08 Aug 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

August 8th, 2021, PIB:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
GEOGRAPHY
1. Tipping point
B. GS 2 Related
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Sunderbans is now drowning in plastic
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. New technique to study ultrasmall particles in cells
ECONOMY
1. Goyal for steps to boost handloom exports
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. Why is retrospective tax being scrapped?
2. How will digital voucher payment system work?
F. Prelims Facts
1. Location of Dara Shikoh’s grave still a mystery
2. Made-in-India carrier
G. Tidbits
1. Ladakh glacier retreat due to warming, low winter precipitation, finds study
2. ‘Ancestral Dravidian tongues spoken on Indus Valley sites’
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. New technique to study ultrasmall particles in cells

Context:

  • Researchers from IIT Madras and IISER Kolkata have developed a new method to detect minute quantities of chemicals in solution.

Background:

Absorption spectroscopy:

  • Absorption spectroscopy refers to spectroscopic techniques that measure the absorption of radiation due to its interaction with a sample.
    • The sample absorbs energy, i.e., photons, from the radiating field.
  • The intensity of the absorption varies as a function of frequency and also the absorbing medium.
  • Dark lines are seen in the observed absorption spectrum of the light passed through the substance, which corresponds to the wavelengths of light absorbed by the intervening substance and are characteristic of the elements present in it.
  • Hence, Absorption spectroscopy is employed as an analytical tool to determine the presence of a particular substance in a sample and also to quantify the amount of the substance present.
  • Absorption spectroscopy is performed across the electromagnetic spectrum. Infrared and ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy are particularly common in analytical applications.

Details:

  • The new method uses a variation of absorption spectroscopy.
  • The technique exploits the quantum emission properties of erbium-doped sodium yttrium fluoride nanoparticles.
    • These tiny, nano-sized particles can absorb the light being shone on them and re-emit red, blue and green light.
  • The emission from these nano particles would be absorbed by substances in the sample. An analysis of the absorption spectrum would reveal the nature of the absorbing material.

Significance of the new methodology:

Surpasses the limits of conventional absorption spectroscopy:

  • The new method surpasses the systemic limits imposed by conventional absorption spectroscopy based on the Abbe criterion.
    • The Abbe criterion sets a natural limit on the size of the object being studied using absorption spectroscopy. According to this criterion, the size of the observed object has to be at least of the order of the wavelength of the light being shone on it.
  • Unlike the conventional absorption spectroscopy technique which requires a minimum of about a cubic centimetre of the sample for the analysis, the new method developed can help detect even minute amounts of dissolved substances. Very small molecules almost ten-millionth of a mm in diameter can also be detected using this methodology.

Potential applications:

  • There are many potential applications.
    • This technique can be used to study the insides of cells and detect even minuscule quantities of substances present there.
    • It can also be used to measure individual molecules, see absorption spectroscopy of a single DNA or protein molecule.

Category: ECONOMY

1. Goyal for steps to boost handloom exports

Context:

  • Speaking at the National Handloom Day programme, the Union Minister of Textiles, Commerce and Industry has called to increase handloom exports from Rs. 2,500 crore a year to Rs. 10,000 crore in the next three years.

Significance of Handloom sector:

  • The Handloom sector plays a very important role in the country’s economy. It is an employment intensive sector. It is one of the largest economic activities providing direct employment to over 65 lakhs persons engaged in weaving and allied activities.
  • This sector contributes nearly 19% of the total cloth produced in the country and also adds substantially to export earnings.
    • The Indian cotton handloom fabrics and made-ups occupy a place of eminence in the markets of USA, UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan and Australia. The main items exported belong to the segment of home furnishing, which constitutes about 90% of our total handloom exports.
  • Handloom is unparalleled in its flexibility and versatility, permitting experimentation and encouraging innovations. The strength of Handloom lies in introducing innovative designs, which cannot be replicated by the Power loom sector.
  • Handloom forms a part of the heritage of India and exemplifies the richness and diversity of our country and the artistry of the weavers.

Steps proposed:

  • A committee consisting of all relevant stakeholders like weavers, trainers, equipment makers, and marketing experts should be formed to recommend ways to achieve the target set for handloom exports.
  • Measures should be taken to increase the production capacities of handloom sector from the current Rs. 60,000 crore to over Rs. 1.25 lakh crore to increase exports.
  • An e-commerce portal will help the handloom weavers and handicraft artisans sell their products directly. This will not only help the artisans realize better prices for their products but will also help increase their market reach both within India as well as other countries.
  • The Design Resource Centre in Tamil Nadu can provide design inputs to promote export of handloom products by facilitating product diversification and adaptation to meet modern market requirements.

2. How will digital voucher payment system work?

Context:

  • The recent launch of the e-RUPI platform

Details:

For detailed information on the working of the e-RUPI refer to the following article:

e-RUPI Digital Payment System

Significance:

  • The e-RUPI platform can be scaled to work as a new digital payment system, which could be used to send the government’s monetary benefits directly to beneficiaries’ mobile phones. This can help ensure government benefits and services reach their intended beneficiaries in a timely and ‘leak-proof’ manner. Thus the platform can help plug holes in the existing government welfare payment disbursement system.
  • The digital system will also help to track and trace how the subsidies and benefits given to citizens are used. This will provide valuable inputs to evidence based policy making in the administration.
  • The e-RUPI will also allow the government agencies to keep track of how much of the allocated funds have been disbursed to citizens. This will bring in a sense of transparency and accountability in the welfare administration and also help the government revert back the unused funds. This will help stop misuse of funds.

Challenges:

  • Mobile is an essential device to access the e-RUPI vouchers. The lack of universal mobile ownership and the gender gap in it would be a major challenge in implementation of the e-RUPI.
    • As per available estimates, India’s smartphone penetration rate is 42% in the financial year 2020 and it could reach 51% only by 2025.
    • A 2018 research by Harvard University notes a 33-percentage point gender gap in mobile phone ownership in India.
    • Also the rural areas have lower mobile ownership as compared to urban areas. The poor families have very limited mobile ownership.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Location of Dara Shikoh’s grave still a mystery

Dara Shikoh:

  • Dara Shikoh was the eldest son and heir-apparent of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
  • He was killed on the orders of his brother Aurangzeb in 1659 after losing the war of succession.
  • Dara Shikoh was known for his tolerance and academic aspects.
    • He authored the work The Confluence of the Two Seas (Majma-ul-Bahrain), which argues for the harmony of Sufi philosophy in Islam and Vedanta philosophy in Hinduism.
    • He completed the translation of the Upanishads from their original Sanskrit into Persian in 1657 so that they could be studied by Muslim scholars. His translation is often called Sirr-i-Akbar.
    • He was also a great patron of arts.

Alamgirnama:

  • Alamgirnama is the court history of Emperor Aurangzeb(1658-1707) written by Mirza Muhammad Qazim.

2. Made-in-India carrier

  • India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1) would be named Vikrant after the first carrier operated by the Indian Navy.
  • It has been designed by the Directorate of Naval Design and built by the public sector shipbuilder Cochin Shipyard.
  • Its degree of indigenisation is about 76%.
  • Currently, Vikramaditya is the only aircraft carrier in service with the Indian Navy.

G. Tidbits

1. Ladakh glacier retreat due to warming, low winter precipitation, finds study

  • A recent study has indicated that the Pensilungpa Glacier located in Ladakh’s Zanskar Valley is retreating due to an increase in temperature and a decrease in precipitation during winters.
    • Climate change is causing variations in both temperature and snowfall.
  • The study also points at the significant influence of debris cover on the mass balance and retreat of the glacier’s endpoint, especially in summer.
    • Mass balance defined as the difference between accumulation and ablation is crucial to the survival of a glacier.
    • Debris-covered glaciers are valley glaciers that have a layer of rocks and sediment on top of the ice surface. Many of the world’s alpine glaciers are covered by debris to some extent, and this debris affects the rate of ice melting. This, in turn, impacts the overall mass balance of glaciers.

2. ‘Ancestral Dravidian tongues spoken on Indus Valley sites’

  • A recent publication has provided crucial evidence that ancestral Dravidian languages were possibly spoken by a significant population in the Indus Valley Civilisation.
  • This finding is based on common proto-words between the ancestral Dravidian languages and those documented in Indus Valley Civilization.
  • This the study claims points to deep linguistic ancestry between the two regions.

Brahui:

  • Brahui is a northern Dravidian language spoken primarily by the Brahui people in the central part of Balochistan Province, in Pakistan and in scattered parts of Iran, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.

Burushaski:

  • Burushaski is a language isolate spoken by Burusho people who reside almost entirely in northern Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, with a few hundred speakers in northern Jammu and Kashmir, India.

Binjor, Rajasthan:

  • Rajasthan’s Binjor is considered to be an Indus Valley civilisation site.
  • Located in the Ghaggar river (Ghaggar-Hakra River) valley it is widely considered as an Early Harappan and Mature Harappan site (Indus Valley Civilization).
  • Archaeologists have come across signs of industrial activity going back at least 4500 years in Rajsthan’s Binjor.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?
  1. Dara Shikoh translated Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads into Persian.
  2. He is the author of Alamgirnama.
  3. His book “Majma-ul-Bahrain” is a comparative study of Vedanta and Sufism.
  4. Italian traveller Niccolao Manucci’s ‘Travels of Manucci’ has a graphic description of Dara Shikoh’s burial.

Options:

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Dara Shikoh was the eldest son and heir-apparent of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
  • Dara Shikoh was known for his tolerance and academic aspects.
    • He authored the work The Confluence of the Two Seas (Majma-ul-Bahrain),which is a comparative study of Vedanta and Sufism and he argues for the harmony of Sufi philosophy in Islam and Vedanta philosophy in Hinduism.
    • He completed the translation of Upanishads from their original Sanskrit into Persian in 1657 so that they could be studied by Muslim scholars. His translation is often called Sirr-i-Akbar.
    • Dara Shikoh also translated  Bhagavad-gita into Persian.
  • Italian traveller Niccolao Manucci’s ‘Travels of Manucci’ has a graphic description of Dara Shikoh’s burial.
  • Alamgirnama is the court history of Emperor aurangzeb (1658-1707) written by Mirza Muhammad Qazim.
Q2. Which of the given statements with respect to the twin Keck Observatory telescopes is/are 
correct?
  1. They are the world’s most scientifically productive optical and infrared telescopes.
  2. They are located in Atacama Desert of northern Chile.
  3. The project is funded by scientific organisations of Canada, China, India, Japan and USA.

Options:

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • The twin Keck Observatory telescopes sit atop Maunakea on Hawai’i, and are the world’s most scientifically productive optical and infrared telescopes. Each telescope weighs 300 tons and operates with nanometer precision.
  • The W. M. Keck Foundation (U.S. based) funded both the original Keck I telescope and six years later, its twin, Keck II.
Q3. Which of the given statements with respect to PM-DAKSH Yojana is/are correct?
  1. It is a National Action Plan for skilling of marginalized persons covering SCs, OBCs, EBCs, Sanitation workers.
  2. It is being implemented by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
  3. Its components include up-skilling/reskilling, short term training programme, long term training programme and entrepreneurship development program.

Options:

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • The PM-DAKSH Yojana is a National Action Plan for skilling of marginalized persons covering SCs, OBCs, EBCs, Sanitation workers. It includes up-skilling/reskilling, short term training programme, long term training programme and entrepreneurship development program.
  • It is being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
Q4. Which of the given pairs is/are correctly matched?

  GI Tagged product                  State

  1. Puanchei shawl                     Assam
  2. Ilkal Sarees                    Andhra Pradesh
  3. Tangaliya Shawl                   Gujarat
  4. Chakhesang Shawls            Nagaland

Options:

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Puanchei shaw- Mizoram
  • Ilkal Sarees- Karnataka
Q5. In India, cluster bean (Guar) is traditionally used as a vegetable or animal feed, but 
recently the cultivation of this has assumed significance. Which one of the following 
statements is correct in this context?
  1. The oil extracted from seeds is used in the manufacture of biodegradable plastics
  2. The gum made from its seeds is used in the extraction of shale gas
  3. The leaf extract of this plant has the properties of anti-histamines
  4. It is a source of high quality biodiesel
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Guar gum is derived from guar seeds, a legume crop that grows in semi-arid regions of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana. Drilling companies use it to thicken water that is mixed with sand and pumped through shale rock cracks to extract gas.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Discuss the effect of climate change on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). (10 Marks, 150 Words)[GS-1, Geography]
  2. Should the vaccine quota for private hospitals be ended? Critically Evaluate. (10 Marks, 150 Words)[GS-2, Health]

Read the previous CNA here.

August 8th, 2021, PIB:- Download PDF Here

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