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December 19, 2020
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21st December Current Affairs

What is a Solar Eclipse?

In News:

The total solar eclipse on December 14, will be the last eclipse of the year.

Details:

Apart from Chile and Argentina, people living in southern parts of South America, south-west Africa and Antarctica will be able to witness a partial solar eclipse.

What is a Solar Eclipse?

It is a natural event that takes place on Earth when the Moon moves in its orbit between Earth and the Sun (this is also known as an occultation).

It happens at New Moon, when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction with each other.

During an eclipse, the Moon’s shadow (which is divided into two parts: the dark umbra and the lighter penumbra) moves across Earth’s surface.

Then, why isn’t there a solar eclipse every month?

If the Moon was only slightly closer to Earth, and orbited in the same plane and its orbit was circular, we would see eclipses each month. The lunar orbit is elliptical and tilted with respect to Earth’s orbit, so we can only see up to 5 eclipses per year. Depending on the geometry of the Sun, Moon and Earth, the Sun can be totally blocked, or it can be partially blocked.

Delimitation should be based on 2031 Census

In News:

A paper released by the Pranab Mukherjee Foundation (PMF) on the eve of the late President’s birth anniversary has suggested that the next delimitation exercise should be a two-step process:

A Delimitation Commission should be set up to redraw boundaries of constituencies on the basis of the 2031 Census.

A State Reorganisation Act be passed to split States into smaller ones.

Background:

The 84th Amendment to the Constitution in 2002 had put a freeze on the delimitation of Lok Sabha and State Assembly constituencies till the first Census after 2026. While the current boundaries were drawn on the basis of the 2001 Census, the number of Lok Sabha seats and State Assembly seats remained frozen on the basis of the 1971 Census.

Need for reconsideration:

The population according to the last census preceding the freeze was 50 crore, which in 50 years has grown to 130 crore. This has caused a massive asymmetry in the political representation in the country.

What is Delimitation?

Delimitation literally means the process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a state that has a legislative body.

Who carries out the exercise?

Delimitation is undertaken by a highly powerful commission. They are formally known as Delimitation Commission or Boundary Commission.

These bodies are so powerful that its orders have the force of law and they cannot be challenged before any court.

Such commissions have been constituted at least four times in India — in 1952 under the Delimitation Commission Act, 1952; in 1963 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1962; in 1973 under Delimitation Act, 1972 and last in 2002 under Delimitation Act, 2002.

The commissions’ orders are enforced as per the date specified by the President of India. Copies of these orders are laid before the Lok Sabha or the concerned Legislative Assembly. No modifications are permitted.

Composition of the Commission:

According to the Delimitation Commission Act, 2002, the Delimitation Commission appointed by the Centre has to have three members: a serving or retired judge of the Supreme Court as the chairperson, and the Chief Election Commissioner or Election Commissioner nominated by the CEC and the State Election Commissioner as ex-officio members.

Withdraw plea on water use, Centre tells Telangana

In News:

The Centre has said that it would consider referring (under Section 3 of the Inter State River Waters Disputes Act) the matter for reallocation of Krishna waters between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh either to a new tribunal or to the existing Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-II headed by Justice Brijesh Kumar, once Telangana withdrew its petition on the issue in the Supreme Court.

What’s the issue?

The Telangana government has filed a special leave petition (SLP) in Supreme Court seeking a direction to Andhra Pradesh government not to go ahead calling tenders for the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme.

The government maintains that under the provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, proposal for any new project on Krishna has to be first placed before the Krishna River Management Board and then before the Apex Council for ratification.

Background:

The two States- AP ans Telangana- share stretches of the Krishna and the Godavari and own their tributaries.

They have embarked on several new projects without getting clearance from the river boards, the Central Water Commission and the apex council comprising the Union Water Resources Minister and the Chief Ministers, as mandated by the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

The Krishna:

It is an east-flowing river.

Originates at Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and merges with the Bay of Bengal, flowing through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Basin: Together with its tributaries, it forms a vast basin that covers 33% of the total area of the four states.

What is the dispute all about?

The dispute began with the erstwhile Hyderabad and Mysore states, and later continuing between successors Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

In 1969, the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) was set up under the Inter-State River Water Dispute Act, 1956, and presented its report in 1973.

The report, which was published in 1976, divided the 2060 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of Krishna water at 75 per cent dependability into three parts:

  • 560 TMC for Maharashtra.
  • 700 TMC for Karnataka.
  • 800 TMC for Andhra Pradesh.

Revised order:

As new grievances arose between the states, the second KWDT was instituted in 2004.

It delivered its report in 2010, which made allocations of the Krishna water at 65 per cent dependability and for surplus flows as follows: 81 TMC for Maharashtra, 177 TMC for Karnataka, and 190 TMC for Andhra Pradesh.

After the creation of Telangana as a separate state in 2014, Andhra Pradesh is asking to include Telangana as a separate party at the KWDT and that the allocation of Krishna waters be reworked among four states, instead of three.

It has challenged the order of the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal in the Supreme Court.