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Saturday, 31 March 2018

The Hindu Editorial : Rivers, Floodplains, Cities And Farmers


The Hindu Editorial : Rivers, Floodplains, Cities And Farmers

Title: Rivers, Floodplains, Cities And Farmers

(Preservation of the river and floodplains must be informed by the ‘conserve and use’ standard)

ü  Floodplains of rivers can provide a new source of water. They are a local, non-polluting, perennial and non-invasive source of water for urban centres.

ü  The Palla floodplain scheme(on a 25 km stretch of the Yamuna) is currently running at half its potential and providing water to about one million people in the city — of a daily requirement of 150 litres per person.

Conserve and use plan

ü  Floodplains are formed over millions of years by the flooding of rivers and deposition of sand on riverbanks. These sandy floodplains are exceptional aquifers where any withdrawal is compensated by gravity flow from a large surrounding area.

ü  Some floodplains such as those of Himalayan rivers contain up to 20 times more water than the virgin flow in rivers in a year.

ü  Since recharge is by rainfall and during late floods, the water quality is good. If we conserve and use the floodplain, it can be a self-sustaining aquifer wherein every year, the river and floodplain are preserved in the same healthy condition as the year before.

ü  The ‘conserve and use’ principle demands that no more than is recharged by rain and floods each year can be withdrawn from this aquifer.

ü  This ensures that the groundwater level in the floodplains remains steadily above that in the river in the lean non-monsoon months when the river is often polluted.

ü  Drawing out any more water than is recharged can contaminate and eventually finish off this precious resource.

ü  Floodplains have more water than the needs of cities. Half the water can be drawn and provided to meet the needs of cities by developing a grid of about 120 wells, each of which operate at 0.3 million gallons a day.

Engaging farmers

ü  Preserving the floodplain in its entirety is critical for this scheme to work. This can be done by engaging farmers whose land will have to be leased for such an effort.

ü  Farmers today have an erratic income and this scheme can be realised through a public-private partnership, where farmers on this land tract of 1 km on either side of the river can be provided an assured and steady income of ₹30,000 an acre which would amount to ₹112 crore a year for the first 10 years for the entire river length (75 km) that is not encroached.

ü  In addition, farmers can grow a food forest, fruit orchards or nut trees but not water-intensive crops on this land. It would guarantee not only a good farming income but also great earnings from the water for the farmers without taking the ownership of the land away from them.

ü Ecologically, a water sanctuary would prevent erosion, heal the river ecosystem, and restore the ecological balance in floodplains.

Final words:-

ü  This scheme will also help improve the quality of rivers, quality of life for citizens, and at the same time guarantee farmers a healthy fixed income. This is a new scheme of living. This is the philosophy of “conserve and use”.

Title: Billed for change

ü  (Amendments to the National Medical Council Bill don’t go far enough to address concerns)

ü  The Union Cabinet this week approved six out of the dozens of changes to the contentious(controversial) National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill that were suggested by a Parliamentary Standing Committee earlier this month.

ü  These changes address some of the loudest criticisms of the Bill.

ü  Among them, the final year MBBS exam is now merged with an exit exam for doctors, and a contentious bridge course for AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy) practitioners has been axed.

ü  Health-care experts had recommended other modifications, which the Cabinet ignored. For example, despite the Cabinet’s amendments, the NMC, the regulatory body that will replace the Medical Council of India, will be heavily controlled by the government.

ü  Another amendment that doesn’t go far enough is the decision to raise the proportion of private college seats for which fees will be regulated from 40% to 50%.

ü  The fees for unregulated seats could then skyrocket, pushing poorer medical aspirants out of the system.

ü  This itself will be a massive challenge. How, for one, will the logistical difficulty of conducting a common final year MBBS examination across the country be overcome?

ü  Multiple-choice questions are easy to administer, but testing the range of theoretical knowledge and practical skills expected of medical graduates is more difficult.

ü  Another concern is that under the new amendments States now have the freedom to implement an AYUSH bridge course, even if no longer mandatory.

 Final words:-

ü  How will the Centre ensure the quality of such courses to prevent a new set of poorly trained doctors from emerging? The coming days may see many more protests against the NMC Bill.

Vocabulary words:
  • Contentious (adj) = Controversial (विवादास्पद) 
  • Axe (verb) = End, cancel 
  • Aggrieved (adj) = Distressed, offended (पीड़ित) 
  • Amendment (noun) = Revision, modification (संशोधन) 
  • Gigantic (adj) = Huge, enormous (विशाल) 
  • Seismic (noun) = Relating to earthquake (भूकम्प सम्बन्धी) 
  • Render (verb) = Provide, give (प्रस्तुत करना) 
  • Relentless (adj) = Harsh, inflexible (दयाहीन) 
  • Ephemeral (adj) = Lasting for a very short time (अल्पकालिक) 
  • Ripple (noun) = Wavelet, wave (लहर) 
  • Titillate (verb) = Excite, attract 
  • Coincide (verb) = Occur at the same time (संयोग) 
  • Bastion (noun) = Rampart, fortification (बुर्ज) 
  • Ominous (adj) = Inauspicious (अमंगल) 
  • Wield (verb) = Employ, engage (काम में लगाना) 
  • Rungs (noun) = Stage (पायदान) 
  • Diminution (noun) = Reduction (कमी) 
  • Neurosis (noun) = Mental illness

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