramme: According to women’s advocates, West Bengal’s scheme provides financial help to females who desire to pursue higher education. Bihar and other states have implemented a cycling system to guarantee females arrive at school safely, while UP has a scheme to encourage girls to return to school.
- Many of the benefits may be realised by ensuring that women finish at least 12 years of school.
- Bangladesh demonstrates that increasing women’s education and providing them with contemporary skills that raise their employability decreases child marriage and improves health and nutrition.
- Schemes that reduce the financial burden of marriage yet require that the qualifying criteria be based on educational attainment as well as age warrant consideration.
- A legalistic approach to raising the marriage age can only provide beneficial outcomes if it leads to an increase in women’s education and skill acquisition for employability.
- A legalistic approach to stopping child marriage may be unproductive in the absence of improvements in women’s education or abilities.
Source – The Hindu
Renaming of Madras State as Tamil Nadu
GS Paper- II
Context– The Tamil Nadu Governor’s statements recommending altering the state’s name to ‘Tamizhagam’ sparked outrage.
What’s the latest?
- Several political groups, including the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, criticised the statement and remembered the fight to rename Madras State Tamil Nadu.
- Under then-Chief Minister CN Annadurai, the Madras State was formally renamed Tamil Nadu on January 14, 1969.
A short history of Tamil Nadu
- E V Ramasamy (1879-1973), a social activist, founded the Self-Respect Movement in 1925 to “restore the identity and self-respect” of Tamils.
- He envisioned an autonomous Dravida homeland of Dravida Nadu (Nadu meaning country in Tamil), comprised of Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and Kannada speakers.
- He founded the DravidarKazhagam political party (DK).
- Periyar also resisted the imposition of Hindi and underlined the importance of the Tamil nation’s cultural uniqueness.
How Madras State became Tamil Nadu?
- On January 26, 1950, it was renamed Madras State after being known as Madras Province.
- Madras State was not transformed into Tamil Nadu overnight.
- ‘Thiyagi’ Sankaralingam, a Congress party worker, was behind the initial demand to alter the name, in the 1950s, and made repeated requests.
- In the Madras Legislative Council in 1953, various Tamil intellectuals, notably Ma. Po. Sivagnanam, voiced the issue.
- Congress leader K P Sankaralinganar conducted an indefinite fast in 1956. One of his demands was that the state be renamed Tamil Nadu.
- It is worth noting that Sankaralinganar fasted for 76 days before passing away on October 13, 1956. The death of Sankaralinganar fueled the movement to rename the state.
Reception in Parliament
- Around the same time, Bhupesh Gupta, a West Bengal Member of Parliament and Communist leader, introduced a Bill in Parliament to rename Madras State Tamil Nadu.
- CN Annadurai, a Rajya Sabha member at the time, backed the motion.
- Speaking in favour of the Bill, Annadurai claimed that a capital city (Madras) cannot become the name of a state, and he also mentioned ancient literature in which the term Tamil Nadu was employed.
When it finally happened?
- On July 18, 1967, six years later, CM Annadurai submitted a resolution in the State Assembly.
- “Madras has a name in international history; Tamil Nadu will take time to achieve the same heights,” remarked Opposition Leader P G Karuthiraman during the discussion.
- As a result, he proposed the name ‘Tamil Nadu-Madras State’.
- However, with complete agreement, Tamil Nadu was adopted as the name, and a resolution was passed unanimously.
Source – Indian Express
Water Crisis Due to Dam Sedimentation
GS Paper – III
Context– According to a research published by the United Nations Institute for Water, Environment, and Health, about 50,000 big dams throughout the world may lose 24-28% of their water storage capacity by 2050 owing to silt trapped in them.
- These reservoirs have already lost 13-19% of their capacity due to sedimentation.
- By 2050, the United Kingdom, Panama, Ireland, Japan, and Seychelles will have lost 35-50% of their initial capacity for water storage.
What is Sedimentation with Respect to Dams?
- The buildup of sediments, such as sand, gravel, and silt, at the bottom of a dam-created reservoir is referred to as sedimentation in dams.
- This material can accumulate over time, lowering the reservoir’s overall storage capacity.
- To keep the reservoir’s capacity, the silt may need to be removed through a procedure known as dredging.
What exactly is dredging?
- Dredging is the process of removing sediments from the bottom of a reservoir, such as sand, gravel, and silt.
- Mechanical dredging using a dredge machine or hydraulic dredging with a high-pressure water jet are two ways that can be used.
- Dredged sediment is normally disposed of in a specified place distant from the dam.
What are the Causes of Sedimentation?
- When dirt and rock wash away from the dam area, it might be moved downstream and deposited in the reservoir.
- Greater land usage for human activities, such as urbanisation and agriculture, can result in increased silt flow into the reservoir.
- Natural processes like as weathering and erosion can also cause sedimentation.
- Climate change generates more severe and frequent rainfall events, as well as early snowmelt, resulting in increased erosion and sediment discharge into the reservoir.
- Because trees assist to hold the soil together and prevent erosion, when forests are destroyed or damaged, the danger of sediment flow into the reservoir increases.
- Sedimentation can also be caused by a lack of maintenance and repairs, since the dam’s structure can become broken, enabling silt to enter the reservoir.
What are the Impacts of Dam Sedimentation?
- Reduced reservoir water storage capacity, which may result in water shortages for downstream customers and habitat loss for aquatic animals. The silt can cause the dam to become unstable, increasing the danger of dam failure.
- Increased maintenance and dredging costs to remove the silt. Hydroelectric power output is lowered as a result of decreasing water flow through the dam. Water supplies and irrigation for agriculture and industries have been reduced. Revenue from recreational activities such as fishing and boating will be lost if the reservoir is no longer capable of supporting them.
- Sediment collection at the reservoir’s bottom can induce scouring, or erosion, of the dam’s base, weakening its structural integrity and increasing the danger of failure. Silt can also obstruct the turbine intake, reducing hydroelectric power generating efficiency and necessitating costly maintenance to remove the sediment. The silt can also create abrasion on the turbine blades, resulting in damage and a reduction in performance.
- While sediment serves to sustain the aquatic ecology, bad management can cause nutritional imbalances that cause eutrophication and other disturbances in the dam’s water pool, as well as harm to downstream habitations.
- Dams must be examined and monitored on a regular basis for indicators of structural weakness, erosion, and other possible problems. This includes both visual inspections and instrument-based monitoring, such as checking for movement in the dam’s foundation.
- Dams must have emergency response plans in place to deal with anticipated disasters like dam failure or extreme flooding. These plans detail the steps to be performed in the case of an emergency, such as evacuation and emergency response protocols.
- Environmental impact assessments (EIA) are required for dams to analyse the possible consequences of the dam on the surrounding environment. Assessing the impact on wildlife, aquatic species, and downstream populations is part of this process.
- Dams must include public consultation and involvement in the decision-making process, which includes giving information and chances for public feedback on the proposed dam.
Source – Indian Express
Centre Vs Delhi Govt on Control Over Services
GS Paper – II
Context- A five-judge Supreme Court (SC) Constitution Bench is considering a dispute between the Delhi government and the Centre over control of administrative services.
In a similar case almost five years ago, another Constitution Bench decided in favour of the State government.
What is the Dispute’s Timeline?
- The Delhi High Court ruled in 2017 that the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) is not bound by the Council of Ministers’ help and advice in all matters for the purposes of administration of the National Capital Territory (NCT).
- In 2017, the Supreme Court submitted the case to be decided on the interpretation of Article 239AA of the Constitution.
- A five-judge Constitution bench unanimously decided in 2018 that the L-G of Delhi is bound by the help and advice of the elected government, and that both must cooperate peacefully with each other.
- 2019 Decision: A two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court rendered a divided judgement on the question of the powers of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union government over services and referred the case to a three-judge Bench.
- While one court concluded that the Delhi government had no authority over administrative services.
- Another court, however, stated that the transfer or posting of officials in the upper echelons of the bureaucracy (joint director and above) can only be done by the Central government, and that the perspective of the L-G would prevail in cases involving other bureaucrats.
- 2022 Case: The Centre on 27th April 2022 requested a reference to a bigger Bench, stating that it needed the right to make transfers and postings of officials in Delhi on account of it being the national capital and the “face of nation”.
- The court recognised that the narrow question of the scope of the legislative and administrative powers of the Centre and the NCT of Delhi in relation to the term “services” would require an authoritative declaration by a Constitution Bench in accordance with Article 145(3) of the Constitution.
What are the Issue’s Arguments and Counterarguments?
- Arguments for: Because Delhi is the national capital and the face of the country, the Centre has always asserted that it must have authority over administrative functions such as appointments and transfers.
- The Delhi administration has claimed that elected representatives must have authority over transfers and postings in the sake of federalism.
- The Delhi administration further claimed that recent revisions to the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021, violate the Constitution’s essential structural theory.
What is New Delhi’s Governance Model?
- The status of Delhi, which is a Union Territory under Schedule 1 of the Constitution but is referred to as a “National Capital Territory” under Article 239AA.
- The 69th amendment to the Indian Constitution included Article 239AA, which proclaimed the Union Territory of Delhi to be managed by a Lieutenant Governor who works with the help and advice of the elected legislative assembly.
- However, with the exception of public order, police, and land, the ‘help and advise’ clause applies solely to subjects over which the elected Assembly has authority under the State and Concurrent Lists.
- Furthermore, Article 239AA states that the L-G must either act on the advice and assistance of the Council of Ministers, or he must implement the President’s decision on a reference made by him.
- Furthermore, Article 239AA authorises the L-G to submit a disagreement with the Council of Ministers on “any topic” to the President.
- As a result of this dual control between L-G and the elected government, a power struggle ensues.
- The federal aspect of the Constitution is its core feature and cannot be changed; hence, the stakeholders with authority seek to defend our Constitution’s federal feature.
- A varied and big country like India requires a correct balance of federalism’s pillars, including state autonomy, national integration, centralisation, decentralisation, nationalisation, and regionalisation.
- Both extreme political centralisation and chaotic political decentralisation can erode Indian federalism.
- The solution to the vexing dilemma can be found not in the statute book, but in the conscience of persons in authority.
- With collective responsibility, assistance, and advise as cornerstones of democracy, it is vital to strike a balance and determine whether the central or the Delhi government should regulate services in Delhi.
Source – Indian Express
Fact for Prelims
‘Music in the Park’ series under “Shruti Amrut”
Context: SPIC MACAY’s famous “Music in the Park” series will be renamed “Shruti Amrut” this year in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and the New Delhi Municipal Council.
SPIC MACAY’s bio:
SPIC MACAY- The Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture amongst Youth- is a volunteer youth movement that promotes the tangible and intangible aspects of Indian and world heritage by organisingprogrammes and workshops on Indian Classical, Folk Music and Dance, Yoga, meditation, crafts, and other aspects of Indian culture. It is a worldwide movement that began in 1977 and now has chapters in over 850 cities.
Exporters under scanner for tax scheme misuse
Context:According to the GST authorities, exporters are abusing the government’s duty drawback programme (DDS) by claiming it in conjunction with integrated goods and services tax refunds (GST).
What exactly is the problem?
Over 100 exporters (mostly in the garment, medicines, and leather industries) have “illegally” reaped benefits from integrated GST refund claims on exports while also claiming under DDS.
Duty drawback may only be used to offset unrelated taxes and levies, not GST.
What exactly is the Duty Drawback Scheme?
The Tax Drawback Scheme refunds customs duty paid on unused imported goods or products that will be handled, processed, or merged into other commodities for export to exporters.
Claims must be filed within four years of when the items were shipped.
National Textile Corporation
Context:The Union Textile Ministry will constitute a committee to expedite the rehabilitation of land under the National Textile Corporation (NTCnine )’s mills in Mumbai.
On the grounds of these nine mills, there are 11 chawls, and occupants of these chawls would now get 405 sqft dwellings instead of their present 100-150 sqft houses, he added.
The National Textile Corporation is a key public sector enterprise owned by the Ministry of Textiles. It has 23 operational textile factories that manufacture yarn and cloth. The firm was founded in 1968.