09 Dec 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. CWMA: T.N. sees conflict of interest
2. CJI spotlights the law on death penalty
3. Week to NRC deadline, many are clueless
C. GS3 Related
ENVIRONMENT
1. Air pollution: 18 held in Greater Noida for flouting NGT orders
HEALTH
1. Report on ‘toxic’ talc worries India
2. Gene hunters on the autism trail
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. IISER Kolkata develops simulation to predict solar activity over 10 years
D. GS4 Related
1. Conflict of Interest
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. Are farmers all over India on the streets? (Farmer Distress)
ART AND CULTURE
1. The marvel at Bhitargaon
F. Tidbits
1. Army set to scale down operations in Kashmir
2. Are drugs discharged into the Yamuna toxic to aquatic life?
3. Efforts begin to turn Brindavan into ‘Disneyland’
4. High security at Muzaffarnagar’s Hanuman Dham
G. Prelims Fact
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

Context

  • Tamil Nadu on Saturday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Centre’s decision to give Central Water Commission (CWC) chief S. Masood Husain additional charge as chairman of the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA).

Details of the issue

  • The State told the top court that Mr. Husain’s appointment smacked of conflict of interest.
  • Tamil Nadu said there was every possibility that the CWMA won’t act independently and would come under the influence of the CWC. It said an independent person should be appointed to lead the CWMA, whose functions include storage, apportionment, regulation and control of Cauvery waters, supervision of operation of reservoirs and regulation of water release.
  • Besides, the State said the law mandated the Union Ministry of Water Resources to appoint a full-time chairperson for the CWMA under the Cauvery Water Management Scheme, 2018, established under Section 6A of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956. Instead, Mr. Husain was given additional charge, it pointed out.
  • “The CWMA, even after six months from the date of its constitution, is yet to be established in a full-fledged manner. The full-time chairman and members are yet to be posted and made fully functional,” Tamil Nadu said.

Central Water Commission (CWC)

  • Central Water Commission is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources and is presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.
  • Functions: The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation of the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development. It also undertakes the investigations, construction and execution of any such schemes as required.

Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA)

  • Composition of Cauvery Water Management Authority: It would comprise a chairman, eight members besides a secretary. Out of eight members, two each will be full-time and part-time members, while the rest four would be part-time members from states.

Mandate of Cauvery Water Management Authority

  • To monitor the storage, apportion shares, supervise operation of reservoirs and regulate water releases with assistance of the regulating authority.
  • The authority has also been tasked to advise the states to take suitable measures to improve water use efficiency, by way of promoting micro-irrigation (drip and sprinkler), change in cropping pattern, improved agronomic practices, system deficiency correction and command area development.
  • Cauvery Water Management Authority is also expected to look at regulated release of water by Karnataka, at the inter-state contact point presently identified as Billigundulu gauge and discharge station, located on the common border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

2. CJI spotlights the law on death penalty

Context

  • A series of Supreme Court decisions after Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi took over as top judge has seen the Supreme Court veer away the death penalty and point out lapses in the way justice is administered in death penalty cases.
  • “Time and again, this Court has categorically held that life imprisonment is the rule and death penalty is the exception and even when the crime is heinous or brutal, it may not still fall under the category of rarest of rare,” the Supreme Court said in its latest order in a death penalty case.
  • Recently, the apex court put an end to its own practice of dismissing death penalty appeals in limine, without even assigning a reason for the decision.

Analysis of the Capital Punishment

  • Capital punishment is a debatable subject and criminologists, sociologists and the legal fraternity are always divided.
  • Justice P Bhagwati while delivering a dissenting opinion in case of Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab (1982) case held capital punishment to be unconstitutional.
  • The Law Commission of India in its report on death penalty said that after many years of research and debate a view has emerged that there is no evidence to suggest that the death penalty has a deterrent effect over and above its alternative – life imprisonment.
  • The Justice JS Verma committee, which was formed after the December 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case, in its report concluded that death penalty would be a regressive step in the field of sentencing and reformation.
  • Human Rights Watch, of course, opposes the use of the death penalty in all cases. Capital punishment for rape is the easiest and most convenient demand to raise, yet the most harmful one for rape survivors. It is all about retribution, disregards the reformative aspect of the criminal justice system, and, most importantly, is said to have little deterrent effect. 
  • There are rapists who kill the victims, and there are rapists who don’t. Now, if the maximum punishment in either case is the same, the rapist would reason that by killing his victim he may never be exposed. There are numerous instances of the perpetrators killing their victims, so stringent anti-rape laws are perceived not to be deterrents but measures that further instigate rapists to kill the victims.
  • Rape is already underreported in India largely because of social stigma, victim-blaming, poor response by the criminal justice system, and lack of any national victim and witness protection law making them highly vulnerable to pressure from the accused as well as the police. Children are even more vulnerable due to pressure from family and society. Increase in punishment, including the death penalty may lead to a decrease in reporting of such crimes.

3. Week to NRC deadline, many are clueless

Context

  • A majority of those excluded from the complete draft of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam have no clue how to go about getting back on the list with only a week left for the crucial claims and objections round to end.
  • The window for 40.7 lakh people excluded from among the 3.29 crore applicants was opened on September 25. It ends on December 15 with the Supreme Court, which is monitoring the exercise, declining the Assam government’s plea to extend the deadline.

National Register of Citizens

  • It is a register containing the list of bona fide (genuine/real) Indian citizens. Those failing to enlist their names in the register would be deemed, illegal migrants.
  • The first list was made in 1951, covering the whole of India, as per the census of that year.
  • Currently, the list has been updated for the first time, and only in Assam
  • Officially, the NRC process will address the issue of illegal migrants, specifically from Bangladesh.
  • The National Register of Citizens was first published in 1951 to record citizens, their houses and holdings. Updating the NRC to root out foreigners was a demand during the Assam Agitation (1979-1985).
  • There have been several waves of migration to Assam from Bangladesh, but the biggest was in March 1971 when the Pakistan army crackdown forced many to flee to India. The Assam Accord of 1985 that ended the six-year anti-foreigners’ agitation decided upon the midnight of March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ENVIRONMENT

1. Air pollution: 18 held in Greater Noida for flouting NGT orders

Context

  • Eighteen people were arrested in Gautam Buddh Nagar’s Greater on Saturday for allegedly violating the National Green Tribunal’s orders on checking air pollution, officials said.
  • This is the first such action in Delhi-National Capital Region in which arrests have been made at construction sites where material was found uncovered and dust was blowing, they said.
  • Gautam Buddh Nagar District Magistrate Brajesh Narain Singh said similar action would continue further against those violating the guidelines and orders of the Supreme Court, the Central government and the NGT.
  • “If we look at the air quality indicators, they are consistently in the ‘poor’ or the ‘very poor’ category and that seems to have become the new normal. We are making all efforts towards checking air pollution and improving air quality,” he said.

Beyond the news – Root Causes of smog and air pollution in Delhi

  • One of the main reasons of increasing air pollution levels in Delhi is crop burning by the farmers in these states. Farmers burn rice stubbles in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Pollution caused by the traffic menace in Delhi is another reason contributing to this air pollution and smog. The air quality index has reached ‘severe’ levels.
  • As the winter season sets in, dust particles and pollutants in the air become unable to move. Due to stagnant winds, these pollutants get locked in the air and affect weather conditions, resulting in smog.
  • Another reason of air-pollution is over-population in the capital. Over-population only adds up to the various types of pollution, whether it is air pollution or noise pollution.
  • Industrial pollution and garbage dumps are also increasing air pollution and building-up smog in the air.

Solutions to the Delhi pollution

  • A WHO survey of over 1,600 cities ranked the national capital as the most polluted. Air pollution was 40 times higher than the permissible safety limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and approximately 15 times higher than the Indian standards.
  • Stubble burning in neighboring states is one of the most important factor in Delhi pollution. It is important to reduce the paddy crop’s duration, which, in turn, increases the farmer’s time to prepare for the sowing of the next wheat crop. Breeding for a reduced duration can help extend the planting window for wheat.
  • To find alternative to stubble burning the most viable technology seems to be what is called Turbo Happy Seeder (THS). This is a tractor-mounted machine that basically cuts and lifts the standing stubble, drills the wheat seeds into the bare soil, and deposits the straw over the sown area as a mulch cover.
  • Other sources of pollution like power plants needs technological intervention in the form of modern chimneys, washing of coal before it’s use, policies for ash collection and disposal in order not to release them into atmosphere.
  • Big data analysis can be helpful in order to understand the pattern of pollution in Delhi. To know the favorable area and conditions and to take necessary steps then can be done with big data analysis.
  • Vacuum cleaning of roads regularly, use of sprinklers, sprayers systems to settle dust in roadways etc. will be helpful to curb dust getting into atmosphere. Spray water from helicopters or aircraft to tackle dust pollution in emergency can be explored.
  • Switching over to green technologies, green energy, making the green buildings, reducing carbon footprints by institutions for ex. Indira Gandhi airport became zero carbon emitting airport recently.
  • Air purifiers, portable and car air purifiers, air quality monitoring devices can be installed in homes in order to protect people in emergency cases.
  • The severe air pollution problem faced by Delhi indicates the gross faults in urban planning and irresponsible attitude by government agencies and people. Increasingly moving towards a green ways of living, interstate co-operation, de-urbanization, developing satellite towns, developing public transport systems, shifting industries outside cities, adopting international practices like promoting bicycles, odd-even policy, car pooling, parking rules, etc. is the way out.

Category: HEALTH

1. Report on ‘toxic’ talc worries India

 

  • A risk assessment draft on talc published by Health Canada, the country’s public health department, states that talcum powder is harmful to the lungs when inhaled during breathing and could possibly cause ovarian cancer when used by women in the genital area.
  • In India, talcum powder is among the most widely known talc-based self-care products. From fighting perspiration and odour, to helping lend the user a ‘fairer’ skin tone, a large number of Indian consumers rely on talcum powder and the market is estimated to be worth about ₹700 crore.

2. Gene hunters on the autism trail

Context

  • Will creating a genomic data bank on autistic children and their families hold the key to early diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? An increasing number of global researchers think so as they invest time and effort into genetics to learn more about the condition.

What is ASD?

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a group of lifelong neuro-developmental disorders that emerge during early childhood and interfere with a child’s ability to socially relate to and interact with others.
  • While some children can grow up to live independently, others have severe disabilities and require lifelong care and support.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterised as a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain.
  • Although ASD affects about 1.5 percent of all children, its exact cause remains unknown, but genetic and environmental factors are both believed to play a role.
  • People with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people.
  • Early intervention can improve development, but currently diagnosis depends on clinical observation of behaviour, that is considered as an obstacle to early diagnosis and treatment.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. IISER Kolkata develops simulation to predict solar activity over 10 years

Context

  • A team of researchers from IISER Kolkata have developed a way of predicting the intensity of activity in the next solar cycle (approximately from 2020 to 2031) using data spread over the last 100 years.
  • Astronomers have observed sunspots on the surface of the Sun for nearly 400 years. We are currently in the 24th sunspot cycle since the observation of this cycle began, in 1755.

Sunspot

  • A dark patch on the surface of the Sun is known as sunspot.
  • Sunspots appear as dark areas because they are about 1500° cooler than the surrounding chromospheres.
  • The individual sunspot has a lifetime ranging from a few days to a few months.
  • Each spot has a black center or umbra, and a lighter region or penumbra, surrounding it.
  • It has been suggested that the Sun is 1% cooler when it has no spot, and that this variation in solar radiation might affect the climates of the Earth.

Benefits of observing solar activity

  • This kind of work will be very important for the understanding of the long-term variations of the Sun and its impact on our climate which is one of the science objectives of Aditya mission. The forecast will be also useful for scientific operational planning of the Aditya mission.
  • An important reason to understand sunspots is that they affect space weather. This refers to the effect of radiation, particle flux and magnetic flux in the region around the Sun.
  • During extreme events, space weather can affect electronics-driven satellite controls, communications systems, air traffic over polar routes and even power grids.
  • The other reason sunspots are interesting is the belief that they are correlated with climate on earth. A lot of the research in this area focusses on predicting the way the next sunspot cycle will shape up – whether the Sun will be extremely active and produce many sunspots or not.

D. GS4 Related

1. Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest is a situation in which an individual has competing interests or loyalties.  Conflicts of interest involve dual relationships; one person in a position in one relationship and a relationship in another situation. A conflict of interest can exist in many different situations.

The easiest way to explain the concept of conflict of interest is by using some examples:

  • With a public official whose personal interests conflict with his/her professional position
  • With a person who has a position of authority in one organization that conflicts with his or her interests in another organization
  • With a person who has conflicting responsibilities.

Types of activities that can create a possible conflict of interest include

  • Nepotism is the practice of giving favors to relatives and close friends, often by hiring them.
  • Self-dealing is a situation in which someone in a position of responsibility in an organization has outside conflicting interests and acts in their own interest rather than the interest of the organization.

These activities in themselves create the conditions for a conflict of interest, but not wrongdoing or criminal activity. For example, a business executive hiring her daughter might not be a conflict of interest unless the daughter is given preferential treatment, like giving her a salary higher than others in her pay level. If the executive isn’t in a position to give favors, there’s not a conflict of interest.

In the private (non-governmental) sector, most organizations have policies and procedures that don’t allow a conflict of interest, to avoid a potential problem before it occurs. For example, in the situation above, many businesses have policies against hiring relatives in certain situations.

E. Editorials

Category: ECONOMY

1. Are farmers all over India on the streets? (Farmer Distress)

Larger Background:

What is in the news?

  • Recently, mass farmer protests have erupted across the country over the past few months from Maharashtra to Bengal, with the October march in Delhi leading to violent clashes with the police.
  • The issue of Farm distress has been on top of the agenda for political parties in the Assembly elections.

Editorial Analysis:

A Look at the Problem:

  • Apart from the headline-grabbing protests, data show evidence of farm distress. National Crime Records Bureau statistics show more than 3 lakh farmers have killed themselves in the last two decades.
  • Indebtedness was cited as the reason for more than 55% of farmers’ suicides in 2015. Maharashtra, which saw the highest number of farmers’ suicides, has 57% of its farm families in debt. NSSO data show more than half of all farmers are in debt, with each household owing an average of  Rs. 47,000.
  • In States like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where levels of indebtedness are around 90%, the average debt of a household hovers around Rs. 1 lakh.
  • Almost 70% of agricultural households spend more than they earn and almost a quarter of all farmers live below the poverty line.
  • Census data for 2011 show the number of cultivators who own land have been overtaken by landless agricultural workers for the first time.
  • It is important to note that many of these 144 million workers earn less than Rs. 150 a day working in the fields, and the failure to generate jobs in other parts of the economy gives them few options.

Reasons Attributed:

  • Further, long-term issues include the increasing fragmentation of land — average plot sizes are barely more than one hectare — a lack of post-production infrastructure, marketing mechanisms and supply chains.
  • Also, the last two years have actually seen record farm output in most major crops, but the resultant glut has led to crashing prices. At the same time, input costs have spiked, with diesel prices surging 26% this year and fertilizer costs shooting up more than 15%.
  • It is also important to note that Demonetisation was a blow to many in the rural cash economy. The move affected farmers’ ability to buy seeds and fertilizers, pay off loans and hire farm labour, according to an initial Agriculture Ministry report to a parliamentary panel in the month of November 2018.
  • The Ministry later withdrew its report, however, farmers groups say the long-term impact of the note ban lingers.

What the government is currently doing:

  • The M.S. Swaminathan Commission had recommended that the minimum support prices for 23 major crops be set at 1.5 times the cost of production, and the government claims it has fulfilled its promises to do so.
  • However, the government’s calculation of the cost of production only includes actual paid-out costs and the imputed cost of family labour, while the Commission’s formula also included the imputed cost of capital and the rent on the land.
  • Moreover, it is important to note that the government only procures wheat, rice and a limited amount of pulses and oilseeds at MSP rates, benefiting only a fraction of farmers. Further, while loan waivers are a popular poll promise and have been implemented in some States, small farmers without access to institutional credit are often left out.

A Brief Note on the Agriculture Export Policy, 2018

  • The Government has come out with a policy to double farmers’ income by 2022.
  • Exports of agricultural products would play a pivotal role in achieving this goal. In order to provide an impetus to agricultural exports, the Government has come out with a comprehensive “Agriculture Export Policy” aimed at doubling the agricultural exports and integrating Indian farmers and agricultural products with the global value chains.

The Agriculture Export Policy has the following vision:         

“Harness export potential of Indian agriculture, through suitable policy   instruments, to make India global power in agriculture and raise farmers’ income.”

Objectives: Objectives of the Agriculture Export Policy are as under:

  • To double agricultural exports from present ~US$ 30+ Billion to ~US$ 60+ Billion by 2022 and reach US$ 100 Billion in the next few years thereafter, with a stable trade policy regime.
  • To diversify our export basket, destinations and boost high value and value added agricultural exports including focus on perishables.
  • To promote novel, indigenous, organic, ethnic, traditional and non-traditional Agri products exports.
  • To provide an institutional mechanism for pursuing market access, tackling barriers and deal with sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues.
  • To strive to double India’s share in world agri exports by integrating with global value chain at the earliest.
  • Enable farmers to get benefit of export opportunities in overseas market.

Certain policy solutions which lie ahead:

    • A government panel aiming to double farmers’ income by 2022 has come up with a 13-volume report, but its final set of policy recommendations is still pending with the Agriculture Ministry.
    • It is expected to focus on ways to ensure sustainability of production, monetisation of farmers’ produce, re-strengthening of extension services and recognising agriculture as an enterprise and enabling it to operate as such by addressing structural weaknesses.
  • In the month of December 2018, the Cabinet approved an agriculture export policy, lifting restrictions on organic and processed food, which it hopes will double farm exports by 2022 and widen the market for domestic produce.
  • It is important to note that farmers groups are urging political parties to support two private member Bills introduced in the last session of Parliament for guaranteed implementation of MSP and a comprehensive loan waiver and debt reduction scheme.
  • However, they have also come out with a wider charter of demands, which deals with input costs, social security, farm workers employment, land rights, irrigation, agro-ecology, crop insurance and contract farming.

Category: ART AND CULTURE

1. The marvel at Bhitargaon

Larger Background:

    • The temple at Bhitargaon was among several gupta period temples across india surveyed by Alexander Cunningham, who had been appointed by Curzon as “Archaeological Surveyor” in 1861.
    • Prior to this, temples were largely made of stone; existing gupta period temples from this period at nachna, tigawa, etc. have flat roofs, and Bhitargaon is one of the first to have a tall trapezoidal structure (shikhara) above the inner sanctum (garbha-griha).
    • It is important to note that this became a standard feature of later temples in the ‘nagara’ style.
  • After the ‘shikhara’ style caught on, the term was standardized in medieval texts such as the ‘Manasara’.
  • Bhitar-gaon or inner village, refers to the inner part of what was at some point known as pushp-pur (flower-town); the outer area is called bari-gaon or outer village.
  • Today the temple stands in a small ASI compound, with people’s houses and agricultural fields on all sides.
  • The fact that it has managed to survive for sixteen centuries within such dense human habitation is a testimony to the forbearance of the local population.

Editorial Analysis:

    • One of the most important sources for studying history is architecture, which is why it is often called built heritage.
    • It documents the progress of man and civilisation.
  • In India, religious and secular buildings are testimony to the skill of artisans and workers and the resources of the rulers and richer sections of society.
  • The excavations of cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation testify to early urbanisation, as early as 2,600 BCE.
  • Rock-cut architecture began to develop from the 3rd century BCE. Though the earliest rock-cut architecture is from the Mauryan dynasty, the Ajanta caves are among the earliest rock-cut temples.
  • Further, it is important to note that as man progressed and learnt new techniques, rock-cut temples gave way to stone temples and as stone was not easily available everywhere, to brick temples.
  • For example, in the Gangetic plains, which have alluvial soil and paucity of stones and rocks, many brick structures came up.
  • Though rock-cut and stone temples withstood the vagaries of time, brick temples were not so fortunate.
  • That is what makes the brick temple of Bhitargaon, about 50 km off Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, so special.

A Perspective on Cunningham’s Contribution:

    • In 1861, Lord Canning appointed Sir Alexander Cunningham as the Archaeological Surveyor to the Government of India, and it is to Cunningham that we owe a huge debt, for he located and rescued a good part of India’s built heritage.
    • He was responsible for excavations in Sarnath in 1837 and Sanchi in 1841. In 1871, he was made the first Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India.
    • After that began a series of field surveys, which are documented in reports.
    • In the Report of the Gangetic Provinces 1875-76 and 1877-78, Cunningham writes that his friend, Raja Ravi Prasada, gave him information of a brick temple near Kanpur that had superior terracotta work. Between November 1877 and February 1878 he made two visits to Bhitargaon.
  • It is important to note that the village Bhitargaon had been part of an ancient city called Phulpur. The temple was simply known as Dewal, or temple, by the locals. It is one of the earliest surviving brick temples of India.
  • Though Cunningham had placed it as belonging to the 7th century, it has subsequently been identified as belonging to the late Gupta period, to the 5th century.

Observations Made by Cunningham:

  • According to Cunningham, the temple, facing east, measures 66 sq ft and has indented corners.
  • The earliest photographs of it, taken by Cunningham’s assistant Beglar in 1878, show a small projecting hall before the entrance. The entrance into the sanctum shows one of the first uses of a semi-circular doorway.
  • It is, however, a corbeled or false arch composed of bricks placed edge to edge instead of face to face. Cunningham calls this the ‘Hindu arch’. He writes that this is peculiar to India. This is different from a true arch which has a wedge-shaped voussoir and a triangular keystone. The corbeled arch cannot support large domes whereas a true arch can.
  • The temple also has a tall pyramidical spire (shikhara) above the inner sanctum (garbha griha). This shikhara became the standard feature of the Nagara temple architecture of India.

F. Tidbits

1. Army set to scale down operations in Kashmir

 

  • Army operations in Kashmir are heading towards a point where other processes, especially political ones, can take over so that soldiers could return to the borders, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the strategic 15 Corps Lieutenant General Anil Kumar Bhatt said.
  • Gen. Bhatt said, “Results of operations never come in the short term… but we are making headway. The Army can always create conditions of peace and tranquillity for other processes, most importantly the political process, to take over. Presently, we are reaching there. In the long-term strategy, any Army would prefer to do its primary role of protecting the borders.”
  • On the growing number of local youth joining militants this year and the killing of 37 militants in November — the highest for any month in the ongoing offensive — the officer said a change in tactics was yielding results.
  • “One, there is cooperation from people. Two, we shortened operations and finished them in the night. The idea is not to be get involved in crowd control. It’s equally important for us to avoid civilian casualties. We have slowly learnt our lessons,” he said.
  • He said the build-up of local terrorists, even two years after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhwan Wani’s killing, was an area of concern.
  • “There is a bench strength terrorists maintain… The social media has been a challenge to us to this end… Photos of youth posing with guns posted online is done as part of strategy, so that the door to return [to civilian life] is shut.”

2. Are drugs discharged into the Yamuna toxic to aquatic life?

 

  • As our body does not use the entire quantity of the drug we take, most of it is excreted and end up in aquatic systems via domestic sewage. The report published in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety looks at the occurrence, fate and ecological risks of these compounds.
  • The researchers from IIT-Delhi and National Mission for Clean Ganga collected water samples from six sites across the 25 km river stretch during three different seasons (November 2010, April and July 2011).
  • The highest concentration of pharmaceutical compounds was located downstream Wazirabad at the point where Najafgarh drain joins the Yamuna. This is one of the largest drains of Delhi and has an average discharge of about 25 cubic metres per second. The report notes that this drain is the largest polluter of the river contributing more than 50% of the total discharge into the Yamuna.
  • Caffeine was found in high concentration in most of the sites. Caffeine is used as a stimulant in medicine; residue from beverages and other food products may be a contributor.
  • Even prescription drugs such as carbamazepine were found in the samples with the highest level at 1.35 microgram per litre.
  • After studying the hazard quotient, the researchers say that though the individual levels were small and cannot cause acute toxicity to the marine life, the mixture of compounds can cause chronic toxicity.

3. Efforts begin to turn Brindavan into ‘Disneyland’

 

  • The Karnataka government is all set to float a global tender in a month to develop the famed Brindavan Gardens into an attraction on the lines of Disneyland in the U.S.
  • The project would be taken up under the PPP model and the State government would not invest “even a single rupee” for the venture, which is estimated to cost ₹1,425 crore.
  • The project would take two-and-a-half years to complete and come up on 336 acres of government land located in several blocks near the KRS dam. The ownership of the land would remain with the State government.
  • The Minister said a committee, headed by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, would seek guidance on the project. MLAs and Ministers from Mandya, Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, technical experts, the erstwhile Mysuru royal family, representatives from the Mysore University would be part of the the committee.
  • The Minister reiterated that the safety of KRS dam would not be compromised.
  • Earlier, the State government had announced a 60-metre Goddess Cauvery statue to be built on a museum tower near KRS. Indicating that the government had second thoughts on it, Mr. Shivakumar said that the government was yet to decide on whether the statue would be that of Goddess Cauvery or Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar.
  • The Minister said that a decision would be taken after holding consultations. As per the plan, the statue would be built 750 metres away from the dam. The masterplan included a lake, and tourists could reach the statue and museum by boat.

4. High security at Muzaffarnagar’s Hanuman Dham

 

  • Security has been reinforced at the ‘Hanuman Dham’ in Shukratal here as Bhim Army activists may attempt to take it over, police said on Saturday.
  • The move comes days after Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar said that members of the Dalit community should take over all Hanuman temples in the country and appoint Dalits as priests there.
  • He had said so while reacting to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s claim that “Lord Hanuman was a Dalit”.
  • Adityanath, while addressing a rally in Rajasthan’s Alwar district, had said: “Hanuman was a forest dweller, deprived and a Dalit. Bajrang Bali worked to unite all Indian communities, from north to south and east to west.”
  • A right-wing group in Rajasthan has sent a legal notice to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, asking him to apologise for calling Lord Hanuman a Dalit.
  • Last week, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes chairperson Nand Kumar Sai had claimed that Lord Hanuman was a tribal.

G. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Aviaindra 18 is a joint airforce military exercise between India and
  1. USA
  2. Russia
  3. Germany
  4. Australia

See

Answer
Question 2. Where is Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary located?
  1. Madhya Pradesh
  2. Maharashtra
  3. West Bengal
  4. Bihar

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements regarding International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):
  1. It reports to both United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and Security Council (UNSC).
  2. Its headquarters is in Vienna, Austria.

Choose the right code:

  1. 1 Only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

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Answer

I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam

  1. The life imprisonment is the rule and death penalty is the exception and even when the crime is heinous or brutal, it may not still fall under the category of rarest of rare. Discuss this statement in the context of India (250 words; 15 Marks)
  2. Eighteen people were arrested in Delhi recently for allegedly violating the National Green Tribunal’s orders on checking air pollution. In this context, write a note on the causes and solutions to the Delhi’s Air Pollution problem. (150 words; 10 Marks)

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