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GS-2

Poll panel to brainstorm on key issues

News:

  1. Election commission discussing how to address online party campaign during last 48 hours before election.

Important facts:

2. Election commission of India has shown concern over maintaining the party campaign silent is last 48 hours before election.

3. The law prohibits canvassing during last 48 hours before election.

4. These help voters to cast their vote without any influence created by political party in last minute.

5. The commission has also considering bringing print media under section 126(1) (b) of RPA Act.

6. Section 126 (1) (b) of RPA lists mediums in which display of election matter is prohibited and includes television, cinematograph or similar apparatus.

7. Apart from this, other issues include participation of women and election expenditure by political party.

8. Currently we only have figure of 11.4 % women participation in Lok Sabha lower than global average of 22 %.

9. The present law provide expenditure limit on candidate only but not political party as a whole.

10. Election Commission seeking advice if expenditure ceiling can be imposed on political party too.

11. Commission has proposed ceiling should be either 50 % or not more than the expenditure ceiling of a candidate multiply by number of candidates.

12. Political parties to provide the views on state legislative council election also as huge amount of unaccounted money is spent on it.

13. Management of migrants and absentee voters through proxy, e-voting and postal needs to be considered.

14. Voting rights to be ensured by linking Voter ID with Adhaar.

15. Other suggestion of EC include, one time registration for migrants, spreading voter’s right awareness, helpline support number for domestic migrants etc.

 

GS 3

Gave regular warnings to Kerala, Tamil Nadu tells SC

News:

  1. In a counter affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, Tamil Nadu warned Kerala for the water level rose in the Mullaperiyar dam.

Important facts:

2. Different arguments given by two states are mentioned below:

Kerala’s arguments:

  • Recently, Kerala had alleged in its affidavit that it was uncertain about the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam
  • It said there were no “positive assurances” from Tamil Nadu to its request for gradual release of water at least at 139 feet during the torrential rains.
  • Kerala wants to “help” the encroachers, who have illegally occupied the water spread area between 142 ft. and 155 ft. leased to Tamil Nadu

In a counter affidavit Tamil Nadu’s submitted the following arguments:

  • On this, Tamil Nadu submitted that it had “duly informed Kerala since the water level in the Dam reached +136 ft.
  • State took all the required measures before water was released from the dam.
  • Periodical warnings were issued since the water level reached 136 ft for every two feet rise and from 140 onward for every one foot rise.
  • Intimation was given to the Kerala government in advance regarding the release of water from the spillway of the dam.
  • Action was taken from Tamil Nadu only after the water level in the dam crossed the permitted storage of +142 ft., is denied.
  • The state said the designed Maximum Water Level of Mullaperiyar dam is 155ft. for which the safety was examined and found to be safe by the apex court.

3. The affidavit was countering a petition filed by Idukki resident highlighting the ‘perils’ faced by the people living downstream of the Mullaperiyar dam on the Periyar basin.

4. The petition said that there was a lack of coordination between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, no disaster management plan and people were living in constant fear of flash floods.

 

Commute-related pollution: Kolkata shines among megacities

News:

  1. The report titled ‘The Urban Commute and How it Contributes to Pollution and Energy’, compiled by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) was released recently.

Important facts:

  • Fourteen cities including six mega cities and eight metropolises evaluated by the CSE for emission of greenhouse gases such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides.
  • Six megacities -Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
  • Eight metropolitan cities-Bhopal, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi and Vijayawada were evaluated.
  • According to CSE, air pollution was a national crisis and road transport was the sector showing the highest increase in emission of greenhouse gases.

2. The report pointed out the following facts:

  • Delhi fare at the bottom of the table in terms of pollution and energy use.
  • Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai fared a little better than Delhi.
  • Chennai was the first city to adopt a non-motorised transport(NMT) policy in 2004 that aims to arrest the decline of walking or cycling by creating a network of footpaths, bicycle tracks and greenways.
  • Bhopal emerges as the lowest polluter.
  • In terms of overall emissions and energy consumption, Bhopal was followed by Vijayawada, Chandigarh and Lucknow.
  • The report places Kolkata as the top-performing megacity despite population growth and rising travel demand.
  • Kolkata able to contain motorsiation with a well established public transport culture, compact city design, high street density and restricted availability of land for roads and parking.
  • The report compares Kolkata to Hong Kong and cities in Japan.
  • Smaller cities such as Ahmedabad and Pune ranked below Kolkata for overall emissions.
  • Mumbai, had the highest GDP but a lower rate of motorization compared with other megacities .
  • Metropolitan cities scored better than megacities due to lower population, lower travel volume and lower vehicle numbers.

3. Approaches followed for ranking:

  • The cities were ranked based on calculations of heat trapping (CO2).
  • The study took following two approaches to rank the cities:-

4. Based on overall emission and energy consumption.

5. Per person trip emissions and energy consumption.

 

Trouble in the hills

News:

  1. The monsoon floods in Kerala and Karnataka have revived the debate on whether political expediency trumped science.

Important facts:

2. In the past, the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel issued recommendations for the preservation of the fragile western peninsular region.

3. Madhav Gadgil, who chaired the Union Environment Ministry’s WGEEP, has said the recent havoc in Kerala is a consequence of short-sighted policymaking

4. Issues involved in Western Ghats:

Calculation of what constitute the sensitive core and what activities can be carried out there.

  • Population estimation for the sensitive zones vary greatly, based on interpretations of the ESZs.
  • According to one expert, in Kerala, 39 lakh households are in the ESZs outlined by the WGEEP, but the figure drops sharply to four lakh households for a smaller area of zones identified by the Kasturirangan panel.

5. Suggestions:

  • Public consultation on export reports on the Western Ghats ecology needed.
  • The Western Ghats states must draw table on line with the reports of both the Gadgil Committee and the Kasturirangam Committee, which was set up to examine WGEEP report.
  • The goal has to be sustainable development for the Ghats as a whole.
  • The task before them is to initiate correctives to environmental policy decisions.
  • Need to balance human development pressures with stronger protection of the Western Ghats ecology.
  • Need to create regulatory framework that was proposed by the Gadgil panel, in the form of an apex Western Ghats Ecology Authority and the State-level units, under the Environment (Protection) Act.
  • Adopt zoning system that was proposed by above act. This can keep incompatible activities out of the Ecologically Sensitive Zones (ESZs).
  • A moratorium on quarrying and mining in the identified sensitive zones, in Kerala and also other States, is necessary to assess their environmental impact.
  • Need to review decisions affecting the environment, in the wake of the floods.

 

ISRO telemedicine nodes for soldiers in high-altitude areas

News:

  1. The Integrated Defence Staff of the Defence Ministry and the Indian Space Research Organsiation (ISRO) signed a memorandum of understanding to set up telemedicine nodes in critical places across the country.

Important Facts

2. This joint initiative will transform the reach of telemedicine to soldiers, airmen, and sailors in remote and isolated posts.

3. The initiative will provide great help to soldiers posted in high-altitude areas, especially Siachen.

4. This will be a paradigm shift in the delivery of lifesaving health care till the weather clears up and movement is possible.

5. During winter period, many of the remote posts are cut off because of adverse terrain and extreme weather conditions.

6. ISRO will establish 53 more nodes in the first phase in various establishments of the Army, Navy and Air Force across the country.

7. Four more nodes are being established to enable medical consultation between soldiers deployed on the glacier and medical echelons in the rear.

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