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1.The Rohingya Threat (The Indian Express)

2.Climate change and river basin (Live Mint)

1.The Rohingya Threat (The Indian Express) 

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue about rising threats from illegal migrants. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • Rohingya are an ethnic group, largely comprising Muslims, who predominantly live in the Western Myanmar province of Rakhine, who are facing identity crisis. Recently the Myanmar’s army has claimed that it had discovered a mass grave containing the bodies of 28 Hindus, including women and children, in violence-affected Rakhine state, blaming the killings on Muslim Rohingya militants.
  • Apart from this there has been report of abduction and forcibly conversion, back-to-back disclosures confirmed India’s worst fears that Pakistan-based terror groups have infiltrated the Rohingya and pose a grave threat to national security.

Assessment

  • According to various aid agencies, about 40,000 Rohingya Muslims are living in India since fleeing their homeland of Myanmar in the wake of violence. The Indian government has reported to deport Rohingya Muslims over their alleged “terror ties”.
  • Inputs from security agencies indicate the involvement of some Rohingya in illegal activities including fund mobilisation through hawala channels, human trafficking and procurement of fake Indian identity documents.
  • Rohingya with militant backgrounds have been found to be active as far as Jammu, Delhi, Mewat and Hyderabad. Intelligence inputs also indicate that the nefarious designs of the ISI and ISIS include not only using the Rohingya to stir communal violence and destabilise the Northeast but also a serious potential of violence by radicalised Rohingya against the country’s Buddhist citizens.
  • India has faced illegal migration problems, in 2005, the Supreme Court had ruled that the Centre had not done its duty to protect Assam from “external aggression” due to the IMDT Act, which encouraged rampant illegal migration from Bangladesh.
  • For granting refugee status to the Rohingya does not stand on legal grounds as India is neither a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees nor the 1967 Protocol Relating to Status of Refugees. Moreover, Article 19 of the Indian Constitution states that the right to reside and settle in, or move freely throughout, any part of the territory of India is only available to the citizens of India.
  • There is need to pump in more resources to cater to the illegal immigrants, which would only serve to deprive legitimate Indian citizens, which could result in social tensions. From the strategic point of view, Myanmar has been extending cooperation to India in dealing with insurgent groups operating in the Northeast and combating drug smuggling and gun-running.
  • China has also gradually expanding its interests in the region, it would be naive on New Delhi’s part to alienate Yangon by providing refuge to Rohingya terrorists on the run, who have clearly infiltrated among the illegal immigrants in large numbers.
  • Notwithstanding its reservation on allowing large-scale influx of illegal immigrants, India has gone out of its way to extend all possible humanitarian assistance by rushing emergency relief material to its friendly neighbour Bangladesh under ‘Operation Insaniyat’.

Way ahead

  • India has first and foremost duty to protect the rights of its bonafide citizens and insulate them against any form of external aggression. It needs to strike that delicate balance between humanitarian aid and national interests.

Question– Illegal migration into Assam from Bangladesh has been posing a serious security threat to the identity of Assamese people. It adversely affects the social, economic and political environment of Assam, creating law and order problems where immigrants are present in large number. Critically analyse.

 

2.Climate change and river basin (Live Mint) 

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue on impact of climate change on river basins of India. (GS paper II)

Overview

  • It is evident from the Working Group II (WG II) report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that climate change will impact the world severely and the risks are intensifying. This is expected to put the lives of the world’s poor at stake.
  • Though almost all the countries are affected by climate change but they are affected in different ways and to different extents, developing countries will be particularly badly hit. Much of India is reeling from a heat wave and severe drought conditions that have decimated crops, killed livestock and left at least 330 million people without enough water for their daily needs.
  • A new study by Indian researchers has shown that only 6 out of 22 river basins in the country have the potential to cope with the threat of climate change, particularly droughts. This means nearly two-thirds of the India’s terrestrial ecosystems is not resilient to drought.

New study

  • According to a new study by Indian researchers of the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati. The central India has been found to be the most vulnerable to climate change. Parts of north-western, north-eastern and southern India appear to be resilient to cope with droughts while the rest of the country is non-resilient.
  • The research has evaluated the ecosystem resilience in terms of the capability of an ecosystem to maintain its productivity during hydro climatic disturbances.
  • Only six river basins – Brahmaputra, Indus, Pennar, west flowing rivers of Kutch and Saurashtra including Luni basin, east flowing rivers between Krishna and Pennar basins and east flowing rivers between Pennar and Cauvery basin were able to sustain their primary productivity by increasing the water use efficiency under driest years.
  • Researchers have compared response of river basin systems to water stress at different levels such as river basins, land covers, and climate types. They have developed an ecosystem resilience map of India using high resolution remote sensing satellite data for 22 main river basins.
  • The data productivity of a river basin and evapo-transpiration was obtained from ‘NASA’s MODIS satellite’ and studied along with rainfall data from the India Meteorological Department. Drastic reduction in water use efficiency under driest conditions was observed for some basins, which highlights their inability to cope with climate change.
  • Low primary productivity can distort the balance of ecosystem and its resistance to fight drought. The inability of ecosystems at different scales to tolerate water-limited conditions may pose a serious challenge in terms of crop production and food security.
  • Only two types of forests – evergreen needle-leaf forest and evergreen broadleaf forest were found to be resilient at land-cover scale. The presence of such forests in the Brahmaputra basin could be the reason for its resilience. However, forests in some parts of Western Ghats and central India were found more vulnerable to climate change. Ganga basin, the most populous and agriculturally important basin, was also found slightly non-resilient.

Way ahead

  • The forests have higher resilience to withstand the climatic disturbances, but the deforestation activities, in the name of economic development and expansion of agriculture has resulted into making country more vulnerable to climate change.
  • For developing a climate-proofing strategy for forest ecosystems it is useful to consider the current vulnerabilities as well as likely impacts on forests under ‘future climate’ scenario. Integration of information on vulnerability of forest dependent communities and other social, economic and forest management considerations with the biophysical vulnerability of forests is necessary to develop adaptation strategies.

Question– Climate change is one of the greatest challenges. Explain the reasons why developing countries are the most impacted by climate change? Also suggest measures to address climate change impacts.