1. INDIA’S FIRST NATIONAL WATER BODY CENSUS
TAGS: GS-3: ENVIRONMENT
CONTEXT: Ministry of Jal Shakti has released the report of India’s first water bodies census, a comprehensive data base of ponds, tanks, lakes, and reservoirs in the country.
- Definition of Water Bodies: First Census Report considers “all natural or man-made units bounded on all sides with some or no masonry work used for storing water for irrigation or other purposes (e.g. industrial, pisciculture, domestic/ drinking, recreation, religious, ground water recharge etc.)” as water bodies.
- Objective: The census’s objective was to develop a national database with information on the size, purpose, ownership, status, and conditions of water bodies. It covered all natural and human-made units bounded on all sides for storing water, irrespective of condition or use.
- Findings: As per the report, West Bengal’s South 24 Pargana has been ranked as the district having the highest (3.55 lakh) number of water bodies across the country. The district is followed by Andhra Pradesh’s Ananthapur (50,537) and West Bengal’s Howrah (37,301).
- Exclusion of Seven specific types of water bodies from the count. They were: 1) oceans and lagoons; 2) rivers, streams, springs, waterfalls, canals, etc. which are free flowing, without any bounded storage of water; 3) swimming pools; 4) covered water tanks created for a specific purpose by a family or household for their own consumption; 5) a water tank constructed by a factory owner for consumption of water as raw material or consumable; 6) temporary water bodies created by digging for mining, brick kilns, and construction activities, which may get filled during the rainy season; and 7) pucca open water tanks created only for cattle to drink water.
- Methodology to collect census data: According to the report, “traditional methodology, i.e., paper-based schedules, were canvassed both for rural and urban areas. A “village schedule”, “urban schedule” and “water body schedule” were canvassed, and a smart phone was used to “capture latitude, longitude and photo of water bodies”.
2. CYCLONE MOCHA BUILDING OVER BAY OF BENGAL
TAGS: GS1: PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY
CONTEXT: The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that a cyclonic or low-pressure area is developing in the Bay of Bengal and can lead to high rainfall in the next few days in the region, from May 8 to May 12. It also said that the weather system was likely to form a depression over the southeast Bay of Bengal around May 9, and then intensify into a cyclonic storm.
- A cyclone is a low-pressure system that forms over warm waters. Usually, a high temperature anywhere means the existence of low-pressure air, and a low temperature means high-pressure wind.
- Formation of cyclones: When warm and humid air rises and cools, the water in the air turns into clouds. As ocean heat and water evaporate from the surface of the ocean, the entire system of clouds and winds rotates and rises. As the air system spins at increasing speed, an eye forms in the middle. The center of the storm is very calm and clear. The difference in temperature between the warm and rising atmosphere causes the air to rise up and become more energetic.
- Naming of cyclones: Cyclones that form in every ocean basin across the world are named by the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres (RSMCs) and Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs). There are six RSMCs in the world, including the India Meteorological Department (IMD), and five Cyclone Mocha’s name is suggested by Yemen and the name originates from the city of Mocha in Yemen, which is located on the Red Sea coast.
- Local names of cyclones:
- Typhoons – South China Sea and Western Pacific Ocean
- Tropical Cyclones – Indian Ocean
- Hurricanes -Caribbean Sea
- Wily Willies – Western Australia
- Baguio- Philippines
- Taifu- Japan
- Cyclone warning system in India: The Meteorological Department of India is the nodal agency in India responsible for weather monitoring, weather forecasting, and seismology. The Cyclone Warning Center (ACWC) predicts a storm area in the Bay of Bengal and the Cyclone Warning Center (CWC) in the Arabian Sea. The ACWC and CWC sent their reports to the coordinating center, National Cyclone Warning Center (NCWC).
3. ISRO’S SPACE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AWARENESS TRAINING (START)
TAGS: GS 3: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
CONTEXT: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced a new introductory-level online training programme called Space Science and Technology Awareness Training (START).
- The START programme is part of the ISRO’s efforts to enable Indian students to become professionals in Space Science and Technology, as the organisation’s Space Science exploration programme continues to expand into new domains.
- The programme is intended to provide students with an introductory-level training in Space Science and Technology, giving them an overview of different facets of the field, research opportunities, and career options.
- Aim: START is aimed at postgraduate and final-year undergraduate students of Physical Sciences and Technology. The programme will cover various domains of Space Science, including Astronomy and Astrophysics, Heliophysics and Sun-Earth interaction, Instrumentation, and Aeronomy. It will be delivered by scientists from Indian academia and ISRO centres.
- The training will also emphasise the cross-disciplinary nature of Space Science, giving students insights into how the individual aptitudes can be applied to the field.
- The START programme is part of ISRO’s efforts to enable Indian students to become professionals in space science and technology, as the organization’s space science exploration program continues to expand into new domains. The programme is expected to help build a human capacity that will lead space science and research in the future.
4. MANIPUR VIOLENCE
TAGS: GS 2: EMERGENCY PROVISIONS, ST STATUS, SPECIAL STATUS OF MANIPUR
CONTEXT: Violent protests have erupted in Manipur over the Indian state’s decision to grant a Scheduled Tribe (ST) tag to the Meitei community. Stoking historic tensions, the move has been met with suspicion by Nagas and Kukis, who dominate the state’s population and live in rural areas surrounding the fertile Imphal Valley, home to around 53% of the population. The controversial eviction of local farmers from reserved forests triggered initial opposition, while residents’ frustration mounted at a growing sense of dislocation from the state’s political decisions.
- Issue of the violence: The escalation in violence in Manipur has its roots in an over 10-year-old demand by the Meitei community for a Scheduled Tribe tag. The immediate reason for this violence, however, is a Manipur High Court order directing the state government to recommend to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry by May 29, an ST tag for the community. The petitioners have argued that this community had once enjoyed the ST tag prior to the merger of Manipur with the Indian Union and have sought the restoration of this status.
- On May 4, as the violence escalated, the Centre invoked Article 355 of the Constitution, which is a part of emergency provisions. It empowers the Centre to take necessary steps to protect a State against external aggression or internal disturbances.
Scheduled Tribe status:
- According to the modalities for inclusion first framed in 1999, the proposal for inclusion must originate from the respective State or Union Territory government.
- Following this, the proposal is sent to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry, which sends it to the Office of the Registrar General of India (ORGI). If the ORGI approves the inclusion, the proposal is forwarded to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
- Only after the concurrence of these institutions, will the proposal go forward to the Cabinet to bring in the appropriate amendment to the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950.
- It was added in the constitution by 27th Amendment Act of 1971.
- Under this, the President is authorised to provide for the creation of a committee of the Manipur Legislative Assembly consisting of members elected from the Hill Areas of the State. The expression ‘Hill Areas’ means such areas as the President may, by order, declare to be Hill Areas.
- Governor shall annually, or whenever so required by the President, make a report to the President regarding the administration of the Hill Areas in the State of Manipur and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of directions to the State as to the administration of the said areas.
- It is a part of emergency provisions contained in Part XVIII of the Constitution of India, from Article 352 to 360.
- Article 355 is found in part XVIII of the Indian constitution which contains emergency provisions that are meant to be used in extremely rare circumstances.
- Article 355 States that it shall be the duty of the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the Government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
- This section of the constitution empowers the Union government to declare a state of emergency (through Article 352) or, in other cases, President’s Rule in a particular state of the Union (through Article 356).
5. WOMEN IN THE DEFENCE FORCES OF INDIA
Tags: GS 1: SOCIETY
Context: Continuing the policies of recent years that have been aimed at improving the availability of opportunities for women in the defence forces of India, the Union Ministry of Defence is planning to further increase the participation of women in next year’s Republic Day parade.
- An office memorandum issued stated the Republic Day Parade 2024 will have “only women participants” in contingents marching and band tableaux and other performances during the parade at Kartavya Path.
- In 2015, For the first time in the country’s history, an all-women contingent from the three forces Army, Air Force and Navy marched down the path between India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Women in the Indian Army:
- The Indian Army began inducting women in 1992. They were commissioned for a period of five years in certain chosen streams such as Army Education Corps, Corps of Signals, Intelligence Corps and Corps of Engineers.
- Combat role in the Indian Army has for long been an exclusive domain for men. Supreme Court judgment has finally accepted gender parity in the Armed by allowing women officers in command positions.
- The Army is yet to open core combat arms like infantry, mechanised infantry, and armoured corps for women, even as it has recently inducted five women officers in the Regiment of Artillery, which is a combat support arm.
- Consequent to grant of Permanent Commission to Women Officers (WOs), a gender neutral Career Progression policy covering employment and promotional aspects was promulgated on 23.11.2021, providing equal opportunities to women officers in the Arms/Services where they are commissioned.
Women in the Indian Air Force:
- Women officers are inducted in all branches and streams of Indian Air Force. Gender neutral approach is facilitating the employment of women officers of Indian Air Force in all combat roles without any restrictions. They are flying fighter aircraft and operating from the length and breadth of the country in all branches of the IAF with pride.
- At present, women are serving in Officer’s cadre only in the Indian Air Force (IAF). The strength of women officers, as on March 01, 2023, in the IAF (excluding Medical and Dental branches) is 1,636.
- Women officers are empowered to tenate key appointments including Commanding Officers in Combat Units of various field units. The rules in this regard are gender neutral and provide them equal opportunities. Their medical fitness and medical conditions are also factored prior to their effective utilization.
Women in the Indian Navy:
- As on date, women are employed in the Indian Navy in the officer’s rank. The strength of women officers in the Indian Navy, as on March 09, 2023, is 748 including Medical and Dental officers.
- Permanent Commission to Women Officers: SSC women officers in the Indian Navy are eligible for consideration towards grant of Permanent Commission. As on date, 59 women officers (excluding Medical and Dental officers) have been granted PC.
- Entry of Women into NDA: Entry of women candidates into NDA has been permitted from 2022 wherein women officers are being inducted as PC officers. Three vacancies per batch have been allocated at NDA for women candidates of Navy and the first batch has joined in July 2022.
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