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9th September Current Affairs

Urban Flooding

(GS-III: Disaster Management/Geography)

In News:

There was unprecedented flooding in India’s tech capital Bengaluru.

Details:

Urban Flooding is an inundation of land in a constructed setting, particularly in densely populated areas.

Previous such flooding incidents: Kochi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai.

Reasons:

Natural:

Higher rainfall: As per the IMD, monsoon has become frequent and unpredictable

Storm surges (for coastal cities): E.g. Cyclone Amphan in 2020 flooded the streets of Kolkata. Within eastern India, the storm killed 98 people and caused $13.8 billion (2020 USD).

Groundwater levels: In Chennai, the replenished groundwater table across the city after rains becomes a challenge for several buildings with basements.

Anthropogenic:

Encroachment: A large number of wetlands that soaked up the rainwater has encroached. Bangalore had 262 lakes in the 1960s; now only 10 of them hold water.

Rapid and unplanned urbanization: In Bengaluru, stormwater drains were not directly connected to its water bodies. In some places, the runoff water was flowing into constructed deviation canals. CAG found that this increased the chances of flash floods.

Destruction of mangroves: Mumbai lost about 40% of its mangroves between 1995 and 2005.

Poor civic management of storm water drainage: CAG report (last year) pulled up Bengaluru municipality for this poor management.

Lack of data: CAG also found that the Bengaluru municipality did not maintain proper records of the stormwater management funds allotted to it under the JNNURM.

Lack of coordination: CAG report also noted the lack of coordination between the municipality and the Bangalore Development Authority on drainage-related matters.

Steps to mitigate urban flooding:

Sponge Cities Mission: The idea of a sponge city is to make cities more permeable so as to hold and use the water which falls upon them.

Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)

Stormwater disposal system: The Brihanmumbai Storm Water Disposal System or BRIMSTOWAD, the project to overhaul Mumbai city’s old stormwater drainage system was started after the 2005 deluge.

Water-sensitive urban design (WSUD in Australia): regards urban stormwater runoff, and waste water as a resource rather than a nuisance or liability.

Bioswales or ‘Rain Garden’ (New York): are landscape features that collect polluted stormwater runoff, soak it into the ground, and filter out pollution.

Conclusion:

Therefore, there is a need to include public open spaces within the urban fabric in the form of storm management infrastructure, which could help our cities transform into water-sensitive cities.

Human Development Index 2021

In News:

India ranks 132 out of 191 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) 2021, after registering a decline in its score over two consecutive years for the first time in three decades.

Key Highlights:

Global decline in 2020:

70 per cent of countries witnessing a decline in life expectancy

85 per cent of countries recording a decline in income

Reduction in HDI: 90 per cent of countries have registered a reduction in their HDI value in 2020 or 2021, reversing much of the progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals,”

HDI in 2021: India stood at 0.633(zero point six three three)during 2021, lower than the world average of 0.732(zero point seven three two).

Primary Reasons for decline

  • COVID-19
  • Ukraine war
  • Environmental challenges

Medium Human development category: India’s HDI score places it in the “medium” human development category.

Gender Inequality Index:

The index measures inequality in achievement between women and men in three dimensions:

  • Reproductive health
  • Empowerment
  • Labour market.

India: It has shown a slight improvement in its Gender Inequality Index value as compared to the 2020 index 0.490(zero point four nine zero) to 0.493(zero point four nine three) in 2021.

Life expectancy at birth:

Two-thirds of countries record further reductions in life expectancy at birth.

Life expectancy at birth in India has gone down from 69.7(sixty-nine point seven) in 2019 to 67.2(sixty-seven point two)in 2021.

Report of worsening mental distress since COVID-19: The factor that can impede human development.

Issues highlighted in the report:

  • Too slow containment measures
  • Lack of coordinated global leadership
  • Emergency funding took too long to materialize
  • Large holes in social protection systems.

HDI is a composite index of four indicators:

  • Life expectancy at birth (Sustainable Development Goal 3)
  • Expected years of schooling (SDG 4)
  • Mean years of schooling (SDG 4)
  • Gross national income (GNI) per capita (2017 PPP$) (SDG 8).

EWS Quota

In News:

A Constitution Bench led by the Chief Justice of India finalized three cardinal issues for examining whether the 103rd Constitutional Amendment violates the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

How to remember EWS is 103rd CA?

‘EWS’ has three letters.  104 C.A is for reservation of SCST (‘SCST’ has four letters). 105 C.A is for ‘SEBCs’ (five letters). NCBC is 102nd CA since  in ‘NCBC’ there are two ‘C’)

Three cardinal issues:

Economic criteria: Whether the amendment breaches the Basic Structure by permitting the state to make special provisions, including reservation, based on economic criteria.

Admissions: Whether it violates the Basic Structure by allowing the state to make special provisions in relation to admissions to private unaided institutions

Excluding SC/ST/OBC: Whether the Basic Structure is trampled upon by the constitutional amendment by excluding SEBC/OBC/SC/ST communities from the scope of the EWS quota.

EWS:

The 10% EWS quota was introduced under the 103rd Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2019 by amending Articles 15 and 16.

It inserted Article 15 (6) and Article 16 (6).

Basic Structure of Constitution:

The Kesavananda Bharati judgment(1973) introduced the Basic Structure doctrine which limited Parliament’s power to make drastic amendments that may affect the core values enshrined in the Constitution like secularism and federalism.

Higher trade and fiscal deficits can create risks

In News:

Recent data shows India’s exports declined and have also reported a shift in demand for low-value products. Also, India’s imports are increasing.

Reasons for low export:

The global economy is slowing rapidly

Higher energy prices are reducing the demand for other goods

Higher interest rates and tight monetary policy of US FED

Reasons for high import bill:

Higher crude oil prices

Growing Indian economy pushing up demand for foreign goods.

Impact:

CAD may grow to 4% of GDP this year (compared to 1.2% (one point two) last year)

High risk: Higher fiscal deficit along with the CAD (“twin deficits”) are always a risk for macro stability. This makes the financing of CAD more difficult.