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NASA Satellite Observations Its Report On Freshwater And India

 

Relevancy

  • G.S. Paper 1, 3

Why in news?

  • NASA satellite observations of Earth have found that there is a serious decline in the availability of freshwater in India.

What does the observation say?

  • NASA used data on human activities to map locations where freshwater is changing around the globe.
  • This is the first time that observations from multiple satellites in a thorough assessment of how freshwater availability is changing everywhere on Earth.
  • In some regions water supplies were found to be relatively stable, others experienced increases or decreases.
  • The study found that Earth’s wet land areas are getting wetter and dry areas are getting drier due to a variety of factors.

Why such decline of Freshwater?

  • The factors for this phenomenon comprise human water management, climate change and natural cycles.
  • Distinctive pattern of the wet land areas of the world getting wetter those are the high latitudes and the tropics and the dry areas in between getting dryer.
  • Pumping groundwater for agricultural uses is a significant contributor to freshwater depletion throughout the world.
  • Groundwater levels are also sensitive to cycles of persistent drought or rainy conditions.

What does the study say about India?

  • Areas in northern and eastern India are among the hotspots where overuse of water resources has caused a serious decline in the availability of freshwater that is already causing problems.
  • In northern India, groundwater extraction for irrigation of crops such as wheat and rice have caused a rapid decline in available water, despite rainfall being normal throughout the period studied.
  • The extractions in these parts have already exceeded recharge during normal precipitation and do not bode well for the availability of groundwater during future droughts.

Rising Oil Prices and associated concerns

 

Relevancy

  • G.S. Paper 2

Why in news?

  • The international benchmark for oil prices crossed $80 a barrel touching the highest level since 2014.

The concerns associated with rising oil prices:-

  • Brent, the international benchmark for oil price is almost three times the cost in early 2016 when it was $29 a barrel.
  • The trend may continue in the coming weeks and months, according to most reporting on oil.
  • Rising oil prices could cause significant inflation, dampen economic growth and alter geopolitics in multiple ways.

Why increase in oil prices?

  • S. Administration’s decision to withdraw the country from the Iran nuclear deal is one major decision at the moment.
  • Sectors such as financial and banking, underwriting services, insurance, shipping and shipbuilding and port operation will come under US sanctions all of these will influence oil trade.
  • US administration is also threatening unstable Venezuelan economy which is dependent on petroleum exports with new sanctions.
  • Oil prices are also driven up by coordinated action by Russia and Saudi Arabia to keep supply on a tight leash.
  • The heightened instability in West Asia in the form of Saudi Arabia-Iran rivalry and the looming possibility of new military conflicts add to this.

How did the global economy react to the US decision?

  • European countries, Russia and China, who are part of the Iran deal, have said they will not participate in American sanctions.
  • It is unclear how far European companies could withstand American pressure and continue trade with Iran.
  • French oil company Total has announced that it will halt a natural gas development project in Iran unless it receives a waiver from the U.S. government.
  • China will continue to buy from Iran and so will India, even if in reduced quantities.

How will this impact India?

  • India imports significant quantities of oil from Venezuela and Iran.
  • The full impact of re-imposition of sanctions on Iran will have a serious impact on Chabahar port in Iran which was built with Indian aid.
  • Instability in oil prices could help America’s strategic rivals Russia and China.
  • Russia could benefit from higher prices in the international market.
  • China could get better deals in buying crude cheap from Iran as it could insulate the trade from secondary American sanctions.
  • Higher oil prices could have mixed impact domestically in America due to increasing demands.

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