14 Apr 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 14 Apr 2022:-Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Alarm bells over Nepal’s dwindling forex reserves
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Hits and misses: India’s solar power energy targets
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
HEALTH
1. The key phrase is ‘focus on the foetus, for the future’
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Beijing’s move, India’s turn
F. Prelims Facts
1. Rongali Bihu and Bihu dance
G. Tidbits
1. India to grow at 8%, says World Bank
2. U.S. State Department flags curbs on free speech
3. UGC issues norms for students to do two programmes at once
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

E. Editorials

Category: HEALTH

1. The key phrase is ‘focus on the foetus, for the future’

Syllabus: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.

Prelims: Diabetes mellitus

Mains: Concerns associated with NCDs in general and Hyperglycemia-in-Pregnancy in particular; Recommendations

The silent epidemic of non-communicable diseases:

  • While the COVID-19 pandemic has received worldwide attention, another silent epidemic responsible for millions of premature deaths every year continues to go largely ignored. The silent ‘pandemic of non-communicable diseases’ (NCDs) has been sweeping steadily across the world over the last few decades.
  • The main types of NCD are cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.
  • Cancer, diabetes, heart disease and lung disease – the four main types of what public health experts call NCDs – are now the world’s top killers. NCDs kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.
  • Each year, more than 15 million people die from an NCD between the ages of 30 and 69 years; 85% of these “premature” deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. 77% of all NCD deaths are in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Apart from causing such a large number of deaths, NCDs are associated with long hospitalisations and costly treatment, which in turn places a huge amount of pressure on the already fragile health systems.

Diabetes:

  • Diabetes is characterised by a sustained high level of blood sugar (“hyperglycemia”).
  • Diabetes occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar.
  • The high blood sugar over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels and also to vital organs like the heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves and brain.
  • In the year 2021, around 537 million people are estimated to have diabetes. Extrapolating this data to the year 2045, almost 783 million people will be living with diabetes. Also, there continues to remain a high proportion of undetected diabetes as well as pre-diabetes cases.

Causes:

  • Like all other non-communicable diseases, diabetes too is the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioural factors.
  • Ageing population, genetic predisposition, nutrition based on unhealthy diets and urbanisation induced lifestyle transition leading to lack of physical exercise along with pregnancy-related diabetes are the major causes of diabetes.

Hyperglycemia-in-Pregnancy:

  • Hyperglycemia-in-Pregnancy (HIP) includes pregnancy-related diabetes including both newly detected diabetes during pregnancy (or ‘gestational diabetes’) as well as women with pre-existing diabetes (or ‘pre-gestational diabetes’).
  • The global prevalence of HIP is 16.7% of all live births. In India, one out of four live births is complicated by HIP.

Concerns associated with HIP:

  • Several studies have indicated the foetal origins of adult disease which notes that a person’s susceptibility to many of the adult diseases is already programmed while he/she was still an unborn, developing baby (“foetus”) inside his mother’s womb.
  • The health of offspring and of further generations depends upon the metabolic health of the pregnant woman.
  • Based on the above hypothesis, a foetus exposed to increased blood sugar levels in the mother’s womb gets adversely affected. Maternal diabetes permanently affects the structure, the functioning and the metabolism of the developing human body at the cellular and tissue levels, thereby predisposing the individual to disease in adult life.
  • Such a child when exposed to an unhealthy environment of high caloric foods, lesser physical activity and stress in adulthood develops diabetes. Also, such a person also becomes prone to other related NCDs such as hypertension and heart disease.
  • Also HIP can give rise to transgenerational effects. The foetus exposed to HIP, after growing into an adult might transmit unfavourable genetic and epigenetic effects to the next generation. Thus, a vicious cycle is established.

Recommendations:

  • Like other NCDs, detection, screening and preventive treatment should be the key components of the response to diabetes.
  • Targeting pregnancy-related diabetes will help bring down the expanding burden of diabetes and other NCDs. Hence, a major strategic point for checkmating diabetes and other NCDs lies at the intra-uterine level.
  • Screening women for their vulnerability to gestational diabetes and management of sugar levels in women with pre-existing diabetes would be a critical intervention against HIP. Early detection of diabetes in pregnancy can help prevent trans-generational transmission of NCDs.

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Given the increasing burden of NCDs and the impact of Hyperglycemia-in-Pregnancy on the NCDs, the urgent need of the hour is to focus on detection, screening and preventive treatment of HIP. The need of the hour is to “Focus on the Foetus, for the Future”.

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Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Beijing’s move, India’s turn

Syllabus: India and its Neighbourhood- Relations.

Mains: Reset of India-China ties- Significance and challenges.

Context:

  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to New Delhi in March 2022.

Background:

Strain in India-China ties:

  • India-China ties have dipped to their lowest in decades following a border clash in the Galwan Valley at the Line of Actual Control.
  • 90,000 soldiers from both armies continue to be been deployed in Ladakh for nearly two years now.
  • Despite 15 rounds of negotiations between senior military commanders and some degree of disengagement, there has been no de-escalation of the border crisis.

Details:

  • The visit by the Chinese foreign minister to India amidst the border stand-off came across as a significant development in the bilateral relationship.
  • Though the visit by the Chinese foreign minister had minimal outcome, it would be erroneous to deem it a failure.
  • In recent years, China had looked at Indian moves in the region through the prism of their U.S. policy and had expressed strong concerns over the growing India-U.S. relationship and the formation of organizations like the Quad. China’s assertiveness along Indian borders was also seen as a reaction to the strengthening of the India-U.S. relationship. But India’s neutral stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict seems to have triggered a rethink in Beijing.
    • India has refused to condemn Russia’s military invasion, continues to trade with Russia, and has abstained from voting on United Nations resolutions, despite stark warnings from the U.S. and its western partners.
    • India has also increased, rather than reduced, the import of its crude oil supplies from Russia. India and Russia are also exploring ways of conducting bilateral trade through the rupee-rouble exchange route, by bypassing the dollar-based financial system.
  • Notably, China has praised India for pursuing an independent foreign policy. In this context, Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to New Delhi was driven either by the need to wean India away from the Quad or as an exploratory step towards a larger strategic reset with India.
  • During Mr. Wang’s visit, China offered to create a virtual G-2 in Asia by protecting India’s traditional role and collaborating on developmental projects as ‘China-India Plus’ in South Asia.

India’s moves viz-a-viz China:

  • While India has taken a stance that unless there is peace and tranquillity in the border areas, the bilateral ties with China will not go back to normalcy, some of India’s moves seem to be directed at easing the tension and preventing further deterioration of ties with China.
  • India treats its border stand-off with China as a bilateral issue and has resisted efforts to raise the issue in any joint statement during high profile India-U.S. meetings.
  • The activities of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan community in India have been calibrated to remain within limits that do not provoke Beijing.
  • Despite the border crisis, India’s trade with China reached a record high of $125 billion in 2021. India remains the biggest recipient of loans disbursed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Impact of a reset in ties between India and China:

  • Any reset of India’s ties with China will alter New Delhi’s relationship with the U.S. and raise questions about the effectiveness of Quad.

Quad:

  • While India’s Quad partners have been understanding of India’s divergent views from that of the other Quad group members on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, any reset of ties between India and China will be a body blow to the grouping. This is because China is the glue that binds the Quad together and India remains the centrepiece of the Quad.

India-U.S. ties:

  • India is the centrepiece of the U.S. administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy. This is evident from the deepening of the India-U.S. relationship in recent times. This also explains U.S.’s patience with India’s neutral stand on the Russia-Ukraine issue.
  • While Indian and American policies are at variance in countries such as Myanmar, Iran and Afghanistan, China is the one interest that aligns the two countries together. That basic premise of a collaborative partnership with India will be tested by any reset in China-India ties.

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Though the reset of ties with China would be necessary for peace and security along India’s northern borders, India should also consider the possible adverse impact that such a reset could have on its strategic relationship with the U.S. and association with the Quad, both of which could be critical tools in tackling any future assertiveness or rise of China.

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F. Prelims Facts

1. Rongali Bihu and Bihu dance

Syllabus: GS-1, Indian Heritage and Culture; Salient aspects of Art Forms

Prelims: Facts about Rongali Bihu and Bihu dance

Context

Assamese women were seen performing Bihu on the occasion of Rongali Bihu in Sonapur.

Rongali Bihu

  • Rongali Bihu is a traditional ethnic festival celebrated in the Northeastern Indian state of Assam.
  • The festival is celebrated in the first month of the Assamese calendar and marks the advent of the Assamese New Year.
  • This festival coincides with the advent of the spring season.
  • It is usually celebrated in the 2nd week of April, signifying the time of harvest.
  • The festival is celebrated by the performance of the Bihu dance by the locals.

Bihu dance

  • The Bihu dance is a native folk dance of Assam.
  • It is related to the Bihu festival and is an important part of Assamese culture.
  • The Bihu dance is performed in a group and the dancers are usually young men and women.
  • The dancing form consists of brisk steps and rapid handclaps and movements.
  • The dancers are seen in colourful costumes mainly with a red colour theme which represents joy and vigour.

G. Tidbits

1. India to grow at 8%, says World Bank

  • The World Bank in its bi-annual South Asia Economic Focus Reshaping Norms: A New Way Forward report said that India is projected to grow at 8% in the fiscal year (2022-23) and over 7.1% in the next fiscal year (2023-24).
  • In the South Asia region, the growth is expected to be slower than projected because of the impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine along with existing issues such as fragile growth, rising commodity prices, bottlenecks in supply and financial sector vulnerabilities.
  • The impact of the war has seen further fastened inflation, impacted current account balances and increased fiscal deficits.
  • The report suggests that countries must look towards greener fuels and commodities as a response to rising fuel prices and the introduction of green taxes.

2. U.S. State Department flags curbs on free speech

  • In its 2021 Human Rights Report on India, the U.S. State Department has flagged concerns over arbitrary arrests and detentions, extra-judicial killings, violence against religious minorities, curbs on free expression and media, and overly restrictive laws on funding of NGOs.
  • The report flagged violations of privacy by authorities by citing the media reports on journalists being targeted for surveillance through the Pegasus malware and “including the use of technology to arbitrarily or unlawfully surveil or interfere with the privacy of individuals”.

3. UGC issues norms for students to do two programmes at once

  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) issued guidelines to allow students to pursue two academic programmes simultaneously at higher education institutes.
  • The guidelines will be applicable for academic programmes other than Ph.D. and the students cannot claim retrospective benefits.
  • The move is in line with the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, “which emphasises the need to facilitate multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education”.
  • The move is criticised by experts stating it will increase the load on universities and teachers.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which of the following statements is/are correct with respect to Dr B.R. Ambedkar?
  1. He was born in Ambadawe town of Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.
  2. He was part of the Bombay Presidency Committee that worked with the Simon Commission in 1925.
  3. He started magazines like Mooknayak, Reshwa and Bahishkrit Bharat.

Options:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is not correct, Dr B.R. Ambedkar was born in Mhow in the Central Provinces (modern-day Madhya Pradesh) to a Marathi family with roots in the Ambadawe town of Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.
  • Statement 2 is correct, He was part of the Bombay Presidency Committee that worked with the Simon Commission in 1925.
  • Statement 3 is not correct, He started magazines like Mooknayak, Equality Janta and Bahishkrit Bharat.
    • Reshwa was written by Sardar Ajit Singh and is not associated with Dr B.R. Ambedkar.
Q2. Consider the following statements with respect to Mahavira:
  1. He is considered to be a contemporary of Buddha.
  2. He did not condemn the Varna system.
  3. He did not believe in God’s existence.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, Buddha and Mahavira were contemporaries.
  • Statement 2 is correct, Mahavira unlike Buddha stressed on equality but did not reject the caste system (Varna system).
  • Statement 3 is correct, He did not believe in God’s existence. 
    • According to him, the universe is a product of the natural phenomenon of cause and effect.
Q3. With reference to coal, which of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. Anthracite has the highest energy content of all coals.
  2. The percentage of carbon in bituminous coal is between 25%–35%.

Options:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, Anthracite contains 86 – 97% of carbon and generally has the highest energy content of all coals.
  • Statement 2 is not correct, Bituminous coal contains about 60 – 80% carbon.
Q4. Which amongst the following is the best description of Ishihara test?
  1. It is a test that detects and measures antibodies in blood.
  2. It is a colour perception test for red-green colour deficiencies.
  3. It is a test to detect genetic material from a specific organism, such as a virus.
  4. It is a routine screening procedure for cervical cancer.
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • The Ishihara test is a color perception test for red-green color deficiencies.
  • It was named after its designer, Shinobu Ishihara.
  • The test consists of several plates, each of which depicts a solid circle of colored dots appearing randomized in color and size.
  • Within the pattern are dots which form a number or shape clearly visible to those with normal color vision, and invisible, or difficult to see, to those with a red-green color vision defect.
  • Hence option b is correct.
Q5. Which one of the following statements is correct?
  1. Ajanta Caves lie in the gorge of Waghora River.
  2. Sanchi Stupa lies in the gorge of Chambal River.
  3. Pandu-lena Cave Shrines lie in the gorge of Narmada River.
  4. Amaravati Stupa lies in the gorge of Godavari River.
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • The spectacular Buddhist site of Ajanta consists of several caves nestled in a curving section of the Sahyadri hills, overlooking the Waghora river.
  • Hence option a is correct.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Assess the progress made by India in building solar power infrastructure in the past decade. How close are we in realizing our solar power generation targets? (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-3, Energy]
  2. What are the different types of diabetes that affect the human body? Elaborate the reasons behind the increasing number of diabetes patients in India. (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-2, Health]

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 14 Apr 2022:-Download PDF Here

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