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July 3, 2021
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2nd July Current Affairs

Chamoli disaster due to avalanche

In News:

Flash flood on February 7 in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, claimed at least 72 lives with at least 200 missing. Now, Geological Survey of India (GSI) has submitted its report on causes of the disaster.

Key findings:

Flash flood was due to a large mass of snow, ice and rock avalanche along with a hanging mass of rock crashing into the Raunthi Garh valley floor.

This impact pulverised the combination of rock, snow and ice causing a rapid flow downstream of Raunthi Garh and into the Rishiganga valley leading to the deluge.

A contributory factor was unusually warm weather in the region.

There was no evidence of a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) having caused the event.

What happened on February 7th?

A glacial break in the Tapovan-Reni area of Chamoli District of Uttarakhand led to massive Flash Flood in Dhauli Ganga and Alaknanda Rivers, damaging houses and the nearby Rishiganga power project.

What is glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF)?

It is an outburst that happens when a dam containing a glacial lake fails.

GLOFs have three main features:

They involve sudden (and sometimes cyclic) releases of water.

They tend to be rapid events, lasting hours to days.

They result in large downstream river discharges (which often increase by an order of magnitude).

Why does a glacier break?

  • A build-up of water pressure.
  • An avalanche of snow or rocks.
  • An earthquake under the ice.
  • Massive displacement of water in a glacial lake when a large portion of an adjacent glacier collapses into it.

Protection Officers in addressing Domestic Violence

In News:

The National Commission for Women (NCW) in collaboration with Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) has launched a Training Programme of Protection Officers in addressing Domestic Violence.

Aim:

The training aims to focus on the role of different stakeholders/service providers under the Act including police, legal aid services, health system, service providers, shelter services, one stop centres etc.

Who are protection Officers?

Under the Domestic Violence Act, protection officers are appointed. They act as a facilitator between the aggrieved woman and the court.

Functions: The Protection Officer aids the aggrieved woman in filing of complaints, and application before the Magistrate to obtain the necessary relief and also assists to obtain medical aid, legal aid, counselling, safe shelter and other required assistance.

Eligibility:

According to the rules prescribed under the Act, state governments must appoint at least one protection officer in the jurisdiction of every judicial magistrate.

Protection officers can be members of either government or non-governmental organisations, with at least three years of experience in the social sector, but they must preferably be women.

Challenges/problems with the functioning of Protection Officers:

The Domestic Violence Act may have been introduced 12 years ago, but the implementation of its provisions was not taken up uniformly across the country.

In many states, protection officers were not appointed even years after the Act came into force.

Today, everything from their qualifications to the nature of their appointments can differ from state to state.

The number of POs [protection officers] also depends from state to state. Some have very few POs while other states have too many people given that responsibility.

Under the Domestic Violence Act, protection officers are meant to be full-time workers, but Delhi is not the only state where this rule is flouted.

In many states, existing government officials are burdened with the additional charge of being protection officers.

Most people are not even aware of the existence of protection officers.

Some protection officers are themselves not clear about the procedures under the law.

UN Peacekeeping

In News:

The 193 member states of the United Nations have thus far failed to agree on a peacekeeping budget for the year beginning July 1, which could lead to “a freeze on all missions” should a deal not soon materialize.

The roadblock stems from China and African countries making multiple last-minute requests.

What’s the issue?

The budget for the UN’s global peacekeeping operations — about 20 missions worldwide, with nearly 100,000 Blue Helmets mobilized — amounts to about $6.5 billion and covers a 12-month period starting each year on July 1.

This year, the member nations have failed to agree on the budget.

Implications:

The risk is that for a while until a decision on budgets is reached by the General Assembly, missions will find themselves under strict constraints, to only spend on measures to protect our personnel.

Curtailment of operations would limit the ability of the missions to implement their mandate, including, for example, supporting host countries on Covid response, protecting civilians, among others.

How UN Peacekeeping operations are funded?

While decisions about establishing, maintaining or expanding a peacekeeping operation are taken by the Security Council, the financing of UN Peacekeeping operations is the collective responsibility of all UN Member States.

Every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share towards peacekeeping. This is in accordance with the provisions of Article 17 of the Charter of the United Nations.

The top 5 providers of assessed contributions to United Nations Peacekeeping operations for 2020-2021 are:

  • United States (27.89%).
  • China (15.21%).
  • Japan (8.56%).
  • Germany (6.09%).
  • United Kingdom (5.79%).

What is peacekeeping? It’s significance?

United Nations Peacekeeping is a joint effort between the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support.

Every peacekeeping mission is authorized by the Security Council.

Composition:

UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets) can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel.

Peacekeeping forces are contributed by member states on a voluntary basis.

Civilian staff of peace operations are international civil servants, recruited and deployed by the UN Secretariat.

UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:

  • Consent of the parties.
  • Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.

Gaganyaan

In News:

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch the first uncrewed mission in December, as part of the human spaceflight programme ‘Gaganyaan’. It is facing challenges due to the adverse impact of the COVID-19-induced lockdowns that has disrupted hardware delivery schedules.

Details:

As part of the mandate of Gaganyaan, two uncrewed flights are planned to test the end-to-end capacity for the manned mission.

When was it announced?

Formal announcement of the Gaganyaan programme was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day address on August 15, 2018.

The initial target was to launch the human spaceflight before the 75th anniversary of India’s independence on August 15, 2022.

Objectives:

The objective of the Gaganyaan programme is to demonstrate the capability to send humans to low earth orbit on board an Indian launch vehicle and bring them back to earth safely.

Preparation and launch:

Four Indian astronaut-candidates have already undergone generic space flight training in Russia as part of the Gaganyaan programme.

ISRO’s heavy-lift launcher GSLV Mk III has been identified for the mission.

Relevance of a Manned Space Mission for India:

Boost to industries: The Indian industry will find large opportunities through participation in the highly demanding Space missions. Gaganyaan Mission is expected to source nearly 60% of its equipment from the Indian private sector.

Employment: According to the ISRO chief, the Gaganyaan mission would create 15,000 new employment opportunities, 13,000 of them in private industry and the space organisation would need an additional manpower of 900.

Spurs research and development: It will thrust significant research in areas such as materials processing, astro-biology, resources mining, planetary chemistry, planetary orbital calculus and many other areas.

Motivation: Human space flight will provide that inspiration to the youth and also the national public mainstream. It would inspire the young generation into notable achievements and enable them to play their legitimate role in challenging future activities.

Prestige: India could potentially become the fourth country to launch a human space mission. The Gaganyaan will not only bring about prestige to the nation but also establish India’s role as a key player in the space industry.