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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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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 | 30th Dec 2020

 

No evidence that vaccines will be ineffective against variants

      HEADLINES:

‘No evidence that vaccines will be ineffective against variants’

      WHY IN NEWS:

Principal Scientific Adviser says a wide range of antibodies will be produced

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases

      ISSUE: 

There is no evidence that current vaccines will fail to protect against COVID-19 variants reported from the U.K. or South Africa

EFFICACY OF VACCINES

Most vaccines do target the spike protein, in which there are changes in the variants.-Principal Scientific Adviser K. Vijay Raghavan

  • The vaccine also stimulated the immune system to produce a wide range of protective antibodies and the mutations were not sufficient to make the vaccine ineffective.
  • A vaccine should be available soon but we have to reduce transmission through physical distancing and amplifying testing, tracking and isolating.
  • It’s important that we do not put too much immune pressure on virus.
  • We have to maintain judicious use of therapies which are going to benefit.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The non-judicious use of unestablished therapies to fight the virus which he said would put pressure on the virus to mutate more.
  • This number along with death rate is on the decline and positivity rate in the country during the last week stood at only 2.25%.
  • Daily new COVID cases are less than 17,000 after 6 months now, while daily deaths are also less than 300 after 6 months.
  • 55% deaths are found to have occurred in those above 60 years and 70% of the deaths have occurred in males.
SUGGESTED READING : FAIR DISTRIBUTION OF VACCINE 
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 30th Dec 2020 

2011-2020 warmest recorded decade ever : WMO

      HEADLINES:

2011-2020 warmest recorded decade ever: World Meteorological Organisation

      WHY IN NEWS:

The main reason for such consecutive warm decades is the record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Climate Change

      ISSUE: 

Record levels of carbon dioxide in atmosphere behind record warming-WMO

RECORD LEVELS OF GLOBAL WARMING

  • The decade from 2011 to 2020 is the warmest recorded decade ever, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
  • Globally, the WMO has stated that 2020 is on track to becoming the warmest ever year, surpassing the highest surface temperatures recorded in 2016.

AVERAGE GLOBAL TEMPERATURES

  • The average global temperature this year is set to be about 1.2 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial era (1850 – 1900).
  • This is the highest since modern temperature recordings began in 1850.
  • The main reason for such consecutive warm decades is the record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for several decades, contributing to warming of the planet

  • The warming recorded during 2020 is despite the prevailing La Nina condition, which is the abnormal cooling of sea surface temperatures recorded along the equatorial and central Pacific Ocean.
  • Normally, record warm temperatures coincide with a strong El Nino event, which is the opposite of La Nina.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Last year, the ocean heat content was at a record high, and it has been noted that the ocean has been fast to intake this heat.
  • More than 90 per cent of this excess energy accumulated in the climate system of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases go straight into the ocean.
     SOURCES:  DownToEarth  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 30th Dec 2020 

Delhi versus Haryana : Yamuna’s ammonia levels

      HEADLINES:

Dirty water wars: Why it’s Delhi versus Haryana on Yamuna’s ammonia levels

      WHY IN NEWS:

The issue is a long-standing one between Haryana and Delhi.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 :3 : Rivers : Pollution

      ISSUE: 

It is brought into focus every time the concentration of ammonia increases in the river.

DELHI VERSUS HARYANA ON YAMUNA’S AMMONIA LEVELS

  • On at least five instances this year, high levels of ammonia in the river have prompted the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to reduce or stop water production at its plants.
  • The most recent spike was noted on Monday and Tuesday, when ammonia levels shot up to 7.3 parts per million (ppm) at the Wazirabad pond area.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AMMONIA LEVELS INCREASE?

Ammonia is used as an industrial chemical in the production of fertilisers, plastics, dyes and other products

  • It also occurs naturally in the environment from the breakdown of organic waste matter, including sewage.
  • When its concentration rises beyond 0.9 ppm, water production at three out of 9 water treatment plants — Wazirabad, Chandrawal and Okhla — have to be stopped or reduced.
  • It is brought into focus every time the concentration of ammonia increases in the river.

WHY IS HARYANA BLAMED?

  • The Yamuna flows into Delhi from Haryana and the state has industrial units in Sonipat, which is close to Delhi’s northern border.

A specific area where both Haryana and Delhi agree on is the mixing of two drains carrying drinking water and sewage or industrial waste or both in Sonipat district

  • Drain number 8 brings potable water to the capital and drain number 6 carries wastewater.
  • The two drains often mix due to overflow or damage to the wall that separates them.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?

  • The laying of a conduit pipeline to separate drain number 8 and 6 would also reduce pollution of potable water, however, it is not clear when would this be completed.
  • The National Green Tribunal-appointed Yamuna Monitoring Committee has also said that fast-track approvals should be given to build a conduit.
  • The recommendation will need to revive the Yamuna by releasing more fresh water into it, which would help maintain a certain environmental flow for the river to sustain its functions throughout the year.
     SOURCES:   IE  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 30th Dec 2020 

Dedicated Freight Corridor

      HEADLINES:

Why Dedicated Freight Corridor matters — for Railways, the country

      WHY IN NEWS:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a 351-km section between Khurja and Bhaupur in Uttar Pradesh for commercial operations of the Dedicated Freight Corridor.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Transport

      ISSUE: 

Around 70% of the freight trains currently running on the Indian Railway network are slated to shift to the freight corridors, leaving the paths open for more passenger trains. 

  • Prime minister dedicated a state-of-the-art Operation Control Centre in Prayagraj to the nation.
  • The total 2,843-km project — billed as the largest rail infrastructure being built in independent India — has been in the making since 2006 with little movement on the ground.
  • It is finally ready to take off t in phases.

WHAT IS THE DFC?

  • The DFC consists of two arms.
  • The section launched on Tuesday is part of the 1,839-km Eastern DFC that starts at Sohnewal (Ludhiana) in Punjab and ends at Dankuni in West Bengal.

The other arm is the around 1,500-km Western DFC from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to JNPT in Mumbai, touching all major ports along the way

  • There is also a section under construction between Dadri and Khurja to connect the Eastern and Western arms.

Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 30th Dec 2020

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

  • Around 70% of the freight trains currently running on the Indian Railway network are slated to shift to the freight corridors, leaving the paths open for more passenger trains.
  • Built at a cost of Rs 5,750 crore through a loan from World Bank.

WHAT ELSE WILL CHANGE?

  • For instance, 68 existing level crossings have been eliminated to augment speed, the only major section on Indian Railways that is free from any permanent or temporary speed restrictions.
  • This in a way sets the bar for rest of the DFC to also make stretches free from speed restrictions, or “cautions” as they are termed in Railways.

Freight trains usually suffer from unpredictable running times and low speeds of around 25 km per hour. But on this new section they can run at 50-60 kph

  • The agricultural produce will get a pan-India market because of cheaper and faster DFC connectivity.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • More sections will keep getting commissioned in the coming months.
     SOURCES:  IE  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 30th Dec 2020 

 

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