Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Preparation: 23 & 24 November 2017

Centre promulgates Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance to encourage bamboo cultivation in non-forest areas

The Centre has promulgated Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 to encourage bamboo cultivation in non-forest areas. The ordinance exempts bamboo grown in non-forest areas from the definition of a tree, thereby dispensing with the requirement of felling and transit permit for its economic use.

Bamboo, though, taxonomically a grass, was legally defined as a tree under the Indian Forest Act, 1927. Before this amendment, provisions of the Indian Forest Act was a major impediment for bamboo cultivation by farmers in the non-forest land. The Cabinet has approved the promulgation of the Ordinance in this regard.

It will create a viable option for the cultivation of 12.6 million hectares of cultivable wasteland. The measure will go a long way in enhancing the agricultural income of farmers and tribals, especially in North-East and Central India. Bamboo grown in the forest areas shall continue to be governed by the provisions of Indian Forest Act.


MHA to conduct Multi-State Mega Mock Tsunami Exercise 2017 today

The Ministry of Home Affairs through National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) will conduct a multi-State mega mock exercise on tsunami preparedness today.

The exercise will be simultaneously conducted in 31 coastal districts across four States – West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu – and Union Territory Puducherry along the entire East Coast. The disaster scenario will simulate tsunami waves originating due to a high-intensity earthquake near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which will lead to a massive tsunami along the East Coast.

Participants from 11 Pacific Island countries will observe the entire exercise to take away key lessons and best practices to be adopted while preparing for and responding to a disaster situation.

The exercise is one of the various activities planned on the occasion of the 2nd World Tsunami Awareness Day held on November 5 this year.

Tsunami is a highly devastating natural hazard, and requires rapid response when it occurs as the reaction time is limited. A two-hour reaction time has been planned in this scenario during which the entire State machinery will be mobilised in a defined manner to respond swiftly and efficiently. Evacuation drills will also be rehearsed at selected sites. This exercise aims to assess and help improve the preparedness, response mechanism and coordination among concerned agencies.

India’s eastern coast is susceptible to both floods and tsunamis and many coastal districts have conducted similar mock exercises for better preparedness over the years. This is, however, the first time that the entire eastern coast will participate in a mock exercise simultaneously.