Daily Current Affairs, 13 December 2016admin
Paper 3 Topic: Disaster and disaster management.
NDRF teams pre-positioned in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu for cyclone Vardah
In view of development of cyclone Vardah over Bay of Bengal, 19 flood rescue teams of NDRF have been prepositioned in coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu as a proactive deployment.
The Disaster Management Act has made the statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.
- Two national calamities in quick succession in the form of Orissa Super Cyclone (1999) and Gujarat Earthquake (2001) brought about the realization of the need of having a specialist response mechanism at National Level to effectively respond to disasters. This realization led to the enactment of the DM Act on 26 Dec 2005.
Role and mandate of NDRF:
- Specialized response during disasters.
- Proactive deployment during impending disaster situations.
- Acquire and continually upgrade its own training and skills.
- Liaison, Reconnaissance, Rehearsals and Mock Drills.
- Impart basic and operational level training to State Response Forces (Police, Civil Defence and Home Guards).
- Community Capacity Building Programme.
- Organize Public Awareness Campaigns.
Why it is said to be UNIQUE?
- It is the only dedicated disaster response force of the world.
- The only agency with comprehensive response capabilities having multi-disciplinary and multi-skilled, high-tech, stand alone nature.
- Experienced paramilitary personnel specially trained and equipped for disaster response.
- Capabilities for undertaking disaster response, prevention, mitigation and capacity building.
Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Railways mulls exclusive suburban tracks
Indian Railways is planning to build exclusive rail tracks for suburban trains in a bid to ease congestion.
Why not use existing rail tracks?
Since running suburban services on existing tracks adversely affects the capacity of freight trains and long-distance trains, it would not be possible for Railways to use existing infrastructure for the purpose of suburban services.
At present, the Railways is running suburban train services in certain sections on the tracks laid primarily for long-distance trains. The Railways has framed the draft guidelines to address the demand for more suburban trains from the state governments.
Guidelines for suburban railway projects:
- Suburban railway projects are proposed to be implemented and operated through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) with equal equity participation from the respective state governments and the Railways.
- SPV would be empowered to propose a surcharge on passengers for recovering operating losses and capital costs of such projects.
- State governments would set up a dedicated urban transport fund through “levy of dedicated taxes, levies, betterment tax, impact fee”, among others in the “influence zone of proposed railway station” to finance the capital cost of suburban train projects.
- The Indian Railways, on request from the SPV, may restructure fares on suburban trains and impose a surcharge to recover the operating losses and the capital cost “if operating losses are not recovered from the dedicated urban transport fund.”
- The state governments will be required to conduct feasibility studies of the project at their own cost which will be examined by zonal Railways and subsequently sent to Indian Railways.
- States will also have to ensure there is no delay in land acquisition and Indian Railways will only contribute its equity share to the SPV once 70% of the land to be acquired is made available by the state government.
- Additionally, states will have to bear the complete cost of land acquisition, leasing of railway land and resettlement and rehabilitation.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.