DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 15th May 2021

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  • May 15, 2021
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Elephant Casualties On Railway Lines

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment

In news

  • According to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a total of 186 elephants were killed after being hit by trains across India between 2009-10 and 2020-21.
  • Assam accounted for the highest number of elephant casualties on railway tracks (62), followed by West Bengal (57), and Odisha (27). Uttar Pradesh saw just one death.

Measures taken to avoid elephant casualties on railway lines

  • A Permanent Coordination Committee was constituted between the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board) and the MoEFCC for preventing elephant deaths in train accidents.
  • Clearing vegetation along railway tracks to enable clear view for loco pilots.
  • Setting up underpass/overpass for safe passage of elephants. 
  • Regulation of train speed from sunset to sunrise in vulnerable stretches
  • Regular patrolling of vulnerable stretches of railway tracks 
  • The MoEFCC released ₹212.49 crore to elephant range States under Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) of Project Elephant to protect elephants, their habitat and corridors, to address man-elephant conflicts, and for the welfare of captive elephants, between 2011-12 and 2020-21.

Related articles

On the killing of an elephant in Kerala

Launch of Project Re-HAB

Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2021-22

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Economy

In news

  • The Central Government in consultation with the RBI, has decided to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds.

Key takeaways

  • The Sovereign Gold Bonds will be issued in six tranches from 17th May to September 2021.
  • The Bonds will be sold through Scheduled Commercial banks (except Small Finance Banks and Payment Banks), Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL),designated post offices, and National Stock Exchange of India Limited and Bombay Stock Exchange Limited.
  • The minimum permissible investment will be one gram of gold.
  • Investors will be compensated at a fixed rate of 2.50% per annum payable semi-annually on the nominal value.
  • The Bonds will be restricted for sale to resident individuals, Hindu Undivided Families, Trusts, Universities and Charitable Institutions.
  • The tenor of the Bond will be for a period of 8 years with exit option after 5th year to be exercised on the next interest payment dates.

Covid-19 infections being reported among the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health

In news

  • Covid-19 infections are being reported among the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) of Odisha

Key takeaways

  • As many as 21 tribals across eight different PVTGs in the State have so far tested positive, including two from the Bonda tribe.
  • Bonda people live in the highlands of Malkangiri.
  • Members of Dongria Kondh, another PVTG, have tested positive in Rayagada district.

Do you know?

  • Odisha has among the largest and most diverse tribal populations in the country.
  • Of the 62 tribal groups residing in Odisha, 13 are recognised as PVTGs.
  • According to the 2011 Census, Odisha’s share of the country’s total tribal population was 9%.
  • Tribals constitute 22.85% of the State’s population.
  • PVTGs in the states: Bonda, Birhor, Chuktia Bhunjia, Didayi, Dongaria Kandha, Hill Kharia, Juang, Kutia Kondh, Lanjia Saora, Lodha, Mankirdia, Paudi Bhuyan and Saora.
  • These PVTGs have been identified on the basis of stagnant or diminishing populations, subsistence level of economy associated with pre-agricultural stages of hunting, food gathering and shifting cultivation, and relative physical isolation.

Species in news: Red-Eared Slider

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Biodiversity

In news

  • A American turtle popular as a pet is threatening to invade the natural water bodies across Northeast India.
  • Northeast India is home to 21 of the 29 vulnerable native Indian species of freshwater turtles and tortoises.

Key takeaways

  • Between August 2018 and June 2019, a team of herpetologists from the NGO ‘Help Earth’ found red-eared sliders in the Deepor Beel Wildlife Sanctuary and the Ugratara temple pond — both in Guwahati, Assam
  • The red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) derives its name from red stripes around the part where its ears would be and from its ability to slide quickly off any surface into the water.
  • It is native to the U.S. and northern Mexico. 
  • This turtle is an extremely popular pet.
  • They grow fast and virtually leave nothing for the native species to eat.
  • It has already affected States such as Karnataka and Gujarat, where it has been found in 33 natural water bodies.
  • Preventing this invasive species from overtaking the Brahmaputra and other river ecosystems in the Northeast is crucial because the Northeast is home to more than 72% of the turtle and tortoise species in the country, all of them very rare.


Cyclone ‘tauktae’

  • Cyclone ‘Tauktae’, which lay as a deep depression over the Arabian Sea close to Lakshadweep, was likely to intensify into a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ bringing heavy to very heavy rain to many parts of the western coast

  • There is yet not clear whether the cyclonic storm will cross the Gujarat coast or just skirt it by May 18.
  • It is very likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm during the next 12 hours and is very likely to intensify further during the subsequent 24 hours and move north, north-westwards.
  • In view of Cyclone Tauktae warning, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 24 teams in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra. 

(Mains Focus)



  • GS-2: Important International events;  Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Violence between Israel- Palestine

Context: The ongoing violence between Israeli forces and Hamas — the worst fighting since 2014 — comes at a time when there seemed to be hope for a genuine easing of tensions in West Asia

What was the reason for violence?

  • Israeli Police Action during Ramzan month: The immediate provocation for the current conflict appears to have been the action taken by Israeli police and security forces to prevent Palestinians from gathering at the Damascus gate in Jerusalem after Ramzan prayers — a long-standing tradition — in which hundreds of civilians were injured. 
  • Hamas Counter: The action allowed Hamas(largest of several Palestinian militant Islamist groups) to don the mantle of “protector” and the bombs they launched initially killed three Israeli citizens. 
  • Disproportionate response by Israeli army: The Benjamin Netanyahu government’s response was disproportionate: It carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Gaza and reportedly deployed artillery and troops as well. 
  • Over 100 Palestinians have been killed, at least 27 of them children. Both Hamas and Israel are attempting to use airstrikes and bombs against each other. Residential areas are bearing the brunt of Israeli attacks and there are reports of rioting.

Who is benefitting from the violence?

While there are no winners in war, there are certainly some who benefit from it. 

  • Netanyahu continues to expand the offensive against Hamas at a time when his government — which has been in a minority in the legislature — is on the brink of collapse. This stokes nationalistic feelings and yields political benefits. 
  • Hamas, too, finds relevance in conflict, in stoking the flames of resentment that are bound to be just under the surface in places like Gaza, where an entire generation has lived through blockades and occupation.

Implications of the recent violence

  • Erodes recent gains: There was the softening of the hard stance vis a vis diplomatic ties with Israel by several Islamic regimes in the region (Ex: Abraham Accords. ) However, the violence is a grave setback for peace in the region. 
  • Deteriorating situation: In the region, it is likely to make it harder for those trying to normalise ties with Israel.
  • Promotes Extreme Positions: Within Israel and Palestine, it could embolden the maximalist, anti-peace voices.
  • Root problems remain unresolved: The fundamental question of semi-legal settlements, of the differential rights enjoyed by Palestinians and Israelis, and violence as a means of political expression, remain unaddressed.


  • India, for its part, has thus far managed to balance its historical commitment to the rights of Palestinians with its growing closeness to Israel. 
  • Delhi must continue to tread a fine line, without compromising either on its national and strategic interests, or its core humanitarian values.



  • GS-1: Social Empowerment
  • GS-2: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

Child Marriages and Pandemic

Context: The Global Girlhood Report 2020 says that at least half-a-million girls are now at risk of being victims of forced child marriages as this year comes to an end. Up to 2.5 million girls may be married early due to the pandemic over the next five years, says a Save the Children report.

Pandemic & Child Marriages

  • Increased poverty is directly related to child marriage: In pandemic induced economic distress, vulnerable families are forced to choose between a girl child and the prospect of hunger & deprivation. A girl child is considered a burden, making her vulnerable to early marriage
  • Marriage seen as safety net: One reason, cited by parents, in several surveys is that marriage is way of ensuring the girl child’s safety at a time when many young men are out of jobs and seen as posing a danger to young girls. 
  • Interrupted Education: With so much uncertainty about when schools will reopen, there is every likelihood of girls not returning to school and this increases the danger of their being married early. 
  • Lack of access to counsellor: Without the safety net of schools, the girl child being forced into marriage is cut off from any possible communication with a teacher or counselor. Most of them do not have access to child helplines though the government has set these us. 

Consequences of Child Marriages

  • Child marriage is not only a violation of girls’ human rights and their children’s, but also represents a substantial economic burden for countries (early child marriage => tendency for more children => higher population growth)
  • Child brides are often robbed of their rights to safety and security, to health and education, and to make their own life choices and decisions
  • Child marriage brings with it the prospect of early pregnancy whereby the life of the girl and her unborn child are at much greater risk.
  • Early marriage heightens the risk of domestic slavery, spousal violence and poor health with girls married under the age of 15 almost 50% more likely to have experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence

Connecting the dots:


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 Bonda community belongs to which of the following state of India? 

  1. Maharashtra 
  2. Gujarat 
  3. Chhattisgarh 
  4. Odisha

Q.2 Red eared slider, recently in news, is native to which of the following country? 

  1. China 
  2. Vietnam
  3. USA
  4. Sri Lanka 

Q.3 Which of the following measures are taken to avoid elephant casualties on railway lines?

  1. A Permanent Coordination Committee constituted between the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board) and the MoEFCC for preventing elephant deaths in train accidents.
  2. Clearing vegetation along railway tracks to enable clear view for loco pilots.
  3. Setting up underpass/overpass for safe passage of elephants. 
  4. Regulation of train speed from sunset to sunrise in vulnerable stretches

Select the correct code:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1, 2 and 4 only
  3. 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4


1 C
2 B
3 C

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