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Current Affairs 01 January 2022 for UPSC Exam | Legacy IAS

Contents

  1. Disaster damage: 2021 6th year with loss over $100 billion
  2. Ken-Betwa river interlinking: Panna tiger reserve at risk
  3. Anniversary of One Nation-One Grid-One Frequency
  4. Sri Lanka to ink new agreements on oil tank farm with India

Disaster damage: 2021 6th year with loss over $100 billion

Context:

India witnessed two climate events in 2021 which caused financial losses worth more than $1 billion each, apart from the loss of lives.

Relevance:

GS-III: Disaster and Management (Natural and Anthropogenic Disasters, Disaster Management in India), GS-III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of increased disasters
  2. CEEW Study on Extreme Weather Events in India
  3. Climate Change as a reason for increased Extreme Weather events
  4. Other Causes of Extreme Weather Events

Highlights of increased disasters

  • According to a recent report, 10 climate-related disaster events cost $170.3 billion (conversion) in damages in 2021.
  • The loss threshold of $100 billion has been crossed for the fourth time in the last five years – and this is the 6th such year.
  • Another report identified 15 of the most destructive climate disasters of 2021, including 10 that each caused $1.5 billion or more in losses.
  • The top 10 most expensive events were the Texas winter storm, Australian floods, French cold wave, Cyclone Tauktae, Cyclone Yaas, European floods, Henan floods, Typhoon In-fa, Hurricane Ida and British Columbia floods.
  • The most expensive weather disaster of 2021 was Hurricane Ida, which struck the United States in August and early September 2021. The floods in Europe came second at $43 billion, according to the report.
  • Four of the 10 costliest events took place in Asia, with floods and typhoons costing a combined $24 billion. But the impact of extreme weather was felt all over the world.

Drought-type events

  1. Other extreme weather events were Parana river drought (Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil), Lake Chad crisis (Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon), Pacific Northwest heatwave (US, Canada) and East Africa drought (Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia).
  2. East Africa continues to be ravaged by drought – the region was hit by an 18-month drought caused by El Niño and higher temperatures linked to climate change. Now, the drought situation has turned catastrophic, causing crops to fail and cattle to die. In addition, the lack of clean water increases the threat of cholera and other diseases.
  3. The report also highlighted slow-developing crises such as the drought in the Chad Basin that has seen Lake Chad shrink by 90% since the 1970s and threatens the lives and livelihoods of more than 17 million people in the region.
  4. The drought in Parana river in Latin America pushed the water levels of the river to its lowest in 77 years and impacted lives and livelihoods in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

CEEW Study on Extreme Weather Events in India

  • A Study by Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) found that in the last 50 years, the frequency of flood events increased almost eight times.
  • Over 75 per cent districts in India, home to more than 63.8 crore people, are hotspots of extreme climate events such as cyclones, floods, droughts, heat and cold waves.
  • Events associated with floods such as landslides, heavy rainfall, hailstorms, thunderstorms, and cloudbursts increased by over 20 times.
  • The frequency, intensity, and unpredictability of these extreme events have risen in recent decades – while India witnessed 250 extreme climate events in 35 years between 1970 and 2005, it recorded 310 such weather events in only 15 years since then.
  • The frequency of floods surged significantly in the last two decades, it was found. – In 2019 alone, India witnessed 16 extreme flood events, which affected 151 districts. The study found that over 9.7 crore people are currently exposed to extreme floods in India.
  • Six of India’s eight most flood-prone districts in the last decade—Barpeta, Darrang, Dhemaji, Goalpara, Golaghat, Sivasagar—are in Assam.
  • India is already the fifth most vulnerable country globally in terms of extreme climate events, and it is all set to become the world’s flood capital.
  • The CEEW analysis indicates that while the number of rainy days during monsoon have decreased, single-day extreme rainfall events are increasing, leading to flooding.
  • According to the study, the yearly average of drought-affected districts increased 13 times after 2005.
  • The study also found a shift in the pattern of extreme climate events, such as flood-prone areas becoming drought-prone and vice-versa, in over 40 per cent of Indian districts.

Climate Change as a reason for increased Extreme Weather events

  • The world temperature has increased quite high from the past few decades and even keeps on changing year after year.
  • One of the big reasons for the increase in Earth’s temperature is the level of CO2.
  • As the CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere, the temperature of the earth is also increasing simultaneously.
  • As the world temperature is increasing due to global warming simultaneously the effects of it are also increasing.
  • Global warming is contributing to intensifying heatwaves.
  • Global warming also boosts the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere which may lead to causes of severe weather like heavy rainfall, heavy snowstorm, etc.

 

Other Causes of Extreme Weather Events

  1. Extreme Temperature: The temperature of the Earth is rising every year and increasing temperature and extreme sunshine on top of it creates a low-pressure system – due to this the hurricanes and other tropical storms get their way to start.
  2. High Atmospheric Winds: The jet streams found where the cold air from Earth’s poles meets with warm tropical air help to continue and control the weather system from west to east in the northern hemisphere and from east to west in the southern hemisphere. Sometimes these winds bring unpleasant weather with them which may lead to the formation of a tornado.
  3. Meeting of Pressure systems: When too cold high-pressure systems meet with too warm low-pressure systems, the chances of extremely high waves on sea surface increases.
  4. Improper Weather Systems: The weather systems (such as air masses, fronts, etc.) keep on moving in a proper way which helps to maintain the weather conditions in a smoother way. When the weather conditions come across any disturbance in between, it creates disasters.

-Source: Down to Earth Magazine


Ken-Betwa river interlinking: Panna tiger reserve at risk

Context:

The Ken-Betwa River Interlinking (KBRIL) Project will lead to the submergence of a major portion of the core area of the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, triggering a major loss of the tiger and its major prey species such as chital and sambar, according to a new study.

Relevance:

GS-I: Geography (Drainage System in India, Projects to improve Irrigation), GS-III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Interlinking of Rivers
  2. What is the Ken-Betwa Link Project?
  3. Which regions will benefit from the Ken-Betwa Link Project?
  4. Panna National Park
  5. About the Impact of KBRIL on Panna Tiger reserve

Interlinking of Rivers

  • In 1858, Arthur Cotton (British general and irrigation Engineer) came up with even more ambitious proposals such as connecting all major rivers of India, and interlinking of canals and rivers. He suggested drought-relief measures for Odisha.
  • The National River Linking Project (NRLP) formally known as the National Perspective Plan, envisages the transfer of water from water ‘surplus’ basins where there is flooding, to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity, through inter-basin water transfer projects.
  • The interlinking of river project is a Civil Engineering project, which aims to connect Indian rivers through reservoirs and canals.
  • The farmers will not have to depend on the monsoon for cultivation and also the excess or lack of water can be overcome during flood or drought.
  • Since the 1980s, the interlinking project has been managed by India’s National Water Development Agency (NWDA) under the Ministry of Water Resources.

It has been split into three parts as follows:

  1. A northern Himalayan river interlink component.
  2. A southern peninsular component.
  3. An Intra-State river linking component.

As of now, six ILR projects have been under examination of the authorities:

  1. Ken-Betwa,
  2. Damanganga- Pinjal,
  3. Par-Tapi-Narmada,
  4. Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga,
  5. Mahanadi-Godavari and
  6. Godavari-Cauvery (Grand Anicut)
  7. With regard to the peninsular rivers, the Centre has chosen to focus on the Godavari-Cauvery link.

What is the Ken-Betwa Link Project?

  • The Ken-Betwa Link Project is the first project under the National Perspective Plan for interlinking of rivers.
  • KBRIL is a river-interlinking project that aims to transfer surplus water from the Ken river in Madhya Pradesh to Betwa in Uttar Pradesh to irrigate the drought-prone Bundelkhand region.
  • Both Ken and Betwa are the tributaries of the Yamuna.
  • The Ken-Betwa Link Canal will be 221 km long, including a 2-km long tunnel.

A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the project

  • According to the statement, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Ken-Betwa Link Project Authority (KBLPA) will be set up to implement the project.
  • In fact, the Centre has set in motion the process of creation of National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA), an independent autonomous body for planning, investigation, financing and implementation of the interlinking of river (ILR) projects in the country.
  • The NIRA will have powers to set up SPV for individual link projects.

Which regions will benefit from the Ken-Betwa Link Project?

  • The project lies in Bundelkhand, a drought-prone region, which spreads across 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • According to the Jal Shakti Ministry, the project will be of immense benefit to the water-starved region, especially the districts of Panna, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Sagar, Damoh, Datia, Vidisha, Shivpuri and Raisen of Madhya Pradesh, and Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi and Lalitpur of Uttar Pradesh.
  • “It will pave the way for more interlinking of river projects to ensure that scarcity of water does not become an inhibitor for development in the country,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Panna National Park

  • Panna National Park was established in 1981 – located in Panna and Chhatarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh – and was declared a Project Tiger Reserve in the year 1994 by the Central Government.
  • UNESCO designated the Panna Tiger Reserve as a Biosphere Reserve in 2011.
  • In 2021, Panna Tiger Reserve was awarded the Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CAITS) certificate by the National Tiger Conservation Authority for meeting the established international standards for tiger conservation and management.
  • The National Park is situated at a point where the continuity of the tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests belt, which starts from Cape Comorin in South India, is broken and beyond this the Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests of the great Indo-Gangetic Plain begins.
  • This area is the northernmost tip of the natural teak forests and the animals found here are the Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, chital, chinkara, nilgai, Sambar deer and sloth bear, rusty-spotted cat, Asian palm civet.
  • The forests of Panna National Park along with Ken Gharial Sanctuary and adjoining territorial divisions form a significant part of the catchment area of the Ken River, which runs northeast for about 72 km through the park.

About the Impact of KBRIL on Panna Tiger reserve

  • The project may incur an estimated loss of over 50 square kilometres (>10 per cent) of critical tiger habitat (CTH) in the reserve. The project may also lead to a loss of two million trees.
  • There will be an indirect loss of over 100 sq km of CTH because of habitat fragmentation and loss of connectivity due to submergence.
  • The land use land cover and vegetation data shows that tree density and diversity are comparatively higher in the submerged area.
  • The area that will be submerged due to the KBRIL Project has a rich floral density and diversity, and the regeneration pattern also shows that the seedling diversity and richness and sapling density, diversity and richness are high in the submerged area.
  • Ungulates such as sambar, chital, blue bull and wild boar are the best indicators of good health of a habitat. They are found higher in submerged regions as they prefer moist areas with high vegetation cover.

-Source: Down to Earth Magazine


Anniversary of One Nation-One Grid-One Frequency

Context:

As part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, POWERGRIID is commemorating landmark achievement of completion of One Nation-One Grid-One Frequency.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. More about India’s Power grid
  2. About maintaining one frequency (One Nation-One Grid-One Frequency)

More about India’s Power grid

  • The Indian Power system for planning and operational purposes is divided into five regional grids and this national grid management on a regional basis started in the sixties.
  • Initially, State grids were interconnected to form a regional grid and India was demarcated into 5 regions namely Northern, Eastern, Western, North Eastern and Southern region. – The integration of regional grids, and thereby establishment of National Grid, was conceptualised in the early nineties.
  • Presently, the country has a total inter-regional transmission capacity of about 1,12,250 MW which is expected to be enhanced to about 1,18,740 MW by 2022.
  • The state-run Power System Operation Corp Ltd (Posoco) oversees the country’s critical electricity load management functions through the National Load Dispatch Centre (NLDC) and a set of regional load dispatch centres (RLDCs) and state load despatch centres (SLDCs).

About maintaining one frequency (One Nation-One Grid-One Frequency)

  • ‘One Nation, One Grid, One Frequency’ was achieved in 2013 when the southern Region was connected to the Central Grid and hence, all 5 regional grids are synchronously connected forming a central grid operating at one frequency –
    1. North Eastern and Eastern grids (Connected in 1991)
    2. Western region grid (Connected in 2003)
    3. North Grid (Connected in 2006)
    4. East Grid (Connected in 2006)
    5. South Grid (Connected in 2013)
  • All possible measures are taken to ensure that the grid frequency always remains within the 49.90-50.05 Hz (hertz) band.
  • Maintaining a consistent electrical frequency is important because multiple frequencies cannot operate alongside each other without damaging equipment. This has serious implications when providing electricity at a national scale.
  • Synchronisation of all regional grids helped in optimal utilization of scarce natural resources by transfer of Power from Resource centric regions to Load centric regions.
  • Further, this paved the way for establishment of a vibrant Electricity market facilitating trading of power across regions.

-Source: PIB


Sri Lanka to ink new agreements on oil tank farm with India

Context:

Sri Lanka (on 31st December 2021) announced its decision to sign three lease agreements on developing the strategic Trincomalee oil tank farm with India.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (India’s neighbors, Economic relations and Landmark agreements)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms
  2. About India and Sri Lanka agreements to work on the Oil Tank farms
  3. About the Indo-Lanka Accord

About Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms

  • The Oil Tank Farms in Trincomalee Harbor located in ‘China Bay’ on the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka was built by the British during World War II as a refuelling station.
  • The Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms have been bestowed with several favourable factors of location:
    • It is located on a deep-water natural harbour of Trincomalee and also
    • along some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes –
  • Hence, it is a highly attractive and rewarding to work with Sri Lanka on developing this oil tank farm.

About India and Sri Lanka agreements to work on the Oil Tank farms

  • The Indo-Lanka Accord 1987 proposed the joint development of the oil tank farm in the internationally coveted deep water natural harbour of Trincomalee.
  • In 2003, Indian Oil Corporation set up its Sri Lankan subsidiary called Lanka IOC to work on this oil farm.
  • A well-developed oil storage facility and refinery adjacent to the Trincomalee Port would have great economic value for both India and Sri Lanka.

About the Indo-Lanka Accord

  • The Indo-Lanka Accord was signed in 1987 on the pretext of the Civil War in Sri Lanka (between Tamils and Sinhala community).
  • The accord sought to balance India’s strategic interests, interest of people of Indian origin in Sri Lanka and Tamil minority rights in Sri Lanka.
  • The accord saw the placement of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka to resolve the Sri Lankan Civil War.
  • The accord also resulted in enactment of the thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka and the Provincial Councils Act of 1987.

-Source: The Hindu

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