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14th February 2023

  • Published
    14 February 2023

Micro-earthquakes preventing Turkey-like event in India


Micro tremors have been helping release tectonic stress and protecting India from a devastating event, experts said and asserted that the country has seen a paradigm shift towards effective response and mitigation. 


Should India be concerned?

  •  India is witnessing micro tremors regularly which, in turn, is helping release tectonic stress and offering protection from the possibility of a devastating event.
  • The triple junction on India's western side near the border with Pakistan is continuously releasing stress due to the occurrence of micro-level earthquakes. 
  • There are a few earthquakes of magnitude 4 and 5 as well.

Triple Junction

  • A triple junction is a point where three tectonic plates meet and interact. 
  • These are important areas of geological activity and can be sites of significant seismic and volcanic activity.
  • The movement of the plates can cause a significant build-up of stress and strain in the Earth's crust that is eventually released in the form of earthquakes.

How prone is India to earthquakes?

  • India is located in a seismically active region. India is divided into four seismic zones based on the potential for earthquake activity in each region.
  • According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences, 59 per cent of India's land mass is prone to earthquakes. 
    • Zone V is seismically the most active region, while Zone II is the least. 
    • Around 11 per cent of the country's area falls in Zone V, 18 per cent in Zone IV and 30 per cent in Zone III and the remaining in Zone II.
  • The zones are used to guide building codes and construction practices.

Zone 5 is the zone where the most intense earthquakes occur, while the least intense quakes take place in zone 2. Approximately 11% of the country's area falls in Zone 5, 18% in zone 4, 30% in zone 3 and the remaining in zone 2.

Is India ready?

  • India is well-prepared to deal with the fallout of large-scale earthquakes as it has a dedicated, well-equipped and trained force in the form of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

Supreme Court Upholds J&K Delimitation


The Supreme Court dismissed a petition which challenged the delimitation exercise carried out for redrawing the Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.


Key points highlighted  by the Supreme Court

  • Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution enable the Parliament to create new States and Union territories. Accordingly, the two new Union territories were created. 
  • The J&K Reorganisation Act which created the two new Union territories assigns the role of readjustment of constituencies to the Delimitation Commission under the Delimitation Act, 2002.
    • It is a law made under Article 3  and can always provide for the readjustment of the Constituencies in the newly constituted States or Union territories through the Delimitation Commission. 
  • Hence, there is no illegality associated with the establishment of the Delimitation Commission under the order of March 6, 2020.

The petition

  • The petition (by Srinagar residents) challenged the notification issued by the Centre in March 2020 establishing the Jammu and Kashmir Delimitation Commission and a second one in March 2021 extending its term for the purpose of conducting delimitation only for Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Arguments:
    • Under Section 60 of the 2019 Act, only the Election Commission of India was empowered to conduct the delimitation exercise. 
    • Article 170 of the Constitution barred delimitation exercise on the basis of the 2011 census. It has to either happen on the basis of the 2001 census or await “the first census after the year 2026”.

What is Delimitation?

  • Delimitation refers to the demarcation of the boundaries of parliamentary or assembly constituencies.
  • The process is carried out by a delimitation commission every few years to ensure that each constituency has approximately an equal number of voters.

Delimitation Commission:

  • After every census, Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act under Article 82 of the Constitution.
  • Under this act, a high-powered body known as the Delimitation Commission is constituted.
  • It carries out the process of demarcation of constituency boundaries.
  • The orders of this commission are legally binding and not subject to the scrutiny of any court of law. Even Parliament cannot suggest modifications to an order issued by the commission.
  • The commission is a temporary body with no full-fledged staff of its own.
  • It relies on EC employees to carry out the long-drawn exercise.
  • Census data for each district, tehsil and gram panchayat is collected, and the new boundaries are demarcated.
  • The exercise can take up to five years.

SC questions on delayed appointment of deputy speaker


The Supreme Court sought the Centre's response to a PIL that questioned the non-election of a deputy speaker in Lok Sabha and several state assemblies, and observed that the issue is "very important".


How are the Speaker and Deputy Speaker elected?

  • The Constitution specifies offices like those of the President, Vice President, Chief Justice of India, and Comptroller and Auditor General of India, as well as Speakers and Deputy Speakers. 
  • Article 93 for Lok Sabha and Article 178 for state Assemblies state that these Houses “shall, as soon as may be”, choose two of its members to be Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
  • In Lok Sabha and state legislatures, the President/Governor sets a date for the election of the Speaker, and it is the Speaker who decides the date for the election of the Deputy Speaker. 
  • The legislators of the respective Houses vote to elect one among themselves to these offices.

The roles of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker

  • The Speaker is “the principal spokesman of the House, he represents its collective voice and is its sole representative to the outside world”. 
    • The Speaker presides over the House proceedings and joint sittings of the two Houses of Parliament. 
    • It is the Speaker’s decision that determines whether a Bill is a Money Bill and therefore outside of the purview of the other House.
  • The Deputy Speaker is independent of the Speaker, not subordinate to him, as both are elected from among the members of the House.
  • Continuity of the Speakers office: The Deputy Speaker ensures the continuity of the Speakers office by acting as the Speaker when the office becomes vacant. 

Increasing domain: Since Independence, the Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker’s position has grown in importance. In addition to presiding over the House in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker chaired committees both inside and outside of Parliament.

Bill aimed at protecting India’s geological heritage raises alarm


A draft Bill (Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics (Preservation and Maintenance) Bill, 2022, ), aimed at protecting India’s geological heritage that includes fossils, sedimentary rocks, and natural structures, has raised alarm in India’s geo-sciences and palaeontology community.


What does the Bill entail?

  • The bill vests powers entirely in the Geological Survey of India (GSI), a 170-year-old organisation that comes under the Ministry of Mines.
  • The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has made a list of 32 geo heritage sites in the country, among them volcanogenic minerals in Andhra Pradesh and wood fossils in Tamil Nadu.
  • The proposed bill makes it possible for the Union government to declare a geological site as being of national importance, which would bring it within the ambit of the law.
    • Construction, reconstruction, and repair work of private property and buildings falling within the prohibited area are not allowed unless explicit permission from the director general of GSI is secured.
  • The bill also proposes to impose a penalty of up to five lakhs and/or a six-month jail term in case sites are destroyed, removed or defaced.

The First Attempt

  •  In 2009, the government came up with the ‘National Heritage Site Commission Bill’, acting on the insistence of geologists. 
  • For years, the bill was sent to various committees and ministries for consultation, before being dropped in 2016.

Concerns highlighted by Experts

  • Just placing these sites on a list hasn’t assured them protection.
  • The new proposed bill gives the Union government power to denotify geo heritage sites if it believes they have “ceased to be of national importance”, without public consultation.
  • According to experts, the GSI is not equipped to handle the task of geo heritage conservation, as it is primarily a research body that works on various missions.
  • The bill doesn’t make provisions for monuments in areas under the Panchayat (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, which gives these regions special governance mechanisms and special rights over land.

What are Geo-heritage Sites?

  • Geo-heritage refers to the geological features which are inherently or culturally significant offering insight into earth’s evolution or history to earth science or that can be utilized for education.
  • The Geological Survey of India (GSI) is the parent body that is making efforts towards the identification and protection of geo-heritage sites/national geological monuments in the country.

Famous geological heritage sites in India

  • Volcanogenic bedded Barytes, Mangampeta, Kadapa, AP
  • Eparchaean Unconformity, Chittor Dist, AP
  • Natural Geological Arch, Tirumala Hills, Chittor Dist, AP
  • Laterite near Angadipuram PWD rest house premises, Malapuram Dist, Kerala
  • Fossil wood near Tiruvakkarai, South Arcot Dist, Tamil Nadu

Examples of India’s geo heritage 

  • Himalayas: The subcontinent’s collision with Eurasia over 50 million years ago, which birthed the Himalayas, is considered among the most significant geological phenomena in its history. 
  • Fossil reserves: India also has one of the largest dinosaur fossil reserves in the world, found in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, as well as remnants of the oldest life forms, called stromatolites, in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. 
  • Caves and Sculptures: Caves and natural rock sculptures — found across states — are also geo relics of value.

Short News Article


New Zealand declares a national state of emergency 

New Zealand declared a national state of emergency for only the third time in its history as Cyclone Gabrielle caused widespread flooding, landslides and huge ocean swells, forcing evacuations.

Red Heavy Rain

  • It announced ‘red heavy rain’. 
    • A red rainfall advisory is issued when downpours constitute an emergency. This is raised when observed rainfall is more than 30 mm within one hour or if rainfall has continued for the past three hours and is more than 65 mm.

About Cyclone Gabrielle

  • It is a tropical cyclone.
  • It is a Severe Tropical Cyclone and belongs to Category 3; Speed of the cyclone ranges between 119 km/hr to 157 km/hr

New Zealand declared national emergencies after an earthquake in 2011 and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.

Art & Culture

TRIFED’s Aadi Mahotsav 

The Mahotsav, which connects tribal artisans, craftsmen and women to a direct market in large metro cities and State capitals, will be held in New Delhi from February 16 to February 27. 

  • This year’s event has been arranged around the theme of “A Celebration of Crafts, Culture, Cuisine and Commerce”.


  • The Aadi Mahotsav is Tribal Co-Operative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd. (TRIFED)’s flagship event. 
  • It features an exhibition-cum-sale of tribal handicrafts, handloom, paintings, jewellery, cane and bamboo, pottery, food, natural products, and tribal cuisine among other artefacts in over 200 stalls. 
  • More than 1,000 tribal artisans and artists from 28 States and Union Territories would be participating in the festival.


India's retail inflation breaches RBI's tolerance level

  • After showing a downward trend in December 2022, when it had slid to 5.72 per cent, retail inflation for January 2023 rose to a three-month high of 6.52 per cent, owing to higher food prices

What is retail inflation?

  • An inflation rate is indicative of the rise in prices of commodities in an economy. 
  • Retail inflation, specifically, is measured in consumer price index (CPI), which is a weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services. 
  • Therefore, retail inflation is also termed CPI-based inflation.
  • The CPI is the change in retail prices of goods and services which households purchase for their daily consumption, such as food articles, fuel, and services such as transportation and health care, among others.
  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) is responsible for compiling this data, which is measured by the rate of change in CPI over a period of time.
  • The Reserve Bank of India monitors this figure in view of sustaining a balance in commodity prices in the economy.
  • The retail inflation, measured by the annual change in the consumer price index (CPI), tracks the change in retail prices of goods and services, which households purchase for their daily consumption.

Science & Technology

Garuda Aerospace raises largest funding in Indian drone sector

Drone startup Garuda Aerospace raised $22 million which is touted as the largest-ever Series A funding in the drone sector. 

India’s drone sector

  • India is the 3rd largest importer of military-grade UAVs. At present, India imports specific components from China, the US, and Europe. India aims to manufacture indigenous drones and master the entire value chain.




From Joshimath to Panjim, India’s flawed urban journey points to the need for having a multi-generational process in place for better urban planning.

The Problem In Hilly Urban India:

  • Common phenomenon: Land subsidence incidents in hilly urban India are becoming increasingly common —an estimated 12.6% of India’s land area is prone to landslides, especially in Sikkim, West Bengal and Uttarakhand.
  • Poor planning: Land use planning in India’s Himalayan towns and the Western Ghats is often ill-conceived, adding to slope instability. As a result, landslide vulnerability has risen, made worse by tunnelling construction that is weakening rock formations.
  • Need to reduce intervention: Areas with high landslide risk should not be allowed to expand large infrastructure; there must be a push to reduce human interventions and adhere to carrying capacity.
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