June 16, 2019
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Politics - page 12569

Warming of Indian Ocean behind groundwater decline in India: Research

in Delhi/India/Politics by

Image used for representational purpose only. (File photo)

LONDON/AHMEDABAD: Changes in precipitation, which are linked to the warming of the Indian Ocean, is the main reason for recent decline in groundwater storage in India, a new study led by researchers of IIT Gandhinagar has warned.

Agriculture in India relies heavily on groundwater for irrigation, particularly in the dry northern regions where precipitation is scarce. Groundwater withdrawals in the country have increased over tenfold since the 1950’s, from 10-20 cubic kilometres per year in 1950, to 240-260 cubic kilometres per year in 2009.

Satellite measurements have shown major decline in groundwater storage in some parts of the country, particularly in northern India. “Groundwater plays a vital role in food and water security in India. Sustainable use of groundwater resources for irrigation is the key for future food grain production,” said research-leader Vimal Mishra from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar.

“With a fast-growing population, managing groundwater sustainably is going become even more important,” said Mishra. “The linkage between monsoon rainfall and groundwater can suggest ways to enhance groundwater recharge in India and especially in the regions where rainfall has been declining, such as the Indo-Gangetic Plain,” Mishra added.

Groundwater acts like a bank for water storage, receiving deposits from surface water and precipitation and withdrawals as people pump out water for drinking, industry and irrigating fields. If withdrawals add up to more than the deposits, eventually the accounts could run dry, which could have disastrous consequences.

“This study adds another dimension to the existing water management framework. We need to consider not just the withdrawals, but also the deposits in the system,” said Yoshihide Wada, deputy director of the Water program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria.

The issue of groundwater depletion has been a topic of much discussion in India, but most planning has focused on pumping or the demand side, rather than the deposit side.

By looking at water levels in wells around the country, the researchers could track groundwater replenishment following the monsoons. They found that in fact, variability in the monsoons is the key factor driving the changing groundwater storage levels across the country, even as withdrawals increase. In addition, the researchers found that the monsoon precipitation is correlated with Indian Ocean temperature, a finding which could potentially help to improve precipitation forecasts and aid in water resource planning.

“Weather is uncertain by nature and the impacts of climate change are extremely difficult to predict at a regional level,” said Wada. The study was published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

TMC MPs continue sit-in protest against Modi govt

in Delhi/India/Politics by

NEW DELHI: Trinamool Congress MPs continued their protest against the Modi Government over the arrest of party MPs in chitfund scam cases and demonetisation here.

Raising slogans like “Modi hatao desh bachao”, about 30 TMC MPs from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha staged a sit-in near the party office at South Avenue for the second day.

The leaders questioned “why BJP leaders and others have not arrested in chit fund scam”.

Every aspect of economy has been affected adversely due to demonetisation, said senior TMC leader Saugata Roy while addressing the protesters.

TMC, which is opposing the demonetisation drive, has intensified the agitation against the Modi government after the arrest of party MPs Tapas Paul and Sudeep Bandopadhaya in the alleged Rose Valley chit fund scam.

Roy said protests against demonetisation are being held in others states including Odisha, Jharkhand, Tripura and Assam.
“In Bengal protests are being held in all blocks and also in front of RBI office in Kolkata. People are suffering for this. It is affecting the GDP growth,” he said.

According to TMC, dharna will continue tomorrow also in the capital.

Police has barricaded the road leading to the dharna site in the VIP area as a precautionary measure. 

SC pulls up Centre for no mechanism to monitor NGO funds

in Delhi/India/Politics by

Supreme Court | File Photo PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today pulled up the Centre for not putting in place a regulatory mechanism to monitor the funds and their utilisation by NGOs, societies and voluntary organisations.

A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar directed the Rural Development Secretary and Director of Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART), which comes under Rural Development Ministry, to be present before it this afternoon with all relevant records.

The bench, also comprising Justice N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud, asked the officials to inform it whether CAG audit of NGOs post 2009 was carried out or not.

The bench also asked whether General Financial Rules 2005 made by Ministry of Finance were complied with or not.

The court, was hearing a petition filed by advocate M L Sharma, seeking monitoring of funds given to NGOs and their utilisation by them.

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