DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st October 2021

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  • October 21, 2021
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Global Threat Assessment report 2021

Part of: Prelims and GS I – Social issues

Context The Global Threat Assessment report 2021 was recently launched by We Protect Global Alliance. 

  • We Protect Global Alliance is a global movement of more than 200 governments, private sector companies and civil society organisations working together to transform the global response to child sexual exploitation and abuse online.

Key findings

  • underfunded: Child sexual abuse remains a chronically underfunded issue. 
  • COVID-19 impact: COVID-19 had contributed to a significant spike in child sexual exploitation and abuse online.
  • Highest reporting: In the past two years, the reporting of child sexual exploitation and online abuse has reached its highest level.
  • Self-generated abuse:  The Internet Watch Foundation observed a 77% increase in child ‘self-generated’ (arising without apparent external cause) sexual material from 2019 to 2020.
  • Tools to detect: Only 37% currently use tools to detect online grooming.
    • Online grooming is where someone befriends a child online and builds up their trust with the intention of exploiting them and causing them harm. 
  • Suggestions:
    • Prioritise prevention activities against abuse,
    • Creating safe online environments for children 
    • Stakeholders who have a role to protect children must work together to improve the response. 

India more vulnerable to heat extremes: Lancet report

Part of: Prelims and GS-III – Environment; Climate change 

Context The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change’ was recently launched. 

  • It is a flagship report of the medical journal The Lancet. 
  • It provides periodic updates on the scientific literature on the relationship between climate change and public health.
  • The Lancet Countdown’s sixth annual report tracks 44 indicators of health impacts that are directly linked to climate change. 
  • It shows key trends are getting worse and exacerbating already existing health and social inequities.

What are its key findings? 

  • India’s vulnerability: India has become 15% more vulnerable to extremes of heat than in 1990. 
  • Senior citizens: Chinese, Indian, American, Japanese and Indonesian senior citizens were the most affected.
  • Loss of Work hours: 295 billion hours of potential work were lost across the globe in 2020 due to heat exposure. 
  • Most affected developing countries: Pakistan, Bangladesh and India had the greatest losses of the working hours in their group. 
  • Heat-related mortality: Between 2018 and 2019, India and Brazil had the biggest absolute increase in heat-related mortality.
  • Economic loss: The economic losses of climate-related extreme events were three times higher in medium-HDI countries than they are in very high HDI countries. 
    • South-East Asia was the only region with increasing air pollution mortality costs between 2015 and 2019, relative to GDP
  • Increase in wildfires: Populations of 134 countries have experienced an increase in exposure to wildfires. 
  • Widespread drought: Drought is more widespread than ever before.

Black Sea security ties

Part of: Prelims and GS II – International Relations 

Context U.S. Defence Secretary urged more defence cooperation among Black Sea allies ahead of a NATO Ministers summit.

The region is vulnerable to Russian aggression. Thus, the action was needed by littoral states of the Black Sea amid Russia “militarisation” of the region. 

About the Black Sea

  • The Black Sea, also known as the Euxine Sea, is one of the major water bodies and a famous inland sea of the world.
  • It is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, located between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
  • The Black Sea is also connected to the Sea of Azov by the Strait of Kerch.
  • The bordering countries of Black Sea are: Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. 

About North Atlantic Treaty Organization

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a military alliance established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of April 4, 1949. 
  • Established by: United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union.
  • Article 5: It states that if one member of the alliance is attacked in Europe or North America, it is to be considered an attack on all members. That effectively put Western Europe under the “nuclear umbrella” of the US.
  • As of 2019, there are 29 member states, with Montenegro becoming the latest member to join the alliance in 2017.

High oil prices

Part of: Prelims and GS-III – Economy 

Context  India has warned that high oil prices will undermine global economic recovery. 

  • It has pushed Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations to work towards affordable and reliable supplies.
  • Petrol and diesel prices have hit record highs across India after continuous price increases since May.


  • Global oil prices crashed to $19 per barrel in April 2020 as demand reduced with most nations imposing lockdowns to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.
  • Demand recovered this year as vaccination against the infection revived economies worldwide.
  • International benchmark Brent crude has since rallied to $84 per barrel.
  • This had made fuel expensive and was instilling fears of inflation.
  • While the world had begun the transition towards cleaner fuels such as electric-powered vehicles and hydrogen, most nations were still dependent on oil to fuel their economies. And high oil prices would hurt the recovery in demand.

India and the oil 

  • India’s oil import bill had climbed from $8.8 billion in June 2020 quarter to $24 billion this year because of a spike in global oil prices. 
  • India imports almost two-thirds of its oil needs from West Asia. 
  • India is 85% dependent on imports to meet its oil needs. 
  • It is the world’s third-largest energy consumer.

About Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

  • The OPEC is a permanent, intergovernmental organization,
  • It was created at the Baghdad Conference in 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.
  • Aim: It aims to manage the supply of oil in an effort to set the price of oil in the world market, in order to avoid fluctuations that might affect the economies of both producing and purchasing countries.
  • It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.
  • OPEC membership is open to any country that is a substantial exporter of oil and which shares the ideals of the organization.
  • 14 Member Countries: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates(UAE), Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Libya, Nigeria, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola, Ecuador and Venezuela.

(News from PIB)

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-II- Governance

In News: Insurance scheme for health workers fighting COVID-19 extended for a further period of 180 days as the Covid-19 pandemic has still not abated and deaths of health workers deployed for COVID related duties are still being reported from different States/UTs

Aim: To provide comprehensive personal accident cover of Rs. 50 Lakh to 22.12 lakh health care providers including community health workers and private health workers who may have been in direct contact and care of COVID-19 patients and may be at risk of being impacted by this.

News Source: PIB

Mastitis, an ailment of dairy cattle

Part of: Prelims

In News: Utilising indigenous knowledge system shared by a farmer from Gujarat, a poly-herbal and cost-effective medicine has been developed to treat Mastitis, an infectious disease of dairy cattle.

  • Mastitis is a common infectious disease, which affects farm productivity due to fall in milk quality, thus impacting income-generating activities. 
  • Treatment of infected animals with antibiotics poses a public health hazard. 
  • This medicine has reduced the use of antibiotics and helped in the cost-effective management of the disease.

News Source: PIB

(Mains Focus)


  • GS-2: International Institutions & Organisations
  • GS-3: Environmental Conservation 

Carbon Markets Conundrum at COP26

Context: The success of COP26 at Glasgow, that will take place from 31 October to 12 November 2021, depends to a great extent on the conclusion of carbon markets discussions

  • Article 6 of the Paris Agreement introduces provisions for using international carbon markets to facilitate fulfilment of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by countries. 

Why Carbon Markets in significant for India? 

  • Developing countries, particularly India, China and Brazil, gained significantly from the carbon market under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol. 
  • India registered 1,703 projects under the CDM which is the second highest in the world. Total carbon credits known as Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) issued for these projects are around 255 million amounting to U.S.$2.55 billion.
  • Therefore, logically, India has a lot to gain from a thriving carbon market. However, with the ratification of the Paris Agreement, the rules of the game have changed.
  • Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, now even developing countries are required to have mitigation targets
  • Developing countries are faced with a dilemma of either selling their carbon credits in return for lucrative foreign investment flows or use these credits to achieve their own mitigation targets. 
  • This has made Article 6 a highly sensitive issue that requires careful balancing of interests and expectations.
  • While over 50% of the countries have communicated their intention of using market mechanisms to achieve NDC targets, India is not one of them as it aims to rely on domestic mitigation efforts to meet its NDC goals. 
  • It is the developed countries that would rely more on market mechanisms for achieving their climate targets as they would be comparatively low-cost options.

What are the critical issues with Article 6 of Paris Agreement?

The three critical issues that would be hotly debated in Article 6 negotiating rooms are Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Transition, Accounting rules and Share of Proceeds to the Adaptation Fund. Let us examine them one by one.

CDM transition: 

  • The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects have gone through due diligence and credits have been issued under UNFCCC oversight. Therefore, the Article 6 mechanism should honour the previous decisions 
  • However, some countries have cast doubts on the environmental integrity of these credits and while there is greater acceptance for transition of projects/activities, the same is not the case for transition of credits. 
  • If the decision regarding transition of CDM is not favourable, it could lead to a loss of billions of dollars worth of potential revenue to India alone. This can result in the formation of the new supervisory body under the Paris Agreement that can re-examine the validity and rigour of such credits.

Accounting rules: 

  • Article 6.4 mechanism is meant to incentivise the private sector and public entities to undertake mitigation activities for sustainable development. 
  • Under this mechanism, a country can purchase emission reductions from public and private entities of the host country and use it to meet its NDC targets. 
  • However, this does not automatically imply that emission reductions transferred from a host country be adjusted against its NDC targets. 
  • It must be appreciated that these reductions represent additional efforts of the private sector or public entities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and in fact raise global climate ambition. 
  • This is also in line with the provision of Article 6.5 of the Paris Agreement wherein the host country is not required to undertake corresponding adjustment for the projects outside its NDC.
  • Therefore, such efforts will be additional to what have been committed in the NDC. 
  • Robust accounting will ensure that there will be no double-counting of emission reductions.

Share of Proceeds (SOP) to the Adaptation Fund:

  • For developing countries, adaptation is a necessity. 
  • However, it remains severely underfunded compared to financing for mitigation activities. 
  • While developing countries emphasise that the SOP must be uniformly applied to Articles 6.2 and 6.4 to fund adaptation, developed countries want to restrict its application to Article 6.4. 
  • This would disincentivise the Article 6.4 mechanism and limit voluntary cooperation to the cooperative approaches under Article 6.2 favoured by developed countries.


  • In a way, carbon markets allow developed countries to keep emitting greenhouse gases while developing countries benefit from the revenue generated from the sale of their carbon credits. 
  • Central to the discussions on Article 6 is equitable sharing of carbon and developmental space. Climate justice demands that developing countries get access to their fair share of global carbon space. 
  • As developing countries are nudged to take greater mitigation responsibilities, a facilitative carbon market mechanism that respects the principles enshrined in UNFCCC would greatly help accelerate their transition to low carbon development pathway.

Connecting the dots:


  • GS-2: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate. 

IMF and World Economic Outlook 

Context: Recently, IMF unveiled its 2nd World Economic Outlook (WEO). The IMO comes out with the report twice every year — April and October — and also provides regular “updates” to it on other occasions.

Main takeaways from the report

  • The central message was that the global economic recovery momentum had weakened due to pandemic induced disruptions. However, it is the increasing inequality among nations that IMF was most concerned about.
  • Aggregate output for the advanced economy group is expected to regain its pre-pandemic level in 2022 while that of developing economy group (excluding China) is expected to remain 5.5 per cent below the pre-pandemic forecast in 2024.
  • There are two key reasons for the economic divergences: large disparities in vaccine access, and differences in policy support.
  • The report also points out that the employment growth likely to lag the output recovery. Employment around the world remains below its pre-pandemic levels, due to negative output gaps, worker fears of infection, automation in some sectors, unemployment benefits helping to cushion income losses.


  • As far as GDP is concerned, India’s growth rate hasn’t been revised downwards.
  • However, the IMF has projected on employment — that the recovery in unemployment is lagging the recovery in output (or GDP)
  • Lack of adequate employment levels would drag down overall demand and thus stifle India’s growth momentum.
  • Also, India is witnessing a K-shaped recovery. That means different sectors are recovering at significantly different rates. Some sectors such as the IT-services sectors have been practically unaffected by Covid, while e-commerce industry is doing “brilliantly”.
  • Also, the informal economy is struggling to recover at the same pace as some of the more visible sectors.

Do You Know?

  • According to the data available with the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the total number of employed people in the Indian economy as of May-August 2021 was 394 million — 11 million below the level set in May-August 2019. 
  • In May-August 2016 the number of employed people was 408 million. In other words, India was already facing a deep employment crisis before the Covid crisis, and it became much worse after it.

Connecting the dots:

 (All India Radio – Spotlight)

Oct 20 Oct: Buddhist Circuits – https://youtu.be/00f6ahl1hxM


  • GS-I: Ancient History; Indian Heritage Sites

The Buddhist Circuit:

To facilitate travel and pilgrimage experience for the approximately 500 million-strong community of Buddhists that lives across Asia and other parts of the world.

  • Ministry of Tourism has identified the Buddhist Circuit as one of the thematic circuits for development under its Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
  • Five projects, with a combined outlay of more than 350 crore rupees, have been sanctioned for the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Ministry of Tourism 

CNBs Signage has been installed in Chinese language at 5 below monuments in Uttar Pradesh:

  • Site and Stupa and monastery of the Sakyas Piprahwa- Lucknow Circle
  • Sravasti – Lucknow Circle
  • Ancient Buddhist site of Sarnath- Sarnath Circle
  • Chaukhandi Stupa – Sarnath Circle
  • Buddhist relics and Mahaparinirvana temple located at Kushinagar- Sarnath Circle.
  • The CNBs signage in Sinhali language at Sanchi monuments in Madhya Pradesh has also been installed.

Some important places – 

  • Sarnath– The Deer Park adjoining the Archaeological Complex at Sarnath that the Buddha is believed to have delivered his first sermon after he attained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya.  The reason for choosing Sarnath was that the five men who had accompanied Buddha on his journey of asceticism, and later abandoned him had settled in Sarnath.  So when Buddha attained enlightenment, he felt that they should be the first one to know what he learned.  So he proceeded to Sarnath and preached his first teachings known as Dharmachakrapravartana Sutra.
  • Rajgir-  It was the capital of Magadh Kingdom.  It was here that Gautama Buddha spent several months meditating, and preaching at Gridhra-kuta, (Vulture peak). He also delivered some of his famous sermons and initiated King Bimbisara of Magadha and countless others to Buddhism. It was here that Budhha delivered his famous Atanatiya Sutra.
  • Sravasti- It was the capital of ancient Kosala kingdom and is sacred to the Buddhists because it is here that Lord Buddha performed the greatest of his miracles to confound the Tirthika heretics. These miracles include Buddha creating multiple images of himself, which has been a favourite theme of Buddhist art. Buddha showed his divine prowess to impress upon the non-believers. The Buddha passed the greater part of his monastic life in Sravasti. 
  • Vulture peak– One of the several sites frequented by the Buddha and his community of disciples for both training and retreat.
  • Kesariya –  Kesariya Stupa is a Buddhist stupa in Kesariya, located at a distance of 110 kilometres  from Patna, in the Champaran (east) district of Bihar, India. The first construction of the Stupa is dated to the 3rd century BCE. Kesariya Stupa has a circumference of almost 400 feet (120 m) and raises to a height of about 104 feet.
  • Vaishali–  It is said that the Buddha visited this place thrice and spent quite a long time here. The Buddha also delivered his last sermon at Vaishali and announced his Nirvana here.
  • Kushinagar–  Kushinagar is the centre of the Buddhist circuitwhich consists of pilgrimage sites at Lumbini, Sarnath and Gaya, and one of the four sacred places of Lord Buddha. Buddha delivered his last sermon, attained Mahaparinirvana (salvation) in 483 BC and was cremated at Rambhar Stupa.


A famous painting of 10 headed Buddha is found in these caves: Kanheri caves are a group of caves located in Salsette Island, Mumbai.

Constitution states…

  • Under Article 49 of the Constitution, the State is under obligation to protect every monument, place or object of artistic or historic interest declared to be of national importance from spoilation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be. (DPSP)
  • Under Article 51A(f) of the Constitution, there is fundamental duty to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture. (Fundamental Duties)

Swadesh Darshan Scheme

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme launched in 2014 -15.
  • Objective: (1) Integrated development of theme based tourist circuits in the country; (2) To position the tourism sector as a major engine for job creation
  • The Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) for infrastructure development of circuits.

Kushinagar International Airport

  • The airport is expected to provide seamless connectivity to tourists from Sri Lanka, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and so on. 
  • The Sri Lankan contingent, led by a member of the first family, will also be present, owing to the historical importance of the place.

Mural painting as a token of gift

  • To mark the occasion, Sri Lanka will present to India photographs of two murals painted by renowned Sri Lankan artist Solias Mendis at the Kelaniya Rajamaha Vihara, a popular Buddhist temple near Colombo
  • One of the murals depicts ‘Arahat Bhikkhu’ Mahinda, son of Emperor Ashoka delivering the message of the Buddha to King Devanampiyatissa of Sri Lanka. 
  • The other shows the arrival of ‘Theri Bhikkhuni’ Sanghamitta, the daughter of the Emperor Ashoka, in Sri Lanka, bearing a sapling of the ‘sacred Bodhi tree’ under which Siddhārtha Gautama is believed to have attained enlightenment.

Can you answer the following question?

  1. How did Buddhism spread in different parts of the world? Examine.
  2. “Buddhism was not just a religious revolution, but a social revolution too.” Comment.
  3. Essay: Buddhism and Diplomacy


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.

Q.1 Which of the following was not a part of OPEC when it was created at the Baghdad Conference in 1960?

  1. Iraq
  2. Kuwait
  3. Austria
  4. Saudi Arabia

Q.2 Human Development Index is Released by

  1. United Nations Development Programme 
  3. WHO
  4. None of the above 

Q.3 Which of the following is not a bordering country of Black Sea

  1. Russia
  2. Ukraine
  3. Georgia
  4. None of the above 


1 D
2 A
3 C

Must Read

On National Security Policy:

The Hindu

On extending jurisdiction of BSF:

Indian Express

On federalism:

Financial Express

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