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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 06 April 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. Earthquake in Sikkim
  2. Maoist attacks in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma
  3. Govt. amends insolvency law through ordinance
  4. Arch closure of Chenab bridge completed

EARTHQUAKE IN SIKKIM

Context:

An earthquake measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale struck the Sikkim-Bhutan border and the tremors were felt in the districts of north Bengal including Siliguri, Malda and Darjeeling districts.

Relevance:

GS-I: Geography (Geomorphology, Important Geographical Phenomenon, Earthquakes), GS-III: Disaster Management

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Earthquake
  2. Earthquake Waves
  3. Earthquake zones of India
  4. Measurement of earthquakes

Earthquake

  • An earthquake is shaking of the earth. It is a natural event. It is caused due to release of energy, which generates waves that travel in all directions.
  • The release of energy occurs along a fault. Rocks along a fault tend to move in opposite directions. This causes a release of energy, and the energy waves travel in all directions.
  • The point where the energy is released is called the focus of an earthquake, alternatively, it is called the hypocentre.
  • The point on the surface, nearest to the focus, is called epicentre. It is the first one to experience the waves. It is a point directly above the focus.
Machine generated alternative text:Seismic Waves Radiate from the Focus of an Earthquake Fault scarp Epicenter Focus Legacy IAS

Earthquake Waves

  • All-natural earthquakes take place in the lithosphere.
  • Earthquake waves are basically of two types body waves and surface waves.
Legacy IAS,

Body Waves

Body waves are generated due to the release of energy at the focus and move in all directions travelling through the body of the earth.

There are 2 types of body waves and they are, Primary waves [P] and Secondary [S] waves

  1. Primary waves [P]: Primary waves are the first to appear on the surface and hence the name P waves.
  • P-waves vibrate parallel to the direction of the wave. This exerts pressure on the material in the direction of the propagation
  • P waves can travel through gaseous, liquid and solid materials.
  1. Secondary waves [S]: Secondary waves or S waves appear after P waves.  The direction of vibrations of S-waves is perpendicular to the wave direction in the vertical plane. Hence, they create troughs and crests in the material through which they pass
Machine generated alternative text:P -waves S-waves Arrival times Surface waves Legacy IAS

Surface waves

  • The body waves interact with the surface rocks and generate new set of waves called surface waves. These waves move along the surface.
  • The velocity of waves changes as they travel through materials with different densities. The denser the material, the higher is the velocity.
  • Their direction also changes as they reflect or refract when coming across materials with different densities.
  • Surface waves are considered to be the most damaging waves.

Earthquake zones of India

  • The major reason for the high frequency and intensity of the earthquakes is that the Indian plate is driving into Asia at a rate of approximately 47 mm/year.
  • Geographical statistics of India show that more than 50% of the land is vulnerable to earthquakes.
  • The latest version of seismic zoning map of India divides India into 4 seismic zones (Zone 2, 3, 4 and 5).

Zones of Seismicity

  1. Zone 1: Currently the Division does not include a Zone 1. NO area of India is classed as Zone 1.
  2. Zone 2: This region is liable to MSK VI or less and is classified as the Low Damage Risk Zone.
  3. Zone 3: This zone is classified as Moderate Damage Risk Zone which is liable to MSK VII.
  4. Zone 4: This zone is called the High Damage Risk Zone and covers areas liable to MSK VIII. Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, the parts of Indo-Gangetic plains (North Punjab, Chandigarh, Western Uttar Pradesh, Terai, North Bengal, Sundarbans) and the capital of the country Delhi fall in Zone 4.
  5. Zone 5: Zone 5 covers the areas with the highest risks zone that suffers earthquakes of intensity MSK IX or greater. The region of Kashmir, the Western and Central Himalayas, North and Middle Bihar, the North-East Indian region, the Rann of Kutch and the Andaman and Nicobar group of islands fall in this zone.

Measurement of earthquakes

The earthquake events are scaled either according to the magnitude or intensity of the shock.

  1. Richter scale – The magnitude scale is known as the Richter scale. The magnitude relates to the energy released during the quake. The magnitude is expressed in absolute numbers, 0-10.
  2. Mercalli scale – The intensity scale is named after Mercalli, an Italian seismologist. The intensity scale takes into account the visible damage caused by the event. The range of intensity scale is from 1-12.
  3. Medvedev–Sponheuer–Karnik scale – This is a macroseismic intensity scale used to evaluate the severity of ground shaking on the basis of observed effects in an area of the earthquake occurrence.

-Source: The Hindu


MAOIST ATTACKS IN CHHATTISGARH’S SUKMA

Context:

A day after the encounter between central paramilitary forces and Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma, bodies of 22 personnel were recovered, 31 were injured and one commando was still missing, according to Chattisgarh police.

Relevance:

GS-III: Internal Security Challenges (Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism, Left-Wing Extremism)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Background to the recent attacks
  2. Road Requirement Plan for Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Affected Areas
  3. Left Wing Extremism (LWE)
  4. What is Naxalism in India?
  5. Government Initiatives to fight LWE

Background to the recent attacks

  • With critical road projects to provide connectivity in Left Wing Extremism-affected areas often coming to a halt due to security reasons, Chhattisgarh has proposed a new plan to the Centre, suggesting that it divide the remaining contracts into small packets so that local contractors can take up the jobs.
  • 90% of the Road Requirement Plan — for connectivity in hotspots of 34 districts worst-affected by Maoist insurgency in eight states — stands completed, but progress remains a problem in Chhattisgarh.
  • A team of security forces was attacked by a People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) unit in the Tarrem area near the Sukma-Bijapur district border, Chhattisgarh. Several security personnel were killed and many were injured.
  • PLGA was founded in 2000. It has been declared as a terrorist organisation and banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act-1967 (UAPA).
  • Sukma District located in the southern tip of the state of Chhattisgarh is covered with the semi-tropical forest and is a mainland of tribal community Gond.
  • One major river that flows through the district is Sabari (a tributary of Godavari river).
  • Over a few decades, this region has become a fostering ground for Left Wing Extremism (LWE) activities and the uneven terrains and the tricky geographic locations made this region a safer hideout for the LWE activists.

Road Requirement Plan for Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Affected Areas

  • Road Requirement Plan for Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Affected Areas Scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for improving road connectivity in 34 LWE affected districts of 8 States.
  • 8 States are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.
  • This scheme envisaged construction of 5,422 km roads lengths in LWE affected States.

Left Wing Extremism (LWE)

  • Left Wing Extremism (LWE) organizations are the groups that try to bring change through violent revolution. They are against democratic institutions and use violence to subvert the democratic processes at ground level.
  • These groups prevent the developmental processes in the least developed regions of the country and try to misguide the people by keeping them ignorant of current happenings.
  • Left Wing Extremists are popularly known as Maoists worldwide and as Naxalites in India.

-Source: The Hindu


GOVT. AMENDS INSOLVENCY LAW THROUGH ORDINANCE

Context:

The government has amended the insolvency law to provide for a pre-packaged resolution process for micro, small and medium enterprises.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Development and Growth of Indian Economy, Banking Sector and NBFCs, NPAs)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Ordinance passed by the Government
  2. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2020
  3. Objectives of IBC
  4. What is Insolvency and Bankruptcy?
  5. Process of resolution of Insolvency

About the Ordinance passed by the Government

  • An ordinance was promulgated to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) on April 4, according to a notification.
  • The latest move comes less than two weeks after the suspension of certain IBC provisions ended.
  • The suspension — wherein fresh insolvency proceedings were not allowed for a year starting from March 25, 2020 — was implemented amid the coronavirus pandemic disrupting economic activities.

Provisions of the Ordinance

  • As per the ordinance, it is considered necessary to urgently address the specific requirements of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) relating to the resolution of their insolvency, due to the unique nature of their businesses and simpler corporate structures.
  • According to the ordinance, it is considered expedient to provide an efficient alternative insolvency resolution process MSMEs to ensure a quicker, cost-effective and value maximising outcomes for all stakeholders, in a manner which is least disruptive to the continuity of their businesses and which preserves jobs.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2020

  • The bill seeks to remove bottlenecks and streamline the corporate insolvency resolution process. It aims to provide protection to new owners of a loan defaulter company against prosecution for misdeeds of previous owners. The latest changes pertain to various sections of the IBC as well as introduction of a new section.
  • The IBC, which came into force in 2016, has already been amended thrice.
  • Stressing that the government is “very responsive” and has been talking to the industry, she assured the House that amendments to the IBC are not being “unthinkingly done”.
  • The Bill replaces an ordinance.
  • The amendments were earlier introduced as ordinances. Now after the Parliament session begun the ordinance was introduced as bill. And the bill has now been passed as an act in the parliament. The amendment aims to protect the successful bidders of insolvent companies from risk of criminal proceedings. The criminal proceedings may be expected from previous promoters of the company.
  • The Ordinances are laws promulgated the President of India. The President issues ordinance on recommendation of Council of Ministers. An ordinance shall be issued only when the Parliament is not in session.

Objectives of IBC

  1. To consolidate and amend all existing insolvency laws in India.
  2. To simplify and expedite the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Proceedings in India.
  3. To protect the interest of creditors including stakeholders in a company.
  4. To revive the company in a time-bound manner.
  5. To promote entrepreneurship.
  6. To get the necessary relief to the creditors and consequently increase the credit supply in the economy.
  7. To work out a new and timely recovery procedure to be adopted by the banks, financial institutions or individuals.
  8. To set up an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India.
  9. Maximization of the value of assets of corporate persons.

What is Insolvency and Bankruptcy?

  • Insolvency is a financial status: your debts are greater than the fair market value of your assets & you’re unable to pay your debts as they generally become due.
  • Bankruptcy is a legal status: it’s a legal procedure whereupon an insolvent person files for protection from her creditors so that they cannot commence or continue legal proceedings (like a wage garnishment) against her to recover their debts.

Process of resolution of Insolvency

  1. If the adjudicating authority accepts the Insolvency resolution process initiated by any of the stakeholders of the firm: firm/debtors/creditors/employees., then – an Insolvency resolution professional (IP) is appointed.
  2. The power of the management and the board of the firm is transferred to the committee of creditors (CoC) and they act through the IP.
  3. The IP has to decide whether to revive the company (insolvency resolution) or liquidate it (liquidation).
  4. If they decide to revive, they have to find someone willing to buy the firm.
  5. The creditors also have to accept a significant reduction in debt. The reduction is known as a haircut.
  6. They invite open bids from the interested parties to buy the firm.
  7. They choose the party with the best resolution plan, that is acceptable to the majority of the creditors (75 % in CoC), to take over the management of the firm.

-Source: The Hindu


ARCH CLOSURE OF CHENAB BRIDGE COMPLETED

Context:

The Railways said it had completed the arch closure of the 1315m Chenab bridge, the world’s highest railway bridge.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure (Transport and Connectivity related infrastructure)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Chenab Bridge
  2. Chenab valley
  3. Recently in news: Ratle Hydroelectric Project

About the Chenab Bridge

  • It is one of the biggest civil engineering challenges faced by any project in India and at 359m above the river bed level, the bridge would be 35 metres higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
  • The Chenab bridge is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project (USBRL) and completion of the steel arch is an important construction milestone.
  • The Northern Railways undertook the project of constructing a new railway line across Jammu and Kashmir between the towns of Udhampur in Jammu and Baramulla on the northwestern edge of the Kashmir Valley. This project was declared a national project in 2002.
  • A challenging aspect of this project is building a large number of runners – a total of 63 km – in the rugged and mountainous terrain of the Himalayas.
Chenab Railway Bridge | Avirat Group

Chenab valley

  • Chenab Valley, also known as the Chenab Region, is the river valley of the Chenab River flowing through the Kishtwar, Doda, and Ramban districts of Jammu Division in Jammu and Kashmir, India.
  • Erstwhile Doda lies between the middle and outer Himalayan range in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The area is an active seismic zone.

Recently in news: Ratle Hydroelectric Project

  • Ratle Hydroelectric Project is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric power station on the Chenab River, Kishtwar district of the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Project includes a gravity dam and two power stations adjacent to one another.
  • Pakistan has frequently alleged that it violates the Indus Water Treaty, 1960.

Click Here to read more about the Ratle project

-Source: The Hindu

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