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INSIGHTS CURRENT AFFAIRS ( 30 March 2020) REVISION THROUGH MCQS

INSIGHTS CURRENT Affairs RTM - 2019

The following Quiz is based on the Hindu, PIB and other news sources. It is a current events based quiz. Solving these questions will help retain both concepts and facts relevant to UPSC IAS civil services exam.

To view Solutions, follow these instructions:

  1. Click on – ‘Start Quiz’ button

  2. Solve Questions

  3. Click on ‘Quiz Summary’ button

  4. Click on ‘Finish Quiz’ button

  5. Now click on ‘View Questions’ button – here you will see solutions and links.

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DAY – 17(InstaTest-17): Insta 75 Days Revision Plan-2020: Topic – Polity, Subject-wise Test 8, Text book based Test 13, October-2019 CA

 

GIVE THESE INSTA TESTS NO MATTER WHAT’S GOING TO  BE YOUR SCORE OR HOW MUCH UNDER-PREPARED YOU ARE!. DON’T RUN AWAY FROM WHAT’S DIFFICULT!

THERE IS NO SHORTCUT TO SUCCESS

 

  • STRATEGY – Towards smart preparation in Uncertain times – How to Clear UPSC IAS Prelims? Click Here
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INSTA 75 Days REVISION PLAN for Prelims 2020 - InstaTests

Welcome to Insights IAS INSTA 75 Days Revision Plan for UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam – 2020.

If you are wondering why these questions are posted, please refer to the detailed Timetable provided HERE.

These InstaQuestions are carefully framed to help you improve various skills and knowledge necessary to face uncertain, unpredictable and difficult questions in real prelims exam. This InstaTest is NOT about your scores. It’s about an opportunity to make mistakes and learn from these mistakes now itself. Also, these tests are NOT meant to give you EXPECTED questions for the upcoming prelims. These are meant for practice and to help you fine-tune your skills. To do really well in these InstaTests, REVISION is the KEY. Do follow our Revision Timetable religiously. It WILL help you clear Prelims – 2020, and do well in mains – 2020 as well. 

Once you give this test, record your scores in MITRA book (My InstaTests Revision and Assessment book) and then please POST your scores in the comment box. In the MITRA book you can also write down your observations and daily outcomes and lessons you learnt. It’s designed to help you stay consistent. The MITRA will be your companion who will remind you about your responsibilities as a serious aspirant. Don’t discard MITRA. Keep him beside you while you follow InstaPlan religiously. Post a photo of OMR in comment section, or post just your scores daily to stay motivated and consistent. 

 

Wish you Good Luck! 🙂

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RSTV: LAWS IN THE MAKING – THE MINERAL LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2020

Law_Making

Introduction:

Coal licenses in India are issued to some mining companies today for a specific end use such as steel production and power generation. The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, which was promulgated in January, removes this end-use restriction for coal mines. The Ordinance further clarifies that companies do not require any coal mining experience in India to participate in auctions.

The bill amends the Mines and minerals (development and regulation) act, 1957 (MMDR act) and the Coal mines (special provisions) act, 2015 (CMSP act). An ordinance with similar provisions was promulgated on january 10, 2020.

  • The MMDR act regulates the overall mining sector in india. The cmsp act provides for the auction and allocation of mines whose allocation was cancelled by the supreme court in 2014. Schedule i of the act provides a list of all such mines; schedule ii and iii are sub-classes of the mines listed in the schedule i. Schedule ii mines are those where production had already started then, and schedule iii mines are ones that had been earmarked for a specified end-use.
  • Removal of restriction on end-use of coal: Currently, companies acquiring schedule ii and schedule iii coal mines through auctions can use the coal produced only for specified end-uses such as power generation and steel production. The bill removes this restriction on the use of coal mined by such companies. Companies will be allowed to carry on coal mining operation for own consumption, sale or for any other purposes, as may be specified by the central government.
  • Eligibility for auction of coal and lignite blocks: the bill clarifies that the companies need not possess any prior coal mining experience in india in order to participate in the auction of coal and lignite blocks. Further, the competitive bidding process for auction of coal and lignite blocks will not apply to mines considered for allotment to: (i) a government company or its joint venture for own consumption, sale or any other specified purpose; and (ii) a company that has been awarded a power project on the basis of a competitive bid for tariff.
  • Composite license for prospecting and mining: currently, separate licenses are provided for prospecting and mining of coal and lignite, called prospecting license, and mining lease, respectively. Prospecting includes exploring, locating, or finding mineral deposit. The bill adds a new type of license, called prospecting license-cum-mining lease. This will be a composite license providing for both prospecting and mining activities.
  • Non-exclusive reconnaissance permit holders to get other licenses: currently, the holders of non-exclusive reconnaissance permit for exploration of certain specified minerals are not entitled to obtain a prospecting license or mining lease. Reconnaissance means preliminary prospecting of a mineral through certain surveys. The bill provides that the holders of such permits may apply for a prospecting license-cum-mining lease or mining lease. This will apply to certain licensees as prescribed in the bill.
  • Transfer of statutory clearances to new bidders: currently, upon expiry, mining leases for specified minerals (minerals other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals) can be transferred to new persons through auction. This new lessee is required to obtain statutory clearances before starting mining operations. The bill provides that the various approvals, licenses, and clearances given to the previous lessee will be extended to the successful bidder for a period of two years. During this period, the new lessee will be allowed to continue mining operations. However, the new lessee must obtain all the required clearances within this two-year period.
  • Reallocation after termination of the allocations: the cmsp act provides for the termination of allotment orders of coal mines in certain cases. The bill adds that such mines may be reallocated through auction or allotment as may be determined by the central government. The central government will appoint a designated custodian to manage these mines until they are reallocated.
  • Prior approval from the central government: under the mmdr act, state governments require prior approval of the central government for granting reconnaissance permit, prospecting license, or mining lease for coal and lignite. The bill provides that prior approval of the central government will not be required in granting these licenses for coal and lignite, in certain cases. These include cases where: (i) the allocation has been done by the central government, and (ii) the mining block has been reserved to conserve a mineral.
  • Advance action for auction: under the mmdr act, mining leases for specified minerals (minerals other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals) are auctioned on the expiry of the lease period. The bill provides that state governments can take advance action for auction of a mining lease before its expiry.

Categories of minerals:

As per the available legislations in the country, all minerals have been classified into two categories namely.

  • Major minerals: major minerals are minerals like agate, asbestos, barytes, bauxite, cadmium, calcite, china clay, coal. Copper lead, manganese, mica, nickel, rock phosphate, soapstone, tungsten, wollastonite, zinc, etc., as specified in second schedule appended with the mmdr act 1957.
  • Minor minerals: the minor mineral are building stone, gravel, ordinary clay, ordinary sand and any other mineral which the central government may by notification in the official gazette declare as minor mineral.

Permission for mining:

  • The state governments grant permission for mining, known as mineral concessions, for all the minerals located within the boundary of the state, under the provisions of the mines and minerals (development and regulation) act, 1957 and mineral concession rules, 1960.
  • However, for minerals specified in the first schedule to the mines and minerals (development and regulation) act, 1957, central government approval is necessary before granting the mineral concession.
  • Minerals specified under the first schedule include hydrocarbons, atomic minerals and metallic minerals such as iron ore, bauxite copper ore, lead precious stones, zinc and gold.

Benefits:

  • It might also put an end to coal india ltd’s monopoly in the sector.
  • This will speed up the process of implementation of projects, ease of doing business, simplification of procedure and benefit all the parties in areas where minerals are located.
  • The bill provides for licensing of coal mining leases (pl-and-ml) which will increase the availability of coal and lignite blocks and provide for an allocation of different grades of coal blocks in wide geographical distribution.
  • Environmental and forest clearances will be automatically transferred to the new owners of the mineral blocks along with other clearances for two years. This will allow the new owners to continue with the hassle-free mining operations. They can apply for new licenses for two years during the period.
  • Now, the auction of the lease of mines can be started before the end of the lease term. This will enable the state government to take advance action for auction of mineral blocks so that the new leaseholder can be decided before the current lease period ends. This will help in the smooth production of minerals in the country.
  • His opens up the sector to players outside steel and power as well as removes end-use restrictions.
  • It will create an efficient energy market and bring in more competition as well as reduce coal imports. India imported 235 million tonnes (mt) of coal last year, of which 135 mt valued at rs 171,000 crore could have been met from domestic reserves.
  • It would also help india gain access to high-end technology for underground mining used by miners across the globe.

Coal sector in India:

  • Despite having the world’s fourth largest coal reserves, india imported 235 million tonnes (mt) of coal last year, of which 135mt valued at rs.171,000 crore could have been met from domestic reserves.
  • India’s state-run coal giant has been unable to meet growing demand despite abundant resources.
  • The south asian nation depends on coal india for more than 80 per cent of its domestic production and the miner has consistently fallen short of production targets in the last few years.
  • The government has been progressively liberalizing the coal sector over the last several months to attract new investments, and getting rid of this archaic end-use restriction was a key step.
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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 31 March 2020

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Companies Fresh Start Scheme, 2020.

2. Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What is the ‘rapid test’?

2. NIDHI program.

3. What is Earth Hour?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. What are community reserves?

2. Sections 269 and 270 of the IPC.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Companies Fresh Start Scheme, 2020 and revised LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of these schemes, what is LLP? How is it different from Companies?

For Mains: Significance and implications of these measures.

Context: Ministry of Corporate Affairs introduces the “Companies Fresh Start Scheme, 2020” and revised the “LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020” to provide relief to law abiding companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) in the wake of COVID 19.

What do these schemes entail?

  1. These schemes incentivise compliance and reduce compliance burden during the unprecedented public health situation caused by COVID-19.
  2. The schemes provide a one-time waiver of additional filing fees for delayed filings by the companies or LLPs with the Registrar of Companies during the currency of the Schemes, i.e. during the period starting from 1stApril, 2020 and ending on 30th September, 2020.
  3. They also significantly reduce the related financial burden on them, especially for those with long standing defaults, thereby giving them an opportunity to make a “fresh start”.
  4. Both the Schemes also contain provision for giving immunity from penal proceedings, including against imposition of penalties for late submissions.
  5. They also provide additional time for filing appeals before the concerned Regional Directors against imposition of penalties, if already imposed.

What is a LLP?

A Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is a partnership in which some or all partners have limited liability. It therefore exhibits elements of partnerships and corporations.

In an LLP, one partner is not responsible or liable for another partner’s misconduct or negligence.

Salient features of an LLP:
An LLP is a body corporate and legal entity separate from its partners. It has perpetual succession.
Being the separate legislation (i.e. LLP Act, 2008), the provisions of Indian Partnership Act, 1932 are not applicable to an LLP and it is regulated by the contractual agreement between the partners.
Every Limited Liability Partnership shall use the words “Limited Liability Partnership” or its acronym “LLP” as the last words of its name.

 Composition:

  • Every LLP shall have at least two designated partners being individuals, at least one of them being resident in India and all the partners shall be the agent of the Limited Liability Partnership but not of other partners.

 Need for and significance LLP:
LLP format is an alternative corporate business vehicle that provides the benefits of limited liability of a company but allows its members the flexibility of organizing their internal management on the basis of a mutually arrived agreement, as is the case in a partnership firm.
This format would be quite useful for small and medium enterprises in general and for the enterprises in services sector in particular.

  • Internationally, LLPs are the preferred vehicle of business particularly for service industry or for activities involving professionals.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between LLP and companies.
  2. Difference between LP and LLP.
  3. What is a body corporate?
  4. Roles and functions of LLP partners.

Mains Link:

Write a note on limited liability partnerships.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics covered: Issues related to health.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)

What to study?

For prelims and mains: AES- causes, symptoms, effects and prevention, how is it related to Li hi fruits?

Context: Amid coronavirus, Encephalitis returns in Bihar as toddler dies in Muzaffarpur.

While the causes of AES are still researched, the association with hypoglycaemia and litchi fruit has drawn attention.

About AES:

  • Acute encephalitis syndrome is a basket term used for referring to hospitals, children with clinical neurological manifestation that includes mental confusion, disorientation, convulsion, delirium, or coma.
  • Meningitis caused by virus or bacteria, encephalitis (mostly Japanese encephalitis) caused by virus, encephalopathy, cerebral malaria, and scrub typhus caused by bacteria are collectively called acute encephalitis syndrome.
  • The disease most commonly affects children and young adults and can lead to considerable morbidity and mortality.

Symptoms:

It is characterized as acute-onset of fever and a change in mental status (mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma) and/or new-onset of seizures in a person of any age at any time of the year.

Cause of the disease:

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is considered a very complex disease as it can be caused by various agents including bacteria, fungi, virus and many other agents.

Viruses are the main causative agents in AES cases, although other sources such as bacteria, fungus, parasites, spirochetes, chemicals, toxins and non-infectious agents have also been reported over the past few decades.

Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is the major cause of AES in India (ranging from 5%-35%).

Nipah virus, Zika virus are also found as causative agents for AES.

How is it related to litchi fruits? How it affects?

In India, AES outbreaks in north and eastern India have been linked to children eating unripe litchi fruit on empty stomachs.

Unripe fruit contain the toxins hypoglycin A and methylenecyclopropylglycine (MCPG), which cause vomiting if ingested in large quantities. Hypoglycin A is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the unripened litchi that causes severe vomiting (Jamaican vomiting sickness), while MCPG is a poisonous compound found in litchi seeds.

 Why it affects undernourished children?

  • Blood glucose falls sharply causing severe brain malfunction (encephalopathy), leading to seizures and coma, and death in many cases.
  • This is because under-nourished children lack sufficient glucose reserve in the form of glycogen and the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate source is blocked midway leading to low blood sugar level.
  • This causes serious brain function derangement and seizures.

Measures needed:

  1. Increase access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities.
  2. Improve nutritional status of children at risk of JE/AES.
  3. Preparative measures to be in place before the possible outbreaks.
  4. Vector control.
  5. Better awareness generation among children, parents through Anganwadi workers, ANMs etc.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. AES is caused by?
  2. Diseases caused by virus vs bacteria vs fungi.
  3. What is hypoglycaemia?
  4. What is JE?
  5. How eating litchi fruits aggravate the problem in malnourished children?

Mains Link:

What is Acute encephalitis syndrome? Discuss the causative agents, do you think authorities failed at several levels in preventing deaths due to encephalopathy in Bihar? Suggest what needs to be done?

Sources: down to earth.

Encephalitis


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

What is the ‘rapid test’?

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Rapid test- features, how is it carries out, significance and criticisms.

Context: To tackle suspicions of whether the novel coronavirus has spread into the community and if not prevent such a scenario, the Kerala government has announced ‘rapid tests’ that will ensure speedy results within half an hour.

What is the ‘rapid test’ for Coronavirus?

A rapid test is conducted to determine whether there has been any kind of recent viral infection in a person’s body.

  • When a pathogen enters a human body, specific antibodies are released as a response to the virus.
  • A rapid test can detect the presence of such antibodies in blood, serum or plasma samples quickly, indicating a viral infection. Rapid testing is conducted usually to check for community transmission of a virus during an epidemic.
  • According to the health department, it is a simple test that can be done with a person’s blood sample and will give out results within 10-30 minutes. It is also a low-cost test.

What does Kerala’s health department plan to do?

  • Rapid tests can be used to conduct screening within the community and identify those with suspected infection, put them under observation and if required, subject them to the PCR test for coronavirus confirmation.
  • Kerala plans to acquire as many rapid antibody kits as possible from ICMR-NiV and begin to use them, especially on those under quarantine in areas like Kasaragod district which has reported 80 of the 181 active cases. The situation in Kasaragod is critical than in other districts and has been met with stricter lockdown measures by the administration.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

NIDHI program

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of NIDHI program, how Scitech Airon ionizer machine works?

For Mains: Significance of this breakthrough, how it can help healthcare workers in India?

 Context: A new technology has been adopted by the Maharashtra hospitals in the fight of COVID-19 fight. The technology was developed by a Pune based Start Up.

  • The product is named “Scitech Airon”. It is a Negative Ion Generator.
  • The technology has been developed under the NIDHI PRAYAS program initiated by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

How it works?

  1. The Scitech Airon ionizer machine generates negatively charged ions at approximately hundred million per 8 seconds (10 ions per sec).
  2. The negative ions generated by the ionizer form clusters around microparticles such as airborne mould, corona or influenza viruses, mite allergens, bacteria, pollens, dust and so on and render them inactive through a chemical reaction by creating highly reactive OH groups called hydroxyl radicals and H O which are highly reactive and known as atmospheric detergents.
  3. The detergent property generated by the ion generator helps in the breakdown of the outer protein of the allergens, viruses, and bacteria, which helps in controlling airborne diseases.
  4. It increases the body’s resistance to infections and harmful environmental factors. This resistance could be helpful for the next 20-30 days outside the ion atmosphere.
  5. It also decomposes gaseous pollutants like Carbon Monoxide (1000 times more harmful than Carbon dioxide), Nitrogen dioxide, and Volatile Organic Compounds.

Significance of the technology:

It helps to control the virus, bacteria, and other fungal infections in a closed environment and could help purify the air and disinfect areas around COVID-19 positive cases and suspects. Hence it could ensure the wellbeing of the staff, doctors, and nurses who are working round the clock in quarantine facilities by enhancing their disease-resistance power and ability to fight the virus.

What is NIDHI program?

Department of Science & Technology has launched a NIDHI program (National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations) under which programmes for setting up of incubators, seed fund, accelerators and ‘Proof of concept’ grant for innovators and entrepreneurs have been launched.

Under NIDHI, PRAYAS (Promoting and Accelerating Young and Aspiring innovators & Startups) programme has been initiated in which established Technology Business Incubators (TBI) are supported with PRAYAS grant to support innovators and entrepreneurs with grants for ‘Proof of Concept’ and developing prototypes.

A maximum grant of Rs. 220 lakh is given to a TBI for establishing a PRAYAS Centre which includes Rs.100 lakh for PRAYAS SHALA, Rs. 20 lakh for operational cost of PRAYAS Centre and maximum of Rs. 10 lakh to one innovator for developing prototype. Funding for ten innovators is given to the TBI in a year.

Sources:pib.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

What is Earth Hour?

What to study?

For Prelims: Earth hour, Earth day and give up to give back.

For Mains: Climate change and its effects.

Context: Every year, Earth Hour is observed on the last Saturday of March at 8:30 pm. And while previously it brought the public out onto the roads to mark the hour, this year the famous environmental initiative went digital as many countries are in lockdown.

What is Earth Hour? 

Dating back to 2007, Earth Hour is an annual event organized by the World Wildlife Fund that promotes conservation and sustainable energy. During this time, civilians are encouraged to switch off their lights for one hour to help reduce the effect of global warming and raise awareness for climate change and wildlife conservation.

Background:

It was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide. Today, Earth Hour engages a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues. The one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement.

What’s the difference between Earth Hour and Earth Day? 

Whereas Earth Hour stands as a climate change initiative where people reduce their electricity usage, Earth Day (April 22) celebrates our natural environment by inspiring people to plant trees, recycle regularly and keep the planet tidy.

Why do we need earth hour?

  • Global warming and climate change have dominated the scientific discourse in the past more than one decade. With ever rising population of the world, the climate change has put the humankind at a great risk along with other species.
  • Global warming, rising levels of pollution due to ever increasing industrialisation, declining forest cover and rising sea levels are some of the dangers that drastically affect the workings of life on the earth.
  • Though the largest polluters are big industries, the WWF tries to make the masses more and more aware about the impending dangers of adverse climate so that they could put pressure on the respective governments to frame environment-friendly policies and laws.
  • With Earth Hour, the WWF aims to engage people across the globe to adopt more sustainable lifestyle. Turning off lights for an hour is just an annual reminder that if the world does not mend its ways, it will be heading to a dark age, literally.

Sources: AIR.

 


Facts for Prelims


What is Community Reserves?

Conservation reserves and community reserves in India are terms denoting protected areas of India which typically act as buffer zones to or connectors and migration corridors between established national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserved and protected forests of India.

  • Such areas are designated as conservation areas if they are uninhabited and completely owned by the Government of India but used for subsistence by communities and community areas if part of the lands are privately owned.
  • These protected area categories were first introduced in the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act of 2002 − the amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
  • These categories were added because of reduced protection in and around existing or proposed protected areas due to private ownership of land, and land use.

 

Sections 269 and 270 of the IPC:

Context: Sections 269 & 270 IPC invoked are being invoked against persons who malignantly do any act which is likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life.

  • Sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) come under Chapter XIV of the IPC.
  • While Section 269 provides for a jail term of six months and/or fine, Section 270 provides for a jail term of two years and/or fine.
  • In Section 270, the word ‘malignantly’ indicates a deliberate intention on the part of the accused.
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What is Earth Hour?

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

What is Earth Hour?

What to study?

For Prelims: Earth hour, Earth day and give up to give back.

For Mains: Climate change and its effects.

Context: Every year, Earth Hour is observed on the last Saturday of March at 8:30 pm. And while previously it brought the public out onto the roads to mark the hour, this year the famous environmental initiative went digital as many countries are in lockdown.

What is Earth Hour? 

Dating back to 2007, Earth Hour is an annual event organized by the World Wildlife Fund that promotes conservation and sustainable energy. During this time, civilians are encouraged to switch off their lights for one hour to help reduce the effect of global warming and raise awareness for climate change and wildlife conservation.

Background:

It was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide. Today, Earth Hour engages a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues. The one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement.

What’s the difference between Earth Hour and Earth Day? 

Whereas Earth Hour stands as a climate change initiative where people reduce their electricity usage, Earth Day (April 22) celebrates our natural environment by inspiring people to plant trees, recycle regularly and keep the planet tidy.

Why do we need earth hour?

  • Global warming and climate change have dominated the scientific discourse in the past more than one decade. With ever rising population of the world, the climate change has put the humankind at a great risk along with other species.
  • Global warming, rising levels of pollution due to ever increasing industrialisation, declining forest cover and rising sea levels are some of the dangers that drastically affect the workings of life on the earth.
  • Though the largest polluters are big industries, the WWF tries to make the masses more and more aware about the impending dangers of adverse climate so that they could put pressure on the respective governments to frame environment-friendly policies and laws.
  • With Earth Hour, the WWF aims to engage people across the globe to adopt more sustainable lifestyle. Turning off lights for an hour is just an annual reminder that if the world does not mend its ways, it will be heading to a dark age, literally.

Sources: AIR.

 

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NIDHI program

Topics Covered: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

NIDHI program

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of NIDHI program, how Scitech Airon ionizer machine works?

For Mains: Significance of this breakthrough, how it can help healthcare workers in India?

 Context: A new technology has been adopted by the Maharashtra hospitals in the fight of COVID-19 fight. The technology was developed by a Pune based Start Up.

  • The product is named “Scitech Airon”. It is a Negative Ion Generator.
  • The technology has been developed under the NIDHI PRAYAS program initiated by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

How it works?

  1. The Scitech Airon ionizer machine generates negatively charged ions at approximately hundred million per 8 seconds (10 ions per sec).
  2. The negative ions generated by the ionizer form clusters around microparticles such as airborne mould, corona or influenza viruses, mite allergens, bacteria, pollens, dust and so on and render them inactive through a chemical reaction by creating highly reactive OH groups called hydroxyl radicals and H O which are highly reactive and known as atmospheric detergents.
  3. The detergent property generated by the ion generator helps in the breakdown of the outer protein of the allergens, viruses, and bacteria, which helps in controlling airborne diseases.
  4. It increases the body’s resistance to infections and harmful environmental factors. This resistance could be helpful for the next 20-30 days outside the ion atmosphere.
  5. It also decomposes gaseous pollutants like Carbon Monoxide (1000 times more harmful than Carbon dioxide), Nitrogen dioxide, and Volatile Organic Compounds.

Significance of the technology:

It helps to control the virus, bacteria, and other fungal infections in a closed environment and could help purify the air and disinfect areas around COVID-19 positive cases and suspects. Hence it could ensure the wellbeing of the staff, doctors, and nurses who are working round the clock in quarantine facilities by enhancing their disease-resistance power and ability to fight the virus.

What is NIDHI program?

Department of Science & Technology has launched a NIDHI program (National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations) under which programmes for setting up of incubators, seed fund, accelerators and ‘Proof of concept’ grant for innovators and entrepreneurs have been launched.

Under NIDHI, PRAYAS (Promoting and Accelerating Young and Aspiring innovators & Startups) programme has been initiated in which established Technology Business Incubators (TBI) are supported with PRAYAS grant to support innovators and entrepreneurs with grants for ‘Proof of Concept’ and developing prototypes.

A maximum grant of Rs. 220 lakh is given to a TBI for establishing a PRAYAS Centre which includes Rs.100 lakh for PRAYAS SHALA, Rs. 20 lakh for operational cost of PRAYAS Centre and maximum of Rs. 10 lakh to one innovator for developing prototype. Funding for ten innovators is given to the TBI in a year.

Sources:pib.

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What is the ‘rapid test’?

Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

What is the ‘rapid test’?

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Rapid test- features, how is it carries out, significance and criticisms.

Context: To tackle suspicions of whether the novel coronavirus has spread into the community and if not prevent such a scenario, the Kerala government has announced ‘rapid tests’ that will ensure speedy results within half an hour.

What is the ‘rapid test’ for Coronavirus?

A rapid test is conducted to determine whether there has been any kind of recent viral infection in a person’s body.

  • When a pathogen enters a human body, specific antibodies are released as a response to the virus.
  • A rapid test can detect the presence of such antibodies in blood, serum or plasma samples quickly, indicating a viral infection. Rapid testing is conducted usually to check for community transmission of a virus during an epidemic.
  • According to the health department, it is a simple test that can be done with a person’s blood sample and will give out results within 10-30 minutes. It is also a low-cost test.

What does Kerala’s health department plan to do?

  • Rapid tests can be used to conduct screening within the community and identify those with suspected infection, put them under observation and if required, subject them to the PCR test for coronavirus confirmation.
  • Kerala plans to acquire as many rapid antibody kits as possible from ICMR-NiV and begin to use them, especially on those under quarantine in areas like Kasaragod district which has reported 80 of the 181 active cases. The situation in Kasaragod is critical than in other districts and has been met with stricter lockdown measures by the administration.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

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Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)

Topics covered: Issues related to health.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)

What to study?

For prelims and mains: AES- causes, symptoms, effects and prevention, how is it related to Li hi fruits?

Context: Amid coronavirus, Encephalitis returns in Bihar as toddler dies in Muzaffarpur.

While the causes of AES are still researched, the association with hypoglycaemia and litchi fruit has drawn attention.

About AES:

  • Acute encephalitis syndrome is a basket term used for referring to hospitals, children with clinical neurological manifestation that includes mental confusion, disorientation, convulsion, delirium, or coma.
  • Meningitis caused by virus or bacteria, encephalitis (mostly Japanese encephalitis) caused by virus, encephalopathy, cerebral malaria, and scrub typhus caused by bacteria are collectively called acute encephalitis syndrome.
  • The disease most commonly affects children and young adults and can lead to considerable morbidity and mortality.

Symptoms:

It is characterized as acute-onset of fever and a change in mental status (mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma) and/or new-onset of seizures in a person of any age at any time of the year.

Cause of the disease:

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is considered a very complex disease as it can be caused by various agents including bacteria, fungi, virus and many other agents.

Viruses are the main causative agents in AES cases, although other sources such as bacteria, fungus, parasites, spirochetes, chemicals, toxins and non-infectious agents have also been reported over the past few decades.

Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is the major cause of AES in India (ranging from 5%-35%).

Nipah virus, Zika virus are also found as causative agents for AES.

How is it related to litchi fruits? How it affects?

In India, AES outbreaks in north and eastern India have been linked to children eating unripe litchi fruit on empty stomachs.

Unripe fruit contain the toxins hypoglycin A and methylenecyclopropylglycine (MCPG), which cause vomiting if ingested in large quantities. Hypoglycin A is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the unripened litchi that causes severe vomiting (Jamaican vomiting sickness), while MCPG is a poisonous compound found in litchi seeds.

 Why it affects undernourished children?

  • Blood glucose falls sharply causing severe brain malfunction (encephalopathy), leading to seizures and coma, and death in many cases.
  • This is because under-nourished children lack sufficient glucose reserve in the form of glycogen and the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate source is blocked midway leading to low blood sugar level.
  • This causes serious brain function derangement and seizures.

Measures needed:

  1. Increase access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities.
  2. Improve nutritional status of children at risk of JE/AES.
  3. Preparative measures to be in place before the possible outbreaks.
  4. Vector control.
  5. Better awareness generation among children, parents through Anganwadi workers, ANMs etc.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. AES is caused by?
  2. Diseases caused by virus vs bacteria vs fungi.
  3. What is hypoglycaemia?
  4. What is JE?
  5. How eating litchi fruits aggravate the problem in malnourished children?

Mains Link:

What is Acute encephalitis syndrome? Discuss the causative agents, do you think authorities failed at several levels in preventing deaths due to encephalopathy in Bihar? Suggest what needs to be done?

Sources: down to earth.

Encephalitis

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Companies Fresh Start Scheme, 2020 and revised LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Companies Fresh Start Scheme, 2020 and revised LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of these schemes, what is LLP? How is it different from Companies?

For Mains: Significance and implications of these measures.

Context: Ministry of Corporate Affairs introduces the “Companies Fresh Start Scheme, 2020” and revised the “LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020” to provide relief to law abiding companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) in the wake of COVID 19.

What do these schemes entail?

  1. These schemes incentivise compliance and reduce compliance burden during the unprecedented public health situation caused by COVID-19.
  2. The schemes provide a one-time waiver of additional filing fees for delayed filings by the companies or LLPs with the Registrar of Companies during the currency of the Schemes, i.e. during the period starting from 1stApril, 2020 and ending on 30th September, 2020.
  3. They also significantly reduce the related financial burden on them, especially for those with long standing defaults, thereby giving them an opportunity to make a “fresh start”.
  4. Both the Schemes also contain provision for giving immunity from penal proceedings, including against imposition of penalties for late submissions.
  5. They also provide additional time for filing appeals before the concerned Regional Directors against imposition of penalties, if already imposed.

What is a LLP?

A Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is a partnership in which some or all partners have limited liability. It therefore exhibits elements of partnerships and corporations.

In an LLP, one partner is not responsible or liable for another partner’s misconduct or negligence.

Salient features of an LLP:
An LLP is a body corporate and legal entity separate from its partners. It has perpetual succession.
Being the separate legislation (i.e. LLP Act, 2008), the provisions of Indian Partnership Act, 1932 are not applicable to an LLP and it is regulated by the contractual agreement between the partners.
Every Limited Liability Partnership shall use the words “Limited Liability Partnership” or its acronym “LLP” as the last words of its name.

 Composition:

  • Every LLP shall have at least two designated partners being individuals, at least one of them being resident in India and all the partners shall be the agent of the Limited Liability Partnership but not of other partners.

 Need for and significance LLP:
LLP format is an alternative corporate business vehicle that provides the benefits of limited liability of a company but allows its members the flexibility of organizing their internal management on the basis of a mutually arrived agreement, as is the case in a partnership firm.
This format would be quite useful for small and medium enterprises in general and for the enterprises in services sector in particular.

  • Internationally, LLPs are the preferred vehicle of business particularly for service industry or for activities involving professionals.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between LLP and companies.
  2. Difference between LP and LLP.
  3. What is a body corporate?
  4. Roles and functions of LLP partners.

Mains Link:

Write a note on limited liability partnerships.

Sources: pib.

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Insights into Editorial: RBI’s regulatory changes are crucial in the current economic scenario

COVID_19_Impact

 

Context:

The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) convened for an emergency meeting, ahead of schedule, to discuss its response to the economic challenges posed by the Covid-19 outbreak.

RBI Policy interest rate by 75 basis points:

  • The rate is now lower than it was in April 2009, when the central bank had taken it down to 4.75%, responding to the global financial crisis.
  • In 2008, just four days ahead of a scheduled policy review, RBI had cut the policy repo rate by 1 percentage point, sending an extraordinarily strong signal.
  • The nature of the current economic challenge is a lot different, though. The shock back then had depressed demand, but the economy had not been brought to standstill as it has now, with resources, including labour and capacities idling.
  • When all economic activity has halted, and uncertainty about the future is soaring, there’s no way a rate cut—no matter how steep—can kickstart the economy. Businesses cannot plan for the future and will not borrow.
  • The biggest beneficiary of RBI’s rate cut—which was bigger than market expectations—would be the government.
  • In one stroke, the MPC has altered the fiscal deficit calculation by reducing the government’s borrowing cost.
  • There will be savings on its outgo on interest payments for new and rollover borrowings.
  • RBI also permitted banks and non-bank financial institutions to grant a three-month moratorium on loan repayments and reclassification of stressed loans as non-performing assets (NPAs).
  • This will provide relief by cushioning cash flow pressures for firms and individuals when incomes and revenues have dropped sharply due to the lockdown.
  • The forbearance on downgrading these loans will prevent a sharp spike in NPA levels for banks and NBFCs.

Impact of cut in rates in coming Economic cycle for the country:

  1. When the repo rate is high, banks find it costly to borrow and in turn raise the price of loans to their borrowers. A low repo rate has the overall effect of reducing interest rates for the system.
  2. Lower rates make it easier for entrepreneurs to take loans for working capital and for households for homes, vehicles and so on.
  3. Cut in Reverse Repo has been done to make it unattractive for banks to passively deposit funds with the RBI and instead lend it to the productive sectors.
  4. Bank lending provides the needed oxygen to businesses for their working capital and longer-term loans.
  5. There is another 18.25% of deposits that is also not used for lending under the Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR), further reducing the money banks have to lend.
  6. RBI has reduced the CRR to 3%, freeing up ₹1.37 trillion for banks to lend. CRR has been chosen rather than SLR because this increases ‘primary liquidity’ with the banks a bit better.
  7. Not only is there CRR rate down, banks now needs to maintain 80% of the limit on a daily basis instead of 90% till June 26, 2020.
  8. Reducing volatility in the exchange rate is a measure to reduce the volatility of the price of the rupee in international markets by allowing banks to deal in off-shore non-deliverable rupee derivative markets.
  9. It looks like reform using the crisis to bring about this long-awaited change.

RBI’s regulatory changes are crucial in the current economic scenario:

The measures had a bit of everything that the real economy and the financial markets were crying out for—reduction in rates, provision of liquidity, aiding transmission of lower rates, freeing up the financial markets and easing financial stress by forbearance.

Effective borrowing costs in the G-sec repo market is now likely to fall substantially with the surplus liquidity, and with non-bank participants likely to drive the rate lower than even 4%.

This will help reduce interest rates across the spectrum and make loans cheaper, going forward.

The RBI has provided liquidity on multiple fronts for the banking system:

  1. The first step of cash reserve ratio (CRR) cut will not only help infuse ₹1.37 trillion liquidity, but will also increase profitability.
  2. The reduction in daily CRR maintenance to 80% increases the operating flexibility for banks, just when liquidity is most needed due to the volatile nature of corporate cash flows.
  3. In addition to all of this, was the provision of an additional ₹1 trillion in the form of targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTROs) to banks to buy corporate bonds and CPs in both primary and secondary markets, and an additional dispensation to classify them as hold to maturity.
  4. This has the effect of aiding transmission by bringing corporate bond spreads lower.
  5. The move to allow Indian banks to participate in non-deliverable forward (NDF) markets is ground-breaking.
  6. It will potentially enable the RBI to intervene offshore through the banking system to check undue volatility, as well as help Indian banks to quote to clients for their forex requirements round-the-clock.
  7. Sweeping regulatory changes announced in terms of moratoriums and deferments are crucial in the context of the current economic scenario.
  8. We expect Q1 FY21 growth to contract as most businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), will see revenue loss while facing a cash crunch.

Way Forward: Two more measures could have been considered:

First, the RBI could consider participating in primary auctions of bonds of the government of India, or to subscribe to a private placement of bonds.

This is much needed to ensure that the borrowing programme goes through smoothly.

It could consider this and communicate it proactively to ensure that long bond yields do not militate against the transmission of lower rates, especially when the borrowing calendar starts.

Second, creation of a SPV (special purpose vehicle) funded by the RBI could be considered, which could directly purchase corporate bonds in primary and secondary markets.

Both these measures are much needed to ensure companies do not find the availability and cost of money an issue.

Conclusion:

While prioritising financial stability is fine, the MPC’s inflation projection is puzzling.

While refraining from providing estimates on growth and inflation, given that the spread, intensity and duration of Covid-19 remain uncertain, RBI said it expects food price pressures to soften going ahead on account of a blow to demand during the lockdown.

The projection seems unreasonable when there are unprecedented supply-side bottlenecks.

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QUIZ – 2020: INSIGHTS STATIC QUIZ, 31 March 2020 – History

INSIGHTS STATIC QUIZ 2019

 

Welcome to Insights IAS Static Quiz. We have already outlined details of this New Initiative HERE.  

 

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QUIZ – 2020: Insights Current Affairs Quiz, 31 March 2020

The following quiz will have 5-10 MCQs. The questions are mainly framed from The Hindu and PIB news articles.

This quiz is intended to introduce you to concepts and certain important facts relevant to UPSC IAS civil services preliminary exam 2018. It is not a test of your knowledge. If you score less, please do not mind. Read again sources provided and try to remember better.

Please try to enjoy questions, discuss the concepts and facts they try to test from you and suggest improvements.

Hope you enjoy this quiz. If you like it, then please share it. Thank you.

INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS QUIZ 2019

The following Quiz is based on the Hindu, PIB and other news sources. It is a current events based quiz. Solving these questions will help retain both concepts and facts relevant to UPSC IAS civil services exam.

To view Solutions, follow these instructions:

  1. Click on – ‘Start Quiz’ button

  2. Solve Questions

  3. Click on ‘Quiz Summary’ button

  4. Click on ‘Finish Quiz’ button

  5. Now click on ‘View Questions’ button – here you will see solutions and links.

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[Insights Secure – 2020] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 31 March 2020

Click on EACH question to post/upload you answers.

How to Follow Secure Initiative?

How to Self-evaluate your answer? 

INSIGHTS NEW SECURE – 2020: YEARLONG TIMETABLE

 


General Studies – 1


 

Topic:  Geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

1. Discuss the various geomorphological effects caused by an earth quake. (250 words)

Reference: Physical Geography by Savindra Singh

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I, theme geography.

Key demand of the question:

One has to explain the various geomorphological effects caused by an earth quake in detail.

Directive:

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly define what Earthquakes are.

Body:

The question is pretty much straightforward and there isn’t much to deliberate.

Start with geomorphological effects that an Earthquake possibly causes.

An earthquake can trigger many sudden changes in the environment which can be classified as primary (e.g. subsidence, surface faulting) and secondary effects (displaced rocks, tsunami, ground cracks, liquefactions, landslides) etc.

Discuss the impact of it. Use diagrams wherever possible to add value to your answer.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance.

 

Topic:  Geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

2. What are the environmental issues in Antarctica? Discuss and present the global importance of it.(250 words)

Reference: Physical Geography by Savindra Singh

Why this question:

The question is about the global importance that Antarctica holds for us and the environmental issues concerning it.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the global importance that Antarctica holds for us and the environmental issues concerning it.

Directive:

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly state key facts of Antarctica show the location using a diagram.

Body:

To start with, first quote the environmental concerns in detail –

Antarctica and its surrounding waters are under pressure from a variety of forces that are already transforming the area, scientists warn. The most immediate threats are regional warming, ocean acidification and loss of sea ice, all linked to global levels of carbon dioxide. Although isolated from other continents, Antarctica is connected to the rest of the world through oceanic and atmospheric circulations. Antarctica and the surrounding Southern Ocean are key drivers of Earth’s oceanic and atmospheric systems. The formation and circulation of Southern Ocean water masses provide a key link in the global ‘conveyor belt’ of ocean currents that controls climate by transporting heat and other properties.

For our entire planet, atmospheric pressure, humidity, air temperatures and wind patterns are interconnected and greatly influenced by processes in the Southern Ocean.

Explain the human impact too.

Discuss the importance of it in detail.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the need to save Antarctica with sense of urgency.

 

Topic:  population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

3. Critically analyse lack of integration of migration process with the course of development in the country, illustrate the case with special focus amidst the COVID outbreak.(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

Migrant workers trying to move out of the cities to their villages in the light of the nationwide lockdown. Thus the context of the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the issue of migrants in the country and how and why there has been disconnect between the integration of migration process with that of development.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain what constitutes the process of migration.

Body:

To start with, discuss the challenges that the process of migration faces in our country.

List down the challenges and concerns associated.

Explain why there is a disconnect?; Inclusion and Integration of Migrants: Internal migration is not viewed positively in India and policies are often aimed at reducing internal migration, as a result, there is a lack of integration of migration with the process of development. Discuss other challenges such as Psychological and Emotional Stress: Any person migrating to a new country faces multiple challenges, from cultural adaptation and language barriers to homesickness and loneliness.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

4. What is Earth Hour? Why is Earth Hour the event held in late March? Elaborate on its significance.( 250 words)

Reference:  News On Air

Why this question:

Earth Hour 2020 was held on March 28, from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain what Earth hour is and its significance in detail.

Directive:

Elaborate – Give a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly define Earth hour.

Body:

Discuss the following aspects in your answer:

What is Earth Hour? Earth Hour is a global grassroots movement uniting people to take action on environmental issues and protect the planet.
Organized by: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Background: Earth Hour was started as a lights out event in Sydney, Australia in 2007.
When does Earth Hour take place? The annual Earth Hour lights out event is held worldwide toward the end of March to encourage individuals, households, communities and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet. Why is Earth Hour the event held in late March? The second-to-last and last weekend of March is around the time of the Spring and Autumn equinoxes in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, which allows for near coincidental sunset times in both hemispheres, thereby ensuring the greatest visual impact for a global ‘lights out’ event.
Earth Hour logo: Earlier it was 60 (60 symbolizes 60 minutes). But since 2011 it is 60+. Here + represents the commitment to go beyond the earth hour (i.e. switching off non – essential lights in day to day life). 

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

 

Topic:  Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security;

5.In the light of the spread of misinformation regarding COVID-19 on social media networks, analyze the apprehensions associated with the spread of fake news in the present context. Propose suitable measures to tackle it.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why this question:

Misinformation linked to supposed cures for COVID-19 and misleading claims have proliferated on social media networks. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

One must analyze the apprehensions associated with the spread of fake news in the present context.

Directive:

analyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what fake news is.

Body:

Explain Fake News pandemic:

  • In the light of the pandemic, the social media platforms have witnessed:
    • Misleading claims on supposed cures and posts related to ‘treatments’ that are not proven.
    • Medicine sales pitches or claims of techniques to prevent exposure and infection that are either not proven and/or filled with a lot of misleading information.
    • Conspiracy theories about the outbreak.
    • Instructions for individuals to stock up on supplies and food.
  • The misinformation about the pandemic has been deadly. False reports have appeared in numerous countries.

Discuss the concerns involved – issue of panic buying, claims can cause confusion among the public etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable measures to tackle the issue.

 

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

6. The recently witnessed low AQI across the country proves that pollution is mostly anthropomorphic (man-made) in nature. Comment.(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The nationwide lockdown in place has led to reduced air pollution in over 90 cities in India. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the way Air pollution across the cities has come down, discuss the need to have focused measures to replicate such a situation using technology that can ensure good AQI.

Directive:

Commenthere we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly talk about the worrying air pollution conditions in the country in the past.

Body:

To start with, talk about the air pollution causes.

Discuss PM2.5- its impact, and other harmful gases that are polluting air.

The biggest impact of particulate air pollution on public health is understood to be from long-term exposure to PM2.5, which increases the age-specific mortality risk, particularly from cardiovascular causes. Exposure to high concentrations of PM to even short term episodes can also intensify lung and heart conditions. Children, the elderly and those with predisposed respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, are known to be more susceptible to the health impacts from air pollution.

Discuss the effect on Air pollution levels amidst the COVID-19 control.

Suggest what measures should be taken in future.

Conclusion:

The low AQI prove that pollution is mostly anthropomorphic (man-made) in nature. Though the lockdown is not the ideal way to bring down air pollution, it proves that it can be done. Pollution can be reduced by using technology and low-emission alternatives.

 

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. Disaster and disaster management. Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

7. Do you agree that scientific advances are reducing technical barriers that earlier limited the potential of biological weapons? Discuss with suitable examples.(250 words)

Reference:  News On Air

Why this question:

March 26 marked the 45th anniversary of the entry into force of the Biological Weapons Convention. The anniversary comes as the world is grappling with the Coronavirus pandemic. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the interrelationship between the growing technological advancement with that on the potential promotion of biological weapons.

Directive:

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly discuss what constitute Biological weapons.

Body:

Talk about the scientific advancements the world countries are making.

Then move onto discuss – The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which is a legally binding treaty that outlaws biological arms.

Discuss the nuances of biological weapons; the concerns associated and what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude that all countries should reaffirm their unequivocal rejection of the use of disease as a weapon with due international cooperation.

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Do you agree that scientific advances are reducing technical barriers that earlier limited the potential of biological weapons? Discuss with suitable examples.

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. Disaster and disaster management. Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

7. Do you agree that scientific advances are reducing technical barriers that earlier limited the potential of biological weapons? Discuss with suitable examples.(250 words)

Reference:  News On Air

Why this question:

March 26 marked the 45th anniversary of the entry into force of the Biological Weapons Convention. The anniversary comes as the world is grappling with the Coronavirus pandemic. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the interrelationship between the growing technological advancement with that on the potential promotion of biological weapons.

Directive:

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly discuss what constitute Biological weapons.

Body:

Talk about the scientific advancements the world countries are making.

Then move onto discuss – The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which is a legally binding treaty that outlaws biological arms.

Discuss the nuances of biological weapons; the concerns associated and what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude that all countries should reaffirm their unequivocal rejection of the use of disease as a weapon with due international cooperation.

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The recently witnessed low AQI across the country proves that pollution is mostly anthropomorphic (man-made) in nature. Comment.

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

6. The recently witnessed low AQI across the country proves that pollution is mostly anthropomorphic (man-made) in nature. Comment.(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The nationwide lockdown in place has led to reduced air pollution in over 90 cities in India. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the way Air pollution across the cities has come down, discuss the need to have focused measures to replicate such a situation using technology that can ensure good AQI.

Directive:

Commenthere we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly talk about the worrying air pollution conditions in the country in the past.

Body:

To start with, talk about the air pollution causes.

Discuss PM2.5- its impact, and other harmful gases that are polluting air.

The biggest impact of particulate air pollution on public health is understood to be from long-term exposure to PM2.5, which increases the age-specific mortality risk, particularly from cardiovascular causes. Exposure to high concentrations of PM to even short term episodes can also intensify lung and heart conditions. Children, the elderly and those with predisposed respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, are known to be more susceptible to the health impacts from air pollution.

Discuss the effect on Air pollution levels amidst the COVID-19 control.

Suggest what measures should be taken in future.

Conclusion:

The low AQI prove that pollution is mostly anthropomorphic (man-made) in nature. Though the lockdown is not the ideal way to bring down air pollution, it proves that it can be done. Pollution can be reduced by using technology and low-emission alternatives.

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In the light of the spread of misinformation regarding COVID-19 on social media networks, analyze the apprehensions associated with the spread of fake news in the present context. Propose suitable measures to tackle it.

Topic:  Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security;

5.In the light of the spread of misinformation regarding COVID-19 on social media networks, analyze the apprehensions associated with the spread of fake news in the present context. Propose suitable measures to tackle it.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why this question:

Misinformation linked to supposed cures for COVID-19 and misleading claims have proliferated on social media networks. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

One must analyze the apprehensions associated with the spread of fake news in the present context.

Directive:

analyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what fake news is.

Body:

Explain Fake News pandemic:

  • In the light of the pandemic, the social media platforms have witnessed:
    • Misleading claims on supposed cures and posts related to ‘treatments’ that are not proven.
    • Medicine sales pitches or claims of techniques to prevent exposure and infection that are either not proven and/or filled with a lot of misleading information.
    • Conspiracy theories about the outbreak.
    • Instructions for individuals to stock up on supplies and food.
  • The misinformation about the pandemic has been deadly. False reports have appeared in numerous countries.

Discuss the concerns involved – issue of panic buying, claims can cause confusion among the public etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable measures to tackle the issue.

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What is Earth Hour? Why is Earth Hour the event held in late March? Elaborate on its significance.

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

4. What is Earth Hour? Why is Earth Hour the event held in late March? Elaborate on its significance.( 250 words)

Reference:  News On Air

Why this question:

Earth Hour 2020 was held on March 28, from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain what Earth hour is and its significance in detail.

Directive:

Elaborate – Give a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly define Earth hour.

Body:

Discuss the following aspects in your answer:

What is Earth Hour? Earth Hour is a global grassroots movement uniting people to take action on environmental issues and protect the planet.
Organized by: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Background: Earth Hour was started as a lights out event in Sydney, Australia in 2007.
When does Earth Hour take place? The annual Earth Hour lights out event is held worldwide toward the end of March to encourage individuals, households, communities and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet. Why is Earth Hour the event held in late March? The second-to-last and last weekend of March is around the time of the Spring and Autumn equinoxes in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, which allows for near coincidental sunset times in both hemispheres, thereby ensuring the greatest visual impact for a global ‘lights out’ event.
Earth Hour logo: Earlier it was 60 (60 symbolizes 60 minutes). But since 2011 it is 60+. Here + represents the commitment to go beyond the earth hour (i.e. switching off non – essential lights in day to day life). 

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

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Critically analyse lack of integration of migration process with the course of development in the country, illustrate the case with special focus amidst the COVID outbreak.

Topic:  population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

3. Critically analyse lack of integration of migration process with the course of development in the country, illustrate the case with special focus amidst the COVID outbreak.(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

Migrant workers trying to move out of the cities to their villages in the light of the nationwide lockdown. Thus the context of the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the issue of migrants in the country and how and why there has been disconnect between the integration of migration process with that of development.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain what constitutes the process of migration.

Body:

To start with, discuss the challenges that the process of migration faces in our country.

List down the challenges and concerns associated.

Explain why there is a disconnect?; Inclusion and Integration of Migrants: Internal migration is not viewed positively in India and policies are often aimed at reducing internal migration, as a result, there is a lack of integration of migration with the process of development. Discuss other challenges such as Psychological and Emotional Stress: Any person migrating to a new country faces multiple challenges, from cultural adaptation and language barriers to homesickness and loneliness.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

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What are the environmental issues in Antarctica? Discuss and present the global importance of it.

Topic:  Geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

2. What are the environmental issues in Antarctica? Discuss and present the global importance of it.(250 words)

Reference: Physical Geography by Savindra Singh

Why this question:

The question is about the global importance that Antarctica holds for us and the environmental issues concerning it.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the global importance that Antarctica holds for us and the environmental issues concerning it.

Directive:

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly state key facts of Antarctica show the location using a diagram.

Body:

To start with, first quote the environmental concerns in detail –

Antarctica and its surrounding waters are under pressure from a variety of forces that are already transforming the area, scientists warn. The most immediate threats are regional warming, ocean acidification and loss of sea ice, all linked to global levels of carbon dioxide. Although isolated from other continents, Antarctica is connected to the rest of the world through oceanic and atmospheric circulations. Antarctica and the surrounding Southern Ocean are key drivers of Earth’s oceanic and atmospheric systems. The formation and circulation of Southern Ocean water masses provide a key link in the global ‘conveyor belt’ of ocean currents that controls climate by transporting heat and other properties.

For our entire planet, atmospheric pressure, humidity, air temperatures and wind patterns are interconnected and greatly influenced by processes in the Southern Ocean.

Explain the human impact too.

Discuss the importance of it in detail.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the need to save Antarctica with sense of urgency.