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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 17 March 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. Kenya-Somalia sea border dispute at ICJ
  2. Come out with rule curve for Mullaperiyar Dam: SC
  3. RS passes Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill, 2020

KENYA-SOMALIA SEA BORDER DISPUTE AT ICJ

Context:

Kenya withdraws from the proceedings of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over its maritime border dispute in the Indian Ocean with Somalia.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-I: Geography (World Geography, Map-based questions), GS-II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Maritime border dispute between Kenya and Somalia
  2. About Kenya
  3. About Somalia
  4. International Court of Justice

About the Maritime border dispute between Kenya and Somalia

  • Kenya’s stand is that the maritime border should run parallel to the equator while Somalia’s stand is that the border should be an extension of the south-east direction in which their land border runs (similar to the India-Pakistan Dispute in the triangular area in Siachen glacier region from the point NJ9842).
  • This region in the Indian Ocean is rich marine reserves and is believed to have oil and gas deposits.
  • Kenya is accusing the ICJ of bias in the case, which concerns a triangular area in the Indian Ocean under dispute.
  • The move comes after Somalia’s decision to sever diplomatic relations with Kenya after it accused Kenya of meddling in its internal affairs.

About Kenya

Kenya is a country in Eastern Africa whose capital and largest city is Nairobi.

Kenya is bordered by:

  1. South Sudan to the northwest,
  2. Ethiopia to the north,
  3. Somalia to the east,
  4. Uganda to the west,
  5. Tanzania to the south, and the
  6. Indian Ocean to the southeast.
  • Kenya is a presidential representative democratic republic, in which elected officials represent the people and the president is the head of state and government.
  • Kenya is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, COMESA, International Criminal Court, and other international organizations.
  • Fossils found in Kenya have shown that primates inhabited the area for more than 20 million years. East Africa, including Kenya, is one of the earliest regions where modern humans (Homo sapiens) are believed to have lived.

About Somalia

  • Somalia is a country in the Horn of Africa, bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti, to the Northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Kenya to the southwest.
  • Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa’s mainland.
  • Its terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains, and highlands with the hot conditions prevail year-round, with periodic monsoon winds and irregular rainfall.

International Court of Justice

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) was established in 1945 as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.
  • The ICJ settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions in accordance with international law, on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
  • ICJ’s rulings are binding, though the court has no enforcement powers and countries have been known to ignore its verdicts.

-Source: Indian Express


COME OUT WITH RULE CURVE FOR MULLAPERIYAR DAM: SC

Context:

The Supreme Court said that the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary shall be “personally responsible” and “appropriate action” will be taken on failure to give information on the rule curve for Mullaperiyar dam to the Supreme Court-appointed Supervisory Committee.

Relevance:

GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure (Energy and Irrigation related infrastructure), GS-I: Geography (Water Resources)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Mullaperiyar Dam
  2. Controversy around the Millaperiyar dam
  3. What is the Rule Curve?

About the Mullaperiyar Dam

  • Mullaperiyaru Dam is built on the Periyar River in the Indian state of Kerala – situated at the confluence of the Mullayar and Periyar rivers on the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats.
  • It is a masonry gravity dam in a seismically active area, which is said to show significant structural flaws.
  • Management of the Mullaperiyar dam is a contentious issue between Kerala and Tamil Nadu States.
  • The Periyar National Park in Thekkady is located around the dam’s reservoir.
  • Tamil Nadu was given rights to the land and the water from the dam as well as the authority to develop hydro-power projects at the site, and Kerala would receive rent in return.
Explained: Mullaperiyar dam controversy, SC judgement
Tamil Nadu Protest | Kerala | Supreme Court | Jayalalithaa | Siruvani Dam |  Mullaperiyar | Water Crisis - Oneindia News

Controversy around the Millaperiyar dam

  • For Tamil Nadu, the Mullaperiyar dam waters act as a lifeline for Theni, Madurai, Sivaganga and Ramnad districts, providing water for irrigation and drinking, and also for generation of power in Lower Periyar Power Station.
  • Tamil Nadu has insisted on exercising its unfettered rights to control the dam and its waters, based on the 1886 lease agreement.
  • Kerala has pointed out the unfairness in the 1886 lease agreement and has challenged its validity.
  • However, safety concerns posed by old dam to the safety of the people of Kerala in the event of a dam collapse, have been the focus of disputes from 2009 onwards.
  • Kerala’s proposal for decommissioning the dam and constructing a new one has been challenged by Tamil Nadu.
  • Idukki district, where the dam is located, is earthquake-prone and has experienced multiple low-intensity quakes. So, the dam is situated in a seismically active zone
  • A 2009 report by IIT Roorkee stated that the dam “was likely to face damage if an earthquake of the magnitude of 6.5 on the Richter scale struck its vicinity when the water level is at 136 feet”
  • It poses danger to life and property to people living downstream
  • Three million people living in the vicinity of the reservoir.

What is the Rule Curve?

  • The rule curve divides the storage volume of a reservoir in zones where different strategies for demand supply will be applied.
  • The limits of each zone may vary seasonally or remain constant during the whole year.
  • Such tool may be used for flood control or water conservation during long dry spells.
  • It is worth noting that the rule curve is a tool that should be used for planning the operation of a reservoir (strategic operational level).

-Source: The Hindu


RS PASSES MEDICAL TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY BILL, 2020

Context:

The Rajya Sabha passed the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 that increases the time period within which an abortion may be carried out.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Governance and Government Policies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Background on Abortion in India
  2. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
  3. Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020

Background on Abortion in India

  • Abortion in India is legal in certain circumstances. It can be performed on various grounds until 24 weeks of pregnancy. In exceptional cases, a court may allow a termination after 24 weeks.
  • When a woman gets a pregnancy terminated voluntarily from a service provider, it is called induced abortion. Spontaneous abortion is when the process of abortion starts on its own without any intervention. In common language, this is also known as miscarriage.
  • Before 1971, abortion was criminalized under Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, describing it as intentionally ‘causing miscarriage’.
  • It was in the 1960s, when abortion was legal in 15 countries, that deliberations on a legal framework for induced abortion in India was initiated.
  • The alarmingly increased number of abortions taking place put the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on alert.
  • To address this, the Government of India instated a Committee in 1964 led by Shantilal Shah to come up with suggestions to draft the abortion law for India.
  • The recommendations of this Committee were accepted in 1970 and introduced in the Parliament as the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 provides the legal framework for making CAC services available in India.

Termination of pregnancy is permitted for a broad range of conditions up to 20 weeks of gestation as detailed below:

  • When continuation of pregnancy is a risk to the life of a pregnant woman or could cause grave injury to her physical or mental health;
  • When there is substantial risk that the child, if born, would be seriously handicapped due to physical or mental abnormalities;
  • When pregnancy is caused due to rape (presumed to cause grave injury to the mental health of the woman);
  • When pregnancy is caused due to failure of contraceptives used by a married woman or her husband (presumed to constitute grave injury to mental health of the woman).

The MTP Act specifies –

  1. who can terminate a pregnancy;
  2. till when a pregnancy can be terminated; and
  3. where can a pregnancy be terminated.

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020

The MTP Amendment bill, 2020 is an amendment to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, which contains the following proposals:

  • The requirement of the opinion of one registered medical practitioner (instead of two or more) for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation (foetal development period from the time of conception until birth).
  • Introduce the requirement of the opinion of two registered medical practitioners for termination of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of gestation.
  • Increase the gestation limit for ‘special categories’ of women which includes survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women like differently-abled women and minors.
  • The “name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated shall not be revealed”, except to a person authorised in any law that is currently in force.

-Source: The Hindu

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