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Flooding from Glacial Lakes

GS Paper -I

Context- According to a new study, over 15 million people worldwide are at danger of unexpected and fatal flooding from glacial lakes.

What exactly are Glacial Lakes?
  • A glacial lake is a body of water formed by a glacier. It usually occurs near the base of a glacier, although it may also form on, in, or beneath it.
  • They are typically split into two groups: ice-contact lakes, which have glacier ice ending in lake water, and distal lakes, which are relatively distant but nonetheless impacted by the presence of glaciers and/or ice sheets.
What are Glacial Lake Outbursts?
  • Glacial lakes become increasingly dangerous as they expand in size because they are generally blocked by unstable ice or silt made of loose rock and debris.
  • If the border surrounding them fails, massive volumes of water will pour down the slope of the mountains, perhaps causing floods in downstream communities. GLOF stands for glacial lake outburst floods.
  • Because these lakes are frequently situated in high, hilly terrain, landslides or ice avalanches can occasionally fall straight into the lakes and displace the water, causing it to overflow the natural dam and rush downstream.
  • In 2013, flash floods and a GLOF generated by the Chorabari Tal glacier lake killed hundreds of people in Uttarakhand’s Kedarnath.
Major Findings of the Study
  • Flooding from glacial lakes is growing and increasing in number as a result of global warming.
  • More than half of people affected live in four countries: India, Pakistan, Peru, and China.
  • Within the 50-kilometer hazard zone of glacial lakes, 15 million people dwell.
  • Most vulnerable group: Populations in High Mountains Asia (HMA), which stretches from the Hindu Kush to the eastern Himalayas, are the most exposed and, on average, live closest to glacial lakes, with one million people living within 10 kilometres of a glacier lake.
  • India and Pakistan: India and Pakistan account for one-third of the total number of persons globally exposed to GLOFs, with around three million in India and approximately two million in Pakistan.
  • The term “gap year” refers to the time between when a person is born and when they die. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, is the world’s most hazardous catchment.
  • Peru: Peru ranks third in the world in terms of hazard levels. Because of climate change, glacier lakes in the Andes have expanded by 93% in the last two decades, compared to 37% in high-mountain Asia.
National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) Guidelines
  • These recommendations seek to allow concerned state/local governments, central governments, and other stakeholders to take coordinated action for GLOF preparedness, prevention, mitigation, and response.
  • These Guidelines also stress raising awareness and capability among important stakeholders.
  • These recommendations also direct the government to prioritise GLOF research and development.
Way Ahead
  • Controlling climate change and keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius is a huge step since it would help reduce the expansion of glacial lakes, but some ice loss is already “locked in” – even if we stopped all emissions today, GLOF threat will continue to rise for several decades.
  • Effective measures must be developed in collaboration with national and regional governments, as well as communities themselves.

Source – The Hindu

India and Egypt Joint Working Group Meeting on Counter-Terrorism

GS Paper- II

Context- The Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism recently had its third meeting in New Delhi.

Important Takeaways
  • Terrorism in all its forms and expressions, including cross-border terrorism, was vehemently denounced by all sides.
  • The two parties discussed the global and regional risks presented by terrorist organisations.
  • Deliberations on counter-terrorism goals and measures taken to combat terrorism, violent extremism that leads to terrorism, radicalization, and terror finance.
  • Security cooperation has been identified as a crucial pillar of the future India-Egypt strategic alliance.
  • The two parties emphasised the importance of conducting coordinated action against all UN Security Council-designated terrorist groups.
  • They urged all governments to adopt prompt, sustained, irrevocable, and verifiable steps to guarantee that no territory under their control is exploited as a terrorist safe haven and to bring terrorist attack perpetrators to justice.
  • Both governments have urged all countries to cooperate together to disrupt terrorist networks, infrastructure, and finance routes, as well as to prevent terrorists from crossing borders.
Future Collaboration
  • Both parties committed to expand bilateral counter-terrorism cooperation, particularly via training and capacity-building activities, exchanges of best practises, and information sharing.
  • The Global Counterterrorism Forum and the United Nations’ Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism Cooperation (GCTF).
Egypt’s Significance to India
  • Since ancient times, India and Egypt have had strong touch, and the friendship between the two nations was cemented by President Nasser and Prime Minister Nehru, resulting in a Friendship Treaty in 1955.
  • These nations have a long history of diplomatic connections, and a diplomatic relationship at the Ambassadorial level was established on August 18, 1947.
  • Egypt is strategically placed at the crossroads of Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, making it an essential gateway for India as well as a significant partner in India’s interaction with Africa.
  • Egypt is a key supplier of oil and gas, with Indian firms investing in oil and gas exploration and production in Egypt, and there is tremendous potential for future collaboration in this field.
  • India and Egypt have significant economic relations, with bilateral trade totaling around USD 7.26 billion in 2021-22, and both nations are aiming to raise trade volume to USD 10 billion by 2023.
  • Annual commerce between India and Egypt is about US $ 4.4 billion, with Indian exports representing US $ 2.2 billion and imports of US $ 2.19 billion.
  • Meat (19.9%), Tobacco and Fabricated Tobacco (5.5%), Motor Vehicles (4.2%), and Cotton Yarn (4.1%) are India’s main exports to Egypt.
  • Egypt’s biggest imports to India include crude oil, fertilisers, chemicals, and textiles.
  • Both countries virtually attended the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Defense Ministers Conference in Bengaluru. Cyclone 2023, the first-ever combined exercise between the Indian Army and the Egyptian Army, recently commenced special heliborne operations near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
  • There are around 3200 Indians in Egypt, with the majority residing in Cairo, but there are also a few families in Alexandria, Port Said, and Ismailia.
  • Egypt is viewed as an important partner by India in its “Act East” policy, which intends to deepen interaction with Southeast Asia and the wider Indo-Pacific region.
Challenges in the India-Egypt relationship
  • The two nations confront economic issues as a result of swings in oil prices, which account for a substantial portion of trade volume, and there is consequently a need to diversify their economies and generate jobs.
  • Despite the fact that the two nations have extensive commerce, there are still some challenges. The term “broadcasting” refers to the practise of broadcasting information to the public through various channels.
  • Egypt has seen substantial political turmoil in recent years, causing some uncertainty in the two nations’ relationship. Consider the Jerusalem problem.
  • Terrorism and extremism pose security issues for both India and Egypt.
  • Because India and Egypt have different cultures and customs, it might be difficult to forge greater ties.
Way Ahead
  • Notwithstanding significant difficulties in the India-Egypt relationship, both nations have demonstrated a willingness to strengthening ties and tackling these concerns constructively.
  • The relationship between India and Egypt is anticipated to strengthen in the future years with ongoing collaboration and conversation.

Source – The Hindu

Shedding The Colonial Legacy By Promoting Mother Languages

GS Paper- II

Context- M Venkaiah Naidu, former Vice President of India, has underlined the necessity of discarding India’s colonial history through supporting and developing content in mother tongues. He has stated that throughout the colonial era, British authorities enforced English as the language of government, education, and communication, resulting in the marginalization of Indian languages.

World Mother Language Day.
  • In response to the global decline of several languages, UNESCO recognised February 21 as International Mother Language Day in November 1999.
  • This year’s topic, “Multilingual education: a requirement to reform education,” emphasises the importance of using various languages in developing an effective educational system.
  • As a result, it is fitting that one of this year’s Mother Language Day topics is revitalising languages that are on the verge of extinction.
The International Mother Language Day has taken on new meaning: The Indian context
  • India is a historic reservoir of hundreds of languages and thousands of dialects with significant linguistic and cultural variety. Our languages, which are an essential element of our ancient civilization, provide us with a feeling of ourselves.
  • Because of the threat that westernisation poses to the survival of as many as 42 of our dialects and languages with fewer than 10,000 users, International Mother Language Day has taken on new significance in the Indian context.
  • The situation is similar across the world, with 40% of 6,700 language speakers lacking access to education in their native tongue.
Emphasizing the Importance of Mother Tongue
  • Our thoughts, values, and goals, as well as our literary endeavours, are best expressed in our native tongue.
  • Former UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuraemphasised the indispensability of one’s mother tongue when he stated that the languages we acquire from our moms are the home of our deepest ideas.
  • “We must educate science in our home tongue,” declared Nobel Laureate C V Raman. Otherwise, science will devolve into a pretentious pursuit. That will not be an activity in which everyone can take part.”
  • Many studies have found that children who study in their mother tongue throughout their early years outperform those who learn in a foreign language.
  • In Young India, Mahatma Gandhi expressed worry about the pressure of the foreign media, which had transformed “our children into crammers and mimics.” Gandhiji recognised how “the alien media has made our students effectively outsiders in their own nation.
Colonial legacy
  • Even as we honour 75 years of independence with Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, we have not been able to overcome our colonial heritage of reliance on English.
  • Instructors and parents continue to give English undisputed dominance, and as a result, the child is forced to study his or her home tongue as a second/third language at school.
  • Ironically, our concentration on English has rendered the educational system elitist and limited. As a result, although we restricted knowledge acquisition in technical and professional courses to a chosen few, we rendered it inaccessible to the great majority of our students.
Shedding the colonial legacy
  • The NEP 2020 is a far-sighted manifesto that calls for education in one’s mother language beginning in primary school.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the AICTE’s unprecedented decision to allow BTech programmes in 11 local languages in his address honouring the first anniversary of the National Education Policy (NEP) in 2021.
  • In a good move, the UGC has written to governors and chief ministers of several states to encourage measures to promote mother language teaching in colleges and universities.
  • In a poll of over 83,000 students done by AICTE in February of last year, approximately 44% voted in favour of learning engineering in their home tongue, underscoring its importance.
  • The Centre’s goal to promote local languages in employment and job creation is a positive step forward.
  • It is also encouraging that the Staff Selection Commission has planned to hold exams in 13 Indian languages other than Hindi and English.
  • Likewise, the Supreme Court’s decision to make judgements available in all Indian languages is significant.

The emphasis on mother tongue as the medium of teaching in the NEP will instill confidence in pupils from low-income, rural, and tribal backgrounds. At every levels, these actions must be increased up. Also, we must accelerate the process of creating content in mother tongues, particularly for technical and professional courses. In this regard, using technology will drive progress.

Source – The Hindu

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): An Invisible Pandemic

GS Paper – III

Context- As the globe is recovering from the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the extremely dangerous but imperceptible pandemic of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is regrettably here to stay. Most nations recognised COVID-19 as a clear and present risk in 2020, pushing governments, including India’s, to respond quickly and accurately. Rapidly escalating AMR rates necessitate a multi-sectoral, global and national response.

What exactly is antimicrobial resistance?
  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a natural phenomena that happens when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites develop to become resistant to antimicrobial medications that were previously helpful in treating illnesses caused by those microbes.
The Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance
  • AMR killed about 4.95 million people globally in 2019, emphasising the need of solving this issue.
  • According to a 2018 assessment from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the globe might see a considerable increase in resistance to second and third-line antibiotics by 2030.
  • According to a 2022 research conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), resistance to broad-spectrum antimicrobials grows by 5% to 10% per year.
  • The Indian Network for Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (INSAR) discovered a significant prevalence of resistance to routinely used medications such ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, co-trimoxazole, erythromycin, and clindamycin, emphasising the necessity of combating AMR.
  • WHO has raised growing alarm about the dangerously high levels of antibiotic resistance among patients worldwide.
  • Ciprofloxacin, for example, is an antibiotic routinely used to treat urinary tract infections. According to the WHO, resistance to ciprofloxacin ranged from 8.4% to 92.9% in E. coli and from 4.1% to 79.4% in Klebsiella pneumoniae (a bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections such as pneumonia and intensive care unit- related infections). Patients with multidrug resistance have less than a 60% probability of recovery in the worldwide TB epidemic.
  • AMR increases the burden of communicable illnesses and strains a country’s health services, making it even more difficult to resolve health emergencies.
What is Muscat conference is about?
  • The Muscat Ministerial Manifesto on Antimicrobial Resistance was approved by over 30 nations during the third Global High-Level Ministerial Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance (November 24-25, 2022).
The conference Centred on three health goals:
  • Reduce the total amount of antimicrobials used in the agri-food system by at least 30-50% by 2030; Eliminate the use of antimicrobials that are medically important for human health in animals and food production; Ensure that by 2030, at least 60% of total antibiotic consumption in humans is from the WHO Access group of antibiotics.
Muscat Manifesto:
  • The manifesto acknowledged the need to speed government commitments to One Health measures to stop the spread of AMR.
  • It also acknowledged the need of addressing the impact of AMR not just on people but also on animals, as well as in sectors such as environmental health, food security, and economic growth and development.
Thus far, the government’s efforts
  • The National Action Plan on AMR emphasised the success of government efforts like as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Kayakalp, and Swachh SwasthSarvatra for hand hygiene and sanitation.
  • The government has also worked to raise public knowledge of healthier and more sustainable food production techniques, particularly in the animal food business.
  • The National Health Policy 2017 also included specific instructions for the use of antibiotics, such as limiting the use of antibiotics as over-the-counter drugs and prohibiting or regulating the use of antibiotics for livestock growth promotion.
  • It also asked for prescriptions to be scrutinised in order to analyse antibiotic consumption in hospitals and among doctors.
Global Examples of AMR Limitation
  • Scientific research shows that the use of fewer antimicrobials reduces the likelihood of drug resistance developing.
  • Countries like the Netherlands and Thailand have reduced their consumption by over 50%.
  • Antibiotic usage in China’s agriculture sector has decreased significantly.
Way ahead:
  • India has pledged to increasing surveillance and funding research into novel medications.
  • It also intends to increase private sector participation and data reporting to the World Health Organization’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Usage Surveillance System (GLASS) and other standardised systems.

The many G-20 health summits occurring between now and 2023 provide a chance for India to ensure that all aspects of AMR are addressed and nations commit to progress. India’s involvement in ensuring that AMR remains high on the global public health agenda is crucial as the current G-20 president and as a country vulnerable to this hidden pandemic.

Source – Indian Express

India-Bangladesh Relations: The Golden Chapter

GS Paper-II

Context- Bangladesh-India ties have just reached the Golden Chapter of their history. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh has been invited as a special guest to the G20 Summit by the Prime Minister of India, putting the finishing touches on this bilateral friendship. Bangladesh is the only South Asian country on India’s invitation list. India’s invitation to Bangladesh as its guest demonstrates the country’s strong regard for its immediate eastern neighbour and “best friend” in the area.

The evolution of India-Bangladesh relations
  • India has civilizational, cultural, social, and economic ties with Bangladesh.
  • There is plenty that binds the two nations together, including a similar history and legacy, linguistic and cultural links, and a love of music, literature, and the arts.
  • It is also worth noting that India and Bangladesh share the world’s longest border, which is 4,096.7 kilometres long and ranks sixth in the world.
  • They created more bilateral contact and commerce with the start of economic liberalisation in South Asia.
In Detail: Why is Bangladesh so crucial to India?

South Asia’s largest trading partner is India.

  • Bangladesh will be India’s greatest commercial partner in South Asia in 2021-22, while India is Bangladesh’s second-largest trading partner and largest export market in Asia. Despite the epidemic, bilateral commerce has increased at an unprecedented 14 percent.
  • The two nations are also set to sign the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which will significantly strengthen their trade and business ties.
Northeast India’s Gateway
  • Both Bangladesh and India have undertaken efforts in recent years to increase communication between Bangladesh and India’s Northeast, which is physically positioned between West Bengal and landlocked Northeastern provinces.
  • Initiatives such as inviting India to use the Chattogram and Mongla ports, adding new ports and protocol routes to the shared inland waterway network, building the Maitri and Padma Setu bridges, and constructing the upcoming Akhaura-Agartala rail line all aim to improve trade and transport connectivity. The Mitali Express has already begun biweekly runs between New Jalpaiguri and Dhaka.
  • Bangladesh has been an excellent security partner for India, particularly with its zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism. The only way to find out is to try it.
A cornerstone of India’s Neighbourhood First and Act East Policies
  • The Bay of Bengal’s growing strategic importance, heightened by China’s expanding and aggressive presence in this maritime domain, has prompted India to strengthen relations with the Bay littorals in order to maintain its pre-eminence in the Bay, which it regards as a major area of interest.
  • Additionally, since its western front remains unstable, India is attempting to strengthen ties with its eastern neighbours in order to realise its Indo-Pacific ambitions.
  • While China attempts to build a firmer footing in the Bay area through advances into Bangladesh, India has felt an extra push to cultivate its ties with the nation, restoring age-old relationships and nurturing new channels for collaboration.
  • During the pandemic, India prioritised Bangladesh and provided 10.3 crore vaccine doses, making it the largest beneficiary of their Vaccine Maitri campaign. The kindness was graciously returned by offering
Key Areas of Cooperation on India’s G20 Agenda

Climate change and disaster management

  • As the name implies, the programme is dedicated to raising environmental awareness and comprehending the effects of climate change, with a special emphasis on not only climate finance and technology, but also guaranteeing equitable energy transitions for poor nations worldwide.
  • Both nations committed to work together on climate change, with a focus on the Sundarban region, which is facing problems owing to climate-induced sea level rise.
  • Cyclones originating in the stormy Gulf of Bengal strike both India and Bangladesh on a regular basis. As a result, the two nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Disaster Management in 2021 to address this transnational issue.
Transition to renewable energy
  • Since energy transitions are a significant topic in India’s G20 mandate, Bangladesh has established a target of generating 40% of its power from sustainable energy by 2041. India and Bangladesh have boosted their energy cooperation.
  • Through projects like the Friendship Pipeline and the Maitree Super Thermal Power Plant, they have pledged to expand their collaboration in energy efficiency and sustainable energy, including biofuels.
Cyber security
  • Cyber security is an inherent part of Digital Public Infrastructures (DPIs) and one of the areas in which India and Bangladesh have committed to collaborate.
  • Both nations agreed to strengthen their strategic relationship to improve Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cyber security in June 2022.
Way ahead
  • India’s objective within the G20 is to support reformed multilateralism that fosters responsible, inclusive, fair, equitable, and representative multipolar international frameworks capable of handling modern issues.
  • Bangladesh, as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, will become even more crucial to India in the future.
  • Bangladesh is a member of various multilateral platforms in India’s neighbourhood (an region in which India aims to exert influence), including SAARC, BIMSTEC, and IORA.
  • If India’s G20 ambitions are to be reflected in regional multilateral institutions, the country’s assistance is required.

As India attempts to define the global agenda through the G20, it requires Bangladesh’s help to put many of these ideas into effect in its neighbourhood. This will offer legitimacy to its presidency, and some of these emerging areas of collaboration may eventually add chapters to the “Golden Chapter” of India-Bangladesh ties.

Source – Indian Express


Facts for Prelims

Privilege panel

Context:  Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar has appointed a parliamentary committee to probe 12 MPs’ alleged breach of privilege by regularly entering the House’s well, screaming slogans, and blocking its business.

  • The primary articles of India’s Constitution dealing with Parliamentary privileges are 105 and 122, while the analogous provisions for states are 194 and 212.
  • The ‘Privilege Motion’ is used to criticise a minister for violating parliamentary privilege.
About Privilege Panel:
  • The ‘Committee of Privileges’ is the name of the committee (semi-judicial).
  • It is in charge of investigating violations of privileges.
  • Members: The Lok Sabha privileges committee has 15 members, whereas the Rajya Sabha privileges committee has 10 members.


Context:Ruchira Kamboj, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, has been chosen head of the UN Commission for Social Development for the 62nd session.

What exactly is UN CSocD?
  • The United Nations Commission for Social Development (CSocD) (founded in 1946, headquarters in New York) is one of the Economic and Social Council’s nine functional commissions (ECOSOC).
  • It provides social policy advice to ECOSOC.
  • It is followed by the execution of the Copenhagen Declaration and Action Plan (1995)
  • Countries forged a fresh understanding on the need of putting people at the centre of development at the Global Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen).
  • It is one of the United Nations’ six primary organs, having been created in 1945. It is in charge of organising the organization’s economic and social sectors. It has a total of 54 members.

Sagar Parikrama Phase-III

Context: Sagar Parikrama Phase-III begins from Hazira Port (Gujarat) as a follow-up to Sagar Parikrama Phase-I (March 2022) and Sagar Parikrama Phase-II (March 2023). (September 2022).

Aim of the initiative:
  • To convey information about the government’s many fisheries-related plans and activities.
  • To encourage responsible fishing, safeguard marine ecosystems, and show unity with all fishermen and interested parties.
  • Interacting directly with fishermen and fish growers to better understand coastal concerns and fishermen’s challenges
  • Maintain a balance between the use of marine fishing resources for food security and the conservation of marine ecosystems.
  • Collaborations: It is a joint effort of the Department of Fisheries, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairy, and the National Fisheries Development Board.

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