10th Oct, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
‘Cyclone Titli’ (GS1: Geophysical phenomenon)
Issue: The deep depression over the west central Bay of Bengal moved west-northwestwards with a speed of about 8 kmph and intensified into a cyclonic storm and lay centered about 530 km southeast of Gopalpur (Odisha) and 480 km east-southeast of Kalingapatnam (Andhra Pradesh).
According to the Cyclone Warning Centre in Visakhapatnam, ‘Titli’ is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours and move west-northwestwards for some more time, then northwestwards and cross Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh coasts. According to the IMD, gale and wind speed reaching up to 40-50 kmph and gusts touching 65 kmph is likely to commence along and off the north Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal coasts
Cyclones are caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area distinguished by swift and often destructive air circulation. Cyclones are usually accompanied by violent storms and bad weather. The air circulates inward in an anticlockwise direction in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern hemisphere. Cyclones are classified as: (i) extra tropical cyclones (also called temperate cyclones); and (ii) tropical cyclones. The word Cyclone is derived from the Greek word Cyclos meaning the coils of a snake. It was coined by Henry Peddington because the tropical storms in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea appear like coiled serpents of the sea.
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO, 1976) uses the term ‘Tropical Cyclone’ to cover weather systems in which winds exceed ‘Gale Force’ (minimum of 34 knots or 63 kph). Tropical cyclones are the progeny of ocean and atmosphere, powered by the heat from the sea; and driven by easterly trades and temperate westerlies, high planetary winds and their own fierce energy.
In India, cyclones are classified by:
- Strength of associated winds,
- Storm surges
- Exceptional rainfall occurrences.
The development cycle of tropical cyclones may be divided into three stages:
Formation and Initial Development Stage
The formation and initial development of a cyclonic storm depends upon various conditions. These are:
- A warm sea (a temperature in excess of 26 degrees Celsius to a depth of 60 m) with abundant and turbulent transfer of water vapour to the overlying atmosphere by evaporation.
- Atmospheric instability encouraging formation of massive vertical cumulus clouds due to convection with condensation of rising air above ocean surface.
Mature Tropical Cyclones
When a tropical storm intensifies, the air rises in vigorous thunderstorms and tends to spread out horizontally at the tropopause level. Once air spreads out, a positive perturbation pressure at high levels is produced, which accelerates the downward motion of air due to convection. With the inducement of subsidence, air warms up by compression and a warm ‘Eye’ is generated. Generally, the ‘Eye’ of the storms has three basic shapes: (i) circular; (ii) concentric; and (iii) elliptical. The main physical feature of a mature tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean is a concentric pattern of highly turbulent giant cumulus thundercloud bands.
Modification and Decay
A tropical cyclone begins to weaken in terms of its central low pressure, internal warmth and extremely high speeds, as soon as its source of warm moist air begins to ebb, or is abruptly cut off. This happens after its landfall or when it passes over cold waters. The weakening of a cyclone does not mean that the danger to life and property is over.
‘Make in India’ (GS3: Government policies for development in various sectors)
Issue: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to lay the foundation stone of a Rail Coach Refurbishing Karkhana at Sonepat in Haryana. The Rail Coach Refurbishing Karkhana is being established under Modi government’s ambitious Make in India initiative. The project is set to be a major industrial initiative in the state as it will provide repair as well maintenance facility for the train coaches of Indian Railways, in the region.
Significance of the project
With the establishment of the Rail Coach Refurbishing Karkhana at Sonepat, the state of Haryana will witness periodical overhaul (POH) as well as refurbishment of 250 railway coaches per year. The rail coach factory will be provided with modern machinery and a plant, having environment-friendly measures. Other than pushing up the railway sector of the state, the rail coach factory will also generate more employment for the people of Haryana as well as accelerate the overall development of the state. The factory will be operated by the Northern Railway zone of the national transporter.
About ‘Make in India’ programme
The programme commits to achieve for the country among other things an increase in manufacturing sector growth to 12-14 % per annum over the medium term, increase in the share of manufacturing in the country’s Gross Domestic Product from 16% to 25% by 2022 and importantly to create 100 million additional jobs by 2022 in the manufacturing sector alone. These are quite highly ambitious targets given the background that the manufacturing sector in India, which accounts for fourth-fifth of the total output, grew a meagre 3.3 per cent in January 2010.
- Target of an increase in manufacturing sector growth to 12-14% per annum over the medium term.
- An increase in the share of manufacturing in the country’s Gross Domestic Product from 16% to 25% by 2022.
- To create 100 million additional jobs by 2022 in manufacturing sector.
- Creation of appropriate skill sets among rural migrants and the urban poor for inclusive growth.
- An increase in domestic value addition and technological depth in manufacturing.
- Enhancing the global competitiveness of the Indian manufacturing sector.
- Ensuring sustainability of growth, particularly with regard to environment.
‘World Mental Health day’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: India is standing on the threshold of a mental health epidemic with a greater number of people affected by mental health issues in the country than the entire population of Japan. According to 2015-16 National Mental Health Survey (NMHS) survey, every sixth person in India needs mental-health help. To compound the problem, India has just about 5,000 psychiatrists and less than 2,000 clinical psychologists.
Need for mental health in India
- Poverty, domestic violence, alcohol and drug addiction and the very stigma of being underprivileged takes a toll on these people.
- Another point is that mental health problems can affect all age-groups. What is really worrying is that, today, India’s children and youth are more stressed and suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and performance issues more than ever before.
- Also, the common man is over-stressed with family responsibilities and work pressure, and has less time to socialise and de-stress. Road rage is becoming common. Couples in unhappy marriages are growing but never go to a marriage counsellor. Children are growing up with both parents working, sometimes in different cities, and the close knit joint family system is dying out. Family counselling is an unheard of concept in India. While social media keeps people connected, it builds additional pressure to project only the best.
Current state of mental health in India
- Despite this alarming scenario, mental health continues to be a taboo topic with immense stigma attached to it.
- Despite the Mental Health Care Bill 2016 mandating state governments make mental healthcare affordable for all, the cost of treatment continues to be high and beyond the reach of the common man.
India needs web-based online portals such as the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) to reach out to its vast population. More affordable treatment options are required, along with affordable rehabilitation centers like the National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR) which received cabinet approval earlier.
‘Retail Inflation’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: India’s retail inflation likely sped up in September on higher food and fuel costs, pushed up by a battered rupee and suggesting further policy tightening from the Reserve Bank of India
Although food inflation has quickened it was subdued enough to offset some of the pain coming from the double whammy of a weak currency and rising oil prices.
What is retail inflation?
It is the increase in price of goods sold at retail market. In India retail price is measured by consumer price index. CPI is based on 260 commodities but includes some services too. The increase in petrol and diesel leads to increase in total transport cost which further leads to increase in retail prices.
In India, retail inflation is linked to Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is managed by Ministry of Statistics. CPI numbers are widely used as a macroeconomic indicator of inflation, as a tool by governments and central banks.
‘Forest fires’ (GS3: Environmental pollution)
Issue: With at least one in four people dependent on forests for their livelihood, India is losing at least ₹1,100 crore due to forest fires every year, says a new World Bank report.
Other observations made in the report
- Forest fires occur in around half of the country’s 647 districts every year. However, repeated fires in short succession are reducing diversity of species and harming natural regeneration, while posing a risk to over 92 million in India who live in areas of forest cover, said the report.
- Analyzing patterns and trends of forest fires in India, the report highlights that central India has the largest area affected by fire. The region, which has the highest forest cover in India after North-East, accounts for 56% of burnt forest land during 2003-2016, followed by southern states and the North-East.
- The report calls for a national plan for the prevention of forest fire.
- The findings are significant since preventing forest fires is crucial to meet Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) in order to limit global warming. As per the Fifth Assessment Report of IPCC, forest fires globally contribute 2.5 billion to 4.0 billion tonnes of CO2 to carbon emissions every year.
- Tackling forest fires is even more important in India as the country has committed to bringing 33% of its geographical area under forest cover by 2030, as part of its Nationally Determined Goals (NDC) and increases its forest cover by 5 million hectares, as part of India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change.
‘International arbitration’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: In an effort to strengthen dispute resolution mechanisms and to not only encourage ‘Make in India’ but also to ‘Resolve in India’, a workshop is being organized on ‘Best Practices in International Arbitration’ by NITI Aayog, in collaboration with ICC International Court of Arbitration
About the workshop
The workshop would cover basic concepts of international arbitration and include best practices on drafting, selection of arbitrators, enforcement of arbitral awards, and role of courts in the arbitration life cycle, among other topics, with information sharing sessions to be conducted by world class faculty and practitioners from the United Kingdom, Singapore, Paris and India.
‘Dasara celebrations’ (GS1: Indian culture)
Issue: A slice of the royal orient will be on display when the 10-day Dasara festival showcasing the cultural diversity of Karnataka will be celebrated in Mysuru
Origin of Dasara celebrations in Karnataka
The origin of the festival is rooted in mythology. Dasara was celebrated by the rulers of the Vijayanagar Empire (1336 AD to 1646 AD) and documented by medieval travellers such as Abdur Razzak of Persia and Domingo Paes of Portugal. The tradition was inherited by the Wadiyars and the scale and grandeur of their celebrations made Dasara synonymous with Mysuru.
‘Defence manufacturing’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: Lockheed Martin, a New York Stock Exchange-listed firm, and Tier-I suppliers of its F-16 fighter, met with about 70 Indian micro, small and medium enterprises on Tuesday to gauge the potential for making components for the aircraft in India.
Significance of this venture
The two companies held a supplier conference to provide a platform that would allow Indian players in the industry explore opportunities and share knowledge with other global suppliers in the F-16 fighter aircraft manufacturing ecosystem. The potential F-16 India Project, as a single source globally, would help India to build new capabilities in the defence manufacturing sector.
‘Manu Bhaker’ (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: The Youth Olympic Games came as a healer for Manu Bhaker, as the shooter clinched gold medal in the 10m air pistol event.
With this medal, Manu became first Indian shooter to have won gold in the Youth Games. This is India’s third medal from shooting at the Games after Shahu Mane and Mehuli Ghosh clinched silver medals in men’s and women’s 10m air rifle events, respectively.