Polity & Governance
- Parliamentary Privileges
Issues related to Health & Education
- 2020 International Year of the Nurse and Midwife
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Tiger Conservation bears fruit
Bilateral & International Relations
- Kalapani Dispute
Defence & Security Issues
- Adieu to MiG-27
- Lord Curzon
- Remembering Savitribai Phule
- Surplus rainfall recorded in winter monsoon
Science & Technology
- 107th edition of Indian Science Congress
Key Facts for Prelims
- Mandu Utsav
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Polity & Governance
A Rajya Sabha member G.V.L. Narasimha Rao files notice for breach of privileges and contempt proceedings against Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan after the Kerala Assembly passed a resolution against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on December 31.
- Vijayan was accused that his statements constitute a breach of parliamentary privileges enshrined in Article 105 of our Constitution which deals with the powers, privileges etc. of the Houses of Parliament and the members and committees thereof.
Parliamentary Privileges in detail:
- Parliamentary privileges are defined in Article 105 of the Indian Constitution and those of State legislatures in Article 194.
- The members of Parliament are exempted from any civil or criminal liability for any statement made or act done in the course of their duties.
- The privileges are claimed only when the person is a member of the house. As soon as he ends to be a member, the privileges are said to be called off.
- The privileges given to the members are necessary for exercising constitutional functions. These privileges are essential so that the proceedings and functions can be made in a disciplined and undisturbed manner.
- Besides, Rule No 222 in Chapter 20 of the Lok Sabha Rule Book and correspondingly Rule 187 in Chapter 16 of the Rajya Sabha rulebook govern privilege.
The privileges individually enjoyed by the members:
- Freedom of speech in parliament:
- The freedom of speech and expression guaranteed to a citizen under Article 19(2) is different from the freedom of speech and expression provided to a member of the parliament.
- It has been guaranteed under Article 105(1) of the Indian constitution and is subjected to rules and orders which regulates the proceedings of the parliament.
- Freedom of speech should be in accordance with the constitutional provisions and subject to rules and procedures of the parliament, stated under Article 118 of the Constitution.
- No privilege and immunity can be claimed by the member for anything which is said outside the proceedings of the house.
- Freedom from arrest:
- The members enjoy freedom from arrest in any civil case 40 days before and after the adjournment of the house and also when the house is in session.
- No member can be arrested from the limits of the parliament without the permission of the house to which he/she belongs so that there is no hindrance in performing their duties.
- If the detention of any members of the parliament is made, the chairman or the speaker should be informed by the concerned authority, the reason for the arrest.
- But a member can be arrested outside the limits of the house on criminal charges against him under the Preventive Detention act, The Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), The National Security Act (NSA) or any such act.
- Freedom from appearing as a witness:
- The members of the parliament enjoy special privileges and are exempted from attending court as a witness.
- They are given complete liberty to attend the house and perform their duties without any interference from the court.
Privileges enjoyed by the members collectively as part of parliament:
- Right to prohibit the publication of proceedings:
- As stated in Article 105(2) of the Constitution, no person shall be held liable for publishing any reports, discussions etc. of the house under the authority of the member of the house.
- For paramount and national importance, it is essential that the proceedings should be communicated to the public to aware them about what is going on in the parliament.
- Right to exclude strangers
- The members of the house have the power and right to exclude strangers who are not members of the house from the proceedings.
- This right is very essential for securing free and fair discussion in the house.
- The right to punish members and outsiders for breach of its privileges
- The Indian Parliament has the power to punish any person whether strangers or any member of the house for any breach or contempt of the house.
- When any breach is committed by the member of the house, he/she is expelled from the house.
- This right has been defined as ‘keystone of parliamentary privilege’ because, without this power, the house can suffer contempt and breach and is very necessary to safeguard its authority and discharge its functions.
- This power has also been upheld by the judiciary in most of the cases. The house can put in custody any person or member for contempt till the period the house is in session.
- The right to regulate the internal affairs of the house
- Each house has a right to regulate its proceedings in the way it deems fit and proper.
- Each house has its own jurisdiction over the house and no authority from the other house can interfere in regulation of its internal proceedings.
Parliamentary breach or contempt of the house:
There is no codification to clearly state that what action constitutes a breach and what punishment it entails. Although, there are various acts which are treated by the house as the contempt.
- The acts which are done solely with the purpose to mislead are considered as the contempt of the house, like giving any misleading statement in the house.
- Any disruption created by shouting slogans or throwing leaflets etc. with the purpose of disturbing the proceedings of the court is regarded as a major contempt by the house.
- An assault done by any person on the member of the parliament in the course of performing his duties is treated as contempt of the house.
- Any speech published or libel made against the character of the member is regarded as the contempt of the house.
- The parliamentary privileges restrict the freedom of the press, which is a fundamental right. Caution to a great extent has to be taken by the press while publishing any report of the proceedings of the parliament or the conduct of any member.
What is the privileges committee?
- In the Lok Sabha, the Speaker nominates a committee of privileges consisting of 15 members as per respective party strengths. In the Rajya Sabha, the deputy chairperson heads the committee of privileges, that consists of 10 members.
- A report is then presented to the House for its consideration. The Speaker may permit a half-hour debate while considering the report. The Speaker may then pass final orders or direct that the report be tabled before the House.
- A resolution may then be moved relating to the breach of privilege that has to be unanimously passed.
Issues related to Health & Education
2020 International Year of the Nurse and Midwife
2020 was designated as the “Year of the Nurse and the Midwife” by the World Health Organization (WHO) in recognition of the contributions they make, and the risks associated with nursing shortages.
- International Council of Nurses (ICN) and Nursing Now call on governments to make 2020 a landmark year in health on the way to fulfilling the promise of Universal Health Coverage.
- As the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife begins, ICN and Nursing Now are urging world leaders to make massive investments in nursing and midwifery to pave the way for a brighter future for health around the world.
What inspired the move?
- The International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife marks the bicentenary (200 years) of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
- Nurses and midwives are key to the achievement of WHO’s goal of Universal Health Coverage because they play a critical role in health promotion, disease prevention and the delivery of care in all settings.
- Currently, there are 22 million nurses and two million midwives worldwide, accounting for half of the global health workforce, according to WHO.
- However, the world requires 18 million more health workers—approximately half of them nurses and midwives.
- WHO estimates there will be a worldwide shortfall of nine million nurses and midwives by 2030 unless radical action is taken now.
- The vision of improved global health will only become a reality if there is a massive awareness about the stereotypes of the profession and investment in nursing.
- Key areas for investment include employing more specialist nurses, making midwives and nurses central to primary health care, and supporting them in health promotion and disease prevention.
- Florence Nightingale (12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910) was an English social reformer, a statistician, and the founder of modern nursing.
- Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, in which she organised care for wounded soldiers.
- She gave nursing a favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of “The Lady with the Lamp” making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.
- In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
- It was the first secular nursing school in the world, and is now part of King’s College London.
- In recognition of her pioneering work in nursing, the Nightingale Pledge is taken by new nurses, and the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve, were named in her honour, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated on her birthday.
- Her social reforms included improving healthcare for all sections of British society, advocating better hunger relief in India, helping to abolish prostitution laws that were harsh for women, and expanding the acceptable forms of female participation in the workforce.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Tiger Conservation bears fruit
According to data from the Ministry of Forest Environment and Climate Change (MoEFCC), there were mere 84 cases of tiger deaths in the country and 11 cases of seizures (in which a tiger is presumed dead on the basis of body parts seized by authorities). Both put together, the number of tiger deaths is in 2019 is 95.
Highlights of the data:
- The number of tiger deaths is least in 2019 compared to other years, keeping in mind the increased number of tigers in India.
- In 2018, the number of tiger deaths recorded was 100 (93 mortalities and seven seizures).
- The number of tiger deaths in 2017 was 115 (98 mortalities and 17 seizures), and the number of tiger deaths in 2016 was 122 (101 mortalities and 21 seizures).
- Madhya Pradesh, which has the highest number of tigers in the country (526, as per the last census), has recorded the most number of cases of tiger deaths with 31 tiger deaths reported in 2019.
- This was followed by Maharashtra, which reported 18 deaths. Karnataka, another State with high tiger population, recorded 12 deaths, and Uttarakhand recorded ten deaths. Tamil Nadu recorded seven cases of tiger deaths.
Cases of poaching:
- The data on tiger mortality also confirms 22 cases of poaching in the country and one case of tiger poisoning in 2019.
- An analysis shows that in 16 out of 22 poaching incidents, which is almost over 70% of cases of poaching, have been reported outside Tiger Reserves.
- Eight cases of poaching have been reported from Madhya Pradesh, six from Maharashtra, and two each from Assam and Karnataka.
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is counting deaths due to electrocution among the incidents of poaching.
- The reduced numbers of tiger mortalities are because of surveillance, good management of Tiger Reserves and a lot of awareness and education programmes on tiger conservation.
- The usage of M-STriPES (Monitoring System for Tigers-Intensive Protection & Ecological Status) patrolling app in Tiger Reserve proved beneficial.
Tiger count in India:
- The last tiger census report, released in July 2019, had placed the number of tigers in India at 2,967, up by a third when compared with the numbers reported in 2014.
Need of more Tiger reserves:
- With the increase in tiger numbers, more areas in the country needed to be declared as Tiger Reserves.
- India currently has 50 Tiger Reserves with an area of about 73,000 sq. km. With tigers coming out of Reserves and covering long distances, there is a need of more tiger reserves.
Translocation of tigers:
- There are plans to translocate tigers to the western part of Rajaji National Park and also to the Buxa Tiger Reserve from similar tiger landscapes in Assam.
- However the first inter-State translocation of a pair of tigers to the Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Odisha from Madhya Pradesh was not successful but a learning experience for further translocation.
Bilateral & International Relations
According to a recent statement by the Ministry of External Affairs Nepal and India will resolve the long standing Kalapani border issue through dialogue.
Why the issue is in news?
- The issue was raised by Nepal after India published a new political map that showed the creation of two Union Territories in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh after revoking the special status of Kashmir on August 5.
- According to Nepal, India has included the 35 sq. km disputed area ‘Kalapani region’ in its map, infringing the sovereignty of Nepal.
- Both the countries claim the disputed region as their territory.
India’s position on the Kalapani:
- The Kalapani region of Uttarakhand’s map accurately depicts the sovereign territory of India.
- The new map in no manner has revised India’s boundary with Nepal.
- Further, the boundary delineation exercise with Nepal is ongoing under the existing mechanism.
Where is ‘Kalapani’ located?
- Kalapani is a tri-junction meeting point of India, Tibet and Nepal borders in Central Himalayas.
- The region has been manned by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police since 1962 which has also led to fear of Chinese involvement.
- It is marked by the Kalapani river, one of the headwaters of the Kali River in the Himalayas.
- The valley of Kalapani, with the Lipulekh pass atop, forms the Indian route to Kailash- Mansarovar pilgrimage site.
- It is also the traditional trading route to Tibet for the Bhotiyas of Uttarakhand.
- It is said that the Great Sage Vyasa meditated in the Kalapani area giving the region its name – Byas Valley.
India and Nepal stand over the disputed region:
- In 1816, the East India Company and Nepal signed the Treaty of Sugauli (or Sagauli) to mark out Nepal’s western border. The defeat of Gurkhas in Anglo-Gurkha War (1814-16) led to Treaty of Sugauli.
- The treaty defined river Mahakali as the western border of Nepal. River Mahakali has several tributaries, all of which merge at Kalapani.
- India claims that the river begins in Kalapani as this is where all its tributaries merge. But Nepal claims that it begins from Lipulekh Pass, the origin of most of its tributaries.
- Lipulekh Pass has been made a trading tri-junction route between Nepal, India and China since 2015. The Indian side claims that Lipulekh pass has been referred to as a border trading point since 1954.
- According to Nepal, the Kalapani area was included in the Census of Nepal until 58 years ago. However, a map of 1879 shows ‘Kalapani’ as part of British India.
- In 2015, Nepal objected to the agreement between India and China to trade through. After the Indian prime minister’s visit to China in 2015, India and China agreed to open a trading post in Lipulekh, raising objections from Nepal.
Defence & Security Issues
Adieu to MiG-27
The Indian Air Force retired its fleet of MiG-27s on December 27, 2019.
- To bid it farewell, the 29 Squadron of IAF, known as the Scorpios, flew the aircraft into the sunset at the IAF’s Jodhpur base.
- The Russian-origin MiG-27s were inducted in 1984-85 in Indian fleet of aircrafts and underwent a midlife upgrade around 2006.
- Ground attack aircraft
- The MiG-27 is primarily a ‘ground attack’ aircraft, whose main role is to conduct precision air strikes in battle while tackling the adversary’s air defences.
- The jets have proved to be extremely effective in both Battle Air Strikes — air attacks in a war situation to support ground forces — and in Battle Air Interdiction, which are preventive operations that are sometimes carried out deep inside enemy territory, to target enemy installations, supplies, and forces, and hamper its future actions.
- Prior to induction of MiG-27, the IAF had the MiG-21, but was in need of effective modern aircraft that could perform Battle Air Strikes and Battle Air Interdiction roles.
- Swing wing aircraft
- Swing wing was one of the distinguishing features of the MiG-27.
- Swing wing (or variable geometry) technology allowed the aircraft to change the sweep of their wings — thus changing the geometry of the plane as per operational requirements.
- This provided flexibility and an ability to stay stable at low altitudes; however, the additional hardware mechanism added to the aircraft’s weight, and increased the possibility of failure.
- High Precision aircraft
- The navigation and attack systems of the MiG-27 were unparalleled when it was inducted.
- It was a very effective strike aircraft when operating as designed at high speeds and low altitudes.
- The indigenous upgrade made it even more potent, and it was widely regarded as the most accurate weapons delivery platform of the IAF.
Record of performance:
- At the time the MiG-27s were inducted, India’s air defence was focussed primarily on Pakistan. The jet showed its efficacy over Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Punjab, and also proved to be extremely effective in the high altitude conflict in Kargil in 1999.
- In Kargil, the MiG-27 took part in the IAF operation codenamed ‘Safed Sagar’, in which Air Force assets operated jointly with ground forces.
- The Kargil war saw the most extensive role for the IAF since the 1971 war. MiG-21s, MiG-23s, and MiG-27s were used, along with Jaguar and Mirage jets.
- The MiG-27 suffered its share of accidents, including a couple of crashes in 2019 as well. Some of the officers who flew the aircraft believe that having one of the most powerful engines in the single-engine category may have made the MiG-27 more prone to engine malfunctions.
- The engine was the principal safety issue with the jet as engine fires and other failures relating to the power plant were common.
- The jet also saw groundings like the one in February 2010, after an accident in Siliguri due to its safety concerns.
- As the ‘Bahadur’ aircraft — a name the MiG-27 acquired during the Kargil War — was decommissioned, there was concern over the Air Force’s depleting strength.
- The IAF is still operating four squadrons of the upgraded MiG-21s, which entered service before the MiG-27s, but will phase out its entire MiG fleet by 2024. The MiG-21s will be the last one to go.
- The life of an aircraft is described in flying hours or years of service. Typically after an upgrade, the aircraft life is extended by a certain amount.
- The Air Force is now operating with 28 fighter squadrons against its sanctioned strength of 42.
- The proposed addition of two more Sukhoi squadrons, two Rafale squadrons, and various versions of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, will fill in for the retiring MiGs and legacy aircraft like the Jaguar.
Lord Curzon was a British Conservative statesman and a thorough imperialist who served as Viceroy of British India from 1899 to 1905.
- He is infamous for the Partition of Bengal in 1905.
Why in news?
- West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar drew widespread condemnation over his tweet referring to a table, apparently used by Lord Curzon to sign papers pertaining to the Partition of Bengal in 1905, as “iconic”.
- Born in 1859 into British nobility, Curzon was educated at the elite Eton College School and attended Oxford.
- In 1891, he became Under-Secretary of State for India (the deputy minister in the British cabinet responsible for India).
- He became the youngest Viceroy of India in 1899 at age 39, and remained in office until his resignation in 1905.
- He was a true successor of Lord Dalhousie.
Partition of Bengal:
- In July 1905, Curzon announced the partition of the undivided Bengal Presidency. The Presidency was the most populous province in India, with around 8 crore people, and comprised the present-day states of West Bengal, Bihar, parts of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Assam, as well as today’s Bangladesh.
- A new province of East Bengal and Assam was announced, with a population of 3.1 crore, and a Muslim-Hindu ratio of 3:2, included the whole of Assam and the Dacca, Rajshahi and Chittagong divisions of Bengal with headquarters at Dacca.
- Bengal, the western province, was overwhelmingly Hindu. While the move was ostensibly aimed at making the administration of the large region easier, Curzon’s real intentions were far less benign.
- He recorded in a letter: “The Bengalis like to think of themselves as a nation… If we are weak enough to yield to their clamour now we shall not be able to dismember or reduce Bengal again, and you will be cementing and solidifying on the eastern flank of India a force almost formidable, and certain to be an increasing trouble in the future.”
- The Partition of Bengal into two provinces was effected on 4 July 1905.
- Though Curzon justified his action on administrative lines, partition divided the Hindus and Muslims in Bengal.
Events after partition:
- A campaign to boycott British goods, especially textiles, and promote Swadeshi
- There were marches and demonstrations with the protesters singing Bande Mataram to underline their patriotism and challenge the colonialists.
- Samitis emerged throughout Bengal, with several thousand volunteers.
- Rabindranath Tagore led the marches at many places, and composed many patriotic songs, most famously ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’ (My Golden Bengal), which is now the national anthem of Bangladesh.
- The message of patriotism and Bengali nationalism was showcased in Jatras, or popular theatre.
- Curzon left for Britain in 1905, but the agitation continued for many years.
- Partition was finally reversed in 1911 by Lord Hardinge in the face of unrelenting opposition.
- The partition of the undivided Bengal Presidency in 1905 was one of Curzon’s most criticised moves, which triggered widespread opposition not only in Bengal but across India, and gave impetus to the freedom movement.
- In his words, “As long as we rule India we are the greatest power in the world. If we lose it, we shall drop straightaway to a third-rate power.”
- Curzon was deeply racist, and convinced of Britain’s “civilising mission” in India.
- In 1901, he described Indians as having “extraordinary inferiority in character, honesty and capacity”.
- He said, “It is often said why not make some prominent native a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council? The answer is that in the whole continent there is not an Indian fit for the post.”
- Expectedly, the Viceroy was intolerant of Indian political aspirations. In a letter to the British Secretary of State in 1900, Curzon wrote, “The Indian National Congress is tottering to its fall, and one of my greatest ambitions while in India is to assist it to a peaceful demise.”
Other Contributions of Curzon:
- Educational Reforms:
- Curzon took a serious view of the fall in the standard of education and discipline in the educational institutions that in his view had degenerated into factories for producing political revolutionaries.
- To set the educational system in order, he instituted a Universities Commission in 1902 to go into the entire question of university education in the country.
- On the basis of the findings and recommendations of the Commission, Curzon brought in the Indian Universities Act of 1904, which brought all the universities in India under the control of the government.
- Police and Military Reforms:
- Curzon believed in efficiency and discipline and instituted a Police Commission in 1902 under the chairmanship of Sir Andrew Frazer.
- Curzon accepted all the recommendations and implemented them and set up training schools for both the officers and the constables and introduced provincial police service.
- As for the remodelling of the army, it was by and large done by Lord Kitchener, the Commander-in-Chief in India in Curzon’s time.
- Imperial cadet corps was set up which became an instrument for Indianisation of army later.
- Calcutta Corporation Act:
- The Viceroy brought in a new legislative measure namely the Calcutta Corporation Act in 1899 by which the strength of the elected members was reduced and that of the official members increased.
- Curzon gave more representations to the English people as against the Indians in the Calcutta Corporation. There was strong resentment by the Indian members against Curzon’s anti-people measures.
- Preservation of Archaeological objects:
- Curzon had a passion for preserving the ancient monuments of historical importance in India.
- He passed a law called the Ancient Monuments Act, 1904 which made it obligatory on the part of the government and local authorities to preserve the monuments of archaeological importance and their destruction an offence.
- Estimate of Lord Curzon:
- Lord Curzon assumed his office, when he was forty years old.
- All his reform measures were preceded by an expert Commission and its recommendations.
- He made a serious study of the Indian problems in all their aspects.
- At the beginning Curzon earned the popularity and admiration of the Indian people. He lost the popularity by the act of Partition of Bengal.
Remembering Savitribai Phule
A pioneer of advocating women’s right to education in India, Savitribai Phule’s 189th birth anniversary was celebrated on 3rd January 2020.
Key facts about Savitribai Phule:
- She was a revolutionary and a social reformer from 19th, known for her efforts towards educating women in India and is regarded as the first female teacher of India.
- Savitribai Phule was born in a well-to-do farmer family in the backward Mali community, and was married at the age of nine to 13-year-old Jyotirao Phule who educated and trained her to become a teacher.
- She, along with her husband Jyotirao Phule, opened India’s first school for women in Bhide Wadai, Pune in 1848.
- She became the headmistress and taught alongside her fellow trainee Fatima Sheikh and Jyotirao’s emancipated aunt
- Despite facing every type of criticism from orthodox elements of the society, between 1848 and 1852 she helped in setting up over 17 schools in the country.
- In 1851, she founded three schools that taught over 150 girls. Most schools at that time were only meant for those from the upper castes but Savitribai Phule and her husband started schools for ‘untouchables’.
- She was India’s first feminist grew up in a country ruled by the British Raj, at the time when women rights were non-existent and their status was reduced to a pleasure-object.
- Poetry was her passion and she wrote about the importance of education in her poems and sensitised towards the needs of women and girls.
- She set up a shelter for widows in 1854 and fought against caste-based discrimination.
- Other major achievements of her include campaigns against Sati tradition, child marriage and setting up a delivery home for women in forced pregnancies and rape victims called Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha.
- After Jyotirao Phule died in 1890, Savitribai took over the Satya Shodhak Samaj which had been founded by him and presided over meetings, guided workers and opened a clinic in 1897 for victims of the bubonic plague that spread across Maharashtra.
- Her two books of poetry ‘Kavya Phule’ and ‘Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar‘ inspired people with their questions on caste and gender and her poem entitled ‘Go, Get Education’ encouraged people to free themselves from oppression by educating themselves.
- On 16th Nov. 1852, Phule family was honoured by British government for their works in the field of education and Savitribai was declared as the best teacher.
- Savitribai Phule caught the Plague and died on the 10th of March, 1897.
- To honour the reformer for her undying efforts towards education, especially women and girls, the University of Pune was renamed Savitribai Phule University in 2014.
Surplus rainfall recorded in winter monsoon
The northeast, or winter monsoon has ended on a high, with an overall surplus rainfall being recorded for the season.
- The year that just went by witnessed the rare meteorological coincidence of the northeast (winter) monsoon making its onset on the same day as the southwest monsoon withdrew officially.
- The two events rarely happen simultaneously, although the three-month winter monsoon season is supposed to begin almost immediately after the end of the June-September summer monsoon season.
- In 2019, the retreat of the southwest (summer) monsoon was delayed by a record margin, while the northeast (winter) monsoon set in on time.
India’s Two monsoons:
- Generally a reference to the “monsoon” usually means the southwest summer monsoon as it is the main monsoon season, which brings widespread rain across the country. For many parts of India, this is the only time they receive rain. These four months bring about 75 per cent of India’s annual rainfall.
- However, for some regions of South India including Tamil Nadu, it is the Northeast or winter monsoon that is much more important. Though much less heard of, especially in the north of the country, the northeast monsoon is as permanent feature of the Indian subcontinent’s climate system as the summer monsoon.
- The northeast monsoon, or winter monsoon, blows from land to sea, whereas south-west monsoon, or summer monsoon, blows from sea to land after crossing the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and Bay of Bengal.
- The southwest monsoon brings most of the rainfall in the country – approximately 75% of India’s annual rainfall.
Northeast (winter) monsoon:
- The India Meteorological Department (IMD) recognises October to December as the time for the northeast monsoon.
- During this period, rainfall is experienced over just five of the 36 meteorological divisions in the country Tamil Nadu (including Pondicherry), Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh (Rayalaseema), along with some parts of Telangana and Karnataka.
- The northeast monsoon does not have anything to do with India’s Northeast, even though a part of the system does originate from the area above it.
- Rather, it derives its name from the direction in which the monsoon winds travels — from the northeast to the southwest.
- Although October, November, and December are supposed to comprise the northeast monsoon season, the rains normally set in only around October 20.
- The southern peninsular region receives rain in the first half of October as well, but that is attributable to the retreating summer monsoon. The summer monsoon season ends on September 30 but the withdrawal does not happen overnight.
- The southward withdrawal takes place over a period of three to four weeks.
- It usually starts around the second week of September and continues till about the second week of October, bringing rain as it retreats.
- 2019 was unusual in that the withdrawal was completed in just eight days, beginning on October 9.
Importance for South India:
- The northeast monsoon is particularly important for Tamil Nadu, which receives almost half its annual rainfall (438 mm of the annual 914.4 mm) during this season.
- The southwest monsoon contributes just 35 per cent to Tamil Nadu’s annual rainfall (the rest comes in other non-monsoon months).
- Within the state, some districts get up to 60 per cent of their annual rainfall during this time. Similarly, Rayalaseema region and Coastal Andhra Pradesh both about 30 per cent, and South Interior Karnataka receives about 20 per cent of its annual rainfall during the northeast monsoon season.
El Niño, La Niña impact on NE monsoon:
- Like the southwest monsoon, the northeast monsoon is also impacted by the warming and cooling of sea surface waters in the central Pacific Ocean but has contrary impact compared to SW monsoon.
- The northeast monsoon is known to receive a boost from El Niño, when the sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, off the western coast of South America, are warmer than usual.
- And, when the opposite phenomena La Niña happens, rainfall during the northeast monsoon is known to get depressed.
- This year (2019) the El Niño Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, had been in neutral state and is likely to remain like that for the rest of the year.
Winter rains in North India:
- Many other parts of the country, like the Gangetic plains and northern states, also receive some rain in November and December but this is not due to the northeast monsoon.
- It is caused mainly by the Western Disturbances, an eastward-moving rain-bearing wind system that originates beyond Afghanistan and Iran, picking up moisture from as far as the Mediterranean Sea, even the Atlantic Ocean.
Science & Technology
107th edition of Indian Science Congress
The ‘107th Indian Science Congress (ISA)’, will be held from January 3 to 7, 2020 at University of Agricultural Sciences (UASB), GKVK Campus, Bangalore, Karnataka.
- ISA is India’s largest annual gathering of scientific luminaries from countries across the world.
- ISA is organised annually in the first week of January by the Indian Science Congress Association, under department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
- The theme of ISC 2020 is ‘Science & Technology: Rural Development’.
- The objective of Indian Science Congress is promotion of scientific spirit, promoting research, publication of journals and exchange of ideas.
- The Congress is a major focal point for scientists, researchers and academicians interested in various aspects of science discoveries and technologies.
- The five-day long event aims to bring together science fraternity across the world to discuss scientific innovation and research.
- It includes events like public lectures by Nobel Laureates, Farmers Science Congress, Children Science Congress, Women Science Congress, Science Communicators Meet, Mega Science Exhibition etc.
Farmers Science Congress:
- With focus on Rural Development through Science and Technology, for the first time in the history of Indian Science Congress, a Farmers Science Congress is being held.
- It will cover themes ranging from farmers innovation on integrated agriculture and entrepreneurship for doubling farmers income, climate change, bio-diversity, conservation, ecosystem services & farmers empowerment to agrarian distress, rural bio-entrepreneurship, policy issues.
- The event will have the presence of experts and scientists from Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) along with farmers whose innovative approaches have led to significant contributions.
Rashtriya Kishore Vaigyanik Sammelan (Children’s Science Congress):
- A two day event ‘Rashtriya Kishore Vaigyanik Sammelan’ will be held at UASB, GKVK as part of the 107th Indian Science Congress on 4th and 5th January 2020.
- The aim is to provide a unique opportunity for children to view selected projects and interact with the student delegates and children will also have the opportunity to listen, interact with eminent scientists and Nobel Laureates.
- Events like one minute video competition, Infosys Foundation – ISCA Travel Awards for School Children, visit to exhibitions, live science demonstrations and science magic show will be organized as a part of the Science Congress.
Women Science Congress:
- The women’s science congress aims to provide single platform for women working in different arena of science and technology to showcase their achievements and experiences.
- It will also prepare a vision document or a road map for women in science and technology and recommend policies to enhance the role and utilize the full potential of women in science and technology.
- In this session, women are invited to share ideas and experiences to motivate the younger women to actively participate in science to identify and find simpler solutions through Science and Technology.
Indian Science Congress Association:
- The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) owes its origin to two British Chemists Professor J. L. Simonsen and Professor P.S. McMahon.
- They arranged an annual meeting of research workers on the lines of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, to stimulate scientific development in India.
- ISCA is a premier scientific organisation of India with headquarters at Kolkata, West Bengal.
- The association started in the year 1914 in Kolkata and it meets annually in the first week of January. It has a membership of more than 30,000 scientists.
Key Facts for Prelims
- A seven day long Mandu Festival began in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh with adventure sports events followed by cultural activities including tribal dance, folk songs on 28th December 2019.
- Mandu Utsav had started with the participation of government officials and public bodies in 1989 with musical events organised by Alauddin Khan Sangeet Academy and adventure sports by taking help from Himanchal Pradesh tourism department.
- Later it became a tradition since the tourism department took over the task of organising it.
Attractions of the festival:
- Mandu festival hosts’ adventure activities and witness cultural performances by eminent artists.
- Adventure activities across the ancient fort city Mandu like ATV bike, Paragliding, archery, rifle shooting, parasailing, rock climbing, hot air balloon etc. are the chief attractions of the fest.