Call Us Now

+91 9606900005 / 04

For Enquiry

Current Affairs 09 July 2024

  1. Tragic Stampede in Hathras District Highlights Need for Improved Safety
  2. Cabinet Committees
  3. Digital Bharat Nidhi
  4. Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) Dam
  5. Samayapuram temple
  6. Copernicus Climate Centre Service


Recently, a tragic stampede in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district claimed over 100 lives. This devastating incident adds to a long list of similar tragedies that have occurred during religious gatherings and festivals across India over the past two decades. These events underscore the ongoing challenges of managing large crowds in confined spaces and highlight the urgent need for improved safety measures.


GS III: Disaster Management

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Understanding Stampedes
  2. India’s Initiatives to Control Stampedes
  3. Improving Stampede Prevention
  4. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
  5. Disaster Management Act, 2005

Understanding Stampedes

  • A stampede refers to a sudden, chaotic movement of a crowd, often resulting in injuries and fatalities. It typically occurs due to perceived danger, overcrowding, or a collective pursuit of something desirable.
  • Types of Stampedes
    • Unidirectional Stampedes: Occur when a crowd moving in one direction encounters a sudden obstruction, such as a barrier collapse or abrupt stop.
    • Turbulent Stampedes: Happen in uncontrolled crowds or panic-induced situations where movements merge from multiple directions.
  • Fatalities and Causes
    • Stampedes can lead to fatalities through traumatic asphyxia, heart attacks, and direct injuries due to crowd pressure and panic-induced behaviors.
    • Factors like lack of lighting, poor crowd flow management, and structural failures amplify stampede risks.
  • Impact of Stampedes
    • Survivors often experience long-term psychological trauma such as PTSD.
    • Economically disadvantaged individuals are disproportionately affected, impacting families and community cohesion.
    • The aftermath involves significant medical costs, legal issues, and damage to infrastructure.

India’s Initiatives to Control Stampedes

  • The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has implemented guidelines for safe crowd management during festivals:
    • Regulating traffic flow, using barricades, and displaying route maps.
    • Enhancing surveillance with CCTV and police presence to deter crimes.
    • Ensuring medical readiness with ambulances and clear signage to nearby hospitals.
    • Educating attendees on exit routes and maintaining calm during gatherings.
  • NDMA advocates for precautions like safe electrical installations, monitoring of hazardous materials, and fire prevention measures.
  • Support for international conferences on disaster resilience underscores India’s commitment to collective safety and disaster preparedness.

Improving Stampede Prevention

  • Deploy advanced sensor networks (thermal, LiDAR) to monitor crowd density in real-time and predict surges using AI-driven models.
  • Introduce RFID tags in tickets for tracking crowd movement, identifying congested areas, and enabling targeted communication through displays.
  • Utilize drones equipped with cameras and thermal imaging for crowd surveillance, anomaly detection, and emergency announcements.
  • Implement crowd-responsive lighting and bioluminescent pathways to guide movement and reduce panic in emergencies.
  • Install interactive displays providing real-time information on wait times, evacuation routes, and safety protocols in multiple languages.
  • Conduct public awareness campaigns to educate attendees on crowd safety, proper behavior during emergencies, and the importance of following event guidelines.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

  • National Disaster Management Authority, abbreviated as NDMA, is an apex Body of Government of India, with a mandate to lay down policies for disaster management.
  • NDMA was established through the Disaster Management Act enacted by the Government of India in 2005. Hence, NDMA is a Statutory body.
  • The vision of NDMA is “To build a safe and disaster resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive, multi-disaster oriented and technology - driven strategy through a culture of prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response”.
  • NDMA is responsible for framing policies, laying down guidelines and best-practices for coordinating with the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) to ensure a holistic and distributed approach to disaster management.
  • It is headed by the Prime Minister of India and can have up to nine other members. Since 2014, there have been four other members.
  • The tenure of the members of the NDMA shall be five years.
  • The phrase disaster management is to be understood to mean ‘a continuous and integrated process of planning, organising, coordinating and implementing measures, which are necessary or expedient for prevention of danger or threat of any disaster, mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or severity of its consequences, capacity building, preparedness to deal with any disaster, prompt response, assessing the severity or magnitude of effects of any disaster, evacuation, rescue, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction’.

Disaster Management Act, 2005

  • The Disaster Management Act, 2005, (23 December 2005) received the assent of The President of India on 9 January 2006.
  • The Act extends to the whole of India.
  • The Act provides for “the effective management of disasters and for matters connected there with or incidental thereto.”
  • The Act calls for the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
  • The Act enjoins the Central Government to Constitute a National Executive Committee (NEC).
  • All State Governments are mandated under the act to establish a State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).
  • The Chairperson of District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will be the Collector or District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner of the district.
  • The Act provides for constituting a National Disaster Response Force “for the purpose of specialist response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster” under a Director General to be appointed by the Central Government.
  • Definition of a “disaster” in the DM Act states that a disaster means a “catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or man-made causes.
  • The objective of the Act is to manage disasters, including preparation of mitigation strategies, capacity-building and more.
  • The Act contains the provisions for financial mechanisms such as the creation of funds for emergency response, National Disaster Response Fund and similar funds at the state and district levels.
  • The Act also devotes several sections various civil and criminal liabilities resulting from violation of provisions of the act.

-Source: The Hindu


Recently, the Union government constituted eight Cabinet committees, with the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) getting three new faces and the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) and Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) remaining unchanged.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Understanding Cabinet Committees
  2. Features of Cabinet Committees
  3. Recent Changes
  4. Challenges of the Cabinet Committees

Understanding Cabinet Committees

  • About Cabinet Committees
    • Cabinet Committees are subsets of the Union Cabinet, comprising selected Union Ministers.
    • They streamline decision-making by delegating responsibilities among groups specializing in economic affairs, security, parliamentary affairs, and political matters.
    • These committees ensure detailed consideration and efficient handling of complex issues before final approval by the full Cabinet.
    • They operate based on principles of division of labor and effective delegation.
  • Types of Cabinet Committees
    • Standing Committees: Permanent in nature, tasked with ongoing responsibilities.
    • Ad hoc Committees: Temporary formations to address specific, time-sensitive issues.

Features of Cabinet Committees

  • Extra-Constitutional Nature and Establishment
    • Cabinet Committees operate outside the constitutional framework and are established as per the Rules of Business.
    • These rules are derived from Article 77(3) of the Indian Constitution, empowering the President to formulate rules for efficient governance and task allocation among Ministers.
  • Membership
    • Cabinet Committees are formed by the Prime Minister based on current needs and situational demands.
    • Membership typically ranges from three to eight members, predominantly comprising Cabinet Ministers. Non-Cabinet Ministers may also be included.
    • Committees encompass Ministers responsible for relevant subjects and often involve other senior Ministers.
  • Role and Functionality
    • If the Prime Minister is part of a committee, he assumes the role of its chairperson.
    • Committees not only address and prepare proposals for Cabinet consideration but also make decisions. However, their decisions are subject to review by the full Cabinet.
List of Cabinet Committees
  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA)
  • Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC)
  • Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS)
  • Cabinet Committee on Accommodation
  • Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (referred to as Super-Cabinet)
  • Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs
  • Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth
  • Cabinet Committee on Skill, Employment and Livelihood

Recent Changes

  • The Home Minister is a member of all Cabinet Committees.
  • The Prime Minister chairs six committees, excluding the Committee on Accommodation and Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs.
  • The Appointments Committee remains chaired by the Prime Minister with the Home Minister as the sole member, unchanged.

Challenges of the Cabinet Committees

  • Delays, Inefficiency, and Conflict
    • Cabinet Committees often face challenges such as delays, inefficiencies, and internal conflicts as different committees vie for control, resulting in stalled proposals and slow decision-making processes.
  • Lack of Expertise
    • Committees may lack domain experts, such as medical professionals in a healthcare policy committee, leading to decisions that are not well-informed and could have unintended long-term consequences.
  • Isolation and Lack of Collaboration
    • Operating in silos, committees may fail to share information or collaborate effectively. This isolation creates blind spots, fosters duplication of effort, misses opportunities for synergy, and results in decisions based on incomplete information.
  • Short-term Political Considerations
    • Political pressures often prioritize short-term gains over long-term strategic planning within committees. This can lead to reactive measures instead of proactive solutions, impacting policy effectiveness.
  • Secrecy and Lack of Transparency
    • Secrecy surrounding committee decisions can erode trust and accountability. Without transparency about activities and decisions, it becomes challenging for the legislature and public to hold committees accountable for their actions.
  • Centralized Decision-making
    • Concentration of decision-making authority within a few committees or individuals can exclude valuable perspectives and lead to unbalanced decisions. This exclusion may overlook innovative solutions and breed discontent among affected parties.

-Source: The Hindu


In a fresh attempt at increasing telecom connectivity in rural areas, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has released draft rules to operationalise the Digital Bharat Nidhi.


GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Digital Bharat Nidhi (DBN)
  2. Underutilization of USOF
  3. What is the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)?

Digital Bharat Nidhi (DBN)


  • The Digital Bharat Nidhi (DBN) was established under the Telecommunications Act of 2023.
  • It replaces the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was previously responsible for promoting universal access to telecommunication services.
Features of Digital Bharat Nidhi (DBN)
  • Revenue Collection and Allocation
    • Telecom companies’ contributions to DBN are initially credited to the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI), which encompasses all government revenues and expenses.
    • The Centre periodically transfers these funds from CFI to DBN for specific utilization.
  • Utilization of Funds
    • DBN funds are allocated for various purposes:
      • Promoting telecommunication services in underserved rural, remote, and urban areas.
      • Funding research and development in telecom services, technologies, and products.
      • Supporting pilot projects and providing consultancy to enhance connectivity.
      • Introducing new telecom services, technologies, and products.
  • Targeted Access
    • DBN aims to provide targeted telecommunication access to underserved groups such as women, persons with disabilities, and economically weaker sections.
  • Administrative Mechanism
    • As per draft rules by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), an administrator appointed by the Centre selects DBN implementers through bidding or applications.
    • The administrator decides funding mechanisms (full, partial, or co-funding) and may provide market risk mitigation and risk capital.
  • Operational Guidelines
    • DBN implementers receiving funding must share telecom networks and services openly and non-discriminatorily, adhering to the administrator’s directives.
  • Project Criteria
    • Projects funded by DBN must meet specific criteria such as introducing next-generation telecom technologies, improving service affordability, fostering innovation, commercializing indigenous technologies, setting relevant standards, and supporting telecom start-ups.

Underutilization of USOF

  • Historical Context
    • USOF, established in 2003, has been criticized for underutilization.
    • Between 2017 and 2022, the government collected Rs 41,740 crore from telecom companies for USOF but utilized only Rs 30,213 crore (about 72%).
    • Notably, in 2019-20, out of Rs 7,962 crore collected, only Rs 2,926 crore was utilized.
    • In FY23, expenditure estimates were revised to Rs 3,010 crore, significantly lower than the budgeted Rs 9,000 crore.
  • Reasons for Underutilization
    • Under-spending on projects like BharatNet, aimed at village fiber connectivity, has been a major contributor to USOF underutilization.

What is the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)?

  • The Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) was established with the primary objective of providing access to ‘Basic’ telecom services to people in the remote and rural areas at reasonable and affordable prices.
  • USOF ensures that there is universal non-discriminatory access to quality ICT (Information and Communications Technology) services at economically efficient prices to people in rural and remote areas.
  • It was created under the Ministry of Communications in 2002.
  • It is a non-lapsable fund, i.e., the unspent amount under a targeted financial year does not lapse and is accrued for next years’ spending.
  • All credits to this fund require parliamentary approval and it has statutory support under Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act, 2003.
  • Universal Service stands for universal, interdependent and intercommunicating, affording the opportunity for any subscriber to any exchange to communicate with any other subscriber of any other exchange.
  • Subsequently, the scope was widened to provide subsidy support for enabling access to all types of telegraph services including mobile services, broadband connectivity, and creation of infrastructure like Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) in rural and remote areas.
  • With access to affordable telecom services in remote and rural areas, the USOF is the right step towards stemming urban migration. This would ensure to generate employment opportunities in the rural areas which would help generate more income.

The USOF proposes to meet its social, economic, political and constitutional objectives which are as follows:

  • To extend the telecommunication network.
  • To stimulate the uptake of Internet and Communication Technologies (ICT) services.
  • To bring the underserved and unserved areas of the country into the telecom spectrum and narrow down the access gap.
  • To use the pooled USO levy for an equitable distribution through target subsidies.
Who are the partners of USOF?

As per the Department of Telecommunications, there are 24 partners of USOF. It includes:

  • Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited
  • Tata Tele Services Limited
  • Reliance Communications Limited
  • Vodafone
  • Bharti Airtel Limited, etc

-Source: Hindustan Times


The water level in the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) across the Cauvery recently breached the 100-ft mark as against its capacity of 124.80 feet owing to heavy rain in the catchment area of the river.


GS III: Infrastructure

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) Dam
  2. Key Facts about Kaveri River

Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) Dam

  • Type: Gravity dam
  • Location: Located below the confluence of the Kaveri River with its tributaries Hemavati and Lakshmana Tirtha, in Mandya district, Karnataka.
  • Usage:
    • Provides irrigation water to Mysore and Mandya districts.
    • Main source of drinking water for Mysore, Mandya, and Bengaluru.
    • Supplies water to the Shivanasamudra hydroelectric power station.
    • Releases water to Tamil Nadu, stored in the Mettur dam in Salem district.
  • History:
    • Constructed during the rule of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV of Mysore.
    • Construction began in 1911 and completed in 1931.
    • Designed by Sir M. Visvesvaraya, renowned Indian engineer.
  • Features:
    • Built using surki mortar and limestone.
    • Length: 2,621 meters (8,600 ft), Height: 40 meters (130 ft).
    • Features 177 iron sluices, some with automatic doors.
    • Reservoir area spans about 130 sq km, once the largest in Asia.
    • Adjacent to Brindavan Gardens, known for its ornamental beauty.

Key Facts about Kaveri River

  • Origin: Brahmagiri Hill in southwestern Karnataka.
  • Course: Flows southeast for 765 km through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, descending the Eastern Ghats with notable falls.
  • Drainage: Basin covers Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Puducherry.
  • Outflow: Empties into the Bay of Bengal at Poompuhar, Mayiladuthurai district, Tamil Nadu.
  • Major Left Bank Tributaries: Harangi, Hemavati, Shimsha, Arkavati.
  • Major Right Bank Tributaries: Lakshmantirtha, Kabbani, Suvarnavati, Bhavani, Noyil, Amaravati.

-Source: The Hindu


The Hindu Group of Publications has recently unveiled a coffee-table book titled ‘Samayapuram – The Sacred Seat of Shakti,’ authored by Vrinda Ramanan. This book delves into the rich history and cultural significance of the Samayapuram temple, dedicated to Goddess Mariamman, located in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu.


GS I: History

About Samayapuram temple

  • Historical Significance:
    • The Samayapuram temple, over 1,200 years old, venerates Goddess Mariamman, believed to embody Goddess Durga, Mahakali, Adi Shakti, or Nishumbha Sudhini.
    • Though lacking a precise construction date, it is believed to have origins dating back to the Chola period, underscoring its ancient roots.
  • Temple Complex:
    • The present temple complex was constructed during the 18th century by Vijayanagara King Vijayaraya Chakkaravarthi.
    • Renowned as one of Tamil Nadu’s wealthiest temples, it stands as a testament to architectural splendor and cultural patronage.
  • Annual Festival:
    • A highlight of the temple’s cultural calendar is the Chithirai Ther Thiruvizha, a grand Chariot Festival spanning 13 days.
    • This festival commences annually on the 1st Tuesday of the Tamil month Chithirai (April), drawing devotees from far and wide to participate in vibrant celebrations.

-Source: The Hindu


Recently, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said that the world witnessed its warmest-ever June last month with the average temperature being 0.67°C above the 1991-2020 average.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S)
  2. Key Facts about the Copernicus Programme

Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S):

  • Thematic Service: C3S is one of the six thematic information services under the Copernicus Earth Observation Programme.
    • Operational Programme: It builds upon existing research infrastructures and knowledge to provide continuous and reliable climate information.
  • Objectives:
    • Provides authoritative information on past, present, and future climate conditions across Europe and globally.
    • Supports European climate policies and actions aimed at increasing resilience to human-induced climate change.
  • Scientific Foundation:
    • Relies on climate research conducted within the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).
    • Addresses user requirements defined by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS).
  • Implementation:
    • Managed and implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) on behalf of the European Commission.

Key Facts about the Copernicus Programme:

  • European Union Initiative: Established as the EU’s Earth Observation Programme.
  • Data Collection:
    • Utilizes data from earth observation satellites, ground stations, airborne sensors, and sea-borne sensors.
    • Processes diverse data sets to provide comprehensive information through its thematic services.
  • Thematic Areas:
    • Covers six thematic areas: land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management, and security.
    • Each area supports different societal needs, from environmental monitoring to disaster response and climate adaptation.

-Source: The Hindu

July 2024