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Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. What are Social Bubbles?

2. Cooperative security in Persian Gulf littoral.

3. China issues white paper on COVID-19 fight.

4. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

5. Environment performance index.

6. Sixth mass extinction.

7. Assam gas leak.


GS Paper 4:

1. Why the Telangana HC compared Covid-19 to a Trojan horse?


Facts for Prelims:

1. Deccan Queen.

2. World Oceans Day.

3. Jaya Jaitly task force.

4. World Food Safety Day (WFSD).

5. World’s first ‘Internet-controlled’ robot.

6. Spandan Campaign.

7. Magnetocaloric materials.


GS Paper  : 2


Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

What are Social Bubbles?

What to study?

For Prelims: Meaning, what is a travel bubble?

For Mains: Significance, relevance for India and challenges ahead.

Why in News?

Many countries have started gradually lifting restrictions even as the number of cases of the infection continues to rise. 

One of the ways of effective social distancing strategies to keep the Covid-19 curve flat suggested by experts include the idea of social bubbles.

What are social bubbles?

The idea is based on New Zealand’s model of household “bubbles”, an exclusive social group that is allowed to meet with each other amid the pandemic.

A bubble is referred to as an individual’s household or the people that one lives with. People may be allowed to extend their bubbles slightly to include caregivers or children who might be in shared care.

These people don’t need to live in the same household but must be local.

New Zealand followed this approach during the lockdown and allowed the expansion of the bubbles as transmission slowed and restrictions eased.

Benefits of these bubbles:

In case a member of the bubble develops symptoms, the entire bubble quarantines itself, preventing further spread of the infection.

Bubbles allow those who are isolated to come into more social contact and to reduce the most harmful effects of the current social restrictions, while continuing to limit the risk of chains of transmission.

Have they been effective?

Studies have shown that the concept of social bubbles proved effective for New Zealand since it allowed people who were isolated, vulnerable or struggling to receive the care and support they needed.

Such a policy can be an effective policy for other countries to encourage compliance with social distancing regulations while meeting care and support needs.

Relevance of social bubbles at workplaces:

Social bubbles can also be applied by employers to create departmental or work unit bubbles of employees. For instance, for hospitals and essential workers, the risk of transmission can be minimised by introducing shifts with a similar composition of employees. This could mean clubbing together employees based on their residential proximity.


Prelims Link:

  1. What is a bubble?
  2. Travel vs Social Bubbles?
  3. Which countries have been implementing social bubbles?
  4. Name of the virus which caused COVID 19 disease.
  5. Location of New Zealand on world map.

Mains Link:

What are social bubbles? How they can help contain the spread of Novel Corona virus?


Sources: Indian Express.


Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Cooperative security in Persian Gulf littoral

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: About the region, location and significance, challenges to its security and how to maintain it?

What is Persian Gulf region and why is it so significant?

The lands around the Persian Gulf are shared by eight countries- Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

  • These countries are major producers of crude oil and natural gas, and thereby contribute critically to the global economy and to their own prosperity. 
  • The area has approximately two-thirds of the world’s estimated proven oil reserves and one-third of the world’s estimated proven natural gas reserves.
  • This factor has added to their geopolitical significance. 
  • A considerable amount of sea trade passes through the gulf, leading to heavy traffic in the region.

Given its significance, the framework for stability and security in the region should have the following:

  1. conditions of peace and stability in individual littoral states;
  2. freedom to all states of the Gulf littoral to exploit their hydrocarbon and other natural resources and export them;
  3. freedom of commercial shipping in international waters of the Persian Gulf;
  4. freedom of access to, and outlet from, Gulf waters through the Strait of Hormuz;
  5. prevention of conflict that may impinge on the freedom of trade and shipping
  6. prevention of emergence of conditions that may impinge on any of these considerations.

Why this is important for India too?

  • The Gulf is an integral part of India’s ‘extended neighbourhood’, both by way of geographical proximity and as an area of expanded interests and growing Indian influence.
  • India is dependent on the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states for 42 per cent of its overall oil imports; three of the top five oil suppliers to India are Gulf states.
  • Indians make up the Gulf states’ largest expatriate community, with an estimated 7.6 million Indian nationals living and working in the region; especially in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
  • The GCC is India’s largest regional-bloc trading partner, which accounted for $104 billion of trade in 2017–18, nearly a 7 per cent increase from $97 billion the previous year. This is higher than both India–ASEAN trade ($81 billion) and India–EU trade ($102 billion) in 2017-18.



Prelims Link:

  1. What is GCC?
  2. Middle East countries?
  3. Strait of Hormuz?
  4. Top oil producers of the world.
  5. Persian Gulf- countries in the region.

Mains Link:

Discuss why stability and peace is important in the Persian Gulf region for India and the world.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

China issues white paper on COVID-19 fight

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview and key mentions.

For Mains: Relevance of this white paper, what’s the issue and how it should be dealt?

Context: China has issued a white paper on the country’s battle against COVID-19. The document is titled “Fighting COVID-19: China in Action.”

The paper explains:

China’s prevention, control and treatment efforts in the battle against the virus, as well as the efforts made at a global level in international cooperation.


  • From early outbreak to an all-out nationwide effort to save as many lives as possible, the Chinese Government has taken the most comprehensive, the strictest and the most thorough prevention and control measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
  • China has made full use of the weapon to win the battle against COVID-19.
  • It has vowed to continue advocating globalization and multilateralism amid the coronavirus pandemic and in its aftermath.
  • It has released information on COVID-19 in an open and transparent manner as required by law.

What’s the issue?

US president Donald Trump and leaders of several countries have accused China of not being transparent in reporting the deadly disease, leading to huge human casualties and economic crisis across the world.

Recently, the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of Geneva-based World Health Organisation (WHO), passed a unanimous resolution to probe the origin of the virus. China also backed the resolution.


The coronavirus has infected over 68,00,000 people and killed nearly 4,00,000 across the world.

The US is the worst affected country with over 1.9 million cases and more than 1,09,000 deaths, while the total number of cases in China stand at 84,177.

The global economy, which was in a sluggish recovery even before the coronavirus outbreak, is now bound to suffer a “severe recession” in 2020.


Prelims Link:

  1. Locate Wuhan on Map.
  2. Types of Coronavirus which affect humans.
  3. UNSC- objectives and permanent members.
  4. Countries in the South China Sea region.
  5. Locate Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  : 3


Topics Covered: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of the code.

For Mains: Significance and issues associated.

Context: The government promulgated an ordinance to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) whereby fresh insolvency proceedings will not be initiated for at least six months starting from March 25 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Default on repayments from March 25, the day when the nationwide lockdown began to curb COVID-19 infections, would not be considered for initiating insolvency the proceedings for at least six months. Insolvency proceedings would not be initiated for “any default arising on or after March 25, 2020 for a period of six months or such further period, not exceeding one year from such date, as may be notified in this behalf”. ”No application shall ever be filed for initiation of corporate insolvency resolution process of a corporate debtor for the said default occurring during the said period,”

The ordinance suspends sections 7, 9 and 10 on grounds that:

  1. the pandemic has created uncertainty and stress for business for reasons beyond their control
  2. the nationwide lockdown has added to disruption of normal business operations
  3. in such circumstances it would be difficult to find adequate number of resolution applicants for a distressed/defaulting business

The suspension will also curb operational creditors, such as vendors and suppliers, from filing insolvency proceedings against corporate debtors. It will also block corporate debtors from self-filing in order to restructure debt.


Section 7, 9 and 10 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 allow for insolvency filings by financial creditors, operational creditors and the corporate debtor itself.


While the ordinance is intended to provide respite to the corporate debtor, taking away recourse under IBC will only mean ballooning of the liabilities without resolution. Certain provisions in the amendment can spring unwarranted consequences and open up the possibility of gross misuse of the leeway by wilful defaulters and fraudulent promoters. Suspending Section 10 of the Code will also hurt businesses stuck in the vicious cycle of debt and wanting to exit.

What is insolvency and bankruptcy?

Insolvency is a situation where individuals or companies are unable to repay their outstanding debt.

Bankruptcy, on the other hand, is a situation whereby a court of competent jurisdiction has declared a person or other entity insolvent, having passed appropriate orders to resolve it and protect the rights of the creditors. It is a legal declaration of one’s inability to pay off debts.

About the IBC:

The IBC was enacted in 2016, replacing a host of laws, with the aim to streamline and speed up the resolution process of failed businesses.

The Code also consolidates provisions of the current legislative framework to form a common forum for debtors and creditors of all classes to resolve insolvency.

The code stipulates that the resolution process of a stressed company will have to be completed in a maximum of 270 days.

 When does the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) apply?
In March this year, the government raised the threshold for invoking insolvency under the IBC to Rs 1 crore from Rs 1 lakh with a view to prevent triggering of such proceedings against small and medium enterprises that are facing currently the heat of coronavirus pandemic.

The Code creates various institutions to facilitate resolution of insolvency. These are as follows:

Insolvency Professionals: A specialised cadre of licensed professionals is proposed to be created. These professionals will administer the resolution process, manage the assets of the debtor, and provide information for creditors to assist them in decision making.

Insolvency Professional Agencies: The insolvency professionals will be registered with insolvency professional agencies. The agencies conduct examinations to certify the insolvency professionals and enforce a code of conduct for their performance.

Information Utilities: Creditors will report financial information of the debt owed to them by the debtor. Such information will include records of debt, liabilities and defaults.

Adjudicating authorities: The proceedings of the resolution process will be adjudicated by the National Companies Law Tribunal (NCLT), for companies; and the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), for individuals. The duties of the authorities will include approval to initiate the resolution process, appoint the insolvency professional, and approve the final decision of creditors.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board: The Board will regulate insolvency professionals, insolvency professional agencies and information utilities set up under the Code.  The Board will consist of representatives of Reserve Bank of India, and the Ministries of Finance, Corporate Affairs and Law.


Prelims Link:

  1. What is insolvency and bankruptcy?
  2. Various institutions established under the IBC code.
  3. NCLT- composition and functions.
  4. What are debt recovery tribunals?
  5. Sections 7, 9 and 10 of IBC.

Mains Link:

Discuss how suspension of initiation of fresh insolvency proceedings will help shield companies impacted by the outbreak of Covid-19.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Environmental performance index

What to study?

For Prelims: EPI- criteria, rankings and procedure.

For Mains: Significance, performance of India and measures suggested.

 Context: 12th edition of the biennial Environment Performance Index (EPI Index 2020) has been released.

About the index:

The index ranks 180 countries on 32 performance indicators across 11 categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality.

The index is a method of quantifying and numerically marking the environmental performance of a state’s policies.

This index was developed from the Pilot Environmental Performance Index, first published in 2002, and designed to supplement the environmental targets set forth in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

The EPI was preceded by the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), published between 1999 and 2005. Both indices were developed by Yale University (Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy) and Columbia University (Center for International Earth Science Information Network) in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

Performance of India and neighbours:

India secured 168th rank. The country scored 27.6 out of 100 in the 2020 index.

  • India’s rank was 177 (with a score of 27.6 out of 100) in 2018.
  • India scored below the regional average score on all five key parameters on environmental health, including air quality, sanitation and drinking water, heavy metals and waste management.
  • It has also scored below the regional average on parameters related to biodiversity and ecosystem services too.
  • Among South Asian countries, India was at second position (rank 106) after Pakistan on ‘climate change’.
  • The 11 countries lagging behind India were — Burundi, Haiti, Chad, Soloman Islands, Madagascar, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoir, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Liberia.
  • All South Asian countries, except Afghanistan, were ahead of India in the ranking.  


Suggestions for India:

  • India needs to re-double national sustainability efforts on all fronts.
  • The country needs to focus on a wide spectrum of sustainability issues, with a high-priority to critical issues such as air and water quality, biodiversity and climate change.

Global performance:

  • Denmark came in first place, followed by Luxembourg and Switzerland. The United Kingdom ranked fourth.
  • The US is far behind other industrialized nations on environmental performance and now ranks 24th in the world.

Sources: down to earth.


Topics Covered: Disaster and disaster management.

Sixth mass extinction

What to study?

For Prelims: All mass extinctions and the reasons behind.

For Mains: How to stop the sixth mass extinction?

Context: The ongoing sixth mass extinction may be one of the most serious environmental threats to the persistence of civilisation, according to new research. The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

What is the mass extinction of species?

Mass extinction refers to a substantial increase in the degree of extinction or when the Earth loses more than three-quarters of its species in a geologically short period of time.

So far, during the entire history of the Earth, there have been five mass extinctions. 

Reasons and impacts:

The five mass extinctions that took place in the last 450 million years have led to the destruction of 70-95 per cent of the species of plants, animals and microorganisms that existed earlier.

These extinctions were caused by “catastrophic alterations” to the environment, such as massive volcanic eruptions, depletion of oceanic oxygen or collision with an asteroid.

After each of these extinctions, it took millions of years to regain species comparable to those that existed before the event.

What is the sixth mass extinction?

The sixth, which is ongoing, is referred to as the Anthropocene extinction.

Researchers have described it as the “most serious environmental problem” since the loss of species will be permanent.

Why it is attributable to humans?

One of the reasons that humanity is an “unprecedented threat” to many living organisms is because of their growing numbers.

The loss of species has been occurring since human ancestors developed agriculture over 11,000 years ago. Since then, the human population has increased from about 1 million to 7.7 billion.

Changes occurred and occurring:

More than 400 vertebrate species went extinct in the last century, extinctions that would have taken over 10,000 years in the normal course of evolution.

In a sample of 177 species of large mammals, most lost more than 80 per cent of their geographic range in the last 100 years, and 32 per cent of over 27,000 vertebrate species have declining populations.

Many of the species currently endangered or on the brink of extinction are being decimated by legal and illegal wildlife trade.

Several species of mammals that were relatively safe one or two decades ago are now endangered, including cheetahs, lions and giraffes. There are as few as 20,000 lions left in the wild, less than 7,000 cheetahs, 500 to 1,000 giant pandas, and about 250 Sumatran rhinoceros.


Vulnerable regions:

Tropical regions have seen the highest number of declining species. In South and Southeast Asia, large-bodied species of mammals have lost more than four-fifths of their historical ranges.

While fewer species are disappearing in temperate zones, the percentage is just as high or higher. As many as half of the number of animals that once shared our planet are no longer here, a loss described as “a massive erosion of the greatest biological diversity in the history of Earth”.

What happens when species go extinct?

Impact can be tangible such as in the form of a loss in crop pollination and water purification.

If a species has a specific function in an ecosystem, the loss can lead to consequences for other species by impacting the food chain.

Effects of extinction will worsen in the coming decades as the resulting genetic and cultural variability will change entire ecosystems.

  • When the number of individuals in a population or species drops too low, its contributions to ecosystem functions and services become unimportant, its genetic variability and resilience is reduced, and its contribution to human welfare may be lost.


Prelims Link:

  1. What is mass extinction?
  2. Previous extinctions and the factors responsible.
  3. The sixth mass extinction and factors responsible.

Sources: Indian Express.


Topics Covered: Disaster and disaster management.

Assam gas leak

What to study?

For Prelims: Natural gas, location of the leak and areas surrounding.

For Mains: Impact of the leak, reasons behind and ways to address the situation.

What happened?

Since the morning of May 27, natural gas has been continuously flowing out of a gas well in Assam following a blowout — or a sudden, uncontrolled release of gas/oil.

This happened after the blowout at the Oil India Limited’s (OIL) Baghjan gas well in Assam’s Tinsukia district.

  • People from surrounding villages have been evacuated, while a variety of fish and an endangered Gangetic dolphin have died.


The current discharge is at 90,000 SCMD at a pressure of 4,200 PSI, far higher than the normal producing pressure of around 2,700 PSI.

Why do blowouts happen?

The pressure balance in a well may be disturbed leading to ‘kicks’ or changes in pressure. If these are not controlled in time, the ‘kicks’ can turn into a sudden blowout.

There are many possible reasons behind blowouts, “from simple lack of attention, poor workmanship, bad maintenance, old age, sabotage to morpho-tectonic factors”.

Why is it so difficult to control?

The control of a blowout depends on two things: the size of the reservoir and the pressure at which the gas/oil is flowing out.

This reservoir was particularly difficult to control since it was a gas well and ran the risk of catching fire at any point.

What is being done?

While many blowouts automatically collapse on their own, it can take up to months. To control a blowout, the first step is to pump in water, so that the gas does not catch fire.

How serious is the impact to the neighbourhood?

As many as 1,610 families with 2,500-3,000 people have been evacuated to relief camps. There are reports of deaths of a river dolphin, and a variety of fish. While the administration has kept an ambulance with paramedical staff on standby, locals have complained of symptoms such as burning of eyes, headache etc.

Also close is the Maguri-Motapung wetland —an Important Bird Area notified by the Bombay Natural History Society.

Impact on the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park:

It is at an aerial distance of 900 metres from the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.

The national park houses some of the rare and endangered species of flora and fauna – around 36 species of mammals and nearly 400 species of birds.

About Natural Gas:

Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuels among the available fossil fuels.

It is used as a feedstock in the manufacture of fertilizers, plastics and other commercially important organic chemicals as well as used as a fuel for electricity generation, heating purpose in industrial and commercial units.

Natural gas is also used for cooking in domestic households and a transportation fuel for vehicles.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  : 4

Why the Telangana HC compared Covid-19 to a Trojan horse?

Context: Last week, the Telangana High Court pulled up the state government over its low rate of coronavirus testing.

It also said, not testing in large numbers is almost like inviting the Trojan horse. 

What it means?

Used as a metaphor, the term “Trojan horse” refers to any person or thing that deceives or misleads a target in order to attack it from the inside.

It is derived from the ancient Greek story of the Trojan War — an epic that has for centuries influenced western poetry, art and literature.

About Trojan War:

Fought after the ancient Greek state of Sparta invaded Troy, a kingdom located on the western shores of modern-day Turkey, after the Spartan queen Helen eloped with the Trojan prince Paris. According to some versions, Helen was abducted by the Trojans.

  • Distraught, Helen’s husband, the Spartan king Menelaus marched with his brother Agamemnon, the King of Mycenae (another Greek state), to rescue Helen. The Greek side was supported by other powerful allies, and included the fabled warriors Achilles, Odysseus, Nestor, and Ajax. The Greeks crossed the Aegean Sea and laid siege to Troy demanding Helen’s return.
  • A bloody battle raged for more than 10 years, after which the Greeks made a show of retreating from their positions, while leaving a large wooden horse inside which some of their soldiers hid at the gates of Troy. 
  • The unsuspecting Trojan people decided to haul the wooden horse that they ostensibly took to be a gift, into their city. At nighttime, the Greek soldiers led by Odysseus emerged from the horse and opened the city gates from inside, through which a larger force entered, leaving Troy to ruin.
  • As per Homerian classic Odyssey, Helen returned to Sparta with Menelaus.

What HC’s reference to Trojan horse means?

The High Court was comparing asymptomatic coronavirus carriers to the Trojan horse.

Similar to the story of Troy, we could be interacting with asymptomatic carriers, talking to them, inviting them over, while suspecting nothing, and before we know it, the virus would have transmitted to us.

Since a person has no symptoms, it is not possible to know if they are coronavirus carriers unless they are tested.

Facts for Prelims:

In 1998, UNESCO designated the Trojan remains at Hisarlik in Turkey as a World Heritage Site.

Sources: Indian Express.


Facts for Prelims

Deccan Queen:

It runs between Mumbai and Pune.

  • Its birthday was celebrated on June 1st. It began operations on 1st June 1930.
  • This train holds many a record, including that of being India’s first superfast train, first long-distance electric-hauled train, first vestibuled train, the first train to have a ‘women-only’ car, and the first train to feature a dining car.
  • It was started by the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR), the forerunner of the Central Railway. This was the first deluxe train introduced to serve the two important cities of the region, and was named after Pune – also known as the “Queen of Deccan’’ (“Dakkhan ki Rani’’ in Hindi).

World Oceans Day:

Celebrated on June 8, 2020.

Theme: “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.”

The concept was originally proposed in 1992 by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD) and the Ocean Institute of Canada (OIC) at the Earth Summit – UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

World Oceans Day was officially recognised by the United Nations in 2008.

Jaya Jaitly task force:

Constituted by Women and Child Development Ministry.

To examine issues related to age of motherhood, lowering Maternal Mortality Rate and improvement of nutritional levels.

  • Headed by Jaya Jaitly and it will submit its report by 31st July of next month.
  • The mandate of the task force involves examining the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood with health, medical well-being and nutritional status of mother and neonate/infant/child, during pregnancy, birth and thereafter.

World Food Safety Day (WFSD):

Second World Food Safety Day (WFSD) was celebrated on 7 June 2020.

Theme: “Food safety, everyone’s business”.

WFSD was first celebrated in 2019, to strengthen commitment to scale up food safety made by the Addis Ababa Conference and the Geneva Forum in 2019 under the umbrella of “The Future of Food Safety”.

Through the World Food Safety Day, WHO in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) pursues its efforts to mainstream food safety in the public agenda and reduce the burden of foodborne diseases globally.

Coro-bot- World’s first ‘Internet-controlled’ robot:

Engineer from Thane has made a first-of-its kind ‘Internet-controlled’ robot specifically to address the needs of hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.

  • The gizmo, aptly called ‘Coro-bot’ independently dispenses food, water, beverages, medicines – and even some good advice – to Corona patients without the needs for nurses, ward staff or other care-givers.
  • It eliminates the need of physical presence or contact of nurses or ward boys with the patient.
  • Designed and created by Pratik Tirodkar, founder of a start-up PNT Solutions, Dombivali.

Spandan Campaign:

Chhattisgarh government has launched the Spandan Campaign to contain incidents of suicide and fratricide involving police personnel.

  • Under the campaign, the superintendents of police associated with the Chhattisgarh Government will start a parade in their districts every Friday. After the event, the grievances of the personnel are to be addressed. Also, the campaign has made medical treatment and counselling of depressed officers mandatory.
  • The campaign will also make arrangements for yoga classes for the police personnel at all the district head quarters. Cooperation of local yoga teachers have been sought to conduct these classes.
  • Also, the police officers have been instructed to the redress grievances of police personnel in regular intervals. The superintendents have been instructed to visit police stations regularly and make arrangements for recreational activities.

Magnetocaloric materials:

They are certain materials in which application and removal of a magnetic field causes the materials to become warmer or cooler.

Why in News?

Scientists at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology (DST) has developed a rare-earth-based magnetocaloric material that can be effectively used for cancer treatment.


Insights Current Affairs Analysis (ICAN) by IAS Topper