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Current Affairs 26 July 2023


  1. Sustainable Water Solutions Amid India’s Increasing Water Stress
  2. Scientific-Publishing
  3. Kargil Vijay Diwas
  4. Ludwigia peruviana
  5. National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
  6. Fragile X Syndrome (FXS)
  7. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Sustainable Water Solutions Amid India’s Increasing Water Stress


India is facing increasing water stress, leading to a rise in quick-fix solutions by non-profits and civil society organizations. While these solutions may provide immediate relief, it is crucial to assess their long-term sustainability. Careful examination and adoption of strategies that can withstand future challenges are necessary.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Quick-fix Water Solutions and Their Limitations
  2. Evaluation of Quick-fix Water Solutions Initiatives
  3. Challenges in Quick-Fix Solutions in Water Management
  4. Government Initiatives to Tackle India’s Water Crisis

Quick-fix Water Solutions and Their Limitations

River Widening, Deepening, and Straightening:

  • Modification of natural watercourses to increase water-carrying capacity.
  • Provides short-term relief but may not solve larger water management issues.

Water Harvesting Competitions:

  • Encouraging communities to harvest rainwater and adopt water-saving practices.
  • Limited impact without comprehensive water management strategies.

Tree Planting Along Riverbanks:

  • Stabilizes soil and prevents erosion.
  • May not fully address larger water management issues.

Rapid Construction of Water Facilities:

  • Quick establishment of water facilities like sewage treatment plants and water grids.
  • Requires sustainable management to combat depletion.

Groundwater Recharge:

  • Injecting water into underground aquifers to replenish groundwater levels.
  • Requires careful monitoring and management to be effective in the long term.


  • Converting seawater into freshwater to meet coastal water needs.
  • Energy-intensive and expensive, making it less viable in some areas.

Evaluation of Quick-fix Water Solutions Initiatives

Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan:

  • Maharashtra government’s initiative (2014) aimed at achieving a drought-free state by 2019 through various measures like river widening, deepening, and straightening, check dams, and desilting.
  • Criticisms: Considered unscientific and ecologically damaging, leading to erosion, loss of biodiversity, and increased flood risk.

Water Cups:

  • A competition initiated by a non-profit organization in 2016 to incentivize water harvesting in Maharashtra villages for drought-proofing.
  • Criticisms: Questioned for overlooking water quality, groundwater impact, social equity, and maintenance mechanisms, raising doubts about its validity and long-term sustainability.

Challenges in Quick-Fix Solutions in Water Management:

Ecological Damage:

  • Rapid interventions like river widening and deepening can lead to ecological damage.
  • Erosion, sedimentation, and loss of biodiversity can result from hasty projects.

Lack of Stakeholder Consultation:

  • Quick-fix approaches may lack adequate participation and consultation with stakeholders.
  • Neglecting the social dimension can lead to resistance and conflicts.

Influence of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Funding:

  • Relying on CSR funding can limit decision-making freedom.
  • Prioritization of projects influenced by donor interests rather than community needs.

Overlooking Groundwater Management:

  • Focus on surface water solutions may overlook the critical role of groundwater.
  • Groundwater recharge and management are crucial for sustainable water supply.

Misalignment with Community and Environmental Interests:

  • Some state projects may not align with community and environmental interests.
  • Examples include riverfront development, centralized sewage treatment, and massive water grids.

Techno-Managerial Approach:

  • A shift in mindset from in-depth analysis and understanding to a “techno-managerial approach.”
  • This can lead to overlooking important socio-economic and ecological aspects related to water management.

Government Initiatives to Tackle India’s Water Crisis:

Atal Bhujal Yojana:

  • Targets water-stressed areas in several states for sustainable groundwater management.
  • Involves local communities and scientific methods to manage groundwater demand.

Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA):

  • Regulates and controls groundwater usage by industries, mining, and infrastructure projects.
  • Issues No Objection Certificates (NOCs) in line with guidelines to ensure responsible water usage.

National Aquifer Mapping Program (NAQUIM):

  • Implemented by the Central Ground Water Board to map aquifers across the country.
  • Provides data and management plans to States/UTs for informed interventions.

Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Groundwater- 2020:

  • Prepared in collaboration with States/UTs for rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge structures.
  • Aims to harness 185 billion Cubic Meters of water, promoting water conservation and recharge.

-Source: Down To Earth



The National Research Foundation is recognized as a prominent advocate for accessible, equitable, and financially responsible scientific publishing. Effective communication of research plays a crucial role in advancing scientific understanding and connecting science with society.


GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Scientific Publishing Process and Access Models
  2. Issues in Scientific Publishing in India
  3. Potential workarounds for the cost challenges in scientific publishing

Scientific Publishing Process and Access Models:

  • Academic publishing involves researchers submitting their work to journals for peer review.
  • Peer review ensures the research’s quality and validity before publication.

Traditional Pay to Read Model:

  • Libraries and institutes pay fees to access published research.
  • This model can limit access, especially in the Global South due to financial constraints.

Alternative Pay to Publish Model:

  • In the gold open-access model, authors pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) for their work to be freely available online.
  • This promotes open access but raises financial concerns for researchers.

Issues in Scientific Publishing in India:

  • Profit-driven Industry: The academic publishing industry generates substantial revenue from public funds, but profits benefit only a few companies, contradicting the non-profit nature of scientific research.
  • High APCs: The high Article Processing Charges (APCs) of Gold Open-Access (OA) journals pose a challenge for Indian scientists due to limited research funding.
  • Predatory Publishing: India faces issues with predatory journals that exploit the pay-to-publish model, leading to low-quality publications and undermining the credibility of Indian research.
  • Restricted Access: Subscription-based models and paywalls limit access to scientific papers, hindering knowledge dissemination and collaboration among researchers.
  • Unethical Practices: Some researchers may resort to plagiarism and unethical practices, compromising the quality and reliability of Indian research publications.
  • Limited Funding and Resources: Insufficient funding and resources can create challenges in covering publication costs, including APCs for open-access journals.
  • Overemphasis on Impact Factor: An overemphasis on journal impact factor as a measure of research quality may influence researchers to prioritize high-impact journals without considering the relevance of their work.

Potential workarounds for the cost challenges in scientific publishing:

  • ‘One Nation, One Subscription’: This approach aims to provide access to scholarly publications across the country at a fixed cost. While it may help improve access, there is a concern that it could lead to a monopoly by commercial publishers.
  • Shift to Open Publishing: Open publishing involves establishing a freely accessible online repository managed by professionals. This model allows continuous evaluation and engagement with reviews from experts and the public, moving away from relying solely on numerical metrics for academic research evaluation.

-Source: The Hindu

Kargil Vijay Diwas


The President and the Prime Minister recently paid their tributes to the armed forces on Kargil Vijay Diwas, acknowledging their extraordinary valour and the victory achieved.


GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Kargil Vijay Diwas
  2. Key Facts about Kargil War

Kargil Vijay Diwas:

  • Celebrated on July 26 annually to commemorate India’s victory in the Kargil War against Pakistan.
  • Honors the bravery and sacrifice of the soldiers during the 1999 war.
  • 2023 marks the 24th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas.

Key Facts about Kargil War:


  • Fought between India and Pakistan at the Line of Control (LoC) in Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Surprise Attack: Pakistani forces intruded into Indian territory, occupying key vantage points in the Kargil region.

Operation Vijay:

  • Codename for the Indian Army’s response to recapture the occupied positions.
  • Notable success in recapturing the famous ‘Tiger Hill’ and other strategic posts.


  • High Altitude Warfare: The war was fought at extreme altitudes, with battlegrounds reaching heights of over 18,000 feet.


  • The conflict lasted for approximately three months.


  • Indian Army utilized heavy artillery, air power, and major infantry operations.
  • Employed Bofors FH-77B howitzers to shoot down enemy positions.
  • Received support from Israel’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) during the conflict.

Broadcasting First:

  • The Kargil War was the first-ever war to be broadcasted live on TV channels in India.

End of Conflict:

  • The war came to an end on July 26, 1999, when India successfully pushed back the Pakistani forces from the occupied positions.


  • Approximately 500 Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives during the war.
  • Around 1,000 Pakistani troops were reported to have been killed.
  • Kargil Vijay Diwas is a reminder of the valor and sacrifices made by the Indian armed forces in defending the nation’s borders.
  • It symbolizes the indomitable spirit of the Indian Army and the determination to protect the sovereignty of the country.
  • The day serves as a tribute to the soldiers who displayed extraordinary courage and dedication in adverse conditions during the Kargil War.
  • The Kargil War remains an important event in the history of India, demonstrating the resilience and capability of the Indian armed forces in defending the nation’s security.
  • It strengthened India’s resolve to address security challenges and maintain peace in the region.
  • On Kargil Vijay Diwas, various events and ceremonies are organized across the country to pay homage to the martyrs and honor the valor of the Indian Army.
  • The day is observed with reverence and pride by citizens and the armed forces alike, as they remember the heroic deeds of the soldiers during the Kargil War.

-Source: The Hindu

Ludwigia Peruviana


An Invasive weed called Ludwigia peruviana is posing a significant threat to elephant habitats and foraging areas in Valparai, Tamil Nadu.


GS III: Environment And Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Ludwigia Peruviana: An Invasive Aquatic Plant
  2. Challenges in Prevention

Ludwigia Peruviana: An Invasive Aquatic Plant

  • Originally native to Central and South America.
  • Also known as primrose willow.
  • Introduced as an ornamental species due to its attractive pale yellowish flowers.
  • Has become an invasive weed in various swampy areas worldwide, causing ecological disruptions.
Physical Characteristics:
  • Grows relatively tall, reaching a height of about 12 feet.
  • Thrives in wetlands and water bodies as an aquatic plant.
  • Exhibits rapid growth, outpacing many other harmful weeds.
  • Prefers pre-monsoon temperature and monsoon rains for accelerated growth and spread.
Impact on Elephants and Biodiversity:
  • The invasion of Ludwigia Peruviana poses a threat to elephant habitats, affecting the availability of essential food sources for elephants and other herbivores.
  • The spread of this invasive weed leads to the loss of native plant species, impacting overall biodiversity in invaded areas and potentially forcing wildlife to move elsewhere, resulting in negative interactions with humans.

Challenges in Prevention:

  • Ludwigia Peruviana is listed as a priority invasive plant in Tamil Nadu, highlighting the need for urgent containment and control measures.
  • The elimination of Ludwigia presents challenges due to its growth in swamps, limiting the use of machinery to address the issue without harming the ecosystem.
  • Manual removal is challenging as the plant breaks easily, and new growth can emerge from broken stems or roots.
  • Hand-pulling and digging roots can be effective methods for control.

-Source: The Hindu

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights


The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) recently wrote to the Manipur DGP, directing it to take cognizance and file an FIR against three persons for posting photographs of a minor that they alleged was involved in an incident in Manipur in which two women were paraded naked.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About NCPCR
  2. Functions the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
  3. Power of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR):


  • It is an Indian statutory body that was established in 2007 under an Act of Parliament – the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 – and works under the auspices of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD).
  • Its mandate is to ensure that all laws, policies, programmes, and administrative systems conform to the vision of children’s rights (ages 0 to 18 years) as enunciated in the Indian Constitution and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • The Commission envisions a rights-based approach that pervades national-state-local policies and programmes.
  • As a result, the Commission envisions the state playing an indispensable role in ensuring o Children and their well-being, o Strong institution-building processes, o Respect for local bodies and decentralisation at the community level, and greater social concern in this direction.

Composition of NCPCR

  • The commission consists of the following members:
    • A Chairperson
    • Six other members

Functions the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR):

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) carries out the following functions:


  • Examines and reviews safeguards provided by or under any law and recommends measures for their effective implementation.
  • Reports on the operation of those safeguards to the Central Government on an annual basis and at any other times deemed appropriate.

Investigation and Study:

  • Investigates child rights violations and suggests legal action when necessary.
  • Studies treaties and other international instruments and reviews existing policies, programs, and provides recommendations on child rights.
  • Promotes research in the field of child rights.
Public Education and Advocacy:
  • Educates the public about children’s rights and raises knowledge of the safeguards that can be used to defend these rights through publications, the media, and other available channels.
  • Promotes, respects, and gives children’s opinions significant attention in its work and in the work of other government departments and organizations working with children.
  • Creates and distributes information on children’s rights.
  • Compiles and examines child data.
  • Encourages the inclusion of child rights in the school curriculum, teacher preparation programs, and training for other professionals who work with children.
  • Examines all barriers preventing children from exercising their rights in the wake of terrorism, intergroup conflict, riots, natural disasters, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, maltreatment, torture, and exploitation, as well as pornography and prostitution, and recommends appropriate corrective measures.
Complaints and Suo Moto Actions:
  • Inquires into complaints or takes suo moto notice of matters related to deprivation and violation of child rights, non-implementation of laws providing for the protection and development of children, non-compliance with decisions, instructions, or policies intended to lessen hardships for children, ensure their wellbeing, and offer relief to such children, or takes up the issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities.

Power of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR):

The commission has all the powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 while inquiring into any matter that falls under the CPCR Act, 2005.

  • The commission is authorized to exercise the following powers:
  • Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person.
  • Discovery and production of any document.
  • Receiving evidence on affidavits.
  • Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office.
  • Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents.

The Commission is authorized to forward any case to a Magistrate having jurisdiction to try the same.

-Source: The Hindu

Fragile X Syndrome (FXS)


To spread education and awareness among the general public about the ‘Fragile X Syndrome’, every year ‘World Fragile X Awareness Day’ is observed on July 22 across the globe.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Fragile X Syndrome
  2. What are the causes?

Fragile X Syndrome:

  • Inherited genetic disease causing intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Also known as Martin-Bell syndrome.
  • Most common hereditary cause of mental disability in boys (1 in 4,000 boys) and less common in girls (1 in 8,000).
  • Boys typically have more severe symptoms than girls.
  • Results in a range of developmental and learning problems.
  • Chronic or lifelong condition, and only some individuals can live independently.
  • If inherited from the father, it affects only daughters; if from the mother, it can affect both genders.
  • Caused by a defect in the FMR1 gene on the X chromosome.
  • The mutation prevents proper production of the fragile X mental retardation 1 protein, which functions in the nervous system.


  • No cure, but treatment focuses on developing language and social skills for individuals with the condition.

-Source: The Hindu

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)


The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently confirmed a case of the potentially fatal Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Abu Dhabi.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
  2. MERS‐CoV

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS):

  • Viral respiratory disease caused by the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS‐CoV).
  • First identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
  • Part of the coronavirus family, which also includes SARS and COVID-19.
MERS Symptoms:
  • Fever, cough, and shortness of breath are typical symptoms.
  • Pneumonia may be present, and gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea have been reported.
  • Fatality rate approximately 35% based on reported cases.

Prevention and Treatment:

  • No vaccine or specific treatment available.
  • Supportive treatment based on the patient’s clinical condition.
  • A zoonotic virus transmitted between animals and humans.
  • Contracted through direct or indirect contact with infected animals.
  • Believed to have originated in bats and transmitted to camels in the past.
  • Human-to-human transmission requires close contact, such as providing care to an infected patient.

-Source: Indian Express

December 2023