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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 26 October 2020

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically.

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Evidence of dairy production in the Indus Valley Civilisation.

2. Analysis of India’s performance in Global Hunger Index (GHI).

3. U.S. allies welcome Israel-Sudan deal.

4. International Labour Organization.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. First room-temperature superconductor.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Rent-a-bike facility in Kerala.

2. Himalayan brown bears.

3. Kisan Suryodaya Yojana.

4. Mount Girnar.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Evidence of dairy production in the Indus Valley Civilisation:


Context:

For the first time it’s been proved scientifically that dairy production was in place in the Indus Valley civilization in 2500 BCE, and the earliest known evidence of dairy production.

  • The results were based on molecular chemical analysis of residue in shards of pottery found at the archaeological site of Kotada Bhadli located in Gujarat.
  • Of the 59 samples studied, 22 showed the presence of dairy lipids.

Key findings from a latest study:

  • Dairy production in India began as far back as in the 3rd millennium BCE and may have been a factor behind sustaining the Indus Valley Civilisation.
  • Through a process called stable isotope analysis, the researchers were also able to identify the type of ruminant used for dairy, and concluded that these were cattle, like cows and buffalo, rather than goats and sheep.
  • Industrial level of dairy exploitation: The Harappans did not just use dairy for their household. The large herd indicates that milk was produced in surplus so that it could be exchanged and there could have been some kind of trade between settlements. This could have given rise to an industrial level of dairy exploitation.

Why these findings are significant? What can we learn from them?

When we talk about Harappans, we always refer to the metropolitan cities and the big towns. But we have no idea of the parallel economy — agro-pastoral or rural.

We know they had great urban planning, trading systems, jewellery making. But we don’t have any idea how the common masters were living during the Harappan times, their lifestyle and how they were contributing in the larger network.

How was the study carried out?- Carbon isotope studies:

Molecular analysis techniques were used to study the residues from ancient pottery.

  1. Pots are porous. So as soon as we put any liquid form of food, it will absorb it.
  2. But, the pot preserves the molecules of food such as fats and proteins.
  3. Using techniques like C16 and C18 analysis we can identify the source of lipids.

Point to note:

2020 marks 100 years of discovery of Indus Valley Civilisation.

indus_valley

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Indus Valley Civilization.
  2. Important sites.
  3. Trade routes.
  4. Port cities.
  5. Excavations and important findings.
  6. Town planning.
  7. Evidence of animal rearing.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

Analysis of India’s performance in Global Hunger Index (GHI):


What is the Global Hunger Index and what determines its ranking?

It is an annual peer-reviewed publication by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.

It tracks hunger at global, regional and national levels.

It uses four parameters to calculate its scores:

  1. UNDERNOURISHMENT: the share of the population that is undernourished (that is, whose caloric intake is insufficient).
  2. CHILD WASTING: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (that is, who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition).
  3. CHILD STUNTING: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (that is, who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition).
  4. CHILD MORTALITY: the mortality rate of children under the age of five (in part, a reflection of the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments).

0 to 100 point scale:

Zero means  no hunger at all.

  1. Countries scoring 9.9 and less are classified as having a low severity.
  2. A score between 10 and 19.9 is considered moderate, that from 20 to 34.9 is serious, and a score of 35 or more is alarming.

Findings from the 2020 Global Hunger Index (GHI):

  1. Nearly 690 million people in the world are undernourished; 144 million children suffer from stunting, a sign of chronic undernutrition; 47 million children suffer from wasting, also a sign of acute undernutrition.

India and neighbours:

  1. India has been ranked 94 out of 107 countries, lower than neighbours like Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  2. India falls in the ‘serious’ category on the Index, with a total score of 27.2. This is a definite improvement from the situation two decades ago, when it scored 38.9 and fell into the ‘alarming’ category.
  3. India’s performance is abysmal when compared to its peers in the BRICS countries.

India’s performance in various parameters (Have a general overview):

  1. Overall undernourishment: 14% of India’s population does not get enough calories, an improvement from almost 20% in 2005-07.
  2. The child mortality rate is 3.7%, a significant drop from 9.2% in 2000.
  3. Child stunting: Almost 35% of Indian children are stunted, and although this is much better than the 54.2% rate of 2000, it is still among the world’s worst.
  4. Child Wasting: 17.3% of Indian children under five are wasted, which is the highest prevalence of child wasting in the world.

States that usually fare poorly on development indices, such as Bihar, Rajasthan and Odisha, actually do better than the national average, with 13-14% rates of wasting.

What is the main cause for such high levels of child stunting and wasting in India?

  • Poor maternal health: South Asian babies show very high levels of wasting very early in their lives, within the first six months. This reflects the poor state of maternal health.
  • Mothers are too young, too short, too thin and too undernourished themselves, before they get pregnant, during pregnancy, and then after giving birth, during breast-feeding.
  • Poor sanitation is another major cause of child wasting and stunting.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About GHI.
  2. Parameters.
  3. Ranking of countries.
  4. India’s performance- 2020 vs 2019.
  5. Scores on various parameters.
  6. India’s neighbours.

Mains Link:

Comment on India’s performance in latest Global Health Index.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

U.S. allies welcome Israel-Sudan deal:


Context:

Sudan and Israel have agreed to normalise relations, in a U.S.-brokered deal to end decades of hostility.

  • The announcement makes Sudan, technically at war with Israel since its 1948 foundation, the third Arab country to forge diplomatic relations with the Jewish state in the last two months. Previously, UAE and Bahrain have signed this agreement.

Palestine’s reaction:

Palestinian leaders strongly condemned the deal.

Israel-Palestine Conflict:

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict dates back to the end of the nineteenth century, primarily as a conflict over territory.

  • After the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the Holy Land was divided into three parts: The State of Israel, the West Bank (of the Jordan River), and the Gaza Strip.
  • The 1993 Oslo Accords mediated the conflict, to set up a framework for two state solution. It recognized the Palestinian Authority tasked with limited self-governance of parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

israels

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of the proposed West Asia Peace plan?
  2. What is Six Day war?
  3. About the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  4. Middle East quartet.

Locate the following on map:

  • Goals Heights.
  • West Bank.
  • Jerusalem.
  • Dead Sea.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

International Labour Organization:


Context:

India has assumed the Chairmanship of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization.

  • Shri Apurva Chandra, Secretary (Labour and Employment) has been elected as the Chairperson of the Governing Body of the ILO for the period October 2020 to June 2021.

About the Governing Body:

It is the apex executive body of the ILO which decides policies, programmes, agenda, budget and elects the Director-General.

It meets in Geneva. It meets three times annually.

About ILO:

  • Established as an agency for the League of Nations following World War I.
  • Established by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
  • It became the first specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) in the year 1946.
  • It got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969.
  • It is the only tripartite U.N. agency. It brings together governments, employers and workers.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

Key reports:

  1. World Employment and Social Outlook.
  2. Global Wage Report.

oil

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About ILO.
  2. Governing Body.
  3. Key reports by ILO.
  4. 8 Fundamental Conventions.
  5. About treaty of Versailles.

Sources: PIB.

 


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.

First room-temperature superconductor:


Context:

What?

Scientists have reported the discovery of the first room-temperature superconductor, after more than a century of waiting.

How?

The superconductor was formed by squeezing carbon, hydrogen and sulfur between the tips of two diamonds and hitting the material with laser light to induce chemical reactions.

At a pressure about 2.6 million times that of Earth’s atmosphere, and temperatures below about 15° C, the electrical resistance vanished.

  • However, the new material’s superconducting superpowers appear only at extremely high pressures, limiting its practical usefulness.

Why this discovery is significant?

All superconductors previously discovered had to be cooled, many of them to very low temperatures, making them impractical for most uses.

But, the recently discovered superconductor can operates at room temperature- the material is superconducting below temperatures of about 15° Celsius.

What are Superconductors?

Superconductors transmit electricity without resistance, allowing current to flow without any energy loss.

When superconductivity was discovered in 1911, it was found only at temperatures close to absolute zero (−273.15° C).

Potential applications:

If a room-temperature superconductor could be used at atmospheric pressure, it could save vast amounts of energy lost to resistance in the electrical grid.

And it could improve current technologies, from MRI machines to quantum computers to magnetically levitated trains. Dias envisions that humanity could become a “superconducting society.”

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Rent-a-bike facility in Kerala:

  • To be introduced by Indian Railways.
  • It will be introduced in 15 key railway stations under the Thiruvananthapuram railway division to ensure last mile connectivity and seamless travel to train commuters.

Himalayan brown bears:

  • Also known as Himalayan red bear, isabelline bear or Dzu-Teh.
  • It is the largest carnivore in the highlands of Himalayas.
  • It is found in 23 protected areas including Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir.

IUCN Status:

While the brown bear as a species is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, this subspecies is highly endangered and populations are dwindling. It is Endangered in the Himalayas and Critically Endangered in Hindu Kush.

Why in News?

A recent study on the Himalayan brown bear has predicted a significant reduction in suitable habitat and biological corridors of the species due to climate change, prompting scientists to suggest an adaptive spatial planning of the protected area network in the western Himalayas for conserving the species.

oil

Kisan Suryodaya Yojana:

  • Launched by PM Modi recently in Gujarat.
  • Aimed at providing day-time electricity to farmers in the State for irrigation and farming.

Mount Girnar:

  • Lord Dattatreya performed penance at the top of the hill.
  • Also a kshetra where 22nd Tirthankar Lord Neminath attained Nirvana.
  • Located near Junagadh in Junagadh district, Gujarat.

Why in News?

A 2.3-km-long ropeway project was recently launched by PM Modi on Mount Girnar in Junagadh city.

  • The ropeway project is being touted as the longest temple ropeway in Asia.
  • The ropeway has been developed by Usha Breco Limited at an investment of ₹130 crore.

mount_girnar


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