Table of Contents:
A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:
C. GS3 Related:
D. GS4 Related:
Useful News Articles for UPSC Current Affairs
A. GS1 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
B. GS2 Related
Category: International Relations
Topic: Bilateral Relations
- India has recently accepted an invitation to attend a meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) to be held in Lahore in March.
- This development signals a major shift in India’s position on talks with Pakistan on the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).
Category: International Relations
Topic: India and its Neighbourhood
- Pakistan succeeded in getting its official elected to the post of the Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
- This was backed by all members, including India, which made the selection consensus-based.
- However, Officials at the SAARC secretariat, however, said the election was of administrative nature and diplomatic intent should not be read in it.
- Sources at the SAARC secretariat in Kathmandu said the election of Mr. Sial was possible as India and Pakistan had indicated a greater willingness to allow SAARC to function.
C. GS3 Related
Category: Environment and Ecology
- A herd of deer desperate to quench their thirst was found dead close to a watering hole outside the Nagarahole National Park on 2nd March, 2017.
- This development is suspected to be a case of deliberate poisoning.
- Wild animals are reeling under the impact of severe drought and extreme water stress and the authorities are stunned by the poisoning of even the limited water source though it was outside the park boundary.
- Sources in the Forest Department told The Hindu that it was not uncommon for miscreants to liberally sprinkle urea in waterbodies close to protected areas, as they are frequented by angulates such as spotted deer, barking deer, sambar etc. to quench their thirst. The miscreants then trailed the desperate animals which would fall dead and then poached for meat, they said.
Category: Environment and Ecology
- The National Green Tribunal recently prohibited all camping activity from Shivpuri to Rishikesh on beaches along the Ganga which fall within 100 meters of the river.
What about Eco-tourism?
- It needs to be encouraged but with a clear mandate that it should not cause any environmental and biodiversity degradation particularly in relation to the flood plains and the forest areas adjacent to the sites identified for river rafting.
Who filed the petition?
- The judgment came on a petition filed by environment activist Vikrant Tongad, who highlighted how unregulated camping was leading to pollution in the river and its adjoining areas.
- He also highlighted how tourists coming to the area left behind litter and polluted the river and the soil.
Position of the bench
- The bench clarified that “the portion of the identified beaches which mostly fall outside the restriction of 100 meters should alone be used for effective camping activity.”
- The remaining part of the beach should not be permitted for any effective activity, the bench said. “In other words, on the remnant part of the beach that falls within 100 meters any activity involving tenting, toilets and other incidental requirements should remain prohibited,” the bench said.
- “While on the other hand, if 70% area falls within 100 meters and only 30% area falls outside 100 meters then the effective camping activity with its related infrastructure requirements could be carried on only in 30% of the beach area while leaving the entire 70% area free from such interference,” it said.
Category: Science and Technology
- The DRDO has formally handed over an indigenously developed Weapon Locating Radar (WLR) system called ‘Swati’ to the Army.
- It has been extensively tested along the Line of Control.
- The organisation also handed over a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) recce vehicle and NBC treatment drugs to the Army.
A note on ‘Swati’
- Swati provides quick, automatic and accurate location of all enemy weapons like mortars, shells and rockets firing within its effective zone of coverage and simultaneously handles multiple projectiles fired from different weapons at different locations.
- Swati can also direct artillery response based on the incoming enemy fire.
- Swati has a range of 50 km which brings all artillery guns presently in service worldwide under its coverage.
- Four systems are currently in operation and another 30 are on order for the Army.
D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
Category: Polity and Governance
Topic: Basic Provisions of Constitution
- Here, there are three views expressed. The first being ‘Left of Center’, the second being, ‘Right of Center’, and the third being a Centrist position.
Left of Center Views
- The writer believes that the political party in power has weakened democratic institutions which has led to restlessness.
- Unfortunately, moral and cultural policing, misuse of force with the involvement of police, and attacks on universities and colleges are tools with which assaults on students are organised.
- While noting the use and misuse of the media, the writer observes that there is a classic creation of a surveillance society.
- Crucially, the writer observes that in Central and State-funded universities, a large number of students who take admission belong to the marginal sections of society and the middle-lower class, and that if they undergo the process of cultural understanding about the relationship between state and society, they can be effectively used for institutionalising an alternative polity of the working class in which the working class, peasantry and women along with SCs, STs and minorities play instrumental roles in the decision-making process.
Right of Center Views
The writer points out that based on the available literature related to the concept of nation and nationalism (largely drawn on the Western historical experiences and philosophical traditions), one can broadly identify three major schools of thought.
- The primordialist school, for instance, claims that nations are ‘real’, and ethnicity forms the basis for a nation to emerge. Germany comes to mind, where people came to together to create the nation first and then a unified state.
- The second are the proponents of civic nationalism — as in France — where the state is first, then the nation.
- The third, popularly known as the constructivist school, contests the existence of nation as ‘real’ or ‘natural. For the constructivists, the discourse on nation makes it ‘real’.
- National identity, according to them, is made-up narratives based on selective manipulation of facts and used as an instrument by the political elite for mobilisation and capture of state power.
Interestingly, India, or Bharat as the Constitution defines it, does not fit into any of the three categories. India as a nation-state model is sui generis.
- It emerged in 1947 as a modern, sovereign nation-state entity but that does not mean that the idea of Bharatavarsha is new.
- The description of Bharat is found in our epics, our sacred texts, shastras, in Kalidasa’s poem ‘Meghaduta’ (Cloud Messenger), apart from the speeches and writings of Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo.
- The idea of Bharat Rashtra is thus neither a product of imagination or narration; it is a natural reality.
- The writer points out that in India, historians R.S. Sharma and Romila Thapar, both historians of ancient India, are considered Leftists but have very different methodologies to understand the past.
- Knowledge is very fluid. Existentialism impacted Marxism and got changed in the process; similarly Freud helped Marxists see human nature in a very different light.
- It is true that the Left, when in power, has displayed a tendency to hegemonise all social and cultural spaces. It destroyed the intellectual life of West Bengal. When knowledge-seeking is made subservient to what is thought to be politically correct, it flounders.
Category: Indian Economy
Topic: : Money and Banking, Government Policy
- Recently, three of the country’s largest private sector banks — ICICI, HDFC and Axis — have imposed costs on consumers for transactions in cash at bank branches.
Only four cash withdrawals or deposits would be free per account in a branch. From the fifth transaction, a minimum of Rs 150 would be added on as cost.
ICICI Bank would levy an additional Rs 5 every Rs 1,000 transacted. ATM transactions are exempt, they say: only branch transactions are affected.
Situation on the ground
- A country of 1.33 billion people has less than 2.2 lakh ATM machines, mostly confined to metropolitan sites.
- Everybody else in the vast hinterland has to operate through branch banking. Restricting third-party cash transactions to Rs 25,000 per day as HDFC Bank proposes, or Rs 50,000 per day, as ICICI Bank will have it, along with these new cash transaction costs, can destroy small and medium business, the informal and farm economy, and slam the brakes on growth.
- Zero-balance and salary accounts have not been spared the four-transactions-per-month rule by private banks.
- If the government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) do not step in immediately to stop private banks from imposing these transaction costs, state-owned banks might also follow suit.
- The aim should be to make digital transactions so easy and costless as to make use of cash look foolish.
Category: Science and Technology
Topic: : Developments
- The Indian Navy, successfully conducted the maiden firing of an Anti-Ship missile from the first of the indigenously built Kalvari class submarines, during a test firing in the Arabian Sea.
- The missile successfully hit a surface target at extended ranges during the trial firing, held this morning.
- This missile launch is a significant milestone, not only for the Kalvari, which is the first in a series of Scorpene class submarines being built in India, but also in enhancing the Indian Navy’s sub-surface warfare capability.
- All six Kalvari class submarines being built in India will be equipped with this anti-ship missile, which has a proven record in combat. These missiles will provide the submarines the ability to neutralise surface threats at extended ranges.
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
- Weapon Locating Radar (WLR)
- Kalvari class submarines
G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements:
1] Recently, the DRDO has formally handed over an indigenously developed Weapon Locating Radar (WLR) system called ‘Swati’ to the Army.
2] Swati provides quick, automatic and accurate location of all enemy weapons like mortars, shells and rockets firing within its effective zone of coverage and simultaneously handles multiple projectiles fired from different weapons at different locations.
3] Swati has a range of 50 km which brings all artillery guns presently in service worldwide under its coverage.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 1 and 3 Only
- 2 and 3 Only
- 1 and 2 Only
- All, 1, 2 and 3
Question 2: ‘Nagarahole National Park’ was recently in the news. Where is it located?
- Tamil Nadu
- Madhya Pradesh
Question 3: “INS Kalvari” was recently in the news. What is it?
- Aircraft Carrier
- A submarine
- A Frigate
- An offshore patrol vessel
Question 4: ‘Meghaduta’ was composed by ____________.
Question 5: Which of the following organizations bring out the report known as ‘Southeast Asia Energy Outlook’?
- International Energy Agency
- The United Nations Development Programme
- The World Economic Forum
- The World Bank
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