07 Oct 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

Oct 7th, 2021, CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Govt. asks top court to set quota norms for promotions
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. U.S. expresses unease over S-400 deal
HEALTH
1. WHO recommends first anti-malarial vaccine
C. GS 3 Related
SECURITY
1. NIA takes over Mundra port drug haul case
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. SC asks firecracker makers why they stock barium despite ban
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Duo win Nobel Chemistry Prize for work on catalysts
ECONOMY
1. Cabinet clears ₹4,445-cr. textile parks
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. Trade multilateralism at risk
2. Recognizing altruism
3. Road accidents can be reduced
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. A strategy for India in a world that is adrift
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. U.S. expresses unease over S-400 deal

Context:

Possible U.S. sanctions over the purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems by India.

Details:

  • Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) can affect India-Russia joint defence ventures.
  • CAATSA is a United States Federal Law that has imposed sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea.
  • This act prevents trade partners of the United States from entering into bilateral contracts with these three nations.

Read more on How will purchases from Russia affect India-U.S ties.

S-400 Missile Systems:
  • The S-400 Triumf (Russian for Triumph) Missile System is an anti-aircraft missile defense system developed by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau.

Read more S-400 Missile System: Development, Component and Facts

Category: HEALTH

1. WHO recommends first anti-malarial vaccine

Context:

The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed the first anti-malarial vaccine.

Issue:

  • WHO and its partners have reported stagnation in the progress against the disease that kills more than 2,60,000 African children under the age of five annually.
  • According to WHO, Malaria remains a primary cause of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa.

Details:

  • RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine is the first-ever anti-malarial vaccine recommended by the WHO.
  • The vaccine has been developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
  • It forms an essential part of WHO’s E-2025 initiative.
  • Using this vaccine on top of existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.
  • The WHO’s recommendation was based on the results from an ongoing pilot programme in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

Malaria:

  • Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite.
  • It is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Infected mosquitoes carry the Plasmodium parasite (Plasmodium vivax) When this mosquito bites a human, the parasite is released into the bloodstream.
  • Malaria is typically found in tropical and subtropical climates where the parasites can live. It is most prevalent in Africa, followed by Asia and Latin America. It also affects people in the Middle East and Europe albeit to a much smaller degree.
  • The number of malaria cases worldwide in 2019 was around 229 million, according to the World Malaria Report in 2020, with 409,000 lives lost to the mosquito-borne disease.
  • The 2020 report said the majority of cases were reported in Africa, while India and Southeast Asia recorded a significant drop. Cases in India fell from approximately 20 million to 6 million, according to the report.

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. SC asks firecracker makers why they stock barium despite ban

Read more on this topic covered in Oct 3rd, 2021 CNA.
Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Duo win Nobel Chemistry Prize for work on catalysts

Context:

Germany’s Benjamin List and U.S. based David MacMillan have won the Nobel Chemistry Prize.

Details:

  • The duo has been awarded the Nobel Prize for developing a tool to build molecules that has helped make chemistry more environmentally friendly.
  • They were cited for their work in developing a new way for building molecules known as “asymmetric organocatalysis.”
  • They developed the tool independent of each other in 2000.

Organocatalysis:

  • Catalysts are substances used to accelerate chemical reactions in a controlled manner and are a fundamental tool in chemistry.
  • Both List and MacMillan independently developed organic catalysts, made up of carbon and other elements such as nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur, which are cheaper and more sustainable than previously used catalysts, which were mostly made up of metals.
  • The new technique relies on small organic molecules and is called “asymmetric organocatalysis”.
  • It is used for distinguishing and synthesizing molecules that are different from their mirror image.
  • It is widely used in pharmaceuticals, allowing drug makers to streamline the production of medicines for depression and respiratory infections, among others.
  • Organocatalysts allow several steps in a production process to be performed in an unbroken sequence, considerably reducing waste in chemical manufacturing.

Significance:

  • Their tool can be used to control and accelerate chemical reactions.
  • This exerts a big impact on drugs research.
  • Prior to their work, scientists believed there were only two types of catalysts — metals and enzymes.

Category: ECONOMY

1. Cabinet clears ₹4,445-cr. textile parks

Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved the setting up of seven Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA) Parks.

Details:

  • The PM MITRA Parks are being set up at an outlay of ₹4,445 crore.
  • The mega parks scheme will include brownfield and greenfield projects, spread over five years.
  • The parks would be developed by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) owned by the Central and State governments and would get two kinds of support.
  • Development Capital Support, aimed at helping develop infrastructure, would fund 30% of the project cost with a cap of ₹500 crore for greenfield projects and ₹200 crore for brownfield projects.
  • A separate Competitiveness Incentive Support would be limited to ₹300 crore per park.
  • States offering the cheapest land (contiguous and encumbrance-free land of minimum 1,000 acres) and facilities such as adequate electricity and water would be selected through a transparent challenge route.
  • The SPV would select a Master Developer to set up and maintain the park for a specified period. Of the park’s area, 50% would be earmarked for manufacturing activity, 20% for utilities, and 10% set aside for commercial development.
  • Industries in the parks would comprise four categories — units investing ₹300 crore or more, units investing ₹100-300 crore, investors of less than ₹100 crore and tenant units.

2. Recognizing altruism

Context

  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has come up with a new scheme to award Good Samaritans who save the lives of road accident victims with a cash prize.

Stats

  • According to a study conducted by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, 1,51,113 persons were killed and 4,51,361 injured in road accidents across the country in 2019.
    • NHs and State Highways, which account for about 5% of the total road length, claimed 61% of the deaths related to accidents.
    • Around 35,606 deaths were reported on the NHs, which come under the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
  • In 2020, the National Crime Records Bureau data show 1,33,715 lives were lost in 1,20,716 cases attributed to negligence relating to road accidents.

Who is a Good Samaritan?

  • According to MoRTH, a Good Samaritan is a person who, in good faith, without expectation of payment or reward and without any duty of care or special relationship, voluntarily comes forward to administer immediate assistance or emergency care to a person injured in an accident, or crash, or emergency medical condition, or emergency situation.

Why did the Govt come up with such a scheme?

  • A chapter was added in 2020 in the Motor Vehicles Act which discussed in detail Good Samaritans and their role in society.
  • People however were not able to accept this in spite of assurance from the government that there would be no harassment and legal complications.
  • Therefore, the Ministry’s move seeks to overcome restraint by rewarding socially-minded individuals who offer immediate assistance and rush a victim with certain kinds of injuries to the hospital, with ₹5,000 and a certificate of recognition for saving a life.

How does the new scheme work?

  • Any individual who has saved the life of a victim of a serious accident involving a motor vehicle by administering immediate assistance and rushing to the hospital within the Golden Hour of the accident to provide medical treatment would be eligible for the award.
    • The individual can be awarded a maximum of five times a year.
    • The amount of award for the Good Samaritan(s) would be ₹5,000 per incident.
  • On receipt of communication from the Police Station/Hospital, District Level Appraisal Committee shall review and approve the proposals on a monthly basis.
    • The Appraisal Committee at the District Level comprising District Magistrate, SSP, Chief Medical and Health Officer, RTO (Transport Department) of the concerned District would sanction and send the cases to the concerned State/UT Transport Department for making the payment to the Good Samaritans.
  • State governments are responsible for the plan, with the Centre providing an initial grant, but the Union Transport Ministry will give its own award of ₹1 lakh each to the 10 best Good Samaritans in a year.

Similar initiatives

  • This is not the first time that such schemes have been announced. The Puducherry Government announced an almost identical scheme in 2019, and that was a possible first in the country.

Concerns

  • The Centre has notified the National Road Safety Board, with a mandate to formulate standards on, among other things, safety and trauma management, to build capacity among traffic police, and put crash investigation on a scientific footing.
  • Yet, the implementation is not according to the expectation primarily because:
    • State police forces generally appear to favour a populist approach of least engagement.
    • Bureaucracies at the regional level engage in corruption.

Way forward

  • Road accidents can be reduced by beginning with scientific road design and standards, and zero-tolerance enforcement.
  • The Good Samaritan plan can work well if District Committees tasked with awarding these individuals readily recognise their contribution, aided by the police, hospitals and RTOs.

3. Road accidents can be reduced

Brasilia Declaration

  • It lays down recommendations on strengthening existing legislations, adopting sustainable transport and strengthening the post-crash response.
  • The declaration promotes sustainable commuting ways and prioritises pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
  • India is a signatory to the declaration.

Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019

  • The govt introduced this act with the intention of bringing down the death rate due to road accidents by 50% by 2020.

Traffic fines

  • The Govt introduced a hike in fines for traffic violations in the Act which was resisted by the opposition and State Governments.
    • West Bengal decided not to implement the new law and continued with the West Bengal Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.

Madras High Court on over-speeding

  • The Madras High Court struck down the April 6, 2018 notification of the Union Government wherein the speed limit was hiked to 120 and 100 km/hour on expressways and highways, respectively.
  • This was done as 66.7% of accidents was attributed to overspeeding in 2017, 55.73% in 2018 and 64.4% in 2019.

Causes of road accidents

The large and rising number of road accidents in India is cause for grave concern.

  • Negligent driving is reported to be responsible for most road accidents.
    • Speeding, overtaking from the wrong side and ignoring traffic signals cause many accidents.
  • Under-age driving is rampant. It is well known that bribes rather than driving expertise determines whether or not a person gets a licence.
  • Faulty road design and engineering flaws. Multiple accidents happen at certain points along roads.
    • Hedges along the road have obstructed the visibility of drivers coming from the other direction.
  • Another important killer on roads is potholes. Although several accidents, especially those involving two-wheelers are caused by potholes, authorities are rarely willing to admit that it was the pothole that caused the driver to lose control over the vehicle.

Way forward

  • Strict enforcement of traffic safety laws.
  • Educating citizens about the impact of accidents on the kin of the victims through public discourse could help in reducing accidents.
  • Improving road infrastructure with coordinated efforts by the police and civic authorities, identification of black spots that are prone to accidents and deploying an adequate number of police personnel, particularly during peak hours, could bring down accident rates.
  • Highway patrols with police personnel trained in first aid and ambulances every 10 km could also help save precious lives.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. A strategy for India in a world that is adrift

Context

  • The article discusses the tectonic shift in the polarity in international relations, from bipolar to a multipolar world and now moving towards a world of several power centres.

Examples

  • The lack of a coherent international response to the COVID-19 pandemic is proof of an absence of international order and of the ineffectiveness of multilateral institutions.
  • Ineffective international response to climate change and other transnational threats.
  • Stagnation in the global and Indian economies and a retreat from globalisation, the regionalisation of trade, a shifting balance of power, the rise of China and others, and structural China-United States strategic rivalry have shifted the geopolitical and economic centres of gravity from the Atlantic to Asia.

Asia as the nucleus

  • Asia will be the epicentre of geopolitical rivalries.
  • With the growth of China, politically and economically, it sees a window of opportunity in Asia.
  • China also knows the U.S. remains the most formidable power. Steps taken in haste suggest that China believes that the window may close or is already closing due to push back from the West and others.

India

  • China’s power and profile may continue to expand, especially along the political boundaries of India and China.
  • This may result in both confrontation and cooperation, and the friction between countries could end with a third party taking advantage of the tussle.

Inference

  • Overall, it may not result in conventional conflict between the great powers in Asia, though other forms and levels of violence and contention in the international system may arise.
  • Example: Taiwan Issue

Options for India

  • India should work more closely with the USA in fields significant for India’s transformation like energy, trade, investment, education and health.
    • Other areas in which India and the U.S. could increase cooperation are climate change and energy, tech solutions for renewable energy, and digital cooperation.
  • Many middle power countries have a say in the international order. India should identify and cooperate.
    • There is also an increasing possibility of working with partners in the developing world building broader coalitions on issues of common interest.
  • A large scape transformation is seen in the digital space. India should be part of the growth story.

Recommendation

  • India should create a Maritime Commission. It will be a Bay of Bengal Initiative with partner countries that will help in domains like maritime security, cyber security and counter-terrorism. We should aim for multipolarity in Asia.
  • New Delhi should have an independent judgment of current tensions, develop our capacities, and create an equitable and enabling international order for India’s transformation in line with the core strategic principles of Non-Alignment.
  • At the same time, we must adjust to changing circumstances, engage with this uncertain and volatile world.
    • One productive way to do so would be through issue-based coalitions including different actors, depending on who has an interest and capability.
  • India should revive the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
    • The over securitisation of policy towards our neighbours has driven trade underground, criminalized our borders, and enabled the large-scale entry of Chinese goods destroying local industry in the northeast.
    • Trade-related activities have to be increased.

Way forward

  • Globalisation has been central to India’s growth. A more active regional and international role for India is incompatible with a position on the margins of the global economy. Self-reliance in today’s world and technologies can only be realised as part of the global economy.
  • We should not imitate China’s claims to being a civilisational state and its adoption of victimhood. Instead, we should affirm our own strength and historic national identity.
  • In sum, we see self-strengthening as an absolutely essential precondition as also safeguarding the foundational sources of India’s international influence.
  • We cannot separate our domestic trajectory from the external course we need to pursue to transform India into a strong, secure and prosperous country.

F. Prelims Facts

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with regards to RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine and 
choose the correct ones:
  1. It is the first-ever anti-malarial vaccine recommended by the WHO.
  2. The vaccine specifically aims to cover children in sub-Saharan Africa.
  3. The vaccine has been developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and forms an essential part of WHO’s E-2025 initiative.

Options:-

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine with the trade name of Mosquirix is the first-ever anti-malarial vaccine recommended by the WHO.
  • The vaccine specifically aims to cover children in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The vaccine has been developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and forms an essential part of WHO’s E-2025 initiative.
Q2. The 2021 Nobel prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to researchers David Julius 
and Ardem Patapoutian for their work on how human body perceives temperature and pressure. In 
their research, they found out that the body’s receptor for heat only gets activated
  1. Above 40 degrees C
  2. Above 28 degrees C
  3. Above 35 degrees C
  4. Above 45 degrees C
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

The 2021 Nobel prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to researchers David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their work on how the human body perceives temperature and pressure. In their research, they found out that the body’s receptor for heat only gets activated above 40 °C.

Q3. Which of the following statements is/are incorrect regarding the Appellate authority 
which is a part of WTO’s dispute resolution mechanism?
  1. It is an ad-hoc body of seven members and acts as an appellate court for hearing appeals from decisions given by the WTO panels.
  2. The authority has not been working since 2019 since China has vetoed every proposal to fill in the existing vacancies.
  3. At least 5 people are required to preside over an appeal.

Options:-

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • The WTO’s Appellate Body is its highest court for dispute resolution.
  • The Appellate Body, set up in 1995, is a standing committee of seven members that presides over appeals against judgments passed in trade-related disputes brought by WTO members.
  • On 10 December 2019, the Appellate Body became dysfunctional after the US’ continuous blockage of the appointment of new Appellate Body members left only one member on the bench.
  • It requires three members to hear appeals.
Q4. Consider the following statements with regards to reservation in promotions and choose 
the correct ones:
  1. Article 16(4A) provides that the State can make any provision for reservation in matters of promotion in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes if they are not adequately represented in the services under the State.
  2. Article 16(4B), added by the 81st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2000, enabled the unfilled SC/ST quota of a particular year to be carried forward to the next year.
  3. The SC in 2020 ruled that reservation in the matter of promotions in public posts is not a fundamental right.

Options:-

  1. 1 & 2 only
  2. 2 & 3 only
  3. 1 & 3 only
  4. All of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Article 16(4A) provides that the State can make any provision for reservation in matters of promotion in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes if they are not adequately represented in the services under the State.
  • Article 16(4B), added by the 81st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2000, enabled the unfilled SC/ST quota of a particular year to be carried forward to the next year.
  • The SC in 2020 ruled that reservation in the matter of promotions in public posts is not a fundamental right.
Q5. Which of the following is not a Harappan site?
  1. Chanhudaro
  2. Kot Diji
  3. Sohgaura
  4. Desalpur
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

Sohgaura is not a Harappan Site. Sohgaura copper-plate is a Mauryan record that mentions famine relief efforts. The Sohgaura copper plate inscription is an Indian copper plate inscription written in Prakrit in the Brahmi script. It was discovered in Sohgaura, a village on the banks of the Rapti River, in the Gorakhpur District, Uttar Pradesh.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. India’s path to power will be affected by the geopolitical and economic centres of gravity now shifting to Asia. Examine. (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-2, International Relations]
  2. The World Trade Organization is facing an existential crisis. Do you agree? Elucidate. (250 words; 15 marks) [GS-2, International Relations]

Read the previous CNA here.

Oct 7th, 2021, CNA:- Download PDF Here

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