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.

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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 | 28th Nov 2020

Sustainable peatland management

      HEADLINES:

Sustainable peatland management can prevent future pandemics: Study

      WHY IN NEWS:

The study titled Tropical peatlands and their conservation are important in the context of COVID-19 and potential future (zoonotic) disease pandemics was published in the PeerJ journal November 17, 2020.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Diseases

      ISSUE: 

Sustainably managing peatlands — peat-swamp forests found around the tropics — can protect humans from future pandemics

KEY POINTS : SUSTAINABLE PEATLAND MANAGEMENT

PEATLANDS
Peatlands are terrestrial wetland ecosystems in which waterlogged conditions prevent plant material from fully decomposing.

  • Peatlands harbour a variety of disease-spreading hosts.

Peatlands also face high levels of habitat disruption such as wild or human-made fires and wildlife harvesting.

  • Flora and fauna in them are also being harvested, increasing contact with humans
Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 28th Nov 2020
PEATLANDS | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

STUDY FINDINGS

  • Peatlands were rich in biodiversity, including many potential vertebrate and invertebrate vectors, or carriers of disease.

Peatlands include numerous vertebrates known for spreading zoonotic disease, such as bats, rodents, pangolins and primates.

  • Zoonotic diseases are those that jump from animals to humans.
  • These areas also faced high levels of habitat disruption such as wild or human-made fires .
  • Wildlife harvesting that were perfect conditions for potential zoonotic emerging infectious diseases (EID), it added.

EXAMPLES REPORTED

  • The first reported case of Ebola in 1976 was from a peatland area, as was the most recent outbreak in May 2020, it noted.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic was believed to be around Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, another area with extensive peatlands.

POACHING

  • Wildlife harvesting for consumption and trade was common in tropical forest nations.

EXAMPLE
In Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, fruit bats were captured in tropical peat-swamp forest areas and transported to local markets for sale as wild meat.

  • High densities of domestic and semi-wild animals reared on peatlands could also serve as a direct or indirect zoonotic EID vector to humans.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The study talked about large numbers of naturally cave-roosting edible-nest swiftlets being reared in many peatland areas, with most nests exported to China.

Sustainably managing tropical  peatlands and their wildlife was important for mitigating the impacts of the ongoing pandemic.

  • The move would also help in reducing the potential for future zoonotic EID emergence and severity.
     SOURCES:   DownToEarth  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 28th Nov 2020

BIS standards revised for two wheeler helmets

      HEADLINES:

BIS standards revised for two wheeler helmets

      WHY IN NEWS:

Hot from PIB !

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Road Transport & Highways
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Infrastructure : Road : Transport

      ISSUE: 

The total number of two-wheelers being manufactured in India annually is nearly 1.7 crore.

REVISED RULES

  • A committe was formulated by SC for road safety measures earlier.
  • The Committee had experts from different fields, including expert doctors from AIIMS and also from BIS.
  • The Committee in March 2018 after detailed analysis in its report recommended lighter helmets in the Country.

As per the recommendations, the BIS has revised specifications through which it is expected to make lighter helmets.

  • With good competition in the Indian markets, it is expected that the competition would enable for good quality and lighter helmets demand.

BUREAU OF INDIAN STANDARDS(BIS)

BIS is the National Standard Body of India for the harmonious development of standardization, marking and quality certification of goods.

  • BIS has been providing traceability and tangibility benefits .

It provides benefits in number of ways:

  • Providing safe reliable quality goods.
  • Minimizing health hazards to consumers.
  • Promoting exports and imports substitute.
  • Control over proliferation of varieties etc through standardization, certification and testing.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • This would help in avoiding sale of low quality two wheeler helmets in the Country.
  • Inturn, this would help in protecting citizens involved in two wheeler accidents from fatal injuries.
     SOURCES:   PIB  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 28th Nov 2020

GDP contracts 7.5% in second quarter

      HEADLINES:

GDP contracts 7.5% in second quarter

      WHY IN NEWS:

Country enters technical recession

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Finance
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Economy : GDP : Recession Curve

      ISSUE: 

India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted 7.5% in the second quarter of 2020-21

RECESSION

  • The country has now entered a technical recession with two successive quarters of negative growth.
  • The economy’s performance between July and September when lockdown restrictions were eased is better than most rating agencies.

While most estimated a contraction of around 10%, the Reserve Bank of India projected a 8.6% decline in the second quarter. 

  • Agriculture, which was the only sector to record growth between April and June this year, grew at the same pace of 3.4% in the second quarter.
  • Electricity, gas and other utility services saw 4.4% growth in the second quarter from a 7% contraction in Q1.

‘CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC’

  • The ‘V-shaped recovery’ should continue but it is difficult to be sure about positive growth returning in the remaining two quarters of this year.

WHAT IS V-SHAPED RECOVERY ?

  • V-shaped recovery is a type of economic recession and recovery that resembles a “V” shape in charting.

A V-shaped recovery represents economic measures economists create when examining recessions and recoveries.

  • A V-shaped recovery involves a sharp rise back to a previous peak after a sharp decline in these metrics.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A V-shaped recovery is characterized by a quick and sustained recovery in measures of economic performance after a sharp economic decline.

The speed of economic adjustment and recovery in macroeconomic performance, a V-shaped recovery is a best case scenario given the recession.

EXAMPLE
The recoveries that followed the recessions of 1920-21 and 1953 in the U.S. are examples of V-shaped recoveries.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Refinery products contracted for an eighth month, falling 17%.
  • Natural gas output shrank 8.6% and crude oil production fell 6.2%
  • A meaningful recovery in the third quarter looks doubtful.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU   | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 28th Nov 2020

India and Vietnam Fresh Talks

      HEADLINES:

Talks Between Defence Ministers of India and Vietnam

      WHY IN NEWS:

Hot from PIB !

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Defence
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : IR

      CONTEXT: 

MUTUAL TIES 

DEFENCE SECTOR

Both the countries are implementing Arrangement for cooperation in the field of Hydrography between National Hydrographic Office.

  • India and Vietnam have agreed to enhance their bilateral cooperation in line with India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) and the ASEAN’s Outlook on Indo-Pacific.

MULTILATERAL COOPERATION

  • India and Vietnam closely cooperate in various regional forums such as East Asia Summit, Mekong Ganga Cooperation, Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM).
  • Vietnam is also the second largest export destination for India after Singapore in the ASEAN region.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The year 2019 was celebrated as the ASEAN-India Year of Tourism. Both countries have facilitated a simplified visa regime to promote bilateral tourism.
  • The Embassy of India organized various events to celebrate Mahatma@150 in 2018-19.
  • These include Jaipur artificial limb fitment camps, which were organized in four provinces of Vietnam, benefitting 1000 people, under ‘India for Humanity’ initiative of the Government of India.
     SOURCES:   PIB   | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 28th Nov 2020

More elephant raids during paddy harvest

      HEADLINES:

Expect more elephant raids during paddy harvest in Dooars this year

      WHY IN NEWS:

  • People in north Bengal are on tenterhooks this November as the paddy harvesting season starts.
  • The region is known for human-elephant conflicts.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Conservation of Biodiversity : Man-Animal Conflict

      ISSUE: 

Many COVID-19 returnees have cultivated paddy this year during the monsoon due to the lack of work and livelihood opportunities

ELEPHANT RAIDS

  • Elephant raids in crop fields are not a new thing in north Bengal, which is interspersed with patchy forests, tea gardens, human habitations and paddy fields.

North Bengal experiences one of the highest levels of human-elephant conflict in Asia.

  • The north Bengal region situated at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas is well known for the severity of human-wildlife conflicts.
  • It had nearly 500 fatal attacks on humans by elephants in the last 15 years.
  • In fatal cases, the compensation paid to victims’ families is Rs 400,000.

Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 28th Nov 2020

An elephant in a paddy field in north Bengal. Photo: By special arrangement An elephant in a paddy field in north Bengal.

RETAINING ELEPHANTS IN NATURAL HABITATS

  • Development and Maintenance of Perrenial Water Holes
  • Solar Powered Borewells
  • Creation of Fodder Plantations

Fire Management in forests.

STRENGTHENING ELEPHANT CORRIDORS

Relocation of Villages from Elephant Corridors/Protected Areas

  • Securement of Elephant Corridors.

DETERRENT METHODS

  • Trip Alarm, Sensory Based Alarm
  • Crop Guarding
  • Use of Chilli Smoke.

REMOVAL OF ELEPHANTS FROM HUMAN HABITATION/AREA

  • Kumki elephants are effective in driving away elephants from villages, for monitoring/capturing/ tranquilizing/ translocating/ training/ hunting of problem elephants.
  • Growing of alternate crops like citrus, chilies, ginger not liked by elephants.

In Chhattisgarh information on elephant movement is also communicated through radios at specific timings on channel called “Hamara haathi hamara gonth”.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Solar lights have been installed in some places along the corridor through which elephants pass from September to February, to reduce electrocution deaths.
  • From 88 in 2005, the number of functional corridors has gone up to 101 in India.
  • The idea is that even if there is a multiple land use system, the animals should keep on moving.
     SOURCES:   DownToEarth  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 28th Nov 2020

Protect right of ordinary people to bail

      HEADLINES:

Protect right of ordinary people to bail

      WHY IN NEWS:

SC tells judges-‘Those without means languishing as undertrials’

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Judiciary

      ISSUE: 

The Supreme Court on Friday gave a clarion call to judges to protect personal liberty and the right of ordinary people to bail, saying “liberty is not a gift for the few”.

VERDICT
Common citizens without the means or resources to move the High Courts or the Supreme Court were languishing in jails as undertrials.

Deprivation of liberty even for a single day is one day too many,”-Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

ANALYSIS

  • It is through the instrumentality of bail that our criminal justice system’s basic interest in preserving the presumption of innocence finds its most eloquent expression

The State should not be allowed to use criminal law as a ruse to harass citizens.

  • Courts were the “first line of defence” against the deprivation of citizens’ personal liberty.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Sad Reality – It shows that undertrials remained behind bars while their bail applications were lobbed from one rung of courts to another. –Justice Chandrachud
SUGGESTED READING : PRISON STATISTICS REPORT 2020 
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 28th Nov 2020

Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT)

      HEADLINES:

GMRT accorded prestigious IEEE Milestone status

      WHY IN NEWS:

Selection recognises contributions to exploring universe through radio astronomy

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Miscellaneous

      ISSUE: 

The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) has been selected as a ‘Milestone’ facility by the U.S.-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

IEEE ‘MILESTONE’ RECOGNITION

  • The GMRT is an array of thirty parabolic radio telescopes of 45-metre diameter in Pune.

IEEE which is the world’s largest technical professional organisation dedicated to advancing technology in all areas related to electrical and electronics engineering.

  • The IEEE Milestones programme honours significant technical achievements which have global or regional impact.
  • This is only the third such IEEE ‘Milestone’ recognition for an Indian contribution.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The previous two Indian IEEE Milestones were for the pioneering work done by :

  • Sir J.C. Bose to demonstrate the generation and reception of radio waves in 1895 (recognised in 2012)
  • For the Nobel Prize-winning (in 1930) ‘scattering of light’ phenomenon observed by Sir C.V. Raman in 1928.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 28th Nov 2020

‘Sea sparkle’ 

      HEADLINES:

‘Sea sparkle’ has affected marine food chain: CMFRI

      WHY IN NEWS:

The bloom of Noctiluca Scintillanson the Karnataka coast has displaced microscopic algae

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Science and Technology

      ISSUE: 

The Karnataka coast has been witnessing ‘sea sparkle’ for the past month

SEA SPARKLE

Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 27th Nov 2020

  • The bloom of Noctiluca Scintillans, commonly known as “sea sparkle” that the Karnataka coast has been witnessing since about a month.

It has displaced microscopic algae called diatoms, which form the basis of the marine food chain.

  • This has deprived food for the planktivorous fish.
  • The bioluminescent Noctiluca Scintillans also brightened the sea water during night.

TOXICITY

  • Toxic blooms of N. Scintillans were linked to massive fish and marine invertebrate kills.

Though the species does not produce a toxin, it was found to accumulate toxic levels of ammonia.

  • It is then excreted into the surrounding waters, possibly acting as the killing agent in blooms.

PREY AND PREDATOR

  • The ammonia makes N. Scintillans unpalatable for most creatures. Only jellyfish and salps were known to prey on it.
  • N. Scintillans grazes on other micro-organisms such as larvae, fish eggs, and diatoms.

FEATURES

  • But the unicellular phytoplankton that live inside it can photosynthesise, turning sunlight into energy.
  • They help their host cell survive even when food was scarce.

Thus, N. Scintillans acts as both a plant and an animal.

PLANKTON BLOOM

  • Plankton bloom was reported when the density of plankton would be more than 1,00,000 cells per m3.

BIOLUMINESCENCE
Bioluminescence was the production and emission of light by a living organism and occurs due to a chemical reaction, involving a light-emitting molecule and an enzyme, called luciferin and luciferase.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Arabian Sea off the Karnataka coast since a decade showed widespread blooms of the green dinoflagellate, N. Scintillans.
  • This year, however, the intensity and vastness of the bloom close to the shore was observed by many.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 28th Nov 2020

 

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