# 08 Oct 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

Oct 8th, 2021, CNA:-

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. SC questions income limit for EWS quota
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Intolerance and vandalism in Afghanistan of concern: India
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Government releases GST dues of ₹40,000 crore to States
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
HEALTH
1. Killing the chills
ECONOMY
1. Seeding a data revolution in Indian agriculture
2. Will a bad bank fix India’s broken banking system?
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Handling complexity
F. Prelims Facts
1. Tanzanian novelist wins Nobel
2. HAL delivers heaviest propellent tank to ISRO
3. Indian forces to carry out exercise with U.K.
G. Tidbits
1. Moscow will invite Taliban to Afghanistan talks on Oct. 20
2. India, Nepal to conduct joint patrols for controlling trans-border crime
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions


1. Intolerance and vandalism in Afghanistan of concern: India

Context:

Recently, there were reports of vandalism in a Sikh place of worship in Kabul. Such reports of intolerance and vandalism in Afghanistan have raised concerns across the world and in India.

UN Security Council Resolution 2593:

• The international community continues to insist that the Taliban should fulfil the goals outlined in the UN Security Council Resolution 2593.
• It articulates and guides the collective approach of the global community towards Afghanistan.
• The resolution talks of ensuring that the Afghan territory is not used for terrorist acts, it talks of safe passage of Afghans and foreign nationals.
• It expects the Taliban to form an inclusive government and foster freedom and diversity.
• UNSC Resolution 2593 has asked Afghanistan to be shaped like a country that respects minorities and women.

1. Seeding a data revolution in Indian agriculture

Context:

• In June 2021, two significant documents relating to the Indian agriculture sector were released. Consultation papers on:
1. The India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture (IDEA) from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW)
2. Indian Agriculture: Ripe for Disruption from a private organisation, Bain and Company.

Details:

• The first paper talks about a digital revolution in the agriculture sector and later predicts a revolutionary investment growth in agri-logistics, offtake, and agri-input delivery by 2025.
• Data is vital to every segment in current times.
• The MoA&FW report describes creating data to fuel the growth.

The forecast:

• The Bain report is a data-based prediction on agri-business scenarios.
• It has predicted the future of agri-business in another 20 years.
• The report has a ‘today forward– future back approach’ and predicts a drastic investment opportunity development by 2025.
• It includes targeting the production of alternative proteins, and food cell-based food/ingredients and initiating ocean farming, etc.
• The agriculture sector (currently worth $370 billion), is estimated to receive an additional$35 billion investment.
• The two enabling conditions for such investment opportunities are:
• The changes in the regulatory framework, especially recent changes in the Farm Acts
• Digital disruption.
• The report has demonstrated the business opportunity available in supply chains between farm to Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandi and mandi to the customer, which can be realised with the support of digital disruption and the latest agriculture reforms.
• The report depicts agriculture reforms announced by the union government as a game-changer in the agriculture sector.

The report argues that benefiting from the huge investments into the agri-ecosystem, doubling farmers’ income targets can be achieved in near future.

• The IDEA-consulting paper is based on the Task Force and Working Group report constituted by the MoA&FW to design the blueprint of “digital agriculture”.
• The IDEA concept profounds the creation of second enabling conditions. The IDEA principles explicitly talk about openness of data, which means open to businesses and farmers, indicating the kind of integration it aims at.
• Value-added innovative services by agri-tech industries and start-ups are an integral part of the IDEA architecture.
• The Indian agriculture sector in future will encompass farm to table and pave the way for a single national market with a national platform with better connection between producer and consumers.

Concerns:

• The IT industry has opposition to IDEA mainly due to the ethics of creating a Unique Farmer ID based on one’s Aadhaar number and also the potential for data misuse.
• While the report focuses on widespread food production in controlled environments, emission, energy, and other resource footprints and sustainability issues around these techniques needed to confirm the projected trajectory are not included in the report.
• A majority of small and marginal farmers are not technology-savvy.
• Politically, these two reports ignore the protest of farmers against the reforms without considering it as a barrier or risk factor resulting in a repealing of these new farm laws.

Conclusion:

• While it is undeniable that a data revolution is inevitable in the agriculture sector, given its socio-political complexities, just technology fixes and agri-business investments cannot improve farmers’ livelihoods.
• There need to be immense efforts to improve the capacities of the farmers in India.
• At least until the educated young farmers replace the existing under-educated small and medium farmers.
• This capacity building can be done through:
• Building the capacities of individual farmers
• Coping with the new situation by establishing support systems
• Through FPOs and other farmers’ associations where technical support is available for farmers.
• Considering the size of the agriculture sector of the country it is not going to be an easy task and would need a separate programme across the country with considerable investment.

2. Will a bad bank fix India’s broken banking system?

This topic has been covered in Sep 17th, 2021 CNA.

1. Handling complexity

Context:

U.S.-Japanese scientist Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann of Germany and Giorgio Parisi of Italy have been announced as winners of the Nobel Physics Prize for their work on climate models and the understanding of physical systems.

Details:

• The Physics Nobel winners have developed tools to get a handle on complex systems.
• These models could show the effect of human activities on the climate.
• The climate model developed by Dr. Manabe showed how levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere corresponded to increased earth surface temperatures.
• It is a classic work that showed, even in the 1960s, that the atmosphere would undergo another 2.3° C warming with the doubling of carbon dioxide content.
• Hasselmann had helped identify climate “fingerprints”- factors both natural and human activities contributing to the climate change process.
• He identified a way of treating the random noise-like variations of the weather, devising a method to generate useful signals on the scale of the climate.
• The other half of the prize, to Giorgio Parisi from the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, is for developing a method to sensibly study complex condensed matter systems called “spin glasses”.
• This is an outstanding feat in both mathematical and physical innovation.
• The idea to break what is called “replica symmetry”, seen in a spin glass, in a consistent manner, which was his contribution, led to a method to study one of the simplest models of a genuinely complex system.
• His work has helped solve problems in mathematics, biology and neuroscience; for instance, how memory is stored in networks of nerve cells.
• The climate science work by Syukuro and Hasselmann on the one hand and theoretical condensed matter physics work by Parisi on the other — is that both describe complex physical systems.

The Nobel committee hoped to send a message with its prize announcement as the rate of global warming has set off alarm bells around the world.  The message seems to be to convey that the modelling of climate is solidly based on physics theory. Notable in this is the climate scientists’ work, which makes it obvious where science stands on the issue of global warming and estimates the human fingerprint on climate change.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Tanzanian novelist wins Nobel

What’s in News?

Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah has won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature.

• The Nobel Prize has been awarded to him “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee”.
• In his 10 novels he has consistently, and with great compassion, penetrated the effects of colonialism in East Africa and its effects on the lives of uprooted and migrating individuals.
• Gurnah is the first African writer to win the award since the Zimbabwean Doris Lessing in 2007, and only the second writer of colour from sub-Saharan Africa.

2. HAL delivers heaviest propellent tank to ISRO

What’s in News?

HAL has delivered SC120-LOX semi-cryogenic tank to ISRO.

• It is the heaviest semi-cryogenic propellant tank ever fabricated by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
• The semi cryo-liquid oxygen (LOX) tank is a part of the SC120 stage intended for replacing the L110 stage in the existing Mk-III launch vehicle.
• This will enhance the payload capacity in the Mk-III launch vehicle.
• Therefore, it would especially play an important role in the upcoming Gaganyaan project.

Note:

• HAL has been associating with ISRO for India’s prestigious space programmes for five decades.
• HAL has delivered critical structures, tankages, satellite structures for the PSLV, GSLV-Mk II and GSLV-Mk III launch vehicles.
• In 2020, HAL had delivered the biggest ever cryogenic liquid hydrogen tank (C32-LH2), four meters in diameter and eight meters in length, much ahead of the contractual schedule.

3. Indian forces to carry out exercise with U.K.

What’s in News?

India’s armed forces are scheduled to carry out an exercise with the U.K.’s Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group.

India – U.K Relations – Defence:

• The 6th edition of the Indo-UK joint military exercise Ajeya Warrior has commenced at Chaubatia, Uttarakhand.

• Earlier, India and the U.K. participated in a two-day bilateral Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with the Royal Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG-21), led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, in the Bay of Bengal as the carrier was passing through.

Note:

• India and the U.K. are also in talks for a bilateral logistics support agreement. Read more on India – UK relations in the linked article.

G. Tidbits

1. Moscow will invite Taliban to Afghanistan talks on Oct. 20

What’s in News?

Russia will invite representatives of the Taliban to international talks on Afghanistan.

• Moscow had hosted an international conference on Afghanistan in March 2021 at which Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan released a joint statement calling on the then-warring Afghan sides to reach a peace deal and curb violence.
• It also called on the Taliban not to launch any offensives in the spring and summer.
• Since then, the U.S. and its allies withdrew their troops from Afghanistan after 20 years on the ground. Subsequently, the Taliban seized power and the previous government collapsed.

Concerns:

• Russia is worried about the potential for fallout in the wider region and the possibility of Islamist militants infiltrating the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, which Moscow views as its southern defensive buffer.

In the wake of the Taliban takeover, Moscow has held military exercises in Tajikistan and bolstered its hardware at its military base there.

2. India, Nepal to conduct joint patrols for controlling trans-border crime

What’s in News?

The border guarding forces of India and Nepal will conduct regular joint patrolling along the border.

• Joint patrolling has been planned in order to control trans-border crimes, smuggling of arms, human trafficking and other areas of concern.
• The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), a central armed police force, secures the Nepal and Bhutan borders.

Also read: India – Nepal relations

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q.1 Consider the following statements with regards to SC120-LOX semi-cryogenic tank and
choose the correct one(s).
1. It has been developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
2. It intends to increase the payload capacity in the existing Mk-III launch vehicle.
3. The newly developed tank would especially play an important role in the upcoming Gaganyaan project.

Options:-

1. 1 only
2. 1 and 2 only
3. 2 and 3 only
4. 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

• SC120-LOX semi-cryogenic tank has been developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
• It intends to increase the payload capacity in the existing Mk-III launch vehicle.
• The newly developed tank would especially play an important role in the upcoming Gaganyaan project.
Q.2 Consider the following statements with regards to the EWS quota as it applies to the
NEET exam.
1. The individual’s income for inclusion in the EWS quota must be under Rs. 8 lakh per annum.
2. 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2018 led to the introduction of EWS reservation.
3. For inclusion under this criteria, the family should not own agricultural land of size 3 acres or more.

Which of these statements is/are incorrect?

1. 1 & 2 only
2. 2 & 3 only
3. 1 & 3 only
4. All of the above

Explanation:

• For an individual to be eligible for the EWS quota, the family’s income must be under Rs. 8 lakh per annum.
• 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2019 led to the introduction of EWS reservation.
• For inclusion under this criteria, the family should not own agricultural land of size 5 acres or more.
Q.3 Which of the following security forces is responsible for securing India’s border with
Nepal?
1. Indo Tibetan Border Police
2. Sashastra Seema Bal
3. Border Security Force
4. Assam Rifles

Explanation:

The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), a central armed police force, secures the Nepal and Bhutan borders.

Q.4 Consider the following statements with regard to Multidimensional Poverty Index and
choose the correct ones.
1. The index is published annually by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and United Nations Development Programme.
2. The three dimensions included in the index are Health, Education and Living Standard.
3. All the UN member nations are included in the index to get a holistic view.

Options:-

1. 1 & 2 only
2. 2 & 3 only
3. 1 & 3 only
4. All of the above

Explanation:

• Multidimensional Poverty Index is published annually by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and United Nations Development Programme.
• The three dimensions included in the index are Health, Education and Living Standard.
• Usually, over 100 developing countries are evaluated. MPI 2020 presented 107 country-specific details.
• The MPI value is calculated by multiplying the incidence of poverty by the average share of deprivations (H x A).
Q.5 With regard to India’s joint military exercises with different nations, which of the
following is/are not correctly matched?
2. Thailand                                                                                                    Maitree
3. UK                                                                                                          Vajra Prahar
4. Nepal                                                                                                      Surya Kiran

Options:-

1. 1 & 2 only
2. 3 only
3. 1 & 4 only
4. All of the above

Explanation:

• Indo-Mongolian Joint Military Exercise is termed ‘Nomadic Elephant’.
• Exercise Maitree is a bilateral exercise between the Indian Army and the Royal Thai Army, started off in 2006. It is an annual event between the troops of the armies of both countries. It is also called Indo-Thailand Joint Exercise.
• The joint military exercise Vajra Prahar between India and the US started off in 2010. ‘Vajra Prahar’ is a Special Forces joint training exercise conducted alternately in India and the US.
• Surya Kiran is a bilateral Joint Military Exercise between Indian and Nepal.
• Ajeya Warrior is a bilateral military exercise between India and the UK.
Q.6 Recently, there was a growing awareness in our country about the importance of Himalayan
nettle (Girardinia diversifolia) because it is found to be a sustainable source of (UPSC 2019)
1. anti-malarial drug
2. biodiesel
3. pulp for paper industry
4. textile fibre

Explanation:

• Girardinia diversifolia, also known as the Himalayan nettle or Nilgiri nettle, is found abundantly in open forest land, river sides, and moist habitats in Nepal and in Himalayan parts of India.
• Girardinia Diversifolia is a shade-tolerant, tall, stout and erect herb.
• The stem contains bast fibre of unique quality which is strong, smooth and light.
• It was found to be a sustainable source of textile fibre.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

1. Indian agriculture is in need of a data revolution but technological fixes and agri­business investments alone will not be enough to improve farmers’ livelihoods. Critically examine. (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-3, Economy]
2. The malaria vaccine must see speedy implementation from the lab to the field. Comment. (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-3, Science and Technology]