GS PAPER I NEWS

Cyclone Yaas

Why in News

On 28th May, the depression over central parts of Jharkhand moved north-westwards and weakened into a Well-Marked Low-pressure area.

Key Points

  • The system is very likely to move north-westwards and weaken further into a low-pressure area during next 12 hours.
  • It lay as a well-marked low-pressure area over eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh and adjoining Bihar at 28th May, 2021.
  • The cyclone made landfall in Odisha and has raged over West Bengal and Jharkhand over the last few. Severe flooding and significant damage have been witnessed in many parts.

About Yaas

  • The Cyclone Yaas has been named by Oman.
  • Yaas refers to a tree that has a good fragrance and in English, the word is similar to Jasmine.
  • The intensity of cyclonic storm Yaas is likely to be similar to that of Cyclone Amphan, which hit the Sunderbans in south Bengal in May 2020, killing over 100 people and causing widespread damage in the region.
  • The depression over East-central Bay of Bengal has intensified into a Deep Depression and is about 600 km north-northwest of Port Blair.

How Cyclone names

  • A group of nations called WMO/ESCAP (World Meteorological Organisation/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) has been formed in 2000.
  • It comprised Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand, decided to start naming cyclones in the region.
  • After each country sent in suggestions, the WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones (PTC) finalised the list.
  • In 2018, the WMO/ESCAP expanded to include five more countriesIran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
  • The list of 169 cyclone names released by IMD in April 2020 were provided by these countries — 13 suggestions from each of the 13 countries.

Importance of cyclone name

  • Naming cyclone makes it easier for people to remember, as opposed to numbers and technical terms.
  • It also helps the scientific community, the media, disaster managers to memorise particular cyclone.
  • With a name, it is easy to identify individual cyclones, create awareness of its development, rapidly disseminate warnings to increased community preparedness and remove confusion where there are multiple cyclonic systems over a region.

About Cyclone

  • Cyclones are caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area distinguished by swift and often destructive air circulation.
  • It usually accompanied by violent storms and bad weather.
  • The air rotates inward in an anticlockwise direction in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise direction in the Southern hemisphere.
  • Cyclones are classified as:
  • Extra tropical cyclones:
  • It is also called wave cyclone or mid-latitude cyclone, a type of storm system formed in middle or high latitudes, in regions of large horizontal temperature variations called frontal zones.
  • Extratropical cyclones present a contrast to the more violent cyclones or hurricanes of the tropics, which form in regions of relatively uniform temperatures.
  • Tropical cyclones:
  • It is also called typhoon or hurricane, an intense circular storm that originates over warm tropical oceans.
  • It is characterized by low atmospheric pressure, high winds, and heavy rain.
  • In extreme cases winds may exceed 240 km (150 miles) per hour, and gusts may surpass 320 km (200 miles) per hour.

Formation of Cyclone

  • Tropical cyclones are formed over warm ocean water near the equator.
  • Warm moist air near the surface of the ocean rises upwards.
  • It creates a low-pressure area near the surface which results in the movement of cooler air from surrounding areas into the low-pressure area.
  • Now even this cool air becomes warm and moist and rises up and this cycle keeps continuing.
  • The warm moist air which rises up, cools the water in the air, resulting in the formation of clouds.
  • This whole system of clouds and winds spins and grows and entire cycle continues resulting in a cyclone.
  • When the winds reach a speed of 63 mph then it is called a tropical storm and when the winds reach a speed of 119 kmph it is called a tropical cyclone or hurricane.

GS PAPER II

Lakshadweep Administration

Why in News

Over the last few weeks, public anger has been simmering in the Lakshadweep islands over a number of controversial proposals floated by the Union Territory Administrator.

Controversial Proposals of Lakshadweep

  • Cow Slaughter and beef
  • Administration seeks to ban the slaughter of cow, calf, bull and buffalo without a certificate from a competent authority.
  • It prohibits the sale, transport and storage of beef and beef products.
  • Penalties include imprisonment for one year and a fine of Rs 10,000.
  • The Administration has not provided an explanation on why the rule was brought in.
  • Two-child Policy
  • Under the Draft Panchayat Regulation 2021, the Administration aims to bar people with more than two children from becoming a member of the gram panchayat.
  • For those who already have more than two children, the regulation does not disqualify them provided they do not have further children after the date on which the rule comes into effect.
  • Serving liquor to tourist
  • The Administration has decided to allow liquor to be served at resorts on inhabited islands.
  • Currently, prohibition is in place on all inhabited islands, with liquor served only at resorts on the uninhabited Bangaram island.
  • Land acquisition powers
  • The Administration brought in a draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation (LDAR) to oversee development of towns on the islands, with sweeping changes in the way land can be acquired and utilised.
  • It talks of declaration of ‘planning areas’ and constitution of ‘planning and development authorities’ for preparing a land use map and register, ostensibly for large projects.
  • Anti-Goonda regulation
  • The draft Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation provides for powers to detain a person for up to one year to prevent him from “acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”.
  • It allows for detention for anti-social activities from six months to a year without legal representation.
  • Covid-19 SOPs
  • For a year, Lakshadweep did not record any case of Covid-19.
  • Last December, Covid-19 SOPs were diluted by doing away with mandatory quarantine for travelers at Kochi and Kavaratti.
  • Instead, anyone with a negative RT-PCR certificate issued in the previous 48 hours could travel to Lakshadweep.

About Lakshadweep island

  • Lakshadweep is the archipelago of 36 islands across 12 atolls, closest to Kerala, on which it depends for essential supplies.
  • Only 10 of the islands are inhabited.
  • Once a part of Malabar district of the Madras Presidency, Lakshadweep was given Union Territory status following Kerala state’s formation in 1956.
  • With a population of 65,000 (2011 Census), Lakshadweep is India’s smallest Union Territory.
  • It has the highest population share of Muslims (96%) and Scheduled Tribes (94.8%) among the UTs. Residents speak Malayalam and Dhivehi.
  • Apart from the UT Administration, there are dweep panchayat councils.

France and the Rwandan genocide

Why in News

On 27th May, the French President asked for forgiveness for his country’s role in the 1994 Rwandan massacre in which about 8,00,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were killed.

French-Rwanda Relation

  • France, which enjoyed close ties with Rwanda, has long been criticised for its role in the killings of the Tutsi minorities in the months of April to June 1994.
  • In May 2019, President Macron, promising a new beginning with Rwanda, set up a 15-member expert committee to investigate his country’s role in the genocide.
  • The committee submitted its findings to the government in March, which stated that France bore “heavy and overwhelming responsibilities” for being “blind” to the events that led/to the killings.
  • The report blamed Mitterrand for a “failure” of policy towards Rwanda in 1994.
  • Rwanda had commissioned a separate inquiry, which concluded in a report submitted to the Cabinet in April that France “enabled” the genocide.

Genocide

  • The crisis escalated in the 1990s when the RPF, led by Paul Kagame, the current President, grew in strength and posed a serious challenge to the regime of President Habyarimana, who was backed by France and had defence ties with Israel.
  • In 1993, Habyarimana, who rose to power in 1973, was forced to sign a peace agreement (Arusha Accords) with the RPF.
  • This led to resentment among Hutu militias, backed by the government, towards local Tutsi population, who were accused of collaborators of the RPF.
  • On April 6, 1994, a Falcon 50 jet carrying Habyarimana and his Burundi counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down near Kigali International Airport.
  • The Hutuled government blamed the RPF for the attack on the presidential jet.
  • The military and Hutu militias, mainly Interahamwe, unleashed violence against Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
  • Mr. Kagame has denied any involvement in shooting down the plane. The RPF says Hutu extremists ordered the attack to use it as an excuse for the genocide (which they were preparing for long before the plane downing) as well as to capture power.
  • The killings were a preplanned extermination campaign. The militias, with support from the government, launched a premeditated violent campaign on April 7, aimed at eliminating the entire Tutsi communities.
  • Interahamwe militants went to cities and villages across the country, hunting down Tutsis, and asking Hutus to join the campaign, killing at a pace of 8,000 people a day.
  • The Hutus who opposed the killings were also targeted.
  • The militias used a radio station to coordinate the killings. Bodies were dumped in the Nyabarongo River.
  • France, which had backed the Hutu government, did nothing to stop the massacre. Thousands were slaughtered in churches where they sought refuge.
  • The Catholic Church had deep ties with the ruling Hutu elites – Archbishop Vincent Nsengiyumva was a member of the ruling party’s central committee.
  • Many priests were involved in the killings. In a visit to Rwanda in 2017, Pope Francis asked for forgiveness for the Church’s role in the killings.
  • The violence continued for three months.

Ending of Genocide

  • The killings came to an end after the RPF, under Mr. Kagame’s command, captured Kigali and toppled the Hutu regime.
  • While the RPF put an end to the Hutu campaign to exterminate Tutsis, the rebels were also accused of carrying out revenge killings during the civil war.
  • When it was evident that the RPF was winning, an estimated 2 million Hutus fled Rwanda, mainly to the neighbouring Zaire (the Democratic Republic of Congo), where Hutu militias are still operating from.
  • The RPF initially went about establishing a multi-ethnic government with Pasteur Bizimungu, a Hutu, being the President. Mr. Kagame, a Tutsi, was his deputy.
  • In 2000, Mr. Kagame assumed the Presidency and continues to be in power till today.

Unemployment Rate in India

Why in News

According to the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) ILOSTAT database, India’s unemployment rate rose sharply to 7.11% in the pandemic year 2020 to reach the highest level in at least three decades.

Key Points

  • As per Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s (CMIE), in 2021, data rose from 6.62% in January to 7.97% in April.
  • According to CMIE, amidst lockdown and restrictions on mobility, the unemployment rate reached 14.5% in the May 16, 2021, and rose further to 14.7% for the week ended May 23.

Unemployment Rate in India

  • For over a decade, India’s joblessness has been more acute than its immediate neighbours, while till 2009 Sri Lanka used to have a higher rate.
  • As per Indian government’s periodic labour force survey (PLFS) data, unemployment rate of India was 6.1% in 2017-18, a 45-year high.
  • The rate was dipped to 5.8% in 2018-19, but is sure to have gone up to a much higher level in 2020-21.
  • The National Statistical Office (NSO) has been conducting PLFS since April 2017 to estimate the key employment and unemployment indicators.
  • According to the ILO database, India’s unemployment rate rose between 2008 (5.36%) and 2010 (5.65%), and then fell between 2013 (5.67%) and 2019 (5.27%). It then rose sharply to 7.11% in 2020.

Global Unemployment Rate

  • Globally, the average unemployment rate was 6.47% in 2020, up from 5.37% in 2019.
  • In 1991, the average global unemployment rate was 4.8%.
  • Sri Lanka had the higher unemployment rate at 5.85% in 2009 compared with India’s 5.61%; but since then, the island nation has improved on the most important parameter of the labour market that gauges ability of an economy to generate employment.
  • According to the ILO, in 2020, the unemployment rate of Bangladesh was 5.3%, 4.48% in Sri Lanka, 4.65% in Pakistan, 4.44% in Nepal and 3.74% in Bhutan.
  • According to the Centre for Economic and Data Analysis (CEDA), when compared to the US, the UK and Germany, India had a higher unemployment rate than the other three between 2015 and 2019 but in 2020, the US had a higher unemployment rate than India.

International Labour Organization (ILO)

  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social and economic justice through setting international labour standards.
  • It was founded in October 1919 under the League of Nations;
  • The ILO consists 187 member states: 186 out of 193 UN member states plus the Cook Islands.
  • It headquartered at Geneva, Switzerland, with around 40 field offices around the world.
  • ILO aimed at ensuring accessible, productive, and sustainable work worldwide in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India

Why in News

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has asked Amul to make a decision to switch to producing vegan milk.

Key Points

  • PETA stated that dairy cooperative society should get benefitted from the booming vegan food and milk market.
  • PETA is encouraging Amul to benefit from the booming vegan food and milk market, instead of wasting resources trying to fight the demand for plant-based products that is only growing.
  • In reply of PETA, Amul stated that, most of the dairy farmers are landless and prioritizing ‘Vegan Milk’ in place of cow milk may kill their only source of livelihood.
  • In India, most people would be astonished to learn that the dairy sector is the primary supplier of cattle to the beef industry and that most family farms are now gone.
  • According to the new regulations of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in 2017, a company cannot claim or suggest in advertisements and packaging that a non-milk product is made out of milk.

Vegan Milk

  • Vegan milk, also known as plant milk, nut milk, and non-dairy milk, is a beverage that has been consumed for centuries in various parts of the world for a variety of reasons.
  • Some choose to drink it due to health reasons such as an allergy to lactose or dairy milk while others drink it for the nutritional benefits it offers.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India

  • PETA India was established in January 2000 Mumbai.
  • It operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way, while also educating policymakers and the public about animal abuse and promoting an understanding of the right of all animals to be treated with respect.
  • It focuses primarily on the areas in which the greatest numbers of animals suffer the most: in laboratories, in the food industry, in the leather trade, and in the entertainment business.

GS PAPER III

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)

Why in News

Recently, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) issued new guidelines for toll plaza.

Key Points

  • According to the Ministry, waiting time at toll plazas has reduced drastically after the implementation of the FASTag.
  • According to the NHAI, at most of the toll plazas, there is no waiting time after the mandatory 100% FASTag.
  • Even then if there is a queue of waiting vehicles of more than 100 metres due to some reason, the vehicles will be allowed to pass without paying toll till the queue comes within 100 meters from the toll booth”.
  • According to NHAI, social distancing has become the new norm, commuters are increasingly looking at FASTag as a toll payment option as it nullifies the chances of any human contact between the drivers and the toll operators.

New guidelines for Toll Plaza

  • Waiting time of not more than 10 seconds per vehicle even during peak hours at the toll plazas on the National Highways.
  • Seamless flow of traffic at the toll plazas by preventing vehicles to queue up more than 100 metres.
  • If there is a queue of waiting vehicles of more than 100 metres, the vehicles will be allowed to pass without paying a toll.
  • A yellow line at a distance of 100 metres from the toll booth will be marked in each toll lane.

Significance

  • The new guidelines of NHAI will reduced waiting times, with a further sense of accountability in the operators.
  • This new guideline will increase number of people are considering FASTag as a means to pay tolls.
  • The overall FASTag penetration in NHAI toll plazas has reached 96%, while at some tolls it is as high as 99%.
  • With the adoption of Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) across the country, the NHAI is also working on developing upcoming toll plazas with a new design that’ll efficiently handle projected traffic over the next 10 years.

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)

  • The NHAI was formulated under the National Highways Authority of India Act, 1988.
  • It is a nodal agency of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
  • Section 16(1) of the Act states that the function of NHAI is to develop, maintain and manage the national highways and any other highways vested in, or entrusted to, it by the Government of India.
  • The NHAI is also responsible of the toll collection on several highways.
  • Yogendra Narain was the first Chairman of NHAI in 1988.
  • NHAI has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Space Research Organisation for satellite mapping of highways.