Current Affairs 2nd March, 2019


Topics Covered

1. World Geography- Physical

Fires are crucial component of some Forest Systems

Image result for Fires are crucial component of some Forest Systems

What to read?

Prelims and Mains – Forest Fires, Causes and Major forest fire regions in India, Highlights of the study and Methods followed to contain forest fire

Six scientists who study fire-prone forest systems across India have written an open letter on the importance of “fighting fire with fire.”

Highlights of the Study – Need of the Hour – Subtle view on Forest Fire

  • According to the scientists, forest fires have been occurring in India from at least 60,000 years ago, ever since modern humans appeared here. Forests that we think are natural and ‘pristine’ have often been created by anthropogenic burning for thousands of years.

  • In fact, several native trees and plants in these landscapes have “co-evolved” with fire: fire helps revive dormant seeds of many species.

  • Growth of trees post-fire - A study in Mudumalai showed that even young woody trees survive ground fires and have higher growth rates immediately post-fire, until they reach a certain height.

  • Another study reveals that  fires, along with seasonal droughts, which are problematic, are important drivers of dry deciduous tracts across Andhra Pradesh-Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka

  • Fires detrimental is derived from colonialism-The concept of fires being entirely detrimental to these ecosystemshas been derived from a colonial concept that looked at forests only for their timber potential. As a result, fire exclusion and suppression is the norm.

  • More evidence points to fires even suppressing invasive species.

  • High-intensity fires would have negative effects, agree the scientists, but they happen only because dry biomass has been allowed to build up and low-intensity controlled burning has been stopped.

  • Causes of Forest Fire

    Forest fires are caused by Natural causes as well as Man-made or anthropogenic causes

    • Natural causes such as lightning which set trees on fire. High atmospheric temperatures and low humidity offer favourable circumstance for a fire to start.

    • Man-made causes like flame, cigarette, electric spark or any source of ignition will also cause forest fires.

    • Traditionally Indian forests have been affected by fires. The problem has been aggravated with rising human and cattle population and the increase in demand for grazing, shifting cultivation and Forest products by individuals and communities.

    • High temperature, wind speed and direction, level of moisture in soil and atmosphere and duration of dry spells can intensify the forest fires.

    Major Forest fire regions in India

    Related image

    • Forest fires are a major cause of degradation of India’s forests. Human-made forest fires in the Himalayan states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have been a regular and historic feature. The Himalayan forests, particularly, Garhwal Himalayas witness major fire incidents.

    • Forests with chir pine are very prone to fire as they easily catch fire.

    • 291 forest fires have occurred in Uttarakhand, 2,422 in Chhattisgarh and 2,349 in Odisha. Madhya Pradesh reported 2,238 forest fires.

    • Maharastra, Assam and Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu states also reported several incidents of Forest fires in the recent past.

    PAPER – 2

    Topics Covered

    1. Governance

    2. Statutory Body

    3. Governmental Intervention to protect the weaker sections of the society

    Plan to introduce Mechanised Cleaning Sweepers

    Image result for Plan to introduce Mechanised Cleaning Sweepers

    What to read?

    Prelims – NCSK

    Mains – About the plan and its necessity

    NCSK Welcomes Delhi Government’s plan to introduce Mechanized Cleaning of Sewers.

    The Commission has urged the Delhi Government to immediately ban the hazardous cleaning of Sewer/Septic Tanks manually and for introduction of complete mechanization of this type of cleaning so that further misshaping could be avoided.

    Delhi Government’s plan

    On the Commission’s recommendations, Delhi Government gave a serious thought and planned to introduce mechanized cleaning of sewers. As a result, Delhi Government has launched 200 Sewer Cleaning Machines for narrow lanes on 28.2.2019, to ensure safety and dignity of sanitary workers.


    The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis has been mandated to monitor the implementation of “The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013 and also the Supreme Court Judgement regarding payment of Rs. 10 lakhs as compensation to the dependent family members of sewer/septic death cases.


    Image result for NCSK upsc

    • The NCSK was established in 1994 to deal with the grievances of persons engaged in manual scavenging.

    • It has a sanctioned strength of four members and a chairperson.

    • It is statutory body established under National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993.

    • It aims to promote and safeguard the interests and rights of Safai Karamcharis.

    • Its mandate is to study, evaluate and monitor the implementation of various schemes for Safai Karamcharis as an autonomous organisation.

    PAPER – 1 and PAPER – 3

    Topics Covered

    1. World Geography – Physical Features

    2. Disaster Management

    Earthquake at Palghar, Maharastra

    Image result for seismic zones in india

    What to read?

    Prelims – What is hydro seismicity?, Seismic Zones of India

    Mains – Earthquake a detailed view

    Palghar district has seen thousands of small earthquakes since November 2018, but recent quake measuring 4.3 on the moment magnitude (Mw) scale was the first time the magnitude crossed 4 here.

    Scientists divided on Causes for the Earthquake

    • Hydro Seismicity

    • Tectonic Activity

    Some believe it is related to groundwater levels, and others attribute it to tectonic activity. If high groundwater is the cause, the quakes may remain small. This phenomenon, called hydroseismicity, is common across the Deccan plateau.

    Another hypothesis is that intra-plate tectonic forces could be generating stresses along faults in Palghar. Such a mechanism is believed to be behind the 1993 Latur earthquake. If intra-plate activity is the cause, Palghar could see larger, more destructive quakes.

    Earthquake – A detailed view

    An earthquake is the shaking or trembling of the earth’s surface, caused by the sudden movement of a part of the earth’s crust. They result from the sudden release of energy in the Earth’s crust that creates seismic waves or earthquake waves.


    • The place of origin of an earthquake inside the earth.


    • Point on the earth’s surface vertically above the focus.

    • Maximum damage is caused at the epicenter.

    Wave Velocity

    • 5 to 8 km per second through the outer part of the crust but travel faster with depth.

    Isoseismic Line

    • A line connecting all points on the surface of the earth where the intensity is the same.

    Types of Seismic Waves

    Image result for body waves and surface waves.

    • Earthquake waves are basically of two types — body waves and surface waves.

    • Body waves are generated due to the release of energy at the focus and move in all directions travelling through the body of the earth. Hence, the name body waves.

    • The body waves interact with the surface rocks and generate new set of waves called surface waves. These waves move along the surface.

    • The velocity of waves changes as they travel through materials with different elasticity (stiffness) (Generally density with few exceptions). The more elastic the material is, the higher is the velocity. Their direction also changes as they reflect or refract when coming across materials with different densities.

    • There are two types of body waves. They are called P and S-waves.

  • Primary waves or P waves (longitudinal)(fastest)

  • Secondary waves or S waves (transverse)(least destructive)

  • Surface waves or L waves (transverse)(slowest)(most destructive)

  • PAPER – 2 AND PAPER – 3

    Topics Covered

    1. Polity

    2. Cyber Security

    Order on surveillance meant to protect privacy

    Image result for Order on surveillance meant to protect privacy

    What to read?

    Prelims – About the cyber surveillance order

    Mains – What is the necessity of the order and how can it be used without curbing privacy pof individual?

    The Centre told the Supreme Court on Friday that its notification allowing 10 central agencies to snoop on people is in fact a measure to protect citizens’ privacy.

    What was the order of the centre?

    The order allows central agencies, from the Intelligence Bureau to the Central Board of Direct Taxes to the Cabinet Secretariat (RAW) to the Commissioner of Delhi Police, to intercept, monitor and de-crypt “any information” generated, transmitted, received or stored in “any computer resource”.

    The order is based on Section 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act of 2000 and Rule 4 of the Information Technology 2009 Rules (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.

    Safeguards made

    Image result for Order on surveillance meant to protect privacy

    • Any interception, monitoring, decryption of computer resource is done only by authorised agencies and with approval of competent authority -  to prevent unauthorised use of these powers by any agency, individual or intermediary so that the right to privacy of citizen is not violated.

    • There is no blanket permission to any agency

    • Permission for surveillance needs to be got from the Union Home Secretary. Besides, the law mandates the Centre and States to constitute a review committee with the Cabinet Secretary.

    Why such an order is a need?

    • Surveillance is necessary  in the modern world where modern tools of information communication, including encryption, is used. Surveillance is done only in the defence of India, to maintain public order, etc.

    • There are grave threats to the country from terrorism, radicalisation, cross border terrorism, cyber crime, drug cartels, and these cannot be ignored or under-stated.

    • It is therefore imperative that requests for lawful interception or monitoring must be dealt with by the executive authority to maintain speed in taking decisions.

    PAPER – 2 and PAPER - 3

    Topics Covered

    1. Energy

    2. Governance

    Assam to be Exporting Hub of Oil to Southeast Asia

    Image result for Assam to be Exporting Hub of Oil to Southeast Asia    Image result for Assam to be Exporting Hub of Oil to Southeast Asia

    What to read?

    Prelims and Mains – Hydrocarbon Vision 2030

    Assam is slated to soon become one of India’s major oil exporting hubs catering to the eastern neighbours of the country and Southeast Asia.

    • A slew of projects for augmenting oil exploration, refining and transportation capacity are in various stages of completion in the region.

    • Eight of these projects under Hydrocarbon Vision 2030, worth more than Rs. 1,500 crore, were inaugurated in Guwahati.

    Hydrocarbon Vision 2030

    Image result for Hydrocarbon Vision 2030

    The Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in 2016 has released the Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for north-east India.

    • This vision document outlines steps to leverage the hydrocarbon sector for development of the North- East region.

    • The Vision Document has been a focused and consultative exercise to develop a common and shared aspiration for benefiting people of the north east region.

    The Vision aims at doubling Oil & Gas production by 2030, making clean fuels accessible, fast tracking projects, generating employment opportunities and promoting cooperation with neighbouring countries.

    Objectives of the vision document

    • To leverage the region’s hydrocarbon potential, enhance access to clean fuels, improve availability of petroleum products.

    • To facilitate economic development and to link common people to the economic activities in this sector.


    • The states covered under this vision include Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.

    • The Vision rests on five pillars: People, Policy, Partnership, Projects and Production. For people, it foresees clean fuel access to households alongside fostering skill development and involvement of the local community.

    • The policy focus areas include moderation in light of specific terrain and weather conditions of the region coupled with ensuring fund planning for new projects.

    • As for partnership, the stress is on greater involvement of state governments in planning and implementation, and on boosting trade with neighbouring nations.

    • In projects, the focus is on pipeline connectivity for carrying liquefied petroleum gas, natural gas, and petroleum products, oil and lubricants; building refineries and import links; and development of compressed natural gas highways and city gas distribution network.

    • The production side emphases include production enhancement contracts, technology deployment and fast-track clearance, and development of service provider hubs.