Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Minor Irrigation Census
- Status of RTI Act
- Physics behind Javelin Throw
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Minor Irrigation Census
Context: Three-fourths of India’s irrigation sources run on electricity: study
About the news
- The latest edition of the Minor Irrigation Census (MIC) — a compendium of borewells, tubewells, and other privately owned irrigation sources by farmers — finds that electricity is the dominant source of power to extract water, over diesel, windmills, and solar pumps.
- While the use of electricity showed a quantum jump from powering only 56% of sources in 2011 to 70% in 2017, the latest report, made public last week, shows electricity as powering 76% of sources – a slower growth rate.
About Minor Irrigation Census
- The Centrally Sponsored Plan Scheme “Rationalisation of Minor Irrigation Statistics (RMIS)” was launched in 1987-88 with 100% Central assistance to the States/UT. During the XII Plan, RMIS was a sub-component of “Irrigation Census” component of the Plan Scheme Development of Water Resources Information System (DWRIS).
- Currently Irrigation Census (parent component of “RMIS”) is a standalone component under Umbrella Scheme- Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana and Other Schemes.
- The main objective of the RMIS scheme is to build up a comprehensive and reliable database in the Minor Irrigation (MI) Sector for effective planning and policymaking. The major activity under the scheme is the Census of Minor Irrigation schemes conducted in the States/UTs covering all ground water and surface water schemes (which are mostly under private ownership up to 2000 ha.).
- The Census throws light on important aspects like Irrigation Potential Created and Utilized through minor irrigation structures both ground and surface water, water distribution practices employed by owners of these schemes and also sources used for energisation of these schemes.
- The Sixth MI Census has been conducted with reference year 2017-18 in all States and Union Territories except Delhi, Daman & Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep. The First census of water bodies has also been taken up in convergence with sixth MI census.
- National Commission On Agriculture Had Recommended That Census Of Irrigation Sources Should Be Undertaken Along With The Agricultural Census Once In 5 Years
Findings of the 6th census
- As per the report, 23.14 million minor irrigation (MI) schemes have been reported in the country, out of which 21.93 million (94.8%) are Ground Water (GW) and 1.21 million (5.2%) are Surface Water (SW) schemes.
- Uttar Pradesh possesses the largest number of MI schemes in the country followed by Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
- Leading States in GW schemes are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
- In SW schemes Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Odisha and Jharkhand have the highest share.
- GW schemes comprise dugwells, shallow tube wells, medium tube wells and deep tube wells. The SW schemes comprise surface flow and surface lift schemes.
- There has been increase of about 1.42 million in MI schemes during 6th MI census as compared to 5th Census.
- At the national level, both GW and SW schemes have increased by 6.9% and 1.2%, respectively.
- Dug-wells have highest share in MI schemes followed by shallow tube-wells, medium tube-wells and deep tube-wells.
- Maharashtra is the leading State in dug-wells, surface flow and surface lift schemes. Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Punjab are the leading States in shallow tube-wells, medium tube-wells and deep tube-wells, respectively.
- Out of all MI schemes, 97.0% are ‘in use’, 2.1% are ‘temporarily not in use’ whereas 0.9% are ‘permanently not in use’. Shallow tube-wells and medium tube-wells lead in the category of ‘in use’ schemes.
- A majority of MI schemes (96.6%) are under private ownership. In GW schemes, the share of private entities in the ownership is 98.3% whereas in SW schemes the respective share is 64.2%.
- For the first time, the information about gender of the owner of MI scheme was also collected in case of individual ownership. Out of all the individually owned schemes, 18.1% are owned by women.
- Around 60.2% schemes have single source of finance whereas 39.8% schemes have more than one source of finance. In single source of finance, majority of schemes (79.5%) are being financed by own savings of individual farmer.
Problems related to irrigation
Irrigation in India faces several specific challenges, including:
- Unequal Distribution: There is a significant disparity in irrigation coverage between regions, with some areas having better access to irrigation facilities than others. This inequality affects agricultural productivity and income.
- Groundwater Depletion: Over-extraction of groundwater for irrigation has led to declining water tables in many parts of India. This poses a serious long-term threat to sustainable agriculture.
- Dependency on Monsoons: India heavily relies on monsoon rains for irrigation, making agriculture vulnerable to erratic rainfall patterns and droughts.
- Outdated Infrastructure: Many irrigation systems in India are outdated and poorly maintained, leading to water wastage, inefficiency, and frequent breakdowns.
- Salinity and Water Quality: In some regions, improper irrigation practices have led to soil salinity and poor water quality, impacting crop yields.
- Energy Consumption: The energy-intensive nature of pumping water for irrigation puts a strain on the power supply and increases costs for farmers.
- Smallholder Farmers: Small-scale farmers often lack access to modern irrigation technologies and resources, limiting their ability to adopt efficient irrigation practices.
- Legal and Regulatory Challenges: Water rights and regulations can be complex and vary by state, creating administrative hurdles for farmers.
- Climate Change: Changing climate patterns, such as unpredictable rainfall and extreme weather events, further complicate irrigation planning and management.
- Environmental Impact: Some irrigation projects have had adverse effects on ecosystems, including the depletion of rivers and wetlands.
- Efforts are being made by the Indian government and various organizations to address these issues through initiatives like the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) to promote efficient and sustainable irrigation practices and infrastructure development.
2 . Status of the RTI Act
Context:- For 13 years, the Right to Information Act, 2005, helped citizens obtain information and data from Central and State institutions that are not readily available in the public domain. The RTI Act allows any citizen to make requests for access to data, documents, and other information in the government’s possession. India’s RTI Act has been commonly cited as among the most comprehensive public records access legislations in the world. In recent years, though, activists worry that the system is being made less and less effective, shutting off a crucial means to hold public officials accountable.
Has the RTI Act been amended?
- Apart from allowing certain information to be kept secret for national security and sovereignty reasons, the RTI Act makes one exemption — it prohibits the personal data disclosure of citizens by the government, unless there is an overriding public interest in doing so.
- The Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023, amended this qualified prohibition into a total prohibition.
- However, the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) argued that it would make ‘social audits’ in ration distribution impossible to carry out.
- In social audits, a community member gets a list of ration beneficiaries through an RTI request, and individually verifies that the beneficiaries got what they appear to have received on paper.
- There are also concerns that powerful public officials would evade accountability by invoking this blanket ban on disclosing personal information.
- Past amendments to the RTI Act have also raised concerns. The Right to Information (Amendment) Act, 2019 gave the Union Government unilateral power in deciding how long information commissioners, who hear appeals against unsatisfactory or absent RTI responses, can serve, and what their salaries are.
How else is the RTI Act undermined?
- The RTI Act’s implementation is dependent on subordinate rules made by the Union Government and State Governments. For instance, the simple matter of what payment method a public authority can accept is left to the States to decide.
- Tardy appointments to information commissions — the Central Information Commission (CIC) for the Union Government, and various State Information Commissions (SICs) — have also undermined confidence in the RTI framework, as appeals can take months or even years to be heard, if ever. For example, the Jharkhand SIC has had no commissioners to hear appeals since May 2020, essentially suspending the ability to appeal ineffective administration of the RTI Act in the State.
What about online RTIs?
- Allowing RTI applications to be filed online largely removes some barriers — instead of obtaining uncommon financial instruments, citizens can simply file a request online and pay with UPI.
- However, many States do not have an online RTI portal, and even if they do, it is common for many State Government bodies to simply not be registered on the portal.
- The Union Government’s RTI portal — launched in 2013 — is also past its prime.
- While many public authorities under the Union Government are on the portal, filing applications on it has become harder.
- Having an account on the RTIOnline portal allowed citizens to have their personal particulars filled in on each application by default.
- Now, however, the facility to create an account has disappeared, and the site forces all users to enter their particulars afresh each time they file an application.
- Further, past data of applicants has been stuttering in and out of the portal. In August, data of applications filed by users before 2022 disappeared without a trace.
- Beyond the evident structural problems that institutions and websites for RTI pose, dissatisfaction is growing at the most basic level.
- More and more first appeals are being filed. This indicates that people are increasingly dissatisfied with the information they are receiving from public officials.
- While activists have long warned of the weakening of the RTI Act, most of the damage they have seen is not merely from changes in the text of the law, but from the ways that various institutions across different Government apparatuses discharge their duties, in the narrowing of avenues to conveniently file requests and obtain information after doing so, and having appeals fall on unstaffed appellate bodies.
3 . Physics behind Javelin Throw
About Javelin Throw
- Javelin throw is a track and field event that involves athletes throwing a javelin, a spear-like object, as far as possible within specified rules and techniques.
- Javelin throwing is a highly technical event and requires perfect coordination of multiple joints in different planes of motion.
- The distance a javelin is thrown is affected by factors such as wind speed and direction and the aerodynamics of the javelin. But the two most important and controllable factors are javelin release speed and release angle.
Physics behind Javelin throw
The physics behind a javelin throw involves a combination of principles related to biomechanics, aerodynamics, and projectile motion. Here’s an overview of the key physics concepts that influence the performance of a javelin throw:
- Biomechanics: Biomechanics plays a crucial role in javelin throwing. The athlete’s body mechanics, including posture, stance, and muscle activation, are essential for generating the necessary force and velocity. The athlete’s entire body, from the legs and core to the upper body and arms, contributes to the throw.
- Force and Impulse: The athlete’s ability to generate force and impart impulse to the javelin is fundamental. Force is applied through the legs and core, which transfer the energy to the arm and javelin during the throw. The longer the time over which this force is applied (impulse), the greater the velocity the javelin will achieve.
- Velocity and Angle: The release velocity of the javelin is a critical factor in determining how far it will travel. The athlete aims to maximize the release velocity while also optimizing the launch angle. The ideal angle depends on various factors, including the athlete’s technique and the desired trajectory.
- Air Resistance (Drag): As the javelin travels through the air, it encounters air resistance, which opposes its motion. The shape and aerodynamics of the javelin are designed to minimize drag. Athletes also aim to minimize the cross-sectional area of the javelin by holding it in a way that reduces air resistance.
- Projected Motion: Once the javelin is released, it follows a curved path known as projectile motion. The key factors affecting this motion are the initial velocity, launch angle, and the force of gravity. The javelin travels in a parabolic trajectory, eventually hitting the ground.
- Center of Mass: The center of mass of the javelin must be balanced correctly to ensure stability during flight. Athletes must hold the javelin in such a way that its center of mass is aligned with the intended direction of the throw.
- Release Timing: Proper timing of the release is crucial. Releasing the javelin too early or too late can significantly affect the distance of the throw. Athletes often practice their release timing to achieve the best results.
- Spin Technique (Optional): Some javelin throwers use a spin technique, similar to the discus throw, to generate additional angular momentum and release velocity. This technique involves a rotational movement before the throw, and it requires precise coordination.
- Follow-Through: A proper follow-through motion helps dissipate the athlete’s energy and prevents injury. It also contributes to the direction and stability of the javelin’s flight.
In summary, the physics of javelin throwing involves a complex interplay of biomechanical principles, the generation of force and velocity, minimizing air resistance, and understanding the mechanics of projectile motion. Athletes strive to optimize these factors through training, technique, and equipment to achieve their best possible throws.
4 . Facts for Prelims
- Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA) is an initiative of the Ministry of Education for digital online education, is the platform for providing quality e-content for school education in States/UTs and QR coded Energized Textbooks for all grades (one nation, one digital platform).
- Some key features and aspects of the Diksha portal: Digital Repository, Curriculum Alignment, Teacher Training, Mobile App, Assessment tools and Open Educational Resources.
- DIKSHA complies with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA. This enables people with visual impairments to access the website using assistive technologies, such as screen readers.
- Special e-content for visually and hearing impaired is developed on Digitally Accessible Information System (DAISY) and in sign language on NIOS website/ YouTube.
- The National e-Governance Division (NeGD) of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is set to integrate Personalised Adaptive Learning (PAL) into the DIKSHA platform.
- The PAL’s software-based approach is expected to allow each student to have an individualised learning experience over the course of the curriculum based on their unique needs and abilities.
- A coordinate system is a set of numbers that allows you to specify the location of a point in some space.
- The Cartesian coordinates is one such system, which uses a set of three numbers to specify the distance of a point from three perpendicular planes.
- In general, this system uses N numbers if there are N perpendicular planes, including in higher dimensions
- The French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes created this system in the 17th century.
- His invention bridged the gap between algebra and geometry and created analytic geometry.
- The coordinates also have an array of applications in astronomy, engineering, and most other disciplines that involve geometry, including representing spatial data in computer graphics and computer-aided geometric design.
AI Assisted Chest X Ray
- AI-assisted chest X-ray analysis refers to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms to aid in the interpretation and diagnosis of chest X-ray images.
- This technology has the potential to assist healthcare professionals in detecting and diagnosing various chest conditions, including lung diseases, infections, and abnormalities.
- India can make use of this powerful technology to screen presumptive TB cases.
- The AI algorithm (qXR), which was developed by the Mumbai-based Qure.ai, can help in early detection of people with presumptive TB disease in less than a minute, including people with subclinical TB.
- When used at scale for population-based screening or at least for targeted screening, the AI software combined with molecular tests for TB disease confirmation can vastly increase detection rates.