Context: The entire nation paid tributes to the remarkable woman Savitribai Phule on her birth anniversary on Friday.
- Savitribai was born on January 3, 1831, at Naigaon in Satara district of Maharashtra; Savitribai married Jyotirao at the age of nine, and moved to Pune with him.
- Her husband, fired by modern ideas and reformist zeal, taught her to read and write.
- Savitribai took a teachers’ training course and became a qualified teacher in 1847.
- The couple then started a school for girls in Bhidewada in Pune city in 1848, and she became its first teacher.
- The couple had to face tremendous harassment from conservative elements who found the idea of women’ education repugnant
- They faced ostracism; it is said that Savitribai carried a spare saree with her because people sometimes threw stones and dung at her as walked to the school.
- She is regarded as the first female teacher of India; she played an important role in improving women’s rights in India.
- She is regarded as the mother of Indian feminism.
- She worked to abolish the discrimination and unfair treatment of people based on casteand gender.
- She is regarded as an important figure of the social reform movement in Maharashtra.
- A philanthropist and an educationist, Phule was also a prolific Marathiwriter
TOPIC: LIFE SCIENCE, AGRICULTURE, SCIENCE, HEALTH AND HYGIENE
WATER TARIFF HIKE IN BENGALURU
Context: The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board has proposed increasing the water tariff rates by 30-50 per cent.
The water tariffs were last revised five years earlier.
NEED TO RAISE TARIFFS
- Increase in electricity expenses, setting up of sewage treatment plants and hikes in staff salaries are being cited as the reason for tariff hike.
- The Board currently levies a minimum of Rs 56 on every consumer plus slab rates depending on the consumption
BANGALORE WATER SUPPLY AND SEWERAGE BOARD
- Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB)is the premier governmental agency responsible for sewage disposal and water supply to the city of Bangalore.
- It was formed in 1964.
- BWSSB currently supplies approximately 900 million liters (238 million gallons) of water to the city per day, despite a municipal demand of 1.3 billion liters.
- Water for the city (with a population of 10 million) comes from a number of sources, with 80% of it coming from the Cauvery River.
- Water is also drawn from the Arkavathy River, but the supply does not meet the demand.
TOPIC: LIFE SCIENCE, AGRICULTURE, SCIENCE, HEALTH AND HYGIENE
INDIA’S ARABICA OUTPUT AT ALL-TIME LOW
Context: India’s Arabica production has hit an all-time low this coffee-picking season according to the coffee board.
Coffee Board chairman M.S. Boje Gowda said this year’s Arabica yield would fall more than 50%
- The torrential rains, floods and landslides during August-September in 2019 washed away a sizeable chunk of plantations and destroyed coffee plants in Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, Kodagu and Wayanad districts.
- Plantations were hit by heavy rains, floods and landslides.
- The entire top soil got washed away.
- Farmers didn’t have funds to maintain their gardens or buy manure.
- So, the crop is poor and the quantity too low this season.
- Five years ago, India’s Arabica production was 1.5 lakh tonnes. It fell to 80,000 tonnes in 2019.
TYPES OF COFFEE
- Arabica and Robusta are the two primary types of coffee cultivated for drinking.
- Arabica accounts for 60–80% of the world’s coffee production, and Robusta accounts for about 20–40%.
- Arabica is preferred for its sweeter taste, while Robusta has higher caffeine content.
COFFEE PRODUCTION IN INDIA
- Coffee production in Indiais dominated in the hill tracts of South Indian states, with Karnataka accounting for 71%, followed by Kerala with 21% and Tamil Nadu (5% of overall production with 8,200 tonnes).
- Indian coffee is said to be the finest coffee grown in the shade rather than direct sunlight anywhere in the world.
- Almost 80% of Indian coffee is exported;70% is bound for Germany, Russia, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia, United States, Japan, Greece, Netherlands and France.
- Italy accounts for 29% of the exports. Most of the export is shipped through the Suez Canal.
- Coffee is grown in three regions of India with Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu forming the traditional coffee growing region.
- It is followed by the new areas developed in the non-traditional areas of Andhra Pradeshand Orissa in the eastern coast of the country and with a third region comprising the states of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh of Northeastern India.
PAPER II: GENERAL STUDIES 1
TOPIC: INDIAN ECONOMY-PLANNING
Context: India saw at least three major fire accidents in 2019.
- The first, in a four-storey central Delhi hotel in February, killed 17 people.
- The second, at a coaching centre in Surat in May, killed 22 students.
- The third broke out in a factory in Delhiand resulted in the death of 43 workers.
- In the second and third instances, it was found that buildings authorized to be residential complexes were operating as commercial buildings instead.
CAUSE OF CONCERN
- Despite major fires in the past, flagrant violations of building and fire safety norms continue unabated and fire accidents take place with alarming regularity.
- It is high time safety is taken seriously and violators are brought to book.
- Past incidents show that most fire accidents take place due to three major reasons: electrical short circuit and gas cyclinder/stove bursts, human negligence, and ill-formed habits.
- All three need to be addressed to make buildings safer.
NATIONAL BUILDING CODE, 2016
- It is a detailed set of guidelines for the construction, maintenance and operation of buildings of all kinds (residential, educational, institutional, assembly, mercantile, industrial, business, etc.) and includes a separate and comprehensive chapter on fire and life safety.
- The National Building Code specifies how many exits should be provided in a specific kind of building and where they must be placed.
- In the case of the Delhi fire, it was not only reported that a residential space was operating as a commercial space, but also that the fire exits in the buildings were blocked, thus trapping people inside.
- The first stage towards a fire-safe building is to construct the building with fire-resistant/retardant materials and install smoke detection systems and fire
- A building’s fire alarm/detection system should be connected with the city’s fire system.
- Fire compartmentalization (area/floor wise) should be made mandatory to restrict the spread of fire through horizontal and vertical spaces.
- Further, a systematic procedure should be outlined for periodically assessing and monitoring fire risks.
- On the regulatory side, adherence to the National Building Code of 2016 should be made mandatory.
- While the fire safety audit (FSA) is a good tool to assess fire safety standards of occupancy, there are no clear provisions in any legislation regarding, say, the scope or periodicity of an FSA.
- FSAs should thus be made mandatory everywhere.
- Once electrical and fire installations are in place, they should be certified by authorized persons and agencies.
- These will help identify and monitor risks of short circuits due to changes in building use, change in load pattern, etc.
- Only qualified persons and firms should be authorized to inspect buildings.
- No-objection certificates should be renewed only after verifying the originally intended use of the building being certified and any change in the building’s pattern.
- In case fires break out despite all this, fire services should always be in place.
- This too is lacking in India. Data show that fire services are not at all adequate.
- In 2017, for instance, the Home Ministry told Parliament that that in 2012 India had just 2,987 fire stations against the requirement of 8,559.
- It is important to not only increase fire services but also modernize fire fighting departments.
- Awareness of fire safety is nearly absent in India. In schools, the curriculum should have a chapter on fire safety.
- Regular drills should be conducted so that children are prepared to handle such incidents.
- Communities managing housing and commercial premises need to regularly organize awareness programmes with assistance from authorized persons and agencies.
- These need to be not only on fire safety but also on other disasters such as earthquakes and floods.
- We need dedicated access lanes for quick movement of emergency vehicles.
- Under the Smart Cities Mission, ‘smart control rooms’ should be able to guide emergency vehicles through the shortest route and enable coordination among various departments such as police, traffic police, fire, ambulance, and security forces.
- A lot of ground has to be covered before India can claim to be a fire-safe country.
- It is imperative that lessons are learned from the Delhi incident at least now.
- India can work towards a new goal this decade if everyone cooperates and takes precious lives seriously — the goal of a ‘surakshit Bharat’(safe India).
QUESTION: “Despite major fires in the past, flagrant violations of building and fire safety norms continue unabated and fire accidents take place with alarming regularity”.
Discuss in the light of recent fire accidents in Delhi and Surat? (20 marks)
Discuss the provisions of National Building Code, 2016 and its significance in the light of recent fire accidents in the country. (15 marks)