27 Oct 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

27 Oct 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India to sign geo-spatial cooperation deal with U.S.
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. SC keeps Lokur committee’s appointment in abeyance
2. Centre promises law to check stubble burning
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Contesting neighbours, revised geopolitical playbooks
HEALTH
1. The many lessons from COVID-19
F. Prelims Facts
1. Kumki Elephant
G. Tidbits
1. ‘Responsible’ fuel pricing needed: PM
2. ‘India is much safer against tsunami threat’
3. Polio networks helped curb COVID-19: WHO
4. Women at the heart of recovery
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. Centre promises law to check stubble burning

Context:

The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that it would bring in a law to address air pollution and check stubble burning in Delhi as well as the surrounding National Capital Region.

  • It will be an ordinance for tackling air pollution in NCR and the adjoining areas.
  • The ordinance is being drafted by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change.

Background:

  • With an increase in stubble burning, the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has been tasked with funding the use of subsidised combine harvesters and machinery to dissuade the farmers.
Stubble Burning
  • Stubble burning is the burning of rice straw by farmers to clear fields for sowing.
  • The paddy residue is not used as fodder as it’s unfit and hence farmers burn both the paddy stalk and straw close to autumn every year which is a key contributing factor of pollution causing breathing problems in the northern region.
    • Paddy is a Kharif (monsoon) crop.
    • In Punjab and Haryana, the harvesting of paddy crop is usually done between the first week of October till October end.
  • The wheat residue is used as fodder for cattle and it’s only the stalk that is set on fire.
    • Wheat is a Rabi (winter) crop.
    • It is sown from late October to December while the harvesting usually starts from mid-April onwards.

Other measures taken to tackle the menace:

  • The states have put in efforts towards raising awareness of the ill-effects of stubble burning.
    • Farmers are being educated by the agriculture department regularly about the bad effects of burning fields which kills several crop-friendly insects and causes pollution.
  • Penalties are being imposed on farmers as there’s a ban on burning the residue.
  • To check stubble burning this Kharif (summer) season, the Punjab government has appointed 8,000 nodal officers in villages that grow paddy.
  • Over 23,000 crop residue management machines are being given to farmers for on-site management of straw.
  • The state had been pressing the Centre to give ₹100 per quintal to farmers for managing the paddy straw without burning.

Way Forward:

  • While there are measure and several laws in place for checking pollution, the states lack adequate infrastructure at the level of state and municipal bodies to implement them.
  • Better enforcement is the need of the hour.

Note:

  • The Delhi NCR has a Graded Response Action Plan, which is overseen by the Environment Pollution Authority.
  • It has specified a number of measures that governments must take: from banning diesel gensets to restricting vehicle movement, depending on the degree of pollution.

G. Tidbits

1. ‘Responsible’ fuel pricing needed: PM

What’s in News?

Prime Minister’s speech at the inaugural session of the India Energy Forum.

Details:

  • The PM opined that global energy producers must pursue more responsible pricing policies.
  • He said that India needs affordable and reliable energy sources.
  • He also highlighted the government’s ambition to ‘ensure energy justice’.
  • The PM listed seven key drivers of change on India’s energy map:
    1. Accelerating efforts towards a gas-based economy.
    2. Cleaner use of fossil fuels, particularly petroleum and coal.
    3. Greater reliance on domestic sources to drive biofuel.
    4. Achieving the renewable energy target of 450 GW by 2030.
    5. Increasing the contribution of electricity to decarbonise mobility.
    6. Moving into emerging fuels, including hydrogen.
    7. Digital innovation across all energy systems.
  • It was highlighted that the 2019 exploration and licencing policy has shifted the focus from revenue to production maximisation.
  • The PM also expressed plans to raise India’s refining capacity from about 250 million metric tonnes (MMT) a year to 400 MMT by 2025.

2. ‘India is much safer against tsunami threat’

What’s in News?

The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) director has asserted that India is much safer against the threat of tsunamis than it was in 2004, owing to the state-of-the-art tsunami early warning system established in INCOIS.

  • Currently, large under sea earthquakes can be detected in real-time and provide a tsunami warning in 10-20 minutes after the earthquake occurrence.
  • However, he warned that the best of warning systems could fail, if communities are not prepared, if they do not understand the official and natural warning signs of a tsunami, and appropriate and timely response is not taken.
  • He said that the focus in recent times has been on:
    • Enhancing community awareness and response through several capacity-building activities.
    • Biennial Indian Ocean-wide tsunami drills.
    • Piloting of the UNESCO-IOC Tsunami Ready initiative to provide a structured framework to build and measure capacities of coastal communities to respond effectively to tsunamis, through 11 important indicators.

Read more on the Tsunami Ready program in PIB dated Aug 6, 2020.

3. Polio networks helped curb COVID-19: WHO

What’s in News?

In a release issued by the WHO, South East Asia Region, it has been indicated that polio networks could play a critical role in COVID-19 vaccination rollout.

  • The polio-network has been effectively used in the south-east Asia region during the pandemic.
  • Polio networks contain a vast knowledge on vaccination, tools and strategies tailored to reach the unreached and the most vulnerable.
  • Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, used polio micro-plans to help identify over two lakh people with COVID-19 symptoms. These persons were then followed-up and tested for COVID-19.

4. Women at the heart of recovery

  • The government has announced economic reforms and a stimulus package to help revive economic growth in the post COVID scenario.
  • The article argues that this scenario offers India an opportunity to build climate resilience and address gender equality issues.
    • According to the India Voluntary National Review 2020, female labour force participation rate for the 15-59 age group is showing a declining trend and stands at 25.3%. This is one of the lowest rates in the world. The International Monetary Fund estimates that equal participation of women in the workforce will increase India’s GDP by 27%.
    • Climate change has had a negative impact on humans more so on the vulnerable sections of the society, due to stressed agriculture, food insecurity and shrinking water resources.
  • The article argues that putting women at the heart of the economic recovery and ensuring an environmentally sustainable approach will make the process faster, just, inclusive and also sustainable.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Assumption Island:
  1. It is one of the islands constituting the Seychelles archipelago.
  2. It is located to the north of Madagascar.
  3. India has signed an agreement to develop transport infrastructure facilities on the Island.

Which of the given statement/s is/are INCORRECT?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. None of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Assumption Island is one of the islands constituting the Seychelles archipelago.
  • It is located to the north of Madagascar.
  • India has signed an agreement with Seychelles to jointly develop transport infrastructure facilities on the Island.
Q2. India holds ministerial level ‘2+2’ Dialogue with which of the following countries?
  1. The U.S.A.
  2. Japan
  3. China
  4. Australia

Options:

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • India holds ministerial-level ‘2+2’ Dialogue with the U.S.A and Japan.
  • It holds such talks with Australia, at the foreign secretary and defence secretary level.
Q3. Arrange the following military communication agreements between India and the US 
in chronological order in which they were signed:
  1. General Security of Military Information Agreement
  2. Industrial Security Annex
  3. Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement
  4. Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement

Options:

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) – GSOMIA was signed in 2002.
  • The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) was signed in 2016.
  • The Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) in 2018.
  • An extension to the GSOMIA, the Industrial Security Annex (ISA), was signed at the last 2+2 dialogue (2019). 
Q4. Arrange the following Elephant Reserves from North to South:
  1. Dihing-Patkai Elephant Reserve
  2. Dandeli Elephant Reserve
  3. Anamalai Elephant Reserve
  4. Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve

Choose the correct option:

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Dihing-Patkai Elephant Reserve – Assam
  • Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve – Odisha
  • Dandeli Elephant Reserve – Karnataka
  • Anamalai Elephant Reserve – Tamil Nadu

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. ‘Strategic autonomy’ should not be understood as ‘non-alignment’. Issue-based alignment may be a necessary component in contemporary times. Analyze in the backdrop of the evolving geopolitical situation for India. (15 marks, 250 words)(GS Paper 2/International Relations)
  2. Putting women at the heart of the post-COVID economic recovery and ensuring an environmentally sustainable approach will make the process faster, just, inclusive and also sustainable. Comment. (10 marks, 150 words)(GS Paper 3/Economy)

Read the previous CNA here.

27 Oct 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

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