Inter-State River Water Disputes

Inter-State River Water Disputes

This article deals with ‘Inter-State River Water Disputes – Indian Polity.’ This is part of our series on ‘Polity’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus. For more articles , you can click here


Constitutional Provisions

Inter-State River Water Disputes

Status of Water in the Constitution

State List Entry 17: Water, that is to say, water supplies, irrigation & canals, etc., subject to provisions of Entry 56 of List 1
Union List Entry 56: Regulation and Development of Inter-State Rivers & River Valleys  

When a water dispute arises between two states, Article 262 is invoked & in pursuance of Article 262, two Acts were passed by the Parliament. 


River Boards Act,1956

The Act is designed to regulate and facilitate the development of inter-state rivers to ensure effective water resource management. The key features of the River Boards Act 1956 are

  • Establishment of River Boards: These boards are instrumental in coordinating efforts to regulate and develop rivers that flow through multiple states.
  • Board Establishment on State Government Request: River Boards are not unilaterally imposed but are established based on requests from State Governments.

Inter-State River Water Disputes Act,1956

The Inter-State River Water Disputes Act of 1956 provides a mechanism for resolving disputes related to the sharing of river waters between different states in India.

  • Initiation of Tribunal: If a Riparian State believes that its interests are adversely affected by the actions or plans of another state, it can request the government of India to establish a Tribunal to address the dispute.
  • Timeline for Tribunal Setup: The government of India is mandated to set up the Tribunal within one year of receiving such a request. 
  • Composition of Tribunal: The Tribunal comprises three members, each of whom must be a Judge of either the Supreme Court or a High Court. 
  • Final and Binding Decision: The decision rendered by the Tribunal holds ultimate authority and is deemed final and binding. The Supreme Court or any other court don’t have any jurisdiction in this regard.  

A total (9) such tribunals have been established till date. Important ones are

  1. Ravi & Beas: Involving Punjab and Haryana, formed in 1986 and still pending the award.
  2. Kaveri:  Involving Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala & Pondicherry, with time period 1990-2007
  3. Mahanadi: The most recent tribunal, formed in 2018, involving the states of Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

Causes of these Disputes

  • Agriculture and Water Scarcity: Riparian states depend on river water for agriculture. Such issues intensify during low rainfall seasons. Examples include disputes over the Kaveri, Krishna, Ravi, and Beas rivers, primarily revolving around sharing water for agricultural purposes.
  • Multipurpose Projects and Dams: Conflicts often arise between upstream and downstream states regarding multipurpose projects and dams. The Mahanadi issue serves as an illustration of such disputes.
  • River Joining: It is usually done to divert river water from sufficient to deficient river basins, but many issues arise, such as environmental assessment, submergence of surrounding lands, etc. Mahadayi/ Mandovi (Goa vs Karnataka) is an example of such a dispute.
  • Unborn States Share: Disputes arise when a tribunal’s judgment on a contested river involves states that later undergo division or creation. The Krishna water tribunal is an example where the parties were Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. But as the new state Telangana has come into being, it approached the Supreme Court for its right to get a proper share. 


Why Tribunals for Inter-State Water Disputes? 

Article 262 of the Constitution lays down that the Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute with respect to any Inter-State River (ISR). Accordingly, the Parliament enacted the Inter-State River Water Dispute Act 1956, which provides for the reference of such a dispute to a Water Tribunal. The said Act bars the Supreme Court or any other Court from exercising jurisdiction in respect of any water dispute.

The main reasons for keeping River Disputes out of the purview of the court’s jurisdiction were that (the whole of the Constituent Assembly agreed that there is a need for Tribunals to settle Inter-State River Disputes (but there wasn’t unanimity on Permanent Tribunal or Temporary Tribunals)) 

  1. Speedy Disposal: The Act ensures the swift resolution of Inter-State River water disputes by making the tribunal’s decision final and binding, thereby avoiding prolonged legal processes.
  2. Technical and Scientific Expertise: Since the resolution of Inter-State River disputes hinges upon heaps of technical and scientific data, the resolution of such disputes by specialized tribunals would allow for a better appreciation of such data.
  3. Flexible and Informal Proceedings: Unlike courts bound by strict legal procedures, tribunal proceedings are relatively informal. This flexibility allows for deliberative decision-making and discretionary measures, fostering the potential for mutually negotiated settlements.

In this context, it can be argued that the rationale behind excluding the jurisdiction of courts was fairly well-intentioned.


Main Problems with Present System and Remedies 

The problem lies elsewhere and has been well documented by many commissions, including the Sarkaria Commission. These include:

  1. Long delays & uncertain time frame: The existing system is plagued by prolonged delays, leading to uncertainty. For example, in the Ravi Beas case, referred to the Tribunal in 1986, the matter is still pending. 
  2. Issue of finality: The Tribunal acts as the arbiter for water disputes between states. Although courts are barred from interfering, matters are still taken to courts through Special Leave Petitions. E.g., the Cauvery Case, where the matter was brought to courts through Special Leave Petitions.  
  3. Enforcement Issues: Inadequate provisions for enforcing Tribunal awards lead to challenges in implementation. There is political resistance and reluctance from states to comply with Tribunal awards due to political considerations.
  4. Politicization of Water Issues: Even after the award is announced, in times of coalition politics, sometimes the centre doesn’t publish it in the gazette. 

Suggestions to improve this

  1. Institutional Changes: Utilize the Inter-State Council as a platform for resolving water conflicts effectively.
  2. Permanent Tribunal: Advocate the establishment of a Permanent Tribunal, a concept supported by Ambedkar during Constitutional Assembly Debates.
  3. Mediation Approach: Reform the current adversarial judicial process to mediation for a mutually acceptable resolution. Mediation has solved a large number of River Disputes, even at the international level. For example, 
    • World Bank played the role of mediator between India and Pakistan in the Indus Treaty.
    • The Vatican became a mediator in solving the Zambezi River dispute involving eleven countries
  4. Declaring Rivers National Property: The establishment of separate corporations on the pattern of the Damodar Valley Corporation may be immensely useful in this direction. 
  5. Bringing Water to Concurrent List: As suggested by the Ashok Chawla Committee, water resources should be included in the concurrent list for better coordination and management.

Proposed Changes in Inter State River Water Disputes Act

The following changes have been proposed in the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act of 1956 to resolve the deficiencies the present mechanism faces.

Single Permanent Tribunal

  • Establish a single, Permanent Tribunal for adjudicating all inter-state river water disputes.
  • Awards will be notified automatically.  
  • Composition of the Tribunal: Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and not more than six other Members
  • Members from both judicial (3) and technical backgrounds (3).
  • Even in Constituent Assembly debates, the setting of the Permanent Tribunal to resolve Inter-State River Water Disputes was greatly favoured, and BR Ambedkar was in favour of the Permanent Commission. The act favouring the Temporary Commission was favoured on the basis of experience that such issues would not come up. This is not the case now, and such disputes are rising very frequently.  

Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC)

  • DRC will handle disputes prior to the tribunal, with a resolution timeline of one year.
  • Most disputes will get resolved at the DRC’s level itself. But if the state is not satisfied, it can approach the tribunal.

Data Agency

  • Establish an agency to collect and maintain updated water data in each river basin in the country.
  • The collected data will aid in the timely resolution of water disputes

Timeline

  • The Tribunal must give a decision within two years, with a possible extension of one more year.
  • The decision of the Tribunal shall be final and binding. 

Case Study: Cauvery Issue

Inter-State River- Case Study of Dispute
1924 The agreement was signed between Madras Presidency and Mysore to build a dam in Mysore. The agreement was valid for 50 years, and it led to the construction of the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam. Note: The agreement was heavily in favour of the Madras Presidency. Mysore was allowed to construct just one dam.
1960s Karnataka wanted to make more dams on Cauvery, but Tamil Nadu didn’t allow it on the basis of the 1924 Agreement.  
1974 The Water Sharing Agreement lapsed after 50 years. Karnataka decided to go ahead with making dams. 4 dams were made by Karnataka in quick succession.  
1986 Tamil Nadu approached the Centre for setting up a Tribunal   
2 June 1990 The Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT), headed by Justice Chittosh Mookerjee, was set after the Supreme Court’s direction.  
2007 CWDT issued its final order, allocating water shares (in tmcft):      – Tamil Nadu: 419      – Karnataka: 270 (Karnataka claimed 312, but CWDT considered earlier agreements)      – Kerala: 30      – Puducherry: 7 Karnataka and Tamil Nadu contested the order in the Supreme Court via Special Leave Petitions (SLPs).   It also recommended the establishment of a Cauvery Management Board. But it was just a recommendation.  
2013 2013 was a drought year. Tamil Nadu moves Supreme Court seeking directions to Water Ministry for Constitution of Cauvery Management Board as Karnataka wasn’t following orders of CWDT.  
2016 The year 2016 was a drought year, with Karnataka not releasing adequate water. Tamil Nadu went to the Supreme Court again. SC ordered the formation of the Cauvery Water Management Board. 

Point to Note – The main issue in this case (& other River Disputes, too) is a shortage of water. Whenever there are drought-like conditions, states start to fight over the division of Rivers.

Financial Relations between Centre and States

Financial Relations between Centre and States

This article deals with ‘Financial Relations between Centre and States – Indian Polity.’ This is part of our series on ‘Polity’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus. For more articles , you can click here


Introduction

Articles 268 to 293 in Part XII of the Indian constitution deal with financial relations.


Allocation of Taxing Powers

The division of taxing powers is as follows

Parliament Parliament can levy taxes on subjects in the Union List (13 items).
State Legislature State Legislatures can levy taxes on subjects enumerated in the State List (18 items)
Both Both Parliament and State Legislatures can levy taxes on subjects enumerated in the Concurrent List.
Initially, the Concurrent List had no tax entries, but the 101st Amendment Act of 2016 introduced a special provision for GST. Parliament and State Legislatures now have concurrent power to make laws related to GST.
Residuary The residual power of taxation is vested in the Parliament.

There is a difference between the power to levy taxes, collect taxes & appropriate the proceeds of taxes. For example, the income tax is levied and collected by the Centre, but its proceeds are distributed between the Centre and the states.


The Indian Constitution has placed various restrictions on the state’s taxing powers. These are as follows:-

  1. Tax on Professions, Trades, Callings, and Employments: State legislatures can levy taxes on professions, trades, callings, and employments, but there’s a cap of ₹2,500 per year on the total amount imposed on any individual.
  2. Prohibition on Taxing Goods and Services: State legislatures cannot impose tax on goods or services in two instances: (1) when the transaction happens outside the state and (2) when it occurs in the course of import or export.
  3. Tax on Consumption or Sale of Electricity: States have the authority to levy taxes on the consumption or sale of electricity. 
    • No tax can be imposed on electricity consumed or sold to the Centre
    • No tax can be imposed on electricity utilised in the construction, maintenance, or operation of railways  
  4. Tax on Water or Electricity by Interstate Authorities: State legislatures can levy taxes on water or electricity generated, consumed, sold or distributed by authorities established by Parliament for regulating or developing interstate rivers or river valleys.

Distribution of Tax Revenues

Major changes in the scheme to distribute tax revenue between the Centre and the States were introduced by the 80th and 101st Constitutional Amendments. 

80th Constitutional Amendment, 2000 (Alternative Scheme of Devolution)

  • The 80th Amendment was passed to implement the 10th Finance Commission’s suggestion of allocating 29% of specific central taxes and duties to the states. 
  • It was retroactively applied from April 1, 1996, and brought various central taxes, including corporation taxes and customs duties, in line with income tax regarding their constitutional sharing with the states.

101st Constitutional Amendment

  • The 101st Amendment enables the implementation of a new tax system, Goods and Services Tax (GST), in the country. It grants both the Parliament and State Legislatures the authority to enact laws for imposing GST on transactions involving the supply of goods or services.
  • The proceeds of GST are divided between the Center and the state on the recommendation of the GST Council. 

The present situation regarding tax distribution between the Centre and states is as follows

  1. Article 268 (Taxes levied by the Centre but collected and appropriated by States): It includes stamp duties on cheques, bills of exchange, promissory notes, insurance policies, transfer of shares, and similar transactions.
  2. Article 269 (Taxes levied and collected by Centre but assigned to States): There are two categories of taxes under this category
    • Taxes on interstate sale or purchase of goods (excluding newspapers) 
    • Taxes on the consignment of goods in interstate trade.
  3. Article 269-A (Levying and Collecting of GST in the Course of Inter-State Trade): The responsibility for levying and collecting this tax rests with the Centre. However, the distribution of this tax between the Centre and the States is determined by Parliament based on the recommendations of the GST Council.
  4. Article 270 (Taxes Levied and Collected by the Centre but Distributed between the Centre and the States): This category includes all taxes and duties listed in the Union List, excluding those mentioned in Articles 268, 269, and 269-A, surcharge on taxes in Article 271, and specific-purpose cess. Based on the Finance Commission’s recommendation, the President determines the distribution of the net proceeds of these taxes and duties.
  5. Article 271 (Surcharges for the purpose of the Centre): The Parliament has the authority to impose surcharges on certain taxes and duties mentioned in Articles 269 and 270. The funds generated from these surcharges are allocated exclusively to the Centre. However, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is exempted from such surcharges.
  6. Taxes Levied, Collected, & Retained by the States: These include taxes enumerated in the state list (18 in number). 
Financial Relations between Centre and States

Distribution of Non-tax Revenues

a. The Centre

The primary contributors to the non-tax revenues of the Centre are the following.

Non-tax Revenues of Centre

b. The States

The primary contributors to the non-tax revenues of the States are the following.

Non-tax Revenues of State

Grants-in-Aid to the States

The Centre can give money to States via Grants in Aid. These are of two types

1 . Statutory Grants

  • General Provision: Under Article 275, Parliament can give money to states which need financial assistance on the recommendation of the Finance Commission. They are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. 
  • Specific Provision: The Constitution has provisions for specific grants aimed at enhancing the well-being of scheduled tribes within a state or improving the administrative standards of scheduled areas in a state, including the State of Assam.

2. Discretionary Grants

  • Under Article 282, the states & centre can make grants even if it is not in their Legislative competence. For example, the Central Funds given on the advice of the Planning Commission.
  • They are discretionary because the centre is under no obligation.
  • These grants serve a dual purpose: firstly, to assist the state in meeting its financial obligations for achieving plan targets, and secondly, to provide the Centre with a means to influence and coordinate state activities in line with the national plan.

3. Other Grants

  • These grants, stipulated by the Constitution, were temporary in nature. 
  • For the initial 10 years following the commencement of the Indian Constitution, a provision of grant was made in lieu of export duties on Jute products to states of Assam, Bihar & Orissa & were charged on Consolidated Fund.

GST Council

  • GST Council is a Constitutional Body made under the provisions of Article 279-A. 
Article 279-A

Membership of GST Council

  • Its membership is as follows 
    1. Headed by Union Finance Minister
    2. Union Minister of State of Finance / Revenue 
    3. 1 Minister from each State and Union Territory with the Legislative Assembly
  • Weighted Voting Powers: 1/3rd of Voting Power is with the Union and 2/3rd with States.
  • In order to implement any decision, at least a three-fourths majority is necessary, which translates into votes of the Union and a minimum concurrence of 20 states.
GST Council

Functions of GST Council

  • Determine the inclusion of Union and State Taxes, Cess, and Surcharge under the GST regime.
  • Establish standard rates for CGST, SGST, and UTGST within the GST framework.
  • Set the effective date for including Crude Oil, Petrol, Diesel, Aviation Turbine Fuel, and LPG under the GST regime, until which the Union and individual States will unilaterally determine Excise and State VAT on these hydrocarbons.
  • Define the categories of ‘Exempted Goods and Services’ under GST.
  • Determine ‘Special Rates’ applicable during calamities, exemplified by the GST Council allowing Kerala in January 2019 to impose a 1% Calamity Cess on Intra-State trade for the subsequent two years for the rehabilitation of flood victims from 2018.
  • Address dispute settlements within this system involving conflicts between states or between a state and the Union.

Finance Commission

  • Article 280 establishes the Finance Commission as a quasi-judicial entity.
  • The President forms the Finance Commission every five years, or sooner if necessary.

The Finance Commission is required to make recommendations to the President of India on the following matters:

  1. Distribution of the divisible pool of taxes between the Centre and states (Vertical Distribution) and among states (Horizontal Distribution).
  2. It provides recommendations on the principles guiding grants-in-aid from the Centre to the states.
  3. The Finance Commission suggests measures to enhance a state’s consolidated fund for supporting Panchayats and municipalities.

It can address any other finance-related matter referred to it by the President.

The Constitution permits the Finance Commission to make broader recommendations in the interest of sound finance.


Protection of State’s Interests

To protect the interest of States, certain bills can be introduced in Parliament only on the recommendation of the President

  1. Bill which imposes or varies any Tax in which states are interested
  2. Bill, which varies the meaning of the expression Agriculture income
  3. Bill, which affects the principle on which money is distributed to state
  4. Bill which imposes any surcharge on any specified tax or duty for the purpose of the centre.

Borrowing and Loans by Centre & States

Borrowing

  • Centre can borrow either within India or outside upon security of the Consolidated Fund of India within the limit fixed by Parliament (no limit fixed yet)
  • State Government can borrow within India (& NOT ABROAD) upon security of the Consolidated Fund of State

Loans

  • The central government can make loans to any state or give guarantees regarding loans.
  • The state can’t raise a loan without the consent of the centre if any part of a loan made by the centre to the State or in which the centre has guaranteed is still outstanding.

Effects of Emergencies on Financial Relations

National Emergency

  • During a National Emergency, the President can modify the Constitutional distribution of revenues between the Centre & and the State.
  • Modification continues until the end of the financial year when emergencies cease to operate.

Financial Emergency

During Financial Emergency, the centre can give direction to states

  • Observe specified canons of financial propriety
  • Reduce the salaries & allowances of all classes of persons in states
  • Reserve money bills & financial bills for consideration by the President.

Inter-Government Tax Immunities

There are certain rules of IMMUNITY FROM MUTUAL TAXATION

  1. Property of the centre is exempted from all taxes imposed by the state or any authority within the state like Panchayat, Municipal Corporation, etc.
  2. Property & income of the state is exempted from central taxation.
  3. Property & income of local bodies like panchayat are not exempted from central taxation.

Analysis: Centre-State Financial Issues

  1. Vertical Imbalance in Resource Sharing: The States feel that the resource transfers to them haven’t been commensurate with their growing responsibilities.  
  2. Growing Central Expenditure on Functions in the State List: The 12th Finance Commission estimated that a fifth of the expenditure incurred by the Centre was on subjects that were in the domain of the States. 
  3. Compliance and Enforcement Cost of Central Legislation: There are several Central legislations, the compliance and enforcement costs of which are entirely borne by the States. At present, States are not compensated for the cost of compliance and the revenue loss on account of compliance. 
  4. Impact of Pay Revision by the Central Government on State Finances: The periodic pay revision by the Central Government gives rise to demand on the part of State government employees for a similar pay hike. States have demanded that the Central government should bear at least 50 % of the increase.
  5. Sharing of Offshore Royalty and Sale Proceeds of Spectrum Under the present Constitutional arrangements, offshore royalty accrues entirely to the Centre.  
  6. Profession Tax: it can not exceed Rs. 2,500 per annum. As income and salary levels are increasing, a limit on the professional tax constraints revenue mobilization
  7. FRBM Legislation: The deficit reduction targets are uniform across all States. This ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach has constrained fiscally strong States to raise more resources.  

Semi-Conductor Industry (in India and World)

Semi-Conductor Industry (in India and World)

This article deals with the ‘Semi-Conductor Industry (in India and World).’ This is part of our series on ‘Geography’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Introduction

A semi-conductor is a substance characterized by its capacity to carry a small electrical current. The essential criterion for a semi-conductor is that it should neither be an excellent conductor of electricity nor a poor conductor; instead, it falls in between these extremes.

Semiconductors function by virtue of an electron imbalance. This imbalance of electrons generates positive charges (WHERE THERE ARE EXCESS PROTONS) and negative charges (WHERE THERE ARE EXCESS ELECTRONS) at two ends of surfaces of the semi-conductor material. 

Due to this helpful characteristic, it is used in the following industries

Semi-Conductor Industry (in India and World)

Location Factors for Semi-Conductor Industry

Research and Development Centers

  • Proximity to leading research and development institutions and universities focusing on technology and engineering is crucial.

Skilled Workforce

  • The availability of a highly skilled workforce specializing in electrical engineering, materials science, and related fields is essential.

Infrastructure and Connectivity

  • Robust infrastructure, including reliable power supply, advanced production facilities, etc., is a vital factor in determining the location of the Semiconductor industry.

Access to Capital

  • The availability of large capital is essential as a semiconductor requires significant investments in research, development, and production facilities.

Government Support and Incentives

  • Supportive government policies, tax incentives, and grants can attract semiconductor companies to a specific location. 

Intellectual Property Protection

  • Strong legal frameworks and intellectual property protection contribute to a conducive business environment for semiconductor companies. 

Cluster Effect

  • An established semiconductor industry cluster can attract more companies to a specific location. Clusters promote collaboration, knowledge exchange, and the development of specialized supply chains.

Global Semi-Conductor Industry

Global Semi-Conductor Industry

Taiwan

  • Taiwan, specifically Hsinchu Science Park, is the largest semi-conductor producer, producing almost 60% of the global semi-conductors. Taiwan Semi-conductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC) is the largest producer of semi-conductors in the world. 
  • The island nation benefits from a robust industrial ecosystem, government support, and proximity to major Asian markets.
  • Additionally, the Taiwanese government has actively supported the semiconductor industry through policies and investments.

The USA 

  • The USA is the second most significant producer. 
  • The US is home to Silicon Valley in California, a global technology and semi-conductor innovation hub. 
  • It benefits from a well-developed infrastructure, large market, skilled workforce, and proximity to research institutions.

South Korea

  • With companies like Samsung, South Korea is a significant player in semiconductor production. 

China 

  • China has been aggressively investing in its semiconductor industry. 
  • Government policies, access to a large consumer market, and technological advancements contribute to China’s presence in the industry.

Japan

  • With companies like Toshiba and Renesas, Japan has a long history in semiconductor manufacturing.
  • A robust industrial base and a focus on high-tech manufacturing contribute to Japan’s position in the semiconductor industry.

Indian Semi-Conductor Industry

Historically, India has heavily depended on semi-conductor imports from Taiwan and Hong Kong to meet its growing demand for electronic goods.

The Indian Government has recognized the strategic importance of the semi-conductor industry and has taken steps to encourage its growth.

Why Should India Invest in the Semi-Conductor Industry?

  1. Save Forex and Earn Revenue: Investing in semi-conductor manufacturing in India will diminish reliance on imported semi-conductors for domestic companies and generate revenue through exports to global markets. This strategic move could position India as a key global hub for electronic goods, fostering job creation and attracting investments from top multinational firms.
  2. Meeting Escalating Demand: The surge in digitization, coupled with advancements in intelligent computing and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), has led to an unprecedented demand for semi-conductors and chipsets.  
  3. Self-Sufficiency (Atma Nirbhar): Establishing a semi-conductor industry in India would contribute to the nation’s self-sufficiency, addressing the challenges of supply chain disruptions witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic.  
  4. Multiplier Effect: Developing indigenous semi-conductor manufacturing capabilities will create a positive ripple effect on related industries.

Initiatives to promote Semi-Conductor Manufacturing in India

  • Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for IT Hardware and Semi-Conductors: The Government is giving incentives on goods manufactured in India. 
  •  Semicon India Program: The Government is providing financial support to companies who are investing in the development of the semi-conductor ecosystem, such as fabrication (fab), research, design and testing facilities.
  • Design Linked-Incentive Scheme: The Government provides financial support of 50%  of eligible expenditure on the design, subject to a ceiling of ₹15 crores per applicant.
  • National Policy on Electronics, 2019: The policy aims to make India a global hub for designing and manufacturing Electronics Systems, including Chipsets.
  • Foreign Direct Investment: 100% FDI in the semi-conductor industry is allowed via Automatic Route.
  • Collaborations and Partnerships: The government is signing MoUs with various countries to invest in the Indian semi-conductor industry. For example, Israel has signed a MoU to invest 22,000 cr. 

Challenges faced in manufacturing Semi Conductors

  • Complex Value Chain: The semi-conductor value chain has three major components: Design, Fabrication, and Assembly and Testing. These processes are very expensive as they are highly dependent on R&D and Intellectual Property protection.     
  • Massive Investment: Semi-conductor manufacturing is a complex, capital and technology intensive process. Semi-conductor Fabrication facility requires many expensive devices. Estimates put the cost of building a new fabrication facility (fab) over one billion dollars. 
  • Lack of Skilled Workforce: Insufficient skilled labour poses a challenge for semi-conductor companies; India falls short of meeting this crucial requirement.
  • Requirement of very specific Raw Materials: Apart from Silicon, numerous types of chemicals & gases are involved in semi-conductor fabrication that are not till now available in India.  
  • Lack of uninterrupted Power and Water Supply: Manufacturing a single semi-conductor chip requires thousands of gallons of pure water and an uninterrupted power supply.
  • Global Competition: It is also difficult to compete with Taiwan and China, which, due to better cost-efficiency and first mover advantage, have become the favoured destinations for global chip manufacturers. 

Automobile Industry in India and World

Automobile Industry in India and World

This article deals with the ‘Automobile Industry in India and World .’ This is part of our series on ‘Geography’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Location Factors for Automobile Industry

Proximity to Markets

  • Detroit in the USA has a huge automobile industry due to its proximity to the U.S. consumer market.

Supply Chain

  • Building a vehicle requires numerous components ( like steel, rubber, plastic, paint, cables etc.). Hence, an efficient supply chain is important in deciding where to locate the automobile industry. E.g., Germany’s automotive industry benefits from a well-developed infrastructure and efficient supply chain networks for building automobiles. 

Skilled Labour and Talent Pool

  • Stuttgart (Germany) is home to major automotive companies benefitting from a talented pool of engineers and workers.
  • Similarly, the Gurgaon-Manesar Belt (Haryana, India) has attracted automotive manufacturing due to the availability of skilled labour.

Government Policies and Incentives

  • The Mexican government’s pro-business policies and trade agreements have attracted automakers to set up plants in Mexico.

Research and Development Centers

  • Silicon Valley in the USA and Bengaluru in India have attracted electric and autonomous vehicles due to R&D centres in these regions. 

Major Automobile Producers

Automobile Industry in India and World
USA General Motors, Ford and Tesla
Germany Volkswagen, Audi, BMW and Mercedes
Sweden Volvo
India Tata and Mahindra
China SAIC and Dongfeng
Korea Hyundai and Kia
Japan Honda, Toyota, Suzuki, Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi

Reasons: Why is Detroit a major Automobile Centre? 

Reasons: Why is Detroit a major Automobile Centre?
  • Transport: Located on the banks of the Detroit River and linked to Lake Huron, the geographical positioning of the city of Detroit provides a vital connection to the expansive Great Lakes waterway system, facilitating the cost-effective movement of goods and materials.
  • Labour: In the 19th century, Detroit saw the emergence of floor mills utilizing running water and the adoption of internal combustion engines for boats. It led to the establishment of numerous repair shops, fostering the development of generations of skilled labour.
  • Entrepreneurs: Two iconic figures stand out in the narrative of Detroit’s entrepreneurial spirit: William Durant (founder of GM) and Henry Ford (founder of Ford Motors).
  • Raw Material: Detroit’s proximity to Pittsburgh, a major steel-producing centre, ensured a steady steel supply. Additionally, the region has numerous intermediate industries providing components, such as seat cushions, spray paint, tires, and electronic circuits.


Indian Automobile Industry

Renowned international and domestic companies operate in India, such as Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hyundai, Honda, and Volkswagen.

The automobile industry in India is spread across various regions, with key manufacturing hubs that play a crucial role in the country’s automotive landscape.

Chennai Major automobile manufacturing hub of India hosting manufacturing plants of companies like Ford, Hyundai, Renault-Nissan, and Royal Enfield.
Gurugram-Manesar Hosts manufacturing facilities of Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp, and Honda Motorcycles
Sanand (Guj)  Hosts manufacturing plants of Tata Motors and Ford.
Jamshedpur (Jh) Home to Tata Motors’ flagship manufacturing plant.
Bengaluru and Hyderabad Becoming hub of Electronic Vehicle manufacturing due to presence of Startup ecosystem and IT research and development infrastructure.

India-UK Relations

India-UK Relations

India-UK Relations

This article deals with ‘India-UK Relations.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’, which is an important pillar of the GS-2 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Background

  • India and the UK have a shared history of almost two centuries of the colonial period.
  • Post-independence, India and the UK had cordial relations despite having bitter colonial ties.
  • Relations were weak during the Cold War. UK’s close ties with the capitalist USA and India’s over-reliance on the USSR brought hiccups in relations. However, the rise of globalization in India and the expansion of economic trade brought these nations closer.

Timeline of India-UK Relations

Importance of India-UK Relations

  • Historical Ties: The UK and India share a long and complex history, with British colonial rule in India lasting for almost two centuries. The historical connection has created lasting cultural, linguistic, and institutional links between the two countries.
  • Post-Brexit Bilateral Partnership:  A strengthened bilateral partnership with India becomes crucial with the UK navigating the post-Brexit landscape.  
  • Indian Diaspora Contribution: 1.5 million people of Indian origin live in the UK. The Indian diaspora is gaining on both sides with employment opportunities and contributions to economies.
  • Shared Interests on Global Issues: The UK and India find common ground on pressing international issues such as climate change and terrorism.
  • Trade and Investment: Both countries have a vested interest in promoting trade and investment. Collaboration in sectors such as technology, finance, healthcare, and renewable energy can boost economic development in both nations.


Various aspects of India-UK relations

Trade

  • India-UK bilateral trade stood at £36.3 billion during FY 2022-23. The trade balance is in favour of India.

Investment

  • The UK is the 6th largest investor in India, while India is the 2nd largest investor in the UK. India has also invested heavily in the UK. This underscores a robust economic partnership between both economies. 

Cultural Relations

  •  India and the UK signed a MoU on cultural cooperation in 2010, reflecting the commitment to foster cultural exchange and collaboration between the two nations.

Defence

  • India and the UK conduct various defence exercises like Konkan Shakti, Passage Exercise, Ajeya Warrior, Himalaya Warrior, etc.
  • Strategic convergence: Assertive China in the Indo-Pacific is a concern for the interest of both countries. 

Health

  • India and the UK successfully partnered to develop one of the first vaccines in the world to combat Covid. AstraZeneca, Oxford University, and Serum Institute of India came together to solve the international challenge.

Multilateral Collaboration 

  • Both India and the UK are members of the Commonwealth, G-20, International Solar Alliance
  • UK supports India’s bid to get membership in NSG, MTCR, Australia Group and Wassenaar Agreement.

People to People

  • Indian diaspora in the UK is the largest ethnic minority in the UK, constituting 3.1% of the UK population and contributing 6% to its GDP. 
  • Around 30,000 Indians study in Britain.

Challenges of India-UK Relations

  • The closeness of the UK with Pakistan and China: The UK is overly close to Pakistan and has sided with Pakistan on many issues, including Kashmir, in the past.
  • Colonial Legacy: Indians have anti-colonial resentment against Britain.
  • Cairn Energy Issue: The Cairn Energy controversy, which is a British company, has negatively impacted the sentiment of British investors toward India.
  • UK’s Immigration Laws: These laws limit people’s movement.
  • Influence of the Labour Party on bilateral relations: The Labour Party in Britain has a hardcore left philosophy, and they have favoured protests against the removal of Article 370. 

Article 12 – ‘State’ for the purpose of Constitution

Article 12 – ‘State’ for the purpose of Constitution

This article deals with ‘Article 12 – ‘State’ for the purpose of Constitution – Indian Polity.’ This is part of our series on ‘Polity’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here.


Article 12

Article 12 defines ‘State’ for the purpose of Part III of constitution- Actions of which can be challenged in courts as a violation of Fundamental Rights.


‘State’ includes

Article 12 - 'State' for the purpose of Constitution
  • Government & Parliament of India
  • Government & Legislature of States
  • All Local Authorities like Panchayat and Municipalities
  • Other Authorities within the Territory of India or under control of the territory of India  

Various Supreme Court judgments have pronounced the following to be within the ambit of the State as well 

  • Statutory and Non-statutory Authorities like LIC, ONGC, SAIL etc.
  • Private body working as an instrument of State.

The most problematic expression in Article 12 is Other Authorities because it is not defined in the constitution or any other statute of India. Consequently, it falls upon the judiciary to construe this term, and it becomes evident that the broader the interpretation of this term, the wider the scope of Fundamental Rights will be.


Judicial History

If we look at the judicial history, the Courts have widened the ambit of the STATE with subsequent Judgements.  

Important Cases

  • The University of Madras vs Shanta Bai (1954): The Supreme Court of India pronounced the Principle of ‘Ejsudem Generis,’ i.e. only those authorities which perform governmental or sovereign functions can be included in Article 12. 
  • In Rajasthan Electricity Board v. Mohan Lal: In the case of Rajasthan Electricity Board v. Mohan Lal, the Supreme Court ruled that the term ‘other authorities’ encompasses any entities established by either the constitution or statutes. This statutory body is not required to be involved in carrying out governmental or sovereign functions.
  • (Landmark Judgement) RD Shetty vs International Airport Authority (1979): The Supreme Court laid down the following tests for authority to be recognized as a STATE
    • The State owns the entire share capital. 
    • Enjoys monopoly status 
    • Department of Government is transferred to the Corporation. 
    • Functional character is governmental in nature. 
    • The body is under deep and pervasive state control.

Other Concern in the era of Privatisation and Liberalisation

  • In the era of LPG, the State is outsourcing its functions to the private authorities.   
  • Hence, where a private entity performs any Public Utility Function, it should come within the purview of Article 12. National Commission to Review the Working of Constitution,2002 has recommended the same. 

Non-Metallic Minerals

Non-Metallic Minerals

This article deals with ‘Non-Metallic Minerals (UPSC Notes).’ This is part of our series on ‘Geography’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Non-Metallic Minerals

Mica

  • Mica is primarily used in the electronic and electrical industries. 
  • Useful Property: 
    • It can be split into thin sheets, which are tough and flexible.
    • It can withstand high voltage & has a low power loss factor.
Non-Metallic Minerals
  • India has the largest deposits & largest producer of mica in the world. However, owing to the development of substitutes, its demand is decreasing.

Global Distribution

USA Russia Ukraine
Brazil South Africa Tanzania
Zambia Norway Canada

India Distribution

Jharkhand Hazaribagh Plateau
Andhra Nellore district produces the best quality.
Rajasthan The Mica belt extends from Jaipur to Bhilwara to Udaipur.
Karnataka Mysore and Hasan districts
Maharashtra Ratnagiri
Tamil Nadu Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai and Kanyakumari
Kerala Alleppey

Diamond

Diamond is a precious stone known for brilliance, luster, transparency & hardness.


Global Distribution

Global Distribution of Diamond

South Africa, the Republic of Congo, Australia, Ghana, Angola & Namibia are the leading producers.

South Africa Kimberley
Congo Katanga Plateau (largest producer)
Australia Kalgoorlie and Koolgardie

India Distribution

Madhya Pradesh Vindhyan formations (Panna district) is the main diamond-producing area. World-famous Kohinoor is also from these mines.
Andhra Pradesh Kurnool and Anantapur
Karnataka Raichur

Cutting & polishing diamonds is mainly carried out in Surat, Ahmedabad, Navsari, Bhavnagar, Mumbai, and Jaipur.


Limestone

  • Limestone formations consist of either calcium carbonate, carbonate of calcium & magnesium, or a combination of both.
  • Additionally, limestone comprises small amounts of silica, alumina, iron oxides, phosphorus, and sulfur.
  • Limestone deposits are of sedimentary origin and are present in geological sequences from Pre-Cambrian to Recent, excluding Gondwana.
  • The cement industry utilizes 75 per cent of limestone, with 16 per cent used in the iron and steel industry as a flux and 4 per cent used in chemical industries. The remaining limestone finds applications in diverse sectors such as paper, sugar, fertilizers, etc.
  • Limestone is produced in all states across India, with Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu contributing to over three-fourths of the total limestone production in the country.
Global Distribution of Limestone

India Distribution

Madhya Pradesh MP is the largest producer (16% of total production), with mines in Jabalpur, Betul and Satna.
Rajasthan Limestone production occurs in almost all the districts of Rajasthan.
Andhra Pradesh Cement-grade limestone is found here, especially in the Cudappah and Guntur regions.
Gujarat Found in Banaskantha
Chhattisgarh Found in Bastar and Durg districts
Tamil Nadu Found in Ramnathapuran, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli etc.

Global Distribution

China China is the largest producer of limestone.
USA A significant amount of limestone is found in Texas, Kentucky and Indiana. 
India Discussed above
Russia A substantial amount is found in the Ural mountains and Siberia.
Other Other producers include Brazil, Mexico, etc.

Asbestos

  • Asbestos is a fibrous silicate mineral.
  • Its commercial value is attributed to its fibrous structure, high tensile strength filaments, and exceptional fire resistance.
  • Important applications of Asbestos include 
    1. Manufacturing fire-proof items such as cloth, rope, paper, millboard, and sheeting.
    2. Production of aprons, gloves, and automobile brake linings
    3. Asbestos cement products, including sheets, pipes, and tiles, used in construction
    4. Mixed with magnesia, it contributes to the production of ‘magnesia bricks’ used for heat insulation.
  • Health Concerns: The use of Asbestos in construction has decreased significantly due to health concerns associated with exposure to Asbestos.

India Distribution

Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh are the largest producers of Asbestos in India. 

Rajasthan Rajasthan is the largest producer, with a primary concentration in Udaipur, Alwar, Dungarpur, Ajmer, etc.
Andhra Pradesh Mainly found in Cuddapah districts.
Karnataka Found in Mandya, Shimoga, Chikmagalur and Hassan districts. 

Global Distribution

Russia Leading global producer with main concentration in aural Mountains
China China has an extensive Asbestos concentration in Inner Mongolia.
Kazakhstan Found in the Altai Region
Canada Canada was a major asbestos producer, with mines in Quebec; however, the industry has significantly declined in recent years due to health concerns.

Gypsum

  • Gypsum is Hydrated Calcium Sulphate.
  • It appears as a white, opaque, or transparent mineral.
  • It is found in sedimentary formations like limestones, sandstones, and shales.
  • Main uses
    1. Used as raw material in Ammonia Sulphate Fertilizer
    2. Gypsum is used to make cement, Plaster of Paris, and Tiles.
    3. It is used as surface plaster in agriculture to retain soil moisture and facilitate nitrogen absorption.

Indian Distribution

  • Rajasthan: Rajasthan leads gypsum production in India, accounting for 99% of total production. Rajasthan has major deposits in Jodhpur, Nagaur, Bikaner and Ganganagar.
  • Minor producers include Tamil Nadu (Tiruchirappalli district), Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh.

Global Distribution

China China is the largest producer of gypsum globally.
USA The U.S. is also a major producer of gypsum.
Iran Iran is known to have significant gypsum reserves.
Spain Spain is a key player in the European market.

Salt

  • Salt can be derived from various sources, like
    1. Seawater
    2. Brine springs 
    3. Salt pans in lakes
    4. Rock formations
Salt Production

Main producers include

  • Sea Water: The Gujarat coast alone contributes nearly half of the total salt production in India. Other contributors include Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
  • Salt Lakes: Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan accounts for approximately 10% of the nation’s annual salt production.
  • Rock Salt: Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh is known for its rock salt production. 

Island Groups of India

Island Groups of India

This article deals with ‘Island Groups of India (Geomorphology of India).’ This is part of our series on ‘Geography’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Andaman and Nicobar Islands

  • Andaman & Nicobar Island group is situated in the Bay of Bengal. 
  • It runs like a narrow chain in the north-south direction extending between 6.39°N to 14.34°N.
  • The main islands under the Andaman and Nicobar Island group are 
    1. North Andaman
    2. Middle Andaman
    3. South Andaman
    4. Little Andaman
    5. Car Nicobar
    6. Little Nicobar
    7. Great Nicobar
Andaman and Nicobar Islands

India’s southernmost point, Indira Point or Pygmalion Point, is situated here on the Great Nicobar Island.


Nature of Islands

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands were formed as a result of tectonic interactions between the Eurasian and Indo-Australian Plate. The Indo-Australian Plate started subducting beneath the Eurasian Plate in the Andaman Sea. As a result, volcanic activity occurs, leading to the formation of volcanic island arcs.
  • Structurally, we can say that
    1. Andaman: Extension of the Arakan Yoma mountain range of Myanmar, i.e. submerged mountains  
    2. Nicobar: Extension of Mentawai islands to the southeast of Sumatra 
  • The region continues to be seismically active, with occasional earthquakes and volcanic activity, reflecting the ongoing tectonic processes in the area.
  • Some islands are fringed with coral reefs as well. 

Some Important Channels

10 Degrees Channel Separates Andaman from the Nicobar group of Islands
Coco Channel Separates Coco Islands (of Myanmar) from Andaman Islands (India)
Grand Channel Separates Great Nicobar from Sumatra (Indonesia)

Volcanoes in this region

There are two important volcanoes situated in this region

Barren Island It is an active volcano situated east of the Andaman Islands
Narcondam Island It is a dormant volcano situated east of the Andaman Islands

Change in names

The government has changed the names of some of the islands of the Andaman and Nicobar groups of Islands to reflect Indian history. These are

Ross Island Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep
Neil Island Shaheed Dweep
Havelock Island Swaraj Dweep
Mount Harriet Mount Manipur
(As several Manipuri soldiers, including Maharaja  Kulachandra Dhwaja Singh of Manipur, were deported here after the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891)

Polity

  • Andaman and Nicobar are Union Territories of the Indian Union administered by the President through the Governor.
  • Its High Court is situated in Kolkata.
  • Capital Port Blair is situated on the South Andaman Island.

Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar

4 major tribes of Andaman are as follows (all are Negrito Tribes)

Sentinelese  It is found on North Sentinel Island (part of the North Andaman region). Only 50 to 100 members of this tribe are alive today.
Sentinelese are pre-Neolithic people who have lived here for more than 55,000 years without contact with the outside world. They still avoid any outside contact and came in the news in 2018 when an American Christian Missionary named Chau was trying to enter their territory. 
Great Andamanese It is found on Strait Island, part of North and Middle Andaman Island. 
Fewer than 50 Great Andamanese are alive today.
Jarawa Jarawas are found on South & Middle Andaman islands. 
There are 300 to 400 Jarawas alive today.
Onge Onge are found on Little Andaman. 
Fewer than 100 Onges are alive today.

2 major tribes of Nicobar are ( (all are Mongoloid Tribes)

Shompen Shompen resides on the Nicobar Islands.
Nicobarese Nicobarese resides on the Nicobar Islands.  

Importance of Andaman & Nicobar

Strategic  Importance

  • Securing Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC): These islands are important in securing busy Sea Lines of Communications (SLOC) by creating a series of chokepoints.
  • Overseas Strait of Malacca: Andaman and Nicobar Islands can choke Chinese supplies in case of war.
  • Net Security Provider: India can utilize the strategic location of these islands to act as a ‘net security provider’ in the region and promote stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Economic Importance

  • Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ): Nearly 30% of India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is derived from the maritime boundaries around these islands.
  • Fisheries Potential: The rich marine biodiversity surrounding the islands provides significant fisheries potential.
  • Tourism Potential: The scenic beauty, diverse ecosystems, and historical significance make these islands a prime tourist destination.

Historical Importance

  • Cellular Jail (Kala Pani): Freedom fighters were imprisoned here during the colonial era, and the jail remains a testament to the sacrifices made for the nation’s freedom.
  • Azad Hind Fauj Headquarters: During World War II, the Azad Hind Fauj, led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, had its headquarters in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Side Topic: Great Nicobar Island Development Project

  • The government has sanctioned a Rs 72,000 crore development project for Great Nicobar.
  • It is strategically important due to its equidistance from Klang, Colombo and Singapore and its position in the vicinity of the East-West international shipping corridor.
Great Nicobar Island Development Project

Lakshadweep Islands

Lakshadweep Islands
  • Lakshadweep group of islands are situated in the Arabian Sea 
  • It is a group of 36 islands. But 4 islands are most important, which includes 
    1. Amini 
    2. Kavaratti 
    3. Minicoy
    4. Agatti

Structure

  • These islands are part of Reunion Vulcanism. The base of the islands is provided by volcanic lava.
  • The entire Lakshadweep islands are made up of Coral Deposits.

Some Important Channel

8 Degree channel Separates Minicoy from Maldives
9 Degree channel Separates Minicoy from the main Lakshadweep archipelago

Population

  • The population of these islands is 60,650, with a Muslim majority. But Minicoy has a Christian majority.
  • The entire indigenous population of the islands is Scheduled tribe, but tribes aren’t named.
  • The majority of people speak Malayalam (except in Minicoy, where people use Mahl written in Divehi script (same as Maldives)

Polity

  • These islands were earlier known as Lacadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands. The name Lakshadweep was adopted in 1973
  • Lakshadweep Islands is a UT under the administered control of Lt. Governor.
  • Kavaratti is the administrative capital of Lakshadweep
  • It is under the jurisdiction of Ernakulam High Court 

Other Important Islands

a. Sriharikota Island

  • It is located in Andhra Pradesh between the Bay of Bengal and Pulicat Lake. 
  • Sriharikota is one of ISRO’s satellite launching stations.

b. Wheeler Island / Abdul Kalam Island

  • It is located off the coast of Odisha.
  • It serves as a missile testing site.

c. Pamban Island

  • It is situated in the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka . 
  • This island is covered with white sand.

d. Majauli Island

  • It is located in Assam. 
  • It is a riverine island situated in the Brahmaputra River. It is the largest riverine island in the world.
  • The island is under severe ecological threat due to extensive soil erosion of its banks.
  • It is home to Assamese neo-Vaishnavite culture.

e. Diu Island

  • It is located on the coast of Kathiawar.
  • It is famous for the historical Diu Fort (built by the Portuguese) and beautiful beaches.
  • Note: Daman is not an island. 

f. Sagar Island

  • It is located in the Ganga Delta in the Bay of Bengal.
  • It is an important place for Hindu pilgrimage.

g.  Phumdis / Floating Islands

  • They are located in Manipur 
  • It is part of Keibul Lamjao National Park.
  • It is famous for Sangai (breed of Deer)

Industrial Disasters (Disaster Management)

Industrial Disasters (Disaster Management)

This article deals with ‘Industrial Disasters (Disaster Management).’ This is part of our series on ‘Disaster Management’, an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Introduction

Industrial Disasters (Disaster Management)
  • Industrial Disasters are the most disastrous among man-made disasters.
  • The Methyl Iso-Cyanate gas leak in 1984 from the Union Carbide Factory in Bhopal is a notable global example of such a disaster. This incident resulted in over 20,000 casualties. 
  • In the Vizag Gas Leak (2020), the styrene gas leaked at LG Polymers in Visakhapatnam, led to 13 fatalities
  • Before the Bhopal Gas Tragedy era, industrial safety was non-existent. Hence, the following has been done. 
    1. Factories Act of 1948 has been amended to extend the scope of risk to cover the general public in the vicinity of the factory. 
    2. Environment Protection Act, 1986, was enacted.  
    3. The Public Liability Insurance Act of 1991 provides for immediate and interim relief to disaster victims.
    4. Disaster Management Act of 2005 provides effective management of natural and man-made disasters.
    5. India has ratified ILO’s Occupational Safety Convention, 2006 in 2017
  • Stringent environmental regulations have effectively minimized the occurrence of significant industrial disasters in India after the Bhopal incident.  
  • One major drawback compared to the West is the non-availability of an exclusive Accident Investigation Agency.
  • Also, India doesn’t have a proper tort law defining liability in such incidents. This fact came out in the Bhopal Tragedy Case. But still, the law has not been made.


Cause of  Industrial Disasters 

  • Ageing of plants: For example, The Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984 resulted from a leak at the Union Carbide plant, which had outdated and poorly maintained equipment.
  • Improper Maintenance: Inadequate attention to routine maintenance increases the risk of equipment failure.
  • Human Errors and Non-compliance of SoPs: Failure to follow Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) increases the likelihood of accidents.
  • Defects in Design: Flaws in the initial design of industrial structures or processes can lead to industrial disasters.
  • Sabotage by Terrorists: Terrorists can engage in deliberate acts aimed at harming industrial infrastructure.
  • Natural Disasters like Floods and Earthquakes: Natural calamities can trigger industrial disasters by overwhelming infrastructure or causing structural failures
  • Improper waste disposal: Incorrect disposal methods for industrial by-products can lead to environmental contamination and disasters.
  • Absence of Class Action Suites in India: A Class Action Suit allows one or many plaintiffs to appear for a group of people with similar interests, which is part of US corporate and consumer laws. Without this legal mechanism, individuals impacted by an industrial disaster may struggle to seek compensation collectively.


Prevention & Response

By Industry

Steps to prevent Industrial Disasters (by Industries)
  1. Proper Maintenance of Plant Facilities: Regular inspection and maintenance of industrial plants to identify and address potential hazards.
  2. Installation of Gas/Vapour Detection System: Advanced detection systems with alarms should be installed to identify and respond to gas or vapour leaks promptly
  3. Strict Compliance with State & Centre Regulations: Adherence to and enforcement of regulations set by state and central authorities to ensure safety standards. For Example: Ensure compliance with environmental regulations in industries to prevent ecological disasters.
  4. Frequent Mock Drills: Management should conduct regular simulated emergency drills to educate workers about disaster response protocols. For example, fire drills are used in manufacturing units to train employees on evacuation procedures.

By Government

Steps to prevent Industrial Disasters (by Government)
  1. Accident Investigation Agency: The government should establish a dedicated agency, similar to the USA’s National Transportation Safety Board, to investigate and analyze the causes of accidents.
  2. Strengthening Regulatory Frameworks: Robust and strictly enforced safety regulations are essential. Governments should update and strengthen the regulations with time.
  3. Awareness Programs: The government must provide awareness regarding hazards arising out of these disasters 
  4. R&D Initiatives: Investment in research and development for advancing technologies that enhance disaster prevention and response capabilities in industries.
  5. Creation of Buffer Zones: Creation of Buffer zones by not permitting people to stay around in that zone 

Role of Public

  1. The public should actively seek information about potential hazards in their surroundings. For example, community meetings should be held to discuss and disseminate information about local disaster risks.

Drought (Disaster Management)

Drought (Disaster Management)

This article deals with ‘Drought (Disaster Management).’ This is part of our series on ‘Disaster Management’, an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


What is Drought?

Drought (Disaster Management)

Droughts refer to a severe shortfall in water availability, mainly, but not exclusively, due to deficiency of rains, affecting agriculture, drinking water supply and industry. 

India’s most severe meteorological droughts were recorded in 1876, 1899, 1918, 1965, and 2000.

Drought Prone Areas in India

How is Drought declared?

It is the State’s Prerogative to declare Drought in any area

  1. Meteorological Drought: Seasonal rainfall over the area is less than 75% of its long-term average value. 
  2. Agricultural Drought: If 20% or more area of the state is affected

Peculiarity of Droughts in India

Droughts in India have their peculiarity. The annual average rainfall in India is approximately 1150 mm, a level unmatched by any other nation. Despite this abundant rainfall, about 68% of India is susceptible to drought to varying extents.


How drought is different than other disasters?

  • Onset is slow, giving adequate warning.  
  • Impacts a large area
  • The duration of the disaster is much longer. Hence, relief efforts have to be sustained over a long period.
  • It remains a rural phenomenon, except that very severe drought may impact the urban water supply.  

This does not hold true of other natural disasters. Hence, the management of drought differs significantly from other disasters.


Reasons of Drought

It is said that ‘Rains fall from the sky, but the drought is “made” on the ground,’ i.e. Droughts are manmade.

  • Faulty Water Management: Regions which don’t have good water management suffer from drought. For example, in 2015-16, Marathwada received 900 mm & Vidarbha received 1,000 mm of rain. Compare this with Rajasthan, which receives 400 mm & is not facing drought. 
  • Faulty Agriculture Policy: Growing water-intensive crops exacerbates water scarcity. For example, Marathwada cultivates sugarcane, a water-guzzling crop (Main culprits: Faulty Agro Practices (growing Sugarcane) & faulty water management practices)
  • No Irrigation Facilities: 60% of India’s cultivated land is rainfed with no irrigation facilities. Such regions become vulnerable to minor variations in rainfall.  
  • Faulty Irrigation practices: Most farmers in India use the Flooding Technique of irrigation, which is highly inefficient. India uses 4-5X more water per unit crop compared to China & Brazil.
  • Climatic Phenomenon: Sometimes, Climatic phenomena are also the cause of drought. For example, years when El Nino was prominent resulted in Drought.  
  • Poor Water Conservation Practices: Inadequate water conservation practices contribute to scarcity.

India must learn from arid Israel  


Preparing to face Droughts

  • Scrap Water Subsidies: Eliminate free electricity and canal water subsidies to discourage wasteful water consumption.
  • Water Harvesting & Management: Promote widespread adoption of water harvesting techniques to conserve rainwater.
  • Recalibrating Agriculture Policy: Use Minimum Support Prices (MSP) & other policies to nudge farmers towards pulses, maize, barley, etc. 
  • Make Rivers Perennial: Implement large-scale dam projects to create reservoirs for water storage.
  • Update Famine Codes (2nd ARC): Famine codes have not been updated for decades. The government should take steps to update them using new technology like satellite imagery, as suggested by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission.
  • Preparing NDRF: Provide specialized training to the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to handle the unique challenges posed by droughts.
  • Modernization of Drought Forecast & Early Warning Systems