19th April, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘Coastal Regulation zone’
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The Centre has allowed India’s coasts to be made more accessible to tourism and industrial infrastructure and given individual States considerable leeway to decide how they should plan such development, according to a draft version of the proposed modification to India’s coastal regulation zone plan made public by the Environment Ministry
What is CRZ?
The coastal regulation zone, or CRZ, 2011, refers to regions in the proximity of India’s 7000-km-long shoreline where buildings, tourism facilities, industrial projects, residential facilities etc are highly regulated. In most cases it begins from the high tide line (HTL) to about 500 metres towards the landward side. The zone is subdivided into regions, with varying leeway for infrastructure development, depending on population and ecological sensitivity.
1. The CRZ-1, for instance, includes the most ecologically sensitive areas and according to current laws is off-limits for tourism activities and infrastructure development except for defence, strategic and rare public utilities projects.
2. The current law, called the CRZ, 2011 also defines as ‘coastal zone,’ the region from the HTL to 100 m of the creek along ‘tidal-influenced bodies’ such as bays, estuaries, rivers, backwaters, lagoons and ponds etc. that are connected to the sea. The proposed laws relax this to 50 metres.
3. Earlier, rural habitations or relatively undisturbed areas close to the shore, called CRZ-II, possessed a 200 metre ‘no development zone’. This has now been reduced to 50 metres, provided the area has a population density exceeding 2161 per square kilometre as per the 2011 Census.
However, Environmentalists say that the new regulations have been framed without a transparent public consultation process.
‘Left Wing Extremism areas’
(GS3: Challenges to internal security)
Issue: To enhance mobile communication in regions affected by left wing extremism (LWE), the government plans to install more than 4,000 mobile towers across 10 States at an estimated cost of over ₹7,300 crore, to be funded through the Universal Obligation Fund.
About the proposal
1. The proposal, which will soon be taken up for approval by the Union Cabinet, aims to provide calling as well as internet facility to security forces and citizens in 96 districts.
2. This will be the second phase of the project. The first phase, under which setting up of about 2,200 towers with a project cost of ₹3,568 crore, was approved by Cabinet in August 2014 and completed in about 18 months. However, while only 2G connectivity was provided in the first phase, the second phase will have 3G and 4G connectivity.
Significance of this project
The completion of Phase 1 of the project has enabled better communication and coordination between security forces, leading to a reduction in the number of Naxal attacks. There is a need to fast track Phase 2, set up basic infrastructure
About Universal Obligation Fund
The New Telecom Policy (NTP) 1999 of Department of Telecom, GoI had Universal Service as one of its main objectives, as reproduced below –
Strive to provide a balance between the provision of Universal Service to all uncovered areas, including the rural areas, and the provision of high-level services capable of meeting the needs of the country’s economy and encourage development of telecommunication facilities in remote, hilly and tribal areas of the country The NTP 1999 provided that the resources for meeting the Universal Service Obligation (USO) were to be generated through a Universal Access Levy (UAL), at a prescribed percentage of the revenue earned by the telecom licensees to be decided in consultation with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
Further, NTP 1999 envisaged the implementation of USO Obligation for rural and remote areas would be undertaken by all fixed service providers who shall be reimbursed from the USOF. Other service providers would also be encouraged to participate in USO provision subject to technical feasibility and would be reimbursed from the USOF.
The Universal Service Support Policy came into effect from 01.04.2002. The guidelines for universal service support policy were issued by DoT on 27th March 2002.The Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act, 2003 giving statutory status to the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) was passed by both Houses of Parliament in December 2003.
The Rules for administration of the Fund known as Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules, 2004 were notified on 26.03.2004. As per the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 (as amended in 2003, 2006), the Fund is to be utilized exclusively for meeting the Universal Service Obligation.
* Economic: Network extension & stimulate uptake of the ICT services
* Social: Mainstreaming the underserved & un-served areas/groups by bridging the access gap
* Political: to enable citizens exercise their political rights in an informed way and
* Constitutional: Equitable distribution of the fruits of the telecom/digital revolution and fair allocation of national resource (pooled USO levy) via targeted subsidies
‘Cash crunch issues’
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The unusual cash crunch situation in several States has thrown up a conundrum. Is this due to an unmet demand in cash supply or an unusual drop in the circulation of currency due to high withdrawals that have dried up ATMs? A look at data related to cash in circulation and GDP growth shows that there are both supply and demand issues that have resulted in the cash crunch in some States.
Reasons for cash crunch
1. Partly these issues are a consequence of the demand related issues that have lingered since demonetization, exacerbated by specific local considerations related to elections.
2. Partly, these are related to the government’s desire to keep the cash-GDP ratio low, one of the justifications for demonetization.
3. A look at cash in circulation in February 2018 shows that it has peaked, increasing steadily after hitting a trough in December 2016 (after demonetization) The rise in cash use has resulted in an increase in the cash-GDP ratio to 10.7% in the present year from a low of 8.8% for FY 2016-17. But it is still lesser than the 11.6% before demonetization.
4. The economic affairs secretary pointed to a slew of possible reasons, including the lack of adequate deposits of ₹2,000 due to hoarding.
(GS2: Bilateral relations)
Issue: India and the U.K. on Wednesday decided to build on the recommendations of a joint trade review to reduce barriers.
Major topics discussed
1. Negotiations on a free trade agreement based on “mutual benefit”.
2. Consular issues including the issue of economic offenders
3. The two sides also signed a statement of shared values, emphasizing support for a “global outlook and commitment to a rules-based international system”.
4. Brexit and the potential to increase trade
5. Britain and India agreed to forge a new India-U.K. Trade Partnership, building on the trade review carried out over the past year, focusing on life sciences, IT, food and drink.
‘New Cuban President elected’
(Facts that can be asked in Prelims)
Issue: Cuban lawmakers were set to start a two-day session on Wednesday to name the first non-Castro President in more than 40 years. The replacement for President Raul Castro is widely expected to be First Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel, 57, an engineer who embraces technology and appears socially liberal but is considered a safe pair of hands to follow the elderly leaders who fought the 1959 revolution, as they retire
Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea. Cuba lies west of the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Gulf of Mexico, south of the Straits of Florida, northwest of the Windward PassageCuba is the largest country by land area in the Caribbean. Its main island is the seventeenth-largest island in the world by land area. The island rises between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean., and northeast of the Yucatán Channel. The main island (Cuba) makes up most of the land area 104,556 km2 (40,369 sq mi). Cuba’s climate is tropical savanna in the Koppen Climate classification. Havana is the capital city, largest city, province, major port, and leading commercial center of Cuba.
(GS3: International relations)
Issue: China on Wednesday proposed an understanding with India on Nepal, to help develop a trilateral partnership, which would include setting up a trans-Himalayan economic corridor.
Benefits of this partnership
1. As two major emerging economies, China and India shall deliver benefits to their neighbors. This would be helpful for Nepal to recover from devastating earthquakes it suffered a few years ago
2. Better infrastructure would also increase trade and provide employment opportunities
3. Apprehensions of China using a “Ring fence policy” against India will also be mitigated if India is involved actively in the partnership
4. The projects would cover seaports, railways, highways, aviation, power, and communication sectors.
5. Such a network when well-developed can also provide conditions for an economic corridor connecting China, Nepal and India. Such cooperation can contribute to the development and prosperity of all three countries
(Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: Earth had a close call with an asteroid that had been detected a mere 21 hours before it zipped past.
About the Asteroid
The asteroid, officially known as 2018 GE3, was about the size of a football field, measuring between 157 and 361 feet in diameter. At its closest point to Earth, it passed by some 119,500 miles away—about half the distance between the Earth and the moon.
Asteroids are difficult to spot and track, since most are dark and generally much smaller than 2018 GE3. This means that they may not reflect enough light for telescopes to easily detect.
Last month, researchers announced plans for a spacecraft called HAMMER that would collide and knock incoming asteroids in another direction or simply blow them up into tiny pieces
‘NASA latest satellite’
Issue: A Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Florida on Wednesday on SpaceX’s first high-priority science mission for NASA, a planet-hunting orbital telescope designed to detect worlds beyond our solar system that might be capable of harboring life. The Transit Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, lifted off on schedule from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 6:51 pm EDT, following a two-day postponement forced by a technical glitch found on Monday in the rocket’s guidance-control system.
The California-based company has launched cargo missions and other payloads for NASA before. But TESS marks the first under a special certification SpaceX has obtained to carry one of NASA’s highest-priority science instruments. TESS is designed to build on the work of its predecessor, the Kepler space telescope, which discovered the bulk of some 3,700 exoplanets documented during the past 20 years and is running out of fuel.
‘Wind Energy project’
(GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: Oil India Ltd has commissioned a 52.5-MW commercial wind energy project developed partly in Gujarat and partly in Madhya Pradesh. A company statement said that another 500-KW captive solar project in Jorhat, Assam has also been commissioned.
With this, OIL’s present installed renewable energy capacity stood at 188.1 MW, including 174.1 MW of wind energy projects and 14 MW of solar energy projects
‘India’s Fiscal Outlook’
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that India’s combined gross debt, including that of the central and state governments, is set to decline by almost nine percentage points to 61.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2023-24.
Significance of this development
Not only will this have a salutary impact on the macroeconomic framework, especially in creating the basis for a lower interest rate regime as the fear of the crowding-out effect of excessive government borrowings recedes, it can also trigger a sovereign rating upgrade for Asia’s third-largest economy.
The projections by the multilateral lending institution are mostly in line with the central government’s target of bringing down debt-to-GDP ratio to 40% by 2024-25, announced in budget 2018-19. The N.K. Singh committee on fiscal discipline had favoured a combined debt-to-GDP ratio of 60% by 2022-23—40% for the central government and 20% for state governments.
Reasons for reduce in Debt-GDP ratio
1. Gradual reduction in overall deficit
2. as well as continued high nominal GDP growth
(GS1: Geophysical phenomenon)
Issue: The US Geological Survey says a magnitude 5.5 earthquake has struck in southern Iran near a nuclear plant, shaking Bahrain and other areas around the Persian Gulf. There was no immediate report of damage or injuries.
Iran sits on major fault lines and is prone to near-daily earthquakes. In 2003, a 6.6-magnitude quake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people
An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the shaking of the surface of the Earth, resulting from the sudden release of energy in the Earth’s lithosphere that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes can range in size from those that are so weak that they cannot be felt to those violent enough to toss people around and destroy whole cities. The seismicity or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time. The word tremor is also used for non-earthquake seismic rumbling.
At the Earth’s surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and sometimes displacement of the ground. When the epicenter of a large earthquake is located offshore, the seabed may be displaced sufficiently to cause a tsunami. Earthquakes can also trigger landslides, and occasionally volcanic activity.
In its most general sense, the word earthquake is used to describe any seismic event — whether natural or caused by humans — that generates seismic waves. Earthquakes are caused mostly by rupture of geological faults, but also by other events such as volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear tests. An earthquake’s point of initial rupture is called its focus or hypocenter. The epicenter is the point at ground level directly above the hypocenter.
There are several different kinds of seismic waves, and they all move in different ways. The two main types of waves are body waves and surface waves. Body waves can travel through the earth’s inner layers, but surface waves can only move along the surface of the planet like ripples on water. Earthquakes radiate seismic energy as both body and surface waves.
Travelling through the interior of the earth, body waves arrive before the surface waves emitted by an earthquake. These waves are of a higher frequency than surface waves.
The first kind of body wave is the P wave or primary wave. This is the fastest kind of seismic wave, and, consequently, the first to ‘arrive’ at a seismic station. The P wave can move through solid rock and fluids, like water or the liquid layers of the earth. P waves are also known as compressional waves, because of the pushing and pulling they do. Subjected to a P wave, particles move in the same direction that the wave is moving in, which is the direction that the energy is travelling in, and is sometimes called the ‘direction of wave propagation’
The second type of body wave is the S wave or secondary wave, which is the second wave you feel in an earthquake. An S wave is slower than a P wave and can only move through solid rock, not through any liquid medium. It is this property of S waves that led seismologists to conclude that the Earth’s outer core is a liquid. S waves move rock particles up and down, or side-to-side–perpendicular to the direction that the wave is travelling in (the direction of wave propagation)
Travelling only through the crust, surface waves are of a lower frequency than body waves, and are easily distinguished on a seismogram as a result. Though they arrive after body waves, it is surface waves that are almost entirely responsible for the damage and destruction associated with earthquakes. This damage and the strength of the surface waves are reduced in deeper earthquakes.
1. Love waves
The first kind of surface wave is called a Love wave, named after A.E.H. Love, a British mathematician who worked out the mathematical model for this kind of wave in 1911. It’s the fastest surface wave and moves the ground from side-to-side. Confined to the surface of the crust, Love waves produce entirely horizontal motion
2. Rayleigh waves
The other kind of surface wave is the Rayleigh wave, named for John William Strutt, Lord Rayleigh, who mathematically predicted the existence of this kind of wave in 1885. A Rayleigh wave rolls along the ground just like a wave rolls across a lake or an ocean. Because it rolls, it moves the ground up and down and side-to-side in the same direction that the wave is moving. Most of the shaking felt from an earthquake is due to the Rayleigh wave, which can be much larger than the other waves.
Earthquake risk in India
India’s increasing population and extensive unscientific constructions mushrooming all over, including multistoried luxury apartments, huge factory buildings, gigantic malls, supermarkets as well as warehouses and masonry buildings keep – India at high risk. During the last 15 years, the country has experienced 10 major earthquakes that have resulted in over 20,000 deaths. As per the current seismic zone map of the country (IS 1893: 2002), over 59 per cent of India’s land area is under threat of moderate to severe seismic hazard-; that means it is prone to shaking of MSK Intensity VII and above (BMTPC, 2006). In fact, the entire Himalayan belt is considered prone to great earthquakes of magnitude exceeding 8.0-; and in a relatively short span of about 50 years, four such earthquakes have occurred: 1897 Shillong (M8.7); 1905 Kangra (M8.0); 1934 Bihar-Nepal (M8.3); and 1950 Assam-Tibet (M8.6). Scientific publications have warned of the likelihood of the occurrence of very severe earthquakes in the Himalayan region, which could adversely affect the lives of several million people in India.
At one time regions of the country away from the Himalayas and other inter-plate boundaries were considered to be relatively safe from damaging earthquakes. However, in the recent past, even these areas have experienced devastating earthquakes, albeit of lower magnitude than the Himalayan earthquakes. The Koyna earthquake in 1967 led to revision of the seismic zoning map, resulting in deletion of the non-seismic zone from the map. The areas surrounding Koyna were also re-designated to Seismic Zone IV, indicating high hazard. The occurrence of the Killari earthquake in 1993 resulted in further revision of the seismic zoning map in which the low hazard zone or Seismic Zone I was merged with Seismic Zone II, and some parts of Deccan and Peninsular India were brought under Seismic Zone III consisting of areas designated as moderate hazard zone areas. Recent research suggests that as understanding of the seismic hazard of these regions increases, more areas assigned as low hazard may be re-designated to higher level of seismic hazard, or vice-versa.
The North-Eastern part of the country continues to experience moderate to large earthquakes at frequent intervals including the two great earthquakes mentioned above. Since 1950, the region has experienced several moderate earthquakes. On an average, the region experiences an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 6.0 every year. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are also situated on an inter-plate boundary and frequently experience damaging earthquakes.
The increase in earthquake risk is due to a spurt in developmental activities driven by urbanization, economic development and the globalization of India’s economy. The increase in use of high-technology equipment and tools in manufacturing and service industries has also made them susceptible to disruption due to relatively moderate ground shaking. As a result, loss of human life is not the only determinant of earthquake risk any more. Severe economic losses leading to the collapse of the local or regional economy after an earthquake may have long-term adverse consequences for the entire country. This effect would be further magnified if an earthquake affects a mega-city, such as Delhi or Mumbai.