11 Jul 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

11 July 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
HEALTH
1. ‘15-20% tested developed antibodies against virus’
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Solar energy will play big role in ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’: PM
2. Fresh push for pedal power in smart cities
3. 1.2 million snakebite deaths in India in the past two decades
SECURITY
1. After camel back, drones used for cross-border smuggling
DEFENCE
1. IAF gets last of 5 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters from Boeing
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. In the name of ‘cooperative federalism’
2. Reform with caution
3. Crime as punishment
ECONOMY
1. Do we need a fiscal council?
F. Prelims Facts
1. Tiger orchids
G. Tidbits
1. U.S. bans Pakistan’s PIA over pilot licence scandal
2. 14% excess rain in India so far this monsoon
3. First bus rolls into Swabhiman Anchal after Independence
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. Fresh push for pedal power in smart cities

Context:

With public transport affected due to the spread of COVID-19, the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has invited cities to come up with quick solutions for promoting cycling.

Details:

  • The ‘India Cycles 4 Change Challenge’ and an online portal for cities to submit their proposals were launched by the Smart Cities Mission of the Ministry.
  • Cities would be encouraged to create extensive cycling networks using low-cost methods like pop-up cycle lanes and non-motorised zones and set up community-led cycle rental schemes.
  • Apart from the 100 cities implementing the Smart Cities Mission, cities with a population of over 5 lakh and capitals of States and Union Territories can apply.
  • In October 2020, 11 cities will be shortlisted and will receive ₹1 crore award and guidance from national and international experts to further scale-up the initiatives in stage two, which will be held until May 2021.
  • The programme would be supported by the India Programme of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

3. 1.2 million snakebite deaths in India in the past two decades

Context:

According to a study conducted by the Centre for Global Health Research (CGHR) at the University of Toronto, Canada, with Indian and U.K. partners, India recorded a staggering 1.2 million snakebite deaths in the 20-year period from 2000 to 2019.

Concerns:

  • About 58,000 deaths were caused by snakebite annually.
  • Around 70% of these deaths occurred in low altitude, rural areas of eight States — Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • The study also points out that half of all the snakebite deaths occurred during the monsoon period from June to September.
  • In the largest ever such survey published in 2011 and titled ‘Snakebite Mortality in India: A Nationally Representative Mortality Survey’, researchers of the Million Death Study project estimated 46,000 annual snakebite deaths in India.
  • Indian anti-venoms neutralise venom from only the spectacled cobra (there are three other Indian cobra species), common krait (there are seven other krait species), Russell’s viper and saw-scaled viper, whereas there are 12 other snake species causing fatal bites in the country.

Details:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises snakebite as a top-priority neglected tropical disease.
  • Since deaths are restricted mainly to the lower altitude, intensely agricultural areas, during a single season of each year, this should make the annual epidemics easier to manage.
  • Experts suggest that targeting certain areas and educating people with simple methods such as ‘snake-safe’ harvest practices — using rubber boots and gloves, mosquito nets and rechargeable torches (or mobile phone flashlights) — could reduce the risk of snakebites.

Category: SECURITY

1. After camel back, drones used for cross-border smuggling

Issue:

Pakistan-based criminal syndicates and terror outfits that smuggled drugs, weapons and other illegal goods on camel back across the vast Thar desert in Rajasthan and through well-trained foot couriers, are taking to drones.

Details:

  • The latest case of arms dropping through a Pakistani drone was detected when the Border Security Force shot down the UAV near Rathua village in the Hira Nagar sector of Jammu.
  • Also, a weapon consignment was dropped through three drone sorties in the Dera Baba Nanak area of Punjab’s Gurdaspur.
    • Preliminary investigation revealed that it had been sent at the instance of Ranjeet Singh Neeta, chief of Pakistan-based Khalistan Zindabad Force, who was recently designated by the Central Government as a terrorist under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
  • Quadcopters are also being deployed by Pakistani agencies for spying activities in the border areas.

Way forward:

  • With the increasing use of drones for cross-border smuggling, the Indian security agencies must look for various ways to put in place reliable systems as part of a smart border management mechanism for deterrence.
  • In terms of border security, drone jammers may not prove to be more effective.
  • There is a need to reinvent border management through other viable options for surveillance, detection and use of anti-drone techniques.

Category: DEFENCE

1. IAF gets last of 5 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters from Boeing

Context:

Boeing has handed over the last of the five AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Details:

  • India contracted 22 Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook helicopters from Boeing through the Foreign Military Sales programme of the U.S. government in September 2015 under a $3 billion deal.
  • During the India visit of President Donald Trump in February 2020, India and the U.S. signed a deal for six additional Apaches for the Army.
  • Boeing’s joint venture in Hyderabad, Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited, has been producing aero-structures for the AH-64 Apache helicopter for both the U.S. Army and international customers.
  • Earlier, Boeing handed over the last five of the 15 CH-47F(I) Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to the IAF.

This topic has been covered in the 4th September 2019 Comprehensive News Analysis. Click here to read.

G. Tidbits

1. U.S. bans Pakistan’s PIA over pilot licence scandal

What’s in News?

The United States has banned Pakistan International Airlines from operating chartered flights to the country after the carrier said nearly 150 of its pilots would be grounded over fake or dubious licences.

Pakistan’s Aviation Minister recently revealed that a government review had found around 260 of the country’s 860 active pilots hold fake licences or cheated in exams.

  • It follows a similar move by European Union aviation regulators to bar the state-run carrier for six months.
  • The airline had suspended its commercial operations to the U.S. in 2017 after booking financial losses.
  • But in April 2020, the U.S. Department of Transport granted it special permission to operate chartered flights for one year, largely to bring back stranded Pakistanis during the coronavirus lockdown.

2. 14% excess rain in India so far this monsoon

  • According to data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Monsoon rainfall since June 2020 has been 14% more than what is normal for this time of the year.
  • So far, India has received 28.7 cm rainfall as opposed to the typical 25.2 cm.
  • IMD said the southwest monsoon had covered the entire country at a pace not seen since 2013.
  • The rain-bearing concentration of clouds, called the monsoon trough, oscillates from the east to the west of the country.
    • In its recent forecast, the IMD said that this trough is likely to shift northwards towards the foothills of the Himalayas.

3. First bus rolls into Swabhiman Anchal after Independence

  • Swabhiman Anchal in Odisha’s Malkangiri district is considered a stronghold of the CPI (Maoist).
  • Situated along the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border, Swabhiman Anchal comprising 151 villages was considered as a liberated zone by the Left ultras.
  • Even the State police was afraid of venturing into the cut-off area. Maoists from Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh used to slip into Swabhiman Anchal to take refuge.
  • After security forces established their area domination during the past few years, the situation took a turn for the better.
  • Different development initiatives were taken up. At least, nine roads have been laid in the difficult Ghat areas.
  • Gurupriya Bridge has been built which connects it with the rest of the State.

Read more about Swabhiman Anchal covered in the 22nd November 2019 Comprehensive News Analysis.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements:
  1. The Western Ghats have high endemism of orchids.
  2. In India, the highest number of orchid species is recorded from Arunachal Pradesh.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • According to Orchids of India: A Pictorial Guide, as published by the Botanical Survey of India, Western Ghats have high endemism of orchids.
  • The highest number of orchid species is recorded from Arunachal Pradesh with 612 species, followed by Sikkim (560 species) and West Bengal; Darjeeling Himalayas have also high species concentration, with 479 species.
Q2. Consider the following statements with respect to ASEEM digital platform:
  1. It is an AI-based platform designed to bridge the demand-supply gap of skilled workforce across sectors.
  2. It is developed and managed by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
  3. It was launched by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development.

Which of the given statement/s is/are incorrect?

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has launched AI-based ASEEM digital platform to bridge the demand-supply gap of skilled workforce across sectors.
  • ASEEM stands for Atmanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping.
  • ASEEM is developed and managed by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) in collaboration with Bengaluru-based company Betterplace, specialising in blue-collar employee management.
Q3. Consider the following statements with respect to AH-64 Apache:
  1. It is the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter.
  2. India has procured AH-64 Apache from Russia.
  3. It is also used by the US Army.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Boeing has handed over the last of the five AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • The AH-64 Apache is the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter and is also used by the US Army.
  • India contracted 22 Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook helicopters from Boeing through the Foreign Military Sales programme of the U.S. government in September 2015 under a $3 billion deal.
Q4. Consider the following statements with respect to the recently inaugurated Rewa 
Solar project:
  1. It is India’s first renewable energy project to supply to an institutional customer outside the State.
  2. It is Asia’s largest solar power project.
  3. It is located in Madhya Pradesh.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Rewa Solar project is Asia’s largest 750 MW solar power project.
  • It is located in Rewa district, Madhya Pradesh.
  • It is India’s first renewable energy project to supply to an institutional customer outside the State, i.e, Delhi Metro.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Discuss the measures that must be taken by the Centre to address the ongoing fiscal tensions between the Centre and the States. (15 Marks, 250 Words).
  2. ‘The ends of justice are not served by retributive measures and constitutional justice is non-negotiable’. In light of the given statement, discuss the significance of the due process of law in criminal investigations. (15 Marks, 250 Words).

Read the previous CNA here.

11 July 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

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