23 May 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 23rd May 2021:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
GEOGRAPHY
1. Yaas may become a very severe cyclonic storm: IMD
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. Call for action to protect Odisha tribes
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Treading the middle path
C. GS 3 Related
AGRICULTURE
1. Weather fluctuations may trigger pest attack on sugarcane crops in U.P.
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. How whiteflies came, saw and conquered India’s crops
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. A jobs crisis in the second wave of COVID-19
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Identifying mutants
F. Prelims Facts
1. Serum’s supply to COVAX hit by India’s poor planning
2. Celestial history
G. Tidbits
1. BRICS Astronomy Working Group moots networking of existing telescopes
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

Category: SOCIAL ISSUES

1. Call for action to protect Odisha tribes

Context:

  • More than 100 tribals among 10 out of 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in the state of Odisha have been affected by COVID-19.

For related information refer to:

UPSC Comprehensive News Analysis of 15th May 2021

Details:

  • Amid the concerns over rising COVID-19 positive cases among PVTGs, activists and writers have urged the Odisha government to take immediate steps to prevent loss of lives among the PVTGs like the Dongria Kondh and Bonda due to COVID-19.

Challenges:

  • There is a heightened sense of hesitancy among the tribal to use allopathic medicines. The tribals have been reluctant to even undergo the RT-PCR tests.
  • The measures announced to contain the spread of COVID-19 like home quarantine would not work among the tribals as privacy and isolation hardly exist within the tribal culture.

Recommendations:

  • Door to door surveys must be undertaken by a team of trained local volunteers for regular monitoring of symptoms, and reporting of any suspected cases.
  • The government should set up quarantine centres exclusively for tribals within 2 km of their settlements.
  • Health kits consisting of three layered masks, necessary medicines and vitamins must be distributed among the tribal communities.
  • The government must ensure upgradation of all primary health centres located in tribal areas and also ensure adequate provisioning of manpower, medical equipment, medicines and other infrastructure in these PHCs.
  • The vulnerable tribals must be provided with a special livelihood relief package as compensation for their agriculture and minor forest produce (MFP) which have come to a standstill.

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. How whiteflies came, saw and conquered India’s crops

Context:

  • Concerns over the spread of the whiteflies in India.

Details:

  • The invasive whitefly is now distributed throughout India except Jammu & Kashmir.
    • Most of the whitefly species are native to the Caribbean islands or Central America.

Concerns:

Rising number of invasive species:

  • The increasing import of plants and increasing globalization and movement of people has aided the spread of exotic varieties and their subsequent growth into invasive species.

Damage to crops:

  • Whitefly reduce the yield and also damage crops.
  • These invasive whiteflies have been found to have expanded their host range on valuable plants species like coconut, banana, mango, sapota, guava, cashew, oil palm, and important medicinal plants.

Nature of whiteflies:

  • A recent study has noted that the host range of all of the invasive whiteflies has been increasing due to their polyphagous nature (ability to feed on various kinds of food) and prolific breeding.

Ineffectiveness of available insecticides:

  • Whiteflies have been difficult to control by using available synthetic insecticides.

Recommendations:

Continuous monitoring:

  • The administration should ensure continuous monitoring of the occurrence of invasive species, their host plants and geographical expansion is needed.

Phytosanitary regulations:

  • Given the threat of invasive species, the state should ensure stricter phytosanitary measures at relevant places to reduce the chances of incoming exotic species.

Awareness among the citizens:

  • The state should also work towards increasing the awareness among the general populace about the threat posed by exotic species. This will help reduce the chances of general populace indulging in illegal or unintentional import of exotic species.

Use of biological control methods:

  • Given the fact that whiteflies are difficult to control by using synthetic insecticides, naturally occurring insect predators, parasitoids and entomopathogenic fungi (fungi that can kill insets) could be used as novel biological control of the invasive whiteflies.
    • Entomopathogenic fungi specific to whiteflies are isolated, purified, grown in the lab or mass-produced can be applied into the whitefly infested field in combination with the release of lab-reared potential predators and parasitoids.
  • Biological control based methods are not just environmentally friendly but also economically feasible.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Identifying mutants

Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia:

  • The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG) is an advisory group to the Central government.
  • It is a national multi agency consortium of ten laboratories of Department of Biotechnology, CSIR, ICMR and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • It has helped undertake the whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 virus across the nation in a more co-ordinated way. Thus it keeps a tab on the variants found in India. This continuous genomic surveillance and epidemiological surveillance will help the INSACOG flag potential virus variants of concern.
    • As per the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) around 20,000 samples have been sequenced till now and about 3,900 variants have been identified.
    • This included foreign variants like the B.1.1.7 (first identified in the United Kingdom), the B.1.351 (first found in South Africa) and a small number of P2 variants (from Brazil).
    • The B.1.617 variant also known as the ‘double mutant’ variant has also been flagged by it. In March, it was linked to a spurt in cases in Maharashtra.

For more information on the double mutant variant refer to:

UPSC Comprehensive News Analysis of 12th May 2021

Significance of genome sequencing:

  • The genome sequencing and correlating them with disease intensity helps flag variants of concern. Timely measures to limit the spread of variants of concern help limit the spread of the pandemic.
  • Genome sequencing helps understand the role of certain mutations in increasing the virus’s infectivity and this will help in the refabrication of existing vaccines if need be.
    • Some mutations have also been linked to immune escape, or the virus’s ability to evade antibodies, which could have a huge impact on the efficacy of existing vaccines.

Challenges for INSACOG:

  • INSACOG has not been able to achieve its target of sequencing at least 5% of the samples in India. It has been only around 1%. The shortage of funds and materials to scale up the process has been the major challenge to test more samples.
  • The sharing of datasets, even within constituent groups of the INSACOG has been less than ideal. This robs the initiative of the potential benefits that a more co-ordinated approach would bring, like more accurate and informed warnings and also a more responsive structure.
  • The INSACOG is only an advisory group to the Central government and its advice has not been given due weightage. Warnings about emerging variants were not made public with sufficient urgency.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Serum’s supply to COVAX hit by India’s poor planning

COVAX facility:

  • COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
    • It is one of the three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.
  • COVAX coordinates international resources to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access of vaccines for every country in the world. It emphasizes on pooled procurement and fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines,
  • It is led by Gavi, also known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
    • GAVI is a public–private global health partnership with the goal of increasing access to immunisation in poor countries.

2. Celestial history

  • The Milky Way galaxy merged with a satellite dwarf galaxy Gaia-Enceladus.
  • As per a recent study, this merger is believed to have taken place some ten billion years ago.

G. Tidbits

1. BRICS Astronomy Working Group moots networking of existing telescopes

  • Under the science, technology and innovation track of the BRICS 2021 calendar, India recently hosted the seventh meeting of BRICS Astronomy Working Group (BAWG).
    • India assumed the BRICS Presidency from January 2021 and has been organizing events, including ministerial level meetings, senior official meetings, and sectorial meetings or conferences.
  • The BRICS Astronomy Working Group has recommended networking of telescopes in member countries and creating a regional data network.
  • There was also a proposal to develop a collaborative flagship project in the area of astronomy. This could involve building a network of intelligent telescopes and regional data network, study of transient astronomical phenomena in the universe, and the use of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning applications to process the data generated by astronomical observations.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which of the given statement/s is/are correct w.r.t National Crisis Management Committee 
(NCMC)?
  1. Vice-chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority is the ex-officio chairman of the NCMC.
  2. NCMC and Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) are the key committees involved in the top-level decision-making with respect to Disaster Management (DM).
  3. It coordinates the activities of the ministries in the central government and the state governments in ensuring disaster preparedness and relief operations.

Options:

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Cabinet Secretary chairs the National Crisis Management Committee.
  • NCMC and Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) are the key committees involved in the top-level decision-making with respect to Disaster Management (DM).
  • NCMC coordinates the activities of the ministries in the central government and the state governments in ensuring disaster preparedness and relief operations.
Q2. Which of the given statement/s w.r.t Spiralling whitefly is/are correct?
  1. It is an invasive species native to Sri Lanka.
  2. It predates upon fruit plants, vegetables and entomopathogenic fungi.
  3. First reported in Kerala, it is now distributed throughout India except for Jammu and Kashmir.

Options:

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Sipralling Whitefly (Aleurodicus disperses) is an invasive species native to Caribbean islands or Central America or both.
  • It predates upon fruit plants, ornamental plants, medicinal plants, vegetables etc. However, it does not feed on entomopathogenic fungi.
  • Entomopathogenic fungi is one of the measures used in controlling Sipralling Whitefly. The Entomopathogenic fungi kill and feed on Spiralling Whiteflies.
  • First reported in Kerala in 1995, it is now distributed throughout India except for Jammu and Kashmir.
Q3. Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?
  1. Genome sequencing helps in understanding the role of mutations in increasing the virus’s infectivity.
  2. Coronavirus genome is made of RNA only.
  3. The Human Genome Project is India’s research effort to determine the sequence of the human genome and identify the genes that it contains.

Options:

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Genome sequencing helps in understanding the role of mutations in increasing the virus’s infectivity.
  • The Coronavirus genome is made of RNA.
  • The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international scientific research project that led to the decoding of the entire human genome.
  • Inspired by Human Genome Project (HGP), India started the Genome India Project
Q4. Which of the given pairs are correctly matched?

      Cyclones             Suggested by

  1. Yaas                            Oman
  2. Nisarga                       India
  3. Nivar                   Bangladesh
  4. Burevi                      Maldives

Options:

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

        Cyclones             Suggested by

  1. Yaas                             Oman
  2. Nisarga                   Bangladesh
  3. Nivar                             Iran
  4. Burevi                        Maldives
Q5. With reference to Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), consider the following 
statements: (UPSC 2019)
  1. AIIB has more than 80 member nations.
  2. India is the largest shareholder in AIIB.
  3. AIIB does not have any members from outside Asia.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has 103 members.
  • For Asian or Non-Asian members, the allocated shares in the bank are based on the size of each member country’s economy.
  • China is the largest shareholder in the bank followed by India.
  • The bank has members from outside Asia as well.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. In the light of the increasing frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones, discuss the cyclone preparedness and effective mitigation strategies required to deal with future cyclones. (15 marks, 250 Words)[GS-3, Disaster Management].
  2. The spike in COVID cases and the subsequent lockdowns has led to Job losses and created an unemployment Crisis. Illustrate with examples the initiatives taken by the Governments to compensate wage losses and also support livelihood. (15 marks, 250 Words)[GS-3, Economy].

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 23rd May 2021:- Download PDF Here

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