Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – October 19

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Q.1) In March 2017, the Sri Lankan Navy allegedly fired at a group of Indian fishermen who had allegedly crossed over into Sri Lankan waters on the lookout for a fresh catch. Discuss the key fisheries disputes between India and Sri-lanka? What are the possible steps that can be taken by the government of India to resolve the issue? (GS-2)

Fisheries disputes between India and Sri-Lanka

Sovereignty of Kachchatheevu

  • The maritime boundary agreements of 1974 and 1976 were concluded by the two governments did not reflect realities on the ground
  • The ongoing dispute has escalated tensions between those fishermen using traditional methods and those using mechanized methods leading to increase in the infringement of territorial boundaries.

Trespassing

  • The issue of fishermen straying in each other’s territorial waters has come as a potential irritant in the bilateral relations between the neighboring states.
  • A total of 600 fishermen from India were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy in 2013, a sharp increase compared to the last few years.
  • The entry of ‘outsiders’ has not only threatened the local customary laws of fishing communities, but also turned several traditional fishermen from owners to laborers.

Territorial waters overlap in some areas

  • There is no well-defined boundary line between the two nations
  • Maritime border between the two countries is about 400 kilometers spreading along three different areas:
  • The Bay of Bengal in the north,
  • The Palk Bay
  • The Gulf of Mannar in the center and the Indian Ocean in the south.
  • In the Palk Bay region, distances between the coasts of the two countries varies between 16 and 45 kms.
  • This means territorial waters of each country in some areas strays into the others if 12 nautical mile criteria are strictly applied.

Poaching and Trawling

  • Overuse of mechanized trawlers in the Palk Bay has further Fueled the dispute over Kachchatheevu
  • The total loss of income to Sri Lanka from poaching by Indian trawlers could amount to 80 lakh Indian rupees to 200 lakh Indian rupees per day and 300 crore Indian rupees to 700 crore Indian rupees per year

Mechanized v non- mechanized

  • The main complaint of Sri Lankan fishermen has been against Indian mechanized trawlers that indulge in pair, mid-water, pelagic, and bottom trawling severely damaging marine resources and the sea bed.
  • Most of the trawlers from Tamil Nadu are owned by merchant capitalists from non-fishing and other social backgrounds.
  • Trawler sector in Tamil Nadu is also politically influential and financially sound making it more obdurate to solutions that could cut down its profit margins.

Steps taken by the government

  • The Central and Tamil Nadu government has already planned to provide 500 deep-sea fishing boats with long lines and gill nets this year to replace 2,000 trawlers in three years.
  • The solution lies in transition from trawling to deep-sea fishing in India.
  • Making the use of trawling technique an offence by the Indian government is another solution
  • India can try to get back the island of Kachchatheevu on “lease in perpetuity”.
  • Permitting licensed Indian fishermen to fish within a designated area of Sri Lankan waters and vice versa.
  • There is an evident need for institutionalization of fisherman in Indian waters by the government of India so that alternative means of livelihood are provided.
  • Government needs to mark up a comprehensive plan to reduce the necessity of Indian fishermen on catch from Palk Bay.

“Blue Revolution” scheme

  • “Blue Revolution” scheme, the Centre would allocate Rs 1,500 crore over a period of time for conversion of bottom trawling boats into deep sea liners.
  • Under the Blue Revolution scheme, Rs 100 crore was allotted and as a Special Financial Package Rs 100 crore was sanctioned by the Centre for this initiative
  • In the first phase, a total of 500 bottom trawlers will be converted into long liners at the cost of Rs 286 crore, he said adding a total of 2,000 bottom trawlers will be customized as long liners at a cost of Rs 1,621 crore in three phases.

to increase in the infringement of territorial boundaries.

Trespassing

  • The issue of fishermen straying in each other’s territorial waters has come as a potential irritant in the bilateral relations between the neighboring states.
  • A total of 600 fishermen from India were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy in 2013, a sharp increase compared to the last few years.
  • The entry of ‘outsiders’ has not only threatened the local customary laws of fishing communities, but also turned several traditional fishermen from owners to laborers.

Territorial waters overlap in some areas

  • There is no well-defined boundary line between the two nations
  • Maritime border between the two countries is about 400 kilometers spreading along three different areas:
  • The Bay of Bengal in the north,
  • The Palk Bay
  • The Gulf of Mannar in the center and the Indian Ocean in the south.
  • In the Palk Bay region, distances between the coasts of the two countries varies between 16 and 45 kms.
  • This means territorial waters of each country in some areas strays into the others if 12 nautical mile criteria are strictly applied.

Poaching and Trawling

  • Overuse of mechanized trawlers in the Palk Bay has further Fueled the dispute over Kachchatheevu
  • The total loss of income to Sri Lanka from poaching by Indian trawlers could amount to 80 lakh Indian rupees to 200 lakh Indian rupees per day and 300 crore Indian rupees to 700 crore Indian rupees per year

Mechanized v non- mechanized

  • The main complaint of Sri Lankan fishermen has been against Indian mechanized trawlers that indulge in pair, mid-water, pelagic, and bottom trawling severely damaging marine resources and the sea bed.
  • Most of the trawlers from Tamil Nadu are owned by merchant capitalists from non-fishing and other social backgrounds.
  • Trawler sector in Tamil Nadu is also politically influential and financially sound making it more obdurate to solutions that could cut down its profit margins.

Steps taken by the government

  • The Central and Tamil Nadu government has already planned to provide 500 deep-sea fishing boats with long lines and gill nets this year to replace 2,000 trawlers in three years.
  • The solution lies in transition from trawling to deep-sea fishing in India.
  • Making the use of trawling technique an offence by the Indian government is another solution
  • India can try to get back the island of Kachchatheevu on “lease in perpetuity”.
  • Permitting licensed Indian fishermen to fish within a designated area of Sri Lankan waters and vice versa.
  • There is an evident need for institutionalization of fisherman in Indian waters by the government of India so that alternative means of livelihood are provided.
  • Government needs to mark up a comprehensive plan to reduce the necessity of Indian fishermen on catch from Palk Bay.

“Blue Revolution” scheme

  • “Blue Revolution” scheme, the Centre would allocate Rs 1,500 crore over a period of time for conversion of bottom trawling boats into deep sea liners.
  • Under the Blue Revolution scheme, Rs 100 crore was allotted and as a Special Financial Package Rs 100 crore was sanctioned by the Centre for this initiative
  • In the first phase, a total of 500 bottom trawlers will be converted into long liners at the cost of Rs 286 crore, he said adding a total of 2,000 bottom trawlers will be customized as long liners at a cost of Rs 1,621 crore in three phases.

Q.2) India’s Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra three – day meeting with Michael Fallon, Ministry of Defence U.K, focussed on concrete measures to take forward their Defence partnership by next year. Briefly discuss the the Defence cooperation talks between India and U.S and Make in India push. (GS-2)

  • India’s Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra in his three-day visit met with Michael Fallon, Ministry of Defence(U.K) to hold meetings of the Defence Consultative Group.
  • The visit consolidates India-UK defence cooperation in the framework of the Defence and International Security Partnership (DISP), agreed in November 2015.

Talks of Cooperation

  • The defence partnership will encompass cooperation in the defence industry, stronger military to military engagement, including training and joint exercises.
  • The renewed engagement will place capability and technology development at its core and use the private and public sectors to develop defence solutions for use in home and shared export markets.
  • The Defence ministers will continue to coordinate policies across a range of global security challenges, especially those intended to eliminate international terrorism.
  • The ministers agreed to further strengthen their naval interactions, including enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) to exchange information to track terrorists and pirate vessels.
  • The two ministers recognised the potential for further cooperation in defence manufacturing between the UK and Indian companies under ‘Make in India’.
  • Recent announcements were made including the MOU between Bharat Dynamics and Thales UK on technology transfer opportunities for missile systems. And to develop an Advanced Hawk jet trainer jointly by the BAE Systems and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
  • Both nations will explore establishing a secure communications method to share classified material.
  • The two ministers recognised the need for stronger R&D cooperation, including access to Defence R&D training.

Make in India push

  • India puts the defence sector as one of the major areas where the bilateral partnership could be expanded around the “Make in India” campaign.
  • During Mr. Modi’s visit in 2015, the two sides agreed to move towards a new Defence and International Security Partnership that would “intensify cooperation on defence and security, including cybersecurity, and maritime security” pushing for joint working in key strategic areas.
  • India is hoping that U.K. firms participate in ‘Make in India’ process thus strengthening the strategic partnership exercise between the two countries.

India – U.K Defence Cooperation

  • Cooperation in defence sector is another important pillar of bilateral cooperation.
  • At all the three services level, joint exercises and wide ranging exchanges between the three services are conducted regularly.
  • The last Army Joint Exercise ‘Ajeya Warrior’ was held in the UK from 7-28 June, 2015.
  • The Indian Air force participated in the Exercise ‘Indradhanush-IV’ in the UK from 21 July – 1 August, 2015. The Joint Navy Exercise ‘Konkan 2017’ was held in May 2017 at Plymouth in the UK that witnessed participation by INS Tarkash.
  • During Prime Minister’s visit to UK in November 2015, the two countries agreed to elevate their Defence relationship by establishing capability partnerships in strategic areas through which we will work together across the spectrum of doctrine, training and other elements upon which military effectiveness depends.
  • The institutionalized dialogue to discuss defence cooperation viz. Defence Consultative Group Meeting, is held annually at Defence Secretary level. The 17th DCG meeting was held on 15-16 November 2016 in New Delhi.

Q.3) Why is Weather forecasting important? Discuss India Meteorological Department (IMD) and Indian satellites involved in weather forecasting. (GS-1)

The purpose of a weather forecast is to provide as accurate as possible prediction of what the weather will be like in the near future.

Why is weather forecasting important?

  • Weather forecasting is important to most aspects of day to day life, including aviation, boating, other modes of transportation, farming, tourism, sports, etc.
  • Weather is a natural phenomenon and it can only be studied using predictions based on regular pattern.
  • In absence of accurate weather forecasts there are high chances of damage to life and property. The certainty helps people to be aware of the calamities approaching.
  • The more warning people have the better they can prepare and the least likely they are to die due to such natural disasters.
  • Pilots need to know the weather to plan their flights, sailors need to know what the weather will be like to plan their activities, and farmers need to know what the weather will be like to help them plan watering, fertilizer and pesticide application, and harvest activities, to name a few.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) and it’s functioning

  • Indian meteorological department also referred to as MET department 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.
  • It is headquartered at Pune and operates observation centres at various other places.

INDIAN SATELLITES INVOLVED IN WEATHER FORECAST

Weather satellites:

There are two basic types of weather satellites: those in geostationary orbits and those in polar orbits.

Geostationary satellites: these satellites orbit very high above the earth at an altitude of 35,800 km and take the same time to orbit the earth as the earth takes to revolve once. From earth, therefore, the satellite appears to stay still always above the same region all the time.

These satellites give ‘real-time’ images and hence, a series of photographs from these satellites can be displayed in a sequence to show cloud movement.

Polar orbit satellites: This type of satellite orbits in a path that closely follows the Earth’s meridian lines, passing over the north and south poles once each revolution. These circle at a much lower altitude at about 850 km. This means that they can photograph clouds from a much closer level and provide more detailed information about violent storms and cloud systems.

Uses:

  • Radiation measurement from earth surface
  • Fishermen can find out valuable information about the temperature of the sea from measurements of these satellites.
  • Infrared sensors on satellites can monitor crop conditions, areas of deforestation and regions of drought.
  • Satellites can detect volcanic eruptions and the motion of ash clouds.
  • Ice-mapping, snow storms in the Arctic and Antarctica and the mountain chains-Monitoring of Global Warming
  • Observation of Auroras
  • Water and air pollution can be pinpointed
  • Oil spills can be detected.

Weather Satellites in India (those in service):

  • INSAT system: the Indian National Satellite system was commissioned with the launch of INSAT-1B in 1983 and ushered in a revolution in India’s television, radio and meterological broadcasting. Of the 24 satellites so far launched, 11 are still in operation.
  • INSAT-3C
  • INSAT-3D
  • INSAT-3E
  • KALPANA-1
  • MEGHA-TROPIQUE
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