Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st June 2019

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  • June 21, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st June 2019



India’s first solar cruise vessel to be rolled out soon

Part of: Prelims and mains GS III infrastructure, environment and pollution

In news:

  • Kerala is gearing up for the launch of the country’s premier solar-powered cruise boat by December 2019.
  • The hybrid vessel will be powered by a motor that can source energy from solar panels, battery, and generator,
  • Solar vessels do not create air and noise pollution. The double-deck, double-engine catamaran-type vessel adheres to norms specified by the Indian Registry of Shipping (IRS).
  • The initiative comes from the State Water Transport Department (SWTD), whose solar ferry Aditya in the Vaikom-Thavanakadavu route has proved to be a success.

Navy to build 6 submarines

Part of Prelims and mains GS III Defence and security  

In news:

  • The Navy issued an ‘Expression of Interest’ for shortlisting potential strategic partners for the construction of six P-75 (I) submarines.
  • This is the second project being undertaken under the latest Strategic Partnership (SP) Model, with the first being the procurement of 111 naval utility helicopters (NUH)
  • This will provide a major boost to the indigenous design and construction capability of submarines in India, in addition to bringing in the latest submarine design and technologies as part of the project.
  • The SPs have been mandated to set up dedicated manufacturing lines for these submarines in India with an aim to make India the global hub for submarine design and production.

Do you know?

Strategic Partnership (SP) Model

Strategic  Partnership Model  aims to revitalise defence industrial ecosystem and progressively build indigenous capabilities in the private sector to design, develop and manufacture complex weapon systems for the future needs of the Armed Forces.

It lays emphasis on incentivisation of transfer of niche technology and higher indigenous content Global Majors, who in collaboration with Indian Partners are ready to make India a Regional / Global manufacturing hub for the platform will also be incentivized.

This will give a major fillip towards encouraging self-reliance and aligning the defence sector with the ‘Make in India ‘ initiative of the Government.

Pompeo to pave way for Modi-Trump meet

Part of Prelims and mains GS II International Relations

In news

  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit from June 25 to 27 will give a boost to the engagement between the political leaderships of India and the U.S.
  • The bilateral trade between India and US had grown over the years to about $150 billion.

Major concerns to be discussed during meetings and on the sideline of G20 summit

  • Difficult issues on trade such as Generalised system of preferences, etc.
  • 5G telecommunications;  U.S. concerns about Chinese company Huawei’s participation in the 5G roll-out in India on the economic and security aspects.
  • India’s planned purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-missile systems and US offer of high-technology hardware such as the F-35 combat aircraft.
  • U.S. concerns on data localisation and a possible quid pro quo with H-1B visas for IT professionals.
  • The Iran sanctions and India’s concerns on energy security

‘Iran made a very big mistake by shooting down U.S. drone’- Trump

Part of Prelims and mains GS II International relations and Current events of national and international importance

In news

Iranian state media said the “spy” drone was brought down over the southern Iranian province of Hormozgan whereas according to a U.S. official the drone had been downed in international air space over the Strait of Hormuz.

Rising tensions in the Gulf


Do you know?

  • Strait of Hormuz lies between Iran and Oman.
  • About a third of the world’s seaborne oil exits the Gulf via Strait of Hormuz.

Himalayan glaciers are melting twice as fast since 2000: study

Part of: Prelims and mains GS III Environment and Ecology

In news:

Comparing data obtained by Cold War-era spy satellites with images from modern stereo satellites, scientists have shown that Himalayan glaciers have lost more than a quarter of their ice mass since 1975, with melting occurring twice as fast after the turn of the century as average temperatures rose.


  • In the 1970s, at the height of the Cold War, the U.S. had deployed spy satellites that orbited the globe and took thousands of photographs, using a telescopic camera system, for reconnaissance purposes.
  • More than four decades later, scientists are using those same images to show the devastating impact of a warming Earth on the Himalayan glaciers.
  • The study goes on to assert that rising temperatures are responsible for the accelerating loss.

WHO writes new prescription to prevent misuse of antibiotics

Part of: Prelims and mains GS II Health GS III environmental concerns

In news:

WHO estimates that more than 50% of antibiotics in many countries are used inappropriately for treatment of viruses, when they only treat bacterial infections, or are the wrong choice of antibiotic (broader spectrum), thus contributing to the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

‘Access, Watch and Reserve’

  • WHO has suggested the adoption of ‘Access, Watch and Reserve’, an approach that specifies which antibiotics to use for the most common and serious infections, which ones ought to be available at all times in the healthcare system, and those that must be used sparingly, or reserved and used only as a last resort.
    This approach will reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance, adverse events and costs.
  • The new campaign aims to increase the proportion of global consumption of antibiotics in the ‘Access’ group to at least 60%, and to reduce use of the antibiotics most at risk of resistance.
  • Using ‘Access’ antibiotics lowers the risk of resistance because they are ‘narrow-spectrum’ antibiotics (that target a specific microorganism rather than several).
    They are also less costly because they are available in generic formulations.
  • In India, the Health Ministry has made it mandatory to display a 5mm-thick red vertical band on the packaging of prescription-only drugs to sensitise people to be cautious while buying these medicines that are widely sold without prescriptions.



TOPIC: General studies 3:

  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Creating a valuable economy


At the meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the target of a $5 trillion economy for India by 2024. What we would hope to find once we have reached our destination is the question.
A quantum leap in the size of the economy cannot be achieved easily. It will require design, funding and governance. In this path the pursuit should be to create a valuable economy.

Characteristics of a valuable economy:

  • Indians should feel empowered by the economy.
    India is placed very low in the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. Happiness, best understood as a sense of well-being, is directly related to empowerment, or being able to undertake the functionings we value. This is, in the first instance, related to being educated and experiencing good health. We are in India facing an education sector that is broken down and the majority are battling with almost non-existent public health infrastructure. The private sector has some worthy initiatives in these areas but they await an effective public presence on a gigantic scale.
    So, the first attribute of the valuable economy would be access to quality health and education for all.
  • Equality of opportunity:
    For over three decades now income inequality has been rising in India.
    Now some part of inequality of opportunity is related to unequal distribution of income but a part of it is not.
    Gender inequality manifested as women having less opportunity in life is not going to go away with a re-distribution of income along class lines or across social groupings. India is a serious outlier in this regard, and becoming richer as a society may do little to change the status quo. Shockingly, a sex ratio, already unfavourable to women, has shown a secular worsening since 1947.
    Inequality in India can only be ended by equalising capabilities across individuals. Concerted public action via education is the means to this outcome. Income transfers, pushed relentlessly by policy entrepreneurs, evade the issue altogether.
  • Conserving nature
    An economy, whatever its size, cannot be meaningfully evaluated independently of the extent of presence in it of natural capital.
    Two-thirds of the world’s most polluted cities are in India, when we accept less than a fifth of its population. Air pollution shortens lives and lowers productivity, reducing the capacity to earn a living when alive.
    The poor are the most affected as they cannot afford to live in gated communities that somehow manage to commandeer scarce natural resources.


Any improvement in the life of the majority would require a re-alignment of the growth process so that it is less damaging. This would very likely require that we have slower growth but the process can be configured to channel more of it towards poorer groups.
We may end up in a situation of less tangible goods in the aggregate than otherwise but one in which more people are happier than in the past. Such an economy is more valuable.

Connecting the dots:

  • The economy must be evaluated in terms of how much it contributes to the ease of our living. The pursuit should be to create a valuable economy. Comment.



General studies 1:

  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

General studies 2:

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

Importance of Yoga


As over 170 countries around the world celebrate the fifth International Yoga Day on June 21.
Recognising that “yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being” and also that wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practising yoga would be beneficial for the health of people all over the world, the UN proclaimed June 21 as the International Day of Yoga via Resolution 69/131.
Quite appropriately, the theme of the 2019 International Yoga Day is “Climate Action”.
Establishment of the first India-China Yoga College at the Yunnan Minzu University in Kunming in China and the India-Turkmenistan Centre for Yoga and Traditional Medicine in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan are a few of the important first steps in the efforts to spread the benefits of yoga.

What is yoga?

Practised in various forms around the world and continuing to grow in popularity, yoga is essentially an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India possibly around the 5th century BC.
The word yoga comes from Sanskrit and means “to join” or “unite”. The science of yoga joins different facets of human existence.
The word was first mentioned in the Rigveda , but its philosophy, science and grammar were first provided by Patanjali in his magnum opus, Patanjali Yoga Sutra .

Importance of yoga:

Much more than a workout:

It is a comprehensive approach to achieve wellness. It recognises the vital connection between the body and the mind. It aims for balance and equanimity, peace, poise and grace. It is a sublime expression of the quest for excellence, for synthesis and harmony.

Maintaining the balance:

We are living in times of great challenges, of unprecedented change in unpredictable directions. The way we live, learn, work and enjoy is changing rapidly. Lifestyles are getting transformed through technology.
However, as the global community started drafting its development agenda in 2015, it realised that we have been missing a big component of “development”. There was a need for balance.

  • Need for caring for the poor.
  • Need for caring for the planet.
  • Need to look for gross national happiness in addition to gross national product.
  • Need to avoid excesses, avoid reckless exploitation of nature, avoid excessive consumption. Our individual lifestyles and patterns of global governance needed to be rebooted.
  • Sustainability has become the new mantra. “Balance” is at the heart of sustainability.

And that “balance” in all spheres starting with physical well-being is what yoga is all about. Yoga is an approach to life that focuses on physical balance, mental equilibrium and working towards a harmonious synthesis of diverse elements including the protection of the environment.

Effective ground for sustainability:

  • Yoga is a way of thinking, a way of behaving, a way of learning and a way of problem-solving. It is a unique way of connecting ourselves with the external environment and generating positive synergies of thought and action. It creates stability, enhances ability and promotes conviviality. It can serve as an effective ground for sustainability.

All is one :

Yoga is something beyond physical health and material wealth. The human persona is not only a body; it is also a mind, an intellect, and a soul. Yoga attempts to harmonise all of them.
Yoga means to join. Its ultimate goal is to experience the unity of individual and universal consciousness. Yoga teaches us to recognise the fundamental unity between human beings and humankind, humans and the environment, and ultimately recognise a total interconnectedness of everything. The essence of this realisation is to experience that all is one. There is no ‘us’ and ‘they’ — everything is us. This is an integral or holistic approach.


Apart from emphasising the normal benefits of yoga, International Yoga Day should be utilised to think about how a peaceful transition can be achieved for peace, harmony and happiness.

Connecting the dots:

  • Yoga is much more than a workout. Comment.


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)


  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
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Q.1) ‘Access, Watch and Reserve’ policy recently seen in news is related to,

  1. Conservation of petroleum reserves
  2. Conservation of natural resources  
  3. Policy to avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics  
  4. None of the above

Q.2) Consider the following statements about Strait of Homruz

  1. Strait of Hormuz lies between Iran and Yemen.
  2. About a third of the world’s seaborne oil exits the Gulf via Strait of Hormuz.

Select the incorrect statements

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3) Consider the following statements about Strait of Homruz

  1. Strategic Partnership Model will help in aligning the defence sector with the ‘Make in India ‘ initiative of the Government.
  2. Strategic Partnership Model lays emphasis on incentivisation of transfer of niche technology and higher indigenous content from Indian partner to foreign partner.

Select the correct statements

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2


Misplaced priorities

The Hindu

Is India overestimating its economic growth?

The Hindu

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