Mitras Analysis of News : 8-05-2017

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1.Swachh Survekshan Survey: Critical Analysis (Down to Earth)

2.Space for all: South Asia satellite launch a positive signal to the neighbourhood (The Hindu)

3.Joint Indian Armed forces doctrine (The Hindu)

4.Explained: Colony collapse disorder

 

1.Swachh Survekshan Survey: Critical Analysis (Down to Earth)

 Synoptic line: It throws light on the various loopholes in the evaluations done under swachh survekshan survey(GS paper II)

Overview

  • An analysis done by CSEon the results of the Swachh Survekshan, 2017 shows that the top 3 cities in the survey – Indore, Bhopal and Vishakhapatnam – have adopted environmentally unsustainable practices for waste management.

Key highlights of the Survey

  • Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) and Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) are the top three cleanest cities of the country, as per the results of the Swachh Survekshan, 2017.
  • Of the top 50 cities, 31 cities are in three states: Gujarat (12), Madhya Pradesh (11) and Andhra Pradesh (8), all which are pushing a cluster-based waste management approach.
  • Cities from Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh did well, while those from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar fared poorly in the ratings.

Analysis of the survey

  • An analysis done by CSEon the results of the Swachh Survekshan, 2017 shows that the top 3 cities in the survey – Indore, Bhopal and Vishakhapatnam – have adopted environmentally unsustainable practices for waste management.
  • The cities are focussing on collection of unsegregated waste and transporting it to landfills, with a very minimal quantum of waste being processed.
  • All three cities are dumping unsegregated waste. These cities are, therefore, not meeting the statutory requirements of the Municipal Solid Waste Rules (MSW Rules), 2016.
  • The MSW Rules, 2016 clearly state that waste needs to be segregated into three categories at the household level – wet, dry and domestic hazardous waste. Further the Rules stipulate that waste to energy plants shall not burn mixed waste. The Rules also put disposal at landfills as the least preferred option.
  • All these cities are pushing for cluster based waste management approach using waste to energy plants and landfills for processing and dumping of waste.
  • In contrast, cities that are working towards household-level segregation and decentralised recycling and reuse of waste have been given very poor ranking. Alappuzha (Kerala), which has a decentralised model for waste management, ranks 380th. Panjim city, which has adopted five point segregation, ranks 90th.

Way ahead

  • The methodology of Survekshan needs a serious relook as it is rewarding cities with environmentally unsustainable practices and discouraging cities that are working towards behaviour change and local solutions.
  • Next year, the ambit of Survekshan shall increase to 4041 statutory towns and cities of the country. The methodology of assessment needs to put in place more points for segregation and decentralised treatment. Solid Waste Management should move towards behaviour change and local solutions. Only then we can achieve the goal of a Clean India.

Question: What reforms should be initiated to make swachh Bharat not only a physical reality but also a sustainable reality?

 

2.Space for all: South Asia satellite launch a positive signal to the neighbourhood (The Hindu)

 Synoptic line: It throws light on India’s neighbour policy with the launch of South Asian satellite. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • India made its biggest space diplomacy push by launching the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09) carrying the GSAT-9 or the “South Asia” satellite from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
  • During the 18th SAARC Summit held in Nepal in 2014, India offered to ‘gift’ a satellite to SAARC member states. Initially, it was to be named “SAARC Satellite” but its name was changed to South Asia Satellite after Pakistan refused to join the project.
  • According to PM of India- With this launch we have started a journey to build the most advanced frontier of our partnership. With its position high in the sky, this symbol of South Asian cooperation would meet the aspirations of economic progress of more than 1.5 billion people in our region and extend our close links into outer space.

The South Asia Satellite- Boon for region

  • India’s The South Asia Satellite (GSAT-9) is a geosynchronous communications and meteorology satellite by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region.
  • The South Asia Satellite will help partner countries in effective communication, better governance, better banking and education in remote areas; the satellite provides crucial information on tele-medicine, tele-education, and television KU-band broadcasting opportunities. It is also equipped with remote sensing state of the art technology which enables the real time data weather condition and help in observations of the geology of the South Asian nations.
  • Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka are the users of the multi-dimensional facilities provided by the satellite. Pakistan initially declared its intention of participating in the project and offered India monetary and technical help. India rejected Pakistani offers, saying that it wanted the project to be a “gift” and multi-national collaboration would be time consuming. As a result, Pakistan declined to participate in the project.

Analysis

  • By launching SAARC satellite, India has no doubt gained goodwill across the subcontinent through the gesture. India does excel is in its space programme, as it is the only country in South Asia that has independently launched satellites on indigenously developed launch vehicles.
  • However, in recent years with the assistance of China, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have also launched satellites, while Afghanistan, the Maldives and Nepal are also has discussion on satellite projects with China. Bangladesh, which will launch its first satellite Bangabandhu-1 this year, is working with a European agency. With the GSLV launch India is showing that where it is capable its commitment to the development of its neighbours is strong.
  • Despite Pakistan’s decision to pull out, Indian government is signalling that it will continue with its plans for the neighbourhood ‘SAARC minus one’ if necessary. As Afghanistan President particularly aggrieved by Pakistan’s refusal to grant transit rights for India-Afghanistan trade, mentioned that “If cooperation through land is not possible, we can be connected through space.”

Way ahead

  • Space is emerging as a domain where you can see increasing competition between India and China. This can go a long way in improving regional human security indicators, particularly in the more impoverished cross-sections of the regional population across South Asia.
  • The satellite is also a step to counter China’s growing interest and dominance in the region. It is also an important step by India to enhance cooperation with the entire South Asia and reinforce its leadership position in the region. Therefore, it is being referred to as part of a space diplomacy program and “neighbourhood first” policy of the Indian government.

Question What are the implications of launching the South Asia satellite for regional prosperity and well-being?

 

3.Joint Indian Armed forces doctrine (The Hindu)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the recently announced Armed forces doctrine. (GS paper II)

Overview

  • India’s latest military doctrine has added surgical strikes, including across the border, among India’s possible responses to terrorist attacks.
  • The doctrine will serve as a cornerstone document for application of military power in a “synergised manner leading to enhanced efficiency, optimum utilisation of resources and financial savings.

Joint Indian Armed Forces Doctrine

  • The Joint Doctrine of the Indian Armed Forces 2017, released in April, has formally embedded surgical strikes as a part of sub-conventional operations meaning that from now on, they are among a range of options at the military’s disposal to respond to terrorist attacks.
  • Moreover, there is no mention of their employment being within the country or beyond its borders the ambiguity is intended to send a message in the neighbourhood.

An analysis regarding Surgical strikes

  • The doctrine also reiterates the basic tenets of the Indian nuclear doctrine, no-first use (NFU) and minimum credible deterrence, contrary to recent calls to revise the NFU and speculation in the West that India would resort to a first strike.
  • It adds that conflict will be determined or prevented through a process of credible deterrence, coercive diplomacy and conclusively by punitive destruction, disruption and constraint in a nuclear environment across the Spectrum of Conflict.
  • Flowing from the broader objective is the statement that Special Forces units will be “tasked to develop area specialisation in their intended operational theatres” to achieve an optimum effect.
  • The various objectives open up an entire gamut of capability addition and process optimisation for the Indian military to be able to enforce it. Achieving these broad objectives requires seamless synergy between the three services, a far cry in the present circumstances.

Way ahead

  • The doctrine is a bold announcement, but without the necessary elements in place, it will remain just another document like the policy formulations enunciated earlier. Or worse, it will be relegated to being another political slogan for popular resonance rather than send out a message of intent beyond Indian borders and shores.
  • Another important pronouncement under the “National Military Objectives” is: “Enable required degree of self-sufficiency in defence equipment and technology through indigenization to achieve desired degree of technological independence by 2035.”
  • This probably presents the biggest challenge of all given the fledgling state of the domestic defence-industrial complex. While a grand pronouncement was made under the “Make in India” initiative, it has essentially remained an exercise in doling out billions of dollars to foreign companies.

Question What are the merits of institutionalising the unconventional weapons such as surgical strikes for the armed forces. Critically analyse.

Explained

4.Colony collapse disorder (GS paper III)

Introduction

  • Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a disorder affecting honeybee colonies that is characterized by sudden colony death, with a lack of healthy adult bees inside the hive.
  • It is a phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and the queen.

Importance of honey bees

  • Bees are some of the hardest working creatures on the planet, and because of their laborious work ethic, we owe many thanks to this amazing yet often under appreciated insect.
  • Ever wondered where all the food that you eat comes from? Well it might surprise you that a significant proportion is provided by bees one way or another.

 If you look at the plate of food on your dinner table, bees have played their part either pollinating the many vegetables and fruits we eat directly, or pollinating the food for the animals that we then consume. And that’s not all bees do for us – honey and wax are two other important products that come courtesy of bees.

  • But honey bees are disappearing globally at an alarming rate due to pesticides, parasites, disease and habitat loss. If these little insects that help provide so much of the food, we eat then there will be serious implication if their disappearance goes unchecked.

 Colony collapse disorder

 Bees have been living with the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder for a decade. Ten years ago, beekeepers in the United States raised the alarm that thousands of their hives were mysteriously empty of bees. What followed was global concern over a new phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder.

  • Since then we have realised that it was not just the US that was losing its honey bees; similar problems have manifested all over the world.
  • Losing bees can have tragic consequences, for us as well as them. Bees are pollinators for about one-third of the plants we eat.
  • Colony collapse disorder causes significant economic losses because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by honey bees.
  • According to the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the worth of global crops with honey bee’s pollination was estimated at close to $200 billion in 2005.

 Why colony collapse disorder? 

  • For all bees, foraging on flowers is a hard life. It is energetically and cognitively demanding; bees have to travel large distances to collect pollen and nectar from sometimes hard-to-find flowers, and return it all to the nest. To do this they need finely tuned senses, spatial awareness, learning and memory.
  • Anything that damages such skills can make bees struggle to find food, or even get lost while trying to forage. A bee that cannot find food and make it home again is as good as dead.
  • Because of this, bee populations are very vulnerable to what we call “sub-lethal stressors” – factors that don’t kill the bees directly but can hamper their behaviour.
  • modern agriculture and industry have created a host of sub lethal stressors that damage bees’ cognition. For example, diesel fumes and neonicotinoid pesticides both reduce bees’ foraging efficiency by disturbing chemical communications in their brains.
  • Modern intensive agriculture disturbs bee nutrition, which impairs their brain. Climate change interferes with the relationship between bees and the plants on which they feed.
  • In addition, managed honey bees are afflicted by a range of pests, viruses and predators that have been spread around the world as a side-effect of international trade. The worst is the ominously named Varroa destructormite, which causes brain development disorders.

What can be done (Way ahead)

  • At the global level, to preserve our bees we have to improve the environments in which they collect food. Every small action can make a difference. Planting flower borders with bee-friendly flowers in your garden can provide food for both wild and domestic bees.
  • We can reduce or eliminate the use of herbicides or pesticides when gardening. Even mowing the lawn less often can help bees out.
  • We could install a native bee hive or insect hotel. Another tempting option is to buy local honey, which often has a more distinctive flavour than mass-produced versions.

Question What can be the possible move on part of civil societies and citizens to conserve the habitat for bees? What can be the possible threats to ignore the same?

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