Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2023
Current Affair 1:
What is land subsidence: Joshimath case
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), land subsidence is a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth’s surface due to the removal or displacement of sub-surface earth materials. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains it as sinking of the ground because of underground material movement.
The principal causes include aquifer-system compaction associated with groundwater withdrawals, drainage of organic soils and underground mining. Subsidence can also be caused by natural events such as earthquakes, soil compaction, glacial isostatic adjustment, erosion, sinkhole formation, and adding water to fine soils deposited by wind.
As NOAA puts it, “Subsidence can happen over very large areas like whole states or provinces, or very small areas like the corner of your yard.” Also, where groundwater depletion is involved, subsidence is typically gradual and widespread, as is the case in Joshimath.
The case of Joshimath
According to the Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority (USDMA), Joshimath falls in Zone V of the Seismic Zonation Map and has witnessed several earthquakes of magnitude of less than 5 on the Richter scale.
Scattered rocks in the area are covered with old landslide debris comprising boulders, gneissic rocks, and loose soil with a low bearing capacity. The gneissic rocks are highly weathered and have a low cohesive value with a tendency of high pore pressure when saturated with water, especially during monsoons.
Widespread floods in June 2013 in Uttarakhand and flooding of Rishi Ganga in February 2021 had adverse impact on the landslide zone as a result of extreme erosion. According to the latest satellite data, mountain streams have expanded their channels and changed course, thereby inducing more slope instability in an already fragile belt.
Further, Joshimath being on a fault line — where the Indian plate pushes under the Eurasian plate along the Himalayas — makes it highly vulnerable to sinking because of tectonic activity.
What Mishra Committee report said?
According to the 1976 M C Mishra Committee report, Joshimath is situated over a deposit of sand and stone, which is not the main rock. The report pointed out that the town lay over an ancient landslide and hence was not suitable for a township. It also added that undercutting by currents of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers also played a part in triggering landslides.
The report warned against the removal and blasting of boulders along the hillside, recommended restrictions on major construction activities and said that water seepage from the soil should be properly removed through drainage channels to avoid landslides.
The reasons for Joshimath’s sinking
Apart from the above geological and geographical reasons, unplanned construction, over-population, obstruction of the natural flow of water, hydel power activities and the widening of the National Highway are also being cited behind land subsidence in Joshimath. Also, lack of a proper drainage system might could have also contributed to the sinking of the area.
As per media reports, residents have also blamed NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad Hydro Power Project for the incident. They allege that the tunnel had water seepage “from a punctured aquifer, leading to the drying of water sources in Joshimath.” Experts suggest that it could be one of the reasons for the collapse of the area.
However, NTPC denied the allegations.
To make matters worse, fresh cracks have also appeared in houses at Karanprayag, another holy town 80 km downstream of Joshimath. Here too residents blame heavy construction by NTPC for land subsidence. However, the NTPC denied any link between its construction activities and cracks in Uttarakhand towns.
Current Affair 2:
National Health Authority (NHA) introduces new system to measure and grade performance of hospitals
With an objective to shift the focus of measuring performance of hospitals from volume of services provided to the value of healthcare services, National Health Authority (NHA) is introducing a new system to measure and grade hospital performance under the flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).
The new initiative will introduce the concept of ‘value-based care’, where payment will be outcome-based and providers will be rewarded according to the quality of the treatment delivered.
Under the new model, the providers will be rewarded for helping the patients improve their health, which consequently will reduce the effects of the disease in the population in the long term.
Under value-based care, the performance of AB PM-JAY empanelled hospitals will be measured based on five performance indicators such as: Beneficiary Satisfaction; Hospital Readmission Rate; The extent of Out-of-Pocket Expenditure; Confirmed Grievances and Improvement in patient’s Health-Related Quality of Life.
Collectively these interventions of performance assessment and value-based incentives, use of health technology assessment, and use of digital tools to monitor the quality of care will transform AB PM-JAY and the Indian health system from a volume-based to a value-based health care delivery system.
Current Affair 3:
Title 42' Immigration Policy
In order to prevent more nationalities from requesting asylum in the United States, the United States announced that it would extend COVID-19 pandemic-era restrictions, known as Title 42, to expel migrants from Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border back to Mexico.
Why are immigrants barred from entering under COVID regulations?
In order to quickly send migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border back to Mexico or other countries, border agents are permitted to use Title 42, which was issued by U.S. health authorities at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
Under Republican former President Donald Trump, whose administration sought to severely restrict both immigrations, the order was put into effect. In order to stop the spread of COVID-19 in crowded detention settings, the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated at the time that it was necessary.
Current Affair 4:
Statement on Climate of India during 2022
Just read the highlight of statement:
According to the IMD, the “LPA of rainfall is the rainfall recorded over a particular region for a given interval (like month or season) average over a long period like 30 years, 50 years, etc”.
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