Current Affairs Feb 10

Strengthening of Police System

  • “Police” and “Public Order” are State subjects as per the Constitution of India and States/UTs.
  • They are primarily responsible for strengthening the mechanism of their Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and administration considering all types of crimes including cyber crimes.
  • The responsibility of prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of crimes rests with the States/UTs.
  • Modernisation of police forces is a continuous process and the efforts of the States are supplemented by Ministry of home affairs.
  • It comes under the scheme of “Assistance to States for Modernization of Police” .
  • Under this scheme, the State Governments are provided central assistance for acquisition of latest weaponry Training gadgets
  • Advanced communication/forensic equipment Cyber Policing equipment etc.
  • The States have formulated 3 to 5 year Action Plans named State Security Plans to modernise and strengthen the Police System.
  • Each year, Central share is conveyed to State Governments and after adding State share, State Governments formulate State Action Plans (SAPs) by including items as per requirements and strategic priorities including combating cyber crimes and these SAPs are considered by High Powered Committee (HPC) in the Ministry.
  • Expertise of various specialized organizations are Directorate of Coordination Police Wireless (DCPW) Directorate of Forensic Science Services (DFSS)

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) .


  • These services utilized while formulating and approving the State Action Plans (SAPs).
  • MHA has also circulated critical / minimum prescribed State level infrastructure in the field of radio communication and national standards in the field of forensics.
  • The Central Government has also taken steps for spreading awareness about cyber crimes, issuance of alerts/ advisories, capacity building/ training of law enforcement personnel/ prosecutors/ judicial  officers, improving cyber forensics facilities etc.
  • The Government has launched the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, to enable public to report incidents pertaining to all types of cyber crimes with special focus on cyber crimes against women and children.
  • This was stated by the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri G. Kishan Reddy in a written reply to question in the Lok Sabha today.



Pablo Escobar’s hippos must be culled to halt biodiversity disaster – scientists


  • Hippos imported illegally into Colombia for Pablo Escobar’s private zoo have gone feral in the lush tropical countryside.
  • They must be culled before their invasive presence starts to wipe out indigenous flora and fauna, scientists have warned.
  • Hippos were abandoned on the sprawling Hacienda Napoles due to the cost and logistical issues associated with transporting the huge animals and the violence that plagued the area at the time.
  • Government attempts to control their reproduction have had no real impact on population growth, with the number of hippos increasing in the last eight years from 35 to somewhere between 65 and 80.
  • A group of scientists is warning that the hippos pose a major threat to the area’s biodiversity and could lead to deadly encounters with humans.
  • They say the hippos must be culled or their numbers could reach around 1,500 by 2035.
  • The hippos are changing the quality of the water in which they spend much of their time and defecate.
  • As their population continues to grow they could end up displacing native animals like Antillean manatees.
  • The hippos thrive in the fertile region lying between Medellín and Colombia’s capital, Bogotá.
  • They live in the area around the Rio Magdalena the Mississippi river of Colombia spending the day mostly in the lakes and waterways and the night roaming endless grass pastures.
  • Unlike in their native Africa they have no natural predators in Colombia.


The battle to save the Rockies from big coal

  • Growing opposition to the lifting of mining protections in Alberta has forced the Canadian province to backtrack
  • To the east of the Bluebird Valley ranch, the grasslands of the Canadian prairies extend beyond the horizon.
  • To the west, the fields rise, and then sharply erupt into the Rocky Mountains. Cattle graze the 3,600 hectares (9,000 acres)
  • What happens here also impacts over a million people and their water supply.
  • Fear that the  land around would be transformed into opencast coal mines after rules protecting the wilderness were abruptly rescinded last year.
  • Ranchers and environmentalists in the area first started sounding the alarm over the summer, circulating petitions and creating Facebook groups to raise awareness.
  • Those efforts received a substantial boost in January after the country singing star Corb Lund, a chronicler of Alberta’s farming and ranching culture, voiced his concerns.



  • Opening up new coal mines would create jobs in a province heavily reliant on the unpredictable fortunes of the  oil industry.
  • The  Alberta  government  collected  C$15.7m  (£8.9m)  in  coal  royalties  a  figure  that  would  increase  significantly with new mining projects.
  • In struggling areas such as Crowsnest Pass, mining jobs would be a boon to the community’s grim economic circumstances.


But to create surface mines, the companies would have to blast the eastern slopes of the Rocky  Mountains, scraping into the debris for valuable coal seams.

The slopes are home to forests of lodgepole pine, balsam and spruce and are a critical habitat for vulnerable grizzly bears and caribou.

  • mountain streams could become contaminated with selenium, a common byproduct of coal mining.
  • Home to threatened cutthroat trout, those waters eventually feed three main rivers: the Red Deer, the South Saskatchewan and, most critically, the Oldman.
  • All of southern Alberta, as well as neighbouring Saskatchewan, relies on the health of those rivers for drinking and irrigation.


Cutting trans fat

  • January 1, 2022, India will join a select group of countries limiting industrial trans fat to 2% by mass of the total oils/fats present in the product. India would thus be achieving the WHO target a year in advance.
  • In mid-2016, the trans fat content limit was halved from 10% to 5%, and in December 2020, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) capped it to 3% by 2021.
  • While trans fat is naturally present in red meat and dairy products, the focus is on restricting the industrially produced trans fat used solely to prolong the shelf life of products at less cost.
  •  Also, even when the fat/oil contains less than 2% trans fat, repeated use at high temperature can increase the trans fat content.
  • The focus on cutting down trans fat content in food arises from its proclivity to negatively alter the lipoprotein cholesterol profile by increasing the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) while decreasing the level of HDL or good cholesterol. 
  • These changes in the lipoprotein cholesterol profile increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • According to a 2020 report of WHO, 32 countries already have some form of mandatory limits on trans fat.
  • The benefits of reducing trans fat can become quickly apparent, as seen in Denmark; three years after the cap came into effect, it saw a reduction of about 14 deaths attributable to cardiovascular diseases per 1,00,000 population.




  • The use of explosives has repeatedly been questioned for dam construction, and the construction of other infrastructure projects, such as roads, in the fragile Himalayan State.
  • Other than this, deforestation takes place when dams are constructed.
  • The construction material that is supposed to be dumped on separate land is often dumped into the rivers
  • The Chopra Committee report of 2014 brings more clarity on how dams exacerbate a disaster such as floods.
  • How dams exacerbated the 2013 deluge, mainly as riverbeds were already raised from the disposed muck at the dam construction sites, and could not contain the sudden increased flow from floodwaters.
  • The report presents evidence to prove that dams are not only damaged in floods, they also cause immense damage in downstream areas.
  • This is because as floodwaters damage a barrage, they increase the destructive capacity of the water that flows downstream of the barrage.
  • The Chopra Committee suggested that 23 of the 24 proposed dam projects it reviewed be cancelled for the potential damage they could do.
  • To make matters worse, Himalayan glaciers are receding and disintegrating as a result of climate change, and the snow cover in the Himalayas is also thinning.
  • Research also shows how an increased number and volume of glacial lakes should be expected as a direct impact of increased temperatures.
  • For dams, this means rapid increase or decrease in the reservoir water level.
  • It also means that the projections on the life of a dam reservoir may not stand due to erratic events, such as floods, that could rapidly fill a reservoir with muck and boulders brought along with the floods.
  • There is also the threat of earthquakes. In terms of earthquake risk, Uttarakhand lies in Seismic Zone-IV (severe intensity) and Seismic Zone-V (very severe intensity).
  • Ignoring this, many dams have been constructed in zones that are under high risk of witnessing severe earthquakes. Irrespective of the evidence, the Uttarakhand government plans on continuing to build dams as a source of revenue.
  • The State plans to construct up to 450 hydropower projects of 27,039 MW installed capacity.
  • Clearly, the Uttarakhand government has chosen to ignore the disastrous impacts of rampant dam-building.




Why did the Chamoli tragedy happen in winter

  • The Himalayas do flood, though not during winter time. Identifying the cause of where this mass of water has come from.
  • A GLOF or glacial lake outburst flood, is suspected. However, the paradox is that this region of the Himalayas does not have any known glacier lakes. However if it was indeed a GLOF, the question of where the glacier lake is, still holds.
  • It was possible that a glacier lake was present in the area but not known to This is because there are also instances of lakes forming inside glaciers that cannot be detected in satellite images.
  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off, creating an avalanche, releasing water trapped behind the ice. 
  • The 2019 Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere states that based on different studies using global and regional climate model projections for the Hindu Kush-Himalaya region, the mean annual temperature is projected to increase in a range of 1-4°C by mid-21st century and 2-6°C by the late-21st century relative to the late-20th century.
  • Currently, we are just seeing the impacts of a 1°C warming in the form of reduced snowfall and runaway glacier melt water in the Himalayas. 
  • Large extent, global warming, melting of ice, reduced snowfall and pockmarking the ecologically sensitive Himalayan riverine system with disproportionate construction of infrastructure including that of hydropower projects can be the exasperator of this disaster.



How to contain Himalayan disaster

Why is the Himalaya so prone to disasters?


  • There are many faults in the range.
  • There are four major faults in the Himalaya, including the Himalayan Frontal Fault and the Trans Himadri Fault.
  • Multiple faults have developed parallel to these four. This branching and sub-branching means that this is clearly a zone of faults.
  • The movement of thousands of years means that all rock formations are broken and crushed. Water penetrates deep into the interior and sabotages the rocks from the inside. It washes away the base of the rocks.
  • Thus the number of landslides is high in the region. Landslides and earthquakes will continue to happen in the region because of the movement of the plates in the Himalaya.
  • Any human tampering—building roads, constructing hotels on banks and so on—is bound to harm the already fragile landscape.
  • Making and executing laws regarding human activity keeping this factor in mind is the only way to avoid a disaster like the one in Uttarakhand.
  • The changing pattern of vegetation and deforestation coupled with the lack of a study of the terrain are at the heart of such massive disasters.
  • The soil is becoming loose in the Himalayan region where human settlements have cut forests and cultivated crops for consumption. On the north-eastern side of the Himalaya, the glaciers are melting while on the western side they are not.
  • This has to be understood. But only glaciers such as Gangotri, which can be approached, are being studied. This leaves gaps in collecting data and understanding deeply the changing pattern of the Himalaya.
  • The apple line in the area or the altitude at which apples are cultivated is also changing. As the environment becomes warmer, there are changes in vegetation too.



  • Capacity building of the local community is key to ensuring that such a disaster is mitigated in the future. Last year the same thing happened in the same two districts, Uttarkashi and Rudraprayag, though, to a lesser extent.
  • We cannot control natural occurrences. But disaster preparedness also has an important role to play.
  • The idea is not to stop development, but to have planned development, which does not disturb the ecology. Development; should not be a synonym for monster.
  • For mitigating disasters, Nepal is aggressively working on community-based disaster preparedness. Local communities’ preparedness is the best option as the initial response.
  • When all means of communication break down, especially in the mountains where the connectivity is usually through only a couple of roads, a trained force of locals can save people.
  • The army and other forces take time to arrive.