Krishna River water dispute
(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have submitted in the Supreme Court that there is no information forthcoming from Karnataka for the past 14 years about how much Krishna river water it has diverted.
In turn, Karnataka argued that a lot water is going waste —“flowing down into the ocean” — and there is a need to harness it for irrigation and to replenish dry regions.
Demands by Karnataka?
Karnataka has sought the vacation of a November 16, 2011 of the Supreme Court which stopped the Centre from publishing in the Official Gazette the final order of the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal II (KWDT) pronounced in December 2010, allocating the river water to Karnataka, erstwhile Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The KWDT had further modified its final order and report on November 29, 2013 to allot surplus water to Karnataka, Maharashtra and the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh while preserving the allocation of 2130 TMC already made amongst them.
What’s the issue now?
The publication of the order of the Tribunal is a necessary pre-condition for its implementation. However, following the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, its successors Telangana and Andhra Pradesh had moved the Supreme Court challenging the KWDT’s allocation of shares.
What needs to be done now?
Karnataka has argued that its dam and irrigation projects worth thousands of crores to provide water to its parched northern areas have been stalled for all these years because of the 2011 order of the Supreme Court to not publish the KWDT decisions in the Official Gazette under Section 6(1) of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956.
Karnataka has argued that the dispute raised by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana was between them and did not concern it.
Challenges ahead for Karnataka:
The decision of the KWDT was enforceable only till 2050, after which it has to reviewed or revised. Ten years have already lapsed in litigation since 2010. Karnataka required at least 10 years to complete several irrigation projects whose costs were pegged at ₹60,000 crore in 2014-15.
The costs would escalate annually by 10% to 15%. Even if the irrigation projects are completed in 10 years, the Central Water Commission clearances would take time.
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:
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:
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.
Suspension of MPs
(GS-II: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies)
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Joshi sought the approval of the House for suspending 12 Rajya Sabha MPs for the remainder of the session.
The reason for their suspension was “their unprecedented acts of misconduct, contemptuous, unruly and violent behaviour and intentional attacks on security personnel” on the last day of the Monsoon Session.
When can the presiding officer invoke suspension?
Rule 255 of the General Rules of Procedure of the Rajya Sabha.
Under Rule 255 (‘Withdrawal of member’) of the General Rules of Procedure of the Rajya Sabha, “The Chairman may direct any member whose conduct is in his opinion grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the Council and any member so ordered to withdraw shall do so forthwith and shall absent himself during the remainder of the day’s meeting.”
How is suspension under Rule 255 different from Suspension under Rule 256?
Rule 256 provides for ‘Suspension of Member’; whereas Rule 255 provides for lesser punishment.
Under Rule 256, “the Chairman may, if he deems it necessary, suspend a member from the service of the Council for a period not exceeding the remainder of the Session.
Rules of parliamentary etiquette:
MPs are required to adhere to certain rules of parliamentary etiquette.
For example the Lok Sabha rulebook specifies that MPs are not to interrupt the speech of others, maintain silence and not obstruct proceedings by hissing or making running commentaries during debates.
Newer forms of protest led to these rules being updated in 1989.
Now, members should not shout slogans, display placards, tear up documents in protest, and play a cassette or a tape recorder in the House.
Rajya Sabha has similar rules. To conduct the proceedings smoothly, the rulebook also gives certain, similar powers to the presiding officers of both Houses.
Differences in powers of Speaker and Chairman of Rajya Sabha:
Like the Speaker in Lok Sabha, the Chairman of Rajya Sabha is empowered under Rule Number 255 of its Rule Book to “direct any Member whose conduct is in his opinion grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately” from the House.
Unlike the Speaker, however, the Rajya Sabha Chairman does not have the power to suspend a Member.
Procedure to be followed for suspension of Rajya Sabha MPs:
The Chairman may “name a Member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the Council by persistently and wilfully obstructing” business.
In such a situation, the House may adopt a motion suspending the Member from the service of the House for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session.
The House may, however, by another motion, terminate the suspension.
Efforts to bring order in the House:
As Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Vice-President Ansari had attempted several steps to bring order to the House. In 2013, he mooted a number of radical solutions to maintain decorum. This included:
How can suspension of MPs be justified? Isn’t this an extreme step to take in order to curb unruly behaviour?
The solution to unruly behaviour has to be long-term and consistent with democratic values.
There can be no question that the enforcement of the supreme authority of the Presiding Officer is essential for smooth conduct of proceedings.
However, a balance has to be struck. It must be remembered that the job of the Presiding Officer is to run the House, not to lord over it.
How often have disruptions led to suspension of MPs?
Since then, MPs have raised slogans, used pepper spray in the House and displayed placards.
Internet through LEO satellites
(GS-III: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights)
OneWeb is considering options to remove one of its broadband satellites from low Earth orbit after it failed following a software issue last year.
So far, OneWeb has deployed 358 satellites at 1,200 kilometers through 11 launches.
OneWeb has a partnership formed earlier this year with debris-removal startup Astroscale under ESA’s Sunrise program.
About OneWeb’s LEO internet programme:
OneWeb is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications operator.
Using LEO satellites OneWeb seeks to offer connectivity across the UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, the Arctic Seas and Canada. The company expects the service to be switched on before the end of the year.
It calls this programme the ‘Five to 50’ service of offering internet connectivity to all regions north of 50 degrees latitude.
What are the benefits of LEO satellites based internet?
LEO satellites are positioned around 500km-2000km from earth, compared to stationary orbit satellites which are approximately 36,000km away.
As LEO satellites orbit closer to the earth, they are able to provide stronger signals and faster speeds than traditional fixed-satellite systems.
Because signals travel faster through space than through fibre-optic cables, they also have the potential to rival if not exceed existing ground-based networks.
LEO satellites travel at a speed of 27,000 kph and complete a full circuit of the planet in 90-120 minutes. As a result, individual satellites can only make direct contact with a land transmitter for a short period of time thus requiring massive LEO satellite fleets and consequently, a significant capital investment.
Criticisms of LEO satellites:
The balance of power has shifted from countries to companies since most of these are private companies run projects. As a result, there are questions related to who regulates these companies, especially given the myriad of nations that contribute to individual projects.
Complicated regulatory framework:
Stakeholders in these companies are from various countries. Thus it becomes challenging to receive requisite licences to operate in each country.
Satellites can sometimes be seen in the night skies which creates difficulties for astronomers as the satellites reflect sunlight to earth, leaving streaks across images.
Satellites travelling at a lower orbit can also interrupt the frequency of those orbiting above them.
Those objects, colloquially referred to as ‘space junk,’ have the potential to damage spacecraft or collide with other satellites.
LEO satellite broadband is preferable in areas that cannot be reached by fibre and spectrum services. The target market will therefore be rural populations and military units operating away from urban areas.
Are there any other similar projects?
OneWeb’s chief competitor is Starlink, a venture led by Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Starlink currently has 1,385 satellites in orbit and has already started beta testing in North America and initiating pre-orders in countries like India.
Drug trafficking in Afghanistan
(GS-III: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism)
Drugs have been a major source of revenue for the Taliban. With the collapse of Afghanistan’s economy, the Taliban will rely heavily on drug money to maintain control over their cadres.
According to the latest World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime:
Afghanistan reported a 37% increase in the extent of land used for illicit cultivation of opium poppy during 2020 compared with the previous year.
The country accounted for 85% of the global opium production last year.
Despite the improved capabilities of the Afghan specialised units over the years, drug seizures and arrests had minimal impact on the opium-poppy cultivation.
Afghanistan is also turning out to be a major source for methamphetamine.
World Drug Report 2021:
Around 275 million people used drugs globally in the last year. Over 36 million people suffered from drug use disorders.
Rise in the use of cannabis during the pandemic has been reported by most countries.
Non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs has also been observed in the same period.
The latest global estimates say, about 5.5 per cent of the population between 15 and 64 years have used drugs at least once in the past year.
Over 11 million people globally are estimated to inject drugs – half of them have Hepatitis C.
Opioids continue to account for the largest burden of disease-linked to drug abuse.
Indian Government has taken several policy and other initiatives to deal with drug trafficking problem:
The ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan’ or a ‘Drugs-Free India Campaign’ was flagged off on 15th August 2020 across 272 districts of the country found to be most vulnerable based on the data available from various sources.
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has begun implementation of a National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) for 2018-2025.
The government has constituted Narco-Coordination Centre (NCORD) in November, 2016.
The government has constituted a fund called “National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse” to meet the expenditure incurred in connection with combating illicit traffic in Narcotic Drugs; rehabilitating addicts, and educating public against drug abuse, etc.