News: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the government whether it has taken a “decision” to not pay ex gratia to families who lost their loved ones to COVID-19.
About Disaster Management Act 2005:
The Act provides effective management of disasters and for matters connected there with or incidental thereto.”
The main focus of this act is to provide the people who are affected with disasters, their life back and helping them.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA):
The Act calls for the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), with the Prime Minister of India as chairperson. The NDMA may have no more than nine members including a Vice-Chairperson.
The tenure of the members of the NDMA shall be five years.
The NDMA is responsible for “laying down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management” and to ensure “timely and effective response to disaster”.
National Executive Committee:
Under section 6 of the Act it is responsible for laying “down guidelines to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the State Plans”.
The Act under Section 8 enjoins the Central Government to Constitute a National Executive Committee (NEC) to assist the National Authority.
The NEC is composed of Secretary level officers of the Government of India in the Ministries of home, agriculture, atomic energy, defence, drinking water supply, environment and forests, finance (expenditure), health, power, rural development, science and technology, space, telecommunication, urban development, and water resources, with the Home secretary serving as the Chairperson, ex officio.
The Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, is an ex officio member of the NEC.
The NEC under section of the Act is responsible for the preparation of the National Disaster Management Plan for the whole country and to ensure that it is “reviewed and updated annually”.
2. NATURAL GAS
News: In a significant development for over 10 lakh users of Piped Natural Gas (PNG) in the Capital, the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) has developed a new gas stove for domestic PNG consumers.
About Natural Gas:
Natural gas (also called fossil gas; sometimes just gas) is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, but commonly including varying amounts of other higher alkanes, and sometimes a small percentage of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide, or helium.
It is formed when layers of decomposing plant and animal matter are exposed to intense heat and pressure under the surface of the Earth over millions of years.
The energy that the plants originally obtained from the sun is stored in the form of chemical bonds in the gas.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel.
Natural gas is a non-renewable hydrocarbon used as a source of energy for heating, cooking, and electricity generation. It is also used as a fuel for vehicles and as a chemical feedstock in the manufacture of plastics and other commercially important organic chemicals.
The extraction and consumption of natural gas is a major and growing driver of climate change.
It is a potent greenhouse gas itself when released into the atmosphere, and creates carbon dioxide when burnt.
Natural gas can be efficiently burned to generate heat and electricity, emitting less waste and toxins at the point of use relative to other fossil and biomass fuels.
3. INDIRA GANDHI CANAL
News: In an engineering feat, the repair and relining of the Indira Gandhi Canal, the country’s longest canal which terminates in irrigation facilities in Thar desert, was accomplished in a record 60-day period amid the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, restoring 70 km of both the main canal and the feeder distributaries. The work was taken up mainly in Rajasthan and partly in neighbouring Punjab.
About Indira Gandhi Canal:
The Indira Gandhi Canal (originally, Rajasthan Canal) is the longest canal of India.
It starts from the Harike Barrage at Harike, a few kilometers below the confluence of the Satluj and Beas rivers in the Indian state of Punjab and terminates in irrigation facilities in the Thar Desert in the north west of Rajasthan state.
Previously known as the Rajasthan Canal, it was renamed the Indira Gandhi Canal on 2 November 1984 following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The canal consists of the Rajasthan feeder canal with the first 167 kilometres (104 mi) in Punjab and Haryana state and a further 37 kilometres (23 mi) in Rajasthan followed by the 445 kilometres (277 mi) of the Rajasthan main canal, which is entirely within Rajasthan.
The main canal is 445 km long which is 1458 RD (RD represents reduced distance).
The Indira Gandhi Canal is a major step in reclaiming the Thar Desert and checking desertification of fertile areas.
There is a planting programme for greening the desert in areas near the Indira Gandhi Canal which was started in 1965. This consists of the planting of shelter belts along roads and canals, blocks of plantations and sand dune stabilization.
4. BT COTTON
News: Amid the perpetual debate surrounding Bt cotton’s positive and negative impacts, a recent study titled — ‘Long-term impact of Bt cotton: An empirical evidence from North India’ — has said its adoption in Punjab in the past over a decade has resulted in net economic and environmental benefits.
About Bt Cotton:
Bt cotton is a genetically modified organism (GMO) or genetically modified pest resistant plant cotton variety, which produces an insecticide to combat bollworm.
Bt cotton has several advantages over non-Bt cotton. The important advantages of Bt cotton are briefly:
Increases yield of cotton due to effective control of three types of bollworms, viz. American, Spotted and Pink bollworms.
Insects belonged to Lepidoptera (Bollworms) are sensitive to crystalline endotoxic protein produced by Bt gene which in turn protects cotton from bollworms.
Reduction in insecticide use in the cultivation of Bt cotton in which bollworms are major pests.
Potential reduction in the cost of cultivation (depending on seed cost versus insecticide costs).
Reduction in predators which help in controlling the bollworms by feeding on larvae and eggs of bollworm.
No health hazards due to rare use of insecticides (particularly who is engaged in spraying of insecticides).
Bt cotton is supplied in Maharashtra by the agri-biotechnology company Mahyco, which distributes it.
5. ARMY’S THEATRE COMMAND
News: Extensive studies have been undertaken and discussed over the last two years before arriving at a broad plan to create four integrated tri-service commands, an official said on Monday. However, the IAF still has major reservations on the issue, said the official.
About Maritime Theatre Command:
Maritime Theatre Command (MTC), previously referred to as Peninsular Command, is a proposed integrated tri-services command of the Indian Armed Forces whose responsibilities may include the command and control of the entire Indian naval fleet and coastal defence operations.
It is envisioned to include assets from all the branches of the Indian military.
The commander of the MTC will be an Indian Navy officer who will report to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee headed by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
About Jointness and Integration in the Indian Military:
Jointness and integration in the Indian military are varying degrees of synergy and cross–service cooperation between the military wings of the Indian Armed Forces. Following Independence, in 1949 a joint educational framework was set up starting with the first tri-service academy in the world, the National Defence Academy, and over the years this joint educational framework has been expanded to bring officers from the different services together at different stages of their careers.
Jointness and integration is achieved through tri–service organisations such as the Integrated Defence Staff. The creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in January 2020 was seen as a major push for the indigenous joint warfare and theaterisation process of the Indian Armed Forces.
The recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee promoted increasing jointness and integration.
India currently has service–specific commands system.
However, joint and integrated commands, also known as unified commands; and further divided into theatre or functional commands, have been set up and more are proposed.
The only fully functional theatre command is the Andaman and Nicobar Command set up in 2001 while the Strategic Forces Command, set up in 2003, is an integrated functional command or specified combatant command.
Recently constructed integrated functional commands under the Integrated Defence Staff include the Defence Cyber Agency, Defence Space Agency and the Special Operations Division.
The Air Defence Command is the first integrated command being undertaken.
6. FLOWER PROTEST
News: Deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday thanked her supporters for defying the junta to celebrate her 76th birthday with flower protests, as her trial on a raft of criminal charges resumed.
Protesters across the country on Saturday donned flowers in their hair — long a signature Suu Kyi look — to mark the birthday of the democracy icon, who turned 76 under junta house arrest.