19 Feb 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis


A. GS1 Related
1. 42 Indian languages stare at extinction
B. GS2 Related
1. Myanmar dam on border worries Manipur village
C. GS3 Related
1. India still hopeful of nuclear deal with Westinghouse
2. Cryptoassets regulation
3. Banks to knock at RBI’s door on PNB impasse
4. Hyperloop to link Pune, Mumbai
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
1. For India, it should be neighbourhood first
1. Doctors for rural India
1. Electoral reforms
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Category: CULTURE

1. 42 Indian languages stare at extinction

Why in news?

  • More than 40 languages or dialects in India are considered to be endangered and are believed to be heading towards extinction as only a few thousand people speak them, officials said.
  • According to a report of the Census Directorate, there are 22 scheduled languages and 100 non-scheduled languages in the country, which are spoken by a large number of people — one lakh or more.
  • However, there are 42 languages which are spoken by fewer than 10,000 people. These are considered endangered and may be heading towards extinction.
  • A list prepared by UNESCO has also mentioned about the 42 languages or dialects in India that are endangered and they may be heading towards extinction.

Which are the endangered languages in India?

  • The languages or dialects which are considered endangered, include 11 from Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Great Andamanese, Jarawa, Lamongse, Luro, Muot, Onge, Pu, Sanenyo, Sentilese, Shompen and Takahanyilang), seven from Manipur (Aimol, Aka, Koiren, Lamgang, Langrong, Purum and Tarao) and four from Himachal Pradesh (Baghati, Handuri, Pangvali and Sirmaudi).
  • The other languages in the endangered category are Manda, Parji and Pengo (Odisha), Koraga and Kuruba (Karnataka), Gadaba and Naiki (AP), Kota and Toda (Tamil Nadu), Mra and Na (Arunachal Pradesh), Tai Nora and Tai Rong (Assam), Bangani (Uttarakhand), Birhor (Jharkhand), Nihali (Maharashtra), Ruga (Meghalaya) and Toto (West Bengal).

Role of Central Institute of Indian Languages

  • The Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, has been working for the protection and preservation of endangered languages in the country, under a central scheme.

B. GS2 Related


1. Myanmar dam on border worries Manipur village

Why in news?

  • A dam being constructed by Myanmar across a river close to the boundary with India has stoked fears of submergence and water scarcity among border villagers in Kengjoi subdivison of Manipur’s Chandel district.
  • Residents of Khangtung village reported to district officials about the dam being built by Myanmar authorities barely 100 metres from the zero line separating the two countries.
  • The dam, called Tuidimjang, is on the Twigem river flowing into Myanmar from Manipur. Khangtung, inhabited by the Thadou tribe, is 137 km south of Manipur capital Imphal.

What do the International rules say?

  • International rules warrant border countries to check activities in No Man’s Land – a 150-metre strip on either side of the boundary line.

What will be the impact of dam construction?

  • The topography of the area is such that Khangtung and other Indian villages will be submerged if the dam comes up. The villagers, dependent on the river, are already facing water scarcity.
  • When the dam is completed, the entire Khangtung village will be inundated and the villagers will face untold miseries and require relocation and rehabilitation.
  • This project will have huge negative social, cultural and economic impact on the residents of Khangtung and other Indian villages.
  • Manipur has had issues with internal dams too. In June 2015, a tribal village named Chadong in Ukhrul district was submerged by the Mapithel dam on river Thoubal.
  • Construction of the Mapithel dam, initially known as Thoubal Multipurpose Project that aimed to produce 7.5MW of power, irrigate 21,862 hectares of land and provide 10 million gallons of drinking water, began in 1989 amid protests from people downstream.
  • The Khuga dam south of Manipur’s Churachandpur town has hit turbulence too. Taken up in 1980, the project lay dormant until 2002 leading to cost escalation from the initial Rs. 15 crore to Rs. 381.29 crore in 2009.
  • The project sanction by the Planning Commission was said to have inherent flaws, as a result of which the power component of 1.5MW incorporated in the initial design was scrapped despite near-completion of a powerhouse.

What is the controversy about Tipaimukh project?

  • Controversy has also dogged Tipaimukh, the mega hydroelectric project proposed on river Barak in Manipur 35 years ago.
  • Dhaka is against the project, as Barak flows into Bangladesh from Manipur through southern Assam and feeds the Surma and Kushiara rivers in the country.
  • At least three anti-dam organisations in Manipur and downstream Assam have been protesting against the Tipaimukh project to be built by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd.
  • Apart from large-scale submergence, they fear ecological degradation, if the dam is built.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. India still hopeful of nuclear deal with Westinghouse

  • India is confident of concluding the nuclear deal with reactor-maker Westinghouse Electric very soon as it expects the company to come out of bankruptcy very soon.
  • Toshiba, which had acquired the U.S.-based Westinghouse in 2006, was too big to fail and would be bankrolled either by the Japanese government or the Japanese Development Bank.
  • Following the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, India has been in discussion with Westinghouse since 2005 to build six AP1000 nuclear reactors.
  • After protracted negotiations and concerns on the nuclear liability, NPCIL and Westinghouse had agreed to work toward finalising the contractual arrangements by June 2017.
  • However, the process was stalled after Toshiba Corp declared bankruptcy and decided to move out of reactor-building business.
  • Meanwhile, the second site for constructing additional Russian reactors in Andhra Pradesh is yet to be finalised.
  • The site selection committee is evaluating a second site in Andhra Pradesh other than Kovvada which was initially proposed. There are DAE guidelines laid down for finalising a site.
  • Stating that the process is under way, the official said that various factors such as land type, earthquake potential, and availability of water should all be factored in. Given that it is a coastal site, there are also other parameters.

2. Cryptoassets regulation

  • Despite repeated cautions by the Reserve Bank of India and the Finance Ministry about the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies and their illegality when used as actual currency, the crypto-industry is still pretty enthusiastic about India and maintains that even the government’s negative stance has been exaggerated.
  • The RBI has issued three warnings about cryptocurrencies since 2013, and the Finance Ministry in December issued a strongly-worded notice likening crytocurrencies to Ponzi schemes and emphasised that buyers and investors were risking their money by investing in these products.
  • This culminated in Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Budget speech on February 1, when he again reiterated the government’s position that cryptocurrencies were not legal tender and the government would look to curb any illegal transactions and financing using these digital currencies.

Is it legal or not?

  • While several commentators took this to mean that the government had declared cryptocurrencies illegal, industry players in contrast took a lot of heart from Mr. Jaitley’s statement, saying that instead of suggesting a ban, the government looked like it was considering regulation of the industry.
  • Even foreign currencies in the country are commodities and not legal tender. If they are talking about illicit use, it seems to suggest a regulatory environment rather than destroying the entire industry.
  • The government was not comfortable with the words ‘coin’ or ‘currency’ because these are not legal tender, and so instead wanted to call them ‘crypto-assets’.
  • Likewise, the industry body representing most of the block-chain and crytocurrency companies in India agrees with this assessment.
  • Citibank banned the use of its credit and debit cards for the purchase of cryptocurrencies in India given concerns, both globally and locally, including from the Reserve Bank of India, cautioning members of the public regarding the potential economic, financial, operational, legal, customer protection, and security-related risks associated with dealing in them.
  • The central bank’s view, however, doesn’t seem as cut-and-dry as made out to be. RBI came out with a report on the fintech sector, in which it dedicated a section to digital currencies (DCs).
  • It went into the modalities of such currencies and also their future potential, an indication that the RBI was not totally closed to the applications of digital currencies.
  • The implications of DCs for financial firms, markets and system will depend on the extent of their acceptability among users. If use of DCs were to become widespread, it would likely have material implications for the business models of financial institutions. DCs could potentially lead to a disintermediation of some existing payment services infrastructure.
  • Some cyrptocurrency players are also of the opinion that if the government wished to act decisively against crypto-currencies, it would have already done so.
  • If the government had to completely ban these crypto-currencies, then they would have do so already. I think they want to understand whether calling it illegal would result in serious harm, or whether simply declaring it illegal will stop the system or force people into buying these digital currencies using cash.
  • The Income Tax Department this year sent one lakh notices to people who invested in crypto-currencies and whose investments didn’t match their income profile.
  • This too was widely seen as an anti-cryptocurrency move, but industry players downplayed its significance saying the number of notices sent was too small and that they didn’t have much weight given that the current financial year is yet to end.
  • Suppose somebody has sold bitcoins after April 2017, not even one financial year has gone, so it couldn’t possibly have reached their income tax returns. The maximum that could have happened is that they could have reported any gains they made in their advance tax. The returns are only going to go in July 2018.

Is KYC compliance helping?

  • Another argument being made is that the reason the I-T department found it so easy to track down investors in cryptocurrencies was because the exchanges adhered to the same KYC rules as those followed by banks.

3. Banks to knock at RBI’s door on PNB impasse

Why in news?

  • Banks are planning to approach the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to break the impasse with the fraud-hit Punjab National Bank (PNB), which is declining to pay them the dues till investigations into the Rs. 11,500-crore LoU scam are completed. All the banks first tried to convince PNB to honour the commitments.
  • The banks have decided to approach the central bank through the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). Last week, the state-run lender informed the stock exchanges about the detection of $1.77 billion (Rs. 11,500 crore)-worth unauthorised transactions where fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs) were issued from a branch in Mumbai to secure overseas credit.

Who is liable to pay?

  • Bankers, at the meeting, pointed out that LoUs were issued by PNB for buyers’ credit. Since the other banks had extended loans to PNB (the amount was credited to PNB’s NOSTRO account) which, in turn, gave the funds to firms involved in the fraud, the state-run lender was liable to pay the other lenders.
  • Allahabad Bank, for example, had an exposure of $366.87 million and State Bank of India $212 million to PNB. If PNB did not pay them, these lenders would have to classify the loans (given to PNB) as NPAs. In that case, the total loan impairment arising out of this particular case could rise to Rs. 20,000 crore.

What do the PSBs say?

  • Public sector banks, already reeling under huge non-performing assets (NPAs), do not want to their books to be impaired further by this issue which, they said they believed, is not of their making. As a result, they now want the regulator to break the deadlock as soon as possible.

What are the 2015 guidelines issued by RBI?

  • RBI have already issued a guideline in 2015 for similar kinds of cases. They have to just reiterate the guideline which covers all these kinds of scenarios.
  • RBI had pointed out to the failure of internal control of PNB as being the main reason for the fraud taking place. It said it was assessing the situation and would take appropriate supervisory action. It may be recalled that the banking regulator had already undertaken a supervisory assessment of control systems in PNB.

Were the loans backed by assets?

  • Some of the banks that had exposure to the companies of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi — the main accused in this fraud — said their loans were backed by the assets of companies such as Gitanjali Gems.
  • The Enforcement Directorate had conducted searches at several properties belonging to Mr. Modi and reportedly seized diamond and gold jewellery worth more than Rs. 5,000 crore.

4. Hyperloop to link Pune, Mumbai

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials


1. For India, it should be neighbourhood first

  • As India’s salience in global matters grows — amply demonstrated recently by the presence of 10 leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at India’s Republic Day celebrations, the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to India, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest forays to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman and Palestine — its leaders also need to contemplate and reflect deeply on what is happening in India’s immediate neighbourhood.

In the vicinity

  • Far more than East, South-east Asia, or West Asia, it is India’s immediate neighbourhood that directly impacts it geopolitically, geo-strategically and geo-economically.
  • Whatever be the ambit of India’s reach elsewhere, India’s principal focus, hence, will need to be on this neighbourhood.
  • India can afford to live with demands such as the one made at the recently concluded ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit, where it was urged to play a pro-active role in the Asia-Pacific region, without needing to take hard decisions.
  • It possibly also does not have to answer questions as to whether ASEAN nations fully back India’s membership of the Quadrilateral (Australia, Japan, the United States and India), even as most of them back China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
  • India can even afford to skirt the issue as to whether ASEAN-India relations are all embracing in nature or limited only to specific aspects.
  • In West Asia, India still possesses enough leeway to engage in skilful manoeuvre around contentious issues without having to take a stand. India could, thus, successfully handle an Israeli Prime Minister’s visit to India just prior to Mr. Modi’s visit to Palestine, and yet avoid a negative fallout.
  • It could also separate the technological blush of Mr. Netanyahu’s visit without having to take a clear stand on the issue of Jerusalem.
  • Likewise, Mr. Modi, during his Palestine visit could conclude as many as six agreements and express the hope that Palestine would soon emerge as a sovereign independent country in a peaceful manner without having to specifically refer to a united and viable Palestine.
  • With the UAE and Oman, things have been easier. With the former, trade and economic ties as also counter-terror aspects have been on a growth curve.
  • With the latter, an established friend, the option of closer naval co-operation and of reaching an agreement to give the Indian Navy access to Duqm port did not prove difficult.
  • It is in South Asia where troubles are mounting, where India cannot succeed without looking at some hard options.
  • For instance, how to deal with a new government in Nepal (comprising the Left Alliance of the CPN-UML led by Oli and the CPN-Maoist Centre led by Prachanda) with few pretensions as to where its sympathies lie.
  • India also needs to now contemplate the prospect of prolonged unrest and possibly violence, both communal and terror-related, in neighbouring Bangladesh, prior to scheduled elections in 2019.
  • This follows the conviction by a special court in Dhaka of Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader and three-time Prime Minister Khaleda Zia on corruption charges. Dealing with both Nepal and Bangladesh will need more than fine gestures; they will need far more closer monitoring.
  • Another and a more imminent challenge for India is to sort out the imbroglio in the Maldives which is threatening to spill out of control. No amount of dissimulation will help. India cannot afford not to be directly engaged in finding a proper solution.
  • Relations between India and the Maldives have undergone significant changes since the days of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. After the Maldivian Democratic Party, headed by former President Mohamed Nasheed, came to power, for the first time anti-Indian forces within the Maldives (including radical Islamist groups sponsored by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia) could muster some support.
  • It was also Mr. Nasheed’s initial overtures to China that set the stage for Maldivian-China relations. Under the current President, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, anti-Indian tendencies have steadily increased and there has been a pronounced tilt in favour of China.
  • The free trade agreement that the Maldives signed recently with China has been the proverbial thin end of the wedge, providing China with an excellent opportunity to enhance its influence and retain de facto possession of the Southern Atolls in the Maldivian archipelago.
  • Straddling a strategic part of the Western Indian Ocean, the Maldives today occupies a crucial position along the main shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean.
  • The Southern Maldives has long remained an object of interest to the major powers. With the U.S. taking a step back, China has begun to display a great deal of interest in the area; this coincides with its current outreach into the Indian Ocean Region as also its ongoing plans to take control of Gwadar port (Pakistan) and establish a naval base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
  • India cannot, hence, afford to remain idle and must come up with an answer soon enough that is consistent with its strategic interests. A muscular reaction would be ill-advised, despite the entreaties of Mr. Nasheed, as the international community is likely to react adversely to any military adventure.
  • China is, meanwhile, playing its cards carefully, calling for home-grown solutions and warning against any military intervention. The critical need is to find a solution early — one that takes into account India’s geostrategic and geopolitical interests in the region. Else, it would have far-reaching consequences as far as India’s quest for regional power status is concerned.

Across the border

  • Two other issues, viz., Pakistan and Afghanistan, similarly demand our focussed attention, and that India acts with a sense of responsibility expected of a regional superpower.
  • The virtual collapse of a Pakistan policy seems to affect Pakistan less and India more. The latter is facing a daily haemorrhaging of human lives due to cross border firing and terrorist violence from Pakistan.
  • In spite of its internal political crisis, and U.S. President Donald Trump’s fusillade threatening Pakistan with dire consequences if it failed to amend its ways, Pakistan shows no sign of altering its anti-India trajectory. Democratic India can hardly afford to remain as blasé and let things slide, without effectively trying to find ways and means to change a situation which is certainly not to our advantage.
  • Equally vital for India is to try and find a way out of the Afghan morass. The daily massacre of innocents, men, women and children, civilian officials and military personnel, experts from several countries and diplomats, marks the start of the complete collapse of a system of governance.
  • Despite periodic optimistic forecasts of the Taliban being in retreat, terrorists under check, and that the Afghan government is still in charge, Afghanistan’s position today is the worst ever since the 1970s.
  • This January, the capital city of Kabul witnessed one of the worst ever incidents of violence anywhere, in which over 100 civilians were killed following a series of terror strikes.
  • This happened despite the presence of foreign troops, elements of the Afghan military and also of the Afghan police. Notwithstanding the omnipresent Pakistan hand in the violence in Afghanistan, this kind of engineered chaos over a prolonged period of time effectively demonstrates that the Afghan state has virtually disintegrated.
  • The collapse of the Afghan state does have severe consequences for India and nations in the vicinity. As a regional power, India has significant stakes in Afghanistan. Apart from the human cost and the fact that New Delhi has spent over $2 billion in providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, India’s true stake lies in sustaining the future of the Afghan state.
  • Its “shrivelling” or “demise” and any premature end to the attempt to restore peace in Afghanistan will only revive memories of the worst days of the Afghan jihad in the 1980s and 1990s, and India has every reason to feel concerned about the fallout.
  • Of no less consequence is the fact that if Afghanistan were to cease to exist, its civilisational links with India would also evaporate. For a variety of reasons, therefore, India cannot allow Afghanistan to collapse or cease to exist as a state in the modern sense. This is something that demands India’s critical attention, and specially for a display of its leadership skills.
  • For all these reasons, and apart from those currently at the helm of affairs in India, the leaderships of parties and States across the spectrum must try and achieve a unanimity of purpose in regard to our foreign policy priorities. Today, the focus needs to be on our immediate neighbourhood.
  • The outcome of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the turmoil in the East and South China Seas, or other big-ticket issues across the world are important, but it is South Asia and the neighbourhood that demands our concentrated attention.
  • If India is not seen to be actively involved in ensuring that the region is at peace and functions in conformity with its world view, any claims to leadership would amount to little more than treading water.


1. Doctors for rural India

  • Nearly 600 million people in India, mostly in the rural areas, have little or no access to health care. A widespread disregard for norms, a perpetual failure to reach targets, and an air of utter helplessness are what mark the state of rural health care today. One can add to this another fact: the country is short of nearly five lakh doctors.
  • Among the range of measures that have been suggested in the past decade is a rather promising proposal which has been sidelined. If properly implemented, it may provide rural India with a lasting pool of primary care physicians.

The contours

  • A few years ago, the Union Health Ministry drew flak when it put forth a proposal to train a new cadre of health professionals. Under this plan, these professionals, after undergoing a short term, 3-3.5 year course in modern medicine, were to serve the health needs of the rural population, with a focus on primary care.
  • Such short-term courses aren’t new in the Indian health-care scenario. In the 1940s, primary care physicians — who were trained under short-term courses, and broadly termed Licentiate Medical Practitioners (LMPs) — would deliver quality services in the rural sector until the Bhore Committee (1946) recommended abolishing them in the idea that India would produce enough MBBS doctors.
  • The committee made certain laudable recommendations in connection with the public health system. Back then, however, nobody could have anticipated the country’s miserable failure in achieving most of the targets prescribed by the committee, even years after Independence.
  • While a profit-driven, private health-care sector continued to denude the public health system of its qualified physicians, its medical education system kept losing touch with the actual health needs of the country.
  • Starting a short-term course in modern medicine can provide an opportunity to design a medical curriculum that is much more relevant to the nation’s needs.
  • Its entry requirements could be based less on sheer merit and more on an aptitude for medical service and preference should be given to applicants from within the community. Further, a provision for learning in the vernacular languages can be made.

Not quacks

  • Short-term courses in modern medicine have been consistently equated with producing “cheaply made, poor quality doctors”. However, one begs to differ with this. LMPs cannot be called quacks if they be adequately trained in their field (primary care) and have a well-defined role in health care.
  • The present MBBS curriculum includes a good amount of superfluous detail, including subjects such as forensic medicine, that is of little relevance to primary care physicians.
  • Here, we should also note that even though nurse practitioners and pharmacist medical practitioners may be capable of serving the same functions as LMPs, they cannot be expected to make up a lasting pool of dedicated grass-rootlevel physicians.
  • Another concern is that the rural population would be made to feel like second class citizens by appointing a lower tier doctor to treat them. This can be put to rest by not letting LMPs replace MBBS doctors but instead work in a subordinate capacity.
  • A few changes in the public health system can be envisioned here: LMPs be employed in sub-centres where they perform both clinical and administrative functions at the sub-centre level.
  • This would also allow easier access to primary and emergency care and keep the post of medical officer for MBBS doctors, thereby deterring any competition between the two cadres of physicians.
  • Medical officers (MBBS) could be employed in primary health centres (PHC), and new recruits imparted mandatory further training of a sufficient duration in basic clinical specialties.
  • Also, inpatient facilities at PHCs can be scaled up. PHCs should deal with cases referred to them by sub-centre LMPs and also supervise their work.


  • With LMPs working at the grass-root level, a single PHC would be able to handle a bigger population, allowing for more resources to be concentrated on individual PHCs for manpower and infrastructure development and also for increasing the remuneration of medical officers.
  • Ancillary responsibilities can be taken off an MBBS doctor and their skills put to better use. Quality emergency and inpatient attention can be made available at the PHC-level. Today, less than a handful of PHCs provide inpatient care of significance.
  • Concerns about the clinical and administrative incompetence of fresh MBBS graduates appointed as bonded medical officers can be put to rest.
  • LMPs could be allowed to take up a postgraduate course in primary care as an option to study further. Those with a postgraduate qualification could choose to move higher up in the public health system, establish their own practice, find positions in hospitals, or serve as faculty in medical colleges training LMPs.
  • Therefore, reviving LMPs can help address the dearth of trained primary care physicians in rural India. The logistical entailments of implementing this idea would require separate deliberation


1. Electoral reforms

  • Adding to the growing body of judicially inspired electoral reforms, the Supreme Court has imposed an additional disclosure norm for candidates contesting elections.
  • It has asked the Centre to amend the rules as well as the disclosure form filed by candidates along with their nomination papers, to include the sources of their income, and those of their spouses and dependants.
  • The court has also asked for the establishment of a permanent mechanism to investigate any unexplained or disproportionate increase in the assets of legislators during their tenure.
  • The verdict of the two-judge Bench on a petition from the NGO, Lok Prahari, is one more in a long line of significant verdicts aimed at preserving the purity of the electoral process.
  • These include the direction to provide the ‘NOTA’ option in voting machines, and another striking down a clause that saved sitting legislators from immediate disqualification upon conviction.
  • It has ruled that the act of voting is an expression of free speech, and that it is part of this fundamental right that voters are required to be informed of all relevant details about a contestant.
  • This led to the rule that candidates should furnish details of any criminal antecedents, educational qualifications and assets. If disclosure of assets is mandatory, it is only logical that the sources of income are also revealed.
  • And as it is often seen that there is a dramatic increase in the assets of candidates at every election over what was disclosed in previous affidavits, it stands to reason that any rise should be explained or probed.
  • Few will dispute that lawmakers amassing wealth or gaining unusual access to public funds and loans are concerns that need to be addressed through new norms.
  • To give teeth to its order, the court has made it clear that non-disclosure of assets and their sources would amount to a “corrupt practice” under Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • Lest a question be raised whether the court’s order to amend the relevant rules amounted to legislation, the Bench has said it sees no legal or normative impediment, as the Centre is empowered by the Act to frame rules in consultation with the Election Commission.
  • The idea of a permanent mechanism to collect data about the assets of legislators and periodically examine them is laudable, but it is not clear which authority will run it.
  • The court envisions a body that would make recommendations for prosecution or disqualification based on its own findings. The Centre and the Election Commission will have to jointly address the issue.
  • The larger message from the verdict is that a fully informed electorate and transparent candidature will be key components of future elections in India.


F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements about Chandrayaan-2:
  1. Chandrayaan-2 will be ISRO’s first inter-planetary mission to land a rover on any celestial body.
  2. A rover is a space exploration vehicle designed to move across the surface of a planet or other celestial body.

Which of the above statements are correct?

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




Type: Science and Technology
Level: Moderate

  • Chandrayaan-2, the lunar mission under which the ISRO will for the first time attempt to land a rover on the moon’s south pole.

  • The rover of India’s second lunar mission, costing nearly Rs 800 crore, will be made to land near the yet-unexplored south pole.

  • India is going to launch Chandrayaan-2 in April. The Chandrayaan-1 mission spotted water on the moon. Chandrayaan-2 is a further extension of the project and it is as good as landing a man on the moon.

  • Chandrayaan-2 will be ISRO’s first inter-planetary mission to land a rover on any celestial body.

  • Landing the rover near the south pole is a very tricky area with rocks formed a million years ago. It has very old rocks. This could possibly help us understand the origin of universe.

  • Another reason behind landing the rover near the south pole was that the area has not been explored by other missions.

  • A rover is a space exploration vehicle designed to move across the surface of a planet or other celestial body. Some rovers have been designed to transport members of a human spaceflight crew; others have been partially or fully autonomous robots.

  • Rovers usually arrive at the planetary surface on a lander-style spacecraft.

  • Rovers are created to land on another planet, besides Earth, to find out information and to take samples.

  • They can collect dust, rocks, and even take pictures. They are very useful for exploring the universe.

Question 2. Consider the following statements about Light pollution:
  1. Light pollution, also known as photo-pollution, is the presence of anthropogenic light in the night environment.
  2. Its negative impacts include increasing energy consumption and disrupting the ecosystem and wildlife.
  3. Frequent use of LED technology increases light pollution

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. All of the above




Type: Science and Technology
Level: Moderate

Light Pollution

  • Light pollution, also known as photopollution, is the presence of anthropogenic light in the night environment.

  • It is exacerbated by excessive, misdirected or obtrusive uses of light, but even carefully used light fundamentally alters natural conditions.

  • As a major side-effect of urbanization, it is blamed for compromising health, disrupting ecosystems and spoiling aesthetic environments
    Effects of Light Pollution.

  • For three billion years, life on Earth existed in a rhythm of light and dark that was created solely by the illumination of the Sun, Moon and stars.

  • Now, artificial lights overpower the darkness and our cities glow at night, disrupting the natural day-night pattern and shifting the delicate balance of our environment.

  • The negative effects of the loss of this inspirational natural resource might seem intangible. But a growing body of evidence links the brightening night sky directly to measurable negative impacts including

  • Increasing energy consumption

  • Disrupting the ecosystem and wildlife

  • Harming human health

  • Effecting crime and safety

    Light pollution threatens Chile’s dark skies

  • Frequent use of LED technology increases light pollution and threatens the work of observatories in the Atacama desert

  • It seems nothing can escape the inexorable spread of light pollution – not even the giant telescopes probing the heavens above northern Chile, a region whose pristine dark skies, long considered a paradise for astronomers, are under increasing threat.

  • The Atacama desert, 1,200 km north of the capital Santiago, provides ideal conditions where astronomers study the stars in darkness so profound they appear like diamonds on velvet.

  • Scientists estimate that by 2020, Chile – a critically important country for optical and radio astronomy – will host 70% of the globe’s astronomical infrastructure.

  • But the ever-expanding use of cheap light-emitting diode (LED) lighting in the booming South American country is starting to concern astronomers desperately trying to safeguard some of the world’s darkest skies.

Question 3. Consider the following statements:
  1. Jawaharlal Nehru Port is also known as Nhava Sheva.
  2. JNP accounts for more than half of total container volumes.

Which of the above statements are correct?

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




Type: Economy
Level: Moderate

Jawaharlal Nehru Port

  • Jawaharlal Nehru Port, also known as Nhava Sheva, is the largest container port in India.
  • JNP accounts for more than half of total container volumes handled at India’s 12 public ports and around 40 percent of the nation’s overall containerized ocean trade.
Question 4. Consider the following statements:
  1. Assam is home to more than 50% of Indian rhinos.
  2. Wildlife fast-track courts exclusively deal with poaching and other related crimes against wild animals.
  3. Such courts have been set up for the first time in the country in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. All of the above




Type: Ecology and Environment
Level: Moderate

Assam and Rhinos

  • In a major initiative for wildlife protection, the forest guards in Assam were given modern weapons like self-loading rifles (SLRs) and 9 MM pistols to check poaching of rhinos, tigers and other wild animals.

  • For the first time in the country, 10 wildlife fast-track courts have been set up to exclusively deal with poaching and other related crimes against wild animals.

  • Wildlife fast-track courts have been set up in 10 districts in Assam and such courts have been set up for the first time in the country.

  • Assam has five national parks and 19 wildlife sanctuaries. It is home to more than 91% of Indian rhinos (2,431 rhinos as per 2015 census). It is also home to 167 tigers, 248 leopards, 1,169 swamp deer besides a large number of wild buffaloes, different varieties of deer and other animals.

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper II

  1. Supreme Court has imposed an additional disclosure norm for candidates contesting elections. Discuss the need for such a move in India.
  2. Although India’s salience in global matters grows, India’s principal focus will need to be on its neighbourhood. Critically examine.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

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