02 Mar 2024: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

02 March 2024 CNA
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A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
1. With China out, Indian firm to build Sri Lanka power project
C. GS 3 Related
1. Unrestrained poaching plays big role in decline of Odisha’s leopards
2. India to establish international alliance to protect big cats
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
1. Decoding the script
1. Change and Continuity in India’s Palestine Policy
F. Prelims Facts
1. Centre’s housing scheme for tribal groups facing hurdles due to lack of accurate data
2. U.S. drone sales to India progress to the next stage
3. India to see warmer summer as El Nino conditions continue
4. Centre signs five contracts to procure arms and ammunition for ₹39,125 cr.
G. Tidbits
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

C. GS 3 Related


1. Unrestrained poaching plays big role in decline of Odisha’s leopards

Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation

Prelims: Leopards

Mains: Reasons for the decline of Odisha’s leopards

Context​: Unrestrained poaching poses a significant threat to the leopard population in Odisha, leading to a drastic decline in numbers. Between 2018 and 2022, approximately one-fourth of Odisha’s leopards were lost primarily due to poaching activities.


  • Decline in Leopard Population: The ‘Status of Leopards India’ report highlighted a sharp decline in Odisha’s leopard population, estimating a loss of around 25.26%.
  • Distribution: Leopard occupancy is now confined to Protected Areas such as Similipal and Satkosia tiger reserves, Hirakud and Kotagarh wildlife sanctuaries, with absence in previously occupied regions like Nayagarh and Ghumsur forest divisions.
  • Threats to Leopard Population: Poaching remains a significant threat, along with habitat loss due to human activities such as mining and road accidents.
  • Extent of Poaching: The report indicates widespread poaching activities targeting leopards for their skins and body parts, with a substantial number of skins seized by authorities over the years.


  • Ecological Balance: Leopards play a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance by controlling prey populations.
  • Biodiversity: The decline in the leopard population signifies a loss of biodiversity and indicates environmental degradation.
  • Economic Impact: Effective conservation measures can boost eco-tourism and contribute to the economy through wildlife tourism.
About Leopards:

  • The Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) is distributed across India, Nepal, Bhutan, and parts of Pakistan, excluding mangrove forests and desert habitats.
  • Listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN Red List.


  • Enhanced Patrolling: Strengthening patrolling efforts and law enforcement to curb poaching activities, especially outside protected areas where a significant leopard population resides.
  • Prey Recovery and Habitat Management: Implementing measures for prey recovery and habitat management to ensure adequate food sources and suitable habitats for leopards.
  • Awareness Campaigns: Conducting awareness campaigns to educate locals about the importance of leopard conservation and the consequences of poaching.

Nut Graf: The decline in Odisha’s leopard population due to rampant poaching calls for immediate action from the state authorities. Effective enforcement of laws, habitat conservation, and community involvement are essential to safeguarding the future of leopards in the region and preserving biodiversity.

2. India to establish international alliance to protect big cats

Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation

Prelims: Big Cats International Alliance

Context​: India’s Union Environment Ministry has proposed the establishment of an International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) akin to the International Solar Alliance, to promote global conservation efforts for big cats. This initiative reflects India’s commitment to leveraging its expertise in tiger conservation for the benefit of all ‘big cat’ species.


  • Lack of International Coordination: Currently, there is no international body dedicated to addressing conservation challenges faced by big cats across their habitats, leading to a gap in resource allocation and best practices dissemination.
  • Need for Conservation Efforts: Big cat populations worldwide are under threat due to habitat loss, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict, necessitating coordinated conservation initiatives.


  • Conservation Leadership: India’s leadership in tiger conservation has been globally recognized, making it well-positioned to spearhead efforts for the protection of all ‘big cat’ species.
  • Global Collaboration: The establishment of the IBCA will facilitate collaboration among countries, conservation organizations, scientific institutions, businesses, and corporates interested in big cat conservation.
  • Capacity Building: Membership in the alliance will provide access to technical expertise, funding, and training opportunities for frontline staff and local communities, enhancing their capacity for wildlife conservation.
Big Cats:

  • Lion
  • Tiger
  • Leopard
  • Jaguar
  • Snow Leopard
  • Cheetah
  • Cougar
  • Clouded Leopard


  • Establishment of IBCA: Formalize the establishment of the International Big Cat Alliance, headquartered in India, with a commitment of ₹150 crore over five years.
  • Membership Expansion: Encourage more countries to join the alliance, leveraging India’s diplomatic channels to garner support and participation from nations harbouring ‘big cats.’
  • Capacity Building Initiatives: Develop training programs for frontline staff in member countries, focusing on wildlife monitoring, community engagement, and eco-tourism development.
  • Knowledge Sharing: Create a central repository for technical know-how and best practices in big cat conservation, facilitating information exchange among member countries.

Nut Graf: The establishment of the International Big Cat Alliance underscores India’s commitment to global wildlife conservation efforts. By leveraging its expertise and resources, India aims to address the conservation challenges faced by ‘big cat’ species worldwide.


1. Change and Continuity in India’s Palestine Policy

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

Mains: India’s Palestine policy

Context:​ India’s stance on the Palestine-Israel conflict has historically been supportive of the Palestinian cause, maintaining a delicate balance between its relationship with Israel and its commitment to Palestine. However, recent events have sparked discussions regarding a potential shift in India’s policy towards Palestine, raising questions about continuity and change.

Historical Perspective

  • India initially opposed the partition of Palestine in 1947, aligning with the Arab bloc’s stance.
  • Despite recognizing Israel in 1950, India refrained from establishing full diplomatic relations, maintaining support for the Palestinian cause during the Cold War era.
  • Full diplomatic relations with Israel were established in 1992, leading to deepening bilateral ties while publicly advocating for a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Recent Developments

  • Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Israel in 2017 marked a significant milestone in bilateral relations, emphasizing personal rapport with Israeli counterparts.
  • Following the October 7 Hamas attack in Israel, Modi expressed solidarity with Israel, indicating potential shifts in India’s stance.
  • India’s abstention from a UN General Assembly vote on a humanitarian truce in Gaza raised further concerns about policy realignment.

Evolving Approach

  • India’s Palestine policy has evolved under different leaderships, emphasizing pragmatism and realpolitik.
  • While continuing to support the two-state solution, India has refrained from commenting on contentious issues such as Jerusalem’s status and borders, focusing on dialogue and diplomacy.

Post-October 7 Analysis

  • Despite expressions of solidarity with Israel, India’s voting record at the UN and statements by the Ministry of External Affairs demonstrate a commitment to a sovereign Palestinian state and condemnation of Israeli settlements.
  • India’s engagement with the Palestine-Israel conflict reflects a nuanced approach, neither fully endorsing Israeli actions nor being a staunch critic.

India’s Interests

  • India’s support for the Palestinian cause aligns with its aspirations to lead the Global South and uphold humanitarian principles.
  • Concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the broader regional implications of the conflict highlight India’s strategic interests in promoting stability and resolving the Palestine question.

Nut Graf: India’s policy towards Palestine exhibits a balance between continuity and change, reflecting evolving geopolitical dynamics and national interests. While deepening ties with Israel, India maintains support for the Palestinian cause, emphasizing diplomacy and a two-state solution.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Centre’s housing scheme for tribal groups facing hurdles due to lack of accurate data

Context: The PM Janjati Adivasi Nyay Maha Abhiyaan (PM-JANMAN), a housing scheme targeting tribal communities, faces challenges due to the lack of accurate data on beneficiaries. The scheme, launched with ambitious targets, aims to provide housing to tribal groups but is hindered by discrepancies in population estimates and incomplete surveys.


  • Data Accuracy: Inaccurate estimates of the tribal population, varying from 28 lakh to 44.64 lakh, pose challenges in identifying eligible beneficiaries for the housing scheme.
  • Incomplete Surveys: State governments conducted surveys based on estimates provided by the Centre, leading to discrepancies and incomplete data on tribal populations and their locations.


  • Tribal Welfare: The PM-JANMAN scheme is crucial for improving the living conditions of tribal communities, addressing housing needs, and reducing vulnerability.
  • Development Goals: Providing housing to tribal groups aligns with broader development objectives, promoting inclusive growth and reducing disparities in access to basic amenities.

2. U.S. drone sales to India progress to the next stage

Context: The progress of the sale of MQ-9B high altitude long endurance armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from U.S. company General Atomics to India marks a significant development in bilateral defense cooperation. The deal, initiated during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s State visit to Washington DC, has advanced to the next stage after completing a 30-day Congressional notification period.


  • Allegations of Conspiracy: The sale faced obstacles in the U.S. Congress due to allegations of Indian government involvement in a plot to assassinate Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a U.S. citizen, on American soil.
  • Political Considerations: With general elections approaching in India, the timing of further steps in the procurement process may be influenced by domestic political dynamics.
About MQ-9B high altitude long endurance armed UAV

  • Designed and manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.
  • It is part of a family of remotely piloted aircraft systems that are used for surveillance, reconnaissance, and strike missions.
  • Designed for long-duration flights, capable of staying airborne for more than 40 hours, depending on the mission requirements.
  • Can operate at altitudes of up to 40,000 feet.
  • Capable of carrying a variety of weapons, including precision-guided bombs and missiles.


  • Enhanced Defense Capabilities: The acquisition of MQ-9B UAVs will bolster India’s defense capabilities, providing advanced reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities in both conventional and asymmetric warfare scenarios.
  • Bilateral Relations: The progress of the sale underscores the deepening defense ties between India and the United States, reflecting mutual trust and strategic partnership in the Indo-Pacific region.

3. India to see warmer summer as El Nino conditions continue

Context: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted a warmer summer for India due to the continuation of El Nino conditions until at least May. Regions such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, north interior Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Odisha are expected to experience more heatwave days than usual. Additionally, above-normal rainfall is predicted for March, with above-normal maximum and minimum temperatures anticipated across most parts of the country from March to May.


  • El Nino Conditions: The persistence of El Nino conditions contributes to warmer temperatures, affecting weather patterns and climatic conditions across India.
  • Heatwave Vulnerability: Northeast peninsular India, including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and north interior Karnataka, along with parts of Maharashtra and Odisha, are particularly vulnerable to heatwaves, posing risks to public health and agricultural productivity.


  • Impact on Agriculture: Warmer temperatures and reduced rainfall may adversely affect agricultural activities, potentially leading to crop failures and water scarcity in certain regions.
  • Public Health Concerns: Higher temperatures increase the risk of heat-related illnesses and fatalities, necessitating public health interventions and awareness campaigns to mitigate the impact on vulnerable populations.

4. Centre signs five contracts to procure arms and ammunition for ₹39,125 cr.

Context: The Union Ministry of Defence recently finalized five major capital acquisition contracts amounting to ₹39,125.39 crore for the Indian armed forces. These contracts encompass a range of equipment, including aero-engines, Close-in Weapon Systems (CIWS), High-Power Radar (HPR), BrahMos missiles, and ship-borne BrahMos cruise missile systems.


  • Dependency on Foreign Equipment: Historically, India has relied on imports for its defense equipment needs, leading to significant expenditure and dependency on foreign manufacturers.
  • Indigenous Capabilities: Enhancing indigenous defense manufacturing capabilities has been a longstanding goal to reduce dependency on imports and strengthen national security.
About MIG 29:

  • The MiG-29, also known as the Mikoyan MiG-29, is a twin-engine jet fighter aircraft designed in the Soviet Union.
  • Developed by the Mikoyan Design Bureau as an air superiority fighter during the 1970s.
  • It was designed to counter the American F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft.

About Close-in Weapon System (CIWS):

  • A Close-in Weapon System (CIWS) is a point-defense system for detecting and destroying incoming missiles, aircraft, and sea threats at short range.
  • Typically mounted on naval ships, CIWS is designed to intercept and neutralize threats that have penetrated other layers of defense before they can hit the ship.


  • Strengthening Indigenous Capabilities: The procurement contracts with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Larsen & Toubro (L&T), and BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL) aim to bolster indigenous capabilities in defense manufacturing.
  • Cost Savings and Self-Reliance: By investing in domestic production, these contracts are expected to save foreign exchange, create employment opportunities, and reduce reliance on foreign-origin equipment, contributing to self-reliance in defense production.

G. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements in the context of the report 
“Status of Leopards”:
  1. Madhya Pradesh houses the largest population of leopards in the country.
  2. Leopard is classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN Red List.

How many of these statements is/are correct?

  1. Only statement 1
  2. Only statement 2
  3. Both statement 1 and statement 2
  4. None

Answer: c

Q2. Consider the following statements regarding “The Genome India Project”:
  1. AIIMS Hospital, New Delhi initiated the “Genome India Project” in 2020.
  2. The Genome India Project aims to sequence 10,000 Indian genomes.
  3. It helps in combating diseases like heart failure.

How many of these statements is/are incorrect?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Answer: b

Q3. Consider the following statements regarding the Cauvery River:
  1. It originates in the Vindhya Range.
  2. It forms the largest delta in India.
  3. The Cauvery River water sharing is primarily disputed between Karnataka and Maharashtra.

How many of these statements is/are incorrect?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Answer: d

Q4. Consider the following statements regarding the PM Janjati Adivasi Nyaya 
Maha Abhiyaan (PM-JANMAN):
  1. It is a scheme for all Adivasi communities in India.
  2. Primarily focused on providing basic amenities like housing, clean water, sanitation, etc.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

  1. Both Statement I and Statement II are correct and Statement II is the correct explanation for Statement I
  2. Both Statement I and Statement II are correct and Statement II is not the correct explanation for Statement I
  3. Statement I is correct but Statement II is incorrect 
  4. Statement I is incorrect but Statement II is correct

Answer: d

Q5. Consider the following statements:
  1. Statement 1: Carbon fibres are used in the manufacture of components used in automobiles and aircraft.
  2. Statement 2: Carbon fibres once used cannot be recycled.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: a

Click on the link for the video explanation of the above questions and answers.


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