27 June 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 27th June 2021:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
GEOGRAPHY
1. Clues from meteorite to Earth’s mantle
B. GS 2 Related
C. GS 3 Related
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Why bacteria develop multi-drug resistance
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. A fabled wonder in danger
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. ED transfer of defaulters’ assets to PSBs
2. Reining in the Big Four
F. Prelims Facts
1. Army Aviation raises tempo in operations along the LAC
2. Earth-borne aliens
G. Tidbits
1. Experts oppose decision to open Corbett, Rajaji round the year
2. Govt. raises alert on Delta Plus
3. India, Greece seek respect for territorial integrity
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. A fabled wonder in danger

Context:

  • The World Heritage Committee’s drawing up of a resolution to inscribe Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) on the ‘List of World Heritage in Danger’.
    • Given the geological history of the GBR and the vast diversity of marine life that it hosts, it was listed under UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1981.

Background:

GBR under threat:

  • The 2019 Outlook Report of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, notes with concern the long-term state of the ecosystem deteriorating from poor to very poor.
    • The Outlook Report records widespread and significant declines in many coral species since 2014. It notes the decline in coral larvae and the reduction of adult brood stock.

Threats:

  • The reef system faces severe environmental threats.

Climate change risks:

  • The climate change crisis has led to warming of the ocean waters and has also contributed to rising sea levels. This has contributed to the GBR experiencing three big events of coral bleaching in 2016, 2017 and 2020.

Environmental pollution:

  • Increasing use of chemicals in the agricultural sector and the farm run-off and the coastal pollution has been a big challenge to the GBR.

Impact of developmental activities:

  • The coastal development and other commercial uses of the GBR like limestone mining has impacted the reef ecosystem.
  • The Carmichael Coal Mine project with its increased shipping traffic through the Great Barrier Reef heritage area could have a negative impact on the reef

Other factors:

  • Coral growth is also endangered by the proliferation of crown-of-thorns starfish, which consumes them.

Concerns:

Ecological:

  • The destruction of the GBR will negatively impact the delicate ecological balance between the various organisms in the reef ecosystem.
  • The GBR hosts an assemblage of fishes and invertebrates in the reefs, including the dugongs, green turtles and other species in seagrass meadows, and sharks, rays, anemones, sponges, worms.

Economic:

  • The GBR is a major tourist destination.
  • In 2015-16, tourism, fishing, recreational uses and scientific activities contributed an estimated $6.4 billion to the Australian economy.
  • The threat to the GBR will thus an economic impact on Australia.

Conclusion:

  • The updated Reef 2050 Plan that Australia is pursuing for conservation of the GBR ecosystem should incorporate the urgent need for resolute action on climate and pollution threats to the GBR.

2. Reining in the Big Four

Context:

  • The U.S. proposed package of bills to better regulate the Big Tech.

Background:

  • The U.S. has been undertaking anti-trust scrutiny of the Big Tech over the last few years.
    • Anti-trust laws are meant to prevent unfair business practices.

For detailed information of the anti-trust concerns with respect to the Big Tech and the corresponding American laws refer to the following articles:

UPSC Comprehensive News Analysis of 15th Dec 2019

UPSC Comprehensive News Analysis of 29th Jan 2021

  • Given that experts have been warning that the evolution of technology and the advent of new business models have rendered the existing anti-trust laws ineffective, there have been calls for better regulation of the Big Tech.

Details:

  • The new package of six Bills that is now in the U.S. Congress is an attempt to consolidate anti-trust proceedings against new-age tech firms.
  • The package of bills aim to outlaw certain business practices that form the core of Big Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple.
  • Some of the major highlights of these bills include the following:
    • The Platform Competition and Opportunity Act would prevent big tech companies by buying up smaller rivals, to remove potential competition early one.
    • The Ending Platform Monopolies Act would prevent companies from becoming players on their own platforms which has allowed the Big Tech to enjoy substantial control in the sector while rendering others uncompetitive and unsustainable.
    • The American Choice and Innovation Online Act would prevent companies from giving preferences to their own products in the marketplaces they run.
    • One of the bills promotes interoperability, which would let users take data such as contacts lists and profile information with them while migrating to other platforms.
    • The Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act increases the government fee on large corporate mergers.

Arguments in favour:

  • Given the huge power that the Big Tech enjoy and the potential of misuse of this position, there is the urgent need to regulate such companies.

Arguments against:

  • Sceptics have dismissed the bills based on the potential adverse impact on the industry, which has helped contribute more jobs for the people, taxes to the government and economic growth
  • Some have termed the new laws as excessive government control on private enterprises which could have undesirable long term outcomes.

Significance for India:

  • Many nations have been taking legal or legislative routes to limit the influence of the Big Four, including in India.
  • The proposed laws in the U.S., which is the biggest market of the Big Tech may be followed up by similar regulation in all other countries as well.
  • This will be in line with India’s attempts to regulate the Big Tech.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Army Aviation raises tempo in operations along the LAC

List of army’s aviation related defence assets:

Indigenously developed:

  • Cheetah and Chetak helicopters
  • Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and Rudra
    • Rudra is a weaponised variant of Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH).
  • Light Combat helicopter (LCH)

Procured from other countries:

  • AH-64 Apache
    • The AH-64 Apache is an advanced multi-role combat helicopter and considered the world’s best attack helicopter. India is purchasing these from the
  • Heron-TP Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).
    • It is satellite communication-enabled and can fly up to an altitude of 45,000 feet and has an endurance of over 30 hours.
    • It is being leased from Israel Aircraft Industries.
  • Ka-226T utility helicopter
    • It is under negotiations with Russia

2. Earth-borne aliens

Gaia:

  • Gaia is a space observatory of the European Space Agency (ESA).
  • The spacecraft is designed for astrometry: measuring the positions, distances and motions of stars with unprecedented precision.
  • The Gaia mission aims to construct the largest and most precise 3D space catalogue of astronomical objects including stars, planets, comets, asteroids, quasars, etc.

G. Tidbits

1. Experts oppose decision to open Corbett, Rajaji round the year

  • Wildlife experts in Uttarakhand have opposed the State government’s decision to open Corbett and Rajaji tiger reserves for visitors all round-the-year.
    • Currently, these tiger reserves remain closed to visitors every year from end June to mid November.
  • The basis for the opposition is that such a move would amount to cruelty to the animal world and also the movement of both animals and humans in the wild during the season may also give rise to man-animal conflict situations.

2. Govt. raises alert on Delta Plus

  • The Union government has warned the States about the Delta Plus varian It has directed the States to initiate more focused and stringent measures to contain the spread of the virus.
  • Given the increased transmissibility, immune escape and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response associated with the delta plus variant, if this variant is not controlled in a timely manner, this could lead to a rapidly occurring ferocious third wave of the COVID pandemic.
  • The Delta Plus variant is a variant of concern and has already been identified and isolated in over 10 countries and nearly 50 cases have already been seen in India.

3. India, Greece seek respect for territorial integrity

  • During the visit of External Affairs Minister to Athens, India and Greece held discussions over the situation in Cyprus and have called for respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity by all members of the international community.
  • This is seen as an indirect response to Turkey’s plan to mark the anniversary of 1974 invasion of the island by Turkish forces.
    • The northern part of the Cyprus Island is controlled by Turkey and is known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
  • Several countries have condemned the move by Turkey over fears that the move could further escalate tensions in the eastern Mediterranean region.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which of the following statements with respect to Ethanol Blending of Petrol is/are 
correct?
  1. It ensures thorough combustion of fuel as Ethanol is high in oxygen content.
  2. It will solve the problem of agricultural waste.
  3. India has set a target of 20 per cent ethanol blending in petrol by 2030.

Options:

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Ethanol burns well because it is an oxygenate, meaning that ethanol molecules contain oxygen. Oxygen atoms inside ethanol join forces with oxygen molecules in the air to help ethanol burn more completely. This extra amount of oxygen also helps gasoline burn better when it is blended with ethanol. Hence, carbon monoxide production from ethanol fuel is significantly lower than that of petrol engines.
  • Given that ethanol can be produced from a variety of feed stocks such as sugar cane, bagasse, switch grass and also other cellulose biomass waste, it can be a potential solution to agricultural waste
  • The government has advanced the country’s target of 20 per cent ethanol blending in petrol by five years to 2025, from the earlier 2030.
Q2. Which of the given statement/s with respect to Integrated Child Development Services(ICDS)
 is/are correct?
  1. The beneficiaries of the programme are Children in the age group of 0-14 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
  2. It is a central sector scheme under the ministry of Women and Child Development.
  3. It aims to provide pre-school non-formal education to children.

Options:

  1. 1, 2 and 3
  2. 2 only
  3. 3 only
  4. None of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • The beneficiaries under the Scheme are children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
  • ICDS is a centrally sponsored scheme implemented by state governments and union territories.
  • The following services are sponsored under ICDS to help achieve its objectives:
    • Immunization
    • Supplementary nutrition
    • Health checkup
    • Referral services
    • Pre-school education(Non-Formal)
    • Nutrition and Health information
    • Contraceptive counselling for adolescents
Q3. Which of the given statements with respect to Green Sea Turtles is/are correct?
  1. Global warming contributes to the feminization of green sea turtles.
  2. They are found in tropical and subtropical seas around the world except for the Indian Ocean.
  3. Their presence in seas helps in providing a nursery for numerous species of fish, shellfish and crustaceans.

Options:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 2 only
  4. None of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Research has indicated that the global warming seems to be having an impact on the gender ratio of the green turtles. Warmer temperatures have led to feminization of green turtles, leading to significant scarcity or absence of adult males.
  • The Green turtle feeds on sea grass beds and by cropping the grass provide a nursery for numerous species of fish, shellfish and crustaceans.
  • Green sea turtles are found around the world in warm subtropical and tropical ocean waters, including the Indian Ocean.
Q4. Which of these UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India have been on the “List of World 
Heritage in Danger”?
  1. Group of Monuments at Hampi
  2. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram
  3. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
  4. Ellora Caves
  5. Sundarbans National Park

Options:

  1. 2, 3 and 5 only
  2. 1 and 5 only
  3. 2 and 4 only
  4. 1 and 3 only
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • The List of World Heritage in Danger is compiled by UNESCO.
  • The list is intended to increase international awareness of the threats and to encourage counteractive measures.
  • Previous delisted India sites include:
    • Group of Monuments at Hampi
    • Manas Wildlife sanctuary
Q5. The term ‘Domestic Content Requirement’ is sometimes seen in the news with reference to
  1. Developing solar power production in our country
  2. Granting licenses to foreign T.V. channels in our country
  3. Exporting our food products to other countries
  4. Permitting foreign educational institutions to set up their campuses in our country
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • The domestic content requirement (DCR) category was instituted in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission from the beginning of 2010 in an effort to create a healthy and robust indigenous manufacturing base and to elevate India’s status as a solar hub.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Highlight the major drawbacks surrounding India’s nationalized banks and discuss measures to improve efficiency and accountability. (10 marks, 150 words)[GS-3, Economy]
  2. Antitrust Bills initiated in the US House of Representatives will hold the Big Tech companies accountable for anti-competitive conduct and set a global precedent. Do you agree? Substantiate. (10 marks, 150 words)[GS- 3, Economy]

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 27th June 2021:- Download PDF Here

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