Current Affairs Analysis

18th August 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

All-India Elephant Population Estimation; Mekedatu dam project; Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali Campaign; Impact of Climate change on agriculture; Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017; Navika Sagar Parikrama; INSV Tarini; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
August 18, 2017


Polity & Governance

  • Can’t Mekedatu be used to address T.N.’s needs, asks SC

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali Campaign
  • Climate change costs India $10 billion every year
  • India has 27,312 elephants, Karnataka has highest: Census Estimation

Bilateral & International Relations

  • US and India to co-host global entrepreneurship summit

Defence & Security Issues

  • Navika Sagar Parikrama

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Polity & Governance

Can’t Mekedatu be used to address T.N.’s needs, asks SC

The Supreme Court has asked the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments to envision the Mekedatu dam project as a facility to store excess water from Karnataka, which can be released to Tamil Nadu.


  • The suggestion was mooted during the hearing of appeals in the Cauvery case.
  • Tamil Nadu has indicated that it was agreeable to the proposition, provided that such an arrangement was under the control and supervision of an independent third party.

About the project:

Karnataka intends to build a reservoir across river Cauvery near Mekedatu in Kanakapura taluk.

  • It was first proposed along with Shivanasamudra hydro power project at Shimsa in 2003 with an intention to use the water for a hydro power station and supply drinking water to Bengaluru city.
  • The drinking water and hydroelectric project will have a balancing reservoir to store 66.50 tmcft of Cauvery water.
  • The project is estimated to cost 5,912 crore and about 4,900 hectares of forest land will submerge if the project is implemented.

Controversy over the project:

  • The contentious project has been opposed by Tamil Nadu on the grounds that it violates the Cauvery tribunal order. However, Karnataka has said that it aims to utilise excess water after releasing 192 tmcft to Tamil Nadu.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali Campaign

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched the “Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali” campaign.



  • The campaign was launched with an aim to reduce adverse environmental conditions especially pollution in the country after post Diwali celebrations due to excessive bursting of crackers which contributes significantly to air and noise pollution.

About the campaign:

  • The campaign aims at enlightening the children about harmful fire crackers.
  • It will motivate children to not to buy fire crackers, instead buy a gift, food items, or sweets for poor and underprivileged children living in their locality.
  • Under this campaign, the MoEFCC will undertake various activities for creating awareness among various stakeholders and encourage people to participate in combating air pollution.
  • Some of the activities will include promoting Green Diwali among school children include stickers/logo distribution, advertisement on public transport systems, poster competition, public appeal using Radio. Social media campaign will be also undertaken under it.
  • Moreover, an online video competition will be conducted, where any individual or organisation can make a video on the theme ‘Pollution Free Diwali’.

Need for this campaign:

Diwali is an integral part of our rich tradition and a festival that embodies joy and happiness. 

  • In recent times, the pattern of celebration has changed somewhat and has got associated with excessive bursting of crackers, which contributes significantly to air and noise pollution. As a result, there has been a significant impact on the environment and health of the people.
  • As has been the experience in the past few years, airborne pollution has been rising above safe limits during winter in many cities. The excessive burning of crackers during Diwali aggravates the problem. 
  • The pollution levels in Delhi last year, especially post Diwali, reached such levels that the government had to declare an emergency situation, which had socio-economic consequences like closing down of schools, construction sites and power stations.
[Ref: PIB]


Climate change costs India $10 billion every year

In its recent report, a parliamentary committee has observed that extreme weather events are costing India $9-10 billion annually.


  • It also observed that climate change is projected to impact agricultural productivity with increasing severity from 2020 to the end of the century.

Impact of Climate change on agriculture:

Decrease in Productivity

  • The productivity of major crops will be marginal in the next few years but it could rise to as much as 10-40% by 2100 unless farming adapts to climate change-induced changes in weather.
  • Major crops such as wheat, rice, oilseeds, pulses, fruits and vegetables will see reduced yields over the years.
  • It will force farmers to either adapt to challenges of climate change or face the risk of getting poorer. It could turn India into a major importer of oilseeds, pulses and even milk.
  • Adaptation to climate change will need different cropping patterns and suitable inputs to compensate yield fluctuations.

ias toppers disaster -Annual-Loss

Food Security

  • Vulnerability of Indian agriculture due to vagaries associated with climate change and low adaptation capacity of majority of Indian farmers poses risk to food security of the country.
  • By 2030, India may need 70 million tonnes more of foodgrains than the expected production in 2016-17.
  • The demand for food is also going to increase due to an increasing population, expanding urbanisation and rising income. 
  • To meet increasing demand, India to depend on import if it does not act on time to increase production and productivity of major food crops, pulses, oilseeds and milk by adapting to climate change.
  • The ICAR-National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research has projected food demand of 345 million tonnes (MT) by 2030- almost 30% higher than in 2011.
  • The projected demands for fruits, vegetables, milk, animal products (meat, eggs and fish), sugar and edible oil, by 2030 is estimated to be 2-3 times more than that in 2011.

Economic Losses

  • According to the economic survey estimates, India currently incurs losses of about $9-10 billion annually due to extreme weather events. Of these, nearly 80% losses remain uninsured.
  • The quantum of losses is going to increase substantially in future if one takes into account the impact of climate change on farm productivity.

Improve in Yields

  • Though there is possibility of decrease in yields of certain crops in traditional sown areas due to climate change but it may increase elsewhere due to change in weather pattern.
  • Though most crops will see reduced production, but climate change may also help improve yields of soyabean, chickpea, groundnut, coconut (western coast) and potato (in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh).
[Ref: Times of India]


India has 27,312 elephants, Karnataka has highest: Census Estimation

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change released preliminary results from the first-ever synchronised All-India Elephant Population Estimation.

  • As per the estimation, the population of Asian elephant in India stands at 27312.
  • The estimate is derived from the sighting-based direct count method alone. However, the estimate will be confirmed with estimates from the indirect dung-count method in three months.


About All-India Elephant Population Census:

  • The census was conducted between March and May 2017 by the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) at the Indian Institute of Science (Bengaluru), several NGOs and independent conservationists aided the Project Elephant Directorate and forest departments of 23 states.
  • It was first-ever synchronised all-India Elephant Population census that covered 1.10 lakh square kilometres and spanned four regions of the country: the northeast, south, east-central and north.

ias toppers india-elephant-corridor

Highlights of the report:

  • According to the report, Karnataka has the highest number of elephants (6049), followed by Assam (5719) and Kerala (3054).
  • The population estimation of Asian elephants in 2017 census is lower than from the last census estimate in 2012 (between 29,391 and 30,711).
  • However, the experts say that parallels cannot be drawn, because in the 2012 count, various states used different methodologies and the effort was not synchronised across the country. As per them, errors and duplication could have led to overestimation.
  • As per the estimation, a number of indices, including birth rate, indicate that the elephant population is increasing. However, it shows marginal increase in elephant poulation ever since the 1990s.
  • Due to habitat fragmentation, elephants are moving out to agricultural landscapes leading to an increase in man-elephant conflict resulting in both crop damage and loss of lives of elephants.
  • It is to be noted that as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the population of Asian elephants was about 41,410 to 52,345 and of that India alone accounts for nearly 60%.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Bilateral & International Relations

US and India to co-host global entrepreneurship summit

The US and India will co-host the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in November this year in Hyderabad, India.

Ivanka Trump to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Hyderabad

Key facts:

  • GES 2017 will create an environment that empowers innovators, particularly women, to take their ideas to the next level.
  • Around 1,500 delegates from over 160 countries will participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).
  • The theme of the GES this year is: “Women First, Prosperity for All,” which highlights that when women do better, countries do better.
  • This year marks the first GES held in South Asia, and the event underscores the broad and enduring partnership with India.
  • The summit will focus on four key industry sectors: Energy and Infrastructure, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Financial Technology and Digital Economy, and Media and Entertainment.

About GES:

  • The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) organised annually since 2010, is the preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes over one thousand emerging entrepreneurs, investors, and supporters from around the world.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Defence & Security Issues

Navika Sagar Parikrama

Navika Sagar Parikrama is a project wherein a team of women officers of the Indian Navy would circumnavigate the globe on an Indian-built sail boat INSV Tarini.


Key facts:

  • This is the first ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew. The project is scheduled to commence in early Sep 17.
  • INSV Tarini is the sister vessel of INSV Mhadei.
  • The project is considered essential towards promoting Ocean Sailing activities in the Navy while depicting Government of India’s thrust for ‘Nari Shakti’.
  • The expedition has been aptly titled ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’, aimed at promoting women empowerment in the country and ocean sailing by the Indian Navy.

Additional aims of the Expedition are as follows:

Nari Shakti: 

  • In consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential, the expedition aims to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform.
  • This would also help to discard the societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising visibility of participation by women in challenging environment.

Environment and Climate Change: 

  • Sailing encourages the use of environment friendly non-conventional renewable energy resources which affects the life of women.
  • The expedition thereby aims at harnessing the energy to optimise the livelihood of the women onboard.

Make in India: 

  • The voyage also aims to show case the ‘Make in India’ initiative by sailing onboard the indigenously built INSV Tarini.

Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave Data Observation: 

  • The crew would also collate and update Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave data on a daily basis for subsequent analysis by research and development organisations.

Marine Pollution: 

  • The crew would monitor and report marine pollution on the high seas.
[Ref: PIB]


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