News Analysis 03 Sept, 2022

03 Sep, 2022


1. Floods in India
2. India’s Cyber Infrastructure and Changing needs
3. Zombie Ice

1. Floods in India.


Theme : Important Geophysical phenomena,Disaster and disaster management.





                                    TABLE OF CONTENT

  1. Context

  2. Reasons for Flooding

  3. Impacts of Floods

  4. Measures Against Floods

  5. Regions in India Affected by Floods.


Context :
Recently, floods created havoc in Assam. There is a need for comprehensive efforts, including engineering, administration and policy measures to minimize the impact of floods in the country.



Reasons for Flooding:

  • Climatic factors: Due to climate change and global warming, global weather patterns are becoming unpredictable. For instance, the Indian monsoon is a complex phenomenon that depends upon many global circulation patterns such as El Nino, La Nina. 

  • El Niño and La Nina: El Niño and La Nina are global phenomena in which sea surface temperature of eastern and western Pacific Ocean changes. 

  • Indian ocean dipole (IOD): It is also known as Indian Niño. It is seen as an irregular oscillation of sea surface temperature in the Indian Ocean. During positive IOD, western Indian ocean warms up. On the other hand, during negative IOD, western Indian Ocean cools down. A Negative IOD results in heavy rainfall in India. 

  • Jet Streams: Jet streams are high velocity winds flowing west to east, in the northern part of India (around 30°N). They play an important role in monsoon rainfall. However, due to global warming, the regular course of these jet streams has shifted. This has led to the Jet Streams pushing the Monsoon towards Northeast India, causing floods.

  • Deforestation: Forest cover and grasslands act as a barrier to floods. They reduce the velocity of water and help in absorption of water by Earth. However, the Forest in the north east is continuously being depleted in the name of development. Therefore, due to deforestation, the frequency of floods and the amount of silt carried by such floods have been increasing.

  • Wetlands: Wetlands act as buffer storage for heavy rain water. Wetlands in Assam are known as Beels. They act as a kind of geographical sponge and soak extra water brought by floods. However, the area covered by these wetlands has been decreasing due to fresh settlements and expansion of residential areas. 

  • Poor condition of flood prevention Structures 

  • Encroachment of wetlands and rivers channels: Due to rapid population growth in the plains of Ganga and Brahmaputra, the flood plains and areas earlier consisting of river channels, have been encroached by the people. To reap the benefits of fresh fertile soil brought by floods annually in these areas, people have cleared forests for agriculture. However, this encroachment has resulted in destabilization of river channels, causing rivers to change course every year.


Impact of Floods :

  • Displacement: As a result of floods, there is large scale destruction of property. The affected people are displaced from their homes, dealing a blow to their financial security and future. 

  • Loss of agriculture: Heavy flooding in the agricultural fields causes large scale destruction of crops, apart from the loss of livestock due to lack of fodder. This is one of the primary reasons for farmers being unable to return the loans they have taken from banks or moneylenders.

  • Health: Floods cause accumulation of water for a long time, which becomes a breeding ground for water-borne diseases such as jaundice, typhoid etc. Also, the lack of access and the large scale epidemics in the area, prevent medical assistance from reaching the needy.

  • Human trafficking:  Due to financial loss emanating from the loss of agriculture and livestock, many members of the family migrate to nearby urban areas, in search of better opportunities. Such people are vulnerable to forced labor. In the absence of subsistence money, women and children may be forced into prostitution. 

  • Loss of human life: Floods cause a large scale loss of human lives.


Measures Against Floods :

  • National Flood Commission (Rashtriya Barh Ayog), 1980: It was setup for data collection and to assess the occurrence of floods. It was also mandated to provide regulatory and administrative suggestions to reduce floods, as well as destruction caused by them.

  • R Rangachari Committee, 2003: It gave 207 recommendations to prevent occurrence of floods in the country, including flood damage assessment, unsustainable development in flood prone areas, lack of representative, scientific and credible infrastructure project etc.

  • Central Water Commission (CWC): The government has established CWC with a mandate to collect flood data, apart from other functions. CWC monitors the level of water in river channels through its monitoring stations. This helps in predictions related to the occurrence of floods in vulnerable regions.

  • Creation of Reservoirs: Reservoirs store water during periods of high discharge in the river. Moreover, the stored water is released after such conditions are over, in order to prepare for the next wave. At the same time, experts recommend creation of reservoirs behind the dam, to reduce sudden shocks due to flooding and absorption of silt.

  • Channelization of Rivers: Geologists recommend creation of a parallel channel for diverting extra water. This is akin to by-pass roads built to divert traffic from entering into the city. 

  • Drainage Improvement: It involves constructing drains in flood prone areas, so that the flood water can be absorbed temporarily in these drains. However, storm drains need to be cleaned regularly, else they increase the risk of flooding in the urban areas.

  • Interlinking of rivers: In India, there is variability in the availability of water in different regions. Some regions are water surplus, while some are water scarce. To reduce this anomaly, the government is working on various interlinking projects, such as Ken-Betwa link and Krishna-Godavari link. By capitalizing on such interlinking, the water surplus areas of Assam and West Bengal can be connected to water scarce areas of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

  • Evacuation plans: There is a need to imbibe the importance of disaster-preparedness for reduction of damage due to occurrence of natural disasters. For instance, the district administration should be equipped with proper evacuation plans and implement them on a short notice. 

  • Flood Plain Zoning: It is the process of demarcation of high frequency flood areas, so as to impose restrictions on construction of assets and settlements, along the river channels and floodplains, in these areas. The floodplains are crucial and fragile environmental ecosystems. Floodplain zoning recognizes the river’s ‘right of way’.

  • Flood Proofing: It consists of raising the ground level of flood prone villages and connecting them with all-weather roads. The houses should be built on raised platforms to save them from flash floods.

  • Raised houses: Construction of houses is now done on raised platforms in flood prone villages, to insulate them from high water level. Similarly, handpumps are also installed well above the ground, so that they can function during floods.


Floods in India- 4 Different Regions :

  1. Central India and Deccan – this region is prone to sea level rise, severe coastal erosion, and tidal flooding caused by cyclones.

  2. The Ganges – in this region the impact of heavy rainfalls is augmented by earthquakes and unregulated sand mining, which destabilizes riverbeds.

  3. The Brahmaputra – incessant rainfall can be aggravated by landslides and earthquakes, disrupting the natural flow of the river.

  4. The Northwest – varies across the area’s diverse landscapes,in the agriculture-dominated Punjab, flooding may be more associated with inadequate drainage facilities in irrigated fields. In the Himalayas, flooding is mostly associated with cloudbursts and glacial lake outbursts.


2. India’s Cyber Infrastructure and Changing needs.


Theme : Implications of cybercrimes on security etc




                                   TABLE OF CONTENT

  1. Context

  2. Cyber Crime

  3. Issues in India related to Cyber Crime

  4. How to deal with it


Context :
In India, cybercrime is increasing with the increased use of information and communication technology (ICT).According to the (NCRB), from 12,317 cases of cybercrime in 2016, there were 50,035 cases registered in 2020.



Cyber Crime : 

It is defined as a crime where a computer is the object of the crime or is used as a tool to commit an offense.Cybercrimes are at an all-time high, impacting individuals, businesses, and countries.


Issues in India related to Cybercrimes:

  • No procedural code: There is no separate procedural code for the investigation of cyber or computer-related offenses.

  • Shortage of technical staff: There have been half-hearted efforts by the States to recruit technical staff for the investigation of cybercrime.

  • Issues with cyber labs: The cyber forensic laboratories of States must be upgraded with the advent of new technologies.

  • Trans-national crimes: Most cyber crimes are trans-national in nature with extra-territorial jurisdiction.


How to deal with It?

  • Responsibility of states: With ‘police’ and ‘public order’ being in the State List, the primary obligation to check crime and create the necessary cyberinfrastructure lies with States.

  • Infrastructure deficit: Though the Government of India has taken steps that include the setting up of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center (I4C) under the Ministry of Home Affairs to deal with all types of cybercrime, much needs to be done to plug the infrastructural deficit.

  • Standard and uniform procedures: As electronic evidence is entirely different in nature when compared with evidence of traditional crime, laying down standard and uniform procedures to deal with electronic evidence is essential.

  • Digital evidence by courts: As resolved in the Conference of the Chief Justices of the High Court in April 2016, a five-judge committee was constituted in July 2018 to frame the draft rules that could serve as a model for the reception of digital evidence by courts.

  • Cyber Prevention, Awareness and Detection Center (CyPAD): Since there is now a state-of-art National Cyber Forensic Lab and the Cyber Prevention, Awareness and Detection Center (CyPAD) of the Delhi Police, there may be an extension of professional help to States in getting their labs notified.

  • Data localisation: In most social media crimes, except for the prompt blocking of an objectionable website or suspect’s account, other details do not come forth quickly from large IT firms abroad.

  • Online Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM): As the police still get CyberTipline reports on online Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) from the U.S.’s non-profit agency, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

  • Funds to develop infrastructure: The Center and States must not only work in tandem and frame statutory guidelines to facilitate investigation of cybercrime but also need to commit sufficient funds to develop much-awaited and required cyber infrastructure.


3. Zombie Ice.


Theme : Geography




                             TABLE OF CONTENT

  1. Context

  2. What is Zombie Ice?

      (c )  What Does 10-inch Rise In Sea Level Imply?


Context  :
The melting of the Greenland ice sheet will inevitably raise the global sea levels by at least 10.6 inches or 27 centimeters, no matter what climate action the world decides to take right now. This is because of ‘zombie ice’, which is certain to melt away from the ice cap and blend into the ocean.



What is Zombie Ice?

  • Also referred to as dead or doomed ice, zombie ice is one that is not accumulating fresh snow even while continuing to be part of the parent ice sheet.

  • Such ice is “committed” to melting away and increasing sea levels.


What Does 10-inch Rise In Sea Level Imply?

  • The inevitable sea-level rise that the study predicts is particularly bad news for millions that live in coastal zones.

  • According to the UN Atlas of the Oceans, 8 of the world’s 10 largest cities are near a coast.

  • Rising sea levels will make flooding, high tides and storms more frequent and worse as their impact will reach more inland. This, in turn, means a threat to local economies and infrastructure. Also, low lying coastal areas will take a harder hit.

  • The World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Risks Report noted that “already an estimated 800 million people in more than 570 coastal cities are vulnerable to a sea-level rise of 0.5 meters by 2050”.