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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st May 2022

  • IASbaba
  • May 23, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Pangong Tso

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography (places in news)
  • Mains – GS 2 (India and its Neighborhood- Relations)

In News: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated that two bridges built by China in Pangong area, have continued to be under the illegal occupation of China since the 1960s

  • The bridge being referred to is a second structure that China is building, right next to the bridge it constructed earlier this year, in an area that lies along India’s claim line.
  • It is more than 20 km east of the point which India says marks the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • The bridge is located around 20 km east of Finger 8 on the north bank of the lake, where India says is the point that marks the LAC.
  • The area has been under Chinese control since 1958, although it is just west of India’s claim line, which, according to India, is its international boundary.

It is just east of a ruin named Khurnak Fort, where China has major frontier defence bases. The region is called Rutong County by China.

Background

  • Since the military standoff began in May 2020, India and China have not only worked to improve existing infrastructure, but have also built several new roads, bridges, landing strips along the entire frontier.
  • Towards the end of August 2020, India out manoeuvred China to capture the previously unoccupied heights of the Kailash Range on the south bank of Pangong Tso Lake.
  • Indian troops positioned themselves on the peaks there, including Magar Hill, Gurung Hill, Rezang La, Rechin La, and this allowed them to dominate the strategic Spanggur Gap — it can be used for launching an offensive
  • Indian troops had also positioned themselves above the Chinese troops in the Fingers area on the north bank.
  • The significance of these positions was one of the main factors that compelled China to negotiate a pullback.
  • Both countries agreed to a pullback from the north bank of the lake, and positions on the Kailash Range in the Chushul sub-sector south of Pangong Tso.
  • The first bridge was constructed more than 20 km east of Finger 8 on the lake’s north bank – India says Finger 8 denotes the LAC.
  • The Lake is overlooked by the Finger Area – a set of eight cliffs extending out of the Sirijap range (on the northern bank of Lake).

Pangong Tso

  • Pangong Lake is a long boomerang-shaped endorheic water body.
  • It is located at an elevation of roughly more than 4,200 meters (13,800 ft) above sea level.
  • It is a transborder lake spanning across eastern Ladakh and western Tibet, with a length of more than 135 km.
  • It is around 5 km wide at its broadest point.
  • Around 40% of the lake lies within the Indian territory, 50% in Tibet (China), and the rest 10% is reportedly disputed between the two and is a de facto buffer zone.
  • Practically China controls 2/3rd of the total length while the rest is controlled by India.

Eastern Part:

  • The easternmost part of the lake is freshwater in character.
  • Fishes, crustaceans, ducks, moss, and other aquatic flora & fauna too, inhabit this region.
  • It is an important breeding region for a number of migratory birds during summers.
  • Birds such as Bar Headed Goose and Brahmini Ducks are commonly found here during the warm weather season.

Western Part:

  • The westernmost part of the lake is extremely saline in character.
  • No fishes or flora are observed in or near the lake, however, a few crustaceans can be seen in the water.
  • The lake has over the past shrunken in size due to geological factors.
  • The lake has many islands within it.
  • One of the most famous islands of Pangong Tso Lake is the Bird Isle

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) Siachen Glacier is situated to the (2020)

  1. East of Aksai Chin
  2. East of Leh
  3. North of Gilgit
  4. North of Nubra Valley

Source: Indian Express


RBI surplus transfer

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy
  • Mains – GS 3 (Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment)

In News: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will transfer Rs 30,307 crore as surplus to the government for fiscal ended March 2022 down 69% from the Rs 99,126 crore in the year ended March 2021 and lower than the Rs 74,000 crore budgeted by the government for the current fiscal.

  • The fall in the transferable surplus is because of the increased interest the RBI had to pay banks which parked their surplus liqudity in the reverse repo window

Background

RBI’s Earning:

  • Returns earned on its foreign currency assets, which could be in the form of bonds and treasury bills of other central banks or top-rated securities, and deposits with other central banks.
  • Interest on its holdings of local rupee-denominated government bonds or securities, and while lending to banks for very short tenures, such as overnight.
  • Management commission on handling the borrowings of state governments and the central government.

RBI’s Expenditure:

  • Printing of currency notes and on staff, besides the commission it gives to banks for undertaking transactions on behalf of the government across the country, and to primary dealers, including banks, for underwriting some of these borrowings
  • The Surplus Distribution Policy of RBI that was finalized is in line with the recommendations of the Bimal Jalan committee that was formed by the RBI, in consultation with the Government, to review the extant Economic Capital Framework of the RBI.
  • The Committee’s recommendations were based on the consideration of the role of central banks’ financial resilience, cross-country practices, statutory provisions and the impact of the RBI’s public policy mandate and operating environment on its balance sheet and the risks involved.
  • In view of the RBI’s function as a lender of last resort, it needs to maintain some Contingent Risk Buffer (CRB) to insure the economy against any tail risk of financial stability crisis.
  • The Jalan Committee recommended that the CRB needs to be maintained at a range of 5.5% to 6.5% of the RBI’s balance sheet.
  • The surplus transfer policy is now formula-based and thus transparent, which is an important departure from the past.
  • The formula-based CRB will take care of the risk provisioning and the central board of RBI will decide on the level of risk provisioning.

Source: Economic Times


Norms eased for genetically modified crop research

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment
  • Mains – GS 3 (Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment)

In News: The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has issued guidelines easing norms for research into genetically modified (GM) crops and circumventing challenges of using foreign genes to change crops profile.

Guidelines for Safety Assessment of Genome Edited Plants, 2022

  • It exempts researchers who use gene-editing technology to modify the genome of the plant from seeking approvals from the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)
  • The final call however is taken by the Environment Minister as well as States where such plants could be cultivated.
  • The DBT said guidelines is a road map for the development and sustainable use of genome editing technologies in India, specifying the biosafety and/or environmental safety concerns, and describing the regulatory pathways to be adopted while undertaking the genome editing of plants.
  • The guidelines say that all requirements that researchers must adhere to develop transgenic seeds will apply to gene-edited seeds except clauses that require permission from the GEAC.

Opposition

  • Environmentalist groups have opposed this exception for gene-edited crops arguing that gene editing is included in genetic engineering. Therefore, there is no question of giving exemptions to particular kinds of genome edited plants from the regulatory purview

Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)

  • The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is a statutory body constituted under the ‘Rules for the Manufacture, Use /Import /Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms/Genetically Engineering Organisms or Cells, 1989’ notified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It functions under the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change.
  • The body regulates the use, manufacture, storage, import and export of hazardous microorganisms or genetically-engineered organisms and cells in India.

GEAC Functions

  • It is responsible for the appraisal of activities that involve the large scale use of hazardous microbes and recombinants in research and industrial production from the point of view of the environment.
  • The GEAC also assesses proposals regarding the release of genetically engineered products and organisms into the environment, and this includes experimental field trials as well.
  • The body also looks into proposals regarding the use of living modified organism that comes in the risk category III and above in the import/manufacture of recombinant pharma products, or where the end-product of the recombinant pharma product is a modified living organism.
  • The Committee has the power to take punitive action against people/body under the Environment (Protection) Act.
  • The approval of the GEAC is mandatory before genetically modified organisms and products derived from them can be used commercially.

GEAC Composition

  • The Committee is chaired by the Special Secretary/Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, GOI. A representative of the Department of Biotechnology is a co-chair
  • There are many other members who meet every month to review the applications in the Committee’s domain. The members include experts from other ministries as well as institutions such as the ICAR, ICMR, CCMB, etc.

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee is constituted under the (2015)

  1. Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
  2. Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
  3. Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
  4. Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

Source: The Hindu


Donbas and Luhansk

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Places in News
  • Mains – GS 2 (Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora)

In News: Ukrainian President said the – Incessant bombardment has turned Ukraine’s Donbas region into hell

  • Ukrainian government received a fresh boost as the U.S. Congress approved a $40 billion aid package, including funds to enhance Ukraine’s armoured vehicle fleet and air defence system.
  • Russian Defence Minister said Moscow was nearing full control of Ukraine’s eastern separatist region of Luhansk
  • Russian military sent troops to Ukraine on February 24 under the guise of protecting the Russian-speaking population there, especially in the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk
  • Russia recognised the independence of the separatist republics shortly before launching the military action.
  • Russia claimed control of the strategic city in southeastern Ukraine in late April, keeping the remaining Ukrainian forces blocked inside the giant steel plant.
  • Ukrainian authorities in early May attempted to retake the strategic Snake Island in the Black Sea that was seized by Russian troops early in the conflict

Donbas and Luhansk

  • The Donbass region, comprising the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, has been at the centre of the conflict since March 2014 when Moscow (Russia) invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) Consider the following pairs:

Sea: Bordering country

  1. Adriatic Sea: Albania
  2. Black Sea: Croatia
  3. Caspian Sea: Kazakhstan
  4. Mediterranean Sea: Morocco
  5. Red Sea: Syria

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched?

  1. 1, 2 and 4 only
  2. 1, 3 and 4 only
  3. 2 and 5 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Source: The Hindu


Baba’s Explainer – Ethanol Blending

Ethanol Blending

Syllabus

  • GS-3: Economy & energy; Environmental Conservation
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Why in News: The Union Cabinet recently advanced by five years its target for achieving 20% ethanol blending in petrol.

Read Complete Details on Ethanol Blending – CLICK HERE


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Snake Island, recently in news is located in which of the following sea

  1. Caspian Sea
  2. Baltic Sea
  3. Mediterranean Sea
  4. Black Sea

Q.2) Consider the following statements:

  1. Pangong Lake is a endorheic lake
  2. It is both freshwater and saltwater lake
  3. Around two-third of lake falls under the Indian territory

Choose the correct statements:

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

Q.3) Consider the following statements

  1. The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is a statutory body constituted under Biodiversity Act, 2002
  2. The approval of the GEAC is mandatory before genetically modified organisms and products derived from them can be used commercially
  3. The Committee has the power to take punitive action against people/body under the Environment (Protection) Act

Choose the incorrect statements:

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 3
  3. 2 and 3
  4. None

ANSWERS FOR 21st MAY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – d    Q.2) – b   Q.3) – a

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