UPSC Daily Current Affairs - 10th February 2023

UPSC Daily Current Affairs – Mains [10th February 2023]

GS 1

Glacial Lake Outburst (GLOF)

Syllabus: Disaster Management/Geography

Source: DTE

  • It is a sudden and rapid release of water from a lake that is fed by melting glaciers.
  • GLOFs can be extremely dangerous and pose a threat to people’s lives, livelihoods, and regional infrastructure.
  • They are often caused by various factors, including the buildup of pressure on the dam, water seeping through the structure, fragmentation of the source glacier, and landslides.
  • In the Hindu Kush Himalaya region, GLOF events have been traced back to the failure of moraine-dammed glacial lakes.
  • Unfortunately, due to the effects of climate change, the frequency of GLOFs is expected to increase in the future, making it more important than ever to be prepared and take steps to mitigate their impact.

Recent Findings on GLOFs:

  • According to recent studies, the majority of the population exposed to GLOFs globally is located in high-mountain Asia, with over 50% residing in India, Pakistan, Peru, and China.
  • Furthermore, research has shown that the population exposed to GLOFs increases with distance from a glacial lake.
  • This is due to rapid deglaciation over the past 20 years, which has led to the growth of many large glacial lakes.
  • This growth has also resulted in an increase in the population living in close proximity to glacial lakes, particularly between the years 2002 to 2022.
  • These findings highlight the pressing need for effective measures to mitigate the impact of GLOFs and protect communities in high-risk areas.

GLOF Situation in India:

  • India is one of the countries that are highly vulnerable to GLOFs, according to studies by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
  • Research by ICIMOD has shown that the number of Himalayan glacial lakes in India has increased by about 9%, while the area covered by these lakes has increased by 14%.
  • The Chhota Shigri glacier in North India is one of the most studied glaciers and has lost three times its mass, highlighting the rapidly deteriorating state of these ice formations.
  • The rapid onset of GLOFs also presents a significant challenge, as there is often insufficient time to effectively warn downstream populations.
  • This has made it crucial for the Indian government and relevant organizations to implement effective measures to mitigate the impact of GLOFs and protect communities in affected areas.

NDMA Guidelines/Recommendations

  • The NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) has outlined several guidelines for reducing the risk of flash floods caused by sudden breaches in lakes. According to these guidelines, the first step in risk reduction is to-
    • Identify and map such lakes, followed by implementing structural measures to prevent breaches.
    • Additionally, mechanisms must be put in place to protect lives and property in the event of a breach.
    • To aid in the detection of changes in water bodies, including the formation of new lakes, the NDMA recommends the use of Synthetic-Aperture Radar imagery during the monsoon season.
    • This technology can automatically detect changes and provide valuable information for disaster management efforts.
    • To further minimize risk, the NDMA suggests restricting construction and development in areas prone to GLOFs (Glacier Lake Outburst Floods) and Landslide Lake Outburst Floods (LLOFs).
    • Building in high-hazard zones should be prohibited, and existing structures should be relocated to a safer area with resources managed by the Central or State government.
    • New infrastructure in medium-hazard zones should be accompanied by protective measures and monitored prior to, during, and after construction.
    • In addition to specialized forces like NDRF, ITBP, and the Army, trained local manpower is also needed to assist in emergency management efforts.
    • Over 80% of search and rescue operations are often carried out by the local community, who can also help with planning and setting up emergency shelters, distributing relief packages, identifying missing people, and addressing needs for food, healthcare, and water supply.
    • The NDMA emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive alarm system using modern communication technology, as well as providing psychological counseling and accurate information dissemination through press conferences and mass media to support the victims of flash floods.

GS 2

Article 356

Syllabus: Polity

Source: Indian Express

In News

Recently, the Prime Minister addressed the issue of the misuse of Article 356 in Parliament.

Article 356, also referred to as President’s Rule, gives the President the authority to take over the functions of a state government. This article has come under criticism for being misused in the past. The Prime Minister’s remarks in Parliament draw attention to this important matter.

About Article 356

  • Article 356, also known as a “State Emergency” or “Constitutional Emergency“, is a provision outlined in Section 93 of the Government of India Act, 1935.
  • This article pertains to the failure of constitutional machinery in a state and grants the President the power to assume all functions of the state government.
  • Under Article 356, President’s Rule can be imposed for a maximum of six months at a time, with a total limit of three years. After the initial six-month period, Parliament’s approval is required to continue President’s Rule.
  • In 1978, the 44th Amendment to the Constitution was made, stating that President’s Rule cannot be extended beyond one year unless there is a national emergency or if the Election Commission of India certifies it as necessary for conducting Assembly polls.
  • Once President’s Rule is imposed, the state is administered by the governor on behalf of the President. The governor may seek assistance from the chief secretary and other officials as needed.

Controversies over Article 356

The utilization of Article 356 has been a subject of controversy due to several issues, including:

  1. Overuse and Misuse: The frequent use of Article 356, particularly for politically motivated purposes such as dismissing state governments run by opposition parties, has led to concerns about its abuse.
  2. Subversion of Democracy: The imposition of the President’s Rule suspends the democratic process in a state, leading to a subversion of the principles of democracy.
  3. Lack of Accountability: The frequent use of Article 356 has been criticized as an infringement on the federal structure of the Indian Constitution and a reduction of the powers of states.
  4. Negative Impact on Governance: The use of Article 356 can result in administrative and governance breakdowns in a state, leading to negative consequences for the people.


To prevent the misuse of Article 356, the following recommendations have been made:

  1. Sarkaria Commission Recommendation: In 1983, the Sarkaria Commission recommended that Article 356 only be invoked in extreme cases.
  2. Bommai vs Union of India Case: The Supreme Court in the landmark 1994 Bommai vs Union of India case, which dealt with Article 356, outlined strict guidelines for dismissing a state government. The court made it mandatory for a no-confidence motion to be passed in the House and made President’s Rule subject to judicial review.
  3. Strict Guidelines: The court held that Article 356 can only be invoked in situations where the physical breakdown of the government occurs or in the case of a hung assembly. It cannot be used without giving the state government the opportunity to prove its majority in the House or in instances of a violent breakdown of the constitutional machinery.

GS 3

Anti-Microbial Resistance

Syllabus: Biotechnology-related issues

Source: DTE

In News

UNEP released a new report – Bracing for Superbugs: Strengthening environmental action in the One Health response to antimicrobial resistance.

The report highlights the need for a coordinated and integrated approach to tackle the problem of AMR, which involves multiple sectors such as human health, animal health, agriculture, and the environment.

The report recommends several key actions to be taken by different sectors to address the problem of AMR, including:

  1. The report suggests that the number of deaths due to AMR could reach 10 million annually by 2050, which would be equivalent to the 2020 rate of global deaths from cancer.
  2. The report indicates that pollution in certain key sectors of the economy, such as pharmaceuticals and other chemical manufacturing, agriculture and food production, and healthcare, contributes to AMR.
  3. The report warns that the economic impact of AMR could result in a drop of at least USD 3.4 trillion in GDP annually by 2030, which would push 24 million people into extreme poverty.
  4. The report highlights that microorganisms, particularly bacteria, can acquire resistance after exposure to resistant microorganisms.
  5. The report stresses the link between AMR challenges and the current global triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste.
  6. The report points out that three key sectors are responsible for the development and spread of AMR in the environment, which are pharmaceuticals and other chemical manufacturing, agriculture and food production, and healthcare.

Suggestions in the report:

  • Implementing strong and well-structured national-level governance, planning, and regulatory frameworks.
  • Boosting global initiatives to enhance integrated water management and promoting water, sanitation, and hygiene to curb the development and transmission of AMR.
  • Incorporating environmental aspects into AMR National Action Plans.
  • Setting international standards for determining good microbiological indicators of AMR.
  • Enhancing environmental monitoring and surveillance.
  • Adopting a One Health approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of human, animal, plant, and environmental health. This approach emphasizes that addressing the health of one sector affects the health of the others.

About Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR)

  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a phenomenon where microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi develop resistance to antimicrobial treatments, such as antibiotics, fungicides, antiviral agents, or parasiticides, which were previously effective in controlling them.
AMR - Thought Chakra

Poor emit less, suffer more due to climate change

Syllabus: Environment

Source: DTE

In News

The Climate Inequality Report 2023 highlights the disproportionate impact of climate change on low and middle-income countries, even though these nations emit lower levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) compared to developed, high-income countries.

  • This report sheds light on the unequal distribution of the effects of climate change, with the least privileged communities suffering the most.

Findings of the Report

Here are some of the key findings of the report:

  • Emissions disparities: The report reveals that 48% of emissions are from the top 10% of emitters, who have 76% capacity to finance. Meanwhile, the global bottom 50% of emitters have only 2% capacity to invest and contribute 12% of emissions.
  • Economic destitution: Climate change is exacerbating economic destitution in subtropical and tropical countries, where it reduces agricultural productivity and contributes to poverty.
  • Mental health impacts: The report highlights that climate change also has a negative impact on mental health, as illustrated by a 1-degree Celsius increase in monthly average temperatures leading to a 2.1% increase in suicide rates in Mexico.
  • Relative loss and capacity to invest: The relative loss due to climate change is 3% for the top 10% of emitters, while it is 75% for the global bottom 50%. This is a clear indication that low and middle-income countries are bearing a disproportionate impact of climate change, despite having limited capacity to invest in mitigation and adaptation efforts.

Suggestions in the report

  • Impose a ‘Progressive Tax’ on Wealthiest Individuals: The report suggests that the wealthiest individuals (0.001% of the world’s adult population), with a fortune over $100 million, should pay a progressive tax ranging from 1.5% to 3% of their wealth to help people from low and middle-income countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.
  • Combine Poverty Alleviation and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts: The report emphasizes the importance of redistribution measures that aim to reduce poverty while mitigating the effects of climate change.
    • This means that poverty alleviation measures need not overshoot global carbon budgets to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • Increased Responsibility for Emerging Economies: The report suggests that emerging economies like China have an increased responsibility to develop and implement transparent strategies to reach Net Zero emissions.
  • Integration of Poverty Alleviation and Climate Mitigation Efforts: The report recommends the integration of poverty alleviation and climate mitigation efforts to ensure that efforts to combat global poverty and reduce carbon emissions are aligned and effective.

In conclusion, the reality of the current climate crisis highlights the unequal distribution of responsibility for its causes and the capability to address it. The transition towards a low-carbon economy must be fair and just, acknowledging that both countries and individuals have a varying degree of responsibility, known as common but differentiated responsibilities, in combating climate change and promoting climate justice.

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