The Hindu Newspaper Analysis – 10 February 2021

The cost of dams

The cost of dams
  • The author in this article speaks about the state of Uttarakhand, the fragile ecosystem of that place and the risks it is going through.
  • She mentions about her visit to the place and in particular to the Reni Village which is in close proximity to 2 hydropower projects whose risk is associated with the nearby river causing flash floods and taking lives of hundreds of people.
  • She mentions that these dams or projects don’t cause natural disasters, rather they exacerbate them.
  • She mentions about illegal mining takes place in the region in the name of damn construction, explosives continue to harm the ecosystem, there is large scale deforestation and no compensatory afforestation done also the construction material is dumped in the rivers which causes harm and affects the ecology.
  • The Govt setup the Chopra committee in 2014 post the 2013 deluge in the region and the committee provided that the ecosystem of the region is under threat, the riverbeds are being encroached, this causes floods in the region and these floods damage the barrages of the dam. Hence it is vital cancel out the kinds of construction that take place here.
  • The author also mentions about the climate change and speaks about how rise in the global temperature has caused the glaciers to melt rapidly. There is also a rise in the glacial lakes, also there is a rapid increase or decrease in the water levels of the reservoirs which makes place for disasters like floods, earthquakes and so on.
  • Hence, the ecosystem and the lives of people need to be taken into consideration and changes and work has to be done accordingly.

Trans Fat

  • In January, 2022 India will become one of those countries to limit the industrial trans-fat levels at 2% to the mass of the total oils/fats present in the product.
  • India has achieved this target a year earlier than what was prescribed by the WHO.
  • India aimed to reduce this by 5% from 10% in 2016.
  • In 2020, the FSSAI has a limit of 3% to reach by 2021 and now we are here.
  • Trans fat is naturally present in the red meat and dairy products and is used to extend the shelf life of the product also used as it is less expensive.
  • It is also used in oils, fats and margarines as well and the repeated use of this makes it more harmful for the human health.
  • It affects the human health as it increases the levels of bad cholesterol in the body and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Denmark in 2004 put an end to the use of trans fats but it attracted resentment from the EU but the EU itself did the same in 2019. WHO says that 32 countries have undertaken this already around the world.
  • Denmark after the decision was taken has seen reduction in 14 deaths caused due to the cardio vascular diseases.
  • Hence, we need to move forward in the right way to make the necessary changes and we need to include this in all almost all industries including the food industry as well.
  • We need to make the right kind of commitments and finder healthier substitutes to replace this harmful product.

Disinvestment

  • Disinvestment means selling or liquidation of assets by the government, usually Central and state public sector enterprises or banks as well.
  • This is not same as Strategic disinvestment which means the transfer of the ownership and control of a public sector entity or enterprise to some other entity who is mostly a private sector enterprise.
  • Unlike the simple disinvestment, this puts forward a kind of privatization.
  • This helps the Govt. reduce its fiscal burden, encourage growth, reduce fiscal deficit, raise more funds, transfer commercial risks, provide for competition and so on.
  • Strategic disinvestment in India has been guided by the basic economic principle that the government should not be in the business to engage itself in manufacturing/producing goods and services in sectors where competitive markets have come of age or better in this regard.
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