Daily Prelims Notes 11 September 2022
- September 11, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
11 September 2022
Table Of Contents
- Why cloudburst forecast in India still remains elusive
- 1000 adoptions pending, but new rule sows confusion
- How does a rabies vaccine work?
- Why is the Kushiyara river treaty between India and Bangladesh important?
What is Cloudburst?
- A cloudburst has a very specific definition: Rainfall of 10 cm or more in an hour over a roughly 10 km x 10-km area is classified as a cloudburst event. By this definition, 5 cm of rainfall in a half- hour period over the same area would also be categorized as a cloudburst.
- Cloudburst events are often associated with cumulonimbus clouds that cause thunderstorms and occasionally due to monsoon wind surges and other weather phenomena. Cumulonimbus clouds can grow up to 12-15 km in height through the entire troposphere (occasionally up to 21 km) and can hold huge amounts of water.
- In India, cloudbursts often occur during the monsoon season, when the southwesterly monsoon winds bring in copious amounts of moisture inland.
- The moist air that converges over land gets lifted as they encounter the hills. The moist air reaches an altitude and gets saturated, and the water starts condensing out of the air forming clouds. This is how clouds usually form, but such an orographic lifting together with a strong moisture convergence can lead to intense cumulonimbus clouds taking in huge volumes of moisture that is dumped during cloudbursts.
Cloudbursts prone areas
- Cloudbursts, hence, occur mostly over the rugged terrains over the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, and northeastern hill States of India. The heavy spells of rain on the fragile steep slopes trigger landslides, debris flows, and flash floods, causing large-scale destruction and loss of people and property.
- Recent cloudbursts that caused significant devastation occurred over the Himalayan foothills in Himachal Pradesh (in the year 2003), Ladakh (2010), and Uttarakhand (2013). Cloudbursts were reported from the northeastern States and Western Ghats States during the current monsoon season (2022).
- On July 8 2022, flash floods occurred in the Lidder Valley en route to Amarnath Temple in Jammu and Kashmir, taking the lives of several pilgrims. While the media linked this event to cloudbursts that occurred upstream of the temple, there is no meteorological record in the surrounding regions to validate this. Weather forecasts indicated scattered light rains for the region, and the IMD recorded moderate rainfall at the temple station.
- Monitoring stations on the ground can hardly capture the cloudburst characteristics due to their highly localised and short occurrence. Hence, most of these events go unreported due to the lack of monitoring mechanisms in the region, weakening our ability to understand these events in complete perspective.
- Heavy rains and waterlogging brought Bengaluru to a standstill during the first week of September 2022. None of the city’s weather stations recorded a cloudburst but indicated heavy rains during the week as the monsoon winds gained strength due to a low-pressure area developing in the Arabian Sea.
- Strongmonsoon wind surges along the coast can also result in cloudbursts, as in the case of Mumbai (2005) and Chennai (2015). Coastal cities are particularly vulnerable to cloudbursts since the flash floods make the conventional stormwater and flood management policies in these cities dysfunctional.
- While satellites are extensively useful in detecting large-scale monsoon weather systems, the resolution of the precipitation radars of these satellites can be much smaller than the area of individual cloudburst events, and hence they go undetected. Weather forecast models also face a similar challenge in simulating the clouds at a high resolution.
- The skillful forecasting of rainfall in hilly regions remains challenging due to the uncertaintiesin the interaction between the moisture convergence and the hilly terrain, the cloud microphysics, and the heating-cooling mechanisms at different atmospheric levels. The IMD’s forecasts, and in general, the weather prediction scenario, have advanced such that widespread extreme rains can be predicted two-three days in advance. Cyclones can be predicted about one week in advance. However, cloudburst forecasts still remain elusive.
- Multiple doppler weather radars can be used to monitor moving cloud droplets and help to provide nowcasts (forecasts for the next three hours). This can be a quick measure for providing warnings, but radars are an expensive affair, and installing them across the country may not be practically feasible.
- A long-term measure would be mapping the cloudburst-prone regions using automatic rain gauges. If cloudburst-prone regions are co-located with landslide-prone regions, these locations can be designated as hazardous. The risk at these locations would be huge, and people should be moved, and construction and mining in nearby regions should be restricted as that can aggravate the landslides and flash flood impacts.
- Climate change is projected to increase the frequency and intensity of cloudbursts worldwide. As the air gets warmer, it can hold more moisture and for a longer time. We call this the Clausius Clapeyron relationship. A 1-degree Celsius rise in temperature may correspond to a 7-10% increase in moisture and rainfall. This increase in rainfall amount does not get spread moderately throughout the season. As the moisture holding capacity of air increases, it results in prolonged dry periods intermittent with short spells of extreme rains. More deeper cumulonimbus clouds form and the chances of cloudbursts also increase.
- Cloudbursts are reported frequently from across the country. The climate change signal is conspicuous, but we do not have long-term (20 years or more) hourly data to attest it. With IMD enhancing its automatic weather stations, we may have hourly data that can help map cloudburst-prone regions.
- The change in monsoon extremes and cloudbursts we see now are in response to the 1-degree Celsius rise in global surface temperature. As emissions continue to increase and global commitment to reduce emissions proves insufficient, these temperatures are set to hit 1.5°C during 2020-2040 and 2°C during 2040-2060. We will need urgent action and policies to protect lives and property from extreme events that will amplify as the global temperature change doubles.
- There is confusion over implementation of new adoption rules that require transfer of adoption petitions from courts to District Magistrates, and parents, adoption agencies and activists are worried that this could lead to further delays in a long and arduous procedure.
- The Parliament in July 2021 passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021,which empowers DMs to give adoption orders.
- Ironically, the intent of the amendment was to prevent court-related delays during adoptions because of a large number of pending cases.
- Thereafter, amendments to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Model Rules, 2016 were notified which state, “all the cases pertaining to adoption matters pending before the Court shall stand transferred to the District Magistrate from the date of commencement of these rules.”
- In the absence of an adoption order parents can’t obtain birth certificates for adoptees which impacts school admissions.
- In case of inter-country adoptions by foreigners or NRIs who live abroad, parents can’t take home a child without the court order and a passport.
Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)
- Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has been set up as a statutory body of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- It functions as a nodal body for the adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoption.
- CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Conventions on Inter-Country Adoptions, 1993, ratified by the Government of India in 2003.
- CARA primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated / recognised adoption agencies.
What are the Laws to Adopt a Child in India?
- The adoption in India takes place under Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA) and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (JJ Act).
- HAMA, 1956 falls in the domain of Ministry of Law and Justice and JJ Act, 2015 pertains to the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- As per the government rules, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs are legalized to adopt kids.
- Until the JJ Act, the Guardians and Ward Act (GWA), 1980 was the only means for non-Hindu individuals to become guardians of children from their community.
- However, since the GWA appoints individuals as legal guardians and not natural parents, guardianship is terminated once the ward turns 21 and the ward assumes individual identity.
- The death of a 12-year-old girl in Kerala from rabies, despite having multiple inoculations of the vaccine, has raised questions on the efficacy of rabies vaccines in India and their availability.
How does a rabies vaccine work?
- Rabies is a disease that is caused by a family of viruses called the lyssaviruses and found in a range of mammals. The virus targets the central nervous system and is nearly 100% fatal to the host animal if it succeeds in infecting it. Though many animals from cats to crocodiles can be transmitters of the virus, it is most likely to spread to people from the bite of an infected dog or a cat as they are the most common pets.
- Despite being potentially lethal, the virus is slow-moving and it can be several weeks before the disease manifests into a fatal encephalitis which is why administering a vaccine, even after being bitten by a rabid animal, is effective.
- A shot of rabies immunoglobulin (rabies-antibodies against the virus derived either from people or horses) followed by a four-week course of anti-rabies vaccine, is nearly guaranteed to prevent rabies. This translates to the first dose being given on the same day as the immunoglobulin followed by vaccinations on the 3rd, 7th and 14th day. There are other regimens, such as five shots which include one on the 28th day approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) which clinics may consider, depending on the availability of the vaccine.
How is the vaccine made?
- The vaccine is made up of an inactivated virus that is expected to induce the body into producing antibodies that can neutralise the live virus in case of infection. There are also test vaccines that involve genetically modified viruses. There is no single-shot rabies vaccine or one that offers permanent immunity.
- There are mainly two ways of administering the rabies vaccine. One, called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), is given to persons who have been exposed via a bite to an animal suspected to be infected. The vaccines are administered either into the muscles, or into the skin.
- It can also be given ahead of time to persons who have a high risk of being infected, such as veterinarians, animal handlers, areas with a high number of rabies infection, by what is called Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). The advantage of a PrEP is that if bitten, one doesn’t need a immunoglobulin injection, and two subsequent shots of the vaccine will suffice for full protection, unlike the four-course prescription in the case of PEP. However, the WHO doesn’t recommend PrEP as a general preventive.
Are rabies vaccines easily available in India?
- According to the Health Ministry, there are at least six rabies vaccines approved for India. They all contain inactivated virus made of duck, chicken or human cell cultures and are marked as safe, efficacious and with long immunity. Rabies vaccines are available for free in government dispensaries though vaccines administered in a private clinic can cost up to ₹500 per dose.
- The WHO says India is endemic for rabies and accounts for 36% of the world’s deaths. The true burden of rabies in India is not fully known; although as per available information, it causes 18,000-20,000 deaths every year.
What about vaccines for animals?
- Given that rabies treatment requires multiple shots of vaccine as well as immunoglobin, sticking to the schedule is challenging. Governments of countries where rabies is endemic have frequently set targets to eliminate the disease — India has committed to do so by 2030. Yet it is widely acknowledged that this elimination requires vaccination of dogs. Like in people, vaccinating animals too doesn’t guarantee lifelong immunity from the disease. Because dogs are deemed responsible for 99% of all rabies infections in people, the government in its 2021 plan, called the ‘National Action for Plan — Rabies Elimination’, aims to vaccinate at least 70% of all dogs in a defined geographical area annually for three consecutive years. With this, a degree of herd immunity is expected leading to eventual elimination within eight years. Rather than inoculate all dogs, which is not feasible, the plan is to identify ‘rabies hotspots’ across the country and target them.
- During Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India from September 5 to 8, the two sides signed a slew of agreements, including the first water sharing agreement since the landmark Ganga Waters Treaty, 1996.
- A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on sharing of the waters of the Kushiyara river, a distributary of the Barak river which flows through Assam, and then on to Bangladesh.
- The agreement comes in a year when both lower Assam in India and Sylhet in Bangladesh have witnessed deadly floods highlighting the requirement for greater cooperation on flood control and irrigation-related issues between the two countries.
What is the Kushiyara agreement?
- Over the last century, the flow of the Barak river has changed in such a way that the bulk of the river’s water flows into Kushiyara while the rest goes into Surma.
- Under the agreement, Bangladesh will be able to withdraw 153 cusecs (cubic feet per second) of water from the Kushiyara that will solve the water crisis for farmers of Sylhet. There are various estimates about the area that will benefit from this supply but it is generally understood that approximately 10,000 hectares of land and millions of people will benefit from the water that will flow through a network of canals in Sylhet benefiting the farmers involved in Boro rice, which is basically the rice cultivated during the dry season of December to February and harvested in early summer.
What are the hurdles to the Teesta agreement?
- The Kushiyara agreement is relatively smaller in scale in comparison to Teesta that involves West Bengal, which has problems with the proposal. The Kushiyara agreement did not require a nod from any of the States like Assam from which the Barak emerges and branches into Kushiyara and Surma. The reduced water flow of the Kushiyara during winter and Teesta too, however, raise important questions about the impact of climate change on South Asian rivers that can affect communities and trigger migration. Bangladesh has cited low water flow in its rivers during the winter months as a matter of concern as it affects its agriculture sector.
Teesta, Kushiyara, Ganga Treaty: https://optimizeias.com/india-and-bangladesh-in-talks-for-major-river-agreement-ahead-of-pm-hasinas-visit/