DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 17th February 2021

  • IASbaba
  • February 17, 2021
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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Species in news: Leatherback Sea Turtle

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

In news

  • Some conservationists are worried about the fate of the Giant Leatherback turtles.
  • NITI Aayog has laid down proposals for tourism and port development in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Key takeaways

  • NITI Aayog’s tourism vision includes a proposal for a mega-shipment port at Galathea Bay on Great Nicobar Island.
  • Also, the Little Andaman plan proposes phased growth of tourism on this untouched island, which may lead to the de-reservation of over 200 sq km of rainforests and also of about 140 sq km of the Onge Tribal Reserve.

Important value additions

Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)

  • It is the largest of the seven species of sea turtles.
  • Other species are: Olive Ridley turtle, Green turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Loggerhead turtle, Leatherback turtle
  • Except the Loggerhead, the remaining four species nest along the Indian coast.
  • It is found in all oceans except the Arctic and the Antarctic.
  • Within the Indian Ocean, they nest only in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • It is the only living species in the genus Dermochelys and family Dermochelyidae.
  • It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell.
  • They are listed in Schedule I of India’s Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Do you know?

  • The Ministry of Environment has released National Marine Turtle Action Plan in which A&N Islands are given prominent importance.
  • According to the plan, India has identified all its important sea turtle nesting habitats as ‘Important Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Areas’.
  • These areas have been included in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) – 1.
  • South Bay and West Bay on Little Andaman and Galathea on Great Nicobar, are mentioned as “Important Marine Turtle Habitats in India”

Related articles

Oil & Gas Projects In Tamil Nadu

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Infrastructure

In news

  • Indian Prime Minister laid down the foundation of key projects of the oil & gas sector in Tamil Nadu on 17th February 2021.

Key takeaways

  • The Ramanathapuram – Thoothukudi natural gas pipeline shall be inaugurated.
  • This pipeline is a section of the Ennore- Thiruvallur- Bengaluru- Puducherry- Nagapattinam- Madurai- Tuticorin Natural Gas Pipeline.
  • Benefits: It will help utilise gas from ONGC Gas fields and deliver natural gas as feedstock to industries and other commercial customers.
  • Gasoline Desulphurisation Unit shall be inaugurated at Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited, Manali.
  • It will produce low sulfur (less than 8 ppm) environment-friendly gasoline, help reduce emissions and contribute towards a cleaner environment.

Community in news: Devendra Kula Vellalar

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – I – Society

In news

  • Devendra Kula Vellalar community was in news recently.
  • The media has reported about its delisting from Scheduled Castes which is misinformation according to the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.

Key takeaways

  • The Ministry has stated that the Cabinet has approved for categorizing 7 SC communities into Devendra Kula Vellalar.
  • A Bill for categorizing these communities under the SC list is already introduced in the Lok Sabha.

Do you know?

  • The Pallar, who prefers to be called Mallar, is a Tamil sub-caste of Peasant found in Tamil Nadu.
  • Community members refer to themselves as Devendra Kula Vellalar (DKV), a name reflecting that they were created by the god Devendra.

Sandes: an instant messaging platform

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III– Sci & Tech

In news

  • An instant messaging platform was launched recently called Sandes on the lines of WhatsApp.
  • Launched by: National Informatics Centre

Key takeaways

  • Sandes can be used for all kinds of communications by anyone with a mobile number or email id.
  • Its interface is similar to other apps currently available.

Do you know?

  • The National Informatics Centre is an attached office under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in the Indian government.
  • The NIC provides infrastructure to help support the delivery of government IT services and the delivery of some of the initiatives of Digital India.

Mahabahu-Brahmaputra to be launched

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Infrastructure

In news

  • Indian Prime Minister will launch the ‘Mahabahu-Brahmaputra’ in Assam on 18th February 2021.

Key takeaways

  • The launch of Mahabahu-Brahmaputra will be marked by the following:
  • The Ro-Pax vessel operations between Neamati-Majuli Island, North Guwahati-South Guwahati,and Dhubri-Hatsingimari;
  • Shilanyas of Inland Water Transport (IWT) Terminal at Jogighopa
  • Various tourist jetties on River Brahmaputra
  • Launch of digital solutions for Ease-of-Doing-Business.
  • Aim: Providing seamless connectivity to the Eastern parts of India.

(Mains Focus)



  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • GS-3: Indian Economy

Geo-Spatial Sector – Deregulated

Context: The Ministry of Science and Technology released new guidelines for the Geo-spatial sector in India, which deregulates existing protocol and liberalises the sector to a more competitive field.

What is geo-spatial data?

  • Geospatial data is data about objects, events, or phenomena that have a location on the surface of the earth.
  • The location may be static in the short-term, like the location of a road, an earthquake event, or dynamic like a moving vehicle or pedestrian, the spread of an infectious disease.
  • Geospatial data combines location information, attribute information (the characteristics of the object, event, or phenomena concerned), and often also temporal information or the time at which the location and attributes exist.
  • Geo-spatial data has now become imperative for the government in planning for infrastructure, development, social development, natural calamities as well as the economy with more and more sectors relying heavily on this data.
  • The past decade has seen an increase in the use of geo-spatial data in daily life with various apps such as food delivery apps like Swiggy or Zomato, e-commerce like Amazon or even weather apps.

What is the present policy on geo-spatial data?

  • There are strict restrictions on the collection, storage, use, sale, dissemination of geo-spatial data and mapping under the current regime driven by internal as well as external security concerns.
  • Private companies need to navigate a system of permissions from different departments of the government (Home, defence, etc.) to be able to collect, create or disseminate geo-spatial data.

Why has the government deregulated geo-spatial data?

  • This system of acquiring licenses or permission has delayed projects for both private companies and government agencies.
  • The deregulation eliminates the requirement of permissions as well as scrutiny, even for security concerns.
  • Indian companies now can self-attest, conforming to government guidelines without actually having to be monitored by a government agency.
  • There is also a huge lack of data in the country which impedes planning for infrastructure, development and businesses which are data-based.
  • The mapping of the entire country, that too with high accuracy, by the Indian government alone could take decades. Therefore, opening up the sector and incentivising the private sector will speed up the process of mapping.
  • Large amounts of geo-spatial data are also available on global platforms, which makes the regulation of data that is freely available in other countries, untenable.


  • Geospatial data that used to be restricted will now be freely available in India for Indian companies.
  • They will no longer be subject to restrictions nor do they require prior approvals before they collect, generate, prepare, disseminate, store, publish, update digital geospatial data and maps within the territory of India.

Benefits of deregulation:

  • Increase Competitiveness in sector: By liberalising the system, the government will ensure more players in the field, competitiveness of Indian companies in the global market
  • Evidence-based Policy making: This will ensure that more accurate data is available to both the government to formulate plans and administer its programmes. Maps and accurate geospatial data are crucial for national infrastructure projects such as linkages of rivers, creation of industrial corridors and deploying smart power systems.
  • Boost to Start-ups: Liberalisation of the mapping industry and democratization of existing datasets will spur domestic innovation and enable Indian companies to compete in the global mapping ecosystem by leveraging modern geospatial technologies.
  • Atmanirbhar Bharat: Indian companies will be able to develop indigenous apps, for example an Indian version of google maps.
  • Employment generation: The move will unlock tremendous opportunities for the country’s private sector, public sector, and research institutions, to drive innovations and build scalable solutions which will in turn generate employment
  • Increased Investment and boost to Economy: The government also expects an increase in investment in the geo-spatial sector by companies, and also an increase in export of data to foreign companies and countries, which in turn will boost the economy



  • GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
  • GS-2: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

ICC ruling on jurisdiction in Palestinian Territories

Context: The International Criminal Court(ICC) said that the court has jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories, a ruling that was welcomed by Palestinians and criticized by Israel.

About ICC

  • Governed by an international treaty called ‘The Rome Statute’, 2002 the ICC is the world’s first permanent international criminal court.
  • It investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.
  • Through international criminal justice, ICC aims to hold those responsible for their crimes and to help prevent these crimes from happening again.
  • The ICC is intended to complement, not to replace, national criminal systems; it prosecutes cases only when States do not are unwilling or unable to do so genuinely.
  • ICC is not a UN organization but is has a cooperation agreement with the United Nations.
  • When a situation is not within the Court’s jurisdiction, the United Nations Security Council can refer the situation to the ICC granting it jurisdiction. This has been done in the situations in Darfur (Sudan) and Libya.
  • India is not a party to Rome Statute along with US and China.

What is the present judgment all about?

  • This ruling was really a result of the Palestinian Authority gaining formal membership of international criminal court in 2015. Israel is not a member of the ICC.
  • According to this ruling, the ICC would have jurisdiction to investigate potential war crimes committed in Palestinian territories.
  • The Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
  • The judges however said the jurisdiction does not “imply any attempt to determine Palestinian statehood, which is uncertain, or national borders.”

Response to the ruling

  • Israel: It denounced the ruling saying that the ICC was investigating Israel for “fake war crimes”, calling it “pure anti-Semitism”.
  • US: It also objected to the ICC’s decision
  • Palestine: Palestine welcome the ruling and said it was an “historic day” and that Israel had previously been treated “above the law.”

Significance of the ruling

  • This is a significant step forward in the quest for justice and accountability involving the unaccountable 53-year-old occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza
  • The ruling could lead to criminal investigations of Israel and Palestinian militant groups including Hamas.

What is India’s stance?

  • Israel has been pushing India to take a stand against the ICC ruling, but Delhi is reluctant to do so given its own geopolitical interests (doesn’t want to antagonise Islamic States)
  • India has conveyed to Israel through diplomatic channels that since India is not a member of the Rome Statute, it would not want to comment or take a position on any of the court’s decisions or rulings.


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 Sandes, an instant messaging platform, was launched recently by which of the following?

  1. NITI Aayog
  2. Ministry of Electronics and IT
  3. Ministry of Sci & Tech
  4. Reliance Industried

Q.2 Which of the following does not nest along the Indian Coast?

  1. Olive Ridley turtle
  2. Hawksbill turtle
  3. Loggerhead turtle
  4. Leatherback turtle


1 C
2 A
3 A
4 D

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