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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.

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Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 12th Dec 2020

Today's Must Read Articles : Today's Must Read Articles :

Plasmodium ovale


Plasmodium ovale and other types of malaria

      WHY IN NEWS:

The soldier in Kerala is believed to have contracted Plasmodium ovale during his posting in Sudan, from where he returned nearly a year ago, and where Plasmodium ovale is endemic.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases


A not very common type of malaria, Plasmodium ovale, has been identified in a jawan in Kerala.


Malaria is caused by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito, if the mosquito itself is infected with a malarial parasite.


There are five kinds of malarial parasites —

  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Plasmodium vivax (the commonest ones)
  • Plasmodium malariae
  • Plasmodium ovale
  • Plasmodium knowlesi.

Therefore, to say that someone has contracted the Plasmodium ovale type of malaria means that the person has been infected by that particular parasite.

  • In India, out of 1.57 lakh malaria cases in the high-burden states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Meghalaya in 2019, 1.1 lakh cases (70%) were cases of falciparum malaria.
  • In 2018, the National Vector-borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) estimated that approximately 63% suffered from Plasmodium falciparum.
  • The recent World Malaria Report 2020 said cases in India dropped from about 20 million in 2000 to about 5.6 million in 2019.


  • P ovale rarely causes severe illness.
  • P ovale is very similar to P vivax, which is not a killer form.

Symptoms include fever for 48 hours , headache and nausea, and the treatment modality is the same as it is for a person infected with P vivax.

  • P ovale is no more dangerous than getting a viral infection.
  • It is termed ovale as about 20% of the parasitised cells are oval in shape. Distinguishing between P vivax and P ovale may be tricky.


  • Previously, too, isolated cases were reported in Gujarat, Kolkata, Odisha and Delhi.

However, no local transmission has been recorded — which means these cases have been acquired.


  • P ovale malaria is endemic to tropical Western Africa.

P ovale is relatively unusual outside of Africa and, where found, comprises less than 1% of the isolates.

  • It has also been detected in the Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, but is still relatively rate in these areas.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • It is possible for the parasite to remain in the spleen or liver of the body for a long time, even years, after the mosquito bite, and the person could become symptomatic later.
     SOURCES:   IE | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 12th Dec 2020

International Bharathi Festival 2020


PM addresses International Bharathi Festival 2020

      WHY IN NEWS:

Government’s women led empowerment policies are tribute to the vision of Subramanya Bharathi: PM

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : Literature : Poetry


The festival is being organised by Vanavil Cultural Centre to celebrate the 138th birth anniversary of Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathi.


Subramania Bharathi was a Tamil writer, poet, journalist, Indian independence activist, social reformer and polyglot.

  • Popularly known as “Mahakavi Bharathi” (“Great Poet Bharathi”), he was a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry.
  • He is also considered one of the greatest Tamil literary figures of all time.
  • His numerous works included fiery songs kindling patriotism during the Indian Independence movement.

He fought for the emancipation of women, against child marriage, stood for reforming Brahminism and religion.

  • He was also in solidarity with Dalits and Muslims.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Bharathi’s influence on Tamil literature is phenomenal. Although it is said that he was proficient in around 14, including 3 non-Indian foreign languages
  • Bharathiyar teaches us to remain united and committed to the empowerment of every single individual, especially, the poor and marginalised.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 12th Dec 2020

Not all Indian droughts are caused by El Nino


Not all Indian droughts are caused by El Nino

      WHY IN NEWS:

  • Bengaluru scientists point to ‘curving waves’ from the Atlantic region that may be drying up the monsoons
  • The study also appears in journal Science
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : Geography : El Nino


Nearly six out of 10 droughts, in non-El Nino years, that occurred during the Indian summer-monsoon season in the past century may have been driven by atmospheric disturbances from the North Atlantic region.-Recent study

  • The study was led by researchers at the Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (CAOS), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.
  • Many lakes nearby Bengaluru have gone dry due to persistent drought conditions last year.


  • Droughts in India have historically been associated with El Nino, an anomalous warming of the equatorial Pacific.

In an El Niño year, abnormally warm equatorial Pacific waters pull moisture-laden clouds away from the subcontinent.

  • The IISc study shows that in non-El Nino years, these droughts are a consequence of a sudden and steep drop in rainfall in late August.


  • In an El Nino year, the rainfall deficit departure from a long-term average will set in early around mid-June and progressively worsen.

However, a non-El Nino-year drought will see rainfall and will similarly weaken in mid-June.

  • From mid-July to mid-August, usually the rainiest period of the monsoon, the monsoon will appear to recover.
  • Around August third week, there was a sudden steep decline in rainfall, resulting in drought conditions.


  • It seems that winds in the upper atmosphere are interacting with a deep cyclonic circulation above the abnormally cold North Atlantic waters.

The resulting wave of air currents, called a Rossby wave.

  • Rossby wave is curved down from the North Atlantic squeezed in by the Tibetan plateau and hit the subcontinent around mid-August.
  • The impact of Rossby waves suppresses rainfall and throwing off the monsoon that was trying to recover from the June slump.
  • The wave’s usual course is to go from west to east, but not towards the equator.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • In 2014, India saw a 14% rainfall deficit — or a drought — that wasn’t linked to El Nino and before that in 1986 and 1985.
  • The sheer size of the Pacific means that it influences global climate much more than the Atlantic or other oceans.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 12th Dec 2020

Wildlife trade increased by 2,000% since 1980


Worldwide legal wildlife trade increased by 2,000% since 1980

      WHY IN NEWS:

It was reported by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services .

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Conservation of Biodiversity


The trade has become highly unsustainable.

  • The report has been prepared by the by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
  • IPBES is an intergovernmental organisation established to improve the interface between science and policy on issues of biodiversity and ecosystem services.


  • It is not just the illegal trade in wildlife that has been denuding populations worldwide.
  • The international legal wildlife trade has increased 500 per cent in value since 2005 and 2,000 per cent since the 1980s.
  • On the other hand, the estimated value of the global illegal trade in wildlife is worth around $7-23 billion per year.
  • It is equivalent to nearly 25 per cent of the value of the legal market.

Given the insufficient and inadequate regulation, globalisation of trade routes, lack of sufficient reporting, illegal hunting, even the legal trade will become unsustainable in the future.


  • The report found that wildlife consumption patterns varied markedly among countries.

North America, Europe and some parts of Asia were net importers and consumers.

  • Countries in South America, Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania tended to be net suppliers.
  • The US was one of the largest legal importers of wildlife globally, with 10-20 million individual wild animals imported each year, largely for the pet trade.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • There are significant gaps in laws governing wildlife trade.

CITES does not concern itself with domestic trade or incorporate any human health considerations for listing or trade of species.

  • Suggestions such as sanitation measures in wildlife markets might help, but did not address the root cause of the problem.
  • Transformative change  would involve bolder policy prescriptions than those contained in the report.
     SOURCES:  DownToEarth | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 12th Dec 2020

Digital Voter ID card


Voter card in your phone? Here’s what Election Commission wants to do

      WHY IN NEWS:

Digital Voter ID card: Currently, the Elector’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC) is only available in hard copy, and has to be produced in the original by the voter on election day. What is the proposal being considered by the poll panel?

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Polity : Digital Voting Card


Currently, the EPIC is only available in hard copy, and has to be produced in the original by the voter on election day. What is the proposal being considered by the poll panel?


  • To avail this facility, an eligible voter will have to provide her mobile number or email address to the EC machinery at the time of applying for enrolment in the voters’ list.
  • Once her name is included in the electoral roll, she will be intimated through an SMS or email.

The new voter can then download the Voter Card through OTP (One Time Password) authentication.

  • Existing voters may have to reverify their details with the EC (similar to the Bank KYC process) and provide their email or mobile phone number to get their cards in the electronic form.


  • The digital voter card is not expected to look too different from its physical form.

It will be available as a PDF file, and can be downloaded on one’s phone or computer.

  • The soft copy may also have a QR code that will carry the voter’s enrolment details such as name and date of birth and address.


An electronic card will help the EC save costs on printing and distributing hard copy of EPIC.

  • The EC feels that voters too, will find it useful to have the PDF file of her voter card on her phone.
  • This will do away with the necessity of first producing a voter’s slip on the day of voting.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 


  • This is still just a proposal, and needs to be approved by the full Commission — that is, by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar.
  • According to sources, it may come up for consideration before the next set of Assembly elections next year.
  • West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry will vote in early summer 2021.
     SOURCES:   IE | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 12th Dec 2020



Indigenous mRNA vaccine candidate supported by DBT gets Drug Controller nod to initiate Human clinical trials

      WHY IN NEWS:

Gennova has completed all preliminary work and should be initiating the Phase I/II Human clinical trial soon.

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Science and Technology : mRNA : Vaccines


India’s first indigenous mRNA vaccine candidate has received approval from Indian Drug regulators to initiate Phase I/II human clinical trial.


The novel mRNA vaccine candidate, HGCO19 has been developed by Gennova, Pune .

  • Gennova, in collaboration with HDT Biotech Corporation, Seattle, USA, has worked together to develop an mRNA vaccine candidate.


The vaccine is supported with seed grant under the Ind-CEPI mission of Department of Biotechnology of M/o Science & Technology.


  • The mRNA vaccines do not use the conventional model to produce immune response.

mRNA vaccine carries the molecular instructions to make the protein in the body through a synthetic RNA of the virus.

  • The host body uses this to produce the viral protein that is recognized and thereby making the body mount an immune response against the disease.
  • mRNA-based vaccines are scientifically the ideal choice to address a pandemic because of their rapid developmental timeline.
  • They are expected to be highly efficacious because of their inherent capability of being translatable into the protein structure inside the cell cytoplasm.


  • The mRNA vaccine is considered safe as is non-infectious, non-integrating in nature, and degraded by standard cellular mechanisms.
  • Additionally, mRNA vaccines are fully synthetic and do not require a host for growth, e.g., eggs or bacteria.

mRNA vaccines can be quickly manufactured in an inexpensive manner under cGMP conditions to ensure their “availability” and “accessibility” for mass vaccination on a sustainable basis.

  • The neutralizing antibody response of the vaccine in mice and non-human primates was comparable with the sera from the convalescent patients of COVID-19.

Gennova’s vaccine candidate uses the most prominent mutant of spike protein (D614G) and also uses the self-amplifying mRNA platform.

  • It gives the advantage of a low dosing regimen compared with the non-replicating mRNA or traditional vaccines.


  • The Department of Biotechnology is implementing the IndCEPImission ‘India Centric Epidemic Preparedness through Rapid Vaccine Development.

The aims  to strengthen the development of vaccines and associated competencies/technologies for the diseases of epidemic potential in India.

  • The Ind-CEPI mission of DBT is implemented by its PSU, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council ( BIRAC).

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • HGCO19 has already demonstrated safety, immunogenicity, neutralization antibody activity in animals.
  • HGCO19 uses the adsorption chemistry so that the mRNA is attached on the surface of the nano-lipid carrier to enhance the release kinetics of the mRNA .

HGCO19 is stable at 2-8°C for two months.

  • Gennova has completed all preliminary work and should be initiating the Phase I/II Human clinical trial soon.
  • The approval from the DCGI office has been received.
     SOURCES:  IE  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 12th Dec 2020

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