Daily Mains Newsletter for UPSC 24 Jun 2022

Daily Mains Newsletter For
UPSC | RaghukulCS

24 June 2022 -Friday


Table of Contents

Conservation of Wetlands

In News, why?

  • In order to effectively sequester carbon, a new paper recommends that wetland protection be discussed separately during the negotiations at the upcoming biodiversity and climate change conferences.
  • The long-term storage of carbon in vegetation, soil, rock formations, and the ocean is known as carbon sequestration.
  • In a recent white paper, experts from the Wetlands International, a global non-profit, proposed five international, science-based conservation initiatives to preserve and restore wetlands.
  • The recommendations come ahead of the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CoP15), which will take place in Montreal, Canada, and the 27th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (CoP27), which will take place in Egypt later this year.

What are the five goals that Wetlands International recommends be accomplished by 2030?

  • The 10 million hectares of drained peatlands that need to be recovered along with the remaining, undrained peatland carbon reserves should be preserved.
  • 20% of the world’s land is covered with mangroves.
  • the maintenance of free-flowing rivers and floodplains, as well as improving the restoration of the local floodplain ecology and its function.
  • The Volta River in West Africa has risen by 10% in the area of the tidal flats.
  • 50 percent of the 7,000 vitally significant sites along the flyways are identified and will be managed favourably.

Wetlands are what?

  • Wetlands are regions where water plays a major role in regulating the environment and the plant and animal life that goes along with it. They manifest themselves where the land is submerged in water or where the water table is at or close to the surface of the ground.
  • “Lands transitioning between terrestrial and aquatic eco-systems where the water table is typically at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water” is how wetlands are described.

What Function Do Wetlands Serve?

  • Wetlands are a type of highly productive environment that are responsible for roughly two-thirds of the world’s fish harvest.
  • Integral Function in the Watershed’s Ecology: The formation of organisms that serve as the foundation of the food web and sustain numerous species of fish, amphibians, shellfish, and insects is made possible by the combination of shallow water and high nutrient levels.
  • Carbon Sequestration: Microbes, plants, and animals found in wetlands are involved in the world cycles of water, nitrogen, and sulphur. Instead of releasing carbon dioxide into the sky as carbon monoxide, wetlands store carbon within their plant communities and soil.
  • Wetlands serve as natural barriers that restrict the release of floodwaters, rainwater, snowmelt, and groundwater, lowering flood levels and reducing soil erosion. Wetland vegetation also lessens soil erosion and slows the speed of flood flows, lowering flood heights.
  • More than a billion people rely on wetlands for their livelihood, and 40% of all species on Earth live and reproduce there. This makes wetlands essential to humankind and the health of the planet.
  • Food, raw materials, genetic resources for pharmaceuticals, and hydropower are all crucially dependent on wetlands.
  • They are crucial for travel, tourism, and people’s cultural and spiritual wellbeing.
  • They offer habitat for animals and plants, and many of them include a broad variety of life, sustaining plants and animals that are unique to that area.
  • Regions of Natural Beauty: A lot of wetlands are beautiful natural areas that draw tourists, and many of them are significant to Aboriginal people.
  • Wetlands also offer significant advantages to industry, which is another benefit. For instance, they serve as fish nurseries and are essential to the commercial and recreational fishing industries as well as other freshwater and marine species.

What Dangers Face Wetlands?

  • Urbanization: 
  • The urge to create residential, industrial, and commercial facilities on wetlands close to urban centres is growing. Urban wetlands are crucial for maintaining the availability of public water.
  • Agriculture:
  • Huge wetlands stretches have been transformed into paddy fields. The hydrology of the nearby wetlands was considerably changed by the construction of numerous reservoirs, canals, and dams for irrigation purposes.
  • Wetlands serve as natural water filters, reducing pollution. However, they are only able to remove fertilisers and pesticides from agricultural runoff; they cannot remove mercury or other types of pollution.
  • Concern over how industrial pollution affects wetlands’ biological variety and drinking water supplies is on the rise.
  • Changing Climate: Wetlands may also be impacted by rising sea levels, changing precipitation patterns, more frequent storms, droughts, and floods, as well as higher atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.
  • Dredging is the process of removing soil from a riverbed or marsh. The water table in the area is decreased and nearby wetlands are dried up by stream dredging.
  • Wetlands are drained by digging canals into the earth that collect and move water away from the wetland. The wetland dries up and the water table drops as a result.
  • Introduced Species: Exotic introduced plant species like water hyacinth and salvinia pose a menace to Indian wetlands. They obstruct rivers and outcompete local plants.
  • Salinization: Excessive groundwater withdrawal has caused salinization.
  • Introduced Species: Exotic introduced plant species like water hyacinth and salvinia pose a menace to Indian wetlands. They obstruct rivers and outcompete local plants.
  • Salinization: Excessive groundwater withdrawal has caused salinization.

Way ahead

  • Wetland management requires an integrated strategy for planning, carrying out, and monitoring in order to combat unplanned urbanisation and a growing population.
  • Collaborations between academics and professionals, such as planners, ecologists, and watershed management experts, are effective for managing wetlands as a whole.
  • By launching programmes to raise awareness of the value of wetlands and continuously checking the water quality of wetlands, important steps can be taken to protect them from further deterioration.

Island Snake

In News, why?

In airstrikes on Zmiinyi Island, also known as Snake Island, in the Black Sea, Ukraine has significantly damaged Russian military equipment.

The attack on the island is thought to be the second significant military victory involving missiles that the West had provided to Ukraine.

Snake Island is where?

  • Features: Zmiinyi Island, often called Snake or Serpent Island, is a small, X-shaped rock that is less than 700 metres long from end to end.
  • Location: The Black Sea port city of Odessa is located around 35 kilometres from the Black Sea shore, to the east of the Danube River’s mouth.
  • After the Volga, the Danube is the second-longest river in Europe. It begins in the German Black Forest mountains and travels 2,850 kilometres before emptying into the Black Sea.
  • The little Ukrainian settlement of Bile, which is on the island, is what identifies it on a map.

The Black Sea is where?

  • Black Sea is surrounded by Ukraine to the north and northwest, Russia, Georgia, Turkey, and Bulgaria and Romania to the east, south, and west.
  • The Black Sea Straits, which connect the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea via the Dardanelles and the Sea of Marmara to the Sea of Marmara via the Bosphorus, have long served as Russia’s warm water entryway to Europe.
  • The Kerch Strait connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
  • Russian significance:
  • Strategic Buffer: 
  • The Black Sea serves as a barrier between NATO nations and Russia as well as a gateway to the Mediterranean.
Geostrategic Importance:
  • Moscow must dominate the Black Sea region in order to project its dominance over the Mediterranean and to protect its economic entryway to southern Europe’s most important markets.
  • Since the 2014 Crimean conflict, Russia has been working to take full control of the Black Sea.
  • Along with building a land bridge to connect Russia and Crimea, controlling the Black Sea has been a key Russian goal in the current conflict.
  • Taking away Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea will leave it landlocked and do irreparable damage to its trade logistics.

Banking cooperatives

In News, why?

  • The National Federation of Urban Cooperative Banks and Credit Societies (NAFCUB) recently hosted a conclave, and the Minister of Home Affairs and Cooperation spoke there, emphasising the need for reforms for urban cooperative banks (UCB).
  • The NAFCUB is the country’s highest level promotional organisation for urban cooperative banks and credit societies. Its goals are to advance the urban cooperative credit movement and safeguard the Sector’s interests.

The Cooperative Banks: What Are They?

  • The institution was founded on a cooperative basis to handle routine banking activities. In order to start a cooperative bank, money is raised through the sale of shares, along with deposits and loans.
  • They are cooperative credit unions in which individuals from the same community band together to provide one another loans on advantageous conditions.
  • They are registered under the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act of 2002 or the Cooperative Societies Act of the relevant State.
  • The Banking Regulations Act of 1949 governs Co-operative banks.
  • Cooperative Societies Act of Banking Laws, 1955.
  • They can be broadly split into cooperative urban and rural banks.
  • Entities that are owned by their customers: Members of cooperative banks own the banks as well as use it.
  • Democratic Member Control: The members who democratically elect the board of directors for these banks own and run them. According to the “one person, one vote” cooperative principle, members typically have equal voting rights.
  • Profit Allocation: With certain legal and statutory restrictions, a portion of the co-annual operative’s profit, benefits, or surplus may be transferred to its members. A major portion of this profit is typically set aside as reserves.
  • Financial Inclusion: They have significantly contributed to the financial inclusion of rural populations who do not have bank accounts. They offer low-cost lending to large populations in rural areas.
  • Urban Cooperative Banks:
  • The term “Urban Cooperative Banks” (UCB) refers to main cooperative banks that are situated in urban and semi-urban areas but is not technically defined.
  • Due to their regional focus, the Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs), Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS), Regional Rural Banks (RRBs), and Local Area Banks (LABs) might all be categorised as differentiated banks.
  • These banks were only permitted to make loans until 1996 for non-agricultural uses. Today, this distinction is no longer valid.
  • Since they primarily financed to small borrowers and enterprises, these banks were historically focused on neighbourhoods and local workgroups. Their operational range has significantly expanded as of late.

What difficulties do the cooperative banks face?

Adapting Financial Sector Trends:
  • The continued existence of the UCBs, which are typically small in size, lack professional management, and have less geographically diversified operations, is threatened by changes in the financial sector and evolving microfinance, FinTech companies, payment gateways, social platforms, e-commerce companies, and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs).
Two-way Control:
  • The state registrar of society and the RBI both have dual control over the UCBs.
  • However, the RBI was given control over all UCBs and multi-state cooperatives in 2020.
  • Cooperatives have also developed into means of regulatory arbitrage, allowing lenders to get around lending and anti-money laundering laws.
  • The Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank scandal investigation has revealed egregious financial mismanagement and a total failure of internal control procedures.
  • Agricultural Credit Is Declining: 
  • The RBI research observed that despite the sector’s critical importance, its percentage of overall agricultural lending has been steadily declining over time, from as high as 64 percent in 1992–1993 to just 11.3 percent in 2019–20.
  • Unfair Audit:
  • It is commonly known that audits are neither regular nor thorough and are completed solely by department officials. There are several delays in the execution of audits and the submission of reports.
  • Government Interference
  • From the start, the government had a patronising attitude toward the movement. Cooperative institutions were handled as if they were integral parts of the government’s administrative structure.
  • Limited Exposure: 
  • These cultures have never been very large. Most of these societies only have a small number of members, and they only operate in one or two villages. They are unable to increase their capabilities or their operational area since their resources are constrained.

What recent developments have there been?

  • The Supervisory Action Framework (SAF) for UCBs was updated by the RBI in January 2020.
  • The Central Government enacted an Ordinance in June 2020 to directly subordinate all urban and multi-state cooperative banks to the RBI.
  • A committee that was constituted by RBI in 2021 made a four-tier structure recommendation for UCBs.
  • All unit UCBs, salary earner UCBs (regardless of deposit size), and all other UCBs with deposits up to Rs 100 crore are included in Tier 1.
  • Tier 2 includes UCBs with deposits of between Rs 100 crore and Rs 1,000 crore, Tier 3 includes UCBs with deposits of between Rs 1,000 crore and Rs 10,000 crore, and Tier 4 includes UCBs with deposits of over Rs 10,000 crore.

Way ahead

  • A pivotal point in the history of the cooperative movement would be the founding of the nation’s dedicated Ministry of Cooperation.
  • In order to prevent UCB disruption and to restore public confidence in the cooperative banking system, the RBI should interpret the requirements of the Act.
  • Institutional reforms are required for their development, such as hiring practices that are transparent and the installation of a reliable accounting system.
  • Young professionals and professionals in managerial positions must be recruited in order to move cooperation forward.
  • The Urban Credit Cooperative Societies, in particular their accounting software and common bylaws, require further attention from NAFCUB.
  • The country and world need good Urban Cooperative Banks in every community. In addition to addressing the issues facing cooperative banks, NAFCUB needs to do a better job promoting symmetrical development.

Project to Link the Rivers of Bedti and Varada

In News, why?

  • The project to connect the Bedti and Varada rivers in Karnataka has drawn criticism from environmental groups who label it unscientific and a waste of tax dollars.

The Bedti-Varada Project is what?

  • In 1992, the Bedti-Varada project was envisioned to provide drinking water.
  • The Bedti, a river that runs west into the Arabian Sea, and the Varada, a tributary of the Tungabhadra River that empties into the Krishna, which empties into the Bay of Bengal, are intended to be connected by the proposal.
  • At Hirevadatti in the Gadag district, a sizable dam will be built.
  • At Menasagoda in Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district, a second dam will be constructed on the Pattanahalla river.
  • Tunnels will transport water from both dams to the Varada.
  • After the water reaches Kengre, it will travel 6.88 kilometres in a tunnel to Hakkalumane, where it will connect to the Varada.
  • Thus, the project calls for transporting water from Uttara Kannada district’s water-rich Sirsi-Yellapura region to the parched Raichur, Gadag, and Koppal districts.
  • A total of 302 million cubic metres of water from the Bedti and Varada rivers’ Pattanahalla and Shalmalahalla tributaries will be used, while 222 million cubic metres of water will be taken from the Suremane barrier constructed to block the Bedti river.
  • To transport the water all the way to Gadag, the Project would require 61 megawatts of power. It is still uncertain whether the water will reach Gadag after this.

What problems are related to this project?

  • Redirect:
  • It is challenging to get a river that is currently flowing westward move in the opposite direction.
  • Rain-fed Rivers:
  •  The Bedti and Varada rivers start to dry up in the early summer.
  • It is a cruel irony that government scientists intend to connect these rivers under the guise of supplying drinking water even though they are well aware that they do not flow continuously.
  • Inaccurate Project Report:
  • The irrigation department’s Detailed Project Report (DPR) is inaccurate since it was created without considering the water supply and without citing the National Water Development Agency’s (NWDA) findings regarding the interconnection of the Bedti-Aghanashini and Varada rivers.
  • Environmental Impact:
  • Forests covering more than 500 acres will be lost. The final outcome will be that there won’t be any water.
  • This project will harm both the flora and fauna.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature has recognised the Bedti valley as an active biodiversity zone.
  • Along with 420 different bird and animal species, the region is home to 1,741 different varieties of flowering plants.
  • Particularly at the Bedti’s estuary in Dedi, the nutrients that the river transports are responsible for maintaining fish populations.
  • About 35 distinct animal species use the river valley as a corridor. In the estuary area, the Bedti is referred to as Gangavali.
  • Affect Lifelines for Thousands:
  •  In addition to fishing communities along the shore, thousands of farmers in the Malenadu region, at the foot of the Western Ghats, rely on the Bedti and Varada rivers for their livelihood.

Way ahead

River interlinking offers advantages and disadvantages, but because of the potential economic, political, and environmental repercussions, it might not be a good idea to implement this project at a centralised national level.

In order to lessen floods and droughts, decentralised efforts to connect rivers may be explored instead. Rainwater collecting should also be encouraged.

Powers of the Governor to Order a Floor Test

In News, why?

  • The Governor’s decision to order the floor test has once again come under scrutiny due to the political instability in Maharashtra.

What constitutional clauses are relevant to the governor’s request for a floor test?

  • According to Article 174 of the Constitution, the Governor has the power to call, adjourn, and dissolve the state legislative assembly.
  • The Governor may dissolve the Assembly with the assistance and recommendation of the government, according to Article 174(2)(b) of the Constitution. When the advise comes from a Chief Minister whose support may be in question, the Governor can use his judgement.
  • The Governor may convene the House and order a floor test under Article 175(2) to determine if the government has the necessary number of members.
  • The Speaker is the one who has the authority to declare a floor test during a House session. However, the Governor may call for a floor test when the Assembly is not in session thanks to his residuary powers under Article 163.
  • Governor’s Discretionary Power:
  • Article 163 (1) effectively restricts the Governor’s discretionary powers to situations in which the Constitution clearly mandates that the Governor must act independently and with independent judgement.
  • When the chief minister no longer has the backing of the House and his legitimacy is in question, the Governor may utilise his discretionary authority under Article 174.
  • The opposition and the governor would often get together for a floor test when there is suspicion that the chief minister has lost the majority.
  • The courts have also repeatedly made it clear that a floor test must be conducted as soon as possible when the majority of the ruling party is in doubt.

How does the Supreme Court feel about the Governor’s ability to call the Floor Test?

  • The Supreme Court ruled in Nabam Rebia and Bamang Felix v. Deputy Speaker (the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly case) in 2016 that the Governor does not have exclusive authority to call a special session of the House and should instead act with the assistance and counsel of the Council of Ministers.
  • The Court emphasised the fact that the Governor is not an elected official but rather the President’s nominee, and that a nominee cannot exercise absolute power over the elected officials who make up the House or Houses of the State Legislature.
Describe the floor test.
  • It is a phrase that refers to the majority test. The Chief Minister (CM) of a State may be required to demonstrate the majority in the House if there are any questions against them.
  • The CM might be requested to initiate a vote of confidence and secure a majority in the event of a coalition administration.
  • The Governor may call a special session to determine who has the majority to form the government in the absence of a clear majority when more than one person is staking a claim.
  • Some lawmakers might decide not to vote or be absent. Then, only those MLAs who were present for the vote are taken into account.
Share on print
Print PDF

Share With Your Friends

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

Leave a Reply