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.

Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 22nd Dec 2020

A check on private hospitals

      HEADLINES:

House panel moots law to keep a check on private hospitals

      WHY IN NEWS:

A holistic Public Health Act is needed, it says

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Acts : Bills

      ISSUE: 

There had been several reported instances of beds reserved for COVID-19 patients in private hospitals being sold at exorbitant rates.

Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 22nd Dec 2020

A ROOM FOR PUBLIC HEALTH ACT

  • There should be a comprehensive Public Health Act to keep checks and controls over private hospitals in times of a pandemic.
  • This will help to curb black marketing of medicines.-Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs.

The committee strongly recommends a comprehensive Public Health Act, preferably at the national level with suitable legal provisions.

  • The Act, it stated, should keep a check on black marketing of medicines and on product standardisation.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Committee flagged the initial confusion over COVID care medicines and how they were sold at higher rates.
  • It suggested that the government should be proactive by holding awareness campaigns on cheaper and effective re-purposed medicines to prevent panick-buying of expensive drugs by the people.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 22nd Dec 2020

Jupiter-Saturn conjunction

      HEADLINES:

Jupiter-Saturn conjunction: A once-in-a-blue moon event

      WHY IN NEWS:

As the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere observes its longest night of the year, two of the Solar System’s largest planets will put on a spectacular show

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : Geography : Solar System

      ISSUE: 

Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions happen every 20 years; the last one was in the year 2000.

THE CONJUNCTION

  • Saturn is the sixth planet outward from the sun.
  • It’s the farthest and slowest-moving planet that we can easily see with the eye alone.

Dazzling Jupiter, the fifth planet outward from the sun, is the second-slowest bright planet, after Saturn.

  • Saturn takes nearly 30 years to go around the sun, while Jupiter takes nearly 12 years.
  • Thus, every 20 years, Jupiter catches up to Saturn as viewed from Earth.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The 2020 great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be the closest since 1623 and the closest observable since 1226!
  • 2020’s extra-close Jupiter-Saturn conjunction won’t be matched again until the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of March 15, 2080.
     SOURCES:   DownToEarth  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 22nd Dec 2020

‘View military drills with Pak. objectively’

      HEADLINES:

‘View military drills with Pak. objectively’

      WHY IN NEWS:

China says the exercise is a regular arrangement and doesn’t target India

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : IR

      ISSUE: 

China on Monday asked India to view “objectively” the ongoing month-long military exercises being conducted by the Chinese and Pakistani air forces.

SHAHEEN AND EAGLE EXERCISE

  • Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff  visited an air force base in the southeast of the country, in Sindh, to view the “Shaheen-IX” or Eagle-IX exercise.

It is ninth such exercise held between the Pakistan Air Force and the People’s Liberation Army Air Force since 2011.

  • It will improve combat capacity of both the air forces substantially and also enhance interoperability.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • China and Pakistan have friendly exchange and cooperation in political, economic, military, security and a broad range of areas.
  • The drill taking place amid the COVID-19 pandemic showed “the profound friendship” between the two militaries.
SUGGESTED READING : BONGOSAGAR 
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 22nd Dec 2020

Insect apocalypse

      HEADLINES:

Humanity must prevent the insect apocalypse

      WHY IN NEWS:

Most insects are not harmful but beneficial to humans; without them, nature will lose its balance

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Conservation of Biodiversity

      ISSUE: 

Insects act as indicators of the health of the ecosystem. They have been used as research models to discover key scientific principles.

INSECTS AND ECOLOGY

insect apocalypse

The Praying Mantis. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
  • Any small creature with six jointed legs and a body divided into three parts namely head, thorax and abdomen is known as an ‘insect’.
  • They have wings, two antennae and an exoskeleton. Ants, bees and flies are insects.
  • Entomology’ is the scientific study of insects, a branch of zoology.

There may be as many as 10 million species of insects including:

  • 3, 60,000 species of beetle
  • 1, 80,000 species of butterfly and moth
  • 1, 20,000 fly species
  • 1, 10,000 species of bees, wasps and ants
  • 82,000 true bug species (cicadas, aphids, mealy bugs, etc)
  • 20,000 species of grasshoppers
  • 5,000 dragonfly species
  • 2,000 praying mantis species

Most insects are successful as they have a protective shell or exoskeleton, are small and can fly. They need a small amount of food and small cracks and spaces to live. 

  • Insects live in every part of the world except the North and the South Poles and the sea. Most feed on trees, plants, fruits and mushrooms.
  • Certain large-sized insects eat small birds and smaller animals.
  • Ladybird insects feed on the insects that eat plants and vegetables.
  • Insects are considered to be the strongest creatures on earth as they carry weight to the tune of 850 times of their own weight.

SERVICES TO ECOLOGY AND ECONOMY

  • Insects play a vital role in keeping the environment in balance. They are essential for maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
  • They cycle nutrients, pollinate plants, disperse seeds, maintain soil structure, improve its fertility, control population of other organisms and act as a major food source in the food chain.
  • The value of nutrient cycling in the terrestrial ecosystem is assessed to be about $3 trillion.
  • Dung beetles, flies, carrion beetles, cockroaches, etc, aid nutrient recycling.
  • Around 80 per cent of the flowering plants on Earth are pollinated by insects. Bumble bees, solitary bees, squash bees, beetles, butterflies and flies act as pollinators.

EXAMPLE
Dung beetles feed partly or exclusively on dungs or faeces. One dung beetle can bury dung 250 times heavier than its body weight in one night.

If billions of insects do not play the role of decomposers, the earth’s landmass would be covered with dead and drying matter that would spread disease.

  • Insects have economic importance as well. They provide honey, silk, wax and other products.
  • About 1,500 edible insect species are consumed by 3,000 ethnic groups in 113 countries.
  • Grasshoppers, cicadas, ants, bugs, beetles and caterpillars are food to a large number of people.
  • It has been recorded that 51 insect species are consumed as food by six indigenous tribal communities in eastern Arunachal Pradesh.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

APOCALYPSE NOW

  • Many insect species are dwindling in numbers gradually globally, as well as in India.
  • Habitat loss is a major problem. Another is increasing insecticide use.
  • Some insects — less than one per cent — are major pests themselves as they destroy crops and carry diseases.
  • Mosquitoes, tsetse flies, fleas and lice spread diseases.
  • Weevils and cockroaches consume our food supplies.

Colorado beetles cause havoc with potato crops.

  • Locusts devastate vast areas of agricultural lands. Wood boring insects like termites cause immense harm to our homes.
  • All creepy-crawlies need not be exterminated. While a few insects are really harmful, 98 per cent of insects are helpful and useful to the ecosystem.

There is no conservation plan, no up-to-date literature on the subject and no up-to-date collection.

     SOURCES:   DownToEarth  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 22nd Dec 2020

Status Of Leopards Report

      HEADLINES:

Status Of Leopards Report

      WHY IN NEWS:

Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar released the Status of Leopards report.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Conservation of Fauna : Reports

      ISSUE: 

Recent meta-analyses of leopard status and distribution suggest 48–67% range loss for the species in Africa and 83–87% in Asia.

STATUS OF LEOPARDS REPORT

SOL
SOURCES : TOI

KEYPOINTS

  • The leopard population has been estimated using camera trapping method.
  • There are 12,852 leopards in India as of 2018 as compared to the previous estimate of 7910 conducted 2014, an increase of 60% in 4 years.

The highest concentration of the leopard in India is estimated to be in Madhya Pradesh (3,421) followed by Karnataka (1,783) and Maharashtra (1,690).

  • In India, leopards have experienced a possibly human-induced 75-90% population decline in the last ~120-200 years.
  • All these have resulted in changing the species status from ‘Near Threatened’ to ‘Vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • As for region-wise distribution, the highest number of 8,071 leopards were found in central India and eastern ghats. In the northeast hills, there are just 141 leopards.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • In Indian subcontinent poaching, habitat loss, depletion of natural prey and conflict are major threats to leopard populations.
     SOURCES:  TOI | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 22nd Dec 2020

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