30 May 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 30th May 2021:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Withdraw transfer order of Chief Secy., Mamata tells Centre
2. ₹10 lakh corpus fund for every child orphaned by COVID-19
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Philippines protests against China’s ‘illegal’ South China Sea presence
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Ripples from Yaas and surging tides devastate the Sunderbans
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
HEALTH
1. Probing the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus
2. Serosurvey learnings
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. The Centre-WhatsApp tussle over new IT rules
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
1. IIT-Hyderabad develops oral solution for black fungus
2. Declining forest bird species in Western Himalaya
3. ‘Coast Guard will get more responsibilities’
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. ₹10 lakh corpus fund for every child orphaned by COVID-19

Context:

The Union government has announced a special “PM-CARES for Children” scheme for all those orphaned due to COVID-19.

Details:

  • Children who have lost both parents or the lone surviving parent or their legal guardian or adoptive parent due to COVID-19 will be supported under the scheme.

Monetary Support:

  • It will include a corpus of ₹10 lakh for each child till he or she reaches the age of 18.
    • When a child turns 18, he/she will draw a monthly stipend from the corpus of ₹10 lakh in order to meet expenses for personal needs and higher education.
    • On reaching the age of 23, the child will get the entire ₹10 lakh.

Schooling:

  • The government will also assist such children with school education.
    • They will be given admission in the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or in a private school as a day scholar.
  • If the child is admitted in a private school, the fees will be paid from the PM CARES Fund as per norms under the Right To Education Act, 2009.
  • PM CARES will also meet the expenses on uniform, text-books and notebooks.
  • Children in the age group of 11-18 will have the option to study in a residential school under the Central government such as Sainik School and Navodaya Vidyalaya.

Health:

  • All children will be enrolled as a beneficiary under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme with a health insurance cover of ₹5 lakh, where the premium amount will be paid by PM CARES till a child turns 18.

Note:

  • The government has also announced measures to help the families who have lost the sole earning member due to COVID-19.
  • Pension scheme of the Employees State Insurance Corporation is being extended.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Philippines protests against China’s ‘illegal’ South China Sea presence

Context:

The Philippines has protested China’s continuing illegal presence and activities near an island in the South China Sea held by it.

  • A diplomatic protest was launched by Philippines over the incessant deployment, prolonged presence, and illegal activities of Chinese maritime assets and fishing vessels in the vicinity of Thitu island.
  • According to Philippines, the Pag-asa Islands is an integral part of the country over which it has sovereignty and jurisdiction.
    • Thitu, known as Pag-asa in the Philippines, is 451 km from the mainland and is one of the biggest among the eight reefs, shoals and islands it occupies in the Spratly archipelago.

Issue:

  • Tensions between China and Philippines have escalated over the months-long presence of hundreds of Chinese boats in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
  • The Philippines says it believes the vessels were manned by militia, while Beijing has said they were fishing boats sheltering from bad weather.
  • This was at least the 84th diplomatic protest the Philippines has filed against China since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016.
  • An international tribunal in 2016 invalidated China’s expansive claim in the South China Sea, where about $3 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes annually.
  • Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have competing claims to various islands in the South China Sea.

Read more on South China Sea Dispute – Countries Involved, Causes, Effects & Resolution

2. Serosurvey learnings

Context:

  • Since the pandemic began in 2020, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) conducted three countrywide serosurveys to measure the spread of infection due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • The third survey showed that 21.5% of the population had been exposed to the virus.
  • ICMR is unlikely to immediately undertake a fourth national serology survey.

Serological surveys:

  • Serological surveys are usually used to quantify the proportion of people or animals in a population positive for a specific pathogen.
  • Antibodies are measured from the blood samples from participants to check past exposure to the virus.
  • The prominent objective behind such surveys is to check for levels of ‘herd immunity’, or if 60%-70% of the population have encountered the infection.
    • This level of exposure is believed to be effective in protecting the rest of those uninfected.

Can serology surveys reveal more than just exposure?

  • The second serology survey did point to an increase in infections in rural India and hence a risk of infection — as the second wave underlined.
  • The specific blood-analysis tests, called assays, can be used to check if antibodies produced by the body are targeting the spike region of the coronavirus or an inner envelope containing its genetic material called the nucleocapsid.
    • The antibodies against the spike are believed to be more relevant to preventing future infections and hence a better proxy for immunity.
  • This can also provide inputs for improving vaccines.

Why is the ICMR not likely to conduct a fourth serology survey?

  • Serosurveys lose their scientific relevance when vaccination starts in the population.
    • The antibodies that are triggered after a SARS-CoV-2 virus infection are structurally indistinguishable from those after one is vaccinated.
  • Besides, a serology survey is a logistically demanding exercise.
    • Trained phlebotomists have to be available and dedicated laboratories have to earmarked to analyse the blood work.
    • This would also require extensive inputs from the districts.
  • Apart from the infections, the focus at the moment must be on vaccination.

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. The Centre-WhatsApp tussle over new IT rules

This topic has been covered in UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis. May 27th, 2021 CNA.

F. Prelims Facts

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Tidbits

1. IIT-Hyderabad develops oral solution for black fungus

Context:

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H), have approved the mass production of an oral solution to treat black fungus.

  • At present, Kala Azar (visceral leishmaniasis) treatment is being used for black fungus and other fungus in the country.
  • The oral solution developed is made free from intellectual property so that it can be mass produced and is made affordable and available to all.

2. Declining forest bird species in Western Himalaya

What’s in News?

A study that analysed natural oak-dominated forests and modified forests in the State of Uttarakhand has noted that there was a drastic loss of bird species in all modified landscapes.

  • The State of Uttarakhand is home to the Western Himalayan temperate forests which harbour a large number of endemic bird species.

Key Findings:

  • The results of the study showed that there was a low diversity of species in monoculture areas and urban sites.
  • They also noted a drastic loss of pollinator birds and insectivores in the degraded forests, monocultures and urbanised sites.
  • It saw a strong decline in some of the habitat guilds in the areas that experienced land-use change.
    • Habitat guilds are groups of bird species that have common habitat preferences.
  • Recognised oak forest specialists such as rufous-bellied woodpecker, greater yellownape, rufous sibia, white-throated laughingthrush and black-faced warbler dropped out of the modified land areas .
  • It was noted that two species (rufous-bellied woodpecker and greater yellownape) showed great potential as indicators of forest quality as they were most likely to be found in dense canopied forests with larger and taller trees.

3. ‘Coast Guard will get more responsibilities’

What’s in News?

Offshore Patrol Vessel Sajag was commissioned into the Coast Guard.

  • This is third of five OPVs indigenously designed and built by the Goa Shipyard Limited.

Note:

  • The concept of forming the Coast Guard was conceived after the 1971 war, when it was assessed, that maritime borders are equally vital as land borders.
  • The blueprint for a multi-dimension Coast Guard was conceived by the visionary Rustamji Committee.
  • Coast Guard plays a critical role in anti-smuggling and anti-narcotics, both nationally and internationally.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q 1. Which of the following species are most likely to be seen at the Sundarbans?
  1. Indian python
  2. Irrawaddy dolphin
  3. Hangul
  4. Batagur baska

Select the correct option from below:

  1. 1 & 2
  2. 1, 2 & 3
  3. 2 & 4
  4. 1, 2 & 4
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • The Hangul is also known as the Kashmir stag. It is native to Kashmir and is found in dense riverine forests in the high valleys and mountains of the Kashmir Valley and northern Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh.
  • The Sundarbans forest is among the largest mangrove forest ecosystem in the world. It is home to Indian python, Batagur baska (Northern river terrapin-a species of riverine turtle), Irrawaddy dolphins, Estuarine Crocodile and Royal Bengal Tiger among the others.
Q 2. Consider the following:
  1. Batagur baska
  2. Irrawaddy dolphins
  3. Gharial

Which of the above species is/are Critically Endangered?

  1. Only 1
  2. 1 & 2
  3. 1 & 3
  4. 2 & 3
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

IUCN classification:

  • Batagur baska – Critically Endangered
  • Irrawaddy dolphins – Endangered
  • Gharial – Critically Endangered
Q 3: Consider the following statements:
  1. The Comptroller and Auditor General is the sole authority prescribed in the Constitution entrusted with the responsibility of audit of accounts of the Union and of the States.
  2. The Executive does not have powers of direction in relation to Comptroller and Auditor General‘s audit mandate and its execution.
  3. Audit is required to report only significant cases of irregularity and breach of rules, regulations and orders.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. Only 1
  2. 1 & 2
  3. 2 & 3
  4. All of the Above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General is the sole authority prescribed in the Constitution entrusted with the responsibility of audit of accounts of the Union and of the States.
  • The Executive does not have powers of direction in relation to Comptroller and Auditor General‘s audit mandate and its execution.
  • Audit is required to report not only significant cases of irregularity and breach of rules, regulations and orders but also – all the matters which, in the judgment of the Audit, appears to involve significant unnecessary, excessive, extravagant or wasteful expenditure of public money and resources despite compliance with the rules, regulations and orders or expenditure that has not yielded the intended outputs and/or outcomes.
Q 4: YUVA, recently seen in news, is:
  1. a skill development program for youth below the age of 30
  2. an Author Mentorship programme to train young and budding authors
  3. a National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education
  4. none of the Above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • YUVA (Young, Upcoming and Versatile Authors) is an Author Mentorship programme to train young and budding authors (below 30 years of age) in order to promote reading, writing and book culture in the country, and project India and Indian writings globally.
  • It was launched by the Department of Higher Education as a scheme Mentoring Young Authors.
  • The National Book Trust, India under the Ministry of Education is the Implementing Agency.
Q5. Which of the following is/are the indicator/indicators used by IFPRI to compute the Global
Hunger Index Report? (UPSC 2016)
  1. Undernourishment
  2. Child stunting
  3. Child mortality

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

Global Health Index (GHI) ranks countries on a 100 point scale, 0 representing zero/no hunger. The GHI scores are based on four indicators.

  1. Undernourishment: the share of the population whose caloric intake is insufficient.
  2. Child Stunting: the share of children under the age of five who have low height for their age.
  3. Child Wasting: the share of children under the age of five who have low weight for their height.
  4. Child Mortality: the mortality rate of children under the age of five (a reflection of the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments).

Taken together, the component indicators reflect deficiencies in calories as well as in micronutrients. Thus, the GHI reflects both aspects of hunger (undernutrition and malnutrition).

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Serological survey offers key insights into the changing dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infection and allows policymakers to make informed decisions. Comment. (10 Marks, 150 Words)[GS-2, Health]
  2. Discuss the importance of understanding Covid’s origin and suggest measures to prevent the spread of similar infections in the future. (10 Marks, 150 Words)[GS-2,Health].

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 30th May 2021:- Download PDF Here

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