- NIA Act: Challenged by Chhattisgarh
- The 2010s -Hottest Decade so far
- Volcanoes and earthquakes: The pacific ring of fire
- Geography of farmer suicides
NIA ACT: CHALLENGED BY CHHATTISGARH
Why in news?
- The Chhattisgarh government moved to the Supreme Court against the 2008 National Investigative Agency (NIA) Act, stating it is violative of the Constitution.
- In its civil suit, the government told the apex court the NIA should have no power over state policing matters.
What is the NIA Act, 2008?
- It gives the NIA powers to take Suo moto cognisance of terror activities in any part of India and register a case, to enter any state without permission from the state government, and to investigate and arrest people.
- The Act makes the National Investigative Agency the only truly federal agency in the country, along the lines of the FBI in the United States, and more powerful than the CBI.
Details of the petition
- The petition says the 2008 Act takes away the state’s power of conducting an investigation through the police, while conferring “unfettered, discretionary and arbitrary powers” on the Centre
- The provisions of the Act leave no room of coordination and pre-condition of consent, in any form whatsoever, by the Central government from the State government which clearly repudiates the idea of state sovereignty as envisaged under the Constitution of India
Changes made to the NIA’s powers by 2019 NIA Amendment Act
- Expanded the type of offences that the investigative body could investigate and prosecute
- Can now investigate offences related to human trafficking, counterfeit currency, manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, cyber-terrorism, and offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908
- The amendment also enables the central government to designate sessions courts as special courts for NIA trials.
- The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA), also passed in 2019, allows an NIA officer to conduct raids, and seize properties that are suspected to be linked to terrorist activities without taking prior permission of the Director General of Police of a state.
THE 2010S -HOTTEST DECADE SO FAR
Why in news?
Research released by NASA and NOAA(USA) for 2019 shows that the decade that just ended was by far the hottest ever measured on Earth, capped off by the second-warmest year on record
- Since the 1960s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one, by significant amounts.
- While the 2010s continued this trend, the second half of the decade was especially warm — the five hottest years ever have occurred during that span
- 2019 was the second warmest year ever just shy of 2016.
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that global average surface temperatures last year were nearly 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average from the middle of last century
- The studies take into account the contribution of natural influences, or forces, on climate, like volcanic eruptions that can temporarily cool the atmosphere or regular changes in Earth’s orbital cycle
- Driven in largely by emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases from the burning of fossil fuels.
- These trends are the footprints of human activity stomping on the atmosphere
- 2019 only continued a long-term warming trend, one that has led to increased melting of the state’s thousands of glaciers, thawing of permanently frozen ground, or permafrost, and a lack of sea-ice coverage in some of the Arctic waters
- The Bering Sea, off Alaska’s northwest coast, was ice-free for much of 2019
- UN said that 2019 was second hottest year ever and the average global temperature in 2019 was 1.1 degree Celsius (34°F) above pre-industrial levels.
VOLCANOES AND EARTHQUAKES: THE PACIFIC RING OF FIRE
Why in news?
In the Philippines, a volcano called Taal on the island of Luzon, 50 km from Manila, erupted on 12th January 2020, spewing lava on the ground, and ash and smoke into the sky. Although Taal is a tiny volcano, the eruption has caused concerns in the Philippines.
- Taal is classified as a “complex” volcano.
- A complex volcano, also called a compound volcano, is defined as one that consists of a complex of two or more vents, or a volcano that has an associated volcanic dome, either in its crater or on its flanks. Examples include Vesuvius, besides Taal.
- The Taal volcano does not rise from the ground as a distinct, singular dome but consists of multiple stratovolcanoes (volcanoes susceptible to explosive eruptions), conical hills and craters of all shapes and sizes, as per NASA’s Earth Observatory. Taal has 47 craters and four maars (a broad shallow crater).
- Because it is a complex volcano with various features, the kinds of eruption too have been varied. An eruption can send lava flowing through the ground, or cause a threat through ash in the air.
Ring of Fire
Many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire were created through a process of subduction. And most of the planet’s subduction zones happen to be located in the Ring of Fire
How big is the Pacific Ring of Fire?
- It is a string of at least 450 active and dormant volcanoes that form a semi-circle, or horse shoe, around the Philippine Sea plate, the Pacific Plate, Juan de Fuca and Cocos plates, and the Nazca Plate.
- There is a lot of seismic activity in the area.
- 90 per cent of all earthquakes strike within the Ring of Fire
Why so many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire?
- The tectonic plates move non-stop over a layer of partly solid and partly molten rock which is called the Earth’s mantle.
- When the plates collide or move apart, for instance, the Earth moves, literally.
- Mountains, like the Andes in South America and the Rockies in North America, as well as volcanoes have formed through the collision of tectonic plates.
- Many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire were created through a process of subduction. And most of the planet’s subduction zones happen to be located in the Ring of Fire
What is subduction?
- Subduction happens when tectonic plates shift, and one plate is shoved under another.
- This movement of the ocean floor produces a “mineral transmutation,” which leads to the melting and solidification of magma – that is, the formation of volcanoes.
- Basically, when a “downgoing” oceanic plate is shoved into a hotter mantle plate, it heats up, volatile elements mix, and this produces the magma.
- The magma then rises up
through the overlying plate and spurts out at the surface.
GEOGRAPHY OF FARMER SUICIDES
Why in news?
New data and research suggest that farmer suicides may not have increased in recent years and may have more complex causes than falling incomes or rising indebtedness.
- The overall farmer suicide rate decreases in India but Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala remain suicide hotspots even with doubts about NCRB data
- The ultimate sign of distress is suicide. Amid the ongoing rural distress, reports of farmer suicides are often used to highlight the plight of rural India.
- However, new data and research suggest that farmer suicides may not have increased in recent years and may have more complex causes than falling incomes or rising indebtedness
- According to the 2018 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, the rate of farmer suicides in India has decreased over the last few years.
- This decrease comes even as overall suicide rates remained fairly constant and rural poverty shot up
- National figures, though, mask the significant variation in farmer suicide rates across states.
- Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Kerala reported the highest suicide rates in 2018, as per NCRB data.
- A 2014 study of farmer suicides between 1997-2012 had placed these three states among those with a major problem regarding suicides
- The study also classified a group of states that have had little problem with farmer suicides historically.
- This group included Punjab but that seems to have changed in recent years.
- Among the major agrarian states, Punjab has experienced a sharp jump in farmer suicides with more than a fivefold increase.
- Some states seem to barely have a farmer suicide issue, the NCRB data suggests.
- In 2018, six states, including Bihar, Odisha, and West Bengal reported zero farmer suicides.
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