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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th MAY 2020

  • IASbaba
  • May 11, 2020
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th May 2020

Archives


(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Seasonal advancement in surging glaciers in the Karakoram Range 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Geographical phenomenon

In News:

  • Recently, scientists from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun have observed a seasonal advancement in surging or surge-type glaciers in the Karakoram Range. 
  • WIHG is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th MAY 2020

Image source: Click here

Important value additions:

Surging or Surge-type glaciers

  • These are short-lived events where a glacier can advance and move at velocities up to 100 times faster than normal. 
  • They cluster around a few areas. 
  • High concentrations of surging glaciers occur in Svalbard, the Canadian Arctic islands, Alaska and Iceland.  
  • They also represent 40% of the total glaciated area of the Karakoram range.
  • These can lead to the destruction of villages, roads and bridges.
  • Therefore, monitoring of glacier surges is important. 

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th MAY 2020

Image source: Click here


Amendments brought in the Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship Scheme

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Education; 

In News:

  • Recently various amendments have been brought in the Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship Scheme by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development to boost research in the country.

Key takeaways:

  • Now, students from any recognized university can apply for the Fellowship. Earlier it was open only for students from Central Universities, IITs, IISc, NITs, IISERs, IIEST and IIITs.
  • The requirement of GATE score has also been reduced from 750 to 600.
  • There will be two channels of entries i.e direct entry and lateral entry.
  • National Institute of Technologies (NITs) can also become PMRF Granting institution. NITs appear in top 25 institutions in the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF). 
  • A dedicated division “Research and Innovation Division” will be formed in the MHRD to boost research. 

Important value additions:

Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship (PMRF) Scheme

  • It was launched to attract meritorious students into research in 2018. 
  • It offers direct admission to such students in the Ph.D programmes in various higher educational institutions in the country.
  • The research under PMRF will be carried in cutting edge science and technology domains
  • The institutes which can offer PMRF include all the IITs, IISERs, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru and some of the top Central Universities/NITs
  • A research grant of Rs. 2 lakh per year is provided to each of the Fellows for a period of 5 years to cover their academic contingency expenses and for foreign/national travel expenses along with monthly stipend. 

Wafer-scale photodetector (thin slice-based) device fabricated 

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

In News:

  • Recently, scientists from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) have fabricated a wafer-scale photodetector (thin slice-based) device, using gold-silicon interface.
  • JNCASR is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Key takeaways:

  • The gold (Au)-silicon (n-Si) interface shows high sensitivity towards light. 
  • The Au-Si interface was brought about by galvanic deposition (a technique for electroplating of metals) wherein water-based solutions (electrolytes) are used, which contain the metals to be deposited as ions.

Important value additions:

Photodetectors

  • These are an important part of an opto-electronic circuit that can detect light.
  • Their applications include:
    • Controlling automatic lighting in supermarkets.
    • Being used in security-related applications.
  • Photodetectors are unaffordable for daily applications due to high material costs.
  • Au-Si interface Photodetectors has many advantages:
    • The fabricating process is quick and simple. 
    • The method is highly economical since it is a solution-based technique. 
    • It can detect weak scattered light as an indication of unwanted activity.
    • The device does not require external power to operate and runs on self-operated mode. 

Black panther spotted in Goa’s Netravali Sanctuary.

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment; Biodiversity

In News:

  • A black panther has been captured on camera in Goa’s Netravali Sanctuary for the first time.

Important value additions:

Black Panther

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th MAY 2020

Image source: The Indian Express

  • It is the melanistic (increased development of the dark-colored pigment) colour variant of any Panthera, particularly of the leopard in Asia and Africa, and the jaguar in the Americas.
  • It is very difficult to detect/spot. 
  • It is mostly found in densely forested areas of southern India.
  • IUCN status: Vulnerable

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th MAY 2020

Image source: Click here

  • It is located in South Eastern Goa
  • It constitutes one of the vital corridors of the Western Ghats.
  • It is bounded by Cotigao wildlife sanctuary on the eastern side and Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park on the northern side.
  • Netravali is an important tributary of River Zuari, which originates in the sanctuary.
  • It has two important waterfalls namely, Savari and Mainapi.
  • It consists of moist deciduous forests interspersed with evergreen and semi-evergreen forests.

Miscellaneous 

Naku La 

  • It is a pass in North Sikkim at an altitude of more than 5,000 metres above Mean Sea Level. 
  • Recently, Indian and Chinese Troops clashed near the pass which lead to many injuries. 

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Topic: General Studies 2:

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

Possible trends across the world post COVID-19

Context:

  • As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis. 
  • Its rapid spread across the world compelled the governments to implement various degrees of lockdown which affected the global economy significantly
  • The world, right now, is facing the global economic crisis. 
  • In one of the posts on 9th May, we discussed how India should respond to the current geopolitical situation. 
  • Today, we discuss what trends we might get to see geopolitically in the post COVID-19 world.

Ascent of Asia

  • Economic forecasts indicate that only China and India are likely to register economic growth during 2020 out of the G-20 countries. 
  • Asian countries along with China have tackled the pandemic with greater swiftness, responsiveness and more effective state capacity as compared to the United States and Europe. 
  • Thus, It is likely that they will recover faster than those in the West. 

Rising China

  • The emergence of a stronger and more assertive China is also one of the changing geopolitical situations. 
  • China has been growing economically since it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001
  • Its assertiveness has increased under the current President Xi Jinping’s leadership which has raised concerns in its neighbourhood and the U.S. 
  • In recent years, the U.S.-China relationship has moved from cooperation to competition. 
  • The Belt and Road Initiative which seeks to connect China to the Eurasia and Africa through both maritime and land routes is seen as a move against any U.S. attempts at containment.
  • The ongoing trade and technology wars may lead to confrontation between the two nations. 
  • Recently, both countries have been involved in verbal confrontation due to COVID-19

U.S taking a backseat 

  • The U.S. has been in the forefront of shaping the global order since centuries. 
  • It has played a pivotal role right from the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations after World War I to the creation of the United Nations and Bretton Woods institutions after World War II
  • It was decisive in leading the western world during the Cold War, shaping global responses to threats posed by terrorism and taking action against climate change
  • However, its interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq generated resentment. These interventions also led to decreased domestic political will and resources.
  • During the current COVID-19 crisis, “America first” attitude seems to be changing into “America alone”. It has been reported that the U.S. is cornering supplies of scarce medical equipment and medicines just for itself. 
  • It is also acquiring biotech companies which are engaged in research and development in allied states. 
  • Countries are losing trust in the U.S.’s competence due to its poor response at handling the pandemic in its own country. 
  • Despite being the largest economy and the military power, it seems to lose the will and ability to lead. 
  • This mood is unlikely to change irrespective of the outcome of the upcoming presidential election in November 2020.

Tension among the European countries 

  • European UNION (EU) is continuously preoccupied with internal challenges due to: 
    • its expansion of membership to include East European states,
    • impact of the financial crisis among the Eurozone members,
    • ongoing Brexit negotiations. 
  • It is becoming increasingly difficult to reach agreement on political matters, e.g relations with Russia and China. 
  • The trans-Atlantic divide is increasing rift within the EU. 
  • Rising trend of political approach which appeals to ordinary people (populism) has led to some EU members supporting the virtues of “empty democracy”.
  • The North-South divide within the EU is also apparent. This tension began particularly when austerity measures were imposed on Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal in 2010 by the European Central Bank. These measures were persuaded by Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. 
  • Most recently, Italy was denied medical equipment by its EU neighbours who had introduced controls on its exports. Ultimately, China had to airlift medical teams and critical supplies to Italy. 
  • Rediscovering the limits of free movement of goods, services, capital and people will be one of the trends to be seen post COVID-19. 

Weakening of the world organisations

  • Global problems demand global responses.
  • However, international and multilateral bodies have failed to take responsible measures during this pandemic.  
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) should have led global efforts against COVID-19 but it has become a victim of politics involving China and the USA. 
  • The UN Security Council (UNSC), the G-7 and the G-20 are paralysed financially when the world faces the worst recession since 1929.
  • These institutions were always subjected to big power politics
  • Agencies, such as WHO, have lost autonomy over decades as their regular budgets decreased. Now, they mainly rely on voluntary contributions by western countries and foundations.  
  • Reform of these bodies is needed at the earliest. This can happen only with collective global leadership.

The energy politics

  • The final trend relates to energy politics.
  • Growing interest in renewables and green technologies due to climate change concerns and emergence of the U.S. as a major energy producer were changing the energy markets before COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Now, due to possible economic recession and depressed oil prices, internal tensions in West Asian countries may increase since these countries are solely dependent on oil revenues. 
  • This may create political instability in countries where governments are fragile.

Conclusion 

  • Rising nationalism and protectionist policies may turn the economic recession into a depression which will enhance inequalities
  • The world may become more polarised.
  • There will be greater unpredictability and more disturbed times ahead of us. 

Connecting the dots :

  • What comprises G-20? Discuss its relevance and significance in the current geopolitical scenario. 

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Note: 

  • 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 With regard to Au-Si interface photodetectors, which of the following is/are correct?

  1. It is very difficult to assemble. 
  2. It requires external power to operate

Select the correct code:

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

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding the Black Panther: 

  1. Recently it was spotted at Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary for the first time. 
  2. It is very easy to detect.

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 Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in which of the following state of India? 

  1. Goa 
  2. Maharashtra 
  3. Karnataka 
  4. Telangana

ANSWERS FOR 9th May 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 C
3 A
4 B
5 C

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