DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 3rd January 2022

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  • January 3, 2022
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EWS Quota

Part of: Prelims and GS-II -Policies and interventions 

Context A government committee report in the Supreme Court has said that “income” is a “feasible criterion” for defining the “Economically Weaker Sections” (EWS) in society.

key takeaways 

  • The committee did not agree with the notion that the Union government had “mechanically adopted” ₹8 lakh as a number because it was also used for the OBC creamy layer cut-off.
  • It said the income criterion for EWS was “more stringent” than the one for the OBC creamy layer.
  • Firstly, EWS’s criteria relates to the financial year prior to the year of application whereas the income criterion for the creamy layer in OBC category is applicable to gross annual income for three consecutive years.
  • Secondly, in case of OBC creamy layer, income from salaries, agriculture and traditional artisanal professions are excluded from the consideration whereas the ₹8 lakh criteria for EWS includes all sources, including farming.
  • Background: The report is the result of the Supreme Court’s repeated grilling of the government, since October, to explain how it zeroed in on the figure of ‘₹8 lakh’ as the annual income criterion to identify EWS among forward classes of society for grant of 10% reservation in National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) medical admissions under the All India Quota (AIQ) category.

Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve

Part of: Prelims and GS-III Environment 

Context The Assam government is awaiting the Centre’s clearance for an elevated road over nine corridors used by the animals of the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve usually during high floods.

  • The 35-km elevated road will run along an existing arterial highway.
  • The “Kaziranga project” will have two tunnels — one with an estimated length of 1.5 km and the other of 600 metres.

Kaziranga National Park 

  • It is a national park in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam. 
  • The sanctuary, which hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses, is a World Heritage Site. 
  • Kaziranga is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for conservation of avifaunal species. 
  • Kaziranga has the largest population of the Wild water buffalo anywhere accounting for about 57% of the world population.

Indravati Tiger Reserve

Part of: Prelims and GS-III – Environment 

Context  For the first time, a large area (400 square kilometers) of the Indravati Tiger Reserve which is a Maoist-affected area, has been covered in tiger census work.

About the tiger reserve

  • The tiger reserve is located in the Bijapur district, Chhattisgarh.
  • The perennial river ‘Indravati’ forms the boundary of the reserve on the Northern and Western side
  • It is one of three Project Tiger sites in Chhattisgarh, along with Udanti-sitanadi.
  • It is home to one of the last remaining populations of the endangered wild water buffalo. 
  • Indravati attained the status of a national park in 1981 and a tiger reserve in 1983. 
  • The topography of the park mainly comprises undulating hilly terrain.
  • The vegetation is mainly of the tropical moist and dry deciduous type with predominance of bamboo, sal and teak.
  • The most common trees are teak, lendia, salai, mahua, tendu, semal, haldu, ber and jamun.
  • It is home to  gaur (Indian bison), nilgai, blackbuck, chausingha (four-horned antelope), sambar, chital, Indian muntjac, Indian spotted chevrotain, wild boar,  tigers, leopards, sloth bears, dholes (wild dog) and striped hyenas.
  • The reserve had three tigers in 2018-19, when the last census took place.

Arc De Triomphe Monument

Part of: Prelims and GS II – International relations

Context French authorities took down a temporary installation of the European Union flag from the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris, after rightwing opponents of President Emmanuel Macron accused him of “erasing” French identity.

Key takeaways 

  • The giant blue flag was raised in place of a French flag on New Year’s Eve to mark France’s turn at the rotating presidency of the EU Council.
  • The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile ( ’Triumphal Arch of the Star’) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, France.
  • It honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces.
  • The arch, a monument to war dead, and other landmarks including the Eiffel Tower and the Pantheon are also being illuminated with blue lights for the remainder of this week.

(News from PIB)

J&K to have district level Governance Index

Part of: Prelims 

In News: Jammu & Kashmir will soon become the first Union Territory in the country to have a district level Good Governance Index.

  • Good Governance Index at the district level will enable each of the 20 districts of Jammu & Kashmir to rise to the level of some of the best administered districts of the country, with time bound disposal of office files and other matters, increased transparency, increased accountability and increased citizen participation. 
  • The DGGI Framework has 58 Indicators drawn from different aspects of development and district administration distributed in all-encompassing 10 sectors such as Agriculture & allied sector, Commerce & Industry, Human Resource Development, Public Health, Public Infrastructure & Utilities, Economic Governance, Welfare & Development, Public Safety & Judiciary and Citizen Centric Governance.

News Source: PIB

Release of 10th instalment of PM-KISAN

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-III: Agriculture

In News: In line with the continued commitment and resolve to empower grassroot level farmers, the government released 10th installment of financial benefit under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme

  • Enabled the transfer of an amount of more than Rs. 20,000 crore to more than 10 crore beneficiary farmer families
  • Released equity grant of more than Rs. 14 crore to about 351 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), which will benefit more than 1.24 lakh farmers. (Five benefits of FPOs for small farmers. These benefits are increased bargaining power, scale, innovation, risk management and adaptability to the market conditions)

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN): To provide income support to all farmers’ families across the country, to enable them to take care of expenses related to agriculture and allied activities as well as domestic needs

Milestones that were achieved in the agriculture sector in the recent years-

  • Food grain production touched 300 million tonnes
  • Horticulture and floriculture production reached 330 million tonnes
  • Milk production also increased almost 45 per cent in last 6-7 years.
  • About 60 lakh hectare land was brought under micro irrigation; more than 1 lakh crore were given in compensation under Prime Minister FasalBimaYojna, whereas premium received was just 21 thousand crores. 
  • Ethanol production increased from 40 crore litres to 340 crore litres in just seven years. 

News Source: PIB

INS Vikrant, India’s indigenous aircraft carrier

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Defence and Security

INS Vikrant is a realisation of the nation’s dream of an indigenous carrier – a ‘great icon for our drive towards Atma Nirbhar Bharat’. 

  • Vikrant is India’s most complex warship to have been indigenously built by Cochin Shipyard for the Indian Navy. 
  • Cochin Shipyard Limited is the largest public sector shipyard and the only shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. 
  • At present, India has only one aircraft carrier, the Russian-origin INS Vikramaditya.

About iNS Vikrant (IAC-1)

  • The vessel, to be named Vikrant after the decommissioned maiden carrier of the Navy.
  • It will have an air component of 30 aircraft, comprising MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 airborne early warning helicopters and the soon-to-be-inducted MH-60R multi-role helicopter, besides the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopters.
  • The shipborne weapons include Barak LR SAM and AK-630, while it has MFSTAR and RAN-40L 3D radars as sensors. 
  • It has a pair of runways and a ‘short take off but arrested recovery’ system to control aircraft operations.


  • The combat capability, reach and versatility of the aircraft carrier will add formidable capabilities in the defence and help secure India’s interests in the maritime domain.
  • It would offer an incomparable military instrument with its ability to project air power over long distances.

News Source: PIB

(Mains Focus)


  • GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
  • GS-2: India and its neighbourhood

China’s border law and India

Context: China’s new law on land borders, passed on October 23, came into effect on January 1. 

  • This has happened at a time when the border standoff in eastern Ladakh remains unresolved, when China has renamed several places in Arunachal Pradesh as part of its claim on the Indian state.

What is the new law?

  • The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress passed the law for the “protection and exploitation of the country’s land border areas”.
  • Under the law, “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of… China are sacred and inviolable”, and the state needs to “take measures to safeguard territorial integrity and land boundaries and guard against and combat any act that undermines these”.
  • It mandates the state to take measures “to strengthen border defence, support economic and social development as well as opening-up in border areas, encourage and support people’s life and work there, and promote coordination between border defence and social, economic development in border areas”. 
  • This means that it is encouraging the development of villages for civilians in the border areas.
  • However, the law also asks the state to follow the principles of equality, mutual trust, and friendly consultation, handle land border related-affairs with neighbouring countries through negotiations to properly resolve disputes and longstanding border issues.
  • The law lays down four conditions under which the state can impose emergency measures, including border shutdown.

Why did China bring it?

  • This law reflects Beijing’s renewed concerns over the security of its land border while it confronts a number of unsettled disputes on its maritime front.
  • The confrontations on the Sino-Indian borders in recent years may have reminded Beijing that as a classic land-sea power China must always ready itself to cope with threats in both the continental and maritime domains.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic also underscores the imperative for Beijing to exert greater control over its somewhat porous land border. 
  • Also, the law reflects Beijing’s worries about the stability of its hinterland bordering Central Asia as the withdrawal of the US forces and Taliban takeover of Afghanistan that may become a hotbed for terrorism and extremism that could spread to Xinjiang

Does it concern India?

  • Although the law is not meant specifically for India, it is bound to have some impact. 
  • China and India share a disputed 3,488-km boundary, the third longest among China’s 22,457-km land boundaries with 14 countries, after the borders with Mongolia and Russia. 
  • Besides India, Bhutan (477 km) is the only other country with which China has a disputed land border.
  • There is a growing suspicion that China may have been stalling further negotiations on the standoff in eastern Ladakh for this new law to come into force. 
  • India had hoped that China would agree to disengage from Patrolling Point 15 in Hot Springs, which it did not. It is seen in the context of Chinese delegation trying to use the new law to bolster their existing positions.
  • Another sticking point could be that the new law prohibits construction of permanent infrastructure close to the border without China’s permission. Both, India and China have been building new roads, bridges and other facilities faster since the standoff began; in fact, China had objected to India’s workers even before.

What impact can it have on India-China relations?

  • The view is still divided. Much depends on China’s actions, regardless of the new law.
  • Some experts feel the new law will make China work towards the ongoing standoff as well as for resolution of the larger boundary issue. 
    • It is said “Beijing appears to be signaling determination to resolve the border disputes on its preferred terms. The law sets an overall tone of resolve upfront.”
  • Others feel the new law is only a tool China government will use if it wants, as its actions have been aggressive even before this law. It is viewed that the law has created conditions for a ‘militarised solution’ to the boundary issue.
    • Gautam Bambawale, who was India’s ambassador to China in 2017-18 says that the law only states the obvious and that the Chinese are clearly indicating that they are tired of trying to resolve the boundary or the LAC through negotiations; they’re indicating they’ll do it through use of force.”
  • China has been building “well-off” border defence villages across the LAC in all sectors, which the new law encourages. As a result, when India starts discussing the border between the two sides, they will say we [China] have settled population in this area thus making the claim much stronger.


  • GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. 
  • GS-3: Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources

Breakthrough in battery tech

Context: Shareholders of California-based QuantumScape Corp, a battery startup backed by Volkswagen AG, have approved a multibillion-dollar pay package for CEO Jagdeep Singh, who could receive stock options potentially valued at $2.3 billion, subject to the company meeting some performance milestones.

A quantum leap

  • QuantumScape’s solid-state battery — lithium metal with a solid electrolyte separating the two electrodes — is seen as an exceptionally bright prospect in an increasingly crowded space. 
  • The company, which was co-founded by Singh a decade ago was valued at almost $50 billion on the promise that its novel battery technology could offer a safer, cheaper alternative to lithium-ion batteries.
  • Earlier efforts to build a solid-state separator (electrolyte) capable of working with lithium metal had to compromise on aspects such as the cycle life and operating temperature of the battery, and the issue of excess lithium deposits on the anode
  • QuantumScape claims to have circumvented this: its use of a solid state separator technology eliminates the side reaction between the liquid electrolyte and the carbon/graphite in the anode of conventional lithium-ion cells.
  • This technology could make car batteries cheaper, more reliable and quicker to recharge.
  • Volkswagen plans to have production running for solid-state batteries by 2025 via the partnership with QuantumScape.

What are the challenges with lithium-ion batteries?

  • The energy density of lithium-ion cells used in today’s mobile phones and electric vehicles is nearly four times higher than that of older-generation nickel-cadmium batteries. 
  • Lithium-ion batteries use aqueous electrolyte solutions, where ions transfer to and fro between the anode (negative electrode generally made of graphite) and cathode (positive electrode made of lithium), triggering the recharge and discharge of electrons. 
  • Despite improvements in technology over the last decade, issues such as long charging times and weak energy density persist. 
  • While lithium-ion batteries are seen as sufficiently efficient for phones and laptops, they still lack the range that would make EVs a viable alternative to internal combustion engines.
  • One major problem is that lithium metal is extremely reactive. The main form of lithium corrosion are dendrites, which are branched lithium structures that grow out from the electrode and can potentially pierce through the separator and on to the other end, short-circuiting the cell.
  • In current lithium-ion batteries, in which the electrolyte is a flammable liquid, dendrite formation can trigger a fire.

What is the innovation in Solid-State battery developed by QuantumScape?

  • QuantumScape says its solid-state lithium-metal battery replaces the polymer separator used in conventional lithium-ion batteries with a solid-state separator. 
  • The replacement of the separator enables the use of a lithium-metal anode in place of the traditional carbon/graphite anode.
  • The lithium metal anode is more energy-dense than conventional anodes, which allows the battery to store more energy in the same volume.

What are the advantages of Solid-State batteries?

  • The advantages of the solid-state battery technology include 
    • Higher cell energy density (by eliminating the carbon anode)
    • Lower charge time (by eliminating the need to have lithium diffuse into the carbon particles in conventional lithium-ion cells),
    • Ability to undertake more charging cycles and thereby a longer life, 
    • Improved safety.
    • Lower cost could be a game-changer, given that at 30 per cent of the total cost, battery expenses are a key driver of the vehicle costs.
    • Lithium-ion battery costs are currently about $137 per kWh, and are expected to reach $101/kWh by 2023. QuantumScape claims it is targeting to lower battery cost by 15-20% relative to the cost of lithium-ion batteries in several years.


  • GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. 
  • GS-3: Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources

Shortage of Computer Chips

Context: Carmakers slashed production. Broadband providers faced monthslong delays for internet routers. All of these phenomena and more had a similar cause: an abrupt and cascading shortage of semiconductors. 

  • Also known as integrated circuits or more commonly just chips, they may be the tiniest yet most exacting product ever manufactured on a global scale.
  • The combination of cost and difficulty in producing them has fostered a worldwide reliance on two Asian powerhouses — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co.
  • That dependence was brought into stark relief when the Covid-19 pandemic and rising U.S.-China tensions made chips scarce. 
  • Hundreds of billions of dollars will be spent in the coming years in a global race to expand production, with geopolitical as well as economic implications.

What is a chip?

  • It’s the thing that makes electronic items smart. 
  • Made from a material, usually silicon, that “semi-conducts” electricity, the chip performs a variety of functions. 
  • Memory chips, which store data, are relatively simple and are traded like commodities. 
  • Logic chips, which run programs and act as the brains of a device, are more complex and expensive. These often carry names like Apple or Nvidia, but those companies are actually just the designers of the semiconductors, which are manufactured in factories called foundries.

Why is it so hard to produce chips?

  • Manufacturing advanced logic chips requires extraordinary precision, along with huge long-term bets in a field subject to rapid change
  • Plants cost billions of dollars to build and equip, and they have to run flat-out 24/7 to recoup the investment. 
  • Also, factory also gobbles up enormous amounts of water and electricity and is vulnerable to even the tiniest disruptions, whether from dust particles or distant earthquakes.

Who are the major players in chip manufacturing?

  • TSMC (Taiwan company) pioneered the foundry business — purely manufacturing chips for others — with government support in the 1980s. Its share of the global foundry market is larger than its next three competitors combined.
  • Samsung dominates in memory chips and is trying to muscle in on TSMC’s gold mine. 
  • Intel Corp. is the last U.S. heavyweight in the field, but its business is heavily concentrated in manufacturing its own-brand chips that serve as the central processing unit (CPU) for laptops and desktop computers.

Why are there shortages?

  • The stay-at-home shift: This pushed chip demand beyond levels projected before the pandemic. Lockdowns spurred growth in sales of laptops to the highest in a decade. Home networking gear, webcams and monitors were snapped up as office work moved out of the office. Sales also jumped for home appliances, from TVs to air purifiers, that now come with customized chips.
  • Fluctuating forecasts: Automakers that cut back drastically early in the pandemic underestimated how quickly car sales would rebound. They rushed to re-up orders late in 2020 which caused mismatches in production & demand.
  • Stockpiling: PC makers began warning about tight supplies early in 2020. Then around the middle of that year, Chinese company Huawei Technologies Co (dominates the global market for 5G networking gear) began building up inventory to ensure it could survive U.S. sanctions that were set to cut it off from its primary suppliers. Other companies followed suit and China’s chip imports climbed to almost $380 billion in 2020, up from about $330 billion the previous year.
  • Disasters: A bitter cold snap in Texas in February led to power outages that shut semiconductor plants clustered around it; it was late March before Samsung’s facilities there were back to normal. A plant in Japan belonging to Renesas Electronics Corp., a major provider of automotive chips, was damaged by fire in March, disrupting production for months.

Who is affected?

  • Chip shortages are expected to wipe out $210 billion of sales for carmakers this year, with production of 7.7 million vehicles lost.
    • Toyota Motor Corp. suspended output at 14 plants in September.
  • Samsung warned that it saw a “serious imbalance” in supply and demand globally. It is forecasted that the shortages could extend into 2022. 
  • Some broadband providers were facing delays of more than a year when ordering internet routers. 
  • Apple said in April that supply constraints were crimping sales of iPads and Macs, which it said would knock $3 billion to $4 billion off its third-quarter revenue. 

(All India Radio)

Jan 2: Civil Aviation Ministry releases draft National Air Sports Policy for public feedback-



  • GS-3: Government schemes and policies

Draft National Air Sports Policy

In News: The Government of India plans to promote the country’s air sports sector, by way of making it safe, affordable, accessible, enjoyable and sustainable. The draft National Air Sports Policy (NASP 2022) is a step in this direction. It has been drafted on the basis of the inputs received from policy makers, air sports practitioners and public at large.  

World of Air Sports:

  • India has the potential to be among the leading nations in the world of air sports. It has a large geographical expanse, diverse topography and fair weather conditions. It has a large population, especially the youth. It has a growing culture for adventure sports and aviation.
  • Other than the direct revenue from air sports activities, the multiplier benefits in terms of growth of travel, tourism, infrastructure and local employment, especially in hilly areas of the country, are several times greater. 
  • Creation of air sports hubs across the country will also bring in air sports professionals and tourists from across the world.
  • Systems and processes need to be simplified and made more transparent; focus on quality, safety and security needs to be enhanced; and investments in infrastructure, technology, training and awareness building need to be facilitated.

The key features of the Draft National Air Sports Policy are:

  1. NASP 2022 covers sports like aerobatics, aeromodelling, amateur-built and experimental aircraft, ballooning, drones, gliding, hang gliding and paragliding; microlighting and paramotoring; skydiving and vintage aircraft.
  2. The vision is to make India one of the top air sports nations by 2030. The mission is to provide a safe, affordable, accessible, enjoyable and sustainable air sports ecosystem in India.
  3. NASP 2022 seeks to leverage India’s huge potential for air sports given its large geographical expanse, diverse topography and fair weather conditions. 
  4. An Air Sports Federation of India (ASFI) will be established as the apex governing body.  Associations for each air sport will handle day to day activities e.g. Paragliding Association of India or Skydiving Association of India etc.
  5. The air sports associations shall be accountable to ASFI with respect to the regulatory oversight and for providing safe, affordable, accessible, enjoyable and sustainable conduct of their respective air sport.
  6. ASFI shall represent India at FAI and other global platforms related to air sports. Greater participation and success of Indian sportspersons in global air sports events will be facilitated.
  7. Domestic design, development and manufacturing of air sports equipment will be promoted in line with the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
  8. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland is the world governing body for air sports.  All competitions in India will be conducted as per the guidelines laid down by FAI.
  9. Air sports by their very nature involve a higher level of risk than flying a regular aircraft. NASP 2022 places strong focus on ensuring international best practices in safety.
  10. Inability to enforce safety standards by an air sports association may lead to penal action by the ASFI against such association including financial penalties, suspension or dismissal.
  11. All persons and entities providing air sports services shall be required to register as members of the respective air sports associations. Key equipment used for air sports shall be registered with the respective air sports association, till such equipment is decommissioned, damaged beyond repair or lost.
  12. An airspace map of India has been published on DGCA’s DigitalSky Platform. The map segregates the entire airspace of India into red zone, yellow zone and green zone.  Air sports practitioners may rely on this easily accessible map for guidance. Operation in red and yellow zones requires permission from Central Government and the concerned Air Traffic Control authority respectively.  Operation in green zones for aircraft with all-up weight up to 500 kg does not require any permission. 
  13. For air sports centred around a fixed location – for instance, Bir-Billing in Himachal Pradesh, Gangtok in Sikkim, Hadapsar in Maharashtra or Vagamon in Kerala – the said location can be declared as a ‘Control zone’ for air sports with necessary permissions from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Defence (MoD), State Government and the local Air Traffic Control authority. This will enable hassle-free flying by air sports enthusiasts in such control zones without creating any risk to national security or safety of other manned aircraft.
  14. During peak winters, the level of air sports reduces in Europe and North America and the air sports aficionados migrate to milder climates.  ASFI and the air sports associations will work towards developing a hassle-free process to enable their movement to India.  This will enable Indian air sports enthusiasts to learn from the experience of the visiting professionals, get exposed to global best practices and create opportunities to host global competitions in India.
  15. The Government will consider allowing import of air sports equipment without any import duty for a particular number of years.  Import of previously used air sports equipment may also be allowed free import, subject to laid down norms of airworthiness. 
  16. Schools, colleges and universities will be encouraged to have air sports included in their curriculum. 
  17. Long term funding for development of air sports in India shall come from corporate investors, sponsors, membership fees, events and media rights.  ASFI may seek financial support from Government of India for promotion of air sports, especially in the initial years. 
  18. To make air sports affordable to the common public, the Government will request the GST Council to consider rationalising the GST rate on air sports equipment to 5% or less.

Can you answer the following questions?

  1. India has the potential to be among the leading nations in the world of air sports. Discuss


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

Q.1 Consider the following statements regarding Kaziranga National Park: 

  1. The sanctuary, which hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses, is a World Heritage Site. 
  2. Kaziranga has the largest population of the Wild water buffalo anywhere accounting for about 57% of the world population.

Which of the above is or are correct? 

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

Q.2 Indravati Tiger reserve is located in?

  1. Chhattisgarh 
  2. Jharkhand
  3. Madhya Pradesh
  4. Uttar Pradesh

Q.3 Arc De Triomphe Monument, recently seen in news, is one of most important monuments of Which of the following country?

  1. France
  2. Netherlands
  3. Germany
  4. Belarus


1 C
2 A
3 A

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