Sikkim Floods Cause Devastation: Death Toll Rises, Hydropower Project Scrutinized, India

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The Sikkim floods had devastating consequences as the death toll continued to rise and the region grappled with the aftermath of the disaster. The flash floods were triggered by a cloudburst near South Lhonak lake in North Sikkim, causing it to overflow and leading to a surge in water levels in the Teesta River. The flash flood then swept through downstream areas, damaging infrastructure, and flooding towns and villages along its path.

As of now, the death toll stands at 21, with 103 people, including 15 jawans, still missing. The impact of the floods was extensive, with 13 bridges being washed away and the national highway NH-10, which connects Sikkim to the rest of the country, suffering significant damage. More than 20,000 people have been affected by the floods, and the situation remains grim.

The South Lhonak lake, which was the source of the flood, is a glacial lake formed by the melting Lhonak glacier. The overflowing of glacial lakes and the resulting floods downstream are known as Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs). Some activists have raised concerns about the role played by the Teesta Stage III hydropower project in exacerbating the impact of the floods. They argue that the hydel power project might have intensified the damage caused by the natural disaster.

In the wake of these floods, the Central Water Commission is closely monitoring 10 glacial lakes in Sikkim for potential overflow and breach. This disaster serves as a stark reminder of the 2013 flash flood in Kedarnath, which was also caused by a GLOF.

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In another disheartening development, global internet freedom has experienced a decline for the 13th consecutive year, according to a report by Freedom House. The report highlights the worsening environment for online human rights in 29 countries, with only 20 countries registering net gains. Titled ‘Freedom on the Net 2023: The Repressive Power of Artificial Intelligence,’ the report raises concerns about the increasing use of artificial intelligence by governments to censor content and spread disinformation.

Iran witnessed the sharpest rise in digital repression, with authorities shutting down internet services and blocking popular platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram to suppress anti-government protests. China continues to be ranked as the world’s worst environment for internet freedom for the ninth consecutive year, with Myanmar being the second most repressive country in this regard.

The report specifically highlights the adverse impact on Indian democracy, stating that the government’s expanding censorship regime is creating an uneven playing field by silencing criticism and independent reporting on the ruling party. With general elections scheduled for 2024, the report underscores the potential repercussions of this growing trend of online repression in India.

On a more positive note, the Nobel Prize winners for various fields have been announced by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. This year’s laureates have made significant contributions to disease control, technological advancements, and subversive literature. The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel is yet to be announced on October 9.

Shifting focus to the Indian economy, the growth in gross Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenues has slowed to a 27-month low of 10.2% in September. However, there has been a 2.3% improvement in collections compared to August. The Central GST, State GST, Integrated GST, and cess revenues contributed to the overall GST collection, which crossed ₹1.60 lakh crore mark for the fourth time in the current fiscal year.

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While overall revenue growth remained positive, certain states experienced below-average growth rates. Manipur recorded the highest growth of 47% among states, followed by Telangana, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana, Odisha, Jharkhand, Delhi, Meghalaya, Assam, and West Bengal reported slower growth rates.

Finally, India’s manufacturing activity showed signs of a slowdown in September as the S&P Global Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dipped to 57.5 from 58.6 the previous month. Despite the slight decline, overall operating conditions continued to improve for the 27th consecutive month. The survey also highlighted stable supply-chain conditions and weaker input price inflation. On the other hand, the services sector gained momentum in September, with new orders rising at the second-fastest rate since June 2010.

In conclusion, the Sikkim floods have caused widespread devastation, internet freedom has declined globally, the Nobel Prize winners have been announced, India’s GST revenue growth has slowed, and manufacturing activity has shown signs of a slowdown. These developments highlight the challenges and dynamics shaping various aspects of society, economy, and the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What caused the Sikkim floods?

The flash floods in Sikkim were triggered by a cloudburst near South Lhonak lake in North Sikkim, causing it to overflow and resulting in a surge in water levels in the Teesta River.

How many people have been affected by the Sikkim floods?

More than 20,000 people have been affected by the floods in Sikkim.

What is the current death toll in the Sikkim floods?

The current death toll stands at 21, with 103 people, including 15 jawans, still missing.

What infrastructure was damaged by the Sikkim floods?

The floods in Sikkim washed away 13 bridges and caused significant damage to the national highway NH-10, which connects Sikkim to the rest of the country.

What are Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs)?

Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) occur when glacial lakes overflow, usually due to the melting of glaciers. The resulting flash floods can cause significant damage downstream.

What role did the Teesta Stage III hydropower project play in the Sikkim floods?

Some activists have raised concerns about the Teesta Stage III hydropower project exacerbating the impact of the floods. They argue that it might have intensified the damage caused by the natural disaster.

How is the Central Water Commission responding to the Sikkim floods?

The Central Water Commission is closely monitoring 10 glacial lakes in Sikkim for potential overflow and breach in the wake of the floods.

Which countries have experienced a decline in internet freedom?

According to the report by Freedom House, 29 countries have experienced a decline in internet freedom. Only 20 countries registered net gains in this regard.

Which countries were ranked as the most repressive in terms of internet freedom?

China continues to be ranked as the world's worst environment for internet freedom for the ninth consecutive year. Myanmar was identified as the second most repressive country.

What impact does the report highlight on Indian democracy?

The report specifically highlights the adverse impact on Indian democracy, stating that the government's expanding censorship regime is creating an uneven playing field by silencing criticism and independent reporting on the ruling party.

Who are the Nobel Prize winners for this year?

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has announced the Nobel Prize winners for various fields, including disease control, technological advancements, and subversive literature. The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel is yet to be announced on October 9.

How has the growth in GST revenues in India performed?

The growth in gross Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenues in India has slowed to a 27-month low of 10.2% in September. However, there has been a 2.3% improvement in collections compared to August.

Which states in India reported slower growth rates in GST revenues?

Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana, Odisha, Jharkhand, Delhi, Meghalaya, Assam, and West Bengal reported slower growth rates in GST revenues.

How has India's manufacturing activity performed in September?

India's manufacturing activity showed signs of a slowdown in September, with the S&P Global Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dipping to 57.5 from 58.6 the previous month. However, overall operating conditions continued to improve for the 27th consecutive month.

How did the services sector perform in September?

The services sector gained momentum in September, with new orders rising at the second-fastest rate since June 2010, according to the S&P Global Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) survey.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

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