Cyclone brewing in Arabian Sea

Paper: I

Mains: General Studies-I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.

Why in news:

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast a cyclone in the Arabian sea that is likely to move towards Gujarat and Maharashtra by June 3.

Key Details:

  • While such storms are common at this time of the year, their path can have a bearing on the progress of the monsoon.
  • The IMD has indicated that the monsoon is likely to set in over Kerala early this week though other agencies say it has already set in.
  • Currently, the storm in the Arabian Sea has been classified as a “low pressure area” and is expected to increase in intensity and culminate into a “cyclonic storm”.
  • As of now, meteorologists expect the storm to move parallel to the West Coast and then curve and make landfall in either Gujarat or Maharashtra.

Effect on monsoon:

  • Cyclonic storms are common in the pre-monsoon season. The path taken by the cyclones can have a bearing on the progress of the monsoons.
  • In 2019, Cyclone Vayu, which formed in the Arabian Sea, stalled the monsoons after it entered Kerala.
  • The expected path of the developing cyclonic storm could stall the progress of monsoons in the Indian subcontinent.
  • If the developing cyclone turns inwards towards the mainland, it would, other than the associated destruction, stall the monsoon progress.
  • If the storm stays close to the coast, it could help push the monsoon related circulation further up along the coast. However, if it turns towards Oman it could suck away moisture and winds and reduce the monsoon rains over the Indian subcontinent.

Friend turned foe: the Oli problem

Paper: II

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in News:

Nepal’s decision to pass a constitutional amendment to change Nepal’s official map to include parts of Indian Territory that have been in dispute.

Key Details:

  • The promulgation of the Nepali Constitution, one that India felt was unfair to Madhesi’s living in the south and unrepresentative of India’s interests in the country, seems to mark a drastic change in the relationship between India and Nepal.
  • The blockade at the India-Nepal border resulted in supplies into landlocked Nepal being stopped for months. This adversely affected the India-Nepal relations.
  • The eight-point transit and transport facilitation from China seems to have tilted Nepal towards a stronger relationship with China.
  • The release of India’s new political map of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh has been the latest flashpoint in the relations.

Challenges:

Anti-India poll plank:

  • The concern over Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s “nationalist politics” translating into an “anti-India” stance seems to be coming true for India.
  • Oli has been running an anti-India poll plank during recent elections.
  • For PM Oli, this anti-India stance based on nationalistic plank seems to be a legacy building exercise in the Nepali political landscape.
  • The growing discord against Mr. Oli’s leadership within his own party has resulted in Mr. Oli taking a hard stance towards India in an effort to deflect attention from domestic affairs.

Fissure in ties:

  • India has also hardened its position with Mr. Oli.
  • Despite the agreement in 2014 over Foreign Secretaries meeting on the Kalapani and Susta disputes, no meeting on the disputes has been held in six years.
  • The Nepal PM, wooed by the U.S. and China due to its strategic location, has been insisting on more strategic autonomy in the region and moving away from its traditionally strong relation with India.

Too many aspirants for MGNREGS jobs

Paper: III

Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in News:

  • As the COVID-19 induced reverse migration has brought many families to their native places in the northern districts of Karnataka, the onus is now on creating more person days under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) scheme.
  • While there are still problems at the ground level, the reality is that not all can find jobs under the scheme.

Key Details:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has induced reverse migration which has brought many families to their native places.
  • There is a need for extensive preparations to gainfully employ labourers, who have returned from big cities, through the MGNREGS.

Issues & Concerns:

  • Not all interested people have been able to find jobs under the scheme. The sheer magnitude of reverse migration makes it impossible for the administration to create jobs for all under a single scheme.
  • Representatives of farmers’ organizations have complained of corruption and non-cooperation at village level. Activists complain that village-level officials are not enthusiastic about the scheme.

Conclusion:

  • The best option for migrant workers is MNREGA as only 20% of the workers could find jobs in stone quarries and in farm activities
  • There is a need to create more person days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Locust control: ‘govt. ignoring non-chemical measures’

Paper: III

Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news:

A prominent Prof. Rajinder Chaudhary, Advisor, Kudarti Kheti Abhiyan, Haryana has expressed disappointment over the fact that despite the known side-effects of aerial spraying of pesticides, the government’s locust control policy was focused only on chemical spray.

Key details:

  • The Central Government’s locust control policy has been focused on the use of pesticides.
  • The government has been taking steps to increase its capacity for aerial spray of poisonous pesticides for locust control.
  • Rajinder Chaudhary, Advisor, Kudrati Kheti Abhiyan, Haryana has expressed concerns over the potential side-effects of aerial spraying of pesticides.
  • The government seems to have completely ignored non-chemical measures despite the fact that a number of effective non-chemical remedies have been suggested by experts from India and abroad.

Ill-effects:

  • The ill-effects of aerial spraying of dangerous pesticides are well-established. The hazardous and long-life chemicals would pollute the water and soil which could have a detrimental effect on the environment and human health.

Other methods:

  • The non-chemical methods would provide an effective approach to control locusts without serious side-effects.
  • There are numerous strategies available under the non-chemical framework.
  • The non-chemical measures could involve the use of biological methods to control locusts.
  • One simple strategy would be to protect birds that eat the predatory insects.
  • China’s deployment of the duck army is now becoming a diplomatic policy. China had even sent its duck army to Pakistan to deal with the locust menace.
  • Use of bio-pesticides provides for an effective solution. The oil formulations of Metarhizium anisopliae spores (mycopesticide) provide an effective control measure for locusts. Metarhizium biopesticide kills 70%-90% of treated locusts within 14-20 days, with no measurable impact on non-target organisms.

Other method to control locust attack:

  • Involves spraying mud (sub soil with high clay content) on to the standing crops.
  • locusts cannot digest the clay content; this measure will help control locusts without serious side-effects.

Conclusion:

There is a need to ensure that the locust control measures do not pollute air, water, environment and the food chain.There is a need for an integrated pest management strategy.If chemical methods cannot be neglected all together, then at least in the areas near the population and close to catchment and storage areas of waterbodies, the government must adopt the safer non-chemical measures instead of adopting chemical measures.