Under the Digital India programme, the Ministry of Earth Sciences aims to develop a World-Class Knowledge Resource Centre Network (KRCNet).
Keeping in mind the spectacular developments in information technology, the traditional libraries of the MoES system will be upgraded into a top-notch Knowledge Resource Centres (KRC). KRCs will be connected with each other and integrated into the KRCNet portal. It will be a single point entry to the intellectual world of Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
Salient objectives of the KRCNet –
- Establish a Total Quality Management (TQM) system by securing ISO certification for documenting MoES knowledge resources, its maintenance, easy retrieval and dissemination.
- Collect, collate, analyse, index, store and disseminate the intellectual resources, products and project outputs available in MoES headquarter and its institutes.
- Develop and maintain an up-to-date meta-data of the print & digital resources available in MoES headquarter and MoES institutes, including MoES services.
- Provide 24X7 access to the subscribed knowledge contents through the KRCNet portal.
- Application of information analytical tools & techniques like bibliometrics, scientometrics, big-data analytics, social media analytics etc., for policy formulation, report preparation and information dissemination.
- Periodically organise training workshops to popularise usage of electronic journals, databases, digital products, data analytics etc.
India Meteorological Department, has launched the mobile app ‘Mausam’. It is dedicated to the general public and designed to communicate the weather information and forecasts in a lucid manner without technical jargons. Users can access observed weather, forecasts, radar images and be proactively warned of impending weather events.
The MAUSAM mobile App has the following 5 services:
- Current Weather – Current temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction for 200 cities updated 8 times a day. Information on Sunrise/ sunset and moonrise/ moonset are also given.
- Nowcast – Three hourly warnings of localised weather phenomena and their intensity issued for about 800 stations, and districts of India by State Meteorological Centres of IMD. In case of severe weather, its impact also is included in the warning.
- City Forecast – Past 24 hours and 7 day forecast of weather conditions around 450 cities in India.
- Warnings– Alerts issued twice a day for all districts for the next five days in colour code (Red, Orange and Yellow) to warn citizens of approaching dangerous weather. The colour code Red is the most severe category urging authorities to take action, Orange code prompts authorities and public to be alert and Yellow code prompts authorities and public to keep themselves updated.
- Radar products – Latest Station wise radar products updated every 10 minutes.
Discretionary powers of Governor
Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra returning the fresh proposal by the state Cabinet – seeking to convene a session of the Assembly on 31 July – has raised fresh legal questions on the powers of the Governor.
Who has the powers to summon the House?
- It is the Governor acting on the aid and advice of the cabinet.
- Article 174 of the Constitution gives the Governor the power to summon from time to time “the House or each House of the Legislature of the State to meet at such time and place as he thinks fit…”
- However, the phrase “as he thinks fit” is read as per Article 163 of the Constitution which says that the Governor acts on the aid and advice of the cabinet. Article 163(1) essentially limits any discretionary power of the Governor only to cases where the Constitution expressly specifies that the Governor must act on his own and apply an independent mind.
View of the Supreme Court –
- It is settled law that the Governor cannot refuse the request of the Cabinet to call for a sitting of the House for legislative purposes or for the chief minister to prove his majority. In fact, on numerous occasions, including in the 2016 Uttarakhand case, the court has clarified that when the majority of the ruling party is in question, a floor test must be conducted at the earliest available opportunity.
- In 2016, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Nabam Rebia and Bamang Felix vs Deputy Speaker, the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly case, expressly said that the power to summon the House is not solely vested in the Governor.
- The most significant feature of draft Article 153 (later made Article 174 of the Constitution) was expressed in sub-article (3) thereof, wherein it was provided, that the functions of the Governor with reference to sub-clauses (a) and (c), namely, the power to summon and dissolve the House or Houses of the State Legislature “… shall be exercised by him in his discretion. Article 174 reveals, that sub-article (3) contained in draft Article 153 was omitted. The omission of sub-article (3) of draft Article 153, is a matter of extreme significance, for a purposeful confirmation of the correct intent underlying the drafting of Article 174.
- In Arunachal Pradesh case, the court observed that the only legitimate and rightful inference, that can be drawn in the final analysis is, that the framers of the Constitution altered their original contemplation, and consciously decided not to vest discretion with the Governor, in the matter of summoning and dissolving the House, or Houses of the State Legislature, by omitting sub-article (3), which authorised the Governor to summon or dissolve, the House or Houses of Legislature at his own, by engaging the words “… shall be exercised by him in his discretion…”. In such view of the matter, we are satisfied in concluding, that the Governor can summon, prorogue and dissolve the House, only on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as the head. And not at his own.”
Istanbul Convention of violence against women
Poland has recently confirmed that it is seeking to withdraw from the European treaty on violence against women, which the right-wing Cabinet of the country says violates parents’ rights by requiring schools to teach children about gender.
- Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and its coalition partners closely align themselves with the Catholic Church and promote a conservative social agenda.
- PiS has long complained about the Istanbul Convention, which Poland ratified under a previous centrist government in 2015.
- The government says the treaty is disrespectful towards religion and requires teaching liberal social policies in schools, although in the past it has stopped short of a decision to quit.
About Istanbul Convention on domestic violence –
- The original name of the Istanbul Convention is the “Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence”. Since that name is quite a mouthful, it is mostly referred to as the Istanbul Convention, where it was first opened for signatures on 11 May 2011.
- On 11 May 2011, the convention was opened for signatures in Istanbul, Turkey. As of today, 12 countries have signed the convention without ratifying it, and 34 countries who have signed, ratified the convention and enforced it. It came into force on 1st August 2014.
- The Istanbul Convention is the first-ever legally binding set of guidelines that creates “a comprehensive legal framework and approach to combat violence against women” and is focused on preventing domestic violence, protecting victims, and prosecuting accused offenders.
- It also states that violence against women is a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination.
- The Convention does outline which acts must be criminalised by the participating countries. Such offences include psychological violence, stalking, physical violence, sexual violence (including rape), all non-consensual acts of a sexual nature with a person, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, forced abortion, and forced sterilisation, honour crimes as well as sexual harassment.
Climate Change over Indian Region
The first ‘Assessment of Climate Change over Indian Region’ was recently released by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. It warns of tropical cyclones, thunderstorms, heat waves, floods and droughts in India unless mitigation measures are adopted soon. The projections are for the decades leading to the end of the 21st century.
What are the findings of the report?
- Temperature: By the end of the 21st century, average temperature over India is projected to rise by 4.4°C, relative to the average temperature during 1976-2005.
- Heatwaves: In coming decades, the average duration of heatwaves during April-June is projected to double, and their frequency to rise by 3 to 4 times compared to 1976-2005.
- Monsoon: The coming decades are projected to witness a considerable rise in the mean, extreme and inter-annual variability of rainfall associated with monsoon.
- Sea level: In an extreme climate scenario, a risk of inundation looms over Andhra Pradesh and Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta basins. By 2030, some 340 million coastal residents of the North Indian Ocean and its islands would be exposed to coastal hazards.
- Tropical cyclones: Storms in the Arabian Sea are gaining more strength and the trend is projected to continue. The number of extremely severe cyclonic storms formed in the Arabian Sea has increased in the last 20 years.
- Himalaya snow cover: By the end of the century, the Hindukush Himalayas are projected to be warmer by 2.6-4.6°C.
- Floods: Flood risks are higher over the east coast, West Bengal, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Konkan and cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. The Himalayan flood basins are projected to greater floods, due to the faster glacial and snow melting.
- Droughts: Eastern India could face two more droughts per decade compared to what was experienced during 1976-2005, while the Southern Peninsula is projected to experience one or two droughts fewer.
Global Forest Resources Assessment
India has ranked third among the top 10 countries that have gained in forest areas in the last decade, as per the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) report brought out by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
About the report –
FAO has brought out this comprehensive assessment every five years since 1990. This report assesses the state of forests, their conditions and management for all member countries.
Findings of the report –
- The top 10 countries that have recorded the maximum average annual net gains in forest area during 2010-2020 are China, Australia, India, Chile, Vietnam, Turkey, the United States, France, Italy and Romania, according to the FRA 2020. India accounts for two per cent of total global forest area.
- The Asian continent reported the highest net gain in forest area in 2010-2020, according to the report. It recorded 1.17 million hectares (ha) per year net increase in forests in the last decade.
- However, the South Asia sub-region reported net forest losses during 1990-2020. But, this decline would have been much higher without the net gain in India’s forest during this period, according to FRA 2020.
- During the decade under assessment, India reported 0.38 per cent annual gain in forest, or 266,000 ha of forest increase every year at an average. The FRA 2020 has credited the government’s Joint Forest Management programme for the significant increase in community-managed forest areas in the Asian continent. “The forest area managed by local, tribal and indigenous communities in India increased from zero in 1990 to about 25 million ha in 2015,” the assessment said. However, the naturally regenerating forest rate is disappointing, according to the assessment.
- India has been taking up massive afforestation and plantation schemes. During 2010-20, the rate of increase in naturally regenerating forest was just 0.38 per cent according to the FRA 2020.
- The assessment examined employment in the forestry sector (including logging) with data from 136 countries that represent 91 per cent of the world’s forests. India reported the maximum employment in the forestry sector in the world.
- Globally, 12.5 million people were employed in the forestry sector. Out of this, India accounted for 6.23 million, or nearly 50 per cent.