28 Feb 2024: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

28 Feb 2024 CNA
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A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
1. Supreme Court issues contempt notice to Patanjali, MD Balkrishna
C. GS 3 Related
1. India to have its own space station by 2035, says Modi
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
1. Decoding spending
1. Burden of power
1. EU wary as Macron hints at Western troops in Ukraine
F. Prelims Facts
1. ‘10,000 genome’ project completed, says govt.
2. Similipal seeks more female tigers from other regions
3. Railways restores ‘passenger train’ fares
4. The plant that wants to be left alone
G. Tidbits
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine


1. Burden of power

Syllabus: GS-3, Indigenisation of technology and developing new technology; General awareness in the fields of  Space

Mains: Significance of India’s Gaganyaan mission


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the final shortlist of Air Force pilots for India’s human spaceflight mission, Gaganyaan. 
  • The mission aims to send Indian astronauts to low-earth orbit on an Indian rocket, with test flights planned for 2024 and 2025.

Gaganyaan’s Progress and Approval:

  • The Union Cabinet approved Gaganyaan in 2018, allocating ₹10,000 crore for the ambitious project. 
  • Despite challenges such as pandemic-related delays and commercial commitments, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has progressed with the mission, signalling two test flights in 2024 and 2025, followed by a crewed launch in 2025.

Political Influence and Democratic Scrutiny:

  • While acknowledging the potential for political influence in such a massive undertaking, the Gaganyaan needs to be more than just a politically motivated venture. 
  • The Indian Space Policy 2023 mandates ISRO to focus on applied research, development, and a long-term roadmap for sustained human presence in space. 
  • The call is for a transparent justification that can withstand public scrutiny and debate, promoting a democratic culture in space exploration.


  • Thus, instead of Gaganyaan being solely motivated by geopolitical aspirations and the quest for ‘space superpower’ status, it needs to focus on scientific exploration, expanding human horizons, and creating new scientific and societal values. 
  • The emphasis is on maintaining a perspective that goes beyond nationalistic ambitions, aligning with India’s directive to land on the moon by 2040 while fostering a culture of democratic space exploration.

Nut Graf: As India nears the conclusion of the Gaganyaan mission, the focus must shift from political motives. Emphasizing transparent justifications, public scrutiny, and a cultural shift toward democratic space exploration, it should ideally aim for scientific and societal value over a ‘space superpower’ status driven by geopolitical aspirations.


1. EU wary as Macron hints at Western troops in Ukraine

Syllabus: GS-2, Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Mains: Potential confrontation between NATO and Russia


  • French President Emmanuel Macron stirred unease among European allies by refusing to rule out sending Western ground troops to support Ukraine in its conflict against the Russian invasion
  • Macron emphasized the necessity of doing “everything that is necessary” to defeat Russia, including deploying troops.

Confrontation with NATO:

  • The Kremlin responded with a warning of the “inevitability” of confrontation between NATO and Russia if Western ground troops were sent to Ukraine. 
  • This move would challenge a significant taboo in Western diplomatic relations.

Lack of Consensus: 

  • Macron acknowledged there was “no consensus” on sending Western ground troops to Ukraine but asserted that nothing should be ruled out to prevent Russia from winning the war. 
  • Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico highlighted disunity among European leaders on the issue, while Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson of Sweden, set to join NATO, expressed scepticism. 
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reaffirmed the initial agreement that European or NATO states would not send soldiers to Ukrainian soil.

Macron’s Conviction: 

  • Macron remained convinced that the defeat of Russia was crucial for European security and stability, underlining the commitment to take any necessary actions to ensure Russia’s loss in the conflict.

Nut Graf: French President Macron’s openness to deploying Western ground troops to assist Ukraine against Russia prompts caution from European allies and a Kremlin warning. It raises concerns about potential NATO-Russia confrontation escalation if troops enter Ukraine.

F. Prelims Facts

1. ‘10,000 genome’ project completed, says govt.

Context: The completion of India’s ‘10,000 genome’ project marks a significant milestone in the nation’s scientific endeavours. 


  • Spearheaded by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), this initiative aims to compile a comprehensive reference database of whole-genome sequences originating from diverse population groups across India. 
  • Since India’s pioneering sequencing of a complete human genome in 2006, the need for a database reflecting the country’s population diversity has been evident.
  • With over 4,600 distinct population groups within India’s 1.3 billion population, the genetic landscape is incredibly rich and varied. 
  • Endogamous practices among many groups have contributed to the amplification of unique variations and disease-causing mutations within specific communities. 

Significance: The outcomes of this ambitious project are far-reaching. They include enhancing diagnostic methods, identifying genetic predispositions to diseases, developing personalized drugs, improving gene therapy, and shedding light on individual susceptibility to infectious diseases. As India joins other countries in genome sequencing endeavours, this initiative heralds a new era of precision medicine and scientific advancement tailored to diverse populations.

2. Similipal seeks more female tigers from other regions

Context: The Odisha government’s concern over the prevalence of pseudo-melanistic tigers in the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) underscores the challenges of inbreeding within the tiger population. 


  • With 13 adult tigers exhibiting pseudo-melanistic traits—a condition marked by wide, merged stripes—out of 30 tigers found in Odisha’s forests, urgent measures are being considered. 
  • The state’s decision to approach the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to introduce female tigers from other regions aims to mitigate inbreeding effects and enhance genetic diversity.
  • The All Odisha Tiger Estimation (AOTE 2023-24) report highlights the urgency of addressing this issue. 
  • Susant Nanda, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), emphasizes the need for meticulous studies before initiating the introduction of female tigers from other areas into STR.
  • A study, led by molecular ecologist Uma Ramakrishnan, reveals that nearly 37% of tigers in STR exhibit pseudo-melanistic traits, reflecting the extent of the issue. 
  • Despite Similipal’s extensive forest coverage, tigers remain confined to isolated habitats, further emphasizing the need for genetic intervention.

Significance: The government’s proactive approach signals a commitment to preserving India’s rich biodiversity and ensuring the long-term viability of its tiger populations.

3. Railways restores ‘passenger train’ fares

Context: In a welcome move for commuters, the Indian Railways has reinstated second-class ordinary fares for certain trains previously categorized as “Express Specials” or “MEMU Express.” 


  • Post-lockdown, the Railways had phased out the concept of passenger trains, altering their nomenclature and eliminating ordinary class fares. 
  • This resulted in a significant increase in the minimum ticket price, raised from ₹10 to ₹30, aligning it with express train fares.
  • Following concerns raised about the fare changes and their impact on passengers, railway authorities swiftly responded to the issue. 
  • After a report by The Hindu shed light on the re-designation of passenger trains with elevated fares, the Railway Board convened a review meeting. 
  • Consequently, an alert was issued to all Zonal Railways to revert to the previous fare structure, restoring the second-class ordinary fares.
  • This decision comes as a relief to many travellers, especially those who rely on passenger trains for their daily commute. 

Significance: By reinstating the second-class ordinary fares, the Indian Railways aims to ensure fair and affordable access to train travel for all sections of society. It reflects the responsiveness of railway authorities to public concerns and their commitment to providing accessible and inclusive transportation services across the country.

4. The plant that wants to be left alone

Context: The touch-me-not plant, scientifically known as Mimosa pudica, intrigues observers with its fascinating response to touch. 


  • When touched, its bipinnate compound leaves exhibit a remarkable shrinking reaction, capturing the curiosity of botanists and nature enthusiasts alike.
  • This unique phenomenon is attributed to the specialized structure of the plant’s leaves, particularly the presence of a swollen base called the pulvinus.
  • The pulvinus comprises two distinct halves: the lower half with thin-walled parenchyma cells and larger intercellular spaces, and the upper half with slightly thick-walled parenchyma cells and fewer intercellular spaces.
  • Upon touch, a touch stimulus reaches the pulvinus, causing a decrease in osmotic pressure in the lower half. 
  • Consequently, water is released into the intercellular space, leading to cell flaccidity. Meanwhile, the upper half maintains turgidity, creating a pressure imbalance that causes the leaves to droop, giving rise to the plant’s distinctive shrinking response.
  • The leaflets of the touch-me-not plant possess similar swollen bases called pulvimules, which also respond to touch stimuli by initiating a folding process, contributing to the overall shrinking reaction.

Significance: The touch-me-not plant’s unique ability to shrink upon touch serves as a captivating example of nature’s intricate mechanisms and continues to spark interest and study among botanists and researchers worldwide.

G. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following crops:
  1. Cotton
  2. Mustard
  3. Rice
  4. Wheat

Which of these are Rabi crops?

  1. 1 & 2
  2. 2 & 3
  3. 2 & 4
  4. 1, 3 & 4

Answer: c

Explanation: Rabi crops are those sown in the winter season, typically between October and December, and harvested in the spring. Among the crops listed, Mustard and Wheat are Rabi crops as they are sown in the winter months and harvested in the spring.

Q2. Consider the following statements:
  1. KOMODO or Multilateral Naval Exercise KOMODO (MNEK) is an annual military exercise by the Seychelles’ Navy.
  2. Exercise CHAKRAVAT involves the participation of the Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, and Paramilitary Forces, as well as several disaster response organizations, and NGOs.

Which of the above statements is/are true?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 & 2
  4. None of the above

Answer: b

Explanation: KOMODO is a multilateral naval exercise hosted by Indonesia. 

Q3. Consider the following statements:
  1. India’s first 99.99% pure green hydrogen plant was commissioned by Oil India Limited (OIL) in West Bengal.
  2. Hydrogen produced from nuclear energy via electrolysis is referred to as pink hydrogen.

Which of the above statements is/are true?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 & 2
  4. None of the above

Answer: b

Explanation: India’s first 99.99% pure green hydrogen plant was commissioned by Oil India Limited (OIL), in Assam, not West Bengal. 

Q4. Which of the following tribes is associated with the Andaman & Nicobar Islands?
  1. The Malmis
  2. The Purigpa
  3. The Apatani
  4. The Balawa

Answer: d

Explanation: The Balawa is a tribe of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The Malmis belong to Lakshadweep. The Purigpa tribe is found in Ladakh and the Apatani are found in Arunachal Pradesh.

Q5. The Service Area Approach was implemented under the purview of ? PYQ (2019)
  1. Integrated Rural Development Programme
  2. Lead Bank Scheme
  3. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
  4. National Skill Development Mission

Answer: b

Explanation: The Lead Bank Scheme was introduced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to ensure the availability of banking services to all households in a particular area. Under this scheme, each district in India was assigned to one or more lead banks which were responsible for coordinating the efforts of other banks in that district to achieve banking penetration and promote financial inclusion. The Service Area Approach was a key component of the Lead Bank Scheme, where banks were assigned specific geographical areas (service areas) to provide banking services and credit facilities to all sections of the population.


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