Contents

  1. Reservoir levels remain below normal in 5 states
  2. Livestock schemes to be merged
  3. Akalis to move adjournment motion in LS on Farm Laws
  4. Sedition law- Developments in SC: Strong message to Govt.

Reservoir levels remain below normal in 5 states

Context:

The southwest monsoon may have covered the whole of India, but the level of water in reservoirs remained below normal in five states: Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Nagaland and Madhya Pradesh.

Relevance:

GS-I: Geography (Water Sources), GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of water and other resources)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Introduction to Water Crisis in India
  2. Dams in India
  3. What is the Difference between a dam and reservoir?
  4. Issues with Ageing Dams in India
  5. About the current state of low Reservoir levels
  6. Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP)

Introduction to Water Crisis in India

  • India has 4% of the world’s freshwater which has to cater to 17% of the world’s population.
  • As per NITI Aayog report released in June 2018, India is facing the worst-ever water crisis in history. Approximately 600 million people or roughly around 45% of the population in India is facing high to severe water stress.
  • The report says that nearly 40% of the population will have absolutely no access to drinking water by 2030 and 6% of India’s GDP will be lost by 2050 due to the water crisis.
  • The Central Groundwater Board’s estimates show that the groundwater table in most parts of the country has been declining every year because of over-exploitation.
  • India has the dubious distinction of being the world’s largest user of groundwater by far, even as the water table has been falling by an average of 0.4 m nationally.
  • Due to accumulation of sediments in the water storage area of major and medium irrigation dams that are currently in use, the total storage capacity has fallen significantly.
  • 85% of rural water supply, 45% of urban water supply and over 64% of irrigation now rely on groundwater so if the groundwater continues to decline unabated, meeting the country’s agricultural and drinking water requirements will become a big challenge.

Dams in India

  • India has 4,407 large dams, the third highest number in the world after China (23,841) and the USA (9,263).
  • India is ranked third in the world in terms of building large dams.
  • Tehri Dam in Uttarakhand is the highest dam in India built on Bhagirathi River.
  • Hirakud Dam in Odisha built on river Mahanadi is the longest dam of India.
  • Kallanai Dam in Tamil Nadu is the oldest dam of India. It is built on the Kaveri River and is about 2000 years old.

What is the Difference between a dam and reservoir?

  • An easy distinction to remember is that a dam is a physical structure that retains water; a reservoir is the water body that is created by a dam.
  • Reservoir is an open-air storage area (usually formed by masonry or earthwork) where water is collected and kept in quantity so that it may be drawn off for use.

Issues with Ageing Dams in India

  • As dams age, soil replaces the water in the reservoirs. Therefore, the storage capacity cannot be claimed to be the same as it was in the 1900s and 1950s.
  • Studies show that the design of many of India’s reservoirs is flawed in the sense that the designs underestimate the rate of siltation and overestimate live storage capacity created.
  • When soil replaces the water in reservoirs, supply gets choked. The cropped area begins receiving less and less water as time progresses.
  • The net sown water area either shrinks in size or depends on rains or groundwater, which is overexploited.
  • The designed flood cushions within several reservoirs across many river basins may have already depleted substantially due to which floods have become more frequent downstream of dams.

About the current state of low Reservoir levels

  • The Central Water Commission (CWC) said that the level of water in the reservoirs of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab were the most deficient with only about 50% of the usual capacity.
  • The level in reservoirs in Nagaland was about 35% below normal levels and about 10% below usual levels in Rajasthan and MP.
  • The country’s overall storage in 2021 is also less than the corresponding period in 2020, but is better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.
  • The northern region has the lowest storage as per its capacity.
  • All southern states — Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have better storage in 2021 than in the corresponding period in 2020. The reservoirs still have capacity to absorb more rainfall.   

Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP)

  • Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) was started in 2012 and aims to improve the safety and performance of selected existing dams and associated appurtenances in a sustainable manner.
  • DRIP also has the objective of strengthening the dam safety institutional setup in participating states as well as at the central level and exploring alternative incidental means in few of selected dams to generate the incidental revenue for sustainable operation and maintenance of dams.
  • It also aims at ensuring the safety of downstream population and property that are affected in the case of a dam failure or operational failure.

-Source: Down to Earth Magazine


Livestock schemes to be merged

Context:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) decided that the Central government will spend ₹9,800 crore on livestock development over the next five years in a bid to leverage almost ₹55,000 crore of outside investment into the sector.

Relevance:

GS-III: Agriculture (Agriculture and allied industries, Economics of Animal-Rearing)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Role of Livestock in Indian Economy
  2. About the recent CCEA decision

Role of Livestock in Indian Economy

  • Livestock plays an important role in Indian economy as more than 20 million people depend upon livestock for their livelihood. Livestock provides livelihood to two-third of rural community.
  • It also provides employment to about 8.8 % of the population in India.
  • Livestock contributed 16% to the income of small farm households as against an average of 14% for all rural households.
  • Livestock sector contributes to more than 4% of our GDP and more than 25% of total Agriculture GDP.

Based on the 20th Livestock Census:

  • India is World’s highest livestock owner at more than 530 million.
  • India ranks First in the total buffalo population in the world at more than 100 million buffaloes.
  • India also ranks Second in the population of goats and houses the Second largest poultry market in the world.
  • India is the Second largest producer of fish and also second largest aquaculture nation in the world.

About the recent CCEA decision

  • To boost growth in the livestock sector and thereby making animal husbandry more remunerative to 10 crore farmers engaged in Animal Husbandry Sector the CCEA has approved implementation of a special livestock sector package.
  • The package has been designed by revising and realigning various components of the Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying’ Schemes for the next five years, starting 2021-22.
  • All the schemes of the Department will be merged into three broad categories as:
    1. Development Programmes: It includes Rashtriya Gokul Mission, National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD), National Livestock Mission (NLM) and Livestock Census and Integrated Sample Survey (LC & ISS) as sub-schemes.
    2. Disease Control Programme: It is renamed as Livestock Health and Disease Control (LH & DC) which includes the present Livestock Health and Disease Control (LH & DC) scheme and National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP).
    3. Infrastructure Development Fund: The Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development fund (AHIDF) and the Dairy Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) are merged and the present scheme for support to Dairy Cooperatives and Farmer Producer Organizations engaged in Dairy activities is also included in this third category.

-Source: The Hindu


Akalis to move adjournment motion in LS on Farm Laws

Context:

Ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament  the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has decided to move an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha against the government on the three controversial farm laws.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Constitutional Provisions, Legislature)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Adjournment Motion
  2. Calling Attention Motion
  3. Other Important Motions in the Parliament

Adjournment Motion

  • An Adjournment Motion’s primary objective is to draw the attention of Lok Sabha to a recent matter of urgent public importance having serious consequences and in regard to which a motion or a resolution with proper notice will be too late.
  • Adjournment motion is allowed only in Lok Sabha and in State Legislative Assemblies and NOT in the Rajya Sabha or in State Legislative Councils because it has an element of censure against the Government.
  • An Adjournment motion in the LS needs the support of at least 50 members and should be introduced on a matter of definite and urgent public importance (and it should be restricted to that one matter only).
  • The subject matter should not be the same which is already being discussed in the same session.
  • Questions that can be raised through other distinct motions cannot be raised in an Adjournment motion.
  • Adjournment motion disrupts the normal business of the house and is regarded as an extraordinary tool in Parliament.
  • Discussions on Adjournment motion matter need to last at least two and a half hours.

Calling Attention Motion

  • A calling attention motion is introduced by a member to call the attention of a Minister to a matter of urgent public importance.
  • The minister is expected to make an authoritative statement on that matter.
  • It can be introduced in both LS and RS.

Calling Attention Motion versus Adjournment Motion

  • Since Rajya Sabha is not permitted to make use of Adjournment Motion, there is a similar tool in Rajya Sabha which is the Calling Attention motion.
  • The notable difference between the two is that while Adjournment Motion has an element of Censure against the Government, the Calling Attention has NO such Censure element.

Other Important Motions in the Parliament

Closure Motion

  • A debate may be brought to an end (and the matter is put to vote) by a majority decision of the House (Even if all Members wishing to speak have not) by a Closure motion.

Privilege Motion

  • A Privilege Motion is moved against breach of Parliamentary Privileges which are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by MPs, MLAs and MLCs, individually and collectively, so that they can effectively discharge their functions.
  • When any of these rights and immunities is disregarded, the offence is called ‘Breach of Privilege’ and is punishable under the law of Parliament or the State Legislature.

No-Confidence Motion

  • The CoM is collectively responsible to LS and it remains in office till it enjoys the confidence of the majority of the members in Lok Sabha, and a motion of No-Confidence can be moved to remove the CoM and oust the government from office.
  • A no-confidence motion can be moved only in the Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assemblies.

Censure Motion

  • Censure literally means the expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism.
  • Censure Motion is generally used as a stern rebuke by the legislature against the policies of the Government or an individual minister.

Motion of Thanks

  • A Motion of thanks is moved and voted in both LS and RS, after the inaugural speech of the President (President’s Address).
  • The President’s Address is generally drafted by the ruling party and its contents outline the vision of the government.

Click Here to read more about States rejecting farm laws and farmers protesting against the new laws

-Source: The Hindu


Sedition law- Developments in SC: Strong message to Govt.

Context:

The Chief Justice of India indicated that Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code may have passed its time asking the government what was the need for the ‘colonial law’ of sedition after 75 years of Independence.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Judiciary, Important Judgements, Constitutional Provisions – Fundamental Rights, Government Interventions and Policies, Issues arising out of the design and implementation of Government Policies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the recent judgment on Sedition law
  2. Low convictions in Sedition cases
  3. Kedar Nath Singh ruling, 1962

Click Here to learn What is Sedition and also about Sedition laws in India and their criticism

About the recent judgment on Sedition law

  • Chief Justice of India, in what may be an unprecedented judicial criticism of the way the sedition law is used by the government to crush liberties, asked why a colonial law used against Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak continued to survive in the law book after 75 years of Independence.
  • This judgement sends a strong message to the government that the Supreme Court is prima facie convinced that sedition is being misused by the authorities to trample upon citizens’ fundamental rights of free speech and liberty.
  • The CJI has made it clear that the court is sensitive to the public demand to judicially review the manner in which law enforcement authorities are using the sedition law to control free speech and send journalists, activists and dissenters to jail, and keep them there.
  • This is a step away from the court’s own Kedar Nath judgment of 1962 which had upheld Section 124A but read it down to mean any subversion of an elected government by violent means.
  • The CJI’s reference to low conviction rates under the sedition law resonates with a petition highlighting the “dramatic jump in charging a person with the offence of sedition since 2016”.

Low convictions in Sedition cases

  • In 2019, 93 cases were on the ground of sedition as compared to the 35 cases that were filed in 2016 (a 165% increase).
  • Of these 93 cases, chargesheets were filed in a mere 17% of cases and even worse, the conviction rate was an abysmally low 3.3%.
  • National Crime Records Bureau reports show that in 2019, 21 cases of sedition were closed on account of no evidence, two were closed being false cases and six cases held to be civil disputes.

Kedar Nath Singh ruling, 1962

  • The SC upheld the constitutional validity of the sedition law and also attempted to restrict its scope for misuse in the 1962 Kedar Nath Singh case.
  • According to the SC guidelines in the 1962 judgement, unless accompanied by an incitement or call for violence, criticism of the government cannot be labeled ‘sedition’.

Key principles of the ruling

  • The SC ruled that the expression ‘the Government established by law,’ in the Sedition law, has to be distinguished from the persons engaged in carrying on the administration for the time being. It said that the ‘Government established by law’ is the visible symbol of the State.
  • Any acts within the meaning of Section 124-A which have the effect of subverting the Government established by law, or creating disaffection against it, would be within the penal statute.
  • Comments on Government actions, however strongly worded, would not be penal, without exciting those feelings which generate the inclination to cause public disorder by acts of violence.
  • Sedition is limited only to such activities that come within the ambit of the observations of the Federal Court, which also covers “activities involving incitement to violence or intention or tendency to create public disorder or cause disturbance of public peace.”

-Source: The Hindu

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