Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th MAY 2020

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  • May 8, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th May 2020



DST INSPIRE Faculty develops nanomaterials based supercapacitors 

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

In News:

  • Recently, a DST INSPIRE Faculty, at IIT (Varanasi), along with his team has developed nanomaterials which have energy storage application & optical sensors for water pollution control.
  • They have also developed Surface-Enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) that can help detect harmful molecules present in water at ultra-low concentrations.

Key takeaways:

  • These nanomaterials are based on supercapacitors to achieve high energy density.
  • Constant current can be withdrawn for longer duration without recharging due to such density. 
  • Automobiles will be able to run longer distances by using supercapacitors.
  • The team has also developed a novel green approach for synthesis of Iron-based nanocatalyst, which can be used for large scale production of Cabon Nanotubes.
  • These findings shall help in producing materials which can be used as advanced photo detectors that may help in water pollution control.

Important value additions:

Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE)

  • It is an innovative programme.
  • It is sponsored and managed by the Department of Science & Technology for attraction of talent to Science. 
  • Objective: 
    • To communicate to the youth the excitements of creative pursuit of science
    • To attract talent to the study of science at an early age  
    • To build the required critical human resource pool for strengthening and expanding the Science & Technology system and Research & Development base.
  • No competitive exams are conducted for identification of talent at any level. 
  • The programme relies on the efficiency of the existing educational structure 

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) 

  • These are tubes made of carbon with diameters measured in nanometers.
  • Bulk carbon nanotubes are used as composite fibers to improve the mechanical, thermal and electrical properties of the bulk polymer product.
  • They can act as antennas for radios and other electromagnetic devices. 
  • They are used in brushes for commercial electric motors. 

Impact of energy efficiency measures for the year 2018-19 report released

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure (Energy) 

In News:

  • The Union Minister of Power has released a Report on “Impact of energy efficiency measures for the year 2018-19” recently.

Key takeaways from the report:

  • India has reduced the energy intensity of economy by 20% compared to 2005 levels. 
  • Total electricity savings is up to 9.39% of the net electricity consumption (113.16 Billion Units) in 2018-19.
  • The total energy savings in 2018-19 is 2.69% of the total primary energy supply (23.73 million Tonne of Oil Equivalent). This includes both supply side and demand side sectors of the economy.
  • 151.74 Million Tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (MTCO2) emissions have been reduced. Last year it was 108 MTCO2.

Important value additions:

Impact of energy efficiency measures for the year 2018-19 report

  • It was prepared by an Expert agency PWC Ltd, which was engaged by Bureau of Energy efficiency (BEE) for an independent verification to assess the resultant annual savings in energy as well as CO2 emissions through various initiatives in India.
  • Objective: To evaluate the performance and impact of all the key energy efficiency programmes in India, in terms of total energy saved and the related reduction in the CO2 emissions.
  • It assesses the resultant impact of current schemes at national and state level for the FY 2018-19.
  • It then compares the result with a situation where the same schemes were not implemented.

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency 

  • It is an agency of the Government of India, under the Ministry of Power created in March 2002 under the provisions of Energy Conservation Act, 2001. 
  • Function: To develop such programs which will increase the conservation and efficient use of energy in India.

Study of flowering plant endemism of Northern Western Ghats highlights importance of plateaus in conservation plans

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

In News:

  • Scientists at the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune have published a plant data of the Northern Western Ghats.
  • The institute is an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology.
  • As per their data, the plateaus and the cliffs harbour most of the endemic species in these areas.
  • The plateaus along with forests should be prioritized for conservation of the Northern Western Ghats.
  • The study suggested that the Northern Western Ghats is the region of rapid diversification of specific herbaceous endemic genera like Ceropegia, Glyphochloa, etc.

Important value additions:

Northern Western Ghats

  • The Indian Western Ghats is one of the global biodiversity hotspots due to the endemism of various flora and fauna.
  • The northern part of the Ghats receives more precipitation than southern and central parts.
  • Plateaus and cliffs display maximum endemic species.
  • Forests harbour many non-endemic species.


Vande Bharat Mission 

  • It is one of the largest evacuation exercises. 
  • The government will operate 64 flights to bring home nearly 14,800 Indian nationals stranded abroad due to the Corona virus lockdown. 


  • It is an antimicrobial and washable face mask launched by an IIT Delhi startup ‘Nanosafe Solutions’. 
  • It is reusable up to 50 launderings, thus greatly cutting down the cost of use.

Long March 5B

  • It is a rocket launched by China in a major test of its ambitions to operate a permanent space station and send astronauts to the Moon.

African Swine Fever (ASF)

  • Since February 2020, over 2,900 pigs have died in Assam due to African Swine Fever (ASF). 
  • The outbreak is reported for the first time in India.
  • It is a highly infectious viral disease that affects pigs, warthogs, bush pigs, 
  • Cause: African swine fever virus, member of the Asfarviridae family.
  • Transmission: Either directly through sick animals or indirectly through contaminated feed.
  • Symptoms: High haemorrhagic fever, lose of appetite, diarrhoea, reddening of the skin. 
  • No effective vaccine is available. 
  • Culling (slaughtering) is often the only effective way.
  • The ASF virus doesn’t infect humans. 



Topic: General Studies 2 & 3:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in Health sectors 
  • Environmental pollution and degradation
  • Disaster Management (Laws, Acts etc.)

Vizag gas leak


  • Recently, there was a leak of a toxic chemical, Styrene, near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. 
  • The source of the leak was a styrene plant owned by South Korean electronics giant LG.
  • It has killed several people and left thousands sick. 

What is styrene? 

  • Styrene is a flammable liquid 
  • It is used in the manufacturing of:
    • polystyrene plastics
    • fiberglass
    • rubber
    • latex. 
  • It is also found in:
    • vehicle exhaust
    • cigarette smoke
    • natural foods like fruits and vegetables.
  • Short-term exposure can result in:
    • respiratory problems
    • irritation in the eyes 
    • irritation in the mucous membrane 
    • gastrointestinal issues.
  • Long-term exposure can lead to :
    • central nervous system issues
    • peripheral neuropathy. 
    • cancer
    • depression
  • Symptoms:
    • headache
    • hearing loss
    • fatigue 
    • difficulty in concentrating. 
  • Styrene is included in the schedule of the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989
  • Strict norms are to be followed while handling and storing the chemical.  

Cause of the leak

  • An inquiry is yet to be commissioned to know the exact cause of the leak. 
  • Faulty safety mechanisms or ignoring them are being cited as the causes of the leak. 

Way forward 

  • The Andhra Pradesh government must focus immediately on the medical needs of those grievously affected by the gas leak. 
  • Compensation for the victims and families.
  • Access to the highest quality of health care for the victims must be ensured. 
  • Safety of industrial chemicals must be on continuous watch, irrespective of any pandemic. 
  • The approach to public and occupational safety must be strengthened. 


  • The gas leak tragedy is a reminder that safety is paramount when exiting the lockdown. 

Connecting the dots :

  • Industrial disasters are a result of lack of systemic accountability. 
  • Presence of Industrial unit in a residential area is a disaster waiting to happen. 


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 Consider the following statements:

  1. INSPIRE is an innovative program launched by Department of Science and Technology.
  2. Automobiles can run for longer distances by using supercapacitors.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q.2 With regard to uses of carbon nanotubes, which of the following is/are correct? 

  1. They are used to improve the mechanical and thermal properties of the polymer products.
  2. They act as antenna for radios.

Select the correct code:

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

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding the Bureau of Energy Efficiency: 

  1. It is an autonomous body under Minstry of Power.
  2. It develops programs to increase the conservation efficiency in India.

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 Which of the following is not the biodiversity Hotspot in India? 

  1. Western Ghats 
  2. The Himalayas 
  3. The Sundaland 
  4. Manas National Park

Q.5 Long March 5B was recently launched by which of the following country? 

  1. China 
  2. Japan 
  3. India 
  4. Pakistan

Q.6 Consider the following statements regarding African swine fever: 

  1. It is reported in India for the first time in Meghalaya. 
  2. Vaccines are available for its treatment.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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


1 A
2 C
3 A
4 C

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