Tsunami Early Warning System and India, Vulture Fund Tsunami Grail

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Q. How Tsunami Early Warning System of India works?

Ans. A state-of-the-art Tsunami Warning System made operational in September 2007 has been in continuous operation to forewarn of an impending disaster in less than 10 minutes of an occurrence of an earthquake. The National Tsunami Early Warning Centre (NTEWC) is operated . A network of seismometers, data buoys, tide gauges have been employed for receiving real- time data for generation and issue of tsunami alert.

Q. What is the functioning structure of Tsunami Early Warning System of India and how it takes data?

Ans. The data from roughly 329 seismic stations (27 national and 302 international) are received and processed. Further, NTEWC has been receiving data from 60 international tide gauge stations in the Indian Ocean in real-time. The early warning system monitors potential tsunami genic earthquakes, sea level propagation of tsunami waves in the ocean, and consequent sea level changes.

This centre has been recognized as a Regional Tsunami Service Provider (RTSP) for the Indian Ocean Region. The Centre has been identified formally by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO along with Australia and Indonesia as Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System for providing tsunami service to the Indian Ocean Rim countries from October 2011.

Q. What are the outcomes of the Eight Ministerial meeting of the WTO held in Geneva?

Ans. The eighth ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization held in Geneva. The meetings of trade ministers, held normally once in two years, are meant to give political direction to trade issues. The meeting this month reached an agreement on government procurement and on streamlining the accession process for the least developed countries. It also saw the formal admission to the WTO of Russia — the only large economy that has stayed out so far — and three smaller countries.

Q. What key issues were emerged from eighth Doha round?

Ans. Two key issues emerge from the acknowledgment of an impasse over the Doha negotiations. First, is it still possible to fix a reasonable time frame for concluding the talks? Secondly, how does the stalling of talks affect developing countries such as India?

Q. What the actions are being taken by India until Doha round succeed?

Ans. As a result of the WTO losing its pre-eminence in trade negotiations, it becomes less effective in playing these roles. Driven by expediency, many countries, including India, have entered into other forms of preferential trade agreements, either bilateral or plurilateral, although they know only too well that these are only second-best options.

Q. Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission?

Ans. The twin spacecraft of the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission dispatched by the U. S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration are the latest to go to the Moon. In recent days, they slipped into lunar orbit after taking a circuitous, low-energy passage from Earth that lasted three-and-a-half months.

Q. What is the objective of Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission and how it will work?


  • The GRAIL spacecraft are expected to provide important clues to what the Moon is like deep inside by mapping variations in its gravitational field with much higher resolution than before. When the science phase of the mission starts in March 2012, the two satellites will be flying in formation, one behind the other, at a height of about 55 km. The spacecraft will then transmit GPS-like radio signals so that the distance between them can be accurately measured. That gap changes as they fly over areas with greater or lesser gravity.
  • Scientists will then need to take the data and combine them with other information, such as topographical maps prepared with data from other satellites, in order to try and figure out the structure of the Moon՚s interior and its composition. Such analysis can provide insights into many aspects of Earth՚s natural satellite. Why, for instance, are the two hemispheres of the Moon so different from each another?

Q. Give on Account of Functioning of CAG?

  • The CAG is the institution through which the accountability of the government and other public authorities — all those who spend public funds — to Parliament and State Legislatures and through them to the people is ensured.
  • Accountability is not the same thing as accounting, though the latter may be a part of the former; the word ‘accountability’ really means answerability. We are of course talking about financial answerability. The Executive is answerable to Parliament and to the people for all its decisions, but that answerability is enforced through the CAG where it involves finance and accounts.
  • If we understand accountability to mean answerability, much of the confusion disappears.
  • Vouching expenditures and rendering accounts are of course important: Parliament votes funds to the Executive and those funds have to be accounted for. However, answerability is more than that: it also means exercising prudence, avoiding waste, not incurring infructuous expenditure, showing results for moneys spent, and achieving those results at least cost. If the CAG is our prime accountability-ensuring institution, that institution must go into all these matters.
  • If the CAG were ‘merely’ an auditor, why should Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, during the debates in the Constituent Assembly, describe the CAG as the most important functionary in the Constitution, more important than even the judiciary?
  • Again, if the CAG was meant to be merely an auditor, why did the Constitution prescribe for this functionary an oath identical with that prescribed for the Chief Justice and Judges of the Supreme Court, including the words “I will uphold the Constitution and the laws” while a Minister of the Union swears or solemnly affirms only that he will act “in accordance with the Constitution” ?
  • Should the CAG question policy decisions? The answer that immediately suggests itself would be “No” , but consider the following hypothetical cases:
    • The financial implications of a policy were not gone into at all before the decision was made;
    • The assessment of financial implications was quite clearly wrong;
    • The numbers were correct but the reasoning behind the decision was specious or fallacious; or (iv) The financial implications in fact turn out to be far higher than the assessment on which the
    • Decision was made. In such cases, would it not be within the CAG՚s mandate, would it not in fact be the CAG՚s duty as the instrument of accountability, to comment on such a policy?
  • Further, if the CAG is bound by his (or her) oath of office to uphold the Constitution, can he (she) refrain from commenting on something that prima facie seems unconstitutional? If the government were to formulate a scheme or policy that selectively confers benefits from public funds on an individual or group to the exclusion of others on no stated grounds, or on grounds which seem questionable, would it not be the CAG՚s duty to point this out?
  • Unlike the CAG of the U. K. (an officer of Parliament) or the CG of the U. S. (a part of the Legislative Branch) , the Indian CAG is not an officer of Parliament, but an independent constitutional functionary. The reason for this is that the CAG is CAG for the Union as well as the States, which is a unique feature of the Indian quasi-federal system.
  • Finally, we come to the question of publicity. One of the major weaknesses of the Indian system is that very few of the CAG՚s reports are widely known, and that not all of them get discussed in Parliament. Some years ago, press conferences began to be held after the Audit Reports were placed before Parliament, and that practice continues. It is necessary that Audit Reports be more widely known and discussed. The people have a right to know their contents. If, as a result of the CWG and the 2G controversies, the CAG and his reports are now better known than before, that is a very good development. If the present CAG manages to enhance the effectiveness of this constitutional institution, the country would owe a debt of gratitude to him.

Q. Write a short note on Vulture funds. (In the context of African Nation) ?


  • The DRC should be one of Africa՚s richest countries. It has a mineral wealth estimated to be around $ 24-trillion (£ 15-tn) . There are huge deposits of cobalt, diamonds, gold, copper, oil and 80 per cent of the world՚s supplies of coltan ore — a valuable mineral used in computers and mobile phones.
  • Yet 100 women a week are still dying in childbirth and 16,000 children under the age of five die every year. One in three children in the DRC will never get anything more than primary education. One of the reasons the country has been unable to recover is that it is being pursued by international debt speculators, known as vulture funds, through offshore tax havens such as Jersey, for debts that were run up during 30 years of war and civil war.
  • Vulture funds operate by buying up a country՚s debt when it is in a state of chaos. When the country has stabilized, vulture funds return to demand millions of dollars in interest repayments and fees on the original debt. New York vulture fund FG Hemisphere has gone to Jersey to claim
  • $ 100-m from the DRC because a legal loophole means that the island remains free of anti-vulture laws that were passed in the U. K. last year.