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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 4 November 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. What is La Niña?

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushdhi Pariyojana.

2. How is the American President elected?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Scheme on Fortification of Rice.

2. More than 100 beached whales saved off Sri Lanka.

3. Project Lion: Proposal identifies 6 relocation sites.

4. WWF identifies 100 cities, including 30 in India, facing ‘severe water risk’ by 2050.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Virtual Global Investor Roundtable (VGIR).

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.

What is La Niña?


Context:

The La Niña weather phenomenon is back in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean after nearly a decade’s absence, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in its latest Global Seasonal update released October 29, 2020.

Implications:

  • La Niña will result in sea surface temperatures between two and three degrees Celsius cooler than average.
  • La Niña could last into 2021, affecting temperatures, precipitation and storm patterns in many parts of the world.

What is La Niña?

It means the large-scale cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, together with changes in the tropical atmospheric circulation, namely winds, pressure and rainfall.

  • It has the opposite impacts on weather and climate as El Niño, which is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

Weather changes because of La Nina:

  1. The Horn of Africa and central Asia will see below average rainfall due to La Niña.
  2. East Africa is forecast to see drier-than-usual conditions, which together with the existing impacts of the desert locust invasion, may add to regional food insecurity.
  3. It could also lead to increased rainfall in southern Africa.
  4. It could also affect the South West Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone season, reducing the intensity.
  5. Southeast Asia, some Pacific Islands and the northern region of South America are expected to receive above-average rainfall.
  6. In India, La Niña means the country will receive more rainfall than normal, leading to floods.

la_nina

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is El Nino?
  2. What is La Nina?
  3. What is ENSO?
  4. When do these events occur?
  5. Impact of ENSO on Asia, Africa and Australia.

Mains Link:

Discuss the impact of La Nina weather phenomenon on India.

Sources: Down to Earth.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushdhi Pariyojana:


Context:

Pharma products worth Rs 358 crore sold through Jan Aushadhi stores during first seven months of this fiscal (up to Oct 31st ).

  • Likely to surpass sales of Rs 600 crore for entire fiscal year against Rs 419 crore in 2019-20.

About PMBJP:

It is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

  • It seeks to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses through special kendra’s known as Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra.
  • Initially launched in 2008, the scheme was rechristened in 2015.

Implementation:

Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is the implementing agency of PMBJP.

  • BPPI (Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India) has been established under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Govt. of India, with the support of all the CPSUs.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When was the scheme launched?
  2. When was it renamed?
  3. The scheme was launched by which Ministry?
  4. About BPPI- establishment and functions.
  5. What is a generic medicine?

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Priyojana (PMBJP).

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.

How is the American President elected?


Who can become the President of the United States of America (USA)?

A candidate should be:

  1. A natural-born citizen of the United States.
  2. A resident of the United States for 14 years.
  3. At least 35 years old.

Who can vote?

The US President and Vice President are not elected directly by the people. Instead, they are chosen by “electors” through a process called the “Electoral College”.

How does the electoral college work?

The number of electors from each state is roughly in line with the size of its population. Each state gets as many electors as it has lawmakers in the US Congress (representatives in the House and senators).

  • There are 538 electors in total.
  • Each elector represents one electoral vote, and a candidate needs to gain a majority of the votes – 270 or more – to win the presidency.

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 What happens if no candidate gets a majority?

The House of Representatives, the lower house of US lawmakers, will then vote to elect the president.

  • This has happened only once, when in 1824 four candidates split the electoral vote, denying any one of them a majority.
  • With two parties dominating the US system, this is unlikely to happen today.

 InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between Presidential and Parliamentary form of government.
  2. How is the US President elected?
  3. Differences between Presidents of India and the US.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Scheme on Fortification of Rice:


Context:

15 States have been identified for implementing Centrally Sponsored Pilot Scheme on Fortification of Rice & its distribution through Public Distribution System.

  • The Pilot Scheme has been approved for a period of three years beginning 2019-2020.

What is Rice Fortification?

Fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of  essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health.

Need for Rice Fortification?

Rice is the world’s most important staple food. An estimated 2 billion people eat rice every day, forming the mainstay of diets across large of Asia and Africa.

Regular milled rice is low in micronutrients and serves primarily as a source of carbohydrate only. The fortification of rice is a major opportunity to improve nutrition.

  • Fortified rice are contains Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Iron and Zinc.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Bio fortification vs Genetic modifications.
  2. Micro vs Macronutrients.
  3. Approval for Biofortified and GM crops in India.
  4. GM crops allowed in India.

Mains Link:

What do you understand by fortification of foods? Discuss its advantages.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Biodiversity and conservation related issues.

More than 100 beached whales saved off Sri Lanka:


Context:

More than 100 beached pilot whales saved off Sri Lanka.

  • The rescue was conducted by the navy, with help from environmental protection officers, police, and local residents.

Why do whales beach themselves?

Cetacean stranding, more commonly referred to as beaching, refers to the phenomenon of dolphins and whales stranding themselves on beaches.

Whale beachings are not uncommon. Scientists say the reason is often unknown but they have a range of theories, including:

  • Changes in water temperature.
  • Irregularities in whales’ echolocation.
  • Geomagnetic disturbances.
  • Errors made in navigation.
  • Hunting too close to shore.
  • Sonar interference.
  • Inclement weather.

Why mass standings happen?

It is more common for these cetaceans to live in large groups with intricate social systems. If one member of the group is sick or in trouble, its distress calls can cause the other members to follow it to the beach, resulting in a mass stranding.

  • Highly social mammals, pilot whales are particularly known for stranding in groups because they travel in large, close-knit communities which rely on constant communication.

Recent instances:

  1. In September, several hundred whales died on the coast of Tasmania in Australia in one of the country’s biggest stranding on record and one of the largest in the world.
  2. The largest mass stranding in modern recorded history was 1,000 whales on the shores of the Chatham Islands, a New Zealand territory in the Pacific Ocean in 1918.

About Pilot Whales:

  • Pilot whales are so named because it was once believed that each observed group was navigated by a pilot or leader.
  • There are two species of pilot whales: Short finned pilot whales, which are mainly found in tropical and warm-temperate regions, and long-finned pilot whales, which inhabit colder waters.
  • Both species are designated as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Biodiversity and conservation related issues.

Project Lion: Proposal identifies 6 relocation sites:


Background:

Six new sites apart from the Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary were identified under Project Lion that was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2020.

The six new sites include:

  1. Madhav National Park, Madhya Pradesh.
  2. Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan.
  3. Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan.
  4. Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh.
  5. Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan.
  6. Jessore-Balaram Ambaji WLS and adjoining landscape, Gujarat.

Lion relocation has been talked about since 1995, when the Kuno Wildife Sanctuary was identified as an alternate site. What is the need for relocation?

  • The population in Gir has low genetic diversity, making it vulnerable to threats of extension from epidemics.
  • Lions are found in Gujarat across an area of 30,000 sq km called the Asiatic Lion Landscape (ALL).
  • Besides, the 2013 Supreme Court order directed Gujarat to relocate lions to the Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary.

About Asiatic Lions:

Listed as ‘Endangered’ under the IUCN Red List.

  • Its population is restricted to the state of Gujarat in India (Gir National Park).

 InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Asiatic lions vs African lions- conservation status and distribution.
  2. When was the first lion census conducted?
  3. Census- male- female numbers, growth in numbers, expansion in area.
  4. What was SC’s verdict on relocation of lions? Which place was chosen?
  5. What is Asiatic lion conservation project?
  6. Wildlife under 7th schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  7. What is babesiosis?
  8. About Gir Forest.

 Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Asiatic Lion Conservation project.

Sources: Down to Earth.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

WWF identifies 100 cities, including 30 in India, facing ‘severe water risk’ by 2050:


Context:

A hundred cities worldwide, including 30 in India, face the risk of ‘severe water scarcity’ by 2050, according to a recent report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The cities include:

  • Global hubs such as: Beijing, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Mecca and Rio de Janeiro.
  • Indian Cities such as: Jaipur, Indore, Thane, Srinagar, Rajkot, Bengaluru etc.

More than half of the identified cities are from China and India.

What’s the concern and challenge?

The cities would face a ‘grave water risk’ by 2050 due to a dramatic increase in their population percentage to 51 per cent by 2050, from 17 per cent in 2020.

What needs to be done?

  1. Cities need to invest more in nature-based solutions and enhance the health of river basins, watersheds and wetlands to build resilience to water risks.
  2. To manage these initiatives, a public funding pool needed to be created in collaboration with the private sector to invest, reduce risk and generate returns and fuel sustainable economic growth.
  3. Cities also needed to support greater global efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to avoid reaching these scenarios.

growing_no

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About WWF.
  2. Important Global Cities identified by WWF in its report.
  3. Key Indian Cities.

Mains Link:

What do you understand by water scarcity? Critically discuss the problem of water scarcity in India and its causes.

Sources: Down to Earth.

 


Facts for Prelims


Virtual Global Investor Roundtable (VGIR):

PM to chair VGIR on 5th November, 2020.

Organized by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund.

  • It is an exclusive dialogue between leading global institutional investors, Indian business leaders and the highest decision makers from the Government of India and Financial Market Regulators.

 


Articles Covered tomorrow


Governor can rule on Rajiv convicts’ plea


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