Current Affair-March 23, 2021

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CURRENT AFFAIRS

Tomar king Anangpal II

Context: The government has recently formed a committee to popularise the legacy of 11th-century Tomar king, Anangpal II.                                                                                                                                                                  

  • Anangpal I founded the Tomar dynasty in the 8th century.
  • Anangpal II, popularly known as Anangpal Tomar, belonged to the Tomar dynasty that ruled parts of present-day Delhi and Haryana between the 8th and 12th centuries.
  • The capital of Tomars changed many times from being initially at Anangpur (near Faridabad) during the reign of Anangpal I, to Dhillikapuri (Delhi) during the reign of Anangpal II.
  • The Tomar rule over the region is attested by multiple inscriptions and coins, and their ancestry can be traced to the Pandavas (of the Mahabharata).
  • Anangpal Tomar II was succeeded by his grandson Prithviraj Chauhan, who was defeated by the Ghurid forces in the Battle of Tarain (present-day Haryana) after which the Delhi Sultanate was established in 1192.

Connection with Delhi

  • Anangpal II was the founder of Dhillikapuri, which eventually became Delhi.
  • Anangpal II is credited to have established and populated Delhi during his reign in the 11th century.
  • The region was in ruins when he ascended the throne in the 11th century. He built Lal Kot fort and Anangtal Baoli.

Committee

  • The aim of the ‘Maharaja Anangpal II Memorial Committee’, headed by BJP MP from UP’s Gonda, Brij Bhushan Singh, is to establish Anangpal II as the founder of Delhi.
  • Its proposals seminar include building a statue of Anangpal II at the Delhi airport and building a museum dedicated to his legacy in Delhi.
  • Proposal to make Lal Kot an ASI-protected monument so that vertical excavation could be carried out to establish more links between Tomars and Delhi.
  • Crediting him with giving Delhi its present name and also repopulating it, the National Monument Authority — which functions under the Ministry of Culture — has embarked on a mission to present “correct history” to the people through the works of historians, academics and archaeologists.
Source: Indian Express

Ken-Betwa Link Project

Context: A memorandum of agreement was signed between Union Minister of Jal Shakti and the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to implement the Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP).

About the project

  • The Ken-Betwa Link Project is the first project under the National Perspective Plan for interlinking of rivers.
  • Under this project, water from the Ken river will be transferred to the Betwa river. Both these rivers are tributaries of river Yamuna.
  • The project has two phases. Under Phase-I, one of the components — Daudhan dam complex and its appurtenances like Low Level Tunnel, High Level Tunnel, Ken-Betwa link canal and Power houses — will be completed. While in the Phase-II, three components — Lower Orr dam, Bina complex project and Kotha barrage — will be constructed.

Significance

  • The Ken-Betwa Link Project lies in Bundelkhand, a drought-prone region, which spreads across 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The project will be of immense benefit to the water-starved region of Bundelkhand, especially in the districts of Panna, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Sagar, Damoh, Datia, Vidisha, Shivpuri and Raisen of Madhya Pradesh and Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi and Lalitpur of Uttar Pradesh
  • Panna Tiger Reserve
    • Out of the 6,017 ha of forest area coming under submergence of Daudhan dam of Ken Betwa Link Project, 4,206 ha of area lies within the core tiger habitat of Panna Tiger Reserve.

Other such projects

  • Under the Periyar Project, transfer of water from Periyar basin to Vaigai basin was envisaged.It was commissioned in 1895.
  • Similarly, other projects such as Parambikulam Aliyar, Kurnool Cudappah Canal, Telugu Ganga Project, and Ravi-Beas-Sutlej were undertaken.

Recent developments on interlinking of rivers in India

  • In the 1970s, the idea of transferring surplus water from a river to water-deficit area was mooted by the then Union Irrigation Minister Dr K L Rao. Dr. Rao suggested construction of a National Water Grid for transferring water from water-rich areas to water-deficit areas.
  • Captain Dinshaw J Dastur proposed the Garland Canal to redistribute water from one area to another.
  • However, the government did not pursue these two ideas further. It was in August, 1980 that the Ministry of Irrigation prepared a National Perspective Plan (NNP) for water resources development envisaging inter basin water transfer in the country.
  • The NPP comprised two components: (i) Himalayan Rivers Development; and (ii) Peninsular Rivers Development. Based on the NPP, the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) identified 30 river links—16 under Peninsular component and 14 under Himalayan Component.
  • Later, the river linking idea was revived under the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government. Ken Betwa Link Project is one of the 16 river linking projects under the Peninsular component.

Clearances required for a river-linking project

  • Generally, 4-5 types of clearances are required for the interlinking of river projects.
  • These are:
  1. Techno-economic (given by the Central Water Commission)
  2. Forest Clearance and Environmental clearance (Ministry of Environment & Forests)
  3. Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) Plan of Tribal Population (Ministry of Tribal Affairs)
  4. Wildlife clearance (Central Empowered Committee)
Source: Indian Express

India’s Water Crisis and Women

  1. India constitutes 16% of the world’s population, but the country has only 4% of the world’s freshwater resources. With the changing weather patterns and recurring droughts, India is water stressed.
  2. As many as 256 of 700 districts have reported ‘critical’ or ‘over-exploited’ groundwater levels, according to the latest data from the Central Ground Water Board (2017). This means that fetching water in these districts has become harder as the water table has fallen.
  3. Fetching water in India has been perceived as a women’s job for centuries, especially in the rural areas. As groundwater resources come under increasing pressure due to over-reliance and unsustainable consumption, wells, ponds and tanks dry up. This has escalated the water crisis and placed an even greater burden of accessing water on women. Several girls are denied education purely because they are thrust with the responsibility of fetching water.

Government Programmes

  • The Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) guidelines released in 2019 provide provision of tap water connections to households, which hold promise for the women in the country.
  • JJM stresses the need to involve women in leading the scheme’s activities, especially at the village level.
  • Women are required to constitute 50% of the village water and sanitation committees in villages. The ‘Swajal’ programme under JJM comprises a women’s development initiative, designed to upskill them, improve their income-earning capabilities, and connect them to the market with help from support organisations.
  • Though water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) policies are gender-sensitive in their design and planning, they fail to measure the gendered impact of the policy. There is no quantitative data or monitoring to substantiate how the policy stands to bridge the gender gap.

Way forward

  • Policies must employ gender analysis tools to develop a framework for such measurement and integrate it with the management information system or mobile apps to track progress on gendered outcomes.
  • To create an ecosystem for gender transformation, it is crucial for WASH policies to go beyond gender sensitivity and address gender inequality.
  • Involving women in designing, planning and implementing WASH programmes.
Source: Downtoearth

Gandhi Peace Prize

  • India  named Bangladesh’s Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and Oman’s longtime ruler Sultan Qaboos for the Gandhi Peace Prize.
  • This is the first time that the prestigious prize for 2019 and 2020 has been awarded posthumously.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said

  • Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman was the Middle East’s longest-ruling monarch.
  • He is known internationally for his diplomatic balancing in the volatile Persian Gulf. He often served as a facilitator of talks between adversaries, Iran and the U.S.
  •  He was a key to meeting India’s energy security needs in the Persian Gulf.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

  • He is known as the father of Bangladesh.
  • Mujib Borsho is the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
  • Tungipara is the place of birth of Mujibur Rahman.
  • He is recognised for his contribution in inspiring the liberation of Bangladesh, bringing stability to a nation born out of strife, laying the foundation for the close and fraternal relations between India and Bangladesh, and promoting peace and non-violence in the Indian subcontinent.

About the prize

  • The award carries an amount of Rs. 1 crore, a citation, a plaque and an exquisite traditional handloom item.
  • PM Modi heads the jury for the Gandhi Peace Prize.
Source: The Hindu

WHO Data release on TB

  • Fewer cases of tuberculosis (TB) were notified in 2020 because of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and this led to half a million excess deaths from the disease globally.
  • There was a 21 per cent decrease in TB notification owing to lockdowns and other disruptions caused by the pandemic. While 6.3 million TB infections were notified in 2019, the figure fell to 4.9 million last year.
  • This means, 1.4 million people did not receive treatment for TB in 2020. This led to half a million additional deaths caused by the disease, according to a WHO modelling.
  • The UN health agency warned in its analysis that this could set the world back a decade, to the TB mortality level of 2010.

Countrywise data

  • The biggest shortfall in average monthly notification compared to 2019 was in Indonesia (42%).
  • This was followed by South Africa (41%), Philippines (37%) and India (25%). India has the highest TB burden in the world.

Way forward

  • WHO has asked the countries to scale up testing for TB, along with COVID-19.
  • This is of particular concern that that as countries invest more and more molecular tests for investigating COVID-19 cases, the supply of such tests for detecting TB cases has to be maintained. As symptoms of both the diseases — cough, fever, and breathlessness, are same, a more rigorous TB testing becomes all the more important.
  • The WHO recommended home-based and community-based prevention and care over hospital treatment for TB patients as much as possible to reduce scope for transmission.
  • The countries should identify special needs of communities, the populations at highest risk of TB and employ novel tools to address their requirements.
  • Use of molecular rapid diagnostic tests, computer-aided detection tointerpret chest radiography and use of a wider range of approaches for screening people living with HIV for TB.

Source: Downtoearth

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