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9 PM for Main examination
- On IMD’s weather forecasts
- The Future of Multilateralism
- What should be India’s Approach at WHO Executive Board?
- Law enforcement agencies in controlling COVID-19 and Issues of Law Enforcement
- Social Influence through Social Vaccine
9 PM for Preliminary examination
1.On IMD’s weather forecasts
Source: The Hindu
Context: The monsoon has set over Kerala on 1st June as forecasted by the Indian Meteorological Department on May 28th.
Monsoon Forecast in India
The IMD issues operational forecast for the southwest monsoon seasonal (June to September) rainfall for the country in two stages. The first stage forecast is issued in April and the second stage forecast is issued in June.
|Criteria for Declaring Onset of Monsoon:
There are three criteria which must be met for declaring the onset of Monsoon:
· Rainfall: 8 of 14 designated meteorological stations in Kerala and Karnataka must register 2.5mm rain for two consecutive days.
· Wind field: Depth of westerlies should be maintained up to 600 hPa, in the area between Lat. 10ºN and Long. 55ºE to 80ºE. The zonal wind speed over the area bounded by Lat. 5-10ºN, long. 70-80ºE should be of the order of 15 – 20 Kts. at 925 hPa.
· Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR): INSAT derived OLR value should be below 200 wm-2 in the area between Lat. 5-10ºN and Long. 70-75ºE.
These forecasts are prepared using state-of-the-art Statistical Ensemble Forecasting system (SEFS) and using the dynamic coupled Ocean-Atmosphere global Climate Forecasting System (CFS) model known as the Monsoon Mission Coupled Forecasting System (MMCFS).
Statistical Ensemble Forecasting system (SEFS): It relies on arriving at a prediction based on historical monsoon data coupled with data on sea-surface temperatures and winds.
Monsoon Mission Coupled Forecasting System (MMCFS):
- It is a coupled ocean-atmosphere modelling system that combine data from ocean, atmosphere and land for providing long range forecasting.
- It has been developed by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and NOAA National Weather Service, USA. As part of the Monsoon Mission project, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) has developed the indigenous strategy of the model under National Monsoon Mission.
|National Monsoon Mission:
Launched in 2012, it aims to develop a state-of-the-art dynamical prediction system for monsoon rainfall on different time scales. The responsibility of execution and coordination of the mission is bestowed upon the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune.
Challenge before IMD in weather forecast:
- The IMD has been facing tough competition from domestic and international companies in providing weather-related services especially crop insurance, power distribution and short-range forecasts.
- In 2019, Monsoon Mission Coupled Forecast Model, failed to accurately forecast the excess rainfall in August-September 2019. This year accurate monsoon prediction is crucial given excess rainfall might accentuate locust plague in India which can affect the kharif crop.
|Indian Meteorological Department
· It was established in 1875. It is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India.
· It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology.
Way Forward: It’s high time that IMD with improved science and forecasting, disseminates more precise localized weather forecasts for the wider population.
2.The Future of Multilateralism
Syllabus: GS 2- Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
Context: The world is witnessing a growing rivalry between US and China and is moving towards a new Cold War.
- Vulnerabilities of current system: The pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of the current world order. The failure of institutions like WHO in timely response to pandemic has urged a need for changes in the world order.
- Need of new Agenda setting: There is a need of new agendas in the global institutions. India can help in raising those important changes through the help of the chair of the Executive Board of the World Health Assembly (it is the decision-making body of the WHO) or by being a non-permanent member of UN Security Council in 2021.
- New international system: The new globalisationmodel should be based on humanity, fairness and equality.
Requirements to benefit from Changing Global order:
- To have a bold vision.Such as American policy towards globalisation after world war 2.
- Make the right strategic choice.Such as Britain quickly built the largest military in the Subcontinent using the land revenue of Bengal and over time conquered India.
Changes in current world order:
- Changing dynamics at world institutions:The clash between China and the U.S. at the just concluded World Health Assembly in May marks the end of the multilateralism of the past 70 years. The donor-recipient relationship between developed and developing countries has ended with China’s pledge of $2-billion. It has shown the reduction in hegemony of US. The agenda-setting role of the G7 over UN institutions has also been effectively challenged by WHO ignoring the reform diktat of the U.S. leading to its withdrawal.
- Shift in UN: After World War II, the newly independent states were not consulted when the U.S. imposed global institutions fostering trade, capital and technology dependence and ignoring socio-economic development. The UN is not affectively dealing with the aspirations of the contemporary world.
- New Multidimensional institution: The U.S. faces a tough task in seeking to lead as China’s re-emergence is based on technology, innovation and trade balancing U.S. military superiority. The superiority of the west is now under question with the failure of west in dealing with the disease.
- Shift towards Asia: The pandemic has accelerated the shift of global wealth to Asia which is suggesting an inclusive global order based on principles drawn from ancient Asian civilisations. The global wealth for long has been concentrated in the US and Europe. The COVID-19 has worst hit them which has provided more opportunities to better placed Asian economies.
- For India: The strategic issue is neither adjustment to China’s power nor deference to U.S. leadership.
Requirements in New World Order:
- Asian Century should be defined in terms of peaceful co-existence rather than post-colonial sovereignty:Non-interference in the internal affairs of others is a key lesson from the decline of the U.S. and the rise of China. Massive arms imports resources should be used to enhance internal capacity and mould the global digital economy between state-centric (China), firm-centric (the U.S.) and public-centric (India) systems.
- New principles for trade: It isrequired by a global community at comparable levels of well-being. For example, rejecting the 25-year-old trade rule creating intellectual property monopolies.
- Restructuring the order: There is a need to restructure both the economic order and societal behaviourfor equitable sustainable development especially for developing countries and vulnerable countries.
The shift in power has the potential for India to move towards friendly and effective multilateralism which can be achieved by the NAM-Plus and BRICS.
This new multilateralism should rely on:
- Outcomes and not rules.
- ‘Security’ downplayed for ‘comparable levels of wellbeing’
- A new P-5 that is not based on the G7.
India can set the world response, also using the opportunity to recover its global thought leadership
3.What should be India’s Approach at WHO Executive Board?
Source – The Hindu
Syllabus – GS 2 – Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate
Context – In the ongoing tussle between USA and China which includes war of words regarding role of WHO’s response in Pandemic, India needs to act tacitly with wisdom
WHO – World Health Organisation
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health.
- The Executive Board is composed of 34 technically qualified members elected for three-year terms. In annual Board meeting the members agree upon the agenda for the World Health Assembly and the resolutions to be considered by the Health Assembly.
- The main functions of the Board are to implement the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly, and advise and generally to facilitate its work.
- Recently, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, was elected the Chair of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) executive board. The elevation affords India an important platform to steer the global public health response to COVID-19.
Suggested policy approach being the leader of Executive Board
- Focusing on prevention of zoonotic diseases not tussles– As the virus’ chain of transmission is broken, the focus should shift to identifying the animal-to-human transmission origins of SARS-CoV-2 not on the ongoing tussle. Wuhan and other previously infected zones could yet be susceptible to the risk of viral reintroduction.
- Transparent Review of WHO’s and China response– India need to steer WHO secretariat to fast-track the impartial and holistic review of the WHO’s – and China’s – early response to the outbreak. The review’s findings should illuminate best practice and highlight areas for improvement, both in the WHO’s leadership and capacity as well as member states’ implementation of the International Health Regulations
- Affordable vaccine– India has to promote the establishment of an appropriate multilateral governance mechanism for ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines for all countries.
- Exercising strategic autonomy– India must maintain distance from the West’s campaign to re-seat Taiwan as an observer at the WHA as it is more of domestic political maneuvering for West and Taiwan than Chinese or international ostracism.
- Eco-centrism and sustainable development– India needs to lead the call for a permanent global ban on the consumption and trade of wild animals, with limited exceptions built-in for scientific research, species protection and traditional livelihood interests.
Way Forward – India has the opportunity to present the world that as a leader we can steer the world towards fair treatment and inclusive development of all as we regard the world as Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam which means “the world is one family”.
4.Law enforcement agencies in controlling COVID-19 and Issues of Law Enforcement
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS 3-Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
Context: Strict maintenance of public order is essential to look after and give the best medical care to COVID-19 affected persons.
Role of Law Enforcement Agencies in Enforcing lockdown:
- Strict observance: The police have taken enormous risks during the lockdown to ensure strict observance of guidelines, including physical distancing.
- Importance of Lessons learnt in COVID-19 handling for law enforcement agencies: They need to introspect on its recent experience and draft a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedure that will educate all police persons in the country.
- Managing resources in enforcing lockdown: There were less complaints of lack of manpower and mobility. They had the public cooperation to avoid chaos. The bulk of the population was indoor. So, the police could bring in equipment and manpower to handle this unusual situation.
- Use of Social Media: They skillfully used social media to disseminate all relevant information to a majority of the population.
Overall drop in crime:
- Reduction in crime:Roads were empty and there was nearly zero traffic on major highways. This ensured a sharp reduction in traffic accidents and fatalities caused by such accidents. With anti-social elements confined to their homes, trespass and burglary were reduced.
- Global pattern on crime: The police force managed to keep the peace during these times.
- Crime was reduced in major cities that generally report a high number of crimes.
- The New York Police Department reported an uptick in murders and burglaries during the pandemic.
- London reported a decline in non-violent crime, especially stabbings.
- In India:
- The Delhi Police reported a 70% fall in heinous crimes (murders and rapes) between April 1 and 15 compared to the same period last year.
- In Chennai, the total number of crimes dropped by 79% following the implementation of national lockdown compared to previous month.
Challenges for law enforcement agencies:
- Rise in Domestic violence:
- This period saw a worrying surge in domestic violence cases. For example- The Tamil Nadu Police reportedly received 2,963 calls on domestic violence in April alone.
- Reasons for rise:
- Unemployment: Most men were at home, either without work or in fear of losing their jobs. Data show that domestic violence increases when there is greater unemployment because of the fear and insecurity of these men.
- Non-availability of liquor: Itcaused frustration among those men who are habituated to drinking daily. There was a similar increase in sexual and gender-based violence in West Africa during the 2013-16 Ebola outbreak.
- Organised crime especially illicit drug trade:
- It can get benefitted from the pandemic according to few members of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, a network of prominent law-enforcement, governance and development practitioners based in Geneva.
- Innovation in crime methods: Travel restrictions across borders have made international trade in drugs difficult. Gangs are therefore working to innovate and adapt to the changing nature of the illicit market. The Global Initiative believes that organised gangs will infiltrate health services and make profits through the sale of prescription drugs that are not otherwise easily available to the public.
- Rise in cybercrime:
- New portals have been launched to get people to donate money for the cause of combating COVID-19. Experts say that many fraudulent sites are designed so well that a large number of people are easily conned.
- keeping prisons free of the virus:
- Many prisons have taken steps to insulate prisoners who reported positive for the virus from the rest of the inmates.
- Premature release: A number of human rights activists want law agencies to consider the premature and temporary release of prisoners. But such a move will make a mockery of the criminal justice system and expose society to many unrepentant violent offenders.
- The Supreme Court had directed the States and Union Territories to constitute high-powered committees to consider releasing convicts who have been jailed up to seven years on parole, in order to decongest prisons.
The police will have to think of ways of dealing with new challenges in maintaining law and order.
5.Social Influence through Social Vaccine
Source– The Hindu
Syllabus – GS 4 – Social influence and persuasion
Context – In epidemics like COVID as in war – underestimating the enemy is a costly mistake
- A social vaccine is a metaphor for a series of social and behavioural measures that governments can use to raise public consciousness about unhealthy situations through social mobilisation.
- This promotes better understanding of the disease among the general public.
- Social mobilisation can empower populations to resist unhealthy practices, increase resilience, and foster advocacy for change
Importance of social vaccine
Nudging people – Until a cure or vaccine for COVID is found, the only way to prevent the spread of the disease is by changing people’s behaviour through COVID education programmes. This was the strategy adopted in AIDS infection control too.
Uganda and Thailand used these strategies effectively during the HIV/AIDS pandemic to bring down the incidence of HIV infection, before highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) was introduced in 1995.
Flouting laws is easier – Coercive or punitive methods are invariably counter-productive, as was seen with HIV/AIDS.
Promotes reverse quarantine – People then take extra precautions to save those who are most vulnerable like elderly and children. The norm in urban middle class and rural families is to protect old parents and vulnerable family members and this part of traditional practices also.
Suppress social toxins – Social vaccine is a powerful tool against the misinformation and disinformation about the pandemic.
Simple solution – Social vaccine in COVID includes promoting mask wearing among people. Although it is simplest solution for containing the pandemic but it saves the exchequer from heavy burden of testing cost.
Way Forward – Formation of district development committee with representation from civil administration, health management professionals, industry, businesses, educational institutions, major non-governmental organisations to identify and evolve local social vaccines is the need of the hour.
9 PM for Preliminary examination
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