Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020-21 is an initiative to dilute major articles from leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Hence we choose articles on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC PRELIMS 2021.

“Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

HIGHLIGHT INFO:

ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.

BLACK COLOUR: Must Read !

BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

2nd Nov Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2021

Spiral galaxy bars may prevent new stars

      HEADLINES:

Spiral galaxy bars may prevent new stars

      WHY IN NEWS:

  • There is a cavity formed in the central region with no gas and stars
  • This study has been a part of publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
  • The work is done in collaboration with scientists from Indian Institute of Astrophysics and Christ University, Bengaluru.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Space

      ISSUE: 

Scientist tried to understand the role of the stellar bar in quenching star formation in the central region of spiral galaxies.

SPIRAL GALAXY BARS

  • Stars are fundamental building blocks of galaxies.
  • Galaxies themselves are of different types: star-forming spiral galaxies and non-star-forming lenticular and elliptical galaxies.

In some spiral galaxies, the stars move in elongated orbits near the centre so that, from far, this portion appears like an illuminated bar.

  • Nearly two-thirds of the disc galaxies in the local universe are found to have this bar structure.
  • Stellar bars in galaxies are clearly visible in early images taken by photographic plates, and are known from early observations.

ROLE OF BARS

  • The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy.
  • Since not all spiral galaxies have bars, the role of bars – why they exist, what triggers their formation and whether they foster star formation are interesting questions.

Some barred galaxies have shown a higher concentration of newly formed stars, suggesting that the bar nurtures star formation.

  • Scientists studied four such barred galaxies out of which three, in fact, appear to prevent stars from forming at their central region covered by the length of the bar.
  • What causes a galaxy to be star-forming or not is a puzzle, with the prevailing idea being that star-forming galaxies are converted into non-star-forming galaxies through some mechanism.
  • In three of the four galaxies, they find that the region covered by the length of the bar does not have enough gas.

Stars contain hydrogen in the atomic form and molecular hydrogen in condensed form.

  • This observation serves as an evidence for the bar redistributing the gas in the central region of these spiral galaxies.
  • This is almost like the whirlpool we see in rivers.
  • There is a cavity formed in the central region with no gas and stars.

TOO YOUNG

  • The researchers do not see the same depletion of gas and stars in the fourth galaxy.
  • The reason, they believe is that this galaxy does not have an old enough bar.
  • Scientist believe it will take a few million years for the bar to evacuate the gas that forms stars.

The bar is a complex and dynamic structure and the paper adds an interesting angle by suggesting this method in which it prevents star formation.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Scientists presented this as a case for the first time in an evolutionary sequence of four barred galaxies.
  • More statistical samples are needed (which is currently lacking) with new observations from radio to ultraviolet wavelength for more galaxies.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | 2nd Nov Current Affairs News Analysis

Water bears Vs lethal UV radiation

      HEADLINES:

How water bears survive lethal UV radiation

      WHY IN NEWS:

Paramacrobiotushas a fluorescent shield which helps it survive UV radiation

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Science

      ISSUE: 

WATER BEAR

2nd Nov

Tough bug: Paramacrobiotus sp. survived beyond 30 days after 15 minutes exposure to germicidal UV radiation
  • This animal can live in boiling water or in solid ice ! It can go 10 years without a drop of water – the tardigrade or water bear.

Tardigrade called Paramacrobiotus BLR strain (BLR for Bengaluru) has a protective fluorescent shield which helps it survive harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

  • They have survived all five mass extinctions.
  • These tiny creatures that are less than 1 millimetre long.

HUNTING FOR TARDIGRADES

  • About 1,300 species have been reported worldwide.
  • They are found on algae and similar vegetation, so we scraped off moss from the campus’ concrete walls and trees and tried to isolate the tardigrades.

The study found that Paramacrobiotus sp. survived beyond 30 days after 15 minutes exposure to germicidal UV radiation (one kilojoule per square metre).

  • When a four times higher radiation was given, about 60% of the Paramacrobiotus sp. survived beyond 30 days.
  • Animals with the fluorescent coat were found to survive longer than the control animals without.

WHY DOES THIS PROTECTIVE COAT SHOW FLUORESCENCE?

  • The fluorescence might serve as a signal to other organisms around — like an indication: To get away.
  • It provides a survival advantage to these tardigrades by reducing competition.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

EVOLVED FLUORESCENCE

  • Paramacrobiotus could have probably evolved this fluorescence mechanism to counter the high UV radiation of tropical southern India.
  • The UV dose, where it was isolated, could go up to 4 kilojoule per square meter on a typical summer day.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU  | 2nd Nov Current Affairs News Analysis

India’s potential participation in COVAX

      HEADLINES:

‘India’s potential participation in COVAX advance market commitment is under way’

      WHY IN NEWS:

Has India agreed to purchase vaccine doses through the COVAX facility?

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases

      ISSUE: 

11 COVID-19 vaccines having entered Phase-3 trials, the next challenge is to support manufacturing and ensure that the vaccines are accessible and affordable.

COVAX AND VACCINE IN INDIA

COVAX — an initiative led by GAVI, the vaccine alliance, WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

  • Gates Foundation has committed over $650 million towards tackling COVID-19.
  • The foundation has signed an agreement with Serum Institute to facilitate vaccine production.
  • In which the foundation will provide at-risk funding of $300 million to manufacture up to 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India and low- and middle-income countries.
  • The funding is being provided through GAVI.

HOW MANY DOSES OF VACCINE WILL INDIA GET THROUGH COVAX?

  • India is among the 92 countries that are eligible to access COVID-19 vaccines through GAVI’s COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

It is a donor-supported mechanism that will help cover part of the cost of vaccines to ensure that all countries — not just wealthy countries — can access them.

  • The foundation is working on multiple fronts to help ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

WILL COUNTRIES HAVE TO WAIT EVEN AFTER PAYING UP-FRONT?

  • The Gates Foundation envisions an equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The efforts are focused on helping improve the chances that low- and middle-income countries have access to doses at the same time as wealthier countries.

HOW SAFE WILL COVID-19 VACCINES BE ?

  • COVID-19 vaccines are based on the results from rigorously conducted clinical studies.
  • The Foundation is committed to ensuring the safety of individuals who will be receiving products that we have funded.

All of the research that is funded by GAVI follows regulatory protocols and ethical standards for safety.

  • Additionally, 16 life sciences companies have all committed to adhere to strict scientific and ethical standards in product development and manufacture.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • GAVI is also funding research and development of vaccines that could be less expensive to produce or easier to distribute in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Such as those that only need one dose or do not require extreme refrigeration or freezing.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | 2nd Nov Current Affairs News Analysis

The road to economic recovery

      HEADLINES:

The road to economic recovery

      WHY IN NEWS:

Yet a second wave in Europe and US raise concerns.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Economy

      ISSUE: 

The return of economic activity and declining active Covid-19 cases in India have raised hopes of recovery.

FACTORS DETERMINING THE RECOVERY PATH

  • Firms with less leverage, good governance, and the ability to raise capital, cut costs with the precision of a surgeon‘s knife will prosper .

Leverage, cost structure, governance, access to capital and adaptiveness determine the virtuosity of a firm.

  • They need to innovate and adapt in the current situation .
  • Our economic recovery will be a function of top-down factors like fiscal and monetary stimulus as well as bottom-up entrepreneurial efforts.

WHAT FACTORS RAISE HOPES OF RECOVERY?

  • Active cases are coming down despite normalisation of economic activities.
  • A vaccine breakthrough seems to be on the horizon.
  • Lower oil, gold and Chinese goods imports have made India current account-surplus.
  • Foreign exchange reserves are about to exceed foreign exchange debt.

Global firms are opening up their purses for direct as well as portfolio investment.

  • Agriculture reforms will materially benefit a large rural population.
  • Labour reforms and postal life insurance schemes are steps in the right direction for India becoming a manufacturing hub.
  • In sectors like auto and consumer durables, volumes are ahead of expectations. Many attribute it to pent-up demand.

WHERE IS POLICY FOCUS NEEDED?

  • The monetary policy is accommodative but credit transmission needs to improve further.
  • Policy rates are at lifetime low levels but the cost of borrowing needs to be lowered for below-AA rated borrowers.

Fiscal stimulus has supported growth at the bottom of the pyramid but sectors like travel, tourism, hotel, retailing, aviation, infrastructure etc require more support.

  • The path of fiscal prudence is important but it needs to be achieved by raising non-tax resources .

EXAMPLE
Strategic divestment and monetisation of assets, unlocking capital stuck in gold lying in tijori etc.

  • Ease of doing business has improved but rule of law needs to be improved.
  • Commercial disputes are getting addressed like the never-ending trial of the 1992 security scam rather than the quick, everyone-wins solution of Satyam.
  • Our laws are being made for the lowest common denominator as crooks escape without adequate punishment.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Sustainable long-term growth is visible in sectors where India is becoming part of the global supply chain.
  • Sectors like contract manufacturing and chemicals are at a take-off stage, like the IT sector at the beginning of the century, albeit with high valuations.
  • Sector where PSUs dominate, such as banking and insurance, will provide long-term growth opportunities to private firms.
     SOURCES:  THE IE | 2nd Nov Current Affairs News Analysis

Sichuan-Tibet Railway

      HEADLINES:

China to begin construction of Ya’an-Linzhi section of Sichuan-Tibet Railway close to India’s border

      WHY IN NEWS:

China Railway announced on Saturday the bidding results for the construction of two tunnels and one bridge, as well as the power supply project for the Ya’an-Linzhi section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, indicating that construction of the project is about to begin.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : IR

      ISSUE: 

The Sichuan-Tibet Railway is the second such project in Tibet after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

SICHUAN-TIBET RAILWAY

  • China is all set to begin the construction of the strategic Sichuan-Tibet Railway between Ya’an in southwest Sichuan province and Linzhi in Tibet.
  • It is close to the Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh.

2nd Nov Current Affairs News Analysis

  • China Railway announced the bidding results for the construction of two tunnels and one bridge.
  • Also the power supply project for the Ya’an-Linzhi section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, indicating that construction of the project is about to begin.

It will go through the southeast of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, one of the world’s most geologically active areas.

  • The Sichuan-Tibet Railway starts from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, and travels through Ya’an and enters Tibet via Qamdo.
  • It shortening the journey from Chengdu to Lhasa from 48 hours to 13 hours.

Linzhi, which is also known as Nyingchi, is located close to Arunachal Pradesh border.

  • China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India contests it.
  • Linzhi also has an airport, one of the five built by China in the Himalayan region.
  • The newly-built Ya’an-Linzhi section runs 1,011 kilometres and includes 26 stations.

Trains are expected to run at speeds between 120 and 200 km per hour.

  • The total cost of the entire Sichuan-Tibet Railway project is around 319.8 billion yuan (USD 47.8 billion).
  • The Sichuan-Tibet railway is also of great significance in safeguarding national unity and maintaining border stability.

2nd Nov Current Affairs News Analysis IASbhai

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Strategically, China’s Tibetan region will have much stronger capabilities in material transportation and logistical supplies.
  • Sichuan-Tibet Railway, it is expected to greatly boost local tourism all along the line.
  • Both Sichuan and Tibet are rich in resources with their unique natural landscapes, huge mineral reserves, and a wide variety of medicinal herbs.
     SOURCES:  THE IE | 2nd Nov Current Affairs News Analysis

Inventory Gains

      HEADLINES:

Why inventory gains are helping oil companies

      WHY IN NEWS:

Explained : What causes inventory gains and how they impact the financial performance of oil marketing companies.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Energy : Economy

      ISSUE: 

(IOCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. and (BPCL) have reported strong financial results in the second quarter of this fiscal despite lower operating revenues.

INVENTORY GAINS

  • The key item driving profits for both companies in the quarter were “inventory gains”.
  • Let us examine what causes inventory gains and how they impact the financial performance of oil marketing companies.

WHAT ARE INVENTORY GAINS?

  • Inventory gains are registered from an appreciation in the value of inventory held by a company.

In the case of oil marketing companies, inventory gains can be caused by an appreciation in the price of crude classified as refining inventory gains.

  • Alternatively an appreciation in the price of products such as petrol and diesel classified as marketing inventory gains.
  • OMCs purchased crude oil in April when the price of Brent crude hit a low of $19.33 per barrel.
  • The price of Brent crude oil recovered to around $40- 45 $ per barrel in mid-June though a recent fall has pushed it to $38 per barrel in late October.

OMC, can also get inventory gains from an upward change in the price of end products including petrol and diesel that they have in stock.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The rise in prices of brent crude allowed IOC to register a gain of Rs 5,829 crore on crude alone.
  • It allowed a total inventory gain of Rs 7,400 crore including marketing inventory gain on end products such as petrol and diesel.
  • The net profit for the quarter was Rs 6,227 crore.
  • BPCL similarly saw a refining inventory gain of Rs 1,303 crore and and marketing inventory gain of Rs 1,200 crore .
  • Notably, All three state-owned OMCs registered major inventory losses in the previous financial year due to a sharp fall in the international price of crude oil.
     SOURCES:  THE IE | 2nd Nov Current Affairs News Analysis

National Cybercrime Reporting Portal

      HEADLINES:

File FIRs for cybercrime

      WHY IN NEWS:

States told 2 lakh complaints received on national portal, but only 5,000 cases registered

MINISTRY? :-Ministry of Home Affairs
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Cybercrimes

      ISSUE: 

The Home Ministry plans to enlist volunteers to track unlawful content online.

NATIONAL CYBERCRIME REPORTING PORTAL

  • MHA has written to all States to examine and register FIRs based on the complaints received on the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal, www.cybercrime.gov.in.
  • As per data , only 2.5% of total complaints registered on the portal are converted into First Information Reports (FIRs).
  • Ministry aims to raise a group of “cybercrime volunteers” to flag “unlawful content” on the Internet.
  • Good Samaritans are welcome to register as Cybercrime Volunteers .

The role of Unlawful Content Flaggers will be facilitating law enforcement agencies in identifying, reporting and removal of illegal / unlawful online content.

  • The volunteers will have to submit photograph, name and address proof to be enlisted as a volunteer.
  • Since its launch last year, the portal has received over 2 lakh complaints, but FIRs have been registered only in 5,000 cases.
  • A senior government official said on an average, around 1,000 cybercrime complaints were received every month from across the country.

THE UNLAWFUL CONTENT IS CATEGORISED AS

  • Content against the sovereignty and integrity of India
  • Against defence of India
  • Against security of the state
  • Against friendly relations with foreign states
  • Content aimed at disturbing public order
  • Disturbing communal harmony and child sex abuse material.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The rate of conversion of complaints to FIRs is very low.
  • In July, of the over 30,000 complaints registered, only 273 FIRs were registered, the data show.
  • The portal was launched on August 30, 2019 to help people report all kinds of cybercrimes on a centralised platform.
     SOURCES:  THE IE | 2nd Nov Current Affairs News Analysis

GST Gross Collections

      HEADLINES:

GST inflows cross ₹1 lakh cr. in October

      WHY IN NEWS:

Govt. flags clear signs of recovery, but experts voice caution about the sustainability of trend

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Finance
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Taxation

      ISSUE: 

Revenues from the Goods and Services Tax surpassed ₹1.05 lakh crore in October, up 10% from a year ago, and the highest recorded since February 2020.

GST INFLOWS

2nd Nov Current Affairs News Analysis
  • The government cited the GST inflows that crossed the ₹1 lakh crore mark for the first time in this financial year as a ‘clear’ sign of a recovery in the economy.
  • It had a 23.9% contraction in the first quarter of this year.
  • However, economists and businesses are cautious about the sustainability of this trend.
  • Tax experts said the expected shortfall in GST compensation for the States could be lower than the current estimate of ₹2.35 lakh crore if this revenue momentum is maintained through the rest of 2020-21.
  • As per data released by the Finance Ministry on Sunday, the gross GST revenue collected in October was ₹1,05,155 crore, 10.25% higher than a year ago.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The growth in GST revenue as compared to that in the months of July, August and September 2020, of -14%, -8% and 5% respectively.

     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | 2nd Nov Current Affairs News Analysis

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