Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 10th April 2020

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  • April 10, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 10th April 2020



Walk through Mass sanitizing Tunnel at Ahmedabad station

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Governance; Health; GS-III – Science and technology 

In News:

  • Ahmedabad railway station becomes the first station of Indian Railways to install a Walk Through Mass Sanitizing Tunnel.

Key takeaways:

  • It is set up to ensure the safety of staff and passengers in view of the COVID-19.
  • The distance can be covered within 10 seconds.
  • The tunnel is fitted with a sensor so that when a passenger approaches the tunnel entrance, it starts fogging automatically with WHO approved sanitizer.
  • The system runs on the principle of Vaporization process. 
  • It converts the sanitizer mixture into vapour which forms a uniform layer over the surface and dries up quickly. 

NAADI: Science – based tool to track COVID-19 patients 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Science and technology 

In News:

  • The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) has prepared a Data Science-based tool. 
  • The tool shall help in tracking the movements of COVID -19 patients or quarantined people across the country.

Key takeaways:

  • The system has been named National Analytical Platform for Dealing with Intelligent Tracing, Tracking and Containment (NAADI).
  • The information generated by the tool would be accurate up to a metre. 

Important value additions:

  • The development of this tool is undertaken by C-DAC under Supercomputer using Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Healthcare Analytics based Research, Covid-19 (SAMHAR).
  • The SAMHAR project is in partnership with the National Supercomputing Mission. 
  • The mission was established in association with startups and industries to build a rapid supercomputing system and research community for India to fight COVID-19

The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing 

  • It is an Autonomous Scientific Society of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India. 
  • The National Centre for Software Technology, ER&DCI and CEDTI were merged into C-DAC in 2003. 

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) blames Syria for using nerve gas

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Global groupings 

In News:

  • The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has blamed Syria explicitly for the first time for toxic attacks of 2017. 
  • Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad’s air force has been accused of using the nerve gas sarin and chlorine three times in 2017. 
  • The attack had killed hundreds of people and caused injuries to many. 
  • The use of chemical weapons is strictly prohibited by international law.

Important value additions:

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) 

  • OPCW is an intergovernmental organisation. 
  • It is the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) , which entered into force in 1997. 
  • The Organisation oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons.
  • Headquarter of the organisation is at The Hague, Netherlands.
  • All states who are members of the CWC are automatically members of this organization.
  • The organisation was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons with most recent being in Syria civil war”.

Two recent innovations by National Chemical Laboratory: Digital Thermometer & Oxygen Enrichment Unit 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Science and technology 

In News:

  • Recent innovations by CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, can help in the mitigation of the Coronavirus outbreak.
  • The innovations are Hand held digital IR thermometer and Oxygen enrichment unit (OEUs). 

Key takeaways:

  • Hand held digital IR thermometer is an important component of measures to mitigate Coronavirus outbreak.
  • Mobile phone or power banks can be used as a power source. 
  • The design of thermometer is available open source wherein software design and mass manufacturing-ready hardware will be available to manufacturers across India for free. 
  • Oxygen enrichment unit (OEUs) will increase the oxygen concentration from the ambient air of 21-22% to 38-40%. 
  • OEU is hollow fiber membrane bundles which will separate and filtrate ambient air to produce enriched oxygen for patients in home and hospital settings. 



Topic: General Studies 2 & 3:

  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora. 
  • Energy Security

India-Gulf economic ties

The gulf region is facing multiple challenges

  • COVID-19 pandemic spreading in this region as well with Iran emerging as hotspot
  • Oil price meltdown
  • Rising tensions between Iran-US
  • Tensions between Russia-Turkey in Syria
  • Proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Yemen
  • Prospects of US-Taliban deal emboldening other terrorist & extremist groups

All these leads to challenges in India’s relationship with the countries in the region which needs to be anticipated and managed well.

Do You Know?

  • COVID-19 has lowered the world crude consumption by 28 million bpd. 
  • OECD has suggested a 20% loss to GDP for India.
  • Developing countries’ oil and gas revenues may decline by 50% to 85% in 2020, as per estimates by OPEC and IEA

Impact of Oil Prices on Gulf-region’s economics

  • For Saudi Arabia, the fiscal break-even oil price is $85 per barrel
  • However, the oil prices have fallen by 55% during March to an 18-year low of $25 
  • Even if the countries in Gulf-region (dependent on oil revenues) revives it growth in 2021, the process may be 
    • Slow and less energy-intensive as importing countries would focus on self-reliance and on strategic goods such as pharmaceuticals deterring oil trade
    • Tourism and hospitality sectors, another source of revenue, may take much longer to recover due to erosion of wealth & incomes caused by pandemic

India’s economic ties with the Gulf states is based on two dominant verticals 

  1. Economic symbiosis (Trade) – 
  • In 2018-19, the India-Gulf trade stood around $162 billion (crude oil and natural gas worth nearly $75 billion) 
  • The India-Gulf trade accounted for nearly a fifth of India’s global trade.
  • These countries have made (or planned) large investments in India
  1. India’s expatriate community
  • They number at around nine million
  • Contribute nearly $40 billions of remittances to India

Challenges in future vis-à-vis India-Gulf relationship

    • In Short run- India being the world’s third largest importer of crude, decline in oil prices helps its current account. 
    • The Gulf’s lower oil revenues mean decreased long term investments by Gulf States in India
    • Slowing gulf economy means reduction in expatriates’ remittances also
  • Impact on Indian diaspora
    • The fresh recruitment stops, 
    • Salaries are either lowered or stalled and taxes raised 
    • Localisation drives launched forcing large scale exodus of Indians workers
    • This creates a logistical nightmare of transporting millions of expatriates back to India
    • Return of expatriates has an added complication of the pandemic
    • There are also issues of getting these people resettled and re-employed.

Way Forward

  • India should enhance the capacity of gulf states to handle COVID-19 cases among the Indian expatriates.
  • India’s missions in these states need to monitor the situation and try to avoid panic among its nationals.
  • Necessary to find new drivers for the India-Gulf synergy which could be
    • Pharmaceutical research and production, 
    • Petrochemical complexes, 
    • Building infrastructure in India and in third countries, 
    • Agriculture, 
    • Education and skilling
  • Creation of bilateral free zones along Arabian Sea coast eventually leading to an India-Gulf Cooperation Council Free Trade Area.


  • There is a need to sufficiently diversify the India-Gulf economic ties so as to protect them from such shocks.


Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate
  • International Ethics

COVID-19: International Law cannot fall silent

In the wake of COVID-19 spreading from Wuhan, China to nearly 180 countries, there has been a debate raging on two fronts

  • Need to strengthen the powers of State to handle the crisis effectively 
  • The projection of the crisis as an opportunity for building a new future for global politics marked by empathy, fraternity, justice, and rights.

UN is a site for discussion of norms and is responsible for the progressive codification of law. However, it has become playground for power politics. 

Power Politics, UN and Pandemic

  • US President Trump has called the Coronavirus as “Chinese virus”
  • Pandemic was not discussed in UN Security Council during the month of March when the presidency of UNSC was held by China.
  • Allegation on WHO about delay in declaring the disease as pandemic due to pressures from China

International Principles that Nations need to follow

  • The peremptory jus cogens apply to all states  – certain international norms like prevention of slavery, racial discrimination etc. hold true even during the fight against pandemic
  • The erga omnes rules prescribe specifically-determined obligations which states owe to the international community as a whole. This was enunciated by the ICJ in 1970 for four situations
    • Outlawing of acts of aggression
    • Outlawing of genocide
    • Protection from slavery
    • Protection from racial discrimination

Three sets of international law obligations on States

  • Draft Articles on the Prevention of Transboundary Harm (DAPTH) 
    • These are drafted by International Law Commission in 2001 to prevent transboundary harm arising out of country’s actions
    • There are carefully developed norms of due diligence that can be adapted to contextual exigencies
    • Each state is obliged to observe these standards in the fight against COVID-19 as a matter of international law.
  • Human Rights Obligations: No law or policy to combat epidemics or pandemic can go against the rights of migrant workers, internally displaced peoples, and refugees and asylum seekers
  • The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) – 
    • This convention gains significance especially when there are conspiracy theories about the origins of COVID-19 
    • India has not subscribed to those theories and has instead called for high priority to full and effective implementation of the convention.


  • Combating this fearsome pandemic calls for re-dedication to nested international law obligations and frameworks

Connecting the law:

  • Article 51 of Indian Constitution
  • International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court


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


  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1 Walk through mass sanitization tunnel has been developed by which of the following railway stations in India

  1. Ahmedabad 
  2. Mumbai 
  3. Bhopal 
  4. New Delhi

Q.2 Consider the following statements:

  1. Data Science based tool NAADI is developed by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC).
  2. CDAC is an autonomous scientific society.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q.3 Consider the following statements:

  1. Sarin and chlorine were used for chemical attacks in Palestine in 2017. 
  2. Use of chemicals is completely prohibited by international law.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q.4 Consider the following statements:

  1. Oxygen enrichment unit will increase the oxygen concentration.
  2. Mobile phone or Power Banks can be used as a power source for handheld digital IR thermometer.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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


1 C
2 C
3 A
4 B

Must Read

About the need to balance Public Health and individual’s right to Privacy:

The Indian Express

About HCQ exports from India during the time of Pandemic:

The Hindu

About the impact of COVID-19 on Globalisation:

The Hindu 

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