EL NINO EFFECT ON FOOD INFLATION
- The latest El Nino climate phenomenon has arrived, threatening floods in some areas of the world and droughts in others.
- Previous disruptive weather patterns cost the global economy trillions and stoked inflation.
- The return of El Nino is expected to intensify over the next six to nine months, leading to extreme weather conditions globally.
- The likelihood of another strong El Nino period is considerable and if it occurs, we can anticipate the familiar climate extremes and anomalies associated with this phenomenon.
- El Nino, which refers to "Little Boy" in Spanish, is characterized by above-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator.
- It leads to flooding in the Americas, tropical storms in the Pacific and droughts in various regions worldwide, including southern Africa.
- These consequences severely disrupt fishing, agriculture and other sectors of the economy, while also exacerbating the impacts of climate change.
- In 2016, El Nino contributed to the warmest year ever recorded and scientists are concerned that it could result in new record-high global temperatures.
- Recently, researchers at the EU's Copernicus earth observation unit observed global surface air temperatures surpassing 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels for the first time.
- This threshold aligns with the global warming limit established by world leaders during the 2015 Paris Climate Summit.
- Approaching the 1.5 degree Celsius temperature limit in June is highly unusual, suggesting that we are likely to exceed this threshold not only for a few weeks but for an extended period.
3. The economic impact of El Nino
- The economic losses resulting from past El Nino seasons have extended beyond the period of extreme weather events.
- According to research from Dartmouth College, the financial effects of the 1982-83 El Nino continued for another half-decade, totalling around $4.1 trillion.
- After the 1997-98 El Nino season, the damage to global economic growth amounted to $5.7 trillion.
- Societies and economies do not simply rebound quickly from these impacts. The effects could persist for up to 14 years or possibly even longer.
- The researchers found that the 1982-83 and 1997-98 El Nino events resulted in a 3 per cent decline in US gross domestic product in 1988 and 2003.
- Countries heavily reliant on agriculture, such as Peru and Indonesia, experience GDP contractions of over 10 per cent in 2003.
- Estimates suggest that the negative economic effects from the current El Nino season could reach $3 trillion between now and 2029.
- The fishing industry is the first to suffer due to the higher ocean temperatures, followed by major agricultural regions in Africa, South America and even parts of North America.
- Poor harvests and infrastructure damage caused by storms further impact the insurance sector.
- Overall, the economic impact of El Nino extends across various sectors and regions, with significant consequences for industries, GDP and long-term growth prospects.
4. Impact of El Nino on Food and Energy Inflation
- Warnings about El Nino have already contributed to sharp increases in prices of commodities such as coffee, sugar and cocoa.
- The other food commodities are expected to follow suit as severe weather events impact harvests.
- Rising prices could have a particularly negative effect on emerging markets where food comprises a significant portion of consumer expenditure.
- The geographic vulnerability of these markets exposes them to climate changes, including the increased likelihood of flooding associated with El Nino events.
- In India, where agriculture is a cornerstone of the economy and the annual monsoon plays a crucial role in food production, policymakers have emphasised the importance of staying vigilant.
- The uncertain monsoon outlook and the impact of El Nino necessitate close monitoring by the RBI.
- The potential consequences of El Nino on food and energy prices underscore the importance of monitoring and implementing measures to mitigate its economic impacts.
For Prelims: El Nino, La Nina, RBI, food prices, inflation, GDP, Climate change, Paris Agreement,
1. What is El Nino? Explain why is India particularly vulnerable to the impacts of El Nino on food and energy prices. (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions
1. Read the following passage and answer the question that follows. Your answers to these items should be based on the passage only.
Policymakers and media have placed the blame for skyrocketing food prices on a variety of factors, including high fuel prices, bad weather in key food producing countries, and the diversion of land to non-food production. Increased emphasis, however, has been placed on a surge in demand for food from the most populous emerging economics. It seems highly probable that mass consumption in these countries could be well poised to create a food crisis.
With reference to the above passage, the following assumptions have been made: (UPSC 2021)
1. Oil producing countries are one of the reasons for high food prices.
2. If there is a food crisis in the world in the near future, it will be in the emerging economies. Which of the above assumptions is/are valid?
A. 1 only B. 2 only C. Both 1 and 2 D. Neither 1 nor 2
2. India has experienced persistent and high food inflation in the recent past. What could be the reasons? (UPSC 2011)
1. Due to a gradual switchover to the cultivation of commercial crops, the area under the cultivation of food grains has steadily decreased in the last five years by about 30.
2. As a consequence of increasing incomes, the consumption patterns of the people have undergone a significant change.
3. The food supply chain has structural constraints.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
A. 1 and 2 only B. 2 and 3 only C. 1 and 3 only D. 1, 2 and 3
3. With reference to inflation in India, which of the following statements is correct? (UPSC 2015)
A. Controlling the inflation in India is the responsibility of the Government of India only
B.The Reserve Bank of India has no role in controlling the inflation
C. Decreased money circulation helps in controlling the inflation
D. Increased money circulation helps in controlling the inflation
4. With reference to the Agreement at the UNFCCC Meeting in Paris in 2015, which of the following statements is/are correct? (UPSC 2016)
1. The Agreement was signed by all the member countries of the UN and it will go into effect in 2017
2. The Agreement aims to limit greenhouse gas emissions so that the rise in average global temperature by the end of this century does not exceed 2°C or even 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
3. Developed countries acknowledged their historical responsibility in global warming and committed to donate $ 1000 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries to cope with climate change.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
A. 1 and 3 only B. 2 only C. 2 and 3 only D. 1, 2 and 3
2. Development of Legislation Against Child Sexual Abuse in India
- The Constitution of India includes provisions to protect children's rights.
- India has ratified international instruments like the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Protocol on the Sale of Children.
- India lacked specific legislation addressing child sexual abuse.
- Cases were tried under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, which were deemed insufficient.
- A child sexual abuse racket was exposed in Goa during the 1990s.
- The state government responded by enacting a law in 2003 to promote child rights.
- The Special Expert Committee under Justice VR Krishna Iyer drafted the Children's Code Bill, presenting a comprehensive framework for child rights in India.
- In 2005, the Department of Women and Child Development prepared a draft bill to address different offenses targeted against children.
- Published by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- Covered 13 states with a sample size of 12,447 children, 2,324 young adults, and 2,449 stakeholders.
- Found that 50.76% of children surveyed reported experiencing one or more forms of sexual abuse.
- Boys reported a higher overall percentage of sexual abuse than girls, contrary to prevailing perceptions.
- In September 2010, the Ministry of Women and Child Development prepared a draft bill.
- After several revisions, it came into force as the POCSO Act on Children's Day (November 14, 2012).
3. Analysis of POCSO Act Trials and Case Characteristics
- Acquittals and Convictions: Analysis shows that 43.44% of trials under the POCSO Act end in acquittals, while only 14.03% end in convictions. For every one conviction, there are three acquittals, indicating a significant disparity.
- State-wise Disparity in Acquittals and Convictions: Acquittals are significantly higher than convictions in all states studied. Examples: In Andhra Pradesh, acquittals are seven times more than convictions, and in West Bengal, acquittals are five times more than convictions. Kerala has a relatively lower gap, with acquittals constituting 20.5% and convictions constituting 16.49% of total disposals.
- Relationship Between Victim and Accused: Out of 138 examined judgments, only 6% of cases involved accused who were strangers to the victim. In 44% of cases, the relationship between the victim and accused was unidentified. Known acquaintances constituted 22.9% of the accused, family members accounted for 3.7%, and cases with prior romantic relationships made up 18%.
- Age Distribution of Victims and Accused: Among the 138 cases studied, 5.47% of victims were under 10 years, 17.8% were between 10-15 years, and 28% were between 15-18 years. The age of the victim was unidentified in 48% of cases. Age details of accused individuals were not identified in 63.6% of cases. Identified age ranges of accused: 11.6% between 19-25 years, 10.9% between 25-35 years, 6.1% between 35-45 years, and 6.8% above 45 years.
- Offenses and Severity: Penetrative sexual assault (31.18%) and aggravated penetrative sexual assault (25.59%) collectively account for over half of all POCSO cases. These offenses carry the most stringent punishments under the POCSO Act.
4. Analysis of POCSO Case Disposal and Pendency
- Delayed Disposal: On average, it takes 509.78 days for a POCSO case to be disposed of, exceeding the one-year stipulated timeframe under the Act.
- Increase in Pending Cases: The pendency of POCSO cases had been gradually increasing over the years. Notably, there was a sharp rise in pending cases between 2019 and 2020, attributed to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Reasons for Delay: Slow pace of police investigation and delays in depositing samples with Forensic Science Laboratories were identified as primary reasons for case delays.
- Transfers of Cases: 22.76% of cases were disposed of through transfers from one court to another. One-fifth of the cases in the dataset ended in transfers, indicating administrative mismanagement or wrongful appreciation of facts by the police.
- Increasing Transfer Trend: The percentage of transfers out of total disposals was around 8% in 2013 but rose to a little over 19% in 2019 and a concerning 42% in 2020. This trend is seen as problematic due to the time wasted as cases are transferred between courts.
5. POCSO Trials and Case Statistics in India
- Delhi's POCSO Trials and Case Length: Delhi has the highest number of POCSO trials in the country, with 13.54 cases per 100,000 population in 2018. However, Delhi also had the highest average case length in 2020, at 1,284.33 days.
- Average Time for Convictions: Chandigarh and West Bengal are the only states where the average time taken for convictions is within one year. States like Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Sikkim, Chandigarh, and the NCT of Delhi have a higher reporting of POCSO cases.
- Districts with the Highest Number of POCSO Trials: The five districts with the highest number of POCSO trials (pending and disposed of) are Namchi (Sikkim), New Delhi, Central Delhi, Medak (Telangana), and West Garo Hills (Meghalaya).
- Pendency and Disposal Rates: Uttar Pradesh has the highest pendency, with 77.77% of the total POCSO cases filed between November 2012 and February 2021 pending. Tamil Nadu has the highest disposal percentage at 80.2%.
- Districts with Highest Pendency Percentages: The five districts with the highest pendency percentages include Lucknow, Hardoi, Budaun, and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh and Howrah in West Bengal.
6. Gaps in Implementation
- Absence of Support Persons: According to the study, "support persons" are not appointed in most POCSO cases. The Supreme Court highlighted that in 96% of cases, victims were not provided with a support person.
- Role of support Persons: A support person can be an individual or organization working in child rights or protection, an official from a children's home or shelter home. or a staff member of the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU). Their role is to guide and support the victim throughout the legal process.
- Insufficient Designated POCSO Courts: The analysis reveals that not all districts have designated POCSO courts. As of 2022, 408 POCSO courts have been established in 28 states under the Government's Fast Track Special Court Scheme.
- Lack of Special Public Prosecutors: There is a shortage of special public prosecutors specifically appointed to handle POCSO cases. Even when appointed, they are often engaged in non-POCSO cases, leading to a lack of dedicated focus on POCSO matters.
For Prelims: Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Protocol on the Sale of Children, Children's Code Bill, 2000, Child Abuse Report (2007).
For Mains: 1. Critically analyze the findings of the analysis on convictions, acquittals, victim-accused relationships, and offense patterns in POCSO cases in India. (250 words).
Previous year Question
1. In India, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, ____ is a comprehensive law to provide for the protection of children from the offenses of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography, while safeguarding the interests of the child. (SSC CGL 2021)
The move came just a week before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, pointing at a possible announcement of the deal during the visit.
The procurement is now awaiting the final nod from the Cabinet Committee on Security
2. What is Predator UAV?
- As per GA-ASI, the MQ-9 UAV has an endurance of over 27 hours, speeds of 240 KTAS, can operate up to 50,000 feet, and has a 3,850 pound (1,746 kilograms) payload capacity that includes 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms) of external stores
- The aircraft’s manufacturer also says that it can carry 500 per cent more payload and has nine times the horsepower in comparison to the earlier MQ-1 Predator
- Moreover, MQ-9 UAV provides long-endurance, persistent surveillance, and strike capability for the warfighter
- The maritime variant of the MQ-9 UAV, known as Sea Guardian, has an endurance of over 30 hours
- Earlier this year, the US Air Force (USAF) had ditched an MQ-9 Reaper in the Black Sea after a confrontation with two Russian Su-27 jets over international waters west of Crimea
3. Impact on Indian Armed Forces
- Although the plan to buy this UAV has been on the cards for a long time, its purchase got delayed due to the emphasis on self-reliance in the defence sector and limitations imposed on imports
- If the deal comes through, India will have 31 MQ-9s for its Armed Forces, including 15 for the Navy and eight each for the Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF)
- Once delivered and employed, these High-Altitude Long Endurance drones can carry out and boost the Indian Armed Forces’ Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities
- Armed with payloads, the weaponized UAV will be able to strike strategic targets in mountains and the maritime domain during long-endurance missions
- As per the USAF, MQ-9 UAV is employed primarily as an intelligence-collection asset and secondarily against dynamic execution targets
- It can also undertake close air support, combat search and rescue, precision strike, buddy-lase, convoy and raid overwatch, route clearance, target development, and terminal air guidance, according to the USAF
4. Earlier UAV's
- In the aftermath of the Galwan Valley clashes in 2020, the Navy had leased two MQ-9 UAVs and the lease was since extended
- In November 2022, GA-ASI announced that these leased UAVs had completed 10,000 flight hours during a period of two years since their maiden flight on November 21, 2020, and have helped the Indian Navy to cover over 14 million square miles of operating area
- At Aero India in Bengaluru in February this year, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and GA-ASI had said that the turbo-propeller engines for the MQ-9 UAV would be supported by the former’s engine division for the Indian market
- A joint statement which was issued then said they were planning to put in place an engine Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) programme for future HALE UAV projects
5. Other countries which possess MQ-9 UAV
As per GA-ASI, the MQ-9 UAV has been acquired by the US Air Force, the US Department of Homeland Security, NASA, the Royal Air Force, the Italian Air Force, the French Air Force and the Spanish Air Force
2. What led to the massive die-off of fish in Texas?
- Fish kill is the sudden death of many fish or aquatic animals over a short period, mainly caused by low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water.
- The massive die-off of fish in Texas was attributed to a fish kill phenomenon.
- Warm water temperatures make it difficult for fish to breathe as oxygen dissolves less easily in warmer water compared to colder water.
- When fish get trapped in shallow water, which warms up quickly, they act erratically and further deplete oxygen from the water, leading to suffocation.
- Calm seas along the Texas Gulf Coast prevented oxygen from entering the water through wind and waves, exacerbating the oxygen depletion problem.
- Overcast weather hindered photosynthesis by phytoplankton, reducing the production of oxygen in the water.
- The combination of warm water, calm seas, and overcast weather contributed to the low oxygen levels and the subsequent fish kill in Texas.
3. Fish Kills in Texas Summers
- Fish kills in Texas are a recurring phenomenon during the summer months.
- The rise in sea surface temperatures during summer leads to fish kills.
- Menhaden, a common fish species, is particularly affected and experiences mass die-offs.
- Menhaden serves as an important food source for other fish, making its death crucial to the regional ecosystem.
- The recent fish kill incident in Texas is a part of this annual occurrence, affecting primarily menhaden.
4. Impact of Climate Change on Texas Fish Kill
- While the recent fish kill in Texas is not directly linked to climate change, experts suggest that rising ocean temperatures could make such incidents more common in the future.
- Warmer oceans result in lower levels of dissolved oxygen, leading to fish suffocation and death.
- Katie St Clair from Texas A&M University highlights the concern of rising seawater temperatures and the need for monitoring the situation.
- Climate Change also has other negative effects on fish populations, such as smaller size and the migration of species to cooler waters, disrupting the fish industry.
|For Prelims: Fish Kill, Fish Kill Phenomenon, Photosynthesis, Phytoplankton, Biological oxygen demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand(COD).
1. Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) is a standard criterion for (UPSC 2017)
A. Measuring oxygen levels in the blood
B. Computing oxygen levels in forest ecosystems
C. Pollution assay in aquatic ecosystems
D. Assessing oxygen levels in high-altitude regions
2. Key points
- The Cyclone crossed Saurashtra and Kutch and adjoining Pakistan coasts between Mandvi (Gujarat) and Karachi (Pakistan).
- The Gujarat government has so far shifted more than 94, 000 people living in eight coastal districts to temporary shelters.
- It has also issued prohibitory orders, shut down public transport and advised people to remain indoors.
- Two teams each of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been deployed in Gujarat, While teams of the Army and Indian Air Force have also been kept on standby.
3. About the landfall of a cyclone
- Landfall is the event of a tropical cyclone coming onto land after being over water.
- As per the IMD, a tropical is said to have made landfall when the centre of the storm or its eye moves over the coast.
- Crucially a landfall should not be confused with a "direct hit", which refers to a situation where the core of high winds (or eyewall) comes onshore but the centre of the storm may stay remain offshore.
- As per the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), because the strongest winds in a tropical cyclone are not located precisely at the centre, a cyclone's strongest winds can be experienced over land even if landfall does not occur.
4. The damage caused by a cyclone's landfall
- The damage caused by the landfall will depend on the severity of the cyclone marked by the speed of its winds.
- For Cyclone Biparjoy, classified by the IMD as a "very severe cyclonic storm", the impact may include extensive damage to Kutcha houses, partial disruption of power and communication lines, minor disruption of rail and road traffic, the potential threat from flying debris and flooding of escape routes.
- The factors behind this kind of damage include extremely strong winds, heavy rainfall and the storm surge which cause devastating floods on the coast.
5. Duration of the landfall
- Landfalls can last for a few hours, with their exact duration depending on the speed of the winds and the size of the storm system.
- Cyclone Biparjoy's land process is expected to last around five to six hours, with the cyclone almost completely dissipating over approximately the next 24 hours.
- Cyclones lose their intensity once they move over land because of a sharp reduction of moisture supply and an increase in surface friction.
- This means that while landfalls are often the most devastating moments of cyclones, they also mark the beginning of their end.
For Prelims: Cyclone, Landfall, Biparjoy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Indian Meteorological Department,
1. What is the Landfall of a cyclone? Discuss its duration and Explain why it causes severe damage. (250 Words).
Previous Year Questions
1. Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2020)
1. Jet streams occur in the Northern Hemisphere only.
2. Only some cyclones develop an eye.
3. The temperature inside the eye of a cyclone is nearly 10°C lesser than that of the surroundings.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only B. 2 and 3 only C. 2 only D. 1 and 3 only
2. The acidification of oceans is increasing. Why is this phenomenon a cause of concern? (UPSC 2012)
1. The growth and survival of calcareous phytoplankton will be adversely affected.
2. The growth and survival of coral reefs will be adversely affected.
3. The survival of some animals that have phytoplanktonic larvae will be adversely affected.
4. The cloud seeding and formation of clouds will be adversely affected.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1, 2 and 3 only B. 2 only C. 1 and 3 only D. 1, 2, 3 and 4
3. Arrange the following India Meteorological Headquarters in Chronological order of their establishment and select your correct answer from the codes given below: (UPPSC 2018)
A. New Delhi
1. C D A B 2. B A D C 3. D B C A 4. B C D A
4. Directions: In this section, each item consists of six sentences of a passage. (CDS 2022)
The first and the sixth sentences are given in the beginning as S1 and S6. The middle four sentences in each have been jumbled up and labelled as P, Q, R and S. You are required to find the proper sequence of the four sentences and mark your response accordingly on the Answer Sheet.
S1: The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) was established in 1975.
S6 : These predictions have an effect on the Indian economy that belies any belief that the economy of our country is not solely dependent on agriculture and the rains that feed it.
P : The Meteorological Department is perhaps also burdened with the most critical form of soothsaying i.e., forecasting the monsoon.
Q : The Crop Yield Formation Unit of the department has developed statistical models using correlation and regression techniques.
R : The IMD issued the first operational long range forecast of seasonal south-west monsoon rainfall in India in 1986.
S : It is the natural meteorological service and the principal agency in all matters related to meteorology.
The correct sequence should be:
1. RSPQ 2. SRQP 3. SQRP 4. PQRS